Former first lady Michelle Obama launches When We All Vote campaign

My reporting on former first lady Michelle Obama’s initiative When We All Vote was featured on a segment of AM JOY on MSNBC.

Former first lady Michelle Obama has just launched her When We All Vote campaign to get the vote out during the midterms. Former senior adviser to President Obama, Valerie Jarrett, joins Joy Reid to discuss this nationwide tour.


Michelle Obama hits the road to push midterm voter turnout

WASHINGTON — Former first lady Michelle Obama is hitting the road to encourage people to show up for the midterms.

Hosting events through her new initiative, When We All Vote, a nonpartisan organization that she launched in July, Obama and various celebrities will promote voter registration, awareness on issues and civic participation.

“The truth is, when we stay home, things stay the same, or they get worse,” Obama said in a public service announcement released Thursday. “But when we all vote, we get new ideas and new energy. We get leaders who share our values and listen to our voices. That’s how we change America.”

Hollywood still casts based on looks, even as it makes strides to diversify

When the cast of “Crazy Rich Asians,” scheduled for release Aug. 15, was announced in 2017, many celebrated the opportunity to see a major Hollywood film with a cast of Asian descent.

But despite the excitement, there was some backlash centered on the film’s star, Henry Golding, who plays a character of Chinese descent raised in the U.K. Some believed Golding, who is of British, Malaysian, and Singaporean descent, was not right for the lead, and thought the role should have gone to an actor of full Asian descent instead.

Golding has said it was fair for others to question the film’s casting and also defended his upbringing. “I think it’s fair to question motives of why they’re choosing me instead of someone else,” he told The New York Times. “I never felt I wasn’t suitable for the role because I was half-white. I’ve always seen myself as Asian, so I never had any qualms about that.”

Hollywood still casts based on looks, even as it makes strides to diversify

Trump praised as ‘pro-black’ at White House prison reform event

WASHINGTON — President Trump focused on efforts to reform the prison system Wednesday, meeting with faith leaders and lawmakers at the White House.

In a roundtable discussion with nearly 20 inner city pastors and faith leaders, Trump touted a low unemployment rate and booming economy that he said would make it easier for former prisoners to reintegrate into society.

“We have passed the First Step Act through the House and we are working to pass that into law, and I think we’ll be able to do it. When we say ‘hire American,’ we mean all Americans,” the president told a group that included Trump supporters Paul White-Cain, Alveda King and Pastor Darrell Scott, along with celebrity pastor John Gray. White House chief of staff General John Kelly and son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner were also present.

Trump praised as ‘pro-black’ at White House prison reform event

Papa John’s founder resigns as chairman of the board amid backlash after admitting he used the N-word

Papa John’s founder John Schnatter resigned as chairman of the company Wednesday amid growing backlash over his use of the n-word during a conference call in May.

In a statement late Wednesday night, the company said it had accepted his resignation and that Olivia Kirtley will be the company’s Lead Independent Director. The company said it will also appoint a new chairman in the coming weeks.

The resignation comes after Schnatter admitted that he used “inappropriate and hurtful language” while on a conference call in May.

Papa John’s founder resigns as chairman of the board amid backlash after admitting he used the N-word

Hundreds gather to celebrate life of Antwon Rose II

SWISSVALE, Pa. — Hundreds gathered in a school auditorium Monday to pay respects to Antwon Rose, the unarmed 17-year-old high school student who was killed by a police officer last week.

Rose, a rising senior and honor student, was shot three times after fleeing a vehicle during a traffic stop and running away from officers.

The funeral service was mostly restricted to friends and family. The ceremony was held at Woodland Hills Intermediate School, where Rose attended middle school. No protests were scheduled Monday out of respect for his family.

Protests erupt following fatal police shooting of 17-year-old Antwon Rose

Chanting ‘black lives matter’ and demanding justice, hundreds of people gathered outside of the Allegheny County Courthouse in Pittsburgh on Thursday to protest the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teen who was running away from officers when he was killed.

“I am not what you think. I’m confused and afraid. I wonder what path I will take. I hear that there’s only 2 ways out,” said Christian of Youth Park Collective, reading a poem written by Antwon Rose II in tenth grade and afterward calling for a moment silence.

Protests erupt following fatal police shooting of 17-year-old Antwon Rose

Roseanne Barr blames racist tweet on Ambien after ABC cancels ‘Roseanne’

Roseanne Barr went on an extended apology offensive Tuesday night after ABC canceled her hit sitcom “Roseanne” over a tweet in which Barr referred to a former adviser to President Barack Obama as an “ape.”

Roseanne Barr blames racist tweet on Ambien after ABC cancels ‘Roseanne’

Pulse survivor and others gather to celebrate ‘freedom’ from being gay

WASHINGTON — Pulse nightclub shooting survivor Luis Javier Ruiz joined a few dozen others at a so-called Freedom March in Washington, D.C., on Saturday where those in attendance celebrated no longer identifying as gay or transgender.

