Damon Weaver, Student Journalist Who Landed High-Profile Interviews, Dies Unexpectedly At 23

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Damon Weaver participates In Early Vote Canvass Kickoff on October 27, 2012 in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Larry Marano/WireImage)

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Damon Weaver was in elementary school when he turned heads with his interview with former President Barack Obama. An inspiration to many, Damon unexpectedly passed away recently. He was just 23 years old.

Most children who visit D.C. do so as a part of a class trip, not to interview one of the most powerful people in the world. 

Before meeting Obama, Damon had one-on-one interviews with professional athletes Dwyane Wade and Anquan Boldin. In a throwback interview with The Palm Beach Post, a young Damon described his excitement at interviewing notable Black celebrities during the 2009 inauguration festivities. 

Oprah Winfrey, T.D. Jakes, L.L. Cool J and Chris Tucker were among those dazzled by the charm of the student journalist. Damon also matched wits with Diane Sawyer during an appearance on Good Morning America. 

Damon got his big break in 2008 when a teacher wanted students to join a local news project. He was a natural in front of the camera. Before he interviewed Obama, Damon snagged an interview with then-Sen. Joe Biden ahead of the 2008 election.

After a year of trying and with the help of celebrity friends like Wade, Damon finally got to talk with the nation’s first Black president.

With only 10 minutes to chat with the president, Damon came with real questions about education and what actions he would take to keep kids safe. Damon also wanted to know if the president could make school lunches better. 

A bright kid with an amazing smile, Damon enjoyed being out front. His sister Candice Hardy described him as “the life of the party” in an interview with the local NBC affiliate.

“Everybody just couldn’t wait to be around him,” Hardy told WPTV. “Family gatherings were always fun because of his presence.”

The youngest of her siblings, Hardy, said Damon texted her from the hospital. He passed away before she could arrive. 

A pastor in the community where Damon grew up, Rev. William Holmes, told local news that “[Damon] inspired others to be great.” 

A graduate of Royal Palm Beach High School in Florida, Damon was a communications major at Albany State University in Georgia. Albany State offered the bright young reporter a full scholarship after seeing his elementary school portfolio, according to the South Florida SunSentinel.

It’s been two weeks since Damon passed away. His family continues to wait for a final determination as to his cause of death.

Hardy told the Palm Beach post her brother wanted to pursue a career in sports journalism covering the NFL. A trailblazer in student journalism, Damon paved the way for kid reporters to be more than cute novelties.

“A lot of people looked up to him,” Hardy said. “With him being so young, he made a way for more students to engage in journalism.”

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Damon Weaver, Student Journalist Who Landed High-Profile Interviews, Dies Unexpectedly At 23  was originally published on newsone.com

Tulsa Race Massacre Commission Boots Oklahoma Governor For Signing Racist Legislation

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Ahead of an event marking the 100 years since the Tulsa race massacre, the group tasked with planning the centennial removed the Oklahoma governor from its committee. The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Commission reached a consensus on the matter, according to local news.

While the commission did not expressly state the reason for his removal, the move comes after Gov. Kevin Stitt signed Oklahoma’s version of Trump’s 1776 misinformation in the form of an anti-critical race theory bill. 

Members of the committee urged the governor not to sign the bill. Faith leaders, educators, and other community members reached out to the governor, asking him not to sign the bill.

The Black Wall Street Times editorial board was among those demanding Stitt be removed for his willing participation in making the anti-critical race theory bill a reality. Despite their differences in opinion, the commission was gracious in its statement. 

Stitt clearly learned nothing about grace and gratitude. Even after his removal from the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Commission, Stitt learned nothing from the past week. Instead of reflecting on the impact of his decision, Stitt doubled down.

“It is disappointing to see an organization of such importance spend so much effort to sow division based on falsehoods and political rhetoric two weeks before the centennial and a month before the commission is scheduled to sunset,” read a statement from Stitt’s office.

That’s rich coming from someone steeped deep in conservative disinformation and deflection. Dismissing the actual concerns communities had about the passage of HB 1775 is another example of Stitt being out of touch on matters of equity.

Last week Stitt explained his motivation to sign the controversial bill had to do with feelings, not facts. And yet, there is no legitimate public purpose or valid argument to support the passage of laws like Oklahoma’s HB 1775.

The attack on expansive discussions of racial justice and equity predates former President Donald Trump. But his rhetoric and policy framings fanned the flames of this current iteration of revisionist history. 

Stitt was given the option to resign earlier in the week. Oklahoma’s News 4 reported the commission sent a letter to Stitt asking him to step down or clarify his intent regarding the commission’s goals. 

