Politics

THE WORD | Billionaire Robert F. Smith pledges to pay off Morehouse College Class of 2019′s student loans

Billionaire investor and philanthropist Robert F. Smith had a special announcement during his commencement speech at Morehouse College in Atlanta on May 19. The gift is estimated to be worth $40 million. Smith received an honorary doctorate from Morehouse today and was the class' commencement speaker.

“This is my class and I know my class will pay this forward,” Smith said in his remarks.

Smith is the founder, chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners and is considered one of the wealthiest Black entrepreneurs today. His company, which has an estimated $14 billion in capital, was listed as No. 1 on Black Enterprise’s annual list of the most successful black-owned companies. He’s also made Forbes list of the 400 richest Americans, and in 2017 was named by Forbes as one of the 100 greatest living business minds.

THE WORD | Arnold Schwarzenegger Responds after being attacked at South Africa event

Arnold Schwarzenegger was attacked on Saturday in South Africa during the fourth annual Arnold Classic Africa competition.

The actor and former governor of California, was speaking with fans and signing autographs at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg when a man leaped in the air and kicked the actor in the back. According to a statement put out by the event, Schwarzenegger will not be pressing charges.

THE WORD | Alabama Passes Near-Total Abortion Ban

On Tuesday night the Alabama senate passed a bill that would almost completely ban abortion. Under the law, women will not be able to get an abortion after 6 weeks of being pregnant, which is when most women find out that they are even carrying a baby.

The ban would also sentence any doctor who gets caught performing an abortion to prison for up to 99 years. It is said that other states are passing similar bills in hopes to overturn Roe v. Wade.

The bill would only allow abortion in cases of when the mother’s life is in jeopardy and doesn’t allow exemptions for incest or rape victims.

According to CNN, American Civil Rights Union of Alabama Executive Director Randall Marshall said that his organization would join with the national ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and Planned Parenthood of Southeast to challenge the bill in court within "a few weeks" should it become law.




 








THE WORD | Chicago Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot meets with Ivanka Trump at White House

Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot arrived at the White House Tuesday, kicking off three days of meetings in the nation’s capital.

She started by meeting with Ivanka Trump at the White House. Lightfoot and the president’s daughter, a senior White House adviser, discussed workforce development, vocational education, economic revitalization, parole reform and crime prevention, among other topics. Lightfoot also met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other top congressional leaders.

Lightfoot was not scheduled to meet with the president.

On Wednesday…

The mayor-elect attended a meeting of the Congressional Black Caucus with her fundraiser at a government affairs group. Lightfoot encouraged the CBC’s members during a closed-door meeting to visit Chicago during next year’s Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee.

“Once I take office, my responsibility is to be the chief ambassador for our great city and make sure that people really know the true nature of what’s happening in Chicago and not just screaming headlines that may be tweeted out by a certain someone,” Lightfoot said at an evening news conference, making a clear reference to President Donald Trump.

Her last public meeting of the day was with DeFazio, the transportation chairman, at his office in the Rayburn building, where Lightfoot said she worked as a young staffer making $12,000 per year after college.

“Where I came from, being here in the big city and really being away from home for a lengthy period of time and being on my own was a very big deal,” Lightfoot said.

On Thursday she met with the Chicago and the rest of the Illinois congressional delegation at lunch and breakfast in addition to one-on-ones with Democratic Illinois Sens. Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin.

THE WORD | Social media is Outraged after Rio Vista Officer Body Slams Woman

Social media is outraged and a use of force investigation is underway after cell phones recorded a woman being body slammed to the ground by a Rio Vista police officer.

The Rio Vista Police Department moved quickly after cell phone footage of the body slam went viral, releasing eight body camera videos of the traffic stop just two days after it happened, reports the Sacramento Bee.

It all began as a traffic stop a block away from home for a couple of siblings and a brother-in-law. The family of the young woman explained to FOX40 they were just coming back from a quick Sunday evening errand.

"Went to go to the store to pick up some sour cream and some cheese for our tacos," said Monaisha Thomas.

