BOTWC - 5 Articles In Black Excellence You Need To Read This Week https://www.becauseofthemwecan.com/blogs/newsletter BOTWC Weekly Roundup 2019-01-21T13:03:27Z Missy Elliott Will Be The First Female Rapper To Receive MTV’s Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award https://www.becauseofthemwecan.com//blogs/botwc-firsts/missy-elliott-will-be-the-first-female-rapper-to-receive-mtv-s-michael-jackson-video-vanguard-award 2019-08-13T10:53:25Z Eunique Jones Gibson Musical icon Missy Elliott is getting all the flowers while she can still smell them. The announcement just came that she will be receiving the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award at the 2019 Video Music Awards (VMAs).  Elliott’s impact on the culture is indisputable. She has sold more than 30 million records worldwide. She is the only woman to have six studio albums go platinum and the first female hip... Musical icon Missy Elliott is getting all the flowers while she can still smell them. The announcement just came that she will be receiving the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award at the 2019 Video Music Awards (VMAs).  Elliott’s impact on the culture is indisputable. She has sold more than 30 million records worldwide. She is the only woman to have six studio albums go platinum and the first female hip hop artist to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Elliott is also a five time Grammy Award winner.  “Missy’s impact on the music landscape is indelible,” Bruce Gillmer, Viacom music talent head, told Variety. “Her creative vision across production, performance and songwriting is unmatched.” Elliott announced the award via Twitter saying “I am Humbly Grateful to be receiving the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award...I am crying happy tears. Thank you God.”   I am Humbly Grateful to be receiving the MichaelJacksonVideoVanguard Award😭🙏🏾❤️ I Thank my FANS “Supafriends” who fought diligently to see this day come🙏🏾@KidFury @crissles who rooted for years 4 me🙏🏾 I am crying happy tears😭Thank you God @MTV @vmas am SO HUMBLED🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/udfhBNc78k— Missy Elliott (@MissyElliott) August 12, 2019 Elliott joins the rank of icons who have received the prestigious award including Michael Jackson (1988), for whom the award was renamed in 1991, Janet Jackson (1990), LL Cool J (1997), Beyonce ( 2014), Kanye West (2015), and Rihanna (2016). The VMA’s will air August 26th on MTV. Elliott will be performing live at the show for the first time in 16 years.  Words cannot express our gratitude for this legend. Missy, you are appreciated.      Simone Biles Defies Gravity, Makes History Again With 6th Title and First Ever Move on Floor https://www.becauseofthemwecan.com//blogs/botwc-firsts/simone-biles-defies-gravity-makes-history-again-with-first-ever-move-on-floor-exercise 2019-08-11T22:13:54Z Eunique Jones Gibson Simone Biles is at the 2019 USA Gymnastics Championship making historic moves look both flawless and effortless!  On Friday she became the first person in history to nail a double double landing on the beam and today she defied gravity by becoming the first woman to land a triple double on the floor exercise.    Simone Biles hits the unprecedented triple-double on floor exercise. pic.twitter.com/L5fu3OoiOm — Nick Zaccardi (@nzaccardi) August 12,... Simone Biles is at the 2019 USA Gymnastics Championship making historic moves look both flawless and effortless!  On Friday she became the first person in history to nail a double double landing on the beam and today she defied gravity by becoming the first woman to land a triple double on the floor exercise.    Simone Biles hits the unprecedented triple-double on floor exercise. pic.twitter.com/L5fu3OoiOm — Nick Zaccardi (@nzaccardi) August 12, 2019 With this competition Biles also became the first woman in almost 70 years to win 6 U.S. all-around titles. The only way to define her athleticism is to emphasize what Dictionary.com shared immediately after via Twitter. The tweet read, "Flawless: having no discernible blemishes or shortcomings; perfect." We couldn't agree more!  77 Atlanta Schools Now Offer Free Breakfast And Lunch To Students https://www.becauseofthemwecan.com//blogs/news/77-atlanta-schools-now-offer-free-breakfast-and-lunch-to-students 2019-08-16T12:27:24Z Veracity Savant Common sense policy is what we’re all about! The Atlanta Public School (APS) system just increased the number of schools offering free breakfast and lunch to students. According to the AJC, beginning this school year, any student who attends a district run public or charter school, using the district’s food service, is eligible for the free meals. The newly added schools brings the total to 77 schools offering free breakfast... Common sense policy is what we’re all about! The Atlanta Public School (APS) system just increased the number of schools offering free breakfast and lunch to students. According to the AJC, beginning this school year, any student who attends a district run public or charter school, using the district’s food service, is eligible for the free meals. The newly added schools brings the total to 77 schools offering free breakfast and lunch, meaning most students attending schools in Atlanta can eat free.  