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Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Essence Magazine to furlough staff amid pandemic

The pubication said the negative impact of COVID-19 led to the cancellation of major events such as the popular Essence Music Festival. 

Essence magazine, an iconic American publication dedicated to covering all things Black Girl Magic since 1970, has furloughed staff “due to revenue losses” amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

In a press release on Tuesday, Essence noted that the negative impact of COVID-19 led to the cancellation of major events such as the popular Essence Music Festival. 

“Six months into an unprecedented and continuing global pandemic, COVID-19 has had a broader and longer-lasting impact than anyone expected – and Essence Communications, Inc. (“ECI”) has not been immune to it,” the magazine said in an announcement on Tuesday. 

“Nonetheless, our commitment to successfully guiding this iconic brand through these immediate challenges and forward is unwavering. Our team and the community we serve are too important. The culture we reflect and create is too important,” the publication continued. “The platforms we’ve built for the celebration, inspiration and empowerment of Black women and communities are too important. This is why we are making the business decisions we are making today.” 

Read More: Essence Magazine sexual harassment claims ‘not substantiated’

The publication intends to “pay everyone impacted throughout this week and will cover their medical benefits premiums throughout the furlough,” which is expected to last no longer than six months. 

“We will remain in touch with all of those impacted to provide relevant and pertinent updates regarding this matter as we have them,” the magazine said. “We do not anticipate that any furloughs will exceed six (6) months. We are confident that the actions we are taking now will help ensure that ESSENCE is here to thrive for another 50+ years as an independent Black-owned media business.”

The bombshell furlough announcement comes three months after Essence Magazine was hit with internal backlash from its predominantly Black female staff.

Read More: Essence Magazine’s staffers anonymously call out toxic workplace culture

Accusations of pay inequity, sexual harassment, corporate bullying, intimidation, colorism, and classism are a few of the things the employees outlined in blog published on Medium in June. TheGRIO previously reported, the disgruntled employees called on the advertisers to pull their ads until all of the magazine’s executives are fired, including Essence Ventures owner Richelieu Dennis.

In response to the allegations, Essence issued a statement that read, in part: “It is extremely important to us that we foster a safe, transparent and respectful workspace for everyone and that we expect that from everyone – not just those who work for us, but also those who work with us.”

Meanwhile, Dennis issued a lengthy statement via Instagram this week, in which he addresed the shake-up at the publication due to the COVID crisis. He makes clear that “Essence isn’t going anywhere, whether it’s pages, stages or screens.”

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from TheGrio

Ciara, Vanessa Bryant bond over breastfeeding in new photo

The image shows the dynamic duo draped in a blanket while cradling their babies. 

Fans of Vanessa Bryant and Ciara have dubbed the duo ‘friend goals’ after they shared an image on Monday of them together on a private plane while breastfeeding their babies.

Both women are draped with a blanket as Bryant cradles her 15-month-old daughter Capri while Ciara is holding her 2-month-old son Win Harrison Wilson. The multi-platinum artist captioned the moment, “Got Milk?:)” along with the hashtag #MomLife.

On Tuesday, Bryant took to Instagram to post an adorable photo of her cuddling with Ciara and Russell Wilson’s baby boy.

“Sweet Baby, Win,” Bryant captioned the image. In the comment section, Ciara called Kobe Bryant’s widow “Auntie V,” while Wilson described the pic as “the sweetest.”

Read More: New WW ambassador Ciara says she gained over 65 pounds during pregnancy

Ciara and her NFL star hubby welcomed their son on July 23. The couple are also parents to 3-year-old daughter Sienna, and the Grammy winning songstress shares 6-year-old son Future with her famous ex of the same name.

View this post on Instagram

Got Milk?:) @vanessabryant #MomLife 🥰

A post shared by Ciara (@ciara) on

Shortly after giving birth, Ciara explained the special meaning behind Win’s unique moniker to ET’s Nischelle Turner

“There was a lot of love and thought put into it. Russ, we would talk about names, and Russ kind of always had this name Win in the rotation, years ago, before we knew we were having a girl,” she said. “He had all the good names and Win won. So Win is the name and he’s so cute. He’s so precious.”

Last week, WW International, formerly known as Weight Watchers, announced that Ciara has signed on to be the company’s newest global ambassador, theGRIO reported.

“After recently having my third child my life is more hectic than ever, and I know that I have to care for myself first, so that I can take care of everyone else,” Ciara said in a company press release. “I’m committed to setting a positive example for my children and to me, that means still eating the foods I love while making healthier choices. I’m just getting started, but I’m determined and I feel great!”

In an Instagram Story, CiCi encouraged her followers to share their own fitness journeys, as she herself continues to shed the pounds she packed on while pregnant with her third child.

Read More: Ciara uplifts Vanessa Bryant during play date: ‘The toughest mama I know’

“I’m a woman of ambition on a mission and I want to make it happen, I want you guys to join me on this exciting journey,” she explained. “It’s going to be challenging, I know it’s not going to be easy, but I’m ready for it!”

Vanessa Bryant and Win Harrison Wilson/Instagram

In the WW press release, the “Level Up” singer also shared how she wants to “help people take their health into their own hands” during the ongoing coronavirus epidemic.

“I’ve always appreciated being in shape — I’m ready to get back at it and lose the baby weight,” she said. “But I’m also very aware that my life is more eventful with three kids, so a restrictive lifestyle doesn’t work for me anymore.”

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from TheGrio

Botham Jean’s family says they weren’t invited to city’s ‘Bo Day’ celebration

‘I don’t know what you want to call it but I see it as gross disrespect.’

Two years after Botham Jean was fatally shot inside his apartment by former Dallas police officer Amber Guyer, the city celebrated “Be like Bo” day on what would have been his 29th birthday on Tuesday. 

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson proclaimed Sept. 29, 2020 a day of celebrating Jean’s life and work. Jean’s family traveled back to Dallas to observe his birthday, but claim they were not invited to participate in the city hall event announcing “Be like Bo” day, NBC reports. 

“I don’t know what you want to call it but I see it as gross disrespect,” Botham’s mother Allison Jean said. “I hate to see people use my son’s name, just for the publicity, just for the optics — that disrespects his family.”

Mayor Johnson’s office said they notified the family about the event through their pastor, who attended the celebration.

Read More: Texas law enforcement group gives Botham Jean’s brother award for hugging Amber Guyger

“Like my mom said, I call it disrespect, Mayor Johnson has disrespected Botham’s family from day one,” said Jean’s sister, Alisa Charles-Findley.  

