Documentary About Controversial LuLaRoe Clothing Empire In Works From Fyre Fraud Team And Based On Media – Deadline

EXCLUSIVE: We hear that Cinemart, the documentary team of directors Jenner Furst, Julia Willoughby Nason and producer Mike Gasparro, is partnering on the documentaryLuLaRichwith Based on Medias Blye Faust and Cori Shepherd Stern.

The doc will investigateLuLaRoe, the billion dollar clothing empire which has recently been accused of misleading thousands of American women with their multi-level marketing platform. Once promoted by Katy Perry and Kelly Clarkson, the brand has gone from an aspirational movement to a trending pyramid scheme that is now the subject of multiple lawsuits.

LuLaRoes founders DeAnne and Mark Stidham have denied all allegations and have launched countersuits of their own, defending the companys legitimacy and model. LuLaRoe is still fully operational and many women continue to enthusiastically promote the brand. The company has also dramatically reduced entry costs to attract new saleswomen during the pandemic and economic downturn.

Related StoryProducers Blye Faust & Cori Shepherd Stern Launch Based On Media

The film will chart the meteoric rise of the company, its Mormon founder and a culture of dedicated legging-clad millennial saleswomen who rose through the ranks seeking a better life for their families.

In addition to offering LuLaRoe execs Mark and DeAnne Stidham a chance to tell their story, LuLaRich will explore the broader zeitgeist of the Mormon subculture, multi-level marketing, social media, womens rights, economic equality, fraud and white-collar crime in the digital age.

Nason and Furst will direct with EP Gasparro, the award-winning team behind Hulus Fyre Fraud and Netflix docuseries The Pharmacist which we reported yesterday was being snapped up by David Permut to be made into a feature narrative. The Cinemart team is currently in production on a new sports true-con for Quibi about Baseballs recent sign stealing scandal in a co-production with Spring Hill Entertainment and executive producer Lebron James.

Cinemart will be joined by EPs Blye Faust and Cori Shepherd Stern of Based On Media. Faust won an Oscar for Best Picture onSpotlight and Stern is an Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning producer known for diverse projects including Warm Bodies and HBOs Open Heart.

The Cinemart is repped by CAA and Jonathan Gardner and Carissa Knoll at Cohen & Gardner. Based On Media is repped by WME, along with Robert Strent and Ted Fisher at Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks.

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Documentary About Controversial LuLaRoe Clothing Empire In Works From Fyre Fraud Team And Based On Media - Deadline

TikTok: The Summation of 2020’s Duality and Chaos – Harvard Political Review

TikTok perfectly encapsulates the zeitgeist of 2020. The video-sharing social network from Beijing-based ByteDance is the perfected form of previous social media trends: Vines snappiness, Instagrams infinite scroll, and Reddits niche subsets. Now that quarantine has locked us away with phones as our constant companions, we suddenly have extra free hours that TikTok, like a gas, has expanded to fill. Since the start of 2020, Tiktok has surged in popularity, receiving 52.2 million unique American users, 12 million from March alone. It now sits as the most downloaded app in the world at more than 2 billion downloads.

TikToks growth points to a new form of digital identity that is both personal and public: a new norm for the 2020s that has evolved over the past few years. Thanks to the apps video-editing capabilities, the skill needed to make a TikTok is less than on other platforms, lending TikToks a homemade air. But the massive audience that TikTok videos can reach presents these casual clips to a very public eye. All kinds of content exist on the app; still, the carefully-curated For You page that greets every user ensures a finely tailored experience from the vast chaos. And, though the platform has been dismissed as a time-waster for teens, it has successfully capitalized on broader trends in how we consume social media and grown into a new behemoth for the decade. Though TikTok trends themselves tend to be short-lived, the apps duality may be the key to its longevity.

The Homemade Film Festival

TikToks user base skews young. Reuters reported in 2019 that about 60%of the platforms users in the U.S. are between the ages of 16 and 24. TikTok shares similarities with other apps targeted toward a young user base, like Snapchat, which is used by 69%t of U.S. teens. Both Snapchat and TikTok have a more informal culture, where the self-consciousness of more public social media platforms, like Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, is nowhere to be found. While platforms like Facebook which 7 in 10 U.S. adults use see a broader range of ages among their users, TikTok is undeniably one for the first generation of true digital natives who have grown up alongside social media.

After tiring of the perfect presence one is pressured to curate on Instagram and the insecurities the platform tends to exacerbate it seemed only natural that apps, where imperfection and casual communication reigned, would gain traction. TikToks popularity points to a reaction to that image-consciousness, according to Karen North, a professor of communication at the University of Southern California specializing in social media and psychology. TikTok made everything extremely easy and really fun, North told the HPR. The whole culture of it is not to judge. For the uninitiated, TikTok is best known for its viral dance challenges, which users of all skill levels can participate in. It doesnt matter if you do it well or exceedingly poorly, North said, adding that TikToks algorithm and huge audience make it possible for anyone who participates in a challenge to get lots of views.

Beyond viral challenges that make it easy and appealing to jump in, TikTok also makes it easy for users to edit their own videos through the app. This, coupled with the overall flexibility for format on the platform, has brewed a perfect environment for encouraging users to experiment with their videos, which range from personal stories to comedy sketches to tutorials. And with stay-at-home advisories encouraging everyone to keep indoors, people have more free time to spend on their phones. The extra time has invited even adults and college students to join the TikTok craze, and with more users comes more content.

Its like a bunch of sixth graders hosted a film festival and didnt give you a program beforehand, said Eli Russell 20, who started making TikTok videos (@notchrissyteigen) after returning home in March when students left campus because of concerns about the coronavirus. Russell said that a combination of more time, more of his friends getting on the app, and the convenience of making videos on TikTok all factored into his start on the platform. Tyler Sanok 22 (@ksanok10) also cited extra time and the platforms convenience as the reasons he and his brother started posting TikTok videos during quarantine. Because the amount of time and effort needed to make a TikTok video isnt as much as that required for, say, a YouTube video, he said, theres no consequence for not shooting your shot.

It is also not surprising that for Generation Z users who grew up in the era of internet stardom, thanks to YouTube the prospect of TikTok celebrity is also an appealing motivator to produce videos. TikToks most popular creator, 16-year-old Charli DAmelio, gained more than 66 million followers in the span of a year, mainly for her dance videos and relatability, despite being an ordinary person without a large internet following before her start on the platform. Through some combination of luck, timing, and the omnipotent TikTok algorithm, TikTok fame could be within reach for any user.

The Algorithm

On any platform made for sharing content, there is potential for spreading messages. TikToks are punchy and to-the-point due to an upper time limit of 60 seconds. Its estimated audience of 800 million active users provides enormous potential for content of any agenda to go viral. In recent weeks, TikTok has been increasingly used for political organizing and educational efforts, though those efforts still stick to the pace of the apps other snappy videos. When you use any platform [for promoting causes] its important to do it so that it fits the culture of that platform, North said. TikTok videos often have background music or are filmed casually with a single person speaking directly to a camera. A scroll through the array of videos tagged with police brutality shows that many of these videos still maintain the same format.

Claira Janover 21 (@cjanover) said that when she first started making TikTok videos during quarantine, her videos focused more on humor. Since then, her channel has started to tackle topics like racism, sexism, and police brutality a gradual change prompted by comments shes received on her TikToks and her own changing focus. If I believe something, Im going to articulate it, Janover said. She added that she thought TikTok lends itself well to sharing information of substance because it adheres to the narrowing American attention span, but also has the power to influence.

Still, though, TikToks algorithm prevents it from being a completely effective means of communicating information to diverse audiences. TikToks impeccably-curated For You page an infinite scroll of videos presents each user with a feedback loop based on the content they have interacted positively with in the past. Sanok said that while it is beneficial for TikToks algorithm to help videos gain traction by presenting them to users with similar interests as the creator, when it comes to sharing political ideas in a productive way, the resulting echo chamber may fall flat. The people seeing this are not the people that you need to change their minds. You need to send it off to the people who dont necessarily agree with this or are not informed, he said.

Because of this, despite how quickly users can share content on TikTok, it is difficult to tell how broadly any given video spreads. Its not like Twitter, where you know whats trending globally, Russell said. Its a very tailored experience. He added that this aspect makes it difficult to make generalizations about the platform. Since every individuals experience is engineered to be specific to their interests, everyone is likely to find their niche, but breaking out of that niche requires actively searching for different content so that the algorithm can adjust. I think if I spent one day liking random dancing videos, then tomorrow, I wouldnt have any activist videos. I would just have those dance videos, Russell said.

Still, though, videos can make it outside of circles of like-minded users. Going into more of a political atmosphere of content, theres obviously a lot of conservative and a lot of libertarian pushback, Janover explained. She added that other TikTokers have put in the effort to make videos rebutting her videos, with some of those rebuttal videos receiving the same amount of attention as the original video evidence that TikTok has a pocket of like-minded users for nearly every possible perspective.

In July, one of Janovers videos went viral after conservative commentators shared it, sparking a wave of backlash that she said targeted not only her but also friends and supporters. In the satirical TikTok, Janover likened saying All Lives Matter in response to Black Lives Matter to claiming that a papercut matters just as much as a stab wound. Janover subsequently received death threats and lost an internship at Deloitte. Janover did not anticipate the video receiving so much attention. I posted that video almost a month ago. Its not new, Janover told the HPR. She added that she had seen progressive activist TikToks use extreme analogies before, and did not think her video was extraordinary.

It would be one thing to have had a conservative say, like, This type of demeanor isnt respected. This anger, this displacement even if it is an analogy is not appropriate or professional. I would have been able to see the validity in that, Janover explained, adding that it surprises her that so many people interpreted the TikTok video as a serious threat. But people of all political stances and age groups are paying attention to TikTokers, it seems. The fact that I even say, Oh, my TikTok is what caused this is very odd for me to think about, Janover said.

TikToks Future

TikToks short-lived predecessor, Vine, graced the Internet with its presence for just four years. Vines demise is primarily credited to rival apps adding improved versions of its features and an inability to adapt quickly enough to keep its users. TikTok, however, has steadily grown since its initial 2016 launch in China by demonstrating deft adaptability. When allegations that TikTok was censoring the Black Lives Matter movement tag drew attention, TikTok responded just days later with an apology, creation of a diversity council, and commitment to donating $3 million to nonprofits that help the Black communities hard-hit by COVID-19 as well as an additional $1 million toward fighting racial injustice in the U.S. The speed of the move demonstrated a close attunement to TikToks user base, which could protect TikTok from potentially being blindsided if any strong challengers to the video-streaming app market ever arise.

TikToks popularity in the U.S. comes amid deepening political partisanship. The video streaming app is not the only social media platform to use confirmation bias as a tactic to hook users on its content. However, the fact that doing so has only boosted TikToks popularity signals that perpetuating confirmation bias is profitable. Therefore, there is little incentive for social media platforms to move away from using confirmation bias. This tactic is especially troubling given that social media now outpaces newspapers as a go-to news source for Americans, according to the Pew Research Center. Social media incentivized in this way for functioning as an echo chamber will only further entrench polarization.

There is also, of course, the matter of privacy and security concerns. ByteDance, as a Chinese company, is subject not to privacy laws in the United States, but those in China. TikTok has faced several controversies over security in recent months. Most recently, the app came under scrutiny for reading text left on users pasteboards whenever TikTok was opened. It is no surprise that the app collects more information than users might anticipate; thousands of apps have been found to do so, either directly or by piggybacking on permissions given to other apps. But TikToks concerns over data privacy will likely persist in the public consciousness for years to come, as lawmakers struggle to keep pace with technological advancements.

Still, TikTok appears to have solidified its place among the most-used social media platforms and seems to be here to stay for better or worse. Its blend of private and public reflects a continuing trend of blending our personal and digital lives. Furthermore, the fact that, despite a history of security scandals, so many people continue to use TikTok, calls into question how much digital privacy invasion we are willing to tolerate from tech companies. And, despite the massive amount of content available on the app, the fact that users can find themselves in smaller echo chambers points to a growing trend of polarization; TikToks success only shows other tech companies that vindicating users by showing them personalized content will be rewarded. TikTok is fun, but the fun veneers deeper considerations well have to make as we accept that blend of public and private as fixtures in our daily lives. We will need to examine whether we want the perfected convenience of algorithmically-curated content, or whether its possible to reward breaking out of our bubbles.

Image Credit: The image by Kon Karampelas is licensed under the Pixabay License.

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TikTok: The Summation of 2020's Duality and Chaos - Harvard Political Review

Enough with the empty platitudes, Football must address its racist culture – Varsity Online

Arsenal's justification for not supporting their player Mesut zil, pictured above, last year calls into question their motivations behind their current support of the BLM movement. Wikimedia Commons

Arsenal Football Club, along with other Premier League teams, have been noticeably eager to perform support for the current BLM movement - from armbands to taking a knee before games. However, the football industrys record on racism, including anti-Blackness, is a chequered one and encourages us to be sceptical of their motives. Less than a year ago, when Mesut zil powerfully spoke out against the ethno-religious persecution of Uighur Muslims in China, Arsenal responded by distancing itself from their playersposition, claiming that As a football club, Arsenal has always adhered to the principle of not involving itself in politics. Inconsistencies like this suggest an ulterior motive to their support of the BLM movement.

"Gestures, however shallow, of support from other industries and celebrities, have created a situation where it would be financially damaging to appear to not support the movement."

Arsenal are at their core a business, and it was a financial decision to not stand with zil against China. The club would have been mindful of the financial damages that the NBA faced when Daryl Morey, of the Houston Rockets, spoke in solidarity with the Hong Kong protests. Chinese firms responded by suspending their sponsorship and state-run broadcasters refused to show NBA games. This came (in the words of the leagues head, Adam Silver) at a fairly dramatic cost to the League. zil was already personally feeling the financial wrath of China, with his likeness removed from the Chinese edition of PES and his 30,000 strong Chinese fan club being closed down. Arsenal were thus unwilling to risk facing financial losses by taking a principled stance.

Money informed Arsenals refusal to support zil in 2019, and financial self-interest has in part guided their response to the current protests now. The current BLM movement, to the frustration of many activists, has been heavily co-opted and monetized by many corporations and brands, including Arsenals key markets. Many have stated their support, but this often does not scratch the surface of material demands made by Black people, for BLM. Gestures, however shallow, of support from other industries and celebrities, have created a situation where it would be financially damaging to appear to not support the movement. For example, Crossfit is currently in considerable financial trouble, with Adidas having severed their partnership with the company due to its founders crude tweets about George Floyds death. As such Arsenal, and the league as a whole, have been eager to remain ahead of the cultural Zeitgeist and be seen as supporting the movement.

"Racism is structurally and linguistically ingrained into the game. It is going to take much more than empty platitudes to redeem it."

However, as the football clubs and associations are only motivated by their financial needs, rather than any actual desire to enact change, they have traded in only shallow, symbolic gestures. Whilst having Black Lives Matter on the back of their shirts, or tweeting a black tile is better than doing nothing, it fails to acknowledge the structural or linguistic racism which remains rampant within English football.

The league has refused to implement the Rooney Rule (in which a Black applicant has to be interviewed for any job opening), resulting in the shameful under-representation of Black managers within the game although a quarter of players are Black, there is one BME manager in the Premier League, Nuno Espirito Santo (who got his start in Portugal). The divergent careers of two England captains illustrates this problem. While Steven Gerrard was able to secure the managers position at Rangers (the most successful club in Scottish history), Sol Campbell had to drop down four divisions to literally the worst club in England in Macclesfield Town (at the time of hiring they were 92nd out of 92 Professional English clubs). This is symptomatic of the general lack of black representation across the institutions of English football: there are no black owners, chief executives or chairs amongst any of the 92 professional clubs in England, and only 3% of all board members are black. Hopefully this situation is about to change, with players such as Raheem Sterling speaking out, claiming that there is a need to give black people the chance they deserve. However, it speaks volumes to the failings of the footballing community that it had to be Sterling, a player, rather than someone involved in the running of football to take a stand.

This is only part of the problem. A recent study has uncovered the pervasive racist discourse within football. The League and international board claim to take a hard line on racism yet the Bulgarian FA were fined less for their spectators frequent racist chanting than Nicklas Bendtner was for wearing a pair of Paddy Power branded underwear during Euro 2012 (an obviously disgusting crime considering that the Danish FAs official betting sponsor was Ladbrokes). Underlying this, is a secondform of racist discourse. Black players are consistently reported in ways that underplay their intelligence and draw attention to their physical characteristics instead. This has been going on since at least the 1950s. The Brazilian and Austrian teams were the two most technically gifted teams in the world at that time, but this did not stop Alf Ramsay from evoking the n-word to describe the Brazilians playing style, alongside the phrase in a circus ring. In contrast, the Austrians were likened to ballerinas dancing a Viennese waltz (Evening Standard, November 26th, 1951). This problematic discourse hasnt gone away, as evidenced by the ways in which the playing styles of Bonucci and Koulibaly are described on Wikipedia. The two players are consistently top in pass accuracy and pass completion stats in Serie A, however while Bonucci is described as someone primarily known for his technique, passing range, Koulibaly is described as a large, aggressive, quick, and physically strong. I wonder if you can guess which one is the white player and which is Black? Many football fans unthinkingly take part in this type of problematic discourse, and it is our own responsibility to investigate and challenge the way we perceive Black players. Whilst we may see this as an isolated issue, it is partially the pernicious assumption that Black players as less intelligent that holds them back from getting managerial employment and it is imperative that the FA and TV broadcasters push for change and accountability regarding this.

There are real problems pertaining to race in football. It is vital that we are not fooled by the Premier Leagues financially motivated pastiches into thinking that suddenly racism in football is suddenly going to be solved. Racism is structurally and linguistically ingrained into the game. It is going to take much more than empty platitudes to redeem it.

Varsity is the independent newspaper for the University of Cambridge, established in its current form in 1947. In order to maintain our editorial independence, our newspaper and news website receives no funding from the University of Cambridge or its constituent Colleges.

We are therefore almost entirely reliant on advertising for funding, and during this unprecedented global crisis, we have a tough few weeks and months ahead.

In spite of this situation, we are going to look at inventive ways to look at serving our readership with digital content for the time being.

Therefore we are asking our readers, if they wish, to make a donation from as little as 1, to help with our running cost at least until we hopefully return to print on 2nd October 2020.

Many thanks, all of us here at Varsity would like to wish you, your friends, families and all of your loved ones a safe and healthy few months ahead.

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Enough with the empty platitudes, Football must address its racist culture - Varsity Online

The West Toronto Railpath is the city’s hidden urban trail next to the train tracks – blogTO

The West Toronto Railpath is a rare corridor that makes traversing Toronto's industrial west enda lot moreenjoyable.

Made just for walkers, joggers, and cyclists, this scenic 2.1-kilometre trail cuts through the Junction Triangle.

Both the Dupont and Bloor Street bridges are clearly demarcated as part of the West Toronto Railpath.

It runsCariboo Avenue,just north of Dupontand heads southalong the GO Train rail corridoruntil Dundas Street and Sterling Road.

You can enter the path through manyconnectivity points(off Bloor, or the path behind Osler Fish Warehouse, or adjacent to Henderson Brewing, to name a few) to access this special asphalt trail.

There are nine main entrances along the 2.1 kilometre trail.

The Junction Triangle has never felt particularly inviting to pedestrians, in large part due to the fact it's an area shaped by railway tracks, ongoing construction, and the remants of old factories.

This linear asphalt path is a paradise for pedestrians and cyclists.

But here, the urban essentials railways and bridgescome together against a backdrop of greenery and graffiti that shows Toronto's adaptive ecology at its best.

The WTR runs directly next to the GO train corridor.

The WTR was established in 2009, at a time when the Junction Triangle (or The Wedge, as some thought to call it,before the Fuzzy Boundaries project declared it so) was in its early stages of an identity renaissance.

The occasional sound of trains passing by interrupts the peace and quiet of the trail.

Like the Beltline Trail, another rail-to-trail that uses railroad right-of-ways, the WTR runs on an abandoned line. A mere fence, and at times, graffiti-covered sound barriers, is all that separates commuters from the trains as they whizz by.

The trail was completed in 2009 and runs along an old railroad right-of-way.

Aside from the fact that it gets you efficiently from A to B (it's my favourite detour to all that Sterling Road has to offer), or the direct access to the Bloor GO and UP stations, the trail itself is a sight for sore city eyes.

Graffiti is an essential part of experiencing this urban landscape.

