Rihanna Runs Bean Town as Harvard’s Humanitarian

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Rihanna presented with Humanitarian of Year award by Allen Counter, director of Harvard Foundation. 

Rihanna was shining bright like a diamond as she accepted Harvard’s Humanitarian of the Year award yesterday at Sanders Theatre at the university.

“So I made it to Harvard — never thought I’d be able to say that in my life,” Rihanna mused as she opened her acceptance speech.

Bad gal Ri Ri, decked out in an off-the-shoulder, belted tweed dress, was honored by the Ivy League for launching the Clara Lionel Foundation, which awards college scholarships to Caribbean students attending US schools.

The Work singer was also recognized for building the Clara Braithwaite Oncology and Nuclear Medicine Centre at Queen Elizabeth hospital in her hometown of Barbados.

Fun Fact: the centre was renamed after Rihanna’s grandmother after the pop star donated $1.75 million to the Bridgetown hospital in 2012.

The Barbadian beauty made sure to honor her memory by passing along some of granny’s wise words in her speech. “You don’t have to be rich to help somebody…if you got a dollar, there’s plenty to share.”

Rihanna’s full remarks are below–they were live streamed.

 

Future and Baby Future’s Holiday Homecoming ! Rapper Throws Toy and Charity Drive in ATL

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Santa, take note, my brother. Yes I said brother. Ask about the chocolate Santa come up.

Anyway, he may wanna pull out a pen and pad because Future is giving him a run for his money.

Yesterday, the “Married to the Game” rapper held his fourth annual Winter Wish Land charity and toy drive–through his non-profit, Free Wishes Foundation that encourages kids to dream big.

 

The ATL kiddies sure did. They piled into Atlanta’s Bessie Branham Park where Future hooked up over 1300 dreamers with some Christmas wishes sans the Santa suit. That doesn’t mean he didn’t have elves…err corporate friends/sponsors.

Like Reebok who partnered with Free Wishes by donating 500 pairs of kicks to the cause.

 

Samsung doled out free tablets and headphones for the young’uns. Use with caution…

 

In all 1300 kids walked away with new shoes, coats and toys.

But that’s not all.

Ciara’s baby daddy was all about philanthropy this weekend. Future also attended the UNCF Masked Ball alongside Usher, Tyrese and Jeezy. All three made a gentleman’s pact to donate $25K each to the non-profit supports. Black students journey towards college enrollment.

Future is slaying the giving game this holiday season.

 

 

 

MCM | T.I. Donates $35K to Six Education Initiatives

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Tip is a man of his word.

When the ATL-based rapper signed on to promote  TIDAL’s Money Talk and Education challenge–that encourages charities to fundraise for education programs in different communities–in May, he put his checkbook on the line.

 

The “Whatever You Like” lyricist and father of seven (the newest addition is babygirl Heiress) agreed to match all funds raised.

The Undefeated reports eighty-six orgs took on the challenge from May 4 to June 15. Only six became finalists, which brought in $46,000 combined. In turn T.I. donated $36,000. For a grand total of…

Drum roll please…

…$81,000.

 

So which charities put a dent in the VH1 (“T.I. and Tiny: The Family Hustle”) reality star’s wallet?

ESSENCE gave us a breakdown on the six orgs.

Fate Loves The Fearless — Education and mentorship program to help Detroit youths excel in school; funds raised will go toward the renovation of a new facility.

Shaw Inspires “Teen-Preneurs” — In-school, after-school, weekend and summer mentoring and leadership program for youth ages 11-25; funds raised will help the program expand to Baltimore and Charleston, South Carolina.

The Musicianship’s 2016 Summer Camp — Summer camp that provides music lessons for young people; funds will be used to buy instruments, supplies, support music instructors and provide a college scholarship.

Generation You Employed — Program that helps unemployed youths with skills and job readiness in five countries (Kenya, India, Spain, Mexico and the United States); it plans to train 1 million unemployed young people and place them in jobs by 2020; funds raised will go toward expanding into Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City.

