WCW | Zendaya’s Birthday Wish to Empower Women

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K.C. Undercover’s Zendaya celebrated the big 2-0 Thursday. First she commemorated the milestone by (duh!) taking a selfie declaring herself “a woman.”

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A woman.

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Then the Spider-Man: Homecoming star does what she does best–direct the spotlight to a cause that needs it.

Zendaya’s birthday wish is to raise $50,000 to Convoy of Hope’s–“a faith-based non-profit that provides food, water, emergency supplies and opportunities to people in need around the globe”–women empowerment initiative that  gives job training and education to women in  Ethiopia, Tanzania, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and the Philippines.

Below is what the future Nobel Peace Prize winner wrote on the Convoy of Hope’s donor page:

“For my birthday this year, please join me in supporting strong, beautiful and dignified women around the world. Your gift of any amount will make a positive difference in the lives of these amazing ladies. So, let’s do this!”

So far, $3,433 has been raised to make sure women continue to run the world.

 

Last year, Zendaya used her 19th birthday to raise $52,858 for orphaned children in South Africa.

Another year older, but Z is light years in the wise department.

 

Black Girl Magic! Sacramento Girl’s Good Deed Program

At 10 years old I was a Girl Scout drop out–don’t ask. And I would purposely smear glue on my hands just to peel it off. Hey, dont give me that judgey look. You did it too. Admit it.

But never once in my pre-teen years did making the world kinder, gentler and more patient enter my thought bubble. All those guilty of being a jaded New Yorker before 16 raise your hand *raising both hands.*

Thankfully 10-year-old Leah Nelson, of Sacramento, is more proactive about spreading good karma nationwide. FOX 40’s report–on the persistent Cali gal convincing strangers to do a random good deed for a stranger–went viral this week.

Unlike similar stories Leah’s “Becuz I Care” program involves a keepsake. Sorta. When a perfect stranger accepts her mission of “universal kindness” they receive a handmade bracelet with this note:  “Because I care is a program that can go all around the country. All you have to do is start with a few bracelets. Then whenever you do something nice for someone (i.e. buy their coffee at Starbucks, or pay them a compliment) you give them a bracelet, and pass down this message: In a world with so many issues, let’s just show other people that they are valued.”

Thanks to Fox (there’s a sentence never thought I’d write.) Leah’s message has gone global–she’s getting responses from England.

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The junior social advocate even threw  a bracelet making party yesterday to keep up with demands.

I never thought it was going to get this big,” Leah said Tuesday evening while she and several friends got together for a bracelet-making party to meet increasing demand.

“I think because there are many issues in the world…it really brightens peoples’ days to hear that there’s still some kind things, good things, going on in the world,” she added.

Go ‘head and sprinkle that brown skinned goodness, girl.

To help the cause please click here.

 

 

IYB Woman Crush | Woman Creates Safe Haven for Baltimore Kids

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In case you haven’t noticed, news outta B-more has gone from bad to worse this week with one of the cops, who had a hand in Freddie Gray’s murder, was cleared of charges. Yes, yet another one. Lost count? Good thing they are.

Unfortunately no one is keeping a tally on how this is affecting kids and their ability to…I don’t know…be like normal young’uns. Luckily Erika Alston carved out such a safe haven for 100 neighborhood kids between ages 5 to 17.

CBS Evening News reports Alston revamped an old laudromat into an after-school rec center– Penn North Kids Safe Zone, a few days after the riots sparked by Freddie Gray’s murder.

“The whole world got to see our children standing face-to-face with officers, and throwing rocks, and they didn’t have another outlet. We’ve created that outlet.”

The Kids Safe Zone includes homework help, peer support, field trips and a range of recreational activities–from Xbox video games to sports teams–for kids to escape.

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Funding for Safe Zone comes from the state (Maryland’s governor donated $50G’s for the computer lab) and private donations. The center got a big boost when Alicia Keys made a surprise visit in November. Soon after A&E Network donated $30,000, followed by $10,000 from Kaiser-Permenete.

Say it loud: More safe zones and less jail cells. To donate to Ericka’s Safe Zone click here.

