Chance the Rapper says the idea to ‘man up’ is harmful to Black men’s mental health

LinkedIn
Chance the Rapper is not holding back when it comes speaking about the benefits of prioritizing mental health.

By David Artavia, Yahoo! Life

Chance the Rapper is not holding back when it comes speaking about the benefits of prioritizing mental health.

In a new interview with Taraji P. Henson and her best friend Tracie Jade on Facebook Watch’s Peace of Mind with Taraji, the rapper opened up about dealing with the “dark days” of his mental health and how it inspired him to fight for better mental health services in Black communities.

“I think Black men are naturally guarded,” he said when asked about the pressure many Black men face to “man up” and not show their emotions. “You kind of have to be [because] your weakness is preyed upon. So, I think it’s a defense mechanism. You go to a funeral, like, you kind of don’t want to cry. You know what I mean? You don’t want to subject yourself to the feeling of like, that weakness, of like, you know, it just takes a lot to be cathartic, to cry, to empty yourself.”

“I saw my friend killed in front of me when I was 19,” he continued. “I’ve seen people I didn’t know get killed too, and you become kind of like numb to it. Somebody else died last week. But it stays with you, you know what I mean? And you don’t realize until later [that] it could have lasting effects.”

It was these types of discoveries that led him to donate $1 million in 2019 to mental health services in his hometown of Chicago through SocialWorks, his nonprofit organization.

“A couple of years ago, I, for the first time experienced a friend, somebody that I knew from growing up, that was having a mental health crisis,” he said. “His family and his friends had exhausted their efforts over years and years of trying to help. I didn’t really know that much about this stuff. There’s probably a ton of situations where people, you know, we just wrote them off as like, ‘crazy,’ or like, ‘they was tweaking.’ But they were actually going through a chronic mental health disorder.”

After realizing “the kind of care” his friend needed “wasn’t available in the city” for those who can’t afford it, he decided to team up with local advocates to help build the change.

“We basically found every possible mental health initiative within the city of Chicago, and then within Cook County, and then eventually through the entire state of Illinois,” he explained. “[We] created this app that allows people to get in contact, whether it’s an in-person meeting or tele-health, with a mental health service provider, and get the help that they need, instantly from their phone. And it’s free.”

While Chance acknowledges it’s great that celebrities are starting to drive the message that “health is beyond just our physical state,” he argues that equal access to mental health services isn’t going to happen until those in power, particularly “our lawmakers and the billion-dollar companies,” rise to meet the community’s need.

“We’re talented people, but we’re not the people that make the big decisions,” he said. “We’re not the people that write the biggest checks. Those kind of things have to happen.”

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

Afro-Latinx Artist Reyna Noriega Is Using Art to Uplift Brown and Black Women

LinkedIn
Afro-Latinx Artist Reyna Noriega

By Shayne Rodriguez Thompson, Pop Sugar

In 2017, Afro-Latinx visual artist Reyna Noriega began her career as a full-time creator. Little did she know that in just a few short years, she would have over 100,000 followers on Instagram, would be working with huge brands like Apple and Old Navy, and would design a cover for The New Yorker. Born and raised in Miami to a first-generation Cuban father and a Bahamian mother, Noriega, who is best-known for her bold, vibrant, graphic work, was destined to be an artist.

“My father is also an artist, and I became interested early on in just the magic of it all, being able to bring ideas to life on paper and communicate in a universal language,” Noriega told POPSUGAR in a recent interview. “I was always the ‘sensitive kid’ feeling a lot and thinking a lot, so art and writing were great outlets for me to get all of that under control and to be able to process my emotions.”

Now, Noriega’s art is being seen on a much wider scale and impacting thousands of people who follow her on social media or see her art on city walls and T-shirts. To get there, she had to put in a lot of work, including studying and learning on her own, despite the fact that she took art classes throughout high school and minored in art in college. Using the help of books and YouTube, Noriega honed her skills and eventually left her job as a teacher, with the full support of her parents.

“I was very fortunate that my family believed in me and my ability to make my passion a career and even help me make it happen! To this day, my mom is the person that helps me run my online shop, and they encourage me to strive higher,” Noriega told us.

By 2019, Noriega started doing brand work, after getting comfortable with her style and what she wanted to represent as an artist. It gradually became easier for her to align herself with brands that had the same mission. She is currently working on Amex’s “Always Welcome” design collective launch, which will provide businesses with signage for their storefronts and indicate their stance on inclusivity.

