Intro Video

Saturday, February 29, 2020

A force for health equity

After spending three weeks in Kenya working on water issues with Maasai women, Kendyll Hicks was ready to declare it her favorite among the international projects she’s participated in through MIT.

As a volunteer with the nonprofit Mama Maji, Hicks spoke about clean water, menstrual hygiene, and reproductive health with local women, sharing information that would enable them to become community leaders. “In rural Kenya, women are disproportionately affected by water issues,” she explains. “This is one way to give them a voice in societies that traditionally will silence them.”

The team also planned to build a rainwater harvesting tank, but climate change has transformed Kenya’s dry season into a rainy one, and it was too wet to break ground for the project. During her stay, Hicks lived in the home of the first female chief of the Masaai, Beatrice Kosiom, whom Hicks describes as “simultaneously a political animal and the most down-to-earth-person.” It was this close contact with the community that made the project especially fulfilling.

During MIT’s Independent Activities Period, Hicks also has traveled to South Africa to learn more about the cultural and biological determinants of that country’s HIV/AIDS epidemic, and to Colombia to lead an entrepreneurial initiative among small-scale coffee farmers. Hicks joined the Kenya trip after taking an MIT D-Lab class on water, sanitation, and hygiene. Each experience has been successively more hands-on, she says.

“I’ve been drawn to these experiences mainly because I love school, and I love the classroom experience,” Hicks says. “But it just can’t compare to living with people and understanding their way of life and the issues they face every day.”

Hicks, a senior majoring in computer science and molecular biology, says she has shifted her focus during her time at MIT from more incremental technical discoveries to addressing larger forces that affect how those discoveries contribute — or fail to contribute — to global health.

Her love of biology began with animals and zoology, later expanding into an interest in medicine. “Humans are these amazing machines that have been crafted by nature and evolution, and we have all these intricacies and mechanisms that I knew I wanted to study further,” Hicks says.

At the same time, she says, “I’ve always been interested in health care and medicine, and the main impetus behind that is the fact that when someone you love is sick, or if you’re sick, you’ll do whatever you can.”

As a first-year student she worked in the Lippard Lab at MIT, helping to synthesize and test anticancer compounds, but she soon decided that lab work wasn’t the right path for her. “I made the realization that health care and medicine are extremely political,” she recalls. “Health policy, health economics, law — those can be the drivers of real large-scale change.”

To learn more about those drivers, Hicks has worked two summers at the management consulting firm McKinsey and Company, and will take a full-time position with the company after graduation.

“As someone immersed in the world of science and math and tech, I had this lingering insecurity that I didn’t know that much about this entirely different but super-important area,” she says. “I thought it would be important to understand what motivates business and the private sector, since that can have a huge effect on health care and helping communities that are often disenfranchised.”

Hicks wants to steer her work at McKinsey toward their health care and hospital sector, as well as their growing global health sector. Over the long term, she is also interested in continuing fieldwork that involves science, poverty eradication, and international development.

“Being at MIT, it’s like this hub of tech, trying to venture further into novel breakthroughs and innovations, and I think it’s amazing,” Hicks says. “But as I have started to garner more of an interest in politics and economics and the highly socialized aspects of science, I would say it’s important to take a pause before venturing further and deeper into that realm, to make sure that you truly understand the downstream effects of what you are developing.”

“Those effects can be negative,” she adds, “and they oftentimes impact communities that already are systematically and institutionally oppressed.”

Hicks joined MIT’s Black Students Union as a first-year student and now serves as the BSU Social and Cultural Co-Chair. In the role, she is responsible for planning the annual Ebony Affair fly-in program, which brings more than 30 black high school students to campus each year to participate in workshops, tour labs, and join a gala celebration with BSU students, faculty, and staff. “We’re doing our best as a community to convince young bright black minds to come to a place like MIT,” she says.

It worked for Hicks: She participated in Ebony Affair as a high schooler, and the experience cemented her decision to attend. “When I saw everyone showing out and having such pride in being black and being at MIT, I was like, ‘OK, I want to be a part of that,’” she recalls.

Last year, Hicks planned BSU’s first Black Homecoming event, a barbecue that brought together current and former black MIT students — some who attended the school 50 years ago. The event was a celebration of support and a way to strengthen the BSU network. “You have to do what you can to cultivate communities wherever you are, and that’s what I’ve tried to do here at MIT,” she says.

Hicks also served as the Black Women’s Alliance alumni relations chair and GlobeMed’s campaigns co-director, and was on the Undergraduate Association Diversity and Inclusion Committee. She has discovered a love of event organizing and leadership at MIT, although it has been a change of pace from her former shy, “hyper-bookworm” self, she says.

“I have realized that in my career that I really want to do a lot of good and affect a lot of change in people’s lives, and in order to do that, you kind of have to be this way.”

from MIT News

What Is The Best Medicare Supplement Plan For You?

Finding The Best Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan

If you qualify for Medicare coverage, you need to know what the best Medicare Supplement insurance plan is for you. Our review will highlight important rules and benefits of Medicare Supplement insurance plans and how to pick the right one for you.

Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan Basics

Medicare Supplement insurance plans are health insurance plans issued by private insurance companies. They work with, or supplement, Original Medicare by helping to cover out-of-pocket expenses. Unlike Medicare Advantage plans, however, they do not replace Original Medicare coverage.

As we’ll discuss below, Medicare Supplement plans fill in some of the cost coverage gaps in Original Medicare. Because of this, Medicare Supplement plans are often referred to as Medigap plans.


To be eligible for Medigap coverage, you must be enrolled in both Part A and B of Original Medicare. In many states, you must be age 65 or older even if you enter Medicare earlier due to health or disability.

Enrollment Windows

The best time to enroll in a Medicare Supplement insurance plan is when you first enroll in Part B. The six months after you enroll in Part B is called your Medigap Open Enrollment Period. During these six months, you cannot be declined for coverage or charged a higher rate due to health issues.

