On the surface, there is absolutely no reason to update the classic Broadway show Annie, which was already adapted for the screen in 1982. But this multicultural cast redux adds a hip swag to the classic kid's story. This Annie is urban, emotional and fun. But far from perfect.
"I can't breathe" speaks from the grave and describes the circumstances faced by many who are being choked by a system that treats different races and classes of people unequally.
As an employee of a bank offering a national student loan refinance and consolidation program, I often speak with recent graduates looking for guidance on questions regarding their student loans. So, for those of you who still don't fully understand how student loan refinancing works, let me help you out.
You've heard a lot of information about retirement planning basics: contribute regularly to tax-advantaged accounts like your 401(k) or IRA, choose the right mix of assets for your age and risk tolerance, and rebalance regularly. But you still can't help but wonder if you're missing something crucial.
All were willing to step up to make a difference, to lead when it could be dangerous, and to let their lives be shining examples for others. We should remember them when we face stormy and cloudy weather in our national life and become bright rainbows of hope like them.
Although everyone could probably benefit from a smart-spending lesson or two, today, we're talking to you 20-somethings. While you haven't had all that much time as an adult to establish your shopping routines and habits, you've had enough time to start developing some.
I honor the enthusiasm, the tenacity, vigilance of all who have marched, took rubber bulletts, made financial sacrifices, and found strength to go on anyhow. But as you assess where you are, and you find that this work is in your purpose, grab hold to your lane and stay in it with consistency and persistency.
The news media--people in our society who could play a pivotal role in creating a "dialogue" about such injustices as police killings of young black men--have fallen short.
We will not move forward as a society until we can bring ourselves to listen and respond to the cries of those whose spirits have been crushed by the chokehold of poverty and racism.
The only way to say the words and not fall to pieces under the crushing irony doled out by a double-talking justice system is to understand "Black lives matter" not as a slogan or a hashtag but as a meditation. A mantra. A prayer. Or...
We need to take a hard look at what is causing this income disparity. Is it prejudice? Is it lack of economic or educational opportunities? Is the system corrupt, and if so, where? And what questions need to be asked to change that?
Most of the news stories I've see about Ferguson market and sell fear, and many of the community reactions to the events focus on blame and retribution. This deeply concerns me because blame doesn't heal and revenge doesn't satisfy.
At the same time, events like the ones in Ferguson, Staten Island and Cleveland, and the responses to them dominate the news. All of these things remind us of the truth that anytime anyone is treated less than equal because of who they are, we are diminished as people.
I am not interested in using the unfortunate deaths of my black and brown sisters and brothers as a platform to advance myself or my "brand," rather I am much more interested in how I can lead from behind.
I believe the revolution has begun and we are ready for change and soon no one will be able to mislead us and we will take advantage fully of the voice we have on a regular basis. Not just in extreme times, so if you want to be a part of this revolution, look on your phone or computer.
Wondering what story to tell when you preach on race? Tell the story of how your congregation came to be predominantly white in the first place.
Be the one. At your family dinner table. In the bar at happy hour. At your job. In the cafeteria. In the classroom or at rehearsal. In the courtroom, in a chat room. In your church, in the choir, in your synagogue or in your mosque.
"As women we always think, 'I want this. I want that.' I don't have a checklist. You all know me. You all know my personality. I'm like, 'Come on, Trump. Come on TV One. Find me somebody,' " she laughed.
Taping will start later this month, with the show set to premiere this fall, but, don't expect the show to be too similar to last season's competition.
"I think it's just different personalities, period," the Dayton, Ohio native said. "She's Omarosa and Toccara is Toccara. I think Omarosa's season was absolutely amazing, and that's one of the reasons why I signed up for this. I think I'm fun, outgoing, loud and spontaneous," she said. "I think these guys are going to court me and love me, and I just can't wait. That's my fantasy."
Toccara's last boyfriend was Atlantic Records President of Black Music Michael Kyser, who as of late has been rumored to be dating gossip blogger Necole Bitchie.
"Is he with Necole Bitchie?" Toccara mused. "I don't think he's with her, but he just told me that on the blogs they said that he bought Necole Bitchie some breasts. Does she have fake breasts? I don't even know. These people be making up these rumors."
Regardless of his relationship status, the buxom beauty still has a great deal of love and respect for Kyser.
"I think Kyser is absolutely amazing. Our relationship is and was absolutely amazing. He supports me in everything I do. Even with me doing this show now, he's very supportive to me as a friend, and I really value his advice," she revealed.
"He's my best friend. We talk about things. Even things that we don't want to talk about. We just have a really good relationship, and I think that's why I don't have any securities or anything. There's no need to. I'm single. He's single. He can date whoever he wants to date. I can date whoever I want to date."
When probed about whether she'd consider getting back with him if she doesn't find Mr. Right on television, she added, "I haven't ruled it out."
In her personal life, Toccara still manages to keep up with Banks "as much as I can" and a few of her 'Top Model' pals.
"Tyra is so much about her business and is so focused on her brand and everything, but she gives me great advice and is a great mentor. She never leaves me hanging. I love Tyra," she shared.
But she had no clue Tyra was currently enrolled at Harvard Business School.
"She's going to Harvard right now? She's smart, duh? She knows what she's doing," she joked.
"I think that 'America's Next Top Model' was such an amazing platform and opportunity for all the girls. I think we've all turned five minutes into an hour full of fame and have been very successful. Yaya [DaCosta] is doing her thing. She was just at my birthday in New York City and Eva [Marcille] is in L.A. and me and her still stay in touch, and she's wonderful," she said.
"But I think coming from where we're from, and of all the girls who have participated in 'America's Next Top Model,' and for you to be able to say YaYa, Eva and Toccara to stand apart from the pack is just absolutely amazing."