Monday, June 30, 2008

::Photos of the Day::

Nelson Mandela's Birthday Concert, June 2008

Musicians and friends gather with Nelson Mandela as he celebrates his 90th birthday hosting the 46664 concert, June 27, 2008 in London, England.

Tyra Banks @ Daytime Emmy Awards, 2008

Daytime talk show host Tyra Banks takes home the Outstanding Talk Show/Entertainment award at the 35th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards in Hollywood, June 20, 2008.

Ludacris

Rapper/actor Ludacris is honored with the Chairman's Award at the 10th Annual Educating Young Minds Scholarship Awards Gala at the Marriott Hotel on June 22, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. On the web: http://www.educatingyoungminds.org/

Holly Robinson Peete at Shizue Charity Event

Holly Robinson Peete was among 200 guests for a summer soiree of couture handbags, fine jewelry, and a special on-site animal rescue hosted by Shizue (on left), owner of the new eye catching boutique, Shizue in Beverly Hills. Event sales benefited the Amanda Foundation that rescues homeless animals and places them in loving LA homes.

Don Cheadle

Actor Don Cheadle is honored with the Half-Life Award during the 2008 CineVegas film festival at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, June 20, 2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Eve @ Cartier Love

Rapper/actress Eve arrives at the the 3rd annual Loveday celebration and Cartier Love Charity Bracelet launch held on June 18, 2008 in Los Angeles, California.

::Black Music Month Photos of the Day::

 
Al Green @ BET Awards 2008

R&B singer Al Green is honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the BET Awards Ceremony, June 24, 2008 in Los Angeles.

Frankie Beverly

Musician Frankie Beverly attends Maze featuring Frankie Beverly's plaque ceremony on the Philadelphia Walk of Fame on June 20, 2008 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Kanye and Estelle

Kanye West performs with British artist Estelle at the France 2 Television's "Fete de la Musique" at the Auteuil Horse track on June 21, 2008 in Paris, France.

Debra Lee, Quincy Jones & Queen Latifah

Legendary music producer Quincy Jones receives the Humanitarian Award during the BET Awards Ceremony, June 24, 2008 in Los Angeles. With Quincy are Debra Lee, CEO of BET and actress Queen Latifah.

New Edition

R&B group New Edition receives the Golden Note Award at ASCAP's 21st Annual Rhythm and Soul Music Awards on June 23, 2008 in Beverly Hills, California.

Old School Hip Hop

Rappers Masta Ace, D-Nice and DJ Ali Shaheed Muhammad of A Tribe Called Quest at the 30th Celebrate Brooklyn summer season concert on June 26, 2008 in New York City.

Photos: Wireimage

Thursday, June 26, 2008

::African American Philanthropy In the News::

The African American Empowerment Fund of Delaware

Via delawareonline.com:

"More than 100 of Delaware’s black community leaders turned out Tuesday evening to launch the African American Empowerment Fund of Delaware, a new philanthropic initiative of the Delaware Community Foundation to establish a permanent source of funding for causes important to African Americans throughout Delaware.

“Our mission is to establish a legacy of leadership in promoting philanthropy to fund causes important to the education, social and economic empowerment of African American Delawareans,” cited Sylvia S. Banks, interim chairperson and Manager of Corporate Contributions and Memberships for DuPont.

The initial goal of the 30 organizers of the African American Empowerment Fund of Delaware is to obtain 100 “founders” to contribute $1,000 or more to begin to build a lasting endowment. "

Read full article here.

Black Philanthropy Conference Focuses on Educating Children

Via boston.com:

"Mayor Thomas M. Menino urged leaders of black community organizations to work together more closely and consolidate administrative functions to free up more money for educating Boston's youngest, most vulnerable children.

