All Articles Tagged "Community"
Age Ain’t Nothin’ But A Number In Hollywood: Older Actors Who’ve Portrayed Significantly Younger Characters
Since the beginning of film-making, directors have cast actors and actresses into roles based significantly on talent, often letting factors like age fall by the wayside. Age ain’t nothing but a number in Hollywood, and that’s evident when a 41-year-old Barber Streisand was cast to play a 17-year-old in Yentl, or a 34-year-old Stockard Channing was cast to play an 18-year-old girl in Grease. Let’s see what other actresses and actors are old enough to father or give birth to some of the characters they’ve played–or at least be a young aunt or uncle to them.
Donald Glover, who currently stars as 24-year-old college student Troy Barnes on Community, is just marginally older than his character by 5 years, making Glover 29 years old.
Tags:Actors taking younger roles, age, Amber Riley, Bianca Lawson, bring it on, clueless, Community, Donald Glover, Gabourey Sidibe, Gabrielle Union, Glee, halle berry, high school musical, Hollywood, Monique coleman, Precious, pretty little liars, remember the titans, save the last dance, Stacey Dash, their eyes were watching god, Wood Harris
Is there a leadership crisis in black America? A new poll suggests African-Americans think so.
The poll was commissioned by BET founder Robert L. Johnson, also the chairman of The RLJ Companies, and was released by Zogby Analytics. And the results are shocking.
According to the online survey of 1,002 African-Americans, when asked the question “Which of the following speaks for you most often?” 40 percent said that no one speaks for them, while 24 percent said the Reverend Al Sharpton of the National Action Network and MSNBC speaks for black people, and 11 percent said the Reverend Jesse Jackson of Rainbow PUSH.
Meanwhile, 9 percent of black respondents named Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D‐CA), 8 percent said NAACP President and CEO Ben Jealous speaks for them, and 5 percent mentioned Assistant Democratic Leader, Congressman James E. Clyburn (D‐SC). Marc H. Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League, and former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele each received 2 percent.
Read more on TheGrio.com.
Inspired by a recent trip to India, designer Rachel Roy recently celebrated her 39th birthday with a mission of giving, instead of receiving gifts. Roy has partnered with the charity: water campaign to raise $20,000 to give 1,000 people clean water in India. “Water changes everything. Diseases from unsafe water kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war,” explains Roy.
On What She Observed During Her Trip To India
This is my fourth year working with charity:water actually! I heard about them around the time of my 35th birthday and what I love most about charity:water is how simple they make the act of charitable giving. There are no rules or expectations, and you can donate as much as you feel comfortable giving.
During this time however, and through seeing how the dollars have been spent, I’m reminded just how essential clean water is in setting up a foundation for everything else in life. In a developing community, clean water is the most important commodity, and it’s such an easy gift for us to give.
On What We All Can Do To Give Back
I think it’s always best to start on a local level. You’ll know what needs attention and how to make the biggest change in your own community. A fantastic resource and a great place to start is Volunteers of America. It’s a nationwide database of all sorts of organizations that could use an extra pair of hands. It’s as simple as putting in your zip code to see what non-profits are active in your area.
Check out what else Rachel has to say on giving back as well as her goals for 2013 over on Essence.
Do you have time to volunteer?
Behind the scenes and at the forefront of their events, the Curly Girl Collective celebrates diversity. CGC is the brainchild of six women from an array of backgrounds – their professions range from advertising to computer science, and their ages range eight years – who’ve come together under the common goal of honoring the diversity of natural hair.
“I think of our diversity is what makes us work so well together,” says Simone Mair, Director of Business Strategy. “It makes us who we are.”
In the summer of 2010, Tracey Coleman (Director of Events), Charisse Higgins (Director of Public Relations), Simone Mair, Gia Lowe (Strategic Partnerships Director), Melody Henderson (Creative Director), and Julienne Brown (Marketing & Promotions Director), couldn’t stop talking about their natural hair journeys. Their mutual obsession led to small get-togethers in Tracey’s apartment. The face-to-face gatherings gave them an irreplaceable sense of connection that the online natural hair community, while overflowing with information, just couldn’t compete with.
