Cicely Tyson Becomes First Black Woman To Receive Honorary Oscar

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Cicely Tyson is finally bringing home the gold.

The 93-year-old actress was named this week as the recipient of an honorary Oscar, making her the first black woman to gain that distinction, according to Essence and People.

Tyson has won a Tony, two Emmys and a Presidential Medal of Freedom, but an Academy Award had escaped the performer in a legendary career. She lost the only time she was nominated for best actress, in 1973 for the sharecropper drama “Sounder.”

But she has won plenty of acclaim elsewhere, such as for TV productions like “Roots” and “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.”

Some of her notable big-screen credits include “The River Niger,” “Fried Green Tomatoes,” “Diary of a Mad Black Woman,” “The Help,” “Alex Cross” and “Last Flag Flying.”

Tyson began as a model and stage actress and got her big feature-film break in 1968’s “The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter.”

Fifty years later, she is getting some overdue recognition by the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Continue onto the Huffington Post to read the complete article.

Kobe Bryant and nine other athletes have been supersmart investors

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“What comes next? What is my next passion?”

Those are the two questions retired NBA star and Academy Award winner Kobe Bryant claims athletes have to ask themselves.

The answer — for Bryant, 40, and many other retired sports stars — is investing.

In mid-August, the news that Bryant’s 2014 investment of $6 million in sports drink BodyArmor had morphed into $200 million after Cola-Cola purchased the company garnered lots of attention. In 2016, the five-time NBA champion partnered with Jeff Stibel, former CEO of Web.com, to form the venture capital fund Bryant Stibel. Other investments under Bryant Stibel include online education platform VIPKid and restaurant booking company Reserve.

Bryant’s return on investment is a boon to the ideology of athletes’ soaring interests in technology investments and beyond. But he’s not the only player who has taken the savvy approach to declaring his or her next passion.

More than 30 years ago, NBA Hall of Famer Earvin “Magic” Johnson, now the president of basketball operations for the Los Angeles Lakers, started Magic Johnson Enterprises and invested in technology staffing company Jopwell. For decades he has maintained ownership in movie theaters, Burger King, TGI Fridays and other franchises, teams and startups.

Miami Marlins CEO Derek Jeter invested in the video conference service Blue Jeans Network and the anti-bullying app StopIt. He also founded sports website The Players’ Tribune. NBA big man and Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal sat down with talk show host Ellen DeGeneres in June to discuss investing in Google. O’Neal has also invested in burger chain Five Guys, 24 Hour Fitness and Apple.

Here are nine superjocks who use their brainpower, access and finances to make their money work for them.

Serena Williams

The new mother and tennis champion took interest in the meal delivery service Daily Harvest. During a 2017 episode of talk series Kneading Dough, she also expressed to Maverick Carter some interest in investment properties.

“I have the weirdest one, it’s property,” Serena Williams said. “For me, investments are really important in terms of who are the other investors: What does their portfolio look like? Have they been successful? If they’re a new company, are they a good product? Is it something you believe in? I never do something if I don’t really believe in the product.”

Venus Williams

Venus Williams is an investor in Ellevest, a financial app that empowers women and provides tips on saving.

Kevin Durant

When the Golden State Warriors All-Star found himself leaving Oklahoma City for Silicon Valley, he’d already developed a portfolio that included stakes in delivery service PostmatesAcorns, an investment app geared to millennials; drone company Skydio; and scooter brand LimeBike. Kevin Durant usually prefers to make his investments at the early stages.

Maya Moore

Maya Moore’s desire to promote healthy eating habits encouraged her to become involved with the frozen-juice company Chloe’s Fruit and the plant-based protein meat substitute company Beyond Meat.

“I think from early on in my career, I wanted to be someone who promotes health and wellness and nutrition,” Moore told WCCO4 CBS Minnesota. “These two companies definitely fit all those things.”

Continue onto The Undefeated to read about the complete list of athletes.

John Legend is the youngest ever to achieve EGOT status

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John Legend has made history as the youngest person ever to achieve that sweet, sweet coveted EGOT status.

That’s someone who has received the big four, the holy grail of performance accolades: Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Awards.

Legend, 39, completed the acronym at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday, as did Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, all for producing best variety special winner Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert.

He’s also the first black man to land EGOT status, making history in more ways than one.

