Justus Uwayesu, Who Lived in a Rwandan Dump after Being Orphaned by Genocide, Earns Full Scholarship at Harvard

Justus Uwayesu, rescued at 9 from the streets of Rwanda, is enrolled as a freshman at Harvard. (IAN THOMAS JANSEN-LONNQUIST FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES)

BOSTON — Nine years old and orphaned by ethnic genocide, he was living in a burned-out car in a Rwandan garbage dump where he scavenged for food and clothes. Daytimes, he was a street beggar. He had not bathed in more than a year.When an American charity worker, Clare Effiong, visited the dump one Sunday, other children scattered. Filthy and hungry, Justus Uwayesu stayed put, and she asked him why.

“I want to go to school,” he replied.

Well, he got his wish.

This autumn, Mr. Uwayesu enrolled as a freshman at Harvard University on a full-scholarship, studying math, economics and human rights, and aiming for an advanced science degree. Now about 22 — his birthday is unknown — he could be, in jeans, a sweater and sneakers, just another of the 1,667 first-year students here.
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YouTube’s Todrick Hall Lands MTV Unscripted Series

Todrick HallAccording to Variety.com, MTV has ordered a new unscripted series, “Todrick,” which takes a docu-style look at the elaborate performance videos crafted by YouTube star Todrick Hall.  

“Todrick” revolves around the lives of Hall (pictured) and the troupe that helps him choreograph and stage his weekly musical efforts.  The half-hour series has an eight-episode order and is on target to debut next year.

“We’re excited to bring Todrick’s tenacious energy and multi-dimensional talent to MTV for his first-ever series,” said MTV programming president Susanne Daniels.

“Todrick” hails from Brian Graden Media. Graden, a former MTV and VH1 chief, executive produces with Danny Salles, Lois Curren and Gaurav Misra as well as Hall, Scooter Braun and Danny Rose.  If you’ve never seen Hall’s work, start with the creative “Cinderoncé” below:

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

Producer Will Packer sells TV Pilot “Like Father, Like Son” to NBC

Will Packer TV Pilot

Will Packer attends Sony Pictures’ ‘Think Like A Man Too’ Miami red carpet screening at Regal South Beach on June 10, 2014, in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Thaddaeus McAdams/Getty Images for Sony Pictures Entertainment)

Will Packer, who produced the hit films Ride Along, Think Like a Man, and Think Like a Man Too, sold a TV pilot for a female cop dramedy to NBC, according to Hollywood Reporter

This marks the fourth TV pilot sale for the 40-year old producer in the last year. Earlier this week, Packer sold an autobiographical comedy to NBC called Like Father, Like Son. His production company, Will Packer Productions, has a first look deal with the network.

This is his first year working in television development.

Packer’s as-yet-untitled fourth project will feature two female detectives from LA who investigate homicides and have complicated personal lives. The hour-long project is being billed as a dramedy and riff on the familiar buddy cop formula. Ride Along, Packer’s last buddy cop project starring Kevin Hart and Ice Cube, raked in more than six times its budget and has a sequel planned for early 2016. Packer is set to return as producer for Ride Along 2.

Packer, however, is staying busy in the meantime. In addition to producing the thriller film No Good Deed, which made more than $52 million domestically against a $13 million budget, Packer is also the producer of the upcoming January 2015 Hart film The Wedding Ringer and the N.W.A. biopic slated for August 2015 titled Straight Outta Compton.

Packer will executive produce the new drama-comedy, with Gossip Girl writer and producer Amanda Lasher set to pen the pilot.

article via thegrio.com

Lisa Price’s Beauty Company Carol’s Daughter Purchased by L’Oreal USA

carols-daughterL’Oreal USA announced today that it has purchased beauty company Carol’s Daughter, which will help the company reach a diverse consumer base.

“Carol’s Daughter possesses an expertise in the multi-cultural consumer segment, a rapidly expanding market that represents an important growth opportunity in the beauty industry,” said Frederic Roze, president and CEO of L’Oreal USA. “This acquisition will enable L’Oreal USA to build a new dedicated multi-cultural beauty division as part of our Consumer Products business, and strengthen the company’s position in this dynamic market.”

Carol’s Daughter, which was founded in 1993 by Lisa Price, will continue with its current leadership team, based out of its New York City headquarters.

