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Lightning strike in Poland, heavy thunderstorm blamed for several deaths, injuries in Tatra Mountains

Several people are dead and a dozen reported injured after lightning struck during a thunderstorm in Poland’s southern Tatra Mountains, officials said.

The TOPR rescue service said rescuers were dispatched to Giewont peak where the group of tourists, including children, had been struck by lightning.

The spokeswoman for Krakow’s provincial governor, Joanna Pazdzio, told The Associated Press at least three people, including a child, were killed in the lightning strike. Pazdzio told the AP she was told about the deaths by the leaders of the rescue operation that was taking place Thursday afternoon in the Tatras.

NORWEGIAN RUNNER STRUCK, KILLED BY LIGHTNING DURING ULTRAMARATHON IN ITALY, OFFICIALS SAY

“Several people were hit by lightning [in] nearby Giewont summit. The situation is critical,” Jan Krzysztof, the chief of the Tatra Volunteer Search and Rescue, told Poland’s TVN24 news.

Westlake Legal Group Poland2 Lightning strike in Poland, heavy thunderstorm blamed for several deaths, injuries in Tatra Mountains Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/disasters/disaster-response fox-news/world/disasters/aftermath fox-news/weather fox news fnc/world fnc article 62e8fe5f-9bb6-5040-9498-e8928a45c68d

Rescue helicopter and ambulance have brought to hospital the first people injured by a lighting strike that struck in Poland’s southern Tatra Mountains during a sudden thunderstorm, in Zakopane, Poland, on Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Bartlomiej Jurecki)

Rescuers said that some 20 people could have been affected when lighting struck the Giewont, a popular trekking destination, and other Tatra locations.

“Several people died on various locations,” Krzysztof told TVN24.

The spokeswoman for Krakow’s provincial governor, Joanna Pazdzio, told The Associated Press at least three people, including a child, were killed in the lightning strike.

Westlake Legal Group Poland1 Lightning strike in Poland, heavy thunderstorm blamed for several deaths, injuries in Tatra Mountains Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/disasters/disaster-response fox-news/world/disasters/aftermath fox-news/weather fox news fnc/world fnc article 62e8fe5f-9bb6-5040-9498-e8928a45c68d

Rescue helicopter have brought to hospital the first people injured by a lighting that struck in Poland’s southern Tatra Mountains during a sudden thunderstorm, in Zakopane, Poland, on Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Bartlomiej Jurecki)

Kinga Czerwinska, of the Airborne Ambulance Service, said four helicopters have been dispatched to help. They were alerted shortly after 2 p.m.

TOILET EXPLODES IN FLORIDA HOME AFTER LIGHTNING STRIKES SEPTIC TANK

Footage on TVN24 showed TOPR rescuers racing to a helicopter to get to the peak, in wet, rainy and foggy weather.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

Lightning typically strikes tall objects such as trees and skyscrapers because their tops are closer to the base of the storm cloud, according to The National Severe Storms Laboratory.

“However, this does not always mean tall objects will be struck. It all depends on where the charges accumulate,” according to the agency. “Lightning can strike the ground in an open field even if the tree line is close by.

Lightning, known as a “bolt from the blue,” can also strike from as far away as 25 miles from a thunderstorm cloud, even when there appear to be clear skies, according to the NSSL.

“They can be especially dangerous because they appear to come from clear blue sky,” the agency states.

Westlake Legal Group Poland2 Lightning strike in Poland, heavy thunderstorm blamed for several deaths, injuries in Tatra Mountains Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/disasters/disaster-response fox-news/world/disasters/aftermath fox-news/weather fox news fnc/world fnc article 62e8fe5f-9bb6-5040-9498-e8928a45c68d   Westlake Legal Group Poland2 Lightning strike in Poland, heavy thunderstorm blamed for several deaths, injuries in Tatra Mountains Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/disasters/disaster-response fox-news/world/disasters/aftermath fox-news/weather fox news fnc/world fnc article 62e8fe5f-9bb6-5040-9498-e8928a45c68d

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Iran unveils new long-range missile system in latest show of military force

Iran unveiled a new long-range surface-to-air missile system Thursday in its latest demonstration of military power, just two months after its forces shot a U.S. Navy drone out of the sky over the Strait of Hormuz.

The Bavar-373, which Iran claims was built domestically, “can detect… targets or planes at more than 190 miles, lock in at about 155 miles, and destroy it at 124 miles,” Reuters quoted defense minister Amir Hatami as saying.

President Hassan Rouhani described the system as an improvement to the Russian S-300 system, which Moscow delivered to Iran in 2016.

Westlake Legal Group Bavar-373 Iran unveils new long-range missile system in latest show of military force Greg Norman fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc article 7b8dcb09-ad0c-511d-8163-31af8f0808cf

In this photo released by the office of the Iranian Presidency, tje Bavar-373 air-defense missile system is seen after being unveiled by President Hassan Rouhani in Iran on Thursday. (AP/Iranian Presidency Office)

“Now that our enemies do not accept logic, we cannot respond with logic,” Rouhani said in a televised speech Thursday.

VIDEO OF IRAN SHOOTING DOWN US DRONE RELEASED BY PENTAGON

“When the enemy launches a missile against us, we cannot give a speech and say: ‘Mr. Rocket, please do not hit our country and our innocent people,” he added. “Rocket-launching sir, if you can please hit a button and self-destroy the missile in the air.'”

On Wednesday, Iran’s state TV reported that the Bavar-373 is able to recognize up to 100 targets at the same time and confront them with six different weapons.

Westlake Legal Group Bavar-373-system Iran unveils new long-range missile system in latest show of military force Greg Norman fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc article 7b8dcb09-ad0c-511d-8163-31af8f0808cf

Iran says the Bavar-373 is able to recognize up to 100 targets at a same time and confront them with six different weapons. (AP/Iranian Defense Ministry)

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

The unveiling of the system comes two months after a U.S. Navy drone was shot out of the sky over the Strait of Hormuz by Iran in what Pentagon officials described as an “unprovoked attack.”

Since 1992, Iran has developed a homegrown defense industry that has produced light and heavy weapons ranging from mortars and torpedoes to tanks and submarines.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Bavar-373 Iran unveils new long-range missile system in latest show of military force Greg Norman fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc article 7b8dcb09-ad0c-511d-8163-31af8f0808cf   Westlake Legal Group Bavar-373 Iran unveils new long-range missile system in latest show of military force Greg Norman fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc article 7b8dcb09-ad0c-511d-8163-31af8f0808cf

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Mike ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino’s wife posts sexy snap weeks ahead of husband’s prison release

Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino still has a few weeks to serve on his tax evasion sentence, and it looks like his newlywed wife’s Instagram followers think she’s showing “The Situation” he has something to look forward to when he gets out of the big house.

