*(Via Black Press USA) – Parents, students and advocates for strong neighborhood schools continue to pressure civic leaders to end the expansion of charter and contract schools in Black and Latino communities across the nation.
Jitu Brown, the national director of Journey for Justice Alliance, a coalition of community, youth and parent-led grassroots organizations in 21 cities, said that the fight for public education – which suffers with the expansion of charter and contract schools –is a human and a civil rights issue.
As voices from the community were increasingly drowned out by philanthropic groups seeking wholesale educational reform, the state takeover of schools, corporate charters and appointed school boards have become the status quo, Brown said.
According to Education Week, a magazine published by Editorial Projects in Education, a nonprofit that produces K-12 educational content in print and online, more than 60 percent of philanthropic donations funneled into education young people in the United States went to charter and contract schools in 2010. Less than 25 percent of funding went to those programs about 15 years ago.
Kenny ‘The Jet’ Smith, TV analyst and former NBA star, joined Coors Light to make a $15,000 donation to the Metroboard of Chicago Urban League. The donation is part of the Coors Light Full Court reFRESH program, now in its second year, which restores community basketball courts in need across the country. Local basketball courts in Chicago, Joliet and Kankakee will benefit from the program this year. (Photo courtesy of John L. Alexander Photography)
*Last week, TNT basketball commentator/analyst and former NBA star player, Kenny “The Jet” Smith, visited both Chicago and Milwaukee along with Coors Light to make donations totaling $31,000 to The Urban League affiliates in each city to refresh local basketball courts.
Among the courts being refreshed are Washington Park in Milwaukee and the court at 39th Street Beach in Chicago. Local courts in Joliet and Kankakee will also benefit from the Chicago donation.
The program launched in 2014 benefiting four cities, this year, more cities will receive funding to refresh local community courts in need. Thus far, the program has visited Memphis, Charlotte, Indianapolis, Chicago and Milwaukee with more cities scheduled.
Above and below are snaps from the Chicago and Milwaukee events. For more information, please visit www.fullcourtrefresh.com.
Kenny ‘The Jet’ Smith, TV analyst and former NBA star, joined Coors Light to make a $16,000 donation to the Milwaukee Urban League Young Professionals. The donation is part of the Coors Light Full Court reFRESH program, now in its second year, which restores community basketball courts in need across the country. The local court at Washington Park in Milwaukee will benefit from the program this year. (Photo courtesy of Yvonne Kemp)
Lexus Verses and Flow artists pose with the 2016 Lexus RC-F. From left to right Belissa Escobedo, Rhiannon McGavin, Minh Nguyen, Zariya Allen, and Rob Gibsun
*Spoken word poetry is a phenomenon in the African American community that is surging in popularity, and the TV One show “Lexus Verses and Flow” is a prime example of the power of poetry and the spoken word.
Poetry is defined by Dictionary.com as the art of rhythmical composition, written or spoken, for exciting pleasure by beautiful, imaginative, or elevated thoughts. Going into its fifth season, “Lexus Verses and Flow” features some of the nation top spoken word artists that deliver beautiful, creatively composed words that open the listener to the poet’s lives and experiences in a way other forms of expression cannot.
Although broadcast on TV One, an African American owned television station/network, the poets featured on the show come from all races and from all over America.
“My poem was inspired by Amari Baraka’s ‘Somebody Blew Up America,’” said poet Rob Gibsun, who also performed during Season 4. “[My experience was] vivid, bold…I’m very grateful.”
On ‘Lexus Verses and Flow’ the poets are punctuated by popular music performers. Among the artists featured are Charlie Wilson and Avery Sunshine who both performed on the first episode taped for season 5 at Siren Studios in Los Angeles, California. Melanie Fiona, Raekwon the Chef, Jazmine Sullivan, Chrisette Michelle, Leela James, Jussie Smollett and Sevyn Streeter are some additional artist that will be featured during season 5.
Avery Sunshine, who is a newcomer in the industry, having just launched her sophomore album “The SunRoom” (2014, Shanachie), hopes that the exposure that she receives from performing on the show will garner her additional fan and create a larger buzz around her music.
“Hopefully some folks, who have never heard of me, will know who I am,” said Sunshine, “This is absolutely one of the most exciting things that I have ever done. I am honored and excited to be here. Hopefully we are going to ‘Jam on the One.”
Hosting the event is actor Laz Alonso, who is better known for his role in ‘The Mysteries of Laura.’ Alonso brings his smooth style and masculine sex appeal into play as he announces each act and conducts a semi-interview that is reminiscent of the late Don Cornelius.
