LONDON (AP) — British magazine Grazia U.K. has apologized to Lupita Nyong’o after the actress accused it of altering her hair on its front cover “to fit a more Eurocentric notion” of beauty.
The Academy Award winner tweeted before-and-after images, saying the magazine “edited out and smoothed” her hair. She added the hashtag “dtmh (don’t touch my hair).”
On Instagram, the Kenya-raised star of “12 Years a Slave” and “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” said “there is still a very long way to go to combat the unconscious prejudice against black women’s complexion, hairstyle and texture.”
The magazine said Friday that it “apologized unreservedly to Lupita Nyong’o.” It said it had not altered the images itself or asked the photographer to do so, and “is committed to representing diversity throughout its pages.”
Just last month Solange Knowles, who popularized the song ‘Don’t Touch My Hair’ accused Britain’s Evening Standard to editing her braided crown off the cover. Even the journalist who interviewed Knowles publicly distanced herself from the piece.
Martha O’Donovan did not speak to reporters as she emerged from a prison in the capital, Harare, and left in a U.S. Embassy vehicle. Her lawyers also did not make any statements.
The 25-year-old New Jersey native will return to court on Wednesday.
O’Donovan is accused of calling the 93-year-old Mugabe a “sick man” in a tweet including an image of the president with a catheter.
She faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted for subversion. She also faces a charge of undermining the authority of or insulting the president, which carries up to a year in prison.
O’Donovan has denied the charges as “baseless and malicious.”
It was the first arrest since Mugabe last month appointed a cybersecurity minister, a move criticized by activists as targeting social media. Zimbabwe was shaken last year by the biggest anti-government protests in a decade.
Frustration is growing in the once-prosperous southern African nation as the economy collapses under Mugabe, the world’s oldest head of state, who has ruled since 1980. This week his wife, Grace, moved a dramatic step closer to succeeding him as leader after Mugabe fired his deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa and accused him of plotting to take power, including through witchcraft.
Also Friday, the state-run newspaper Zimbabwe Herald newspaper reported that four people had been arrested and accused of booing the first lady at a ruling party rally over the weekend attended by the president.
O’Donovan, who has described herself as a “media activist,” had been working with local social media outlet Magamba TV, which says it produces “satirical comedy sensations.”
A court over the weekend dismissed an attempt by O’Donovan’s lawyer to have the charge of subversion dropped. The lawyer argued that police had not notified O’Donovan of the charge at the time of her arrest at her home in the capital, Harare.
The group representing O’Donovan, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights says it has represented nearly 200 people charged for allegedly insulting Mugabe in recent years.
Comedian DeRay Davis has not one but two live in girlfriends. “Living with two women in a polyamorous relationship is perfectly fine, and people shouldn’t be shocked that it works,” Davis said during a recent stop on the daytime talk show “The Real.”
At the moment, he’s in a relationship and lives with two women, 26-year-old Caro Peguero and 24-year-old Coco Crawford and the union was captured on the Oxygen docu-series “Living with Funny” last year.
On “The Real,” Davis said that everyone in his household lives harmoniously, and he shunned the playboy image that some people may have of him.
“I’ve been with one for about five years, the other one for almost two and half years now,” he explained. “They’re very comfortable, ’cause I’m very open. I don’t make it where it’s all, ‘Oooh, look what I’m doing.’ I’m not a player.”
Davis also said that he isn’t interested in marrying either one of the women. Instead, he said, “I’d rather they marry each other, and I’ll just be with both of them.”
The comedian’s Oxygen show, as well as his recent interview, comes on the heels of multiple person relationships making headlines and being on TV.
For example, R. Kelly has been famously accused of having several women, known as “sister wives,” living in his Georgia and Chicago homes. Not to mention, there’s a storyline on the show “Love & Hip-Hop: Atlanta” that involves music manager Rodney Bullock, Jasmine Washington and Keanna Arnold in a three-way relationship that people have been buzzing about.
