*Supermodel and activist Iman is opening up about her family’s escape from Somalia in 1972.
“My family left in the middle of the night, with just the clothes on our backs, and crossed the border from Somalia to Kenya. My father was a diplomat, and people who worked for the government were being executed or put in jail. I was a 16-year-old who’d never been on her own and never worked. All of a sudden, I was without my family and on my own in a foreign country,” she tells PEOPLE.
That experience led to her supporting refugees via her role as the first-ever global ambassador for CARE, a non-profit organization that fights global poverty.
“If it wasn’t for non-government agencies [like CARE] who protected me and checked on me every day to make sure I was okay, protecting girls and women especially, I don’t know what my trajectory would have been,” says Iman. “I’ve never forgotten them.”
Iman says “CARE is a humanitarian organization fighting global poverty by helping refugees with emergency relief and supporting women and girls,” says Iman. “If you empower a woman, she will empower not only her family but also her community and her country at large. Women and girls really are the caretakers of a whole nation.”
— Iman Abdulmajid (@The_Real_IMAN) October 9, 2020
The fashion icon notes that refugees “come from war-torn places that are not safe, where their communities and their families are not safe. What people don’t understand about refugees is that they are like all of us, looking for a better way to live, a safe way to raise their children, with the same dreams and desires we all have,” she explains.
“We do become part of the society, of the nation that takes us in,” Iman adds. “I’m an American citizen. I’m grateful to America to have given me a home and a career. I love this country. America is a nation made of immigrants. So Americans are the first people who should understand what an immigrant and what a refugee is.”
Iman says her efforts have also been inspired by late Chief Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whom she met earlier this year.
“Something that will never leave me, is something she said and that was: ‘In my long life, I have seen great changes, and that’s what makes me an optimist for the future.'”
Iman says “We cannot lose hope.If history has taught us anything, it’s that we should not repeat our old mistakes and there is always room for change.”
“Seeing all the young people now at the forefront of climate change, the fight against global poverty, speaking out for racial justice, that keeps me optimistic,” she says. “They’re not waiting for us. They’re going to take their own path and they are making the changes that we need to make.”
Mickey Guyton: First Black Female Solo Artist to Earn Grammy Nod in Country Music Category
*Mickey Guyton has become the first Black female solo artist to earn a Grammy nomination in a country music category.
The 37-year-old singer’s “Black Like Me” song has been nominated for Best Country Solo Performance. The Pointer Sisters previously made history with the song, “Live Your Life Before You Die,” when it was nominated in 1976 for Best Country Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group.
After the nominations were announced last week, Guyton shared an emotional video about her historic nomination.
“Honestly still can’t believe this happened yesterday,” she captioned the clip (see below).
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“I haven’t been able to put into words the emotions I feel right now. I have been hitting the pavement for so long just trying to get an opportunity to be heard. And now here I am nominated for a Grammy!” Guyton continued. “I feel seen. I feel heard. I am a living testament that you should never give up on yourself. You never know what God has waiting for you around the corner.”
“This Grammy nomination is for every black girl that felt unseen. That felt unheard. That felt unloved. That felt like they weren’t enough. That felt unpretty. That felt shoved in a corner and completely unconsidered. This is for them,” she added.
In September, Guyton became the first Black woman to perform at the Academy of Country Music Awards.
“That phrase, ‘You see it, you can be it’ really rings true, and I just — standing here for other women of color, it means the world to me,” she said. “That’s why I’m here,” she told ET at the ACM Awards.
Fun fact: Guyton is one of the original members of 3LW. Her former bandmate Adrienne Houghton had nothing but praise for her during a recent conversation on “The Real,” about the 2021 Grammy nominees.
“When I got my first record deal, when Tommy Mottola signed me to Epic, the original members of my group actually had a girl named Mickey Guyton in it – she was the original member of 3LW, and she is now this incredible country artist that just got nominated as well. Saw this woman in tears – Mickey Guyton, amazing – she’s actually the original member of 3LW! Fun fact, everybody! She’s the one that got the record deal with us,” Houghton shared.
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Tyrese Says He and Dwayne Johnson Haved Squashed 3-year Feud [VIDEO]
*Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Tyrese have reportedly ended their 3-year feud.
The two actors’ public beef first began in 2017 when Tyrese publicly criticized The Rock for signing on to do a spinoff of the “Fast & Furious” franchise.
At the time, Tyrese called Dwayne “selfish” for agreeing to do the “Hobbs & Shaw,” spinoff. The two starred in four “Fast & Furious” films together and Tyrese also said Johnson wouldn’t respond to his text messages despite the two having been friends.
Dwayne previously said it was “pretty disappointing” that Tyrese made their disagreement so public.
