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November 27, 2014

Response to Ferguson: Systemic Problems Require Systemic Solutions

Ferguson ASSOCIATED PRESS

Decades of segregation and inequality in Ferguson, as well as most American metropolitan areas, have fostered a racial inequality exacerbated by the criminalization of not just poverty, but the criminalization of black and brown bodies. Too many whites are too willing to believe that a black body poses a threat.

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Niecy Nash, Pauletta Washington and Others Combine Faith and Entertainment with Merge Summit

Comments (2)



Balancing religious beliefs and the demands of being an entertainer results in a constant struggle for some of today's biggest singers, actors and industry executives, alike.

On Aug. 26, The Merge Summit 2010 will provide an open form to discuss these difficulties amongst a who's who of African-American celebrities attending the three-day weekend to be held at The Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles.

From Black Hollywood bold-faced names like Sheryl Lee Ralph, Suzanne de Passe, Wendy Raquel Robinson and Tia Mowry of 'The Game,' Pauletta Washington and Niecy Nash to music artists such as Hezekiah Walker, Kirk Franklin, Chrisette Michele and Brian Courtney Wilson there are lots of big-names who will take part in the second annual conference.Grammy Award-winning gospel great Hezekiah Walker will host a talent showcase on Aug. 27 during the Merge Summit.

"The Merge Summit is truly an amazing event. It not only brings us artists together and gives us an opportunity to connect but also allows us to give back and help others aspiring to succeed in the industry," the Brooklyn, N.Y. based powerhouse told the Blackvoices.com. "The event really helps to merge secular and sacred, and is bridge that brings us all together"

"I am so looking forward to participating in The Merge Summit 2010," hit-making gospel singer Brian Courtney Wilson also offered. "The Christian Church has historically been out in front in terms of its impact on the arts. This summit can serve as an opportunity to get back to our roots and continue that legacy by finding common ground among the participants."

Meanwhile, philanthropist and wife of Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington, Pauletta Washington, said she was moved to participate by the Summit's co-chairpersons, former talent agent Dr. Holly Carter and famed Hollywood casting director Robi Reed.

"This conference is so very important for our community," she said. "I support both Dr. Holly Carter and Robi Reed in their efforts to bring about more positivity to our industry. I know it's going to be a profound experience."

Washington will host a special VIP kick-off reception 'Opening Night at the Merge' along with Bishop Noel Jones Aug. 26.

"The concept of integrating faith and entertainment has been the story of my life," she added.

Participants will have the opportunity to interact with film and television studio executives in writer and talent sessions. Then, Robinson, Mowry and actor Harry Lennix will share their approach to acting in the 'Acting Up' session.

For 'Creating Music That Sells,' Michele, producer Warryn Campbell and music executive Leotis Cluburn will allow aspiring music producers, songwriters and music supervisors the opportunity to hear their advice on creating quality music in today's ever-changing environment.

Columbia Picture's Devon Franklin will be the featured speaker in 'The Faith Lane,' a session discussing the Merger Summit's overall topic of the intersection between faith and "intertainment."

de Passe who help launch the careers of The Jackson Five, Rick James and Lionel Richie, to name a few, will share her testimonial in a special session.

Also, one of today's top reality television producers and the man behind 'Tiny and Toya' and 'The Michael Vick Project,' James Dubose, will instruct five newcomers on how to successfully pitch their reality television show concepts in his 'Making of a Reality Show' session.

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