FEEL GOOD FRIDAY | Marriage Equality for All | Jilly from Philly Schools Future Writers

loveislove

I’m still smiling from SCOTUS’ landmark decision to permit every American (YES!, you, you and you) in every state, to walk down the aisle and into the arms of their beloveds today. In sickness and health, for richer or poorer til death do them part. Or divorce. Hey, ish happens, even he gets that.

As my five-year wedding anniversary creeps up this summer, I’m so overjoyed that members of my family, friends, can finally experience the same act of love and commitment (y’all can jump the broom!!) that was at one time only granted to us, straight couples. Love really does conquer all.

And who knew 9 justices wearing long robes would give us the long-awaited love lesson we’ve all been waiting for. For the first time in my adult life I’m proud to be an American. For two reasons: this moment of human rights and dignity for ALL and because my president can do this.

Let’s keep FEEL GOOD FRIDAY stories flowing. First, I want to apologize for my absence these past few weeks. But I’m back, bishes and ready to spread some good vibes.

So let’s get to it.

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Jilly from Philly is partnering with Mahogany greeting cards (an African-American imprint of Hallmark) to create college scholarships for future scribers.

The national scholarships will be handed out through Jill Scott’s Blues Babe Foundation, which provides mentoring and college tuition assistance to students in poor areas of Philly (where else?), Camden, NJ and Delaware.

The two winners (from anywhere in the US) will each receive a $10,000 scholarship and an invite to a three-day writing workshop at Hallmark headquarters in Kansas City for Summer 2016. The workshop, specifically catered to students, is to shadow a Hallmark writer.

Mahogany writers will also infiltrate Camp Jill Scott, annual summer camp for North Philly junior high students, to teach creative writing.

Here’s what the three-time Grammy winner said about them teaming up.

“My love and passion for writing is reflected in my music and my poetry and I’m sincerely grateful that Mahogany decided to partner with the Blues Babe Foundation to help nurture young minds.”

Yet another reason to buy Black cards at local pharmacies. For more info about the merit-based scholarships click here.

Happy Feel Good Friday, babes. Love wins.

If You Blinked Woman Crush | Pursuit of Haiti

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Angela Simmons–Rev Run’s daughter–nixed R&R for public service while vacationing in Haiti this week.

In between getting outdoor massages, modeling local designers two-piece creations and hiking, Angie made time to visit Mission of Grace orphanage. Twice.  And was instantly attached to  a little boy named Michael that didn’t want to leave her hip. Awwww.

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Angie also visited Mission of Hope that reportedly feeds 90,000 Haitian kids daily.

“I felt really connected to the children. They actually remembered me from the day before. But I was happy I could come and share my love again,” Angela writes on Instagram, where she’s documenting her trip.

Angela Simmons is our woman crush for nurturing needy children and spotlighting an often overlooked place in the world. Even when it’s newsworthy.

Angie isn’t the only one that loves the kids. ‘Power’ star Naturi Naughton paid a visit to her alma mater: East Orange Campus High School to share with the kiddies how to make power moves.

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Just don’t go Tasha and Ghost’s route, kids. Just say no.

If You Blinked Woman Crush | A Dancer’s Dream for Brooklyn

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It’s safe to say once on Oprah’s payroll you stay on it, unless your name is Lindsay Lohan. But, Brooklynite dancer Dwana Smallwood took the Oprah experience and ran with it–from South Africa to Brooklyn.

Let’s start at the beginning. Smallwood danced her way to the biggest companies in the world: Alvin Ailey Dance company. Yet, she yearned for more.

She told WABC:

“Even though Alvin Ailey is one of the biggest companies in the world, and that was the only place I wanted to dance, and I kept thinking is that my life’s purpose to perform.”

Not for long. After performing on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” Oprah begged her to take her talent of graceful pirouettes to her South African all girls school.

“I said please, please, please would you go to my school in South Africa and teach my girls what you know.” Oprah reveals to WABC.

Not only did she go. Smallwood’s one week diversion of teaching turned into four years.

