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Black Entertainment, Money, Style and Beauty Blogs - Black Voices

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  • 05/09/11--09:53: Whitney Houston Enters Rehab
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    With talented actress Angela Bassett recently confirming that there will be a "Waiting to Exhale" sequel that is based on Terry McMillan's "Getting to Happy," the news also came out on Monday afternoon that "Waiting" costar Whitney Houston (pictured) is back in rehab at an outpatient facility. Houston's spokesperson, Kristen Fraser, told media outlets that Houston voluntarily entered the facility for drug and alcohol treatment as a "long standing" component of her recovery process.

    Two years ago, Houston declared that she was drug-free, but her pronouncement did nothing to stem the controversy that ensued once the normally svelte diva suddenly gained weight or once she was booed on her European tour last year, sending tongues wagging that Houston has ultimately lost her voice.

    Fraser didn't provide any other details, regarding exactly where the artist is or when she will be coming out.


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    'Louder Than a Bomb'
    tells the story of four Chicago high school poetry teams as they prepare to compete in the world's largest youth slam. By turns hopeful and heartbreaking, the film captures the turbulent lives of these unforgettable kids, exploring the ways writing shapes their world, and vice versa.

    While the topics they tackle are often deeply personal, what they put into their poems-and what they get out of them-is universal: the defining work of finding one's voice.

    Check out an exclusive trailer for 'Louder Than a Bomb' below.


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    Yesterday morning, as I stood across from where it all began at 1100 New York Avenue in Washington, D.C., and watched as the college kids linked arms with their elders and sang freedom songs -- 'The Buses are a-coming, The buses are a-coming, the buses are a-coming, Oh Yeah.'

    And I wondered for a moment, would I or could I have gotten on that bus 50 years earlier?Would I have been brave or insane enough to take on an entire system built on hating my black skin? Could I have taken the barbs, beatings and constant shouts of "nigger"? Could I have been non-violent when every bone in my body would have wanted to fight back, to possibly kill?

    I already knew the answer.

    As a younger man, I'd found my manhood and to a degree, my sense of blackness, in Malcolm X, our shining black prince who taught us the kind of self-love and respect that meant violent self-defense if need be. What's good for the goose, he said, is good for the gander.

    So, I already know where I would have stood -- likely with my own pipe or bat, at least a fist full of rage.

    On that grassy knoll, across from that old bus station, the song and the thought had faded and soon we were piling on to a bus, headed into the Deep South. This was the Freedom Ride 2011 style.

    This time the ride is a retracing of history, a war reenactment, minus the mobs and beatings. Instead of the Congress On Racial Equality pooling resources and raising money to support the riders, PBS is picking up the bill, part celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides, part marketing and PR for its documentary 'Freedom Riders' by Stanley Nelson that premiers May 16 on PBS.

    There will likely be no firebombing of the bus or attacks by rabid mobs this time. I hope not at least, after all, young men are still coming up dead in Mississippi. Suicide, one recent news account attributed the death of a young man found hanging under mysterious circumstances. So much of that dirt hallowed ground, drenched in the blood and sweat of centuries of black men and women.

    Young men like LeRoy Ford, 19, a student at the University of Nebraska, were eager and anxious, gracious in the way so many of these young people seem to be.

    His road to the day had been anything but easy, but his eloquence belies the triumph of will and intellect that so many of these students, black and white, have faced to achieve astounding levels of growth and academic success. He came from a tough neighborhood in Kansas City. His mother died when he was three. His father was locked up most of his youth. Few in his family ever talked much about race or the bad old days. His grandmother grew up in an all-black neighborhood -- every lunch counter was a black lunch counter. Racism was felt but rarely seen.

    "It has become so real now," he said settling into his seat on the bus. "They got on the bus not knowing if they would ever make it back. It's amazing because they are unsung heroes. But they are true American heroes. To sit with them, to talk and eat dinner with them. It's an extreme honor."

    Another young man, Charles Reed Jr., from Jersey City, New Jersey and as of Saturday a graduate of the University of Mary Washington, in Fredericksburg, Virginia, skipped his graduation to join the riders.

