Nia DaCosta: Candyman reboot will explore the character’s origins

Nia DaCosta has confirmed that the new ‘Candyman’ film will include an origin story for the character.

The 30-year-old director has overseen the “spiritual sequel” to the 1992 horror classic and revealed that her take will give an in depth look at how the supernatural killer – again played by Tony Todd – came to be.

Speaking during her Virtual Fireside Chat at the Nightstream Film Festival, Nia explained: “In the original, he’s already a fully formed … I guess monster, we’ll say, because that’s definitely how he’s positioned in the original film, as a monster.

“And so, it’s really like a reveal of, ‘Here’s my chest. I’m fully formed, I’m fully grotesque,’ and this one, we really wanted it to be a slow progression, and for me, I really wanted to trigger the response of like, you know when all of us have had a heat rash or something, and we’re like, hmm, what’s that?

“Maybe it’s a heat rash, and then maybe it doesn’t go away for a while and you’re like, hmm, interesting. Should I go to the doctor? No, it’s probably fine. And then for a vast majority of people, it goes away.”

Nia continued: “In this movie, of course, it doesn’t go away, it gets worse, and so I wanted to have that effect. If someone goes home after watching this movie and looks at their own rash, or bump, or mosquito bite and is a little more freaked out, then I’ve done my job.

“And that’s really what I wanted to do, it’s about getting inside the head of the audience and really viscerally disturbing them and tracking it psychologically with the sense of the main character.”

The new ‘Candyman’ is set in the American neighbourhood where events began; a now-gentrified section of Chicago where the Cabrini-Green housing projects once stood.

The original movie – which is inspired by legendary horror author Clive Barker’s short story ‘The Forbidden’ – follows graduate student Helen Lyle (Virginia Madsen) who explores the story of the Candyman for her thesis on urban legends.

The legend states that the Candyman – who, in life, was African-American artist Daniel Robitaille who was lynched for falling in love and fathering a child with a white woman in 1890 – is summoned after his name is said out loud five times in a mirror.

Nia admits she has been afraid of uttering the words “Candyman” ever since she saw the first film when she was younger.

She said: “I remember hearing about it, always got dared to it, still haven’t, and then eventually I saw the movie and I was like, ‘Oh, that’s Candyman, this is what everyone’s talking about.’ “

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Behind the Jersey: We vote for history, not just to decide our next president

The time is now. The days are winding down ‘till Election Day, and it is our chance to be the change. Many people choose not to vote because they feel like their vote doesn’t matter or they know too little information about it. So I am here to tell you some reasons why you should vote and why I am voting in this upcoming election and future elections to come. 

Many have turned a blind eye toward terms such as systemic racism and intersectionality. Not everyone is given the same opportunities, just because of the color of their skin. This form of racism has been rooted as a normal way of life in our society throughout history, and it still exists. This is known as systemic racism.

This type of racism leads to discrimination for people of color in many different aspects such as difficulty in being able to buy a house, getting a great education and employment. We all have multiple identities that make us different, and for people of color, their identity can oftentimes lead to discrimination. Even people that may identify differently in gender, sex or religion face discrimination as well. This is intersectional discrimination. 

If you are not familiar with intersectionality, it can best be explained as the connection of disadvantaged groups such as race, class, gender identity and religion and how these identities may overlap for an individual. Being a female student-athlete of color, I am faced with identities that could hinder me from so many opportunities, and it is one of the many reasons that I am voting. 

Not everyone’s history is taught in the classroom. When learning about the history of minority populations, you might have to go out of your way to find it because it is not always easily accessible. What many people don’t know is that the 15th Amendment granted voting rights to African American men in 1870, but women were not included in this. Despite this amendment, discriminatory acts still continued to prevent Black people from exercising their right to vote. Things such as literacy tests, poll taxes and grandfather clauses prevented Black citizens from even being able to have the opportunity.

However, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 outlawed the legal barriers state and local leaders used to deny African Americans their right to vote under the 15th Amendment. The 19th Amendment granted women the right to vote. It was ratified in August of 1920. This amendment helped women get closer to equality in several ways. This amendment, sure enough, did not include Black women until about five decades later and was selective to voting rights for white American women. 

Women fought for many things such as job opportunities, education and fair wages. Women began to vote and run for office in an effort to improve government as well as their own personal lives. Both groups struggled and fought so hard to be given this equal opportunity. This gives me even more motivation to vote and the desire to express to others the value of exercising your right to vote. 

Voting is an opportunity that is given, so why not take advantage of it? Voting not only gives us the power to voice our opinions, but it is a way to amplify them. Not voting is simply letting someone else make a decision for you and wasting an opportunity. Voting goes way beyond who will be president: There are so many more areas we impact through our votes such as housing, education and health care. 

Voting is our way of determining our quality of life and setting the stage for future generations to come. Don’t wait to vote and make sure you take the time to research the candidates and what they believe!

Bailey Lear is a junior sprinter on the USC Track & Field team. She is writing for “Behind the Jersey,” a rotating column among members of USC’s United Black Student-Athletes Association. The column runs every other Wednesday.