They say the officer who approached the car appeared irritated from the start.

Responding to the call, Deshaunna Payne and her daughter, Cherish Thomas, pulled up in a second car. Body cam footage from one officer show Payne and Thomas yelling at officers, demanding to know why some of the first car’s occupants had been arrested. They later go back into their cars briefly, emerging with their cell phones out to record the interaction.

"Like he came to do something and he wanted it done, so he's gonna get it done," Thomas told FOX40. "I felt like he was hoping that we weren't complying."

An internal investigation will be conducted into the incident, according to the news release, which the department says is standard procedure in a use-of-force incident.

THE WORD | The Obamas Announces New Projects With Netflix

Former President Barack Obama and the former first lady Michelle Obama have a multiyear production deal with Netflix to produce shows and films. The annoucement of what specific content was recently announced 11 months after signing the deal with Netflix.

 “Touching on issues of race and class, democracy and civil rights and much more, we believe each of these productions won’t just entertain, but will educate, connect and inspire us all,” Mr. Obama said in a statement.

Here’s an early look at the shows and films the Obamas are planning (Source: NY TIMES)

 

“American Factory,” a documentary that examines life in Ohio where a Chinese billionaire opened a factory in a former General Motors plant and hired 2,000 people. Higher Ground Productions described the film, produced by Participant Media and directed by Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert, as “early days of hope and optimism give way to setbacks as high-tech China clashes with working-class America.” The documentary was already shown at the Sundance Film Festival, and Higher Ground Productions said it would be its first release.

“Bloom,” a drama series set in post-World War II New York that will explore the “barriers faced by women and by people of color in an era marked by hurdles but also tremendous progress.” It will be produced by Callie Khouri, who wrote “Thelma & Louise.”

 ■A film adaptation of“Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom,”the Pulitzer Prize-winning biography by David W. Blight. Higher Ground did not announce a screenwriter or any producers.

An adaptation of aNew York Times series, called “Overlooked,” about people whose deaths were previously not reported by the newspaper. The obituaries have been published in a recurring feature in the paper. Higher Ground Productions said it would be a scripted anthology series.

A series based on “The Fifth Risk: Undoing Democracy,” a book by Michael Lewis.

“Crip Camp,” a documentary film about the origins of the disability rights movement.

“Listen to Your Vegetables & Eat Your Parents,”a half-hour series for preschoolers that will “take young children and their families around the globe on an adventure that tells us the story of our food.”

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THE WORD | Louis Farrakhan banned from Facebook

Facebook has banned the longtime leader of the Chicago-based Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan — as well as right-wing figures Alex Jones, Paul Nehlen, Paul Joseph Watson, Laura Loomer and Milo Yiannopolous. This action is a result of the tech giant’s efforts to rid its websites of hate speech and “dangerous” people and organizations.

Accounts were removed from both Facebook and Instagram for violations of Facebook’s policies, the website said in a statement. The Nation of Islam’s Facebook page, however, was still accessible Thursday night and does not appear to have been banned.

Facebook says it has “always banned” people or groups that proclaim a violent or hateful mission or are engaged in acts of hate or violence, regardless of political ideology.

Farrakhan’s official Facebook and Instagram pages had more than 1 million “likes” and followers before they were removed Thursday afternoon. His Twitter account, with more than 336,000 followers, remains active.

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THE WORD | Man who pleaded guilty to raping 14-year-old girl gets no jail time

Back in February, 25-year-old Shane Piche pleaded guilty to raping a 14-year-old girl he met while driving her school bus. He will spend the next 10 years on probation.

In a statement to WWNY-TV, the victim’s mother said, “I wish Shane Piche would have received time in jail for the harm he caused to my child. He took something from my daughter she will never get back and has caused her to struggle with depression and anxiety.”

Piche will also have to register as a Level 1 sex offender, meaning he’s considered to be at minimal risk of committing the crime again.He will not, however, spend any time in prison. The Watertown Daily Times reported his status as a Level 1 offender means he will not be included in online sex offender databases,.