"We don't invest enough resources in education," Menino said at the Black Philanthropy "Building Stronger Communities" Conference at John Hancock Hall. "We have got to be smarter about how we invest in kids." Read full article here. {Thanks J. Dakar}

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The 5th Annual Courage Cup

Work to Ride Program at Courage Cup, 2008
This past Saturday, June 21st, I had the pleasure of attending the 5th Annual Courage Cup, a charity polo match in The Plains, Virginia featuring the youth from the Work to Ride program, the first African American polo team in the nation. The kids were amazing! I stood there in awe! Let's meet some of the players:

Kevin Jones: Kevin is a 17 year old junior in high school. He joined the program in 2006 where he quickly learned to ride and started playing polo a year after joining the program. His career interest is to become an architect.

Daymar "Gerb" Rosser: Daymar is a 13 year old 6th grade student who has played polo since 2001. This is his first season as a rated player and he hopes to become a lawyer.

Brandon Rease: Brandon is a 12 year old 7th grade student who joined the program in 2005. He plays the #3 position on the team and was the youngest player to compete in the Emir of Katsina Charity Shield Polo tournament in Nigeria, Africa.

Kareem Rosser: Kareem is a 15 year old freshman and has been in the Work to Ride program since 2001. His first love is polo and he aspires to become a pilot.

Not pictured: Tasha Harris is an 18 year old recent high school graduate, who was voted to the Southeast Regional Interscholastic Polo All Star team in 2007 and 2008. The only female player who accompanied the team to Nigeria, she is headed to Temple University this fall and aspires to become a veterinarian.

The program is housed at Chamounix Stables, located in Fairmount Park, Philadelphia. While in the program, the youth develop discipline, responsibility and life skills through training, riding and performing horse care and barn management chores. In addition to learning life skills, the program emphasizes the importance of academic achievement. Staff and volunteers provide after school tutoring to help the youth maintain passing grades required for program participation. As the youth graduate from high school, they must return to the program to mentor new participants.

Proceeds from the polo match benefited the Work to Ride Program and Washington, D.C. Inner City Outings, a community outreach program that provides low-income, inner-city youth with wilderness experiences.
Courage Cup 2008
Doesn't he look dapper? I saw this young fellow at the event and I just had to post his picture. For more images from the event, view a slideshow at J Allen Images here.
Thanks to Andrea Rodgers, CEO of the Courage Cup for the invite and Joseph of Joseph Allen Photography for the pix!
To the youth of the Work to Ride Program: All of you are truly an inspiration to the African American community - particularly for our youth. Keep up the great work and continue to reach for your dreams!
Photo credit: DC Photographer

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Women In Entertainment Empowerment Network Presents First Annual 'Pink Carpet' Community Affair

WEEN Pink Carpet Community Affair

In the wake of national dialogue surrounding the way women, particularly women of color, are portrayed in the media, corporate and entertainment industry leaders have joined forces to make a difference.

Global icons from music, television, radio, film, and sports will conduct a historical, groundbreaking and informative national tour on women's empowerment at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City on Saturday, June 28.

Hosted by the Women In Entertainment Empowerment Network (WEEN), the 'Pink Carpet' community affair titled - Don't Judge Me, Empower Me - will feature an exciting, never seen before discussion before 3,000 young adults on Healthy Relationships, Health, Financial Literacy and Career Development/Leadership. This event is FREE! The doors to the pink carpet will open at 1:30 p.m.

Join featured guests: MC Lyte (WEEN Senior Advisory Board Member), LeToya Luckett, Lil Mama, Lil Mo, Danyel Smith, Shanti Das, La La Vasquez, Alesha Renee, Melyssa Ford, Dawn of Danity Kane, Free and Julissa Bermudez.

Along with additional special guests Kevin Liles, Dr. Benjamin Chavis, Terrence J and Hill Harper, among others. The Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network is a program of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, founded by hip-hop mogul and entrepreneur Russell Simmons and Dr. Benjamin Chavis.

