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Former lead singer of legendary Temptations, Dennis Edwards, dead at 74

The former lead singer of the legendary Motown group The Temptations, Dennis Edwards, has died in Chicago, according to news reports.

>> Read more trending news 

Edwards, 74, who replaced The Temptations singer David Ruffin, died Thursday a day before his 75th birthday, his family confirmed to CBS News.

The Grammy Award-winner joined the successful soul group in 1968 and was featured on a number of hits, including “I Can’t Get Next to You,” “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” and “Ball of Confusion.”  He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989 as a member of the Temptations

Edwards was born in Birmingham, Alabama., on Feb. 3, 1943, but considered Detroit his home. 

He was singing with a different group, the Contours, before joining The Temptations after the group fired Ruffin.

Edwards left the group around the time it split with Motown in the mid-1970s, but returned in 1980 when it reunited with Motown. He reunited with and split from the group several more times, until finally calling it quits in 1989, according to Rolling Stone.

Edwards scored a solo hit, “Don’t Look Any Further,” in the mid-1980s, which climbed to No. 2 on the R&B chart.

>> Related: Jim Carrey cleared of wrongdoing in lawsuit over ex-girlfriend’s suicide

Edwards was married to Ruth Pointer of the Pointer Sisters from 1976 to 1977, and had one daughter, Issa Pointer.

He died Thursday night in Chicago. His family did not release a cause of death.

‘Black excellence at all time high’: Adorable kids star in CNN parody for Black History Month

Black History Month is officially underway, and one organization created an adorable news parody starring mini reporters to kick off the celebration. 

» RELATED: Black History Month in Atlanta

Because Of Them We Can, a group dedicated to sharing the richness of black history through photography campaigns and apparel, recently uploaded a video titled “Breaking News: Black Excellence Is At An All Time High”  to the group’s Instagram page.

The nearly two-minute-long clip features small kids playing renowned CNN journalists and correspondents, including Don Lemon, Angela Rye, Symone Sanders, April Ryan and Bakari Sellers. 

» RELATED: Black History Month bucket list: 6 must-see Atlanta landmarks

During the segment, the fun-sized influencers raved about inspirational black figures. From Serena Williams and Ava DuVernay to Shea Moisture founder Richelieu Dennis and fashion trailblazer Dapper Dan, the hosts said, “black folks consistently go hard.”

The tiny ones even recognized Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who was inaugurated in January. “Atlanta got a mayor named Keisha,” exclaimed the little girl who played Rye. 

They didn’t leave out black cinema. They also highlighted the successes of “Black Panther,” out later this month, “A Wrinkle In Time,” out in March; “Hidden Figures;” “Girls Trip;” and “Get Out.”

To end the skit, the children declared that “black folks have always been dope and always will be dope.”

The post has since gone viral, garnering more than the 200,000 likes on Instagram. Several people shared their thoughts in the comments, using emojis and more to praise the small actors’ performances. 

One Instagrammer said, “This is the best thing I’ve seen in a long time! These babies get it.” Another added, “This is AMAZING,” and someone else said, Aint nothing FAKE about that news!! #Cute #Facts.”

Rye loved it as well. On Twitter, she wrote, “As @mrdavidjohns would say #teachthebabies or in this case, let the babies teach us! #BlackHistoryMonth.” Sellers chimed in, too, saying, Y’all! I’m loving this. Coolest honor I’ve had. Spread the love.”

» RELATED: Who was Carter G. Woodson? Facts about the Father of Black History

3 ways to score ‘Black Panther’ presale tickets in Atlanta

“Black Panther” is one of the most anticipated movies of 2018, and although it won’t be out until next month, you can score your tickets now.

» RELATED: Marvel's "Black Panther" trailer is worthy of superhero

Starring Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita N’yongo and a host of others, the Ryan Coogler-directed film follows T’Challa as he returns home to his African nation to reclaim his throne. 

Opening day is Feb. 16, but fans are buying their passes now, and they are stoked, posting their reactions on social media. 

Here’s how you can get yours, too. 


The site is offering passes now. Users can even take advantage of its special deal, where moviegoers will receive an exclusive poster with the purchase of a 35MM, digital 3-D IMAX or IMAX 3-D ticket. The offer is available now through March 30 and is subject to availability. 