Lauren Sorrentino posted a sexy snap on her Instagram page Wednesday wearing a tight white top and Daisy Dukes on a terrace at the Royalton Park Avenue in New York City.

“When you know you’re going for [pizza] after the [photo] shoot,” she captioned the pic.

Many of her more than 700,000 followers were quick to comment on the couple’s upcoming reconnection following their forced separation.

“Mike is going to have a Situation when he gets out. A really good one.”

“When is ur hubby coming home !! They need to make a honeymoon special for u guys !!”

Westlake Legal Group mike-the-situation-sorrentino-lauren-pesce Mike 'The Situation' Sorrentino's wife posts sexy snap weeks ahead of husband's prison release fox-news/entertainment/genres/reality fox-news/entertainment/events/couples fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 83e28b8a-8ac0-50b0-8cdf-c6e9a2bb6fee

Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino and Lauren Pesce tied the knot in November, 2018. (Jerod Harris/Getty Images for WE tv)

“Can not wait to see Mike home, he wants at least 9 kids. Are you ready ????????”

“Beauty!!! Only a few more weeks hang in girl.”

Mike and Lauren Sorrentino wed in November 2018, shortly before he reported to the Otisville Correctional Facility in New York in January to do his time.

He is due to be released September 12.

Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi gave an update on the reality star in April, telling E! News that her co-star is “having the time of his life” in prison.

“It’s like he’s in a senior home, he’s playing bingo, he’s helping people recover in jail,” Polizzi told the entertainment site. “We all talk to him through an email, so I talk to him like once a week. He’s in the gym a lot, so he’s probably gonna come out ripped.”

Westlake Legal Group faa4bf71-jersey-shore Mike 'The Situation' Sorrentino's wife posts sexy snap weeks ahead of husband's prison release fox-news/entertainment/genres/reality fox-news/entertainment/events/couples fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 83e28b8a-8ac0-50b0-8cdf-c6e9a2bb6fee

The cast of the “Jersey Shore” from left to right: Ronnie Ortiz-Magro, Paul “Pauly D” Delvecchio, Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, Jenni “JWoww” Farley, Deena Nicole Cortese, Sammi “Sweetheart” Giancola and Vinny Guadagnino. (Reuters)

“You know, he’s not gonna be BDS anymore — Big Daddy Sitch — he’s gonna have his, probably, six-pack again. But he’s doing … he’s doing good in there,” she added.

“I want to put this behind me and move forward,” Sorrentino said in an Instagram live before heading to prison. “The comeback is always greater than the setback.”

Westlake Legal Group mike-the-situation-sorrentino-lauren-pesce Mike 'The Situation' Sorrentino's wife posts sexy snap weeks ahead of husband's prison release fox-news/entertainment/genres/reality fox-news/entertainment/events/couples fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 83e28b8a-8ac0-50b0-8cdf-c6e9a2bb6fee   Westlake Legal Group mike-the-situation-sorrentino-lauren-pesce Mike 'The Situation' Sorrentino's wife posts sexy snap weeks ahead of husband's prison release fox-news/entertainment/genres/reality fox-news/entertainment/events/couples fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 83e28b8a-8ac0-50b0-8cdf-c6e9a2bb6fee

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The first manned dive to the Titanic in 14 years found a wreck in 'shocking' decay. The photos are spooky

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close The first manned dive to the Titanic in 14 years found a wreck in 'shocking' decay. The photos are spooky

Sebastian-based Triton Submarines and explorer Victor Vescovo took submersible to the Titanic wreck in a series of historic dives between July 29 and Aug. 4 Wochit, Wochit

For the first time in 14 years, divers traveled to the Titanic’s final resting place and found the storied ship is being devoured by metal-eating bacteria and battered by corrosion and deep sea currents.

A team of explorers made five dives to the wreck, which lies in two pieces at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean in near-freezing water 370 miles south of Newfoundland, Canada, according Atlantic Productions, which is producing a documentary about the expedition. They found the hull starting to collapse and the officers’ quarters, where the captain had his rooms, beginning to deteriorate.

“The most shocking area of deterioration was the starboard side of the officers’ quarters, where the captain’s quarters were,” said Titanic historian Parks Stephenson. “Captain’s bath tub is a favourite image among the Titanic enthusiasts, and that’s now gone. That whole deck hole on that side is collapsing taking with it the state rooms, and the deterioration is going to continue advancing.”

The Titanic collided with an iceberg on the night of April 14, 1912. The ship went under two hours and 40 minutes later and more than 1,500 people died.

Titanic found during secret Navy mission: Previously classified story of Titanic’s discovery comes to life

The team laid a wreath at the site and held a short ceremony in honor of those who lost their lives on the ship’s maiden voyage.

The expedition was intended to capture footage and computer imagery to assess the Titanic’s current condition, and “project its future,” along with providing high quality visuals and 3D models of the 107-year-old wreckage. The first 4K visual images will allow the wreck to be seen in augmented and virtual reality.

“The future of the wreck is going to continue to deteriorate over time, it’s a natural process,” said expedition scientist Lori Johnson. “These are natural types of bacteria, so the reason that the deterioration process ends up being quite a bit faster, is a group of bacteria, a community working symbiotically to eat, if you will the iron and the sulphur.”

The bacteria, named Halomonas titanicae after the ship, was first collected in 1991 on icicle-like formations of rust but were not identified until 2010, the BBC reported. The microorganisms can survive at intense pressures in pitch-black water.

National Geographic will produce a documentary with the Titanic footage taken in early August. 

Texas equity-firm owner, renowned explorer and founder of Caladan Oceanic, Victor Vescovo, owns submersible, named the Limiting Factor, and has piloted it on both the Five Deeps Expedition and during the Titanic missions.

“It’s a big wreck, I wasn’t quite prepared for how large it was,” said Vescovo in a statement. “It was extraordinary to see it all, and the most amazing moment came when I was going along the side of the Titanic and the bright lights of the submersible reflected off a portal and came right back, it was like the ship was winking at me. It was amazing.”

Contributing: The Associated Press.

Follow N’dea Yancey-Bragg and Corey Arwood on Twitter: @NdeaYanceyBragg and @coreyarwood

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Bethenny Frankel leaving ‘Real Housewives of New York,’ thanks fans

Westlake Legal Group GettyImages-1058098682 Bethenny Frankel leaving 'Real Housewives of New York,' thanks fans New York Post fox-news/entertainment/tv fox-news/entertainment/genres/reality fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fnc/entertainment fnc article 2c4d562d-5ac2-515e-8a49-8565865822c8

Bethenny Frankel wrote her fans a personal note on Instagram following the news of her departure from the “Real Housewives of New York.”

