*Although he says much of a recent New York Times story featuring him was accurate, Michael Sam’s father is upset with the publication for misquoting him and taking some of his comments out of context.
Raw Story reports that the elder Sam is now saying he was “terribly misquoted” by the Times. The comments in question revolve around a quote about NFL Hall of Fame defensive lineman Deacon Jones “turning over in his grave.”
*How did former New York Times writer Jayson Blair get away with such blatant plagiarism for so long? Why did someone who worked so hard to become a journalist just throw it all away so willingly? Did his race make it harder for other African Americans to secure positions at major newspapers in his wake?
These answers and more are revealed in the upcoming PBS documentary, “A Fragile Trust,” the story of Jayson Blair’s rise and fall at the New York Times. Filmmaker Samantha Grant traces his journey before and after he was caught red-handed copying the work of other reporters and padding his own stories with made-up details in numerous articles he wrote for the Times.
Grant is the first to get the reclusive Blair to actually talk about his story on camera.
*Kanye West gave a rare interview to the New York Times in which he talks about a variety of topics to promote his new album “Yeezus,” due June 18.
In the article, titled “Behind Kanye’s Mask,” he opens up on parenthood (he would “do anything to protect my child or my child’s mother),” he disses the Grammys, and he defines himself as “a black new wave artist.”
He also says he has no regrets – not even for the Taylor Swift “interruption” at the MTV Video Music Awards; though he does admit he has “faltered.” There’s an acknowledgement, “I have, as a human being, fallen to peer pressure.”
Early on in the article, West recalls his youthful hoops days. And how his failure to make a team spurred him on to bigger stages. He used a basketball metaphor later in the article. “You know,” he says, “if Michael Jordan can scream at the refs, me as Kanye West, as the Michael Jordan of music, can go and say, ‘This is wrong’.”
Daft Punk are tipped to appear on “Yeezus,” alongside Chief Keef and Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon. The album’s first public spin happened Monday night at New York’s Milk Studios.
In the NY Times feature, West gives his own verdict on his sixth album. “There’s no opera sounds on this new album, you know what I mean? It’s just like, super low-bit. I’m still, like, slightly a snob, but I completely removed my snob heaven songs; I just removed them altogether.”
West presents himself as an artist who clearly feels unbeatable. And he makes everyone acutely aware of this. “I will be the leader of a company that ends up being worth billions of dollars, because I got the answers. I understand culture. I am the nucleus.”
Tom Nix as shown on the cover of NIXLAND. Photo by Justin Stephens for The New York Times
*Got preconceived notions about the local checker?
Now thanks to a new book, readers can now gain insight on how one man did things differently and changed the game when it came to providing financial services to under served communities.
Business Ghost books proudly releases NIXLAND, by Tom Nix, founder of Nix Check Cashing (the largest check cashing chain in Southern California), but you don’t have to be a California to profit greatly from the inspirational stories that Nix shares from his forty two years in business. NIXLAND demystifies how the check cashing business began for him and his family.
Tom’s father started the Thomas Nix Bakery Distributor in 1966 in South Los Angeles and sold Helms bakery items (formerly Golden Krust) to independent truck drivers who distributed the product. When home service food delivery phased out because more housewives were now in the workforce, families were getting accustomed to buying at local supermarkets, so the Nix family expanded their bread business into a corner grocery market with more items for convenience. As time went on their customers needed to either pay for their food with personal checks or cash their employment checks, and that’s how it all began for Nix Check Cashing. For a time this was a free service until the need grew so great that they had for formalize a method of identifying customers, as well as safe guard against those who fraudulently used the system. Eventually the Nix’s transitioned out of the mini-mart business in the full service check cashing business.
One of the innovations that Tom Nix instituted is the tamper resistant photo ID card for those without other forms of ID. Incidentally this led to Thomas Nix Distributor Security Products Division, which also led to Nix becoming a Polaroid authorized Instant Service Company, and this was used when all major shopping malls began offering an instant photo with Santa. Who knew that this was linked to the local check casher? By 1978 Tom Nix and his dad opened the first Nix Check Cashing store in a converted gas station at Figueroa and Imperial in Los Angeles. The demand continued to grow and in less than a year they were cashing a million dollars per week in checks. The base of their customers were hard working lower income people who preferred the convenience of instant access to their cash without the fees and restrictions of a bank.
