Tyler Perry on Spike Lee’s Past Criticism of Madea: ‘Their Stories Deserve to Be Told Too’

Tyler Perry is standing by his work.

The A Jazzman’s Blues writer/director, 53, appeared on a new episode of Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace? where he addressed Spike Lee‘s past criticisms of his popular Madea character after host Chris Wallace asked Perry about Lee’s previous comments. Perry said he’s “heard it all” when it comes to backlash to the role, which he has played onstage and in films, as recently as A Madea Homecoming earlier this year.

Oscar winner Lee, 65, previously said he wasn’t on board with Perry’s portrayal of Black people and stereotypes. (They’ve since squashed their public disagreements.)

“There’s a certain part of our society, especially Black people in the culture, that they look down on certain things within the culture,” Perry told Wallace.

“For me, I love the movies that I’ve done because they are the people that I grew up with that I represent,” he continued. “Like, my mother would take me in the projects with her on the weekends. She’d play cards with these women. Most of them didn’t have a 12th grade education, but their stories and how much they loved each other and how when they’d get sad about something another would come in and make a joke. I’m 5 years old on the floor with my Matchbox cards. I was in a masterclass for my life.”

“So when someone says, ‘You’re harkening back to a point of our life that we don’t want to talk about it or we don’t want the world to see,’ you’re dismissing the stories of millions and millions of Black people. That’s why I think it’s been so successful because it resonates with a lot of us who know these women in these experiences and Uncle Joe and so on and so forth.”

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Perry said it also “goes back to the Harlem renaissance and Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston. Langston Hughes said that Zora Neale Hurston was a new version of ‘the Darkie.’ Langston was northern, very sophisticated, Zora Neale from the South, her characters spoke in a Southern dialect. So this is a conversation that’s been going on long before Spike Lee and Tyler Perry. It is what it is.”

“But what is important to me is that I’m honoring the people that came up and taught and made me who I am,” said Perry. “Their stories deserve to be told too.”

At the Tribeca Film Festival in June, Perry briefly addressed his past disagreements with Lee during a wide-ranging Q&A with Gayle King. His Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta has 12 sound stages that are each named after Black artists who’ve “really inspired” him, including Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith, Sidney Poitier — and Lee.

Perry said in June, “Spike Lee, who was very vocal about my work, yes. As I said, God bless all y’all; y’all do well. But I honored him because I don’t care what he said, how can I ignore his contributions … Had he not done what he did, I wouldn’t be here.”

Santiago Felipe/Getty

The filmmaker also spoke out about Lee’s comments in a 2015 New York Magazine interview, saying, “You have to be careful, because our audiences cross-pollinate a lot of times. There’s a lot of my audience that likes what he does. And there’s a lot of his audience that likes what I do. And when you make those kind of broad, general strokes and you paint your audiences in them, they go, ‘Wait a minute, are you talking about me? Are you talking about my mom?’ ”

In 2019, Lee celebrated Perry naming a soundstage after him. He wrote on Instagram alongside a photo smiling with Perry, “Ladies And Gentlemen, Boys And Girls – This Past Saturday Night My Brother TYLER PERRY Made History In Atlanta, Georgia With The Naming Of His Sound Stages. It Is With Honor And Humility That I Have A Stage Along With My Fellow Artists. Tyler, Da Whole Lee Family Thanks You. God Bless And Keep Keepin’ On Doin’ God’s Work. And Dat’s Da “BLACK MOGUL” Truth, Ruth.”

Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace? airs Sundays at 7 p.m. ET on CNN and streams on HBO Max.

A Jazzman’s Blues is now streaming on Netflix.

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10 Incredible Black Metal Releases from Trondheim

Most black metal experts will agree that the subgenre began losing its power in 1993 — “a year of misery,” to quote Nargaroth. After the murder of Mayhem‘s Euronymous, the media attention that the BM scene received resulted in an influx of posers and tourists known as “blackpackers.” Overall, BM would become less brutal and more commercial. Yet, so many debut and influential albums by classic bands were released in 1994, such as Burzum‘s Hvis lyset tar oss and Gorgoroth‘s Pentagram. The pain, loss, and isolation due to surveillance, interrogations, and a general sense of paranoia inspired Darkthrone‘s Transilvanian Hunger in particular. The 1994 debut records by Emperor and Enslaved are a different story: these outfits would take BM in a very different direction.

If the Oslo and Bergen scenes paradoxically showed a burst of creativity at the onset of their decline, Trondheim would become BM’s new center of “truth” in the early 2000s, as the “Nidrosian black metal” movement flourished. You might remember that Nidaros Cathedral is represented on the cover of De Mysteriis Sathanas Dom Sathanas (1994). Varg Vikernes and Euronymous allegedly wanted to blow up this monument of supreme beauty and strength. However, the stone construction would have thwarted their plan.

Nidrosian black metal is often defined by mysticism, ritualism, hearsefuls of atmosphere, raw aggression, and melody. It often reeks of the torture chamber, candles, and incense. Nidarosian groups often add a little finesse while avoiding sounding modern. Although keyboards often feel out of place in BM, the Nidarosian players are creepy enough to make them work. You might hear chanting and synths. Trondheim’s finest are distinguished by their individuality, despite the high level of incest within the scene. Thus, today’s list does not exclusively focus on typically “Nidarosian” bands.

We’re truly excited to present some of the best and most eccentric artists that metal has to offer. Allow these hypnotic BM releases from Trondheim to challenge everything you thought you knew about music.