“The Centennial Commission feels that your signature on the bill at this critical time when Oklahoma should embrace its history is diametrically opposite to the mission of the Centennial Commission and reflects your desire to end your affiliation,” read the statement.

The commission continued to question Stitt’s understanding of reconciliation and restoration given his signing of a bill that promotes an educational environment that avoids both concepts. While Stitt maintains the new law would not prevent teaching about the Tulsa Race Massacre and other events such as the Trail of Tears, the bill could limit the scope and veracity of conversations of these events and others. 

The Centennial Commission is moving forward with its work, including the “Remember and Rise” event on May 31, 2021. Check out the full list of events here.

SEE ALSO:

Oklahoma Governor Puts Feelings Over Facts By Signing Anti-Critical Race Theory Law

Black Tulsa Leaders Want Sen. James Lankford To Resign After Backing Electoral College Challenge

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Tulsa Race Massacre Commission Boots Oklahoma Governor For Signing Racist Legislation  was originally published on newsone.com

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OFFICIAL RULES

Lil Reese Shot In Chicago For The Second Time In Two Years

Lil Reese was reportedly among three men who were shot Saturday morning (May 15) inside a parking lot in Chicago.

According to CWB Chicago, the incident took place in Chicago’s River North neighborhood. Two men, a 20-year-old who was shot in the knee and a 28-year-old whose eye was grazed by a bullet, are currently at Northwestern Memorial Hospital listed as in fair to good condition, while the other, a 27-year-old victim whose body was shot multiple times, is in serious condition at Stroger Hospital.

TMZ reports that the Chicago rapper was the 28-year-old gunshot victim involved in the shooting. Police have yet to officially release any of the names of those involved.

RELATED: Rapper Lil Reese In Critical Condition After Being Shot

Additionally, TMZ reports that no one is in custody at this time and that their detectives are further investigating the incident.

According to CWB Chicago, when police arrived on scene they found three men who suffered gunshot wounds along with a stolen Dodge Durango that was littered with bullets and crashed at the site.

This is the second time in less than two years Lil Reese has been shot in his hometown. In late 2019, he was shot in the neck and miraculously survived.

ABC’s ‘Black-ish’ To End With Season 8

Black-ish is reportedly coming to an end.

The ABC comedy, which stars Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross, will end with its eighth season. Show creator Kenya Barris confirmed the news in an Instagram post on Friday (May 14).

“#BLACKISH ANNOUNCEMENT!!! -To ALL the people in the world I love, honor, respect and care for it is both exciting and bittersweet to share that black-ish been RENEWED by ABC for it’s EIGHTH… and FINAL SEASON,” he wrote. “In this day and age it is rare to get to decide when your show should come to an end, and we are grateful along with ABC to be able to make this final season exactly what we’d hoped for – and to do it with the entire and AMAZINGLY STELLAR cast coming back to close this chapter out with us the right way!” 

RELATED: ‘Blackish’ Season 7 Returns To Address The Election, COVID-19 And Everything In Between

Additionally, Barris said the show “changed my life in so many ways” and that the show allowed him to “change not just the narrative of Black Families” as well as “Family, Culture, and the World in general.”

Black-ish premiered back in September of 2014 and has since garnered multiple Emmy nominations as well as a Peabody award. The sitcom has also received numerous spinoffs, including Old-ish, Mixed-Ish and Grown-ish.

Rick Ross Debuts Belaire ‘Bleu’ With Jay Leno As Moneybagg Yo Joins Villon Spirits

Rick Ross is stressing the importance of networking as he aligns with superstars for the launch of his latest Luc Belaire product.

Initiated by Gucci Mane’s introduction of Belaire’s new “Bleu” bottle on Wednesday (May 14), Rick Ross issued a call-to-action for his close friends and peers to support his latest spirit in a series of Instagram posts shared to his personal account.

In the midst of Rozay’s social media brand ambassador recruitment operation, he flexed his expansive social network connections by popping up at the Las Vegas opening of Berner’s Cookies dispensary and sharing a candid shot of his recent link-up with former Tonight Show host Jay Leno — all while relentlessly pressing on with his rollout promotions.

“We both collect cars,” Rick Ross started off in the caption stamped with a #lifeisgood tag. “We both love @officialbelaire … BELAIRE BLEU hand delivered to my dear friend Jay Leno @jaylenosgarage. The power of networking and building new relationships is priceless. Start today!!! Follow everyone TAG’D join the family.”

Along with Jay Leno, Rick Ross recently galvanized members of his social network such as DJ Khaled and Jim Jones for heavyweight Belaire co-signs and also added A Gangsta’s Pain rapper Moneybagg Yo to the roster of brand ambassadors promoting premium French cognac brand Villon.

