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  /  08.15.2022
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“REVOLT BLACK NEWS Weekly” aired on Friday (Aug. 12) to discuss the monkeypox outbreak; the FDA’s proposed ban on menthol cigarettes and its potential impact on the Black community; and highlights from 21 Savage’s Issa Back to School Drive.

REVOLT Special Correspondent Rochelle Ritchie hosted the episode, titled “Monkeypox And Why Black America Should Be Concerned, Then The Menthol Cigarette Ban, Harmful Or Helpful?” She was joined by cardiologist Dr. Bernard Ashby, political commentator Craig Long Zucker, New York State police officer Elliot T. Boyce Sr., and Director of Diversity and Engagement at the Indiana Republican Party Whitley Yates. REVOLT Entertainment Correspondent Kennedy Rue McCullough also brought viewers the latest in celebrity news, during which she interviewed Jamie Foxx.

Ritchie opened the show by discussing the monkeypox outbreak and how it is disproportionately impacting the gay community. During a press conference, Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to the president of the United States, cautioned gay and bisexual men “to be careful with your sexual activities, and be on the lookout for people who may have these lesions on their body that may spread to you, and be prudent in your sexual connections and your sexual networks.”

The U.S. leads the world with more than 10,000 monkeypox cases. According to the CDC, the virus is primarily transferred through prolonged skin to skin contact and symptoms can last from two to four weeks. Later in the segment, Ritchie held a discussion with Ashby and Zucker to discuss the monkeypox outbreak further. Ashby told Ritchie that the chances of contracting monkeypox are very low unless you are a gay or bisexual man.

“As a whole the risk of getting the monkeypox is very low, but if you’re from the LGBT community — particularly, if you’re a man who has sex with men — you are at particular high risk,” he explained. “Therefore, if you are from that subset, I do agree you should be on high alert. You should be seeking out a vaccination as soon as possible.”

Zucker pointed to a recent study done by the New England Journal of Medicine, which shows that “98 percent” of those around the world who have contracted the monkeypox virus are either “gay or bisexual.” He added that people should stop being concerned with stigmatizing members of the gay community and do all that they can to help them.

“When is the White House and everyone going to start talking about the elephant in the room?” he questioned. “All the data, everything is pointing to one group of people that are being affected the most by this monkeypox virus. As we know, it seems that people are afraid of how we really can help the people that are at risk the most with it.”

Switching gears, Ritchie turned her attention to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s proposed ban on menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. She held a roundtable discussion with Boyce and Yates about the impact this ban would have on the Black community. Boyce told Ritchie that urban communities will be impacted the most by this ban and warns this could lead to menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars being sold illegally.

“A ban on menthol cigarettes or a ban on any product basically makes it contraband, and what people don’t realize is whatever you make contraband is going to be enforced by law enforcement … so it makes it dangerous,” he warned.

Yates believes the U.S. government should tackle bigger issues as opposed to banning menthol cigarettes. “I mean, to be honest, a lot of times people utilize cigarettes and nicotine as a coping mechanism to cope with the ills of the world,” she asserted. “So instead of addressing some of the root causes that lead to crime and poverty and all of these other attributing factors, which would lend one to becoming addicted or to begin smoking, creating a ban like this is kind of like putting a Band-Aid on a much larger issue.”

Later in the show, McCullough hosted her “Entertainment Remix” segment, during which she showed highlights from her interview with Jamie Foxx. They talked about his new Netflix film “Day Shift” starring Dave Franco.

During the interview, she also reminisced with Foxx and Franco about how the “Blame It” singer changed her life. At the age of five, McCullough served as an “Access Hollywood” reporter and interviewed Foxx at a Kids’ Choice Awards red carpet event. She told Franco, “It was after that exact experience that I was like, ‘This is what I want to do.’”

During McCullough’s segment, she also featured 21 Savage’s seventh annual Issa Back to School Drive in Atlanta, where the Grammy-winning rapper donated school supplies to hundreds of families on Aug. 7. “I feel like that’s why God blessed me with the position that I’m in … to be able to give back,” stated 21 Savage.

Watch a quick clip from this week’s episode up top. Plus, be sure to catch the next installment of “REVOLT BLACK NEWS Weekly” on Friday, Aug. 19, 2022 at 5 p.m. ET on REVOLT’s app.

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