During your Open Enrollment Period, you have Guaranteed Issue rights. If you don’t enroll in a Medicare Supplement insurance plan during this time period you may have to go through underwriting if you want a Medigap plan later.

If you go through underwriting you will be asked health questions. Your coverage could be declined, or you could be charged a higher premium due to health conditions. It is far better to enroll during your Medigap Open Enrollment Period.

There are times when you may be able to have extra Guaranteed Issue rights to a Medigap plan. You may be able to get a Medigap plan with Guaranteed Issue rights in these cases:

  • You enrolled in Medicare Advantage when you first got Part B, and you’ve been on it for less than 12 months (Trial Right).
  • You enrolled in Medigap when you were first eligible but dropped your coverage for your first Medicare Advantage plan, and you’ve been on it for less than 12 months (Trial Right).
  • Your Medicare Advantage plan loses or fails to renew its contract with the government.
  • You permanently move out of your Medicare Advantage plan’s service area.

There can be other reasons you’d qualify for Guaranteed Issue rights. They can be technical, so it’s recommended that you speak with an independent professional if you think you may qualify.


As mentioned earlier, Medicare Supplement insurance works with Original Medicare. You must be enrolled in both Part A and B in order to get Medigap coverage. You will also need to obtain prescription drug coverage from a standalone prescription drug plan since Medigap plans don’t cover drugs.

When you use Medigap in conjunction with Original Medicare and a standalone drug plan, you can expect to pay the following premiums:

  • Part B premium
  • Medicare Supplement plan premium
  • Prescription drug plan premium

Specifics Of Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans

Medicare Supplement insurance plans fill in some or all of the gaps in Original Medicare. These gaps can include:

  • Part A deductible – $1,408 in 2020
  • Part B deductible – $198 in 2020
  • Part B coinsurance – 20% of the cost for each Part B procedure
  • Emergency services while traveling internationally

Medicare Supplement insurance comes in 10 standardized “plans.” Each plan offers slightly different coverage. The premium for each plan is different, too, increasing with the comprehensiveness of coverage.

Plan A

Plan A provides basic coverage. It covers:

  • Part A coinsurance charges.
  • Part B coinsurance charges.
  • First 3 pints of blood.
  • Part A hospice care charges.

Plan A does not provide coverage for:

  • Skilled nursing care coinsurance.
  • Part A deductible.
  • Part B deductible.
  • Part B excess charges.
  • Foreign travel emergency.

Plan B

Plan B provides slightly more comprehensive coverage. It covers:

  • Part A deductible.
  • Part A coinsurance charges.
  • Part B coinsurance charges.
  • First 3 pints of blood.
  • Part A hospice care charges.

Plan B does not cover:

  • Skilled nursing care coinsurance.
  • Part B deductible.
  • Part B excess charges.
  • Foreign travel emergency.

Plan C

Plan C is a comprehensive plan. It covers:

  • Part A deductible.
  • Part A coinsurance charges.
  • Part B deductible.
  • Part B coinsurance charges.
  • First 3 pints of blood.
  • Part A hospice care charges.
  • Skilled nursing care charges.
  • Foreign travel emergency coverage.

Plan C does not cover Part B excess charges.

Plan D

Plan D is not quite as comprehensive as plan C. It covers:

  • Part A deductible.
  • Part A coinsurance charges.
  • First 3 pints of blood.
  • Part A hospice care charges.
  • Skilled nursing care charges.
  • Foreign travel emergency coverage.

Plan D does not cover:

  • Part B deductible.
  • Part B excess charges.

Plan F

Plan F is the most comprehensive plan available. It fills in every gap in Original Medicare. It covers:

  • Part A deductible.
  • Part A coinsurance charges.
  • Part B deductible.
  • Part B coinsurance charges.
  • Part B excess charges.
  • First 3 pints of blood.
  • Part A hospice care charges.
  • Skilled nursing care charges.
  • Foreign travel emergency coverage.

Plan F is also available in a high deductible version. With High Deductible F, you pay the first $2,340 (for 2020) and then the plan pays the rest of your Medicare-approved expenses. In exchange for the deductible, premiums are much lower than for regular Plan F.

Plan F has been the most popular Medicare Supplement insurance plan over the years. People choose it because they like the ability of not making any out-of-pocket payments for health care services.

Plan G

Plan G is the next most comprehensive. It covers:

  • Part A deductible.
  • Part A coinsurance charges.
  • Part B coinsurance charges.
  • Part B excess charges.
  • First 3 pints of blood.
  • Part A hospice care charges.
  • Skilled nursing care charges.
  • Foreign travel emergency coverage.

Plan G does not cover the Part B deductible. You must pay the first $198 (for 2020) of Part B services. The plan will pay 100% of all other Medicare-approved expenses.

Plan G is available in a high deductible version. For 2020, the deductible is $2,340. After you’ve paid this amount the plan will begin paying benefits for Medicare-approved expenses.

Now that Plan F is no longer available for people new to Medicare (see more below), Plan G is the most popular Medigap plan. People choose Plan G because they know that the most they’ll spend on Medicare-approved expenses is $198 – the Part B deductible.

Plan K

Plan K is a hybrid plan that offers partial coverage with a hard out-of-pocket maximum amount. Plan K covers:

  • Part A coinsurance charges.
  • 50% of Part A deductible.
  • 50% of Part B coinsurance charges.
  • 50% of the cost of your first 3 pints of blood.
  • 50% of Part A hospice care charges.
  • 50% of skilled nursing care charges.
  • Annual out-of-pocket maximum is $5,880.

Plan K doesn’t cover:

  • Part B deductible.
  • Part B coinsurance.
  • Foreign travel emergency coverage.

Plan L

Plan L is another hybrid type with partial coverage for many services combined with a low out-of-pocket maximum. Plan L covers:

  • Part A coinsurance charges.
  • 75% of Part A deductible.
  • 75% of Part B coinsurance charges.
  • 75% of the cost of your first 3 pints of blood.
  • 75% of Part A hospice care charges.
  • 75% of skilled nursing care charges.
  • Annual out-of-pocket maximum is $2,940.

