Shariah Harris, 19, Becomes 1st  Black Woman to Play in U.S. Polo’s Highest League

Shariah Harris just became the first black woman to play high-goal polo, the top tier of U.S. polo. (Photo credit: KERRY MCCANN)

by Taryn Finley via huffingtonpost.com

A 19-year-old is making history and disrupting the wealthy white male-dominated sport of polo at the same time. On June 30, Shariah Harris of Philadelphia became the first black woman to play high-goal polo, the top tier of polo in the U.S. This summer, the Cornell University sophomore hit the field at the Tony Greenwich Polo Club in Connecticut to play for the Postage Stamp Farm team in the Silver Cup tournament. Harris told HuffPost that she’s excited about this barrier-breaking opportunity. “It’s great. Everything’s going by really fast, actually so it’s been great. This is something I’ve always wished I could do but never thought would happen. It’s pretty amazing.”

Harris became interested in the sport at age 8 or 9 after her mom took a wrong turn while driving. The wrong turn led them to grounds where other black children were riding horses. Harris and her mom were intrigued and found that the stables were run by a non-profit called Work to Ride. The program allows underprivileged inner-city kids to work in the stables and care for the horses. In return, the kids learn about horsemanship and equine sports. “As a mother of three children on a single income, I saw it as an opportunity to make their lives better,” her mom, Sharmell Harris, told the Hartford Courant. “Instead of a soccer mom, I became a barn mom.”

Shariah Harris (far right) and her team. (PHOTO COURTESY OF SHARIAH HARRIS)

Harris would report to the stables early in the morning to feed the horses, clean the barns, do maintenance work and other tasks. Though she admits that she wasn’t that good at riding in the beginning, she found a sense of comfort being on the horses. At 12, she joined the organization’s team and found a passion in polo. She would watch videos of the best players in the world and aspire to play at that level. So she incorporated some of their moves into her sport and challenged herself by playing with the boys of the program.

She carried her practice into college and became a force on Cornell’s polo team. In 2016 Harris was named the Polo Training Foundation’s 2016 National Interscholastic Player of the Year. The animal science major helped lead Cornell’s arena polo team into the finals this year. She credits much of her success to Work to Ride. Through Work to Ride, Harris was able to travel to play in different cities in the country as well as Nigeria and Argentina. While in Argentina in December, the teen met the owner of the Postage Stamp Farm team, Annabelle Garrett.

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Stephen Curry Scores Record-Breaking $201 Million Contract with Golden State Warriors

Stephen Curry (photo: Getty Images)

by Latifah Muhammad via vibe.com

The Golden State Warriors want to make sure Stephen Curry feels appreciated. Curry is set to become the highest paid player in NBA history after scoring a record-breaking $201 million contract with the team. Bob Myers, Golden State’s general manager revealed Friday (June 30) that Curry’s multi-million dollar deal is scheduled to be finalized after his free agency ends on July 3.

The 29-year-old point guard joined the Warriors in 2009 as a seventh-round overall pick. At the time, Curry’s contract was worth $12.7 million over four years, and it’s clear that he’s made an impression not only on the league but the team that he has called home since beginning his professional career. In the last few years, the two-time MVP has helped lead the Warriors win double NBA championships, and arguably reinvigorated the Bay Area franchise.

To read more, go to: Stephen Curry Scores Record-Breaking $201 Million Contract

Serena Williams Embraces Motherhood on Cover of Vanity Fair

Serena Williams (photo via vanityfair.com)

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

According to colorlines.com, Serena Williams recently paid homage to the famous Vanity Fair cover of a nude, pregnant Demi Moore, by having the same photographer, Annie Leibovitz, shoot her recent pregnancy cover in a similar pose (the hand on that hip though – all Serena). Leibovitz also shot all of the story’s photos, including black-and-white images of Williams with Alexis Ohanian, her Armenian-American fiancé who co-founded Reddit.

The cover story focuses on Williams and Ohanian’s account of their year-and-a-half courtship, engagement last December and her subsequent pregnancy. Williams also discusses her plan to return to tennis in January, roughly three months after her child’s anticipated birthdate.

Read the article and view the full set of photos here.

Chris Singleton, Son of Charleston Church Shooting Victim Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Drafted by Chicago Cubs

Chris Singleton and his mother Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton (photo via thebiglead.com)

by Paula Rogo via essence.com

The son of one of the victim’s of the Charleston church shooting was drafted to a major league baseball team almost two years to the day of the tragedy. The Chicago Cubs nabbed Chris Singleton in the 19th round of the draft last Wednesday. He played baseball at Charleston Southern University. His mother, the Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, and eight other people were gunned down in 2015 by Dylann Roof inside Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

“We certainly understand and have deep sympathy for his backstory, but what I want to make sure doesn’t get lost is that this guy’s a really good baseball player,” said Jason McLeod, the Cubs’ senior vice president of scouting and player development. “We had him evaluated really as a top-10-round-caliber talent.”

Roof was sentenced to death ealier this year after being convicted of federal murder and hate crimes in the Charleston massacre. He pleaded guilty to state charges in April, clearing the way for his federal imprisonment on death row to begin.