Morning Digest: Our new dashboard has every key piece of data for every congressional district

Senate

GA-Sen-B: Siena College is out with a new poll of the Georgia Senate special election on behalf of the New York Times that finds pastor Raphael Warnock consolidating enough support from Democratic voters to take first place in the all-party primary. The results are below, with the numbers from Siena’s late September poll in parentheses:

Pastor Raphael Warnock (D): 32 (19)

Appointed Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-inc): 23 (23)

Rep. Doug Collins (R): 17 (19)

Businessman Matt Lieberman (D): 7 (7)

Former U.S. Attorney Ed Tarver (D): 2 (4)

The sample also found a 45-45 deadlock between Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

Most other recent surveys have also put Warnock in first, though other pollsters have generally found a tighter battle between Loeffler and Collins for the second spot in an all-but-assured January runoff. Prior to the inclusion of this poll, the Daily Kos Elections polling average had Warnock in first with 34%, while Loeffler edged out Collins just 22-21 for the crucial second-place spot.

Siena also tests Warnock against both Loeffler and Collins in hypothetical runoff scenarios and finds him leading them each by an identical 45-41 spread. As we’ve noted before, though, it’s far too early to know what turnout would look like in January.

Meanwhile, Warnock is up with a commercial starring Barack Obama, who says of the candidate, “He’s a man of great moral integrity, a leader in the truest sense of the word. He’s spent his life pushing for justice, fighting to expand health care, protecting voting rights and the dignity of work.” Obama lost Georgia during both of his presidential campaigns, though the state has shifted to the left since he left the White House.

IA-Sen: Senate Majority PAC’s newest commercial goes after Republican Sen. Joni Ernst over Social Security privatization, a topic that has been a staple of Democratic campaign ads for a long time but hasn’t come up much this cycle.

The spot stars a nurse identified as Barb who tells the audience, “Today I’m retired and I deserve my Social Security. I follow the news and I was furious when I read Joni Ernst wanted to privatize it.” Barb continues, “That’s money I paid into the system and she wants to gamble it on Wall Street? If Joni Ernst is working for the Wall Street banks, she is NOT working for me.”

MI-Sen: Democratic Sen. Gary Peters’ new commercial features a testimonial from Barack Obama, who decisively carried Michigan during both of his presidential campaigns. Obama says that Peters was someone who had his back, continuing, “Gary was there every step of the way. Helping save the auto industry, protecting the Great Lakes, covering pre-existing conditions.”

SC-Sen: The Orwellian-named PAC Security is Strength recently went up with a truly ugly commercial starring Greenville County Sheriff Hobart Lewis, who tells the audience, “The rioting, the looting, the chaos—if Jaime Harrison is elected to the Senate, get ready, because it’s coming.”

Lewis later told the Post & Courier that while he went directly after Harrison, who would be the first African American Democrat to represent South Carolina in the Senate, the spot was actually about “the ballot in general” and not the candidate. Lewis also said that he also wasn’t actually worried that his own department would lose funding because he knew the county government wouldn’t be making any cuts.

Harrison himself began airing a commercial of his own on Monday featuring a retired police officer named Thomas, who says of the Republican incumbent, “Lindsey Graham would have you believe that he has the support of most if not all police officers. Lindsey’s a liar.”

Thomas then affirms his support for Harrison, declaring, “I know Jaime does not support defunding the police. He never has, he never will. His own grandfather was a police officer.” He concludes, “Lindsey’s trying to divide South Carolina with the old scare tactics. Vote for Jaime Harrison, someone who’s going to protect and represent all of South Carolina.”

Harrison is also running a commercial featuring an endorsement from Barack Obama, who didn’t seriously contest the state during either of his two presidential bids. Obama tells the audience, “If you want a senator that will fight for criminal justice reform, lower college costs, and to make healthcare affordable, you’ve got to vote for my friend, Jaime Harrison.” Obama goes on to tell viewers that they have the option now to vote early or on Nov. 3, and urges them, “Make your plan, and vote for Jaime today.”

TX-Sen: A progressive super PAC called Future Forward that’s funded by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and other Silicon Valley donors has released its first TV spot in support of Democrat MJ Hegar. There is no word on the size of the buy for this opening ad campaign, but there’s reason to think that there could be a lot of outside money coming in over the next two weeks to aid Hegar’s bid against GOP Sen. John Cornyn.

Vox’s Theodore Schleifer reported Tuesday that FF PAC and four other groups—Senate Majority PAC, the Strategic Victory Fund, Way to Win, and Mind the Gap—said in a donor memo last week that they planned to spend a total of $28 million to aid Hegar. The document said that about $10 million of that would come from SMP, which announced soon afterwards that it had booked $8.6 million, while Schleifer wrote that the remaining $18 million “needed to be raised as of last week for the groups to pull the trigger.”

Polls:

  • AL-Sen: Moore Information (R) for Tommy Tuberville: Tommy Tuberville (R): 55, Doug Jones (D-inc): 40 (55-38 Trump)
  • AZ-Sen: Data Orbital (R): Mark Kelly (D): 48, Martha McSally (R-inc): 42 (47-42 Biden) (early Oct.: 47-42 Kelly)
  • CO-Sen: RMG Research for PoliticalIQ: John Hickenlooper (D): 51, Cory Gardner (R-inc): 42 (51-43 Biden)
  • GA-Sen-A: Siena College for the New York Times: David Perdue (R-inc): 43, Jon Ossoff (D): 43, Shane Hazel (L): 4 (45-45 presidential tie) (Sept.: 41-38 Perdue)
  • MN-Sen: Change Research (D) for MinnPost: Tina Smith (D-inc): 48, Jason Smith (R): 44 (49-44 Biden)
  • NC-Sen: Abt Associates for ABC/ The Washington Post: Cal Cunningham (D): 49, Thom Tillis (R-inc): 47 (49-48 Biden)
  • NC-Sen: East Carolina University: Cunningham (D): 49, Tillis (R-inc): 47 (51-47 Biden) (early Oct.: 47-46 Tillis)
  • NM-Sen: GBAO (D) for Ben Ray Luján: Ben Ray Luján (D): 52, Mark Ronchetti (R): 41, Bob Walsh (L): 5 (54-41 Biden)
  • TX-Sen: Cygnal (R): John Cornyn (R-inc): 49, MJ Hegar (D): 41
  • TX-Sen: Data for Progress (D) for Crooked Media/Indivisible: John Cornyn (R-inc): 44, MJ Hegar (D): 41 (47-46 Biden) (early Oct.: 45-42 Cornyn)

AL-Sen: Tommy Tuberville released this poll shortly after Sen. Doug Jones publicized his own survey from FM3, which showed the incumbent up 48-47.

