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Chance the Rapper surprises Chicago City Council meeting to argue against ‘cop academy’

Chance the Rapper often shouts out his native Chicago in his music (“You cannot mess with the light/ look at little Chano from 79th,” he famously rapped in fellow Chicagoan Kanye West’s “Ultralight Beam”), but he doesn’t limit his Windy City advocacy to song form.

On Wednesday, Chance (real name Chancellor Bennett) showed up unannounced to Chicago’s City Hall for a city council meeting, arguing that the assembled aldermen should vote against Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proposal for a new $95 million police academy. Chance said the city government should instead invest such funds in Chicago Public Schools.

“My name is Chance the Rapper. I’m here representing the city of Chicago: The students, principals, parents, and teachers of Chicago,” Chance began. “I think you guys are familiar with the work that I’ve been doing. We’re doing a lot of work with Orr Academy, which is just down the street from where this proposed police academy is gonna be at. This school, with just $100,000 in 3 years, is about to make some transformative changes. It’d be awesome, though, if we could get pools at their school, or a new library, or a museum, or any of the things that are proposed in the budget for this $95 million cop academy … There are a lot of different services that need to be funded. Obviously schooling is my big thing, but there are a lot of ways to transform the city without policing.”

This is not the first time Chance has publicly advocated on behalf of CPS. Back in March, Chance even met with Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner amid a high-stakes budget negotiation to convince him not to withhold funding from Chicago’s schools. When that didn’t work, he personally donated $1 million to CPS, and called for others to follow suit. The difficulty of that struggle influenced his stance on the proposed training facility, as he made clear on Wednesday.

“What are we doing? I’ve been asking for money for over a year now to fund these classrooms,” Chance told the aldermen. “But on the Fourth of July weekend, they announced they’re proposing a $95 million cop academy. What is y’all doing? It doesn’t make sense, and I’m very confused. You guys have a lot of power here, and that’s the reason why I showed up at 8 am. I feel like, maybe if you guys hear me say it…”

Chance is not the only person making this argument. Students, teachers, community organizers, and activists from around Chicago have banded together under the hashtag #NoCopAcademy to protest the proposed facility, and instead argue for community investment. CPS teacher Dave Stieber recently expressed the protestors’ frustration for the Huffington Post, writing, “Every year our students watch as librarians, counselors, social workers, support staff, security, and teachers are cut … Yet through all of this, Chicago always finds money for policing.”

When Chance showed up to City Hall on Wednesday, he was joining a crowd of protestors who had already gathered. Unfortunately, their efforts did not make much of a difference, at least on Wednesday’s vote. The city council overwhelmingly voted to acquire land for the proposed academy, with only Alderman Carlos Rosa voting against.

“A set back for now, but there’s a grassroots army rising up to break every chain, end racist policing, and put working and poor Chicagoans of all backgrounds first,” Rosa tweeted after the vote. “There will be other votes and this is just the beginning.”

Chance, too, continued to use the #NoCopAcademy hashtag in defiance of the city council’s vote. Watch the video of his talk below.

Why Chris Evans, Big Boi and Lil Jon were hanging out in Midtown

Actor Chris Evans has been in Atlanta filming Marvel’s latest “Avengers” movie while recording artists Lil Jon and Big Boi call Atlanta home.

They and a slew of other celebs including  Ben Schwartz of “Parks and Recreation,” Rob Riggle, who’s done a number of movies in Atlanta and just finished filming a role in Kevin Hart’s “Night School;” Charles Michael Davis of “The Originals” and  Lauren Cohan, Austin Amelio, Cooper Andrews, Xander Berkley and Steven Ogg of “The Walking Dead” for a fun night at 5Church Atlanta.

MORE: Chris Evans’ singing dog is here to fix your life

The crowd checked out the new Xbox One X while sampling 5Church Chef Scotley Innis’s menu including artisan meat and cheese, antipasti platters, bruschetta, margherita flatbread, ahi tuna poke, chicken salad crostini, buffalo chicken, beef and meatball sliders and shrimp cocktail.

 

How Freaknik contributed to Tyler Perry’s success

Freaknik, the once-legendary party for college students that ultimately collapsed amid outrage over its also legendary traffic jams, played a role in Tyler Perry’s journey from a poor kid from New Orleans to massively successful entertainment mogul.

PAST COVERAGE: The rumored return of Freaknik

Freaknik 2.0 promoter: “We’re expecting thousands”

Freaknik’s back? Never mind

“I needed to know there was really a world of possibilities outside New Orleans,” he writes in “Higher is Waiting,” to be released Tuesday. “That world opened up to me on my first visit to Atlanta during ‘Freaknik,’ a sort of spring break without the beach for black college kids. I wasn’t in college, but I went anyway.”

He didn’t go for some of the partying antics he witnessed – but the visit was inspiring nonetheless.

