Posts by Content Contributor

    Fort Worth police officer fatally shoots woman in her home while checking on an open front door

    A white Fort Worth police officer fatally shot a black woman in her home early Saturday morning, firing through a bedroom window while responding to a call about an open door at the residence, police said.

    Officers were dispatched to the house in the city’s Hillside Morningside neighborhood at 2:25 a.m. Saturday after receiving an “open structure” call, according to a statement from the Fort Worth Police Department. A neighbor told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram he dialed a non-emergency line and requested a welfare check when he noticed that the door was ajar and the lights were on.

    While searching the outside of the house, police said, an officer saw someone standing near a window. “Perceiving a threat the officer drew his duty weapon and fired one shot striking the person inside the residence,” police said.

    Atatiana Jefferson, 28, was pronounced dead on the scene, according to police, who said the officers provided emergency medical care.

    Body camera footage released by police Saturday shows two officers walking quietly around the side of the house and peering through two screen doors, then moving down a driveway into a backyard.

    One officer approaches a closed first-floor window and shines a flashlight inside, then swiftly raises his gun. “Put your hands up! Show me your hands!” he yells. A split-second later, he fires a shot through the window. He does not identify himself as an officer in the footage.

    Along with the video, police released images of a firearm officers said they found at the scene, but did not indicate whether Jefferson was holding the weapon or positioned near it when the officer opened fire. Officials did not release the officer’s name, describing him only as a white male who has been with the department since April 2018. He will be placed on administrative leave pending an investigation, according to the department.

    The shooting comes at a time when relations between law enforcement and black residents in the Dallas and Fort Worth area are already under strain following the recent trial of Amber Guyger, a white former police officer who shot and killed her unarmed black neighbor, Botham Jean, in 2018.

    Earlier this month, following an emotionally-charged courtroom saga that drew nationwide attention, a Dallas jury convicted Guyger of murder and sentenced her to 10 years in prison for killing Jean, whom she shot after mistaking his apartment for her own. Days after the sentencing, Joshua Brown, a key witness in the case, was shot and killed, stoking rumors that he was targeted because of his testimony. Police attributed Brown’s death to a drug deal gone bad and emphatically denied a connection to the Guyger case, but that has not quelled concerns from some local officials and activists, who have called for an independent investigation, as The Washington Post has reported.

    It is not clear yet whether the officer who shot Jefferson will face criminal charges. Police said they will turn over body camera footage and other evidence from the scene to the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office, which will decide whether to prosecute.

    Lee Merritt, a prominent civil rights attorney in the Dallas area who said he is representing Jefferson’s family, said the officer never should have opened fire. Jefferson was playing video games with her 8-year-old nephew when she heard what she thought was a prowler outside the bedroom window, Merritt wrote in a Facebook post Saturday. When Jefferson went to the window to see what was happening, he wrote, the officer shot her.

    Merritt described Jefferson as a “beautiful peaceful woman” who had graduated from Xavier University and worked in pharmaceutical equipment sales. He said her mother had recently fallen ill and that Jefferson was taking care of the house while she was in the hospital. “There was no reason for her to be murdered. None,” he said. “We must have justice.”

    Merritt is also currently representing the families of Jean and Brown in Dallas.

    Jefferson’s neighbor, 62-year-old James Smith, said he called police to the house in the early hours of Saturday because he thought it was unusual that the doors were open and the lights were on at that time of night. He told the Star-Telegram that he knew Jefferson and her nephew were home alone and wanted to make sure they were all right.

    When officers arrived, Smith said, they parked around the corner, out of view. Shortly after, he heard the gunshot and watched several more officers run in, he told the Star-Telegram.

    “I’m shaken. I’m mad. I’m upset. And I feel it’s partly my fault,” Smith said. “If I had never dialed the police department, she’d still be alive.”

    Jefferson is one of at least 689 people who have been shot and killed by American police officers in 2019, according to a Washington Post database that tracks such shootings. Of those killed, fewer than three-dozen were female, and just four were black females, according to the database.

    Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price released a statement Saturday promising a “complete and thorough” probe of Jefferson’s shooting, as CBS News reported.

    “A young woman has lost her life, leaving her family in unbelievable grief,” Price said. “All of Fort Worth must surround Atatiana Jefferson’s family with prayers, love and support.”

