Category Archives: International

Will Nicki Minaj’s 7 Year Winning Streak Break at this Year’s BET Awards?

In the past, the BET Awards have had predictable winners in the Best Female R&B/Pop Artist, Best Male R&B/Pop Artist, and Best Female Hip Hop Artist categories. This year’s nominations include some tough competition for past champions Nicki Minaj, Beyoncé, and Drake. Beyoncé is nominated for 7 awards including Best Female R&B/Pop Artist, Best Video, and Best Album. She’ll be competing against sister Solange who garnered 4 nominations for her unique and potent album, A Seat at the Table with accompany visuals to Cranes in the Sky. This year brings some stiff competition in the Male R&B/Pop category with both the Weeknd and Bruno Mars’ stellar year of chart topping singles. With a combination of viral memes and shout-outs, Rae Sremmurd’s, Black Beetles and Migos, Bad and Bougie are tough choices in the Best Collaboration category. The Best Male Hip Hop category has always included the biggest and best mainstream male rappers like J.Cole, Kendrick Lamar, and Drake so it should be up in the air on who takes the award.

The most interesting category will be the Best Female Hip Hop Artist winner. Nicki Minaj has been the reigning champ for the past 7 years with last year being the first time she was not present at the awards. At one point, I felt the category should have been replaced with Best Hip Hop Artist and just include female and male rappers until a bigger pool of female M.C.s charted. This year, Minaj will be up against some talented rappers for the first time in years including Remy Ma, who most deemed the winner in their very public beef, newcomer Young M.A., legendary M.C. Missy Elliott and popular reality star, Cardi B. I’m thinking it’s between Minaj, Remy and Young M.A. Both Remy and Young M.A. had at least a couple of hits last year over Minaj but Nicki dropped at least 3 singles in March of 2017. Missy’s awaited comeback was a little underwhelming while Cardi B gained some surprising support for her music compared to other members of the Love & Hip Hop cast. With Remy Ma and Fat Joe’s hit, All the Way Up mixed in with her diss record, shETHER, I think Remy will finally break Nicki’s winning streak this year.

Below are the rest of the nominees including the Film, International and the Gospel/Inspirational categories. The awards will take place on 25 June at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles.

Best Female R&B/Pop Artist
BEYONCÉ
KEHLANI
MARY J. BLIGE
RIHANNA
SOLANGE

Best Male R&B/Pop Artist
BRUNO MARS
CHRIS BROWN
THE WEEKND
TREY SONGZ
USHER

Best Group
2 CHAINZ & LIL WAYNE
A TRIBE CALLED QUEST
FAT JOE & REMY MA
MIGOS
RAE SREMMURD

Best Collaboration
BEYONCÉ FT. KENDRICK LAMAR – FREEDOM
CHANCE THE RAPPER FT. 2 CHAINZ & LIL WAYNE – NO PROBLEM
CHRIS BROWN FT. GUCCI MANE & USHER – PARTY
DJ KHALED FT. BEYONCÉ & JAY Z – SHINING
MIGOS FT. LIL UZI VERT – BAD AND BOUJEE
RAE SREMMURD FT. GUCCI MANE – BLACK BEATLES

Best Male Hip-Hop Artist
BIG SEAN
CHANCE THE RAPPER
DRAKE
FUTURE
J. COLE
KENDRICK LAMAR

Best Female Hip-Hop Artist
CARDI B
MISSY ELLIOTT
NICKI MINAJ
REMY MA
YOUNG M.A.

Video of the Year
BEYONCÉ – SORRY
BIG SEAN – BOUNCE BACK
BRUNO MARS – 24K MAGIC
MIGOS FT. LIL UZI VERT – BAD AND BOUJEE
SOLANGE – CRANES IN THE SKY

Video Director of the Year
BENNY BOOM – KEHLANI “CRZY”
BRUNO MARS & JONATHAN LIA – BRUNO MARS “THAT’S WHAT I LIKE”
DIRECTOR X – ZAYN MALIK “LIKE I WOULD”
HYPE WILLIAMS – TYGA “GUCCI SNAKES FT. DESIIGNER”
KAHLIL JOSEPH & BEYONCÉ KNOWLES-CARTER – BEYONCÉ “SORRY”

Best New Artist
21 SAVAGE
CARDI B
CHANCE THE RAPPER
KHALID
YOUNG M.A.

