Happy Hatch Day! Jhud Holds Back-to-School Drive

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Jennifer Hudson may be flaunting major face with her new ‘do, but it’s her love of Chi-Town on display this week.

The Color Purple singer/actress hosted (alongside her sissy Julia Hudson) the fifth annual Hatch Day in rememberance of late nephew Julian King. While the Hudson girls took pics with volunteers and gave out knapsacks filled with school supplies,  JHud’s son entertained the Chi-Town crowd.

How is he not a dancer for Chris Brown right now?

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Little David took a break from channeling Michael Jackson to pass out school supplies.

Hatch Day–a term Julian used to desire a family celebration–is created to ” “hatch” the dreams of school-aged children” and celebrate Julian’s  birthday (also on the same day of the event) through a back-to-school drive.

The Julian D. King Gift Foundation provided free notebooks, pens and pencils kids, and treated to a bouncy house, girl scout cookies, headphones, and from the looks of the back-to-school bonanza so much more.

Feel Good Friday | Shape-Ups, Stories and Scholarships

barber_0_1439548519Summer may be coming to an end ( say it ain’t so) but looking fierce for the first day of school just got more interesting.

An Iowan barber offered the best back-to-school special around: free haircuts to kids that read to him.

Courtney Holmes told Power 105.1 the free promotion is to help the community of Dubuque, Iowa prepare for the upcoming school year.

And as for the eight minute stories as payment?

“I just want to support kids reading,” Holmes said in a statement.

He’s not the only one. King James announced he’s working with University of Akron to sponsor 1,100 full college scholarships through his Family Foundation. The kids are required to complete the “I Promise” program of the foundation–vowing to maintain good grades and attendance, give back to the community–before getting the free ride.

The children range from the third to seventh grades in the program. Current seventh graders are likely to take advantage of LeBron picking up the $9500 tuition tab, if the promise is kept.

Wow Wednesday | Tyrese Picks Up Stranger’s College Tab

tyresezoThe 40 or 50 G’s Zo–Compton-based high school graduate–needed to attend the Black man’s Harvard (Morehouse College) came straight outta Tyrese’s wallet.

Yes, that Tyrese. The subway serenader, the R&B rebel with a cause to revive baby-making music is also investing in future scholars. Like Zo, who took to Instagram to boast about Tyrese’s generosity.

“As of today I begin my journey as a man of Morehouse. I am beyond grateful and thankful to be apart of such a great legacy. None of this would be possible without God, @tyrese, the support from my family and of course, my relentless hard work.” Zo captions underneath an Instagram photo of himself, Tyrese and Rev Run.

He adds, “annually, Morehouse is around 45K-50K and as you can imagine, that is a lot of money. I thank God for placing Tyrese in my life. It is because of him believing in me and investing in my future, that I am able to receive my education.”

The “Black Rose” crooner was motivated to help Zo with his higher learning after listening to Tom Joyner’s 2015 BET Awards acceptance speech. In which the renowned radio personality boasted he put 30,000 Black kids in college with over 65 million dollars donated through his HBCU org.

“…and I decided at that MOMENT I needed to DO something….it’s all about the #Start and this young kid is #StraightOuttaCompton and he started his first day in college yesterday.”

Way to pay it forward, Tyrese aka Vision Implementer (it’s what he calls himself.)

Misty Copeland Visits Local Boys & Girls Club

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Misty Copeland–the first Black principal dancer of ABT, in case y’all forgot–surprised some lucky  boys and girls at the Suncor Boys & Girls Club this week.  She was there for a tour of the soon-to-be opened Commerce City, Colorado facility.

According to The Denver Post, the club boasts a tech lab, teen room, art center and kitchen where kids can cook meals.

“The Boys and Girls Clubs are giving so many children an opportunity to dream bigger than what their communities may offer  for them or what their  family situations may be,” Misty says. ” I’m definitely proof of that.”

Misty started dancing at her hometown Boys & Girls Club at 13.

Now she’s watching 12 and-13-year-olds dance in front of her, CBS reports. The iconic dancer rounded out the visit by putting a personal note to future club members into a time capsule.

Always a class act.

