On Oscar Night, Local Girl Makes Good
February 27, 2012
Heather VacLav of WAKA-TV in Montgomery, Ala., reports on an Oscar-watching party in the hometown of Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer. (Video)
Octavia Spencer might not be close to her family in Montgomery, Ala., but she gave a shout-out to the state when she won the Academy Award Sunday night for best supporting actress. For the Montgomery news media, the success of the co-star of “The Help” was the time-honored “Local Girl Makes Good.”
“Local fans’ eyes were glued to the TVs spread across My Place restaurant, eagerly waiting to hear Octavia Spencer’s name called for the win,” reported Heather VacLav of WAKA-TV, the CBS affiliate.
“As the announcer said, ‘And the Oscar goes to…Octavia Spencer,’ the crowd leapt out of their seats and started cheering and yelling, overwhelmed with joy.
“. . . My Place surprised patrons with special black and white regal décor, a red carpet outside leading into the lobby where people could have their pictures taken with a life size cutout of Octavia Spencer.
“Octavia Spencer also sent a message to her fans in Montgomery, an exclusive clip only shown on WAKA CBS 8 News.
” ‘Thank you so much for being so supportive of The Help, and of my nomination…Thanks Montgomery,’ she said.
“And Montgomery was just as grateful…though miles apart, fans were beaming and proud to honor one of their own. Many people believe Spencer’s achievements will pave the way for future Alabama entertainers.”
Tametria Conner of WSFA-TV, the NBC affiliate, reported, “Before she was a Hollywood star, she was Octavia Lenora Spencer, a Jefferson Davis High school student.
“Spencer’s guidance counselor during her high school years was Mrs. Evelyn Moore.
” ‘[She was] always happy; always pleasant. You knew she was there. From the day that she got there, you knew she was there,’ Moore said.”
Of course, Spencer’s photo was on the front page of the Montgomery Advertiser (“Spencer wins Oscar; hometown supporters cheer for actress“). Later Monday, its website featured a slide show, “Octavia’s Oscar Odyssey.”
Other media outlets, meanwhile, were discussing how revealing Jennifer Lopez’s dress was, the state of black actors in Hollywood, the quality of the awards telecast, the natural hairstyle sported by Spencer’s co-star Viola Davis, host Billy Crystal’s darkened skin for his Sammy Davis Jr. impersonation, the award to an Iranian film and, of course, the racial implications of “The Help,” a debate that seemingly never stopped. Jesse Washington wrote for the Associated Press, “Despite torrents of debate among African-Americans over the merits of the segregation-era movie ‘The Help,’ most still hoped that Viola Davis, who plays a maid, would become just the second black winner of the best actress Oscar.”
- Editorial, Los Angeles Times: An Oscar for diversity
- “CBS This Morning”: Viola Davis Tells “CBS This Morning” Her Mother Has Not Seen “The Help”
- Eric Deggans blog, Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times: Regardless of how you feel about who won Oscars, there’s no doubt the telecast was terrible
- Charles Ellison, politic365.com: The Politics of Octavia Spencer’s Win
- TheGrio.com: Diddy wins Oscar for ‘Undefeated’
- Melissa Harris-Perry, the Nation: How ‘The Help’ Commodifies Black Women’s Suffering (Video)
- Ilyse Hogue, the Nation: In Defense Of ‘The Help’
- HuffPost BlackVoices: Academy Awards: Study Shows Lack Of Diversity Continues In The Film Industry
- Annette John-Hall, Philadelphia Inquirer: Black actors often still find themselves in roles as domestics
- Demetria L. Lucas, essence.com: Real Talk: Viola Davis’ Natural Hair Wins Big
- NBC Latino: What was seen and not heard at The Oscars
- Madame Noire: Oscar Rewind: 8 Black Actresses & The Roles That Deserved an Oscar
- Tonya Pendleton, BlackAmericaWeb.com: What Would Hattie McDaniel Say to Viola Davis?
- Cynthia Reid, Shadow and Act: Watch This Must-See Debate Between Tavis Smiley, Viola Davis + Octavia Spencer About “The Help”
- Kimberly Walker, ebony.com: Viola Davis Rocks Natural Hair for Oscars: Is This a Turning Point?
