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Oprah & HBO Accused of Taking Advantage of Henrietta Lacks … So Says Lacks Family




**Crown Publishing is pushing back on Lawrence Lacks’ “inaccurate portrayal” accusations  and has responded via “a spokesperson from the Crown Publishing Group” with this statement:

“Rebecca Skloot’s critically acclaimed and prize-winning book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, is a meticulously researched and reported work of independent journalism that we have been proud to publish and that we fully stand by.

“In advance of the book’s publication, Ms. Skloot provided multiple copies of the manuscript to members of the Lacks family and solicited their comments and corrections, which were subsequently incorporated in the book. Lawrence Lacks consented to be interviewed by Ms. Skloot during her reporting and attended meetings with Ms. Skloot and other family members at which the contents of the book were discussed at length. The manuscript also went through an extensive fact checking process.

“The veracity of the book, which has brought heightened awareness to the significant contributions of HeLa cells to medicine and modern science, has not been challenged in the seven years since its initial publication in February 2010. In the subsequent years, numerous members of the Lacks family have participated in interviews and public events in support of the book and of the importance of telling the story of Henrietta Lacks.”

Earlier we reported ….

*Lawrence Lacks, the executor of his mother Henrietta Lacks‘ estate, says Oprah Winfrey, OWN, HARPO, HBO, Crown Publishing, and Random House’s upcoming movie, based on Rebecca Skloot’s book “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” is an inaccurate portrayal of his family.

What’s more, he says, these entities continue the cycle of profiting from Henrietta’s legacy without giving back. Worse yet – they’re telling people they’re helping the family when they’re not, he added.

“Not only are they making money using my mother’s name – they’re telling people they’re supporting us when they’re not,” said Mr. Lacks. “It’s embarrassing. And when we try to raise money for our foundation or to help our family people say “you don’t need money – you’re rich. Oprah and HBO gave you all that money. Johns Hopkins paid for college.” None of it’s true. And now people ask us for money and not only is bad we can’t help our family – we can’t help others.”

“The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” was published by Crown Publishing Group in 2010, and is marketed as a factual book. It’s now required reading in several universities and high schools across the U.S. HBO and OWN will debut their movie based on the book April 22, 2017.

The Lacks family argues that the book doesn’t do his mother’s legacy justice, and inaccurately depicts the Lacks family as impoverished and uneducated farmers. “It’s part of Skloot’s mythology and it feels very racist,” said Mr. Lacks. “If she can present the family as poor and uneducated, she can present herself as spokesperson for the family and make money and promote herself on her lies. It makes a better story if we’re poor and dumb.”

Mr. Lacks has been trying to set the record straight for years, and he’s hoping with the proof he now has, people will listen. Contrary to popular belief the Estate of Henrietta Lacks has not received any money from Johns Hopkins, the NIH, Crown Publishing, Oprah Winfrey, pharmaceutical companies, HBO or OWN. In fact when the Lacks family approached these entities for help with medical bills – they were turned away.

“It’s bad enough Johns Hopkins took advantage of us,” Mr. Lacks said. “Now Oprah, Rebecca and HBO are doing the same thing. They’re no better than the people they say they hate.”

Oprah & HenriettaLacks

Oprah and the real Henrietta Lacks

HBO and Oprah Turn A Blind Eye to Factual Errors Lacks Family Says
Mr. Lacks says he told Ms. Skloot there were many factual errors in her book and asked her not to publish it. Mr. Lacks was 17 when his mother died and vividly remembers details of Henrietta Lacks life and death. Other family members, including Deborah Lacks, also told Ms. Skloot her book was wrong. She ignored them. Factual errors include:

• Henrietta was a share cropper when in fact her family owned land.
• Henrietta couldn’t sign her name or read – when in fact the family has handwritten documents.
• Mr. Lacks hates white people. He does not.
• Ms. Skloot says raises money for the Lacks family. She made one small donation in 2011, although she continues to raise money. No one in the Lacks family knows where the money goes.
• Ms. Skloot used Lacks imposters to make money on speaking engagements.
• Deborah Lacks was very upset by the errors in Ms. Skloot’s book, Mr. Lacks says.

Crown Publishing issued letters through their spokesperson saying The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks was vigorously fact checked. Mr. Lacks says Crown may have called some people but no one called him. He was there during her life and her death. What’s more, he adds, Ms. Skloot only spent an hour with him researching her book.

In a strange twist, Mr. Lacks says there are two women posing as Lacks family members to make money. Mr. Lacks says he’s told Ms. Skloot many times that Veronica Spencer and Victoria Baptiste are not his granddaughters (their mother erroneously told them they were related to Henrietta Lacks. Mr. Lacks has told these women for years they are not.)