    "The first thing I thought about was the sacrifice of missing graduation is nothing compared to the sacrifices of the Freedom Riders who dropped out of school, left their families to go into the Deep South with the fear and the real thought that they might be killed," he said. "That's real courage, not being unafraid but doing what needs to be done in spite of that fear."

    Soon we were heading down Route 1 from D.C., through the heart of the old Confederacy, to Fredericksburg, Lynchburg, Richmond and Farmville, Virginia, much like our predecessors had half a century earlier.

    I imagine the scene was much the same those days, the placid, tree-lined brooks and hills hugging the sides of the road. We were traveling through the Black Belt, passing the old gas stations and markets, the occasional strip mall plopped throughout and in between. Again, hallowed ground.

    In the coming days I'll be telling stories from the road, of the Freedom Riders and students and people we meet along the way. As you join me, ask yourself a question. Would you have gotten on the bus?


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    From indieWire.

    Last week, Europa Corp released the first trailer for the upcoming Zoe Saldana revenge thriller, 'Colombiana;' The yet-to-be-rated revenge actioner about a young woman who grows up to be a stone-cold assassin, after witnessing the murder of her parents in Bogota, is produced by Luc Besson, with Olivier Megaton assuming directing duties.

    Read more here.


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  • 05/10/11--04:00: Trend Alert: Ribbon Sandals
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    Ribbons aren't just for school girls' pig tails. They look great on your feet too -- pick up a pair of ribbon sandals for your fancy summer go-to shoe.


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    Mary J. Blige and Nina Simone

    Mary J. Blige has confirmed that she will star in the Nina Simone biopic written by "Will & Grace's" Cynthia Mort, and is set to begin filming at the end of this month. "I'm definitely still doing it, and I'm in acting classes for it now."

    The script for 'Nina' (working title) is reportedly based on Simone's autobiography 'I Put a Spell on You,' and focuses on Simone's relationship with her assistant, Clifton Henderson, played by actor David Oyelowo (who is simultaneously filming 'Selma,' the biopic of Martin Luther King Jr').

    Blige is also set to star in the comedy 'Rock of Ages' alongside Alec Baldwin and Tom Cruise. "I'm playing Justice Charlier, a gentleman's club owner," Blige told US Weekly. "I'm having so much fun preparing for it, and I know Tom. I love Tom. He just really wants the best for everybody."

    We wish Blige the best playing the iconic jazz singer and expect 'Nina' to have an impressive soundtrack. Hopefully her acting classes and previous work will prepare her to give a substantive performance. She already has the voice but she'll have to ditch the blonde hair and get back to her gritty soulful roots to do Simone justice.


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    From The New York Times.

    The Mississippi River crested here Tuesday morning, flooding low-lying neighborhoods in the city but falling short of record levels that would have caused far more damage.

    The river topped out at 47.8 feet early Tuesday, far above flood stage, but 4 inches lower than the predicted crest of 48 feet and almost a foot lower than the record crest of 48.7 feet in 1937.

    It is expected to stay at or near that level for several days before receding as the crest moves downriver, said Susan Buchanan of the National Weather Service. Despite the presence of many people who ventured to the riverside to have a look on Monday, county officials urged residents to take caution, offering the same advice one might give in the presence of a mad dog: keep your distance until it moves on.

    Read more here.


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    From The Huffington Post:

    WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama will kick off a campaign-style push on comprehensive immigration reform Tuesday afternoon with a major speech in El Paso, Texas, but don't expect Congress to pass legislation anytime soon.

    The president is "trying to lead a constructive and civil debate on the need to fix the broken immigration system," said a senior administration official during a Monday night conference call. The official said Obama will lay out a blueprint for action during his speech and will continue pressing the issue in the coming months as part of a broader effort to "responsibly move forward in advancing legislation in Congress."

    But the political reality is that Republicans, and some Democrats vulnerable in the 2012 elections, have zero interest in taking on such a contentious issue -- a detail that Obama will likely gloss over in his speech.

    "He's going to make the case that legislation is the root of reform," said the official. "He wants to [pass legislation] as soon as possible, but he's not going to lay out any timelines."

