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August 2020 Noire News


The August 2020 edition of Noire News includes the usual memorial and good news along with feature stories about gender-based violence, the latest happenings within the injustice system, Brandy’s People interview where she discusses her depression and mental health, and the coup in Mali.


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Show Notes


Bob Ryland

June 16, 1920 – August 2, 2020

Robert Henry Ryland Jr. was born in Chicago and lost his twin and mother about a year after his birth which resulted in his father sending him to Mobile, Alabama to live with his grandmother. He witnessed several incidents of racial violence in Mobile such as the death of a cousin at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan and the lynching of several neighbors. Ryland began playing tennis when he returned to Chicago and won state and junior singles titles in high school with coaching from his father. He attended college on tennis scholarships during which he was sometimes forced to eat separately from teammates at restaurants that wouldn’t serve him.

After serving in the Army during World War II, Ryland eventually graduated with a bachelor’s degree in physical education. He began playing professionally on the Black circuit before becoming the first Black player on the World Pro Tour in 1959. In addition to playing professionally, Ryland also taught tennis in Washington and New York for many decades, counting several celebrities amongst his students. He remained an active tennis player and teacher and was the oldest registered tennis player in New York at the time of his death which was caused by pneumonia.

Michael Ojo

January 5, 1993 – August 7, 2020

Nigerian-born Michael Olalekan Ojo played soccer throughout his youth until he switched to basketball after experiencing a growth spurt that took him from 6ft 6in to 7ft 1in. His discovery in 2010 while playing at the Giants of Africa camp enabled him to move to America where he attended college and pursued basketball scholarships. As he didn’t have much playing experience, Ojo put a lot of effort into improving with hopes of being drafted after graduation and was a force on Florida State University’s team by his senior year. While he was invited to private workouts for NBA teams, Ojo went undrafted and left America to play in Serbia. Earlier in 2020, Ojo tested positive for COVID from which he recovered but collapsed while training and could not be resuscitated.

James “Kamala the Ugandan” Harris

May 28, 1950 – August 9, 2020

James Harris was born in Senatobia, Mississippi, and worked as a sharecropper and truck driver. Standing at 6ft 7in and weighing in at almost 400 pounds, he began wrestling but didn’t experience any real success until a promoter came up with the character “Kamala the Ugandan” who was based on the dictator Idi Amin. Portraying a persona based on stereotypes about Africans, Kamala started in the Mid-South wrestling territory before moving on to the WWE in the 1980s. Despite wrestling’s popularity, Harris later admitted that he felt underpaid and mistreated in comparison to other wrestlers of the time. When his scheduled appearances in matches became inconsistent, Harris returned to driving trucks but experienced health issues including bilateral leg amputations due to diabetes. James Harris passed away at the age of 70 from COVID-19.

Raymond Allen

March 5, 1929 – August 10, 2020

Raymond Allen, an actor best known for portraying Uncle Woodrow “Woody” Anderson on Sanford & Son as well as Ned the Wino on Good Times has died at the age of 91. Allen was born in Kansas City, Missouri, the youngest of his parent’s 12 children. He appeared in several hit sitcoms during the 1970s before retiring from acting during the 1980s due to medical reasons. In 2016, he became a resident of a healthcare facility as a result of pneumonia issues. Allen remained at the facility and was found to have a bacterial infection in May and was found unresponsive the morning of his death.

Chi Chi DeVayne

September 24, 1985 – August 20, 2020

Zavion Davenport was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, and later adopted the stage name, Chi Chi DeVayne. DeVayne appeared on RuPaul’s Drag Race and was a fan favorite which paved the way for later appearances on Little America, the YouTube series Bootleg Opinions, and Hey Qween. They had recently experienced health issues including hospitalization in July for high blood pressure and kidney failure. DeVayne mentioned pneumonia issues while posting to social media during their most recent hospital admission. The exact cause of death has not been revealed.

D. J. Rogers

May 9, 1948 – August 22, 2020

DeWayne Julius “D.J.” Rogers was a 70s R&B musician who blended gospel and jazz and is best known for the songs “Say You Love Me” and “Love Brought Me Back.” Rogers was a singer, songwriter, and producer who played multiple instruments but despite recording for several labels was never quite able to hit on a strategy that capitalized on his talent. While he collaborated with other major artists, some of whom covered his songs, by the 90s Rogers was primarily focused on gospel music.


