Archive for the ‘New’ Category
Kristie (pictured left) and Kirstie Bronner (pictured) are identical twins with identical grade point averages, so why shouldn’t they share the honor of being Spelman College‘s first-ever sister co-valedictorians, reports WSB-TV.
The road to one of this country’s leading historically Black colleges was not a walk in the park for the girls; they worked hard to maintain their high grade point averages in high school. According to Kirstie who spoke with WSB-TV, “Before we came to college, we prayed that we would keep 4.0′s all the way through, but I don’t think we ever really expected it.”
But apparently there is strength in numbers, and as sisters who have traveled along the same path, sharing the same educational goals for success, the young women seemed to fuel each other, as evidenced by their noteworthy standing at Spelman, “You can have strength together,” Kristie points out.
When the young women arrived at the Atlanta college, they said they really pushed themselves to the limit to maintain excellent grades, even making themselves physically ill. Eventually, both Kirstie and Kristie learned from their mistakes, self-corrected, and managed their college workload in a way that would not negatively affect their health.
“We learned how to have a balance to life and then to be able to appreciate the journey of college and be more healthy and be more happy,” Kristie said.
The music majors, who will graduate in a few days, say that their collegiate experience taught them a valuable life lesson, “You don’t have to be the smartest. You don’t have to be the one who came in with the prior knowledge to be the one to succeed,” Kristie said. “It’s a great testimony and it’s also fun to be able to share it with one another. I don’t think we’d want it any other way.”
As the Baltimore Ravens’ third-round pick in the 2013 NFL draft, Missouri Southern defensive tackle Brandon Williams has an entirely new set of challenges ahead of him: He’s got to adapt to an NFL system against pro-level talent after starring at a smaller school, but that’s nothing compared to the task he undertook last summer. Williams, the son of a single mother, carried and cleaned portable toilets to make extra money.
“Sometimes, you got a little poop on you,” Williams told Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun during the Ravens’ recent rookie minicamp. “Every time I was doing that, I said to myself, ‘I gotta work harder, I’m not doing this the rest of my life.’ It motivated me to get better.”
Williams said that he pretended the outhouses were offensive linemen when he was lifting them into his truck. “I acted like I was playing football. I just made it fun.” Williams’ toughness, that ability to do a job others would not, is legitimate. His mom tried to hold the family together while working in factories and driving a bus, but it wasn’t easy. For half of Williams’ freshman year in high school, the family was homeless, keeping their belongings in their car.
“It was so tough, but my mom dealt with everything and she told me not to worry about it and just focus on school and sports,” he recalled. “It grounded me, and I never forget where I came from. The long road is a great road to travel because it makes you appreciate everything you’ve got.”
That focus was clear to Missouri Southern head coach Darryl Daye, who helped Williams become just the third player ever from a Division II school to be named a three-time All-American. And when Williams was invited to the Senior Bowl as a result, he clearly impressed against allegedly tougher competition. He then benched 225 pounds 38 times at the scouting combine, seeming to confirm Daye’s assessment that Williams is “crap-house strong.”
“No job is too small for him,” Daye told Wilson. “He’s what you want your son to be like: honest and true blue, a pleasure to coach. Brandon came up really rough, but he never let anything stand in his way. His mother is a very old-school, stern woman who raised him to be a Christian and to always have that humble mentality.”
Per the NFL’s slotting system for draft picks, Williams will make about $515,000 this season as part of a four-year contract that would pay over $2.6 million if he’s able to see all of it. The 6-foot-1, 335-pound lineman will start his NFL career as Haloti Ngata’s backup, but could see time alongside the big fella in certain defensive packages.
Certainly, whatever challenges are ahead of him will look small compared to what he’s been through.
“I worked a long time and I taught him to be a hard-working young man,” Shelly Washington, the rookie’s mother, told Wilson. “I’ve done every kind of job because it wasn’t negotiable. It had to be done and I didn’t complain. That’s what we’re all about.”
The baby’s mother argues loudly with another woman at the end of the bus before throwing her toddler girl at another passenger to hold while she runs get into a fistfight with the woman.
Shocking video shows the moment a young mom threw her baby out of the way so she could fight a fellow bus passenger. The angry woman is seen screaming at her rival for more than 90 seconds — with her tiny girl placidly sitting in her lap — before she roughly tosses the infant into the arms of a stranger across the aisle.
