It’s been over two weeks since Beyoncé released her surprise visual album Lemonade, and now, tennis star Serena Williams is sharing how she got involved in the project. “I have known the director since I was like nine years old. I know Beyoncé pretty well, so they were like, ‘We would love for you to be in this particular song. It’s about strength and it’s about courage and that’s what we see you as.’” she said. Williams was featured in the visuals for the song “Sorry.” “She told me that she just wants me to dance, like just be really free and just dance like nobody’s looking and go all out. So that wasn’t easy in the beginning, but then it got easier. … I thought that particular song on the visual album was really a strong song, and it was also really fun at the same time.” Read more.


Life Expectancy on the Rise for Blacks

According to federal data, the life expectancy gap between Blacks and Whites was seven years in 1990. In 2014, that number dropped to 3.4 years. During that year, the average life span for Blacks was 75.6 years and 79 years for Whites. “Blacks are catching up,” said Samuel Preston, a demographer at the University of Pennsylvania. “The gap is now the narrowest it has been since the beginning of the 20th century, and that’s really good news.” Infant mortality, suicide, and the rate of homicides for Blacks—which all were major factors in the life expectancy rate for African Americans—have declined. “The decline in violence is a major social fact that is really reshaping society and the lived experience of kids growing up — particularly blacks,” said Harvard University sociology professor Robert J. Sampson. “This change has provided an advantage that wasn’t expected. It’s almost like a reset of the expectations and experience of urban life.” Read more.


Black Cowboy Group In Danger of Losing NYC Stables

The Federation of Black Cowboys, a group of Black horsemen who have a stable in Queens, NYC, has made it their mission to expose inner city children to horseback-riding. “When children see us with the fringe jackets and the boots, that stays with them for life,” said the group’s president Kesha Morse. Over the past few years, the federation was hit with many setbacks. There are only 18 members remaining in the group and they are in danger of losing control of Cedar Lane Stables. Last August, there was a bidding war to decide who should have control over the stables. The federation was outbid by GallopNYC; a group that utilizes horse-riding to help children and adults with disabilities. The organization will take over the stable in August and will offer the Federation of Black Cowboys boarding. Although the future of the group seems uncertain, leaders hope they can expand and continue to have a positive influence on kids from impoverished, drug-ridden neighborhoods. “Being a cowboy or a cowgirl is more than the attire,” said Morse. “It means being able to roll up your sleeves and work.” Read more.


Lauryn Hill Promises to “Make it Up” to Fans for Her Tardiness

After disappointing fans by showing up over two hours late to her concert in Atlanta, songstress Lauryn Hill issued an apology. She took to Facebook on Sunday to explain her tardiness. “I don’t have an on/off switch. I am at my best when I am open, rested, sensitive and liberated to express myself as truthfully as possible,” she posted. “For every performance that I’ve arrived (sic) to late, there have been countless others where I’ve performed in excess of two hours, beyond what I am contracted to do, pouring everything out on the stage.” She then went on to say how she’s trying to come up with a plan to compensate people who bought tickets and attended her Atlanta show, during which she only performed for about 40 minutes. “Because I care so deeply about the artistic process, I scrutinize, have perfectionist tendencies, and want space made for spontaneity, which is not an easy process, with the many moving parts on the road. Some days we are more successful than others re time,” she said. “I have nothing but Love and appreciation for the fans in Atlanta, and regret not being able to give you a full show.” Read more.


Lee Daniels Pulls Out of Richard Pryor Biopic 

According to reports, director Lee Daniels has decided to drop out of the Richard Pryor biopic project due to scheduling conflicts. The film, Richard Pryor: Is It Something I Said?, has been in the works for nearly a decade. The cast includes Mike Epps as the comedian, Kate Hudson as Pryor’s widow, and Oprah Winfrey as his grandmother. The Weinstein Company is reportedly searching for another producer for the project. Read more.

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty

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