Prodigy dies at 42 and other news of the week The week that was June 19-June 23

Monday 06.19.17

The state of North Carolina, that bastion of civil rights, had a law barring sex offenders from using social media sites, such as Facebook, invalidated by the U.S. Supreme Court. The court also ruled that rejecting trademarks that “disparage” others violates the First Amendment; the Washington Redskins, locked in their own legal battle with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, wasn’t a party in the current case but supported the decision, which ruled in favor of Asian-American band The Slants. New York sports radio host Mike Francesa, when learning of the decision, referred to The Slants’ members as “Oriental Americans,” and when told that phrase was offensive, he asked, “You’re telling me that using the word ‘Oriental American’ is a slight?” The 47-year-old husband of Beyoncé announced a new, stream-only album available exclusively to the hundreds of Tidal and Sprint customers. In honor of Juneteenth, a commemoration of the end of slavery, President Donald Trump released a statement praising two white men (President Abraham Lincoln and Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger), and a sportswriter questioned the history of American police and slave patrols. A heady reporter tried Lyft Shuttle, the ride-sharing company’s beta-stage commuter option, which allows riders to “walk to a nearby pickup spot, get in a shared car that follows a predesignated route, and drops you (and everyone else) off at the same stop” — or, in other words, a bus. A data firm hired by the Republican National Committee left sensitive information — including names, dates of birth and home addresses — of nearly 200 million registered voters exposed to the internet; the company responsible, Deep Root Analytics, calls itself “the most experienced group of targeters in Republican politics.”

The Philadelphia 76ers officially acquired the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft, paving the way for the team to draft yet another player with past leg issues. Markelle Fultz, the first pick in Thursday’s draft, not only was traded from 53-win team to one that won just 28 games last season but also briefly considered signing with LaVar Ball’s Big Baller Brand over Nike. A Green Bay Packers fan and Wisconsin resident who, for some reason, has Chicago Bears season tickets, sued the Chicago franchise for not allowing him to wear Packers gear on the sideline at Soldier Field; the Wisconsin man told the court that the Bears “deprived me of my ability to fully enjoy this specific on-field experience.” In other bear news, three New Hampshire teenagers are being investigated for potential hate crimes for assaulting and yelling a racial slur at costumed Boston street musician Keytar Bear, who is black.

Tuesday 06.20.17

White House chief strategist Steve Bannon said White House press secretary Sean Spicer wouldn’t appear on camera as much because “Sean got fatter.” Former five-weight boxing champion Sugar Ray Leonard offered UFC fighter Conor McGregor one piece of advice for his boxing match against Floyd Mayweather Jr. in August: “Duck.” FBI director nominee Christopher Wray once represented an American energy executive who was being criminally investigated by the Russian government, but Wray deleted that information from his official online biography sometime in 2017. Mattel diversified its Barbie and Ken doll lines, offering different sizes, skin tones and hairstyles, including man buns, cornrows and Afros. For the new heavyset Ken dolls, Mattel originally wanted to market them as “husky,” but, “A lot [of guys] were really traumatized by that — as a child, shopping in a husky section.” Twitter was in an uproar after it was reported that Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot was paid just $300,000 for her role in the critically acclaimed, $500 million movie, compared with $14 million for Man of Steel’s leading man, Henry Cavill; the latter figure was not true. Imprisoned former football player O.J. Simpson, who is up for parole for burglary and assault next month, spends his time in prison watching his daughter’s show Keeping Up With the Kardashians; “He likes to keep up with all the gossip with them,” a former prison guard said. NFL Hall of Famer Warren Sapp, last heard fighting prostitutes in Arizona, has decided to donate his brain to scientists when he dies; Sapp said his memory “ain’t what it used to be.” New York rapper Prodigy, real name Albert Johnson, died at the age of 42; Prodigy, one half of acclaimed duo Mobb Deep, had recently been hospitalized because of sickle cell anemia. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the nation’s top lawyer, hired his own lawyer. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, catching up to the 20th century, signed a bill that raised the age of consent for marriage from 14 to 18. An Algerian man was sentenced to two years in prison for dangling a baby out a 15th-floor window on Facebook, instructing his followers “1,000 likes or I will drop him.” A Canadian man stole a mummified toe that had been used as an ingredient in a hotel bar drink for more than 40 years; an employee said the hotel was “furious” because “toes are very hard to come by.” To test the performative advantages of the microbiome Prevotella, a Connecticut scientist performed a fecal transplant on herself, telling a news outlet: “It’s not fun, but it’s pretty basic.” Atlanta Hawks center Dwight Howard, at 8:55 p.m. ET, tweeted, “Ok Twitter Fans ,, give me your thoughts , trades or otherwise & Remember 2B-Nice”; five minutes later, Howard was traded to the Charlotte Hornets.

Wednesday 06.21.17

The Pentagon paid $28 million for “forest”-colored uniforms for the Afghan Army, yet “forests cover only 2.1% of Afghanistan’s total land area.” White House aide and former reality TV star Omarosa Manigault signs her name as “the Honorable Omarosa Manigault” despite not being a high-ranking federal official or judge. Despite President Trump once valuing his Westchester, New York, golf course at $50 million, the Trump Organization valued the property at $7.5 million on tax forms, half of the town assessor’s valuation of $15.1 million, to pay less in property taxes. The Russian government, accused by U.S. authorities of spreading fake news to influence the 2016 presidential election, said it will “raise the issue of fake news” at the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, calling it “a problem that should be defined and addressed collectively.” Although terrorism is defined as using violence for political reasons, the FBI said the shooting at a baseball practice for the Congressional Baseball Game by a white man had “no terrorism involved.” Meanwhile in Flint, Michigan, the stabbing of a police officer at an airport by a man who reportedly yelled, “Allahu Akbar” is being investigated by the FBI as an act of terrorism. A group of CIA contractors were fired from the agency for hacking a vending machine and stealing over $3,000 worth of snacks. Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-Montana), best known for body-slamming a Guardian reporter last month, was sworn in to the House; the Democratic Party of Montana sent Gianforte an orange jumpsuit for his first day in office. The daughter of two dentists who had enough education to teach their children about stocks and investments, and who, herself, owns a multimillion-dollar company, was taught to save and now plans to retire at 40. In shocking news, a new study found that films with diverse casts outperform films that are overwhelmingly white. A police officer was acquitted of fatally shooting a black man. An auto insurance industry-funded study found that states with legalized recreational marijuana laws had a higher frequency of auto collision claims than states without such laws. Murray Energy Corp. CEO Robert E. Murray sued comedian John Oliver for defamation after the HBO host used his weekly TV program to mock the energy executive, at one point calling Murray a “geriatric Dr. Evil”; Oliver predicted on his show June 18 that Murray would sue him. Hall of Fame professional wrestler Jerry “The King” Lawler, known for calling women’s breasts “puppies” and other sexist remarks, said even he hated the finish of a historic all-women’s match that ended with a man winning. In response to the new American craze fidget spinners, Chinese companies have started selling the Toothpick Crossbow, a small, $1 handheld crossbow that can fire toothpicks 65 feet; parents worry the crossbows could blind young children, and Chinese state media fear iron nails could be swapped in for the toothpicks. New York Knicks president Phil Jackson said he is willing to trade 21-year-old center Kristaps Porizingis, who is 21, with the “future” of the team in mind.

