October 11 – The Day of The Girl

Everyone get ready for the Day of the Girl.

Taking place on October 11, and with ads and content aimed at encouraging education, career-role models and mentoring, organizations hope to bring awareness to the many ways the world needs to uplift young women.

Mattel’s Barbie is introducing the Dream Gap Project, an initiative it hopes will raise awareness of ways girls are blocked from reaching their potential. The company cites research showing that by age 5, girls are less likely to view themselves and other girls as either smart or competent.

A launch video stars a handful of young girls talking about the many ways they inadvertently undermine daughters: They are twice as likely to Google “Is my son gifted?” than they are “Is my daughter gifted?” for example, and far less likely to give girls science-related toys.

The effort also includes a collaboration with New York University associate professor Andrei Cimpian for a two-year post-doctoral fellowship, focusing on the Dream Gap in girls between the ages of 5 and 7. And the brand, which generated plenty of buzz with the launch of its “Inspirational Women” collection earlier this year, including fencers, boxers, snowboarders and artists, says it plans to highlight at least 10 “empowering female” role models around the world each year.

Meanwhile, Unilever’s Dove is debuting The Girl Collective, “a sisterhood on a mission to raise the self-esteem of girls everywhere,” with a vow to reach an additional 20 million girls with messages “that can protect them from the outside voices that influence how they feel about their appearance.” Shonda Rhimes, the filmmaker who has been partnering with the brand on Real Beauty Production videos, hosted the kickoff event on Facebook Live.

Nonprofits are talking about Day of the Girl, too. Girls Inc., citing research that a third of girls between 7 and 10 say their appearance is the most important thing about them, is celebrating the day with the launch of “Pretty,” a book that urges girls to be pretty brave, pretty confident and pretty strong.

It’s also got a social component, using #theprettyconversation and #selfworthies, pointing out that 35% of girls worry about being tagged in photos that make them seem unattractive, and 65% agree that ads and media set unrealistic standards.

And Plan International is sponsoring girls’ takeovers around the world, including a #DayOfTheGirl emoji for Twitter. Its U.K. division is using the occasion to launch a new video campaign aimed at preventing street harassment.

Rihanna Calls for Universal Education

Rihanna has written an op-ed for The Guardian to ask others to join her in the fight for universal education.

“The lack of access to education for children around the world is a massive problem, but that does not mean we should throw up our hands in despair and surrender,” Rihanna said in the piece.  “Instead, we need to take on as much of the challenge as we can manage to set an example and see the difference. This is what has driven me to prioritize global education in my philanthropy and advocacy work.”

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While growing up in Barbados, Rihanna added, she now realizes she took her access to education for granted. In many parts of the world, children are prevented from that same access due to poverty, politics, war, sexism, and more. To help make these inequalities a thing of the past, Rihanna has renewed her call for support for the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and their efforts toward fighting the education deficit around the world.

“We are grateful for the generous contributions of those such as the EU and France, and countries that doubled their contributions such as Canada and Ireland,” she said of her GPE ambassador role and this year’s GPE financing conference. “I look forward to seeing additional contributions from countries I know can step up even more, such as Germany and Japan, and seeing those that didn’t contribute – the Netherlands, Finland and New Zealand add their support to help us reach our target.”

Rihanna also discussed her own Clara Lionel Foundation and called on readers to join her in hitting up world leaders and politicians on Twitter and elsewhere to share the message.

This Is You At The US Open, Serena

Have you ever wanted to see how a young Serena Williams played tennis? Spoiler alert: She was remarkable even then and Nike has the footage to prove it.

A new Nike advertisement shows Williams taking to the tennis court, long before became an international tennis champion. She was nine years old in the footage, according to ESPN reporter Darren Rovell.

Williams’ father, Richard Williams, provides the voice-over, encouraging his daughter to be her best.

“This is you at the U.S. Open,” Richard says to his young, focused daughter as she bounces a tennis ball on a court in a home movie. When young Serena hits the ball, the video cuts to footage of the player at various years of the U.S. Open that she competed in.

The rest is enough to make your eyes sweat.

Taraji P. Henson Wants To Change How We View Black Mental Health

Taraji P. Henson has revealed that she has launched a new foundation specifically geared to the minds of the black community.

The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, named after her late father, will specifically fight to change the stigma of mental health within the black community. Her foundation—her best friend Tracie Jenkins will serve as the Executive Director—will offer scholarships to black students majoring in mental health, as well as provide mental health services for youth in urban schools.

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Her father was the inspiration for this undertaking. According to People, her father, a former veteran battling mental health issues, fought liver cancer up until his passing in 2006 at the age of 58. “I named the organization after my father because of his complete and unconditional love for me; his unabashed, unashamed ability to tell the truth, even if it hurt; and his strength to push through his own battles with mental health issues,” she said. “My dad fought in the Vietnam War for our country, returned broken, and received little to no physical and emotional support. I stand now in his absence, committed to offering support to African Americans who face trauma daily, simply because they are black.”

The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation officially launches on Sept. 22 in Los Angeles at her event, Taraji’s Boutique of Hope. Continue doing the work, Ms. Henson.

 

 

 

LeBron James Opens School in Akron

Today a new elementary school in Akron opened with the help of the LeBron James Family Foundation. Here’s what you need to know:

1. It’s part of Akron Public Schools, with some big private money backing its launch

The school was the idea of James, an Akron native and NBA All-Star reports the Akron Beacon Journal. The school is getting the same public funding per pupil as the other schools in the district, but it is also backed by large donations from organizations including James’ foundation and others who are covering the extras not paid for by the school district.

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2. The students will be children considered academically at risk.

There will be smaller class sizes, a curriculum with STEM and social-emotional learning priorities, and a resource center to support students, according to Akron Beacon Journal. The students starting Monday are 240 third- and fourth-graders. More grades will be added and by the 2022 to 2023 school year, there will be first through eighth grade students at the school.

3. The proposal was first unveiled April 2017

James’ foundation already funded the I Promise Network, which at the time was supporting 1,100 students in grade schools in the Akron area. The idea for the school was first introduced last year as a way to take what works in the I Promise Network to build a curriculum and bring it under one roof.

I am so for this! Congrats to King James on truly making a difference and good luck to the students this coming school year!

 

 

Michelle Obama Launches When We All Vote

Michelle Obama has assembled an all-star team of celebrities to help register voters across the country.

Th initiative is called, When We All Vote and it’s a national, nonpartisan not-for-profit which, “brings together citizens, institutions, and organizations to spark a conversation about our rights and responsibilities in shaping our democracy. Namely, the responsibility of registering and voting.”

When We All Vote’s co-chairs are some big-name celebrities, including Tom Hanks, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Janelle Monáe, Chris Paul, Faith Hill, and Tim McGraw.

According to a press release, When We All Vote will work to recruit and train volunteers to register new voters in communities across America. The organization will also host IRL events and make online efforts to reach and inspire unregistered voters, making it easy for them to register or request a voter registration form on-site.

Barack and Michelle Obama Sign On For Netflix

Netflix has secured a deal with former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama to produce series and movies for the streaming service. The former first couple will, according to an announcement Monday from the company, potentially work on scripted and unscripted series as well as docu-series, documentary films, and features under the multi-year deal.

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“One of the simple joys of our time in public service was getting to meet so many fascinating people from all walks of life, and to help them share their experiences with a wider audience,” said Barack Obama. “That’s why Michelle and I are so excited to partner with Netflix — we hope to cultivate and curate the talented, inspiring, creative voices who are able to promote greater empathy and understanding between peoples, and help them share their stories with the entire world.”

It is unknown how much the Obamas’ Netflix agreement — which will see them produce through their newly formed company Higher Ground Productions — is worth. In March, Penguin Random House signed the couple to a joint book deal that pays them a reported $65 million for their respective memoirs.