Wyclef Jean: From A One Room Hut To Top Of The Billboard Charts

Collage of Wyclef Jean

In the illustrious world of entertainment, there are a million rags-to-riches stories that have been told from the perspective of various cultures and nationalities, but in the past 20 years, there has not been a real life saga as riveting as that of international recording artist, producer, actor, philanthropist, and political activist Wyclef Jeanelle Jean. Hailing from the conflict torn nation of Haiti, this son of a preacher rose from the humble origins of living in tin roof houses and having no shoes to becoming a Presidential candidate of his homeland in 2010. His groundbreaking and award-winning career with The Fugees gave Wyclef the platform to become a voice for the voiceless of his native country where he was once one among the millions living in extreme poverty.

Anyone that is familiar with the common living conditions of areas like Croix Des Bouquets, which is on the outskirts of Port Au Prince, knows that Clef comes from what we recognize in America as the “hood.” Even though he was shielded from the allure of the streets by his ultra-religious father, nothing was going to hold him back from his passion and destiny that he saw in the world of entertainment. His love for his craft was so strong that despite the disapproval from dad, he went forward in pursuing his career. This decision costed the father-son Jeans a decade of their relationship, however it was rewarded with Grammys, movie appearances, and a chance at making Haiti a better place to live for citizens of a country that global powers consider the third world.

In 2001 ,Wyclef launched Yele Haiti, a charity organization that provided school funding, scholarships, meals, and other charitable benefits for the people. The organization received its greatest acclaim during the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, in which Clef and Yele Haiti raised over $1 million via Twitter. Yele Haiti, which means “cry for freedom”, donated funding for street cleaning crews, orphanages, hospitals, and food services for survivors of that tragedy. Not long following the earthquake, Clef surprisingly announced that he would be running for President of Haiti. Even though his bid for candidacy was rejected, Jean still continued to financially and symbolically support his people because he knows that without his guitar and a little luck, he very well may have been in the same position they’re in.

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Kandi Burruss Comes To YouTube

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YouTube has become a mecca for everything we want to learn, laugh, or get lost in. If you’ve never heard of the Alchemy Network, chances are, you’ve watched a video in their network, or you might even be a subscriber. If your hair is natural, I’m sure you’ve watched a video or two on Naptural85′s channel to learn how to twist a quick up-do or Hey Fran Hey to concoct the perfect conditioner.

MUST READ: Lala: “Women At Times, We Tend To Be Super, Super Emotional” [EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW]

To continue on their trend of bringing new ideas and innovative concepts to viewers, they have partnered with Bunim/Murray Productions, famously of “The Real World” and “Keeping Up With the Kardashians”. Xochil Arkin of Alchemy talks with HelloBeautiful and lets us know of what’s more to come from the network.

HelloBeautiful: What is the Alchemy Network?

Arkin: We are currently a network focused on the build out of digital programming, and that’s really just the beginning. Programming has focused on very particular micro-niches. We believe online is really about the communities. People with true passion and interests

MUST SEE: The Awkward Black Girl Interviews Herself: “B*tches Be Biting” [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO]

Alchemy is mainly focused on the 18-34 demographic, but with a new channel opening up on their network, they have a special focus on African American women from 24-54. “It’s a market I’m excited about,” said Arkin. “African American women between the ages of 24 and 54 are absolutely underserved online — in particular around hair and beauty.”

“When women talk about hair and beauty or want to find out more about whatever has to do with style or trends, it’s really not so much necessarily about that, but it’s a way about connecting,” she said. “We want to create content that will be that way.”

So next on their plate is their new channel, FWD, which is for women, and also growing the content of one of their current channels, Kaleidoscope, which is about juicy celebrity gossip.

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HB: How is this a game changer for Internet content distribution?

Arkin: It’s about collaboration. It’s about building a network that will stand alone and work together, looking to create a foundation and looking to create a collaborative network that will allow everyone to win.

HB: How will this help new aspiring content makers?

Arkin: We will help them create a fan base and communicate with them by creating the underlying architecture and [coach them] behind the scenes.

Although Alchemy has almost 30 channels within their network, they work especially closely with Kaleidoscope and provide them with facilities to produce their own shows.