- Jeff Winbush, Loop21.com: Can Hollywood Give Viola Davis A Little Help?
“Millions of dollars in White House money has helped pay for New York Police Department programs that put entire American Muslim neighborhoods under surveillance,” Eileen Sullivan wrote Monday for the Associated Press.
“The money is part of a little-known grant intended to help law enforcement fight drug crimes. Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Bush and Obama administrations have provided $135 million to the New York and New Jersey region through the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program, known as HIDTA.
“. . . The AP confirmed the use of White House money through secret police documents and interviews with current and former city and federal officials. The AP also obtained electronic documents with digital signatures indicating they were created and saved on HIDTA computers. The HIDTA grant program is overseen by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.
“The disclosure that the White House is at least partially paying for the NYPD’s wholesale surveillance of places where Muslims eat, shop, work and pray complicates efforts by the Obama administration to stay out of the fray over New York’s controversial counterterrorism programs. The administration has championed outreach to American Muslims and has said law enforcement should not put entire communities under suspicion.”
Later Monday, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the White House has no opinion about how the grant money was spent.
Sullivan was part of a four-person team that last week won the George Polk Award for metropolitan reporting. “Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Chris Hawley and Eileen Sullivan collaborated on an investigation that showed the NYPD had built one of the largest domestic intelligence agencies in the country. The operations, conducted with advice and guidance from the Central Intelligence Agency, were secret until the AP series,” said Long Island University, which bestows the award.
While some commentators expressed outrage at the revelations, others sided with the police. Sean Delonis, the New York Post editorial cartoonist whose 2009 drawing that some said compared President Obama with a chimpanzee — a charge Delonis denied — appeared to be one of them. In Friday’s Post, he portrayed Muslims preparing explosives and calling the police to complain about surveillance.
- Wayne Bennett, Field Negro: Disparaging religions and killing senators.
- Juan Gonzalez, Daily News, New York: Wholesale surveillance of Muslims in Newark, N.J shows NYPD’s fight against terrorism has gone wild
- Mike Lupica, Daily News, New York: You’re not getting a sorry: Police Commissioner Kelly, NYPD have kept us all safe
- Christopher Robbins, the Gothamist: Racist NY Post Cartoon Portrays Innocent Muslims As Terrorists
New York Times op-ed columnist Charles M. Blow, who expressed regret Friday over a Twitter posting that referenced the Mormon religion of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, returned to the subject of his pique Sunday on Twitter, defending single parents such as himself.
During Wednesday’s Republican candidates debate, Romney praised two-parent families, saying, “When you have 40 percent of kids being born out of wedlock, and among certain ethnic groups the vast majority being born out of wedlock, you ask yourself, how are we going to have a society in the future? Because these kids are raised in poverty in many cases, they’re in abusive settings. The likelihood of them being able to finish high school or college drops dramatically in single-family homes. And we haven’t been willing to talk about this.”
In a series of tweets, Blow wrote:
“The single parents who are not poor and provide loving homes for their children are *by far* the majority, not the exception. . . . Have to say this (because it got lost in it all): single parents, you do not herald the demise of America. Data simply don’t bear that out. . . . Want to see some surprising (to some) data on single parents, look at this: singleparents.about.com/od/legalissues… . . . When it comes to children, parents don’t have to be married to become engaged #truth #passiton . . . I really don’t like it when ppl point to single parents as an example of the demise of the family. We are families too!!!
“I wrote this in a 2008 column: ‘Being more engaged with our children is, for the most part, the result of a choice, a simple one:… http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/12/opinion/12blow.html‘ . . . On the single parents and poverty part: much of it has to do with unpaid child support… …when child support is paid, the % of children of single parents move much closer to the nat ave….”
- Michael Arceneaux, ebony.com: Rick Santorum’s Unholy War
- Charles M. Blow, New York Times: Mitt, Michigan and a Couple of Cadillacs
- Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post: Angry Rick Santorum ‘throws up’ on JFK
- Gregory Clay, McClatchy-Tribune News Service: Should President Obama be allowed to keep his baton?
