Sunday, January 8, 2006

Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2006, JJ Readers!

New this issue, the sources are links to the actual website for the story. Stories that have no links will be featured in full length at the very end in the body of the newsletter. Feedback is desired and welcome. Feel free to email me at Hope you're enjoyceinglife!!! JD

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In The JJ This Issue...

Visions of a Continent That Is Rich With Life
New York Times
A sweep through several African art exhibitions makes this clear: There are too many Africas to allow any easy synthesis. By Holland Carter

Mary J. Blige Takes On The Role Of Legendary Singer Nina Simone In Film News
Mary J. Blige is finally flexing her star muscle and using it in the world of acting. The singer has been given the starring role in an upcoming, yet-to-be-titled film that will focus on the rise of the late jazz/soul singer Nina Simone, according to MTV News. By Allen Starbury

Snoop Lands Job With XM Satellite Radio
New York Times
Snoop Dogg has been named executive producer of XM's Hip-Hop channel 65, The Rhyme. Snoop's in charge of developing the creative direction of the channel, in addition to developing content. "We need more Snoop Dogg music all the time because the music I play makes people feel good," Snoop said. "Consider yourself a part of this new Snoop Dogg eargasm." By Nolan Strong

The Eighth National Black Writers Conference
Medgar Evers College, NY
Black Literature: Expanding Conversations
on Race, Identity, History and Genre

Radio One Diversifies
The Network Journal
The company said it will launch the first national talk-radio network geared for a Black audience in 2006.

BET Founder Bob Johnson Partners With Carlyle Group to Form Largest Black U.S. Buyout Firm
The Journal News
Investments open doors for blacks in business. By David Schepp

Ghana's Uneasy Embrace of Slavery's Diaspora
New York Times
Ghana, through whose ports millions of Africans passed on their way to plantations in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, wants its descendants to come back. The country hopes to persuade the descendants of enslaved Africans to think of Africa as their homeland - to visit, invest, send their children to be educated and even retire here. By Lydia Polgreen

A Chance to Meet the Author Online
New York Times is offering author blogs and extended personal profile pages as a way to increase the visibility of books in a crowded media marketplace. By Edward Wyatt

The Net Is a Boon for Indie Labels
New York Times
Exploiting online message boards, music blogs and social networks, independent music companies are making big advances at the expense of the four global music conglomerates. By Jeff Leeds

In Middle Class, Signs of Anxiety on School Efforts
New York Times
Dozens of parents from the middle class and upper middle class have complained of an increasing focus on standardized test preparation and remedial work. By Susan Saulny

Poorer Black Women Going Without Pap Smears
By Steven Reinberg

Which is the Black Oriented Media?
The awful truth is that Ebony has been A.W.O.L. on every big story in recent years & By Alex Walker

Woman Lives in Goddess Factory in Harlem
The Village Voice
It's so gentrified. Hip-hop kids have nicknames for us _New Harlem. By Toni Schlesinger

Bigger Brother
The Village Voice
A better charity: Microfinance site connects you with borrowers in East Africa By Julian Dibbell

Move over, mister; Women are rising as anchors, stars
Baltimore Son
By David Zurawik

The Untold Story Of Emmett Louis Till on DVD
The ground-breaking documentary detailing the true story of perhaps the most notorious civil rights cold case murder in American history, debuts during Black History Month on DVD February 28, 2006.

Morris Brown College Raised $1.2 Million at Statewide Rally in Macon, GA
Press Release

When It Comes To Quality Education for African Americans and Latinos, New Visions Foundation Survey Asks, Are We Still In the Back of the Bus?
Press Release
National Survey Brings Attention To Funding Needed At Inner-City Schools To Help Bridge Achievement Gap.


PowerFlow Media - Where the Power of Public Relations Meets the Flow of Marketing

Recent and Upcoming Media Impressions for PowerFlow Media Clients: CNN, OverTime Magazine, 790TheZone, Good Day Atlanta, Focus Atlanta, Greatness By Design, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Southern Screen Report and CinemaATL.

First Quarter 2006: Events Featuring PowerFlow Media Clients Why Not Sports, music executive Jacqueline Rhinehart, Descending Dove Productions (The Last Adam), author and journalist Farai Chideya (NPR's News & Notes with Ed Gordon,, ArtsTalk, Heart & Soul Editorial Director Yanick Rice Lamb (Rise and Fly: Tall Tales and Mostly True Rules of Bid Whist), Lori Robinson (I Will Survive: The African-American Guide to Healing from Sexual Assault and Abuse), and Evelyn Coleman (Born In Sin).