They are also launching a premium network with Kandi Burruss of “Real Housewives of Atlanta“, which they are excited about. “She’s exactly the kind of woman we want to take on,” said Arkin. “She’s collaborative and really independent. What she’s built is so amazing.”

We look forward to what Alchemy has to bring this year.

For more information on Alchemy, visit here.

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Paralyzed Motocross Racer Learns To Ride Again [VIDEO]

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This has to be one of the most inspirational videos I’ve seen. It just goes to show you that if you get knocked down in life at any point, there should be no excuse not to get back up.

Darius Glover first started riding bikes when he was 7-years-old; he would race. When he was 15, he injured himself so badly he was told that he would never be able to race again, let alone walk. He was paralyzed from the waist down.

That didn’t stop him. He found his way back to racing in the most unconventional way. Take a look at his video below. Be inspired!

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What did you think of his story? Do you have any trials you have gotten through?

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Top Moments In Black History: Eric Holder Becomes 1st Black Attorney General

Eric Holder Attorney General

This Black History Month, NewsOne takes a look back at the top African-American moments from 2000 to 2012. Some will make you happy while others will undoubtedly make you angry and/or sad. Either way, here’s to the last 12 years of our living history. Enjoy!

Moment: Eric Holder Becomes First African-American Attorney General

With the arrival of President Barack Obama in the White House in 2009, many were newly appointed to fill the top positions for the incoming President’s Cabinet. The Administration immediately made waves with the nomination of New York-native Eric Holder, a former judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. After being approved by a large margin by the Senate Judicary Committee, Holder officially took office on Feb. 2, 2009.  

SEE ALSO: Top Moments In Black History: Bob Johnson Becomes 1st African-American Billionaire

Holder has been especially vital in the war on terrorism and is a known advocate of civil rights, especially protecting the sanctity of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Holder’s office also played a huge role in combating voter disfranchisement with the purposefully confusing Voter ID laws that nearly derailed the electoral process last year. The Attorney General’s time in office has been marked by both triumph and mild controversies, such as the botched “Fast And Furious” operation in Mexico that he was cleared of.

Watch Holder get confirmed as Attorney General here:

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SEE ALSO: Top Moments In Black History: Disney Introduces 1st African-American Princess

Top Moments In Black History: Bob Johnson Becomes 1st African-American Billionaire

bob johnson billionaire

This Black History Month, NewsOne takes a look back at the top African-American moments from 2000 to 2012. Some will make you happy while others will undoubtedly make you angry and/or sad. Either way, here’s to the last 12 years of our living history. Enjoy!

Moment: Bob Johnson Becomes First  African-American Billionaire

Bob Johnson, founder and former chairman and executive chief officer of Black Entertainment Television (BET), is noted as the first African-American billionaire. Johnson built the BET network and brand with ex-wife, Shelia Johnson, and then later took the company public.

After buying back all of the publicly traded stock, Johnson sold BET to Viacom for $3 billion. The move landed Johnson in “Forbes” magazine as the first Black American to be listed as one of the world’s top earners.

Another of Johnson’s many business achievements is becoming the first principal owner of a North American major-league sports franchise. The Charlotte Bobcats and its WNBA counterpart, the Sting, were owned primarily by Johnson’s investment group, which included former NBA superstar Michael Jordan. Johnson continues to make waves in the business world with his RLJ Companies brand and media investments.

SEE ALSO: Top Moments In Black History: Disney Introduces 1st African-American Princess

#OurMoments: Los Angeles Lakers Reestablish Dynasty In 21st-Century

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Although the Los Angeles Lakers are struggling right now in the stacked NBA Western Conference, the team owned the early part of the century. Anchored by now-retired center Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant, the Lakers rattled off three straight championship wins through 2000-2002 under the guiding eyes of Coach Phil Jackson. Don’t know if that’ll be happening again anytime soon, though.

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#OurMoments: Beyoncé Becomes 1st Non-Model To Cover SI Swimsuit Issue

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Moment: Beyoncé First Non-Athlete/Model To Cover Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition

Let’s face it, Beyoncé is drop dead gorgeous and her formidable beauty isn’t just recognized in the world of music either. Back in 2007, “Sports Illustrated” did themselves and the world a favor by placing the curvy Houston beauty smack dab on the front of the cover. Although Tyra Banks will always have the distinction of being the first African-American woman to land the coveted SI spot, nobody can front on the fact that Queen B turned heads with this one.

