PODCAST: MSNBC Names Rashida Jones as the Network’s President (BCNN1 12.9.20)

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According to The Wall Street Journal, MSNBC named Rashida Jones as the network’s president, people familiar with the matter said, a major shake-up at a news channel that has raised its profile with political coverage but struggled to keep pace with rivals this year. Ms. Jones, who is currently serving as senior vice president for MSNBC News, is succeeding longtime network president Phil Griffin, catapulting her to one of the highest echelons in television news and making her the first Black female executive to run a major general news cable network. Ms. Jones will officially take over for Mr. Griffin in February, NBCUniversal News Group Chairman Cesar Conde said in a note to employees Monday. The elevation of Ms. Jones, which was first reported by The Wall Street Journal, is the first major executive change made by Mr. Conde, who took over the NBCUniversal unit in May. NBCUniversal is a unit of Comcast Corp. Ms. Jones has been in NBCUniversal’s news group for seven years, serving as an executive producer and managing editor before being promoted to her current position. In her most recent role, she helped oversee coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and the 2020 presidential election. “If you’ve worked with Rashida on any of those endeavors, you know that she has an outstanding track record and she leads with a laser-like focus and grace under pressure,” Mr. Conde said in his note.

According to the Associated Press, Deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. have soared to more than 2,200 a day on average, matching the frightening peak reached last April, and cases per day have eclipsed 200,000 on average for the first time on record, with the crisis all but certain to get worse because of the fallout from Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. Virtually every state is reporting surges just as a vaccine appears days away from getting the go-ahead in the U.S. “What we do now literally will be a matter of life and death for many of our citizens,” Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said Tuesday as he extended restrictions on businesses and social gatherings, including a ban on indoor dining and drinking at restaurants and bars. While the impending arrival of the vaccine is reason for hope, he said, “at the moment, we have to face reality, and the reality is that we are suffering a very dire situation with the pandemic.” Elsewhere around the country, North Carolina’s governor imposed a 10 p.m. curfew, and authorities in Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley sent a mass cellphone text alert Tuesday telling millions about the rapid spread of the virus and urging them to abide by the state’s stay-at-home orders. The virus is blamed for more than 285,000 deaths and 15 million confirmed infections in the United States.

According to the Hill, The Trump administration for the first time on Monday designated Nigeria as a country of particular concern for violations of religious freedom, one of 10 highlighted by the State Department for failing to stem the persecution and discrimination of faith groups. Nigeria is the first democracy to be labeled a CPC for “particularly severe” violations of religious freedom, a designation that opens it up to economic sanctions. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the West African nation and nine others were being singled out “for engaging in or tolerating ‘systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom.’ ” Pompeo said in a statement, “The United States will continue to work tirelessly to end religiously motivated abuses and persecution around the world, and to help ensure that each person, everywhere, at all times, has the right to live according to the dictates of conscience.” The State Department renewed the CPC designations for Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. USCRIF had also recommended that the State Department designate as CPCs India, Russia, Syria and Vietnam — but only Russia was highlighted by the agency, retaining its status on the special watch list, a designation for “severe” violations of religious freedom.

According to Politico, President-elect Joe Biden has selected Rep. Marcia Fudge to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development, according to two people with knowledge of the decision. The offer to lead the roughly $50 billion housing agency comes after weeks in which Fudge launched a bid to become the first Black female Agriculture secretary. Fudge, a member of the House Agriculture Committee, and her allies in the Congressional Black Caucus had lobbied openly for the USDA job. Biden is now leaning toward choosing former Obama agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack, however. House Majority Whip James Clyburn — whose endorsement was pivotal in helping Biden secure the nomination — has pushed aggressively for Fudge to be named to the Cabinet and said earlier Tuesday she would land a top job. The Cleveland congresswoman also has the support of Sen. Sherrod Brown, the top Democrat on the Senate Banking Committee, which will handle her nomination. A spokesperson for Fudge did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Biden transition declined to comment. Fudge lamented just last month in an interview with POLITICO that Black policymakers have traditionally been relegated to just a handful of Cabinet positions — including HUD secretary. “As this country becomes more and more diverse, we’re going to have to stop looking at only certain agencies as those that people like me fit in,” she said. “You know, it’s always ‘we want to put the Black person in Labor or HUD.’”