Educate Me College Tour — Annual tour of historically black colleges and universities provides cultural and educational experiences that inspire students to examine concerns and personal interests during their college selection process.

Truancy Intervention Project (TIP) 25th Anniversary — The dropout prevention agency partners trained community volunteers with children in the Atlanta and Fulton County public school systems who are chronically absent from school and, as a result, either become involved in the juvenile court or referred for early intervention at the school level.

Good job, Tip. <<salute>>

Man Candy Monday I Snoop Dogg Throws Celebrity Basketball Game for Flint

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MSU Coach Tom Izzo, Snoop Dogg mean mugging and Morris Peterson before throwing down on the court.

Snoop Dogg and former NBA baller Morris Peterson teamed up to throw first annual Hoop 4 Water charity basketball game Saturday at Flint’s Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center.

All donations went towards Morris’ Foundation that aims to provide services and resources to teens in and around Flint.

“We’re here to try to fix the problem,” Snoop Dogg told Detroit Free Press. “That’s why we’re bringing joy and happiness and a basketball game so people can have some fun. But no one understands what the cause is. We’re here to make sure we get the problem fixed out here with the water situation.”

Flint residents, which have been sickened by a contaminated water crisis due to corroded water pipes and corrupt government that tried to cover it up, certainly felt the love–thousands attended the charity game.

Where they not only watched a heated matchup between Snoop and Morris (Adidas provided the sick jerseys) on the hardwood, but were provided with cases of bottled water.

Michigan State (Go Spartans!) basketball coach Tom Izzo was hanging out courtside. Not that Morris needed it, the former Toronto Raptor trounced Snoop even with NFL player Eric Enron serving as the rapper’s Scottie Pippen.

Get the game’s final score and highlights here.

MTV’s Sway was there to coach Morris’ team to victory.

 

Morris and Snoop were handed keys to the city by Flint Mayer Karen Weaver for their charitable efforts. And decided to make Hoop 4 Water an annual event.

Until next year guys, thanks for keeping Flint in the news. You are officially our #MCMs.

Prince’s Legacy of Philanthropy

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The purple Prince left us with more than a music catalogue to match our every emotion. (Although I’m always in the mood for “Purple Rain” and “When Doves Cry.” The two have been on instant replay since his passing.)

His most under wraps contribution–not having to do with the purple piano–was giving back to little known causes.

A point his good friend Van Jones, political activist, told CNN this weekend. (Check the interview below.) Prince helped Jones launch #YesWeCode, an org that seeks to teach 100,000 underprivileged kids coding. On one condition, Jones couldn’t tell anyone Prince created and jumpstarted the program. Yet, performed during the launch at ESSENCE Music Festival 2014.

Prince’s generosity didn’t stop there. In 2011, the majestic one donated $1 million to Harlem Children’s Zone during his “Welcome 2 America” tour dates in NYC. He even put up one of his guitars to auction off. And gave $250,000 each to Uptown Dance Academy and the American Ballet Theatre.

Oh, and if you’re living under a solar paneled roof in the Bay Area you can thank Prince for saving the environment. He footed the bill as the face for environmental group Green for All.

Jones says Prince’s philanthropy is just as important as his music.

He did not want it be known publicly, and he did not want us to say it. But I’m gonna say it because the world needs to know that it wasn’t just the music. The music was just one way he tried to help the world, but he was helping every day of his life

R.I.P, Prince. Thank you for your numerous gifts. There will be no other like you.

Serena’s Good Deed! Builds School in Jamaica

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Fresh off the Australian Open, Serena ditched her tennis skirt for a hardhat today in Jamaica.

The 21-Grand Slam winner got her hands dirty alongside Jamaican sprint stars Warren Weir and Yohan Blake to build Salt Marsh Primary School in Treelawny, Jamaica–birthplace of the real Flash aka Usain Bolt.

