MCM | ‘Selma’ Star Creates Scholarship for Nigerian Girls

David Oyelowo

Selma‘s David Oyelowo launched a leadership scholarship–for Nigerian girls that were victims of kidnapping, rape and torture by terrorist groups (like Boko Haram)–earlier this month.

The David Oyelowo Leadership Scholarship for Girls is giving Chibok schoolgirls, and sadly many others affected by terrorism, a second chance by placing them back in the classrooms.

In not just any ‘ol school. The scholarship covers admittance in the exclusive Anglican Girls Grammer School in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, where the lucky ladies will study math and science.

The British actor released the statement below about his involvement.

“We cannot stand idly by while thousands of innocent girls remain under serious threat. With our help, these bright and resilient girls can blossom into Nigeria’s most inspiring leaders in government, education, business, entertainment, and so much more,” the Queen of Katwe actor says. “The way to combat oppression and injustice is to be intentional in calling it out and then seeking to affect sustainable and long-term change. That is what these Leadership scholarships are all about. We seek to nurture a generation of strong female trailblazers whose positive impact will be felt across Nigeria and around the world.”

David is not only loaning his very famous name to the cause, but fundraising efforts, admin work and promotion.

Oh and one other little thing. The actor’s celeb connections. Like…

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Oooopraaaahhhh! The media mogul is one of the seed investors that cover three scholarships for 2016-2017 semester.

The scholarship is one of several programs under the Geanco Foundation umbrella whose mission is to ” transform the lives of the poor and vulnerable in Africa,” with health and education efforts.

The Chibok schoolgirls have been helpless since their return. It’s nice to know they finally

IfYouBlinked Woman Crush | Malala for Remembering Our Girls

One year, 200 schoolgirls, never forget. Photo Credit: Malala Twitter

One year, 200 schoolgirls, never forget.
Photo Credit: Malala Twitter

To commemorate the one year anniversary of over 200 Nigerian girls being captured, and sold as sex slaves and suicide bombers, Malala penned a powerful letter to friends and family.

She writes their torturous situation is not forgotten. Even though, their viral campaign (#BringBackOurGirls) nearly is. And promises to do everything she can to press the international community to bring them home.

Then goes on to update them on their parents. Malala and her dad visited Nigeria last fall to comfort the families of the missing girls, and urge then Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan to follow suit. Which he did the following day.

Malala closes the letter by expressing hope they’ll be rescued soon, and joining their escapee classmates in taking advantage of her org’s scholarships to attend school safely.

President-elect Muhammadu Buhari vowed to put an end to terrorist org Boko Haram, but was less than confident on finding the now 2,000 missing schoolgirls.

To hear Malala’s full letter to the Chibok girls, listen below:

To write your own letter to the missing Nigerian girls click here and see how others are raising awareness for the #bringbackourgirls campaign here.

FEEL GOOD FRIDAY | A Charity Tour

Oyekoya Yemi is wrapping up his 15 day charity tour through West Africa to raise awareness for #BringBackOurGirls Campaign Image Courtesy: Instagram

Oyekoya Yemi is wrapping up his 15 day charity tour through West Africa to raise awareness for #BringBackOurGirls Campaign
Image Courtesy: Instagram

This has been a long week. A sorrowful week. So much so that I considered skipping this week’s Feel Good Friday. But, what changed my mind was Feiden Santana. The young man that was not only brave enough to tape a vicious assassination from someone in authority, but release it to the victims family. To tell the whole cruel story and bring swift justice at the same time.

The other name you might not be familiar with; Oyekoya Yemi. A Nigerian man that is also fighting against an injustice in his backyard. Instead of a camera, he’s using a bicycle. Yemi has challenged himself to make a 500 mile journey from Abidjan, Ivory Coast to Lagos, Nigeria on his two wheeler. All to raise awareness for the #BringBackOurGirls campaign.

Remember that?

In three days it will be one year since 200 Chibok schoolgirls were ripped from their beds at school, and sold as child brides by the Boko Haram. Since that time the brutal terrorist group has merged with equally ferocious ISIS.

I know what you’re thinking. How does this make me feel good?

I’ll tell you how. Because no matter how bad things get or are. There is always someone fighting to make things right. And it’s people like Oyekoya willing to risk his safety and comfort for 15 days (he wraps up his tour next week) to make people remember. Our humanity.

Follow him on Twitter as he chronicles his journey.

Despite all the bad swirling around us these days, there is still good. Good people too. So, let’s be thankful for that this week.

She’s Baaacccckkkk!! Viola Davis Continues Fight Against Hunger

violahungeris

V.D. is back! And I don’t just mean on ABC’s “How to Get Away with Murder,” although I’m dying to know the second season premiere date. I’m referring to her continuing to be the ambassador on the ‘Hunger Is’ campaign.

Viola joined the campaign, to stomp out childhood hunger in America, during its roll out last year. Drawing on her personal experiences as a starving child, Davis wanted to put her well-deserved star power to good use, again.

The program raised over $4.6 million last year that went towards children’s access to healthy meals and creating long term solutions for childhood hunger.

