Five Times Michelle Obama Exemplified Black Girl Magic

It’s not as if we need a reason to celebrate FLOTUS Michelle Obama (fyi, she’s the only first lady I acknowledge) because, I mean, she’s Michelle.Obama.

She’s the cinnamon queen we’ve been waiting to bow down to foreva. No offense Bey.

Her “when they go low, we go high” mantra was way more effective than that make America great ish.

Aaanndd it was THE perfect cautionary sign for people (like me) heading towards petty town. It was used more like a speed bump, really.

Anyway, what to get the woman that has everything. The hell if I know that’s Barack’s problem. What I’m going to give you is what we’ve been craving for months: more Michelle.

To celebrate Michelle Obama’s 54th birthday we’re highlighting her five most lit moments as first lady.

Number 1 is Michelle’s truth bombs. This First Lady always kept it 💯 Especially about our nation’s history. No fake news here.

Number 2 is Michelle’s emphasis on education. Like a cool aunt you don’t mind listening to on career day, Michelle would traverse across the country to the most millennial-heavy events to press the point of getting a higher education.

Number 3 is her unconventionality. What other first lady has spit a verse about healthy eating? I’ll wait.

Number four is helping Black women, or women in general, realize their self worth and how to make themselves a priority.

Number five is Michelle’s give back game. It’s epic. There wasn’t a school she didn’t visit or a soup kitchen line she didn’t serve a meal.

Happy Birthday, Michelle. Our wish is for you to continue to be great.

POTUS Donates Daughters’ White House Swing Set to D.C. Shelter

Barack Obama, Michelle Obama

As if the Obamas haven’t given us enough–like the birth of our fabulously fierce First Lady (Happy Birthday Mrs. O)–the First Family gave us something to remember them by.

And I’m not talking about healthcare or jobs. Although keeping those life-saving policies would be a good look. Thankfully it’s some thing Congress or President Dump Trump can’t overturn.

A swing set.

Not just any swing set. The playground, including swings, slide, climbing wall, binoculars, swing tire and parallel bars, was used by Malia and Sasha during their time in the White House. In 2009, Barack and Michelle surprised the girls with the swing set on White House lawn.

Now lives on the grounds of Jobs Have Priority Naylor Road Family Shelter in D.C. where the Obamas donated the swing set earlier this month.

 

POTUS and FLOTUS paid a visit to the shelter, which assists African-American female-headed families with one or more family member with a mental or physical disability, on MLK day.

barack-obama-23

They taught the lucky kiddos how to pump.

And even stayed to take part in a Martin Luther King Jr. mural.

*sigh*

Four more years.

Four more years.

For the love of God, four more years.

‘Push Through’ Third Graders and Recognize Your Greatness, Says Teacher

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Jasmyn Wright is the teacher every parent prays for–inspiring, encouraging and devoted to childrens’ ability to succeed.

Lucky enough for the City of Brotherly Love parentals, the 27-year-old landed at Frederick  Douglass Elementary in Philly. Where her third grade class is taught to “push through” their obstacles daily by reciting this catchy mantra:

“What if it’s too hard?” the teacher asks her students.

“I’m gonna push through!” they respond.

“What if it’s too tough?” Wright asks.

“I’m gonna push through!” they answer.

“What if you’re just too dumb?” she asks.

“That ain’t true!” they exclaim.

“What if you’re just too young?” the teacher asks.

“That ain’t true!” the students answer.

“What if you just can’t do it?”

“That ain’t true!”

“Why, because …”

“I can do anything I put my mind to!”

 

Wright cited pioneering black icons–like Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson and Michelle Obama–that “pushed through” to shatter long-held myths about Blacks to teach her students its possible.

The Spelman alum’s video of positive affirmations has been viewed over three million times on Facebook.

“Teaching my 3rd grade black and brown babies to #PushThrough today,” she wrote in the video caption. “Due to unwelcoming, unsettling, and uncomfortable election results, this was our lesson for the day.”

Wright, a poet and spoken word artist, told the Root that molding the young, gifted and black requires boosting their self-esteem. Even more so in light of a Trump presidency.

“I know that with my class specifically, sometimes they struggle with believing in themselves or sometimes they struggle with grappling through an assignment, or they struggle with interactions with their peers.