“What she did at my school, she came in to teach dance but she taught them about life, she taught them all of the social emotional skills that we know it takes to really be successful, and not only survive but to thrive in the world,” Oprah says.

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And now Smallwood is bringing those valuable lessons to her own dance school–Dwana Smallwood Performing Arts Center in her hometown of Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn.

The 4,000 square foot studio was made possible by Oprah’s more than half a million donation. Smallwood’s goal of molding future Misty Copelands or even Barack Obama’s through discipline and motivation remains the same.

“I want to give you wings so you can fly can just give you the tools to compete on the world stage as a dancer, as a doctor, a teacher, anything you want.” Smallwood says.

It seems to be working. One student had this to say about Smallwood’s guidance:

“Ms Dawa has inspired me to become anything I want to become” Sahai Heyward told WABC.

Marking this dance queen our woman crush of the week.

IfYouBlinked Women Crush|Dear Graduates…


It’s that time of year again, guys. Our compilation of the four best commencement speeches of 2015. But (plot twist!!) it’s a no boys allowed  theme this year because a) women rule the world and b) it’s women crush wednesday. Sorry, fellas. Not to worry the advice these boss ladies provide is not gender specific.

Award-winning writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Wellesley College

“We can not always bend the world into the shapes we want but we can try, we can make a concerted and real and true effort. And you are privileged that, because of your education here, you have already been given many of the tools that you will need to try. Always just try. Because you never know.” 

SNL’s Maya Rudolph, Tulane University

“If I must give any of you advice it would be say yes. Say yes, and…and create your own destiny.”

FLOTUS, Michelle Obama, Tuskegee University

“I want you all to stay true to the most real, most sincere, most authentic parts of yourselves. I want you to ask those basic questions: who do you want to be? What inspires you? How do you want to give back? And then I want you to take a deep breath and trust yourselves to chart your own course and make your own mark on the world.”

GMA’s Robin Roberts, Emerson University

“Don’t worry about the fear factor. Everybody in here has felt it and will feel it. It is something that you have to realize that if you wait for it to pass you’re going to be sitting on the sidelines for a very long time.” 

Tell ’em girls. No wonder their our #wcw. Congrats to all the 2015 graduates. Be bold and carry on.

FEEL GOOD FRIDAY| Brave Girl is Town Hero

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Say what you wanna say, and let the words fall out…so you wanna see someone be brave, Sara Bareilles?

Try six-year-old Janeysha from Lancaster Township in PA.

A little kitty was stuck in a storm drain. Janeysha’s mom called the hunky firefighters to help. But their massive build prevented them from crawling down there. Enter Janeysha. She volunteered to scoop up the trapped kitty, despite her fear of being bit by it.

Mission accomplished. And not only is the preteen a local hero, she has no scars.

As for the kitty, now named Stormy, she’s safe and sound in a animal hospital waiting to be adopted.

We’ve already crowned Janeysha queen of chutzpah.

He’s a … Sweet Guy!! Tahj Mowry Visits Sick Kids

Tahj Mowry with Kacey at   Rady Children's Hospital.

Tahj Mowry with Kacey at
Rady Children’s Hospital.

Tahj Mowry showed he not only inherited the Mowry good look genes (helllooo light skin) but their kind hearts.

The Smart Guy actor spent the day at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego. Where he made friends with Kasey Harvey, a teenage cancer patient, undergoing her 22nd chemotherapy treatment!?!.What a warrior.

Along with Tahj rooting for her speedy recovery, Johnny Bananas from MTV’s The Challenge is her personal get well cheerleader. He even presented her with a $8,000 donation in honor of Diem Brown, an MTV celeb that died of cancer last year.

When not visiting local hospitals, Tahj is promoting his debut single Flirt on itunes.

Or hanging out with his famous sibs.

Learning from the Beauties! Keke Palmer & Alicia Quarles School Youth

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What does Cinderella and an E! news reporter have in common? Secrets to success.

