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.”

Why Do We Need to Teach our Kids Piano?

Written by Misha Stefanuk

Probably the first and most beneficial effect of playing piano is the ability to enjoy music we love. Listening to mp3 or watching tv or YouTube is great, but besides singing along or dancing, we are just passive recipients, instead of being an active participant. In many ways, it is similar to watching other people eat some wonderful food, instead of eating it yourself.

There are many things that get affected while you play piano. It is really great training for the entire body motion system, it employs many different interfaces, visual, audio, motor, including the all popular hand to eye coordination.

It also allows the performer to learn about what music is portraying, and how the composer felt about the particular subject. And interpret music in a way that is personal and contemporary.

Our kids do not have that much of spiritual instruction in their lives, often it surprises them that Beethoven had feelings, and it’s nice for them to grow as emotional beings.

Can everyone play piano? Well, maybe not everyone can be a concert pianist, but frankly, we don’t need that many of those. More importantly, most people can play Disney tunes and Christmas songs and easy classics, and many other things their heart desires.

It is very beneficial to give piano a try, give your kid something personal that they can also share with others, and something they will take with them through their lives.


Rihanna Shows Her Dedication To The Education of Girls in Malawi

Music artist Rihanna has definitely gained a reputation for being a humanitarian. In her latest partnership with Chinese bike-sharing company Ofo,  the Clara Lionel Foundation, which is named after her grandparents, has created a campaign called 1 Km Action. Through this campaign, they will raise funds that will go towards scholarships to help hundreds of girls attend secondary schools in Malawi.

Qualifying girls will also receive bikes to ensure they have transportation to and from school. Of the approximate 4.6 million students across Malawi,  according to the foundation, only 8% of students complete secondary school due to poor transport links

“I’m so happy about the Clara Lionel Foundation’s new partnership with Ofo because it will help so many young people around the world receive a quality education. “It will also help the young girls of Malawi get to school safely, cutting down those very long walks they make to and from school all alone,” Rihanna said.

How to Publish Your Own Best Selling Book

Written by Misha V. Stefanuk

Most of us believe that success stories of self-made men are not applicable in 2017. We like the stories from the past about millionaires who came from poor families and magically succeeded in business, scientists who came from country folk with 7 grades of education, artists who ended up at the Met without much training and so on. I believe that these stories however will be with us as long as we as humans strive for success and excellence. Even though it seems the doors are seldom open, the truth is, they never have been that open, or at least not marked as such.

Here is one of my stories, hope it would inspire you to go ahead with something you always wanted to do!

One of my favorite things to do is playing jazz on the piano. It is an unusual activity, while we read and play music written out by others, and just try to keep up with the sheet music, jazz is a very free art form where you get to make your own music just about all the time. Also, many musicians like jazz, and can not approach it, since there is not enough notated music, and they do not improvise. Also, many jazz piano celebrities are not represented well in notated music, at least publications are hard to find. So I decided to write an album of music in styles of jazz greats that will work for pianists looking for a spicy recital closing, or just something to play for fun.

For some reason, the idea that no one knows anything about me did not stop me. I think part of it was that I had nothing to loose; just my time. So I went ahead and wrote it. Now, as for distribution…

I used to go to music stores a lot, and play all sorts of random instruments and hope some day there will be money to buy them. Same stores sell sheet music. So, my thinking was, I need a publisher that will have books in the stores just like this one. So, I went to a pretty small shelf containing piano books, and copied the publisher’s addresses.

Next step was to write an introduction letter to a publisher, copy music and send it all out. Then waiting. Now, honestly, this was not the only time I have done this. I have sent a lot of music out, hoping someone will like it. And, I used to have an entire drawer of rejection letters, some very nice! But, in our business, it comes with the territory.

Big Ideas:

  1. Expect some projects to suceed, and don’t sweat the ones that don’t
  2. Work with material you really care about
  3. Always go all the way with the production

And here is the reason I said all this: I also had doubts that this way of approaching large companies is somewhat unorthodox, and it worked for me, more than once. You can do it too!