 

Woman Crush Wednesday | Kelly Rowland Plays Big Sis at Boys & Girls Club Atlanta

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Just when you think the Godiva Goddess (aka Kelly Rowland) can’t get any sweeter she plays big sis to 30 or 40 kids from Boys & Girls Club Atlanta.

The “Chasing Destiny” star-lite teamed up with allergy reliever Claritin (a staple in my purse this time of year) to host the outdoor event yesterday, according to YBF.

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As Claritin’s celeb ambassador she talked to the kids about chasing their dreams and challenging themselves to go above and beyond whatever they choose to pursue. Check out a clip of Kellz motivational message below.

 

The goal of Kelly’s partnership with Claritin is to help restore various outdoor areas for three Boys and Girls Clubs in communities most in need. Starting with A.T.L’s Westside Boys and Girls Club location—Salvation Army BGCA Bellwood Club.

Before the hammer and power drills come pictures, splits and one-on-one convos with the Grammy award-winning chanteuse, who was all to happy to accommodate her young stans.

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Fun was had by all.

 

 

 

 

 

Women Wisdom Wednesday | Black Girls Rock! Awardees Dropped Major Life Lessons

Black Girls Rock! creator Beverly Bond said it best, “10 years in and Black girls still rock.” Yaaass, always have and always will. Even if some still need convincing (looking at you Catfish’s Nev.) there is no better recognition than from your fellow cocoa sistas. So here is a sprinkling of sage advice on how us Black girls can keep rockin’.

Danai Gurira, Actress “The Walking Dead” and Playwright

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“I want to encourage all these other black girls. I know it can get tough out there. It can get downright ugly. I have walked the path, or some version of it, but know you are designed for greatness. And black girl, you rock because you have so much potential. Your power and your resilience will help to heal this world.

You have a resilience that is in your DNA…whether you want it or not. You are what the world is waiting for. Whether the world acknowledges that or not. Step into your uniqueness. Protect it. Nurture it. It is precious. No one can do what you can do or contribute what you are destined and designed to contribute.”

Shonda Rhimes, Creator of “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal” “HTGAWM”

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“For those of us up here on the stage, our careers have been named. Our paths have been chosen. We have picked our mountains and we have started to climb it. Because the minute someone starts giving you awards, you are more history than future.

Your slates are blank. Your paths are clear and your stories are whatever you decide they’re going to be. You are the builders of the 21st century. You have a right to the universe. You were given then right simply by being born. So you already rock… Change the world. And when you’ve done that, change it again.”

Rihanna

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“I believe God put us all here for a reason and we all have our purpose and we are here to fulfill our purpose individually. I think the thing that’s kept me sane, the thing that’s kept me humble, the thing that’s kept me successful is being myself. I only know how to do that.

This world is so big and it can be so confusing at times that you tend to forget and you tend to be so indented or tainted by society and the only thing that’s kept me going is being myself. And the minute you learn to love yourself you would not want to be anybody else. Role model is not the title they like to give me, but…I think I can inspire a lot of young women to be themselves and that is half the battle.”

Beverly Bond

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“Black girls still have to grow up with pervasive and paradoxical messages that say that our Black is not beautiful, but our features can be bought and sold to enhance the beauty of other women.

When Black girls swag and the black girl’s aesthetic are only dope without the Black girl but sky rocket in value and get put on a pedestal when it’s put on other bodies, our girls internalize that to mean that they are less beautiful. I started #BlackGirlsRock because I love us and I believe in us. Why do I need to get permission from you to affirm me? I want us to walk righteous in our spirit. Own your magic, walk in your purpose, rock in your truth.”

Woman Crush Wednesday | Misty Copeland Mentors School Kids Through Arts Program

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Dancing queen Misty Copeland, the first Black principal dancer of ABT, gave a private dance lesson to a P.S. 284 student from Brooklyn on Monday at Steps on Broadway studio.

Through the elementary school’s Turnaround Arts program, which Misty’s a mentor of, Hyemel Roberts got to get up close and personal to the pioneer performer.

So, how did he spend it? Taking selfies (duh!) and dancing of course. Or, judging by the above pic, making each other dizzy with their Kid-n-Play like spin.

The Turnaround Arts program aims to use the arts to reform high risk schools.

A topic Misty and POTUS Obama likely touched upon in their intimate convo about race and opportunity with Time earlier this month. Read the full transcript here.

