Tag Archives: american

Harold Washington

Harold Washington a Giant in the History of Big City Mayors

30th Anniversary Harold Washington Tribute Committee launches effort to immortalize legacy of the man who transformed Chicago politics.

(Chicago, April 2, 2013) The charismatic late Mayor Harold Washington is noted for transforming Chicago’s political environment and creating an open all-inclusive government that represents Chicago’s rich diversity.   Citizens, civic, faith, and political leaders are launching an effort to ensure that the memory of Harold Washington’s legacy is not forgotten on April 12, 2013 at the Ramada Lake Shore in Hyde Park where  the former mayor announced his candidacy.  The 30th Anniversary commemoration is being presented under the title: “The Man, the Moment, the Movement.”

The committee will announce a month-long series of events coordinated in collaboration with various community based organizations, academic, and cultural institutions that highlight Harold Washington’s impact and influence culturally, politically, and economically. In addition, a Harold Washington Scholarship Fund will be initiated for students pursing public service careers (see attached Schedule of Events).
This effort to memorialize the emergence of Harold Washington as Chicago’s first African American Mayor in the city’s, then, 149- year history is led by the Harold Washington Tribute Committee.  The committee represents a diverse group of citizens who believe Harold Washington’s transformative accomplishments and legacy should be recognized, preserved, and perpetuated for future generations.

Honorary Co-chair, the Honorable Pat Quinn, Governor of Illinois and a Harold Washington contemporary said, “Harold Washington will be remembered as a giant in the history of America’s Big-City mayors. Not content to be a trailblazer, he was transformational, profoundly changing the way Chicago governs itself.”

Committee convener, political activist, and Chicago socialite Mrs. Josie Childs said, “Chicago leads the nation in producing profoundly iconic leadership examples and Harold Washington ranks among the best for breaking racial and gender barriers while advancing progressive urban policies.”

Mrs. Childs points to the success of Harold Washington’s campaign in mobilizing unprecedented numbers of non-traditional voters and benchmark administration accomplishments including:
Created the Ethics Commission
Issued an executive order increasing minority business contracts
Opened government with a Freedom of Information executive order
Led fight for ward redistricting; more black and Hispanic representation
Fought for equal provision of public services; neighborhood street, curb and gutter repair
Opened the city’s budget process for public input and participation
Encouraged neighborhood festivals and projects
Led movement for Illinois’ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Bill

For complete information regarding HWTC activities visit: http://www.MayorHaroldWashington.com”www.MayorHaroldWashington.com or call Josie Childs:  773- 643-4828.

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Chicago To Host McDonald’s All American Basketball Games Through 2015

OAK BROOK, Ill.  – The McDonald’s All American Games will stay in Chicago through 2015.

After Windy City fans shattered the event’s attendance record in 2011, and returned in-force for the 2012 Games, McDonald’s and the United Center agreed to a two-year contract extension, including an option to renew in 2016.
“This is a historic day for the McDonald’s All American Games,” said Douglas Freeland, director of the McDonald’s All American Games. “Fans throughout the U.S. can now make Chicago their ‘destination’ to see the greatest high school basketball players participate in this annual rite of passage.”

“An invitation to the McDonald’s All American Games is what every prep basketball player dreams about,” said Jay Williams, 1999 McDonald’s All American and current ESPN analyst. “I’ve had the pleasure to both play in this game and call it on ESPN. There simply isn’t another all-star event like the McDonald’s All American Games, and there isn’t a better city for it than Chicago.”

Proceeds from the event will benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC®). The 2012 McDonald’s All American Games raised $650,000, the third-highest total in the event’s 35-year history. Funds from the 2011 and 2012 McDonald’s All American Games helped build the nation’s largest Ronald McDonald House® in downtown Chicago, which opened its doors in June 2012.

“I am delighted the McDonald’s All American Games will continue to call Chicago home,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “These games have been a springboard for countless young men and women to outstanding athletic careers, while raising money for charity and instilling a spirit of scholarship, character and citizenship both on and off the court.”

