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Lin-Manuel Miranda As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Is Nothing Short Of Amazing

It was an all too timely occurrence. 

An all-star lineup of performers in New York City gathered at Riverside Church to pay homage to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on Monday afternoon (Jan. 18). The #MLKNow event featured, among many others, Michael B. Jordan as Fred Hampton, Andre Holland as Malcolm X and Lin-Manuel Miranda as King himself.

Miranda delivered King's first public anti-war speech “Beyond Vietnam,” at the very same podium in April of 1967. King’s words, all too timely, beat with a pulse that sent chills at many points in the address:

This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one’s tribe, race, class, and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all mankind. This oft misunderstood, this oft misinterpreted concept, so readily dismissed by the Nietzsches of the world as a weak and cowardly force, has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of man. When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I’m not speaking of that force which is just emotional bosh. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality. This Hindu-Muslim-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the first epistle of Saint John: “Let us love one another (Yes), for love is God. (Yes) And every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love. . . . If we love one another, God dwelleth in us and his love is perfected in us.” Let us hope that this spirit will become the order of the day.

And…

We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with a lost opportunity. The tide in the affairs of men does not remain at flood—it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is adamant to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words, “Too late.” There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance or our neglect. Omar Khayyam is right: “The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on.”

The Hamilton star, as eloquent and passionate a speaker he is, gave all the credit to the late Reverend: "Reading MLK aloud is exactly like Shakespeare--no spin on the ball required. Speak loud & clear, & the words do all the work. Such words." In the end, Miranda described the speech as life-changing and urged his followers to read the entire passage.

Watch a brief snippet, below.

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Members of the public gather outside the funeral for Lesandro Guzman-Feliz on June 27, 2018 in New York. - Lesandro Guzman-Feliz, 15, was stabbed to death outside a Bronx bodega in an apparent case of mistaken identity.
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Five Gang Members Sentenced To Life In Prison For The Murder Of Lesandro 'Junior' Guzman-Feliz

Five members of the Trinitarios gang were given life sentences for their role in the tragic death of Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz.

According to WABC, Antonio Rodriguez Hernandez Santiago, 25, Jose Muniz, 23, and Elvin Garcia, 25, were all sentenced to 25 years to life. Because of his age, Manuel Rivera, 19, was sentenced to 23 years to life. The group of men was the first batch to be tried in the slaying of the 15-year-old, who died on June 2018. Earlier this summer they were found them guilty of first-degree murder, second-degree murder, conspiracy and second-degree gang assault.

Jonaiki Martinez Estrella, 25, was also sentenced to life in prison without parole. He was the suspect who stabbed Junior in the neck, as seen in the harrowing surveillance footage from a nearby bodega.

“Certain words come to mind when I think about your involvement,” Judge Robert Neary told Martinez Estrella. “Senseless is one of these words. Savage is another word. But the one that often come to my mind is cowardly.”

In court, Estrella told the judge, "I'm sorry" and "My intention was not to cause death." He also blamed drugs, alcohol, and allegiance to the Trinitarios gang.

Junior's parents spoke out after the sentencing about their innocent child.

"That night, there were two deaths, Junior and I, who was left dead inside," Leandra Feliz said. "As a young boy, my son dreamed of becoming a detective, so he could protect this city...Please make sure my son's dreams come true. These killers should never be able to step out of a jail cell, so they know the moment they killed my son, they took their own lives as well."

Lisandro Guzman, Junior's father, also spoke about the grieving process. The family has faced heartache following the verdict after the sentencing was delayed three times.

"I struggle daily to find meaning in my life," he said. "I am no longer the person I once was. It is impossible to find a purpose in life. You will never have the ability to understand the pain that you caused. I will never forgive you. You deserve to be punished to the fullest extent of the law."

SENTENCING IN JUNIOR CASE: ESTRELLA: LIFE WITHOUT PAROLERIVERA: 23 TO LIFEMUNIZ: 25 TO LIFESANTIAGO: 25 TO LIFEGARCIA: 25 TO LIFE #JUSTICEFORJUNIOR

— Anthony Carlo (@AC_TV12) October 11, 2019

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Fat Joe performs on stage during Rihanna's 5th Annual Diamond Ball Benefitting The Clara Lionel Foundation at Cipriani Wall Street on September 12, 2019 in New York City.
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Fat Joe Responds To Claims Of Appropriating Santería Culture In "Yes" Video

Fat Joe has offered apologies to those who interpreted a homage to Santería as an insult in his new video "Yes" featuring Cardi B and Anuel AA.

Released Monday (Oct. 7) the video, directed by Eif Rivera, features stereotypical music video troupes like women twerking under neon fluorescent lights. In addition to standout verses from Cardi B and Anuel, the visual includes a moment where a group of women takes part in the Lucumí religion. It's paired with the song's sample, "Aguanile" by the late salsa legend Héctor Lavoe. The moment is fairly quick but this didn't stop many from raising a brow to it.

As Joe promoted the video on Twitter, one user called him out for allegedly appropriating spiritual practice. "You disrespected the Lukumi religion. How are you going to take our religious imagery and sacred music and pervert it with "Ass up face down?" the user said. "Falta de respeto the Orishas will take everything away from you one by one! There was no reason for this."

Joe explained how it was an essential blessing to the intro and Lavoe, who also practiced Santería.

"We tried to pay respect at the intro of the video everyone who took part of this video knew the concept," he said. "We have nothing but respect Hip hop has always taken samples and flipped it into something new I tried to pay homage. Sorry, you took offense, I understand."

We tried to pay respect at the intro of the video everyone who took part of this video knew the concept, we have nothing but respect Hip hop has always taken samples and flipped it into something new i tried to pay homage sorry you took offense i understand https://t.co/R6E2dgljmA

— FAT JOE (@fatjoe) October 9, 2019

Hailed as a salsa pioneer in New York during the golden age of the genre, Lavoe was a beloved musician who helped popularize salsa with albums like Cosa Nuestra, De Ti Depende and Comedia. "Yes'" sample "Aguanile" comes from his eighth album, El Juicio. 

Watch "Yes" and the homage of sorts below.

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Five-Year-Old Girl Saved By Samaritans After Father Jumps With Her In Front Of NYC Subway

A five-year-old girl was saved by good samaritans after her father jumped with her off a subway track in New York City.

According to CBS News, the incident happened Monday on the 4 line in the Bronx around 8 am. Bystanders claimed to see the man on the phone as he was holding his daughter's hand. A few moments later, he was seen jumping onto the tracks as the train arrived at the Kingsbridge stop.

Commuters like Jairo Torres made a move to save the little girl, who landed between the tracks. As many recorded the moment, Torres and another man are seen saving the child from under the train. Her father was killed instantly.

"She says 'What happened to my daddy?'" he said. "I said 'Don't look at your daddy. Come to me. Crawl like a puppy.' I never think about anything, I just cared about saving the life of the baby."

Niurka Caraballo can be heard in several bystander videos screaming for her child. She told reporters her daughter miraculously only suffered scrapes and bruises. She was taken to a local hospital and brought home in her godfather's arms. Caraballo thanked Torres and the heavens above what she called a miracle.

"My little girl is in perfect condition thanks to God and the angels that protected her," Caraballo said. "Those living angels with my little girl. Thank you, thank you."

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