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Stars Joined Students, Educators, Parents, And More For EIF Presents: XQ Super School Live

Sep 11, 2017 01:30 pm
On Saturday, the biggest names in entertainment, journalism, sports, and music joined educators, parents, and more for “EIF Presents: XQ Super School Live,” a one-hour telecast and multi-platform event that invited the public to help rethink the future of American high schools.

DJ Khaled and son Asahd Tuck Khaled speak onstage during the XQ Super School Live
DJ Khaled and son Asahd Tuck Khaled speak onstage during the XQ Super School Live
Credit/Copyright: Christopher Polk/Getty Images for EIF

Among the stars who took part were J.J. Abrams, Mahershala Ali, Kelsea Ballerini, Maria BelloCate BlanchettChance the RapperCommonJames CordenMiranda CosgroveCindy Crawford, Portia Doubleday, Michael Ealy, Kevin Frazier, Matt FX, Bill Hader, Tony HaleTom HanksSalma Hayek PinaultSean HayesSamuel L. JacksonAllison JanneyJAXDJ KhaledGayle KingNorman Lear, Marshawn Lynch, Rami Malek, Thomas Mann, Joel McHale, Alano Miller, Hasan Minhaj, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Maren Morris, David Muir, Randall Park, Chris Paul, Tanika Ray, Conrad Ricamora, Melissa Rivers, Adam Rodriguez, Al RokerChristian Slater, Anna Deavere Smith, Ian Somerhalder, Karla Souza, Ringo StarrJustin TimberlakeU2, Chris Wallace, Matt Walsh, Reggie Watts, D’Wayne Wiggins, and Jesse Williams, as well as East Los High stars Ashley Campuzano, Jorge Diaz, and Danielle Vega

Common speaks onstage during the XQ Super School Live
Common speaks onstage during the XQ Super School Live
Credit/Copyright: Christopher Polk/Getty Images for EIF

The event was produced by Done + Dusted, executive-produced by Viola Davis, Julius Tennon, and XQ Institute, and directed by Hamish Hamilton. The all-star telecast aired live from Barker Hangar at the Santa Monica Barker Hangar on all four major U.S. networks – ABCCBSFOX and NBC – on Friday, Sept. 8 at 8:00-9:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed. The telecast is also available on-demand on ABCCBSNBC, and FOX’s streaming platforms, as well as Hulu and YouTube. Dance star and social media influencer Dytto, and actor Jorge Diaz hosted a pre-show that streamed live on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The telecast hashtag — #XQLive — trended worldwide on Twitter throughout the show.

Developed by XQ Institute and the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), the telecast combined live musical, comedy, and documentary segments that brought to life the past, present and future of the American high school system.

EIF Presents: XQ Super School Live was not an ending, but a beginning. It was the beginning of a renewed sense of optimism in America that every child, every student, from any zipcode, can get the education they deserve to lead a life of success as they define it. That our best days aren’t behind us, but ahead of us. That for all the problems in the world and divides in our country, the American spirit of ingenuity is alive and well – and, most of all – capable of solving the biggest issues of our day,” said XQ Co-Founder and CEO Russlynn Ali. “Tonight’s telecast was a reminder for everyone of just how much work lies ahead of us, but also how worthwhile, rewarding, and wonderful that work will be when we do it together.”

“We’ve been proud to partner with XQ Institute on this movement to rethink the current American high school system,” said the Entertainment Industry Foundation’sLisa Paulsen. “EIF Presents: XQ Super School Live was an incredible opportunity to bring together some of the biggest names in our industry to help inspire the public to join us in working together to prepare every student for success.”

Throughout the telecast, there was a roster of musical performances which culminated in a star-studded, moving finale performance of The Beatles’ “Come Together” led by Jennifer Hudson with Jon Boogz, Sheryl CrowMC HammerSheila E.JAX, Ringo Starr, Reggie Watts, Max Weinberg and Max Weinberg’s Jukebox, D’Wayne Wiggins, Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma, and U2.