- Ta-Nehisi Coates, the Atlantic: Institutions of Uppity Learning
- Jonathan P. Hicks, New York Amsterdam News: Rick Santorum leads the pack in race for demagogue-in-chief
- Colbert I. King, Washington Post: The demonizing of Barack Obama
- Roland S. Martin, Creators Syndicate: It’s Time to Stop Being So Sensitive About Discussing Out-of-Wedlock Children
- Leonard Pitts Jr., Miami Herald: Back to the ‘days’ of knees and aspirin
- Bob Ray Sanders, Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Franklin Graham strays far from his father’s way
- Barry Saunders, News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.: Adults need no tweets
- Joan Walsh, salon.com: Santorum’s JFK story makes me want to throw up
- Jack White, theRoot.com: RightWatch: Despite talk of new candidates joining the fray, the GOP is stuck with what it’s got.
Juan Williams tells Pat Buchanan he can relate to Buchanan feeling his ouster by MSNBC was unfair. (Video)
“Pat Buchanan sat down for an exclusive interview with Juan Williams on FoxNewsLatino.com on Friday. The two broadcasters now share something in common — both feel as though their employers unfairly fired them after expressing personal points of view on the air,” the Huffington Post reported on Saturday.
“Buchanan was fired from MSNBC earlier this month after the release of his controversial new book, ‘Suicide of a Superpower.’ The book includes chapters with titles such as, ‘The End of White America.’
“. . . Williams was fired from his former employer, NPR, in May 2011, after making controversial comments about Muslims. Williams was then hired by Fox News.” Williams compared his firing with Buchanan’s ouster at MSNBC.
“Buchanan discussed how he felt ‘surprised’ that MSNBC did not have him on the network, after he had been on Fox News, CNN and many radio stations to promote his book. The two broadcasters discussed what they believed were organizations that work to ‘blacklist’ or ‘rule out of bounds’ individuals with particular points of view. ‘I understand the poison that comes into the American domain of debate and discussion when what you are saying are ruled out of bounds and you are viewed as someone who is not welcome into the mainstream of American ideals and American discourse,’ Williams said.
“. . . At the end of the interview, Williams said, ‘I feel like we are brothers in understanding what these groups, on the left primarily, decided that you’re not to be allowed to speak. They will banish you and make you an outcast and Pat, I’m sorry that’s happened to you.’ “
- Fox News Latino: Juan Williams Interviews Pat Buchanan on Fear of Latinos, Race and Being ‘Blacklisted’
- Brian Stelter, New York Times: With Book, Buchanan Set His Fate
“Time Magazine caused a commotion this month with a bilingual cover that features the phrases ‘Yo decido,’ and in English, ‘I decide,’ alongside the bold proclamation, ‘Why Latinos will pick the next President,’ ” Alicia Menendez wrote Sunday for Politic365.com.
“. . . While the cover may have created a splash, representations of the piece have been a belly flop . . . on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Richard Stengel, editor of Time, reasserted the common misconception that the Latino vote is ‘up in the air.’ According to Stengel, Latinos are ‘independent.’
“That’s just not true. Latinos have consistently voted for Democrats. Even Republican strategists will readily admit that the goal isn’t to win a majority of Hispanic voters, it’s simply to [peel] enough support away from Obama to contribute to a larger electoral calculus. . . . Stengel’s comment doesn’t even comport with his magazine’s own reporting. . . . Swing Hispanic voters, like all swing voters, are up for grabs, but that doesn’t mean that Latinos as a whole could break for Republicans.”
“President Rafael Correa said Monday he is pardoning Ecuador’s main opposition newspaper and four of its employees, relieving them of a court’s imposition of prison terms and a $42 million fine for criminal libel against Correa, Gonzalo Solano wrote from Quito for the Associated Press.
“The legal attack on El Universo had prompted allegations by international press freedom and human rights groups that the leftist president is using a judiciary of dubious independence to silence critics.”
Palacio called Correa’s announcement a “spectacular triumph” for press freedom, Solano reported, but added that Correa said it was too early to decide whether to abandon his request for political asylum in the United States.
“In the column that triggered the case, Palacio called Correa a dictator and accused him of ordering troops to ‘fire at will’ on a hospital full of civilians during a September 2010 police revolt.
“Correa, who is democratically elected and in his second term, denied issuing any such order, although one of at least five fatalities during the daylong revolt was a police officer shot to death while helping to spirit the president out of the hospital in an SUV.