*Los Angeles, CA – For the second consecutive year, African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement (AFFRM) will unite 40+ black feature filmmakers to interact with film lovers and raise awareness for AFFRM’s 2015 Rebel membership drive. Utilizing the #ARRAY hashtag, filmmakers will tweet in a 12-hour long conversation to further and foster varied voices and visions in cinema.
This unprecedented online gathering of filmmakers of color on Twitter will be hosted by AFFRM Founder and filmmaker Ava DuVernay (SELMA):
Anthony Hemingway (RED TAILS) Ayoka Chenzira (ALMA’S RAINBOW)
Barry Jenkins (MEDICINE FOR MELANCHOLY)
Charles Murray (THINGS NEVER SAID) Christine Swanson (ALL ABOUT US) Dawn Porter (GIDEON’S ARMY)
Debbie Allen (STOMPIN’ AT THE SAVOY)
DeMane Davis (LIFT)
Euzhan Palcy (DRY WHITE SEASON) George Tillman, Jr. (SOUL FOOD)
Gina Prince-Bythewood (BEYOND THE LIGHTS) Haile Gerima (SANKOFA)
John Singleton (BOYZ N THE HOOD) Julie Dash (DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST)
Justin Simien (DEAR WHITE PEOPLE) Kasi Lemmons (EVE’S BAYOU)
Kent Faulcon (SISTER’S KEEPER) Marta Cunningham (VALENTINE ROAD) Malcolm D. Lee (THE BEST MAN) Matthew Cherry (THE LAST FALL) Nailah Jefferson (VANISHING PEARLS)
Neema Barnette (WOMEN THOU ART LOOSED) Patrik-Ian Polk (PUNKS)
Pete Chatmon (PREMIUM)
Rashaad Ernesto Green (GUN HILL ROAD) Reggie Bythewood (BIKER BOYZ)
Rick Famuyiwa (DOPE)
Roger Ross Williams (GOD LOVES UGANDA) Russ Parr (35 AND TICKING)
Ryan Coogler (FRUITVALE STATION) Salim Akil (SPARKLE)
Shaka King (NEWLYWEEDS) Sheldon Candis (LUV)
Storm Saulter (BETTER MUS’ COME) Tanya Hamilton (NIGHT CATCHES US)
Terrence Nance (OVERSIMPLIFICATION/BEAUTY) Tim Story (FANTASTIC FOUR)
Tina Mabry (MISSISSIPPI DAMNED) Tyler Perry (FOR COLORED GIRLS)
Victoria Mahoney (YELLING TO THE SKY)
Since 2011, AFFRM’s Array Releasing has distributed eight feature films by underrepresented filmmakers in theaters and on digital platforms. The membership drive to help sustain those efforts began May 4 and will continue through June 5th. The announcement was made by AFFRM Founder Ava DuVernay.
ABOUT AFFRM +ARRAY
Founded by filmmaker Ava DuVernay in 2011, AFFRM is a distribution collective of minority arts organizations dedicated to diverse independent films. AFFRM’s Array Releasing has distributed 8 films to date including: Official Slamdance Selections VANISHING PEARLS and BIG WORDS, BETTER MUS’ COME, 2012 Sundance Best Director Award Winner MIDDLE OF NOWHERE; 2011 Sundance World Cinema Audience Award Winner KINYARWANDA, 2011 Sundance Film Festival Official Selection RESTLESS CITY, 25 TO LIFE and 2011 NAACP Image Award nominee for Best Independent Picture, I WILL FOLLOW. AFFRM’s founding organizations include Urbanworld (NYC), Imagenation (NYC), Reelblack (Philadelphia), Langston Hughes Film Festival (Seattle), BronzeLens Film Festival (Atlanta) and DVA (Los Angeles).
*Norco, CA — In a California first, Myron Mixon, Moe Cason, Harry Soo, Neil Strawder and just added Sterling Ball, five of America’s top celebrity chefs featured on the television show, BBQ Pitmasters, will appear at the Horse Town Brew n’ Que Festival, May 29-31, 2015 in Norco.
This marks the first appearance at a California barbeque competition for Mixon and Cason. Cason, Soo and Strawder are amongst 80 teams from California, Arizona and Nevada vying for over $10,000 in cash and prizes and most importantly, bragging rights.
The event is sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) and the California Barbeque Association (CBBQA). Mixon will kick off the three day event at a VIP reception where he will offer his experiences, insight and Georgia quips.
