Joy Bishara and Lydia Pogu, Two Escaped Boko Haram Abductees, Graduate From High School in VA, Head to Southeastern University

(photo via instagram.com)

by Taryn Finley via huffpost.com

Two of the nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in 2014 are telling their story. Joy Bishara, 20, and Lydia Pogu, 19, are among the 57 girls who were able to escape from the terrorist group. The duo gave People Magazine a detailed account of horrors they faced when the gunmen invaded their school in Chibok, Nigeria, and the events that followed.

The girls were sleeping when the invasion occurred. They woke to the sounds of gunshots and bombs. Pogu told People that men in uniforms stormed into their dorm and told them they were officers who were there to protect them. But the girls said they knew they weren’t real officers based on the way they described themselves.

“We were all crying and screaming. They told us to keep quiet or they’re going to kill us. So they start to shoot their guns up on top of us, making us quiet. All of us were scared. We were just holding each other,” Bishara said. “They asked us to follow them, we should go with them. When we tried going with them, some of us start running … then they went and put us all back together and said, ‘OK, you all have to cooperate or else we are going to just shoot any girl who just followed a different direction that we didn’t point.”

She said they gave the girls an ultimatum: run away and die or get on a truck and leave with them. Once the truck drove away with the girls on it, it created clouds of dust, making it difficult to see behind the truck. Girls began jumping from the truck and running away in different directions. Bishara and two other girls found each other in the bush and were able to stop a motorcyclist, who brought them back to Chibok.

Bishara and Pogu were able to return back to their families. In August of the same year, the duo and several other girls who escaped moved to the United States to complete school. With the help of a Christian nonprofit and a Nigerian activist group, they were able to attend boarding school in Virginia. Bishara and Pogu transferred their senior year and recently graduated from Canyonville Christian Academy. Both gave speeches at the ceremony. They will be attending Southeastern University in Florida in the fall and have started a GoFundMe to help with their expenses.

In April 2014, Boko Haram abducted as many as 276 schoolgirls from Chibok. The girls were subjected to rape, torture, starvation and forced marriages. They were also forced to join the group’s army. This sparked the #BringBackOurGirls campaign online and caught the attention of notable figures, including former first lady Michelle Obama.

To read more, go to: 2 Escaped Boko Haram Victims Graduate From High School | HuffPost

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Named People Magazine’s 2016 “Sexiest Man Alive”

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson named People Magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive" (photo via twitter.com)

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson named People Magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” (photo via twitter.com)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

According to usatoday.com, actor/producer and former professional wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has just been chosen by People Magazine to be this year’s “Sexiest Man Alive.”

Not since Denzel Washington was chosen in 1996 has a man of African-American descent earned the title.

“I thought, ‘Wow, we’ve pretty much reached the pinnacle,’” Johnson said, reacting to his new moniker. “I’m not quite too sure where we go from here. I’ve done it all, this is it.”

So what does he think makes him so sexy?

“Ah, a sense of humor,” he said in the story. “And I think probably just not trying to be sexy and just being cool and confident in your movies. I think with a lot of my fans, I’ve gotten to a very, very cool place where there’s a direct line between the man they know off-screen and the man they see onscreen.”

‘Katrina Girl’ LeShay Brown Reunites with Air Force Veteran Mike Maroney on ‘The Real’

mike maroney & katrina girl

After 10 years of searching for the young girl he rescued during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Master Sergeant Mike Maroney finally reunited with his “Katrina Girl.”

According to People, an emotional reunion took place between Maroney and LeShay Brown during a taping of “The Real” on Tuesday (Sept. 15).  The reunion comes years after a photo of Maroney and Brown hugging captured the heart of the nation. Earlier this month, Maroney revealed that he finally found Brown.

Reminiscing over the embrace, Maroney said that Brown’s hug was a true inspiration.  “If she’s strong enough to handle this, I can handle this,” the 19-year pararescue jumper told “The Real” hosts before he was “re-introduced” to Brown.

“I wish I could explain to you how important your hug was,” Maroney said to a choked up Brown after hugging her again. “Your small gesture helped me through a dark phase. You rescued me more than I rescued you.”

People notes that although times have been hard for the pair since Katrina, “The Real” came through big time with a $10,000 check for each family.  Although she doesn’t remember much from the rescue, Brown spoke to People after seeing Maroney again, saying that what he told her “really means a lot.”

shawntrell brown mike maroney leshay brown

For the Air Force veteran, the reunion was a long time coming as he shared with Brown and her mother Shawntrell that that has “dreamt of this day for a long time” and that “finding you guys, and knowing you’re okay, has been a weight off my back.”

“I’ve rescued a lot of people, but there have also been a lot of people I couldn’t rescue, he mentioned to People regarding his job. “Life sometimes gets dark, knowing there are good people who love life and are happy, the resiliency that she had has been a strength for me.”