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Lance Armstrong was Following an American Tradition

By Julianne Malveaux
NNPA Columnist

Who is surprised that Lance Armstrong was doping?  Who thinks he was the only one?  Who is surprised that he used the Oprah Winfrey show as his platform to “come clean”?  We are a nation of cheaters and Armstrong is one in a long line of our nation’s cheaters.

Indeed the very foundation of our country is the result of cheating. The Pilgrims cheated the Native Americans that befriended them out of their land. Later, the United States Army continued that cheating by slaughtering Native people, kicking them off their land, and consigning them to reservations.  As a result of this thievery and chicanery Native American people have the shortest life expectancy of any ethnicity in these United States.

Enslaved people were cheated with the fruit of their labor, not to mention their lives and liberty, by our nation’s “peculiar institution.”  After slavery was abolished, the cheating continued.  The sharecropper system was nothing but an official method of cheating.  Land owned by African Americans was stolen. Those African Americans who managed to amass wealth had to pretend they had less because economic envy sparked the wholesale appropriation of land and communities.  Examples include the destruction of Black Wall Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and the 1898 destruction of property (and life) in Wilmington, N.C.  Some historians estimate that there were more 200 of these kinds of incidents.
We cheated Mexico by appropriating half their land in a murky “trade” through the Louisiana Purchase.  Now we have the nerve to talk about “illegal immigration” because people are returning to land that was once stolen from them.  And daily, employers cheat undocumented people because without legal documents, they have no bargaining power against unscrupulous employers.

Cheating?  George W. Bush and his minions cheated Al Gore of the presidency in 2000, and the Supreme Court aided and abetted him in this cheating.  Imagine the course of history had we a kinder, gentler president who might not read a children’s book upside down in the moments before September 11?

Let’s not even talk about the theft implicit in the banking bailout.  These banks were lent money to aid in economic recovery by lending money, but instead of lending, they’ve tightened up credit requirements, making it more difficult for some people to borrow.  And figuring out ways to cheat on one’s taxes may be one of the great American pastimes.

There are more ways to cheat that putting your sticky fingers on things that don’t belong to you. African American men are cheated of their dignity and freedom of mobility, whenever empty taxis speed by them.  African American women are cheated of the ability to see themselves reflected in the public space when advertisers treat us as stereotypes.  And racism cheats us of the ability to have equality of opportunity.
I’m not at all condoning Lance Armstrong’s doping, and I fully agree with the decisions to pull his titles and banish him from biking. Yet there is much irony in the way people are handling this.  The Today Show had cheater Pete Rose commenting on Lance Armstrong’s cheating.  That’s like asking the fox to comment when his brother breaks into the henhouse, or like asking George W. Bush to comment on an election.  And not to play the “race” game, but don’t you think all hell would break loose if this were an African American athlete?

We send young people mixed messages when we both say “play fair” and “winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”  We live in a win at any cost, winner take all, society.  Lance Armstrong wanted to win so he doped up, and some of those around him probably did the same. No excuses.  But in a winner take all culture, what do we expect?
Now Armstrong has humbled himself by admitting he was wrong after adamantly denied he was doping.  Why now… to clean up his name, to get back in the game, to keep raising money for his cancer-fighting organization?   Like the foundation of our nation’s culture, though, Armstrong is both a liar and a cheat.

It is a shame that Lance Armstrong chose to cheat during his biking career.  If we had to recite a litany of cheaters, we’d have to start with the Pilgrims, the Founding Fathers that condoned slavery, and move on from there. Julianne Malveaux is a Washington, D.C.-based economist and writer.  She is President Emerita of Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, N.C.

stop racism

Media’s Portrayal of Black Youth Contributes to Racial Tension

By: Joshunda Sanders

Special to the NNPA News Service
From Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education

WASHINGTON (NNPA) – Mainstream media often portray African-American youths, especially Black men and boys, as criminals, crime victims and predators. These stereotypes, according to social justice advocates, can create a racially-charged atmosphere that results in violence such as the shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin.

