Disney Junior Introduces Notable African-Americans to Young Audiences

Even though Black History Month is coming to a close, the opportunity to teach our children never ends. As a mom, it’s my responsibility to educate my son and daughter about the pioneers who paved the way for our freedom and inform them about the present day individuals who continue to contribute to our society. But, positive reinforcements outside the home are just as important.

Thanks to Disney Junior, my kids are learning about some pretty awesome people in an entertaining and relatable way. Throughout the month, the network has featured authentic segments that celebrate African-American history while still catering to their young audience.


Photo Courtesy of Disney Junior

From showcasing Stephanie R. Grant, a pilot who led the first all-female African-American flight crew to operate a commercial airliner to Disney legend Floyd Norman, one of the first African-American animators at Walt Disney Studios during the 1950s, the network has done an amazing job of presenting historical facts and trailblazers in a fun and engaging manner in between series that kids can understand.

While it’s great to have trusted networks like Disney help highlight and acknowledge our accomplishments, the most impactful lessons start at home.

How have you and your family celebrated Black History Month?

Soarin’ High at Disney’s Epcot

Two weeks ago my family and I attended the 2017 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration and made memories that will last a lifetime. After attending my first #DisneySMMC last May, I had high expectations, but nothing could prepare me for what was in store this time around. This year was the celebration’s first Land and Sea Adventure (yes, we went on a Disney Wonder cruise too!) and it was everything one could imagine and more. Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing tips, reviews, insider Disney news and tidbits from what I learned from the celebration’s panel of esteemed speakers.

First up, I want to share one of the highlights from our trip: experiencing the breathtaking Soarin’ Around the World ride at Epcot in Orlando (it’s also at California Adventure Park in Disneyland and Shanghai Disneyland). For me, it’s the one attraction that you can’t miss during a visit to Disney World. Sure, it’s been open since 2001, but last year it was reimagined with new destinations and updates for an incredible multi-sensory journey.


The attraction takes thrill seekers 40 feet into a projection dome simulating the sensation of being airborne high above the clouds. As you’re being whisked over oceans, deserts and even the Great Wall of China, the landscapes are accompanied with wind effects, sounds and even scents—creating an immersive experience.

It truly felt like we were soaring and exploring various continents all under six minutes. Prior to our trip, I told my husband that I hoped to find a ride that would satisfy my love of heights without the speed of a winding roller coaster and Soarin’ delivered. After experiencing it with my fellow mom bloggers during a private ride, I knew immediately that my family would enjoy it too.

At first, my 7-year-old-daughter was a little nervous, but as soon as she was flying high, she was totally entranced. Surprisingly, my 3-year-old son was excited from beginning to end. If I could, I’d ride Soarin’ a million times! It’s definitely my favorite ride and I look forward to many more flights.

Tip: If possible, try to snag the front row for an even more mesmerizing ride.

*I was invited to attend the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration where I received heavily discounted items, promotional gifts, etc. All opinions are my own. 

Have you ever experienced Soarin’? 

Sprout’s ‘Ruff-Ruff, Tweet and Dave’ Second Season Set to Premiere Saturday

When it comes to producing quality, authentic programming for preschoolers, Sprout is in a class of its own.

The 24-hour preschool TV network’s original series, Ruff-Ruff, Tweet and Dave serves as the flagship show for delivering fun, informative and engaging content for the pre-K set. My son has been watching the interactive animated series since it premiered in 2015 when he was barely two years old!


He’s grown with the show and enjoys guessing along with the adventure-loving title characters as they embark upon journeys unlocking their imaginations and discovering new things along the way. The ten-minute game show format keeps him entertained and successfully holds his attention. As many moms know, that’s no easy feat. That’s why I appreciate the show’s structure. The multiple-choice questions throughout allow my son to use his cognitive skills to decipher outcomes, in turn developing his reasoning abilities. Plus, I know that he will be able to follow the storyline, while learning in a way that captivates him.

To celebrate the premiere of season two, we hosted a small viewing party to honor our favorite pup, Ruff-Ruff, our lovable chick, Tweet and our unique blue panda, Dave. One of the new premiere episodes tackles the scenario of encountering a friend who speaks a different language. The upcoming season will surely keep preschoolers inquisitive and eager to learn!