Brown and Maroney’s reunion will continue, as their families will see each other again in Brown’s adopted town of Waveland, Mississippi. In addition, the pair plans on keeping in touch with each other as Maroney revealed that he and Brown have already been checking in on each other through texting as well as “talking quite a bit.”

Read/learn MORE at People.

Read more at http://www.eurweb.com/2015/09/air-force-veteran-reunites-with-katrina-girl-on-the-real/#ZgTdL8SSw0ObWQ5i.99

Lupita Nyong’o Named People Magazine’s Most Beautiful Person of 2014

Lupita Nyong'oAcademy Award-Winner Lupita Nyong’o, whose speech on beauty went viral a few months ago, graces this week’s cover of People Magazine, which celebrates the “50 Most Beautiful” People of 2014.

England’s Duchess Kate Middleton and fellow Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence were also considered for the honor, but Nyong’o was named Most Beautiful, as was revealed this morning on the Today Show (click link to see video).

Nyong’o says of the cover: “It was exciting and just a major, major compliment…I was happy for all the girls who would see me on [it] and feel a little more seen.”

The 31-year-old actress, whose powerful portrayal of Patsey in 12 Years A Slave had Hollywood buzzing, became the 2014 red carpet season’s “It” girl. And, although she was recently named the latest Lancome ambassador, Nyong’o prefers “when I have been called beautiful without one drop of makeup on.”

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson

Idris Elba Named Essence Magazine’s 2013 “Sexiest Man Alive”

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Idris Elba’s talent may have landed him the role of the late and legendary Nelson Mandela in a new biopic – but his good looks swept the woman of Essence off their feet as they named him 2013′s Sexiest Man Alive.  Elba has had a banner year with the release of two high-profile movies: the first was a July release of the action film Pacific Rim but it is his role as Mandela in Long Walk to Freedom that has brought him considerable buzz.

Aside from the talent he delivers on-screen, Elba is also admired by women for his whimsical charm and let it be known, according to Essence: “When Elba smiles, he dazzles. We’re seeing stars, moons and rainbows right about now.”  The magazine chose the British actor to join the league of men who have received the “Sexiest Man Alive” title by a variety of magazines.

People recently released that their pick for this year’s Sexiest Man Alive was musician Adam Levine – and theGrio responded by compiling our own list of black men in Hollywood who are just as deserving (note: Elba was a top pick).  Click here to see the 50 reasons Essence gave for naming Elba as their choice for 2013′s Sexiest Man Alive.

article by Lilly Workneh via thegrio.com

Kerry Washington Named People Magazine’s Best Dressed Woman Of 2013

hbz-best-dressed-kerry-washington-lgnPeople Magazine revealed Friday that Kerry Washington topped their new list of the world’s best-dressed women.  “I like to find balance in an outfit where it doesn’t feel too much of any one thing,” she told the magazine about her red carpet style. “It’s not dressing like a nun and it’s also not dressing like I’m in a swimsuit competition. It’s finding the middle ground.”

With her new marriage and the success of “Scandal,” Washington definitely had a standout year, and we are sure her Emmy nomination is just icing on the cake.  The Hollywood actress shared that she and her stylist of two years, Erin Walsh ,have been working to find the perfect dress for Sunday’s ceremony. “Erin and I really work hand in hand,” she said. “We’re always sending each other ideas and pictures.”

She added, “For me the goal is to feel comfortable, event-appropriate and to be an elevated, more special version of myself or to feel like the best version of myself in that context and just be in the moment.”

Other fashion titles for 2013 went to Solange Knowles for Best Risk-Taking Style, Jennifer Lawrence for Best High Fashion Style, Jessica Chastain for Best Red Carpet Style and Jenna Dewan-Tatum for Best Pregnancy Style.

Past stars who’ve won the “Best Dressed” title include Gwyneth Paltrow, Blake Lively and Zoë Saldana.

article by Myeisha Essex via blackamericaweb.com

People Magazine’s ‘Most Beautiful’ Issue: Kerry Washington, Gabrielle Union, Halle Berry and Kelly Rowland Featured

Halle Berry, Gabrielle Union, Kelly Rowland, and Kerry Washington
Halle Berry, Gabrielle Union, Kelly Rowland, and Kerry Washington are featured in the 2013 People magazine ‘Most Beautiful’ issue. (Photos: Getty Images)

People magazine released details on its annual “Most Beautiful” issue, which featured Beyonce on the cover last year. This year, the ever-esteemed title goes to actress and mother of two, Gwyneth Paltrow.

The issue also features such beauties as Kerry Washington, Kelly Rowland, Halle Berry and Gabrielle Union. Halle, Kerry and Kelly win the distinction of being on the list of the 10 most beautiful people in the world according to People magazinein the eighth, second and seventh spot respectively.  It’s Kelly Rowland’s first time appearing in the issue, and Halle Berry once napped the top spot with a cover. 

Read the rest of this story on Clutch Magazine.