Changing Our Narrative Exclusive
In May 2020 news and social media exploded with the viral video of Amy Cooper, a white woman who called 911 with false accusations that a black man was attacking her and her dog in a section of New York’s Central Park designated for bird watching.
The accused man was Christian Cooper (pictured above and no relation to Ms. Cooper), a Harvard graduate, pioneering comic book writer, biomedical editor for Health Science Communication, avid bird watcher – and a black man.
Reports mentioned that Ms. Cooper held a high-profile job at Franklin Templeton, an investment firm. After watching the video, long-time Franklin Templeton client Raelanda Robinson called the company to express her disgust over the racially motivated maneuvers of Ms. Cooper.
“Her actions could have a negative impact on this young man’s life,” said Ms. Robinson. “He could have been killed. He could have been fired from his job. His quality of life could have been altered and changed based on a lie.”
Ms. Robinson described Ms. Cooper’s 911 call, released by the NYPD, as typical. “Her actions were deplorable and unacceptable. She had no reason to make a false police report on this young man. Not at all.”
Amy Cooper is not the first white woman, now referred to as “Karens,” to make such unfounded charges; she is simply the latest to level fabricated criminal accusations against a black man with the goal of causing him harm or shifting the spotlight of blame from her own ill deeds or criminal activity.
Susan Smith was convicted of murder in 1995 after strapping her two toddler sons into their car seats and allowing her car to roll into a lake. Smith, who is white and currently serving a life sentence, alleged she was carjacked by a black man who also kidnapped her children. For nearly a week Smith kept the lie going and even went before a bank of local and national news cameras pleading the safe return of her two little boys, Michael, who was three years old, and 14-month old Alex. Like the Smith case, Amy Cooper garnered international attention because she falsely blamed a black man on camera and the video was seen around the world.
It was through social media that Ms. Robinson initially learned of the Amy Cooper video.
“I first heard about Amy Cooper via Facebook,” said Ms. Robinson. “One of my Facebook friends posted what transpired around May 26.”
Ms. Robinson, who is African American, is keenly aware of the challenges of living a black life in America. After describing Ms. Cooper’s false 911 call as typical, Ms. Robinson wove together a descriptive “living while black” narrative. “I’m referring to the latest and greatest: driving while black, eating while black, in your own home watching TV and eating ice cream while black, sleeping while black, going to the library while black, it doesn’t matter what we do. It could be walking down the street and because of the color of our skin it makes us a target. It makes us subject to being profiled because of someone’s disgust or disdain for the color of our skin.”
The mother of two middle school children, Ms. Robinson spoke passionately about the need to have a cell phone video camera at the ready. “I have to be on guard no matter what transpires. I have to be on guard for my children 24-7! I have to have my cell phone ready to click record just so I can have some type of validation of what transpired because apparently my word isn’t good enough.”
As the Amy Cooper video went viral, the phone lines at Franklin Templeton in New York City lit up. According to Ms. Robinson, her contact within the investment firm informed her the company was receiving hundreds of calls complaining about Amy Cooper.
Within hours of the Cooper video going viral, Franklin Templeton was forced to respond via Twitter. “We take these matters very seriously, and not condone racism of any kind. While we are in the process of investigating the situation, the employee involved has been put on administrative leave.”
“When I learned this young lady worked at a company that works for me, I’m the client and I have a dog in the fight,” said Ms. Robinson. “I’ve been with Franklin Templeton Investment for over twenty years. I didn’t have to Google their telephone number, I just had to go through my phone contacts and call them. And they said, ‘Yes, Ms. Robinson, how can I help you?’
“I specifically said to Franklin Templeton that I was disgusted by the recent interaction and events by one of their employees. The young lady said they were fully aware of what transpired and the video that went viral. I shared with them that I didn’t feel comfortable. You’re dealing with my money and you have a fiduciary responsibility to give me correct, adequate, and valid information.
“I didn’t know what Amy Cooper’s role was within Franklin Templeton. All I know is now I’m on guard because I could have talked with her. She could have given me misleading information, which could have had a negative impact financially to my family. So how can I trust someone in your company that does this? And I’m quite sure she didn’t just become racist in 30 seconds or 30 minutes. This just didn’t happen. This was in her.”
Ms. Robinson, who is a seasoned corporate executive with a 25-year track record with one firm understands the culture of corporate America. “Franklin Templeton is not an all-white company. They have employees with different backgrounds, different cultures, different beliefs, and to have somebody represent that company like Amy Cooper leaves a black mark or stain on that company.”