Plan L does not provide any coverage for:

  • Part B deductible.
  • Part B excess charges.
  • Foreign travel emergency coverage.

Plan M

Plan M is a fairly comprehensive plan with coverage for most of the gaps in Original Medicare. It covers:

  • 50% of Part A deductible.
  • Part A coinsurance charges.
  • Part B coinsurance charges.
  • Part B excess charges.
  • First 3 pints of blood.
  • Part A hospice care charges.
  • Skilled nursing care charges.
  • Foreign travel emergency coverage.

Plan M does not cover:

  • Part B deductible.
  • Part B excess charges.

Plan N

Plan N resembles traditional employer-provided health insurance. It covers:

  • Part A deductible.
  • Part A coinsurance charges.
  • Part B coinsurance charges.
  • Part B excess charges.
  • First 3 pints of blood.
  • Part A hospice care charges.
  • Skilled nursing care charges.
  • Foreign travel emergency coverage.

Plan N is unique in that you pay small copays for seeing a doctor or using emergency services. Your copay is no more than $20 to see a doctor and no more than $50 to be seen in the emergency room.

Plan N doesn’t cover:

  • Part B deductible.
  • Part B excess charges.

Changes To Medicare Supplement Insurance In 2020

Plans C, F, and High deductible F will not be available for people who enter Medicare on or after January 1, 2020. If your Medicare coverage began before January 1, 2020 you will always have the right to enroll in these three plans, assuming you qualify for Guaranteed Issue rights, or can be approved by underwriting.

Extra Benefits

The benefits listed above are all standardized; they must be provided by all Medigap plans in every state except Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Massachusetts. These three states have their own rules for Medicare Supplement insurance.

Many insurance companies offer extra benefits to their customers. These benefits can vary by state and are not guaranteed. Some of these extras include:

  • Discounts on vision coverage.
  • Discounts on hearing coverage.
  • Discounts on prescription drugs.
  • Discounts on dental coverage.
  • Gym memberships or fitness programs.
  • Access to 24-hour nurse help lines.

Choosing The Best Medicare Supplement Plan For You

Getting your Medigap coverage right is important for your health and financial future. To get the best Medigap plan for you you’ll need to balance your monthly premium cost with your tolerance for out-of-pocket expenses.

You’ll want a plan that has the right blend of coverage, extra benefits, and price. Not all insurance companies offer plans in every state, so be sure to connect with a professional to get quotes and find a plan in your area.

from Black Enterprise

War of words as Nigerian English gets Oxford recognition

Not everyone is happy that the Oxford English Dictionary now includes several unique Nigerian words.

from BBC News - Africa

OPINION: My first time at the National Museum of African American History and Culture

This year I was able to visit the National Museum of African-American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in Washington D.C. As a first-timer, the anticipation was unreal.

In some ways, it felt like I was going to the carnival for the first time, but when I told my family who had already gone, the excitement wasn’t the same. I was instead met with soft nods and kind warnings.

“Take your time.”

“It’s very humbling.”

“See as much as you can, but you can’t see it all.”

Nothing they said was negative, they assured me that I would have a good time, but they said it with a type of wisdom in their eyes that I couldn’t understand. It felt like discussing it commanded a moment of silence. 

The tour begins with an elevator ride through time, from present-day all the way to the 15th century. As we approached the bottom, the quieter the group became. The silence felt similar to that of my family as if the elevator was truly bringing us back to the 1400s.

The entire bottom level is dedicated to slavery. From the Atlantic Slave Trade all the way to the Emancipation Proclamation. Colonialism, the revolutionary war, free communities of color, and abolitionist movements are only SOME of the topics covered on that floor. 

When I passed the revolutionary war and was moving onto the civil, there were walls of photographs, and paintings of enslaved people I never knew existed.

In paintings, you have to battle the artist’s interpretation with your own understanding, but in a photograph, what you’re looking at is clear as day. Photographs show the whole, raw truth.

A small photo of a boy in a blue coat stopped me in my tracks. At that moment I was looking at a picture of my cousin. 

Not literally of course, but there was a level of familiarity in his face I wasn’t comfortable with receiving. I instantly felt like I knew the person staring back at me. We had playdates together, reunited every summer at the cookout, or one of our birthday parties. We’d cannonballed into a pool before or made snow angels when school was closed.

And now he was enslaved. 

He wasn’t wearing family hand-me-downs, but a suit to make him presentable in front of guests.  He served a master, a family, not himself. 

Everything I’d learned and seen on the tour weighed on me. I wasn’t looking at photos of strangers anymore, I was looking at pictures of my family, and that’s what made the difference. Once that realization hit it was hard to keep my composure even as I tried to walk on. But the boy in the blue coat continued to follow me, revealing familiar faces in every photograph I saw.

I watched a montage of Civil War-era photos and picked out the faces of my uncles, and grandpas. I looked at photos of plantations and saw my aunts, nieces, and friends from down the block even- sitting on the porch of a shack. 

The NMAAHC opened my eyes in ways I can’t even begin to describe. 

“It gets easier after that floor,” a friend told me after I recapped my visit. She had that same wisdom in her eyes. Now I recognize it as a knowing or what we are all bound to experience when we leave there.

I wouldn’t take back a single minute of that experience and I want to go back for more. I know no matter what, I will revisit the boy in the blue coat.

The post OPINION: My first time at the National Museum of African American History and Culture appeared first on TheGrio.

from TheGrio

Lizzo faces countersuit in ‘Truth Hurts’ copyright battle

Lizzo is facing a countersuit by three songwriters who claim they did not receive proper credit for writing her highly successful song, “Truth Hurts.”

Justin and Jeremiah Raisen, as well as Justin “Yves” Rothman filed the suit Friday in federal court in California alleging that the hit is very similar to another song they composed with Lizzo called “Healthy,” according to Variety.