Then, there was that recent episode of the MTV show “Catfish,” where a guy named Wayne asked a woman named Robin if she’d move in with him and his other girlfriends. “I’ve never just been solidly committed to one girl,” said Wayne during the episode. “I like to have more than one girlfriend at a time. … We could be one happy family all in one household.”
Robin ultimately declined his offer and ended their relationship.
The HBO series “Insecure” touched on polyamory as well, when the characters Molly and Dro hooked up, although there wasn’t any cohabitation going on between them and Dro’s wife.
There are also sites like Black & Polly that cater to Black people interested in polyamory, and long-running matchmaking site OkCupid has a section that caters to folks seeking that type of romance as well.
All of these things combined could lead one to believe that polyamorous relationships are a growing trend in the U.S., but according to relationship expert Dr. Tiffanie Henry — who runs a private practice in Fayetteville, Ga. and a site called My Intimate Details — that may not be the case.
“I don’t know if it’s necessarily a growing trend,” she said in an exclusive interview. “I just think people are more comfortable talking about different ways of love and loving people. Just like there was a time when people didn’t necessarily admit or talk about same-sex relationships, but now people are very comfortable or more comfortable with being out, with talking about their relationships and the dynamics of their relationships — whether it’s being in a same-sex relationship, whether it’s being open to kink or BDSM or having multiple partners.”
Based on the internet chatter surrounding multiple person relationships, it’s apparent that women get the brunt of the backlash for being in them and some may be considered naive or desperate, which is wrong, said Dr. Henry.
“It doesn’t necessarily surprise me that there would be a negative outlook on women who participate in the same behavior that a man participates in,” she stated. “It’s just looked at differently if a woman is okay with it versus a man, and that’s not okay.”
But at the same time, it’s important for a person who may be interested in a polyamorousrelationship to determine if that’s what he or she wants.
“There’s polyamory and polyamorous relationships and then there’s cheating,” said Dr. Henry, who co-hosted the ABC daytime show “The Revolution” and the late-night talk show on TLC “All About Sex.”
“It’s almost like that argument of sex addiction. Where you have someone who’s having sex with multiple people and then it’s just like ‘Oh well, I have a sex-addiction.’ Is it an excuse to do what you want, or do you truly believe that you can love multiple people at one time?”
The Georgia based therapist also said it’s important for people to determine the type of person they really are before getting into a relationship that involves two or more people. Because entering that arrangement solely for another person won’t work, since the one who makes the sacrifice usually ends up feeling horrible.
In addition, Dr. Henry said that she’s known people in happy polyamorous relationships who’ve stayed together for several years and others who’ve had their primary relationship ruined. She also stated that it’s important for the person “driving the machine” in that type of arrangement to stop if it’s hurting the main union at some point.
The doctor also warns the difficulties of maintaining more than one intimate relationship at once and stressed that it’s not an easy thing to do.
“[Being in love with someone] takes a lot of energy and work to maintain that love,” she pointed out. “So to think about having to build that type of relationship with two people or more at the same time, that’s a lot of work. It’s not for the faint of heart.”
The fact that 2-year-old AJ Burgess desperately needs a kidney transplant has never been in dispute. Every day, the Atlanta toddler requires 10 hours of dialysis and five bladder treatments, all administered by his trained mother, Carmellia Burgess. Born prematurely without kidneys, and spending the first 10 months of his life in an intensive care unit, AJ recently sustained a stroke and is currently recovering from surgery to address a serious abdominal infection.
What is being disputed is the reason why the transplant has yet to occur. Originally scheduled for Oct. 3, the potentially lifesaving procedure was canceled by Emory University Hospital in Atlanta after it learned AJ’s donor and father, Anthony Dickerson, had committed a parole violation six days prior. Protests ensued over the following weeks, the family lawyered up and the story went national as Emory University Hospital was eventually forced to reprioritize the scheduling of AJ’s transplant.
