Sunday, January 31, 2016

THE BLACK SPIRIT: Excelling Despite Systematic Inequality - From The SAG Awards To The Sundance Film Festival, Diversity Makes A Comeback!

An ecstatic Idris Elba takes home two coveted SAG awards Saturday night. Source: Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images

January 31, 2016 - HOLLYWOOD - In a flurry of wins at the Screen Actors Guild Awards and the Sundance Film Festival, diversity made a comeback.

Over just a few hours Saturday night, the SAG Awards and Sundance showered their honors on a parade of performers and films that presented a stark contrast to the crisis that has plagued the Oscars. Shortly after the screen actors handed out awards to Queen Latifah, Uzo Aduba, Viola Davis and Idris Elba (twice), Nate Parker's Sundance sensation "The Birth of a Nation," a drama about Nat Turner's slave rebellion, swept the festival's awards.

The two ceremonies, in Los Angeles and Park City, Utah, offered a night of reprieve from weeks of rancor over systemic inequality in the movie business and a second straight year of all-white Academy Award acting nominees.

"Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to diverse TV," said Elba in his third trip on stage as a presenter at the SAG Awards. His first two were to accept awards for his supporting performance in the Netflix child soldier drama "Beasts of No Nation" and for his lead performance in the BBC miniseries "Luther."

Soon thereafter, at Sundance, Parker took the festival's grand jury prize and its audience award.

"Thank you, Sundance, for creating a platform for us to grow, in spite of what the rest of Hollywood is doing," said Parker, whose directorial debut sold for a record sum to Fox Searchlight Pictures.

The SAG Awards top honor, best ensemble in a film, went to the newspaper drama "Spotlight," which came into Saturday badly in need of some momentum. The ensemble award had seemingly come down to "Spotlight" or Adam McKay's high finance tale "The Big Short," which last week took the Producers Guild's top award. The win assures a competitive and unpredictable Oscars finale, with "The Martian," ''The Revenant" and "Mad Max: Fury Road" also in the mix.

"No way," said Mark Ruffalo, one of the stars of "Spotlight."

He praised the writer-director Tom McCarthy and co-writer Josh Singer for their purposeful accuracy in penning the journalistic procedural about the Boston Globe's reporting on sexual abuse by Catholic priests. The two, he said, "took every single opportunity to tell the truth. They didn't take any cheap way. It was always the truth."

Elba made no direct reference to the uproar that has swept through Hollywood in the last two weeks, which might have been less severe had he been nominated by the Academy Awards, as many expected. But it was on the minds and tongues of seemingly everyone in Los Angeles' Shrine Auditorium.

Accepting the most outstanding ensemble award in a comedy series for Netflix's "Orange Is the New Black," co-star Laura Prepon gestured to the cast of the prison comedy standing behind her.

"Look at this stage," said Prepon. "This is what we talk about when we talk about diversity."

SAG winners for individual performances the last three years have corresponded with eventual Academy Award winners. Thus Leonardo DiCaprio ("The Revenant"), Brie Larson ("Room") and Alicia Vikander ("The Danish Girl") all cemented their status as Oscar favorites. Each won, as expected.

But supporting actor will differ this year. The category's perceived favorite is Sylvester Stallone for the Rocky sequel "Creed." Stallone, though, wasn't nominated by the screen actors.

Actors make up the largest branch of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, which is why the SAG Awards are a closely watched harbinger of the Oscars. But the Screen Actors Guild is massive by comparison: some 160,000 members to the academy's 6,000-plus. Voting for the SAG Awards, which concluded Friday, also overlapped with the widespread debate over the industry's inclusiveness that followed Academy Awards nominations.

Latifah gave one of the evening's most stirring speeches while accepting the award for most outstanding female performance in a TV movie or miniseries for HBO's Bessie Smith tale "Bessie."

"I hope that anyone out there who does not come in the package that people say you should, keep fighting for it," said Latifah. Backstage, Latifah added: "Hopefully our business will continue to supply the demand that people are asking for. The people want it. Give it to the people."

Aduba, accepting her second straight SAG Award for best actress in a comedy in "Orange Is the New Black," praised creator Jenji Kohan for making "a show that reflects and represents so many people."

For the third time, "Downton Abbey" won best ensemble in a drama series. Best actor in a TV comedy went to Jeffery Tambor for the acclaimed Amazon series "Transparent." Kevin Spacey won his second SAG Award for "House of Cards."

The great comedian Carol Burnett accepted the SAG lifetime achievement award from presenters Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Recalling the uphill battle she faced, Burnett remembered being warned that "comedy variety is a man's game." She then dramatically shook her head and mouthed: "No."

Davis, who in September became the first African American to win best actress at the Emmys, won again for her performance in "How to Get Away With Murder." She reminded that "diversity is not a trending topic."

"All of the actors of color I know don't place any limitations on themselves," said Davis. "So regardless what is going on with the academy, what is going on with Hollywood, they will find a way to be excellent. We always have and we always will." - AP.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

EUROPEAN RACISM: Whitewashing - White Actor Cast As Michael Jackson In New TV Movie?!

Joseph Fiennes, who is white, has been cast to play the African American "King of Pop" in a British TV comedy.
The announcement fuels the growing controversy over opportunities for black artists. (Reuters)

January 30, 2016 - HOLLYWOOD - On Feb. 10, 1993, clad in a dazzling red shirt, black epaulets and a black armband, Michael Jackson walked across one of the many rooms of his Neverland Ranch in Santa Ynez Valley, Calif. Striding past what appeared to be an enormous portrait of himself in Elizabethan garb, Jackson was there to meet a guest — Oprah Winfrey — and unburden himself. Even before allegations surfaced claiming the star had sexually abused children — as they did later that year — it seemed there were a lot of stories circulating about the King of Pop. And, live on national television before an audience of 90 million people, the King of Pop wanted to set the record straight.

Did he sleep in an oxygen chamber? No, Jackson said. Had he purchased the Elephant Man’s bones? No, Jackson said. (“Where am I going to put some bones?”) And did he want a white kid to play him in a Pepsi commercial?

Jackson sighed. Then he got mad. Or, perhaps, as mad as Michael Jackson got.

“That is so stupid,” he told Oprah. “That’s the most ridiculous, horrifying story I’ve ever heard. It’s crazy.”The question, it seemed, struck at the core of Jackson’s amorphous identity. Though stricken with vitiligo, a skin condition that lightened his complexion in patches, the singer who idolized James Brown was still black and proud.

“Why?” he said of the rumor. “No. 1: It’s my face as a child in the commercial. Me when I was little. Why would I want a white child to play me? I’m a black American. I’m proud to be a black American. I am proud of my race. I am proud of who I am. I have a lot of pride in who I am and dignity. That’s like you wanting an Oriental person to play you as a child. Does that make sense? … So please people stop believing these horrifying stories.” He added: “When people make up stories that I don’t want to be who I am, it hurts me.”

