Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Wife Create Fund To Fight Homelessness

Named the richest man in modern history, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie recently launched the $2 Billion “Bezos Day One Fund” to help combat homelessness, and assistance with early childhood education. In a statement Bezos tweeted on Thursday September 13th, he stated that the fund will issue annual leadership awards to organizations “doing compassionate, needle-moving work to provide shelter and hunger support to address the immediate needs of young families. There will also be full scholarships for Montessori-inspired preschools in “underserved” communities.”

Charitable giving and fighting homelessness is nothing new for Jeff Bezos and the Amazon company. Earlier this year, The Washington Post owner partnered Amazon with Mary’s Place, a Seattle nonprofit, to build a permanent homeless shelter in its headquarters. Amazon customers have been able to order items from the Mary’s Place’s wishlist on the site, since 2016. They also previously helped the nonprofit temporarily house 200 homeless people.

The Bezos family also recently donated $10 million to With Honor, which is a nonpartisan organization focused on boosting the number of veterans in politics. The couple donated one third of the organizations $30 million funding goal, to help elect a minimum of 30 American military veterans in November.

 

 

Why Married To Medicine Star and Entrepreneur Genise Shelton Is Dedicated To Living a Healthy Life: Her Story

Written by Genise Shelton

I’d like to begin by telling you a story. About eighteen years ago, an African American woman in Chicago was living the somewhat typical life of an American married woman.  Some would say that she was living the American dream.  She and her husband owned their own home.  His income was sufficient to take care of the family so she didn’t have to work outside of the home.

She was a homemaker and she was good at it. Taking care of her husband and children was her full-time job and she put everything she had into it.  Her oldest daughter was away at college.  The four youngest were at home, including a one-year old.  The woman’s days were long and filled with all the duties that are required of a wife and mother…dozens of loads of laundry each week, changing diapers, running errands, caring for her husband, cooking meals, cleaning, checking homework etc. In addition to these duties, the woman had to look after her mother. Although her mother lived in her own home, she required some help due to an illness. But overall, life was pretty good for the woman, until 2003.  That’s when everything began to change.

In February, the woman’s brother died of a stroke.  In August, her mother passed away and in September her husband left her for another woman all in the same year.  After her mother’s death, the woman moved herself and her children into her mom’s home, while her husband and mistress took over the family home.

In addition to fulfilling all the duties required of her, she had to find a way to put food on the table now.  She had to go to work. This was especially difficult since she possessed very few marketable skills and little-to-no job training.  Eventually, she found work at UPS during the night shift.  She had no choice but to leave her baby at home with her other children because she simply couldn’t afford daycare.

The job only paid $9 an hour and obviously wasn’t enough to take care of her four children.  The financial pressure was too much for her to bear, so her oldest daughter began to send money home to help with bills and food.  Her daughter also drove her car to Chicago and left it with her mother to make it easier for her to get to work. During this transition, the mother was under a great deal of stress and worry…not just because she was working a low paying job and caring for the kids.  She also had to begin caring for her aunt, who was childless and had developed a serious illness.

And just as it is with many mothers, this woman was so consumed with taking care of her family that she failed to take care of her own needs. After all, that’s what most mothers do…. especially African American woman.  She was in survival mode and didn’t have the energy or the wherewithal to do anything other than to make sure that she took care of her responsibility to others. Unfortunately, the woman’s choice to neglect her health had far reaching consequences that she never expected.

One day in 2006, while talking to her oldest daughter on the telephone, her speech began to slur and she became confused.  The daughter became alarmed and insisted that her mother call 911. By the time the mother was taken to the emergency room, she had suffered a major stroke and a huge pulmonary embolism.  Her condition was so dire, she spent several months in the hospital.  The effects of the stroke left her partially paralyzed, very weak on the right side and unable to walk.  At the age of just 48 years old, this woman no longer was a caregiver. Instead, she became the one who had to be cared for. This story is very tragic, but it is more than that to me. It is personal.  You see, the woman that had the stroke is my mother and I was the daughter who was away at college.

These devastating life altering events led to my passion of health and fitness.  I began to educate myself and found that my own risk factors for obesity, high blood pressure and stroke are very high.  As I thought about my family members; my mother, father, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins…all are obese!

