Black Girl Magic! Beyonce, Zendaya and Kerry Washington Top Celebs Gone Good in 2015 List

blackgirlmagic_web-large

While we’re toasting Golden Globe winners, let’s also raise a glass to all the celebs that gave an ish about social issues in 2015. DoSomething.org, “one of the largest orgs for young people & social change in the world,” was kind enough to keep a tally of all the celeb do-gooders trying to revamp this crazy world for the better by spotlighting issues like gun control, feminism, racial justice and transgender rights.

Including Beyonce, the Flawless performer was not only feeling herself but the Baltimore protesters too. It’s reported her and Jay Z used some of their billions to bail out the Black Lives Matter protesters. And then there’s her surprise jaunt to a Haitian hospital through her Bey Good charity.

Zendaya places sixth on the Celebs Gone Good list and I’m scratching my head why she’s not No. 1. A spot reserved for her pal Taylor Swift. Tell me if I’m wrong… here are the facts: the “K.C. Undercover” star used her birthday to get fans to donate to three African orphans, used a humiliatingly shallow dig (looking at you Giulana) to school us all on discrimination and racial tolerance, participated in initiatives like Get Schooled Foundation to inspire kids to stay in school and is UNICEF’s spokesperson.

amiright

Move over Jay Z and Beyonce. Step aside Brangelina because John Legend and Chrissy Teigen ARE the philanthropic power couple of 2015. It’s not enough they’re good looking, talented and iconic meme motivators (seriously, stop what you’re doing and follow them. I mean right now.) but they’re generosity is on fleek too. Hashtag blessed. The Selma star and his Fab Life wife also rallied behind Black Lives Matter protesters in NYC with donated meals. Following the Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado, the couple donated money to the org and encouraged others to do the same. Also (yes, there is more) not one to forget his roots Legend donated $500,000 to his alma mater, Springfield City School District in Indiana.

Viola Davis Joins The Safeway Foundation’s Mission to End Childhood Hunger

Viola Davis gained an Emmy and a gold star from DoSomething.org for her work with childhood hunger. The How to Get Away with Murder star is the ambassador of “Hunger Is” initiative that raises awareness and looks for strategies to combat the country’s childhood hunger problem. An issue close to the Julliard grad’s heart as a victim of those same circumstances growing up in Rhode Island.

No Scandal here. Kerry Washington is a fashion maven, so why not use it as a weapon for social change? That she did. As the Allstate Foundation’s spokesperson for their Purple Purse program that sparks a conversation about domestic violence and financial abuse. Additionally, the fixer everyone loves, is commended for her veteran work with FLOTUS Michelle Obama and LGBTQ efforts.

Last but never least is Serena Williams. The tennis champion gets kudos for hosting the Serena Williams Live Ultimate Run this spring to raise money for her charity and endorsing the 1 in 11 campaign that encourages everyone have access to education.

Riding these goddesses coattails are Hunger Games star Amandla Stenberg. She’s a spokesman for No Kid Hungry org to end child starvation in the US and vocal supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement. And Black-ish’s Yara Shahidi (and Nas’ cousin) for encouraging girls to get involved with STEM in a partnership with Science Sleuth.

All together now, “BLACK GIRLS ROCK!!”

For a complete list of Celebs Gone Good click here.

 

IFYOUBLINKED Woman Crush | ‘Scandal’s’ Kerry Washington Tackles Homophobia in Black Community

Kerry at this year's GLAAD Media Vanguard Awards.  Photo Courtesy: Getty Images

Kerry at this year’s GLAAD Media Vanguard Awards.
Photo Courtesy: Getty Image

Just when you think Gaga has the LGBTQ community cornered, Olivia Pope..ahem Kerry Washington threw her white hat into the mix. Accepting the GLAAD Media Vanguard Award earlier this week, she took the opportunity to get some “stuff” off her chest in regards to gays, lesbians, trans… a whole crop of “others” consistently blackballed in media. The Scandal star demands more of them be brought to the forefront to have their stories told. Because without them expressing their journey “in front of and behind the camera” the palette of diversity is incomplete.

To say she had the crowd–including How to Get Away with Murder‘s Viola Davis, Shonda Rhimes, Ellen Degeneres, Portia DeRossi and Glee‘s Alex Newell aka Unique–on their feet is an understatement. K Dub had them eating out of the palm of her hand. And rightfully so. There are so many varying perspectives in the world in regards to sexual orientation, identity and race that are just now, like it’s 2015, people, being explored on the large and small screen.

Choosing Kerry Washington as this week’s Woman Crush was not only based upon her advocacy for LGBTQ rights, but also for her outspokenness when it comes to homophobia in the Black community. It’s a topic akin to airing out a family’s dirty laundry. You just don’t do it. But, Kerry did and I applaud her for doing so.