AMC Theaters

In addition to regular tickets, some AMC theaters are hosting fan events a day ahead of the release date. Those who attend the “Opening Night Fan Event” will be among the first to experience the Marvel film in 3-D. They’ll also have access to exclusive content and receive a collectible coin and complimentary popcorn. 

Regal Movies

Grab your passes from Regal. A few, including the one in Atlantic Station, are having an “Opening Night Fan Event,” too. Supporters will get to view special footage and go home with collectibles as well.

» RELATED: ‘Black Panther’ actor reveals undocumented status

The AJC may receive a commission for purchases made through some links in this article. 

Dolemite: The ‘Citizen Kane’ of kung fu pimping movies

Since 1975, there has been only one kung-fu-kicking pimp in film.

That’d be Dolemite.

Dolemite was the creation, and maybe true expression, of raunchy comedian Rudy Ray Moore. The film, now three decades old, is chief among the canon of blaxploitation.

In 2002, when writing about the funk revival, The New York Times said the no-budget film “remains the ‘Citizen Kane’ of kung fu pimping movies.”

It has everything that made the genre popular.

EXPLORESee more of our Black History Month series here

The plot goes like this: After 20 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, Dolemite wants some justice.

Don’t confuse Dolemite the character with dolomite — you know, the anhydrous carbonate mineral used in concrete production.

The movie contains lots of things: kung fu call girls, lots of hats that are cool as heck, and much butt-kicking.

Complex ranked it No. 9 on its list of best blaxploitation films.

“Dolemite was the cat all other cats wish to be, and all the kittens wish to be with,” said “12 Years a Slave” screenwriter John Ridley, according to black cinema label Xenon Pictures.

READYoung MLK’s letter to the editor revealed the man he would become

Xenon’s webpage dedicated to Dolemite spoke to how wide his appeal was: “At a recent event, several Goth girls asked him to autograph their breasts.”

A Tribe Called Quest’s 2016 song “Whateva Will Be” samples a choice line of Dolemite’s from the film, “Girls, this (expletive)’s got rhythm!”

Dolemite’s name is invoked by artists old and new, from Eazy-E and Snoop Dogg to A$AP Rocky and ScHoolboy Q.

So many sampled him that he dubbed himself the “Godfather of Rap.”

Follow AJC Sepia on Facebook for more coverage.

Though Moore died in 2008 at age 81 from complications of diabetes, the film and character’s influence on pop culture spans genres and generations.

Oh, and a nerdy side note: The French geologist Deodat de Dolomieu, who first identified dolomite’s chemical composition, was also wrongfully jailed. He was sentenced to death at age 18 for killing a fellow soldier in a duel. He was pardoned and decided to spend the remainder of his life pursuing rocks. One of the areas where he worked was a mountain range in northeastern Italy that was later named the “Dolomites” in his honor.

Throughout February, we’ll spotlight a different African-American pioneer in the daily Living section Monday through Thursday and Saturday, and in the Metro section on Fridays and Sundays. Go to for more subscriber exclusives on people, places and organizations that have changed the world, and to see videos on the African-American pioneer featured here each day.

‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’: Whether anthem or hymn, song invokes pride

Every morning, the kids at the Johnson Learning Center stand up and sing “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” 

Andrew Young, some 70 years their senior, smiles at the image. It is the same thing he did as a child growing up in New Orleans. And just like the Johnson Learning Center kids, on cue, he can recite the whole song.

“It means quite a bit to me, because it is one of the defining articles of African-American history,” Young said. “It is what we grew up on. It is where my identity comes from.”

“Lift every voice and sing

Till earth and heaven ring,

Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;

Let our rejoicing rise

High as the listening skies,

Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.

Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,

Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us,

Facing the rising sun of our new day begun

Let us march on till victory is won.”

›Related video: Who was James Weldon Johnson

Composed more than a century ago, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” came along after Reconstruction, when a newly awakened black race was searching for an identity — just as Jim Crow was replacing slavery. So powerful is the song that it is often referred to as the “Black National Anthem,” although its composer referred to it simply as a hymn.