Thursday 06.22.17

ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith, still visibly upset over the recent actions of Phil Jackson, pointed out that the Knicks president’s first front office deal back in 2014 was signing forward Lamar Odom, “who was on crack”; Odom was released from the team three months later. Meanwhile, an NBA prospect said Jackson was “falling in and out of sleep” during the prospect’s workout. Knicks owner James Dolan skipped out on the NBA draft to perform with his band, JD & The Straight Shot, at a local winery-music venue. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who last week said U.S. presidents “cannot obstruct justice,” said President Trump alleged he had tapes of former FBI director James Comey to “rattle” him. The president, who in May insinuated that he had “tapes” of conversations with Comey, tweeted that he, in fact, does not have any such tapes. The lack of diversity at the Rupert Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal is so dire that some reporters have taken to calling the newspaper “White Castle.” In another example of “life comes at you fast,” Chicago Cubs outfielder and World Series hero Kyle Schwarber was demoted to Triple-A Iowa after batting just .171 through the first 71 games of the season. The trainer for former Chicago Bulls forward Jimmy Butler, in response to his client being traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves, said he’s met “drug dealers with better morals” than Bulls general manager Gar Forman. Hip-hop artist Shock G, best known for his seminal 1990s hit “Humpty Dance,” was arrested in Wisconsin on suspicion of drug paraphernalia possession; there was no mention of whether or not the arrest took place at a Burger King restaurant. Just days after Uber CEO Travis Kalanick resigned from the company amid hostile work environment allegations, some company employees began circulating a petition to have Kalanick reinstated, stating “[Travis Kalanick], no matter his flaws (everyone has them) was one of the best leaders I have seen.” Montgomery County, Maryland, police are using DNA evidence to help create composite sketches of those suspected of sexual assault; the DNA, described as “bodily fluids,” is assumed to be male semen. A New York woman who traveled to the Dominican Republic to get reduced breast implants and liposuction developed an infection and now has a hole in one of her breasts; the woman, who traveled to the Caribbean island for a cheaper $5,000 procedure, will now pay over $10,000 in recovery costs. Famed comedian Bill Cosby is planning a series of town halls aimed at young people, specifically athletes, on how to avoid sexual assault allegations. After nearly three months of secrecy, Republican senators publicly released their version of a replacement for the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In unrelated news, only 38 percent of Americans want the president and Congress to repeal and replace the ACA.

FRIDAY 06.23.17

A Trump administration official once filed for bankruptcy because of his wife’s medical bills for treating her chronic Lyme disease. President Trump all but confirmed his former tweets about alleged “tapes” of former FBI director James Comey were an attempt to influence the director’s Senate testimony. Comey, who announced the reopening of an investigation into Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton just 11 days before the Nov. 8 election, refused three weeks earlier to attach his name to a statement on Russia’s involvement in that election because “it was too close to the election for the bureau to be involved.” A North Korea spokesman said the death of American college student Otto Warmbier just days after he was released from imprisonment in the country is a “mystery to us as well.” NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman, who was in North Korea around the same time Warmbier was released last week, said dictator Kim Jong-Un is a “friendly guy,” and the two sing karaoke and ride horses together. Zola, a gorilla at the Dallas Zoo, danced to (a dubbed-over version of) Michael Sembello’s 1996 hit “Maniac.” The St. Louis Cardinals announced their first Pride Night celebration at Busch Stadium; a disgruntled fan demanded that the team “stop forcing this down my throat.” Great Britain, loser of the Revolutionary War, is now putting chocolate in its chili. In response to Pirates of the Caribbean actor Johnny Depp asking an English crowd “When was the last time an actor assassinated a president?” a White House spokesperson condemned the remarks: “President Trump has condemned violence in all forms, and it’s sad that others like Johnny Depp have not followed his lead.” Hours later, New Hampshire state Rep. Al Baldasaro, a Trump campaign adviser, visited the White House; last year, Baldasaro said Hillary Clinton “should be shot in a firing squad for treason.” Five-foot-9 Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas said if he were taller he’d be “the best player in the world.” Nearly 500 Syrian civilians have been killed in U.S.-led airstrikes against two provinces in the Middle Eastern country. Former MTV Jersey Shore star Ronnie Magro-Ortiz, describing his breakup with fellow reality TV star Malika Haqq, said he and Haqq were like “oil and water.” He added: “It tastes good with bread, but it’s just not mixing.” A jury deadlocked for the second time in the case of a police officer killing a black man. After less-than-stellar reviews from critics and Jada Pinkett Smith, and a 22 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the Tupac Shakur biopic All Eyez on Me is being sued for copyright infringement by veteran journalist Kevin Powell.

In wake of the hate crimes in Maryland and Oregon, self-protection becomes a priority Highly publicized, race-motivated crimes are forcing black America to think about legal carry … or not

Should we bring a gun?

It’s not exactly the question you think would come to mind while planning a leisurely getaway. But as my husband and I packed for a long weekend of culture, Southern cuisine and a well-deserved rest, it was one we repeatedly and seriously asked ourselves.

We were headed to the Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, South Carolina, where the heat and history can be oppressive. It’s a city that sometimes feels like a foreign country, but it’s as all-American as it gets. You can stand where men, women and children were shackled, poked, prodded, bought and sold — you can feel their ghosts. Some 40 percent of the enslaved in the 13 colonies during the trans-Atlantic slave trade came through the city. And yet, here we are, a black woman and white man, mixing and mingling and applauding with audiences and performers of all races at what’s become a major tourist draw.

In Charleston, the past is never past, as unapologetic racist Dylann Roof proved when in 2015 he chose historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, known as Mother Emanuel, a spiritual and civil rights bulwark, as the site of a hate-filled killing spree, murdering nine parishioners after praying with them for the better part of an hour. In North Charleston, unarmed African-American Walter Scott was shot by a police officer in the back; it was considered imperfect justice when Scott’s killer, Michael Slager, pleaded guilty to a federal civil rights charge after a state jury could not agree on a verdict despite video evidence.

Charleston has its special history. But is it all that different from the rest of America?


In New Orleans, the decision to remove and move monuments to the Confederacy, some erected long after the Civil War’s end, is debated and resisted.

Portland, Oregon, has its own Western brand of exclusionary racism baked in the soil, exemplified by Oregon’s policy barring blacks from living there when the state entered the union in 1859 and the legacy of those actions since then. In Portland, a man has been charged in the murder of two white men and the attempted murder of a third when the three came to the aid of two African-American women, one wearing a hijab, being harangued and harassed on public transportation last month. The accused attacker was known for expressing white supremacist views at rallies and on social media.