Celestial Bloodshed — Cursed, Scarred and Forever Possessed (2008)

Celestial Bloodshed‘s Steingrim Torson Brissach, a.k.a. “Mehimoloth,” was one of BM’s greatest talents. The 25-year-old was tragically killed in 2009 when a gunshot accidentally went off. At the time, Steingrim was hanging out in the apartment of his 20-year-old “best friend.” The prolific genius took part in a great number of projects, including many of the bands mentioned throughout this article. (You’ll also find this is the case with musicians like Celestial Bloodshed’s Luctus/Wraath and live member Azazil/Kvitrim.)

Cursed, Scarred and Forever Possessed (2008) was the first of two incredible albums by Celestial Bloodshed. On the cover of this wicked “Gospel of Hate,” you’ll notice that Steingrim looks like the resurrection of Mayhem’s late Per Yngve Ohlin, or “Dead,” who, despite his enormous influence, was totally unlike his contemporaries. Darkthrone’s Nocturno Culto recalls that after his bandmate Zephyrous saw trend-following fakes wearing corpsepaint in broad daylight in 1993, the band stopped. Yet, Steingrim was able to rock what others had ruined because he was so authentic. Steingrim truly imbued black metal with new meaning.

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Mare — Ebony Tower (2018)

This respected band was founded in 2003 and have dubbed their music “Nidrosian Black Sorcerous Art.” Mare brought you “Nidrosian Moon Sabbat” on the EP Spheres like Death (2010). Yet, Mare waited until 2018 to unveil their debut album, Ebony Tower. Guitarist Nosophoros told Bardo Methodology: “Releasing a full-length album was never our original intention – but as the material gradually took on more of its own identity…” This black liturgy will appeal to your subconscious. It is a bit like beholding a Georges de La Tour painting in all of its clandestine spiritual splendor and mastery of chiaroscuro. Nosophoros explained that early Mare did not have contact with bands elsewhere in Norway. Nidaros may not have been a hotspot in the ’90s; but for that very reason, it survived the flaming wrath and peer pressure of that great and infamous decade:

“At the formation of Mare, our fires were fueled by the strong desire to create something different than the awkward ‘black metal’ coming out of this country in the late ’90s to early 2000s.”

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One Tail, One Head — Worlds Open, Worlds Collide (2018)

“I built great towers of chaos in the shelter of closed eyelids.”

For 12 years, One Tail, One Head supplied you with seriously invigorating doses of youthful attitude. Their first and final album — Worlds Open, Worlds Collide — begins with the sassily titled instrumental “Certainly Not” and showcases the popular single “Firebirds.” Although Worlds Open, Worlds Collide plays with paradoxes, carries on a certain sort of intellectual tradition, and feels quite mystical, it is also tons of fun. You can call it a bit retro; You might say it has a black n’ roll feel. In any case, this adrenaline-booster is an anomaly by BM standards. Although the album is dark, it’s not at all what you would call “evil.” Outside of this record, one of our favorite songs by One Tail, One Head is “The Splendour of the Trident Tyger” from Demo II (2008) and later Tandava (2011).

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Aptorian Demon — Libertus (2012).

Formed in 2005, Aptorian Demon has only put out two songs plus the unforgettable album that is Libertus. You just have to listen to a few minutes of this well-produced oddity to become hooked. Ghash / Storhetsvanviddets Mester delivers some of the most unique vocals. Complete with wolves’ howls, the flamboyant Libertus is one of the most refreshing and distinctive obscure BM releases. In a world of clone bands, this rare gem manages to stand apart. It simply does not sound like any other release.

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Whoredom Rife — Winds of Wrath (2021)

Whoredom Rife’s third album, Winds of Wrath, certainly caused a storm last year, the waves of which still have not died down. Winds of Wrath is a wicked, crowd-pleasing triumph. The blasphemous cover was illustrated by the Berlin-born, Peru-based artist José Gabriel Alegría Sabogal, whom WR met while on tour. Whoredom Rife may be a duo in the studio, but they perform live with other top musicians added to their lineup.

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Kaosritual — Rituell Katarsis (Demo, 2004)

Rituell Katarsis was followed by Kaosritual’s sole album, Svøpt morgenrød (2007). Both phenomenal releases feature Azazil, Steingrim, and H. Tvedt. Each member of this trio truly shone in unison. The cold, black magical atmosphere of Rituell Katarsis makes this demo one of our favorites. We love the pacing, groove, and perfectly savage rubber chicken vocals. This orgasmic four-song demo brings you “Pest”/”Plague,” “Sykdom”/”Sickness,” “Ild”/”Fire,” and “Død”/”Death.”

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Slagmaur — Skrekk lich kunstler (2007)

Slagmaur is actually from Brekstad and Trondeim. Skrekk lich kunstler marked Slagmaur’s first of three full-length albums to date. This theatrical debut record boasts one of the best covers we’ve ever seen. This pick may not seem so “accessible” to ears that aren’t accustomed to hearing “true” BM, but those who are more advanced have called this record a “masterpiece.” The icing on this maggot-infested opera cake is that Steingrim appears as an additional vocalist.

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Selvhat — Den Svarte Tid (Demo, 2004)

If you want to hear what a 10/10 sounds like, here you have it! Den Svarte Tid was Selvhat’s debut demo. Selvhat, which means “Self-Hate,” was the lo-fi, depressive solo project of Steingrim Torson. Gjennom mørket famlende (2008) was Selvhat’s only studio album. A compilation called Avskjed was released this year. We are stoked to read Josh Brown’s new book, Ancient Black Art: Nidrosian Black Metal, which began as a tribute to the magnificent Mr. Torson.

