Aug 27

The History of BET

Black Entertainment Television (BET), headquartered in Washington, D.C. and currently operates under the VIACOM umbrella.   With more than 90 million homes watching worldwide, it is the well-known station targeting African-American viewers.  It is also a leading provider of black American cultural and entertainment based programming, both of original creations, acquired properties and musical presentations.

After stepping down as a lobbyist for the cable industry, Freeport, Illinois native Robert L. Johnson decided to launch his own cable television network. Johnson would soon acquire a loan for $15,000, and earned a $500,000 investment from media executive John Malone to start the network.[3] The network, which was named Black Entertainment Television, launched on January 25, 1980.[4] Initially broadcasting for two hours a week as a block of programming on Nickelodeon (it would not be until 1983 that BET became a full-fledged channel), the network’s lineup consisted of music videos and reruns of popular black sitcoms.  (from Wikipedia)

BET has gained popularity with its’ vast black audience, but has faced a number of major African Americans critics such as syndicated columnist George Curry, cartoonist and television producer Aaron McGruder, movie director  and producer Spike Lee, and former Syracuse University professor Boyce Watkins. These critics and others denounced BET’s programming, claiming it promoted sexism and anti-intellectualism.

They also argued that showing rap and hip hop-oriented programming along with comedy programs either intentionally or inadvertently promoted anti-black stereotypes. BET founder Richard Johnson and Viacom executives claimed they were providing the programming the market demanded. In 2008 a number of prominent black ministers (“Enough is Enough”) publicly protested BET programming choices outside the network’s headquarters.

Enough is Enough supported a 2008 report “The Rap on Rap” by the Parents Television Council that argued that BET’s rap programming, which they believed contained gratuitous sexual, violent and profane content, was targeting children and teens.

The controversy continued in 2010, when BET co-founder Sheila Johnson said she is “ashamed” of what the network has become. “I don’t watch it. I suggest to my kids that they don’t watch it,” she said. “When we started BET, it was going to be the Ebony magazine on television. We had public affairs programming. We had news.

The criticism has not impacted the growth and acceptance of BET and the various shows and programs they have created.  In 2013, it is reported that 79.82% of households with television receive the BET network.  However, there is no information available as to what percentage of those households chose to get the network, or receive the network as part of a larger cable package.

According to the sales material, “BET provides contemporary entertainment that speaks to young Black adults from an authentic, unapologetic viewpoint of the Black experience. BET connects with its target audience in a way no other media outlet can providing hit music, entertainment and news programming that is reflective of their experiences.  Our outstanding mega-specials keep viewers regularly tuned in for the latest and greatest in Black entertainment.”

May 28

#Beat Faces of Instagram: Celebrity Edition

Get makeup inspiration from the stars.

May 28

Unique: BET Experience deal renewed through 2018 – Los Angeles Times

The 2015 BET Experience doesn’t kick off for another month, but the network has already struck a deal to ensure it sticks about for three more years.

BET and Anschutz Entertainment Group have renewed their own deal to continue the multi-day event through 2018, a representative for the event told The Times on Thursday.

In 2012 the Dark Entertainment Television network and AEG parterned to transform its yearly awards show into a three-day destination festival in Los Angeles. AEG and promoter Goldenvoice, a division of AEG Live, helped curate a bill of top-tier R& B, spirit and hip-hop artists.

The festival pairs headlining concerts with late-night shows, wellness seminars, celebrity panels, new artist displays, a film festival and a free expo along with a number other events from which revolve around the awards show telecast.

Anchored at L. A. Live’s multiple downtown venues, the BET Experience’s inaugural year in 2013 featured performances by Beyoncé, Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg, Miguel, R. Kelly and others. Last year’s installment featured Outkast, Maxwell and Jill Scott, Rick Ross, Future, the Roots, Mary J. Blige and Trey Songz.

Earlier this year, BET announced that this year’s festival, the third, would expand to 4 dates.

