Tag: Houston

UPDATE: Hurricane Harvey Telethon on Sept. 12 to Include Beyoncé, Oprah, Kelly Rowland, Michael Strahan and More

Beyoncé, Jamie Foxx, and Oprah Winfrey (photo via oprah.com)

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

According to Variety.com, the telethon announced last Thursday on Instagram by Jamie Foxx will now also include appearances by Beyoncé, George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Barbra Streisand, Reese Witherspoon, and Oprah Winfrey, among others, that on Sept. 12 will raise money for Hurricane Harvey relief.

“Hand in Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Harvey Relief” will air live at 8 p.m. ET across ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and basic cable channel CMT. Country superstar George Strait will appear on the telecast in concert from the Majestic Theater in San Antonio, Texas. The telecast will originate from the Universal Studios lot, Times Square and Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry.

Money raised from the event will be distributed to a range of charities aiding recovery efforts in Houston, which was devastated last week by the storm and widespread flooding left in Harvey’s wake. The organizations include the United Way of Greater Houston, Habitat for Humanity, Save the Children, Feeding Texas and the Mayor’s Fund for Hurricane Harvey Relief.

The death toll from Harvey has hit 63, according to CBS News. Tens of thousands of people in the southeast Texas region have been displaced from homes that were damaged or destroyed after days of torrential rain and winds.

Other celebrities set to appear in live or taped segments include Karlie Kloss, Rob Lowe, Matthew McConaughey, Dennis Quaid, Adam Sandler, Ryan Seacrest, and Blake Shelton.

“Hand in Hand” was the brainchild of music manager and producer Scooter Braun’s SB Projects. Braun and Allison Kaye will serve as executive producers along with Den of Thieves’ Jesse Ignjatovic and Evan Prager and Houston-based rapper Bernard ‘Bun B’ Freeman.

U.S. Coast Guard Pilot Jason Brownlee Rescued More People in Hurricane Harvey than in Rest of His Career Combined

Coast Guard pilot Jason Brownlee, at right, is seen with commander John Egan, left, and flight mechanic Eric Cybulski, center. (MELISSA JELTSEN/HUFFPOST)

by Melissa Jeltsen, Andy Campbell via huffingtonpost.com

ELLINGTON FIELD JOINT RESERVE BASE, Texas ― At 3 a.m. on Sunday, Jason Brownlee, a pilot with the U.S. Coast Guard, woke with a start. His phone was ringing. While he was asleep, Hurricane Harvey had slammed into the greater Houston area, bringing extreme winds and heavy rainfall. His bosses wanted him back at the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Houston ― ASAP. There was one problem, though. Brownlee, 34, was already flooded in.

“Every road that I could take to get in was impassable,” he said. So his team pulled the maneuver they knew best: They scrambled a rescue aircraft and picked him up in an elementary school parking lot near his house.“I came in, put my uniform on, grabbed my gear, a crew, a helicopter,” and took off, he said, flying the first of what would be many rescue missions in the days to come.

Flying over Port Arthur and Beaumont revealed widespread flooding and devastation from Hurricane Harvey. (MELISSA JELTSEN/HUFFPOST)

Coast Guard rescue workers had been working nonstop since the hurricane made landfall. Many of them left families behind. One serviceman’s wife was in labor as he worked to aid his community. Several Guardsmen at Ellington Field lost homes and vehicles of their own, while others, such as Eric Cybulski, were initially unable to get to the air base to help because of severe flooding.

“This one caught a lot of people off guard,” Cybulski said. “I don’t think the Houston area was expecting something of this magnitude ― this much rain.”

Brownlee said he was humbled after flying over Houston early on in the storm. He didn’t see any damage, and although he was ready to act at a moment’s notice, he figured the worst was over. Hours later, he’d wake up to a call demanding that he get back to his chopper.

“My famous last words were, ‘Hurricane Harvey is going to be nothing,’” he said.

He would save 20 lives over the course of the next few days ― three times as many people as he’d rescued since he became a pilot three years ago.