Album of the Year
24K MAGIC – BRUNO MARS
4 YOUR EYEZ ONLY – J. COLE
A SEAT AT THE TABLE – SOLANGE
COLORING BOOK – CHANCE THE RAPPER
LEMONADE – BEYONCÉ

Dr. Bobby Jones Best Gospel/Inspirational Award
CECE WINANS – NEVER HAVE TO BE ALONE
FANTASIA FT. TYE TRIBBETT – I MADE IT
KIRK FRANKLIN FT. SARAH REEVES, TASHA COBBS & TAMELA MANN – MY WORLD NEEDS YOU
LECRAE – CAN’T STOP ME NOW (DESTINATION)
TAMELA MANN – GOD PROVIDES

Best Actress
GABRIELLE UNION
ISSA RAE
JANELLE MONÁE
TARAJI P. HENSON
VIOLA DAVIS

Best Actor
BRYSHERE Y. GRAY
DENZEL WASHINGTON
DONALD GLOVER
MAHERSHALA ALI
OMARI HARDWICK

YoungStars Award
ACE HUNTER
CALEB MCLAUGHLIN
JADEN SMITH
MARSAI MARTIN
YARA SHAHIDI

Best Movie
FENCES
GET OUT
HIDDEN FIGURES
MOONLIGHT
THE BIRTH OF A NATION

Sportswoman of the Year Award
GABBY DOUGLAS
SERENA WILLIAMS
SIMONE BILES
SKYLAR DIGGINS
VENUS WILLIAMS

Sportsman of the Year Award
CAM NEWTON
LEBRON JAMES
ODELL BECKHAM JR.
RUSSELL WESTBROOK
STEPHEN CURRY

Centric Award
FANTASIA – SLEEPING WITH THE ONE I LOVE
KEHLANI – DISTRACTION
MARY J. BLIGE – THICK OF IT
SOLANGE – CRANES IN THE SKY
SYD – ALL ABOUT ME
YUNA – CRUSH FT. USHER

Coca-Cola Viewers’ Choice Award
BEYONCÉ – SORRY
BRUNO MARS – 24K MAGIC
DRAKE – FAKE LOVE
MIGOS FT. LIL UZI VERT – BAD AND BOUJEE
RAE SREMMURD FT. GUCCI MANE – BLACK BEATLES
THE WEEKND FT. DAFT PUNK – STARBOY

Best International Act: Europe
BOOBA (France)
MHD (France)
CRAIG DAVID (UK)
EMELI SANDÉ (UK)
GIGGS (UK)
SKEPTA (UK)
STORMZY (UK)
WILEY (UK)

Best International Act: Africa
AKA (South Africa)
BABES WODUMO (South Africa)
DAVIDO (Nigeria)
NASTY C (South Africa)
STONEBWOY (Ghana)
TEKNO (Nigeria)
WIZKID (Nigeria)
MR EAZI (Nigeria)

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10 Quotes from 10 Unapologetic Women in Honor of Women’s History Month 

Check out some of my favorite quotes from 10 unapologetic women of different ethnicities, professions, and generations!  Happy Women’s History Month.

 

Nina Simone

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To me, we are the most beautiful creatures in the world—black people. So, my job is to make them more curious about where they came from and their own identity and pride in that identity.

Angela Davis

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The roots of sexism and homophobia are found in the same economic and political institutions that serve as the foundation of racism in this country and, more often than not, the same extremist circles that inflict violence on people of color are responsible for the eruptions of violence inspired by sexist and homophobic biases. Our political activism must clearly manifest our understanding of these connections.

Jane Elliot

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We are still conditioning people in this country and, indeed, all over the globe to the myth of white superiority. We are constantly being told that we don’t have racism in this country anymore, but most of the people who are saying that are white. White people think it isn’t happening because it isn’t happening to them.

