Even when her family threatened her, she never gave up her dream. Now she's living it.

Negin Khpalwak loves music more than most people love, well, anything.

Growing up in a small village in Afghanistan, she taught herself how to play piano, not revealing her musical interest or prowess to her family. Her passion had to remain a secret because music and playing instruments were considered blasphemous and strictly forbidden under Taliban rule.

\n\n

Many instruments and recordings were destroyed, and musicians caught disobeying the ban could have one of their hands cut off. The law effectively ended Afghanistan's vibrant and beautiful musical history. 


Students at an Islamic madrassa burn DVDs, videos, and music CDs in Islamabad, Pakistan, an event reminiscent of the early days of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

Negin eventually confided in her father, who encouraged her to pursue her dream.

The rest of the family was less supportive, even hostile. While the country is no longer under Taliban rule, many people — particularly conservative individuals in smaller villages like Negin's — still frown on music and the fine arts, especially when performed by women. 

All GIFS via Business Insider/Insider People.

A few years later, Negin moved into a girls home in Kabul, while attending the Afghanistan National Institute for Music (ANIM).

Negin took up the sarod, a traditional Indian instrument making a resurgence thanks to music education programs like the one at ANIM.  The school and its hallways filled with beautiful music became a safe, welcoming place for Negin to plant roots and bloom into an accomplished performer. 

Negin played her sarod in Washington, D.C., as part of ANIM's three-city tour of the U.S. in 2013. Photo by Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images.

Now 19, Negin leads the Zohra orchestra, one of ANIM's ensembles.

The small orchestra is made up of a few dozen girls from ANIM playing western and traditional Afghan instruments

But despite their beautiful music, everything isn't always harmonious. 

\n\n

The musicians in the orchestra face scrutiny and harassment for performing — doubly so because they're young women. While many of their families are supportive, other neighbors and community members still speak ill of their decisions. 

Negin's brothers and uncles, for example, still aren't accepting of her career path, despite their sister's success. In fact, when she returned to her village for a visit, they threatened to beat her for performing on television.

But even in the face of hostility and threats of violence, Negin and her young performers remain resolute.

She's just as passionate and driven as the little girl who years ago taught herself piano in secret. 

\n\n

"I will never accept defeat," she told Retuers. "I will continue to play music. I do not feel safe, but when people see me and say, 'That is Negin Khpalwak', that gives me energy."

See Negin's story and watch her lead ANIM's Zorah orchestra in this video from Business Insider.

True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

Terence Power / TikTok

A video of a busker in Dublin, Ireland singing "You've Got a Friend in Me" to a young boy with autism is going viral because it's just so darn adorable. The video was filmed over a year ago by Terence Power, the co-host of the popular "Talking Bollox Podcast."

It was filmed before face masks were required, so you can see the boy's beautiful reaction to the song.

Power uploaded it to TikTok because he had just joined the platform and had no idea the number of lives it would touch. "The support on it is unbelievable. I posted it on my Instagram a while back and on Facebook and the support then was amazing," he told Dublin Live.

"But I recently made TikTok and said I'd share it on that and I'm so glad I did now!" he continued.

Keep Reading Show less
True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

via Saturday Night Live / YouTube

Through 46 seasons, "Saturday Night Live" has had its ups and downs. There were the golden years of '75 to '80 and, of course, the early '90s when everyone in the cast seemed to eventually become a superstar.

Then there were the disastrous '81 and '85 seasons where the show completely lost its identity and was on the brink of cancellation.

Keep Reading Show less
via Ken Lund / Flickr

The dark mountains that overlook Provo, Utah were illuminated by a beautiful rainbow-colored "Y" on Thursday night just before 8 pm. The 380-foot-tall "Y" overlooks the campus of Brigham Young University, a private college owned by the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), commonly known as Mormons.

The display was planned by a group of around 40 LGBT students to mark the one-year anniversary of the university sending out a letter clarifying its stance on homosexual behavior.

"One change to the Honor Code language that has raised questions was the removal of a section on 'Homosexual Behavior.' The moral standards of the Church did not change with the recent release of the General Handbook or the updated Honor Code, " the school's statement read.

Keep Reading Show less