For art in the wild, check for artby DeRAIL, StART, artists like Alexander Bacon andQue Rockford (you can watch a video on the duo's Dupont Street Underpass mural) and Lynnette Postuma (whose 12,000 square-footGradationwall pays hommage to the trees of the trail).

Severalinterdisplenary arts teams are responsible for the muralshere.

The volunteer group Friends of the West Toronto Railpath calls it a "living canvas", which is probably the most accurate description of the WTR.

The graffiti here is as as essential a component as the growth of the shrubs and sumach trees and vines of the trail, and you'll find the artwork here shifting to match the zeitgeist.

The Wallace Avenue foot bridge stretches overtop the GO train corridor to Dundas Street West.

Here to stay are four sculptures made from galvanized steel placed along the length of the trail. These pieces by John Dickson range between five and six metres high as part of his project, Frontier.

There is public seating interspersed along the trail, including these Pause Platforms.

Closer to the Dundas exit, there are also three wooden circular seats calledPause Platforms, which sit atop three decomissioned groundwater pumping wells.

Looking north from the heritage Wallace Avenue footbridge.

One pitstop you should definitely not miss out on is the walk across the Wallace Avenue footbridge: the first project by the Ontario Bridge Company.

Built in 1907, it was originally created as a low-cost, temporary crossing, but is now a historical landmark that provides an uninhibited view of the trains as they travel underfoot.

The Wallace Avenue footbridge was built in 1907.

Biking from north to south takes roughly 10 minutes, approximately, which is simply not enough to satiate most cyclists looking for an urban reprieve.

Phase 2 of the WTR has been a prolonged and painful (for eager pedestrians) process,promising an extension down to Abell Street at Sudbury Street.

An extension of the WTR is expected to lengthen the trail south to Abell Street at Sudbury Street.

There was some movement made in February 2020 with the announcement of a $23 million plan that will introduce four new pedestrian-cycle bridges, connections to Dundas Street West, Lansdowne Avenue, Brock Street, and Queeen Street.

The project is slated to begin in 2021, if all goes according to plan. Until then, a little more than 2 kilometres will have to do.

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The West Toronto Railpath is the city's hidden urban trail next to the train tracks - blogTO

With Skate 4 and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater Remastered leading the way, the second coming of skateboarding games is here – GamesRadar+

Session. Skater XL. Skate 4. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 and 2. All four of these skateboarding games have either been released or announced within the last six months, and that's more than we can say for the last several years' worth of skate games.

With two cracking indie games out, the reaction to the Skate 4 announcement at EA Play (the tweet from EA has over 142,000 likes at the time of writing), and the excitement around the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 and 2 remaster, it's clear that skate games have stepped to the fore once more. It helps that skateboarding has simultaneously dropped back into the half pipe that is mainstream culture, as well. It was set to make its debut at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics before COVID-19 delayed the competition yes, skateboarding is now an Olympic sport, and the butterfly effect that has on pop culture cannot be understated.

Are we on the precipice of the second coming of skateboarding games, one that can rival the first movement kickstarted (or kickflipped) by Tony Hawk's Pro Skater in 1999? It certainly seems so. Let's break down why that is.

It's safe to say that indie developers lit the match that led to AAA studios recognizing the embers of a skate game renaissance. Both Session and Skater XL have been in development for years, both are from teams composed of current and former skateboarders, and both build off of the left foot/right foot joystick mechanic first popularized by EA's Skate. They know what skate game fans want, and they've provided.

In November 2017, crea-ture studios released Session as a free demo before launching a Kickstarter campaign to help build a fleshed-out game as PC Gamer reported, the campaign reached its initial goal in just three days. Last year, I went hands-on with Session ahead of its Steam Early Access release, and discovered how the team at crea-ture was making a hyper-realistic skate game with a learning curve as steep as skating IRL.

Then there's Easy Day Studios' Skater XL, which debuted on team Early Access in December 2018 (it'll release in full on PC, Xbox One, PS4 and Switch later this month). As we previously reported in our Skater XL hands-on, Easy Day Studios head Dain Hedgpeth was so dedicated to capturing the particular vibe of West Coast skating that he moved the entire team to SoCal. Skater XL also uses the joystick-as-feet game mechanic, but the devs consider it more of an instrument to be learned rather than an insurmountable feat to be bested.

Both studios were hell-bent on delivering a game that authentically depicts the modern skate era while nodding to its past: Skater XL has iconic skate spots built into its maps while Session has a very '90s camera option that will instantly bring you back to classic skate montages. Session, Skater XL, and the near-constant demand online for more skate game content was indicative of a shift in the video game industry tide, and publishers like Activision and EA could ignore it no longer. That's why the Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 and 2 remaster was revealed in May and Skate 4 was announced right before the end of June's EA Play. We're undeniably in the midst of a revival but just how did that first skate game movement begin?

1999's Tony Hawk's Pro Skater was a revolution. Developed by Neversoft and released not long after Hawk himself landed the first ever 900 at the '99 Summer X-Games, THPS 1 is a pillar of the late '90s/early-aughts skateboarding zeitgeist. The PlayStation versions of the game and its sequel were the first and second highest selling console titles of 2000, according to The Magic Box. And skateboarding exploded onto the mainstream scene shortly after in 2002, MTV debuted Jackass' skateboarding hooligans and The X Games was broadcast live on television for the first time.

But the arcade quality of the THPS games left something to be desired for gamers and real-world skateboarders alike. Enter 2007's Skate, EA's realistic response to the standard-bearer that was the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater franchise. Skate's "flick-it" control system was its thesis statement that was in development long before other elements were even considered and it was a winning thesis. As IGN reported in 2008, Skate performed better than Tony Hawk's Proving Ground on PS3 and Xbox 360 it should come as no surprise to learn that EA quickly put sequels into production, with Skate 2 and Skate 3 releasing back-to-back in 2009 and 2010.

But other than the OlliOlli series, the last game of which was 2015's OlliOlli2: Welcome to Olliwood, the past decade has been a skate game wasteland. The last several Tony Hawk titles were almost uniformly bad and EA deactivating Skate's servers in 2016 was a nail in the proverbial coffin. As Hawk said in a 2018 interview with skateboarding podcast The Nine Club, "It was tricky to reinvent the wheel every time. And then once EA Skate came out with a different control scheme, it split the market. And then we both had a good run, but I think by then both companies were like we're fighting for a smaller piece of the pie and that's why they're not happening. The market became so diluted and it just became shooters, and then that was it, that was the monster, and no sports games are really going to infiltrate that."

But 2020's energy is ripe for the resurgence of skate games. It's not unlike the vibes of the early aughts - nihilistic, disenfranchised youths look to escape a world on fire and have some good, clean fun. Right now, the news is scary, we're all stuck inside, and sports are cancelled. With heavy games like The Last of Us 2 preaching about the horrors of the violence it makes you commit and battle royales taking the shooter to its logical conclusion, there's room at the metaphorical video game park for a half-pipe.

The skate game resurgence has never felt more real, or more diverse in form and style. With Session you can attack NYC's concrete jungle for hours, trying and failing to trigger the game's "catch" function that requires you to push on the joysticks to catch the board while executing a trick. With Skater XL you can coast across plazas under the SoCal sunshine, visiting famous skateboarding landmarks while learning how to play the game's controls like you'd learn an instrument.

With Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 and 2 you can retread memory lane, nailing a Boneless while blasting Primus' "Jerry Was a Race Car Driver" except now you can do it with a much more diverse roster composed of both the OG THPS 1 and 2 team and today's top skaters. And nobody knows what the hell you'll be able to do in Skate 4, but at least it's happening. And as GamesRadar recently reported, we the people "commented it into existence".

If the skate game renaissance is here, consider me its Da Vinci, the Italian archetype of the movement clad in checkerboard Vans.

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With Skate 4 and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater Remastered leading the way, the second coming of skateboarding games is here - GamesRadar+

Celebrate Past Olympics and More on The Criterion Channel in July – Cord Cutters News, LLC

Summer is heating up and so is the Criterion Channels lineup of content. The Tokyo Olympics may be postponed this summer, but you can still celebrate with 100 Years of Olympic Films: 19122012, or get your dose of drama with the Marriage Stories feature on Sunday, July 12.

Heres whats on the Criterion Channel in July:

Friday, July 10

Double Feature: Loving on the Edge

Mala NocheandMy Own Private Idaho

Touchstone works in the evolution of the New Queer Cinema movement, these twin tales of aimless youth by Gus Van Sant are swooning expressions of his signature concern: the emotional journeys of young men adrift on the margins of society. While editing his boldly original debut featureMala Noche,about a romantic deadbeats wayward crush on a handsome Mexican immigrant,Van Sant met Mike Parker, a Portland street kid who became the inspiration for the young hustler played by River Phoenix inMy Own Private Idaho.Further developing the themes of queer identity, transience, and unrequited longing,Van Sant created an intoxicating anthem of outsiderhood that stands as one of the defining independent films of the 1990s.

Saturday, July 11

Saturday Matinee:The White Balloon

Jafar Panahis revelatory debut feature is a childs-eye adventure in which a young girls quest to buy a goldfish leads her on a detour-filled journey through the streets of Tehran on the eve of the Iranian New Year celebration. Cowritten by Panahi with his mentor Abbas Kiarostami, this beguiling, prizewinning fable unfolds in documentary-like real time as it wrings unexpected comedy, suspense, and wonder from its seemingly simple premise.

Sunday, July 12

Marriage Stories

Bad marriages make great movies, as evidenced by these gloriously messy, cuttingly perceptive portraits of some of the most dysfunctional relationships ever captured on-screen. With raw emotion, dramatic blowups, and soul-baring self-reflection baked into the premise, these tales of marital breakups and shakeups explore everything from jealousy, infidelity, and betrayal to the procedural complexities of divorce and separation to the myriad, sometimes barely perceptible ways in which couples drift apart. They also happen to be vehicles for some of the most personal and revealing statements from major directors like Ingmar Bergman, John Cassavetes, Ida Lupino, Mike Nichols, Noah Baumbach, Lars von Trier, Asghar Farhadi, and others, each of whom brings fresh insight to that most universal of subjects: the mysterious intricacies of human intimacy.

Come Back, Little Sheba,Daniel Mann, 1952

The Bigamist,Ida Lupino, 1953

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,Richard Brooks, 1958

La notte,Michelangelo Antonioni, 1961

Juliet of the Spirits,Federico Fellini, 1965

Whos Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,Mike Nichols, 1966

Faces,John Cassavetes, 1968

A Married Couple,Allan King, 1969

Scenes from a Marriage,Ingmar Bergman, 1973

California Suite,Herbert Ross, 1978

Kramer vs. Kramer,Robert Benton, 1979

52,Franois Ozon, 2004

The Squid and the Whale,Noah Baumbach, 2005

Antichrist,Lars von Trier, 2009

Certified Copy,Abbas Kiarostami, 2010

Tuesday, After Christmas,Radu Muntean, 2010

A Separation,Asghar Farhadi, 2011

45 Years,Andrew Haigh, 2015

Monday, July 13

Nostalgia for the Light

Master documentarian Patricio Guzmn travels ten thousand feet above sea level to the driest place on earth: Chiles Atacama Desert, where astronomers from all over the world gather to observe the stars in a sky so translucent that it allows them to see to the boundaries of the universe. The Atacama is also a place where the harsh heat of the sun keeps human remains intact, including those of political prisoners disappeared by the Chilean army after the 1973 military coup. Just as astronomers search for distant galaxies, surviving relatives of the disappeared search for the remains of their loved ones in a quest to reclaim their families histories. Melding the celestial and the earthly,Nostalgia for the Lightis a gorgeous, moving, and deeply personal odyssey into both Chilean history and the furthest reaches of space.

Tuesday, July 14

Short + Feature: Lost Pets

PickleandGates of Heaven

Featuring an introduction by Criterion Channel programmer Penelope Bartlett

Do all dogs go to heaven? Two documentary filmmakers explore mortality and mourning through the experiences of pet owners. InPickle,Amy Nicholson profiles a couple of extreme animal lovers, interviewing them about the menagerie theyve cared for and buried over the years, including paraplegic possums, emaciated cats, and morbidly obese chickens. Errol Morriss debut feature,Gates of Heaven,immerses viewers in the community surrounding two pet cemeteries in Napa Valley, California, blending sincerity and satire to spin its quirky subject into a surprisingly expansive study of human nature.

Wednesday, July 15

Directed by Miranda July

Featuring the 2019 documentaryMiranda July: Where It Began

The fearless, brilliantly idiosyncratic films of writer-director-actor and all-around polymath Miranda July combine arrestingly oddball whimsy with astute, emotionally penetrating observations on intimacy, sexuality, loneliness, and human connection. Beginning her career as a performance artist immersed in the riot grrrl scene of 1990s Portland, Oregon, July found her way to film with her pioneeringJoanie 4 Jackieproject, in which she curated and distributed feminist video chain letters of underground movies made by women across the country. With her acclaimed featuresMe and You and Everyone We KnowandThe Future,July established herself as one of American independent cinemas most distinctive voices, a bold, relentlessly imaginative artist who finds cosmic insight in the everyday.


Me and You and Everyone We Know,Miranda July, 2005

The Future,Miranda July, 2011


The Amateurist,Miranda July, 1998

Nest of Tens,Miranda July, 2000

Shorts fromJoanie 4 Jackie

Transeltown,Myra Paci, 1992

Dear Mom,Tammy Rae Carland, 1995

The Slow Escape,Sativa Peterson, 1998

Hawai,Ximena Cuevas, 1999

No Place Like Home #1 and #2,Karen Yasinsky, 1999

Gigi (from 9 to 5),Joanne Nucho, 2001

Ophelias Opera,Abiola Abrams, 2001

La Llorona,Stephanie Saint Sanchez, 2003

untitled video,Sujin Lee, 2002

Joanie 4 Jackie: A Quick Overview,Shauna McGarry, 2008

Thursday, July 16

Three Starring Jane Fonda

Few actors have dominated an erafor their work both on- and offscreenthe way Jane Fonda did in the 1960s and 70s, when she emerged as one of the most acclaimed performers of her generation as well as a zeitgeist-defining cultural icon for her fierce political activism. All made at the peak of her career, these three films showcase Fondas nuance, impeccable comic timing, and versatility: shes larger than life as an intergalactic bombshell in the cult sci-fi extravaganzaBarbarella;riotously funny as a bourgeois housewife who takes up armed robbery in the barbed slapstick satireFun with Dick and Jane;and at once prickly and disarming as a divorced woman fighting for custody of her daughter in the Neil Simonpenned ensemble farceCalifornia Suite.

Barbarella,Roger Vadim, 1968

Fun with Dick and Jane,Ted Kotcheff, 1977

California Suite,Herbert Ross, 1978

Friday, July 17

Double Feature: Girls and the Gang

Mona LisaandGloria

Featuring an audio commentary forMona Lisaby director Neil Jordan and actor Bob Hoskins

Two gritty 1980s crime classics distinguish themselves with ingredients all too rare for the genre: heart, humor, and strong female protagonists. Set in Londons sordid criminal underworld, Neil JordansMona Lisastars Cathy Tyson, Bob Hoskins, and Michael Caine in a surprisingly affecting, romantic neonoir about the complex relationship that develops between a glamorous call girl and a small-time mobster. Then, the great Gena Rowlands goes from gangsters girlfriend to gun-toting action hero in John Cassavetess offbeat, New York-set thrillerGloria,in which she acts as avenging angel for a young boy on the run from the mob.

Saturday, July 18

Saturday Matinee:Miss Annie Rooney

As Shirley Temple grew up before the eyes of America, this delightful comeback vehicle offered her a chance to shine in a new kind of film: a charming teenage romance, complete with jive-talking, jitterbug-mad bobby soxers. She displays her patented pluck (and receives her first on-screen kiss) as starry-eyed fourteen-year-old Annie Rooney, who pines for nerdy classmate Marty (Dickie Moore) even though his wealthy family looks down on her working-class background. When Annies father (William Gargan) invents a new form of synthetic rubber, however, it may just be her ticket to love.

Sunday, July 19

100 Years of Olympic Films: 19122012

Originally scheduled to begin this month, the Tokyo Olympic Games have been postponed, but you can still celebrate a century of Olympic glory with this monumental collection. Spanning fifty-three movies and forty-one editions of the Olympic Games,100 Years of Olympic Films: 19122012is the culmination of a massive, award-winning archival project encompassing dozens of restorations by the International Olympic Committee. The documentaries collected here cast a cinematic eye on some of the most iconic moments in the history of modern sports, spotlighting athletes who embody the Olympic motto of Faster, Higher, Stronger: Jesse Owens shattering world records on the track in 1936 Berlin, Jean-Claude Killy dominating the Grenoble slopes in 1968, Joan Benoit breaking away to win the Games first womens marathon in Los Angeles in 1984. In addition to the impressive ten-feature contribution of Bud Greenspan, this stirring collective chronicle of triumph and defeat includes such documentary landmarks as Leni RiefenstahlsOlympiaand Kon IchikawasTokyo Olympiad,along with captivating lesser-known works by major directors like Claude Lelouch, Carlos Saura, and Milo Forman. It also offers a fascinating glimpse of the development of film itself, and of the technological progress that has brought viewers ever closer to the action. Traversing continents and decades, reflecting the social, cultural, and political changes that have shaped our recent history, this remarkable movie marathon showcases a hundred years of human endeavor.

The Games of the V Olympiad Stockholm, 1912,Adrian Wood, 2016

The Olympic Games Held at Chamonix in 1924,Jean de Rovera, 1924

The Olympic Games as They Were Practiced in Ancient Greece,Jean de Rovera, 1924

The Olympic Games in Paris 1924,Jean de Rovera, 1924

The White Stadium,Arnold Fanck and Othmar Gurtner, 1928

The IX Olympiad in Amsterdam,dir. unknown, 1928

The Olympic Games, Amsterdam 1928,Wilhelm Prager, 1928

Youth of the World,Carl Junghans, 1936

Olympia Part One: Festival of the Nations,Leni Riefenstahl, 1938

Olympia Part Two: Festival of Beauty,Leni Riefenstahl, 1938

Fight Without Hate,Andr Michel, 1948

XIVth Olympiad: The Glory of Sport,Castleton Knight, 1948

The VI Olympic Winter Games, Oslo 1952,Tancred Ibsen, 1952

Where the World Meets,Hannu Leminen, 1952

Gold and Glory,Hannu Leminen, 1953

Memories of the Olympic Summer of 1952,dir. unknown, 1954

White Vertigo,Giorgio Ferroni, 1956

Olympic Games, 1956,Peter Whitchurch, 1956

The Melbourne Rendez-vous,Ren Lucot, 1957

Alain Mimoun,Louis Gueguen, 1959

The Horse in Focus,dir. unknown, 1956

People, Hopes, Medals,Heribert Meisel, 1960

The Grand Olympics,Romolo Marcellini, 1961

IX Olympic Winter Games, Innsbruck 1964,Theo Hrmann, 1964

Read more here:

Celebrate Past Olympics and More on The Criterion Channel in July - Cord Cutters News, LLC

Her Case To Be In Congress Is Unique. Shes Running Because She Doesn’t Think It Should Be. – BuzzFeed News

DAYTON, Ohio Desiree Tims moved back home on a Tuesday. That Saturday, the Ku Klux Klan marched on Courthouse Square. Two days later, devastating tornadoes whipped through the area. A few months after that, a mass shooting in a popular nightlife district left nine dead.

During her decade away in Washington, DC, Tims completed a White House internship, worked for two prominent senators, and earned a Georgetown Law degree by taking night classes. If she left with one takeaway, it was that so few of those she observed in power and so few of her peers close to power had life experiences remotely comparable to hers.

Black. Born to a teenage mother. Raised by her grandparents in a neighborhood many political professionals obsessed with labels would simply identify as working-class if white people lived there. First in her family to attend a four-year college, but after easy As at public schools, a mental grind at a private university. The question she was always sure everyone was asking: Can this little Black girl from West Dayton do it?

Its a question that now underpins her campaign for Congress in Ohios 10th District. When Tims returned last year, her name on the deed of the brick ranch she grew up in, she hadnt planned to seek office so soon. But the tragedies that had visited Dayton accelerated the timeline. And this moment, 2020, groaning under the weight of crises that have magnified the injustices put upon people of color, has the makings of upheaval that could carry someone like Tims.

