Jamaican comedian Oliver Samuels highlights charity event in Belgium

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(L-R) Ambassador Vilma NcNish poses with Ms. Rose McBean de Vrieze, lead organizer for the event, and noted Jamaican comedian Mr. Oliver Samuels.

The Jamaican community and friends of nation in Antwerp, Belgium, received its fair share of laughter on Saturday, 15 November, 2014, from internationally renowned Jamaican comedian, Mr. Oliver Samuels. The occasion was the Jamaican Gala Dinner and Charity Event, organised by the Jamaican community and held under the patronage of Her Excellency Vilma McNish, Jamaica’s Ambassador to Belgium, at the Linder Hotel in Antwerp.

Mr. Samuels, who was the master of ceremonies, kept the audience entertained throughout the evening as he interacted with the guests in his inimitable comedic style. He recounted experiences such as his recent encounter with the dreaded Chikungunya virus. Proceeds from the event will go towards the restoration of the Ward Theatre in Kingston, Jamaica, and Mr. Samuels reminded the audience of the enormous significance of the Ward for Jamaican theatre, having provided the stage for many renowned performers, including himself, to launch their careers and the staging of the nation’s annual pantomime.

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Jamaica Ambassador McNish presents the grand prize to Ms. Paulette Hamilton

In her address, Ambassador McNish used the opportunity to encourage participation in the Jamaican Diaspora Mapping Project, which involves an online survey aimed at identifying and mobilizing skills, expertise and interests the Jamaican Diaspora to contribute to national development. The Ambassador also stressed the importance of representatives of the Jamaican community in Belgium participating in the next Jamaican Biennial Diaspora Conference, which will be held in June 2015 in Montego Bay.

Entertainment was provided by talented members of the community. Guests were treated to a buffet of typical Jamaican cuisine courtesy of Jamaican national Mr. Omar McBean, a top chef at the hotel. The Gala Dinner and Charity Event is the first in what is expected to be an annual affair by the Jamaican community

One of the highlights of the evening was the grand raffle, which included a trip for two to Jamaica courtesy of Belgian Airline Jet Air Fly, and Holiday Inn Sun Spree Resort, Montego Bay. Other sponsors of the event included the Ministry of Youth and Culture, the Jamaica Tourist Board, Jamaica Information Service, and the VDL Group, the Belgian manufacturers of buses for the transportation system in Jamaica..-OnPointPress.net.

 

Breaking: Ray Rice wins appeal of indefinite suspension, re-instated to NFL

Ray Rice won his appeal of the indefinite suspension he received after video surfaced of him striking his wife in an elevator.

Ray Rice won his appeal of the indefinite suspension he received after video surfaced of him striking his wife in an elevator.

By Charles Glover, Jr

NFL player Ray Rice won his appeal of his indefinite suspension handed down to him by Commissioner Roger Goodell, according to a report by ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Rice is immediately eligible to return to play for any team that is willing to sign him for the remainder of the season.

When asked by ESPN’s Andrew Grant if the league would pursue any further action against Rice, an NFL spokesman said “We, of course, accept the ruling as binding.”

Today's ruling by Judge Jones was a tough pill to swallow as his ruling was once again overturned by an independent party.

Today’s ruling by Judge Jones was a tough pill to swallow as his ruling was once again overturned by an independent party.

The appeal of the Rice’s suspension was heard in the US District Court by Judge Barbara Jones earlier this month. Among those called to testify at the hearing were Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Ray Rice, and his wife, Janay.

The ruling is significant because it essentially suggests that the judge believed Rice’s statements that he told Goodell about everything that took place the night when he hit his then-fiancé, now wife earlier this year. Goodell insisted in September that when the video was released showing Rice punching his then-fiancée in an elevator he had no knowledge of the extent of Rice’s conduct because when he interviewed Rice immediately after the incident Rice spoke to him “in ambiguous terms.”

Read OnPointPress.net for more information about the ruling by Judge Jones –Onpointpress.net–

Happy Thanksgiving to all our readers and supporters

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Thanksgiving is a period when we all come together to enjoy food, fun, family, friendship and the myriad of blessings that we have experienced n our lives.

At OnPointPress.net, we are thankful for the same reasons. Yet, as we give thanks for the blessings in our lives, we pause to express condolences for those who have suffered illness and death in their families and we send words of encouragement to those who are experiencing challenges in any way.

We especially send prayers to the families of unarmed Black and Latino men who have lost their lives at the hands of unlawful police officers due to racial stereotyping, as well as all those who were victims of criminal acts in any way.