We have long heard the stories of towering school lunch debt across the country. People have galvanized to get behind this cause, citing the ridiculousness of children having to worry about eating at school on top of everything else. In 2017, Ashley C. Ford, a New York based writer tweeted about the mounting school lunch debt and encouraged her followers to help pay off a lunch account in their area, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for the cause.  In order to qualify for free and reduced lunch, schools have to show that at least 40% of students come from low income families that receive food stamp benefits. 49% of Atlanta students met those requirements. Marilyn Hughes, executive director of the APS nutrition department told the AJC that “students need to have their basic needs met in order to learn. If they’ve eaten, they will have the complete attention that they need.” The district receives federal reimbursement for the free lunches through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision program, which began in 2010. Last year, APS received over $23 million in reimbursements from the program, which helps to balance out the cost it takes to implement the free lunches. Families at participating schools no longer need to fill out paperwork for their child to receive a free meal, lessening the stigma of receiving free lunch and making sure that no student is going hungry. The new program has even seen an increase in student participation, nearly doubling the amount of students that eat breakfast and lunch at certain schools. The district also replaced their school lunch vendors, and students are really enjoying their new meal options.  Sage Harrison, an eighth grader at Drew Charter School said that she usually brings her lunch but school lunch tastes better this year. “I feel like if you can’t afford to bring your own lunch or if you just forget, it’s just easier. It just makes it better,” Harrison said. With the new program in place, the district is hoping to find ways to encourage parents to donate former lunch money to other school initiatives. We hope that more school districts follow suit. With everything going on in our schools and with our children, healthy and affordable food options should be the last thing they have to worry about. Photo courtesy of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Russell Wilson and Ciara Are New Owners of a Major League Sports Team https://www.becauseofthemwecan.com//blogs/news/russell-wilson-and-ciara-are-new-owners-of-a-major-league-sports-team 2019-08-15T09:40:42Z Eunique Jones Gibson GOAL! Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl-winning quarterback, Russell Wilson, and his wife, Grammy winning singer and songwriter Ciara, have joined the ownership team of the Major League Soccer’s Seattle Sounders FC.  This week, the Seattle Sounders announced that they were welcoming 11 new families to its ownership team. The organization has been around since 1974, but the Sounders FC made their debut in 2009, mounting a victory streak including winning the... GOAL! Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl-winning quarterback, Russell Wilson, and his wife, Grammy winning singer and songwriter Ciara, have joined the ownership team of the Major League Soccer’s Seattle Sounders FC.  This week, the Seattle Sounders announced that they were welcoming 11 new families to its ownership team. The organization has been around since 1974, but the Sounders FC made their debut in 2009, mounting a victory streak including winning the 2016 MLS cup, four Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup championships, qualifying for the MLS Cup Playoffs every year since its inception and leading the league in attendance for 8 consecutive seasons.  Wilson, a six-time Pro Bowler, made the announcement via Twitter. “Football. Fútbol. We Love them both!” he tweeted Tuesday morning, along with a photo of himself, Ciara and their children in Sounders gear. “We can’t wait for our kids to grow up loving Soccer!” Wilson has been extremely active in the Seattle community since joining the Seahawks back in 2012.    