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Disney Dreamers Academy Postponed Due to Coronavirus Pandemic



2020 Disney Dreamers Academy

Actors Marsai Martin (ABC’s “black-ish”) and Arica Himmel (ABC’s “mixed-ish”), editor-at-large of Essence Mikki Taylor and Walt Disney World Resort vice president Tracey Powell, along with Disney Dreamers Myah Mitchell from Cambria Heights, N.Y. and Joseph Adams from Marietta, Ga., serve as Grand Marshalls for the celebratory parade to signal the beginning of the 13th annual Disney Dreamers Academy Thursday, March 12, 2020. LEFT TO RIGHT: Joseph Adams, Myah Mitchell, Mikki Taylor, Tracey Powell, Marsai Martin, Arica Himmel. (Gregg Newton, photographer)

*Since 2008, every year around mid-March, Walt Disney World Resort Orlando, Florida, opens its magical gates to welcome 100 outstanding high school students, along with a chaperone or guardian, from across the nation to experience an all-expense-paid trip to Mickey Mouse’s palatial digs.

The teens, or Disney Dreamers as they’ve come to be know as, have the opportunity to listen to influential speakers, participate in immersive career-oriented workshops that explore a wide range of career disciplines found at Walt Disney World, as well as; learn life tools such as effective communication techniques, leadership skills, and networking strategies.

This yearly event is a pretty big deal, and as a way to usher in the four days, dreamers participated in a welcome parade at the Magic Kingdom highlighting the cities from which they hail.  Afterward, they had the opportunity to explore the parks and enjoy the adventure that awaited them. One new addition to the Walt Disney World Resort is the NBA Experience at Disney Springs.  Guests have the opportunity to engage in a complete basketball-themed venue that offers 13 activities inspired by the NBA and WNBA.  There is a section to practice dribbling, shoot three-pointers in 60 seconds, pose with the NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, check the stats of NBA teams on an interactive screen, and take pictures of NBA memorabilia.  The most touching aspect of the NBA experience is the tribute video of Kobe Bryant that plays on a big screen on the second floor.

Later that Thursday evening, dreamers were escorted to the Magic Kingdom Hall of Presidents to participate in the Disney Dreamers Academy Be 100 Welcome Ceremony. However, Walt Disney World public relations officials delivered the heartbreaking news that the event was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Students from Los Angeles selected for the 2020 Disney Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and ESSENCE meet actors Arica Himmel (ABC’s “mixed-ish”), Marsai Martin (ABC’s “black-ish”) and Walt Disney World vice president Tracey Powell at the Magic Kingdom. LEFT TO RIGHT: Michael McPhie (Irvine, CA), Lydia Kim (Cypress, CA), Audrey Hoven (Fort Irwin, CA), Taylor Haywood (Los Angeles, CA), Arica Himmel, Marsai Martin, Tracey Powell. (Todd Anderson, photographer)

Walt Disney World official statement states, “In response to the fast-changing coronavirus situation, we made the difficult decision to cancel scheduled activities and events for this year’s Disney Dreamers Academy. There are no reported cases of Coronavirus at Walt Disney World Resort, but in an abundance of caution, and in the best interests of our Guests and Cast Members, we are proceeding with closure of our theme parks at Walt Disney World beginning March 16 through the end of the month. We are also working closely with all Disney Dreamers Academy participants to get them home to their respective cities.    We greatly appreciate your support of the program.”

Steve Harvey, the host of the event, as well as other notable speakers and celebrities who scheduled to attend, unfortunately, had to withdraw from the Dreamers Academy due to public safety and health concerns.

