The World Honors Nelson Mandela: Madiba’s 90th Birthday Celebration

The World Celebrates Nelson Mandela’s 90th Birthday

Mandela’s Campaign Against South African Apartheid

On August 5th, 1962, Nelson Mandela was arrested after living in underground hiding for seventeen months, and was initially imprisoned in the Johannesburg Fort. He was imprisoned after being charged with involvement in planning armed action and a conspiracy to help other countries invade South Africa. The arrest was made possible because the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) tipped off South African security police as to Mandela’s whereabouts and disguise. Mandela was later imprisoned on Robben Island, where he remained for the next eighteen of his twenty-seven years in prison.

In March 1982, Mandela was transferred from Robben Island to Pollsmoor Prison, in part to enable discreet contact between him and the South African government. In 1990, State President F.W. de Klerk reversed the ban on anti-apartheid organizations, and announced that Mandela would shortly be released from prison. Mandela was released from Victor Verster Prison in Paarl on February 11th, 1990, an event that was broadcast live all over the world.

South Africa’s first multi-racial elections were held on April 27th, 1994. The African National Congress won 62% of the votes in the election, and Mandela, as leader of the ANC, was inaugurated on May 10th, 1994, as the country’s first Black President, with the National Party’s de Klerk as his first deputy. As President from 1994 until 1999, Mandela presided over the transition from minority rule and apartheid, winning international respect for his advocacy of national and international reconciliation.

Mandela’s leadership was recognized when he was awarded the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize.

Mandela’s London Arrival for the Birthday Celebrations

Nelson Mandela arrived in London on Monday, June 23rd, 2008, for a week of events to celebrate his 90th birthday. Mandela met with Queen Elizabeth II, as well as with a number of other high-profile celebrities who included Gordon Brown, the former U.S. president Bill Clinton and the talk-show host Oprah Winfrey. The outdoor concert in honor of the former South African President was scheduled to take place at Hyde Park, London, on Friday, June 29th, with performers including Amy Winehouse, Josh Groban, Annie Lennox, Leona Lewis, Queen and the Soweto Gospel Choir.

Celebrities Greet Mandela’s Arrival in London

Celebrating Mandela’s 90th Birthday: The 90th Birthday Concert

40,000 Fans Pay Tribute to Mandela

Will Smith charmed the huge 90th Birthday Concert crowd, and Amy Winehouse wowed them with her performance. However, Nelson Mandela proved to be the biggest star of all at the concert Friday in honor of the South African statesman’s 90th birthday.

Acts including Queen, Razorlight, Leona Lewis and a host of African stars joined more than 40,000 music fans for the outdoor show in London’s Hyde Park. Josh Groban and the Soweto Gospel Choir also performed at the event, which came 20 years after a 70th birthday concert for an absent Mandela at London’s Wembley Stadium. Mandela, an anti-apartheid activist, had at that point been imprisoned in South Africa for 25 years. He told Friday’s crowd that that concert made a big difference in his eventual release and the fight against the racist system, which was dismantled in the early 1990s.

Your voices carried across the water to inspire us in our prison cells far away,” said Mandela, who received the biggest cheers of the night. “We are honored to be back in London for this wonderful celebration.”

But even as we celebrate, let us remind ourselves that our work is far from complete.”

Mandela Speaks at the 90th Birthday Concert

Amy Winehouse Performances: Mandela’s 90th Birthday Concert

Josh Groban Performs at the Birthday Concert

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Smile: And Then the Sun Comes Shining Through

Smile: And Then the Sun Comes Shining Through

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Robert Downey Sings: Smile (Chaplin, 1992)

Bright Eyes: First Day of My Life

Music Audio: Robert Downey Jr/Smile:

Smile: And Then the Sun Comes Shining Through

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As Social and Political Discord Spreads: My Gestures of Love

As Social and Political Discord Spreads, I Offer My Gestures of Love

Lovingly, I So Deeply Long for Your Embrace

Bright Eyes: The First Day of My Life

Josh Groban: You Raise Me Up

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Payback is Fun: Now Jimmy Kimmel and Ben Affleck Play Around!!

We all remember that last month Sarah Silverman presented what was one of the funniest videos ever to her boyfriend, Jimmy Kimmel, on his television show. Silverman got Matt Damon to sing and dance in the music video. In the video, Matt Damon got even for all of Kimmel’s past jabs at him, where at the end of a show Kimmel would say, “Apologies to Matt Damon, we ran out of time.” The video had Sarah Silverman doing unspeakable things with Matt. It was a very, very funny piece.