U.S. popular culture has become increasingly desensitized to one-dimensional portrayals of Black youths. Perpetuation of them as dangeroushas been embedded in American society not only by words and images projected by journalists but also by a wide variety of other media and entertainment sources, including the Internet, movies and video games.

Clearly, the perception of African-Americans and other people of color as inferior to Whites is rooted in the nation’s legacy of racial hierarchy, a system of stratification based on belief that skin color makes Whites superior. Also contributing to embedding these stereotypes is that even as U.S. Census data show a growing number of non-Whites in America, fewer people

of color are in decision-making positions at daily newspapers, television and radio stations, and online news organizations.

Media coverage of the February shooting of Martin, 17, in Sanford, Fla., by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman, exemplifies negative treatment of Black youths in the media. After a controversial delay, Zimmerman was arrested and charged with second-degree murder in the unarmed teenager’s death.

At the center of the case are issues related to race, gun rights and whether Zimmerman was acting in self-defense.

In most media stories last week, autopsy results showing that Martin’s blood had traces of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, overshadowed other new

evidence. An Associated Press report from Orlando, Fla., began: “Trayvon Martin had marijuana in his system. He was shot through the heart at close range.”

Many of these stories were published with photographs showing cuts and scratches on Zimmerman’s face and head. A police report said he “appeared to have a broken and a bloody

nose and swelling of his face.”

In the same week, an all-White, six-person jury in Houston acquitted Andrew Blomberg, 29, a White police officer, in the alleged beating of 15-year-old Chad Holley after Holley was arrested for burglaryin March 2010.

In video footage from a security camera, which jurors were shown in court, Holley was seen falling to the ground after trying to hurdle a police squad car, the AP reported, and was “surrounded by at least five officers, some who appear to kick and hit his head, abdomen and legs.”

Blomberg testified that he didn’t kick or stomp Holley. Community activists decried the verdict and the racial makeup of the jury.

The presumption of guilt can also apply to young Black women. When Rekia Boyd, 22, was fatally shot by an off-duty Chicago police detective in March, her death was overshadowed in mainstream media by the Martin case.

Boyd was with friends on a street near the detective’s home when words were apparently exchanged and he fired several shots, one of which struck Boyd in the head. No charges have been filed in the incident. Boyd’s family has filed a civil lawsuit against the detective and the city.

In its report on the shooting, one Chicago television stationnoted that Boyd was hanging out with a group “at 1 in the morning.”

Stories about Black youths that don’t reinforce stereotypes, don’t involve celebrities and that tell narratives about everyday lives of Black people haven’t been a priority in news coverage, says author Bakari Kitwana, executive director of Rap Sessions in Westlake, Ohio. Through Rap Sessions, Kitwana leads discussions on college and high school campuses nationwide to counter mainstream media narratives about the hip-hop generation.

In addition to being stereotyped in media, Kitwana says,Black youths are also criminalized by three other circumstances.

“Job options are limited, especially if you’re working class, which is different from previous generations,” he says. “The military doesn’t have a draft so, ultimately, it’s composed of people who are so pushed out of other life options. The military becomes a way of not being totally impoverished. Add to that limited education because of the cost of a college degree.”

Publishers, editors and producers who decide which news stories are important often don’t choose ones that humanize or contextualize lives of Black youths. In journalism, decision makers are largely White.

A 2011study by the Radio Television Digital News Association and Hofstra University showed that while the percentage of people of color in the U.S.population had risensince 1990 from 25.9 percent to a projected 35.4 percent, the number in television rose 2.7 percent and fell in radio. TV news diversity, it noted, “remains far ahead of the newspaper.”

“The way that journalism is currently practiced and structured doesn’t allow for the telling of stories of underrepresented people,” says Malkia Cyril, founder and executive director of the Center for Media Justice in Oakland, Calif. Privatization of corporate media is one reason that continues to be true, she says.

