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Olympic Champion Gabby Douglas Gets Her Very Own Barbie Doll

unnamed (2)Nationwide — Gabby Douglas has two gold Olympic medals to her name, multiple world championships, and now her very own look-a-like Barbie doll. She is currently training for the upcoming Olympics in Brazil, and toy maker, Mattel, decided to celebrate her success at the U.S. gymnastics team’s trials with a Barbie of her likeness.
She told People magazine, “I’m so excited. My older sister and I used to play with Barbies and create these dramatic fantasy stories, so it’s such a huge honor.” She also told reporters that she hopes that young girls will take away her number-one lesson, which is to “Stay true to yourself, and go after your dreams.”

“Be yourself and really embrace your inner beauty and your true talent,” she said. “Believe in yourself. Never let anyone tell you you can’t do something when you can.”

“Being honored as a Barbie Shero further motivates me to inspire girls by being the best I can be.”

When asked about her upcoming performance in Rio de Janeiro, she replied, “I’m just going to do the same thing I did in London. Focus, train really hard, [and] be consistent.”

Black Stars for Justice: Celebrity Response to Recent Police Killings Is Nothing New

By Ronda Racha Penrice, Urban News Service

Young people in Dr. King’s native Atlanta responded to the recent police killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile with consecutive nights of marches. Celebrities spotted in the protests included rapper T.I. and actress Zendaya Coleman.

Other stars have spoken up about these and similar incidents, mainly through social media. The New York Knicks’s Carmelo Anthony issued a one-page challenge in the July 9 New York Daily News for his “fellow athletes to step up and take charge.” He took an even higher-profile stance on July 13. “The urgency for change is definitely at an all-time high,” Anthony said, as he, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James opened the ESPYs, the Oscars of sports.

These pleas for social justice are not unique to today’s celebrities. Former collegiate athlete, singer and actor Paul Robeson became politically active in the 1930s. He paid a heavy price for such activism in the ’40s and ’50s, as he largely lost his livelihood. Robeson’s difficulties didn’t deter other performers. In Stars for Freedom: Hollywood, Black Celebrities, and the Civil Rights Movement, author Emilie E. Raymond focuses on six celebrities — Harry Belafonte, Sidney Poitier, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Dick Gregory — who struggled for social change. Gregory was an early and leading critic of police brutality.

“He was the one that was in the South,” says the Virginia Commonwealth University professor. “He was arrested in Greenwood, Mississippi; Pine Bluff, Arkansas and in Birmingham and, in those places, he talked about the horrible conditions of the jails and how he was beaten by the police.”

Gil Scott-Heron blasted the police killings of popular Black Panther leader Fred Hampton in Chicago and the more obscure Michael Harris on “No Knock” from his 1972 Free Will album. Langston Hughes’s 1949 poem, “Third Degree,” about a policeman coercing a confession, begins “Hit Me! Jab Me!/Make me say I did it.” Audre Lorde’s “Power” — a 1978 poem about the police killing of a 10-year-old boy and the cop’s subsequent acquittal — minces few words. “Today the 37 year old white man/with 13 years of police forcing/was set free,” it reads.

Hip-hop artists have long addressed police brutality and killings. “In the ’80s and ’90s, you had artists who were political or conscious,” says Bakari Kitwana, formerly an editor with The Source and author of Hip-Hop Activism in the Obama Era. Although many cite N.W.A.’s aggressively-titled 1988 hit “F*** Tha Police” as the prime example of this activism, the West Coast group also stood alongside more politically grounded hip-hop artists such as Public Enemy (“Fight the Power,” 1989).

“[Young people] are finding out about some of these cases because of social media,” says Kitwana. “Hip hop was that communicator before social media.”

Hip-hop artists, even some unexpected ones, still get political about police misconduct. In her verse on rapper French Montana’s “New York Minute” (2010), Nicki Minaj cites the 2006 killing of Sean Bell, whom NYPD officers shot on his wedding day. Other artists, like relative newcomer Vic Mensa, opt to be more overtly political. His “16 Shots” focuses on a Chicago cop’s fatal shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

Mainstream artists perceived as anti-police have faced genuine backlash. Following Beyoncé’s Super Bowl performance paying homage to the Black Panthers, a previously unknown group, Proud of the Blues, called a protest in New York that reportedly no one attended. Also, the Coalition for Police and Sheriffs (C.O.P.S.) staged a small demonstration when Beyoncé’s tour stopped in her native Houston. Opposition on social media, however, has been more pronounced. Jesse Williams’ passionate, anti-racism BET Awards speech, which also touched on police killings, sparked a petition to boot him from the cast of Grey’s Anatomy.

Potential backlash has not silenced some stars.

