Archive for the Charities Category

Betty White Is A Hot New Pin-Up Girl

Who wants to spend all of 2011 with Betty?

Betty White, Hollywood’s beloved new “It” Girl, is releasing her first-ever calendar and today we get our first look at what’s in store. The 2011 Betty White Calendar will go on sale in September and proceeds from its sale will benefit the The Morris Animal Foundation. Here is our first look at this hot new calendar:

The 88-year-old Betty White will be available all year long with THE BETTY WHITE CALENDAR, a 24/7 tribute to one of America’s most beloved actresses, comediennes, and winner of multiple Emmy Awards. From her new hit television comedy – Hot in Cleveland (TV Land) – to her #1 Super Bowl commercial (Snickers) with the not-dead Abe Vigoda – Betty is classy, earthy and unassuming . She’s also got a fantastic sense of humor about herself – and that’s our idea of a centerfold! The last surviving member of The Golden Girls cast – Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan and Estelle Getty died between 2008 to 2010 – Betty White has also starred on Life with Elizabeth, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and The Carol Burnett Show as well as Mama’s Family, That 70s Show, Boston Legal and Malcolm in the Middle. Deemed the “First Lady of Game Shows” by the entertainment press, Betty appeared on What’s My Line?, To Tell the Truth, I’ve Got a Secret, Match Game, and Password, among others, in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Earlier this year, Betty hosted Saturday Night Live after a grassroots Facebook campaign called “Betty White to Host SNL (Please)” attracted 500,000 fans and Betty became their oldest host ever. Ratings were SNL’s highest since 2008 and a show hosted by Ben Affleck. The Betty White Calendar 2011 is priced at $12.99 and will go on sale in September. Betty White has dedicated herself to improving the lives of animals and this calendar is no exception: All of Ms. White’s proceeds will benefit The Morris Animal Foundation based in Denver, Colorado. www.morrisanimalfoundation.org

OMG, how much do I love this? A year full of Betty White surrounded by hot, half-nekkid men. Does it even get more perfect than that? After the jump, check out one of the photos that will be featured in The Betty White CalendarMore »

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Prince Harry Visits The US: Day Two

Pitches for the Mets, Walks with the Wounded in Central Park

Yesterday we learned that Prince Harry of Wales has made his way to the US to enjoy a 3 day visit in the New York region in an effort to strength the US-UK military alliance and to raise awareness for the need to aid wounded veterans after they return home from their tours of duty. Yesterday we saw photos of Harry with the cadets at West Point Military Academy and on the deck of the museum ship the USS Intrepid which is docked in NYC. Today we get to see a few fun photos of Harry throwing out the first pitch yesterday at Citi Field for the NY Mets (who played the Minnesota Twins) and participating in the Achilles Hope And Possibility Race event that took place in Central Park earlier today:

Britain’s Prince Harry has a pretty good arm. Harry threw the ceremonial first pitch with a bit of zip before the Mets played the Minnesota Twins on Saturday, the second day of his visit to New York. “He did well,” said Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey(notes), who tutored Harry for a few minutes before his pitch. Without much fanfare, Harry walked to the mound when the Mets ran onto the field before the first inning and received polite applause from the Citi Field crowd. He was wearing a blue Mets cap and a white T-shirt with “walking with the wounded” written on the front in red lettering. The Mets had made him a pinstriped jersey with “Wales” and the number 22 on the back … Standing on the pitching rubber, Harry sheepishly waved to the crowd before shaking his right arm several times and doing a full body jiggle to loosen up. He then made a hard, accurate throw that was a little high, forcing catcher Rod Barajas(notes) to stand from his crouch to make the catch of the pitch that crossed the plate. Dickey spent about five minutes with Harry before the game helping him with his mechanics. He said the prince was throwing with a more straight-armed cricket throw so he told him to bend his elbow. “We didn’t talk about Parliament or anything,” Dickey said. “We’re just two guys having a catch” … A lieutenant in the British Army, Harry spent several innings in a luxury suite with Mets owner Fred Wilpon, the founder of Welcome Back Veterans, a charity which provides support and treatment for soldiers with post traumatic stress disorder.

