OJ Simpson Says Ex-Wife Nicole Brown Simpson’s Mother Has Died: ‘God Bless Her Family’

Juditha Brown (C), the mother of murder victim Nic

Source: TIZIANA SORGE / Getty

The mother of  Nicole Brown Simpson — the ex-wife of O.J. Simpson who was killed in a murder that he was infamously acquitted of more than 25 years ago — has died, the former football star-turned actor-turned commercial pitchman said in a video he tweeted Sunday night. Simpson said Juditha Brown died Sunday.

Simpson made the announcement during a video that began with his camera trained on a photo of him and some of his football teammates, many of whom he said had died. That led him to talk about Juditha Brown’s death.

“Today I lost someone that was incredibly special to me,” Simpson said. “Her name was Juditha Brown, the mother of Nicole Brown.”

He did not say what was the cause of her death.

Simpson described a mutual, close relationship between the two no matter what the situation was.” He called her “a kind and considerate person” who was always there to help him, even as a single father “trying to raise two kids by myself.”

Simpson said he was grateful his children got a chance to see Juditha Brown this weekend before she died.

“God bless her family,” Simpson said before adding later: “The world lost a special person. We all did.”

Watch the video below.

The details of the relationship shared between Simpson and Juditha Brown up until her death were not widely known. The Detroit Free-Press reported in June that Nicole’s youngest sister, Tanya, said the murder trial is still “especially hard” for her mother.

For those who may not be old enough to remember, Simpson’s ex-wife and her friend Ron Goldman were both found dead from multiple stab wounds at her southern California home on June 12, 1994. Five days later, Simpson caught the country’s attention by leading police on a slow, lengthy car chase that many found incriminating before he was arrested and taken into custody as the prime suspect for the killings.

He was ultimately charged with both murders before being acquitted on Oct. 3, 1995.

Mother Juditha Brown (R) wipes tears from her eyes

On right, Juditha Brown wipes tears next to daughter Denise during opening statements in the O.J. Simpson murder trial. | Source: POOL / Getty

The Los Angeles Times described in a 1996 report how Juditha Brown during the trial believed Simpson murdered her daughter. While testifying against Simpson, she was “throwing him hard glances as she described him as nervous, upset and so angry he stared right through her when they met a few hours before Nicole Brown Simpson was killed.” She told jurors that “when she asked O.J. Simpson whether he had anything to do with her daughter’s death, he refused to answer the question directly.”

However, one of Simpson’s defense attorneys “played a snippet of a television interview in which Brown says that Simpson had in fact answered her question ‘No,’ then went on to tell her, ‘I loved your daughter.’ After watching the video, Brown agreed that her testimony on the witness stand had been inaccurate.”

According to Simpson’s video eulogy, the two went on to have a good relationship.


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Voting Rights, Criminal Justice Reform And Marijuana Win Big As Biden And Trump Fight For Votes

Across The U.S. Voters Flock To The Polls On Election Day

Source: Ethan Miller / Getty

As much of America experiences a range of emotions anxiously waiting for every presidential vote to be counted, there seems to be a growing sense of satisfaction from civil rights advocates as final results in certain statewide elections have provided somewhat of a silver lining to the national political fray.

The race between Joe Biden and Donald Trump to secure 270 electoral college votes has dominated the news cycle amid an election whose results have been delayed in part because of a record number of absentee ballots cast during a pandemic. But other items on various ballots across the country were decided in no uncertain terms, prompting civil rights groups to rejoice over the bright spots in an otherwise stormy political forecast.

Criminal justice reform advocates were delivered several key victories, including the election loss for a Georgia district attorney who investigated Ahmaud Arbery‘s killing earlier this year. Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jackie Johnson — who recused herself from the case of racist vigilantism after it was discovered her office worked with one of the three jailed white men charged with playing separate murderous roles in the killing the Black jogger racially profiled, chased down, trapped and shot dead in the middle of a road in February — came up short against Keith Higgins, an independent candidate who qualified for the race at the last minute. Prior to Higgins’ candidacy, Johnson, a Republican, was running unopposed.

Voting rights advocates saw their hard work pay off in California when the state’s voters approved a measure to allow parolees cast ballots in elections. In addition to restoring the right to vote for people on parole, Proposition 17 also lets parolees run for public office. The measure means that an estimated 50,000 people will be able to participate in the democratic process.

“Let’s not overlook the huge win in California tonight for voting rights,” Color of Change President Rashad Robinson accurately tweeted Tuesday night while most eyes were watching presidential election results tricking in.

Prior to Tuesday’s vote, Californians on parole and in state prison had their voting rights revoked. The Los Angeles Times reported that Proposition 17 earned 59 percent of the statewide vote.

