Tag: Nicki Minaj

LET’S TALK ABOUT IT: Could African American Philanthropy Help Solve the Black Student Debt Crisis?

Billionaires Robert Smith, Oprah Winfrey, top; Beyonce and Jay Z, bottom (photos via Creative Commons)

EDITOR’S NOTE: For some time now, we here at GBN have struggled with the fact that while our operating directive is always to present positive stories, there are so many issues that affect our communities that don’t fit that philosophy, but would love to find a way to present that doesn’t stray from our core mission. It recently dawned on us that the steps we as individuals and societies take to solve problems, large or small, could perhaps be our way in. Solutions can only come first through awareness and acknowledgement of the issue, learning about it, discussing it, then figuring out ways to act that may help solve it.

In that spirit, we introduce “Let’s Talk About It” – a new GBN feature we will occasionally present about problems that need ideas for solutions. Our first entry is a share from, appropriately enough, The Conversation, a website GBN has partnered with to bring to you exactly this type of content.

First up: How can we as a community begin to solve the black student debt crisis? Should we follow the lead of billionaire Robert F. Smith, who single-handedly relieved the debt of Morehouse College’s graduating class of 2019, and task the wealthiest among us to pitch in and help out? Or are there other ways for us to alleviate this issue? Read below, and if you’d like, let’s discuss!

-Lori Lakin Hutcherson, GBN Founder and Editor-in-Chief

From The Conversation:

by Mako Fitts Ward, professor at Arizona State University 

When billionaire Robert F. Smith decided to pay off the student loans of the graduating class of 2019 at Morehouse College, he suggested that others follow his lead.

“Let’s make sure every class has the same opportunity going forward, because we are enough to take care of our own community,” Smith declared in his commencement speech.

But is there even enough black private wealth in the United States to pay off all black student loan debt?

As a scholar in social transformation and African American studies, I’m intrigued by this question. It provides an opportunity to examine black wealth, higher education and the possibilities for alleviating debt, which in turn opens the door to new economic opportunities.

Black celebrities give to higher education

Smith’s gift is estimated to be worth US$40 million and will benefit 396 students.

That’s a lot of money, and he’s done it before. Before his gift to Morehouse, Smith donated $50 million to Cornell University, his alma mater, in part to support African American and female students at Cornell University’s College of Engineering.

Other black celebrities have also stepped up to fund education. Powerhouse couple Beyonce and Jay Z gave more than $1 million in scholarships to students who lived in cities they were touring in 2018.

Rapper Nicki Minaj gave 37 “Student of the Game” scholarships. LeBron James, through his foundation, promised to pay for 2,300 students to attend the University of Akron – at an estimated price tag of $100 million. Oprah Winfrey has donated more than $400 million to educational causes.

But with just five black billionaires in the United States – Smith, Winfrey, David Steward, Michael Jordan and Jay Z – monumental gifts like the one that Smith made will likely be few and far between.

Is Smith’s claim that “we are enough to take care of our own community” true of all the black wealth in the U.S.? Continue reading “LET’S TALK ABOUT IT: Could African American Philanthropy Help Solve the Black Student Debt Crisis?”

Chance The Rapper, Colin Kaepernick, Rihanna Top Most Charitable Celebrities List by DoSomething

Chance The Rapper, Rihanna, Colin Kaepernick

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

According to billboard.comDoSomething.org’s annual Celebs Gone Good list for 2017  is topped by Chicago artist and philanthropist Chance The Rapper. Chano is s followed by Arianna Grande, Rihanna, and Colin Kaepernick. Nicki Minaj and Ava DuVernay also appear, making their debuts on the list. The list recognizes celebrities who used their impact to affect social change in the world, as they helped raise awareness for causes such as mental health, education, gun violence, LGBTQ, sexual assault, hurricane/disaster relief and the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

The organization also selected eight Celebs to Watch in 2018, featuring young talent who give back. Teen actress Skai Jackson and Beyonce’s protégé Chloe X Halle made the cut, by inspiring young women and speaking out about women’s rights and bullying. Halima Aden also made the list for promoting diversity in the fashion industry, becoming the first hijab-wearing fashion model.

