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Janet Jackson receives yet another blow for her Super Bowlbreast fiasco, this time resigning from an ABC television biopic ofsinger Lena Horne, who refused to cooperate with the project aslong as Jackson played the lead role.
According to Billboard magazine, Jacksonwalked away from her role in the film on Feb. 24 after Horne anddaughter Gail Lumet Buckley pressured ABC to drop her from theproject. Horne refused to return her contract for the film untilJackson was removed from the cast. In a form of support, executiveproducers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan- producers of thecontroversial The Reagans- departed along with Jackson.
“Janet is no longer part of the[project] because Lena Horne didn’t want her in it,”Jackson’s spokesperson Stephen Huvane told Billboard.”ABC and the producers were supporting Janet, and Janetrealized this wasn’t going to change, so she needed to bowout, and then the producers bowed out with her.”
It has been widely reported that Horne, 86,was deeply offended by Jackson’s performance with pop starJustin Timberlake at the Feb. 1 Super Bowl half-time show, whichended with Timberlake ripping off Jackson’s costume top toreveal her naked breast. Although Jackson, 37, has repeatedlyapologized for the stunt, which she admits was planned, therepercussions continue to rise.
The infamous half-time show has created adomino effect of troubles for Jackson’s career, while herperformance partner in crime, Justin Timberlake, remains relativelyunscathed. Jackson was banned from the Feb. 8 Grammy Awards show,after refusing to issue CBS and on-air apology. Timberlake, whoagreed to an on-air apology, appeared on the broadcast. Timberlakerecently walked away from hosting the upcoming ABC televisedspecial, Motown 45. The difference is that Timberlake’sdecision to step down is being written off as the result of ascheduling conflict, rather than a question of character.
Jackson had been slated to do the film,tentatively titled “Lena Horne,” since Sept. 2003. Therole was intended to help revamp Jackson’s acting career,which includes credits on the television series “GoodTimes,” “Different Strokes,” and”Fame,” and the films “Poetic Justice,” and”The Nutty Professor II: The Klumps.” Jackson wasexpected to record and sing all of Horn’s songs herself forthe movie.
Horne helped break Hollywood’s racialbarriers in the 1940s by becoming the first Black to sign along-term contract with a major Hollywood studio in 1942. The bluessinger and actress was most famous for her rendition of the song”Stormy Weather.”
ABC has yet to release a comment onJackson’s departure or the future of the film.
In 2002 the DC Water and Sewer Authority (WASA) conducted randomtests on homes in the District that revealed excessive lead levelsin the tap water. However, it was not until this past November thatWASA began notifying residents about the problem. WASA officialsallege they were not aware that lead contamination was aswidespread until this past summer. This has raised concern for DCresidents, as well as federal authorities.
Lead is highly toxic and exposure to it canpose a significant threat. It can be ingested by drinkingcontaminated water or by inhaling lead based products fumes. If too much lead gets in your body, over time it can build up andcause serious damage to vital organs and systems. Low lead levelexposure can cause nervous and kidney system damage, learningdisabilities, attention deficit disorder and decreasedintelligence. High lead level exposure can result in seizures,unconsciousness and in some cases death.
According to the Environmental ProtectionAgency (EPA) elevated lead levels in the District of Columbia waterare due to increased water corrosion and are aggravated in somehomes by the presence of lead service lines. Two-thirds of the6,118 residences that the Water and Sewer Authority (WASA) testedlast summer had water that exceeded the lead limit of 15 parts perbillion. This limit was set by the Environmental Protection Agencyin 1991. Over 2,000 homes had lead levels that exceeded 50 partsper billion and 157 homes with more than 300 parts per billion. Inmany of these cases this is 35 times the legal limit.
The federal government requires thatcities begin a pipe replacement program when lead levels haveexceeded 15 parts per billion and 7 percent of its lead pipes arerequired to be replaced annually. Replacing public pipes willcost WASA $10 million to $20 million a year. WASA has currentlyreplaced more that 500 lead service pipes.
“WASA is only responsible for publicpipes. It is the responsibility of private property owners toreplace the portion of pipe that run through their residence orproperty,” said Janaia Oden, a customer servicerepresentative of WASA lead hotline. Pipe replacement of privateproperty pipe lines can cost owners several thousanddollars.
“People who live in apartments,condominiums and dormitories should contact their residence managerand have them contact WASA about concerns,” said Oden.
Some residences east of Howard University, inBloomingdale had lead water levels that exceeded 12 times the EPAlimit. However, a recent notice released by the Howard UniversityEnvironmental Health and Safety office stated that “HowardUniversity facilities do not contain lead in its water supply inthe amounts that would require the institution to take anycorrective action per U.S. EPA guidelines.”
“The lead levels varied by building, butall university facilities that were tested, tested below 20 partsper billion” said Carey Baldwin, Executive Director ofPhysical Facilities Management. The tests were conducted byan environmental consulting company, as well as four teams from theCollege of Engineering, Architecture and Computer Sciences(CEACS). According to the notice letter sixteen facilitieswere tested, including residence halls, the Howard UniversityHospital, academic support buildings and a Howard University ownedapartment building.
