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Items filtered by date: Wednesday, 01 November 2017 - The San Bernardino American News

Manafort Monday Turns Into a Very Bad Day for Trump—and Mike Pence

The technical term for what we do and what law firms, associations and professional groups do is lobbying. For purposes of today, I will admit that in a narrow sense, some people might term it influence peddling,” Paul Manafort admitted in 1989, when he testified regarding his role in a Reagan-era scandal at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Throughout his long career as a Republican Party fixer and influence peddler on behalf of what the Center for Public Integrity termed “the torture lobby”—a global cadre of dictators and strongmen who wanted to make sure the United States did not hold them to account—Manafort has been one of most troublesome creatures in the Washington “swamp” that Donald Trump decried as a presidential contender. Yet Manafort has also worked, from the 1980s on, for his client “Donald”—the New York billionaire who relied on Manafort to help clear hurdles for gambling and real-estate endeavors.

When “Donald” ran for the Republican presidential nomination, he needed influence peddlers to help him close the deal and organize a functional party convention in Cleveland. So he brought in the torture lobbyist and his associate Rick Gates to manage the campaign.

Manafort managed things for several months, while Gates remained on the Trump team as a key figure in the campaign, the transition process, and the planning of the new president’s inauguration. Manafort also maintained a relationship with “Donald,” reportedly continuing to talk with his longtime associate through the remainder of the campaign and into the transition process.

Now that Manafort and Gates have been indicted on 12 counts of money laundering involving at least $18 million, setting up secret overseas bank accounts through which $75 million flowed, lying to federal authorities, and operating as unregistered foreign agents for the government of a Ukrainian leader who is linked with the Russians, and now that it has been revealed that George Papadopoulos (a foreign-policy adviser to Trump who urged the candidate meet with Russian officials) has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, the word from the White House is that Trump barely knows these guys and that the indictments by special counsel Robert Mueller have focused on figures who had only “limited” contact with the Trump team.

That sounds like the sort of “I-know-nothing” spin that Manafort counseled his clients to employ back in the day when he was working for the cruelest—and most criminal—dictators in the world. They should be recognized as the self-serving lies that they are.

Trump led the lying project with Monday-morning tweets that announced, first, “Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign. But why aren’t Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus?????” and, second, “Also, there is NO COLLUSION!”

The truth is that Manafort’s role in the Trump campaign was not “limited.” It was definitional. When Manafort was in charge of making sure that the Republican platform-writing process and convention went smoothly, the party suddenly became dramatically friendlier to Russia—to such an extent that the headline on an analysis piece published in The Washington Post just before the convention read: “Trump campaign guts GOP’s anti-Russia stance on Ukraine.”

There will be many attempts to deny and dissemble. But one thing is certain: Manafort definitely put one man in the West Wing of the White House (and the adjoining Eisenhower Executive Office Building): Mike Pence.

It was Manafort who brought Pence, the scandal-plagued and politically vulnerable governor of Indiana, who had backed Texas Senator Ted Cruz in that state’s Republican primary, into consideration as a vice-presidential prospect for Trump. Referring to Trump, Manafort explained last summer that “I brought him in to meet Pence.” That manipulation, said Manafort, fostered the notion that Pence “had value to Trump as a potential VP nominee.”

But the Manafort-Pence connection was about more than just introducing Trump to a Republican stalwart the fixer had known for many years. Veteran Republican strategist John Weaver says, “Remember, Manafort selected the VP and was therefore the most important person on the campaign team.”

Most indications going into the 2016 Republican National Convention were that Trump wanted New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to be his running mate, and that Christie was ready to take the gig.

But, according a CBS report on the negotiations, “Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager at the time, allegedly had another idea in mind.”

The report explained that

Manafort had arranged for Trump to meet with his first choice for the job on July 13: Indiana Governor Mike Pence. Afterwards, the plans was for Trump and Pence to then fly back to New York together and a formal announcement would be made, a campaign source said of Manafort’s thinking:

What had previously been reported as a “lucky break” by the New York Times was actually a swift political maneuver devised by the now fired campaign manager. Set on changing Trump’s mind, he concocted a story that Trump’s plane had mechanical problems, forcing the soon-to-be Republican nominee to stay the night in Indianapolis for breakfast with the Pence family on Wednesday morning.

