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Black news, entertainment, lifestyle and culture

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    Fabian ElliottFabian Elliott is a ‘Hybrid Entrepreneur’ as Founder & CEO of Black Tech Mecca Inc. and Advertising Technology Consultant at Google. His passion for black empowerment through technology led him to play a key role in the revamp, revitalization, and rebrand of Google’s black employee group, and he recently completed his term as inaugurally appointed Global Co­Chair.

    Fabian Elliott

    Now, his latest endeavor entails transferring what he was able to create within a company to the city he has come to love, by leading the charge to transform Chicago into the ‘Global Black Tech Mecca’. Outside of the tech world, Fabian also serves as Secretary for the 100 Black Men of Chicago Inc., Next Generation Board Member for American Civil Liberty Union of Illinois, and is a member of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

    Fabian Elliott’s career as a #GameChanger is being honored by UPTOWN Magazine and Kia Motors at the Inspirationally Crafted Game Changers event.

    Here’s your chance to tell us why you are a game changer. Enter to win $250 in UPTOWN’s Inspirationally Crafted #GameChangers Sweepstakes here. Share your story of how you have been a game changer in your career, community or cause via a post on social media using the hashtag #GameChanger for more opportunities to win $250!

     


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    Toi SalterToi L. Salter is a recognized leader in the field of financial and business management. As founder and President of Salter Financial Management LLC, she manages the day-to-day financial affairs and oversees long-term growth strategy for professional athletes and media personalities.

    Ms. Salter is especially committed to professional athletes after seeing how so many lost their wealth because of improper financial guidance and counsel. Determined not to let this happen on her watch, she landed top picks in the NBA against all odds and incorporated the industry’s most respected wealth institutions and top tier financial professionals as part of her team. This approach has been a winning combination.

    Ms. Salter is a 19 year financial professional who has written articles and contributed to Ebony Magazine, TV One’s NewsOne Now, and other media outlets.

    She received her B.S. in Commerce from DePaul University, and Masters of Accountancy from National University and a Masters of Science in Financial Planning from the College of Financial Planning. Additionally, she holds the CFP® designation.

    Ms. Salter works tirelessly for causes that impact her community and serves as a board member of The University Foundation at Chicago State. She has formally held board positions with The Support Group, Southside Community Art Center, and The Barbara Bates Foundation.

    She recently chaired the 2015 Barbara Bates Foundation “Knocking Out Breast Cancer” Gala and continues to lend support to its fundraising activities. To date,  the organization has contributed $500,000 to Mount Sinai Hospital to build a new Breast Cancer Imaging Center for disadvantaged women in under-served communities.

    Toi Salter’s career as a #GameChanger is being honored by UPTOWN Magazine and Kia Motors at the Inspirationally Crafted Game Changers event.

    Here’s your chance to tell us why you are a game changer. Enter to win $250 in UPTOWN’s Inspirationally Crafted #GameChangers Sweepstakes here. Share your story of how you have been a game changer in your career, community or cause via a post on social media using the hashtag #GameChanger for more opportunities to win $250!


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    UPTOWN_race_movie_poster
    RACE depicts the incredible journey James Cleveland “Jesse” Owens embarked on to become the greatest athlete ever during the 1936 Olympics. It’s the Great Depression. Adolf Hitler and his Nazi regime are in power in Germany. World War II is on the horizon. And America TK. After the American Olympic Committee votes to participate in the ’36 Olympics, the question becomes whether Owens will give into pressure to boycott. The film stars Stephan James as Jesse Owens and Jason Sudeikis as Owens’s coach, Larry Snyder. While many will be familiar with the story of Jesse Owens going to the Olympics, nothing beats watching his ordeal and triumph play out on the big screen in RACE.


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    The Lomo’Instant provides throwback, snapshot chic.

    By Isoul Harris

    UPTOWN_lomo_instant_camera

    In today’s world of hyper-immediate gratification, we want everything before we even know we want it. Well, Lomography, the global camera organization dedicated to pushing the art of creative snapshot photography, has introduced an instant camera for the millennial generation and for those who actually owned an original Polaroid. Meet the the Lomo’Instant, a gorgeously-crafted and highly creative instant wide camera, which uses Fujifilm Instax Wide film, and features a built-in 90mm Lens (35 mm equivalent), three shooting speeds, a fully programmatic shutter, filters for colored flash, a computer sync socket—for downloading and uploading to your social media (of course). Post your shots for the world to see and instantaneously become an official #Lomographer, joining thousands around the world. And how much cooler is it to jet-set (or just roam around your city) with this old school-looking gem versus your upgraded, shiny smartphone? A lot cooler, we say. Lomography.com


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    UPTOWN_beyonce_airbnb6
    An impersonal hotel just wouldn’t cut it for Beyonce‘s stay in the San Francisco Bay Area during Super Bowl Weekend, er, Super Bey Weekend. Instead, the “Formation” singer checked into an AirBnB in the Los Altos Hills that is described as a “Contemporary Masterpiece” and only costs $10,000/night.