Gender-based Violence

Cuba Gooding, Jr. Sexual Misconduct Allegations

Cuba Gooding, Jr. is currently on trial in New York City for sexual misconduct stemming from allegations that he groped three women on different occasions in 2018 and 2019. Since pleading not guilty last October, several other women came forward with accusations of similar misconduct taking place in major cities around the country between 2003 to 2019. In August, yet another woman came forward but this time accusing Gooding of luring her to his hotel room, inappropriately undressing, forcibly preventing her from leaving the room, and raping her twice. Gooding is now facing a criminal trial for sexual misconduct and potentially a civil lawsuit stemming from the 2013 rape accusation.

Derrius Guice’s Legal Issues

LSU alum and Washington running back Derrius Guice was arrested and charged with one count of felony strangulation, one count of destruction of property, and three counts of assault and battery. The charges stem from three alleged domestic violence incidents from earlier this year that involved his girlfriend. Washington (they need to do something about that generic name) then cut Guise a few hours after he was charged, likely in part because the team has been dealing with sexual harassment allegations of its own.

This came a few days after another woman, a former LSU tennis player, filed a lawsuit against Guise which accused him of rape. The lawsuit claims that Guise had non-consensual sex with the woman in her home while she had passed out following a night that involved drinking. A second woman, also a former LSU student, made similar accusations against Guise though she has not filed a lawsuit. Both women decided against filing reports with law enforcement after the incidents but have stated that they notified the school’s Title IX office but it seems no further action was taken.

Megan Thee Stallion & The Black Community’s Discomfort With Using the Justice System

Rapper Megan Thee Stallion was shot in the feet in July and initially refused to name the shooter. After several weeks during which some commenters claimed the shooting was a hoax, Megan shared photos of the injury on social media and revealed the shooter was another rapper, Tory Lanez. The two were previously romantically involved, and Megan alleges that following an argument in a vehicle Tory shot her in the feet. She’d initially told police that the injury resulted from her stepping on glass as she feared that given recent events, the police might begin shooting if they knew a gun was present. And then also feeling obligated to protect someone who had done her harm.

I haven’t kept up with Hip-Hop or R&B in years so I don’t know or follow the careers of either of these people. But, I felt sorry for Megan, after hearing about the shooting and her reasoning for feeling uncomfortable with seeking justice.

Where other communities see law enforcement as a resource for protection and the justice system as a resource for legal redress, that’s not always the case for Black people. As Black people in America, our relationship with law enforcement and the justice system is very complicated. Often, law enforcement and even regular citizens wield negative presumptions about Black people as justification for aggression and excessive use of force. Black people have to weigh the potential pros and cons of having to interact with police officers to file a complaint or press charges against someone. There’s irony in the real possibility of having an already dangerous and tense situation escalate by involving police officers who are supposed to be peace officers.

And then as a Black person having to deal with the community possibly seeing you as a traitor for seeking protection from another Black person from this external force that is often harmful to members of the community. This results in members of the Black community being victimized by both other Black people and also law enforcement / the justice system. Who can you turn to when you fear being victimized at every turn?

It’s incredibly difficult to fight a war on two fronts. We as a community need to have serious conversations about the harm we experience at the hands of people both within and outside of our community. I’m not talking about the dismissive media talking point of so-called black-on-black crime. We face unique circumstances as a community. And if we ever hope to overcome the injustices we face in wider society, we can not victimize each other. We also can not excuse the victimization of a person simply because the perpetrator is also Black. The goal is not to abolish the justice system but rather to ensure that it works fairly for everyone as both a resource and with regards to prosecution.

The Injustice System

Tennessee’s New Anti-Protest Bill

The state of Tennessee has passed a new law that now makes it a felony for protestors to encamp on state property during demonstrations. Protestors who are charged and found guilty of breaking the law can be sentenced to one to six years in prison and lose their right to vote. The law came about as a result of protests at the state capitol where demonstrators gathered to demand a discussion with the governor about inequality, police brutality, and removal of the bust of a white supremacist. Instead of meeting with protestors, the governor and lawmakers devised the new piece of legislation intending to curtail First Amendment rights under the guise of protecting police officers and preventing the large-scale disruptive demonstrations that have occurred in other cities.