READ MORE: Lizzo takes legal action over allegations she stole ‘Truth Hurts’ from songwriters

The countersuit comes in response to a lawsuit Lizzo filed in October against the trio, claiming they did not help write the song. But the countersuit claims that the award-winning singer is of a “bad faith, unprincipled attempt to deny songwriting and producer credits and royalties,” according to Rolling Stone and claims that “Lizzo would never have collected her Grammy Award [for Best Pop Solo Performance] but for the songwriting and producing contributions of [the Raisens and Rothman].”

The artist initially sued writers last October to receive a determination that the men should not be credited for writing the song last October, Variety reports.

“Lizzo is a talented musician and performer who currently enjoys immense popularity based on a hit song that she did not write alone,” their attorney, Lawrence Iser, said in a statement. “The Counterclaims we filed today seek a judgment from the court that the song that is now called ‘Truth Hurts’ originated in Justin Raisen’s home recording studio from a collaboration among our clients, Justin and Jeremiah Raisen and Yves Rothman, along with Lizzo and Jesse Saint John. When the case proceeds to trial, we look forward to sharing the sound recordings, videos, photographs and musicology that 100% prove that collaboration. Our clients deserve their fair share of the recognition and revenue that comes from collaborating on a hit song.”

READ MORE: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos fans out after meeting Lizzo at the Super Bowl

The countersuit states that a musicologist found that the songs had “strikingly similar lyric and musical elements.” The songs also open with the well-known line, “I just did a DNA test / turns out I’m a 100% that b**h.” The countersuit details other similarities between the two songs as well such as Lizzo’s “vamping,” and the song’s overall structure.

Lizzo’s attorneys stated in an earlier complaint that the Raizen brothers formerly provided a written waiver of the rights to “Truth Hurts.”

Lizzon’s reps have not released a statement regarding the countersuit.


The post Lizzo faces countersuit in ‘Truth Hurts’ copyright battle appeared first on TheGrio.

from TheGrio

R. Kelly’s lawyer seeks to dismiss racketeering charge

An attorney for R. Kelly on Friday filed papers in Brooklyn federal court to dismiss a 12-count racketeering charge against the embattled singer.

Kelly, 53, the motion claims, shouldn’t be charged with being involved in a “criminal conspiracy” because prosecutors did not identify other members who were associated with the alleged crime, Page Six reports.

READ MORE: R. Kelly receives default judgment in latest sexual abuse civil lawsuit

Prosecutors claimed that the singer was working with managers, drivers and members of his entourage. 

“The superseding indictment is silent on how any other individual benefited from Mr. Kelly engaging in sexual activity,” defense attorney, Steven A. Greenberg said, according to  New York Daily News. “If no others benefit, then the only member of the enterprise is Mr. Kelly.”

Kelly was indicted this past July under the RICO Act, which is a federal anti-racketeering statute. The charge alleges that Kelly and others recruited women and minors to have sex with him and also threatened them to report the crime to police, The Chicago Tribune reports.

Prosecutors have to prove that the singer was the “leader” of the crime.

“Robert Kelly is not an enterprise,” Kelly’s lead attorney, Steven Greenberg, wrote in the motion. “RICO was not designed as a means to punish a single individual for his own wrongful actions. RICO is only being used in this case in an effort to subvert various statutes of limitations.”

The Brooklyn’s US Attorney’s office did not comment on the motion.

READ MORE: Syleena Johnson thinks R. Kelly fans should be allowed to enjoy his music without shame

Kelly is also facing other charges in New York. One includes the singer allegedly bribing a government official back in 1994 to obtain a fake ID to marry R&B singer Aaliyah, who was underage at the time. He is also accused of taking a woman across state lines to have sex with her.

Kelly is facing criminal cases in Manhattan and Chicago as well.

In Chicago, Kelly is charged with his association with child pornography and sexually exploiting minors.




The post R. Kelly’s lawyer seeks to dismiss racketeering charge appeared first on TheGrio.

from TheGrio

Report: Washington D.C Has The Highest Intensity Of Gentrification In The U.S

Building in Washington D.C

Gentrification has ravished America’s largest cities, leaving many low-income and marginalized people on the outskirts unable to afford the high cost of living in their neighborhood. And no one has been hit harder than the country’s capital city, Washington, D.C.

In 2019, the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, a research and advocacy group of 600 community organizations that promote economic and racial justice, released a damning study showing the influx of gentrification has changed the makeup of the nation’s capital and how it has disfranchised the native population. The report showed that roughly 40% of D.C’s lower-income neighborhoods experienced some form of gentrification between 2000 and 2013.

This puts it just behind New York City and Los Angeles for the highest number of gentrifying neighborhoods. Nationally, at least 135,000 African Americans and Hispanics have been forced out of their neighborhoods due to increase of gentrification in their communities.

But the District ranked first in the “intensity of gentrification” based on the percentage of lower-income neighborhoods being reshaped by new residents. It is also the black residents there who have been the hardest hit by the effects of gentrification, with more than 20,000 African Americans moving out of their neighborhoods during that time.

“You feel it and you see it,” said Jesse Van Tol, chief executive of the NCRC. “It’s the visibility and the pace of it.” Van Tol said gentrification has followed a national move back to cities, particularly among affluent workers who had historically left the bigger cities for suburban neighborhoods.

D.C, also known as Chocolate City, has historically been known for its thriving black population that has shaped the local culture of the city. This effect has caused serious effects on the city’s makeup moving toward more predominantly white, affluent newcomers.

