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More self-reliance needed in Africa

africa 600The recent kidnapping of the Nigerian schoolgirls has been all over the news, which is a good thing. We need to take the emotion out of this issue and have a heart-to-heart talk with the leadership of Africa.

I am very aware that Africa is not a country, but a continent made up of 54 countries. I am a big booster of the potential of all things Africa, but have been, and still am, a big critic of Africa.

Everyone touts the potential of Africa as a continent, not just in terms of its vast natural resources (gold, diamonds, oil, gas, bauxite, etc.); but also in terms of its human resources. Well more than half of Africa's population is under 18 years of age. They have a "youth bulge" that can be a great asset or a great liability.

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Recession leaves ethnic families 'Beyond Broke'

piggybank 600African Americans, Hispanics and Asian Americans face an economic "quadruple whammy," leaving them with little or no financial cushion as they age, finds a new study released Monday.

Titled "Beyond Broke: Why Closing the Racial Wealth Gap is a Priority for National Economic Security," the study used 2011 Census data to examine household worth for all ages. It found that the medium net worth of households of color from 2005-2011 dropped 58 percent for Latinos, 48 percent for Asians, 45 percent for African Americans – but only 21 percent for whites.

"You have the racial gap in pay, the gender gap in pay, the ageism gap in pay and predominantly single-income households," says Maya Rockeymoore, president of the Center for Global Policy Solutions (CGPS), which commissioned the study. "You're looking at the intersection of all of these disparities."

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Next season, let’s see SNL do better at portraying black women

snl beyonce_600Two weeks after Leslie Jones' controversial segment on slavery, I was very worried about the season finale of "Saturday Night Live." With the frenzy surrounding what happened between Solange, Jay Z and Beyoncé in that elevator, I was sure a sketch was coming.

Across Twitter, gossip sites and even mainstream media, Solange has been the butt of jokes that pathologize her as violent, angry and unstable. Knowing SNL's history reinforcing stereotypes of black women, there were a lot of ways this could have gone wrong, but I was pleasantly surprised. For me, it was a breath of fresh air for "SNL" – which for 39 years has too often relied on degrading stereotypes – to write a sketch about Solange, Jay Z and Beyoncé that managed to feel fresh and unexpected.

It was great to see Maya Rudolph show up Saturday to play Beyoncé, but it was also a harsh reminder that after she left, it was six years before "SNL" hired another black female cast member. Hiring Sasheer Zamata, along with writers LaKendra Tookes and Leslie Jones, was a long-overdue first step toward addressing the lack of diversity on-screen, as well as the show's continued stereotypical portrayals of African-American women. Having someone to competently play first lady Michelle Obama and Olivia Pope from "Scandal" was an important acknowledgment of the tremendous role African-American women play in American culture.

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Antron Brown continues to break barriers in drag racing

Antron Brown_600Antron Brown has had a lifelong infatuation with fast cars.

Born and raised in New Jersey, Brown spent his weekends from an early age watching his father compete in sportsman level drag races.

"I grew up around it, and I developed a love and passion for it," Top Fuel driver Brown said in an interview with theGrio during this past weekend's qualifying session for the Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway.

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Crews control

terrycruz 600Since retiring from the NFL, Terry Crews has traded in his helmet and cleats to pursue an acting career while also becoming the ultimate family man and fitness enthusiast. Over the past several years, omnipresent Terry has been seen almost everywhere, whether as the pecs-popping pitchman for Old Spice, portraying the overworked dad on "Everybody Hates Chris," a tough guy in "The Expendables" film series, the loveable goofball in "White Chicks," Will McAvoy's bodyguard on HBO's "The Newsroom," or randy congressman Herbert Love in "Arrested Development."

Already in 2014, Terry has appeared in Tyler Perry's "The Single Mom's Club," and in "Draft Day" opposite Kevin Costner. And later this year, he will be starring with Sly Stallone in "Reach Me," and reprising the role of Hale Caesar in the "The Expendables 3."

Terry is currently a series regular on the Golden Globe Award-winning TV sitcom "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," playing Sgt. Terry Jeffords, whose ripped exterior belies a sensitive and beleaguered interior. Crews also just added author to his resume with the release of his first book, "Manhood." And it was recently announced that starting this fall he will be serving as host of the game show "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?"

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