The Grio

Another Aaliyah film in the works, author Zane to...

Another Aaliyah film in the works, author Zane to pen script

theGRIO REPORT - Fiction author Zane confirms that she is writing the script for a new Aaliyah biopic expected to hit theaters in late 2015 starring...
Narcotics officers reportedly steal more than...

Narcotics officers reportedly steal more than half a million dollars from suspects

theGRIO REPORT - The FBI has arrested six Philadelphia Police narcotics officers as part of a corruption probe into the department.
Renisha McBride update: Victim’s alcohol use in...

Renisha McBride update: Victim’s alcohol use in spotlight

THE GRIO VIDEO - Expert witness testifies on amount of alcohol Renisha McBride consumed on the night Theodore Wafer fatally shot her.
These fire and fainting challenges are stupid and...

These fire and fainting challenges are stupid and dangerous

OPINION - A teenage boy stands in the shower wearing shorts and douses himself in acetone (nail polish remover). He lights a match and throws it on himself. When he catches fire, he runs around the house in pain until he ends up back in the shower and his friends put the flame out...
Broadway unites to protest police violence and...

Broadway unites to protest police violence and honor Eric Garner

theGRIO REPORT - Broadway stars, directors, producers, musicians, choreographers, designers and technicians from some of the most prominent productions gathered in front of the police station in Times Square on Tuesday...
Mike Tyson debuts new cartoon series at Comic...

Mike Tyson debuts new cartoon series at Comic Con: ‘Mike Tyson Mysteries’

(AP) — He didn't always stay on topic, and not everything he said was politically correct or easy to understand, but most of the audience at the Comic-Con panel for Mike Tyson's new animated Adult Swim series roared with laughter throughout.

Black Enterprise

Woody Allen Talks Lack of Black Actors in Films

Woody Allen Talks Lack of Black Actors in Films

The veteran filmmaker, Woody Allen, explains to the New York Observer why his films aren't…
George Zimmerman’s New Job? Security At a Gun...

George Zimmerman’s New Job? Security At a Gun Store

Trayvon Martin's shooter, George Zimmerman, has a new job working as security at a place…
Largest Ever US-Africa Summit Arrives in...

Largest Ever US-Africa Summit Arrives in Washington DC

First of its kind 3-day U.S.-Africa summit begins first week in August.
VH1 No. One Cable Network Among Black Viewers

VH1 No. One Cable Network Among Black Viewers

VH1 was the most watched cable network during prime time in black households, with 8.1…
President Obama To GOP: ‘Stop Hatin’ All The...

President Obama To GOP: ‘Stop Hatin’ All The Time’

President Obama has some strong words for the Republican Party after being threatened with litigation.
EA Access Allows Gamers To Play Xbox One Games...

EA Access Allows Gamers To Play Xbox One Games For $5

Is EA Access a new and radical step in home entertainment for gamers? Their new…

The Root

Black and Hispanic Journalist Associations Will...

Black and Hispanic Journalist Associations Will Have Joint Convention in 2016!

Meeting Could Assemble Most Journalists of Color Since '08

Katy ‘the Queen of Cultural Appropriation’...

Katy ‘the Queen of Cultural Appropriation’ Perry Is at It Again

What has the world done so bad to deserve yet another shitastic Katy Perry video that displays her amazing ability to take appropriation to a whole different level?

Calif. Playhouse Struggles to Cast Black Male...

Calif. Playhouse Struggles to Cast Black Male Roles for Ragtime

If you have stellar vocal ability, experience with period pieces, a passion for community theater, are willing to work for free—oh, and you are a black man—a Southern California playhouse may have a spot for you, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Theodore Wafer’s Defense Team Calls Medical...

Theodore Wafer’s Defense Team Calls Medical Examiner in Murder Trial

The controversial trial of Theodore Wafer, the Dearborn Heights, Mich., man charged with manslaughter and second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of unarmed black teen Renisha McBride, continued in Michigan Wednesday, with the defense taking the forefront on Day 5 of the trial as the prosecution rested its case, the Detroit Free Press reports.

Ray Rice Publicly Apologizes to Wife, Says...

Ray Rice Publicly Apologizes to Wife, Says Domestic Violence Is Inexcusable 

Just a week after receiving his two-game suspension from the Baltimore Ravens, Ray Rice has publicly apologized to his wife at a press conference held Thursday at the Ravens training center in Baltimore.