“With the election that went on, they were more troubled and they were upset,” she continued. “[So I thought,] yes, this is true, this has happened, but that doesn’t stop us from pushing through. We still have a calling, we still have a purpose, we still are made to leave an imprint in the world, and we cannot give up because of whatever happened.”

Which is why the charter school teacher is also helping kids outside the classroom by starting a nonprofit, I Am My Sister’s Keeper, with two friends. Just like POTUS has My Brother’s Keeper to focus on mentoring young men, Wright wants to raise up girls aged 12 to 18.

Let’s all bow our heads and pray for more teachers like Wright.

Feel Good Friday Roundup

It’s finally Friday and these feel-good-stories are the cherries on top of the end of the week.

virginiaobama

Let’s start with our favorite centenarian–106-year-old Virginia McLaurin–who captured our hearts with her jig of joy upon meeting Barack and Michelle Obama in the White House last month.

Now her newfound fans are making the spry senior smile again by starting a YouCaring fundraising page to change her living situation.

Virginia’s asking for $50K (so far $21,580 has been raised) to move into a ground floor apartment–she currently lives in a walkup–closer to her church, reports Huffington Post.

“She’s determined that she wants to live independently and close to her church,” Virginia’s friend Deborah Menkart told Huffington Post.”So we need to make sure that there are the funds to secure that.”

Pretty safe in assuming Virginia can and will.

A Kansas City Community Kitchen turned their soup kitchen into a restaurant-style serving the homeless.

From 11am to 2pm on weekdays the homeless are greeted by a host and given their food orders by a wait staff.

The menu was even created by an executive chef of a local restaurant that once lived in poverty.

The “dine with dignity” style soup kitchen is meant to change the script on how the homeless is treated.

“We are trying to flip the photo of what a soup kitchen looks like,” Mandy Caruso-Yahne, who runs the kitchen at Episcopal Community Service.

fettywap

Finally, rapper Fetty Wap inspired a young fan, Jayden Burgos to embrace his short-sightedness (get it?)

By ditching his prosethetic eye in the style of the Trap Queen rapper.

As a reward Jayden met his idol.

 

 

 

 

 

FEEL GOOD FRIDAY | Michelle Obama, Wale Urge Kids to ‘Beat the Odds’

saycheese123

Just when you think FLOTUS can’t get any cooler, she ups her fab factor. In addition to giving the Oscar selfie some major competition (take that Internet!) Michelle Obama created a summit to help kids better transition into college.

The  “Beating the Odds” summit invited 130 soon-to-be college frosh to the White House. All from different walks of life, but one common denominator is they all struggled to make it into college, which means they’ll likely have more difficulty staying.

Cue Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher Initiative that gives first gen college students–like herself and POTUS–the support and tools they need to make it through all four years.

To give her a hand, Entertainment network’s Terrence J, Grammy-nominated rapper Wale shared his story of goofing off in college in hopes of getting into the NFL. The Chicago Sun Times reports Wale eventually ended up on academic probation, but college gave him a good foundation to be “self-made.”

Before Wale hopped on the stage to perform, POTUS Barack Obama introduced him and made this confession.

My rapping skills are terrible. That’s one thing I can’t do is rap. I like rap but I cannot rap.

But he had to do something right to pull Michelle, he added.

I got enough of a rap that I got Michelle to marry me.

Bloop. Yes, you did Mr. Prez.

Good luck, class of 2020 (God, I’m old)

IfYouBlinked’s Woman Crush | 5 Ways Beverly Bond is on Fleek

Beverly Bond giving her best smize while on the red carpet.  Image courtesy: Twitter

Beverly Bond giving her best smize while on the red carpet.
Image courtesy: Twitter

Black Girls Rock isn’t just a saying anymore, it’s a movement. Ushered in by Beverly Bond, a DJ, to not only see the oft invisible black girl, but celebrate what she can do when you’re not watching.

Hence, Jada Pinkett-Smith’s speech at this year’s Black Girls Rock! Award ceremony, “I need you to understand that we are the women who marched from cotton fields into fields of medicine…politics…entertainment. We have found a way to march into the White House.”

Judging by Twitter some people have a problem with that. It’s nothing new. Neither is black girls contributions to excellence–in fashion,entertainment and academia–being ignored, thanks for making it so obvi Cosmo.