    So what does one get for 10Gs per night?

    Five bedrooms, a game room with a full bar and pool table, very large televisions, very swanky fireplaces, a wine cellar, an infinity pool, a fitness center, a grand piano, an orchard, and chickens to lay fresh eggs.

    The bedrooms boast floor-to-ceiling windows, offering up a 270-degree scenic view of the Bay, Silicon Valley, and the Levi’s Stadium.

    Keep clicking for more pics of Beyonce’s AirBnB …

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    Laurie Underwood Wanda Grace DesignerLaurie Underwood is a designer, speaker, and entrepreneur currently residing in Chicago, IL

    At the age of 9, Laurie began designing and creating her own clothing. Focusing on grace and feminine appeal, she birthed the fashion forward, swanky yet trendy line Wanda Grace in 2008. After revamping multiple times and drawing inspiration from fashion influencers such as Tracee Ellis Ross (daughter of Diana Ross), Jackie Kennedy and countless others, Wanda Grace evolved into a full line of chic, fun and flirty ready to wear pieces.

    In 2015, Laurie was casted for Lifetime’s Project Runway Season 14 where she put her brand on larger platform.

    Laurie Underwood Wanda Grace Designer

    Laurie Underwood’s career as a #GameChanger is being honored by UPTOWN Magazine and Kia Motors at the Inspirationally Crafted Game Changers event.

    Here’s your chance to tell us why you are a game changer. Enter to win $250 in UPTOWN’s Inspirationally Crafted #GameChangers Sweepstakes here. Share your story of how you have been a game changer in your career, community or cause via a post on social media using the hashtag #GameChanger for more opportunities to win $250!


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    Celebrities like Swizz Beatz and Ja Rule offered prayers for DMX after the rapper/actor was found unconscious and lifeless in the parking lot of the Yonkers, NY Ramada Inn on Monday night.

    Police and other first responders administered chest compressions and oxygen while transporting DMX, whose real name is Earl Simmons, to Saint Joseph’s Medical Center in Yonkers.

    A witness claims DMX had a drug overdose, but his family vehemently denies that claim.

    “He told me he is happy to be alive. He said it was an asthma attack. He has a long history of asthma,” said Tashera Simmons, DMX’s ex-wife. “He had a cold for a week. But then you know he was on the floor and in the hospital.”

    DMX also has the support of fellow entertainers and collaborators, like Swizz Beatz, Ja Rule, and Questlove, who tweeted their support.

    DMX has since been released from St. Joseph’s Medical Center and has plans to perform in Pennsylvania Saturday.


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    UPTOWN_black_history_makers_fashion

    When it comes to fashion and style, I’m often amazed at how some folks take both for granted. The nerve, right? After all, the influence of both is all around us, not just through how others present themselves in everyday life, but also within our culture, lifestyle, and art. As we celebrate Black History Month, we should take notice of the significant impact that a number of Black innovators within the fashion industry have made. Such accomplishments were extraordinary feats of groundbreaking vision and talent that will continue to inspire generations to come. This week’s Star Style post highlights 10 Black History Makers in Fashion.

    Uptown_star_style_Black_Fashion_Icons_Stephen_Burrows1

    When Stephen Burrows came on the scene in 1969, he became the first African-American fashion designer to gain international recognition. His signature and innovative creations defined the 1970s. Fast-forward to the new millennium and there are still several women and a whole new generation of fashionistas who love Burrows’ aesthetic. Celebrity fans include Diana RossOprah Winfrey, and Michelle Obama.

    Uptown_star_style_Black_Fashion_Icons_Patrick_Kelly2

    Designer Patrick Kelly is known for incorporating charisma, posh flair, and sheer enthusiasm into his creations. In 1988, he became the first American and the first Black designer voted into the prestigious French fashion industry association Chambre Syndicale du Prêt-à-Porter des Couturiers et des Créateurs de Mode.

    Uptown_star_style_Black_Fashion_Icons_Gordon_Parks3

    In the grand scheme of any fashion production, visually setting a picture-perfect tone is standard. Renowned photographer Gordon Parks was the first African-American staff photographer for Life magazine, for which he captured images ranging from fashion and sports to poverty and racial discrimination. In addition, he was the first Black fashion photographer for Vogue magazine.

    Uptown_star_style_Black_Fashion_Icons_Mildred_Blount4

    Hey church ladies and dapper gentlemen, tip your hat in homage to Mildred Blount. She was the first Black milliner in Hollywood. She created works of wearable art for films, such as Gone With The Wind. During Blount’s time, some of her celebrity fans included Joan Crawford, Marian Anderson, Gloria Vanderbilt.