She then runs down to the end of the bus and launches into a vicious attack on her nemesis, who was apparently annoyed over a relationship a relative of the mom had with her own boyfriend. The ugly scene was caught on a cell phone camera by a fellow bus traveler in Connecticut. It’s not known when the footage was filmed. Neither woman has been identified.
watch the video here (more…)
For months, the R&B singer has been immersed in crafting X, his sixth album since 2005′s self-titled debut and its chart-topping hit Run It! established him as an instant star. That wattage dimmed when a 2009 felony assault chargefor battering girlfriend Rihanna established his reputation for a hot temper.
X unveils the emotional and creative growth Brown’s underwent in recent years, he says.
“X is about life, it’s about me,” he says. “X is the 24th letter of the alphabet, and I’ll be 24 when it comes out. When you see X on a vial, it’s like forbidden fruit. For me, it means being able to express myself without a filter, without boundaries.”
During a studio visit, the typically press-shy Brown is all smiles as he plays five new X tracks, including potent first single Fine China and its video, a lavish cinematic treatment with a dazzling mashup of martial arts choreography and dance moves. Both are out April 1, and the album is expected by late summer. The rollout will entail not only a tour and promotional appearances, but also interviews.
“I’m going back to groundwork,” he says. “I’ll show people who I am and not be a recluse. I wasn’t ready to talk before. It was timing. I’m more comfortable in my own body.”
Widely reported eruptions — a fracas with Drake at a New York club last year and a fight with Frank Ocean over a parking space in West Hollywood in January — were setbacks on Brown’s path to redemption.
The public hasn’t seen his progress, because “people see the circus on the blogs,” he says. “I’m cool. I’m happy. I’m focused. I’m a lot calmer. Everyone has anger issues and days they don’t feel like being bothered.
“I’m passionate about everything I do, whether I’m driving my car or hanging out. I wear my heart on my sleeve. That’s a good thing and a bad thing. Sometimes it comes off the wrong way. I’m learning how to deal with it and how to channel that into my music.”
Cobbled from a pool of 50 songs, X evolved from a process looser than the rigid strategy taken on 2011′s Grammy-winning F.A.M.E. and last year’s Fortune.
“I wanted a Quincy Jones approach, where you bring in various writers and producers and they vibe off each other,” he says. “I wanted to keep it comfortable and natural and draw creativity off the energy in the room. I wasn’t focusing on what could make a No. 1 single. I was honing in on the craft and different emotions from my life. I was more open to defining who I am: Chris Brown, a young man, not a full-grown man.”
From the X files:
Fine China. Roccstar and PK produced the soulful track written by Brown, Sevyn, Roccstar and Eric Bellinger. “I’m keeping it fresh but it pays homage to the old greats, Stevie Wonder, Sam Cooke and Michael Jackson,” Brown says. “I don’t like to go with what the crowd is doing or what I hear on the radio. I go with a gut instinct and what I feel in my heart.”
Add Me In. Brown, Roccstar and Bellinger wrote the Danja-produced retro-R&B tune with a mathematical twist on romance. “I like to use metaphor,” Brown says. “There’s not a lot of synthesized sounds and Auto-Tune. It’s just real singing.”
Autumn Leaves. Produced by BAM and written by Brown and Roccstar, the unfinished tune’s melancholy tone will lighten with the addition of an upbeat rap from Kendrick Lamar. “It’s one of those songs that you put on in the car and just ride,” Brown says. “It makes me think about a rainy day.”
Lady in Glass Dress. Camper produced the inspirational track that Brown wrote with Sam Hook. “It’s saying that I know there may be girls out there who have had their hearts broken and don’t have faith in relationships anymore,” Brown says. “They have dreams of being loved. Everything will be all right.”
X. Producer Diplo brings an electronic wallop to hip-hop grooves on an autobiographical tune Brown penned with Roccstar, Sevyn and Dewaine Whitmore Jr. One lyric, in which the singer declines taunts to fight so he can rejoin a party, contradicts the rap on Brown.
“That’s my mentality,” he says. “I’m focused on my path, on being more positive and on the up and up.”
That means shrugging off Internet gossip, including persistent reports that he’ll wed a bikini-clad Rihanna in July in Barbados. “That would be a rumor,” he says.
Likewise regarding speculation about infidelity. “We’re good,” he says. “We’re taking it one day at a time. She’s a wonderful girl. She’s beautiful. She’s on tour and our schedules don’t allow us to be as close as we want to be. But everything is good. She will be on my album.”
