Reading the headline announcing the death of iconic, trailblazing journalist Gwen Ifill made me nauseous. Although I’ve never met her, I felt as though I’d lost another family member. I loved watching her on television. Whether she was delivering the news, on moderating a debate or commenting as a panelist, Gwen Ifill was the consummate professional. Ifill was the journalist I wish other journalists modeled nowadays. I would be less than honest if I didn’t share that I was proud when I saw her on television. She was a rarity as black and female in nationally televised news dominated by white males. Cool. Calm. Collected. Prepared. Thank you, Gwen Ifill. Job well done.
The Ryan Lochte Rio Olympics scandal continues to be prominently featured in the media with the latest news of two of his major sponsors, Speedo and Ralph Lauren, severing ties with the athlete because of his shenanigans in Rio.
US swimmers Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger leave Rio.
For sure Lochte, his teammates - Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger, Jimmy Feigen and the local people involved know what really happened during the athletes' night out in Rio even if the rest of the world can only speculate. What we do know for sure is that Ryan Lochte’s recounting of what happened changed a few times. We also know that the guys out on the town with Lochte disputed key elements of Lochte’s story. Yet there was also agreement that guns were drawn on them during the encounter with men who may or may not have been security guards who were also robbers.
So, it is entirely possible that Lochte and Rio locals both embellished…over-exaggerated…lied about what actually happened. That $11,000 donation to charity that Feigen had to make before he was allowed to leave Brazil, seems an awful lot like a shakedown. I’m just saying.
US swimmer Jimmy Feigen leaves court after his passport was returned. He had to pay a fine of almost $11,000.
Even if it is proven that Ryan Lochte is not the only person that lied regarding this incident, he will be remembered for not owning up to his lies and other mistakes. He will be remembered for his apology that was actually a non-apology. He will be remembered for leaving his teammates in Rio while he hurriedly returned to the United States. He is already the brunt of jokes and subject of social media memes.
US swimmer Ryan Lochte's non-apology apology.
Many in the mainstream media will be remembered for providing cover for Lochte by trying to convince the world that the incident was just a juvenile act. I see you Billy Bush. Many in the mainstream media seem to have forgotten that Ryan Lochte is 32-years-old. Far too old for the foolishness and lies about what happened in Rio.
As far as the end of his endorsement deals with Speedo and Ralph Lauren, it is not likely the deals would have been renewed anyway. Lochte performed admirably during the games but his individual performance was not spectacular. The endorsement deals would likely go to other athletes a la Michael Phelps….Simone Biles…Katie Ledecky…etcetera.
I don’t know Ryan Lochte personally but I'm willing to bet that the worse part of this horrible situation is the fact that he lied to his mother. Sure, he was the center of an international incident but disappointing and embarrassing his mom is a probably a much bigger deal.
While the incident in Rio overshadowed the magnificent athletic accomplishments of Team USA at this year's Summer Olympics, as time passes and Ryan Lochte completes his punishment and attempts to redeem himself with gold medal winning individual performances in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, America will salute his story of perseverance and redemption.
Celebrity chef Paula Deen has been in hot water lately and can't seem to get herself out of it. Her latest troubles stem from an employment discrimination, racial discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuit brought by former employee, Lisa T. Jackson.
Media coverage of the lawsuit took off when Ms. Deen admitted to using the word "nigger". Other allegations in the deposition seemed to take a back seat to that. I was surprised Ms. Deen was honest in her answer because many people lie and take the pious, holier-than-thou route.
Of course Ms. Deen mentioned that she'd heard blacks use that word. Now, being black myself, I don't like when anyone uses it. I chalk it up to ignorance, lack class and lack of vocabulary. I can't join the club of blacks that basically says "we can use that word but they can't". It's also not a label of affection if it ends in "a" or "-ah" rather than "-er".
That being said, way more offensive was her talk of a "southern style plantation wedding" replete with servers that reminded Ms. Deen of The Civil War period. Ms. Deen did try to clean up her explanation but it seemed the more she did, the worse it got.