Linda Sarsour

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Women are intersectional human beings who live multi-issued lives, when we are protected, when we are respected, when we are able to thrive and given the same opportunities as our male counterparts, when we are given space to lead and rise — our nation will rise.

Cree Summer

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I don’t know a single black girl who’s carefree because it ain’t easy being a girl of color, period. God, I wish we were carefree. A lot of political things would have to dramatically change in this planet for a woman of color to be carefree. But I think what they mean by that is more of an aware black girl, a conscious black girl.

Issa Rae

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It’s a bit cliché, but you can’t go wrong by writing what you know. Even if you’re a horrible writer, your own knowledge and experience is unrivaled. Nobody knows what you know like you know what you know. The way you see things is pretty unique.

Reina Gossett

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Historical amnesia is starvation of the imagination; nostalgia is the imagination’s sugar rush, leaving depression and emptiness in its wake.  Breaking silences, telling our tales, is not enough. . . Historical responsibility has, after all, to do with action – where we place the weight of our existences on the line, cast our lot with others, move from an individual consciousness to a collective one.

Sojourner Truth

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Then that little man in black there, he says women can’t have as much rights as men, ’cause Christ wasn’t a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.

Winona LaDuke

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I wanted to get out of Ashland, and I thought it would be pretty cool to go to school in the East. So I asked my guidance counselor what Ivy League schools were. And I applied to Harvard, Yale and Dartmouth – that was it. My guidance counselor told me I wouldn’t get into an Ivy League school. So as my act of resistance, that’s all I applied to.

Betty White

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Why do people say “grow some balls”? Balls are weak and sensitive! If you really wanna get tough, grow a vagina! Those things take a pounding!

 

17 Films and Series to Watch in Honor of Black History Month

In honor of Black History Month, check out my list of films and television series celebrating and exploring black life throughout history including captivating documentaries, quality biopics, and recent theatrical releases. Remember to celebrate Black History beyond these short 28 days!

 

I am not your Negro (2017)

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The potent words of writer, activist, and playwright James Baldwin on race still rings true decades later. This 2017 documentary, directed by Raoul Peck and narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, explores race throughout the years and visualizes Baldwin’s words about close friends, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., and Medgar Evers. Look for this film in your local theaters or local art house.

African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates, Jr (2013)

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Follow scholar, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. as he ventures back in time to discuss the history of African-Americans from the Transatlantic Slave Trade to the Civil Rights era to the Nations first black president.

Black in Latin America with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (2011)

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Henry Louis Gates Jr. travels south to explore the largely hidden history of black Latin Americans. Through interviews and discussions in countries, Brazil, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Mexico and Peru, Gates tackles issues of race, colorism, and the slave trade that still affects the black community in the present.

Paris is Burning (1990)

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The birthplace of, “throwing shade” and O-P-U-L-E-N-C-E. Paris is Burning is an early look at the underground LGBT scene centered on fashion, sex appeal, and voguing. Created by people of color, this film delves into the energetic scene and how class, family, and illness affected young gay people of color in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

Hidden Figures (2016)

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This blockbuster hit was deserving of its $100 million earnings at the box office. The film tells the seldom heard story of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and Katherine Johnson, the three black women who were the brains and strength behind the US sending a man to space.

The New Edition Story (2017)

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BET and the creators of The New Edition Story took their time with this amazing biopic. The 3 part miniseries follows the iconic group from their humble beginnings in Orchard Park projects to their most successful sold out tours. The series doesn’t sugar coat the intense drama that went on behind the scenes, detailing financial rip-offs, drugs, and physical altercations between the members. The acting, story, and of course the music are all on point.

The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 (2011)

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A cultivation of found footage and interviews of Angela Davis, Stokely Carmichael, Louis Farrakhan and others associated with the black power and anti-war movements, all from the perspective of Swedish journalist and filmmakers.

The 13th (2016)

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Ava Duvernay explores America’s exploitation of the 13th amendment and how policies throughout time have disproportionately targeted black men and women in America.

