Feel Good Friday | 200 Black Men Cheering on Back-to-School Kids

Let's get this school year started right.

Back-to-school motivation from some dapper Dans as kids enter first day of school.

In my best 50 cent “In Da Club” voice…

Go shawty…it’s a school day…we gonna cheer ya on while you stud-yyy. 

Okay, that’s likely not what nearly 100 black Hartford, CT-based businessmen were chanting as local kids attended their first day of school on Tuesday.

The kids–mostly from single-parent homes–were greeted by a tribe (it takes a village, remember) of lawyers, cops, politicians, artists, activists commemorating the back-to-school milestone with high-fives and applause lined up outside their school.  As if they were on the starting lineup of the UConn Huskies rather than  elementary students entering Martin Luther King Junior School. Simultaneously, the same scene was recreated at Simpson Waverly School, a half-mile away.

Local pastor AJ Johnson, pal DeVaughn Ward and community activist Maurice Eastwood banded together to turn an idea on social media into a reality.

Pastor Johnson says the idea was to get 200 Black men to the elementary schools to give kids an inspiring welcome that could foster them throughout the year.

“Most of the kids there are raised by single moms, and you can see that as they were being dropped off, a lot of them had their moms drop them off,” Johnson said. “I think that this is an opportunity for educated black men to go in and grab a young man and show them what it really means to be a black male.”

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.

Big Sean & Meek Mill Serve Up Thanksgiving Cheer

If no one has told you yet, I’ll surely do the honors: Happy Thanksgiving, y’all. Among the many things I’m thankful for is your roaming eyes on my page. Thanks from the bottom of my heart for the comments, likes and other props. It’s deeply appreciated.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday for so many reasons, but if someone pushed me for an explanation it’s because of all the memories produced on the day. One that sticks out the most is the last Thanksgiving with my Nana. The most beautiful brain image EVER!! At the risk of sounding sappy, I think it’s important that everyone have at least one experience like that with their friends and family.

Rappers Meek Mill and Big Sean helped to make it happen by giving back to their communities.

Photo Credit: Theybf.com

What’s Turkey Day without turkey? Big Sean and Mike Epps host turkey drive in Motor City. Photo Credit: Theybf.com

Yesterday, Big Sean, along with comedian Mike Epps handed out turkeys to fellow Detroiters through his Sean Anderson Foundation, and then visited a local Boys and Girls Club.

Meek Mill starts annual Dream Chasers event in native Philly. Photo Credit: Theybf.com

Meek Mill starts annual Dream Chasers event in native Philly. Photo Credit: Theybf.com

Meek Mill visited his hometown of Philly to kick off his inaugural “Dreamchasers Thanksgiving,” a two day event that aims to feed 600 families around the city of Brotherly love. Philly Mayor Michael Nutter joined Mill and released this statement:

I applaud Meek Mill for taking the initiative to give back to his home town. Gathering together with family and friends around a shared meal is one of the most important aspects of the holiday season. It is important to give thanks for all that we have, and I am proud that one of Philadelphia’s own is donating his time and resources to make sure families in our city can do just that

Meek Mill humbly gave this response on his generosity:

Philly raised me and made me into the man I am today, so to do the first annual ‘A Dreamchaser’s Thanksgiving,’ was an obvious thing to do. I’m blessed to be in a position where I can make sure that as many people as possible have a meal on Thanksgiving, so that they can be with their loved ones to enjoy the holiday.

So inspiring. I’m loving the hearts thrown Philly’s way. Even from lil Kevin.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone, eat and be merry XOXO

Big Sean Hands Out School Supplies in Hometown & Which Celebs Helped Homeless Student Attend Howard University

Big Sean Handing out Supplies. Credit: Huffington Post

Big Sean Handing out Supplies. Credit: Huffington Post

Rapper Big Sean took time out from promoting his new album, “Hall of Fame” and dropped in on a back-to-school fair held in his native Detroit. The Kanye West protege handed out backpacks filled with school supplies donated by Office Max. The fair included educational games, career guidance and much needed school supplies for public school kids–an ever-present need this school year–and some love from one of the hottest rappers in the game.

“The Huffington Post” reported Big Sean offered hugs, handshakes and encouraging words along with those pencils and notebooks to families there.

“My message [to kids] is just to stay focused on what your goals are and do as well as you can. And focus on what you’re great at and harness that talent,” he said. “There are so many opportunities out here … I hope these kids, these young minds, take advantage of that and make it happen. They can be way better than a rapper, they can be way more successful.”

A product of the Detroit public school system, the rapper says he had an urge to give back, and he’s attempting to with his new venture: Sean Anderson Foundation. The foundation promotes “education, health and well-being” of Detroit youth. So, it’s not a stretch that the back-to-school fair would be the foundation’s first project.

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After hearing this inspirational tale on “NBC Nightly News” this past month, I couldn’t pass up a mention. James Ward went from living in a shelter overlooking LA’s skid row with his mom and two siblings to entering the Black man’s Harvard aka Howard University as an incoming freshman, and who paid the tab? YOU. That’s right, all those kind generous souls who went on James’ Homeless to Howard fundraising site, which rapper Common was so kind to share with his Twitter followers and contribute to the cause ( smart and  generous *swoon*) is what landed the 19-year-old first-in-his-family-to-attend college on a higher learning plateau.

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Brainchild to ABC’s Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy Shonda Rhimes also showed James some love for his cause.

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How do you thank complete strangers for paying for two years of schooling? (FYI…one year at Howard cost over $32 Gs.) The above photo is great start. But James’ plan is little bigger. He is launching a non profit to help other young kids get a fair shake at a quality education. What a great way to pay it forward.

Good luck James!!!

ROUND UP: Best Back-to-School Commercials

I watch enough TV to know a good commercial when I see it.  And, quite honestly, Kmart’s back-to-school commercial featuring a tween rap group Da Rich Kidzz, is not it. Can’t really nail down exactly why I scream out, ” NOT AGAIN?!” while holding down the mute button on my remote when it airs. But these are the questions I ask myself when I’m forced to watch it: Could it be the head banging beat? The annoying rap lyrics? (still can’t get “left right-click” outta my head) or Just the simple fact it’s a back-to-school commercial.

Well, I’ve been out of school for a while, but it doesn’t mean I still don’t have anxiety and post-summer depression when those back-to-school commercials start airing. It’s like the great countdown to when you’re once again in a room full of strangers, facing a blackboard with a unpronounceable name scrolled on it, which happens to be your teacher’s for a whole year. Oh, the horror.

Anxiety, aside. You can’t help but laugh or give a warm-hearted smile when you see some vintage back-to-school commercials that use to hijack my parent’s TV sets, to their great enjoyment and my resentment.

So, in honor of kids return to the classrooms this week I’ve rounded up some of the best back-to-school commercials.

STAPLES– You can’t get more vintage than this. This throwback ad is considered by many to be the best back-to-school commercial of the year!!!

OREO– This commercial warmed my heart because in a climate with cyber bullying and taunting happening so often, it would be nice if it was more common that older kids look out for the young’ uns in school

FOOT LOCKER- It goes without saying that back-to-school gear has to be tight from top to bottom.

OLD NAVY- This one is for my 15-year-old self that was obsessed with the many, MANY love triangles on “Beverly Hills 90210” It’s nice Kelly finally made her choice.

Did I miss any? Let me know what back-to-school ads are your favorites?