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Serena Williams Says Daughter Olympia Inspires Her to Speak Out Against Domestic Violence

For tennis star Serena Williams, joining the fight against domestic and financial violence is crucial to not only being a strong role model, but to being a mother to 9-month-old daughter Alexis Olympia.

The athlete has teamed up with Allstate Foundation’s Purple Purse initiative where she aims to be a powerful voice to speak up for others who may not be able to.

“These women probably can’t use their voice so it’s important for them to know that there are people out there that are using their voice and letting them know that there is a place, that we can do something about it,” the superstar said at an event for the initiative on Wednesday.

According to Allstate, one in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime, with 99 percent of cases being financial abuse. As a new mother, these shocking statistics really hit home, Williams, 36, told PEOPLE.

“Having a daughter means that she’s one in four. Hopefully those stats don’t go up by the time she’s dating and meeting people, but they can if you don’t make people aware of it,” she said.

RELATED: Prepare to ‘Aww’: Inside the Cuddly Life of Serena Williams’ Daughter, Alexis Olympia

Williams recalled wanting to join Purple Purse after realizing how little she knew about the subject, figuring that many other people were in the dark about the issue as well.

“ is a subject that people are not really comfortable talking about, but sometimes talking about the uncomfortable is what we have to do,” Williams said. “We’re doing that now with Me Too, with Times Up, and I feel like we’re making those steps. We want to make this a movement.”

As a frequent advocate for women’s rights and equal pay in sports, Williams doesn’t shy away from reminding women that their voice deserves to be heard. The best advice she can give to both her daughter and women today is to “always speak up, and from the first day.”

“If you keep letting it go on, the situation gets worse and worse until you’re just completely downtrodden,” she added.

As an ambassador for the organization, Williams wants to bring awareness through education and social media. Last fall, the four-time Olympic gold medalist designed a purple purse in honor of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and is gearing up to unveil her new design for this year.

RELATED: New Mom Serena Williams Designed a Purple Purse in Honor of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month 

“When I designed it, that was kind of the mindset…for it to be enough for you to take just what you need, your essentials,” Williams told PEOPLE.

On Wednesday, Williams took part in unveiling Purple Purse’s first installment of six “Instagram-able” murals as part of a national campaign to educate the public on the issue of domestic abuse. The first work was done by local artist Isabel Castillo Guijarro in NYC, and five additional murals will be created by local female artists in Houston, Seattle, New Orleans, Los Angeles and Chicago.

Williams snapped a picture in front of the mural with Allstate’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Relations, Vicky Dinges, and is using her strong following on social media to help make the invisible weapon of financial abuse more visible to the world.

“By tapping into the growing popularity of free street art and turning it into a vehicle for social good, we hope these murals will bring financial abuse and domestic violence out of the shadows, and inspire a new network of allies for domestic violence survivors,” said Dinges.

 

As a mother to young Olympia, Williams expressed her strong belief in educating young boys about what is acceptable and not acceptable, and to know that they need to support the cause. “The key word for me is men,” says Williams, adding, “It’s a human rights issue. We should just want to be better humans.”


PEOPLE.com

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Iceland Inspires Alexander McQueen’s Fall 2017 Campaign

ICY HOT: Alexander McQueen’s fall campaign trail led to Iceland, where Jamie Hawkesworth photographed Rianne Von Rompaey. There are rugged black-and-white shots against the Icelandic landscape and contrasting warm, interior shots in saturated color. The collection was inspired by Cornwall and, in particular, the works of the 20th-century sculptor Barbara Hepworth, whose studio was in St. Ives.
Alexander McQueen creative director Sarah Burton worked alongside the stylist Camilla Nickerson and creative agency M/M Paris on the campaign that will break in the biannual title Love, which lands on newsstands later this month.
The great outdoors is becoming something of a theme for McQueen campaigns: For fall-winter 2016, Hawkesworth braved the wind-chilled Scottish terrain for a spare and dramatic shoot, while for spring 2017 he and Burton took to the beaches off the northwest African coast.
At the time of the last campaign launch, McQueen said Burton and the photographer shared “a mutual love for British nature and wildlife.”

<strong>The Alexander McQueen Fall 2017 Campaign</strong> 
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Trump Administration’s ‘Alternative Facts’ Inspires Baseball Team’s Pig Mascot Name

Kellyanne Conway’s comment on “alternative facts” has already gone down in political folklore.

It’s now being further preserved in the shape of Minnesota baseball team The St. Paul Saints’ new pig mascot — which it has named Alternative Fats, the Star Tribune reports.

The porker follows previous pigs Little Red Porkette, Stephen Colboar, Boarack Ohama, Kim Lardashian, Kevin Bacon, and Mackleboar as the side’s lucky charm.

Club officials revealed its new mascot’s name via a statement online Wednesday, which itself was packed with what are undoubtedly also alternative facts.

Alternative Fats will enter the field each game like no other pig before him, with a white ground covering draped from his mansion-style pigpen to home plate for the billions of Saints fans to shower him with love and admiration,” it read.