“Singing to God was an opportunity for African-Americans to share a proud history and hopeful perspective,” said Karen Lowery, daughter of civil rights icon Joseph Lowery and director of music and arts at Cascade United Methodist Church. “This song is also about love for our country and each other. When the music begins, and people stand together to sing “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” I experience both sadness and happiness. I feel an intense bond and a divine connection with voices present, past and future.”

“Lift Every Voice and Sing,” (sometimes written as “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing”) was created as a poem in 1900 by writer and activist James Weldon Johnson for a program in Jacksonville, Fla. to celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s birthday.

Noelle Morrissette, the author of “James Weldon Johnson’s Modern Soundscapes,” and the editor of two other books on Johnson’s life, said Johnson was originally invited to speak at the event but felt a more lyrical inspiration that became the song.

His younger brother John Rosamond Johnson set the poem to music and on Feb. 12, 1900, 500 schoolchildren performed it for the first time.

“I could not keep back the tears,” Johnson wrote about the performance. “And made no effort to do so.”

Soon, as the song’s lyrics and music were pasted on the backs of hymnals and Sunday school songbooks across the South, church and HBCU choirs started singing it.

As early as 1920 — after the NAACP adopted it as its official song — people were referring to it as the “Negro National Anthem.”

Imani Perry, the Hughes-Rogers professor of African-American Studies at Princeton University, said black educators in the ’20s and ’30s wrote curricula based on the song. After Carter G. Woodson created Negro History Week in 1926, the song became a staple of the celebration that would eventually become Black History Month.

In Perry’s forthcoming book, May We Forever Stand: A History of the Black National Anthem,” which comes out on Feb. 19, she writes that based on the records of black schools, civic and political institutions, as well as memoirs, oral histories, literature, newspapers and theater, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” was used much more broadly than most anthems.

“The Star-Spangled Banner,” didn’t officially become America’s national anthem until 1931.

“It was literally a part of the daily or weekly practice of African Americans, particularly those in the South,” Perry told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It was so deeply cherished that it was embraced by people with dramatically different political philosophies: integrationists and black nationalists, as well as patriots and radical leftists.”

“Nothing that I have done has paid me back so fully in satisfaction as being part creator of this song,” Johnson wrote in his 1933 autobiography. “I am always thrilled deeply when I hear it sung by Negro children. I am lifted up on their voices, and I am also carried back and enabled to live through again the exquisite emotions I felt at the birth of the song. My brother and I, in talking, have often marveled at the results that have followed what we considered an incidental effort…we wrote better than we knew.”

“Stony the road we trod,

Bitter the chastening rod,

Felt in the days when hope unborn had died;

Yet with a steady beat,

Have not our weary feet

Come to the place for which our fathers sighed?

We have come over a way that with tears has been watered,

We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered,

Out from the gloomy past,

Till now we stand at last

Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.”

But the song is not without controversy. In 2008, jazz singer Rene Marie was roundly criticized for singing the lyrics of the song to the tune of the country’s official national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

“Indeed, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” — the history of its performances, the contexts in which it has been sung and in which it has been received — carries us directly to Colin Kaepernick’s protest over the national anthem,” Morrissette said. “Is there space in American culture for dissenting black voices? Are black citizens permitted to love their nation and criticize it?”

Tim Askew, a professor of English and humanities at Clark Atlanta University – Johnson graduated from Atlanta University in 1894 – said the song is too big to just belong to African-Americans. An argument that has put him at odds with other scholars, whom he said have called him “everything under the sun.”

“People all over the world are singing this song to speak of a desire for social justice and inclusion,” said Askew, the author of “Cultural Hegemony and African American Patriotism: An Analysis of the Song, ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing.’” “It is troublesome to say we need a black national anthem in 2018. We need to be moving toward racial cohesiveness, diversity, universal understanding and universal respect.”

Young said while he agrees that the song holds universal appeal, the fact that it is considered a black hymn allows it to maintain its power and spirituality, while uplifting a race.

“I think it will maintain its relevance and meaning and it will continue to be important. In fact, I think it is much more powerful and religious than “The Star-Spangled Banner,” Young said. “There are parts of “The Star-Spangled Banner” that are very problematic. But “Lift Every Voice,” gets better and more powerful on every verse.”

