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‘Diversity Hire’ Workplace Comedy Produced By Felicia D. Henderson Gets Fox Put Pilot Commitment

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In a competitive situation, Fox has given a put pilot commitment to Diversity Hire, a provocative single-camera workplace comedy from the Empire duo of Cameron Johnson and Felicia D. Henderson, producer Darryl Taja (The Perfect Guy) and Empire studio 20th Century Fox TV, where Henderson is under an overall deal.

Written by Johnson, Diversity Hire is described as an irreverent workplace half-hour that will comedically explore our beliefs about race, class, and gender, while pushing the boundaries of political correctness. The show centers on Zenzi Baker, a brilliant, young, African-American, programmer whose life is turned upside down when her boss embroils his successful tech company in a publicity nightmare. To save face, Zenzi, a low-level coder, is plucked from obscurity and promoted to chief diversity and inclusion officer. Her primary qualification? She’s “diverse.

”Henderson executive produces via her WaterWalk Entertainment banner.alongside her longtime manager./producing partner Taja. Johnson is co-executive producer. Diversity Hire is a co-production of 20th Century Fox TV and Fox Entertainment.

This marks Henderson’s second sale to Fox this development season. It joins music-driven drama, Opus, starring Nicole Ari Parker, which Henderson is writing.

Under Henderson’s 20th TV overall deal, she joined the studio’s Fox drama series Empire last season where she and Johnson met. Johnson is a writer on the family soap, currently staffed as a story editor.

“I love working with the next generation of content creators. It scratches my mentoring itch,” said Henderson. “And Cameron has this amazing, special, unique voice that is irreverent, honest, and hilarious. Developing this show with him has been a ridiculous amount of fun.”

Currently, Henderson is a consulting producer on 20th TV’s upcoming Fox series neXt, an FBI cyber-crime drama set to premiere in January 2020. She recently co-created and executive produced the BET series, The Quad, and spent two years as a co-executive producer on Netflix’s The Punisher. She also developed and executive produced Showtime’s long-running drama series Soul Food.

Henderson’s writing career began in half-hour comedy with stints on Everybody Hates Chris, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and Moesha. She is repped by Epidemic Management and attorney Mark Stankevich. Johnson is repped by Kim Stenton at Myman Greenspan.

New Tyler Perry Studio To Include Shelter For Homeless LGBTQ Youth and Trafficked Women

 

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This past week Tyler Perry opened the doors to his new 330-acre movie studio with a gala celebration. Perry tells CBS that the project that he is “most excited about” is the inclusion of this compound.

The compound will be the next phase for Tyler Perry’s legacy and another opportunity for the mogul to give back to his community.

“Pulling this next phase off is building a compound for trafficked women, girls, homeless women, LGBTQ youth who are put out and displaced and having a compound that is a beautiful place right here,” said Perry in an interview with CBS’ Gayle King.

He goes on to say that somewhere on this 330 acres training in the business will be provided as way for them to become self sufficient; they will live in nice apartments, and daycare will also be provided for those who need it. These are the wonderful things that Tyler Perry “hope to do soon.”

Consumers Care About Diversity & Inclusion — and They Want Companies to Own Up to Their Mistakes

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Diversity is likely among the most-discussed topics for fashion brands and retailers right now. But it isn’t just a buzzword: Consumers are now increasingly making their shopping choices based on a brand’s approach to diversity and inclusion.

According to a First Insight, Inc. report released today, over half of U.S. consumers said having women and minorities in senior leadership positions was important — with 52% of women and 54% of men saying that companies should hire chief diversity officers. Roughly half of Americans surveyed (48% of men and 45% of women) said cultural inclusivity was important.

 

As D&I dominates fashion industry discussions, luxury brands have beefed up their initiatives. Gucci named Renée E. Tirado its first-ever global head of diversity, equity and inclusion in July, while Prada announced a diversity council with Ava DuVernay and Theaster Gates as co-chairs in February. Just this month, French luxury conglomerate Kering appointed Kalpana Bagamane Denzel chief diversity, inclusion and talent officer.

