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Katherine Johnson Speaks at Hampton University's Commencement Program

Katherine Johnson delivers a powerful message to the Hampton University Class of 2017

Katherine Johnson, an African-American physicist, and mathematician, better known as the human computer and subject of the movie, Hidden Figures, delivered a message to the Hampton University Class of 2017 during their commencement program.

Johnson, a graduate of West Virginia State College (now West Virginia State University), a historically black college, made significant contributions to the United States' aeronautics and space programs with the early application of digital electronic computers at NASA.

Known for accuracy in computerized celestial navigation, Johnson conducted technical work at NASA that spanned decades. During this time, she calculated the trajectories, launch windows, and emergency backup return paths for many flights from Project Mercury, including the early NASA missions of John Glenn and Alan Shepard, and the 1969 Apollo 11 flight to the Moon, through the Space Shuttle program.

If you haven't seen the movie, Hidden Figures, you can probably stream it from Netflix, or watch it via your cable/satellite TV provider. It's a story you will never forget and undoubtedly will share with your family and friends.

Hidden Figures stars Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, and Kevin Costner.

Hidden Figures Brings #BlackGirlMagic to the Big Screen!

Count on seeing Hidden Figures and definitely take your daughters to see these black women excelling in math, engineering, and computer operations

It’s the early sixties. Three black women traveling in a blue and white 1957 Chevrolet head to work. Few people would guess that Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe) work at the National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA). One is a mathematician, one an engineer and the other a computer expert. Hidden Figures tells the fascinating story of these three amazing women and the vital roles they play in getting America’s space program off the ground.

The story behind Hidden Figures is incredible on multiple levels. According to a People magazine article, numbers fascinated Katherine Johnson from her earliest days. She counts everything including the number of steps it takes to walk to school. She enters high school at 10 and then graduates from college at 18. Her highly supportive father moves their family as necessary to ensure that she takes full advantage of the educational opportunities offered to her. Dorothy Vaughan graduates from Wilberforce University in Ohio at an even younger age, 16.

Johnson, Vaughan, and Jackson benefit from a NASA program which hired black women during War World II. The agency is so impressed by the mathematic talents of these women (who were called “computers”), it continues the program after the war ends opening the door for later arrivals.

Hidden Figures doesn’t just tell the stories of these three geniuses but provides a portrait of the racial dynamics of that time period. Including the segregated facilities and the closed minds attempting to undermine these women’s efforts and talents. Jim Parsons (of the Big Bang Theory) plays Paul Stafford who works along with Johnson at the Langley Research Center and who undercuts her by not supplying the necessary information to complete her projects. And he deeply resents her checking and sometimes finding errors in his calculations - which is her job.

Kevin Costner plays Johnson’s and Stafford’s boss and often has to referee their disputes and more times than not, sides with Johnson. He is a firm but fair supervisor who is forced to examine the prevailing segregationist policies and their effect on people like Johnson and her ability to do her job. And how she walks a half mile across the NASA campus to go to the segregated, colored women’s bathroom. Or how someone in his own department brings in a separate coffee pot for her rather than have her continue to use the one the rest of the group uses.

Recently deceased astronaut John Glenn reflects an uncommon acceptance and support of the women. When the NASA employees stand outside in a greeting line to meet the astronauts, the white employees are first. After shaking hands with them, a handler directs the astronauts back inside before reaching the black women. Glenn ignores the directive and walks over to speak and shake hands with the ladies. And before his first voyage, he makes clear that he won’t take off until Johnson reviews the computations of the NASA’s new IBM computer.

Overall the film is well done. One interesting scene is when Johnson who is a widow, rips into a man she meets at church (who later becomes her husband) because he’s surprised to find out that she’s a senior mathematician for NASA. The whole world would be surprised at her occupation! Why shouldn’t he? He later apologizes for his close-mindedness.

As to cast diversity Hidden Figures, gets an “A”. It represents the situation as it existed racially at that time.

See Hidden Figures because it has that rare combination of being both educational and entertaining. Also see it because if it’s a box office hit, Hollywood will make more films like it. And we need more films like it. Definitely take your daughters to see these women excelling in math, science, engineering, and computer operations (technology). One final point, in addition to being a member of the composing team to score the music for Hidden Figures, music producer, Pharrell Williams, is also one of the producers of the movie.

Hidden Figures is just over 2 hours at 126 minutes. Rated PG for thematic elements and some language. It gets our highest rating: See It!

