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Ne-Yo's Compound Foundation and George Lucas: "Fostering A Legacy" Benefit

A beautiful mansion as a part of the glorious, commodious arena that is East Hampton was host to the 1st Annual Compound Foundation's "Fostering A Legacy Benefit," which was presented by Porsche Cars (North America). The Compound Foundation has been in effect since 2007 from Ne-Yo and his business partner Reynell Hay, with the crooner's mother Loraine Smith as the President. Compound is an earnest, altruistic effort to support the dreams and conditions of children in foster care and group placement, and the foundation has produced various youth development and empowerment programs, and scholarships.

On July 14, charitable individuals including some familiar faces such as Russell Simmons, Elise Neal, Rosci Diaz, Jason Kidd, Adrienne Bailon and Ravaughn from Empire Girls—and a discreet Paula Abdul attended the fundrasier benefit and award ceremony.

The latest comeback kid, comedic star Arsenio Hall, co-hosted the event with Ne-Yo, and two other major icons were also within reach. A revolutionary for his ideas in film; the other, an exemplary figure of an ordinary person that did an extraordinary act. George Lucas, the creator of the renown Stars Wars and Indiana Jones series, was one of two honorees of the night.

Lucas exclaimed during the acceptance speech of his Compound award that he made films to "inspire kids" and to remind them that a "real future was out there for them". As the father of three adopted children, he jokingly stated that at the end of the day, "It all comes down to the black mother" which was met with hearty laughter and a round of applause, and was in reference to his (literally) blushing fiancee who was in the audience. Roscoe Brown who was an original member of the Tuskegee Airmen (the first U.S. black military aviators, in WWII) was also there, as Lucas masterminded the film Red Tails about the Airmen released earlier this year (as he had famously used $93 million of own money to finance the film which Hollywood had been resisting for years). The other honoree was The Coca-Cola Company for their impressive contribution of $19 million towards educational initiatives, participation in volunteer work, and apprenticeships, with a staff of the company happily accepting the award on the popular beverage company's behalf.

When asked about how the film Red Tails directly connects to The Compound Foundation, in a baseball-styled cap that donned the film's title, Brown said: "The Compound is about ambition, overcoming obstacles because of prejudice, which Red Tails was all about. We had to strive for excellence. Both are encouraging kids to be as good as anybody at anything." Ne-Yo concurred Brown's statement by adding, "Your circumstances have nothing to do with how far you can go. The sky is not the limit." As the affable host, when he spoke of Ne-Yo and Compound, Hall had nothing but praise, which he pronounced in his distinctive chatterbox excitement: "I was first approached by doing something for the program back at the premiere of Death at a Funeral, and I was talking with Chris Rock. You know Ne-Yo...is a classy guy, and I just had to tell him that. And I'm glad when people say he's not the black Sinatra because he's very special. He's giving hope to those that really need it."

As Hall went on to recall the hilarious memories of his reaction to his cameo in the film Ghost, Rosci urged the press to "vote Obama" during a photo op, and Frank Ocean's channel ORANGE receiving two thumbs up from Ne-Yo, it was a jovial afternoon that turned into a calm breeze of a night with donations for the organization at a great high. It all concluded with Ne-Yo performing a medley of his hits like "Sexy Love" and "Give Me Everything" to a ready to dance crowd. The benefit was graciously held at the mansion of philanthropists Bill and Michele Nuti, and theme of the night stayed strong on passing on the desire to create an admirable legacy, the importance of believing in yourself, and the simple yet meaningful kindness of helping others.

To learn more, please check out www.compoundfoundation.org

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Bryshere Gray attends the 2018 Fox Network Upfront at Wollman Rink, Central Park on May 14, 2018 in New York City.
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'Empire' Actor Bryshere Y. Gray Arrested For Traffic Offense

Bryshere Y. Gray, best known for his role on Empire, was arrested in Chicago.

According to TMZ, the 25-year-old was pulled over because his temporary license plate did not match the 2014 Rolls Royce that he was driving. Karie James, Chicago Police spokeswoman confirmed the arrest with The Washington Post.

The arrest happened Thursday (June 13) but caught media attention on Monday (June 17). The actor was arrested on a misdemeanor registration charge, ticketed for driving an uninsured vehicle and failure to carry a driver's license.

He is currently not in police custody.

Gray is best known for his role in Empire as Hakeem Lyon, who lacks discipline and guidance as he tries to reach for hip-hop superstar fame, under his father Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard) and his mother Cookie Lyon (Taraji P. Henson).  He also starred as Michael Bivins, in the award-winning BET mini-series, The New Edition Story.

He was nominated for Best Actor at the 2018 BET awards.

Gray has been in the entertainment industry since 2013 performing at music festivals including Jay-Z's Made in America and The Roots' Picnic Festival. He also was an opening rap act for rappers 2 Chainz and Fabolous.