    In recent weeks, the president has tried to jump-start momentum on immigration reform. He has held a string of high-profile meetings with business and faith leaders, law enforcement officials, lawmakers and Hispanic Hollywood celebrities as part of a broader effort to rally the public on the issue. His Tuesday speech will highlight two specific aspects of reform: border security -- and the progress his administration has already made on this front -- and potential economic benefits.

    Read more here.


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    Rapping Judge Makes Teens Recite Poetry for Community Service

    In Florida, a judge's thoughtful approach is throwing a creative curve ball to troubled youth: When minors end up in her courtroom and have to pay back society with community service, Judge Merrilee Ehrlich makes kids do their time by writing poetry. "I don't want them doing mindless things, picking up litter in a park or cleaning cop cars. I wanted community service work related to their charges that would teach them how to be creative, how to provoke thought," says Judge Ehrlich.

    The good judge reiterates her credo with placards that read:

    "In life there are no make-up exams. Choose carefully."


    "The more you learn today, the more you'll earn tomorrow."

    She also has a library that the kids have access to.

    Even though 14-year-old Bradley Pierre wasn't familiar with poetry, he liked his sentence:

    "I never read poems. I never understood poems. This is new for me. It's kind of something that I like ... it's a lesson you learn from, something positive."

    I have to say that I heart Judge Ehrlich. Time and time again, these types of stories show that the best solutions and problem solving techniques often involve creativity and compassion. It is so easy to throw the book at these children, but instead, forcing these kids to express themselves in a positive way gives these kids another lens on their capabilities and hopefully another lens on life.

    As for Judge Ehrlich, while having kids read poetry was great, the show isn't over: Before taking a celebratory bow, she, too, takes center stage, donning a black hoodie and a rude swagger. Judge Ehrlich then closes out the display by actually rapping about the need to make good choices.

    Watch out, Lil' Wayne!

    Watch her great work here:


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    whitney houston

    Just when it seemed like Whitney Houston might be getting her life back in order ... well. This time Houston has managed to get herself banned from all current and future Prince concerts.

    Although Houston was not seen drinking or taking drugs, sources reported that she still appeared to be "intoxicated" at a few recent performances. Apparently, Houston demanded concert tickets and badgered Prince's staff to let her on stage when she attended the shows. The staff refused to let her because they "didn't want her to embarrass herself," reports TMZ.

    She has been undergoing treatment for her addiction to drugs and alcohol since she checked herself into an out-patient rehab program in April.


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    Washington, D.C. - Fifty years ago, almost to the day, 13 black and white teens and 20-somethings boarded two buses and headed into the Deep South.
    Some were veterans of the early lunch counter sit-ins in their towns or activists on their college campuses. They set out that morning in May of 1961 on what was planned to be a trip from D.C. to New Orleans, with stops at bus terminals and lunch counters along the way to challenge the segregation of interstate travelers and to test the resolve of Southern racists who clung viciously to their Jim Crow laws.

    They came to be known as the Freedom Riders, and the course they charted over the months-long movement would inevitably change American history.

    But their journey wouldn't be without pain and bloodshed. In fact, that first group never made it to New Orleans. They faced mob and Ku Klux Klan violence. Many were beaten, jailed and humiliated for little more than ordering a cup of coffee at the wrong counter or sitting in the wrong section of a waiting room in towns like Anniston and Birmingham in Alabama; Nashville, Tennessee; and Jackson, Mississippi.

    The Freedom Riders braved the mobs, the unchecked hoodlums fueled by a hate that only God or the Devil could know. Metal rods crashed down like thunder claps on black and white skulls in equal measure.

    "A lot of people will say that we went into the struggle unarmed," said Diane Nash, a Freedom Rider who organized students at Fisk University in Tennessee. "But that's not true. Just as there's that day in the military when a soldier is given a rifle, what we were given is power, energy generated by love."

    Eventually more than 400 Freedom Riders descended upon the South, filling buses, trains and jail cells, forcing the nation and its leaders to take notice.

    Those ghosts still linger along so much hallowed ground in the South, at boarded-up bus stations and one-time five and dimes in Mississippi and Alabama - towns that fought tooth and nail to keep blacks and whites separate and their ways of life intact.

    While many people were seriously injured during the Freedom Rides, no one was killed, but many others would die in the years to come, struggling for equal rights.

