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Jussie Smollett Raises $40,000 to Fight HIV/AIDS in Black Communities

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rfocus.org

When you ask Jussie Smollett—one of the breakthrough stars from Fox's uber-successful TV show Empire—how he wants to be introduced, he always leads with the word activist. For many actors in Hollywood, that's just a public-relations gimmick; not Smollett. In a recent interview, he shared how his mother would admonish him and his siblings as children, "There are two things you must do: Love one another and be an activist." Note that being an actor did not make her list.

With his mother's voice and a sense of the type of real activism that generates change imprinted on his psyche, Jussie is not satisfied just using his voice and celebrity to draw attention to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. He recently leveraged his $20,000 gift to raise $40,000 for the Black AIDS Institute.

Smollett and his five siblings, especially his younger sister actor Jurnee Smollett-Bell, took heed. Jussie and Jurnee have been HIV/AIDS activists since they were 15 and 12 years old, respectively. Both also have been inducted into the Black AIDS Institute's "Heroes in the Struggle" Hall of Fame for their heroic contributions in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Today, Jussie currently serves on the Institute's board of directors and Jurnee is an HIV/AIDS ambassador.

"Jussie talks the talk, walks the walk and puts his money where his mouth and heart are," says Phill Wilson, the Institute's President and CEO. "We have many celebrities who support our work, and I am eternally grateful for their voices and time. But money fuels change. It takes dollars to test people for HIV; it takes donations to link people to care; it takes resources to resist the draconian and devastating attacks Donald Trump and his administration are waging on the HIV/AIDS community. If the President and the Republican-led Congress have their way, we are going to lose any opportunity to end the AIDS epidemic. Jussie understands that."

Individual gifts demonstrate not only the power of philanthropy but also of the impact that individual donations can have no matter their size. When faced with the Institute's recent budget shortfall, Jussie immediately stepped up. Realizing the importance of engaging others, he had the foresight to make his $20,000 donation a challenge gift, where a donor makes a contribution contingent upon other donors also contributing.

"So, in the end, we turned Jussie's $20,000 contribution into $40,000. Those donations not only helped close our budget gap. They also helped us launch a testing campaign where we developed a monthly support group for 30 to 40 men," says Wilson.

Smollett's next project for the Black AIDS Institute is chairing the 2017 Heroes in the Struggle Gala in September. "As a member of the Black AIDS Institute's Board and past Heroes in the Struggle honoree, I'm so excited about this year's event. I can tell you, this year's awards presentation is going to be a huge departure from our past shows. Number one: All of the 2017 inductees are going to be women. I know from my personal experience, women have been so important to this fight. While I'm not going to give away all of our secrets, I can tell you one of this year's honorees will be none other than my TV mom, Taraji P. Henson. The Gala promises to be one of the events of the year. The other "sheroes" are equally beautiful, talented and fierce as Cookie Lyon."

Jussie can be seen on the big screen in Alien Covenant, the latest installment of the Alien franchise. And of course, you can catch up on the life of Jamal Lyon when Empire returns to Fox for its fourth season, premiering on Wednesday, September 27, at 8:00 p.m. Eastern/7:00 p.m. Central.

For more information, or to learn how you can volunteer or donate to the Black AIDS Institute, go to www.BlackAIDS.org, email assistant@blackaids.org, or call (213) 353-3610 ext. 105.

Roland Martin Takes Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to School on HBCU's

Roland Martin Takes Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to School on HBCU’s

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rfocus.orgMonday night got quite interesting  when the Education Department issued a statement from Education Secretary Betsy DeVos that set quite a few people off, including TV One's Roland Martin.  DeVos released the statement while several HBCU officials are currently in Washington to meet with President Trump and several other Republican leaders in an effort to gain more support and funding. 

In DeVos statement she sugar coats the HBCU experience and why they were necessary then and now.  "HBCUs are real pioneers when it comes to school choice," she said. "They are living proof that when more options are provided to students, they are afforded greater access and greater quality. Their success has shown that more options help students flourish."

HBCU advocates were not having it as they took to social media to show their utter discontent for the lackluster summation of the black college experience. Most argued that black students had absolutely no choice due to discrimination and segregation and therefore historically black colleges had to be created.  The social media response was one thing bur Roland Martin's response this morning on TV One was on another level.  