“The tens of thousands who have migrated to Washington, D.C., over the last five years live in a city that rolled out the proverbial red carpet for their arrival,” Sabiyha Prince, an activist with the group Empower DC, wrote in an essay accompanying the report. “Infrastructure has been altered, public property has been privatized, the will of voters has been rescinded, minority-owned businesses have been shuttered, and the bodies of people of color have been stopped and frisked to accommodate and enhance the respective presence and comfort of newcomers.”

from Black Enterprise

Online Altruists Are Making Reddit More Accessible

To help Redditors with visual impairments, volunteers are writing elaborate transcriptions of memes and images across the site. 

from Wired

Space Photos of the Week: Venus Is the Spacecraft-Killer

One of NASA's proposed missions would send a spacecraft to Venus on a suicide mission in order to study its atmosphere.

from Wired

Top NFF official released after being questioned over alleged financial fraud

Nigeria Football Federation vice president, Seyi Akinwunmi, is released by anti-corruption investigators after being questioned in an ongoing financial probe.

from BBC News - Africa

Disney+ is Bringing Back ‘The Proud Family’

The Proud Family

What’s old is new again! It has been announced that the animated series, The Proud Family is making a return to the new streaming service Disney Plus according to Deadline.

The original series creator/executive producer Bruce W. Smith and executive producer Ralph Farquhar are bringing it back along with co-executive producer and story editor Calvin Brown. The family-sitcom will have a new take and will also see the return of the original cast. The animated show debuted on the Disney Channel in 2001. The latest version will be titled The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder.

“In our minds, the show never really went away, as we still had tons of stories left to tell,” original series creator/executive producer Bruce W. Smith and executive producer Ralph Farquhar said in a statement to Deadline. “It’s the perfect time to bring back this show, and we can’t wait to take fans, old and new alike, on this journey with us.”

The new show will still center on the story of a young woman named Penny Proud and the never-dull happenings of her family, parents Oscar and Trudy, twin siblings and grandma Suga Mama. The show will feature the original cast from The Proud Family reprising their roles: Kyla Pratt as Penny, Tommy Davidson as Oscar, Paula Jai Parker as Trudy, Payton as Suga Mama, Karen Malina White as Dijonay Jones, Soleil Moon Frye as Zoey Howzer and Alisa Reyes as LaCienega Boulevardez. Cedric the Entertainer will also return as Uncle Bobby.

“The show’s humor and relatable stories are as relevant with audiences today as ever,” said Agnes Chu, SVP Content at Disney+. “Our audiences have loved rediscovering their favorite episodes of The Proud Family, and we’re excited Bruce, Ralph, Calvin, and the returning cast are creating new stories for their new home on Disney+.”

You can currently watch episodes of the original 2001-05 Disney Channel series, The Proud Family on Disney Plus.

from Black Enterprise

Joanna Russ Was Sci-Fi's Most Outspoken Feminist

The 20th century author was also a formidable science fiction critic.

from Wired

Clearview AI's Massive Client List Got Hacked

Clever malware, student surveillance, and more of the week's top security news.

from Wired

I Used to Love Cars. Here's What Drove Me Away

After two decades of working in and researching the auto industry, I realized it was time to give up the driver's seat.

from Wired

Bastien Hery: Linfield midfielder called into Madagascar squad

Linfield midfielder Bastien Hery has been called into Madagascar's squad for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in March.

from BBC News - Africa

Shaquille O’Neal and His Mother Lucille Featured In Ad Campaign Together

Shaquille and mother Lucille O'Neal

If you think former basketball player Shaquille O’Neal is going away anytime soon… Think again! The basketball analyst, business man and TV commentator is featured in another commercial that pairs him up with his mother, Lucille O’Neal.

A family’s legacy is important and is at the core of a new campaign by printing company Epson. The global technology leader has launched an ad campaign that features Lucille and Shaquille, which shows and highlights the bond between a mother and her son as they reminisce childhood memories through their old photos.

“Our family enjoys so many great experiences together. My mom has always offered endless love and has made sure to regularly collect our childhood photos,” said Shaquille O’Neal in a press release. “But even the most organized mother needs a little help saving the most important memories. The Epson FastFoto makes it easy to capture and share these memories.”

The new “Preserve What’s Priceless” campaign will be shown and featured across a variety of digital and social media platforms. Even making Lucille O’Neal an Honorary “Chief Memory Officer” and ambassador for Epson’s line of FastFoto products.

“Family has always come first for me and I will forever cherish the memories we have together,” said Lucille O’Neal. “When Shaquille first mentioned the Epson FastFoto, I knew right away that this was a product that I could stand behind. Partnering with Epson allows me to show others how easy it is to preserve their memories.”

The campaign showcases the ease and benefits of preserving, enhancing, organizing, and sharing irreplaceable family memories using Epson’s FastFoto® FF-680W High-Speed Photo and Document Scanning System.

“The bond between Shaquille and Lucille echoes the closeness shared by so many families and friends, making them both ideal ambassadors for Epson’s ‘Preserve What’s Priceless’ campaign,” said Dan Murphy, head of international marketing communications, Epson America, Inc. “Special moments occur every day and grow over time to create a family’s legacy. Moreover, reliving the special moments through an old photo is something we can all relate to, and we hope the campaign encourages everyone to preserve their own memories. As Lucille shares in our new campaign, easily and quickly converting your most-prized photographs to digital with FastFoto truly ‘Preserves What’s Priceless’.”

Check this link to find out more about the Epson FastFoto Scanning solutions.

from Black Enterprise

Guinea's President Condé postpones controversial referendum

Protesters have been angered that a new constitution would allow the president to seek a third term.

from BBC News - Africa

Trump Campaign To Open Offices In 15 Black Communities

voter suppression

Despite the lack of concern for the Black community, we have to give the Trump campaign credit for trying to gain support from us. President Donald Trump is planning on opening offices in 15 Black communities according to National Public Radio.

President Trump’s re-election campaign has announced this week that it plans on opening 15 community centers in critical battleground states next month to gain support among Black people heading into the 2020 election. “We see the numbers coming up in the polls and the demand on the ground when we do these types of events, so it’s really important that we take this next step and really bring those voters into the party,” Katrina Pierson, a senior Trump campaign adviser tells NPR.

The Trump campaign sees an opportunity to show Black voters that Democrats have taken black voters for granted. According to The Hill, a Trump campaign official said their internal polling sees a rise in the support of President Trump, particularly in the cities where they plan on placing the first wave of community centers. The official states that Trump’s black support in those cities range between 15 to 30 percent.