On The Anniversary Of Charleston Massacre Singleton posted on Twitter after the draft, using the hashtag #CantLetMomsDown. He described his mother as ”a God-fearing woman (who) loved everybody with all her heart.“ If everyone loved the way she did, he said, hate wouldn’t have a chance.”

Source: Chicago Cubs Draft Son Of Charleston Church Shooting Victim | Essence.com

Serena Williams Signs On as New “Purple Purse” Ambassador to Promote Financial Empowerment for Domestic Abuse Victims

Serena Williams (via instagram)

via eurweb.com

Serena Williams has signed on as the newest ambassador for Allstate Foundation Purple Purse, the insurance company’s decade-old initiative to provide financial empowerment to domestic abuse victims. The pregnant tennis star takes over for Kerry Washington as ambassador of the organization, which says it has helped about one million women escape abusive relationships through a mix of financial education and job training.

In explaining her decision to sign on, Williams told Mic.com, “Not a lot of people really know about financial abuse. It’s an invisible but also really devastating form of domestic abuse that traps victims in these harmful relationships.”One reason financial abuse is so prevalent, Williams said, is because it takes many different — sometimes subtle — forms.

An abuser might contact their partner’s employer, for example, and undermine their ability to stay on the job. Or the abuser might take out and use credit cards in their partner’s name.“If a woman’s credit is ruined, she can’t get an apartment,” Williams pointed out. “Most of the time when people leave abusive relationships, they have this awful debt and that can take years and years to recover, especially if they have kids.”

Williams’s announcement on Thursday (June 22) came with a newly-released hidden-camera style video by Purple Purse — showing ride-sharing passengers who get into a car and discover a purse that has been left behind. Soon, a phone inside the purse begins ringing, and the passengers then see a series of alarming texts that indicate an abusive relationship. The video’s message? If you see something, say something, says Vicky Dinges, Allstate senior vice president for corporate responsibility, who heads the project.

To see video, click below:

To read original article, go to: Serena Williams Promotes Financial Empowerment for Domestic Abuse Victims | EURweb

Screen Actors Guild Foundation to Honor Rashida Jones with 2017 Actors Inspiration Award for Philanthropy

Rashida Jones (photo via lifetailored.com)

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

The Screen Actors Guild‘s SAG-AFTRA Foundation announced today that Emmy®-nominated actor Rashida Jones will receive its Actors Inspiration Award, an honor recognizing artists who give back to the community by championing worthy philanthropic causes which make a difference in the world. On Monday, June 12th, the award will be presented to Ms. Jones at the Foundation’s 8thAnnual Los Angeles Golf Classic, an event benefiting its assistance and children’s literacy programs.

Rashida Jones is an actor, director, producer, screenwriter, musician and activist. Her philanthropy includes work with the International Rescue Committee, traveling around the world as an advocate for the nonprofit which delivers lifesaving care to people fleeing conflict and natural disaster; serving on the board and as a celebrity ambassador for Peace First, a youth organization that encourages the development of the world’s next generation of peacemakers; and supporting Oceana in its mission to protect and restore the world’s oceans. In addition, she lends her voice to several other important charities including Amnesty International, the Elton John AIDS Foundation, and The Trevor Project. Ms. Jones is also a supporter of the SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s online children’s literacy program Storyline Online (storylineonline.net) and will be filming a new video for Storyline Online following the Actors Inspiration Award ceremony. She will join the ranks of actors Viola Davis, Lily Tomlin and Chris Pine as Storyline Online advocates. Rashida Jones’ commitment to supporting vulnerable populations around the world, the environment, and children’s literacy embodies the spirit of the Actors Inspiration Award. Continue reading

Outstanding 17 Year-Old High School Student Jahmir Smith Offered 33 Full-Ride Scholarships

Jahmir Smith (photo via huffingtonpost.com)

by Zahara Hall via huffpost.com

As a kid, high school junior Jahmir Smith never had a dream college. But for a number of universities, he’s their dream student. The 17-year-old North Carolina native has already been accepted into all eight Ivy League schools and has received 33 full-ride scholarship offers, according to ABC 11 Eyewitness News.

While Smith has a 4.43 GPA at Lee County High School and an impressive ACT score, as well as enough credits to graduate a year early, The News & Observer reported that he’s also constantly being contacted by college football recruiters for his athleticism, receiving hundreds of texts from Division I coaches. Smith, who started playing football in middle school, has a composite three-star rating out of five on the sports website 247sports.com.

Additionally, he was chosen as 2016’s News & Observer’s Metro Football pick after scoring 41 touchdowns and running 2,130 yards in one season. Smith told HuffPost that while he doesn’t plan on making a career out of football, he’s certainly willing to give the NFL a shot. “It’s fast money,” he said. “But I don’t want it as a career because it would take a toll on my body.”

He added that if he doesn’t make the NFL, he wants to explore the medical field, specifically anesthesiology. In whatever he pursues, Smith is aware he’ll face challenges because of his race. But that’s not stopping him in the least bit. “I know the odds are against me because of my skin tone and all, but I don’t really let it get to me,” he said. “I just stay to myself and try to help those around me. I’ve always understood since I was little that people would see me different.”

To read more, go to: Outstanding High School Junior Already Offered 33 Full-Ride Scholarships | HuffPost