Chicago Rapper Noname Launches Book Club Celebrating Writers of Color

Chicago rapper Fatimah Nyeema Warner, better known as “Noname,” continues to make her hometown proud.

More recently, the 27-year-old musician announced that she is launching a new book club.

Entitled “Noname’s Book Club,” the group will “highlight progressive work from writers of color and writers within the LGBTQ community.” It’s safe to say that a love for reading runs in the family. According to Lit Hub, Noname’s mother is the first black woman to own a bookstore in Chicago and her father serves as a book distributor.

As the promising new venture unfolds, Noname plans to discuss two literary works each month. The first selections for August were Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed and Samantha Irby’s We Are Never Meeting in Real Life. At the end of each month, Noname will host a book discussion that will be released on a podcast.

Earlier this year, during an interview with NPR, the “Self” artist revealed how growing up in Chicago and embracing different art forms helped shape her career path. “I just got exposed to other types of art,” she began. “I didn’t really grow up listening to a lot of hip-hop. I listened to some things like, I listened to Kanye just because of Chicago. But I grew up with my grandparents, so I ended up listening to a lot of what they listened to.”

She continued, “But doing poetry, and in Chicago, I was able to go to a lot of different open mics and meet a lot of other musicians and other people who are artistic and express through different mediums. So I met Chance [The Rapper] and Mick [Jenkins], and a lot of other people ended up influencing me and helping me grow artistically and expand outside of just poetry.”

Check out Noname’s tweets regarding her book club below.

Tyler Perry Sends Relief to The Bahamas Via Private Plane

Tyler Perry has kept his word about sending help to the victims of Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas. According to TMZ, the movie mogul sent essential items to the Abaco Islands after posting the following message to his Instagram feed:

“To all the incredible people of the Bahamas who have welcomed me and called me an adoptive son, I want you to know that I am watching closely, and as soon as I can, I will be there to do whatever I can to help you rebuild stronger and better. You’re not only in my heart and my prayers, you’re in my blood. God bless you. Stay Bahamas strong. The sun will shine agin [sic].”

The philanthropist, who owns a 25-acre island in the Bahamas named White Bay Cay, sent a private plane reportedly filled with supplies, water, juice, diapers, sleeping bags, hygiene products, and more. There were two trips already made and more are expected in the near future. The Hill reported that a source close to Perry confirmed that the filmmaker returned with seven people, including children and a pregnant woman, who required medical attention.

The Category 5 storm has devastated the Caribbean nation’s largest island, destroying homes, properties, vehicles, and even placing the airport underwater. As of now, the death toll had reached 45 people, which is expected to rise to the thousands by the time officials survey the area. At least 70,000 people are homeless on Abaco and Grand Bahama, the United Nations estimated early Saturday.

Perry is one of many celebrities who have made donations and/or helped out in some way. Rapper Christopher “Ludacris” Bridges has pledged to donate all of the proceeds from his LudaDay Weekend, which he claims in an Instagram post raised more than $100,000. Rihanna has pledged on her Twitter account that she and her foundation, Clara Lionel Foundation, will also raise money to support the victims and the Bahamas. Meanwhile, Hampton University will allow displaced students at the University of the Bahamas-North to finish their studies free of a charge for one semester at the HBCU.




Berry Gordy Donates $4 Million to Motown Museum

As reported by Billboard, Motown legend Berry Gordy has donated $4 million to Motown Museum’s expansion project. The money donated by Gordy will help fund a targeted $50 million, 50,000-square-foot complex at the Hitsville, U.S.A. site in Detroit.

The Motown Museum is located in the Motor City building where Gordy started and built his legendary music label, Motown Records. As of last year, a total of around $18 million was raised.

“I’m excited about the future of Motown Museum and happy to support it,” Gordy said in a release. “Not only will the expanded museum entertain and tell the stories of talented and creative people who succeeded against all odds, but it will also inspire and create opportunity for people to explore their dreams the way I did mine. I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of that.”


