“Who run the world? Girls!” We all know the phrase that Beyoncé made ever popular. What does it mean to Marjorie Harvey? Well, if you’ve ever heard Comedian, Author, Radio/TV Host, and Philanthropist (and much more) Steve Harvey speak, you … Continue reading
We’re launching a search for the best “SelfLESSie” photos! Submit photos of someone, something or somewhere that inspires you and why. No “selfies” please! We will begin posting them on our blog and social media! Send the photo along with your handle (e.g. @celeboptimist) to email@example.com!
Oscar winner Lupita Amondi Nyong’o won the hearts of people the world over when she emerged on the scene. From her very gripping and raw portrayal of the young slave Patsey in 12 Years a Slave, to her genuinely expressive way with words in her acceptance speeches throughout award season, Lupita has demonstrated such poise, grace, and intelligence, and is a bright light not only in the entertainment world, but in the world at large.
It was her breakout role in the film 12 Years a Slave that turned heads, but Lupita has been a quiet storm for some time. In 2009, she released her first documentary film, In My Genes, on the topic of albinism. Born in Mexico City, Lupita was raised in Kenya and was able to document the lives of several albinos living there. Addressing the common misconceptions people have about albinos, including the idea that they cannot be of the same black family as their siblings, maternal infidelity, and anything else that promotes exclusion, Lupita wanted to give a voice to the voiceless on the topic. In an interview (below) from the 2009 African Film Festival, she points out that she did not want to “Lord over” the documentary film with voice-overs but instead chose to make the stories originate from the subjects’ mouths. Never was it about treating albinism as a negative; Lupita’s documentary is about bringing awareness where there may be ignorance.
Interestingly, towards the end of the interview Lupita emphasizes the importance of telling stories from one’s perspective, and staying true to that. “We need to find our own voice,” she says.:
Here is the trailer for Lupita’s documentary film, “In My Genes”:
It’s a new year and along with the “new day”, we are introducing our new look! Fresh and new, please stay tuned for new posts, platforms and, of course, optimism!
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I can’t help but think of a sweet elderly man I came across the other day. I was walking to a cafe near work to pick up my lunch, when I noticed a man at the corner of the intersection I was crossing over to. He was about 80 years old or so and mobile, yet involuntarily leaned over his walker. I got to the corner where he was waiting for our light to change. I smiled at him. As I stood next to him, and we waited for the white ‘walk’ light, I instinctually looked around to assess the positions of the cars that would be moving, simultaneously, as soon as our light, shared with the green traffic lights, told us to go.
The light changed and I immediately synced my pace with his. (I tend to do that when crossing the street with anyone who may not make it across the street in time, so that I can be the support they may need, when feeling the anxiety of getting across the street faster than physically possible for them.) So, I walked alongside him, and he turned to say to me, “Wanna race?” I smiled and quickly responded, matching his wit, “You’ll beat me!” He smiled and said, “That reminds me of The Tortoise and the Hair! Do you remember that story?” I said, “I certainly do! That’s a classic!” What he said next bothered me. It’s the reason I decided to share this story with you. As we continued to cross and were about halfway, he said to me, concentrating on his steps, “You know, I go to Trader Joe’s, and the people in the parking lot almost run me over! They don’t notice me!” It broke my heart. I said to him, again swiftly, “Well, I notice you!” He laughed, blushed, thanked me and we continued to make small talk about how good the dessert is at the cafe I was walking to. He’d had their pastries but never their sandwiches. He was going on to Starbucks, which was next door to said cafe. I offered to get the door for him and he politely said no thank you. I told him I hoped to see him again and he concurred.
We parted ways. I’ll never forget him.
While some people are trying to figure out what happened between Ian Somerhalder and Nina Dobrev, his foundation is focusing on the important things. Several causes are close to his heart and his foundation, the Ian Somerhalder Foundation, supports efforts to take care of the environment, animals, education, the youth and more.
To learn more about his efforts, you can go to his website.
The topic is not a new one, but I was inspired the other day by my friend and co-host. After taping a live show, we were discussing the idea of comments and how much we enjoy interacting with viewers through the comments they make about the show. It quickly became a group discussion with our other co-hosts, and we each began to exchange personal stories about the comments we have had, in our experience, intended for us. It seems the consensus was, while we really enjoy feedback both positive and constructive criticism, none of us were immune to the virtual blows of negative comments that seem to exist simply to be, well, negative! I have had a few negative comments, but they never have truly affected me. I think the ones I was “gifted” with, because I didn’t believe them, rolled off my back and I didn’t pay them any mind. I think if I were presented with something negative, but constructive, I would take it into consideration, and advance accordingly.
I remember last year having the same discussion with another friend and fellow host. She had a harder time with negative feedback. We had some really interesting discussions about it and I encouraged her to really think about it in a different way. The world is very different now, with the (quick) technological and social media advances and what I wanted her to understand was that the very people who are sitting behind their computers, in some arbitrary locale, in who knows what part of the world, have it the easiest. How do they make the choice to intentionally post crude, insulting and otherwise berating comments about other people, who are trying to be honest and creative? That would take an entirely separate blog post to decipher. I did tell her that they are considered “safe” in their anonymity and I highly doubt that they would have the courage or ability to do what it is she does. I am not saying that it’s easy to dash these comments aside and keep it moving. I actually don’t have the answers. Everyone reacts differently. I can’t even imagine how it must feel to be a public figure or celebrity with the amount of denigrating comments they constantly receive! I understand it when I hear some of them say they don’t even read what’s out there about them! Some years ago Tyra Banks did an entire show on the topic, back when she had her talk show. She actually spoke to some of the “cyber bullies” and tried to delve into their psyche to discover the why. You may be able to find the episode online, but I do remember one part of the conclusion was that these people are everyday people who don’t feel good about themselves, and so they project that insecurity onto others.
I bring all of this up to say that, while I don’t have the answers, I was inspired by my friend, and co-host, for being part of the solution! She shared with us, in that post-show discussion, that she once was reading negative comments under a video she had watched, and proceeded to spend a significant amount of time counter-commenting. She went through each negative comment and in her responses, defended the owner of the video in question. Wow! What an optimistic reaction! I was so happy to hear that she had done that, and had to share it with you, my readers. I challenge you to do what she did and stand up for someone else, even if you don’t know them. Actually, this doesn’t have to be restricted to video or article comments. This is something that can be exercised in everyday life and everyday scenarios.
I would love to hear about your experiences so feel free to comment below! (smile)
She may have been the first to go on ABC’s new TV hit Splash, but she’s among the best when it comes to promoting and executing the empowerment of young girls. Founder of the non-profit Kamp Kizzy, Keshia Knight Pulliam, known to countless households in the 80s as Rudy Huxtable on acclaimed sitcom The Cosby Show, created an organization with a mission in mind to inspire and help the modern girl navigate through a modern world. Through “a variety of workshops that include performing arts, sensitivity and cultural diversity training, team building exercises, creative writing, etiquette and public speaking”, the mission of Kamp Kizzy, a summer day camp, is to “bring girls together between the ages of 11-16 from all socioeconomic backgrounds to learn from each other, grow with each other and empower one another.”