+
scary spice

Mel B in the backstage of Times Square New Year's Eve 2017, in New York.

You may not recognize the name Mel B, but you almost certainly remember her moniker Scary Spice. In the late '90s, the singer was one-fifth of the Spice Girls, one of the most successful female pop groups of all time. The Spice Girls were notable for their strong "girl power" message, which became a rallying cry for a group of young girls and women who didn't even know what feminism was.

Mel B has never shied away from using her public persona to champion the rights of others. In recent years, she has turned her attention to a different kind of advocacy: the plight of women affected by domestic violence. A victim herself, she now works tirelessly to give voice to the many who suffer in silence.



Mel B (short for Melanie Brown) was in a 10-year relationship with American producer Stephen Belafonte and, at the time of their divorce, she admitted that during the course of their relationship she had suffered abuse to the point that she contemplated suicide. In 2018, she wrote a book, "Brutally Honest," that detailed the abusive relationship.

"I wanted to be the Boudica for women who had been in abusive relationships. I wanted to use my platform because all these women, including myself, suffer in silence feeling shame for something that is really nothing for them to be ashamed of. I wanted to speak for other women, because I was big enough and loud enough for others who couldn’t do it," Brown told Metro in an exclusive interview.

The release of her book led to her partnering with the U.K. organization Women's Aid, a charity that specializes in working to end domestic abuse. What began as something that was supposed to be a one-off led to Brown becoming a patron for the organization.

"Mel has really gone above and beyond as a patron," Teresa Parker, head of communications for Women's Aid, told the news outlet. "I’ve worked at Women’s Aid for 20 years and I’ve never known somebody with her level of profile give so much of her time so freely and generously."

Parker revealed that during the Spice Girls' 2019 tour, Brown gave her approximately 90 VIP tickets so that domestic abuse survivors could attend the shows and get to see that if a successful star like herself could overcome her abuse and thrive, so could they. The tickets were given out quietly, with no press, simply out of the goodness of her heart. Being a survivor, she intimately knows what these women have gone through, and it's amazing that she is using her celebrity to truly get in there and help.

Mel B was recently awarded the official title of MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) by Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, for her work as a patron and ambassador for Women's Aid.

"When I got a letter that said Boris Johnson had gone to the Queen and that I would be receiving an MBE, I was shocked! I didn’t even realise people like that even knew what I was doing," she said.

"This award is for all those women out there, and men, who have been in an abusive relationship. It’s for survivors everywhere. I’m just going to keep talking. That’s all I can do. I will always use my platform for other women. This is about women supporting women, speaking out, stopping the shame, stopping this awful epidemic of domestic abuse in its tracks."

Hold on, Frankie! Mama's coming!

How do you explain motherhood in a nutshell? Thanks to Cait Oakley, who stopped a preying bald eagle from capturing her pet goose as she breastfed her daughter, we have it summed up in one gloriously hilarious TikTok.

The now viral video shows the family’s pet goose, Frankie, frantically squawking as it gets dragged off the porch by a bald eagle—likely another mom taking care of her own kiddos.

Wearing nothing but her husband’s boxers while holding on to her newborn, Willow, Oakley dashes out of the house and successfully comes to Frankie's rescue while yelling “hey, hey hey!”

The video’s caption revealed that the Oakleys had already lost three chickens due to hungry birds of prey, so nothing was going to stop “Mama bear” from protecting “sweet Frankie.” Not even a breastfeeding session.

Oakley told TODAY Parents, “It was just a split second reaction ...There was nowhere to put Willow down at that point.” Sometimes being a mom means feeding your child and saving your pet all at the same time.

As for how she feels about running around topless in her underwear on camera, Oakley declared, “I could have been naked and I’m like, ‘whatever, I’m feeding my baby.’”

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

The gift that keeps on giving

The Giving Keys inspire wearers to dream, create and pay it forward

The Giving Keys is a jewelry company that's a bit unconventional, only because they believe that all of their gifts are meant to be regifted. It's a pay it forward, give on to others type of mentality and it in turn gives their pieces that little bit of extra meaning. Each of their keys comes with a story attached, once you decide exactly what that is...

Keep ReadingShow less

10/10. The Mayyas dance.

We can almost always expect to see amazing acts and rare skills on “America’s Got Talent.” But sometimes, we get even more than that.

The Mayyas, a Lebanese women’s dance troupe whose name means “proud walk of a lioness,” delivered a performance so mesmerizing that judge Simon Cowell called it the “best dance act” the show has ever seen, winning them an almost instant golden buzzer.

Perhaps this victory comes as no surprise, considering that the Mayyas had previously won “Arab’s Got Talent” in 2019 and competed on “Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions.” But truly, it’s what motivates them to take to the stage that’s remarkable.

“Lebanon is a very beautiful country, but we live a daily struggle," one of the dancers said to the judges just moments before their audition. Another explained, “being a dancer as a female Arab is not fully supported yet.”

Nadim Cherfan, the team’s choreographer, added that “Lebanon is not considered a place where you can build a career out of dancing, so it’s really hard, and harder for women.”

Still, Cherfan shared that it was a previous “AGT” star who inspired the Mayyas to defy the odds and audition anyway. Nightbirde, a breakout singer who also earned a golden buzzer before tragically passing away in February 2021 due to cancer, had told the audience, “You can't wait until life isn't hard anymore before you decide to be happy.” The dance team took the advice to heart.

For the Mayyas, coming onto the “AGT” stage became more than an audition opportunity. Getting emotional, one of the dancers declared that it was “our only chance to prove to the world what Arab women can do, the art we can create, the fights we fight.”

Keep ReadingShow less