“I am so grateful to you for sticking with me through everything,” she shared in a lengthy post on Wednesday night. “You started this journey with me in my tiny apartment in my late 30s, wondering what would happen to me. I was broke, single, had no family and no idea what the future held.”

BETHENNY FRANKEL HONORS LATE BOYFRIEND DENNIS SHIELDS A YEAR AFTER HIS DEATH

Fans have seen Frankel, 48, who started on the Bravo show when it premiered back in 2008, grow her Skinnygirl margarita business into an empire, endure ups and downs in her personal life, including welcoming her daughter, Brynn, and most recently losing her on-again-off-again boyfriend, Dennis Shields.

“I would read your letters and messages and grow from your struggles. You would give me your honest opinion about my products and projects and helpful advice about divorce, relationships, motherhood, miscarriages, health, and surviving the death of a loved one and almost my own,” she wrote. “You have shared your ideas with me and I have been inspired by and learned from you.”

BETHENNY FRANKEL REVEALS SHE ONCE THREW WATER ON SLEEPING EX

BETHENNY FRANKEL SAYS SHE IS HAVING TROUBLE ‘MENTALLY RECOVERING’ FROM NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCE

The reality star took a break from “RHONY” from 2010 to 2015 but has since used her platform to grow her brand, which has ventured into fashion and philanthropy as time has gone on.

“I am fortunate to have created a business and career that some people only dream of. I had a beautiful baby girl who is now 9 years old, and she has changed me as a human being,” she said. “I was able to give back and help people all over the world who have been hit with the worst of unforeseen circumstances, which we will all continue together.”

She concluded her post by encouraging her fans to pursue their dreams and “make the impossible happen, because it can happen and it WILL happen.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Frankel assured her fans that amazing things are still to come from her in her next chapter off camera and that New York City is still her playground, giving a cheeky nod to her original “Housewives” tagline.

“I love you all and am so lucky to have you in my life!” she said.

This article originally appeared on Page Six.

Westlake Legal Group GettyImages-1058098682 Bethenny Frankel leaving 'Real Housewives of New York,' thanks fans New York Post fox-news/entertainment/tv fox-news/entertainment/genres/reality fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fnc/entertainment fnc article 2c4d562d-5ac2-515e-8a49-8565865822c8   Westlake Legal Group GettyImages-1058098682 Bethenny Frankel leaving 'Real Housewives of New York,' thanks fans New York Post fox-news/entertainment/tv fox-news/entertainment/genres/reality fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fnc/entertainment fnc article 2c4d562d-5ac2-515e-8a49-8565865822c8

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French zoo visitors carve their names on rhino’s back

French zoo blasted the “stupidity” of its visitors on Wednesday after some scratched their names on a rhino’s back.

Shocking photographs shared on social media showing the back of the 35-year-old female rhinoceros inscribed with the names “Camille” and “Julien” immediately sparked an uproar.

GAY PENGUINS ADOPT EGG AFTER ATTEMPTING TO HATCH STONES AT ZOO

La Palmyre zoo in Royan in southwestern France released a statement saying it was “outraged by the stupidity and disrespect” of the visitors, though no legal action will be taken, reported the Agence France-Presse, an international news agency.

The zoo typically allows the visitors to touch the animals over a fence of their enclosure, claiming this creates a “moving” experience that allows the animal lovers to see “the diversity and beauty of nature.”

Westlake Legal Group Engraved-Rhino-Royan-News French zoo visitors carve their names on rhino's back Lukas Mikelionis fox-news/world/world-regions/france fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/us/environment/endangered-species fox-news/science/wild-nature fox news fnc/world fnc article 7cb36332-b264-575b-b83f-e5c2f1b9148d

A French zoo blasted the “stupidity” of its visitors on Wednesday after some scratched their names on a rhino’s back. (Royan News)

Zoo director Pierre Caille told the news outlet that the visitors used their nails to engrave their names into a layer of dust, sand and dead skin on the rhino’s back.

GIANT PANDA SUFFERS ELECTRIC SHOCK AT SCOTTISH ZOO AS HORRIFIED FAMILIES WATCH

“The animal may not even have realized,” he said. “We quickly brushed the writing away and there was no harm to the animal.”

While the zoo reiterated that most visitors are respectful when it comes to touching various animals, some wildlife groups criticized the zoo for allowing “this type of interaction.”

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

The zoo director said some video surveillance might be installed as a result of the incident, but insisted that he doesn’t want cameras all over the zoo.

Westlake Legal Group Engraved-Rhino-Royan-News French zoo visitors carve their names on rhino's back Lukas Mikelionis fox-news/world/world-regions/france fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/us/environment/endangered-species fox-news/science/wild-nature fox news fnc/world fnc article 7cb36332-b264-575b-b83f-e5c2f1b9148d   Westlake Legal Group Engraved-Rhino-Royan-News French zoo visitors carve their names on rhino's back Lukas Mikelionis fox-news/world/world-regions/france fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/us/environment/endangered-species fox-news/science/wild-nature fox news fnc/world fnc article 7cb36332-b264-575b-b83f-e5c2f1b9148d

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

French zoo visitors carve their names on rhino’s back

French zoo blasted the “stupidity” of its visitors on Wednesday after some scratched their names on a rhino’s back.

Shocking photographs shared on social media showing the back of the 35-year-old female rhinoceros inscribed with the names “Camille” and “Julien” immediately sparked an uproar.

GAY PENGUINS ADOPT EGG AFTER ATTEMPTING TO HATCH STONES AT ZOO

La Palmyre zoo in Royan in southwestern France released a statement saying it was “outraged by the stupidity and disrespect” of the visitors, though no legal action will be taken, reported the Agence France-Presse, an international news agency.

The zoo typically allows the visitors to touch the animals over a fence of their enclosure, claiming this creates a “moving” experience that allows the animal lovers to see “the diversity and beauty of nature.”

Westlake Legal Group Engraved-Rhino-Royan-News French zoo visitors carve their names on rhino's back Lukas Mikelionis fox-news/world/world-regions/france fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/us/environment/endangered-species fox-news/science/wild-nature fox news fnc/world fnc article 7cb36332-b264-575b-b83f-e5c2f1b9148d

A French zoo blasted the “stupidity” of its visitors on Wednesday after some scratched their names on a rhino’s back. (Royan News)

Zoo director Pierre Caille told the news outlet that the visitors used their nails to engrave their names into a layer of dust, sand and dead skin on the rhino’s back.

