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BET’s ‘Boomerang’ yields first major role for on-the-rise actress

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “Boomerang’ is dynamic, solid good content. The stories we are illustrating are universal,” said Brittany Inge, who is also the creator of The (Non) Starving Artists, which is dedicated to empowering and educating artists of every kind to be the lead in their own journeys.

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By Brianna Alexis Smith, Special to The New Tri-State Defender

The classic 90s film “Boomerang” is the latest movie to get its own reboot, courtesy of BET Network and Paramount Pictures.

Halle Berry, who starred in the original film, along with “The Chi” creator Lena Waithe, executive produced the 10-episode, half-hour romantic comedy series for BET as part of the network’s latest foray into scripted programming.

The series will continue where the 1992 film left off, focusing on the offspring of Jacqueline Boyer (Robin Givens), Marcus Graham (Eddie Murphy) and Angela Lewis (Halle Berry), as they attempt to step out of their parents’ shadows and create a legacy of their own.

It is described as an updated version of the film “Boomerang” that explores today’s contemporary workplace dynamics – including the changing role of gender and office politics – relationships, love and the conflicts between Generation X and millennials.
On-the-rise actress Brittany Inge plays Crystal Garrett, a friend to the main characters.

Brittany and I attended The Atlanta University Center. She is alumna of Spelman College and I am alumna of Clark Atlanta University. We have mutual friends. When I learned she was going to be in “Boomerang” I went to work.

My friend gave me her contact and I reached out. After getting the green light from BET, she was excited to talk with me and shared some exclusive insight on her character, Crystal.

Brittany described Crystal as “the mother to her friends,” the friend who tries to be the voice of reason.

Crystal, 26 years old and newly divorced, works in advertising, under Marcus Graham’s advertising firm.

When the audience meets her, “she’s finding her way after her divorce. She’s creating a new path for herself and figuring out what it means to be by herself,” said Brittany.
Crystal is fun, smart and loving. She’s a pro-black natural girl, with curves.

“I’m super excited about being able to represent for curvier women,” said Brittany. “I’m thrilled to be able to use my voice and body (literally and figuratively) to show that we all have stories to tell and we don’t all look one way.

“This show will illustrate what it’s like to be a millennial in 2019. What it means to be black and progressive, and trying to live your best life in the world that we currently live in,” she said.

“People will really be able to connect with these characters and the realities that they deal with. …If you’re a fan of the movie, expect something completely fresh. If you want to see yourself or people you may know represented, this is the show.”

After graduating from Spelman College with a bachelor’s degree in music, Brittany began studying acting, and has been acting professionally for six years.

“This is my first major role. I’m so excited to be a part of this cast – full of fresh faces and new actors,” said Brittany. “My experience in the Spelman College Glee Club really helped prepare me for long hours, rehearsals, being disciplined and on time, and how to take direction – which all of those things apply now as an actor and full-time artist.

“Boomerang’ is dynamic, solid good content. The stories we are illustrating are universal,” said Brittany, who is also the creator of The (Non) Starving Artists, which is dedicated to empowering and educating artists of every kind to be the lead in their own journeys.

“Boomerang” will air on BET, Feb. 12 at 10 p.m. Keep up with Brittany by following her on Instagram at @BrittanyInge or visit www.thenonstarvingartists.com. Follow Brianna Alexis Smith @TheeJournalist.

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Activism

Sheriff’s Deputies Skate with Marin City Youth

Sgt. Scotto and Deputy Gasparini, two officers from the Marin County Probation Department, came to interact with the youths and help them learn to skate and play basketball. Sharika Gregory, who hosted the event, really appreciates how Scotto and Gasparini interacted with the kids and said that it made a great difference.

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Top: Scotto lifting Aria, 7, so she can make her basketball shot. Middle: Sgt. Scotto and Dep. Gasparini of the Marin County Probation Department. Bottom: Scotto playing limbo. (Photos by Godfrey Lee)
Top: Scotto lifting Aria, 7, so she can make her basketball shot. Middle: Sgt. Scotto and Dep. Gasparini of the Marin County Probation Department. Bottom: Scotto playing limbo. (Photos by Godfrey Lee)

By Godfrey Lee

The Father’s Day Skating event on Sunday, June 12, at the Golden Gate Village’s Basketball Court in Marin City was a successful event that contributed positively to the relationship between the Marin County Sheriff’s Department and the Marin City community and helped some of the children get to know the officers.