Dark Girls (2011)

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A discussion and stories about colorism and how it immensely affects the lives of black women across the nation.

Barry (2016)

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Follow Barack Obama as he enters Columbia University to world of self discovery, love, and perseverance.

What Happened, Miss Simone? (2015)

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Unapologetic, talented, and beautiful describes Nina Simone. Through vintage interviews, performances, and stories from her family and friends, you’ll learn the vibrant yet dark story of the legendary artist.

Queen of Katwe (2016)

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Based on a true story, Queen of Katwe follows 10 year old Phiona as she overcomes huge hurdles to become a world chess champion.

Chisholm ’72: Unbought & Unbossed (2004)

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Shirley Chilsom was not only the first black woman elected to Congress but the first African American and first woman to run a high profile campaign in the US! Watch as she challenges sexism, racism, and patriarchy in this untimely piece.

 

Unsung and Unsung: Hollywood (2008-present)

Unsung opens the door to all the trials and tribulations of some of America’s most talented but underrated black artist. Debarge, Xscape, Big Daddy Kane, The Whispers, Yo-Yo, David Ruffin, and Al B Sure are just some of the artist who have been documented on the show. Also, check out Unsung: Hollywood for stories on black actors, films, and series who were deserving of more recognition.

Madiba (2017)

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This six hour mini-series chronicles Nelson Mandela, played by Laurence Fishburne, and other leaders of the African National Congress who fought to end apartheid in South Africa.

Fresh Dressed (2015)

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Remember Kangol hats and gold rope chains? What about Cross Colours? FUBU, anyone? Fresh Dressed digs up the influential contributions of black style throughout the years and the ups and downs of clothing brands that were for us and by us.

Race (2016)

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Race, the story of American track star Jesse Owens, exemplifies courage and strength in the face of white supremacy. Not only did Owens battle racism in the US but he challenged and then crushed Hitler’s Aryan supremacy fantasy in 1930’s Berlin.

Trailer released for the new Netflix series Dear White People!

It’s finally here; the trailer for the new Netflix series, Dear White People. The series, based on the 2014 film, Dear White People, will follow six completely different black students at a predominately white institute.

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The 2014 satirical piece, written and directed by Justin Simeon, starred Tessa Thompson as the no non-sense, pro black, Sam White but in the new series, actress Logan Browning (Hit the Floor) will portray the character. I don’t know how to feel; I really liked Tessa Thompson as Sam but she is busy inking major deals so Browning will do. Brandon P Bell will reprise his role as the token black political science student, Troy Fairbanks and Antoinette Robertson (The Haves and the Have Nots) will play the bougie, attention seeking, Colandrea ‘Coco’ Conners. DeRon Horton will play the reclusive, student journalist, Lionel Higgins and Ashley Blaine Featherson and Marque Richardson will reprise and expand their roles in the upcoming series.

The show will also introduce some new characters like Rashid Bakr, played by Jeremy Tardy. Bakr will be a student from Kenya who speaks 5 languages. He’ll discover what life is like as a Kenyan student navigating America and how African American students live as well.

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The short clip looks identical to the movie with a similar scene showing students crashing a black face Halloween party. I’m assuming there will be a lot more than copycat scenes to the project and hopefully there is more depth to some of the characters like Coco for instance; the writers left her hanging with next to no development or change to her character in the film. Needless to say, I am super excited for the show.

Check out the trailer below and catch the premiere on April 28th.

Unapologetic and Proud: Photos of Women of Color at the Women’s March on Washington

The Women’s March on Washington was a monumental event that not only filled the streets of our Nations capital but the entire country and world including Melbourne, London, Nairobi, Paris and Cape Town. People from different religious affiliations, sexual identities, and ethnicities attended the rally to address dark future of the upcoming presidency. Speakers included newly elected California senator, Kamalah Harris, Angela Davis, America Ferrera, Alicia Keys, Janelle Monae, Janet Mock, Scarlett Johansson, Van Jones, Michael Moore, and many more.