By the way, here is the link to the book:

This Foundation Has Donated to Over 2,000 People in Haiti

The LaKaySe Haiti Foundation mission is to serve individuals and families in the poorest communities in Haiti. The foundation was established immediately after the massive earthquake in January 2010, killing close to 200,000 people. The founder Gynesis Losa Buissereth, who is originally from Haiti, traveled to the country to locate her family and lost a 4-year-old niece to a collapsed house, which also left several injured friends and family. Gynesis and her cousin Rosemie H Phillipe who is the co-founder of the foundation called everyone in the United States to donate and give as much as they can due to the demolished country, it seems as a nightmare to the ladies; bodies everywhere and homes and businesses destroyed. There were big organizations collecting money and donating, but not much has arrived to the country.
 On October 2016, another devastation in Haiti occurred, Hurricane Matthew. LaKaySe Haiti was summoned to meeting basic humanitarian needs.  During the mission visit, Lakayse Haiti donated to 2,000 people that includes, medical, hair and barber services, clothing, food and money with the support of multiple organizations such as Naji Foundation Inc. XXposurhair, Farouke Systems, We Stand Together, Angelic Foundation, Karabela Nation, BBM LLC and Keen Cutz of Atlanta.  The connection has opened several doors to many people watching and seeing where their donation is going.  This has made a huge impact for the foundation and the volunteers.
An important objective for LakaySe Haiti is to help Haiti in their efforts in creating jobs, building homes and medical facilities.  The goal this year is to provide backpacks and school supplies to over 500 school age kids to receive the proper education.
The founders have seen an increase in families needing help and in the stress levels on their faces.
LakayseHaiti wish list includes the following:
• Backpacks for 500 kids (New school term begins September 5)
• Cash Donation (Any Amount)
 As you can imagine these are very stressful days for many in Haiti as most parents are young, orphans, unemployed, and many don’t have a high school diploma.
The foundation is requesting sponsorship that will help assure the success of the mission to uplift, encourage, and improve the conditions in Haiti.
For more information to assist in Lakaysehaiti Mission Relief visit,

Magic Words to Help Boost your Resume’s Power

Written by Salina Jivani

You’re hunting for that perfect job, or maybe you’re just looking to brush up your resume as part of your spring cleaning routine (never a bad practice!) but you just don’t know how to make it better. It can be hard to create the perfect resume if the only one you’ve seen is your own. One thing however, you can do to help instantaneously boost your resume power is to replace the mundane “did” or similar verbs with more powerful, vibrant verbs.

For example, instead of saying “I did reports” you might say “I created reports.” However, finding the right verb to make your resume stronger can be difficult, and no one has time to browse through a dictionary, which is why we’ve put together this handy, dandy checklist of words to use in place of the boring, mundane “did.” Word of caution to the eager: Make sure you understand the meaning of each word and what context it’s best used in before you attempt to use it.
































If you can’t find a word you’re looking for on this list, you might even try replacing a boring word with a more powerful one by exploring the thesaurus. But again, make sure you understand what you’re saying before you plop just any word in there!


4 Things all Graduates Should Know While They’re Job Hunting

Written by Salina Jivani

As a growing tween, you dream of many milestones in life—the first time you’ll drive solo, your very first car, your first kiss, who you’ll marry and even what you’ll make of yourself in the future.

Graduating college is an exciting marker because it brings you one step closer to discovering one of those unknowns—what you’ll be.

But after the euphoria of never ever, ever again having to set foot in a classroom fades, it doesn’t take long for reality to come crashing through…because all of a sudden, you realize it’s you all alone in this great big world. Soon you’ll have responsibilities to fulfill and payments to make, but first you need to land that perfect job. No pressure, right?! But pause before you go dashing off, applying to every available position out there. Because a few simple tips can help you make sure you’re making a sound decision and one that’s not grounded in haste or distress.