“While all the kids were getting numbed out, drinking and partying, I was waking up to possibility,” he wrote. “For the first time in my life, I saw there were black people doing great things with their lives. There were black doctors, lawyers, business owners … I knew Atlanta was the place for me.”

Read our interview with Perry, who appears Sunday at the Fox Theatre to launch “Higher Is Waiting,” on myAJC .

“Higher Is Waiting” will be released on Tuesday. Tyler Perry will appear live at the Fox Theatre on Sunday for a launch event.

Rihanna, Amal Clooney, Donatella Versace to host 2018 Met Gala

The 2018 Met Gala will combine religion fashion and art and be hosted by three women well-known for their stylish looks.

Vogue reported that Rihanna, Amal Clooney and Donatella Versace will join Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour to host the event, officially called the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Benefit.  

>> Read more trending news

“(It is) designed to create a dialogue between fashion and the masterworks of religious art in the museum’s holdings,” according to the fashion publication.

“The Catholic imagination is rooted in and sustained by artistic practice, and fashion’s embrace of sacred images, objects, and customs continues the ever-evolving relationship between art and religion,” Met President and CEO Daniel H. Weiss said in a statement, according to The Wrap. “The Museum’s collection of religious art, in combination with the architecture of the medieval galleries and The Cloisters, provides the perfect context for these remarkable fashions.”

“Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” will be May 7.

Larenz Tate  and Erica Ash to host 2018 Bounce Trumpet Awards

Actors Larenz Tate and Erica Ash have been tapped to host the 2018 Bounce Trumpet Awards.

 The 26th annual event, which was started to honor black achievement and contributions, will be held Jan. 20 in Atlanta and premieres on Bounce at 9 p.m. Feb. 11. Bounce now owns, produces and telecasts the event, which brings together high-profile performers, entrepreneurs,  executives, and other leading figures.

The gala black-tie ceremony will be held at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. 

Tate currently stars on the hit series "Power" on STARZ. He has also appeared on the popular shows "Rescue Me," "Game of Silence" and "House of Lies." On the big screen, Tate most recently appeared in "Girls Trip," with previous roles in "Ray," "Menace II Society," "Love Jones," "Why Do Fools Fall in Love" and more. 

Related:

Photos of 2016 Trumpet Awards

Survivor’s remorse ends run after four seasons

Ash is an NAACP Award-winning Broadway, film and television actress currently starring on the hit series "Survivor's Remorse" on STARZ, as well as playing Brigette Hart on "The Real Husbands of Hollywood." She will star in the new legal drama series "In Contempt" and will appear in the new theatrical motion picture "Uncle Drew" from Lionsgate's Summit Entertainment. 

 The Trumpet Awards were conceived to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of African Americans and those who have succeeded against great odds and inspired success in others. Founded in 1992 by executive and civil rights leader Xernona Clayton, the Trumpet Awards were acquired by Bounce last year. Honorees  have included Muhammad Ali, Beyoncé, Jamie Foxx, Halle Berry, Stevie Wonder, African-American congressial leaders and  Janelle Monáe .  

Kennesaw State rescinds change that kept cheerleaders off field during national anthem

Kennesaw State University president Sam Olens announced Wednesday he’s ending a controversial change that kept some cheerleaders from kneeling on the football field during the national anthem to protest police misconduct.

KSU has been under the national microscope since five African-American cheerleaders took a knee during the anthem before the football team’s Sept. 30 game and the decision days later to keep all cheerleaders off the field during the anthem. Some felt KSU’s decision violated the students’ free speech rights.

“While I believe there are more effective ways to initiate an exchange of ideas on issues of national concern, the right to exercise one’s freedom of speech under the First Amendment must be protected,” Olens wrote in a letter to students, faculty and staff.

The Georgia Board of Regents is conducting a special review of how KSU responded to the cheerleaders’ actions.

Please return to www.myajc.com for updates.

 

Tia Mowry, Cory Hardrict expecting second child

Tia Mowry is pregnant with her second child.

The actress, TV chef and cookbook author made the announcement in the form of a sweet Instagram post. The photo shows Mowry cradling her baby bump as her husband of 9 years, actor Cory Hardrict, and their six-year-old son, Cree Taylor Hardrict, kiss her belly.

>> Read more trending news

The 39-year-old, known for her roles in “The Game” and “Sister Sister,” captioned the post with four emoji hearts.

Mowry’s twin sister, fellow actress and co-host of “The Real,” Tamera Mowry-Housley, beamed with excitement at the news on Twitter.

“Yayyyyy! Couldn’t wait to tell the world. I’m going to be an auntie!!!!!” she wrote.

Mowry-Housley is already an aunt to Cree. Mowry is aunt to her sister’s children, Aden John Tanner Housley, 4, and Ariah Talea Housley, 2.

