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V Exclusive: Grant Hill's Uncensored Open Letter Response To Jalen Rose

The New York Times recently ran Grant Hill's open letter response to comments made by Jalen Rose in the ESPN 30 for 30 "Fab 5" documentary. What you didn't know is that the NYT edited Hill's letter. Below is the unedited letter in it's entirety.


I am a fan, friend and long time competitor of the Fab Five.  This should not be a surprise because I am a contemporary of every member of that iconic team.  I have competed against Jalen and Chris since the age of 13.  Jalen, Chris, and Juwan are my friends and have been for 25 years.  At Michigan, they represented a cultural phenomenon that impacted the country in a permanent and positive way.  The very idea of the Fab Five elicited pride and promise in much the same way the Georgetown teams did in the mid-80s when I was in high school and idolized them.   Their journey from youthful icons to successful men today is a road map for so many young, black men (and women) who saw their journey through the powerful documentary, Fab Five.

            It was a sad and somewhat pathetic turn of events, therefore, to see friends narrating this interesting documentary about their moment in time and calling me a bitch and worse, calling all black players at Duke “Uncle Toms” and, to some degree, disparaging my parents for their education, work ethic and commitment to each other and to me.  I should have guessed there was something regrettable in the documentary when Jay Williams and I received a Twitter apology from Jalen before its airing.  And, I am aware Jalen has gone to some length to explain his remarks about my family in numerous interviews, so I believe he has some admiration for them.

In his garbled but sweeping comment that  “Duke only recruits black Uncle Toms,” Jalen seems to change the usual meaning of those very vitriolic words into his own meaning, i.e., blacks from two-parent, middle class families.  He leaves us all guessing exactly what he believes today.   And, I wonder if I would have suggested to former Detroit Pistons GM Rick Sund to keep Jimmy King on the team if I had known, back then in the mid-90s, that he would call me a bitch on a nationally televised show in 2011.

         I am beyond fortunate to have two parents who are still working well into their 60s.  They received great educations and use them every day.   My parents taught me a personal ethic I try to live by and pass on to my children.  They remain committed to each other after more than 40 years and to my wife, Tamia, our children, and me.  They are my role models and always will be.  

I come from a strong legacy of black Americans.  My namesake, Henry Hill, my father's father, was a day laborer in Baltimore.  He could not read or write until he was taught to do so by my grandmother.   His first present to my dad was a set of encyclopedias, which I now have to remind me of the importance of education.  He wanted his only child, my father, to have a good education, so he made numerous sacrifices to see that he got an education, including attending Yale.   This is part of our great tradition as black Americans.  We aspire for the best or better for our children and work hard to make that happen for them.  Jalen's mother is part of our great, black tradition and made the same sacrifices for him.

       It is unbeknownst to me what Jalen meant by his convoluted reference to black players at Duke considering how little he knows about any of them.  My teammates—all of them, black and white—were a band of brothers who came together to play at the highest level for the best coach in basketball.   I know most of the black players who preceded and followed me at Duke.  They all contribute to our tradition of excellence on the court. It is insulting and ignorant to suggest that men such as Johnny Dawkins (coach at Stanford), Tommy Amaker (coach at Harvard), Billy King (GM at the Nets), Tony Lang (coach of the Mitsubishi Diamond Dolphins in Japan ), Thomas Hill (small business owner in Texas), Jeff Capel (former coach at Oklahoma), Kenny Blakeley (assistant coach at Harvard), Jay Williams (ESPN analyst), Shane Battier (Memphis Grizzlies) or Chris Duhon (Orlando Magic) now or ever sold out their race.   To hint that those who grew up in a household with a mother and father are somehow less black than those who did not is beyond ridiculous.  All of us are extremely proud of the current team, especially Nolan Smith.  He was raised by his mother, plays in memory of his late father and carries himself with the pride and confidence that they instilled in him.  He is the quintessential young Dukie.

