- Created on 30 September 2013
(CNN) -- Hollywood couple Cherie Johnson and Dennis White say they were improperly stopped by police, put in handcuffs and harshly questioned during a recent weekend getaway in South Carolina. They claim the incident took place because of their race.
Johnson, best known for her roles in TV shows "Punky Brewster" and "Family Matters," and White, from the movie "Notorious," are speaking out about their treatment by a Marion County sheriff's deputy on September 22.
"I've been stopped by the police before, but I've never been fearful for my life," Johnson told CNN on Sunday. "They need some kind of sensitivity training."
The Marion County sheriff issued a statement on Monday promising to investigate the allegations of racial profiling.
The couple, who were in the area after conducting an acting workshop in North Carolina, shared White's account with freelance writer Krystol Diggs, who posted it to CNN iReport. CNN could not independently verify their account but spoke directly to Johnson and Diggs about the incident.
Johnson and White say they were on their way to Myrtle Beach for a quick romantic getaway when they pulled off the rural highway and parked by a cotton field. Johnson said she had never seen cotton before and told White she wanted to take a picture.
As the couple walked back to the car, they said, they noticed a police car with its lights on parked behind theirs. White and Johnson, who are both African-American, say the white officer harshly questioned them about drugs -- he found none -- and the cash he found in their bags.
Johnson was the national cheer representative for the Just Say No to Drugs campaign in the '80s.
According to White's account, Officer Shad Barfield told Johnson there was a warrant for her arrest, which she disputed, and the officer later recanted. He handcuffed White and then Johnson but did not arrest them.
"He told me ... I was being detained for his safety because he didn't know me," Johnson said.
"At this time I became distraught," White wrote in his account of the incident. "I have been racially profiled several times in my lifetime but it touched my core when my woman was included."
Marion County Sheriff Mark Richardson issued a statement on Monday in regard to the actors' claims: "Discrimination in any form, including racial profiling, is strictly prohibited by this department and as Sheriff of Marion County SC, I can assure you I will take immediate and appropriate action to investigate the allegations of racial profiling made by Mr. White and Ms. Johnson. This matter will be dealt with by an internal investigation within the department and I will also ask the State Law Enforcement Division to review the allegation made against Deputy Barfield."
It was Johnson's first experience being handcuffed. Several of her family members work in law enforcement, Johnson said, adding that she's "never been afraid of cops or had bad opinions of them."
This time was different.
After thoroughly searching the car, the officer removed the handcuffs and let the couple go.
"No apology, no nothing," White wrote.
White says he won't stop talking about the incident until "that racist cop" is reprimanded and punished.
"At no point in history is this justified, especially not in this day and age," he wrote.
By Monday morning, the story had received nearly 700,000 views -- making it the fourth most-viewed iReport of all time -- and hundreds of comments about racial profiling and law enforcement in South Carolina and elsewhere. Many readers said they had experienced similar situations.
Actress Kinnik Sky was among those who shared the story on her Facebook page. Sky, who was born and raised in Columbia, South Carolina, said she knew White and Johnson's account "to be absolutely true."
"I was like, 'Wow, boy can I relate,' because I am fearful of the cops as a whole, especially in South Carolina. My experiences have always been horrible."
The former "American Idol" finalist said whenever she returns from Los Angeles to her hometown she gets stopped by police "80% of the time" and questioned about drugs. On a recent trip she was "stopped, pulled over and questioned about every drug known to man," she said.
Her account is strikingly similar to what Johnson and White said they experienced. Johnson said she contacted Marion County for an incident report but was told that one was never filed. In the meantime, she's voicing her views on Twitter and Facebook so others can know what she and White went through.
"I've always been a fan of speaking up and sharing your story," Johnson said. "We're way more powerful in numbers than we are alone."
- Created on 30 September 2013
This book cover image released by Viking shows "Who Asked You," by Terry McMillan. (AP Photo / Viking)
"Who Asked You?" (Viking), by Terry McMillan
Terry McMillan treads familiar territory in her latest novel, "Who Asked You?" Four sisters and their families struggle through life, love and real-world crises.
Once again, the author of "Waiting to Exhale" and "How Stella Got Her Groove Back" creates a memorable and realistic, if not entirely likable, cast of characters - featuring strong women who also are wives and mothers. They face contemporary problems - drug addiction, incarceration, Alzheimer's, homosexuality - in imperfect ways. And that's what makes their stories so realistic and their personalities so empathetic.
