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Is Age Really Just A Number? Lionel Richie Debuts Long-Term Girlfriend And The Internet Can't Deal

Uncle Lionel has gone viral for being in love, y'all!

Celebrity News

So, if you've hopped on Twitter anytime recently, you too may have seen Lionel Richie trending for the past few days. And thankfully, he is alive and oh so well, in all the best ways possible, mostly because the American Idol judge has clearly gotten allllll his little groove back, chile.

Lemme explain.

On Valentine's Day, the 71-year-old crooner took to social media to wish all his dearest fans a Happy Valentine's Day. He was posed next to a woman, and cheesing from cheek-to-cheek in a post captioned:

"Love is in the air and #AmericanIdol is back on our screens TONIGHT on @abcnetwork at 8/7c! Happy Valentine's Day from @lisaparigi_ and I"

Well, his fans didn't give a damn about what he was saying, and was immediately drawn to the snack that he was posed next to.

Her name is Lisa Parigi, and according to her Insta, she's from Switzerland and is founder of vegan skincare brand, Glow Up Beauty. And despite numerous reports, no one really knows her actual age, but there is a clear age difference between her and the "Hello" singer. Additionally, my favorite thing about sis, is she's been around, and their love hasn't been a secret whatsoever...

Because, as it turns out, sis has reportedly been bae since 2014, she was just waiting for us to catch up!

Richie has been married twice before—once to Brenda Harvey and the other, Diane Alexander—and he has three adult children, Nicole, Miles, and Sofia.

And since we all know that in Hollywood, age gaps aren't new, and never will be, so we shouldn’t be making a fuss, right? I mean, she seems to be a completely sane adult entering a consensual relationship with someone who just so happens to be a...*few*...generations older.

It made me wonder though, in love and war, is age really just a number?

After all, Gabrielle Union is 10 years older than Dwyane Wade:

Eddie Murphy is 19 years older than his partner, Paige Butcher:

Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com

Jennifer Lopez was 18 years older than Casper Smart when they dated:

DFree / Shutterstock.com

Marques Houston married Miya Dickey last year—who's about 20 years his junior:

And Jay Z is 12 years older than Beyonce:

Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com

So, when, if ever, is the gap worth having the conversation?

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Well, as you probably can imagine, the internet had a LOT to say:

From comedy...

Twitter

To optimism...

Twitter

To support...

Twitter

...every corner of the conversation was touched on.

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As of today, Lionel has yet to respond to his newfound couple's popularity, but I have a feeling he's unbothered, and, if anything, beyond happy and more than proud to have her on his arm.

But. Hmm.

When it comes to relationships, is age really just a number?

Featured image by Lionel Ritchie / Instagram

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A music lover since childhood, Amira grew up in an artistic household where passion for music was emphasized. “My dad has always been my huge inspiration for music because he’s a musician himself and is so passionate about the history of music.” Amira’s also dealt with deafness in one ear since she was a toddler, a condition which she says only makes her more “intentional” about the music she makes, to ensure that what she hears inside her head can translate the way she wants it to for audiences.

“The loss of hearing means a person can’t experience music in the conventional way,” she says. “I’ve always responded to bigger, bolder anthemic songs because I can feel them [the vibrations] in my body, and I want to be sure my music does this for deaf/HOH people and everyone.”

A Black woman wearing a black hijab and black and gold dress stands in between two men who are both wearing black pants and colorful jackets and necklaces

Amira Unplugged and other contestants on Becoming a Popstar

Amira Unplugged / MTV

In order to lift people’s spirits at the beginning of the pandemic, Amira began posting videos on TikTok of herself singing and using sign language so her music could reach her deaf fans as well. She was surprised by how quickly she was able to amass a large audience. It was through her videos that she caught the attention of a talent scout for MTV’s new music competition show for rising TikTok singers, Becoming a Popstar. After a three-month process, Amira was one of those picked to be a contestant on the show.

Becoming a Popstar, as Amira describes, is different from other music competition shows we’ve all come to know over the years. “Well, first of all, it’s all original music. There’s not a single cover,” she says. “We have to write these songs in like a day or two and then meet with our producers, meet with our directors. Every week, we are producing a full project for people to vote on and decide if they’d listen to it on the radio.”

To make sure her deaf/HOH audiences can feel her songs, she makes sure to “add more bass, guitar, and violin in unique patterns.” She also incorporates “higher pitch sounds with like chimes, bells, and piccolo,” because, she says, they’re easier to feel. “But it’s less about the kind of instrument and more about how I arrange the pattern of the song. Everything I do is to create an atmosphere, a sensation, to make my music a multi-sensory experience.”

She says that working alongside the judges–pop stars Joe Jonas and Becky G, and choreographer Sean Bankhead – has helped expand her artistry. “Joe was really more about the vocal quality and the timber and Becky was really about the passion of [the song] and being convinced this was something you believed in,” she says. “And what was really great about [our choreographer] Sean is that obviously he’s a choreographer to the stars – Lil Nas X, Normani – but he didn’t only focus on choreo, he focused on stage presence, he focused on the overall message of the song. And I think all those critiques week to week helped us hone in on what we wanted to be saying with our next song.”

As her star rises, it’s been both her Muslim faith and her friends, whom she calls “The Glasses Gang” (“because none of us can see!”), that continue to ground her. “The Muslim and the Muslima community have really gone hard [supporting me] and all these people have come together and I truly appreciate them,” Amira says. “I have just been flooded with DMs and emails and texts from [young muslim kids] people who have just been so inspired,” she says. “People who have said they have never seen anything like this, that I embody a lot of the style that they wanted to see and that the message hit them, which is really the most important thing to me.”

A Black woman wears a long, salmon pink hijab, black outfit and pink boots, smiling down at the camera with her arm outstretched to it.

Amira Unplugged

Amira Unplugged / MTV

Throughout the show’s production, she was able to continue to uphold her faith practices with the help of the crew, such as making sure her food was halal, having time to pray, dressing modestly, and working with female choreographers. “If people can accept this, can learn, and can grow, and bring more people into the fold of this industry, then I’m making a real difference,” she says.

Though she didn’t win the competition, this is only the beginning for Amira. Whether it’s on Becoming a Popstar or her videos online, Amira has made it clear she has no plans on going anywhere but up. “I’m so excited that I’ve gotten this opportunity because this is really, truly what I think I’m meant to do.”

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