“My son was never one involved in any confusion, my son was focused, he was clear with what he wanted in life, he respected people and in his death I expect people to give the same to him while he lived,” Allison Jean added.

Earlier this year, the NFL put out a gripping and heartfelt PSA humanizing Botham Jean. The video was part of the #EveryonesChild campaign under the Responsibility Program, a joint initiative between the NFL and Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, theGRIO reported. 

The video is narrated by Jean’s mom and sister, and also includes Jean’s father, Bertram Jean

In the PSA, Allison Jean says “To know Botham was to love him. The world has lost a great man. He was destined for greatness.”

“Botham was everything to us. I just can’t do without him being here,” Botham’s father adds. “I looked forward to the day Botham would have gotten married, having kids. Life is not sweet anymore.”

Read More: In new #EveryonesChild PSA, Botham Jean’s mom says she hopes Black boys will no longer be seen as a threat

Returning to Dallas, the Jean family intends to continue their fight for police reform.

“There have been so many other persons killed since Botham, that his name may be forgotten. Because last year we should remember, Jemel Robinson, we should remember EJ Bradford, we should remember Atatiana Jefferson, it comes on this year, it starts off with Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Rashard Brooks, Jacob Blake, so it’s just growing and growing and growing,” said Allison Jean.

“I think the city of Dallas needs to go back to the words that I used immediately following the trial, that they need to clean up. Because we could see that there is a lot of trouble going on within the police department,” she added. 

Guyger was convicted last year for the murder of Botham Jean and sentenced to ten years in prison. In August, she filed an appeal to overturn the conviction.

In recent months, activists and supporters have called for the renaming of Lamar Street to “Botham Jean Boulevard,” which his family believes “is quite appropriate” as it is the “street on which he lived and died,” said Allison Jean.

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from TheGrio

Nextdoor Brings Neighbors Together: Tamika Mallory, John Hope Bryant and Lorraine Cochran-Johnson Talk COVID, Community & Building Better Bridges

There was a time when you knew to be home before the streetlights came on, especially if you grew up in a neighborhood where everyone knew your name. Some things have changed, yet technology has enabled us to become even more connected than ever.

September was Neighborhood Month, and with the theme of “Together for Better Neighborhoods,” Nextdoor, partnered with Atlanta’s own 11Alive for a conversation that brought community leaders together to discuss ways to rally around neighborhood businesses, elevating one another and more. 

The event highlighted topics ranging from how COVID has impacted society at large to understanding how to partner with police officers and enact community-led initiatives. The panelists touched on engaging in the political process, why economic and political power go hand in hand, and more.
  • Tamika Mallory, activist and Co-Founder of Until Freedom
  • John Hope Bryant, Founder of Operation HOPE
  • Lorraine Cochran-Johnson, Dekalb County Commissioner District 7

Watch “Together for Better Neighborhoods” in full here.

What role do neighborhoods play in building better bridges between community and civil service organizations?

Tamika Mallory, Co-Founder of Until Freedom

The question really has to be, what are our organizations, elected officials, civil service outlets going to do to be closer to the community? How can we create light, rather than darkness in communities where people feel that they want to be part of the process.

I try to tell people when I’m organizing all the time, that we can protest and show up at the local city council meetings. The local police accountability meetings. We can still run for the local seats, whether it be the school board, district leader in our communities and protest when we see issues where we feel that our people have been treated unjustly. 

Know thy neighbor -- how can neighborhoods thrive when bridges are built instead of walls?

John Hope Bryant, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE, Inc.

Nextdoor is the one place where you get to talk to the Republican next to you, the Democrat next to you. The white person next to you, the liberal down the street, the police officer. In other words, everyone is siloed these days, if all you want to get is a certain kind of news, then social media or whoever is happy to feed it to you. So now you’re getting an echo chamber of what you already believe. So now you’re angrier, you’re more frustrated, you’re more removed from your neighbor as it relates to a resolution. But through this network, you have through the very nature of community, a way to have a real conversation. 

What are the biggest challenges that you envision in a post-COVID Atlanta?

Lorraine Cochran-Johnson, Dekalb County Commissioner District 7

Currently across the United States, 66 percent of Americans are now working remotely. In terms of the economic shift that COVID has caused, we were already seeing a trend towards online sales, but currently because of COVID-19 we’re finding that more and more people are purchasing online and we’re rethinking brick and mortar and how we move forward - as not only consumers - but as communities. So many business models will be restructured as we move forward.

Recently, I held a town hall and we had over 700 people that participated, both Zoom as well as streaming, and we looked at how to start an online business. How to source products globally, because as the marketplace shifts, if we are going to remain competitive it is time that we rethink traditional models as well as service delivery. Because we will never be the same. 

5 Ways to Help Grow and Strengthen Your Own Community

  • Building stronger communities requires people to be educated on elected positions in their communities or even running themselves.
  • When given opportunities and access to the political process, Black America has excelled.
  • Wealth creation, home ownership and more are all important for economic empowerment.
  • Jobs and affordable housing create safer, and more engaged communities.
  • Local communities can be the catalyst for change on a larger scale.

Known as a place where you can “get the most out of your neighborhood,” more and more people are turning to Nextdoor to learn about their communities, get recommendations, and support local businesses. Download the Nextdoor app and tap into your neighborhood today. 

Watch “Together for Better Neighborhoods” in full here.

from Blavity News

Cuomo says state will have final say in vaccine approval, administration

Health care experts, scientists and state officials will vet all federally authorized Covid-19 vaccines to ensure they are safe — and not used as political tools — before being administered and will supervise distribution throughout New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday.

The governor, who has repeatedly criticized the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, said he’s formed an independent Clinical Advisory Task Force to review every Covid-19 vaccine authorized by the federal government and counsel the state on their safety and effectiveness in fighting the virus.

He also announced a Vaccine Distribution and Implementation Task Force — also composed of public health, immunization and government operations experts — to design a plan for how New York will distribute and administer vetted Covid-19 vaccines.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont announced earlier this week that his administration will also form a task force to prepare for distribution of vaccines in his state.

Cuomo said he formed the commissions because he’s “not going to trust the federal government's opinion” on coronavirus vaccines, particularly given the recent disputes between the White House and the Food and Drug Administration.

President Donald Trump has asserted that a vaccine could be ready before Election Day, despite pushback from senior health officials who’ve said such a timeline is unlikely. He’s also suggested that the White House may not approve tougher FDA guidelines for authorizing the emergency use of any coronavirus vaccines.