The diverse group of speakers addressed issues related to African Americans, police brutality, environmental issues, Native American rights, Hispanic American rights, the LGBT community, and more. What wasn’t so diverse were those in attendance. Majority of the 500,000 attendees were white women with pink hats that stereotypically represented women’s rights. I attended the march and felt like a true minority amongst all of these women. Between the, “I’m with her” signs and the “We are all equal” shirts, I wondered if these women really cared about the other women and men that are not only affected by this presidency but have been affected by sexism, racism, xenophobia, ableism and homophobia throughout their lifetime.

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The diverse group of speakers addressed issues related to African Americans, police brutality, environmental issues, Native American rights, Hispanic American rights, the LGBT community, and more. What wasn’t so diverse were those in attendance. Majority of the 500,000 attendees were white women with pink hats that stereotypically represented women’s rights. I attended the march and felt like a true minority amongst all of these women. Between the, “I’m with her” signs and the “We are all equal” shirts, I wondered if these women really cared about the other women and men that are not only affected by this presidency but have been affected by sexism, racism, xenophobia, ableism and homophobia throughout their lifetime.

In this sea of white women, I managed to get beautiful photos of unapologetic women of color and other attendees at the historical march. Check them out below and visit http://www.womensmarch.com for more info on the event.

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Goodbye Vine! A list of my favorite Viners and where to follow them

January 17th, 2017, the day the video app, Vine will transition to, “Vine Camera”. A platform that will allow users to create videos and download only to their phone or upload to Twitter. Who would have thought 6 second videos would be so entertaining and make average people multi-millionaires. Viral dance crazes, crude voice overs, mind bending visuals, and comedy catapulted Vine as one of the most popular apps between 2013 and 2015. The platform launched lucrative careers for some of its most popular stars including King Bach, Brittany Furlan, Reggie COUZ, and resuscitated some careers like Nickelodeon actor, Josh Peck. Between Instagram’s introduction of videos, to the rise of Snapchat, to internal conflicts, Vine’s popularity started to plummet around 2015.

The social media platform had it’s pros and cons especially in regard to black youth. It displayed how creative and humorous we could be but it also reared it’s ugly, “minstrel show” antics (I mean, do you really need a watermelon, fried chicken, and Kool-Aid in every video?) Either way it was fun while it lasted. I, personally, had around 300 Vines and around 127,000 loops; most of those stemming from a Vine I did at a Tyler, the Creator show. I’ll miss the app but before it disappears, I listed some of my favorite Viners throughout the apps short lived life and how you can keep updated with their content.

Remember to download all of your personal vines or favorite vines from the website or app by January 17th!

1. Tyler, the Creator

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One of my favorite artist, Tyler, the Creator, was the reason I joined the platform. After constantly viewing his Vines through the browser platform, I finally downloaded the app for myself. If you’ve followed Tyler and Odd Future throughout the years then their energetic and immature antics come at no surprise. Pranks, concert footage, and jazz music filled up Tyler’s now deserted Vine account. In true hipster fashion, Tyler jetted out of the platform once it became popular but he can still be found on twitter under his renamed handle @tylerthecreator (previously @fucktyler) or his Instagram, @feliciathegoat.

2. Rickey Thompson

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He’s funny, sassy, and loves his food. Rickey Thompson was one of Vines most popular stars with 2.5 million followers and around a BILLION loops. He created his own YouTube channel back when Vine was dwindling in popularity. You can catch his hilarious stories and commentary on his channel, Rickey Thompson, and check him out on the original YouTube show, Foursome.

3. FUZZOSCOPE

Around 2015 or so, I popped in and out of Vine just to see if anyone still used it. At that time, most of popular users and traffic had moved along but I came across an interesting account entitled Fuzzoscope. The record label produces soothing hip hop/ jazz infused instrumentals and through Vine they paired the songs with psychedelic visuals. MP3 downloads and cassettes are available on their website, www.fuzzoscope.bandcamp.com/ and you can follow them on twitter @Fuzzoscope.

4. The Golden Corndog

She has a very unique sense of humor and a killer sense of style. How to explain her earlier Vines? Think amateur comedy night mixed with elevator music (eh, I can’t explain it, you’d have to be there, sorry). You can follow her on twitter @ElGoldieCornie and Instagram at @thegoldencorndog.