Gordy launched Motown in 1959. He then moved the label to Los Angeles in 1972 and sold the label in 1988. Esther Gordy Edwards, his late sister, founded Motown Museum in the former “Hitsville U.S.A.” headquarters on West Grand Boulevard in 1985.

Museum chairwoman and CEO Robin Terry, who is the grand-niece of Gordy, says, “There would be no Motown legacy, Motown Sound, or Motown Museum without Berry Gordy. He has given the world a soundtrack to live by; Detroit a legacy of pride; and our youth an example of entrepreneurial and creative excellence,” Terry says in the release. She also called the donation “transformative and generous.”

Gordy, a former auto plant worker, received an $800 loan in 1959 from the Gordy family’s Ber-Berry Co-operative. He used that money to finance his first independent record label called Tamla Records and eventually that created the Motown Record Corp. The revolutionary label started the careers of The Jackson 5, The Temptations, Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross & the Supremes, Stevie Wonder, the Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, and in its later years Erykah Badu, Boyz II Men, Johnny Gil, Stacey Lattisaw, and even actor Bruce Willis.

In the same year that Gordy was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, he eventually sold Motown for $61 million in 1988 to MCA.

Ezekiel Elliott Signs $90M Contract, Immediately Donates $100K

The Dallas Cowboy’s starting running back has ended his holdout by signing a $90 million, six-year extension. Ezekiel Elliott wanted to be the highest-paid NFL player at his position and has met his financial goal after agreeing to terms with the team.

The deal was signed just in time for the start of the NFL season this week. Elliott is slated to play in the Cowboys’ season opener against division rival The New York Giants at AT&T Stadium in Dallas.

The total amount of the eight-year deal comes to $103 million with $50 million guaranteed. Included in the agreement are a $7.5 million signing bonus and an option bonus worth $13 million in 2020. Elliott will earn a base salary of $752,137 for this season and it jumps to $6,800,000 as the base for the 2020 season.

“I’m $100 million lighter as of this morning,” Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said on CNBC’s Squawk on the Street when speaking of the contract extension. “Zeke has been arguably our best player.”

“We’re glad to get him booked in. We’re glad to have him on the team. He plays a position that has some pretty interesting dynamics to it because running backs are short-lived, although we had what I consider to be one of the top five greatest ones in Emmitt Smith. And Emmitt ran the ball for 13 years, so you don’t have to have a four- or five-year career to be a running back.”

“Everybody loves Zeke,” Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said during the team’s press conference. “He brings great energy and juice, so we’re excited to have him back. The guys, I think, have handled any situation and all situations really well this offseason, whether it’s the business side of football, injuries, whatever it is.”

Elliott should be worth the money. The star running back has averaged 101.2 rushing YPG (Yards Per Game) in his career (second in NFL history, minimum 40 games played, behind only Hall of Famer Jim Brown’s 104.3). As the No. 4 overall pick in the 2016 draft, he quickly made a statement of his greatness as he set a Cowboys rookie record with 1,631 yards, which led the league that year, and scored 15 touchdowns in 15 games.

At the same press conference, Elliott announced that he’s donating $100,000 to the Salvation Army to help them rebuild their facility in Dallas. The star has a long history with the charity, having encouraged his fans to each donate $21—matching his uniform number. And his touchdown celebration in 2016, where he jumped into the Salvation Army kettle, brought an estimated $4 million worth of exposure.

Garcelle Beauvais Becomes 1st Black Cast Member of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

As the Bravo TV hit franchise, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills embarks on its 10th season, history is being made in the process. The Daily Dish has reported that actress Garcelle Beauvais has been added to the current cast. She becomes the first black housewife to join the popular reality series.

Beauvais, best known as Francesca “Fancy” Monroe from The Jamie Foxx Show and for her role as Valerie Heywood on NYPD Blue, will be joined by party planner and hostess Sutton Stracke (who is also best friends with current castmate Lisa Rinna), as the newest cast members.

