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The world is just a little bit sadder today as an amazing woman who was an even more amazing actress and singer has passed on. We are deeply saddened to report Della Reese has passed at the age of 86.

Della Reese is a music icon, known the world over for her strong vocals, strong morals, and dozens of television and movie roles in productions like Touched By An Angel and Harlem Nights. Della passed Sunday evening.

via People:


“On behalf of her husband, Franklin Lett, and all her friends and family, I share with you the news that our beloved Della Reese has passed away peacefully at her California home last evening surrounded by love. She was an incredible wife, mother, grandmother, friend, and pastor, as well as an award-winning actress and singer. Through her life and work she touched and inspired the lives of millions of people,” her costar Roma Downey confirmed to PEOPLE in an exclusive statement.

“She was a mother to me and I had the privilege of working with her side by side for so many years on Touched By an Angel. I know heaven has a brand new angel this day. Della Reese will be forever in our hearts. Rest In Peace, sweet angel. We love you.”

Born Delloreese Patricia Early on July 6, 1931 in Detroit’s Black Bottom neighborhood, Reese began singing in public at just 6 years old at her local church, establishing her roots in gospel music. Her vocal talent flourished and by 13 she was tapped to perform with Mahalia Jackson’s gospel group, with whom she’d later tour.

She formed her own group, the Meditation Singers, in the late 1940s, but her exposure to jazz artists like Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan sparked a desire to broaden her musical scope. Now using her famous stage name, she signed a deal with Jubilee Records in 1953, releasing six albums largely composed of jazz standards.

National fame would come in 1957 with the release of “And That Reminds Me,” a Top 20 hit and her first global seller.

She followed it up with “Don’t You Know?” — which would become her signature song, and a string of hits including “Not One Minute More, “And Now,” “Someday (You’ll Want Me to Want You),”  and “The Most Beautiful Words.”

In the late ’60s she began to expand her career from a jazz nightclub act to all-around entertainer by breaking into television. She became a familiar face on the small screen, securing guest spots on a host of shows, including The Mod Squad, The Love Boat, Sanford and Son, MacGyver, Night Court, and The Young and the Restless.

Her short-lived variety series, Della, debuted in 1969, and the following year she became the first black woman to co-host The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. It was after a Tonight Show appearance in 1979 that Reese suffered a brain aneurysm that nearly claimed her life.

Reese became an ordained minister in the 1980s through the Christian New Thought branch known as Unity, leading her to found her own church, Understanding Principles for Better Living (also known as “UP Church”).

She would draw on her faith for her most famous acting role, playing the part “supervising angel” Tess on the CBS series Touched By an Angel beginning in 1994. Though the show was initially met with mixed reviews, it went on to become a huge success, running until 2003. Tess’ playful sarcasm and no-nonsense attitude added something of a humorous edge to the wholesome show, and she became its most beloved character.

Reese was plagued with health problems later in life, including a battle with diabetes which she blamed on poor diet and exercise. Following two appearances on the television show Signed, Sealed, Delivered in 2014, she retired from acting.

Rest in peace Della, we were all truly touched by angel.

 

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Morehouse Commencement Speaker to Pay Off Class of 2019’s Student Loans, Angela Bassett Receives Honorary Doctorate!

They say “you can tell a Morehouse Man when you see him, but you can’t tell him much.” This is definitely the case for billionaire, Robert F. Smith,  a technology investor and philanthropist, and Morehouse graduate who was also the speaker for this year’s commencement ceremony. After announcing a 1.5 million dollar gift to the school, Mr. Smith announced he would give the graduating class of 2019 an even greater gift by wiping out their student loan debts!

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tudent Debt Pledge morehouse h

They say “you can tell a Morehouse Man when you see him, but you can’t tell him much.” This is definitely the case for billionaire, Robert F. Smith,  a technology investor and philanthropist, and Morehouse graduate who was also the speaker for this year’s commencement ceremony. After announcing a 1.5 million dollar gift to the school, Mr. Smith announced he would give the graduating class of 2019 an even greater gift by wiping out their student loan debts!

via Atlanta Journal Constitution

robert f. smith

Robert F. Smith

But during his remarks in front of the nearly 400 graduating seniors, the technology investor and philanthropist surprised some by announcing that his family was providing a grant to eliminate the student debt of the entire Class of 2019. 

Graduates react after hearing billionaire Robert F. Smith is paying all student debt for the Class of 2019 during the Morehouse College commencement ceremony In Atlanta, on Sunday, May 19, 2019. (Photo: STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC)

“This is my class,” he said, “and I know my class will pay this forward.”

The announcement came as a surprise to Smith’s staff and to the staff at Morehouse, and elicited the biggest cheers of the morning.

Tonga Releford, whose son Charles Releford III is a member of the Class of 2019, estimates that his student loans are about $70,000.