In Mississippi, voters passed a measure to end an electoral system that originated in the Jim Crow era and was designed “to dilute the Black vote and ensure white voters would be able to choose governors and other statewide officials,” the Mississippi Free Press reported. The electoral-college style system was created in 1890 as an amendment to the state constitution because the state’s “constitutional convention was held for no other purpose than to eliminate the nigger from politics—not the ignorant, but the nigger,” Mississippi House Rep. James K. Vardaman — a white supremacist — said at the time.

Trump may have won the state, but election advocates won the right for the state to move to a more conventional system based on the popular vote. In another win for human decency, Mississippi voters also approved a new state flag design that will eliminate its existing Confederate theme.

Lastly, marijuana advocates declared cannabis as the real winner of Tuesday’s elections as voters in Arizona, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota moved to legalize the plant in some way, shape or form. The move is a significant step in addressing the racial disparities in the criminal justice system as Black and brown people remain disproportionately suffering the brunt of related arrests.

After Tuesday’s election, there are now 15 states that have either enacted or voted to enact adult-use marijuana legalization laws. Thirty-six states have either enacted or have voted to enact medical marijuana access laws, too.

Erik Altieri, the executive director of NORML, said the federal government needs to listen to what voters are saying about marijuana.

“The public has spoken loudly and clearly. They favor ending the failed policies of marijuana prohibition and replacing it with a policy of legalization, regulation, taxation, and public education,” Altieri said in an emailed statement. “Elected officials — at both the state and federal level — ought to be listening.”


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LeBron James Officially Endorses Biden

LeBron James

Source: Nike / NIke

LeBron James has made his official presidential endorsement – and it’s not exactly a surprise choice.

LeBron endorsed Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in an Instagram post, writing “We need EVERYTHING to change and it all starts tomorrow”.

King James has been openly critical of Trump during his presidency.  Meanwhile, Trump took a jab at LeBron at a Pennsylvania rally on Monday, poking fun at low ratings for the NBA Finals, which prompted the crowd to chant “LeBron James sucks!”

Cops Kill Unarmed Black Teen Car Passenger In Suburban Chicago Shooting

An unarmed Black teen was killed and his girlfriend was critically wounded in a police shooting Tuesday night in suburban Chicago that has prompted more questions than answers. Marcellis Stinnette, 19, died in the shooting in the Illinois city of Waukegan that police claimed only happened because the car he was a passenger in reversed toward the officer who shot them. However, witnesses said the police officer hit them with his car before he opened fire.

In the end, another unarmed Black man lost his life and his family is demanding answers for an incident that at face value seems like it was completely preventable.

“This is just something that I see on the news or on TV and think it’ll never happen to me. Now I’m a victim of the same thing,” Zhanellis Banks, Stinnette’s sister, told News 4 Jax in Florida, where she lives. “My mother has lost her son. Another African-American family is broken.”

Stinnette’s girlfriend was identified as Tafara Williams, who is reportedly in her 20s and the mother of Stinnette’s young child.

The Associated Press reported that her mother said she and Stinnette “hadn’t done anything to provoke the shooting.”

Local news outlet the Press Herald reported that Williams “and a witness contend the officer rammed the vehicle she was driving and began shooting.”

The Waukegan Police Department issued a press release claiming that the car “fled” once an officer approached the vehicle. The press release never said why the officer approached the car. The press release said that a different police officer saw the car “moments later” and when he walked toward the car, “it began to reverse.”

That’s when the cop “fired his semi-automatic pistol, in fear for his safety,” the press release said.

Police did not recover a gun from the vehicle Stinnette and Williams were in.

Lake County State’s Attorney Michael Nerheim released a statement Thursday morning acknowledging the shooting and announcing his office would be investigating the incident.

“Once I have had the opportunity to review the entire investigation, I will make a determination regarding whether the officers violated any laws,” Nerheim said in part. “Should it be determined the officers violated a law, they will be criminally charged. If laws were not broken, I will write up a detailed statement that will completely review the facts, show the evidence, explain applicable laws, and give our reasoning for the final decision.”

The officers involved were wearing body cameras, but none of the footage has been released as of Thursday afternoon.

“At this point, I’ve cried all my tears,” Banks, Stinnette’s sister, added. “We’re ready for justice. we’re ready for reform. This can’t happen to another family.”

The families of Stinnette and Williams have planned a protest that will begin at the site of the shooting before marching to the Waukegan Police Department on Thursday, according to ABC 7 Chicago.

An online petition is demanding the arrest and firing of the officer who shot Stinnette.

This is America.


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Black Woman Says ‘Well-Known’ Pastor ‘Peed On’ Her During Delta Airlines Flight

McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas

Source: NurPhoto / Getty

As if 2020 couldn’t spiral any more out of control, a Black woman airplane passenger said she recently found herself being urinated on by her seatmate during a flight back from Las Vegas. She recalled the horrific experience to Fox 2 Detroit, which reported that the culprit was not immediately arrested for his misdeed.

Alicia Beverly told Fox 2 Detroit that all was well as she slept on her Delta Airlines red-eye flight back home to the Motor City n Monday night until she woke up after feeling a warm sensation on her side. Once she became fully alert and understood what was happening, she said she jumped up and screamed, waking up the plane’s other passengers.