“As a student I appreciate the extraeffort taken by the administration to make sure the water is cleanand safe,” said Lola Fawole, junior political sciencemajor.
While university administration has done somepreliminary water sampling around campus, they are currentlychecking water fountains throughout campus. “If any are foundto have lead soldered joints or reservoirs they will be removedfrom service and replaced,” said Baldwin.
Immediate steps that residents can take toreduce the amount of lead in their drinking water if they suspectpossible lead contamination includes flushing water for ten minutesand/or purchasing filters approved by the National SanitaryFoundation(NSF). Flushing water without wasting unnecessary amountscan be done by washing clothes and/or dishes or taking a shower orbath before using tap water for food preparation or drinking.
Undergraduate and graduate political science students alongwith their professors and advisers converged at Howard University‘s Douglass Hall on February 24, 2004 for the Presidential State of the DepartmentAddress. In an intimate atmosphere, the group engaged in lightconversation about the Political Science Department and itseffectiveness in keeping lines of communication with studentsopen.
College students lead busy lives and hectic schedules which canresult in oral healthcare neglect. According to the American DentalHygienists Association (ADHA), an estimated 75 percent of Americansreportedly have some form of periodontal disease. In most casesthese problems may have been avoided with regular dentalmaintenance. An early stage of periodontal disease, known asgingivitis is caused by plaque build up. This causes the gums tobecome infected and swollen; eventually leading to red, shiny, softgums that bleed easily. If left untreated, gingivitis can lead topyorrhea, an advanced stage of periodontal disease. In this casethe bones that support the teeth begin to erode and decay due toinfection.
“Cutting back on junk food and watchingwhat I eat has helped me avoid getting cavities,” says AishaNesbitt, junior education major student at Florida A&MUniversity.
The first step to proper dental hygiene beginswith a healthy diet. A diet that consists of high fiber foods, suchas fruits, green leafy vegetables and whole grain can be essentialto good dental health. Dairy products provide calcium and vitamin Dfor strengthening teeth and bones. Breads and cereals supply Bvitamins for the blood growth and iron for healthy blood.
This plays a role in healthy gum tissue.Products that are high in sugar and carbohydrates like acidiccitrus juices, sodas, and sweets contribute to weak teeth. Theseproducts also cause plaque to stick to the teeth and prevent whiteblood cells from fighting off bacteria. Taking vitamin supplementscan contribute to healthy teeth and gums by providing the addednutrients missing from your diet.
The second step to proper dental hygiene isthrough self oral cleansing.
Consistent brushing, flossing and using mouthwash with fluoride rinse are good ways to maintain strong andhealthy teeth. Not only do these routines help prevent bad breathand keep teeth white, they also reduce the risk of oralcomplications. The ADHA recommends brushing after meals, wheneverpossible and flossing daily. The ADHA also recommends replacingyour toothbrush every three months to reduce the risk of bacteriaor infection.
The third step to proper dental hygiene isgoing to the dentist every six months. Dental professionals areable to identify and correct dental problems, cater to theindividual needs of your teeth and provide proper ways to care forteeth between visits.
“I usually wait until I go home duringholidays to see my dentist,” says
Crystal Tate, sophomore broadcast journalismmajor at Howard University. By students waiting until they go hometo visit the dentist it can contribute to oral hygiene neglect.However, some colleges and universities provide dental assistancefor students. If so, these fees are usually included intuition. In cases when schools do not provide dentalassistance for students, local dentists in the area may partnerwith the school to offer students special or discounted rates ondental and other services.
In addition to a poor diet and oral cleansingneglect, there are several other factors that contribute to oralcomplications like stress and piercing. Stress can reduce thebody’s immunity by increasing the secretion of endogenous steroids,the body’s first line of defense among the white blood cells.
According to the American Dental Association,common problems with oral piercing include increased salivary flow,gingival injury or recession, damage to teeth, scar tissueformation, and metal hypersensitivity.
For more information on dental hygiene andcare contact a local dentist or ask about dental assistanceprovided through the student health center
Tips for brushing and flossing are availableat www.adha.org.
Beyonce Knowles, Jay-Z, Pharrell Williams, and Outkast will beleading the pack at the 46th Annual Grammy Awards withsix nominations each, proving that hip-hop and R&B are twomajor forces to be reckoned with in the music industry. Will theGrammy Awards have the same impact on Black college students comeFebruary 8?
Missy Elliott and 50 Cent are tied with fivenominations each. The two will go head to head in the best rap songand best rap album categories. Erykah Badu, an R&B artist whohas kept a relatively low profile for the past year, has snaggedfour nominations, including R&B album of the year for her CDWorldwide Underground. The big news this year, however, is not howmany nominations Black artists have received, but rather thecategories in which these nominations have been received.
Hip Hop and R&B are well represented inthe top four Grammy categories of record of the year, album of theyear, song of the year, and best new artist. Three of the fivenominees for record of the year are Black artists: Beyonce withCrazy in Love, Blackeyed Peas with Where is the Love?, and Outkastwith Hey Ya!