    Uptown_star_style_Black_Fashion_Icons_Bethann_ Hardison5

    Bethann Hardison is known for making powerful statements and having a positive impact in the fashion industry. Just recently the CFDA recognized her with a Founders Award for her influential voice and championing of racial diversity within the industry. The former model also took part in the international Fashion Face-Off at Versailles, a historical moment in which France’s best designers competed against the top American designers. Following that, Hardison became a model agent, who is known for being significant in Tyson Beckford’s modeling career, and along with former model and friend Iman, co-founded the Black Girls Coalition in 1988 to provide advocacy and support to African American models.

    Uptown_star_style_Black_Fashion_Icons_Tyra Banks6

    Tyra Banks knows everything about being on top and is an inspiration to many aspiring models and entrepreneurs. The TV personality, producer, former model and talk show host, and author was the first African American woman to cover of both GQ and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. After graduating from the Harvard Business School, Banks became the president and founder of her new cosmetics company, TYRA. Her direct sales, social selling business model was created for the beauty entrepreneur who wants to have either a side-hustle or full-time, self-driven business. Move over Mary Kay.

    Uptown_star_style_Black_Fashion_Icons_Naomi_Campbell7

    All hail Naomi Campbell! She’s just as hot now as she was when she first came on the scene in 1987. During her career she has held the title of many “firsts.” She was the first Black model to appear in a Prada ad campaign. In addition, she was the first Black model to appear on the cover of French Vogue, and the first Black model to appear on the famed September Issue of American Vogue.

    Uptown_star_style_Black_Fashion_Icons_Tyson_Beckford8

    When Tyson Beckford first came on the scene, ladies all over the globe had their eyes on him. He’s the first African-American model to sign an exclusive contract with Ralph Lauren.

    Uptown_star_style_Black_Fashion_Icons_Toccara_Jones9

    For full-figured women everywhere, the modeling journey of Toccara Jones has been an inspiration. Toccara is the first Black plus-size model to grace the pages of Vogue Italia.

    Uptown_star_style_Black_Fashion_Icons_Lloyd_Boston10

    Current and aspiring fashion YouTubers and red carpet reporters take note. As one of the original hosts on E! Entertainment’s STYLE Network, Lloyd Boston is recognized as one of the leading Black fashion hosts and correspondents. The four-time author can be spotted interviewing Hollywood’s A-List stars about their looks on either the red carpet or on CBS’s “The Insider.”

    RELATED: Charlie Sifford & 4 Other Black Athletes Who Broke Color Barriers


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    UPTOWN_valentines_day_cocktails

    Celebrating your affection for your lover isn’t as simple as handing over a perfectly wrapped gift. Instead, your goal should be to delight his or her senses completely. The first step to that is his or her mouth … Whoa! No, that comes later … I’m talking Valentine’s Day cocktails and boozy desserts, and brought to you by a few UPTOWN faves, Pinnacle Vodka, Prohibition Bakery, and Tipsy Scoop.

    [Image: Shutterstock]

    In honor of Valentine’s Day, Pinnacle Vodka teamed up with Prohibition Bakery, a bakery serving boozy confections in New York City, to create two cupcake recipes perfect for your celebrations. Whether you’re baking for your one true love or sharing treats with your best friends for Galentine’s Day, these cupcakes combine Pinnacle Whipped Vodka, Pinnacle Raspberry Vodka, and all the best cupcake ingredients for two truly special desserts.

    UPTOWN_pinnacle_berry_in_love

    Pinnacle Berry In Love Cupcakes
    Yields 36 mini cupcakes

    Ingredients:

    • ½ cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened
    • 1 cup (200g) sugar, granulated
    • 1 egg
    • 1 1/3 cup (160g) flour, all purpose
    • 1/3 cup (30g) dark cocoa powder
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • ½ cup (115g) milk
    • 1/3 cup (75g) Pinnacle Raspberry Vodka

    Filling:

    • 3 ounces white chocolate
    • ¼ cup cream
    • 1/3 cup Pinnacle Raspberry Vodka

    Frosting:

    • ¼ cup butter, softened
    • ½ lb confectioners sugar
    • ¼ cup Pinnacle Raspberry Vodka

    Garnish:

    • Fresh raspberry

    To make the cake:

    1. Preheat oven to 350°, and line cupcake tins.
    2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
    3. Add the egg and beat thoroughly.
    4. Measure flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
    5. Stir buttermilk and Pinnacle Raspberry Vodka in another bowl.
    6. Alternate adding flour and buttermilk mixtures ¼ at a time, beating between each addition.
    7. Fill paper-lined trays hallway and bake for 15-18 minutes.
    8. Let cupcakes cool before decorating.

