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Michael_JordanMichael Jordan, widely considered the greatest basketball player in the NBA and the sole African-American majority owner of an NBA franchise, has decided to speak out on the country’s recent racial and social problems.

Jordan wrote his statement in a one-page letter that was released by “The Undefeated.”

He used the letter to announce grants of $1 million each to two organizations working to build trust between law enforcement and minority communities. The Institute for Community-Police Relations and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund were both informed of the donations Sunday night.

“We’re surprised and shocked, but obviously thrilled,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, the president and director of the Legal Defense Fund. “We’ve been working on these issues for some many years, and it’s great to hear that Michael Jordan and his people are aware of our work and are willing to make a contribution.”

In the letter, Jordan plead to bridge the divide between law enforcement and the African-American communities they police. On the decision to speak out and contribute his voice and money now, Jordan’s spokesman said “Michael was tired of just talking. He wanted to do something about the issue. This was very important to him.”

Micheal Jordan’s full statement can be seen below.

“As a proud American, a father who lost his own dad in a senseless act of violence, and a black man, I have been deeply troubled by the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement and angered by the cowardly and hateful targeting and killing of police officers. I grieve with the families who have lost loved ones, as I know their pain all too well.

I was raised by parents who taught me to love and respect people regardless of their race or background, so I am saddened and frustrated by the divisive rhetoric and racial tensions that seem to be getting worse as of late. I know this country is better than that, and I can no longer stay silent. We need to find solutions that ensure people of color receive fair and equal treatment AND that police officers – who put their lives on the line every day to protect us all – are respected and supported.

Over the past three decades I have seen up close the dedication of the law enforcement officers who protect me and my family. I have the greatest respect for their sacrifice and service. I also recognize that for many people of color their experiences with law enforcement have been different than mine. I have decided to speak out in the hope that we can come together as Americans, and through peaceful dialogue and education, achieve constructive change.

To support that effort, I am making contributions of $1 million each to two organizations, the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s newly established Institute for Community-Police Relations and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The Institute for Community-Police Relations’ policy and oversight work is focused on building trust and promoting best practices in community policing. My donation to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the nation’s oldest civil rights law organization, will support its ongoing work in support of reforms that will build trust and respect between communities and law enforcement. Although I know these contributions alone are not enough to solve the problem, I hope the resources will help both organizations make a positive difference.

We are privileged to live in the world’s greatest country – a country that has provided my family and me the greatest of opportunities. The problems we face didn’t happen overnight and they won’t be solved tomorrow, but if we all work together, we can foster greater understanding, positive change and create a more peaceful world for ourselves, our children, our families and our communities.”

The band For King & Country calls for a “Ceasefire” in their new music video from the ‘Ben-Hur’ soundtrack.

“We are so honored that For King & Country have allowed us to use their beautiful song for our film ‘Ben-Hur,'” said executive producer Roma Downey. “Our country today is filled with so much anger, tension and violence and this song and our film spread a message of forgiveness and reconciliation that is needed now more than ever.”

‘Ben-Hur’ is the epic story of Judah Ben-Hur. He’s a prince falsely accused of treason by his adopted brother Messala, an officer in the Roman army.  Stripped of his title, separated from his family and the woman he loves, Judah is forced into slavery.  After years at sea, Judah returns to his homeland to seek revenge, but finds redemption.  The film is based on Lew Wallace’s timeless novel, “Ben-Hur: A Tale of Christ”.  Also starring Morgan Freeman and Rodrigo Santoro.

Check out For King and Country’s powerful music video below. ‘Ben-Hur’ is in theaters August 19, 2016.

pippa-middleton-james-matthews-marriageThe Duchess of Cambridge’s younger sister, Pippa Middleton, is engaged to hedge fund manager James Matthews.

The Press Association’s royal reporter Twitter account announced that the couple will be wed in 2017. It also reports that Pippa’s parents, Carole and Michael Middleton are “absolutely thrilled,” while Kate and brother-in-law Prince William are “absolutely delighted” to hear the news.

Matthews reportedly proposed during a trip to England’s Lake District. The pair has been together for about a year but have previously been on an doff since 2012.

The engagement took the 32-year-old completely by surprise but Pippa accepted it at once. Matthews, 40, asked Pippa’s father for permission for his daughter’s hand before popping the question.

The stunning engagement ring is taking social media by storm, but so far the designer behind it has not stepped forward. London jewelers are already weighing in saying it is a timeless and practical piece.

This comes five years after Pippa stood at her sister’s fairy-tale wedding.  Pippa was her sister’s bridesmaid and garnered her own headlines with her eye-catching gown.

Pippa is already excited to be planning her own nuptials. While it won’t be as high profile as the royal wedding, there will still be plenty of speculation and excitement. Fashionistas are already predicting who will design the wedding gown!

 

 

misty-copeland-Onstage-as-an-odalisque-in-Le-Corsaire.-Photo-Credit-Rosalie-O’ConnorMisty Copeland will star in Disney’s upcoming live action movie of “The Nutcracker,” playing the lead ballerina role in the sole dance sequence in the film.

The live action project will be called “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” and is based on the 1816 story “The Nutcrackers and the Mouse King” by E.T.A. Hoffmann. The classic story is about a young girl named Clara who, on Christmas Eve, receives a wooden nutcracker from her godfather. When Clara goes to check on her new toy later that night, the clock strikes midnight. Suddenly the nutcracker grows to life size, and Clara finds herself in the middle of a battle between gingerbread soldiers and an army of mice.

Since its initial debut in 1892, The Nutcraker has become a holiday season staple performed by major professional dance companies and amateur dancers alike. It has been adapted for screen a handful of times before, but with little success. Disney is hoping to change that.

Mark Gordon will be producing the movie. His work includes “Saving Private Ryan,”  “2012,” “Steve Jobs,” and the upcoming “War Dogs.” The film will be directed by Lasse Hallstorm and was written by Ashleigh Powell. Lindy Goldstein, Sam Dickerman and Sara Smith are also joining the staff for the film.

Copeland made the announcement to her followers on Instagram by sending out a photo of a copy of the film’s script with her name branded across the front.

‘I’m thrilled to be a part of this amazing project with Disney and the wonderful Lasse Hallstrom,’ Misty wrote on the post on Wednesday.

Copeland was the first African American woman to be the principal dancer for the American Ballet Theatre last year, giving her widespread recognition. She also was the subject of the 2015 documentary “A Ballerina’s Tale.”

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