“I jump up and I seen his private area out and I screamed and that woke everybody up,” Beverly said. “By that time I actually looked at him and I see him shake himself off and I’m like this man just peed on me! I looked and there was a puddle of pee in the seats!”

Beverly’s seatmate had not been officially identified as of Thursday morning. Fox 2 Detroit would only describe him as “a well-known pastor from North Carolina.” Fox 2 Detroit suggested it knows the identity of the pastor, whose “camp has decided not to comment on the story.” It was unclear why Fx 2 Detriot would conceal the pastor’s identity.

Beverly said she had to sit in wet clothes for hours until the plane landed at the Detriot Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, where the pastor was taken into custody. His fate is up to the FBI, which handles incidents during air travel.

Fox 2 Detroit cited “sources” in reporting that “the pastor had an apparent reaction to a sleep aid.”

Beverly told Fox 2 Detroit that she has been dealing with anxiety issues since the incident.

“I left work yesterday because I couldn’t stay but I had to tell them why I needed to leave. It was a lot,” she said. “My anxiety was really high literally. Since then I have only gotten 4 hours of sleep.”

There was a similarly disturbing incident that took place on another Delta Airlines flight back in April. In that instance, a Black man was kicked off a flight after he used the restroom while the plane was awaiting takeoff during a taxiing period which passengers are supposed to remain seated. Kima Hamilton said he urgently needed to go and the pilot informed passengers that the plane would need to return to the gate to remove him. As a result, the rest of the plane’s passengers also has to de-board.

There’s more to the story — which you can read here in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel — but suffice to say that the alternative would have left Hamilton in the same kind of territory where the “well-known pastor from North Carolina” finds himself today.


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Megan Thee Stallion Surprises Philly Girl For Her Sweet 16

Megan Thee Stallion

Source: Malasha / Malasha

Remember growing up when you were considered lit just for throwing a neighborhood party for your birthday?

Well, imagine if you had Megan Thee Stallion crash your Sweet Sixteen.

It almost seems surreal right?

That’s exactly what happened to young Philly-native, Malasha last week when friends and family surprised her at her birthday party, with a pop-up visit from Megan.

Malasha, whose friends call her Lay, says she knew her parents asked a family friend down at RocNation to book Meg for the party, but she did not believe the rapper would actually show up.

“The one thing that really shocked me is when we were talking she said, ‘I was really nervous to me you.’ I’m like me?”

The hot girl rapper showed up to the party sporting a denim piece from her new collection with FashionNova.

The 16-year-old Philly native says that since the whole interaction, people have been blowing up her phone non-stop.

Along with a visit from Megan, Malasha was also gifted with a Chanel purse, Rolex, and brand new Range Rover for her sixteenth birthday.

Check out Millennial Christian’s full interview with Malasha below.


Everything To Know About The Commitment March On Washington: Speakers, Schedule, Route Map And More

UPDATED: 7:40 a.m. Aug. 28 —

The line-up has been revealed for the Commitment March on Washington — a demonstration against police brutality that also encourages people to vote — and it features a list of renowned politicians and activists.

The national protest against police brutality on Friday is expected to center on the families of Black people who died at the hands of police, including Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner and Breonna Taylor. The Rev. Al Sharpton and Martin Luther King III organized the Commitment March to “restore and recommit to the dream Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. defined in 1963,” according to the official website. Friday also marks the 57th anniversary of the March on Washington.

Friday’s protest was preceded by a Virtual 2020 March On Washington on Thursday night that was hosted by April Ryan and featured remarks from NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Cory Booker, actor Mahershala Ali, Stacey Abrams and more. Speakers were expected to call for police accountability reform and to energize voters for the November elections. The event was also billed as advocating for economic empowerment as well as equitable access to health care, education and voting booths. 

2020 March on Washington route

Source: National Action Network

The virtual and in-person marches were taking place amid worldwide protests for yet another police shooting this past Sunday. Jacob Blake was shot multiple times in the back by a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The officer has recently been identified as Rusten Sheskey and the shooting is now under federal investigation by the Department of Justice, according to CBS News. Blake survived the shooting but was left paralyzed, according to family members.

Thirty-one-year-old Trayford Pellerin of Louisiana was also shot by the police this past weekend, however, his injuries were fatal. All the officers involved were put on administrative leave. Charges have yet to be brought on anyone.

The “Get Off Our Necks” Commitment March has a route that is just about a half-mile long in Washington, D.C., that begins at the Lincoln Memorial and ends at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. There are strict guidelines surrounding coronavirus concerns that have been implemented, including mandatory masks and special distancing for marchers.

For more information about the Commitment March on Washington, visit the National Action Network’s website by clicking here.

This is a developing story that will be updated.