    To make the filling:

    1. Finely chop white chocolate and set aside in a heatproof bowl.
    2. Heat cream on low until tiny bubbles form around the edges. Do not allow cream to boil.
    3. Remove from heat and pour over chocolate, taking care to cover the entire surface of the chocolate.
    4. Let rest for 30 seconds, and then whisk until smooth.
    5. Slowly add in Pinnacle Raspberry Vodka one tablespoon at a time, stirring thoroughly between each addition.
    6. Transfer ganache to a squeeze bottle. Let cool for at least 1 hour before using.

    To make the frosting:

    1. In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat butter until smooth.
    2. Slowly add in confectioners’ sugar with mixer on low speed, and beat thoroughly.
    3. Slowly stream in Pinnacle Raspberry Vodka, and beat until smooth.
    4. Transfer to a piping bag.

    Assembly:

    1. Using a small piping tip or the end of a steak knife, core a hole into the center of each cupcake.
    2. Fill each core with the Pinnacle Raspberry Vodka white chocolate ganache.
    3. Frost as desired.
    4. Garnish with a single raspberry directly in the center of each cupcake.

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    Pinnacle S’MORE Love Cupcakes
    Yields 44 mini cupcakes

    Ingredients:

    • ½ cup (115g) water
    • ½ cup (115g) butter, unsalted
    • 1/3 cup (40g) crushed graham crackers
    • 1/3 cup (75g) sour cream
    • 1 egg
    • 1 cup (200g) sugar, granulated
    • 1 cup (125g) flour, AP
    • ¾ tsp baking soda
    • ½ teaspoon baking powder

    Filling:

    • 1 cup (200g) marshmallow fluff
    • 1/3 cup (75g) Pinnacle Whipped Vodka

    Frosting:

    • 1/3 cup (80g) butter
    • 1 box confectioners sugar
    • ¼ cup (60g) Pinnacle Whipped Vodka
    • ½ cup (3 oz.) milk chocolate, melted

    Garnish:

    • ¼ cup (50g) crushed graham crackers
    • ¼ cup (3 oz.) milk chocolate

    To make the cake:

    1. Preheat the oven to 325, and line baking pans with cupcake liners.
    2. Heat water and butter in saucepan over low heat until butter is completely melted, taking care not to let the mixture boil.
    3. In a food processor, process an entire sleeve of graham crackers until completely crushed.
    4. Add sour cream and egg to the mixing bowl of a stand mixer and beat on low until completely mixed.
    5. Weigh crushed graham crackers, flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt into a separate container. Set aside remaining crushed graham crackers to be used for garnish later.
    6. Once butter is completely melted, slowly stream water/ butter mixture into egg and sour cream mixture with mixer on low speed. Mix completely.
    7. Slowly add dry ingredients, and beat until smooth.
    8. Fill liners ⅔ of the way, and bake for 10 minutes.
    9. Once baked, let cupcakes cool completely on a cooling rack or sheet pan before assembling.

    To ake the frosting/garnish:

    1. Melt chocolate for frosting and garnish (6 ounces) in microwave or in a double boiler on low heat.
    2. In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat butter until smooth.
    3. Slowly add confectioners’ sugar with mixer on low, and beat until lumpy.
    4. Add Pinnacle Whipped Vodka a tablespoon at a time, and beat until smooth.
    5. Add half of melted chocolate to frosting, and beat until completely mixed.
    6. Transfer finished frosting to a piping bag.
    7. Let other half of the melted chocolate cool for 15 minutes, and then transfer to a squeeze bottle.

    To make the filling:

    1. Add marshmallow fluff to a bowl. Slowly add Pinnacle Whipped Vodka, mixing thoroughly.
    2. Transfer finished Pinnacle Whipped Vodka/marshmallow fluff mixture to a squeeze bottle.

    Assembly:

    1. Once cupcakes are cool, core each cake with a small piping tip or the end of a small knife (such as a steak knife).
    2. Fill each core with Pinnacle Whipped Vodka/marshmallow fluff filling, taking care not to overfill.
    3. Frost as desired.
    4. Drizzle melted chocolate over cupcakes in a zip zag pattern, and then sprinkle with crushed graham crackers.

    Keep clicking for delicious Valentine’s Day cocktail recipes and boozy ice cream perfect for V-Day or Galentine’s Day!