Fast-fashion and athletic brands have also taken steps to improve their D&I. In 2018, H&M selected Annie Wu as its global leader of diversity and inclusiveness and Nike installed Kellie Leonard as its first chief diversity and inclusion officer.

Notably, many of the brands that have taken steps toward diversity and inclusivity have done so in response to scandal. For instance, Gucci came under fire in May for selling an $800 “Indy Full Turban” resembling a religious article of clothing for Sikhs, as well as in February for selling an $890 balaclava sweater that consumers said looked like blackface iconography. Meanwhile, Prada’s Otto character sparked backlash in December 2018, as many deemed its appearance similar to blackface. And Burberry took heat when it sent a model out at its fall ’19 show wearing a hoodie that featured a drawstring, resembling a noose. (read more)

Ellen DeGeneres addresses controversy after sitting next to George W. Bush at Dallas Cowboys game, says she’s friends with ‘people who don’t share the same beliefs’

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Ellen DeGeneres didn’t punt on the chance to address controversy surrounding her seating arrangement at the Dallas Cowboys game Sunday.

The talk show host drew some criticism after she was seen sitting next to former president George W. Bush in a suite during the Cowboys’ matchup with the Green Bay Packers.

“People were upset,” DeGeneres says in a segment set to air on her show Tuesday. “They thought, ‘Why is a gay Hollywood liberal sitting next to a conservative Republican president?’ … A lot of people were mad, and they did what people do when they’re mad: They tweet.”

DeGeneres, who posted the clip Monday night on Twitter, said she and her wife, actress Portia de Rossi, were guests at the game of Charlotte Jones, the daughter of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

She then defended her friendship with Bush.

“I’m friends with George Bush,” DeGeneres said. “In fact, I’m friends with a lot of people who don’t share the same beliefs that I have.”

Ellen DeGeneres

@TheEllenShow

Yes, that was me at the Cowboys game with George W. Bush over the weekend. Here’s the whole story.

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During Sunday’s game, DeGeneres snapped a cellphone video that featured Bush smiling as she panned the camera over to him. Bush appeared on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” in 2017.

In her segment addressing the situation, DeGeneres shared a tweet from someone who said seeing her sit next to Bush gave them faith in America.

“Just because I don’t agree with someone on everything doesn’t mean that I’m not going to be friends with them,” DeGeneres said. “When I say be kind to one another, I don’t mean only the people that think the same way that you do. I mean be kind to everyone.”

DeGeneres added during the monologue that she was rooting for the Packers, who beat the Cowboys on Sunday, 34-24.

See the Most Diverse National Universities

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These National Universities enroll many students from various minority groups.

Schools with multiple ethnicities on campus

U.S. News identifies colleges where undergrads are most likely to encounter other students from a different racial or ethnic background by examining the proportion of minority students, excluding international students, at a school and the overall mix of groups. Schools are measured on their campus ethnic diversity on a scale from 0, the least diverse, to 1, most diverse. Including ties, here are the 16 most ethnically diverse National Universities, which offer a range of undergraduate programs as well as master’s and Ph.D. programs. (click here to see the list)

CNN Poll: Americans becoming more likely to say diversity enhances culture

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In the last few years, Americans have become more likely to say the country’s increasing diversity enriches the nation’s culture, even as perceptions of how others experience racial discrimination have grown more divided by partisanship, according to new findings from a CNN Poll conducted by SSRS.

More than 8 in 10 Americans (81%) say the increasing number of people of many different races, ethnic groups and nationalities in the US is enriching American culture, up from 70% in 2016 survey by CNN and the Kaiser Family Foundation. Solid majorities across party lines feel this way, including 69% of Republicans, 82% of independents and 91% of Democrats.

But at the same time, there’s been an increase in the share who say that racial and ethnic minorities face frequent discrimination, with those figures becoming more polarized along party lines.

