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TheRootDC
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Posted at 10:53 AM ET, 09/28/2012

Obama’s anger translator, ‘remixing’ the Emmys and boosting black graduation rates: This Week in Black Awesomeness

Happy Friday! The end of summer got you down? Here’s a pick-me-up.

Remixing the Emmys


Kerry Washington arrives at this year’s Emmy Awards. (Kevork Djansezian - GETTY IMAGES)
Televised awards shows have gotten increasingly boring over the years, and the 2012 Emmy Awards were no exception. The producers of the show tried – oh, they tried – to keep it from being dry, but if an awards show doesn’t give me a chance for me to flex my wit on Twitter whilst describing exactly how horrible Nicki Minaj’s outfit is, what’s the point? 

Plus, given the lack of quality TV shows featuring people of color, it was highly unlikely that the Emmys would be all that diverse.

To remedy both of these problems, The Root “remixed” the Emmys to “have a little fun and honor our own group of TV shows, actors and personalities – real, scripted, good, bad and those that fall somewhere in between – for their contributions.” Needless to say, it was awesome. Our Stevie J was even able to snag an award: Worst-Reality Show Player. Way better than watching Jon Stewart snag an Emmy (well-deserved) for “The Daily Show” for the millionth time in a row.

Defy Ventures helps ex-offenders adjust to life outside of prison

Figuring out how to navigate the real world after completing a prison sentence can be impossible for many ex-offenders. Adjusting to changes that took place while they were away, struggling to find post-prison employment — it can lead them right back behind bars.

Defy Ventures, a New York-based nonprofit organization, is combatting this issue. It helps ex-offenders create start-up companies, often by employing the misused entrepreneurial skills that landed them in prison for something positive. The program’s inaugural class will graduate in December.

 Helping black college students graduate

It’s difficult for many students to graduate from college within six years. High tuition costs and poor study habits are just a couple of stumbling blocks posing major threats to their education. For years, those risks have been increasingly higher for African American college students.

Now, several colleges and universities are making real efforts to boost graduation rates among black students by offering mentorship programs, cohort curriculums, greater academic advisement and more. Check out the National Journal for details. It’s nothing short of wonderful.

Back to Hillman

Speaking of black college students, Monday was the 25th anniversary of “A Different World,” and to commemorate the event for the TV show that ran from 1987 to 1993, Huffington Post Black Voices cranked out a “Where Are They Now?” gallery.  Ahh, nostalgia.

Key & Peele discuss ‘Luther, the Obama Anger Translator’

Comedy Central’s sketch/stand-up comedy show “Key & Peele” is up for its second season, and its stars, Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, sat down with Think Progress for an interview. They discussed how meeting President Obama has affected their profanity-laden “Luther, the Obama Anger Translator” sketches and how they pull off offensive jokes with minimal backlash. They also talked about the changing landscape of television and how “Key & Peele” fits in with the other late-night shows hosted by black men, such as “Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell”and TJ Holmes’ “Don’t Sleep” on BET.

Peele, who probably does the best Obama impression around, said his and Key’s conversation with the president proved what they’d believed all along: Obama has a great sense of humor. Peele told Think Progress:

“One of the impressions we had was that he was just very funny. That little bit you’re talking about, where he took a bottle of water from an aide when he had a cough in his throat, and he checked with the Secret Service jokingly, saying ‘We trust her?’ We couldn’t believe that. He said, ‘I need Luther…He said to Keegan, I need Luther. I need him.’ That was cool.”

Be sure to check out the rest of the interview. Their take on pulling off a joke about religion without crossing the line is really interesting.

Spotted anything I missed? Feel free to drop it in the comment section!

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By Lauren McEwen  |  10:53 AM ET, 09/28/2012

 
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