05-21-2018  9:33 pm      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

Raina Croff to Speak at Architectural Heritage Center

'When the Landmarks are Gone: Older African Americans, Place, and Change in N/NE Portland’ describes SHARP Walking Program ...

Portland Playhouse Presents August Wilson’s ‘Fences’ Through June 10

May 20 performance will include discussion on mental health; June 10 performance will be followed by discussion of fatherhood ...

Peggy Houston-Shivers Presents Benefit Concert for Allen Temple CME

Concert to take place May 20 at Maranatha Church ...

Family Friendly Talent Show, May 18

Family Fun Night series continues at Matt Dishman Community Center ...

Settlement reached in LGBT school harassment

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — An openly gay couple was walking in their Oregon high school parking lot when the principal's son drove up, veered away at the last second and shouted an anti-gay slur at the two girls. In class, a teacher equated same-sex marriage with bestiality.The girls complained to...

The Latest: Settlement reached in LGBT school harassment

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The Latest on the case of LGBTQ discrimination at an Oregon high school.6:30 p.m.:The principal of an Oregon high school will resign and its school district will commit to improving the climate for LGBTQ students as part of a settlement reached between the American Civil...

Paul Allen donates jumiM to Washington gun initiative

SEATTLE (AP) — Microsoft co-founder and Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen has donated jumi million to a campaign seeking to raise the age to purchase semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21 in Washington state.Allen made the announcement on Twitter Monday.The Alliance for Gun Responsibility says...

Man accused of trying to kill woman with opioid spray

MUKILTEO, Wash. (AP) — An Everett man is accused of holding down his ex-girlfriend at a Mukilteo hotel, shoving Xanax down her throat and forcing a fentanyl spray up her nose in what police say was attempted murder.The Daily Herald reports the woman survived and was able to escape and alert...

OPINION

Golfing While Black Is Not a Crime

Grandview Golf Club asks five Black women to leave for golfing too slow ...

Discovering the Best of Black America in 2018

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis discusses the DTU Journalism Fellowship & Scholarship Program ...

Will Israel’s Likud Party Ever Respect the Rights of Palestinians?

Bill Fletcher weighs in on the precarious future of the two-state solution between the Israeli government and the Palestinian people ...

The Future of Medicinal Marijuana in Pets

Dr. Jasmine Streeter says CBD-derived products show beneficial therapeutic benefits for pets ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

China sentences Tibetan activist to 5 years for separatism

BEIJING (AP) — China has sentenced a Tibetan language activist to five years in prison for inciting separatism after he appeared in a documentary video produced by The New York Times.Tashi Wangchuk's lawyer Liang Xiaojun told The Associated Press that a judge in Qinghai province passed down...

Settlement reached in LGBT school harassment

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — An openly gay couple was walking in their Oregon high school parking lot when the principal's son drove up, veered away at the last second and shouted an anti-gay slur at the two girls. In class, a teacher equated same-sex marriage with bestiality.The girls complained to...

Correction: 2018 Midterms-Endorsements story

ATLANTA (AP) — In a story May 20 about potential Democratic presidential candidates and their campaign activity in 2018, The Associated Press reported erroneously that former Vice President Joe Biden was planning to campaign in North Carolina on behalf of a congressional candidate Dan...

ENTERTAINMENT

Actress who accused Weinstein needs money to finish film

NEW YORK (AP) — Actress Paz de la Huerta has started a crowdfunding campaign to finish a movie she began making years before she publicly accused Harvey Weinstein of rape.The movie "Valley of Tears" is her take on the Hans Christian Andersen story "The Red Shoes," about a little girl with a...

Sony invests in image sensors, acquires more of EMI Music

TOKYO (AP) — Electronics and entertainment company Sony Corp. said Tuesday it plans to invest 1 trillion yen ( billion) mostly in image sensors over the next three years, under a revamped strategy to strengthen both hardware and creative content.Sony also plans to buy for [scripts/homepage/home.php].3 billion a 60...

At Cannes, a #MeToo upheaval up and down the Croisette

CANNES, France (AP) — Fifty years after filmmakers shut down the Cannes Film Festival, the prestigious Cote d'Azur extravaganza was again shook by upheaval.From the start to the finish, the 71st Cannes was dominated by protest and petition for gender equality, culminating in the...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Artist Robert Indiana, known for 'LOVE' series, dies at 89

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Pop artist Robert Indiana, best known for his 1960s "LOVE" series, has died at his...

