The advertising industry seemed to ignore Black History Month this year. As evidence, check out the search results for “Black History Month 2014” at AdAge.com.
Friday, February 28, 2014
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Obama Starts Initiative for Young Black Men, Noting His Own Experience
By Michael D. Shear
WASHINGTON — President Obama spoke in unusually personal terms at the White House on Thursday about how he got high as a teenager and was at times indifferent to school as he deplored what he called America’s numbness to the plight of young black men.
Drawing on the power of his own racial identity in a way he seldom does as president, Mr. Obama sought to connect his personal narrative about growing up without a father to that of a generation of black youth in the United States who he said faced higher odds of failure than their peers.
“I didn’t have a dad in the house,” Mr. Obama said as he announced a $200 million, five-year initiative, My Brother’s Keeper, to help black youth. “And I was angry about it, even though I didn’t necessarily realize it at the time. I made bad choices. I got high without always thinking about the harm that it could do. I didn’t always take school as seriously as I should have. I made excuses. Sometimes I sold myself short.”
Mr. Obama said the idea for My Brother’s Keeper occurred to him in the aftermath of the killing of Trayvon Martin, the Florida teenager whose death two years ago sparked a roiling national debate about race and class. He called the challenge of ensuring success for young men of color a “moral issue for our country” as he ticked off the statistics: black boys who are more likely to be suspended from school, less likely to be able to read, and almost certain to encounter the criminal justice system as either a perpetrator or a victim.
“We just assume this is an inevitable part of American life, instead of the outrage that it is,” Mr. Obama told an audience of business leaders, politicians, philanthropists, young black men from a Chicago support program, and Mr. Martin’s parents. “It’s like a cultural backdrop for us in movies, in television. We just assume, of course it’s going to be like that.”
“These statistics should break our hearts,” he added. “And they should compel us to act.”
Mr. Obama’s remarks come as the end of his time in office is in sight, with the president mindful of the legacy that his administration will leave behind on race and other civil rights issues like same-sex marriage and immigration. Mr. Obama has embraced the right of gay men and lesbians to marry, and Eric H. Holder Jr., his attorney general, has aggressively sought to ensure that all eligible Americans have access to the ballot box.
Although Mr. Obama nods on occasion to his history-making status as the nation’s first black president, he has sought to avoid being defined entirely by his race. He most often emphasizes that he is the leader of all Americans. But in recent years, the president has spoken more about the black experience in the United States — most strikingly after the death of Mr. Martin, when Mr. Obama said, “If I had son, he’d look like Trayvon.”
On Thursday, the president combined his personal remarks on race with a broader call to focus on “the larger agenda”: economic insecurity and stalled mobility for Americans of any color.
“The plain fact is there are some Americans who, in the aggregate, are consistently doing worse in our society,” Mr. Obama said, “groups that have had the odds stacked against them in unique ways that require unique solutions, groups who’ve seen fewer opportunities that have spanned generations.”
The president also called for action from business leaders, members of religious groups, actors, athletes and anyone who can intervene in the lives of black men before they veer off course. He said a White House task force would examine ways the federal government can help, too.
“It doesn’t take that much, but it takes more than we are doing now,” Mr. Obama said. “We will beat the odds. We need to give every child — no matter what they look like, no matter where they live — the ability to meet their full potential.”
He also challenged black men to do better themselves, and said they must not make excuses for their failures or blame society for the poor decisions they have already made.
“You will have to reject the cynicism that says the circumstances of your birth or society’s lingering injustices necessarily define you and your future,” Mr. Obama said.
“It will take courage, but you will have to tune out the naysayers who say if the deck is stacked against you, you might as well just give up or settle into the stereotype.”
“Nothing will be given to you,” he said.
Thursday’s announcement is unlikely to satisfy Mr. Obama’s most vocal critics in the black population, who have accused him of forgetting his roots.
Mark Anthony Neal, a professor of African and African-American studies at Duke, said the president’s initiative did not focus enough on the more systemic forms of racism in America.