What's The 411 Episode 74: Beyonce, Janet Jackson, Denzel, Taraji P. Henson

John Boyega Makes Forbes Top 30 List, Monique Pressley serves up the media something proper, Fay Ann Lyons sets the record straight

411 QUICK TAKES

Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington received the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award at the Golden Globes Awards Show; and actress Taraji P. Henson won a Golden Globe award for best actress in a drama for Empire.

Singer Natalie Cole was laid to rest at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, CA. Her parents, sister, and brother are also buried there. Natalie Cole died from idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension, which led to heart failure. She was diagnosed with the ailment after receiving a kidney transplant in 2009.

IN MEMORIAM

We bid a fond farewell to:

• Singer Nicholas Caldwell, a co-founding member of the legendary group, The Whispers. Caldwell passed away from congestive heart failure. He was 71.

• Rocker David Bowie, who pioneered Glam Rock, died at age 69. He leaves behind his wife, former supermodel and entrepreneur Iman, and daughter, Alexandria "Lexi" Zahra Jones.

What's The 411 - WHAT'S POPPIN"

Forbes Top 30 Under 30: John Boyega, Jewel Burks, Nailah Ellis-Brown

"Forbes recently released its Top 30 Under 30 List and to my happiness there are a number of black people on the list!," said Kizzy Cox. The list includes 23-year-old heartthrob John Boyega! Boyega is blazing trails in the new Star Wars film "The Force Awakens", as the first black storm-trooper we've ever seen in a Star Wars film. Boyega, who is British of Nigerian descent has proudly embraced his African origins, in an interview with the NY times he said:

"I'm grounded in who I am, and I am a confident black man. A confident, Nigerian, black, chocolate man. I'm proud of my heritage, and no man can take that away from me."

Also on the list are several black women--can we say #blackgirlmagic??--including 26-year-old Jewel Burks an entrepreneur within a family of entrepreneurs, she co-founded and is CEO of PartPic which helps people find parts they're looking for their electronics or other machinery. Additionally, 28-year-old Nailah Ellis-Brown is founder of Ellis Island Tropical Tea. Incredibly, Brown started by selling her old Jamaican family tea recipe out of the trunk of her car! A silent partner eventually invested $150,000 for a bottling plant in Detroit and now she's selling her tea to Whole Foods and other stores throughout the US! Can we say #Caribbeangirlmagic??

UNDER THE RADAR

JANET JACKSON

Pop star Janet Jackson canceled some of her tour dates due to illness. A rumor spread that Janet had throat cancer, which prompted the singer to issue a statement on twitter to debunk the rumors:

"Remember...believe it when you hear it from my lips, the rumors are untrue. I do not have cancer. I'm recovering. My doctors have approved my concerts as scheduled in Europe, and as I promised, the postponed shows will be rescheduled. Thank you for your prayers and love."

Monique Pressley: Bill Cosby's Attorney

People magazine is reporting that after failing to find sufficient evidence to back a model's claim that she was drugged and sexually assaulted by Bill Cosby at a Playboy Mansion party in 2008, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office announced Wednesday that it would not file charges. No matter where you are on the Bill Cosby issue, you must admit Monique Pressley is serving the media up something proper! Just watching the eloquent way she executes her argument, you just want to snap your fingers in a circle. Ms. Pressley, a Howard University Law School graduate, is more than a lawyer; she is a minister and a member of the cut life. I love watching her.

FAB411

Tips for Teeth Whitening

Beauty expert Courtney Rashon gives her recommendations for keeping your teeth bright and white!

A great smile is important. And it's also important to make sure you have white teeth. Here a few ways to keep your teeth white and bright.

Baking soda. Baking soda does not contain fluoride but you can use this along with your regular toothpaste once a day. The baking soda keeps your teeth white

Whitening strips. Whitening strips are amazing for keeping your teeth gleaming. Whitening strips are easy to apply and come with instructions and can brighten up your smile in one week. The strips can be found in local drugstores and supermarkets.

Limit the use of drinking things like coffee and tea. Both can be good for you, but not always so good on your teeth. Heavy smoking and tobacco use can also stain your teeth. Brush regularly after having more than one cup.

Visit the dentist. Regular cleanings will also help to keep your teeth clean, healthy and white. This should be done at least once a year.

And as for cosmetics, teeth whitening using a machine with ultraviolet light and a special gel can brighten you smile in one hour. The results are instant and this can be done every 1 to 2 months.

Amandla Stenberg Comes Out as Bisexual

Outspoken teen actress Amandla Stenberg, famous for her breakout role in the Hunger Games as 'Rue' came out as bisexual on a Teen Vogue snapchat. The 17-year-old said in a series of snaps:

It's a really, really hard thing to be silenced. And it's deeply bruising to fight against your identity and to mold yourself into shapes that you just shouldn't be in," Stenberg said "as someone who identifies as a black, bisexual woman, I've been through it, and its hurts. It's awkward and it's uncomfortable. But then I realized because of Solange [Knowles], and Ava DuVernay, and Willow [smith], and all the black girls watching this right now, that there's absolutely nothing to change." "We cannot be suppressed," the actress continued. "We are meant to express our joy, and our love, and our tears, and be big and bold and definitely not easy to swallow."

El Chapo Captured

El Chapo, a gangster's gangster, has been captured. The notorious Mexican drug kingpin, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, is in the pen!

El Chapo met with actor Sean Penn via a hook-up by actress Kate del Castillo. Can you believe El Chapo was trying to shoot a film- got to give it to El Chapo, this was a real gangster move. Guzman thought his story was worthy of Hollywood. Unfortunately for Guzman aka El Chapo, this was how the Mexican authorities were able to track him down to a house in an upscale neighborhood in a coastal city according to Mexico Attorney General Arely Gomez.

In closing this segment, Onika McLean said, "Sean Penn, I know you came after Lee Daniels, but you better probably watch your back now, because now El Chapo, you gonna be on the chopping block!"

CARIBBEAN COOK-UP:

Trinidadian Soca Artist Fay Ann Lyons Fights for Power Soca

Carnival season is quickly coming upon us! Trinidad's carnival is only 2 weeks and 5 days (but who's counting??) And masqueraders everywhere can't wait to jump and wave their way down the road and across the stage...but some are wondering where is the power Soca they're supposed to be wining to? Because this year's power Soca songs haven't been strong. Fay Ann Lyons, famous Trinidadian Soca artist and 3-time winner of the carnival road march title (the only woman to have ever done so) called out those people who said that basically power Soca was on its way out. Elaborating on her comments in an interview with looptt, Lyons said:

"my next point was that Iwer and Superblue are known for singing power Soca and you telling them that dead and don't bring no power and you telling younger artistes don't do power cause we are not playing it so you already blocking people cause you are telling them there is no market for it. I turned to the crowd and said fight for your artistes, fight for your music and your culture. After I said what I said, I said anybody who disagree(s) that you should not support the art form could kiss my black ass."

FAY ANN is making a great point because at the end of the day, groovy Soca is great it's nice music to groove to: slow wine and chip, but if you're about to cross that stage and get wassy (Trini slang for turn up and get wild) you want a power Soca song to get you there! And if you want to promote cultural unity, you need all the types of Soca music--you can't put down one and uplift the other.

REALITY TV RECAP

RHOA Kandi Burruss and Todd Tucker Name Son Ace Wells Tucker

There is lots of baby news going around. Real Housewives of Atlanta stars Kandi Burruss and Todd Tucker recently welcomed a baby boy named Ace Wells Tucker. She made the announcement on January 7, after she gave birth the day before. Kandi and Todd were going back and forth about the name but the finally decided on a name that was unique that they both liked.

Interestingly enough, fellow RHOA cast mate, Phaedra Parks showed up at the hospital.

IN THE PIPELINE:

Upcoming Events

The Schomburg Center for research in Black Culture will Premiere the documentary, Black and Cuba on January 26. Tickets are available on Eventbrite.com.

PEPSI has confirmed to the Associated Press, that Beyoncé will perform on the Super Bowl half-time show at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California. Last month, Coldplay announced it would perform at the halftime show. Beyoncé and Coldplay collaborated on the band's new album, A Head Full of Dreams.

R&B LEGEND, Mavis Staples, will release a new album on February 19th entitled, LIVIN ON A HIGH NOTE.

The upcoming Stellar Awards, featuring the best in Gospel Music will take place on February 19th In Las Vegas.

You heard of Patti Pies...now get ready for Patti Cakes. Patti LaBelle will again partner with Walmart for three new additions to her dessert line. In addition to the sweet potato pie, Walmart will add a premium vanilla pound cake and a premium caramel cake.

 

  • Published in Episodes

QUICK TAKES: Chicago Mayor Rushes Back from Vacation Amid Police Shootings

 VIDEO: Actor Samuel L. Jackson highest grossing actor; Keshia Knight Pulliam gets engaged and more

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel rushed back from vacation after two people were inexplicably shot by police. Samuel L. Jackson has become the highest grossing actor of all time. USA Today names Taraji P. Henson Entertainer of the Year. Keshia Knight Pulliam announced her engagement to former NFL player Ed Hartwell; and former Destiny's Child, Letoya Luckett announced her engagement to Rob Hill, Sr. The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, brought the house down at the Kennedy Center Honors tribute to singer-songwriter Carole King.

In memoriam, we bid farewell to William Guest, one of the backup singers to Gladys Knight; renowned psychiatrist Dr. Frances Cress Welsing; Harlem Globetrotter and Basketball Hall of Famer, Meadowlark Lemon; Harlem Globetrotter "General" Lee Holman and former Major League Baseball player Dave Henderson.

What's The 411 Episode 63: Rihanna's NY Fashion Week Party Brings Out Everyone Looking for a Good Party

Plus French Montana losing no sleep over Khloe Kardashian; London street artist, Pegasus, brings Kanye West's 2020 Bid for US President to the UK; Brooklyn's first ever soca flash mob; and more!

In What's The 411 Episode 63, the panel of host Kizzy Cox and correspondents Courtney Rashon and Onika McLean are talking about ballerina Misty Copeland; Bravo's The Single Project wins an EMMY; Black-owned Restaurant Month; Tracee Ellis Ross and Jessica Simpson hanging out together; tennis star James Blake assaulted by NY police officer; actress Viola Davis joins actor Denzel Washington on August Wilson journey; Chrissy Teigen's ''No Hot Nannies'' Comment Causes an Uproar; K. Milele's New York Fashion Week show; and so much more!

QUICK TAKES

KIZZY: Ballerina Misty Copeland reveals she is engaged to her longtime boyfriend of 10 years, corporate attorney, Olu Evans, who is also a cousin to actor, Taye Diggs. Describing the turn of events in her life, Misty told Essence magazine, 'I can't believe my life right now!'

ONIKA: Of course, I am happy to report, Bravo's, The Singles Project, which followed six New York City singles on their quest to find romance, has officially won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media - Multiplatform Storytelling.

COURTNEY: Pop star Rihanna is always on the scene during New York Fashion Week and this year was no different. Rihanna held her New York Fashion Week Party at the New York EDITION hotel, which was attended by Chris Rock, Timbaland, Pharrell, Wiz Khalifa and others.

Onika: Black-owned restaurants Month kicked off in Brooklyn and Manhattan on September 9. Thirteen restaurants are participating in the event started by blogger Genese Jamilah. She created the event once seeing her I Don't Do Clubs blog post listing 100 black-owned restaurants had become very popular.

KIZZY: London street artist, Pegasus, brings Kanye West's 2020 Bid for US President to the UK with street art featuring the lovely Kim Kardashian in her "break the Internet" photo.

Courtney: It looks like rapper French Montana is not brooding over Khloe Kardashian's new romance with NBA basketball player, James Harden. It's reported that Rich Kids' Dorothy Wang will be joining French Montana on tour.

KIZZY: It is kind of strange putting the names Jessica Simpson and Tracee Ellis Ross in the same sentence, let alone in the same location. Yet the two are joined by the holy matrimony of their siblings Ashlee Simpson and Evan Ross and Jessica and Tracee were on hand for a big family celebration, Evan's birthday bash.

WHAT'S POPPIN'

 

Former Tennis Star Assaulted by NY Police Officer

COURTNEY: You have to have been under a rock to miss this item; retired tennis star James Blake experienced a violent assault by the NYPD outside the Hyatt Regency Hotel near Grand Central Station. Blake stated that he was waiting outside his hotel, and five white undercover officers allegedly threw him down to the ground, causing Blake to suffer minor injuries. The police officers never apologized after the incident. Mayor de Blasio stated there will be a full investigation regarding the attack by the officers.

Actress Viola Davis Joins Actor Denzel Washington on August Wilson Journey

ONIKA: Actress Viola Davis is going to work with Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington in a film adaptation of August Wilson's play "Fences." Denzel Washington is directing and Viola will be starring in the film, according to The New York Times. Both Denzel Washington and Viola Davis starred in the Broadway version of Fences in 2010 and Viola also won a Tony award for her role in the play.