Now, a version of what so horrified Jackson — who, if anyone needs to be reminded, died in 2009 — has come to pass. The very white actor Joseph Fiennes, perhaps best known for playing the Bard in “Shakespeare in Love,” has been cast as Jackson in a film for British television.

People were angry.

Just two weeks ago, Academy Award nominations were announced — and, out of 20 acting nominees, not a single person of color was to be found. This revived the previous year’s “#OscarsSoWhite” controversy about whether minorities remain underrepresented in the film industry. Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith, among others, are sitting out the awards. Oscar host Chris Rock is now in the middle of the racial storm surrounding the glitzy event. The academy, its president said, is trying to diversify its membership. And what seemed like a whimsical project produced on a foreign isle — “Elizabeth, Michael and Marlon,” which details the purported flight of Liz Taylor, Marlon Brando and Jackson from New York City in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks — hit social media with a digital thud.

“Joseph Fiennes is not surprised he was cast to play Michael Jackson,” one Twitter user wrote. ” I threw up in my mouth! #diversity.”

“I mean, at this rate, why not cast Judi Dench as Michael Jackson?” Ed Wong of the Atlantic tweeted.

“Producers say it’s creative diversity,” actor Miguel Nunez wrote. “Then let me Play Donald Trump.”

As the world defended the legacy of the man who may be the most beloved performer in history, Fiennes took refuge at “Entertainment Tonight.” And he wanted to talk about Jackson’s diagnosis.

Jackson “definitely had an issue — a pigmentation issue — and that’s something I do believe,” he said. “He was probably closer to my color than his original color.”

The movie, Fiennes said, was not a broadside against people of color trying to break into Hollywood. He said the film is “not in any way malicious. It’s actually endearing.”

Sky Arts, which is producing the film, also defended the casting decision.

“Sky Arts gives producers the creative freedom to cast roles as they wish, within the diversity framework which we have set,” the network said in a statement, as the Associated Press reported. The company added that it “puts the integrity of the creative vision at the heart of all its original commissions.”

“It’s [about] people who are so iconic, but also can be detached,” Fiennes said. “You know, you can get detached from society. So it’s examining that kind of wonderful and mad detachment.”

Alas, some seemed more inclined to believe that the actor and Sky Arts were the detached ones.

But wait — “Elizabeth, Michael and Marlon” had its defenders. There is a long history of actors of one race playing characters of another and getting away with it — even after the end of Al Jolson-style blackface. There’s Al Pacino in “Scarface.” There’s Robert Downey in “Tropic Thunder” (though, actually, he was in blackface for that one). There’s “Hamilton.”

Aren’t artists free to make art?

“Well I mean, if we are allowed to turn ghostbusters into women, which were MEN first, race shouldn’t be a problem,” one Twitter user wrote.

“Looks pretty white to me,” the same Twitter user wrote over a photograph of Jackson.

Alas, an intractable problem that’s bedeviled theater for centuries has not been solved yet.

“In ‘Selma,’ for example, it makes no sense for a non-black actor to play

Martin Luther King Jr. or for a non-white actor to play Lyndon Johnson.” David Marcus wrote at the Federalist last year in “The Case for Colorblind Casting.” “Those racial identities are central to the story, and there is nothing wrong with that. When a film or play is specifically exploring issues of race, it is perfectly acceptable to cast on that basis, just as it is when advertisers are targeting a demographic. This is natural and to be expected. But the fact is such stories are very much the exception, not the rule.”

Elsewhere, others took, more or less, the opposite position.

“Colorblind casting might land a few promising actors prestigious roles, but it isn’t a sustainable strategy,” Angelica Jade Bastien wrote at the Atlantic last year in “The Case Against Colorblind Casting.” “It neither addresses the systemic problems that exists behind the camera nor does it compel Hollywood to tell more racially aware stories.” - Washington Post.

Friday, January 29, 2016

AGE OF OBAMA: Computer Science For All Initiative - President Obama Wants More Girls And Kids Of Color To Learn Computer Science!

A new initiative announced Saturday by the White House will allocate billions of dollars in funding
for school districts to expand access to computer science education.

January 29, 2016 - UNITED STATES - The United States has a problem with access to computer science programs in schools. In nine states, not a single African-American student took an AP computer science exam last year. Significantly fewer girls took the exam than boys.

A new initiative announced Saturday by the White House seeks to rectify some of these inequalities.

The plan comes after President Barack Obama announced his commitment to expanding computer science offerings during this year's State of the Union address, in which he said he wants to every student to have hands-on computer science and math classes. The push, titled the Computer Science for All initiative, includes $4 billion in Obama's upcoming budget and $100 million to be distributed directly to districts.

"In the new economy, computer science isn’t an optional skill -- it’s a basic skill, right along with the three 'Rs.' Nine out of 10 parents want it taught at their children’s schools," Obama said during his weekly address Saturday morning. "Yet right now, only about a quarter of our K-12 schools offer computer science. Twenty-two states don’t even allow it to count toward a diploma."

The plan will "help make sure all our kids get an opportunity to learn computer science, especially girls and minorities," he said.

If passed, the $4 billion Obama allocates for the effort in his upcoming budget would be distributed to states over the next three years. To receive the funds, states will have to submit plans describing how they intend to expand computer science access in schools.

The $100 million for districts will be distributed in the form of a competitive grant. Districts will have to apply for the grant by describing nationally replicable plans to expand computer science offerings for students.

The $4 billion and $100 million in funding "will allow more states and districts to offer hands-on CS [computer science] courses across all of their public high schools, get students involved early by creating high-quality CS learning opportunities in elementary and middle schools, expand overall access to rigorous science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) coursework, and ensure all students have the chance to participate, including girls and underrepresented minorities," according to a press release from the White House.

Other organizations and federal agencies, including the National Science Foundation and the Corporation for National and Community Service, are committing funds to the initiative specifically intended for training and supporting computer science teachers. Obama has also called on companies, politicians and philanthropists to get involved in the initiative through increased investments.

On a call with reporters, Microsoft President Brad Smith called the initiative an "economic and social imperative."

Acting Secretary of Education John King said the initiative builds on progress already happening at the state and local level.

"If all do our part we can create a movement that not only gets our students ready for the future, but gives them a voice in shaping that future," he said. - Huffington Post.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

AFRICAN INTEGRATION: Sudan's President Orders Border With South Sudan Open - State Media Reports!

January 28, 2016 - SUDAN -  Sudan's President has ordered the opening of the border with South Sudan for the first time since the South seceded five years ago, Sudan's state news agency reports.

The Sudan News Agency (SUNA) reported that President Omar al-Bashir issued the decision Wednesday, asking authorities to take all measures to implement the action.

The border between the two countries, which have had tense relations since South Sudan's secession, remains disputed.

South Sudan, a landlocked country of about 11 million people in east-central Africa, seceded from Sudan in July 2011 after decades of conflict, making it the world's youngest nation.

