RARE SIGHTING: Janet Jackson Visits UNICEF Zaatari Refugee Camp

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Janet (Ms. Jackson, if you’re nasty) has made a rare public showing–fulfilling her six-to-eight month public appearance quota–at a Syrian children’s refugee camp in Jerusalem. The pop icon and her bajillionaire hubby, Wissam, visited UNICEF’s Za’atari camp that houses Syrian refugee children.

janetjacksonpeace

The couple talked with the kids, gave hugs and held up peace signs during their time together. The Za’atari camp is the world’s 2nd largest; aiding over 120,000 refugees, half of which are children.

Janet Jackson has been a vocal supporter of UNICEF; sending out call-to-action Facebook posts about displaced children and last year made a PSA to address child hunger in Central Africa.

Its been a year since Janet Jackson has been in the limelight, her last public appearance was at an amfAR cinema event that she co-chaired. Since the diva’s absence her most celebrated album–Rhythm Nation–marked its 25th anniversary. And sadly the issues she addressed are still not resolved, or as she succinctly puts it:

On the heels of Taliban brutally murdering more than 100 Pakistani children at school and Boko Haram still terrorizing North-eastern Nigerians–killing 33 people and kidnapping about 200 young men, women and children in a village– EVERYONE needs to give a damn.

Bill Clinton, Janet Jackson, Alicia Keys, Bruno Mars Designed Teddy Bears Raise Thousands for HIV/AIDS Non-Profit

bobbibear-Bill-Clintonbobbibear-Janet-Jacksonaliciakeysbearbobbibear-Bruno-Mars

Move over Paddington, Bobbi Bear is taking over and he’s got backup. R&B superstars Janet Jackson, Alicia Keys and Bruno Mars¬†and Bill Clinton designed their own Build-a-Bear to be auctioned off at the auction house Sotheby’s earlier this month.

The numbers are in and the stars helped raise over $100,000 to benefit Operation Bobbi Bear, a non-profit that caters to sexually abused and exploited kids that may be at risk to HIV/AIDS in South Africa. The bear plays a key part in victims describing where they were abused. The non-profit has reportedly saved thousands of children from being victimized by telling their stories.

To learn more about Operation Bobbi Bear click here and to see all the customized teddies click here.

Kevin Hart, Kylie Jenner, RHOA Kandi Burruss and VH1 Black Ink Crew Cast Spread Holiday Cheer

kevinhartchrispaul

For those lacking the holiday spirit theme of spreading goodwill,you might want to follow the lead of these generous celebs.

Funnyman Kevin Hart took time off his many jobs (in my Phaedra Parks voice) to treat 150 lucky LA-based kids with Toyz ‘R Us gift cards worth $100. Hart joined Clippers player Chris Paul that urged kiddos to FIRST buy something for others and then treat themselves. The pay-it-forward lesson also applied to Paul and Hart’s kids that joined in on the giving.

Watch Hart’s Oprah moment here.

Not to be outdone in the generosity department, newbie couple Kylie Jenner and rapper Tyga handed out toys at LA’s Childrens’ Hospital.

Meanwhile, down south, “Real Housewife of Atlanta” Kandi Burruss held a “Warm Hearts” coat and blanket drive. Through her Kandi Kares Foundation, team Burress (including Riley and step-daughter Kaela) collected donated blankets and childrens’ coats to distribute at a local shelter.

Back East, VH1’s “Black Ink Crew” plans to send 100 jail inmates holiday care packages. Given that one member of the tat squad may be facing hard time (O’Shit) it’s not surprising this would be their cause to herald.If you want Black Ink to send a care package to an inmate, here’s what you do: 1. Follow @blackinkmag on Twitter 2. Repost Black Ink Magazine, issue 2, on Facebook 3. Send IG info, inmate info to blackinklove@gmail.com

Rapper 50 Cent Volunteers at Food Bank of New York

Getty Images

Getty Images

Infamous rapper 50 Cent took a break from pushing his frenemies buttons to pack up food items to needy families at The Food Bank of New York City’s Community Kitchen & Food Pantry in Harlem yesterday,NY Daily News reports.

The “Animal Ambition” star volunteered alongside NBC’s Savannah Guthrie and model Karolina Kurkova.

What I wouldn’t give to be a fly on the wall of whatever convo this surreal group eked out.

Guess we’ll never know. But I do have the deets on the Food Bank of New York’s Feeding Program, for those itching to show some holiday giving. Email volunteer@foodbanknyc.org or call 212.566.7855 ext. 8350.

Time (and of course, moola) is the best gift you can give these orgs.

Rihanna Throws 1st Annual Diamond Ball to Benefit Clara Lionel Foundation

No Indictment from Grand Jury in Eric Garner Case

 

icantbreathe

I’m deeply disheartened (I literally gagged) that the grand jury found no cause to indict police officers that placed a choke hold on Eric Garner, which was determined his cause of death. Garner’s death was ruled a homicide. How could it not? It was the chokehold seen around the globe.

But it wasn’t enough for the jurors. I’m beginning to wonder what would be. How can lives (yes, LIVES) be so violently taken and the only outcome is a makeshift how to get away with murder fraternity among Zimmerman, Wilson, Oliver and Haste.

Yes, Mr. President, it is an American problem. A biggie that predates your existence and mine. The only thing that does change are the names. The faces and pleas for justice go unchanged.

If We Must Die (1919) by Claude McKay
If we must die, let it not be like hogs
Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,
While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs, Making their mock at our accursed lot.
If we must die, O let us nobly die,
So that our precious blood may not be shed
In vain; then even the monsters we defy
Shall be constrained to honourus through dead!
O kinsman! We must meet the common foe!
Though far outnumbered let us show us brave, And for their thousand blows deal one deathblow!
What though before us lies the open grave?
Like men we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack,Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!