Upon learning that Amy Cooper was an employee of Franklin Templeton, Ms. Robinson seriously considered moving her portfolio. “I’m considering speaking with my financial advisor and see if I want to pick up my marbles and go elsewhere. Obviously the 20-plus years that I’ve had, which is long-standing; I don’t hop from company to company but maybe I need to reconsider taking my marbles to a competitor.”
According to Ms. Robinson, the lady on the phone was very apologetic. “She didn’t want me to move my business. She totally understood and kept apologizing and said that the young lady was suspended. Later on, I found out that she was actually terminated.”
At the time Amy Cooper placed her ill-fated 911 call she was a vice president at Franklin Templeton and head of the firm’s insurance investments.
“My initial thought was that she deserved to be fired,” said Ms. Robinson. “She deserved to lose everything because she compromised someone else’s quality of life. I’m sure this was not the first incident; this is just one that was captured on video and that went viral. So this isn’t the first time that she’s done this.”
After watching the video several times, Ms. Robinson shared Franklin Templeton’s corporate phone number via social media. “When I found out where she worked I published Franklin Templeton’s number on Facebook so other people can share their concerns with the company.
“We have a voice. And we have to use our voice. And don’t be afraid because right is right. People know within their company that they have folks that are not right and do a disservice. When you see something say something. In other words, clean house – it’s OK.”
Male Model and Dancer in Janet Jackson’s ‘What Have You Done for Me Lately’ Video is Now a WOMAN / LOOK
*In the late 1980s, Rudy Houston was a well-recognized and talented model and dancer, perhaps best remembered as the leading man in Janet Jackson’s “What Have You Done For Me Lately” video.
He was the guy that women went crazy over because of his looks and dance moves. Houston was also the man who singer Pebbles was asking in her song, “Mercedes Boy,” if he wanted to ride with her in the song’s video, released in 1988.
While Rudy Houston was his name back in the day, today, he is a she…and goes by the name Lana Houston.
And according to Lana Houston, she is now “all-woman” in every sense of the phrase.
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Her sex change journey has been a long road, which for the most part, remained out of the media’s broad reach, until now because Houston is back and wants the world to know.
“Yes, it is true that I have transitioned from male to female,” Houston said in a statement that appears on I Love Old School Music’s website. “I began my transition from male to female in 1995. I needed time away from the entertainment industry to find my inner peace and embark on my intense and wonderful journey to womanhood. I am finally at peace. I am currently residing in L.A., where I work as an artist painting portraits and abstracts.”
Houston said she is grateful for her sex transition and to have fans. She is also looking for songwriters and music producers to collaborate with.
“Thanks to all those who were concerned about my whereabouts,” Houston said. “I’m back from the ‘dead.’ ”
Kristen Welker: Presidential Debate Moderator is One Bad-azz Sista!
*OK Kristen Welker, let us join the chorus of praise you are getting for your stellar job of moderating Thursday night’s presidential debate. In fact, one of the participants owes you an apology. We’ll get to that later.
For those experiencing Welker for the first time and don’t anything about her, she grew up in Philadelphia and graduated from Harvard in 1998. She became NBC’s White House Correspondent in 2011, and was recently named co-anchor of NBC show Weekend Today.
Welker, 44, is only the second black woman to moderate a presidential debate alone. The first was ABC News journalist Carole Simpson in 1992.
Earlier this month, two other journalists tried their hands at moderating and it didn’t turn out so well for them. Fox News’ Chris Wallace caught heat for his moderation of the first Trump-Biden debate, while USA Today’s Susan Page was also criticized for her handling of the vice-presidential debate between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris.
Even Wallace admitted he was “jealous.” During Fox News’ post-debate coverage, in so many words he said he wishes it was him instead of Welker at last night’s debate:
“I would have liked to have been able to moderate that debate and to get a real exchange of views instead of hundreds of interruptions.”
But in all honesty, Welker didn’t have a complete fool in Donald Trump to deal with like Wallace did. In any event, it’s obvious Welker didn’t want to deal with the BS Wallace had to deal with, as she was praised specifically for managing to keep the Trump and Biden in line, and controlling the conversation – though she did have the advantage of the candidates being muted during each others’ allotted two minutes.