Prosecutors had hoped Piche would receive a Level 2 designation, but Judge James P. McClusky said the lesser level was more appropriate since there was only one victim and Piche had no prior arrests.

“He’ll be a felon for the rest of his life. He’s on the sex offender registry for a long time, maybe not the rest of his life because of the level. But this isn’t something that didn’t cause him pain and this isn’t something that didn’t have consequences,” Piche’s defense attorney Eric Swartz told WWNY-TV.

Piche is no longer allowed to be alone with anyone younger than 17.

THE WORD | JAY Z BSides 2 FreeStyle Criticism, Gentrification In Black Neighborhoods

JAY Z headlined a concert a New York's famed Webster Hall this weekend to reopen the beloved venue in style. His BSides 2 concert was featured a full band, the 4:44 artist wore a tux as he serenaded the crowd with some of his deeper cuts from his albums. He shared the stage with artist such as NAS, Camron, JimJones .

"Gentrify your own hood before these people do it/ Claim eminent domain and have your people move in/ That’s a small glimpse into what Nipsey was doing/ For anybody still confused as to what he was doing.” Jay-Z

Paying homage to Nipsey Hussle who invested in the neighborhood he grew up in, JAY Z's use of the words "gentrify" seemed to rub a lot of people the wrong way. However, not everybody took issue with Mr. Carter's freestyle and blasted those who lacked the nuance and dexterity to grasp the meaning behind the message.


THE WORD | Elizabeth Warren Proposes Wiping Out Almost Everyone’s Student Debt

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) just released a wide-ranging plan to fix the U.S. college system, with proposals including making two-year and four-year public college free and expanding the size and scope of the federal Pell Grant program. And one particularly radical idea is sure to grab the attention of young people around the country: wiping out student loan debt for the vast majority of American borrowers. “The time for half-measures is over,” Warren, one of many politicians and public figures hoping to secure the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, wrote in a post published Monday on Medium.

“My broad cancellation plan is a real solution to our student debt crisis. It helps millions of families and removes a weight that’s holding back our economy.” Last year, outstanding student debt in the U.S. topped $1.5 trillion, a growing financial burden that Warren argues is “crushing millions of families and acting as an anchor on our economy.” “It’s reducing home ownership rates,” she wrote. “It’s leading fewer people to start businesses. It’s forcing students to drop out of school before getting a degree. It’s a problem for all of us.”

To address the problem, Warren is suggesting what she calls a “truly transformational” approach: wiping out $50,000 in student loan debt for anyone with a household income below $100,000. People with student loans and a household income between $100,000 and $250,000 would receive substantial relief as well. At that point, “the $50,000 cancellation amount phases out by $1 for every $3 in income above $100,000,” Warren wrote. Under Warren’s proposed plan, up to 76 percent of households with student loan debt would receive “total loan forgiveness,” according to an economic analysis of the proposal by academics at Arizona State University, Brandeis University and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Ninety-five percent, or 42 million Americans, would be eligible to have at least some of their debt canceled.

THE WORD | Fox News Reporter, Laura Ingraham Mocks Nipsey Hussel

News reporter Laura Ingraham is in hot water after she and a colleague discussed Nipsey Hussle the day after his funeral on her show. Check out the video below and see why celebrities and fans are asking for Ingraham to be fired. And check out The Game’s caption too.

During the video Laura Ingraham is seen laughing while talking of the slain rapper and this has upset millions. Fans and celebs took to social media to show their annoyance with the talk show host.

THE WORD | Kerry Lathan Speaks Out! Man Injured And Arrested During Nipsey Hussle Shooting

Kerry Lathan; the man who was shot with Nipsey Hussel, explain’s his current situation on Big U’s Instagram live. After Nipsey’s murder and Lathan being hospitalize he was arrested for violating his parole. The arrest was made for being around a known gang member, who they say is Nipsey Hussle. Nipsey Hussle and Lathan are allegedly members of the LA Crip gang.

Nipsey Hussle was meeting with Kerry Lathan to give him clothes and money as he just came home from doing 25 years in prison for murder. He is unfortunately in a wheelchair behind the shooting, and supposedly facing 10 years for being around Nipsey. Below is an interview he did with Vlad TV and Big U.

