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."

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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Matthew McConaughey in 2019.

Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey made a heartfelt plea for Americans to “do better” on Tuesday after a gunman murdered 19 children and 2 adults at Robb Elementary School in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas.

Uvalde is a small town of about 16,000 residents approximately 85 miles west of San Antonio. The actor grew up in Uvalde until he was 11 years old when his family moved to Longview, 430 miles away.

The suspected murderer, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was killed by law enforcement at the scene of the crime. Before the rampage, Ramos allegedly shot his grandmother after a disagreement.

“As you all are aware there was another mass shooting today, this time in my home town of Uvalde, Texas,” McConaughey wrote in a statement shared on Twitter. “Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us.”

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Joy

Meet Eva, the hero dog who risked her life saving her owner from a mountain lion

Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva when a mountain lion suddenly appeared.

Photo by Didssph on Unsplash

A sweet face and fierce loyalty: Belgian Malinois defends owner.

The Belgian Malinois is a special breed of dog. It's highly intelligent, extremely athletic and needs a ton of interaction. While these attributes make the Belgian Malinois the perfect dog for police and military work, they can be a bit of a handful as a typical pet.

As Belgian Malinois owner Erin Wilson jokingly told NPR, they’re basically "a German shepherd on steroids or crack or cocaine.”

It was her Malinois Eva’s natural drive, however, that ended up saving Wilson’s life.

According to a news release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva slightly ahead of her when a mountain lion suddenly appeared and swiped Wilson across the left shoulder. She quickly yelled Eva’s name and the dog’s instincts kicked in immediately. Eva rushed in to defend her owner.

It wasn’t long, though, before the mountain lion won the upper hand, much to Wilson’s horror.

She told TODAY, “They fought for a couple seconds, and then I heard her start crying. That’s when the cat latched on to her skull.”

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