Sunday, June 28, 2009

BET AWARDS - The Stars Shined for Their Brightest - Michael Jackson

Within 3-4 days BET worked to transition their long-planned 2009 Awards Show into a special tribute to Michael Jackson, who passed away at age 50 on June 25.

The Final Call was among hundreds of reporters on hand to capture the moment.

"When we heard the news about Michael Jackson's passing on Thursday, we knew immediately that we were going to have to change the nature of this show...Michael Jackson has been so important to the world, our network and our country," said BET Chairman and CEO Debra Lee.



photos:  Charlene Muhammad

Michael Jackson's father Joe Jackson.  His sister, Janet, appeared briefly on stage.

Also:  Ciara performed "Heal the World."  During interviews she became fearful when she told reporters that Michael was her inspiration, especially since she entered the industry without any formal training.   

Mary Mary tore it up with Queen Latifah!   

Members of Guy (center is Teddy Riley, who wrote top selling hits for and with Michael Jackson).   

Best Actress Taraji P. Henson.   

Actress Keke Palmer sang "Loving You".    

Ralph Tresvant, Johnny Gill and Bobby Brown, branched off from New Edition with new group, "Heads of State".

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Remembering Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson made his transition today after going into full cardiac arrest. 

I was shocked and knew I had to get to work right away on coverage but for a moment I was paralyzed by all of the text messages and phone calls I received either for confirmation or to alert me.

When my husband Ali and I arrived to gather news at his home, we encountered numerous fans waiting to cross police tape to get to his house or get a glimpse of some of his family members.  

When we left the neighborhood at about 9:30 PM his fans were still walking up Sunset Boulevard, carrying flowers, posters and candles.

One fan told TV reporters this was the day that music died.

My 11-year-old daughter, Ra'eesah, planted this poster board near our front door today.  She was two years off the mark, but she understood the magnitude of his life and his passing.

L.A. Coroners with LAPD escorts to Michael Jackson's Holmby Hills home.

LAPD Officers guard front entrance to Michael Jackson's home.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Fathers Are Appreciated ...

... by whom is what really matters.

No doubt, when 'Mother's Day' rolls around, inventory clears the racks at stores, online vendors, and restaurants, you name it - with everyone looking for a special gift or show of appreciation for their mother, grandmother or the female guardian in their lives.

My husband, Ali and I with our children, Ra'eesah and Mustapha at Saviours' Day 2008) in Chicago, IL.

This week on the Guy Black Morning Show at Radio Free - 102.3 KJLH, Bro Guy and his team, Nautica De La Cruz and Adai Lamar, probed whether or not fathers go unappreciated.  Some callers thought they were often unappreciated, others felt more gratitude could be shown, starting with a greater acknowledgement of  fathers by society, and one caller shared how  single mothers had called each other to wish themselves a happy father's day on Sunday, June 21.

Their debate was interesting and funny, but also a very serious one.  It made me wonder why we still rely on any calendar dates designated by society to show gratitude to our own fathers and our children's fathers...Mother's Day, and so on.  

A lot of times it's the little things that fathers do that make all the difference, and in talking with a lot of sisters, seems it's the seemingly little things that we do for them that they appreciate most.  When was the last time we cooked a wholesome dinner?  Drawn a hot bath? Said 'thank you'?

Mablean Ephriam (formerly Judge Mablean of Divorce Court), holds a brunch for fathers every year.  It's called the HUF Awards ("Honoring Unsung Fathers") and features an awards presentation honoring fathers who were nominated either by their wives, children, significant others, their community.  

And there are, though not quite as many compared to mothers, various churches and organizations that hold celebrations for fathers.  But the one that struck me most was the Children's Institute, Inc.'s Fatherhood Solution Conference.

It was sponsored by Project Fatherhood and held Saturday June 20 at the University of Southern California.

The conference was hosted in part by Dr. Hershel Swinger, Senior Vice President of the Leadership Center at the Institute, and dealt with unmasking Hollywood images of fatherhood, reintegrating incarcerated fathers, homeless fathers, fathers of traumatized children, and how to work with teen fathers and ex-gang members.

Not a lot of cards, flowers or jewelry, but what a great way to acknowledge the importance of fathers and show them appreciation by helping those who have lost connections with their children find their way back.

My brother-in-law Keith Vernon, with his children, Jessica (a 1st year nursing student, Jeremy, a graphics design artist, and Juliana, a 10th grader).

Thursday, June 4, 2009


How do we save our media?

African American leaders from Los Angeles convened the 1st Annual Urban New Media Conference at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School For Communication.

Hosted by the 3BAAS Media Group, the leaders examined the current state of black media and best practices on innovations in online communications.  The event was part of the 2009 Beyond Broadcast Symposium which ends on June 6.

“I am deeply committed to using the resources of the Annenberg School for Communication to get African Americans and other people of color into the industry of media because if we do not do that…we will be left behind," said Dean Wilson, Dean of the Annenberg School for Communication.

He told us that Beyond Broadcast hosted 250 people from around the world (30 countries including Ghana, China, Indonesia) regarding media, its impact on democracy and especially diversity, he said.

Kevin Ross, former judge and radio host, moderated the conference.  He began by breaking down Black media's struggles to survive:

Radio One media conglomerate just lost $60 million in the last quarter, he said.

Ebony/Jet has only one photographer (As Salaam Alaikum! Sis Valerie Goodloe).

Jet just closed its L.A. office.  And so on, and so on, and so on.

For some of their answers and to view video from the conference (give them time, but too much isn't necessary-they're on it), check in with

Panelists above:  LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, KJLH Radio General Manager Karen Slade, Christ our Redeemer Pastor Mark Whitlock, Political Consultant and Journalist Jasmyne Cannick, and Actress & Media Personality Rolonda Watts (by Charlene Muhammad)