THE WORD | NIPSEY HUSSLE TAKES HIS VICTORY LAP, MEMORIAL RECAP

Thousands flocked to remember the life of Nipsey Hussle at a packed memorial service Thursday (April 11) that provided mourners with a deeper appreciation of Ermias Asghedom, the man behind the up-and-coming hip-hop persona. 

Hussle’s brother, Samiel Asghedom, talked about how Hussle would assemble parts to build his first computer, but became emotional about his brother leaving his “heart and soul” on the popular intersection of Crenshaw and Slauson Avenue.

“Bro, you made the world proud,” he said.

Hussle recently purchased the strip mall where The Marathon is located and planned to redevelop it, part of Hussle’s broader ambitions to remake the neighborhood where he grew up and attempt to break the cycle of gang life that lured him in when he was younger. His family and friends vowed to continue his work, and London told the crowd: “The marathon continues!”

THE WORD | ILLINOIS GOVERNOR HOPES TO LEGALIZE WEED, VERY SOON

It won’t be long before Illinois residents are able to smoke it legally, if governor J.B. Pritzker gets his way.

J.B. Pritzker hopes to get a recreational marijuana bill passed before the end of the spring legislative session as part of an ambitious first year plan.

“I think the bill that will get introduced and passed is going to be a very, very, strong good bill,” he said Thursday.

That leaves only about seven weeks for Pritzker to reach his benchmarks when it comes to legal pot and his No. 1 priority, a graduated income tax.

J.B. Pritzker campaigned on a promise to legalize adult use of cannabis in the state. And the Democrat, who said he wasn’t always on board with legalization, said he has tried marijuana.

“I have tried marijuana, you know, in the past,” the governor said. “It’s been a long time.”

He said some of his earliest concerns about legalization stemmed from worries about teen use of cannabis.

“I have teenagers, and I was very concerned, just not knowing. I asked a lot of questions about how does this affect teen use,” Gov. Pritzker said. “And in Washington state — where that was the governor’s big concern there too — they did a very good job of showing there was no increase in teen use.”

As for the concerns of police associations across the state over how law enforcement will be able to determine whether a driver is impaired, he acknowledged there’s no current technology to measure impairment when it comes to cannabis.

“Necessity is the mother of invention, and it’s now clear that with 11 states already with legalized adult use cannabis, there are entrepreneurs out there that recognize that every police department is going to want something,” Pritzker said. 

 “This happened in medical cannabis. You start out and then you figure out this isn’t working out quite as well and you make tweaks along the way,” Pritzker said. “With legislation, nothing is perfect and so yes, along the way, it’ll improve.”

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THE WORD | Chicago cops demand Kim Foxx’s resignation over Jussie Smollett case

Chicago’s police union is demanding the resignation of Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx after her office’s decision to drop all charges against alleged hate-crime hoaxer Jussie Smollett.

The Chicago Fraternal Order of Police and a group of suburban police chiefs on Thursday announced a “no confidence” vote against Foxx due to her office’s handling of Smollett and other felony cases, according to ABC 7 Chicago.

 Michelle Obama‘s former top aide was in contact with the prosecutor in Jussie Smollett’s case, weeks before a grand juryindictedtheEmpireactor on16 countsof disorderly conduct for allegedly making false reports on Feb. 20.

Tina Tchen, who worked as Obama’s chief of staff and now leads the Southern Poverty Law Center, texted with Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx amid the investigation. The communication between Foxx and Tchen, who describes herself as a “family friend” of the Smolletts, raised questions after Foxx’s office dropped all felony charges against Smollett.

Since then, the city has gone after Smollett,demanding he repayChicago $130,106 — the cost of the police overtime hours expended in the investigation into his allegations. The actor missed a city-imposed Thursday deadline to pay or face further legal action.

Smollett’s attorney Mark Geragos balked at the city’s demands in a letter dated Thursday and obtained by the Tribune. Los Angeles-based Geragos wrote that Smollett “will not be intimidated into paying the demanded sum.”