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Man Imprisoned For Nearly A Decade Over $30 Marijuana Sale Is Released

Derek Harris

Source: Antoine and Ainsley Harris / GoFundMe

A Louisiana man sentenced to life in prison for less than $30 of marijuana has now been released from prison after nearly a decade of serving his time.

According to KTLA5, Derek Harris‘ life sentence was recently reduced to time served, amounting to nine years. He was released from the Louisiana State Penitentiary, according to a Tuesday press release from the Promise of Justice Initiative, which is a New Orleans-based nonprofit organization.

Harris’ freedom comes at a time when prisons across the country face elevated risks from the coronavirus.

“This delayed justice was a terrifying ordeal for Derek and his family,” Mercedes Montagnes, the nonprofit’s executive director explained. “As COVID-19 rates continue to rise in DOC facilities, every day spent in Angola was a tremendous risk for Derek’s health and safety.”

The Louisiana State Penitentiary has notoriously received the nickname of “Angola,” considering the land on which it’s located used to be the Angola slave plantation. The plantation was given the name “Angola” after the country in which its former slaves originated, according to a Columbia University report.

Harris’ attorney, Cormac Boyle, said Harris’ prison release is just the first step in helping him move forward.

“Supporting Derek did not end with overturning his egregious life sentence and it did not end the day he walked out of Angola,” Boyle said in a statement.

According to the press release, Harris used to work in the prison’s hospital for years, but now he’s unemployed as a free man. He’s also in need of “basic help for medications and other necessities to get him started in his new life,” according to the release.

“Righting the harms done to a person through incarceration includes supporting their health, housing, and adjustment to their long-deserved freedom we need all the help we can get,” Boyle said.


Harris, a military veteran, was arrested back in 2008 in Abbeville, Louisiana after selling .69 grams of marijuana to an officer. At first, he was convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison, according to the state’s Supreme Court.

However, in 2012, he was re-sentenced to life in prison under the Habitual Offender Law, which allows judges to give updated sentences to those who have previous convictions on their record. Activists have slammed the law as a major component behind mass incarceration and said it’s often created unfair and harsh sentences for nonviolent crimes.

“Louisiana’s habitual offender law is abused, misused and ineffective,” Jamila Johnson, a senior supervising attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center Action Fund, explained in a 2019 statement on the law.

“People suffering from addiction, mental illness, and poverty can find themselves in prison for decades for something as minor as stealing $14.”


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#FreeTianna: Everything To Know About BLM Protester Facing Felony Charges After Organizing Protest

Black Livers Matter Protest Sign

Source: Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images / Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images

People are rallying behind a Black Lives Matter protester in California who faces multiple charges that could land her prison time. The police’s account of the incident has been described as criminalizing when compared to video and witness accounts.

According to Newsweek, Tianna Arata was arrested on July 21 by the San Luis Obispo Police Department (SLOPD) after cops said a protest she organized became violent. The police department said its police chief, Deanna Cantrell, spoke with the 20-year-old before the rally and was assured the demonstration would be peaceful.

However, SLOPD said the protest got out of control when people marched onto a highway and, at one point, launched an assault on a passenger vehicle with a 4-year-old kid inside. It’s not clear what escalated the incident, but SLOPD said protesters, who had grown to 300 people, damaged the hood of the vehicle and smashed the rear window, resulting in glass shattering on the child in the back seat.

The SLOPD also said protesters targeted at least two other vehicles upon leaving the highway, with a few demonstrators chasing down and throwing objects at one car. Police said the protest resulted in “public safety risks for protesters and community members.”

Once demonstrators dispersed, Arata was arrested on suspicion of “Participation in a Riot…Unlawful Assembly…Conspiracy…Unlawful Imprisonment…and Resisting Arrest,” according to cops. Another protester was also taken into custody, according to police, for allegedly assaulting a cop during Arata’s arrest. The officer reportedly sustained minor injuries.

Video and witness accounts have differed from how police characterized the protest and arrest. According to The Tribune, cops described the driver of the vehicle during the protest as a victim. However, drone footage released by the department appears to show the vehicle stopping at an intersection before suddenly turning into a small group of protesters at the front of the march. The vehicle clearly hit them and briefly dragged one person on the hood before someone, possibly Arata, appeared to swing a flag. That’s when the vehicle sped off.

San Luis Obispo Police Capt. Jeff Smith told the Tribune that protesters taking to the highway did not allow vehicles to leave, resulting in false imprisonment of the motorists. Smith also said, due to California law, “Any use of force or violence, disturbing the public peace, or any threat to use force or violence, if accompanied by immediate power of execution, by two or more persons acting together, and without authority of law, is a riot.” He added that Arata was arrested as “the organizer and march leader of last night’s protest.”

According to Arata’s lawyer, Dustin Tardiff, Arata’s bail was first set at $75,000. H however, the jail eventually released her on her own recognizance without bail because of coronavirus precautions at the facility. Tardiff described Arata’s arrest as “outrageous.”