    "If you were to dredge the Mississippi River, you'd come up with the remains of many civil rights activists," said Nash.

    So it was a few mornings ago that a handful of original Freedom Riders, their hair grayer and their steps just a bit slower, stood on a grassy knoll across the street from the now-shuttered Greyhound station, where part of the original group boarded the bus.

    They set out on a journey through the South to revisit those days of tumult and give the group of 40 students who joined them a sense of the men and women behind the liner notes and the too-short school lessons on the Civil Rights Movement.

    Robert Singleton and his wife, Helen, made the trip back from California to join the ride, still by each other's side as they were in the early days of the movement.

    Joan Mulholland, a Virginian, is here too - her eyes are at once warm and steely. She has a head full of regal white hair that is pulled beneath a bandanna on most days. Ernest "Rip" Patton, a Tennessean with a deep, rumbling baritone voice, can be heard regaling students with stories of back when:

    "If we had not continued the Freedom Rides then, I don't think there could have been another movement for a very long time," said Patton. "We would have had to get too many people killed."

    Over the last couple days, the group made its way through Virginia and North Carolina, retracing the original trip, city by city. They stopped at important sites along the way like Virginia Union University, where many civil rights activists and Freedom Riders like Rev. Reginald Green emerged to lead sit-ins and peaceful protests.

    "When I saw that bus in flames, I knew I had to get involved," Green said, recalling the moment when he saw the Riders' bus fire bombed and decided to join the Freedom Riders. "It's really emotional to see that we have students who are interested in learning what this all meant. Does something for my old psyche."

    Yesterday, the group rolled into Greensboro, North Carolina, and visited the International Civil Rights Center and Museum.

    The museum is a converted Woolworth's department store and lunch counter, where a group of courageous North Carolina A&T students led a sit-in that sparked similar movements across the South. The original counter, seats and tiles are still intact from those days in 1960.

    But deep inside the museum, there is the wall of shame, with illuminated photos set behind fractured glass of lynchings and lynch mobs and the bloated and disfigured body of 14-year-old Emmett Till, who was murdered and dumped in the Tallahatchie River in Mississippi after he allegedly whistled at a white woman.

    And for the first time it all became real for these students, black and white, whose eyes were wet with emotion:

    "The inhumanity of man," said Tania Smith, 20, a student at American University in Washington, D.C., as she dabbed tears from her cheeks. It was Smith's first time seeing the photo of Till, which became a grotesque symbol of Southern brutality:

    "For men to have so much hate. It shows how entrenched the system was. It was full blown hatred."

    Beyond the hate, evident in the hole in Till's head, and the marks around his neck, where his white attackers tied an industrial fan (the better to sink him in the river with), Smith said the image and the wall of shame also spoke to the strength of those like the Freedom Riders who fought back with nonviolence and peace.

    "It shows the bravery of the Freedom Riders and those in the Civil Rights Movement. It wasn't just a fight against segregation, it was a fight against hate," she said. "They fought with weapons of love."

    Watch the full episode. See more American Experience.


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    Jazz, Harlem, Harlem Jazz Shrines Festival, Thelonious Monk, Minton's Playhouse

    From now through May 15, the Harlem Jazz Shrines Festival 2011 presents several days worth of live performances and discussions about what the jazz drummer Art Blakey called "an American musical art form." All of the shows -- 35 in total -- are either free or cost no more than $10. They are being held at various historic venues in Harlem some of which have been reopened for the occasion. The intention, according to organizers, is to evoke a bygone era when 'jazz' and 'Harlem' were synonymous.

    Last night (May 9), T.S. Monk hosted a late night jam session at Minton's Playhouse, a premier club reopened for the festival. The former hotspot is known as the place where his father Thelonious Monk, along with other jazz luminaries such as Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Kenny Clarke and Charlie Christian established the roots of modern jazz. "Of course, for me, it's really a very special place," says T.S., a respected jazz drummer in his own right. "It's probably the most important address for modern jazz."

    Located on 118th Street, it was originally opened in 1938 by saxophonist Henry Minton. The performance space became a sanctuary of sorts for musicians who flocked there after other venues like the Cotton Club and Savoy Ballroom closed in order to jam well into the early morning hours.