“The way the federal government has handled the vaccine, there are now serious questions about whether or not the vaccine is become politicized,” Cuomo told reporters at a morning news conference. “There's been tremendous reporting on that, and the people of this country don't trust this federal government with this vaccine process. … Between the president and the FDA, only one entity has engaged in the political process and is heading for Election Day. It's not the FDA.”

The Vaccine Distribution and Implementation Task Force will specifically look at: vaccine prioritization based on clinical guidance; distribution network capacity; qualified professionals to administer immunizations; supply procurement, data infrastructure and public education efforts.

State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker, Budget Director Robert Mujica and SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras, who have helped lead the state’s Covid-19 response, are among those appointed to the 16-member Vaccine Distribution and Implementation Task Force.

Other members include: Greater New York Hospital Association President Kenneth Raske, Northwell Health President and CEO Michael Dowling; Healthcare Association of New York State President Bea Grause; and 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East President George Gresham.

Cuomo said panel should ensure that New York has the best vaccination program in the nation.

“I think the way we have handled Covid has been a model for this country. I want New Yorkers to do the same thing with vaccines,” he said. “We should be the model vaccination program in the country. I also think there’s a tremendous advantage for any state that could be the first Covid-free state.”

The governor’s announcement comes just one month after he said his administration would reviewing if DOH would have the authority to overrule FDA approval of a Covid-19 vaccine that’s not fully vetted. He later doubled down on that assertion, saying New York would not endorse a federally backed Covid-19 vaccine until it was reviewed by state health officials.

FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said Wednesday that the agency “will not authorize or approve a vaccine we won’t be confident in giving to our families.”

from Politics, Policy, Political News Top Stories
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Changes expected for next debate after first-round ugliness

‘I just hope there’s a way the commission can control the ability of us to answer the question without interruption.’

Following the disastrous presidential debate on Tuesday, the group that sponsors the event intends to roll out a few changes aimed “to maintain order” during the next faceoff between Donald Trump and Joe Biden.  

The presidential debate commission wants to prevent a repeat of the chaos that erupted between the candidates in Cleveland on Tuesday night. As noted by CNBC, Trump and Biden frequently ignored moderator Chris Wallace’s rules, talked over each other, and traded jabs by name-calling. At one point, the former vice president told the ex-reality TV star, “Will you shut up, man?”

The most memorable moment from the debate came when Trump refused to denounce white supremacy, and he called on the often violent alt-right group Proud Boys to “stand down, and stand by,” which members took as the green light to live out their fantasy to fight antifa in Trump’s defense. 

As reported by NBC, Proud Boys organizer Joe Biggs posted after the debate that he was “standing by,” and that Trump “basically said to go f— them up.”

Read More: Biden breaks single-hour record for donations after contentious debate

“President Trump told the proud boys to stand by because someone needs to deal with ANTIFA… well sir! we’re ready!!” Biggs wrote.

Wallace, a longtime Fox News anchor, attempted to host an orderly 90-minute debate and at times he struggled to maintain control.  At one point he told Trump, “the country would be better served if we allowed both people to speak with fewer interruptions. I’m appealing to you, sir, to do that.”

Trump lashed out at Wallace many times during the debate and shortly thereafter on Twitter.

In the end, Biden described the political theatrics as “a national embarrassment.”

The commission said in a statement Wednesday that it will soon implement changes to its format, as the initial debate “made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues.” 

The commission added that it “will be carefully considering the changes that it will adopt and will announce those measures shortly.”

The group is considering giving the moderator the ability to cut off a candidate’s microphone while his opponent is talking, ABC 7 reports.

Tim Murtaugh, communications director for the Trump campaign, said the commission was “only doing this because their guy got pummeled last night. President Trump was the dominant force and now Joe Biden is trying to work the refs.”

Read More: World reacts with surprise, worry to 1st Biden-Trump debate

Trump also addressed the planned changes in a tweet, writing “Try getting a new Anchor and a smarter Democrat candidate!”

At a campaign event in Ohio, Biden told reporters he’s in full support of changes to the debate format.

“I just hope there’s a way in which the debate commission can control the ability of us to answer the question without interruption,” Biden said. “I’m not going to speculate on what happens in the second or third debate.”

In a post-debate chat with The Times, Wallace said, “As a practical matter, even if the president’s microphone had been shut [on Tuesday] he still could have continued to interrupt, and it might well have been picked up on Biden’s microphone, and it still would have disrupted the proceedings in the hall.”

The next presidential debate between Trump and Biden is scheduled for Oct. 15 in Miami. A third debate is slated for Oct. 22 at Belmont University in Nashville.

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from TheGrio

How Trump torpedoed the presidential debates

For more than 30 years, the Commission on Presidential Debates managed to keep the peace between Republican and Democratic nominees and set the terms of engagement in an official, serious and highly structured way.

On Tuesday, in the span of less than two hours, President Donald Trump laid waste to those long standing norms and traditions.

In the aftermath of a chaotic and widely-panned debate marked by Trump’s repeated interruptions of his opponent, falsehoods and persistent squabbling with the moderator, the commission announced Wednesday it’s considering as-yet-unspecified changes to “ensure a more orderly discussion.”

The commission’s brief statement didn’t mention either candidate by name, but it was clear the move was intended to crack down on the disruptions largely, though not exclusively, instigated by the president.

For the COPD, it was a tacit admission of failure. For Trump, it offered a capstone for his four-year campaign attacking the legitimacy of what he refers to as the “so-called Commission on Presidential Debates.”

“They’re only doing this because their guy got pummeled last night.” the Trump campaign responded in a statement. “President Trump was the dominant force and now Joe Biden is trying to work the refs. They shouldn’t be moving the goalposts and changing the rules in the middle of the game.”

The suggestion that the commission was contemplating rules changes at Biden’s behest was in keeping with Trump’s grievance-driven politics, serving as a campaign-sustaining elixir for a candidate who thrives on chaos and picking fights with the political establishment. It’s also a preview of what’s to come for the next 34 days on the campaign trail as Trump, trailing in the polls, seeks to cement the narrative that the fix is in and the system is rigged against him in his bid to win a second term.

“He’s a grievance guy. Everybody’s always out to screw him,” Nelson Warfield, a veteran Republican strategist and debate-prep specialist, said in describing Trump’s mindset and his appeal to his base. “He wins despite the establishment colluding against him.”

Trump’s efforts to undermine the commission date back before his first debate with Hillary Clinton, when in August 2016 he claimed without evidence that Clinton and the commission colluded to schedule the first two debates during NFL football games to minimize the size of the viewing audience.