For more details and free tickets, please log onto: http://www.weenonline.org./

{Thanks Jasu}

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Master P and Romeo Create P. Miller Basketball Camp for Inner-City Kids

Former ganster rapper turned philanthropist Master P, along with his son Romeo, have created a free basketball camp for youth in an effort to get kids off the street and into the classroom:

"Master P and Romeo have created a basketball camp for inner-city youth that not only focuses on the game of basketball but also the game of life. The father and son duo will shed their celebrity image and become coaches to thousands of kids this summer.

With so many youth at risk of dropping out of school, joining gangs, being incarcerated, or dying young, the Millers have made it their obligation to give back to the community through their free program, the P. Miller Basketball Camp. The basketball camps focus on leadership, teambuilding, family values, and the importance of education through one-on-one interaction with positive role models. There's plenty of basketball, too.

"This camp is so important for me and Romeo because we can look at these kids and know that we were once in their shoes," said Master P. "It's easy for someone to go down the wrong path if that's all they know. We aim to expose these kids to a positive side of life, help them set goals, and encourage them to follow their dreams."

Several camps are scheduled to take place across the country this summer. The first camp took place June 2008 in Memphis, TN, a city known for its high crime rate and gangs. The camp was a resounding success with well over three hundred kids in attendance.

The free camps are open to youth seven to 15 years old. For more information on upcoming camp dates, please visit pmillerteam.com." Note: Keep checking the website for camp dates.
Source: Marketwire

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

::Photos of the Day::

I Stand With Magic PSA

I Stand With Magic PSA, June 9, 2008: Magic Johnson, Cookie Johnson and Spike Lee at the launch of I Stand With Magic Program, a public service announcement campaign that will premiere nationally this summer and is targeted toward African-American and other minority communities where new HIV infections are prevalent. Directed by Spike Lee, the first PSA titled "Stand," focuses on a "call to action"encouraging African-Americans to get educated, get tested and to seek treatment for HIV.

Magic says, "We need to take it upon ourselves to bring the number of new infections down in the Black communities by arming ourselves with knowledge. Getting tested for HIV can be scary for many people, but I hope by launching these public service announcements to at-risk populations, people across the country will have the courage to get tested and go back for their results." Source: PRN
Cannes Indiana Jones Premiere May 2008

Ariel Capital Management President Mellody Hobson, screenwriter George Lucas, Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart attend the Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull party at the Cannes Film Festival in France, May 18, 2008.

In related news, George Lucas will begin production on a film about the Tuskegee Airmen, black airmen who escorted thousands of U.S. bomber crews during World War II. (Source)

Ron and Reindrop Lopes

Ronald and Reindrop Lopes, siblings of the late pop singer Lisa 'Left Eye' Lopes, announce Janet Jackson as the recipient of the 2008 Lisa Lopes Community Service Award at the Hot 107.9 Birthday Bash 13 in Atlanta, June 14, 2008. Although Janet Jackson could not be on-hand to receive the award, she accepted via video which played during the award presentation. During her video acceptance, Janet thanked everyone for keeping Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes' legacy alive.

Clarence Thomas High Point Graduation 2008

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas greets guests at High Point University in North Carolina, where he served as the commencement speaker, May 3, 2008. Photo: AP
Photos: Wireimage

Monday, June 16, 2008

The 5th Annual Courage Cup

Work to Ride Courage Cup

Last month, I featured a great post about the first African American youth polo team in the nation. The youth from Philadelphia's Work to Ride program recently traveled to Nigeria to compete in an international polo tournament. The Work to Ride Program aids disadvantaged urban youth though constructive activities centered on horsemanship, equine sports and education.

I received many emails from readers inspired by their story. One reader wrote, "What? Black polo players? I didn't know we played polo!" Want to meet them? If you live or will be in the DMV area next weekend (that's D.C., Maryland and Virginia), the youth will be participating in the 5th Annual Courage Cup Meadow Matches, a day-long polo event which many in D.C. now consider a staple of the summer social calendar. The fundraiser will take place on the Sheila C. Johnson Field at Great Meadow Polo Club in The Plains, Virginia on Saturday, June 21, 2008.

