Angelina Jolie is known for her unconventional family, which includes three biological children with longtime partner Brad Pitt and adopted children from Cambodia, Ethiopia and Vietnam. Her multiracial and multicultural family has generated headlines, most notably when critics have felt the need to weigh in on her Ethiopian daughter Zahara's hair. Some challenged Jolie's ability to style and comb it, while others had a problem with her daughter wearing braided extensions.
But the Jolie-Pitt family should be commended for their efforts to be culturally conscious, particularly when it comes to their diverse brood. Pitt once acknowledged using Carol's Daughter products on Zahara's hair and recently explained why he declined the role of a cruel slave owner in "12 Years a Slave," which his company produced, saying, "I didn't want my kids to see me in this role."
A recent photo of the Jolie-Pitt kids seems to reinforce that Jolie and Pitt may be more conscious of racial and cultural diversity than the average parent. The widely published photo captured the couple's biological daughter Vivienne carrying a black doll with short, tightly curled hair. This may not seem like a big deal but it is.
"Black Nativity," the highly anticipated movie musical inspired by Harlem Renaissance author Langston Hughes' original stage musical of the same name, opens in theaters on Thanksgiving Day. The musical, which debuted off-Broadway in 1961 with an all-black cast, retells the traditional story of the Nativity. This year's release is a modern twist on an iconic classic.
The film tells the story of Langston, portrayed by actor and R&B artist Jacob Latimore, a frustrated teen who travels from Baltimore to New York City to spend Christmas with his estranged grandparents, the Rev. Cornell and Aretha Cobbs, played by Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett respectively. His single-parent mother, Naima, played by Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson, stays back home in Baltimore because of financial hardships. Unwilling to conform to his grandparents' rules, Langston rebels. While trying to get back home, he finds himself on the path to discovering the true meaning of faith and forgiveness.
Directed and written by Kasi Lemmons ("Eve's Bayou"), this uplifting holiday musical has no shortage of surprising, heartwarming musical performances from the film's star-studded cast, which also includes Tyrese Gibson, Mary J. Blige and Nasir "Nas" Jones.
Sunday night's American Music Awards seemed much tamer than many of the other awards shows lately, despite having the promise of host rapper Pitbull to ABC that "I hope you got that delay button ready; we're going to have a lot of fun."
But there were a few moments during the evening that had viewers buzzing. Here are a few:
1) Justin Timberlake epitomizes "crossover"
We will try not to drop the term "blue-eyed soul" here, but the former 'N Sync member nabbed not only favorite pop/rock male but also favorite soul/R& B male and soul/R& B album awards. Before presenting him with the latter award, comedian Sarah Silverman joked that the competition was between Timberlake, the son of the "dad from Growing Pains" (aka) Robin Thicke and Rihanna.
"Growing up in Memphis, Tennessee, I can say this is the first time I have ever been racially profiled by a white woman," Timberlake joked during his acceptance speech.
Music legends Maze, featuring Frankie Beverly, The Isley Brothers, featuring Ronald Isley, and Bobby Womack transformed the Landers Center in Southaven, Miss. into "Old-school Haven" on Saturday night.
Womack came out dressed in red – leather pants, jacket and a cap – and launched into his deep bag of hit songs, including "Across a 110th Street," "I Can Understand it," "That's The Way I Feel About You," "Harry Hippie" and many more. He also did a tribute to Sam Cooke, singing "A Change Is Going To Come," and introduced his daughter, who sings backup for him. He gave her an opening to sing a song and it's safe to say talent runs in the family.
Next up was the Isley Brothers and their presence triggered a surge toward the stage as they reeled off hits such as "Fight The Power," "It's Your thing," and "For the Love of You." As always, eye-grabbing dancers performing precision moves accented the performance that was punctuated by the distinctive voice of Ronald Isley and the lead-guitar prowess of Ernie Isley.
Sometimes we collectively create the man, only to watch him become the thing he once rallied against. Hip-hop is funny that way. Artists use the story of their lives as the vehicle to drive a wedge between the man they have become and the person they once were.
In street terms: Once the money gets fluffy, they leave the hood.
In Disney terms: The pauper is now the prince.
Jeff Henderson turned his life around behind bars while serving time for drug dealing. In the penitentiary, he developed a passion for cooking which, upon being paroled, he parlayed into a career as a celebrated chef and host of his own TV series on the Food Network.
Now, he's published a collection of recipes not of his best dishes but of the secrets of his success. The dozen key ingredients include: self-discipline, delayed gratification, education, intuition, risk, persuasion, adaptation, collaboration, humility, selflessness, visionary leadership and getting the competitive edge.
Besides clarifying each of those concepts, the author augments his ideas with pearls of wisdom from fellow luminaries like Oprah Winfrey, who reveals, "The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you're willing to work."