Both women are identified as Henrietta’s great-granddaughters by the Henrietta Lacks Foundation, which is managed by Ms. Skloot. The women posing as Lacks family members are just below the donor solicitation button on Ms. Skloots Fundraising page. Yet Mr. Lacks says Ms. Skloot told people these women are Henrietta’s grandchildren and uses their names to raise funds. Please see how these women are listed on the front of Ms. Skloot’s Foundation page. The Baltimore City Police have been notified of possible fraud, Mr. Lacks said. Skloot and both women have made money traveling across the country on what Skloot (through her lawyer) readily agrees are lucrative speaking engagements.

oprah - henrietta lacks

HBO and OWN were told these women were imposters and they paid them any way, Lacks said.

He adds Skloot says she paid for his hearing aids. “It’s a lie,” he said. “The VA paid for my hearing aids. That woman never gave me a dime and she needs to stop saying she did. She’s hurt our family as much as Johns Hopkins.”

When asked if HBO or Oprah would consider a donation to the family, Mr.Lacks said both companies declined through their lawyers. Now the family sees that Oprah is making even more money by putting her picture on the cover of Skloot’s book and are hurt.

“Henrietta’s two other sons are in shabby nursing homes and Oprah won’t help,” said Mr. Lacks. “Everyone is going to assume we got paid or a got a car, like that you get a car thing. I asked her for help with medical bills and she said she and HBO declined. It’s her money and she can do what she wants. I just don’t want people to think she’s helping us.”





The Henrietta Lacks Family
Via: [email protected]




  1. Zenobia Waller

    March 18, 2017 at 7:58 pm

    I hope there is no truth that Oprah is taking advantage of this poor woman’s family too..


  2. Maria

    March 20, 2017 at 3:23 pm

    Perhaps Henry Louis Gates can do a show on the Lacks family and set the record straight (at least about who really is related)

  3. Eira Long May

    March 21, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    I’m one of the Lacks family’s speaking agents, and I wanted to post the following statement from the family:

    Deborah Lacks’s wish was to educate the world about her mother’s tremendous medical contributions. As members of the Lacks family, we are committed to upholding that mission. We support Rebecca Skloot’s meticulously researched and award-winning book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. While the book was in progress, Ms. Skloot provided members of our family with copies of the manuscript and solicited our insights and corrections, which she faithfully incorporated into the book before its publication in 2010. Since then, members of our family have participated in media and public speaking events, helping to raise awareness of Henrietta’s legacy and her myriad contributions to scientific advancement and medical breakthroughs.

    Despite the pain we have experienced, we are committed to supporting the miraculous advancements facilitated by the HeLa cells and to moving forward in a meaningful way. To this end, we support the ongoing work of institutions that use Henrietta’s cells in research to save millions of lives, and we acknowledge their efforts to preserve Henrietta’s rich legacy. Our goal is to continue advancing medical science while protecting our family’s privacy and telling Henrietta’s story.

    The Lacks family is a large and diverse group whose members have distinct opinions, but we are all entitled to speak publicly about our family’s legacy and our individual experiences. We will continue to spread our positive message to schools, libraries, associations, and community organizations worldwide, ensuring that Henrietta Lacks’s contributions to humanity are never forgotten. We will also continue to support the book, the forthcoming HBO film, and speaking opportunities for our family.

    March 21, 2017

    David Lacks, Sr. (Henrietta Lacks’s son)
    Shirley Lacks (Henrietta Lacks’s daughter-in-law)
    Alfred Carter, Jr. (Henrietta Lacks’s grandson)
    Jeri Lacks Whye (Henrietta Lacks’s granddaughter)
    David Lacks, Jr. (Henrietta Lacks’s grandson)
    Kim Lacks (Henrietta Lacks’s granddaughter)
    LaTonya Carter (Henrietta Lacks’s granddaughter)
    Victoria Baptiste (Henrietta Lacks’s great-granddaughter)
    Veronica Robinson (Henrietta Lacks’s great-granddaughter)
    Davon Meade (Henrietta Lacks’s great-grandson)

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Apple News

Is Pres. Elect Biden Obama’s 3rd Term? & What 44 Said About Black America’s Progress Under His Watch on ‘Breakfast Club’ (VIDEO)




Charlamagne Tha God - Barack Obama
Charlamagne Tha God - Barack Obama

Charlamagne Tha God – Barack Obama

*Attorney Antonio Moore discusses the recent Obama Breakfast Club interview during his Book tour.

Moore harshly critiques the interview of Pres. Obama performed by Charlamagne, DJ Envy and Angela Yee.

He also looks closer at President Elect Joe Biden’s cabinet picks and measures them again Barack Obama & Bill Clinton’s prior administrations.

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The Virtual United Negro College Fund Tour Heads to NY, DC & NJ on Fri & Sat-Nov. 20 & 21 (EUR EXCLUSIVE!)




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*African American students interested in going to college can attend the United Negro College Fund’s (UNCF) Fall 2020 virtual Empower Me Tour. Set for this Friday and Saturday (November 20 & 21, 2020), New York, District of Columbia, and New Jersey will be repped. (This year’s tour kicked off earlier this month in Wisconsin and Illinois). To register, go here.