In 2013, Mowry told E! News a second child was a possibility. 

“It's something that we’re talking about on a daily basis, so...we'll see,” Mowry said.

The actress struggles with endometriosis, which she worried would make getting pregnant for the first time a challenge. According to the National Institutes of Health U.S. National Library of Medicine, endometriosis is a disease in which tissue that normally grows inside the uterus grows outside of it. Mowry was diagnosed with the disease in 2006.

“Endometriosis basically grows from inflammation,” Mowry told People in 2016

“(We’re) trying, but I don’t want to put too much hope into it,” she told the publication at the time of having another child. “I don’t want to be let down.”

Mowry said by changing her diet after meeting with her doctor, her symptoms have gotten much better.

“The cherry on top of this dairy-free sundae is that I got pregnant. Quickly,” she wrote in her cookbook. “Given all of my health issues, I hadn’t expected it to happen so fast — if at all — but after I’d been following my new regimen for just twelve months, Cory came to visit me in Atlanta, and a few weeks later, we got the happy news!”

Blacks and whites in poll have wildly different views of the South

A new poll of the 11 states of the Old Confederacy finds that, on many key issues, black Southerners and white Southerners appear to live in two different versions of the South.

The Winthrop University Poll, released Wednesday, comes amid a new season of racial polarization in the country, from national political debate down to local governments’ decisions on Confederate monuments.

Illustrations of the gulf between the races emerged from the poll: 

  • To the question of whether economic conditions in the country are getting better or getting worse, 63 percent of whites said better; 63 percent of blacks said worse.
  • 61 percent of white people believe all Americans have an equal chance to succeed if they work equally hard. 67 percent of blacks believe that is not the case.
  • 82 percent of black Southerners believe racial minorities are under attack in America today; 46 percent of whites said it is they who are under attack.  

The poll surveyed 830 residents by phone in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. The margin of error among white respondents was 4 percent; among black respondents, it was 7.7 percent.

The survey also found sharply diverging views among black and white Southerners about what do with monuments to Confederate war heroes.

Forty-eight percent of white Southerners believe such monuments should be left “just as they are.” 

Forty-eight percent of black respondents, however, said the monuments belong in a museum. 

The numbers diverge even more sharply from there: only 14 percent of blacks thought the monuments ought to be left where they are. But only 3 percent of whites believed that the monuments should be “removed completely” — compared to 25 percent of black respondents.

Other key findings: 

  • 71 percent of whites agreed that “political correctness threatens our liberty as Americans to speak our minds.” But 67 percent of blacks thought so, too.
  • 37 percent of whites think the country is on the right track; 6 percent of blacks think that’s the case. 

Note:  Commenting on this article is being moderated by AJC editors. 

Jay Z, T.I., and others slam Meek Mill sentence as ‘unjust and heavy-handed’

Rapper Meek Mill is making headlines this week, but it’s not for his music. The musician was recently sentenced to two to four years in Pennsylvania state prison Monday after violating probation.

» RELATED: Meek Mill sentenced to at least two years in Pennsylvania state prison

The 30-year-old, known legally as Robert Rihmeek William, was already under probation for a drug and weapons case and has been arrested twice this year. 

In March in St. Louis, he was charged with a misdemeanor for an altercation with two airport employees, and in August, he was illegally riding his dirt bike in the Inwood section of Manhattan.

When news of his hearing broke, many were shocked and took to social media to share their thoughts. 

Several said the judge was too harsh, comparing his punishment to that of those who received less time for what they called bigger crimes.

Even some celebrities, including Jay Z, didn’t think the punishment fit the crime.

»RELATED: Judge ignores recommendation, sends Meek Mill to prison

On the other hand, a couple believed the sentencing was spot-on, considering Mill’s lengthy history with law enforcement.

And a few, like T.I. and Kevin Hart, just wanted to offer their support. 

»RELATED: Georgia rapper arrested at 'Welcome home' from prison party 

Serena Williams shares adorable bath time, nap time photos of daughter Alexis Olympia

Serena Williams has been adding doses of cuteness on her followers’ Instagram feeds lately.

On Saturday, Williams took to Instagram to share an adorable daddy-daughter moment she captured while she and Reddit co-founder fiance Alexis Ohanian gave their baby girl Alexis Olympia a bath.

>> Read more trending news

“We love bath time,” she captioned the photo, which shows Ohanian cradling their daughter, who is wrapped up in a soft, green frog towel.

On Monday, Essence reported she shared a snap of mommy-daughter time as Alexis appeared to be yawning against her shoulder.

Earlier this week, the couple dressed up their daughter for Halloween in a cute Batman-themed costume. They shared a snap on baby Alexis’ own Instagram page. The image had the caption, “When you realize you’re the hero Gotham needs.”

