All Articles Tagged "President Obama"
Despite His Many Forms Of Employment, Steve Harvey Still Wants Us To Know That “Hollywood Is More Racist Than America”
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Steve Harvey talked to the magazine about his success as a man in Hollywood wearing many hats, from radio host, to game show host, talk show host, stand-up comedian and author. And while saying that he’s been thriving very well in Hollywood would be an understatement, Harvey says that Hollywood still isn’t necessarily as friendly to people of color as you’d think, even with a black president and black folks in high places in the media (a la, Oprah). That’s why television has changed for the negative.
“Hollywood is still very racist. Hollywood is more racist than America is. They put things on TV that they think the masses will like. Well, the masses have changed. The election of President Obama should prove that. And television should look entirely different. [Scandal star] Kerry Washington should not be the first African-American female to head up a drama series in 40 years. In 40 years! That’s crazy.”
Harvey learned this years ago, claiming, in the interview, that an executive at the WB where his show, The Steve Harvey Show aired, told him that while they might invest in black shows because they guarantee views from black audiences, once networks gain more success, they dump the black television programs so that they can make way for viewers who make more money and are more “mainstream.” He says, “…as they build the network and get more eyeballs, they slowly start phasing them out.”
But Harvey himself admits that with all his recent endeavors, including his books and his talk show, he’s not necessarily trying to target just the black audience, hence his often very white audience. He’s trying to reach out and have an opportunity to reach people of all backgrounds.
“I never mention color in my books. My show is not an African-American show. I’m not beating people over the head; I’m black, we black! And that’s how I look at it. I’m not going to let them put me in a box and pigeonhole me.”
A very interesting part of the interview came when Harvey also touched on the fact that he says he’s come so far, and been given so many opportunities because of God. But he’s noticed that a lot of the media can be very negative when it comes to religion:
“I don’t think that they care for that to be your explanation. When they ask me, ‘Steve, how do you explain your success?’ And I tell them that it’s prayer. It’s like, ‘Well, I mean really, who’s your agent, who’s your manager?’ I don’t think it’s cool for people to say, ‘You shouldn’t reference God because I don’t believe that, and I don’t want to hear it.’ Well, there’s a lot of stuff I don’t believe that I still gotta hear. I don’t believe in the K. K. K., but they exist. I don’t care for the Confederate flag at all. But they’re on state buildings down South.”
Very interesting points from Harvey, and in a way, I think we all knew that Hollywood has its way of working with black people in only certain capacities. But hopefully things are starting to change, as there are more black faces in positive roles on television nowadays (not JUST reality TV). But Harvey knows what he’s talking about since he’s got like twenty-something years on us…
It wasn’t that long ago with Susan Rice was under fire. News reports were filled with negative comments from conservatives who bombarded the UN ambassador over her inability to fully answer questions related to the tragedy that resulted in the deaths of an American official and three others in Benghazi, Libya. She was ultimately pushed out of contention for the Secretary Of State job. It was a humiliating turn of events.
Now according to Keli Goff in her blog for The Root, Rice is making a comeback. The ambassador is said to be the Obama administration’s front-runner for national security adviser.
Since the national security adviser is not an official cabinet post, it does not require Senate confirmation. Yet, as Goff points out, “the post is one of the most influential within a presidential administration in terms of shaping high-level foreign policy.”
Take a look at past national security advisers; Condoleezza Rice (no relation), for example, used the role as a stepping-stone to secretary of state under George W. Bush.
Susan Rice would be only the second woman to serve in the position.
If all goes as rumored Rice’s appointment could also help President Obama. “His administration has struggled with criticism regarding the lack of gender and racial diversity among both his cabinet and high-level advisers,” blogs Goff.
Happy Black Girl News! Yatyish Aynaw Becomes First Black Miss Israel And She’s Dining With President Obama Next Week
21-year-old Yatyish Aynaw has a pretty major accmoplishment under her belt, as she is the first Ethiopian-born Israeli to be awarded the title of Miss Israel in the annual Miss Israel pageant, reports the Jerusalem Post.
“It’s important that a member of the Ethiopian community win the competition for the first time. “It’s important that a member of the Ethiopian community win the competition for the first time,” she told judges during the pageant.
Aynaw also told judges during the competition that the late Martin Luther King Jr. is one of her all-time heros.