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Disney Dreamers participate in a special Magic Kingdom pre-parade at Walt Disney World Resort to celebrate dreaming big. (Gregg, Newton)

The statement posted on Twitter from Disney Parks News announced Thursday that Walt Disney Company would close down Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, Disneyland in California, and Disneyland Paris Resort, beginning at the close of business on Sunday, March 15, 2020, until the end of March.  The other tourist attractions like the Disney Cruise Line also postponed all travels on Saturday.  The hotels at both Walt Disney World hotels and Disneyland Paris will remain open until further notice. The retail and dining complexes at Disney Springs Walt Disney World and Disney Village at Disneyland Paris will remain open.

Disney Dreamers participate in a special Magic Kingdom pre-parade at Walt Disney World Resort to celebrate dreaming big. (Todd Anderson, photographer)

Public Relations Manager, Annette Gibbs stated there is no clear decision as to what will happen for the dreamers amidst the abrupt cancellation of this year’s academy.  However, she pointedly said there would be significant discussions and meetings that will occur over the coming days and months to come up with a solution that will be beneficial for the dreamers, parents, and guardians.

For more information, visit Regular updates about Disney Dreamers Academy are also available on social media at,, and

Disney Dreamers participate in a special Magic Kingdom pre-parade at Walt Disney World Resort to celebrate dreaming big. (Gregg Newton, photographer)

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Congresswoman-Elect Cori Bush Says She Was Mistaken for Breonna Taylor at Congressional Freshmen Orientation (Watch)




Congresswoman-Elect Cori Bush on the “Late Show with Stephen Colbert” Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020

*Rocking a beautiful Black Lives Matter Christmas “ugly sweater,” Congresswoman-Elect Cori Bush blessed the “Late Show with Stephen Colbert” on Tuesday and talked about everything from her first priority after taking office, to going thrift shopping with her soon-to-be Congressional colleagues Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley – both members of “The Squad,” which will officially welcome the Missouri congresswoman into its progressive bosom in January.

Bush told Cobert that “COVID-19 relief” will be her first order of business after being sworn in. “It has hit my district in St. Louis … along with our state. We don’t have a mask mandate.”

Bush also talked about being mistaken for Breonna Taylor at her congressional freshmen orientation by fellow House members, and being driven to run for Congress to make sure America understands what Black people in the community are going through everyday.

Watch her interview with Colbert below.

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Rosie Perez Recalls ‘Terrifying’ Battle with Coronavirus While Traveling to Bangkok





*Rosie Perez is opening up about her battle with the potentially deadly coronavirus.

In an interview with Uproxx, Perez, 56, revealed that she contracted COVID-19 a year ago while traveling to Bangkok to film her upcoming series, “The Flight Attendant” for HBO Max.

“I had contracted COVID when we flew to Bangkok,” Perez recalled. “And at that time, they were saying ‘It’s a new respiratory tract infection. It’s a virus that’s going around. We don’t really know what it is and what it does, but it attacks the respiratory system first and then travels to other parts of your body.’ “

“It was terrifying,” she continued. “I remember my manager was with me, and I said, ‘Tarik, don’t let me die in Bangkok.’ And he goes, ‘Oh my God, you’re scaring me.’ And the head of the ICU says, ‘You should be scared, sir. This is serious. We’re going to have to put her in a separate room.’ “

Perez goes on to explain that at the time, the virus  “was new. [This] was in December.”

“I remember the doctor saying to me, ‘The mask that you have on, the mask that I have on, every time you go outside, every time you meet someone wear that mask — not just for you, but to protect them too,’ ” she said. “And I haven’t forgotten it.”

READ MORE: Ice-T Says Father-in-Law ‘On Oxygen Indefinitely’ After Battling COVID-19

Perez has since been outspoken about taking safety precautions amid the ongoing pandemic.

“In Brooklyn, there’s a saying, ‘Spread love the Brooklyn way,’ “she shared. “Spreading love the Brooklyn way means respecting your neighbors, respecting your communities and the way you can do that is by getting tested, wearing a mask.”