Upstate NY Police Label Alleged Shooting Suspect...

Upstate NY Police Label Alleged Shooting Suspect a ‘Dark Negro’

Lockport, N.Y., police apparently thought it would be OK to label the complexion of 19-year-old Shamir Allen as “dark Negro” on his mug shot in the police department’s database, WGRZ-TV reports. Allen was detained for alleged involvement in a string of shootings that have hit the city this year, according to WGRZ.

Black Voices (Huffington Post)

This Will Make Some Special Education Advocates...

This Will Make Some Special Education Advocates Really Happy

NEW YORK -- New York students with disabilities will be held to the same academic standards and take the same standardized tests as other kids their age next school year, the U.S. Education Department said Thursday, spurning the state's efforts to change the policy.

Some special education advocates hailed the Education Department decision, saying it will enable students with disabilities to continue receiving the same opportunities as peers. "We think it's a victory for the potential of every child," said Denise Marshall, executive director of the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates Inc. "We thank the department for sticking to their guns."

The Education Department said Thursday that New York, as well as Minnesota, South Carolina, Delaware and Georgia, could hold onto waivers from the No Child Left Behind Act for another year. A federal official told New York schools chief John King in a letter that the state "may continue to implement" flexibility of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act though the 2014-15 school year, keeping state standards for students with disabilities the same as they had been.

King had proposed allowing up to 2 percent of New York students with severe disabilities to be tested at their instructional ability -- not their chronological grade year -- up to two full grade levels below current grade level. The change would, for example, allow a 5th grader with autism to be tested on exams written for third graders.

King made the proposal after taking heat for months over the state's implementation of the Common Core State Standards, a set of learning benchmarks being adopted by most states. State officials had said the outcry from special education teachers was especially loud.

The schools chief's idea for testing students with disabilities was part of his bid to renew the loophole that allowed the state to evade some sanctions of the No Child Left Behind Act, the 2001 law that mandated regular standardized testing. The law expired in 2007. After Congress failed to rewrite it, President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan told states in 2011 they could escape some of its components by agreeing to policies preferred by the Education Department.

New York's initial waiver from the law was approved in 2012. In an October 2013 letter preparing his request for an extension, King outlined "smarter testing options" that proposed new testing for students with disabilities.

The controversial proposal revived a concept known as out-of-level testing. Some civil rights and special education advocates opposed the proposal, saying it would shortchange vulnerable students, who they said should be tested alongside peers their own age so they don't slip behind. Proponents, including some teachers, argued that testing students with disabilities at levels out of their reach dooms their academic progress. King's idea sparked a letter-writing campaign by some advocates, and many met with federal officials this summer.

The Education Department had previously said students with disabilities should be held to the same standards as peers, so opponents of King's proposal had reason to expect they would prevail.

For years, federal officials had allowed states to test up to 2 percent of students with disabilities at lower standards. But last summer, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said he would seek to abolish the rule and allow only 1 percent of students with the most severe disabilities to take a modified test.

The change in New York's proposal stemmed from negotiations between New York and the federal government, according to sources. Education Department press secretary Dorie Nolt told The Huffington Post that New York voluntarily removed the testing language from its request for the waiver extension.

The New York State Education Department said it was pleased with the extension, and plans to press forward with alternative testing proposals. "The extension reflects modest but important adjustments to our implementation of the initial waiver," said spokesman Tom Dunn. "However, we continue to seek significant changes ... in policies governing assessments for students with disabilities and English Language Learners to ensure the assessments best inform instruction."
Advocates said they had feared approval of New York's testing change would have prompted other states to follow, segregating special education kids similar to "the Old South."

Advocates said they would continue to keep a close eye on New York. "Given the history, we will consider any proposals very carefully," said Lindsay Jones, who directs policy and advocacy for the National Center for Learning Disabilities. "Lowering standards for students with disabilities isn't the way go. Tinkering with assessments isn't either. We need to get serious about providing accommodations and helping teachers have the tools they need to instruct."

Concentrate on Africa's Children

Concentrate on Africa's Children

President Obama is convening the first-ever U.S.-Africa Leaders' Summit with over 50 African leaders in Washington D.C. next week. The event will have a strong focus on Africa's long-term economic growth, under the theme of "Investing in the Next Generation."