She won her primary in April with 70% of the vote, but without the national progressive energy or attention that recently lifted young Black congressional candidates such as Jamaal Bowman and Mondaire Jones against white, establishment-aligned choices in New York. The victories encouraged Tims, who would be the districts first Black representative. As the country confronts the truth that for so long, so much has been decided by so few people who are too alike, she frames her run quite literally as a fight for representation.

I get very passionate about it, because it's very frustrating when you see that up close, the neglect that is consistent in the halls of Congress, Tims, 32, said in an interview at her childhood home. So instead of begging and advocating people to do the right thing, let's just replace them.

Unlike Bowman and Jones, who are running in safe Democratic districts, Tims is attempting to unseat Rep. Mike Turner, a nine-term Republican. Democrats have targeted him for years without success, but Turners margin of victory was cut by more than half between 2016 and 2018, from 31 points to 14. Black turnout in the district dropped from 73% to 59% between the two previous presidential elections and was 43% in 2018, according to data provided by Tims polling team. Her advisers see a path where the combination of a young Black candidate and a base motivated to defeat President Donald Trump who carried the district by 7 points last time turns out enough votes to win.

Tims announced her candidacy days after the shooting last August. Dayton hasnt had much of a rest since. The coronavirus pandemic has hit hard, with a recent spike in COVID-19 cases prompting the mayor, and days later the governor, to require masks in public places. The national outrage over systemic racism after the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor also has been profound in a city where the 2019 KKK rally, which attracted only nine members, was an emotional and financial burden. Tims participated in the anti-racism protests here in May. And she views several disturbing incidents like the six bullets fired through the storefront of a local Democratic Party headquarters where a Tims sign and Black Lives Matter sign hung in the windows as a threat to her.

Sometimes when you're living in the whirlwind of history, you cant appreciate the fact that you're in it, said Bob Mendenhall, a Tims supporter and co-owner of Blind Bobs, a tavern in the neighborhood where last years shooting occurred. Like, the old world is dead, and the new world hasn't arrived yet. And we are in this transformational period. I try to find a silver lining. Maybe COVID-19 can make us all slow down for just a second, and reflect on what we want this country to be.

Tims has scored nice endorsements from the senators she worked for, Ohios Sherrod Brown and New Yorks Kirsten Gillibrand. And Gillibrand has joined forces with two other senators with national profiles, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kamala Harris of California, to raise money for her campaign. Tims, though, is largely unknown to voters here a point the National Republican Congressional Committee, in defense of Turner, stressed in an April memo. Before the primary, her name had never appeared on a ballot. She hadnt been preparing for this her entire life. Her middle school language arts teacher, now the head of a local teachers union and excited about her candidacy, recalled Tims as a bright and enthusiastic student, but never pictured her as a politician. Nan Whaley, Daytons mayor and one of the savviest Democratic activists in the state, has known Tims for barely a year. To her supporters, this only reinforces that Tims has the fresh eyes the district needs.

Symbols and substance rarely have an opportunity to be handmaids for each other, said Rev. Peter Matthews, Tims pastor at the McKinley United Methodist Church. The fact that she would bring a Georgetown Law degree back to West Dayton and offer herself for service, thats a pretty big deal. For other young kids, not just African American, but kids of all stripes in a city desperate for hope, shes putting herself out there front and center.

Tims walks through a neighborhood in Dayton, Ohio.

Tims grandfather Papaw, she called him loved watching Wheel of Fortune. He would try to play along, but guessing the words was especially tough for him. He hadnt made it past the first grade in Opelika, Alabama. There were fields to work, a family depending on any ounce of income he could contribute. Eventually hed be part of the Great Migration from the Deep South to the Midwest, from sharecropper to steelworker, settling first in Middletown, Ohio.

I always remember him sitting at the table, spelling the words out, Tims said. He was always still learning the language of English. All of the time he was like, What is this word? How do you spell this word? And, you know, Im doing something else, and Im like, Yeah, yeah, yeah, add an E. I didnt appreciate it at the time, but not everyone was sitting with their grandparents or their parents, teaching them English, and how to spell, and how to say things.

Tims mother and father were 18 and 20 when she was born and divorced not long after that. She grew up in the tiny ranch, with her mom and her maternal grandparents Papaw and Grandma and for a while her great-grandparents. My grandmother was the matriarch, and her word meant a little more, Tims recalled. There were few kids her age on the block. She would cut through the backyards of the cul-de-sac to go play with friends at the Y or walk to visit her dad, who lived nearby with his parents.

They were a family of workers. Tims mom went back to school to be a nurse. Papaw worked at a steel mill in Middletown for years, commuting a half-hour each way after moving to West Dayton. When they talk about the Midwest and Middle America, they show this white guy with Popeye arms, like toot toot, like coal mines and steel mills, Tims said. And Im like, yeah, there are Black people in the steel mills. There are Black people who are coal miners.

Middletown, coincidentally, is the hometown of J.D. Vance, whose 2016 memoir Hillbilly Elegy tapped into a white working-class zeitgeist that surrounded Trumps election. The book became highly politicized Vance used it to promote a conservative point of view. But Tims sees him as somewhat of a kindred spirit. Until the end of it, she said, that book is amazing. I thought he nailed it. She recalled the part where, while studying at Yale, Vance panicked over which fork to use at a fancy dinner. I was like, I feel seen.

Politics was always in the background. Grandma paid close attention. And Tims recalled accompanying family to civil rights marches, but not quite processing the experience. I was like, Oh, were going to a festival or a parade. I didnt get it.

Tims excelled at Paul Laurence Dunbar High, named for the Black poet and playwright from Dayton. For college she chose Xavier, a Jesuit school in Cincinnati close enough to family, but far enough to have her own life. She was soon in another world. I got a D, she said with a gasp. When she asked classmates who were coasting how they got by, she learned how their time at private or wealthier public schools prepared them, or how a paper they wrote in 10th grade could be recycled for college.

I was pissed because I felt like I got cheated, she said. I missed a lot of parties in college because I was in the library. And a lot of times it was the dictionary to the left of me, an actual reading assignment to the right.

The lesson was not lost on her. She would think of Papaw playing Wheel of Fortune with his pencil, writing down the words he didnt know.

How, she would wonder, can I drive back up I-75 to Dayton and say its too hard?

Tims at the Truman Bowling Alley in the White House.

Tims graduated from Xavier in 2010 and into the aftermath of the Great Recession, a period of slow recovery that was particularly hard on millennials like her.

Im seeing people who graduated in 2009 working at the mall, Tims said. That wasnt the deal. I could have worked at the mall in high school, which I did. The deal was that I get a good-paying job after traumatizing myself through nights and nights of library studying.

She thought she had that job, or that she was at least on the path to it, as a credit manager for Wells Fargo near Cincinnati. But the company was restructuring after its 2008 acquisition of Wachovia and laid off Tims after only a few months. She had just bought a new car, just signed a new lease. Talk about a quarter-life crisis, she said.

Tims with her grandfather at her graduation from Xavier.

Tims spent her nights browsing CareerBuilder. Her grandmother spent hers watching MSNBC, tuned into the young presidency of Barack Obama, and picturing her granddaughter as part of it. Tims had knocked on doors for Obama in 2008, but the family had no Washington connections to work, no favors to call in. Grandma, though, insisted she try for a White House job. I was like, You need to clasp your pretty little hands together and get on your knees and pray for Procter & Gamble or General Electric, Tims recalled. She just kept nagging me about it.

It wasnt until months later, after Wells Fargo had rehired and relocated her to Virginia, that the White House called Tims to follow up on the internship application she had completed in five minutes and long forgotten. She was so sure a friend was playing a joke that she hung up the first time. But the timing was convenient. She was miserable in her new job as a personal banker. She had accepted the posting because she figured shed at least be closer to Virginia Beach, a favorite vacation spot. In reality she was more than 200 miles away in McLean, an affluent DC suburb.

Things in Washington were like that for Tims. Her surroundings could be disorienting, if not intimidating. On the first day of her White House internship, she had no idea she was sitting next to Valerie Jarrett, the Obama confidant, until starstruck colleagues made a fuss. Her work included a rotation through the Office of Presidential Correspondence, where she read all of Obamas hate mail, and through the Office of Public Engagement, which Jarrett ran.

I was never much enamored by people like Valerie Jarrett, Tims said. I was inspired by them but it wasnt like ooh and aah, because I was on a mission to get the information, to bring it back home.

Tims had opportunities to stay at the White House after the internship ended but wanted to learn more about policy and legislation. She said she submitted her rsum to Browns Senate office at least five times before being hired to work on civil rights, judicial, and education issues. She later moved on to Gillibrands staff, where she specialized in agriculture and womens issues. Eventually she was elected president of the Senate Black Legislative Staff Caucus, but she could not shake the same feelings she had at Xavier: that her life experiences, not just her skin color, placed her squarely in the minority.

What I found was most of those people are from privileged backgrounds, regardless of race or sexual orientation, Tims said. How are you relating to someone who said they cant afford groceries on Friday? They dont understand what its like to ration out gas, because you cant take all of your trips, because you need to make sure this full tank lasts two weeks.

Tims point of view was beginning to align with her own political ambitions, but first she wanted to get away from Capitol Hill. She took a job at a childcare advocacy group while studying law at Georgetown and thinking of all the ways she would use what she learned in Washington to help Dayton.

Its a challenge, because she didnt come to it the way some do, Brown said in a telephone interview. But itll make her a better public official, because shes seen it from the outside [and the] inside that way.

Tims in the Oregon District in Dayton, Ohio, one block from the mass shooting site.

The Oregon District, one of Daytons oldest neighborhoods, is a particular point of pride in the city. The brick-covered East Fifth Street features buildings dating to the 1800s and a lineup of establishments known for solid pub food, craft beer, and live music.

Early the morning of Aug. 4, 2019, a 24-year-old man opened fire outside Ned Peppers, a western-themed bar, killing nine and wounding more than a dozen. The people of Dayton barely had time to process this another tragedy after the Memorial Day tornadoes that damaged or destroyed hundreds of buildings in the region and plunged Daytons drinking water system into chaos when Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican who as the states attorney general had courted the gun lobby, visited that evening.

Do something! Mendenhall, the proprietor of Blind Bobs, cried out as DeWine spoke, starting a chant that became a demand for tougher gun safety measures.

It also fit into the broader theme of Tims soon-to-launch congressional campaign.

Turner, the Republican incumbent, has won high National Rifle Association ratings, thanks to his staunch opposition to gun control. His views, though, began to shift after his daughter and a family friend found themselves across the street from Peppers when the shooting began. A few days later, Turner announced his support for several measures, including magazine limits and a red flag law. But suddenly Tims case against him had a fresh angle: He had come late to something that was good for Dayton. Its not an easy district, Brown said, but theyve had so much pain in the last two years.

The Ohio 10th includes all of Dayton and surrounding suburban and rural areas. (Comedian Dave Chappelle lives in the bucolic village of Yellow Springs.) Whaley, the mayor, sees the race as tough but winnable. I think she'll need tremendous turnout out of Dayton, particularly West Dayton and Trotwood and Jefferson Township, she said. This could be an interesting year for this district.

Turner, 60, has waffled a bit in the Trump era. Unlike other Republicans, he labeled the presidents Twitter attack last summer against four Democratic women of color in Congress as racist, but then toed the party line by voting against a House resolution to condemn it as such. He called Trumps telephone call asking Ukraine to investigate former vice president Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, alarming. Then, at a hearing during the impeachment inquiry, Turner defended Trump, earning the highest political currency the president can offer: an approving tweet. Turner did not respond to requests through a spokesperson to comment for this story.

The Ohio Democratic Party and other allies, such as the abortion rights group Emilys List, are helping Tims litigate Turners voting record and paint him as too close to Trump. Unlike other young progressives whove risen in politics in recent years, Tims candidacy is not defined so much by one or two policy demands. Her primary opponent, a young scientist from the suburbs, aligned himself with Bernie Sanders by promoting ideas like Medicare for All. Tims advocates for a public option and expansion of Obamacare. She briefly worked for the League of Conservation Voters, which has endorsed her, but the words Green New Deal dont appear in the two sentences she dedicates to the environment on her website. She speaks more passionately about local concerns, such as the food deserts in Dayton neighborhoods. If youre searching for comparisons among her would-be generational peers in Congress, shes neither Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the New Yorker who has embraced Sanders democratic socialist agenda, nor is she Abby Finkenauer, the Iowan who practices a Midwest pragmatism.

Tims campaign is more centered around education and other institutional failures and grounded in her perspective that the system presents a cycle of barriers to all but a privileged few. I often feel like I got lucky, and I dont think you should be lucky to get into a White House internship, to work on Capitol Hill, she said. I certainly worked hard, but I see so many people I went to school with at Dunbar who are also hard workers, and they didnt get those same breaks.

The message transcends race, but she understands her race is relevant sometimes unpleasantly so to the conversations happening right now.

After attending a Democratic presidential debate near Columbus last fall, Tims and a Black aide were stopped by suburban police while trying to find late-night food. The officers said the car, driven by the aide, was suspicious because it had pulled away from a business that had been closed for hours. They ran the plates and found that the owner had an expired drivers license. Tims, the passenger, interrupted several times as one officer questioned the aide and another approached her side with a flashlight, according to dashcam video and audio obtained by the Dayton Daily News. The encounter never escalated beyond Tims asking for the first officers badge number. In a tweet she sent while they were pulled over and later deleted, Tims asserted she was being harassed for being a brown woman who knows her rights.

At home last month, Tims said she still believes she and her aide were racially profiled, but that after seeing the video she drove the hour to Genoa Township to meet with the police chief and express regret for how she handled the situation. I was like, look, obviously theres bias on both sides, she said. We were looking for directions, Im super hungry, it was a very long day, and I apologize for my perception of what I thought was bias.

Chief Stephen Gammill stood by the officers in a telephone interview this month, saying he didnt believe they could have known the drivers race before approaching the car. He added that he appreciated Tims visit.

Im chalking it up, Gammill said, to a long night at the debate and maybe other experiences shes had in her life.

Tims speaking with Bob Mendenhall of Blind Bob's in the Oregon District in Dayton, Ohio.

And that, really, is the point of the campaign. The experiences of Desiree Tims this little Black girl from West Dayton, as she internalized it for all those years form the core of every argument she makes to be the next representative for West Dayton.

Putting herself out there carries a cost. Her campaign manager says they have taken appropriate steps to document threats with law enforcement. Tims sees and hears more nasty and racist vitriol than ever on social media and in her community. The burden of speaking out fell on her when a local state senator asked if COVID-19 rates are higher among Black people because the colored population does not wash their hands as well as other groups. As a child, marches were fun, a chance to follow. As a Black candidate, protests over systemic racism and police brutality bring an expectation to lead.

Tims worries that a Facebook post advertising her plans to participate in a May 30 protest in downtown Dayton made her a target. As she drove to the protest that morning, she noticed her car, which had been parked in her driveway, had a tire losing air. The problem? Several screws had spiraled their way in. Thats what stuck with me its not a nail, she said. When she left the protest that afternoon, she received the call that the Greene County Democratic Party headquarters in nearby Xenia, where signs for Tims campaign and Black Lives Matter are prominently displayed, had been shot up overnight.

A month earlier someone had chucked a piece of concrete through the storefront window. There have been no arrests, and the cases are closed. An official with the Xenia Police said there was no overt indication of a racial motive or hate crime. Doris Adams, the party chair, believes otherwise, recalling arguments shes had at parades with those who criticized the partys support for the Black Lives Matter movement. They didnt leave a calling card saying it was that, she said. But that was the window they hit. Both times.

Rev. Matthews, Tims pastor, drove her to survey the damage from the bullets after she realized the screws had ruined her tire. Obviously I was full of dismay, but I had to remind her that heroes live with courage out loud, he said. I think these instances have reminded her that shes doing the right thing.

They have. So, too, have the instances that reward Tims hope that voters, not just in the Ohio 10th but around the country, are ready for new representation, whether thats Jamaal Bowman or Mondaire Jones in New York, or Cameron Webb in Virginias 5th District. Webb, who won a four-person primary last month, would be the first Black doctor to be a voting member of Congress. Like Tims, he is trying to pull off an upset in a Republican-leaning district that Democrats see as competitive.

Its certainly inspiring to see people in my generation, millennials to see Black people, to see gay people, to see people whose great-great-grandfather wasnt a state senator go run for Congress and win, Tims said.

Tims points to her large margin of victory in the primary, a contest where she was able to win white, Black, and Latino votes across the districts urban, suburban, and rural areas.

The common denominator is we all want opportunity, she said. We all want access to the American dream. And that is the best language that I can speak: opportunity. So people definitely are taking a look Can this little Black girl from West Dayton do it? And the answer is, I've already done it.

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Her Case To Be In Congress Is Unique. Shes Running Because She Doesn't Think It Should Be. - BuzzFeed News

Reframing cancel culture through the lens of celebrity gossip – LaineyGossip

(This is the latest installment in our Long Read series. For previous entries, please visit the Long Reads archive.)

Yesterday morning, Harpers Magazine published a letter written and signed by 50 public figures including J.K. Rowling, Malcolm Gladwell, Gloria Steinem, Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, and so many more. The letter condemns the concept of public shaming for weaken[ing] our norms of open debate and toleration of differences in favor of ideological conformity. Although never explicitly mentioned, it can basically be read as a condemnation of cancel culture in the wake of protests and calls for reform.

Rowling, youll remember, faced backlash for both posting and defending her transphobic tweets and views. In 2016, Margaret Atwood was criticized for her support of a letter that demanded that the University of British Columbia provide reasons for firing one of its instructors after an accusation of sexual assault. Ironically, Atwood was trending this week for seemingly calling out transphobes by sharing an article about the spectrum of biological sex.

Obviously, the letter was supported by many people. But there were many others who called out its misguided direction and oversimplification. The one line that sticks out to me is, the way to defeat bad ideas is by exposure, argument, and persuasion, not by trying to silence or wish them away. Thats definitely why the world erupted in protests, right? Because the exposure, argument, and persuasion that Black lives do indeed matter was going over so well with everyone?

Like many people who decry the disintegration of free speech, it completely ignores the socio-political contexts in which these conversations take place.

The argument also grossly overstates the impact something like cancel culture has on someones right to free speech. Everyone is free to share their opinion. It doesnt mean that people have to like it, support it, or even engage with it. No one has taken away J.K. Rowlings platform. Some of us have just agreed that what she says is sh-t.

This letter is part of a much larger idea that has been floating around in my head for a while, but especially in the past few weeks. In the wake of the protests, many people have been cancelled and have had to own up to their anti-Black racist actions, especially those in the past. Last week I wrote about Shane Dawson, and two days ago Cody wrote about Terry Crews unnecessary defense against the myth of Black supremacy. Even in the past few months, people like Ellen, Doja Cat, Camila Cabello, and Lea Michele have all been cancelled.

But what does it mean to be cancelled? I dont think most people have a clear definition. For some, its a boycott - of their music, their movies, and their work. For others, its a hashtag. I see a #SoAndSoisOverParty trending every week. In its simplest form, cancel culture is public humiliation. For people who rely almost entirely on the support of the public, the idea is that being cancelled can result in an experience that hopefully leads to atonement and correction for the injustice for which the person was cancelled. Its a reckoning for people who arent normally held accountable for a lot of the things they do.

What Im interested in exploring is what happens after someone is cancelled. Can they come back? Should they even be allowed to? When I originally conceived of this piece, I wanted to do a deep dive of cancel culture. It was going to be about whether or not we should cancel people and what the main arguments of both of those sides were. But weve already had those conversations.

Vox wrote an incredible dissection of the issue, including tracing it back to its roots in the Black Civil Rights movement. According to Vox, cancel culture was the modern version of the boycott and bubbled up into the mainstream through Black Twitter. Time Magazines Sarah Hagi wrote about the power that cancelling has to give voice and power to people who historically havent had it. Even The New York Times has weighed in, writing a sort of Cancellation 101.

I highly recommend reading all of the above. Each piece encourages a nuanced conversation about a subject that can be so incredibly polarizing and emotional. Those who are against it point to its ability to shut down discussion and its oversimplification of often complicated circumstances. Those for it see it as a tool for the masses to hold those in power accountable in the only way they can. And after going back and forth for half a decade, you would think that we would have come to some sort of conclusion.

Yet here we are in July 2020 talking about cancel culture. And it has somehow become even more polarizing. So rather than examining cancel culture, I want to reframe it through the lens of celebrity gossip, because thats what we do here at LaineyGossip.