“In a column on the case published Sunday, Peru’s Nobel Prize-winning author Mario Vargas Llosa said ‘no one can deny that journalism in Ecuador as in the rest of Latin America, is far from always being a paragon of integrity, balance and objectivity’ and it is the job of an independent judiciary to guard against abuses.
” ‘But decapitation is not the most appropriate remedy for headaches,’ he added, calling the verdict against El Universo ‘scandalous.’
“One of the judges involved in the case in its early stages, Monica Encalada, has accused a lawyer for Correa of trying to bribe her to ensure a guilty verdict against El Universo. She has sought political exile in Colombia.”
- Editorial, New York Times: Ecuador’s Assault on Free Speech
Last week, New York Times op-ed columnist Nicholas D. Kristof wrote, “A great humanitarian catastrophe and vicious ethnic cleansing is unfolding here in the remote and impoverished region where Sudan and South Sudan come together.“
A week later, Kristof introduced readers to an American who is trying to help.
“As Sudan tries to bomb and starve the Nuba people into submission, it faces an unlikely antagonist: an American man from Florida who married a Nuban woman, gets by on local foods like locusts, and is fighting mortars with video cameras,” Kristof wrote on Sunday.
“Ryan Boyette, 30, is trying to get President Obama to do more to intervene to stop the bombing and avert a famine. He is risking his life to collect video of atrocities that the world frankly doesn’t seem to be terribly interested in.
“It was Boyette who smuggled me into the Nuba Mountains, driving his Toyota Land Cruiser on a rutted dirt track from South Sudan, at one point just a couple of miles from Sudanese military lines. He has set up a network of local citizen journalists who use small cameras to document atrocities and starvation in hopes of making the world care enough to intervene.
“. . . The region has no electricity or cellphone service, so Boyette charges his laptop and satellite phone with a solar charger. So far The Associated Press, CNN, Fox News and Al Jazeera have used his videos or photographs, and he plans to post more on a Web site, EyesAndEarsNuba.org.
“To pay for operations, Boyette is hoping for foundation grants, or public donations on an account he will be setting up on Kickstarter.com.”
- Al Arabiya with Agencies: U.S. lawmaker accuses Sudan of new ‘ethnic cleansing’ as rebels claim attack on army
“. . . For Black History Month, I collected the opinions of individuals rarely asked about their view of the Trail of Tears: descendants of slaves owned by Cherokees,” Tiya Miles, chairwoman of the Department of Afro-American and African Studies at the University of Michigan and professor of history and Native American studies, wrote Saturday for the “In America” page of cnn.com.
In 1838, the U.S. military and Georgia militia expelled Cherokees from their homeland, relocating thousands to Indian Territory, now Oklahoma. Blacks enslaved by the Cherokees walked along with them.
“Common themes in the responses I received were pain at having their history publicly denied and pride in their ancestors’ ability to survive multiple trials,” Miles wrote.
“Kenneth Cooper, a Cherokee Freedmen descendant and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has researched his family history through oral and documentary methods, has a great-great-great grandfather, Thomas Still, who walked the Trail of Tears. Cooper said, ‘At least one of my ancestors was on the Trail of Tears — by double compulsion. The U.S. troops compelled his mixed-white Cherokee owner, who compelled my ancestor to come and, presumably, provide for his needs.”
- Black and Red Journal
- Lewis W. Diuguid, Kansas City Star: To improve lives, push King’s dream forward
- John W. Fountain, Chicago Sun-Times: Black history is nation’s story every month of year
- Tonya Garcia, PRNewser: Targeting African-American Audiences Beyond Black History Month
- Jerry Large, Seattle Times: Succeeding outside of boxes
- Wendi C. Thomas, Commercial Appeal, Memphis: ‘The great migration’ tales sad, shocking
- Dawn Turner Trice, Chicago Tribune: Showcasing work of black scientists
“Experienced minority journalists have until March 1 to apply for the 17th annual Minority Writers Seminar April 12-15 at the Freedom Forum Diversity Institute at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee,” the Association of Opinion Journalists, formerly the National Conference of Editorial Writers, has announced.
“Participants receive intense training for writing opinion in a ‘boot camp’ environment with veteran opinion writers comprising the faculty, said Tommy Denton, director of the seminar sponsored by the National Conference of Editorial Writers Foundation in partnership with the Diversity Institute.
