The Root
Wakanda Forever! Black Panther 2 Is Confirmed with Ryan Coogler at the Helm

Grab your best African garb because we’re taking a journey back to Wakanda! Black Panther 2 has officially been confirmed and of course, the studio has enlisted Ryan Coogler to remind us that Wakanda is and will always be FOREVER.

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The Strap Is Got: 50 Cent Signs Nine Figure, Multi-Year Deal With Starz

Looks like 50 Cent is ‘bout to go gorilla, with an unprecedented multi-million dollar deal with premium cable network Starz.

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The Wizard of Voter Suppression: Brian Kemp’s Long History of Making Black Votes Disappear

On Nov. 6, Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams could turn the nation’s political map inside out and become the first black female governor in Georgia history. The mathematics say its entirely possible. The voter enthusiasm is on her side.

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For Tough Broads: On the International Day of the Girl, How Are We Preparing Them to Be Women?

Being a woman means a lot of things (trust me; it’s been a smooth quarter century since I turned 18). It means independence and career development, real love and reality checks, responsibilities and reckonings, heartbreak and hard truths. In short, it often involves being a tough broad.

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Black America Web
Hurricane Michael Wallops Florida Panhandle

Hurricane Michael Wallops Florida Panhandle

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) — The devastation inflicted by Hurricane Michael came into focus Thursday with rows upon rows of homes found smashed to pieces, and rescue crews began making their way into the stricken areas in hopes of accounting for hundreds of people who may have stayed behind.

At least three deaths were blamed on Michael, the most powerful hurricane to hit the continental U.S. in over 50 years, and it wasn’t done yet: Though reduced to a tropical storm, it brought flash flooding to North Carolina and Virginia, soaking areas still recovering from Hurricane Florence.

Under a perfectly clear blue sky, families living along the Florida Panhandle emerged from darkened shelters and hotels to a perilous landscape of shattered homes and shopping centers, beeping security alarms, wailing sirens and hovering helicopters.

Gov. Rick Scott said the Panhandle woke up to “unimaginable destruction.”

“So many lives have been changed forever. So many families have lost everything,” he said.

The full extent of Michael’s fury was only slowly becoming clear, with some of the hardest-hit areas difficult to reach because of roads blocked by debris or water. An 80-mile (130-kilometer) stretch of Interstate 10, the main east-west route along the Panhandle, was closed.

Some of the worst damage was in Mexico Beach, where the hurricane crashed ashore Wednesday as a Category 4 monster with 155 mph (250 kph) winds and a storm surge of 9 feet (2.7 meters). Video from a drone revealed widespread devastation across the town of about 1,000 people.

Entire blocks of homes near the beach were obliterated, reduced to nothing but concrete slabs in the sand. Rows and rows of other homes were turned into piles of splintered lumber or were crumpled and slumped at odd angles. Entire roofs were torn away and dropped onto a road.

State officials said 285 people in Mexico Beach had defied a mandatory evacuation order ahead of the storm.

National Guard troops made their way into the ground-zero town and found 20 survivors Wednesday night, and more rescue crews were pushing into the area, with the fate of many residents unknown.

Mishelle McPherson and her ex-husband searched for the elderly mother of a friend. The woman lived in a small cinderblock house about 150 yards from the Gulf and thought she would be OK. The home was found smashed, with no sign of the woman.

“Do you think her body would be here? Do you think it would have floated away?” McPherson asked.

As thousands of National Guard troops, law enforcement officers and medical teams fanned out, the governor pleaded with people in the devastated areas to stay away for now because of hazards that included fallen trees and power lines.

“I know you just want to go home. You want to check on things and begin the recovery process,” Scott said. But “we have to make sure things are safe.”

Over 900,000 homes and businesses in Florida, Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas were without power.

The Coast Guard said it rescued at least 27 people before and after the hurricane came ashore, mostly from homes along the Florida coastline, and searched for more victims.

Among those brought to safety were nine people rescued by helicopter from a bathroom of their home in hard-hit Panama City after their roof collapsed, Petty Officer 3rd Class Ronald Hodges said.

