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Hip-Hop Legend Biz Markie has Passed Away at Age 57

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The Hip-Hop legend, “Clown Prince of Rap,” singer, DJ, record producer, actor, comedian, and writer Biz Markie has passed away at the age of 57.  A rep confirmed the “Just a Friend” rapper passed away from complications from diabetes at 6:25 PM this evening in a Baltimore hospital with his wife by his side holding his hand.

The rep made a statement saying “we are grateful for the many calls and prayers of support that we have received during this difficult time. Biz created a legacy of artistry that will forever be celebrated by his industry peers and his beloved fans whose lives he was able to touch through music, spanning over 35 years. He leaves behind a wife, many family members and close friends who will miss his vibrant personality, constant jokes and frequent banter.”

Marcel Theo Hall, popularly known as Biz Markie, was born in New York on April 8, 1964.  Becoming Biz Markie at age 14, he began his rise in the Hip-Hop world when in 1986 on a feature with Roxanne Shanté, “The Def Fresh Crew,” he was introduced as the Juice Crew’s “inhumane orchestra.”  He released his EP Make the Music with Your Mouth later that same year and his debut album, Goin’ Off, was released in 1988.  His hit song “Just A Friend” was featured on his second studio album and topped the charts at #9 on Billboard’s Hot 100. Throughout his music career, he had five studio albums, multiple compilation albums, and various song features.

Markie made his film debut in 2002 in Men in Black II, going to do guest star in shows including Yo Gabba Gabba!, Empire, Black-ish, and most recently in 2020 Nick Cannon’s Wild ‘n Out.  His full filmography can be found here.

Last year, Markie was hospitalized for diabetic complications stemming from his Type II Diabetes diagnosis he received in 2011.  In late 2020, the rapper reportedly suffered a stroke during a diabetic coma, causing brain damage and impacting his communication skills.  There were reports on June 30th that Markie had died, but those rumors were quickly corrected and the original reports removed.  His Jenni Izumi at the time confirmed in a statement saying, “The news of Biz Markie’s passing is not true,” Izumi wrote. “Biz is still under medical care, surrounded by professionals who are working hard to provide the best health care possible. Biz’s wife and family are touched by the outpouring of love and admiration from his friends, peers and fans alike. At this time, we ask for your continued thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”

For a full biography, visit Biz Markie’s website to view a timeline of his life.

Our thoughts and prayers go to the family and friends of Markie.

Biz Markie was truly a legend and he will be missed. Rest in paradise our Prince of Rap.

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Tiffanie Lanelle is a Managing Editor at Urban Newsroom, writer, social and criminal justice advocate, and in executive management at UnmutedCo. As a graduate of Spelman College, she's passionate about the growth and development of the black community, black women and black people.

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Senate Prepares to Move Forward with Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill

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On Monday, the Senate pushed to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill just hours after its legislative language was completed and unveiled. Senators who created the proposal expect it to clear the upper chamber in the following days.

What We Know:

  • Senate negotiators completed the 2,702-page bill on Sunday night. The bill, known as H.R. 3684, aims to provide $550 billion to fund the nation’s roads, bridges, railways, and public transit systems.
  • Since then, the Senate began taking up two amendments to the proposal. In addition, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer previewed three bipartisan amendments for consideration. Currently, it is uncertain how many amendments the Senate will consider. However, Schumer wants to vote on amendments quickly; he also noted that the first three “constitute only the first tranche of potential amendments.”
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell commented that H.R. 3684’s text lays out “a good and important jumping point for what needs to be a robust and bipartisan process” on the Senate floor. McConnell added that an “artificial timetable” must not affect the Senate’s “full consideration” of the bill.
  • On July 28, the bipartisan group of Senators and the White House reached an agreement on H.R. 3684’s details. Officials also voted 66-28 on the deal, which opened the package to potential changes during the amendment process. After this, Senators worked throughout the weekend to hammer out the legislative language.
  • If the Senate passes H.R. 3684, it will be a significant victory for President Joe Biden. A key proposal in his economic agenda, Biden boasted on the impact H.R. 3684 will hold on the nation. On Sunday, he tweeted that the deal is the most important investment in America’s public transit history. He additionally stated the bill will impact the U.S. just as much as the invention of the Amtrak 50 years ago.

If Congress approves H.R. 3684, it will ensure that Democrats may begin work on a $3.5 trillion proposal that focuses on Biden’s plans for childcare, healthcare, education, the environment, and possibly immigration. Doing so will ensure another success on Pres. Biden’s behalf.

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Coronavirus

Florida Breaks Record for COVID-19 Hospitalizations

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Florida recently saw 10,207 hospitalizations caused by coronavirus cases, the highest number since July 23, 2020.

What We Know:

  • On July 23, 2020, Florida reached a high of 10,170 hospitalizations, just six months before the COVID-19 vaccine became available. The new record makes Florida the leader in per capita hospitalizations for the virus.
  • Most of the new cases come from the highly contagious Delta variant. On average, Florida sees 1,525 adult and 35 children hospitalizations daily. In addition, Saturday revealed a peak in positive numbers, as the stated reported  21,683 occurrences of COVID-19. The day prior, the Sunshine State saw 17,093 cases.
  • Many hospital employees believed the excess hospitalizations would end soon because of an increase in vaccinations. However, the Delta variant changed all this. The Associated Press wrote that several hospitals, including the Mayo Clinic Florida and the UF Health North emergency room, needed to operate overcapacity and put beds in hallways to treat patients; the Mayo Clinic will continue to do so until the current surge ends. In Tampa, some local ambulances already needed to divert ambulances to other locations because of capacity concerns.
  • The higher numbers also are a direct result of a loosening of restrictions and a governor’s stubbornness. Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis actively declares he will not enact any more mask mandates and vaccine requirements. Along with the state Legislature, this makes it difficult for local officials to impose restrictions that will ease the positive numbers.
  • Medical officials scorned DeSantis for his adamance on the issue. Dr. Bernard Ashby, a Miami-based vascular cardiologist and Florida State Lead for the Committee to Protect Health Care, commented that the state would not be in its position now if DeSantis focused more on lowering cases than proving Dr. Anthony Fauci wrong. Gainesville infectious disease expert Dr. Frederick Southwick agreed with Ashby’s statement, saying that DeSantis needed to stop acting like “Florida won the pandemic.”

DeSantis recently announced that Florida would resist any federal authorities’ campaigns to enforce mask mandates inside schools despite the criticism.

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Headlines

NY Attorney General: Gov. Cuomo harassed women, tried to retaliate against accuser

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NEW YORK — Attorney General Letitia James on Tuesday announced the findings of her inquiry into accusations against Andrew Cuomo, concluding that the governor sexually harassed multiple women. James said victims included current and former employees, and that Cuomo tried to retaliate against at least one woman who came forward. Over 179 people were interviewed.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated.

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