Rissi Palmer Aims to Break Down Barriers
A sealed envelope awaits in Rissi Palmer’s Bible. It’s her Grammy acceptance speech, the one she wrote as a 12-year-old. She vowed not to open it until she could read it from the stage accepting her award. Sixteen years later, the time may be nearer when Palmer can open the envelope. The road has been a long one, starting with her standing on a milk crate as a child so she could sing solos in the church choir. But these days, she is an up-and-comer in country music — and a rare African-American performer in the genre. Palmer acknowledged this week to students in Atlanta that some people had told her she couldn’t sing country because she was African-American. But she said, “When you tell me I can’t do something, it just makes me want to do it more.” (Continue Reading…)

Mozambique’s Grande Hotel: from Luxury to Slum
The candidates’ faces are plastered along the soaring facade of the Grande Hotel, their smiles competing with a backdrop of graffiti, mould and peeling paint. At this towering art-deco structure in Mozambique’s second-largest city, Beira, the political parties have covered the walls with campaign slogans of progress, prosperity and change. But the politicians’ promises have not done much to improve life at the Grande Hotel, where 3,500 people live in destitute squalor in the shell of what was once one of Africa’s most opulent hotels. “This was very sophisticated,” said Joao Goncalves, the building’s ad hoc mayor, as he led a tour recently through the winding corridors of the hotel. But now, he added, “it’s practically a ruin.” (Continue Reading…)

‘The Root’ Editor Steps Down After 6 Weeks
After just six weeks on the job, Danyel Smith, the former editor of Vibe magazine, is stepping down as executive editor of theRoot.com, Publisher Donna Byrd announced late Thursday. When the New York-based Smith took the Washington-based job, theRoot said that “Smith will be based in both Washington, D.C. and New York.” On Thursday, Byrd said Smith “is leaving The Root because of issues related to her commute. “We are sad to see her go, but have appreciated her energy and insight and are happy she was a part of The Root family,” Byrd said in a note to the staff. “We are aggressively searching for her replacement and plan to fill the role in the next few weeks.” (Continue Reading…)

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