The two countries became embroiled in disputes over ownership of valuable oil supplies and eventually signed an agreement to withdraw their respective forces from a 14-mile-wide demilitarized zone between the countries.

But the tensions between the countries were soon overshadowed by a brutal civil war that erupted in South Sudan in December 2013, with forces loyal to South Sudanese President Salva Kiir clashing with those backing his sacked vice president, Riek Machar.

The United Nations estimates that more than 2.2 million South Sudanese have been displaced, most of them internally, and says that the country has faced serious food shortages and disease as a result of the conflict.

Last year, an African Union (AU) report documented forced cannibalism, gang rapes and death by burning as among the atrocities perpetrated during the country's civil war.

Al-Bashir, who has led Sudan for 26 years, became the world's first sitting president to be indicted by the International Criminal Court when charges were filed against him for alleged genocide and war crimes in Darfur, western Sudan.

Last year, he left South Africa just as a High Court in that country had decided to order his arrest. - CNN.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

SUPERHERU: Aurion, The Legacy Of The Kori-Odan - Finally, A Video Game Hero For Africa!

Cameroon's first ever video game, Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan, features an African hero, and is part of a growing video games industry across Africa.

January 27, 2016 - CAMEROON - When Madiba Olivier set out to make Cameroon's first video game with his newly opened studio Kiro'o Games, he had to do it with just $100 and daily power outages. And those weren't even the most difficult challenges for the Yaounde-based developer.

"We had difficulty finding funds and showing investors that we are not a scam," recalls Olivier. "We had people telling us, you are just another African scam on the internet. That was very humiliating for me."

Recently, he has proven the doubters that he means business. With the help of a Kickstarter campaign, Kiro'o Games has raised over $50,000 to create the country's first African role-play game: Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan.

Unlike most fantasy games, this one features an African hero, and creates an alternative world inspired by African folklore and mythology.

"At first, the idea was to make games about ninjas," notes Olivier. "But then I realized many gamers were bored of the same story and the same heroes. That's how the idea to create an African fantasy came out. I wanted to break what I call 'the exotic world' image of Africa."

WATCH: Madiba Guillame Olivier, Kiro'o Games on raising 128,000 euros to be 1st games studio in Africa.

The hero of the game, Enzo Kori-Odan, is the ruler of Zama -- a diverse country free of an imperialist past but now threatened by a coup. The story centers around Enzo and his wife Erine, and their fight to regain the throne. The hero's power comes from the collective energy of his ancestors, a force known as the Aurion.

"I think people with good eyes will see a lot of symbols about the African challenge," says Olivier. "Geopolitics is not about who will rule the world, but about deciding what the goal of the human race will be."

Aurion is just one example of what experts say is an industry growing at hyperspeed, thanks in large part to sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

WATCH: AURION, Legacy of the Kori-Odan - Combo Gameplay Trailer.

"It allows gamers to be invested in the process. Considering that funding for a game is rather difficult to come by, crowdfunding certainly makes sense in this market," notes Pippa Tshabalala, a South African video game writer and TV presenter.

For Olivier, the release of Aurion is just the beginning of a lifelong ambition to make Kiro'o Games the leader of gaming in Africa.

"We have an advantage with our colonial past, in that we can relate to people from different countries. We need to find a place in the games industry that will make us the center of gaming world trade," he says.

So what are his ambitions for 2016 and beyond?

"We want to be the biggest publisher and we plan to go into mobile gaming too," he notes. "We have spent the past ten years running from poverty. So the next ten years? We'll spend it running towards prosperity." - CNN.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

AFRICAN RENAISSANCE: Think Africa's Economic Boom Is Over - The Tech Sector Is About To Prove You Wrong!

African tech start-ups are attracting the attention of the world’s digital and financial giants — paving the way for a new perception of African online businesses.

January 26, 2016 - AFRICA -  A recent piece by Rick Rowden suggests that Africa’s economic boom is over . He couldn’t be more wrong.

In his article, Rowden argues that due to the collapsing commodity prices and the lack of industrialization, the boom is over. Everyone assumes that what Africa has to offer the world is oil, gold, minerals and that industrialization is the only path to a boom. Building an industry is good and Rick makes some important points about how to do that but he misses the real point. Africa’s boom is just starting and it’s a tech boom.

Twenty years ago, Africa started charting a different course for its boom in the tech industry. Africa leapfrogged the world from no landlines to mobile, which made the continent not only a mobile first but also a mobile-only and mobile-web continent. The years 1995 to 2010 saw the establishment of mobile companies such as MTN, Celtel (now Airtel Africa), Glo, Econet, and others plus Internet Service Providers (ISPs) by private local entrepreneurs like Phuthuma Nhleko, Mo Ibrahim, Mike Adanuga and Strive Masiyiwa, who connected Africans to mobile and the Internet.

Of all the regions in the world, mobile’s impact is greatest in Africa. Mobile phone services account for more than 6% of the continent’s GDP according to the GSM Association (GSMA) in it’s report “Africa Mobile Economy 2013”. A 2009 report by the WorldBank on Information and Communication for Development stated that mobile and broadband has more impact in developing than developed economies.

A research report published by Freshfields revealed that investments in the Telecom, Media and Technology (TMT) sector in Africa over the last decade made 19% annualized returns which is higher than the African MSCI Index of 11% and the Oil and Gas sector of six percent.

People like Rowden focus their story of Africa’s growth on natural resources and we all know commodities boom and bust so that’s misleading, what he is missing is the bigger story that the TMT sector made more than double the returns compared to commodities. The title of the Freshfields report is “Africa is poised for tech take-off” and aptly so because mobile growth has laid the foundation for a tech renaissance. The Africa rising narrative is underpinned by an Africa tech rising. The BBC submitted that Africa’s mobile boom is powering the innovation economy .

The arrival of submarine and terrestrial cables from 2010-2015 brought broadband to the masses and catalyzed the emergence of the digital economy. Africa’s millennials and digital natives, instead of looking for job or a way to vacate the continent, have caught on to the development of mobile web applications and are unleashing their creative juices and entrepreneurial prowess to disrupt traditional markets and address key pain-points for both rich and poor customers.

Africa’s 70% youth population are turning themselves into an asset class that now asks less and less about who will help them and more and more about what problems they can solve and which businesses they can build—as a consequence creating employment and paying taxes. By leveraging the Internet this generation is developing programming and business skills—sometimes without any formal education—and, coupled with their need to survive, they are expressing themselves by inventive software and other product solutions. Economist George Ayittey calls these individuals the “Cheetah Generation” and he reckons the salvation of Africa lies on their back.

The rest of the world is over indebted and has an aging population, whiles Africa has lots of room for productive investment and a growing population; Rick points to the risks of that but he misses how entrepreneurship and the tech revolution are fuel that transformation.

