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This Week’s Inspirational Pop Culture Moments

posted by Evan Derrick

By Amy & Nancy Harrington, Pop Culture PassionistasA mogul turned reality show host gets roasted, a country band gives back and an undercover millionaire helps the poor. Here are this week’s most inspirational pop culture moments.Donald Trump Gets RoastedDonald Trump doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who likes to be the brunt of a joke. In fact TMZ reported that when The Donald was initially approached to be the recipient of a Comedy Central Roast, he wasn’t interested. But when he found out the pay day for the event was $2 million, he changed his tune.The real estate mogul turned reality TV megastar accepted the offer and reportedly plans to donate his entire paycheck to charity. Earning the cash wasn’t easy. On Wednesday night he took heat from some of comedy’s most brutal jokesters including Roast Master and “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane and regulars Jeffrey Ross, Gilbert Godfried and Lisa Lampanelli. Old friend Larry King stopped by to take a few jabs and Snoop Dogg was surprisingly present.Mr. Trump most likely braced himself for lots of bad hair barbs but as he joked in a Comedy Central promo, “It will be refreshing to spend an evening with people who didn’t show up just to kiss by (BLEEP).”The Comedy Central Roast of Donald Trump airs on Tuesday, March 15 at 10:30 p.m. EST/9:30 p.m. Central.

A ‘Secret Millionaire’ Helps the PoorABC premiered a new inspirational TV series his week. And it’s the feel-good show to top all feel-good shows. We wept like babies for 42 minutes straight.In the season premiere of “Secret Millionaire,” Dani Johnson from San Antonio, Texas, began by telling her story. She grew up with neglectful parents on welfare. By 21 years old she was broke and homeless. But she found the inner strength to turn herself around and by age 23, she was a millionaire. Her job is telling her story to others. She noted, “I’ve bootstrapped it, baby, and started a business from the trunk of my car and a payphone booth… I teach people today how to start with nothing and how to generate an income.”But the mother of five wants to give back and so she began her journey as the “Secret Millionaire.” She moved into an impoverished neighborhood outside of Knoxville, Tennessee and posed as a new resident looking for charitable opportunities. She explained away the camera as a documentary crew making a film about volunteerism.Her first stop was the Love Kitchen. Eighty-two-year-old twins Helen and Ellen have been running the charity that feeds the elderly and poor since 1986. The day they opened their doors they served 22 meals. Today they help more than 2,000 people a week and the number is growing as unemployment and poverty increase.The organization survives on a volunteer staff and private donations, but they are struggling to pay the bills. They told Dani the three truths their daddy passed on to them, “Number one, he taught us there is but one father and that’s the heavenly father. Number two, he taught us there is but one race, and that’s the human race — isn’t that beautiful? And number three, he taught us not to take the last piece of bread from the table because somebody may come out that’s hungry. So the Lord gave me this assignment. And it’s just like Dr. Martin Luther King, he said, ‘I had a dream.’ Well I had a dream. And the dream was this Love Kitchen, right here.”One of their volunteers, who six years ago was a patron, told Dani, “Heaven’s missing a few angles because we got two of them right here.”Dani also stopped in at the Joy of Music School. This non-profit organization gives free music classes to disadvantaged, inner city kids. Some of the students have managed to go through the whole program and now have received full scholarships to colleges based on their musical aptitude.Dani’s last stop was an organization called Special Spaces. This family-run charity does bedroom makeovers for kids with life threatening illnesses. Dani joined them the day they decorated Daisy’s room with a princess garden theme. The 5-year-old girl is suffering from leukemia and the tearful reveal meant so much to her parents who are struggling to pay the medical bills.At the end of Dani’s week in Knoxville, she revealed to her new friends that she was not in town just to volunteer to help. She wanted to do more. So she doled out $90,000 of her own money to the three organizations and gave another $10,000 to Daisy’s family. Helen at the Love Kitchen simply said, “Do you have any idea how many people this is going to feed?”Watch “Secret Millionaire” Sunday Nights at 8 p.m. EST/9 p.m. Central on ABC.Rascal Flatts Gives BackRascal Flatts isn’t only one of country’s hottest acts, the band members are also some of the most charitable around. In a recent exclusive interview vocalist, bass guitarist and keyboard player Jay DeMarcus told us about the charities that are important to him, lead vocalist Gary LeVox and lead guitarist Joe Don Rooney.DeMarcus talked about a recent distinction a Nashville organization bestowed upon the local band. “We’re really excited about our involvement with the Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. We were so privileged and honored to have the surgery center named after us there at the end of October.”Rascal Flatts has performed four concerts and raised millions of dollars for the Children’s Hosptial. So it’s no wonder that DeMarcus expressed true affection for the folks involved with the cause, saying, “The people over there are just so near and dear to our hearts, and it’s just such a special place. When you walk in you can feel the energy of how special that place is. And that is something we’ll continue to be involved with as long as we possibly can.”Their good work doesn’t stop there. Levox, Rooney and DeMarcus are connected to a few other deserving organizations. DeMarcus added, “We’re involved with The Jason Foundation, which deals with teen suicide. We also do a lot of work with the Make a Wish foundation. We meet kids that are terminal that come in to our lives and their last wish is to meet us and be at a Rascal Flatts show, which is something we’re very, very proud of… [And] the Red Cross we’ve been involved with for a long time.”He summed up their philosophy simply, “We find things that matter to us and are special to us and we try to do as much as we can.”Rascal Flatts is also great at entertaining their legion of fans. Their first TV special, “Rascal Flatts: Nothing Like This Presented by JCPenney” airs on Saturday, March 12 at 9 p.m. EST/8 p.m. Central on ABC.



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