According to The Tribune, cops have asked District Attorney Dan Dow to file eight charges against Arata, including four felony counts of false imprisonment, one count of felony conspiracy and three misdemeanors. A tentative arraignment date has been scheduled for September.

A person identified as “Mel” on Twitter posted a video of Arata’s arrest and she accused the police officers involved of not reading her Miranda rights. The clip shows cops roughly taking Arata to the police car. Meanwhile, bystanders can be heard yelling “let her go,” while some even attempt to intervene before being shoved aside by police.


“There was no riot it was a beautiful peaceful protest filled with Black and Brown joy,” said Mel, who told Newsweek she was a witness to Arata’s arrest, which she described as “traumatizing.”

“The way the police waited till we were alone with a few friends and rushed and took my best friend in front of my eyes, in front of her mother,” Mel added. “They used excessive force, Tianna could barely keep up with the 6 grown men forcing her to the car.”

A Change.org petition was started for Arata demanding “the district attorney not pursue any charges against Tianna Arata.  Our young black leaders deserve to be heard, seen, and supported.” The petition has already received over 100,000 signatures.

A GoFundMe was also started for Arata’s legal fees where an organizer for the page, Shalini Sasha Quattlebaum, wrote:

“During the protest, a car ambushed Tianna’s body, almost hitting her. She was terrified and used whatever was in her hands to hit the car and protect herself. Instead of finding the person who tried to hit her, the San Luis Obispo police department arrested Tianna for rioting, unlawful assembly, conspiracy, unlawful imprisonment, and resisting arrest. There are also videos that show that Tianna was not resisting arrest. The San Luis Obispo police department has targeted her, throwing her whatever charges they could possibly get away with.”

Quattlebaum added, “Our system has failed once again.”


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Instagram Just Launched REELS; Here’s What You Need To Know!

Instagram Reels

Source: @ACThePlug / Radio One Digital

After test launches in markets including Brazil, France, Germany and India, Instagram is rolling out Reels to selective users in the United States starting August 5th.

What is Instagram Reels?

In short it’s Instagram’s response to TikTok.

Users with access to Instagram Reels can create 15-second short form videos with the option to add various filters and effects like adjusting speed, Augmented reality (AR) filters as well as add music or an original recording.

Once a Reel is recorded, a user can… READ MORE

Young Black Scholars Are Called ‘Ugly’ In Racist Letter After Graduation

Close-Up Of Degree With Mortarboard On Table

Source: Thitiwat Dutsadeewirot / EyeEm / Getty

A racist and fatphobic letter-writer couldn’t deal with the Black joy one Florida family was showcasing after their daughters’ graduation.

According to NBC News, the family decorated the outside of their home with posters of their twin daughters Xanah and Xarah. Then, on Thursday, David Sproul said his family found an anonymous letter in their mailbox demanding the posters be removed.

“Don’t you think enough is enough? It’s time to take those hideous posters of that ugly fat black girl down off your house,” the letter read. “What a disgrace to the neighborhood. In fact, your entire brood is a disgrace to the neighborhood. Consider moving to a ‘hood’ of your kind. Your neighbors are watching you!”

Sproul told NBC News that he was shocked by the letter.

“I would say that was coldblooded because it was directed about kids,” he said. “Even if it wasn’t about race, to do something like that to a child, say something like that to children is terrible.”

Sproul said he and his family have resided in the Timber Creek Plantation neighborhood in Yulee, which is about 25 miles north of Jacksonville, for five years. They said they haven’t experienced any similar racist incidents before.

Sproul’s wife, Toya, posted the letter on her Facebook page labeling the anonymous writer a “coward.”

“Racism is alive but we ain’t scared!!!! This showed up in my mailbox today,” she wrote in a Thursday post.

Sproul said he allowed his daughters to read the letter not too long after it arrived and the two “didn’t let it bother them.”

“They realized that the person who wrote it didn’t even know them, so they kind of disregarded it instantly,” Sproul explained. The family notified the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office and a spokeswoman for the department said the incident is being investigated.

“We at the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office do not tolerate racism and hate crimes in our county,” Undersheriff Roy Henderson explained in a statement. “This is out of character for Nassau County and we will continue to investigate this incident. We are proud of the Sproul twins’ accomplishments and hope to get to the bottom of this soon.”

The family is continuing to uplift their daughters despite the negativity. Xanah and Xarah both want to be doctors and they’ll be attending Saint Leo University in Florida for the pre-med program, according to Sproul. He added that the two received scholarships from a local program they were involved with.

“Although they are very accomplished young ladies and they do work very hard… at the same time, this didn’t happen to two accomplished young women. This happened to two young Black women,” Sproul said. “The person who did this didn’t know that they had any accomplishments, didn’t know their work ethic in any way. This happened to two humans, and it shouldn’t have happened at all.”

A drive-by parade is being organized for Xanah and Xarah on Thursday, according to a Facebook event page that has received over 360 responses. Sproul said the family has also received supportive messages from people all over the world, including in Ireland, the Netherlands and New Zealand.

