Ellen dared Kerry Washington to play the tuba. She had an inspiring reason to happily accept.

On Nov. 12, 2015, Kerry Washington stopped by "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" to celebrate the daytime queen's 2,000th episode.


All images by The Ellen Show/YouTube.


It's always a good time when Washington stops by talk shows, because she knows how to bring a good story and she doesn't take herself too seriously. And that latter trait of hers came in really handy when Ellen offered a wager Washington couldn't refuse.

Ellen offered $10,000 to whatever charity Washington chose if she could play "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" on a mystery instrument.

Washington agreed without hesitation ... but then Ellen revealed the mystery instrument.

Washington probably wasn't expecting this.

Yes, that's a tuba.

And Kerry Washington had no idea how to hold it, let alone play it.


But charity initiatives are near and dear to Washington's heart, and she didn't want to let them down.

If she managed to convincingly play the tuba, Washington decided she wanted to split the prize money between two organizations: Purple Purse and Turnaround Arts.

Washington is an ambassador for Purple Purse, a campaign to help domestic violence survivors create their own safety net through financial empowerment.

1 in 4 women report experiencing domestic violence in their lifetime. Many survivors stay in or return to abusive relationships because they don't have the financial stability to leave for good — leaving home and jeopardizing employment or medical benefits can be too much to overcome.

Purple is the color of choice for domestic violence awareness, and the organization sells purple purse charms and limited edition bags (including one designed by Washington herself) to raise funds. With the money, Purple Purse offers a free comprehensive curriculum on financial management for domestic abuse survivors. And the campaign has invested over $43 million to help women get on safe, secure paths.

Washington also works with Turnaround Arts, a program providing arts education to schools and students in need.

The initiative brings arts education and supplies, (everything from paint to pianos) to students in high-poverty, low-performing elementary and middle schools in 15 states. By integrating more fine art into the curriculum, the committee hopes to address larger challenges, like attendance, motivation, academic achievement, and parent involvement.

Washington is more than the program's celebrity face. She volunteers at schools, presenting workshops, visiting classes, and attending performances.

Kerry Washington performs with students at Savoy School in Washington, D.C., one of the schools selected for the Turnaround Arts Initiative. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.

All this to say, Washington was going to play that tuba, darn it. Whether she knew how to or not.

So with a few warm up breaths and a giggle or two, Washington gave it her best shot.

As a tuba player myself, I can tell you tuba's not as easy as it looks, and it's really hard in a dress. But Washington managed to oompah (OK, she pretty much hummed) her way through "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star"! Not too bad for a first-timer.

So while she may have looked a little silly, it was well worth it. Not just for the laughs but for $5,000 for two initiatives doing some great work!

If only every tuba solo could be so lucrative!

See Kerry Washington toot her way through "Twinkle, Twinkle" in this delightful segment with Ellen DeGeneres.

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Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

In the hours before he was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, then-President-elect Biden was sent a letter signed by 17 freshmen GOP members of the House of Representatives.

In sharp contrast to the 121 Republican House members who voted against the certification of Biden's electoral votes—a constitutional procedure merely check-marking the state certifications that had already taken place—this letter expresses a desire to "rise above the partisan fray" and work together with Biden as he takes over the presidency.

The letter reads:

Dear President-elect Biden,

Congratulations on the beginning of your administration and presidency. As members of this freshman class, we trust that the next four years will present your administration and the 117thCongress with numerous challenges and successes, and we are hopeful that – despite our ideological differences – we may work together on behalf of the American people we are each so fortunate to serve.

After two impeachments, lengthy inter-branch investigations, and, most recently, the horrific attack on our nation's capital, it is clear that the partisan divide between Democrats and Republicans does not serve a single American.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.