         The sacrifice, the effort, the education and the friendships I experienced in my four years are priceless and cherished.  The many Duke graduates I have met around the world are also my "family," and they are a special group of people.    A good education is a privilege.   At Duke, the expectations are high for all of us.   Just as Jalen has founded a charter school in Michigan, we are expected to use our education to help others, to improve life for those who need our assistance and to use the excellent education we have received to better the world.   The total experience at Duke taught us to think before we act, to pause before we speak and to realize that as adults we have a responsibility to do good, not just do well.   A highlight of my time at Duke was getting to know the late, great John Hope Franklin, James B. Duke Professor of History and the leading scholar of the last century on the total history of African Americans in this country.  His insights and perspectives contributed significantly to my overall development and helped me understand myself, my forefathers, and my place in the world.

          Ad ingenium faciendum, toward the building of character, is a phrase I recently heard.  To me, it is the essence of an educational experience.  Struggling, succeeding, trying again and having fun within a nurturing but competitive environment built character in all of us, including every black graduate of Duke.  

         My mother always says, "You can live without Chaucer and you can live without calculus, but you cannot make it in the wide, wide world without common sense."     As we get older, we understand the importance of these words.  Adulthood is nothing but a series of choices:  you can say yes or no, but you cannot avoid saying one or the other.  In the end, those who are successful are those who adjust and adapt to the decisions they have made and make the best of them.   I only hope I can instill in my children the same work ethic, the same values, the same common sense approach to life and the same pursuit of excellence my parents, Coach K and Duke gave me.

         I caution my fabulous five friends to avoid stereotyping me and others they do not know in much the same way so many people stereotyped you back then for your appearance and swagger.  I wish for you the restoration of the bond that made you friends, brothers and icons.  I hope you reach closure with your university so you will enjoy all the privileges of its greatness.

         I try to live my life as a good husband and father.  I am proud of my family.  I am proud of my Duke championships and all my Duke teammates.  And, I am proud I never lost a game against the Fab Five.

Grant Henry Hill
Phoenix Suns
Duke ‘94

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Netflix Pledges To Invest $100 Million Into Black Owned-Banks And Black Communities

As part of their “commitment to racial equality,” Netflix has pledged to invest $100 million into Black communities to help build economic opportunity.

"Going forward, Netflix is going to allocate two percent of our cash holdings - initially up to $100 million - into financial institutions and organizations that directly support Black communities in the U.S.,” Aaron Mitchell, director of talent and acquisition,  and Shannon Alwyn, treasury director, announced in a blog post on Tuesday (June 30).

The company will move $25 million into a newly established Black Economic Development Initiative managed by Local Initiative Support Corporation, a nonprofit community development financial organization that assists underserved communities. LISC will invest the money into “Black financial institutions serving low and moderate-income communities and Black community development corporations in the U.S.”

Additionally, Netflix plans to make a $10 million “transformational deposit” into Hope Credit Union to help boost “economic opportunity” in Black communities in the Deep South.

“This capital will fuel social mobility and opportunity in the low- and moderate-income communities these groups serve,” the company added. “We plan to redirect even more of our cash to Black-led and focused institutions as we grow, and we hope others will do the same.”

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August Alsina Stands By Comments About Jada Pinkett Smith

August Alsina isn’t done speaking up. The singer took to Instagram on Friday (July 3) to clarify a few things about his bombshell interview with Angela Yee.

“The journey to freedom is a deeply complex, tricky, and turbulent road to tow; yet very necessary,” begins the lengthy post.

The 27-year-old New Orleans native also spoke about oppression, and affirms his commitment to “transparency” and “truth,” no matter how hard things get. “Truth & Transparency makes us uncomfortable, yes, but I can’t apologize for that. A tower of truth can never fall, only a tower of lies can do that. My truth is MY truth, & [it's] mine to own. There is no right or wrong here, it simply just IS.”

Towards the end of the post, Alsina appears to directly address Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith. “My heart has no malice or hate toward anyone on this planet. I just simply want the chains off & I’m willing to DIE getting there. The gift of freedom is yours to have, God promises us that, but only if you’re willing & God is not a man that HE should lie.. & I’m His SON, so neither would I.

“With that being said,” he continued. “I should also say that, no one was side swiped by any conversation, everyone got courtesy calls time in advance. Wishing Everyone Big Love!”

The Smiths have denied Alsina’s claims that he had an affair with Jada with Will's permission. On Thursday (July 2), Jada announced that she will be booking herself on Red Table Talk, presumably to address the rumors.

Read Alsina's full Instagram post below.

