Master P Changes Focus from Owning NBA Team to Owning an HBCU

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Master P posing with his hand over his mouth, wearing a suit and glasses

By Will Moss, HBCU Connect

The recent highlighting of Historically Black Colleges and Universities has led many to learn that most of these schools were founded on land grants provided by the government during the Reconstruction Era. Realizing this has motivated Master P to take matters into his own hands to change the future.

Master P took to Instagram where he revealed his life goal has now changed.

“I used to want to own an NBA team but now I want to own a HBCU,” opens his video’s caption.

“This message is all about educating our people,” Master P said in the video. “Anybody that’s listening to this and has a business, I want y’all to join this movement with me. We need to make sure our kids get educated the way other the cultures are educated.”

The spotlight has been refocused on HBCUs in recent years. Michael B. Jordan created a basketball invitational to showcase talent at the institutions and the NBA has put an emphasis on supporting them. During the NBA All-Star Game, the league generated $3 million that will be used to promote these colleges and universities.

“It was part of the reason why we’re here in Atlanta,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said, per CNN. Atlanta is home to a host of HBCUs including the acclaimed Atlanta University Center (AUC) which consists of legendary schools Morehouse College, Spellman College, and Clark Atlanta University. “This was an opportunity to focus on the HBCUs,” Silver added.

Master P wanted to extend this goal on his own. He explained in his IG caption that HBCUs graduate more women than any other league of higher education. This includes the Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris, who graduated from Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Click here to read the full article on HBCU Connect

Bridgerton’s Regé-Jean Page ‘lands his next big role as actor is set to star and executive produce the reboot of the 1997 Val Kilmer film The Saint’

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New role: Bridgerton's Regé-Jean Page is set to star in reboot of the 1997 Val Kilmer film The Saint after reportedly landing a role in the project

By Sam Baker, Daily Mail

He rose to fame as one of the stars in Netflix’s hit period show Bridgerton. And according to reports, Regé-Jean Page has landed his next major role in the reimagination of the 1997 film The Saint, which originally featured Val Kilmer in the lead role. The 31-year-old Bridgerton star is set to both star in and executive produce the reboot of the film, according to Deadline.

Although no specific details about the plot have been released at this stage, the project is set to be part-based on Leslie Charteris’ 1920s book series, and the following TV series in the 1960s starring Sir Roger Moore.

The Saint focuses on a character named Simon Templar, who goes by the alias of The Saint, in a modern-day Robin Hood-style figure.

The character is known to leave a calling card at the scene of wherever he strikes, in the form of a stick man – which was used as the cover of the original books.

Deadline claim the reboot will be a fresh take on the classic character.

MailOnline has approached representatives of Regé-Jean for comment.

Earlier this year, the actor claimed he was ‘not at all’ nervous about leaving Bridgerton.

The actor announced his departure from the Netflix hit in April, much to the shock of viewers, but told Variety in May how his character was only meant to be in one season.

When asked if he was nervous about leaving the role of Simon Basset the Duke of Hastings behind, he said: ‘Not at all, because that’s what was meant.

‘Simon was this bomb of a one-season antagonist, to be reformed and to find his true self through Daphne.

‘I think one of the bravest things about the romance genre is allowing people a happy ending.’

Regé-Jean added that after his announcement was made public he made sure to keep his phone ‘across the room’ so he didn’t have to see their reaction immediately.

He also compared leaving the raunchy period drama to graduating from High School, saying he was ‘afraid of the unknown’ and not making good friends like he did on the Bridgerton set, but has since learned otherwise.

Click here to read the full article on Daily Mail.

WNBA’s Candace Parker will be first female basketball player on cover of NBA 2K

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Two-time WNBA MVP Candace Parker will be the first female basketball player to grace the cover of the newest edition of popular video game NBA 2K

By Joseph Guzman, The Hill

Two-time WNBA MVP Candace Parker will be the first female basketball player to grace the cover of the newest edition of popular video game NBA 2K when it hits shelves Sept. 10, the company announced Wednesday.

The six-time All-Star will be featured on a special edition of NBA 2K22 — in honor of the WNBA’s 25th season — that will be sold exclusively at video game retailer GameStop.

The cover shows the Chicago Sky star shooting a layup over a background of her team’s colors.