Chrissy Teigen's ''No Hot Nannies'' Comment Causes an Uproar

KIZZY: The Twittersphere has exploded over this comment Chrissy Teigen made during an interview at Lauren Conrad's New York Fashion Week show:

"No hot nannies, drivers, or maids," she quipped last week. "It's an ongoing joke in my house. I do want to have kids one day, so it's something that I have to think about. But the rule is no hot nannies. I trust John, but you never know with these men."

Some responses were: "Chrissy Teigen Just Said Something Lame About Hiring Women"

Of course, Chrissy is wondering why does she have to defend a running joke?

ONIKA: For years, New York Fashion Week has been the who's who in the hip-hop and all the other fabulous industries. I had the pleasure of attending the K Milele line- please Google her- she has been the brains and beauty behind all the fabulous urban brands. She is currently working on Nikki Minaj's line and working on her own fashion line. It was a fabulous event and what was so special, she had all of her stylist friends styled one swimsuit several different ways.

FAB411

 

New York Fashion Week Hair and Makeup Trends

COURTNEY: During NY Fashion Week, the runways were heating up with fresh and sexy hair and makeup trends for the spring looks. The make-up trends included barely-there makeup, bold lines made with eye shadows and eyeliner and lips stained with natural flesh-like rosy tones and face embellishment, such as piercing and decals were also seen on the runway. Thicker, more natural looking eyebrows are also popular this season.

For hair, twists and knots were a huge trend on the runway and the wet sleek hair look either pinned up or in a pompadour style was also a major trend for fashion week.

UNDER THE RADAR

 

The City of Baltimore Settles with Family of Freddie Gray

KIZZY: Baltimore has reached a settlement with the family of Freddie Gray for $6.4 million. Freddie Gray was the young black man who was fatally injured while in police custody, his death incited protests and riots back in the spring. The criminal trials of the six police officers will continue however and Baltimore's mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is saying that the settlement isn't an admission of liability just a way to avoid a long drawn-out litigation in a civil case. The settlement is more than the payout for 120 lawsuits against the Baltimore Police Department combined since 2011, reports the Baltimore Sun. The police union president called the deal "obscene", but what I think is obscene is that a young man who was in police custody was handled so roughly his spine was critically injured and he was denied medical attention while being transported to jail. What do you think about the settlement?

LeBron James Partners with Project Learn to create I Promise, Too

COURTNEY: Recently we reported that LeBron James' Foundation, "I Promise," has pledged 1100 college scholarships for students to attend The University of Akron in Ohio. According to the Huffington Post, LeBron has expanded his scholarship program by partnering with the adult educational organization, Project Learn of Summit County. The new initiative is called "I Promise Too," which will help parents earn their GED's and prepare them to enter the workforce.

CARIBBEAN COOK-UP!

 

Oba Stephens Bring First Soca Flash Mob to Brooklyn

KIZZY: BROOKLYN recently made history with its first ever soca flash mob! While dancing to Angela Hunte and Machel Montano's song Party Done, soca lovers locked down the plaza in front of the Barclay's Center with some wicked waistline moves, choreographed by dance instructor Kiara Ross. The event was organized by Oba Stephens, a Trinidadian but was an opportunity for people from all over the West Indies to show their national pride and unite for Caribbean pride. Hundreds of people participated and some put the estimates anywhere from 900 to nearly 2000 people. Oba plans to do another soca flash mob in Houston, Texas next month.

Brooklyn's Pre-West Indian Day Parade Festivities Brings Out Good and Bad

KIZZY: Brooklyn was also the site of the annual West Indian Labor Day parade which routinely draws about 2 million people to Crown Heights each year. It's a wonderful display of Caribbean culture with parties and performances by soca artists and steel pan drummers leading up to the parade and beautiful mas costumes and trucks playing high-energy soca music the day of, participants can also sample all types of Caribbean cuisine from fish cakes to jerk chicken from the many vendors who line the parade route along Eastern Parkway.

Unfortunately, the huge crowds also occasionally draw the wrong crowd. And this year at the Jouvert celebration, which takes place in the early morning before the parade, thugs brought violence to the festivities. One person was stabbed to death and 4 others were injured including Carey Gabay, a lawyer for Governor Cuomo's office. Mr. Gabay was shot in the head by a stray bullet around 3am Monday morning and, as of this taping, is in a coma still fighting for his life. Now in the wake of this violence some officials are calling for changes to Jouvert, including marking off the Jouvert route and checking all those who pass through it much like they do during New Year's Eve in Times Square. I was talking about this issue on the Brian Lehrer show and thought that wouldn't be a good idea because there's too many people and more importantly Jouvert takes place in a residential area, who knows who residing in the surrounding apartments might choose to settle a beef at that time--completely getting around those security checks. What do you think we can do to stop the violence?