Director of Brand/Corporate Communications: Tauck World Discovery, the global leader in upscale, escorted land, cruise, riverboat and family journeys, is looking for a new director of brand/corporate communication. The director or brand/corporate communications reports to the vice president of marketing and is responsible for the development and execution of all marketing communications consistent with Tauck's brand positioning. Login and go here:

Public Relations Director: A multinational supplier of adult beverages (portfolio consists of beer and wine) is looking for a public relations director. The ideal candidate will have a strong media background, media contacts with lifestyle publications, and will have luxury goods and/or high-end wine, spirits or sparkling wine on their resume. Login and go here:

Step Your Way Into Hollywood
Calling All Step Teams to Vie for a chance to Appear in Highly
Anticipated Big Screen Release
Media Contact: ARPR Marketing, 323-330-0555,

Los Angeles, CA -You were mesmerized with the amazing dancing in "You Got Served" and uplifted with the inspirational singing in "The Gospel", now the studio behind both films is bringing America an incredible film that focuses on the art of stepping. This time around, the hype will be focused on precision, creativity, difficulty and timing, all the ingredients needed to create the flavor and realism essential to STEPPING. Hollywood is searching for the nation's hardest stepping Greek and Non-Greek organizations. The time is now for your organization to prove to the world that you have what it takes to step onto the big screen.

You may have won the homecoming step show, but can you out stomp thousands of other talented steppers vying to become Tinseltown's next find? Don't miss out on the opportunity to be a part of movie history, display the essence of stepping to the world and represent your city or college campus. This movie is guaranteed to deliver an indescribable and exclusive look into the long and intense preparation that make up the tools to deliver a crowd-pleasing performance. The traditions and pride that come along with the impact a step team has on a community and/or college or university will be defined in this breathtaking movie. However, this can't be done successfully without your submissions.

So how can your organization step into the limelight? Capture your organization's best performance on tape and read the details below!

WHO: The Hollywood studio that brought you "You Got Served", "The Gospel" and "Two Can Play That Game"

WHAT: Requesting taped submissions of Greek and Non-Greek Step teams from across the country to be a part of a new Hollywood movie about Stepping.

WHEN: Deadline for submissions is Friday, February 10, 2006. Those organizations selected to appear in the film will be notified at a later date.

WHERE: All VHS or DVD tapes, 10 minutes max should be mailed to the attention of, Stepping Call, 5900 Wilshire Blvd. 26th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90036 and must include official submission form. Official form can be downloaded from Submissions WILL NOT be returned.


Morris Brown College Raised $1.2 Million at Statewide Rally in Macon, GA
Press Release
Media Contact: Getchel L. Caldwell, II, (404) 739-1010

President Samuel D. Jolley, Jr. reported that Morris Brown College Alumni and the Sixth Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (SED-AMEC) launched a rejuvenation and renewal rally (Georgia Tour) of alumni, friends, and supporters that started on the campus during 2005 Homecoming weekend and moved to Macon, Georgia and raised an unprecedented $1.2 million in cash and pledges. It is not coincidental that this event was held during the Christmas season, a time of celebration and renewed commitment to the values and principals that have sustained Morris Brown College since her establishment in 1881. Founded by the AME Church shortly after the end of the Civil War with just 107 students, Morris Brown College has been in continual operation every year and will celebrate her 125th anniversary in 2006.

Bishop William Phillips DeVeaux, Presiding Prelate of the Sixth Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and Chairman of the Board of Trustees stated, “My commitment and passion is to move Morris Brown College forward. I am challenging the AME community to make a special effort during this holiday season with this special initiative to illustrate to current and potential partners that the AME community goes on record of supporting the re-engineering the College in record numbers." Likewise, Stella Taylor, President of the Morris Brown College National Alumni Association, Inc. stated, “Alumni are staying the course and providing extraordinary financial and volunteer support to sustain and grow the College. Both sectors, the AME Church and MBC Alumni have committed to three years of consistent giving to grow the College in preparation for accreditation and financial restructuring.”

The College has a current faculty-student ratio of 1:5 and offers bachelor’s degrees in Management, Entrepreneurship, and Technology (MET) for traditional students and an Organizational Management and Leadership (OML) for adults. All (100%) of the Morris Brown College faculty have earned doctoral degrees in their areas of concentration.

Join with others during this holiday season in making a special year-end gift to Morris Brown College. We need your help to continue to ensure Morris Brown’s forward movement. Make checks payable to: Morris Brown College and mail to Morris Brown College, Building A New Foundation Campaign, Division of Institutional Advancement, 643 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, NW, Atlanta, Georgia, 30314-4140.