GIANT PANDA SUFFERS ELECTRIC SHOCK AT SCOTTISH ZOO AS HORRIFIED FAMILIES WATCH

“The animal may not even have realized,” he said. “We quickly brushed the writing away and there was no harm to the animal.”

While the zoo reiterated that most visitors are respectful when it comes to touching various animals, some wildlife groups criticized the zoo for allowing “this type of interaction.”

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

The zoo director said some video surveillance might be installed as a result of the incident, but insisted that he doesn’t want cameras all over the zoo.

Westlake Legal Group Engraved-Rhino-Royan-News French zoo visitors carve their names on rhino's back Lukas Mikelionis fox-news/world/world-regions/france fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/us/environment/endangered-species fox-news/science/wild-nature fox news fnc/world fnc article 7cb36332-b264-575b-b83f-e5c2f1b9148d   Westlake Legal Group Engraved-Rhino-Royan-News French zoo visitors carve their names on rhino's back Lukas Mikelionis fox-news/world/world-regions/france fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/us/environment/endangered-species fox-news/science/wild-nature fox news fnc/world fnc article 7cb36332-b264-575b-b83f-e5c2f1b9148d

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Hundreds of thousands of Africans were enslaved in America. Wanda Tucker believes her relatives were the first

LUANDA, Angola – Wanda Tucker stepped off the plane to a sky so gray it blended into the tarmac. 

She inhaled, balanced her new bag with the straw handle, then step-by-step-by-step made her way down the metal stairs. 

It had been 40 hours since she left Virginia. Her 61 years had caught up. Something about flying over that wide, dark water, watching the low tin roofs rise to meet her, had brought home the reality of what she had come here to do. 

The plane hissed. The faces around her were brown like hers, but their words were a scramble of sound. 

She boarded the shuttle bus and plopped on a seat, nervously tapping her knee with her left hand. At first she brushed away the tears, then ignored them. It was hard to breathe.

Wanda and her family believed they were descended from the first Africans brought to the English colonies 400 years ago this month. They hadn’t proved it, but they didn’t doubt it. Now here she was, in the place those ancestors had called home: dusty, mysterious Angola.

She would walk the roads they walked by the rivers they fished under the stars that guided them. She would confront, as courageously as she could, the reality of what happened to them and those left behind.

Wanda believed her ancestors had called her here. But sometimes she found it hard to listen, and she didn’t hear them now.

She had come so far and felt so alone. She said aloud, “Could somebody give me a hug?”

Searching for answers: Wanda Tucker’s spiritual journey to where the slave trade began

Angola was barely mentioned in the history of the slave trade. USA TODAY invited Wanda Tucker there to search for her roots.

Jarrad Henderson, USA TODAY

Westlake Legal Group 6cf8b2b9-4b5a-450d-a790-76950f2396e0-branch-left Hundreds of thousands of Africans were enslaved in America. Wanda Tucker believes her relatives were the first

Wanda would tell everyone she met in Angola she was descended from the first Africans brought to the English colonies. The story was a family treasure, handed down from generation to generation. It’s a story that Wanda and others had worked to bolster over the years despite a vacuum of evidence, as records for African Americans from that period barely exist. Their names were lost to burned churches, unmarked graves and to a government that didn’t count them as human. 

Like any family heirloom, the rough edges have been worn smooth by the passing years, so the story in Wanda’s family invokes a deep sense of pride whether it is provable or not.

What’s known is that in 1619, two Angolans named Anthony and Isabella, along with 20 or so others, staggered off a ship into Point Comfort in what is now Hampton, Virginia. They’d been taken from the Ndongo kingdom in the interior of Angola and marched to the coast. They’d endured months packed in the bottom of a ship named the San Juan Bautista. When raiders attacked in the Gulf of Mexico, the captives were rerouted to Virginia aboard the White Lion, changing the course of a nation.

Anthony and Isabella probably weren’t their real names. Their Angolan names were likely snubbed out by whichever Catholic priest baptized them for the journey.

The reason they are remembered and other Africans are not is the anomaly that someone bothered to record their names at all. A 1625 census noted that they belonged to the household of Capt. William Tucker and that they had a child named William. Wanda and her family believe they are descended from William, the first named African born in what would become America. An American forefather most history ignores.

Westlake Legal Group 0069e670-77fe-4108-8d49-d30dd8e236d7-wandaquote Hundreds of thousands of Africans were enslaved in America. Wanda Tucker believes her relatives were the first

An excerpt from Wanda Tucker’s journal. USA TODAY

The arrival of the first Africans in the fledgling English colony foreshadowed a prosperity unfathomable without the forced labor of hundreds of thousands who would follow. Chattel slavery launched the longest, ugliest, most shameful period in American history. 

It sought to erase the identity and culture of 400,000 people taken from Africa. It left their millions of descendants with a history they can never fully know.

So when Wanda Tucker traveled 7,000 miles to a country no one she knew had ever been, she did so on the faith of her connection to Anthony and Isabella. 

But she was also doing it for the millions of African-Americans who don’t have the name of an ancestor to claim.

When the plane landed, the void she felt was bigger than any one ancestor, any one tribe. It was an entire people missing its past.

Westlake Legal Group 6cf8b2b9-4b5a-450d-a790-76950f2396e0-branch-left Hundreds of thousands of Africans were enslaved in America. Wanda Tucker believes her relatives were the first

Wanda learned about slavery in a freshly desegregated seventh-grade classroom. The textbook, “Virginia: History, Government, Geography,” published in 1957, featured Robert E. Lee on the back cover and described 1619 as “an eventful year.”

“Slavery was in many ways a harsh and cruel system,” the book read. “But slavery made it possible for the Negroes to come to America and to make contacts with civilized life.”

Most slaves were treated with kindness, it said. Black and white children played together in creeks. Sometimes slaves were whipped, but whipping was a common punishment at the time. Masters took care of their slaves like they took care of their own children, the book said. 

Westlake Legal Group a7b094c7-bd87-4a95-b7a2-fff75dcf63fb-1619_textbook Hundreds of thousands of Africans were enslaved in America. Wanda Tucker believes her relatives were the first

An excerpt from “Virginia: History, Government, Geography,” published in 1957. Source image “Virginia: History, Government, Geography” / Photo illustration USA TODAY

“The regard that master and slave had for each other made life happy and prosperous.”

That the teacher would sanction and amplify these notions did not sit well with Wanda.

“From her perspective, slaves didn’t deserve any better,” Wanda recalled. “They had been rescued.”

When Wanda objected, she was sent to stand in the hallway.