In todays world, cancel culture has now become part of the celebrity ecosystem. As long as social media exists, and as long as we continue to pay attention to what celebrities do, there will be cancel culture. That last point is important too. Cancelling someone by very definition means that at some point they were scheduled. The power and privilege that celebrities have comes directly from the people who support and love them.

At its core, this celebrity-fan relationship is built on trust. We trust that they will entertain us, maybe even that they will represent us, and that their lives are something that we can learn from. This is particularly evident whenever someone gets cancelled because youll see immediate tweets all like, [this celebrity] is cancelled, but thank god [other celebrity] is unproblematic. The idea of the unproblematic fave or the only white man I trust belies that we have a deep belief that the people (or at least the image we have of them) we prop up onto these public platforms will use them responsibly.

When someone breaks that trust, people feel betrayed and disappointed. And once that trust is gone, the whole relationship disintegrates, which is why theyre cancelled. Which means that even if someone maintains commercial success or retains their platform, their social capital and impact are lessened. Its why even years after someone is cancelled, it continues to come up.

Weve already established that cancelling has little impact on someones career, especially the more powerful they are. I mean, Prince Andrew is literally in a picture with a woman who has accused him of sexually assaulting her when she was a minor, and he still gets to decide whether or not to golf in Spain this year. Very often, audiences dont have the same power to administer real consequences. But as the NYT article explains, cancelling is ultimately an expression of agency.

This idea of trust might also explain why cancelling has grown in the zeitgeist. Have you ever been in a relationship where a lack of trust f-cks up other relationships? Over time, weve become more suspicious of celebrities, expecting a downfall to be right around the corner or carefully examining their apology to see whether theyre actually sorry or they want to save face.

So back to my original question. Looking at it from this angle, how does one return from being cancelled? Well, just like when someone breaks our trust in real life, it depends. Theres the severity of the breach, the frequency with which it happened, how long ago it happened, and whether or not someone has grown since. Ultimately, people have to work hard to gain back a persons trust and they have to prove time and again that they changed.

Even still, the unique part about looking at this issue from a trust standpoint is that it acknowledges that there will always a small amount of mistrust. I want to use a Lady Gaga and Beyonc quote from "Telephone" as an example because it perfectly encapsulates what Im trying to say. Also Im gay.

You know Gaga, trust is like a mirror. You can fix it if its broke

...but you can still see the crack in that motherf-cking reflection.

Its that crack in the mirror that outraged people when Kevin Hart explained that he was tired of having to apologize. There was more to the story, but at its core, people were mad that he confirmed what we were thinking: he wasnt ever sorry in the first place.

Therein lies the key to who should and shouldnt come back from being cancelled. Its the desire to grow, change, and to do better. Its the vulnerability of admitting when youre wrong and trying to learn from it. Its being open to criticism and taking responsibility for the hurt that youve caused.

Because cancel culture isnt about preventing people from making mistakes. Thats frequently an argument used against it, but its ill-informed. Cancelling really is about getting celebrities to see the consequences of their mistakes, an important part of the learning process. If you never see any backlash for your actions, how are you going to know if theyre bad?

When it comes to celebrities and famous people, its hard to know whats going on in the background. Which means that while I want to believe that everyone who apologizes truly means it, we know from experience that that isnt true. How can we tell if someone has actually grown and put in the work? Its hard. Years and years of a lack of accountability have made famous people feel entitled to their fame and fortune. Its made men like R Kelly and Harvey Weinstein feel as though theyre above the law.

I think thats maybe why the bar is set so high for people. If the public is going to be convinced that youve changed, theyre going to need a lot of proof. And by now, celebrities know that. Remember when they taught us in school that everything you put on the internet is forever? I feel like people never truly understand how important that piece of advice is. Todays celebrities should know that cancel culture is an occupational hazard. That having to answer for your present and past behaviour is on the job description of being really famous.

Are there cases where it goes too far? Of course. But completely writing off cancel culture as a threat to free speech does a great disservice to the conversations it forces us to have. Ironically, the letter that J.K Rowling and so many others signed ignores all that nuance. By lamenting the oversimplification and emotional reaction intrinsic in cancel culture, theyve oversimplified and emotionally reacted to it themselves!

Perhaps we need to shift the way we view what cancelling looks like. At the centre of this issue is a discussion about the kinds of people we choose to put our trust in, and whether they continue to deserve that trust. The past few weeks have been the Facebook Friend Purge where we really consider whether those with fame are responsible enough to have it. And in doing so, theres an important conversation about how those people have looked and acted a certain way for most of history.

I think the fact that we even have the ability to do this and to hold people accountable is incredible. Its like a class action lawsuit. Theres power in numbers. Cancel culture took away Roseannes show. It brought to light the atrocities of Harvey Weinstein. Even yesterday, it made Halle Berry reverse her decision to play a trans character in a movie (and if you dont understand why thats important, watch Disclosure ).

It is not true that cancelling is always final. While its possible to recover, the work involved emphasizes how fragile but important that trust is. Even with its flaws, if cancel culture makes someone think twice before hitting that tweet button, maybe thats not such a bad thing?

Excerpt from:

Reframing cancel culture through the lens of celebrity gossip - LaineyGossip

Race, diversity, and Black ownership in the cannabis industry: A conversation with SC Labs CEO Jeff Gray – PotNetwork

Cannabis is a term; cannabis is a plant, said Jeff Gray in an early morning conversation with The PotNetwork. Gray is the CEO of SC Labs, which stands for Science of Cannabis, and is one of the few African American executives in an industry thats fallen way too short on its promises of social equity. From a scientific perspective, it is truly an amazing plant in terms of what it produces and the amounts of these compounds that it produces."

What it's been used for by the people who have the power in order to control has changed, he continued.

Today, some of the people who make money in the legal cannabis trade are the same forces that made marijuana central to the drug war so many years ago, he said. To Gray, that idea is critical toward understanding the industrys current climate. And its an issue with historical blame on both sides of the political aisle.

The prominence of cannabis even in the anti-war movement, in communities of color as a tool to put people to incarcerate people, that was the way that they were probably going to make the most money at that time, said Gray, discussing the corporate landscape of the past 50 years.

And now, theres a different opportunity to make money, he continued, remarking upon the corporate infiltration of legal cannabis. So, let's change it up.

Gray was born in Gardena and grew up in California, where the atmosphere around cannabis was always progressive. Hes a graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz, whose first job out of college was at a government social service agency. Like many, his foray into cannabis began with a general fascination with the plant.

I cultivated a couple of things but never had a specific end in mind, he said, recalling his early days in what was yet to be an industry.

A smoker for sure at the time though not as much now since hes become a father Grays initial interests in cannabis lie more in the drugs greater possibilities. As he told The PotNetwork, there is a robust cannabis movement rooted in activism, safe access, and patients. According to Gray, having more control over treating oneself for certain things than with conventional medicine is a powerful form of self-autonomy.

And cannabis spoke to his independent, entrepreneurial spirit as well.

The marriage of the ideal with the entrepreneurial is what brought Gray, along with three partners, to found SC Labs. Labeling themselves as four activist-entrepreneurs, they sought to give consumers a way to trust the brands they were being sold by bringing cannabis out of the Wild West and developing the industrys first testing standards. Together they succeeded, with the guidelines they devised having been adopted into extensive use across the cannabis space.

Gray is modest when it comes to his accomplishments; however, crediting his partners as the backbone of SC Labs. I am not the I'm not the visionary behind this, he said. One of my partners was the first lab director at the first cannabis testing lab of its kind.

The lot of them convinced him that together, they could make a difference. I learned more than I had about areas that I hadn't even considered in 10 years that I've been participating in cannabis prior to that, said Gray, praising his partners and the work they do at SC Labs.

Jeff Gray is proud of the work he does at SC Labs and is invested in his role in the cannabis industry at large. But as one of the few Black men to break through the barriers of minority ownership in the legalized cannabis trade, he carries the burdens of racial disparity to often overlooked in everyday conversations about seed-to-sale, marijuana banking, and the like. As Gray explained to The PotNetwork, the political moment may finally have arrived at more in-depth discussions on race in America, but hes been a Black man all of his life.

I was reading James Baldwin, who said to be conscious and Black in America is to be in a rage every day, said Gray, speaking straightforward. My experience as a Black man in this country hasn't changed since these recent events.

Those events, of course, are the brutal police murders of Black men and women like Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, and the Black Lives Matter demonstrations that followed across the country. As Gray explained, watching the video of George Floyds murder was so visceral it was akin to a snuff film. If you're not upset, if that doesn't hurt you, if you don't empathize somewhere something's wrong, he said.

As down-to-his-bones angry as Gray is at this moment, however, he hopes it can be an opportunity for change the kind of change that goes beyond surface-level distraction and reaches a meaningful discourse within the zeitgeist. He sees the work of younger people who are taking to the streets and prays that the moment isnt missed.

Feeling a responsibility to speak, Gray recently took to Instagram, joining in what he hopes will be a larger conversation about race, equality, and cannabis. It feels like the appetite for the destruction of Black bodies is insatiable, he told his followers before speaking some necessary truths to the legal marijuana trade.

(Story continues below...)

With money comes the exclusion of people of all backgrounds who helped build this, he continued, calling cannabis [a]n industry devoid of people of color in positions of power. They were harsh words for a community that built itself on whats transformed into a facade of social justice and racial equity. Still, the statistics dont lie.

African Americans have been shut out of the cannabis industry. According to a report by NBC News earlier this year, less than one-fifth of owners or stakeholders are people of color. In the United States, Black-owned cannabis dispensaries make up less than one percent of the entire industry. Minorities are underrepresented in boardrooms across the globe as well.

Yet, Black communities continue to be persecuted for cannabis use. As the ACLU has pointed out, Black Americans are four times more likely to be arrested for cannabis than their white counterparts, even though both groups use the drug at similar rates. Even in states that have legalized the plant, African Americans still face over-policing for public nuisance crimes concerning cannabis at a rate higher than whites.

If you don't have capital, you don't have access getting into cannabis, said Gray, speaking from his own California-centric experience. He explained that as much as the situation has improved for example, he noted the lack of police helicopters searching for heat signatures to make large drug busts is a net positive its only improved for certain classes of people. Cannabis shifted from an all-inclusive economy to the same, uniform dynamics of every other capitalistic industry.

It all gets consolidated among the few, and the many get left out, he said.

But efforts at inclusiveness that look to uplift the Black community within legal cannabis mostly miss the point, according to Gray. Governments, activists, and industrialists who push for equal treatment now, as sincere as they may be, still ignore 400 years of racial disparity.

Economic equality is also critically important in the industry because without it getting into this industry is like starting a Monopoly game and somebody already owns half the property the disadvantage is on you, he said. We could be at such a disadvantage competitively for so long and then for everybody just to go okay, so we're good, even if we got to the point that we have equal treatment. We can't just start from there.

As Gray said in his Instagram video, however, diversity is marketed as a brand, especially in the cannabis industry. At the height of protesting in June, a group of African American women from Cannaclusive put out The Accountability List. It tracked every major cannabis brands response to the Black Lives Matter movement. While its perhaps difficult to gauge sincerity from a single Twitter post or Facebook feed, the women insisted that the industry put its money where its mouth is.

Cannaclusive followed up with each brand to see who was donating to the cause, and how many Black employees and Black executives they had in their ranks, among other markers. Too many brands were content with posting a blank square on social media and calling it social justice.

Gray doesnt want to judge sincerity either necessarily but is also too invested in the gravity of this moment to let surface gestures rule the day. He sees that for many in the industry, what theyve done is a marketing play; their efforts will be short-lived.

It's such a sad thing that it's going to take this moment and make it that it doesn't achieve its potential, he lamented.

Unlike others, though, he is doing something about it and has been for a while now. He and his team and SC Labs work with SACNAS or the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science, and UC Santa Cruz to recruit minority students in STEM majors into the cannabis industry. At SC Labs, these students gain valuable scientific and technological experience in the cannabis industry.

Its essential work to Gray, who noted the difficulty in finding talented scientists to work in the cannabis field. According to him, many people would shun the work for fear of what it would mean for their future career prospects, with those who took internships going as far as leaving it off their resumes.

There's the development of the talent on your team and the openness and commitment to elevating those people when giving them those opportunities, said Gray. We grow their careers. That's always a treat.

In the end, Gray stressed that he doesnt want to lose this moment for what it is, an opportunity.

We don't know the experiences we don't have, and that's okay, said Gray. Policing, the arrest rate, pre-trial cash bail for Black people stopped by police that affects the poor and people of color disproportionately. This system is largely oppressive for poor people, as well as sentencing disparities, the rates of parole. Then you have to put all this post-prison, securing employment, accessing the social safety net. I mean the right to vote. Weve taken away the right to vote for people.

All those things are part of that system, he continued. And where we sit in cannabis, we have this sort of extra responsibility.

Images: SC Labs lab employees (Courtesy SC Labs)


Race, diversity, and Black ownership in the cannabis industry: A conversation with SC Labs CEO Jeff Gray - PotNetwork

The Morning Show Star Gugu Mbatha-Raw On Americas Cultural Awakening & The Road To A New Normal – Deadline

Gugu Mbatha-Raw knew her role on The Morning Show would be a challenge. As Hannah Shoenfeld, the talent booker who survives a sexual assault, she provided a crucial turning point in the Apple TV+ series that centers on the sexual misconduct that plagued a news organization. It was her story, and ultimately, her tragic fate, that put a spotlight on unchecked abuses of power. Mbatha-Raw tapped into a gamut of emotions to showcase a trauma that so many women are only too familiar with, and hopes that Hannahs tragic ending can serve as a cautionary tale, showing the value in not staying silent.

DEADLINE: First off, I have to ask, how are you doing? The world is super unsettling right now. How are you holding on?

Related StoryGugu Mbatha-Raw On Her Harrowing Sexual Assault Scenes In 'The Morning Show' & More - The Actor's Side

GUGU MBATHA-RAW: Im doing well today. There are ups and downs. Its sort of a day-by-day, week-by-week process. But today Im doing well. I think it has been an incredible time and Im inspired. Im inspired to think that even though were going through so many challenges that hopefully positive things are going to come from everything.

DEADLINE: Your character Hannah was an impetus for change, which fits very well with the times were in. It seems like something has to happen, like what happened with George Floyd, for people to actually take notice and see what people have been experiencing for years.

MBATHA-RAW: I know. Its very sad that there was a sacrifice in that way that it becomes a catalyst. Certainly, in terms of The Morning Show, not to say it had to be that way, but I think sometimes when youre dealing with institutions, and youre dealing with cultures that are very slow-moving and set in their ways that unfortunately, like you say, sometimes there has to be something so jolting and so shocking and so sad that it awakens people. Both in the culture that were in now, but certainly in terms of the show, what happens in Episode 10 of The Morning Show is an awakening. Hopefully, the emotional trigger of that moment will sustain the evolution of the culture.

DEADLINE: Youre very vocal about Black Lives Matter and whats going on with racial injustices, with police brutality.

MBATHA-RAW: I think its a fascinating moment in history were in on many, many levels. Its really a seismic shift and a catalyst and an awakening culturally. Ive always believed that Black lives matter, thats not something new to me, but I think what is fascinating is when the culture also simultaneously awakens, and there is a sense of momentum and I think that thats when real change can actually happen.

Beyond anything that feels like activism on the fringe, this is activism in the front and center of our culture, and its an international conversation that is happening now. So that, to me, as much as its like giving birth, theres so much pain that needs to happen, but then for a new system and hopefully a more equal way of living. There has to be a reckoning and there has to be discomfort. I think its part of the process.

DEADLINE: Hannahs journey is just so vital to exposing abuses of power in The Morning Show. What were your initial thoughts when you first read the script?

MBATHA-RAW: I read the first couple of scripts, and because not everything was written, I couldnt tell from them exactly where Hannah was going to go in the story. I knew it was being cast by Vickie Thomas who is an incredible casting director, and who Ive met for many things over the years, and I know she always does great, interesting work. Through her, I got on the phone with [executive producers] Kerry Ehrin and Mimi Leder, and they explained the arc of Hannahs journey which I just thought was so powerful. So, it was really in them explaining where she goes. I was really inspired by the fact that, as well as having this traumatic experience with the Mitch character, she also confronts him. I think it revealed the complexities of how different people bury those kinds of experiences. In terms of relating to her, the writing was so great in terms of the world and the characters being very ambitious and driven. I definitely could identify with Hannahs in the world of entertainment that Ive met, in terms of that career drive, and so that was interesting, at least on the surface, but I was definitely more drawn to her secrets.

DEADLINE: What else drew you to the show as a whole?

MBATHA-RAW: Obviously, the cast. Knowing that this is Jennifer Anistons first return to TV since Friends, I knew it was going to be a big deal. Id worked with Reese Witherspoon very briefly on A Wrinkle in Time, and really respected the way she has been championing female voices in her storytelling and her production company. Steve Carell obviously is such an amazing actor with such a range. I was intrigued by Apple TV+ because it didnt exist really at the point that I got the scripts and knowing that it was going to be a new streaming platform, I thought it was a fascinating and interesting experience to be part of something brand new like that.

It was the first time post-#MeToo that Id read anything that addressed the power dynamics in the media landscape so directly, but also in a nuanced way. I thought the conversations were going to be interesting and provocative, and hopefully potentially healing if we got it right, in terms of showing all the different perspectives and looking at the gray area of these issues. Because I think it can be very easy to simplify them when things become a hashtag, and things become just very much part of the zeitgeist. I think its always important to remember the human cost and look at those issues more intimately. So, I was excited by that challenge.

DEADLINE: This show came at a time when a similar scandal rocked a very popular morning show, The Today Show. I know this show was written before all of that came to light but how mindful of that did you have to be when you were approaching this character?

MBATHA-RAW: Obviously, we always knew we were dealing with a fictional drama. Kerry Ehrin, the showrunner and lead writer, had done so much research with the writing team. I think it was a testament to the research and how eerily accurate some of the scenarios were. But it was never based on anybody specific in that way. I think that they wanted it to be relevant but also universal in a way that women could relate to it, and men hopefully can relate to it, or at least see a new light shared on experiences that maybe theyd overlooked.

Its always exciting to work on something that you feel is topical, because as painful as some of these issues are, I think that they do need to be processed. And I think when youre watching something that is a drama that is outside of yourself, that is fictionalized somehow on your TV screen or your phone or however youre consuming it, its a safe place. Youre watching it even though some of the scenes are close to the bone and potentially triggering for people whove had those experiences. I think to know that its a drama, to know its outside of you, that it will have some kind of resolution outside of yourself, is helpful for the culture, I hope.

DEADLINE: There was a healing quality to the story. Not just the Hannah story but with all the stories of the other womenof Bradley, of Alex.

MBATHA-RAW: To see so many defined female characters in one show, not just archetypes, theyre nuanced and complex and there are so many of them. Not just Hannah, obviously Reeses and Jennifer Anistons characters, Karen Pittman, Bel Powley, theres such a spread of different perspectives on that world and I just really appreciated the nuances of the ensemble.

DEADLINE: Your character was very good at what she did. She was a hustler, and she had the added weight of what happened to her, and the circumstances surrounding her promotion. Was that challenging for you to balance all those elements?

MBATHA-RAW: I love a challenge and I definitely felt that there was a lot going on for Hannah. But I think that thats very real, and that people dont always wear their heart on their sleeve in terms of their past and their trauma. I think people do want to move on, even if they havent processed things, and the idea of being a survivor of a situation like this, at least for Hannah, she didnt want it to define her. She wanted it to be something that she could forget about and move on from. Obviously, as we see, she hadnt fully dealt with it. But its very human to put out that tougher facade. The defense mechanism, the workaholic energy, all of that, is a way often to numb actually having to just be still and deal with your stuff. That is very familiar for people in the entertainment industry, in news, and somewhere in the morning show world which is a blend of entertainment and news which is very adrenalized, and that live TV element obviously adds an extra [layer] to everything. Its very easy to be in denial in a world that moves very fast.

DEADLINE: As women, especially in this industry, we always feel like we have to prove ourselves. Being a woman of color, Ive always been told we have to be two times better than our counterparts, especially our white male counterparts.Was that something that you felt that Hannah was dealing with?