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Top Moments In Black History: Disney Introduces 1st African-American Princess

Princess and the Frog

This Black History Month, NewsOne takes a look back at the top African-American moments from 2000 to 2012. Some will make you happy while others will undoubtedly make you angry and/or sad. Either way, here’s to the last 12 years of our living history. Enjoy!

 Moment: Disney Introduces First African-American Princess Character

The 2009 Disney film “The Princess and the Frog” is loosely based on the 2002 novel from E.D. Baker, “The Frog Princess.” The romantic fairy-tale was especially groundbreaking considering it was the first time Disney introduced an African-American princess. Voiced by Anika Noni Rose, “Tiana’s plucky character and the film’s New Orleans backdrop gave the typical tale with an original twist. In 2011, Anika Noni Rose was awarded a Disney Legends award for voicing the role of “Tiana.”

Watch a clip from “The Princess” here:

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Jay-Z Headlines Carnegie Hall Benefit Concert

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With his suit and tie on, Jay-Z got out his seat and stepped foot on the stage at Carnegie Hall. Hov performed on stage with the Illadelphonics, the Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra, Bilal and ?uestlove and brought out special guests like, Nas and Alicia Keys. Ticketholders paid a hefty fee to see Brooklyn’s finest, as the concert benefited the United Way of New York and the Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation.

It was a huge moment for hip-hop because not many rappers have performed there. Moreover, Hov made it a special moment for himself as he performed “Glory” for the first time. The NYC crowd was accepting of the then new song about his daughter, as well as hits such as “99 Problems”, “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)”, and “Public Service Announcement”. One thing about music is that it can bring people from all walks of life together, and it will make those people feel the same emotion that the artist is giving. As Jay stated, “All those lines that divide us… we gonna step on them.”

(Photo via USA Today)

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Top Moments In Black History: Serena Williams Reclaims No. 1 Women’s Tennis World Rank

Serena Williams no 1

This Black History Month, NewsOne takes a look back at the top African-American moments from 2000 to 2012. Some will make you happy while others will undoubtedly make you angry and/or sad. Either way, here’s to the last 12 years of our living history. Enjoy!

Moment: Serena Williams Sets Record After Reclaiming No. 1 Women’s Tennis World Rank

SEE ALSO: Top Moments In Black History: MLK Memorial Opens In Washington D.C.

In the storied career of Serena Williams, the tennis star has been a dominant player on the world stage for 15 years. At an age where many of her contemporaries have retired or have had their physical gifts fade, Williams has seemingly shifted in to a new gear. This was marked most notably by Williams becoming the oldest No. 1 ranked Women’s tennis player last week. The feat is especially remarkable considering Williams won her first major (U.S. Open) title as a teenager in 1999.

This isn’t the Compton native’s first time atop the ranks; this marks Williams’ sixth No. 1 ranking after first achieving the goal at age 20 in 2002. Another key fact: three African Americans are in the world’s top 25 ranking, with elder sister Venus ranked at No. 21 and rising 20-year-old Sloane Stephens at No. 16.

SEE ALSO: Top Moments In Black History: President Barack Obama Wins Re-Election

2013 Oscars: What To Watch For On The Big Night

oscars 2013

This Sunday, the 2013 Oscars will grace our television sets, honoring Hollywood heavyweights, such as Daniel Day-Lewis and Naomi Watts. But if you are wondering who are some of the Black film stars who could be bringing home an Oscar, NewsOne‘s got you covered with an African-American Oscar nominee list for this year’s show.

RELATED: Ouch! Spike Lee: “The Oscars Don’t Matter”

oscar nominations 2013 beasts of the southern wildBest Picture:

“Beasts Of The Southern Wild,” starring Quvenzhane Wallis

“Django Unchained,” starring Jamie Foxx

Actor in a Leading Role:

Denzel Washington in “Flight”

Actress in a Leading Role:

Quvenzhane Wallis in “Beasts of the Southern Wild”

Watch the “Beasts” trailer here:

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Cinematography:

“Django Unchained”

Watch the “Django” trailer here:

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Directing:

“Beasts Of The Southern Wild”

Writing-Adapted Screenplay:

“Beasts of the Southern Wild”

oscar nominations 2013 flight

Writing-Original Screenplay:

“Django Unchained”

“Flight”

Watch the “Flight” trailer here:

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Sound off!