ON THE CARPET:

 

George Zimmerman Gets Called on the Carpet, yet again

KIZZY: I don't know how many times we can drag this man on the carpet but here we go or rather here he goes again: George Zimmerman! Zimmerman has been selling paintings of the confederate flag in collaboration with a Florida gun store owner who recently declared his business a Muslim-free zone. Zimmerman tweeted his reason for painting the flags,

"I painted the confederate flag backed by the American flag because I believe that anything can stand with the American flag behind it. "He added: "My confederate flag painting also represents the hypocrisy of political correctness that is plaguing this nation."

A post on the store's website also said Mr. Zimmerman painted it "in honor" of Andy Hallinan, the gun store owner "for being a true patriot and leading the country into a better, safer America." As though being anti-Muslim is a sign of true patriotism! Zimmerman is selling his paintings for $50 a-piece to help with his and Hallinan's legal fees (who's being sued by the Council for American-Islamic relations). It's unclear how many he's sold so far but a painting of the American flag he did sold on eBay for more than $100,000! There is so much wrong with this story: the racism, the profiting off of racism, George Zimmerman is just a mess--he's been in legal issue after legal issue since he killed Trayvon Martin and I really don't understand how he's not in jail by now. For this and everything else, George Zimmerman I'm calling you on the carpet.

REALITY TV RECAP

 

Caitlyn Jenner Expresses Feelings about "I am Cait" Halloween Costumes

COURTNEY: In a recent episode of I am Cait, Caitlyn Jenner expressed her feelings toward the controversial Halloween costumes inspired by her Vanity Fair cover to Matt Lauer. Jenner states that "she" doesn't care and is not offended. The costumes are already appearing online.

 

Threesome Talk on Love and Hip

ONIKA: In Love and Hip Hop news. Is it cheating when you agree to a threesome? Ladies, I'm telling you don't open Pandora's Box and I'm not talking about the bracelet company! When you agree to have another woman in your bed, there is no guarantee she will want to leave! In some cases, she could be the Puerto Rican Princess and marry your man!

PIPELINE

KIZZY: Actress Vivica A. Fox will play the big sister to Taraji P. Henson's character, Cookie Lyon, in EMPIRE.

ONIKA: The 50 Cent produced drama series, POWER, is shooting its new season all over Brooklyn!

  • Published in Episodes

Beyonce Signs Chloe and Halle Bailey; Uncle Charlie and His Brothers Win Big

More News: Chicago Reparations; P. Diddy's New Fragrance; The Booties Rock the 2015 Met Gala Red Carpet and more!

 

Watch the video of What's The 411 Episode 51:
Featuring What's The 411 host Glenn Gilliam and special guest host, Courtney Rashon, President, Courtney Rashon Industries

Quick Takes:

THE UNITED NATIONS recently unveiled a memorial dedicated in memory to those who were killed and sacrificed in the transatlantic slave trade and its atrocities. The memorial is entitled The Ark Of Return.

At the recent unveiling ceremonies, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon called slavery "a stain on human history." The U.N. has declared 2015-2024 as the International Decade for People of African Descent. The memorial, designed by Haitian-American architect Rodney Leon, is at U.N. Headquarters in Manhattan.

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Singer Bobby Brown has been awarded a small victory. A judge has appointed Brown, along with his former sister-in-law Pat Houston, co-guardians of Bobbi Kristina Brown.

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Shonda Rhimes' shows: Grey's Anatomy; Scandal; and How to Get Away With Murder have been renewed by ABC.

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Everyone's still talking about the May-Pac fight that wasn't. But an equal number of people, on social media, are talking about how Jamie Foxx 'fizzled' doing the National Anthem, Foxx later told Ellen Degeneres, that his earpiece came out.

"My inner ears were out and I'm singing with an organ, so I can't hear what the organ is doing with the big crowd. So some of it was a little off."
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Walking Dead star, Seth Gilliam was arrested in Atlanta and charged with DUI, reckless driving, drug possession and speeding. He has since been released.
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A touching tribute took place at the recent Sports Emmys. TNT host Ernie Johnson won the Sports Emmy for Best Studio Host. But Johnson turned to the audience and said "there is only one place it belongs and that is on the mantle of Stuart Scott's house." Johnson then asked that Scott's daughters come up, where he presented them with the Emmy.
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The Gap Band has won songwriting credit and a share of the royalties for the Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars hit Uptown Funk. The group consists of Charlie, Robert, and Ronnie Wilson.