Overall, 44% now say African Americans face “a lot” of discrimination in society today, up 8 points since a 2015 survey conducted by CNN and the Kaiser Family Foundation. About 4 in 10 say the same for Hispanic Americans (39%, up from 30%) and 1 in 10 about Asian Americans (11%, up from 5%). Even more, 50%, say immigrants to the US face a lot of discrimination, a question new to this poll.

In every case where there is trend, partisans have moved in opposite directions compared with results from the 2015 poll. Democrats are about 20 points more likely now (72% vs. 53%) to say African Americans face a lot of discrimination in society today, while Republicans are four points less likely to do so (14% vs. 18%). A 23-point gap between Democrats and Republicans on whether Hispanic Americans face a lot of discrimination (42% among Democrats vs. 19% among Republicans) has doubled to a 46-point gap (59% vs. 13%). And a statistically insignificant four-point difference between Democrats and Republicans on the amount of discrimination faced by Asian Americans (6% vs. 2%) has grown to a meaningful 14-point one (15% vs. 1%).
Even when considering discrimination against white Americans, partisans are moving in opposite directions. Among Republicans, 18% say whites face a lot of discrimination in society today, up from 11% in 2015. Among Democrats, the share has held roughly steady (4% now vs. 5% in 2015). (read more)

Diahann Carroll, Actress Who Broke Barriers With ‘Julia,’ Dies at 84

Diahann Carroll

In addition to being a sitcom pioneer, she sang on television, in nightclubs, on recordings and on Broadway, where she won a Tony Award.

Diahann Carroll, who more than half a century ago transcended racial barriers as the star of “Julia,” the first American television series to chronicle the life of a black professional woman, died on Friday at her home in West Hollywood, Calif. She was 84.

Her publicist, Jeffrey Lane, said the cause was complications of breast cancer. Ms. Carroll had survived the cancer in the 1990s and become a public advocate for screening and treatment.

A situation comedy broadcast on NBC from 1968 to 1971, “Julia” starred Ms. Carroll as Julia Baker, a widowed nurse with a young son. The show featured Marc Copage as Julia’s son, and Lloyd Nolan as the curmudgeonly but broad-minded doctor for whom she worked. (“Have you always been a Negro or are you just trying to be fashionable?” he asks Julia in an audacious, widely quoted line from the first episode.) (read more)

24-Hour Black News Channel to Debut in November

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I love Baby Boy reruns as much as the next person, but I’ve wondered for years why BET completely abandoned their daily news programming. And with TV One’s decision to can Roland Martin’s News One Now in 2017, those of us eager for network news have had to sift though a deluge of nebulous coverage that far too often ignores our purview.

But according to the Pasadena Black Pages, that’s all about to change. Because come November, we’ll all be watching “intelligent programming that is informative, educational, inspiring and empowering to its African American audience” on the the 24-hour, appropriately-titled Black News Channel.

Black News Channel (BNC) will be a unique multi-platform news and information channel created for African Americans, subscription television’s most dynamic, high growth, and loyal consumers.

Despite the proliferation of basic and premium cable television channels during the past two decades, the number of cable news networks dedicated to serving the nation’s African American communities remains at ZERO! Black News Channel will be the nation’s first channel to fill this significant void and provide African America viewers news, information, and educational content focused on their interests and needs while tapping into subscription television’s most profitable market.

The mastermind behind this ambitious endeavor is chairman and visionary ​J.C. Watts, Jr. He’s a former GOP congressman whose previous endeavors include J.C. Watts Companies, a multi-industry holding company headquartered in Washington, D.C.; and Watts Partners, which works with clients to implement business development, communications, government relations and public affairs strategies. He’s also had a role as a corporate director for a number of major companies, including Dillard’s Department Stores, CSX Corporation and ITC Holdings.