Determined to make this sense of community available to a larger audience, the Curly Girl Collective was born. I caught up with the ladies behind the brand to learn how they’re bringing online connections to the real world.
MADAME NOIRE (MN): How does CGC carry out its mission?
CHARISSE: Curly Girl Collective is centered around events with a focus on empowering women. Our mission is to create experiences that celebrate natural beauty and creatively inspire and educate women in and outside of the natural hair community. CGC celebrates diversity and creates experiences that give women the freedom to be their natural selves.
MN: What was the catalyst that gave you the confidence to jump into entrepreneurship?
SIMONE: Our launch event was in May of 2011. To be honest, we really weren’t 100% confident that anyone would be interested in our event or even attend. Although a few of us had experience hosting smaller parties/events, we were jumping in head first with this endeavor. We had confidence in our skillsets and used our personal experiences to create what turned out to be a very successful event. It was scary. It was anxiety-driven. It was exhilarating. And at the end of it all, though exhausted, it was so rewarding!
MN: The natural hair phenomenon has spawned many new businesses and blogs. Why is an organization like CGC needed?
CHARISSE: A lot of businesses and blogs were founded for the purpose of promoting, creating and/or reviewing products to help women navigate the landscape of the natural hair community. And that’s great! But our goal is a little different. We aim to truly create environments that speak to specific moments in the natural hair journey, with the goal of leaving our guests empowered, inspired and truly in love with their natural beauty. From coveting another woman’s curls (which is a very real feeling), to the issues one encounters when a love interest doesn’t embrace natural textures, our events seek to speak to the spectrum of topics in the natural hair journey.
MN: The main goals of CGC are issue-based (acceptance; providing a platform). How do you monetize your initiatives?
GIA: We’ve spent the past two years creating the groundwork – valuable experiences that women look forward to attending. From here, we hope to attract sponsors that are aligned with our vision and in return we can introduce their brands to consumers in an intimate way tailored to their business needs.
MN: What are the main issues your target audience is dealing with? How are you addressing them?
SIMONE: Some of the more common issues we hear from our audience are frustrations with hair health, regimens, textures, etc. We also hear about frustrations with the perceptions of natural hair among loved ones, family, friends, business peers, etc. None of us are experts in any of the topics aforementioned but we listen to our fans and we do our best to create events that address those issues such as our last co-ed event, Mane Attraction, where we provided an open judge-free platform to express how natural hair has affected their relationships with their mates. Sometimes the resolution to a lot of issues is just communication.
MN: What’s the key to putting on a great event? How do you make CGC events memorable?
CHARISSE: It’s interesting, we really treat it like an advertising agency. We approach each event with the lens of a creative department, making sure our ideas are grounded in something innovative. With so many brands creating experiences now in the natural hair space, it’s imperative that we break through the landscape of meet ups, launches and seminars with events that push it a little further. And above all, our events are memorable because we make them fun–that’s really all that matters. At the end of the day, ladies just want to come out and celebrate the movement!
Regardless of your industry, it is no longer a question of “if” your small business should have a social media presence, but “how” those platforms should be used. According to the 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 85 percent of businesses that have a dedicated social media platform reported an increase in their market exposure, and 58 percent reported an increase in sales.
Your social media accounts can do much more than serve as an outpost for your website. Social media is a great way to establish your brand as a thought leader in your industry. It also can be used to build a community of evangelists, involve your customers in your creative process, and reach new audiences.
The key to a dynamic social media presence is good content. Satisfying Internet users’ insatiable appetite for content can seem daunting. But, most brands are sitting on a gold mine of stories to share without realizing it. Here are a few ways to find those stories:
1. Get employees involved.
The people who make your business work are the best resources for content. Social media should be a part of everyone’s job description. Ask employees to create guest posts, or ask for regular updates on clients, corporate culture, and other under the radar developments that you can share online. Making employees visible online humanizes your brand, and they offer a unique perspective that is compelling to readers.