MN-Sen: This poll is Jason Lewis’ best result since the start of September, when his campaign released a Harper Polling survey showing him trailing Sen. Tina Smith only 43-41. Prior to the inclusion of this Change Research poll, the Daily Kos Elections polling average had Smith ahead 46-38.

TX-Sen: Cygnal said it “is not working with any candidate or independent expenditure in the Texas U.S. Senate race.” The firm’s vice president, Brock McCleary, is currently working for the Trump campaign, which may be why this poll did not include presidential numbers.

Gubernatorial

WI-Gov: Conservative activist Misty Polewczynski announced Monday that her group had already collected the nearly 670,000 signatures needed to place a recall question against Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Democratic Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes on the ballot next year, but Polewczynski herself admitted on Facebook that she was not telling the truth.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Polewczynski said in a since-deleted message, “I would not pay attention to that number given to them!” She also wrote, “I’m going to do an interview this afternoon and will probably make up some crap to tell them. I like when they look dumb. Plus they drug my name through the mud.”

Polewczynski later insisted to the paper that she had not been lying, saying, “We under reported the number to begin with to account for what we thought would be challenged, so clearly that was no longer our number and we refuse to give the number that includes what we think will be challenged … that would make us look dumb.” Polewczynski has until Oct. 27 to turn in enough valid signatures to force a recall against Evers and Barnes, who are up for re-election in 2022.

Polls:

  • NC-Gov: East Carolina University: Roy Cooper (D-inc): 55, Dan Forest (R): 43 (51-47 Biden) (early Oct.: 55-41 Cooper)
  • UT-Gov: RMG Research for the Deseret News/ University of Utah: Spencer Cox (R): 50, Chris Peterson (D): 26, Daniel Cottam (L): 6, Gregory Duerden (Independent American): 3 (Sept.: 52-19 Cox)
  • WA-Gov: Public Policy Polling (D) for the Northwest Progressive Institute: Jay Inslee (D-inc): 56, Loren Culp (R): 40 (60-37 Biden)

House

IL-14: On Tuesday, House Majority PAC became the first major outside group to air ads in the contest between freshman Democratic Rep. Lauren Underwood and Republican Jim Oberweis when it announced that it was spending $560,000 on an ad against the Republican. The narrator goes after Oberweis on healthcare and for opposing “a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions … even in cases of rape or incest.”

This historically Republican seat in Chicago’s western exurbs moved from 54-44 Romney to just 49-45 Trump, and Underwood flipped the district two years later. The new congresswoman began the cycle looking like a top GOP target, but national Republicans were very unhappy when Oberweis, a state senator with a long history of high-profile defeats, became the frontrunner for the party’s nomination. The Congressional Leadership Fund even took the very unusual step of financing a group to run negative ads against Oberweis in the primary, but it wasn’t quite enough to stop him from narrowly winning the March contest.

CLF and the NRCC have yet to air ads to help Oberweis, but HMP’s investment shows that some Democrats think this seat could still be in play.

ME-02: Outside groups from parties have been scaling back their planned spending in this northern Maine seat as polls show freshman Democratic Rep. Jared Golden with a big lead, but House Majority PAC is still going forward with ads here. The group is spending $334,000 on a new buy attacking Republican Dale Crafts on healthcare.

MI-03: We have dueling internals out of Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District, an open seat in the Grand Rapids area that outside groups from both sides are targeting.

DCCC Analytics finds Democrat Hillary Scholten leading Republican Peter Meijer 47-42, while respondents favor Joe Biden 47-45 in a district that Donald Trump took 52-42 in 2016. Meijer’s campaign quickly responded by sharing a National Research poll with the National Journal that shows him ahead 50-43 even though Biden also leads 48-46.

If nothing else, though, it’s bad news for Trump that even his own party shows him behind in an ancestrally red seat that Democrat Gretchen Whitmer narrowly lost even as she was winning the 2018 gubernatorial contest 53-44. (Maybe this is why more Republican poll releases  don’t include presidential numbers.)

MI-11: House Majority PAC announced Tuesday that it was launching a $200,000 ad buy against Republican Eric Esshaki, which makes it the first major Democratic group to get involved in a contest that has already attracted $2.4 million in spending from the conservative Congressional Leadership Fund. The commercial declares that Esshaki “wants to ‘fully repeal’ Obamacare,” a move that would deprive 700,000 Michiganders of their health insurance.

Esshaki is running to unseat freshman Democratic Rep. Haley Stevens in a suburban Detroit seat that backed Donald Trump 50-45 but moved hard to the left two years later. HMP’s allies at the DCCC have acted very confident about Stevens’ prospects, and in late September, Medium Buying reported that it had scaled back its TV reservations in the Detroit media market, which is home to this district; a source familiar with Democratic media buys confirmed to Daily Kos Elections that the committee had canceled its full reservation for the 11th District as well as part of its booking for another seat, the 8th District.