Nix was providing a much needed service and not a mere financial predator seeking to take advantage of the under served. Nix and his ethical business practices were chronicled in the New York Times in 2008. This new book proves that this is the farthest thing from the truth, and Tom Nix tells it all in NIXLAND. Check cashing fees started at just 10 cents, then advanced to 35 cents and then escalated to a mere 1% cap on most checks up to a certain amount. Nix also created a point of sale computer system, and would later fight for legislation to set reasonable price structures that were prominently placed in the lobby of their stores for the protection of their customers and others who relied upon the check cashing industry. Over the years Tom Nix built a solid team of dedicated staff members who grew and prospered along with the company.
Hear their stories, and enjoy each phase of joy, pain and profitability in NIXLAND. To order NIXLAND, visit www.nixland.net
*Alicia Keys is NOT changing her plans to play in Tel Aviv on July 4, despite protests from author Alice Walker and other notables such as musician Roger Waters that she not do it because of Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians.
In a letter posted at the website of a group called the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel, Waters (from the rock band Pink Floyd) asked Keys “to join the rising tide of resistance.”
Waters’ letter said: “Please, Alicia, do not lend your name to give legitimacy to the Israeli government policies of illegal, apartheid, occupation of the homelands of the indigenous people of Palestine.”
Also, as we reported, Walker, author of “The Color Purple,” wrote in her own open letter that, though she and Ms. Keys had never met, “I believe we are mutually respectful of each other’s path and work.” Ms. Walker continued: “It would grieve me to know you are putting yourself in danger (soul danger) by performing in an apartheid country that is being boycotted by many global conscious artists.”
Bottom Line: In a statement to the New York Times, Alicia Keys says she’s still going:
“I look forward to my first visit to Israel. Music is a universal language that is meant to unify audiences in peace and love, and that is the spirit of our show.”
*PBS will air the latest Ken Burns documentary “Central Park Five” on April 16, to be followed the next day with an online discussion featuring the filmmakers and all five of the exonerated men, streamed live by The New York Times.
The film tells the story of the five black and Latino teenagers from Harlem who were wrongly convicted of raping a white woman in New York City’s Central Park in 1989. Directed and produced by Burns, David McMahon and Sarah Burns, the film chronicles the Central Park Jogger case, for the first time from the perspective of the five teenagers whose lives were turned upside down.
“Back in 1989, we was 14, 15, 16 years old and our voices were stolen from us in the process,” said Raymond Santana, one of the Central Park Five, during TCA interviews for the film in January. “Throughout this whole 15, 20 year period, you never really heard from us. There was interviews that were done here and there, but nothing to this magnitude. And so this was the perfect opportunity for us to finally put our voices out there and for you the viewer to connect with us on a whole different level and for you to see us as human beings.”
Central Park Five defendants on trial in 1990
Santana was wrongly convicted along with co-defendants Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam and Korey Wise. The five confessed to the rape and beating of Trisha Meili following many hours of harsh interrogation by veteran homicide detectives. The police announced that the young men had been part of a gang of teenagers who were out “wilding,” assaulting joggers and bicyclists in Central Park that evening. The press, fomenting at the mouth for juicy crime stories, ate it up like candy and churned out stories that stirred the public’s call for justice. The teens were tried as adults and convicted of rape, despite inconsistent and inaccurate confessions, DNA evidence that excluded them, and no eyewitness accounts that connected any of them to the victim. The five served their complete sentences, between 6 and 13 years, before another man, serial rapist Matias Reyes, admitted to the crime in 2002, and DNA testing supported his confession.
A year later, the men filed civil lawsuits against the City of New York, and the police officers and prosecutors who had worked toward their conviction. That lawsuit remains unresolved.
The Central Park Five today
On April 17, from 6:30 – 8:00 pm ET, viewers of “The Central Park Five” will have an opportunity to continue the conversation with “Justice and The Central Park Five,” a live TimesTalks discussion hosted by The New York Times. Participants will include Ken and Sarah Burns, Jim Dwyer, the New York Times columnist who covered the Central Park Jogger case and is featured in the film, and the five exonerated men.
Santana, now pushing 40, says being able to talk about his ordeal during these post-screening discussions has helped him to heal.
“After each one of these screenings, you know, there are people upset and people crying and they want to come up and they just want to talk to us and they want to apologize,” he told us. “And overall the response has been very healing. It’s been very therapeutic for the five of us, you know, when we do come out.”
Raymond Santana at “The Central Park Five” New York Special Screening at Dolby 88 Theater on October 2, 2012 in New York City.
The TimesTalks discussion will be streamed live online at nytimes.com/cityroom. You can also follow the conversation on Twitter using #cp5. The full film will be streamed online at http://video.pbs.org/ through May 1.
Below, Santana says he emerged from his experience resenting the media for its role in fanning the flames of their conviction, while remaining eerily silent when they were cleared.
Watch the trailer for PBS’ “Central Park Five” below.