HMMMM … don’t you think that Prince Harry looks pretty good as a baseball player? It looks like he’s got his form down, I think the Mets should do everything they can to sign him up. But in all seriousness, yeah, Harry looks like he would make a right good baseball jock. The look suits him. After the jump, check out a few photos of Harry walking with the wounded in Central Park this morning as part of the Achilles Hope And Possibility RaceMore »

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Sandra Bullock Joins ‘Nashville Rising: A Benefit Concert For Flood Recovery’

Celebs gather in Nashville to raise funds for flood relief

Celebs and musicians gathered last night at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, TN to perform at a benefit concert called Nashville Rising: A Benefit Concert For Flood Recovery in order to raise much needed funds for the flood victims of Nashville. As you may know, torrential rains caused massive flooding in and around Nashville in early May which resulted in 22 deaths and over $2 billion in damage. Last night’s benefit concert was organized to raise money for the flood victims still dealing with the effects of last month’s flooding. Here are a couple photos of Sandra‘s appearance/performance last night:

Nashville Rising was as much a celebration of Music City as it was a flood-relief benefit concert. Star after star — including surprise visitor Sandra Bullock — professed their love and admiration for the city and its people, who have been praised for handling one of the state’s most destructive natural disasters with grace, dignity and charity. “Nashville will rise and that is why we have come together tonight,” said Faith Hill, who organized the benefit with husband Tim McGraw. “Musicians, football players, coaches, our elected officials, you in the audience, yes, we are all the same. We’re just neighbors who care and friends who want to make a difference.” It was a subdued night, but still filled with No. 1 hits and poignant songs played to a sold-out crowd at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, which housed as much cross-genre star power as the building’s seen. Musicians from the country, rock and Christian music scenes turned out with the aim of raising $2 million for The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. The flood, spurred by record rains across Tennessee on May 1 and 2, killed 22 people in the state and caused $2 billion in damage in Nashville’s Davidson County alone. The water forced thousands from their homes, struck some of the city’s biggest landmarks and destroyed the instruments and gear of scores of musicians. “It happened to our friends, our neighbors, our loved ones and our homes,” Hill told the crowd. “Everyone here knows someone affected by the flood.” Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood sang their hits, Blake Shelton and Trace Adkins praised the hillbillies of Tennessee, Lynyrd Skynyrd saluted its second home, Miranda Lambert rewarded fans with her two No. 1s, and Bullock even got in on the act. Reese Witherspoon, Matthew McConaughey and Dolly Parton taped video messages for the crowd. “Nashville Rising is just another way to say, `Love thy neighbor,’” Parton said … Bullock, who was in “The Blind Side” with McGraw, came on stage late in the show to introduce Hill. “So listen,” she told the crowd. “They say a community is only as strong as it’s weakest link, right? From the look of it, there are no weak links in this community.” Bullock said she told McGraw she could stage a wardrobe malfunction or a few comedic pieces for the crowd but soon realized she needed to do something more. “I’m going to contribute some music and I’m going to bring the house down and I’m going to do it Nashville style,” she said before strapping on an acoustic guitar and sitting in front of a microphone. “If I can have some quiet please,” she said. She pieced out the opening riff of “Smoke On The Water” to some of the night’s loudest cheers, before introducing Hill. “That’s good stuff isn’t it?” Hill said. “Sign that girl right away.” Hill then turned in one of the night’s best performances with a soaring vocal on “Stronger” and a rousing version of “Piece Of My Heart.” “How can I follow that?” McGraw asked before finishing off the evening with “Southern Voice” and “Live Like You Were Dying.”

Unfortch, it seems to me that coverage of the Nashville flood has been superseded by coverage of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill (at least here on the West Coast) but I love that the people of Nashville took matters in their own hands to orchestrate flood relief for those in need. I understand the Bridgestone Arena was sold out last night … meaning a lot of affected people will get the money they desperately need.