For those who have to work on Thanksgiving Day, we will keep you in our thoughts and pray that you will get the opportunity at some point during the Thanksgiving period to relax with your families and celebrate the blessings that have brightened your lives throughout this year. Happy Thanksgiving!-OnPointPress.net.

Riots, marches, illustrate raw pain, hurt, anger, against unpunished police brutality

People march to demand Justice for Michael Brown stand in solidarity with the people of Ferguson and demand police reform in Washington, DC, on October 4, 2014. AFP PHOTO/YURI GRIPAS        (Photo credit should read YURI GRIPAS/AFP/Getty Images)

People march to demand Justice for Michael Brown stand in solidarity with the people of Ferguson and demand police reform in Washington, DC, on October 4, 2014. AFP PHOTO/YURI GRIPAS (Photo credit should read YURI GRIPAS/AFP/Getty Images)

As  smug, relaxed and self satisfied- looking Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson gave his first television network interview to ABC, riots continued unchecked in Ferguson, Missouri, despite additional National Guard members who were summoned by Governor Jay Nixon to restore order. Meanwhile marches proceeded unabated across the United States as citizens protested unpunished police brutality against Black and Latino men.

Marchers in Union Square, New York.

Marchers in Union Square, New York.

The psyche in predominantly African-American and Latino communities is raw with pain, anguish, hurt and explosive anger that yet another police officer has gone unpunished after taking the life of one more unarmed African-American male. As Wilson describes it, Michael Brown, appeared to him like “Hulk” who was “intent on” harming or even killing Wilson requiring him to shoot multiple times until he was certain that Brown was dead. Wilson expressed no remorse and suggested that he did what his training dictated.

Rioters in Ferguson, Missouri.

Rioters in Ferguson, Missouri.

When St Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch announced on Monday night that there was “no reasonable cause to prosecute Officer Wilson” in Brown’s murder, he then put on a spirited defense of Wilson while doing everything he could to denigrate Brown’s reputation, trash the witnesses who disputed Wilson’s version of events, and insult journalists for doing their jobs.

The National Guard has been deployed in Ferguson to restore order as people riot to express their anger in the face of another case of unpunished police brutality.

The National Guard has been deployed in Ferguson to restore order as people riot to express their anger in the face of another case of unpunished police brutality.

As marchers continue to take to the streets, their message is universal: the incidence of police brutality against Blacks and Latinos must stop. People are tired of feeling helpless, tired of losing their sons, brothers, spouses, relatives and friends at the hands of police officers who are racist, afraid, lawless and who have nothing but contempt for the lives that they are charged to protect.–OnPointPress.net.

Breaking: Ferguson officer Darren Wilson escapes indictment in murder of Black teen

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Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson walks free after grand jury declines to indict him in the murder of unarmed Black teenager Michael Brown.

By Carmen Glover

Basking in the glow of a captive media and international attention, Robert McCulloch, St Louis County prosecutor, chided journalists for doing their jobs, then he read a lengthy soliloquy that stated Officer Darren Wilson, who is White, will not face charges in the murder of unarmed Black teenager Michael Brown.

Unarmed teenager Michael Brown was executed by police.

Unarmed teenager Michael Brown was executed by Police Officer Darren Wilson. On Monday, Nov. 24, the grand jury declined to charge Wilson with a crime.

According to McCulloch, the grand jury came to the conclusion that “there was no probable cause,” to indict Wilson. “They are the only people who have heard and examined ever witness and every piece of evidence,” he said of the grand jury, which was comprised of nine Whites and three Blacks. Only nine votes are needed to render a decision. It seemed unlikely that a decision would have been made to indict Wilson from last week when Missouri Governor Jay Nixon ordered the National Guard to be deployed, announced a state of emergency, requested FBI presence and created a fortress of armed officials around the city of Ferguson.

Michael Brown Sr. and Lesley McSpadden, parents of unarmed teenager, Michael Brown, who was killed by police officer Darren Wilson.

Michael Brown Sr. and Lesley McSpadden, parents of unarmed teenager, Michael Brown, who was killed by police officer Darren Wilson, asked for peaceful protests after grand jury declines to indict Wilson.

Angry supporters of Brown, who have been protesting since his August 9 murder, would have had no reason to protest an announcement of an indictment, therefore the drawn-out preparation days in advance of the announcement and the dramatic presentation by McCullouch was long on theatrics and short on substance. However, in his presentation, McCullouch delivered what could be described as a rousing defense of Wilson and his actions, while snidely denigrating the many witnesses who came forward to recount their versions of what transpired on that fateful day when Brown was killed by Wilson. In  a statement released by their lawyers, Brown’s parents expressed their disappointment and made a call to action, stating:

President Obama speaking after the grand jury result, asks for calm.