In 1983, 50 corporations controlled U.S. media, according to “The Media Monopoly” by Ben Bagdikian, a longtime journalist and media critic. By 2004, in his revised and expanded The New Media Monopoly, Bagdikian wrote that the number was five — Time Warner, Disney, News Corp., Bertelsmann of Germany and Viacom, with NBC a close sixth.

“The way that journalism is on the open market means that stories are for sale, and what sells is stereotypes,” Cyril says. “Market-produced coverage will tend to misrepresent youth.”

The implications of  “this charged environment can result in the dehumanization of black life and regressive political decisions that can lead to violence, as the Stand Your Ground Laws resulted in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin,” she added in a follow-up email. “Otherwise, the story gets framed as coverage leads to bad individual behavior, and the systemic piece gets lost.”

When media producers in journalism and popular culture media such as movies, television series and video games are mostly White, chances that young people will be humanized and fully represented are slim, says Eleni Delimpaltadaki Janis, public opinion and media research coordinator for The Opportunity Agenda in New York.

“You see few images of Black men and boys being good students or being good fathers,” she says. “They’re really fewer images of men in those roles compared to reality. It’s not just the news coverage. It’s also every type of media, but also in entertainment media, including video games. They all do a good job at using negative images of Black boys and men for entertainment.”

Solutions include reporters intentionally incorporating Black youths into everyday or evergreen stories such as those about Christmas shopping, Janis says .Kitwana adds that it’s also important for journalists to remember that their profession carries the weight of social responsibility since democracy can’t function properly if journalism doesn’t function properly.

Eileen Espejo, director of media and health policy at Children Now in Oakland, says producers across the media spectrum should seek ways to avoid stereotypes.“We don’t want there to be a quota,” she says. “But we want you to think more creatively about the roles that people of color can play, and break out of the traditional mold.”

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NATO SUMMIT 2012 in Chicago

Chicago has long been thought of as the “Second City”, the “City of Big Shoulders”. After successfully hosting the 2012 NATO Summit, “Chicagoland” has been introduced to the world as first class, and more than capable of handling large scale diverse events. The Chicago Police along with officers from more than 23 other agencies including the Secret Service and Department of Homeland Security shouldered the responsibility for the safety of several thousand foreign dignitaries and members of the international press corps but also thousands of anti NATO protesters who converged on Chicago for the two-day conference that took place May 20-21, and was held at McCormick Place in the South Loop.

NATO came and went, but not without criticism from many Chicagoans whos complaints and concerns spanned from not understanding what NATO is, disapproval of the amount city resources dedicated to a two day event, and the closures of streets and businesses to disapproval of NATO itself.

NATO stands for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was formed in 1949 and is comprised of 28 member countries forming a military alliance agreeing to mutually
defend one another against attacks from any outside or non-NATO member attacks. Among the topics at this years’ summit were the role of NATO in Afghanistan, NATO response to nuclear weapons, and strengthening NATO partnerships.

Many Chicagoans were left wondering what if anything does that have to do with the host city. The NATO Summit made Chicago a part of international history. This marked the first time a NATO summit was held in the US in a city outside of Washington, DC. Chicago is also the largest city in over a decade to host the Summit.

The two day traffic inconvenience for many Chicago residents was estimated to have generated over $100 million dollars in direct and indirect revenue as well as providing over 2,000 temporary jobs for Chicagoans. The NATO Summit provided an opportunity for the Chicago Police Department to receive additional training, equipment, and some much needed positive press. Even members of the anti-NATO Occupy Movement deemed the Summit an overall success that aided in revitalizing their cause and bringing the national issues as well as those specific to Chicago

The ‘Think Like a Man’ Interview: Michael Ealy

By Kam Williams
Special to the NNPA from the Call & Post

Actor Michael Ealy (The Dreamer)
After finding his breakout screen role as Ricky Nash in Barbershop and Barbershop 2, Michael rapidly rose through the ranks as one of Hollywood’s emerging young actors

Born in Silver Spring, Maryland on August 3, 1973, Michael Ealy majored in English at the University of Maryland before heading to New York City where he performed in several stage productions, including the off-Broadway hits Joe Fearless and Whoa Jack.