For his part, Princeton’s Perry said Johnson resisted the label anthem, recognizing that there was only one national anthem: Francis Scott Key’s “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Instead, he referred to it as a hymn, while acknowledging that it was a great source of racial pride.

Perhaps never moreso than in 2009, when Rev. Lowery delivered the benediction at the inauguration of the nation’s first black president. Instead of beginning his prayer with a Bible verse, he picked his own expression of racial pride, the third stanza of “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

“God of our weary years,

God of our silent tears,

Thou who has brought us thus far on the way;

Thou who has by Thy might Led us into the light,

Keep us forever in the path, we pray.

Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee,

Lest, our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee;

Shadowed beneath Thy hand,

May we forever stand.

True to our God,

True to our native land.”

Throughout February, we’ll spotlight a different African-American pioneer in the daily Living section Monday through Thursday and Saturday, and in the Metro section on Fridays and Sundays. Go to for more subscriber exclusives on people, places and organizations that have changed the world, and to see videos on the African-American pioneer featured here each day.

Kim Kardashian slammed for crediting white actress with braids

Kim Kardashian is often recognized for her fashion, but this week she was criticized for crediting a white woman for her latest look that features her in braids. 

» RELATED: Kim Kardashian West calls out Lindsay Lohan's 'confusing accent’ when questioned on braids 

Earlier this week, the entrepreneur took to Snapchat to debut her new hairdo - blonde cornrows with beads on the end. In the video, she said, “So guys I got Bo Derek braids, and I’m really into it.” Bo Derek is a white actress, who famously sported the look in the 1979 flick “10.”

While she saluted the 1970’s star for popularizing the look, declaring herself “Bo West,” the braids Kardashian are wearing are a traditionally black hairstyle that originated in Africa. It’s specifically called Fulani and is inspired by the Fulani tribe of East and West Africa. 

Black Twitter was quick to correct the 37-year-old, accusing her of cultural appropriation.

» RELATED: #BlackTwitter can’t stop fangirling over Michelle Obama’s natural hair

Others were not offended. Several saw no problem with her hairstyle and thought there were bigger issues to discuss.

Amid the controversy, Kardashian seemed unconcerned. She posted a photo on Instagram with the caption, “Hi, can I get zero [expletive] please, thanks.”

» RELATED: Black culture appropriation? White Georgia trap music

Black Twitter can’t stop gushing about the Hollywood ‘Black Panther’ premiere 

While there are still a few more weeks until “Black Panther” hits theaters, Monday night’s Hollywood premiere sent Black Twitter into a frenzy as they raved about the purple carpet photos and reviews.

» RELATED: 5 things to know about ‘Black Panther’

Director Ryan Coogler and many of the movie’s stars, including Chadwick Boseman, Danai Gurira, Lupita Nyong’o, Michael B. Jordan and Angela Bassett, were in attendance for the debut of the film, which follows Black Panther, or T’Challa, as he returns home to his African nation of Wakanda to reclaim his throne.

For the Los Angeles affair, the celebrities they traded in a red carpet for a purple one. Strutting in their best African-inspired attire, they dressed to impressed and tweeps couldn’t stop obsessing over the outfits.

» RELATED: #BlackPantherChallenge sends internet into frenzy

The fashions weren’t the only thing that had folks talking. Many headed to Twitter to also praise the flick and make predictions about the impact it will have. Many called it “amazing” and “exceptional,” celebrating the filmmakers for the strong plot lines and production designs. 

» RELATED: 3 ways to score 'Black Panther' presale tickets in Atlanta

Others praised the blackbuster for its representation of African culture and emphasis on black excellence. 

» RELATED: Why ‘Black Panther’ packs a punch with black audiences

Those who didn’t attend the premiere chimed in as well. They were excited about the reactions they were seeing online, which gave them even more incentive to check out “Black Panther” when it’s available everywhere Feb. 16. 

A few even urged movie lovers not to bootleg it but to actually pay to see it in theaters. 