The proud parents welcomed their baby girl back in September after Williams accidentally revealed she was pregnant on Snapchat earlier this year. They got engaged in December 2016 and plan to wed sometime soon.

In the meantime, Williams announced her much-anticipated return to tennis.

Her comeback will happen in January, as she heads to the Australian Open, the same event she beat sister Venus in while pregnant and took home first place.

”Serena will be back,” tournament director Craig Tiley said, according to Sports Illustrated, adding that the tennis star plans on playing in the competition.

The timing aligns with Williams’s pledged return, as she told Vanity Fair she was hoping to be back on the court in January 2018.

“I definitely plan on coming back. I’m not done yet,” she said in April at a TED 2017 conference in Vancouver. “If (Venus is) still playing, I know I can play. This is just a new part of my life. My baby’s going to be in the stands and hopefully cheering for me.”

Sean Combs changes his name again

On Saturday, Sean Combs' birthday, the artist who's also gone by "Diddy" and "Puff" decided he wanted everyone to wish a "Happy 48th" to "Love."

Yep, the rapper and music mogul would like to go by that name now; "Love" or "Brother Love."

"I have some very serious, serious news," he told fans in a Twitter video. "I decided, I know it's risky because it could come off as corny to some people, (but) I decided to change my name again. I'm just not who I am before. I'm something different."         

And so, he says, "My new name is 'Love,' aka 'Brother Love.' I will not be answering to Puffy, or any of my other monikers."

Why announce a new name? Well, because "Brother Love" does whatever he wants. One year, he even changed his birthday.         

 

Skrrt skrrt: Migos and their fans want the group cast as hyenas in Disney’s ‘Lion King’ 

The rap trio Migos has already won over music critics and incited us all to replay their tracks on iTunes to catch their unique (and at times indiscernable) ad libs.

» RELATED: Migos is working on a movie inspired by films from the 1990s

Now, the Atlanta hip-hop group wants to put its stamp on children’s movies, namely the highly-anticipated “Lion King” remake.

On Sunday, Migos member Quavo posted his plea for the trio to make their Hollywood debut in the upcoming live-action remake, which already has an all-star cast including Beyoncé, Donald Glover, Alfree Woodard and Keegan-Michael Key.

» RELATED: Migos: 5 things to know about Atlanta rap group

Quavo simply told Disney to “call us” about the group playing the three hyenas. Just minor details that Key, comedian Eric Andre and actress Florence Kasumba have already been cast as hyenas in the new film, slated to premiere July 19, 2019.

The group’s fans were on board for the possible last minute casting. 

Twitter users offered numerous examples of how the group’s signature phraseology would fit right into the “Lion King” script.

As with all social media campaigns, Migos didn’t quite have everyone on board for the possibility of the group members playing the original hyenas Bonzai, Shenzi and Ed.

» RELATED: Atlanta’s Migos rapped a children’s book about llamas over the ‘Bad and Boujee’ beat

Confederate group hires a lobbyist for a 2018 fight over statues

Confederate group hires a lobbyist for a 2018 fight over statues

Donna Brazile tells critics of her new book to 'go to hell'

Former Democratic National Committee chairwoman Donna Brazile said Sunday that critics of her new book could “go to hell” as she faces a backlash for comments about Hillary Clinton and what took place during the 2016 Democratic primary process.

Brazile, speaking on ABC’s “This Week,” responded to members of Clinton’s 2016 campaign who said excerpts from the book released last week painted an inaccurate picture of what went on during the campaign.

"For those telling me to shut up, they told Hillary that a couple months ago. You know what I tell them? Go to hell," Brazile said. "I'm going to tell my story. Why am I supposed to be the only person who is unable to tell my story?"

On Saturday, top members of Clinton’s campaign signed an open letter to Brazile saying in part that they "do not recognize the campaign she portrays.”

In the new book, which is set to be published on Tuesday, Brazile said she considered replacing Clinton as the Democratic nominee after she stumbled and appeared to faint while at a 9/11 memorial service in New York last fall. According to Brazile, she wanted a Democratic ticket of former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Corey Booker, (D-New Jersey).

>>Donna Brazile says she found ‘proof’ that Clinton rigged Democratic race against Sanders

Brazile also slammed Clinton’s campaign for its actions and Debbie Wasserman Schutz, the former head of the DNC, for agreeing to give Clinton’s campaign control over DNC finances and personnel decisions.

Brazile describes an agreement between the Hillary Victory Fund, a joint fundraising organization between the campaign and the DNC, Hillary for America, Clinton’s campaign, and the DNC. In exchange for the paying down of the DNC’s debt, Clinton’s campaign was given control of the “party’s finances, strategy, and all the money raised,” Brazile wrote.