    UPTOWN_pinnacle_ruby_seduction

    Pinnacle Ruby Seduction Cocktail

    • 1 part Pinnacle Original Vodka
    • 1 part JDK & Sons Fleur Liqueur
    • 2 parts Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice
    • Mix in a glass with ice and top it off with a lemon wedge

    UPTOWN_pinnacle_flirty_fizz

    Pinnacle Flirty Fizz

    • 1 part Pinnacle Original Vodka
    • 2 parts lemon-lime soda
    • Splash of cranberry juice
    • Mix over ice and share with your true love

    UPTOWN_tipsy_scoop_ice_cream

    Tipsy Scoop’s VALENTINE’S BOOZY ICE CREAM GIFT, $36

    Tipsy Scoop’s Valentine’s Day party pack includes a heart-shaped, custom note and three pints of liquor-infused, small-batch ice cream. The flavors are:

    • Strawberry Chocolate Kiss Martini – strawberry ice cream made with whipped cream vodka, dark chocolate liqueur, fresh strawberries, and dark chocolate chips. Each bite will make you blush. <3
    • Cake Batter Martini Ice Cream with Valentine’s Day Cookie DO – creamy ice cream infused with cake vodka mixed with chunks of DO’s seasonal Valentine’s Day Cake edible, gourmet cookie dough. A match made in dessert heaven!
    • Cherry White Chocolate Cookie Amaretto – Amaretto ice cream, kissed with bits of white chocolate chip cookies and amaretto-soaked cherries from their NYC neighbor Gotham Cookies.

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    Cortney HallAn Emmy-nominated journalist, Cortney Hall joined CLTV as an anchor in December 2013, and now delivers the latest news headlines on the 9 o’clock hour of WGN Morning News. Previously, Cortney was a news anchor and reporter at WKMG-TV in Orlando, Florida. Cortney began her career at Bloomberg News in New York City, where she produced various morning news segments.

    Cortney got her BS from from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business in 2003, and then went on to get her MA from Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern.

    Cortney was born and raised in the Oak Brook suburb of Chicago. She attended Fenwick High School.

    If she’s not in the newsroom, you can usually find Cortney at the driving range or whipping up something tasty in the kitchen. She also enjoys spending time outside or playing tennis.

    Fabian Elliott, Toi Salter and Laurie Underwood’s careers as #GameChangers are being honored by UPTOWN Magazine and Kia Motors at the Inspirationally Crafted Game Changers event.

    Uptown & KIA 2016 Game Changers Event

    Here’s your chance to tell us why you are a game changer. Enter to win $250 in UPTOWN’s Inspirationally Crafted #GameChangers Sweepstakes here. Share your story of how you have been a game changer in your career, community or cause via a post on social media using the hashtag #GameChanger for more opportunities to win $250!


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    Uptown & KIA 2016 Game Changers EventExperience a game changing online event Thursday February 11, 2016 at 7pm ET when you join Uptown Magazine and Kia Motors #GameChangers Twitter Party. Uptown Magazine and Kia will celebrate #GameChangers in their profession, community and culture. Special guests and hosts will join in the hour long party which will include conversations and a celebration of those that are inspirationally crafted.

    You are invited to join in and share how you are inspirationally crafted and have been a #GameChanger. In addition to some great conversation there will be prizes awarded every 10 minutes! Over $300 in gift cards will be awarded live! Plus enter to win $250.

    When: Thursday February 11th 7pm EST

    Where: #GameChangers or #GameChanger hashtag on Twitter

    How: Follow @UptownMagazine + @Kia and tweet with the event hashtag #GameChanger or #GameChangers to participate.

    Additional Hosts: @AngelaBLogan @MalinsWorld @GoodEnufMother @MochaManStyle @MommyTalkShow @CruzanFoodie

    WHAT IS THE UPTOWN + KIA PRESENTS INSPIRATIONALLY CRAFTED #GAMECHANGERS SOCIAL MEDIA EVENT

    UPTOWNMagazine.com and Kia Motors have come together to recognize both individuals and a fleet of vehicles that have been redesigned with style, power and make a lasting impact on those they touch. UPTOWN is hosting the #GameChangers Twitter Event on Thursday February 11, 2016 at 7pm EST where leading influencers including TV and film star Malinda Williams, “Breathe” film producer and digital powerhouse Angela Burgin Logan, TV host extraordinaire Rene Syler and a host of others will join us in sharing how they are inspirationally crafted and have been #GameChangers in their fields.

    UPTOWNMagazine.com is also hosting a sweepstakes where participants can enter to win $250 for sharing their stories of how they are a #GameChanger along with a chance to be featured on UPTOWNMagazine.com for their contributions to culture, community and their field of work. Beginning February 3 – March 3, 2016 participants are invited to enter on UPTOWNMagazine.com and to post on social media using the hashtag #GameChanger or #GameChangers for more opportunities to win. Attendees will also get the opportunity to be acquainted with vehicles from Kia including the K900, Kia Sorento and Kia Optima.

