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Taylor Rooks is putting mental health front and center with LG’s “Transparent Conversations.”

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A sports reporter Taylor Rooks has gained widespread respect within the sports industry for offering invaluable insights as an NBA and NFL broadcaster. Now, with a while in the sport, she’s adding just a few latest titles to her repertoire, including her latest podcast with her friend and co-host Joy Taylor, in addition to becoming the host of season two LG . The latter is a traveling podcast series in partnership with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA®) “that focuses on college student-athletes discussing mental health and well-being.”

Rooks, graduate University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign draws on his own experiences to attach with his guests and speaks to the experiences of faculty athletes. In each episode, he travels to different college campuses to debate mental health on the earth of faculty athletes.

Taylor Rooks is putting mental health front and center with LG's 'Transparent Conversations'
Taylor Rooks on the bottom with LG in the course of the NCAA Final Four

“When I heard about , it really resonated with me because that’s what I try to do both in my career and in real life. I think the basis of everything is communication, and if we can all be honest about ourselves and our experiences and feel that these words reach safe spaces with people who really care, who want to learn more and want to help in this way, that they can – that’s what transparency is all about,” Rooks says on the ESSENCE podcast. “The feeling that you can be vulnerable and that you can be open, open enough to talk about the things that really matter in your life or the things that are maybe bothering you. So when I heard that LG wanted to be able to have these kinds of discussions on college campuses with young student-athletes who are really trying to find a solution outside of the pressures of sports, school, family, friends and it just grows. It just felt right and really important. And something I was truly called to do.”

Rooks has already had university interviews with NBA star Kenny Anderson, Fisk University men’s basketball head coach, 2X NBA All-Star Jerry Stackhouse and Vanderbilt head coach, in addition to current college players.

In support of those intergenerational conversations, LG is reaching out to advocates, administrators, coaches and student-athletes to debate the work-life balance that characterizes the student-athlete world. Just last month, Rooks traveled to the NCAA Final Four to film two latest episodes that focused on the role coaches play in student-athlete mental health and the importance of collaboration in implementing effective mental health initiatives.

While she says she learned so much from the experience, what really stuck out to Rooks was an exchange with Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley during which the 2 discussed the role coaches play in keeping players’ mental health each on the sector and and beyond. “It was incredibly insightful to hear a coach have such a keen awareness of how he can both positively and negatively impact a student-athlete’s mental health and how he wants to make sure he is always doing the right thing,” Rooks explains. “Above all, beyond wins and losses, the important question was: Are my student-athletes feeling well and am I doing everything I can to support them?”

The NBA host continued to debate how many colleges have beefed up their athletic staffs, in order that sports teams usually are not just limited to coaches and trainers, but additionally expanded to incorporate mental health professionals. “It was a real eye opener and it was great to see these positive steps that schools have taken to ensure their athletes feel supported. There are a lot of people who employ sports psychologists, a lot of mental fitness coaches, some they really call mental coaches, people who work there and their job is to make sure you feel supported,” Rooks continued.

In addition to keeping players in good mental and physical condition for on-court performances, these professionals also help with the transition away from post-graduate sports, as for a lot of student-athletes, sports turn out to be a big a part of their identity. Drawing from my very own experiences as a school athlete, I noticed a paradigm shift in my life and how I needed to rediscover my identity away from sports – because life doesn’t at all times have the identical outlook that may be translated into wins and losses. “It’s cool that mental health is being talked about so loudly and so proudly, and right in front of our faces, in order that athletes know that they’re greater than only a champion or a winner or someone who plays football or basketball or soccer , which is just a part of them. This is the vital part. But that is not the entire part.

When Rooks turns the tables on me, he asks, “But how did you manage to do that? Did you rely on therapy or did you rely on self-reflection?” In response to Rooks’ inquiry, I share that while therapy played a pivotal role in my journey, it was ultimately self-reflection and a commitment to non-public growth that paved the way in which for navigating the complexities of mental health in athletics after graduating from university. She praised me for this, confirming that life after sports is a difficult journey. “Especially when you’ve been seen as a person for most of your life. This is what I hear a lot of athletes talking about both in , but also in the conversations I’m having now [with] current athletes, the identity issues they have and how they deal with it.”