“These young men weren’t killed because of structural situations that didn’t give them opportunities,” Mr. Neal said.
“It’s other kinds of racism and violence that those boys were dealing with. The initiative is not addressing those things.”
The initiative is the latest example of Mr. Obama’s efforts to bypass Congress, which has stymied him on many of the economic policies he considers central to the lives of blacks.
In a show of support, leaders from more than a dozen nonprofit foundations and executives from some of the nation’s largest companies joined the president, along with Magic Johnson, the retired basketball superstar, and Gen. Colin L. Powell, the former secretary of state.
White House officials said the foundations had pledged to spend at least $200 million over the next five years in a search for solutions to the problems black men face with early-childhood development, school readiness, educational opportunity, discipline, parenting and the criminal justice system.
“This is not a one-year proposition,” Mr. Obama said. “It’s not a two-year proposition. It’s going to take time. We’re dealing with complicated issues that run deep in our history, run deep in our society and are entrenched in our minds.”
Gail C. Christopher, vice president for program strategy for the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, which has committed $750,000 to My Brother’s Keeper, said the initial money would be used for hiring staff, consultants and firms “to get something established that has legs.”
But more money will be needed for the initiative to have an impact, Ms. Christopher said. “As far as I’m concerned, it’s a drop in the ocean of money that will be needed to transform the opportunity structures in our society,” she said.
Mr. Obama acknowledged the limits of an approach that relies little on the government. But he offered hope in the power of his office to bring together people as diverse as the Rev. Al Sharpton, the television host and civil rights campaigner, and Bill O’Reilly, the conservative host on Fox News and best-selling novelist. Both attended the event at the White House.
“If I can persuade, you know, Sharpton and O’Reilly to be in the same meeting,” the president said, “then it means that there are people of good faith who want to get some stuff done.”
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Monday, February 24, 2014
Union Bank salutes Local Heroes for Black History Month—and nearly every other month, including Women’s History Month, Jewish American Month, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, LGBT Pride Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, Disability Awareness Month and Native American Month.
Sunday, February 23, 2014
International Science Times presents “Black History Month 2014: A Peek Into The Work Of Black Chemists And Engineers.”
Veteran shocked to hear of Medal of Honor, 40 years later
By Associated Press
MIAMI — Melvin Morris was commanding a strike force on a mission near Chi Lang, South Vietnam, when his special forces group came under attack and a fellow commander was killed near an enemy bunker.
Despite massive enemy fire directed at him and his men, hitting him three times, the 72-year-old Morris told The Associated Press on Friday that he was able to get to his fallen comrade and recover the body. He also retrieved a map that included strategic information that would have been trouble if it fell into enemy hands.
More than four decades later, as a way to try to correct potential acts of bias spanning three wars, President Barack Obama will bestow the Medal of Honor on the Florida man and 23 other veterans. They come after a decade-long congressionally mandated review of minorities who may have been passed over for the U.S. military’s highest honor because of long-held prejudices.
Morris became one of the first soldiers to don a “green beret” in 1961 and volunteered twice for deployments to Vietnam during the war. After his Sept 17, 1969, ordeal, the then-Staff Sgt. Morris received a Distinguished Service Cross in 1970. He said he never realized that being black might have kept the higher honor from him.
“I never really did worry about decorations,” Morris said.
He got a huge surprise when the Army contacted him in May and arranged for Obama to call him at his Cocoa, Fla., home.
“I fell to my knees, I was shocked,” Morris said. “President Obama said he was sorry this didn’t happen before. He said this should have been done 44 years ago.”
The unusual mass ceremony, scheduled for March 18, will honor veterans, most of Hispanic or Jewish heritage, who already had been recognized with the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation’s second-highest military award.