The Internet has significantly reduced the entry barriers for starting tech companies addressing problems for everyone from urban consumers to rural farmers. These entrepreneurs are building the next generation of startups that are turning into new SMEs—businesses that in any economy are the true engines of growth and the main creators of jobs. In developing economies SMEs are a critical part of reducing poverty. As incomes increase, this will in turn increase the demand for products and services, generating a virtuous cycle.

This phenomenon is currently prevalent in the economies of Kenya, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa, the “KINGS” of Africa’s Digital Economy. The KINGS countries lead the rest of the continent because of the greater penetration of broadband and development of pro-innovation public policies. They all have mobile penetration rates above 90%, with broadband available to many citizens right on their phones. They also have centers of innovation like the iHub in Kenya, Orange Fab in Ivory Coast, Leadpath in Nigeria, MEST in Ghana and 88MPH in South Africa where millennials and digital natives are unleashing their innovations. Chika Nwobi and Kresten Buch made an assessment in this piece.

Kenya leads the KINGS with her innovation in mobile money, which has become a global phenomenon. The KINGS economies will produce Africa’s unicorn businesses, companies with almost vertical growth rates. A recent Harvard Business Review article named Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa as three African countries where the digital economy is moving fastest in the world .

Steve Case, Co-Founder of AOL and now Chairman of Revolution and his wife Jean Case, CEO of the Case Foundation recently visited three of the KINGS countries, Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria.

“The most exciting thing I’ve seen {in Africa} is great entrepreneurs…they really have great ideas,” said Steve. “Some of them are going to be great businesses that change the world and create a lot of value and create a lot of jobs. It has been encouraging.”

Jean meanwhile said, “You know I have also tried to underscore that the other area that is very impressive here, is the degree of participation by women in the entrepreneurial sector. Everywhere we’ve gone, we’ve seen amazingly talented strong women really bringing it and building some great new enterprises.”

Of course Africa has it’s problems like national security, balance of payment crisis, infrastructure, education, leadership, etc. And tech alone can’t transform Africa and provide the jobs it needs but it stands to be a critical catalyst and it’s importance overlooked. What is needed is for Africa’s leaders to build and implement comprehensive strategies that puts tech as an integral part of our national development. Whether this happens or not, Africa’s tech transformation is racing ahead and leading the way.

Some of these tech companies will become global giants. In the same manner Asia produced Ali Baba, the biggest tech company in the 20th century, Africa stands to produce this century’s dramatic success stories—in digital not commodities. Watch out for the tech boom led by the KINGS of Africa’s digital economy. - Meme Burn.

BLACK BUSINESS: - The First All Black Marketplace App!

Screenshot of the App

January 26, 2016 - UNITED STATES -  Available today from is a new retail mobile app developed to provide customers with curated quality products from Black-owned businesses.

The app fulfills the market need for a more user-friendly and fun platform for customers to shop with the knowledge that all products are from 100% verified Black-owned businesses.

The mobile app’s additional functionality engages end users through push notifications announcing new products, real-time contests, flash sales, deals as well as promotions. Users can also connect via popular social media platforms, submit product suggestions, and watch video stories about the products they purchase via the mobile app.

“It should not be so hard to find and buy from high quality Black-owned businesses,” said Brian AM Williams, CEO of and app developer. “Today everything happens from our phones—Black businesses should be equally as accessible as any other business and that’s what I am bringing with this mobile app—accessibility.”

PurchaseBlack is designed with simplicity in mind, which makes it easy to use. Displaying high resolution digital graphics, PurchaseBlack brings fresh vision into presenting Black retailers products. PurchaseBlack is available worldwide, for free from the iOS app store and Google Play:

For more information, interviews, or media inquiries please contact

ABOUT PURCHASE BLACK is a curated online marketplace selling products from exceptional Black-owned businesses that sell by invitation only. They want to change the conversation surrounding Black-owned businesses to have them reflect the excellence contained within this business community. They aim to make it easy for the world to enjoy and support Black-owned businesses and make a positive impact through conscious commerce. They will encourage intentional spending for the betterment of communities everywhere because our business is to make a difference that matters.

For information please visit or follow them at:
Twitter –
Facebook –
Instagram –

Arrie L. Ledley
ALL Communications
973-768-9794 (office)

- Black News.

MARKETPLACE AFRICA: 2016 Digital Trends - The Innovation Revolution Continues!

January 26, 2016 - AFRICA - Over the past year we have witnessed digital innovation continue to transform Africa’s economic and business landscape. We have seen the continent become the largest growth market in the world for smartphone sales, as data consumption accelerates dramatically. We have watched the likes of Facebook and Google scramble to expand their presence in African markets, as well as committing to connect millions to the internet for the first time.

While Africa finds itself in a strong position to maintain the pace of its digital revolution, this should not be taken for granted. There is much to suggest an optimistic outlook for the continent in 2016, but this will depend increasingly on greater cooperation between the key players in the industry, innovators, governments and regulators.

Looking at 2016, these are the trends we can expect to see taking shape from Cairo to Cape Town:
4G connections will boost data consumption as more African countries auction spectrum

Several African governments will open auctions of public airwaves to mobile operators in 2016. Spectrum auctions will give a much needed boost to increase the adoption of 4G, which currently accounts for only 1 percent of connections, against a global average of 11 percent.

Regulators will have a big role to play in treating spectrum both as an asset and as an engine to propel their economies’ digital growth. Efficient allocation of spectrum will make mobile broadband more affordable and widely available, as well as allowing operators to invest more capital on other key infrastructure and technology.

More African countries will catch up with the continent’s digital champions, as governments include technology in economic development policy

South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria stand out in terms of the remarkable progress they have made in digitalising their economies. Tech hubs in Johannesburg and Nairobi have captured global headlines and international funding for their start-ups.

As ICT is increasingly seen as an economic imperative, many African countries are expected to follow in the steps of Rwanda, which is rolling out the SMART Rwanda initiative to achieve its ambitious ICT vision for 2020. Such policy initiatives promoting the pervasive use of online public services like e-education, e-health or e-government will have a central role in accelerating the uptake of broadband and bringing about more dynamic business environments on the continent. These will be essential to advance the digital revolution of recent years.

Fixed lines will support growth in B2B sector through ICT modernization in Africa’s cities

Unlike most parts of the world, Africa bypassed fixed telephone lines to develop mobile networks. Most of the infrastructure investment from telecoms companies over the past decade went into expanding mobile networks and provide first voice, then data services to increasing numbers of people.

As demand for higher internet bandwidth and faster connections grows in Africa’s urban and business hubs, broadband providers will invest in high-speed fixed networks. Such connections will further support the growth of the B2B sector across the region, especially the acceleration of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

Infrastructure sharing has now become an effective way for telecoms operators to deploy capital more efficiently and to increase mobile and data penetration in Africa. A similar system could be an important factor in the expansion of fixed lines. This is another area where regulators will be able to impact progress by creating a stable and viable environment for investment and cooperation between providers.

