All Articles Tagged "Fundraiser"
Xerox CEO Ursula Burns, the first black woman to run a major US company, will be featured in the 19th installment of An Evening With…, the PBS interview and fundraiser program. The show will be hosted by PBS journalist Gwen Ifill on April 13 at The Times Center in New York City. The show is presented by The HistoryMakers, which has raised $1 million in sponsorships from this year’s event and $17 million total over its 13 years, according to a press release about the upcoming event. This event launches the series in New York City.
The HistoryMakers preserves the oral history of African Americans in order to create a more inclusive historical record of the United States. HistoryMakers founder Julieanna Richardson said in a statement, “[H]er story allows us to shine a light on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) since she is an engineer by training and we are ending a four year period where we have interviewed 180 of the nation’s top scientists.” She’s also the first “female corporate leader” that the event has featured. The resulting 1 1/2 hour interview will air nationwide on PBS.
Burns became CEO of Xerox in 2009 and, shortly after, made the largest acquisition in the history of the company — the $6.4 billion purchase of Affiliated Computer Services. She started as an intern with the company in 1980.
Aaron McGruder And The Kickstarter Fundraising Failure: Were People Really Ready For A Live-Action Uncle Ruckus Movie?
Nearly a month and a half ago, Aaron McGruder, creator behind the wildly popular The Boondocks comic strip and animated series, took to Kickstarter and pitched to the fans of the show, a live-action big screen version of Uncle Ruckus, everybody’s favorite self-hating Negro.
According to the appeal page, the proposed film, which had no investors nor distribution commitments, is currently still in the draft stages. However, while no definite script had been completed, McGruder wrote that the proposed film would definitely be R-rated and featured Gary Anthony Williams, who does the voice of Uncle Ruckus on the animated series. Additionally, none of the other regular Boondocks characters, including Huey and Riley, from either the series or the strip, would be featured in the film. Instead, the proposed movie would “explore a part of the Ruckus family not seen in the show.”
Perhaps, hoping to bypass possible questions as to why not a full-length, live action Boondocks film, or even animated feature with all of our favorites, McGruder explained that a live-action Huey and Riley would be “essentially impossible to cast.” For some reason he didn’t elaborate on it, but he said a live action Uncle Ruckus movie would only cost a fraction of the estimated 20 million dollars it would cost to produce an animated feature Boondocks film. Writes McGruder:
“This whole thing is kind of an odd idea, so we’re starting with Kickstarter on this one and we’ll just see what happens. Crowd funding, however, is a big deal. It represents an entirely new relationship between fan and creator. It also represents a new financial model for making stuff, and that’s exciting.
Uncle Ruckus has a lot of supporters out there. If they want this to happen, they can make it happen.”
That was on February 1. About 30 days later, the project fell short of its $200,000 goal by a little over 70 thousand dollars. This is even after daily plugs via social media sites and online publications, as well as taking live-action Ruckus on the road to places like the NAACP Image Awards. At a time when folks rightfully sound off about the lack of quality entertainment, particularly black entertainment, a smart and funny comedy should have been an easy sell. Yet for all of the show’s supporters, and judging by the animated series’ Facebook Fan Page, there are at least 6.3. million of them, so you have to wonder why McGruder struggled and eventually failed to raise a measly 200k.
Maybe it has something to do with Aaron McGruder the person?