According to the Associated Press, Protesters outraged with the arrests of seven people at a home where a family was removed in September hurled rocks at officers, sprayed a fire extinguisher at them and damaged police vehicles on Tuesday. The violence happened in broad daylight. Portland has been the site of frequent protests, many involving violent clashes between officers and demonstrators, ever since the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May. But most happen at night, making the daytime protest a rare occurrence. A group of activists for months have camped at the home dubbed “Red House on Mississippi” because it is on North Mississippi Avenue — to express their outrage against gentrification and the eviction of the Black and Indigenous family in September. The Oregonian reported that the house had belonged to the Kinney family since the 1950s, according to the website for the Red House on Mississippi group protesting the eviction. The Kinneys paid off their house but took out a new mortgage to pay defense lawyers after a family member was arrested in 2002, the Red House on the Mississippi group has said. The house went into foreclosure and was sold to a developer at a 2018 auction, according to the group. The property’s owner complained that people were trespassing and officers showed up before dawn and made the arrests. TV images showed the clashes Tuesday morning. Following the arrests and the clashes, protesters Tuesday afternoon used power tools to set up a barricade with wire fencing, debris and wood pallets to block off street access to the house. The demonstrators also hung signs saying “Stop the Foreclosures” and “No Jurisdiction.”

According to Variety, Actor Natalie Desselle-Reid, known for her roles in “Madea’s Big Happy Family,” “Eve” and “B*A*P*S*,” died Monday at the age of 53. Desselle-Reid’s manager, Dolores Robinson, confirmed the news on Twitter. “Natalie Desselle the beautiful talented actress passed away this morning,” Robinson wrote. “Natalie was a bright light. She was an amazing actress and comedienne but also an awesome mother & wife.” “It is with extremely heavy hearts that we share the loss of our beautiful Natalie this morning from colon cancer,” a statement on Desselle-Reid’s Instagram read. “She was a bright light in this world. A queen. An extraordinary mother and wife.” Her Hollywood career began in 1996 when she performed a one-episode role in “Family Matters,” which was soon followed up by her 1997 appearance in “B*A*P*S.” In the latter, she starred as Halle Berry’s sidekick, Mickey. Her early career also featured roles in “For Your Love” and “Built to Last.” She soon found a starring TV role in “Eve,” playing the character of Janie Egins throughout 66 episodes that aired between 2003 and 2006. She’s also well known for her role in Tyler Perry’s “Madea’s Big Happy Family,” where she played Tammy. Though her last acting credit came in 2017 for a role in the series “Ya Killin’ Me,” Desselle-Reid also worked as a producer for a short called “Barrier,” which is currently in post-production. Directed by Felipe Martinez, it follows a North Korean immigrant living in the U.S. who works to save enough money to get her children out of North Korea. Her “B*A*P*S*” costar, Halle Berry, tweeted she was “completely heartbroken” by the news. Other condolences and memorials also poured in on social media. Desselle-Reid is survived by her husband, Leonard Reid, and three children.

According to Deadline, Paramount Pictures has acquired Reckless Love feature from a pitch by To All The Boys: PS I Still Love You scribe J. Mills Goodloe. Super-producer DeVon Franklin is attached to produce via his Franklin Entertainment label, which has a first-look deal at Paramount. The film is based on the true love story behind critically acclaimed Christian worship song of the same title by Cory Asbury, one of the top Christian singer-songwriters. Goodloe will pen the screenplay, which will follow the love story between Cory and his wife Anna, who live in Kalamazoo, Michigan and have four children. Released in 2018, the song spent 68 weeks on the Hot Christians Songs chart, 18 weeks at number one and 55 weeks in the top 10. The single, which has over 300 million total streams and more than 125 million views on YouTube, was also nominated for a 2019 Grammy for Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song. Israel Houghton will serve as executive producer with Ashley Brucks and Alex Rosario overseeing the project on behalf of the studio and Katarina Hicks overseeing for Franklin Entertainment.

You can read these stories and more at BlackChristianNews.com .

In closing, remember, God loves you. He always has and He always will. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If you don’t know Jesus as your Saviour, today is a good day to get to know Him. Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead for you. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Thanks so much for listening and may God bless your day!