“I am excited and proud to be joining the cast of such a wildly popular and beloved show like The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. As a working actor who has been in the industry for some time, it’s exhilarating to have the opportunity to delve into a new chapter in the entertainment spectrum. As the first African American Housewife in the Beverly Hills franchise, I am honored and humbled by this awesome opportunity to exemplify the fact that Black Girl Magic lives and thrives in every zip code!” Beauvais said in a statement to The Daily Dish.


Real Housewives of Beverly Hills season 10 is scheduled to air in 2020 and also features Teddi Mellencamp Arroyave, Erika Girardi (pop singer Erika Jayne), Dorit Kemsley, Denise Richards, Kyle Richards, and Lisa Rinna.

Beauvais is currently filming for the Eddie Murphy Coming to America (1988) sequel, Coming 2 America (scheduled for release Dec. 18, 2020). She appeared in the original version as a flower bearer. The former model also had roles in videos by R&B balladeer Luther Vandross and singer-songwriter R. Kelly. She reconnected with Jamie Foxx (playing First Lady to him as he portrayed the president of the United States) in the 2013 movie White House Down. The talented actress also launched her children’s jewelry line called Petit Bijou in 2008 and in 2013, she published a children’s book, I Am Mixed, which talks about diversity and race.

The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills premiered on Oct. 14, 2010, and is the sixth installment of the popular franchise.

Oprah Winfrey Has the ‘2020 Vision’ for Your Best Life

Oprah Winfrey is taking her talent on the road. Time Magazine is reporting that the megasuperstar, in conjunction with WW (Weight Watchers Reimagined), will be heading an Oprah 2020 wellness tour to several cities beginning in January. Winfrey says she wants to empower audiences to “support a stronger, healthier, abundant life.”

“Oprah’s 2020 Vision: Your Life in Focus” tour will kick off on Jan. 4 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. As she visits Los Angeles; San Francisco; Atlanta; Dallas; Charlotte, North Carolina; Brooklyn, New York; and St. Paul, Minnesota, the tour will conclude in Denver on March 7.

“What I know for sure is we can all come together to support a stronger, healthier, more abundant life—focused on what makes us feel energized, connected and empowered,” Winfrey said in a statement. “As I travel the country, my hope for this experience is to motivate others to let 2020 be the year of transformation and triumph—beginning first and foremost with what makes us well. This is the year to move forward, let’s make it happen in 2020.”

This isn’t Winfrey’s first speaking tour as she has previously held “Oprah’s Life Class” and “Oprah’s The Life You Want Weekend” in 2014. During her upcoming tour, Winfrey plans to speak of her own wellness journey with the audience and will help develop their 2020 action plan. She will also share the latest in wellness research and interactive workbook exercises.

Over $1 million from tour proceeds will go toward benefiting WW Good, a philanthropic area of the organization to help bring fresh and healthy food to underserved communities. She promises to include celebrity guests and a select lineup of wellness experts to join her on this excursion.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity for (WW) to do what we do best: bring communities of people together with a shared goal of health and wellness,” states Mindy Grossman, who serves as president and CEO of WW.

“I’ve had my share of life’s ups and downs,” the network owner says in a Facebook video promo for the tour. “We’ll come together (with some of my friends) to support each other for a stronger, healthier and more abundant life.”

Tickets will be going on presale for WW members, American Express cardholders, and VIPs on Sept. 9 on and then it will be made available to the general public on Sept. 13.

AriesFireBomb: A Media Space For Black and Queer People of Color

In the age of the millennial and the subsequent post-millennial generation, terms such as safe spaces and trigger warnings have become a normal part of an ongoing conversation. Some dismiss such terms, attributing their ubiquitous presence in our dialogue to the onslaught of political correctness and call-out culture. However, others have incorporated them into their lexicon because the meanings of these words serve a necessary function.

Consider the case of many LGBTQ folks who are black and of color. For many decades, the non-white members of the LGBTQ community were, and still are, visibly excluded in advertisements, media, films about gay and queer life, and were only visible when they were connected to a white character in some way—partner, witty best friend, or merely window dressing to give the illusion of Inclusion. While there has always been a decent cache of films highlighting the lives of black SGL (same gender loving for those who reject the Eurocentric connotations of calling themselves “gay”) men and women over the years, only a handful of them were able to garner the universal presence they rightfully deserved. In recent years, the visibility and stories of black gays and other non-black gays of color are on the rise. Films like the Oscar-winning Moonlight, Tangerine, Pariah, and others have shown once again that there is an audience. While visibility has increased, there is still a lot of work to be done. Where can black and queer people of color go when they want to see creativity that reflects them and their culture?

To assist in adding media spaces for black people to thrive, a young man from Minnesota recently launched a website that solely features the stories of black gay men, women, and other gay/queer people of color. The goal is to feature voices rarely heard with such openness and vulnerability. The creator of this media outlet is Ja’Mon Kimbrough aka AriesFireBomb, from whom the media website takes its name.

Ja'Mon Kimbrough

Ja’Mon Kimbrough aka AriesFireBomb

The Creation of AriesFireBomb

I met up with Kimbrough one warm summer day in Brooklyn to discuss what was to become AriesFireBomb. Standing outside of the bar in Dumbo with a camera around his neck, we greeted each other with a warm hug as if we’d known each in person for decades. As we sat down at our table and the drinks started to flow, he began talking about his passion project.

“The problem with LGBT media,” Kimbrough said as he looked at recent photos in his camera, “is that it’s still very Eurocentric. Quiet as it’s kept, or quiet as it used to be kept, white gay men sit at the top of the LGBT social chain. With shows like Pose and My House, we get a bit of representation but not a lot. Those are only two recent examples out of how many years? When it comes to media spaces, forget about it. You have to search to find them if they exist [at all] and the ones that are thriving wind up getting bogged down with trying to make their spaces “safe” for white readers and not safe for the black people they were supposedly created for. It can get hairy,” he explained.

“In response to the foolishness and absence of our visibility, I decided to stop talking about it and started doing something about it. I started Haus of Firebomb as a response to what was lacking and am building upon it. I wanted to create a site that was for us, by us, tells all of our stories with our slants, tones, idioms—all that make us beautiful and unique as a people.”

AriesFireBomb Content

“I struggled with deciding what to do with this website since its inception. How vast should the content be? What parameters should be put into place? etc. So over the last year, it’s changed a lot. It initially started as a platform to tell different kinds of stories. Now since the site launched, we are showcasing photography, music, podcasts, fiction, and nonfiction stories as well as short films, which is soon to come. The content is robust, uncensored, and unflinchingly tells hard truths about what it means to be black and gay, or trans, or nonbinary, or a straight man who loves trans women, which can be confusing for those who aren’t up on current gender norms. AriesFireBomb will highlight subjects without the sensationalism that often comes with these kinds of stories but with tender truth.”

An example is an essay written about Gemmel Moore, one of two black men who died in the home of Ed Buck. Buck is a wealthy white gay man with political ties who has a penchant for buying the time of black hustlers, getting them high on Crystal Meth by offering obscene amounts of money, and seeing how much their bodies can handle. It’s a visceral essay that speaks on addiction, sex work, and the dangers of the white gaze, something Nobel Prize-winning and recently deceased author, Toni Morrison, and many other black writers of today, have spoken about in-depth.

The website also features photography of all black people—straight, gay, trans, non-binary—and aims to attract the talents of other creatives looking for a platform to showcase their work. More can be found here.



The AriesFireBomb website was created by black people as a platform to show the artistic endeavors of black artists. However, it is not exclusively for black creatives. Non-black people of color are also encouraged to submit their work. AriesFireBomb aims to cater to the entire LGBT spectrum of color: Asians, Latinos of all races, but with black artists taking center stage.

“We don’t get to tell our stories authentically or uncensored very often and no shade, the stuff that does get put out there isn’t really that great,” Kimbrough said with a casual shrug. “Ideally, if AriesFireBomb can help find the next James Baldwin-esque figure via the mediums we share, then my job is complete.”