I had seen what high blood pressure could do to a person.  After all, my mother had never been treated for it because she refused to go to the doctor. And since she didn’t go to the doctor, her condition went undetected. High blood pressure caused my mother’s stroke.

I also saw what havoc obesity could wreck on an individual.  My youngest brother was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure at the age of 12.  My mother refused to curb his overeating habits due to her misguided guilt over the dissolution of her marriage and her now disability.  She didn’t understand that she was not helping my brother by refusing to insist upon a healthy lifestyle.

I was determined to change this generational curse of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and strokes that haunted my family. I began to read everything I could about living a healthy lifestyle.  I began to eliminate various foods from my family’s diet and incorporate those foods that promoted health. We hired a personal trainer and he began pushing us to meet our goals of fitness.  Most weeks, I worked out 3 to 4 times a week.  However, my goals quickly changed when I saw my trainer’s girlfriend, who was a figure fitness competitor. When I saw her, I made a promise to myself that I was going to look just like her one day.

From that point, I began to train to be a competitor.  Working out went from 3 or 4 times a week to 6 to 7 days a week.  Instead of working out for an hour, my workouts were at least 2 hrs. Since I was small, my regimen was primarily weight lifting, hit cardio, and a strict diet. I placed second in my first all natural fitness competition.  I won 1stplace and overall in my 2ndfitness competition, which promoted me to professional status where I received my pro card as a Pro Bikini Fitness Competitor!

So when I walk that stage competing, winning a trophy isn’t the most important thing for me…what’s most important, is the commitment, discipline and determination that my kids see in me to live a healthier lifestyle in return a long fulfilling life. My prayer is that through competing I can break my generational curse for the future of my children’s children and their children.

For those who do not know my story, I have a blended family. My husband’s former wife died from a rare cancer and left behind three small children. I told my husband that I was dedicated to making sure that we were healthy so that, if possible, our children didn’t have to suffer through losing another parent to illness. I hope that my story inspires you to become a better and healthier you!

Genise N. Shelton

Beyoncé and Jay-Z OTRII Tour Earns $150M So Far, Paves Way for Further Education Access

Written By Aysha Chaudhry

There is no stopping Bey and Jay nowadays! The On The Run II Tour has officially surpassed $150 million in revenue, and there is still almost half of the tour to go. If they earn another $100 million, which looks easily feasible, the hip-hop power couple will have the highest-grossing tour worldwide so far this year.

In addition to that, Beyoncé and Jay-Z have pledged $1.1 million in total in scholarships to split among 11 senior high school students, each picked from a city from the OTR tour. This is not the first donation these two have given, and certainly not even the first scholarship donation. After her historic Coachella performance in April, Beyoncé donated $25,000 each to 4 students at HBCUs, totalling over $100k in scholarship money.

The Carters have not only solidified a place in the history books for themselves and their family as one of the richest and most powerful families ever, but they continue to provide others with the tools and resources they need to succeed as well.

Angela Yee Is Helping Side Hustlers Turn Their Dreams Into Reality

Entrepreneur and The Breakfast Club co-host Angela Yee is teaming up with AMP Energy Organic for the “Ultimate Side Hustlers” nationwide contest.

The Juices for Life co-owner will give contest finalists the chance to showcase their unique side hustles live at Power 105.1’s Powerhouse NYC 2018 this October. “When you want something bad enough you need to put in the work and keep going until you make it happen,” Angela Yee stated. “I’m excited to hear from people who are getting home from work and turning around to put the same amount of energy into their passion project. It’s also why I’m excited to partner with AMP ENERGY® Organic, which gives me a boost of energy with only five simple, organic ingredients, to help show how the hustle pays off.”

“Everyone wants to get more out of life, but few are willing to go the extra mile. AMP ENERGY Organic respects the hustle and knows that sometimes you just need an extra boost to stay unstoppable. We’re looking for the afterhours moguls and on-the-side creatives who are doing whatever it takes to turn their dreams into reality. We know these unsung entrepreneurs are out there and we can’t wait to help share their stories,” said Justin Schwarz, Marketing Director, Flavors and Energy.