Don’t stress

With that diploma burning fresh in your palm and your chest swelling with pride as you shake hands with the dean, you’ve got confidence thrumming through you, making you certain the moment you step out, you’ll have a barrage of job offers clamoring for your acceptance. However, don’t be surprised, disappointed or, yes, even stressed, when/if those recruiters don’t come pounding into your inbox for a few weeks, even a few months. Finding the right job takes time and a whole lot of patience. In the meantime, if after some waiting you still don’t get any bites, it might be time to reevaluate your resume—or your search filters. Run your resume by someone who’s been in the job market for a while, and make sure the jobs you’re applying for are well aligned to your skillset and background. But whatever you do, do not—DO NOT— cast yourself aside as a failure who’ll never ever find a job and be forced to flip burgers at the local burger joint, just because you didn’t hear anything back pronto.

Your first isn’t your last

The good news here is that jobs are fluid, meaning just because you landed something that doesn’t provide the pay or the title you were hoping for, don’t get discouraged—there’s always next time. Instead, think of every role as a chance to tuck more experience under your belt. Each time you move, imagine yourself scaling another rung toward a bigger, better opportunity. If you think of each opportunity as a temporary transition into something greater instead of a permanent prison sentence, each day will become easier to conquer.

Don’t settle

While every job should be seen as an opportunity to propel you ahead into the future, that’s no reason to settle for just anything that comes your way. Because you’re at the very start of your career, this is the time to make sure you’re in a field that’s actually enjoyable and every bit of amazing as you’d imagined. So go after what you wanted and don’t just accept something because it pays big money. In the end, the money will keep you happy only so long, but if your heart isn’t in it, you’ll only end up wasting precious time.

Use your connections

Ever heard the saying, “It’s not about what you know, but about who you know”? Well, whoever said that was spot on. This is the time to put all that networking and socializing you’ve perfected throughout high school and college to use. Reach out to friends, or friends of friends, even family, who might know of an opening or can employ leverage to help you land your ideal job with the company they work for. Recruiters almost always give a direct recommendation priority over a random online application.

In the end, remember that if your line of work doesn’t pan out to be as fabulous as you’d hoped, it’s not too late to reroute. However, five, even ten years down the road after you’ve invested much more time, the decision to make a change will prove much more difficult and costly. So think of this time as an opportunity to experiment and find out what makes you happy and where you want to be.

5 Ways to Become a Better Learner

Written by Salina Jivani

Maybe you’re looking to acquire a new skill or polishing up an existing one. In either case, you know that, soon, you’ll be thrust into a virtual or actual classroom…and it’s been a while since you’ve been in a formal learning environment. It’s enough to give anyone the jitters. And understandably so. After all, you’re there to succeed, but you want to make sure you’re making the most of this opportunity and not falling flat on your face.

The fact that you’re anxious is an indicator that you’ll work hard to succeed, but follow these additional easy tips to achieve the most from your learning endeavors.

Understand the benefit

If you’ve voluntarily signed up for a course, it might be easier to identify its value or benefit, but if you’re strong armed into attending a work-related training, you may be attending begrudgingly and, therefore, be more reluctant to pinpoint an advantage to your participating. In either case, make sure you discover the underlying benefit of the classes or trainings. Think about what you’ll gain from them, how they’ll help set you above your peers or how they’ll give you a clear advantage that you’d otherwise miss out on. Understanding the value of your education or training will make it that much more priceless to you, enabling you to soak in information with a receptive, open and eager mind.

Set goals

Once you understand the training’s objectives, be sure to set specific goals for yourself. Think about what you want to acquire as a result of the training or what particular skills or knowledge you want to obtain as a result of your participation. Outlining these goals at the onset of the course will help you subconsciously work toward achieving them as you progress. But to make sure you’re on track, take notes and jot down milestones as you inch closer to your learning goals–and be sure to mark them as complete once they’re achieved.

