Category Archives: history

Eric Reid Signs with Panthers Following NFL Grievance

Pro Bowl free-agent safety Eric Reid signed with the Carolina Panthers on Thursday (September 27) after he was not re-signed with the 49ers after filing a grievance with the NFL. Reid also made waves as the first player to join Colin Kaepernick in kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial inequality and police brutality.

Both Reid and Kaepernick filed grievances with the NFL, alleging that owners and the league prevented their employment because of the protests. Kaepernick, who is still unsigned, reacted to the news of Reid joining the Panthers, tweeting, “Congrats 2 my brother @e_reid35, all pro safety who should have been signed the 1st day of free agency, who has signed a football contract. He was the 1ST person 2 kneel alongside me. Eric is a social justice warrior, continues to support his family. and communities in need.”

Eric Reid Signs with Panthers Following NFL Grievance

Reid’s deal is a one-year contract worth up to $2 million with play-time and Pro Bowl incentives

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Jermaine Dupri Kicks Off So So Def Exhibit at the Grammy Museum

In 1993, producer Jermaine Dupri launched his So So Def record label to showcase southern hip-hop artists. In the quarter-century since then, the imprint has worked with a slew of big-name artists from the ’90s and 2000s, including Jagged Edge, Daz Dillinger, Da Brat, Bow Wow, Kriss Kross, and Anthony Hamilton.

Jermaine Dupri Kicks Off So So Def Exhibit at the Grammy Museum

In celebration of the record label’s achievements and cultural influence, the Grammy Museum has launched a four-month exhibit dedicated entirely to So So Def. Billboard reports this is the first time a hip-hop label has received its own show at the Los Angeles facility. The show will feature stage outfits, photos, and other memorabilia from the label’s stars.

“Considering this year marks the 45th anniversary of hip-hop, it is remarkable that So So Def is celebrating 25 years of extraordinary success in the industry,” Grammy Museum curator Nwaka Onwusa said in a statement. “It is impossible to showcase everything that Jermaine Dupri has done to elevate Atlanta hip-hop and the far-reaching influence of So So Def throughout the world. The Grammy Museum is very excited to present this look into the label’s enduring legacy.”

Jermaine Dupri Kicks Off So So Def Exhibit at the Grammy Museum

The exhibit kicked off Wednesday night with an appearance by Dupri and a number of his So So Def associates. The producer spoke about the label’s milestones, its role in the Atlanta culture, as well as his induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

“My first visit to the Grammy Museum was around the time it opened and they created the ‘Make a Record with Jermaine Dupri’ experience,” Dupri said. “It’s such an honor to return for this meaningful tribute to So So Def, Jermaine Dupri and the city of Atlanta.”

The exhibit, called Jermaine Dupri & So So Def: 25 Years of Elevating Culture, will run through January. You can learn more about the show, including how to cop tickets, at the Grammy website.

The So So Def family will also hit the road next month for the 25th anniversary Cultural Curren$y Tour. The trek will kick off Oct. 14 in Washington, D.C., and include performances by Xscape, Hamilton, Da Brat, and Jagged Edge.

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T.I. Curating Pop-up Museum in Atlanta

Trap music will be getting some props thanks to plans by rapper T.I. to curate a museum in Atlanta, Vibe is reporting.

T.I. Curating Pop-up Museum in Atlanta

The pop-up museum is launching 15 years from the release of the artist’s Trap Muzik, which he said he created to draw attention to all the frustrations a Black man in America might have to juggle – from co-parenting to drug addiction, and from society’s negative view to struggling relationships. Atlantic Records produced Trap Muzik in 2003.

T.I. is launching the museum in partnership with hip-hop journalist Maurice Garland, creative artist DL Warfield and others, Vibe reports. Future, 21 Savage, 2 Chainz, Gucci Mane, Rick Ross, and Young Jeezy are some of the artists who will be featured because they helped elevate the public presence of the trap, according to Vibe.

The pop-up museum has a website and Instagram account set up. Both instruct people to “stay tuned.”

T.I. Curating Pop-up Museum in Atlanta

When he released Trap Muzik, T.I. said he wanted to create something that would be a classic.

“I knew I had to make timeless music,” Noisey quoted him as saying. “It was about showing that even if you were participating in felonious activities, there were still other things you needed to deal with: you’re not just drug dealing but also dealing with a relationship with your parents, your girlfriend, having a child too young and being looked down on by society as one thing when you’re actually more than that definition.”