Morris is one of only three of the recipients still living. The others are Spc. 4 Santiago J. Erevia of San Antonio, cited for courage during a search and clear mission near Tam Ky, South Vietnam, on May 21, 1969; and Sgt. 1st Class Jose Rodela of San Antonio, cited for courage during combat operations in Phuoc Long province, South Vietnam, on Sept. 1, 1969.
Among those posthumously honored is Pfc. Leonard M. Kravitz, the uncle of musician Lenny Kravitz.
The Army conducted the review under a directive from Congress in the 2002 National Defense Authorization Act. The law required that the record of each Jewish American and Hispanic American veteran who received a Service Cross during or after World War II be reviewed for possible upgrade to the Medal of Honor.
The Pentagon said the Army reviewed the cases of the 6,505 recipients of the Distinguished Service Cross from World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars and found an eligible pool of 600 soldiers who may have been Jewish or Hispanic.
Of the 24, eight fought in the Vietnam War, nine in the Korean War and seven in World War II.
“From the beginning of the encounter, until he was medically evacuated, Morris reacted to each situation with a professionalism, and single-minded determination possessed by few men,” according to the information released by the Army about Morris.
He had to keep the medal a secret since Obama’s call and said he’s happy to be honored, but that it’s even more important to recognize his friends that never returned home.
“Those that aren’t even here to receive their medals, those are my heroes,” said Morris, who retired from the Army in 1986 as a sergeant first class. “They gave their whole life. They gave everything. They gave it all.”
The posthumous recipients are:
• Sgt. Candelario Garcia, born in Corsicana, Texas, for courageous actions during combat operations in Lai Khe, South Vietnam, on Dec. 8, 1968.
• Spc. 4 Leonard L. Alvarado, born in Bakersfield, Calif., died during combat operations in Phuoc Long province, South Vietnam, on Aug. 12, 1969.
• Staff Sgt. Felix M. Conde-Falcon, born in Juncos, Puerto Rico, killed during combat operations in Ap Tan Hoa, South Vietnam, on April 4, 1969.
• Spc. 4 Ardie R. Copas of Fort Pierce, Fla. killed during combat operations near Ph Romeas Hek, Cambodia, on May 12, 1970.
• Spc. 4 Jesus S. Duran of San Bernardino, Calif., for courageous actions during combat operations in South Vietnam on April 10, 1969.
• Cpl. Joe R. Baldonado, born in Colorado, killed during combat operations in Kangdong, North Korea, on Nov. 25, 1950.
• Cpl. Victor H. Espinoza of El Paso, Texas, for courageous actions during combat operations in Chorwon, North Korea, on Aug. 1, 1952.
• Sgt. Eduardo C. Gomez, born in Los Angeles, for courageous actions during combat operations in Tabu-dong, South Korea, on Sept. 3, 1950.
• Pfc. Leonard M. Kravitz, born in New York City, killed during combat operations in Yangpyong, South Korea, on March 6-7, 1951.
• Master Sgt. Juan E. Negron of Bayamon, Puerto Rico, for courageous actions during combat operations in Kalma-Eri, North Korea, on April 28, 1951.
• Master Sgt. Mike C. Pena, born in Newgulf, Texas, killed in action during combat operations in Waegwan, South Korea, on Sept. 4, 1950.
• Pvt. Demensio Rivera, born in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, for courageous actions during combat operations in Changyong-ni, South Korea, on May 23, 1951.
• Pvt. Miguel A. Vera, born in Puerto Rico, killed during combat operations in Chorwon, North Korea, on Sept. 21, 1952.
• Sgt. Jack Weinstein of Saint Francis, Kan. for courageous actions during combat operations in Kumsong, South Korea, on Oct. 19, 1951.
• Pvt. Pedro Cano, born in La Morita, Mexico, for courageous actions during combat operations in Schevenhutte, Germany, on Dec. 3, 1944.
• Pvt. Joe Gandara, born in Santa Monica, Calif., for courageous actions during combat operations in Amfreville, France, on June 9, 1944.
