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Is Glee’s Only Black Cast Member Amber Riley Leaving the Show?

Is Glee's Only Black Cast Member Amber Riley Leaving the Show?

Two weeks ago Amber Riley who plays Mercedes Jones on “Glee” caused a ruckus online when she bid farewell to the whole Glee family. Now she’s changing her story and saying that’s actually not what she was trying to say.

“Just closed a chapter in my life, the only thing I’ve known day in and day out for three years. I’m going to miss the whole Glee family, seeing them everyday! I have so many brothers and sisters now,” Riley wrote on Twitter to her 680,000 followers. “But I am looking forward to a much needed and deserved summer vacation! SCHOOL’S OUT Glee Kids! Let’s play!” she went on to say.

Does that sound like a heartfelt emotional goodbye to you? Her comments to Entertainment Weekly also sounded like her glass was half empty.

“All I know is I’ve been told that I’m a senior and I am graduating,’ Amber told Entertainment Weekly before the Twitter scandal. “If it is my last season, it is what it is. I’ve been given a really great platform to do other things that I love. I’m happy at the place where I am.”

Riley’s tweet about needing a “much needed” summer vacation made a lot of sense to fans of the show because just days before Riley fainted on a red carpet and blamed exhaustion. Industry insiders and those close to the production regularly make comments about the alleged seven day schedules for Glee cast members that include recording songs, acting and practicing dance routines.

Soon after Riley made her comments on Twitter the L.A. Times ran to Fox for a statement but they would neither confirm or deny whether Riley, the only African American regular member of the cast, was leaving the show.

Now Riley is saying it’s all a big misunderstanding

“I was not confirming I was leaving the show. Just stating that I would miss being in the classroom everyday with the cast and that would be changing,” Riley wrote on Twitter recently.

Sounds like she was playing hard to get her contract figured it out though, no? Or like there is a lot more to this story?

Amazon Ditches the Conservative Public Policy Group ALEC

Amazon Ditches the Conservative Public Policy Group ALEC

On Thursday, online retailer Amazon announced at its shareholder meeting that it will cut ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the right-wing policy group that has worked to suppress the black vote. The announcement came as ColorOfChange, the nation’s largest black online civil rights organization, tried to deliver more than 500,000 petition signatures to the annual meeting.

In response to a shareholder’s question, general counsel Michelle Wilson said Amazon has decided not to renew its membership with ALEC.

“This year, we’ve decided not to renew with ALEC, and it’s because of positions they’ve taken not related to our business,” Wilson said, according to the Seattle Times. 

Thursday’s “announcement marks a major victory for hundreds of thousands of people nationwide who have said they believe in transparency and know that ALEC threatens the ability for everyday people to participate fully in democracy,” ColorOfChange Executive Director Rashad Robinson told Colorlines.com. “In deciding to part ways with ALEC, Amazon has acknowledged that it can’t in good conscience market its services to Black communities while at the same time handing over customers’ dollars to a right-wing think tank that has worked to suppress the Black vote.”


New Orleans Becomes Largest U.S. City Without Daily Newspaper

Advanced Publications, the group that publishes New Orleans’ Times-Picayune newspaper, announced Thursday it would scale back its printed edition to three days a week and shift its emphasis to online coverage. Similar cost cutting measures are happening across the country but New Orleans will become the largest city without a daily newspaper and many residents still don’t have internet at home.

The cuts come after the paper saw a steep drop in circulation. In 2005, before Hurricane Katrina, the paper had a daily circulation of 261,000; in March of this year, the circulation was 132,000.

According to a 2010 report from the Kaiser Foundation, 36 percent of residents in New Orleans do not have Internet access at home.

The New York Times points out a similar cost-cutting initiatives were recently announced in Alabama — The Birmingham News, The Press-Register of Mobile and The Huntsville Times. They, too, will print only three days a week and undergo staff cuts.

Canadian and Alaskan Indians Show Shell Execs Why Tar Sands Are So Bad

Canadian and Alaskan Indians Show Shell Execs Why Tar Sands Are So Bad

On Tuesday an indigenous delegation from Canada and Alaska presented Shell’s Chairman and Board with a report detailing the human and ecological rights violations they say the company’s operations have brought to their communities. Shell’s Chairman was provided with a copy of “Risking Ruin: Shell’s dangerous developments in the Tar Sands, Arctic and Nigeria,” a report that looks at how Shell’s operations in Canada’s Alberta Tar Sands, Alaska’s Arctic Ocean, Ontario’s Aamjiwnaang First Nation and Africa’s Niger Delta are “destructive.”

The indigenous representatives presented the human and ecological rights violations report to Shell’s Chairman but he declined to address the issue.