While the situation appears to be mostly resolved — Emory appears committed to performing the procedure once AJ’s infection clears and Dickerson undergoes a medical reevaluation — what is still being questioned are the larger implications of such an extraordinary medical dispute. Given AJ’s family is both African-American and struggling to make ends meet, considerations of the intersecting issues of race, class, criminal justice and modern health care policy are to be expected.
“What we are witnessing is racism and classism that could leave a 2-year-old baby dead,” wrote community organizer and former Atlanta City Councilman Derrick Boazman in a statement prior to leading a late October protest at Emory.
The hospital’s subsequent response indirectly denied Boazman’s allegations. “It is important to note that race is never a factor,” read the Emory statement. As one of the top transplant programs in the nation, the hospital has performed more than 5,000 kidney transplants to date. In fact, continued the statement, “more than 50 percent of our kidney transplant patients are African-American. UNOS (United Network for Organ Sharing) policies, to which Emory adheres, have virtually eliminated ethnic disparities in the rate of kidney transplantation nationwide.”
In its initial transplant denial letter to the family, the hospital stated it would not proceed with the surgery until Dickerson proved compliance with the terms of his parole. “The Living Donor Transplant Team at Emory has asked Mr. Dickerson for evidence of compliance from his parole officer for the next three months. We will re-evaluate Mr. Dickerson in January 2018 after receipt of his completed documentation.”
“We were very concerned that the letter the father and mother received referenced, at all, any monitoring of his parole status or contact with the criminal justice system,” said Mawuli Davis, one of the family’s attorneys. “That, for us, raised a red flag.” In subsequent meetings with Emory officials, Davis said the hospital “acknowledged that that communication, and communication as a whole, broke down and that it should not have transpired that way. But based on what we received, obviously, we were very concerned that criminal justice is a factor.”
UNOS guidelines state potential donors are subject to “questions about any history of ‘high risk’ behaviors” and a “psychosocial and medical evaluation process” geared to “ensure success of the transplant” and its aftermath. However, a spokesman for the organization recently represented that there are no particular guidelines aimed at donors on parole or probation and that the final decision on transplants is made by the medical facility, and subject to UNOS review.
Some feel such subjective processes and medical bureaucracy can cover for or enable the type of systemic human bias that leads to both negative and disparate health care outcomes.
“The story of AJ and the obstacles his father faced in trying to save his life is the most egregious thing I think I’ve heard in terms of lack of common sense and concern for human life,” said Sara Totonchi, executive director of the Southern Center for Human Rights, a nonprofit law firm focused on criminal justice. “The criminal justice system disproportionately impacts communities of color,” stressed Totonchi, noting “there is no doubt in my mind that these racial disparities, combined with racial disparities in our health care system, can and do exacerbate extremely difficult situations faced by families and result in inequalities that could have tragic results for some of the most vulnerable members of our community.”
An August 2017 article in the American Journal of Nephrology stated that more than half the patients “awaiting kidney transplantation in the United States are ethnic minorities” with African-Americans constituting almost “33% of those on the waiting list.” Even with significant advancements in kidney transplantation, racial disparities still exist as African-Americans experience “longer time on the transplant waiting list, increased incidence of new-onset diabetes after transplant, lower access to live donor kidney transplant, and lower rates of graft survival” than their white counterparts.
While there are certainly a variety of factors contributing to this data, the racial realities of our modern society well justify a heightened scrutiny of such ongoing disparities.
“Living in America and dealing with so many issues that we deal with on a daily basis, I think it’s naïve for us to ever completely disregard the role that race plays in any decision, whether by an institution or individual,” said Davis, who is nonetheless optimistic that “things are back on track” with Emory and “Baby AJ.”
“We don’t have any concrete evidence of what motivated the writing of that letter or that communication [by Emory],” continued Davis. “But what we do know is we have to be ever mindful of the ways race, class and privilege play out in any of the institutions that impact our lives and our community.”
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas prosecutor has asked for help in investigating a retired white police detective accused of preying on black women for sex over decades and pursuing the wrongful murder conviction of the son of one of the women.