Meanwhile, fellow journalists are also praising Welker’s performance. NBC’s Chief White House Correspondent Hallie Jackson called it “a career-defining moment,” while another sista, Fox News anchor Harris Faulkner said she “gave the American people a real debate.”
Also, PBS White House Correspondent Yamiche Alcindor said she was “beaming” watching Welker.
I’m beaming watching Kristen Welker. Such an amazing moment for her and for all who know of her hard work and dedication to journalism. Go girl!
— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) October 23, 2020
Author Brigitte Gabriel said she did a better job than Wallace, and one person went so far as to suggest she deserved a medal for her performance.
Get this woman a goddam medal.
Kristen Welker was amazing at this #PresidentialDebate2020
— Kimberly Saltz (@_AttorneyAtPaw) October 23, 2020
And despite calling Welker “terrible and unfair” ahead before the debate, Trump took time during the debate to praise the moderator’s performance.
“By the way, so far I respect very much the way you’re handling this,” he said.
And for even those words of praise to come out of HIS mouth is nothing short of a miracle and is the closest thing resembling an apology to ever come from Donald Trump.
Dayuuuum Kristen, you are one bad-azz sista!
Pastor Cal Keeps Love Alive on ‘Married at First Sight’ (EUR EXCLUSIVE!)
*For 11 seasons, “Married at First Sight” (MAFS) has been the ultimate experiment in matchmaking as couples who have never met – complete strangers – tie the knot.
If you are not familiar with the popular Lifetime series, people looking for love are matched by relationship experts (Dr. Pepper Schwartz, Dr. Viviana Coles, and Pastor Calvin Roberson-known as Pastor Cal) and agree to tie the knot before meeting their mates.
The show follows the couples for a few weeks as they experience their first meeting at their weddings, their honeymoons, meeting each other’s families, and other milestone events all the while being counseled by the experts. At the end of each season, the couples are given the chance to continue in their marriage or get a divorce.
While some may question the show’s premise, the EUR spoke to Pastor Cal recently and he said the series is genuine.
“My job on the show is to get these couples, put them together, and make sure they stay together,” said Pastor Cal. “My goal is to look at their differences, see where they’re compatible, counsel them and in some cases, threaten them, to make it work. All the experts, our focus, is simply making sure the couples stay together.”
As for a method in which the couples are matched, he added, “There isn’t a solid formula we apply to every couple. It has to be tweaked as we find out people’s peculiarities. It can be nerve-wracking but it’s rewarding in the end.”
Like many MAFS seasons, there are surprising revelations and this one, featuring couples from New Orleans, is no exception.
“Season 11 has brought us so many surprises,” Pastor Cal said. “Even in casting, one of the couples we thought would get along much quicker is one of the ones lagging behind. And one couple we thought would move slower to intimacy are moving ahead. And that’s with Miles and Karen being the slower and Woody and Amani being the faster of the two.”
He continued, “Also, by my own admission, I fall on the sword on this one, I was not expecting Bennett and Amelia to get along so well. I thought she would be put off more by his lack of profession. It was a big surprise to me.”
The next MAFS season will include Atlanta couples and after that the show heads to Houston, which is casting now. Pastor Cal told the EUR that the show adapts to the couples from each city.
“I believe that every city we film in brings a certain flavor and the participants from that city take on the flavor from that city,” Pastor Cal said. “New Orleans is laid-back, they party, and it’s a very fun city as opposed to a city like D.C. that is very political, buttoned up, and tight. But definitely we found that every city influences the participants. We definitely see different personalities coming out of each city.”
Speaking of Atlanta, Pastor Cal is the lead pastor at Progression church in the peach city. He and his wife Wendy have a marriage coaching organization that offers marriage and relationship conferences, boot camps, and seminars worldwide.
While COVID-19 may have slowed down the in-person events, that has not stopped people from contacting Pastor Cal for love connections, “Because of COVID, we’re online. I get more people through DM’s, email, etc. asking me to match them.”
And how does the church feel about the show?
“My church actually loves it.” Pastor Cal said. “They are so supportive and such an incredible group of people. They tell people about the show. Our church was actually founded on relationships, so it was an easy fit. Our church was founded on positive marriage and positive family.”
Look out for Pastor Cal’s book, “Marriage Ain’t for Punks,” slated to come out next year.
If you are interested in being on “Married at First Sight” and live in Houston, click here to apply.
For more information on MAFS’ current season, click here.
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