The Courage Cup is an IRS designated 501(c) (3) non-profit corporation that was established to help at-risk urban youth. Founded by Andrea Rodgers, the organization raises money to benefit programs in the mid-Atlantic region that give disadvantaged children individualized attention and a positive alternative activity to keep them in school and off the streets. The Courage Cup supports Inner City Outings in Washington, D.C. and Work to Ride in Philadelphia, PA.
In addition to the Courage Cup match, Legal Times and 'aka', the new luxury division of Korman Communities, will host “Gavels & Mallets”, a charity segway polo match featuring summer associates from Washington area law firms. They will also host a VIP reception for the summer associates and others from Washington’s legal community in a private tent at Meadow Matches. They are encouraging every law firm in Greater Washington to join them and support this worthy cause.
Sponsors for the event include The Meltzer Group, Lincoln Mercury, First Chukker Foundation, Microstrategy, aka and Legal Times.

For more information on the event and to purchase tickets, visit the website here.

Photo: The Glamazon Diaries

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Campaign for Black Male Achievement

The Open Society Institute, an international private grantmaking foundation, announced today a new initiative - The Campaign for Black Male Achievement:

"The Open Society Institute's U.S. Programs announced a new campaign to address the exclusion of African American men and boys from the economic and political mainstream in the United States.

Today's announcement comes on the heels of a growing body of research revealing that the isolation and negative outcomes for African American men and boys is more extreme than previously acknowledged. For example, more than 50 percent of all African American boys do not finish high school and a mere 18 percent of black males aged 18 to 21 are enrolled in college. A black child was more likely to grow up with both parents during the era of slavery than today, and nationally 13 percent of black men cannot vote because of felony disenfranchisement laws.

Building on U.S. Programs' previous work to promote racial justice and reduce over-incarceration, the campaign aims to reform educational outcomes and improve economic well-being.

"The problems facing men and boys in the African American community do not exist in a vacuum. This is America's problem," said Geoffrey Canada, (in photo) president and CEO of the Harlem Children's Zone and a board member for U.S. Programs.

OSI's campaign, which in its first year will devote $2 million to programmatic development, will support individuals and organizations working to develop alliances among scholars, social justice organizations, the arts and culture industry, as well as other philanthropic endeavors to address black male achievement. The campaign's first grantees are the Center for Urban Families, for its innovative Responsible Fatherhood strategy, which connects a strong direct service program with public policy, and the 21st Century Foundation, for its Black Men and Boys Initiative."

To learn more, visit the website here. For a pic of the Institute's founder, see my previous post here.

Source: Press release

Get Hooked on Books at the Barbershop

National Institute for Literacy and Mocha Moms Team Up to Boost Boys' Literacy Skills

Via press release:

"The National Institute for Literacy and Mocha Moms, Inc., a national support organization for stay-at-home mothers of color, have launched an innovative partnership to boost children's literacy skills, and they are turning to local barbershops to kick off their new effort.

On June 21, 2008 from 3-5 p.m., the Institute and Mocha Moms will unveil a reading nook at Campbell's Barbershop, 5703 Dix Street N.E., in Washington, D.C., complete with more than 250 books for boys and free publications for parents that support the development of reading and other literacy skills at home.

The new booknook is part of Boys Booked on Barbershops (B-BOB), a growing national initiative launched in 2004 that takes advantage of naturally occurring opportunities in the community to foster a love of reading. B-BOB reading nooks have debuted in more than 100 barbershops across the country, from Florida to Illinois.

Mocha Moms, Inc. has been a B-BOB partner since 2006. Since then, more than 30 Mocha Moms chapters across the country have signed on to create reading nooks in local barbershops. The nooks will feature books by and about African Americans, with an emphasis on topics that interest the barbershop clientele.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, nine out often African-American students have not mastered reading by the fourth grade. Through their new partnership, the Institute and Mocha Moms are also planning a wide range of national campaigns and activities, including a"Take Your Child to the Library Day," to increase the number of children and families in communities of color who obtain library cards and who read for enjoyment.