When It Comes To Quality Education for African Americans and Latinos, New Visions Foundation Survey Asks, Are We Still In the Back of the Bus?
Press Release

Media Contacts:
Shari Nakakura, Inspiring Minds Communications, 509.628.9919 or
Carla Sameth, Inspiring Minds Communications, 626.564.0163 or
Terri Hernandez Rosales, Inspiring Minds Communications, 626.793.4337 or

National Survey Brings Attention To Funding Needed At Inner-City Schools To Help Bridge Achievement Gap

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (November 29, 2005) ñ With our nation’s deteriorating educational system rife with overcrowded classrooms, a shortage of qualified teachers, school safety issues and a lack of basic resources due to budget cuts, a new nationwide survey conducted by the New Visions Foundation reveals that a majority of those surveyed (64 percent) agree that the level of funding of schools in inner-city and low-income neighborhoods affect the quality of education those children receive. The survey was conducted with 1,000 randomly selected respondents by market research firm Synovate.

In contrast, 49 percent believe that African American and Latino children in inner-city schools would excel in greater numbers if they attended better funded or private schools. However, 25 percent of the respondents were not in agreement. The other 25 percent are unsure if African American and Latino students would excel if they attended better funded public or private schools. These statistics reveal a perceived disconnect over the role that funding plays in a quality education, according to New Visions Foundation Executive Director Paul Cummins.

“What troubles me is the so-called—achievement gap,” says Cummins. “ It’s a code word that masks what is really going on in our schools: educational apartheid, as Jonathan Kozol so aptly describes in his latest book, The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America, which addresses the rapid re-segregation of America’s schools.”

“This achievement gap between the have and have-nots has created a growing chasm that is increasing steadily with no end in sight. Take the 48 percent of high schools in the nation’s 100 largest districts, which are those in which the highest concentrations of African American and Latino students tend to be enrolled, where less than half the entering ninth-graders graduate in four years. Nationwide, from 1993 ñ 2002, the number of high schools graduating less than half their ninth-grade class in four years has increased by 75 percent. By contrast, in the 94 percent of districts in New York State where white children make up the majority, nearly 80 percent of students graduate from high school in four years,” added Cummins.

In well-heeled private schools in Los Angeles County, for example, Cummins said that $23,000 is the average per pupil spent annually. “When you compare that to the $7,000 the LA Unified School District spends per student annually, it’s not surprising that students who receive less than one-third of what is spent in a well-to-do community are not engaged in their less-than-adequate environment and dropping out,” he explained.

“If the late Rosa Parks had walked into today’s inner-city school that looked like a penitentiary because it lacked the basic resources (with a student population that was 99 percent black or brown), would she celebrate how far we’ve come since she took a stand or reflect how far we have yet to go?” said Cummins. New Visions Foundation (NVF) has been nationally lauded for its model for school reform and as an “incubator” for developing effective academic and community partnerships. Through a variety of distinctive academic schools and student-centered programs, NVF devises successful educational alternatives for students of all economic and ethnic backgrounds.

Cummins’ great insight into educational issues has been instrumental in implementing new models and innovative solutions that provide quality education for all children. Founded on the belief that academics and an engaging education are the rights of everyone regardless of race, social-economic status, style of learning and disability, Cummins’ approach mixes an unusual combination of academic and intellectual perspective that result in tangible outcomes for children of all ages (K-12). His mantra is simple: At-risk kids need better funded schools. Better funding translates to academic success and a brighter future.

According to the New Visions Foundation survey, more Americans are willing to look at funding and low household income as contributing factors that impact the quality of education vs. believing that race, in general, is a factor in receiving a quality education. Interestingly, while half of those surveyed agree that better funded or private institutions would help more African American and Latino students excel academically, these respondents happen to represent:
- Younger adults ages 25-34
- Those with higher household incomes ($75K+)
- Living in the West
- Nonwhite
- Well-educated (post-grad)

“What this tells me is that the other half who aren’t living, studying or experiencing the reality are either on the fence or not informed. We can address the drop out rate by engaging kids to buy in and this takes better funding that allows schools to hire more teachers, pay them what they are worth, cut the classroom size in half and give them an environment that will breed success,” said Cummins. “It’s about personal dignity; making sure the basics such as clean bathrooms and comfortable classrooms are de rigueur; building playgrounds and gymnasiums that allow kids to thrive; and creating empowered, well-funded schools in low-income neighborhoods ñ and that takes money.”

He believes that a national commitment for underprivileged students to experience total engagement in school will require funding that will make a radical difference in their lives: well trained, knowledgeable and passionate teachers; desirable, reasonable teaching conditions; encouraging, warm, caring school environments and rich, diverse curricula. And his personal mission is to spread the word to those with the means to raise the funds. Says Cummins, “Funding matters!”

