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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.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Democracy

Appalachian mom's speech on Kentucky's proposed abortion ban is a must-hear for everyone

Danielle Kirk is speaking up for those often overlooked in our cultural debates.

Canva, courtesy of Danielle Kirk

Appalachian mom gives passionate speech.

Many people felt a gut punch when the Supreme Court issued its decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned the decades-old Roe v. Wade decision that protected a woman's right to an abortion. However, for some this was a call to action.

Danielle Kirk, 27, a mom of two and an activist on TikTok, used her voice in an attempt to educate the people that make decisions in her small town. Kirk lives in Kentucky where a trigger law came into effect immediately after Roe v. Wade was overturned. Being a former foster child, she knew she had to say something. Kirk spoke exclusively with Upworthy about why she decided to speak up.

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Memories of childhood get lodged in the brain, emerging when you least expect.

There are certain pleasurable sights, smells, sounds and tastes that fade into the rear-view mirror as we grow from being children to adults. But on a rare occasion, we’ll come across them again and it's like a portion of our brain that’s been hidden for years expresses itself, creating a huge jolt of joy.

It’s wonderful to experience this type of nostalgia but it often leaves a bittersweet feeling because we know there are countless more sensations that may never come into our consciousness again.

Nostalgia is fleeting and that's a good thing because it’s best not to live in the past. But it does remind us that the wonderful feeling of freedom, creativity and fun from our childhood can still be experienced as we age.

A Reddit user by the name of agentMICHAELscarnTLM posed a question to the online forum that dredged up countless memories and experiences that many had long forgotten. He asked a simple question, “What’s something you can bring up right now to unlock some childhood nostalgia for the rest of us?”

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