2. Offer behind-the-scenes access.
Everyone likes to feel like they have access to something exclusive or rarely seen. Give your fans and followers that feeling of privilege by offering something extra that they wouldn’t be able to find on your blog or website. Share slides from presentations, videos from events, or a sneak peek at a new product or service.
3. Set a Google Alert on keywords that impact your business.
Narcissism isn’t attractive in person or online. Don’t just talk about yourself, talk about what’s happening in your industry. A reputation for sharing important content will make you a thought leader in your field. Google Alerts and RSS feed subscriptions are especially helpful if you don’t have enough time to produce original content of your own. Direct your followers to good content that’s already out there.
4. Spotlight your customers.
Share the spotlight with the people who use your products or services. It will not only showcase your success but also give exposure to your customers, something they will appreciate. Promote your clients when they do something noteworthy, and they will do the same for you.
5. Build a community.
Social media is not a one-way channel of communication. Posting content without engaging audiences may work for some large brands, but small businesses need to make friends online. New friends can quickly become new customers. Customers don’t want to be advertised to, they want to be engaged. Ask questions and get feedback on the work you’re doing. Contests and promotions are also a great way to keep fans and followers excited and coming back for more.
Has your small business found success leveraging social media? Share some of your favorite tactics in the comment section.
It’s Fashion Week in New York City and the cast and crew of Basketball Wives LA are in town filming. But there isn’t a camera crew in sight in the space behind Salon 804 in Harlem. There, under the city’s iconic fire escapes, a makeshift classroom has been fashioned and Jackie Christie is teacher for the day. A dozen girls grill the reality star on her rise to fame.
Christie talks about her life story, taking care to smooth over any negative behavior they might have seen on her show. “I don’t take mess from nobody. That’s what you see on the show [with the other girls]” she told her attentive audience. “I always feel bad after. But, I’m a fighter and I have passion.”
It was a passionate, fighting spirit that led Rochelle Mosley, a celebrity stylist from Richmond, VA now based in Harlem, to start Project Girl. The program is meant to take the stigma off of living in public housing and channel the hustle it takes to survive that environment into something positive and entrepreneurial. Friday’s event with Christie is one of a series of workshops that covers an array of topics impacting girls’ lives.
Mosley started the program when she realized that many of the girls interning in her salon did not have the information they needed to prepare for the future. “This summer I took notice of how much they didn’t know,” she said. “My 17-year-old intern didn’t know how to address an envelope… I want to help them get where they need to be so they can live like Jackie, like the people they see on TV. She’s not living a lie, it’s real for her, and she can show the girls how to make it real for them.”
Project Girl workshops feature women from all walks of life. Last month a dentist came in to discuss hygiene and a life coach visited to assist the girls in working through their problems. At the request of parents in the community, Mosley opened up the sessions to girls age between the ages of 12 and 18.
The workshops are not only an opportunity for the girls to hear women share their experiences, but to support each other’s growth. The girls don’t leave Mosley’s influence once the sessions end. She uses her network to help the girls with any problem they bring to her. “I get emails all the time,” she said. “I got an email last night from a young lady who is in 11th grade and she’s in a school where there is one college counselor to 200 kids. She said she feels like time is running out and she doesn’t have the support for college.” Mosley connected her with scholarship and test prep experts.
Empowerment is the goal here. Mosley believes that fear is what holds many women back from pursuing their dreams. For her, fear was a motivator. “I’m just thinking about not being like my mother,” she said. “That’s not derogatory. I grew up a certain way. My mother never owned anything or went on vacations. I grew up like these kids. I want to tell them just because your mother isn’t talking about it, doesn’t mean it’s not possible. I’m the first entrepreneur in my family.”
Christie was brought in to impart wisdom on juggling a busy life in the entertainment industry. Although mostly known as a polarizing character on Vh1’s raucous reality show circuit, Christie has a myriad of projects going on at any given moment, including self-help books (she just released her latest, Proud to Be a Colored Girl) and a fashion line. Her advice to girls and women is to follow their dreams. “Google, Google, Google. You can never get enough education and information,” said Christie. “That’s how I learned to be a self-published author. And now I’m five books in, with three best sellers.”