Sgt. Scotto and Deputy Gasparini, two officers from the Marin County Probation Department, came to interact with the youths and help them learn to skate and play basketball. Sharika Gregory, who hosted the event, really appreciates how Scotto and Gasparini interacted with the kids and said that it made a great difference.

During the event, Scotto helped lift Aria, a 7-year-old girl, so she could make a basketball shot into the basket. Later Scotto played limbo with the children and tried his best to go under the rope.

The community generously contributed to the skating event. The Corte Madera Safeway and Costco donated the food. The Costco in Novato gave the skates. The Target in Marin City and the Marin County Probation Department also gave skates and gift cards.

Rev. Stephanie Ryder and the Redwood Presbyterian Church in Larkspur, also donated money to help to buy more skates for the events.

Gregory said that this was a very wholesome event for the community and will continue to host similar events in the future.

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Activism

‘Birding While Black’ Incident in N.Y.’s Central Park Brings Black Bird Wildlife Enthusiasts Out of Shadows

“For far too long, Black people in the United States have been shown that outdoor exploration activities are not for us,” Corina Newsome, who studies Seaside Sparrows, said in a video posted on Twitter. “Whether it be the way the media chooses to present who is the ‘outdoorsy’ type, or the racism Black people experience when we do explore the outdoors, as we saw recently in Central Park. Well, we’ve decided to change that narrative.”

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The organizers of Black Birders Week 2021. Photos from top, column 1: Georgia Silvera Seamans; Kellie Quiñones; Chris Cooper. 2: Ronnie Almonte; Deja Perkins; Ela-Sita Carpenter; Chelsea Connor. 3: Danielle Belleny; Tyler Jones; Yesenia Arroyo. 4: Earyn McGee; Akilah Lewis; Dara Wilson; Brianna Amingwa. 5: Sheridan Alford; Joseph Saunders. 6: Ayanna Browne; Rhamier Shaka Balagoon; Nicole Jackson
The organizers of Black Birders Week 2021. Photos from top, column 1: Georgia Silvera Seamans; Kellie Quiñones; Chris Cooper. 2: Ronnie Almonte; Deja Perkins; Ela-Sita Carpenter; Chelsea Connor. 3: Danielle Belleny; Tyler Jones; Yesenia Arroyo. 4: Earyn McGee; Akilah Lewis; Dara Wilson; Brianna Amingwa. 5: Sheridan Alford; Joseph Saunders. 6: Ayanna Browne; Rhamier Shaka Balagoon; Nicole Jackson

By Tamara Shiloh

Birdwatching is the observation of live birds in their natural habitat.

It’s a popular pastime and scientific sport developed almost entirely in the 20th century and made possible largely by the development of optical aids, particularly binoculars, which enabled people to see and study wild birds, without harming them, according to Britannica.

Many typically think of birding as a homogenous hobby, thus hearing the word “birdwatcher” rarely evokes images of Blacks enjoying the outdoors.

“For far too long, Black people in the United States have been shown that outdoor exploration activities are not for us,” Corina Newsome, who studies Seaside Sparrows, said in a video posted on Twitter. “Whether it be the way the media chooses to present who is the ‘outdoorsy’ type, or the racism Black people experience when we do explore the outdoors, as we saw recently in Central Park. Well, we’ve decided to change that narrative.”

In 2020, Newsome, along with a group of Black birders comprised of scientists, nature lovers, and friends came together to organize the first annual Black Birders Week, a social media celebration hosted by the Black AF In STEM Collective.

The birders group served as a springboard to shape a more diverse future for birding, conservation, and the natural sciences.

The third annual Black Birders Week ran from May 29-June 4 this year, according to https://www.blackafinstem.com, with the theme ‘Soaring to Greater Heights.”

Goals set for the Black Birders Week and the Twitter group are to:

  • Counter the narrative that outdoors is not the place for Black people;
  • Educate the birding and broader outdoor-loving community about the challenges Black birders specifically face; and
  • Encourage increased diversity in birding and conservation.