President Obama, speaking after the grand jury result, asks for calm, while stating that the situation in Ferguson is not just about Ferguson, it’s about America.

“We are profoundly disappointed that the killer of our child will not face the consequence of his actions. While we understand that many others share our pain, we ask that you channel your frustration in ways that will make positive change. We need to work together to fix the system that allowed this to happen. Join us in our campaign to ensure that every police officer working the streets in this county wears a body camera. We respectfully ask that you please keep your protests peaceful. Answering with violence is not the appropriate reaction. Let’s not just make noise, let’s make a difference.”

Speaking out from the White House, President Obama described a “deep distrust” that exists “in many parts of the country” between law enforcement and communities of color. He said “this is not just about Ferguson,” and said that race relations need to change. —OnPointPress.net.

 

Did Bill Cosby prey on, sexually assault, vulnerable females as alleged?

Bill Cosby scolds AP reporter who dared to do his job and ask him about mounting allegations of sexual abuse levied by more than 15 women.

Bill Cosby scolds AP reporter who dared to do his job and ask him about mounting allegations of sexual abuse levied by more than 15 women.

As an avalanche of accusations rain down on outspoken comedian Bill Cosby, his silence, though legally justified, serves to fan the flames even further, making it more difficult for objective individuals to feel that he is totally innocent of the charges.

According to numerous reports, neatly laid out by the New York Daily News and The Washington Post, especially, more than 15 women have accused Cosby of sexual exploitation. The accusations are similar in nature, describing a ritual of Cosby inviting them to his home, dressing room or studio, plying them with alcohol and pills, though he did not partake himself, and then sexually assaulting them to varying degrees ranging from groping, kissing, to rape and forced oral sex. It is certainly difficult for many people familiar with Cosby’s wholesome image on “The Cosby Show” “Fat Albert” and the pitchman for various products to reconcile that background with the sickening allegations that have even his lawyers asking “When will they end?”

As allegations against Bill Cosby mushroom, the comedian has maintained his silence.

As allegations against Bill Cosby mushroom, the comedian has maintained his silence.

Some of the women describe receiving money from the comedian. Many of the alleged assaults are said to have occurred over a period of time ranging from 50 years ago to as recently as nine years ago. While Cosby has said he does “not respond to innuendo” and that journalists should “fact-check” he did himself no favors when he tried to handle a reporter from the Associated Press by questioning the reporter’s integrity because the reporter rightly asked him about the flood of allegations. Cosby asked the reporter to “scuttle” the portion of the interview which showed him vehemently stating “We don’t respond to that,” with his wife, Camille, seated next to him, as the reporter raised the subject.

Rape, sexual assault, of any kind, is a horrific crime of power, control, intimidation and dominance. Rendering women and naïve girls incapacitated with drugs and alcohol in order to defile their bodies is appalling, regardless of the identity, clout and acclaim of the alleged perpetrator. However, it is also very important that accusations, no matter how credible they sound, be backed up by facts because that is the legal standard that is required to bring a case to prosecution. Accusations, no matter how plentiful, do not equal fact but they present a compelling narrative that should lead, correctly, to pointed questions and thorough investigation.

Bill Cosby's reputation as a jovial comedian is in ruins amid multiple allegations of him sexually assaulting women after giving them drugs and alcohol but the comedian has remained silent, while his lawyers call the allegations "old and discredited."

Bill Cosby’s reputation as a jovial comedian is in ruins amid multiple allegations of him sexually assaulting women after giving them drugs and alcohol but the comedian has remained silent, while his lawyers call the allegations “old and discredited.”

It seems unlikely that all of Cosby’s accusers are lying but by refusing to defend himself other than having disingenuous lawyers call the accusations “old and discredited” Cosby has no one but himself to blame as his carefully crafted reputation as American’s Dad goes down in flames and networks flee all association with him. It’s almost like the ‘yo mama’ battles from the past, where children would come to blows if a peer said something derogatory about their mother: If your reputation is being called into question wouldn’t you defend your name instead of have lawyers parrot weak, ineffective, blanket denials, interspersed with specific statements that some of the women are lying?

If your former friend gave an expose stating that he guarded the door while you met with a string of under-aged girls in your dressing room, while warning the friend not to let anyone in, wouldn’t you deny it if the incidents didn’t happen?  If that friend said he had receipts of money orders he wrote to those women on your behalf wouldn’t you refute those claims, if they were false? In the absence of iron-clad documents to refute the allegations it is impossible to dismiss the accusers. And as Cosby’s once impenetrable façade of support crumbles amid his silence, questions of his guilt mount. It will not be surprising if even more alleged victims come forward to share their stories.-OnPointPress.net.