At nearly 400 pages, "Who Asked You?" is a breeze to read despite the heavy themes. The sisters and their families become neighbors, almost friends, to readers, and it's hard to let them go as the book nears its conclusion.
As usual, McMillan's dialogue is spot on, and her understanding of pop culture infuses her story with unparalleled realism.
McMillan does nothing new here, but why should she? Her books tell richly textured, insightful and funny family stories. It's what she does best.
- Created on 30 September 2013
Rapper MC Lyte accepts the "I Am Hip Hop Award" during the BET Hip Hop Awards, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013, in Atlanta. (AP Photo / David Goldman)
ATLANTA (AP) — MC Lyte said she was initially nervous following a video tribute that honored the veteran rapper for her career achievements at the eighth annual BET Hip-Hop Awards Saturday.
Once MC Lyte gathered herself, she thanked a host of people who helped further her career. She urged the female rappers who have come after her to continue to shine and push the genre forward.
"Please keep the dream alive, I am with you," said MC Lyte, who was given the "I Am Hip-Hop Award" at the taped award show at the Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center. The show airs on Oct. 15.
Rapper Eve handed the award to MC Lyte, who became known in the rap game in the late '80s and '90s. She relied on wit rather than sexuality and rapped with a man's bluster and braggadocio. She delivered hits such as "Cha Cha Cha," ''Lyte as a Rock," ''Poor Georgie" and "I Cram to Understand U."
Actor Will Smith, his wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith, and rapper-actress Queen Latifah took part in the video that paid homage to Lyte.
"She set the precedent for female freestylers," Eve said of MC Lyte. "I'm truly, truly honored. She has meant so much to me in my career."
Drake won the People's Champ award, but Kendrick Lamar captivated attendees with his recorded four-minute freestyle. It earned applause from the audience and others from Rick Ross to MC Lyte.
But shortly afterward, French Montana and Diddy slightly jabbed the Los Angeles-based rapper — who recently called himself the "King of New York" on Big Sean's "Control."
While Montana performed "Ain't Worried About Nothing," he put a crown on Diddy's head as a symbol that the rap mogul is the king of his native New York. When the camera caught Lamar's reaction, he smiled and applauded Montana and Diddy.
Snoop Dogg was his ultra-smooth self in the rapper's first hosting gig, driving onto the stage in a blue 1964 Chevy Impala with hydraulics to start the show. He also used the platform to show off his YouTube network called GGN (Double G News), featuring interviews with rapper 2 Chainz and comedian Luenell.
Kevin Hart provided some comedy, teasing Floyd Mayweather Jr. for wearing cowboy boots. The comedian and his "Real Husbands of Hollywood" cast members also did a spoof of the show's popular freestyle cypher session.
Bone Thugs-n-Harmony performed "Thuggish Ruggish Bone," ''First of the Month" and "Crossroads." Juvenile made a surprise appearance with 2 Chainz. Rick Ross took the stage with Future, performing "No Games."
- Created on 27 September 2013
This image released by NBC shows, from left, David Brown, Ruben Studdard, and Hap Holmstead on "The Biggest Loser," in Calbasas, Calif. Studdard, the season two winner of "American Idol" is the 15th season’s heaviest contestant at 462 pounds. “The Biggest Loser” returns Oct. 8 at 8 p.m on NBC. (AP Photo/NBC, Trae Patton/NBC)
Ruben Studdard didn't even get one last pig-out session before making his way to "The Biggest Loser" ranch.
"You know, the funny thing is, I was actually working the night before, so I didn't get an opportunity to have a pig-out session, no," Studdard said in a phone call. "I actually flew from a concert to the ranch. ... I'm sure I probably would have had a piece of cake or something before I went up to the ranch for months and months."
The 35-year-old singer became famous winning another reality show — "American Idol" — but had seen his weight climb in the years since. He is the 15th season's heaviest contestant at 462 pounds. "The Biggest Loser" returns Oct. 8 at 8 p.m on NBC.
The Grammy-nominated artist said after the show, he'll record his sixth album, but he will also make sure to "give every day of my life some Ruben time."
"That's what I've been taught, as you know. I have to get up every day and give myself the two hours that I need to keep myself together before I even get into any music stuff, and that's just going to have to be how I do it," he said.