Set with regard to June 25-28, comedian Kevin Übertrieben kritisch will open the festival having a standup show at Staples Middle. Nicki Minaj follows, heading a lineup that includes Ne-Yo and increasing acts Tinashe and Rae Sremmurd. Ice Cube, Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg and Schoolboy Q business lead a hip-hop-focused bill for the third night of shows at Staples.

R& B group Bell Biv DeVoe and hip-hop leader Doug E. Fresh will also come in the first of a string of late-night shows at Club Nokia. The girls will follow Hart’s standup gig, R& B sensation Miguel will follow Minaj, and the Roots return for another guest-filled jam session after the rap showcase. The hip-hop band will pay homage to late producer and artist J Dilla in a set also featuring Erykah Badu and other surprise performers.

The La Convention Center will again sponsor the festival’s immersive free enthusiast expo during the weekend.

Floyd Mayweather, Kobe Bryant, Janelle Monae, George Clinton and Larry Wilmore are among the industry heavyweights tapped for the “Genius Talks” series of panels.

Monae brings her Wonderland collective for a showcase. West Coast talents such as Vince Staples, Cypress Hill and Quite short will anchor another. Free displays focused on rising, Latino and Carribbean acts are also planned. The expo also offers a celebrity basketball game, trainer convention and a kids area.

Single-day Staples Center show tickets start at $59. 50, along with three-day packages starting at $169. 50. Club Nokia ticket prices vary by artist.

VIP packages, which include a ticket to the award show, range from $1, 095 to $4, 395. More details can be found on the festival’s site .

For more music news follow me on Twitter: @gerrickkennedy

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times

May 28

Mayweather, Kobe Bryant and More Scheduled for Genius Talks

See the A-listers in conversation at the BET Experience.

May 26

Honest Ocean Recorded at Abbey Road With Ruck Rubin

Singer worked on LP in well known U. K. studio.

May 26

Byron Allen, TV executive: Obama a ‘white president in blackface’ — Washington Times

Byron Allen , comic and founder of Entertainment Galleries, blasted President Obama on Saturday night, calling him a “white president in blackface” for not performing more to help black people.

“I have grave issues about President Obama, ” Mr. Allen, who is black, told TMZ . “It’s factual, check the figures: Black people have fallen further at the rear of under President Obama. ”

The “Comics Unleashed” host took issue with the president’s use of the word “thugs” to describe the looters and arsonists in last month’s Baltimore riots.

“We’re being murdered in the streets. We’re being murdered in the courtroom. We’re being murdered in boardroom, ” Mr. Allen said. “You have to operate at some point. It’s OK to be the leader of the United States and also be a black man. It’s human. And guess what? Individuals will respect you more in case you stop acting like you’re not.

“President Obama is certainly, at this point, a white president in blackface, ” he added. “Black America would have done much better having a white president. ”

Speaking directly into TMZ’s camera, Mr. Allen said: “President Obama, you have let us down tremendously. You have let us down. ”

May 25

‘What will we find when we strip away your finery?’ –

This is an episode recap, so spoilers abound—you’ve been warned.

At Castle Black, Jon is preparing to lead a small group of Night’s Watch brothers to Hardhome, to bring the remaining Wildlings of Mance Rayder’s broken army south of the wall before the White Walkers add them to their undead army. Captive Wildling Tormund Giantsbane is led out in chains, and unshackled as Watch members look on with disapproval. Jon catches more flak from Alliser Thorne, who he’s leaving in charge of the castle in his absence, and has a heartfelt goodbye with Samwell Tarly. Before Jon leaves, Sam gives him a bag of dragonglass daggers, the only thing known to kill the White Walkers.

Jon isn’t the only one leaving. Maester Aemon dies after a night filled with delusions about his long-dead brother Aegon, who went on to be king after Aemon refused the crown. During his funeral in the courtyard at Castle Black, Ser Allier reminds Sam that he’s losing all of his friends.

