Just before the Georgia Music Hall of Fame awards show got underway Saturday night, actor Samuel L. Jackson met a group of impressive young ladies.
Jackson was there to introduce honoree Kenny Leon, the actor, playwright and director he’s working with right now in New York. (”The Mountaintop, also starring Angela Bassett, opens on Broadway Oct. 13). Jackson, in other words, is a famous guy used to hanging out with other famous people.
That didn’t stop Emily Huff from marching up to him at the pre-show party.
A Sutton Middle School eighth grader, Emily was there with a group from the organization Girl Talk, a locally based but national non-profit organization that works to encourage leadership and community service among middle school and high school girls. After the group posed for photos with Jackson, Emily presented him with a baby blue bracelet with T.H.I.N.K. embossed on one side.
The letters are meant to give the wearer pause before opening his or her jaws.
“Make sure what you say is truthful, helpful, important, necessary and kind, ” Emily explained. Jackson was impressed. “I can’t wait to give this to my daughter, ” he said, adding after a comic pause, “She’s 29.”
Haley Kilpatrick, who founded Girl Talk in 2002 at age 15 and now serves as its executive director, beamed at Emily’s poise. The bracelets, Kilpatrick said, can provide a fun way to combat the teasing and bullying so many teen and tween girls suffer during their school years. “We’re hoping to dial down the drama in the hallways, ” she said.
The Girl Talk group was there to support Jan Smith, the vocal coach known as “Mama Jan” to clients such as Justin Bieber and Usher. Smith was a keynote speaker at its summer camp. During her visit this summer she “inspired the girls to dream big, stay humble and give back, ” Kilpatrick told us. “She is a true example of all three life lessons.”
So, what’s new with Girl Talk? The organization now reaches more than 35,000 girls in 43 states and six countries, and will be featured this fall on a new ABC show called “Everyday Health.” (They’re not sure of the air date yet). And Kilpatrick has a book coming out next April, appropriately titled “The Drama Years: Real Girls Talk About Surviving Middle School-Bullies, Brands, Body Image, and More.”
Co-written with Whitney Joiner, the book will share Kilpatrick’s insights from the past nine years and real stories from her young friends. As Kilpatrick observed: “Middle and high school girls are the experts.”
- Jennifer Brett/The Buzzfirstname.lastname@example.org