» RELATED: Man raises nearly $30,000 on GoFundMe to help Harlem kids see ‘Black Panther’

Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon get extra hand, leg in epic Vanity Fair Photoshop fail

Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon are apparently the next generation of mutants all thanks to what some think is a Photoshop fail.

Vanity Fair released its annual Hollywood issue and right in the middle of the cover photo of Tinsel Town elite, an Oscar-winning star seems to have sprouted an extra leg, Entertainment Tonight reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Reese Witherspoon is taking to having the extra appendage in stride.

Vanity Fair responded, saying that the extra leg is actually fabric from her dress.

But a behind-the-scenes picture can’t be waved off so easily. In it Witherspoon is next to Winfrey and it appears that the media mogul has one hand on her hip, one on her leg and a third around Witherspoon’s waist. The pair star in this year’s “A Wrinkle In Time,” the Daily Mail reported.

Winfrey didn’t ignore the extra hand either, also taking to Twitter to respond to Reese’s extra leg.

Vanity Fair said they had a hand in giving Winfrey an extra appendage and said they are correcting the mistake on their online covers, Entertainment Tonight reported.

The cover also features Robert De Niro, Tom Hanks, Zendaya, Harrison Ford and Nicole Kidman.

It also featured James Franco, but the publication admitted to digitally removing him after he became the focus of sexual misconduct allegations, The Daily Mail reported.

Number of African-Americans sent to Georgia prisons hits historic lows

The number of African-Americans sent to state prisons in Georgia has declined by 30 percent in the past eight years — the result of historic reforms in the state’s criminal justice system.

Black prisoners still make up far more of Georgia’s prison population than white prisoners, after decades of mass incarceration by the state. But the numbers are turning around. Overall, the crime rate is down. But the state has also made large reductions in the number of nonviolent offenders sent to state prisons, in part by creating dozens of “accountability courts” around the state.

Drug offenders now are often diverted from prison and sent to drug courts, where they spend about 18 months receiving counseling, job training and frequent drug tests.

“In my heart, I truly believe I’d be dead now if it wasn’t for drug court,” says Atlanta resident Mack Cook III, who graduated from drug court last year and has remained clean and sober. Cook says he often returns to be a mentor to new members in the court. “My purpose now is to help someone else,” he said.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution closely tracked these momentous changes in incarceration rates. See what the numbers show; meet the people behind the reforms and the people, like Mack Cook, who are making them work.

In other news:

Erykah Badu: “I saw something good in Hitler”

Often-provocative singer  Erykah Badu who was arrested in Dallas in 2010 after filming an unauthorized video for “Window Seat,” in which she stripped off all her clothes , is making headlines once again with a comment praising Adolf Hitler’s artistic abilities.

In a wide-ranging interview with Vulture, she said she is able to see good in everyone, no matter how repugnant a person’s actions might be. Even a murderous dictator bent on genocide and world domination.

“I’m a humanist. I see good in everybody. I saw something good in Hitler,” she said, to which the incredulous reporter responds, “Come again?”

“Yeah, I did,” Badu insists. “Hitler was a wonderful painter.”

She said she is not anti-Semitic. Read the entire interview here.


Amazon pulls ‘absolutely shocking’ slavery apparel after backlash

Amazon is facing backlash for a series of products on its site that displayed a slogan praising slavery.

» RELATED: District under fire for racist youth league jerseys

A third-party seller named Styleart recently used its Market platform to sell a number of items with the phrase “slavery gets [expletive] done” and an image of pyramids in the background. The merchandise, which has been taken down, included laptop cases, mugs, bags, T-shirts and bibs, and some of the apparel was modeled by white infants

Many customers were outraged, and Anti-Slavery International, a human rights organization, called the flub “absolutely shocking.” 

Others expressed their disappointment with the company and challenged the retailer to better monitor things sold on the site. A few even threatened to boycott and cancel their accounts.

Amid the criticism, Amazon pulled the clothing, releasing a statement to Reuters

“All Marketplace sellers must follow our selling guidelines and those who don’t will be subject to action including potential removal of their account,” a spokesman said. “The products in question are no longer available.”

The Amazon incident occurred just weeks after H&M came under fire for posing a black child model in a hoodie that read “coolest monkey in the jungle.” The image was removed from the website and H&M issued an apology.