“Obama left the party $24 million in debt—$15 million in bank debt and more than $8 million owed to vendors after the 2012 campaign and had been paying that off very slowly. Obama’s campaign was not scheduled to pay it off until 2016. Hillary for America ... and the Hillary Victory Fund ... had taken care of 80 percent of the remaining debt in 2016, about $10 million, and had placed the party on an allowance.”

Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns that Put Donald Trump in the White House” will be published Tuesday by Hachette Books. For the full interview, see below:

The quiet crisis among African-Americans: Pregnancy and childbirth are killing women at inexplicable rates

PFLUGERVILLE, Texas — Three weeks after Cassaundra Lynn Perkins gave birth to premature twins, she returned to the hospital, feeling unwell. She phoned her mother from her hospital bed at 3:30 in the morning.

“I’m just not feeling good,” she said.

Surely it was just another bout of the mysterious illness her daughter had been suffering from for most of her pregnancy, Cheryl Givens-Perkins thought as she rushed over to San Antonio’s North Central Baptist Hospital.

When Givens-Perkins walked into the room, her 21-year-old daughter looked exhausted. She begged her mother to comb her hair.

“I need to get ready,” she said. “Please get my hair in order.”

“She may have known she was dying,” Givens-Perkins said.

Every year, around 700 women in the United States die as a result of pregnancy or delivery complications. As many as 60,000 expectant mothers suffer problems that come close to costing them their lives.

America is one of the most developed nations in the world. Average life expectancy has been generally increasing over at least the last five decades, and deaths from illnesses that were once widely fatal, including polio, small pox, tuberculosis and AIDS, are sharply falling.

» Strangers help grieving father recover songs from wife who died during childbirth

Yet when it comes to the natural process of childbearing, women in the U.S. die in much higher numbers than those in most developed nations, where maternal deaths are generally declining.

A woman in the U.S., where the maternal death ratio more than doubled between 1987 and 2013, is more likely to die as a result of pregnancy-related causes than in 31 industrialized countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, aside from Mexico.

There are various theories why — persistent poverty, large numbers of women without adequate health insurance, risk factors related to stress and discrimination. All come together here in Texas, with a twist that has become one of America’s most confounding public health problems: African-American women are dying of pregnancy- and childbirth-related causes here at stunningly high rates.

The maternal death rate in Texas after 2010 reached “levels not seen in other U.S. states,” according to a report compiled for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, based on figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

Black women in Texas are dying at the highest rates of all. A 2016 joint report by Texas’ Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force and Department of State Health Services found that black mothers accounted for 11.4 percent of Texas births in 2011 and 2012, but 28.8 percent of pregnancy-related deaths.

“This is a crisis,” said Marsha Jones, executive director of the Afiya Center, a Dallas-based nonprofit that has taken on the issue. In May, the center published its first report: “We Can’t Watch Black Women Die.”

Perkins, who already had a 2-year-old, worked at Great Clips salon and hoped to one day open her own salon. Her pregnancy with twins in 2014 was challenging.

“She was sick to where she could not keep anything down,” Givens-Perkins said.

Doctors said it was an infection. Then six months into her pregnancy, Perkins’ liver started to fail, and doctors decided to induce labor.

The babies arrived on Aug. 13, 2014, each weighing about 2 pounds. They were rushed to the neonatal intensive care unit.

Perkins was discharged from the hospital after three or four days. But something seemed wrong, her mother recalled: “She was never 100 percent.”

Doctors and researchers are struggling to make sense of the rise in maternal mortality in Texas.

» Rate of pregnancy-related deaths doubles in Texas

“There isn’t a single thing that explains it,” said Lisa Hollier, an obstetrician-gynecologist who heads the state-appointed Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force. “There are so many different factors.”

The task force compared the health of a group of women who died during pregnancy, childbirth or in the immediate aftermath to those who survived in 2011 and 2012.

Cardiac events, drug overdoses and disorders associated with hypertension were the leading causes of those maternal deaths, the task force found.

Nationally, problems such as obesity, diabetes, caesarean births and delayed prenatal care are among the risk factors commonly seen, Hollier said. Such factors are particularly prevalent among black women.

“So we have a population of women that is less healthy when they are entering pregnancy,” Hollier said.

Black women also had the highest rate of being hospitalized for hemorrhaging and blood transfusions, which are commonly seen in maternal deaths in Texas.

Texas has the largest number of uninsured people in the U.S., and there have been substantial cuts to women’s health programs that offer family planning and other routine services to low-income women, including screening for diabetes, hypertension and cervical cancer, which if left untreated could play a role in maternal deaths. Many of the dozens of clinics shuttered in recent years due to slashed state funding also offered prenatal care.

“In an ideal world, a woman would have the opportunity to have a visit with a physician before she becomes pregnant to identify any potential risk factors before she gets pregnant,” said Hollier. “Then a woman would enter prenatal in her first trimester. Unfortunately, African-American women are the least likely to have that first trimester of prenatal care.”