Jacob Blake Police-Involved Shooting

In Kenosha, Wisconsin, police shot Jacob Blake in the back seven times after he either reached in or attempted to get into the driver seat of his vehicle. The shooting followed a scuffle near the rear passenger side where the police held Blake in a headlock while hitting him and a female officer tased him. Blake’s three children were in the vehicle and several bystanders were nearby watching the altercation. So far there have been two short videos released showing the scuffle and the shooting but the events leading up to the shooting are still unclear. Police say a knife was later found on the driver’s side floorboard while an attorney for Blake’s family has stated that there was no weapon in the vehicle. Fortunately, Blake was rushed to the hospital and survived but is currently paralyzed from the waist down though it’s too soon for doctors to determine if the paralysis is temporary or permanent.

  • Oprah Winfrey erected 26 billboards around Louisville, Kentucky calling for the arrest of the officers that killed Breonna Taylor earlier this year. One of the billboards was vandalized with a splash of red paint on Taylor’s forehead resulting in what looks like a gunshot wound.
  • A mural that was erected at the location in Minneapolis where George Floyd was murdered was defaced with black spray paint. It became one of the latest George Floyd murals across the country to be defaced.

Brandy Discusses Depression & Mental Health

Brandy recently released her first album in eight years and while making her PR rounds revealed in an interview with People that she’d experienced bouts of major depression. Born in Mississippi, Norwood shot to fame in her teens with multiple hit albums and a television sitcom. But the pressure to maintain her image as she matured and experienced relationship drama and a car accident that led to a woman losing her life took a serious toll. Dealing with all of these setbacks in the limelight sent Brandy into a spiral of deep depression. In the interview, she admits to feeling hopeless and contemplating suicide but ultimately deciding to seek help. She made her mental health a priority and relied on therapy, meditation, journaling, and her faith to push through.

I appreciate this new trend of celebrities opening up about their mental health struggles. It goes a long way towards helping to eradicate the stigmas around discussing mental health in the Black community. Don’t think that this is something you need to hide or go through alone. We might not have the same resources as celebrities but there are resources available if you need help.

Mali Coup

Military leaders in Mali led a coup that deposed President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta. Citizens within Mali seemed to cheer the overthrow of the government while the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has called for Keïta to return to power. The coup follows months of large street demonstrations where protesters gathered under the direction of imam Mahmoud Dicko.

It’s believed that civilians were dismayed by corruption scandals within the Keïta government where high-ranking officials lived the good life while poor citizens were left without access to resources. Soldiers also faced death fighting militant jihadists in the north of the country while experiencing issues with their pay. International partners and African neighbors weren’t exactly pleased with Keïta either but disapprove of how he was removed from power. According to reports, an agreement could not be reached but Keita is no longer interested in returning to power and military leaders have stated that elections will be held to enable Malians to decide the country’s path forward.


2020 will likely go down in history as one of the suckiest years ever. But, a lot of organizations, celebrities, and regular people stepped up this year when mankind was in dire need of support, compassion, and humanity. And while some industries have slowed down and shut down leading to business closures and job losses others are thriving.

  • Anthony Hamilton has been active in Charlotte, North Carolina helping to clean up one public housing apartment complex in July and working with volunteers at another to give out groceries along with health and school supplies in August.
  • Korey Wise linked up with Friends of Public School Harlem to distribute book bags and school supplies to 200 families with plans to distribute hundreds more in the coming weeks.
  • 21 Savage hosted his fifth annual “Issa Back 2 School Drive” in Decatur where bookbags, laptops, school supplies, and face masks were distributed. Savage also aims to teach youths about financial literacy through his nonprofit, Leading by Example Foundation.
  • Lizzo and Tyra Banks have both inked first-look deals with major media companies. Lizzo with Amazon Studios for which she will produce streaming television projects for Prime Video. And Banks with ABC Signature through which her all-female team at Bankable Productions will create scripted and unscripted programs.
  • Roc Nation has partnered with Long Island University’s Brooklyn campus to launch the Roc Nation School of Music, Sports & Entertainment. Beginning the Fall 2021 semester, students will be able to study towards undergraduate degrees in music, music technology, entrepreneurship, production, and sports management.
  • TV One has signed a distribution deal with the internet television company Philo TV which currently offers a package of 60 cable networks for $20 per month. Philo TV sees the partnership as part of its larger plan to address media diversity and provide support for Black-owned businesses and social justice organizations.
  • Less than a decade after accounting for more than half of the world’s cases of wild polio, Nigeria has been declared free of wild polio. More than 95% of Africa’s population has now been immunized against wild polio through vaccination programs that mobilized healthcare works to travel village to village and hand-deliver vaccines. The push to rid Nigeria of wild polio was complicated by some areas being remote and others under siege by militants making it difficult and dangerous for health workers.
  • Almost 18-years after the death of Jason “Jam Master Jay” Mizell of Run-DMC, the acting U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York has charged Karl Jordan Jr. and Ronald Washington with his murder. Prosecutors allege that the pair murdered Mizell in retaliation for him cutting Washington out of a drug deal. If convicted, both Jordan and Washington face a minimum sentence of 20 years in prison. Washington is currently in prison for an unrelated robbery.
  • Former running back Jason Wright has become both the first Black and youngest team president in NFL history. Wright played for multiple teams during his seven years in the league before obtaining an MBA from the University of Chicago. He brings his advanced degree and seven years of consulting experience to Washington’s business division. Tasked with taking care of the organization’s front office business, Wright will be expected to help the team end its performance slump and move past allegations of sexual harassment.