Swayed by Pence’s aggressive pitch, Trump agreed to ditch Christie and make Pence his VP the following day, according to a source.

It should be understood that Manafort had allies, especially Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who was in the anyone-but-Christie camp because the New Jerseyan had, as a federal prosecutor, sent Kushner’s dad to jail.

But the Manafort-Pence connection ought not be underestimated. Indeed, when CNN reported in December that Manafort had“reemerged as a player in the fight to shape the new administration,” the network explained that “with Pence firmly entrenched in Trump’s inner circle…Manafort—who keeps a home in Trump Tower—has a direct line to top decision-makers.”

Pence ran the transition team, which populated the Trump administration with scandalous figures who have been accused of serious wrongdoing, including ousted White House national-security adviser Mike Flynn. After Flynn exited the administration under a cloud, Pence adopted his own “I-know-nothing” stance. But then it was revealed that Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, had informed Pence in a November 18, 2016, letter that he was concerned about ethical issues that could arise from “Lt. Gen. Flynn’s involvement in advising Mr. Trump on matters relating to Turkey or Russia—including attending classified briefings on those matters…”

Cummings said Pence and the transition team had “17 or 20 red lights” regarding Flynn, yet Flynn got security post.

There is a fantasy that suggests that Mike Pence is a mere spectator—and an ignorant one, at that—when it comes to the scandals associated with the Trump campaign, the Trump transition, and the Trump administration. That has never been true. Pence has often been at or near the center of things. And, as attention turns toward Manafort, it must also turn toward Pence.

That does not mean that Vice President Pence’s connections, statements, and actions are of more concern that those of President Trump. But it does mean that Trump will not be the only member of the 2016 Republican ticket who faces serious scrutiny in 2017 and beyond.

John NicholsTWITTERJohn Nichols is The Nation’s national-affairs correspondent. He is the author of Horsemen of the Trumpocalypse: A Field Guide to the Most Dangerous People in America, from Nation Books, and co-author, with Robert W. McChesney,


Assemblymember Reyes Launches “There Ought to be a Law” Community Program

Sacramento – On Wednesday, Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes (D- San Bernardino) launched a new program, accessible through her website called “There Ought To Be a Law.” Aimed at engaging with the community, the program is designed to help create legislative ideas and fixes to these everyday problems. The program can be found at on Assemblymember Reyes’ website.

Have you ever experienced something that made you say “there ought to be a law for that”? We want to connect with everyone in the district who’s ever felt that way and hear their ideas,” said Assemblymember Reyes. “I think the most useful laws all start with the people who have experienced a challenge or obstacle.”

The website form asks users to provide background to a problem they’ve experienced in addition to what they think a possible solution may be along with any research they have done on the topic. The background information doesn’t need to be lengthy but should give a clear outline of the problem and proposed solution.

Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes represents Assembly District 47 which includes the cities of Fontana, Rialto, Colton, Grand Terrace, San Bernardino and the unincorporated areas of Muscoy and Bloomington.


New NAACP President Derrick Johnson Speaks on Education and Moratorium on Charter Schools

LOS ANGELES - Equitable education is a top priority for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), which re-emphasized its call for a moratorium on charter school expansion during its California Hawaii 30th Annual State Convention at the LAX Marriott Hotel in Los Angeles Oct. 26-29.

The NAACP contends that charter schools divert already-limited funds from public schools, without the same levels of oversight, civil rights protections, and transparency. It wants stronger oversight in governance and practice in the system.

In California, of the 175,000 Black students who took the math test for 2017, six percent exceeded state standards, 13 percent met standards, 25 percent ‘nearly' met standards, and 56 percent did not, according to the California Department of Education.

In English/Language Arts, 44 percent of the 175,000 Blacks tested did not meet state standards, while 25 percent nearly passed, 22 percent passed, and 9 percent exceeded them.

During an invitation-only stakeholders meeting on Oct. 26, CBM sought new NAACP President Derrick Johnson's thoughts on calling for a moratorium on charter schools, when some families are finding success in these schools.