In Maryland, my home state, an empty chair took the place of 23-year-old Richard Collins III, a recently commissioned U.S. Army second lieutenant, at his Bowie State University graduation; his life was ended as he waited for his ride at a University of Maryland bus stop. A 22-year-old white man, who was a member of a Facebook group called “Alt-Reich,” has been charged in the stabbing; authorities are investigating whether it was a hate crime.

When crowds in Charlottesville, Virginia, protesting a City Council vote to remove a park statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee marched, shouted and carried flaming torches, all that was missing was a burning cross.

There is aggression in words as well, and no one is immune. So Cleveland Cavalier great LeBron James was not that surprised when a racist slur was spray-painted on the gate of his Los Angeles home.

“Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you,” the saying goes.

America’s focus has turned to the danger from without, from foreign terrorism and the bad actors entering the country with mayhem in mind. Those are the stories making the headlines, though in truth, domestic terrorism is the threat many people of color fear the most.

The Southern Poverty Law Center tracks attacks by extremists and domestic terrorism and threats by hate groups, which saw an increase in the years of the Obama presidency and continue to rise.

So it made sense for my husband and me to investigate the South Carolina gun laws. The state’s “your home is your castle” Castle Doctrine extends to vehicles and workplaces, meaning our registered piece could indeed travel with us on a journey we hoped would be routine but feared could escalate in an instant.

Laws for self-protection and the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms are tricky and possibly dangerous for African-Americans, as those rights once applied only to whites — and some would say they still do. A registration did not stop legal gun owner Philando Castile from being killed in Minnesota in July 2016 by a panicked police officer, who was found not guilty of any crime this past week despite shooting into a car with a 4-year-old girl as a passenger.

Many, however, have decided taking that chance is worth it, and it has been reported that gun ownership among African-Americans is increasing.

In Charleston, in between programs of opera, dancing and jazz, we made the pilgrimage to Mother Emanuel, quiet and protected. It sits on Calhoun Street, which honors South Carolinian John C. Calhoun, a defender of slavery as a “positive good.”

On these streets, our marriage would have been a crime 50 years ago, before the Loving case removed the legal barriers. In 1998, when South Carolina threw out its unenforceable state ban, 38 percent of voters wanted to keep the pre-Loving status quo.

The Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) is planning a memorial to peace and justice in Montgomery, Alabama, acknowledging the lynching and legally sanctioned racial terror that traumatized citizens and left a legacy. “Our goal isn’t to be divisive,” Bryan Stevenson, the director of the EJI told The New York Times. “Our goal is just to get people to confront the truth of our past with some more courage.” The museum “From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration” would be one of many memorials.

Are these reminders needed? Last month, tourists visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington found a noose in an exhibition on segregation. In an email to staff, museum director Lonnie Bunch said, “Today’s incident is a painful reminder of the challenges that African-Americans continue to face.”

Will America face this enemy within?

As for our final decision on that gun, we decided not to carry after all. It would have been legal, but it may not have been wise. We did, however, pack a big honkin’ knife.

Warriors win the NBA Finals The Week That Was June 12-June 16

Monday 06.12.17

Ivanka Trump, who is the daughter of President Donald Trump and has presumably known him for 35 years, said that “there’s a level of viciousness that I was not expecting” in response to her father’s presidency. Former potential NBC buyer Bill Cosby declined to testify in his sexual assault trial, and his defense team rested after only three minutes and without calling an original witness. Hip-hop entrepreneur Sean “Diddy” Combs topped Forbes magazine’s list of highest-paid entertainers, notably beating out last year’s top earner, Taylor Swift, by nearly $100 million. McDonald’s announced it will use social media app Snapchat to hire future employees this summer; the app, known for its animated filters and porn, is expected to “lure in younger applicants” for the fast-food giant. Meanwhile, a close friend of the president told PBS that Trump was considering firing special counsel Robert Mueller, who is in charge of the ongoing Russia investigation. Professional wrestler Congressman-elect Greg Gianforte was sentenced to community service and a $385 fine for his assault of a Guardian reporter during last month’s special election in Montana; Gianforte said it was not his “intention to hurt” the reporter whom he punched and slammed to the ground. During a meandering rant about abortion on his official Facebook page, Missouri state Rep. Mike Moon beheaded a live chicken, cut its feet off, and removed its heart. Twitter argued over the effectiveness of Crock-Pots; in the words of one straightforward dissenter, “why on earth u wanna cook slow.” Seattle Seahawks running back Eddie Lacy received another $55,000 for not being fat. Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy, who spent more than a year in prison for illegally gambling on games, claimed the league will try to force a Game 6 in the NBA Finals. The Golden State Warriors ended the Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5.

Tuesday 06.13.17

After the Warriors’ victory, Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib took a shot at Golden State forward Kevin Durant, calling the Finals MVP a “suburban kid” who had to “Link up with the best” to win a championship, and that the Hall of Fame is “laughing at you right now”; Talib, who shot himself in the leg last year, joined the Broncos in 2014, a season after Denver eliminated his former team, the New England Patriots, from the playoffs. A Canadian man who is blind in one eye installed a video camera over his eyeball; faced with privacy concerns, the man posited, “Am I not allowed to put an eye camera in my own body?” Hours after NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman arrived in North Korea, an American college student who had been detained in the country since 2016 for allegedly attempting to steal a political banner was released to U.S. authorities; Rodman, who is in North Korea for a reported fifth time, had his trip sponsored by a company specializing in weed-industry cryptocurrency. Deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein said there was no evidence to fire Robert Mueller, the special counsel. Hours later, it was reported that the president is being talked down by his staff from firing Mueller. R&B singer Tinashe, who is mixed-race, acknowledged the presence of colorism in the black community but explained that she is usually the victim of it, telling a reporter that “sometimes I feel like I don’t fully fit into the black community; they don’t fully accept me.” Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, who has been rocked by the recent death of his mother and his own workplace behavior, including meditating in the company lactation room and instructing his employees to “not have sex with another employee” at a company party, has taken a leave of absence from the ride-sharing company. During a companywide meeting to discuss Uber’s alleged “bro culture,” a 74-year-old board member interrupted a female board member by making a sexist joke; the board member stepped down shortly afterward. President Trump reportedly told Republican senators that the House-adopted health care bill, which the president in May called a “great plan,” is too “mean” and called it a “son of a b—-.”