All the more reason Black Girls Rock is needed, and to show our appreciation we list 5 ways Beverly Bond rocks.

1. Because … She’s Not Just Making a T-Shirt Slogan
Originally, Beverly Bond wanted to use the slogan to start up a T-shirt, but envisioning the message was so much bigger than that she heigtened the platform. This is what she told NBC News:

I knew this type of message needed to be shared, especially for young girls, who might need to hear this from a unique perspective.

2. Because … She Defends Black Girls Rock Against Reverse Racism
It’s amazing how much people’s panties get in a bunch when black women unite to praise each other. But that it did when #whitegirlsrock and FLOTUS Michelle Obama is racist for declaring black girls rock started popping up on Twitter…again. Beverly Bond had an epic response. Here’s what she wrote on The Root:

When I heard about ‘whitegirlsrock’ hashtag that trended on Twitter, my immediate reaction was,’Well, duh! Of course white girls rock. Are they unaware? White women’s beauty, talent, diversity and wordly contributions are affirmed everywhere: on billboards, on television, in magazines and in textbooks.”

She goes on to say that black women need to be given just as much recognition for their talents. And shining a light on those accomplishments doesn’t draw a curtain on others’ feats.

As a humanist, I believe that we all rock. My issue is that the commentary that followed ‘#whitegirlsrock’ hashtag was not even about affirming dynamic white women. Instead, it was about critiquing or even punishing black women for having the nerve, the audacity and the unmitigated gall to live and affirm ourselves.

3. Because … She’s Mentoring Young Women
Black Girls Rock! isn’t just an annual awards show. It’s also a mentoring program to foster self-worth and community service among young women. Beverly Bond recently launched a three-day leadership conference to chat about college prep, the media and steps to be a success.

4. Because … She Can Reel in FLOTUS 
Beverly Bond doesn’t just sit pretty in the audience while Regina King and TMurda make us laugh. She has her hand in honoree selections–made a year in advance–to stage building. Any and everything to see her “baby” come to life year in and out. And isn’t it nice to know this year she got a nod from the most powerful black girl: FLOTUS Michelle Obama. She endorsed Beverly’s empowering message by giving one of her own at the annual ceremony.

5. Because … She Knew Black Girls Rock Was a Success Before Reaching TV Screens
Before BET came calling–Beverly Bond told NBC she knew they eventually would–the movement was already filling out seats in New York’s Lincoln Center.

It was only a matter of time and I always knew BET was the perfect home for Black Girls Rock so I’m elated it worked out this way.

So are we. Beverly Bond doesn’t just rock. She’s on fleek.

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.

Dr. Dre Gives Million Dollar Donation to USC; FLOTUS Message to Bowie State Graduating Class

Dre_and-Iovine

So, I guess Dre (Andre Young) is putting the Beats headphone money to good use. He and the other super producer Jimmy Iovine donated $70 million dollars to go towards the undergraduate Trojans. University of Southern California will take that big fat check and establish the USC Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and Business (whew!!that’s a mouthful). The school will focus on entrepreneurship, computer science and the arts. The main emphasis is innovation and using technology and arts to pinpoint the next big thing.

The vision and generosity  of Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young will profoundly influence the way all of us perceive and experience artistic media says USC President C.L. Max Nikias

 

And speaking of educational opportunities, FLOTUS thinks that young African Americans need to broaden theirs. In a commencement speech to Bowie State University this week, Michelle Obama lectured the predominately Black student body on their lax ambitions and narrow career goals. Can’t say that I blame her. To often I hear young boys quote Biggie’s “Things Done Changed” lyric: “Either you’re slingin’ crack rock or you got a wicked jump shot” as an excuse not to try something new. Hopefully others were listening to FLOTUS, who received a standing ovation. Check the video below.

Happy International Women’s Day, Five Women Who Inspire This Day

michelle-obama

whitehouse.gov

In honor of International Women’s Day, I want to shine a light on five amazing women who realize the necessary and powerful force sisterhood is to our humanity. Some of these women are easily recognizable (Hey, FLOTUS) while others may not be splashed across a glossy mag their contributions to their communities, and society, as a whole, is what makes them so very (Tyra Banks voice) fiiieeerrrrccceee.

