All Articles Tagged "magic johnson"
Waiting To “Exhale”: Check Out A Preview Of The New Talk Show Featuring Malinda Williams, Issa Rae And Angela Burt-Murray
I know I can’t be the only one uber-excited this new talk show, Exhale, right? Premiering on the cable channel ASPiRE (the network launched by Magic Johnson last summer) on June 27, this all-black version of The View stars some of our favorite people, including Issa Rae, actress Malinda Williams, comedian Erin Jackson, journalist (and former Essence EIC) Angela Burt-Murray, and journalist Rene Syler. The four women will sit on their colorful couches and talk about a wide range of issues, including love and relationships, health, business and entertainments news (with the stars of course).
In the preview for the show above, the women discuss things like, “Can women have it all?” They also cover health and wellness with actress and wellness coach AJ Johnson, the struggle of trying to speak on intimacy and sex as a gospel artist with Kelly Price, and they even assure us of the Eye Candy factor, as the women sit down with the very “delicious”–as Issa Rae would say–Lance Gross.
Exhale is set to begin with an 8-episode run to see how things go. It’s directed by Victoria Mahoney, and is the network’s third original series.
So all in all, what can you expect? According to Rae, “A new vision on life and the issues.” Definitely seems like it will be fun, yet with a more serious edge (aka, no wig pulling off on this program ladies). Check out the preview above and let us know if you think you will be tuning in. That is, if you actually get this channel on your television and what not… It debuts June 27 at 8 p.m.
The guys over at TMZ recently caught up with legendery basketball icon Magic Johnson’s 20-year-old son, Earvin Johnson III as he made his way down the Sunset Strip and he was not alone. He proudly strolled down the crowded strip hand-in-hand with his boyfriend. EJ III chatted it up with gossip site for a bit as they attempted to pick him for information about about his Dad’s new baseball team, the L.A. Dodgers and the Dodgers Stadium revamp project.
“Sir, I really wish I could help you, but I have no inside information. I’m just hoping and praying like the rest of us,” he told his interviewer.
“I caught a sneak peek of the blueprint, but I’m waiting for the opening game on Monday. I’m gonna wait for the grand opening,” he said of the stadium’s revamp.
“A lot of things were terrible [about the former stadium], but I’m sure it’s going to look beautiful and amazing, so we’ll see,” expressed EJ.
TMZ later caught up with Magic, who expressed how proud he was of his baby boy, who is actually a student at New York University.
“Cookie and I love EJ and support him in every way.”
“We’re very proud of him,” said Papa Johnson.
EJ is the first child born to Magic and Cookie and one of Magic’s three children. One child, Andre is from a previous relationship and Elisa was adopted by Magic and Cookie back in 1995.
Look at little Earvin all grown up!
Turn the page to see footage of EJ chatting it up with the paps.
HIV testing has gotten a lot easier–and more private. OraSure Technologies, Inc., maker of the OraQuick In-Home HIV Test, has just announced the launch of a nationwide awareness campaign to encourage everyone to learn their HIV status. The campaign is called “Make Knowing Your Thing Today” and asks people nationwide to share their story about their decision to test for HIV, reports the Sacramento Bee.
Petitions aside, Earvin “Magic” Johnson teamed with OraSure for the launch of the campaign, sharing his story of knowing his status and encouraging others to do the same. The former LA Lakers basketball star shocked the world when, in 1991, he announced that he contracted HIV.
OraQuick In-Home HIV Test is the first ever in-home rapid infectious disease test made available over the counter to consumers, only receiving FDA approval last July. The price is about $40, sold in many national drugstore and mass merchandiser retail outlets as well as online at OraQuick.com. The test detects antibodies to both HIV-1 and HIV-2 with an oral swab, with results in about 20 minutes.
According to the New York Times, besides self testing, OraQuick could also be used to test potential sex partners. “[S]ome experts and advocates say that another use, unadvertised, for the OraQuick test — to screen potential sexual partners — may become equally popular and even help slow an epidemic stuck at 50,000 new infections each year in the United States,” writes the Times.
On the downside, there are questions about the accuracy of the test because it’s being administered by consumers rather than medical professionals. Some are also concerned because there is no in-person counseling to provide help to those who test positive.
Would you use in-home HIV testing?
Is Magic Johnson pulling a little presto change-o of his own to make it look like his new business venture is black owned? Some suspect the answer is yes.