» RELATED: H&M apologizes for posing black child model in ‘coolest monkey’ hoodie

Clotilda: Last-known slave ship uncovered after East Coast ‘Bomb Cyclone’

Years of research and a particularly strong winter storm has led a reporter in Alabama to what is likely the remains of the last ship to carry slave cargo from Africa to the United States.

Writer Ben Raines of reported Tuesday that what is left of the slave ship Clotilda, “lies partially buried in mud alongside an island in the lower Mobile-Tensaw Delta, a few miles north of the city of Mobile. The hull is tipped to the port side, which appears almost completely buried in mud. The entire length of the starboard side, however, is almost fully exposed.”

The ship’s remains were discovered by Raines when the “Bomb Cyclone” winter system hit the eastern half of the country earlier this month. A confluence of strong systems created the storm that caused the tide in Mobile Bay to be especially low, Raines pointed out. The lower than normal tide better exposed what was left of the ship.

In the story, Raines says he documented the wreck with historical documents and photos – the remains rest in the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, accessible only by boat – and took his findings to a team of archaeologists from the University of West Florida in Pensacola, Fla.

>> Read more trending news

The archaeologists agreed that Raines had probably found what was left of the Clotilda.

In the summer of 1860, the Clotilda brought 110 men, women and children from Africa to Alabama in violation of U.S. laws that banned international slave trade. The ship’s trans-Atlantic journey was the last recorded trip bringing human cargo from an African nation to the United States.

The expedition was financed by Timothy Meaher, a wealthy Mobile businessman who made a bet that he could sneak slaves into the country past forts on either side of the entrance to Mobile Bay, “under the officers’ noses.” 

Meaher was able to hire a ship and captain to bring the slaves to Mobile, but fearing that he would be caught and punished for the stunt, Meaher arranged for the ship to be burned after he had the slaves unloaded.

Those 110 slaves who were brought over on the Clotilda were freed five years later at the end of the Civil War. They asked Meaher to pay for their return to Africa. He refused, and the group went on to petition the U.S. government for the money. When the government refused, the group took up residence near Mobile, creating the community of Africatown.

The town, according to historian Sylvianne Diouf in her book “Dreams of Africa in Alabama,” was run under traditional African law and used African farming and education methods. The last survivor of the Clotilda trip, Cudjoe Kazoola Lewis , died in 1935, though descendants of the slaves brought over on the ship still live in the area.

The story of the Clotilda was recently resurrected in an episode of the PBS series “Finding Your Roots,” hosted by historian Henry Gates. In a December episode, Roots front man and drummer Questlove – whose given name is Ahmir Thompson – finds out that his great, great, great grandfather, Charles Lewis, was one of the slaves brought to America on the Clotilda’s trip.

Gates tells Questlove that Meaher chose the more than 100 slaves from a group of 4,000 to be brought to Alabama. Lewis was one of those chosen.

"Think about the odds, man," Gates said.

Click here to read Raines’ full story on finding the Clotilda. 


#BlackPantherChallenge sends internet into frenzy

“Black Panther” is one of the most anticipated movies of the year, and thousands of children may have a chance to see it for free thanks to the #BlackPantherChallenge. 

» RELATED: Man raises nearly $30,000 on GoFundMe to help Harlem kids see ‘Black Panther’

Earlier this month, Frederick Joseph of New York launched a GoFundMe to help students from the Boys & Girls Club of Harlem “see a black major cinematic and comic book character come to life,” he wrote on the campaign page. He set a lofty goal of $10,000 and nearly quadrupled that amount, raking in more than $40,000 in just a few weeks.

With all of the attention he garnered, including an appearance on the The Ellen Show, he began asking others to start similar fundraisers in their own communities. 

“This representation is truly fundamental for young people, especially those who are often underserved, unprivileged, and marginalized both nationally and globally,” he said.

People have answered the call, because 90 campaigns have been created, with more than $100,000 raised, Joseph announced this week

A ton of celebrities have gotten involved, too, including Jemele HillSnoop DoggChelsea Clinton and most recently Viola Davis and the film’s star Chadwick Boseman.