On Black people not accepting gay marriage:

The first thing that I say is please don’t let anybody get you to vote against your own best interests by feeding you messages of hate.

She continues:

And, you know, people use to say stuff like that about you and your love. And if we let the government legislate love in our lifetime, who do you think is next?

Just to give background, Kerry has being fighting the LGBTQ and Race fight loooonnnng before she became a Shondaland darling. Two years ago she did Q&A with Advocate.com about her personal experiences in the gay community. She talked about growing up in a progressive household with gay and lesbian friends floating in and out. And working among the gay community in theater camps and mentoring workshops.

When asked if she came across closeted actors, this was her response:

Sure. I’ve actually talked with friends about the similarities between being closeted and the idea of passing in the black community. Those in the black community who could pass for white often did so to get more opportunities in life, but it came at such a great cost. When you buy into the cultural idea of what’s acceptable and unacceptable, you reinforce negative stereotypes and prejudices. That wouldn’t work for me.

What does work is her need to speak out on Twitter–against anti-gay laws in Russia and support for marriage equality–to enforce change.

I urge you to watch her full GLAAD Media Award acceptance speech below. It will be worth your while.

Kerry Washington Uses Fashion to Spotlight Domestic Abuse

kwpurpleNew York Fashion Week may be kaput, but “Scandal” star Kerry Washington introduced the hottest accessory for a woman’s safety. The purple purse.  The tasseled, chain-strapped purse was  designed by Olivia Pope  Kerry herself, and Vanna White debuted yesterday at Allstate Foundation’s Purple Purse Challenge. Fashion aside, this purse carries a strong message for any woman or girl suffering financial abuse, a little known form of domestic abuse where a partner uses money to control a spouse’s freedom.

In light of the tsunami-sized public uproar over NFL players Ray Rice and Adrian Peters alleged physical abuse cases, now is as good a time as any to jumpstart a convo about a form of abuse that is very rarely talked about. To bring you up to speed, financial domestic abuse is experienced in 98% of abusive relationships and is cited as the top reason for why victims stay in unhealthy  relationships, according to the National Network to End Domestic Violence.

It starts by slowly pulling away a woman’s purse strings, until she’s financially trapped.

“When the victim finally realizes she wants to take back some control, she often can’t. That whole hashtag #WhyIStayed that happened last week, you saw how many of those responses were about feeling trapped financially,” Washington, the purple purse ambassador told The Huffington Post.

KERRYWASHINGTONPURPLEPURSE

The Allstate Foundation’s Purple Purse Challenge aims to take back the power stolen from these women by using the handbag (adorned the color of domestic abuse awareness) to be a topic of conversation. As well as a source of funds for charities advocating for domestic abuse victims.

So, here’s how it works, when you donate $10 or more, you will enter a daily drawing to win one of three purple purses Ms. Washington designed. There will be three winners every day. You can enter here and for those that prefer email: purplepurse@crowdrise.com with the subject line “Please enter me in the sweepstakes-Win a Purple Purse.” In the email include all your contact info. You have until October 3rd to enter.

So far the purple purse challenge has taken in over $500k in donations. I guess survivors of domestic abuse are in good hands….sorry, couldn’t help myself. To learn about other charitable pursuits the Allstate Foundation contributes to click here.

And if you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse and need help, know that you are not alone. Go to a safe place and contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE for help, because no one deserves to be abused.

Which Celebs Were Most Charitable in 2013?

The annual list has been rolled out. No, not nominees for the Emmys, Grammys, Golden Globes…am I missing any? Oh, of course The Oscars. Sheesh, there sure are a lot of award shows…anyhoo I’m referring to an honor that doesn’t come with a pretty accolade to hang on a mantle. But highlights generosity and love for community. It’s the annual Celebs Gone Good list by DoSomething.org

And the most charitable are….

Photo Credit: consequenceofsound.net

Photo Credit: consequenceofsound.net

Rapper Kendrick Lamar lands the 19th spot on the list for putting action behind his socially conscious lyrics by raising thousands for Hurricane Sandy victims and donating the funds to the Red Cross.

Photo Credit: Yahoo Sports

Photo Credit: Yahoo Sports

Oklahoma Thunder baller Kevin Durant follows  with his volunteer efforts and $1 million contribution to the Red Cross in helping to rebuild the city effected by those devastating tornadoes.

Photo Credit: theriothouse.tumblr.com

Photo Credit: theriothouse.tumblr.com

Alicia Keys slides into the 12th spot by headlining the Global Citizens Festival that brings awareness for poverty. In addition to her continuous efforts to combat HIV/AIDS with her Keep A Child Alive non-profit.

Photo Credit: The Washingtonian

Photo Credit: The Washingtonian

It’s not Scandalous that Kerry Washington makes the list with her work helping to keep arts education alive in impoverished neighborhoods. She serves on President Obama’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities and had major fun with FLOTUS Michelle and kiddos at the White House this past summer.