    Since closing in 1974, Minton's has had a rocky history though. It reopened in 2006, only to shut down four years later. For the festival, execs from Jazzmobile, Inc. -- one of three partners involved with the festival -- got permission to use the space from the company who owns the Cecil Hotel, the building which is attached to Minton's. (Restoration of both properties was already underway when Jazzmobile approached them last spring.)

    In addition to the reopening of Minton's, the festival is also presenting performances at other historic venues including the Alhambra Ballroom and the Apollo Theater. The latter is planning to recall its own contribution to jazz history with performances presented in a variety show format. "Most people are familiar with Showtime at the Apollo," says trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, who lives two blocks away from the theater. "A lot of people don't know historically about the Benny Carter jazz orchestra. They had the comedy, the dancing, the singing."

    Gordon headlines a special show incorporating all the variety show elements on Friday, May 13. The Temple University Big Band, vocalists Carla Cook and Nikki Yanofsky, tap dancer Savion Glover and comedian Robbie Todd are also on the bill that night.

    Other performances will also be held at various converted spaces. At the Harlem Gatehouse, Harlem Stage is producing several shows including a Fats Waller Dance Party. Led by pianist Jason Moran in collaboration with bassist Me'shell Ndegeocello, the group is digging into Art Tatum's songbook and revving up the material in order to get the audience dancing. Harlem Stage has added to the ambiance by renaming the Gatehouse, Small's Paradise, where back in the 1920's, people danced along to jazz. "We're treating Fats Waller's music as a vehicle to show how it intersects with house music, with techno, with Afro-beat. That's the stuff I enjoy dancing to," says Moran, who also resides in Harlem. "We're creating an environment where people are free to move to the music, rather than sit in a seat and ponder about it."

    Lenox Lounge (Lenox Avenue near 125th Street) is another place the festival will call home this week. In fact, jazz has been swinging there on a regular basis for years and there's a regular jam session that trumpeter Igmar Thomas holds at Creole Restaurant (located on Third Avenue). Now, with the Jazz Shrines Festival, jazz will really be jumping in Harlem this week.


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    Booker T. Washington High School Wins Obama's Race to the Top Commencement Challenge

    In April, profiled President Barack Obama's Race to the Top Commencement Challenge, where hundreds of high schools across the country competed for a chance to have the President deliver their commencement speech.

    Wayne Early/Middle College High School of Goldsboro, North Carolina; Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12, School for Creative and Performing Arts of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Science Park High of Newark, New Jersey; Bridgeport High School of Bridgeport, Washington; High Tech High International of San Diego, California; and Booker T. Washington High School of Memphis, Tennessee, were the finalists, and the President asked the public to help him in making his final decision.

    On Tuesday, the White House announced that Booker T. Washington High is the winner!

    Booker T. Washington used their 22 percent increase in graduation rates from 2007 to 2010 and a gritty-yet-inspirational video as their chief selling points, making them stand tall above the rest. Washington was able to take their adversity and turn it into a success they could be proud of, which takes creativity, iron-clad willpower and keen intelligence.

    President Obama created the Commencement challenge out of a desire to have American schools have the most college graduates by 2020. I'm certain that President Obama's presence in this hardworking institution will only propel them even further.

    Watch Washington's winning appeal here:

    Congratulations, Booker T. Washington!


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    Actress Sanaa Lathan is making her Broadway debut in "By The Way, Meet Vera Stark," and at last night's after party celebrating the play's opening, the Yale-trained actress looked gorgeous wearing a black t-strap mullet dress that drew attention to her midsection and highlighted her legs. Lathan completed her look with drop earrings, strappy black heels, red lips, rosey cheeks and slick hair. Stunning.

    sanaa lathan

    Full Length
    sanaa lathan


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    From The Huffington Post.

    Even though it's 2011, we're still litigating whether rap music in and of itself is a societal corrosive or an artistic expression that channels raw experience and expurgates emotions in the form of a catharsis. It's really the old Plato versus Aristotle rap battles over the artistic merits of tragedy -- at least we can dance to it, so there's that.

