Colin Kaepernick Joins Board of Directors at Medium ... to 'Elevate Black Voices'

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Colin Kaepernick has a new job -- not the in the NFL (yet) -- he just joined the Board of Directors on a major online publishing platform.

Kap -- along with Kaepernick Publishing (which he created 2019) -- has teamed up with Medium, which hosts "social journalism" articles on everything from politics to health from a number of authors. Medium claims to have 120 million readers.

Now, Medium's founder Evan Williams has announced Colin Kaepernick is on board, starting Thursday.

"Today, we announce that civil rights activist and athlete Colin Kaepernick will be joining our Board of Directors," Williams said,.

"In addition to the board seat, Medium will partner with Colin and Kaepernick Publishing to create and feature stories focused on race and civil rights in America, and to elevate emerging voices from communities of color."

Williams continued, "I know he will bring valuable insights and leadership to Medium, especially in this moment when the world is finally catching up to his vision on racial justice."

According to Medium, Colin "will be sharing his thoughts on anti-Black racism in our society, and Medium and Kaepernick Publishing will co-publish thought-provoking feature stories from diverse writers of color."

Kaepernick has also commented -- saying, "I am excited for Kaepernick Publishing to partner with Medium to continue to elevate Black voices in the news and publishing industry."

"I also look forward to creating new opportunities and avenues for Black writers and creators with my new role as a Board Member."

Rayshard Brooks Family Says He Died For Higher Reason ... Spark Change in Atlanta

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Rayshard Brooks' death at the hands of police won't be in vain, and will lead to lasting changes in Atlanta ... at least that's how his family is viewing his legacy.

One of Rayshard's cousins, Decatur Redd, tells TMZ ... the family thinks the felony murder charge brought against the officer who fired the fatal shots is a start, and makes it feel like Rayshard died for a reason.

GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN
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Decatur says charging Garrett Rolfe, the fired cop who fatally shot Rayshard in the back, won't bring back his cousin, but it could help Georgia enact its first hate crime bill.

As we reported ... Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard announced 11 charges against Rolfe Wednesday, including felony murder and multiple acts of aggravated assault.

Decatur tells us family members had trouble sleeping leading up to the announcement, because they feared Rayshard's killer would not be charged, which he says would have reopened lots of wounds in Atlanta.

That all changed, of course, after the D.A.'s announcement, and he shared the emotions of that moment.

The felony murder charge wasn't the only shock to the family. Decatur says it was heartbreaking to hear Rayshard didn't get timely medical aid -- and to see Rolfe kicked him as he lay dying.

UNLV Legend Isaiah Rider 'Hey Reb!' Statue Needed To Go ... Proud Of My School!

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THE RIGHT THING TO DO
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Isaiah "J.R." Rider says UNLV's 'Hey Reb!' statue -- with ties to the Confederacy -- had to be removed ... telling TMZ Sports he's proud his alma mater "did the right thing."

Rider was an absolute beast at University of Nevada, Las Vegas in the early '90s... and was named an All-American in 1993. J.R. was the 5th overall pick in the NBA Draft.

We asked the former superstar hooper how he felt about UNLV yanking the popular giant bronze statue from the place it sat for years on campus.

"I'm proud. I think it's the right thing to do personally," Rider tells us, continuing ... "I think it was well done, on time, no need to delay, no need to think about it."

The former UNLV star kept it real when asked how he felt about the statue (and Runnin' Rebel mascot) when he was playing ball for the university ... saying he didn't know about all the baggage associated with the Rebel.

"Honestly, in school, I wasn't aware. I wasn't as conscious as I am now, as woke as I am now, as well-read as I am now."

But, Rider says after school he became educated on the issue ... and realized the name and statue were offensive.

"At the time at UNLV, no it didn't bother me at all. I was a 'Runnin' Rebel.' It didn't bother me at all but later in life, as I learned certain things, like the Redskins mascot, I started to have a problem with that for sure."

FYI, the "Rebel" was originally named after a Confederate general named Beauregard ... who ordered the Civil War's first gunshots, according to a Change.org petition demanding UNLV change the current mascot.

We also asked Rider what he'd say to UNLV fans who have lived-and-died with the "Runnin' Rebels" teams for years ... and are kinda bummed to see the school lose that identity.

"I would say to my people, my 'Runnin' Rebels' out there, that look, we're UNLV for life. When we talk, I always say UNLV. I never say 'Runnin' Rebel.' Not only because I don't really like it but I'm UNLV and we are UNLV for life and that doesn't change."