While not all traditional schools are failing, Black children are suffering greatly in traditional schools, not just from a lack of education, but from criminalization through various disciplinary measures (such as random backpack searches, suspensions, and expulsions), CBM noted.

"The NAACP will continue to advocate for quality education for our children. We began to notice a trend with charter schools. We're clear that anytime you put a profit motive behind the delivery of education there are individuals who would put profit above people," Johnson replied.

As a result, he said the organization's position is clear. It is calling for a moratorium on charter schools, because of the privatization of schools and the lack of transparency in their operations.

Particularly, Johnson said, the NAACP is looking at the impact of how charters operate across the country, which varies under state laws.

"You have scenarios like in Detroit, where the authorizing board, you have 16 of them. There is no standardization. There is no transparency in their governance. And in some cases, we found that schools would open up, receive resources, and close, and parents are left holding the bag," Johnson stated.

He said that level of instability is found in the majority of Black, Latino and poor neighborhoods.

Johnson said there might be some best practices across the country with charter schools, and the NAACP knows there is not a perfect system with public schools.

That said, it has long advocated for quality education in the public school sector, but the 15-year emergence of the privatization of education is also a problem, he stated.

"We will not be consistent with our mission if we didn't speak out as strongly against what's taking place in the privatization process of delivering education in the same vein that we have historically spoken out against the lack of quality in the public setting. That's why we've taken the position that we've taken," Johnson stated.

Rev. K.W. Tulloss, president of the National Action Network Los Angeles Chapter agrees with the NAACP that equity in the overall funding of students per pupil is a worthy fight.

Though his own children attend a charter school, Tulloss advocates for a cap, because he feels the Black community is too flooded with the sites. He said he is also against a two-tier system that pits charter vs. traditional, because every child matters.

"I don't particularly agree with the NAACP stance in trying to point out the discrepancies of charter schools, because, when you do that, you talk about my children who attend charter schools. As a parent, I chose charter schools, because there's not a one-size-fits-all system," Tulloss said.

"My child, I feel, is doing a great job in a charter school, Watts Learning Center, which is 70 percent African American students there," he added.

On the political front, CBM also asked Johnson how he thinks the NAACP's switch from a 501(c)(3) non-partisan status to a 501(c)(4), allowing it to lobby or campaign politically, may impact its ability to not fall prey to the highest bidder.

He replied the NAACP is a membership-based advocacy organization, with strength in its local units across the country.

They are already 501(c)(4), which means very few restrictions on policies, positions, how they inform the community, and political advocacy around certain measures, Johnson said.

"The NAACP also has an internal policy that we don't endorse political parties or individual candidates," he said. But the national office has been restricted and limited on the type of support it could give to state conferences on certain ballot positions.

"In order for us to have consistency, we're creating a (c)(4) so we'll have better alignment with our local units as they advocate for public policy, but we will retain our (c)(3) at the same time,” Johnson concluded.


U.S. blockade overwhelmingly rejected at United Nations

Although the world is currently facing many challenges - climate change, earthquakes, hurricanes, pandemics, and the threat of nuclear war - rejection of the United States economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed on Cuba was heard loud and clear in the high level segment of the UN General Assembly, which concluded September 25.

Several countries expressed their support for Cuba during the plenary session. For example, Jorge Arreaza, Foreign Minister of Venezuela - one of the nations that has been most affected by the United States' interventionist foreign policy - described as unilateral and illegal the economic measures imposed by Washington on his country and nations like Cuba, which has suffered under the blockade for over 50 years.

Mozambique's permanent representative to the UN; Gaspar Ismael Martins, Angolan Ambassador to the UN; Deputy Foreign Minister of Nicaragua and the country's permanent representative to the UN, María Rubiales; as well as Timor-Leste's permanent representative, María Helena Pires, all called for an end to the blockade.

Vietnam's Foreign Minister, Pham Binh Minh, stated that the unilateral policy against Cuba is inappropriate and called for its immediate lifting.

Likewise, Wilfred Elrington, minister of Foreign Relations of Belize, noted that for over half a century the Cuban people have been the victims of an unjust, flagrant, and illegal unilateral embargo.