To us, the next generation is, quite simply, Africa's children. Some may think that concentrating on the economic well-being of Africa has little to do with children, but we strongly disagree. The economic future of Africa is all about the well-being of children -- and with one in ten of our children dying every day, it would be a terrible missed opportunity for these most vulnerable children and their mothers to not be at the center of the conversation. Africa's population is incredibly young, and getting younger. If we choose not to focus on the needs of Africa's young people, particularly newborns and children under the age of five, the stated goal of "creating an enabling environment for the next generation," will be nearly impossible to achieve. In fact, investments in maternal and child health yields economic benefits including higher per capita incomes and increased labor force participation.

The U.S.-Africa Leaders' Summit on August 5 and 6 offers an opportunity to boldly commit to prioritizing maternal, newborn and child survival in Africa. The good news is that there is such a bold plan. It is called Accelerating Action in Africa (AAA) and it is designed to dramatically accelerate the reduction of preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths in Africa -- specifically to SAVE MILLIONS OF MORE LIVES BY 2020. AAA focuses on four categories of proven interventions in 16 African countries and introduces an innovative new public-private financing mechanism. Building on foundations of evidence and experience, this initiative will combine the best practices in international development with new policy paradigms to scale up programs that will save lives.

This may seem like an unattainable goal, but there is historical precedence that this can be done. In the last few decades, the number of children dying from mostly preventable causes has dropped precipitously, from 12 million in 1990 to 6.6 million today -- more than 40 percent. In Tanzania, we reduced child deaths by nearly 70 percent over the last two decades. Our success was largely due to increasing the use of key health interventions, including vaccines, Vitamin A supplementation and better prevention and treatment of malaria.

In spite of these efforts, our work is not done: about 390 children under five in Tanzania still die each day -- mainly of preventable and treatable conditions. We are committed to putting a stop to this. That is why earlier this year, Tanzania launched a major national drive to end preventable child and maternal deaths. We have increased the number of health centers and dispensaries throughout the country. And we have committed ourselves to tackling the tragically high rates of newborn deaths.

The U.S. has a strong bipartisan legacy of leadership on this issue, but with existing resources and commitments, the goal of ending preventable child deaths will not be met. It is clear more must be done. Now -- at this historic coming together of heads of state -- is the time to accelerate our efforts with a presidential initiative. In this vein we call on President Obama to join with African leaders to launch a truly collaborative partnership of modern foreign assistance. The AAA proposal is unique as it is calling for the full deployment of one of the most promising tools for innovative financing of social goals: Development Impact Bonds. This innovative financing mechanism will bring in new partners and investors who will provide upfront funding for interventions that have specific evidence-based outcomes that can be monetized against savings for existing government programs. If these interventions achieve pre-agreed outcome measures, the private investor is reimbursed with an additional return on the investment using the capital gained by the savings.

Uniting American and African leaders from the public and private sector to tackle building the foundation of long term economic prosperity, the AAA proposal isn't typical in any respect.

As a result of the investments in maternal newborn and child survival programs and policy by Africans and from our friends in America, we now have the evidence to not only solve the problem but to create private investment opportunities to help enact solutions at a scale unimaginable until now. This isn't aid or charity; it's economics and partnership. Indeed, it's potentially history.

We ask that President Obama join with African leaders at the Summit to launch an international "Action Tank," a group comprised of the brightest minds from governments, non-governmental organizations, international development, global health, nutrition, child survival and international finance sectors, who will be well equipped to tackle this unique challenge and design a truly innovative 21st century idea that solves a problem -- not just tinkers with it. Presidential initiatives like this have been set up before and they have achieved incredible results. The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has provided life-saving treatment for more than 6 million people.

It is time we do the same for the most vulnerable mothers and children in the world. The next generation -- and Africa's future -- depends on it.

Kikwete has been Tanzania's president since 2005. Shriver is president of Save the Children Action Network.

This piece originally ran in The Hill.
Senators Call On NFL, Baltimore Ravens To Give...

Senators Call On NFL, Baltimore Ravens To Give Ray Rice A Harsher Punishment

A group of senators sent a letter Thursday to National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell calling for a harsher punishment for Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice.

Rice was arrested following a Feb. 15 altercation in New Jersey in which he allegedly physically assaulted his then-fiance, Janay Palmer. He was suspended by the NFL for two games, a lesser sentence than other players received after testing positive for marijuana during the offseason.

Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) called for a harsher punishment for Rice, sending letters on the issue to both Goodell and Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome. In their request to Goodell, the senators also asked for the NFL to have improve its procedures to ensure that allegations and evidence of domestic violence are addressed appropriately.

"The decision to suspend Mr. Rice for a mere two games sends the inescapable message that the NFL does not take domestic or intimate-partner violence with the seriousness they deserve," the senators wrote.

“Mr. Rice’s suspension reflects a disturbingly lenient, even cavalier attitude towards violence against women,” the senators continued. “We therefore urge you to take two steps immediately. First, reconsider and revise Mr. Rice’s suspension to more adequately reflect the seriousness of his offense. We are also writing to the Baltimore Ravens to request that they impose additional discipline under their own authority, but it is imperative that the NFL itself makes clear that this conduct is truly unacceptable.”

See the full letter from the senators to Goodell below:

Blumenthal Baldwin Murphy to Goodell

Aloe Blacc Explains Why He Didn't Receive Billing...

Aloe Blacc Explains Why He Didn't Receive Billing For Avicii's Hit 'Wake Me Up'

Before Aloe Blacc was acting in the new James Brown biopic "Get On Up," he both wrote and provided vocals for the ubiquitous 2013 EDM song "Wake Me Up."

Despite the song's exorbitant popularity, the only artist credited is Avicii, the record's producer. In a HuffPost Live interview on Thursday, the singer clued us in on why his name is noticeably absent from the platinum hit's billing.

"I came in with the lyrics and I just developed a melody, and we all thought it was something very strong," he recounted. "We finished the song that night as the acoustic version, then Avicii made the dance mix in a couple of days, and that's what we released to the world, and that was his release."

While Blacc admitted that it's "not advisable" for anyone to forego receiving credit -- and that "everyone deserves" it for their respective contributions -- he expressed joy for how well the song's been received by the masses.

"The song matters more than I do, and that's evident by how many people love the song," he said. "At the end of the day, when I'm dead and gone, the song will still live on. It doesn't matter -- I'm just lucky enough to be able to be the person to bring it into the world."

Watch more of Aloe Blacc's conversation with HuffPost Live here.

Sign up here for Live Today, HuffPost Live's new morning email that will let you know the newsmakers, celebrities and politicians joining us that day and give you the best clips from the day before!
Appearance vs. Authenticity

Appearance vs. Authenticity

Many employees are encouraged to "just be yourself," only to find their authenticity -- and their career ambitions -- constrained by unwritten office rules about appearance, speech and behavior. Professionals of color, especially, find there is a much narrower band of acceptance, and the constraints bite harder. Because senior leaders are overwhelmingly "pale and male" -- professionals of color hold only 11 percent of executive positions in corporate America -- upcoming professionals of color often feel they have to scrub themselves of the ethnic, religious, racial, socioeconomic and educational identifiers that make them who they really are.

One such long-simmering identifier that recently exploded into the public eye: hair.

When Today co-host Tamron Hall recently appeared with unprocessed hair, her natural-style sparked a firestorm on the blogosphere. Three months earlier, the U.S. Army announced an updated grooming policy that prohibited certain natural-hair styles, such as cornrows, braids, two-strand twists and dreadlocks. Some soldiers and members of the Congressional Black Caucus claimed that the new regulations targeted African-Americans serving in the military.

This is no tempest in a teapot. As Erin C.J. Robertson explained in a recent blog,
"... in America, black hair has been and remains highly political. It has been used as a yardstick, for blacks and whites alike, to measure beauty, respectability and worth."

Although rarely fought in such a public forum, skirmishes over appearance versus authenticity flare up almost daily in the corporate arena, where how you look is a key element in executive presence (EP). As I explain in my new book, Executive Presence: The Missing Link between Merit and Success, performance, hard work and sponsors may get top talent recognized and promoted, but "leadership potential" alone isn't enough to boost even the most qualified men and women into top jobs and prime opportunities. Moving up in an organization depends on looking and acting like a leader, on being perceived as having "executive presence." According to research from the Center for Talent Innovation (CTI), EP constitutes 26 percent of what senior leaders say it takes to get that next promotion.