“Honestly, every time I get an email, I am honored and humbled that my name enters rooms I never thought would. From companies whose products I used to save up for at one point, like Apple, to legendary publications like The New Yorker, or having thousands and thousands of people wear a shirt I designed with Old Navy. It really is a dream come true,” she said.

Ultimately, it was Noriega embracing her culture and her commitment to advocating for Black and brown people through her art that got her there. She says her Afro-Caribbean culture is what brings “vibrancy and flavor” to her art. But we think it’s so much more than that. With just a single glance, it’s obvious that Noriega’s background informs her work. Her use of color, the way she showcases the female form, the various complexions and skin tones she celebrates in her work, and the stunning, tropics-inspired botanical scenes she often creates speak to exactly who she is and where she comes from.

“Art has always been a place I look to boost my mood, museums, galleries, [and] learning about art history. But unfortunately in those spaces, rarely did I ever feel I belong, because my story wasn’t told on those walls, and in the rare occasion it was, it only highlighted the struggles and traumas,” she said. “I wanted to create work that would lift moods and raise the self-efficacy of Black and brown women with positive representation and vibrant depictions of joy.”

Noriega describes the art she creates with a tremendous amount of care and respect. Her mission is to create art that represents and uplifts communities that are often left out of the conversation. “I focus on women because as a woman, I know all of the challenges and barriers we face,” she said. “Inequalities in pay, harmful messaging on body image, the ongoing fight for body autonomy . . . it can be really exhausting. Add on to that the challenges being a BIPOC, and it just magnifies. My art is meant to celebrate women, inspire joy, and a reclamation of peace and rest.”

Noriega recognizes how important it is to not only amplify voices like hers but also to use her gifts and resources to speak up for people who don’t have the same advantages that she does. Even as a Black Latina, she’s cognizant of the privileges she has and the responsibility associated with them. “For me personally, I often look at my identities as a privilege, which pushes me to amplify Black voices even more. I am all too aware of the advantages I have received being a Latina in Miami, and even being ethnically Caribbean, although my race is Black,” she said. “Being able to say where your lineage comes from is a privilege many Black Americans don’t have. I have been unfairly judged and treated and had some very hurtful comments said to me, but I must also be aware of how my skin tone provides privileges, how my heritage provides privileges, and how knowing more than one language is a privilege.” And in recognizing that, she’s able to leverage her position to empower others in really visible ways.

Click here to read the full article on Pop Sugar.

Rihanna honored as ‘national hero’ of Barbados

LinkedIn

By Lisa Respers France, CNN

Rihanna’s homeland wants her to continue to “shine bright like a diamond.”

The singer was honored Monday in her native Barbados during its presidential inauguration, which served to mark the country becoming a republic.
Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Mottley told the crowd, “On behalf of a grateful nation, but an even prouder people, we therefore present to you the designee for national hero of Barbados, Ambassador Robyn Rihanna Fenty.”
“May you continue to shine like a diamond and bring honor to your nation by your works, by your actions, and to do credit wherever you shall go,” Mottley said.

The makeup and fashion mogul was appointed as an ambassador of Barbados in 2018.

According to a statement from the Barbados Government Information Office released at the time, the position gives the celeb “specific responsibility for promoting education, tourism, and investment for the island.”

She also became one of the Caribbean island country’s cultural ambassadors in 2008, doing promotional work for its tourism ministry.

In a move that received a great deal of support in the country, Barbados formally cut ties with the British monarchy by becoming a republic almost 400 years after the first English ship arrived on the most easterly of the Caribbean islands.

Click here to read the full article on CNN.

How Black tech entrepreneurs are tackling health care’s race gap

LinkedIn
entrepreneurs photo: (from left) Kevin Dedner founded Hurdle, a mental health startup that pairs patients with therapists. Ashlee Wisdom's company, Health in Her Hue, connects women of color with culturally sensitive medical providers. Nathan Pelzer's Clinify Health analyzes data to help doctors identify at-risk patients in underserved areas. Erica Plybeah's firm, MedHaul, arranges transport to medical appointments.

