*LOS ANGELES, CA – The MACRO X HBCU Entertainment Summit (www.StayMACRO.com), presented by Amazon Studios, will go virtual this year for its second annual showcase of panels, conversations and inspirational messages from notable talent and changemakers in the entertainment business.
The inaugural summit debuted on the campus of Howard University in 2019 with the mission to engage and educate students on the vast careers, opportunities and paths in the media and entertainment fields. This year, the summit goes global and will be available to students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) across the country. Students will participate from a host of venerable institutions which include Alabama A&M University, Clark Atlanta University, Florida A&M University, Grambling State University, Hampton University, Jackson State University, Morehouse College, North Carolina A&T State University, Prairie View A&M University, Spelman College, Tennessee State University, Texas Southern University, Tuskegee University, Xavier, University of Louisiana, Savannah State University and Howard University.
This year’s event will premiere online on Saturday, October 24, 2020 at 10:00am EST on www.staymacro.com and include appearances by Kenya Barris, John David Washington (Morehouse College Alumnus) MACRO Founder & Chief Executive Officer Charles D. King, Steve Pamon (Morehouse College Alumnus), Chris Paul and Terrence J as well as a host of industry executives, experts and influencers—many that are HBCU alumni.
Additionally, one DJ from 10 different HBCUs, representing different regions and styles of music, will create their own brand-new playlists, available to stream on Amazon Music. The event is also open to the public. All attendees must register to attend at www.staymacro.com.
SheaMoisture returns as a sponsor of The MACRO X HBCU Entertainment Summit, continuing the brand’s commitment to celebrating culture, championing Black businesses and advocating for justice. SheaMoisture Chief Executive Officer Cara Sabin will appear to introduce the company’s exciting new campaign, It Comes Naturally, which features six Black women artists in a forward looking celebration of Black identity and storytelling.
Below is a partial listing of the schedule of events.
A MACRO Conversation with Kenya Barris. Moderated by Charles D. King, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, MACRO.
MACRO Founder & CEO Charles D. King (Howard University School of Law Alumni Alumnus) sits down with writer, producer, actor and showrunner Kenya Barris (Clark Atlanta University Alumnus) to discuss their journeys in this business and also provide words of inspiration and encouragement for students looking to enter the business.
About That Action. Powered by SheaMoisture.
A fireside chat with future NBA Hall of Famer, Chris Paul, on using your voice and platform to lead the charge for social justice.
Moderator: Terrence J, Actor/Influencer (North Carolina A&T University Alumnus)
Chris Paul, NBA Player, Oklahoma City Thunder (Winston-Salem State University Student)
When and Where I Enter: Black Women At The Seat of Power. Powered By Amazon Studios.
A roundtable of baller Black women on the business side of entertainment, discussing the strategies they used to make their voices be heard and respected in white and male dominated spaces.
Moderator: Latasha Gillespie, Executive Head, Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Amazon Studios
Inga Dyer, Senior Vice President, Business & Legal Affairs, MACRO (Howard University and Howard University School of Law Alumna)
Karen Toliver, Executive Vice President, Creative, Sony Pictures Animation
Niija Kuykendall, Executive Vice President, Film Production, Warner Bros. Pictures
Creators & Manifesters
A roundtable discussion about utilizing skills and gifts that are often undervalued and overlooked and turning them into a career. Manifesting your dreams by activating your unique skills, gifts and interests.
Moderator: Stacey Walker King, Chief Brand Officer, MACRO
Jasmyn Lawson, Editorial Manager, Netflix
Mark Anthony Green, Special Projects Editor, GQ
Quinn Wilson, Creative Director, Lizzo
The Playbook: How to Actually Break Into The Industry
This panel will educate viewers on the strategies and skills you need to finally get your foot in the door. What to do, what not to do and what it takes to survive and thrive in entertainment will be discussed.