Foreign Minister of the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Saleumxay Kommasith, described the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States as positive, going on to express the country's hope that such efforts will intensify and soon lead to the lifting of the blockade, which will not only provide real benefits for both peoples but also the world in general.

President of the Democratic Republic of Sao Tomé and Príncipe, Evaristo do Espirito Santo Carvalho, expressed his nations desire to renew the call for the normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States, as well as the lifting of the blockade, which has inhibited the island's development for decades.

Prime Minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit, one of the Caribbean islands devastated by recent hurricanes, expressed his solidarity with Cuba and other countries of the region affected by this natural phenomenon.

Other leaders, including Prak Sokhonn, Cambodian Minister of Foreign Relations and Maxine Pamela Ometa McClean, Foreign Minister of Barbados, also expressed their support for Cuba at the UN.

Ibrahim Yacoubou, Niger's Foreign Minister; Augustine Phillip Mahiga, Minister of Foreign Relations of the United Republic of Tanzania; and Mark Anthony Brantley, Saint Kitts and Nevis' Foreign Minister, called for an end to the blockade during the plenary session.

Some 20 heads of state or government and foreign ministers also called for the lifting of the U.S. blockade of Cuba, prior to the high level segment.

For example, Foreign ministers of the Bahamas, Darren Henfield; Laos, Saleumxay Kommasith; the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Ri Yong Ho; Surinam, Yidiz Pollack-Beigle; Grenada, Elvin Nimrod; and Jamaica, Kamina Johnson-Smith, all called on the U.S. to put an end to its inhumane policy; as did ministers of Foreign Affairs of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Mark Anthony Brantley; Chad, Hissein Brahim Taha; Tanzania, Augustine Philip Mahiga; Niger, Ibrahim Yacoubou; Trinidad and Tobago, Dennis Moses; and Burundi, Alain Aimé Nyamitwe.

Meanwhile, Pollack-Beigle, speaking before the forum, recalled that the entire world rejects the sanctions imposed on Cuba by 11 successive U.S. administrations.

During his speech Brantley defended the Cuban people's right to live in dignity and peace, while Moses warned that the U.S. blockade constitutes a threat to the island's sustainable development.

For his part, Taha described the over 50 year-long blockade as unjust and counterproductive, especially given the reestablishment of bilateral relations between Havana and Washington.

Johnson-Smith also highlighted the unjust nature of U.S. sanctions "which have limited the capacity of a hard-working people to participate in legitimate trade, travel, and realize international financial transactions."

Last year, not a single nation voted against the resolution to put an end to the blockade which has proven unproductive from all angles, stated Suriname's representative, who went on to describe the hostile policy as a violation of international law, sovereignty and self-determination.


“Ain’t No Need of You Crying Now!”

You knew what the consequences would be if you chose to do it and you chose to do it anyway. So ain’t nobody feeling sorry for you! Engaging in the devil’s delight! What you thought was going to happen? Sin is predatory. Sin has a deadly life of its own. Sin gives place to the devil, who will viciously destroy you from the inside out [Ephesians 4:27]. Not only that Sin is the transgression of God’s law [I John 3:4], and punishable by death [Ezekiel 18:4; Rom 6:23]. Stop your whining! You bit the apple and now you have to suffer the consequences. Man up!

Because you see, whenever you step outside of God’s will to get your needs and your desires met, you are going to pick up a lot more than what you bargained for. Doing wrong always comes with compounded interest and the price you pay always lasts longer than the pleasure you get. I don’t know why you thought you could get away with sinning anyway. God is omniscient. He sees everything at all times with full recognition and judgment. His eyes are in every place beholding good and evil [Proverbs 5:21; 15:3; Jeremiah 16:17; 32:19].