“The Democratic Party has taken advantage of the black vote for a long time,” the campaign official told The Hill. “They’ve been able to get a high percentage of the vote. We’re able to communicate directly with a lot of these voters and they’re seeing the promises made in the past have not come true. A lot of the people who have promised them things have failed to live up to those promises.”

The plan is to gear the conversation towards criminal justice reform, investments in urban opportunity zones and historically black colleges and also the low unemployment rate for black people as evidence of Trump’s commitment to policies that benefit Black people.

“Last time it was ‘What the hell do you have to lose?’” said Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, who is married to the president’s daughter Ivanka and acts as an advisor. “Now you show them what they’ve gained from President Trump and what more they can gain if they get four more years of President Trump.”

“Republicans haven’t even gone in to deliver their message. Now we have a Republican who is actually going to the community to deliver the message and ask for the vote,” said senior campaign adviser Katrina Pierson tells NBC News. “It’s the same concept as being asleep for so long to the truth and now you are awake.”

The first wave of offices will be opened in Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa and Miami, Fla.; Atlanta; Detroit; Columbus and Cleveland, Ohio; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; Charlotte, Raleigh, and Greensboro, N.C.; and Milwaukee.

from Black Enterprise

10 Best Cheap Laptops Under $800 (2020): Lenovo, Acer, and More

We tested lots of affordable Windows laptops, Chromebooks, and 2-in-1 tablets. You don't have to spend a fortune to get a good notebook.

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Think Ride Sharing Is Good for the Planet? Not So Fast

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Is Debra Lee Considering Launching A Tech Fund to Back Women of Color?

Debra Lee tech fund

Debra Lee, the former CEO of BET, recently hinted at the idea of starting a black women tech fund at the Upfront Summit in Pasadena, CA, according to Yahoo! Finance.

Lee was first asked by reporter Julia Boorstin about California’s mandate that boards of directors overseeing public companies include women; a law that passed in late 2018 that is being considered in numerous other states. Boorstin then asked about Goldman Sachs’s announcement from Davos that beginning in July, it won’t take public any company that doesn’t have at least one “diverse” board member, with a particular focus on women.

The initiative would have cost Goldman up to $101 million in underwriting fees from as many as 18 U.S. IPOs had the policy been effective in 2019, according to a new analysis by Bloomberg Law. That’s an estimated one-third of the $318.68 million that Goldman earned in advisory fees from the 59 U.S. IPOs it underwrote last year.

“I mean, we’ve been talking about this for so long that I understand why they did it,” Lee answered. “I think both initiatives are a good thing, because the companies aren’t going to do it. We’ve been talking about it for 30 years, and for a company to have a board now with no women or no people of color, they should be truly embarrassed. But there’s still a lot out there . . . it’s sad to see that we have to implement either, you know–California, Goldman–but we really have to hold these companies’ feet to the fire.”

The former BET chairman also hinted that she and others of her powerful friends are talking about creating a fund that would support women of color in tech.  Boorstin then took the opportunity to joke around with Lee. “So if you do create a fund, perhaps there’s some potential LPs [you could talk with here].”

“I would love that,” said Lee. “If you all know of anyone…”

from Black Enterprise

The Feds Ban a Self-Driving Shuttle Fleet From Carrying People

Regulators have been hands-off on autonomous vehicles, even after deaths and injuries. But they acted quickly after a woman was hurt in Columbus this week. 

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15 Best Weekend Deals: 'The Witcher 3', Pixel 3a, Roomba S9+

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Being Happy at Work Is Simply Not Enough

That anxiety has spawned an onslaught of books: Some try to convince you that your job can get better, while others argue that the machines will simply take them all away.

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African Champions League: Zamalek and Raja Casablanca win quarter-final first legs

Zamalek defeat holders Esperance 3-1 in their African Champions League quarter-final first leg as Raja Casablanca beat TP Mazembe 2-0 on Friday.

from BBC News - Africa

Friday, February 28, 2020

Changes To Medicare Premiums In 2020

Medicare Premium Differences in 2020

Medicare premiums are on the rise. For seniors living on a retirement income, it’s important to know where the increase in cost is coming from. More importantly, it’s essential to learn how you can keep your monthly premiums as low as possible without sacrificing quality healthcare coverage. We will provide a cost breakdown for 2020 and will help you determine how you can save while still ensuring maximum coverage.

Medicare Deductibles 2020

Original Medicare comes in four parts – Part A, B, C, and D.

Part A: Covers hospital stays and expenses. Part A is automatically applied to anyone with Medicare.

Part B: Covers doctor expenses. Part B is optional but highly recommended.

Part C: Covers hospital, doctor, and often prescription drugs. Part C is optional, known as Medicare Advantage, and may help reduce overall healthcare costs.

Part D: Covers prescription drugs. Part D is optional but highly recommended.

Part B, C, and D all have deductibles.

Part A is usually free unless the person applying has worked less than 30 quarters and did not contribute to social security payments.

All premiums are adjusted based on income and change yearly. For 2020, all premiums will increase regardless of your income bracket.

Cost Adjustments

Here is a brief look at changes from 2019 to 2020 Medicare costs.

Part 2019 Cost 2020 Cost
Part A Premium Usually free* Usually free*
Part A Deductible $1,364 deductible per benefit period $1,408 deductible per benefit period
Part A Coinsurance per benefit period Days 1-60: $0 per day Days 1-60: $0 per day
Days 61-90: $341 per day Days 61-90: $352 per day
Days 91+: $682 per “lifetime reserve” day up to 60 days Days 91+: $704 per “lifetime reserve” day up to 60 days
After lifetime reserve: All costs After lifetime reserve: All costs
Part B Premium $135.50+ $144.60+
Part B Deductible $185 $198
Part B Coinsurance per benefit period 20% after deductible is met 20% after deductible is met
Part C Premium Varies by plan Varies by plan
Part D Premium Varies by plan Varies by plan

 *To qualify for free Part A Medicare coverage, an individual must have worked and contributed payment toward social security benefits for a minimum of 30 quarters or 7.5 years.