Let's just say Roland gave the Education Secretary a little education. 

 

Robert L. Johnson Will Receive Highest Award Recognition In Media From The Library Of American Broadcasting

Bob Johnson Says Blacks Should Have No Permanent Friends or Enemies When it Comes...

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Radio Facts: 010_robert_johnsonHow should Black American voters respond to the tectonic political rift and the stress of a permanently divided Nation that the election of Donald J. Trump have laid bare? This national and irrational divisiveness, if left unanswered, could render African Americans a declining voice in the increasingly zero-sum game of the electoral process that is today's American political system and I fear that of the future. In my opinion, for far too long, African Americans have failed to draw upon and exercise our historically unified voting clout and bloc to become "the balance of power" between the two parties before deciding to support or oppose either party based solely on our unique and special interests. The times demand that we take the necessary and urgent steps to address this reality. Here are my thoughts as to how African American voters should proceed: Based on the outcome of this election, if we feel a need to protest and raise our voices to draw attention to both our fears and concerns, we should do so. However, as the leaders of the Civil Rights movement did, so effectively, we should protest with peaceful confrontation and in full recognition that the greatest strength of this country is the peaceful transfer of power and governance based on free and open elections. This governance is regulated by the checks and balances and the separation of powers enshrined by the rule of law of the U.S. Constitution. Most importantly, as a minority population, we want the assurances that a peaceful transfer of power will be sustained when the President or political party that we support comes to power. We must realize, this is not the last election in America and that elections at every level of government – federal, state and local – will continue to take place. Our job now is to continue to mobilize in these elections whenever and wherever they occur. We should, as before, educate and inform our voting community about the critical social and economic issues that impact our families, our community and this Nation. We are required to challenge and to demand that all candidates or parties in pursuit of our vote, whether they are Republican, Democrat or Independent, explain in comprehensive terms what they propose to do for us to make our lives better. Remember, the most precious and powerful asset we possess in this democracy is the right to vote in favor of or against those who seek to govern us. Let us not give away that right; let us make them earn our vote! Finally, and this is most critical, it is time for Black American voters to return to a political ideology and an engagement strategy with the two party system that was proposed to us almost 45 years ago at the founding of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). Why shouldn't we, as Black voters, reject the notion that we are locked into one party which undoubtedly limits and dilutes our voting power? We should, instead, use the power of our vote to support and elect whichever party that best serves our interests. I am convinced that this is what Congressman William Clay of Missouri had in mind when the CBC was formed in 1971. Congressman Clay, who I had the honor of knowing, was bold, astute and showed amazing insight when he declared, and I quote, "Black people have no permanent friends, no permanent enemies, just permanent interests." That was the CBC motto then and Black Americans should embrace it as our rallying cry today. To the Republican Party, we say to you, even though you have ignored us or often times actively conspired against our rights, "we have no permanent enemies." To the Democratic Party, we say to you, even though you have taken our vote for granted and often patronized us, "we have no permanent friends." What we do have are "permanent interests" and we invite both Parties to demonstrate your understanding of and willingness to respect and address our interests. Robert L. Johnson is the Founder and Chairman of The RLJ Companies and the Founder of Black Entertainment Television.

CBS Corporation Reports Third Quarter 2016 Results Revenues Up 4% to $3.4 Billion