If the girls are starstruck by Christie, they don’t show it. They ask everything from updates on her co-stars’ whereabouts to advice on launching entertainment careers of their own. That fearlessness makes it apparent that this small circle of girls in Harlem is the perfect foundation to forge a new crop of first-generation entrepreneurs.
A Love Letter To the U-S of A: Despite Our Problems, No Matter What People Say, I’m Proud To Be An American
“You Americans are so dumb. You take education for granted.”
“I’ve never seen this much poverty in MY country. I was so shocked when I came here.”
“I love MY country. In MY COUNTRY we don’t have to worry about the stuff you worry about here.”
All of the above comments are compliments of various conversations with people from various countries. I’ll begin by stating that I was born and raised in the United States. I haven’t visited other countries to know firsthand the parallels or the dissimilarities. All I have, at this point, are an open mind, the desire to seek out international information from objective, credible news sources and the honest truth about the good ol’ US of A.
As an honest American I can say that yes, 46.2 million Americans are considered to be living below the poverty line, an issue that the 1% could easily alleviate by… Never mind.
Yes, the average private non-profit institution cost of tuition is $28500, leaving unlucky students with an overwhelming amount of debt, of whom I am one.
As an American woman who happens to be Black, I weep for and can attest to the crimson thread of racism that runs through the tapestry of US history like an unwanted yet tolerated intruder, too deeply ingrained to wholly pluck out. As a bleeding heart and socially aware citizen, I can bite the bullet and admit that America has yet to put as much effort into controlling domestic ‘wars’ as it does in the Middle East. US cities are riddled with gun violence and homelessness. I can admit that Hurricane Katrina highlighted the intense lack of governmental forethought, clearly demonstrating to the world that some Americans are but an afterthought, some of whom are still waiting for ‘relief.’ There is no denying that America’s faults are spread wide, piled high and often overlooked by those who have the most power to effect change.
However, the line between our landmark rights to “freedom of speech” and the vehement, calculated criticism of America by international acquaintances begins to get blurry at fragile points. And I won’t lie – I get mad.
Over my 20-something years of life I have learned how to take criticism like a champ. It hasn’t always been easy. Sometimes I want to wring folks’ necks. Sometimes I have to wait until I get by myself and cry away the hurt. Either way, I’ve learned how to take what is spoken to me; take what is true and will lend itself to higher understanding/growth and then leave the unhelpful thoughts alone. As Bishop T.D Jakes said, “Eat the meat and throw away the bones.”
But what I can’t get down with is the intense disregard for and stereotyping of ALL Americans based off of what a few capitalist snobs, a few greedy CEOs, a few gang bangers, a few unscrewed citizens, a few unconcerned politicians do/have done. The ‘America’ conversations even with FRIENDS from other countries can create deep resentment because if I came out and said, “Well, hey if America is SO much worse than your country, why don’t you go back?” I’d be wrong. If I did some objective research of some of their home countries or even just listened long enough to their personal descriptions of the degradation some of them came to America to escape and recited it back to them, I’d be a racist, a bigot. My character would be questioned.
Everyone can tell the ‘truth’ about Americans but Americans have to bite their tongues to be, you know, PC.
So, I sit and endure jabs at my community, my home, when in all honesty, I have been blessed to grow up in America. Are there rough and jagged edges to this country? Yes. Am I disappointed daily, by the varying demoralizing events that litter the 6 o’clock news? Absolutely. But there are always two sides to a coin, aren’t there?
I’m blessed to have running water, heat in the winter, air conditioning in the summer. A full roof over my head, paved roads. I’m a product of many years of a Tri-State public school system in which I thrived. I’m a product of a country where the practice of my faith is not threatened with imminent death. At night I sleep with no fear of my home being bombed or of my private parts being mutilated. I travel the width and length of this country not having to ‘show papers’ without which I could be incarcerated for only God knows how long. I can proudly say that the America I so freely roam today is a result of ancestors who came here – some willingly, some in chains – and decided to make the best of the hand they were dealt. While I have no doubt that there are ample other countries who enjoy these same freedoms, America is all I know firsthand, for now. And I count myself blessed.