Sub-$30 entry level smartphones will catalyse digital service adoption
Although already fast growing in 2015, breaking the $30 barrier in 2016 will accelerate even further the smartphone and digital service adoption rate in Africa. This will be especially true for markets where smartphones are taxed less heavily. With a bigger critical mass there will be more incentives for app development in major cities across the continent to satisfy a growing demand for local content. African start-ups and international brands with a strong understanding of the continent will seize the opportunity.

The increasing availability of 4G connections will also allow Africans to use more bandwidth-demanding digital services on their smartphones, such as video and music streaming including Africa’s Tigo Music, expanding the market for over-the-top (OTT) service providers, such as YouTube and iRoko, dubbed as the ‘Netflix of Africa’.

Mobile Financial Services (MFS) innovation will be supported by African FinTech companies
A new wave of OTT financial products and services will be developed by African start-ups and offered to mobile subscribers via the operators’ infrastructure.

Emerging players in the MFS space like South Africa’s Jumo will continue to expand the MFS offer and develop more advanced products, for instance microloans and credit checks via mobile usage history. As MFS and services like Tigo Cash evolve, millions more Africans will benefit from inclusion in the formal financial system and access to ever more diverse financial products and services. - Portland Communications.

AFRICAN RENAISSANCE: TEEP - Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme Hunts For Africa's Next Entrepreneur!

Tony O. Elumelu CON, Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation and the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurs in Kampala, Uganda

January 26, 2016 - AFRICA - After a successful debut last year, the Tony Elumelu Foundation is inviting another 1 000 African entrepreneurs to participate in the 100 million dollar programme which strives to create millions in jobs and revenue for the continent annually over a decade.

Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP) aims to identify 10,000 African start-ups and entrepreneurs with ideas that have the potential to succeed and then provide them with business skills training, mentorship, seed capital funding, information and access to a vast network of African entrepreneurs.

Success of TEEP 2015
"What was achieved was beyond our expectations, we received 20 000 applications from 52 African countries, we selected 1 000 and the 1 000 was selected based on our theme, which was ‘your idea can transform Africa’ - so they were selected for their transformative ideas,” said Parminder Vir, CEO of TEEP.

TEEP is a 12 week training programme in Lagos where the entrepreneurs are mentored and network in a sort of entrepreneurial boot-camp. The selected thousand are funded 5 000 dollars each as seed capital said Vir, to allow them to develop their ideas and business plans.

“We achieved what we set out to do, which is to empower and train and mentor 1 000 entrepreneurs per year and we hit our target,” said Vir.

The second annual programme

As the year started they were opening up the portal for more applicants to replicate the same success as 2015.

“It just builds on the first one [2015 programme], so we already have 1 000 entrepreneurs who can now talk about their experiences on the programme.”

The response this year is reflected in the 19 000 applicants that have already registered.

"If this was a feature film, it would be up for an Oscar - that's how big the Tony Elumelu Foundation has become and how much it has touched and brought Africa together as a continent," said Vir.

Private sector involvement

The programme also addresses issues faced between public sector and private sector interaction, in so far as what more can be done by both parties to make becoming a successful entrepreneur in Africa possible.

"We asked our entrepreneurs last year, what are the impediments to your growth, ‘what is it that stands in your way? What are some of the obstacles and who can alleviate those impediments? And we produced a report Unleashing Africa's Entrepreneurs,” said Vir.

She adds that there is a lot government can do that doesn't necessarily require money but they have to overcome things around regulation, infrastructure, access to capital and training.

"I as an entrepreneur should not have to spend my time going through the bureaucracy to just register my company; I should be focusing on developing the most innovative, creative product or service that I want to develop for a customer or a client," she explains should be the priority of the entrepreneur.

How to get involved

"The application form can be found on our website - all the information that you required in filling out that application is there."

Applications for the programme close on 29 February 2016.

"The thing about being a start-up is you know, you're taking a huge risk - start-ups are already a huge risk by saying I'm not going to be a job seeker, I'm going to be a job creator, " said the programme CEO. - CNBC Africa.

INSIDE AFRICA: Nairobi Ranked The Most Innovative City In Africa, Middle East - The City Momentum Index!

January 26, 2016 - NAIROBI, KENYA - A new urban cities study has ranked Nairobi the most innovative city in Middle-East, Africa and among the top twenty cities in the world renowned for its innovation, livability and capacity to re-invent itself.

The City Momentum Index (CMI) study, conducted by global professional services and management company JLL, looked at 10 key areas including demographics, connectivity, technology and R&D, education, economic output and corporate activity.

Nairobi moved four places up from 15th position as the most dynamic city last year to sit at position 11 in 2016 out of the 120 cities surveyed.

"Nairobi's impressive demographic and economic momentum is necessitating the creation of infrastructure and real estate to support the city's expansion as it registers among the highest levels of office and retail construction and absorption of any city in the CMI," the study states.

The CMI study notes Nairobi's position as the centre of technology in Africa, and with a growing number of tech incubators and venture capital funds setting base in the city, as factors contributing to the city's expanding influence in the world.

"The start of construction of Konza Techno City and devolution is laying a solid foundation for the future," adds the study.

Nairobi is ranked ahead of mega cities like Shenzen, Tokyo, Hyderabad and Seoul. London topped the list for the second year in a row for its economic growth and real estate structure as well as initiatives that are transforming transport, such as the research centre currently being developed at White City.

Other cities that made it to the top five include Dublin, Silicon Valley, Bangalore and Boston.

"Bangalore (4) and Shenzhen (12) are home to some of the world's fastest-growing tech companies, and Nairobi (11) is also making a concerted effort to move up the value chain and improve global connectivity," the study states.

In addition to technology, the study says, real estate is another major factor in city momentum as it can enable productivity, creativity and entrepreneurship while creating a sense of community for its citizens in a sustainable urban model.

"Real estate no longer simply houses businesses - it attracts corporations and talent, and cities need to ensure their built environment provides the smart, productive commercial buildings that corporations, capital and talent now demand," said Jeremy Kelly, director, global research for JLL.

Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero is excited about the study, saying it reveals that its importance stretches far beyond its role as an administrative or political centre.

"I am proud of Nairobi's continuing position as one of the continent's major urban hubs. The city is now in its 53rd year as the capital of an Independent Kenya. Yet its importance stretches far beyond its role as an administrative or political centre," Kidero noted.

In 2015, Nairobi was ranked the most successful city in Africa by The Intelligent Community Forum (IFC). - Capital FM.

AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT: Africa Can No Longer Be Called "Poor" Overall - But Poverty Still An Issue!

January 26, 2016 - AFRICAPoverty in Africa has declined significantly in recent years, showing evidence that the past decade of economic growth has improved the lives of ordinary people.

The findings come from a new report by Afrobarometer, a pan-African, non-partisan research network, which conducted face to face interviews with about 50,000 citizens across 35 African countries.