The contest will kick off August 27th-September 16th, 2018, with a national call for entries in the categories of food, fashion, beauty, art, or music. Online submissions will be evaluated by the AMP ENERGY Organic team and Angela Yee. 

For more information about the contest visit http://www.power1051fm.com/AMPEnergyOrganic

Comedian and Radio Personality “GRIFF” Proves that You Can Still Be Spiritual and Funny At The Same Time

Interviewed by Tianna Sheree

How did you get started in comedy?

I wanted to be a comedian since I was 3 years old and I never had a backup plan. I’m 46 and I’ve been doing comedy for 23 years. I count it because I always remind myself of the journey and not the destination. My mom worked at a Convalescent Home when I was a kid, and she would put the people in a half circle in their entertainment rooms at the facility and she would just let me do whatever I wanted and I really didn’t have a real set. I was probably just making faces, dancing around and spinning, but in my mind I was the best.

It seems like you had a plan and always knew what you wanted to be huh?

Yea I wouldn’t know any other way.  I was a kid from LA, surrounded by gangs and stuff and being funny as a kid was kind of unheard of. I had a teacher very early tell me “So you want to be a comedian,” and I said “no I don’t want to be a comedian, I am going to be a comedian”. She said” if you are going to be a comedian then you need to read these books”. She introduced me to Dr. Seuss, Mark Twain, and Michelle Silverstein and I learned very early in my life that to just be a comedian is not about being funny, but it’s also about being smart.   So, I kind of pride myself on almost being a sociologist and understanding the norms of different people.

 

How do you cohesively mix being a Christian and comedian, and how do you deal with the critics?

My whole thing is I’m not a Christian comedian, I’m a comedian that loves Christ. If I call myself a Christian comedian then it takes away from me and puts me in a box.

 Amen. I think a lot of us need to understand that we are a combination of many things correct?

Yes, but we are human beings first. We’re never going to get there. No human, no Christian, or no person in a religion gets to the end until you die.   It’s a constant battle. It’s an everyday being better than I was yesterday and everyday testing and not thinking about the one you failed yesterday.  It’s waking up with great expectations and trusting God to head my life.  You know comedy is a very single thing. It’s nobody else out here but me. I’m not on a team, I’m not in a band. I never wanted to be in a group. You know doing comedy it’s just me against everyone, so I learned to trust God above everything.  You have to understand that in 23 years, only a couple of times have I known where my income comes from.  Other than that, in those times, you just wing it.  Other than that I just trust God that if he gifted me with this, then HE would have to provide. I’ve never chased money and you can’t just dangle money in front of me. I don’t want anything from money.

 

How was it being the first American to tape Comedy Central Africa?

It actually wasn’t a big deal to me and my team, because I’m always the first to do something. I’m always a trailblazer and I’ve never followed the path of other people. I’ve trusted my own path and I’ve always become the first.

I listen to your show every morning! Can you please tell us about “Get Up Mornings with Erica Campbell”

“Get Up Mornings with Erica Campbell,” what a blessing. We celebrated 2 years on May 10th and when I tell you my life has been changed in these past 2 years, it’s crazy.  In November 2013, I heard the Lord tell me, just as clear as I’m talking to you that 2016 would by my year of abundance. It would be my year that everything that I worked on would come into fruition, and HE would bless me in a way that I have never seen in my entire life. But I’m so human that instead of being thankful and rejoicing, I was like “What about 2014?” You telling me something that’s really no help right now Jesus(laughs).  When that year came, you know January 1st, I just realized and believed in my soul that between now and December 31st at 11:59pm, that the Lord was going to bless me in a way that I wouldn’t understand. I wasn’t going to let the enemy bother me at all. On April 20th I pretty much had the worst year of my life. My wife and I started the process of divorce, and I never in a thousand thoughts would have imagined that I would lose my family, in a year that was claimed by God.