Do unspeakable things happen here? Yes. But those unspeakable things, however horrible they may be, do NOT discredit the warm blanket of freedom under which I sleep comfortably at night, (respect to the American soldiers who spread that blanket over me with each tour of duty). Those unspeakable things that happen in America and the people who carry them out do NOT discredit the vast amount of good-hearted folks in this country who walk in their calling of reclaiming civility, generosity and compassion to the United States.
It may be the unpopular opinion, in an age of increasing ‘political correctness’ as opposed to speaking the raw honest-to-God truth, but yes, I HAVE recommended to those who have NOTHING but negative comments to spit on the red, white and blue: “You can always go home.” Why stay someplace where you have absolutely NOTHING good to say about it? Why subject yourself to such alleged detrimental and sub par living conditions? Why scrounge up the money to attend an American college when in YOUR country you can attend for free, as you say? Why sit and watch American news every day with its looming cloud of bad luck, death and destruction when in your country little to none of the above plague the people? True freedom of speech is a wonderful thing, isn’t it? It allows others to run down ‘The Great Melting Pot’ for whatever their reasons while also allowing me to dole out a piece of my mind. Thank God, and my American rights for that.
La Truly is a late-blooming Aries whose writing is powered by a lifetime of anecdotal proof that awkward can transform to awesome and fear can cast its crown before courage. Armed with the ability to purposefully poke fun at herself La seeks to encourage thought, discussion and change through her writing. Check out her blog: www.hersoulinc.com and her thoughts/jokes/rants on Twitter: @AshleyLaTruly.
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Traumatic events have a way of showing us who we really are. Many allow it to defeat them and others use it as motivation to live a more meaningful life. Having survived the World Trade Center attacks and the death of her beloved husband, Charlice Noble-Jones is one who has found her true calling through tragedy: helping others transform their lives as the owner of Snap Fitness.
After entering a contest for a chance to own the gym franchise, Noble-Jones felt a growing desire that signaled more than a career change. It was a chance to be a part of something bigger than her and positively impact the world.
With the gym being a huge success less than a year of opening, there are plans to expand and to continue finding healthy ways to reach her community.
Read more about out how Charlice is building a successful business that started with 300 memberships in 20 days and helping her community take control of its health on BlackEnterprise.com.
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Yvette Nicole Brown—not to be confused with Sherri Shepherd or Octavia Spencer as she sometimes is—deserves a hand. The actress who plays on NBC’s hit show “Community,” knows better than anyone else the difficulties of being a brown skinned, heavier, comedic woman seeking employment in Hollywood and though it would be easy for her to just be the funny, fat, black side kick Tinsel Town would love to make her, she says it’s not gone happ’n.
“Everybody kind of fits in a box, and I get it. Sometimes you have to start in the stereotype of this industry and then get to branch out as you’ve proven your ability to be able to do it,” Brown, told the Examiner in their latest Inspirational Woman in the Entertainment Industry series. “I’ve been very careful about what I’ve chosen, but that being said, there’s not a lot of roles that allow portrayals of things to be positive.”
Part of making sure she’s able to secure positive roles is having management that backs her and understands her goals as as a black entertainer, Brown said.
“Even in the beginning, I always made it very clear the things I may or may not be able to do. And I’d let them know, ‘I know you guys are saying it’s okay now, but if we work together for six months, and I’m passing on more than you’re comfortable with, then I’m okay if you drop me.’ I literally have said that to every agent or manager I’ve had. I understand if they can’t do it; if it gets to the point where they can’t keep their lights on, let me know, and we’ll part ways, and I’ll go to an agent that understand what I’m trying to do here.”
Luckily, she eventually came across the perfect duo and she’s been with her theatrical agent for a decade and her commercial agent for just a little bit longer than that. Still, although her agents understand Brown’s needs as an entertainer there’s only so much they can do for her if the roles aren’t there.