The trend is very recent: in roughly four years between consecutive surveys, from 2011 to 2015, "lived poverty" fell in 22 of 33 countries surveyed in both rounds.

But while the continent can no longer be considered poor overall, poverty is still a widespread issue, and huge differences remain from country to country.

Marked differences
Mauritius, the least poverty-stricken country, scores 0.10 on the Lived Poverty Index -- which measures how frequently people go without basic necessities such as medical care, clean water and food during the course of a year.

On the other hand Gabon, the poorest among the surveyed countries, has a rating of 1.87. The continent's average is 1.15.

This means that in Mauritius 4% of people went without food in the past year, compared to 74% in Gabon.

The survey highlights differences in access to basic services: while in Liberia 78% of people went without medical care at least once in the past year, in Cape Verde it was just 19%.

"More people are living better lives -- that's good news for Africa," says Robert Mattes, lead author of the report, and University of Cape Town professor.

"Of course, we'll need to verify that these trends hold up in our next round of surveys, before we celebrate."

Poverty is still widespread

Despite low poverty levels in countries such as Mauritius, Cape Verde, Algeria, Egypt and Tunisia, lived poverty is still widespread on the continent.

The report shows that lived poverty actually increased in five countries - most steeply in Mozambique, Benin, and Liberia - and remained stagnant in five others.

On average, in 2014/15 over 40% of people said they went without clean water or food at least once or twice in the past year. 49% went without medical care, 38% without cooking fuel and 74% without cash income.

Governments need to act
Although the general growth in African economies definitely plays a role in the reduction of poverty, Afrobarometer warns there is no systematic relation: the crucial factor in improving people's lives is "the extent to which national governments and their donor partners put in place the type of development infrastructure that enables people to build better lives," the report says.

"Where governments do relatively simple things like invest in secondary and tertiary education, build good roads, and other development infrastructure like sewage systems and electricity grids, people are substantially better off," says Mattes.

Across the continent people's experiences differed greatly. Those living in Central and West Africa said they often went without basic necessities such as clean water and medical care, whereas North Africa experienced much fewer shortages.

On a person to person level, Africans who were employed full-time, had a high level of education, and lived in an urban area where basic infrastructure was in place, said they were rarely short of basic necessities.

"In other words, if governments and donors build an enabling environment, people seem to find ways to provide for themselves." - CNN.

EUROPEAN RACISM: The Systematic War On Black People - Black Teen Called 911 Three Times Before Chicago Cop Shot And Killed Him!

Bloodstains appear in the entrance to an apartment where Bettie Jones, 55, lived, after she and Quintonio LeGrier, 19, were shot by Chicago cops

January 26, 2016 - ILLINOIS, UNITED STATES -  Quintonio LeGrier called 911 three times on the morning after Christmas to seek help from Chicago police shortly before he was shot and killed by an officer who responded to his father’s West Side residence, according to newly released recordings by the Independent Police Review Authority.

“I need to talk to an officer,” LeGrier, 19, identifying himself only as “Q,” told a dispatcher. “Someone’s threatening my life.”

Minutes later, LeGrier was fatally shot by Officer Robert Rialmo outside his father’s residence after allegedly swinging a baseball bat at the officer. Bettie Jones, 55, another resident in the building, was fatally shot by the same thug cop in what police have called an accident.

IPRA, the city agency that investigates shootings involving Chicago police officers, released four 911 calls on Monday afternoon. The younger LeGrier made three of the calls just minutes apart from one another, and his father, Antonio LeGrier, made the fourth call.

Here are parts of the 911 calls transcribed:
LeGrier: “I just need an officer there, ok?”
Operator: “No, it don’t work like that. What’s your emergency?”
LeGrier: “I need to talk to an officer.”
Officer: “Ok, what’s wrong?”
LeGrier: “I need to talk to an officer.”
Operator: “You can talk to an officer, I can patch you to one if you want.”
LeGrier: “Someone’s threatening my life.”
Operator: “Is the person with you there now?
LeGrier: “Yes.”
Operator: “Are you in a house or an apartment?
LeGrier: “I’m in a house.”
Operator: “And your name?”
LeGrief: “Q.”
Operator: “What the last name?”
LeGrier: “Can you send an officer?”
Operator: “Yeah, when you answer the question.”
LeGrier: “There’s an emergency. Can you send an officer?”
Operator: “As soon as you answer these questions. What’s your last name?”
LeGrier: “It’s an emergency!”
Operator: “OK, if you can’t answer the questions, I’m gonna hang up.”
LeGrier: “I need the police!”
Operator: “Terminating the call.”

Le: Can you please send the police?
O: “Sir! Your name?”
LeGrier: “Can you please send the police?”
O: After you tell me what’s going on, what’s your name?
LeGrier: “Can you please send the police?”

Operator: “What’s wrong?”
LeGrier: “Someone’s threatening my life.”
Operator: “Who? Where are they now?”
LeGrier: “They’re at the house.”
Operator: “What’s your name?”
LeGrier: “Q.”
Operator: “Where are you gonna be, Q?”
LeGrier: “Are you gonna send the police, I already…Man, f*** this.”

CALL 4 made by Antonio LeGrier, Quintonio’s father:
Antonio LeGrier: “My son is attempting to break inside my bedroom door.”
Operator: “Is this a house or apartment?
Antonio LeGrier: “House. 2nd floor.”
Operator: “It’s on the 2nd floor? Ok, Is he carrying any weapons?”
Antonio LeGrier: “He’s got a baseball bat in his hand right now.”
Operator: “How old is he?”
Antonio LeGrier: “19.”
Operator: “Has he been drinking?”
Antonio LeGrier: “No.”
Operator: “What’s your name sir?”
Antonio LeGrier: “Antonio LeGrier.”
Operator: “Ok, watch for the police.”

His breathing heavy and panicked, the father told a dispatcher his son was armed with a bat and he needed the help of police.

The Chicago Tribune has previously reported that a male caller who identified himself as “Q” told a dispatcher that someone in the residence was threatening his life but that the caller refused to answer questions.

But on Monday, IPRA disclosed that the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications recently provided IPRA with two earlier calls by the younger LeGrier before the shooting. Officers did not respond to those earlier calls, IPRA’s Chief Administrator Sharon Fairley said in a statement. - WGN.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

BLACK ENTREPRENEURS: Dr. Nicole Farmer - Detroit Businesswoman Helps Minority Entrepreneurs Get Millions In Funding!

Photo credit: Shawn Lee Photography

January 21, 2016 - UNITED STATES - Business is booming in Detroit, and Dr. Nicole Farmer is the quarterback for minority entrepreneurs. Crime, corruption, bankruptcy, a failing school system and gentrification are many of the topics that keep Detroit front and center in the news. Although the city has had more than its fair share of bad news, there is a quiet storm of entrepreneurship brewing behind the scenes. Small businesses are growing exponentially, and Farmer is ensuring that minorities are financially in the game.