The Empower Me Tour is an extension of the goals of the UNCF. Founded in 1944, the UNCF, a non-profit, has raised more than $5 billion and helped more than 500,000 students attend 37 private historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

The EUR caught up with Stacey Lee, the tour’s director for four years, who discussed the importance of the event.

“The UNCF is the nation’s largest provider of education support to minority students,” said Lee. “The Empowerment Tour has been executed for the past 12 years and last year along we offered over $12 million dollars in scholarships.”

MORE NEWS/RELATED: BMEE Authors: Urgent Steps Are Necessary to Address Implicit Bias in Early Education  

staceylee uncf

Stacey Lee, director of the Empower Me Tour. (Photo credit: UNCF)

Lee continued, “I think the great thing is that during these times, even with COVID-19, is that a number of corporations (Wells Fargo/P&/FedEx/Disney/Goldman Sachs) and donors have really been providing opportunity and financial access to our schools and students.”

The tour is packed with information and resources so that students and parents have the right tools to make informed decisions.

“It’s a free event that provides educational support, scholarships, interviews with colleges, empowerment, and information on how to get to and through college. We also provide this information for parents as well. We have a parent section that focuses on financial aid and the things you need to get your students to college.”

emt offering

Source: Empower Me Tour

Lee continued, “Sometimes we have students that don’t realize that they can attend college. They can receive scholarships. Some of them don’t even know what an HBCU is. So, it’s inspirational for me to see these students receive this information and the excitement that’s around this tour.”

In addition to college information, panel sessions on issues affecting the community will also take place. Legendary rapper Bun B will be part of a special My Black Is Beautiful panel. The panel will have discussions with girls and boys and the MC will lead the male portion.

“It’s about empowerment,” Bun B told the EUR. “It’s vital for us to lift each other up and amplify each other’s voices. We just talk about now what that role is in this COVID world. And with everything that we are seeing with young Black men on television, we want to keep them motivated and centered. We want to make sure that they are not discouraged in this moment.”

bun b 2

Legendary rapper Bun B is a panelist at the Empower Me Tour. (Photo credit: UNCF)

Ever since Kamala Harris threw her hat into the presidential race and elected vice president of the United States, a spotlight has shined on the fact that she’s an HBCU grad (Howard University) and member of the African American sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha. These facts are not lost on the UNCF.

“Kamala has really boosted people’s awareness about HBCUs and (African American sororities) and the type of people that come out of HBCUs. HBCUS have also provided so many people from science, mathematics, and engineering programs (STEM).”

Bun B added, “We have more than enough examples to show you how beneficial an education from an HBCU can be. So, there is no reason to not be a part of an HBCU because the world is just as available to you as it is for anyone else attending any other type of university.”

Register for the virtual Empower Me Tour on November 20 & 21, 2020 here. Spring tour dates will be announced soon. For general information on the United Negro College Fund, go here.

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(Photo credit: UNCF)

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Apple News

New Music Buzz: Jazzy Rita Shelby’s ‘Goodbye 2020’



Goodbye 2020 Jazzy Rita Shelby
Goodbye 2020 Jazzy Rita Shelby

After all that’s happened this year, it’s time to say Goodbye 2020. New single available by Jazzy Rita Shelby at most digital platforms.

*SB Music presents “Goodbye 2020” a new single for the times we are in.

“Goodbye 2020” is performed by Jazzy Rita Shelby and written by Miss Shelby (ASCAP) and Eddie Lawrence Miller (BMI).

It’s the perfect anthem to end a year that has impacted the globe.

Jazzy Rita Shelby Goodbye 2020 looking up - Copy

Jazzy Rita Shelby is fed up with this year and elated about her new single “Goodbye 2020.” Avail now from SB Music (Written by L. Shelby & E. Miller)

EURweb’s Jazzy Rita is also a prolific lyricist who has teamed up with Eddie Miller for “Goodbye 2020” because it was timely and convenient for the birth of a song such as this.

Eddie Miller is a coveted keyboardist & vocalist who performs regularly with Brian Culbertson and he’s the Rhodes Festival musical director. Jazzy Rita rose to notoriety as host & performer at The Starlight Jazz Serenade, an annual benefit concert in North Hollywood with an A list of stars.  As a teen Miss Shelby was inspired to write songs by the legendary David Porter.

This year has been a year like no other.  “Goodbye 2020” is an ode to the world for the year that we have seen and the hope that lies ahead.  Radio Programmers click here for adds.

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“Goodbye 2020” is released on the SB Music label and was recorded at Wishing Wells Studio in Canoga Park, CA.  Willie Daniels and Mildred Black perform background vocals along with Jazzy Rita.  The video is produced & directed by Jazzy Rita (LaRita Shelby), filmed & edited by Reggie Simon of Simon Vision Media, with wardrobe styling by Jazzy Rita and Poet Roni Girl’s Army Couture.  “Goodbye 2020” is available on most digital platforms.  Click here to listen on Spotify.


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