PA-08: House Majority PAC launched a new $275,000 ad buy on Tuesday against Republican Jim Bognet that labels him “a Washington political bureaucrat who moved here just to run for Congress.” Right now, HMP is the only major outside group on either side that’s spending in the contest between Bognet and Democratic Rep. Matt Cartwright.  

TX-10: Republican Rep. Michael McCaul earned some negative attention earlier this month after he was photographed on a plane not wearing a facemask, and Democrat Mike Siegel is now running a commercial taking the incumbent to task. Siegel declares that representatives need to lead by example, but that so many have failed to listen to health experts. The Democrat continues, “Michael McCaul’s irresponsible failure has put the lives of so many Texans at risk.”

TX-23: The NRCC stoked transphobia in a commercial last week that claimed that Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones wanted to “divert military money for transgender reassignment surgeries,” and it’s up with a similar spot now. This new ad also calls the candidate “Gina Jones” in an attempt to “other” her in a district with a large Hispanic population, a tactic the GOP employed against her last cycle as well.

VA-02: Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria is once again focusing on Republican Scott Taylor’s 2018 signature fraud scandal in a new commercial that stars retired U.S. Marshall Bobby Mathieson, who is also a former Democratic state delegate. Mathieson tells the audience, “Scott Taylor knew about the effort to get a third-party spoiler candidate on the ballot. His campaign forged voter signatures, including those of deceased residents.”

Mathieson, standing in front of a courthouse, continues, “Two of Taylor’s staffers have pled guilty here.” He goes on to remind the viewer that the prosecutor said that Taylor is still under investigation before he points at the courthouse again and declares, “What’s clear to me is that Scott Taylor has a lot better chance of ending up here than back in Congress.”

WA-03: Democrat Carolyn Long’s new ad begins with her telling the audience that they’ve probably seen Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler’s ads attacking Long and her family. The audience is then treated to a montage of Herrera Beutler and her campaign saying of Long, “My opponent … whose family income,” “She’s not raising her family,” “through her husband’s account,” and, “If you don’t listen to your husband when he talks.”

The camera then goes back to Long, who says, “This is exactly why I’m running. Because when politicians lie and mislead, it undermines our trust and puts us all at risk.” She concludes, “I have spent the last 25 years right here, teaching our communities’ kids, while Kevin and I raise our own. The truth matters.”

Mayoral

Honolulu, HI Mayor & Prosecuting Attorney: Mason-Dixon’s new poll for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser finds independent Rick Blangiardi leading Democrat Keith Amemiya by a large 49-36 margin in next month’s officially nonpartisan mayoral contest, which is a bit closer than the 48-28 Blangiardi advantage that MRG Research recently found.

Mason-Dixon also shows former Hawaii Circuit Court Judge Steve Alm leading his more conservative opponent, defense attorney Megan Kau, 41-33 in the contest for prosecuting attorney. MRG recently had Alm up 43-31.

Ad Roundup

The Health 202: Funding for Planned Parenthood went up – yes, up – during the Trump administration

That reality has mostly flown under the radar, even as Trump has been praised by abortion rights opponents as being the friendliest president to their cause.

But Marjorie Dannenfelser, who is president of the antiabortion Susan B. Anthony List and has emerged as one of Trump’s most vocal supporters, told me she and her colleagues are “very aware” and “not happy” about the dollars.

“I think there is a great desire to get the executive branch to do something about it, but there is very little that can be done,” said Dannenfelser, who co-chairs a coalition of antiabortion activists supporting Trump’s reelection bid.

The funding increases stem largely from the Medicaid program.

Medicaid payments have long formed the bulk of federal funds flowing to Planned Parenthood, reimbursing its clinics for providing birth control and preventive services to low-income Americans. The provider reported $616.8 million in government revenue in its most recent report, which was for the 2018-2019 fiscal year. That’s up from $543.7 million when Trump took office in 2017. About half of Planned Parenthood’s patients are on Medicaid, according to the organization. 

Medicaid doesn’t pay for abortions, but Republicans have still repeatedly tried to cut abortion providers from the program entirely, arguing all funds are fungible. And they’ve mostly been thwarted.

The 2017 House and Senate health-care bills repealing Obamacare would have effectively stripped Medicaid dollars from Planned Parenthood. But the legislation ultimately died amid heavy political opposition and the inability of Republicans to come up with a replacement to the health-care law that would cover as many people. 

GOP-led state legislatures have passed bills cutting off abortion providers’ access to Medicaid funding, but courts have mostly blocked such legislation. Last week the Supreme Court turned down South Carolina’s request to hear a case over its legislation blocking Medicaid funding for abortion providers, which was knocked down by a lower court.

The Trump administration did manage last year to push Planned Parenthood clinics out of the federal family planning program. 

It approved stricter rules about Title X recipients referring for abortion services. The rules, finalized in August 2019, ban grantees from referring for abortions and require clinics to “establish and maintain physical separation” from the provision of abortion. Planned Parenthood announced shortly afterward that it would no longer participate in the program.

That loss of revenue to Planned Parenthood, about $60 million, may not be reflected until the 2019-2020 fiscal report. When asked what the report might show, Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Lauren Kokum responded “we cannot predict what future revenues will be.”

And the rules could be reversed if Democratic president nominee Joe Biden wins the White House.

Julie Downey of Planned Parenthood Action Fund said Biden should issue an executive order on the first day of his presidency “committing to reproductive health care, rights and justice.”

“As part of this EO, he would have the opportunity to roll back some of the most harmful policies of the Trump Administration, including the Title X domestic gag rule,” Downey wrote in an email.