Bots in Blackface – The Rise of Fake Black People on Social Media Promoting Political Agendas

If you follow Donald Trump’s Twitter feed, you may have noticed several prominent accounts that appear to be profiles belonging to black people–high up on his Twitter feed of responses. Some of these accounts have thousands and thousands of followers. Others even have the blue Twitter check mark next to their account names. Yet, exactly who is behind these accounts is ambiguous. The rise of bots in the guise of fake black people on social media remains a worrisome issue heading into the 2020 elections.

Take for instance, the Twitter account @RyanHillMI, aka Ryan Hill. This account has a blue check mark which, supposedly, means it was vetted by Twitter and confirmed to be an actual person. Yet, a Google (or Bing) search on ‘Ryan Hill Michigan’ only yields results of a white, male lawyer in Michigan, and nothing about a young, black man in the Michigan area—which the @RyanHillMI’s avatar depicts.

I reached out to the Ryan Hill account on Twitter. I asked him (it?) about doing an interview and providing some background information. The conversation turned bizarre as you can see from the below screenshot (these are his remarks to my inquiries):

fake black people on social media


I also contacted Twitter and asked the company about assigning a blue check to an account a journalist could not find much information about. I was told I would receive an answer. I am still waiting.

Needless to say, the account raises some suspicion about authenticity. If it is indeed some sockpuppet account posing as a black person to influence politics—it wouldn’t be the first time some vested interest engaged in ‘bot blackface.’

Perceptive social media users have even unearthed fake black accounts using Google’s reverse image search feature. One such Twitter account, @Mike47441781, was proven to use a stock image as the account’s avatar.

fake black people on social media




fake black people on social media

Shireen Mitchell is the founder of Digital Sisters and Stop Online Violence Against Women. She’s done in-depth research about the use of impostor black accounts pushing political agendas across social media.

Mitchell says the activity behind these fake accounts boils down to “getting people not to vote for Democrats.” She points out that social media is the ultimate affordable platform for white supremacists.

As one of the authors of Stop Online Violence Against Women’s report on targeted black voter suppression on social media, Mitchell and her team reported on the Russian Internet Research Agency’s purposeful political ad targeting to black Americans.

“The 3,500 ads on Facebook by the Russian Internet Research agency were centered largely on Black American Culture over all other identity and race-based narratives. While the race-based focus of the Russian-purchased ads has been acknowledged in some reporting and previous studies, it has not been pointed out in the media that the themes of Black Identity and culture were the focus of the majority of the ads with the intent to engage in voter suppression of Black voters,” stated Mitchell and the other report authors in a press release.

“The sobering analysis in this report documents that Russian ads were overwhelming focused on Black American Culture, and often specifically on Black women with the goal of voter suppression,” says Jessie Daniels, Professor of Sociology at The City University of New York, and a Fellow at The Data & Society Research Institute. “This report is an urgently needed reminder that we ignore the way racism is woven into technology at our own peril.”

The report found that Russian actors specifically manipulated topics such as Hillary Clinton’s “super predator” comment from 1996; and issues related to race and policing, immigration, and guns. You can read the entire report here.

Much of the controversy over fake black social media accounts also surrounds the American Descendants of Slaves (ADOS) movement. ADOS activists claim that African American voters should vote for politicians that support policies beneficial and exclusive to the African American community, such as reparations.

Buzzfeed reported that social media ADOS activist accounts are often accused of being bots and “Russian trolls”:

Some Twitter users still doubt the authenticity of some of the accounts tweeting about the movement. One user account questioned if she’d have to mute #ADOS and posted a screenshot of an account created in 2009. “This might be important,” the user said. “I saw a warning the other day that the new bot movement is old accounts that have been dormant. This account was created in 09 but just started tweeting literally 15 mins ago.”

Clearly, there are concerted efforts to splinter the powerful black voting bloc and to keep black people from voting. It’s important that black people stay vigilant over whose information to trust on social media.

One professor offered a few tips to NPR on how to pinpoint possibly fake black profiles:

–Beware of accounts that regularly use stereotypical quote-unquote black language. These accounts typically use language they think black people use.