He told Noisey, “You might have a homeboy who just died, but he wasn’t even in the streets like that. Trap Muzik was kind of crystallizing this Black experience into a piece of music.”

The pop-up museum will be located in West Atlanta and will open to the public on Sept. 30. Trap music evolved out of Southern hip-hop and is considered a sub-genre.

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Nike’s Colin Kaepernick TV ad is inspirational, not controversial

The question Friday morning wasn’t whether President Trump would tweet about the debut of Colin Kaepernick’s Nike commercial but whether it would be the first thing he would tweet about after waking up.

And there it was, first thing on the presidential docket at 6:56 a.m.

“What was Nike thinking?” Trump tweeted rather briefly and directly.

But if you actually watched the commercial that aired on NBC during the third quarter of season-opening games between the Falcons and Eagles, it’s pretty obvious what Nike is thinking – and it’s not whether to take a knee during the national anthem.

All you need to know about Nike’s ultimate goal with the Kaepernick campaign is contained in the ad’s first minute. It begins with a skateboarder falling off a rail, a child with no legs on a wrestling mat, an African-American boy who couldn’t be 10 years old running down a dirt road, a young shadowboxing woman wearing hijab, a surfer, a Pop Warner football game and a blond girl playing high school football against boys.

This isn’t about consumers Nike might lose in their anger over Kaepernick. It’s about cultivating an entire generation of consumers who are up for grabs at a moment where the lines between culture, politics and activism are blurry – a notion that might make older people uncomfortable but is now the coming-of-age reality for anyone under 18.

Ironically, if you take Kaepernick out of the ad, there is nothing controversial about the images and words contained inside of it. “Don’t ask if your dreams are crazy; ask if they’re crazy enough” seems like it could be a tag line to practically any Nike ad campaign, a direct link to the “Just Do it” slogan the company is celebrating with a 30th anniversary push.

Every one of those images connects to the overall theme of being different, of overcoming some type of obstacle or stereotype, which fits in well with why Kaepernick is here in the first place rather than playing quarterback in the NFL.

But it also seems designed to appeal to teenagers, without making it necessary to align with Kaepernick’s political and social justice views.

Yes, it’s Kaepernick’s voice and his image at the end, walking down a city street wearing a black mock turtleneck underneath a tan coat. But there is nothing in the ad that connects him to football or the NFL, even though his own backstory – being adopted by white parents, getting one college scholarship offer from Nevada and ultimately quarterbacking a team to the Super Bowl – contains some of the same inspirational threads as the people he’s narrating over.

Moreover, the commercial’s only allusion to the protest he sparked is subtle. As the camera brings Kaepernick into view from behind – you recognize him by his Afro – he’s standing and looking at a waving American flag being projected onto a building.

Then, as Kaepernick walks out of the frame, the images of the young people from earlier in the ad appear on those buildings and the words are flashed on the screen: “It’s only crazy until you do it. Just do it.”

Casting Kaepernick in this light is interesting because he’s the only person in the ad who isn’t shown playing a sport or wearing some type of Nike gear. That seems intentional, as if to acknowledge that he’s moved beyond the sports context and into the zeitgeist of these political and cultural times.

And when you think about what Nike’s actually trying to accomplish here, it makes perfect sense.

Though Nike has been the country’s preeminent sneaker and sports apparel company for a generation, Adidas has steadily been making headway, particularly with younger people. In the second quarter of 2018, Adidas posted a $485 million profit, shattering Wall Street expectations. That followed nine consecutive quarters in which the company’s sales increased by at least 20%.

Fueled by its alliance with pop culture stars such as Kanye West and Pharrell Williams, Adidas has made up significant ground and surpassed Jordan Brand (a Nike subsidiary) last year as No. 2 in the sneaker game.

Nike didn’t really have a comparable face, and many of its preeminent athletes they’ve been associated with outside the NBA (such as Tiger Woods, Roger Federer, Serena Williams) are at the back end of their careers and don’t necessarily identify with teenagers. But that’s what shoe companies have to do: Figure out not just who their customers are now, but who their customers are going to be in five years, 10 years and beyond.

That’s who this is aimed at. We’re on the cusp of welcoming a generation of kids into adulthood who grew up with politics being injected into practically every area of their lives. Whether that’s a good thing will be for others to determine, but it’s a moment that’s happening and Nike is looking for a way to capitalize on it.