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Guess he was to busy preparing for Rio to join in on the fun.

No matter, Serena wasn’t solo in accomplishing the mission. Which took a few days with the help of her nonprofit–Serena Williams Fund–support, and partnership with Helping Hands Jamaica, a Christian non-profit that funds desperately needed community projects.

Serena posted a video of the ribbon cutting ceremony on Instagram.

 

Captioned, “After all the hard work, the school is finally finished!”

This is the third school Serena built through her nonprofit.

When does this chick sleep?

Feel Good Friday|Every Girl Deserves This Doll for Christmas

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While I’m partial to the Ava Duvernay dollie–it’s currently on hold for my eight-year-old niece. You would have to be a Scrooge not to appreciate Josilyn Martin-Richardson’s efforts in making sure as many little girls as possible have a Barbie under their tree this year.

Did I mention she is eight?

Josilyn’s aha moment came when she was playing with–you guessed it–a Barbie in a Chicago park. And the girl she was with spilled she didn’t have a Barbie. From that day on Josilyn made it her mission that no other suffered the same fate.

She asked her mom if they could take up a Barbie collection for needy girls. Who could say no to that heartfelt request?

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With the help of her parents, Kellie and Jonathan Richardson, Velvet Lounge in Chicago and Rollingout magazine Josilyn arranged a fundraiser brunch this week. She collected 300 Barbies and $600 towards her goal of 1,000 dolls.

The Barbies collected will be scattered to various orgs around Chi-Town, including LaRabida Children’s Hospital,Lowden Homes, Trumball Park of CHA, Ada S. McKinley Youth Services and University Church in Chicago.

Because “every girl deserves a Barbie.”

Donations can be made by contacting Kellie Martin at kelliec.martin@gmail.com

 

 

Uh, Santa this one has been very, very nice this year.

Saint Nick! AGT Host Rocks Times Square for Children’s Hospital

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Nick the-man-that-never-sleeps Cannon. Seriously, I think his nights are usually spent like this. Well, as always his efforts are for a good cause. In this case, he threw a shindig in Times Square (at Hard Rock Café) with his nearest and dearest–Nelly, the Harlem Globetrotters, the Craig Lewis Band and Alicia Michilli– last night to raise money for St. Mary’s Childrens Hospital.

The City’s oldest and sole pediatric post-acute care hospital has a good friend in Cannon who went on a 48-hour media blitz to promote St. Mary’s.

Rapper Nelly joined in on the fun. Hanging out with some new friends before he hit the stage.

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The Harlem Globetrotters may have signed their youngest b-baller.

And the night couldn’t end without Nick taking the stage…but thankfully he DIDN’T rap. We’re all grateful for that.

I’m sure all the kiddies felt like they were flying after the concert.

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

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Rihanna shined bright like a diamond last night; draped in Zac Posen couture gowns and adorned with Chopard jewels, in honor of the pop tart’s inaugural gala for the Clara Lionel Foundation, held in the ritsy 90210 zip code aka Bev Hills.

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Rih Rih treated celeb attendees–Tia and Corey Hardrict, Kim and Kris Kardashian, Salma Hayek, rapper Fabolous, Big Sean, Tyrese–and the Fenty family with her old and new tunes with a live orchestra backing the “Umbrella” singer up.

But not before Brad Pitt cued the orchestra up and gave a cringe-worthy intro. This is when a teleprompter with very funny, witty writers comes in handy. Not everyone can be Jimmy Kimmel, oh he hosted the ball, BTW.

The black-tie affair was to highlight Rihanna’s foundation, named in honor of grandparents Clara and Lionel, that aims to “improve the quality of life for communities globally in the areas of health, education, arts and culture.”

To raise money for the Clara Lionel Foundation, founded in 2012, the org launched an online auction that offers meet and greets with Rihanna as well as Kanye West (if you’re in to it) and other exclusive items. Click here to peruse the offerings.