    Source: The Washington Post

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    Tyler Perry on the “poetic justice” of building new studio on former Confederate Army base

    Tyler Perry is the creative force behind 22 movies, 20 plays, and eight TV shows. But that’s not all: the 50-year-old writer, director, and actor just built a 330-acre movie studio complex in Atlanta, featuring a dozen sound stages named after black Hollywood icons.

    “CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King visited the studio with Perry, where he discussed the “poetic justice” of building the studio on a former confederate Army base.

    “Think about the poetic justice in that,” he said. “The Confederate Army is fighting to keep Negroes enslaved in America, fighting, strategy, planning on this very ground. And now this very ground is owned by me.”

    In a wide-ranging interview, Perry opened up about his experiences with abuse, his relationship with his son, and his plans to use the studio to help disadvantaged youth.

    On realizing his dream of opening his own studio: “I feel like I’m just getting started”

    “There was a moment that happened in 2005 at [Oprah’s] Legends Ball… ” Perry recalled. “My movie had just come out, ‘Diary of a Mad Black Woman’ had just come out, first movie. Not a lot of people knew me in the room. And I’m sitting there wondering, ‘What am I doing in this room?'”

    “Yolanda Adams is sitting next to me,” Perry added. “I think I said it out loud, ’cause she goes, ‘You belong in the room.’  Leaving there, seeing it, touching it, tasting it, feeling it, the excitement of what it meant to see a woman, a black woman, be able to do that, spoke to me in so many ways. And I’m on video saying … ‘Leaving here, I’m going to dream bigger…'”

    “In many ways it seems to me like you’re just getting started,” King said.

    “At 28 I went into the shell, ’cause I started touring, doing 300-something shows a year,” Perry said. “So somewhere around 44, 45 I came out of it, and I go, ‘Wait a minute, where did all those years go?’ So now I feel like I’m still 35. So I feel like I’m just getting started. There’s nothing about me that feels like 50, whatever that’s supposed to mean.”

    On overcoming abuse as a child: “Telling stories was born out of pain”

    “You were homeless, you literally slept in your car,” King said. “You’re 6-foot-5. What kinda car was it?”

    “Geo Metro,” Perry said with a laugh. “Pretty tough.”

    “This entire journey of telling stories was born out of of pain, born out of heartache, born out of being an abused kid who could go inside of his head and create a world and imagination,” Perry added. “Also that same abused kid watching his mother … getting beat and there’s nothing he can do, my desire and heart to make her laugh and feel better was so strong. And you know, if I could make a joke or if I could imitate her or my aunt and make her laugh, or some of the women she played cards with on Friday nights, all of that was so powerful and so important to me.”

    Perry’s past made seeing his studio’s name on a highway sign all the more meaningful.

    “The first time I saw it, it was next to Sylvan Road, which I remember when I moved to Atlanta I moved off of Sylvan Road with my cousin and got put outta house, had no money, that kinda thing…” he said. “Then to see my name next to that moment, I just — it took my breath away. I’m like, ‘Okay, you’re on the highway so you can’t stop. You don’t wanna get killed here in this moment,’ but it was really powerful.”

    On raising his 4-year-old son Aman: He’s “my healer”

    “You have called [Aman] a healer for you,” King said. “What do you mean by that?”

    “I look at him and I’m looking at myself at that age,” Perry said. “And I’m wondering how anybody could be cruel and unkind to this level of pure innocence and beauty and love.”

    “I had to discipline him one day because was having a problem with the nanny … And he’s just in the bathroom, he doesn’t wanna brush his teeth…” Perry recalled. “So I open the door, and he just freezes and looks at me. I asked the nanny to leave and I sat down with him, got down eye to eye and I’m talking to him. And as I’m talking to him, I’m realizing that I really need to run out of the room because I’m about to start crying. I’m talking to him, I’m telling him how I much I love mom and I love him and how disrespectful this is, and how disappointed I am that he’s behaving this way. ‘You’re such a smart kid. Why are you doing this? You can’t behave this way ’cause other kids do that. This is not what you do…'”

    “So I’m trying to finish and he’s just crying…'” Perry said. “He said, ‘Papa, I’m so sorry’ I run outta the room without him noticing it, because it broke me. I realized that nobody had ever talked to me like a person as a child … Nobody had ever talked to me like a human being. Right? So that’s what I mean when I say my healer.”

    “Every time I talk to him, every time I hug him, every time I love him, let him know he’s special, there’s something in me that’s being healed,” Perry said through tears.

