Goree Island, Senegal, June 27, 2013

Next week, on January 20th, 2017  we will say goodbye to President Barack "Baraka" Obama. Baraka means blessings in Swahili. He has been blessed. We all have been blessed to have him as our president.  Back in 2004, even before he became president, AfroAmerica Network made him AfroAmerica Network Black Man of Year 2004.

Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings

Soul singer Sharon Jones, died on Friday, November 19, 2016  at age 60 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Known as the James Brown of Soul, Sharon Jones' success after a long music career, came into her her 40s. She found success with her  band, the Dap-Kings. 

By her side until her death, the Dap-Kings band backed her up during her tours and performances. Commenting on her death, Dap-King's Gabriel Roth said that Sharon Jones, " was the strongest person any of us had ever known, and she just kept singing. She didn't want to stop singing."

Sharon Jones was diagnosed with  cancer in 2013. She never stopped performing even during treatment. Asked by Associated Press  recently, why she never stopes she said: "It's therapy, I know I need rest and sleep. But I want to work and that is our job.. You got to be brave. I want to use the time that I have. I don't want to spend it all laid up, wishing I had done that gig."

Her bravery will surely inspire many. She will be missed!

Gwen Ifill with the Dalai Lama in 2010

Gwen Ifill, the first Black woman to host a major political TV program has died. She was 61. Gwen Ifill was one of the most prominent political journalists in the United States. She has covered major events and campaigns. The most notable political events she hosted included moderating the 2004 and 2008 vice presidential debates and a presidential primary debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.  

 Gwen  Ifill was the best-selling author of The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama". 

In his remarks  about Gwen Ifill's passing, during a press conference before his last international trip as the US President,  President Obama gave the following tribute:

Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson, NASA mathematician, physicist, and scientist. Credit NASA

Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson is known as the NASA mathematician, physicist, and scientist who used her math genius to guide to and land Apollo 11 on the moon and bring it back to earth. As  NASA chief Charles Bolden, in a Vanity Fair Magazine article,  recently put it, Katherine "advanced Human Rights with a slide rule and a pencil", and the "frontier of human achievement at the same time."

Yet, at the time of her birth, on August 26, 1918,  the odds of reaching such a human achievement were remote at the best, if not impossible. It was the time when women were not encouraged to pursue high degrees or math and sciences. Moreover, Katherine Johnson was a Black woman, born in a segregated America. Hence,

Gaudence Habimana Nyirasafari, President Juvenal Habyarimana and Jeanne Habyarimana

 "If I die, it will be my day. And remember that no one can escape his destiny,"  the late Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana said on the evening of April 05, 1994, the eve of his assassination. President Habyarimana made the prediction at his residence in Kanombe, when walking out some of the guests he had entertained that evening. Among the guests were Mrs. Gaudence Habimana Nyirasafari and her husband, Phocas Habimana.

 Mrs. Gaudence Nyirasafari was one of the prominent Rwandan politicians and perhaps the highest ranking and most recognizable woman in the Rwandan politics, over more than 2 decades. She is also known as the first Rwandan woman to have obtained the most advanced university degree, that she earned from a Belgian university in early 1960s. Known for her integrity, she was well admired by Rwandan intellectuals and common people and trusted by Western diplomats in Rwanda and by governments around the World, especially the United States.

With the support from  the United States government, she was entrusted with the most important program funded by the Unites States, Family

President Obama, President Bush and Vice-President Baiden, along with their spouses, in Dallas on July 12, 2016

President Obama, President Bush and Vice-President Baiden, along with their spouses, in Dallas on July 12, 2016 ,  paid respect to 5 slain officers.  In their speeches, Obama and Bush called on Americans to do deep soul searching on race relations. Below are extracts from the main speeches during the event:

Afeni Shakur Davis, the mother of the late iconic hip-hop figure, Tupac Shakur, has died at age 69, in Sausalito, California. Afeni Shakur Davis  was an activist,  Black Panther as a young adult and and philanthropist. Tupac Shakur dedicated the famous song  "Dear Mama,"  to her mother; a song that topped the charts. 

Rustin Bayard and Dr Martin Luther King, Jr

Rustin Bayard,  a key advisor to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,  was the organizer of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.  Rustin Bayard is not as well known as other civil rights leaders. Yet, he is perhaps one of the major figures who became instrumental in the success of the Civil Rights movement. The reasons behind his less prominent visibility have nothing to do with his role.  In large part because he was  Black and gay and his brief flirtation, during his twenties, with Communism, he was forced to remain in the background.

Despite that, he played his role and remained a trusted advisor of Dr King and an effective leader. Rustin Bayard was a brilliant thinker and strategist a  radical pacifist, with an incredible charm to win converts to

Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi, co-founders of Black Lives Matter

The movement started as a Twitter hashtag #BlackLivesMatter, in the summer of 2013, after the acquittal of the accused in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. By 2015, the movement Black Lives Matter has become a mainstream grassroots organization fighting for human and Civil rights. It has been able to challenge US politicians and its platform has become one of the main topics for 2016 US Presidential race.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta: An exemplary life of virtue serving the poorest of the poor

The late Catholic nun Mother Teresa of Calcutta (or Kolkata)  will be soon among the saints, the Roman Catholic Church has said in a statement released today, on Friday Dec 18, 2015. The statement was made after Pope Francis cleared a way to sainthood, on the basis of a second miracle attributed to her. Two such miracles are need for a Catholic to be declared a Saint. The first miracle was recognized by the late Catholic Pope  John Paul II in 20013, while beatifying Mother Teresa.

One must visit Calcutta to see how much Mother Teresa had to face on a daily basis. The Calcutta that Mother Teresa found when she started her

Socio-economic conditions behind cancer care racial disparities

In certain circumstances, differences in prostate cancer treatment outcomes for Black men may not be due to biological differences in tumor aggressiveness, a Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston found.

According to the study, led by Dr. Quoc-Dien Trinh, there are no overall or cancer-related race differential survival rates  among the

2015 Nobel Prize Winners: Medicine and Physiology

Malaria affects the lives of hundreds of millions of people around the World, especially in Africa.  Roundworm parasites infect millions of people living in the poorest countries in the World.  The roundworm parasites cause river blindness and elephantiasis.

River blindness, an eye and skin disease that ultimately leads to blindness, has affected millions of the people in Africa. Elephantiasis,  also known as  lymphatic filariasis, causes painful swelling of the limbs.  Both of these diseases are on the verge of extinction.

Malaria is in control, thanks to the research by a Chinese woman, Professor Youyou Tu. Professor Youyou Tu graduated in the 1960s from