After finding his breakout screen role as Ricky Nash in Barbershop and Barbershop 2, Michael rapidly rose through the ranks as one of Hollywood’s emerging young actors. Since then, he’s starred opposite Kate Beckinsale in Underworld Awakening and opposite Matt Dillon, Idris Elba and Hayden Christensen in the action flick Takers, and he was personally picked by Will Smith to play his younger brother in Seven Pounds. He’s also portrayed a Buffalo Soldier in the Spike Lee World War II epic Miracle at St. Anna, and appeared in For Colored Girls with Kimberly Elise, Janet Jackson, Thandie Newton, Whoopi Goldberg and Phylicia Rashad.

On television, Michael is set to co-star in the new detective series, “Common Law,” which debuts on the USA Network on May 11. His other TV credits include stints on “The Good Wife,” “Californication” and “FlashForward.” As for accolades, a stellar performance on the Showtime miniseries “Sleeper Cell” earned him a Golden Globe nomination. In addition, he was cast by Oprah Winfrey to star opposite Halle Berry in the made-for-TV movie “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” landing the first of his three NAACP Image Award nominations for his sterling performance in the picture. Here, he talks about playing Dominic in his latest picture, Think Like a Man, Steve Harvey’s battle-of-the-sexes comedy which is currently #1 at the box office

KW: What interested you in Think Like a Man?

ME: Honestly, it was the first romantic comedy that I liked. I’d kind of avoided them for awhile because I never felt that any of them were really smart enough. But when I read this script, I genuinely fell in love with the characters, especially my own. So, I just wanted to be a part of it.

KW: Harriet Pakula Teweles asks: How flattering or unflattering to the image of the black male are the “types” that the actors are asked to portray in this film?

ME: That’s another great thing about this picture. Yes, the cast is predominantly African-American, but color is never really an issue in the film. It’s rarely brought up since, at the end of the day, these guys are going through universal relationship issues that anybody can relate to. So, while the characters like “The non-committer,” “The Player,” and “The Dreamer” might be recognizable as common stereotypes, color isn’t involved.

KW: Attorney Bernadette Beekman asks: Did you do any preparation for your role as a food service worker by spending time in restaurants?

ME: The irony is that I spent five years as a waiter at a restaurant in New York City at the beginning of my acting career. So, I had a little bit of experience in food service. Fortunately, I didn’t actually have to prepare anything on camera in the movie, which saved me from having to take any cooking classes. [Chuckles] But I always appreciate a good chef.

KW: How did your parents feel about your becoming a struggling actor after help putting you through college? Did they ever pressure you to abandon acting for a more practical profession?

ME: No. my parents, God bless ‘em, were very supportive of me and my decision to pursue acting. Their dream for me and my sister was that we graduate from college. And as soon as I fulfilled that, they were extremely supportive of what I wanted to do next. I will always be grateful to them for that, because I wouldn’t be where I am today without their help and encouragement.

KW: How hard was it working with an ensemble cast with so many big stars? Was it hard to get a little elbow room to do your thing?

ME: No, it felt a lot like my first movie, Barbershop, which was also an ensemble film, and which was also directed by Tim Story. So, it was sort of like a ten-year reunion.

KW: Tell me a little about your new TV series, Common Law. Since it’s a cop series revolving around black and white partners, it sounds a little like Psych, which is also on the USA Network?

ME: [Chuckles] It’s nothing like Psych. It’s an action comedy about two detectives who are really good at what they do. But they have different approaches to the work and to life in general, and that creates conflict and bickering and fights, sometimes. What happens is that their captain decides to send them to couples’ counseling in order to keep them together, because they always get their man. They basically just need a little help in getting along. What makes it funny is that the characters end up having a lot of the same issues as the married couples they’re in therapy with.

KW: The Sanaa Lathan question: What excites you?