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When he tries to defend Gilly from some unsavory members of the Watch, Sam is beaten to a pulp, and only alive because Jon’s direwolf Ghost showed up at the right moment. He’s the best friend of an unpopular Lord Commander and has shown affection to a Wildling woman—he’s becoming a target for his sworn brothers, so without his stronger friends to defend him, he’s locked in a room with Gilly while she tends to his wounds. Luckily, they make use of their alone time.

At Winterfell, Theon brings a meal to a battered and bruised Sansa Stark, who has been locked in her bedchamber and at the mercy of her new husband, Ramsay Bolton. Theon tells her to do whatever he says, as Ramsay can always find new ways of hurting her—but Sansa wants Theon’s help in alerting her rescuers and getting the hell out of there. She wants him to light a candle at the top of the broken tower, to alert these mysterious friends that her serving lady told her about. After Sansa reminds him he is Theon Greyjoy, and not Reek, he seemingly agrees.

But maybe he’s really Reek after all. The former Theon snitches on Sansa to Ramsay. Sansa’s brutal bridegroom takes her to Winterfell’s courtyard to show her his latest handiwork; He tortured and killed the serving woman who set the candle plan in motion. There will be no rescue yet, though Brienne is still waiting outside Winterfell’s walls, watching the tower for the signal.

At Stannis Baratheon’s camp, the words of House Stark seem to have come true—winter has arrived. The camp is buried in snow drifts. Men and horses are dying. The sellswords he hired aren’t used to this harsh wintry weather and have deserted him. He’s marching against Northerners who know the terrain and the climate—as Ramsay says, “our people are used to fighting in frost.” Suddenly, Stannis is beginning to look like less of a sure victor. Stubborn as ever, though, he says there is no turning back.

“We march to victory, or we march to defeat,” he tells Davos. “but we go forward, only forward.”

In private with Melisandre, he has his doubts. The red preistess reminds him of the vision he saw in her flames, of a great battle fought in the snow. But she also tells him that sacrifices must be made—she goes too far in suggesting he kill Shireen, his daughter and only heir, to ensure the favor of the Lord of Light. Disgusted, Stannis sends her away. But as the cold sets in and his army dwindles, will he reconsider this terrible sacrifice?

In Dorne, Areo Hotah arranges a visit between an imprisoned Jaime and his “niece,” in order to assure him that she’s safe. She still doesn’t understand why Jamie is there—after all, she did her duty by going to Dorne as her mother commanded. It’s just her luck that she happened to fall in love with her betrothed. She refuses to leave, after sticking Jaime with some shade and the ultimate teenager-to-parent insult, “you don’t know me!”

Meanwhile, Bronn and the Sand Snakes are imprisoned in cells directly across from one another. He flirts with Nym, who then lets him know that the dagger she sliced him with was poisoned. As he starts to succumb to the deadly substance, she teases him with the antidote, only giving it to him after he tells her she’s the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen. It’s a close call for the fan favorite, and we can only hope the antidote worked.

Across the Narrow Sea, Daenerys Targaryen is still fooling around with the sellsword Daario Nahaeris, even though she is now to be wed to Hizdahr zo Loraq in order to quell the unstable population of Meereen. He offers her some advice in ruling.

“On the day of the great games, gather all the great masters and wise masters and worthy masters you can find, and slaughter them all,” he says.

When Dany answers that she is a queen and not a butcher, he tells her that all rulers are either butchers or meat.

In the same city, Jorah and Tyrion are auctioned off to a trainer of fighting slaves, and manage to stay together after some quick thinking and fast talking from Tyrion. Jorah is to fight the other slaves for a chance to compete in the great games, and finally glimpse his beloved queen again.

But once he sees that Dany is present at this preliminary fight, he rushes out into the ring, killing every other fighter. Dany, sickened by the killing, is equally disgusted when she finds out that the champion was the man who she exiled for spying on her.

“Get him out of my sight,” she tells the guards.

But before he can be led away, Jorah shouts that he has a gift for her. Tyrion runs out into the ring and stands before her.