"We're UNLV Runnin', we're gonna drop the last part!"

Aunt Jemima Canceled!!! Co. Admits She's a Racial Stereotype (No Duh!)

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6:27 AM PT -- 6/18 -- Cream of Wheat is now considering changing its logo as well, a company spokesperson tells TMZ, "B&G Foods, Inc. today announced that we are initiating an immediate review of the Cream of Wheat brand packaging."

They continue, "We understand there are concerns regarding the Chef image, and we are committed to evaluating our packaging and will proactively take steps to ensure that we and our brands do not inadvertently contribute to systemic racism. B&G Foods unequivocally stands against prejudice and injustice of any kind."

Aunt Jemima syrup is no more -- 'cause the parent company is retiring the image and name after more than a century, while publicly copping to the fact she's a giant stereotype.

The Quaker Oats Company made the announcement Tuesday, saying they were doing away with Auntie. The company explains, "As we work to make progress toward racial equality through several initiatives, we also must take a hard look at our portfolio of brands and ensure they reflect our values and meet our consumers' expectations."

Aunt Jemima's been a thing for more than 130 years now, and its origins are deeply racist. The character is based on an 1800s "mammy" -- a black servant in a white household.

Specifically, Aunt Jemima is meant to portray a real-life woman named Nancy Green, who Quaker had previously described as a "storyteller, cook and missionary worker" ... but failing to mention she was born into slavery.

There's even more controversy surrounding the brand that's been swept under the rug over the years -- like the name Jemima coming from a minstrel-era song, "Old Aunt Jemima."

For the longest time, the Aunt Jemima brand featured a black woman with a headscarf -- but in the '80s ... Quaker switched up her look to appear more modern, decking her out in earrings and pearls.

In the wake of the civil unrest overtaking the country right now, tons of people were calling for Aunt Jemima to be shelved or re-branded. NBC News was first to report her demise.

BTW, folks are now calling for a handful of other brands to be changed ASAP because of the same issue -- among them are Uncle Ben's Rice and Cream of Wheat. It appears Uncle Ben's has gotten the message.

A rep for the brand said Wednesday, "As we listen to the voices of consumers, especially in the Black community, and to the voices of our Associates worldwide, we recognize that one way we can do this is by evolving the Uncle Ben’s brand, including its visual brand identity.”

It's unclear what the evolution of the brand will look like ... but the rep told HuffPost that all possibilities were on the table.

Originally Published -- 6/17 7:04 AM PT

Guess Who This Ironing Girl Turned Into!

Before this little lady was known for her impeccable fashion sense she was just another posh kid doing the pressing while growing up in Essex, England.

Although this wannabe girl looks great in some kids' clothes and a smile ... once this pop musician in a girl group gained fame she traded in the toddler threads for high-end couture designs and a signature scowl.

The one thing that hasn't changed over the last 46 years was this brunette babe's dark locks ... even though she's more into blunt bobs than baby bangs nowadays.

Can you guess who this cute kid turned into?

Kobe Bryant Crash Pilot Might've Been Disoriented by Fog ... Investigators Say

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Kobe Bryant's helicopter pilot was most likely severely disoriented by fog seconds before slamming into a hillside in January -- that's what federal investigators are now saying.

In new documents released Wednesday ... NTSB officials say they have evidence showing Ara Zobayan thought he was ascending when the chopper was actually going downward.

In the docs, investigators claim moments before the crash ... Zobayan told air traffic control he was "climbing to four thousand," and air traffic control asked him what he intended to do once he got to that altitude.

The NTSB says Zobayan never responded -- he had crashed by that point. Interestingly, according to the docs, the helicopter was actually descending rapidly at the time Zobayan said he was climbing.

Investigators add they believe "the pilot could have misperceived both pitch and roll angles" due to the dense fog in the area.

As we previously reported, Zobayan, Bryant and seven others on board hit the the ground at 184 MPH ... instantly killing everybody.

Autopsy results showed Zobayan was NOT high on alcohol or drugs at the time of the crash ... and in the new docs, investigators say Zobayan's girlfriend told them he was in great shape before the accident.

Vanessa Bryant and surviving family members of other passengers have sued the Zobayan and Island Express, which chartered the helicopter.

Various pilots have said Zobayan should not have been flying at such a high rate of speed in blinding fog.

It should be noted, investigators did NOT reveal an official conclusion on the cause of the crash. A final NTSB report with that information is expected to be released later.