The series finale of Empire will premiere this fall. Entertainment Tonight reports, that the sixth season will return to its regular show time on Tuesdays 9 p.m. ET/PT.

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T.I. performs during VH1's Annual "Dear Mama: A Love Letter To Mom" at The Theatre at Ace Hotel on May 02, 2019 in Los Angeles, California
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T.I. Partners With Atlanta Church To End Mass Incarceration

T.I. is already set to star in a movie that covers the Flint, Michigan water crisis, but now the rapper is partnering with Ebenezer Baptist Church to address the national concern for mass incarceration.

According to The Washington Post, the conference starts June 17 to June 19th at the historic church in Atlanta, home of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

T.I. will contribute in efforts to bailing out those in jail of poor and working-class citizens. Reverend Raphael Warnock stated the goals of the conference include helping communities to fight the rise of prison industrial complex in the U.S. systems that unfairly imprison of color.

Auburn Seminary of New York, The Temple of Atlanta, and Ebenezer Baptist Church, among other interfaith partners will also be in attendance during the conference that is nationally titled, "The Multifaith Movement To End Mass Incarceration". The initiative is set to leverage the spiritual power, people power, and other resources in faith communities toward ongoing efforts on ending mass incarceration, as said by Auburn Seminary.

The initiative has two stages, the momentum phase that goes through June 2019 and the implementation phase that begins June 2019 and ends May 30, 2023.

Momentum will establish the groundwork for implementation as well as identify additional partners at the end of the three-day conference. Other agenda items during stage one include adopting policies and practices of alternatives to incarceration from the municipal, state and national operations.

Whereas, the implementation phase will provide training and resource sharing among faith-based leaders within their communities that will show a visible resistance to the prison system.

The Central Park Five, also known as the Exonerated Five will also be apart of the summit. Speaking to The Root, Yusef Salaam, explained just how the important the conference is to prison reform.

“This conference is very important in ending mass incarceration and the systemic issues around black and brown people,” Salaam said to The Root. “Since the film, When They See Us, has come out, a lot is being done to expose the trauma of being black in America; of being stigmatized in America, and I want to use my platform to expose this ugly reality, especially as it pertains to young people, so that there will never again be a Central Park Five, there will never again be a Kalief Browder, and we can finally change this system for good.”

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CNN Sparks Backlash For Article On White Woman Named LaKeisha

Over the weekend, CNN ignited a debate after they highlighted the story of a woman from a small town in western Ohio with an “ethnic-sounding” name.

LaKeisha Francis is a blonde-haired, blue-eyed bartender who did not know that her name was “stereotypically black,” as her parents believed it was just a beautiful name that they wanted their daughter to have. However, as she grew older, she realized that her “ethnic-sounding name” was making life difficult.

“I was joking with my co-worker one day and said, 'I'm just going to tell them my name is Emily so I can avoid all of this,''' Francis says of the comments she receives in response to her name, which range from snickering to disbelief from others due to her appearance.

“So if black-sounding names are looked at with such suspicion, why do some black people persist in using them?” one of the questions raised in the article read. “And where did the practice start in the first place?”

Later in the article, CNN reveals that LaKeisha is married with two kids who bear non-traditional names as well, and that she has “learned to live with being black for a minute.”

“A name doesn't make a non-Black person 'Black for a minute,' that's a trash take,” wrote one Twitter user in response to the article. Another wrote “I don’t know what you were trying to accomplish with this when black folk faced with ethnic names faced more consequences than a white chick name lakiesha.”

Where do you stand on the topic? Let us know in the comments, and check out a few opinions below.

Read it twice just to make sure I didn't miss anything the first time. And sure enough it was worse the second time around. A name doesn't make a non-Black person "Black for a minute," that's a trash take. S/n: Jamal while a somewhat common name in the Black community is Arabic. pic.twitter.com/O6HXYeM66M

— IAmDamion🎤 (@themorganrpt) June 16, 2019

I don’t know what you were trying to accomplish with this when black folk faced with ethnic names faced more consequences than a white chick name lakiesha. I’m sure with her complexion she still got the American protection!

— H Boog (@HankDon_1) June 16, 2019

I don’t know what you were trying to accomplish with this when black folk faced with ethnic names faced more consequences than a white chick name lakiesha. I’m sure with her complexion she still got the American protection!

— H Boog (@HankDon_1) June 16, 2019

I don’t know what you were trying to accomplish with this when black folk faced with ethnic names faced more consequences than a white chick name lakiesha. I’m sure with her complexion she still got the American protection!

— H Boog (@HankDon_1) June 16, 2019

I don’t know what you were trying to accomplish with this when black folk faced with ethnic names faced more consequences than a white chick name lakiesha. I’m sure with her complexion she still got the American protection!

— H Boog (@HankDon_1) June 16, 2019

She can change her name. But we can’t change the color of our skin or the hate they have for us.

— Sh (@shersweety) June 16, 2019

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