    But the news today is that Michelle Obama is having some poets over to the White House to read some poetry, and that one of those poets is Chicago rapper Common, and OH MY GOD did you know he's rapped about violence? It's true, and the Daily Caller is beefing about it.

    Read more here.


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    From The Huffington Post.

    I'll be the first to admit that I'm a very fortunate guy. I've been steadily employed in the entertainment business since I was a teenager, having produced and appeared in a number of successful television series and films.

    I'm currently chairman of MTV Networks Kids & Family Group, I host the hit show America's Got Talent and a popular New York morning radio show, and am about to release a comedy album. And my amazing wife and I just welcomed two beautiful babies on our third wedding anniversary. I don't say this to brag -- I'm extremely grateful that I've had so many great opportunities and blessings, especially for someone who's only 30 years old. I'm merely reflecting on my life as I'm preparing for what is undoubtedly going to be the most important and challenging job of my life -- parenthood.

    Read more here.


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    Obesity is an epidemic in the United States, and childhood obesity has become such a growing concern that it's an item on the White House's agenda. First Lady Michelle Obama's anti-obesity campaign is already in full swing, and recently Beyonce joined to endorse the "Lets Move" campaign and encourage kids to stay fit and eat healthily. But is this health kick going too far now that Sketchers' Shape-Ups are being marketed to tweens?

    With about about 30 percent of black girls susceptible to obesity, it makes sense to encourage that demographic to exercise and be fit. But the Shape-Ups seems to be less concerned with fitness and more concerned with vanity.

    The shoes were originally marketed to women with the promise of toning calves and boosting a shapelier bottom. It speaks volumes that Kim Kardashian endorses the shoes. But children don't need another product making them preoccupied with their appearance when there is already an influx of media images telling them to strive for an unrealistic body image.

    In the kid's commercial, a young girl struts around in Shape-Ups that keep her "looking good," and give her a bounce that attracts three little boys.

    A petition on is not pleased: "Women have plenty of time to be targeted for their weight throughout their lives. By not only marketing a shoe line to young girls, but also not even having an equivalent for boys Skechers is sending a clear message to girls and women: you're never too young to start hating your body... Tell Skechers to let kids be kids, and stop body policing young girls."


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  • 05/11/11--01:23: Make Over Your Bathroom
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    Bathroom Makeovers

    Considering a home makeover?

    Consider the bathroom.

    Yes, that space where you bathe and do your business is just as important to the gestalt of your home as the ever-more-obvious living room or bedroom. So important, in fact, that we're providing you with a few tips for achieving the perfect designer bathroom.
    Our sister site ShelterPop has a few examples to start you off.

    Bathroom Makeovers

    Celebrities expect more than simple, practical functionality out of their bathrooms - and you should, too. The above image shows the restroom of Flaming Lips front man Wayne Coyne. He had it designed by FitzSimmons Architects. The smooth, rounded futuristic mosaic-covered walls contribute to the overall feel of being enveloped by a cocoon. In other words, it's a place for relaxation.


    These gilded bathrooms are fit for a queen. The gold-studded one on the left is a product of Kelly Wearstler's imagination. Not only does she always take her designs over the edge -- she's able to instantly make you feel something specific. In this case, it's the feeling of stepping back into the 1970s.

    The bathroom below - designed by Jenna Lyons of J.Crew -- reiterates the idea of taking one element and exaggerating it to make a big impact. The stripes stretched from ceiling to floor and even over shelves and moldings makes this bathroom a standout.
    Bathhroom Makeovers

    This design, offered up by Tokyo's aat+ Architects, is perfect for intimate living situations: the glass is voyeur friendly. The bathroom is suspended above the small apartment's living space.

    Bathroom Makeovers

    File this one under cool: Mina of the blog La Résidence! took bathroom design into her own hands by covering the walls in penny tiles.

    To make sure your bathroom designs are current, here are some bathroom trends for 2011.

    Bathroom trends you ask? Yes. And they're even official. Every year the members of the National Kitchen & Bath Association to discuss up and coming trends. More than 100 designers who worked on a kitchen or bathroom during the last three months of 2010 participate in a survey and reveal the hottest styles for 2011. Here, Stephanie Pritchard, a kitchen and bath designer at Middleburg Design Company in Middleburg, Virginia, weighs in on the biggest bath trends of 2011.