I tell you there are some dire consequences when you don’t do things God’s way. You lose out on the blessings that God has for you when you don’t do things God’s way. You lose out on the victory that God has for you when you don’t do things God’s way. Doors of opportunity will be shut in your face when you don’t do things God’s way. Sleep will leave your eyes and you won’t be able to get any rest when you don’t do things God’s way. You will find yourself disappointed, depressed, and sad when you don’t do things God’s way. You will find yourself in bondage and confused when you don’t do things God’s way. You will find yourself broke, disgusted and frustrated when you don’t do things God’s way. You will find yourself in a whole lot of trouble, you will find yourself in a whole lot of mess, and in a whole lot of unnecessary drama when you don’t do things God’s way. You will become weak, and despondent when you don’t do things God’s way. There will be no peace for you and no comfort for you when you don’t do things God’s way. There will be no joy for you and no happiness for you when you don’t do things God’s way. Not only will you mess yourself up when you don’t do things God’s way, but you will even cause your family, your children, not to be blessed when you don’t do things God’s way.

But when you do things God’s way, blessings will come your way. When you do things God’s way, victory is yours. When you do things God’s way, doors will be opened for you. When you do things God’s way good opportunities will come your way. When you do things God’s way you will receive the favor of the Lord and men. When you do things God’s way you will experience the peace of God and the joy of the Lord when you do things God’s way. Listen, regardless of what your heart tells you when you sin, you will get caught and punished [Numbers 32:23]. You will only get so many warnings, and then the holy and just God of heaven will strike [Proverbs 29:1].

Jesus says, [Isaiah 1:18] “Come now, let us reason together, though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Repent, oh, sinner man, repent!


Urban Movie Channel (UMC)

Written by Rebecca Hu, Arpita Kumar, Maya Houston, Sam Bailey and Julia Bales, co-directed by Aaron Covington (co-writer of Creed) and Julia Bales, and executive produced by Adaptive Studios, Minimum Wage follows the lives of its five employees as they adjust to changes in management and panic ensues among the staff members. In the first episode of the series, Mr. Lee appoints his son, Jordan (John Yuan), to the role of manager for his restaurant, Lee's Burger Block. Meanwhile, Ayana (Halleta Alemu), disappointed by Mr. Lee's decision, struggles to find contentment in her position at Lee's. However, when her YouTube video goes viral, she gets the spark she desperately needs to see her current struggles in a different light. As the series progresses, each episode highlights the backstory of a different team member. Along with John Yuan and Halleta Alemu, the ensemble cast of up-and-comers also includes Gabriel Brown, Alma Delfina, and D'Lo.

"Our goal has always been to highlight emerging and diverse voices and Minimum Wage is the perfect showcase of that. We are thrilled for Rebecca, Arpita, Sam, Julia and Maya, who are all first-time TV writers, and excited the series has found a home on UMC," says Deniese Davis, COO and Co-Founder of ColorCreative.

Perrin Chiles, CEO of Adaptive Studios adds, "We are always looking for diverse stories and unique points of view to bring to life-- even better when you can bring those narratives to life with partners like ColorCreative and UMC."

"We are proud to premiere Minimum Wage on UMC, and credit Adaptive and ColorCreative for cultivating this exciting project," says Angela Northington, GM & SVP of Content Acquisitions for UMC. "Our aim is to provide a streaming platform for diverse talent and collaborative work such as this, and we could not be more elated to be a home for the series."

In addition to Minimum Wage, UMC also adds another quality drama series this month with the UMC premiere of the award-winning police procedural, 19-2, from sister channel Acorn TV. Referred to as "One of the best cop dramas ever" (Tribune News Service), the Canadian series follows Adrian Holmes (Arrow, Elysium) and Jared Keeso (Elysium, Falling Skies) as partners in the Montreal Police Department who must put their differences aside as their lives intertwine professionally and personally. An English-language remake of a popular Quebec show, 19-2 has been nominated for several Canadian Screen Awards, among which the series picked up wins for Best Dramatic Series (2016), Best Performance by an Actor in a Continuing Leading Dramatic Role (Adrian Holmes 2017, Jared Keeso 2015), and Best Direction. Catch the full first season now on UMC. Subsequent seasons of 19-2 will be added later this year and in 2018. Available at as well as on a variety of devices, UMC is the first premium subscription streaming service that showcases quality African American and urban entertainment across all genres from RLJ Entertainment (NASDAQ: RLJE).


Invitation SB PASTORS UNITED Pastors-Leader @ ECF Mtg on 11-2 Thusday 10:30AM

Good afternoon, we thank and praise God for all the Pastors/Leaders who co-labor in God's vineyard with us. " They which builded on the wall, and they that burden, with those that laded, everyone with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon" Neh 4:17.