A similar partnership launch and Boys Booked on Barbershops event is scheduled for October 25 in Atlanta." Source: PRN/Photo: BuzzologySurveys


The 8th Annual Harlem Celebrity Read A Thon Encourages Literacy Among Harlem Youth
8th Annual Harlem Celebrity Read A Thon
June 12, 2008: The 8th Annual Harlem Celebrity Read-A-Thon is part of an ongoing commitment by Harlem USA, a retail and entertainment complex, to encourage literacy and academic achievement among youth in Harlem through a variety of events and programs which also include an annual Kids Chess Tournament and a series of art exhibits. “Every year we look forward to gathering the kids and giving a bit of ourselves by spending these few hours with them and encouraging them that we must continue to read,” says Ricky Day, Director of Marketing for Harlem USA. Source: TheHipHop Cosign

8th Annual Harlem Celebrity Read A Thon 8th Annual Harlem Celebrity Read A Thon
8th Annual Harlem Celebrity Read A Thon 8th Annual Harlem Celebrity Read A Thon
Celebrity readers included (from top, L to R) Danica Daniel, Editor in Charge of Black Beat/Right On! magazines; and actress Lisa Arrindell Anderson; (Bottom L to R): Actress Napiera Groves and MTV DJ DJ Superstar, among many others.

Photos: Wireimage and 2Rs Entertainment

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Kinsey Collection

Bernard and Shirley Kinsey

A couple of years ago, I was sitting in the waiting room of my doctor’s office reading magazines and I came across an article on Bernard and Shirley Kinsey. The article shared how the Kinseys amassed a historical art collection, primarily reflecting the black experience and their philanthropic work. So, I talked the receptionist into letting me take the magazine home so I could learn more about this amazing couple and to get pointers as I’m a budding art collector myself.

For nearly 40 years, the Kinseys have traveled the world, collecting artifacts for their collection, which includes over 240 African American documents, rare books, sculptures and letters. And they are serious about their collection. For a photograph of Senator Hiram Rhodes Revels, an African American who represented Mississippi during Reconstruction, they outbid the Smithsonian.

Bernard Kinsey, a former Vice President of Xerox, and his wife Shirley, a former schoolteacher, are both alumni of Florida A&M University, where they both met. As Kinsey rose the ranks at Xerox, he and his wife traveled extensively to exotic locales collecting artifacts.

The couple’s collection is world renowned, being called one of the most important African American art collections in the West.

In a recent Miami Herald article, Bernard Kinsey shares about acquiring a letter detailing a slave sale:

“Then in 1987, a white friend called to tell Bernard about an unsettling discovery. The man was organizing his late aunt’s estate in Alabama and had found a letter dated in 1832 that told the sale for $550 of an 18-year old slave named William. “ 'He was a little uncomfortable but finally asked me if I wanted it. I said yes, and it was on my desk the next morning,' ” Kinsey says. “I looked at the document, and it just sent chills through me. It was like the spirits were talking.”
Some of the items in their collection includes a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation, slave shackles intended for a female slave from 1853, the first edition of a book of poetry published by former slave Phillis Wheatley in 1773, shipping log books documenting the 3.8 million Africans taken by the British, and portraits and paintings by world renowned African American artists such as Jacob Lawrence, Romare Bearden, Henry O. Tanner and Elizabeth Catlett.

Their fortune has also allowed the couple to give back - raising $22 million over 25 years for issues they care about, such as education and ensuring that youth attend college. They often hold fundraisers at their stunning 7,000 square foot home in Pacific Palisades, California.

