Ryan Coogler & Ava Duvernay Ryan Coogler & Ava Duvernay
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Ryan Coogler & Ava DuVernay To Hold Flint Benefit On Night Of Oscars

Blackout for Human Rights founders Ryan Coogler and Ava Duvernay are using their star power to bring awareness to the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan. 

While many celebrities of color planned to boycott The Academy Awards this weekend, it looks like Ryan Coogler, Ava DuVernay and a large group of Black Hollywood are lending their star power to Flint, Michigan for a special benefit which happens to take place on the same day.

Blackout for Human Rights, a group composed of celebrities against racial inequality and human rights violations, announced Tuesday (Feb. 23) #JUSTICEFORFLINT, a free concert devoted to supporting the people of Flint during the city's disturbing water crisis. The event will be hosted by comedian Hannibal Buress with performances and appearances from Janelle Monae, Andra Day, Empire'sJussie Smollett, Robert Glasper, Vic Mensa, Jon Conner and many more.

In addition to the performances, residents of Flint will also share their stories on how the water crisis has affected them and their families.

"The primary goal and mission behind Blackout is to utilize the collective voice and influence of our members to raise awareness and bring an end to the state-sponsored human rights violations happening across the country,” Creed director Coogler said. “With the #JusticeForFlint benefit event we will give a voice to the members of the community who were the victims of the choices of people in power who are paid to protect them, as well as provide them with a night of entertainment, unity, and emotional healing. Through the livestream we will also give a chance for people around the world to participate, and to donate funds to programs for Flint's youth."

Flint's water crisis began in 2014 but became a national emergency this year after the city's governor Rick Snyder announced children tested positive for high amounts of lead in their bloodstreams due to a change in water sources. The man-made disaster has affected African-Americans the most since they make up over 50 percent of the city's population.

#JUSTICEFORFLINT will take place at the Whiting Auditorium (1241 E. Kearsley St.) on Sunday, Feb. 28 at 5:30 p.m. ET. Revolt TV is also taking part in the event, where it will be live streamed. Viewers will also be able to donate to programs supporting residents throughout the show.

A number of celebrities have since donated to the cause like Big Sean, Cher, Meek Mill and Puff Daddy. DuVernay spoke about the need to speak out on events that often go unnoticed in lower-income communities.

"As artists and activists with a public platform, we at Blackout strive to shed light on issues of justice and dignity related to disenfranchised, underrepresented and marginalized communities," the Selma director said. "The poisoning that is happening in Flint is one of the most egregious human rights violations in American history. Blackout for Human Rights stands with all those affected by the water crisis, and is committed to supporting efforts on the ground to find sustainable, long-term solutions and, most importantly, achieve justice for the people of Flint."

Supporters are also able to send in donations to Flint victims by texting "justice" to 83224, courtesy of Revolution Message.

 

The event is open to the public. Find out more about #JUSTICEFORFLINT, here.

 

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Billionaire Robert F. Smith Will Pay Off Morehouse Class Of 2019's Student Loans

Billionaire Robert F. Smith has earned one of Morehouse's biggest cheers after the commencement speaker announced he'd pay off the student loans for the entire graduating Class of 2019.

"This is my class,” he said, “and I know my class will pay this forward.”

Dang! There are a lot of happy graduates at Morehouse College today.

Commencement Speaker Robert F. Smith is establishing a grant to pay off the Class of 2019's student loans. #SundayThoughts #sundaymorning pic.twitter.com/kupvjyhT9Y

— Holly Figueroa O'Reilly (@AynRandPaulRyan) May 19, 2019

The 56-year-old philanthropist and technology investor made the surprise revelation Sunday morning (May 19) at the Historically all-male Black college ceremony.

The 400 student-graduating class could hardly contain their excitement. Tonga Releford, whose son Charles Releford III, graduated today with an estimated $70,000 in student loan debt. The news of a financial clean slate was overwhelming.

“I feel like it’s Mother’s Day all over again,” she said.

The debt for all 400 students hovers around $40 million, which is a fraction of Smith's reported $5 billion.

When news broke of Smith's generous donation, many online expressing happiness, including Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Every Morehouse Class of 2019 student is getting their student debt load paid off by their commencement speaker.

