05 25 2016
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  • On Tuesday, a judge ordered the 78-year-old Cosby to stand trial on sexual assault charges 
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  • The judge concluded Officer Edward Nero played little role in the arrest and wasn't responsible for the failure by police to buckle Gray in  
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  • Bill Cosby faces a preliminary hearing Tuesday to determine if his criminal sex-assault case in suburban Philadelphia goes to trial.Prosecutors had declined to charge the comedian-actor over the 2005 complaint, but arrested him in December after his explosive deposition in the woman's lawsuit became public. In the testimony given in that deposition, Cosby is grilled about giving drugs and alcohol to women before sex; making secret payments to ex-lovers; and hosting Andrea Constand at his home. They knew each other through Temple University, where he was a trustee and she managed the women's basketball team. Bill Cosby's wife refused to answer dozens of questions during a combative deposition in a defamation lawsuit filed by seven women who say the comedian branded them liars after they accused him of sexually assaulting them, according to a transcript released Friday. Camille Cosby was subjected to intense questioning by the women's lawyer, who repeatedly pressed her to say whether she believes her husband "acted with a lack of integrity" during their 52-year marriage. The lawyer also asked if her husband used his position and power "to manipulate young women." Camille Cosby didn't answer those questions and many others after her lawyer cited marital privilege, the legal protection given to communications between spouses. She repeatedly said she had "no opinion" when pressed on whether she viewed her husband's behavior as dishonest and a violation of their marriage vows. About 50 women have publicly accused Bill Cosby of forcing unwanted sexual contact on them decades ago. Cosby has denied the allegations. He faces a criminal case in Pennsylvania, where prosecutors have charged him with sexually violating a former Temple University employee, Andrea Constand. He has pleaded not guilty. Camille Cosby answered questions in the deposition Feb. 22 and again April 19 after her lawyers argued unsuccessfully to stop it. A judge ruled she would have to give a deposition but said she could refuse to answer questions about private communications between her and her husband. Camille Cosby's lawyer, Monique Pressley, repeatedly cited that privilege and advised her not to answer many questions asked by the women's lawyer, Joseph Cammarata. The exchanges between Cammarata and Cosby became testy at times, and she admonished him: "Don't lecture me. Just keep going with the questions." Using a transcript of a deposition Bill Cosby gave in a civil lawsuit filed by Constand in 2005 and a transcript of an interview she gave to Oprah Winfrey in 2000, Cammarata asked Camille Cosby about extramarital affairs her husband had. "Were you aware of your husband setting up trusts for the benefit of women that he had a sexual relationship with?" Cammarata asked. She didn't answer after her lawyer cited marital privilege. Cammarata asked her about Shawn Thompson, a woman who said Bill Cosby fathered her daughter, Autumn Jackson, in the 1970s. Jackson was convicted in 1997 of attempting to extort money from Bill Cosby to prevent her from telling a tabloid she's his daughter. He acknowledged he had an affair with her mother and had given her money. "Was it a big deal when this came up in the 1970s that your husband had — big deal to you that your husband had an extramarital affair and potentially had a daughter from that extramarital affair?" Cammarata asked. "It was a big deal then, yes," Camille Cosby replied. She said she had "no opinion" on whether her husband's admission he obtained quaaludes to give to women with whom he wanted to have sex violated their marriage vows. Her lawyer objected and instructed her not to answer when Cammarata asked her if she ever suspected she had been given any type of drug to alter her state of consciousness when she had sex with her husband. A spokesman for the Cosbys declined to comment on her deposition. The Cosbys have a home in Shelburne Falls, an hour's drive from Springfield, where the lawsuit, seeking unspecified damages, was filed. An attorney handling a separate lawsuit against Bill Cosby revealed Friday that Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner provided sworn testimony Wednesday. In the sexual battery lawsuit filed in Los Angeles, Judy Huth says Cosby forced her to perform a sex act on him at the Playboy Mansion around 1974, when she was 15. Bill Cosby's former lawyers have accused Huth of attempting to extort him before filing the case and have tried unsuccessfully to have it dismissed. Huth's attorney, Gloria Allred, said Hefner's testimony will remain under seal for now. Hefner also was named as a defendant in a case filed Monday by former model Chloe Goins, who accuses Bill Cosby of drugging and sexually abusing her at the Playboy Mansion in 2008.   The Associated Press generally doesn't identify people who say they're victims of sexual abuse, but the women accusing Cosby have come forward to tell their stories.___AP Entertainment Writer Anthony McCartney contributed to this report from Los Angeles.
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Today, the phrase Black Power takes on a new meaning.  In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Black Power Movement inspired racial pride and self-esteem amongst African-Americans and encouraged all Americans to acknowledge and embrace Black culture and heritage.   Now Black Power also refers to the considerable economic influence of African-Americans.

According to recent Nielsen reports, the buying power of African-Americans is $1.1 trillion and expected to grow to $1.3 trillion by 2017. That is significant economic influence wielded by 44 million Blacks in the U.S.  In addition, African-Americans are conscious of how they spend their time and money, thus leveraging this purchasing power to ensure their economic impact is recognized and valued (See Nielsen’s videos here and here).

The influence of Black Power increases exponentially when the overall impact that Blacks have on American popular culture is considered.  A Nielsen report highlights that 73 percent of Whites and 67 percent of Hispanics believe that Blacks influence mainstream culture.  This is evidenced by the success of recent television shows that feature Black actors and culturally relevant story lines.  African-Americans watch nearly 200 hours of television per month, roughly 60 more hours than the total audience.  The successful programming formula of inclusivity is an effective strategy for television producers, but it also is incredibly effective for reaching multiple audiences and testifies to the power of diversity.

In addition, music by African-American artists consistently populates Billboard’s Top 20 albums chart.  Youth is a key driver for specific music genres, and more than half of the Black population – 53 percent – is under the age of 35 (compared to 47 percent of total population). However, African-American youth aren’t the sole procurers of Black music.  Hip-hop, in particular, has become an international, multibillion-dollar business reflective of the strong sway Black culture has on the music industry and its trends, thus providing additional proof of the far-reaching impact of today’s Black Power.  Over the years, jazz, blues and R&B have had similar universal appeal.

“African-Americans are increasing their consciousness of the power they yield in how they spend their time and money and how those decisions – whether it’s which television show to watch or which song to download – can be compounded and multiplied for maximum impact across diverse demographics,” says Cheryl Pearson-McNeil, Nielsen’s senior vice president, strategic community alliance and consumer engagement.  “The Black Power Movement in the ’60s and ’70s led to significant and historical changes.  That same type of conscious impact is achievable utilizing today’s platforms and tools,” she says.

For more information on Nielsen’s latest African-American consumer report, “Power. Growing. Influential,” please click here.

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