French Police Violently Arrest Black Woman ... Bystanders Say She's Pregnant

SCREAMING TAKEDOWN
@RoronoaAli1 / Twitter

French police are under fire for twisting a black woman's arm and pinning her to the ground during an arrest -- a loud and horrifying incident captured on video.

The arrest reportedly went down earlier this week at a train station outside Paris when a couple of cops first shoved the woman and directed her to leave the station. Within seconds, both cops had her arm behind her, and slammed her to the ground.

The video started circulating on Twitter with the caption, "French police assault a PREGNANT black woman and put her on her belly despite her cries of pain. The French president still denies the existence police violence."

We can't confirm the woman is pregnant -- someone in the background yelled that she is -- but she was very clearly screaming in agony while on the ground. She repeatedly yelled, "pourquoi," (why, in English)

The railway authority in France reportedly said the video's being taken out of context. The agency claims the woman spat and tried boarding the train without a ticket before officers stepped in. The railway authority has now opened an internal investigation.

This incident is on the heels of hundreds of people protesting police brutality and racial injustice in Paris and other parts of the country.

Danny Masterson L.A. County D.A. Charges Him w/ Rape ... Three Alleged Victims

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3:09 PM PT -- Danny was taken into custody Wednesday morning around 11:30 AM PT -- at which point he was booked and eventually released the same day after posting bail.

"That 70's Show" star Danny Masterson has been charged with rape -- this after being accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct and assault over the years.

The charges against Danny were announced Wednesday by Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, who says her office has charged the actor with three counts of felony forcible rape involving three different women ... all of whom are being identified as Jane Does.

The alleged rapes -- according to the D.A. -- occurred between 2001 and late 2003 ... right in the middle of the sitcom's run.

Danny's attorney, Tom Mesereau, tells TMZ ... "Mr. Masterson is innocent, and we’re confident that he will be exonerated when all the evidence finally comes to light and witnesses have the opportunity to testify."

He adds, "Obviously, Mr. Masterson and his wife are in complete shock considering that these nearly 20-year old allegations are suddenly resulting in charges being filed, but they and their family are comforted knowing that ultimately the truth will come out. The people who know Mr. Masterson know his character and know the allegations to be false."

The actor has been publicly accused of rape before, and each and every time ... he's vehemently denied it.

If convicted on all charges, Danny faces 45 years to life behind bars. It's unclear if he's been taken into custody yet, but the charging documents state that his recommended bail be set at $3.3 million.

Originally Published -- 2:55 PM PT

President Trump America Wants Me More Than 2 Terms ... Allegedly Told Xi, Bolton Book Claims

President Trump is down to amend the Constitution so he can stay in office as long as he wants, or at least that's what he told China's Prez ... according to Trump's former national security advisor.

John Bolton's making the bombshell claim about Trump and Xi Jinping's December 2018 meeting in Buenos Aires. According to excerpts leaked by the Wall Street Journal ... Xi told Trump he wanted to work with him for 6 more years. Bolton claims Trump replied, "that people were saying that the two-term constitutional limit on presidents should be repealed for him."

Bolton also alleges Xi said America has too many elections because he wanted to keep dealing with Trump.

Bolton's book, "The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir" ... also claims the Trump-Xi love affair continued in June 2019 during the Group of 20 Summit in Japan ... where Trump asked Xi to help him win the 2020 election by purchasing more soybeans and wheat from American farmers.

Bolton claims he wants to print Trump's exact words ... but the government won't allow it.

Another allegation in the book is that Trump said he was willing to halt criminal investigations as favors to dictators he liked. Clearly, Bolton's claims are akin to those that led to Trump's impeachment -- for allegedly pressuring the Ukrainian prez to dig up dirt on Joe Biden in exchange for military aid.

Trump's legal team has been trying to delay the release of Bolton's book, but it's still set to hit shelves later this month. The Washington Post obtained a copy of the 592-page memoir, so ya know there will be more allegations coming.

VA White Man Arrested for Pointing AR-15 At Black Bikers Near His House

THE SCARY SCENE
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Brandishing his semi-automatic rifle at a group of black men who'd simply parked near his home was enough for a white guy in Virginia to get busted by cops.

This wild incident was caught on camera Sunday in Partlow, VA, where Dennis Lee Berry allegedly approached a squad of motorcycle riders who pulled over near his home to catch their breath and re-route.

One of the bike riders says Mr. Berry sprung up on them with an AR-15 cocked and seemingly loaded ... asking if they lived there, and then demanding they leave.

