The 1619 Project wins Pulitzer Prize

PULITZER PRIZE WINNING NEWS – ‘The 1619 Project’ wins commentary Pulitzer for essay by Nikole Hannah-Jones’

Of all the thousands upon thousands of stories and projects produced by American media last year, perhaps the one most-talked about was The New York Times Magazine’s ambitious “The 1619 Project,” which recognized the 400th anniversary of the moment enslaved Africans were first brought to what would become the United States and how it forever changed the country.

It was a phenomenal piece of journalism.

And while the project in its entirety did not make the list of Pulitzer Prize finalists, the introductory essay by Nikole Hannah-Jones, the creator of the landmark project, was honored with a prestigious Pulitzer Prize for commentary.

After the announcement that she has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize, Hannah-Jones told the Times’ staff it was “the most important work of my life.”

While nearly impossible, and almost insulting, to try and describe in a handful of words or even sentences, Hannah-Jones’ essay was introduced with this headline: “Our Democracy’s Founding Ideals Were False When They Were Written. Black Americans Have Fought to Make Them True.”

In her essay, Hannah-Jones wrote, “But it would be historically inaccurate to reduce the contributions of black people to the vast material wealth created by our bondage. Black Americans have also been, and continue to be, foundational to the idea of American freedom. More than any other group in this country’s history, we have served, generation after generation, in an overlooked but vital role: It is we who have been the perfecters of this democracy.”

Hannah-Jones’ and “The 1619 Project,” however, were not without controversy. There was criticism of the project, particularly from conservatives. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich called it “propaganda.” A commentator for The Federalist tweeted the goal of the project was to “delegitimize America, and further divide and demoralize its citizenry.”

But the most noteworthy criticism came from a group of five historians. ln a letter to the Times, they wrote that they were “dismayed at some of the factual errors in the project and the closed process behind it.” They added, “These errors, which concern major events, cannot be described as interpretation or ‘framing.’ They are matters of verifiable fact, which are the foundation of both honest scholarship and honest journalism. They suggest a displacement of historical understanding by ideology.”

Wall Street Journal assistant editorial features editor Elliot Kaufman wrote a column with the subhead: “The New York Times tries to rewrite U.S. history, but its falsehoods are exposed by surprising sources.”

In a rare move, the Times responded to the criticism with its own response. New York Times Magazine editor-in-chief Jake Silverstein wrote, “Though we respect the work of the signatories, appreciate that they are motivated by scholarly concern and applaud the efforts they have made in their own writings to illuminate the nation’s past, we disagree with their claim that our project contains significant factual errors and is driven by ideology rather than historical understanding. While we welcome criticism, we don’t believe that the request for corrections to The 1619 Project is warranted.”

That was just a portion of the rather lengthy and stern, but respectful response defending the project.

In the end, the 1619 Project — and Hannah-Jones’ essay, in particular — will be remembered for one of the most impactful and thought-provoking pieces on race, slavery and its impact on America that we’ve ever seen.

And maybe there was another reason for the pushback besides those questioning its historical accuracy.

As The Atlantic’s Adam Serwer wrote in December, “U.S. history is often taught and popularly understood through the eyes of its great men, who are seen as either heroic or tragic figures in a global struggle for human freedom. The 1619 Project, named for the date of the first arrival of Africans on American soil, sought to place ‘the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.’

Viewed from the perspective of those historically denied the rights enumerated in America’s founding documents, the story of the country’s great men necessarily looks very different.”

There’s no question that Hannah-Jones’ essay, which requires the kind of smart thinking and discussion that this country needs to continue having, deserved to be recognized with a Pulitzer as the top commentary of 2019. After all, and this is not hyperbole, it’s one of the most important essays ever.

In addition, we should acknowledge the other two finalists in this category: Washington Post sports columnist Sally Jenkins and Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez.

Jenkins continues to be among the best sports columnists in the country. Meanwhile, has any writer done more to shine a light on homelessness than Lopez? This is the third time in the past four years (and fourth time overall) that Lopez has been a finalist in the commentary category.