Jennifer Lopez may be another Madame X. Last week, she tweeted a photo of herself in the studio with Brown, starting a brush-fire of speculation. Brown will only say the collaboration is “phenomenal” and could appear on his album, hers or both.
“We met briefly at the Grammys and she said she wanted me to write for her album,” he says. “Working with her was amazing.”
Outside of music, Brown has been busy, starring in Battle of the Year: The Dream Team, a break-dancing film due in September, and showing his graffiti-inspired paintings in galleries.
“There’s still a lot for me to prove,” he says. “I have a lot of goals and ambition. I’m going to be better in the future.”
Global superstar Rihanna soars in the exclusive world premiere of concert documentary RIHANNA 777, airing Monday, May 6 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. The film gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look at Rihanna’s unprecedented globetrotting concert tour that hit seven countries in seven days with seven shows to promote her seventh album.
Filling a 777 jet with 256 die-hard fans and international journalists, Rihanna began a thrilling nonstop performance tour on November 14, 2012, traveling to Mexico City, Toronto, Stockholm, Paris, Berlin, London and New York City to promote her album, “Unapologetic.” The album debuted at No.1 on the Billboard 200, with her single, “Diamonds,” reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 the day after the 777 tour ended.
The entire tour was documented by a film crew, offering fans stellar performances of her greatest hits in glamorous locales. The film also provides an inside look at the singer’s ambitious and often turbulent tour, from the sound of popping champagne corks on the plane, to the backstage chaos, to the singer’s special worldwide appearances.
The Barbados-born Grammy Award-winning singer has already earned the coveted title of international superstar. From her breakthrough multi-platinum album, “A Girl Like Me,” to her ubiquitous global smash, “Umbrella,” in just a few short years, Rihanna helped redefine the path of popular music for a new generation. Rihanna’s music has earned her countless awards and accolades, including seven Grammy Award wins, five American Music Awards, 18 Billboard Music Awards and three MTV Video Music Awards. “Unapologetic” is Rihanna’s seventh studio album and “Diamonds” marks her twelfth Hot 100 No. 1 hit.
RIHANNA 777 is a Fenty Films production in conjunction with Love Live and Gravité Creative.
Keke Palmer (Akeela & The Bee), Lil Mama (America’s Best Dance Crew) and Drew Sidora (Step Up) are set to star in Crazy, Sexy, Cool: The TLC Story, VH1‘s biopic of R&B/hip-hop/pop group TLC. Palmer will portray Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas, Lil Mama will take on the role of Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, and Sidora will play Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins in the full-length TV movie about the trio’s lives and careers. Charles Stone III (Drumline) is directing from a script by Kate Lanier (What’s Love Got To Do With It). The film is slated to begin shooting next month in Atlanta where Chilli, Left Eye and T-Boz started their rise to fame. The two surviving members of the group, Chilli and T-Boz, serve as consultants and executive producers.
“TLC are truly music pioneers and this movie is a fantastic way to expand our scripted push by combining our audience’s passion for music with their love of story,” said Jeff Olde, VH1′s EVP Original Programming and Production. Also executive producing the TLC biopic are Bill Diggins and Maggie Malina as well as Pop Films’ Alexander A. Motlagh. VH1′s push into scripted programming also includes the upcoming scripted series Bounce, which will debut later this year.
The Roman Catholic Church very well could elect its first black pope — or, at the least, its first pope of non-European descent, according to various strategists and analysts.
The Telegraph reports that two princes of the church have emerged as top contenders for the top spot: Cardinals Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson of Ghana and Francis Arinze of Nigeria. Electing one would send a black man — for the first time in history, or at least since the early Middle Ages, according to The Telegraph — to head the church’s spiritual direction.
Church leaders also are said to be looking at Latin America and Canada to fill Pope Benedict XVI’s shoes after he resigns Feb. 28. Two candidates are Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the Canadian head of the Vatican’s office for bishops, and Cardinal Odilo Scherer, archbishop of Sao Paolo, The Telegraph reports. Another is Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, an Italian-Argentine who currently heads the Vatican’s Eastern churches department, The Telegraph continues.
Swiss Cardinal Kurt Koch, who heads the Vatican’s department for Christian unity, made remarks weeks ago about the future of the church heading away from Europe.
“It would be good if there were candidates from Africa or South America at the next conclave,” he said, according to The Telegraph.