The 2017 Celebs Gone Good rankings are below:

  1. Chance the Rapper
  2. Colin Kaepernick
  3. Ariana Grande
  4. Rihanna
  5. Beyoncé
  6. JJ Watt
  7. Kesha
  8. Yara Shahidi
  9. Zendaya
  10. Bethenny Frankel
  11. Nicki Minaj
  12. Lin Manuel Miranda
  13. Lauren Jauregui
  14. Jennifer Lopez
  15. Shawn Mendes
  16. Demi Lovato
  17. Ava DuVernay
  18. John Legend & Chrissy Teigen
  19. Miley Cyrus
  20. Bruno Mars

To read more, go to: https://www.billboard.com/articles/news/lifestyle/8085001/dosomething-most-charitable-celebs-list-chance-the-rapper

Nicki Minaj Funds Village in India to Create Access to Clean Water, Computer Center And More

CREDIT: Getty Images

by Latifah Muhammad via vibe.com

Nicki Minaj is quite the giver.  A week after paying off college loans and tuition for some of her fans, Minaj revealed more of her philanthropic efforts, via social media. Apparently, the Queens native has been quietly sending money to an impoverished village in India for the last couple of years. And her kindness is already paying off.

Thanks to the “No Frauds” rapper’s generosity, villagers now have access to a computer center, a reading program, two water wells, and more.“This is the kind of thing that makes me feel the most proud,” Minaj wrote on Instagram Saturday (May 20).“The money I’ve sent to this village in India for the last couple years [via my Pastor Lydia Sloley], has gotten them a computer center, a tailoring institute, a reading program and two water wells.“

“We complain about the most ridiculous little things when some [people] don’t even have clean water,” she continued. “Blessings to India. Our work is far from done.”Minaj added that she’ll be dropping more details about her charity work in the “near future,” in case fans want to get involved.

To read more, go to: Here’s Why Nicki Minaj Sends Money To A Village In India

Nicki Minaj Offers to Pay College Tuition, Students Loans for Fans

Nicki Minaj (photo via money.com)

by Jennifer Calfas via time.com

Award-winning rapper Nicki Minaj has offered to pay college tuition fees and student loans for several of her fans.

Minaj made the offer on Twitter under several conditions, asking for verification of 4.0 GPAs and confirmation from their schools.

Minaj responded to tweets from fans late Saturday evening and into the early morning. The series of tweets came after Minaj promoted a contest for a fan to join her at the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas later this month.

The contest had fans tweeting at her with #NickiBBMAs, and eventually escalated into pleas to the multiplatinum artist for help with college tuition fees and student loans.

The requests went beyond tuition and student loans, with some fans asking for less than $1,000 for books and other supplies for school. Minaj appeared to grant those requests, asking for the contact and bank info for some of her fans.

By the end of the evening, Minaj said she would pay for about 30 fans’ college tuition, student loans or other education-related fees. The fees ranged from $500 to books to $6,000 for tuition.

She said she’d make these payments Sunday, “then see if I have any money left.” She also promised to respond to more requests from fans to help pay college fees in a month or two.

The rapper said she plans to help pay for more of her fans’ college fees in the future.

Source: Nicki Minaj Offers to Pay College Tuition for Fans | Money

FILM FUN: Check Out New Cool Photo from All-Female “Ghostbusters” with SNL’s Leslie Jones

The Ghostbusters Abby (Melissa McCarthy), Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon), Erin (Kristen Wiig) and Patty (Leslie Jones) inside the Mercado Hotel Lobby in Columbia Pictures' GHOSTBUSTERS.
The Ghostbusters Abby (Melissa McCarthy), Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon), Erin (Kristen Wiig) and Patty (Leslie Jones) inside the Mercado Hotel Lobby in Columbia Pictures’ GHOSTBUSTERS.

Who you gonna call? I know it’s early to get geeked about summer movies seeing as winter just officially started last week, but when I saw this new image from the upcoming all-female version of GHOSTBUSTERS, I got more than a little hyped, especially since SNL’s Leslie Jones looks like such a b-o-s-s in the photo!

Jones, alongside fellow comedic beasts Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Kristen Wiig, is making GHOSTBUSTERS look like it will be the comedy-action event movie of 2016.  And truth be told, I also can’t wait to see who’s going to cover the Ray Parker, Jr. title song.

I’m personally hoping for a fresh take from a female artist like Rihanna, Beyoncé or Mary J. Blige – or even a way-out hip-hop version from Nicki Minaj.

Is there any movie or event you’re excited about that’s coming in 2016? If so, sound off below!

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson, Editor-in-Chief
by Lori Lakin Hutcherson, Editor-in-Chief

Kendrick Lamar Leads Grammy Nominations With 11

UPTOWN_to_pimp_a_butterfly

The Recording Academy announced the Grammy Award nominations this morning. Kendrick Lamar leads the field with 11 nods. The Weeknd and Taylor Swift both received seven Grammy nominations. Other top nominees include DrakeJohn Legend, and Kanye West.