Some of the interaction was captured on video ... the men (4 of whom are black) tried talking him down, and questioning why he seemed so ready to shoot. They also pointed out they didn't appear to be on his property.

Welp, after some back and forth -- without any bullets flying -- the cops showed up and sorted things out. Berry was arrested for brandishing a firearm. He was released on bond, and the rifle was seized as evidence.

Waiting for your permission to load the Facebook Post.

According to the Spotsylvania Sheriff’s Office -- which responded to the call -- the bikers had, in fact, pulled into a private neighborhood ... but acknowledge the men didn't see a "No Trespassing" sign when they did it.

The cops also say Berry approached them from his property, but it's unclear if the men were on Berry's land.

Breonna Taylor Mom Demands 'Cover Up' End Now ... Give Us Documents, Body Cams, Justice!!!

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DEMANDING ANSWERS
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Breonna Taylor's mother can't wrap her head around why her daughter's killing at the hands of cops seems to be getting swept under the rug, and she says it's past time for answers.

Tamika Palmer and her attorneys, Lonita Baker and Ben Crump, joined us Wednesday on "TMZ Live" and dug right into what they see as the city of Louisville stonewalling them on Breonna's case.

Breonna's mom says there are a number of factors behind the case's snail-like pace ... but she doesn't understand the reason for the holdup, or why her legal team's demands and deadlines are not being met by the police and Mayor.

Baker says their request for crucial docs pertaining to the investigation -- an official autopsy, the Mayor's internal communications and personnel files for the cops involved -- are not unreasonable, and the Kentucky Attorney General is on their side.

It's interesting ... Baker tells us officials might be thinking they can cover up Breonna's death because the plainclothes officers who served the fatal "no-knock" warrant were not wearing body cams.

But, Baker explained why there's good reason to believe the cops DO have footage they've refused to turn over, or release to the public.

The lack of body cam footage so far, Baker says, is why Americans should consider pushing for all police to not only wear body cams but to be forced to keep them rolling during all contact with the public.

The investigation into Breonna's death stands in stark contrast to the legal responses following the killings of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd ... and Crump says it's high time the people who killed her are criminally charged too, and he has a strong message for the Mayor and AG.

President Trump Kap Should Get A 2nd Chance In NFL ... 'If He Deserves It'

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4:08 PM PT -- Later on in the interview, Trump further explained he's still against the anthem protests ... and said he was "very disappointed" in the NFL and U.S. Soccer for allowing peaceful protests.

In other words ... POTUS is still very much against kneeling.

President Donald Trump -- who previously said to fire any "son of a bitch" who knelt for the national anthem -- says Colin Kaepernick should get another shot at an NFL career ... if he deserves it.

POTUS has been adamantly against the national anthem protests since 2016 ... and most recently said he'd stop watching soccer and football if the demonstrations continued.

Trump seems to be softening his stance on Kap -- at least as a quarterback -- saying he should have a second chance in the league if he's talented enough to compete.

"If he deserves it, he should," Trump told ABC7's Scott Thuman. "If he has the playing ability. He started off great and then he didn't end up very great in terms as a player."

"He was terrific in his rookie year, I think he was very good in his second year and then something happened."

Trump continued ... "So, his playing wasn't up to snuff. The answer is absolutely I would, as far as kneeling, I would love to see him get another shot. But obviously, he has to be able to play well. If he can't play well, I think it would be very unfair."

What's unclear is if Trump means Kap should stand if he gets "another shot"... but we know for sure he believes a team shouldn't hesitate to sign him if he's good enough.

The comments come on the heels of Ben Carson -- the Housing and Urban Development Secretary -- saying he was going to "work with" POTUS to help him understand the meaning behind kneeling ... so it's a possibility it helped.

NFL commish Roger Goodell also recently said he'd encourage any team to sign the QB.

Meanwhile, Kap has been training nonstop for the opportunity. Maybe POTUS' comments will help his chances.

Chris D'Elia Denies Knowingly Texting Minors ... Response to Anonymous Claims

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Chris D'Elia is breaking his silence after multiple anonymous online claims from women accusing the comedian of getting flirty with women who were allegedly underage at the time.

The comedian tells TMZ ... "I know I have said and done things that might have offended people during my career, but I have never knowingly pursued any underage women at any point." Chris goes on to say, "All of my relationships have been both legal and consensual and I have never met or exchanged any inappropriate photos with the people who have tweeted about me."

He finishes by saying, "That being said, I really am truly sorry. I was a dumb guy who ABSOLUTELY let myself get caught up in my lifestyle. That’s MY fault. I own it. I’ve been reflecting on this for some time now and I promise I will continue to do better."