MBATHA-RAW: I think that that was obviously an underlying pressure for her. It wasnt overtly expressed in the storyline but we did talk about her backstory. I think in the quest for equality, gender equality and racial equality, this is a big conversation were having culturally now. But in the quest for that, certainly when we were making The Morning Show, and in terms of Hannahs perspective on that, I think that she probably had internalized the culture that she was in to such a degree that she was just trying to progress and trying to do the best she could. I dont know if it was always conscious. It was very much internalized for her.

DEADLINE: Were in this moment where weve heard a lot of survivors come out with their accounts of abuse. While weve also seen people like Harvey Weinstein or R. Kelly having to answer for these wrongdoings, the sad truth is that were living in a world where people still question or place judgment on the survivors. Were you concerned at all about how viewers would receive Hannahs story?

MBATHA-RAW: I think everybody was concerned to do their best to honor that in a nuanced way, certainly in terms of going through those beats of showing Hannahs perspective. There has been some judgment in the media about why it takes a long time for people to come forward in these situations, or why they were in the hotel in the first place, and all of those kinds of things. Seeing that episode, really seeing somebody like Hannah, who was in a very vulnerable scenario after the Vegas shooting, a very traumatic experience in itself, and just really understanding how somebody like Mitch was a mentor figure for her and I think his perspective was so different to hers. She was looking up to him, idolizing him as the star of the show, and that hes actually giving her a little bit of extra attention in terms of as a mentor and being kind to her. I dont think she ever imagined that it would transition to anything more than thatTheres so much going through Hannahs mind in terms of what will the implications will be. She doesnt know how to deal with that situation so she just goes through with it. I think that to actually see those beats, and working with Michelle MacLaren who directed the episode, making it much more about the thought process for Hannah as well as the physical element was very important. So, I trusted the female leadership behind the camera. They really wanted to show a different side and in detail, a nuanced side of that experience.

DEADLINE: What kind of responses have you received to your performance and to Hannahs story?

MBATHA-RAW: Its been really interesting for me. Theres been a whole gamut of emotions. Many women have found it quite moving. People have reached out to me on social media, and some people have felt like its the first time they felt seen.

DEADLINE: Did you interpret Hannahs overdose as accidental, even though it was never really talked about or mentioned on the show?

MBATHA-RAW: Its incredibly sad and it could have gone many ways for Hannah. Knowing that she had this promotion, and a chance of a new start in Los Angeles with a different outlook there, which in a sense you could say its a fresh start, or it could be that shes also thought of a problem being removed out of sight, out of mind, and somewhat blackmailed to get out of that situation.

We talked a lot about that moment where Hannah accepts the promotion, or leaves a voicemail at least, and then realizes that that didnt solve it. That didnt solve this abyss, this pain inside of her, and that its really that. She feels like she needs to numb that. Obviously, suicide is such a sensitive and complex issue, and I think in terms of, Did she intend to do it? Did she not? we talked a lot about it, and I always felt like she didnt intend to die but that she did intend to numb.

But Im optimistic. Im hopeful there are so many stages of this process and weve gone through them very quickly in the last few weeks and I think that is going to be really interesting to see in the long term. I hope that the movement has stamina and I hope that the culture has the stamina for really implementing the shifts that need to happen, not just a hashtag, beyond the hashtag. As powerful as that is in our culture for a moment, I think its also about letting in things that are going to have longevity.

DEADLINE: What did playing Hannah teach you?

MBATHA-RAW: I learned a lot on many levels. I think I learned about the world of morning shows on a superficial level. But also, the power of actually staying silent doesnt help anyone. I think as we see with Hannah, her silence, or her inability to process, actually only becomes self-destructive to herself, and that has been a lesson for me. I think actually youre not protecting anyone by staying silent about those kinds of injustices. Its only eating you inside. So thats been a valuable lesson in terms of addressing things, processing them.

DEADLINE: What are you looking forward to at the moment?

MBATHA-RAW: I guess Im looking forward to just seeing how we as a culture evolve. The word normal, whatever that means, I dont think that normal was functional overall, the normal that we had for many people. I think that before things settle there has to be a new configuration. Im looking forward to the new normal and progress.

See the article here:

The Morning Show Star Gugu Mbatha-Raw On Americas Cultural Awakening & The Road To A New Normal - Deadline

Finding Hope in Americas Pandemic Dystopia – The American Prospect

The Open Mind explores the world of ideas across politics, media, science, technology, and the arts. The American Prospect is republishing this edited excerpt.

Heffner: We seem to be living through a dystopia for realists now with the Iran-U.S. confrontation, the global pandemic, and now worldwide protests. Is that a fair way to look at it, or are we going to come out of the dystopia into a utopia?

Bregman: You know its very understandable if people are pessimistic right now. I always like to make a distinction between optimism and hope. I mean, you certainly dont have to be an optimist right now. But I think there are some reasons to have hope because hope is about the possibility of change, right? I think that this moment gives us a lot of reasons for hope as well. I mean weve seen that ideas that just a couple of years ago were dismissed as quite unreasonable and radical and crazy have been moving into the mainstream. Now they still have a long way to go yet, Im talking about ideas like universal basic income or higher taxes on the rich or you name it. But that gives me some hope.

Heffner: Is there a reason to be more cynical about the condition of humankind in the United States right now?

Bregman: Institutional racism and racism and discrimination, these are not uniquely American phenomena. It exists everywhere in the world and in Europe, sadly as well. There are some things though that we can learn from other countries. In the book, Ive got one example of how prisons in Norway are organized. The U.S. could learn quite a bit from that. So what you have in the United States are sort of taxpayer-funded institutions that are called prisons, where you have citizens who go in there for small crimes I dont know, small drug offenses and they come out as criminals. They create this kind of bad behavior.

Now in Norway, they have the opposite. They have an institution where people go in as criminals and they come out as citizens. If you look at these prisons, theyre very strange. Actually theres one prison called Bastoy, a little bit to the South of Oslo. It basically looks like a holiday resort. Inmates have the freedom to relax with the guards, socialize with them to make music. Theyve got their own music studio and their own music label called Criminal Records.

So sort of your first intuition is like these small regions have gone nuts.

Like this is very crazy, but then you look at the statistics, you look at the numbers, it turns out this is the most effective prison in the world because it has the lowest recidivism rate in the world, the lowest chance that someone will commit another crime once he or she gets out of prison. So investing in these kinds of institutions, you will actually get a return on investments. These things save money in the long term because the chance that someone will find a job actually increases with 40 percent.

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Now, its just unimaginable that this will ever happen in the United States. But, I try to show that actually it wasnt just the U.S. that was the first country that experiments it with these kind of prisons in the sixtiesjust as the U.S. was almost about to implement a universal, basic income to completely eradicate poverty at the beginning of the seventies. Thats where historians may be useful. They just can show that, you know, things can be different, you know, they can be much better.

Heffner: Those solutions that you describe are innovative and imaginative at a time when this country couldnt even honor the commitment of frontline essential workers.

Bregman: The country is capable of the compassion because we see so much compassion. We see millions of very courageous protesters in the streets. Its just that we need a political revolution here. The short summary of my book would be something like most people are pretty decent, but power corrupts.

For the vast majority of our history, when we were still nomadic hunter gatherers, there was a process going on that scientists call survival of the friendliest, which means that actually for millennia, it was the friendliest among us who had the most kids and so had the biggest chance of passing on their genes to the next generation.

Then you look at current policies and it seems like, well, thats not survival of the friendliest, this is survival of the shamelessand its not only the case in the U.S. its also the case in the UK with pretty shameless politicians like Boris Johnson or in Brazil with [Jair] Bolsenaro. Its a real indictment of the so-called democracy we have created that [its] somehow not the most humble leader [who] rise to the top, but the most shameless leaders.

Heffner: Does your book advocate for a specific tactic that can be used by protestors to try to in this new tech age to actualize their movement for reform when the political means to achieve it really dont seem apparent.

The country is capable of the compassion because we see so much compassion. We see millions of very courageous protesters in the streets. Its just that we need a political revolution here.

Bregman: Its not up to me as a white European to say, I know this tactic is better or that that, that tactic is better. Or if they say that people shouldnt try it or whateverlike Martin Luther King said a riot is the language of the unheard. But it is interesting though, that if you look at the scientific evidence that the approach that the vast majority of protesters are taking right now, very courageously so, the peaceful approach is also the most effective one.

Weve got the work of sociologist called Erica Chenoweth whos built this huge database of protest movements since the 1900s. She discovered that actually peaceful protest movements are twice as successful as violent ones. The reason is that they bring in a lot more people on average 11 times more, right. You bring in children and women and the elderly and older men, and you name it, so everyone can participate in these more peaceful protest movements.

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Im not saying that a certain amount of rioting or violence [should not occur]. Im very hesitant to sort of condemn that when we see sort of the horrific brutal savage police violence, thats the real story. Thats what we should really be talking about. Im hopeful and Im so impressed just to see this for ordinary uprising of so many peaceful protestors who are against all odds keeping their self control and doing whats right. Its, its very, very impressive.

Heffner: Do you think that in the wake of the pandemic our economy can recover in a more equitable fashion?

Bregman: Every historian knows that throughout history, crises have been abused by those in power. Think about the burning of the Reichstag and then you get Adolph Hitler, think about 9/11, and then you get two illegal wars and massive surveillance of citizens by the government. This is an old playbook.

But weve got other examples as well. The New Deal, they came up with it in the midst of the Great Depression. Think about the Beveridge Report, the primal text of the welfare state in Great Britain was not written after the war, but in 1942, when the bombs were falling on London. So now is the time to do something like that.

Heres my hope: If you, again, zoom out and you look at the past 40 years, I think you could describe it as the era that was governed by the values of selfishness and competitionthe greed is good mantra. My hope is, and I do sense a shift in zeitgeist here, is that we can now move into a different era thats more about solidarity.

Read more:

Finding Hope in Americas Pandemic Dystopia - The American Prospect

Why race will continue to vex American newsrooms – The Economist

Outfits big and small are shedding top editors over racial controversies


ALEXIS JOHNSON, one of the few black journalists on the staff of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, was barred from covering the protests against racist policing on June 1st because editors claimed that she had displayed bias. Her offence? Firing off a sardonic tweet comparing the aftermath of looting to that of a tailgate gathering outside a country-music concert. Outrage mounted when colleagues who rallied to her sideincluding Michael Santiago, a Pulitzer prize-winning photojournalistwere deemed ineligible to cover the protests, too. Mr Santiago has since taken a severance payment and left. Ms Johnson is suing for a civil-rights violation. And the journalists union is demanding the resignation of the newspapers top two editors.

At other American papers, heads have already rolled. Adam Rapoport, the editor-in-chief of Bon Apptit magazine, resigned after an old Halloween photo of him dressed as a Puerto Rican man resurfaced and he was accused of paying less to non-white contributors. James Bennet, the editorial-page editor of the New York Times, had to go after publishing an offending op-ed by Senator Tom Cotton calling for military back-up in response to violent protests (the content of the article, hardly extreme among Republicans, seemed less damning than the admission that it had been published without Mr Bennets reading it). Outlets from Man Repeller, a fashion website, to the Philadelphia Inquirer, a respected daily, have lost their leaders.

Efforts to push out media bosses are not running out of steam. A top executive has been placed on leave at ABC News for alleged racist remarks. At Vogue Anna Wintour faces an attempt to dethrone her from the editorship for not featuring enough black staffers or subjects. Journalists at the Los Angeles Times are pointedly criticising editors for their coverage of the protests and the dearth of well-paid, non-white staffers.

As with the #MeToo movement, executives find themselves taken to task on two counts. One is what are deemed to be blatant examples of prejudice, like dubious Halloween costumes or unexplained inequities in minority pay. The other is insufficient minority representation, whether in organisations newsrooms or in their pages. On that score few media outlets (including this newspaper) measure up. Elite newsrooms are much whiter than the population. Damning statistics on the racial make-up of journalists and quoted sources will probably be tabulated and circulated.

Editors can quickly find themselves caught in a pincer movement, facing internal rebellion and mounting external pressure. The American left thinks corporate culture ought to become actively anti-racistmeaning not just the absence of discrimination but the hiring and promotion of sufficient shares of ethnic minorities.

Non-white bosses are just as rare in the boardrooms of Americas largest companies, which are experiencing rumbles but fewer signs of insurrection than media firms. The incidents there have been more isolated: the former head of diversity at Morgan Stanley is suing the bank over alleged racial bias. The difference might be that nearly 80% of American journalists identify themselves as liberal (and they may be especially moved by the zeitgeist, given their focus on current affairs). Their resemblance to university studentsleft-leaning, outraged by racial injustices, willing to blame the institutions leaders for inadequate minority hiring and representationlooks striking. The cultural battles that roiled college campuses a few years ago may now disturb workplaces, starting with those most sympathetic to the cause. The tech titans, with their somewhat rumbustious Bay Area staffers, look quite vulnerable. Facebook recently announced plans to make increase its non-white leadership by 30%.

In another way, too, the debates upending newsrooms resemble those that have shaken universities. Both places are critical to the free exchange of ideas, and, consequently, to the normal functioning of democracy. Ideas that staff deem too dangerous for publicationlike Mr Cottons op-edwill go un-presented to mainstream readers, while the divide between the liberal and conservative factions of Americas media will widen.

The educational pipeline produces fewer minority candidates for sought-after journalism jobs. Until that is fixed, more affirmative-action schemes, which are common at universities, may be needed to achieve the levels of diversity demanded by staff at media firms. That would be controversial, too. All of which suggests that the tumult is unlikely to subside soon.

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Why race will continue to vex American newsrooms - The Economist

Belonging in Fashion, Equality in the Spotlight – Yahoo News

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Fashion has awoken, but isnt woke enough.

There is still opportunity for the industry which prides itself on being so in touch with the zeitgeist to meet this extraordinary moment in American history and go beyond diversity and inclusion to truly welcoming everyone into the fold.

Its going to take real and for some, very personal work to shake the status quo that for too long has been good enough for the privileged majority and thus has become entrenched in a way that is both unfair and was broadly unaddressed.

But now it is an issue thats more urgent than ever.

While the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising animated discussions around LGBTQ rights and diversity issues a year ago, the topic was blown wide open this year by the killing of George Floyd another Black man dead at the hands of police.

The video of Floyd gasping for breath and ultimately dying while a white police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck proved to be just too much racially tinged police brutality to be tolerated. People in thousands of cities and towns across the U.S. and the world joined the largely peaceful protests and forced the issue to the front of the common consciousness.

If there were questions whether corporate America in the throes of the COVID-19 shutdown and facing financial meltdown still had the capacity to address diversity, it was answered in the flood of new, vocal supporters to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Many retailers, apparel and beauty firms took new and strong stands against racism and in support of the protests, donated to groups working on the issues, promised to look into their own practices. Away from fashion, corporate America mobilized at last: the National Football League embraced the Black Lives Matter movement, NASCAR banned the Confederate flag, the Aunt Jemima brand was retired and more.

And all this happened alongside Pride Month celebrations rainbow-hued collections and all in the midst of the pandemic. There has also been real progress on the LGBTQ legal front with the recent Supreme Courts ruling that it is illegal to discriminate against employees on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

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But a lot of the progress going forward is going to happen away from the spotlight now trained on the issue of diversity. People and organizations are going to have to look within. Many opinions on privilege, what racism is today and what it means to be a supporter of minority groups will have to be reexamined.

Michael Bush, chief executive officer of people analytics company Great Place to Work, said: The best companies, the best organizations, they are embarking on a path of learning, they are reading, they are studying, because people who think they understand why things are the way they are, thats part of the problem, because theyre wrong.

People in the majority need to move beyond a sense of individualism that hangs too much of their place in the world on their own efforts, he said.

Racism isnt bad people doing bad things, Bush said. Racism is moving through the world not realizing how the world reacts to you and believing youre moving through the world the way you do because you worked hard individually. Its full of bias.

To change, Bush said corporate leaders need to stop and listen and take some time before responding. And they need to be trying to understand.

A good litmus test is a ceos reading list.

What three books are you reading related to related to racism? Bush said. If youre like, None, and arent going to, I dont think youre going to move.

He suggested White Fragility, by Robin DiAngelo the number-one nonfiction book on The New York Times Best Sellers list as a good place to start. And then there are plenty of places to turn. Nine of the top 10 books on the bestsellers list last week focused on race or social justice.

People seem to be listening and, hopefully thinking, more than ever before.

Its a hard pivot for fashion, which was just finishing preparations to celebrate Pride Month when Floyd was killed and the protests started.

Instead of stopping to pat themselves on the back and celebrate the LGBTQ community theres been some progress, but not enough as there are still very few LGBTQ ceos and business leaders in fashion the industry found itself behind the curve on another dimension of diversity.

One tenet of the push for corporate inclusion is that having a more diverse set of voices at the top will lead to better decisions and, as numerous studies show, better financial performance.

C-suites and boards are still dominated by straight white men. That, in essence, is the old boys club that, whether on purpose or not, benefits from a society and system that has held and continues to hold others back.

But there are some small cracks in the system.

In the Fortune 500, there are five Black ceos, including former J.C. Penney chief Marvin Ellison, who is now head of Lowes, and Jide Zeitlin at Tapestry. The number of LGBTQ ceos is smaller still, at four, including Jeff Gennette at Macys Inc.

There are others as well Neiman Marcus Group also has an LGBTQ ceo in Geoffroy van Raemdonck but the list of major players with real diversity at the very highest levels is vanishingly small. And thats a loss.

Macys is Americas department store and we serve a very diverse set of customers and communities, Gennette told WWD. The diversity of our teams is certainly helpful as it allows us to have a greater understanding of what the Black experience is in our company and our country today. But it isnt our Black colleagues responsibility to educate the people around them. Weve made a call for our non-Black colleagues to self-educate and have shared resources with both our colleagues and customers.

No human is one-dimensional, Gennette said. Each of us brings all of our experiences to bear when we try to empathize with any minority group. This weeks convergence of the victory on LGBTQ rights from the Supreme Court and the continued peaceful demonstrations demanding fundamental change to end racism was powerful and very encouraging to see.

While the COVID-19 shutdown and slow restart has had a crushing financial impact on fashion with Neiman Marcus and many others driven into bankruptcy the desire for equality is a personal and professional endeavor separate from the balance sheet.

Van Raemdonck said: Were at a very important time in history, evidenced by momentum in the Black Lives Matter movement as well as the recent Supreme Court ruling expanding LGBTQ+ protections in the workplace. At Neiman Marcus Group, we recognize our responsibility to speak out against racial injustices and societal inequities and to take pivotal action to ensure we have a company culture of acceptance and belonging. As a gay man, driving meaningful actions and serving as a catalyst for change is a responsibility I take seriously.

Even as these and other executives have been fighting for LGBTQ equality, they now face an even more systemic problem in battling racism and determining how to embrace the ongoing rise of the Black Lives Matter movement.

In the fashion industry, there is a great deal of white privilege both at the board level and management levels, said James Miller, who is gay and ceo and chief creative officer of The Collected Group, which operates Joie, Equipment and Current/Elliott. I dont think race has been focused on enough.

The company had not historically been vocal on issues of race, although it was working on the matter internally. Miller, however, has not shied away from thorny issues and this year Equipment launched a gender-fluid line in collaboration with The Phluid Project.

Miller said the many conversations he had while developing and selling the gender-fluid collection helped prepare him to step out early as the Black Lives Matter protests began.

The ceo personally took control of the brands Instagram accounts and started with a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. There comes a time when silence is betrayal and has digitally engaged with people on the issue on behalf of the company.

Miller said he wanted to do it himself because: These are delicate conversations. We are a predominantly white-based organization and I dont believe everyone is equipped to wander into a discussion on race on a public platform.

Internally, Miller said the Collected Group has sought to be more thoughtful in hiring. Just because we have open positions doesnt mean we have to fill them tomorrow, he said. If youre looking to fill a seat in our company purely out of speed, that is absolutely the wrong way to go about this.

Miller said his company is also doing things that push the boundary of normalcy he pointed to donations of Personal Protective Equipment to what he said was the forward-leaning womens corrections department in Arizona and taking on less comfortable topics.

Why is fashion synonymous with making you feel good? said Miller, noting consumers are ready to move beyond pure aesthetics and to brands that represent more.

Customers are an important part of the equation.

Brands are used to a delicate dance, chasing consumer dollars while also trying to lead in various stylistic directions, looking for fresh ways to connect. This often begins with a kind of composite view on who is a brands customer and then a marketing apparatus that tries to find people who fit the profile.

That approach has historically missed large groups, from Black and LGBTQ people to plus-sized and older shoppers. It can also restrict appeals to select groups of consumers to a calendar of specific events.

