Nelson Mandela Death: President Obama Hails Him 'Inspiration To Millions' (Video)

President Barack Obama addressed the nation shortly after the passing of former South African President Nelson Mandela on Thursday (Dec. 5), praising him as "one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this Earth."

In June, Obama paid homage to the anti-apartheid icon by visiting his prison cell at Robben Island, where Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years as a political prisoner after trying to fight white rule.

Below is the transcript of his speech today courtesy of the Washington Post:

At his trial in 1964, Nelson Mandela closed his statement from the dock saying, "I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I've cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."

Nelson Mandela lived for that ideal and he made it real.

He achieved more than could be expected of any man.

Today he's gone home and we've lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this Earth. He no longer belongs to us; he belongs to the ages. Through his fierce dignity and unbending will to sacrifice his own freedom for the freedom of others, Madiba transformed South Africa and moved all of us. His journey from a prisoner to a president embodied the promise that human beings and countries can change for the better.

His commitment to transfer power and reconcile with those who jailed him set an example that all humanity should aspire to, whether in the lives of nations or in our own personal lives. And the fact that he did it all with grace and good humor and an ability to acknowledge his own imperfections, only makes the man that much more remarkable. As he once said, "I'm not a saint unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying."

I am one of the countless millions who drew inspiration from Nelson Mandela's life. My very first political action -- the first thing I ever did that involved an issue or a policy or politics was a protest against apartheid. I would study his words and his writings. The day he was released from prison it gave me a sense of what human beings can do when they're guided by their hopes and not by their fears.

And like so many around the globe, I cannot fully imagine my own life without the example that Nelson Mandela set. And so long as I live, I will do what I can to learn from him.

Watch the full speech below.

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Teyana Taylor Hints At Music Retirement, Says She Feels Underappreciated

Teyana Taylor is feeling underappreciated. Taylor hinted a possibly retiring from music in an Instagram post thanking fans for her music Spotify end-of-the year numbers.

The “Bare Wit Me” singer wracked up over 167 million Spotify streams, from 15.2 million listeners, across 92 countries. “I ain’t gone [sic] front in times of feeling super [underappreciated] as [an] artist, receiving little to no real push from the ‘machine,’ constantly getting the shorter end of the stick, being overlooked, I mean the list [goes] on and on lol,” she wrote on Friday (Dec. 4).

Taylor added that she’s “retiring this chapter of my story” with the comfort of knowing that she’s walking away with “peace of mind seeing that all the hard work & passion put in was indeed loved & supported somewhere in the world!”

She went on to thank her day one supporters and new fans. “I love you and I thank you for everything & don’t worry y’all know all hustlers have the understanding that when one door closes another will open.”

This isn’t the first time that Taylor has aired out her frustrations with the music industry. She put the Grammys on blast last month for snubbing female R&B singers, and previously spoke out about the mishandling of the rollout of her debut album, K.T.S.E.

Taylor’s last studio project, The Album, was released in June.

Read her full Instagram post below.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Jimmy Neutch- Shumpert (@teyanataylor)

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Letitia Wright Responds To Backlash After Post Questioning COVID-19 Vaccine

After catching backlash for tweeting a YouTube video questioning the ingredients of a COVID-19 vaccine, Letitia Wright went back to social media on Friday (Dec. 4) to explain her reasoning.

“My intention was not to hurt anyone, my ONLY intension of posting this video was it raised my concerns with what the vaccine contains and what we are putting in our bodies. Nothing else,” wrote the Black Panther star.

my intention was not to hurt anyone, my ONLY intention of posting the video was it raised my concerns with what the vaccine contains and what we are putting in our bodies.

Nothing else.

— Letitia Wright (@letitiawright) December 4, 2020

if you don’t conform to popular opinions. but ask questions and think for yourself....you get cancelled 😂

— Letitia Wright (@letitiawright) December 4, 2020

The criticism started after Wright shared a video titled, COVID-19 Vaccine Should We Take It?, on Thursday (Dec. 3). As the post began circulating social media Wright tweeted, “If you don’t conform to popular opinions but ask questions and think for yourself…you get cancelled.”

Wright also liked a tweet reading “Cancel Black Panther 2 immediately,” and another tweet calling for her character to be recast.

Wright, 27,  isn’t alone in being skeptical of COVID-19 vaccines. According to a Pew Research survey conducted in September, only 32% of Black Americans surveyed said that they would take the vaccine. Some of the distrust dates stems from the 1932 Tuskegee Experiment where hundreds of Black men were unknowingly infected with syphilis.

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Ashanti And Keyshia Cole Sign On For Verzuz Battle

Season 2 of Verzuz is already off to a good start. Ashanti and Keyshia Cole are next in line for a Verzuz battle, it was confirmed on Friday (Dec. 4).

The R&B stars will go up against each other for a “celebration of women empowerment” next Saturday, Dec. 12. The “Legendary Ladies Night” will be streamed on IG Live and Apple Music.

Yeah, it’s official! The paperwork is IN 🚨🚨 It’s a legendary Ladies Night on Saturday, December 12th with @Ashanti and @KeyshiaCole.

Which Libra you got?!

Saturday, December 12th, 5PM PT / 8PM ET. Watch on our IG or in HD on @AppleMusic.

Drinks by @Ciroc Merch by @NTWRKLIVE pic.twitter.com/UCWJvaEl0y

— Verzuz (@verzuzonline) December 4, 2020

Both multi-platinum selling singers have impressive stats. Ashanti’s catalog of solo hits include “Foolish,” “Rock wit U,” “Rain On Me,” “Happy,” and “Baby.” On the collaborative tip, the Grammy winner joined Ja Rule on singles like, “What’s Love?” and “Always on Time.”

She was also featured on Lloyd’s debut single “Southside,” “Into You” by Fabolous, and “Body on Me” with Nelly. And she of course wrote songs for Jennifer Lopez and more.

Cole’s breakout single, “I Changed My Mind,” dropped in 2004 and her career took off from there. The Oakland native boasts a slew of classic R&B singles like “(I Just Want It) To Be Over,” “I Should Have Cheated,” “Let It Go,” “I Remember,” “Heaven Sent,” “Love,” and “Trust.” As a featured artist, Cole appeared on Sean Paul’s “(When You Gonna) Give It Up to Me,” Young Jeezy’s “Dreaming,” and Diddy’s 2006 single “Last Night,” to name a few.

Although they’re technically going up against each other for Verzuz, there’s no beef between the two artists who previously collaborated for the title track off Cole’s 2012 album, Woman to Woman.

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