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President Obama will receive a budget and debt deal from Congress that serves as a financial blueprint for the next two years. The Senate voted 64-35 for the new plan. Both Democratic and Republican representatives joined forces to bring the deal to fruition. “This budget agreement accomplishes two major priorities that Democrats have long supported: It promotes economic growth by providing relief from … damaging cuts for two years. And it ensures that we invest equally in the middle class and the Pentagon,” said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid. Under the plan, the debt ceiling would be raised until March 2017. The deal will establish the budget for the 2016 and 2017 fiscal year. There will be nearly $80 billion allocated for both military and domestic programs. Read more.

George Lucas Donates $10M to Black and Hispanic Film Students

George Lucas is using his organization, The George Lucas Family Foundation, as an avenue to diversify the entertainment industry. Lucas and his wife Mellody Hobson recently announced that they will donate $10 million in an effort to help recruit students from underrepresented communities to attend the USC School of Cinematic Arts. The money will help fund the education of African-American and Latino students at both the undergraduate and graduate level. “Hispanic and African-American storytellers are underrepresented in the entertainment industry. It is Mellody’s and my privilege to provide this assistance to qualified students who want to contribute their unique experience and talent to telling their stories,” said Lucas. Theirs is the largest single donation for students the school has ever received. Recipients of the scholarship will be announced during Fall 2016. Read more.

Kickstarter Launched for Maya Angelou Documentary

A new project is in the works to keep Maya Angelou’s legacy alive. Film directors Bob Hercules and Rita Coburn Whack recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a documentary about Angelou’s life. The film will capture Angelou’s journey in its entirety; from her early beginnings in St. Louis, to her death in North Carolina. The directors have reached out to Oprah Winfrey and rapper Common to assist in telling her story. The documentary is slated to air on PBS’ American Masters next year, but funding is still needed for editing and licensing rights for the imagery and footage used throughout the film. “If we are not able to rally all of the support we need through this campaign, we won’t be able to broadcast on PBS in 2016 as planned,” wrote the directors. Read more.

Former MTV Host Commits Suicide

Former MTV host and model Samuel Sarpong, Jr. has died of an apparent suicide. According to reports, Sarpong jumped off the Colorado Street Bridge in Pasadena, California on Monday. A passerby saw Sarpong standing on the outside of the bridge and contacted the police, who arrived and closed off the area. While police officers tried to communicate with Sarpong, his family arrived on the scene. “Tragically, after approximately seven hours of communication, the male jumped from the bridge into the Arroyo,” read a statement from the Pasadena Police Department. “He was pronounced deceased by Pasadena Fire Paramedics at 3:52 PM.” During his modeling career, Sarpong was the face of luxury brands like Dolce & Gabbana and Versace. He did three seasons of MTV’s Yo Momma alongside Wilmer Valderrama. Sarpong was 40. Read more.


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