According to Newsome, Black birders encounter “overt hatred and racism in the field and are too often the only Black person, or person of color, in a group of bird or nature enthusiasts.”

Its formation came on the heels of the May 25, 2020, incident in New York City’s Central Park when Amy Cooper, later dubbed “Central Park Karen,” claimed she exhausted “all options” before she called 911 on Christian Cooper (no relation), a Black birdwatcher.

Christian Cooper has been an avid birdwatcher since age 10 and will soon host his own show, “Extraordinary Birder,” on National Geographic, according to NPR. He will take viewers into the “wild, wonderful and unpredictable world of birds.”

Cooper told the New York Times that he loves “spreading the gospel of birding. [I’m looking forward to encouraging people] to stop and watch and listen and really start appreciating the absolutely spectacular creatures that we have among us.”

Black Birders Week co-organizer Earyn McGee conducts research near the US-Mexico border. Her concern is encountering U.S. Border Patrol officers while searching for lizards.

“We all have this shared experience where we have to worry about going into the field,” McGee said. “Prejudice might drive police or private property owners to be suspicious of or antagonistic toward Black scientists doing field work in normal clothes, putting them in danger.”

To learn more about the study of birding, read John C. Robinson’s “Birding for Everyone: Encouraging People of Color to Become Birdwatchers.”

Image: https://www.birds.cornell.edu/landtrust/black-birders-week/

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Bay Area

Council Scheduled to Decide July 5 if Voters Can Weigh in on Howard Terminal Stadium 

In an interview with the Oakland Post before the meeting, Councilmember Noel Gallo said, “I still believe that the Council’s input is necessary, (but) based on letters, emails, texts, and conversations in the neighborhood, people are demanding that this item should go before the voters,” Councilmember Gallo said.

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Rendering of proposed A's stadium at Howard Terminal. Image courtesy of UC Berkeley.
Gallo recently authored a resolution, which the City Council approved, calling for the city to produce a study on the full costs of the Howard Terminal proposal to Oakland, including maintenance and infrastructure.

Councilmember Gallo authors resolution to put funding of real estate project on November ballot

By Ken Epstein

The majority of the City Council’s Rules Committee voted this week to place an item on Tuesday, July 5 Council meeting agenda to decide whether voters will be able to decide whether they want to spend more than a billion dollars in public funds on billionaire John Fisher’s private Port development.

The resolution at the Thursday Rules Committee, submitted by Councilmember Noel Gallo, was supported by Councilmembers Carroll Fife, Sheng Thao, and Nikki Fortunato Bas. Councilmember Dan Kalb abstained.

In an interview with the Oakland Post before the meeting, Councilmember Gallo said, “I still believe that the Council’s input is necessary, (but) based on letters, emails, texts, and conversations in the neighborhood, people are demanding that this item should go before the voters,” Councilmember Gallo said.

“I support that effort.  I am here to represent the public, not the Fisher family or the Oakland Athletics. We’re still paying for the Raiders not being here and for the Warriors not being here. I don’t want to see that continue,” he said.

Gallo continued: The billion dollars “is being requested by a private business, the Oakland Athletics. We should develop the Coliseum for professional sports teams and housing, and the Howard Terminal should be used for development opportunities and for businesses at the Army Base and the Port of Oakland.”

If the deal goes through, “the Fisher family would become the biggest developer and investor in Oakland. I want to make sure we get a return on our investment,” he said.

Gallo recently authored a resolution, which the City Council approved, calling for the city to produce a study on the full costs of the Howard Terminal proposal to Oakland, including maintenance and infrastructure.

He said he had been having regular meetings with City staff on the progress of that study, but in the last few weeks, the meetings have been canceled.

“As of right now, I don’t have a current update,” he said.

Council members said they have received hundreds of letters, texts, and emails from members of the public saying they want a vote of the public on whether to spend public money on infrastructure for the private Howard Terminal development.

Two dozen speakers addressed this week’s Rules Committee supporting the placement of the measure on the November ballot. Three speakers opposed putting the measure on the ballot.

The East Oakland Stadium Alliance has recently run a social media campaign and delivered petitions signed by thousands of Oakland residents to City Council members supporting a public vote on the Howard Terminal Project.

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