THE WORD | Nipsey Hussle murder suspect pleads not guilty, defended by former O.J. Simpson prosecutor

The suspect charged with the murder of Grammy-nominated rapper Nipsey Hussle has pleaded not guilty. Eric Holder, 29, was charged with one count of murder, two counts of attempted murder and one count of possession of a firearm by a felon in connection with the shooting. Holder's attorney, Christopher Darden, entered a not guilty plea on his behalf at his arraignment on Thursday. Holder is being held on $5 million bail. He faces up to life in prison, if convicted as charged.

 

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THE WORD | Lori Lightfoot is Chicago’s First Black Female Mayor

April 2, 2019 Lori Lightfoot becomes Chicago’s first Black Female Mayor. Lightfoot becomes just the second woman elected mayor, following Jane Byrne, who served one term from 1979 to 1983. She also is the first person elected Chicago mayor not born in the city since Anton Cermak took office in 1931. Chicago also becomes the largest U.S. city ever to elect an openly gay mayor.

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THE WORD | Nipsey Hussle Fatally Shot in Los Angeles (Updated)

Updated 4/2/2019 There has been an update in the investigation of Nipsey Hussle ‘s murder. The police have identified the suspect Eric Holder and want the help of the community to get him into custody. It is being reported that the two got into an argument and the suspect came back and shot at Nipsey and two others.

There was also a candle light vigil held in his honor last night and a disturbance caused a panic and a stampede to occur. 19 people were injured and 1 person was critically wounded after being hit by a car.

Original Story 4/1/19 Nipsey Hussle was fatally shot today outside of his Marathon clothing store in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, NBC News reports. Hussle was standing outside of his store with a crowd of people when an unknown person opened fire, killing Hussle and wounding two others. Police say that they are looking for a black male in his 20s and that the shooting appears to be gang-related. The Victory Lap rapper was 33 years old.  He's survived by his two children and London, with whom he just had a child with in 2016.

Hussle's reach extended well beyond his own neighborhood. In the wake of Hussle's passing, it became clear how many corners of the rap community he had touched. Hiphop took social media to show him love.

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THE WORD | All of Jussie Smollett's charges have been dropped

A grand jury indicted Jussie Smollett on 16 counts of disorderly conduct in February. Cook County prosecutors on March 26, 2019, dropped all charges against Smollett on disorderly conduct charges. The 36-year-old actor vehemently denied lying to police and faking a homophobic attack in the Streeterville neighborhood on Jan. 29, 2019.

While prosecutors claimed to have overwhelming evidence, the deal did not require Smollett to admit he did anything wrong. What’s more, Smollett’s lawyers have vehemently disputed there was an agreement at all, and now the entire court file has been sealed at the defense’s request.

The unanswered questions surrounding the development left many wondering what might have happened behind the scenes. It also appeared to have caught Chicago police brass by surprise and brought swift condemnation from Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who called it a “whitewash of justice.”

“From top to bottom, this is not on the level,” Emanuel told reporters at an afternoon news conference, emphasizing repeatedly that a grand jury had chosen to bring 16 counts of disorderly conduct against Smollett. “Where’s the accountability in the system?”

THE WORD | Passengers Airlifted From Cruise Ship Stranded in Norway

Via Complex:

On Saturday, a luxury outing turned into a terrifying ordeal after passengers had to be rescued by helicopter from a malfunctioningcruise ship.

According to reports, the Viking Sky cruise ship lost power to its engines due to inclement weather. The vessel, as well as its more than 1,300 passengers and crew members, were stranded off Norway's Western Hustadvika coast. Although the crew was reportedly able to revive one of the ship's four motors, the captain decided to send a mayday alert to authorities and anchor the ship about 1.2 miles from the shore.

Due to the high waves and strong wind, search and rescue teams decided that the best way to evacuate the passengers is to use a helicopter to grab them one-by-one from the ship. Once close to 15-20 people were aboard the aircraft, it would fly them to safety. As of 8 PM local time, 139 people had been taken from the stranded ship to shore.