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BET.com is reporting that The Carters may be purchasing a new home....in New Orleans! And, to top things off, it used to be a Presbyterian church.

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Vibe and essence.com are reporting Beyoncé has offered 3 teenage girls a chance of a lifetime. Sisters Chloe and Halle Bailey, 17 and 19 years-old respectively, and Sophie Beem have been scouted by Queen Bey's Parkwood Entertainment and been offered multi-year contracts.

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In memoriam, we remember:
Errol Brown, the lead singer of the band Hot Chocolate, has died at age 71 from liver cancer. The singer was best known for the hits You Sexy Thing and It Started with a Kiss.

Guy Carawan, a white folk singer who stood up before a group of black students in Raleigh, North Carolina in 1960, and sang a little known folk song. That song was We Shall Overcome. The song became the anthem of the civil rights movement. Carawan, whom the New York Times called the Marseillaise of the integration movement, has died at age 87.
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What's Poppin'!!!

Sean "Diddy" Combs and his singer/model girlfriend, Cassie, are heating up the internet due to the release of Diddy's new fragrance called 3. a.m.; the commercial features the couple engaging in simulated sexual acts and nudity. Diddy defended the ad by saying:

"The concept, for the video, represents one of the things that 3 a.m. is for me. It's a very one-on-one time. It's a time to have fun and push the envelope a little bit. It's definitely an hour where you would find yourself with a young lady. Anything can happen at 3 a.m., and in the video, you see a fantasy that's in my head of what happened that night."

According to hollywoodlife.com, Macy's has rejected the fragrance ad.
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The 2015 Met Gala brought out a who's who of A-Listers to the red carpet. Raven Symone led the pack on throwing shade when she said on The View that, Beyonce, J. Lo; and Kim Kardashian should "put some pants on." Additionally, a meme has been circulating on social media asking people to pick out the porn stars by comparing the celebs at the Met Gala to porn stars attending an Adult Video Awards.

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THE 2015 MET GALA was a night filled with everyone's favorite celebrities wearing couture. Celebrities such as JAY-Z, BEYONCÉ, KIM KARDASHIAN, KANYE WEST, RIHANNA, JUSTIN BIEBER, and JENNIFER LOPEZ all attended and were looking fabulous or not!.

• The showstopper of the evening was Rihanna wearing a canary yellow elaborate gown with major detailing created by Chinese designer Guo Pe. The dress took two years to make.

• It was the "Battle of the Booties" For Jennifer Lopez, Kim Kardashian, and Beyoncé. All celebrities looked amazing in sheer, see-through and cut out gowns. Beyoncé wore a sheer flesh tone colored jeweled Givenchy gown, Kim was wearing a white sheer and lace ROBERTO CAVALLI gown with an elongated train and J-Lo wore a wine colored sheer cut out VERSACE gown.

TARAJI P. HENSON was also in attendance wearing a gorgeous black and white strapless gown by ALEXANDER WANG.

DWYANE WADE and GABRIELLE UNION looked fabulous. It was reported that WADE'S two VERSACE ensembles' for the night costs a whopping 900,000 dollars. His beautiful wife wore a wine colored draped ZAC POSEN gown.

The men who were flying solo that evening were also looking sharp.

JUSTIN BIEBER was wearing flashy Balmain jacket adorned with gold, LEE DANIELS was dressed in a BURBERRY tux and COMMON wore a tux by PRADA. All of these guys looked handsome.

• Not to mention Jay Z who wore a black Tom Ford tux

Kayne West wore Roberto Cavalli

Derek Jeter and girlfriend, Sports Illustrated cover model, Hannah Davis, were spotted at the gala. Hannah was dressed in a red sheer one shoulder fitted J. Mendel gown and Jeter wore a Rag and Bone tux.

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Under The Radar:

MARLENE PINNOCK, A 51 year-old great grandmother, recently spoke out about the horrors of her beating by a California Highway patrol officer. Pinnock received a one million dollar settlement.

QUESTION: Is a monetary settlement enough?

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History has been made in Chicago. The CHICAGO CITY COUNCIL has passed reparations legislation for the victims abused by former police commander Jon Burge. Burge gained notoriety for torturing over 100 prisoners (majority being black men) from 1971 to 1992, in order to gain confessions. The council approved a settlement of over $5.5 million dollars which will be divided up between them. The deal also requires that Chicago teens learn about police brutality in school.