Kaepernick probably won’t sell a lot of shoes to my contemporaries. But would the ad that played Thursday night resonate with high school kids who are growing up in a confusing, polarized, politically active era? Nike is counting on it.

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Founding Member of the Geto Boys, DJ Ready Red Dies of Apparent Heart Attack

Unfortunate news has surfaced that DJ Ready Red, a founding member of the Geto Boys has died of an apparent heart attack. A New Jersey native, Ready Red was heavily involved with most of the production on the Geto Boys’ first three albums, Making Trouble, Grip It! On That Other Level, and The Geto Boys.

Willie D took to IG to speak about the passing and the legendary legacy DJ Ready Red leaves behind.

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In new book, fired Trump aide Omarosa Manigault Newman says she refused hush money, calls president a misogynist and bigot

Omarosa Manigault Newman was offered a $15,000-a-month contract from President Trump’s campaign to stay silent after being fired from her job as a White House aide by Chief of Staff John Kelly last December, according to a forthcoming book by Manigault Newman and people familiar with the proposal.

But she refused, according to the incendiary new book, “Unhinged: An Insider Account of Trump’s White House,” which also depicts Trump as unqualified, narcissistic and racist. Excerpts of the book were obtained by the Washington Post.

After she was fired, Manigault Newman wrote, she received a call from Trump campaign advisor Lara Trump, the president’s daughter-in-law, offering her a job and the monthly contract in exchange for her silence.

The proposed nondisclosure agreement allegedly said Manigault Newman could not make any comments about Trump or his family; Vice President Mike Pence or his family; or any comments that could damage the president. It said she would do “diversity outreach,” among other things, for the campaign, according to her account.

“The NDA attached to the email was as harsh and restrictive as any I’d seen in all my years of television,” Manigault Newman writes in the book.

The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment on Friday.

In a statement, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the book “is riddled with lies and false accusations. It’s sad that a disgruntled former White House employee is trying to profit off these false attacks, and even worse that the media would now give her a platform, after not taking her seriously when she had only positive things to say about the President during her time in the administration.”

The allegations threaten to become another political headache for the administration akin to another controversial book earlier this year by journalist Michael Wolff, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” which detailed a wayward White House and prompted broad denunciations from Trump and his aides. The White House had initially planned on trying to avoid commenting on the Manigault Newman’s book to keep it from getting more attention, White House aides said.

Manigault Newman is expected to appear on “Meet the Press” on Sunday morning and will then go on a longer publicity tour. The scheduled appearance comes on the first anniversary of deadly white-supremacist protests in Charlottesville, Va., in which Trump was criticized for saying there were fine people “on both sides.”

Her book is the first insider account from a White House aide that is not largely flattering toward the president. Manigault Newman, who was once the highest-ranking black employee in the White House, calls Trump a “racist, misogynist and bigot.” She alleges in the book that there is a tanning bed in the White House residence and says the president fought with the now-departed chief usher over the installation of the bed; other aides say they have not seen a tanning bed in the White House.

Manigault Newman also writes that Trump told her he was unaware of her firing by Kelly. “No! No one even told me,” she quotes Trump as saying. “I didn’t know that. Damn it.”

Whether the book paints an accurate depiction of Trump’s conduct or amounts primarily to a disgruntled tome from a reality TV star-turned-White House aide is in dispute. Manigault Newman has known Trump for more than a decade and held one of the highest-paid positions in the West Wing for a year, securing the job as an “assistant to the president” after starring as a famed villain in his TV show, “The Apprentice,” and working for the Trump Organization.

Manigault Newman does not offer evidence for some of her most explosive charges but also extensively taped her conversations in the White House, according to people familiar with the tapes, who requested anonymity to describe the recordings. The existence of some tapes was first reported Wednesday by the Daily Beast.

Manigault Newman litters the book with specific quotes from White House aides. She describes many scenes inside the White House vividly — explaining who was in the room and exactly what was said.

She questions Trump’s mental state, describes him as unstable and portrays him as unable to control his impulses, while also describing the extensive lengths that staff members have gone to in attempts to keep him in line.

“All we need to remember is that Trump loves the hate,” she writes in the book. “He thrives on criticism and insults. He delights in chaos and confusion. Taking to Twitter to call him names only fuels him and riles his base. To disarm him, starve his ego; don’t feed into it.”