“The cover of NBA 2K is such a pivotal platform to inspire young ballers, and I wanted future WNBA stars to know that they can be cover athletes too,” Parker said in a statement.

“Representation matters, so this is a special moment of progress for the sport and the series. To be part of this historic cover is a testament to the growth and rising popularity of the women’s game, and I’m proud to be the first female cover athlete to be the face of NBA 2K,” she added.

Parker, 35, has played in the WNBA since 2008 and is currently in her first season with the Chicago Sky after spending most of her career with the Los Angeles Sparks, where she won a championship in 2016.

Click here to read the full article on The Hill.

National Spelling Bee winner Zaila Avant-garde Makes Red Carpet Debut

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Spelling Bee winner Aaila Avant garde poses on red carpet wearing a long blue dress and yellow hoop earrings

Zaila Avant-garde just had one of the best weeks ever. The Scripps National Spelling Bee champion attended the 2021 ESPYs in New York City this past weekend and was all smiles.

She also made a joyful red carpet appearance ahead of the show wearing a beautiful blue gown along with a bright yellow headband and hoop earrings.

“I’m feeling pretty good,” Avant-garde said during a red carpet moment. She said she still can’t quite believe she won the National Spelling Bee.

“So I’m still waiting for that to settle in on me,” she said. “I guess my weekend is going to get even more exciting when I realize.”

The 14-year-old spelling champion also made history as the first African American winner, as well as the first speller from Louisiana to win the annual competition.

“It felt like really good to become a winner simply because of the fact that I’ve been like working on it for like two years and then to finally have it like the best possible outcome was really good,” Avant-garde told “Good Morning America” just hours after her historic win.

Photo credit: ABC News

Read the original article posted on ABC News.

The Annual BDPA Technology and Career Fair – Win Scholarship in the “Design A Mobile App Showcase’!

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Man's hand holding display of mobile app design

You will design, pitch and demo the app to a panel of judges for the chance to win a scholarship.

Hi Students,

The National Mobile App showcase is a great opportunity to improve your programming skills in the language of your choice and learn about product development.

Design and build any application you are passionate about and learn how to give a compelling pitch to an audience of companies looking for students like you!

This competition is here for independent, driven students.

We will provide lightweight checkpoints to help you think through your app, troubleshoot, and finish a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) by the end of the summer.

Build your app at your own pace.

Register Here!

During the Annual BDPA Conference on August 12-14, 2021, you will pitch and demo the app to a panel of judges for the chance to win a scholarship upward We’ve got great prizes this year.

1st Place College Scholarship $3,000
2nd Place College Scholarship $2,000
3rd Place College Scholarship $1,250

1st Place High School $1,750
2nd Place High School $1,250
3rd Place High Scholarship $750

Hope to see you there!

Best,
The Mobile App Showcase Team
mobileapps@bdpa.org

Zendaya Responds to Space Jam 2 Lola Bunny Redesign Controversy

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Zendaya, shares her thoughts on the unexpected controversy surrounding the redesign of her character, Lola Bunny

BY Michelle Mehrtens, Screen Rant

Space Jam: A New Legacy star, Zendaya, shares her thoughts on the unexpected controversy surrounding the redesign of her character, Lola Bunny. The original 1996 comedy was a live-action/animated hybrid that starred basketball icon, Michael Jordan. In the film, he joins a basketball team led by the Looney Tunes in order to help them win a game against a group of nefarious aliens. It was a blockbuster hit, earning over $250 million worldwide and spawning a beloved following that has endured since its initial release. The highly anticipated upcoming sequel follows basketball champion, LeBron James, as he tries to save his son, Dom (Cedric Joe), from the Warner 3000 Server-Verse. To do this, he teams up with Looney Tunes favorites, including Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Lola Bunny, who has become a member of the Amazons.

During production of Space Jam 2, director Malcolm D. Lee decided to rework the character design of Lola Bunny after finalizing the ensemble cast. In prior interviews, he shared his surprise when he first watched Space Jam, explaining his unease when he witnessed the sexual objectification of Lola Bunny. As a result, Lee focused on adding greater depth to her character by emphasizing her skills as an athlete and leader. He also sought to remove any type of unnecessary sexualization when it came to her animation design. However, when EW released its first look cover of the Space Jam 2 cast a few months ago, many online commenters reacted negatively to the change in Lola Bunny’s appearance.