Compton rapper The Game used social media to report a secret meeting he organized with 100 black celebrities. Comedian Rickey Smiley hosted a more traditional town hall on July 12 — dubbed #StrategyForChange — at the House of Hope Church near Atlanta. Hundreds attended a passionate discussion that included rappers/singers 2 Chainz, Jeezy, David Banner, Lyfe Jennings and Tyrese, Dr. King’s daughter Bernice King, and his comrade Rev. C.T. Vivian.

Speaking out is deeply personal for Smiley. As a young man, the Birmingham native marched to protest white police officer George Sand’s killing of Benita Carter. Sand fatally shot Carter, a friend of Smiley’s mother, in her back as she sat in her car. Carter is one reason why Smiley sees risking his fame as an obligation.

“I can’t sit here and live off of folks, live off of my people, who listen to The Rickey Smiley Morning Show and watch Rickey Smiley For Real and come out and see me perform every weekend and not stand for them when they need something.”

Directing Dollars Seen As a Way to Protest Recent Shootings

NATIONWIDE- Reacting to the most recent wave of shootings of Black men by police officers, thousands of African-American consumers across America are directing their dollars by opening checking and savings accounts in Black-owned banks.

A grassroots effort being called a “Spend Movement” found the nation’s Black banks receiving calls and on-line requests to open accounts.

According to National Bankers Association President Michael Grant, “This is a movement that began over 100 years ago but had become dormant as a consequence of racial integration.  Thousands have been mobilized to protest with their spending power.  Many African-American consumers are linking the shootings with a sense of powerlessness, feeling undervalued and disrespected.”  

Many African-American bankers are hearing that Black lives do not seem to matter because less value is placed on the lives of Black people as a group in America.

Since Friday, July 8, literally thousands of checking and savings accounts have been opened at Black-owned banks.

“The Black lives matter movement is a complement to an emerging economic empowerment movement that is engulfing Black communities all over America,” stated Preston Pinkett, NBA Chairman and CEO of City National Bank, headquartered in Newark, N.J.

Hoping to manage the expectations of its expanding customer base, Black bankers are encouraging some of their prospective customers who have lost their check-writing privileges to work with bank employees to correct the situation. But the banks are also cautioning customers not to become frustrated if the bank is unable to immediately extend check- writing privileges because of past mistakes by customers.

Grant also cautioned Black consumers to be mindful of the voluminous requests that the banks are receiving on-line, in person and by telephone.  He stated: “This is a very positive development for Black banks.  They have always provided a disproportionate share of the small business loans and consumer loans to African-Americans.  Ironically, it seems that we have gone full circle back to where we were before desegregation.  The Black community is turning inward and seeking to provide security for itself.  And few would argue against the notion that nearly every major social issue plaguing Black people in America can find its roots in economic deprivation.

The National Bankers Association, founded in 1927, is a consortium of African-American, Hispanic, Asian, Native American and women-owned banks.  The organization is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

The following is a listing of all NBA banks:
Commonwealth National Bank
P. O. Box 2326
Mobile, AL 36652
(251) 476-5938, X105
(251) 476-9488 Fax
REGION I – African-American

Neill W. Wright
Liberty Bank and Trust
660 Adams Avenue
Montgomery, AL 36104
(334) 262- 0800
(334) 262- 0838 Fax
REGION I – African-American

William Lu
President & CEO
Saigon National Bank
15606 Brookhurst Street
Westminster, CA 92262
(714) 338-8700
(714) 338-8730 Fax

REGION V-Asian-Vietnamese

Kevin Cohee
President / CEO
OneUnited Bank
3863 Crenshaw Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90016
REGION V – African-American

Robert Lussier
President & CEO
Trans Pacific National Bank
55 Second Street, Suite 100
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 543-1052
(415) 543-3377 Fax



B. Doyle Mitchell, Jr.
President & CEO
Industrial Bank
4812 Georgia Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20011
(202) 722-2014
(202) 722-2040 Fax
REGION II – African-American

Kevin Cohee
President / CEO
OneUnited Bank
3275 NW 79th St.
Miami, FL 33147

REGION I – African-American

Cynthia Day
President & CEO
Citizens Trust Bank
75 Piedmont Avenue
Atlanta, GA 30303
(404) 575-8300
(404) 575-8311 Fax

REGION I – African-American

Robert E. James
Carver State Bank
P. O. Box 2769
Savannah, GA 31402
(912) 233-9971
(912) 232-8666 Fax
REGION I – African-American

Sachitra Padamabhan
Chairman & President
CBW Bank
P. O. Box 287
Weir, KS 66781
(620) 396-8221
(620) 396-8402 FAX

Alden J. McDonald
President & CEO
Liberty Bank & Trust
1314 N. 5th
Kansas City, KS 66101