Chris started trending on Twitter Tuesday night after a woman named Simone Rossi started a thread showing alleged texts/emails between her and Chris from a few years ago, when she says she was only 16.

Several other anonymous allegations followed Rossi's post from women alleging Chris had solicited photos and/or sex from them. While most claim they were just younger than D'Elia ... some, like Rossi, claim they were underage.

None of the anonymous allegations mentioned anything about police reports filed or legal action taken against Chris.

George Floyd 911 Callers Knew They Witnessed 'Murder'

911 callers from the scene of George Floyd's killing were horrified, but very clear about what they'd just seen -- and it's more evidence the cops should have seen it the way ordinary citizens did.

Minneapolis released transcripts Wednesday of the 911 calls furiously made to report ex-cop Derek Chauvin violently holding his knee on Floyd's neck for nearly 9 minutes.

The calls came in at 8:32 PM and within seconds of each other. One caller said, "I literally watched police officers not take a pulse and not do anything to save a man. They f***ing killed him.”

"YOU CAN CALL ME A SNITCH"

When asked if the caller wants to speak to the supervisor, the caller said, “I’m recording this. I’m, I mean I’m f***ing recording this right now.”

Check out the transcript ... the operator offered to transfer the caller to the supervisor but the call disconnects. Another reported, “Yeah I just watched Officer #987 kill a, ah … a citizen in front of a Chicago [ave.] ah…store.”

The caller went on to say, "He had his knee on the dude’s neck the whole time. I don't even know if he dead for sure but dude was not responsive when the ambulance came and got him, and the officer that was just out here left, the one that actually just murdered the kid in front of everybody."

It should be noted ... Minnesota doesn't release audio like this, but even in the transcript, you can feel the raw emotion from callers.

As we reported ... a 911 dispatcher was concerned enough about the handling of Floyd's arrest, she called a police supervisor. You hear the dispatcher openly question if the officers needed to use the kind of force she'd seen as she watched live body cam footage from the scene.

Chauvin was arrested four days after Floyd's death, and initially charged by the Hennepin County Attorney's Office with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, who is now leading the investigation and prosecution, later filed an additional count of second-degree murder against Chauvin. He's facing 40 years behind bars -- the maximum penalty for second-degree murder.

The three other former officers involved in Floyd's death -- J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao -- are each charged with one count of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and one count of aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.

Arthur Ashe Statue Vandalized With 'White Lives Matter' ... Cops Investigating

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A statue of African-American icon Arthur Ashe has been vandalized with "White Lives Matter" and "WLM" in Virginia ... and now police are investigating.

The monument was tagged in white spray paint early Wednesday morning ... and law enforcement says they have info on potential suspects.

The original vandalism was later written over with "BLM" in red spray paint ... and local reports say community members were already trying to remove the graffiti by the time cops arrived to the scene.

Ashe -- who broke barriers in the sport of tennis in becoming the first black man to win the Wimbledon, Australian Open and U.S. Open -- was honored with a statue in his hometown of Richmond in 1996.

It's worth noting ... the Ashe tribute is part of Richmond's Memorial Avenue, which is filled with statues to Confederate leaders that have been attacked by protesters following George Floyd's death.

Story developing ...

2 Chainz Sued Pablo Escobar's Family Co. ... El Patron's Name Belongs to Us!!!

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2 Chainz's got more drama over his ATL joint, and this time it's beef with the keepers of Pablo Escobar's name ... who are suing the rapper over the restaurant's name.

Pablo Escobar's family company, Escobar Inc., is suing 2 Chainz for at least $10 million ... claiming his Escobar Restaurant and Tapas -- there are 2 of 'em in Atlanta -- violates federal law with its unauthorized commercial use of the Escobar name and likeness.

According to docs, obtained by TMZ, the company's pissed 2 Chainz slapped the family name across his famous ATL restaurants, their websites and social media -- not to mention the clothing sold with the restaurant name.

The company says it owns the trademark to Escobar's likeness and 2 Chainz is using the name to generate traffic and sales. The company says, for example, 2 Chainz has Escobar's likeness painted inside one of his joints. They also point to the menu featuring "Escobar Crab Cakes."

Escobar Inc. wants the 8-figure damages, minimum, plus an injunction blocking use of the name and likeness at the restaurants.

As we've reported, 2 Chainz's ATL joints have had plenty of unrelated drama recently, stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.

We've reached out to 2 Chainz for comment, so far, no word back.

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