The Academy is committed to celebrating a diverse blend of talented entertainers, musicians, and producers, and this commitment is evident in the nominees for the Album of the Year category.  According to Grammy.com. Lamar has been nominated for his “jazz-infused rap,” Alabama Shakes for their “alternative and soulful rock,” Swift for her pop, Chris Stapleton for his “classic country sounds,” and The Weeknd for his “genre-bending R&B style.”

D’Angelo and The Vanguard are nominated for Record of the Year, along with Mark Ronson featuring Bruno MarsEd Sheeran, The Weeknd, and Swift.

The Grammy ceremony will be held Feburary 15, 2016 in Los Angeles. A list of nominees follows below: Continue reading “Kendrick Lamar Leads Grammy Nominations With 11”

Alicia Keys, John Legend, Pharrell and Others Perform at “Shining A Light: Concert For Progress on Race in America” Airing Tonight on A+E Networks & Several Others

John Legend at "Shining A Light" Concert
John Legend at “Shining A Light” Concert

A+E Networks and iHeartMedia are simultaneously airing “Shining a Light: A Concert for Progress on Race in America” on Friday, November 20 at 8PM ET/PT.  The sold-out concert was recorded at The Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, CA on Wednesday, November 18th, and the two-hour special event will air across the entire A+E Networks portfolio in more than 130 territories globally, including A&E, HISTORY, Lifetime, H2, LMN and FYI, as well as on more than 130 iHeartMedia broadcast radio stations nationwide and the iHeartRadio digital platform.  Additionally, AOL has joined in the simulcast making the historic special event available to anyone with internet access across the globe on AOL.com.

Artists Aloe Blacc, Andra Day, Nick Jonas, Tom Morello, Smokey Robinson and Big Sean join the previously announced performers including Zac Brown Band, Eric Church, Jamie Foxx, Rhiannon Giddens, Tori Kelly, John Legend, Miguel, Pink, Jill Scott, Ed Sheeran, Sia, Bruce Springsteen, Sting and Pharrell WilliamsLL Cool J, Marshall Faulk, Morgan Freeman, George Lopez, Mario Lopez, Nicki Minaj, Kurt Warner and Nick Young are among the presenters joining the telecast.

Alicia Keys has joined John Legend and Pharrell on extraordinary journeys to Baltimore, Ferguson and Charleston, where they met with a diverse group of residents in communities at the center of the national conversation on racial inequality and violence.  Joined by NPR’s Michele Norris with John Legend in Ferguson, award-winning journalist Soledad O’Brien with Pharrell Williams in Charleston and ABC News’ Byron Pitts in Baltimore, these visits included intimate discussions and special private performances by each for those most effected.  These incredibly moving, heart wrenching and eye-opening moments will be featured throughout the two-hour concert, as well as in the one-hour special, “Shining a Light: Conversations on Race in America,” airing immediately following the concert on A&E Network and AOL.com at 10pm ET/PT.

To see Alicia Keys perform Donny Hathaway’s “Someday We Will All Be Free”, watch below:

The concert will kick off A+E Networks’ campaign to confront issues of race, and promote unity and progress on racial equity, inspired by the response of the Mother Emanuel family members in Charleston and others working for reconciliation and change around the country.

The concert and the ancillary programming will help raise money for the Fund for Progress on Race in America powered by United Way Worldwide (ShiningALightConcert.com).  The fund will provide grant funding to individuals and organizations fostering understanding, eliminating bias, as well as provide support to Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church and the broader A.M.E. denomination. The fund will support efforts to address racism and bias through public policy change, individual innovation, and community mobilization.

Tickets for the concert on November 18 sold out within 3 hours of the on-sale date raising more than $150,000 to benefit the Fund for Progress on Race in America powered by The United Way Worldwide.

To see a clip of John Legend’s performance of “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” from the event, watch below:

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

Nicki Minaj Comedy Gets ABC Family Series Commitment

Nicki Minaj ABC Family

Nicki Minaj is set to executive produce and appear in a scripted comedy series for ABC Family based on the rap star’s life growing up in Queens, New York. The project, from Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment, will film a pilot episode in Minaj’s hometown this winter, with the intention to continue to series.

Born in Saint James, Trinidad and Tobago, Minaj moved to the U.S. as a child. Written by Kate Angelo (Sex Tape), the untitled series will
focus on Minaj’s growing up in Queens in the 1990s with her vibrant immigrant family and the personal and musical evolution that lead to her eventual rise to stardom.