    WHO SHOULD I BE FOLLOWING ON SOCIAL MEDIA RELATIVE TO THE INSPIRATIONALLY CRAFTED #GAMECHANGERS ONLINE EVENT AND CONTEST?

    @UptownMagazine

    @Kia

    DO YOU HAVE TO OWN A KIA VEHICLE TO ENTER THE CONTEST OR PARTICIPATE?

    No! But your level of awesome is going to seriously go up if you do. You can also find out more information about the redesigned Kia including the K900, Kia Sorento and Kia Optima at Kia.com.


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    Attorneys for Cleveland filed a claim Wednesday against Tamir Rice‘s family for his final ambulance ride, after Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann fatally shot the 12 year old and did not face criminal charges.

    This latest development comes 15 months after the tragic shooting, for which the city blames Rice because he failed “to exercise due care to avoid injury,” according to the city’s 41-page response to the Rice family’s wrongful death lawsuit.

    The outrage over the $500 claim doesn’t stop at Rice’s family and Subodh Chandra, the family’s attorney. Police union president Steve Loomis expressed his outrage to CNN affiliate WJW:

    “Subodh Chandra and I have never agreed on anything until now. It is unconscionable that the city of Cleveland would send that bill to the Rice family.
    Truly disappointing, but not at all surprising.”

    Chandra and Tamir’s mother Samaria Rice believe the $500 claim and invoice are tantamount to harassment.

    “The callousness, insensitivity, and poor judgment required for the city to send a bill … is breathtaking,” Chandra said. “This adds insult to homicide.”

    Source


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    UPTOWN_taraji_henson_katherine_johnson

    Come Jan. 13, 2017, the little known fact that three Black women were instrumental in helping the United States win the space race will become more widely known.

    Taraji P. Henson will help tell the story of math genius Katherine Johnson and her colleagues Dorothy Vaughn and Mary Jackson, in Hidden Figures.

    The FOX 2000 film is adapted from Margot Lee Shetterly book Hidden Figures: The Story of the African-American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race, published by HarperCollins.

    Johnson, Vaughn, and Jackson were the brains behind the launch and safe return of of astronaut John Glenn into orbit. He flew the Friendship 7 mission in 1962, and became the first American to orbit the Earth. “The three women crossed all gender, race and professional lines while embarking on the mission,” according to Variety.

    Henson expressed her excitement in taking on the role of Katherine Johnson.

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    The audience at “Yeezy Season 3” event erupted into thunderous applause, last night, when Kanye West escorted Lamar Odom through Madison Square Garden to sit next to the former professional basketballer’s estranged wife Khloe Kardashian.

    This was Odom’s first public appearance since he a suffered a near-fatal, drug-induced stroke on Oct. 13th while indulging at a Nevada brothel.

    An Us Weekly source says 36-year-old Odom is “is getting better day by day” and walking and talking on his own. Just last weekend, he went on a hike with Khloe and Kim Kardashian West.

    Odom was even spotted dancing and smiling to his brother-in-law’s new album, The Life of Pablo.


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    “Me and Ray J would probably be friends if we wasn’t in love with the same bitch … you might have hit it first, but I’m rich, though.”

    — Kanye West raps on his new album The Life of Pablo, addressing Ray J’s song “I Hit It First” about West’s wife Kim Kardashian West. Realizing these lyrics could ignite another beef with a celebrity, West apologized preemptively to Ray J — through his sister Brandy. TMZ has learned that West ran into Brandy and asked her to tell her brother he didn’t mean any harm or disrespect with the lyrics. (cough, BS, cough) West, who recently had to apologize for bring Wiz Khalifah and Amber Rose‘s son Sebastian into their Twitter beef, reportedly went on to say the lyrics are in pure fun and he wasn’t talking about Ray J’s bank account. A source for Ray J wants to make it clear that he is very rich and has four television series on the air.

    Did West punk out by speaking with Brandy instead of directly with Ray J?


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    UPTOWN_camille_bill_cosby

    A federal judge in Massachusetts has ruled that Camille Cosby must give a deposition in the defamation lawsuit brought by several women against her husband Bill Cosby, reports the AP. However, Camille may refuse to answer any questions that violate the Massachusetts marital disqualification rule.

    Seven women are suing Bill for defamation after he branded them liars following their claims he sexually assaulted them decades ago.

    Massachusetts’s marital disqualification rule generally prohibits spouses from testifying about private marital conversations.

    It’s now unclear how much information Camille, who has been married to Bill for 52 years and was his business manager, may provide since she can refuse to answer certain questions.

    In a statement, her lawyers said the ruling affirms “the confidential nature of and protection afforded to marital communications.”