We HAVE INVITED all Partners to join us (SB Pastors United sub-committee) in a brief meeting at Ecclesia Christian Fellowship 1314 Date St, San Bernardino, this Thursday, Nov 2, 2017 10:30 AM - 1pm to review our past year's performance and report on 2017 progress, and take a peek into 2018 goals. This meeting will also enable other Churches to join in with us, empower partners, but more so, enlighted all Pastors as to the work God, has manifested her in the earth. God has been so gracious.

Please mark your calendars, if you cannot come pls send someone. We will provide food and refreshments, we need for you to RSVP, so we can get an accurate headcount.


In His Service,


Rev RD Young

Crisis Coordinator



Black Women Seeking Bobsled Bonanza

USA Bobsled & Skeleton named its women’s bobsled national team for the 2017-18 season Saturday evening.

Two-time Olympic medalist Elana Meyers Taylor and 2014 Olympic bronze medalist Jamie Greubel Poser both had byes onto the national team based on their gold and bronze medals, respectively, from last season’s world championships, while Brittany Reinbolt earned the third women’s pilot spot, sweeping both national team trials races this week in Lake Placid, New York, for her second world cup season as a pilot.

The following six push athletes were named to the national team following national team trials and July’s push championships: Maureen Ajoku, Aja Evans, Lauren Gibbs, Briauna Jones, Kehri Jones and Lolo Jones. All six athletes own world cup and/or world championship medals and will battle it out over the next three months for up to three spots on the Olympic team.


Award-winning Actor Robert Guillaume Dies at 89

Family members, friends and fans are grieving the loss of television and stage icon Robert Guillaume, who died on Tuesday in Los Angeles.

Guillaume, 89, is survived by his second wife, Donna Brown, a son and three daughters.

“He was a pioneer and what he did with his role as [Benson DuBois] was give him integrity,” said actor, director and producer Shiek Mahmud-Bey, who wowed critics earlier this month at a New York Film Festival with his proposed new television series, ‘The Inner Circle.’ “What could have been just another servant or symbolically subservient minority, a butler role, he gave the world an extraordinary insight and exposed us to a human being. The invisible became viable and we all loved it.”

Anyone who watched “Soap” knew the brilliance of Guillaume, said Mariann Eperjesi-Simms, who hosts the Facebook page, “The Classic Movie Group.”

“‘Benson’ wasn’t exactly as brilliant as ‘Soap,’ but most things in this world aren’t written to that much perfection. He was a fantastic actor who deserved a lot of recognition,” Eperjesi-Simms said.

Born Robert Peter Williams in St. Louis in 1927, Guillaume began his acting career in the early 1970s when he made guest appearances on “Good Times,” “Sanford and Son,” and “The Jeffersons.”

However, his recognition and place in popular culture was cemented when he portrayed Nathan Detroit in the first all-Black version of “Guys and Dolls,” which earned him a 1977 Tony Award nomination.

Later, Guillaume earned the distinction of becoming the first African American to sing the title role of “Phantom of the Opera,” doing so alongside a mostly, all-White cast.

Still, it was his role as Benson DuBois in the soap opera satire “Soap,” which also starred Billy Crystal, Roscoe Lee Browne, and Robert Urich, that made Guillaume a legend.

“The minute I saw the script, I knew I had a live one,” Guillaume said in a 2001 interview. “Every role was written against type, especially Benson, who wasn’t subservient to anyone. To me, Benson was the revenge for all those stereotyped guys who looked like Benson in the 40s and 50s [movies] and had to keep their mouths shut.”

The character’s popularity grew so much that it led to a spinoff called, “Benson,” which lasted eight seasons and earned Guillaume an Emmy Award.

“I always wanted kids of any background to understand the characters I’ve portrayed were…that the solutions they found were true and possible,” he said on his official website. “It has always been important to me to stress that there was no diminution of power or universality, just because my characters are African American.”

That resolve has always been appreciated by his peers and those who followed his career.