Later, when a white classmate told her that “God cursed black people,’’ Wanda slugged her – a right hook. Both girls wound up in the vice principal’s office.  

Wanda and her two brothers, Vincent and Verrandall, grew up in a mostly black neighborhood in Hampton. Much of what they learned about their history came from family elders when helping with the grocery store, the family cleaners or the produce truck.

Westlake Legal Group fc96d4e5-6680-4a84-9d5c-7ab4f56465ba-1619_textbook_2 Hundreds of thousands of Africans were enslaved in America. Wanda Tucker believes her relatives were the first

An excerpt from “Virginia: History, Government, Geography,” published in 1957. The segregationist-friendly book was required for 7th graders in Hampton schools until the 1970s. Source image “Virginia: History, Government, Geography” / Photo illustration USA TODAY

Wanda learned that her people had been self-made. They were entrepreneurs. Wanda herself worked in her grandfather’s tailor shop from the age of 12. She knew how to fit a suit to a man in a way that made him stand taller, that commanded respect – an inch of break at the cuff, a quarter-inch of sleeve at the wrist, knuckles even with the bottom of the jacket. On Easter, her handiwork was displayed in the pews at the Providence Baptist Church. 

Her father and her uncles kept their hair trimmed and their shoes shined. 

“They walked like proud men,” Wanda said.

In a land that had tried to rob their people of dignity, strip them of their identity and steal their labor, the Tuckers knew they were somebody. 

As she grew up, Wanda came to realize that history was an ever-changing story, and it depended on who was telling it.

She earned several degrees and runs the Psychology, Philosophy and Religious Studies departments at Rio Salado College in Tempe, Arizona.

Her academic training never undermined her faith in her family’s history. Just because it wasn’t on paper didn’t mean it wasn’t true. 

Over the years, she and others interviewed their elders, pored over birth records and carefully tended the family cemetery. They gained a level of celebrity in Hampton. 

When the opportunity to go to Angola came along, Wanda didn’t flinch. She packed a bag and told everyone she’d be back in two weeks.

She wanted to be part of setting history right.

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Wanda bumped along with a knot in her stomach, riding through the capital city of Luanda in a van with a cracked windshield and a broken door. 

Low adobe huts blurred past, roofs held down by concrete blocks. Then came peeling high-rises with rusty air conditioners. Wash lines with colorful clothes hung from balconies. The city bustled with people, but few of them seemed in a hurry. Children headed to class in white uniforms. On the sidewalks, people prayed, bounced babies, grilled yams, crammed bus stops, peed against walls, braided hair, carried strings of fish.

Wanda navigated a packed open-air market where children trailed her with hopeful eyes. It made her nervous to be crowded like that. Yellow fever had spread through this same market not long ago, but Wanda had slathered on bug spray and gotten her shots.

“This is just a part of the journey,’’ she said.

It seemed as if everything in Angola was missing a piece of itself. Everything was a little crooked, a little broken. But there was something recognizable here, too. She saw pride. She saw straight backs, careful dress, attention to detail. She saw flashes of something in the faces around her.

Family, maybe. Or something close. 

Westlake Legal Group 6cf8b2b9-4b5a-450d-a790-76950f2396e0-branch-left Hundreds of thousands of Africans were enslaved in America. Wanda Tucker believes her relatives were the first

Through the window of what was once a slave trader’s house in the outskirts of Luanda, Wanda could hear the waves rolling into shore.

Angola was barely mentioned in most histories of the slave trade, but this was where it had begun. Historians had learned fairly recently that the first African-Americans had been captured here.

The striking white building on a rocky cliff was now a national slavery museum. Director Vlademiro Fortuna guided Wanda past iron shackles, some made small to grip the wrists of children. At one display, she paused by a yoke cut from a thick tree. She put her hands up by her face as she imagined the weight of the wood across her shoulders. 

Westlake Legal Group 7eab41b9-84dc-4124-9e02-3b396805b9d2-frighteningquotenew Hundreds of thousands of Africans were enslaved in America. Wanda Tucker believes her relatives were the first

An excerpt from Wanda Tucker’s journal. USA TODAY

It was the baptismal room that gave her the most pause. She gently touched a small, sand-colored bowl, imagining Anthony and Isabella being sprinkled with holy water and given their new names.

Wanda, who had been ordained in the Baptist church, was shaken by the thought of captors using religion to defend the business of slavery.

“The slave traders had to justify their crime,” Fortuna told her. So they said Africans were descended from Cain. Slavery would cleanse the sins of past lives. 

In the time of Anthony and Isabella, Wanda also learned, the slave trade had been dominated by the Portuguese. The Portuguese would stoke tensions between African tribes and reap the captives from those battles. The English were not yet as involved – they were plundering gold and silver from Ghana. 

Anthony and Isabella came from the powerful Ndongo kingdom, whose descendants still lived in the Angolan interior near the Lukala and Kwanza rivers. Many from the kingdom were skilled iron workers and farmers, Fortuna said.

He speculated that Anthony and Isabella knew each other, their bond forming sometime during the long march to the shore, or on the horrific voyage, five months long. Nearly half of the 350 captives aboard the San Juan Bautista died on the journey.

“It was one of the most terrible experiences someone can endure,’’ he told Wanda.

Westlake Legal Group cfca3491-b81a-400d-8415-b9fb0bc9985e-ancestorsquote Hundreds of thousands of Africans were enslaved in America. Wanda Tucker believes her relatives were the first

An excerpt from Wanda Tucker’s journal. USA TODAY

Outside, Wanda boarded a small boat so she could view the museum from the water and get a sense, if only a little, of what it might have been like for Anthony and Isabella to step off of Angolan soil for the last time. 

It had been mere hours since she’d crossed this water on a KLM wide-body jet.

From the window she had looked down at this same ocean – black and flat and forever deep. She’d imagined her ancestors shackled aboard ships.

The men had been packed into the lower level where they couldn’t fight back, she’d learned, with women and children higher. Some became so desperate they jumped overboard. Some threw their babies overboard to spare them what lay ahead. They sucked in the brine and closed their eyes and swallowed salt. Maybe they tried to swim or maybe they just sank. There were so many bodies, sharks trailed the ships.

But Anthony and Isabella survived. Wanda drew strength from that. 

She tried to picture them there, in sickness and stench, in a space that became less cramped as the months wore on. She closed her eyes and felt the rocking of the ship, rocking, rocking in the dark. So much had changed in 400 years. But not the sound of the wind, and not the sound of the waves.

All her life, she’d found comfort in prayer. But she hadn’t prayed on the plane, and she didn’t pray now. It was hard, so hard, to admit that. She often wondered, to whom should she pray? To the God who let it happen? Or the God who let her return?