UPDATED Jay Z Headlines The Global Citizen Festival to End Extreme Poverty

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In *looks at watch* less than 24 hours Jay Z –along with No Doubt, The Roots, Fun, Carrie Underwood and Tiësto–will take over the stage in Central Park  for The Global Citizen Festival. If you remember Alicia Keys rocked the mega crowd so hard last year, I think the trees found rhythm. And I wish she demanded a do over this year. Just because her “Why We Are Here” online campaign along with the matching thought-provoking (and foot-tap worthy) ballad is the embodiment of the festival’s mission to work together to end poverty.

jiggamanNow it’s on Jay Z to inspire us with that same musical message. Don’t scoff, I’m confidant he can pull this off. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, how can Mr. “presence is charity” possibly convince others to care about such a huge problem as global poverty? Simple answer: his presence. Okay, okay, hold on… hear me out. Jay Z holds weight; it’s no secret he is one of the most influential music gods on Earth, you don’t have to ask who the goddess is, and with that comes pull. To get others to care about the shit we ordinarily wouldn’t. (e.g. Yeah, okay everyone marching the streets of Manhattan this week cared about the destruction of the environment. This dude had nothing to do with it? Of course he did, that’s what made it even more newsworthy.)

Jay may not change the state of poverty in one night, but he sure as hell will–to borrow from the late great Tupac Shakur–“spark the brain” that will make poverty a conversation starter. It wouldn’t be the first time Jay Z ignited a flame of consciousness to a cause close to his heart. I recall him doing just that, without picking up a mic.

If you’ll allow me, I know it’s not Thursday, but let’s go back to 2006 when Jay Z announced a world tour to spread awareness for the  global water crisis, in conjunction with being a spokesman for the United Nations. MTV captured one of his stops in Angola and released the documentary “Diary of Jay Z Water for Life.” To refresh your memory hit play after the jump.

And if it piqued your interest enough, here’s another one:

Shocking, right? Not only was he present, but he also got his hands dirty in the process. Allow me to reintroduce myself indeed…

In his book “Decoded” he explains his ideas about giving to charity.

“…Of course I do sometimes like to see where the money I give goes. When I went to Angola for the water project I was working on and got to see the new water pump and how it changed the lives of the people in the village, I wasn’t happy because I’d felt like I done something so great. I was happy to know that whatever money I’d given was actually being put to work and not just paying a seven-figure salary for the head of the Red Cross. And I did a documentary about it, not to glorify myself, but to spread the word about the problem and the possible solutions.”

And the importance of coming together to solve this ginormous world issues.

…But whether it’s public or private, we can’t run away from our brothers and sisters as if poverty is a contagious disease.

Amen, Hov. I hope those written words from four years ago will resonate on the stage tonight and squeeze its way into our hearts, enough to give a damn.

************UPDATE*******************************UPDATE**********************************UPDATE****************************UPDATE***********************************UPDATE**************************UPDATE

photo credit: Twitter

photo credit: Twitter

So, its been ten hours since we last chatted, and since then, Jay Z has rocked the crowd in Central Park …and got the date wrong for when the organization wants to eradicate poverty (it’s 2030, not 2013, Mr. Carter). But what he did get right is bring Beyonce on stage. She was the cherry on top of Jay’s indulgent 50 minute concert. To see the Carters perform “Holy Grail” and “Young Forever,” check it out below.

And Bey and Jay will keep us forever young with this one…

During his performance he thanked all the people in the crowd for working to eradicate poverty with their volunteer work.

photo credit: Beyonce Jay Z source

photo credit: Beyonce Jay Z source

Our prayers were answered (at least mine were) with pregnancy glow and all, Alicia Keys made a return by opening the festival.

Image Courtesy of mleshik007 Instagram

Image Courtesy of mleshik007 Instagram

Also on hand were…

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…. The Roots

That’s all folks!! **in my Jay Z voice** What a great night, wouldn’t you agree?

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