“Alternative Fats will be so HUUUUGE it will make all other pigs jealous,” the press release continued, before claiming the swine would “go down in the pantheon of the greatest mascot names in the history of sports.”

Other suggestions not to make the cut included Boar’d of Trump, Ham Jong Un and Pigimir Putin.

Conway, one of President Donald Trump’s advisers, initially made the comment in January while defending White House press secretary Sean Spicer to NBC’s Chuck Todd on “Meet The Press.”

The Saints have also spoofed that encounter with this YouTube video:

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Russell Elliot Hopes His Sexy New Video Inspires ‘Queer Joy And Pleasure’

Russell Elliot is back with a sexy new song and video.

HuffPost Queer Voices first introduced you to the queer R&B artist’s music in 2014, and since then he has released a number of queer-themed tracks and clips. This latest video, for the song “On You,” is described by Elliot as a “sex jam” and he emphasized that songs like this one can be just as important as blatantly political work during tumultuous times of social unrest.

“I want queer joy and pleasure to stay visible in these tough times,” Elliot told The Huffington Post. “So many people said, ‘You can’t put out a sex jam. People want to feel angry, not sexy.’ I say we’re allowed to hold both. I’m writing my senators. I’m at JFK and Stonewall and on the National Mall chanting with my sisters. I’m also grinding one out on the dance floor. Because they can’t take that from us. I think we’re allowed to hold the resistance and our hard-earned joy in equal measure. I’ll go a step further and say I think we need to draw on both to fortify us if we’re to get through this.”

Check out the clip above and head here to see more from Elliot.

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California Woman Inspires Teens All Over the World to Perform Acts of Kindness

Even though she had a privileged childhood, Gaby Ghorbani never got numb to the poverty surrounding her as a child growing up in Guadalajara, Mexico as she witnessed children begging or selling gum on the streets to put food on their tables.

“I would always give food away and when I got my driver’s license, I would see kids on the corner and I would ask “Are you hungry? Where is your Mommy?’ ” Ghorbani, 46, tells PEOPLE. “And they would say ‘Yes, I’m hungry. But I don’t know.’

” I would take them in my car to get something to eat and then drop them back off on the corner,” she says. “When I got caught, I got in so much trouble. My mother would get mad and say, ‘You can’t do that!’ And she would tell me I couldn’t help every one, so why even try?”

Undeterred, that drive to help others never abated, and when she immigrated to the United States when she was about 18, she began planting the seeds for  Pledge to Humanity, an organization she founded in 2009 that inspires youths to make a difference both locally and globally. Groups are formed through schools, sport clubs and service organizations and perform acts of kindness.

Thousands of students have participated in the program. She works with kids to make sandwiches to donate to shelters, takes kids to spend time with the elderly or severely disable children and she organizes them to assemble and collect hundreds of care packages for veterans and the homeless. The projects are seemingly endless, from helping underprivileged kids from neighboring schools to spay and neuter clinics.

Globally, the organization has built schools in Third World countries and volunteers can travel to the places they have supported to see the fruits of their labor. The organization is growing nationwide as volunteers go away to college and start their own programs.

“Our children here live in a bubble, where they have access to so much,” says Skye Larch, principal of Rancho Romero Elementary school in Alamo. “The power behind this is that it develops empathy and compassion in the most natural of ways. They learn small deeds really impact someone’s life and extends beyond them.”

Ghorbani married at 20 and has two sons, Arman, 24 and Jovani, 14, and a daughter Natalia, 20, who all share her passion for helping others. Ghorbani would take her young children with her to give out food and gift cards to the needy. When they ate at restaurants, she would order meals and give them to people outside. Every international trip included handing out gifts to people less fortunate.

“I would think, ‘My children will know how they need to be part of the change we need to be and to be giving, loving and grateful citizens of the world,” says Ghorbani, of Alamo, California.  “Out of all the things we do for our kids, the most important thing is to teach them to give of themselves.”

Ghorbani started taking some of her children’s friends with them on their outings to the tenderloin for many years. Although she was a successful entrepreneur and the wife of a prominent businessman, it wasn’t enough to fulfill her.

“Every day I thought, I would rather be helping in a soup kitchen,” she says. “I tell children what real success in life is not in monetary form, but being engaged in what is around you and caring for the needs of others without hesitation. Don’t do it as your good deed of the day, do it like breathing, because breathing is automatic and necessary.”

Ghorbani encourages students to “turn on their antennas” so they can locate people in need — from children who need a friend at school, to seniors who need help with their groceries. They sign a “kindness contract” to look for ways to help others.

One second grader who signed a contract excitedly told Ghorbani how he had told a friend on crutches that he would help him with whatever he needed.

“To go from that to global service is an attitude that ripples out,” she says.

Ghorbani says it all started with the intention of empowering children.

