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New York Correction Officers Fear Attacks Following Colin Kaepernick's Rikers Island Visit

Colin Kaepernick's visit to Rikers Island caused a bit of a stir amongst law enforcement.

For over a year, anywhere Colin Kaepernick has set his foot (or knee) has been met with some sort of outrage. His recent visit to Rikers Island was no different.

On Tuesday (Dec. 5), the former-NFL quarterback turned political activist took it upon himself to make a surprise visit to the inmates of Rikers Island. And even though, according to a Department of Corrections spokesperson, Kaepernick was there to share a “message of hope and inspiration,” the Correction Officers Benevolent Association still found an issue with his appearance. In a statement to the New York Daily News, Elias Husamudeen, president of the organization, voiced his displeasure with Kaepernick’s visit, citing his presence as a potential catalyst for violence.

“This will only encourage prisoners to continue to attack correction officers at a time when we need protection the most,” Husamudeen told the Daily News before going on to imply that the appearance is a political decision by Mayor Bill de Blasio and not a genuine commitment to the correction officers.

And while it is not conclusive as to the actual reason why Husamudeen believes a talk about hope will result in violence, many of the leaders of this unionized organization pointed at a September 2016 picture of Kaepernick wearing socks featuring cops depicted as cartoon pigs as the source of their fearfulness.

Not everyone saw the visit as negative, though. Glenn Martin, the founder of JustLeadershipUSA, believes that Kaepernick’s appearance can shine a light on the conditions of the prison. “The world should see the hell that is Rikers Island,” Martin said. “Colin’s profile has helped shed light where it is needed. Colin understands that the systematic racism he is fighting is epitomized on Rikers.”

However, despite Martin’s approval, the Correction Officers Benevolent Association decided that Kaepernick’s appearance was enough for them to pull their sponsorship of the jail’s tree lighting celebration, making the festive event of Christmas on Rikers Island a little less jolly this year.

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(L-R) Cast of Upn's 'Moesha'—William Allen Young, Yvette Wilson, Shar Jackson, Ray J, Brandy, Marcus T. Paulk, Lamont Bentley, And Sheryl Lee Ralph—celebrate the 100th episode of the comedy series.
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A 'Moesha' Reboot Is On The Way

Moesha is returning to television as a reboot.

Former castmates Brandy Norwood and William Adam Young joined Sheryl Lee Ralph at her 29th Annual DIVA Foundation event over the weekend (Dec. 1) to confirm the rumor of the '90s sitcom's return to the small screen.

“We would like to know, would you like to do a ‘Moesha’ reboot?” asked Lee alongside Young. Brandy responded with a smile, “Yeah, absolutely. I’m here for it. I'm here to solidify that we’re gonna bring Moesha back.”

Moesha aired on UPN—once known as the home network for other popular black sitcoms like Girlfriends, Everybody Hates Chris, All of Us and One on One—from 1996 until 2001. During its 6-season run, the series followed a middle-class black family through the lens of an ambitious and ever-learning Moesha Mitchell, a teenager going through what many teenagers go through while living in South Central Los Angeles. The comedy-drama series was also known for its musical guests which included Big Pun, Dru Hill, Mary J. Blige, Silk, Soul 4 Real, and Xscape.

No word on what the reboot will be called, whether production has begun or if other former castmates Countess Vaughn, Marcus T. Paulk, Shar Jackson or Fredro Starr will be involved.

Unforgettable Fact: Moesha worked at VIBE Magazine as a gofer at the beginning of Season 5.

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A volunteer distributes food at CAMBA's Beyond Hunger Emergency Food Pantry on February 18, 2014 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The non-profit agency assists low-income residents and those affected by food stamp cuts. Currently the food pantry sees up to 4,500 individuals per month with the numbers rising. As Congress prepares to cut billions of dollars more from the food stamp program, food pantries around the country are preparing for an influx of those needing their assistance.
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SNAP Changes Place Nearly 700,000 People At Risk Of Losing Food Stamps

In a report by USA TODAY, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) assisted over 40 million Americans in 2017. Two years later, the program faces changes that may result in the loss of food stamps for 688,000 people. According to NBC News, the Trump administration will revamp the mandate that recipients work a certain amount of hours to be eligible for food assistance.

Those within the age range of 18 to 49 and have no children or are able-bodied were previously mandated to work no less than 20 hours a week in order to qualify. Now, as states were once allowed to excuse this requirement due to increased unemployment rates in certain states, the Trump administration will no longer allow states to practice this method. NPR notes Americans within that age range tallied at four million in 2016. The new mandate will only allow states to waiver a recipient's unemployment situation if that state's unemployment rate is six percent.

"We're taking action to reform our SNAP program in order to restore the dignity of work to a sizable segment of our population and be respectful of the taxpayers who fund the program," Sonny Perdue, Agriculture Secretary, said. "Americans are generous people who believe it is their responsibility to help their fellow citizens when they encounter a difficult stretch. That's the commitment behind SNAP, but, like other welfare programs, it was never intended to be a way of life."

Analysts state the government could save close to $5 billion through this new legislation. Out of the 2.9 million adults that fall into this category that utilize SNAP, 2.1 million are unemployed.

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Alicia Keys photographed on Nov. 6 at Moonfire Ranch in Topanga, CA.
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Alicia Keys Speaks On Upcoming Album And Why The Grammys Still Matter

In a cover story for Billboard, Alicia Keys ignited excitement within her fans when she referenced her upcoming album. The project, titled A.L.I.C.I.A., served as "the best therapy I ever had," she said, alongside working on her spring 2020 memoir More Myself: A Journey.

"I ended up being able to see the moments that things shifted," she said. "When you're living it, you're not really reflecting on it." A.L.I.C.I.A. will be the New Yorker's seventh studio album, slated for release next year. Her previous soundscape, Here, was released in 2016, landing at the No. 2 spot on the Billboard 200 during its debut week.

In January, Keys will host the Grammys for the second time in a row, a moment she's eager for viewers to witness. Since the November announcement of 2020's nominees, artists who believed they were snubbed expressed their confusion while others stated they don't need a gramophone to validate their talent. For Keys, the long-running showcase still holds weight within the industry for a simple reason.

"You are awarded by your peers—people who have been through the same experience that you have. So to receive one is the ultimate validation from people that you admire," she said. "That’s the point, and the reason why it has to maintain that level of integrity. And it has to expand now because music is not what it was 10 years ago. It’s about making sure that it’s representing the music that’s happening at the rate that it’s happening, as well. If we’re not all growing and evolving, then pack it up, because what’s the point?"

The 62nd Annual Grammy Awards will take place on Jan. 26 in Los Angeles. Read Keys' full profile here.

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