 

Eventually I got a phone call from someone that I had met many years ago and he said that there was a position opening and he would let me know what was happening shortly. But the crazy thing is that the man that called me was like GRIFF, we really picked you because you’ve been on radio before and we really think you would be a good fit for this person. He remembered me from doing something I did back in 2006, and I hadn’t talked to this man in ten years. It really just makes me think that the seeds that God sows now, aren’t for now, they’re for way later. You always have to be nice to people. You always have to be thankful and grateful. It’s so crazy because every time I would see Erica I would always say “Hey let me get on one of your interludes on one of your albums. Let me do something crazy!” Erica would always say “Man let’s talk about it.” Everything pays off you know, I can’t even say enough. This is truly the first time in my career that I’ve had real management, and God has truly put me around some great people.

 

What advice do you have for upcoming comedians, that might help them along their journey?

I wanted to be a comedian for so long that you now, in 1997, Monique’s comedy club in Baltimore, Maryland was the first comedy club that payed me. I got $300 from doing about 6-8 shows, and I had been doing comedy for 2 years and that was the first time I had gotten paid. And on that night, I became a comedian. After becoming a comedian, the very next night, I became a radio personality, and then time after that I became sports recorder of the year. Point being, I’m a creator, and when you are a creative you have a responsibility for the things that you say. You really have to dig within and find out what you’re doing it for. I never did it for the money. I’ve always did it for the responsibility that I have as a human being.

Grammy Nominated R&B Legend, Chante’ Moore Releases New EP, “1 Of 4”

VEU: Let’s get into your EP 1 OUT OF 4. Tell us about that

CM:It’s out right now! They can download it right now via Instagram, Twitter, Spotify, Apple Music, and all the places that you can stream music, you can find it right now.

VEU: The first single from the album is called “One Love.” Can you tell us about the inspiration behind that song?

CM: It’s about love and relationships and getting along with the one you’re in love with, and getting in sync. Being able to go through the good times and bad, being friends and lovers, all of those things is what “One Love” is about.

VEU: It reminds me of your “Chante’s Got a Man” song, off your “This Moment is Mine” album. It’s one of the songs that I think a lot of us young women have held on to about how to treat a man in a relationship. Do you still hold truth to some of those things?

CM: Absolutely. I believe in loving and giving the best you can. Whenever you are in love, love should show on the outside as well as the inside. You can’t say “I love you,” but I ain’t doing this, or not doing that. Love is an action word. So get out there and show the person you love that you love them, because if you don’t someone else will.

VEU: You are releasing this project on your own label correct?

CM: Yes maam. CM7 records, this is my third release off of that, I have “The Rise of the Phoenix” which released last September, and then my Christmas album was in December of last year and now “1 of 4” which is the first of the other four releases.

VEU: How does it feel taking charge and being in charge of your own label?

CM: Well you know control is a good thing, but it’s also about taking responsibility, just like being a parent. You know it’s a wonderful thing to give birth to something, but then you have to take care of it, and it’s your responsibility to nurture and feed it, and to help it grow. That’s what I’m doing now, is learning exactly how to do that, and doing the best that I can so that my music can be released to the world, you know, and if they don’t get a chance to hear it, then it’s on me. So, I love the responsibility, however it’s a lot of it, it’s heavy, but it’s good work.

VEU:  If you could leave one thing behind and have people remember you for besides your music, what would it be?

CM: That I’m grateful. I’m grateful to be here. I’m grateful to love and do music for a living. I’m grateful that I’ve had the lengthy opportunity and career that I’ve had for over 20 something years now. It’s been something that’s wonderful, it’s been a wonderful journey. I don’t know about thing, because it’s more than one (laughs). I love the Lord and that’s a wonderful thing. I love that he afforded me the ability to sing for a living, for the world, that I’ve been able to travel. For every song that’s come out of my throat, every time that I’ve been able to get up and sing and fulfill my obligation.

VEU: It’s interesting you brought up the Lord. I know that your parents were both in the ministry, and so were mine. Was it a challenge coming out and working with artists like R. Kelly, and The Isley Brothers, coming from such a religious background?

CM: No, I’m responsible for what I sing, and they both are people that come from religious backgrounds as well. Most people into R&B come from the church, and I know one thing for me that I’ve learned from coming from the church, is singing what I believe. The things that I sing, that come out of my mouth those are the things that I believe in, and their real opportunities and real things that have happened to me, I think that’s what it’s about. I think that’s what it’s about, singing with conviction and being able to invite people in.

