Black History Month: February 2020
To recall and celebrate the positive contributions to our nation made by people of African descent, American historian Carter G. Woodson established Black History Week beginning on Feb. 12, 1926. In 1976, as part of the nation's bicentennial, the week was expanded into Black History Month.
TODAY'S SPOTLIGHT ON
Ranked by Forbes as the most bankable star in Hollywood, Will Smith is one of the most powerful actors of all time. Smith has been nominated for four Golden Globes Awards, two Academy Awards and has won four Grammy Awards. He is the only actor to have eight consecutive films gross over $150 million in the domestic box office and eleven consecutive films gross over $150 million internationally. He is also the only actor to have eight consecutive films in which he starred in open at number one. Smith got his start as a rapper under the name The Fresh Prince in the late 80's. In 1990, he transitioned to television and starred in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. After the show ended in 1996, Smith went on to star in several blockbuster films like Independence Day, Bad Boys, I Am Legend, Men In Black, Ali, Hitch and more. As of 2013, his films have grossed $6.63 billion in global box office.
Willard Carroll "Will" Smith, Jr. was born on September 25, 1968 in West Philadelphia, PA
Met wife Jada Pinkett Smith In 1990 when she tried out for the role of his girlfriend on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
Has three children. Son, Willard Smith III (Trey Smith) born in November 11, 1992, with Sheree Fletcher. Son, Jaden Christopher Syre Smith born July 8, 1998 and daughter, Willow Camille Reign Smith born October 31, 2000 with Jada Pinkett Smith.
Won a Grammy Award for the song "Summertime" during his rap career.
Received the first ever Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance, for the song "Parents Just Don't Understand" in 1989 with his partner DJ Jazzy Jeff.
Chosen by People as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World.
Met first wife, Sheree Fletcher, at a taping of A Different World (1987) in 1991.
Graduate of Philly's legendary Overbrook High School
Once stated that in his whole career, he most regrets turning down the part of "Neo" in The Matrix (1999) and the film that he most regrets making wasWild Wild West (1999).
First hip-hop artist to be nominated for an Academy Award.
Incorporates the line "Aw, hell no!" into all his movies as a running catch phrase.
Holds the record for most Kids Choice Awards with a whopping six wins.
His 1995 divorce from ex-wife Sheree Fletcher led to a $900,000 lump sum divorce settlement for Fletcher, plus $24,000 per month in alimony and child support; this equals $288,000 a year.
As of 2014, his estimated net worth was $220 million.
On hate: "Throughout life people will make you mad, disrespect you and treat you bad. Let God deal with the things they do, cause hate in your heart will consume you too."
On money and success: "Money and success don't change people; they merely amplify what is already there."
On his work ethic: "And where I excel is ridiculous, sickening, work ethic. You know, while the other guy's sleeping? I'm working."
On being prepared: So if you stay ready, you ain't gotta get ready, and that is how I run my life.
On fatherhood: "There's so much negative imagery of black fatherhood. I've got tons of friends that are doing the right thing by their kids, and doing the right thing as a father – and how come that's not as newsworthy?"
Will shared some inspirational wisdom while accepting his NAACP Image Award for outstanding actor in a motion picture award in 2009:
["As a child my parents always told me, you can be whatever you want to be, you can do whatever you want to do. And you know that office, that position, the highest office on the face of the earth, it was something I heard my parents saying it, but I didn't totally believe it. Yet I went out in the world and I carried myself and I held my head high and I stood there and I looked people in their eyes and I talked to people as if I was deserving of everything that this planet has to offer. (Applause) So I really want to say to children out there and to people who are watching: Confucius said one time, he who says he can and he who says he can't are both usually right. "] SOUNDCUE (:44 OC: . . . both usually right.)
Will Smith On the American Dream
["The beauty of Hollywood combined with American ideals is the ultimate dreams for humanity. The basis of the American concept of anything is possible with hard work and dedication no matter your race, your religion, creed, none of that matters in America."] SOUNDCUE (:31…OC: in America)
Will Smith On Diversity in America
["I think that diversity is the American super power. That's why we are great. So many different people from so many different places adding their ideas, their inspiration, and their influences to this beautiful American gumbo. And for me, at its best, Hollywood represents and then creates the imagery for that beauty. But for my part, I think that I have to protect and fight for the ideals that make our country and make our Hollywood community great. And so when I look at the series of nominations of the academy…it's not reflecting that beauty."] SOUNDCUE (:62…OC: that beauty)
BLACK HISTORY MONTH QUESTION OF THE DAY
In 1999, which singer-songwriter won five Grammys — the most ever by a woman at that time.
Answer: Lauryn Hill. She won 5 Grammys for her debut solo album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.
BLACK HISTORY MONTH FACT OF THE DAY
In 1989, President George Bush named William Lucas, a Detroit, MI attorney, to the posiion of Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights.
BLACK HISTORY SPOTLIGHT: SAMUEL L GRAVELY
Samuel L Gravely was the first black person to command a U.S. warship. He was also the first African American in the US navy to be commissioned an officer, the first fleet commander and the first to become a flag officer, retiring as a Vice Admiral. He was born on June 4, 1922 in Richmond, Virginia. After spending two years at Virginia Union University, he enlisted in the Naval Reserves on September 15, 1942 and was trained as a Fireman Apprentice.
In 1943, he became the first black candidate accepted in the V-12 Navy College program. In 1944, Gravely was a part of the "Golden Thirteen" — which were 13 black men who became the first African-American men to be commissioned and warrant officers in the US Navy. Later that year, he completed midshipman training as a commissioned officer, thereby becoming the first African-American to graduate from the V-12 program.
Shortly after, he became the first black officer on the USS PC-1264 — a submarine chaser. While he was the first black officer on the ship, the rest of the command staff were white.
In April 1946, he was released from active duty, remaining in the Naval Reserve. He returned to his hometown of Richmond to complete his bachelor's degree in History. He then became a Navy Recruiter — recruiting African Americans in the Washington DC area. His US Navy career lasted 38 years.
Samuel L. Gravely died in October 2004 after suffering a stroke.
(Source: Wikipedia, Imdb, U.S. Census Bureau, 2010)
GMA: Will Smith on Diversity in America :
GMA: Will Smith on the American Dream :
NAACP AWARDS Will Smith Wins Outstanding Actor In A Motion Picture :