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Melyssa Ford attends the Culture Creators 4th Annual Innovators & Leaders Awards Brunch at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on June 22, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California.
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Melyssa Ford Shares The Importance Of Emotional Healing Following Traumatic Car Accident

Television personality and model Melyssa Ford has found a new appreciation for life following her near-fatal car accident last year. As her fight to a full recovery continues both physically and emotionally, Ford spoke to Essence about her healing journey.

The series, which highlights women who have survived tragedy in various ways, focuses on Ford's brave journey back to a normal life. In June 2018, the media maven was en route to a bridal shower when an 18-wheeler truck clipped the back of her vehicle. The car flipped three times, leaving Ford with a skull fracture, bleeding on the brain and severe cuts and bruises.

Friends like Claudia Jordan and Rosci Diaz were by her side throughout her healing journey, with Jordan opening up a GoFundMe to help with Ford's extensive medical bills. Ford had to relearn cognitive skills like walking and her memory which she still struggles with to this day.

 

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As a Scorpio, we think about Life and Death a lot. Being the sign of Death and Rebirth, we contemplate our mortality frequently, which is why I think we also seem to constantly search for a deeper perspective, in the hopes of transforming to reach our higher Selves. Having an experience that brought me as close to death as I have ever been, I’ve spent the months in recovery thinking A LOT. About the way I want to live the rest of the life God spared and what I have to offer, having been given this chance by Our Creator to discover a greater purpose. But it’s also made me think about LOVE. The outpouring of LOVE I’ve felt the last few months, not just from friends and family but the ways total strangers have supported me in messages left in email and DMs and comments; sharing their own painful stories as a way to create a sense of solidarity with me... man, I don’t know what else to say other than my birthday wish is for YOUR peace, happiness, safety, health and abundance. The pic I chose is an example of LOVE. My two Scorpio Sisters @iamalesharenee and @rocsidiaz in my hospital room trying to raise my spirits with some pampering. I ❤️ them and I ❤️ all of you.

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#tbt I’m normally a pretty private person but if you don’t celebrate your own victories, why would anyone else? This was a month after the crash that almost took my life. I needed to support of a walker from the symptoms of post concussive syndrome. My speech And cognition was affected, I was constantly disoriented and I was scared. But what ended up happening over the next few months of recovery was intense self discovery: things that no longer fit within the realm of who I was or what I could accept or be a part of. Certain relationships fell apart due to the glaring fact that, at my worst moment, ppl I loved and would have done anything for couldn’t seem to muster the same energy for me and made excuses for their lacking. You live and you learn I guess 🤷🏽‍♀️Now that I’m better, my energy will be focused on projects and endeavors that are more reflective of the real me... at the helm of my own ship, charting my own course. Thank you to everyone who has cheered me on and rooted for and prayed for me.

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“It comes back in dreams—the sounds of metal scraping on the pavement, which is one of the most horrible sounds in the world,” she says.“I had to walk with a walker for about a month."

The 42-year-old also spoke to her battle with her ongoing severe depression and active thoughts of suicide. Not in favor of sharing her journey on social media, Ford saw being transparent to her followers as another form of coping and healing.

"I've spent the better part of my life hiding when I was in pain," she tells Essence. "I had this mantra that I used to repeat to myself ever since I was young: 'Never let them see you shook-- never.' That did not work anymore. I was up against something I wasn't prepared for."

Since the unfortunate accident, Ford is confidently glowing on her Instagram feed with positive posts and daring model pics.

"It's taken a while to get back to some semblance of normalcy; some things I've had to accept as "my new normal" after the car crash. But every time I thought about giving up, I thought about the strong women, both in my life & those I've admired from afar, and the perseverance I've witnessed them exhibit. It was the motivation I needed to give it 'just one more day'. Happy #womanshistorymonth Queens!"

The next story in the five-part series will appear in the July/August 2019 issue of Essence. 

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Little Brother Releases "May The Lord Watch," First Album In Nine Years

After years of fans restlessly begging for a reunion, North Carolina rap group Little Brother has released their first album in nearly a decade.

At midnight, Phonte and Big Pooh released the new Litle Brother album May the Lord Watch on digital service providers. The album clocks in at 15 tracks and 37 minutes, with the lion's share of production handled by fellow Justus League member and frequent collaborator Khrysis, Focus and Nottz, with more beats by Black Milk, Abjo, Devin Morrison, Blaaq Gold, and King Michael Coy. A glance at the tracklist appears to show that there are no guest appearances, but this story will be updated with further details. In an Instagram post, Rapper Big Pooh referred to the record as "the album of our careers."