Texas public health officials say they are concerned about the state’s high maternal mortality rate but they don’t believe cuts to women’s health clinics are to blame, noting that the decrease in funding did not take effect until after the increase in maternal mortality had been reported.

“There’s not any evidence that suggests a link,” said Chris Van Deusen, a spokesman for the State Health Services Department. “The timing doesn’t really match up to demonstrate that there’s any connection.”

Manda Hall, associate commissioner for community health improvement at the agency, said several initiatives are underway to address the maternal mortality crisis. They include a program that encourages women planning to become pregnant to make wholesome lifestyle choices and another targeting historically black academic institutions that offers training focused on preconception health, the importance of fathers, health disparities and reproductive life planning.

» 911 dispatcher helps couple deliver their baby

Researchers say such programs might have an effect, but given that low-income white women fare better than black women, the causes may run deeper.

“Just being a black woman in America comes with its own level of stress,” said Jones, the Afiya Center executive director.

Some studies have shown that chronic stress triggered by racism and discrimination can lead to health problems such as diabetes and high blood pressure, and these in turn can lead to preterm births, low birth weights and life-threatening complications.

A 2009 study published in the journal Social Science & Medicine by researchers from USC and Harvard examined the differences in the self-reported racism experiences of U.S.-born and foreign-born black pregnant women, and found that “chronic exposure to racial prejudice and discrimination could … contribute to physiological wear and tear, thereby increasing health risk.”

African-American women also say that health care professionals are often dismissive of their concerns if they are poor, have health problems or already have several children, said Deneen Robinson, a researcher and program director for the Afiya Center.

“We go into facilities and they speak condescendingly to us,” Jones said. “They rush us through the process. They downplay when we talk about what our symptoms are.”

In Perkins’ case, her mother recalls that health providers seemed to disapprove when her daughter got pregnant with the twins and was feeling sick.

“Oh, you’re pregnant again,” was the reaction of the first doctor they consulted, Perkins recalled. “They think that we’re all just trying to get on the system and get what we can get.”

Shawn Thierry, a Democrat who represents Houston’s 146th District in the Texas House of Representatives, says this is a common experience for African-American women.

“We know there are instances where (African-American mothers) are not given the proper level of attention and care because of assumptions that doctors and hospitals are making about them,” she said. “The bias — we see it on all sides.”

Thierry has introduced legislation that would require an investigation into whether socioeconomic and educational backgrounds play a role when African-American mothers die during pregnancy and childbirth.

A little more than four years ago, Thierry almost died giving birth to her daughter after a routine epidural triggered a violent reaction. She felt excruciating pain, her heart began to race, and she was “fighting for every breath,” she said. Doctors performed an emergency C-section. Unlike many poor and minority women, she says, she had good health insurance that allowed her to remain in the hospital several days after giving birth.

As for Perkins, who died three days after being readmitted to the hospital, doctors told her mother that an infection had killed her daughter. A preliminary autopsy report cited an accumulation of fluid in Perkins’ abdominal cavity and around her lungs and heart. It also said placental tissue had been retained in her uterus.

Givens-Perkins was plagued with questions. Was that what proved fatal? Did it have anything to do with the illness she suffered during her pregnancy? Why was her daughter most often seen during her pregnancy by low-level medical practitioners, even when she was so frequently sick?

(Hospital officials declined to comment for this article, citing patient privacy laws.)

Baby Camille came home in time for Christmas 2014, almost four months after her birth. Her brother Catreyal was released the following month after several surgeries and near-death episodes.

He remains physically and mentally impaired. While his sister is running and trying to form words, he can’t walk or talk. Givens-Perkins is left to start another generation of child-rearing, this one much harder than the first.

“That first year was a year from pure hell,” Givens-Perkins said. “I didn’t know what to do. I was calling people. Do they still boil bottles? I was sure a lot had changed. It was 20 years since I had had a baby. I had to relearn how to do this.”

(This story was reported with a grant from the United Nations Foundation.)

Chrisette Michele says backlash from performing at Trump’s inauguration played factor in miscarriage

Chrisette Michele recently revealed she believes her miscarriage, career issues and suicidal thoughts were due to the backlash she received from singing for President Donald Trump. 

» RELATED: Photos: Donald Trump's inauguration

In January, the songstress took the stage at Trump’s inauguration. Although she said she did not support him, she shared with The Breakfast Club Thursday she wanted to perform to send a message of hope. 

“We’re hurting. I want to be there to console,” she told the radio hosts while reflecting on the experience. “I thought that saying that everything was going to be alright was the right thing to say. And I was wrong.”

While she has since apologized, the criticism she has heard has been immense. From death threats to canceled business deals to a loss of fans, she said the reactions have been “hurtful.”