BNC will launch to an estimated 33 million households—of which 23 million are satellite TV while the remaining 10 million are cable TV—in the top African American television markets, including New York, Los Angeles, and Atlanta.

(Sorry, black people in Vermont—you’ll have to wait.)

To prepare for launch, BNC’s management team conducted live 18-month long on-air programming trials that were produced and distributed to eight million homes. Of additional note, this labor of love has been in the works since 2004.

BNC prides itself as being the only television news network with news programming that will be gathered, written, and produced “by black people for black people.” And to ensure its legacy carries on, BNC will partner with HBCUs to train the next generation of aspiring journalists. (read more)

Miss USA, Miss Teen USA and Miss America are all black women. This ‘Essence’ cover honors the monumental moment.

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After becoming Miss USA, Miss Teen USA and Miss America, the three women are still reigning supreme and racking up the wins. The trio’s most recent achievement: appearing together on the cover of Essence magazine to honor the beauty of black women and the importance of inclusion.

In the feature, “Our Crowns, Our Glory: America’s Reigning Beauty Queens Are Black, Bold and Rocking Many Crowns,” Cheslie Kryst (Miss USA), Kaliegh Garris (Miss Teen USA) and Nia Franklin (Miss America) talk making history this year as their wins in their respective pageants marked the first time black women held those titles simultaneously.

“My title and my crown mean a chance to be inclusive,” Franklin said. “It gives me the opportunity to represent a group that has not always been represented in this country.”

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Even when Vanessa Williams became the first black woman to win the Miss America pageant, her 1984 feat was shortly overshadowed by controversy as she not only received racist hate mail, she was also forced to give up her crown over nude photos taken prior to her win. Though Carole Gist won Miss USA in 1990, Janel Bishop won Miss Teen USA in 1991 and other black winners would go on to be crowned, Kryst noted that dated beauty standards often left women of color feeling unwelcome in beauty pageants. (read more)

Diversity of Jury Seen as Key Factor in Officer’s Conviction

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Assistant District Attorney Mischeka Nicholson shows the jury a photo of victim Botham Jean during closing remarks in the sentencing phase of former Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger’s murder trial, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019, in Dallas. Guyger, who said she mistook neighbor Botham Jean’s apartment for her own and fatally shot him in his living room, was sentenced to a decade in prison. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News via AP, Pool) THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

The questioning dragged on all day and into the evening as lawyers queried hundreds of prospective jurors for potential bias in the trial of Amber Guyger, the white Dallas police officer who fatally shot a black neighbor in his own living room.

Finally, the judge sent everyone home except the attorneys, who made their final selections in private.

It wasn’t until jurors filed into the courtroom for opening statements that the public got its first look at something many had hoped for: a panel that was as racially diverse as Dallas County.

On Wednesday, the jury composed largely of people of color and women sentenced Guyger to 10 years in prison, a day after convicting her of murder in the September 2018 killing of her upstairs neighbor, Botham Jean, after she said she mistook his apartment for her own.

“This trial had a magnifying glass on it,” and jury selection was a fairer process because of that, said Alex Piquero, a criminologist at the University of Texas at Dallas. He said prosecutors and defense attorneys likely realized there would be a huge public outcry if the jury turned out mostly white.

“There were so many different eyes looking at this case, it was hard not to play by the rules,” he said.

Guyger, 31, was still in her police uniform after a long shift when she shot Jean, a 26-year-old accountant from the Caribbean island nation of St. Lucia, after pushing open the unlocked door to his apartment. She was soon fired from the force and charged with murder.

She testified at her trial that she mistook Jean’s home for her own, which was one floor below, and thought he was a burglar.

From the beginning, the jury’s demographics were bound to be closely watched in a case that ignited debate over race and policing. Critics, including Jean’s family, questioned why Guyger was not taken into custody immediately after the shooting and whether race played a factor in her decision to use deadly force.

Some outside court reacted angrily Wednesday to the punishment given to Guyger by the jury, arguing it was too lenient. (read more)

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