To read full article, go to: This Pilot Rescued More People In Harvey Than In The Rest Of His Career Combined | HuffPost

Texas Native Jamie Foxx Announces Sept. 12 Telethon for Hurricane Harvey

Jamie Foxx (photo via etonline.com)

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson

According to Entertainment Tonight, Texas native Jamie Foxx announced on Instagram that there will be a telethon on Sept. 12 to raise money for those in need from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. “Just wanted to let everyone in Texas know, we got you,” Foxx says, adding that he’s donated $25,000 to GlobalGiving, a non-profit organization that provides a global crowdfunding platform for grassroots charitable projects.

“From a fellow Texan, my heart goes out. My prayers go out. September 12 we have a telethon that we’re doing. We’ll give you more details, so we can raise as much money as we can for everybody down there.”

Top talents Blake Shelton and Reese Witherspoon will reportedly also be part of the upcoming televised money-raising effort.

Source: Jamie Foxx Announces Telethon for Hurricane Harvey, Reportedly Featuring Reese Witherspoon and Blake Shelton | Entertainment Tonight

Houston Native Beyoncé Pledges to Help with Hurricane Harvey Relief Efforts via BeyGOOD

Beyonce performs during the Formation World Tour at NRG Stadium on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016, in Houston. (Photo by Daniela Vesco/Invision for Parkwood Entertainment/AP Images)

by Joey Guerra via chron.com

Beyoncé has pledged to do her part to help Hurricane Harvey victims. The Houston native released an exclusive statement Monday afternoon to the Houston Chronicle regarding the devastating effects still being felt throughout the city. “My heart goes out to my hometown, Houston, and I remain in constant prayer for those affected and for the rescuers who have been so brave and determined to do so much to help,” she said. “I am working closely with my team at BeyGOOD as well as my pastor (Rudy Rasmus at St. John’s in downtown Houston) to implement a plan to help as many as we can.”

BeyGOOD, launched in 2013 during the Mrs. Carter World Tour, is a philanthropic effort that partners with global charity organizations to get people employed and provide clothing, counseling, housing, food and medical assistance.

Beyoncé posted a black and white photo on Instagram of herself holding the Texas flag with the caption, “Texas you are in my prayers.” In less than a day it’s received more than 1 million likes.Drake, Chris Young and Lady Antebellum have also dedicated money and resources to Hurricane Harvey victims.

To read full article, go to: Beyoncé pledges to ‘help as many as we can’ with Hurricane Harvey relief efforts

Here’s a List of Ways to Help Victims of Hurricane Harvey

(photo via huffingtonpost.com)

by Lee Moran, Hilary Hanson, Nick Robins-Early via huffingtonpost.com

The devastation from Hurricane Harvey continues to be felt throughout Texas, as heavy rains and catastrophic flooding are expecting to continue for days.Although the extent of the damage and death toll is not yet clear, the National Weather Service is already calling the storm “unprecedented.” Major highways are submerged in floodwaters, emergency services have received thousands of calls and authorities are urging residents to stay in place.

Recovering from the disaster could take years, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. There are an untold number of homes and people affected, and the additional flooding and rainfall is set to make the situation even worse.As emergency services, charities and aid groups gear up to address the massive need from Harvey, here are some ways that you can help.

1. Donate Or Volunteer

A plethora of organizations are appealing for donations to help them as they send volunteers and supplies to the hardest-hit areas.These include the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army, Samaritan’s Purse, Save The Children, the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, and Heart to Heart International. Food banks throughout Texas are also accepting donations for people affected by the storm. You can donate money to Feeding Texas, a network of the state’s food banks, here. Additionally, the Elgin Courier has compiled a list of food bank locations throughout the region that may need donations of food or supplies. The local Texas Diaper Bank is putting together disaster relief kits for families with young children. You can donate here. There is also the Coalition For The Homeless, which helps coordinate shelters and outreach for the city’s vulnerable homeless population. Portlight is a local organization that offers relief to the disabled and older adults.

The Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce is raising funds to assist in recovery efforts in those two communities, which were especially hard hit when the hurricane first made landfall. You can donate here. Crowdfunding site GlobalGiving has launched a hurricane relief fund aimed at gathering funds for local nonprofits in the storm-stricken region.Animal shelters and rescue groups are taking in numerous pets displaced by the storm ― ones that got lost in the chaos, were left behind, or simply need temporary housing while their owners stay in evacuation shelters. Those groups include the SPCA of Texas, Austin Pets Alive!, Dallas Animal Services and the San Antonio Humane Society. A number of online fundraising sites have also been set up through GoFundMe, with donations benefiting everything from hurricane and disaster relief groups to animals and families in need. The full list of fundraisers can be viewed on GoFundMe’s Hurricane Harvey Relief page.