While speaking to EW, Zendaya responded to the online disputes regarding Lola Bunny’s redesign. Acknowledging her personal admiration of the character, she recognized the ways in which Lola has left her mark on the Space Jam universe. Read what Zendaya said below:

“I didn’t know that was going to happen either! I definitely know we love her, but I didn’t know it was going to be as much of a focus as it was. But I understand, because she’s a lovable character. She’s very important, so I get it.”

In his own interview with EW, Lee described his disbelief when he saw the online fervor about Lola Bunny. He added, “I had no idea that people would be that up in arms about a bunny not having boobs.” As Lee noted, it was important for him that Space Jam 2 highlighted Lola’s personal and professional evolution without reducing her to an object. He explained that he hoped young female viewers would admire Lola and her abilities as a basketball player. Moreover, the director reached out to Zendaya for the role because he respected her business acumen and confidence, which he believed were similar attributes embodied by Lola.

Click here to read the full article on Screen Rant.

Impacting the Next Generation

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By Tawanah Reeves-Ligon

It would be hard in 2021 to not recognize the name or face of award-winning actor Michael B. Jordan. He is particularly known for his film portrayals of shooting victim Oscar Grant in the 2013 drama Fruitvale Station, boxer Adonis “Donnie” Creed in the Creed films (an offshoot of the classic Rocky franchise), as well as Erik Killmonger in 2018’s record-shattering Black Panther, all three of which were directed by Ryan Coogler. He also recently starred in (and helped produce) Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse, an action thriller digitally released on Amazon’s Prime Video service in April. His upcoming film, A Journal for Jordan, is based on a memoir of the same name, directed by veteran actor Denzel Washington and co-produced by Jordan’s company, Outlier Society Productions. It’s expected to release this December. Jordan has also been recognized as a style icon, one of Time 100’s most influential people of 2020, and is People Magazine’s current ‘Sexiest Man Alive.’

A Model for the Movement
For this continuously rising star,

Actor Michael B. Jordan attends 'Prossima Fermata Fruitvale Station' photocall at hotel Bernini
ROME, ITALY – MARCH 06: Actor Michael B. Jordan attends ‘Prossima Fermata Fruitvale Station’ photocall at hotel Bernini. (Photo by Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images)
everything he does is about so much more than the fame and the accolades. “I love mentorship. The next generation, they’re the future. They’re the key to everything. They’re supposed to be better than us,” Jordan shared with Black EOE Journal. “So, trying to groom the next batch of talent of humans across the board, not just in the arts, but just across the board, I think is really important. The fellowship program, the Outliers Fellowship program, [is something] I am really excited about.”

The program is an internship and mentorship initiative that Jordan announced during Black History Month last year during the Obama Foundation’s MBK (My Brother’s Keeper) Rising! event. The Outlier Fellowship provides access, community and opportunity to underrepresented LA youth entering arts, media and entertainment.

However, Jordan and his Outlier Society are raising the stakes in their efforts towards a more diverse and inclusive industry. Along with the fellowship program, Outlier Society can also boast itself as one of the few media companies to adopt the inclusion rider. The inclusion rider is a contract attached (by a star or company) to a film or television contract stating that the project’s production team must take steps to recruit and hire both cast and crew members from historically underrepresented groups. For Jordan, though, this is less a boast than an obvious step in the right direction. “You just got to do it. You can’t overcomplicate it,” he said of what’s needed to see less disparity and more inclusion in media and entertainment, both in front of and behind the camera.

“As the producer, I chose…” he shared about one of his more recent projects, “There’s also a lot of vehicles for talent that may not have gotten all of the swings that I’ve gotten or opportunities in certain roles or certain genres. Being able to create around talent is something that I’ve always been interested in doing and am looking forward to doing more of in the future.”

Jordan’s impact has also been evident in his hometown of Newark, N.J. where he’s supported Audible’s charity, Newark Working Kitchens, an organization he’s proud to say served “over one million meals this past year…” He also launched the “Hoop Dreams Classic,” an HBCU College Basketball Showcase in Newark last year at the Prudential Center. Furthermore, he surprised students in his hometown at both at his alma mater, Newark Arts High School, last year and at Barringer High School. His Barringer High visit was part of the Coach Foundation’s involvement in The Future Project, which puts professional directors into high schools around the country to offer inspiration and guidance to students dreaming of careers in the arts.