VEU: It’s been a pleasure interviewing you. Is there anything else that you would like to add, or want people to know about you?

CM: No, just “1of 4”, keep looking for the next three, which will be out intermittently throughout the 4 quarters of this year

Actress, Writer and Producer Terri J. Vaughn Covers VEU Magazine

Actress, Writer and Producer Terri J. Vaughn covers the May/June 2018 issue of VEU Magazine. Interviewed by Tianna Maxon, Mrs. Vaughn shared with us how she broke into the entertainment industry many years ago, landing her long term role on the “Steve Harvey Show,” starting her own production company, new podcast show, and more. She also shared with us one of the secrets to maintaining longevity in this industry.

Also featured in this issue is upcoming Chicago rapper King Jak, custom men’s wedding suit designer Miguel Wilson, former TV star turned entrepreneur LaTangela Newsome, Colour U Cosmetics founder Karen Stallings, and more. You can also find articles on the latest fashion trends, utilizing the universe to improve your life, and incorporating Moringa into your diet.

Click here to read more from this issue. Digital and print copies are both available.

Beyonce’ Announces Donation to HBCUs One Day After Historic Coachella Performance

Written By Aysha Chaudhry

Beyoncé didn’t even let the dust settle from her historical Coachella performance before announcing she will be giving $100,000 to four black colleges.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, Beyoncé made history as being the first black woman to headline Coachella. During her two hour-long set, she brought out her sister Solange, Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland to perform hits from the Destiny’s Child years, and even Jay-Z. She also honored HBCU culture and step culture with some of her acts, but she didn’t stop at just paying homage through performances.

On Monday, the singer announced she will donate six figures in scholarships through her Homecoming Scholars Awards Program. The four lucky HBCUs are Xavier, Wilberforce, Tuskegee and Bethune-Cookman.

A portion of the press release from the singer’s website stated:

“One winner from each school will receive $25K for the 2018-2019 academic year for study in various fields. This is the second year for a scholars program created by Beyoncé.

The Formation Scholars Awards Program, a merit scholarship program was established in April 2017 in celebration of the one-year anniversary of LEMONADE, Beyoncé’s critically-acclaimed and globally-lauded 2016 visual album. The Formation Scholars awards encouraged and supported young women who are bold, creative, conscious, confident and unafraid to think outside of the box. The Homecoming Scholars Award Program for 2018-2019 will expand to all qualifying students at the four universities, regardless of gender. The disciplines will include literature, creative arts, African- American studies, science, education, business, communications, social sciences, computer science and engineering. All applicants must maintain a 3.5 GPA or above. All finalists and winners will be selected by the universities. Winners will be announced this summer.”

How the Royal Wedding Will Benefit The Less Fortunate

Written by Aysha Chaudhry

You don’t have to be tuned in to all-things Royal Family to know Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s engagement is historical for many reasons. But one company is ensuring that this wedding will also be benefitting the Windsor city homeless, who are often displaced during such royal events. For Richer, For Poorer is the non-profit brand behind the genius idea of creating beautiful memorabilia to commemorate the newest royal couple, with funds from each sale going to purchase toiletries and other useful items for the homeless. Then there are higher-priced items, like the Commemorative Plate (£5,000), that will provide the funds with just one sale to take someone off the streets for an entire year. To learn more about For Richer, For Poorer and their gratuitous initiative, head over to forricherforpoorer.org.

Chance The Rapper to Deliver Commencement Speech at Dillard University

Written By Aysha Chaudhry

It looks like we can add graduation speaker to Chance the Rapper’s already long list of accomplishments. The 24 year-old Grammy-award winning artist just announced that he will be delivering the commencement address at graduation for Dillard University in New Orleans. The Dillard president, Dr. Walter M. Kimbrough (aka the Hip-Hop Prez) teaches a class on ethics and hip-hop. Choosing Chance, who is renowned for his charitable initiatives, including his own foundation Social Works, seemed like a easy decision. The rapper’s extensive accomplishments as a social activist rival his groundbreaking achievements as a musician, which includes becoming the first streaming-only artist to win a Grammy. Not to mention, he still has never signed with a major record label.

We are sure that Chance’s speech will be one the students at Dillard will never forget!