• Pfc. Salvador J. Lara, of Riverside, Calif., for courageous actions during combat operations in Aprilia, Italy, May 27-28, 1944.
• Sgt. William F. Leonard, of Lockport, N.J., for courageous actions during combat operations near St. Die, France, on Nov. 7, 1944.
• Staff Sgt. Manuel V. Mendoza, born in Miami, Ariz., for courageous actions during combat operations on Mount Battaglia, Italy, on Oct. 4, 1944.
• Sgt. Alfred B. Nietzel, born in New York City, for courageous actions during combat operations in Heistern, Germany, on Nov. 18, 1944.
• 1st Lt. Donald K. Schwab, born Hooper, Neb., for courageous actions during combat operations near Lure, France, on Sept. 17, 1944.
Saturday, February 22, 2014
Friday, February 21, 2014
Frederick Douglass Statue Figures Prominently in 2014 Black History Month
By Hannah Hess
This February marks the first time the Capitol has celebrated Black History Month with two statues of prominent African-Americans standing in its collection.
Prior to the Feb. 27, 2013, unveiling of a 9-foot, bronze-cast statue of civil rights icon Rosa Parks in National Statuary Hall, there were no full-size sculptures of African-Americans among the 110 portrait statues cared for by the Architect of the Capitol for the Congress. The 2,100-pound work depicts Parks seated on a rock-like foundation, symbolizing her 1955 arrest for refusing to move to the back of a segregated bus.
Four months later, a 7-foot-tall bronze, bearded likeness of abolitionist Frederick Douglass was unveiled in the Capitol Visitor Center’s Emancipation Hall. Douglass stands in a formal double-breasted coat and bow tie, firmly grasping a lectern topped with an inkwell and quill pen, in homage to his incisive antislavery writing.
The two statues joined a bust of women’s rights advocate and abolitionist Sojourner Truth, displayed in Emancipation Hall since 2009, and a bust of Martin Luther King Jr., on display in the Rotunda since 1986, for a total of four sculptures of African-Americans commemorated by Congress for their defining roles in our national character.
For Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., the new additions are a great reason to invite her constituents into the Capitol to commemorate Black History Month. Norton has started offering tours of the four statues for District residents, culminating with the figure she holds in highest esteem. The journey ends in Emancipation Hall with Douglass — the first statue Congress has granted to a jurisdiction that’s not a state and won after a long fight by Norton and her allies on Capitol Hill.
“The reason we chose Frederick Douglass is because he was an ardent proponent of full equality for the residents of the District of Columbia,” Norton told CQ Roll Call. “We weren’t just looking for another famous black man; we found the right black man, a man who built his home in the District of Columbia who was an icon of his time and remains an icon of American history today.”
The 50 states are each allowed two figures in Statuary Hall, and Norton for years proposed legislation to give D.C. that same privilege. Spurred by her bill, the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities began the process of soliciting suggestions for which luminaries to honor. While Douglass won a place in the Capitol, a statue of Pierre L’Enfant — the architect who designed the city — remains downtown in the John A. Wilson Building.
Not too sure about this commercial from Ogilvy & Mather Johannesburg. A young Black girl moves to Bangkok, and her classmates give her a “taste of home” by taking her to KFC for fried chicken. Really?
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Pizza Hut ‘embarrassed’ over peeing video
By Bruce Horovitz, USA TODAY
Here’s an extra special ingredient that no one wants on their pizza: pee.
But one Pizza Hut in Kermit, West Va., seems to have come a bit too close to almost serving up a taste of that.
Red-faced Pizza Hut officials are fumbling to explain the video of a Pizza Hut district manager — make that, former district manager — who local TV station WOWK-TV caught urinating in the very same sink that the store also uses to wash utensils.
And, no, the manager was not removing an extra-tough stain. In the video, the former manager actually undoes his pants and relieves himself.
“First of all, we are embarrassed by the actions of this individual,” says Pizza Hut, in a statement. “Pizza Hut has zero tolerance for violations of our operating standards, and the local owner of the restaurant took immediate action and terminated the employee involved.”