Ask questions

Many people hesitate to ask questions, but doing so will only hinder your learning and understanding of concepts—which means you won’t be able to optimize your educational experience. If you’re anxious to speak up, take a deep breath, gather your thoughts and figure out exactly what it is you need clarity on, then ask away. It’s likely someone else has the same or a similar question but is having trouble gathering the nerve to ask.

Develop your skills and knowledge

Perhaps the most important component of all during your training is to acquire new knowledge or skill. But more importantly, be confident you’re clear on how you’ll be able to apply what you’re learning in a work setting or in the real world. Making the connection between learning the skill and how it will play out in actuality is perhaps the most vital piece of all.

Put it to practice

Finally, get to work on using what you’ve learned. Doing this ASAP is important for a few reasons. First, you don’t want to forget what you know while it’s still fresh in your mind—which is what will likely happen if you wait too long to use your newly acquired skills.

Second, you’ll be eager to know how effectively you’re able to extend your new expertise to the real world. And what better way to find out than to get hands on? Plus, putting things into practice will likely allow you to better connect the dots and have a deeper understanding of your newfound skill or knowledge, allowing you to perform it with improved confidence and assurance over time.

A word for the wise: it never hurts to have a trusted, experienced professional on hand (maybe a fellow buddy or colleague) in case you encounter any questions or hurdles along the way and require a trained eye to help you through.

Alongside these learning tips, I leave you a tid-bit of encouragment with a quote from Anthony J. D’Angelo: “Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.”

3 Surprising Ways Reading Helps You Become More Intelligent

Written by Salina Jivani of “The Great Word Nerd” blog

065d8cf84455aba96b64b7254937b3dbWho doesn’t want to boost their IQ a few notches? It’s a competitive world out there and with that healthy dose of competition comes a quest for self-improvement and advancement. After all, it’s the intelligent people who can more easily snag the higher-paying jobs and expect to land themselves on the career-path of their dreams. This search for building intelligence has given spark to apps like Luminosity and Quiz Up. Because with intelligence comes more money, luxury and prestige. But you don’t have to indulge in exhausting, mind-numbing activities to sharpen your mind and gain the knowledge you seek. There’s a simpler way to do that: read. Don’t believe it? Read for yourself (see how we did that?). Here are three ways squeezing in that book time will help you become a cleverer more intelligent you.

Promotes analytical skills

Reading every day increases analytical abilities and helps develops logic. Routine readers are able to better pick apart stories, piece together components, deduce and induce logic and make stronger educated guesses than those who don’t read regularly. The more you read, the more you’re able to develop logic, connect the dots, increase comprehension and establish reasoning. And because you’re able to comprehend and piece together facts better than those who don’t read, you’re also able to understand more than them.


Improves focus

In our technology-driven world, cell phones, laptops and iPads are all the rave—and constantly vying for our attention. As a result, attention spans are shorter than ever before. But focus is integral and one way to develop that focus is by reading. Unlike our technology-driven gadgets, reading requires keen attention, without which you wouldn’t be able to comprehend whatever it is you’re perusing. And, as is the case with any other exercise, the more often you read, the better you’ll become at maintaining that focus.

Keeps your mind stimulated

Just like your body needs exercise to remain in shape and healthy, the same is true of your brain. Reading stretches your thinking and comprehension muscles as your mind works at deciphering words, both familiar and unfamiliar, based on context. In short, reading puts your mind to work, which done frequently enough can help sharpen it, allowing it to work like a well-oiled machine.

The list above is in no way a complete overview of the benefits a regular reading routine can offer. But just in case you’re curious, among its many others are: vocabulary expansion, better communication skills, improved writing and greater empathy for others. Think of it as an all-in-one vitamin for your brain and take advantage of any spare moment you have to skim through a news article or flip open a book. Your mind will reward you later.