Wednesday 06.14.17

A gunman shot three people, including Rep. Steve Scalise, at a congressional baseball team practice in Alexandria, Virginia. Rep. Barry Loudermilk, who was at the practice field, proposed that lawmakers should be able to carry weapons, including, presumably, while playing baseball. In response to the shooting, Vox editor-in-chief and U.S. history buff Ezra Klein tweeted: “It’s easy to forget what a blessing it is to live in a country where politics rarely leads to violence.” Hours later, three UPS employees were killed by a gunman at a sorting facility in San Francisco. Former NBA commissioner David Stern, who was called a “modern plantation overseer” by journalist Bryant Gumbel in 2011, called Gumbel “an idiot” and said he, the implementer of the league’s controversial dress code, has “done more for people of color” than Gumbel, a black man. Days after reports came out that UNLV basketball players Dakota and Dylan Gonzalez were quitting the team to pursue music and Central Florida football player Donald De La Haye may have to give up his YouTube channel in the face of NCAA violations, University of Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel said the football team’s recent $800,000 trip to Rome was paid for by an undisclosed school donor. A fire at a London apartment complex left at least 12 people dead. Five Michigan officials were charged with involuntary manslaughter for their roles in the ongoing contaminated-water crisis in Flint, Michigan. Right-leaning cable network Fox News has plans to drop its “Fair & Balanced” slogan, not because the tagline wasn’t true but to further distance the company from Roger Ailes, the late former network president. The Houston Astros, who called up outfield prospect Derek Fisher from Class AAA Fresno, will face the Boston Red Sox this weekend, with right-handed closer Matt Barnes expected to play. For the sequel to 1996’s Great White Hype, retired undefeated boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. and UFC fighter Conor McGregor agreed to a boxing match on Aug. 26. A Texas couple was arrested and charged after authorities found 600 pounds of meth-laced candy, some of which were shaped like Star Wars characters R2-D2 and Yoda, in the couple’s home. A 21-year-old Maine woman, who is a vegetarian, drowned a rabies-infected raccoon in a puddle of mud on a walking trail she had been jogging along.

Thursday 06.15.17

How now, brown cow: 7 percent of American adults believe chocolate milk comes from brown cows. A day after saying that “everyone who serves in our nation’s capital is here because, above all, they love our country,” President Trump tweeted that “some very bad and conflicted people,” presumably members of the FBI, were carrying out “the single greatest WITCH HUNT in American political history.” The Uber driver who shuttled Buffalo Bills cornerback Shareece Wright 540 miles from Chicago to Buffalo, New York, last week is an Iranian refugee who was tortured by Iranian intelligence agents on multiple occasions and hopes to one day become an astronaut; Wright, who was rushing to get to voluntary team workouts, injured his calf during minicamp. In more disturbing Uber news, the company is being sued by a woman who was sexually assaulted by one of the company’s drivers. Dennis Rodman, while still in North Korea, gave two books to country leader Kim Jong Un: Where’s Waldo? and President Trump’s The Art of the Deal. Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino was issued a five-game suspension by the NCAA for his role in the hiring of exotic dancers for players and recruits; the panel that issued the punishment said in its findings that “NCAA rules do not allow institutional staff members to arrange for stripteases and sex acts.” During the Warriors’ championship parade in Oakland, California, forward Draymond Green wore a shirt with “Quickie” written on the front, with the “Q” in the same font as the Quicken Loans logo; the Cleveland Cavaliers play in Quicken Loans Arena. Cleveland forward LeBron James responded to the T-shirt on Instagram with a caption reading “That’s what she said, HUH?!?!?”; fellow NBA superstars Russell Westbrook and James Harden “liked” the photo. Hours later, Green responded with a photo of James with the caption “Them dubs finally made him go bald!!! Congrats bro @kingjames.” A 71-year-old Kansas City man who robbed a bank because he’d “rather be in jail than be at home” with his wife was sentenced to six months of home confinement.

FRIDAY 06.16.17

E-commerce juggernaut Amazon, like most of America, spent a lot of money at Whole Foods, purchasing the supermarket chain for $13.7 billion. President Trump admitted that he is “being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt.” Rod Rosenstein, the purported “man” who told Trump to fire FBI director James Comey, has, like his boss, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, reportedly considered recusing himself from the Russia investigation. To add to the president’s exceptional week, his approval rating dropped to 35 percent in a new poll. Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, apparently bored with life and ready to die at the age of 31, will race a great white shark. After his bodyguards savagely beat protesters last month at the Turkish Embassy, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized American authorities’ response, asking, “What kind of law is this? If my bodyguards cannot protect me, then why am I bringing them to America with me?” NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal, who is black, said he is the “black Steph Curry,” who is also black. The Boston Police Department’s Twitter account sent out a photo of an officer with three black girls along with the caption: “The #BPD Ice Cream Truck gives kids a reason to run towards our officers and not away from them”; the tweet was later deleted. President Trump’s lawyer hired his own lawyer. LeBron James, ironically nicknamed “King James,” said the only two people who can score on him in the post are “Shaquille O’Neal in his prime … and Jesus Christ.” Minnesota Vikings receiver Michael Floyd violated the terms of his house arrest by drinking alcohol; Floyd blamed the failed tests on Kombucha tea.

A state-of-the-art African-American museum is coming to Charleston, South Carolina The $75 million project will include a resource center for African-American genealogy

There are many unique ways to tell the story of the United States’ rich, cultural African-American history. From the first African slaves to step onto American soil to the complex yet resplendent history of African-Americans today, there are still so many stories that have yet to be told.

It’s part of the reason that businessman Michael Boulware Moore, the great-great-grandson of Robert Smalls, an enslaved African-American who escaped to freedom by commandeering a Confederate supply ship, is hoping to help continue to educate the public by spearheading a project that will bring a $75 million African-American museum to Charleston, South Carolina.

“I’ve got a real deep connection to Charleston, to African-American history, to the project, and so I decided to come on and help lead the museum and help raise the money that we need to break ground and to get it built so it can make the greatest impact it can make,” Moore said.

The International African American Museum, slated to open in late 2020, will feature several exhibits that will walk visitors through West Africa in the 17th century and end with the formation of new African-American communities in the 21st century, according to the website. Inside, exhibits will include digital wall backdrops, large-scale film, imagery and life-sized interactive contemporary figures for visitors to engage.

The museum will also focus on the full scope of African-American history, with an emphasis on South Carolina’s role in colonial American history.

Between 1783 and 1808, approximately 100,000 slaves arriving from across West Africa were transported through Gadsden’s Wharf and other South Carolina ports and sold to the 13 colonies, according to an article in The New York Times. Nearly half of enslaved Africans brought to America came through Charleston, and nearly 80 percent of African-Americans can potentially trace an ancestor who arrived in the city.

“Building the museum in Charleston is that one spot where we can all pilgrimage to, to pay homage to our ancestors, pay respects to the sacrifices that they made and contemplate our own lives based on that context,” Moore said. “It was a place where so much economic vibrancy and growth and innovation came from.”