Trump then raised the issue of a biased debate, saying he wanted a “fair moderator” — an issue he resurrected in his clashes Tuesday night with moderator Chris Wallace, the gravelly voiced, no-nonsense host of “Fox News Sunday.”

Despite his objections, Trump ultimately participated in the 2016 debates. But in October of that year, after a debate in which he was widely considered to be the debate loser in snap polls and focus groups, he attacked the commission once again, suggesting that studio sound issues were designed to undermine him.

The commission remained off his radar for another three years, until in December 2019 — not long before the first Democratic primary votes — Trump began bashing it for alleged bias and being “stacked with Trump Haters & Never Trumpers.” He mused publicly about doing more debates and circumventing the commission.

None of that came to pass. Behind-the-scenes negotiations between the campaigns and the commission this month remained out of the public eye and the first debate took shape without any drama.

“They accepted the venues. They accepted the format. They accepted the moderators. There was an uncharacteristic lack of Trumpian nonsense,” said Philippe Reines, who played Trump in Clinton’s debate preparations in 2016. “They didn’t work the refs behind the scenes. But obviously, it gave way.”

The commission — a bipartisan nonprofit composed of political, media and educational figures — declined to comment for this article.

A sign of what was to come Tuesday night occurred the morning of the debate. The Trump campaign amplified a baseless conspiracy theory that Biden’s campaign wanted the Democrat to wear an earpiece so he could have instructions given to him remotely — a repeat of a false claim advanced by the president’s son and allies in 2016 against Clinton. Biden’s campaign denied the claim.

Then came the debate. Within moments, Trump began interrupting Biden, running through moderator Chris Wallace’s questions as well.

“Mr. President,” Wallace said at one point. “Your campaign agreed both sides get two-minute answers. Uninterrupted. Your side agreed. Observe what your campaign agreed to.”

An increasingly frustrated Wallace kept interrupting the president, imploring him to let Biden finish. Suddenly, the president had the clash he appeared to be spoiling for: a fight with the establishment media.

“I guess I'm debating you, not him,” Trump said. “But that's OK. I'm not surprised.”

Trump’s longtime friend and advisor Roger Stone quipped that “Trump very clearly defeated Chris Wallace in the debate with Biden coming in a distant third .... This is the perfect example of why you don’t accept the authority of the Commission on Presidential Debates, which is neither a commission, nor appointed by the president nor does it have anything to do with the debates.”

The Biden campaign has pledged to accept “whatever set of rules” the commission comes up with. The next presidential debate is scheduled for Oct. 15.

Whether his attacks on Biden, Wallace and the commission were successful is an open question. Some veteran Republican strategists and even some of Trump’s own advisers grimaced at his performance, fearing it turned off undecided and swing voters, especially women, who are siding with Biden in droves.

“He’s his own political strategist. It’s like an alternate universe. But the fact is, he’s in the Oval Office and so it’s impossible to argue with him,” one Trump adviser said privately. “If we didn’t have a lot of support from women heading into the debate, we sure as hell didn’t walk out with more.”

But Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, one of Trump’s top TV surrogates, said doubters don’t understand the president or his base.

“The president was dominant. His voters know that Washington needs to be interrupted,” Gaetz said. “A lot of MAGA voters resent the elitism that Chris Wallace personifies.”

from Politics, Policy, Political News Top Stories
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Trump’s Proud Boy moment sparks Black outrage in Florida

TALLAHASSEE — President Donald Trump’s shoutout to the far-fight hate group Proud Boys is energizing black voters to turn out against him in the must-win state of Florida.

“His call to the white supremacist group Proud Boys to ‘stand by,’ and telling his followers to go to the polls and watch them, that is straight up voter suppression,” said incoming state Minority Leader Bobby DuBose, a Black Broward County Democrat.

DuBose made his comments during a conference call to roll out Democrat Joe Biden’s “Black men, VOTE!” campaign, a push to secure what has been an important but inconsistent Florida voting bloc.

The Biden call was scheduled before Trump stood on the debate stage in Cleveland and ordered the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by,” creating a sense of urgency and outrage that could work in Biden’s favor.

“He had an opportunity to sort of dim the views of the underbelly of the country,” said former Florida Rep. Alan Williams, a strategic adviser to Biden’s campaign and former head of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus. “I was watching with my son last night and my daughter was with us on Facetime. That was hard.”

Florida’s Black vote has been consequential in recent election cycles, delivering an outsized impact on outcomes in a battleground where every vote matters. Trump’s remark on Tuesday could motivate Black voters, which overwhelmingly support Democrats, in a state he almost certainly has to take to win reelection.

The Proud Boy moment was one of few that broke through the chaotic 90-minute debate, during which Trump seized the stage, ignored the ground rules and interrupted both Biden and moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News. Almost immediately, the debate was labeled “a national embarrassment.”

“This summer we had a sort of American spring, if you will,” said Williams, referring to mass protests in the wake of the killing of George Floyd. “It was a clarion call that the president needs to be the leader for everyone, and last night Trump showed us he was not up to that task.”

Trump on Wednesday tried to walk back his comments, telling reporters that he didn’t know who the Proud Boys were despite mentioning them by name.

“I don’t know who Proud Boys are,” he told reporters in Washington. “But whoever they are they have to stand down, let law enforcement do their work.”

Paris Dennard, the Republican National Committee’s adviser for Black media affairs, said the president has denounced hate groups, including the Proud Boys. Trump has called for antifa and the KKK “to be labeled terrorist organizations,” she said.

The Proud Boys are no strangers to Florida politics. During the 2018 Republican gubernatorial primary, the group disrupted an Orlando forum featuring Ron DeSantis and Adam Putnam. Members of the group handed out anti-DeSantis literature and picked shouting matches with DeSantis supporters as the event came to an end.

The group opposed to DeSantis in the primary that year, but have since shown up at events in support of the first-term governor.

If Trump’s comments weren’t a racist call to arms, as most viewed it, that message was lost on the Proud Boys themselves. The group quickly unveiled a new logo with the words “stand back and stand by,” and private message boards were full of self-described Proud Boy members embracing Trump’s acknowledgment of the group on the nation’s biggest political stage.

“I can tell you this was not a dog whistle,” said Maya Brown, a Tampa-based Democratic organizer working to turn out Black and Hispanic voters. “To not only fail to condemn, but actually directly ignite a group like the proud Boys was shocking to me. It was hard for me to watch.”