 

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God said, We may grow weary and tired fighting in the fire, but we shall NOT be burned! The journey to freedom is a deeply complex, tricky, and turbulent road to tow; yet very necessary. Oppression comes in so many forms these days, beginning w/ physical slavery and bondage to the white man, then passed down generational programming that manifest into mental enslavement. Slaves to an idea, slaves to an image, slaves to a code of conduct, slaves to a picture you’ve created in your mind.. even if it contains many falsities.. & anything that differentiates from your “idea” & “image” feels like an attack. & I get it; not only do i get it but I’m also sorry you feel that way, BUT, The only attack here is against the invisible walls of silent societal construct and “code” we place upon each other & upon ourselves hidden behind the desires of others approval & acceptance; another form of slavery & bondage that blocks one’s truest self from showing & spirit flow. Be blocked and stuck for what? Live silent, pressed down crippled in fear for who ? Adversary is but a gift given to you to flourish. We are surround by so much disharmony in this external world, so it is my forever job to do whatever’s necessary to reach the gift of harmony within myself. Truth & Transparency makes us uncomfortable, yes, but i can’t apologize for that. A tower of truth can never fall, only a tower of lies can do that. My truth is MY truth, & its mine to own. There is no right or wrong here, it simply just IS. & I make room and have acceptance for your thoughts and opinions, regardless if I agree or not, you have that freedom to feel WHATEVER it is u feel because when you’re at TRUE peace, all of the noise and chatter becomes that of a whisper. My heart has no malice or hate toward anyone on this planet. I just simply want the chains off & I’m willing to DIE getting there. The gift of freedom is yours to have, God promises us that, but only if you’re willing. &God is not a man that HE should lie.. & I’m His SON, so neither would I. 🙏🏽 W/ that being said i should also say that, no one was side swiped by any conversation, everyone got courtesy calls time in advance. Wishing Everyone Big Love!

A post shared by Yungin' (@augustalsina) on Jul 3, 2020 at 1:12pm PDT

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Jay Z’s Team Roc Demands Arrest Of Milwaukee Cop Who Killed 3 People

Team Roc, the social justice sector under Jay Z’s Roc Nation imprint, is demanding the arrest and prosecution of a Milwaukee cop who shot and killed three people of color, including a Black teenage boy, over the last five years.

The organization took out a full-page ad in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Thursday (July 2), calling for the arrest of Officer Joseph Mensah. “Let us start off with a simple question,” reads the letter addressed to Milwaukee County D.A. John Chisolm.“How many more people must die at the hands of Officer Joseph Mensah? Since joining the Wauwatosa Police Department in 2015, Mensah has shot and killed three men of color — Alvin Cole, Antonio Gonzales and Jay Anderson — with an excessive total of NINETEEN fired shots. His actions demonstrate an utter disregard for the lives of these young men.”

The letter goes on to state that the police department’s failure to enforce body cameras, and “failure to preserve video evidence” has impeded numerous investigations. “We are calling for your office to prosecute Mensah to ensure that he never kills anyone again, and to immediately outfit all of our police officers with body cameras. It is your responsibility to do the right thing, hold Mensah accountable for his actions and protect Wauwatosa citizens from further tragedy.”

Cole, the youngest of the shooting victims, was killed in February. Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry Weber claims that the 17 year old fired a gun at officers “before the police officer fired theirs.”

Gonzales, 29, was killed in July 2015, because he refused to drop a sword. At the time, police were responding to a 911 call placed by a homeowner who claimed Gonzales was intoxicated and behaving erratically.

Anderson, a 25-year-old father, was shot and killed while sitting in his car at about 3 a.m. on June 23, 2016. Mensah claimed that Anderson reached for a gun as he approached the vehicle. Prosecutors decided that Mensah acted in self defense, but have since agreed to review the case.

“I would like to see him do some time for the killings he has done,” Anderson's mother said of Mensah. “It is not norma to kill three people. He is a murderer."

Read Team Roc's full letter below.

JAY-Z's Team Roc calls for the prosecution of police officer who has killed 3 men of color

The social justice sector of Roc Nation wrote an open letter in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel to Milwaukee DA @DAJohnChisholm,calling for the firing & prosecution of officer Joseph Mensah pic.twitter.com/RvDfh7jSCV

— JAY-Z Daily (@JAY_Z_Daily) July 2, 2020

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