“He fought for justice and equality, and that’s one of the reasons I’m here: I want to show that my community has many beautiful qualities that aren’t always represented in the media,” the pageant queen expressed.
Following her recent win, Aynaw was presented with an invitation to meet and have dinner with United States President Barack Obama, along with Israeli President Shimon Peres when he visits the country next week. When asked by the Jerusalem Post why she believed that she had received such an honorable invitation, she responded:
“the first Black Miss Israel to be chosen and [Obama] is the first Black American president. These go together.”
She also expressed that she was “very excited” to meet President Obama.
Both Aynaw’s mother and father died in Ethiopia. She relocated to Israel at the age of 12 to live with her grandmother. She revealed that adjusting to life in Israel was rather difficult at first, but with the much appreciated assistance of a friend, she was able to learn the language.
Aynaw refers to America’s first Black President as “someone who accomplished things by dint of his hard work.” The pageant winner shared that she was in shock when she received the personal invitation from “President Shimon Peres himself,” earlier this week and that she “never thought that such a thing could happen.”
WORK! Michelle Obama Covers Vogue And President Obama Speaks On How Loving Her Made Him A Better Man
Michelle…you better work!
The First Lady of the United States is looking regal and fabulous on the April issue of Vogue, her second cover to commemorate another four years of the fierce fashionista that is Michelle Obama. On the cover of the mag, you can see her in a gorgeous Reed Krakoff dress and diamond-drop earrings, sitting on a table with her bangin’ bangs and bright smile. As for inside the issue, Michelle and President Obama open up about their family, their relationship and their critics. The latter including people who like to claim that the First Family is more antisocial than those of past, not extending invitations to kick it at the White House to those with opposing ideas in office in Washington, but Michelle makes it clear that while they don’t mind rubbing elbows with who they need to, that’s definitely one of their main priorities:
“Our job is, first and foremost, to make sure our family is whole. You know, we have small kids; they’re growing every day. But I think we were both pretty straightforward when we said, ‘Our number-one priority is making sure that our family is whole.’
“The stresses and the pressures of this job are so real that when you get a minute, you want to give that extra energy to your fourteen- and eleven-year-old. . . .”
Michelle also talks about the man her husband is, and why he’s so damn cool–aka, relatable for many people:
“I’ve tried to explain this guy to people over the years, but there is a calmness to him that is just . . . it has been a consistent part of his character. Which is why I think he is uniquely suited for this challenge—because there is a steadiness. And maybe it’s because of his Hawaiian upbringing—you go to Hawaii and it’s Chillsville; maybe it was because his life growing up was a little less steady, so he had to create that steadiness for himself . . . but he is that person, in all situations, over the course of these last four years, from watching the highs and lows of health-care reform to dealing with two very contentious, challenging elections. . . . The most you get from him is ‘You know, that is gonna be tough. . . .’ There are a lot of times I can’t tell how his day went. Unless I really dig down. Because when he walks through that door, he can let go of it all. And it just doesn’t penetrate his soul. And that’s the beautiful thing for me to see as his wife. That was one of the things I was worried about: How would politics affect this very decent, genuine, noble individual? And there is just something about his spirit that allows all that stuff to stay on the outside.”
I also love the back and forth between these two, as they talk in the interview about the early struggles in their marriage of getting adjusted to each other’s personalities, but how years together have made them better people. And funny people too:
POTUS: “There’s no doubt I’m a better man having spent time with Michelle. I would never say that Michelle’s a better woman, but I will say she’s a little more patient.”
FLOTUS: “I would say I’m a better woman. You couldn’t say it.”
POTUS: “I couldn’t say it,” he says.
FLOTUS: The First Lady looks at me: “It’s good that he learned not to say that.” And then turns and looks at him and smiles. “Don’t say that.”
*Sigh* I just think they’re amazing. And the article about the couple in April’s Vogue is pretty amazing too, as it gives a behind-the-scenes look at what goes on in the White House and how they as a couple keep their heads with the spotlight constantly on their every move. They already came off as very human and relatable, but the article make you appreciate their down-to-earth personalities even more. Pick up the new issue when it hits newsstands on March 26.
Photos courtesy of Vogue by Annie Leibovitz
Oh well… the sequester happened. Right now, we’re staring down the path towards $85 billion in spending cuts. Yesterday, President Obama emphasized, once again, that these cuts are unnecessary and to the detriment of our ongoing recovery. But with a Congressional commitment to compromise, this money will disappear from the budgets of many government agencies and programs. And with the money, many much-needed jobs will disappear. He signed an order yesterday to put the cuts into effect.