Medicare Part B Premiums 2020

Knowing how much you’ll be expected to pay for healthcare premiums is important when living on a fixed income. To determine the cost of your Part B premium you’ll need to check your 2018 tax information, as your income from two years prior determines 2020 premium costs.

If your yearly income for 2018 was: Your 2020 premium will be:
Individual filing Married filing jointly Married filing separately
$87,000 or less $174,000 or less $87,000 or less $144.60
$87,001 to $109,000 $174,001 to $218,000 N/A $202.40
$109,001 to $136,000 $218,001 to $272,000 N/A $289.20
$136,001 to $163,000 $272,001 to $326,000 N/A $376.00
$163,001 to $499,999 $326,001 to $649,999 $87,001 to $412,999 $426.70
$500,000 + $750,000 + $413,000 + $491.60


Part D Premium 2020

The same rules apply for your Part D coverage. Premium costs are associated with your 2018 tax return and vary by plan. The change for 2020 is that, depending on your income level, you will cover the cost of your Part D premium in addition to a surcharge. A higher income results in a greater surcharge. Here is a general estimate:

If your yearly income for 2018 was: Your 2020 Premium will be:
Individual filing Married filing jointly Married filing separately
$87,000 or less $174,000 or less $87,000 or less Plan premium only
$87,001 to $109,000 $174,001 to $218,000 N/A Plan premium + $12.20
$109,001 to $136,000 $218,001 to $272,000 N/A Plan premium + $31.50
$136,001 to $163,000 $272,001 to $326,000 N/A Plan premium + $50.70
$163,001 to $499,999 $326,001 to $649,999 $87,001 to $412,999 Plan premium + $70.00
$500,000 + $750,000 + $413,000 + Plan premium + $76.40


Income Changes

If changes in your income have occurred, call the Social Security office and submit proper documentation so you won’t have to pay more than necessary. Applicable changes include:

  • Marriage, divorce, or widowhood.
  • One or both parties stop working or reduce working hours.
  • Loss of income-producing property due to natural disaster or another uncontrolled event.
  • One or both parties experience ceasing, termination, or reorganization of an employer’s pension plan.
  • One or both parties receive a settlement from an employer or former employer due to an employer’s business closing, bankruptcy, or reorganization.

Ways To Save On Medicare Costs

If you’re one of the 7.5 million seniors struggling to afford healthcare necessities like prescription drug coverage, there are savvy ways to save.

Medicare Advantage or Part C

Original Medicare Parts A and B only cover hospital and doctor fees, as seen in the first chart in this article. Unfortunately, this means necessities such as vision, dental, and hearing coverage are not included. If you want a prescription drug plan, you’ll need to purchase a separate plan, either Part D or a Medicare Advantage plan.

With a Medicare Advantage plan, you apply for Part A and B coverage, pay for it together and often receive extras such as vision, dental, and drug coverage. Here’s a snapshot of plan differences between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage in 2020.

Coverage Part A and B Part A, B, D + vision, dental, and hearing*
Maximum Out-of-Pocket Costs No Maximum on OOP costs Yearly limit on OOP costs. After OOP limit, members pay nothing.
Doctors and Hospitals Any doctor or hospital that accepts Medicare Doctors and hospitals in your plan’s network. Out-of-network doctors and hospitals may incur higher costs.
Premiums Part A – No premium

Part B – Around $144.60+/mo.

Part B – Around $144.60+/mo.


plans start as low as $0/mo.

Deductibles Part A – Around $1,408

Part B – Around $198

Deductibles and copays vary
Prescription Drug Coverage Must purchase Part D or standalone drug coverage Varies by plan

*Not all Medicare Advantage plans cover vision, dental, and hearing.

The biggest savings when choosing a Medicare Advantage plan is the included extras such as vision, dental, hearing, and drug coverage. Often, your Medicare Advantage premium will cost less than if you purchased Part A, B, D, and a hearing or vision plan individually.

Choose Medicare Plans 2020

Choosing the right Medicare plan for your health care is an important step to ensure a healthy and fulfilling future. Making a choice doesn’t have to be overwhelming or complicated. Talk with a Medicare advisor to determine which plan and cost are right for you.

from Black Enterprise

Kizito Mihigo: The Rwandan gospel singer who died in a police cell

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Outdoor Research MicroGravity Jacket Review: A Soft Hard-Shell

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Jay-Z and Yo Gotti file second lawsuit against Mississippi prisons

Jay-Z and Yo Gotti, acting on behalf of more than 150 inmates, have filed a second lawsuit this week against the Mississippi Department of Corrections’ Parchman prison.

The inmates have long complained about inhumane living conditions at Parchman – from no running water and food contaminated with rat feces, to overflowing raw sewage on their cell floors. Since last month, at least 12 inmates have died at the prison.

READ MORE: Yo Gotti Speaks out Against the Inhumane Treatment in Mississippi Prisons

Lawyers with the rappers gave the Mississippi Department of Corrections 90 days to address the conditions before filing the lawsuit. They attached a video taken by inmates which documents the unsafe living conditions inside Parchman and also included remarks from the relatives of the deceased inmates, according to CNN.

The most recent lawsuit, just like the first one, claims the prison is understaffed, which makes it hard to control violent gang activity. Further, inmates suffer from a lack of medical care.

The lawsuit alleges that the living conditions are worse than an animal shelter.

“…words cannot adequately describe the degree of filth and dilapidation the men at Parchman live in, and lie in, every day,” according to the lawsuit. “Were these conditions in existence at an animal shelter, media would swarm, arrests would be made, and those in charge would be on their way to jail as a result of public outrage over this criminal conduct.”

“The game plan is to get change,” Yo Gotti told CNN. “To make sure the Mississippi prison be held accountable to treat the prisoners like humans and not have them living in inhumane conditions.”