2. Donate Blood

Blood centers expect a supply shortage because of the closure of some blood banks along the Texas coast and the likely demand stemming from injuries sustained in the storm. Centers have put out calls for extra donors to help deal with the aftermath. You can find donation centers or blood drives for the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center here, or for Texas organization Carter BloodCare here. And even if you’re not in Texas, you can search online for blood drives local to you or book an appointment via the Red Cross website.

3. Provide Accommodation For Evacuees

Airbnb has launched a portal so that the people who have been displaced by the hurricane can find a place to stay. It’s also waiving fees for people affected by the disaster. More details are available on the Airbnb website here.

Source: Here’s How To Help The Victims Of Hurricane Harvey | HuffPost

Harvard Junior Rahsaan King Launches Educational Non-Profit to Help Struggling Teens

Harvard student and Students of Strength founder Rahsaan King (photo via seas.harvard.edu)

article by Adam Zewe via seas.harvard.edu

Harvard student Rahsaan King, A.B. ’17, is acutely aware that his life could very easily have taken a tragic turn.

While growing up in a tough neighborhood in Houston, King fell in with a rough crowd of young men, many of whom dropped out of school, wound up in prison, or became victims of gang violence. All signs pointed to King following a similar path—he  was expelled from the private boarding school he attended, Chinquapin Preparatory School, squandering his first chance for success.

“During my time away from prep school, I realized how beautiful that experience was—what a great opportunity it had been for me—and something in me changed,” he said. “I studied harder. I became more focused and ambitious. I was hungry for excellence and education.”

Readmitted to Chinquapin, King was given a second chance and this time he buckled down. He was elected to lead the student council, graduated at the top of his class, and was accepted into Harvard, earning a prestigious Gates Millennium Award to supplement his tuition.

“Education was my way out of darkness. It was my way out of poverty,” he said. “Once I succeeded, I felt compelled to help other people do what I have done.”

So after beginning his education at the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences where he is an applied math concentrator, King took a small-time tutoring business he had started in high school and expanded it into a nationwide educational social enterprise, Students of Strength, that connects underachieving students with on-demand tutors.

Students of Strength is unique because it enables middle and high school students to receive academic help instantly from coaches at prestigious universities, including Harvard, Yale, and MIT. The system incorporates a user-friendly mobile app that makes it easy for students to reach tutors and ask questions.

Beyond tutoring, academic coaches also serve as mentors who offer advice on preparing for/applying to college, and encouragement when students feel lost, overwhelmed, or hopeless. The program provides test pep and character-building curricula that use videos, games, and practice problems to prepare students for the intellectual and emotional challenges inherent to pursuing higher education.

“Because the students are interacting with peers instead of professionals, it makes it much easier for them to relate to their academic coaches,” King said.

Having relatable mentors is especially important for the underserved students who are the focus of the program. For every two sessions the organization sells, it donates one to a low-income student. Corporate sponsors are able to “adopt” low-income schools to provide Students of Strength coaches for entire classes of underprivileged students.

A dedicated group of volunteer liaisons help King recruit new academic coaches at universities across the nation. He hopes to have 10,000 tutors on board by the end of 2016.

Continue reading “Harvard Junior Rahsaan King Launches Educational Non-Profit to Help Struggling Teens”

TRAVEL: La Maison in Midtown, a Black-Owned Bed and Breakfast in Houston, Beckons Vacationers

BE _LaMaison_logoHouston is a destination hotspot, to say the least. From the burgeoning culinary scene, to the thriving nightlife, to the city’s main attractions, it’s increasingly becoming one of the top cities to visit in the United States. So much so, that Houston is already setting the stage to host more than 200,000 fans for the 51st edition of the Super Bowl in early 2017 at NRG Stadium, which is also the home of the NFL’s Texans.

