Category Archives: Entertainment

National Black Theatre Festival Honors Ron Himes

By MCNS Staff

Ron HImes

Ron Himes

According to local sources, Ron Hines, founder and producing director for the St. Louis Black Repertory Theatre, has received the Black Theatre Network 2017 Larry Leon Hamlin Producer Award for his 40 years of work with the historic acting troupe. Himes is also the Henry E. Hampton, Jr. Artist-in-Residence in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis.

Himes was honored during the opening gala of the National Black Theatre Festival, which took place in Winston-Salem, N.C. this summer, according to Washington University’s The Source.

The Larry Leon Hamlin Producer Award recognizes contributions African American producers have made to the theater and the entertainment industry. It is named after the late Hamlin, founder, executive producer and artistic director of the North Carolina Black Repertory Company.

Himes founded The Black Rep in 1976 while still a student at Washington University, and has built one of the nation’s largest and most respected African-American theater companies.

Kaepernick Files Grievance Against NFL

By MCNS Staff

Colin Kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick, former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, filed a grievance against NFL teams for colluding to keep him out of the league, his legal representatives stated.

Kaepernick retained Los Angeles-based attorney Mark J. Geragos as counsel. Geragos’s firm stated that the grievance was filed “only after pursuing every possible avenue with all NFL teams and their executives.”

In a statement, the law firm also said: “If the NFL . . . is to remain a meritocracy, then principled and peaceful political protest — which the owners themselves made great theater imitating weeks ago — should not be punished and athletes should not be denied employment based on partisan political provocation by the Executive Branch of our government. . . . Protecting all athletes from such collusive conduct is what compelled Mr. Kaepernick to file his grievance.”

Colin Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers following last season, thus making him a free agent who was eligible to sign with any team. Additionally, the 49ers stated that they would have released Kaepernick as opposed to retaining him under the terms of that agreement. Since that point, he has also been over-looked by other NFL teams that needed a quarterback.

Teams such as the Seattle Seahawks and Baltimore Ravens both courted Colin Kaepernick. The Seattle Seahawks had an offseason visit with him and the Baltimore Ravens were in contact with him, however a deal was not signed with either team. The most recent example is the Tennessee Titans signing Brandon Weeden to back up Matt Cassel when their starting quarterback, Marcus Mariota, was sidelined due to injury. That signing poured salt in the wounds of Kaepernick supporters who cited the fact that Kaepernick led the 49ers to a Super Bowl and two NFC championship games, not to mention the fact that he threw 16 touchdown passes with only four interceptions last season.

Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the US national anthem before games last season.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL media. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

This season, protests have continued with numerous other players, even though Colin Kaepernick has not been in the league.

Jemele Hill Suspended for Cowboys Boycott Tweet

By MCNS Staff

Jemele Hill

Jemele Hill

ESPN has suspended Sportscenter host Jemele Hill for what they say is the second break with company social media policy in the past few weeks.

The suspension was a reaction to critical tweets from Hill about Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’s announcement that any player that did not stand during the national anthem would be benched.

“Jerry Jones also has created a problem for his players, specifically the black ones. If they don’t kneel, some will see them as sellouts,” she stated, among a stream of tweets.

In a second tweet, Hill wrote, “If you strongly reject what Jerry Jones said, the key is his advertisers. Don’t place the burden squarely on the players.”

“This play always work. Change happens when advertisers are impacted. If you feel strongly about JJ’s statement, boycott his advertisers,” Hill specifes.

ESPN found the online comments in violation of their social media guidelines. A statement from the network reads, “Jemele Hill has been suspended for two weeks for a second violation of our social media guidelines. She previously acknowledged letting her colleagues and company down with an impulsive tweet. In the aftermath, all employees were reminded of how individual tweets may reflect negatively on ESPN and that such actions would have consequences. Hence this decision.”

Hill, 41, is the co-host of “Sportscenter” with Michael Smith. According to national reports, Smith declined to host the first 6pm edition of Sportscenter without his co-host and Matt Barrie filled in. The Washington Post states Smith returned to the show Tuesday and is expected to host SC6 by himself for the next two weeks until Hill returns.

The president took time out of his schedule to tweet on Hill, saying “With Jemele Hill at the mike, it is no wonder ESPN ratings have ‘tanked,’ in fact, tanked so badly it is the talk of the industry!” But, his attention may not be only due to the suspension. In September, she drew ire with network executives and others when she tweeted that President Trump was a “white supremacist.” Following the tweet, Hill apologized for having “painted ESPN in an unfair light.”


NBA Says Players Must Stand for Anthem

In a show of extreme courage, LA Sparks players walked off the court during the US anthem, prompting questions of what NBA players will do.

In a show of extreme courage, LA Sparks players walked off the court during the US anthem, prompting questions of what NBA players will do.

By MCNS Staff

An NBA memo sent to teams last Friday states that players and coaches are expected to stand for the national anthem before games, according to the Associated Press. The memo comes one day after Commissioner Adam Silver stated at the Board of Governors news conference that he expects players to stand for the national anthem.

The memo, distributed by Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum, suggests teams might address the current political climate by having players and coaches give a joint pregame address at their first home games, according to ESPN.

“This could include a message of unity and how the team is committed to bringing the community together this season,” the memo states.

The memo also suggests that teams can prepare a video tribute or public service announcement featuring “team leadership speaking about the issues they care about,” according to ESPN. Tatum also suggested that teams use their opening games “to demonstrate your commitment to the NBA’s core values of equality, diversity, inclusion and serve as a unifying force in the community.”

Also, according to ESPN, the memo states that “the league office will determine how to deal with any possible instance in which a player, coach, or trainer does not stand for the anthem.”

The memo also states that individual teams “do not have the discretion to waive” a rule that players, coaches and staff are required to stand for the anthem. The league has the discretion to discipline players who violate the rule.

However, it is not clear if the league would exercise it, nor what the penalty itself would be. Therefore, it will be interesting to note how a league that is comprised of 82% Black men will meet the challenge of addressing the issue of the murder of Black people and people of color at the hands of the police. This is especially the case if they take a cue from the WNBA’s LA Sparks, who went to their locker room for the national anthem in the WNBA Finals.

The memo comes as tensions rise around NFL kneeling protests initiated by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick during last year’s season in opposition to institutional racism and racist police practices. He has not been signed with a team this season and is believed to be ostracized by teams. After criticism of the protests from President Trump two weeks ago, whole teams and even some coaches and owners are participating in kneeling protests, drawing equal parts support and ire from football fans, often along racial lines.