All Articles Tagged "swimming"
For the past few weeks, photos of “House of Payne” star, Keshia Knight Pulliam in a swimsuit, perfecting her diving skills surfaced on the web. As opposed to celebrating and cheering on the former Cosby Show star as she geared up to participate in ABC’s upcoming reality competition, Splash, many rushed to criticize the appearance of the child star turned Hollywood beauty’s body. During a recent interview with Wendy Williams, Keisha dished on her initial reaction to the photos and why her participation in the competition is so important for Black girls. Take a peek below at what she had to say.
On the “unflattering” photos:
“I know what pictures you’re talking about and as a woman, no matter what, even if you don’t look like that, I was mortified for a moment. You know when you just fall out in your closet and I’m like ‘Ughhhhh.’ But, I realized that I could either be defeated by it or inspired by it. At the end of the day, I’m not the first woman or the last woman to have a picture that’s unflattering taken of them.”
“I wasn’t there, so I’m not going to say, but I believe they may have done something a little extra to them [the photos]. I had that moment, women, you know how we do, straight nude, out of the shower I looked in the mirror. I posed and was like ‘Yeah, I don’t look like that. I’m good.’
On her new show, Splash:
“You know, it’s really crazy. The opportunity was presented to me and of course, my team at first was like, ‘Oh, absolutely not.’ But I was like, you know, I really love swimming. Then, I did my research; I’m such a Google-girl. I looked and I realized that there were absolutely no African-American women who had competed or medaled in diving in the Olympics or on any high level. So I have my non-profit and it’s all about girls and inspiration and dream big, think big, accomplish big. And I was like you know what, this is the perfect opportunity to inspire others. At the end of the day, what I’ve learned from working with girls is that they don’t know to dream it or strive to be it if they don’t know it exists.”
Way to go Rudy!
Turn the page to watch Keshia’s full interview. What do you think of the manner in which some people reacted to her photos?
Drowning statistics in the United States are sobering. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ten people die from accidental drowning every day and, of those, two are children aged 14 and younger. What’s worse is that this crisis disproportionately affects monitory communities. African-American children aged five to 14 are three times more likely to drown than their white counterparts, says the CDC.
In the face of such depressing trends, Talia Mark has made it her mission to attack the problem head-on. As the Manager of Multicultural Marketing for USA Swimming, it is her job – and her passion – to generate interest in swimming and create awareness for the importance of water safety, particularly among blacks and Latinos. And it’s a sweet gig. She jets around the country with Olympic gold medalist Cullen Jones, organizing community swim events and private lessons with black and brown kids, and she just spearheaded a partnership between USA Swimming and the sorority Sigma Gamma Rho to spread the water gospel even wider. (Jones will also be on the “Make a Splash” tour come 2013.)
While it may seem like a responsibility too large for the 29-year-old Michigan native, Mark is cruising confidently on comfortable terrain. Before joining USA Swimming, she served as the Manager of Diversity Affairs for NASCAR, similarly working to increase minority interest in a sport that many of us overlook. Recently, we sat down with Mark to discuss her career path, why she’s so committed to getting more folks into the pool, and her advice for other aspiring women.
Madame Noire: You’ve held some pretty high profile positions at both NASCAR and USA Swimming. Did you always have a dream to work in sports?
Talia Mark: Actually, I wanted to go into event planning, but nobody told me out of high school that public relations was not event planning. So I studied public relations at Central Michigan University.
My first internship was with a place called PineRest Christian Mental Health Institution. One day my best friend called me because she was doing an internship at this place called TCG Campbell in Dearborn, MI, and they were having this big crisis. She was calling me to see how to fix it, and when I got off the phone with her I was like, “Look, I don’t know what it is that you’re doing, but I want to do that. This is not where I want to be, and I can’t sit in the office everyday.’ And come to find out, she was working with the Ford Racing team.
A couple weeks later I was able to get an interview with TCG Campbell, and they asked which department I wanted to work in. I was 20 years old, and I just knew that I wanted to travel, so they put me in racing.
MN: Did you have any preconceived notions about NASCAR or racing, in general, before you took the position?