EP rests on three pillars: gravitas, communications skills and appearance. And while most senior executives (and coworkers) see appearance as unimportant in the long run -- think of Mark Zuckerberg's signature hoody -- the fact is, it is a critical first filter through which gravitas and communication skills are evaluated. That explains why high-performing junior executives often get knocked out of contention for key roles and promotions: Get appearance wrong and you're struck off the list. Conversely, cracking the appearance code opens doors and puts you in play.

But what if conforming to your organization's definition of EP clashes with your sense of self?

CTI research found that 41 percent of professionals of color feel they need to compromise their authenticity in order to conform to EP standards at their company, 37 percent more than their Caucasian counterparts. More than 30 percent of African-American women reported having experienced style-compliance issues.

Such statistics are a call for change. CTI research shows that when people feel they cannot bring their whole selves to work, they feel disengaged and unmotivated. They burn out or leave. No organization -- whether it's a corporation or the U.S. Army -- can afford to lose the contributions of any group of talent, especially over something as trivial as a hairstyle.

As our economy grows ever more globalized, and competition for market share intensifies, companies are under ever-greater pressure to innovate -- both to retain market share and to capture new markets in emerging economies and underserved markets. New CTI research shows that an inherently diverse team -- one that includes members who are female, nonwhite or of non-European origin, or LGBT -- boosts the team's innovative potential by providing critical insights into the unmet needs and wants of overlooked or underserved end users like themselves. In other words, your inherent difference can make you a valuable asset to teams -- and leaders -- who can benefit from the unique perspective that difference confers.

Ultimately, the authenticity conundrum can be solved by enabling others to recognize the value that difference brings. In today's hyper-competitive world, the organization absolutely needs you to bring your whole self to work.

At the same time, there's no doubt that we still have a long way to go. Tell us what you think: If you want to be perceived as leadership material, do you suppress your difference or embrace it? Is assimilation a smart career strategy or a sell-out, a compromise to your authenticity or just a compromise?
The Hip-Hop Artists With The Largest Vocabulary,...

The Hip-Hop Artists With The Largest Vocabulary, Revamped

A couple months ago, Matt Daniels wowed wordsmiths and hip-hop enthusiasts alike with his hip-hop flow chart. It ranked 85 rappers by the size of the vocabulary in their songs.

hip hop chart

Now, Daniels has upped the ante by expanding his repertoire to 100 artists. The hard data is brilliantly illustrated in the above print from Pop Chart Lab, which is available for purchase.

In version 2.0, Daniels decided to make a concerted effort to include rappers known for their extensive vocabularies. And, as he predicted, many of them -- for example, Jedi Mind Tricks, Action Bronson, Jean Grae, Del, Sage Francis and Immortal Technique -- shot straight to the top of the list.

Plus, who wouldn't want these amazing illustrations of 100 rappers on their wall? Sign us up.


Throwback Thursday: Black Leaders Back in the Day

Throwback Thursday: Black Leaders Back in the Day

Leaders take us on a trip down Memory Lane.
First Lady Expands Effort to End Vet Homelessness

First Lady Expands Effort to End Vet Homelessness

Leaders pledge to end vet homelessness by end of 2015.
Sleeping 8-Year-Old Detroit Boy Shot and Killed

Sleeping 8-Year-Old Detroit Boy Shot and Killed

Jakari Pearson was in his bed when a bullet struck him.
Outbreak: Eight of the Biggest Global Health...

Outbreak: Eight of the Biggest Global Health Scares

A look at diseases that have recently spread over the world.
Shaquille O'Neal Sued For Mocking Fan on Social...

Shaquille O'Neal Sued For Mocking Fan on Social Media

NBA great and Waka Flocka among those named in lawsuit.
Mathew Knowles Teaching Course on Being Like...

Mathew Knowles Teaching Course on Being Like Beyoncé

Superstar's dad offering daylong "boot camp."

Black America Web - State of Black America

H. Hartford Brookins Dies

H. Hartford Brookins Dies

Romney Faces Tough Questions from Black Leaders

Romney Faces Tough Questions from Black Leaders

2010 Census Missed More Than 1.5 Million...

2010 Census Missed More Than 1.5 Million Minorities

Toxins Poison Florida Community

Toxins Poison Florida Community

VIDEO: Man Puts Child in Washer Machine,...

VIDEO: Man Puts Child in Washer Machine, Babysitter Watches

UCLA Medical Center Stung by Lawsuit

UCLA Medical Center Stung by Lawsuit