Moderator: Krystal Franklin, Senior Digital Producer (Grambling State University Alumna)
Ahmadou Seck, Director, Development, MACRO Television Studios
Brandon Lawrence, Agent, CAA (Morehouse Alumnus)
The Come Up
A roundtable discussion with recent HBCU grads from Wondaland, CAA and Marvel in their first or second jobs in entertainment covering what is has been like to get a job, keep a job and keep it moving before and during the pandemic.
Moderator: Maura Chanz, Influencer (Spelman College Alumna)
Launched in 2015 by Charles D. King, MACRO is a multi-platform media company representing the voice and perspectives of people of color. The company’s multiple business verticals include a film and television studio that develops, produces and finances theatrical features and premium television, talent and influencer management divisions, a representation firm, a branding and creative agency and an affiliated venture firm. The company’s film projects have received nine Oscar nominations. MACRO is also partnered with Warner Bros. Pictures, giving the studio a first look on all projects MACRO intends to develop or package as feature films. The studio also has the option to co-finance these projects alongside MACRO and will handle their global distribution. Visit www.staymacro.com for more information on the company.
About AMAZON STUDIOS
Amazon Studios is the home for talent, creating and producing original films and television series for a global audience. Original series all premiere exclusively on Amazon Prime Video, which is available in over 240 countries and territories. Recent hit Amazon Original series include the Emmy Award-winning comedies Fleabag, created by and starring Emmy Award-winner Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel from Emmy Award-winners Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino, as well as the action thriller drama Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan starring John Krasinski, the irreverent superhero series The Boys, Upload from Greg Daniels, Jordan Peele’s Hunters starring Al Pacino and Logan Lerman; and fantasy drama Carnival Row starring Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevingne; Amazon Originals also include culturally relevant and buzzed about content such as Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty music and fashion event, Donald Glover’s Guava Island and Chasing Happiness, a documentary about pop superstars the Jonas Brothers.
In film, Amazon Studios produces and acquires original movies for theatrical release and exclusively for Amazon Prime Video. In 2017, Amazon Studios became the first streaming service to win Oscars for Manchester by the Sea and The Salesman. Amazon Studios’ recent releases include Troop Zero starring Viola Davis, Alison Janney, and Jim Gaffigan; Tom Harper’s The Aeronauts starring Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne; Scott Z. Burns’ The Report starring Adam Driver and Annette Bening; Honey Boy from director Alma Har’el based on a script written by Shia LaBeouf; Benedict Andrews’ Seberg starring Kristen Stewart; and the Academy Award nominated Les Misérables from director Ladj Ly.
SheaMoisture is committed to serving those who have been underserved. Shea butter is one of the brand’s core ingredients, praised for its hydrating and nourishing properties. As part of their Community Commerce business model, SheaMoisture partners with women-led co-ops in Northern Ghana to source their namesake shea butter. With the core belief that commerce can bring true economic independence and empower women to break cycles of poverty, the brand further reinvests into both the co-ops and the communities it serves throughout the U.S. SheaMoisture continues to create economic opportunities for women and other minority entrepreneurs in its ecosystem with engaging events, investment funds and educational programs. SheaMoisture is a global beauty leader in the hair care, bath, body, skin care, baby and men’s categories, and is distributed in retailers throughout the world. SheaMoisture is a subsidiary of Unilever.
Meet Noah Harris, First Black Man Elected Harvard Student Body President (Watch)
*Noah Harris has just become the first Black man to be elected president of Harvard University’s student body. On Tuesday, he appeared on MSNBC’s “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” to credit late Congressman John Lewis as his motivation and biggest inspiration.
Harris, a native of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, is a junior government major and also co-chairs the Undergraduate Council’s Black Caucus. He said that his three main goals will be improving student life, increasing access to mental health and wellness, and diversity inclusion.
Harris told O’Donnell that civil rights icon Lewis had a “profound impact” on him and that he hopes to embody his “love of country.”
Using Vernon Jones As An Example: How Much Should We Let Party Affiliation Define Us?