Moore became the chief executive officer of the International African American Museum in February 2016 after being invited to join the museum’s board by former Charleston mayor Joseph Riley. At the time, the board was looking for executive leadership to help move the project along. Having spent more than two decades as an advertising executive leading major marketing campaigns for brands such as Coca-Cola and Kraft, Moore was a perfect fit for the job.

“On one hand, I’ve been this marketer consulting, working and running companies,” Moore said. “On the other, there’s a side of me that’s been focused on social justice, serving others and African-American history. This is the first opportunity in my life where I’ve been able to leverage all of me in service to a project. It’s a very special opportunity. It’s one that I take really, really seriously because of the impact it potentially can have, and I couldn’t be more thrilled about the team we have around us and what we’re doing.”

There are several features Moore and developers plan to incorporate to enhance the museum experience, including a free smartphone app and beacons in each exhibit that will allow visitors to receive the exhibit’s content through video, text and audio right to their phones.

Moore and his team are also negotiating with officials in Sierra Leone to bring artifacts from the West African nation’s old slave fort, Bunce Island, to the museum.

“We’ve discussed bringing a couple of stones that were at the end of a jetty at Bunce Island,” Moore said. “They used to aggregate the captives there, march them down this stone jetty and onto slave ships. The last two stones, we’re talking about retrieving those, bringing them here and using them as a centerpiece of a memorial for the African ancestors.”

One of the most important aspects of the museum will be its Center for Family History, which, according to Moore, is set to become the leading resource center for African-American genealogy in the country. Partnering with DNA firms, genealogy readings will be able to tell visitors specifically where their African ancestry originated on the continent.

“Someone will walk in like most African-Americans and not know a whole lot about their long-term family history,” Moore said. “Most African-Americans can go back maybe to a great-grandparent. They’ll be able to walk out with a full account of their family history back to the first African who came here. It’s really going to be a transformative experience.”

Although several African-American museums exist in the United States, Moore hopes visitors will come to Charleston to pay homage to those who came before them and leave the invaluable experience with a deeper sense of their identity.

“Because this museum is on a spot where almost all African-Americans have a relative, there will be a real connection to the space and to the beginning of our American experience,” Moore said. “What we hope to try to create in this museum is a place where all African-Americans, wherever you are in the country or hemisphere, will want to bring your family here. It’s a place where your ancestors came and a place we can finally go to pay homage to their experiences and sacrifices, and reconnect with them.”

‘The Green Book of South Carolina’ is the go-to black travel guide for this summer This new app allows users to easily find historic black sites in South Carolina

Those seeking to find historic sites that dig deeper into the rich African-American culture of South Carolina this summer will be able to search for exactly what they need with the click of an app.

The Green Book of South Carolina, the brainchild of the South Carolina African American Heritage Commission, is a free mobile travel guide app that highlights more than 300 sites, including cultural attractions, historic cemeteries, districts and markers, and even historically black colleges and universities in the area. The user-friendly app categorizes the sites and uses geotags and interactive maps to show places located within 25 miles of a user’s location.

“This is one of the first statewide mobile travel guides to African-American cultural destinations to be produced by a state anywhere in the U.S.,” South Carolina Sen. Vincent Sheheen told The Journal Network. “It is positioned to increase even further the $2.4 billion annual economic impact of African-American tourism in our state.”

The app’s name and ideas are borrowed and largely inspired by The Negro Motorist Green Book, an international travelers guide created for African-Americans seeking safe places to relax and enjoy themselves during the strict laws and hostile environment of the Jim Crow segregation era. The Green Book, published from 1936 to 1964, was the creation of Harlem, New York, native and postal carrier Victor Hugo Green. It became a bible for African-American travelers who heavily relied on its guidance for hotels, hot meals, safer traveling routes and relaxation without harassment. In its later years, the book was renamed The Negro Travelers’ Green Book and still served the same purpose, updated with more than 1,500 eateries and tourist attractions.

Although the app is a great way to help explore the African-American history that South Carolina has to offer, Dawn Dawson-House, director of corporate communications at the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, encourages users to also follow the app’s social media accounts for last-minute attractions and pop-up events that may not be included in the app.

“One of the best ways to engage with the app is to go to our social media accounts and follow those because there are a lot of things about South Carolina, culturalwise, that are not included with the app that we are able to express on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram,” Dawson-House said. “For example, there is information about black-owned restaurants in South Carolina, festivals that African-Americans run in South Carolina, etc. So if you really want the entire experience of what the Green Book is trying to convey, you have to follow us on our social media pages.”

Miss USA 2017 Kara McCullough: ‘Don’t ever doubt yourself’ The second black woman (and D.C. resident) in two years to take the tiara is all about the power of confidence

Women of color have now taken home the Miss USA crown two years in a row. On May 14, Miss D.C. 2017, Kara McCullough, went “back to back” when she became the 66th Miss USA. Army Reserve officer Deshauna Barber, Miss D.C. 2016, won the competition the year before.

McCullough joked early on in the Miss USA 2017 pageant about being “like Drake” in her hopes of being the second consecutive black woman from the District of Columbia to win the crown, and it all came to fruition. Leading up to the competition, the 25-year-old said, she sat down to have dinner with her coach and was asked, “Do you think you can be Miss USA?” Her answer: “Of course,” she explained.

McCullough admitted, though, that she wasn’t fully confident in her ability to take the title. The hardest task, she said, was not strutting her stuff across the stage or answering the judges’ questions (although her answer on health care did cause quite a stir). For the reigning Miss USA, most difficult task was believing that she actually had the goods to walk away with the crown. But she did lean in and brought to the stage an absolute faith that she would be crowned Miss USA.

“Like, this could be yours,” McCullough told The Undefeated. “So go after it, which is a message for women everywhere. Have confidence. Don’t ever doubt yourself. It’s OK to celebrate your accomplishments. Just really have confidence, because no one can hold you back but yourself.”

The job of Miss USA will take McCullough away from her day job as a scientist for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a bit into the world of philanthropy, world traveling and, she hopes, making change. The newly crowned queen is looking to inspire youth and continue making her parents proud. She also hopes to inspire kids everywhere through her personal project, Science Exploration for Kids.

“As Miss USA, I’m really looking forward to going to the schools and continuing to do science projects with the kids. I’m also looking forward to going to high schools as well. Doing symposiums and seminars, maybe helping them with their college essays. Showing them the benefits of majoring in a STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathmatics] subject and the job opportunities that are available while you’re in college, internships, as well as when you graduate. I’m really looking forward to working with the Miss Universe organization on so many aspects when it comes to STEM enrichment in children.”


The South Carolina State University graduate was positioned for success by her love for sports. She earned her bachelor’s degree in chemistry with a concentration in radiochemistry. McCullough found a love for playing basketball as a freshman in high school when her family relocated back to Virginia Beach, Virginia, after living in Japan. She was named captain of her junior varsity team and later captain of her varsity team during her senior year.

“I finally had an opportunity to be a part of something, to be a part of a team,” McCullough said. “It felt really good to say I was on the basketball team.”