As the report above says, Sandra did perform a bit during last night’s Nashville Rising benefit concert. After the jump, check out a short video from her performance … More »

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Prince Harry Visits The Minefields Of Mozambique

I can see your HALO

In the past week or so we got to see photos of Prince Harry of Wales celebrating his Queen grandmother’s official birthday in Botswana and chillin’ with his big brother Prince William and soccer stud David Beckham in Johannesburg, South Africa for the 2010 World Cup … but today we get to see a photo and video of Harry devoting his time to a more serious subject in the region. Prince Harry visited the minefields of Mozambique as a guest of The HALO Trust which is a non-profit organization that specializes in the removal of the hazardous debris of war (with a huge focus on mine bombs). Here is a photo of Harry touring one minefield in particular and the deets of his visit:

Prince Harry has paid a two day visit to Mozambique to visit minefields being cleared by The HALO Trust, a British Charity and the World’s largest demining agency. Prince Harry’s visit, which was privately organised by HALO, has focused on the impact of mines on the civilian population. On Sunday, The Prince met villagers and amputees who told him about their plight among the remaining mines – including meeting a boy who lost his leg 18 months ago while herding cattle. Prince Harry spent the night in the HALO deminers’ tented camp. The Prince was given a close-up demonstration of the process of humanitarian demining, as he observed a team undertaking mineclearance work, and was then himself given the first stages in training on HALO equipment and clearance techniques. Prince Harry detonated mines under the supervision of expert HALO deminers. Prince Harry’s visit took place in villages around the Cahora Bassa dam in Tete province, Mozambique. In this area, 10 villages straddle 17km of unfenced mine belts, placing hundreds of families within metres of some 30,000 mines. These mines were laid over 30 years ago, and they continue to have a devastating impact on children and adults alike. The mines prevent the farming of crops and the grazing of livestock among a rural community that ranks as one of the world’s poorest. There had been 48 mine accidents in the Cahora Bassa minefields before HALO intervened. In the area of Mozambique that Prince Harry visited, the terrain is unsuitable for the use of armoured mineclearance machines, and the density of mines so great that the most effective system of clearance is manual demining. Prince Harry observed deminers as they painstakingly used sensitive metal detectors and hand-tools to clear anti-personnel mines. The system provides the absolute “100 per cent” clearance needed to ensure that villagers can then safely use the land after HALO has finished its work. The terrible human impact of landmines, and the work of The HALO Trust in clearing mines, was brought to the world’s attention by Diana, Princess of Wales. The late Princess visited HALO projects in Angola in 1997. HALO’s Chief Executive, Guy Willoughby, said:

“HALO is delighted that Prince Harry has come out to support us in this quest to clear Mozambique of mines – a task we could complete in the next four years. By being with us in the field, and even personally destroying mines, he has learned something of the dirty, boring, dangerous work that HALO’s 7,700 staff undertake, day-in, day-out, in the World’s most mine-impacted countries. His mother was brilliant at getting the profile of the risk of mines globally recognised. Prince Harry clearly wishes to follow her magnificent example, and is supporting The HALO Trust in its mission.”

In the last month HALO cleared 925 mines from Mozambique, and 105,380 mines since starting work there in 1993. HALO employs 375 staff in Mozambique, though at its peak when finishing clearance of the four northern provinces HALO had in excess of 500 staff. Over 16 years HALO has had four staff killed in Mozambique. Globally since 1988 HALO has cleared over 13 million mines and items of unexploded ordnance.

It is absolutely insane to me that there are still huge chunks of land that are riddled with live mines where families live and children play. I cannot even imagine what life must be like to live in fear of inadvertently setting off a mine and triggering a deadly explosion. I have nothing but the utmost respect for The HALO Trust and the insanely important work that they do globally to try and defuse as many live mines as they can. That Prince Harry would lend his high profile stature to the cause just endears him even more to me. After the jump, watch a short video of Harry actually setting off a safe mine demolition in Mozambique this past weekend … More »

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Angelina Jolie Visits Refugees In Ecuador