Westlake Legal Group 6cf8b2b9-4b5a-450d-a790-76950f2396e0-branch-left Hundreds of thousands of Africans were enslaved in America. Wanda Tucker believes her relatives were the first

That evening, Wanda ventured to an open-air market crammed with rickety shacks as the shadows grew long and the light turned gold.

She ate local fish with the head still attached. Women toting infants on their backs had scraped scales with sharp knives and cooked over tin barrels, the skin of the fish blistering and blackening. 

A young man with a guitar played songs about love. When asked to sing a song about slavery, he said he didn’t know any. But all his songs were sad anyway.

Westlake Legal Group 27902fd3-5972-4bcb-aa37-d8b2f907d090-outragequote Hundreds of thousands of Africans were enslaved in America. Wanda Tucker believes her relatives were the first

An excerpt from Wanda Tucker’s journal. USA TODAY

Later, Wanda learned that back home, President Donald Trump had called the city of Baltimore a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.”

Fifty-one percent of the U.S. voters thought he was racist, according to a Quinnipiac University poll.

It had been two weeks since Trump had encouraged four new congresswomen of color to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places’’ from which they came. It had been 18 months since he’d called African nations “shithole countries.”

The happenings at home weren’t lost on Wanda.

When people spoke about American values – about freedom and equality – she saw a more complicated history. “Our values are mixed,” she said. “It depends on where you’re standing on what day.” 

Those in power justified slavery with the values at the time – prosperity, survival, the cleansing of souls and the expansion of the empire.

Today, she saw brown children in cages at the U.S. and Mexico border. She saw black boys being shot in the street. Much of her research involved young black men. 

“Here we go again,” she said.

Westlake Legal Group 6cf8b2b9-4b5a-450d-a790-76950f2396e0-branch-left Hundreds of thousands of Africans were enslaved in America. Wanda Tucker believes her relatives were the first

In a conference room of a Catholic church in Luanda, Wanda furiously scribbled in her pink notebook, peeking over her glasses.

Father Gabriele Bortolami, an Italian priest and professor of anthropology, poured libations onto the floor in honor of the ancestors. He passed around small cups of the cloudy palm wine. Everyone sipped. 

Casually, as if he were pulling out a dictionary, Bortolami took a thick book from a wooden cabinet. The cover barely clung to the binder, but the words – in Italian – were bold against the white pages. “Istorica Descrittione De’ Tre Regni Congo, Matamba Et Angola.”

Historical description of the three kingdoms of Congo, Matamba and Angola.

It was written in 1690.

Wanda was in awe. Here was a document written by people who might have been alive at the time Anthony and Isabella were taken. 

Bortolami flipped through the pages, talking about the culture of ancient African kingdoms. But when someone asked how the church justified the role it played in the slave trade, he didn’t fully answer.

Angolans were also enslaved by Catholic priests, he said, and life with them was better than with the Portuguese. It was an old familiar theme. Somehow, they were better off, even as slaves. Wanda heard no remorse.

Wanda walked out. She didn’t want to cry. She was way beyond seventh grade, but there she was again.

Out in the hall.

Westlake Legal Group 6cf8b2b9-4b5a-450d-a790-76950f2396e0-branch-left Hundreds of thousands of Africans were enslaved in America. Wanda Tucker believes her relatives were the first

On the road out of the city, cars jammed together and the lane divisions were mere suggestions. People lined both sides of the streets offering goods for sale – zip ties, pillows, mangoes, USB cords, popcorn, shoes, basketballs, ties, lighters, pens, floor mats, shower heads, crackers, rakes. 

It was like a dollar store in the streets, brought to you one item at a time.

Wanda was seeing the contrasts of the Angolan economy up close. The country was rich in oil, diamonds, gold, iron and farmland, but a small number of businesses kept a stranglehold on commerce. The country didn’t build much of anything and imported most of its food.

Twenty-seven years of civil war, from the ousting of the Portuguese in 1975 until 2002, had torn the place apart. Land mines still marred the landscape. Even the animal park needed replenishing, as soldiers had eaten most of the country’s prized giant sable antelope.

Most everyone here was brown, but they were not equal. They had endured decades of hardship for the benefit of a few.

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At the slavery museum, Fortuna had told Wanda, “There are new ways of slavery.”

She could see it. 

She also saw that people here were resilient. The women selling yams on the roadside were entrepreneurs. In that way, they were not so different from the Tuckers of Virginia. 

“They seem to be a very proud people,’’ Wanda said.

Wanda’s bus continued east more than 200 miles, to the village where Anthony and Isabella might have lived, to the old fort where they might have been branded and penned, to the mountains where they might have fled.

The bus lurched and swerved around crater-size potholes. Wanda bounced off her seat. Water bottles and luggage shot across the floor. Darkness fell outside the bus windows. Bonfires lit the sky. The air smelled like burning hide. 

Wanda, sleepy in her seat, looked up and saw a man standing in the aisle. He was tall, thin, wearing a hat. She didn’t see his face, but he was no one she knew.

Wanda doesn’t normally see spirits or apparitions. But her daughter, Alexis, had told her she needed to be open to them. The ancestors are talking, she told her mom. Wanda didn’t know what to make of the man on the bus, but she wasn’t afraid.

She looked away and back again, and he was gone.

Westlake Legal Group 6cf8b2b9-4b5a-450d-a790-76950f2396e0-branch-left Hundreds of thousands of Africans were enslaved in America. Wanda Tucker believes her relatives were the first

The answers Wanda sought were in the villages, where the elders told stories around the fire under a dome of stars.

Out here, there were elected or appointed officials, and then there were the sobas – essentially village chiefs. To see the far-flung relics of the slave trade, Wanda would have to seek guidance from both. Suspicion and police checkpoints made free travel impossible. But everywhere she went, when she told them who she was, they broke into smiles. 

As the sun set in Kalandula, the village soba greeted Wanda in his khaki uniform. He took her hands and she bowed. 

Westlake Legal Group 205b997d-15cd-4d29-9a4c-c7cefefcd0b9-proudquote Hundreds of thousands of Africans were enslaved in America. Wanda Tucker believes her relatives were the first

An excerpt from Wanda Tucker’s journal. USA TODAY

“Welcome home,” he told her.

She wished she’d worn her finest hand-made African dress, but he welcomed her like a lost daughter anyway. “It is an honor to be here,” she told him, “to be home.’’ 

The elders spoke a mix of Portuguese and Kimbundu, the Bantu language Anthony and Isabella likely spoke. They told of villagers captured and sent away. They told her they had a word for the sea: kalunga – death. No one who crossed those waters ever returned.