Wyandotte County District Attorney Mark Dupree, the first black elected district attorney in Kansas, noted in an interview Wednesday that Kansas City Police Chief Terry Zeigler recently said there should be an investigation of former detective Roger Golubski, who numerous residents say wielded his power to terrorize the Kansas City, Kansas black community for years.
“When the chief of police says something like that, then I have to look at this retired detective who was with the police department for 30 years,” Dupree said.
The prosecutor, elected last year, recently requested assistance from the Kansas Bureau of Investigation to look into Golubski’s conduct and “discussions are currently occurring on how best to proceed,” bureau spokeswoman Melissa Underwood said in an email.
Dupree shocked those attending a court hearing on Oct. 13 when he said there had been “manifest injustice” in the conviction of Lamonte McIntyre for the 1994 murders of two men, when he was a teenager. A judge let McIntyre go free after 23 years in prison.
No physical evidence linked McIntyre to the crime, and he did not know the victims. The case rested on contradictory and coerced testimony that police and the prosecutor at the time allegedly knew to be false.
McIntyre’s mother, Rose, said in an affidavit that years before her son was convicted Golubski coerced her into a sexual act in his office and then harassed her for weeks, often calling her two or three times a day, before she moved and changed her phone number. She believes Golubski retaliated against her son because she spurned his later advances.
Affidavits also accuse the prosecutor in the case, Terra Morehead, of intimidating witnesses who told her McIntyre was not the killer, and then not informing the defense about those statements. And the presiding judge, Wyandotte County District Judge J. Dexter Burdette, had a romantic relationship with Morehead before the trial that neither disclosed at the time.
Golubski, Morehead and Burdette have never been disciplined over those issues. All three either declined or did not respond to requests for comment. Golubski retired from law enforcement last year. Morehead is now a federal prosecutor. Burdette is still on the bench.
In the wake of the McIntyre case, Dupree has been working to establish early next year a “conviction integrity unit” within the district attorney’s office. He said such units are designed to right any wrongs when there may be “a bad apple that sneaks in” a prosecutorial office.
“This in fact is something I wanted to do, but the McIntyre case sped up when it was going to be done,” Dupree said. “And, honestly, it showed the community that it was something that was needed.”
Black community leaders in Kansas City, Kansas, have said people do not trust the police in the wake of the McIntyre case.
Dupree is among a group of about 20 newly elected district attorneys who are part of a loose national network calling itself Fair and Just Prosecution.
Some are the first women to hold the top prosecutor job in their communities, and some are the first African-American or the first Hispanic elected to it — although that alone does not define them, said Miriam Krinsky, the executive director of Fair and Just Prosecution.
Wyandotte County’s conviction integrity unit would be comprised of a full-time investigator. Also on the team would be volunteers including a defense lawyer, a law school educator and a non-lawyer member of the district attorney’s community liaison board.
Last year 29 conviction integrity units were scattered in prosecutorial offices across the nation, more than double the number in 2013, according to The National Registry of Exonerations. Such units account for 70 of the record 166 exonerations recorded last year.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Nearly two dozen House Republicans on Thursday pressed Speaker Paul Ryan to act quickly on legislation that would protect some 800,000 young immigrants brought illegally to the United States as children.
The lawmakers said efforts to grant such deportation protection would easily pass the House, with dozens in the GOP set to join Democrats in backing any bill.
These immigrants are facing an uncertain future after President Donald Trump’s decision to end Obama-era temporary protections. Trump has given Congress until March to come up with a fix.
Democrats, the minority party in the House, repeatedly have pressed for a legislative solution. Now, this show of support from Republicans, including some from competitive House districts, reflects a political shift.
Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., said at the Capitol Hill news conference that their remarks were meant to encourage Ryan and “maybe put a little pressure on him as well to come forward with that solution that a majority of Republicans can support.”
Ryan, responding minutes later, said “active discussions are underway with members” about the issue, but he saw no need to act before Trump’s deadline. “I don’t think we should put artificial deadlines inside the one we already have,” Ryan said.