All tied up: LeBron's 44 helps Cavs even series with Celtics

CLEVELAND (AP) — LeBron James knows the path to the NBA Finals better than anyone in today's game.And...

Miss Nebraska wins Miss USA competition

SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) — Sarah Rose Summers from Nebraska beat out 50 other women Monday to win this year's...

Congo Ebola vaccination campaign begins with health workers

KINSHASA, Congo (AP) — Congo began an Ebola vaccination campaign Monday in a northwest provincial capital...

Social media under microscope in emotive Irish abortion vote

DUBLIN (AP) — In homes and pubs, on leaflets and lampposts, debate is raging in Ireland over whether to...

Aide: Palestinian leader making swift recovery in hospital

JERUSALEM (AP) — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is alert and making a swift recovery after being...

Stacy M. Brown (NNPA News Wire Contributing Writer)

Russell Simmons is just starting to regain a little normalcy in his life.

He’s back at yoga and the hip-hop and business mogul is even able to run some errands without worrying about whether a disgruntled RushCard holder might verbally attack him -- or worse.

Simmons never hung his head despite mounting criticism that rocked the music impresario when his innovative pre-paid RushCard experienced a computer glitch last fall that prevented hundreds of thousands of card holders from accessing their money.

“I took full responsibility. It’s my card and I made sure to reach out to cardholders personally and I reached into my own pocket to help people with their rent, their medicine or whatever emergency that may have come up,” Simmons said.

“All I knew how to do was to make good on it and try to make the people that were damaged whole again,” he said.

Simmons has done even more and he continues his push to have the underbanked and the underserved benefit.

“My mission is to eventually see that when someone pays their rent on time, pays their light bill on time, that these things go on their credit reports,” Simmons said. “It should be and if I can’t get regulators and the credit bureaus to do it, then I will have to start my own credit bureau.”

If that sounds like a bit of a stretch, Simmons points to his starting the RushCard as proof that real change can happen.

“I was first. No one else did this until I came out with my card,” he said, noting that he’s not just the face of RushCard. Along with his American Express and other items in his wallet is his own RushCard that he regularly uses.

“Look, we were the ones who invented this and what I don’t like is when people refer to us as a celebrity company,” Simmons said. “All of what American Express is doing, all of what Chase Manhattan did, we did first. We’re a virtual bank. The other thing is that we didn’t build this company to make money when we started and, really, I didn’t think it would become a business but it did and I go to work every day to try and improve the service we provide.”

Simmons said his fight for credit building is an uphill battle, but it’s a battle that can be won.

It’s as much part of his life as yoga, he said.

“You pay rent every month for eight years on a RushCard -- why can’t you get a mortgage? I think that’s a travesty. I think a lot of the big companies like MasterCard, the Visas, the others that do the processing and infrastructure work; a lot of us could come together and force them to accept this information on credit reports of the world,” Simmons said.

As Simmons pushes for changes in policies in the credit industry, he’s leaving the door open for starting his own credit reporting agency.

In the aftermath of the much-publicized computer glitch – which Simmons still refers to as a “tsunami” – the business leader provided free service to card holders for five months, sacrificing all of his company’s profits to do so. He also reached a more than $20 million settlement from a class action lawsuit filed against RushCard, because of the glitch.

“I’m glad to do it. I had put aside $25 million,” Simmons said, noting that the card isn’t just for communities that have been forgotten and underserved by banks. “There’s no reason why small businesses can’t use a Rush Business Card. We just added a feature, just now where if you lose your card, you can turn your card off instantly through an app. Then you can turn it back on.”

Simmons continued: “This card should be for affluent people as well as underserved community members and it should be the wave of the future for millennials. This is the bank for millennials and the growth rate for our company is 70 percent millennials, when it used to be single mothers. Millennials who don’t like banks are coming in our direction and we haven’t even begun the branding exercise to speak to them.”

Simmons said that he didn’t mind paying the $20 million settlement.

“I don’t mind paying the $20 million. I don’t mind that that was our cost. I am going to spend a lot more money than that in the community, in my peacekeeping programs, in RUSH and art education,” he said.

Simmons said so much more will soon be announced and he’s confident that RushCard holders and others will be pleased.

“We are going to be in the community in a way that we’ve never been,” Simmons said.

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