By Cara Anthony, NPR

When Ashlee Wisdom launched an early version of her health and wellness website, more than 34,000 users — most of them Black — visited the platform in the first two weeks. “It wasn’t the most fully functioning platform,” recalls Wisdom, 31. “It was not sexy.” But the launch was successful. Now, more than a year later, Wisdom’s company, Health in Her Hue, connects Black women and other women of color to culturally sensitive doctors, doulas, nurses and therapists nationally.

As more patients seek culturally competent care — the acknowledgment of a patient’s heritage, beliefs and values during treatment — a new wave of Black tech founders like Wisdom want to help. In the same way Uber Eats and Grubhub revolutionized food delivery, Black tech health startups across the United States want to change how people exercise, how they eat and also how they communicate with doctors.

Inspired by their own experiences, plus those of their parents and grandparents, Black entrepreneurs are launching startups that aim to close the cultural gap in health care with technology — and create profitable businesses at the same time.

Seeing problems and solutions others miss
“One of the most exciting growth opportunities across health innovation is to back underrepresented founders building health companies focusing on underserved markets,” says Unity Stoakes, president and co-founder of StartUp Health, a company headquartered in San Francisco that has invested in a number of health companies led by people of color. He says those leaders have “an essential and powerful understanding of how to solve some of the biggest challenges in health care.”

Platforms created by Black founders for Black people and communities of color continue to blossom because those entrepreneurs often see problems and solutions others might miss. Without diverse voices, entire categories and products simply would not exist in critical areas like health care, experts in business say.

“We’re really speaking to a need,” says Kevin Dedner, 45, founder of the mental health startup Hurdle. “Mission alone is not enough. You have to solve a problem.”

Dedner’s company, headquartered in Washington, D.C., pairs patients with therapists who “honor culture instead of ignoring it,” he says. He started the company three years ago, but more people turned to Hurdle after the killing of George Floyd.

In Memphis, Tenn., Erica Plybeah, 33, is focused on providing transportation. Her company, MedHaul, works with providers and patients to secure low-cost rides to get people to and from their medical appointments. Caregivers, patients or providers fill out a form on MedHaul’s website, then Plybeah’s team helps them schedule a ride.

While MedHaul is for everyone, Plybeah knows people of color, anyone with a low income and residents of rural areas are more likely to face transportation hurdles. She founded the company in 2017 after years of watching her mother take care of her grandmother, who’d had to have both legs amputated because of complications from Type 2 diabetes. They lived in the Mississippi Delta, where transportation options were scarce.

“For years, my family struggled with our transportation because my mom was her primary transporter,” Plybeah says. “Trying to schedule all of her doctor’s appointments around her work schedule was just a nightmare.”

Plybeah’s company recently received funding from Citi, the banking giant.

“I’m more than proud of her,” says Plybeah’s mother, Annie Steele. “Every step amazes me. What she is doing is going to help people for many years to come.”

Click here to read the full article on NPR.

Beyoncé’s Daughter Blue Ivy Carter Is Dad Jay-Z’s Mini-Me in This Rare Video of Her Rapping

LinkedIn
Blue Ivy drinking out of a straw and a an award trophy

By Julia Teti, Yahoo! Entertainment

The apple didn’t fall far from the tree in Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s family. The mega-stars have been married for more than a decade and share three children together, including their eldest child Blue Ivy Carter. As the 9-year-old has gotten older, fans of the music industry titans have watched Blue follow in her mom and dad’s footsteps. And she proved once again that she’s seriously her dad’s mini-me when she rapped during Jay-Z’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 2021 induction video tribute.

The video featured a star-studded ensemble of who’s who in the world of entertainment and music. Naturally, Jay-Z’s wife kicked things off, reciting some of her husband’s most memorable lyrics. The video included shout-outs from the likes of Common, Regina King, and even LeBron James among a bevy of other famous faces. We think, however, the best cameo was saved for last when Blue popped up on screen.

“Congrats S. Carter, ghost writer. You paid the right price, so we just made your hits tighter,” Blue recited at the end of the clip, before letting out the cutest laugh. The lyrics Blue rapped — along with a number of words recited by Jay-Z’s collaborators and friends — were from one of his most famous songs. Blue’s lyrics were a clean version of the words from Jay-Z’s 1998 track “Ride Or Die.”

Between her looks and her Grammy win for “Brown Skin Girl,” Blue Ivy Carter is becoming the perfect combination of her two famous parents. We’ve loved watching the couple’s eldest child come into her own, and we can only imagine how she’s going to take over the music industry in the years to come!