  1. Associated Press. 2020. “Robert Ryland, First Black Professional Tennis Player, Dies at 100.” Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times. August 15, 2020.
  2. Givony, Jonathan. 2020. “Former Florida State Basketball Player Michael Ojo, 27, Dies during Workout.” ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures. August 7, 2020.
  3. Contreras, Russell. 2020. “Pro Wrestling Star James ‘Kamala’ Harris Dies at 70.” ABC News. ABC News Network. August 10, 2020.
  4. Contreras, Russell. 2020. “WWE, Mississippi Native Wrestling Star James ‘Kamala’ Harris Dies at 70.” Ledger. Mississippi Clarion Ledger. August 10, 2020.
  5. Evans, Greg. 2020. “Raymond Allen Dies: ‘Sanford And Son’, ‘Good Times’ Actor Was 91.” Deadline. Deadline. August 11, 2020.
  6. Nichols, Mackenzie. 2020. “Raymond Allen, Actor Known for ‘Sanford and Son’ and ‘Good Times,’ Dies at 91.” Variety. Variety Media, LLC. August 11, 2020.
  7. Gonzalez, Sandra. 2020. “’RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Favorite Chi Chi DeVayne Dies at 34.” CNN. Cable News Network. August 21, 2020.
  8. Nolfi, Joey. 2020. “’RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Queen Chi Chi DeVayne Dies at 34.” Meredith Corporation. August 20, 2020.
  9. Rizik, Christopher. 2020. “70s Soul Star D.J. Rogers Dies at Age 72.” SoulTracks. August 23, 2020.


Gender-based Violence

Cuba Gooding, Jr. Sexual Misconduct Allegations
  1. Chavez, Nicole, and Melanie Schuman. 2019. “More Women Are Accusing Cuba Gooding Jr. of Sexual Misconduct.” CNN. Cable News Network. December 11, 2019.
  2. Khatchatourian, Maane. 2020. “Cuba Gooding Jr. Accused of Raping Woman in Hotel Room.” Variety. Variety Media, LLC. August 18, 2020.
  3. Sisak, Michael R. 2020. “Cuba Gooding Jr’s Groping Case Back on Docket in August after Virus Delays.” USA Today. Gannett Satellite Information Network. July 16, 2020.
Derrius Guice’s Legal Issues
  1. Jacoby, Kenny, and Nancy Armour. 2020. “Two Women Say Ex-Washington RB Derrius Guice Raped Them at LSU When He Was a Freshman.” USA Today. Gannett Satellite Information Network. August 19, 2020.
  2. Keim, John. 2020. “Washington Releases RB Derrius Guice Shortly after Arrest.” ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures. August 7, 2020.
  3. MaGee, Ny. 2020. “Former NFL Star Derrius Guice Accused of Raping 2 Women While Playing for LSU.” EURweb. August 22, 2020.
Megan Thee Stallion & The Black Community’s Discomfort With Using the Justice System
  1. Stidhum, Tonja Renée. 2020. “Megan Thee Stallion Names Tory Lanez as Her Shooter, Says She Tried to Protect Him Because ‘Police Are Killing Black People for No Reason’.” The Grapevine. G/O Media Inc. August 21, 2020.
  2. Wells, Veronica. 2020. “‘Why Y’all Upset That I Can Walk?” Megan Thee Stallion Posts Her Foot Injuries For People Who Doubted Her Story.” MadameNoire. MadameNoire. August 20, 2020.
  3. Wells, Veronica. 2020. “What Is The Prize For Black Women’s Loyalty To The Black Men Who Harm Us?” MadameNoire. MadameNoire. August 22, 2020.

