Culture

TV Special “Graduate Together” Gave The Class Of 2020 A Special Send-Off

Events across the world have been canceled because of Covid-19. This includes concerts, music festivals, Pride parades, and major sporting events. Yet, for high school seniors, their high school will end without the same traditions that many have enjoyed like prom and graduation.

LeBron James celebrated the graduating class of 2020 on a special night on television.

“You should’ve had a real graduation, I know. You should’ve had an incredible senior year, I know that as well. But you made a sacrifice, and you did it to keep your community safe and healthy,” James said during the broadcast.

James continued: “Our school are our safety net. Our people build our communities. To the class of 2020, as you celebrate tonight, do not forget your safety net. Every teacher, every coach, every pastor, they along with your friends and family got you to this moment. And now, it’s time to go to a new place.”

The special was filled with celebrities and public figures offering students words of encouragement as they close this chapter of their lives.

“Congratulations to everyone graduating,” Bad Bunny told the class of 2020 in Spanish. “I know that we are going through a very difficult and strong time for use, but we have to stay strong and don’t forget to be thankful and smile, even though I know that sometimes we don’t even want to smile. We have to look for a way to do it and stay positive.”

The musician added: “Work hard on everything that you set out to do, on all your goals, but remember that it doesn’t matter what we achieve. The most important thing is to respect each other. It’s respect and the values that we put into practice day to day that say who you are. They are what define us as people. Success is not measured in money. Success, to me, is the experiences and memories that we carry in our hearts forever.”

Zendaya gave the students, and teachers, a special message for the commencement ceremony.

The actress gave a special shoutout at the beginning of her speech to teachers. Zendaya noted that her mother is a teacher so she has first-hand knowledge of how hard teachers are working during this time. Hosting classes via Zoom with children is not the easiest way to teach in the world.

Zendaya then turned her talk to the graduating seniors. While the viral outbreak has interrupted the lives of billions of people, graduation is not the only defining moment of being a high school senior. Instead, Zendaya tries to remind the graduating class of 2020 that it is a series of life events that define your senior year. There is so much that people go through from the time they start school to the time they finish that truly define them and their experience. One moment, while memorable, is not the only thing that makes senior year the experience it is.

The class of 2020 was treated to a special shoutout from President Barack Obama.

Pres. Obama started by giving the students the same tired and true line. He highlighted how the adults that are making decisions are not all-knowing and are in fact learning as they go. This is something that we have all heard when we were younger but, for some reason, coming from Pres. Obama, it sounds empowering and calming. It really reminded people of what a president should sound like when addressing the American public.

Pres. Obama did call on the students to act differently then they had seen from some people in power. Specifically, Pres. Obama wanted to let students know that there was a right and a wrong way to respond to major events.

“Doing what feels good, what’s convenient, what’s easy — that’s how little kids think,” Pres. Obama told the seniors. He added. “Unfortunately, a lot of so-called grown-ups, including some with fancy titles and important jobs, still think that way — which is why things are so screwed up.”

The special ended with a performance from the Jonas Brothers and Karol G.

“Taping our performance was amazing to me,” Karol G told Billboard about her performance. “I enjoyed it as if it were my own graduation. To have the opportunity to reach so many people, give them a good time despite all we’re going through, to celebrate with them this special date … It meant a lot to me.”

READ: Here’s To The Latina Graduates of 2020!

A Florida Teen Has Overcome Immense Obstacles, Including Homelessness, To Become His School’s Valedictorian

Things That Matter

A Florida Teen Has Overcome Immense Obstacles, Including Homelessness, To Become His School’s Valedictorian

Martin Folsom / Facebook

Right now we are in the midst of so much change. There is so much going on in the world – from a global pandemic that has left millions of us in social isolation to a brand new social justice movement in the wake of murder of unarmed Black men.

We’re being bombarded with so much serious news, it’s hard to remember that there are still people out there leading powerful, incredible lives and making a difference.

One Florida teen has overcome all the odds, including years of homeless, to graduate from his high school as valedictorian and we need to celebrate and recognize this huge accomplishment.

Martin Folsom graduated at the top of his class after struggling through years of homelessness.

Since he was a child, Martin Folsom and his mother Melva have been in and out of homelessness, according to Jacksonville television station WJXT.

Despite all the challenges he faced through the years, Folsom managed to keep his focus on his studies — and his efforts paid off when he was named his class’ valedictorian and graduated from Philip Randolph Career Academy in Jacksonville, FL.

