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Verizon

Black Boys Become The Focus Of Verizon's New Outreach Program

Verizon is using their energy and resources on enriching the lives of black boys across the country.

FACT: Black women are the most educated group in the United States. There's a higher percentage of black women enrolled in four-year colleges across the nation than any other group. The news proved worthy of a high-five, fist bump and a hair flip for all black women, and acted as a standard for others to follow suit. But the celebratory news begged another question: what about black boys?

As black women continue to break glass ceilings, black boys are unfortunately being targeted for prison as early as kindergarten. Verizon--hoping to change that narrative--unveiled its Innovative Learning program for Minority Males at he 2016 Essence Festival. During a dinner at New Orleans famed Dooky Chase restaurant, Verizon's Vice President of Customer Care Kwame Trotman along with singer-songwriter Kelly Rowland spoke about the initiative and why its needed.

"When you think about the Verizon Innovative Learning Program for minority males, that's an opportunity for us to actually touch young youth, right? And we have a great representation in the back room, " Trotman said pointing to a few students from the program who were also at the restaurant. "At an early age and given the encouragement and letting them know that we have the tools and we also give them the pathway to allow them to do anything they want to do. They are our future creators, they are our future leaders, they are the ones that one day will help lead our company to greatness. And that's where we knew we really wanted to make [the impact.]

The initiative is a two year program that gives middle-school boys access to high grade technology, which will allow them the opportunity to learn coding, robotics, 3D design, and STEM. There's no slacking off in the summer, as the students will be engrossed in all day technology courses at participating universities across the nation, and when the school year resumes students meet with mentors for support and guidance.

A few of the colleges participating in the Verizon Innovative Learning Program are Clark Atlanta University, University of the District of Columbia in Washington, D.C, Delaware State University, Texas Southern University, and Trotman's alma matter Hampton University.

Kelly Rowland, who's the mother to her soon-to-be 2 year old son Titan praised Verizon for their bold step to invest in black boys, but also spoke directly to the young men in attendance and offered sound advice.

"Looking at these gentlemen, I do see my son and I just pray they make great decisions. I I pray you always listen and that you take in your surroundings. It's fun listening to "Panda" but "Panda" can't get you your education. "Panda" can't help you in school, "Panda" is like all those things, like I said we love "Panda" I get it but just make sure you have your priorities. If you have your goals, write those down. And put them right in front of you everyday. That way you don't lose thought and you don't lose sight of what exactly it is that you want."

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Rep. Maxine Waters meets with CBS Vice President of News and Executive Director of Staff Development and Diversity, Kim Goodwin, and CBS Vice President and Washington Bureau Chief, Christopher Isham, on Capitol Hill. (Photo courtesy of Rep. Waters Office)

Maxine Waters Meets With CBS To Discuss Media Diversity And Inclusion

California Rep. Maxine Waters met with CBS' Vice President of News and Executive Director of Staff Development and Diversity to discuss the lack of media diversity and inclusion within the media empire.

Their meeting steemed from the network's recent release of their predominately clear  team for the coverage of the 2020 presidential election. Comprised of 4 white producers, 5 white-passing reporters and 3 journalists of color, though the 2020 campaigns reporting staff does not have any black anchors.

It's Official: The @CBSNews 2020 Election Team has assembled! https://t.co/0GBCw4mj7s pic.twitter.com/E0rUDAkzf7

— Ben Mitchell (@bfmitchell) January 11, 2019

Waters, like other prominent speakers in the black community, have discussed their reluctance to embrace the staff citing issues with who will tackle the roles that racism will play in elections and the role racism has been playing in the United States. Taking the issues directly to the source, the congresswomen had a discussion with the higher up's to talk redirection.

“The CBS representatives accepted full responsibility and understood the troubling optics-- and subsequent public backlash -- that occurred as a result of the rollout of their 2020 presidential election team. CBS admitted that the initial 2020 campaign team did not reflect the diversity that the company had committed to; assured me that it will not happen again; and revealed that in the coming months they will unveil a more diverse and inclusive slate of African American journalists and journalists from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences,"  Waters said in a press statement.

"They also identified key individuals in Washington, D.C. and New York City, NY whom they have brought onto their team to fulfill this mission and ensure their news organization reflects the diversity of the country and the communities who will most certainly be engaged in the 2020 elections."

The 43rd district representative has vowed to hold CBS accountable for their diversity issues and is dedicated to working alongside her colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus.

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Woman Alleges R. Kelly Sexually Abused Her At 16 In 'Dateline' Interview

Tracy Sampson, a woman who interned with Epic Records at 16, revealed she endured sexual relations with R. Kelly that summer of 1999.

Featured on Dateline NBC's "Accused: The R. Kelly Story," the now 36-year-old appears in her first on-camera interview where she details the relationship that began during her formative years.

Sampson said the singer asked her, "'Can I kiss you?' and I was like, 'No,'" to which he responded, "'Well, give me a hug.' And then, like, when I gave him a hug he just started kissing me."

"I was in love with him," she continued. "I just didn't know what to do. Like, I didn't know if this was normal. I didn't know if this is how adults acted."

Following the incident, Sampson filed a lawsuit against Kelly in 2002. Her suit was settled to the tune of $250,000.

Steven Greenberg, Kelly's current attorney, told NBC that he was not part of the artist's legal team when the alleged abuse took place but maintains that his client is innocent.

According to Greenberg, there is no evidence that proves Kelly, 52, engaged in sexual relations with underage girls "because it didn't happen." However, Surviving R. Kelly calls that statement into question with a six-episode program detailing the sexual and mental abuse endured by some women who met Kelly while underage. Lisa Van Allen, for instance, met the "Sex Me" singer at the age of 17.

NBC's take on the groundbreaking series comes just two weeks after the explosive Lifetime production. The special will air Friday (Jan. 18) at 10 pm EST.

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Princess Nokia Accuses Ariana Grande Of Ripping Off Her Song For '7 Rings'

While some corners of the Internet are rejoicing in Ariana Grande's new trap-influenced single and video for "7 Rings," other members are crying "plagiarism" after Princess Nokia pointed out that the Thank U, Next single sounds suspiciously familiar to her song, "Mine."

"Oh! Oh! Wow!” Nokia says while playing the two songs back-to-back on her Instagram page. “Does that sound familiar to you, because that sounds really familiar to me!"

She later point out that her song "Mine" off of her 2017 project 1992 Deluxe is written for a different demographic that the majority of Grande's fans.

"Oh my god. Ain’t ["Mine"] the little song I made about brown women and their hair? Hmm… sounds about white," Nokia continues. "7 Rings" features an interpolation of The Sound Of Music's "My Favorite Things," and features a flow reminiscent of Soulja Boy's "Pretty Boy Swag." However, the similarities between Nokia's "Mine" and Grande's new song are indeed striking, specifically the cadence for the repeated lines ("it's mine, I bought it" for Nokia and "I want it, I got it" for Ari), as well as the flow for the pre-chorus.

Grande hasn't commented on the allegations, however, Twitter users are jumping to Nokia's defense.

"@ArianaGrande when you heard Mine by Princess Nokia did you listen to the words telling you not to appropriate or were just plotting on how else you can capitalize on black culture and grabbed the beat with no credit," one user wrote.

What do you think?

 

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@arianagrande

A post shared by Princess Nokia (@princessnokia) on Jan 18, 2019 at 9:30am PST

 

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