QUESTION: What about the officers involved, what punishment do they receive?

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WOMEN'S WEAR DAILY (WWD) called out JAY Z on his appearance at 2015 MET GALA. WWD essentially said that JAY Z needs to lose weight, that his suit did not fit well and perhaps JAY Z needs to see his wife's dermatologist to get cosmetic surgery or some fillers because the lines on his face are getting too deep.

QUESTION: Why is WWD going in hard on Jay Z? What's behind this shade?

On The Carpet

The Mayor of Cleveland, Ohio, Frank Johnson, because he did not know that Samaria Rice, the mother of Tamir Rice, the 12 year-old boy who was shot by a Cleveland police officer was living in a homeless shelter. Ms. Rice gave up her apartment and moved into a homeless shelter because she could not bear to look at the park where her son was murdered.

Question: Should the Mayor of Cleveland have assigned someone in his office to oversee Ms. Rice's well-being?

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BROADCAST AND CABLE NETWORKS are being called on the carpet because of the monopoly of white men on SUNDAY NEWS SHOWS and EVENING NEWSCASTS.

Question: Should the broadcast and cable networks have more diversity on their Sunday public affairs shows and evening newscasts?

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In the Pipeline

Director Ava Duvernay's African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement (AFFRM) recently launched its second annual membership drive. The drive, designed to financially assist Black women and Latinas filmmakers with distribution of their films, will run from May 4 through June 5.

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Parker Sawyer and Tika Sumpter are set to play Barack Obama and Michelle Robinson in an upcoming romantic drama SOUTHSIDE WITH YOU. The film centers on the then future first couple's first date and is currently in production.

  • Published in Videos

CELEBRITIES TAKE FASHION TO ANOTHER LEVEL AT 2015 MET GALA

Rihanna Stuns the Met Gala Crowd; Beyonce, Kim Kardashian, and Jennifer Lopez Set off the Battle of the Booties on 2015 Met Gala Red Carpet

The MET GALA 2015 was a night filled with everyone's favorite celebrities wearing couture. Celeb such as Jay Z and Beyonce, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, Rihanna, Justin Beiber and Jennifer Lopez all attended and were looking fabulous.

The look of the evening for women seemed to be, jeweled garments, sheer, cut out gowns showing lots of skin, while the guys kept it sleek and traditional by wearing tuxedos.

The showstopper of the evening was Rihanna wearing a canary yellow elaborate gown with major detailing created by Chinese designer Guo Pe. The dress took two years to make.

It was the "battle of the booties" for Jennifer Lopez, Kim Kardashian and Beyonce. All celebrities looked amazing in sheer, see-through and cut out gowns. Beyonce wore a sheer flesh tone colored jeweled Givenchy gown, Kim was wearing a white sheer and lace Roberto Cavalli and Jennifer Lopez aka J-Lo wore a wine colored sheer cut-out Versace gown.

Beyonce Kim-Kardashian Jennifer-Lopez on-the-red-carpet-at-Met-Gala-2015Beyonce; Kim Kardashian West; and Jennifer Lopez on the red carpet showing off lots of skin at the 2015 Met Gala

Actress Taraji P. Henson was also in attendance wearing a gorgeous gown by designer Alexander Wang.

taraji-p-henson-met-gala-2015 Triple-photo 600x337Actress Taraji P. Henson

Dwayne Wade and Gabrielle Union were also spotted looking fabulous. It was reported that Wade's two Versace ensembles' for the night costs a whopping 900,000 dollars. His beautiful wife was dressed in a wine colored draped Zac Posen gown.

dwyane-wade-gabrielle-union 395x524Miami Heat guard, Dwayne Wade and his wife actress Gabriel Union

The men who were flying solo that evening were also looking sharp.

Justin Beiber sported a flashy Balmain jacket adorned with gold, film and television director Lee Daniels was dressed in a Burberry tux, while rapper/actor Common wore a tux by Prada. All of these guys looked handsome.

Not to mention Jay Z and Kanye West who wore tuxes by Tom Ford and Roberto Cavalli respectively.

Derek Jeter and girlfriend, Sports Illustrated cover model Hannah Davis were also spotted at the gala. Hannah was wearing a red sheer one shoulder fitted J. Mendel gown and Jeter wore a Rag and Bone tux.

derek-jeter-rag-bone- girlfriend met-gala-2015Former New York Yankees short stop, Derek Jeter and girlfriend, Sports Illustrated model, Hannah Davis

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