Kelly Clarkson also performed a new song, “Move You,” from her forthcoming album, “Meaning of Life.” Kelsea Ballerini and Maren Morris introduced country star Hunter Hayes, who added to the roster of performers which also included Jordan Fisher and Andra Day.

Highlights include:
• Lin-Manuel Miranda visited his old high school and his high school theatre teacher, Gina McCort. They reminisced about his days in theatre class and took a trip down memory lane showing home videos of him performing in his very first onstage musicals.
• Justin Timberlake introduced America to an XQ Super School — Furr High School in Houston— with a short documentary, passionately explaining, “The kids you just met, along with more than 200,000 other students in the Houston School District, are picking themselves up and dusting themselves off after Hurricane Harvey. So to the people of Texas rebuilding, and the people in Florida bracing for Hurricane Irma, we love you and we’re with you.”
• With his son, Asahd, in his arms, DJ Khaled inspired action stating, “We can’t just talk at our youth. We’ve got to talk TO them. Get them involved. That’s why I bring my son Asahd with me to the studio, to meetings, to nights like tonight. He is soaking in all these experiences like an adorable sponge. The youth are the seeds of this country, and they must be watered with knowledge.”
• Jesse Williams remarked, “One of the best jobs I ever had in my life was being a teacher. Watching a kid connect with passion is magic. Watching a kid overcome a challenge that would paralyze most adults – humbling, inspiring.”
• Tom Hanks and Viola Davis ended the night with an impassioned speech and call to action. Hanks stated, “In America, we know that one small step can become a walk on the moon. We know that one simple act of sitting on a bus can inspire an entire movement. We know that two hundred seventy-two words on a hill in Gettysburg can help heal a nation. We take problems and raise our hands to solve them. That’s what we do. That’s who we are. So tonight, let’s take that one small step to reshape our education system in this country. Because when we’re good, we’re great.” Davis closed by sharing a personal story, “The fact that I am standing here tonight is a testament to the power of education. Education saved my life. Education matters. And now is the time for all of us to take action — no matter how big or small that action might be.”

Kylie Jenner Visits Smile Train’s Local Programs In Peru

Sep 11, 2017 11:30 am

Kylie Jenner: Profile

As part of her ongoing commitment to helping children with clefts, pop culture phenomenon and entrepreneur Kylie Jenner, creator of Kylie Cosmetics, had the opportunity to visitSmile Train’s local programs in Peru and meet with the organization’s local partner surgeons, cleft patients and their families.

During her journey, Kylie visited Smile Train’s partner hospital, the Delgado Clinic in Lima, as well as the home of a child who had recently received cleft lip surgery. Kylie’s fans and supporters were able to see her visit to Peru firsthand during the seventh episode of her reality show, Life of Kylie, which aired September 10 at 9pm EST on E!

Kylie’s support of Smile Train has been incredibly impactful in a short time. In 2016, she launched a special-edition lip kit in collaboration with the charity — donating 100 percent of the proceeds from the pale pink lipstick (named “Smile”) to Smile Train. Kylie first launched the lip kit on World Smile Day, and then relaunched the kit in January, both times selling out almost instantly. Since beginning her partnership with Smile Train in October 2016, Kylie has donated almost a half a million dollars to provide new smiles to over 1,800 children born with clefts.

“It’s an honor to be part of changing so many children’s futures, I’m excited to continue my relationship with Smile Train and see the difference we make together,” said Jenner.

“We are so impressed with Kylie’s selflessness, huge heart and extremely generous giving spirit and are so excited to have her as a Smile Train Ambassador, helping to generate awareness about our cause,” said Smile Train’s CEO Susannah Schaefer.

To learn more about Smile Train’s partnership with Kylie Jenner and to show your support, donate to smiletrain.org/kylie to help provide 100%-free cleft repair surgeries and comprehensive cleft care to children suffering with untreated clefts around the world.


Idris Elba Partners With A Formerly Illiterate Mom To Tackle Adult Illiteracy

Sep 11, 2017 09:30 am

Idris Elba: Profile

To mark International Literacy Day, the classic children’s character ‘Chicken Little’ is going on a new adventure, with a twist – his story has been re-written by a mother who has spent the last year learning to read and write.