A petition is circulating that criticizes Johnson for allegedly acquiring government monies and major advertisers for his new business venture, Aspire TV, by positioning it as a black network, when in fact, it is anything but. The petition, which is posted on Change.org claims that the network is in actuality being run by “GMC TV and GMC TV executives, which are all white.”
Aspire was launched in 2012 by Johnson as a new network targeting African-American audiences. Aspire was born after a battle waged by Maxine Waters in a congressional hearing over the merger of Comcast with NBCUniversal, which was finalized in 2011. A deal was struck in which Comcast was committed to carry several minority-owned channels. In all, there four networks, including Aspire. Johnson debuted Aspire as he stated at the the would present “positive, uplifting images of African Americans.”
Now, the petition claims that while the programming is black the executives running the station aren’t. There has been no reported response by the Magic camp or GMC TV that we can find. We took a quick look at the GMC TV website and couldn’t find much about the people who run the company. But we did find this opinion piece on News One, which goes after Johnson and GMC TV for putting people in positions that have no real authority and ultimately answering to white executives who make all of the decisions. It also says that GMC is a competitor to Aspire.
“Essentially, GMC has no good reason to make Aspire TV a great property. It would just take valuable market share from GMC,” the opinion piece says.
“This complete lack of control and/or interest on the part of Magic Johnson and his team is like a slap in the face of minorities – not just black people but people of color period,” the article continues.
Will this petition stop you from tuning in?
Today as we observe National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, let us consider the statistics surrounding women and the disease.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, women make up 24 percent of HIV diagnoses among adults in America. The risks are even greater for African-American women—with one in every 32 women being diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime. Statistics further state that 85 percent of African-American women with HIV received it through high-risk sex.
ESSENCE.com caught up with NWGHAAD ambassador Cookie Johnson, wife of famed basketball player Magic Johnson, to find out how she is helping spread the message of awareness through social media and how women can keep themselves safe.
On how she’s working to get word out that women should be tested:
We’re trying to reach them where they live, which is basically through Twitter and Facebook. Everyone needs to talk about this. Part of the problem is, when my husband made his announcement back in 1991, people were dying. It was a new disease. People weren’t familiar with it. People were dying at alarming rates. Now, with the medications they have, people are still getting the disease at high rates, but they’re not dying like they used to. I wonder if that’s why people aren’t afraid of it anymore. I think we really need to bring attention to the fact that there are still huge numbers—especially women and girls—who are getting this disease.
How her marriage changed since Magic made his HIV announcement in 1991:
It actually got stronger. When you’re faced with a tragedy like that, you either do one of two things. You either band together and become a close-knit unit or you completely fall apart and go your separate ways. It’s a lot to handle. We were married a month when it happened. It was very difficult. Everything was new. I found out I was pregnant that month. I wanted to do everything possible to keep it together and fight for it. My first instinct was to go to God and get everything from Him and number two, I was going to fight for my family.
Be sure to read what other advice Cookie has for women and also when she started talking to her children about sex over on Essence.
Do you get tested on a regular basis?
African-American TV viewers often complain of the negative images of black people on the tube. Well, ASPiRE has announced a truly positive new series.
The Root 100, an original series for ASPiRE, is a weekly show that will highlight the most influential black leaders under 45, selected by online news outlet, The Root. These honorees featured on the program appeared on this year’s Root 100 list. They include MSNBC journalist Melissa Harris-Perry, actress Gabrielle Union, NAACP president Benjamin Jealous, Sundance award-winning filmmaker Ava DuVernay, and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, among others. Journalist and Anchor Suzanne Malveaux hosts the new show, which will premier December 5.
There will be eight episodes in the series. Each one-hour episode focuses on three honorees discussing intimate moments, turning points in their lives, and their aspirations to affect change.
“THE ROOT 100 presents a fascinating look at two dozen diverse and extraordinary African-Americans, who are using their voices and platforms to fundamentally change our community and our world for the better,” said ASPiRE General Manager Paul Butler in a press release.
ASPiRE is a television network targeted to African-Americans and offers a programming mix of movies, series and specials featuring music, comedy, drama, faith/inspiration, theater/performing arts, lifestyle and news/information. The network was launched June 27, 2012 by Magic Johnson Enterprises.
In July, the FDA approved the first at-home HIV test, OraQuick, for online and over-the-counter sale at retailers like Walgreens, CVS, and Walmart, and this month the product officially became available to consumers. For just $40, people can take the HIV test in the privacy of their home and within 20 minutes they will be given an answer about their status.
