VIDEO: Celebs Flock to Alicia Keys’ Keep a Child Alive Black Ball

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Alicia Keys brought her 12th Annual Keep a Child Alive Black Ball in with a bang last night. With help from a zipped up (I won’t let it die) Lenny Kravitz, Wale, Chris Rock and Lion Babe, who each shared a stage with the “Girl on Fire.” If you suffer from FOMO–Fear of Missing Out–like I do. We’ve got you covered. Below are duet snippets from each performance.

First up, Wale performing Lotus Flower Bomb with Alicia

Lenny Kravitz stole the show with “American Woman” while Alicia tickled the ivories

Lion Babe brought all the feels with their rendition of “Tell Me Something Good”

For those not tearing down the Hammerstein Ballroom stage with Alicia. Those lucky enough to be sitting pretty and enjoying the show were.

Swizz Beatz, of course, revving the crowd up with his DJ skills.

KRS-One and Angie Martinez reunited

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Knicks star Carmelo Anthony sans wife Lala but found some friends.

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Soul singer Maxwell, oh how we wish you hijacked the stage with Lenny and Alicia

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KCA global ambassador Padma Lakshmi and Formula 1 race car champion Lewis Hamilton

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Fitness guru Jeanette Jenkins

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Chris Rock, Clive Davis and hubby say cheese with Alicia.

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By far the highlight of the night, notwithstanding performances, was when Alicia Keys–sporting a fierce Jean Paul Gaultier blazer, I might add–announced they raised $1 million for KCA, which means more life-sustaining programs for children affected by HIV and AIDS in Africa.

Additionally, this comes on the heels of the R&B goddess running the NYC marathon in honor of KCA. No one deserves a bigger round of applause.

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

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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 Woman Crush: Mom of the Year | Rapper Wale Talks #BalitimoreUprising with High School Students

Everyone cheered this mom abusing her son. Is that why she's smiling?  Image Credit: CBS This Morning

Everyone cheered this mom abusing her son. Is that why she’s smiling?
Image Credit: CBS This Morning

It was the beat down seen around the world. A frustrated mom dragged, pushed and punched her son away from participating in the Baltimore riots, for fear he would succumb to the same fate Freddie Gray would.

Usually IFYouBlinked’s Woman crush is someone that does a heroic, selfless act that benefits others. This week’s choice–Toya Graham–may be the antithesis of that. Yet in some ways it’s not. This brief video symbolizes the role a parent plays everyday (especially in hard knock living areas like B-more) to keep their children safe.

Because really how safe are they? Any one of the encounters that led to the demise of Freddie Gray, Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown could easily be repeated with any one of our black boys and girls. They have been. Each week presents another lost life by someone with a badge. Lately it’s each day. Heard of Terrence Kellum?

So it’s understandable for Toya to be paranoid. Shouldn’t we all be?

But, in addition to being a mama lion protecting your cub, it’s important to guide them on the right path as well. Everyone has their own solution to fixing a festering problem that has preceded each and every one of our lifetime’s. I believe Toya’s strategy is the best. Teach your kid that violence is NOT the answer. Burning down a much needed pharmacy in YOUR community is NOT the answer.

In turn, white parents need to teach their kids that not all black people are a threat or lesser than.That mainstream media can have a bias slant in their reporting.

That’s not to say we should ignore cops snapping a young black kid’s spine unnecessarily. Continue to protest. March. However, don’t let Freddie, Trayvon and Mike’s unjustified murders be in vain by looting a BestBuy.

Did it work in St. Louis?…Right.

Toya is commended for doing the thing we all should do when a kid is in over his head. If nothing else, that’s the behavior that should be modeled.

waleThe same can be said of Wale. The “Album About Nothing” rapper went against his lyrics and visited a Baltimore high school to chat with students about erupting violence in their backyard.

XXL magazine reports Wale making the rounds of Frederick Douglas high school alongside Rev. Jamal Bryant to tell the kids they matter.

We need our community leaders to come step forward and we need these kids to understand that somebody believes in them. I believe in them, Jamal believes in them and there’s a lot of people in this community that believe in these kids.