    Bathroom Makeovers

    Seeing Green

    "The trend in color for bathrooms has been softer, more neutral tones, like sea greens, with natural elements like bamboo and stone added to the space," she says. And she's right: While whites, creams, beiges and browns are still the most commonly used colors in bathrooms, green color palettes rose from 14 percent to 24 percent over the course of 2010.

    Green can also be a peaceful color - the soothing tones of nature provide relaxation for the stressed-out bather.

    Bathroom Makeovers

    Countertops in Quartz

    What's the most popular bathroom counter material? Historically, among designers, it's been granite. But the pervasiveness of quartz is catching up. The trend in bathrooms is to create more of a spa-like or hotel-like feel," Pritchard explains. "People are making their homes equipped with the items they love when they go on vacation, such as high-end countertops. They want those aspects of luxury incorporated into their own bathrooms."

    Bathroom Makeovers

    Bathroom Vessel Sinks

    Don't forget about your water source. Under-mount sinks continue to dominate in new bathrooms, but vessel sinks have become the clear second choice among designers, as 51 percent of NKBA designers used them in the final quarter of 2010, up from 39 percent a year ago. "Vessel bowls remain popular due to the switch to a more transitional or contemporary home," Pritchard says. "It creates a cleaner, more calming feel, while eliminating the chance of clutter since vessel sinks are typically mounted on less countertop space."

    Happy bathroom renovating!

    And if you're still itching for more bathroom makeover tips and tricks, check out this piece on ShelterPop. Hint: it involves patterns.


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    From the Associated Press:

    President Barack Obama's approval rating has hit its highest point in two years - 60 percent - and more than half of Americans now say he deserves to be re-elected, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll taken after U.S. forces killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

    In worrisome signs for Republicans, the president's standing improved not just on foreign policy but also on the economy, and independent Americans - a key voting bloc in the November 2012 presidential election - caused the overall uptick in support by sliding back to Obama after fleeing for much of the past two years.

    Comfortable majorities of the public now call Obama a strong leader who will keep America safe. Nearly three-fourths - 73 percent - also now say they are confident that Obama can effectively handle terrorist threats. And he improved his standing on Afghanistan, Iraq and the United States' relationships with other countries.

    Despite a sluggish recovery from the Great Recession, 52 percent of Americans now approve of Obama's stewardship of the economy, giving him his best rating on that issue since the early days of his presidency; 52 percent also now like how he's handling the nation's stubbornly high 9 percent unemployment.

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    My name is Wahkeen Thomas. I am in the 7th grade at Global Technology Prep and am currently a member of "Incredible Edibles" Citizen Schools apprenticeship.

    On May 10th, Incredible Edibles went for a visit to Marcus Samuelsson's restaurant Red Rooster. I had the opportunity and the privilege to interview the owner himself. I felt like he was a really cool guy and when you get to know him better, he's even cooler. Before the interview, while we were getting mic'd up, Marcus asked me some personal questions like, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" I told him I wanted to be a professional skateboarder.

    After the interview, Marcus spoke to my classmates and me about local and healthy foods, as well as their seasons.

    Read the questions I asked Marcus and his answers. I really liked what he had to say. Personally, I think Marcus is awesome!

    What inspired you to become the owner of Red Rooster?

    Marcus: I always wanted to have a restaurant in Harlem. I'm very proud to put Red Rooster right here on 126th and Lenox.

    How did it feel to cook for the President?

    Marcus: It was an amazing opportunity and feeling to cook for President Obama at his first state dinner. The whole street was full of people. It was one of my greatest honors.

    How did you start your career of cooking?

    Marcus: I started cooking around the age of 6 or 7. I was helping out my grandmother making gingersnap cookies and bread. At the age of 16 or 17, I always knew from then on it would be my job.

    How has cooking affected your life?

    Marcus: Cooking has affected my life in every way possible. I've had the chance to travel all over the world through food.

    What other opportunities have you encountered in your past?

    Marcus: Through food, I've really been able to meet so many people. It's a people business and people industry. To feed people and make people happy, makes me very happy.


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