The incident, which occurred during non-business hours, did not include any food tampering, says Pizza Hut in its statement. “We follow strict safety and handling procedures and the restaurant has since been closed. We apologize to our customers of Kermit, West Virginia, and those in our system who have been let down by this situation.”
To be sure, fast-food employees doing gross things at work is hardly unique to Pizza Hut. Back in 2009, a video went viral of a Domino’s employee picking his nose and placing his findings in the food he’s making. Last year, a video also went viral of a Taco Bell employee licking a long stack of taco shells. That was quickly followed by a viral image of a Wendy’s employee drinking directly out of a Frosty machine. Is this silly-but-sick stuff contagious in the fast-food world?”
No, says public relations guru Peter Himler. “It may be that local media tends to gravitate to this kind of sensationalistic story involving big-named fast food establishments,” he says. Even then, he adds, Pizza Hut needs “to make a forceful case that this is an isolated incident that does not reflect on the company’s culture or workplace procedures.”
The store was closed on Tuesday and will not reopen until it has been completely sanitized and received a clean bill of health from the health department, says spokesman Doug Terfehr.
But like all of the other fast-food incidents, this one, too, will quickly fade, says Himler. “I doubt this will have a long-term negative affect on Pizza Hut’s reputation,” he says. “Blaring headlines today usually fade quickly into the rear view mirror by tomorrow.”
Meanwhile, some folks in Kermit have to be wondering, the next time they order from the local Pizza Hut, do they have to remind whoever answers to phone to, well, hold the pee?
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Nestle recalls two kinds of Hot Pockets
By Jolie Lee, USA TODAY Network
Nestle voluntarily recalled two of its Hot Pocket products as part of a larger meat recall, according to a company press release Tuesday.
The food company recalled its “Philly Steak and Cheese” and “Croissant Crust Philly Steak and Cheese” Hot Pockets in specific sizes.
These products may have been affected by a recall by Rancho Feeding Corp. last week of 8.7 million pounds of beef product.
Regulators said the company processed “diseased and unsound animals” without a full federal inspection, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The USDA says the products were unfit for human consumption.
No illnesses have been reported.
The recalled Hot Pockets were distributed nationwide, according to the Nestle release. The company said “a small quantity of meat” from Rancho was used at a California production facility that makes Hot Pockets.
Nestle’s press release lists specific batch sizes being recalled. Customers who bought the recalled Hot Pockets can get a refund by contacting Nestle Consumer Services at 800-392-4057.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Monday, February 17, 2014
Steve Stoute Adds New Leaders to Translation
Fills the roles of president, creative chief
By Andrew McMains
Steve Stoute is restocking his leadership ranks at Translation with veterans of the agency and marketer worlds.
Joining as president is Nils Peyron, a former account leader at McCann Erickson and Ogilvy & Mather who most recently was chief marketing officer at Toms shoes. Peyron fills a vacancy left by the November 2012 exit of Leeann Leahy.
John Norman, meanwhile, is coming aboard as partner and chief creative officer. In the creative role, Norman, who has been CCO of TBWA\C\D in Playa del Rey, Calif. since August 2012 [see related story here], succeeds Chris Cereda, who left Translation in the spring of 2013.
Norman and Peyron become part of a management team that includes chief strategy officer John Greene and Stoute, the founder and CEO. The New York-based agency works for the likes of State Farm, Anheuser-Busch InBev, McDonald’s and Coca-Cola.
Reflecting on his new leaders, Stoute said, in a statement, that “John and Nils get what we are: a nimble, innovative partner to companies who want to update or overhaul their brands without losing the essence of who they are.”
Stoute added that “with my business acumen, John’s creative talent and Nils’ management style, we will build a world-class creative agency unlike anything this industry has ever seen.”
