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Movie Review: The Help

Review by Manda J

A few weeks back, I was gifted with a pass to attend the screening of “The Help”. I was über excited as this was my second must see movie for the summer (the first being Transformers). As an avid reader,  I am the type of person who hates to see a movie after I’ve read the book because the movie gets so twisted, so I was a little leery and apprehensive about the movie. But after watching “The Help“, I was proven wrong.  Based on one of the most talked about books in years “The Help” stars Emma Stone as Skeeter, Viola Davis as Aibileen and Octavia Spencer as Minny as women in segregated Mississippi during the 1960’s.  They become friends and secretly begin to write accounts of women who serve as help to families in the town.

As an African American, I’ve seen dozens of movies or read plenty of books about segregation and slavery but this movie really brings out another side. The movie let’s you in on conversations from the white women, and heads of the house about black cooks & maids and you realize that these women who sacrifice their own homes and families weren’t even viewed as people.  They’re lives were not taken into consideration but their sole purpose was to serve and raise their employers children. The so-called “help” became so important in the children’s lives that the children turned to the help over their own mothers who birthed them.

Overall, the movie was excellent, and proves that people can change.  Davis, Spencer and Stone do an excellent job of getting you to see each of their sides and empathize with the help without using cheap woe is me tactics. Bottom line: Go see this movie!  It is in theater’s August 10, this Wednesday, don’t miss this one!

Patti Labelle Performs At U.S. Dream Academy “Power of A Dream” Gala

Patti LaBelle 67 Birthday DC


By Urbansocialight

A few nights ago, I had the honor of working the U.S. Dream Academy “Power of a Dream” Gala.  The U.S. Dream Academy connects at-risk youth—particularly children who have a parent who is incarcerated—with mentors who help guide their academic careers. The U.S. Dream Academy was founded by noted gospel singer Wintley Phipps the program, which also helps children who are academically behind, operates in 10 cities, including D.C. and Baltimore.

Amongst the nights honoree were:  U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina M. Benjamin, Sheila C. Johnson, Robert Townsend and Dr. Delbert W. Baker.  All the honorees were extremely gracious and so down to earth.   Dr. Benjamin, in her full military dress, mingled with the crowd as did Robert Townsend, who shook the hand of everyone he passed.

Being a music journalist, the highlight of the evening for me was the outstanding music.  First, there was a performance of “This Little Light of Mine” by some of the children in the program from across the nation.  The a cappella group Committed, who won the show “The Sing Off”, gave great performances of “Sweet Home Alabama”, “September”, and one of my all-time favorite songs “Let’s Stay Together”.    One of the final performances of the night came as a duet between Wintley Phipps and the illustrious Patti LaBelle.

Patti spoke about her recent performance for Oprah and how Oprah had been such a blessing for so many people and she wanted to pass it along by sharing the evening with the U.S. Dream Academy.  Her classic version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” had everyone jumping for joy.  Having had just celebrated her 67th birthday(and looking fabulous!) Committed sang a beautiful happy birthday to her.  I was supposed to be working the event, so I only got a few minutes to actually tape her performance, but I how you enjoyed the little portion I was able to capture. Enjoy!

For more information about U.S. Dream Academy please visit