5. fLEshtoneCraYon

FlestoneCrayon is not here for white supremacy (neither am I) but is here for black empowerment with a little bit of humor. He took aim at the new elected president and anyone associated with racist behavior while also posting quotes from our favorite civil rights leaders and videos of current social issues. Follow their twitter @fLEshtoneCraYon.   

6. Yotsu

You’ll either ask, “What’s the song title?” or “What’s the anime title?” with these videos. Similar to Fuzzoscope, Yotsu Vines paired relaxing instrumentals with various anime shows and films. Their YouTube channel by the same name includes longer clips for your viewing pleasure.

 

7. Tragic Tofu

I don’t know where Tragic Tofu found all of their vintage commercials and movie clips but they fit perfectly with a diverse music catalogue and perfect loops. Follow their twitter account @TragicTofu.

8. Summerella

O mah gud! One of Summerella’s signature phrases. Not only does she slay in the looks and hair department; she makes hilarious videos as well. She sings too! Right now, she has a song out with the artist Jacquees entitled, Pull Up. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram under @_Summerella_.

9. Mystery Mansion

Dream like production fused with pixelated greatness. The music from Mystery Mansion sounds like it jumped out of an 8-bit video game. Follow them on twitter @mystrymnsion and their SoundCloud at https://soundcloud.com/mysterymansionmusic.

10. Mr. Mase

By now, you can tell I love music and the Vine accounts associated with music. Mr. Mase account consisted of a great vinyl collection and tunes with a mix of animation, vintage clips, and outdoor visuals. You can follow him on twitter @supercrab and his website, http://www.marcusmason.net.

11. TheRealJet$ki

I think a few marbles might’ve gone missing with TheRealJet$ki aka Jet Wavy. He loves dancing to trap music in an array of costumes and outfits; Lil Wayne, Luigi, and one of his more popular videos, the blue power ranger, are just a few characters he’s taken on. Check out Complex’s video about Jet Wavy below and follow him on twitter @JET_Wavy and YouTube under, The Iggnant Show.

12. JusReign

He created very funny videos including a strict father, paranoid boyfriend, and Punjabi renditions of the latest hip hop songs. JusReign has been one of Vine’s biggest stars with over a billion loops and a million followers. He’s been a red carpet correspondent for the Much Music Video Awards, starred in a few films, and won The YouTuber of the Year award at the 2016 Next Media Awards.

13. 4EverKelz


He is so funnnyyyy! Don’t believe me? Watch a compilation of his best vines below and follow him on Twitter and Instagram @4everKelz.

Honorable Mentions

Mike Q (SoundCloud: Djmikeq/ Twitter: @TheOnlyMikeQ)

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Yung Poppy (IG:@theyungp/Twitter: @therealyungpoppy)

Nicholas Megalis (Twitter: @nicholasmegalis)/ Youtube: Nicholas Megalis

Taran (IG: @taranpoke)

 

Bye Vine! I’ll Miss You!

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2016 in Review: The Good, the Bad, and the Side Eyes of 2016

2016, a year of celebrity deaths, protests, a horrible election outcome, Olympic history, and unapologetically black movements, films, television, and albums. Let’s a take a look back!

The Bad…let’s start and end this one real quick.

He who shall not be named

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He didn’t win the popular vote but enough Americans voted for him and that’s an issue! It did however open some of America’s most ignorant and blind to the rooted racism, xenophobia, and sexism in the USA. If Hillary would have won, the same mindset would continue to prevail.

The Obama’s Leaving

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So much progress and achievement from Barack Obama, Michelle Obama and their family. The Obama’s showed how poised and mature they were in a firestorm of racism and ignorance. Obama ended the 2008 recession, provided affordable health care, lowered gas prices, brought diversity in ethnicity and gender identity to the White House, all with no personal scandals. Michelle Obama was one of the most influential first ladies to step foot in the White House. Her may initiatives towards food reform and education caused many to wonder if she would run for president in 2020 (she denied and I don’t blame her). It’ll be hard to see them and their legacy leave the White House.