Viola Davis said this about her continued support of the campaign:

After an incredibly successful inaugural year with Hunger Is, I am grateful to keep the momentum in finding a solution to a problem that is too often forgotten. We have the opportunity to change so many young lives for the better and I look forward to the day when this is no longer an issue in our country.

There is still time to donate to this worthy and necessary cause online at the Safeway Foundation and in Safeway stores.

CALI COME OUT!! Tyrese Hosts Benefit Concert for Kidnapped Nigerian Girls

Image Courtesy: Tyrese Twitter

Image Courtesy: Tyrese Twitter

Stevie had a special message for Boko Haram, check the video below to see how Ludacris, Vin Diesel, Larenz Tate, Terence J and Marques Houston responded to it.

Now it’s time to get down, cause nothing brings people together like a Stevie Wonder jam.

Stevie Wonder Showed his support for Tyrese’s Benefit Concert.

Image Courtesy: Tyrese Instagram

Image Courtesy: Tyrese Instagram

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Singer/actor Tyrese is putting down his sign and leading a benefit concert for the over 200 kidnapped Nigerian girls tonight in LA. The “Baby Boy” actor made it clear on Twitter that hashtag activism isn’t enough to save innocent children’s lives when held captive by terrorists. Can the church say amen?

So, he’s recruited all his celeb buddies to join him at 1 Oak for a show of support for all victims of human trafficking. The guest list includes:

He is also going to be reunited with R&B group mates Tank and Ginuwine for a live performance. There will also be live auction of donated celebrity merchandise at the event.

Money raised from the one night only concert will benefit UNICEF’s programs for Nigerian children. To purchase tickets click here

*I will keep updating the page for highlights on the concert throughout the night.

Is Hashtag Activism Saving or Hindering Kidnapped Nigerian Girls?

Image Courtesy: Michelle Obama Instagram

Image Courtesy: Michelle Obama Instagram

I got into a back-and-forth debate with my best friend yesterday about the usefulness of the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag flooding Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, recently. My bestie thinks the avalanche of hashtag activism for the Nigerian girls will make things even worse rather than helping the girls get reunited with their moms. She pointed out that more girls are getting kidnapped as a result of the attention. And the issue shouldn’t be minimized to scrawling four words on a blank page and hoping Boko Haram will be so embarrassed by the attention they’ll return the teens.

Okay, I get it. I don’t think any of us are so naive to believe Boko Haram, who Al-Qaeda even disapproves of, will be persuaded by our pleas. But, if it wasn’t for the hashtag activism the U.S. wouldn’t be sending aid to them now. Nigeria’s govt wouldn’t be offering $30K reward for those with info on the kidnapping. The hashtag was all the moms could depend on when their voices fell on deaf ears with Nigerian govt, until President Jonathan was pushed (by the trivial hashtags) to speak on the issue.

So, yes, I stand by the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag for awareness. And not only that. What else can we do? How else can we express our anger, heartbreak and disgust as a whole?

These abducted schoolgirls are my sisters and I call on the international community and the government of Nigeria to take action and save my sisters. It should be our duty to speak up for our brothers and sisters in Nigeria who are in a very difficult situation.

–Malala (in interview with NY Times)

I know people are weary of trends. And fear this is another one the West is so easy to adopt and neglect for the next hot topic dripping from social media’s fingertips. So, like Nigerian novelist Teju Cole and sociologist Zeynep Tufekci, ponder the next step in this process and whether it serves its purpose.

All valid points. But, I’d rather be accused of making noise about an issue then staying silent while more people suffer.

OKC Baller Serge Ibaka Joins UNICEF Campaign to Protect Children in Congo

Serge Ibaka with kids in Congo for UNICEF project. Image Courtesy: OKC Thunder

Serge Ibaka with kids in Congo for UNICEF project.
Image Courtesy: OKC Thunder

On the heels of OKC player Kevin Durant’s heartwarming M.V.P. speech to his mom (dare you not to cry) teammate Serge Ibaka has teamed up with UNICEF in joining their “Get Boys and Girls in the Game” project in renovating and expanding two Congo orphanages.

The power forward, who originally hails from Congo, has donated $315,000 to the UNICEF campaign and vows an additional $500 for every blocked shot he makes during NBA playoffs. Sure beats a drinking game…

Ibaka, a Kia Community Assist Award winner, also hosted a fundraiser for the project last month at a Thunder home game that included raffles, donations and auctions. He met with each raffle and auction winner and encouraged others to give to his hometown.

“UNICEF Gets Boys and Girls in the Game” is a two year campaign to reshape orphanages in Brazzaville and support other helpless children in the region.

The NBA and Kia have donated $10,000 to the UNICEF project on behalf of the NBA player.

To make a pledge please click here

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It’s gratifying that mainstream media has picked up the story on the missing school girls in Nigeria. I hope it will continue to be featured above newspaper folds and as the first story on evening broadcasts. Because as I write this, its been reported that 8 more girls have been kidnapped by the Nigerian Taliban. No girl has been rescued. Let’s pray the foreign assistance will make an impact to reunite these families. #BringBackOurGirls