Check out our party picks below:








Can you guess who had the most fun? Ask the hat, ask the hat! If you guessed MJ, you were right! He slept with his new plushie friends and woke up the next morning with them in tow. Ava had a great time too, but she was a bit under the weather. They’ve both enjoyed “Ruff-Ruff, Tweet and Dave” throughout the years and look forward to watching new episodes.

Check out the trailer for season two:

Sprout’s Ruff-Ruff, Tweet and Dave Season 2 premieres Saturday, Feb. 18 at 12pm EST.

Disclosure: Sprout provided Brown Girl Gumbo with food and party decor for review purposes only.  All opinions are 100% my own.

WATCH: Rihanna Guest Stars in ‘Bates Motel’

Rihanna fans rejoice!

The singer-actress has been laying low lately, but it looks like the Barbadian beauty has been busy filming the fifth and final season of A&E Network’s “Bates Motel.”

Rihanna will be stepping into Janet Leigh’s famous role of Marion Crane, the real estate secretary who takes that fateful shower in Alfred Hitchcock’s seminal 1960 thriller “Psycho.”

In the clip, dressed in a blue velvet getup, the Grammy winner looks like she’s in need of an umbrella…ellaella as she’s soaking wet in the scene.


The fifth season of “Bates Motel” starts Feb. 20th at 1o pm ET on A&E Networks. Photo courtesy of A&E Networks

It appears that fans of the critically-acclaimed drama will be in for a haunting season as the singer-actress puts her contemporary spin on the iconic character. As a pure coincidence, the new season starts on Rihanna’s birthday, February 20.

Check out the trailer below:

Will you be tuning in? What’s your favorite horror series or film?

Tracee Ellis Ross and Donald Glover Win Big at Golden Globes

Last night’s 74th Annual Golden Globes turned out to be a glorious and quite groundbreaking evening for us brown girls and guys.

In case you missed it, Tracee Ellis Ross, our favorite sitcom mom won Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy for her role as Rainbow Johnson on the hit ABC show, “Black-ish.” It was a tough category because Issa Rae, the most popular awkward black girl on the planet, was also up for the award for her work on the breakout HBO show, “Insecure.” Although Issa didn’t snag the top honor, we’re thrilled that there were two women of color nominated and that Tracee ultimately took it home—the first African-American woman to do so in that category since Debbie Allen won in 1983 for her portrayal on “Fame.”

Via Issa Rae's Instagram

Issa Rae (R) and Tracee Ellis Ross at a post-Golden Globes party in Los Angeles, CA on January 9, 2017. Photo via Issa Rae’s Instagram

And she wasn’t the only BG to leave the stage with the shiny golden globe. Powerhouse actress Viola Davis dazzled in her yellow Michael Kors dress as she accepted the award Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture for “Fences.” Not only did she win, but BGs Naomie Harris (“Moonlight) and Octavia Spencer (“Hidden Figures”) were also nominated in this coveted category as well. Kerry Washington was also a contender for the Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television award her portrayal of attorney and academic Anita Hill on HBO’s “Confirmation.” Although the mom of two didn’t take the trophy, she still stunned in a gorgeous Dolce & Gabbana gown.


Actress Viola Davis at the 74th Annual Golden Globes award ceremony in Los Angeles, CA on January 9, 2017. Photo via @Phillyfilmsociety’s Instagram

The night was also a success for our brown guys too. “Atlanta’s” front man, Donald Glover who produces, writes and stars in the critically acclaimed FX series scored two wins: Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy and Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy. The latter category also had Anthony Anderson in the running for his work on “Black-ish.” Sterling K. Brown and Courtney B. Vance were also winners for their outstanding performances as attorneys Christopher Darden and Johnnie Cochran on the remarkable FX miniseries “The People vs. O.J. Simpson,” which won Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television.

Via @Childishnews Instagram

Donald Glover at the 74th Annual Golden Globes in Los Angeles, CA on January 9, 2017. Photo via @Childishnews Instagram

Last but not least, one of the year’s most buzzed about films, “Moonlight,” took home the most prestigious award of the night, Best Motion Picture – Drama.

While I haven’t seen “Fences” or “Hidden Figures,” yet, I can confidently say that all of the other winners and nominees were well deserved!