Missy Elliott is among the contenders foralbum of the year for Under Construction, along with Outkast forSpeakerboxxx/The Love Below. Luther Vandross will be thespokesperson for traditional R&B on Grammy night when hecompetes for song of the year with his single Dance with MyFather.
The best new artist category is dominated byBlack artists this year with rapper 50 Cent, reggae sensation SeanPaul, and R&B songstress Heather Headley. Black artists areeven getting recognition in the best pop collaboration category:Christina Aguilara featuring Lil Kim for Can’t Hold Us Down,and Sting featuring Mary J. Blige for When I Say Your Name.
This year’s show, which airs February 8at 8 pm on CBS, will be very different from the Grammy Awardsdating fifteen years back. Back in 1989 rap artists Will Smith,Salt-N-Pepa, and LL Cool J boycotted the show after learning thatthe brand new Rap Performance category would not be aired on thelive televised broadcast. The Metal category, however, which wasalso formed in 1989, was part of the live show. This was hip-hop inits infant stage- the youngster not quite old enough to sit at thegrown-ups table. However, hip-hop is all grown up now, and takingthe awards show that once shunned it by storm.
Rap now has its own field with six categories,including best female and male solo performances, best performanceby a duo or group, best collaboration, best song, and of course,best album. The R&B genre also has a slew of categories to callits own, including best female and male vocal performances, bestperformance by a duo or group with vocals, best traditional vocalperformance, best urban/alternative performance, best song, bestalbum, and best contemporary album. Is all of this exposure reallyreaching its core audience? Now that hip-hop and R&B haveofficially carved their niche in the Grammy world, will youngAfrican Americans be willing to tune in and stay seated for theshow?
“I wasn’t planning on it,”says John Chambers, a sophomore electrical engineering major atHoward University. “I didn’t even know that so manyBlack artists were being nominated for the big categories. I justfigured [the academy] would just overlook them like they alwaysdo.”
Unfortunately, Chambers is not the onlystudent who will be opting for another network station besides CBSon Grammy night.
Crystal Skinner, a sophomore at PrinceGeorge’s Community College, admits “I will not bewatching, because the winners are already decided before the show,so my tuning in makes no difference. I think it’s great thathip hop and R&B is finally getting the respect it deserves, butI’ll just catch the results on the radio.”
“If Blacks don’t tune in,”argues Sefanit Befekadu, a freshman finance major.”They’ll stop showing our artists and categories. Wehave to show our support, and tune in in mass numbers.”
Befekadu is planning a Grammy get-togetherwith a few of her close girlfriends, reserving Sunday night not forstudying, but for Beyonce. “I don’t think it’sthat big of a deal to most college students, but for me it’sgoing to be a big night . . . and hopefully it’ll be evenbigger for the Black artists nominated.”
Winter is in full force and so are the wintry weather blues.Even the nation’s HBCUs located in warmer climates are facingthese cold temperature patterns. Students are literally feeling thebrunt of winter and if you let it, the weather can take a toll onyour physical, emotional and social health. You may not be able tofight this cold storm, but there are several ways to cope withit.
Common problems people experience during thisseason are colds and the flu. According to the Center forDisease Control and Prevention (CDC) an estimated 10 to 20 percentof United States residents get the flu each year. In addition,Americans suffer from 1 billion colds each year and 80 percent ofcolds are contracted during this season.
However, flu cases in the United States havedeclined. According to a weekly report created by the CDC, thenumber of states reporting widespread flu activity continued todecrease during the week of January 11-17. Despite the flu’sdecline, CDC officials have warned that cases could rise in somecommunities or regions because influenza strains peak at differenttimes.
The best ways to treat the common cold and theflu are by getting plenty of rest, drinking lots of fluids, eatingsoups, fruit and vegetables, reducing stress and avoiding alcoholand tobacco products.
“It is entirely to cold and windy. Ifeel like I don’t even live in Atlanta anymore, but inChicago because the other day my hat almost flew off,” saysNicole Camp, a junior sociology major at Spelman College.
Wind is another factor to deal with during thewinter. To solve this problem some people resort to heaters,electric blankets and heating pads. But heat sucks the moisture outof the air causing the low humidity to dry out the skin. To fightdry skin, avoid extremely hot water, harsh soaps, topical vitamin Aproducts, heavy woolen and fuzzy clothing, and excessive handwashing.
“The weather is pretty frigid here. Ihope that it lets up soon so that I can get out and see thecity,” says Jacqueline Copeland. Copeland, a junior ComputerScience major at Howard University is participating in a domesticexchange program at Columbia University this semester. Because ofthe weather conditions Copeland has been forced to stay inside.
Another problem people experience during thisseason is depression. Negative thoughts can be brought on duringthe winter because of weather conditions, social anxiety and lackof light. Lift your spirits during this season throughexercise, participating in pleasurable activities and gettingsunlight.
By dressing in layers, washing your hands(regularly, not excessively), drinking plenty of fluids, eatingnutritiously, exercising, getting sunlight and staying active youwill have a better chance of staying warm, healthy, happy thiswinter.