Strategic and Intentional

Michael B. Jordan, Kendrick Sampson and others participate in the Hollywood talent agencies march to support Black Lives Matter protests
Michael B. Jordan, Kendrick Sampson and others participate in the Hollywood talent agencies march to support Black Lives Matter protests on June 06, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)

Michael B. Jordan is not afraid to stand for those things he believes to be right, even in the face of adversity. For years, he has been quite outspoken on the causes and issues he feels most strongly about, even getting political by joining protests, like his participation in the “Big 4” Hollywood talent agencies march to support Black Lives Matter in June 2020 as well as being a part of movements to encourage voting and support voting rights. “Everybody has their part they have to play…I’m very strategic. I plan. I think things through. I try not to emotionally react to certain things. You also got to know the business that you’re in and how to move on certain issues and how to actually get real movement. Timing is everything.”

Unfortunately, there are many who believe that celebrities and influencers should not participate in such activities or speak on issues outside of their industry. ‘We’re here to be entertained, not preached to,’ is a common sentiment that many netizens share. What is Jordan’s response to that?
“‘Shut up and entertain?’ That’s never going to be me,” he said, “I’m not the guy that talks just to talk or is loud for the sake of being loud. The things I do, and how I do it, all has a purpose, and I don’t need the credit for everything that I’m doing either, so I try to move and make impact the best way I know how. Sometimes that’s not always aesthetically pleasing to the masses, but bigger picture and behind closed doors, I try to make an impact the best way I know how for the long game, and not just for the quick fix until people become distracted again and try to move on to the next thing.”

Working with a Mission
There’s a clear trend in the types of films Jordan has chosen to

Sterling K. Brown, Angela Bassett, Lupita Nyong'o, Chadwick Boseman, Danai Gurira, Michael B. Jordan and Andy Serkis winners of Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture for 'Black Panther
(L-R) Sterling K. Brown, Angela Bassett, Lupita Nyong’o, Chadwick Boseman, Danai Gurira, Michael B. Jordan and Andy Serkis winners of Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture for ‘Black Panther,’ pose in the Winner’s Gallery during the 25th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium. (Photo by Terence Patrick/Getty Images for Turner)
produce, direct and star in. From Fruitvale Station to Black Panther to 61st Street, the television series he is executive producing for AMC, slated to premier next year, about a promising young black athlete embroiled in the corrupt Chicago criminal justice system. There’s a criterion to the types of work he wants to do. “It usually has to say something. It has to mean something. I know every movie won’t be a Fruitvale Station or a Just Mercy,” he shared. “I like a lot of different types of movies and genres and I want my career, when you look back at it to be a reflection of that, eclectic and diverse.”

Eclectic and diverse are perfect descriptors of his repertoire from sci-fi fantasy, comic book franchises, action thrillers, dramas, romances and sports films to soap operas, biopics, crime TV and even voice overs in children’s shows.

According to Michael, he wants to do work he won’t regret. “I want to look back on it and be really proud…it’s got to make an impact no matter what it is, and [I want to] have fun doing it.” He has a strategy “of doing a bigger film and then do a smaller film and kind of have that balance of being able to do these intimate smaller films and still being able to do a movie that’s bigger, more commercial and sort of broader. If you look back at some of the work that I’ve done, it’s kind of played in both those spaces. As an actor, you play a part in a bigger machine. As a producer, you have a few more hats. As a director, you’re telling a story from your perspective and telling a story that you’re trying to say. As I’ve gotten older, [I’m] just being very selective with pushing my career forward.”

Focused on the Future

Actors Sylvester Stallone and Michael B. Jordan attend Warner Bros. Pictures Invites You to
Actors Sylvester Stallone and Michael B. Jordan attend Warner Bros. Pictures Invites You to “The Big Picture,” an Exclusive Presentation Highlighting the Summer of 2015 and Beyond at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace during CinemaCon, the official convention of the National Association of Theatre Owners.(Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for CinemaCon)

Jordan has much to look forward to in his personal and professional future. He is set to make his directorial debut next year, taking the helm for Creed III. Having had the opportunity to work with other great directors such as Denzel Washington, Ryan Coogler and Sylvester Stallone, who directed four out of the six original Rocky movies that the Creed franchise is based on, Jordan has been able to take what he’s learned and apply it to his own ingenuity and experience.