“We suffered a lot,’’ said the soba, whose name was Antonio Manuel Domingos. The slave trade devastated communities, and many never recovered. 

Wanda asked what she should tell fellow African-Americans back at home.

“You have relatives here,” he replied.

That stuck with Wanda. “It wasn’t that they forgot us. We forgot about them.”

Everywhere Wanda went – in Kalandula, in Malanje, in Ndalatando, in Ndongo– local officials made it clear the country is desperate for outside investment. 

They’re trying to revive their oldest industries – cotton, coffee, farming. But investors face a system hobbled by corruption and red tape. Unlike other African countries such as Ghana, Angola is not a tourist destination. Getting a visa can be an ordeal. Historic sites are hours apart. They have no roadside scenic stops or gift shops or even a place to mail a postcard.

Still, there are few places with an older connection to the slave trade in the British colonies. Local officials told Wanda they would welcome back their lost brothers and sisters. African Americans and Africans are still connected, said Pedro Dembue, administrator for Kalandula. Values have endured. 

“The good will always leave and return home,’’ he told Wanda.

He called her a good daughter.

Westlake Legal Group 6cf8b2b9-4b5a-450d-a790-76950f2396e0-branch-left Hundreds of thousands of Africans were enslaved in America. Wanda Tucker believes her relatives were the first

The rock formations rising out of the savannah seem impossible, like they were dropped there by some heavenly spirit with a pocketful of pebbles. 

The people who lived and hid among them four centuries ago gave them names. One of the most famous looks like a sleeping baby elephant. 

It’s here that Njinga, queen of the Ndongo and Matamba kingdoms, fought to defend her people from Portuguese conquerors in the 1600s. 

Njinga, who came to power five years after Anthony and Isabella were captured, is the most awe-inspiring of the Angolan ancestors. Statues of her overlook fortresses and traffic circles. Her image is on hotel drapes and her name is emblazoned on water bottles.

Westlake Legal Group 4646937e-3270-4825-80e1-cc8a2aa7a4f8-XXX_20190804_Angola_Captioned_jh_040 Hundreds of thousands of Africans were enslaved in America. Wanda Tucker believes her relatives were the first

The Black Rocks at Pungo Andongo are said to include the footprints of Queen Njinga, who led the Ndongo people into these hills to take refuge from the Portuguese. Jarrad Henderson, USA TODAY

Here in Pungo Andongo, her footprints, they say, are embedded in the black rock. Wanda stood over them as the grand soba of the territory, Philip Manuel John Lenda, told her this was a sacred place. 

Some scholars once told the soba those could be anyone’s footprints, trapped in lava, but something about the stillness of the place made it feel as if anything was possible.

“Our great grandfathers were the kings of this land,” the soba said. 

Njinga demanded the Portuguese treat her as an equal. When they showed up to a meeting with chairs only for themselves, expecting her to sit on the floor, she had a servant kneel on all fours and used his back as a stool. She made the Portuguese look her in the eye.

But even Njinga has seen her legacy questioned. She submitted to baptism by the Portuguese – a political move some saw as weak. She gave up prisoners of war to placate the Portuguese, who betrayed her.

Something stirred in Wanda, seeing an entire country honor a black woman for her leadership and strength.

To Wanda, a mother of three and grandmother of four, the queen represented the fortitude she’d had to summon in her own life. She had dealt with divorces, family tensions. She’d learned to turn strength into action.

She organized a domestic violence conference on the campus where she teaches. After the shooting last fall at a Pittsburgh synagogue, she helped coordinate a march.

She saw Njinga’s strength most clearly in her youngest daughter, Alexis. Every night on the trip, Wanda Skyped with her and told her about the day’s adventures. The trip had brought them closer.

Wanda wanted to show Alexis the statue of Njinga at the military museum in Luanda – a warrior, standing tall. She wanted her daughter to see cornrows forged in bronze. 

She couldn’t wait to return to Angola with Alexis at her side. 

Westlake Legal Group 6cf8b2b9-4b5a-450d-a790-76950f2396e0-branch-left Hundreds of thousands of Africans were enslaved in America. Wanda Tucker believes her relatives were the first

In Mufuma, a tiny community of red clay huts, day turned to night. Five musicians kneeled behind the marimba, an instrument made of flat wooden keys and hollowed out cabaca fruit.  They gripped their wooden mallets and began to tap.

A young girl stepped forward, stirring up red dust as she began to step frantically to the beat of mbuenze. Soon others joined her, women and children and men and elders, shimmying to a centuries-old sound.

Wanda smiled. She’d arrived here curious but an outsider. She’d felt utterly alone. Over the past week, she’d come to recognize herself and her relatives in the faces of these strangers. She saw her grandfather’s proud walk. She saw her daughter’s strength. 

“Welcome home,” they’d said at the U.S. Embassy.

“Welcome home,” they’d said in Malanje. 

“Welcome home,” they’d said in Kalandula.

“Tusange.”

She’d grown more confident introducing herself as one of them. The Descendent.

She had been received like a daughter, long lost and now returned.

Nothing she had learned had made the link between her family and the Angolans on board that ship in 1619 more legitimate on paper. 

But now she could hear the ancestors speak and have faith in where they were leading her.

“Ah what the heck,” Wanda said aloud, then jumped up and joined the dancers. 

It didn’t matter that she didn’t have the exact moves. She was surrounded by beautiful black women who looked like her.

An elderly woman from the village danced up next to Wanda. The two wrapped their arms around each other and laughed and spun and laughed some more.

She had come such a long way to land in the arms of family, in a place that felt like home. 

Contributing: Rick Hampson, Nichelle Smith and Jarrad Henderson

Read more about how USA TODAY produced “1619: Searching for Answers.”

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The founding family you’ve never heard of: The black Tuckers of Hampton, Virginia

America’s original sin: How an accidental encounter brought slavery to the United States

Slavery’s explosive growth, in charts: How ’20 and odd’ became millions

Augmented reality: Experience the harrowing journey of the first enslaved Africans to land in America

Slavery in America: Behind USA TODAY’s 1619 series on black history

Black history 1619 project: Call our Google number, share your story

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Quentin Tarantino And Wife Daniella Are Expecting A Baby

Westlake Legal Group 5d5e66002500004b006fbe8c Quentin Tarantino And Wife Daniella Are Expecting A Baby

The “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood” director and wife Daniella are expecting their first child, People magazine reported Wednesday.

“Daniella and Quentin Tarantino are very delighted to announce that they are expecting a baby,” a spokesperson said in a statement to the outlet.