“Shell has failed to address our concerns in Canada’s tar sands by not meeting environmental standards, past agreements and refusing to address their impacts to our constitutionally protected treaty rights,” Eriel Deranger, spokesperson and member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, said in a statement. “Shell’s current projects are contributing to the destruction of our traditional territory including vital watersheds and eco-systems. Now they propose to expand projects further degrading our lands and impairing our ability to practice our constitutionally protected rights to hunt, fish, trap and gather in the region.”

Shell has been operating in Alberta’s tar sands since 2003 and now accounts for approximately 20% of overall operations in the region.

To read the “Risking Ruin: Shell’s dangerous developments in the Tar Sands, Arctic and Nigeria” report visit No-tar-sands.org.

Four George Zimmerman Witnesses Change Their Stories

Prosecutors released evidence last week that the Sanford Police Department collected on the night of Feb. 26 when George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin. This week attorneys from both sides are asking the court to keep evidence private.

The evidence released last week included news that four key witnesses made major changes in what they say they saw and heard the night Zimmerman fatally shot Martin. Three witnesses changed their stories in ways that may damage Zimmerman. The fourth witness abandoned her initial story, that she saw one person chasing another and now says she saw a single figure running.

It’s unclear how the evidence will affect the case but the Orlando Sentinel has detailed accounts of the witness statements available for further reading.

But today, one week after the evidence was released, both sides in the Trayvon Martin murder case want some evidence kept private until trial.

According to the Washington Post, prosecutors and Zimmerman’s attorneys asked a judge to keep statements Zimmerman gave detectives and the names and addresses of witnesses from being publicly released.

Black Churches Welcome New Latino Communities

Black Churches Welcome New Latino Communities

Between 1970 and 1990 the South LA area went from 80% black and 9% Latino to 50.3% black and 44% Latino. Today, Latinos account for about two-thirds of the residents in the neighborhood and the black churches in the area are being forced to adapt to the changing community.

Churches like the Second Baptist Church, the host of several N.A.A.C.P. conventions and speeches by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, are now part of neighborhoods that are only about 10% black. According to a New York Times story published last month many of the members that could walk to the church now have to listen to the Sunday service on local radio or travel an hour to attend service. And as gas prices continue to rise some black churches have been left with just a dozen members who attend Sunday service.

There’s a Story Behind the Little Boy Who Had a Special Oval Office Moment

There's a Story Behind the Little Boy Who Had a Special Oval Office Moment

In May 2009, 5-year-old Jacob Philadelphia was visiting the White House with his father, a former Marine who was leaving his 2-year stint working for the National Security Council as part of the White House staff. The father asked to take a family photo with the president and before they left the Oval Office Jacob had a question for the President.

“I want to know if my hair is just like yours,” Jacob asked Obama, so quietly that the president asked him to repeat his question.

Mitt Romney: Educating Kids of Color is the ‘Civil Rights Issue of Our Era’

Mitt Romney: Educating Kids of Color is the 'Civil Rights Issue of Our Era'

On Wednesday, the presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney delivered a speech at the Latino Coalition’s 2012 Small Business Summit Luncheon and didn’t mention the word immigration once but he did manage to talk explicitly about the failure of many U.S. schools with students of color. But while some have celebrated Romney for addressing the issue explicitly his comments are part of a larger movement to privatize schools.

“Here we are in the most prosperous nation, but millions of kids are getting a third-world education. And, America’s minority children suffer the most. This is the civil-rights issue of our era. It’s the great challenge of our time,” Romney said in front of The Latino Coalition, a pro-business group led by President George W. Bush’s Small Business Administrator.

“As President, I will give the parents of every low-income and special needs student the chance to choose where their child goes to school. For the first time in history, federal education funds will be linked to a student, so that parents can send their child to any public or charter school, or to a private school, where permitted. And I will make that choice meaningful by ensuring there are sufficient options to exercise it,” Romney went on to say about his controversial plans.

Colin Powell Expresses Support for Gay Marriage

Colin Powell Expresses Support for Gay Marriage

Below is a transcript of Powell’s statements on CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer:”

“I have no problem with it, and it was the Congress that imposed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, though it was certainly my position and my recommendation to get us out of an even worse outcome that could have occurred, as you’ll recall. But as I’ve thought about gay marriage, I know a lot of friends who are individually gay but are in partnerships with loved ones, and they are as stable a family as my family is, and they raise children. And so I don’t see any reason not to say that they should be able to get married.”