In the earlier class-action lawsuit, the rappers blamed the inmate deaths on a “culmination of years of severe understaffing and neglect.”

Further, it states, “the inmates receive meals that are undercooked and served at unsafe temperatures. Many times, the food is adulterated with rat feces, cockroaches, rocks, bird droppings, and other foreign matter.”

READ MORE: Jay-Z, Roc Nation file federal lawsuit against Mississippi prison officials, allege vile prison conditions

According to CNN, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said he plans to shut down Unit 29 at Parchman, where most of the concerns come from. In his state of the state address last month, Reeves said a visit to the jail left him “infuriating.”

“We can do better,” Reeves said.

The post Jay-Z and Yo Gotti file second lawsuit against Mississippi prisons appeared first on TheGrio.

from TheGrio

McDonald’s Surprises Teen Entrepreneur with $25,000 on the “Tamron Hall Show”


Last spring, we originally broke the news that Nia Phillips-Harper became an entrepreneur at her Sweet 16 birthday party. Her mother Dedra—an author and professor, gave her the gift of entrepreneurship in the form of a beauty brand: Ni’Abri Beauty, a lip gloss collection and other beauty essentials now available online.

Earlier this week, Phillips and her mother appeared on the Tamron Hall Show to discuss the importance and benefits of engaging children in business and investing in the next generation with Tamron and McDonald’s owner/operators and mother-daughter franchisee duo Marissa Fisher and Marla Thrower.

During the segment, Nia was surprised with $25,000 from McDonald’s as a part of its Black & Positively Golden movement which seeks to uplift communities and shine a light on black excellence through empowerment, education, and entrepreneurship.

The $25,000 donation is part of McDonald’s continued commitment to supporting entrepreneurs and encouraging generational wealth building. The brand is empowering rising businesswomen nationwide through its partnership with the YWCA Women’s Empowerment 360o program, which provides a free six-week business course to help close the entrepreneurship knowledge gap for women of color.

In true Black Girl Magic fashion, Hall surprised her guest audience with a free product from Ni’Abri Beauty!

Last year, Phillips-Harper shared that through the Ni’Abri brand, she hopes to help young women build their self-confidence and shine from within. “I want to inspire people to embrace positive things about themselves,” she said. “The world is full of negative messages. When someone purchases a lip gloss from my company, it comes with a card that describes the character trait of the product purchased, along with a special inspirational message from me.”

It’s fair to say that she is doing the work.

After appearing on the show, Phillips-Harper’s products flew off the shelves!


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Ni’Abri Beauty (@niabribeauty) on

Like always, we are rooting for Nia!

from Black Enterprise

California Court grants Skai Jackson a temporary restraining order against Bhad Bhabie

Skai Jackson of Disney Channel fame was granted a temporary restraining order against DanielleBhad BhabieBregoli, over death threats the white rapper made against Jackson on social media.

Read More: Bhad Bhabie threatens to kill Skai Jackson, mothers step in

Jackson, 17, yesterday was granted the order in Los Angeles Superior Court that requires Bhad Bhabie, 16, stay at least 100 feet away from the actress, according to a PEOPLE, who obtained a copy of the order. Bregoli is also forbidden to contact Jackson on social media or in any other way.

The court set a March 20 hearing on the matter.

Bhad Bhabie reportedly has had problems with the Jesse actress for a minute, even accusing Jackson of getting friendly with guys that she likes, according to Yahoo. This week, the rapper went on Instagram live to air her issues with Jackson before she outright threatened the teen star.

“I wanna know why every time I’m seen with a dude, b**ches wanna get all up on they page?” Brigoli said on Instagram Live. “The b**ch is a huge fan! You’re a whole fan! She’s moving sneaky bro! Don’t go post about me on your fake page, b**ch. If you got something to say about me, post it on your page. Show me you f**king bold!”

Then the rapper made threats against Jackson’s life.

“I’m finna go to jail behind a Disney thot,” she warned. “B**ch, what are you even doing in these men’s DMs? … Like you just trying to get me mad at this point. I see what you’re doing, and it’s going to get you killed. Like, that’s the thing: I’m gonna f**kin’ kill you. Don’t post your location…because I’m coming.”

After Jackson received the temporary restraining order, Bregoli went on Instagram to rant about “fake hollywood” and said she doesn’t apologize for keeping it real.

“you can try to hate me for responding to bulls- with more bulls- but that’s just who I am and I don’t apologize for none of it,” Bregoli wrote.

“I been in this fake a—hollywood world for 3 ½ years now and I’ve done A LOT when the whole world said I couldn’t, but I refuse to become as fake as hollywood is,” she continued, sharing a photo of her records. “Y’all can play around on your finstas but I’ll always say what’s on my mind as cuz that’s who I am. Go get your restraining order, Imma go get checks.”

Jackson told the court yesterday that she and Bregoli were once friends, but that the rapper had started harassing her and has made her “fearful” and to lose sleep, PEOPLE reported.

Jackson brought along Instagram messages to support her request for a restraining order. In direct messages, Bregoli tells Jackson that she better hide because she’s coming after her. “You funny imma get to you don’t worry,” Bregoli reportedly said in the conversation, according to PEOPLE. “Oh god you better hide I find everyone Yk me I pull up to studios houses all that s—.”

“You really tripping about something I didn’t do… you know people stay starting stuff when it’s not even true right?” Jackson countered. “I’m good over here, and worried about my own self… no one said anything about you. I would love to see the DMs they said I posted. That’s false.”

“Shut your scary a— up,” Bregoli responded. “Imma get to you. Hide that’s all imma tell you HIDE.”

READ MORE: 14-year-old Disney star Skai Jackson shuts down Azealia Banks

Another message from Bregoli to Jackson read: “I’mma beat you like a dude when I see you.”

The post California Court grants Skai Jackson a temporary restraining order against Bhad Bhabie appeared first on TheGrio.

from TheGrio