“It kind of gave me a jolt in my chest a little bit, so it was a good feeling,” Folsom said in a video interview shared by KTRK. “It means a lot and it gives me a sense of all I’ve done and all I have accomplished was worth it.”

After college – Martin plans to attend Valdosta State University – he hopes to one day work for the FBI.

Martin credits his mom’s dedication and compassion for helping him succeed.

During his time in high school, Martin’s mom recalled desperately searching for a place to live with her son.

“Martin and I were in downtown McDonald’s and literally had nowhere to go,” she shared with WJXT. “I was on the phone calling people, calling organizations, and by the grace of God, we got into a shelter that day.”

Even with an uncertain living situation, Martin didn’t let that affect his studies.

“I never thought to myself, ‘I can’t do this anymore’ or ‘I’m done with this,'” explained the teen, who served as class president from freshman year through senior year. “It’s always been, ‘Well, it happened again and I’ve gotta keep myself up and keep moving forward.'”

He was set to walk across the stage last week for graduation, but that was canceled due to the pandemic.

Still, he isn’t letting that damper his spirits — especially since Martin had to overcome hurdle after hurdle to earn the high honor. He and his mom have struggled with homelessness since he was a kid, and throughout his four years of high school. They became homeless while fleeing Melva’s ex-husband, who has since been sentenced to 40 years in prison for murder.

Within two years, the mother and son reportedly lived in different shelters across five states before setting in Jacksonville.

“It’s been a rocky road, been a lot of hardships, but seeing myself here right now, about to graduate and go to college, it feels good knowing that all the stuff I’ve done, it was worth it,” Martin said.

He served as the class president for his grade for four years straight, from 9th grade to 12th grade. Now he will go on to college in the fall — and says that will be a big day for his family.

“As far as I know I’m the first person in my family to actually get a college degree,” he said.

Mariah Gives A Little More ‘Perreito’ This Quarantine

Entertainment

Mariah Gives A Little More ‘Perreito’ This Quarantine

The voice behind “Perreito,” Mariah Angeliq, gives an inside scoop on what she has coming up in her next projects and what she’s doing at home during the quarantine.

Mariah Angelique Pérez, known in the music industry as Mariah Angeliq, is a US-based reggaeton and trap artist that has hustled to quickly place herself at the top of the urban music genre.

The 20-year-old artist already has one hit single under her belt, “Perreito,” which has made everyone rush to the dance floor. Latido music interviewed the artist, who was born in Miami, to talk about what she’s up to during quarantine. She also shared another secret that you’re about to find out. 😉

Q: Mariah, you’re only 20 years old yet you have a huge career in the industry…How did this happen?

A: When you’re really young, sometimes people don’t pay much attention to you. The music industry is complicated, nonetheless, I let my music speak for itself.

Q: You ran away from home and your musical career began, what was that experience like?

A: Haha, it was hard but I had to do it. My mom was very overprotective with me and she didn’t let me do what I wanted, but I knew I had the talent to make it, to grow in music if that’s what I decided to do. When I took that risk was when I met Nelly, El Arma Secreta, and that’s when I realized that you have to risk it all to be who you really want to be.

Q: How did you become so close to El Arma Secreta?

A: I met Nelly in the studio, back when I only sang in English. He saw something in me that he liked, so we started working together and Nelly said something like, “we have to have her sing in Spanish!” and that was that.

Q: How have you been dealing with the quarantine and everything surrounding COVID-19?

A: I always try to look on the bright side of things. I’ve written a lot of songs during quarantine, I’ve been concentrating on myself, my career, and the good that can come from this moment.

Q: Has the quarantine affected any plans?

A: Yes, I think for all artists. 2020 is the year when I was most active in concerts and events and well, everything seems to be on pause for the moment. To give you some perspective, I opened up Premio Lo Nuestro and that was a huge step in my career and as soon as this is over I’ll be back for more.

Q: You’ve had a few releases these last few months, can we expect more music from Mariah as an antivirus?

A: Yes, I’ve had a few releases, canciones cabronas. Not too long ago I released “Y Que Paso?” beside Brray and the track goes hard and as for quarantine, you’re going to see a lot more. I have a whole lineup of songs for you to enjoy at home right now, even some big collaborations with Ñengo Flow and Lyanno, están cabronas.

Chosen by Pandora as one of their “Latino Artists to Follow in 2020,” Mariah Angeliq has managed to be seen in the urban music scene as a promising artist in the genre, and as she mentioned, there’s even more to come this quarantine.

Nothing left to do now but prepare ourselves and enjoy a little “Perreito” during quarantine.

Click here to learn more about Mariah.