Photo Credit: The Idolator

Photo Credit: The Idolator

And the number 3 spot goes to Queen Bey for her #BeyGood charitable campaign that partnered with Goodwill in donating clothes and other gently used items to help low-income workers land on their feet. And do we really need to mention how she slayed the stage for the charity concert Chime for Change in London this past summer? Nope, didn’t think so.

An honorable mention for her better half Jay Z (he’s not on the list) for earning over $1 million dollars for his Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation from his holiday clothing collection at Barney’s. Considering the controversy, that’s pretty impressive, Mr. Carter.

To see the full list click here.

Kudos to all the givers of 2013, Please continue your generosity in 2014.

Graduating Class of 2013–Oprah, Kerry Washington & Wynton Marsalis Has Something to Say

505479269_1503767455_z (3)

In honor of cap and gown season and in the spirit of my six-year-old niece making the sweet transition from kindergarten to numero uno grade, (Aside: OMG, I can’t believe she’s in numbered grades already, geesh where does time go? End of  Aside.) I got to thinking about my own college graduation ceremony, and before you ask, no I won’t reveal the class year, just be satisfied that it was fairly recent…well, depending on your definition of fairly. Anyway, I pondered  how uplifting New York Senator Chuck Schumer was in teaching my Hofstra University class, okay, you pried it out of me, class of 2006, how we each have a choice to go after what we truly desire or travel down the already paved path we think we belong on. Yeah, profound stuff. My curiosity got the better of me and wanted to know what commencement speakers are advising the class of 2013, which has been speculated about, researched on, and are now part of the growing group of student loan debt payers. Welcome to the club, guys. Anywho, I rounded up a couple of speakers who I believe are most inspiring and thought-provoking. Congrats Class of 2013!!!

 

Media Maven Oprah Winfrey took her legendary motivational speaker self to the hallowed halls of Haaahhhvaaadd or better known as Harvard to give the commencement speech. She taught the graduating class that failure is inevitable but not unconquerable. Favorite quote:  It doesn’t matter how far you rise at some point you will stumble. But, there is no such thing as failure, just life trying to move us in another direction.

CNN correspondent Soledad O’Brien wasn’t too far away. As an alumnus of Harvard, she was the class guest speaker. She  told the class of 2013 to find purpose in helping others. Favorite quote: You have been positioned to do great things, but do them in service of others and you will discover that selflessness is ultimately what makes you great.

Check out below why O’Brien won’t give the Harvard graduates advice.

NY Giants linebacker Justin Tuck gave an engaging and witty speech (after receiving his honorary degree–he popped that newly earned-appropriately Giant blue collar) to graduates of  St. Francis College. As founder of Tuck’s R.U.S.H. for literacy program that motivates kids to read and write, he urged the class of 2013 to find solutions to social problems plaguing our communities. Favorite quote: What cause are you going to champion? What cause will you make your own? We should all have an uncanny desire to service.

Check out below why Tuck asked the graduating class to get on their feet.

Jazz Icon Wynton Marsalis put the 2013 University of Vermont graduates in the shoes of the parents, friends and teachers who supported them through their journey. In his emotional speech, he even managed to shout out his son Simmie who was also a graduate. He advised the graduates not to be far from those you most depend on and always live in the moment. Favorite quote: Each moment is a procession from the future into the past and that sweet spot is always the present. Live in that sweet spot. Be present.

Find out why Marsalis played “When the Saints Go Marching In” below:

Kerry Washington, yes, she addressed the elephant in the room. What can Olivia Pope teach me about my journey to adulthood? Especially since she’s, well, the Presiden’t mistress. Welp, it’s a show folks. Ms. Kerry Washington plays a mistress on TV, in real life she is an alumnus of George Washington University and is more than qualified to advise the 2013 graduating class to fulfill their purpose by developing their own story. Favorite quote: You can follow someone else’s script; do what is expected and follow the status quo or you can look at all you have accomplished today, and use it as fuel to venture forth and write your own story. 

Find out below what famous person Washington is related to who is also an alumni of GWU.

Last, but certainly not least because I feel Dr. Tererai Trent is the most fascinating. Her name may not be as recognizable as the others above. But she is a walking, talking inspiration with her “hunger” to educate herself in a country–Zimbabwe –that doesn’t promote educating girls. However, she chose to educate herself. Three degrees–bachelor’s, masters and PH.D.–later Dr. Trent’s focus is on her non profit Tinogona Foundation (meaning it is achievable) that offers educational opportunities for girls in Africa. Earlier this year she gave a commencement address to graduates of Walden University, she urged them to align their dreams with being a force of change. Favorite quote: Your goals and your dreams have greater meaning if their connected to your community, when your dreams are connected to the greater good.