Color Chart (2013) by Guy Farmer
Certain
Lives
Are
More
Expendable
According
To
An
Outdated
Color
Chart.

Happy Thanksgiving

thanksgivingI couldn’t let the day pass without wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving. From the bottom of my heart, I love every person that has come across my blog and follow my progress. I’m thankful for this platform, your interest and more importantly, my family. I’m a lucky girl!! And I’m also grateful to all the caring and empathetic souls that aim to make a difference. Some are highlighted in this blog and to others go unrecognized. I just want to say thank you, God bless you.

Rehab for Ferguson

 A burning building in Ferguson. Image Courtesy of Jim Young Reuters

A burning building in Ferguson. Image Courtesy of Jim Young Reuters

Once again justice wasn’t served. Was I surprised? Nope, because I knew what the decision would be. We all knew. Calling in the national guard, declaring a state of emergency were huge indicators that local officials knew something we didn’t. But we all knew, even before the prosecutor matter-of-factly announced no indictment for Darren Wilson, there would be no justice for Mike Brown, so therefore no peace for Ferguson, MO.

And in the heat of that moment, when digesting that bitter pill of fact, one of Mike’s relatives yells, “burn this bitch to the ground,” into the crowd of protestors, how is that not understandable? I’m not slapping my seal of approval on violence and destruction, but I get why it’s there. It’s a quick fix. An easy way to drain the rage burning out of people’s pores and into local storefronts and car dealerships faster than the actual flames.

But, who are we (as in Black folk) really destroying?

Burning the local Family Dollar that benefits your community is like shooting your own self in the foot, or to put a poetic spin on it: it’s like you drinking poison and expecting your enemy to die. It’s not effective. It wasn’t in L.A. and it won’t be in Ferguson.

Why?

Well, other than the most obvious point that stealing a big screen TV doesn’t make up for a murdered teenager laying in the street for four hours and then being whisked away not in an ambulance, but a shady SUV. (No amount of minivans burnt in a car dealership can make up for that sad reality.)

How is it effective? How is–to borrow a quote from Rev. Al Sharpton–“burning your own stuff”–going to make things right? How is behaving like an animal, which law enforcement was banking on us doing, illustrate we aren’t to the white powers that be.

It doesn’t. It just makes us a distraction. The rioting and the looting divert attention away from the fact an unarmed–the prosecutor failed to mention that in the press conference–black teenager was shot 12 times and his murderer walks away. Unpunished.

So, yes let’s protest–peacefully–but more importantly, take back our power by letting our voices be heard. Not just in darkened streets near courthouses, but in voting booths where there’s proof our voices echo each other and demand a change.

Let’s demand body cameras for police officers around the country, elect state reps that support it, and have an honest debate (not just on Facebook) about race relations. We need to channel our frustrations towards making a change.

Otherwise we will be in this same place, next week, next month or next year mourning another young life ¬†ruled unworthy of justice.Let’s show them our lives matter. We all matter.

Happy Turkey Drive!! RHOA Kandi Burruss, Ludacris and Mike Epps’ Thanksgiving Giveaways

KANDICARESludacrisfoundation

Needy families from Atlanta and Detroit have RHOA Kandi Burruss, rapper Ludacris and funnyman Mike Epps to thank for doling out turkeys through their respected charities.

Kandi partnered with Walmart–as well as requested turkey donations from the community–to collect the turkeys and trimmings she used to offer select single-parent homes in ATL, through her Kandi Cares charity. The housewife chanteuse distributed the thanksgiving goodies yesterday alongside daughter Riley.

Not far away, rapper Ludacris kicked off his annual holiday food basket giveaway to 250 families through his Ludacris Foundation.The rapper/actor not only distributed butterballs to the ATL, but also set up a coat and toy driver. Luda set up a one stop shop of generosity to needy Atlantans at the Utopia Academy for the Arts.

eppsieturkeydriveNot to be outdone comedian Mike Epps joined Big Sean in Detroit to take part in the All Star Give back turkey drive held at River Rouge Schools. The giveaway aimed to feed over 1,000 families in the motor city.

Finally, to round out the various acts of kindness that kick off the holiday season, FLOTUS Michelle Obama and “Extra’s” Mario Lopez plan a Thanksgiving surprise to a worthy veteran. The California native army sergeant fell on hard times after his tour of duty finished; became unemployed and lost his Vietnam veteran grandfather to cancer. “Extra” and FLOTUS stepped in to get him back on his feet. Watch “Extra” to see how the surprise plays out.

Kudos to these celebs and everyone for serving up blessings to needy families. Let’s pass that love and generosity around more.

Lebron James Foundation Renovates Home on HGTV’s ‘Rehab Addicts’ Show

lebroncarole

Ohioans have another reason to love their hometown baller Lebron James. The Miami Heat turned Cleveland Cavalier player used his Family Foundation to team up with HGTV to help renovate a home for a deserving Akron family.

HGTV’s “Real Addicts” will feature six episodes of the Lebron family helping with a full-scale home renovation project dubbed the ‘Promise Project’ by The Lebron James Family Foundation that aims to promote educational projects that benefit kids.

lebronakronfamily

Sixth-grader Mariah Riley and her family are the lucky Ohioans to live in the house Lebron helped build. The pre-teen was selected because of her commitment to getting good grades.

lebronhammer

Watch Lebron work a hammer alongside Nicole Curtis (“Rehab Addict” host) on Dec. 4, 11, 18 and three Jan. episodes.

 

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