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

Simone Biles Details the Trusted Tool She Uses to Help Combat Her Anxiety

LinkedIn
Simone Biles posing on gymnatict floormat after performance smiling with hand in the air

By People

Simone Biles is developing tools to deal with anxiety, thanks to the help of a trusted therapist.

While appearing virtually at the Child Mind Institute’s annual Child Advocacy Award dinner in New York City on Tuesday to accept the inaugural Trailblazer Award, Biles — who has been outspoken about mental health, especially in the wake of a challenging Tokyo Olympic Games — said she hopes to be “a voice for the voiceless.”

In doing so, Biles is being candid about what helps her through difficult moments.

“I do keep close contact with my therapist, I love that,” Biles, 24, said in a PEOPLE exclusive clip from the dinner. “And it’s super exciting so hopefully more people are open to going to therapy and knowing that they’re there for you and not to harm you.”

Part of what Biles’ therapist has encouraged her to do is keep a worry journal.

“I have pretty bad anxiety sometimes so she tells me in my worry journal to put from 12 to 1 p.m. — that’s the time I’ve selected — and anything I’ve written down in my worry journal, I use that hour to worry about the things then,” Biles explained. “And usually by the time 12 or 1 [p.m.] comes, I’ve already forgotten about all my worries so that kind of is a tool that helps me.”

Biles, in general, said she’s learned “to not give up, to move forward and keep pushing,” over the years, even when facing the unimaginable. She said she now sees happiness as, “Just waking up and having a positive outlook on life in general and to know that you’re blessed with another day.”

The athlete was in conversation with Harold S. Koplewicz, MD, president and medical director of the Child Mind Institute. In a press release, Koplewicz said “Simone Biles bravely showed children and the entire world this year that mental health and wellbeing should be made a priority and a foundation for everything else we do in life. The Child Mind Institute is pleased to present her with the inaugural Trailblazer Award for her courageousness and strength in using her global platform to tell young people that it’s critical to speak up and get help.”

During this year’s Summer Games, Biles removed herself from four out of five gymnastics event finals due to a case of the “twisties” — a disorienting condition that athletes can experience when they lose air awareness, putting them at risk for injury when they land.

The Olympian explained at the time that she withdrew to focus on her mental health, saying on social media that her “mind & body are simply not in sync.”

Biles ended up returning to the competition to participate in the balance beam final, for which she won bronze. The athlete also took home a silver in the team all-around final.

Click here to read the full article on People.

Black Woman Wins $1M Global Teacher Prize

LinkedIn
Keisha Thorpe, a black woman who won a $1M global teacher prize

By BET Staff

A teacher from Maryland has won the prestigious Global Teacher Prize.

According to NBC News, on Nov. 10, it was announced that Keshia Thorpe, 42, who teaches at International High School at Langley Park in Bladensburg, Maryland, would be awarded the $1 million Global Teacher Prize, which is presented every year to a teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to their profession.

“Education is a human right, and all children should be entitled to have access to it,” Thorpe said in a pre-recorded video message during an online broadcast from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) headquarters in Paris.

She continued, “Every child needs a champion, an adult who will never ever give up on them, who understands the power of connection and insists they become the very best they can be. This is exactly why teachers will always matter.”

Thorpe, who is originally from Jamaica, was selected from more than 8,000 applicants and her advocacy for students is impressive. NBC News reports she restructured her 12th grade English curriculum to make it culturally relevant to her students. Thorpe helps students with college applications and financial aid. Along with her twin sister, Dr. Treisha Thorpe, she co-founded the nonprofit U.S. Elite International Track, which assists student-athletes around the world to pursue scholarships to colleges and universities. Thorpe and her sister have helped over 500 students receive full track and field scholarships.

Thorpe told NBC News, “When I think about the students and how much their parents are sacrificing for them just to have an equitable education, it reminds me so much of my own journey. And so that’s why I go so hard for my students — because my story is their story.”

Click here to read the full article on BET.

Will Smith Says Venus and Serena Williams ‘Cried All the Way Through’ King Richard: ‘They Loved It’

LinkedIn
Will smith playing kin richard in upcoming movie about the williams sisters

By Benjamin VanHoose, People

Will Smith waited on pins and needles to hear Venus and Serena Williams’ reaction to his onscreen performance as their father.

