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Villagers In Niger Say The U.S. Soldier Killed In Ambush Was Bound And Executed

Grim new details have emerged in the death of fallen U.S. soldier Sgt. La David Johnson.

This Veterans Day will be a grim one for Myeshia Johnson, the pregnant widow who lost her husband, Sgt. La David Johnson, last month (Oct. 4). Johnson was one of four U.S. Special Forces soldiers who were killed in an enemy ambush in Niger. Donald Trump disappointed the masses as the president reportedly told Mrs. Johnson that the Sgt. "knew what he signed up for" in what was supposed to be a phone call offering condolences.

New details have surfaced about the way he was killed. The Washington Post reports that according to two villagers in Niamey, Niger, Johnson may have been first captured, then executed.

Adamou Boubacar, a 23-year-old farmer and trader in the village, claimed that children tending to cattle found his remains in a bushy area approximately a mile from the attack site. Johnson's wrists were bound with rope, and he sustained a gaping wound at the back of his head, as if he was struck by something. His shoes had also been taken. (The other soldiers were found in a separate location, stripped of their clothing as well.) The village chief of Tongo Tongo, Mounkaila Alassane, separately confirmed the findings to the U.S. via phone.

The discovery may provide some insight as to why it took two days for the U.S. to retrieve Johnson's body, versus the other soldiers being found a few hours after the battle.

Our thoughts continue to go to the Johnson family at this time.

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34 black female cadets from West Point's Class of 2019 pose at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York.
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Black Women Cadets Make History At West Point Graduation

A record number of black female cadets are set to graduate from West Point (The United States Military Academy). After completing four years of education and "testing their limits," 34 black women will be walking across the stage at the 2019 commencement ceremony for the first time in the school's 217-year history.

Earlier this month, the black female cadets came together for a pre-graduation group photo. Little did they know, the photos of them in traditional Old Corps uniforms with ceremonial sabers would make their rounds on social media.

“My hope when young Black girls see these photos is that they understand that regardless of what life presents you, you have the ability an fortitude to be a force to be reckoned with,” shared one of the cadets, Tiffany Welch-Baker, in an interview with Because Of Them We Can.

Although West Point admitted its first black cadet until 1870, the academy didn’t graduate its first black cadet until the Reconstruction in 1877. In 1979, Vincent K. Brooks was made the first black captain of the Corps of Cadets. In 2017, Simone Askew became the first Black woman to lead the Corps of Cadets.

Senior cadet Stephanie Riley told The Associated Press in another interview: “I just showed myself and those who thought I couldn’t do it initially that yes, I can. And not just, ‘Yes, I can.’ I can show other little girls that yes, you can come to West Point. Yes, you can do something that maybe the rest of your peers aren’t actually doing. And yes, you can be different from the rest of the group.”

The class of 2019 includes a total of 223 women, another milestone since the first female cadets' graduation in 1980. The total number of graduation African-Americans doubled to 110, while the number of graduating Latinos became the largest, 88, in the academy's history. West Point also appointed Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams as its first black superintendent in July 2018.

Not only will West Point be graduating its 5,000th female cadet, but it will also have its highest number of female Hispanic graduates, 19. The commencement ceremony is set for Saturday, May 25, with Vice President Mike Pence delivering the commencement speech.

Congratulations to the black ladies of West Point's graduating Class of 2019!

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Art At Work: Kadir Nelson And Hennessy Unveil Marshall "Major" Taylor Sculpture at NYC's WTC3

Last spring, VIBE was invited to the screening of a Hennessy sponsored screening of a mini-commercial documentary on one of the most unsung athletic hero's of African-American history in Marshall "Major" Taylor. The seven-minute doc, explained the life and legacy of the first international African-American superstar. In the late 1800's Taylor dominated the cycling scene with power and endurance. With the viewing happening at the New York Times building, a special treat was waiting to be shown to the excited crowd. World renowned visual artist, Kadir Nelson made a monument for Taylor, the man that broke barriers with his pedals and passion.

Fast forward to May 15, 2018, Nelson was celebrated for that same Hennessy commissioned statue (which went along with Hennessy's Wild Rabbit campaign, narrated by Nas) of Taylor and it being permanently placed in New York's World Trade Center 3 (WTC3). Known as one of the world's busiest travel areas, the World Trade Center is a landmark destination for millions of visitors who will now see the immortalized cyclist's frame, sculpted  by Nelson. “The Major” will be displayed starting later this year near the north entrance of 3 World Trade Center, with the Oculus and National 9/11 Museum in the background. The sculpture will live in WTC as part of the Silverstein family’s World Trade arts initiative, entitled The Silver Project. The piece is the towers first installment of art and will shine as a beacon for all creatives and those seeking inspiration in all walks of life. Nelson will also have his first studio space in the same building.

 

To witness the amazing life of Marshall "Major" Taylor, watch the doc above.

 

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FX's ‘Pose’ Unveils Gripping Season 2 Trailer

Pose fans’ patience will be alleviated with the second season's premiere next month. To get viewers ready, FX debuted its 45-second trailer on Thursday (May 23), packed with an array of moving storylines.

Set in New York City’s ‘90s time period, the characters will explore life-altering changes in their careers and health. For Blanca, the status of her HIV-positive diagnosis will take precedence as the House of Evangelista begins to navigate a newfound arena of prominence in the ballroom scene.

In an interview with Billboard, producer and activist Janet Mock dished on what to expect for the upcoming season. "There's a rule in the writers' room that we do not talk about what we're going to do, but I think that it's really going deeper every episode,” Mock said. “As viewers kind of notice, we tend to focus in on a character that we may not have known as much before, right? For example, this week will really be central around Lil Papi’s character, his relationship with Blanca and things [that] have been alluded about throughout the season. There will be some of the origins stories of characters that we may not have heard as much from before, but whom people of course love because they are either on Team Abundance or Team Evangelista.”

Ahead of its June 11 return on FX (10 p.m. EST), watch the trailer above.

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