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Thorns — Grymyrk (Demo, 1991)

This classic Norwegian band is definitely the most important on our list. Like our next pick, Thorns was a true pioneer and belongs to a different category than our other choices. Snorre Ruch is clearly one of the greatest men in metal. As such, he deserves infinitely more respect! Snorre and Euronymous — who actually spent some time in Trondheim as a child, where he befriended Snorre’s playmates — are both credited with creating the black metal style of riffing. Thorns spent some time in Oslo, where Snorre played with- and gave riffs to Mayhem.

Snorre co-founded Thorns as Stigma Diabolicum in 1989. The hugely influential Grymyrk was Thorns’ first demo under their current name. It only features Snorre and Harald Eilertsen. The demo spread across Norway like the plague after it was sent to members Faust in Lillehammer and Marius Vold in Oslo. Thorns’ next demo, Trøndertun (1992), would showcase the classic song “Ærie Descent.”

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Manes — Maanens natt (Demo, 1993)

Manes first came into being as Perifa and then functioned as Obscuro before taking their present name in 1993. Manes is considered a DBSM pioneer for their early work. You can’t beat the necro creator’s Geist of the early ’90s. This is why we’ve selected Maanens natt — the first demo that this outfit recorded as Manes. This savage 17-minute cassette and Manes’ debut album, Under ein blodraud maane (1999), on which you will find updated versions of three of the same tracks and more, constitute two especially important moments in the history of black metal. Between the two efforts released a couple more primitive and arcane demos. During this whole era, Manes functioned as a duo, featuring vocalist Sargatanas as well as multi-instrumentalist and founder, Cernunnus.

It would be criminal if we neglected to mention that Manes shifted in a totally outrageous, experimental direction for their sophomore album, Vilosophe (2003). Manes fuses electronica, jazz, trip hop, and yet still retains a blackish spirit. All the same, Manes would record the savage 15+-minute track “Solve et Coagula” in 2008 with one of their most successful fans, Shining‘s Niklas Kvarforth, and ex-Xasthur‘s Malefic on vocals. The song was included on a compilation album and a 2009 split with a short-lived Askim-based project that was also called Manes (RIP), which was fronted by Dødheimsgard’s Vicotnik before he relocated to Oslo. (Coincidentally, Vicotnik is one of the only artists who is comparable to Cernunnus in terms of his versatility and constant avant-garde exploration.) Trondheim’s Manes broke up in 2011 and was soon resurrected as Manii, a band with the soul of early Manes. Manii marked the reunion of the previously long-gone Sargatanas with Cernunnus. Manes returned parallel to Manii in 2013. We have a special soft spot for Manes’ latest album, Slow Motion Death Sequence (2018).

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Some other bands from Trondheim that are worth knowing include Sarath, Black Majesty, Misotheist, Dark Sonority, Castrum Doloris, Grenjar, Unbeing, Saligia, Enevelde, Syning, Beyond Man, Min Kniv, and Bloodthorn (who became DM).

BM ist für alle da?! Trondheim even spawned the Eurovision competitor Keep of Kalessin, which Darkthrone’s Fenriz has referred to as “crap.” However, Fenriz, a.k.a. the self-proclaimed “music police,” has professed his love for Trondheim’s Faustcoven.

The “Black Psych Tormentor” of a madman known as Woe J. Reaper has blessed us with incredibly quirky, unorthodox work. He eventually rechristened his eponymous solo project “Furze.”

We love both Vemod — formed in Nasmos, which is located within the county of Trøndelag that envelops Trondheim — and Vemod — from Trondheim itself — who made one awesome demo.

Also from the greater Trøndelag region, check out Tragediens Trone.

Kvesta and the disbanded “Gorelords” known as Wurdulak, which featured one of the most insane lineups of all time, are/were outfits split between Oslo and Trondheim that kick some serious ass.

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California bills: 550+ await Newsom’s decision

I’m back from a lovely vacation! Many thanks to my wonderful colleague Ben Christopher and other CalMatters reporters for guest hosting the newsletter while I was gone.

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Gov. Gavin Newsom has until midnight Friday to determine the fate of the more than 550 bills on his desk — or risk turning into a pumpkin.

That last part may not be exactly true, but the bill tally from veteran Sacramento lobbyist Chris Micheli is, and underscores just how much work Newsom has ahead of him: He needs to sign or veto an average of about 110 bills per day to get through all of them by the Friday deadline.

CalMatters is tracking Newsom’s decisions on some of the most interesting, controversial or noteworthy bills state lawmakers sent him before the 2022 legislative session ended last month. Here’s a closer look at three proposals that especially caught our eye — and the politically fraught choices they may pose for Newsom:

  • A bill that would usher in the nation’s most wide-ranging changes to solitary confinement by preventing inmates in California’s prisons, jails and immigration detention facilities from being held in solitary confinement for more than 15 consecutive days, and for more than 45 days out of 180. The proposal would also ban the practice altogether for people younger than 26 or older than 59; women who are pregnant, recently had a baby or suffered a miscarriage; and those with physical or mental disabilities. The bill’s proponents say solitary confinement is tantamount to torture and does nothing to rehabilitate inmates. But a former member of the Mexican Mafia, who spent decades alone in 8-by-10 cells, much of it in solitary, told CalMatters’ Nigel Duara that he disagrees. “Without some kind of deterrent, I mean, you go whack a guy and you get 15 days in the hole and you’re back in a regular general population yard,” he said. “Is it a bad place? Sure. But they have to have bad places for bad people.”
  • A bill that would extend by one year the lifespan of California’s first-in-the-nation reparations task force, allowing it to deliberate until July 1, 2024 on how to best compensate African Americans for slavery and its lingering effects. The proposal would also permit state lawmakers to remove and replace people on the nine-member task force. Advocates voiced alarm about these provisions when the reparations task force met Friday and Saturday in Los Angeles, CalMatters’ Lil Kalish reports: Audience member Tiffany Quarles described the bill as “a betrayal of Black Americans,” adding, “We’ve been waiting for 400 years. We do not need an extension.” Meanwhile, Chris Lodgson, an organizer with the Coalition for a Just and Equitable California, said the removal clause “politicizes” the process: “If some of the politicians don’t like the fact that we’re getting cash reparations, they could simply remove people on the task force who support them,” he said. During the two-day meeting, the task force also began putting dollar figures to potential compensation for Black Californians who can establish lineage to enslaved ancestors. For more, check out Lil’s story.
  • A bill that would allow jaywalking on empty streets, permitting law enforcement officers to stop pedestrians only when “a reasonably careful person would realize there is an immediate danger of a collision,” CalMatters political intern Ariel Gans reports. Newsom last year vetoed a similar bill that would have repealed the state’s jaywalking laws and prohibited fines until Jan. 1, 2029, warning that it would “reduce pedestrian safety” even as he denounced the “unequal enforcement of jaywalking laws” and their use as a “pretext to stop people of color.”
    • Last year, pedestrian fatalities in the U.S. hit a four-decade high, and California recorded the highest number of any state. At the same time, California’s local law enforcement agencies write thousands of jaywalking tickets every year, which studies find disproportionately impact people of color.
    • Kevin Claxton, interim executive director of the California Bicycle Coalition: The bill “allows police to issue a ticket when someone crosses the street in a way that puts them or others in danger, but it will end biased and pretextual jaywalking stops that don’t improve public safety.”
    • California District Attorneys Association CEO Greg Totten: “This is very bad public policy that’s going to endanger pedestrians and really tie the hands of law enforcement who are trying to do their job and keep pedestrians safe.”

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Newsom acts on key bills

California state senators, Bob Hertzberg, left, and Anthony Portantino show a gun control bill signed by Gov. Gov. Gavin Newsom during a news conference held on on the campus of Santa Monica College in Santa Monica on July 22, 2022. Photo by Jae C. Hong, AP Photo
State lawmakers show a gun control bill signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom at Santa Monica College on July 22, 2022. Photo by Jae C. Hong, AP Photo

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Newsom has so far signed nearly 550 bills and vetoed just over 60, according to Micheli. Here’s a look at some of the most noteworthy and interesting bills on which he took action on Friday and over the weekend:

  • The governor on Sunday signed a raft of bills and vetoed a handful of others, including a high-profile proposal that would have mandated kindergarten for California children. In his veto message, Newsom cited the state’s “lower-than-expected revenues over the first few months of this fiscal year” and a need for “disciplined” spending, a familiar refrain in his recent veto messages. Also Sunday, Newsom announced that he’d signed two bills that aim to crack down on surging catalytic converter theft by making it illegal to buy the parts from anyone other than licensed auto dismantlers or dealers and by requiring buyers and sellers to keep detailed records so stolen products are easier to track.
  • On Friday, which Newsom proclaimed Native American Day in California, the governor signed a package of bills that he said would support the state’s Indigenous communities. Among other things, the bills would:
    • Remove the word “squaw” — which the Newsom administration described as a “racist and sexist slur” for Native American women — from “all geographic features and place names in the state.”
    • Rename University of California’s Hastings College of the Law as the College of the Law, San Francisco — part of a series of restorative justice efforts for Native Americans “whose ancestors suffered mass killings and other atrocities funded and supported by college founder Serranus Hastings in the mid-19th century,” according to Newsom’s office.
    • Encourage schools to partner with local Native American tribes to develop educational material highlighting “the unique history, culture and government of tribes in their region.”
    • Set up an emergency “Feather Alert” system — similar to Amber or Silver alerts — to strengthen search efforts for missing and murdered Native Americans, particularly women and girls.
  • Also Friday, Newsom signed a bill to permit undocumented Californians without drivers’ licenses to obtain a state ID, which will make it easier for them to open bank accounts, obtain housing and access health care and other benefits. He also greenlighted a bill to loosen the requirements for street food vendors to get health permits.
  • And in Newsom’s final Friday legislative action, he signed a ream of bills — including one to allow Californians to sue adults who electronically send them unsolicited sexual images or videos — and vetoed a handful of others, including one to strengthen oversight of California’s cryptocurrency industry.

Newsom takes Texas

A redistricting illustration by Miguel Gutierrez Jr., CalMatters; iStock
Illustration by Miguel Gutierrez Jr., CalMatters; iStock,

Newsom is on an interstate roll: The governor on Saturday traveled to Texas — home to one of his chief political nemeses, GOP Gov. Greg Abbott — to speak on a panel at the Texas Tribune Festival about “what the nation’s most populous state can teach the other 49 — including this one.” The trip came just two days after Newsom returned to California from New York, where he touted the Golden State’s environmental policies at Climate Week NYC.

The Texas and New York appearances are just the latest in a long string of actions — including running campaign ads in Florida and Texas, promoting California’s policies in D.C., putting up billboards in seven states with near or total abortion bans urging women to seek reproductive care in California, and challenging GOP Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to a debate — that suggest Newsom may be positioning himself for a presidential run as soon as 2024.