Featuring a foreword from actor and activist, Idris Elba, the new book is written by Wanda Steward from Philadelphia, PA, in partnership with Project Literacy, a global campaign founded by learning company Pearson and made up of over 100 organisations dedicated to ending illiteracy by 2030.

“The Little Chicken Named Pong-Pong” is Wanda’s own original interpretation of the classic fable “Chicken Little”. Illiterate in her early motherhood, Wanda struggled to read bedtime stories to her children when they were young; using her imagination, she made up her own tales to match the illustrations and created a recurring character called “Pong-Pong the Brave”.

Project Literacy partnered with Wanda to take illustrations of Chicken Little, and create a story that is entirely new and her own – to help raise awareness of adult illiteracy, which impacts 32 million Americans today. The new book will be available free online and will even be stocked in Wanda’s local library.

Idris Elba is helping to take Wanda’s story from her imagination to a global audience through contributing a foreword to the book and has filmed a heartfelt bedtime story reading that parents and children alike can enjoy.

“Story time has always been one of the most magical and treasured parts of the day for me to connect with my children, but it’s something that millions of parents across the US who struggle with their reading are missing out on. However, more alarmingly, it means tasks most people take for granted become impossible, from not being able to read the label on a medicine bottle to not being able to vote,” said Idris Elba, a Project Literacy Ambassador. “Sadly, this is an issue that is passed on from generation to generation, a cycle that we want to break. Through sharing Wanda’s inspiring journey, we want to help others understand the importance of investing in adult literacy, which is why we’re encouraging as many people as possible to support us by reading Wanda’s story.”

“By re-writing this story, we want to help rewrite the lives of so many adults who struggle with reading and writing and de-stigmatise the issue of illiteracy through increased awareness,” said Kate James, Project Literacy spokesperson and Chief Corporate Affairs and Global Marketing officer at Pearson.

“Children whose parents have low literacy levels have a 72% chance of being at the lowest reading levels themselves. Globally, funding for literacy programmes is skewed more heavily towards children in primary and secondary school, rather than youth or adult literacy yet we know that there’s no way for us to break the cycle of intergenerational illiteracy if we don’t focus on parents. We need to tackle all levels if we’re to close the global literacy gap in the next decade,” James continued.

For every book downloaded, Pearson will donate $1 to Project Literacy partners who are helping adults learn to read and write. To learn more about how to help break the cycle of illiteracy, click here.


More Stars Added To Hand In Hand Hurricane Relief Telethon

Sep 11, 2017 07:30 am

Anthony Anderson: Profile

Hand in Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Relief has announced additional celebrity participants, corporate partners and plans for expanded relief efforts to include those who may be affected by Hurricane Irma in addition to those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

The one-hour special will air live and commercial free on Tuesday, September 12, 8:00-9:00pmEST on the East Coast and re-air 8:00-9:00pmPST on the West Coast. Hand in Hand will be available in the U.S. on ABC, Bravo, CBSCMT, E!, FOXHBOMTV, MTV2, MTV Live, MTV Classic NBC and Oxygen in addition to live-streaming internationally via Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, AOL, Huffington Post and Yahoo starting at 8:00pmEST during the first broadcast.

The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation generously contributed $5M to the Hand in Hand telethon so all the money raised will go straight to families and communities in need. In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the Dell Foundation recently launched the Rebuild Texas Fund in collaboration with the OneStar Foundation.

Verizon has also partnered with Hand in Hand by providing a $2.5M contribution to the telethon, as well as orchestrating the 2,000+ call center volunteers stationed across the country who will make the telethon possible. In addition to ensuring the donations can be accepted and processed through their call centers, viewers can also have the option to make a $25 donation to the Hand in Hand Hurricane Relief Fund by simply texting “GIVE” to 80077 on their mobile phones.

Comic Relief USA, the non-profit organization behind Red Nose Day and Idol Gives Back, will be responsible for collecting donations in addition to managing and distributing grants through the Hand in Hand Hurricane Relief Fund. Proceeds from the telethon will benefit the Rebuild Texas Fund, Direct Relief, Feeding Texas, Habitat For Humanity, The Mayor’s Fund for Hurricane Harvey Relief (administered by the Greater Houston Community Fund), Save the Children and United Way of Greater Houston with more to be announced if the need expands due to Hurricane Irma.