“Getting wisdom and gems from the generation before me is always a great thing,” said Jordan, “I think just watching Ryan [Coogler] from the beginning. Fruitvale Station was the first time I saw somebody who really looked like me close to my age that was directing a movie. Writing and directing, it was crazy. He kind of really showed me that it was possible. Now, watching him go through it, being so close to the process (the development process), seeing all the meetings he’s gone to, and all the steps to it. Also, observing Sly [Stallone] and how he did it. What was that formula like? What were the responsibilities of directing in that type of way? He’s also somebody who starred and directed himself, what was that process like? And for me, learning from every director I’ve work with and collaborated with. Imagining myself doing it: ‘In that situation, I would be doing what?’ OK, cool. That’s question I’ve got to answer. I’ve got to know about this; I’ve got to know about that. I’ve been doing that for a long time, and I finally got to the point now where I feel confident in what I’m about to do in the story I’m telling.”

And he’s already considering how to pay the knowledge, and the torch of success, forward. “I’ve been extremely blessed, so to be able to take my blessings, opportunities, situations that I’ve been able to learn from and grow from and be able to pass that forward to the next generation is something that’s always excited me. It’s always been the answer in a lot of ways.”

For Jordan, the future is about assessing the best ways to address the issues that face our society so that those who follow can live in a better world. “Trying to find, ‘What’s the solution; how do we get better; how do we grow as a people?’ and all those things,” he said about his focus, mindset, and approach to his work. “Our time on this Earth is short. To make it count, to learn as much as you can and pass those experiences on to make somebody else’s life a little bit easier — that’s the approach that I’ve been on.”

IOScholarships Certified as a Minority-Owned Business

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two diverse tech students in classroom reviewing work on computer screen

IOScholarships (IOS), the first of its kind free scholarship and financial education platform for minority STEM students announced it was granted its Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) certification as a validation of its status as a minority-owned business.

The certification verifies that IOScholarships, LLC meets the criteria which requires a business to be at least 51% owned, operated, and controlled by racial or ethnic minorities who are also U.S. citizens.

“Getting our MBE certification was a natural step for IOScholarships as we continue our ongoing commitment to minority students. We look forward to working with our sponsors and partners to continue helping underrepresented students go to college debt-free.” said María Fernanda Trochimezuk, Founder of IOScholarships.

Most of the scholarships featured on www.ioscholarships.com come directly from corporations and organizations, rather than solely from competitive national pools – thereby maximizing the number of opportunities students have to earn funding for their education. Each month IOScholarships adds hundreds of new curated scholarships to its database and also posts “The Scholarship of the Week” on its Twitter, Facebook and Instagram social media accounts (@IOScholarships), making it easy to find new scholarship opportunities. The platform also offers a blog with financial education information and a Career Aptitude Quiz designed to help students identify the degrees and professions that best fit their skills.

IOScholarships is proud to join the National Scholarship Providers Association an organization that offers tools, resources, professional development, and networking needed to administer a successful scholarship and student support program. In 2019, NSPA awarded $4,275,054,382 to 827,327 students.

For more information about IOScholarships visit www.ioscholarships.com or for weekly STEM scholarships email maria.fernanda@ioscholarships.com.

Tennis-Wimbledon ends in tears for injured Serena

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Tennis- Wimbledon ends in tears for injured Serena as she is cheered on by the crowd

By Alan Baldwin, Yahoo! Sports

Tennis great Serena Williams limped out of Wimbledon in tears on Tuesday after her latest bid for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles crown ended in injury. The American sixth seed and seven-times Wimbledon winner was clearly in pain on a slippery Centre Court and sought treatment while 3-2 up in her first-round match against unseeded Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

Williams returned after a lengthy break but the distress was evident. She grimaced and wiped away tears before preparing to serve at 3-3 after Sasnovich had pulled back from 3-1 down. The 39-year-old, who had started the match with strapping on her right thigh, then let out a shriek and sank kneeling to the grass sobbing, before being helped off the court.

“I was heartbroken to have to withdraw today after injuring my right leg,” Williams wrote on Instagram. “My love and gratitude are with the fans and the team who make being on centre court so meaningful. Feeling the extraordinary warmth and support of the crowd today when I walked on – and off – the court meant the world to me.”

GREAT CHAMPION

Sasnovich, who practised her serve while Williams was getting treatment, commiserated with an opponent who had never gone out in the first round at Wimbledon in her previous 19 visits.

