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Lee Daniels is ‘beyond embarrassed’ he rushed to believe Jussie Smollett

ROLLINGOUT — After initially and reflexively jumping in to defend “Empire” star Jussie Smollett after he was charged with allegedly staging a fake homophobic and racist attack, show creator and director Lee Daniels said he is “beyond embarrassed” about that.

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By Terry Shropshire

After initially and reflexively jumping in to defend “Empire” star Jussie Smollett after he was charged with allegedly staging a fake homophobic and racist attack, show creator and director Lee Daniels said he is “beyond embarrassed” about that.

He also indicated that he has his doubts about Smollett’s version of accounts.

“I think that when it happened, I had a flash of me running from bullies. I had a flash of my whole life, of my childhood, my youth, getting beaten,” Lee admits

In a wide-ranging interview with Vulture magazine, Daniels covered multiple aspects of the runaway hit show on Fox that will go off the air after next season. Most pundits and pop culture observers attribute the show’s shutdown to the all-consuming Smollett controversy.

The majority of Americans believe Smollett is guilty of staging a faux beatdown in order to raise his profile and brand and therefore secure more negotiating power to procure a higher salary. The city of Chicago certainly thinks so as it sued Smollett for $100K after he was acquitted of 16 felony charges by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.

And Daniels, who also directed the critically-acclaimed movies Precious and The Butler, admits that he has some doubts about Smollett, which may have contributed to not bringing Smollett back for “Empire’s” final season. Daniels indicated that his rush to support and believe Smollett opened him up to disappointment and feeling betrayed.

“If it turned out that he did it, was guilty, and all of it’s accurate,” Daniels said.

“Of course, there’s some doubt,” Lee added in the Vulture interview. “I’m telling you that because I love him so much. That’s the torture that I’m in right now, because it’s literally if it were to happen to your son and your child, how would you feel? You would feel, ‘Please, God, please let there be that glimmer of hope that there is some truth in this story.’ That’s why it’s been so painful. It was a flood of pain.”

This article originally appeared in Rollingout.com

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Bay Area

Bishop Bob Jackson Celebrates 38 Years at Acts Full

On May 5, Rev. W.R., “Smokie” Norful Jr. preached the sermon. Norful is an American gospel singer and pianist, best known for his 2002 album, “I Need You Now” and “Nothing Without You,” which won a Grammy at the 47th Annual Grammy Awards for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album in 2004.

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Bishop Bob Jackson, First Lady Barbara Jackson, Rev. Smokie Norful, Gospel recording artist, and Cathy D. Adams, president and CEO of the Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce.
Bishop Bob Jackson, First Lady Barbara Jackson, Rev. Smokie Norful, Gospel recording artist, and Cathy D. Adams, president and CEO of the Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce.

From May 4-6, 2022, hundreds of well-wishers came to celebrate with the senior pastor of Acts-Full Gospel Church of God in Christ, Bishop Robert (Bob) L. Jackson, as he marked 38 years of service. On May 5, Rev. W.R., “Smokie” Norful Jr. preached the sermon. Norful is an American gospel singer and pianist, best known for his 2002 album, “I Need You Now” and “Nothing Without You,” which won a Grammy at the 47th Annual Grammy Awards for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album in 2004. Norful received his second Grammy in 2015 at the 57th Annual Grammy awards for his song “No Greater Love,” 10 years after winning his first.

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Art

Marin Fair Competitive Exhibits Open for Entry

“We are thrilled to provide an array of online competitions for our community during our outdoor only 2022 Fair,” said Director of Cultural Services Gabriella Calicchio. “The Competitive Exhibits program is the heart and soul of the Fair and we’re excited to bring our talented community together again to participate.”

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Marin County Fair “So Happy Together!” returns June 30-July 4

Courtesy of Marin County

2022 Marin County Fair Poster depicting a variety of farm animals with the Marin County Civic Center and Marin Fairgrounds property in the background. San Rafael, California — With Marin County Fair’s June 30 opening day just around the corner, the Competitive Exhibits categories for the 2022 Fair are now available on the Fair’s website MarinFair.org.

The competitive exhibit program, which usually takes place indoors, will remain online for one more year and will include competitions such as fine art and photography, decorated cakes and cookies, wine and beer label design, clothing and textiles, cartoon art, exceptional art, poetry and creative writing, hobbies and crafts, and more. The Plein Air painting competition on the first day of the Fair will take place outdoors. The agriculture competitions will remain outdoors and will include poultry, rabbits, sheep dog trials, pocket pets, dog care and training, and small animal round robin showmanship, to name a few.

“We are thrilled to provide an array of online competitions for our community during our outdoor only 2022 Fair,” said Director of Cultural Services Gabriella Calicchio. “The Competitive Exhibits program is the heart and soul of the Fair and we’re excited to bring our talented community together again to participate.”

The full list of categories and entry guidelines is available online at MarinFair.org. Submissions will be accepted from May 6 to May 31 and winners will be announced online during Fair time.