This morning, the President was back at it, asking Congress to get it together. Even though the ball has started rolling, the government can stop it before we actually feel the impact. The impasse is over how to cut the budget deficit and bring down the $16 trillion national debt, which got to that level in part because of the years-long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“The Democratic president wants to close the fiscal gap with spending cuts and tax hikes – what he calls a ‘balanced approach.’ But Republicans do not want to concede again on taxes after doing so in negotiations over the ‘fiscal cliff’ at the New Year,” reports the AP. Obama quoted economists today, saying 750,000 jobs could be in jeopardy. As of right now, there’s no compromise on the horizon.
The article quotes a Reuters/Ipsos study that finds 28 percent of Americans blame the Republicans for this mess, and 18 percent blame Obama.
ABC News breaks down all the ways that the sequester will effect government agencies and our daily lives. Among them: less pay for defense department civilian workers and other federal staff; less investment in preventing cyberattacks; fewer food safety inspections; fewer runways at the airport (therefore fewer flights and longer waits); and cuts of children in Head Start programs.
Solving the problem is more important than placing blame, but who or what do you think is most responsible for this mess?
On Thursday the House approved the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act, reports the New York Times. The VAWA, which was drafted by Vice President Joe Biden during his time in the Senate, draws from federal funding to implement programming and create shelters for domestic violence and sexual abuse victims. The act also provides assistance to local law enforcement to aid victims.
An alternative to the act, which was unveiled last Friday recieved much criticism dished out by Democrats and women’s rights groups alike, as it failed to include gay, bisexual and transgender victims. It also dropped certain protections that were previously afforded to American Indian women residing on reservations.
Representative Gwen Moore, a Wisconsin Democrat and domestic violence victim expressed the need for this bill to protect all victims.
“I pray that this body will do as the Senate has done and come together as one to protect all women from violence. As I think about the L.G.B.T. victims who are not here, the native women who are not here, the immigrants who aren’t in this bill, I would say, as Sojourner Truth would say, ‘Ain’t they women?’” said Moore.
The newly approved act protects all of the aforementioned groups.
President Obama expressed that he anticipates signing off on the bill as soon as it reaches his desk.
“Over more than two decades, this law has saved countless lives and transformed the way we treat victims of abuse. Today’s vote will go even further by continuing to reduce domestic violence, improving how we treat victims of rape, and extending protections to Native American women and members of the L.G.B.T. community. Renewing this bill is an important step towards making sure no one in America is forced to live in fear, and I look forward to signing it into law as soon as it hits my desk,” said the POTUS.
Jazmine Denise is a news writer for Madame Noire. Follow her on Twitter @jazminedenise.
Kids And Today’s Music: Is There Anything Wrong With Malia And Sasha Obama Listening To Frank Ocean?
“Last night, “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” welcomed First Lady Michelle Obama, who talked about the listening habits of the First Family. Obviously, they’re all into Beyoncé, but she also noted that Sasha and Malia are Frank Ocean fans (via Consequence of Sound).
And First Lady Michelle Obama is okay with that?
Okay, so what’s the big deal about Sasha and Malia listening to Frank Ocean? Nothing actually. Despite thinking he was hyped for the wrong reasons, I like Frank Ocean, and I particularly appreciate the way in which he maneuvers in and out of traditional R&B to create a somewhat different sound than what’s out today. However, Ocean is not what I typically think of as a young adult-friendly artist, and especially not safe for the daughters of the first black president. While Ocean has a way with words, his words do mostly revolve around excess, sex, wholehearted love, and drugs. For instance, “Pilot Jones” may be cleverly prosed, but it also speaks rather bluntly about being in a relationship with a strung-out woman. Another example is “Pyramids,” which starts out painting a beautiful picture of Queen Cleopatra, the last pharaoh of Ancient Egypt, but after about three minutes, morphs into a slow whine about a much different Cleopatra, who it seems works at an actual club called the Pyramids. So yeah, while there are some musical differences between Frank Ocean and the rest of his R&B contemporaries, clearly, in some ways they are the same.