In King Richard, out Nov. 19, the Oscar nominee plays Richard Williams, the dad and childhood tennis coach of the famous athlete sisters. While appearing on The Tonight Show Tuesday, Smith recalled being nervous to find out what Venus, 41, and Serena, 40, thought of the final movie.

“Venus and Serena were really excited about the possibility. And they said that they would potentially be executive producers and they would walk us through the whole process, but they were going to withhold whether or not they put their names on the film until they saw it,” said Smith.

“So then I get the call that Venus and Serena are walking into the theater to see the film,” he continued. “It’s the worst two hours ever. The worst two hours. Because you spent so much time creating these things, and there is literally only one audience when you do it. … You hope that they like it.”

Fortunately, the stars enjoyed the movie, Smith said: “Venus and Serena cried all the way through. They loved it.”

Earlier this month, Smith and the Williams sisters spoke with Entertainment Weekly about King Richard, praising the story, which follows the family’s start in the sport and their rise to ground-breaking champions status. Venus and Serena are played by actresses Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton, respectively.

“When we heard that Will wanted to do it, it was like, ‘Oh my God this movie is going to be the real deal.’ Whatever film he’s in, it’s the real deal. We got the sense of this is gonna be big, this is gonna be a serious film,” Venus said.

Click here to read the full article on People.

Boris Kodjoe on prioritizing his ‘spiritual, mental and physical health’: ‘I take time every single day to just be with myself’

LinkedIn
Boris Kodjoe sitting and smiling for the camera

By Erin Donnelly and Stacy Jackman, Yahoo! Life

The Unwind is Yahoo Life’s well-being series in which experts, influencers and celebrities share their approaches to wellness and mental health, from self-care rituals to setting healthy boundaries to the mantras that keep them afloat.

On-screen, Boris Kodjoe is saving lives as a firefighter on the ABC action-drama Station 19. Off-screen, he’s hoping to do the same by amplifying a new Men’s Health Awareness Month campaign highlighting the risks of prostate cancer, particularly for Black men like him, who are 75 percent more likely to be diagnosed with the disease and twice as likely to die from it.

In a video interview with Yahoo Life, the Austrian-born actor stresses the importance of looking after one’s physical and mental health. In terms of the former, he’s partnering with Depend and the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) for the return of the Stand Strong for Men’s Health initiative to destigmatize male incontinence and offer support to those being treated for prostate cancer; Depend will donate up to $350,000 to the cause.

Kodjoe calls the cause a “very personal” one, as he saw a close friend and mentor undergo his own battle with prostate cancer.

“It reminded me that I needed to take care of myself,” he says. “And the first step to do that is to talk about health issues, to talk about everything that concerns us — spiritual, mental and physical health — to be vulnerable, to be open and not to consider it as a weakness to talk about these things. And as Black men, we are facing a lot of things every single day. There’s a lot of weight on our shoulders, but in order to take care of others, we’ve got to take care of ourselves first.”

The Soul Food actor hopes the initiative and breakthrough in cancer research will help draw attention and find solutions to the racial disparities present in access to quality health care. He also wants to spark conversations about other pressing health issues within the Black community, including obesity and the mental strain brought upon by the pandemic and social justice unrest.

Now 48 and a father of two — he and his actress wife Nicole Ari Parker share a daughter and son — Kodjoe is prioritizing his own health needs as he gets older.

“I’m getting to an age now where I’m the guy now holding the phone six feet away from my face so I can read what’s on the screen,” he jokes. “It’s undeniable that we’re all getting older and so we need just those constants… I’m the first one to admit that I didn’t do a great job always taking care of myself. I have a family and they depend on me, so I need to do that.”

That includes looking after his mental headspace, too.

“I practice what I preach and I take time every single day to just be with myself, whether it’s my morning prayer, meditation or laying down and stretching in my trailer when I have five or 10 minutes between shots,” he says. “There’s stuff that you can do that’s pretty simple to include in your daily routine that you could turn into a habit. And it’s important because we have so many habits that are detrimental to our health. We need to balance that out with habits that are actually good for ourselves — whether it’s mental health, spiritual health or our physical health — that will ensure that we’re here for a longer time.”