“I always feel like a beef requires two people to actually jump in it, and it was really one-sided, and he had voiced his opinion a lot on social media,” Dwayne said. “Apparently, he was going through some stuff too in his personal life. We haven’t talked and I don’t see where we would, and to me, there’s no need to have a conversation.”
Now, it seems things have apparently cooled between the two men.
“We talked,” Tyrese told Comedy Central’s Stir Crazy with Josh Horowitz this week. “We talked for at least four hours. It was great.”
“What’s interesting about ‘The Fast and The Furious’ is it’s not about any of us individually,” he continued, speaking specifically about the franchise’s spinoffs. “We’re like the UN at this point. Everyone gets to go to the theater and say, ‘He and she looks like me.’ If I did it with [Ludacris’ Tej], then who are we going to play off of? I could not just make it about me. I just could not.”
What do you think of Tyrese’s take on the “Fast and Furious” franchise? Let us know in the comments.
Regina King On Her Directorial Debut, Motherhood and John Singelton’s Influence
*Regina King is set to make her feature directorial debut with “One Night in Miami” for Amazon Studios.
Following its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival, the film has achieved critical raves — quickly garnering awards buzz in this year’s Oscar race. Starring Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge and Leslie Odom Jr., “One Night in Miami”… has been praised for its timely and effective performances.
Based on Olivier-nominated Kemp Powers’ 2013 stage play, “One Night In Miami” is a fictional account inspired by the historic night these four formidable figures spent together. It looks at the struggles these men faced and the vital role they each played in the civil rights movement and cultural upheaval of the 1960s. More than 40 years later, their conversations on racial injustice, religion, and personal responsibility still resonate — via press release.
In the wide-ranging interview with the Wall Street Journal, King speaks candidly about her brush with Covid and finishing her movie during the Black Lives Matter protests.
Check out excerpts below.
King on finishing her movie during BLM protests & Covid:
“The work has truly been a welcome distraction. I find that…on set or editing, working on the music for the film [or] on the color, it forces you to focus on something else. Because everything around us has to do with the pandemic, who’s been in office, this election,” she says, two weeks before Election Day. “But as a Black American, that’s been the story before we were even born—of being marginalized people. That’s all the time happening, and the work kind of allows for me to escape it and not feel like I’m irresponsibly escaping it.”
King on winning an Emmy while wearing a Breonna Taylor T-shirt:
Like many Black Americans, King felt the fatigue of maintaining a professional visage amid violence. “The faces that we put on to smile and to succeed,” she says. “That shit is exhausting.”
King on having her son in mind when telling the story of One Night In Miami:
King describes the story as a personalized portrait of revered figures. “We meet them in places where they’re each getting punched in the gut and getting reminded of their blackness or inequities in some way,” she says. “I wanted the world to see Black men the way I see them, as complex, as vulnerable, as strong…as human beings that feel—who are not void of being hurt.”
King on keeping a focus on her Black audience without feeling she needed to please everyone:
She points to a pool scene of Cassius Clay that’s soundtracked to Donny Hathaway’s timeless cover of Ray Charles’s “I Believe to My Soul.” “I was like, ‘That’s for Black people! I’m letting y’all know now: I’m not changing that!’” she says, laughing. “There’s some things that are inside jokes that, because you’re not Black, you’re going to miss that joke. And in those moments, do you think, OK, does it matter to me if the joke is missed or that beat is missed? No, sometimes it doesn’t matter.”
King on her own brush with Covid:
With a preliminary acceptance to the Toronto International Film Festival and Venice Film Festival and two more scenes to shoot, she found herself in a time crunch when several test results, including her own, came back inconclusive, and they were forced to retest the sample. “I’m pulling up to the testing site [to do a second test], and they called and said, ‘The test came in and you’re negative.’ I literally started crying,” says King, who rushed home and immediately prepared to return to set.
King on the late director John Singleton’s influence on her career (her first films were Singleton – directed projects—Boyz N the Hood, Poetic Justice and Higher Learning):
Singleton, who died in 2019, opened her eyes to the world of directing before she knew what it was. He was the first director who she felt spoke her language. “We weren’t that far away in age, and prior to that, probably every director I’d ever worked with was my parents’ age or older,” she says. “I was able to see directing from a whole different lens, and he was also allowing me to be part of his process.”
King on her Broadway aspirations:
King eventually wants to act in a stage play. When she received offers before to star in productions, Ian was still in school, and she wasn’t ready. She is now. She figures she’ll enjoy both the rush and terror of theater, and so she consulted one of her favorite actors, Laura Linney, a four-time Tony Award nominee.
“What do you have to give of yourself?” King asked her. “Because that’s the thing,” she says now, from the shadows of Zoom. “It sucks the life out of you. It takes up so much of your time. But it’s the most rewarding thing.”
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