But Audrey Sandusky, communications director for the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, suggested it would take longer for a potential Biden administration to undo the Trump-era rules around Title X.

“The reality is that undoing harm caused by the rule will take more than a snap of the finger, so over the course of weeks and months, we hope to work with a new administration to restore quality and stabilize provider networks,” Sandusky wrote.

The increase in Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid dollars isn’t something either side of the abortion wars is talking much about.

Antiabortion advocates, overjoyed at Trump’s embrace of their priorities, have been emphasizing the promises he followed through on — not the ones he didn’t. One of those promises was to appoint abortion-opposing judges, a standard that appears to be met by Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, a Catholic mother of seven who has expressed opposition to abortion on numerous occasions.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) plans to hold a vote on her confirmation on Monday, moving to put a third Trump appointee on the nation’s highest court. Republicans, intent on installing Barrett on the court before the Nov. 3 election, probably will hold a rare weekend session to debate the nomination, my colleagues report.

Planned Parenthood doesn’t have incentive to highlight the Medicaid payments, either. Presenting itself as a continually embattled target of conservative ire, it has seen its fundraising surge under the Trump administration. It took in $591 million in donations in 2018, an increase of more than 50 percent over 2014 levels.

That’s hardly a new phenomenon. For decades, groups involved in abortion rights battles have alternately benefited and suffered depending on which political party controlled the nation’s political institutions. 

NARAL Pro-Choice America flourished financially during the Reagan and H.W. Bush administrations but saw donations decline as Bill Clinton ran for office and went out of his way to reassure the abortion rights movement, according to Mary Ziegler, a professor at Florida State University who wrote the book “Abortion and the Law in America.” It was a similar story for Planned Parenthood, which had to slash its budget by one-half between 1990 and 1992.

Ahh, oof and ouch

AHH: British scientists will infect healthy volunteers in coronavirus challenge trials.

“The research, led by scientists at Imperial College London and funded by the British government, is a gutsy gambit, given that people will be submitting themselves to a deadly virus with no surefire treatment,” William Booth and Carolyn Y. Johnson report.

Beginning in January, British researchers will infect fewer than 100 healthy young adults with the novel coronavirus to determine how much virus is necessary to spark an active infection. The researchers hope to enlist more volunteers in the spring to be inoculated with vaccine candidates and then exposed to the virus. The vaccines in question have yet to be selected.

“The United States is moving more cautiously, with leading government researchers saying human challenge trials might be too risky or unnecessary,” Booth and Johnson write. “But the British scientists say that the potential payoff is massive — that accelerating vaccine development by even three months could save hundreds of thousands of lives globally.”

Christopher Chiu, an Imperial College immunologist and lead investigator on the research, told The Post that the challenge trials should be able to show a vaccine’s effectiveness within 10 weeks.

Challenge trials have a long history in medicine, but many scientists are reluctant to infect volunteers with a virus that does not have a surefire treatment and could cause long-term effects. Despite that fact, more than 38,000 people around the world have signaled an interest in volunteering by signing up with the vaccine advocacy group 1Day Sooner.

OOF: Nearly 300,000 more people in the United States have died during the coronavirus pandemic than expected in a typical year.

Two-thirds of the 299,028 excess deaths that occurred from late January to early October have been directly attributed to covid-19. While some of the other deaths probably were caused by covid-19, even if the illness was not listed on the death certificate, analyses by The Post and researchers at Yale University have found that deaths from heart attacks, diabetes, strokes and other diseases may have increased as people became more fearful of seeking care in hospitals or were unable to receive care, Lenny Bernstein reports.

“The report comes with just two weeks left in a presidential campaign whose central issue is President Trump’s handling of the pandemic. Trump has sought at every turn, including in remarks Monday, to minimize the virus’s impact, despite a covid-19 death toll that is likely to be the third-leading cause of mortality in the United States this year, behind heart disease and cancer,” Bernstein writes.

The report found a surprising increase in excess mortality among adults ages 25 to 44. The rate of excess death among this age group increased by 26.5 percent, more than any other age group. The virus also hit African Americans and Latinos especially hard, underscoring the disparate impact of covid-19.

“Among racial groups, the majority of people killed by covid-19 are White. But for people of color, and especially Latinos, the new report emphasizes just how big a difference the pandemic has made in mortality,” Bernstein writes. “For Whites, that means an excess death rate of 11.9 percent over a normal year. For Latinos, it is 53.6 percent, for Blacks 32.9 percent and for Asians 36.6 percent.”

OUCH: The White House is looking to slash funding for health programs in cities Trump has deemed “anarchist.”

“New York, Portland, Ore., Washington, D.C., and Seattle could lose funding for a wide swath of programs that serve their poorest, sickest residents after the president moved last month to restrict funding, escalating his political battle against liberal cities he’s sought to use as a campaign foil,” Politico’s Brianna Ehley and Rachel Roubein report.

Trump sent an order on Sept. 2 directing federal agencies to restrict funding to cities that promote “lawlessness.” The memo accuses the cities of not doing enough to crack down on riots stemming from protests around racial justice.

In response to this memo, the Department of Health and Human Services sent a list to the White House budget office on Friday detailing 185 programs in New York, Portland, D.C. and Seattle that could be subject to cuts under the new directive. Among those listed are a $1.8 million grant to Oregon’s Multnomah County to help community and migrant health centers care for covid-19 patients, a $423,000 grant for universal hearing screenings for D.C. newborns, and funding for nutrition and mental health care for the elderly in New York.