Hand in Hand will feature appearances, performances, taped tributes and messages from some of the nation’s biggest stars including Anthony Anderson, Bun B, J Balvin, BeyonceJustin BieberConnie BrittonGeorge ClooneyAndy CohenStephen ColbertSean “Diddy” CombsTerry CrewsBilly CrystalEllen DeGeneresRobert De NiroDrakeHilary Duff, Jourdan Dunn, Jimmy FallonJamie FoxxRichard GereTom HanksMarcia Gay HardenFaith HillKate HudsonDwayne JohnsonJoe JonasCatherine Zeta JonesNicole KidmanKarlie KlossMatt LauerJay Leno, Zion & Lennox, Jared LetoEva LongoriaRob LoweMatthew McConaugheyTim McGrawTracy Morgan, Norah O’Donnell, Gerardo Ortiz, Chris PaulTyler PerryDennis QuaidQuestloveJeremy RennerJulia RobertsKelly RowlandAdam SandlerRyan SeacrestBlake SheltonD
avid Spade
Gwen StefaniMichael StrahanGeorge StraitBarbra StreisandSofia VergaraKerry WashingtonChandra WilsonOprah WinfreyRita Wilson and Reese Witherspoon with more to be announced. Strait, a Country Music Hall of Fame member who is leading the country music world in these efforts will perform directly from his benefit concert at San Antonio’s Majestic Theatre.

Digital, text and phone donations will all be accepted. Phone lines will be open at the beginning of the broadcast and close one-hour after the broadcast ends. Text and digital donations will be accepted for several days after the broadcast. For more information, updates and a link to donate, please visit www.HandInHand2017.com.

The Hand in Hand broadcast will be produced by SB Projects and Den of Thieves with Scooter Braun, Bernard ‘Bun B’ Freeman, Allison Kaye, Jesse Ignjatovic and Evan Prager serving as Executive Producers. Additional Executive Producers are Chris Choun, and Lee Lodge with Jordan Brown, Penni Thow and Barb Bialkowski serving as Co-Executive Producers.


Spotlight: Ciara’s Charity Work

Sep 11, 2017 07:00 am


Read more about Ciara’s charity work and events.

Spotlight: The Nature Conservancy’s Celebrity Supporters

Sep 11, 2017 06:00 am
Since 1951, The Nature Conservancy has been using science and partnerships to protect Earth’s most important natural places.

Celebrity supporters

The Nature Conservancy has 12 known supporters, including Alec BaldwinJessica Alba, and Michael Bloomberg

Areas of work

Read more about The Nature Conservancy’s work and celebrity supporters.

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Valerie Milano is the well-connected Senior Editor and Entertainment Critic at TheHollywoodTimes.today, a website that aggregates showbiz news curated for, and written by, insiders of the entertainment industry. (@HwoodTimes @TheHollywood.Times) Milano, whose extraordinary talents for networking in the famously tight-clad enclave of Hollywood have placed her at the center of the industry’s top red carpets and events since 1984, heads daily operations of a uniquely accessible, yet carefully targeted publication. For years, Milano sat on the board and tour coordinator of the Television Critics Association’s press tours. She has written for Communications Daily, Discover Hollywood, Hollywood Today, Television International, and Video Age International, and contributed to countless other magazines and digests. Valerie works closely with the Human Rights Campaign as a distinguished Fed Club Council Member. She also works with GLSEN, GLAAD, Outfest, NCLR, LAMBDA Legal, and DAP Health, in addition to donating both time and finances to high-profile nonprofits. She has been a member of the Los Angeles Press Club for a couple of years and looks forward to the possibility of contributing to the future success of its endeavors. Milano’s passion for meeting people extends from Los Feliz to her favorite getaway, Palm Springs. There, she is a member of the Palm Springs Museum of Art and a prominent Old Las Palmas-area patron.