  • But the governor, for the umpteenth time, unequivocally shot down that notion at the Texas Tribune Festival: “No, not happening,” Newsom said. “I cannot say it enough. I never trust politicians, so I get why you keep asking.”
  • Nevertheless, Newsom used part of his time in Texas to reiterate his call for Democrats to more aggressively combat Republicans on such hot-button topics as abortion, LGBTQ rights, immigration and education: “These guys are ruthless on the other side,” he said. “They dominate the most important thing in American politics today and that’s the narrative — facts become secondary to narrative. They dominate with illusion. And we are getting crushed. … We have to meet this moment head on, and damn it, the Democratic Party has to assert itself much more aggressively than we have.”
  • In regard to spending money from his reelection campaign on ads in other states, “Our donors are asking for more of that,” CBS News reported Newsom as saying. “The people in the state of California are asking for more leadership in this space.”

Meanwhile, some California Republicans slammed Newsom for appearing in Texas, one of the nearly two dozen states to which California has banned state-funded travel for policies it deems discriminatory to LGBTQ people. Newsom’s reelection campaign paid for his travel to Texas, spokesperson Nathan Click told me Sunday. The California Highway Patrol did not respond Sunday to a question about whether taxpayers covered the cost of his security detail.

Amid ambitious climate moves, concerns remain

An aeriel view of the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, the world’s largest solar thermal power station, in the Mojave Desert near Nipton on February 27, 2022. Photo by Bing Guan, Reuters
An aeriel view of the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in the Mojave Desert near Nipton on Feb. 27, 2022. Photo by Bing Guan, Reuters

There’s never a shortage of environmental news in California, so let’s dive right into the latest:

  • California air regulators on Thursday approved a sweeping plan outlining rules they plan to enact in coming years to meet federal air quality standards for smog. Among them: a proposal to phase out the sale of new gas-powered furnaces and water heaters by 2030 and require homes and businesses to install zero-emissions alternatives such as electric heaters. Many environmental groups applauded the move: “These proposed regulations, in concert with new funding for heat pumps from the state’s budget, can ensure not only emissions reductions but also access to electric appliances for all Californians,” Brandon Dawson, director of Sierra Club California, said in a statement. But Assembly Republican Leader James Gallagher of Yuba City slammed the proposed regulations, which he said “will drive the cost of energy and building a home in California even higher.” And the Wall Street Journal editorial board mocked the decision: “Californians were told during a heat wave a couple of weeks ago not to run large appliances or charge electric cars in peak hours. Soon blackout warnings could happen during the winter. Will Californians have to avoid running hot water and heating their homes too?”
  • Speaking of charging electric cars, a study published Thursday in the scientific journal Nature Energy found that more California drivers will need to charge their vehicles during the day — when more solar energy is available — to avoid overtaxing the power grid. (And charging demand is only going to go up: Not only has California banned the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035, but air regulators last week also moved to phase out diesel medium- and heavy-duty trucks by 2040.)
  • Meanwhile, concerns continue to grow about the long-term reliability of California’s electric grid, which narrowly avoided rolling blackouts after a prolonged extreme heat wave earlier this month. Case in point: Although state regulators want offshore wind to produce 25% of California’s power by 2045, Politico reported Friday that “even the most optimistic people acknowledge that those wind turbines won’t start producing power for the grid until at least 2029” — just one year before Diablo Canyon, the state’s last nuclear power plant, is slated to go offline after receiving a five-year extension from Newsom and lawmakers.

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CalMatters Commentary

CalMatters columnist Dan Walters: Pressure is building for another overhaul of California’s multibillion-dollar workers’ compensation system for dealing with job-related illnesses and injuries.

California needs to protect families from displacement: My family has worked relentlessly to maintain our roots in East Palo Alto, because the city is our home. But we can no longer live there because there aren’t any affordable homes, writes Heleine Grewe, a sophomore at Menlo College.

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Epoch Cinema Documentary Review: ‘Great American Race Game’

… slavery ended, there was indeed racism and discrimination across the United … , blacks were thriving despite continued racism and segregation. These are undeniable … , black people were Christians … especially black Americans: we were strong Christians.” Raised … RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News

DBusiness Daily Update: Cranbrook House to Exhibit Japanese Floral Arrangements Oct. 7, and More

The Art of Japanese Floral Arrangement will feature more than 30 arrangements by some of Michigan’s most respected floral artists. // Courtesy of Cranbrook
The Art of Japanese Floral Arrangement will feature more than 30 arrangements by some of Michigan’s most respected floral artists. // Courtesy of Cranbrook

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.

Cranbrook House to Exhibit Japanese Floral Arrangements Oct. 7

Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research in Bloomfield Hills, in partnership with Cranbrook House and Gardens Auxiliary and Ikebana International Detroit Chapter 85, will open Ikebana / 生け花: The Art of Japanese Floral Arrangement at Cranbrook House starting Oct. 7.

The exhibit will feature more than 30 arrangements by some of Michigan’s most respected floral artists, ikebana demonstrations, and tours of both the Cranbrook Japanese Garden and Cranbrook House.

“The Cranbrook Japanese Garden is a place of beauty and inspiration—one of Cranbrook’s hidden gems,” says Gregory Wittkopp, director of the Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research. “As we work with the legendary designer Sadafumi Uchiyama to rejuvenate this 107-year-old cultural landscape, we want to make sure it not only is a place for personal reflection and discovery but also a space to make connections with the people and traditions of Japan.

“Working with our colleagues at Cranbrook House and Gardens Auxiliary, we are honored to be able to collaborate on the Ikebana exhibition with the artists of Ikebana International Detroit Chapter 85, and share their centuries-old, living art form with audiences throughout the region.”

Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging, has been translated as “living flowers” or “giving life to flowers,” and is unique from other approaches to flower arrangement. In ikebana, asymmetry and the use of empty space are essential features of the overall composition. Originating in the seventh century when floral offerings were made at altars, ikebana reached its first zenith in the 16th century under the influence of Buddhist tea masters. There now are more than 1,000 different types of schools of ikebana throughout the world.

The exhibition will open with a preview and wine reception Oct. 7 from 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. The preview will feature music performed by Harumi Omitsu on a traditional koto, the national instrument of Japan. Admission to the preview is $125 for one ticket and $225 for two tickets. Preview admission includes a $50 tax-deductible donation benefitting Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research and Cranbrook House & Gardens Auxiliary, as well as admission to the exhibition events on Saturday and Sunday. Space is limited and advance registration is required for the preview here.

Following the preview, Ikebana will be open from noon-5 p.m. Oct. 8-9. Guests can view the exhibition and enjoy informal tours of Cranbrook House, led by Cranbrook House and Gardens Auxiliary’s volunteer docents. At select times on Saturday and Sunday, visitors will have the opportunity to watch ikebana demonstrations and ask questions about the art, and the chance to tour the Japanese Garden. Admission on Saturday and Sunday is $25 for adults and seniors, and $10 for full-time students with ID. Advance registration here is encouraged.

For more information, visit center.cranbrook.edu.

Atlas Space Operations Wins Contract for Space Domain Awareness

Atlas Space Operations in Traverse City has received a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II award to develop its space domain awareness (SDA) capabilities. This effort will use Atlas software and hardware to increase the company’s ability to conduct passive RF observations of on-orbit assets.

To deliver on the milestones of the SBIR, Atlas leverages machine-to-machine connectivity that makes creative use of unused antenna time within its global ground network. By exploiting time on antennas that would otherwise go unused, Atlas will listen for assets in the path of a given antenna.

This functionality has clear defense and intelligence applications, but also can be used following a satellite launch by listening for new assets. In addition, the SDA network will provide a much-needed capability to track asset orbits and deconflict possible collisions in an increasingly populated orbit environment.

“Atlas’ work in the space domain awareness arena is closely aligned with our company goals as well as public and private sector visions for the future,” says Mike Carey, co-founder and newly appointed COO of Atlas. “The SDA initiative aligns well with our emphasis on software applications to address challenges where hardware alone falls short. Our team is proud to provide these critical capabilities for the rest of the space community, and we expect SDA services to grow in popularity shortly.”

Grants Awarded to 49 Small Michigan Manufacturers to help adopt Industry 4.0

Forty-nine small manufacturers around Michigan have been awarded a total of $1.15 million to help them adopt Industry 4.0 technologies, according to the Michigan Economic Development Corp. The funds are from the second and third rounds of awards as part of the $3 million Industry 4.0 Technology Implementation Grant program.

“Michigan is the advanced manufacturing capital of the world, and these Industry 4.0 grants help Michigan manufacturers to adopt new and innovative technologies that will enable them to remain competitive well into the future,” says Quentin L. Messer Jr., CEO of MEDC and president and chair of the MSF Board. “We’re grateful to our partners at Automation Alley, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, and our local partners and communities. Together, Team Michigan is strengthening advanced manufacturing and entrepreneurship that create jobs and small business opportunities for future generations of Michiganders.”

Grants will be reimbursement-based and will cover up to 50 percent of eligible technologies, including additive manufacturing, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, robotics and automation, and more. The amount of increased revenue as a result of implementing these technologies is expected to be approximately $83 million, with an estimated 248 jobs created and 1,130 jobs retained.

Grant applications will continue to be accepted on a rolling basis until all funds are allocated. To learn more about the requirements of the program and to view the grant application, visit here.

Kresge Foundation Wins Architectural Award for Marygrove Early Education Center

The Kresge Foundation has been awarded one of 12 Dedalo Minosse prizes — awarded biennially by the ALA-Assoarchitetti (an Italian association for professional architects) — for commissioning the Marygrove Early Education Center and selecting Marlon Blackwell Architects of Fayetteville, Ark., to design the 28,000-square-foot center that opened last August.

Kresge was one of four non-Italian winners and the only U.S. winner, although a Japanese client-architect pair — J.S.T. Connector and Ryuichi Ashizawa — won a prize for production-engineering center built in Harrisburg, Pa. The other two international prizes went to client-architect pairs in Turkey and Vietnam.

Detroit Program Managing Director Wendy Lewis Jackson accepted the award for Kresge in Vicenza, Italy, along with architect Marlon Blackwell.

An exhibition of winners was opened in conjunction with the awards in Vicenza, and is planned to move to 50 cities, including Detroit.

Construction Starts on Second Major Leg of Joe Louis Greenway

Construction has begun on the Grand River-to-Fullerton section of the 27.5-mile Joe Louis Greenway that will connect Detroiters in 23 neighborhoods to existing trails like the Dequindre Cut, the Detroit Riverfront, four other cities, and each other.

This one-half mile section with a half-acre greenspace is being paid for with $11 million from the city’s share of American Rescue Plan Act funds.

In May 2021, the city began construction on the first leg of the greenway, from Joy Road to Warren, which will be completed and open to the public for the first time later this fall.  Construction on this second leg is expected to be completed in Spring of 2023.

For more information, visit www.joelouisgreenway.com.

Varnum Law Firm Launches Dedicated NIL Team

The Varnum law firm in Birmingham has formed a dedicated Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) practice team.