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi reiterated on Thursday that her intention is to have legislation this year.
“We’re not kicking the can down to March,” she said.
Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, predicted widespread backing in the 435-member House.
“When the bill comes to the floor, whatever bill it is, I predict it will have a huge vote. Well over 300 votes to send this bill to the Senate,” Barton said.
Newhouse said that including the deportation protection in a year-end spending bill to keep the government open is not their first option. But, he added, that “if in order to be successful in this issue that is an option that is open to us, I think a lot of people would probably be open to that.”
House conservatives warned Ryan, R-Wis., last month against doing that. Ryan said Thursday he favors considering the issue “separately, on its own merits.”
Trump and Republican senators agreed last week not to deal with a needed fix for young immigrants in the year-end spending legislation, according to some GOP lawmakers who visited the White House. Instead, they said, a solution probably would wait until next year.
While Ryan held his weekly press conference, hundreds of immigrants walked out from nine schools in the Washington area and then rallied in front of Congress demanding quick legislation.
“It is a slap on the face that Ryan says there is no urgency,” Bruna Bouhid said. “How are we supposed to celebrate the holidays being afraid of being deported?”
Democrats have indicated they want to use that spending bill to force action on behalf of the young immigrants, commonly referred to as “Dreamers,” based on proposals called the DREAM Act that would have provided similar protections.
Democratic votes will likely be needed to pass spending legislation to keep the government running, so the stance by Trump and the GOP may not end up prevailing.
“No immigration bill on the omnibus or any other must-pass piece of legislation in 2017,” said GOP Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas after last week’s meeting with Trump. “He agreed to that, as does the Senate leadership, and I think the vast majority of Republican senators.”
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said using the spending bill to resolve the immigrants’ status was “the pipe dream of some Democrats.”
“It’s more likely than not to be part of a January-February time frame,” Cornyn said.
Immigrant advocates have been pushing for action. In September, Democratic leaders said they had a deal with Trump to enshrine protections for the immigrants in exchange for border security measures short of a border wall. But the supposed deal immediately came into dispute and now appears to have totally unraveled if it existed at all.
In this installment of BIT’s Startup of the Week, we’re introduced to Miesha Robinson, the founder of Ucrowd. Based in Los Angeles, Ucrowd is a ticketing company that’s set to disrupt the way people interact with events on and offline. Listen Read more…
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The godfather of rock and roll. A performer who always gave all he had. A man who loved his city and his neighborhood has passed. Tributes to Fats Domino are accumulating, in words and in bouquets and Mardi Gras beads left at the yellow house in New Orleans where, after Hurricane Katrina, a fan spray-painted an erroneous RIP.
The amiable rock ‘n’ roll pioneer, whose steady, pounding piano and easy baritone helped change popular music while honoring the traditions of the Crescent City, is dead at the age of 89.
“He was one of my greatest inspirations. God was tops — but earthly, Fats was it,” said singer Little Richard — another founding father of rock and roll — in a telephone interview from Nashville.
Domino died early Tuesday of natural causes, Mark Bone, chief investigator with the Jefferson Parish coroner’s office, said Wednesday.
Two people from New Orleans — Domino and jazz great Louis Armstrong — have changed the world’s music, said Quint Davis, who produces of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival was a decades-long friend of Domino.
Little Richard said he’d known Domino for 60 years and idolized him before that.
“I loved the way he played; I loved the way he was just so wrapped up in his music. He always did a good show.” Domino never “slacked and cheated the people out. Every time, he gave his all,” the musician said.
Domino stood 5-feet-5 and weighed more than 200 pounds, with a wide, boyish smile and a haircut as flat as an album cover. But he sold more than 110 million records, with hits including “Blueberry Hill,” ”Ain’t That a Shame” — originally titled “Ain’t It A Shame”— and other standards of rock ‘n’ roll.
The Rolling Stone Record Guide likened him to Benjamin Franklin, the beloved old man of a revolutionary movement.