The Real Husbands of Hollywood star — who will soon make his directorial debut with the Lifetime movie Safe Space, in which he stars opposite his wife — says that his work can also be “therapeutic.”

“It’s a creative outlet,” he says. “It’s a way for me to represent who I am, to represent us [the Black community] in the most multi-dimensional way possible. Historically we’ve been sort of portrayed in one-dimensional ways. And I think that every role we take on, we try to make sure that you represent our culture in a way that shows how multi-dimensional we are. It’s an outlet that I’m really grateful to have.”

While that work is rewarding, Kodjoe is careful to maintain what he calls a “work-life list of priorities,” with his family at the top.

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

Usher’s New Look Non-Profit Receives $500,000 Grant for Financial Literacy Programs

LinkedIn
Usher on stage discussing his new look financial literacy program

, Revolt

Usher’s New Look (UNL), a non-profit organization founded by the R&B superstar in 1999, recently announced that it has received a hefty donation. The Truist Foundation has given UNL $500,000 to support its high school leadership program, specifically its financial literacy initiatives, according to a press release.

The $500,000 is the latest amount given to UNL by the Truist Foundation, which has already handed out a total of $1.5 million over five years to help the company’s mission.

“Breaking the cycle of poverty and debt is tantamount to the future success of young people, particularly in these challenging times where we see that there are currently 16 million children living in poverty today,” said Careshia Moore, president and CEO of Usher’s New Look in the press release. “This is, therefore, a proud moment for Usher’s New Look, and we are so very grateful to Truist Foundation for this transformational grant that will enable us to further our mission and touch the lives of hundreds of young people, helping them prepare for their futures while uplifting themselves and their communities at the same time.”

The Truist Foundation was formed in 2019 after the merger of BB&T and Suntrust Banks. The Foundation’ purpose, according to its website, is to inspire and build better lives and communities by partnering directly with nonprofit organizations that support wealth building for historically excluded communities. Led by President Lynette Bell, Truist Foundation aims to build career pathways to economic mobility and strengthen small businesses. After awarding the $500,000 to UNL, Bell reaffirmed her commitment to the organization and programs like it in the press release.

“Truist Foundation is committed to helping Usher’s New Look advance its mission by empowering young people with access to financial wellness to help them make choices throughout their lives,” Bell said. “Ushers New Look shares in our purpose to inspire and build better lives and communities. Their dedication and proven track record in guiding and developing the talent and skills of young people is unparalleled.”

Globally, UNL has served more than 50,000 youth, according to stats listed on its website. UNL’s high school program offers workshops and how-to sessions, covering a variety of topics such as talent exploration, preparing for college, workforce development, servant leadership, entrepreneurship, budgeting, credit and debt, savings, investing, and more.

Click here to read the full article on Revolt.

Will Smith opens up on mental health struggles

LinkedIn
Will Smith released a new trailer for his upcoming series Will Smith: The Best Shape Of My Life, and it teased the actor opening up about struggles with his mental health.

BY , Digital Spy

Will Smith released a new trailer for his upcoming series Will Smith: The Best Shape Of My Life, and it teased the actor opening up about struggles with his mental health.

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star created the YouTube Originals series to document two journeys: trying to lose 20 pounds in 20 weeks and finishing his memoir.

The synopsis teased: “But what emerges is a Will Smith that you’ve NEVER seen before. A Will Smith who realises that what he needs to work on most is his mental health.”

In the trailer, one scene saw him open up to his family, including his children Trey, Jaden and Willow.

He told them, “That was the only time in my life that I ever considered suicide”, although the video didn’t reveal the context behind the conversation or the time in his life he was referring to.

In another scene, he read an excerpt from his upcoming autobiography to his loved ones. “What you’ve come to understand as Will Smith, the alien-annihilating MC, bigger than life movie star, is largely a construction,” he read, “a carefully crafted and honed character designed to protect myself, to hide myself from the world. To hide the coward.”

Speaking directly to the camera, the Aladdin actor said: “When I started this show, I thought I was getting into the best shape of my life physically, but mentally I was somewhere else.

“I ended up discovering a whole lot of hidden things about myself… Now I’m about to show the world how little I know about myself.”

Click here to read the full article on Digital Spy.

Billy Porter makes peace with himself: ‘I set myself free, honey. No more secrets’

LinkedIn
Billy Porter attends the 2020 Vanity Fair Oscar Party. "Fabulous and serious can go hand in hand. I am proof positive of that," he says.