TM: Honestly, I didn’t even know what NASCAR was. I had no idea. My first race was at Talledega, AL. That was my first experience, and it was actually during the taping of Talledega Nights, and I absolutely fell in love with it. It was so big, and so loud, and so fast, and everybody was so nice. There was just so much happening that I couldn’t go back. I ended up staying at TCG Campbell for about 2 ½ years.
MN: How did you move from NASCAR to USA Swimming at the beginning of 2011?
TM: In my last position at NASCAR, I was the Manager of Diversity Affairs, so my overall goal was to get more people interested in the sport who weren’t previously interested. The goal was to bring opportunities to diverse communities that may not have thought about racing as a viable option for entertainment or for job opportunities.
Going into the Olympic year, USA Swimming knew that the world is evolving and its much more diverse, and since they are the leaders in the Olympic movement, they wanted to be ahead of the curve in terms of diversity. So they were looking for someone to develop a multicultural marketing plan and reach out to people who may not swim. Essentially I was doing the same thing at NASCAR, but now there was the chance that I could actually help save someone’s life.
MN: How did you get the call? Did you have to actually apply?
TM: I had a number of people – some of my mentors and other people that I know in the sports industry – tell me that USA Swimming was really looking to promote diversity in swimming and they asked if it was something I would be interested in.
MN: That’s interesting because I think a lot of people are still relying on filling out job applications to get hired, but it doesn’t often happen that way, does it?
TM: No, I don’t think I’ve ever filled out a job application.
MN: So what advice do have for others to best position themselves for career opportunities?
TM: I think the first thing is to recognize opportunities. When I first took the job at NASCAR in Florida, my grandmother told me not to do it. She said it was far from family, far from my home, far from everything that I knew. But you have to have confidence in yourself, and let that fear go. A lot of people don’t want to let go of what’s comfortable.
Secondly, networking is going to be a big thing. When I first got into NASCAR, I sent out notes to people who I respected in the industry, and I still do this today.
I’m not coming at them looking for a job – that’s what they’re used to. I simply tell them that I respect what they’re doing in the industry, and I respect [he/she] as a businessperson, and I ask if they would be willing to mentor someone like me. And I will tell you right now that I would not be able to do half of the things that I am doing without my mentors. They have opened so many doors for me and stopped me from going down the wrong path so many times.
MN: So what’s next for you?
TM: I definitely have big dreams and goals, but I’m very happy with what we’re doing at USA Swimming, and what we’re doing is so important right now. You only get that chance once in a lifetime to make such an impact on someone’s life, a culture, a community. And I’d love to do bigger things within USA Swimming, so I’m looking forward to seeing what that growth will bring.
Andrea Williams is a journalist and writer based in Nashville, TN. For more, follow her @AndreaWillWrite.
Well, if you’re one of the few people who opted out of Olympics coverage, let me tell you: YOU. MISSED. OUT. At almost any given time of the Olympics, especially during this past week with the focus on track and field, there was some type of eye candy flashing across the screen. I’m talking about cuties from every country, in every flavor, matching almost everyone’s taste. Let’s see what we found…
Hailing from the country of Togo in West Africa, Adzo Kpossi may not have been on the receiving end of most of our cheers as we hoped for victory in the form of red, white, and blue. But the 13-year-old Olympic swimmer certainly deserves some credit for representing a contradiction to the stereotype of the relationship between black girls and water that unfortunately is somewhat more truth than myth: we don’t swim.
Adzo’s been recognized by all spectator’s of this year’s summer games as the youngest athlete to compete in London but The Guardian has also pointed out another unique aspect of the teen’s presence during this year’s competition, she is an African woman swimming in uncharted waters. When I think about the friend of mine who invited me to the beach via text a few weeks ago and then sent a follow-up message to say “of course we won’t be getting in the water,” I feel even more grateful for Adzo. When I think of how I suggested my friend actually swim instead of bake in the hot sun and how she told me she’d “leave that to the white folks,” I’m even more amazed at Adzo making the trek to the one pool in her part of the country at the Hotel Mercure in Sarakawa to train to compete on this level at her age. Let her tell it though, it’s not that big of a deal. ”I am used to it,” she told the press in London. “I went to the world championships in Shanghai last year, so this wasn’t my first time swimming in a big pool.”