“I don’t want to tell everyone it’s a ‘gay-to-straight’ thing because God is not calling me to that,” Ruiz told NBC News. “I feel that I want to live in a life of purity. I feel that through loving Christ, he will walk me out of any situation. I love the LGBTQ community, I love my family. There’s no hate here, there’s love.”

Pulse survivor and others gather to celebrate ‘freedom’ from being gay

Legendary actress Cicely Tyson reflects on her storied career

Cicely Tyson says she’s been prayerful and patient throughout her career which has spanned more than six decades.

The 93-year-old actress and humanitarian added another prestigious honor to her storied career Friday when she was honored with a hand and footprint ceremony at the world-renowned TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles.

Presented by Turner Classic Movies during the networks annual TCM Classic Film Festival, Tyson is among other industry icons featured with a hand and footprint, including Marilyn Monroe, Denzel Washington, Michael Jackson, and others — an honor Tyson said leaves her speechless and one she couldn’t have imagined.
I spoke with Tyson as she was preparing to travel to L.A. about the recognition, the future of black actors and actresses in Hollywood, and advice she has for women of color in the entertainment industry.

NBC News’ Lester Holt speaks on being a journalist in the digital age

NEW YORK — Lester Holt spoke on his career and being the captain of the “NBC Nightly News” — as the show celebrates 70 years — at the Paley Center for Media on Wednesday night.

During the Black History Month event, Holt reflected on his time as both a reporter and anchor, the struggles of planning a nightly newscast, juggling “Dateline” storytelling in a digital age, and combating the spread of propaganda.

When asked about being the first African-American solo anchor of a weekday network nightly newscast, Holt said he is honored and inspired by the impact his career had made beyond the anchor desk.

“Kids can now look around and see someone who looks like them on TV,” he said.

NBC News’ Lester Holt speaks on being a journalist in the digital age

USA Screening of Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and The Notorious B.I.G.: Natasha “Tash” Gray

USA Screening of Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and The Notorious B.I.G.: Anthony Hemingway

‘She spoke up’: Lawmakers wear ‘Recy’ pins in honor of Recy Taylor

Many lawmakers wore black in solidarity with the #MeToo movement to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night and some congressional members also adorned their clothes with pins in honor of Recy Taylor.

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus and the Democratic Caucus wore red “Recy” pins, and Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-N.J., who organized the tribute, told NBCBLK in an email Tuesday evening that Taylor’s story “represents that of many marginalized women who have spoken up, spoken out and have long been ignored.”

‘She spoke up’: Lawmakers wear ‘Recy’ pins in honor of Recy Taylor

Why black women voters showed up for Doug Jones

For the first time in 25 years, Alabama elected a Democrat to the Senate and many say African-American women are to thank for that.

Democrat Doug Jones’ win over Republican Roy Moore was a stunning upset in a contentious and closely watched election for the deep-red state. Even more surprising for some was the high voter turnout of African-Americans. NBC News exit polls show 96 percent of black voters supported Jones, with 98 percent of black women and 93 percent of black men backing him.

Read more: Why black women voters showed up for Doug Jones

Charlottesville survivor Marcus Martin still healing after deadly rally

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Four months after a 20-year-old man drove his car into a crowd in Charlottesville, Virginia, killing one person and injuring 19 others, Marcus Martin is still healing.

On this chilly, fall day in Charlottesville, Martin, 27, said his leg is stiff because of the cold weather and occasionally hurts when he walks on it. He got an aircast boot taken off his left leg last month, a result from the surgery he underwent for a broken ankle, twisted tibia bone, and destroyed ligaments. Wearing tennis shoes, he walks with a slight limp, but hopes physical therapy will strengthen his leg.

He tucks his hands in the pockets of his vest and sighs deeply, emotional as he discusses the day of Aug. 12, when James Alex Fields, Jr. barreled his Dodge Challenger down the street, striking him as he pushed his fiancée Marissa Blair out of the way and hitting their friend Heather Heyer, who died from her injuries. He said every day is progress, and as his body continues to strengthen with each day, emotionally and mentally he is trying to move forward.

Charlottesville survivor Marcus Martin still healing after deadly rally

Black lawmakers meet with FBI Director over ‘Black Identity Extremists’ report

Black lawmakers met with FBI Director Christopher Wray on Capitol Hill on Wednesday over concerns about a bureau report targeting “Black Identity Extremists.”

In what was described as a “open and serious meeting,” Congressional Black Caucus members, including Reps. Val Demings, Karen Bass, Bonnie Watson Coleman, and others spoke with Wray for nearly two hours regarding the bureau’s internal assessment “Black Identity Extremists Likely Motivated to Target Law Enforcement Officers,” that was written in August and posted online.

CBC Chairman Cedric Richmond, D-La., called the meeting a “good first step.”

Read more: Black lawmakers meet with FBI Director over ‘Black Identity Extremists’ report