    On defining his legacy: “The studio’s gonna be what it is”

    When asked what he wants his legacy to be, Perry highlighted the studio — but said there’s also more to come.

    “You know, the studio’s gonna be what it is,” Perry said. “I’ll tell you what I’m most excited about next is pulling this next phase off, is building a compound for trafficked women, girls, homeless women, LGBTQ youth who are put out and displaced … somewhere on these 330 acres, where they’re trained in the business and they become self-sufficient. They live in nice apartments. There’s daycare. There’s all of these wonderful things that allows them to reenter society. And then pay it forward again. So that’s what I hope to do soon.”

    Source: CBS News

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    The judge who sentenced a man to 10 days in jail for oversleeping jury duty clears his record

    Deandre Somerville spent 10 days in a Florida jail after he overslept and didn’t show up for jury duty, but the judge now says he won’t have a criminal record.

    Judge John Kastrenakes found the 21-year-old from West Palm Beach in contempt of court last month after he missed the civil trial and didn’t call the court to explain what happened.
    Kastrenakes vacated the contempt finding and rescinded the sentence of probation in an order he signed on Saturday.
    Somerville was originally sentenced to 10 days in jail, 150 hours of community service, a written apology of at least 100 words, a year of probation and $233 in fees, according to court records. Somerville did not have a criminal record and the punishment prompted outrage on social media.

    A 21-year-old was sentenced to 10 days in jail after he overslept for jury duty

    The judge reduced Somerville’s punishment on Friday after the young man appealed his case in court.
    “Before my hearing, I walked into the courtroom a free man with no criminal record,” Somerville said in court on Friday. “I left a criminal in handcuffs.”
    He apologized in his letter to the judge.
    “This was an immature decision that I made, and I paid the price for my freedom,” Somerville said, reading from his letter.
    Friends and family told the judge that Somerville helps care for his disabled grandfather and volunteers in his community, CNN affiliate WPTV reported.
    In his ruling on Saturday, Kastrenakes said that Somerville’s letter was “moving, sincere and heartfelt.”
    “I know that he has been totally rehabilitated,” the judge wrote.
    He said that he ordered probation because he wanted other people to understand that serving on a jury “is serious business deserving of attention, respect and adherence to their oaths.”
    He said the publicity surrounding the case made this clear, so Somerville’s punishment was no longer necessary.
    Kastrenakes praised Sommerville as “a thoughtful and respectful young man” and said he was vacating the contempt finding and rescinding the sentence of probation, so it would not be on his record.
    Source : CNN
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    Emotions run high in and outside of courtroom after Amber Guyger sentenced to 10 years for Botham Jean’s murder

    Inside the courtroom, many observers cried as Botham Jean’s brother forgave and hugged former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger, who had been convicted of murder in Jean’s death. Outside, protesters denounced the 10-year sentence Guyger got as too lenient.

    The conclusion of the trial mirrored the gamut of emotions displayed during the week-long proceedings, with Jean’s parents taking the stand with poignant testimony about their son, Guyger saying she wished she were the one who was shot and prosecutors describing the former cop as negligent in missing myriad signs that would have tipped her off that she was on the wrong floor, in the wrong apartment.
    Jurors convicted Guyger on Tuesday for murder in the fatal shooting of Jean. Wednesday, after hours of moving victim impact statements, the same panel sentenced her to 10 years in prison. She’ll be eligible for parole in five years.
    After the conclusion of a case that has become part of the national conversation around policing and violence against people of color, a group demonstrated in the streets of Dallas against a sentence they saw as too light.
    NAACP President Aubrey Hooper said in a statement that the organization saw the sentence as inadequate, but prayed that Jean’s family could find some closure with the conviction.
    The trial brought several moments of pain before the powerful example of forgiveness. A video of Jean’s final moments, as first responders worked to revive him from gunshot wounds, was shown while his family was in the courtroom. They left sobbing, and Judge Tammy Kemp said she hadn’t considered the hurt it would cause his loved ones.
    Then, Guyger took the stand to describe through tears the night she said she entered Jean’s apartment thinking it was her own and shot the man she thought was an intruder. She said she wished she had been the one killed instead.
    Botham Jean's younger brother Brandt Jean hugs convicted murderer and former Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger.