    U.S. District Judge Mark Mastroianni provided some clarification on his ruling:

    “In his ruling, Mastroianni said the right to refuse to answer certain deposition questions does not entitle someone to refuse to appear for a deposition altogether. The judge also said that the marital disqualification rule only applies to private conversations and there are exceptions, including when a third party was present and heard the conversation, if both spouses were jointly engaged in criminal activity or if the communication was written.

    “Accordingly, in light of the relatively narrow scope of the rule, the existence of various exceptions, and (Camille Cosby’s) unique role in Defendant’s life for over fifty years, she may possess a good deal of relevant, non-protected information which can be uncovered in a deposition,” Mastroianni wrote.”

    The women’s attorney, Joseph Cammarata, hoped to depose Camille Cosby on Feb. 22, but it was not immediately clear if the deposition will occur on that date.


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    UPTOWN_surviving_valentines_day

    Valentine’s Day is this Sunday and as usual the “Single & Lonely” memes are popping up left and right on social media. Whether you’re a single woman who views the “holiday” as overrated or as a day that should be filled with grand gestures of love, there are a myriad of ways to avoid the Valentine’s Day slump.

    Here’s your guide to surviving Valentine’s Day in five easy steps.

    [Image: Shutterstock]

    UPTOWN_mended_heart

    Step 1: Don’t Let Anyone Make You Feel Lonely

    One year for V-Day a former co-worker, who was dating a married man, walked over to my desk and proceeded to tell me how her “boyfriend” surprised her by filling up her car with balloons. She ended her story by asking the following, “Are you OK? I mean, I know you didn’t get anything today.” Really? Really? I mean, REALLY?! As soon as she uttered the words, I imagined me flipping over my desk Incredible Hulk-style and karate chopping her in the larynx. Alas, I took her hypocritical judgment of my single girl status in stride, and did not allow her to make me feel lonely. There is absolutely, positively nothing wrong with not receiving a car full of balloons from your married boyfriend on Valentine’s Day. There is also nothing wrong with being single. Being alone and feeling lonely are two separate things. If you are feeling lonely, sad, or depressed, please reach out to friends, family, or a professional for help. Just know that there is nothing wrong with experiencing sadness and that no matter what, someone cares. You are not alone.

    [Image: Shutterstock]

    UPTOWN_godiva_keepsake_heartStep 2: Buy Your Own Damn Gifts

    There are many things I love in life and chocolate is high on my list. What indulgences do you partake in or have yet to try? A professional massage, wine tasting, dance class, a bucket load of chocolate from GODIVA? Seriously, whatever it is go out and get it for yourself, and if you are not financially able to do so right now, then make it a goal to save the money or work towards making it happen for yourself. I am going to France for a few months. Do I have all of the funds for the trip? Not yet, but I have made it my goal to make this trip happen for myself this year. What will you do? Where would you like to go and what goals will you set forth? Love comes in many forms and love of self is important for your emotional health. This way, when you are emotionally happy and content with your life, the universe will reward you with the love of your life. Yes, finding love is a reward, and all of us deserve to reap the benefits of it. For now … be your own Valentine.

    [Image: GODIVA]

    UPTOWN_friends_toasting

    Step 3: It’s OK to Stay Home

    Maybe you are feeling a bit sad that you don’t have a date for Valentine’s Day, that’s OK. Sometimes we just need time to feel whatever emotions, we are experiencing without interruption. So, what can you do? Stay in, order your favorite food, and watch movies, but you have to watch horror films or gory action films. Absolutely nothing romantic needs to be watched whatsoever, because if you are feeling sad about not having a date, then watching The Notebook might not be your best choice. Invite your other single friends over and have everyone bring their favorite films, wine, and chocolates!

    [Image: Shutterstock]

    UPTOWN_woman_meditating

    Step 4: Channel Your Energy

    Love is hard. Finding it, maintaining it, or getting over it is really hard. It takes a lot of energy, focus, and emotion which can be very draining. At times we lose ourselves in love and our pursuit of it. Valentine’s Day can also be a reminder of that. Let’s look at this day as a catalyst for change. Shift your focus into a more productive and positive light. Focus on your achievements, goals, and physical and emotional well-being. Meditate, create a vision board, or pray. I have been single for over five years and just realized how much energy and effort I put into every other aspect of my life, as a result. From my blog to my web series “To Live & Date in L.A.,” writing, acting, family, and now a concerted effort to improving my well-being, that is my focus, and when love arrives — I will be ready. Like, readier then ready, so ready that I am even more ready as I type this. It’s been over five years, yo! You will be ready too.

