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Getty Images/Erykah Badu Performs At Essence Fest

Essence Festival To Expand To South Africa In 2016

The Essence Festival is going global with its first stop in Durban, South Africa. 

Essence Festival is taking its talents on a global adventure. After more than 20 years of celebrating in New Orleans, the festival is making its first global stop in Durban, South Africa.

The new location comes after the festival launched its three-year partnership with eThekwini Muncipality. Essence Communications Inc. President, Michelle Ebanks announced the municipality will host the festival in Durban in 2016 and 2017.

This new location is no surprise according to Ebanks, stating New Orleans and Dubarn are longtime sisters.

"There's a great deal in common culturally between America and South Africa. We share a history of racial, economic and social prejudice and disparities," she said. "There are many parallels and we felt expanding to South Africa was a great connection."

The Durban festival will expand by focusing on a theme of women and youth empowerment in business. A number of women-owned companies will be selected to trade at the festival. Previously, the event featured artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Erykah Badu, and Mary J. Blige. This time, it'll feature a selection of both international and local artists. Ebanks says the festival's theme and South African presence will only strengthen its brand.

"We believe that this event will strengthen the Essence Festival and deepen our connection to our attendees," Ebanks said. "There's an African proverb that says you can go fast alone or far together. Reconnecting with our community on the African continent will allow us to go far together."

Ebanks states that the New Orleans festival has fortified the cultural economy and brought a "meaningful impact to the community" by means of service and empowerment. The Durban festival is expected to have the same cultural impact.

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Man Who Recorded Murder Of Ahmaud Arbery Arrested

A third man has been arrested in the murder of Ahmaud Arbery. William “Roddie” Bryan Jr., who recorded Arbery’s murder, was taken into custody on Thursday (May 21), the Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced.

“The family is extremely relieved,” attorney S. Lee Merritt, who represents Arbery’s mother, said in response to Bryan’s arrest. “We didn’t know if this was going to happen, but we all knew that it should happen.”

Arbery was killed on Feb. 23, while out for a jog. It wasn't until two months later that his story went viral prompting an investigation by the GBI after the local D.A., who was previously over the case, declined to make any arrests.

According to jail records, 50-year-old Bryan was booked into the Glynn County Jail on charges of felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment. Bryan made his first court appearance on Friday (May 22) where his lawyer filed a motion for a speedy trial.

Bryan accompanied father and son, Gregory McMichael, 64 and Travis McMichael, 34, as they followed and cornered 25-year-old Arbery before the younger McMichael shot him to death. The McMichaels claim the shooting was self-defense.

Father and son were arrested for aggravated assault and felony murder earlier in the month. All three men are being held at the same jail.

The mugshots of Gregory and Travis McMichael, who have been charged with the murder of Ahmaud Arbery. pic.twitter.com/O0M6vPMs1Q

— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) May 8, 2020

Merrit noted that Arbery's family hopes the men will be convicted. “Well obviously we want to see the arrests lead to a formal indictment then a vigorous prosecution and conviction. But there are other people we believe were involved. We spoke with the DOJ earlier today about their investigation into the corruption that delayed these arrests in the first place.”

An attorney for the elder McMichael claimed that the pair are victims of a  “narrative driven by an incomplete set of facts.”

“While the death of Ahmaud Arbery is a tragedy, causing deep grief to his family -- a tragedy that at first appears to many to fit into a terrible pattern in American life -- this case does not fit that pattern,” attorney Frank Hogue said. “The full story, to be revealed in time, will tell the truth about this case.”

The murder remains under investigation by GBI in partnership with the District Attorney Joyette Holmes of the Cobb County District Attorney’s Office.

See more on Bryan's arrest in the video below.

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Quavo Talks Earning His High School Diploma At 29

Quavo officially belongs to the class of 2020. The 29-year-old Migos rapper announced that he graduated from high school on Friday (May 22).

“Finally can say I graduated high school class of 2020,” Quavo captioned an Instagram post of himself sporting a blue cap and gown.

 

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Finally Can Say I Graduated High School Class Of 2020 We Lit 🔥 Now What College Should I Go To? 🧐 And To Celebrate We Gonna Drop SMASH TONIGHT 🔥🌊 BERKMAR HIGH NAWFSIDE BABY

A post shared by QuavoHuncho (@quavohuncho) on May 21, 2020 at 4:26pm PDT

Now that he's a high school graduate, the Georgia native is considering attending college, as he shared in an interview with Lil Wayne’s Young Money Radio alongside Migos members, Takeoff and Offset. During the talk with Tunechi, Quavo expounded on his decision to get his diploma.

“I was doing stuff for the community and schools… always involved and just me being considered like a dropout you’re not really like an alumni,” he said before explaining that one of his former high school teachers is now a principal and encouraged him to get a diploma. “He hit me up like 'you should go back and get it.' I went back and got it.”

Quavo added that Weezy was, “definitely one of my inspirations for going back to school.”

The rapper, whose birth name is, Quavious Keyate Marshall, attended Lilburn’s Berkmar High School, where he was the starting quarterback for the 2009 season. Quavo dropped out of high school in his senior year.

Peep the Migos’ Young Money interview below.

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Doug Pensinger

Disney World Could Help Revive What’s Left Of NBA Season

The 2020 NBA season could be headed for a revival. The league is in talks with Disney World to potentially restart what's left of the 2019-2020 season this summer, the NBA confirmed on Saturday (May 23).

“The NBA, in conjunction with the National Basketball Players Association, is engaged in exploratory conversations with The Walt Disney Company about restarting the 2019-20 NBA season in late July at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida as a single site for an NBA campus for games, practices and housing,” NBA Chief Communications Officer Mike Bass said in a statement.

“Our priority continues to be the health and safety of all involved, and we are working with public health experts and government officials on a comprehensive set of guidelines to ensure that appropriate medical protocols and protections are in place.”

The NBA was forced into cancellation amid the COVID-19 outbreak, specifically after Utah Jazz player, Rudy Gobert, contracted coronavirus and exposed several other plays to the disease, including teammate Donavan Mitchell.

Since then, several former and current NBA players have tested positive for COVID-19, the most recent being basketball great Patrick Ewing.

“This virus is serious and should not be taken lightly,” Ewing said upon announcing his health diagnosis over the weekend. “I want to encourage everyone to stay safe and take care of yourselves and your loved ones.”

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