The 2022 fair will also focus on outdoor entertainment including the headline concerts, performers roaming the grounds such as jugglers, unicyclists, and stilt walkers, and interactive art experiences for fans of all ages. Returning fair favorites will include traditional carnival rides, the Global Marketplace, the Barnyard, food and drinks, and fireworks every night over the Civic Center’s Lagoon Park.

Early bird tickets sold out within one day of release. Discounted Fair tickets are still available for adults and teens through June 29. The Fair is a one-price gate featuring 28 carnival rides, exciting exhibits, spectacular firework displays, first-rate concerts and exciting attractions are FREE with gate admission. Tickets are available online only at MarinFair.org.

Headline concerts will soon be announced, and reserved gold circle tickets will go on sale May 16. Reserved concert seating in a special section is $60 per person and includes Fair admission.

Special Admission Days:
Kids Day at the Fair – Thursday, June 30
Children 12 and under are FREE on Thursday, June 30.
Senior Day at the Fair – Thursday, June 30
Seniors 65+ are admitted FREE

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Activism

COMMENTARY: The AAPI Heritage Month Connection

The 2020 Census reports 19.9 million people (6% of all respondents) identified as Asian alone in 2020, up from 14.7 million people (4.8%) in 2010. A big increase was in the Asian “in combination” figure. Approximately 4.1 million respondents identified as Asian in combination with another race group. Do you think there’s another H.E.R. amongst them? Or an Anderson .Paak? More than one?

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Emil Guillermo is a journalist and commentator. He does a talk show on www.amok.com
Emil Guillermo is a journalist and commentator. His web talk show is on Facebook.com/emilguillermo.media; YouTube; and Twitter@emilamok. See recordings on www.amok.com

By Emil Guillermo

It’s Asian American/Pacific Islander Heritage month.

Go hug your brothers and sisters. There’s a lot of them.

The singer H.E.R. from Vallejo. The Congressman Bobby Scott (D.-Va.). The other half of Silk Sonic, Anderson .Paak, actress Denyce Lawton (“House of Payne”). And let’s not forget The Rock, the East Bay’s own Dwayne Johnson, and of course, Tiger Woods.

They are no doubt celebrating May as Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, because they’re all part Asian. It’s in their blood.

Understand that when people talk about Asian American, the group is a whole lot more diverse and inclusive than you think.

H.E.R. a/k/a Gabriella Sarmiento Wilson, half-Black and half-Filipino, is a powerful reminder of our common humanity.

She won a Grammy in 2021 for Song of the Year for the George Floyd-inspired protest song, “I Can’t Breathe.”

When singers like H.E.R. sing passionately about their lives and ours, they embody an ideal vision of what can happen when we take a love interest in one another. It’s all in the heart and soul.

Of course, not all stories sound like fairy tales.

Rapper Anderson .Paak (and yes the .Paak is correct) knows the blues. He was born in Oxnard, Calif. to a bi-racial Korean woman born during the Korean American War. Anderson never met his father. He was abandoned at age 7 and raised in an orphanage until he was adopted by a Black family in Los Angeles.

He grew his musical chops as a teen, gained the attention of Dr. Dre, and made a breakthrough hit in 2018. But it wasn’t until 2021 that he reached true superstar status when he connected with Bruno Mars, another biracial Asian (Filipino, Jewish, Puerto Rican) artist to form the duo Silk Sonic. Their single, “Leave the Door Open,” won Song of the Year and Record of the Year at the 64th Grammy Awards.

Those are the Asian/Black success stories right under our noses. Pop culture examples. It’s more of a thing than you think. Just know that when you cheer Hayward-born Dwayne Johnson or Tiger Woods, Asian Americans are seeing Johnson’s Samoan mom. Or Tiger’s Thai mother, Tida. Asian Americans are cheering alongside you.

Expect it to happen more and more compared to previous generations.

The 2020 Census reports 19.9 million people (6% of all respondents) identified as Asian alone in 2020, up from 14.7 million people (4.8%) in 2010.

A big increase was in the Asian “in combination” figure. Approximately 4.1 million respondents identified as Asian in combination with another race group. Do you think there’s another H.E.R. amongst them? Or an Anderson .Paak? More than one?

The growth today is reflective of an openness in our youth-oriented culture.

But the generation before were race mixers too.

They just had to overcome racist laws like Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act of 1924 that made it illegal to intermarry. In the 1920s and 1930s, the anti-mixed-marriage, or anti-miscegenation laws, spread throughout the country. Even in California.

And it didn’t just ban Blacks from intermarrying. It was for Asians, too. Chinese, Japanese, Filipinos were all forbidden from marrying whites and expected to marry “their own kind.”

Only in 1967 did the Supreme Court decide that the anti-intermarriage laws violated he Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The Loving case (involving the incarceration of the Black/white couple, Mildred and Richard Loving) was later used in the legal justification for same-sex marriage.

Hard to imagine we’d ever take away our rights to marry. But given the current climate with the religious right hellbent on reversing settled law like on abortion rights, we must stay vigilant.

A good way to start is by celebrating our diversity and remembering Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

NOTE: I’ll talk about this on “Emil Amok’s Takeout,” my micro-talk show. Live @2p Pacific. Livestream on Facebook; my YouTube channel; and Twitter. Catch the recordings on www.amok.com.

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