There was also mention of testimony of another former employer that Bubba Hiers, Paula Deen's brother, told Lisa Jackson to keep the front 'light' when hiring. Wow. That means blacks and other dark-skinned people were welcome to work in the kitchen but not as servers, managers, etc. in the front of the restaurant.
Ms. Deen was a no-show for an interview with Matt Lauer on Friday's Today Show. She did release a couple of videos apologizing for her how her words hurt other people.
The Food Network chose to not to renew the contract for Ms. Deen's show which expires this month. If you also agree with that decision, before you jump up for joy, remember that memory of such racial episodes tend to be short lived, especially with most black people. As with similar instances involving Dog the Bounty Hunter and Don Imus, so Paula Deen could return to television soon.
Here is a video of Bill Press guest hosting the Countdown with Keith Olbermann Show. So, a CNN producer warmed up the crowd at the presidential debate in Charleston, SC. encouraging the audience to make as much noise as possible as if the debate was The Jerry Springer Show? Shame on CNN.
You know it really doesn’t matter who the Republican presidential nominee is, President Obama will clean their clock.
Two days ago I didn’t know who Marcos Witt was. Never heard the name or anything about him. First of all, I don’t know how the television came to be on that particular channel at that time, but there was this guy speaking in Spanish and I recognized the Lakewood Church rotating globe in the background.
The guy was good. I didn’t understand EVERY word he said but he was speaking slowly enough that I knew it wasn’t the Cuban Spanish I’m accustomed to hearing. I called one of my co-workers over because surely she knew who this guy was, he was too good for him to not be super famous, right? But she didn’t know him either. She translated the parts I didn’t understand and then his name popped up on the bottom of the television screen --- Marcos Witt.
Of course I Googled him and found out more about him. He is the pastor of the Spanish speaking congregation of Lakewood and that already numbers about 40,000. Witt is American but was raised in Mexico with his Christian missionary parents and siblings. He is also a Latin Grammy Award-winning entertainer and that is apparent in the delivery of his sermon. He knows how to connect with people even in a foreign language. He has the gift.
With the Spanish speaking population in the United States continuing to grow, Joel Osteen was smart in selecting Marcos Witt to lead Lakewood's Spanish-speaking congregation. I look forward to watching more of Witt in action. You may want to check him out also; even if you don’t speak Spanish, you’ll understand.
OK, Oprah Winfrey is my hero --- for real. Her amazing risk to start a new television network and not rest on her talk show laurels has garnered another win. This new network is fabulous. It’s the Church of Oprah 24/7 and that’s not a bad thing especially since so many people watch FOX-News. OWN is the antidote. Yeah, I went there.
The Behind the Scenes show is predictable but still interesting to watch. Some of the other entries on the OWN schedule: searching for; Kidnapped by the Kids; Enough Already with Peter Walsh and Miracle Detectives are also nice but by far my favorite is Master Class. The first subject/teacher interviewed was Jay-Z and I have to tell you I was impressed. So impressed that I’ve seen it twice and probably on my way to seeing it again.
I know Jay-Z is a music icon; super rich and married to Beyonce. Beyond that, I’ve not been much of a fan. I do like his song “Hard Knock Life.” Since Oprah’s Master Class, I definitely respect Jay-Z. He is a personification of the result of the 10,000-hour theory discussed in Malcolm Gladwell’s book, “Outliers.” This young man, no different from someone like Tiger Woods, started early in mastering his craft. With a boom box purchased by his mom and a semi-handcrafted notebook given to him by an aunt, Jay-Z, born Shawn Carter, learned the power of words.
Now, I figure that there are more Jay-Z’s caught up in America’s public housing system; public school system and the penal system. With proper focusing of talent, these young people may be able to transcend poverty and other societal ills if given the opportunity.
Jay-Z made so many profound statements during this hour-long show. He talked of the future of hip-hop; failure and success; goal setting and the power of music to combat racism among many subjects. It will be difficult for anyone to follow Jay-Z in the Master Class series and have the impact that he did. I read Twitter and Facebook comments about his episode and many viewers were impressed.