» RELATED: Trump supporter's Halloween decorations spark controversy

In fact, she believes the pressure played a factor in her miscarriage and label troubles, news she first shared in now-deleted Instagram posts. 

“The stress of just being an artist sometimes is a lot. But the stress of Trump becoming the president, the stress of me being associated with someone I don’t support and then the stress of me being hated online and then the stress of me wondering if I ever wanted to sing again, I think had a lot to do with the stress on my body,” she said. 

Now she says she regrets singing for the president, and she’s been doing yoga and taking breaks from social media to work on her anxiety 

With her new music, she wants to be more open about her mental health and learn different ways to advocate for her community.

“It’s got to be this is how we’re going to get to the next place. Instead of saying it’s going to be all right, show me it’s going to be alright. That’s my biggest takeaway,” she admitted. “You can’t just stand anywhere and tell people everything is fine.” 

» RELATED: Man fired over post about driving through Trump protesters

‘The Twilight Zone’ reboot with Jordan Peele is on its way 

The original “Twilight Zone” ended in 1964, but after just five years on the air, it’s had a cultural impact that’s lasted 10 times as long as its original run and warranted revivals in the 1980s and the 2000s. Thanks to CBS, it’s about to get a third, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

CBS Corporation CEO Leslie Moonves made the announcement during a conference call with investors Friday.

“(CBS) All Access will be the home of a new version of one of the most iconic television shows of all time: The Twilight Zone,” Moonves said, according to Variety.

CBS All Access is the network’s streaming platform that’s also home to a reboot of “Star Trek: Discovery” and scripted originals.

>> Read more trending news

Actor and director Jordan Peele will have a large hand in the show’s revival under his production company, Monkeypaw Productions, which also produced Peele’s directorial debut, “Get Out.” Marco Ramirez, of “Sons of Anarchy,” will reportedly write and work as showrunner. Their exact roles haven’t been confirmed yet.

Rod Sterling’s original series was celebrated for exploring deeper, more introspective topics than some of its contemporaries. The show was as likely to star its viewers’ own prejudices, fears and aspirations as any one character. It won three Emmys during its initial run.

CBS, which has owned the rights since the show’s creation, is choosing to revive the “The Twilight Zone” as the show gains attention across the globe. The “Twilight Zone” stage play adaptation opens in London’s Almeida Theatre in December for a short run. That theatrical adaptation is directed by Richard Jones, who also directed the “Titanic” musical on Broadway.

Other details about the reboot, including when it airs, are not yet known.

What is Kwanzaa? 7 enlightening facts about the holiday

In 2017, Kwanzaa celebrates its 51st anniversary but compared to its more popular counterparts, it is relatively unknown. 

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Here are a few facts to help anyone that is curious and considering celebrating this holiday.

It was created in 1966 by Pan-African activist and academic Maulana Karenga.

Karenga, born Ron Everett, created the holiday during a particularly tumultuous time in American history. Karenga was a member of US Organization, or simply US, a black nationalist group that was providing relief after the Watts riots broke out in 1965. According to TIME, this turbulent season is when Everett created Kwanzaa. "He saw that black people here had no holidays of their own and felt that holidays give a people a sense of identity and direction." Imamu Clyde Halisi, then national chairman of US, told the magazine in 1972.

Kwanzaa is observed for seven days, and there is a different value for each day.

On each night, a candle is lit to observe the nguzo saba, the seven principles of Kwanzaa. The principles of Kwanzaa are: Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa (cooperative economics), Nia (purpose), Kuumba (creativity) and Imani (faith). 

The candles include one black, three red and three green. The colors red, black and green are important to Pan-Africanists. Black represents "the people" while red is for the blood spilled in the struggle for liberation and green for the future of black liberation.

Kwanzaa is a secular holiday.

The holiday draws influence from a variety of African cultures and practices. "Kwanzaa self-consciously avoids theological emphasis, for it is this emphasis that reveals and cultivates differences. What Kwanzaa does stress is the ethical which brings forth the best of African and human thought and practice and offers a basis of common ground," Karenga said in a 2000 interview with Belief Net.

Kwanzaa is open to people of other cultures.

There's a common misconception that Kwanzaa is closed to non-black people because of its radical roots. However, according to the official Kwanzaa website, anyone is welcome to celebrate the holiday, comparing it to other cultural holidays."Other people can and do celebrate it, just like other people participate in Cinco de Mayo besides Mexicans; Chinese New Year besides Chinese; Native American pow wows besides Native Americans," Karenga said in an interview with the site.

It is often celebrated along with Christmas.

In the holiday's early years, it was frowned upon to celebrate Kwanzaa and Christmas. As it became more popular, participants began to observe both holidays. "We definitely had to come to terms with Kwanzaa," Celeste Morris, a mother of two, told the New York Times in 1990. "It was easier when the kids were younger because they didn't really grasp the full meaning of the holidays. As they got older, they wanted Christmas. Kwanzaa was good food; Christmas was toys." Still, the official Kwanzaa website urges families to not mix Kwanzaa with Christmas symbols because it contradicts the principle of kujichagulia.