As a Black woman in sports, Rooks, while excited by the sudden surge in interest in a women’s sport, namely basketball, also believes it calls for a much-needed audit of what it took to get here. “I think what we really lose is that this moment can exist, fortunately and fortunately, because of the many moments that preceded it. For it to be long-lasting, I think it’s a validation of all of us, athletes and media fans, how we all contributed to this very positive moment that we’re seeing now and which I hope will last forever, but also how way we contributed to why it took so long. Because that’s how we’ll continue to see the game really grow.”

She passionately advocates for changing the narrative around women’s sport, calling for a deeper dive into their individual stories and achievements. “I would like to proceed to see the expansion of girls’s sports based on who they’re, not only the indisputable fact that they’re women. I feel that was an issue,” he says. This feeling resonates inside her WNBA player Angel Reese’s recent criticism of sportscaster Emmanuel Acho’s views on the LSU team.

As Rooks points out, “Me personally, in the media, we still talked about these athletes from the point of view and perspective of the fact that they are women, without really telling their story.”
For women’s sports to actually reach its peak, Rooks says, the narrative needs to vary. By encouraging much-needed conversations and storytelling, you can too profit the long run of the sport for generations to come back by utilizing a podcast. “they concentrate on their humanity, and we center their experiences. In my opinion, this is the way you develop the sport because this is the way you develop the athlete.


This article was originally published on : www.essence.com
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Celebrity Coverage

Stargazing: Stars end the year on the court and meet up

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This time of year is normally reserved for cozying up by the fire and keeping the room warm from the winter chill, but there have been still loads of stars on the streets this week to shut out 2022 with a bang.

Amazon Music Live held its last show of 2022 in Los Angeles on December 29 with headliner 21 Savage, and Christmas and New Year’s Eve parties continued in New York with Offset and Hot 97 DJ Funk Master Flex.

Other stars hung out on the court cheering on their favorite teams during a few of the last basketball games of the year, and artists akin to French Montana and Nick Cannon were spotted helping those in need during the holidays.

Scroll below to see what your favorite stars have been up to this week.

This article was originally published on : www.essence.com
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Here’s who will perform on Sunday evening at the ESSENCE 2024 Cultural Festival

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As the 2024 ESSENCE Cultural Festival approaches, excitement is running high for the thirtieth anniversary of the beloved celebration in vibrant New Orleans, happening July 4-7. The evening concluding the series of evening live shows at Caesar’s Superdome guarantees to be a spectacular finale featuring star artists, phenomenal artists, whose essential characters are Janet Jackson and Victoria Monét.

Hosted by the dynamic trio of Keke Palmer, Big Tigger and DJ Beverly Bond, Sunday evening offers an eclectic mixture of musical genres and unforgettable moments. Attendees may expect the harmonious sounds of SWV, a genre-bending set from Tank and The Bangas featuring Teedra Moses, Hasizzle and Dawn Richard, in addition to a heartfelt tribute to the legendary Frankie Beverly. Additionally, special guests will honor musical legends in a segment produced by Bryan-Michael Cox.

Get ready for an evening filled with star-studded performances, heartfelt tributes and unforgettable moments at Essence Festival 2024 on Sunday, July 7. See you!


This article was originally published on : www.essence.com
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EXCLUSIVE: Lee Daniels on Harnessing Power Majeure and Collaborating with Mo’Nique Again for ‘The Deliverance’

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Deliverance. Athony B. Jenkins as Andre in “Deliverance”. Cr. © 2024 Aaron Ricketts/Netflix.

Lee Daniels returns to the director’s chair and tells a story unlike anything he’s ever done before.

His latest film is a supernatural thriller with an all-star solid that diverts attention from the standard, memorable story. It’s a story told with a mix of religion, horror and trauma – a departure from the director best known for creating drama.

finds Ebony Jackson (Andra Day) battling demons, each figuratively and literally, as she grapples with the echoes of pain from her own childhood while attempting to coexist with her mother (Glenn Close) and raise three children of her own (Caleb McLaughlin, Demi Singleton and Anthony B. Jenkins).

EXCLUSIVE: Lee Daniels on Harnessing Power Majeure and Collaborating with Mo'Nique Again for 'The Deliverance'
Deliverance. (From left to right) Anthony B. Jenkins as Andre, Demi Singleton as Shante and Andra Day as Ebony in Deliverance. Cr. © 2024 Aaron Ricketts/Netflix

Loosely based on the real-life 2012 case of LaToya Ammons and her family, the story is something Daniels looked into shortly after his 2009 success. Although he was desperate to challenge himself and create a “throwback to old-school horror” within the sort of or , the director was hesitant to take it on on the time.

“I didn’t want to make this movie 15 years ago,” Daniels tells ESSENCE exclusively. “I was just upset about it all.”

“Then, over time, I realized that I wasn’t really telling a horror story,” he says. Instead, Daniels realized he could use this true story of darkness to guide viewers to the sunshine. “I think we live in dark times and we need to find our higher power, at least Buddha, Jesus, Allah, someone.”

“Everything I did, whether as a producer or director, I felt was on point. I don’t look at it as a horror film, but rather as a film about trying to find your higher self-worth. power and how I am trying to find my higher power. Can I grow closer to Jesus through this process?”

EXCLUSIVE: Lee Daniels on Harnessing Power Majeure and Collaborating with Mo'Nique Again for 'The Deliverance'
Deliverance. (Left to Right) Caleb McGlaughlin as Nate, Anthony B. Jenkins as Andre and Mo’Nique as Cynthia Henry in Deliverance. Cr. © 2024 Aaron Ricketts/Netflix

In creating this path to greater closeness with the Lord, Daniels also found himself reconciled and working again with an old friend.

Mo’Nique won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her last project with Daniels. Famously, there was a long-running dispute between them that was reflected within the press for over a decade. However, after their miraculous reconciliation in 2022, the duo immediately returned to the set to create much more movie magic.

“Unreal, unbelievable, magical feeling, joy, everything. It was perfect,” Daniels said about reconnecting with the actress and comedian. “Listen, we made the decision right away. It was as if our 15 years of fighting had never happened. We just got back to the rhythm of her jumping into character and it’s a tour de force. The two of us together are crazy. We create magic.”

EXCLUSIVE: Lee Daniels on Harnessing Power Majeure and Collaborating with Mo'Nique Again for 'The Deliverance'
Deliverance. (Left to right) Mo’Nique as Cynthia Henry, Glenn Close as Albert and Andra Day as Ebony in Deliverance. Cr. © 2024 Aaron Ricketts/Netflix

Daniels’ full solid was magical, including three other Oscar-nominated actresses, including eight-time nominee Glenn Close and 2022 Best Supporting Actress nominee Aunjanue Ellis. In the highlight is Andra Day, who earned a nomination during her last project with Daniels. Day gives a transformative performance as Ebony Jackson, a mother of three struggling to beat alcoholism and trauma-induced poverty, yet still on the brink of a very powerful battle of her life.

“I love working with women, especially black women. Love it. We’re becoming one,” Daniels said of Day’s recasting in the lead role. “That’s why I just want to work with her over and over again. She is like a muse to me and she just trusts me.”

“As a director, you possibly can’t expect people to perform if there isn’t any trust. Andra and Monique, Aunjanue and Glenn…It’s rare. My dream is for the director to seek out an artist who will do anything, doesn’t query it, just does it, just blindly jumps into the abyss with you. When we’re in situation and you trust, it’s a strong thing and it shows on the screen.

will hit select theaters on August 16 and shall be available to stream on Netflix from August 30.

This article was originally published on : www.essence.com
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