Diverse line-up for NYC’s African Diaspora International Film Festival

Danny Glover stars in the upcoming film, "Supremacy."

Danny Glover  and Lela Rochon star in the upcoming film, “Supremacy,” which will debut at the ADIFF between Nov 28-Dec 14, 3014.

New York, November 22, 2014 – For its 22nd edition to be held in Manhattan between November 28 and December 14, 2014, the New York African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF) will showcase 89 films spanning 43 countries including 47 US and NY Premieres.

Among the films set to have their New York premiere in ADIFF 2014 are films featured in international film festivals such as Toronto, Montreal, Durban, Rotterdam, Palm Spring and Los Angeles Film Fests. The offerings include opening night film Supremacy, by the producers of Django Unchained with Danny Glover, Derek Luke and Lela Rochon.

Trailer from the upcoming film "Supremacy."

Trailer from the upcoming film “Supremacy.”

Presented at the Toronto International Film Festival are the gripping and provocative Finish dramedy Heart of a Lion by Dome Karukosi, a film with “a lot of heart and warmth” (Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times). Finish describes a Neo-Nazi who falls for a woman with a black son from a previous marriage and 2014 New Zealand’s foreign-language Oscar submission White Lies by Dana Rotberg is a period drama based on a novella by “Whale Rider” author Witi Ihimaera that explores deep inner and societal conflicts between a wealthy woman, her servant and the Moari healer they seek out for assistance.

First presented at the Montreal World Film Festival is the impressive epic drama based on a true story, Ninga Queen of Angola by Sergio Graciano, about a 17th century Queen who fought for freedom against Portuguese colonialism. Kajarya by Madhureeeta Anand, a compelling and disturbing women centered drama that decries the social hypocrisy around the practice of killing baby girls in India and the national award- winning film Names Unknown by Charu Ahuja, which takes a critical look at the life of marginalized people in the Kerala region of India are part of a selection of films about Indian people in and out of India.

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Screened at the Rotterdam International Film Festival, Diego Star by Frederick Pelletier, a drama about Traore, a mechanic from the Ivory Coast who is forced to spend the winter in a small town in Quebec after an accident on board his ship is “a stark, touching tale about the common humanity that connects people from alien backgrounds, and the institutionalized inhumanity that drives them apart,” (Peter Keough Boston Globe).

Other noteworthy premieres in ADIFF 2014 include Scorsese’s Marrakech International Film Festival Jury Winner for best Actor Fevers by Hicham Ayouch about a 13-year-old boy at war with life, adults and himself and the South African drama with a distinctly local flavor The Two of Us by first time filmmaker Ernest Nkosi – which made its world premiere at the Durban International Film Festival in August – about a very turbulent sibling relationship between Thulas and Zanele and their lives in the Alexandra township.

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The Two of Us is one of the highlights of the ADIFF 2014 South Africa: 20 Years of Democracy program presented in collaboration with the South African Department of Arts and Culture, the NFVF and the Kwazulu-Natal Film Commission. Four other outstanding films in this program are the entertaining South African hit dramedy Between Friends by Zuko Nodada to screen as the festival centerpiece, the hit comedy Material by Craig Friemond about a Muslim comedian and his rigid father, Letters to Zorha by Saskia Vredeveld about the untold story of Ahmed Kathrada, a freedom fighter who spent 26 years in prison in Robben island with Nelson Mandela, and the revealing documentary I, Afrikaner by Analet Steenkamp which documents four generations of the director’s family in post-apartheid South Africa.

Also premiering in the festival this year are closing night film Obama Mama, a documentary about Stanley Ann Dunham, mother of the nation’s first black president, Gala Screening Bound: Africans vs. African-Americans, a documentary about the tensions between these two groups, and the U.S. premiere of Steps to Liberty, a documentary by Rokhaya Diallo that describes the 1984 March for Equality and Against Racism in France and its repercussion today. Steps to Liberty will close a full day of screenings around the theme France and the Race Issue.

The program Blacks in Latin America, sponsored in part by the Academy of Motion Picture and Science, will feature 20 films including the two documentaries Oggun: An Eternal Presence and Reshipment and the three-part series 1912, Breaking the Silence by award-winning Afro-Cuban filmmaker Gloria Rolando who will complete her acclaimed US wide tour with ADIFF 2014.

For more information about the 22nd Annual African Diaspora International Film Festival, to receive the complete line up, screeners and high-resolution images please contact Diarah N’Daw-Spech at (212) 864-1760/ fax (212) 316-6020 or e-mail pr@nyadiff.org. Festival web site: www.nyadiff.org.-OnPointPress.net.