November 10, 2023
Blake Shelton explains why he is careful stepdad to Gwen Stefanis kids
Blake Shelton has reflected on how his own experiences with a blended family have informed his approach to being a stepdad to Gwen Stefani's three sons. The country music star spoke with Donna Farizan on TODAY with Hoda & Jenna on Nov. 10 ahead of his new restaurant opening in Las Vegas. He opened up about his parenting style with Stefani's three children from her previous marriage. "I’ve had step parents," Shelton said. "I think it’s, in some ways harder, more difficult. I try to be careful about when to step back, and be smart about when to step back and just talk, but no matter what always be there if I’m needed." Shelton has officially been a stepdad to Stefani's sons Kingston, Zuma and Apollo since tying the knot with the music superstar in 2021 and has often talked of the close bond he's formed with them. They were all together for a proud family moment at Stefani's Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony on Oct. 19. The Singer left her mark on Hollywood Boulevard, and her three children and Shelton were right by her side. The "Just a Girl" rock star was decked out in a silver sequin minidress layered with stars on the hemline, with her boys all dressed up for the occasion as well. Kingston, 17, wore a pinstriped black suit; Zuma, 15, looked dapper in a black suit; and 9-year-old Apollo wore jeans with a black blazer and white button-up shirt. During her speech, Stefani gave her sons a sweet shoutout. "The greatest gift of all is to be a mom to Kingston, Zuma and Apollo. You are my biggest blessings," she said. "I can’t believe that I get to be your mom. I’m so proud of you guys. It is literally my biggest joy of my life." The former No Doubt frontwoman shares her three boys with her ex-husband, musician Gavin Rossdale. Also in attendance was Stefani’s husband, Blake Shelton, who delivered a heartwarming speech about his wife that made her tear up. Shelton, who met Stefani on “The Voice,” recalled seeing her for the first time in 2014 with her three kids in tow. “She drove herself to work in a black minivan with car seats in it,” Shelton recalled. “She didn’t roll in with security. She came in with a baby and two little boys, which at the time worked like security because nobody was going near — it was chaos.” The country star would later pose with Stefani and his stepsons when her star was unveiled. The three boys were also in attendance when Shelton received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in May. Read on for more fun facts about Stefani's kids. Kingston Rossdale, 17, hinted that he might follow in his mom's footsteps when he gave his first live performance at his stepfather Blake Shelton’s Oklahoma bar in August. It’s no surprise he’d show off his musical talent, since both of the teenager’s parents — Stefani and Gavin Rossdale — have been staples in the music industry for decades. Kingston may have also picked up a few pointers from his stepfather, who married Stefani in 2021. In 2021, Shelton spoke openly about his role as a stepfather during an interview with K-FROG’s “The Ride with Kimo & Heather.” “There’s definitely nothing easy about it. I don’t know if it’s as hard or harder or not as hard as being an actual biological parent, you know?” he said. Adding that he can’t imagine his life “without these kids now,” the singer revealed that he has “a blast” with Stefani’s sons. Shelton has also formed sweet bonds with Stefani’s two other sons from her first marriage. In May, the whole family gathered to support Shelton when he got his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Stefani and Rossdale, who were married between 2002 and 2016, welcomed their first child in 2006. When Kingston turned 14 in 2020, Stefani shared a video of Shelton and her eldest son sharing a sweet moment. In 2020, Rossdale told People that Kingston had been bitten by the music bug. "He’s just a joy because when he’s playing guitar, all he wants to do is wear my clothes. He comes out looking better than me, generally," he said. The proud dad showered his son with praise the following year on his 15th birthday, saying he "could not be more proud of" Kingston. In 2022, Stefani shared a tribute to her son on his 16th birthday. “I prayed and I waited my whole life to be a mommy — i’m so blessed that God chose me to be yours,” she wrote. In 2022, Shelton spoke candidly about his role as a stepfather during an interview with People and revealed how his wife’s three sons had changed him for the better. “They’ve taught me something about myself that I never knew: I’m more than just a country singer or a goofy guy. I’m someone they actually lean on, and that’s not a responsibility that I ever had and not something that I ever considered even being into,” he said. Stefani posted a tribute this past May to her eldest son, writing , "happy birthday to my firstborn. couldn’t be more proud of u!! no matter how old u are, you’ll still be my baby boy." In June, Rossdale opened up about his post-divorce parenting approach with Stefani and said they have “opposing views” about raising their kids. “I think you can go one of two ways — you can either do everything together and really co-parent, and see how that goes — or you can just parent,” he said during an interview on the “Not So Hollywood” podcast. “And I think we just parent.” The musician added that his and Stefani’s differing approaches to parenting offer their kids “incredible perspective.” During the same interview, he gave an update on Kingston's musical aspirations. “He’s incredible as a songwriter and singer, musician,” he said. “He’s really way better than I was ever at 17. So who knows what the future holds for him, but he’s recording stuff and super legit. And that’s what he wants to do.” Stefani and Rossdale welcomed their second child, a son named Zuma Rossdale, in 2008. Much like Kingston, Zuma has a close bond with his stepfather. In 2017, the brothers even made a cameo in Shelton’s music video for his single “I’ll Name the Dogs.” The proud mom celebrated his 12th birthday in 2020 with a loving tribute to him to mark the occasion. "Happy birthday to my ZUMA i can’t believe u r 12 years old today!! we love u sooooooo much!!" she captioned the post. Stefani included side-by-side photos of Zuma and a throwback pic of herself, and the resemblance was uncanny. Rossdale called his son the "greatest guy i know" in his own birthday tribute. The previous month, Shelton spoke to TODAY about his relationship with Stefani's sons and said he feels compelled to be a good role model for them. “It’s one thing for me to be with the kids all the time and be their buddy, but you do have to consider after a while that they start to listen to things that you say and there’s a lot of responsibility that comes with that,” he said. Zuma and Kingston had fun at a Shelton concert in March 2020, and their mom shared several photos from the exciting night out. Along with his brothers, Zuma did a Bible reading at Stefani and Shelton's 2021 wedding . The trio also looked pretty sharp in matching suits. In 2014, Stefani and Rossdale welcomed their youngest son, Apollo Rossdale. As the youngest of her three sons , Apollo holds a special place in his mom's heart, and she told TODAY's Hoda Kotb in 2019 that it was difficult sending him to school. “That part was a little bit hard, taking him to kindergarten,” she said. “I never thought I would actually be in preschool again because I had him so late and it was such a miracle surprise that I had him in the first place, so just trying to savor every single moment.” Shelton helped Apollo celebrate his sixth birthday in 2020. Stefani marked the occasion by sharing the following message for her son on social media: "6 years ago GOD blessed us w this little angel boy." Following her wedding to Shelton, Stefani shared an endearing behind-the-scenes video of her and Shelton showering her youngest son with kisses. In honor of Apollo's eight birthday in 2022, Stefani shared a throwback video of her son showing off his musical chops as a little kid while singing "Old McDonald." The same year, Shelton announced that he was leaving "The Voice" to spend more time with his family and focus on his role as a stepfather. “You don’t know what your regrets are going to be until you look back one day,” he told People . “I feel like my regrets would be, if I stayed on this path, that I am missing out on some more important things in life — and for now, that’s our kids.” The singer added that becoming a stepfather shifted the way he thinks about life. “Having kids, it truly does make you go, ‘Oh whoa. Wait a minute.’ This isn’t about me anymore and never will be again,’” he said. “If you don’t say that to yourself, I think you’re only hurting yourself because you’re going to miss out."
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Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
Jan 02, 2024
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
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NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
Jan 02, 2024 15:29
The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
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