LISTEN: Steve Harvey’s New Book “Jump” Inspired by His Christian Faith; John Legend Pens Open Letter Asking Obama to Help Nonviolent Drug Offenders (BCNN1, 12/11/2016)

1. According to the Christian Post, Steve Harvey is looking to help people get in touch with the Holy Spirit to live their best lives with his latest book, Jump: Take the Leap of Faith to Achieve Your Life of Abundance. Throughout the years, the comedian and No.1 New York Times bestselling author has written books about love and finding success. On Monday, Harvey released the book Jump which has been inspired by his Christian faith. A description of the book on Amazon, calls Harvey’s latest book a “heartfelt collection of spiritual devotions.” Harvey, who has struggled to overcome homelessness and several failed marriages before becoming a successful comedian, radio and television host, gets candid about the trials and tests that he had to overcome in his latest work. The inspiration for Harvey’s book came from the host of “Family Feud” speaking to his studio audience about God last January after he thought cameras had stopped rolling. While it was not aired on television, Harvey’s team captured a special moment where the host encouraged his audience by letting them know that God wanted them to live their lives more abundantly. All they had to do was take a leap of faith by jumping.

2. According to Rolling Out, John Legend has flexed his political and activist muscles on many occasions in the past, making him one of the most beloved and outspoken celebrity activists of our generation. And recently, Legend flexed his power and influence for the greater good again when he wrote an open letter to President Barack Obama asking that he lend a helping hand to nonviolent drug offenders. According to reports, Legend recently published the letter via Rolling Stone and asked Obama to grant clemency to as many non-violent drug offenders as possible before his term as president ends. In the letter, Legend notes the Obama administration’s unprecedented work to commute sentences for drug offenders and their work to reduce the use of private federal prisons.

3. According to the Christian Post, Michelle Williams is using her voice for something more than just singing gospel music. The former Destiny’s Child member wants to help young people overcome depression. Williams, the 36-year-old gospel music singer, was a speaker at The Kennedy Forum event “Young Minds: Building Resilience and Well Being for the Next Generation” that took place Tuesday at the Hilton Chicago in Chicago, Illinois. There, Williams was able to share her testimony and touched more than just the young people in attendance with her story. Patrick J Kennedy, the nephew of former U.S. President John F. Kennedy who served as a Rhode Island congressman before struggling with his own mental health issues, founded the Kennedy Forum three years ago. Kennedy applauded Williams for sharing her testimony.

4. According to Shorefire Media, Head over to NPR Music to check out “Hey Devil!,” the soul-stirring new “playful raver” from ten-time Grammy-winner CeCe Winans’ new album ‘Let Them Fall in Love,’ coming out February 3 on Puresprings Gospel/Thirty Tigers. NPR’s Ann Powers calls Winans “an American superstar,” adding that “Hey Devil!” is “a mighty blast of joy.” “Hey Devil” was written by Winans’ son Alvin Love III, who also co-produced the new album with Tommy Sims (Bonnie Raitt, Michael McDonald), and it finds Winans at the peak of her powers, backed by vocal group The Clark Sisters, The Nashville String Machine, a full horn section, and slinky clavinet. ‘Let Them Fall in Love’ is CeCe Winans’ first album in nine years and perhaps her most surprising to date, combining the sounds of classic Motown and southern soul with an undeniably modern sensibility. CeCe recently performed “Hey Devil!” and other songs from the new album for a taping of Austin City Limits, which will air in 2017. She will also tour extensively next year with dates to be announced soon.

5. According to Relevant, Wesley Snipes is making headlines again. The actor has been laying low since being released from prison three years ago for tax fraud, but recently emerged to talk about the new book he’s been working on titled Talon of God. The story, if you couldn’t gather from the title, will deal pretty heavily with themes of spiritual warfare. Snipes explains: “There are spiritual warriors that inhabit this planet who are here to help balance out the evil forces, and they are always looking for the next apprentice. And when they find the next apprentice to train—the next heir apparent—then they can move on to the higher realms.” The book will be published by Harper Voyager on July 25th.

6 . According to ESPN, Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall says it was “extremely concerning” to receive a letter filled with racial slurs and threatening language. Marshall posted photos of the handwritten letter — which includes multiple threats and racial epithets — on his Instagram account Friday. The writer told Marshall “your time is coming, watch out,” and “we are ‘channeling’ a devastating hard hit for you. Something to make you an invalid in a wheel chair.” The letter was sent with a return address of Mrs. Jackson’s sixth-grade class at Martin Luther King Middle School, and “We love you, Mr. Marshall” was written on the envelope. Marshall called that a cover to make sure he received the letter. The Broncos’ security staff is investigating the letter.

7. According to Sports Illustrated, The University of South Florida is expected to hire former Texas head coach Charlie Strong to the same position, a source tells Sports Illustrated’s Pete Thamel. Strong was fired by Texas after going 16–21 in his three seasons there. The Longhorns made only one bowl appearance under his watch and finished 5–7 this season. USF was forced to look for a new coach after Willie Taggart was hired at Oregon. The Bulls went 2–10 in 2013, Taggart’s first year as head coach, but improved steadily in each subsequent year. They were 10–2 this year and will face South Carolina in the Birmingham Bowl. Strong was previously the head coach at Louisville, where he led the Cardinals to a 37–15 record. They went 11–2 and 12–1 in his final two seasons, including a Sugar Bowl win over Florida.