    At the sentencing hearing, Jean’s brother, 18-year-old Brandt, asked the judge for permission to hug his brother’s killer.
    “I don’t even want you to go to jail,” he told Guyger. “I want the best for you. Because I know that’s exactly Botham would want you to do.”
    Thursday, Jean’s father, Bertrum, told CNN that while he wishes Guyger’s sentence would have been stiffer, he accepts the jury’s decision.
    “I felt the same way as Brandt. I wish I could’ve extended that same courtesy,” he said. “That’s what Christ would want us to do. … If you will not forgive, neither will your Father forgive you. I don’t want to see her rot in hell. I don’t want to see her rot in prison. I hope this will help her to change and recognize the damage, the hurt that our family’s going through. So I wish her well and I will pray for her family and pray for her as well.”
    Wednesday was a difficult day from beginning to end as family and friends sought to shine a light on a life that was lost and another that was destroyed. Jean’s best friend described him as her “absolute person” and his father openly wept on the witness stand, talking about the loss of his son. Speaking on Guyger’s behalf, a fellow officer listed her acts of selflessness and a former cocaine addict attributed her recovery to Guyger.

    ‘What’s really in her heart’

    In closing arguments, prosecutors and the defense split on whether this was a case of a woman with prejudice or a public servant who made a terrible mistake.
    Prosecutors introduced Guyger’s controversial text messages and Pinterest activity.
    “They show what’s really in her heart,” one prosecutor told the jury. She argued the texts illustrated how Guyger was “mocking” the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. while lamenting how long she had to work a MLK Day parade.
    Amber Guyger sentenced to 10 years in prison
    Botham Jean's family (left to right) Bertrum, Brandt, Allison, and Alissa Jean, photographed  outside the Frank Crowley Courthouse in Dallas, Texas.

    Shouts of “no justice, no peace” could be heard in the hallway. Protesters were pushed back away from the courtroom farther down a hallway, and Guyger’s family was escorted out a secure pathway.
    Lead prosecutor Jason Hermus walked over to the Jean family in the silent, mostly empty courtroom after the sentence.
    “I’m sorry,” he said. “I can’t explain that.”
    Jean’s father shook his hand. “You fought a good fight.”

    ‘This is where you start’

    Brandt wasn’t the only one who sought to comfort Guyger.
    In another shocking moment, Judge Tammy Kemp — who gained national attention for her strict and stern style in the courtroom — also approached Guyger. She brought her Bible.
    “You can have mine. I have three or four more at home,” she said. “This is the one I use every day. This is your job for the next month. It says right here. John 3:16. And this is where you start. ‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life…'”
    Allison Jean talked to reporters about her hope for Guyger’s time in prison.
    “That 10 years in prison is 10 years for her reflection and for her to change her life,” she said.
    Source: CNN
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    Amber Guyger convicted of murder for killing Botham Jean

    The jury will now resume deliberations to determine Guyger’s punishment.

    This story is being continuously updated.

    A Dallas County jury on Tuesday convicted fired police officer Amber Guyger of murder for fatally shooting Botham Jean in his apartment last year.

    Cheers broke out in the hallway outside the courtroom after the verdict was announced shortly after 10:30 a.m.

    Testimony in the punishment phase of Guyger’s trial will proceed this afternoon, with another round of jury deliberations to come after that. In Texas, murder carries a sentence of five to 99 years or life in prison. The charge is not eligible for probation.

    Guyger, 31, fatally shot 26-year-old Jean in his apartment last year. She had said she mistook his apartment for her own and thought Jean was a burglar. She is the first Dallas officer convicted of murder since the 1970s.

    Watch live from our partners at KXAS-TV (NBC5).

    Jurors began deliberating Monday afternoon after the prosecution and Guyger’s defense presented closing arguments. They delivered their verdict after about five hours of deliberations.

    After hearing the verdict, Guyger stood still until the jury left. Then, she sank into her chair.

    As state District Judge Tammy Kemp read the verdict, Jean’s mother, Allison Jean, leaned her head back. Her daughter, Allisa Findley, slumped in her seat, put her face in her hands and wept.

    Midway into the verdict, a woman in a red dress in the gallery cheered and clapped her hands. A bailiff immediately yelled “no” and she was quiet.

    Once the judge was done and called a recess, Allison Jean’s face crumpled as she stood and put both hands in the air. Walking out of the courtroom, she said, “God is good. Trust him.”