Kwanzaa's dates weren't chosen because of Christmas or Hannukah, according to Karenga.

Although Kwanzaa is often observed with Christmas and resembles Hanukkah in format, Karenga claims the dates have a different origin. "A central model for Kwanzaa is umkhosi or the Zulu first-fruit celebration which is seven days and is celebrated about this time," Karenga said in the Belief Net interview. "Other first-fruit celebrations were celebrated at the end of the old year and the beginning of the New Year such as Pert-em-Min of ancient Egypt. So, Kwanzaa's model is older than Christmas and Hanukkah and thus does not borrow from them or seek to imitate them..." This differs from what Halisi told TIME in 1972. "It begins December 26," said Halisi, "so we'll be in a position to benefit from the after-Christmas sales."

At the end of the week, gifts are exchanged and there's a feast.

On the seventh night, gifts are exchanged. Handmade gifts are preferred and the items must relate to the principles. Typically, children are the primary recipients. The gift exchange must always include a book and a "heritage symbol," or item that represents African history and traditions. Kwanzaa concludes with a feast called the karamu. Hosts are encouraged to display their most beautiful art and African cloths along with fresh fruit and vegetables.

Donna Brazile says she found ‘proof’ that Clinton rigged Democratic race against Sanders

Donna Brazile, a longtime political operative and the former interim Democratic National Committee chairwoman, says Hillary Clinton struck a deal with the DNC to run the organization’s finances and have a role in the organization’s operations.

In an excerpt from a book she has written about the 2016 presidential election, Brazile says she discovered proof Clinton had rigged the nomination process, "as a cache of emails stolen by Russian hackers and posted online had suggested,"blocking Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders from getting the nomination. 

Brazile describes an agreement between the Hillary Victory Fund, a joint fundraising organization between the campaign and the DNC, Hillary for America, Clinton’s campaign, and the DNC. In exchange for the paying down of the DNC’s debt, Clinton’s campaign was given control of the “party’s finances, strategy, and all the money raised,” Brazile wrote.

“Obama left the party $24 million in debt—$15 million in bank debt and more than $8 million owed to vendors after the 2012 campaign and had been paying that off very slowly. Obama’s campaign was not scheduled to pay it off until 2016. Hillary for America ...  and the Hillary Victory Fund ... had taken care of 80 percent of the remaining debt in 2016, about $10 million, and had placed the party on an allowance.”

While it is not unusual for the national political parties to work with the party nominee when it comes to strategy and decisions, Clinton had not yet been selected as the party’s nominee.

Brazile also slammed former President Barack Obama for leaving the party $24 million in debt, and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, (D-Florida), who Brazile said was “not a good manager.” She described how she promised Sanders, who ran against Clinton for the Democratic nomination, that she would investigate “whether Hillary Clinton’s team had rigged the nomination process.”

“By September 7, the day I called Bernie, I had found my proof and it broke my heart,” Brazile wrote.

Politico published an excerpt from “Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns that Put Donald Trump in the White House.”

Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns that Put Donald Trump in the White House” will be published on Nov. 7 by Hachette Books.

University of Hartford student arrested after allegedly poisoning freshman roommate

A University of Hartford freshman was arrested this weekend after she allegedly admitted to a series of disturbing acts against her roommate in a confession that was posted to a social media account under her name.

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On Saturday, police took 18-year-old Brianna Brochu into custody on charges of third-degree criminal mischief and second-degree breach of peace, MassLive reports. The arrest comes after an Instagram post was found on her account saying that she spent the past month and a half secretly abusing her roommate. In the post, the freshman allegedly admitted to “putting moldy clam dip in her (roommate’s) lotions, rubbing used tampons on her backpack and putting her toothbrush places where the sun don’t shine.” At one point in the post, her roommate is referred to as “Jamaican Barbie.”

Brochu’s roommate, Jazzy Rowe, posted a video to Facebook in which she said that she’s constantly been sick throughout the school year. She said that her illness began with throat pain that she thought was a cold. After three weeks, the pain was so fierce that she couldn’t speak. Finally, Rowe moved out, and moments after she left her old room, she claims that two resident assistants came up to her and showed her the Brochu’s Instagram post.

University of Hartford President Greg Woodward issued a statement saying that he has met with Rowe and been in communication with her family. He also said “racism and hatred will not be tolerated on the campus.” Woodward later wrote in a statement that Brochu is no longer a student at the university. 

Police have ordered Rowe and Brochu not to contact each other, the Hartford Courant reports. She was arrested by the West Hartford Police Department, who have not released a statement.

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