*Vernon Jones, a Democratic member of the Georgia House of Representatives has quickly become a household name.
Jones rose to the national spotlight in April 2020 after publicly criticizing his own Party and endorsed Trump for reelection. He later spoke at the Republican National Convention, garnering both criticism and adulation from amongst his peers and the public.
Now once again Jones is catching the eyes of the public as his actions in recent weeks have left many people in repudiation or admiration of him. Jones has busied himself with peddling the false narrative of the U.S Presidential Election being hijacked by those on the “left.”
Speaking to a crowd of Trump supporters in Georgia a few days after the election, the state representative shared his false and misguided view of the election being manipulated, specifically focusing on ballots cast and counted in the state which he believed to be illegitimate.
However, wide consensus states that no voter fraud took place and that the allegations currently being pushed by Mr. Jones and even the White House are simply unsubstantiated. But I digress, the point of me writing this piece is to say that Jones’ actions are an enigma to Democratic leaders and to everyday affiliates of the party.
Nikema Williams, Chairman of the Democratic Party of Georgia called him: “An embarrassment” who fails at representing the values of the party.
Jones has frequently stated in interviews and public speeches that his advocacy on the part of Trump stems from what he views as the President’s championing of Black issues. Arguing that Trump’s work in the areas of education and criminal justice reform is admirable and should incentivize Blacks to vote Republican. Such work includes permanent annual funding for HBCUs and school choice, along with the First Step Act.
Like Mrs. Williams, I also do not agree with Jones’ political views or his support for Trump, but I challenge her (and others) when it comes to a party-by-ideology characterization of him. I believe the displeasure Democrats hold towards Jones lies solely not in his misguided support of an incompetent President and conspiracy theories, but rather in that he identifies as a Democrat while heavily advocating for Republicans and their platform along with him possibly being Black. However, people need to realize that political affiliation and race do not always coincide with beliefs and opinions.
It is possible to be both a Democrat and a pro-life supporter just as much as it is to be a Republican and a pro-choice defender. It’s also possible to be Black and anti-police reform or White and for police-reform. You cannot attach expectations onto people due to a label. Left, Right, Liberal, and Conservative are just pointless classifications used to categorize people in order to simplify their sometimes-unique beliefs and opinions. While, people’s association with Democrats and Republicans is merely based on what party they feel at a point in time is more closely aligned with their personal beliefs and doctrines. In other words, people’s connection to such labels can change at a moment’s whim.
In any case, Jones has done nothing of significance to earn widespread attention. Frankly, he would not even be a topic of conversation if he was registered as a Republican supporting Donald Trump or White. Therefore, it’s hard not to assume that Jones has largely only been given media attention due to his labels: Democrat, Black, and a Trump supporter. With the latter two labels possibly playing a substantial role in his given attention due to: 1) There not being a high volume of Black Trump supporters and 2) Confusion as to why a Black politician would back a President who repeatedly indulges White Supremacists.
Jones is an example of why Democrats and Republicans need to accept the fact that ideologies differ amongst their members because if they do not, they risk a lifetime of alienating people based on assumption.
So, do not take this piece as me saying, “You can’t be mad at Jones for his political views and the policies he supports.” After all, if you voted him into office and he changed his agenda after elected you have every right to be angry with him. But, if you strictly dislike him because he is a registered Democrat and or a Black guy siding with Republicans, then you need to rethink how you approach politics because something tells me Jones did not just start leaning to the “right.” He was probably always there, and you simply voted for him with the assumption that his associated party affiliation or race would determine his thinking on political matters.