This could be the start of what’s known in Econ as a ‘natural experiment.’ Follow these students & compare their life choices w their peers over the next 10-15 years. https://t.co/UM1qTJOxHf

— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 19, 2019

This is real philanthropy.

Not giving money to a school to get your name on the wall while Administrators get raised.

Helping out real students in real need.https://t.co/HD7eF53qzu

— Mike Cernovich (@Cernovich) May 19, 2019

Just so everyone’s clear: Robert’s gift is estimated at $40 million. It is the largest ever gift to @Morehouse and the single largest gift ever provided to eliminate student debt in the United States. With student debt disproportionately strangling Black people, this is major. https://t.co/qTUCFJKAQy

— Ibram X. Kendi (@DrIbram) May 19, 2019

And because the Internet is the Internet, the jokes had to fly.

Next year’s Morehouse commencement speaker: pic.twitter.com/gYApx8OXGm

— Eric Haywood (@EricHaywood) May 19, 2019

Big ups to Mr. Smith and congratulations to Morehouse's Class of 2019.

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Christopher Polk

The Internet Was Conflicted About Future's Birthday Gift To Baby Future

It's Future Zahir's birthday and the cutie patootie 5-year-old received massive love from his parents and a pricey gift from his dad.

Nayvadius recorded Baby Future's initial response to opening up his gold Rolex, which merited a sincere "thanks." However, the Internet seems a bit conflicted on whether or not Future's gift to his son was sincere or even appropriate.

https://twitter.com/SPLASHnewz/status/1130136017959301124

Some online thought it was no one's business what Future gifts his son, or that others were jealous.

https://twitter.com/1JOSHLAFLARE/status/1130134869122650114

https://twitter.com/FEELZ_____/status/1130125891777028097

Some took to Twitter to allege Future gave his son the gift he would've wanted for himself.

This is a status symbol for Future not a gift for baby Future. I’m sure he got toys and stuff in addition. But that only makes this Rolex thing worse. Why not just get him an ass load of whatever toys he likes and leave it at that? https://t.co/xQP5r0du7F

— Mars and Stars (@marcia_too) May 19, 2019

Lmao baby future looking at that watch like “this not Paw PAtrol” lmao I’m weak

— Chief Stallionaire in Meg’s Kitchen (@AskWhy05) May 19, 2019

https://twitter.com/_kingsb/status/1130135731215699969

It's silly to even give that type of gift to a child. That Rolex might be in the toilet by Tuesday, And Future will expect Ciara and Russell to make him wear the watch in every picture.

What is Baby Future gonna get when he's 6? A REAL Lambo, instead of a Power Wheels Lambo? pic.twitter.com/qpMqwcNGrg

— B-Ball Guru (@northcyde) May 19, 2019

Future's relationship with his son has been marred by assumptions of how well he can parent compared to Russell Wison. There are many who think The Seattle Seahawk's QB is better equipped to care for baby Future than his own father, while the other side of the Internet assume Future is a fine dad, he just doesn't have Wilson's squeaky clean image.

Oh well, whether baby Future knows the value of his gift is neither here nor there. Let me go charge up my Fitbit before it dies.

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Win McNamee

Sybrina Fulton Is Running For Office In Florida

Since Trayvon Martin's murder in 2012, Sybrina Fulton has dedicated her life to preserving her son's legacy. Now, Fulton is taking it one step further as she's announced she's running for office in Florida.

“Since 2012, I have advocated tirelessly to empower our communities and make them safer,” Fulton said to The Miami Herald. “But the work is not done. I am proud to announce that I will run to represent District 1 on the county commission.”

"Our county must continue moving forward so our families are safe from violence, can afford to live in Miami-Dade, and have access to good paying jobs,” she continued. “I am ready to take on these issues and many others in county government.”

Fulton will run against Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez during the 2020 election, a seat which will be vacated by Commissioner Barbara Jordan in the same year.

Fulton, alongside Trayvon's father Tracy, found themselves the focus of media attention in 2012 when 17-year-old Trayvon was racially profiled, followed and shot by self-appointed neighborhood watchmen George Zimmerman.

Unarmed Trayvon was staying with his father in central Florida when on the night of Feb 26, he went to a local convenience store and crossed paths with Zimmerman.

Zimmerman was taken into custody by police that night but later released. It would months later in April when Zimmerman was formally arrested and charged. On July 13, 2013,  Zimmerman was acquitted of all charges.

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