Alicia Keys And Ellen DeGeneres Donate $20,000 To College-Bound Teen Who Was Asked To Cut Locs

The 18-year-old was told by his school to cut his locs in order to attend his graduation ceremony or face suspension.

With hopes of walking across the stage at his high school graduation, DeAndre Arnold was met with a roadblock that attempted to alter a tradition within his family. According to the Chicago Tribune, the 18-year-old was told to cut his locs in order to attend his graduation ceremony or face suspension.

The Mount Belvieu, Texas school claims its handbook mandates a male student's hair must not reach past the "the top of a T-shirt collar or be gathered or worn in a style that would allow the hair to extend below the top of a T-shirt collar, below the eyebrows, or below the ear lobes when let down.”

Arnold decided not to return to the school because he would face in-school suspension for not adhering to the handbook and switched schools. He's been growing his hair since the seventh grade. In a statement given to CNN, Superintendent Greg Pool said this has always been the school's policy and not something the institution created to single out a student. "People want to call us racist, but we're following the rules, the law of the land," he said. "We're certainly not making this up."

After the news went viral, talk show host and comedian Ellen DeGeneres and Grammy Award-winning singer Alicia Keys awarded Arnold with a $20,000 donation toward his college tuition. "I know that the school needs to do the right thing," Keys said. "Me and Ellen, we called our friends at Shutterfly because we know that you're a special person and you're destined for already such greatness. We wanted to support that greatness, and invest in that greatness, and we wanted to present you a check for $20,000."

The news also made it to the view of filmmaker Matthew A. Cherry, who created the Oscar-nominated animated film Hair Love. In tandem with star couple, Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade, Arnold and his mother will receive the all-star treatment and attend the Oscars on Sunday (Feb. 9).

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Juelz Santana’s Wife Kimbella Petitions For His Prison Release Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Across the United States, inmates and prison staff have been dealing with the spread of COVID-19 and receiving minimal attention from local governments. While releases for certain inmates are being granted, one famously being Tekashi 6ix9ine, others like Juelz Santana are petitioning for a similar release.

The “Mic Check” rapper’s wife Kimbella Vanderhee publicized a Change.org petition to have her spouse released to continue his sentencing under home confinement. Santana was sentenced to 27 months in prison for drugs and firearm violations.

Kimbella said Santana has been on lockdown for two weeks. “He has served 13 months at FCI Petersburg and should be allowed to serve the rest of his sentence on home confinement,” the petition’s statement reads. “BOP & Honorable Judge Chesler can make this happen for Laron. He is a good husband, father, son, brother, friend and has a positive media influence as a legendary rap artist.”

In 2018, Santana turned himself in to the authorities after a firearm and drugs were found in his luggage at Newark International Airport. He was brought up on charges of unlawful possession of a weapon and other drug-related offenses.

Similar to 6ix9ine, Kimbella is petitioning for Santana to serve out the rest of his sentence on home confinement. Earlier this week, 6ix9ine was granted release due to the novel coronavirus' spread and its affects on people with underlying health issues, like asthma which 6ix9ine has. Prison reform advocates have been calling on local governments to release those with non-criminal parole violations. Recently, New York City's Rikers Island recorded its first inmate date from the COVID-19 virus. TIME reports 273 inmates at Rikers have tested positive.

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Quibi Documentary Explores LeBron James' I Promise School

Quibi's launch of original content has revealed an in-depth look into LeBron James' I Promise school based in the athlete's hometown of Akron, Ohio.

The docuseries explores young scholars attending the school and the traumas they've faced in their very short lives. I Promised officially opened in 2018, taking in low-income students who reportedly were among the worst performers in Akron’s public schools.

Speaking to People, James explained how the school's mission isn't just to improve grades but to provide emotional support the children will take into adulthood.

“Hope is a very powerful thing. No matter the situation, if a kid knows someone truly believes in them, that changes their outlook on everything,” James said. “With our school, everything is built on giving kids the confidence that they can do anything. They know I believe in them, they know their teachers, the whole staff, and everyone we’ve put around them believes in them. It’s incredible what they can do when they feel that support.”

Each student was handpicked with some improvement at record speed. According to The New York Times, 216 of 240 I Promise students met or exceeded their expected growth at the mid-year mark. “At the I PROMISE School, our goal is to let every single kid know they are special,” James added. “That they can be whatever they want to be. And that starts with addressing everything they’re going through before they even step foot in a classroom.”

Before its opening, James ensured that the parents of the students would also have a chance to expand their education and job hunt. Students also receive breakfast, lunch and snacks with access to an in-house food bank.

In the Quibi doc, James' mother Gloria Marie James, also shared how her son struggled in school as a child and how the player used his own life experience to help improve the school's mission statement.

“You’ll hear from my mom in the documentary, who shares how much we both can relate to what these kids and their families are going through,” he said. “A lot of what we do at I Promise School is based on our experience and that’s what makes the connection so real. We have a mutual understanding of each other and what we’re going through, and I think that gives us all the drive we need to succeed for one another.”

Like many schools around the country, I Promise teachers are engaging with students on platforms like Zoom.

 

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Our family looks a little bit different on the computer screen than they do at school…🤔🤣 but there is truly nothing like family! #WeAreFamily

A post shared by I PROMISE School (@ipromiseschool) on Mar 26, 2020 at 1:04pm PDT

Quibi, a new streaming service from Jeffery Katzenberg, founder and CEO of Dreamworks, officially launched Monday with original content from the likes of Ariana Grande, Keke Palmer, Lena Waithe and more.

Luckily for T-Mobile customers, Quibi is on the house for a full year. T-Mobile customers with two or more voice lines at standard rates on Magenta and ONE plans with taxes and fees included — along with discounted First Responder, Military and Magenta Plus 55 plans — or small business customers with up to 12 lines, can get Quibi (regularly $4.99) added to their plan for free.

Customers can sign up between now and July 7 to get Quibi on Us by going to mytmobile.com or the T-Mobile app for iOS or Android.

See the full list of shows on the platform here.

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R. Kelly Denied Release From Jail Amid COVID-19 Fear

R.Kelly's request to be released from jail amid COVID-19 concerns was denied by a Brooklyn judge on Tuesday (April7), according to TMZ.

TMZ also reported that Kelly's lawyers asked that the R&B singer be place on house arrest at his home in Chicago.

“The defendant is currently in custody because of the risks that he will flee or attempt to obstruct, threaten or intimidate prospective witnesses,” U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly wrote via press release. “The defendant has not explained how those risks have changed.”

Kelly is at Chicago Metropolitan Correctional Center, where he is awaiting trial on racketeering, sexual misconduct and other charges.

Also, rapper YNW Melly recently tested positive for COVID-19 while in jail awaiting trial for double murder. He plans to file a motion to be released on house arrest.

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