“I’m so sad for Serena, she’s a great champion,” said the world number 100. “It happens sometimes.”

Eight-times men’s singles champion Roger Federer expressed shock at Williams’ departure and voiced concern about the surface, with the roof closed on Centre Court on a rainy afternoon.

His first-round opponent Adrian Mannarino of France also retired with a knee injury after a slip in the match immediately before Williams’.

“I do feel it feels a tad more slippery maybe under the roof. I don’t know if it’s just a gut feeling. You do have to move very, very carefully out there. If you push too hard in the wrong moments, you do go down,” Federer said.

Click here to read the full article on Yahoo! Sports.

How Taraji P. Henson Honored Tina Turner, Diana Ross and More Black Women at 2021 BET Awards

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BET Awards host Taraji P. Hensen posed in front of the camera while wearing a blue dress

By Zach Seemayer‍, WKYC

After a high-energy opening performance featuring Kirk Franklin and Lil Baby, Henson took the stage in a stylish gold ensemble that was a clear tribute to Diana Ross. “It’s 2021, and we are celebrating the year of the Black woman,” Henson declared with a smile. “Celebrating Black women isn’t a fad or a trend it’s a forever mood.”

“There is more than enough room for all of us to thrive, because can’t nobody be me like me and can’t nobody be you like you,” she continued, before having roses handed out to a number of women in the room, including Zendaya, Jazmine Sullivan, Isa Rae and “Queen” Maxine Waters. She also used the opening to tease that she’d be coming out throughout the night dressed as “some of my favorite women” and hinted that she’d be honoring some female Black icons over the course of the show.

Henson didn’t disappoint with her fashion tributes, donning various ensembles throughout the show that honored and celebrated the styles and looks of some groundbreaking artists. She donned a burgundy velvet ensemble and dark shades while sitting behind a drum set to pay her respects to H.E.R. Later — while giving a lesson on the history of twerking — she donned a little black dress and short, curly ‘do as a tribute to Ester Jones — the Black entertainer who is credited for inspiring the legendary cartoon character Betty Boop.

Click here to read the full article on WKYC.

Gabby Thomas wins women’s 200 meters at U.S. Olympic trials with second-fastest time ever, Allyson Felix fails to qualify

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Gabby Thomas running before the olympics

By Tyler Dragon, USA TODAY

Gabby Thomas ran a world-leading 21.94 seconds in the semifinals of the women’s 200 meters on Friday — and her momentum carried over to Saturday. Thomas eclipsed her previous career-best as she crossed the finish line in 21.61 to win the women’s 200 meters at the U.S. Olympic trials. Her time is the second-fastest in the history of the women’s 200 meters and puts her in illustrious company. Only Florence Griffith-Joyner’s world-record 21.34 seconds from 1988 is faster. “I’ve been working so hard,” Thomas said. “I moved to Austin, Texas to train for this. I still just cannot believe it. I’m so, so happy. I’ve been working so hard. I’m really grateful.” Jenna Prandini ran a personal-best 21.89 to finish second, and Anavia Battle crossed the line in 21.95 to finish third.

Thomas, a Harvard graduate, has propelled herself to a serious gold-medal contender in Tokyo after speeding through the preliminary rounds and running one of the best times ever. “Since coming here my expectations for myself have gotten even higher,” Thomas said. “Now when I step on the track, I do expect to run sub-22, which is something I love for myself and I’m really excited about.”

Thomas has valid reasons to be excited after her performance in Eugene. She ran sub-22 seconds in the opening round, semifinal and final of the 200 meters. Leading up to the trials, though, Thomas had a harrowing experience. After winning the 200 meters at the Golden Games on May 9, Thomas underwent an MRI to diagnose what had seemed to be a nagging hamstring injury. The results of the MRI revealed a tumor on her liver.

“The more and more I spoke to people, the more the word ‘cancer’ was used. I was scared,” Thomas said on social media on June 7.

Thankfully, though, Thomas received news from doctors that the tumor is benign and won’t need to be operated on.

“I am so excited to compete – feeling much lighter with this weight off of my shoulders! One of the greatest gifts in life is our health,” Thomas said prior to the trials on social media.

“I remember telling God, ‘If I am healthy, I’m gonna go out and win trials,’ ” she said.