Sound off!

RELATED: 10 Biggest Black Snubs At The Oscars

#OurMoments: Gabrielle Union On The Impact Of The Violence Against Women Act

domestic-violence The Violence Against Women Act is a federal law that will provide investigation and prosecution of violent crimes against women, impose automatic and mandatory restitution on those convicted, and allow civil redress in cases prosecutors chose to leave unprosecuted–that is, when it is finally passed.

BET Honors 2013 - ArrivalsGabrielle Union:Unfortunately, the most impactful moment for women in the last time years, to me was the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Unfortunately, we’re stalling right now, and the fact that our GOP-led Congress is not reauthorizing VAWA is criminal. It’s all fun and games until it happens to your momma, your sister, your wife, your daughter. To have such bipartisan support for VAWA in the last 10 years and haven’t reauthorized, the highest moment meets the lowest. Sexual assault doesn’t know party lines. Nobody cares. So hopefully, our brightest moment will be the galvanizing moment to reauthorize VAWA.”

Since its inception in 1994, the VAWA has been through ups and downs on the road to being passed. While the Congress and the Senate voted it through, the federal court rejected it. The act was then reauthorized twice–once in 2000 and again in 2005. In 2011, the law expired. By 2012, the Senate voted to reauthorize the act, but the House wanted to it its own thing by omitting provisions of the Senate’s bill that would protect gay men, lesbians, American Indians living in reservations and unauthorized immigrants who were victims of domestic violence. So now there are two bills–on House and one Senate–and the authorization of those are still unclear. As of now, The Senate passed an extension of the VAWA. We’re getting closer, but like Gabrielle said, we’re stalling.

These are the programs and services the law provides:

  • Federal rape shield law
  • Community violence prevention programs
  • Protections for female victims who are evicted from their homes because of events related to domestic violence or stalking
  • Funding for victim assistance services, like rape crisis centers and hotlines
  • Programs to meet the needs of immigrant women and women of different races or ethnicities
  • Programs and services for female victims with disabilities
  • Legal aid for female survivors of violence

Follow HelloBeautiful On Twitter!

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Top Moments In Black History: MLK Memorial Opens In Washington D.C.

King Memorial DC

This Black History Month, NewsOne takes a look back at the top African-American moments from 2000 to 2012. Some will make you happy while others will undoubtedly make you angry and/or sad. Either way, here’s to the last 12 years of our living history. Enjoy!

Moment: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Opens In 2011

SEE ALSO: Top Moments In Black History: Shani Davis First Black Athlete To Win Winter Games Gold

Of the many massive structures that grace Washington’s National Mall, the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial stands apart by way of its significance in marking the strides made since the dawn of the Civil Rights Movement.  Majestic, soul-stirring, and largely pristine, the memorial opened to the public on August 22, 2011, after decades of planning and fund-raising. Located at 1964 Independence Avenue, S.W., the address is connected to the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Although King isn’t the first African American to be honored with a memorial, he is the first Black person to have one featured on or near the National Mall.

See the Dr. King Memorial here:

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SEE ALSO: Top Moments In Black History: President Barack Obama Wins Re-Election

#OurMoments: Venus & Serena Williams Dominate Top Spots In Tennis

venus-serena-williamsOften imitated never duplicated, Venus and Serena Williams are the tennis phenoms that no other player could ever be. The Williams Sisters grew up in Compton, but their parents, especially their father, Richard Williams made sure that they didn’t become a product of their environment.

Richard, who ran a private security firm, got hooked on the game by watching televised tournaments and told his wife that he would make tennis stars out of his daughters. His older daughters didn’t show much aptitude for the game, but Venus and Serena took to the game instantly.

Must Read: #OurMoments: Mikki Taylor On Black Women Entrepreneurs Changing The Face Of Business

Venus and Serena would play tatty rackets and dud balls against a wall for six hours a day on a run-down court as their father shouted instructions from a tennis manual. Both sisters began competing before they were five and it wasn’t long before they were getting invitations to national training camps and we’ve watched the rest play out in front of our own eyes.