Though it hasn’t been on the market long, OraQuick already has one major backer, Magic Johnson. Speaking at a presentation for Orasure Technologies’ new test, Johnson, who was diagnosed with HIV in 1991, spoke on his own prognosis and what this test means for HIV rates down the line, particularly among minorities.
“I think it’s a game changer for us,” he said. ”When you think about the black and brown community, the stigma behind HIV and AIDS in our community … [not wanting] anybody to see us walk into a clinic or to the doctor’s office, this kit will help. That’s the people who I was thinking about most when I thought about this kit.”
According to the Huffington Post, Government officials currently estimate about 240,000 people, or one-fifth of the approximate 1.2 million people carrying HIV in the U.S., don’t know they are infected. New infections have remained the same at about 50,000 per year for the last 20 years. Magic has noticed the lack of progress.
“After I announced [my prognosis] … people were running out to actually get tested … We had a good run for about five or six years where we were talking about it openly. But fast-forward to today, people are not talking about it like they used to,” he said.
Magic is hopeful that this new at-home test will get the conversation going again, and help those who are infected cope more easily with the news.
“I think the suspense would have been taken away. Would I have reacted the same way? Yes. But what saved my life? Early detection. I got on some meds right away. In the black and brown community, what happens is a lot of time we find out too late, so the meds can’t help us.”
Let’s hope the word about this new test spreads faster than the disease. What do you think about the OraQuick at-home test?
Flip through the channels tonight and see if you can catch Magic Johnson’s Aspire, a new television network aimed at reaching black families with quality content. Johnson’s network, which launched on Wednesday, is currently available in about 7 million homes and in 16 of the top 25 African-American markets, including New York, Atlanta, Chicago and Washington. Some Time Warner Cable and Comcast customers may also have access to the channel as well.
Johnson partnered with the GMC, formerly known as the Gospel Music Network, in Atlanta to help launch the network. GMS provides Aspire with operational infrastructure. Although Johnson won’t release exactly how much he’s spending to launch the network, according to Bloomberg Businessweek, he does states that “it takes $100 (million) or $150 million just to turn the lights on and really get it going — and we’re gonna be in that neighborhood.”
But Johnson has already secured big names advertisers Coca-Cola Co., Chrysler, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., L’Oreal and Nationwide Insurance. He even projects his network may break even in a year.
“I’ve been doing business almost as long as I’ve been playing basketball,” he said to Bloomberg Businessweek. “I bought a radio station when I was 19 years old, when I first got drafted by the Lakers.”
In addition, to Johnson it’s more about the mission of the network than its cost.
“Focus groups told us African-Americans want more family content on TV,” Johnson said on Wednesday a few hours before the launch party. “If they would have told me, ‘We don’t need another channel, there’s not an opportunity for you,’ we wouldn’t be sitting here.”
Johnson notes that the family driven content and positive African American images, as well as the targeted age group will separate his network from others in the African American demographic. He says that his network will skew older than both BET and TV One.
“Blacks want options; they want variety, like everybody else,” he said. “There’ll be enough viewers for all of us. So everybody wins.”
Aspire’s current lineup consists of acquisitions such as “The Bill Cosby Show,” “Julia,” and “The Flip Wilson Show.” It will also include movies, documentaries, music, comedy and faith and inspirational programming.
Johnson foresees Aspire will be able to reach 12 million homes by the end of the year, 20-30 million homes by the end of 2013, and 40 million homes in two years.
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Every week, there’s a new report on an instance of black people being excluded, overlooked, or discriminated in some shape or form. This week it was Acura and “The Bachelor,” a few weeks ago it was Vanity Fair and Kerry Washington, always its fashion magazines and runways and beauty campaigns. The thought that comes up most consistently after the outrage is why are we looking for white people’s approval, why are we seeking their validation, why don’t we spend time nurturing our own? And while I don’t agree that by pointing out these instances of discrimination we are seeking white people’s approval (I think it’s holding them accountable and demonstrating evidence to the contrary of their melting pot, post-racial society, we love diversity claims), I do think that more time would be better spent not seeking or needing to be a part of what white people have going on—and have obviously shown through their actions they want to keep to themselves. But I’m curious if we really know what that would mean or how to even achieve it.