EURweb.com, Everything Urban & Radioscope (formerly The Electronic Urban Report) Covering the Culture since 1997
David Anthony is a new graduate of Grand Canyon University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government. A self-designated history buff and random fact finder, David could rattle your ear for hours with information. Born and raised in the City of Angels he is a huge fan of the city’s culture and hometown NBA team, the L.A. Clippers. A future attorney, businessman, and civil servant, he hopes to be an impactful individual in life. Contact David: [email protected]
Remembering the Sacrifices of the ‘Golden 13’ / VIDEO
*ST AUGUSTINE, Florida — The little-known story of the ‘”Golden 13,” the U.S. Navy’s first black commissioned officers, is chronicled in two oral histories, one compiled by historian and retired naval officer Paul Stillwell; the other by Politico journalist Dan C. Goldberg.
Each reveals a similar set of facts: 16 sailors of African descent were thrust into a situation not of their own making during World War II, set up to fail, and, absent that happening, placed in positions where their proven leadership skills were obscured by the racial animus of the day.
Despite having to endure indignities no white officer would tolerate—no housing, denied access to officers’ clubs, white sailors refusing to salute, no combat assignments—these men proved their mettle and ultimately set the entire American military on a course toward increased black participation across all branches seen today.
But the path from then to now reflects a journey not yet complete.
World War II: Where it all began
At the beginning of World War II, black sailors served as cooks, waiters and valets for white officers and were not even allowed to enlist in the Navy’s general service. It was not until the spring of 1942, under pressure from First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and black civil rights leaders, that President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order banning discrimination in the federal government, thus allowing blacks to pursue jobs like gunner’s mates, quartermasters or signalmen. Shortly after, the idea of a black officers’ training program was born.
“In 1943, Adlai Stevenson, a special assistant to Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox and later two-time Democratic presidential nominee, sent a memo to Knox recommending the commission of a dozen or so black officers to respond to the political pressure,” said Stillwell, author and editor of “The Golden Thirteen: Recollections of the First Black Naval Officers.”
Thus, in January 1944, 16 black sailors began their officer training course at Camp Robert Smalls, Recruit Training Center Great Lakes (now known as the Naval Station Great Lakes) in Illinois. Although there is scant official documentation outlining the selection process, Stillwell surmises that the men’s proven proficiency as enlisted leaders, their willingness to accept discipline and follow orders, athleticism, and a range of educational achievements matching those of white officer candidates were possible factors in their selection.
Set up to fail
Even though Great Lakes was one of the Navy’s elite training facilities, the trainees were segregated from both white officer candidates and other black enlisted men. With its 16 cots, 16-foot lockers, and table set for 16, Barracks 202 was both home and classroom for the men. In this claustrophobic environment, they crammed a normal 16-week officer training program into eight, studying seamanship, naval regulations and law, gunnery and aircraft recognition.
Retired four-star general and ex-Secretary of State Colin Powell, who himself is black, wrote in the foreword to Stillwell’s book that “history has dealt them a stern obligation” to succeed and “help open the blind moral eye that America had turned on the question of race.”
“They decided that, rather than compete, they would pool their resources so all could succeed,” Stillwell said.
The white instructors were indifferent to the black officer candidates’ plight and worked hard to make sure they washed out of the program. And, the officer who designed their coursework, Lt. Paul Richmond, was particularly hard on them, according to the recollections collected by Stillwell.
“The white officers thought it was their mission to fail the candidates,” said Stillwell. “But Richmond told me he just wanted to make the course as rigorous as possible. He was aimed at creating a better seagoing naval service. To some, he operated in good faith, others found him to be condescending.”
Nevertheless, with the odds stacked against them, the men remained laser-focused on their collective success. Each night, after the 10:30 p.m. lights-out call, they would cover the barrack’s windows with bedsheets to shield the lights, huddle in the “head” (bathroom in Navy parlance) and study by flashlight.
In the end, their strategy of group success resulted in high test scores for all 16. When the Navy challenged the validity of the scores, the men were forced to retake the exam, scoring higher the second time and earning an average score of 3.89 out of 4.0.