–Check the number of tweets and followers on an account.

–Check how long ago an account was created.

–Check the type of tweets or posts the account has on its timeline.


NYPD Officer Who Used Deadly Chokehold on Eric Garner Fired

Five years after Eric Garner’s death, the New York City police officer who placed him in an illegal chokehold during an arrest as Garner repeatedly cried out, “I can’t breathe,” has been fired. The announcement was made Monday by NYPD commissioner James O’Neill.

During a press conference, O’Neill said that he agreed with a police department disciplinary judge’s decision that officer Daniel Pantaleo should no longer serve on the police force. Garner was arrested in 2014 for allegedly selling loose, untaxed cigarettes in Staten Island. Pantaleo, however, used a deadly chokehold on Garner, which the administrative judge found triggered an asthma attack that ultimately led to his death. The incident was captured on a widely viewed cellphone video that showed Garner saying, “I can’t breathe,” 11 times.

His last words became a rallying cry in the Black Lives Matter movement and galvanized protests around the world.

“It’s an extremely difficult decision,” O’Neill said, according to ABC News. “If I was still a cop, I’d probably be mad at me… [but] it’s my responsibility as police commissioner to look out for the city.” He added that it could have been him in Pantaleo’s position during his 34-year stint as a beat cop.

Following Garner’s death, Pantaleo, a  35-year-old white cop, was placed on desk duty and collected an annual salary of more than $97,000. Because of his dismissal, he will lose some benefits but not his pension.

In response to the announcement, Rev. Al Sharpton said that “we are relieved but we are not celebratory. There is nothing to celebrate.” He added that “today Daniel Pantaleo lost his job, but five years ago, Eric Garner lost his life.”

Nike is Grooming a New Generation of Sneaker Loyalists With Kid Subscription Box

The retail industry is changing fast. Malls are shutting down across the country and brick-and-mortars are continuously closing up shop. At this point, companies can either get mad and blame Amazon or employ new strategies to target a younger demographic of digitally-native consumers and online shoppers. That’s what Nike is doing, and it’s brilliant. Through its new sneaker subscription for kids, the footwear giant is building a direct-to-consumer connection with a new generation of customers, some of whom are not even old enough to tire their own shoes.

On Monday, Nike unveiled the Nike Adventure Club subscription plan, which is aimed at children from two to 10 years old, reports CNN. The plan gives parents three different tier options for their kids. They can sign up for four pairs of sneakers a year for $20 a month, six pairs for $30 a month, or 12 pairs for $50 a month. They will also have the option to choose from a selection of about 100 sneakers.

In addition to saving parents time and dreaded trips to the shoe store, children will get a kick out of the fun, kid-friendly boxes, which are decorated with animation that can be colored-in and filled with games and activities. Nike’s subscription box will also include a sizing chart to help parents measure their children’s feet.

On top of being a convenient and consistent revenue generator, the subscription service gives Nike the opportunity to establish brand loyalty with a (very) young market. According to Forbes, subscription services have grown by more than 100% each year from 2013 to 2018, ballooning into a billion-dollar business and one of the fastest-growing consumer trends. Subscriptions have also changed the way people shop for everything from clothing to meals to razors. But, for Generation Z, who grew up with on-demand TV and next-day delivery, subscription services are the norm. So it makes sense for Nike to target this base by tapping into the subscription market.

“Solving the need for parents with kids aged 2-10 years means that we are going to start building relationships through kids,” the scheme’s manager for Nike, Dave Cobban, said, reports Reuters.

Lastly, the Nike Adventure Club gives the sneaker company the ability to capitalize on the U.S. kids’ $10 billion shoe market. “In providing footwear, we’re always trying to answer, ‘What do kids want?’” Nike Adventure Club’s director of product experience and retention, Dominique Shortell, said in a press release. “But an equally important question is, ‘What kind of experience are we providing for their parents?’ We want to make shopping for footwear as convenient as possible for them.”

If all goes well, don’t be surprised if Nike rolls out a sneaker club for adults.