Tag: videos

Fik-Shun Voted Favorite Male Dancer in “So You Think You Can Dance” Season 10 Finale

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Eighteen year-old hip-hop dancer and Las Vegas street performer Du-Shant Stegall, better known as Fik-Shun, took the top male spot in last night’s So You Think You Can Dance finale on FOX.  Fik-Shun beat out tapper Aaron Turner, and shares the Favorite Dancer title with jazz dancer Amy Yakima (pictured above with Fik-Shun), who beat out contemporary dancer Jasmine Harper for the top female spot.  Fik-Shun and Amy each won $100,000 and will be featured on the cover of an upcoming issue of Dance Spirit Magazine.  This was the 10th season of So You Think You Can Dance, which was renewed for an 11th season according to producer and head judge Nigel Lythgoe.

Check out one of Fik-Shun’s mind-blowing hip-hop solos that helped earn him his Favorite Dancer crown below:

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson

Teen Alanna Wall Founds Polished Girlz to Give Manicures to Girls with Special Needs

Polished Girlz Founder Alanna Wall

CAUSE: Well aware of the simple pleasure that a manicure brings, Alanna Wall decided to go into hospitals and treat girls with special needs to a beauty pick-me-up. What started as a bonding experience for local teenage girls has grown into a national non-profit. Now, youth volunteers across the country are giving manicures in hospitals, Down syndrome associations, and children’s medical centers. 

Beyond painting the latest nail art trends, Alanna and her team also teach girls with special needs about how hand washing can reduce the spread of infection.

EFFECT: Polished Girlz has expanded to four states and served 600 girls this year. Alanna has expanded her brand by starting a line of Polish Girlz nail gloss.

GET INVOLVED: Go to PolishedGirlz.org to learn more about the non-profit.

article by Sierra Tishgart via teenvogue.com

MUST WATCH VIDEO: Their Instruments May Be Garbage, But the Music of This Children’s Orchestra Will Bring Tears to Your Eyes

Members of the Landfill Harmonic Orchestra. Courtesy Landfill Harmonic

Close your eyes and listen to Juan Manuel Chavez launch into the Prelude of Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1, and you would never guess that, instead of spruce and maple, his instrument is crafted from an old oil can, a beef tenderizing tool, and a discarded pasta making device—all of it scavenged from the landfill that surrounds his home in Paraguay.

Chavez is a cellist in the Landfill Harmonic Orchestra in Cateura, an Asunción slum where bottle caps, door keys, and paint cans have been given new purpose. Under the supervision of local musician Favio Chávez, these utterly impoverished kids make beautiful music on instruments constructed almost entirely out of materials reclaimed from the dump.

Filmmaker and Asunción native Alejandra Nash first heard about the phenomenon back in 2009, and decided to produce a documentary about the kids—she and her co-producers are aiming for a 2014 release. She’ll have plenty of support. The teaser she posted online last November quickly went viral, with 2 million views on Vimeo, and nearly 1 million on Youtube. It’s inspiring. Check it out…

Now her project’s Facebook page has more than 125,000 likes. And a Kickstarter campaign Nash launched in April to help fund the film’s completion has raised almost $200,000, well over the $175,000 she’d asked for. Beyond funding post-production work, the additional money will help finance a world tour for the orchestra, and an expansion of what has come to be known as the Landfill Harmonic Movement.

The idea for the orchestra first came about after Chávez brought a youth orchestra from the neighboring town of Carapeguá to perform in Cateura. The Cateura kids wanted to learn, too, but as Chávez points out in the teaser, “A community like Cateura is not a place to have a violin. In fact, a violin is worth more than a house here.”

So he and local garbage picker Nicolás Gómez began experimenting with instruments they constructed from trash: Tin water pipes, buttons, bottle caps, and spoon and fork handles make up the body and keys of the saxophones. Oil or paint cans and recycled wood are used for the string section. Continue reading “MUST WATCH VIDEO: Their Instruments May Be Garbage, But the Music of This Children’s Orchestra Will Bring Tears to Your Eyes”

Y.N. Rich Kids New Single ‘Khaki Pants,’ Is This Summer’s ‘Hot Cheetos & Takis’ (VIDEO)

From the group that brought you last summer’s hit “Hot Cheetos & Takis” comes another song on a subject hip-hop has heretofore seldom considered: school uniform swag.  The song, “Khaki Pants,” which dropped earlier this month, is an ode to school uniform bottom wear, and it comes complete with its own accompanying dance. According to the video, the song, presented by Y.N.Rich Kids, is performed by the NSJ crew (although, as Grantland points out, it’s unclear what the relationship between the two groups is).

Screen Shot 2013-06-01 at 4.47.45 PM“Walking through the school in my khaki pants, when they see how I be fresh, they do the khaki dance,” raps one member the group. “Yeah, we got ‘Hot Cheetos & Taki’ fans, but after this, you gon’ wanna do the khaki dance,” raps another member.