REGION III – African-American

Pedro A. Bryant
Chairman, President & CEO
Metro Bank
900 S. 12th St.
Louisville, KY 40210
(502) 775-4553
(502) 775-5323 FAX
REGION III – African-American

Alden J. McDonald, Jr.
Liberty Bank & Trust Co.
1111 S. Homan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60624
(773) 533-6900, X239
(773) 533-8512 Fax
REGION III – African-American

Seaway Bank & Trust Company
645 East 87th Street
Chicago, IL 60619
(773) 487-4800
(773) 487-0452 Fax
REGION III – African-American

Frank Wang
International Bank of Chicago
1860 North Mannheim Road
Stone Park, IL 60165
(708) 410-2899
(708) 410-2696 Fax


Alden J. McDonald, Jr.
President & CEO
Liberty Bank & Trust Company
P. O. Box 60131
New Orleans, LA 70160
(504) 240-5161
(504) 240-5166 Fax
REGION I – African-American

Joseph Haskins
Chairman & CEO
The Harbor Bank of Maryland
25 West Fayette Street
Baltimore, MD 21202
(410) 528-1882
(410) 951-1858 Fax
REGION II – African-American

Kevin Cohee
Chairman & CEO
OneUnited Bank
100 Franklin Street, Suite 600
Boston, MA 02110
(617) 457-4400
(617) 457-4435 Fax
REGION II – African-American

Barry Clay
President & CEO
First Independence Bank
44 Michigan Avenue
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 256-8466
(313) 256-8811 Fax
REGION III – African-American

Alden J. McDonald
President & CEO
Liberty Bank & Trust
9108 Woodward Ave.
Detroit, MI 48202
REGION III – African-American

Alden J. McDonald
President & CEO
Liberty Bank & Trust
2325 Livingston Rd.
Jackson, MS 39201
(601) 987-6730
REGION I – African-American

Alden J. McDonald
President & CEO
Liberty Bank & Trust
1670 E. 63rd St.
Kansas City, MO 64110
(816) 822-8560
REGION I – African-American

Preston Pinkett III
President & CEO
City National Bank of New Jersey
900 Broad Street
Newark, NJ 07102
(973) 624-0865
(973) 624-1879 Fax
REGION II – African-American

Preston Pinkett III
President & CEO
City National Bank of New Jersey
382 W. 125th St.
New York, NY 10027
(212) 865-4763
REGION II – African-American

James H. Sills III President & CEO
Mechanics & Farmers Bank
P. O. Box 1932
Durham, N. C. 27702
(919) 687-7800,X-816
(910) 687-7821 FAX
REGION I – African-American

Steve Riff
President & CEO
First State Bank of Porter
P. O. Box 250
Locust Grove, OK 74352
(918) 479-5001
(918) 483-3362 Fax
REGION I – Native American

Evelyn F. Smalls
President & CEO
United Bank of Philadelphia
30 S. 15th Street, 12th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19102
(215) 351-4600 X105
(215) 231-3673 Fax

REGION II – African-American

John Kreighbaum
President and CEO
South Carolina Community Bank
P. O. Box 425
1545 Sumter Street
Columbia, S.C. 29202
(803) 733-8100, X1104
(803) 254-0150 Fax
REGION I – African-American

Deborah A. Cole
President & CEO
Citizens Bank
1917 Heiman Street
Nashville, TN 37208
(615) 327-9787 
(615) 329-4843 Fax
REGION I – African-American

Jesse Turner, Jr.
President & CEO
Tri-State Bank of Memphis
180 S. Main
P. O. Box 2007
Memphis, TN 38101
(901) 525-0384
(901) 526-8608 Fax
REGION I – African-American

Ignacio Urrabazo, Jr.
Commerce Bank
5800 San Dario Street
Laredo, TX 78041
(956) 724-2424
(956) 728-8247
REGION IV – Hispanic
John Scroggins
President & CEO
Unity National Bank
2602 Blodgett Street
Houston, TX 77004
(713) 387-7401
(713) 387-5040 Fax
REGION IV – African-American

Nativido Lozano III
Vice President
International Bank of Commerce
P. O. Drawer 1359
1200 San Bernardo Avenue
Laredo, TX 78040
(956) 722-7611
(956) 726-6692 Fax
REGION IV – Hispanic

Lee Reed
Sr. Vice President
International Bank of Commerce
1600 Ruben Torres Blvd.
Brownsville, TX 78526
(956) 547-1019
(956) 547-1029 Fax
REGION IV – Hispanic

Kelvin G. Perry
First State Bank
PO Box 6400,201 N. Union Street
Danville, VA 24541
(434) 792-0198
(434) 792-4978 Fax
REGION II – African-American

Seaway Bank & Trust Company
645 East 87th Street
Chicago, IL 60619
(773) 487-4800
(773) 487-0452 Fax
REGION III – African-American