Reflecting the firm’s deep experience representing higher education institutions, collectives, brands, coaches, and athletes, the team consists of subject matter experts who are navigating clients on a daily basis through complex and novel issues in the new and expanding NIL landscape.

The Varnum NIL team, led by partners Rich Hewlett and Jessica Visser, includes 10 attorneys across the firm. The team’s experience is vast and includes:

  • Forming and structuring collectives, including on behalf of a Big Ten University’s football and basketball programs.
  • Group licensing deals, including with respect to trading cards.
  • Securing, protecting, and defending NIL and other indicia of persona assets for athletes, including on behalf of a Heisman Trophy winner and Super Bowl MVP.
  • Creation and maintenance of trademark and copyright protection for athletes and coaches.
  • Negotiating marketing, licensing, and endorsement agreements on behalf of brands, coaches, and athletes, including with respect to apparel and media rights.
  • Advising higher education institutions on NCAA compliance to ensure athlete integrity and eligibility.
  • Representing coaches and athletes in their estate planning and asset protection needs.

“Our approach begins with strong knowledge of and adherence to NCAA guidelines, in addition to various state and institutional policies governing NIL matters,” Hewlett says. “We’re pleased to be on the forefront of this space and gratified to be able to help our NIL clients navigate the complicated patchwork of rules in the current landscape.”

Varnum’s NIL coverage includes:

  • NCAA compliance
  • Corporate structuring
  • Membership agreements
  • Brand, licensing, and marketing agreements
  • Tax structuring and compliance
  • Intellectual property
  • Estate planning

The Freelon at Sugar Hill in Detroit Opens with Veterans Housing Priority

The Freelon at Sugar Hill, a $36 million development in Detroit’s Midtown area, has opened.

Once a vacant lot now is a 68-unit mixed-income residential apartment building with 14 units reserved for low-income veterans. The facility also has 11,000 square feet of commercial space.

The project is a joint venture between Develop Detroit and the Boston-based nonprofit developer Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH).

“We saw this as an ideal opportunity to develop a unique community to contribute to the lives of Detroiters,” says Sonya Mays, president and CEO of Develop Detroit. “The Freelon brings more than housing to the community, it’s rich in history, rooted in culture, and provides economic stability. Beauty and a luxury experience can be provided in affordable living to Detroiters.”

The development, in the heart of Sugar Hill, once a mainstay of Black culture, grounds itself in the arts and jazz in which the community is known. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2003, The Freelon features the work of mix-media collage artist Judy Bowman who has created original work displayed on the building’s exterior, while interior artwork from Detroit-based Black artists, was curated by Asia Hamilton with Norwest Gallery of Art.

Consul of Italy in Detroit Paola Allegra Baistrocchi Receives Spirit of Detroit Award

Detroit City Councilmember at-large Coleman A. Young II presented Consul of Italy in Detroit Paola Allegra Baistrocchi with the Spirit of Detroit Award for her achievements, leadership, and dedication to the city during an event honoring the Motorvehicle University of Emilia-Romagna.

The event was part of the LoveITDetroit initiative, a month-long series of promotional activities structured in the form of a festival dedicated to Italian creativity lasting one month.

“I am humbled and honored to receive this award after only one year in Detroit,” Baistrocchi says. “In a short amount of time I have come to love this city. I think it is vibrant but often overlooked. I want to build those bridges between this great city and my country, because there is incredible untapped potential that we can build on to create even more collaborations.”

Detroit Pistons to Host Open Practice at Little Caesars Arena Oct. 2

The Detroit Pistons will conduct an open practice and team scrimmage Oct. 2 at Little Caesars Arena. Doors will open at 10 a.m. and practice will commence at 11:00 a.m. Admission is free.

Fans interested in attending the event may obtain a free general admission ticket by visiting here (four ticket limit per account). Dedicated parking for this event will be available for purchase at the LCA Garage (165 Sproat St.) with other surrounding lots available. Fans can use the Meijer entrance at Little Caesars Arena for entry.

The open practice will serve as opportunity for Pistons fans to get an up-close look at the 2022-23 team, including NBA All-Rookie selection Cade Cunningham, Saddiq Bey, Isaiah Stewart, and new additions Jaden Ivey, Jalen Duren, and more. Pistons head coach Dwane Casey will lead the scrimmage and debut some of the club’s offensive and defensive schemes for the upcoming season.

The event also will feature the 2022-23 Detroit Pistons Entertainment Team, photo opportunities with Pistons mascot Hooper, ticket booths for upcoming games, and concessions available for purchase. The first 1,000 fans that arrive for the open practice will receive a Pistons schedule magnet.

Washtenaw Community College Invites Public to Fall Career Fair Oct. 13

More than 70 employers looking to hire for job openings will be represented at Washtenaw Community College’s (WCC) Fall Career and Internship Fair Oct. 13 in Ann Arbor.

The public and WCC students alike are invited to attend. It’s the first in-person fair since March 2020 and will be from 4-6 p.m. in the newly renovated Morris Lawrence Building on campus, 4800 E. Huron River Drive.

Employers will represent the automotive, advanced manufacturing, banking/mortgage, computer science, education/childcare, engineering, health care, IT, music/entertainment, restaurant/hotel, welding/fabrication, and other sectors. Full-time, part-time and internship positions are open.

Attendees are invited to participate in free online workshops to help prepare for the fair.

To register, email careers@wccnet.edu. The workshops are:

  • “Get Your Resume Ready for the Career Fair,” noon, Oct. 10
  • “Create an Elevator Speech That Will Take You Places,” noon, Oct. 11
  • “Navigate a Career Fair Like a Pro,” noon, Oct. 12

Businesses registered for the fair include Amazon, Adventure Center, Busch’s Fresh Food Market, Crown Equipment Corporation, Menlo Innovations, Michigan Medicine, Northwestern Mutual Southeastern Michigan, ProMedica, Promess Inc., various departments from the state of Michigan, Zingerman’s, and more.