The festival hosts craft beer tastings from the area’s most prized brewers, live entertainment, classes, demonstrations and special activities. Both beer and barbeque will be available to sample and attendees may cast a vote for their favorite craft beer or barbecue to determine the people’s choice awards. A rare California Certified BBQ Judging (CBJ) class and an onsite Brew 101 class are also scheduled.
Myron Mixon has not attended a California barbeque cook-off and looks forward to the event.
“I’ve never done a contest in California,” Mixon explains. “I’ve always wanted to, but I’ve had schedule issues…”
This marks Mixon first appearance and competition in California! Mixon is widely recognized as the sport’s most successful and charismatic man and is known as the winningest man in barbeque.
Moe Cason, a multiple grand and reserve barbecue champion, has competed and won in 35 states. He has appeared as a judge and contestant on BBQ Pitmasters, and has been featured in the hit television series BBQ Pit Wars. His infectious smile and skill on the grill make him popular throughout the barbeque and food communities.
“I am really looking forward to this. I used to live out there years ago but I have never competed in a KCBS event in California,” notes Cason.
Neil Strawder is a season 2 BBQ Pitmasters alumni. His restaurant, Bigmista’s Barbeque & Sammich Shop, is a popular Southern California eatery and Neil is featured in a national Arby’s television commercial campaign. Strawder is happy to be part of the BBQ Pitmasters experience and welcomes the challenge of the match ups.
“I am ready and looking forward to coming to Norco,” he nods. “Pitmasters is an exclusive club. It is fun to talk a little trash and beat down on them.”
Harry Soo, became a barbeque legend after appearing on season one of BBQ Pitmasters. In the season finale, Soo stunned the nation by defeating all the teams including two BBQ World Champions. Soo’s Barbeque Cooking school is one of the most respected and recognized in the industry. His blogs are followed by thousands and he is an accessible resource for all things barbeque.
“It will be nice to see old friends,” said Soo . “I love to cook against the top talent in America.”
Sterling Ball is considered one of the most influential people in competitive BBQ. His team, Big Poppa’s Smokers has won the prestigious American Royal Invitational along with scores of other awards and accolades. In 2012, Ball launched the King of the Smoker, one of barbeque’s most innovative and influential contests. His product line of rubs, sauces and smokers are considered some of the best in the industry.
“We are very excited to welcome this elite group of competitors”, notes Derrick Turner, an event coordinator. “They bring a lot of energy to the event and a camaraderie and competitive spirit that make barbeque competition exciting,” Turner adds.
California’s Twisted Brisket, Burnin’ and Lootin’, Simply Marvelous and Arizona’s Loot n’ Booty are among a field of 80 teams who will converge on the small equestrian community located in Riverside County, wedged between Orange and San Bernardino counties.
Blues stylist, the 60 Grit Blues Band; toe stomping Blue Henrys; country artists Tessie and the Calico Cats; brass band, Tuba Force and crowd favorites, the Muddy Hooker Kings add to the festival flavor. Special guest Redbone, best known for their hit, “Come and Get your Love,” will join the Blue Henry’s on stage.
Festival Hours: Friday, May 29, 6:30 pm “Meat and Greet” Reception with Myron Mixon; Saturday, May 30, 12:00 pm – 7:00 pm: BBQ Competition, Sunday. May 31, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm, Certified Table Captains and BBQ Judging Class and Brew 101 Class.
Tickets are now on sale and priced as follows: Pre sale tickets- General admission tickets, $10.00. Sampler tickets, $25.00 per day (includes 10 beer or BBQ taste tickets). A limited number of VIP Kick off reception seats are available. Children 12 and under are free. For more information visit http://bit.ly/BrewNQueFestival or call (951) 444-1280.
About The Organizer: The DEC Group and Service Through Action are organizations that have been at the forefront of social change. They courageously take an innovative stance on issues such as education, leadership development and healthy environments. Through creative arts, community service, education and advocacy, they improve the quality of life for youth, their families and the community.
WHAT: Horse Town Brew N’ Que Festival WHERE: George Ingalls Equestrian Event Center
3737 Crestview Dr, Norco, CA 92860 WHEN: Fri/Sat/Sun May 29-31, 2015
TICKETS TO ATTEND:
Meat and Greet w Myron Mixon/Big Moe Cason VIP Kick-off Reception $50
Beer Sampler Package incl Gen Adm – $25 (Incl 10 sample beer tickets, Must be 21 to purchase)
BBQ Sampler Package incl Gen Adm – $25 (includes 20 BBQ scripts)
Gen Adm – $10 / Premier Parking – $10
Click here for tickets: http://bit.ly/BrewNQueFestTickets
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