“The positivity that came out of something so negative is really good to see,” said Sproul.


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GoFundMe Grows For Disabled Veteran Facing 5 Years In Prison Over Medical Marijuana

Sean Worsley

Source: Facebook / Sean Worsley

A disabled veteran’s stop at a gas station in Alabama has caused his life to unravel in the most devastating way over medical marijuana possession. Now supporters are demanding justice via a Change.org petition and GoFundMe.

According to The Washington Post, Sean Worsley is an Iraq War veteran with a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He was prescribed marijuana by a doctor in Arizona where he resided with his wife Eboni. He used the substance for years to soothe his back pains and to calm his nightmares.

On August 15, 2016, Sean and Eboni were driving through Alabama after visiting her family in Mississippi. The two were on their way to surprise Sean’s own relatives in North Carolina. The couple stopped at a gas station outside Tuscaloosa to refill their tank while Worsley played air guitar at the pump.

Around 11 p.m., Officer Carl Abramo heard loud music from a vehicle and “observed a Black male get out of the passenger side vehicle,” according to a police report obtained by Alabama Appleseed, a criminal justice organization that detailed the Worsleys’ case. “He was laughing and joking around and looking at the driver while doing all this.”

When Abramo explained to them that their music was in violation of the noise ordinance in Gordo, a town with a population of less than 2,000, the couple turned their music down. However, the officer didn’t end it here. He said that he smelled marijuana and this is when Worsley explained that he was a disabled veteran. He tried to show the cop his medical marijuana card from Arizona, however, the officer wouldn’t hear him, considering marijuana was still illegal even with a card, unbeknownst to Sean.

I explained to him that Alabama did not have medical marijuana,” the police report said. “I then placed the suspect in hand cuffs.” Abramo also found a prescription bottle of marijuana, rolling papers, a pipe, a six-pack of beer, a bottle of vodka and some pain pills in the back of the vehicle. He listed all these things as reasons he arrested Sean and Eboni. It’s illegal to possess most kinds of alcohol in Pickens County. 

Although first-time possession of marijuana is sometimes charged as a misdemeanor, it can be bumped to a felony charged if the arresting officer thinks the substance is for purposes “other than personal use.” This is what the Worsleys were charged with, causing them to spend six days in jail. After they were released on bond, you’d think their legal problems would be over.

However, almost a year later, the bail bondsman called the couple saying the Pickens County judge was revoking bonds on all his cases. He told the couple this meant they had to rush back to Alabama from Arizona or they would be charged with failing to appear in court.

The Worsleys left for Alabama where they were split up and taken to separate rooms for questions. Eboni tried to explain to authorities that because of her husband’s disabilities, he needed a legal guardian to help him make informed decisions.

“They said no, and they literally locked me in a room separate from him,” Eboni Worsley told the Alabama Appleseed. “They told him that if he didn’t sign the plea agreement that we would have to stay incarcerated until December and that they would charge me with the same charges as they charged him.”

It was this threat that caused Worsley to sign the plea agreement, which was 60 months (5 years) of probation, drug treatment and thousand of dollars in fines.

In February 2019, Sean missed a court date in Pickens County, however. The local probational program cut short his supervision, citing “failure to pay court-ordered moneys” and “failure to attend.” It wasn’t until months later that Sean learn from the Department of Veterans Affairs that Alabama had issued a fugitive warrant for Sean’s arrest.  

Sean, who is now struggling with homelessness along with his wife, also failed to pay $250 a couple months later to renew his medical marijuana card. When he was arrested at a traffic stop in Arizona last August, according to the Alabama Political Reporter, cops found him in possession of marijuana without a valid medical card.

Pickens County demanded Sean be extradited back to Alabama and they even made him pay for it, which more than doubled the $3,800 that he already owed in court costs. In April, Sean was sentenced to five years in prison by the Pickens County judge. Worsley is appealing his sentence, however, he’s now back in Pickens County Jail awaiting a spot to open up in the Alabama prison system.

“I feel like I’m being thrown away by a country I went and served for,” Worsley wrote in a letter from the Pickens County Jail to Alabama Appleseed. “I feel like I lost parts of me in Iraq, parts of my spirit and soul that I can’t ever get back.” Worsley is a Purple Heart recipient who served five years in the military, including a 14-month deployment in Iraq.

To date, recreational use of marijuana is legal in 11 states and the District of Columbia while medicinal use is allowed in 33 jurisdictions. However, the substance is entirely banned in Alabama. In Arizona, marijuana has been legal for medical purposes since 2011. Along with soothing his physical pains and nightmares, Sean has used his legal prescription to relieve his short-term memory issues and depression, according to the Appleseed.

His wife Eboni started a GoFundMe to assist with Sean’s legal fees and the other expenses the couple incurred because of their legal troubles. As of Tuesday evening, the page has raised over $24,000 with a $50,000 goal.