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Police Killings and Mass Shootings

2016 brought more murders at the hand of the people who are supposed to protect us. Philando Castille,Korryn Gaines, Alton Sterling, Keith Scott, Janet Wilson were some of the high profiled cases along with the many who were not reported in the media. 2016 also brought no charges to the officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray.

The Pulse Nightclub Shooting

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The mass shooting at Pulse Night Club, a gay bar in Orlando, FL, took the lives of  49 innocent people. This and countless killings of LGBTQ individuals in the country showed the pervasive homophobia that is still widely ignored.

The Birth of a Nation and Rape Culture

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I, like many, was excited for the film adaption of America’s controversial figure, Nat Turner. The directorial debut from Nate Parker was about the famous slave revolt led by Turner in Southampton County, VA. There was early praise and accomplishments attached to the film; it was the highest selling film to date at Sundance. Then, a past rape case involving a fellow female student, Nate Parker and friend Jean Celestin, who was also a writer on the film, resurfaced. Parker was acquitted while Celestin was convicted and then the case was later overturned.

The whole situation opened the gateway to continued lack of empathy for women and rape victims, a dialogue of possible racism, and a moral tug of war in supporting the film. Some felt as though there was a witch hunt against Parker because of the topic of his film. Tons of black people suddenly sided with the very broken justice system when it came to Parker’s “acquittal”. Of course, compared to other controversies surrounding white filmmakers, the backlash was stronger. Case in point, Casey Affleck continued to receive praise towards his film, Manchester by the Sea while having multiple sexual assault and harassment accusations against him. Parker didn’t help the situation by giving a roller coaster response to the incident; one minute he was apologetic, the next he didn’t understand what was going on. One of the only organizations to show the film love was the The NAACP Image Awards.

Celebrity Deaths

I’m just gonna leave this photo collage here. Listening to Purple Rain, Dear Mama and watching Martin won’t be the same.

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Phew! That was a bad rewind…Now

The Side Eyes of 2016

The halt of the Dakota Access Pipeline

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The protest against the North Dakota oil pipeline, demonstrated how unifying together to protect humans and nature can go a long way. Thousands of indigenous people of America along with people of different ethnicities banded together to protest a greedy initiative that could potentially poison the water of many. The protectors were met with dog attacks, mace, and freezing water while demonstrating peacefully. In early December, the Obama administration halted plans for future construction. Time will tell whether the pipeline will continue especially under a new bigoted administration.

Possible Solution to the Flint Water Crisis

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The unfortunate Flint Water crisis has made national news for the past few years. To save money, Flint officials made an unethical and dire decision to switch its water source from the Detroit Water Department to the untreated water of the Flint River. This resulted in a high level of lead in the water which caused death and sickness amongst the Flint community. On December 8th, the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act passed Congress with $170 million for Flint. Hopefully, it resolves the situation and the rest of the world does not forget about Flint and the other cities affected by pollution.

Ok, I want to end on a positive note

The GOOD of 2016

With devastation came tons of amazing and unapologetic black work from artist, filmmakers, writers, politicians and athletes.

Athletes

Colin Kapernick and multiple WNBA players used their platform to stand against racism in 2016. In true American fashion, a barrage of insults, threats, and “protest at another time” comments followed the events. Kapernick also held multiple events including the, “Know Your Rights” camp for underprivileged youth. He was not alone in 2016; many NFL players, high school players, and other athletes kneeled in support of the movement.

The 2016 RIO Games

The 2016 Summer Olympics brought the world the first competing refugee team, the first woman to compete wearing a Hijab (Ibtihaj Muhammad), and the first African-American woman to win a gold medal in an individual swimming event (Simone Manuel). Gymnast, Simone Biles showed up and showed out winning four gold medals and one bronze. Usain Bolt continued as the reigning gold medalist in the men’s track and field races, the US Women’s 4×100 defended their Olympic Gold title, and Michelle Carter became the first American Women to win gold in the shot put.