Football. Fútbol. We Love them both! @ciara and I are fired up to announce we are Team Owners of the Seattle @SoundersFC one of the best soccer franchises in the world! We can’t wait for our kids to grow up loving Soccer! Family is everything! #SoundersIsFamily ⚽️💚💙 pic.twitter.com/LbOCt7WI5i — Russell Wilson (@DangeRussWilson) August 13, 2019     The Sounders FC group majority owners include businessman Adrian Hanauer, entrepreneur and philanthropist Jody Allen, and actor and comedian Drew Carey. The new additions are coming in to round out the ownership group and push the brand forward. “This was not a financial investment,” said Hanauer at a news conference today. “This was about community, team, culture, diversity, inclusiveness and, yeah, winning.” Russell Wilson echoed Hanauer’s sentiments saying, “we’re really excited about building that winning culture. This city is a special place. The Pacific Northwest is a place we love and we get to raise our kids here and have a lot of fun while doing it. We want to bring the best soccer players in the world right here to Seattle.” This is not the first time the Wilsons have ventured into the world of sports investment. In 2014, Russell teamed up to bring an NBA/NHL arena to the city of Seattle. He and Ciara also sought to bring Major League Baseball to Portland, Oregon. Ciara recognizes the importance of planting roots in her community, not only for herself and her husband, but also for their children. “This is not only a special moment for Russ and I, but for our kids as well,” Ciara said.  “When we walked into the building and our kids were running around with their names on their little jerseys, it meant a lot for so many reasons. It’s an honor to join the Sounders team and have the unique opportunity to represent female ownership within major-league sports. The team has already done some amazing things, but I believe the best is ahead, and we’re excited to be part of that.” We look forward to see what comes of this partnership and are super excited to see what The Wilsons cook up next.  Daddy and Daughter Celebrate Their Birthdays with Adorable Photoshoot https://www.becauseofthemwecan.com//blogs/the-feels/daddy-and-daughter-celebrate-their-birthdays-with-adorable-photoshoot 2019-08-16T11:04:43Z Eunique Jones Gibson Birthdays are a big deal for Ashleigh Sheppard and her partner, Devante. Especially since the birth of their first child, Londyn. Devante and Londyn’s birthdays are exactly one day apart and this year, they celebrated with a photoshoot styled and photographed by mom. “My boyfriend is into cars and bikes. He’s a mechanic, so this year I came up with the idea of them doing a mechanic theme together,” Sheppard... Birthdays are a big deal for Ashleigh Sheppard and her partner, Devante. Especially since the birth of their first child, Londyn. Devante and Londyn’s birthdays are exactly one day apart and this year, they celebrated with a photoshoot styled and photographed by mom. “My boyfriend is into cars and bikes. He’s a mechanic, so this year I came up with the idea of them doing a mechanic theme together,” Sheppard told Because of Them We Can. Londyn’s birthday is on August 9 and her father’s is on August 10. The photos capture Londyn and Devante with matching coveralls and toolkits as they work together on Londyn’s pink Mercedes Power Wheels. The end result is a pull at the heart strings. “She’s very much a daddy’s girl and enjoys doing everything he does. Their favorite thing to do together is going to the park, and riding around town,” she said. Londyn turned two this year, and while we’re wishing her and Devante a happy birthday, we can’t wait to see what they’ll do next August! Dads in Mississippi Welcome Elementary Students on First Day of School https://www.becauseofthemwecan.com//blogs/the-feels/dads-in-mississippi-welcome-elementary-students-on-first-day-of-school 2019-08-15T14:28:39Z Veracity Savant Major shout out to Dads around the world! A group of elementary school students in Mississippi got a real treat when they were welcomed by a human tunnel of Dads giving high fives, hugs and praise on their first day back to school.  The group of about 20 fathers welcomed the children at Barack H. Obama Magnet Elementary in Jackson, Mississippi as they have done every year for the last... Major shout out to Dads around the world! A group of elementary school students in Mississippi got a real treat when they were welcomed by a human tunnel of Dads giving high fives, hugs and praise on their first day back to school.  The group of about 20 fathers welcomed the children at Barack H. Obama Magnet Elementary in Jackson, Mississippi as they have done every year for the last few years. Many of the men are a part of the Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads Of Great Students) group at the school, an organization ran under the Parent Teachers Association (PTA).  Rashad Williams, president of the PTA, told CBS that "the inspiration behind it was the want for our kids to know their dads believe in them and support them. It has shown to have a huge impact on the first day jitters and new kids' confidence." The Watch D.O.G.S. is a national organization that focuses on family and community engagement within the school, promoting positive male role models, enhancing school security and helping to reduce bullying. The morning welcome was posted to the school’s Facebook page showing students running through the Dad tunnel on their first day. Williams said that some of the students ran through the tunnel multiple times. He also noted that some of the fathers were former college students of the principal making the experience that much more inspiring.     