If you’re in the Miami area, beginning this month their collection will be on exhibit at the Norton Museum of Art through July 20, 2008. Titled In the Hands of African American Collectors: The Personal Treasures of Bernard and Shirley Kinsey, it features over 100 items from their collection. Location: 1451 S. Olive Avenue, West Palm Beach. (http://www.norton.org/)

For more information on their exhibits, tours and summer programs, visit the website: http://www.thekinseycollection.com/

Source
Photo: Palisades Post

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Hip Hop Artist Common Launches 'The Corner'


Via press release:

"In an effort to encourage and inspire youth to read, the Common Ground Foundation has launched The Corner, a national online book club. This interactive platform provides youth across the country with an opportunity to discuss current reading selections, and fosters the development of critical thinking skills. The Common Ground Foundation was created by Hip Hop artist, actor and children’s author Lonnie Rashid Lynn, known as “Common”.

The Corner, provides an interactive way for students, ages 13-18, to learn about and discuss relevant reading materials. Our team works with a list of recommended books that convey messages of tolerance, compassion and non-violent expressions of achieving social justice.

Teens are able to follow along with the recommended book of the month, blog with other members about relevant topics and have the opportunity to participate in a live online chat with Common Ground Foundation staff. Celebrity artists will also be interviewed each month and talk about their favorite books and why reading is so important to them.

Each year the Foundation will sponsor a national "Common Ground Challenge" for our book club members. Winners will have an opportunity to meet Common and their essay will be posted on The Common Ground Foundation website. The Foundation is also committed to provide a college scholarship as the first prize award. Through exposure and participation in educational endeavors, The Common Ground Foundation creates a positive atmosphere for learning and understanding.

Common has been selected for the American Library Association (ALA) READ Campaign poster and National Young Adult Library Services Association (“YALSA”) Teen Read Week initiative.

Please visit http://www.commongroundfoundation.org/ 'The Corner Book Club' to sign up."

Common’s social-conscience message is the cornerstone of the Foundation’s vision and serves as an inspiration for equality, opportunity and hope among youth in underserved communities. The Foundation is committed to empowering youth in urban neighborhoods and providing life skills needed to achieve their dreams.

HISTORY.

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Senator Barack Obama has become the first African American to secure a presidential nomination of a major political party.  In honor of this historic moment in our nation's history, I've compiled photos of Barack Obama on the campaign trail leading up to his victory:

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Barack with wife Michelle announce his candidacy for President at the Old State Capitol, February 2007 in Springfield, IL.

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Michelle Obama speaking at New York Historical Society's Women in Public Life Annual Strawberry Festival Benefit Luncheon, June 2007.

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Barack Obama hosts, 'A Night At the Apollo', in Harlem, NY, November 2007.

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Barack and Michelle with Oprah Winfrey; Manchester, New Hampshire, December 2007.

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Rally for Change event, January 2008 in Jersey City, NJ

Supporters participate in a town hall meeting prior to CNN debate in Los Angeles, January 2008:

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Photos: Wireimage

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Photos of the Day

Michael Strahan, Nicole Murphy and Snoop

NY Giants Superbowl Champion Michael Strahan, Nicole Murphy and rapper Snoop Dogg attend the 2008 Sports Spectacular VIP Afterparty, June 1, 2008 in Century City, CA.

In related news, the 2008 Michael Strahan/Dreier LLP Charity Golf Tournament to benefit the charities Children's Rights and Keep A Child Alive, will be held June 29-30 in New York, featuring a private concert by a Grammy Award-winning singer, an auction of sports memorabilia and a celebrity golf tournament to benefit abused and neglected children in the New York area and children suffering from AIDS in Africa. Source: PRN

Jason Taylor and Alonzo Mourning

NFL player and most recently, Dancing With the Stars contestant Jason Taylor, with Alonzo Mourning at the Jason Taylor Foundation's Dancing For Our Stars Gala, June 1, 2008 in Hollywood, FL. On the web: http://jasontaylorfoundation.com/

Chamillionaire

Profanity-free rap artist Chamillionaire with a student at the graduation of 'No More Victims, Inc.' Advocacy Program, May 29, 2008 in Houston.

Richard Parsons and Elmo

Media mogul Richard Parsons discusses business with Elmo at the 6th Annual Sesame Workshop Benefit Gala, May 28, 2008 in NYC.