The Injustice System

Tennessee’s New Anti-Protest Bill
  1. Bartlett, Kerri. 2020. “Protesters Who Camp on Tennessee State Property Could Lose Right to Vote under New Law.” USA Today. Gannett Satellite Information Network. August 22, 2020.
  2. Mansoor, Sanya. 2020. “New Law Means Tennessee Protesters Could Lose Voting Rights.” Time. Time USA, LLC. August 23, 2020.
  3. Mena, Kelly. 2020. “New Tennessee Law Penalizes Protesters Who Camp on State Property with Felony and Loss of Voting Rights.” CNN. Cable News Network. August 23, 2020.
  4. Robinson, Ishena. 2020. “Tennessee Passes Law That Would Punish Protestors By Taking Away Their Right to Vote.” The Root. The Root. August 22, 2020.
Jacob Blake Police Involved Shooting
  1. Albert, Victoria. 2020. “Officer Who Shot Jacob Blake Identified.” CBS News. CBS Interactive. August 27, 2020.
  2. Chavez, Nicole. 2020. “What We Know so Far about Jacob Blake’s Shooting.” CNN. Cable News Network. August 27, 2020.
  3. Maxouris, Christina. 2020. “Investigators Say the Officer Who Shot Jacob Blake Has Been with the Department for 7 Years.” CNN. Cable News Network. August 27, 2020.
  4. Treisman, Rachel. 2020. “Wisconsin Dept. Of Justice Identifies Police Officer Who Shot Jacob Blake.” NPR. NPR. August 27, 2020.
  1. Linly, Zack. 2020. “Breonna Taylor Billboard Defaced With Red Paint Over Her Forehead Resembling Bullet Wound.” The Root. The Root. August 19, 2020.
  2. Press, Associated. 2020. “George Floyd Mural in Minneapolis Defaced with Black Paint, Covered with Tarp.” ABC7 Los Angeles. kabc. August 21, 2020.

Brandy Discusses Depression & Mental Health

  1. Rubenstein, Janine. 2020. “Brandy Reveals Her Darkest Moment of Depression and How Daughter Sy’rai Saved Her Life.” Meredith Corporation. August 19, 2020.

Mali Coup

  1. Afrique, Jeune. 2020. “Mali: Imam Mahmoud Dicko and International Community Call for Calm.” The Africa The Africa Report. July 15, 2020.
  2. “Mali Coup Leaders Promise Elections after Keita Overthrow.” 2020. Al Jazeera. Al Jazeera. August 20, 2020.
  3. “Mali Coup Leaders, ECOWAS Fail to Reach Agreement on Transition.” 2020. Al Jazeera. Al Jazeera. August 24, 2020.
  4. “Mali Coup: No Deal on Transitional Government.” 2020. BBC News. BBC. August 24, 2020.
  5. “Mali’s Coup Is Cheered at Home but Upsets Neighbours.” 2020. BBC News. BBC. August 21, 2020.


  1. Sanders, Brandee. 2020. “Singer Anthony Hamilton Leads Community Initiative In Charlotte.” NewsOne. NewsOne. August 24, 2020.
  2. Sanders, Brandee. 2020. “Korey Wise Hosts Back-To-School Drive For Harlem Youth.” NewsOne. NewsOne. August 23, 2020.
  3. Sanders, Brandee. 2020. “21 Savage Donates Laptops To Georgia Students.” NewsOne. NewsOne. August 17, 2020.
  4. Porter, Rick. 2020. “Lizzo Inks First-Look Deal With Amazon.” The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media, LLC. August 7, 2020.
  5. Pendleton, Tonya. 2020. “Tyra Banks Signs First-Look Deal at ABC Studios.” TheGrio. August 21, 2020.
  6. Press, Associated. 2020. “Roc Nation Partners With Brooklyn’s LIU to Launch New School.” Billboard. August 6, 2020.
  7. Sanders, Brandee. 2020. “TV One Inks Distribution Deal With Philo TV.” NewsOne. NewsOne. August 24, 2020.
  8. Scherbel-Ball, Naomi. 2020. “Africa Declared Free of Wild Polio in ‘Milestone’.” BBC News. BBC. August 25, 2020.
  9. Limbong, Andrew. 2020. “2 Men Charged In Long-Unsolved Killing Of Run-DMC’s Jam Master Jay.” NPR. NPR. August 17, 2020.
  10. Romo, Vanessa. 2020. “Washington Makes NFL History, Hires First Black Team President Jason Wright.” NPR. NPR. August 18, 2020.

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