May 10, 2017 5:20 PM
President Donald Trump is taking aim at African-American students and jeopardizing the future of historically black colleges and universities.
Construction for Black colleges, Trump argues, could be unconstitutional because it’s racially biased. Without new buildings for state-of-the-art technology, the outlook for Black colleges becomes even more challenging.
I’m discouraged, but not surprised. Trump’s promises regarding the education of Black students are questionable at best. The president can’t be trusted with his rhetoric. He makes bold promises one day, then reneges on his commitments a day later.
Promises for funding Black colleges are no different.
In February, when Trump invited 60 Black college presidents to the White House for a meeting about funding HBCU’s, the session was abruptly cut short by a much-publicized photo-op with Trump in the Oval Office.
“The president and I admire the contributions of historically Black colleges and universities,” Vice President Mike Pence told Black college presidents. Pence said the Trump administration is committed to ensuring that HBCU’s “get the credit and attention they deserve.”
More deception. More smoke-and-mirrors.
Last week, Trump undercut a 25-year-old program that helps finance construction projects for historically Black colleges and universities.
Trump signed a $1 trillion proposed budget where he mentioned The Historically Black College and University Capital Financing Program Account as one example of programs that “allocate benefits on the basis of race, ethnicity, and gender.”
The United Negro College Fund said it’s “puzzled” by Trump’s characterization of the provision.
Cheryl Smith, senior vice president of public policy and government affairs at the UNCF, told Politico the program Trump used as an example isn’t based on race but on “mission, accreditation status and the year the institution was established.”
Trump’s signing statement was also criticized by Rep. John Conyers Jr. (Mich.), the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, and Rep. Cedric L. Richmond (D-La.), the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.
“Trump’s statement is not only misinformed factually, it is not grounded in any serious constitutional analysis,” their joint statement said. “For a President who pledged to reach out to African-Americans and other minorities, this statement is stunningly careless and divisive. We urge him to reconsider immediately.”
I am not puzzled by the president’s thinking, I see Trump’s move as another systematic attempt to dismantle years of progress by African-Americans. Trump, his advisors, and his Cabinet of mostly white men have no connection to America’s Black experience and they don’t care about the social, economic, health and educational challenges facing Black Americans.
Many civil rights activists were correctly skeptical when the Black college presidents met with Trump at the White House in February.
In fact, Morehouse College President John Wilson Jr. described the meeting with White House aides as “troubling.”
Wilson and other Black college presidents were hoping that Trump would set aside additional funding for historically Black colleges. Instead of a substantive meeting, some said, the presidents were lured into the Oval Office for a hastily arranged photo-op with Trump.
“In general, the meetings were a troubling beginning to what must be a productive relationship,” Wilson said in a statement to the school’s students.
I don’t believe Trump wants a productive relationship with Black college presidents. He has already signaled that he intends to challenge the progress of Black colleges by claiming unconstitutional racial preferences – a longtime and predictable Republican strategy to undermine the achievements of African-Americans.
What do you think?
May 10, 2017 5:02 PM
Former “Dance Moms” reality TV star Abby Lee Miller was sentenced Tuesday to a year and a day in prison for hiding $775,000 worth of income and bringing $120,000 worth of Australian currency into the U.S. without reporting it.
U.S. District Judge Joy Flowers Conti also fined Miller $40,000 — on top of the $120,000 in currency she’s forfeiting as part of guilty pleas entered last year — and ordered her to spend two years on probation after prison.
Miller, 51, filed for bankruptcy, just as her star was rising in late 2010, after defaulting on a $245,000 Florida condominium mortgage and a $96,000 mortgage on her Abby Lee Dance Company studio in Penn Hills, a Pittsburgh suburb.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Melucci told the judge that Miller went from being a “dance mom in the bankruptcy case to dance con” by hiding her income.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Thomas Agresti nearly approved a plan to let Miller repay her creditors at lower interest rates and longer terms before he saw her on TV one night and figured she must be making far more than the $8,899 in monthly income she initially declared. It’s a crime to deceive a bankruptcy judge about one’s income and assets because that information is used to determine how much and how soon creditors will receive in the court-ordered repayment plan.
Miller eventually coughed up $288,000 in TV income she didn’t initially report in 2012, then federal investigators found she’d hidden nearly $550,000 more from personal appearances, dance sessions and merchandise sales.
Defense attorney Robert Ridge asked the judge to not hold Miller’s celebrity against her, saying Miller “was ill-equipped to deal with the brand that she became.”
The “Dance Moms” star was known for her brash behavior and pursuit of perfectionism from her dance students. The show followed a class of Miller’s elite students and the perilous relationship she has with the girls’ mothers. Critics of “Dance Moms” accused Miller of being emotionally abusive toward the girls, and many episodes show her students dissolving into tears after a harsh critique.
Miller announced in March that she was leaving the show. She’s now working out of a dance studio near Los Angeles, and Conti agreed to recommend that federal prison officials let her serve her sentence as close to her new business base of operations as possible. Miller must report to prison in a few weeks.