“I am the gift,” he tells her. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, my grace. My name is Tyrion Lannister.”

And just like that, east meets west.

In King’s Landing, Olenna Tyrell confronts the High Sparrow over the Faith’s imprisonment of her grandchildren, Queen Margaery and her brother Loras. She believes him to be a hypocrite, pretending to be a champion of the common folk while doing Cersei’s bidding—to her credit, it certainly seems like everything he’s done so far has been in the Lannister queen’s favor. She threatens to cut off the supply of grain to the Faith. But the High Sparrow calls Lady Olenna out.

“Have you ever sowed the field?” he asks, painting her as just one more member of the oppressive royalty. “Have you ever reaped the grain? Has anyone in House Tyrell?”

She finds an unlikely ally in Littlefinger. He had a part in her grandson’s imprisonment, having provided Cersei with the informant that testified against him. But, as Olenna points out, they did kill the last king together, so their fates are intertwined—and Littlefinger swears he has information that will serve the Tyrells.

Cersei goes to visit Margaery in her cell in order to placate King Tommen, who is beside himself with the fact that he was unable to protect his beloved Margaery. Cersei asks the High Sparrow what will become of the Tyrell prisoners, and he describes the trial before branching out into a speech about the simplicity of the Sparrows’ brand of religion.

“Strip away the gold and the ornaments, knock down the statues and the pillars, and this is what remains,” he says. “Something simple, solid, true. The Tyrells’ finery will be stripped away … what will we find when we strip away your finery?”

Cersei thought she was using the new Faith Militant as a tool to oust her enemies, but she failed to realize that she was creating a monster that would ultimately target her too. The High Sparrow brings out Cousin Lancel, who Cersei had an incestuous affair with back in season two. It turns out, he’s confessed it all to the faith. As a result, Cersei is locked up, too.

But even as she’s locked in a cell, Cersei is arrogant and defiant.

“Look at my face,” she tells the septas who throw her into her cell. “It’s the last thing you’ll see before you die.”

Stray Arrows:

—If we’re following the age-old dramatic principle of Chekov’s Dragonglass, Jon will need to use those daggers soon—we’ll probably be seeing the White Walkers again this season, possibly at Hardhome.

—Maester Aemon is the first Game of Thrones character to die of old age (Okay, so Hoster Tully died of old age back in season three—Aemon’s the first character with any lines to die of old age). Considering the ways other characters have been killed off—like the guys in the fighting pit—Aemon is pretty lucky.

—Cersei tells Tommen she would do anything to keep him happy—and safe. She must be thinking about that prophecy again, the one that said she’ll live to see all of her children die. I wonder how much longer Tommen and Myrcella have.

—Listening to Olenna cut at Littlefinger is a pleasure. “You’ve always been rather impressed with yourself, haven’t you?” she says.

—Of course, her granddaughter Margaery has an equally perfect line, when she hurls a bedpan at Cersei while yelling, “get out, you hateful bitch!”

—What will become of Jorah now? Will Dany send him away again, or kill him? Or could she possibly forgive him? Even if she spares his life, the greyscale won’t, so what is his plan?

May 24

Tracee Ellis Ross Gets Honorary Doctorate from Brown

Black-ish star wears a cap and gown for her alma mater.

May 24

Crazy Restaurant Receipts

Customer gets a bill with the N-word on it… again.

May 23

Bubba Wallace is best hope for full-time black driver in NASCAR Cup series – Charlotte Observer

It’s 2015 and, just like the past 50 years, there’s still no black driver consistently racing in NASCAR’s top series.

But here is Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. trying to do just that.

The 21-year-old driver, who is biracial, has youth, charm and, most importantly, talent. He’s on the cusp of racing at the Sprint Cup level while this year competing on the Xfinity circuit. He’s NASCAR’s best hope now at seeing a black driver at its top tier.

