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DuVernay, ‘black-ish,’ ‘Power’ win at NAACP Image Awards

The Free Press WV

A jubilant Ava DuVernay was named entertainer of the year at an NAACP Image Awards ceremony that focused on the black community’s power to create change.

DuVernay lauded other black artists from the stage as she accepted her award, naming writers and directors such as Shonda Rhimes, Gina Prince-Bythewood, Kenya Barris and “Black Panther” Ryan Coogler.

“This is our time,” DuVernay said. “We can say we were here when all this gorgeous art was happening, and that we supported it — that we lifted each other up, that we did as Dr. King said we would do: Live the dream. We’re the dream.”

Anthony Anderson hosted the ceremony at the Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, California, on what would have been Martin Luther King Jr.’s 89th birthday. While his politically tinged monologue poked fun at the presidential administration and Omarosa Manigault, others used their time onstage to encourage more civic involvement and the fight for social justice.

Producer Will Packer took a dig at President Donald Trump’s recent comments about immigration as the producer accepted an award for “Girls Trip,” which won for outstanding film.

“Sisters, especially the ones from Haiti and Africa, we love you as your brothers,” he said.

Kerry Washington, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laverne Cox, Jurnee Smollet-Bell, Lena Waithe and Angela Robinson set the tone for the evening when they emerged onstage holding hands to dramatically issue a get-out-the-vote call.

The six women declared support for the Time’s Up initiative to stop sexual harassment and gender discrimination and urged viewers to speak up at the polls as well.

“The midterms are a perfect moment for us to use our voices,” Robinson said. “If we can take back a senate seat in Alabama…”

“Then we have the ability to shift the imbalance of power,” Smollet-Bell said.

Barris’ show “black-ish” was the night’s big winner. The ABC hit was named best comedy series and took acting honors for stars Ross and Anderson.

“It’s an extraordinary thing to be able to show what a beautiful black family looks like on television,” Ross said as the cast accepted the comedy series honor.

“Power” was named best drama series, and star Omari Hardwick won for dramatic actor.

Other winners included “Gifted” actress Octavia Spencer and “Empire” star Taraji P. Henson, who were both absent, and Daniel Kaluuya, who won for his leading role in “Get Out.”

The British actor was clearly delighted at his victory.

“I don’t think you’re allowed to beat Denzel Washington in acting competitions,” said Kaluuya, who bested Washington for the prize. The 28-year-old actor thanked his mom and “Get Out” writer-director Jordan Peele.

“So many people didn’t believe in me, and you did, and you made all of us feel included,” Kaluuya said. “Thank you so much for letting us be seen.”

NAACP president Derrik Johnson asked viewers to text in their pledge to vote in 2018 before presenting the President’s Award to Danny Glover.

Glover was recognized for his professional and philanthropic contributions, particularly his work with the United Nations and his advocacy for labor unions.

Glover spoke specifically of a Nissan plant in Canton, Mississippi, where 80 percent of employees are black, that has yet to organize.

“Civil rights and labor rights have always been one and the same,” he said.

The special awards provided some of the night’s most poignant moments.

Halle Berry talked about the significance of presenting the NAACP Image Awards on Martin Luther King Jr. day.

“We need to take heed to his eloquent words: ‘Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter,’” she said. “Today is an affirmation that we will never ever, ever, ever be silent again.”

She presented the Music Makes a Difference award to Charlie Wilson, who talked about his road from addiction and homelessness to musical success and philanthropy.

He said he prayed and promised that if he could survive the streets, he would return to serve others. Wilson said Monday that he has been sober for 22 years and is focused on helping homeless addicts.

Labor organizer William Lucy received the Chairman’s Award for his more than 40 years of service. Beyond his union leadership, Lucy was also an activist who fought apartheid in South Africa.

He dedicated his award to the Memphis sanitation workers who went on strike in 1968, several of whom were in the audience at the Image Awards. King spoke to the striking employees the night before he was assassinated.

Another arresting moment in the show came during singer Andra Day’s chilling performance of Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit.” Rapper Common joined her for their song “Stand Up for Something,” and the whole audience rose to its feet.

Early winners at the 49th NAACP Image Awards

The Free Press WV

Early winners at the 49th NAACP Image Awards, as announced a pre-telecast gala dinner in Pasadena, California:


FILM

Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture: Idris Elba, “THOR: Ragnarok”

Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture: Tiffany Haddish, “Girls Trip”

Independent Motion Picture: “Detroit”

Documentary: “STEP”

Writing: Jordan Peele, “Get Out”

Directing in a Motion Picture: Jordan Peele, “Get Out”


MUSIC

New Artist: SZA

Male Artist: Bruno Mars

Female Artist: Mary J. Blige

Duo, Group or Collaboration: Kendrick Lamar feat. Rihanna

Jazz Album: “Petite Afrique,” Somi

Gospel/Christian Album: “Greenleaf Soundtrack Volume 2,” Greenleaf Soundtrack

Music Video/Visual Album: “That’s What I Like,” Bruno Mars

Song - Traditional: “That’s What I Like,” Bruno Mars

Album: “DAMN.,” Kendrick Lamar

Song - Contemporary: “HUMBLE.,” Kendrick Lamar


TELEVISION

Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series: Jay Ellis, “Insecure”

Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series: Marsai Martin, “’black-ish”

Supporting Actor in a Drama Series: Joe Morton, “Scandal”

Supporting Actress in a Drama Series: Naturi Naughton, “Power”

Television Movie, Limited, Series or Dramatic Special: “The New Edition Story”

Actor in a Television Movie, Limited-Series or Dramatic Special: Idris Elba, “Guerrilla”