“The HHS list offers the most detailed picture yet of the administration’s efforts to quickly comply with the Trump directive and the potentially large cuts facing these cities even as the pandemic strains local budgets. It isn’t immediately clear what criteria the budget office will use to evaluate the grants — or how or when cuts may be made,” Ehley and Roubein write.

Officials in New York and Seattle have threatened litigation if the administration blocks funds.

The FDA pushes back

The FDA has asserted its independence from the White House.

Instead, Hahn published the guidelines, which required two months of follow-up safety data from any vaccine, in briefing materials sent to an advisory committee, which will weigh evidence from the vaccine trials. After that, the White House abruptly cleared the guidelines.

“Dr. Hahn had been overruled by the White House before, most notably when the agency caved to the president’s desire to authorize the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19 despite a lack of evidence,” Kaplan, LaFraniere, Weiland and Haberman write. In August, Hahn made an embarrassing mistake during a news conference, exaggerating the evidence behind blood plasma treatment for covid-19 during a news conference with the president.

After that, it appeared that Hahn made a more concerted effort to protect the agency’s reputation for independence and shield top scientists from potential interference. 

“In what might be the final months of the Trump administration, and close enough to the election to make his firing unlikely, Dr. Hahn seems to be trying to save the F.D.A. from the fate of its sister agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, whose scientists have been stripped of much of their authority and independence in responding to the pandemic,” Kaplan, LaFraniere, Weiland and Haberman write.

On the Hill

Pelosi and Mnuchin are still negotiating over a coronavirus deal, even as McConnell argues against it.

“Prospects for an economic relief package in the next two weeks dimmed markedly on Tuesday after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) revealed that he has warned the White House not to strike an agreement with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi before the Nov. 3 election,” Jeff Stein and Erica Werner report.

McConnell, who has not been part of the negotiations between Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, said at a closed-door Senate GOP lunch that the top House Democrat was not negotiating in good faith and warned that a deal could disrupt the Senate confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

The move throws a wrench in the prospects for further stimulus after apparent progress in negotiations on Monday, with Pelosi pointing out an agreement over language on racial disparities in the virus’s impact. Pelosi has said the sides must agree on a proposal at the end of this week to vote next week. 

McConnell, for his part, has said he would bring any deal passed by the House and approved by the president to the Senate floor, but he did not commit to doing so before the election. While Trump has urged big spending on a relief package, many Senate Republicans have expressed concern that a large stimulus could hurt them with fiscally conservative voters.

McConnell is set today to try to advance a much leaner $500 billion bill that includes jobless benefits and small-business funding but does not include $1,200 stimulus checks.

Senate Republicans have tried to remain distant from Trump’s attacks on Fauci.

“With the coronavirus surging nationwide, in record-setting new caseloads and a worrisome rising death toll, the president’s allies see little use in attacking Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease specialist, as the party struggles to win over voters and keep the Senate majority two weeks before the election,” the Associated Press’s Lisa Mascaro reports.

Trump on Monday lambasted Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease doctor, during a call with campaign staff. The president said that “people are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots” on the virus.

On Tuesday, Trump claimed that he was not at odds with Fauci, while also accusing the public health expert of not being “a team player” in a telephone interview with “Fox & Friends.”

But Senate Republicans have declined to join in with the president’s attack.

While McConnell did not condemn Trump’s remarks, he acknowledged that the virus was surging in his home state of Kentucky and urged people to wear masks and practice social distancing — echoing recommendations made by public health officials, including Fauci. Even Trump ally Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) suggested the president could “have put it more eloquently.” 

Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, a rare vocal critic of Trump among congressional Republicans, for his part, called the president’s statements “really unfortunate,” lauding Fauci as “an esteemed professional” who had earned the trust of the public.

Coronavirus latest

  • An arthritis drug, tocilizumab, that initially showed promise in early trials has failed to produce consistent results in treating covid-19 in three larger trials, Ben Guarino reports.
  • Despite a ban on ads that discourage people from getting vaccinations, some ads that falsely claim vaccines cause autism or that vaccines for diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis don’t work remain on the platform, HuffPost’s Jesselyn Cook reports.
  • Manufacturers and scientists want to create a consumer labeling system that shows how protective masks are against the coronavirus, but to do so, they will first need to overcome disagreements between industry players, Yeganeh Torbati and Jessica Contrera report.
  • The nation’s coronavirus hot spots are increasingly rural communities with minimal hospital capacity. Across the Midwest and Great Plains, rural hospitals are running out of beds or finding themselves with a shortage of workers when health professionals catch the virus, Stateline’s Christine Vestal reports.
  • The U.S. trial of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine could restart this week after the FDA concluded a review of a serious illness in a study participant. The trial was paused in early September after a participant fell ill with what was suspected to be a rare spinal inflammatory disorder. The U.K., Brazil, India and South Africa also paused vaccine trials but have since resumed them, Reuters’s Julie Steenhuysen and Marisa Taylor report.

Sugar rush

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The Souls of Black Professors

… and tackling deeper structural racism. The Aspire program, … inequities on campus for African American undergraduate and graduate … STEM fields related to African American communities, she said, … undergraduates through the African American studies minor and … RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News

Bartees Strange: Opera Singer, Football Player, Genre Breaker

This is No Cover, a production of KOSU and Oklahoma State University and hosted by Matthew Viriyapah. On this episode is Bartees Strange.

One of Bartees’ fears is just being one thing.

Born in England, Bartees Cox Jr. grew up in a military family that bounced around from place to place until they settled down in Mustang, Oklahoma. His mother is an opera singer and he sang in church choirs and operettas, before taking up football.