“We are both humbled and speechless at the amount of support and solidarity we are receiving,” Eboni wrote in a update. “Thank you all for continuing to stand with us and support us during this terrible season. It won’t last always and with individuals like you guy’s standing with us, it’s that much more bearable. THANK YOU!!”

A petition has also been started on Change.org asking people to sign if they believe “marijuana should be legal or that black lives matter or that veterans should be treated with respect or if you have PTSD.” It’s gained over 4,000 signatures as of Tuesday evening.


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Video Of Allentown Cop Putting Knee On Man’s Neck Sparks Protest

Black Lives Matter Demonstrations In UK Continue Into The Weekend

Source: Matthew Horwood / Getty

A video of an Allentown, Pennsylvania cop placing his knee on a man’s neck has sparked outrage.

According to CBS News, the clip was recorded Saturday night by someone riding past in a vehicle. The graphic footage shows officers restraining a man on the ground outside the emergency room of the Sacred Heart Campus of St. Luke’s Hospital. One cop uses his elbow on the man’s neck to restrain him before switching to his knee. You can watch the graphic footage below.


A statement was released by the Allentown Police saying the incident is being investigated and additional videos are under review. According to the statement, cops were outside the hospital for an unrelated situation when they saw a guy staggering in the street, vomiting and stopping in the driveway of the ER. Police say the hospital staff and officers interacted with the man, who started to yell and spit at them. The man was “noncompliant which required officers to restrain.”

It’s not clear from the video how long the cop had his knee on the guy’s neck. The man was eventually treated at the hospital and then released. The police department has yet to releases the name or race of the people involved in the video.

The footage eventually made its way to social media where group’s like Black Lives Matter to Lehigh Valley demanded answers from the police. By late Saturday, the collective organized a protest in front of the police station.

“We’re done,” Black Lives Matter to Lehigh Valley leader Justan Parker said to CBS Philly. “People think that it couldn’t happen here and it has been happening and it happened yesterday. So enough is enough.”

Many people outraged by the video pointed out its resemblance to the Minneapolis officer who put his knee on George Floyd‘s neck while he yelled “I can’t breathe.” Floyd’s death ignited protests across the world over police brutality and systematic racism.

Ben Crump, the lawyer representing Floyd’s family, tweeted, “@AllentownPolice held down this man’s face to the pavement and then one of its officers placed their knee on his neck!! This happened yesterday and is exactly what led to #GeorgeFloyd’s death. We need this officer’s name and badge # NOW. #ICantBreathe.”


The Allentown Police Department released its use of force policy earlier this month. It prohibits neck restraints and chokeholds and says officers should only use the amount of force necessary to control the incident.

During the Saturday protest, Allentown Mayor Ray O’Connell and police Chief Glenn Grantiz Jr. made an appearance and said the police need to investigate the issue further. O’Connell described the video as “disturbing.” The police department said more video should be released later this week.


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Black Dollars Matter: Why Blackout Day Is So Important To The Movement For Black Lives

Man holding money to bet at a horse race

Source: Owen Franken / Getty

Tuesday marks Blackout Day 2020, when Black people are encouraged against spending any money except with Black-owned businesses to show just how much dollars from Black communities are worth to the nation’s economy. Organizers behind the cause say they have a handful of objectives they’re looking to accomplish with the day of racial and economic solidarity.

“This movement is an awakening of the national consciousness of black people in America and abroad. We need economic solidarity in America amongst all black people unequivocally,” the website for Blackout Day 2020 says in part. “In order to break free from the chains of financial servility, we will organize days, weeks, months, and years if necessary when not one black person in America will spend a dollar outside of our community.”

Flyers have been popping up across the country advertising Blackout Day 2020 accompanied by the tag line, “money talks, let’s speak their language.”


To be sure, Black buying power is a formidable force. Even though the racial wealth gap is actually widening, Black people can spend money with the best of them, statistics show. With nearly 50 million Black people in the United States, Black consumers spend more than $1 trillion a year. Nielsen, which provides analytical insights about the habits of consumers, has documented the trends associated with that tremendously reliable level of spending.

Nielsen’s report, entitled, “It’s in the Bag: Black Consumers’ Path to Purchase,” found in part that the spending by Black consumers is especially influenced by advertising, with about $573.6 million spent on an annual basis on beauty and grooming products. Black also folks prefer to spend their money in person instead of over the internet.

All of the above makes participation in Blackout Day 2020 that much more vital. For there to be any measure of success, it must be all hands on deck, organizers said.

Aside from flexing Black folks’ economic muscles, Blackout Day 2020 also comes along with a set of expectations from organizers who are asking for the following: “that we stop being shot down in the streets;” “that racist legislation be purged from the books, and the cancerous ideology that this country was founded upon be rooted out; “that we have equal opportunity to access funding so that we can conduct business and practice group economics amongst ourselves;” “that we are allowed to build our own communities and industries and be left alone; “that you stop murdering our leaders when they attempt to unite us as a people.”

