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Posts Tagged ‘Cicely Tyson’

Soledad O’Brien Launches Foundation for Kids in Need

CNN special correspondent Soledad O’Brien and her husband Brad Raymond launched their Foundation at a star-studded event Friday night in Bridgehampton, New York.

Since Hurricane Katrina — which O’Brien covered extensively for CNN — the couple has quietly helped underprivileged young women with the resources to attend school. The foundation will now enable them to provide more scholarships to the victims of the storm, and beyond.

In attendance, Star Jones and her new beau; Russell Simmons with actress Melissa George; and gospel singer Kirk Franklin and jazz star Ron Carter. In all, $250,000 was raised.

Event chairs Cicely Tyson and Pharrell Williams and host committee members such as CNN’s Alina Cho (pictured) and Jason Binn were also on hand, enjoying the “New Orleans in the Hamptons” themed event.

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The Inspiration Behind “Black in America 2″

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John Rice, Malaak Compton-Rock, Dr. Steve Perry, Soledad O’Brien, Cicely Tyson and CNN EP Mark Nelson at last night’s “Black in America 2″ screening in Harlem, NY.

Last night we headed up to Harlem for the New York screening of CNN’s “Black in America 2.” The four-hour documentary is a continuation of the Soledad O’Brien series which drew 16 million viewers over several airings last year.

This time around, O’Brien and her team report on the stories of successful community leaders who are improving the lives of African-Americans, including Malaak Compton-Rock, the wife of comedian Chris Rock, who, along with O’Brien traveled to South Africa with two dozen teens for two weeks of volunteer service in shanty towns and orphanages. Actor/producer/director Tyler Perry gives O’Brien a tour of his movie studio – not in Hollywood – but in Atlanta. And there’s the story of John Rice, the brother of U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice (and brother-in-law of “This Week” EP Ian Cameron) who created the “Management Leadership for Tomorrow” program.

In the crowd, Oprah’s BFF Gayle King, actress Cicely Tyson, who is featured in the special, and Warner Music EVP Kevin Liles.

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“Black in America” Packs Time Warner Center

obrien_7-16b.JPGThe 10th floor theater at the Time Warner Center was packed with hundreds of guests last night for a preview of CNN’s new Black in America series — so much so, two overflow rooms were needed.

Before the crowds watched a 30-minute preview of three upcoming specials, Time Warner chairman Dick Parsons addressed the audience. “I think they had an ulterior motive asking me here, but I can’t figure out what it is, other than that I’m black in America,” he joked.

“It’s time to start looking at things in a new prism,” he said about the documentaries.

Angela Burt-Murray, Essence editor-in-chief called the project the most “comprehensive” in media history and O’Brien called the 18-months of work, a “labor of love.”

“We needed to get our facts right but we needed to get our stories right too,” she said. “Two very different things.”

At a reception following the screening, CNN/U.S. president Jon Klein told TVNewser Black in America is getting high marks at its screenings and through an email campaign. “You can’t force people to do it. It was organic,” he said. “Viewers are responding to it. It’s been surprising and encouraging.”

A glance at the storylines, who was there, and more, after the jump…

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