He even planned to walk-on at the University of Oklahoma. Things changed, but for most of his life, he’s felt like he has been forced to just do and be one thing at a time.

Now as a musician, he released his debut LP Live Forever, where he wants his songs to be able to continue the conversation started by artists like Tyler, The Creator.

Why do we have these lowkey racist specifications for how we classify art?

On Opera

When people ask, “What’s your first instrument?,” mine would probably be singing. My mom’s a singer. She also sang in churches a lot all over Oklahoma and I sang in all those churches too.

I actually sang at the Cimmaron Circuit Opera company, which is an opera company based in Norman that my mom I think helped found with the late baritone Thomas Carey, who was a Black baritone that taught at OU for a long time that a lot of people don’t talk about.

That was a big chunk of my young life, performing in those. But I definitely wasn’t afraid of singing on stage after that, because I was always performing at a young age and I grew up with so many performers. It was just a part of being alive.

On Mustang, Oklahoma

I feel like race is a huge factor in a lot of spots in Oklahoma. Like at my high school, there were a handful of Black kids… and it was a really tenuous time. I remember, there was a house back behind from where we lived. And there’s this guy… and he had a confederate flag draped over the entirety of the house. And it was like rumored he was a Klansman.

You’re just always surrounded by fear and pressure. And you know, we played football so we were just high visibility people.

I think it’s like really great that the song (“Mustang”) is getting shared. And people like it. And I love that when people see it, they see like Mustang. That’s just where I’m from. That’s who I am.

I always was running from Oklahoma.

I had all of these negative connotations. But as I got older, I realized that the things that kind of separated me from people or made me like shine or do well at something was actually from things I learned from when I was in Oklahoma.

So I thought, how appropriate would it be to lead the first single to be this is who I am and this is where I’m from like proudly.

On ‘genre boxes’

One of my fears is I don’t want to ever be one thing. That’s kind of something I was always forced to do. I’ve always felt like, “Oh I’m going to play football, and that’s just what I’m going to do because I’ll fit in that way and my life is just going to be a lot easier if I keep my head down and do that thing.”

And I feel like people just expect Black people to just do like one thing. I don’t know. I hope there’s a lot of Black people nodding their heads in silence hearing that.

It’s very easy to be pigeonholed as a Black artist. And I don’t want that for my music. I want to stretch my music and put out things that are great and not be like hurt, because it doesn’t fit into a traditional pop white standard.

Kind of like that Tyler, The Creator record, the last two, Igor and Flower Boy. Those are like pop records in a big way. And it started an interesting conversation. I wanted to make something that continued that conversation. Like why do we have these lowkey racist specifications with how we classify art?

We need to rethink how we’re doing it. We’ve got countless examples over in just the last two years of artists breaking genre lines and the exciting future it paints for music.

Music featured in this episode:

  1. Bartees Strange – Jalousy
  2. Thomas Carey – Hold On
  3. D’Oyly Carte Opera Company – For He Is An English Man
  4. Bartees Strange – Going Going
  5. Bartees Strange – Mustang
  6. The Antlers – Epilogue
  7. The National – Fake Empire
  8. The National – Mr. November
  9. Bartees Strange – Mr. November
  10. TV On The Radio – Wolf Like Me
  11. Bartees Strange ft. Lizzie No – Get Over It
  12. Bartees Strange – Boomer
  13. Bartees Strange – Far
  14. Bartees Strange – Fallen For You
  15. Bartees Strange – In A Cab
  16. Bartees Strange – Flagey God
  17. Bartees Strange – Mossblerd
  18. Kelly Rowland ft. Nelly – Dilemma
  19. Bartees Strange – Kelly Rowland
  20. Bartees Strange – Ghostly

Subscribe to the No Cover podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you get podcasts.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

From 2 Artists, 2 Ways to Tell Stories of Black America

This article is part of our latest Fine Arts & Exhibits special report, which focuses on how art endures and inspires, even in the darkest of times.

As museums are reopening this fall, the work of Black artists is prominently on display around the country, one result of a broad-based movement to feature diverse creators in a systemic and lasting way.

A sense that institutions are making up for lost time has added an element of urgency to the push.

As Erica Warren, an associate curator of textiles at the Art Institute of Chicago, put it: “We are overdue.”

Ms. Warren organized “Bisa Butler: Portraits,” opening Nov. 16 at the Art Institute. Ms. Butler, based in New Jersey, works in fabric, creating complex quilted textile portraits of what she calls the Black American story. It’s the museum’s first textile solo show for a Black female artist.

Ms. Butler shares a dealer, Claire Oliver Gallery of Harlem, with the artist Barbara Earl Thomas, who is having the most substantial show of her work yet at the Seattle Art Museum, in her hometown.

“Barbara Earl Thomas: The Geography of Innocence” features her striking and graphic cut paper works and opens Nov. 20, just a week after Ms. Butler’s show. It looks at how race informs our perception of innocence.

Both exhibitions — from artists who examine similar subjects, rendered in very different media — are evidence of how the art world is striving to spotlight diverse voices, and how museums and galleries have come in to alignment to support that goal.

The critical role of a gallery, nurturing and promoting artists and helping to sustain them during lean times so they can keep working, has only gotten more important.

Ms. Warren of the Art Institute said she discovered Ms. Butler’s work at Ms. Oliver’s booth at the Expo Chicago fair in 2018.

“I thought it was by far and away the best work at the fair,” Ms. Warren said.

Ms. Oliver, 56, is the first to say that her gallery is no Gagosian or Hauser & Wirth — the global powerhouses whose artists are frequently featured in museum shows, and who work to make that happen.