“L’Oreal has a proven track record of helping established companies achieve their full potential while staying true to the core of the brand and they have an understanding of the future of multi-cultural beauty. I could not be more proud to begin this next chapter of the Carol’s Daughter brand with them,” said Price in a statement.

In May, Carol’s Daughter announced the closing of five store locations as part of a bankruptcy reorganization. Many at the time questioned the financial health of the company. Price addressed those questions directly in a Facebook post.

“It is important to set the record straight. Carol’s Daughter is still going strong after twenty-one years and the future has never looked brighter. As part of our increased focus on new retail channels, we have decided to close five of our stores. This was portrayed as if we are having some challenges, but nothing could be further from the truth,” she wrote at the time.

“The nationwide Target launch this past March is an opportunity that very few companies receive. I am proud of that. I am also proud and blessed to have valuable partners, like HSN, Ulta and Sephora inside JC Penney. These partnerships have enabled me to distribute Carol’s Daughter in over 2,500 stores and on direct TV which is far beyond the reach of my living room in Brooklyn,” the letter continued.

Today’s sale is subject to the final regulatory approvals. Other financial details are undisclosed.

article by Tonya Garcia via madamenoire.com

Nigeria and Senegal Declared Free of Ebola Virus by World Health Organization

Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 11.03.30 PMNigeria has been declared officially free of Ebola after six weeks with no new cases, the World Health Organization (WHO) says.  WHO representative Rui Gama Vaz, speaking in the capital Abuja, said it was a “spectacular success story”.

Nigeria won praise for its swift response after a Liberian diplomat brought the disease there in July.  The outbreak has killed more than 4,500 people in West Africa, mostly in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone.

An estimated 70% of those infected have died in those countries.  The WHO officially declared Senegal Ebola-free on Friday.

Meanwhile, European Union foreign ministers are meeting in Luxembourg to discuss how to strengthen their response to the threat posed by Ebola.

Speaking on the sidelines, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said he expected the meeting to appoint a co-ordinator to galvanize the EU’s response to the epidemic.

“My colleagues are unanimous in saying that this idea of a European co-ordinator for the fight against Ebola is a good idea. The name will be chosen in the coming days. I think it’s a very important step.”

European countries have committed more than 500m euros (£400m; $600m) but the UK is pressing to double that amount.

The money is being sought to help reinforce over-stretched healthcare systems in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea and to mitigate the damage Ebola is doing to their economies.

Earlier, the Spanish government said a nurse who became the first person to contract Ebola outside West Africa had tested negative for the virus.

article via bbc.com

“Saturday Night Live” Writer Leslie Jones Becomes Show’s Latest Cast Member

'Saturday Night Live' Adds New Cast

According to Variety.com, NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” has added Leslie Jones, a member of its writing staff, to the cast.  She’ll begin in this role as regular performer starting with this week’s Jim Carrey-hosted episode.

The comedian was a contender in the search for a new cast member of color last fall. The spot went to Sasheer Zamata, but producers decided to bring Jones on as a writer.  Jones is the latest “SNL” cast member to be plucked from the writing staff.  Michael Che, the new Weekend Update co-anchor, was also upped from his spot as a writer earlier this season.

Jones has appeared several times on SNL’s Weekend Update segment, including one in the 40th season premiere, proving her onscreen chops. She also starred in her own comedy special, “Problem Child,” for Showtime.

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

Russian Tennis Federation President Fined and Suspended for Derogatory Remarks Against Williams Sisters

Venus and Serena Williams

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Russian Tennis Federation President Shamil Tarpischev has been fined $25,000 by the WTA Tour and suspended from tour involvement for a year for questioning Serena and Venus Williams’ gender in comments on Russian television last week.

Tarpischev appeared on the Russian late-night show “Evening Urgant” alongside former WTA player Elena Dementieva last week. When Dementieva was asked what it was like to play against the Williams sisters, Tarpischev jumped in and referred to them as the “Williams brothers,” according to multiple reports.

After a back-and-forth with the show host and Dementieva, who did not laugh at the comment, Tarpischev reportedly continued: “It’s frightening when you look at them. But really you just need to play against the ball.”

The derogatory remarks by the head of the Russian Tennis Federation come out of nowhere and attacks not just two of the sport’s biggest stars, but the very foundation of the women’s game.

The WTA Tour said Friday that the $25,000 fine is the maximum allowed under tour rules and that it is seeking Tarpischev’s removal as chairman of the Kremlin Cup for one year. The tour also said Tarpischev owes the Williams sisters a personal apology.

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