Keep it on pointe, Misty.

Woman Crush Wednesday | Tennis Pro Sloane Stephens is Collecting Shoes for Soles4Souls

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Tennis Pro Sloane Stephens announced she’s the face of Soles4Souls–an org that collects shoes for the poor–during the Miami Open championship yesterday.

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The wildcard player urged everyone in M.I.A to donate their unwanted or unneeded shoes in a nearby donation box.

The Soles4Souls donation boxes are at local Tennis Plaza stores.

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To make the good deed even more worth your while, tickets to see Sloane possibly, maybe dethrone Serena (hey, its happened before) in her first Miami Open may be in your future.

Speaking of next-generation, Sloane was surrounded by kids from the Boys and Girls Club of Broward County during kids day at Miami Open on Monday.

Thanks for serving up some goodness, Sloane.

Wise Women Wednesday | Ciara and Viola Davis Inspire Students Here and Abroad

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On the tail-end of Black History Month (we had an extra day this year!) Viola Davis paid a visit to Brown University to talk about her life growing up the daughter of an alcoholic father, the neighbor they’d refer to as “ugly, black n****r” and rising to be the first African American to nab an Emmy for lead actress in a TV show.

The “HTGAWM” star shared how her vision changed after being bit by the acting bug. Courtesy of Cicely Tyson’s inspiring portrayal of “…Miss Jane Pittman”

Having a goal enlarged her perspective and possibilities. Viola encouraged the packed auditorium of students to follow her lead.

It’s the passion that catapults you out. It’s the dreaming so big that you can’t even think about your circumstances anymore.

The Central Falls, RI native and two-time Tony winner concluded the hour-long lecture challenging the Ivy Leaguers to ponder their own lasting legacy.

What is it that you could leave on this Earth that could live far past you?

Heavy words.

But we’re not done spreading black girl magic just yet.

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Ciara was in Niageria recently, filming her latest music video. No doubt adopting some of the local choreography.

 

In between stopping traffic with her dance moves, she dropped in on Ilado community and Akande Dahunsi junior high schools. They showed their appreciation by serenading with her “I Got You.”

 

The model/singer returned the favor by giving hugs, taking selfies and motivating the kiddies with an inspiring chant.

 

Remember each one, teach one.

 

Woman Crush Wednesday | Karrueche Visits Sick Children in Haiti

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Karrueche Tran left a pining Chris Brown (check out his latest LP “F**k You Back to Sleep (Remix)” begging for a reconciliation) in the States to visit sick children in Haiti on Monday.

Karrueche, joined by  Brotherly Love actor Quincy Brown, teamed up with Smile Train, an international children’s org that helps provide cleft lip and palette surgery.

 

Karrueche shadowed the docs and staff of Smile Train, and of course, met the adorb kiddos that were parked on her and Quincy’s lap.

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“Real Housewives of New York” star Kristen Taekman and Miss USA 2015 Olivia Jordan also joined in on the fun. Which included taking selfies with the kiddies and getting decked out in scrubs to watch a cleft lip surgery.

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Watching kiddies get their smile back firsthand or Chris Brown date night?

 

Hands down.

 

Woman Crush Wednesday | Beyonce Starts Flint Kids Fund

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Queen Bey has officially got our attention. As if you could ignore her Black power themed Super Bowl 50 performance. Or Mrs Carter’s Flawless call for ‘Formation’ in her latest video.

The Bey swarm is in full effect this week. In between preparing for another world tour (y’all get your tickets?) and dropping another surprise album–Any day now. Any day now–she started a fund for Flint, Michigan kids affected by the water crisis.

Through Beyonce’s charity BeyGOOD, she’s partnering with the Community Foundation of Greater Flint to “create a fund that will address long-term developmental, education, nutrition and health needs of the children affected by the Flint water crisis,” Live Nation released in a statement.

The BeyGOOD initiative will also continue its support of United Way. Just laser focus it on United Way of Genesee County, in helping to distribute water filters and bottled water to those in Flint.

Last week Jay Z made headlines for donating $1.5 million to a variety of Black Lives Matter orgs and social justice groups. The money was raised through a Barclay’s Center concert in October–featuring Beyonce, Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, Usher and Damian Marley.

Cementing their place as the power couple of the world.