LifeLine, a partner with Detroit Micro-Loan Collaborative, is responsible for assisting loan applicants with the preparation of business plans and vetting their business before submitting loan applications. The collaborative oversees funds of more than 11 million dollars designated specifically for minority-owned businesses. In the year 2015 alone, LifeLine helped 25 entrepreneurs receive over $1.1 million in funding.

Rolling out
got the chance to sit down with Dr. Nicole to talk about her success and her million-dollar vision, her humble beginnings, and overcoming obstacles as an entrepreneur.

How did you start LifeLine Business Consulting Services?
I was a teenage mom, with a baby by the age of 14 while a ward of the state. I gave birth while in a group home. I lived impoverished but I had a plan. I became the first African American owner of a Tuffy Auto Center in the United States, and after accomplishing such a great feat, I knew I had a responsibility to help other aspiring/budding entrepreneurs. The name LifeLine was contrived because every day as an entrepreneur I felt like I was having a heart attack and I felt like I needed resuscitation. I knew others felt the same way.

Tell us about the services LifeLine offers
LifeLine serves as a conduit for entrepreneurs to assist primarily with business plan preparation and connecting with funding resources. We offer a 15-week course that covers the dynamics of entrepreneurship, one-on-one consultations, workshops, business plan preparation, financial projections, resource referrals, and networking events.

How did you overcome the obstacles of becoming a business owner? You never overcome obstacles of being a business owner, you just learn to adjust accordingly. Being a business owner means you are the problem solver and there is always a problem, varying in different magnitudes. At the end of the day, being a business owner, one has to realize the stress associated with being an entrepreneur and find ways to deal with it. Too many people believe that once they have the funding or finally get their doors open it will be smooth sailing, when in essence that is the beginning to a journey of trials and hopefully triumphs.

Who or what has influenced you to help other entrepreneurs?
My own journey has been significantly instrumental in my desire to help other entrepreneurs. There are some great businesses drowning in the sea of life, so busy dealing with the issues they face they don’t have the courage or belief that they can own their own business and be successful at it.

What are some of the common traits you see in students/clients that you personally relate to?
The struggle. Most entrepreneurs start off struggling — not just financially — but struggling for real knowledge and information that will help them succeed. Entrepreneurship is a scary thing; you have everything to lose if it doesn’t work and that is a scary position to be in. However, even with the risks associated with entrepreneurship, true entrepreneurs will stay the course.

What might someone be surprised to know about you?
I think people would be surprised where I started. I have a story to tell that causes me to cry whenever I think about it. I was living an impoverished life as a teenage mom, battling homelessness and hunger, but my hunger for my success outweighed my circumstances.

Describe your creative process in your business. 
My creative process is being able to listen to business ideas and fine-tune them to help clients launch sustainable businesses.

Describe your collaborations and the importance of collaboration.
  My collaborations are of the utmost importance. As a partner with the Detroit Microloan Collaborative, I have the ability to match my clients with the resources to fund their business when they are ready. I collaborate with a plethora of organizations that enhance my ability to provide exceptional service to my clients.
For more information, about LifeLine, please visit their website at - Rolling Out.

BLACK SUCCESS: Robert F. Smith - He Is The Richest Black Man In The United States,... And Most People Don't Even Know His Name!

Robert F. Smith is the richest black man in America

January 21, 2016 - UNITED STATES - Robert F. Smith is the billionaire everyone is talking about, but nobody knew about just a few months ago. He is the 52-year-old founder of the private equity firm, Vista Equity Partners. Vista deals in the not-so-sexy category of enterprise software, which might be why he’s flown under the radar until now.

Smith was recently on the cover of Forbes richest Americans issue, which is how he came to our attention. His net worth of $2.5 billion makes him number 268 on the list of the wealthiest Americans. It also makes him the second wealthiest African American behind Oprah Winfrey. But who is Robert F. Smith and how did he get so rich?

Robert F. Smith was born on December 1, 1962 in Denver, Colorado. He is a fourth generation Coloradan. His schoolteacher parents both have PhDs. When he was an infant, Smith’s mother carried him at the March on Washington, where Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. He grew up in a mostly African American middle class neighborhood in Denver.

Smith showed tenacity early in life. In high school, he applied for an internship at Bell Labs. The problem was, the program was for junior and senior college students only. Smith was undaunted. He called the H.R. Director at Bell Labs every single day for two weeks. Then he cut back and just called every Monday for another five months. When an intern from M.I.T. didn’t show up in June to start the internship, the H.R. Director finally called him back and Smith got the job. While interning at Bell Labs that summer, he developed a reliability test for semiconductors.

Smith got his B.S. Chemical Engineering from Cornell University and continued to work as an intern at Bell Labs during his summer and winter breaks from his undergraduate studies. After Cornell, Smith went on to Columbia University to get his MBA. Once that was accomplished, he headed right to Wall Street and a job at Goldman Sachs. From 1994 to 2000, Smith, as co-head of enterprise systems and storage investment banking, advised on $50 billion in tech merger and acquisition deals.

In 2000, Smith left Goldman Sachs and launched Vista Equity Partners. In the 15 years since then, Vista has grown to nearly $16 billion in assets and generated insane returns for its investors. Vista has delivered a whopping 31 percent average annual rate of return to its investors since 2000.

The fund’s success is all in Smith’s strategy. Unlike other Silicon Valley investors who look to fund the next hot startup, Smith takes a decidedly utilitarian approach to investing. He intentionally invests in Silicon Valley’s lesser known companies. He seeks out software and technology companies that aren’t at all flashy. Smith has kept Vista’s focus on the unglamorous sector of enterprise software and technology. Vista is currently valued at $4.3 billion. Smith controls a majority stake in his firm.

Smith is also Chairman of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, Member of the Cornell Engineering College Council, and a Trustee of the Boys and Girls Clubs of San Francisco. He is a Board Member of Carnegie Hall and an avid fly fisherman. - CNW.

BLACK GENOCIDE: The Systematic And Pervasive European War Against Black People - Award-Winning Filmmaker Michael Moore Calls Water Crisis In Flint, Michigan A "Racial Killing,... Ethnic Cleansing,... The Poisoning Of A Black City"!

January 21, 2016 - MICHIGAN, UNITED STATES - Michael Moore is known for tackling tough subjects, which is especially true when it comes to his hometown of Flint, Michigan. Now, in the midst of a declared state of emergency over the city's man-made water crisis, the award-winning filmmaker is calling out what few others have: that the catastrophe has everything to do with race. 

Back in December, before the crisis became big national news, Moore tweeted:

This month, with investigations brewing and more outraged calls for accountability, Moore reiterated his point:

First, some context: 
Moore rose to prominence in 1989 with his documentary film Roger & Me, in which he chronicled what happened to Flint's once-prosperous economy after the auto industry left.

Those who had the means fled the city. Black autoworkers, who'd migrated from the South well through the 1970s, became a majority in the city. Today, more than half of the city's 99,000 residents are black, according to census data. The median household income is only $24,834 — roughly half of the average household income in the state of Michigan.