IYB Women Crush | Moves Like Zendaya ‘Walking Dead’s’ Danai Gurira Non-Zombie Mission

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When Zendaya isn’t slaying it in Taylor Swift music videos, she’s churning out her own hits with a dream team–super producer Timbaland and songwriter Diane Warren. Yesterday the trio, taking a break from working on Zendaya’s sophomore album, visited  Camp Google for Music Week.

The free summer camp is meant to quench inquisitive kids’ thirst (when they start asking why a million times drop ’em off at Google.) with “interactive science activities and adventures.”

So,  what was the scientific brain teaser to call in the “K.C. Undercover” star and Timbo? Why, music and dance of course.

The kiddies wanted to know the process of making music, how to combat writers block (hello and welcome to my world) and the age old question: if you have no rhythm can you still dance?

For answers to all these questions and to see an adorbs dance off, click here.

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Danai is just as ride-or-die for her squad as Michonne on “The Walking Dead.” Yet, her recent undertaking doesn’t require a katana. The actor/director is trying to bridge the gap between Hollywood and Zimbabwe through her non-profit–Almasi (meaning brilliant diamond in Swahili) Arts Alliance that helps “create and facilitate artistic collaborations between African artists and American artists and artistic institutions.”

Danai is calling all “Walking Dead” stans to donate a crisp Hamilton (for now…) bill  towards creating more art programs for Almasi, and in return see what zombie life is like. Sorta.

The lucky recipient will be flown to New York to attend season 6 premiere of “The Walking Dead” and get whisked away yet again. This time to Atlanta to see sites where the cast has previously filmed. A weapons training session is included and lunch with Danai.

But, wait there’s more.

A swag bag full of survival gear and a zombie makeover for the ‘gram.

If I peaked your interest click here to donate on crowdRise So far $14,975 has been raised.

Let’s Keep the arts alive (in my Jessie Jackson voice) and these fab ladies for doing their part.

IYB Woman Crush Wednesday | ‘Virgin Power! Virgin Pride!’

To say I have a crush on all seven of these Zimbian beauties–lined up in a row like blooming tulips in a nursery–would be an understatement.

Each 9-year-old taught me more about their struggles with abandonment, rape, AIDS and lack of education in their country than any NGO report ever could. With passion and poise each preteen girl stepped up and demanded to be heard. And seen for who they truly are. Not to be victims, but victors (to borrow from Rev. Osteen.) They refuse to be discriminated against, bullied, belittled, infected or labeled just a wife and mother. They each have dreams and know hard work will achieve them. Girl Power!!

The four minute video–captured by tech company/NGO Keepod to get Zambian schoolkids digitally connected–caught the attention of Global Citizen. The global community seeking to find answers to the world’s biggest conundrums like poverty and hunger (good luck with those head scratchers) and throwing a summer concert around it, were surprised to find each young girl had the answers to each of there dilemmas.

Value them and all they’re worth: a country’s future.

FEEL GOOD FRIDAY | Michelle Obama, Wale Urge Kids to ‘Beat the Odds’

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Just when you think FLOTUS can’t get any cooler, she ups her fab factor. In addition to giving the Oscar selfie some major competition (take that Internet!) Michelle Obama created a summit to help kids better transition into college.

The  “Beating the Odds” summit invited 130 soon-to-be college frosh to the White House. All from different walks of life, but one common denominator is they all struggled to make it into college, which means they’ll likely have more difficulty staying.

Cue Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher Initiative that gives first gen college students–like herself and POTUS–the support and tools they need to make it through all four years.

To give her a hand, Entertainment network’s Terrence J, Grammy-nominated rapper Wale shared his story of goofing off in college in hopes of getting into the NFL. The Chicago Sun Times reports Wale eventually ended up on academic probation, but college gave him a good foundation to be “self-made.”

Before Wale hopped on the stage to perform, POTUS Barack Obama introduced him and made this confession.

My rapping skills are terrible. That’s one thing I can’t do is rap. I like rap but I cannot rap.

But he had to do something right to pull Michelle, he added.

I got enough of a rap that I got Michelle to marry me.

Bloop. Yes, you did Mr. Prez.

Good luck, class of 2020 (God, I’m old)

If You Blinked Woman Crush | Jada Pinkett-Smith’s Mission to End Human Trafficking

jadapinkettexploitJada Pinkett Smith’s one hour CNN takeover (don’t worry Don Lemon stayed home) exposing the atrocities of human trafficking, makes her our Wednesday Woman Crush.