Despite the large fan base, McGruder’s work, particularly the unabashed and unrelenting way he goes in on black culture, has been known to spark a visceral response among some viewers, who question whether or not he actually has love for the black community at all. Most specifically among some folks, who take issue with McGruder’s almost pathological attacks on black women. I have written previously about the lack of positive black women on his animated series, particularly how women are either portrayed as dimwitted, prostitutes and gold diggers. Likewise, his satirical lampooning of Tyler Perry on the “Pause” episode from the animated series, particularly hinting that the black Hollywood mogul might be a closeted homosexual, not only drew ire from Perry himself, but also sparked a whirlwind of criticism for perpetuating stereotypes about black sexuality and identity. Or as Mark Anthony Neal pointed out on his blog, New Black Man (In Exile):
“As Perry is a man who has essentially built a career and empire on his cross-dressing alter ego, McGruder sloppily links Perry’s performance of Madea to rumors of his homosexuality. McGruder’s depiction of Winston Jerome as effeminate is demeaning and homophobic, in the suggestion that homosexuality is tethered to gender (i.e. gay men really want to be women or lesbians really want to be men). In that there is a rich comedic and literary tradition of cross-dressing by black men and women, there is nothing remarkable about Perry’s performance. What marks Perry’s performance as notable, is that his intent is quite different from earlier performances of cross-dressing—Flip Wilson, Moms Mabley, Grace Jones, to name just a few, which often employed gender bending to offer comment on middle class mores of respectability. In comparison, Perry deploys Aunt Madea to actually buttress those mores—Madea is little more than black patriarchy in drag, a doppelganger for the all the wannabe prosperity (pimps) preachers.”
Regardless of how one feels about either of these criticisms of McGruder’s work, you have to admit that as a polarizing figure, he doesn’t exactly illicit trust or even inspire folks to want to blindly support, especially not financially. And especially not with a film centered around a self-hating Negro like the Uncle Ruckus character, which leads me to my next point: who really wants to see a black man make anti-black jokes for 90 minutes or more?
Perhaps that might appeal to racist white (and other) folks and the self-hating Negros amongst us, but what is usually a funny yet brief wink-wink-nudge on a 30 minute (20 if you take out all the commercial breaks) series has the potential to quickly turn into an awkward modern-day version of Stepin Fetchit. Although, a part of me was and still is curious about what a film around Uncle Ruckus’ family might look like. Just based on McGruder’s previous offerings, I wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out to be a another tongue-and-cheek swipe at Perry, particularly Meet the Browns or any of his Madea films. However, that is all just speculation. And that’s my point. Without clear concept, including a finished script, there was really nothing much for folks to go on. And without much to go on, we are back to that whole trust thing again.
Yet whatever objections folks might have over how he represents black people, or even the lack of clarity of this film project in general, probably dwarf the fact that ultimately, people just weren’t enthused about the idea of a live action film. In fact, a quick scroll through the comments on the animated series’ Facebook Fan Page revealed that even among his most ardent supporters was a strong backlash to the project. Instead, fans felt that McGruder should be focusing his time and energy on getting a season four of the popular animated series back to television. And as Jasmine Golphin writes for Shadow and Act: Most people were concerned this film was going to be in lieu of a forth season, which they (we) have been waiting three years for. There was an announcement made in May 2012, two actually, but that was the last update anyone got from the page. A quick reminder that season four is in fact happening would have helped silence some detractors.
Activity on the fan page has been pretty much muted since the project failed to reach its fundraising goals. And so far, McGruder has not announced whether or not he would continue with the Uncle Ruckus live-action film project, despite its lack of appeal to fans. Although he failed miserably, McGruder should be applauded for his attempt to at least engage his fans and for attempting to make them part of his work. However, his failure too should also serve as a lesson that when you’re trying to be ambitious, particularly with a project, which might go against the grain of what folks want to see, you might just have to do it on your own. Sometimes, folks don’t know what they want until you give it to them.
Hurricane Sandy caused more than $42 billion in destruction. Many lives were lost and people left homeless. So the $50 million relief from the recent “12-12-12” Sandy benefit concert is more than welcome.
Although the organizers of the star-studded concert have yet to announce the total amount raised, they have said that the first installment of donations is ready to be distributed, according to Rolling Stone magazine.
The fundraiser for The Robin Hood Relief Fund included performances at New York’s Madison Square Garden by Kanye West, Alicia Keys, the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Bon Jovi, Billy Joel, the Who and Paul McCartney. The concert was broadcast on a number of television stations.