Now the Black Lives Matter protests have pushed the absolute necessity of diversity to the fore, making it all the more clear that minority groups dont just exist for one month of the year be it Pride Month in June or Black History Month in February but deserve and need regular attention.

Companies have to do a wholesale rethinking of their customers, said Todd Sears, founder and principal of global business network Out Leadership. Thats not a new idea, its just not an idea that every company out there has paid attention to before this. Its like Black Lives Matters has ripped the Band-Aid off.

It is not just companies, but the people who keep them humming who need to take a fresh look at the world and their place in it.

Sears said allies people who are a part of the dominant culture, but open to and accepting of minority groups need to make clear that they are supportive.

Allies have to come out, he said.

Companies and the people who run them also have to create cultures that are able to move beyond the ideas of just diversity and inclusion.

Diversity is getting invited to the dance, inclusion is getting into the room with the dance, but belonging is getting asked to dance, Sears said. That you ultimately feel like youre a part of something thats easier for some companies than others.

And more companies are awakening to the fact that a diverse workforce can also be a stronger workforce.

Chantal Gaemperle, executive vice president of human resources and synergies for LVMH Mot Hennessy Louis Vuitton, said teams are more efficient when people can express their potential in an open working environment where everyone can be themselves.

In order to be yourself, you need to be able to express your differences, Gaemperle said.

In the luxury business, which is about making people dream through exceptional experiences or create high-quality products, the company has to be able to capitalize on such differences, she said.

Its not just corporate babble to say that diversity and inclusion are business enablers its proven, she said. I think we can make a link with the economic performances of groups that are diverse in the composition of their talent to be able to reflect you see it with what were living today a world that is going through perpetual change and to have these different perspectives.

The current crisis has highlighted the necessity of local proximity, especially when it comes to subjects of cultural sensitivity, she said.

Our role at the group level is to say that this subject is fundamental, it is something that has to be spread with our practices, but each region can choose its focus according to local priorities, she said.

Its a particularly strong subject in the U.S. right now, with a push for more transparency when it comes to sharing statistics, she said.

Its a question we have, we are thinking about this I cant say I have all the answers its a sign of the times, today we are living in a very complex world that is changing all the time. We have to stay humble when it comes to this, and we have to above all listen, she said.

And the many diversity and inclusion programs in fashion are just a starting point for the industry at large.

The conversation is changing from one of inclusion and representation to one of opportunity, said Corey Chafin, principal in Kearneys consumer practice and lead author of the upcoming report, Unstoppable for 50 Years: LGBTQ+ Pride Marches Forward.

Its not just about saying we reserve two spots on our board for this demographic. Thats insufficient, Chafin said. What they need to focus on is, Are we providing the right opportunities for all our employees? As you get closer to the top you do see the numbers start to trail off; what you cant measure is why.

Companies need to look at trigger moments, or at just what step minority employees are leaving. Once you identify those, then you can set up some interventions around that, he said.

So, if a retailer has broad representation among sales associates, but a much less diverse group of store managers, they can track that and start to figure out how to move a more diverse group of people up through the ranks at that key juncture.

Many companies were tracking diversity already, but clearly arent using that information to redress the ongoing imbalance the higher up the corporate ladder one looks.

Theres a realization that the dominant culture thought that it understood the experience of various minority cultures and in fact it doesnt, Chafin said. It doesnt understand the history and the nuance.

We have to dig deeper to get to the why and to get to the why, you really have to understand the lived experience of those groups, he said.

There is space now to get to that understanding.

Its the moment for diversity to step forward, more than any moment Ive seen in my lifetime, he said.

Right now the broader white community has been awakened and is focused on the issue.

Black people have been screaming and yelling and talking about this for yearsand it took this vicious murder on TV to open the eyes of many white people, said Kelly Charles-Collins, an employment trial attorney and ceo of HR Legally Speaking. They didnt have a choice, but to pay attention [to the killing of Floyd, who was held down, a knee on his neck, for eight minutes and 46 seconds]. They didnt have a choice but to pay attention. It was so long. It was so callous. It was so in their face that they didnt have a choice, but to pay attention.

The discomfort that white people feel at this moment is going to go away, Charles-Collins said. They will be able to go back to the, I dont see, I dont hear, I dont know.

To be part of the solution, fashion companies are going to have to go beyond words and take action, weaving equality into their operations by incorporating it into strategic planning and by making sure people have spaces to express their feelings.

That requires acceptance that your culture is not as welcoming or as inclusive as you thought it was, she said and then acting. Knowing is good, but applied knowledge is what makes a difference.

There is also hope in the next generation.

Gen Z seems to be enlightened in all the ways in how the world is diverse, Charles-Collins said. For them, I think the challenge will be how do you challenge [the status quo] in a way that creates sustained change. And they need the rest of us to help in that. Its systemic, so the system has to be dismantled. The people who benefit from the system have to want to change it.

Launch Gallery: All Black Lives Matter Pride Parade

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Belonging in Fashion, Equality in the Spotlight - Yahoo News

The Zeitgeist Movement – Wikipedia

movement that emerged from the Zeitgeist movie series

The Zeitgeist Movement is an activist movement established in the United States in 2008 by Peter Joseph. The group is critical of market capitalism, describing it as structurally corrupt and wasteful of resources. According to The Daily Telegraph, the group dismisses historic religious concepts as misleading, and embraces sustainable ecology and scientific administration of society.[1][2][3][4] VC Reporter's Shane Cohn summarized the movement's charter as: "Our greatest social problems are the direct results of our economic system".[5]

The Zeitgeist Movement was formed in 2008 by Joseph shortly after the late 2008 release of Zeitgeist: Addendum, the second film in the Zeitgeist film series.[6][7]

Zeitgeist was first linked to the Venus Project. In April 2011, partnership between the two groups ended in an apparent power struggle, with Joseph commenting, "Without [the Zeitgeist Movement], [the Venus Project] doesnt exist it has nothing but ideas and has no viable method to bring it to light."[6]

The first Zeitgeist documentary which predates the organization Zeitgeist movement, borrowed from the works of Eustace Mullins, Lyndon LaRouche, and radio host Alex Jones.[8] Much of its footage was taken directly from Alex Jones documentaries.[8]

The group holds an annual event, Z-Day (or Zeitgeist Day), an "educational forum" held in March. The New York Times reported on the second Z-Day held at Manhattan Community College in New York in 2009 which included lectures by Peter Joseph and Jacque Fresco.[9] This event sold out with 900 people paying $10 each to attend. The event's organizers said that 450 connected events in 70 countries around the globe also took place.[9]

An article in the Journal of Contemporary Religion describes the movement as an example of a "conspirituality", a synthesis of New Age spirituality and conspiracy theory.[10]

Michelle Goldberg of Tablet Magazine called the movement "the world's first Internet-based apocalyptic cult, with members who parrot the party line with cheerful, rote fidelity."[8] In her opinion, the movement is "devoted to a kind of sci-fi planetary communism", and the 2007 documentary that "sparked" the movement was "steeped in far-right, isolationist, and covertly anti-Semitic conspiracy theories."[8]

Alan Feuer of The New York Times said the movement was like "a utopian presentation of a money-free and computer-driven vision of the future, a wholesale reimagination of civilization, as if Karl Marx and Carl Sagan had hired John Lennon from his "Imagine" days to do no less than redesign the underlying structures of planetary life."[9]


The Zeitgeist Movement - Wikipedia

This Week in Comedy Podcasts: Klausner and Scharplings Double Threat – Vulture

Tom Scharpling and Julie Klausners Double Threat. Photo: ForeverDog

The comedy-podcast universe is ever-expanding, not unlike theuniverseuniverse. Were here to make it a bit smaller, a bit more manageable. There are a lot of great shows, and each one has a lot of great episodes, so we want to highlight the exceptional, the noteworthy. Each week, our crack team of podcast enthusiasts and specialists and especially enthusiastic people will pick their favorites. We hope to have your ears permanently plugged with the best in aural comedy.

Double Threat With Julie Klausner and Tom Scharpling - On a Zoom Call with Woody Allen

Alec Baldwin has never been skilled at reading the room. Though to be fair, even if this interview wasnt released at the height of a worldwide protest movement against American police brutality, theres never a good time for a fawning interview with Woody Allen. To tackle the latest bit in Baldwins lifelong performance art piece about men with no self-awareness, Julie Klausner and Tom Scharpling devoted the latest episode of Double Threat to a minute-by-minute takedown of the least essential interview of 2020. Following a hysterical opening where they riff on the fictional Men in Black Players, the duo wades through the slog of Allens childhood baseball career, his thoughts on the clarinet, and the accusation, as Baldwin briskly refers to it. Youll need a themed drink from one of Baldwins Broadway Danny Rose parties to get through the episode, but its worth it. Pablo Goldstein

Listen: Spotify | Apple | Website

Scam Goddess - The Tinder Swindler with Miles Gray

Ah, Tinder. Remember when swiping right led to an actual date? And when a first date led to the classic question, Do you want to go to Bulgaria with me? Host Laci Mosley, along with none other than the man who gave her the Scam Goddess name, comedian Miles Gray (The Daily Zeitgeist), dissects the greatest scheme of all: love. Reminisce about those ten oclock first dates as you listen to the tale of The Tinder Swindler, a.k.a. Simon Leviev, or Shimon. This dude used Tinder to seduce and swindle basic young women for hundreds of thousands of dollars. In his defense, that Entourage lifestyle doesnt pay for itself! If youre remotely familiar with the concept of red flags, youll join Mosley and Gray in raising your hand a million times as the two unpack Shimons scammer kit (his sexy blood shirt selfie, an Instagram-filtered TD Bank statement, etc.). From start to finish, this episode is a damn delight, as Mosley and Gray are clearly versed in making each other laugh. From Shimon to Match.com to Grays ex-girlfriend stealing the TV she bought him, they easily prove that Love is the front door to the kingdom of scams. Anna Marr

Listen: Spotify | Apple | Website

Bad Romance - Imagine Me & You (with Sarah York)

At the very beginning of this episode, host Jourdain Searles sets the standard for recent episodes of Bad Romance. She says, Rom-coms arent enough for me unless they are insane. If its not all-the-way good or all-the-way bad, then no one should be wasting their time. That is unless the film at hand is Imagine Me & You, the confusing, nice-core 2005 film that lands somewhere in the middle but still leaves plenty to unpack. One of the greatest joys (or perhaps to some, disappointments) of this podcast is realizing all the laughable flaws in films that hold a special place in our hearts based purely on nostalgia. In this case, its guest Sarah York, who topples the notion of this being an important lesbian film to her young closeted self when all your girlfriends are imaginary, the title really hits. York, along with hosts Searles and Bronwyn Isaac, skewer this feel-good British flick with wit, charm, and unfiltered anger, perhaps unintentionally dropping recommendations for insane rom-coms worth adding to our watchlists along the way. Brianna Wellen

Listen: Spotify | Apple | Website

Sloppy Seconds With Big Dipper & Meatball - Olivia Benson

No, Olivia Benson isnt this weeks guest. Nor is Mariska Hargitay, the actor who portrayed Benson on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit for over 20 seasons. What the episode name refers to is Sloppy Seconds hosts, rapper and comedian Big Dipper and drag star Meatball, donning their detective caps to investigate whats happening in Los Angeles with the Pride organization and their Black Lives Matter solidarity march. Theyre quick to question the validity of this probe even though it does include numerous uses of Law & Orders signature sound, the dun dun. Yet, they joke its mostly conjecture and petty name-calling, as they discuss the attempts to co-opt and whitewash the Black Lives Matter movement, which the parade was repeatedly called out for before making some necessary changes. But theyre being modest. The episode is beneficial, especially when Big Dipper and Meatball keep their promise to provide an unapologetic look at sex, culture, dating, and food, courtesy of two bears who arent afraid to speak their minds. They end the show with some humorous and heartwarming calls from listeners and more pro tips like, Dont get duped by that 8 Cant Wait bullshit, making their of-the-moment investigation unquestionably valid. Becca James

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Movie Therapy - Im Having Trouble Sleeping

What better time to find a movie to cure what ails you than now, when you are likely still mostly hunkered down at home? Movie Therapy is a breezy half-hour co-hosted by Rafer Guzman and Kristin Meinzer. (Hes a film critic for Newsday; shes a culture critic and also co-hosts the popular By The Book podcast.) Their first patient is having trouble sleeping and wants suggestions for movies that will actually knock her out. Meinzers remedy is Terrence Malicks near-unwatchable Tree of Life. She also suggests zoning out to the Home Shopping Network, which she swears by as a makeshift lullaby. Another listener writes in to say how much she misses being at the office with all of her co-workers. Guzman recommends a dose of 2015s The Intern starring Robert De Niro, Anne Hathaway, and Rene Russo to get a fix of office life and the way we used to (sort of) work. Two TV suggestions given are old episodes of The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Cheers. The hosts have a fun chemistry together and clearly know each others buttons to push to maintain a little friendly friction on their way to prescribing cinematic cure-alls. Marc Hershon

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Other Podcasts Were Listening To:

Gettin Better with Ron Funches - Joy with Jimmy O. YangListen: Spotify | Apple | Website

Time:Out with Troyce The ACE Family Are F*UCKED UP For USING George Floyd for CLOUTListen: Spotify | Apple | Website

How Star Wars Is It? Les MiserablesListen: Spotify | Apple | Website

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This Week in Comedy Podcasts: Klausner and Scharplings Double Threat - Vulture

BACK THE BLUE: Former Superman, UFC Hall of Famer join PPD as reserve officers – Idaho State Journal

POCATELLO The Pocatello police force got significantly stronger Thursday morning after adding both Superman and the first-ever Ultimate Fighting Championship Hall of Fame inductee to its reserve officer squad.

Former Superman Dean Cain from the 1990s hit show Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman as well as UFC 1 champion and Hall of Fame inductee Royce Gracie took the oath and were sworn in as Pocatello police reserve officers during a Thursday morning ceremony at the Pocatello Police Department.

The Idaho State Journal spoke to Cain and Gracie on Wednesday evening during a firearms training in which both men shared their perspectives on various aspects of the current movement calling for the defunding of law enforcement agencies and their motivation for backing the men and women in blue during these tumultuous times.

Story continues below video

I grew up the grandson of a Navy commander and my uncle was a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force, Cain said about his decision to become a reserve police officer. We had that military influence in the family and Ive always had that respect for the military, law enforcement and first responders. Ive always looked at them as heroes.

Moreover, Cain said as a former football player, he understands what its like to work under pressure.

But that is on a football field, Cain added. Police officers deal with life-and-death situations in real life every single day all the time. There are parallels between football players and police officers, but this is the big boy club. The opportunity to come up here, especially during this very tumultuous time, is an honor. Im humbled to get sworn in as a police officer here in Pocatello and be here to say, Listen, the men and women in blue are superheroes to me and they should be to you, too.

Gracie, a current resident of Los Angeles, said hes hopeful he can take some of the practices and training being implemented here in Southeast Idaho back to the men and women serving in the Golden State.

I love to help the police officers whenever I can, Gracie said. At home in LA, when I leave the house I surely hope the police know what they are doing so if I can help them out in any way, I will.

Cain and Gracie opted to become reserve Pocatello police officers via their participation in the CACF Foundation, which protects children from child predators, active shooters, bullying and teenage suicide. The program has become very popular with small agencies that need extra help and funding, according to its website.

Much like the sentiment of Pocatello Police Chief Roger Schei, Cain described the current movement to defund police departments, as a scary, scary proposition. In fact, Cain believes the opposite should be happening, in that law enforcement agencies throughout the country should be getting more money to provide additional funding for more rigorous training, especially the sort that involves teaching officers the practices involved with community-oriented policing.

The amount of training weve had in the last two days has been phenomenal, Cain said. If other officers throughout the country were trained like Chief Schei trains his guys here, I think wed be in a lot better shape as a police force in the nation.

Cain continued, The idea that people are vilifying the police is insane to me. I understand there is a groundswell for changing police policies but the way that Chief Schei does it here is the right way. This is a great example of unity and community policing. If we could implement what he is doing nationwide, I think we would be in a much better place. I am clearly making a point in joining now because the zeitgeist is going one way and it should be going the other way.

There are, however, aspects of the defund the police movement that Cain said he can support. For instance, Cain said he believes the use of social workers responding to calls involving those dealing with mental health issues could enhance the role of law enforcement agencies.

Social workers shouldnt replace police officers, but could enhance their roles is how I would describe it, Cain said. The mental health calls that these guys go on is never something they want to do. They are not specifically trained to handle these situations as if they are experts. Police officers deal with threats, they are not there to be a social worker, so if a social worker can take some of that load off the police officers hands, I think that is a great idea.

Cain said he doesnt support banning the use of chokeholds, primarily because the term itself can be deceptive. Cain said that its not the type of hold itself that should be scrutinized, but the training involved with teaching officers how to implement the hold and when to resort to such use of force.

When you say chokehold that is a very deceptive term, Cain said. We have Royce Gracie here who could choke me out in a heartbeat and in a safe manner. Id rather have Royce Gracie choke me out than knock me out, but police officers are trained to use a carotid hold, its not even a chokehold. You dont shut off a persons airway; you stop the blood flow to the brain, the person goes to sleep and they wake up in a minute. Chief Schei trains many ways to subdue a suspect without force and talks about it frequently. Its hard to say you are going to ban chokeholds because there are five different carotid holds you can do.

In speaking about why officers use carotid holds or neck restraints, Gracie added, Chokeholds are not the only way to subdue an opponent. There are maneuvers and locks to get a person to move from one point to another. The idea is to get the person in handcuffs, not to beat them up. In the first UFC, the order my father gave to me was to win without hurting your opponent. And that is in the UFC, the first sanctioned sport where men basically fight to the death. A sport where we are paid to rip each others heads off my dad told me he didnt want to see any blood. He told me to win without drawing blood and hurting your opponents.

Despite what appears to be a very fractured relationship between police and many of the people they swore an oath to protect and serve, Cain and Gracie are optimistic positive change will be the result of the current unrest.

I think there will be positive change because this is unprecedented, Cain said. This is a big, bad, ugly situation where police officers are being vilified and they shouldnt be, but maybe in the long run that will be a positive thing.

Gracie added, What I heard from the chief today, these guys are heading in the right direction. But they have been doing it right in this area for a long time already. This is not something new for them. Because one officer screws up doesnt mean that all of them are bad. We are all humans. We have to have trust in the system.

And so long as police officers continue to protect what Chief Schei describes as a gift, which is the level of bi-lateral trust between a law enforcement agency and the citizenry its promised to keep safe.

We need to continue to move forward, Schei said. We need to look at each other as humans, not for their race, religion, origin, orientation or a profession. You cant look at a group of people and judge them based on one person. My big thing is to protect the gift and what I mean by that is to protect the gift of trust that our community gives us. Because one guy did not protect the gift it has sent our country into a tailspin. And that infuriates me. We have to continue to get better and every day is a tryout. We cant take anything for granted.

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BACK THE BLUE: Former Superman, UFC Hall of Famer join PPD as reserve officers - Idaho State Journal

Voter Turnout in New York City Was Cratering; Then Came 2018 – Gotham Gazette

Alessandra Biaggi on the 2018 campaign trail (photo: @Biaggi4NY)

This story, and the series it is a part of, has been supported by theSolutions Journalism Network, a nonprofit organization dedicated to rigorous and compelling reporting about responses to social problems.


On the night of September 13, 2018, a wave crashed through New York state politics.

For years, pressure had been mounting on the members of the Independent Democratic Conference, or the IDC, a small group of high-profile and controversial Democrats who caucused with Republicans in the New York State Senate. At times, the IDC effectively barred the mainline Democratic conference from holding a majority in the chamber, hobbling party-backed legislation and affording its members major leverage in Albany.

The presence of the IDC also appeared to hamper Democratic efforts every two-year cycle to swing certain State Senate districts from Republican to Democratic hands, meaning a split Legislature with Democrats in control of the Assembly. After the election of President Donald Trump in November of 2016, significant additional pressure grew on the members of the IDC and their Democratic allies, which included Governor Andrew Cuomo.

By April of 2018 and facing his own reelection campaign with a primary challenge from his left, Cuomo brokered a deal with the IDC to dissolve and rejoin the mainstream Democrats, with an eye toward capturing the majority together as Cuomo sought to quell a progressive uprising and secure a third term. But the damage was already done, at least for IDC members who provoked such backlash in their districts that activists were set on removing them from office.