Sunday, February 16, 2014
Saturday, February 15, 2014
Friday, February 14, 2014
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Monday, February 10, 2014
Sunday, February 09, 2014
Saturday, February 08, 2014
Friday, February 07, 2014
Thursday, February 06, 2014
Didn’t bother watching the latest episode of CBS series The Crazy Ones, but will review it anyways. The website synopsis read, “A woman asks Simon (Robin Williams) to eulogize her deceased father, a jingle writer who was not a well-liked man…” Classy. Based on the online photos, the show allowed for the integration of a gospel choir for the second time this season. Wish someone would kill the series already.
NBC Bay Area News reported a high school sought to celebrate Black History Month with a lunch menu featuring fried chicken, cornbread and watermelon. No word if Annie the Chicken Queen was scheduled to make an appearance too.
Controversy Surrounds Lunch Menu at Concord High School
By Cheryl Hurd
Administrators at a Northern California private school are facing tough questions and offering a big apology after a menu controversy.
Students at Carondelet High School for Girls in Concord wanted to come up with ways to celebrate Black History Month in a lunchtime celebration. But when the Christian school announced a lunch of fried chicken, cornbread and watermelon, students and parents were outraged and offended.
The principal and dean of the school refused to talk to NBC Bay Area on Wednesday, but school officials held an assembly on campus to discuss the issue and sent an apology letter to parents.
“I’d like to apologize for the announcement and any hurt this caused students, parents or community members,” Principal Nancy Libby said in the letter. “Please know that at no time at Carondelet do we wish to perpetrate racial stereotypes.”
University of San Francisco professor James Taylor said he can see why some students and teachers would be offended, even though the lunch may have been well-intentioned.
“Chicken, watermelon, collard greens — these stereotypes of black Southern culture that come from the same place where the N-word comes from,” he said.
Ruth Wilson, chair of the African-American Studies Department at San Jose State University, said the food isn’t offensive, per se — in fact, fried chicken is an American mainstay, thanks in large part to Kentucky Fried Chicken’s Colonel Sanders.
The reason this particular meal sparks bad feelings, she said, is because blackface-era cartoons and plays showed African-Americans eating these foods in ugly caricature depictions.
The school community could have prevented this, she said, by reaching out to the key stakeholders — black students and parents — and asked them what they think was appropriate. In Silicon Valley, she added, many blacks are not even from the United States, but from around the world and may have enjoyed another cultural dish.
Several students told NBC Bay Area that Libby talked to members of the Black Student Union on campus, and the students suggested that the watermelon be taken off the menu.
Libby agreed to make that change, they said. She also said in a letter to the school community that they will remove fried chicken and cornbread from the menu.
In addition, the campus plans to hold a diversity assembly for faculty and students, Libby said in the letter.
NBC Bay Area’s Lisa Fernandez and Gonzalo Rojas contributed to this report.
By now it’s no news that Cheerios reunited its interracial/biracial family via a pool-out commercial which ran during the Super Bowl. Don’t mean to be a hater; however, MultiCultClassics has already expressed annoyance over the original spot. The fresh installment deserves even greater derision.
For starters, is Saatchi & Saatchi—the White advertising agency behind the campaign—afraid to depict Caucasian mom and Black pops as a loving couple? The two have yet to been seen together physically interacting at all. If they really want to inform Gracie about her soon-to-arrive baby brother, why isn’t Caucasian mom actively participating in the joyous announcement?
Second, the first commercial featured a marketing objective—presenting the cereal’s heart-healthy benefits—and used the unique household for added attention value. The 3.5 family members serve as the sole distraction device in the latest spot. They are pure and patronizing borrowed interest.
Third, generating hype for the commercial appears to be more important than gaining awareness for Cheerios. Are General Mills executives truly qualified to position themselves as social scientists and liberal activists? Yo, they’re selling processed foodstuff.
Finally, the first spot showed the cereal poured upon Black pops’ chest, while the new spot has Cheerios being used to symbolize the family. Um, does anyone in the home actually eat the fucking shit?