The most important decision when planning your visit to Houston (or any city, in fact) is deciding where to lay your head every night. And while hotels are typically the first thought when making accommodations, bed and breakfasts (B&Bs) have been growing in popularity for a number of reasons — namely, cost, comfort, and the family-style environment. These mini-residences combine the chic style of hotels with private rooms and a home-cooked meal.

For those unfamiliar, there are more than 30,000 bed and breakfast establishments in the country, but sadly only about 1% are black-owned. Don’t get it twisted, however — just because the numbers are lacking doesn’t mean that these options aren’t some of the most luxurious, five-star accommodations that you will come across.

Lodging in one of the few, but hailed, African American–owned bed and breakfasts would ensure coverage of all your vacation needs — especially if you’re staying at La Maison in Midtown. Dispelling the notion that “sisters” can’t support and grow with each other, Houston attorney Genora Boykins and her business partner Sharon Owens are the epitome of brilliant, boss women. And they are also the founders of La Maison in Midtown.

La Maison owners Genora Boykins and Sharon Owens (photo via theempowermag.com)
La Maison In Midtown founders Genora Boykins and Sharon Owens (photo via theempowermag.com)

Inspired by the architecture of New Orleans, the three-story B&B features seven unique and well-appointed guest rooms (all accessible via elevator) that offer amenities like whirlpool tubs, walk-in showers, flat-screen TVs, bathrobes, Wi-Fi, and great views of the downtown skyline. As soon as you walk through the doors, you will understand the “wow” factor of staying at La Maison.

As you continue on your tour, if you head to the second level, there’s also a 310-square-foot conference room available for private business meetings. Downstairs, a parlor, living room, and dining room area lends to the property’s cozy, at-home vibe and plays host to a daily, Southern-style breakfast.

Building your own B&B is no easy feat. Though the property was built in 1999, it was not opened until 2010. Genora Boykins shared, “For the most part, it was about trying to wait until the area was very well developed, and also just figuring out the bed and breakfast industry, since neither of us had that previous experience. We knew exactly what we wanted to do, however.”

“We were very intentional when we created the B&B [La Maison] and the concept that we were trying to achieve. We wanted it to be a place where people would feel very comfortable and cozy, but also wanted the rooms to have a hotel feel, because that’s what people typically don’t like about B&Bs. We wanted to have the same amenities that you would find at a hotel, so that you are able to find the best of both worlds.”

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Five African-American Museums to Visit in the U.S.

Black culture is found all across the country. Whether you’re in the rolling fields of the Midwest or the quiet back roads of the South, here are five inexpensive (or free) museums that feature art, music, and culture from the African diaspora.

experience.com
California African American Museum (photo via experiencela.com)

WEST 

What: California African American Museum

Where: Los Angeles, CA

How much: Free

This museum is home to some of the most fascinating exhibits of African and African American culture. Check out Toward Freedom: A Photo Exhibition of the Beta Israel Community in Israel and the Ethiopian Community in Los Angeles, photojournalist Irene Fertik’s images of Ethiopian communities establishing themselves in Israel and Los Angeles. Or, view The African American Journey West: Permanent Collection, which features art and artifacts that show the African American journey from the shores of Africa to America’s western frontier. Wherever your interests are, this museum is sure to have something that’ll satisfy your intellectual craving.

wttw.com
DuSable Museum of African American History (Photo: wttw.com)

MIDWEST

What: DuSable Museum of African American History  

Where: Chicago, IL 

How much: $10 

This museum is a crux in Chicago’s black community. Home to several after-school programs, the museum has a history of engaging with the community on current topics. Current popular exhibits include Freedom, Resistance, and the Journey Towards EqualityRed, White, Blue & Black: A History of Blacks in the Armed Services, and The Freedom Now Mural.

wikipedia.com
Buffalo Soldiers Museum (Photo: wikipedia.com)

SOUTHWEST

What: Buffalo Soldiers Museum

Where: Houston, TX

How much: $10 

The Buffalo Soldiers Museum has one of the most highly-curated museum collections of black soldier life. Founded in 2000 by a Vietnam veteran and African-American military historian, it’s currently the only museum primarily dedicated to the African-American veteran experience. Check out the memorabilia, fine arts collection and videos here.

grouptravelleader.com
Tubman African-American Museum (Photo: grouptravelleader.com)