    Read more: Dallas leaders react to the ‘guilty’ verdict, expressing relief and hope for peace

    Lee Merritt, an attorney representing the Jeans, said the family would testify during the punishment phase of the trial.

    Jean’s grandmother raised her right fist in the air as she left the courtroom.

    More than two dozen bailiffs lined the courtroom and the hallway outside. Patches on some of their uniforms indicated they were with the tactical unit, though they had no extra gear.

    At one point, one bailiff asked another whether they had enough people to handle the crowd. “No,” another responded.

    The crowd in the hallway after the verdict was boisterous but not unruly. When prosecutors walked out, people gave them a round of raucous applause and cheers.

    In the hallway, Guyger’s mother was shaking.

    Guyger left the courtroom about 15 minutes after the verdict. She’ll be back when the sentencing phase of her trial begins about 1 p.m.

    Read more: 5 key moments so far in Amber Guyger’s murder trial for killing Botham Jean

    After the verdict, Ben Crump, an attorney for the Jean family, said 26-year-old Jean was a “near perfect” person.

    “This jury had to make history in America today, because Botham was the best that we had to offer,” Crump said. “Twenty-six year old, college-educated black man, certified public accountant, working for one of the big three accounting firms in the world, PricewaterhouseCoopers.”

    “But it shouldn’t take all of that for unarmed black and brown people in America to get justice,” Crump said.

    Crump said the verdict wasn’t just for Jean and his family.

    “This verdict is for Trayvon Martin,” he said, “it’s for Michael Brown, it’s for Sandra Bland, it’s for Tamir Rice, it’s for Eric Garner, it’s for Antwon Rose, it’s for Jemel Roberson, for EJ Bradford, for Stephon Clark, for Jeffrey Dennis, Genevieve Dawes, for Pamela Turner.”

    “O’Shae Terry,” interjected Merritt, who also represents the Jeans.

    “For so many black and brown unarmed human beings all across America,” Crump continued, holding Allison Jean’s hand in the air, “this verdict today is for them. Everybody can raise their hands — this verdict is for them. This verdict is for them.”

    Outside, on the steps of the courthouse, activists began celebrating shortly after the verdict was read.

    Safiya Paul, a St. Lucian immigrant like Jean, was wrapped in the blue, yellow and black flag of the Caribbean nation.

    Paul and another activist, Tamara Neil, were in the courtroom when the verdict was read. Neil said the hallway after was “full of joyous energy.”

    “This is how you celebrate a black life,” Neil said. “Can you imagine how big Botham is smiling right now? Like, his life really mattered. … At last we can stand in the same room as justice.”

    “Yes!” Paul shouted.

    “God, it feels good,” Neil said. “If he was here what do you think Botham would be saying right now?”

    “He would be singing,” Paul said.

    Before the verdict, as their deliberations entered a second day, jurors were given the option to consider the “castle doctrine,” known as Texas’ “Stand Your Ground” law. The law was clearly on their minds first thing Tuesday morning.

    An attorney for the Jean family, Daryl K. Washington, told reporters that the jury sent two notes to state District Judge Tammy Kemp, asking for clarification on the charge of manslaughter — they had a choice of murder, manslaughter or outright acquittal — and for more information about the castle doctrine.

    “If Amber Guyger is allowed to use that defense … what would’ve happened if Botham would’ve shot her for coming into his home?” Washington said, citing the jury’s question. “Would he have been able to use the castle doctrine?”

    Testimony stretched across six days after the trial began Sept. 23. Jurors had heard from officers who responded first to the scene the night of the shooting and watched how they frantically tried to save Jean’s life.

    They also heard from people who lived at the apartment complex where Guyger and Jean lived, as well as testimony from a medical examiner, a crime scene analyst and the Texas Rangers’ lead investigator for the shooting.

    Guyger’s defense team had urged the jury to think “coolly and calmly” about the case, which they cast as a tragic mistake. They have said Guyger made a “series of horrible mistakes” that led to her shooting Jean out of fear for her life.

    But the prosecution said arguments of self-defense don’t apply to Guyger because Jean was not a threat. They said Guyger had other options besides killing Jean and that she acted unreasonably by failing to notice she wasn’t at her apartment.

    Source: Dallas News

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    Stacey Dash Arrested After Allegedly Attacking Her Husband

    “Clueless” star Stacey Dash was arrested for domestic violence.