And the D.C. native relayed that he can relate to their hurts:

I’ve been harassed by police. I get it. I’m here to listen first and foremost – I want to know exactly what the problem is because I’m y’all neighbor. I’m D.C. but I hurt like y’all hurt. I see what’s going on

Wale went on to say the images portrayed in the media don’t match what B-more teens are destined for.

These are the young leaders of tomorrow. They have to look in the mirror and see something better than what they’re being perceived as on TV. Even if it’s gonna take me, or whoever, to come down here and talk to them and give them some energy and let ‘em know that that’s not how I see them, that’s not how we see them, that’s not how the good people of Washington D.C. see them.

After the talk Wale led a march to city hall with students following him.

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Watch the Wale interview below about what he thinks need to change to heal Baltimore.

BATTLE OF THE BELTWAY: Rappers Big Tigga & Wale Take Part in Charity B-Ball Game

Wale & Big Tigger strategizing off-court. Image Courtesy: luvntrey instagram

Wale & Big Tigger strategizing off-court.
Image Courtesy: luvntrey instagram

So…how are your NCAA bracket picks coming? Any closer to picking Warren Buffett’s pockets with your Sweet Sixteen? Okay, confession, I have no idea what I just wrote. And, full disclosure, I stare at my hubby’s scribbled and crossed-out brackets list like my high school Trig homework:

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But, I DO understand the impact of a charity basketball game, which rapper Wale and TV/radio host Big Tigger suited up for at The Battle of the Beltway. The rappers pounded the hardwood gym of the Comcast Center on the University of Maryland campus Saturday.

Ryan Kerrigan and Torrey Smith at the Battle of the Beltway. Image Courtesy: Testudo Times/Patrick Donohue

Ryan Kerrigan and Torrey Smith at the Battle of the Beltway.
Image Courtesy: Testudo Times/Patrick Donohue

And they weren’t the only big draw. Turns out NFL players–Baltimore Ravens Torrey Smith and Washington Redskins Ryan Kerrigan–also have a hoop game. Torrey and Ryan restored their off-season rivalry for good cause(s): to raise money for Torrey Smith Foundation that caters to Baltimore youth and educational scholarships and Ryan Kerrigan’s Blitz for the Better Foundation, which provides resources to special needs kids in D.C.

Who reigned supreme? (Sounds like a line I swapped from a Burger King commercial.And.it.is.*palm meet face*)

Both foundations with nearly $100,000 raised. But the Ravens took the win when its receiver Jacoby Jones took the game-winning shot. Despite Big Tigger’s efforts for the Redskins. The score was 63-61.

And that’s not all folks, four deserving high schoolers walked away with $5,000 each to add to their college fund through Torrey’s inaugural Tevin Jones Fund that honors his late brother.

Even though my brother is gone, this is an amazing way for his name to live on.

Sorry B.K., but I like K.R.S. line better: “knowledge reigns supreme.”

Rapper Wale Gives HBCU Student College Scholarship Money

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Lauren Pryor will be attending fall semester at Hampton University, all thanks to Washington D.C. rapper Wale and her tenacity.

According to Jasminebrand.com, the sophomore psychology major won the scholarship through a radio contest on Norfolk’s 103 JAMZ station, which was giving college scholarships away. (Side Note: Where was I when these radio giveaways were going on? Hey, Hofstra’s a private school, I’m just sayin…) And as luck would have it, Lauren managed to get through on her 14th attempt.

Lauren told the Gluocester-Matthews Gazette Journal that the scholarship was a answer to her prayers.

Winning this scholarship was truly a blessing. Almost not returning to Hampton University in the fall because of expenses, I was exceedingly fortunate to receive this scholarship. It was truly a test of faith.

 

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Pryor received $25,000 in scholarship money at Wale’s album release party for his newest album, “The Gifted” in June. Congrats, Lauren. Kudos Wale for paying it forward!!

 

Sources:

TheJasmineBrand.com

The Gluocester Matthews Gazette Journal