Category Archives: black history

Kendrick Lamar is a Pulitzer Prize winner

Kendrick Lamar now has a Pulitzer Prize to go with all his Grammy Awards.

Lamar’s “DAMN” was announced as the recipient of the prestigious award on Monday, a history-making first for a rap artist, as the music award is typically given to classical or jazz works.

The 2017 Pulitzer Prize for music went to “Angel’s Bone,” an opera by composer Du Yun.

“DAMN” is Lamar’s fourth studio album and was released in April 2017.


Lamar’s politically charged performance at the Grammy Awards in January won him wide praise.

“DAMN” picked up best rap album at the award show. His song “Humble” also picked up best rap performance, best rap song and best music video.

The New York Times and The New Yorker were also awarded prizes for their reporting on Harvey Weinstein that put the #MeToo movement in the national spotlight.

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Beyonce Brings Out JAY-Z and Destiny’s Child for Historic Coachella Headlining Set

After postponing 2017’s headlining Coachella slot due to her pregnancy with twins, Beyoncé made a historic return to the main stage to close out the second night (April 14) of the festival in Indio, Calif.

Prior to what would ultimately turn out to be a new career-defining peak, rumors swirled that the pop megastar would reunite Destiny’s Child and bring out 100 dancers to back her up. And just hours before performance began, she took to Facebook to shout out her fans, and let them know to get in formation during the hour intermission before the games began.

“I am so excited to see the BeyHive tonight at Coachella,” she wrote. “We have been working hard and have a special show planned for you so please be safe and stay hydrated. We need your energy! There will be an hour intermission before my performance, so mark your spot, charge your phones, grab your drinks. Can’t wait to see y’all at 11:05pm!”

The speculation and rumors were accurate: Not only did Beyoncé reach a new creative peak, but she did it all while making it look effortless. Throughout a ceaseless two-hour set, the pop icon took the swelling Coachella crowd back to the days of feverish high school pep rallies and college homecomings. On stage, a tiered set of bleachers scraped the sky as a brass band and dozens of dancers backed what was indisputably the weekend’s most stunning performance, with guest appearances from a reunited Destiny’s Child (for a series of their classics), as well as cameos from her husband JAY-Z and sister Solange.

Most importantly, though, Beyoncé made history, not just in her own career — turning her music and performance into high art — but at the festival, which is now in its 19th year. “Coachella, thanks for allowing me to be the first black woman to headline,” she said before bringing out Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams. “Ain’t that ’bout a bitch?”

Even by Beyoncé’s standards, the show went above and beyond. It was impeccably choreographed, designed and directed, right down to the minute details — Bey tapping her fingers across her knees in time to the beat on “Partition,” the exact dance moves done for her rendition of “Baby Boy,” the little teases of hits from the past as songs segued from one to the next.

“This is a very important performance for me,” she told the crowd between “Sorry” and “Bow Down/I Been On.” “I’m happy to be back home on the stage tonight.”

But above all, Beyoncé did it without breaking a sweat, an almost superhuman feat. Whether she was soaring over the crowd during “Drunk in Love,” or hitting micro-choreographed dance moves with the best backup dancers available while growling, “Suck on my balls” during “Sorry,” she proved that she’s truly pushing her art form forward, in both creative scope and the breadth of music she’s recorded. It was invaluable context, even, to get glimpses of her roots throughout the performance, whether Bey was singing with JAY-Z for “Déjà Vu,” dancing with Solange for the extended version of “Get Me Bodied,” or traipsing through her Destiny’s Child days with Rowland and Williams as if the chemistry had never wavered.

Of course, when it comes to Beyoncé, nothing ever wavers. Not only did the Queen set a new standard for herself at Coachella, but she set a standard for the entire festival and its future marquee performers — not just as the first black woman to headline the fest, but as an artist whose creative prowess will continue to be nearly impossible to match.

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Honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. 50 years after assassination

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The King family will join thousands in Memphis this week to mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. King’s daughter Bernice King arrived in Memphis Monday afternoon. She was aboard a Delta charter flight. So was FOX 5’s Deidra Dukes, who was the only reporter on board and got to interviewed Rev. Bernice King during the flight.

King talked a lot about what this week will mean not only for her but other members of her family as she returns Memphis. The first time she journeyed to Memphis was in her 30s because the idea of making this trip in the past has been so painful for her. So, this week will likely stir many emotions.

“It’s emotional for me but I’m trying not to let it overwhelm me so I can function,” Dr. Bernice King said.

A wave of emotion came over Dr. Bernice King as she made her way through TSA at Hartsfield Jackson for the trip to Memphis.

“I think I said, you know, I didn’t get an opportunity to go fifty years ago, then I broke down crying. I didn’t know it was coming,” Dr. Bernice King said.

Fifty years ago, a then five-year-old Bernice was left behind as her mother and three older siblings who traveled to Memphis just days after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated.