So don’t nobody go think I’m saying that Ocean is setting a bad example to the youth of our generation. To the contrary, I think children can learn from his use of metaphors and imagery. However, can someone explain to me how did Frank Ocean get passed White House clearance to be deemed safe enough to mention in a national interview? I’m thinking that some of his themes alone would be enough fodder for some crazed Republican to claim that the Obamas were secretly trying to corrupt the mind of the nation’s children. Also, I just can’t imagine the Obama girls jamming to the following: “Novacane Baby, Baby/Novacane baby I want you/F**k me good, f**k me long, f**k me numb/Love me now when I’m gone love me none/Love me none, love me none/Numb numb, numb numb…”
That song, if you quite haven’t figured it out yet, is called “Novacane” and it is about falling in love (OR, not being able to) with an Adult Video star, who also wants to be a dentist. Although I like the song, I’m sure that there is some metaphorical deeper meaning that I have not fully understood. But the song is pretty graphic in content. And since the late ’80s, similar themed songs, particularly those coming from the hip-hop and R&B community, have faced scrutiny for graphic content and themes, many of which are similar to this Ocean track. Most particularly, both genres of music have been blamed for some pretty damning stuff in the black community – from the over-sexualization of our young black girls to even the mass incarceration of young black men. So I wonder how does the First Family reconcile with the girls’ taste in music and the sexual themes and messages, which might exist in a song?
Well, according to an article in Glamour, President Obama once stated the following about Malia:
“You know, we actually don’t constrain what she listens to. We expect her to show some good judgment. She listens to my iPod and has gotten hip to stuff that was made well before she was born like Motown, jazz, classic rock. There’s a whole bunch of stuff that she’s picking up on. We actually share tastes in hip-hop and rap music but we don’t listen to it together, because some of the language in there would embarrass me—at least while I’m listening to it with her. Folks like Jay-Z, Nas, we both like them, but when it comes on and I’m sitting with her and Sasha, then I fast-forward because it would make me blush…. It’s interesting, both Malia and Sasha, they’re very much up on pop culture, but what I’m pleased to see is that they’re interested in making culture too. They both play the piano, and Sasha’s dancing, and Malia’s interested in filmmaking.”
I don’t think that President Obama, the First Lady, and more specifically Sasha and Malia’s open adulation of Frank Ocean – or any other Hip-Hop or R&B musician- sends the wrong messages. Heck, I’m not sure it sends out any message other than stating that the kids have pretty decent taste in music. And clearly we are talking about the Obama girls and there is no doubt that they are getting the best education and guidance that being the children of a president and first lady of the United States can afford them. However, if rap music and sexually explicit R&B does not mean that one is destined to be anti-social and basically a degenerate to society, as in the case of the Obama girls, perhaps we might be overstating its importance or relevance in addressing the problems in our community?
When Martin Luther King Jr.’s memorial was unveiled to the public in D.C. in 2011, it was a monumental moment that commemorated the struggle and sacrifice of not only Dr. King, but all those who marched and fought for equal opportunity, rights and more during the Civil Rights Movement. But that was just the beginning. Today, there’s another great figure from the Civil Rights Movement being immortalized in statue form in Washington D.C., and that’s Rosa Parks.
During a ceremony today at the Capitol building, President Obama, members of Congress and members of the Parks family helped unveil the statue, which is the first full-length one of a black woman in the Capitol according to ABC News (Sojourner Truth does have a bust in the building as well). According to the Inquisitr, the statue stands at almost nine-feet-tall and shows the icon seated with her hands folded on her lap. The Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal honoree passed away in 2005, and the statue had been in the planning and creation phase ever since then. President Obama spoke at the unveiling saying, “She defied the odds, she defied injustice. She helped change America and helped change the world…We do well by placing a statue of her here, but we can do no greater honor to her memory than to carry forward the power of her principle and a courage born of conviction.”
Rosa Parks spent a majority of her 95 years working against racial injustice, poverty and many other social issues, so it’s definitely nice to know that a statue celebrating her work and life will be around for many, many years to inspire others to do the same. As her niece Rhea McCauley told ABC News, “…her being in the hall itself is permanent and children will be able to tour the (Capitol) and look up and see my aunt’s face.”
Sequester, sequestration, sequester, sequestration. That’s all anyone can talk about. Every media outlet is following the moment-by-moment developments. (There have been none. That’s why it might go into effect on Friday.) Literally an hour ago, USA Today published the latest story about President Obama’s visit to a Virginia factory where he once again reiterated that jobs were “in jeopardy” if Republicans don’t come up with an alternative to the massive spending cuts that are set to go happen on Friday. Republicans criticized the President’s trip. Apparently, both sides aren’t talking to one another.