“I remember the ‘head [n**ger] in charge’ scene with Morgan Freeman, where he didn’t use his position to castrate another Black man on film,” Mahmud-Bey recalled of the 1989 hit movie, “Lean on Me,” that starred Guillaume and Freeman. “There was a disagreement and they got it out and agreed to disagree without division. That scene spoke volumes, because it makes you see how silly and easy you could lose someone important in your life over ego and small things.”

Mahmud-Bey continued: “As artists, we have a responsibility to be honest, not different, and that’s what Robert Guillaume gave us and we loved every bit of it.”

Guillaume, who won a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for Children for his role as the voice of “Rafiki” in “The Lion King,” steered clear of Hollywood’s demeaning Black stereotypes and sought quality roles in which he could evoke his characters’ humanity, according to his obituary at

Though today he’s remembered widely as a comedic actor, it was the musical theater that was Guillaume’s first love and gave him his entry into the acting world, the obituary said.

That entry took place in Cleveland, Ohio, where, after completing his education in the music school at Washington University in St. Louis, he joined the Karamu Theatre and debuted in their production of “Carousel,” reported.

In the audience for one of those “Carousel” performances was Oscar Hammerstein II, the critically acclaimed playwright, who penned the book and lyrics for the musical.

According to, “It was an auspicious start, and Guillaume soon made his way to Broadway, where he both toured and appeared on the Broadway stage.”

Later, Guillaume would portray Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the movie “Prince Jack”; he also starred as Frederick Douglass on the TV miniseries “North and South.”

“In 1992, Guillaume and his wife, founded the Confetti Entertainment Co., creating read-along books for children with Guillaume’s voice as narrator,” the obituary said. “In 1995, the Confetti Entertainment books were transformed into the HBO series ‘Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child.’ Narrated by Guillaume and featuring a cast of other stars, the series’ 39 episodes retold classic fairy tales with a multicultural focus.”


Fats Domino, Rock ‘n’ Roll Pioneer, Dead at 89

Fats Domino, the rock pioneer who inspired Elvis Presley, the Beatles and countless other superstars, died Wednesday at his home in Harvey, Louisiana. He was 89.

Mark Bone, chief investigator for the Jefferson Parish coroner’s office, told NPR that Domino died of natural causes.

Born Antoine Domino, the “Architect of Rock ‘n’ Roll” enjoyed a career spanning five decades that included more than 25 gold singles and 65 million records sold. His massive vault of hits includes “Blueberry Hill,” “I’m Walking,” “Ain’t That a Shame” and “I’m Walking to New Orleans.”

His unique playing style and unmistakable voice helped Domino to produce the first rock ‘n’ roll record to ever sell more than 1 million copies with the 1949 hit “The Fat Man,” a song he both produced and co-wrote.

Billy Diamond, his road manager, referred to him as “Fats” because the name was a symbol of importance, according to Domino’s website.

In 1986, Domino received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and was later inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. On November 5, 1998, at the White House, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts from then President Bill Clinton.

By their own admission, Domino’s influence played heavily in the careers of Presley and the Beatles. Domino reportedly was held in such high esteem that Presley refused to answer to his popular moniker, “The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” when Domino was present.

As in a 2004 interview with AXS, Domino recounted the first time he met Presley.

“I was playing at the Flamingo Hotel [in Las Vegas] and I went to his room and played for him. He used to call me ‘Mr. Blueberry Hill,’” Domino said. “I remember him telling me, ‘You know, Fats, I’m opening up tomorrow but when I first came here I flopped.’ I guess the first time he didn’t do good at all, but after he got back there it was all good because I was working there too, and every night it was sold out.”


In 1969, Presley returned to live performances after joining the military and when a reporter referred to him as the “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll” during a press conference, Presley pointed to Domino, who was in the room, noting that Domino was “one of my influences from way back.”

Domino’s influence on the Beatles was noted when Paul McCartney wrote “Blue Monday,” a 1958 hit in which he credited the New Orleans native.

Domino was married to Rosemary Hall for 60 years and the two had eight children.

“Fats Domino, another gift from New Orleans,” Rev. Jesse Jackson tweeted in tribute to Domino. “An entertainer and caring man, he gave us many thrills on the ride to freedom.”

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