» RELATED: 3 ways to score 'Black Panther' presale tickets in Atlanta

“What started as an effort to give young people an opportunity to see themselves in a story, has become an opportunity to provide access for them to TELL THEIR OWN stories,” said on Twitter.

Many have shared their excitement on social media, encouraging others to hop on board for the #BlackPantherChallenge and donate. Several have called it an “amazing” and “incredible” endeavor. 

» RELATED: Why ‘Black Panther’ packs a punch with black audiences

Want to learn more about the initiative? Take a look at the details here. “Black Panther” hits theaters Feb. 16.

» RELATED: 5 things to know about ‘Black Panther’

Kendrick Lamar will return to Atlanta with SZA, Schoolboy Q and others on Top Dawg roster

Kendrick Lamar recently played Atlanta for the CFP National Championship concert. (Akili-Casundria Ramsess/Eye of Ramsess Media)


The Top Dawg Entertainment roster – Kendrick Lamar, SZA, Schoolboy Q, Jay Rock, Ab-Soul, Sir and Lance Skiiwalker – are taking to the road this summer for “TDE: The Championship Tour.”

The show will visit Cellairis Amphitheatre at Lakewood on May 25. Tickets will go on sale at noon Jan. 26 via or by calling 1-800-745-3000. Prices are TBA.

Lamar, who is nominated for seven Grammy Awards at this weekend’s ceremony in New York, will also perform on the broadcast. The lauded rapper recently made headlines as the first artist to perform during halftime at the College Football Playoff National Championship; he played a free, nine-minute set at Centennial Olympic Park.

Follow the AJC Music Scene on Facebook and Twitter.


  TDE 2018 TOUR DATES: DATE CITY VENUE Fri-May 04 Vancouver, BC* Rogers Arena Sat-May 05 Seattle, WA White River Amphitheatre Sun-May 06 Portland, OR Sunlight Supply Amphitheater Tue-May 08 Oakland, CA* Oracle Arena Thu-May 10 Los Angeles, CA* The Forum Sun-May 13 San Diego, CA Mattress Firm Amphitheatre Mon-May 14 Phoenix, AZ Ak-Chin Pavilion Tue-May 15 Albuquerque, NM Isleta Amphitheater Thu-May 17 Dallas, TX Starplex Pavilion Fri-May 18 Austin, TX Austin360 Amphitheater Sat-May 19 Houston, TX The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion Presented by Huntsman Tue-May 22 Tampa, FL MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre Wed-May 23 West Palm Beach, FL Coral Sky Amphitheatre Fri-May 25 Atlanta, GA Cellairis Amphitheatre at Lakewood Sat-May 26 Raleigh, NC Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek Sun-May 27 Virginia Beach, VA Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater at Virginia Beach Tue-May 29 New York, NY* Madison Square Garden Wed-May 30 Wantagh, NY Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater Fri-Jun 01 Bristow, VA (DC) Jiffy Lube Live Sat-Jun 02 Hershey, PA Hersheypark Stadium Sun-Jun 03 Buffalo, NY Darien Lake Performing Arts Center Tue-Jun 05 Boston, MA Xfinity Center Thu-Jun 07 Hartford, CT XFINITY Theatre Fri-Jun 08 Philadelphia, PA BB&amp;T Pavilion Sat-Jun 09 Saratoga Springs, NY Saratoga Performing Arts Center Tue-Jun 12 Toronto, ON Budweiser Stage Wed-Jun 13 Detroit, MI* DTE Energy Music Theatre Fri-Jun 15 Chicago, IL Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre Sat-Jun 16 Pittsburgh, PA KeyBank Pavilion


25 black students from Atlanta surprised with scholarships to Harvard summer program 

School isn’t out yet. However, a few Atlanta students have already solidified their summer plans, because they’ve just been accepted into one of Harvard’s prestigious programs.  

» RELATED: Atlanta teen youngest to attend University of West Georgia at 13

Harvard Debate Council Diversity Project, an Atlanta-based organization that aims to prepare African-American students for Harvard Debate Council’s residential summer session, recently held its inaugural Harvard Debate Council Diversity Project Surprise Reveal.