I’m hoping that’s becoming more of a common statement among black women in the US—not the big pool part, just the idea of swimming. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not as though taking a dive in a pool is at the top of the list of things one must know how to do like, say read or balance a check book. But in the same way we’re all excited about the possibilities Gabby Douglas represents for young black girls who don’t think minorities do back-flips on balance beams, Adzo Kpossi shows black kids there are more options out there and swimming is one of them, whether you want to do it competitively or at the public pool up the block.
Not knowing how to swim is almost like a generational curse some black folks have willingly been passing on to their children, proudly proclaiming, “girl naw I don’t know how to swim” when someone asks. It’s fine if hitting the backstroke on a hot day doesn’t tickle your fancy but with black children between the ages of 5 and 14 being three times more likely to drown than white children, the power to change that statistic clearly lies in our hands. If you’re going to allow your child to take a dip in the pool, it’s your responsibility as a parent to make sure they know what they’re doing and that you can protect or save them if need be.
I’m sure Adzo wasn’t thinking about all that when she first decided to take her jump into those uncharted waters, nor all the other black women like her who have been swimming and winning for years, but I definitely am. And I’m proud of what she represents as a black girl with drive and determination to make it to the pinnacle of global athleticism at 13 years old doing something you don’t see too many of us doing. We need more Adzo’s and Gabby’s in the world.
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I remember as a young girl watching my great grandmother do so many things around the house. She’d cook, clean, sew and iron. She always seemed busy doing what my Poppop called “women’s work.” I thought to myself, “There has to be more to being a woman than knowing how to do domestic things” – but have times changed that much from when I was a child? While traditionally there are some tasks that are gender specific, I can’t help but think women nowadays are forging their own traditions with a “roll-up-your-sleeves and get-the-job-done” type of attitude. Yes, you should be able to cook a great meal, keep your house clean enough to keep the vermin away and iron your clothes well enough to be presentable at work. That’s a given. But we can do better than that in 2012.
Here are 10 things I think all women should know how to do – we go to work!
Black folks and water don’t mix right? Well one government safety group says it’s time to get to mixing because that’s the only way to reduce the disproportionate rates of black and Latino kids drowning in pools.
In it’s new campaign, called “Pool Safely,” the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission points out that black children between the ages of 5 and 14 are three times more likely to drown than white children in the same age group. They also show data from the USA Swimming Foundation which indicates that up to 70 percent of black and 62 percent of Hispanic children cannot swim.
“We are focusing on minority children because the data show they are most at risk for drowning,” safety commission chairman Inez Tenenbaum told CBS news. “It’s a cultural issue, because many of the African-American and Hispanic children have parents and grandparents who never learned to swim.”
The safety commission is working with the Y, the American Red Cross, public schools, and other community organizations to boost access to free swimming lessons, which is really the only choice the group has. If parents are willing to let their kids go in the water unsupervised when they don’t know how to swim they’ll just have to try to convince children otherwise. That really isn’t their job but it appears someone has to do it.
What do you think about this initiative? Do you know how to swim?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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Aaaahhh it’s so nice to see that a positive reality show is being picked up for a second season. Twin sisters Tia and Tamera Mowry-Hardrict and Housley, respectively, will partner with the Style network one more time for their self titled reality show. The two recently took promo photos for the show and baby Cree joined them for one of the shots. It’s amazing how big he’s gotten! I can see both his parents in his face but I think he looks more like his dad, Cory.
You can check out more photos from their shoot at Sister 2 Sister.com. Were you a fan of their show? Will you check out the second season?
And in other cute baby news, Mariah took a dip with her baby girl Monroe recently. It’s good to see this little one, since she’s always in the background having a meltdown while her brother is hamming up the spotlight. Both of them looked very relaxed.
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Two families from the bayou are in mourning as six teenagers drowned in the Red River in the northwest region of Louisiana on Tuesday after they stepped into a shallow 18-foot sinkhole Monday, according to MSNBC.
It’s an unfortunate fact that African American kids drown at a rate more than three times the rate of white children. Statistics say that our kids don’t know how to swim and their fear of drowning is the number-one reason, well, why they can’t swim. There are all kinds of theories why black children don’t have swimming skills–financial, geographical, and social reasons are often mentioned–but most important is what steps can we take to keep our kids safe.