When I think of a time when black people had their “own” on a large scale in entertainment, I think of the Robert Johnson 1980 BET days, even Don Cornelius’ Soul Train days come to mind. These men had a vision to give black people something they could be proud of on TV and they made it happen. But the reality is Bob Johnson had to get John C. Malone to invest $500,000 in the project to get it off the ground, and once the network became a raving success, it no longer remained a black-owned network because he sold it to Viacom for $3 billion in 2003, and ever since we’ve been left with the version of “black entertainment” we see now. When I thought about the wealthy rappers that were acknowledged by Forbes yesterday, I noticed a common thread. A lot of the men’s wealth came from selling companies and brands they’d built. Jay-Z sold Rocawear, 50 Cent sold his stake in Vitamin Water, and Dr. Dre gave up his majority ownership in Beats Electronics for a hefty price. It’s a common—and smart—business practice, but not one that allows us to have the ultimate say in the decisions that upset us, like who appears in which advertisements and how we’re portrayed on TV. That wealth also doesn’t trickle down into the community because we’re not selling these businesses off to other African Americans, they’re going to large corporations headed by white men mostly who could care less about our representation, and the money remains in the hands of the black 1%.
I even think about Oprah and the enormous opportunity to change the face of black programming if she would even just back a venture financially, aside from putting it on her network, but from what we’ve observed of her career that’s just not her thing. If we look at where the wealth is distributed in black America and the individuals who have the dollars to invest in independent black films or black clothing designers, the interest just isn’t there. That doesn’t make these figures bad people. They’re businessmen. White people aren’t thinking about sharing the wealth when they embark on a new venture, they’re building their individual pockets. It’s just that there’s so many more of them and so few of us, and so when we run out of the few select black people who could open doors to come through, we’re left with relying on white people to at least acknowledge we exist in some way and to represent us fairly in the media. That’s why we get so upset when they fail—often times on purpose—it really is our last resort in a lot of ways.
The idea of not having to look at programs and networks that weren’t created for us to begin with as the only source of quality programming is like the black community’s Nirvana but we don’t own much and when something isn’t yours, you don’t get much say in how it operates. There’s hope on the horizon with Diddy and Magic Johnson’s new cable channels that are in the works, but even those networks will be owned by Comcast. A few years ago, Quincy Jones announced plans to buy back Vibe, the magazine he started, I’m not sure if the web presence of the publication is evidence he kept his word or not. I hope that there are other black business minds out there with altruistic goals of putting black people on the map, and not just self, but I’m not too optimistic. I am completely behind the idea that we need to create our own and nurture it, my question is, how will we ever be able to do that without needing white people’s approval, at least from a financial backing standpoint, if we’re not even holding on to the things we’ve built or paving the way for others?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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by R. Asmerom
All eyes have been on Oprah since she left her legendary talk show to launch a new cable channel which embodied the brand that she’s cultivated over 25 years, and it’s certainly been a rocky start for her OWN network. Or, at least, that’s what the news media has been so consistently communicating since OWN’s original CEO, Christina Norman, was fired last May over low ratings and Oprah took the helm.
Nearly a year later, and within the past month, OWN has cut 20 percent of its staff and cancelled The Rosie Show, which garnered 200,000 viewers a night in its short lived stint on the air.
It all seems dismal from the outside, for those reading the barrage of headlines reporting on what seems to be OWN’s imminent failure. But what may seem like doom, maybe just simple growing pains, says Keith Clinkscales of Shadow MediaWorks.
“If you look at the ratings of Oprah’s channel against comparable women’s channels at their same age of birth so to speak – Bravo, Oxygen, possibly WE – you’re going to see comparable ratings but because there is an O in there, the expectation and demand is a little bit higher.”
Although Norman was fired due to ratings and was criticized for not balancing the positive, uplifting programming with more entertaining programming that would attract a wider audience, Winfrey has yet to turn things around under her leadership. In an interview with CBS’ The Early Show, Winfrey admitted that she didn’t expect the immense challenges that came with her new career. “The idea of creating a network was something that I wanted to do. Had I known that it was this difficult, I might have done something else,”she said. “I didn’t think it was going to be easy, but if I knew then what I know now, I might have made different choices.”
What Winfrey’s challenging journey affirms, however, is not that she can’t make a successful network happen but that launching a cable network is one hard business, according to Clinkscales. “I think Oprah is going to be fine,” he said. “Oprah will find a way to deliver her brand of quality in a format that works with her network. The thing to keep in mind is that she has 75 million homes with this network, and they have their bumps and their grinds.”
With OWN continuing to tweak and re-arrange their content offerings in hopes of finding a profitable path, Winfrey’s experience in cable is sure to lend insight onto the plans of Sean Combs aka Diddy and Magic Johnson who both announced the launch of cable networks through the Comcast Diversity Program. Comcast Corp. agreed to bring more ownership diversity to its channel offerings when it merged with NBC in 2011.