Hip Hop Week In Review: Rick Ross Wants 50 Cent To Endorse Wingstop & Cardi B’s ‘WAP’ Floods Conversations

As Rozay prepares his fans palettes for a taste of Belaire “Bleu,” the Port Of Miami 2 rapper is also gearing up for his passion project-fueled appearance on his car buff acquaintance’s YouTube series Jay Leno’s Garage.

“Detail is everything,” Rick Ross wrote in the caption of the photo featuring he and Jay Leno presiding over his 1957 Chevy Bel Air. “I thank Jay Leno @jaylenosgarage for bringing me and my team @geterk_183rd @iamlexpierrelouis to Burbank,California to film an episode starring my prized possession ’57 Renzel’ built by @57freddy out of Miami.

“I got to ride thru Cali hills top down, windows up talking classic rides with the Legend today. Cool shit huh..episode coming stay tuned!!! Dade county just took it to another Level.”

Rick Ross has become known and celebrated for the vast expansion of his sprawling real estate empire and seemingly never ending fleet of luxury vehicles over the past few years.

Last October, Ross added 87 acres of land to the to the 254 already in his possession, which he has dubbed the “Promised Land,” after purchasing a chunk of territory in Georgia. He also blew Diddy’s mind in January when the REVOLT founder visited his 109-room Atlanta estate following the wrapping the filming of an Amazon Studios production, which reportedly fetched him a whopping $2.75 million in profits.

He also appears to be passing down his motor vehicle love affair to his offspring because he purchased a Bentley for his daughter’s Sweet 16 birthday gift in 2018.

For car enthusiasts interested in more automobile related content, tap in and check out HipHopDX’s new Connected DXTS interview series featuring 2021 Corvette cloth-talk with Jet Life Recording bossman Curren$y.

Hip Hop Pioneer Captain Rock – Who First DJ’ed For Andre Harrell’s Duo Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde – Has Died

More sad news is coming out of the Hip Hop community. According to veteran New York City Hip Hop promoter Van Silk, pioneering Hip Hop artist Captain Rock has died.

Van Silk confirmed his death in a Facebook post on Sunday (May 16), writing, “RIP TO MY BROTHER RONNIE GREEN aka CAPTAIN ROCK. Sad how we are losing our brothers & sisters. 1979 seems like it was yesterday of us chillin upstairs at Harlem World. Definitely a one of a kind brother who had a different style with his music. Please let’s not get it twisted Ronnie Green abs not judge his records was definitely a beast back then on the mic.

“Many of times we hung out at the park Foster Projects when they had the king towers tournament. Did a few parties with him. Last time we spoke was 2019 because I wanted him to perform at the 46th Anniversary of Hip Hop #SoBs He said RC I definitely will call you back. Never heard from him again!!!!! MAY HE REST IN HEAVEN.”

Captain Rock’s history in Hip Hop culture dates back to the 1970s when he DJ’ed for Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde under the moniker DJ Ronnie Green. The duo was comprised of Alonzo Brown and the late Andre Harrell, who went on to establish Uptown Records and later spearhead Motown Records. Harrell, of course, is also known for discovering Sean “Diddy” Combs.

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Captain Rock was a regular at Harlem World, a club owned by Jack Taylor AKA “Fat Jack.” Taylor also owned Tayster and Rojac Records, which he ran out of Harlem World from 1979 until 1984. They recorded the late Luvbug Starski’s first single produced by David MacDonald nicknamed “Mighty Whitey.” Other acts on the label included Harlem World Crew and Lady Smiley.

Harlem World and Jack Taylor are featured in the latest issue of Wax Poetics, which talks about the impact both had on Hip Hop.

“Jack Taylor’s real contribution was discovering the rap group, Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde,” the article states. “The late Andre ‘Dr. Jeckyll’ Harrell would form Uptown Records, the label that would lay the blueprint for the fusion of R&B and Hip Hop. He would have a huge hand in the slick, soulful style that would be a trademark of the music until this day.”

Signed to NIA Records, Captain Rock dropped “Cosmic Glide” in 1982, “The Return Of Captain Rock” in 1983 and “Cosmic Blast” in 1984. After a long hiatus, he teamed up with Ol’ Skool Flava to release To The Future Shock, which included his biggest hits.

Van Silk estimates Captain Rock was around 60 at the time of his death, but no cause has been revealed. Par for the course, tributes are popping up on social media. HipHopDX sends our condolences to all those who loved Captain Rock AKA Ronnie Green.

Check out some of the reactions below.