Even as the sequester looms, and despite the fears of all the troubles it will bring, people are already tired of talking about it. A new survey from the Pew Research Center and The Washington Post shows that one in four people aren’t following the issue closely.
Part of the problem could be that people don’t fully understand the issue, which is circular: People don’t understand the issue, so they don’t understand the impact, so they don’t keep up with the story, so they don’t understand the issue. According to CBS’ coverage of the Pew survey, only “30 percent say the impact on their personal finances would be ‘major,’ while 40 percent say the looming cuts would impact their finances in a minor way.”
Another problem could be that we’re so used to having our government in a constant state of crisis, we have no more panic left in us. We just finished with the debt ceiling issue and we just had a presidential election where both sides presented worst-case scenarios if the other was elected. We’re still here, still working hard, so what’s the sense in getting ourselves into a lather, right?
The fact is there could be lots of repercussions. Cabinet members including Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano warn that they would have to change the way they work to keep the country moving. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has warned that air travel would be negatively impacted. Obama made an appearance with first responders a week ago to warn that layoffs are coming if something isn’t done. Various industries, the military, and countless other areas say the consequences would be dire.
Last Thursday, the President met with African American leaders to speak in more detail about his “Plan for a Strong Middle Class & a Strong America.” Rev. Al Sharpton, NAACP President Benjamin Jealous, and Melanie Campbell, president of the National Coalition of Black Civic Participation were among those in attendance.
“On unemployment, which is also disproportionately impacting our communities, we must deal with job creation and job programs, educational inequality, the problems of unfairness in the criminal justice system, and the problem of gun violence,” Rev. Sharpton said in a statement. According to NewsOne, some of the other topics that came up were education and job training. Should the sequester become a reality, more jobs would be lost. Something the black community — and the country — can’t afford.
Part of the reason why we should care about the sequester is that as long as it’s an issue, other issues can’t get our full attention. Voting rights, immigration, and other problems the country faces are not getting the attention they need because the stalemate continues between the Republicans, the Democrats, and the White House. House Speaker John Boehner today scolded the Senate for not doing something, after the House of Representatives passed two proposals to avoid the sequester. According to the Los Angeles Times, many people blame Republicans for the problem, and some Republicans would actually like to see the cuts go into effect as a way to reduce the deficit.
The government is doing us a great disservice right now. If the sequester happens (which looks likely) and people do start feeling the pain of these across-the-board cuts, that indifference will turn to anger.
‘I Just Don’t Want To Keep Disappointing Our Kids:’ Michelle Obama Talks U.S. Children Being A Priority
In her first sit-down interview since President Obama’s inauguration, First Lady Michelle Obama chatted with the wonderful Robin Roberts of ABC to discuss the latest addition to her childhood obesity efforts, the Hadiya Pendleton tragedy that shook the nation and why America’s children have been one of her biggest priorities since her husband’s 2008 presidential election.
On gun violence and the Hadiya Pendleton tragedy:
“Hadiya was an honor student. One of the things that her mother said at the funeral was ‘I did everything I was supposed to do,’ and she was absolutely right. She did everything she was supposed to do. She was standing out in a park with her friends a few blocks away from where my kids grew up, where our house is and she was caught in the line of fire. I just don’t want to keep disappointing our kids in this country. I want them to know that we put them first.”
On her fight against childhood obesity with the “Let’s Move” campaign:
“When we started, there were a lot of people in this country who would’ve never thought that childhood obesity was a health crisis. But now we’re starting to see rates of obesity coming down like never before. This new initiative that we’re announcing, the ‘My Plate Recipes’ partnership, we’re collaborating with some of the top media companies in this country and they are compiling and labeling and promoting recipes that meet the ‘My Plate’ guidelines.”
On a lighter note, the FLOTUS also humorously discussed how President Obama is handling raising a teenager in the White House and the possibility of Malia dating.
“Fathers in particular, I don’t think they really know how they’re going to feel until it happens. There’s nothing like the look on his face when Malia dresses up for a party and she’s heading out. She walks past and you can see his face sort of just … drop a little bit. He’s a little gray. People think the gray is from his job, it’s from his children. So, we’ll see how that goes.”
Check out the video of Mrs. Obama’s interview on the next page.