Fewer Blacks and Latinos Entering CUNY, Nation’s Largest Urban Colleges

Fewer Blacks and Latinos Entering CUNY, Nation's Largest Urban Colleges

Since the recession hit fewer black and Latino freshman are entering the City University of New York (CUNY), the largest institution of higher education in New York City, and one of the largest public university systems in the country. A new report from the Community Service Society of New York (CSS) has found that as more New Yorkers are returning to school, black and Latino students are having a tough time competing against students with higher SAT scores and grade point averages.

TAGS: CUNY students

Brooklyn Boxing Coach Kicks Wall Street Where it Hurts [Video]

Brooklyn Boxing Coach Kicks Wall Street Where it Hurts [Video]

[Warning: The video above contains explicit language.]

Animal New York, the same publication that brought us the latest Jay Smooth video, has another video that’s bound to cause reactions. Their latest video follows boxing instructor Eric Kelly, a four-time National Amateur Boxing champion, who now works at the Church Street Boxing Gym training “a bunch of fucking nerds” from Wall Street.

You’ve been warned. The video above contains a river of explicit language (some of homophobic) geared towards Wall Street “nerds” who seem to appreciate him because they’re paying big money for their time with Kelly.

TAGS: wall street

Pixar is Jumping on Boat to Capture Latino Audience with New Día de los Muertos Movie

Pixar is Jumping on Boat to Capture Latino Audience with New Día de los Muertos Movie

Last month Pixar announced the filmmaking team behind the Academy Award-winning “Toy Story 3” is working on a film that delves into the Mexican holiday of Día de los Muertos. The untitled movie is slated for a 2015 release date.

Some are calling Pixar’s new film a nod to Mexican audiences on both sides of the U.S. border because “Toy Story 3” is actually the highest-grossing movie of all time in Mexico. According to the LA Times, the 2010 animated film collected $59 million at the box office in 2010, more than blockbusters like “Avatar” and the “Harry Potter” finale.

Seven-Year-Old Aspiring Rapper Mir Money Breaks Down on ‘America’s Got Talent’

Seven-Year-Old Aspiring Rapper Mir Money Breaks Down on 'America's Got Talent'

…on the trouble with having children on reality TV show competitions.

EBONY Magazine Commissions Street Artist Shepard Fairey to Illustrate Trayvon Martin

Graphic designer and illustrator Shepard Fairey, who created Barack Obama’s 2009 “Hope” poster, has illustrated a new figure: Trayvon Martin.

via Fairey’s blog: I have followed Trayvon’s case closely and I think any compassionate human being can relate to Trayvon as a brother or son and would want to see a thorough investigation into the killing of an unarmed person. In my portrait I wanted to emphasize Trayvon’s humanity as well as the public outcry for a just investigation into his death.

trayvonmartin-shepard-fairey.jpg

Obama Holds 34-Point Lead Over Romney Among Registered Latino Voters

Obama Holds 34-Point Lead Over Romney Among Registered Latino Voters

President Obama holds a 34-point lead over GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney among registered Latino voters, according to a new national NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Telemundo poll of Latino respondents. Despite broken immigration promises and a record number of deportations Latinos continue to support the President.


MSNBC’s Mark Murray unravels the poll’s findings:

In this survey, Obama holds a 34-point lead over Romney among registered Latino voters, 61 to 27 percent. In 2008, according to the exit polls, Obama defeated McCain among this key voting bloc, 67 to 31 percent.

In addition, Obama’s approval rating among all Latino adults stands at 61 percent (compared with 48 percent of all Americans in the new NBC/WSJ poll), and approval of his handling of the economy is at 54 percent (versus 43 percent overall).

Meanwhile, Romney is struggling with Latinos, the poll shows. Just 26 percent view him positively, while 35 percent see him in a negative light. By comparison, Obama’s positive/negative score among Latinos is 58/23 percent.

The NBC/WSJ/Telemundo survey — an oversample from the just-released NBC/WSJ poll — was conducted May 16-21 of 300 adults who identified themselves as coming from a Latino or Spanish-speaking background. That sample includes 119 interviews that were conducted in Spanish.

Poll: People of Color More Likely to Support Gay Marriage Than Whites

Poll: People of Color More Likely to Support Gay Marriage Than Whites

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll found 53 percent of U.S. voters believe gay marriage should be legal, a record shift in public opinion from just six years ago when support was at 36 percent. The poll also found people of color are more likely to support gay marriage than whites with black support at record high.

The Washington Post explains the the findings:

The poll also finds that 59 percent of African Americans say they support same-sex marriage, up from an average of 41 percent in polls leading up to Obama’s announcement of his new position on the matter. Though statistically significant, it is a tentative result because of the relatively small sample of black voters in the poll.

