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Kimora Lee Simmons talks about the importance of self-confidence at the 25th Annual Smile Train Gala

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MAY 08: Kimora Lee Simmons, Ming Lee Simmons and Aoki Lee Simmons attend the Smile Train 25th Anniversary Gala at Cipriani forty second Street on May 8, 2024 in New York City. (Photo: Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for Smile Train)

Kimora Lee Simmons knows the value of self-confidence. The Smile Train ambassador told why, along with ESSENCE, she devotes her time and resources to the organization coping with clefts during the gala celebrating the 25th anniversary of treatment in Cipriani.

Smile Train supports local physicians with educational and material resources so that they can provide free cleft surgery and comprehensive cleft care to children around the world. They take a holistic approach to care, providing patients with post-operative care and, in some cases, supporting them through multiple surgeries. The event helped raise funds for all surgeries, including 3D printed cleft stimulation kits. They help surgeons perform treble procedures, potentially reducing the risk of certain complications. According to the study, black patients have significantly more complications.

Smile Train announced its 2 millionth free surgery at the event. The news was met with thunderous applause from donors who were willing to lighten their pockets for the cause.

Kimora Lee Simmons talks about the importance of self-confidence at the 25th Annual Smile Train Gala
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MAY 08: Aoki Lee Simmons, Kimora Lee Simmons and Ming Lee Simmons attend the Smile Train 25th Anniversary Gala at Cipriani forty second Street on May 8, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images for Smile Train)

Her daughters, Ming Lee and Aoki Lee, presented her with the Smile Train Goodwill Ambassador Award. In her speech, Lee Simmons described seeing a patient blossom and imitating a model’s walk down the runway after surgery. The patient was planning her future after seeing herself in a brand new light.

“I have Stephanie on my phone when I walk the runway,” Lee Simmons said excitedly.

“Smile Train allows these young people, from infants through adulthood, to reclaim the lives they didn’t even know they could,” she continued. “These people have been transformed by these surgeries. I saw it. I was in the field. I was with their families.”

Lee Simons admitted that while inner beauty is most vital, outer appearance has an undeniable impact on an individual’s experience. “Beauty truly starts from the inside. What is external also matters a lot.”

She stated that her work is ultimately more about what patients think about their appearance than what they give the impression of being like. “There are as many different beauties as there are people.”

“All these things are about giving it our all and doing the best we can for ourselves,” she added. Lee Simmons uses his inner confidence to face life’s challenges.

Kimora Lee Simmons talks about the importance of self-confidence at the 25th Annual Smile Train Gala
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MAY 08: Kimora Lee Simmons attends the Smile Train 25th Anniversary Gala at Cipriani forty second Street on May 8, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images for Smile Train)

“Throughout my journey, I tried to say, look, no one is going to support you if you don’t have support,” she said.

She wants women to harness the power of self-confidence and independence, whether or not they are in a partnership or not. “As a woman, I have to stand on my own two feet,” she said. “You cannot depend on a person in your whole life. It doesn’t matter.

Key patients can face the kind of bullying Lee Simmons faced while growing up in Missouri.

She admits that “being faced with judgment from people who don’t know you can be quite painful.”

She advises people to “be resilient, be beautiful, and shine in all your glory, even when they feel stepped on, looked down upon, or oppressed.”

In her 2006 book, she shared advice on the way to use self-confidence to enhance your life. She described it as a lesson to her “thirteen-year-old self.”

Lee Simons has long supported organizations that concentrate on improving people’s lives, including Dress For Success, where she helps incarcerated women construct their wardrobes in preparation for returning to work. “It’s very vital to me to find a way to provide back. I’ve been doing it my whole life, even before I had children,” she said

Kimora Lee Simmons talks about the importance of self-confidence at the 25th Annual Smile Train Gala
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MAY 08: Jordin Sparks performs on stage at the Smile Train 25th Anniversary Gala at Cipriani forty second Street on May 8, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images for Smile Train)

Host Jeanie Mai joked that she would reasonably see smiles transformed by Smile Train than the ones she often sees in Hollywood. “These smiles are a mix of veneers and lip fillers. I’m ready for smiles that can truly light up this world,” she said after reaching the podium in a peach dress. Jordin Sparks then performed an energetic set that included an appropriate cover of Frank Sinatra’s “When You’re Smiling.” The crowd sang along to her hit, and Sparks encouraged guests to go to the chapel and hearken to DJ Jazzy Jeff, who hosted the afterparty.

Mai wasn’t the just one in a completely satisfied mood.

Lee Simmons joked that her unfiltered personality is an ideal fit for fundraising. “I have a big mouth, so all I can do is beg people for money,” she said, flashing her charming smile.

You can learn more about the Smile Train mission Here.

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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This week’s best new music: Normani, Victoria Monét, Pharrell Williams and more

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Happy Friday, people. As summer approaches, a lot of your favorite bands are gearing up for the new season. With releases from new artists in addition to established musicians, this week was full of amazing releases.

Earlier this week, Victoria Monét delivered a breakthrough performance within the music video for “Alright,” the newest single from her award-winning album. The visuals paid tribute to artists reminiscent of TLC, Missy Elliott and co A series of evening concert events co-headliner Janet Jackson. This new release adds to Monét’s growing list of hits and adds to the anticipation for her upcoming performance on the 2024 ESSENCE Cultural Festival.

Today Normani releases her debut album, . The album will feature 13 tracks featuring Gunna, James Blake, Cardi B and more. Anderson .Paak and Knxwledge – collectively often known as NxWorries – reunite for a new album titled , the follow-up to Pharrell Williams’ 2016 album bringing “Double Life” from the Despicable Me 4 soundtrack to the masses, Khalid brings you “Adore U” , and P.J. Morton editions.

Our roundup also includes songs by Samara Cyn, Timbaland, Big Boss Vette and more. Below you possibly can try the list of new products for this week.

This article was originally published on : www.essence.com
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Lauryn Hill, Tyla, Ice Spice and YG Marley join the 2024 BET Awards performer list

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Photo credit: Scott Dudelson / Matt Winkelmeyer / Noam’s Gala

Today, BET revealed that Lauryn Hill and YG Marley, Ice Spice and Tyla will grace the 2024 BET Awards stage together with previously announced artists GloRilla, Latto, Muni Long, Sexyy Red, Shaboozey and Victoria Monét.

Additionally, Tanner Adell will perform on the BET Amplified stage. Oscar-nominated and Golden Globe-winning actor, creator, director, producer and philanthropist Taraji P. Henson will return as host, and the iconic Usher might be honored with BET’s prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. Drake leads all nominations with a remarkable seven nods, and the full list of nominees is out there Here.

BET transforms Culture’s Biggest Night into Culture’s Biggest Week with the BET Experience 2024, promising the highest levels of Black culture and entertainment. With performances from a few of the most influential artists in culture, including Cardi B, Davido, Gunna, The Roots, Common, Queen Latifah, Jungle Brothers and many other electrifying talents, experts and tastemakers, this week might be unforgettable.

Connie Orlando, vice chairman of specials, music programming and music strategy, will oversee and executive produce the annual program, and Jamal Noisette, vice chairman of Tentpoles & Music Community Engagement, may also function executive producer for BET. Jesse Collins Entertainment is the series’ production company, with Jesse Collins, Dionne Harmon and Jeannae Rouzan-Clay also serving as executive producers.

The 2024 BET Awards will air live from the Peacock Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday, June 30, 2024 on BET at 8 p.m. ET.

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