They’re not the first African-American women to play tennis, but they were the boldest and often noted for their fashion choices ranging from cornrows and beads to colorful skimpy skirts, and they made tennis look cool in the hood–and even in Africa–inspiring other young black girls to try their hand at the game.

Venus, however did become the first African-American woman in the era of open tennis to be ranked the world’s No. 1 singles player. And in general both women have been highly ranked players for years.

In addition to building a tennis empire, the sisters have also dabbled in fashion, nail polish and acting and still show no signs of slowing down on the court.

In 2011, Venus was diagnosed with Sjorgen’s Syndrome, an autoimmune disease, which has affected her tennis ability but she’s still playing despite her recent elimination in the 2013 Australian Open. Meanwhile, Serena Williams returned to the top of women’s tennis earlier this month, overcoming a series of potentially career-ending injuries since 2010 to become the oldest woman to hold the No. 1 ranking.

Follow HelloBeautiful On Twitter!

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#OurMoments: Mikki Taylor On Black Women Entrepreneurs Changing The Face Of Business

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With inspirational women like Cathy Hughes, Oprah and Iman to look up to, Black women entrepreneurs don’t have the mental block of uncharted territory to hold us back. We now can look to these trailblazers as motivators to reach our full potential.

Mikki Taylor BET Networks Host Inaugural Ball - ArrivalsMikki Taylor: “There are several important moments that pertain to women in black history. First of all, look at the stats on us for the past decade and there are over 900,000 African-American female entrepreneurs and that says a lot about us as a power seed. It says a lot about us owning our lives, and being the change that we want to see. So more than anything that’s the figure, and that’s the stat that stands out in my mind. Certainly Barack Obama is another greatest impact of the last decade for women of color. He is for women. He is about change for women. He is beyond the expression of “breaking the glass seal.” He really is about us mastering our purpose with distinction, and he, with his Administration, are determining to do everything they can to see that we succeed on their watch. So we are looking forward to the next four years to be even more empowering than the first four! So those are my standouts.”

Sure, Oprah is the obvious choice to highlight when talking about Black women business leaders. Lucky for us, we have more strong examples of Black women who have rocked the business world to its core.

Rosalind Brewer has made history for being the first African-American woman to hold a CEO position at one of Wal-Mart’s business units. Then of course, there’s Ursula Burns, who’s meteoric rise from intern to CEO of Xerox, allows many of us to dream bigger than we ever thought possible. It’s one thing to be a boss in business, but it’s quite another extraordinary thing to start your own and thrive! Black women like Iman, Tyra Banks, Janice Bryant Howroyd, Cathy Hughes and more boast bold business ideas that led to success. Black women, believe you can do anything and you can!

Check out this gallery of beautiful Black women entrepreneurs.

Follow HelloBeautiful On Twitter!

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Top Moments In Black History: President Barack Obama Wins Re-Election

Barack Obama wins

This Black History Month, NewsOne takes a look back at the top African-American moments from 2000 to 2012. Some will make you happy while others will undoubtedly make you angry and/or sad. Either way, here’s to the last 12 years of our living history. Enjoy!

Moment: The Re-election Of President Barack Obama

The re-election campaign of President Barack Obama was not an easy ride. With a seemingly passive message and facing increasingly combative Republicans looking to undermine his rule, it appeared that Obama had lost his edge. Mitt Romney, who by many measures ran a smarter campaign at times, looked to be surging in the polls and had many Democrats and those on the left concerned that the dream was over. After a weak showing in the first presidential debates prior to the 2012 November general election vote, Obama came alive and used his superior oratory and debate skills over the ham-handed jabs of Romney.

It wasn’t until the official confirmation of the win that Obama supporters breathed a sigh of relief. Romney, as expected, balked at the numbers after conceding, but it was clear America did not want the flip-flopping former Massachusetts governor in the White House. Although analysts feared that Obama would be a lame-duck President, he has shown a desire to stick to his lofty and ambitious goals. The Inauguration in January of this year was full of the necessary pomp, but time will tell if the country is unified under the progressive, populist stances of Obama and his administration.

Watch the President win re-election here:

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