But Black voters really flexed their muscle in the 2018 Democratic primary, making up nearly 30 percent of the turnout and helping Andrew Gillum, the Black former mayor of Tallahassee, win an upset primary race against former Democratic Rep. Gwen Graham.

“If you’re looking for an example of where Black voters make a difference in Florida, there might not be a better example than Andrew Gillum,” Brown said. “Everyone counted him out, but he mobilized progressive and black voters and that got him through the Democratic primary.”

As a candidate, Biden wants to give $15,000 in federal down-payment assistance for first-time Black homebuyers, invest $70 billion in Historically Black Colleges and Universities, offer student loan forgiveness and protect the Affordable Care Act.

Trump’s plan for Black communities, which he has dubbed the “Platinum Plan” includes expanded tax credits for minority-owned businesses, increased lending to black-owned small businesses and more federal contracting opportunities for minority-owned businesses.

In most Florida public polling, Biden has maintained a strong lead. The former vice president was up 86 to 11 with Black voters in an ABC News/Washington Post poll earlier this month, consistent with turnout in the past two election cycles.

As the Biden campaign turns its focus to turnout, it wants to recreate the momentum that lifted Obama to the White House.

“Go back in history in 2008 and 2012, Black men voted in historical numbers for President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden,” Clifton Addison, who is helping lead Biden’s Florida Black turnout effort, said on the conference call. “The Biden campaign hopes to recreate that energy in November.”

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National Intelligence chief gave little notice for briefing on Russian assessment

The nation’s top intelligence official raced to arrange a briefing for senators on Tuesday night, according to three congressional sources, after declassifying what he acknowledged was an unverified Russian intelligence assessment.

The hastily assembled briefing, led by Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, caught staffers off-guard and exacerbated concerns about what Democrats said was the deployment of Russian disinformation to support President Donald Trump’s effort to discredit the investigation into his 2016 campaign’s contacts with the Russian government.

The episode also revived allegations from Democrats that Ratcliffe, a former Republican congressman and a longtime ally of the president, is abusing his position to aid Trump politically by selectively declassifying documents intended to denigrate Trump’s political opponents. Much of that information has been revealed through Republican senators who are conducting investigations targeting those opponents.

According to an email obtained by POLITICO, a Ratcliffe aide reached out to several Capitol Hill staffers at 6:36 p.m. Tuesday, four hours after Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) released the newly declassified Russian intelligence.

The aide invited congressional leadership aides and staff from three committees — the Senate Judiciary Committee, as well as the House and Senate Intelligence committees — to the Senate Intelligence Committee’s secure workspace for a 7:15 p.m. briefing, just 39 minutes later. The invitation sent staffers, many of whom are working remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic, scrambling to get to the Capitol in time.

“Sorry in advance for the short notice, but if Members in receipt of this letter are available, the DNI will likely be heading down to brief Chairman Graham, Chairman Rubio and other Members who can attend,” read the email from Ratcliffe’s legislative affairs chief, Rob Cooper.

The timing and rushed nature of the briefing — a sharp departure from typical briefings arranged by ODNI — led some Democrats to suggest it appeared designed to offer Graham and only a limited audience of lawmakers and aides the details about a significant national security matter, while blocking others’ access and creating logistical challenges they knew couldn’t be overcome.

Graham on Wednesday denied that he had been “privately briefed.”

At the conclusion of the email from ODNI, Cooper added, “Knowing that this is very short notice and many may not be able to attend, we would be happy to set up another session that other interested Members can also attend.“

The House Intelligence Committee has requested a separate briefing, according to a congressional aide.

The invitation described the briefing as being intended primarily for Graham and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), the acting chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, even though Rubio was unavailable to attend.

Ratcliffe’s office later prevented some of those committee and leadership staffers from participating in the briefing, with the exception of those who work for the Senate Intelligence Committee, according to sources familiar with the matter. The sources said officials with Ratcliffe’s office claimed they could not verify whether the staffers were cleared to receive the specifics on the Russian intelligence.

Just hours earlier, Graham had released a letter from Ratcliffe revealing a Russian intelligence assessment stating that Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee in 2016, personally approved a campaign strategy to pin Russia’s hack of the Democratic National Committee on Trump and his campaign.

Ratcliffe noted that the U.S. intelligence community “does not know the accuracy of this allegation or the extent to which the Russian intelligence analysis may reflect exaggeration or fabrication” — leading Democrats and, privately, some Republicans to question why Ratcliffe and Graham released it in the first place. POLITICO reported Tuesday that the Senate Intelligence Committee quickly rejected the Russian assessment as part of its three-year investigation into the Kremlin’s 2016 interference campaign.

On Wednesday, Graham defended his decision to release the information despite concerns about its veracity, maintaining that it was important to ask former FBI Director James Comey, who testified before the Judiciary Committee earlier Wednesday, whether federal officials pursued allegations against Clinton “with the same vigor” as they investigated claims about Trump’s ties to Russia.

Graham has been spearheading an investigation into the origins of the Russia probe — an inquiry that Trump has openly encouraged and that Democrats have derided as a politically motivated effort.

“I am really concerned that we are treating this Ratcliffe letter as something at all serious or credible. And, Mr. Chairman, I hope very much that nobody from this committee had any hand in generating this letter,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said during Wednesday’s Judiciary Committee hearing, referencing Ratcliffe’s letter.

“This rings just innumerable bells about the dangers of selective declassification.”

Trump referenced the disclosure in his first debate with Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, on Tuesday night. It was among several allegations pushed by Senate Republicans in recent weeks that Trump used to bludgeon his opponent.

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Biden transition elevates former Facebook exec as ethics arbiter

Joe Biden’s transition team named Jessica Hertz, until recently a Facebook executive focused on government regulations, as its general counsel on Wednesday and charged her with navigating conflicts of interest and other ethical issues for the Biden administration-in-waiting — a move that drew immediate fire from the left.

“The ultimate arbiter for ethics for the Biden transition was a senior regulatory official for Facebook up until a few months ago, at a time when progressives and the Biden campaign are fighting against the right-wing agenda of Facebook,” said Jeff Hauser, the director of the liberal Revolving Door Project, which focuses on executive branch personnel and transitions. “Please make it clear that I think the Trump administration is insanely corrupt and I’m not equating the two, but this is deeply disappointing.”

Hertz will oversee a team responsible for “enforcement, oversight, and compliance” of the ethics plan that Biden's team also released Wednesday. In it, they promise to reestablish many of the rules President Barack Obama instituted to limit the role of former lobbyists in the 2008 transition — which Biden was also involved in.