Some will likely complain that Oprah is too preachy and caters to whites but Oprah is just being Oprah. Everyone should have a purpose in Life and be true to him or herself. Oprah is a brilliant woman. Her messages are positive and most of the time transcend race to show the humanness and sameness in all of us. She knows her audience and knows the formula that works. With the everyday American citizen still reeling from the economy and other challenges, a little Oprah is good and a lot of Oprah is what we need. There is power in words and when combined with action, allows us to overcome anything. Thank you, Oprah. I am grateful to experience my OWN channel during my lifetime. To God be the glory. Now let the Church say Amen.
Former Colorado U.S. Congressman Tom Tancredo ignited controversy here in Miami almost three years ago with his characterization of the area as a third world country. He made other statements that were far from complimentary and let's just say things got ugly. He's now surpassed that deed bycalling Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor a racist because she is a member of the Latino civil rights organization, La Raza. He went on to equate La Raza to the "KKK without the hoods or the nooses."
La Raza chief Janet Murguia disputed Tancredo's description of the organization and refuted his translation of the group's name and motto among other things.
Many people incorrectly translate our name, "La Raza," as "the race." While it is true that one meaning of "raza" in Spanish is indeed "race," in Spanish, as in English and any other language, words can and do have multiple meanings. As noted in several online dictionaries, "La Raza" means "the people" or "the community." Translating our name as "the race" is not only inaccurate, it is factually incorrect. "Hispanic" is an ethnicity, not a race. As anyone who has ever met a Dominican American, Mexican American, or Spanish American can attest, Hispanics can be and are members of any and all races.
The term "La Raza" has its origins in early 20th century Latin American literature and translates into English most closely as "the people" or, according to some scholars, as "the Hispanic people of the New World." The term was coined by Mexican scholar José Vasconcelos to reflect the fact that the people of Latin America are a mixture of many of the world's races, cultures, and religions. Mistranslating "La Raza" to mean "the race" implies that it is a term meant to exclude others. In fact, the full term coined by Vasconcelos, "La Raza Cósmica," meaning the "cosmic people," was developed to reflect not purity but the mixture inherent in the Hispanic people. This is an inclusive concept, meaning that Hispanics share with all other peoples of the world a common heritage and destiny.
Tom Delay adds to the mayhem and foolishness and injects the name of LULAC. Hmmm...
What in the world happened last night? I intentionally missed the American Idol finale last night but I hadn't planned on sleeping through the evening. It was a foregone conclusion that Adam Lambert would be crowned winner so watching the show wasn't a big concern for me. I can’t say that I’ve paid very much attention to American Idol since Fantasia won but the finale is usually a great show.
Anyhoo, I was able to keep up with American Idol via highlights from my local FOX affiliate, WSVN-7. Lambert has an over the top style while Allen is understated.I did like that other guy better. I think his name is Danny Gokey or something like that.
Lambert’s Goth-rock style complete with jet black eyeliner and big voice obviously didn’t cut it with the majority of the American Idol voters but don’t feel sorry for Adam Lambert; he and his big voice will do just fine.
I missed all of last night's performances and I usually like the guest performers. Oh, well; there’s always next year.
Try as some folks might, no one is really fooled about the actual intent of last week's nationwide Tea Bag protests. Clearly, the protests were aimed at President Obama and not about his policies, so to speak. Some folks also tried to paint the effort as highly successful, which it was not.
A couple of offline friends reminded me that I'd neglected to mention Roland Martin's new gig on CNN serving as host of "No Bias. No Bull." while Campbell Brown is on maternity leave.
It goes without saying that Martin is one of my favorite political commentators. Yeah, I probably should have written something about his new gig and to that I say, my bad. I do wish him the best in this new role (I really don't know how he has the energy for so many jobs.) although I'm not really feeling the Saturday night time slot that Martin is slated to get for his own show.
Anyhoo, the Roland Martin discussion got me to thinking about other folks that I like watching and listening to. I don't always agree with their opinion but I do like hearing what they have to say and the delivery of the logic behind their position. Here's my list of faves. Who's in your Top Ten?