Thomas did in emphatic fashion. Now she is off to Tokyo healthy and running better than she ever has.

Click here to read the full article on USA Today.

Little Mermaid Set Photos Reveal Halle Bailey In Ariel’s Iconic Burlap Look

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Disney's live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid show Halle Bailey recreate an iconic Ariel

BY ABIGAIL ONG-PIZARRO, SCREEN RANT

New set photos from Disney’s live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid show Halle Bailey recreate an iconic Ariel scene from the 1989 animated classic. The upcoming movie is the latest live-action remake of a beloved Disney film following Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Aladdin, and Mulan. In an exciting step forward for the company, Grown-ish star and singer Bailey was chosen to play the lead role of Ariel. Other The Little Mermaid cast members include Javier Bardem as King Triton and Melissa McCarthy as Ursula.

The Little Mermaid is currently in the middle of production in Sardinia, Italy after many months of delays due to the coronavirus pandemic. Previous set images seem to confirm the live-action reboot will make several updates to the animated movie. While filming the shipwreck scene, Bailey was spotted wearing a full wetsuit instead of a sea-shell bikini top. The Little Mermaid actress also showed off a new hairdo for Ariel, trading in the character’s bright red and wavy look for braids. However, new photos from the filming location reveal Disney is also keen on keeping some of the character’s distinct looks as well.

New pictures from the set have surfaced, showing Bailey recreating a key scene in The Little Mermaid. Obtained by Just Jared, they reveal the 21-year-old actress wearing Ariel’s iconic makeshift burlap dress in the photos. Bailey’s hair also seems to be more clearly dyed in a reddish shade than what’s been noticeable in past photos. The images look to be from the scene when the mermaid princess finally gets her legs and surfaces from the water. She hides herself by making a dress out of scrap fabric she found on the shore. It’s also the moment when she meets Prince Eric for the first time. Check out the set photos below:

In the cartoon, Prince Eric whisks Ariel off to his castle after this first encounter. However, the live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid seems to deviate from this narrative. Bailey was snapped hitching a ride on the back of a local villager’s wagon. One picture shows the actress peeking from a blanket to peer at the seaside townspeople.

These contrasts to the 1989 animated film prove Disney intends to give the new Little Mermaid a major update. Audiences can likely expect relevant social themes will be subtly injected into the remake to make it more contemporary. However, it’s hard to tell if these changes will pay off to make a blockbuster hit. The studio has tried changes with previous remakes like Mulan, which only drew the ire of Disney loyalists for its decision to omit the popular character Mushu, for example. The Little Mermaid certainly has big shoes to fill as the original movie was a huge success and went on to usher in the Disney renaissance of the ’90s. Hopefully, the live-action adaptation finds the perfect way to modernize the classic tale without losing the magic of its past.

Click here to read the full article on Screen Rant.

Will Smith To Go Full Wordsmith With New Memoir

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Will Smith smiling away from the camera

, Huffpost

While the Smith family typically leaves most things for the Red Table, Will Smith has apparently saved a few juicy stories for himself over the years. The two-time Academy Award nominee announced the release of his new memoir, “Will,” on Instagram Saturday, revealing that his first book is due to hit shelves Nov. 9. “I know this is weird but this is my book,” the actor, using a Pixar-style Instagram filter, shared in a video over the weekend, as he showed off the memoir’s vibrant cover. “It’s been a labor of love. I’ve been working on it for the past two years and it’s finally ready.”

While fans are likely already familiar with some of the actor’s backstory, the “brave and inspiring book” will dive deep into his rise from a Philadelphia teen to global superstar and chronicle the highs and lows of his trailblazing and decades-spanning career.

Smith first broke onto the scene as part of the hip-hop duo DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince in the late ’80s, ultimately picking up a couple of Grammy Awards along the way.

After making his mark with the iconic sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” Smith went on to conquer the big screen and fronted a string of box-office hits, including “Bad Boys,” “Men in Black,” “Hitch” and “Independence Day.”

“In ‘Will,’ one of the most dynamic and globally-recognized entertainment forces of our time opens up fully about his life, tracing his learning curve to a place where outer success, inner happiness, and human connection are aligned. Along the way, ‘Will’ tells the story in full of one of the most amazing rides through the worlds of music and film that anyone has ever had,” Penguin Press said in a press release.

Click here to read the full article on Huffpost.

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