“Enrollment is limited to 12, and minority journalists who have been writing opinion less than two years may also apply. NCEW Foundation pays for lodging and food at the Seminar and reimburses up to $200 each for transportation to and from Nashville.”
Those interested may apply at www.minoritywritersseminar.org.
- Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter “talked Fox 29 out of airing a video that captured him spanking the buttocks of a blonde with whom he drank and bowled at North Bowl (909 N. 2nd), say sources familiar with the situation,” Dan Gross reported Monday for the Philadelphia Daily News. Asked if Nutter attempted to pressure Fox 29 not to air the video, Gross said that Press Secretary Mark McDonald offered no comment. Steve Schwaid, Fox 29 news director, “referred our inquiry to a Fox 29 spokeswoman, who had no comment about the Nutter/Schwaid sit-down or whether the station would air the story,” Gross wrote.
- The website for public radio’s “The Michael Eric Dyson Show” has been down for a little more than a week, preventing listeners from listening to podcasts of the show, which has limited over-the-air distribution. “Our website was seriously hacked so unfortunately there’s no way to get it online, but yes, we’re still airing,” Senior Producer Carla E. Wills told Journal-isms by email on Monday. “The best way . . . to hear it would be to tune in to one of the stations that stream us live. Our producing station, WEAA, airs it every morning at 9 a.m. at weaa.org.”
- “Today, NPR is introducing staffers to a new Ethics Handbook that has been in the works for more than a year and illustrates how the organization is taking steps to safeguard against some of the ethical dilemmas it’s faced in the past,” Mallary Jean Tenore reported Friday for the Poynter Institute. “NPR began working on the 72-page handbook shortly after Ellen Weiss, vice president of news, fired news analyst Juan Williams for remarks he made about Muslims on ‘The O’Reilly Factor.’ The October 2010 dismissal led NPR’s Board of Directors to conduct a formal review of what happened. A couple months after the incident, which generated widespread criticism, Weiss resigned.”
- “We share the weekend Evening News Ratings scoreboards every Tuesday, but we don’t often get a chance to share numbers for the weekend shows,” Merrill Knox reported Saturday for TVNewser. “So here goes. Like its weekday counterpart, ‘NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt’ is firmly locked in first place on Saturday and Sunday evening. In the year since David Muir took over as ‘World News’ anchor second-place ABC has narrowed its margins with ‘Nightly’ . . . ”
- “The news at the top of the hour is that there’s a good chance someone new is giving you the news at the top of the hour. Major anchor changes at local stations have been rocking the Cleveland television market for several months, keeping viewers reeling,” Mark Dawidziak wrote Feb. 20 for the Plain Dealer in Cleveland. “. . . It’s getting to the point that viewers won’t be able to tell the players without a scorecard. Equally dizzying are the reasons for all this change, ranging from a stalled economy and decreased viewership to personal motives and cutting-edge technology that’s transforming TV newsrooms.”
- “Hundreds of top female journalists in Germany are demanding the introduction of a quota to ensure at least 30% of all executive positions across the whole German media industry are filled by women,” Helen Pidd reported Monday for Britain’s Guardian newspaper. “In a letter sent to around 250 editors and publishers across the country, the signatories from the Pro Quote campaign claimed that at present only 2% of all editor-in-chiefs of 360 German daily and weekly newspapers are women.”
- “Novelist Daniel Alarcón and his colleagues at Radio Ambulante are planning to create a Spanish-language radio show of the quality and appeal of English-language institutions like This American Life, Snap Judgment and Radiolab,” Melville House reported Friday for New America Media. “The podcast will soon be available to listeners in the United States and Latin America on their website. Nothing of this type currently exists for Spanish-language listeners. Listen to an audio sampler here.”
- “The year, as it always does, has flown by and we’re already in the midst of compiling our annual list of the top innovators in the magazine business and the markets that intersect and influence it — the Folio: 40,” Bill Mickey wrote Feb. 7 for Folio:, the magazine about magazines. “We’re excited to announce that starting now, you can have a hand in how the list turns out by nominating a colleague— either at your company or from another one — that has had a meaningful impact on a product, company or even market.. . . Click here to fill out our easy nomination form. Nominations are due by March 2nd.”
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