Ridge told the judge that Miller accidentally became famous when she let TV producers use her studio for a show about young dancers, only to have the producers center the show on Miller after her fiery encounter with an angry parent.
Conti told Miller that the prison sentence and other punishments are “not about the fame. It’s really about what anyone who’s going to commit bankruptcy fraud” will face. “There’s going to be serious consequences,” Conti said.
Miller told the judge that she opened a bank account not authorized by the court so she could pay bills and otherwise run her business affairs while he bankruptcy proceedings ground on. Melucci contends Miller was “extremely arrogant” and opened the account so she could receive and spend income away from Judge Agresti’s prying eyes to “satisfy her enormous greed.”
“‘Dance Moms’ became a hit and I became a laughingstock of reality TV,” Miller told the judge, referring both to her on-camera persona and her later legal troubles. “Why didn’t I hold myself to the same standard I hold my dancers to? Had I done that, I wouldn’t be here today.”
May 10, 2017 4:54 PM
It’s handled. According to multiple reports, Scandal the popular show that upgraded Kerry Washington‘s profile, helped Shonda Rhimes dominate TV and kicked off a Golden Age of Black TV, is ending after 7 seasons.
In January, ABC Entertainment chief Channing Dungey indicated that the network was expecting the finale to come sooner rather than later. TVLine reported that the decision was Rhimes’ call.
“I would say yes, in Shonda’s head,” Dungey said in January when asked whether there was a plan for ending the show. “I know already that she has some great ideas for next season, which will be season seven. We have not really talked about what happens after that. But I love the show and I would happily keep the show on as long as she feels that she has creative runway to write the show.”
“Scandal” turned Kerry Washington into a major star, and its success helped cement Rhimes’ status as an uber-showrunner. “Scandal” was the pillar of ABC’s “TGIT” strategy of loading up Thursday night with Rhimes-produced sudsers. Of late, however, a resurgent “Grey’s Anatomy” has eclipsed the viewership of “Scandal.”
Asked recently by Variety how much longer the show would run, Washington said, “I don’t know, it’s in Shonda’s hands,” she said. “I don’t know, but I trust Shonda. We’ll see.”
May 10, 2017 1:00 PM
Phaedra Reveals The “Source” Of The Kandi Rumor
Looks like just about ALL of those stories about the RHOA reunion are shaking out to be true.
If you’ll recall, rumors swirled that not only was Phaedra booted from the show but that she took a member of production down with her, claiming that all the Kandi rape/drug BS came from HIS mouth, originally.
Now a Bravo insider is reporting to Page Six that Phaedra did indeed try to loop production into her slanderous hearsay, bu Andy and crew shut that isht down quickly:
“Phaedra tried to blame producers for manipulating the scenario, and it was cut from the reunion show. They’re not allowed to break the ‘fourth wall’ and talk about production. It may not have been entirely Phaedra’s fault, but she has to take the fall.”
A source close to Phaedra also says the editing made her look crazy(er?) due to the lack of mention of who her “source” for the information was…
“[It was] a producer who told her the drug and rape story, which she repeated to another cast member. It snowballed. The editing was not kind to her.”
Sounds like she really did try to peg that nasty rumor on Carlos King…
However, a Bravo rep insisted that “Production is not involved” in Phae’s fanciful tales.
SMH! Phaedra is really still riding this lie, huh? She did say she’ll never let anyone see her sweat…
May 9, 2017 7:49 PM
On Tuesday morning, Christopher ‘Big Black’ Boykin, part of MTV’s hit reality series, Rob & Big, died at age 45. A rep for Boykin confirmed to People that the cause of death was a heart attack.
In a statement obtained by People, MTV said, “MTV is deeply saddened to learn the news of Christopher ‘Big Black’ Boykin’s passing. He was a longtime and beloved member of the MTV family and will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends at this time.”
Boykin was Rob Dyrdek’s close friend and co-star on Rob & Big from 2006 to 2008, but the show came to an end after 19 episodes because of a fallout between the co-stars. In 2014, Dyrdek opened up to Graham Bensinger about the struggles on the show and what led to the friction between him and Boykin. “I didn’t want to be known as Rob from ‘Rob & Big,'” Dyrdek says. “… and I think he didn’t want to be known as the sidekick, so I think that created a lot of that tension between me and him.” Dyrdek says he believes it was the fundamental struggle of wanting to not be so connected to each other that resulted in the show ending.
In February 2016, Boykin was invited to the FGCU campus (Florida Gulf Coast University) to discuss his life an experience on reality shows. According to an article published by Eagle News, the school’s main media outlet, Boykin discussed everything from his youth to the time he and Dyrdek ran from cops in Rome during his interview with the school’s programming board. He reportedly spoke to the students about growing up in rural Mississippi, and his experiences with racism in the South. “The star revealed that he once didn’t get a job because the employer was convinced that he was a criminal, even though he has never been arrested,” according to a piece written about Boykin’s trip to campus.
The 6’6″ reality star, who was also a veteran of the US Navy, posted his last Tweet on Monday, making a comment about boxer Canelo Alvarez.