In Panama City, most homes were still standing, but no property was left undamaged. Downed power lines lay nearly everywhere. Roofs had been peeled off and carried away. Aluminum siding was shredded to ribbons. Homes were split open by fallen trees.

Hundreds of cars had broken windows. Twisted street signs lay on the ground. Pine trees were stripped and snapped off about 20 feet high.

In nearby Panama City Beach, Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford reported widespread looting of homes and businesses. He imposed a curfew and asked for 50 members of the National Guard for protection.

The hurricane also damaged hospitals and nursing homes in the Panama City area, and officials worked to evacuate hundreds of patients. The damage at Bay Medical Sacred Heart included blown-out windows, a cracked exterior wall and a roof collapse in a maintenance building. No patients were hurt, the hospital said.

The state mental hospital in Chattahoochee, which has a section for the criminally insane, was cut off by land, and food and supplies were being flown in, authorities said.

A man outside Tallahassee, Florida, was killed by a falling tree, and an 11-year-old girl in Georgia died when the winds picked up a carport and dropped it on her home. One of the carport’s legs punctured the roof and hit her in the head. A driver in North Carolina was killed when a tree fell on his car.

As the storm made its way inland, it caused havoc in Georgia, spinning off possible tornadoes and taking down power lines and trees. Forecasters said it could drop up to 7 inches (18 centimeters) of rain over the Carolinas and Virginia before pushing out to sea Thursday night.

In North Carolina’s mountains, motorists had to be rescued from cars trapped by high water.

“For North Carolina, Michael isn’t as bad as Florence, but it adds unwelcome insult to injury, so we must be on alert,” Gov. Roy Cooper said.

More than 375,000 people up and down the Gulf Coast were ordered or urged to clear out as Michael closed in. But emergency authorities lamented that many people ignored the warnings.

“Why people didn’t evacuate is something we should be studying,” said Craig Fugate, former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and a former Florida state emergency management chief. “Is there more the government can do? But we ask that every time.”

___

Associated Press writers Tamara Lush in St. Petersburg, Florida; Gary Fineout in Tallahassee, Florida; Terry Spencer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Jennifer Kay and Freida Frisaro in Miami; Brendan Farrington in St. Marks, Florida; Russ Bynum in Keaton Beach, Florida; Jonathan Drew in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Seth Borenstein in Kensington, Maryland, contributed to this story.

PHOTO: AP

 


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Black Neighborhoods Don’t Match Up To Trump Boasts

Black Neighborhoods Don’t Match Up To Trump Boasts

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — It’s one of President Donald Trump’s favorite talking points in promoting his administration’s success: the record low rate of black unemployment. But on a recent sunny afternoon in Vernon Park in Philadelphia’s Germantown neighborhood, that victory seemed hollow.

As children laughed on the playground, several black men — some out of work, others homeless — sat or slept on benches nearby. Similar scenes play out across America and are backed by data that counter the positive picture Trump often paints in campaign-style rallies before largely white audiences.

When asked what he makes of Trump’s claim that black Americans are faring better under his administration, construction company owner and Germantown resident Carlton Washington replied, “Where at? Calabasas?”

The retort was a reference to controversial rapper Kanye West, who had lunch with Trump at the White House on Thursday afternoon. Over roasted chicken, fingerling potatoes and sauteed asparagus, the two discussed crime in Chicago, more possible presidential pardons, job creation and the black unemployment rate.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for black Americans in September was 6 percent. That’s down from a high of 21.2 percent in January 1983, but is still nearly double the overall national unemployment rate of 3.7 percent. The unemployment rate belies the on-the-ground reality for many African-Americans, according to experts.

“The rates are improving. There’s a question of whether his policies created that improvement,” said Andre Perry of the Brookings Institution, whose research focuses on black communities. “My question is: What kind of jobs are people working in?”

While black employment may have improved, that hasn’t translated into broader economic gains.