    [Image: Shutterstock]

    UPTOWN_wedding_rings

    Step 5: Have Patience

    Lord Jesus, this is the hardest thing in the world for me to have. I am not patient at all, and I know this about myself. I want what I want, when I want it, and waiting for it is not an option. So what do I do? I force it, try to control it, and make it happen on my terms, then I end up defeated or hurt. Love is patient. Argh … I know how corny it seems to read that, but it is true. My good friend was super lonely last year, having come off of a three-year relationship that she thought was leading to marriage, and when it didn’t, she fell apart. Around the spring she met a guy who she introduced me to and I immediately knew she was not really into him, but she was lonely and he filled a need at the time. She dated him for six months and he fell hard, and she, well … she thought he was “nice.”

    Here’s the thing: We must be patient and wait for who/what we really want. When we act out of loneliness or impatience, we attract what is not meant for us. While she was fulfilling a need to be wanted, he was falling in love, and ended up getting dumped in the end. It’s easy to go on that date with that woman/man you are “kinda into” or call up your ex, but think about why you are doing this. Is it because you need attention, are lonely, or are rushing into something out of impatience? Patience is not a virtue I have been blessed with, but ultimately I know that waiting on true love is what I have to do. Now I am not saying that you should not put yourself out there because you definitely should. No man is going to knock on your front door as you sit in your sweats in bed, watching “Scandal” reruns for the millionth Saturday night in a row. Be proactive but also be cautious. Take your time and have patience, we all need and want love, and the universe wants us to have it. Listen, I’ve been single for over five years, so if my impatient ass can wait — dammit, so can you. Five years people … five years … you can wait!

    [Image: Shutterstock]


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    This weekend was all about love and basketball. Check out how some of your favorite celebrities spent NBA All-Star Weekend and Valentine’s Day. Oh, and Tyra Banks has debuted her little bundle of joy.

    Instagram Photo

    Jazmine Sullivan got into “Formation” with two backup dancers.

    Instagram Photo

    Tyra Banks debuted first image of newborn son York Banks Asla.

    Instagram Photo

    Gabrielle Union and LaLa Anthony stepped away from the basketball court during All-Star Weekend for a sultry moment.

    Instagram Photo

    Drake and Steph Curry shared a moment after The West won the all-star basketball game.

    Instagram Photo

    Kevin Hart wasn’t happy about losing the celebrity basketball game.

    Instagram Photo

    The ladies in Kobe Bryant‘s life, his wife and two daughters, couldn’t pass up a photo opp with Spike Lee.

    Instagram Photo

    Carmelo Anthony was optimistic The East would win.

    Instagram Photo

    Fabolous also invaded Toronto for All-Star Weekend.

    Instagram Photo

    Ludacris and his Fast & Furious co-star Vin Diesel enjoyed some “family time.”

    Instagram Photo

    Russell Wilson gifted Ciara a bouquet for Valentine’s Day that contained too many roses to count.

    Instagram Photo

    Columbus Short and wife Karrine Steffans celebrated Valentine’s Day with their closest friends and family.


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    Instagram Photo

    “Uhunuh it’s a damn shame. The Lil Kim hate is a different type of hate. This video is from the exact same day of the Yeezy fashion show. I’d like to see y’all try to filter this. Videos don’t lie idiots! Some of you are just so miserable and unhappy with yourself that you have nothing else to do than to come on my page and just hate and talk about me on the blogs. It’s clear that I’m lighter in this video than the picture that Kim posted. Which is still a very gorgeous photo. I lightened up the picture because I like when the makeup pops a little more and you can see the beauty of the makeup that @tasha_mack_mua did. Kim wanted the picture to look a little darker, because that’s the way she liked it. Kim is my boo and I wanted to repost it but I saw it in a different way. Either way both pictures are completely gorgeous and are a matter of expression of preference of photography. IG is a way for people to express themselves and have fun through pictures and videos! And I love photography, on that note moving right along me and @mainohustlehard got that heat coming 🔥🔥🔥

    — Lil Kim addresses criticism she lightened her skin after posting an image of herself and Kim Kardashian West at the Yeezy Season 3 fashion show. She blames her choice of filter because she likes it when her “makeup pops.” The image she posted is below on the left and the one Kardashian West posted is on the right.

    UPTOWN_lil_kim_skin_lightening


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    UPTOWN_lucapa_404_carat_diamond

    The Lucapa Diamond Company has unearthed a 404-carat diamond with an estimated value of $14 million.

    The gem, which is 2.7 inches long and weighs about 2.8 ounces, was mined from the Lulo diamond field in Angola’s northeastern Lunda Norte province by the Perth, Australia-based company.

    Lucapa chairman Miles Kennedy told ABC Australia the diamond find was a “wonderful vindication of eight years of pretty hard work.”

    In 2007, 217.4-carat diamond was discovered in Angola, but the newly-mined diamond smashed that record by more than 100 carats.

    Shares in Lucapa rose by 29 percent, from 9.5 cents to 41.5 cents.

    Source


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