In March 1944, despite all 16 members passing the course, only 12 were commissioned as ensigns: John W. Reagan, Jesse W. Arbor, Dalton L. Baugh, Frank Sublett, Graham E. Martin, Phillip G. Barnes, Reginald E. Goodwin, James E. Hair, Samuel E. Barnes, George C. Cooper, William S. White and Dennis D. Nelson. Charles B. Lear was appointed the rank of warrant officer.
Three candidates—Lewis Williams, J.B. Pinkney and A. Alves—were not commissioned and returned to the fleet. No official reasons were ever made clear for their rejection, but some speculate that the group’s success rate could not exceed that of their counterparts.
After an arduous two months, and to little or no fanfare, the U.S. Navy Officer Corps expanded by 12 commissioned ensigns and a warrant officer—all black.
Still, there was no way these highly qualified, highly motivated new officers would ever see combat.
“The Navy would not have black men commanding white men in battle,” Goldberg wrote in his companion piece for Politico, “The Golden 13: How Black Men Won the Right to Wear Navy Gold.” “Instead, the first black officers were given make-work jobs—running drills, giving lectures on venereal disease and patrolling the waters off the California coast in a converted yacht. They were ignored and disrespected at every turn. Still, they knew that they must keep their heads held high. They had a responsibility to be the first, not the last.”
They were not. Two months later, a new group of 10 more black officers was commissioned. They, too, were given assignments that segregated them from the rest of the fleet—training black recruits, manning harbor tugs and the like.
All but one of the original officers left the Navy, choosing to pursue opportunities in the civilian world. Nelson remained in the Navy, retiring at the rank of lieutenant commander. His 1948 master’s thesis, “The Integration of the Negro into the U.S. Navy,” argued that racial stereotypes were fictional and should be displaced by equal treatment and good leadership, and was published as a book in 1951.
Role models for the next generation
After the intense shared experience of the Great Lakes base, the men known as “those black naval officers” went their separate ways.
“[The Navy] had reluctantly made officers of the men,” Stillwell writes in his book, “but it wasn’t going to accord them any special treatment. For many years, they had no group identity.”
That changed in 1977 when Nelson tracked down the surviving members of that first class of officer candidates and hosted a reunion in Monterey, California. It was there that Capt. Edward Sechrest from the Navy Recruiting Command coined the term the “Golden 13.”
By the time of the reunion and nearly 35 years removed from the pressure-cooker environment of their officer training, the “Golden 13” were then able to operate in a more “racially aware” Navy, forging friendships amongst themselves, gaining official acknowledgment of their accomplishments from the service, and becoming a potent recruiting tool.
“In the spring of 1994, a federal agency held a forum where Paul Stillwell and several of the surviving Golden 13 members spoke,” said retired Adm. Michelle J. Howard, also former vice chief of naval operations. “To a person, they were humble and sincere and were all surprised to meet a surface warfare officer who was a woman of color. They rightfully saw me as their legacy, and I found them inspiring.”
Building a new normal
Howard’s ascension to the second-highest ranking officer in the Navy, and the highest-ranking African American and woman in the military, glosses over a larger systemic issue. While 43 percent of the 1.3 million men and women on active duty in the military are people of color, its leaders are largely white males. Only two senior commanders—those with four-star rank—are black: Gen. Michael X. Garrett, who leads the Army’s Forces Command, and Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., commander of the Pacific Air Forces, according to a May 2020 New York Times article.
To address this problem, the Defense Department and each of the service branches are instituting new programs to bring more underrepresented demographics into the commissioned officer corps.
“There’s always enough minority talent in the pipelines to make GOs [general officers],” said Col. Timothy Holman, the Army’s chief diversity officer. “We don’t have a minority talent problem, we have a process problem. We need to change how people are selected. But we want to move beyond the conventional visual representation [of more blacks in the officer corps], and focus on the optimization of talent.”
The Army, added Holman, is taking a multi-tiered approach that includes mentoring programs and fostering better relationships with historically black colleges and universities to include increased research grant opportunities.
(Edited by Ganesh Lakshman and Matthew B. Hall)
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