That’s partly because African-Americans are still disproportionately toiling in lower-quality jobs. Black people make up roughly one-fifth of those working in temporary jobs, a figure that hasn’t changed much in the past five years, even as the economy has improved. Just 12 percent of all Americans are black.

And last year, Trump’s first in office, the income gap between whites and blacks widened slightly. The typical African-American household earned $40,258, down 0.2 percent from a year earlier, while white households saw an income gain of 2.6 percent, to $68,145.

The racial wealth gap has also worsened even as unemployment rates have come down. The median net worth of a white household was 10 times that of a black household in 2016, the latest data available. That’s up from seven times in 2004.

Perry noted that the national unemployment rate doesn’t take into account underperforming geographic regions or demographic groups.

“What does full employment mean to a black man in Baltimore? To youth in Chicago?” Perry said. “What are you doing to bring opportunities to black neighborhoods, to create wealth? I don’t see those signs of the economy.”

Philadelphia City Councilwoman Cindy Bass, whose district includes Germantown, remembers shopping with her family as a child along the neighborhood’s then-main economic corridor, where residents could buy food, get their hair done and find a pair of sneakers or a new outfit all within a few blocks during the 1970s and 1980s.

The area is much different today, with less activity and fewer businesses and the jobs that came with them.

“I don’t know what he’s claiming credit for,” said Bass, looking toward Germantown and Chelten avenues. “His numbers are fake news, as far as I’m concerned.”

Bass said Trump’s continued assertion that black America is recovering is an insult.

“People are struggling, and to not give any sort of recognition of that, and to say that everything’s OK, everybody’s working, everybody’s doing well, is just not true. When you look at our communities, you see something completely different. When was the last time he’s been to any neighborhood that is even similar to a Germantown?”

In Germantown, a neighborhood that is 80 percent black, the median income is $28,046, less than half the national average, according to the census. The poverty rate is 34 percent, nearly three times the national rate of 12.7 percent. More than 20 percent of residents make less than $10,000, and 60 percent of families live on less than $50,000.

That number obscures those who have dropped out of the labor market, who are doing cash-only jobs or who have gone underground. Carlton Washington sees many of them in his business and teen mentoring program.

The 36-year-old lifelong Philadelphian learned construction from his mentor and tries to help those he can. In addition to his regular crew of about 10 workers, he has a list of about 50 unemployed or underemployed men who could help out at job sites.

“If they’re not available, I just go throughout the neighborhood and try to find guys to put a little money in their pocket for the day,” Washington said, adding that a day’s work might earn $50 to $60 for tasks ranging from demolition to more skilled labor like electrical work, plumbing or carpentry.

“It’s not much . by the time you drive to the job site and get back, that’s probably spent on a couple of groceries for dinner that night and gas,” Washington said. “All of them have families, are married, have multiple children. As much as you want to help them, it’s really no help.”

Washington said he would like to see Trump visit a neighborhood like his the next time he holds a rally in a state with a major city, to see what he sees on the ground, every day.

“Sitting in this park, we’re talking about the middle of the day, and about 20 people are sitting here unemployed, drinking, drowning their misery,” Washington said. “He’s not coming to these areas, so to even speak on the black unemployment rate . it’s almost like an NFL player speaking on something going on in baseball. You don’t play baseball.”

 


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Associated Press Economics Writer Chris Rugaber contributed to this report.

 

Mya Talks 20 Years In The Music Business And What She’s Learned Along The Way

Mya Talks 20 Years In The Music Business And What She’s Learned Along The Way

To judge Mya Marie Harrison by her undeniably gorgeous surface is to underestimate the strong woman underneath. Mya,  celebrated her alleged 39th birthday (October 10) this week, although the only indication of that is that she was making solo hits in the 90’s with “It’s All About Me,” “Ghetto Supastar (That Is What You Are)” and more.

She won a Grammy in 2002 with Pink, Christina Aguilera and Lil’ Kim for their rendition of  the Labelle classic “Lady Marmalade” from the Moulin Rouge! soundtrack, then came back with “My Love Is Like…Wo,” in 2003.