A group of largely young, progressive challengers rose up in the districts, recruited and bolstered by the Working Families Party, grassroots groups, community activists, and a smattering of elected officials. By the end of primary night in September 2018, six of the eight former IDC members had been knocked out (while Cuomo secured victory by a wide margin).

Those Senate challengers would go on to win their general elections and, along with newly elected colleagues that gave Democrats the majority, become massive forces in Albany, championing landmark rent, criminal justice, gun control, environmental, and voting reforms among others that were centerpieces of a historic 2019 legislative session.

Though some of the most striking images of that September 2018 primary election night come from the victors pictures of the Bronxs Alessandra Biaggi with her fist raised in the air, or Queens Jessica Ramos surrounded by cheering supporters images only tell part of this story.

The other part isnt as flashy, but speaks to something more powerful: voter turnout. Voters across New York went to the polls in record numbers for the 2018 state primary elections the gubernatorial primary more than doubled the votes cast four years prior, and some districts surpassed turnout during the 2016 presidential primary. Still, New York City voter turnout numbers have a long way to go, never in recent years hitting 40 percent in a primary other than when there is a presidential election, a trend that helped lead to the sweeping electoral and voting reforms, like early voting, passed in 2019.

The map below shows where turnout increased the most and the least in the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial primary compared to the 2014 primary.

Overall, the Senate districts represented by IDC members saw voter turnout spikes in line with the overall trend, but within those districts, much of the increases came in geographic areas where the challengers did especially well, a new Gotham Gazette analysis shows.

The reasons for the voter spike are far more complex than a single night, or even the months of anger among Democrats who finally learned about their rogue state senators. And while in 2018 many New York Democrats were still reeling from Donald Trumps election as president, it wasnt that simple either individual campaigns, newly-formed grassroots groups, and long-standing labor unions and other organizations all played a role in bringing many more voters to the polls. Some relied on tried and true tactics, while others got more creative.

The groups that rose or grew in 2018, and the tactics they developed that year, were ready for a big 2020 until the pandemic hit. But many of the same activists are again doing all they can, albeit under very different circumstances, to see their favored candidates win in this months primaries for congressional and state legislative races. Even as New York City could see a major drop in voter participation, those 2018 successes are still reverberating throughout the state as lawmakers pass bills dealing with public health and police accountability.

Trump DemocratsDonald Trumps divisive presidential victory in 2016 sparked a wave of renewed political activism across the United States. Huge demonstrations marked the early days of Trumps administration, such as the 2017 Womens March or the protests over a travel ban on countries in the Middle East and Africa.

In New York, grassroots organizations began to coalesce around electing progressives to local and state political positions. Though over half of eligible voters had turned out for the November general election in 2016, the state primary turnout rate that September was abysmal: only 10 percent of voters had come out.

For many, the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) of the State Senate was the first on their list for change.

People were angry, said Mia Pearlman, a co-founder of True Blue NY. The idea for True Blue was born soon after Trumps election, at a Park Slope meeting where people were gathering to politically organize.

A lot of people who were at the meeting lived in [State Senator] Jesse Hamiltons district at the time and were really upset to find out the morning after Election Day that not only was Donald Trump president, but that their own Democratic state senator was empowering Republicans, she said of Hamilton, an IDC member.

True Blue began on the idea that even though New York was seen as a Democratic bastion by others around the country, on the state government level, it struggled to pass meaningful progressive legislation. This was in part due to the IDC, and how complacent so many Democrats were about its presence and a Republican-controlled State Senate. In the months after Trumps election, grassroots groups like True Blue and a network of Indivisible groups sprung up and tapped into the outrage people felt to get them more involved in local politics.

In part, they pointed people angry over Trumps election to the State Senate, with its Republican control bolstered by rogue Democrats.

True Blue began to reach out to other grassroots groups in districts represented by IDC members, building a coalition of over 45 organizations. The main strategy was voter education whether that meant protests, phone-banking, tabling at events, handing out informational palm cards, and sending handwritten postcards to voters to convince them to turn out against the IDC.

The biggest issue with the IDC was that most people didnt know that their own state senator was in the IDC, or they didnt know what that was, Pearlman said. The groups utilized one of their biggest assets time to educate voters in the months between early 2017 and the September 2018 primary election.

This initial campaign against the IDC began before the districts even had candidates to put up against IDC members, which was key, according to Pearlman.

By the time we started to recruit candidates, along with No IDC New York and other groups, we sort of created an opening for them to have the opportunity to win, she said.

The way that the 2018 election went was that it really started 18 months prior, with the notion of, We need to go out and do constituent and voter outreach and engagement on the issues, said Ricky Silver, the co-lead organizer with Empire State Indivisible, a grassroots political activist group formed following the 2016 presidential election and part of the True Blue NY coalition.

Silver said that the races against IDC members were powered largely by enthusiastic volunteers. Empire State Indivisible was able to draw volunteers in by hosting forums across the city about particular issues, like education funding or the climate crisis, and educating residents about how the IDC slowed progress on those issues, the importance of electing real Democrats and of flipping control of the State Senate (the November elections, with a focus on one Republican-held Brooklyn State Senate seat and others in the citys suburbs, were always on activists minds, even as they focused on the primaries first).

People showed up because they cared about the issues, and then we were able to get them involved because they understood the pathway to a new vision was electoral. And thats how we were able to grow the movement, he said.

Meanwhile, a slate of statewide races was about to rocket progressive politics, the debate over what it means to be a real Democrat (AKA True Blue), and the need to control the State Senate, to the forefront of New York political consciousness.

Backed by the Working Families Party and other progressives, actor and activist Cynthia Nixon ran for governor against Cuomo. The WFP bet big on Nixon, despite upsetting some longtime political allies, and endangering its financial support from labor unions afraid of incurring Cuomos wrath. Nixons race was accompanied by competitive primary campaigns for lieutenant governor, between incumbent Kathy Hochul and challenger Jumaane Williams, then a City Council member, as well as for the open state attorney general seat.

The WFP credited the threat Nixon and Williams posed to Cuomo as the reason the governor brokered the deal to dissolve the IDC, following long-standing accusations that Cuomo backed and benefited from the IDC-GOP arrangement, which Nixon made central to her campaign.

The WFP also took on the IDC, launching a campaign against what they called the Trump Democrats in May 2017. The campaign organized thousands of voters against the IDC, giving insurgent candidates a head start before even officially entering their races. WFP ran nightly texting and phone banking activities with over 1000 shifts, and by the end of the campaign, had identified 10,000 voters who would vote against their IDC member in the Senate.

Thanks to the shock of Trumps victory and these organizing efforts, well over a year before the September 2018 primaries, many New York Democrats were engaged in local politics for the first time.

Central BrooklynIn Brooklyn, trouble was brewing for Jesse Hamilton, a two-term legislator who had joined the IDC shortly before the 2016 general election.

Despite the IDCs dissolution, many prominent borough Democrats continued to denounce Hamiltons actions as self-serving well into the primary season, though Hamilton continued to have the support of Borough President Eric Adams.

Members of the Brooklyn Congressional delegation, state legislators, and Mayor Bill de Blasio, chose to back Zellnor Myrie, a young lawyer trying to unseat Hamilton in Central Brooklyns 20th State Senate District.

The campaign got a boost from the WFP, which provided Myrie with media training and campaign support, and from grassroots activists and local political clubs who wanted a bluer district.

There was a lot of energy in the air for a real Democrat, and not a law and order Trump Democrat, according to Myries senior campaign advisor Andr Richardson.

Myries supporters took to the streets to drum up buzz for their candidate. For the Brooklyn Young Democrats, a club that endorsed Myrie that spring, that meant extensive canvassing, door-knocking, and days of action.

We all went out there in a storm for him, not only because [he was] against the IDC, but because he was speaking to issues in the community, BYD President Christina Das said. Das estimates that the club knocked around 2,000 doors for Myrie, and held three or four days of actions either in conjunction with other organizations, or on its own.

A native Brooklynite, Myrie had strong roots in the district, which spans through parts of Sunset Park, Park Slope, Crown Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, and Brownsville. The district is diverse, but predominantly black of the nearly 310,000 people living in District 20 in 2018, 50 percent were black, 19 percent were white, and another 19 were Hispanic, according to the U.S. Census Bureaus American Community Survey.

One of Myries main focuses in his campaign was affordable housing and tenant protections, goals that spoke to a district that is home to an overwhelming majority of renters, who faced challenges with rising costs.

It was a great race because everyone was kind of in it together in the neighborhood, BYD Executive Vice President Julia Elmaleh-Sachs said.

In 2014, the year Hamilton was first elected, there were roughly 129,000 active registered Democrats in the district, but only around 15,000 voted in the primary, which was quite competitive as Hamilton edged out Rubain Dorancy, who had backing from de Blasio, among others. Hamilton won with almost 10,000 of those votes. Then in 2016, Hamilton went through primary season uncontested. In the heavily-Democratic district the Democratic primary is tantamount to full electoral victory.

2018 was going to be a very different year as those frustrated by the IDC, including many educated and activated after Trumps election, went from not fielding a primary challenger to Hamilton to immense organizing behind Myrie.

On primary day in 2018, Myrie defeated Hamilton by almost 4,000 votes. Voter enrollment and participation in the district saw significant spikes, with 44,000 of the roughly 141,000 eligible Democrats casting a ballot. The increase from 15,000 votes in Hamiltons contested 2014 primary to the 44,000 votes in Myries victory over the incumbent made for almost a 300 percent increase in raw turnout, and the district was in line with the overall turnout jump seen in the gubernatorial race from 2014 to 2018.

Part of Myries success stemmed from his ability to garner support from different facets of Brooklyns Democrats, from longtime black voters to newcomers and progressives, Richardson said.

I think Zellnors case was a very unique case because he was able to bridge that divide, Richardson said of longtime black voters, newcomers to the district, and white progressives. Myries campaign attracted hundreds of volunteers, Richardson added, attributing part of Myries success to his authenticity and speaking to the needs of the district across demographic and other divides.

Myrie nabbed the greatest share of votes in Gowanus, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens and parts of Crown Heights and Sunset Park. In several of these areas, turnout jumped enormously from. The map below, from the CUNY Mapping Service at the Center for Urban Research, CUNY Graduate Center, shows where Myrie and Hamilton each did well:

The Bronx and WestchesterWhen Alessandra Biaggi, a lawyer in the Cuomo administration and former staffer on Hillary Clintons 2016 presidential campaign, began her campaign to unseat State Senator Jeff Klein a founder and the leader of the IDC from Senate District 34 in the Bronx and Westchester, she understood the stakes.

I didnt go into it thinking to myself, Im going to absolutely win, Biaggi said in a recent interview. I went in thinking to myself, We probably wont win. But what we will do is have a win in the loss. Because were going to raise awareness about an issue that is so devastating to the state. And people are finally going to be excited about their state government and want to fight for it.

As the head of the IDC, Klein held immense power in state government, and was a major target for progressives. With millions of dollars in Kleins war chest and his strong web of political connections made over decades, however, most pundits considered a challenge to Klein almost unwinnable.

In 2014, Klein faced a challenge from former New York Attorney General Oliver Koppell and kept his seat fairly easily, winning with over 9,000 votes compared to Koppells roughly 5,000. According to voter enrollment data from that November, about 101,000 active Democrats were registered to vote in the district, which encompasses parts of the Bronx and southern Westchester County, including Riverdale, Hunts Point, Throggs Neck, Pelham Parkway, City Island, and Pelham.

In 2016, Klein was unopposed in the primary.

Biaggis campaign was assisted by anti-IDC groups that started educating voters in the district about the IDC before Biaggi even started running, according to her 2018 campaign manager Luke Hayes.

The campaign tapped into community members in the district, generating support in key neighborhoods through word-of-mouth. Together with Biaggi and other organized forces, they started to knock on doors.

It was a scrappy campaign. We knew we werent going to outraise Klein, Hayes said of the assumed fundraising disadvantage. By the end of the race, Klein would spend more than $3 million on his campaign, an unusually high total for a state legislative race, and 10 times more than Biaggi spent.

Biaggi said that fundraising became less integral to her campaign than canvassing and meeting with voters.

I was going to win this thing on the doors. I laced up my sneakers every single day and I was knocking on doors, she said. She and her supporters engaged with many thousands of voters up to and including primary election day.

She also credits young, politically active students, some high school-aged, with helping to activate the community around her campaign. About 324,000 people lived in the district in 2018. Of that number, 43 percent were Hispanic, 34 percent were white, 14 percent were black and 6 percent were Asian, according to American Community Survey data.

When you have a dynamic candidate like Alessandra, when you can engage with a candidate one-on-one, that can counteract a lot of ads, Hayes said.

Support from groups and officials were also key.

Endorsements are a big deal, Biaggi said. If you are going to be endorsed by, for example, the Working Families Party, which was my first endorsement, it gives you legitimacy.

The powerful union 32BJ SEIU backed Biaggi in a big way, mobilizing thousands of members to conduct phone-banking and door-knocking from six weeks before the primary. The move surprised some in the state political scene, as 32BJs president at the time, the late Hector Figueroa, had initially helped to kick off attempted IDC reunification with Democrats in 2017. In a 2018 interview with Gotham Gazette, Figueroa said that he thought that the IDC was not sincere in its efforts to fix Democratic unity and explained the 32BJ decision to buck the deal orchestrated by Cuomo.

Silver, of Empire State Indivisible, points to the cooperation of a litany of organizations, such as the WFP, unions like 32BJ, and grassroots organizations, as one of the keys to Biaggis success in appealing to a diverse district.

It was that sort of coalescing of organizations that made it powerful, he said.

City Comptroller Scott Stringer and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson voiced their support for Biaggi in June 2018, giving the campaign more legitimacy, adding media buzz, and bringing their networks of volunteers to campaign for her. The New York Times endorsed her later that summer.

When the results rolled in that September, it was a shocking upset: Biaggi had nabbed 19,000 votes to Kleins 16,000. There were a total of 107,000 Democrats eligible to vote in the district that November. The jump in voter turnout from Kleins last challenge in 2014 was significant, moving from around 14,000 voters to around 35,000 voters, or increasing by 250 percent. The parts of the district where Biaggi did best also saw the biggest jumps in voter turnout from 2014 to 2018.

The precincts Klein did best in had lower jumps in voter turnout compared to Biaggis best precincts. In the Bronx, Biaggi had the greatest share of votes in Riverdale, Fieldston, Kingsbridge and City Island.

For Senate District 34, the green precincts match up well with Klein's best precincts, especially around Castle Hill and the Throgs Neck area, while most of the orange precincts match up perfectly with Biaggi's best precincts, centered around Van Cortlandt Park, said Benjamin Rosenblatt, president of Tidal Wave Strategies, who performed data analysis and mapping for Gotham Gazette for this piece. The first map below, created by Rosenblatt, shows where turnout jumped the most and least in 2018, from 2014, for Senate District 34. The second map below, from the CUNY Mapping Service, shows where Biaggi and Klein each did well.

Western QueensIn Queens, Jessica Ramos, a former mayoral aide, was challenging State Senator Jose Peralta for his seat in Senate District 13.

Peralta joined the IDC in early 2017, claiming that it was a pragmatic choice to best serve the district during the new era of Trumpian policy. At a packed town hall soon after the decision was announced, some residents protested, calling Peralta a traitor.

A legislator with almost two decades of experience, Peralta had no competition in the districts Democratic primary for the entire time he held the seat, running unopposed in the primary in 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016.

The districts neighborhoods, including Jackson Heights, Corona, and East Elmhurst, are home to large immigrant communities. Of its population of 302,000 in 2018, over half were born outside of the United States, according to American Community Survey data. Of the district residents, 62 percent were Hispanic, 17 percent were Asian, 14 percent were white and 6 percent were black.

Trumps rhetoric and policies against immigrants, such as the public charge rule or travel bans to certain countries, directly impact residents in those communities, and led many to question how Peralta could align himself with the IDC, which bolstered Republican leadership of the State Senate, preventing major immigrant-friendly legislation from passing. That included the Dream Act that Peralta championed and he apparently saw as possible to get passed with added leverage as part of the IDC.

Make the Road Action, a leading immigrant rights group that is very active in the district, endorsed Ramos for the Senate seat in July 2018, and set out to have thousands of its members phone-banking, canvassing, and engaging voters for Ramos.

Progressives in the district were energized by the stunning upset political unknown Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had in June against then-U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley, the Queens County Democratic Party boss and one of the highest ranking Democrats in Congress. New Yorks 14th Congressional District overlaps with Senate District 13. There was a renewed sense of what was possible after Ocasio-Cortezs win as Ramos and her supporters eyed the sprint from the June congressional primaries to the September state primaries (those primaries were merged to June starting this year).

Most of all, I think her win has created a lot of enthusiasm for the small d democratic process in the district and that enthusiasm is what were hoping to maintain our momentum, Ramos told City & State in the summer of 2018.

Other political powerhouses and grassroots organizations coalesced around Ramos. The WFP helped her hire key staff, consulted on her campaign, and identified thousands of voters for her. Stringer backed Ramos in March. In the summer after Crowley fell, de Blasio, for whom Ramos had previously worked, and Johnson backed her, and Ramos and gubernatorial candidate Nixon cross-endorsed each other.

On primary day, Ramos defeated Peralta by over 2,000 votes, with almost 23,000 votes cast in total. In November of that year, 90,000 Democrats were eligible to vote in the district. Ramos did far better in parts of the district like Steinway, Astoria Heights, and Jackson Heights. The map below, from the CUNY Mapping Service, shows where Ramos and Peralta each did well.

Other Races in Manhattan and BrooklynOther districts around the city saw increased voter turnout in the same neighborhoods where insurgent candidates nabbed the largest share of votes.

In Manhattans Senate District 31, former City Council Member Robert Jackson emerged victorious on primary night over former IDC member and State Senator Marisol Alcantara. Jackson had run for the seat before in 2014 and 2016, losing narrowly to Alcantara in 2016 in a three-way race. Alcantara only served one term in office before Jackson overtook her in 2018.

The largest increases in voter turnout in the district from 2014 to 2018 were in the Upper West Side, Manhattanville, Washington Heights, and parts of Inwood, all where Jackson performed the best, indicating how well the insurgents supporters did at turning out the vote. The map below, created by Rosenblatt, shows where turnout jumped most and least in 2018, compared to 2014, in Senate District 31.

In Brooklyns Senate District 18, progressive upstart Julia Salazar triumphed against Martin Malav Dilan, who had represented Brooklyn in the State Senate since 2003. Dilan was not a member of the IDC, but the progressive push in 2018 helped fuel Salazars campaign, including backing from the Working Families Party and the New York City branch of the Democratic Socialists of America.

Salazar picked up votes in neighborhoods with some of the highest changes in turnout from 2014 to 2018, including East Williamsburg, Bushwick and Greenpoint.

While the Senate primaries saw dramatic increases in turnout throughout each district from 2014 to 2018, even compared to the gubernatorial primaries, the relative turnout increase was absolutely massive in the areas where progressive primary challengers did best, said Rosenblatt, of Tidal Wave Strategies, referring to his data and mapping analysis. The map below, created by Rosenblatt, shows where turnout increased the most and least in 2018, compared to 2014, in Senate District 18.

The fight continuesAccording to Doug Muzzio, a political science professor at Baruch College, campaigns need three things to succeed: money, organization, and message.

The opponents of the IDC had more of the three than the members of the IDC, he said, looking back at 2018s primary upsets.

The odds piled up for dramatically increased voter turnout, and for a turnout against the IDC: the national Democratic movement in response to Trump and for a blue wave in the 2018 midterms, accelerated progressive conversations and efforts launched by grassroots organizers, strong upstart candidates, and a concerted plot to educate voters ahead of the election cycle.

The wind was at the back of Democrats and progressives nationally. And certainly the state was part of that, Muzzio said. [The IDC] were out of step with the zeitgeist of the time.

And while pundits and political analysts were surprised by the unprecedented spike in voter turnout in New York, that didnt mean that turnout in the 2018 primaries was overwhelming. Although turnout in races with former IDC members garnered more attention, the average turnout in those districts and other Senate districts was almost the same around 29 percent according to a report from the New York City Campaign Finance Board.

This shows that the perceived competitiveness of an election does not necessarily lead to increased turnout in that district, and that in this high-profile election, voters turned out regardless of whether they were voting in a competitive election, the report reads.