The Southern, white sport has integrated slower than any other major American sport after decades of racism and discrimination. Strides have been made since the turn of the century, and today NASCAR has female, Hispanic and Japanese-American drivers racing at its top level along with a burgeoning development program for minorities.

Even though African-Americans make up more than 13 percent of the country’s population – and a greater percentage in the Southern states where NASCAR dominates – there is not a black driver in the Cup level.

It’s tough for anyone to break through because of costs associated with starting in the sport as well as securing and keeping sponsorships. But even in the best of economic times, it’s been difficult for a black driver to get into any of NASCAR’s national series.

Wallace sits in fourth place in the Xfinity series points standings before Saturday’s Hisense 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He’s raced inside the top 15 for 91 percent of the laps this year.

He doesn’t believe he’s owed a spot because of his skin color. Wallace understands this moment in history and accepts the challenge, he told the Observer this week. He said NASCAR has made some strides with African-Americans, but not enough.

“There’s nobody (of color) in the stands. There’s a few on the pit crews and in the office there are some,” Wallace said. “It’s not enough to finally say the sport is changing. It’s going in the right direction. You just have to keep getting after it.”

Family spent $1 million plus

Wallace and his family don’t know why his older sister nicknamed him Bubba the day he was born in Mobile, Ala., but it stuck.

The family moved to the Charlotte area when he was 2 years old, and soon after, Darrell Wallace Sr. started a Concord industrial cleaning service that continues to expand.

Wallace, born to a white father and black mother, wasn’t interested in racing until he got into go karts at the age of 9. He estimates that between 2003 and 2009, as he grew more serious about racing on dirt and short tracks, his family spent more than $1 million of its own money on equipment and travel.

In those lower levels, Wallace was subjected to racism by other drivers, he said. When he was 13 a fellow driver shouted a racial epithet at him after a race in Braselton, Ga.

Last year, NASCAR turned over its Instagram account to Wallace, who sent pictures and videos from the Black Entertainment Television Awards. He received many racist comments.

He tweeted, “The people who are upset over the Instagram takeover w/ NASCAR n BET…. are what’s wrong with the world today. #ignorance.”

Now he’s primed to become the fourth black driver in NASCAR’s top series, following the late Wendell Scott, Willy T. Ribbs and Bill Lester.

Scott, a 2015 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee, remains the only black driver to win at the Cup level after he claimed victory in the 1963 Jacksonville 200. An alleged scoring dispute led to Scott not being named the winner until fans went home and he never received his trophy. He competed in 495 NASCAR races in mostly second-hand equipment and had 147 top-10 finishes.

Ribbs ran three Cup races in the 1980s. His brash personality was polarizing, and he eventually had a falling out with the sport. In recent articles, Ribbs referred to NASCAR as “Neckcar” and “al-Qaida.” Through a spokeswoman, Ribbs declined to comment for this story.

Lester is the most recent black driver to compete in NASCAR’s top series, racing in two Cup-level races in 2006. He competed mostly in the truck series between 2000 and 2007 with seven top-10 finishes in 142 races. Lester didn’t race until he was nearly 40, and lack of sponsorships forced him out of NASCAR.

NASCAR has suspended two people since 2009, a driver and a crew chief, for using racial slurs. Confederate flags still fly in the infields of some tracks across the South.

Diversity progress

There has been notable progress from the top of the sport in the past 15 or so years. NASCAR enlisted the help of Dr. Richard Lapchick, director of the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports, to join the league’s diversity council and give each NASCAR employee diversity training. NASCAR CEO Brian France told Lapchick he wanted the sport to “look like America,” and Lapchick initially had his doubts.

“I expected it to be a one-time (training program),” Lapchick said. “But over the course of the next decade or so, I believe we have trained every single NASCAR employee, including this year, in eight of the 10 years.

“Nobody has done as close to as much active work to try to make things better in terms of diversity and inclusion than NASCAR has.”

Lapchick noted that NASCAR has not given its consent to be included in his institute’s annual racial and gender report card, which looks at the makeup and hiring practices of major U.S. sports leagues.