“Biden-Harris ethics rules should go as far or further than the Obama-Biden administration in banning corporate lobbyists, officers, or agents with conflicting loyalties from serving in the next Administration,” said Caitlin Lang, a spokesperson from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which is closely aligned with Sen. Elizabeth Warren. “These ethics rules unfortunately are not as strong as the Obama administration's and do not come close to rebuilding trust in government or meeting this moment."

The early clash is likely a preview of the coming fight between the left and the center over administration personnel should Biden win in November. The outrage over Hertz's Facebook ties is also yet another sign of how controversial the social media company has become among liberals since President Donald Trump's surprise 2016 victory.

Tensions between the Biden campaign and Facebook continue to escalate during the final stretch of the campaign. “Millions of people are voting. Meanwhile, your platform is the nation’s foremost propagator of disinformation about the voting process,” Biden campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon wrote to Mark Zuckerberg earlier this week. “Rather than seeing progress, we have seen regression.”

Biden, himself, told The New York Times editorial board last year that, “I’ve never been a fan of Facebook, as you probably know. I’ve never been a big Zuckerberg fan. I think he’s a real problem.”

During just over two years at Facebook, Hertz served as a director and associate general counsel, where she handled “a wide range of government inquiries and regulatory investigations,” according to her biography for Columbia Law School, where she has been a lecturer. Before that, she was principal deputy counsel to Biden during his vice presidency and counsel to Deputy Attorney General James Cole.

If Biden wins in November, his transition team has told Democrats that they expect it to grow to at least 350 people by Inauguration Day. That team is tasked with helping vet and select the more than 4,000 political appointees that a new administration must hire.

Biden's transition is the first that has been required to publicly release their ethics plan by Oct. 1, under a new law passed earlier this year.

Among other things, Biden's rules bar those who’ve worked as registered lobbyists or foreign agents in the past year from working on the transition unless Hertz signs off. They also forbid transition staffers from working on any “specific Transition matter” that they’ve lobbied on in the past year or plan to lobby on in the coming year without Hertz’s approval.

Biden's transition team has already made a few exceptions to the rules.

"We have granted a handful of authorizations, including for individuals with expertise in pandemic response who recently advocated on behalf of their public interest, non-profit employers," a transition official said.

The transition team did not answer questions about how the review process works and whether they will disclose the staffers who receive exceptions. "The assumption is we should all just defer to the ethics of somebody’s who’s been defending Facebook recently," said Hauser.

Obama’s rules required the transition’s executive director to sign off on hiring of anyone who had worked as a lobbyist in the past year. In 2008, Obama tasked an aide from his Senate office, Chris Lu, to make such decisions, rather than someone from the business community.

Trump, in contrast, initially allowed registered lobbyists to serve on his transition team; Vice President Mike Pence forced them to deregister or leave the transition when he took over the transition after Trump’s upset victory.

Progressives, however, had hoped Biden would broaden restrictions on lobbyists to apply to those who work in Washington’s influence industry but aren’t registered to lobby, making it harder for them to serve on the transition or in a Biden administration.

Some of those people are currently heading up policy working groups the Biden campaign has charged with coming up with ideas for a future administration. They include Mignon Clyburn, who worked as a paid consultant to T-Mobile last year as it pursued a merger with Sprint and is now a co-chair of Biden’s innovation policy working group; and Chris Jennings, a consultant who’s advised companies such as CVS Health and General Motors and is now a co-chair of Biden’s health care policy working group, according to people familiar with the groups.

The ethics plan has been a highly anticipated read inside the Beltway, particularly among progressive activists trying to push a potential Biden administration to the left, as well as the small army of D.C. lobbyists and consultants hoping for a government job should Biden win. People with ties to industry and veterans of past Democratic administrations have argued that an overly strict ethics policy could force Biden to pass over the most qualified people for jobs during a moment of dueling economic and public health crises.

Biden’s rules do include a provision that might irritate K Street: They prohibit transition staffers from promoting “their work for the Transition during their service and for 12 months thereafter in any business or professional marketing materials.” Transition staffers who become lobbyists often talk up their work for the president-elect in their biographies as a way to help drum up businesses. Neither Obama’s nor Trump’s transition teams instituted such a rule.

But some progressives were skeptical the rule had real teeth. Said Hauser: "They can’t market it, themselves, but come on, their work on the transition is going to be known by a potential client."

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University of Georgia Officials Don't Think the School Has a Major Racism Problem. Students Disagree

Last week, The Root reported that the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity at the University of Georgia was suspended and is under investigation after a Black student exposed a group chat by frat members that devolved into a blatant display of racism, misogyny and homophobia. Well, it turns out that the Lambda Chi Alpha…


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Be My Biopic Star: Zendaya in Talks to Play Ronettes' Lead Singer Ronnie Spector in Film Adaptation of Her Life

Fresh off her historic Emmy win for her starring role in HBO’s Euphoria, Zendaya is now in talks to star as singer Ronnie Spector in an upcoming biopic about the legendary front woman of the girl group, the Ronettes.


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‘A huge misstep’: Trump allies see a lost opportunity in first debate

President Donald Trump spent his first 2020 presidential debate heckling his opponent at every turn. His supporters are hoping he got it out of his system — for good.

Trump aides and allies saw Tuesday night’s event, a 90-minute schoolyard brawl featuring incessant interruptions from the incumbent Republican and pleas from his Democratic opponent to quit the “yapping,” as an avoidable tragedy in the president’s quest for reelection.

As the dust settled in Cleveland and the Trump campaign claimed victory over a “weak” performance by former Vice President Joe Biden, others involved in his reelection effort were less convinced the president did himself any favors. If anything, they said, he might have done more harm than good.

Indeed, the leading complaint from some of Trump’s top allies following the opening debate was not the perceived unfairness of moderator Chris Wallace — though they took repeated issues with the Fox News anchor’s performance — or Biden's evasive answer to a question related to the Supreme Court, but the president’s own demeanor. Overcome with scorn for Biden, Trump jabbed and jeered his way through the night without ever giving his opponent a chance to self-implode. The strategy confounded supporters who had giddily approached the first debate thinking it would be a prime opportunity for voters to see the 77-year-old Democratic presidential nominee stumble through answers with rambling responses and cringe-worthy gaffes.

One Trump adviser had flashbacks to the O.J. Simpson trial, likening Trump to the football legend’s domineering defense attorney Barry Scheck and Biden to frazzled prosecutor Marcia Clark. But while Scheck may have “brilliantly” saved his client with merciless cross-examinations, the adviser said Trump’s attempts to corner Biden only further imperiled his unstable campaign.