Human trafficking is the illegal distribution and sale of girls and boys for the purpose of forced labor and commercialization of sex through exploitation.

Jada tapped into her inner Diane Sawyer to interview, be interviewed, narrate and exec-produce CNN’s special report;  “Children for Sale: The Fight to End Human Trafficking.” The report is one-part “How to Catch a Predator” where a Georgia-based special victims unit detective races around the state to nab exploiters. Mostly found at the airport where most human trafficking is committed.

The second half. The most important half. The part that’ll make you want to lock your sons, daughters, nieces and nephews in their room forever–is when we meet the survivors. The teenager so desperate for friends she’s lured into the sex trade by a friendly face. Her void of companionship was filled with a series of johns.

“I had sex with almost 40 guys in one day,” recalls the teen when describing her abuse.

Jada Pinkett Smith boosted her advocacy of human trafficking after learning from her own daughter, Willow Smith, that human trafficking is right in their backyard.

In 2012, Mrs Will Smith appealed to Congress to create tougher sanctions for human trafficking aka modern day slavery.

Five Takeaways from CNN Special Report: ” Children for Sale”

  1. Girls or Boys that feel lost or abandoned are susceptible to being Human Trafficked
  2. A pimp could easily trade a girl or recruit her by making eye contact.
  3. An average human trafficker in Atlanta can make $32,000 a week.
  4. Georgia is one of the largest states for human trafficking. The state’s airport is cesspool for human traffickers to export and import victims.
  5. Human traffickers target social media sites like Facebook and Instagram to recruit girls.

Jada says she was motivated to do something when she saw herself in all the human trafficking survivors she met. Just as they were vulnerable to fill a void, so was she, pointing to her absent father as the reason. Good thing Big Willy was there to love and not exploit her. A wish she has for all the survivors.

“They have so much to offer humanity if we just give them a chance.” says Jada.

Russell Simmons’ Art Foundation Honors Dave Chappelle & Ava DuVernay

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Art merged with philanthropy at Russell Simmons’ Art for Life Gala in the Hamptons this weekend. The 20th anniversary (yes, count ’em the big 2-0) brought out habitual hermit Dave Chappelle and ‘Selma’ director Ava DuVernay. The odd pair were recognized for their artistic abilities. And helped raise money for Russell Simmons’ RUSH Philanthropic Arts Foundation that finances arts programs in schools and galleries.

Funnyman Chappelle didn’t mince words about art saving his life, and it being used to reveal some deep seated issues (cough…racism… cough) and disturbing societal patterns (cough…police brutality against minorities… cough) still present.

“I went to an arts high school when shit was awful; there was a crack epidemic and AIDS, and all kinds of shit was happening, and the National Guard was policing DC and I found out about this arts program, and it changed my life in ways I couldn’t even imagine.

“And now  look at me today! Here I am with the “Winners Circle” in the Hamptons. And I have a ‘Great Gatsby’ hat on… I can say honestly that I’m happy. I can stay home on Tuesday nights and watch (Keegan Michael) Key and (Jordan) Peele do my show. And it doesn’t hurt me at all. It doesn’t hurt me at all. I’m just joking y’all.”

Jokes aside, he hinted at how art could be instrumental in making a change.

” The biggest enemy of an artist is apathy. A kid gets killed by the police and I buy a T-Shirt and before I can wear that one, there’s another kid (killed) and I’m running out of closet space.”

Hopefully he won’t need anymore.

Marcus Samuelsson and Don Lemon Host Charleston AME Church Fundraiser

marcussamWant to feed both your stomach and conscience today? Stop by Ginny’s Supper Club in Harlem. The soul food spot is holding an all day fundraiser to benefit families of Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC.

Famed chef Marcus Samuelsson, of Red Rooster Harlem, will be burning pots to make the Southern buffet ($30 minimum donation) lunch and three course dinner ($75 donation required) even more worthwhile.

Reverend Calvin Butts of Abyssinian Baptist Church will team up with Reverend Michael Walrond of First Corinithian Baptist Church to host the fundraiser. And both church choirs will provide gospel music to eat with.

CNN’s Don Lemon is also part of the fundraiser’s host committee.

To buy tickets to the Harlem Helps fundraiser click here

Money raised from the lunch and dinner will go to victims families of the Charleston church shooting.

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