White House aides have long described Manigault Newman as a problematic employee who tried to stage a wedding photo shoot at the White House, exploded at other West Wing aides and left shoes strewn around the West Wing. For months, they accurately feared that she was taping conversations inside the building. In the eyes of many around Trump, the book is another publicity-grabbing stunt from a reality TV star known for them.

Even as aides warned him against it, Trump often spoke to Manigault Newman and invited her to come by the Oval Office, a practice that Kelly eventually curtailed. She served as Trump’s chief liaison to the African American community and often vouched for him.

The book is a mix of unverified accusations and vivid, quote-filled exchanges from her time with Trump on the campaign trail and in the White House.

In early 2017, Manigault Newman says, she walked Michael Cohen, then Trump’s personal lawyer, into the Oval Office for a meeting with Trump — and saw the president chewing up a piece of paper while Cohen was leaving the office. Another White House official confirmed that Manigault Newman brought Cohen into the White House and was later rebuked for it. The two remain in contact, according to people familiar with the relationship.

“I saw him put a note in his mouth. Since Trump was ever the germaphobe, I was shocked he appeared to be chewing and swallowing the paper. It must have been something very, very sensitive,” she writes in her book.

There is no proof that he chewed on paper, and several White House aides laughed at the assertion and said it was not true.

Manigault Newman also writes in the book that she was contacted in February by the FBI, but does not elaborate on why they called her or what she told them.

She describes in vivid detail her firing, with direct quotes attributed to Kelly and ethics lawyer Stefan Passantino.

According to her account, Kelly comes into the Situation Room and begins by saying, “We’re going to talk to you about leaving the White House.”

“The integrity issues are very serious,” Kelly continues. “If this were the military, this would be a pretty high level of accountability, meaning a court-martial. … If we make this a friendly departure, you can look at your time here in the White House as a year of service to the nation. You can go on without any type of difficulty in the future relative to your reputation.”

Manigault Newman then begins demanding an explanation for why she was being fired and whether Trump knows. Kelly tells her it is non-negotiable and soon leaves the room after mentioning “serious integrity issues.”

“The staff works for me, not the president. So after your departure, I’ll inform him,” Kelly told her, according to the book. “With that, I’ll let you go.”

She is kept in the Situation Room for more than an hour, according to her telling in the book, with her husband waiting outside. She fights with Passantino, who tells her she is being fired for abusing the government car service. She tries to explain why she used the car each time — for official government business, in her telling — to no avail.

“It’s not a fight that is winnable,” Uttam Dhillon, another lawyer, says.

Manigault Newman writes in the book that there was erroneous reporting on her exit — that she did not get into a big fight with Kelly at the White House Christmas party and that she did not try to fight her way past security and get into the residence.

“I never imagined that this ludicrous story — pure gossip — would blow up like it did,” she said.

Passantino did not respond to a request for comment.

Trump tells Manigault Newman that he had no idea she was ousted the day before, according to her account. “I just saw on the news you were thinking about leaving!” Trump says. “What happened?”

Manigault Newman responds that Kelly told her “you guys wanted me to leave.” Trump expresses his displeasure.

Manigault Newman said the call from Trump was followed by a call from Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, and Ivanka Trump, his daughter, who said she “really loves” Manigault Newman and would do anything for her.

“Call us anytime,” Kushner says on the call, according to the book.

Then, Lara Trump called and reiterated how much the president and the family loved Manigault Newman, offering her the job and wanting to make sure “everything is positive.”

“If you come on board, we can’t have you mention that stuff,” she added, referring to interviews Manigault Newman gave immediately after her firing.

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U.S. Re-Opening Emmett Till Murder Investigation Amid ‘New Information’

The U.S. Justice Department has received “new information” in the murder investigation of Emmett Till, which they have decided to re-open.

This comes nearly 63-years after the brutal and racist murder of Till, who was captured and killed after he was accused of whistling at a white woman while visiting his family in Mississippi. The woman, Carolyn Bryant, later told author Timothy Tyson that her testimony about Till grabbing her around the waist and uttering obscenities was not true.

Bryant told Tyson, “Honestly, I just don’t remember. It was fifty years ago. You tell these stories for so long that they seem true, but that part is not true.”

Bryant’s husband, Roy Bryant, and his half-brother, J.W. Milam were identified as the killers by Till’s uncle, Mose Wright. The two men were found not guilty by an all-white jury in the closely watched case that helped spur the civil rights movement in the 1950s. The filmmakers of the PBS documentary, “The Murder of Emmett Till” spoke to other witnesses who say there were other accomplices involved in the murder.

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