About New Visions Foundation: New Visions Foundation, a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) organization, was established in 1994 to envision and develop innovative educational opportunities for underserved K-12 youth, including model curricula and learning environments.

# # #

New Visions Foundation Backgrounder

The New Visions Foundation (NVF) was founded in 1994 as a not-for-profit organization aimed at creating independent schools that provide all children equal access to quality education and academic excellence. Since its start, NVF has been nationally lauded due to its multiple successes and is viewed as model for school reform and as an “incubator” for developing effective academic and community partnerships. Through a variety of distinctive academic schools and student-centric programs, NVF devises successful educational alternatives for students of all economic and ethnic backgrounds.

New Visions’ first school is New Roads (K-12). Launched in 1995, New Roads’ mission is to develop a student population of social, economic and racial diversity and to promote personal, political and moral understanding. New Roads School has a highly academic curriculum, which concentrates on social and ecological justice. With this approach, New Roads has become a new model of education through which a cadre of educated and compassionate leaders can develop from the nation’s many populations to make a difference. Serving 500 students, ages 4-18, from throughout Los Angeles County, New Roads School’s student population mix is approximately 37 percent Caucasian, 30 percent African American, 21 percent Hispanic, eight percent Asian and five percent other. To support this diversity, New Roads allots 40% of its operational income for financial aid. This degree of support is notable as independent schools usually allot only up to 15 percent of its potential operating income to financial aid

In 1999, NVF embarked on its most recent project: The Herb Alpert Educational Village. The Village has been designed to respond to extensive research findings noting: 1) learning improves in small settings; 2) school violence is grounded around the inability to accept differences; 3) test-driven curriculum has forced the removal of the arts, community service and other engaging curriculum, thus, disaffecting children from the entire learning process; and 4) educational policy has been formed away from practice. Expected to open by 2007 in Santa Monica, California, the Village will span more than 115,000 square feet and will be a dynamic environment—full of life and unprecedented collaboration where people of all ages can experience growth and share a curiosity and passion for learning. Additionally, The Herb Alpert Educational Village will be architecturally beautiful, symbolizing respect and admiration for students, teachers and the community. Further, this unique place will become a new educational forum and serve as a think tank for subsequent projects.

Prior to 1999, NVF recognized an incredible demand in Los Angeles for new schools. School-age population was soaring, and public school administration battled with a classroom space crisis. NVF responded by creating new charter schools in the city. It partnered with Pueblo Nuevo, a not-for-profit community development organization, and with EXED, a financial management firm, to design its first charter school: Camino Nuevo Charter Academy. The school opened in 2000 with 380 students; today, it has three campuses with approximately 1,000 children enrolled. NVF’s second charter school, Los Angeles Academy of Arts and Enterprise, will open in 2005-06. It was formed through a partnership with Moctezuma Esparza, founder of Maya Pictures (Salena and The Milagro Beanfield War) and EXED. A third, the New Village School, will be a unique residential middle and upper school for foster children and youth, designed in cooperation with Los Angeles Appleseed and EXED.

NVF’s special programs and national models include the Center for Educational Opportunity. Begun in 2000, the program matches foster children with appropriate independent and public schools and stays with them as a supportive presence until they go to college. The enrolled foster children have maintained excellent attendance and academic records, defying grim national statistics.

Another NVF program is Community Partners. This engaging after-school educational program, now in its third year at Camp Gonzales (a youth detention camp in Calabasas, California), is designed to offer positive alternatives to youth offenders while in camp and provide them with transitional support post-detention. After school courses include journalism, film-making and computer graphics. Anecdotal evidence points to the program having positive effects on the incarcerated youth, with some outstanding success in placing youth in private schools, community colleges and career paths post-detention. Quantitative evidence shows that the Community Partners program also results in dramatically lowering recidivism rates for participants. NVF created and manages this innovative program through three competitive grants awarded to them by the Los Angeles County Probation Department.

Families Helping Families (FHF), a third outreach program of NVF, sponsors needy local families in the short-term so they can eventually be entirely self-sufficient. FHF believes that a relatively small investment of time and dollars now can literally change the destiny of a family when that commitment is focused on developing quality education for the children, helping to locate safer family homes as well as job or job-track programs (community college, vocational training and adult education). Efforts have already produced dramatic turnarounds in families served.

Friends for the Future is now in its third year. This is a student education and exchange program whereby high school students from Japan learn English and have home stays in Los Angeles area homes. Conversely, high school students from Los Angeles also have educational and cultural exchange experiences in Japan. The program has nearly doubled in size after one year in operation and hopes to expand to other countries in the future.

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