The money will go to various groups aiding victims of the late October storm that devastated parts of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, the Los Angeles Times reports. Money was raised not only through ticket sales but also sponsorships, merchandise, telephone and Internet donations, as well as online auctions of memorabilia and advance orders of a forthcoming live album, which hit number one on iTunes as a pre-order. In all, two billion people were said to have had access to viewing the event.
“The money raised to date is going right to hundreds of organizations in the tri-state area serving those who need it most,” said David Saltzman, executive director of Robin Hood Foundation, in a statement. “Robin Hood has already begun granting the funds for Sandy relief. We are continuing to raise funds through various ongoing sales opportunities and donations and we urge people to continue to contribute.”
Music To Their Ears: LA Nonprofit Benefiting Inner-City Children to Host First Fundraiser With Guests, Mary Mary
Tomorrow evening, the nonprofit Choice Group (CGI) will host its inaugural fundraising event in Santa Monica, CA with special guests Mary Mary, LA-based singer Akelee, Grammy-winning producer (and board member) Warryn Campbell, and Brad Moser, a local Wells Fargo branch manager who’s being honored for his dedication to the organization. (Wells Fargo is also a title sponsor.)
CGI is dedicated to bringing music education programs to children living in foster care and the Los Angeles inner city. Founded by Dana Hammond, the fundraiser is also a celebration of the five-year anniversary of the organization.
“Knowing that so many schools are taking their music programs out, CGI offers that outlet for kids to have something meaningful and life-enhancing after school,” Mary Mary’s Erica Campbell said in a press release statement. The fundraising goal for tomorrow’s event is $50,000, a figure that Hammond admits might be too large for the 150 to 200 people who are expected to attend, “but I’m a man of great faith.”
Hammond himself was a foster child, and is inspired to do his work by the deep cuts to the city’s arts programs. Moreover, there are career development opportunities through the group. According to information CGI provided us, one in six local jobs are in the “creative industry” and that industry is the second biggest business sector in the area.
We sent Hammond a few questions via email to gather his thoughts about his organization and those he serves. To purchase a ticket or otherwise support CGI, click here.
A group of about 100 people gathered at the 40/40 Club last night where Jay Z and Beyonce hosted a $40,000 per head fundraiser for President Obama, raising a total of about $4 million. On the menu: champagne and sliders. You can see a couple of Instagram shots of Bey dressed for the event here.
The Washington Post has got a pretty good wrap-up, based on what the reporters were allowed to see. Journalists are shown the door after some prepared remarks and before the donors in the room are given the mic to ask questions. Unlike Romney’s now infamous statements about the “47 percent,” Obama stuck with positive remarks, thanking Beyonce for being a good role model and talking about the “bond” between he and Hova because their wives are more popular than they are.
The money raised at this fundraiser and another earlier event at the Waldorf-Astoria, which cost $12,500 per family and was attended by 200 donors, will go to a number of Democratic causes including the DNC and the Obama Victory Fund. There will be one more “Dinner with Barack” event, open to donors giving as little as $5.
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Occupy Wall Street first took to the streets of NYC in 2011 to protest, as its website states “the corrosive power of major banks and multinational corporations over the democratic process, and the role of Wall Street in creating an economic collapse that has caused the greatest recession in generations.” Since its inception, OWS has not only gained global attention but support from celebrities, including hip-hop notables Russell Simmons, Kanye West, Common and Mos Def, just to name a few.
But don’t add Jay Z to this list. It seems one of New York City’s now most prominent businessmen doesn’t put his substantial weight behind the movement.
Jay Z, who is celebrating one of his greatest non-music efforts — the opening of Barclays Center and the Brooklyn debut of the basketball team he partly owns, the Nets — told The New York Times magazine he never really “got the OWS message.” He goes on to say that he thought OWS’ message was not clear and that the movement demonized entrepreneurs. “I’m not going to a park and picnic, I have no idea what to do, I don’t know what the fight is about,” he said.