A saint's work is never done

Angelina Jolie, in her role as UN Goodwill Ambassador, made her way to Ecuador this week to visit with refugees there for the first time since she visited the area about 8 years ago. Ecuador has received an influx of refugees due to the horrors going on in Colombia and Angelina decided to make a trip there to assess the situation so she can report back to the United Nations as well as bring some attention to the plight of the refugees there:

Angelina Jolie left Brad Pitt at home with their brood in LA to spend time with refugee children in northern Ecuador this week. The UN Goodwill Ambassador, who was dressed in a white vest and jeans, visited a local daycare centre where she shared a laugh with little ones while playing with a toy set. The Wanted actress is drawing attention to the plight of thousands who fled the conflict in Colombia to start a new life on the other side of the Ecuadorian-Colombian border. Jolie, who turned 35 on June 4, was reunited with a Columbian mother she first met eight years ago during her first visit to Lago Agrio, the capital of Sucumbios province. The actress said: ‘At that time she had a lot of hope for her future. She was recently treated for cancer. She still holds on to hope’ … ‘It’s been eight years since I was last here and UNHCR’s presence has grown considerably,’ Jolie told Ecuadorian reporters. ‘They are going into the thickest parts of the jungle to reach the refugees, who are living in very remote locations and in desperate conditions,’ she added. ‘I wanted to come back and meet with vulnerable people and focus on violence against women and unaccompanied minors. I am so happy to be able to reconnect with some familiar faces, refugees I had met with during my 2002 trip,’ she concluded. It is the latest of many mercy missions for the mother-of-six, who has visited Syria, Bosnia and Haiti in the last few months alone.

I continue to be impressed with Angelina‘s level of commitment to her work as UN Goodwill Ambassador. No matter what she’s got going on in her extremely bizzy personal and professional life, she always makes time to devote her time and energy to visiting affected areas of the world to shine the light of awareness on some very troubled situations. We are all very lucky to never truly understand how horrible the conditions are for the refugees of the world but I feel that as long as folks as famous as Angelina Jolie stay committed to informing us on what is going on, we can at least have some sense of the pain and suffering that our fellow man suffers thru on a daily basis while we live in absolute luxury. I absolutely commend her continued work as UN Goodwill Ambassador and hope that she continues to devote her time and energy to the cause. Even if we never think about these particular people again, I know that some bit of what they are going thru will be kept and remembered in people’s hearts and minds. Maybe that seed will grow and new ways of giving aid will sprout. If you would like to donate and help in any way you can, you can do so HERE.

[Photo credit: Splash News; Source]

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Jennifer Lopez Wants You To ‘Be Extraordinary’

J. Lo teams up with the Boys and Girls Club of America

Jennifer Lopez, Ms. Jenny from the Block herself, was on hand to make an in-person appearance in Times Square, NY today to unveil her new billboard as part of the Be Extraordinary campaign for The Boys and Girls Club of America. Because J. Lo benefited from the Bronx chapter of The Boys and Girls Club when she was just a young’n, she was happy to be part of this new campaign … check it out:

Jennifer Lopez had some help getting into the entertainment industry. An alum of the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club in the Bronx, Lopez credits the club’s “K company” performing arts program with teaching her to sing and dance. “When I started going there, it was the first time I sang, danced and performed in front of an audience. I wanted to be there every day,” Lopez said Thursday at the Times Square unveiling of a Boys and Girls Club billboard featuring a throwback picture of her as a child. “They taught me how to be disciplined and be perseverant and to believe in my God-given talents. They encouraged me to be great in whatever I decided to do. And they taught me that I could do whatever I wanted.” Her billboard message says it all: “Be Extraordinary.” And, she told PEOPLE, she may even bring her twins back to the Boys and Girls Club in the Bronx. “I think it’s really, really important to work hard … Being able to accomplish something with dedication and hard work and commitment. That is something I would like them to learn as well,” she said. Lopez is among 25 celebrities, including Denzel Washington, Ashanti, and Mario Lopez, participating in the BGCA’s youth advocacy campaign. “When Denzel asked me to participate, I had to say yes. I am honored and delighted to be part of the campaign,” she said. “Please join us in helping all kids be great.”

