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xmaen 600For movies opening May 23, 2014


"Blended" (PG-13 for profanity, sexuality and crude humor) Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore reunite for their third romantic comedy (after The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates), this go-round as a widower and divorcee who continue seeing each other despite a disastrous blind date. With Terry Crews, Kevin Nealon, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Dan Patrick and Shaquille O'Neal.

"X-Men: Days of Future Past" (PG-13 for nudity, profanity, suggestive material and intense violence) Latest installment of the Marvel Comics franchise finds a confederacy of mutants traveling back in time to join forces with their younger selves in order to change the past to preserve the future. Cast includes Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry, Ellen Page, Anna Paquin, Hugh Jackman and Michael Fassbender.


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NAACP presidential selection process again mired in controversy

naacp 600WASHINGTON – A search firm hired by the NAACP ranked Rev. Frederick D. Haynes III, senior pastor of Friendship-West Baptist Church in Dallas, as the top candidate five years ago to become president and CEO of the NAACP. But Haynes wasn't the favorite of Julian Bond, then chairman of the board of directors, who preferred Benjamin Todd Jealous, president of a small, private foundation in California, for the spot.

So when the selection process shifted from the search committee to the NAACP's executive committee, the NAACP's legendary political maneuvering came into play. At Bond's urging, the executive committee opted to present only Jealous' name to the full board for an up-or-down vote. To no one's surprise, Jealous was elected (34-21).

Though Benjamin L. Hooks, one of the association's most popular leaders, pastored two churches – one in Memphis and one in Detroit – while serving as executive director of the NAACP from 1977 to 1992, Haynes was told he did not reach the final round of the selection process because he wouldn't agree to give up his church duties in Dallas.

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More self-reliance needed in Africa

africa 600The recent kidnapping of the Nigerian schoolgirls has been all over the news, which is a good thing. We need to take the emotion out of this issue and have a heart-to-heart talk with the leadership of Africa.

I am very aware that Africa is not a country, but a continent made up of 54 countries. I am a big booster of the potential of all things Africa, but have been, and still am, a big critic of Africa.

Everyone touts the potential of Africa as a continent, not just in terms of its vast natural resources (gold, diamonds, oil, gas, bauxite, etc.); but also in terms of its human resources. Well more than half of Africa's population is under 18 years of age. They have a "youth bulge" that can be a great asset or a great liability.

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Recession leaves ethnic families 'Beyond Broke'

piggybank 600African Americans, Hispanics and Asian Americans face an economic "quadruple whammy," leaving them with little or no financial cushion as they age, finds a new study released Monday.

Titled "Beyond Broke: Why Closing the Racial Wealth Gap is a Priority for National Economic Security," the study used 2011 Census data to examine household worth for all ages. It found that the medium net worth of households of color from 2005-2011 dropped 58 percent for Latinos, 48 percent for Asians, 45 percent for African Americans – but only 21 percent for whites.

"You have the racial gap in pay, the gender gap in pay, the ageism gap in pay and predominantly single-income households," says Maya Rockeymoore, president of the Center for Global Policy Solutions (CGPS), which commissioned the study. "You're looking at the intersection of all of these disparities."

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Next season, let’s see SNL do better at portraying black women

snl beyonce_600Two weeks after Leslie Jones' controversial segment on slavery, I was very worried about the season finale of "Saturday Night Live." With the frenzy surrounding what happened between Solange, Jay Z and Beyoncé in that elevator, I was sure a sketch was coming.

Across Twitter, gossip sites and even mainstream media, Solange has been the butt of jokes that pathologize her as violent, angry and unstable. Knowing SNL's history reinforcing stereotypes of black women, there were a lot of ways this could have gone wrong, but I was pleasantly surprised. For me, it was a breath of fresh air for "SNL" – which for 39 years has too often relied on degrading stereotypes – to write a sketch about Solange, Jay Z and Beyoncé that managed to feel fresh and unexpected.

It was great to see Maya Rudolph show up Saturday to play Beyoncé, but it was also a harsh reminder that after she left, it was six years before "SNL" hired another black female cast member. Hiring Sasheer Zamata, along with writers LaKendra Tookes and Leslie Jones, was a long-overdue first step toward addressing the lack of diversity on-screen, as well as the show's continued stereotypical portrayals of African-American women. Having someone to competently play first lady Michelle Obama and Olivia Pope from "Scandal" was an important acknowledgment of the tremendous role African-American women play in American culture.

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