    “Clueless” star Stacey Dash isn’t exactly the most beloved woman in the hip-hop community. The actress has riled up a number of fans through her controversial comments about black culture and the entertainment consumed in the United States, suggesting that Black History Month be abolished. “Either we want to have segregation or integration,” she said several years ago. “And if we don’t want segregation, then we need to get rid of channels like BET and the BET Awards and the Image Awards where you’re only awarded if you’re Black. If it were the other way around, we would be up in arms. It’s a double standard. Just like there shouldn’t be a Black History Month. You know? We’re Americans. Period. That’s it.”

    Rob Kim/Getty Images

    Dash doesn’t regularly find her way onto the HNHH pages but today, she’s earned herself a spot in the headlines because of her arrest over the weekend. According to numerous sources, including TMZ, Stacey Dash was arrested this weekend for domestic violence. The entertainer married her husband Jeffrey Marty one year ago and she apparently got into a fight with him, putting her hands on the man and prompting the police to be called over. Stacey reportedly pushed and slapped her husband, leaving a few scratches on his arm before she was taken into police custody.

    The actress is presently being held on $500 bond. Little is known about what may have triggered the physical fight.

    Source: Hot New Hip Hop

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    Samuel L. Jackson Signs On To Be First Celebrity Voice Of Amazon’s Alexa

    Well #Roommates, you now have even more of a reason to get one of Amazon’s popular Alexa devices—and you have none other than the legendary Samuel L. Jackson to thank.

    We’ve all seen the commercials advertising the Amazon Alexa and the phrase “Alexa, play…” has become extremely popular on social media, so to give buyers even more incentive to try it out, Alexa will now feature celebrity voices. The first celebrity to provide their vocal stylings is the great Samuel L. Jackson who is well-known for making his profanity usage in numerous film roles something of an art form.

    As reported by @deadline, the celebrity voices are part of Alexa’s new feature that will be available to purchase for a .99 cent upgrade. The company revealed a few more details about what to expect when Samuel takes over your Alexa:

    “Jackson can tell you jokes, let you know if it’s raining, set timers and alarms, play music and more – all with a bit of his own personality. [There will also be] two versions of his voice — explicit and non-explicit.” 

    Other celebrity voices are set to be announced sometime next year, as Amazon continues its competition in the voiced device market with Apple and Google. The company also announced updates to its Echo Show video-enabled devices, as well as a $59 version of the Echo Dot featuring a clock and designed for bed-stands.

    Additionally, there is a crop of new Echo units such as Studio, Glow, Flex and Echo Buds, which are Bose-powered wireless earbuds. Currently, 100 million devices are equipped with Echo speakers, since their debut five years ago.


    Roommates, are you here for Samuel L. Jackson as Alexa?

    Source: The Shade Room
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    Jill Scott, Run DMC, Ari Lennox, Whodini and Big Daddy Kane featuring The Symphony lead the all-star lineup for the 2019 sixth Annual Art of Cool Festival(AOCFEST) held September 27-29thin downtown Durham.  Produced by The DOME Group LLC, AOCFEST will feature a range of R&B, Neo Soul, Hip-Hop, Jazz, alternative and spoken word performances and speakers at multiple venues: Durham Bulls Athletic Park (DBAP), the Durham Armory, Motorco Music Hall, Carolina Theatre, The Pinhook, The Masonic Lodge and Beyu Caffe. National Basketball Association star Rasheed Wallace will be the special guest host for the DBAP performances during AOCFEST 2019.  Festival attendees can enjoy this one-of-a-kind event featuring 20-plus acts for 1 price. One Day, Weekend, VIP and Sunday Brunch passes for AOCFEST 2019 are available through Eventbrite:


    Three-time GRAMMY® award-winning singer-songwriter, New York Timesbest-selling poet, and critically acclaimed actor Jill Scottwill headline the AOCFEST stage on September 27that the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.  Dreamville Records singer-songwriter Ari Lennoxwill open the show Friday evening.  That same evening, Darryl “D.M.C.” McDaniels and his live rock band will hit the Motorco Music Hall stage.

    Run DMC, one of the most influential acts in the history of hip-hop culture, will headline AOCFEST on September 28that the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.  This iconic group will commemorate its 30thanniversary, having sold tens of millions of records worldwide and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009. Whodini, one of the first rap groups to add a R&B twist to their music, will open the show Saturday evening. Grammy Award-winning rapper and actor Big Daddy Kane together with The Symphony (Kool G Rap, Craig G and Masta Ace) will also rock the Durham Bulls Athletic Park stage on Saturday, September 28th.