Attendees are encouraged to check the career fair webpage.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Tyler Perry defends ‘Madea’ character over Spike Lee criticism

NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!

Actor and filmmaker Tyler Perry has defended his signature “Madea” character over criticism that it taps into demeaning black stereotypes.

In 2009, fellow director Spike Lee said Perry’s character, which has appeared in more than ten films, represents “coonery buffoonery.” Perry has defended the origins of the character, claiming “Madea” is inspired and honors black people he grew up around as a child. Previously, Perry responded to Lee’s criticism by telling him to “go to hell.” 

“There’s a certain part of our society, especially Black people in the culture that…they look down on certain things within the culture,” Perry told Chris Wallace. “For me, I love the movies that I’ve done because they are the people that I grew up with that I represent and they, like, my mother would take me in the projects with her on the weekends, she played cards with these women.”

Perry added, “So when someone says, you’re harkening back to a point in our life that we don’t want to talk about or we don’t want the world to see—you’re dismissing the stories of millions and millions of Black people and that’s why I think it’s been so successful because it resonates with a lot of us who know these women.”


Award-wining director and actor Tyler Perry defended his character "Madea" by claiming she is inspired by black people he grew up with as a child. 

Award-wining director and actor Tyler Perry defended his character “Madea” by claiming she is inspired by black people he grew up with as a child.  (AP Newsroom)

“What is important to me is that I’m honoring the people that came up and taught and made me who I am. Their stories deserve to be told too,” he concluded. 


Perry also noted that during the Harlem Renaissance, black artists and writers, such as Zora Neale Hurston, were criticized for their portrayal of southern black dialects. 

Last week, Perry’s latest film, “A Jazzman’s Blues,” was released on Netflix, featuring stars Joshua Boone, Amirah Vann, and Solea Pfeiffer. 


RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

National Black history summit in Montgomery to focus on health disparities

Hundreds of visitors, historians and luminaries will gather in Montgomery this week for a three-day national summit focused on Black health and wellness and the impact of racial disparities throughout American history.

The Association for the Study of African American Life and History will hold its first in-person conference since the start of the pandemic starting Sept. 29 at the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel and Convention Center. Featured speakers include Equal Justice Initiative founder Bryan Stevenson; Deirdre Cooper Owens, author of “Medical Bondage: Race, Gender and the Origins of American Gynecology”; Montgomery artist and The Mothers of Gynecology sculptor Michelle Browder; author and educator Stephanie Y. Evans; and Kimberly Jeffries Leonard, immediate past president of women’s service organization The Links Inc.

EJI founder Bryan Stevenson speaks with the media at the EJI Legacy Pavilion in Montgomery, Ala., on Friday January 17, 2020. The Pavilion, which houses the EJI ticket office, a gift shop, a restaurant, a coffee shop, civil rights displays and a shuttle stop for the Legacy Museum and the Peace and Justice Memorial opens on Saturday January 18, 2020.

The conference will also feature a session led by Alabama musician Fred Wesley and educator Scot Brown called “Remembering the Roots of Funk: An Oral History” as well as several presentation on Alabama culture and history, including one titled “Southern State Legislation 2022: The Panic Over Critical Race Theory and the Future of Academic Freedom.” The latter panel will feature Alabama State University professor Darren E. Moten joined by a group of scholars from Florida, Virginia, Mississippi and Alabama to discuss efforts to limit the teaching of African American history.

A discussion of the book Justice Deferred: Race and the Supreme Court will feature authors Orville Vernon Burton and Armand Derfner, who will be a joined by a panel including famed civil rights attorney Fred Gray and former ASALH President Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham. Other events and discussions include a film festival, a discussion of the past and future of the Black Belt, there will be a film festival and plans to visit historic sites in Selma and Tuskegee.

You can see the full schedule at https://asalh.org/conference.

Montgomery artist Michelle Browder, who created The Mothers of Gynecology, will be one of the featured speakers at a national summit organized by Association for the Study of African American Life and History.

“The theme … is also a historical examination of the financial and economic health and wellness of African Americans,” ASALH President W. Marvin Dulaney said in a release. “Broadening and expanding the theme to address what some historians and health care professionals call the ‘social and economic determinants’ of health and wellness allows us to show the interconnectedness of a number of historical, social and economic factors on Black health and wellness.”

Preserving history:Black Belt natives tout benefits of a national heritage area as proposal moves forward

Browder plans to unveil what she called an “extreme” new piece Oct. 1 at the site here where J. Marion Sims once conducted medical experiments on slaves, and where she’ll also announce wider expansion plans in downtown Montgomery.

A Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce spokesperson said more than 500 people are expected to travel here for the summit.

Civil rights attorney Fred Gray speaks after Claudette Colvin filed papers to have her name cleared at family court in Montgomery, Ala., on Tuesday October 26, 2021. Colvin was convicted and given probation for not giving up her seat on a Montgomery bus in 1955

Brad Harper covers business and local government for the Montgomery Advertiser. Contact him atbharper1@gannett.com.

Dr. Dhanesh Juta Proudly Announces the Opening Of Precision Men’s Sexual Health Clinic in Toronto

Dr. Dhanesh Juta Proudly Announces the Opening Of Precision Men’s Sexual Health Clinic in Toronto – African American News Today – EIN Presswire

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