Legend also played the role of Jesus in NBC’s production of the 1970 concept album-turned-Broadway musical, so he’s also up for the Emmy for outstanding actor in a limited series or movie, which will be revealed at the big primetime Emmy Awards on Monday.

“Before tonight, only 12 people had won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony in competitive categories,” wrote Legend on Instagram.

“Sirs Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice and I joined that group when we won an Emmy for our production of their legendary show Jesus Christ Superstar. So happy to be part of this team. So honored they trusted me to play Jesus Christ. So amazed to be in such rarefied air.”

There are actually a total of 14 other EGOT recipients, including Audrey Hepburn, Scott Rudin, Mel Brooks. Two of these, Whoopi Goldberg and songwriter Robert Lopez, have won a daytime Emmy.

Continue onto Mashable to read the complete article.

Netflix creates new executive position focused on inclusion and diversity

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Netflix is creating a new executive position that will focus on inclusion and diversity among employees of the streaming entertainment giant.


Vernā Myers has been appointed to the newly created role of vice president for inclusion strategy, Netflix announced Wednesday. The company said Myers will help devise and implement strategies that integrate cultural diversity, inclusion and equity into all aspects of Netflix’s operations worldwide.

Prior to joining Netflix, Myers worked as a consultant at the Vernā Myers Co., where she advised corporations and organizations on issues including race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation.

Her appointment comes two months after Netflix fired its chief communications officer after he used a racial slur on at least two occasions in the workplace. Jonathan Friedland, who had served as Netflix’s top spokesperson for the past seven years, acknowledged that he had spoken in an “insensitive” way.

“Leaders have to be beyond reproach in the example we set and unfortunately I fell short of that standard when I was insensitive in speaking to my team about words that offend in comedy,” he wrote on Twitter in June.

Earlier this week, Los Gatos, Calif.-based Netflix named Rachel Whetstone — a veteran of Facebook, Uber and Google — to succeed Friedland as chief communications officer.

Diversity executives have become increasingly common at major corporations. Silicon Valley in particular has become the focus of media scrutiny for what some workers have described as a lack of gender and racial diversity at technology and internet companies.

Myers has previously consulted for Netflix, the company said. “Having worked closely with Vernā as a consultant on a range of organizational issues, we are thrilled that she has agreed to bring her talents to this new and important role,” said Jessica Neal, Netflix’s chief talent officer.

Continue onto the Los Angles Times to read the complete article.

Kevin Hart giving back by handing out scholarships to HBCU students

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His Help From the Hart Charity Fund is partnering with the UNCF to award $600,000

Last week, actor and comedian Kevin Hart saluted LeBron James on the opening of his I Promise school for at-risk youth in James’ hometown of Akron, Ohio. Now, we have a reason to salute Hart.

In a partnership involving the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), the Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) and Hart’s own Help From the Hart Charity Fund, 18 KIPP students will have an opportunity to earn a college degree.

Through this partnership, a $600,000 scholarship will be established to provide funding in order to support KIPP students from eight different cities who are attending 11 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

“The Help From The Hart Charity Scholarship will not only support students but will also demonstrate support for HBCUs,” said UNCF CEO and president Michael L. Lomax. “Research shows that HBCUs matter, and that HBCU students are having a positive college experience, but they also have an unmet financial need. Together, Kevin and KIPP have made an investment that will have a significant impact. We can’t thank them enough for their support.”

Continue onto The Undefeated to read the complete article.

NASA’s Katherine Johnson Honored With Statue, Scholarship On 100th Birthday

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Taraji P. Henson portrayed Johnson in 2016’s “Hidden Figures.”

West Virginia State University honored NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson’s 100th birthday with a statue and scholarship dedication over the weekend.

Hundreds of people ― including 75 of Johnson’s children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren ― attended the event honoring the woman who was portrayed by Taraji P. Henson in the 2016 film “Hidden Figures,” according to the West Virginia Gazette. The bronze statue of Johnson was unveiled Saturday, one day before she turned 100.

The scholarship in Johnson’s name was awarded to freshmen Jasiaha Daniels and Alexis Scudero, both of whom are studying in the science, technology, engineering and math fields.

“What makes Katherine so extraordinary is she not only prevailed while segregation failed, Dr. Johnson has continued to persevere and thrive with the gracious poise and clarity that defies mere words of explanation, let alone definition,” said Dr. Yvonne Cagle, the keynote speaker at the ceremony and the space and life sciences directorate at the Johnson Space Center.