Another person involved with the president’s campaign said they couldn’t blame anyone who turned the TV off halfway through the debate: “The few independents that we need, I imagine some of them just flipped the channel after the first hour.”

Others were more blunt.

“It was really frustrating to watch,” said Dallas investor Doug Deason, a GOP mega-donor and Trump supporter. “He’s the president of the United States. He should have not let it get out of hand like it did and instead he led it.”

Deason was invited by the Republican National Committee to watch the debate at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, where dozens of MAGA fans spent Tuesday night sipping cocktails and watching the ugly contest unfold. He declined the invitation, but assumed many of those who attended shared his frustrations as they took in the debate from a gilded ballroom blocks away from the White House.

“The whole thing was just so cringe-worthy,” he said. “They’re blaming Biden, but they’re not happy with Trump. The president should have sat back and let Biden just talk himself into circles, but instead he kept interrupting.”

“He saved Biden’s day by doing that,” Deason added. “It was a huge misstep.”

Between now and Oct. 15, when Trump and Biden are scheduled to face off for the second time in Miami, some Trump supporters said they want the president’s demeanor to undergo a wholesale makeover. Instead of constant interference, they want brief interruptions to introduce topics left untouched by the moderator or to pose open-ended questions to Biden. Rather than juvenile insults, they want the witty one-liners that defined Trump’s performances in the 2016 GOP primary debates.

Barring a course-correction in the second debate, they said the president could permanently jeopardize his campaign’s effort to win over undecided voters and reverse his eroding support with women.

“He needs to show a little more of his charm and humor, less anger,” said Seth Weathers, former director of Trump's Georgia campaign and co-founder of a conservative apparel business.

“More quips, less hits,” Weathers added.

The cast of “Fox & Friends,” a Fox News morning show Trump watches religiously, on Wednesday morning aired a rare segment in which several conservatives close to the Trump campaign also grumbled about the president’s debate performance.

“The president interrupted way too much. Mr. President, please don’t do that in the next debate,” said former Trump campaign adviser Stephen Moore.

In the same segment, Ari Fleischer, a White House press secretary under President George W. Bush, urged Trump to “interrupt less” and “let Biden flail" next time.

The person involved in Trump’s reelection effort said the president ruined several moments during the Cleveland debate when Biden appeared to be on the brink of delivering an unsatisfactory answer, but was interrupted by Trump before he could complete his sentence.

This person cited Biden’s response to Wallace when he asked if the former vice president, who has billed himself as a “transition candidate,” would support the Green New Deal climate plan championed by progressives. Biden, whose campaign website describes the multi-trillion dollar proposal as a “crucial framework for meeting the climate challenges we face,” distanced himself from the deal – that is, until Trump jumped in to suggest his opponent had “just lost the radical left.”

“It was one of those things where you just kind of wanted him to finish his thought. I was like, ‘You’ve got him cornered, just let him finish it,’” said the person involved in Trump’s reelection.

Weathers said Trump should have refused to discuss other topics until the former vice president definitively said he would support or oppose court-packing if elected.

“Are you willing to tell the American people tonight whether or not you will support either ending the filibuster or packing the courts?” Wallace suggested, referring to a scenario floated by some progressive activists in which Democrats could add more justices to the Supreme Court bench to erase its conservative tilt.

“Whatever position I take on that, that will become the issue. The issue is the American people should speak… Vote and let your senators know how strongly you feel,” Biden responded.

Before Wallace could pose a follow-up, Trump cocked his head toward Biden and pounced: “Are you going to pack the court? Are you going to pack the court? He doesn’t want to answer the question.”

“Who is on your list, Joe?” Trump continued, referring to Biden’s yet-to-be-released names of potential Supreme Court nominees.

The president “could have done something more theatrical than what he did” instead of repeatedly interrupting Biden on the court-packing question, said the Trump campaign adviser. “It is outside the mainstream of America to support packing the court and for a presidential candidate to say, ‘No, I’m not going to answer that question,’ I just think the president should have had a more succinct response ready to go.”

The format of the next debate is likely to reduce bickering between Trump and Biden — directing their focus toward audience questions in a town hall-style format as opposed to simply responding to the moderator and each other — though it is unclear if the president and those involved in his debate preparations are eyeing a different approach.

While former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who has spent the past few weeks practicing with Trump, admitted he was “too hot” on the debate stage, the president himself seemed pleased with his performance. Following the debate, Trump lit up his Twitter feed with retweets of people who praised his combative style and suggested in a Wednesday afternoon tweet that the disorder that ensued the previous night had nothing to do with his conduct.

“Try getting a new Anchor and a smarter Democrat candidate!” Trump tweeted in response to a statement from the Commission on Presidential Debates promising to add new “tools to maintain order” in the remaining verbal contests.

“President Trump controlled the entire conversation… and kept Joe Biden on his heels and looking weak and unable to defend his 47 years of failure in Washington,” said Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh. “We are enthusiastic about the upcoming debates and look forward to them.”

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Parscale steps away from Trump campaign as wife denies physical abuse

Brad Parscale, a senior adviser to Donald Trump’s campaign who was involuntarily detained by police this weekend, said he is stepping away from the reelection effort and seeking help for what he called “overwhelming stress” on him and his family.

In a statement provided to POLITICO on Wednesday, Parscale’s wife, Candice, also denied that Parscale physically abused her, despite a police report which said she told authorities the contrary.

“The statements I made on Sunday have been misconstrued, let it be clear my husband was not violent towards me that day or any day prior,” she said.

Parscale, 44, was demoted as campaign manager in July as the president’s poll numbers cratered. Long one of Trump's closest aides, Parscale remained on the reelection effort in a limited capacity: He made trips from his home in Florida to the campaign’s Arlington, Va. headquarters and worked on digital projects, including producing videos for the Republican National Convention.

“I am stepping away from my company and any role in the campaign for the immediate future to focus on my family and get help dealing with the overwhelming stress," Parscale said in the Wednesday statement.

According to a statement she gave to police, Candice Parscale fled their waterfront Fort Lauderdale home after watching her husband cock a handgun. Police reports and video footage depicted a chaotic situation, with Candice Parscale telling law enforcement that her husband was “ranting and raving.”

Police arrived at the home after receiving a call from Terry Bethal, a real estate agent who spotted Candice Parscale while showing a home nearby. While the two huddled in Bethal’s car, the 41-year-old Parscale told a 911 dispatcher that she initially heard a loud noise and thought her husband might have shot himself.