“Fats is the godfather of rock and roll,” said Greg Harris, CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which made Domino one of the first 10 people it honored.
He said the flag outside the hall was at half-staff Wednesday, and Domino’s music was playing all day.
At the home where Domino spent most of his life, a steady stream of people showed up Wednesday with flowers, beads and cameras. One man brought a guitar and started in on “Walkin’ to New Orleans.”
Angelina Cruz brought her three children from suburban Kenner. She said she’d listened to his songs since she was 10 years old, in North Carolina. “I’m bringing my kids up to the old-school music,” she said.
Domino’s dynamic performance style and warm vocals drew crowds for five decades. One of his show-stopping stunts was playing the piano while standing, throwing his body against it with the beat of the music and bumping the grand piano across the stage.
His 1956 version of “Blueberry Hill” was selected for the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry of historic sound recordings worthy of preservation.
Most people didn’t appreciate the breadth of Domino’s ability, Little Richard said. “He could play jazz. He could play anything,” he said. “He was one of the greatest entertainers that I’ve ever known.”
Domino became a global star but stayed true to his hometown, where his fate was initially unknown after Hurricane Katrina struck in August 2005. It turned out that he and his family had been rescued by boat from his home, where he lost nearly everything he owned, including three pianos and dozens of gold and platinum records.
Many wondered if he would ever return to the stage.
But in May 2007, he was back, performing at Tipitina’s music club in New Orleans. Fans cheered — and some cried — as Domino played “I’m Walkin’,” ”Ain’t That a Shame,” ”Shake, Rattle and Roll,” ”Blueberry Hill” and a host of other hits.
That performance was a highlight during several rough years. His wife of more than 50 years, Rosemary, died in April 2008.
Domino moved to the New Orleans suburb of Harvey after the storm but often visited his publishing house, an extension of his old home in the Lower 9th Ward, inspiring many with his determination to stay in the city he loved.
“Fats embodies everything good about New Orleans,” his friend David Lind said in a 2008 interview. “He’s warm, fun-loving, spiritual, creative and humble. You don’t get more New Orleans than that.”
The son of a violin player, Antoine Domino Jr. was born Feb. 26, 1928, one of nine children. As a youth, he taught himself popular piano styles — ragtime, blues and boogie-woogie.
He quit school at age 14, and worked days in a factory while playing and singing in local juke joints at night. In 1949, Domino was playing at the Hideaway Club for $3 a week when he was signed by the Imperial record company.
He recorded his first song, “The Fat Man,” in the back of a tiny French Quarter recording studio.
“They call me the Fat Man, because I weigh 200 pounds,” he sang. “All the girls, they love me, ’cause I know my way around.”
In 1955, he broke into the white pop charts with “Ain’t it a Shame,” covered blandly by Pat Boone as “Ain’t That a Shame” and rocked out decades later under that title by Cheap Trick and others. Domino enjoyed a parade of successes through the early 1960s, including “Be My Guest” and “I’m Ready.” Another hit, “I’m Walkin,’” became the debut single for Ricky Nelson.
Domino appeared in the rock ‘n’ roll film “The Girl Can’t Help It” and was among the first black performers featured in popular music shows, starring with Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers. He also helped bridge rock ‘n’ roll and other styles — even country/western, recording Hank Williams’ “Jambalaya” and Bobby Charles’ “Walkin’ to New Orleans.”
Like many of his peers, Domino’s popularity tapered off in the 1960s as British and psychedelic rock held sway.
“I refused to change,” he told Ebony magazine. “I had to stick to my own style that I’ve always used or it just wouldn’t be me.”
In 1988, all of New Orleans seemed to be talking about him after he reportedly paid cash for two Cadillacs and a $130,000 Rolls-Royce. When the salesman asked if he wanted to call his bank about financing, Domino smiled and said, “I am the bank.”
Ten years later, he became the first purely rock ‘n’ roll musician to be awarded the National Medal for the Arts. But, citing his age, he didn’t make the trip to the White House to get the medal from President Bill Clinton.