Actress in a Television Movie, Limited, Series or Dramatic Special: Queen Latifah, “Flint”

Directing in a Comedy Series: Anton Cropper, “’black-ish”

Directing in a Dramatic Series: Carl Franklin, “13 Reasons Why”

Directing in a Television Movie or Special: Allen Hughes, “The Defiant Ones”

News/information Series or Special: “Unsung”

Documentary: “The 44th President: In His Own Words”

Talk Series: “The Real”

Reality Program/Reality Competition Series: “The Manns”

Variety or Game Show Series or Special: “Lip Sync Battle”

Children’s Program: “Doc McStuffins”

Performance by a Youth (Series, Special, Television Movie or Limited Series): Caleb McLaughlin, “Stranger Things”

Host in a Talk or News/Information Series or Special: Roland Martin, “News One Now”

Host in a Reality/Reality Competition, Game Show or Variety Series or Special: LL Cool J, “Lip Sync Battle” (Spike)

Character Voice-Over Performance: Tiffany Haddish, “Legends of Chamberlain Heights”

Writing in a Comedy Series: Janine Barrois, “Claws

Writing in a Dramatic Series: Gina Prince-Bythewood, “Shots Fired”

Writing in a Television Movie or Special: Abdul Williams, “The New Edition Story”


LITERATURE

Fiction: “The Annotated African American Folktales,” Henry Louis Gates Jr. (Editor),Maria Tatar (Editor), (Liveright Publishing Corporation)

Non-Fiction: “Defining Moments in Black History: Reading Between the Lies,” Dick Gregory

Debut Author: “No One Is Coming to Save Us,” Stephanie Powell Watts

Biography or Autobiography: “Becoming Ms. Burton, From Prison to Recovery to Leading the Fight for Incarcerated Women,” Susan Burton and Cari Lynn

Instructional: “The Awakened Woman: Remembering & Reigniting our Sacred Dreams,” Dr. Tererai Trent

Poetry: “Incendiary Art: Poems,” Patricia Smith

Children: “Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History ,” Vashti Harrison

Youth and Teens: “Clayton Byrd Goes Underground,” Rita Williams-Garcia, author and Frank Morrison illustrator

Vice suspends 2 top execs after sexual misconduct report

The Free Press WV

Vice has suspended two top executives after a New York Times report on sexual misconduct at the digital media company.

Vice Media put its president, Andrew Creighton, and chief digital officer Mike Germano on leave as it investigates allegations against them, according to a company memo sent to employees Tuesday. A Vice spokesman declined to comment.

The Times had reported in late December that it found four settlements involving allegations of sexual harassment or defamation against Vice employees, including Creighton. The newspaper talked with more than two dozen women who say they experienced or witnessed sexual misconduct, including groping and forced kisses.

Vice Media co-founders Shane Smith and Suroosh Alvi have apologized for the “boy’s club” culture .

Vice has grown from a Canadian magazine to a dominant online video company, expanding into TV around the world.

The memo, from Vice’s chief operating officer and CFO Sarah Broderick, said that Creighton and Germano were the only two people named in the Times story with allegations against them who were still employed at Vice.

The Times reported that Vice paid a former female employee a $135,000 settlement in 2016 after she said she was fired when she rejected Creighton’s advances. The Vice memo says her claims were found to lack merit at the time after a review by law firm, but a special committee of its board is looking at the matter now. It will make a recommendation on what to do before a Jan. 11 board meeting.

As for Germano, the memo says Vice’s human-resources department and an external investigator are looking into the allegations. One woman told the Times that he had told her he didn’t want to hire her because he wanted to have sex with her. Another woman said he pulled her on to his lap at a work event at a bar.

The Associated Press was not immediately able to reach Germano and Creighton for comment.

Vice’s memo also laid out how the company is trying to change its culture. It said the company will require mandatory sexual harassment training for all employees starting later this month and that the company was “committed” to having half of employees be female “at every level across the organization” by 2020. Broderick said “pay parity” would come by the end of this year.

The reports of sexual misconduct at Vice are part of a wave of allegations of bad behavior in media, entertainment and other industries, as well as politics, that have come in the aftermath of articles detailing Harvey Weinstein’s decades of alleged rape and harassment this fall.

Time’s Person of the Year: The ‘Silence Breakers’

The Free Press WV

Who had the most influence on the world “for good or ill” in the last year? According to Time magazine, the honor goes to the “Silence Breakers.“ The voices behind the #metoo movement took the 2017 honors, besting other shortlist contenders like Kim Jong Un, President Trump, Colin Kaepernick, and the Dreamers. Writes Time: “The women and men who have broken their silence [on sexual assault and harassment] span all races, all income classes, all occupations, and virtually all corners of the globe. They might labor in California fields, or behind the front desk at New York City’s regal Plaza Hotel, or in the European Parliament. They’re part of a movement that has no formal name. But now they have a voice.“ A key passage from its lengthy piece:

  • “This reckoning appears to have sprung up overnight. But it has actually been simmering for years, decades, centuries. Women have had it with bosses and co-workers who not only cross boundaries but don’t even seem to know that boundaries exist. They’ve had it with the fear of retaliation, of being blackballed, of being fired from a job they can’t afford to lose. They’ve had it with the code of going along to get along. They’ve had it with men who use their power to take what they want from women. These silence breakers have started a revolution of refusal, gathering strength by the day, and in the past two months alone, their collective anger has spurred immediate and shocking results: nearly every day, CEOs have been fired, moguls toppled, icons disgraced. In some cases, criminal charges have been brought.“
Time writes that it spent six weeks interviewing dozens of people who have shared their own #MeToo stories; you can read some of them HERE.
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