OMG, how much do I LOVE this pic of J. Lo as a wee little girl. Wanna see it close-up? Check it out, along with a newer promo pic for the Boys and Girls Club, after the jump … More »

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‘The Empire Strikes Back’ Celebrates 30 Years With A Special Screening In SoCal

'Empire' state of mind

Last month, you may recall, Entertainment Weekly featured Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back on the cover of their magazine in celebration of the film’s 30th anniversary … but last night, here in SoCal, the film screened in front of a special audience not only to celebrate their 30 years but also to raise much needed funds for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Empire stars like Harrison Ford, Billy Dee Williams and Peter Mayhew (who played Chewbacca in all of the Star Wars films) were joined by fellow Star Wars alum Ewan McGregor and Darth Vader himself at last night’s event. Here are a few photos from the red carpet arrivals and some deets about this very special benefit screening:

Harrison Ford drew the crowds at a Star Wars reunion in LA. The actor, who played Han Solo in the sci-fi films, was joined by Billy Dee Williams, Peter Mayhew and Ewan McGregor for an event to celebrate the 30th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back. The special screening took place at the Arclight Cinema in Hollywood and was held to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Ford, 67, admitted he is slightly out of touch with the movie sequel. “I have not seen it for 30 years,” revealed the star. Explaining why he signed up to the George Lucas features he said: “I was in it for the money. I was an actor and I was looking for a job and looking for an opportunity. I had a family to feed.” Ewan McGregor, meanwhile, who played Obi-Wan Kenobi in three prequels to the original series, has revealed he still has a crush on a Star Wars character he fell for as a kid. The Scottish actor said: “I’ve spent a great many years being deeply, deeply in love with Princess Leia. “There’s still a part of my heart that is quite deeply in love with her – both as a character and an actress.”

I understand that tickets for last night’s event were in the hundreds but, as is mentioned above, all of the proceeds went to St. Jude Children’s Hospital … a very worthy cause, I think. After the movie screened last night, some of these celebs were on hand to participate in a Q&A with the audience … which I bet was insanely cool. It’s crazy to think that Empire is already 30 years old but it’s a film that deffo stands up to the test of time. The entire Star Wars saga continues to entertain audiences today just like it did all those years ago. I absolutely believe that we will be celebrating many more anniversaries for the SW films for many years to come.

[Photo credit: Splash News; Source]

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Christina Aguilera Pays A Visit To Haiti

In her role as World Food Programme Ambassador Against Hunger

Christina Aguilera, who just this past weekend was in NYC with her family celebrating Mother’s Day together (and how just announced a new world tour in support of her new album Bionic), has made her way to Haiti as the new Ambassador Against Hunger for the World Food Programme organization. Xtina made her way to Port Au Prince and Leogane this past Tuesday to visit two Haitian schools — Ecole Lysee Fritz Pierre Louis and Ecole Saint Terese de Darbonne. Here is a photo of Xtina in Haiti and some deets from her visit:

WFP’s new Ambassador Against Hunger Christina Aguilera visited two schools in quake-stricken Haiti on Tuesday to meet the children receiving food aid through WFP school meals programmes. Singing Happy Birthday to a class in Leogane, she also voiced her hope for a Haitian rebirth … The world-famous singer helped serve meals of rice and beans to children at the Ecole Lysee Fritz Pierre Louis in Port-au-Prince and at the Ecole Saint Terese de Darbonne, in Leogane, a badly damaged town south of the capital. Aguilera met with WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran while in Haiti to discuss the hunger response after the earthquake. WFP’s operation in the Caribbean nation is shifting away from emergency relief to programmes such as school meals, nutrition schemes and food-for-work projects to help the national recovery effort. During her time with children of Port-au-Prince, Aguilera also sang ‘Happy Birthday Haiti’ to highlight how reconstruction efforts in the country are giving this long-suffering nation the chance of a new start. The singer’s appointment as a WFP Ambassador Against Hunger was announced last week during an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show. “A child dies every six seconds of hunger which is a huge statistic for me,” Aguilera told Oprah Winfrey. “After having my own child I just had to be a part of it and do something about it and help change that situation.”