By Terry Gross, NPR

Actor Billy Porter grew up in Pittsburgh, immersed in the Pentecostal church and convinced that he would be damned for being gay. It wasn’t until he was introduced to the world of theater in sixth grade that Porter began to imagine a different future.

Theater, he says, “cracked open a space for me to dream beyond my circumstance.”

Porter’s family didn’t have much money, but he managed to get into a high school for performing arts, and then attended college at Carnegie Mellon, studying theater and voice. After graduation, Porter headed to New York, determined to make it on Broadway.

Theater roles were scarce, Porter says, because he is Black and was often considered too flamboyant — even for characters who were described as flamboyant. But he landed the lead role in the Broadway musical Kinky Boots, and, in 2013, he won a Tony for that performance and then a Grammy for the cast album the following year.

More recently, Porter won an Emmy for his starring role on Pose, an FX series set in the underground gay and trans ball culture of the late ’80s and ’90s. Porter’s character, Pray Tell, is diagnosed with HIV in Season 1 and dies from HIV/AIDS in the third and final season. While that season was airing, Porter also revealed he is HIV-positive. He says being open about his health status felt like a rebirth.

“That has been a very powerful, powerful thing that has come out of the show,” he says. “I set myself free, honey. No more secrets.”

Porter says that while he and his Pose character, Pray Tell, share the same sharp tongue and sharp wit, they have one key difference: “I am always leading with kindness and compassion.”

Porter tells his story in the new memoir, Unprotected.

On realizing as a teenager that he could make a profession out of being in the theater

I happened to be washing dishes in my kitchen … and the Tony Awards came on and Jennifer Holliday sang “And I’m Telling You, I’m Not Going” [from Dreamgirls] and … for some reason, seeing theater on television registered that I could make money doing it. … It was seeing Jennifer. It was seeing that show that helped me understand, “Oh, I can make a living doing this? I’m going to figure out every way that I can to do that.”

Click here to read the full article on NPR.

Michael B. Jordan and Serena Williams Partner to Help HBCU Students and Alums Launch Businesses

LinkedIn
Michael B. Jordan and Serena Williams want to give HBCU students or alums some coins for their businesses.

By Jasmine Alyce, Atlanta Black Star

Michael B. Jordan and Serena Williams are combining their star power to help elevate the businesses of HBCU students and alumni.

The “Creed” actor partnered with Invesco QQQ and Turner Sports to bring the inaugural HBCU basketball showcase to the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, on Dec. 18. In addition to spotlighting the universities and the talented athletes that attend them, the Invesco QQQ Legacy Classic is sponsoring a startup pitch competition that will give current students and alumni the opportunity to win up to $1 million toward growing their businesses.

“Invesco QQQ and Turner Sports have been amazing partners in helping bring this experience to life,” Jordan previously said in a statement announcing the showcase. “I grew up watching basketball games on TNT, so I am confident they will deliver this set of games to a true audience of basketball fans and their families in an exciting way.”

The pitch competition was created in partnership with Serena Williams‘ SerenaVentures and MaC Venture Capital. Participants who want their piece of the pie will be required to submit business proposals and investor decks online now through Nov. 18 to qualify.

“HBCUs are an integral part of our educational ecosystem and have long been centers of entrepreneurial excellence. We are thrilled to be partnering with Michael B. Jordan and MaC Ventures on highlighting the brilliant student and alumni founders,” Serena Ventures General Partner Alison Stillman said in a press release.

Click here to read the full article on Atlanta Black Star

America's Leading African American Business and Career Magazine

Leidos

Lumen

Lumen

American Family Ins

American Family Insurance

Verizon

verizon

Upcoming Events

  1. City Career Fair
    January 19, 2022 - November 4, 2022
  2. The Small Business Expo–Multiple Event Dates
    February 17, 2022 - December 1, 2022
  3. CSUN Center on Disabilities 2022 Conference
    March 13, 2022 - March 18, 2022

Upcoming Events

  1. City Career Fair
    January 19, 2022 - November 4, 2022
  2. The Small Business Expo–Multiple Event Dates
    February 17, 2022 - December 1, 2022
  3. CSUN Center on Disabilities 2022 Conference
    March 13, 2022 - March 18, 2022