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Unapologetic Music and Legendary Releases

Artist who have relatively been on hush mode about social justice let it loose in 2016. America’s favorite R&B/Pop Queen Bee decided to make a statement with her liberating project, Lemonade. She collaborated with talented artist and filmmakers to bring forth a project that celebrated Yoruba culture, paid homage to police shooting victims, and uplifted black people specifically black women. Let’s not forget her amazing super bowl homage to the Black Panther Movement.

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Solange dropped her third release, A Seat at the Table, with stunning visuals and performances to follow. The project represented her creativity, vocals, and her unique sense of style. 2016 also brought us the highly anticipated release from Frank Ocean and albums from hip hop legends, De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest. Vic Mensa, J Cole, Abdu Ali, Chance the Rapper, Rihanna, Princess Nokia, Anderson Paak, Kaytranada, Kendrick Lamar and Childish Gambino all released stellar projects as well.

Film and Television

There were so many great television debuts this year. Donald Glover’s, Atlanta, took a unique and sometimes bizarre look at the music scene in Atlanta, Marc Lamont Hill debuted his talk show on VH1, and Luke Cage brought enough soul to fill the entire Marvel Universe. Issa Rae’s Insecure gave black millennials so much life; between the humor, the music and the realistic code switching, Insecure brought it every Sunday.

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Queen Sugar brought such great talent and diverse characters. It shined a rare light on activism, farming while black, and mental illness in the black community.

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We can’t forget about one of the saddest losses in television history, Poussey Washington! I never cried that hard for a fictional character in my life. The entire time I thought “why her!”. After reading that Poussey’s death symbolized the high profile police fatalities in recent times, I thought differently. The way fans felt about a fictional character’s death is the same way families around the world feel with their own loss but quadruple the emotion. We also lost Glenn and Abraham in a gruesome season 7 opening of The Walking Dead. RIP to them all.

Diverse Representation in Cinema

Along with great television came more diverse stories from talented writers and directors. Moonlight continues to gain praise throughout the award season for its dark but uplifting story of a young black male struggling with his identity. The film introduced some very talented new actors (hey Trevante 😉 ) and proved that our stories can be presented with quality and artistry.

Hidden Figures reveals one of America’s best kept secrets, unheard and unseen in cinema; black women contributing to the field of science and math. Fences, Queen of Katwe, and the 13th also showcased diversity and will continue to make waves in 2017.

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Politics and Activism

Not everything related to politics was a circus act. Many black and brown men and women were elected as mayors, senators, and representatives. 21 year old Jewell Jones was elected as the youngest state representative ever in Michigan, Michael Tubbs became Stockton, California’s first black mayor and youngest at only 26 years old, and Kamalah Harris became California’s new Democratic senator-elect, and only the second African American woman to be elected to the Senate.

Here’s a glass for your white tears

It’s so refreshing when black folks not only stand up for their people but do it unapologetically. No “all lives matter” bs, no “all cops aren’t bad” bs, and no “can we all get along” bs. Jesse Williams did just that at the 2016 BET Awards when he accepted his Humanitarian Award. He thanked black women, organizers, and got right to the point about Americas racist actions against African Americans.

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Taylor Amari Little perfectly summarized what most “woke” black people have known or deal with in regards to the colonization of black culture. Her presentation entitled, “white people stay colonizing” took a historical look at American “slang” and “dance crazes” rooted in black culture. This goes for music, fashion, and hairstyles as well. Little also started “The Temple Project” which services the homeless in Detroit and “Queer Ummah” an organization for queer Muslims.

Ericka Hart represented so much in 2016. After being diagnosed with Breast Cancer, Hart realized there was little visibility and knowledge of black queer women with regards to the disease. She wanted to show that she was no victim and felt just as sexy as anyone else. Her photos from Afro Punk 2016 were liberating and inspiring.

Oh yeah, one last thing!

The creation of Neon Fade. I started this blog in the summer of 2016 and I hope to continue to bring unapologetic, fun, and informative articles in 2017. Thank you to everyone who has contributed, liked, or followed NeonFade!

Here’s to a great 2017!

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