“I went to elementary schools and told them ‘You don’t know me and I don’t know you, but I know that you are capable and you have everything within you to make someone’s life better to be a blessing to someone else’ ” she says. “I told them, ‘You don’t have to be an adult. You don’t have to be rich. You don’t have to be famous or a super star or a sports star, to have an impact on someone today. Kids started listening and embraced that and it grew, grew, grew.”

One of those students was Kailey McKnight, 18, who says Ghorbani’s passion for helping other inspired her to start the San Ramon Valley High School club when she was just 14. The club has grown from about 10 members to more than 400. There are so many students wanting to participate that the club had to start a waiting list.

“I have a lot of friends I never thought would do community service and would never thought they would care about other people besides themselves,” says Kailey McKnight. “But they love doing it and keep signing up for more.”

Kailey’s mother Beth says she has never volunteered before becoming involved in Pledge to Humanity and now “she’s hooked.” “They say you can’t save everyone, but Gaby just might,” says Beth McKnight.

Jon Campopiano, principal at Stone Valley Middle School in Alamo, says Ghorbani’s son Jovani started a buddy program for kids who felt ostracized at school.

“He took these lunch periods, which can be long and awkward, and made it a time for the kids to all feel included,” Campolpiano says. “Middle schoolers are not known for their empathy, but Gaby and her son have made that happen almost effortlessly.”

All of this is music to  Ghorbani’s ears.

“When we are gone from this earth, I want to think that Pledge to Humanity will have hundreds of thousands of ambassadors doing kind things daily, “she says. “It’s not just a non-profit in Danville and Alamo, but a global movement. I believe in the children. If I’d gotten the same support at 12, God knows what it would be like now!”


PEOPLE.com

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Korean American Artist Nam June Paik Inspires Elementary School Students

They filed in, one by one, a long line of fourth- and fifth-grade students, quiet and well-behaved until they crossed the threshold of the Asia Society gallery. And then, one by one, they gasped, cried out, and– in the case of one young boy– jumped and nearly fell on landing. “Oh, man!” said one of the students. “Check out my robot!”

A months-long project culminated May 19 when children from four New York City public schools saw their own work on the walls and the gallery floors of a major cultural institution. Each fall, Asia Society invites students and teachers to a major exhibition at the museum, then works in partnership with Studio in a School to help the students craft their own art inspired by the show. This year marked the 22nd year of the program, and the original exhibition featured the work of technology-obsessed contemporary Korean American artist Nam June Paik, whose work with robots and televisions starting in the 1960s and 1970s presaged many social and technological advances of the 21st century. The students from P.S. 297 in Brooklyn, P.S. 75 in Manhattan, and P.S. 87 and P.S. 182 in the Bronx used materials and concepts that the late Korean American artist would have recognized to create robotic suit jackets; a “pet” made from the chassis of a vacuum cleaner; a tree showing the evolution of the telephone; and other imaginative works.

“I’m famous,” said one young boy as adults snapped photos of him and the robot he had helped design.

Among those on hand for the opening was Agnes Gund, President Emerita of the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), long-time arts patron and founder and chair of Studio in a School. In the Asia Society auditorium prior to the gallery tour, Gund congratulated “these brilliant young artists” for their creativity and skill. She praised the “thoughtful collaboration” among Studio in a School, the schools’ teachers and principals, and Asia Society, and gave special thanks to Nancy Blume, head of arts education at Asia Society.

Gund singled out the piece Baby from the series Robot Family Sculptures, the creation of five boys from P.S. 75 in Manhattan. The piece was built with, among other materials, a basketball for a body, a videocamera lens hood for its mouth and energy-efficient light bulbs for hands.

“I think it’s a terrific work of art,” Gund said, “and I happen to have an interest in basketball.” She explained, to laughter from the students, that she was a fan of the Cleveland Cavaliers and had watched their win over the Atlanta Hawks the previous night.

“We fought a lot about how to make it great,” said Isaac, one of the students who designed Baby. “I think Mr. Nam June Paik would have liked it.”

Just a few feet away from Baby lay Dog, also part of the Robot Family Sculptures series and a creation of Chloe and Stephanie from P.S. 75 in Manhattan. This piece, it turns out, had been inspired by something missing from Asia Society’s Nam June Paik show.

“There were robot moms and dads but no pets, no animals,” Chloe said. “So this is kind of based on his art, but kind of our own idea, too.”

The students’ art will be on display at Asia Society Museum until July 19 in an exhibition titled Inspired by Nam June Paik: Becoming Robot. The show and this partnership with Studio in a School is one of the coolest things we do, and just as much a part of our mission as the visits of Asian leaders to our stage. The idea behind both is the same — building bridges of understanding between the people of Asia and the U.S.

“You are the youngest artists to exhibit at the Asia Society Museum,” Peggy Loar, Asia Society’s Interim Museum Director, told the children. “And this is a museum where some of the artists were born three thousand years ago.” Loar spoke of the power of a young person’s creativity and working as a team. Before the children left, she invited them to return with their families and receive free admission to see the exhibition and share their accomplishments with their loved ones. “Just come in,” she said, “and say you are one of the artists featured in Inspired by Nam June Paik.”

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