“On April 8, 1968, my mom came to Memphis to lead the march my father would have led which was the day before the funeral and she brought the three older children and I got left in Atlanta,” Dr. Bernice King said.

Monday afternoon, she boarded a Delta charter flight joined by dozens of religious and civil rights leaders, for the pilgrimage to Memphis. King said the number of pastors joining her on this journey really hold special significance.

“Tell them that 50 years ago because my father spoke out against the war in Vietnam he became even more controversial and a lot of churches began to close their doors even black churches. It was hard for him to have mass meetings in churches and very few were welcoming. So, for me to come back here with a group of pastors is unbelievable for me,” Bernice King told FOX 5’s Deidra Dukes.

King toured the Lorraine Motel where her father was shot and killed that fateful day in April of 1968 as he stood on the hotel balcony.

“It’s interesting to be able to have these experiences, connections not knowing my father, but kind of sensing the presence of his spirit,” Bernice King said. “I do feel a connection to his spirit and what he was trying to do.”

Bernice King will be joined by her brother Martin for this week’s commemorative events in Memphis. On Tuesday, they will speak at the Mason Temple, where their father delivered his last speech.

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Jay-Z’s Trayvon Martin Documentary Will Debut At Tribeca Film Festival

Jay-Z has always been a man of the people. The Brooklyn bred rap legend has made his socio-economic and political views tremendously clear over the last decade. Whether that be by voicing his opinions over records like “Murder To Excellence,” or publicly supporting President Barack Obama during his two terms in office, Jay has been pushing African-American culture like it’s his job. Now, the 48-year-old rapper is bringing his docu-series about Trayvon Martin to the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival.

According to Entertainment Weekly, Jay will be screening Rest In Power: The Trayvon Martin Story at the festival, and afterward, Martin’s parents Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin will address live. The documentary claims to offer a “definitive look at one of the most talked-about, controversial events of the last decade.”

Jay-Z’s documentary is based on the book Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin, which was written by his parents after their child was infamously murdered by Geroge Zimmerman. Martin’s death increased the national spotlight on the unnecessary deaths of young black children in America.

Jay-Z also famously produced Time: The Kalief Browder Story, a short docuseries about Kalief Browder. Young Browder was jailed for three years, and spent two of them in solitary confinement, for allegedly stealing a backpack. He took his own life after a tumultuous case surrounding the false charges led him to lose his mental stability.

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Jordan Greenway is U.S. hockey team’s first African-American Olympian

GANGNEUNG, South Korea — Jordan Greenway doesn’t know when this historic moment will hit him.

He predicts it won’t happen while he’s helping Team USA try to win a gold medal in Pyeongchang. But sometime down the road it will have more of an impact.

Greenway, a junior winger for Boston University, is the first African-American to compete for the U.S. men’s hockey team in the Olympics.

“I think it’s great, it’s unbelievable,” Greenway said following a practice at Gangneung Ice Arena. “I don’t think it’s hit me how I think it will later on in my life to be honest with you. I grew up around a predominantly white population and a lot of white people playing (hockey), so I’ve always looked at it as just another kid. I think it’s an honor. I’m very excited about it. I hope I’m the first of many.”

Greenway, 20, has played hockey all his life. He put on his first pair of skates when he was 3. It’s what kids are accustomed to growing up in Canton, N.Y., which is 20 miles from the Canadian border. Plus his brother J.D., who is a sophomore defenseman at Wisconsin, and all of his cousins played. He was just next in the family line. Greenway tried out other sports — football, lacrosse, baseball — but didn’t develop the same passion.

“I was OK at them,” he said, laughing. “I kind of mixed it up, but I don’t know. I always had the most fun playing hockey. I enjoyed waking up really early in the morning and playing hockey. I didn’t have the same enjoyment going to (play other sports). I didn’t want to do that for football or other sports. Just thought this was the right fit for me.”

Greenway was drafted by the Minnesota Wild in 2015, but chose to stay in school. Because the NHL prohibited its players from Olympic competition, he’s able to live out his dream as an amateur.

Physically, he’s a big body on the ice at 6-5, 230 flat-footed. Greenway estimates he’s 6-8 or 6-9 on skates, but such an imposing figure could fudge his numbers and say he’s 7-feet and no one would blink.

His height certainly provides an advantage when getting to the net, protecting the puck and creating space, but it’s not always better to be bigger, he said.

“You get some of these smaller guys who are quick and they put you on edge,” he said, smiling. “But it definitely has a lot of benefits.”

Greenway tallied 25 points in 28 games for Boston U. this season and was second with eight points on the U.S. team that won gold in the 2017 junior world championships. He also played for the 2017 world championship team that finished fifth.

By making history, Greenway hopes to use these Olympics to inspire other African-American kids to play hockey.

“That’s definitely the goal,” he said. “Trying to get more, not just African American, but more cultures playing. I don’t think it’s any secret that more white people play than black people. So hopefully I can try to be another role model to try to put it in these kids’ minds to hopefully try and do something different and hopefully we’ll get more black people and different cultures playing the game.”

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