She also encourages the Bethesda Storm, a basketball team of sixth- and seventh-graders that she coaches with similar messages. What began as an outlet for her to interact with children and give back to her community over a year and a half ago became another love for her.

“I didn’t start playing until the ninth grade, but to see these ladies on the court, it really touches my heart because they’re putting effort into the game and it shows their passion for it. I tell them, those are going to fuel you past the basketball courts. The lessons you learn during practice, I’m giving you to take off the court as well. They were so receptive. I love those girls to death.”

When asked what’s the one thing she hopes to impress upon us all, her answer is simple: “Have no fear.”

Throughout it all, she credits her parents for keeping her grounded and hardworking.

“ ‘You know, KD [her parents’ nickname for her], you’re beautiful on the outside, but you’ve never been a nasty or ugly person,’ ” McCullough said, recalling a statement from her mom. “To hear my mother actually say that is reassuring. My dad called me Monday to tell me about how he went to the cleaners back home in Virginia Beach, and they have an article of me posted on the wall. He told me, ‘You know, my chest swole up. Like, you know that’s my daughter, right? Kara, you really made Daddy’s heart happy. My chest is big, like, my daughter is Miss USA.’ ”

According to the Miss USA website, McCullough’s mother is a retired U.S. Navy chief petty officer. She was born in Naples, Italy, and was raised in Virginia Beach before moving to Washington, D.C.


Two of her responses during the pageant sparked controversy. When asked whether affordable health care is a right for all Americans, McCullough replied, “I’m definitely going to say it’s a privilege. As a government employee, I am granted health care, and I see firsthand that for one to have health care, you need to have jobs. So, therefore, we need to continue to cultivate this environment that we’re given the opportunity to have health care, as well as jobs, to all the American citizens worldwide.”

McCullough also explained that she prefers the term “equalism” to “feminism.”

“I try not to consider myself, like, this die-hard like, ‘Oh, I don’t really care about men,’ ” she said at the pageant. “But one thing I’m going to say is, though, women, we are just as equal as men when it comes to opportunity in the workplace.”

In an interview with Good Morning America, McCullough wanted to clarify both comments, although she was not surprised by the backlash.

“For me, where I work at with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, ‘equalism’ is more of a term of understanding that no matter your gender, you are still just kind of given the same accolades on your work,” McCullough said on GMA. “I believe that if a person does a good job, they should be, you know, credited for that in a sense.”

She added, “I don’t want anyone to look at it as if I’m not all about women’s rights, because I am. We deserve a lot when it comes to opportunity in the workplace, as well as just like leadership positions. I’ve seen and witnessed firsthand the impact that women have.”

Khaled’s ‘I’m The One’ is the latest of the DJ’s party anthems A look back at his best records ever — with the help of his son, Asahd

DJ Khaled is rap’s greatest networker. If you follow him down any social media avenue — Snapchat is of course his platform of preference — then you were well-aware that his new single “I’m The One,” featuring Justin Bieber, Quavo (of Migos fame), Chance the Rapper and longtime collaborator /friend Lil Wayne, arrived early Friday morning. It did. And, yes, to answer your question, it’s day-party-ready, already.

It’s a fun, lively record, one you’ll party to throughout the summer and make memories with. And in an increasingly volatile world where headlines often promote paranoia, music’s responsibility is to both reflect the times and to provide temporary escape. Balance is key — “major key.”

Oh-eh-oh-oh-oh, oh-eh-oh / I’m the one: Bieber’s hook is tailor-made for Top 40 radio. And Quavo hits with Steph-Curry-from-the-free-throw-line accuracy: You can run inside my life / From that fame bus. Chance’s joy is infectious, and his We just watching Netflix/ She ain’t got no cable (OK though) line hits hilariously close to home. Plus, if you listen closely, that stampede you hear in the distance is a flood of Instagram pics captioned with Lil Wayne’s I’m the best yet / And my best is yet to come — they’re all being typed right now. “I’m The One” follows “Shining,” Khaled’s hit with The Carters; they’re both singles from his forthcoming 10th album, Grateful.

“I always stay focused and I always stay positive, even through trials and tribulations. I’ve never been the person that complains,” Khaled recently told XXL. “I’ve always been the person that tries to find the solution.” That he does. His Snap essentially serves as his own sitcom as he navigates life searching for Drake vocals, worshipping plants in his garden, getting lost at sea, touring the country, annoying his fiancée Nicole Tuck and dropping jewels on his new best friend — his son, Asahd. He curates the culture around him, finding an equilibrium of personal blessings and professional success. Nearly everyone in rap is a self-promoter. Khaled just does it better than most. Even as his local media organization, the Miami New Times, says Khaled’s career “doesn’t make a whole lot of sense,” walk with me as we rank some of Khaled’s biggest hits. And instead of using mics or stars to dish out grades, we use what really matters: Asahd’s visage.

2007 — ‘We Takin’ Over’ feat. Akon, T.I., Rick Ross, Fat Joe, Birdman & Lil Wayne

There’s a lot to love here. Tip batting leadoff and absolutely obliterating the beat with a saxophonist’s smoothness and D-boy’s bravado is one. Khaled’s running is two. Khaled and Ross pay homage to Biggie and Puffy driving in reverse on the highway, a la 1997’s “Hypnotize.” But more than anything, the highlight here is Dwayne Michael Carter Jr. — better known as Lil Wayne. This is peak Weezy at his unquestioned 2007 apex. I am the beast / Feed me rappers or feed me beats. As the song builds up to this climax, Wayne does not disappoint. Khaled had hits before (see 2006’s “Holla At Me” and “Born N’ Raised”), but this was his first anthem. In fact, Wayne liked the beat so much he doubled back for his solo version on the 2007 classic mixtape Da Drought 3.

Rating: 5 Asahds

2007 — ‘I’m So Hood’ feat. T-Pain, Rick Ross, Trick Daddy & Plies

I said it once and I’ll say it a million more times — the T-Pain era was incredibly entertaining, and he should receive far more credit than he does. I am also biased toward “I’m So Hood,” as it was one of the most memorable anthems of my senior year at Hampton. The hook is fun and, in his days before he became a life coach via Instagram (and perhaps an Uber driver), Plies’ verse is an all-time ratchet soliloquy. Which, yes, I’m still here for a decade later.

Rating: 4.5 Asahds

2010 — ‘All I Do Is Win’ feat. T-Pain, Ludacris, Rick Ross and Snoop Dogg

This is my mom’s favorite Khaled song — although she may or may not actually know who Khaled is. She got into Apple Music not too long ago, and one of the first songs she downloaded was this. Why? Because they play it at every South Carolina State football game she attends. This might be Khaled’s biggest crossover record to date. It’s interactive — everyone feels it and acts it out — which works perfectly in large venues like football stadiums, where everyone wants to win. There’s a reason that every time Khaled performs somewhere he normally leads with this record. A premier record in his career.