But the key for the IDC challengers appears to have been where some of the increased turnout occurred, in areas of the districts they were running in that were most enthusiastic about their candidacies, and about defeating the incumbents.

To get there, activists as well as candidates and their campaigns, endorsers, and other supporters utilized a variety of tactics, including an unprecedented organizing and voter education effort done over an especially long period of time before any votes were cast. Dynamic and diverse candidates were recruited and backed, and they were just as willing as their volunteers and staff to knock doors and pass out flyers.

These strategies and others mixed with Democratic reaction to Trumps election, growing frustration with a lack of movement on progressive priorities in Albany, and a robust left-wing challenge to Cuomo, which both further galvanized progressives and pushed the governor to spend tens of millions of dollars getting out his vote.

The energy that led to defeat for six of the eight IDC members then helped flip several state Senate seats in November 2018, giving Democrats a solid, True Blue majority for the 2019 session to combine with the Assembly Democratic majority and third-term Democratic governor reelected by a wide margin on a slate of progressive promises.

With those 2018 electoral wins and the legislative victories that followed in 2019 and into this year, the WFP, True Blue NY, and other progressive organizations began preparing for a new slate of races in 2020, hoping to use a similar organizing playbook to net more wins. However, the coronavirus pandemic changed everything.

Continued here:

Voter Turnout in New York City Was Cratering; Then Came 2018 - Gotham Gazette

Soulwax and the hunt for the EMS Synthi 100 – Engadget

But the Dewaele brothers didnt want to use it as an abstract effect, modulating other sounds. They wanted to make something musical: An album -- beats, bass, pads and all -- created entirely on the Synthi 100. Which is precisely what they did, Deewee Sessions is the result of their time with #30 and every single sound on the album comes from that machine. Albeit with a little help from modern technology.

I guess sort of the point of the album was to showcase what we think are the characteristics of the machine said Dewaele. The album is made up of six movements, three per side of the vinyl release. Movement 1 starts with a simple pulse tone. Its exactly the first sound you imagine would come out of such a machine, electronic, pure, almost sinister. But it doesnt take long before that tone starts to waver and dissolve into a cacophony of metallic, haunting and then soothing, throbbing sounds. The album is the sonic equivalent of shining light through a prism -- one sound seemingly contains all the sounds.

If youre familiar with Soulwaxs more electronic-led music (Nite Versions, for example), youll soon recognize their trademark earthy-futuristic sound. The first two movements of the album feel like a nod to the Synthi 100s prog-rock legacy, with a more abstract edge to them. Movement 3, however, is when moody, plodding basslines start to emerge, and something resembling a rhythm. Side B starts with another melodic breather for Movements 4 and 5, before the Dewaele brothers return to their higher-energy roots for the last, thumping, head-swirling act.

It would be bold to say that Deewee Sessions will be the last record to showcase the Synthi 100, but it almost certainly will be the last one entirely made with it -- the remaining specimens are dying. Sort of living? We only know of about 14 or 15. Dewaele said. And he should know after having been looking for one for at least the last 25 years. As he tells it, many ended up in similar institutions to IPEM, and for a while were not considered important or valuable and may have found their way into landfill. It's quite surprising that half of them are still around.

Even the one they made the album with, #30, wasnt fully working. Dewaele guessed at it being 75-percent functional when it arrived at their studio. Fortunately, IPEM had a staff member that cared deeply for it, and was overseeing its glacial restoration. A process that would continue during its relocation. He actually has an exact replica of the machine and even slotted the circuit boards in there, and could not get it to work. Dewaele said.

Given that Dewaele estimates there are over 7,000 combinations on the patchbay (that pipes signals between different components), and not everything was working, adopting the experimental spirit of the Synthi 100 wasnt just nostalgic, it was essential to get anything done. [The restoration problem] was actually a blessing in disguise, because what that opened up to us was like okay well knowing that doesn't work, why don't we really do what Peter Zinoviath imagined? Which is why don't we use modern technology.

So thats what they did. David and Stephen paired the Synthi 100 with gear from Expert Sleepers, a company that specializes in hardware and software that allows old synthesizers to be controlled by modern PCs. So you keep the sound and the idiosyncrasies of the machine, but it allows you to do it much more according to Dewaele.

Purists might be aghast that any modern equipment could be allowed in such a project, but Dewaele makes the case that this is actually more inline with the Synthi 100s futurist vision. For all its vintage feel, the Synthi 100 is technically a hybrid analog/digital system. Zinovieff essentially added a computer to it, albeit an incredibly basic one by todays standards. But despite the brothers future-forward approach, it was an anachronism too far for Zinovieff.

The brothers were keen to speak to the synths spiritual father, but it didnt go as planned. I guess, not surprisingly, Peter Zenoviath had no interest in revisiting the synth 100 or anything of the EMS stuff Dewaele said. Because there's so much more we can do with computers right now. He's an 80-something-year-old, still making avant garde computer music.

And here is where the two worlds combine (or compete?). On the one hand, theres a mini revival going on with the Synthi 100. It's cool because since we started making the album, there's been a little bit of a zeitgeist thing where there's one in Melbourne, there's one in Athens, there's one in Belgrade, and they've all had recent restorations. Dewaele added. And they're now in contact with all these people. So it's now become a lot more part of their repertoire, more than it was in 2016.

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Soulwax and the hunt for the EMS Synthi 100 - Engadget

Where would menswear be without Black British designers? – i-D

Statues are falling, conversations are changing. Were in the middle of a much anticipated cultural revolution and its becoming clear that our perception of the world is beyond faulty. Amid those changes, even the ostensibly progressive creative industries are finally recognising their roles in building a flawed system. The Grammys have finally renamed their Urban Contemporary category in an attempt to stop the racial profiling of artists, and even Anna Wintour herself has apologised for the lack of support she has given to Black voices over her 32-year tenure at Vogue.

In place of London Fashion Week Mens, which was supposed to take place this past weekend, the British Fashion Council organised a three-day digital residency programme which saw designers being given a timeslot to showcase their creative output. Some hosted panel discussions, others streamed films, VR presentations and even live gigs. Keeping the conversation relevant to whats happening in the real world, many responded to the Black Lives Matter movement, with the BFCs own programming for #LFWReset focused on amplifying BAME voices.

Joe Casely-Hayford AW95

These are all important gestures of support to creatives that have so often been overlooked, but the obvious question is -- what about those that have already fallen victim to a corrupt system? Just like in general educational curricula, the presence of Black folk in fashion literature is sparse and ambiguous, to say the least. At the Royal College of Art, when we had a brief introduction to the history of fashion, Black designers contributions to history were never really mentioned, remembers Saul Nash, the Hackney-born designer and dancer, and current Fashion East recipient.

One name that may not have made it onto RCAs fashion history reading list, but has played a definitive role in establishing London as a major fashion capital is Joe Casely-Hayford. Born in Kent in 1956 into a line of influential Ghanaian creative polymaths, Joe was one of the first Black British fashion designers to attain mainstream success. After graduating from Saint Martin's School of Art in 1979, he started his career in the early 80s by upcycling surplus military tents into garments, before teaming up with his wife Maria to launch a namesake brand which originally specialised in shirting. His work in both menswear and womenswear earned him multiple nominations at the British Fashion Awards, as well as a broad fanbase that included everyone from Princess Diana to Lou Reed. A lot of people had the issue that they couldnt pigeon-hole him, everyone was always quite quick to make assumptions because of the colour of his skin. But his breadth of talent, which extended in so many different ways, made it impossible to define him as just one thing, explains Charlie Casely-Hayford, Joes son who took over their joint business upon his fathers passing in 2019.

Joe Casely Hayford SS99

Joe was the first-ever designer to design a capsule collection for Topshop back in 1995, and was involved in a whole range of creative ventures including the design of The Barbicans seminal exhibition on the art of African textiles that same year. A decade later, he became the creative director of the heritage Savile Row tailoring brand Gieves & Hawkes, and in 2009, joined arms with his stylist-designer-model son to launch Casely-Hayford. This new brand brought together Joes decades of experience and trailblazing with Charlies new perspective, creating a cross-generational approach to a refined wardrobe. Our collections were an extension of conversations weve been having for years, and thats how we would always design, says Charlie, whose parents never really encouraged him to work in fashion. A large part of that was down to the struggles that he had in the industry, he didnt want his kids to go through the same thing. Still, both my sister [Alice Casely-Hayford, Net-A-Porter & Porter Magazine Content Director] and I ended up in fashion.

When Louis Vuitton first announced Virgil Abloh as its menswear artistic director, he became the first African-American man to head an LVMH-backed brand. Last year, Rihanna was named the Black woman to launch her own brand with the support of the French conglomerate. But before Virgil and Riri, there was Ozwald Boateng. Appointed as the artistic director of Givenchys men's division in 2003, the London-native self-taught designer of Ghanaian descent became the first-ever Black person to head the design team of a French Maison. His appointment didnt come out of nowhere, though -- for two decades beforehand, Ozwald has steadily built a tailoring empire with his signature vivid colours and decorative fabrics, often paying homage to his heritage by elevating classic tailoring with elements of traditional dress.

Oswald Boateng AW96

He created bespoke costumes for some legendary films and TV show -- including some of those outrageous suits Carries BFF Stanford Blatch wore on Sex and The City. Ozwald was a fixture of 00s zeitgeist, but just as he was preparing to take over America, the atmosphere shifted. His vibrant hues and boxy cuts went out of style, swapped out for the outr sex-appeal of exposed chests and slim-fit shirts. The industry quickly forgot about all the barriers he broke. Business declined, global stores were closed, and magazines and newspapers decided to exchange the figure of a confident party boy for an arrogant, out-of-touch man. The Guardian gave his self-produced documentary, A Mans Story, one star, while GQ put him top of their 2014 Worst Dressed list. Thats nine places above Nigel Farage. Long before the overflowing of kindness, the industrys message was clear [read in Heidi Klums voice] one day youre in and the next day youre out.

While he may have been absent from recent fashion week schedules, Ozwalds influence is everywhere. He remains the only Black-owned business on Savile Row, and last year, he hosted a show in New Yorks Apollo Theatre in honour of the 100th Anniversary of the Harlem Renaissance.

Indeed, a key issue in the industry remains the lack of a visible presence of Back folk in both business and creative positions in the industry, showing the next generation they too can one day take the helm. This has, however, slowly changed in recent years, as designers like Martine Rose, Nicholas Daley, Wales Bonner and Samuel Ross have picked up the torch and run full-speed ahead into creating successful businesses.

Martine Rose AW20

A South Londoner with her HQ in Tottenham, Martine launched her much-loved eponymous label in 2009 and has regularly collaborated with brands like Napapijri and Nike. Over the past decade, she has been a defining figure in developing what some might define as streetwear but is in fact just a resolutely contemporary take on ready-to-wear. Proving her influence beyond her own brand, Martine became a menswear consultant for Balenciaga when Demna Gvasalia took over the creative direction, a stint she recently finished after three years.

While the consultant role is one that has increasingly been offered to Black figures in fashion whether as collaborative artists or members of diversity panels rarely have they been offered the most lucrative roles.

Diors Resort 2020 show in Morocco came under plenty of criticism when they revealed its theme to be common ground, presenting luxury interpretations of elements of traditional garments from across the African continent. To justify the move, Maria Grazia Chiuri surrounded herself with collaborators who had authority on the subject, including anthropologists, African artists and textile specialists, as well as London-born Grace Wales Bonner. She began her career in 2014 with her CSM graduate collection titled Afrique. An intellectual approach to exploring Black identity in the context of contemporary menswear was quickly defined as her brands core and her immaculate execution made her an industry favourite. Since then, she has won just about every fashion prize out there, curated her own exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery, and had Meghan Markle wear a custom Grace Wales Bonner design. PS. Shes 29.


Her fellow fashion award darling is Samuel Ross who has had quite an unorthodox experience of getting to the turnover of 12m his brand A-COLD-WALL* hit last year. Originally from Northamptonshire, he studied graphic design and illustration at De Montfort University in Leicester before being taken under Virgil Ablohs wing, assisting him on Off-White as well as on Kanye Wests Yeezy line. In 2015, he finally launched a brand of his own. Fortunately, my home fostered an incredibly creative environment, with memories such as building cameras with my father, discussing architecture, Apple products and visiting computer fairs, Samuel shares.

His conceptual approach to garments as design objects was routinely labelled as streetwear from the beginning. While this term first entered the mainstream fashion vernacular in the 90s, its overuse can almost exclusively be traced to Louis Vuittons AW17 menswear show which debuted Kim Jones infamous Supreme collaboration. In some ways, streetwear has become fashions version of urban -- a catch-all term for all non-white style identities. It's a coded term, a lazy term. Its quite tiresome, and illogical too. To be direct, it often reflects a lack of sensitivity and understanding displayed by the author, Samuel says.

Nicholas Daley SS20. Photography Piczo

Another designer using their platform to spotlight other Black creatives is Nicholas Daley, who established the multi-sensory potential of garments at his CSM graduate show in 2013. Bringing together the influences his Jamaican father and Scottish mother instilled in him growing up, Nicholas asked legendary musician and artist Don Letts to walk in his graduate show. He was really interesting, because of the way he blended punk-rock with reggae music, he says. His shows blend together fashion with live music by performers from Nicholas own creative community. I see fashion as a vehicle for saying so much more. Its the three Cs -- community, craftsmanship and culture -- that are the backbone of what my brand is about.

Proof of recent progress in terms of the representation of Black voices on the fashion week schedule comes in the new wave of emerging menswear designers exploring their multi-cultural backgrounds and complex definitions of British-ness. Priya Ahluwalia consistently merges her dual Indian and Nigerian heritage in both the techniques employed in the production of the garments and their presentation. With a sustainable outlook which includes reworking existing garments and textiles that would otherwise end up in landfill, Priya continues to build the puzzle of her past by creating the fashion of the future. Ahluwalias most recent project is a Jalebi, a photography book which captures Britains first Punjabi community in Southall through the lens of Laurence Ellis. The best thing about London is the accessibility there are so many talented people, as well as suppliers and manufacturers which helps with the process of collaboration, says Priya.

Bianca Saunders SS20. Photography Ronan McKenzie

Also based in South London, Bianca Saunders work focuses on introducing subtly feminine elements to templates of Black masculinity, a theme she originally found by looking at yardie dancehall culture during her MA at RCA. It was about the way some Jamaican men choose to groom from shaping their eyebrows to the upkeep of hair, she explains. Appearance was key to presenting themselves. For Black History Month in November 2019, Bianca curated a show in the stalls of Brixton Village, with some of the photographs by Ronan McKenzie starring her own family wearing Bianca Saunders SS20. Her latest presentation was one of the standout moments of London Fashion Week Mens AW20, as she staged a presentation in which models danced in her fluid, modern tailoring at 9:30am.

The person behind the choreography was Saul Nash, a close friend of Biancas, who himself also creates garments that blend performance and fashion and focuses on the way clothes move. He recognises the big shift in the mentality of the designers which has helped create this network: Were now entering a generation where its not about elbowing each other to get to the top, but its about understanding that were all different and trying to understand how we can work together to get through it.

According to a 2018 report by University of the Arts London, 47% of the students across their five universities (London College of Fashion, Central Saint Martins, Camberwell College of Arts, London College of Communications and Chelsea College of Arts) come from BAME backgrounds. Among them is Cameron Williams, a graduate of this years CSM MA class whose final collection stood out for its explicit yet subversive interpretation of his familys West African heritage. He titled both the outing and his new-found brand Nuba, after a somewhat derogatory name, given to generalise the Nilotic tribes of the Nuba Mountains of Sudan by Arab traders and settlers throughout history.

Cameron Williams AW20. Photography Sharmaarke Ali Adan. Direction Jebi Labembika

For his graduate collection Cameron drew influence from his ancestry by combining the indigenous influences of sculptural wrapping and frugal functionality, with the urban streetwear influences of my surroundings. Its what he defines as an ideal of survival fashion. His plans for the years to come? Funding is also an important factor for me, which I see becoming more accessible as Black-owned businesses within art and fashion are providing financial grants to others, endorsing the progress of upcoming Black professionals. The aim for the near future is to develop into a cultural entity that promotes a world without tokenism, fetishism or colourism, and changes our approach to the understanding of indigenous cultures.

Clearly, there are so many changes that still need to be made, but the sole responsibility [shouldnt] be on Black-owned brands to make these changes, Charlie Casely-Hayford says. Instead, we need to look at structures and how to create a culture of belonging, which means integrating a deeper understanding through the corporate structure -- this includes looking at executive boards and people behind the scenes. The idea of just having a Black model just isnt enough anymore as that wont make a difference on a deeper level.

One thing I have realised recently is how closely my following watches me and absorbs everything I do and say, Bianca adds. As designers, we have this platform to reach a very engaged audience of young fans coming through, we have the power to influence for the better. Hopefully, some of that power will in the future be amplified by those that are already on the top of the pyramid. Whats indisputable in our industry today is the imbalance between the contribution Black fashion designers have made to building contemporary fashion and the attention their work has been given. Instead of just sitting on advisory boards and offering their experiences as consultants, there need to be more Black voices guiding the industry from its highest seats. If it werent for those that came before, the fashion landscape we so deeply cherish would be a pale imitation of what it is today.

Joe Casely-Hayford SS01


All imagery courtesy of the credited designers

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Where would menswear be without Black British designers? - i-D

Even The Wii U Lived Longer Than The Confederacy – Kotaku

Did you know every major gaming generation has lasted longer than the Confederacy that sparked the American Civil War? That nascent nation only managed to hold out for a little over four years. And yet, instead of erecting statues to the Xbox, the United States continues to honor Confederate figures with memorials across the country.

Since George Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis police on May 25, the world has been rocked by protests centered around the Black Lives Matter movement. This has sparked many conversations, from the ever-present effects of systemic racism to the role of law enforcement in our communities. Protestors have begun vandalizing and removing monuments to Confederate generals, many of which were erected long after the Civil War as a way of intimidating slave descendants. And as part of this national reckoning, NASCAR decided to ban the flying of Confederate flags at its events, as has the US Navy.

Over the last week, the denizens of the internet have taken to dunking on the Confederacy with examples of things in gaming that lasted longer than its failed rebellion. A joke account devoted to the topic on Twitter pointed out that Too Human was in development longer than the Confederacy existed, and we all know how that turned out. Same with Duke Nukem Forever. Grand Theft Auto V, which will eventually appear on the upcoming PlayStation 5 because why not, has been part of the gaming zeitgeist for twice as long. Halo fans have been waiting for Infinite a year longer than the Confederacy existed. Even Super Smash Bros. Brawls notoriously terrible online servers held out longer.

If anything funny can be said about the Confederacy, its that this supposedly monumental part of Southern history barely registers as a blip. As I mentioned above, every major generation of video game consoles has lasted longer, even as recent generations have gotten shorter. The PlayStation Vita survived for seven years despite sales taking a nosedive shortly after release. Nintendos Wii U, considered by many to be a failure in relation to the success of the original Wii, outlasted the Confederacy by a month.

But why stop there? The fighting game community continues to hold tournaments for the poorly received Street Fighter x Tekken eight years after its release, doubling the amount of time the Confederacy played war for the sole purpose of continuing to brutalize enslaved people. Yandere Simulator development has been trucking for six years. A total of seven Call of Duty games have been released in the same amount of time as the Confederacy desperately avoided having to farm their own plantations. That Game Boy that was blasted to shit in the first Gulf War and now sits on display in the official Nintendo store still works 30 years after the handheld first hit the scene.

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America doesnt take kindly to interrogating its past. Nowhere is this more prevalent than in the way it looks back on the Confederacy, whose horrific legacy of slavery has been warped into one of regional pride, both through an extensive rewriting of history and poor education of subsequent generations. When someone bases their entire identity around the short-lived Confederate States of America, what theyre really saying is that they arent ready to let go of their love of plantation-owning fancylads and the racist beliefs they embodied.

Its not my intention to make light of the Confederacy or the unique brand of American brutality that gave birth to it. Its a history that American citizens need to recognize and accept. We shouldnt forget, but we cross a line when these important reminders of previous injustices become venerations of the men that perpetrated them. There is no rehabilitating the Confederacy. We might as well put up monuments to Mario and Solid Snake; at least theyve been around longer and actually made a positive impact on the world.

Looking for ways to advocate for black lives? Check out this list of resources by our sister site Lifehacker for ways to get involved.

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Even The Wii U Lived Longer Than The Confederacy - Kotaku