TV One saw a major leap in its ratings when the network aired its first feature film Love Under New Management: The Miki Howard Story. According to the network, the movie – which premiered on June 12 – broke record ratings and became the top original movie in network history. It drew in 2 million unique viewers and was rated as the #1 Ad-Supported Cable Telecast among vital African-American demographic groups. The film also was the most tweeted live or news telecast on an ad-supported cable network. “Earlier this year, we promised to REPRESENT the best in Black culture and entertainment by elevating new voices and defying expectations,” Brad Siegel, TV One’s President, said in a statement. “The record-breaking success of ‘Love Under New Management: The Miki Howard Story,’ our first-ever “Unsung” feature film, reflects this commitment. Through brave storytelling, we delivered what our audience craves and deserves.” The week topped off TV One’s highest ratings week of all time. The film, which features stars Teyonah Parris, Darius McCrary, Vanessa Bell Calloway, and LisaRaye McCoy, delved into the struggles Howard was confronted with over the course of her career, which included a strained relationship with her mother, domestic violence, and drug abuse. The network will air the film again on Saturday, June 18 at 10 p.m. ET and Sunday, June 19 at 6 p.m. ET. Read more.


Byron Allen Acquires TheGrio

After Johnson Publishing made the decision to sell Ebony and Jet, another popular Black publication has just been sold. On Wednesday, Byron Allen, chairman and CEO of Entertainment Studios Inc., shared that his company purchased TheGrio. “We are excited to have TheGrio join Byron Allen’s ever-expanding Entertainment Studios media empire,” Co-Founder and Executive Editor of TheGrio David A. Wilson said in a statement. “Byron shares our vision of growing TheGrio into the leading video content creator and distribution platform for African-Americans. We look forward to developing the next iteration of TheGrio, and the fact that it will remain 100 percent African-American owned is very significant.” The online publication was once owned by NBC News, but was sold back to its creators in 2014. Aside from TheGrio, Entertainment Studios Inc. oversees seven other 24-hour HD cable TV networks. Read more.


Southern Baptist Convention Denounces the Confederate Flag before Anniversary of Charleston Massacre

One of the largest religious groups in the country is calling for its members to refrain from displaying the Confederate flag. The Southern Baptist Convention, which has nearly 15 million members, voted to denounce displaying the flag on Tuesday. The group said it is a symbol of “hatred, bigotry, and racism, offending millions of people.” Their decision comes just days before the anniversary of the Charleston massacre. “It’s not often that I find myself wiping away tears in a denominational meeting, but I just did,” said Russell Moore, leader of the group’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. “The Convention recognized today what the flag represents, and what it says to our African-American brothers and sisters in Christ.” This is a major move for the religious organization, which is predominately White, because it has historically supported the Confederacy. Moore shared that although the flag is just a symbol, it still holds power. “Does this change the game as it applies to the crushing issues of racial injustice around us? Of course it does not. But at the same time, we cannot dismiss this as just about symbols. Symbols matter,” he stated. Read more.


Study Shows Cities with the Most African-American Police Officers Have Fewer Black Police Shooting Victims

A new study revealed that cities with more African-American representation on the police force have fewer Black police shooting victims. Academics from New York University and Columbia Law School examined statistics from Fatal Encounters, a database that compiles information from police shooting incidents in an effort to monitor the use of deadly force by officers. According to the research, cities with large Black populations and a lack of African-American police officers on the force have higher rates of police shooting victims who are Black. Less African-Americans died at the hands of police in cities where the racial population is evenly split and the police force is diverse. “Diverse police departments are particularly able to alleviate tensions in cities … where you have preexisting racial, ethnic tensions,” New York University sociologist Joscha Legewie told the Washington Post. The study speaks to what several community activists have been saying all along: Black communities need more police officers of color. Read more.


Report Shows New Jersey Has the Largest Racial Incarceration Gap in America

According to a report conducted by The Sentencing Project, New Jersey has the largest racial incarceration gap in America. Blacks in New Jersey are 12 times more likely to be put behind bars compared to Whites. According to data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics and U.S. Census, African-Americans account for 15 percent of the population in New Jersey and make up 60 percent of the prison population in the state. Despite the alarming numbers, the state of New Jersey has reduced its prison population since the 1990s as a result of criminal justice reforms. Between the years 1999 and 2012, the state has decreased the Black prison population by 30 percent and the overall prison population by 26 percent. “The effect (of state-level reform) on African-American incarceration is probably going to take a little longer because the disparity is so severe,” said Ashley Nellis, a senior researcher at The Sentencing Project. State Senator Ron Rice said that a lack of resources are keeping African-Americans behind bars. “We’re not going to have the resources, so as a result of that, it’s going to create additional problems in terms of people being delayed and staying inside the institutions,” he said. “The process is going to hold them up even more so.” Other states with large racial gaps in regards to imprisonment include Iowa, Minnesota, Vermont, and Wisconsin. Read more.

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty

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