LISTEN: Pope Begs Forgiveness for Church Role in Rwanda Genocide; African American Voters Changing Party Allegiance as Republican Leadership Rises (BCNN1, 3/20/2017)

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This is the Black Christian News Network Podcast for Monday, March 20, 2017.

1. According to the Associated Press, Pope Francis begged forgiveness Monday for the “sins and failings of the church and its members” during Rwanda’s 1994 genocide and told Rwanda’s president that he hoped his apology would help the country heal. In an extraordinary statement after Francis’ meeting with Rwandan President Paul Kagame, the Vatican acknowledged that some Catholic priests and nuns “succumbed to hatred and violence, betraying their own evangelical mission” by participating in the genocide. During the 100-day genocide, over 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed by Hutu extremists. Many of the victims died at the hands of priests, clergymen and nuns, according to some accounts by survivors, and the Rwandan government says many died in the churches where they had sought refuge. The Vatican said Francis “expressed the desire that this humble recognition of the failings of that period, which unfortunately disfigured the face of the church, may contribute to a ‘purification of memory’ and may promote, in hope and renewed trust, a future of peace.”

2. According to KMOX, some in the Republican party in the city of St. Louis are hoping the candidacy of Andrew Jones, an African American utility company executive, will cause other African Americans to rethink their allegiance to the Democratic party. Long time Republican James Hill is also African American. He says Jones’ run was a good thing, because there hasn’t been a contested Republican primary for mayor in nearly two decades. Hill says Republicans aren’t all bad and Democrats aren’t all good, but Democrats have done a better job of getting their message into the black community. Hill also says he is getting more calls from African Americans in St. Louis telling him they’re really Republicans now, saying the change in leadership in the state has made them realize that it might be a good time to switch parties.

3. According to Rolling Out, last week, Snoop Dogg and Bow Wow found themselves in national controversy when Snoop took shots at President Trump in the music video “Lavender.” Trump responded with tweets of his own to Snoop, but now Steve Harvey has weighed in on the controversy, claiming that Snoop and Bow Wow need to respect Trump. Steve Harvey believes Snoop needs to be more careful about how he resists the Trump presidency. He also claimed that Snoop’s scenes in the video may inspire people to want to kill Trump. Harvey did add that he believes that Snoop has creative freedom to do what he wants. Harvey said, “He’s an artist. He has a right as an artist to do his art in any form. The problem with all this that there is an office in this country called the ‘president,’ and you have to respect the office. You really do. Whether you want to or not. You have to respect the office.”

4. According to the Christian Post, filmmaker and actor Tyler Perry took to social media Wednesday to share a Bible verse after his father escaped a house fire that destroyed his parents’ dream home. Local news station WAFB-TV reported Monday that Sheriff Nat Williams said Perry’s father, Emmitt Perry, was home at the time of the fire in St. Helena Parish located in Greensburg, Louisiana. On Facebook, Perry shared in detail what the house meant to him and his family. He started the post by citing Exodus 20:12: “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” He then went on to talk about the sentimental value behind the house that was lost.

5. According to the Christian Post, Grammy Award-winning singer Mandisa is set to release her fifth album, Out of the Dark, following an intense three-year battle with depression. Out of the Dark will be released on May 19 through Capitol CMG and is her first music release in four years. Mandisa took some time away from the music scene after being stuck in a bout of depression that left her feeling powerless. Fortunately, the “Overcomer” singer is back and this time is not allowing anything to stop her from sharing her experience through her album. Mandisa’s first single, “Unfinished,” was released last week and the song is an honest depiction of where she found herself in her time of darkness. The singer isn’t only willing to be honest in her music, but she’s reportedly also going to share her experience on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on April 26, which will be her first television interview and performance in over three years.

6. According to Centric and BET Networks, season 6 of Centric’s hit docu-series, “BEING,” returns to chronicle the lives of six dynamic African American women, and their intimate stories of struggle, perseverance and success in the entertainment industry. Each 1-hour episode will highlight one of music and entertainment’s most compelling figures, featuring never-before-seen photos, videos, revealing interviews and more. This season will document the lives of R&B songstress Chrisette Michele; actress Elise Neal; gospel singer Kierra Sheard; multi-talented entertainer Vanessa Bell Calloway; R&B singer and personality KeKe Wyatt; and iconic soul vocalist India.Arie. “BEING” premieres Saturday, March 11, 2017 at 10pm/9pm ET/CT on BET’s sister network, Centric.

7. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Netflix has acquired the worldwide rights to Yance Ford’s personal documentary Strong Island. After the murder of his older brother, a black 24-year-old teacher, by a young, white 19-year-old mechanic, Ford spent ten years trying to make sense of the tragedy that left his family grief-stricken. The doc looks at the murder through a historical lens, delving into racial justice and geography. Strong Island had its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, and went on to screen at Berlin. Ford also produced Strong Island, along with Joslyn Barnes and co-producer Signe Byrge Sørensen. Danny Glover, Susan Rockefeller, Tony Tabatznik, Michel Merkt and Laura Poitras exec produced. Netflix is planning a global launch and a limited theatrical release for the fall.

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