Ironically, the clothing company Jay Z co-founded, Rocawear (which he sold to Iconix Brand Group for $204 million), was selling Occupy Wall Street t-shirts. Consumers may have thought the proceeds were being donated to OWS, but the company never disclosed where they were going. Rocawear eventually yanked the products off the market amid claims it was exploiting the movement.
Jay Z, who is worth an estimated $460 million, stated in the Times magazine interview that he felt OWS is actually against what America stands for — capitalism. “This is free enterprise. This is what America is built on,” he continued.
Still, you can’t accuse Hova of being apolitical. He and the missus are hosting a fundraiser for President Obama on September 18 at Jay Z’s 40/40 club. The donation: $40,000. See you there?
Lil Mo, channeled her inner Whitney Houston when she sang “The Greatest Love of All,” for a fundraiser benefiting the Maya Angelou schools. The annual event, held in Washington D.C., was hosted by Common and Dr. Angelou.
With a full baby bump, Lil Mo did the song justice without going too far overboard.
Check out the video of her performance below:
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A Pontiac Academy for Excellence Middle School Detroit woman has been fired from her position as a literature teacher and she doesn’t know why, besides the fact that she supported a student-suggested fundraiser for Trayvon Martin.
According to the SPLC, a national civil rights group, Harris’ eighth-grade journalism students asked her about the death of the teen and she gave them an editorial-writing assignment on the shooting. Wanting to do more, the students suggested a fundraiser where they each could pay $1 to wear hoodies instead of school uniform for a day—a typical effort that’s done at the school.
The 26-year-old teacher said she approached school administrators “through the chain of command” and did everything “by the book” but Superintendent Jacqueline Cassell rejected the idea. As Harris was in the process of explaining the decision to the students, she was called for a meeting with Cassell and suspended for encouraging the students to make their request in person.
“I didn’t tell the kids, ‘Let’s go and do it anyway.’” Harris said. “I was actually, literally, in the process of talking to my kids about what we could do instead when (Cassell) requested the meeting with me and told me that I needed to let it go.”
During the two-day suspension, Harris was already scheduled to run another fundraiser, which she says she organized with her own money, so she didn’t want to miss it. But when she visited the school to drop off the prizes, Cassell suspended her for an additional two weeks without pay. After protesting the suspension, she was fired for “insubordination.”
Cassell has only spoken on the situation to say:
“I’m a child of the civil rights movement,” but “this is not the time in the school year” to distract students from academics.
“In every situation, there are work rules,” she added. “When rules are violated, there are consequences.”
From that quote it’s hard to tell whether the firing is more about following a suspension rule or trying to rally support for Trayvon Martin. Unfortunately, the school missed a teachable moment by believing discussion around a real-life event that’s likely to have a greater impact on these children’s lives than some of the things being taught in school is an academic distraction.
Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the Academy’s decision was a “travesty” during a news conference yesterday morning at King Solomon Baptist church before a rally held for the teacher.
“It taught the students who tried to organize and tried to raise their voice in terms of social justice that they will be repressed. Instead of empowering our children … the Pontiac Academy is actually teaching children to internalize oppression and internalize racism.”
Harris says she hasn’t decided whether she wants to proceed with legal action against the school that she says she still loves. Right now she just wants an explanation.
“Whenever I discipline a kid in my classroom, I make sure they know what they did wrong,” she said.
Do you think Brooke Harris was rightfully fired over her suspension or did it have more to do with the Trayvon Martin fundraiser?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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Feeling the spirit of the Apollo theater, President Obama briefly broke into a verse of “Let’s Stay Together” before speaking to a crowd at the Harlem fundraiser yesterday.
Al Green performed before the president took the stage and once Obama finished his line, the crowd broke out into cheers as he said “Those guys didn’t think I would do it, I told you I was gonna do it.
The president can actually carry a little tune, which may be why, as he said, “the sandman did not come out.”
Check out the clip below and tell us what you think.
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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