Elsehwhere in the interview, Perez talks about her ongoing fight to avoid being typecast. Here’s what she had to say:

After Do The Right Thing — because that was a predominantly all-black crew — you step out of that and you get into the real Hollywood and you’re like, “Holy crap.” And from day one, I was like, “There’s a lot of racism going on here.” And everyone was telling me to be quiet, specifically the Latino community. And I was like, “No, I’m not going to be quiet. Why aren’t you upset?”

I remember, they took me out for lunch, saying, “Don’t rock the boat. A lot of people worked hard for what we have now.” I said, “What we have now, are you kidding me? There are maybe three or four of us that are doing well, not having stupid roles being thrown at us. No, I’m not satisfied.” It hurt me in the beginning, to be quite honest. It turned a lot of people off because I was holding up a mirror and they didn’t like what they saw. So they just wanted to push me aside. And I just kept fighting for it. When I saw the change – the first one was Raul Julia. He came up to me, and he’s a God, right?

And he said, “F*** them.” I went, “Excuse me, sir?” He said, “F*** them. I didn’t lose my accent. Don’t lose your accent. F*** them. They need to change, not you. I love what you’re doing. I see what you’re doing, keep going.” And I remember, I just fell into tears. He was the first one, the first one.

And then a couple of years later, here’s this hot, young, rising star, Salma Hayek. She came up to me, she goes, “Hello. I always wanted to meet you. You opened the doors for us.” And I went, “Who?” And she said, “You!” It didn’t even dawn on me. I remember just looking at her and she was with Edward Norton and he goes, “Are you okay?” And I shake my head and she goes, “Why? What you do is so amazing. It gave me courage.” And I said, “Wow. I will never forget this moment. Thank you so much.”

I’ve been fighting and I’m still fighting. The fight has changed because I have changed. I do it in a much more mature way, but the fire hasn’t dampened a bit. Things are changing and that’s fantastic. But you know what, there have been ages of this. I’ve seen it before. In the nineties, they got the Latino explosion, and then it went away. You know what I mean? It comes and it goes, but I hope this time it sticks. I really do. The Flight Attendant is fantastic for it, because the level of respect that they offered to everybody on set was immense, with a diverse cast and a diverse crew. This is a good sign, but it’s not enough, to be honest. It’s still not enough. It’s still not equal. I won’t stop fighting until it is. I paid the price, yes, but the ones before me paid even a greater price, and it will continue.

Read her full interview with Uproxx here.

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Ice-T Says Father-in-Law ‘On Oxygen Indefinitely’ After Battling COVID-19




*Ice-T has shared an update about the health status of his wife Coco Austin’s father who contracted the novel virus over the summer.

We previously reported… the rapper’s father-in-law Steve had to be hospitalized in Arizona in July due to the coronavirus. Ice says Steve is now “on Oxygen indefinitely.” 

“My father-in-law ‘Coco’s dad’ was a serious ‘No Masker’ COVID hit him,” the “Law & Order” star wrote on Twitter on Monday. “Pneumonia in both lungs.. 40 days in ICU close to death.. Now he’s on Oxygen indefinitely.”

READ MORE: Ice-T Says Wife’s Father Has Permanent Lung Damage From Coronavirus [VIDEO}

Ice-T also shared a photo of his father-in-law wearing an oxygen mask, writing, “Ohhh he’s a Believer now.. #COVIDisNotAGame.”

The hip-hip icon previously told Jimmy Fallon, “Coco’s dad is a Harley Davidson-riding, no-masking type of dude,” he said. “[Coronavirus] put him on his back.”

He went on to explain that Steve had pneumonia in both lungs, and was almost put on a ventilator.

“It took him a month to make it out of the hospital,” he said. “Now he’s home, but his lungs are damaged indefinitely.”

He also said during his appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon that it took his father-in-law “a month to make it out of the hospital.”

“There are still non-believers,” he said. “I’ve made it through so much in my life, I don’t want to die because of this — especially with a new daughter. I’m aware and I’m concerned and I’m cautious.”

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