ME: Passion, ambition and talent.

KW: The Uduak Oduok question: Who is your favorite clothes designer?

KW: Dante Lee, author of “Black Business Secrets,” asks: What was the best business decision you ever made, and what was the worst?

ME: [LOL] When I bought my house in L.A., that was the best business decision I ever made, until the housing market crashed, and it became the worst business decision I ever made.

KW: If you could have one wish instantly granted, what would that be for?

ME: Healing for the people in my family with medical problems. Definitely… definitely…

KW: The Melissa Harris-Perry question: How did your first big heartbreak impact who you are as a person?

ME: This is such a great question. For me, my first big heartbreak is actually sports-related. My senior year, I became the starting wide-receiver on my nationally-ranked, high school football team as a walk-on. We have a good season, make it to the playoffs, and are on the verge of three-peating as state champs, when the coach decides to go to a two tight-end offense which suddenly makes me a non-factor. Then, the team went out and got spanked on our home field. I’ll never forget how I cried after the game, because I’d been denied the opportunity to help the team in the championship game, even though I had played a big role up to that point. It was like the coach forgot what had gotten us there. So, I never got to hold the trophy or savor a state championship. And I’ll never forget that first bitter heartbreak. I remember feeling devastated and going to church the next Sunday. My mom spoke to the pastor about it and, from the pulpit, he asked the congregation to pray for me. That did make me feel better, like I wasn’t alone. That was my first heartbreak. So, to answer your question, my first heartbreak devastated me, but it was the support of my family and my second family, my church family, that helped me understand that it wasn’t my fault, and that everything was going to be alright. That helped me tremendously later in life because in this business, as you surely know, Kam, there are a lot of things beyond your control.

KW: The Judyth Piazza question: What key quality do you believe all successful people share?

ME: [Reflects for a long time before responding] I’d say two qualities: perseverance, because you can not be successful without confronting rejection and, second, studying. You have to know your craft. I find that most people who are very, very successful know their craft and have done the research.

KW: Two Pastor Alex Kendrick questions: When do you feel the most content?

KW: Secondly: What do you wish other people would note about you?

KW: That I don’t think as highly of myself as some people make me out to be. I am so far from arrogant, because I have been through enough to know that everything can go away in a moment. You know, I really don’t understand why anyone would want to put me on a pedestal.

KW: What advice do you have for anyone who wants to follow in your footsteps?

ME: Study your craft, first. Then explore the business side. If you can commit to mastering both, then you’re ready to pursue acting as a living. I really want people to understand that you can’t take shortcuts.

KW: The Tavis Smiley question: How do you want to be remembered?

ME: One of my heroes is Mr. Sidney Poitier. In his autobiography, “The Measure of a Man,” he talks about the difference between being a great person and being a great actor. I’m happiest when I’m acting, and I’ve dedicated my life to it. Still, as much as I love acting, at the end of the day, I want to be remembered as a great person, first, and as a great actor, second. I believe that acting is a talent while being a great person encompasses so much more: being a good father, a good husband and the ability to show compassion for others. There’s nothing more rewarding than making a difference doing charity work or being able to be there for a friend.

KW: Thanks again for the interview, Michael. It’s been an honor. Good luck with Think Like a Man and with Common Law.

ME:  Thank you, Kam. This was special. Your questions were phenomenal. A lot of people clearly don’t do the same amount of preparation as you. So, I really appreciate it.
By Kam Williams
Special to the NNPA from the Call & Post

Actor Michael Ealy (The Dreamer)
After finding his breakout screen role as Ricky Nash in Barbershop and Barbershop 2, Michael rapidly rose through the ranks as one of Hollywood’s emerging young actors

Born in Silver Spring, Maryland on August 3, 1973, Michael Ealy majored in English at the University of Maryland before heading to New York City where he performed in several stage productions, including the off-Broadway hits Joe Fearless and Whoa Jack.

After finding his breakout screen role as Ricky Nash in Barbershop and Barbershop 2, Michael rapidly rose through the ranks as one of Hollywood’s emerging young actors. Since then, he’s starred opposite Kate Beckinsale in Underworld Awakening and opposite Matt Dillon, Idris Elba and Hayden Christensen in the action flick Takers, and he was personally picked by Will Smith to play his younger brother in Seven Pounds. He’s also portrayed a Buffalo Soldier in the Spike Lee World War II epic Miracle at St. Anna, and appeared in For Colored Girls with Kimberly Elise, Janet Jackson, Thandie Newton, Whoopi Goldberg and Phylicia Rashad.

On television, Michael is set to co-star in the new detective series, “Common Law,” which debuts on the USA Network on May 11. His other TV credits include stints on “The Good Wife,” “Californication” and “FlashForward.” As for accolades, a stellar performance on the Showtime miniseries “Sleeper Cell” earned him a Golden Globe nomination. In addition, he was cast by Oprah Winfrey to star opposite Halle Berry in the made-for-TV movie “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” landing the first of his three NAACP Image Award nominations for his sterling performance in the picture. Here, he talks about playing Dominic in his latest picture, Think Like a Man, Steve Harvey’s battle-of-the-sexes comedy which is currently #1 at the box office

KW: What interested you in Think Like a Man?

ME: Honestly, it was the first romantic comedy that I liked. I’d kind of avoided them for awhile because I never felt that any of them were really smart enough. But when I read this script, I genuinely fell in love with the characters, especially my own. So, I just wanted to be a part of it.

KW: Harriet Pakula Teweles asks: How flattering or unflattering to the image of the black male are the “types” that the actors are asked to portray in this film?

ME: That’s another great thing about this picture. Yes, the cast is predominantly African-American, but color is never really an issue in the film. It’s rarely brought up since, at the end of the day, these guys are going through universal relationship issues that anybody can relate to. So, while the characters like “The non-committer,” “The Player,” and “The Dreamer” might be recognizable as common stereotypes, color isn’t involved.

KW: Attorney Bernadette Beekman asks: Did you do any preparation for your role as a food service worker by spending time in restaurants?

ME: The irony is that I spent five years as a waiter at a restaurant in New York City at the beginning of my acting career. So, I had a little bit of experience in food service. Fortunately, I didn’t actually have to prepare anything on camera in the movie, which saved me from having to take any cooking classes. [Chuckles] But I always appreciate a good chef.

KW: How did your parents feel about your becoming a struggling actor after help putting you through college? Did they ever pressure you to abandon acting for a more practical profession?

ME: No. my parents, God bless ‘em, were very supportive of me and my decision to pursue acting. Their dream for me and my sister was that we graduate from college. And as soon as I fulfilled that, they were extremely supportive of what I wanted to do next. I will always be grateful to them for that, because I wouldn’t be where I am today without their help and encouragement.

KW: How hard was it working with an ensemble cast with so many big stars? Was it hard to get a little elbow room to do your thing?

ME: No, it felt a lot like my first movie, Barbershop, which was also an ensemble film, and which was also directed by Tim Story. So, it was sort of like a ten-year reunion.

KW: Tell me a little about your new TV series, Common Law. Since it’s a cop series revolving around black and white partners, it sounds a little like Psych, which is also on the USA Network?

ME: [Chuckles] It’s nothing like Psych. It’s an action comedy about two detectives who are really good at what they do. But they have different approaches to the work and to life in general, and that creates conflict and bickering and fights, sometimes. What happens is that their captain decides to send them to couples’ counseling in order to keep them together, because they always get their man. They basically just need a little help in getting along. What makes it funny is that the characters end up having a lot of the same issues as the married couples they’re in therapy with.

KW: The Sanaa Lathan question: What excites you?

ME: Passion, ambition and talent.

KW: The Uduak Oduok question: Who is your favorite clothes designer?

KW: Dante Lee, author of “Black Business Secrets,” asks: What was the best business decision you ever made, and what was the worst?

ME: [LOL] When I bought my house in L.A., that was the best business decision I ever made, until the housing market crashed, and it became the worst business decision I ever made.

KW: If you could have one wish instantly granted, what would that be for?

ME: Healing for the people in my family with medical problems. Definitely… definitely…

KW: The Melissa Harris-Perry question: How did your first big heartbreak impact who you are as a person?

ME: This is such a great question. For me, my first big heartbreak is actually sports-related. My senior year, I became the starting wide-receiver on my nationally-ranked, high school football team as a walk-on. We have a good season, make it to the playoffs, and are on the verge of three-peating as state champs, when the coach decides to go to a two tight-end offense which suddenly makes me a non-factor. Then, the team went out and got spanked on our home field. I’ll never forget how I cried after the game, because I’d been denied the opportunity to help the team in the championship game, even though I had played a big role up to that point. It was like the coach forgot what had gotten us there. So, I never got to hold the trophy or savor a state championship. And I’ll never forget that first bitter heartbreak. I remember feeling devastated and going to church the next Sunday. My mom spoke to the pastor about it and, from the pulpit, he asked the congregation to pray for me. That did make me feel better, like I wasn’t alone. That was my first heartbreak. So, to answer your question, my first heartbreak devastated me, but it was the support of my family and my second family, my church family, that helped me understand that it wasn’t my fault, and that everything was going to be alright. That helped me tremendously later in life because in this business, as you surely know, Kam, there are a lot of things beyond your control.

KW: The Judyth Piazza question: What key quality do you believe all successful people share?

ME: [Reflects for a long time before responding] I’d say two qualities: perseverance, because you can not be successful without confronting rejection and, second, studying. You have to know your craft. I find that most people who are very, very successful know their craft and have done the research.

KW: Two Pastor Alex Kendrick questions: When do you feel the most content?

KW: Secondly: What do you wish other people would note about you?

KW: That I don’t think as highly of myself as some people make me out to be. I am so far from arrogant, because I have been through enough to know that everything can go away in a moment. You know, I really don’t understand why anyone would want to put me on a pedestal.

KW: What advice do you have for anyone who wants to follow in your footsteps?

ME: Study your craft, first. Then explore the business side. If you can commit to mastering both, then you’re ready to pursue acting as a living. I really want people to understand that you can’t take shortcuts.

KW: The Tavis Smiley question: How do you want to be remembered?

ME: One of my heroes is Mr. Sidney Poitier. In his autobiography, “The Measure of a Man,” he talks about the difference between being a great person and being a great actor. I’m happiest when I’m acting, and I’ve dedicated my life to it. Still, as much as I love acting, at the end of the day, I want to be remembered as a great person, first, and as a great actor, second. I believe that acting is a talent while being a great person encompasses so much more: being a good father, a good husband and the ability to show compassion for others. There’s nothing more rewarding than making a difference doing charity work or being able to be there for a friend.

KW: Thanks again for the interview, Michael. It’s been an honor. Good luck with Think Like a Man and with Common Law.

ME:  Thank you, Kam. This was special. Your questions were phenomenal. A lot of people clearly don’t do the same amount of preparation as you. So, I really appreciate it.

rosalind

Walmart Names Black Woman as Sam’s Club CEO

Walmart Executive Rosalind Brewer has been named as president and CEO of Sam’s Club, making her the first woman and the first African-American to hold a CEO position at one of the company’s business units. (Courtesy of McArthur Newell II)

 

BENTONVILLE, Ark. – Walmart Stores Inc., the world’s biggest retailer, has named Rosalind Brewer as president and CEO of Sam’s Club – the first woman and the first African-American to hold a CEO position at one of the company’s business units.

 

Brewer, 49, who replaces Brian Cornell, previously was president of the retailer’s U.S. East business unit. The move is effective Feb. 1, officials said.

 

Prior to joining Walmart, Brewer held a number of executive positions at Kimberly-Clark Corp., officials said.

 

Brewer’s promotion is one of several moves announced last week to help boost the company’s fledgling profit margin.