Credit…Jovelle Tamayo for The New York Times
Credit…Jovelle Tamayo for The New York Times

“We’re stealthy,” she said. “We fly under the radar.”

She founded her gallery 29 years ago in Philadelphia, and spent two decades in New York’s Chelsea before moving in February to Harlem. From the beginning, Ms. Oliver had a firm idea about whose work she wanted to show.

“When we started, I vowed to have more than 50 percent women,” she said. “And we’re about 75 percent now.”

Ms. Oliver has added to her goals over time. “We’ve also made a concerted effort to bring in more Black voices,” she said, especially since the Black Lives Matter movement has accelerated.

In these priorities, Ms. Oliver finds herself in alignment with prestigious museums that set the tone for the entire art world.

“I’ve talked to so many curators about this,” she said. “We see we have these big gaping voids in the collections, in the canon of art history, and they are trying to remedy that.”

Ms. Thomas, 71, has been featured in many exhibitions over the years and her profile is growing. She has a commission to design a set of windows for the dining hall of Grace Hopper College at Yale University that will go on view next year.

The Seattle Art Museum show is an apotheosis of sorts.

“What’s different is that I’m directing what it’s going to be,” Ms. Thomas said, alluding to the level of input she has had while working with the curator Catharina Manchanda. “I told them: ‘I have an idea and I want you to help me realize it.’”

Credit…via Claire Oliver Gallery; Spike Mafford
Credit…Claire Oliver Gallery; Spike Mafford

The subjects depicted are all Black children and Ms. Thomas knows most of them. The show includes three portraits on sandblasted glass, 10 cut-paper portraits and three handcrafted candelabras. There’s also a hanging sculpture made of hand-cut Tyvek, surrounded by Tyvek panels.

“How do we read faces — and what has culture put into our cup?” Ms. Thomas said of the show’s theme. “My stories are not epic. They are about the everyday.”

She cuts the paper works with a razor and then hand-tints them, and the effect is striking.

“I’m about the dazzle,” Ms. Thomas said. “I want to seduce with the figure. I don’t apologize for being graphic.”

She started working with Ms. Oliver in 2014. Though she was already known to the Seattle Art Museum, having a dealer based in New York, and a forthcoming project at Yale, will help give her “street cred, given that I’m not in the East,” Ms. Thomas said, referring to the art world’s center of gravity.

“Claire saw something in my work that people in my region haven’t always picked up on,” Ms. Thomas said. “She has an eye for people with a power mechanism.”

She added that there was a commonality between her own work and that of other artists that Ms. Oliver shows, including the textile work of Ms. Butler.

“There’s a devotion to materiality, and to really building things,” Ms. Thomas said.

Ms. Butler’s Chicago show, with 22 of her quilts and works by other artists who have influenced her, including the photographer Gordon Parks, is an ode to that city.

“I’m the ultimate Chicago fan,” said Ms. Butler, 47, who is based in West Orange, N.J.

“My heroes are people like Charles White,” she added, referring to the Chicago-born painter who was the subject of a 2018-19 posthumous traveling museum retrospective that many felt was long overdue. “I feel like the granddaughter to these artists.”

Image“The Safety Patrol” (2018) by Bisa Butler. 
Credit…Bisa Butler
Credit…Bisa Butler
Credit…Bisa Butler

Her interest in textiles started early. “I grew up sewing,” said Ms. Butler, who learned from her mother and grandmother during her New Jersey childhood. “My Barbies were decked out.”

After Howard University and a period of making works for friends and family, she became a professional artist around 2003. From the beginning, she wanted a wide audience for her work.

“When you’re in a segregated art world, you don’t realize it right away,” Ms. Butler said. “But I didn’t want to make art exclusively for Black people. My subject matter is Black, but I don’t only want to be in African-American museums or fairs.”

Things broadened for Ms. Butler “only when I met Claire,” she said. “It seems like the years before that didn’t count. Some people were saying, ‘Oh she’s an emerging artist.’ But I had been working for 20 years.”

In the Chicago show, “The Safety Patrol” (2018) — depicting a group of children who could have starred in one of Ms. Thomas’s works — was fashioned from cotton, wool and chiffon that has been quilted and appliquéd.

Ms. Butler’s projects often begin in black and white photographs, where she seeks a compelling image. The origin may be surprising, given how much color is in the finished work, but she said she preferred to begin with pure form, and then to add her own hues.

Ms. Warren of the Art Institute said that the use of textiles — not a dominant medium for contemporary artists, and one associated with women’s work — has additional meaning.

“She interrogates the history of the marginalization of her subjects, and she does it in a medium that has been marginalized, too,” Ms. Warren said.

Like Ms. Thomas, Ms. Butler has a humanistic approach that doesn’t dwell on conflict.

“I want to tell the story of Black America from the inside out,” Ms. Butler said. “My work is like a Black family’s photo album. You’re not going to see images of the worst day of life.”

With the opening of both the Chicago and Seattle shows, Ms. Butler said she recognizes a feeling of things clicking into place. She’s felt that before with Ms. Oliver.

“When Claire moved to Harlem, it just fit right,” Ms. Butler said. “It’s like when I touched a fabric, it felt right. Paint was not for me. Things align in the right time and space.”


RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Teaching Anti-Racism to the Next Generation of Doctors

… classic multilevel framework emphasizes how racism is internalized, operates interpersonally … institutions, policies and ideologies. Racism’s multiple levels can … has lynched and massacred countless Black Americans. Accordingly, white doctors’ silence … RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News