“Shows like The Jeffersons, they showed every type of black character…but it wasn’t just for black audiences,” she said. “What is inherently black or inherently white? I wish they would cut that mess out and just cast the best actor, no matter what the color or race. May the best actor get the role. That would be so refreshing. They’re not black– or white or Hispanic or Latina or whatever; they’re just women who happen to be played by black women. That’s the thing that I’ve always been…screaming from the rooftops. You don’t have to change a line to cast a black actor.”
Brown clearly knows. When she went for the role of Shirley on “Community” she was the alternative choice, pitted against two rather talented white actresses. Thankfully for her, her own talent won out, and that’s the type of approach she wants to bring to all of her work.
“I just feel like every actor has to make a decision as to what they want to embody and what they want to represent,” she said. “When I look back on the roles I’ve played, you can say ‘Yvette never took a role that she didn’t see a positive part of how it’d affect the people viewing [it].
“With every industry, you get very clear on the parameters of your industry, and you learn how to live within them,” she continued. “You have to find a way to not become bitter and live within the parameters of the situation and laugh your way through it…and you hope for a better day for the next generation.”
She’s definitely trying to make that possible. Have you checked out Yvette Nicole Brown in “Community?”
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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Caring about everyday issues like pollution, contaminated water and the environment seem fairly new, insignificant, and sometimes unimportant in the Black community overall, but it’s making more of an impact on this community than any other.
Recent studies and statistics from the Center for American Progress conclude that many physical ailments in the African-American community, like asthma, diabetes and lung cancer, are due to air and trash pollution and power plants, and the rates of those illnesses are very disproportionate compared to other communities.
The Center for American Progress reported that for many people of color, including Hispanic Americans, air pollution is an “unavoidable feature of daily life because they are more likely to live and work in the nation’s most polluted cities.” In a study conducted nationally, only 56 percent of the white population lives within 30 miles of a coal-fired power plant, plants which lead to related illnesses like asthma and lung disease. This was compared to a dramatic 68 percent of African-Americans.
In addition, Hispanics and African-Americans are more likely to reside near facilities that contain wastes that are harmful and full of pollutants: “Arsenic (used commercially as a rat poison) and lead are among the toxic chemicals that may be concentrated at these sites.”
Accessibility to medical care and health insurance also plays a role in this disparity. According to the research:
“Existing health disparities and high uninsured rates among communities of color compound these health consequences. Racial and ethnic minorities make up a majority of the 50 million Americans who are uninsured, despite constituting only about one-third of the U.S. population. These high uninsured rates mean that the very same populations imperiled by environmental toxins may be unable to obtain necessary medical care.”
Although these statistics look grim, small changes in the community are all we need to start taking care of this issue head on. Although new EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) rules will help these communities breathe easier, making your home more green and environmentally-friendly could make the real difference in your family’s overall health. They might not get rid of all the pollution and dangers outside, but caring more about the environment, starting within your own home, could do wonders for your health, save you money and a lot more. Start with these three simple steps that could have a major positive impact, if you haven’t already started:
Recycle: Recycling old cardboard, glass, cans, paper and plastic are very easy and safer for your community than just throwing everything away in the same trash. Use recyclable bins or plastic bags to gather up these materials. You could even make this task into a chore that is family friendly, labeling bins for each material to keep them separate.
Use Energy Wisely: Power plants thrive off the amount of energy we use, so turn off (and unplug) energy-draining appliances like your phone charger when it’s not in use. You’d be surprised how many appliances are always plugged into outlets and aren’t connected to a product, but still are sucking up electricity. This is making your bill higher and wasting currency.
Be H2O Friendly: Encourage your family to turn off water when not in-use during forgettable moments like taking a shower, brushing your teeth or washing the dishes. If you are not directly using it, turn it off for the moment.
Enthusiasm over going green should not be labeled to one group of people because it impacts us all, most of all, people of color. We must change the way we see our ways of living, which are embedded within our culture, and allow those rituals to change with the times, for our health’s sake. Caring for our environment and community of color is one big step towards ensuring our health and longevity.
How do you care for the environment?
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