The couple married in November. Tarantino, 56, met the Israeli singer and model, 35, while promoting his film “Inglourious Basterds” in Israel in 2009. They got engaged in 2017.

“I’m not saying that I’ll never get married or have a kid before I’m 60,” he told GQ back in 2009. “But I’ve made a choice, so far, to go on this road alone. Because this is my time. This is my time to make movies.”

But in July he told talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, “I want to have kids.”

The baby-on-the-way announcement comes at a time of professional triumph for the “Pulp Fiction” creator.

Box office analysts forecast that “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood” will gross at least $375 million globally, according to The Hollywood Reporter

The recent release revolves around an aging Western star (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stuntman (Brad Pitt) in the 1969 summer of the Charles Manson murders.

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The Long Road To Missy Elliott’s MTV Video Vanguard Award

Westlake Legal Group 5d5d9d602400003808b0e076 The Long Road To Missy Elliott’s MTV Video Vanguard Award

At her career peak, Missy Elliott’s iconic music videos were must-see TV. From the 1990s to the early aughts, Elliott’s avant-garde approach to visualizing her hits was groundbreaking.

In 1997, she set the bar high with her debut solo video “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly),” where she rocked her iconic blow-up black patent leather suit and helmet goggles, looked into the camera and proclaimed, “Me I’m supa fly, supa dupa fly.” For “Sock It 2 Me,” she and Lil’ Kim float around space in red and white robotic superhero suits, while escaping alien villains. In “Work It,” Elliott was the queen bee, DJing unbothered inside a hive, with bees crawling on her face.

There are so many more moments that proved Elliott’s visual excellence. From the style direction, set design, special effects and choreography, Elliott always brought her A game. Her style uniquely fused imaginary worlds with the around-the-way-girl aesthetics of the ’90s like door knocker earrings, finger waves, puffer jackets and baggy sweats. (If you haven’t followed her on Instagram and Twitter, she’s a legacy artist doing social media right, providing explainers on fun facts behind her epic work.) And for as long as Elliott has been at the forefront of creating unforgettable music videos, it was surprising to her fans that she had not received the MTV Michael Jackson Vanguard Award, one of the most coveted honors celebrating music videos.

“I am Humbly Grateful to be receiving the MichaelJacksonVideoVanguard Award😭🙏🏾❤️ I Thank my FANS “Supafriends” who fought diligently  to see this day come🙏🏾@KidFury @crissles who rooted for years 4 me🙏🏾 I am crying happy tears😭Thank you God @MTV@vmas am SO HUMBLED,” she tweeted. She’ll receive the award during the broadcast on Aug. 26.

The MTV Video Vanguard Award was first given to David Bowie in 1984. Since then, it’s gone to several artists whose legendary work arrived long after Elliott’s reign — like Kanye West, Justin Timberlake, Beyoncé, Rihanna and Pink. For this reason, fans felt Elliott’s trophy was long overdue and took their grievances to social media, expressing the sentiment that MTV was erasing her legacy as a black female artist who creates imaginative music videos.

In 2016, the artist Trapcry called out MTV in a tweet: “How long is @MTV going to wait to give @MissyElliott her well deserved MJ Video Vanguard Award? #VMAs #2017?” In 2018, singer-songwriter Dawn Richard made her own plea for Elliott and pitched herself for the tribute: “dear @mtv please give @MissyElliott her Vanguard Award… and when you do the tribute please put my ass on the roster so i can cry then dance my soul off.  k. bye.”

Two years later, when MTV failed to deliver, fans mobilized and made their feelings loud and clear, using the hashtag #MissyAppreciationDay on the same day the MTV Video Music Awards aired. R&B sensation Tevin Campbell was among those who showed love.

With Elliott’s acknowledgment of her fans in her tweet, it’s clear their ongoing efforts to protect her legacy is the reason MTV is finally honoring her. And it’s yet another example of how much fans on social media in 2019 are elevating voices that were at one point on the margins of the mainstream music industry. After Billboard removed Lil Nas X’s now monumental hit “Old Town Road” from the country charts for not being country enough, people began asking why black artists are often limited to hip-hop categories when they’re exploring other genres in their music. Through social media, Lil Nas X leveraged support to gain the longest running No. 1 Billboard song in the country, and has taken over the country, hip-hop and pop charts.

In a similar fashion, rapper Megan Thee Stallion’s mantra “hot girl summer” was first pushed on social media by her fans (before corporations co-opted the phrase with cringe-inducing tweets). Now, Megan Thee Stallion is enjoying more fame and higher sales thanks to the popularity of her motto. By promoting the mantra, fans made room for a new woman in rap to shine, a much needed change in a genre that hasn’t seen this many flourish since the late 1990s and early 2000s. 

Although MTV honoring Elliott later this month feels like another social media fandom success story, it’s important to note that hip-hop fans and artists who hadn’t forgotten about her contributions were already commemorating her genius in their own work. Take this a 2015 episode of The Read podcast, during which co-host Kid Fury schooled younger rap fans on Missy’s numerous contributions to music video history. 

“Missy Elliott has never ever in her life played with a video,” Fury said in a 20-minute lecture on her creative intricacy. “You’re talking about the era of ′Access Granted’ and ′Making the Video,′ when bitches would set a time and a date to sit in front of the fucking TV and figure out how she did this shit.”

Missy has clearly influenced other musicians with her bold ideas and visual brilliance. Solange Knowles drew inspiration from Elliott’s “The Rain” suit for her 2017 Met Gala outfit. In 2018, Kendrick Lamar, who has built up his own catalogue of exquisite music visuals, said Elliott was his blueprint for thinking big. 

″[W]e’d be watching Missy Elliott videos back in high school, and Busta Rhymes videos. They were always big inspirations,” Lamar told Billboard. “So by the time we got to the point where we can mass produce visuals on that level, we said to each other ‘We all in’ and that we’ve been waiting for this moment.” 

In 2019, the love for Elliott continues. Lizzo’s “Tempo” video, which features Elliott, incorporated her signature surreal elements. (Elliott glides in, standing atop a car with its wheels on fire.) In August, R&B singer Ari Lennox incorporated a silver backdrop in her “BMO” music video, another nod to Elliott’s “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly).” 

Even if MTV didn’t follow through by saluting Elliott with the Video Vanguard Award, her magic has been secured in the memory of younger black artists. And that recognition makes Elliott a winner — if she was ever seeking validation.

Fans are eager to see what scenes from Elliott’s catalogue will be recreated for the primetime stage during her Vanguard performance at the VMAs, when a younger generation that may not be as familiar with Elliott’s work will be exposed to her greatness.

She deserves this moment.

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