CBS Corporation Reports Third Quarter 2016 Results Revenues Up 4% to $3.4 Billion Operating Income Up 6% to $798 Million cbs_radio_650-1.jpg Diluted EPS Up 31% to $1.15; Adjusted Diluted EPS Up 19% to $1.05 CBS Corporation (NYSE: CBS.A and CBS) today reported results for the third quarter of 2016, including the highest quarterly diluted earnings per share ("EPS") in the Company's history and a third quarter record for revenues and operating income. "CBS is clearly knocking the cover off the ball, including revenue and profit growth across every one of our operating segments," said Leslie Moonves, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, CBS Corporation. "Our premium content continues to be the driving force behind our success, starting with the CBS Television Network, which kicked off another terrific season as the #1 network, with the #1 new drama, Bull, and the #1 new comedy, Kevin Can Wait. With ownership in all of our new fall shows, we have once again positioned our Company to monetize additional content across all platforms for years to come. This includes content licensing and distribution, which benefited from a 40% increase in streaming revenue during the third quarter. It also includes affiliate and subscription fees, where retransmission consent and reverse compensation grew 32% during the quarter, and where we continue to see rapid growth in our subscription streaming services, CBS All Access and Showtime OTT. Meanwhile, advertising remains strong and is accelerating here in the fourth quarter as our new upfront pricing kicks in and political spending is ramping up nicely. Looking ahead to the separation of our radio business, we see additional opportunities to return value to shareholders and invest in our core content business. So we feel extremely good about our future, and we are confident we have set ourselves up to succeed under any scenario." Third Quarter 2016 Results Revenues for the third quarter of 2016 increased 4% to $3.40 billion from $3.26 billion for the same prior-year period. The growth was led by a 32% increase in retransmission revenues and fees from CBS Television Network affiliated stations as well as growth from digital distribution platforms. Content licensing and distribution revenues increased 6%, driven by growth in domestic television licensing sales. Advertising revenues during the third quarter were affected by 10 hours of primetime preemptions for Democratic and Republican conventions and the first Presidential debate as well as competition from the 2016 Summer Olympics, while advertising benefited from higher political spending. Operating income for the third quarter of 2016 increased 6% to $798 million from $753 million for the same prior-year period, reflecting the higher revenues, which were partially offset by increased investment in programming. Net earnings from continuing operations of $514 million for the third quarter of 2016 rose 21% from $426 million for the same quarter in 2015, and adjusted net earnings from continuing operations increased 10% to $467 million, driven by the higher operating income. EPS from continuing operations for the third quarter of 2016 grew 31% to $1.15 from $.88 for the same quarter in 2015, and adjusted EPS increased 19% to $1.05. Weighted average shares outstanding were 446 million in the third quarter of 2016, down from 484 million in the prior-year period, mainly as a result of the Company's ongoing share repurchase program. Adjusted results for the third quarter of 2016 excluded a one-time tax benefit of $47 million associated with a multiyear adjustment to a tax deduction, which was approved by the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") during the third quarter of 2016. No adjustments were made to reported results for the third quarter of 2015. Free Cash Flow, Balance Sheet and Liquidity For the third quarter of 2016, operating cash flow from continuing operations was an inflow of $55 million compared with an outflow of $231 million in the same prior-year period, and for the first nine months of the year, operating cash flow from continuing operations was $1.31 billion compared with $650 million in 2015. For the third quarter of 2016, free cash flow was an inflow of $9 million compared with an outflow of $289 million for the same prior-year period, and for the first nine months of 2016, free cash flow of $1.18 billion increased from $546 million in 2015. The increases for the nine-month period were driven by growth in affiliate and subscription fees and higher advertising revenues, including from the broadcast of Super Bowl 50 on CBS, partially offset by increased investment in content. During the third quarter of 2016, the Company issued $700 million of 2.90% senior notes due 2027 and used the net proceeds from this issuance for general corporate purposes, including the repurchase of CBS Corp. Class B Common Stock and the repayment of short-term borrowings, including commercial paper. Repurchase of Company Stock During the third quarter of 2016, the Company repurchased 9.5 million shares of its Class B Common Stock for $500 million. For the first nine months of 2016, the Company repurchased 29.0 million shares of its Class B Common Stock for $1.50 billion, at an average cost of $51.76 per share. Radio Separation In connection with the Company's previously announced plans to separate its radio business, CBS Radio Inc. ("CBS Radio") filed a preliminary registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission during the third quarter of 2016 for the proposed initial public offering of its common stock. In October 2016, CBS Radio borrowed $1.46 billion through a $1.06 