 

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Listen, man. It took us a long time to get it right but we did. I love the fact we accomplished the goal but it’s the journey that I’ll always cherish the most. We wrote and recorded every song on this album together. We carried each other. We give y’all the album of our careers, “May The Lord Watch” . . Thank you to everyone that contributed to this album. It wouldn’t have turned out the same way without y’all. (I’ll drop the credits later. I got some champagne to drink) #LBbizness #MTLW #availablenow

A post shared by Rapper Pooh (@rapperbigpooh) on Aug 19, 2019 at 9:15pm PDT

Phonte and Big Pooh announced in May that they would be coming back together for a new record, albeit without the production of founding member 9th Wonder, who gave the group his blessing while he continued other projects. Since then, the duo has released a documentary about their surprise live reunion at the 2018 Art of Cool Festival in their home state, which was revealed to have been the spark for their idea to make a new album. Since then, they have stayed relatively mum on details until Aug 19, when they surprised fans with the title, the album cover, and the news that the album would be dropping at midnight.

Little Brother released their debut album The Listening in 2003, before landing a record deal with Atlantic Records and releasing their acclaimed sophomore album The Minstrel Show in 2005. They released two more albums, Getback (2007) and Leftback (2010), before parting ways for their own musical endeavors. Phonte has since made solo albums and group albums with producer Nicolay as the Grammy-winning duo Foreign Exchange, Rapper Big Pooh has released solo albums, and 9th Wonder founded what would become It's A Wonderful World Music Group, which features artists including Grammy-nominated MC Rapsody..

Stream May the Lord Watch on Apple Music, TIDAL, or below on Spotify.

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Al Sharpton Says Jay Z And Colin Kaepernick NFL Debate Is The Wrong Fight

Al Sharpton wants everyone to focus on the fight against racial inequality instead of pitting Jay Z and Colin Kaepernick against each other.

After Jay Z and Roc Nation's lucrative deal with the NFL was announced last week, many blasted the artist for his business decision despite its inclusion of a social justice plan. As rappers like Freddie Gibbs and scholars like Eric Michael Dyson lend support to Mr. Carter, others like athlete Eric Reid and cultural commentator/author Jemelle Hill have continued to push Kaepernick's mission to the forefront.

During Harlem Week, activist Rev. Al Sharpton provided his input into the matter by asking the public to focus on the bigger picture. “This ain’t about Colin Kaepernick’s knee,” Sharpton said at the National Action Network's rally on Saturday (Aug. 17) “It’s about choking Eric Garner to death, it's about the shooting of Tamir Rice, it's about Michael Brown."

He continued to share how TMZ approached him with cameras and baited questions about the ordeal which he refused to take part in.

"They asked [me] 'What do you think about Jay Z? They're calling him a sellout and all that.' I said, 'The issue is Jay Z has done documentaries around and about [Kalief] Browder and other things. I'm not attacking Jay Z and I won't participate until Kaepernick has a job. The issue is Eric Garner. This issue is Tamir Rice. Keep your eyes on the bigger picture."

Sharpton also asked the crowd to shift their focus to the issues of police brutality and racial inequality. According to reports, 480 people have been killed by police this year. The Washington Post notes at 998 people lost their lives at the hands of a police officer in 2018.

“This ain’t no battle for athletes and superstars, it’s about people being trampled on,” Sharpton continued. “Don’t let them distract you fighting the wrong fight.”

Watch the clip below.

Addressing the NFL, Jay Z, and Colin Kaepernick controversy during my #NANSaturdayActionRally keynote message. @ImpactTVNetwork @1190amWLIB @NationalAction pic.twitter.com/hCgp2gcshR

— Reverend Al Sharpton (@TheRevAl) August 17, 2019

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Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road" Is No Longer The Number One Song In America

Lil Nas X's bonafide smash "Old Town Road" has been dethroned from its unprecedented 19-week run at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

According to the publication, rising alt-pop star Billie Eilish now has the No. 1 song in the country with her track "Bad Guy." The song has been sitting at No. 2 for nine weeks straight. Lil Nas X, who collaborated with the likes of Billy Ray Cyrus, Young Thug, Mason Ramsey and more superstars for various remixes of the song, congratulated the 17-year-old on her first No. 1 hit via Twitter.

"Old Town Road" now holds the No. 3 spot behind  Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello's "Señorita."

The Atlanta musician catapulted to fame after "Old Town Road" made the rounds. Initially, it was removed from Billboard's Country chart for reportedly not implementing enough elements of the genre. Since then, it has shattered records and expectations.

Just a few weeks ago, it became the longest-running No. 1 in American music history, breaking a record held by Mariah Carey, Boyz II Men, Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee and Justin Bieber (for "One Sweet Day" and "Despacito," respectively).

Lil Nas X has a lot to be proud of. Congrats on a historic run.

congratulations to billie eilish!! u deserve this!!

— nope (@LilNasX) August 19, 2019

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