For the complete list of winners and nominees, click here.

What was your favorite win of the night?

Singing Praises for Illumination’s New Animated Movie ‘Sing’

Who doesn’t love to sing? No matter if you’re belting out ballads like Beyoncé or can barely hold a tune, there’s something special about creating melodic sounds with your voice. Music is the universal language after all.

So, when I heard about Illumination Entertainment’s new animated film,“Sing,” I was excited. I can’t lie, my favorite part of kids’ movies is the music. With a title like, “Sing,” I knew that the film would be music to my ears—and I was right.

Based around a singing competition among personified animals, the film had an automatic winning formula. Singing animals? Sign me up!


Thanks to The Moms, my family and I caught an advanced screening of the movie last Saturday before it hits theaters next Wednesday (December 21). It had me and my daughter singing and smiling throughout its entirety.


“Sing,” tells the story of a bankrupt theater owner who happens to be a koala bear (voiced by Matthew McConaughey) whose best years are behind him, but who finds hope for a reinvigorated career through putting on a singing contest. With several protagonists, the film explores each of their setbacks and reasoning for entering the contest. It beautifully highlights common scenarios that just about everyone can relate to. From finding your confidence to following your true passion, the star-studded (voiced) film serves up great messages packaged with awesome music for all generations.


My family and I can’t stop singing this movie’s praises. It’s hands-down one of the best children’s films of the year!

Check out the trailer below:

Do you have plans to see “Sing?” What’s your favorite film of the year?

GIVEAWAY & Event Recap: ‘Sailing Back to Ellis Island’ with author Jane F. Collen

Two weeks ago, my daughter, Ava, and I had one of the most memorable experiences ever.

We were invited on a tour of Ellis Island with author, Jane F. Collen of the new young readers book, Sailing Back to Ellis Island: The Enjella Adventure Series. The book puts a fanciful spin on the often arduous and incredibly tedious process that immigrants endured upon entering into the new land: America pre-World War I.


Sailing Back to Ellis Island is available here, $11

A fairy named “Enjella,” and her fairy friend take two modern day siblings on a magical journey back in time.

So naturally, boarding the “Miss Ellis” ship and sailing to Ellis Island, which by the way was named after Samuel Ellis who owned the island in the 1770s), was only fitting. While Ava was excited to learn more about the book and the island, the boat ride was a wonderful way to start the educational afternoon.


Despite the biting chill, we managed to go to the top deck and see the Statue of Liberty in all of her glory and marvel at the gorgeous New York City skyline. It was the first time either of us had ever seen Lady Liberty so up close and personal or the beauty of the city from that perspective.


Before we entered the Ellis Island Museum (formerly the inspection station that served as the gateway for over 12 million immigrants to America from 1892-1954), Jane treated us to a brief reading from a chapter in Sailing Back to Ellis Island. Ava listened intently and whispered a few questions to me in an effort not to interrupt Jane or disturb the other attendees.


In the spirit of Enjella, Ava wore a pair of fairy wings during the tour.

Later, while at the museum we saw many interesting tidbits and artifacts. From actual luggage brought over by immigrants to a vintage cash register used to ring up snacks on the island.


The afternoon was filled with an abundance of information and intriguing exhibits. After the tour with Jane, we took a mini Junior Park Ranger course, which included Ava choosing an immigrant family and deciding where they’d live in America and why. Since her caretaker is from Trinidad and her dad and I are from Chicago, she of course chose a Caribbean  family that moved to the Windy City! After completing the course, she was awarded a pretty impressive badge, which she wears proudly.


This time traveling tome is perfect for the young reader in your life who is just beginning to learn about American history. Plus, for us brown girls; it can serve as a great introduction to some of the more troubling and more personal part of history—the enslavement of our African ancestors.


It was truly a perfect day that I’ll forever cherish. On our way home, Ava said to me, “Mommy, I’ll always remember this day.” What more can a mom ask for?

GIVEAWAY: I’m giving away a copy of the Sailing Back to Ellis Island to one lucky reader. Simply leave a comment or tweet me why you’d like to visit Ellis Island and/or the Statue of Liberty. The winner will be randomly selected on or by December 20th. This contest is only open to U.S residents.