    Also performing at AOCFEST 2019 on Friday September 27th: classically-trained hip-hop duo Black Violin; saxophonist Marcus Anderson; Singer-songwriter Yolanda Rabun; NC hip-hop producer, rapper and scholar 9thWonderpresents 95 Live; Go-Go band Jus Once; British soul singer-songwriter OmarLye-Fook; Jazz/hip-hop fusion quintet ZOOCRÜ; Alternative Pop project Flint Eastwood; Beatboxer-singer-pianistButterscotch; MGL & the Rev; Sister-duo and PJ Morton’s background singers, The Amours; and SaxophonistMark Allen Felton. At the Masonic Lodge, a 12-hour DJ Party will be held featuring Trap Karaoke, House, Old School, Neo-Soul, Mixes and Scratches by DJ RNB, DJ Skaz, DJ Kool Sheed, DJ Marlon, DJ Frances Jaye and DJ CK.

    Motown Records singer-songwriter BJ the Chicago Kidwill headline AOCFEST’s Saturday September 28thshow on the Durham Armory stage. Additional performances at AOCFEST 2019 on Saturday, September 28th: Rapper, entrepreneur and activist DJ Talib Kweli; Poet Jessica Care Moore; Los Angeles-based collective Emotional Oranges; new genre-bending band Chiiild; Rapper and National Poetry Slam Champion G Yamazawatogether with Rapper J Gunn; Hip-hop artist Lvitto; 3am; Durham artist Caliwood Rassamon; “The Afterparty” with DJ Skillz; “The Dirty South” with  DJ Scientist (Yin-Yang Twins); DJ Nabs presents “Free Yourself” featuring Sole, Dionne Farris and DJ Mike Nice. Professor, author, and speaker Michael Eric Dysonwill inspire festival-goers with a keynote on Saturday, September 28thmorning at the Carolina Theatre.  An Ultimate Musicians Jam session will be held Saturday night at Beyu Caffe.  Saturday’s 12-hour DJ Party will feature Reggae, Hip-Hop battles, Mixes and Scratches by DJ Lil Bee, DJ CK, DJ Fatz, DJ HighRise, DJ Assassin and Public Enemy’s Terminator X at the Masonic Lodge.

    On Sunday, September 29th, AOCFEST will host a VIP brunch featuring North Carolina’s favorite musical sons The Hamiltones at the Durham Convention Center from 11am – 2pm.

    AOCFEST is proud to have Blue Cross Blue Shield as presenting partner for AOCFEST 2019 and held free “Keeping It Cool” pop-up events at retail centers in Charlotte and Raleigh earlier this month.  The festival is teaming up with A Plus Test Prep to host a free ”Kickoff to College Fair” Saturday, September 18thmorning at the Durham Armory.  The 2019 AOCFEST Urban Vendor Market is sponsored by Mechanics & Farmers Bank (M&F Bank) at CCB Outdoor Plaza and American Tobacco Campus.  The Urban Vendor Market, featuring artisans and food trucks, will be open Friday, September 27 6pm through midnight and Saturday, September 28 from 12pm until midnight.A Power Yoga session will be held Saturday, September 29thmorning at the American Tobacco Campus (Diamond View Park).

    “We are really excited about the lineup and activities about to hit the Bull City during AOCFEST 2019,” said Sulaiman Mausi, CEO, The DOME Group LLC. “We are grateful for our sponsors: Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, American Tobacco, APLUS Test Prep, North Carolina Arts Council, Bedlam, Provident 1898, WRAL, Go Durham, Discover Durham, Durham Convention Center, AT&T, The Tower at Mutual Plaza, Johnson Lexus, Coastal Credit Union, Heineken, Long Beverage, Around Dinner Catering, Townebank and Watered Garden Florist Studios. We anticipate an unforgettable cultural experience for loyal Cooligans and newcomers alike.”

    “We are particularly proud of the level of free community programming planned for AOCFEST 2019,” said Lesleigh Mausi, Co-Founder and Vice-President, The DOME Group LLC.  “With the incredible support of our partners, the weekend activations will provide a great community atmosphere featuring array of vendors, food trucks, music and FREE family fun.”