SOUTHEAST

What: Tubman African American Museum

Where: Macon, GA

How much: $10  

This museum, which calls itself an “educational adventure through time,” houses one of the most diverse collections of African-American historical artifacts in the country. Currently, visitors can see areas such as Folk Art, the Inventors Gallery, and a special area for Black Artists of Georgia.

timeinc.net
Museum of African American History (Photo: timeinc.net)

NORTHEAST

What: Museum of African American History

Where: Boston, MA

How much: $3

This museum — which is the 1834 African American Meeting House — has both rotating and permanent exhibits on local African-American history. The Black Books exhibit examines the historical and cultural implications of forbidding enslaved Africans to read or write. It also traces the evolution and recovery of their written voices. You can also see the Abiel Smith School, the first public school built to educate black children.

article by Kayla Stewart via blavity.com

Houston Cuts Its Homeless Population Nearly in Half

Wendell Johnson readies his bed at the Salvation Army shelter September 23, 2005 in Houston. (Photo: Getty Images)

A new report from Coalition for the Homeless reveals that the number of unsheltered homeless people in the Houston area has dropped by 46 percent since 2011.

The statistics come from a “point-in-time” count of people who were experiencing homelessness on January 29, 2015, in the greater Houston area (Harris County and Fort Bend County) in Texas. The annual canvass found that there were 4,609 people either staying in emergency shelters, transitional housing or safe havens, or unsheltered (living in places not meant for human habitation, such as abandoned buildings or under bridges). In 2011, that number was 8,538. This puts the current homeless rate at 1 out of every 1,130 residents. That number was 1 out of every 450 residents in 2011. Just under 60 percent of those displaced citizens are black.

“It’s incredible,” said Marilyn Brown, president and CEO of Coalition for the Homeless in the Houston Chronicle’s article available behind the newspaper’s paywall. “When we see the result—that the number of homeless has been cut in half—we see we’ve gone from managing homelessness to ending it.” With 58 percent of the total homeless population installed in some type of housing, all signs point to that being true.

The coalition of homeless services providers said their success stems from the The Way Home, a local collaborative model adopted in 2012 with the goal of eradicating homelessness by installing permanent housing units and creating a coordinated intake, needs assessment and triage system that gets people the help they need more efficiently.

article by Kenrya Rankin Naasel via colorlines.com

R.I.P. Composer, Pianist and Jazz Crusader Joe Sample

Joe Sample at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2011. His last solo album, “Children of the Sun,” is to be released this fall. (Credit: Jean-Christophe Bott/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images)

Joe Sample, who became a jazz star in the 1960s as the pianist with the Jazz Crusaders and an even bigger star a decade later when he began playing electric keyboards and the group simplified its name to the Crusaders, died on Friday in Houston. He was 75.

The cause was mesothelioma, said his manager, Patrick Rains.

The Jazz Crusaders, who played the muscular, bluesy variation on bebop known as hard bop, had their roots in Houston, where Mr. Sample, the tenor saxophonist Wilton Felder and the drummer Nesbert Hooper (better known by the self-explanatory first name Stix) began performing together as the Swingsters while in high school.

Mr. Sample met the trombonist Wayne Henderson at Texas Southern University and added him, the bassist Henry Wilson and the flutist Hubert Laws — who would soon achieve considerable fame on his own — to the group, which changed its name to the Modern Jazz Sextet.

The band worked in the Houston area for several years but did not have much success until Mr. Sample, Mr. Felder, Mr. Hooper and Mr. Henderson moved to Los Angeles and changed their name to the Jazz Crusaders, a reference to the drummer Art Blakey’s seminal hard-bop ensemble, the Jazz Messengers. Their first album, “Freedom Sound,” released on the Pacific Jazz label in 1961, sold well, and they recorded prolifically for the rest of the decade, with all four members contributing compositions, while performing to enthusiastic audiences and critical praise.

In the early 1970s, as the audience for jazz declined, the band underwent yet another name change, this one signifying a change in musical direction. Augmenting their sound with electric guitar and electric bass, with Mr. Sample playing mostly electric keyboards, the Jazz Crusaders became the Crusaders. Their first album under that name, “Crusaders 1,” featuring four compositions by Mr. Sample, was released on the Blue Thumb label in 1972.

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