Rating: 4 Asahds

2011 — ‘I’m On One’ feat. Drake, Rick Ross & Lil Wayne

Remember where you were six summers ago, and remember how massive this was. It was the anthem, no debate.

Rating: 5 Asahds

2016 — ‘For Free’ feat. Drake

Asahd’s pops hyped this up on Snapchat for weeks, and he still, somehow, undersold the potency of “For Free.” In fact, the only negative thing one can say about the record is that they never filmed a video for it. There’s a reason Khaled is in constant pursuit of Drake vocals. Because they — not to be confused with Khaled archnemesis, #They — rarely miss. Even 2013’s “No New Friends” was a hit, but it now sounds like a completely different record in light of Rick Ross’ explosive “Idols Become Rivals.” The lone exception is 2009’s “Fed Up.” That being said, Toronto and Miami join forces yet again here for not only the song of the summer but the best single in Khaled’s decadelong career.

Rating: 5 Asahds

2016 — ‘I Got The Keys’ feat. Jay Z & Future

While it’s unclear as to whether Khaled holds any sort of stock in the key emoji, he spent all of 2016 drilling us with the importance of “keys” in our daily lives. So much so that Jay Z took a break from being a stay-at-home dad and delivered his own set of life lessons: Key to life, keep a bag coming + ‘Til you own your own you can’t be free / Till you own your own you can’t be me. Plus one more: My swag different, that bag different/ My wife Beyoncé, I brag different. I mean, it’s not Reasonable Doubt or Blueprint Jay, but Hov showed in 2016 he could get still stunt with the best when he feels like it.

Rating: 4 Asahds

2017 — ‘Shining’ feat. Beyoncé & Jay Z

Asahd’s gotten producer credit on a record with Jay Z and Beyoncé, over half a million Instagram followers and has already appeared on magazine covers. Meanwhile, I can’t figure out how to get the apostrophe over the “e” in Beyoncé without copying and pasting from Google and still get excited when the likes on my IG posts go from names to numbers. Yes, my life is quite sad sometimes. Anyway, Mr. and Mrs. Carter reflect on the good life, but what’s really dope — to me, at least — is hearing Jay’s excitement as he prepares for life with the twins. The joy of fatherhood — something Khaled knows all about.

Rating: 4 Asahds

Danny Glover’s zeal for activism continues to burn hot Now 70, the ‘Lethal Weapon’ and ‘Color Purple’ star continues to lend his celebrity to causes that matter

As a paper boy growing up in San Francisco, Danny Glover had a thirst for information. Waking up at 4:30 a.m. to get his papers delivered, Glover made his first read the national section of the San Francisco Chronicle, where he learned that the seeds of activism were being scattered everywhere, not just in the Bay Area.

“These young men and women had a vision of a world that they wanted to see, and I said, Wow, I want to be like that,” said Glover, currently filming Proud Mary in Boston with Taraji P. Henson and Billy Brown.

Glover was destined to be like the men and women he read about. His parents, who worked as postal workers and were active in the NAACP, taught Danny to embrace change through organization.

“That’s a beginning point,” Glover said. “As I got older, I saw a subculture of people who viewed the civil rights movement differently. Some movements saw a connection to the struggles in Africa, radicalization and the Black Power movement. That all came to bear by the time I was 20 years old. Those are the kind of things that were a force in my life.”

It was that force that guided Glover to aspire to be more than an actor — even as he chased bad guys alongside Mel Gibson in the Lethal Weapon series and starred with then-newcomers Oprah Winfrey and Whoopi Goldberg in Steven Spielberg’s The Color Purple.

“I tend to think that my first responsibility is that I’m a citizen,” said Glover, who visited Charleston, South Carolina, last week to attend the inaugural Charleston Civil Rights Film Fest. “I have a responsibility as a human, that if I see certain things I have to say something about it,” Glover continued while seated in a back booth at Hannibal’s Soul Kitchen, a soul food restaurant he first visited while campaigning for then-presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

In a career that has spanned four decades, Glover is not your typical Hollywood activist. His IMDb profile is long, but so is his history of activism. “Lethal Weapon, Predator 2, Shooter, The Color Purple — all those things [are] a past life,” he said bluntly. “What I do today and tomorrow … that’s what matters. What we do in the moment.

“My production company, Louverture Films, just produced three Palestinian films. We’ve got a movie that’ll be at the Cannes Film Fest about Argentina in the colonial period in the 18th century. We were producers on Naomi Klein’s film, This Changes Everything, on climate change; and The House I Live In, a documentary about America’s war on drugs; and also Soundtrack for a Revolution; plus Black Power Mixtape, a documentary about the struggles and growth of activism in the civil rights movement. Those are things I’m passionate about. Those movies don’t get a lot of attention.”

Hip replacement has Glover walking with a slow, deliberate gait these days, but that hasn’t hampered his desire to champion causes at home and abroad. When he was asked to attend the Charleston Civil Rights Film Fest, a three-day event that also featured workshops and public discussions organized by the College of Charleston, Glover was eager to lend his celebrity to the fledgling event.

“Danny is one of the greatest actors of our generation. His acting resume speaks for itself, but his work as an activist and humanitarian has a whole ’nother life — something he ought to be commended for,” said David Dennis Sr., a longtime activist and friend of Glover’s.

“I don’t know if I can be that presumptuous to think [my attendance] is going to achieve anything other than I was here at the beginning of something and people thought that it was important enough for me to be here,” said Glover. “I don’t look to expect anything. All the things around my life find themselves, in some sort of concerted way, toward what I think is important to do. If I think the idea of a civil rights film festival is important, no matter how successful it is, then let me lend my voice to that, period.”

Freedom Song, a made-for-TV film starring Glover and based on true stories of the civil rights movement in Mississippi in the 1960s, was among the films screened. Other films included Scarred Justice, a documentary about the 1968 Orangeburg Massacre; Stanley Nelson’s forthcoming Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Historically Black Colleges and Universities; Common-narrated Two Trains Runnin’, which pays tribute to a pioneering generation of musicians; as well as ESPN Films’ very own Redemption Song, about Howard University’s NCAA national champion soccer teams of the 1970s.

Glover was all too happy to be around projects poised to make an impact, spark social change and create dialogue. Asked what his 70-year-old self might say to his 40-year-old self, a reflective Glover dropped his head and smiled.

“I think he would listen to me,” Glover said. “I would tell him that even though you have 30 years coming up that we can guarantee that you’re going to be around, try to use those 30 years as effectively as you can in the service of justice. Whatever I do in terms of film, ask yourself: What is the service of justice?”

WNBA style: The black-and-white case Nia Coffey and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough stand out as the athletes keep it clean and simple at the 2017 WNBA draft

The newest WNBA draft class was classy and (only slightly) sassy in New York on Thursday as the first round of picks were announced at a short ceremony. Most of the 10 women who attended the event wore black or white dresses or jumpsuits, simple jewelry, pretty makeup and loosely styled hair that draped elegantly across their shoulders.