Jimmy Kimmel swore that he was going to get even with Silverman for that, and he has in a big, big way!! Kimmel has just announced to the whole world that he’s in love with Ben Affleck. Immediately after the Oscars show on Sunday night, Kimmel fired back with his truly blockbuster effort called “I’m F***king Ben Affleck,” with appearances from celebrities that included: Harrison Ford, Cameron Diaz, Don Cheadle, Robin Williams, Huey Lewis, Rebecca Romijn, Macy Gray, Pete Wentz, Dominic Monaghan, Joel and Benji Madden, Josh Groban, Christina Applegate, Meat Loaf, Perry Farrell, Lance Bass, Joan Jett and Christopher Mintz-Plasse. (And just what was Josh Groban doin’ showing up here?? Also, he was sitting with Elton John and Ellen DeGeneres at the Oscars…Hmmmm…) In addition, Brad Pitt makes an appearance as the birthday cake delivery man, and there’s a full gospel choir singing something along the lines of We are the World. This one ends up being a true epic, a real hoot!!

Despite Kimmel’s very public declaration of his love for Affleck, Kimmel’s girlfriend, Sarah Silverman, swears that she’s not at all jealous. Silverman said, “I suspected Jimmy was on the down low for a long time now. I wish I could say I was surprised by this.”

Now, Jimmy Kimmel’s F***king Ben Affleck!!

You can view the Sarah Silverman and Matt Damon video here.

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Faith in Texas: A Gratitude for Obama

Barack Obama Campaigning in Houston, Texas

Huge crowds have continued to show up to attend Barack Obama’s campaign appearances all across Texas. On Tuesday, he spoke to a crowd of more than 16,000 people at a Houston rally. In Dallas yesterday, 17,000 excited Obama supporters thronged into the city’s Reunion Arena, eagerly cheering Obama’s speech, clearly fired up about his themes of hope, change and unity. They were reported to have been uplifted and exhilarated by his call to finally take America beyond the debilitating war in Iraq, as well as to overcome the old guard’s established divisions based upon culture, religion and race.

Obama has been conducting his strong campaign from from the ground-up, rather than by the old guard’s usual top-down campaign operations. He has campaign sites distributed all over the state, including many in quite remote, often overlooked locations. They are attracting voters who are African-American, white and Hispanic, people of all ages and walks of life. Deanie Mills writes in today’s Huffington Post, “If Obama wins the Texas Two-Step, it will be not only because he knew how to dance, but because he didn’t just go out on the floor with the prom queen. He reached out his hand to all those people standing around in the shadows, listening to the music, and wondering how it would feel to be a part of it all.”

Tonight, Senator Obama will participate in a televised debate with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in Austin, Texas.

Faith in Texas: A Gratitude for Obama

Music: Josh Groban/Don’t Give Up, You Are Loved

Barack Obama: Change We Can Believe In

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A Valentine: Tulips

A Valentine: Tulips

Valentine’s Day is a wonderful time for a kissing video. So here are two great kissing films for you. Tulips is a short animated film by Jeff Scher, and The Kiss is Thomas Edison’s 1896 film of John Rice kissing May Irwin.

An Animated Film: Tulips

Thomas Edison: The Kiss

Josh Groban: Broken Vow

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Photo of the Day: Heartfelt Tears

Josh Groban: You Raise Me Up

Photo of the Day: Heartfelt Tears

Julia Collins, a survivor of Hurricane Katrina, cries as as she listens to the Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Barack Obama, speak at Tulane University on February the 7th, 2008 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Louisiana presidential primary is being held tomorrow, on February the 9th.

Barack Obama in New Orleans

Senator Barack Obama’s latest presidential campaign video focuses heavily on New Orleans. While neither the city nor Hurricane Katrina are explicitly mentioned, viewers are shown images of Mr. Obama with his sleeves rolled up, standing in front of debris and talking to folks whose homes had been demolished.

In the days after Hurricane Katrina hit in August 2005, Mr. Obama lent his hand to New Orleans evacuees in Houston. Mr. Obama is the only candidate still in the race to campaign in Louisiana. On Thursday, he addressed a crowd at Tulane University in New Orleans, where he pushed for F.E.M.A. restructuring and toured the city’s most heavily damaged Ninth Ward.

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