The poll comes two weeks after Obama unexpectedly endorsed same-sex marriage after a year and a half of “evolving” on the subject. Gay rights groups predicted the president’s announcement would have a far-reaching impact on public opinion, in part because Obama described how he came to his own decision, referring to his gay friends and the influence of his young daughters, Sasha and Malia.

“This is why they call it a bully pulpit, and why presidential leadership extends far beyond debating Congress,” said Kai Wright, Colorlines.com’s Editorial Director. “Reactionary politics have always found a powerful tool in fear, in stirring horrific fantasies that the sky will fall if we strip away layers of privilege and exclusion. My family will hate me if I come out. Voters will hate me if I stand up for what I believe. But polls have shown consistently that when LGBT people and their allies stand up and lead, people in all communities follow.”

Kanye West, Beyonce Lead BET Awards Nominations

Kanye West, Beyonce Lead BET Awards Nominations

The nominees for the 2012 BET Awards were announced Tuesday and leading the way with seven nominations is Kanye West. Beyoncé followed with six nominations, Jay-Z received five nominations.

“We are massively excited about having Sam Jackson, the world’s biggest box office star, host The BET Awards 12,” said Stephen G. Hill, president of music programming and specials, BET Networks. “His wit, presence and gigantic personality are the perfect match for our show.”

The Avengers star Samuel L. Jackson is set to host the July 1 awards ceremony, to be held at Los Angeles’ Shrine Auditorium.

Nicki Minaj and Chris Brown are slated to perform at the awards show.

Proposed Book Project ‘My White Friends’ Explores Photography’s Description of Race

Photographer Myra Greene has been exploring photography’s description of race and the challenges of describing whiteness by photographing her white friends for the past 10-years. “My White Friends” is a collection of Greene’s photographs that she’s now trying to develop in to a book.

Greene recently started a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for her book, the New York Times’ “Lens” blog interviewed her recently about her project and provides more insight:

Myra Greene grew up in New York, where she was used to being around people of different races. But as she embarked on her photographic career, her work and travels took her to places where she was the only African-American.

And she knew it.

“I’m always thinking about race,” she said. “I recognize it when I’m the only black person in a room. My white friends will notice I’m the only black person, too. But they don’t notice a room full of white people.”


Meet the Nguyen Seniors Whose Yearbook Quotes Went Viral

Meet the Nguyen Seniors Whose Yearbook Quotes Went Viral

Meet Presentation High School seniors Alexandra, Angela, Angelica, Elizabeth, Emily, Isabella, Madeline, and Vi Nguyen who submitted senior quotes for the yearbook that once combined read “We know what you’re thinking, and no, we’re not related!”

A picture of the yearbook first spread around San Jose, Calif. where the young women attend high school but it quickly made international international headlines appearing on “Gawker,” London’s “Daily Mail” and they even had a segment on CBS’s “Inside Edition.”

The San Jose Mercury News caught up with the Nguyens:

A few months ago, Presentation High School senior Isabella Nguyen thought it would be funny if she and her friends — who all share the same last name — used their senior quotes in the yearbook to spell out a message: “We know what you’re thinking, and no, we’re not related.”

That message went viral this week. And the eight students — who actually include twin sisters — have become mini-celebrities caught in a media frenzy that even they’ve referred to as “Nguyen-sanity.”

Each of the students at the all-girls Catholic school in San Jose — Alexandra Nguyen, Angela Nguyen, Angelica Nguyen, Elizabeth Nguyen, Emily Nguyen, Isabella Nguyen, Madeline Nguyen and Vi Nguyen — had a word or two from the phrase printed beneath their names in the yearbook, which students got Monday.

The Nguyen seniors say they’re ready for even more coverage.

“We’re shooting to be on ‘Ellen’ or the ‘Today’ show,” said Isabella Nguyen.

Donald Glover Seen Canoodling With Lena Dunham on Set of ‘Girls’

Donald Glover Seen Canoodling With Lena Dunham on Set of 'Girls'

Last week the creator of HBO’s “Girls” Lena Dunham tweeted a picture of Donald Glover on the set of the show that just started filming it’s second season, then the New York post published a photo of both stars sitting on a stoop together with flirtatious body language, now Dunham is staying tightlipped about the whole thing.

“Even though the show [from week to week] is just a slight shift in people’s emotional landscapes, I like to act like we’re protecting state secrets,” Dunham told TVLine.com.

Dunham’s “Girls” has received criticism for the lack of diversity on the series but she recently told NPR’s “Fresh Air” the show’s second season would be more diverse.

“Now we have the opportunity to do a second season and, believe me, that will be remedied,” Dunham said. “I’m really excited to introduce new characters into the world of the show. Some of them are great actors of color.”

Now everyone is dying to know if Glover is a new love interest on the show. What say you?

TAGS: Girls HBO TV
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