Monday, January 25, 2010

Changes to CTForum YouTube page

You may have noticed that our CT Forum YouTube Channel has a new look. We wanted to take a moment to answer any questions about these changes and give you more details about our new video website, TheForumChannel.

TheForumChannel is the new website that is the exclusive place to watch full Forum conversations from the past 18 years. TheForumChannel also has easy-to-use search capabilities for browsing hundreds of clips and for searching through dozens of past panelists.

We created TheForumChannel in response to the popularity of Forum clips on YouTube. Our three million YouTube viewers were often asking where they could find more clips and where they could view full Forums - TheForumChannel offers all of that!

And despite the new look, our YouTube Channel still features the same great content it always has. We will continue to post timely clips (like when our past panelists make news, or a clip from a past Forum addresses a timely topic, etc.), as well as clips from our most recent Forums on our YouTube page. As always, our YouTube channel will be a place where you can find clips from our most recent Forum, and we will continue to use YouTube to keep the conversation going in the days following a Forum event.

TheForumChannel, moreover, is now a place to house selected full Forums and clips from our 18 years of conversations. It's an archive of the most interesting and entertaining Forums, and we will continue to add to it often. We hope that you enjoy reliving these past Forums and that you will subscribe to the site and offer your feedback.

So just remember:
YouTube = Recent and timely clips
TheForumChannel = An archive of selected full Forums, as well as hundreds of additional clips

Like what you see? Join on Twitter @TheForumChannel. We’d love to hear what you think!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Wyclef Jean: Hip-Hopping Humanitarian

As you may know,
Hip-Hop Musician and Humanitarian Wyclef Jean will be a panelist at our Forum Music Fest on May 1, 2010. A Haitian native, Wyclef has long been an advocate for the people of Haiti, fighting to bring hope and change to the distressed nation. Since last week's devastating earthquake, Wyclef has been on the ground in Haiti aiding in both rescue and humanitarian efforts. In an interview with Oprah, he described the disaster as "an apocalypse, the seventh hell." Amidst his efforts, questions arose last week about the legitimacy of his foundation, Yele Haiti, after financial records released by The Smoking Gun suggested a potential misappropriation of funds. Wyclef directly addressed these allegations in a press conference on January 16th, 2010:
"Have we made mistakes before? Yes. Did I ever use Yele money for personal benefit? Absolutely not. Yele's books are open and transparent, and we have been given a clean bill of health from an external auditor."
All this recent press may have you wondering...

Who is Wyclef jean?

Wyclef Jean is a multi-platinum musician, actor, producer, and former member of The Fugees, a group MTV ranks as one of the best hip-hop groups of all time. Although best known as a hip-hop artist, Wyclef embraces many forms of music and all expressions of culture, from classic rock to ska to down and dirty bass to country to thugged-out rap to folk and reggae.

The son of a preacher, Wyclef was born in Haiti and moved with his family to Brooklyn, New York when he was nine-years-old, before moving again to northern New Jersey. He received his first guitar from his mother and studied jazz through high school. He briefly attended Eastern Nazarene College, before dropping out of school to pursue music.

In the early 1990’s he formed the hip-hop trio The Refugee Camp (a.k.a. The Fugees) with Lauryn Hill and Prakazrel “Pras” Michel. The group’s debut album, Blunted on Reality, sold poorly, but their follow-up album, The Score, became one of the largest-selling and most influential hip-hop records in chart history, selling over 18 million copies worldwide and eventually becoming a multi-platinum, Grammy-winning album. Their cover of Roberta Flack's "Killing Me Softly" topped U.S. airplay charts for weeks.

Despite their groundbreaking success, The Fugees have remained in limbo, with a follow-up album to The Score being continually postponed as all three members cultivated solo careers. Wyclef released his first solo CD, The Carnival, in 1997, featuring the single “Gone Till November” which earned him a Grammy nomination for best Male R&B Vocal Performance.

He has since recorded six solo albums, collaborating with guests including (click link to listen to the collaboration) Kenny Rogers, Earth, Wind & Fire, Mary J. Blige, Santana, Shakira, and many others. His latest album, Wyclefjean, is scheduled to be released in February 2010.

In all, Wyclef has sold more than 31 million albums throughout his career. Over the years, he has emerged as a leading champion for Haiti, serving as a spokesperson for many issues and created his foundation Yele to help children both in Haiti and the United States by providing scholarship opportunities, food distribution, humanitarian aid and now, earthquake relief.

We applaud Wyclef for his long standing support of the people in Haiti-come back soon to learn more about what you can do to help.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

CT YOUTH Forum Members Discuss Race in America on NPR

Photo by Chion Wolf, WNPR

Students from our very own YOUTH Forum appeared on WNPR's Where We Live yesterday to discuss their views and experiences on race in America in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Check out the audio on WNPR! (click episode audio)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wyclef Jean Reacts to Haiti Earthquake Tragedy

Soon-to-be- Forum panelist and Haitian native Wyclef Jean has gone to Haiti to lend aid in his homeland in the aftermath of yesterday's tragic earthquake.

In a statement from his blog, Wyclef states:

"I cannot stress enough what a human disaster this is, and idle hands will only make this tragedy worse. The over 2 million people in Port-au-Prince tonight face catastrophe alone. We must act now."

Wyclef appeared on CNN this morning, sharing his very personal reactions to this tragedy:

Wyclef has already done incredible work in revitalizing Haiti and is asking for support. He founded Yele Haiti, a movement that is helping to bring hope back to Haiti. Yele Haiti projects are designed to make a difference in the fields of education, health, environment and community development.

The hip-hop artist and producer is also utilizing his twitter account to generate support for Haiti, urging people to donate $5 via text message to Yele. This fundraising effort has now become one of the most popular topics on twitter, and has resulted in thousands of retweets. In fact, has received so much traffic that the website crashed, and as of 1:30 EST is still down.

The U.S. State Department Operations Center is urging Americans seeking information about family members in Haiti to call 1-888-407-4747.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Simpsons Celebrate 20th Anniversary

The Simpsons celebrated their 20th anniversary with the airing of their 450th episode last night.

Check out these great clips from our Forum, Behind the Scenes with The Simpsons featuring Producer Al Jean, writer Tim Long, actor Harry Shearer voice of Mr. Burns, Flanders, Principal Skinner and others and Yeardley Smith, voice of Lisa Simpson (March 4, 2004)

For more clips, or for the ENTIRE Simpsons Forum,
visit The Forum Channel

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd on education and technology

Senator Chris Dodd was a Forum panelist back in 1994 at a Forum titled Children & Education: A Look into the Future. As we think about Dodd's long career as Connecticut's Senator, here's a clip of him at that Forum, talking about education and technology.

Although this was nearly sixteen years ago, the issues that he and the rest of the panel addressed that evening continue to be of urgent importance.

The Forum's Founding President, Richard Sugarman, remembers Chris Dodd: "It struck me then, and it has struck me since then, that he really cares about children, education and these issues. It never felt like political speak. It felt like it was in his gut and in his heart."