We love to see this level of support and encouragement for the babies as they return to school. Good job guys! Keep up the good work. Photo courtesy of Barack H. Obama Magnet Elementary PTA 10 Quotes From Nipsey Hussle To Remember It's Bigger Than You https://www.becauseofthemwecan.com//blogs/culture/remembering-nipsey-hussle-in-his-own-words 2019-08-15T15:10:15Z Veracity Savant Nipsey Hussle, born Ermias Ashghedom, was a father, artist and serial entrepreneur who was tragically taken from this world on March 31, 2019. The late rapper was also involved in a number of community efforts including Our Opportunity, an initiative geared towards rebuilding Black neighborhoods, Destination Crenshaw, an open air cultural museum, and Too Big to Fail, a community program that trained Black and Brown youth in STEM and connected... Nipsey Hussle, born Ermias Ashghedom, was a father, artist and serial entrepreneur who was tragically taken from this world on March 31, 2019. The late rapper was also involved in a number of community efforts including Our Opportunity, an initiative geared towards rebuilding Black neighborhoods, Destination Crenshaw, an open air cultural museum, and Too Big to Fail, a community program that trained Black and Brown youth in STEM and connected them to opportunities in the field. Today, we remember what would’ve been the prolific rapper’s 34th birthday in his own words. Below are a list of 10 quotes from Hussle to motivate, inspire and keep going.    “I’m about seeing long-term, seeing a vision, understanding nothing really worthwhile happens overnight, and just sticking to your script long enough to make something real happen.”  “Most important thing is to get rid of doubt. If you got doubt in what you’re doing it’s not gonna work.”  “You’ve got to have faith in what you’re doing and not take no for an answer.”   “Without a game plan and without a strong sense of faith in what you’re doing, it’s gonna be real hard to accomplish anything.”   “My thing is that I don’t give no person that much power over my path that I’m walking. Not one person can make or break what I’m doing, except me or God.”   “We’re not the cause, we’re the effect.”   “If you don’t know your full-throttle history, the whole story of how you came to where you are, it’s kind of hard to put things together.”   “It’s possible to monetize your art without compromising the integrity of it for commerce.”   “I call it ‘dropping the rope’. You’ve got to drop a rope. Everybody got to climb up, but you gotta drop the rope.”   “I’d rather invest in real estate — invest in some assets as opposed to trick all my money in diamonds and cars — it look good but at the end of the day you’re losing value. It ain’t appreciating, it’s depreciating. (I’m trying to get) a real asset. Take care of my people.”   May we all embody the values, spirit and commitment to our community that Hussle possessed. Rest Well Nipsey Hussle. The Marathon Continues.   Photo courtesy of JStone / Shutterstock   All Star Cast To Return For Coming To America 2 https://www.becauseofthemwecan.com//blogs/culture/all-star-cast-to-return-for-coming-to-america-2 2019-08-14T19:23:10Z Eunique Jones Gibson It’s official, everyone is coming back to star in the sequel for Coming To America.  Deadline and Variety were first to report that Shari Headley and Vanessa Bell Calloway will both be reviving their roles. Headley played Lisa McDowell, the romantic interest of Prince Akeem (Eddie Murphy) and Calloway played Iman Izzi, Prince Akeem’s betrothed bride in the original film. The two round out a long list of original cast... It’s official, everyone is coming back to star in the sequel for Coming To America.  Deadline and Variety were first to report that Shari Headley and Vanessa Bell Calloway will both be reviving their roles. Headley played Lisa McDowell, the romantic interest of Prince Akeem (Eddie Murphy) and Calloway played Iman Izzi, Prince Akeem’s betrothed bride in the original film. The two round out a long list of original cast members returning for the sequel including, James Earl Jones, Arsenio Hall, Paul Bates and John Amos.  The original film centered around Prince Akeem who traveled to New York to find love before marrying and becoming the rightful heir of Zamunda. The second installation finds Prince Akeem awaiting to be crowned, before he discovers he has a child, and travels back to the U.S. from Zamunda to meet the son he never knew, a witty street hustler named Lavelle.  Also joining the cast are Jermaine Fowler (Sorry To Bother You), KiKi Layne (If Beale Street Could Talk), Leslie Jones (Saturday Night Live), Rapper Rick Ross, and the incomparable Wesley Snipes.  Calloway was the last of the original cast members to close the deal. Murphy is producing the film alongside Kenya Barris (Black-ish). The sequel, now titled Coming 2 America is set to be released in theaters in late 2020. As the cast is being assembled and the final details are being made, we are also remembering the amazing Madge Sinclair, Queen Aoleon, who died in 1995.