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Amanda Gorman Lands Cover of Vogue’s May Issue

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This makes Amanda Gorman the first poet presented on Vogue’s cover.

What We Know:

  • Gorman emphasized her excitement on Wednesday when Vogue broke the news on Twitter. She said she was “honored” in her response. Not only is the 23-year-old the cover girl, but she is also the subject of the profile “The Rise and Rise of Amanda Gorman.” In the issue, she shares lessons from her inauguration appearance, a modeling contract with IMG, and her thoughts on certain Democratic figures.
  • Gorman also recalls her family history. She specifically mentions how it helped her get to where she is today. She says her mother, a middle-school English teacher in Watts, taught her the importance of maintaining a wholesome image. Gorman notes her family has a united vision of literary and social success. Her family believes that one is successful if one inspires as many readers as possible.

“It took so much labor, not only on behalf of me, but also of my family and of my village, to get here,” Gorman told Doreen St. Felix.

  • Additionally, Gorman voices her emotions before presenting at the inauguration of President Joe Biden. The Biden Inaugural Committee told her they wanted her to perform at the event in late December. At first, she felt flattered. She automatically began research on past poets like Maya Angelou and Elizabeth Alexander. Afterward, she became concerned. She worried about the coronavirus pandemic and the aftermath of the Jan. 6 insurrections. However, she felt the words of another poet would have been as inspiring.
  • St. Felix allows Gorman to recount how advisors motivated her before her reading. Oprah Winfrey told her she needed to look to Maya Angelou as an example. Joan Wicks, Gorman’s mother, told St. Felix she encouraged Gorman to perform. Wicks says she sees her daughter as a writer whose duty is to serve democracy.
  • Gorman read her poem “The Hill We Climb” at the Jan. 20 presidential event. After this, Gorman finalized a contract with IMG Models, which had been in the works before her social debut. The partnership has presented her with more opportunities. These include having Penguin Random House as a publisher and being on the cover of TIME. However, she is wary about being categorized as a model. Since starting her career, she has rejected $17 million in offers. She proclaims she needs to be conscious of taking commissions that speak to her. Gorman affirms a campaign “isn’t my body. It’s my voice.”

Besides being an up-and-coming model, Gorman has completed many literary and academic accomplishments. In 2014, she became the first Los Angeles poet laureate. She also won the title of first national youth poet laureate in 2017. In 2020, she graduated from Harvard University with cum laude honors and a Bachelor’s degree in sociology. Gorman’s future is preparing her for a legacy of inspiration for others.

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Music

Family of James Brown Finally Settles 15-year Battle over His Estate

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The family feud over James Brown’s estate began after his death on Christmas Day in 2006.

What We Know:

  • Attorney David Black told the Associated Press the legal battle came to an end as family members reached a settlement on July 9. However, details of the settlement were not disclosed.
  • Brown’s estate, which is estimated to be worth anywhere between $5 million to more than $100 million, had been the face of lawsuits over the years. One of the litigations’ central figures includes the Godfather of Soul’s former partner Tomi Rae Hynie, who claimed she was Brown’s fourth and final wife. Because of this, she claims she deserved a portion of their estate.
  • However, the South Carolina Supreme Court declared Hynie never legally married Brown due to her previous marriage never being annulled. The Supreme Court also ordered a lower court to “promptly proceed with the probate of Brown’s estate in accordance with his estate plan.” Brown wanted his estate to provide scholarships to underprivileged children in South Carolina and Georgia.
  • This decision came after the South Carolina Supreme Court overturned a previous deal in 2013. A settlement plan from 2009 aimed to give nearly half of Brown’s estate to a charitable trust, a quarter to Hynie, and the rest to his adult children. The Supreme Court overturned this plan because then-Attorney General Henry McMaster ignored Brown’s desire for his money. Instead, McMaster hired a professional manager “who took control of Brown’s assets from the estate’s trustees to settle debts.”

Black News Alerts will provide more information on the Brown estate when details on the settlement are released.

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Whoopi Goldberg, Danielle Deadwyler to Appear in Film about Emmett Till’s Mother

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Till will highlight Mamie Till-Mobley’s fight to obtain justice for the murder of her 14-year-old son, Emmett Till.

What We Know:

  • In 1955, while visiting family in Mississippi, Emmett became a victim of a hate crime; Carolyn Bryant, a 21-year-old white woman, accused him of harassing her at a grocery store. Several days later, Carolyn’s relatives took Emmett, beat him, and lynched him.
  • While preparing for his funeral, Emmett’s mother Mamie insisted on an open casket to raise awareness on violence towards Black people in the South; Mamie’s actions are considered one of the catalysts for the civil rights movement. The movie chronicles this decision, as well as Mamie’s choice to permit Jet Magazine to publish David Jackson’s funeral photos.
  • Watchmen’s Danielle Deadwyler will portray Mamie. When discussing her new role, Danielle said she is “charged with humility and great will” to embody Mamie’s life during such an “integral moment of personal tragedy and political rebellion” and the civil rights movement. She further mentioned she will accurately represent Mamie’s love for her son. Danielle expressed gratitude for the women who will support her in this endeavor, such as director Chinonye Chukwu, and Whoopi Goldberg, who will play Emmett’s grandmother, Alma Carthan.
  • In addition to directing Till, Chinonye wrote the screenplay, which is partially based on Keith Beauchamp’s original research for his 2005 documentary The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till. The film is a follow-up to Chinonye’s Clemency, which stars Alfre Woodard. Chinonye also conveyed appreciation for the project. She said Till will tell a story of Mamie and Emmett’s humanities and their relationship. Alongside this, it will educate audiences on “the activist consciousness that grows within Mamie as she seeks justice for her son.”
  • Chinonye feels confident in her actresses’ skills. She called Danielle a “powerhouse of an actor,” and emphasized her joy in working with the “legendary” Whoopi. Principal photography will begin in Atlanta this September.

The news on Till was released just two days before what would have been Emmett’s 80th birthday.

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‘Insecure’ star Issa Rae marries Louis Diame in the South of France

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Issa Rae married her fiancé, Louis Diame, in a private ceremony in the South of France this weekend.

What We Know:

  • The “Insecure” star and co-creator, 36, confirmed the news Monday on her Instagram.

“A) Impromptu photo shoot in a custom @verawang dress. B) My girls came to help me, but they all coincidentally had on the same dress! They were sooooo embarrassed. C) Then I took a few flicks with Somebody’s Husband,” she joked.

  • In the photos, Rae posed in a custom, strapless Vera Wang gown along with a floor-length veil and a bouquet of neutral-colored roses. Her businessman husband, for his part, wore a red velvet suit by Dolce & Gabbana.  Rae also shared picture of her five bridesmaids in matching mauve dresses. Each of them held miniature versions of the bride’s rose bouquet.
  • The photos were geo-tagged at Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, a French commune overlooking the Ligurian Sea.  Engagement rumors sparked in early 2019 when Rae wore a giant diamond ring on the cover of Essence. Reps for Rae wouldn’t comment on the relationship at the time, but her “Insecure” co-stars confirmed the news shortly after.
Congratulations to the newly weds!

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