    Official AOCFEST hotel partners – Marriott at Research Triangle Park, Aloft Hotel, Unscripted Hotel Durham, Cambria Hotel, The Durham Hotel and 21C Museum Hotel Durham — are offering special AOCFEST rates and packages available on a first-come first-served basis.  RFID wristbands will be used for show entry this year. AOCFEST merchandise is already available on the website and will be available for purchase onsite.

    For more details, visit www.aocfestival.comand follow Art of Cool Festival on Facebook, and AOCFEST on TwitterandInstagram.

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    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Formally Announces An Impeachment Inquiry Of Trump

    Roommates, things are about to get real on Capitol Hill. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi held a press conference this afternoon to formally announce an impeachment inquiry into Trump.

    If you’re confused, don’t be. An impeachment inquiry is just a fancy way to say Pelosi plans to open up an investigation to begin the impeachment process against Trump.

    The drama surrounds a conversation Trump had with Ukraine’s president in which he is accused of pressuring the leader to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden’s son. Trump asked his acting chief of staff to put a hold on millions in military aid to Ukraine roughly one week before the call, two senior administration officials said, according to CNN.

    Trump’s admittance to the nature of the call and using his contacts for personal gain in the upcoming election are what many House Democrats say are impeachable offenses.


    Pelosi met with fellow Dems today and their meeting prompted her to finally move forward with impeachment proceedings.

    “He’s taken it to another level of betrayal, therefore we’re moving forward with another level of inquiry,”  Pelosi said.

    Earlier today, Biden said he believes Trump has left Congress “no choice but to initiate impeachment.”

    Of course, Trump got on the defense when the news broke and took to Twitter to speak on the scandal, calling the impeachment inquiry a “witch hunt.”

    Of the 235 Democrats in the house, 161 support an impeachment inquiry into Trump and the number is believed to grow. We promise to keep you updated on the proceedings moving forward.

    Roommates, what are your thoughts on Nancy Pelosi’s big announcement? Let us know!


    Source: The Shade Room

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    Beyonce Calls Blue Ivy A ‘Cultural Icon’ In Legal Battle With Wedding Planner

    Like any mother, Beyonce goes hard for her children and the queen is currently piping up in a legal battle with a wedding planner to trademark her young princess’ name. According to court docs obtained by Blast, Beyonce lists Blue Ivy Carter being a cultural icon as just one of several reasons why she should be granted a trademark for her famous daughter’s name. To loop y’all in, Beyonce has been battling wedding planner Wendy Morales for years over this trademark and the case is likely to go to trial.

    Morales claims she had already been using the name “Blue Ivy” for years but in newly filed documents, Beyonce clearly feels Morales’ claim that consumers will confuse Morales’ boutique wedding event planning business with her daughter’s name is just silly. Bey even got a little shady in the process.

    Beyonce says Morales runs a “small business, with just three regional offices and a handful of employees”, with weak online presence and poorly subscribed social media accounts. Bey also pointed out that her trademark application is for “Blue Ivy Carter,” not “Blue Ivy.”

    In the court docs, Beyonce also accused Morales of having, “exhibited a pattern and practice of affirmatively attempting to connect its brand with Blue Ivy Carter to increase its exposure and drum up business,” and even pulled receipts!

    Bey points to interviews Morales gave following her daughter’s birth. In the radio interviews, Morales talked about her business receiving more attention. She even admitted reaching out to Beyoncé’s agent.

    Beyonce adds Morales also had a sale on her daughter’s birthday. Beyoncé denies Morales claim she has no intention to use the trademark.

    She says, “Indeed, the circumstantial evidence, including Blue Ivy Carter’s fame, her interest in fashion and design, and her familial relationship with two of the most famous performers in the world all support BGK’s intent to use the BLUE IVY CARTER trademark in connection with building a brand consistent with Blue Ivy Carter’s interests and skills.”

    Bey finishes off by saying her daughter is a “cultural icon who has been described as a ‘mini style star’ and has been celebrated for her ‘fashion moment’ overs the years. Her life and activities are followed extensively by the media and the public.”

    “Most significantly, Blue Ivy Carter has achieved a significant amount of fame, particularly at such a young age. She also has a noted and well-chronicled interest in fashion. Given these factors, Blue Ivy Carter is capable of and interested in becoming the face of a brand. For this reason, the factual context demonstrates that BGK filed the Application with the intent to build a brand around Blue Ivy Carter and her public reputation and renown.”

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