Good for her!! Altho the deadly earthquake in Haiti is already “month’s old”, there is still a lot of devastation and much need in the tiny country. Just because the plight of Haiti is no longer in the news does NOT mean that all of their problems have been solved. They will be dealing with the tragic ramifications of the quake for many years. I’m so glad that Xtina‘s visit may remind US ALL that there is still much need in Haiti for relief. After the jump, check out a few more photos from Xtina‘s trip to Haiti this week … More »

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Angelina Jolie Visits Refugees In Bosnia

Spreading Hope and Goodwill

Yesterday we learned that Angelina Jolie and fauxhubby Brad Pitt made their way to Bosnia to visit with refugees there on behalf of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and today we get to see photos of Angelina with some of the people she met in Bosnia … behold:

UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie has called for steps to end the continuing suffering of displaced victims of the Bosnian War after hearing their harrowing tales and seeing their grim living conditions during a brief visit this week. Jolie, travelling with her partner Brad Pitt, on Monday took a break from filming to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina and highlight the plight of 113,000 Bosnians and 7,000 refugees from Croatia. These people were forced from their homes during the violent break-up of the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s and many of them are living in collective centres, often in appalling conditions. The acclaimed actress was clearly moved by the spirit – and the suffering – of the people she met and she pledged to highlight their case. Most of the people she talked to have been living far from home for well over a decade. Many of their children were born in exile and have never seen where their families come from. Jolie kicked off her first trip to Bosnia and Herzegovina by visiting a crumbling and dilapidated collective centre in the eastern town of Gorazde, which lies on the Drina River and was a UN-protected enclave throughout the 1992-1995 war. She and Pitt visited another collective centre housing displaced people in Rogatica, where the inhabitants told the couple about the daily hardships they endure, including a lack of basic services such as running water. “After seeing these people and hearing their stories, I cannot overemphasize the need to focus on the well-being of the most vulnerable individuals of the population,” Jolie said, adding that by “ending displacement and ensuring quality of life, we can help to promote progress and long-term stability.” Among these “most vulnerable individuals” were a group of internally displaced women who suffered very bad experiences during the war. While Pitt went off to speak to their menfolk, Jolie spent some private time with the women. After the meeting, an emotional Jolie said they had told her about the ordeal they had suffered before escaping to Gorazde during the war, including rape and torture. “I have my body, but it no longer has a soul,” one woman told her.

More details of Brangelina‘s visit to Bosnia continue after the jump … More »

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Madonna Lays The Foundation For A New Girls’ School In Malawi

"Dare to Dream"

Last week we learned that Madonna and her children made their way to London, England from NYC, NY for a stop-over on their eventual journey to Malawi, Africa. Madge has promised to bring her adopted children back to their homeland as frequently as possible so that they will grow up knowing where they came from. But this latest visit to Malawi served another purpose as well. Maddy was on hand to lay the first bring in the foundation of a new girls’ school that is being built in Malawi … check it out:

It was a poignant moment, but the significance of which may not be recognised by the four-year-old girl adopted by Madonna at just this moment. Mercy James joined her mother and sister Lourdes as she returned to Malawi for the ceremony to lay the first brick for the foundations of a £10million school for girls in the impoverished country. The brick had the inscription Raising Malawi Academy for Girls and the motto, Dare to Dream etched into it. ‘It has always been my dream to train women leaders who can help develop the country,’ Madonna said during the event. The ceremony, held at the site of the school in Chinkhota village, some 15 kilometers (nine miles) from the capital Lilongwe, was attended by education officials and curious villagers. ‘I grew up as a poor girl with my mother, I had no chance for good education. It is my aim to see Malawian girls get the right education,’ Madonna said.

The brick-laying ceremony was only the latest endeavor that Madonna participated in during her visit to Malawi. She was also on hand yesterday to participate in the unveiling of a much-needed fresh water pump in the district of Mchinji. At that event, she was aided by her youngest daughter Chifundo Mercy James. After the jump, check out a few photos from that event … More »

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