Apollo Hall of Fame 2008

Denzel Washington along with his wife Pauletta receive the Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis Humanitarian Award at the 4th Annual Apollo Hall of Fame ceremony at the Apollo Theater, June 2, 2008 in NYC. That's Janet Jackson in the background.

Be A Father to Your Child!

Poet Mo Beasley performs a segment from" Be A Father To Your Child: Real Talk From Black Men On Family, Love And Fatherhood" at Brown Memorial Baptist Church on June 2, 2008, in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, New York.


Photos: Wireimage

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Gabrielle Union and Lalah Hathaway Join the Fight Against Breast Cancer in African American Women

Data has shown that significant racial disparities exist between African American and white women in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. A breast cancer diagnosis for an African American woman has shown that she will have a lower survival rate and will be more likely to receive a lower level of care. In response to this, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation has launched the Circle of Promise, an effort to empower African American women to take charge of their health and to serve as ambassadors in their communities.

Via press release: The foundation has announced that three of today's prominent African-American leaders -- each with different backgrounds and personal stories -- have united behind a cause that is empowering people around the globe to help end breast cancer forever. The Circle of Promise is nationally represented by several prominent African-American women. Not only are these women accomplished individuals, but they are passionate about empowering their communities to help end breast cancer forever. Three women who have recently joined the effort as national Circle of Promise ambassadors are actress Gabrielle Union, soul artist Lalah Hathaway and artist Synthia Saint James.

They will help spread the message that more African-American women are likely to die from breast cancer than any other race despite being the least likely to be diagnosed with the disease. These ambassadors work nationally and within their communities to urge others within the African-American community to reclaim their health and register at circleofpromise.org.

Gabrielle Union: One of Hollywood's leading African-American actresses, Gabrielle Union has secured starring roles, crossed racial lines, and is helping to pave the way for others. Her decision to partner with Circle of Promise comes from a passion that is very close to her heart. "The fight against breast cancer is very personal for me. I have been touched by this disease as I watched girlfriends deal with their breast health concerns," said Union. "Being part of their fight inspired me to raise my voice and become an ambassador to help other women. Black women face unique issues when it comes to breast cancer -- it's important to know the facts. We're our own best health advocates."

Lalah Hathaway: The daughter of Donny Hathaway, one of the most influential soul artists of the 1970s, Lalah Hathaway (in photo at left) is respected in her own right. "The rate of Black women and girls diagnosed with breast cancer is rising at an alarming rate," said Hathaway. "We are fighting a common enemy. Knowledge and having a take-charge mindset and attitude are critical weapons in the fight against this deadly disease. I became active because I want to be an ambassador of change. If I tell seven of my friends and they tell seven of their friends and so on, the circle will continue to expand and we'll create a chorus of voices within the African-American community to eradicate breast cancer. I truly believe that this is a goal we can achieve together."

Synthia SAINT JAMES: Synthia SAINT JAMES is a multiple award winning artist, architectural designer, speaker, author and songwriter and now a Circle of Promise ambassador. Her latest achievement is a signature painting for the Circle of Promise campaign. It will be unveiled at a private luncheon hosted by The Links, Incorporated, in Washington, D.C. on June 6. The luncheon will include many Circle of Promise ambassadors, corporate partners and advocates.

About Circle of Promise: Launched in October 2007, the campaign was created by Susan G. Komen for the Cure to educate, empower and mobilize the African-American community in the fight against breast cancer. Through this effort, Komen hopes to rewrite the story on African Americans and breast cancer by decreasing the African American mortality rate, which is 18 percent higher than for Caucasian women. Susan G. Komen for the Cure's Circle of Promise has joined forces with ESSENCE Magazine, Ford Motor Company and The Links, Incorporated to recruit 100,000 African-American women to join Circle of Promise and serve as local ambassadors within their communities.

Become an ambassador in your community. Join the Circle of Promise and get involved by hosting an event to spread the word: http://www.circleofpromise.org/.

Source: PRN