That was typical. Aside from rare appearances in New Orleans, including a 2012 cameo spot in the HBO series “Treme,” he dodged the spotlight in his later years, refusing to appear in public or even to give interviews.
His love for his home town was one of the things that stuck with John Jenks, a New Orleans resident who took a photo of himself Wednesday in front of Domino’s house. “He stayed right here — as famous as he got, he stayed right in his old neighborhood here in the 9th Ward.”
NEW YORK (AP) — Drake’s “More Life” album won’t earn him more Grammy Awards: The rapper didn’t submit the album for consideration at the 2018 Grammys.
A person close to the nomination process, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not allowed to publicly talk about the topic, said the multi-platinum rapper did not submit “More Life” for album of the year or best rap album. The person also said Drake did not submit any of the songs from the album to categories like song of the year, record of the year or best rap song.
“More Life” was released in March and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.
Drake has described the album as a mixtape and playlist. The album has sold more than 2 million units, according to Nielsen Music. The album, which set streaming records when it was released, includes the Top 10 hits “Fake Love,” ”Passionfruit” and “Portland.”
Representatives for the rapper and the Recording Academy didn’t reply to emails seeking comment.
Nominees in the 83 Grammy categories will be officially announced on Nov. 28. In the best rap album category, nominees could include releases by Kendrick Lamar, Jay-Z, Migos, DJ Khaled, J. Cole and others. Drake could earn nominations for songs where he is the featured guest.
Drake is a three-time Grammy winner, picking up best rap album for 2011’s “Take Care” as well as best rap solo performance and best rap song for “Hotline Bling” earlier this year, and has been nominated 35 times.
The 60th annual Grammy Awards will take place at Madison Square Garden in New York on Jan. 28. Songs and albums released between Oct. 1, 2016 and Sept. 30, 2017 are eligible for nomination.
Scarce food, no electricity and communal dinners prepared over a bonfire. Trash and debris clutter the streets, water is limited and cell phone service is spotty at best. This is now the new normal for many Puerto Ricans and U.S. Virgin Islanders in the wake of Hurricane Maria, which pummeled the islands in late September. Packing sustained winds of more than 155 miles per hour, the Category 4 storm left communities completely flooded and caused “tornado-like” damage, downing power lines and ripping the bark off trees.
The death toll in Puerto Rico is now at 51 after officials said two more people died from a bacterial disease spread through animal urine. But the collapse of the island does not end there. Nearly 79 percent of Puerto Rico remains without power while 30 percent of people don’t have access to clean water.
Meanwhile, Hurricane Maria claimed the lives of nine people in the U.S. Virgin Islands and other Caribbean nations, including Dominica and the French territory of Guadeloupe.
“The country is in a daze — no electricity, no running water, as a result of uprooted pipes in most communities, and definitely no land-line or cellphone services on island, and that will be for quite awhile,” Hartley Henry, principal adviser to Dominican Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, wrote in an email to the Miami Herald. Henry said Skerrit had to be rescued himself after the roof blew off of his home.
It’s been nearly six weeks since the devastating storms, and several Caribbean islands are still in recovery mode from Irma, Maria or both. In Puerto Rico, locals have been forced to get creative with their survival skills. Kevin Jose Sanchez Gonzalez told The New York Times he has been living in darkness since Sept. 5, the day before Irma made landfall and began chipping away at the island’s power system. “It’s like going back in time,” he said.
Other Puerto Ricans are still managing to make do with what they have, cramming four or five families into a single home, surviving off of canned food items and hand-washing dirty laundry in a bucket, the newspaper reported.
Meanwhile in the Virgin Islands, locals are struggling to get their hands on tarp to replace missing roofs lost to the storm. Island native and Red Cross volunteer Genevieve Whitaker said thousands of homes across St. Croix suffered extensive damage. For her, she said the main concern has been mitigating the number of people left without roofs.