In 2009, she finished second on Season 9 of Dancing With The Stars.

While Mya’s mainstream visibility may have cooled since then, the Washington, D.C. native hasn’t slowed down. She was just in Dubai and Singapore, just the latest stamps on an already marked up passport.

She’s dropped several singles from her latest album T.K.O., including “Damage” and last year, she was a nominee for Best Traditional R&B Album for her indie release Smoove Jones on her label Planet 9.  We caught up with Mya to find out how she does what she does and she dropped some gems that any businesswoman, aspiring artist, or music fans needs to hear.

HOW ARE YOU LIVING YOUR BEST LIFE?

I’ve taken a different route for sure. It’s the road less traveled but it brings me peace which actually affects my physical and my mental, so I feel a lot better, I do a lot better and I guess it comes across as me living my best life.

I have definitely been able to separate business and art. I fell in love with music as a child at four years old. So I stay close to that – how music has made me feel and how I feel when I’m around music.

I’ve been blessed to be able to have musicians worldwide that I collaborate with, great relationships with producers and dancers and all kind of artists that surround me with their talent and that create with me and that’s been a driving force. So I would attribute any kind of success to that.

 

WHAT’S ALLOWED YOU TO BE SUCCESSFUL FOR SO LONG DESPITE BEING A FEMALE IN A MALE-DOMINATED BUSINESS?

I’ve been able to navigate by taking business into my own hands. When I have to be a lawyer, I’m a lawyer. You have to budget your money and you have to cut out a lot of things you can no longer afford. Instead of paying a lawyer thousands of dollars an hour, empower yourself with new skill sets from engineering to learning equipment to produce your own music. You will go broke if you don’t learn many skill sets.

And I realize that women, especially the ones that work with me, are very punctual, very detail-oriented, and it’s always been empowering and it’s always been an advantage in my eyes. And yes, there are encounters that you might have to deal with in any work place as a woman, but when you know yourself, you can quickly handle it.

WHAT DO YOU ATTRIBUTE MOST TO YOUR ABILITY TO OVERCOME OBSTACLES?

I’ve always had this mindset because this is how my parents raised me. My mother has always been a pit bull, not by necessarily being a college graduate, but by picking up a book to teach me what I wasn’t being taught in school. My father has always been a man and a father who instilled strength in me, because he came from the business and [knew] how treacherous it could be. So that was my upbringing.

HOW DID YOU HANDLE THE CHANGES IN YOUR CAREER?

There are mixed messages coming from the outside world. You have to do a lot to listen to your own voice. People’s definition of success is completely different from yours and you have to block out the noise from celebrity to artistry. Sometimes they clash and sometimes they intersect. I had to understand that for myself to stay sane.

 

Wakanda Forever: Ryan Coogler Signs Deal To Write, Direct ‘Black Panther 2’

Wakanda Forever: Ryan Coogler Signs Deal To Write, Direct ‘Black Panther 2’

(Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP)

 

NEW YORK (AP) — Ryan Coogler isn’t leaving Wakanda: The filmmaker will write and direct the sequel to “Black Panther.”

A person close to the production who requested anonymity because they weren’t authorized to announce the deal confirmed Coogler’s return to the Marvel franchise on Thursday. The Hollywood Reporter first reported Coogler’s widely expected involvement in the “Black Panther” sequel.

 

Eight months after BLACK PANTHER opened to huge numbers, Ryan Coogler has closed a deal to write & direct the sequel, which is expected to start production in late 2019 or early 2020, depending on when Coogler finishes the script and the (now super busy) talent is available.

— Jeff Sneider (@TheInSneider) October 11, 2018

Neither a start date nor a release date has yet been announced.

“Black Panther” earlier this year grossed more than $1.3 billion worldwide, including $700 million domestically — a new record for a Marvel release.

Coogler is also a producer on the upcoming “Creed 2,” a sequel to the Coogler’s 2015 Apollo Creed film.


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