The planned economic boycott came as the nation was protesting racism, police violence and the oftentimes deadly combination of both following a series of high profile deaths of innocent and unarmed Black people by police and vigilante citizens alike. Even before Blackout Day 2020 arrived, the effects of the protests on Black-owned businesses and organizations were already being felt as they both were seeing a surge in monetary donations and patronage.

If Blackout Day 2020 is half as successful as that informal and unplanned economic boycott of the past few months has been, then organizers predict Black people can continue those spending patterns moving forward.

“United, we are an unstoppable force. We are a nation of people within this nation that at any time can demand our liberation by withholding our dollars,” the Blackout Day 2020 website said. “If we can do it for a day, we can do it for a week, a month, a quarter, a year…and one day we will look up and it will be a way of life.”

In the meantime, here’s an extensive list of Black-owned businesses that NewsOne put together. And here are 100 more, just because.


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Billionaire Robert Smith Calls On Corporations To Adopt His 2% ‘Reparative’ Plan For Black People

Robert F. Smith Portraits

Source: The Washington Post / Getty

The country’s richest Black person has some thoughts on how corporate America can address structural racism. According to Forbes, Robert F. Smith believes that big banks and major companies should spend the next 10 years investing directly in technology, education, telecom, banking and healthcare infrastructures that support Black communities. Smith went as far as to say that large corporations should spend 2 percent of their annual net incomes over the course of a decade to achieve this goal.

Smith’s comments came after circulating a plan among CEOs that calls on big banks to capitalize on the financial institutions that cater to Black-owned businesses and entrepreneurial ventures. Smith called the process “reparative” capital in a keynote address he gave at the Forbes 400 Summit on Philanthropy last month. He pointed out that most Black communities have been shunned by large banks and they lack the capital necessary to build businesses and local institutions.

“Nowhere is structural racism more apparent than in corporate America,” Smith explained. “If you think about structural racism and access to capital, 70% of African American communities don’t even have a branch, bank of any type.”

Smith, whose net worth is estimated to be $5 billion, is the founder of Vista Equity Partners, the nation’s biggest private equity firm specializing in software transactions. He argued that big corporations should consider the 2 percent donation because of the racially exclusionary practices of various industries over many decades. He noted that the average American household charitably donates 2 percent of its income annually and he believes corporate America should do the same for Black groups.

Smith encountered structural racism in banking firsthand during the coronavirus pandemic when he tried to assist Black businesses and banks that help Black communities obtain Paycheck Protection Program loans. Smith learned that Black-owned businesses encountered various structural obstacles and, as a result, they had issues accessing the emergency financing being provided by the federal government through the banking sector.

According to Forbes:

“The balance sheets of the nation’s 4,700 banks are made up of $20.3 trillion of assets, but only 21 of those banks are Black-owned or led, and they have total assets of just $5 billion, less than 1% of America’s commercial banking assets. Blacks make up 13% of the population of the United States.”

Smith said in his address that the net income of the ten largest U.S. banks over the last ten years was $968 billion. He figured that just 2 percent of that would amount to $19.4 billion, which could be used to fund the core Tier 1 capital of community development banks and minority depository institutions that mostly service Black communities. Smith also said that the capital could be donated in a tax-advantage way to a nonprofit entity that could distribute the core bank capital.

Smith said he believes the federal government could accelerate the effort by leveraging up the provided capital with the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility the Federal Reserve created to support consumer and business credit during the pandemic.

“The deprivation of capital is one of the areas that creates a major problem to the enablement of the African American community,” Smith explained to the more than 200 top philanthropists who attended the 9th annual Forbes philanthropy summit, which was held on Zoom this year. “The first thing to do is put capital into those branch banks to lend to these small businesses to actually create an opportunity set…drive it into these small businesses, which employs 60%-plus of African Americans.”

Smith’s proposal would be a private-sector solution to reparations, and he says the 2 percent funds from the major companies could be used to execute things like strengthen healthcare infrastructure in Black communities, equalize broadband access, fund STEM education at historically Black colleges and digitize Black small businesses. Smith’s plan also calls for telecom and tech sectors to provide money to help prepare 180,000 students at historically Black colleges for jobs and careers of the future.

Alfred C. Liggins, III, the Chief Executive Officer of Urban One, Inc., expressed his support for Smith’s plan.

“What a brilliant idea and something that is very doable,” Liggins said. “Its great to see leadership like this coming from the highest levels of the African American business community.”


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Kelly Rowland Donates 70,000 Masks to Inmates in Atlanta and Houston

Kelly Rowland My Hair My Crown

Source: Edelman / Edelman

Singer Kelly Rowland showed inmates in Atlanta and Houston some love.

Rowland donated 70,000 masks to help prevent inmates from catching COVID-19.

This was personal to Rowland since she was born in Atlanta and raised in Houston.

The masks will be distributed through the Reform Alliance, developed by Jay-Z and others.