“I feel like it’s Mother’s Day all over again,” she said.

The gift has been estimated to be worth up to $40 million.

angela bassett

Actress, Angela Bassett, also received an honorary doctorate from Morehouse, making the day all the more magical. Black Excellence was clearly in full effect on the hallowed grounds of The ACU today and we are here for it!

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[PHOTO] GOD IS GOOD! Nene Leakes’ Husband, Gregg Leakes, is Now Cancer FREE!

“He’s an on time God, yes He is!” That’s a set of the lyrics to the gospel song, “On Time God,” and they are totally fitting for this amazing news! The Real Housewives of Atlanta  star, Nene Leakes’ husband, Gregg is now cancer free! 

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nene leakes and gregg leakes

“He’s an on time God, yes He is!” That’s a set of the lyrics to the gospel song, “On Time God,” and they are totally fitting for this amazing news! The Real Housewives of Atlanta  star, Nene Leakes’ husband, Gregg is now cancer free!

Gregg Leakes cancer free

“Look at God! We are overjoyed to say, we saw the doctors for the results of Gregg’s Pet Scan he took last week! Test show, wait for It…..WE ARE CANCER FREE!!! Yes God!” she captioned the post.

It wouldn’t be a post from NeNe without a little shade…

“Now i can go give Gregg a black eye since so many thinks he’s abused [sic],” she continued.

Again, this is great news! Beating cancer is no easy feet, whether you choose a holistic approach or chemotherapy. Gregg’s cancer was a huge part of Nene’s story line this past season and nearly pushed their marriage to its breaking point! BLOOP! Cancer you lost, congrats Gregg and Nene!

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ICYMI! Kim Kardashian Heads to Charlotte w/ Her Doctor to Help Ex-Con Remove His Face Tattoos!

“Hooray for Kim K”–at least that is what her recent humanitarian efforts are making us say. In the last month she helped free 17 prisoners  and now has headed, with her doctor in tow, to assist a newly freed man remove his facial tattoos. As we all know, where you get a tattoo can vastly alter others’ perception for you. For an ex-convict with facial tattoos his life chances to gain employment and work legally can be greatly reduced by his criminal history and appearance. Kim Kardashian seems to now be flexible her growing humanitarian clout by helping inmates any way she can.

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kim kardashian and paul algarin

“Hooray for Kim K”–at least that is what her recent humanitarian efforts are making us say. In the last ninety days she helped free 17 prisoners  and now has headed, with her doctor in tow, to assist a newly freed man remove his facial tattoos. As we all know, where you get a tattoo can vastly alter others’ perception for you. For an ex-convict with facial tattoos his life chances to gain employment and work legally can be greatly reduced by his criminal history and appearance. Kim Kardashian seems to now be flexible her growing humanitarian clout by helping inmates any way she can.

via People

Azaria Algarin of Charlotte, North Carolina, detailed how Kardashian West, 38, not only responded to a letter her brother Paul Algarin — who was incarcerated over the course of seven years — wrote to her while in prison, but the reality star also she flew in after the 2019 Met Gala to meet with him.⁣

“Recently my brother was released from central prison where he served an accumulation of 7 years,” Azaria captioned a post shared Tuesday, which featured a series of Instagram photos of her and her brother meeting Kardashian West and Kanye West. (Azaria has since deleted the caption.) “Throughout my brothers time in prison he shared his dreams, aspirations, and goals with me- I always thought some were unrealistic & silly.⁣”

Paul Algarin Kim Kardashian facial tattoos

Paul Algarin

“He asked me for Kim’s address so he could send her a letter & I rolled my eyes & never sent I,” Azaria added. “Eventually my mom sent it to him so he would stop harassing us.”

To Azaria’s surprise, Kardashian West responded — and then some.

In addition to taking the time to fly out to Charlotte, Kardashian West also brought her doctor with her to help start the procedure of removing 24-year-old Paul’s facial tattoos. ⁣

“Fast forward to yesterday. Kim flew in to CLT with her doctor to have lunch with us & start the procedure of removing my brothers face tattoos,” Azaria added. “Never in a million years did I think Kim would write him back (or even read his letter), fly in right after the met gala (not to mention her 4th baby is due at any minute), invest in our family & laugh / relate to us over the smallest things.”

“I’m so proud of my brother for taking steps in the right direction. Our relationship hasn’t been the easiest,” she admitted. “I pushed him away for years out of hurt for his absence, but yesterday was all the feels. I felt like we were children again & that he wasn’t gone for the last 7 years. Such a special day that I will forever cherish.”⁣⁣

We have nothing but applause for Kim and her recent work. People can talk about prison reform and rehabilitation but she is actually doing something about it. Kudos Kim, we think you will be one helluva lawyer!

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