Keke Palmer and E! News’ Alicia Quarles (who got Raven-Symone to admit she’s from every continent in Africa, ‘memba that?) talked to 60 handpicked NYC high school kids at MTV.

The kick it with Keke session was part of an on-going cycle of celeb talks from Get Schooled, a non-profit org motivating students to stay in school by recruiting “influencers” aka our fave celebs to instruct them to keep their heads in the books.

Keke was no different. She told the teens–awarded the event for motivating their younger classmates to stay on the academic fast track–to stay focused on their goals just as much as they do their Instagram pages.

“You’re reality is what’s around you. We get so caught up in Instagram and social media you forget about life around you.”

No one will forget Keke’s breakout solo.

Or, her demonstration on the evolution of twerking. Don’t take notes on that one kiddies.

But, you can quote red-carpet maven Alicia Quarles when she advised networking as the method to get ahead.

“One piece I learned was to network and to keep in contact with the people you meet.”

I hope you guys got business cards. I would…

Kanye’s Got Coins! Yeezy Donates Record Amount to Donda’s House

kanyewinkIn case you thought Kanye spent all his money on those fog machines and sparklers, think again.

The rapper/doctor dropped off a $133,000 check to the Donda’s House foundation–a non-profit he created to honor his late mom Professor Donda West–this week.

It’s a record amount for the Chicago org that empowers kids to pursue a career in the arts. Let the Yesus church say amen!

Kanye West took a portion from his earnings at the Louis Vuitton Foundation concert shows and donated it to Donda’s House. Awww… it’s like he combined two of his favorite things–fashion and his mama–to make a difference.

The Creative Director of Donda’s House, Che “Rhymefest” Smith, had this to say about the contribution to their coffers.

I really cannot thank Kanye enough for this incredible contribution. His leadership has enabled Donda’s House to grow quickly and impact the lives of over 160 of Chicago’s young people already in short history. This is a great honor and a true tribute to his mother’s legacy, who did so much for young artists.

Why do we hate him again? Someone remind me.

If You Blinked Woman Crush|How to Save a Student

Move out the way, Make room for the teacher of the decade, or IfYouBlinked's wcw  Image Courtesy: The Detroit News

Move out the way, Make room for the teacher of the decade, or IfYouBlinked’s wcw
Image Courtesy: The Detroit News

Here’s a story to top all inspirational teacher stories. Sorry,valedictorians your fave teacher comes no where close to our woman crush.

When Detroit gym teacher Nadirah Muhammad found out her 18-year-old dance student A’Ja Booth was in need of a new kidney, she wasted no time offering hers last year.

And whaddayaknow they were a match!?

According to Global Grind, Nadirah’s kidney was removed seven months later at Henry Ford Hospital. Nadirah returned to class seven months later.

Just in time to see A’Ja graduate from West Side Academy next month.

This is what our Woman Crush–mom and wife too–told The Detroit News:

This is what we do as teachers. I did not do it for the accolades. I saw a human being in need and if it were my child, I’d want someone to step forward and help him.”

Here’s hoping there are more Nadirah’s out there.

Beyonce Makes Humanitarian Mission to Haiti

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Beyonce took a break from flaunting her street style in the big apple to making a surprise visit to Haiti today.

According to VIBE, Beyonce is aiding the United Nations in a humanitarian mission. Likely a well-deserved one given that the impoverished Caribbean country is still rallying from that massive 7.0 earthquake in 2010.

A United Nations report found that 70% of Haitians don’t have working electricity,
more than half a million don’t have a steady supply of food and 172,000 are still living in temporary displacement camps set up five years ago.

But not to fear, Queen Bey is there. Well… for one day, at least.

Sporting her BEY GOOD tee (Beyonce’s charity org) she gave out food, water and other much-needed resources. Beyonce even lent a hand to sick natives battling a cholera epidemic.

This isnt the first time Beyonce worked with the UN. In 2012, she gave a very soulful presentation at UN headquarters for World Humanitarian Day.

See how she blew the roof off the iconic place with her visual version of “I Was Here” below.

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