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.

Levi Strauss teams up with gun control group

Levi Strauss & Co. has announced it is launching a series of new initiatives to benefit groups working to prevent gun violence.

Levi Strauss’s CEO and President Chip Bergh wrote in Fortune on Tuesday that the company “simply cannot stand by silently when it comes to issues that threaten the very fabric of the communities where we live and work.”

“You may wonder why a company that doesn’t manufacture or sell guns is wading into this issue, but for us, it’s simple,” Bergh wrote. “Americans shouldn’t have to live in fear of gun violence. It’s an issue that affects all of us — all generations and all walks of life.”

He added that he is not advocating to repeal the 2nd Amendment nor calling gun owners irresponsible.

“We can’t insulate ourselves from every threat,” Bergh wrote. “We can’t ‘harden’ every place we gather — whether it be our schools, workplaces, shops, churches, or entertainment venues. But we can take common-sense, measurable steps — like criminal background checks on all gun sales — that will save lives.”

Levi’s, therefore, announced a new three-tiered initiative to support gun violence prevention.

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The company will donate more than $1 million over the next four years to nonprofits and youth activists that work to end gun violence, establishing the “Safer Tomorrow Fund.”

The blue jean manufacturer also partnered with gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety and other executives to form Everytown Business Leaders for Gun Safety.

Bergh called the group a coalition of business leaders who “believe, as we do, that business has a critical role to play in and a moral obligation to do something about the gun violence epidemic in this country.”

Levi’s will also double all donations made by their employees to the Safer Tomorrow Fund.

Bergh acknowledged that the decision to advocate for gun control is a controversial one.

“While taking a stand can be unpopular with some, doing nothing is no longer an option,” he wrote.

Steph Curry Rallies for Women’s Equality

NBA superstar Steph Curry has been surrounded by “incredible and fiercely principled” women his whole life. Now, that he is the father to two daughters, Riley and Ryan, he fit it high time to speak out about women’s equality and closing the gender pay gap. On Sunday, The Players’ Tribune published “This Is Personal,” an essay written by the two-time MVP about wanting his daughters to grow up in a world that treats them fairly.

“I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that the idea of women’s equality has become a little more personal for me, lately, and a little more real,” Curry wrote. “I want our girls to grow up knowing that there are no boundaries that can be placed on their futures, period. I want them to grow up in a world where their gender does not feel like a rulebook for what they should think, or be, or do. And I want them to grow up believing that they can dream big, and strive for careers where they’ll be treated fairly.

Curry’s essay comes on the heels of many prominent figures in the WNBA and NBA speaking about the growing gender pay gap between the two leagues. Former NBA star Jalen Rose spoke up about WNBA players being treated as “second-class citizens,” and Skylar Diggins-Smith blasted the low earnings female players receive for the same amount of work as NBA players.

The three-time NBA champion called for all people, “not just fathers of daughters,” to fight for equality. “I’m feeling more driven than ever — to help out women who are working toward progress, in any way that I can,” Curry wrote.

He continued, “Let’s work to close the opportunity gap. Let’s work to close the pay gap… I mean, ‘women deserve equality’ — that’s not politics, right?”

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Last week, Curry hosted his first all-girls basketball camp and vowed to help make a change for women across all platforms.

 

 

 

Nike Supports Serena Williams’ Superpowers

Nike has responded to the French Open’s decision to ban the catsuit Serena Williams wore during the 2018 tournament.

The apparel giant tweeted an image of Williams, who was wearing the outfit on the tennis court, with a message of support for the 23-time Grand Slam champion:

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Bernard Giudicelli, French Tennis Federation president, told Tennis Magazine the dress code was being introduced because “sometimes we’ve gone too far.” He added that “one must respect the game and the place.”

The nerve.

Williams responded to the decision Saturday, via ESPN, saying, “I had a lot of problems with my blood clots and, God, I don’t know how many I have had in the past 12 months,” she said. “So it is definitely a little functionality to it. I have been wearing pants in general a lot when I play so I can keep the blood circulation going.”

Williams had numerous health problems, including a pulmonary embolism, after giving birth to her daughter last September.

This year’s French Open was Williams’ first appearance in a Grand Slam tournament after announcing her pregnancy in April 2017.

Facebook Group Admins Get Comment Pin Power

Here’s a small, but relevant update – Facebook is now letting group admins pin comments in discussion threads.

According to Social Media Today, the option will enable group admins to highlight the best comments, or new angles of interest, which could help spark further discussion around a specific element, and boost engagement and interaction.

It’s the latest in Facebook’s ongoing efforts to make groups a more critical element of The Social Network. That push comes as more social interactions are switching to private or enclosed forums, with messaging apps seeing the biggest shift.

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With engagement moving away from the main social feed, Facebook’s looking to capitalize on the fact that more than a billion of its users are engaged in groups, with a significant number of those in what Facebook calls ‘highly meaningful’ communities.

If Facebook can help maximize groups, that could help them ensure users stay engaged, despite the trend away from public sharing. That’s why Facebook’s rolled out a heap of new groups tools in the last 12 or so months, including groups for Pages and group analytics tools.

Adding the ability to pin specific comments may not seem like much, but as noted, it does provide another way for admins to guide the conversation, helping to prompt further comment on the most engaging elements without users needing to scroll through everything else. If a specific comment is sparking discussion, putting it front and center will only help to generate more of it, which could make it a valuable tool for group admins to consider.

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!