“It has been pretty slow,” she told Atlanta Black Star. “We are now a month [into recovery] following the storm. While FEMA, along with the Army Corp. of Engineers, has initiated the [Blue Roof] program, which [provides] a sturdier type of roofing, the delivery of tarps was really, really abysmal.”
Whitaker has seen the struggle of locals first hand, as she started volunteering at a clinic shortly after Maria hit. She said disaster relief organizations like the American Red Cross, FEMA, and the V.I. Territory Emergency Management Agency have had a presence on the island, but it is not enough. Residents are still in need of supplies like generators, car power inverters and rechargeable batteries.
Slow shipping and delivery of care packages carrying essential items has also been an issue for locals in the disaster zone. Whitaker says she has yet to hear from representatives from UPS, FedEx, DHL or the U.S. Postal Service about what’s going on in terms of shipping. She said officials have blamed the slow service on the internet and sorting issues — which she found hard to believe considering the island’s expensive fiber network connections.
“It’s pretty much up in the air,” she said. “There’s no information at all coming out about that. What I think the U.S. could really do – specifically Congress – is look into the whole matter of our international designation when it comes to shipping. I should have been able to go onto HomeDepot.com since my local Home Depot store wasn’t able to ship [what I needed] … and still have all the options I had before the disaster.”
“We need the light to be shined on us so that we can get what we need,” Whitaker added.Another area the Red Cross volunteer feels the U.S. should assist with the repair of the island’s schools, which were badly damaged by the hurricane. Whitaker said the damage has forced some schools to combine with others and that some are infested with mold created by the wet conditions.
Kari Loya, Head of School at Good Hope Country Day School in St. Croix thinks the conditions may force people to permanently relocate. “Every day that goes by without significant gain (power/connectivity/water/etc.), we lose more families,” Loya told ABS via email, adding that the governor has done a good job of delivering daily briefings and updates on recovery efforts. ” … Either more families leave the island or those who have already left begin establishing roots elsewhere. This makes our economic recovery even slower and longer.”
Still, he said government leaders could have been more effective at focusing clean up efforts on specific streets and having a larger police presence when curfews were lifted to ensure order and security.
While Puerto Rico has received far more media attention, the island nation is still struggling to get its hands on and distribute necessary resources. Barriers ranging from a lack of communication to blocked roads have prevented aid from getting to those who need it the most.
Jose “Pache” Ayala, general manager for Puerto Rico at Crowley Maritime Corp. told USA TODAY that one port at San Juan terminal has been forced to store 3,400 containers of supplies, nearly double its usual limit. Moreover, he said the severe backlog has affected goods and supplies from FEMA, including bottled water, food, front-end loaders and about 75,000 gallons of gasoline.
More monetary help may be on the way, however. The U.S. Senate on Tuesday, Oct. 24, passed a $36.5 billion hurricane disaster relief bill that would provide $4.9 billion in low-interest Treasury loans to the U.S. Virgin Islands and PR, The Virgin Islands Consortium reported. President Donald Trump is expected to sign the bill into law.
In recent weeks, the real estate mogul-turned politician has been criticized for his response to the storms. Two weeks after Maria hit, he flew down to survey hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico, and then met with U.S. Virgin Islands Governor Kenneth Mapp in a boat rather than in the island’s battered areas. Critics blasted Trump after he took to social media to grumble about the financial burden of aiding Puerto Rico and threatened to stop emergency funding.
Recovery mode is far from over for residents of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and other Caribbean nations battered by Hurrricane Maria. However, locals like Whitaker are working to ensure the islands aren’t forgotten amid clean-up efforts after the storm. She for one is headed to the inaugural Obama Foundation Summit in Chicago on Oct. 31, in hopes of raising the profile of the Virgin Islands.
Going forward, she says she hopes the island learns and grows from this disaster. “I hope we build more resilient communities,” she said. “We as communities coming together to focus on much better planning as it pertains to neighborhood captains [and] examining house integrity … It’s a whole framework on how we should proceed.”