The video, which has more than 134,240 views on YouTube as of this writing follows last summer’s release of Y.N. Rich Kids’ video “Hot Cheetos & Takis,” which has over 6 million views on YouTube. The young group is a product of the North Community YMCA’s Beats and Rhymes program in Minneapolis.  The program is “designed to provide challenging, positive youth and career development opportunities for low income, culturally-diverse youth,” according to its website.

original article by Rebecca Klein via huffingtonpost.com; additions and updates by Lori Lakin Hutcherson

“After Earth” Star Jaden Smith Does Canopy Project PSA to Help Save Trees (VIDEO)

Jaden SmithAs part of its mission to protect natural lands and preserve the environment for all people, Earth Day Network developed The Canopy Project. Rather than focusing on large scale forestry, The Canopy Project plants trees that help communities – especially the world’s impoverished communities – sustain themselves and their local economies. Trees reverse the impacts of land degradation and provide food, energy and income, helping communities to achieve long-term economic and environmental sustainability. Trees also filter the air and help stave off the effects of climate change.  

With the reality of increasingly unpredictable weather patterns and more frequent and violent storms and floods, tree cover to prevent devastating soil erosion has never been more important. That’s why, earlier this the year, Earth Day Network made a commitment with the Global Poverty Project to plant 10 million trees over the next five years in impoverished areas of the world. Please join us to help make this commitment a reality.

Accomplishments:  
Over the past three years, The Canopy Project, has planted over 1.5 million trees in 18 countries. In the US, projects to restore urban canopies have been completed in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Atlanta, Baltimore, Cleveland, Flint, and Chicago.  In Haiti alone, where earthquakes caused landslides on deforested hillsides, leading to horrific devastation, Earth Day Network planted 500,000 trees. And in three high-poverty districts in central Uganda, we planted 350,000 trees to provide local farmers with food, fuel, fencing, and soil stability.

Our tree plantings are supported by sponsors and individual donations and carried out in partnership with nonprofit tree planting organizations throughout the world. We work in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme’s Billion Trees Campaign. Each tree planted is counted toward A Billion Acts of Green®.

Help Earth Day Network grow the Earth’s canopy by planting trees where they are needed most

Happy 47th Birthday, Grammy-Award Winner and Actress Janet Jackson (VIDEO)

Janet JacksonBorn to Joe and Katherine Jackson on May 16, 1966, Janet Damita Jo Jackson is the youngest of nine children of the musically legendary Jackson family.  Although she started her career in entertainment primarily as a television actress (Good Times, Diff’rent Strokes, Fame), it was Jackson’s music, produced by Minneapolis duo Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, that catapulted her to international fame and stardom.  Though Control was her third solo album, it was the first one to go multi-platinum and kick-started a career that has spanned decades and generated over 100 million record sales worldwide.  To celebrate Janet and her musical legacy, above is one of her early, iconic dance videos –  “Pleasure Principle.”  Enjoy!

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson

Happy Mother’s Day! An Open Letter to Moms from Kid President (VIDEO)

kid-presidentKid President, the cute 10-year-old boy who inspires us to “make the world awesome,” has released a new video tribute for all moms this Mother’s Day. Kid President, whose real name is Robby Novak, said his message was “on behalf of all the kids on the world.”  Enjoy!

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson

Tony-Award Nominated ‘Trip to Bountiful’ Extends Broadway Run Through Summer

trip to bountiful full

The new Broadway production of Horton Foote’s “The Trip to Bountiful,” featuring Emmy-winning stage and screen star Cicely Tyson, has extended its run at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre.  The production, which officially opened April 23, had been scheduled for a 14-week limited engagement through July 7. It has now extended an additional eight weeks and will continue through Sept. 1.  “Bountiful” was recently nominated for four Tony Awards, including Best Actress in a Play (Tyson), Best Featured Actress in a Play (Condola Rashad), Best Sound Design for a Play (John Gromada) and Best Revival of a Play.

The cast also includes Academy Award winner Cuba Gooding Jr. (“Jerry Maguire,” “Red Tails”), Emmy Award nominee Vanessa Williams (“Ugly Betty,” “Desperate Housewives”), Rashad (Lifetime’s “Steel Magnolias,” Broadway’s Stick Fly), Tom Wopat, Devon Abner, Curtis Billings, Pat Bowie, Leon Addison Brown, Arthur French, Susan Heyward, Bill Kux, Linda Powell and Charles Turner.  Michael Wilson directs.

View some behind-the-scenes vignettes below:

article via eurweb.com

Camden Sophisticated Sisters Drill Team Performs on “DWTS” (VIDEO)

Camden Sophisticated SistersIn case you missed it last week, here is the inspiring story and performance of Camden, New Jersey’s drill team, the Camden Sophisticated Sisters, formed twenty-six years ago by Camden native and CNN Hero Tawanda “Wa-Wa” Jones, on ABC’s “Dancing With The Stars”:

If you’d like to help, donate or follow the Sophisticated Sisters, click here.

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson

Born On This Day in 1921: Boxing Legend Sugar Ray Robinson

Sugar Ray Robinson
 Born Walker Smith Jr. on May 3, 1921 in Ailey, Georgia, boxing legend Sugar Ray Robinson is often regarded as the greatest boxer in history. Robinson began his boxing career at 19 after moving to New York City with his family as a teenager. Using the borrowed Amateur Athletic Union boxing card of a friend named Ray Robinson, he began to practice regularly at a Harlem gym where his talent was recognized. Robinson earned the moniker “Sugar” from his coach George Gainford, who characterized the boxer’s style as being “sweet as sugar.”  In just six years, he became the world welterweight champion, boasting an 91 fight winning-streak. He held the title from 1946 to 1951. At the height of his career, Robinson’s record was 128-1-2 with 84 knockouts.  To learn more about Robinson’s life and career, click here and watch video footage of Robinson below:

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson