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Melanie Few combines music, faith and football in a soulful Super Bowl celebration

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LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – FEBRUARY 07: Melanie Few (center) arrives on the Super Bowl Soulful Celebration twenty fifth Anniversary event on the Pearl Theater at Palms Casino Resort on February 7, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo: Mindy Small/Getty Images)

Amidst the madness across the Super Bowl, there’s a hint of pleasure that flows through the week’s festivities, beyond the important event itself. One of such holidays is the so-called A soulful Super Bowl celebration, a testament to the vision of selling pioneer Melanie Few. Its mission was clear: to spark a spiritual movement that will strengthen the Christian community ahead of the most important television event in the country.

“The Super Bowl has always been about sports fans. But more importantly, it has become a diverse lifestyle event, attracting a more diverse audience, including a huge swath of women,” Few explains. Her drive to create Super Bowl Soulful Celebration was driven by a desire to amplify the testimonies of NFL elites in the assumption that their stories of triumph and resilience would encourage countless others.

However, the journey towards this twenty fifth anniversary has not been without its challenges. It took a few years of perseverance and determination before Few earned the NFL’s endorsement. “We created Super Bowl Soulful to inspire NFL fans and local communities, but at the same time we built a global following of music and sports fans. We have been around for 25 years thanks to the support we received from the unsung heroes of the NFL,” he reveals. “We initially pitched the idea in 1991 and it took us 7 years to get a YES and approval from the NFL.”

Faith and football came together in a soulful Super Bowl celebration
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – FEBRUARY 07: Fred Taylor presents Nate Burleson with the “It Deserves a Crown” Lifetime Achievement Award in collaboration with Crown Royal through the twenty fifth Annual Soulful Celebration during Super Bowl LVIII on February 7, 2024 in Las Vegas, state of Nevada. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Crown Royal)

Few’s historic achievement as one among the primary Black women to carry an NFL license reflects her deep-rooted connection to music, nurtured throughout her church upbringing. What began as a low-key gospel brunch was a star-studded extravaganza that featured players like Deion Sanders and our cover star Russell Wilson, in addition to gospel musicians Yolanda Adams and Kirk Franklin. Today, the event, renamed Soulful Celebration, has expanded to incorporate a number of the biggest names in the soccer, hip-hop, R&B and gospel communities.

The recent rebranding to Soulful Celebration was intended to broaden the event’s appeal without discouraging its loyal fans. “We have been very careful to keep our long-time, traditional supporters and supporters engaged while also reaching a new audience. This year, our talent pool consisted of artists from a variety of genres including R&B, gospel, pop and more,” Few said. This strategy paid off by including diverse musical acts resembling Earth Wind & Fire, Mickey Guyton and T-Pain.

Reflecting on the impact of the celebration, Few highlights its role in inspiring NFL fans and communities around the globe. “We have existed for 25 years thanks to the support we received from the unsung heroes of the NFL,” he admits.

Faith and football came together in a soulful Super Bowl celebration
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – FEBRUARY 07: Nate Burleson accepts the “It Deserves a Crown” Lifetime Achievement Award on stage while collaborating with Crown Royal through the twenty fifth Annual Soulful Celebration during Super Bowl LVIII on February 7, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada . (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Crown Royal)

To rejoice its twenty fifth anniversary, the celebration was held in the spirit of Las Vegas, promoting each the music and the Black community. With an all-female African American production team and co-hosts Cedric The Entertainer and Tichina Arnold, the event showcased diversity and excellence on a grand scale. Both on camera and behind the scenes, Few says he has “been passionate about hiring minority vendors for years.”

Melanie Few’s leadership has been instrumental in cultivating a culture of triumph. “The lesson is to never give up,” he says. As Super Bowl Soulful Celebration continues to grow, Few reflects on what it took to get here 25 years later. Through all of it, he embodies the spirit of perseverance, echoing the timeless words of Frank L. Stanton: “KEEP A GOIN.”

This article was originally published on : www.essence.com
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Celtics Jayson Tatum recalls he wasn’t “very excited” about becoming a first-time dad after girlfriend Ella Mai’s pregnancy was revealed in viral clips

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The Boston Celtics defeated the Dallas Mavericks 106-88 to win the 2024 NBA Finals, however the highlight was on Jayson Tatum’s rumored girlfriend, singer Ella Mai, and her baby bump.

On June 17, the Celtics forward made perhaps his best performance in the deciding game of the series, ending Game 5 with 31 points. Tatum, who was drafted third overall by Boston in 2017, celebrated his first championship win, which was seen in viral videos which have now gone viral.

Another video that took social media by storm is a clip of R&B singer Ella Mai waiting in the sector hallway for Tatum after his victory.

Viral Clips Confirm Boston Celtics Jayson Tatum and Girlfriend Ella Mai Are Expecting a Baby (Screenshot: @willmakris/Instagram)
Viral videos confirm that Boston Celtics Jayson Tatum and girlfriend Ella Mai expect a baby. (Screenshot: @willmakris / Instagram)

The recording shows the singer wearing a Boston jersey with the number “0” and waving on the NBA star. As she turned to Tatum to hug him, many social media users noticed the very noticeable baby bump and started speculating that the British music star is perhaps expecting her first child.

The video, which received over 1.7 million views in the primary few hours, was posted on X by a fan who also wrote: “So Ella Mai IS pregnant. What a W yr Tatum.

“We see victories on and off the field. Congratulations,” another person he said.

“Ella Mai is pregnant. This baby will be as bright as a light bulb,” a fan he was joking.

As the congratulations poured in, many fans still had no concept that the “Boo’d Up” singer was dating the five-time NBA All Star.

People The magazine reports that they’ve been linked since not less than 2020, after the singer apparently posted a photo on Instagram in 2019 to take shots on the NBA star. Although neither of them have ever publicly gone public with their relationship, Tatum and Mai have been spotted together several times over the summer.

In 2022, Tatum and the four-time Grammy nominee joined Michael Rubin for his yearbook Fourth of July party. In September 2023, the alleged couple was seen next to one another again at the marriage of Memphis Grizzlies player Marcus Smart. Then in November 2023, Tatum helped the R&B singer have fun her twenty ninth birthday in New York City.

When asked about her love life during a 2022 sit-down on The Breakfast Club, Ella Mai danced round her and Tatum’s romance.

“There are rumors that you are a Boston Celtics fan,” co-host DJ Envy suggested.

“Oh really? … I’m definitely a basketball fan, but you know I’m not one to talk about my dating life,” the “Boo’d Up” singer replied.

Despite remaining mum on her romantic relationship with Tatum, comedian Michael Blackson has apparently lifted the lid on their secret after revealing on “The Breakfast Club” that he tried to shoot the singer before the NBA player told him she was married taken away.

While attending Mike Rubin’s 2022 Fourth of July party in the Hamptons, Blackson said he noticed a beautiful Black woman who looked like a normal person, not an exaggeratedly thin celebrity. He approached her and struck up a conversation.

“Suddenly I was tapped on the shoulder,” he recalls. “I said, ‘Are you okay?’ and he says, “Yes, I’m good because I’m together with her.”

True to the best way she talks about their relationship, Ella Mai has not confirmed that she is pregnant. However, rumors that she is pregnant have been circulating on the Internet for months.

In April, a fan went to X to share with the world that his father saw Ella Mai and Jayson Tatum at a baby shower and that the singer was pregnant. Screenshots of the tweets were posted to @wagsunfiltered3.0 on Instagram.

“Bro, my dad saw Jayson Tatum at the infant shower, man. I believe MF has one other child,” wrote a fan. “My dad said he had a child with some famous singer. Ella Mai probably cannot think about one other person. He also said they feasted on fried chicken.

Now that the Celtics have taken home the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy, videos and photos have surfaced online showing Ella Mai’s pregnancy becoming more visible.

This might be the 29-year-old’s first child and Tatum’s second. Tatum’s son, Jayson Christopher Tatum Jr., also referred to as “Deuce”, often helps his father warm up on the basketball court before Celtics games and was in attendance to observe his father win his first championship ring.

Tutum was just 19 and a Duke student when he first came upon he was going to be a father.

“I wasn’t thrilled,” Tatum said Everyday Adirondack. “I was a little selfish at that time because I knew I was going to chase my dream and be in the NBA. I felt like it could influence what people considered me, where I’d go in the draft.

He added: “I would be the first to say that I wasn’t very excited when I found out I was going to be a dad, and I quickly realized it was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. There’s nothing better than being a dad. I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason.”

According to Tatum, having a son taught him a sense of responsibility, which proved useful to him throughout his skilled basketball profession.

“And I believe – not that I believe so, I do know – that having Deuce at that age grounded me. Because whatever decision I desired to make, I needed to ensure that I’d handle him. “I couldn’t just get up and go or do all the things that some of my peers did because I had to come home and put him to bed,” he stated.

Although Tatum was not named NBA Finals MVP, he is widely considered the highest talent on the Celtics’ roster. The Boston Celtics have now won a record 18 NBA championships, having previously tied the Los Angeles Lakers at 17.


This article was originally published on : atlantablackstar.com
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“The Blues Society” by Freestyle Digital Media will be available on the VOD platform

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“The Blues Society,” a documentary featuring the Memphis Blues Country Festival, will be available on demand in July.

According to the press, the film, narrated by actor Eric Roberts, “reevaluates the life of the Memphis Country Blues Festival (1966–1970) through the prism of race, 1960s counterculture and the Memphis blues genre.” release. Written, directed and produced by Dr. Augusta Palmer, “The Blues Society” tells the story of blues greats Furry Lewis, Nathan Beauregard and the Reverend Robert Wilkins.

The film also examines “a gaggle of white artists from the North and South who created a celebration of African-American music in a highly racially segregated city. Reaching into the present, the film ends with a 2017 concert by which John Wilkins returns to the stage he last shared together with his father, the Reverend Robert Wilkins, 48 ​​years earlier,” the release reads.

“The Blues Society” will be available to rent/own on all HD digital online platforms, cable and satellite platforms worldwide, and on DVD from July 9. The film will be available through Freestyle Digital Media, the film distribution arm of Allen Media Group, whose founder, chairman and CEO Byron Allen owns Grio.

“I didn’t just want to make a concert film. Everyone can appreciate the unforgettable music in ‘The Blues Society,’ but the love of the blues did not cure white supremacy,” said director Palmer. “I wanted to recreate the idealism of white organizers, but also highlight Black voices and expose the paternalism in the blues revival of the 1960s. Since the pandemic, structural racism has become much more visible to the nation. We have come a long way, but we still have a long way to go.”

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J. Tinneny co-produced the film with Palmer. The musical documentary screened at film festivals and theaters across the country, including DCTV’s Firehouse, Three Rivers Arts Festival and Light Reel Film Fest, throughout May and June. Then on July 1, “The Blues Society” will be shown at the Hollywood Theater in Portland. Freestyle Digital Media negotiated an agreement to amass “The Blues Society” with Cultural Animal, LLC and Glen Reynolds of Circus Road Films.

This article was originally published on : thegrio.com
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How ‘Bridgerton’ star Daniel Francis balances a career in front of the camera and in senior technical management

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LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 12: Daniel Francis attends a special screening of ‘Bridgerton’ Season 3 – Part Two at Odeon Luxe Leicester Square on June 12, 2024 in London, England. (Photo: John Phillips/Getty Images)

Beloved World, with its lavish costumes and old-world English-language dialogue, can pose a challenge for the average actor. But for classically trained actor Daniel Francis, who trained at British drama school LAMDA and sharpened his skills while working for the Royal Shakespeare Company, the setting could be very familiar.

“It’s a great pleasure to be able to enter this world,” Francis tells ESSENCE. “You have the best of the best designing these items with such thought and care and attention to detail that it just adds one other layer to the work that you just do as an actor and the characters that you just create. It is wonderful.”

Francis joined the Shondaland phenomenon in season three as Lord Marcus Anderson, Lady Danbury’s brother and Lady Violet Bridgerton’s potential love interest.

How 'Bridgerton' star Daniel Francis balances a career in front of the camera and in senior technical management
Bridgerton. Daniel Francis as Lord Anderson in Bridgerton episode 306. Cr. © 2024. Liam Daniel/Netflix

“It’s a privilege, right?” Francis talks about joining the rom-com series in a role created specifically for the show, slightly than lifted from the source material. “I love doing Shakespeare for myself. I love it. But the greatest joy is creating something for the audience.”

“When you come to perform on this scale and with such a dedicated and loving fan base, it’s a privilege that not many actors can afford. And having a character that won’t in the books permits you to create something with the writers and the showrunner, which leaves a lot of possibilities. I can not wait for fans to see the second half of the season and then see where it goes and what happens to it because I don’t know. It’s exciting.

But the actor’s excitement comes not only from his roles on screen. When he isn’t on camera, Francis is revealed to be a technology executive, forging latest paths in fields blockchain and quantum computing.

How 'Bridgerton' star Daniel Francis balances a career in front of the camera and in senior technical management
Daniel Francis at the World Premiere of ‘Bridgerton’ Season 3 held at Alice Tully Hall on May 13, 2024 in New York City. (Photo: Kristina Bumphrey/Variety via Getty Images)

While it’s rare for an actor of Francis’ level of success to pursue a second career in a completely different industry than entertainment, for the actor his involvement in the business sector has at all times been second nature, born out of necessity.

“I have always been involved in business. I had a marketing company when I was at drama school,” he says. “It was my first contact with the business and I simply fell in love with it. When you grow up in poverty and want to take care of your mother and family – for me, the only solution was to start a business. I didn’t have the education that would allow me to become a lawyer and be successful on that path.”

While Francis’ talent and education led him to roles on popular series corresponding to , and , his solo entrepreneurship took him to the next frontiers of technology.

“Quantum computing is the next paradigm shift in data processing and the space we need to enter to move the world and technology forward. This is extremely exciting for me.”

How 'Bridgerton' star Daniel Francis balances a career in front of the camera and in senior technical management
Bridgerton. (From left to right) Daniel Francis as Lord Anderson, Adjoa Andoh as Lady Agatha Danbury in episode 306 of Bridgerton. Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 202

While acting and technology may look like completely different fields, Francis believes they’re “parallel goals that complement each other” in his life and career.

“I love the combination of storytelling in the entertainment space, but also in technology,” he says.

“I think it’s imperative for us as storytellers to shine a light on people who are doing amazing things that don’t work in flashier industries. I think sometimes celebrities, actors, artists and athletes are the ones who get pushed and promoted the most in the black community, when in reality there are many extremely successful, highly talented and highly skilled black people in all kinds of professions at the highest levels. It’s about telling stories that show their ups, but also their trials, tribulations and drama. We are everywhere. We always have been.”

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