Johnson started attending WSVU when she was 14 because she wasn’t able to receive further education in Greenbrier County. She graduated from the university in 1937 with degrees in both mathematics and French, then went on to pursue graduate studies at the institution.

Johnson was a teacher for 15 years, then joined the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics, which later became NASA. She and three other women calculated rocket trajectories and orbits for some of the earliest American voyages into space, including helping astronaut John Glenn orbit the Earth three times.

Continue onto the Huffington Post to read the complete article.

Serena Williams Tops Forbes’ Highest-Paid Female Athletes Of 2018

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The tennis superstar worked just four months out of the period Forbes tracked after taking time off to have her daughter, Olympia.Serena Williams is back on top — of the payroll.

Forbes Magazine released its annual list of highest-paid female athletes on Tuesday and Serena Williams took the top spot. Williams earned a whopping $18.1 million between June 2017 and June 2018, the magazine estimates.

If that wasn’t impressive enough, Forbes reported that the tennis star only earned $62,000 in winnings during the 12-month period because she took time off to give birth to her daughter, Olympia. The tennis champ took a 14-month break to have her daughter starting in January 2017, which means she only worked for four months of the 12-month period Forbes analyzed.

Williams, 36, earned the rest of her million-dollar pay day through endorsement deals with Nike, Intel, Gatorade and Beats, along with her new fashion collection Serena. This is the third straight year Williams (who sits on the board of advisers to Oath, HuffPost’s parent company) has topped Forbes’ list of highest-paid female athletes.

Tennis player Caroline Wozniacki came in second on the list with total earnings of $13 million, $7 million of which came from prize money and $6 million from endorsements. The rest of the top five highest-paid athletes are all tennis players, including Sloane Stephens ($11.2 million), Garbine Muguruza ($11 million) and Maria Sharapova ($10.5 million). Serena Williams’ sister Venus Williams came in sixth on the list, earning $10.2 million.

Continue onto the Huffington Post to read the complete article.

John David Washington Outran His Father’s Long Shadow With A Football In Hand

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The star of HBO’s ‘Ballers’ and Spike Lee’s ‘BlacKkKlansman,’ former Morehouse star running back and NFL player does things his way

John David Washington’s master plan was not football. Football was the escape. He fell in love with acting when he was 5 years old. He was watching his father pace as he was running through lines from Richard III for a Shakespeare in the Parkperformance. “When we were walking the streets,” said Washington, 34, “sometimes he would recite his lines. … I loved the language … loved those words.” And he loved the man who was bringing those words to life.

His father is celebrated actor Denzel Washington, and the elder Washington had collected his first Oscar win earlier that year for his performance as Pvt. Silas Trip in 1989’s Glory, the story of one of the first all-black military units of what became known as the U.S. Colored Troops of the Union Army — minus the officers, of course. “I knew then,” said Washington, “that I wanted to do it.” And in case you’re wondering? Washington still knows every line of Glory, his all-time favorite film.

Washington is the eldest of Denzel and Pauletta Washington’s four children. His parents met in 1977 while on the set of Denzel Washington’s first television role as Wilma Rudolph’s high school sweetheart in 1977’s Wilma. Pauletta Pearson portrayed champion sprinter Mae Faggs. The couple got married 35 years ago and are easily one of Hollywood’s most beloved pairings, well-known for their performances and for their outstanding humanitarian efforts.

“My mom was a tremendous artist as well before she got with my father,” said Washington, “and she [told] her stories … all the sacrifices she had to make. She used to sit down and just play piano. All the classical numbers … without even needing to read the score!”

But as much as he loved narratives, and music, Washington moved away from it. And instead of fine arts, he found football. Football was a move away from his famous lineage. No one would compare him to his father on the football field. Denzel Washington’s stint as a college athlete is rarely talked about — the Oscar-winning actor played two years for Fordham’s basketball team before deciding that he was a player and not, well, a player. But his son was a baller. At Morehouse. And good at it. And on the field, no one would be able to say he got there because of nepotism.

Plus, football was therapy. “I was able to express a lot of my frustrations,” he said. “My anxieties, my resentment [about] how I was treated or looked at, because of who I was related to. I hated the word nepotism. … I knew that if I did well on the field, they can’t say that my father did it. In a way, I just got into character, deep character, in football.”

He loved the sport. He did. But he loved what the sport gave him, more so than what he gave to it. “Because of my father’s ascension, and what was happening after Malcolm X, our life was changing. … People started treating us differently … and it could have gone a negative way … a whole other elitist brat way. I didn’t believe in that, because of my upbringing and my family. … They wouldn’t have that. ‘Where can I put this stuff?’ I put it in football,” he said. “And then I … started getting success on the field, and I saw how I was being treated. As an individual. And that I was like a drug. I needed hit after hit. I needed that validation of independence.”

Continue onto The Undefeated to read the complete article.

Simone Biles Is Still Making History, Is 1st Woman to Win 5 U.S. All-Around Championships

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It’s still Simone Biles season, and the American gymnast is still kicking ass and taking names, which culminated in yet another historic career achievement at this year’s United States Gymnastics Championships on Sunday.

The U.S. Olympic team declared that Biles is the first woman to ever win five U.S. Gymnastics all-around titles (h/t Bleacher Report.)

The 21-year-old has wowed crowds ever since taking the stage at the 2013 U.S. Gymnastics Championships. As Bleacher Report notes, she has walked out with the gold in the all-around in each of her five appearances at the competition and has won 16 gold medals across every discipline.

The only time Biles has shown a hint of slowing down was when she took 2017 off from competition. However, the gymnastics superstar started training once more last October, with her eyes set for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.

Continue onto The Root to read the complete article.

Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, Has Died at Age 76

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Aretha Franklin, the self-taught piano prodigy, vocalist and songwriter who first conquered the charts in the late ’60s and never relinquished her throne, has died, multiple outlets report. She was 76.

The Queen of Soul had struggled with her health for years. A source told PEOPLE Monday that Franklin had taken a turn for the worse and that her death was “imminent.”

“She has been ill for a long time,” the longtime friend told PEOPLE. “She did not want people to know and she didn’t make it public.”

A musical phenomenon who crossed musical, racial and gender barriers, Franklin began her vocal career as a teenager, singing gospel hymns in her father’s Detroit church. From these humble beginnings she scaled to the very heights of stardom, scoring her first national chart topper in 1967 with a searing version of “Respect.”

Since then, the artist has notched 77 Hot 100 chart entries, and earned an astounding 18 Grammys out of 44 nominations. In 1987, two decades after her first No. 1, Franklin became the first woman to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and was later named the Greatest Singer of All Time by Rolling Stone.

A source close to the singer spoke to the Associated Press on Monday to confirm that Franklin was “seriously ill,” although they did not provide any additional details as to the severity or the cause of the singer’s illness.

Showbiz 411 reporter Roger Friedman was first to report the singer was “gravely ill,” sharing that Franklin’s family were “asking for prayers and privacy.”

“I am so saddened to report that the Queen of Soul and my good friend, Aretha Franklin is gravely ill,” wrote Local 4 Detroit news anchor Evrod Cassimy on Twitter Sunday. “I spoke with her family members this evening. She is asking for your prayers at this time. I’ll have more details as I’m allowed to release.”

In February of 2017, the Queen of Soul told a Detroit TV station that she was retiring from music that year. “I will be recording, but this will be my last year in concert. This is it,” she said, though Franklin admitted she would perform at “some select things.”

Despite her failing health in recent years, Franklin returned to the stage in August for what would be her final public performance at the Mann Center in Philadelphia, despite noticeable changes in her appearance that caused concern about her well-being.

Continue onto PEOPLE to read the complete article.

LeBron James’ love, loyalty for hometown shines through with new school

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The I Promise School will focus on STEM educations for 240 of Akron, Ohio’s most disadvantaged students

Loyalty in the NBA was said to be in short supply earlier this month, when a few of the league’s offseason transactions looked and felt particularly bloodless.

And yet, there it was Monday, alive and well and pulsing through the streets of the “Bottom,” a rough neighborhood on the north side of an already tough city.

LeBron James helped to turn a gray and grim area he knew all too well into an oasis of music, balloons, streamers and hope, not just for the afternoon but ideally for years to come. All thanks to that noble quality that the cynics like to say is dead.

“I remember these streets,” James said during and after the dedication of the I Promise School, a new entry in the Akron Public Schools for some of the city’s most disadvantaged students and their families.

James’ charitable entity, the LeBron James Family Foundation, conceived and built the school in conjunction with APS and a slew of private partners chipping in time, labor and ultimately millions of dollars as they strive for a new approach to urban education. The plan had been put in motion years ago, but the actual hands-on, physical transformation of the building came in the past seven weeks.

The curriculum will focus on science, technology, engineering and math [STEM] but the school will go well beyond, providing “wraparound services” for the families that include career, academic and emotional support.

Continue onto the NBA to read the complete article.

Two Women Refereed An NBA Game Together For The First Time Ever

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Two black women did something this week that no other women have done before: They refereed a professional basketball game together.

Danielle Scott and Angelica Suffren officiated an NBA Summer League game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat on Tuesday evening. Marc J. Spears, a senior writer for ESPN’s The Defeated website, pointed out the news in a Tuesday tweet.

“First time I’ve ever seen two black women referee an NBA game of any kind,” Spears wrote. “Violet Palmer would be proud Danielle Scott and Angelica Suffren reffing at the California Classic Summer League Lakers versus Heat.”

NBA spokesman Mike Bass confirmed to HuffPost that this was the first time two women have officiated an NBA game.

Palmer, a retired basketball referee, broke the NBA’s gender barrier in 1997 when she and Dee Kanter were hired. Palmer was the first woman to officiate an NBA game ― on Oct. 31, 1997, between the Vancouver Grizzlies and the Dallas Mavericks. She was also the first woman to ref an NBA playoff game ― between the Indiana Pacers and the New Jersey Nets on April 25, 2006.

Twitter users applauded the historic moment this week.

“Now, it’s time to have a woman coach,” one user wrote.

Continue onto the Huffington Post to read the complete article.

Joe Jackson, musical family patriarch, dead at 89

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Joseph “Joe” Jackson, the patriarch who launched the musical Jackson family dynasty, died Wednesday in a Las Vegas hospital, a source close to the family tells CNN.

He was 89.

Jackson was the father and at times manager to pop stars Michael and Janet Jackson, along with the sibling-singing group, The Jackson 5.

No cause of death has been released, but Jackson had reportedly been in ill health.

“I have seen more sunsets than I have left to see,” read a tweet posted Sunday from Jackson’s official twitter account. “The sun rises when the time comes and whether you like it or not the sun sets when the time comes.”

He and Katherine Jackson wed in 1949. They moved into into a home on Jackson Street in Gary, Indiana, the following year, where they welcomed their first of 10 children, Maureen “Rebbie” Jackson.

Rebbie was followed by Sigmund “Jackie” Jackson in 1951, Toriano “Tito” Jackson in 1953, Jermaine Jackson in 1954, La Toya Jackson in 1956, Marlon Jackson in 1957, Michael Jackson in 1958, Steven Randall “Randy” Jackson in 1961 and Janet Jackson in 1966.

Marlon’s twin, Brandon, died soon after birth.

With a large family to support, Joe Jackson surrendered his dreams of becoming a boxer and secured a job as a crane operator for U.S. Steel.

He and his brother Luther also formed a band in the mid-1950s called The Falcons, intent on booking gigs for extra money.

The band only lasted a few years, but Jackson had developed an ear for music and believed he had found some talent in his children. He formed The Jackson Brothers in 1963 — with sons Tito, Jackie and Jermaine — and began entering them in local talent shows. With the addition of Marlon and Michael, The Jackson 5 was born in 1966. Two years later, they signed with Motown Records.

They went on to become one of the most successful R&B groups in history, with their father initially acting as their manager.

At the height of their stardom, The Jackson 5 sold millions of records and had their own CBS variety show.

“Joseph’s role as manager dwindled however as Motown CEO Berry Gordy began to take more charge on his act, a role that reverted back to Joseph when he began managing the entire family for performances in Las Vegas,” according to Jackson’s official site. “Joseph also helped his sons seal a deal with CBS after leaving Motown.”

The success of The Jackson 5 led to Michael Jackson going solo, becoming such a major star that he was later dubbed the King of Pop. Youngest daughter Janet also became a hugely successful recording artist.

The elder Jackson managed daughters Rebbie, La Toya, and Janet in the early 1980s until they, like their brothers before, struck out on their own.

Continue onto CNN to read the complete article.

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