Kelsey Plum, the 5-foot-8 guard from the University of Washington who finished her college career with an NCAA-record 3,527 points, was chosen first by the San Antonio Stars, and she set the style stage for a parade of little black shift dresses that seemed to be favored as appropriate for the dressy occasion. Seven of the 10 women present looked like they had reached into their mother’s or aunt’s closet for the simplest, safest frock they could find for their once-in-a-lifetime job placement crowning.

Unlike the young men who enter the NBA draft year after year, the women who are looking to enter the WNBA do not, as a rule, arrive at the draft ceremony dressed in outrageous patterns, bright colors or overly costumey ensembles.

There were no Jalen Rose or Amar’e Stoudemire draft moments in this class (look those up if you ever need a chuckle).

The ladies of the WNBA draft were all about to get paid, but their clothes kind of said, “Yeah, so … I’m just gonna hit up this draft situation real quick before church — I’ll just meet you guys there.” There were no Jalen Rose or Amar’e Stoudemire draft moments in this class (look those up if you ever need a chuckle). This was the fashion equivalent of an SMS text.

After Plum’s announcement and cordial photo op, three lovely ladies who played for the NCAA championship-winning South Carolina Gamecocks team — Alaina Coates, Allisha Gray and Kaela Davis — were drafted in the first round.

There were a few fashionable standouts: Nia Coffey from Northwestern was picked fifth by the San Antonio Stars, and the 6-foot-1 forward’s black dress with cold shoulder cutouts looked cool and modern paired with Coffey’s long gold pendant necklace and a pretty slick of red-orange lipstick.

Best dressed of the night was Shatori Walker-Kimbrough from the University of Maryland, who wore a skintight white pantsuit with an attached cape. The newly minted Washington Mystics guard looked like a cross between a superhero and Solange. Or maybe it was Solange dressed as a superhero. Whichever. It was an excellent, clean look, and Walker-Kimbrough should rock it as many times as she can.

The 2017 WNBA All-Star Game will be held at KeyArena, home of the Seattle Storm, on July 22.

Pots & Pans: 70 years after Jackie Robinson’s breakthrough, stats are changing sports but not what makes a hero No. 42 put up great numbers, but they don’t capture his importance

Through the years, observers have called the baseball gloves worn by outfielders Tris Speaker and Willie Mays places where (would-be) triples went to die. For me, those comments illustrate the Hall of Famers’ fielding prowess better than their respective defensive runs saved (DRS) scores ever could. Thus, I’m unlikely to ever lead a baseball conversation rooted in the understanding of advanced defensive stats or any other advanced sports statistics.

But by the Major League Baseball All-Star break, I plan to know enough about advanced baseball statistics to nod at their disciples in an opaque way that masks my lack of knowledge, just as I do when the younger brothers in the barbershops start talking about today’s rap versus the vintage flow from Tupac and Biggie. After all, I believe having even a nodding acquaintance with new languages, interpretations and perspectives can promote understanding among disparate groups.

Besides, advanced and sophisticated statistical analysis looms large in sports. And it’s not just in conversations in barbershops, at workplace water coolers or on sports talk shows, especially those comparing players from different eras. Increasingly, advanced statistical analysis determines how today’s games are played.

In baseball, such analysis has reduced the importance of stolen bases, pitching complete games and making sacrifice bunts. Further, managers such as Dusty Baker, 67, are sometimes criticized for being out of touch with today’s baseball. With a half-century in baseball, Baker, a three-time Major League Baseball Manager of the Year, is more likely to refer to his gut than a spreadsheet when deciding what he and his Washington Nationals ballclub should do. He’s never managed a team to a World Series victory. Further, in a managing career that has lasted more than two decades, Baker has taken the Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, the San Francisco Giants and the Nationals to the playoffs without winning a World Series.

But Theo Epstein, the 43-year-old Yale grad-turned-Major League Baseball front-office rainmaker, has used analytics to put together teams that ended World Series victory droughts of over 80 years each for the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs. Who can argue with Epstein’s approach?

Furthermore, in the NFL, the new numbers game has led to the devaluing of running backs. Their careers in the NFL often go like this: Runners are devalued in a “passing league,” so they are picked in later rounds of the NFL draft and given less money to sign initial contracts. Nevertheless, the best runners run a lot, and just when they’d be rewarded with a big second contract for running a lot and producing a lot, a number cruncher says, “Not so fast.” The player has been running a lot; he’s approaching 30 and about to lose productivity and become more injury-prone. Consequently, the number cruncher recommends that the player — let’s call him John Henry — not be re-signed, or get cut or traded for draft picks.

In big-time college basketball and NBA basketball, the new numbers game has given rise to the 3-point shot. Despite the University of South Carolina women’s team winning the 2017 Division I Championship game while going 0-for-3 on 3-pointers, everyone from the University of Connecticut women’s teams to NBA stalwarts such as the Golden State Warriors have used the 3-point shot to contend for championships or to win them.

Indeed, guard Lonzo Ball, the UCLA freshman who has declared for the NBA draft, presents himself as the ultimate modern baller: He takes 3-point shots or he drives to the basket. He employs his midrange jumper about as often as his dad, LaVar Ball, reveals his humility.

Consequently, young Mr. Ball is already an avatar of contemporary style and practice on the basketball court. I can envision years from now the images of Ball and his younger basketball-playing brothers, dressed as a trio of Sportin’ Lifes from Porgy and Bess, adorning the cover of a video game called It Ain’t Necessarily So. The game will remind players that the well-lived life in sports can’t be captured or appreciated solely through game statistics.

Game players will earn points for the things their video avatars do, including playing with great panache, donating their money to worthy causes, and giving younger athletes sage private counsel rather than showering the younger players with public ridicule. Also, some game players will earn points when their video avatars stay out of trouble and save their money, making it possible for their children and their children’s children to enjoy great wealth and security.

Oh, sure, such a video game promoted by the Ball brothers or anyone else is not likely to happen. But the real winners in sports, such as Muhammad Ali, Roberto Clemente and LeBron James, have shown they understand Jackie Robinson’s telling words: “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”

During his Brooklyn Dodgers career, Robinson compiled a .311 lifetime batting average. He won Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player honors. But his statistics and sports honors don’t begin to capture his enduring significance: Robinson’s breaking Major League Baseball’s color line in 1947 resounds in our country every time another noble warrior redefines what’s possible for future generations.

This week, as we mark the 70th anniversary of Robinson’s majestic triumph, let’s resolve to move our appreciation of Robinson beyond speeches and applause. Let’s honor Robinson, as the Hall of Famer honored his gifts and talents, as he honored the heroes who went before him: Let’s seek to improve the lives of others.

That’s what winners do.