In the police reports and on the call, Candice Parscale said her husband had been making suicidal comments and was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Police also said they spotted "larged sized contusions” on Candice Parscale’s arms, cheek, and forehead.

Police eventually coaxed Parscale out of his house. Body camera footage released by the Fort Lauderdale police department showed the 6-foot-8-inch Parscale — shirtless and holding a beer can — being tackled by law enforcement. After officers placed handcuffs on him, Parscale told them repeatedly, “I didn’t do anything.”

The Trump aide was detained under the Baker Act, which allows people who are deemed to be a threat to themselves or others to be involuntarily held.

After serving as digital director on Trump’s 2016 campaign, Parscale helped to lead the pro-Trump super PAC. He was named campaign manager for the reelection effort in 2018. A trusted confidante of Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, he developed a close relationship with the president and his family.

“We hope only for the best for Brad and his family,” said Tim Murtaugh, a Trump campaign spokesman.

While Candice Parscale said in her Wednesday statement that her husband did not hit her, police say she told them otherwise. Steven Smith, a SWAT team member who responded to the residence, said in his report that “when I asked how she received the bruising, Candace [sic] Parscale stated Brad Parscale hits her.”

Another officer, Timothy Skaggs, said he identified bruises on Candice Parscale’s arms. Skaggs said she told him they “occurred a few days ago during a physical altercation with Bradley, which she did not report.”

In the 911 call, Bethal can also be heard asking Candice Parscale about the markings. “What are those bruises? Oh no. Did he do that? Oh my gosh, your arm. Has he been hurting you?”
Parscale did not audibly answer.

A Florida judge late Tuesday granted Fort Lauderdale police the authority to seize all guns and ammunition from Parscale, with a final hearing set in October. In its request to the court that the guns be taken, police said “further investigation has revealed that Mr. Parscale’s drinking and violent behavior increased shortly after he was demoted at his employment.”

The Parscales have told people they are suffering from ongoing distress over the loss of their twin children in 2016, both of whom died prematurely. They have also complained about the scrutiny surrounding Parscale’s tenure as campaign manager.

The couple said in a joint statement Wednesday: “We extend our thanks for everyone’s thoughts and support during this difficult time for our family and we eagerly await all of the facts emerging.”

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Garcelle Beauvais reveals intimate details about friendship with Jamie Foxx

Beauvais did not hold back while revealing some personal information about her former co-star

Garcelle Beauvais kept it very real about a former co-star on The Real’s latest episode. The newly minted co-host divulged an intimate detail about her former costar Jamie Foxx.

Foxx and Beauvais were costars on The Jamie Foxx Show which ran for five seasons from 1996 – 2001 on the WB. The two played each other’s on-and-off-again love interests and it appears some of that chemistry made it off-screen.

Read More: Garcelle Beauvais to join ‘The Real’

On a recent episode of the show with co-hosts Loni Love, Adrienne Bailon, and Jeannie Mai, Love asked Beauvais about a hot topic recently discussed on her podcast, Going to Bed with Garcelle.

Jamie Foxx and Garcelle Beauvais in 2002. (Getty Images)

Love recalls when Foxx was a guest and admitted that he and Beauvais should have been together in real life. Beauvais told the other co-hosts on The Real: “We have a great friendship, I love him, but you know sometimes – if we got together we probably wouldn’t be the friends we are right now.”

But that’s not where it ends. Love wanted more details after Beauvais said Foxx was “hung like a horse.”

Read More: Garcelle Beauvais reveals a woman once thought she was biracial sons’ nanny

Beauvais said while they were doing the show that there were ample opportunities for Foxx’s man parts to make an appearance.

“We did 100 episodes right. Every now and then, he’d have to rip off a pair of pants, or do some comedic act or whatever, however you want to say it. And it came out honey, it rolled out,” she said. “I love him so much. Never say never, who knows?”

A stunned Mai and Bailon were visibly amused by the revelation.

Beauvais is also the newest cast member of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and the first Black woman to play a main character on the show.

Watch the full segment of The Real below:

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Biden breaks single-hour record for donations after contentious debate

Donations poured into the Joe Biden campaign after he and President Trump sparred in their first debate and he raised $3.8 million

If you saw any portion of last night’s presidential debate you were likely shocked not just how contentious it was but how much is at stake in November if President Donald Trump remains in office. The president was at times bellicose, rude, and downright belligerent and even Fox News host Chris Wallace who moderated seemed stunned by his inability to stick to his appointed times to speak.

Read More: Proud Boys take Trump’s ‘stand back and stand by’ callout as marching orders

The millions who tuned in who may have been undecided voters or already Joe Biden supporters but they responded not just with disbelieving social media posts but also money. According to CNBC, Biden’s single-hour donation record was broken as monies poured into his campaign coffers. His campaign manager, Kate Bedingfield, announced that $3.8M was raised between 10 and 11 p.m. on a post-debate call with the media.

Joe Biden
(Credit: Getty Images)

The Democratic National Committee also reported record donations between 11 p.m. and midnight, though a specific figure was not specified, according to Now This is News.

“Joe Biden spoke directly to the American people tonight and they are responding,” Bedingfield told reporters.

While the debate motivated voters to spend, the death of progressive Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg on Sept. 18 also propelled would-be Biden supporters into donating more than $300M in small-dollar donations.

Trump has yet to release post-debate numbers, but Now This is News says that the campaign has mismanaged so many millions of dollars that Trump has considered putting up some of his own money.

Americans Across The Nation Watch First Presidential Debate
A broadcast of the first debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is played on a TV at The Abbey, which seated patrons at socially distanced outdoor tables, on September 29, 2020 in West Hollywood, California. The debate being held in Cleveland, Ohio is the first of three scheduled debates between Trump and Biden. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Despite his debate performance and Biden’s strong showing in campaign fundraising, sources say that Trump is undeterred in his confidence about reelection. A “prominent Republican” told Vanity Fair that Trump believed he won the debate, though even some in his camp thought he’s in trouble.

Read More: Robert Johnson on possible support of Trump: ‘I will take the devil I know’

“The thing about the debate is people got to see why no one that has any integrity can work for Trump, the unnamed Republican says. “This is what Trump is like in the Oval Office every day. It’s why [John] Kelly left. It’s why [Jim] Mattis quit. Trump doesn’t let anyone else speak. He really doesn’t care what you have to say. He demeans people. He talks over them. And everyone around him thinks it’s getting worse.”

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