billion senior secured term loan due 2023 and the issuance of $400 million of 7.25% senior unsecured notes due 2024 through a private placement ("CBS Radio Borrowings"). The term loan bears interest at a rate equal to 3.50% plus the greater of LIBOR and 1.00%. The weighted average interest rate on these borrowings is 5.25% as of November 3, 2016. Also in October 2016, CBS Radio entered into a $250 million senior secured revolving credit facility. As of November 3, 2016, there were no outstanding borrowings under the revolving credit facility. The CBS Radio Borrowings are guaranteed by certain subsidiaries of CBS Radio. The Company does not guarantee, or otherwise provide credit support for, the CBS Radio Borrowings or the revolving credit facility. The net debt proceeds will be primarily used by CBS Corporation to repurchase shares of its Class B Common Stock, with the remainder to be used for general corporate purposes and ongoing cash needs. Segment Presentation In preparation for the planned separation of CBS Radio, the Company changed the manner in which it manages its television and radio operations during the third quarter of 2016. Accordingly, the Company's previously reported operating segment, Local Broadcasting, has been separated into two operating segments, Local Media and Radio. In connection with this new segment presentation, the presentation of intercompany revenues has been revised, including station affiliation fees paid by Local Media to the CBS Television Network. Prior period results have been reclassified to conform to this presentation. Reconciliations of non-GAAP measures to reported results are included at the end of this earnings release. Consolidated and Segment Results (dollars in millions) The tables below present the Company's revenues by segment and type, operating income (loss) excluding restructuring charges, impairment charges, and other operating items, net by segment ("Segment Operating Income"), and depreciation and amortization by segment for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2016, and 2015. Entertainment (CBS Television Network, CBS Television Studios, CBS Studios International, CBS Television Distribution, CBS Interactive, and CBS Films) Entertainment revenues for the third quarter of 2016 were $1.95 billion, up 1% from $1.93 billion for the same prior-year period. This increase was led by 39% growth in affiliate and subscription fees, driven by higher station affiliation fees and subscription growth for CBS All Access. Due to 10 hours of primetime preemptions for Democratic and Republican conventions and the first Presidential debate as well as competition from the 2016 Summer Olympics, network advertising revenues were down 2% for the third quarter. Content licensing and distributions revenues were 3% lower than last year's third quarter, which included the initial domestic availability of Elementary. Growth in domestic streaming sales partly offset this impact. Entertainment operating income for the third quarter of 2016 grew 3% to $348 million from $339 million for the same prior-year period, driven by the increase in revenues. Cable Networks (Showtime Networks, CBS Sports Network, and Smithsonian Networks) Cable Networks revenues grew 14% to $598 million for the third quarter of 2016 from $526 million for the same prior-year period. The increase was driven by higher revenues from the domestic licensing of Showtime original series, including Penny Dreadful, and growth from Showtime Networks' over-the-top streaming service. Cable Networks operating income for the third quarter of 2016 increased 16% to $285 million from $246 million for the same prior-year period, reflecting the revenue growth, which was partly offset by increased investment in original series. Publishing (Simon & Schuster) Publishing revenues increased 11% to $226 million for the third quarter of 2016 from $203 million for the same prior-year period. The increase was led by growth in both print and digital book sales, including the bestselling titles Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen and The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer. Digital revenues represented 23% of Publishing's total revenues for the third quarter of 2016. Publishing operating income increased to $44 million for the third quarter of 2016 from $43 million for the same prior-year period, as the increase in revenues was largely offset by higher production and selling costs. Local Media (CBS Television Stations) Local Media revenues rose 9% to $409 million for the third quarter of 2016 from $376 million for the same prior-year period, reflecting growth in retransmission revenues and higher political advertising sales from upcoming federal and state elections. Local Media operating income increased 21% to $122 million for the third quarter of 2016 from $101 million for the same prior-year period, primarily reflecting the higher revenues. Radio (CBS Radio) Radio revenues were $319 million for the third quarter of 2016 compared with $318 million for the same prior-year period, reflecting higher national advertising sales, which were offset by lower local advertising sales. Radio operating income grew 5% to $77 million for the third quarter of 2016 from $73 million for the same prior-year period. The increase mainly reflects lower expenses resulting from restructuring activities put in place during 2015. Corporate Corporate expenses for the third quarter of 2016 increased $29 million to $78 million from $49 million for the same prior-year period, mainly due to higher pension and other employee-related costs.

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