Many have noted that there is an obvious lack of quality programming that caters to women of color. Interactive One, the parent company of NewsOne.com, is looking to change that. The company has launched a Los Angeles-based digital studio to produce virtual series for women of color. HB Studios has about a dozen original video series that will run throughout the year on iOne’s Women channel. One of the projects, a 14-minute documentary, “Women on Top,” features interviews with women like Anika Noni Rose (pictured), Eve, Jurnee Smollett, Chrisette Michele, Soledad O’Brien, and Tia Mowry. The documentary is slated to air on March 1 for Women’s History Month. “This is a manifesto of what we believe our brand is and represents,” said Leigh Davenport, senior director of HB Studios and editorial director of iOne’s Women channel. “We’re producing powerful original content that’s not trivial videos about just hair and makeup.” HB Studios will produce and develop content that captures the essence of the experiences of women of color. Read more.
School District Recruits More Black Teachers to Address Achievement Gap
Research has shown that race has an impact on the educational achievement gap. Studies have indicated that African American students do better in the classroom when they can identify with their teachers. In efforts to address the achievement gap, the San Francisco Unified School District has decided to hire more black educators. SFUSD human capital specialist Swen Ervin has been asked to recruit more African American teachers for the school district. During the 2013-2014 school year, the district’s black students were among those who performed poorly on standardized tests and had the highest dropout rates. Only 5.5 percent of the teachers within the school district are black. “The research shows that students of color do better on standardized tests and have a stronger sense of self-efficacy when they have adults in their schools who look like them,” said Ervin. “And I think teachers, more than anyone, provide an image of success for students.” He also believes that it’s important for white students to have teachers of color, so that the stereotypes about African Americans can be dispelled at an early age. Read more.
YaYa DaCosta to Star in New NBC Series
After starring as Whitney Houston in the Lifetime biopic, “Whitney,” actress Yaya DaCosta is on to her next gig. According to reports, DaCosta has signed on to star in NBC’s “Chicago Med,” a spinoff from the network’s “Chicago Fire.” She will play the role of Maggie Seaver, a nurse who plays the love interest of Chicago Fire’s Kelly Severide. DaCosta will appear on the 19th episode of “Chicago Fire” this season and the spinoff is slated to air later in the year. Read more.