And while Lapchick has given diversity training to NASCAR employees, he has not done the same with individual teams, which operate as independent contractors with NASCAR.

Along with training, there’s also Drive for Diversity, a program that began in 2004 to develop minority and female drivers to race in one of NASCAR’s premiere tiers. The sport has also expanded its reach into Mexico with more speedways. And, of course, there’s Danica Patrick, the 33-year-old female driver who has competed in the Cup series since 2013 but whose six top-10s in 93 races haven’t matched her celebrity.

But stands are still a sea of white faces. According to a Nielson study, 94 percent of the TV viewers for the 2013 Sprint Cup Series races were white – the highest of any major American sport. Only 2 percent were black. Demographic breakdowns of ratings from the 2014 season were not available.

There are few black people in the stands and no black people behind the wheel, so there aren’t many to show on TV.

NASCAR’s premiere race, the 2015 Daytona 500, was seen by 13.4 million viewers. An Observer review of the five-and-a-half-hour-long FOX broadcast of both the pre-race show and the race itself showed a black person being seen prominently on screen for a total of 1 minute and 51 seconds.

More than half of those 111 seconds came from two events: footage of a prayer breakfast Darrell Waltrip took part in with President Barack Obama, and Kid Rock’s pre-race concert with a black drummer, black saxophonist and black backup singers.

New diversity leadership

It takes passion and money to compete in NASCAR, and Max Siegel has both.

He was hired by NASCAR in 2009 to fix Drive for Diversity. The program began in 2004 and sent drivers and a stipend to teams across the country. The progress was difficult to measure and the distribution of funds wasn’t monitored.

No driver who took part from 2004 until 2009 is currently racing in one of the top three NASCAR series.

“When I took the program over, I wouldn’t say it was a joke but a lot of people wouldn’t return my calls or were pretty bitter about it,” said Siegel, who said the initial plan looked good on paper but didn’t work. “I totally understand why the drivers are frustrated. But it was less NASCAR’s issue. NASCAR would invest in a team, and if a team owner didn’t come up with the rest of the money then it was problematic, and that was the impetus to change the model.”

Siegel, 50, has a background in sports and culture. A former music executive, Siegel was friends with the late Hall of Fame football player Reggie White and tried to form a minority-owned racing team before White’s untimely death in 2004.

Later, Siegel became the president of Dale Earnhardt Inc., where NASCAR recruited him.

He started his own developmental team, Rev Racing, in Charlotte and put up $3 million of his own money. He offered comprehensive training and measured the progress of the drivers.

“You have to be extremely passionate, completely dedicated,” Siegel said. “You have to be focused, you have to be willing to take a risk and you’ve got to put your own personal resources up along with NASCAR’s.”

Wallace was part of Siegel’s first Drive for Diversity class under a restructured model. Only 17, he missed 67 days of school one year at Northwest Cabarrus High because of the travel demands. He became one of Drive For Diversity’s biggest stars in 2010 after winning two races in NASCAR’s K&N Pro Series East in his first year with the program.

Racing in the developmental series, Wallace won the Rookie of the Year award. The next year he won three races and finished second in points.

“He was winning races before he came to the Rev program and D4D, and he continued that when he came in and he’s continued beyond that,” said Jim Cassidy, NASCAR’s vice president of racing operations who also oversees the diversity program. “He gets it done on and off the track. …There’s no end in sight that I can see for his success.”

Since Siegel took over the program, D4D has helped produce Wallace, Xfinity driver Daniel Suarez and Cup driver Kyle Larson, a Japanese-American racer who was last year’s Sprint Cup rookie of the year and ranked 22nd in points.

D4D also trains pit crew members, and Siegel said the program has 100 percent placement through NASCAR in its pit crew division under his direction.

Switch in teams

Wallace won five times in two years in the truck series, including becoming the second black driver and first since Scott to win in NASCAR’s national series.