While the scholars thought they were coming to The Art Institute of Atlanta to complete interviews as a part of the application process, they were actually there to learn about their acceptance and scholarship contribution, which totaled $10,500. The goal is $88,000.

“The 25 students we selected were surprised with the news of their acceptance and were rewarded with scholarship money from The Art Institute of Atlanta to attend Harvard Debate Council’s residential summer program at Harvard College,” said Brandon Fleming, the executive director of the Harvard Debate Council Diversity Project, in a press release.

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From January to June, the students will be trained by Harvard instructors at The Art Institute of Atlanta to prepare for their studies at the prestigious institution. Once in Massachusetts, student participants will study debate and “gain academic excellence, leadership acumen, and cultural pride,” the organizers wrote. They will get a firsthand experience of residential life at Harvard and learn from accomplished debate professors and coaches.

“We know that education, in all its forms, is a transformative force for the common good. We also know that it does start with a dialogue that uplifts, energizes, motivates, and enables young adults to embark on a path that will lead them to achieve their dreams,” says Newton Myvett, president of the Art Institute of Atlanta. “We are unleashing creativity, empowering people, and impacting the places where we live, love, and learn in unprecedented ways—giving shape to the boldest dreams and noblest causes."

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Fayetteville’s Christian Coleman sets world record in 60-meter dash

Christian Coleman headed back to the University of Tennessee in Knoxville on Saturday, not overly impressed with himself, but thankful to have set the world record in the 60 meters. 

“I didn’t really feel like it was one of my best races,” Coleman said after running a world record time of 6.37 seconds in the 60-meter dash at the Clemson Invitational on Friday. “I felt like I was just knocking the dust off.” 

Instead, Coleman, who attended Our Lady Of Mercy Catholic High School in Fayetteville, knocked everyone’s socks off with his blazing sprint, fulfilling the vision that former world record holder Maurice Greene had shared with him. 

Greene, a three-time world champion in the 100 meters and two-time Olympics gold medal winner, had held the 60-meters record for nearly 20 years, running a 6.39-second time in 1998 and again in 2001. 

“That’s what means a lot to me, because I know Maurice Greene personally, and he told me he wanted me to break the record,” said the 21-year-old Coleman, who’s finishing his degree at UT. 

“So that was in the back of my mind, but I didn’t realize I had the capability to do it in the first meet.” 

Indeed, it was Coleman’s first competition of 2018, and he’s hoping it can springboard him to an invitation to the Millrose Games, an event in New York which bills itself as “The World’s Longest-Running And Most Prestigious Indoor Track & Field Competition.” 

Running with Nike sponsorship in his first year as a professional, Coleman was the 2017 USTFCCCA National Outdoor and National Indoor Track Athlete of the Year. He also won the silver medal in the 100 meters at the IAAF World Championships in London last summer, beating Usain Bolt in head-to-head matchups twice at the event. 

Coleman said if a spot doesn’t open up in the Feb. 3 Millrose Games (TV: NBCSN), his next event will be Feb. 10 in Boston leading up to the USATF Indoor Championships in Albuquerque, N.M., Feb. 17-19. 

Coleman continued to take his success in stride Friday night. His modest post-race celebration included treating himself to a chicken wraps dinner. 

“I just plan to have the same work ethic and continue to get better,” Coleman said. “So, just go back to the drawing board and continue get better.”

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Chicago rapper Fredo Santana dead at 27

Chicago rapper Fredo Santana has died, according to several of his friends, The Chicago Sun-Times reported. He was 27.

Canadian rapper Drake, record producer Maxo Cream and California rapper Lil B expressed their condolences on social media.

Santana, whose birth name was Derrick Coleman, wrote on Instagram in October that he was suffering from liver failure, the Sun-Times reported.

No official cause of death has been listed, MTV reported, although TMZ, citing unnamed family members, reported that Santana died from a seizure at his Los Angeles home late Friday night.

Santana was a force in Chicago’s drill music scene when it began in 2012 He released his 2013 debut album, “Trappin’ Ain’t Dead” on Savage Squad, the record label he founded, MTV reported.

His last album, “Fredo Kruger 2,” was released last year.

In addition to liver troubles, Santana also had kidney failure and seizures, MTV reported.

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