In the News: WATCH Common Perform at the White House; 7.5 Million Facebook Users Are Under 13; Microsoft Acquires Skype for $ 8.5 Billion

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Hip-hop star Common performed at the White House Poetry night Wednesday (Image: File)

  • Common Performs at White House Poetry Celebration

Conscious rapper Common took the stage at the White House Poetry night Wednesday amidst the controversy fueled by conservative politicians from Sarah Palin to Karl Rove earlier in the week.

The hip-hop star was a part of a larger initiative celebrating American poetry and prose. The festivities kicked off with the White House poetry workshop, hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama. It wrapped with the evening showcase featuring artists such as Jill Scott, Billy Collins and Aimee Mann.

Watch Common’s performance at the White House:

  • African American Teens At a Lose for Summer Employment Opportunities

As the academic year ends, the number of teens looking for summer jobs increases, however, job opportunities are few and far between for underprivileged African American teens, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

Poor African American teens trail Hispanic and White teens when it comes to securing a summer job by over 10%. In fact, 36% of white and 31% of Hispanic underserved teens—between the ages of 16 and 19—were able to find employment, while only 20% of Black teens in that same age bracket were as lucky. Middle-class African American teens were only slightly more likely to find work in comparison to their white counterparts.

  • Survey Reveals 7.5 Million Facebook Users Are Under 13

Consumer Reports’ 2011 State of the Net survey released Tuesday shows children younger than 13 are infiltrating Facebook’s screening requirements, making up approximately 7.5 million of the network’s active users. Among this preteen demographic, over 5 million are under 10.

“Despite Facebook’s age requirements, many kids are using the site who shouldn’t be,” Consumer Reports technology editor Jeff Fox said in a statement. “What’s even more troubling was the finding from our survey that indicated that a majority of parents of kids 10 and under seemed largely unconcerned by their children’s use of the site.”

  • Microsoft Acquires Skype for $ 8.5 Billion

Microsoft makes the biggest deal in its 36 year history, attaining the widely-used phone and-video dialing service Skype for $8.5 billion.

Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer will attempt what other companies have failed to do: make money off the Internet phone company. The computer technology company plans to incorporate Skype into everything from it video game device such as Xbox and Kinect to its Office software suite.

Tony Bates, the chief-executive-officer of Skype, sees the deal as an expansion opportunity for both parties. “Microsoft and Skype share the vision of bringing software innovation and products to our customers,” said Bates, in a press statement. “Together, we will be able to accelerate Skype’s plans to extend our global community and introduce new ways for everyone to communicate and collaborate.”

  • Michael Steele on Staff at The Root

The former and first-ever African American Republican National Committee chairman has entered into the first media deal since resigning from his position at RNC. Michael Steele is the newest member on staff at The Root, a division of The Washington Post Company.

As contributing editor, Steele will supply a monthly column surrounding major political topics, including the 2012 presidential race.

“At The Root I’ve found a place where I’ll be able to express my opinion. In the past my candor hasn’t been appreciated, but now [at The Root] I’m expected to say what I want without pulling any punches. I look forward to hearing the readers take and public reaction to my commentary” said Steele.

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  • Marisa

    The facebook news item specially concerned me. Facebook and social networking in general have addictive tendencies that affect grown ups and teens. I am sure that children will be more susceptible to these affects among others. I believe that the effects of social media and other new technologies like smart phones on children needs a lot of research and study. Personally, I would never allow my kids to use these technologies at such an early age.