Michelle Obama

While the First Lady may be best known for her enviable wardrobe or most recently those love em’ or hate em’ bangs. She’s on my girl crush list because of her unwavering ability to help young people discover their best selves.  This month marks the third anniversary of her Let’s Move! fitness initiative that motivates kids to exercise and eat healthier meals. The initiative has already inspired laws that enforce healthy meals for low-income families in schools around the country to combat the ever-increasing rise in overweight or obese children. With the help of athletic goddesses’ Serena Williams, Gabby Douglas and Dominque Dawes, FLOTUS launched a new fitness program to be included in America’s schools that will make kids active throughout the day. Nike will donate $50 million over the next 5 years to fund the program.

Malala Yousufzai

The shot heard around the world wasn’t aimed at a typical rebel that could be easily extinguished by a Taliban force. It was a 14-year-old Pakistani girl whose only demand was education for girls like herself. Yousufzai’s bravery and sacrifice (she lost hearing in one ear) sparked outrage and protests in her native land. But, it did little to silence the passion she has for empowering girls. Last month since being shot she released her first statement to the press:  “God has given me this new life. I want to serve the people. I want every girl, every child, to be educated.” Nongovernmental Organization Vital Voices established a nonprofit:  Malala Fund that will promote funding for education. Malala and her dad will sit on the nonprofit’s board and decide on the agency’s initiatives. Malala’s unconquerable resilience hasn’t gone unnoticed by the Nobel Peace Prize, which nominated her for the prestigious award  last month.

fashioncentral.pk

fashioncentral.pk

Musarrat Misbah

 It takes a special person to recognize a beautiful soul. Not a beautiful face. Pakistan native Misbah knows the difference. She is the founder of the Depilex Smile Again Foundation, which helps acid-attack survivors find their place in the world. Misbah, in her early 50s’,  started the foundation after being approached by a severely disfigured woman asking for help. The Smile Again Foundation helps women get reconstructive surgery and offers job training. The foundation reportedly helped more than 500 victims that would ordinarily be shunned by relatives and friends. According to Metro, acid attacks are more common in central and southern Asia, but occur around the globe. An estimated 9,000 women were acid-attacked between 1994 and 2001. Misbah’s foundation is home to the survivors and she tells Metro she hopes to create another safe haven. “I just hope God gives me the strength to help more girls. I want to build a shelter where I can live with them. Sorry if I sound like Mother Teresa.”

To Support Smile Again Foundation—> Depilex Smile Again

nydailynews

nydailynews

Jaha Dukureh

Jaha wants women to speak up against a cultural practice that is taboo to resistance. A practice that has negatively affected women for centuries. Female genital mutilation has been widely considered a ritual practiced in West Africa, the Middle East and South Asia–until now. There are reports of illegal surgeries taking place in the US and in some cases immigrant families sending their daughters abroad to relatives for “vacation cutting.” Gambian native Dukureh is a survivor of FGM—she was only a few days old when her labia and clitoris were cut off and her vagina was sewn shut to ensure her virginity, then became aware of the mutilation at 15 when her vagina had to be cut back open—and wants women to know this is a global issue. “People think that female genital mutilation is an African issue, but it is a U.S. issue,” Dukureh, now 25 tells NY Daily News. “You have it everywhere Africans migrate to. I felt like if someone knew what I was talking about, most of the things that happened to me, they wouldn’t have happened.” And in order to prevent them from happening to another woman she shared her story with The Sanctuary for Families, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting domestic violence victims, which published her account in a report about FGM in the US. A new federal law made it illegal for this ritual to be practiced and for girls to travel for the purpose of the procedure. Dukureh started a blog entitled ‘Rising Up Against FGM‘ where she interacts with survivors like herself and enlightens women about the dangers of FGM.

To Support Sanctuary for Families —> Sanctuary for Families

Women in Combat: This entry may be a little premature, considering the first female combat team has yet to be chosen. However, I wanted to be the first person to honor these brave, ground-breaking women that will make history by being the first women to go out in combat since President Obama’s administration lifted the ban. Hooah!!!

If you Bl;nked: President Obama signed the Violence Against Women Act into law this week. Read my previous blog entry for info about the law.  https://ifyoublinked.com/2013/02/22/kelly-rowland-and-monica-promote-domestic-violence-prevention-month/