Swimming - Olympics: Day 6 Swimming - Olympics: Day 6
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Simone Manuel Makes History: 5 Things To Know About The U.S. Olympic Swimmer

Get familiar with this black girl magic. 

Simone Manuel caught the world's attention when she shattered the glass ceiling at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. The U.S. swimmer became the first African-American woman to win an individual event on Thursday night (Aug. 11), after completing the women's 100-meter freestyle in a record-breaking time of 52.70 seconds.

After finishing beside Canadian Penny Oleksiak in the event's first tie since 1984, the Houston native took home the gold in an impressive Olympic debut, a feat that's been in the works throughout her 20-year-old lifetime.

Here are five things to know about the trailblazing Olympian:

Simone kicked off her swimming career when she was four:
Simone developed a deep-seated interest in swimming after watching her two older brothers participate in the sport to the point that she asked to join the swim team at the tender age of four. While her parents didn't honor her request, they enrolled their daughter in classes so she could acquire essential water safety skills. The rising star exceeded their expectations when she swam across the pool by her second lesson.

She's a student athlete at Stanford University:
Simone is a rising junior at the NCAA Division I school, where she says she has been challenged both academically and athletically. After a remarkable first year on the swim team, she opted out of competing in the 2015-2016 season to center her efforts on training for the Olympics, which evidently worked in her favor. By the looks of it, Simone's teammates are anything but mad at her decision as they celebrate her win.

She's not new to making history or breaking records:
Simone emerged as the first American swimmer to break the 25 second barrier in the 50-meter freestyle as a junior swimmer in 2013. During her freshman year at Stanford, the Cardinal swimmer broke both the NCAA and American records in the 100-yard freestyle, completing her signature event in 44.62 seconds. She is also one of two black women to qualify for the U.S. Olympic swim team for the first time in history, an honor she shares with Stanford teammate Lia Neal.

When you realize it's 2

days until race day 🇺🇸🇧🇷🎉 @swimone13

A video posted by lia m. neal (@lia_neal) on

When she's not in the pool, she's more than likely in the kitchen:
Cooking stands at the top of Simone's list of favorite hobbies. During her free time, she can be found making her favorite dishes. "It is just very relaxing to me," she told NBC. "Just about anything that I like to eat, I can cook - chicken, salmon, stir fry."

Family comes first for this swimming champion:
Simone is a proud Olympian, but she's even more excited to be a little sister to her two best friends, who she credits for helping her grow into the champion she is today. "I am fortunate that I have two older brothers and they have definitely helped me with being competitive just to keep up with them," she told  USA Swimming.

No one makes me as happy as them. Love my brothers. 😍

A photo posted by Simone Manuel (@swimone13) on

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Freeway Reveals Death Of 20-Year-Old Son, Jihad

Freeway is mourning the death of his beloved son, Jihad Pridgen.

The Philly native shared the devastating news on Instagram on Thursday (Oct. 29). “God knows I try my best to be strong, but this right here is a pain like I never felt,” he captioned a graduation photo of his son. “Please cherish your time and your [loved] ones because we’re not [promised] the next breath. I Pray Allah forgives my son for all of his sins and I pray that Allah grants him the highest level of paradise.”

The Muslim rapper did not go into detail about how his son passed away. In closing, he asked fans to make dua (an Islamic invocation) for his son and family. Jihad, 20, was following in his father’s footsteps in becoming a rapper. He went by the stage name “Snowhadd.”


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God knows I try my best to be strong, but this right here is a pain like I never felt. Please cherish your time and your love ones because we’re not promise the next breath. I Pray Allah forgives my son for all Of his sins and I pray that Allah grants him the highest level of paradise. Ameen 😢 Please make dua for him & my family.

A post shared by Freeway (@phillyfreeway) on Oct 29, 2020 at 3:28am PDT

New’s of Jihad’s death follows the death of the son of fellow State Property member and former Roc-A-Fella rapper, Oschino Vasquez.  “I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. Devastation at its finest,” the grieving father wrote on Instagram revealing that Freeway attended his son’s funeral last week. “Then I got that bad news. What [are] the chances that [we] both lose our sons. F*ck rap beef that’s fake sh*t. This is real life. I’ve never been depressed before but I [am] now.”

The cause of death is unclear, but according to varying reports, Oschino’s son and his son's pregnant girlfriend may have passed away in a car accident.

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Kenya Barris To Make Directorial Debut With Richard Pryor Biopic

Kenya Barris has signed on to write and direct a forthcoming biopic on Richard Pryor for MGM. The movie studio acquired the film in a heated bidding war, Deadline reports.

The biopic will mark Barris’ directorial debut. In addition to directing and penning the script, the Black-Ish creator will also produce the film through his company, Khalabo Ink Society. Additional producers include Pryor’s widow, Jennifer Lee Pryor, through her Tarnished Angel imprint, and Tory Metzger for Levantine Films.

“The way Pryor did what he did — with truth and specificity that was somehow self-aware and self-deprecating, and said with an unmatched level of vulnerability – that was the power and impact of his work,” Barris said in a statement. “Pryor had a voice that was distinctly his and, in many ways, comedy since then has been derivative of what he created. To me, this is a film about that voice, the journey that shaped it, and what it took for it to come to be.”

There have been several attempts to bring Pryor’s story to the big screen, including in 2016 when The Weinstein Company teamed with Jennifer and Lee Daniels on a script by Oscar-winning screenwriter Bill Condon. Mike Epps was slated to start as the comic legend, and Oprah Winfrey was going to play his grandmother, Eddie Murphy as his father, and Kate Hudson at Jennifer.

Pryor began his comedy career in the early 1960s playing local clubs around New York. By the following decade, Pryor rose up the ranks to become one of the most popular Black comedians in the genre appearing in films like Lady Sings the Blues, The Mack, Uptown Saturday Night, Car Wash, Harlem Nights, and The Wiz. Pryor was also a talented writer and producer (he wrote his stand-up comedy specials as well as other shows such as Sanford & Son, The Richard Pryor Show).

The 65-year-old comedian passed away from Parkinson’s Disease in 2005.

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Beenie Man Speaks Out After Fainting At Mother’s Funeral

Beenie Man broke his silence amid rumors that he was hospitalized after fainting at his mother’s funeral. Footage of the dancehall icon passing out in front of his mother's casket began circulating the web last weekend.

In a heartfelt message posted on social media on Wednesday (Oct. 27), the dancehall star thanked well-wishers, and poured out his grief. “One Sunday, October 25th I laid my Mom to rest. It was by far and still is the most difficult thing I have ever had to do,” he explained. “Leading up to the day of the funeral I was [physically] involved in every aspect of the planning an execution.”

Beenie’s mother, Lilieth Sewell, suffered a stroke in July. Her health began declining after she was released from the hospital.  She passed away in September at age 63.

“I kept telling myself, maybe if it remained active I will be able to function,” Beenie said. “Unfortunately, when it came down to that very last moment, it hit me and hit very hards. This would be the last time I would see my mom. Despite the noise, the singing, the mourning, all I could hear was silence while watching my mom’s body being lowered into the tomb.

“My heart broke and I blacked out for a few minutes,” he continues. “When I revived, I saw my closet friends and family were around me.”

The Grammy winner added that he was not “hospitalized,” but was comforted by friends and family. “Please continue to pray for us as we heal and moved forward.”

Read his full statement below.


— Beenie Man (@KingBeenieMan) October 27, 2020

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