Children in Flint, Michigan, stock up on bottled water amid the city's lead poisoning crisis. Source: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

It's sometimes said that demographics are not destiny, but in Flint, that's not quite the case. In a city whose infrastructure was failing long before this latest catastrophe, black children already had an increased risk of being exposed to environmental toxins like lead. 

Lead is a toxin that, when found in excessive levels in children, can lead to long-term neurological damage. In the 1970s, it was banned in food cans, gasoline and other household products. In 1988, Congress passed the Lead Contamination Control Act, which successfully reduced overall lead poisoning cases in the United States. Still, by 2005, African-American children ages one to five were twice as likely to suffer lead poisoning than their white peers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Ten years later, in 2015, a HuffPost analysis found a correlation between cities with high populations of black residents and elevated lead poisoning rates. In fact, Detroit, the city from which Flint had originally piped in its water before opting for a cheaper — and ultimately more deadly — option had high rates of lead poisoning.

Obama declares emergency in Flint as water crisis continues

According to the National Center for Healthy Housing, "Minority and low-income families are more likely to live in substandard housing and polluted communities, increasing their risk of childhood lead poisoning, asthma, cancer and other environmentally related diseases." What's more: "In addition to being disproportionately affected by disease, minorities often lack adequate insurance and access to health care due to financial and cultural barriers."

New York City, which has a sizable black population, has also struggled in recent years to combat lead exposure in children. According to an analysis by the New York Daily News, in 2012, more than 900 children had tested positive for lead poisoning. Of those, more than 300 showed levels so high that city health inspectors were immediately dispatched to their homes. And of those, most were children of color: 23% were black, 31% were Latino and 26% were Asian. 

Matthew J. Chachère, a staff attorney at the Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation, told the Huffington Post in 2015 about the terrifying long-term aspects of lead poisoning: The damage is "irreversible."

"It could have ended a long time ago," Chachère said. "We don't know how to cure cancer. We don't know how to get rid of asthma. We do know how to cure lead poisoning, which is you get rid of the lead in kids' environment. It's not that complicated."

Unless, of course, you are decision-makers in Flint, Michigan. - Yahoo.

BLACK RADIO: Fleur Brun - The Cover-Up Of Melanated Extraterrestrials, The White Supremacy Paradigm, The Mandela Effect, Time Travel And PSI-OPS!

January 21, 2016 - BLACK RADIO - The following is special audio presentation, courtesy of Master Teacher Alim Bey on Blog Talk Radio and features ET Contactee Fleur Brun.

In the interview, she provides information on our galactic connection, the Annunaki, the overt blackout of all information related to Melanated extraterrestrials, with whom we share DNA, and how it has affected our present day social system.

She also examines the end of the recessive timeline of the genetically modified white people, the collapse of white supremacy, time travel, changes in the timeline and the paradigm shift back to the indigenous aboriginal black people.

LISTEN: Fleur Brun with Alim Bey.

Originally from New York, Fleur Brun has had a consistent amount of paranormal occurrences during her awakening.

She is a wholistic practitioner and believes that there is a fundamental link between nutrition and behavior.

Fleur Brun.

She has gone through an incredible transformation during several vibratory quickening stages, that ultimately resulted in her stewardship to Mother Earth. She believes that  she was incarnated to assist mankind in its monumental ascension, as well as her own.

FleurBrun is a vegetarian, agriculturalist, and an advocate for animal rights and all life.

Click HERE to visit Fleur Brun's YouTube channel.

BLACK DOCUMENTARIES: "Hidden Colors 4: The Religion Of White Supremacy" - The Trailer!

January 21, 2016 - UNITED STATES - The following video is the first trailer for Hidden Colors 4: The Religion Of White Supremacy, the fourth installment of the groundbreaking documentary series by American author and film producer Tariq Nasheed.

Produced by  King Flex Entertainment, the series teaches about the untold history of the people of color, and the marginalization of African Americans in the United States and the world under the paradigm of white supremacy.

WATCH: "Hidden Colors 4: The Religion Of White Supremacy-Official Trailer".

AFRICAN SUCCESS: Meet Jelani Aliyu - The Nigerian Genius Who Designed Chevrolet Volt!

January 21, 2016 - NIGERIA - Jelani Aliyu, hails from Sokoto State, Nigeria and is General Motors Lead Exterior Designer and the designer of the Chevy Volt. General Motors is one of the world’s largest automobile maker. The car has been described as an American Revolution and one of the hottest concepts in the design line.

Jelani was born in 1966 in Kaduna, to Alhaji Aliya Haidara and Sharifiya Hauwa’u Aliyu. The fifth of seven children, theirs is a very close-knit family. For him, it was an amazing experience growing up in Sokoto, surrounded by the rich culture of the people and the state and enjoying excellent access to the latest and international information.

From 1971 to 1978, he attended Capital School, Sokoto, an excellent school and this served as a very productive educational experience for him. In 1978, he gained admission into Federal Government College, Sokoto, from where he graduated in 1983 with an award as the best in Technical Drawing.

Jelani was privileged to meet and make many good friends from all parts of the country and beyond during this time. He had tremendous encouragement and mentoring from his family and friends and his creative art develop the ed. He drew a lot, designed his own cars, and even built scale models of them, complete with exteriors and interiors.

After FGC, he got admission into the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria to study Architecture, but soon discovered that curriculum did not support his future vision and plans.

After considering other institutions in Nigeria and their academic programmes, he concluded that only one of them had the study criteria that would support his future goals. The institution in which he chose to pursue his education was one he felt offered the best creative programmes and had experience that would give him the best foundation required to study Automobile Design abroad. That institution was the Birnin Kebbi Polytechnic.

He was there from 1986 to 1988 and earned an associate degree in Architecture, with an award as Best All-Round Student. While there, he did some in depth research into home design and construction, looking into materials and structures that would be most compatible with our environment and climate; buildings that would stay cool in a hot environment with little, or no artificial electrical air conditioning. Upon graduation from the polytechnic, Jelani worked for a while at the Ministry of Works, Sokoto.

In 1990, Aliyu moved to Detroit, Michigan to enroll at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit under a Sokoto Schorlarship board sponsorship. Having always wanted to study Automobile Design, this was a dream come true and an absolutely fascinating experience. The course was very practical and emphasis was put on creativity and the development of new designs to provide solutions . He received his degree in automobile design in 1994.

In 1994 he began his career with the design staff of General Motors. He worked on the Buick Rendezvous and was the lead exterior designer of the Pontiac G6. He also worked on the Astra with General Motors’ Opel Division.

With his brilliant work on the design of the Chevrolet Volt, which was unveiled in 2007, Jelani Aliyu is considered by many to be the super star of the General Motors renaissance.

WATCH: An Introduction To Jelani Aliyu.

- African Spotlight.

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