“Nicki Minaj is a force to be reckoned with at everything she touches,” said ABC Family’s EVP Programming and Development Karey Burke. “Nicki is an international superstar, yet not everyone knows how inspiring and hilarious her true story is, and we can’t wait to share it with the world.”

Minaj, Kaplan and Angelo executive produce with Stella Bulochnikov and Brian Sher (Boss), as well as Gee Roberson.

“This is one of the more unique adventures I’ve ever embarked on,” said Minaj. “I couldn’t be more proud and excited to team up with an amazing group of people to give the world something really special.”

ABC Family 1Minaj studied acting at Manhattan’s prestigious LaGuardia High School and originally pursued acting before launching a successful music career. Minaj, who is in the midst of her worldwide “Pinkprint” tour, is the first solo female artist to have seven singles charting simultaneously on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. Her third full-length album, The Pinkprint, became the second highest-selling female debut of 2014 and arrived at No. 2 on the Billboard Top 200 and No. 1 on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Albums Chart.

Additionally, Minaj’s double-platinum Anaconda set the record for most Vevo views in 24 hours. Minaj also achieved the highest digital sales for any female artist in history with over 50 million track sales between solo and feature performances. She and Adele are the only two artists in history to sell 1 million copies of five different songs in one year.

Minaj made her acting debut with a voice role in Ice Ace: Continental Drift and a co-starring role in the feature comedy The Other Woman. She recently wrapped her first starring movie role in MGM’s Barbershop 3. On TV, Minaj drew attention with her appearance on Saturday Night Live last year where she was a musical guest but did a couple of skits and portrayed Kim Kardashian and Beyoncé.

This would mark Kapital Entertainment’s third series for ABC Family, along with drama Chasing Life and comedy Kevin From Work. The six-and-a-half-year old production company has seven on-air series — Secrets & Lies on ABC, The Mysteries Of Laura on NBC, Life In Pieces on CBS, Instant Mom on Nick as well as Chasing Life and Kevin From Work, and the upcoming comedy Divorce on HBO. Kapital also has a pilot at Showtime that is in pre-production.

Angelo started her writing career in TV with stints on Will & Grace and The Bernie Mac Show before segueing to features where she penned The Back-Up Plan and co-wrote Sex Tape. She’s repped by UTA and attorney David Fox.

Minaj is managed by Gee Roberson at Maverick.

article by Nellie Andreeva via deadline.com

The Week Designers Showed Black Women Love Feat. Tinashe, Ciara And Joan Smalls

Jay Z Launches Tidal, the First Artist-Owned Streaming-Music Service

Jay Z Kanye Rihanna Madonna Tidal
(JAMIE MCCARTHY/GETTY IMAGES)

Music impresario Jay Z has launched Tidal — positioned as an ad-free, high-quality streaming-music subscription service priced starting at $10 per month — with the participation of numerous big-name artists including Alicia Keys, Beyoncé, Chris Martin of Coldplay, Usher, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, Kanye West and Madonna.

In January, Jay Z acquired Sweden-based Aspiro for $56 million. The artists announced onstage at the New York event Monday were introduced as co-owners of the company, representing the first artist-owned digital-music service — as opposed to companies like Spotify and Pandora.

“Our goal is simple: We want to create a better service and a better experience for both fans and artitsts,” Alicia Keys said at the event. “We believe that it is in everyone’s interests — fans, artists and the industry as a whole — to preserve the value of music, and to ensure a healthy and robust industry for years to come.”

Tidal’s mobile launch partner is Sprint. Other artists participating in the service include Arcade Fire, Calvin Harris, Daft PunkJack White (formerly of the White Stripes) and Deadmau5. Tidal was launched with the hashtag “#TIDALforALL” — although, obviously, it’s only for those able or willing to pay at least $120 annually for audio and video content.

The Tidal service will compete with other subscription-music services including Spotify and Apple’s forthcoming music-streaming service, based on its acquisition of Beats Music, which is expected to launch this summer.

Tidal will not offer a free version of the service; the standard-audio version (Tidal Premium) will be $9.99 per month and the high-def audio version (Tidal HiFi) will be $19.99 per month. Both tiers are free to try out for 30 days, according to the company.

Tidal says it provides a library of more than 25 million tracks, 75,000 music videos and curated editorial articles. The service is available across iOS and Android devices, as well as in Web browsers and desktop players, available in the U.S. and 30 other countries at launch. Tidal provides streaming quality at more than four times the bit rate of competitive services, according to the startup.

article by Todd Spangler via Variety.com

The Good Things Black People Do, Give and Receive All Over The World
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