After finishing third in points last year, Wallace switched from Joe Gibbs Racing to Roush Fenway in the offseason in a surprise move. He saw limited opportunity with the Gibbs team, since it had its maximum four Cup drivers.

Roush has three teams. That open spot appealed to Wallace as he moved up to the Xfinity series this year, where he hasn’t won in 10 races but is fourth in points.

“Obviously with how young he is and experience level in the Xfinity car being limited, I think we were hoping to see very good progress in the second half of the year,” said Eric Peterson, the director of Roush Fenway’s Xfinity team. “And I think he’s exceeding our expectations from a time standpoint and has really been darn quick, almost right out of the box.”

Like most drivers throughout NASCAR, Wallace has struggled to find sponsorships, with the cost of running a Cup Series team for a full schedule is $20 million or more. He came to Roush Fenway without a guarantee of a full season but secured one before the season began. Racing his No. 6 Ford Mustang with a sponsorship from Ford EcoBoost for most of the season, Wallace will race Saturday in the Cheez-It car.

Several early-20-year-olds are already in the Cup, and most of them got started earlier than Wallace. Still, Peterson said Wallace stacks up favorably to other young Cup drivers compared to where they were at this point in their careers.

There’s no rush from Roush Fenway to get him to the Cup level, though. He’s still transitioning from trucks to Xfinity, and he’ll have to deal with even more of a learning curve in the Cup. Roush Fenway Cup drivers Trevor Bayne and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. each spent more than three seasons in the second level before getting a full-time ride in the Sprint Cup.

And just like when he’s racing, Wallace wants to get the timing right. He said he wouldn’t mind learning for another year in Xfinity.

“A good couple of years on the Xfinity side is the basis and foundation to move up to the Cup side,” Peterson said. “But for where he’s at compared to those guys during this stage, I think he’s right on par.”

A larger challenge

There’s a hope within NASCAR that Wallace can be the sport’s Tiger Woods – a young, black, successful face in a white-dominated sport.

“I think it’ll break things wide open because he does have the innate ability to drive race cars extremely well,” said former Charlotte Motor Speedway president Humpy Wheeler.

“If he wins a Cup race, I bet that four-cylinder division at Carolina Speedway that you can get into for X bucks, it’ll have more African-American kids that they don’t have now because they want to be Bubba.”

The comparison is obvious. Golf is also one of the whitest and most cost-prohibitive sports in America. Though its origins are in Europe and NASCAR’s are in the South, golf is still played on courses throughout the region with plantation in their names.

Many believed Woods’ Masters win in 1997 and his run in the early 2000s would spawn a generation of young, minority golfers. They picked up clubs and started playing the game. But nearly 20 years after Woods’ historic Masters victory, while the game is flooded with great young players, Woods remains the only African-American on the PGA Tour.

Siegel doesn’t want NASCAR to fall victim to the same experience. He sees Wallace as the most noticeable among the incremental changes within the industry. There are more black pit crew members, and applications for his D4D program have nearly doubled in the past six years.

If Wallace succeeds, it’s up to NASCAR and other teams like Rev Racing to develop and harvest that talent.

“We have a pretty good formula and pipeline right now, but now is not the time to stop the development,” Siegel said. “It’s going to require us to get four, five, six, seven, eight, nine Bubbas throughout the ranks of NASCAR. I would hate to see people feel like ‘OK, if he’s successful we’ve made it,’ because we really haven’t.”

May 21

Brian Letterman signs off with star-studded finale – Chicago Tribune

David Letterman was ushered into retirement Wednesday simply by four presidents declaring “our long national nightmare is over” along with a succession of stars delivering one last Top Ten list of things they constantly wanted to say to the late-night sponsor.

The taped introduction of President Barack Obama plus former Presidents George Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Rose bush referenced President Gerald Ford’s announcement to the country when he took office following the 1974 resignation of Richard Nixon. Letterman sidled up to Obama to say, “you’re just kidding, right? ”

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