In any other year, both would be deserving of Pulitzer Prizes. But 2019 will be remembered for Nikole Hannah-Jones’ powerful essay and project.

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Henry Cavill in Zack Snyder's Justice League

ENTERTAINMENT – First Look Release of ‘Snyder Cut’: Wonder Woman Discovers Darkseid in New ‘Justice League’ Clip

  • Trending on Screenrant, RorySmith and Variety, Rebecca Rubin, photo compliments of Warner Brother

Snyder Cut First Look

Director Zack Snyder on Thursday debuted a sneak peek of the mythical “Snyder Cut,” his unreleased version of the 2017 superhero film “Justice League.”

The new footage, which runs at 34 seconds, puts the spotlight on Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman as she comes across an artifact in a cave dwelling. Before the clip cuts to the villainous Darkseid, Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor ominously narrates, “The bell’s already been rung, and they’ve heard it. Out in the dark among the stars. Ding dong. The god is dead.”

The “Snyder Cut,” an extended version of “Justice League,” will debut on HBO Max next year. Months before the original film was complete, Snyder stepped down as the director following a family tragedy. Joss Whedon, whose credits include “The Avengers,” was brought in to complete the movie.

After “Justice League” was panned by fans for its inconsistent tone, comic-book enthusiasts rallied for years — using the hashtag #ReleaseTheSnyderCut on social media — to push for the release of Snyder’s original version, which was reportedly a much darker take on the material.

“Justice League” teams up Batman (Ben Affleck), Wonder Woman, Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Superman (Henry Cavill), Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and the Flash (Ezra Miller). The DC Extended Universe installment collected over $650 million at the worldwide box office. However, it was considered a flop because it cost $300 million to make.

10 Biggest Changes to Expect in the Snyder Cut of Justice League

The Snyder cut is finally being released, with fans rejoicing at finally getting to see the Justice League movie the director envisioned.

Justice League was released in 2017 after director Zack Snyder was replaced by Joss Whedon to complete after Snyder’s sudden departure. The intended three and a half hour runtime was cut down to two hours, many scenes and characters were cut, and plot points were changed altogether.  Many connections to Snyder’s Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice were toned down, and reportedly only 10% of Snyder’s actual footage remained.

A fan movement backed by cast and crew of the film began to get the Snyder Cut released. More details slowly came out, much of if coming from Snyder himself. A lot of differences could be seen from the early trailers to the theatrical release of the film. After more than two years, the Snyder Cut has been announced to premiere on HBO Max in 2021. So, here are the 10 biggest changes to expect in the Snyder Cut of Justice League. Spoilers follow for both the theatrical cut and the Snyder Cut of the film.

10Different Tone

The most obvious difference will be in the movie’s tone. Zack Snyder’s cut of Justice League was more in line with Man of Steel and Batman v Superman. From the original trailers, which were made entirely of Snyder’s footage, there was to be more humor than in his previous films, but it still would’ve been an overall darker take. It was rumored that Silas Stone would’ve died halfway through the movie.

When Joss Whedon was brought on, part of his job was to make the movie more light-hearted. Many of the jokes didn’t go over so well, with some not even matching the characters who made them.

9No Super ‘Stache

When doing the reshoots for Justice League, Henry Cavill was still donning his contractually-obligated mustache for Mission Impossible: Fallout. Warner Bros. asked Paramount if they could let him shave it, even offering to do the visual effects to add a mustache back in for the rest of their shoot, as removing facial hair with CGI would be harder than adding it.Either way, Paramount wanted Cavill to keep his mustache. So, he reshot scenes as Superman with a mustache, and it was removed in post-production. As is widely seen throughout the theatrical cut, recreating an upper lip with CGI isn’t very convincing. But giving credit where it’s due, the visual effects artists had a very difficult job to do with not a lot of time. But the Snyder Cut will restore the original footage of Superman with no mustache-removal necessary.

8Cyborg’s Backstory

Justice League Trailer Cyborg Crying

Cyborg was originally meant to have a much larger back story. While some footage of Victor Stone pre-Cyborg was seen in the trailers, he had a lot more depth in the Snyder Cut. Released footage shows him playing football with his mom proudly watching from the stands. The accident that caused him to become Cyborg would also have been included.

RELATED:10 Most Iconic Soundtracks From DC Movies

Ray Fisher, who played Cyborg, has been one of the biggest supporters of the Snyder Cut for some time now. He’s often Tweeted about it or the character. He also has given shoutouts to Karen Bryson, who played Victor’s mother Elinore Stone in the Snyder Cut.

7Cut Supporting Characters

Barry Allen and Iris West in the Snyder Cut

Many supporting characters were cut from the theatrical release of the movie. Besides Karen Bryson as Elinore Stone, we would have also had Willem Dafoe as Vulko before his appearance in Aquaman. Perhaps the most notable character introduction that was cut was Iris West, one of the biggest Flash supporting characters.

A deleted scene that will likely be in the Snyder Cut would have Barry Allen saving Iris from an accident, with Iris being played by Kiersey Clemons. Other characters whose roles were bigger in the Snyder Cut were Silas Stone, Lex Luthor, Mera, and Lois Lane.

6Superman’s Black Suit

Black Suit Superman Zack Snyder

Superman’s black suit, known as the “Recovery Suit” in the comics, was to be worn by Superman after he’s brought back to life. We do see it briefly in the Fortress of Solitude in a deleted scene, but it’s worn by Superman in the Snyder Cut. Zack Snyder himself posted a picture of Henry Cavill wearing the black suit.

The theatrical cut had Superman back in the red and blue for the finale, but the Snyder Cut will supposedly have him in the black suit instead. He was to transition back to red and blue over the sequels.

5Score By Junkie XL

Thomas Holkenborg, aka Junkie XL, was the co-composer for Batman v Superman. He was then the sole composer for Justice League until the reshoots happened, resulting in Danny Elfman taking over. Junkie XL’s score was completed for the film before it was replaced.

With his score already done, it’s unknown if the composer will be doing any more recording sessions for the film. But considering he composed the score for a film reportedly three and a half hours long, and the Snyder Cut is now being labeled as four hours long, perhaps there will be new scenes to score.

4More Intense Steppenwolf

The film’s villain, Steppenwolf, was originally set to be a much scarier and more intense take on the character. This can be briefly seen in the extended cut of BvS, where Lex Luthor is contacting more sinister-looking Steppenwolf, just before his “the bell cannot be unrung” speech to Batman.

There was to be an entire fight scene in S.T.A.R. Labs with Steppenwolf, with the screenshot above being from that scene. Steppenwolf would’ve been more fleshed-out as well, and not just a random threat for the Justice League to fight. Actor Ciaran Hinds played the character and said that the theatrical cut was not what he worked on so hard. But the Snyder Cut would show his hard work.

3Tie-In To The Knightmare World

The Knightmare sequence in Batman v Superman felt out of place to some fans. But the theatrical cut of Justice League removing most references to it made it even more out of place. But the Snyder Cut would have referenced it directly, with Batman specifically hoping to prevent that future. Presumably, Flash would’ve traveled back in time during Justice League or one of its sequels, which is what Bruce saw in BvS.

Also tying into this would have been Flash’s line that Lois Lane is the key. In BvS, Superman in the Knightmare sequence tells Batman that Lois was his world. Whether we’ll see something happen to Lois in the Snyder Cut remains to be seen, as not everything in Snyder’s original script was shot for his cut. But there should be more of a connection.

2More DC Heroes

Zack Snyder Justice League and Martian Manhunter

While the main group of six heroes was the same for the Snyder Cut, more heroes would’ve appeared in the Snyder Cut. Among these heroes would be J’onn J’onzz aka Martian Manhunter, who would be revealed as the true identity of Harry Lennix’s General Swanwick from Man of Steel and BvS. Ryan Zheng would’ve been seen as Ryan Choi in S.T.A.R. Labs, a character who becomes the Atom after Ray Palmer in the comics.

Actor Sam Benjamin said he was part of a military subplot that was cut from the movie, with many suggesting he was Hal Jordan, the first Green Lantern of Earth. This is backed up by an intended post-credits scene of Green Lanterns Kilowog and Tomar-Re speaking to Batman.

1Darkseid

Darkseid Back Comic Cover

Darkseid was mentioned just once in the theatrical cut of Justice League, but he didn’t appear in the film. He was set to appear in the Snyder Cut played by Ray Porter, and Desaad of Apokolips would appear as well. The opening of the film also had a full flashback to the war referenced in the theatrical cut, with Darkseid’s backstory being explained too.

A very notable difference is Darkseid’s appearance at the end of the film. Spoilers follow for the ending. Steppenwolf was set to die differently, with Wonder Woman decapitating him. His head would then roll to a Boom Tube, where the Justice League would briefly see Darkseid. Snyder himself has even shared the shot of the League on set looking at what was set to be Darkseid.

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ENTERTAINMENT – Weather channel owner, Byron Allen and Comcast Corporation Settle Racial Discrimination Lawsuit, Reach Carriage Agreement For Entertainment Channels

  • Riley Rose McKesson

  • Trending headlines from Los Angeles Times, Fortune, Variety, and Deadline

Byron Allen, entertainment, media mogul

 

Byron Allen and Comcast have settled the long-running racial discrimination lawsuit over Allen’s cable channels that went all the way to the Supreme Court last November. In October of 2019, Allen was interviewed by, The Breakfast Club, where he discussed buying The Weather Channel, his long battle with Economic Inclusion in the Entertainment Industry and the racial bias leading to his Comcast lawsuit.

Allen has ended his legal battle over alleged racism with Comcast Corporation after a five-year campaign that reached the U.S. Supreme Court. Allen maintained that the Philadelphia-based Comcast refused to offer his TV channels in its cable bundles because he’s Black. His suit, filed in 2015, sought $20 billion.

Comcast has denied Allen’s allegations.

But with the settlement announcement on Thursday, June 11, 2020, Allen achieved his goal by gaining carriage for three of his cable channels: Comedy.TV, Recipe.TV, and JusticeCentral.TV, on Comcast’s Xfinity cable television packages. Comcast also agreed to extend the distribution deal for the Weather Channel, which Allen acquired in 2018, and 14 additionally broadcast stations that Allen owns.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Many companies, while pledging solidarity with black employees and black people against injustice, are starting to confront the lack of diversity and allegations of racism in their own organizations.

Comcast, which owns NBCUniversal, this Monday pledged $100 million for social justice and said it would accelerate its diversity efforts. Comcast said it would “put the full weight of our company’s media resources behind highlighting Black voices and Black stories.”

Byron Allen with family at film premiere

 

Allen, 59, got his start in show business playing comedy clubs in Los Angeles as a teenager. He made his first appearance on “The Tonight Show” when he was 18. In the 1980s, he was the host of NBC’s “Real People,” but he wanted to own his own business, so he founded Entertainment Studios in 1993. His company has grown into a small media empire, and yet Allen struggled for acceptance.

Comcast faced criticism for its diversity efforts during the federal review in 2010 of its takeover of NBCUniversal.

As part of an 2011 agreement with the federal government to allow that deal to go through, Comcast agreed to launch several channels backed by minorities, including the Aspire channel led by former basketball great Magic Johnson, the Revolt channel with music mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs, and El Rey network with director Robert Rodriguez.

Allen filed a $20 billion lawsuit against the media giant in 2015, asserting that the media giant violated civil rights law by refusing to carry his portfolio of seven niche cable channels.

Comcast vehemently denied that race played any role in its decision.

“We’re excited to begin a new phase of partnership with Comcast and Xfinity, including the distribution of our cable channels for the first time on Xfinity platforms,” said Byron Allen, founder, chairman and CEO of Entertainment Studios/Allen Media Group.

“We are pleased to have reached this multifaceted agreement that continues our long relationship with the Weather Channel while bringing Xfinity customers additional content,” Bec Heap, Comcast Cable’s senior vice president for video and entertainment, said in a statement. “We look forward to an ongoing partnership.”

The deal with Comcast follows the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in March, which struck down many of Allen’s arguments.

In a 9-0 decision, the court said it was not enough for a civil rights plaintiff to assert that his race was one of several factors that motivated a company to refuse to do business with him. Instead, Allen was told that he must show race was the crucial and deciding factor.

The Supreme Court sent Allen’s case back to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, but as part of Thursday’s settlement, Allen agreed to withdraw the case that he filed in 2015.

 

Byron Allen at the Academy of Arts & Sciences

 

The lawsuit began after Allen, who owns Entertainment Studios Network, unsuccessfully tried to negotiate with Comcast and Charter Communications for slots on their systems for seven of his channels, including Pets.TV, Cars.TV and Comedy.TV. Both companies expressed some interest, but ultimately said they already carried other similar channels.

When the talks ended with no deal, Allen filed lawsuits in Los Angeles against both companies seeking billions of dollars in damages and alleging racial discrimination. Allen pointed out that Comcast had given slots to lesser-known channels produced by white-owned companies. Allen also alleged a Comcast executive had said, “We’re not trying to create any more Bob Johnsons,” referring to the billionaire African American founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET).

For five years, judges were been split over whether Allen had enough evidence of racial bias to merit a trial.

His suit was legally significant because it relied on the historic Civil Rights Act of 1866. Enacted a year after the Civil War, it decreed that Black people “shall have the same right … to make and enforce contracts … as is enjoyed by white citizens.”

Allen’s suit maintained that Comcast had violated a federal civil rights law from 1866 designed to ensure that Black people had the same right to make and enforce contracts as white people. The suit asserted that because race was involved in Comcast’s decision making, the cable giant had violated the law known as Section 1981.

U.S. District Judge Terry Hatter considered several amended complaints but ultimately dismissed Allen’s suit, saying Allen lacked the evidence to show that racial bias was the reason for Comcast’s decision not to carry his channels.

But the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed and cleared the way for the suit to proceed. Its judges said that if race appeared to have been a motivating factor, that was sufficient for the suit to proceed. But with its decision, the U.S. Supreme Court put new limits on race-bias lawsuits.

Allen also has a $10 billion lawsuit pending against cable giant Charter Communications. The litigation against a prominent Black media entrepreneur has become a PR nightmare for Comcast and Charter, particularly at a time of heightened sensitivity to racial justice concerns.

Allen previously settled litigation against DirecTV that also led to the Entertainment Studios’ channels being picked up by the satcaster.

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A Curvy Chick Production for Riley Rose superhero and graphic novels.

Artwork on The Killing of George Floyd

A Long Suffering People Protests The Killing Of George Floyd Inside The Colonies Of Enslavement And Around The Entire World

RileyRose (Author) McKesson

Protestors standing against the police killing of George Floyd on May 25, 2020.

Protests began after the police killing of George Floyd on May 25, 2020. All four officers have been charged and arrested, but the list of police brutality killings is just too long: Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, and Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, and Breonna Taylor and many more. Many have taken to the streets to show their solidarity in protest. Joining in on this struggle endured by Blacks around the world are countries worldwide. Floyd died last week after a police officer pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes even after he stopped moving and pleading for air.

The death set off protests that spread across America — and now, beyond.

 

Time Magazine recently reported on French protesters who took a knee and raised their fists while firefighters struggled to extinguish multiple blazes of a largely peaceful, multiracial demonstration that degenerated into scattered tensions. Several thousand people defied a virus-related ban on protests to pay homage to Floyd and Adama Traore, a French black man who died in police custody.

Chanting “I can’t breathe,” thousands marched peacefully through Australia’s largest city, while thousands more demonstrated in the Dutch capital of The Hague and hundreds rallied in Tel Aviv. Expressions of anger erupted in multiple languages on social networks, with thousands of Swedes joining an online protest and others speaking out under the banner of #BlackOutTuesday and #BlackLivesMatter.

Henry Louis Gates’, Many Rivers To Cross, PBS miniseries.

“This happened in the United States, but it happens in France, it happens everywhere,” Paris protester Xavier Dintimille said. While he said police violence seems worse in the U.S., he added, “all blacks live this to a degree.” Blacks are a consistent and unending target for bigotry and discrimination all around the world.

As demonstrations escalated worldwide, solidarity with U.S. protesters increasingly mixed with local worries. It seems that being Black in America is a targeted disease that exists everywhere, being Black is a targeted culture since the 1500’s as pointed out in Henry Louis Gates‘, (Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University), PBS documentary, The African Americans Many Rivers To Cross, a six part miniseries documenting the beginnings of slavery to America, a trade that built America through hundreds of years of free labor in the richest Southern States.

After the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr, Jane Elliot asks a probing question of White Americans. Click to hear it.

The United States is in the midst of a brutal awakening, a country divided by racial prejudice and divisions of inequity since the beginning of slavery in the U.S. What’s clear in this documentary is the long term targeted degradation by White Americans of a culture that helped build U.S., turning it into the wealthiest country in the world. The reward to the very people that made this possible is ever ending target systemic discrimination and racism.

Yet this culture continues to fight time and time again.

Though the series, African Americans Many Rivers To Cross, is six parts, I’ve only viewed Parts I, II, and III to date. I will follow up this post when I have completed viewing the entire series. I was prompted to watch it after my friend, Donna Black posted an article: “Anti-racism Activist Jane Elliot leaves a White audience speechless with a brilliant question about race”, Elliot created the blue eyes/brown eyes experiment after MLK was shot.

After Black’s post, she asked me to lend a voice to it and so I did. The post is attached to a private account and so I decided to add it to my blog:  Jane Elliot did indeed ask a probing and confronting question of White Americans who were cornered in a theater, unwilling to give an answer, thereby yielding proof of their prevailing racism. Yet, I think even more is at play. Racism bears its head in so many forms throughout American history. Most topically in addition to police attacks are economics, which leads to the US unemployment system. Created in 1935 to assist workers as a part of the New Deal, but denied to agricultural workers and domestic workers in a plea deal with Southern States. The majority of these workers at this time were Black. These benefits were denied from 1935 to 1976.

That’s 40 years of inequity which affected the ability to feed Black families, keep families together, sinking opportunities of private education, and it helped to destroy familiar wealth to pass down for generations to which affects buying power and prosperity to present time. In fact, Black labor was a major factor of growth to the American economy.

Enslaved people built U.S. early infrastructure and created lucrative commodities of cotton and tobacco.

After emancipation, Black labor was crucial in industry, agriculture, and service. Yet the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), established in 1884, only started gathering consistent data on African American workers in 1972. For nearly a century, African American workers did not appear even as data points let alone in meaningful policies or labor legislation. This is more than racism, this is targeted hate designed to destroy the very people that were brought over in chains to build America’s industries. Again, It’s more than racism that needs to addressed; it’s targeted systemic hate for an entire culture of people. I agreed with my friend, Black, an apology from the U.S. government/administration has never been offered or even acknowledged. This would be the basis of a beginning to pulling out the root of the cause.

Henry Louis Gates’, The African Americans, Many Rivers To Cross on PBS.

Racism, bigotry, inequity are just symptoms of the cause, much like drinking and drugs are the symptoms of the cause of alcoholism. Without addressing the underlying why (hate), you cannot affect real change to begin to defeat the symptoms. The government does not seem motivated in any form to confronting this issue, not for 400+ years. Herein lies a pervasive cancer. In order to cure it, it has to be acknowledged and dragged out by the root in order to destroy all of its branches. There are many and they are far reaching. Just my opinion…

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