A-list celebrities, journalists and top government officials
graced Washington D.C. for this year's White House Correspondent's Dinner. The glamorous
evening took place this past Saturday and brought out everyone from Newt Gingrich
and Conan O'Brien, to John Legend and Steven Spielberg. American President
Barack Obama was on fire with jokes and political commentary that rivaled only
a few of the comedic attendees. What an interesting display of government and
One of Hip-Hop’s most recognizable
names came under fire recently for his lyrics on a song that he was featured
on. Miami rapper Rick Ross was criticized for his reference to date rape on
Rocko’s "U.O.E.N.O." Rick Ross attempted to apologize more than once for the lyric
("I’d die over these reeboks you ain’t even know it/ Put Molly all in her
champagne, she ain't even know it/ I took her home and I enjoyed that, she
ain't even know it.”) but it was seen as disingenuous because they failed to acknowledge the seriousness of the
issue. Rape is no joke (or art) when nearly 1 in 5 U.S. women surveyed in the National Intimate Partner
and Sexual Violence Survey said they had been sexually assaulted.
Protests and petitions against
Rick Ross included women’s rights group, UltraViolet, who asked Reebok to end
their relationship with the rapper. After several weeks of protest and pressure Reebok finally issued a statement that culminated in saying “At this time, it
is in everyone's best interest for Reebok to end its partnership with Mr.
Hip-Hop artists have long enjoyed the
freedom to express themselves but they can find that freedom restricted when they become paid
endorsers of multinational corporations. After dealing with the embarrassment
of losing his deal Ross issued another apology: “And most recently,
my choice of words was not only offensive, it does not reflect my true heart.
And for this, I apologize. To every woman that has felt the sting of abuse, I
apologize. I recognize that as an artist I have a voice and with that, the
power of influence.” Hopefully a few lessons were learned from all of this. One, that rape culture will not be tolerated, two, that Hip-Hop artists should really check their moral values before embodying an offensive stage "persona" and three, everyone read fine print before they sign up to be pitchmen--so that they know what they're risking!
In case criminals or folks looking to stay off the law's radar needed any more proof that the authorities are indeed using
social media to track offenders, DNA Info
New York recently reported a case involving an unidentified
assailant who was eventually tracked with the using photos stored on social media. The technological implications of the case reveal
that authorities now have an extended Facebook (or any other social media
network with pictures)-assisted photo bank ready and available for their
search needs. Though we're not sure where constitutional rights and or Internet
privacy stand here, the fact of the matter is that Facial
Recognition Units are very real and becoming much more common in law enforcement. Would be criminals
Self-proclaimed crypto-anarchist, Cody R. Wilson, is the controversial subject of the latest Motherboard episode--it's about 3D printed guns. The 25-year-old grad student from The University of Texas is bent on pushing not only American 2nd Amendment rights, but also the limits of 3D printing technology as it pertains to high-powered weaponry. It's hard to say what motivates Wilson more, openly defying neo-liberal authority or proving his unwavering belief that DIY guns should be accessible to anyone willing to download them--literally!
The drama's been steadily building up as
Massacheusetts-raised rapping tyke, Lil
Poopy, has gone from unknown talent to controversial viral
sensation. The 9-year-old artist, reportedly managed and coached by his father,
is in the middle of a hailstorm of backlash and criticism for his over-the-top
lyrics about fast cars, money and women. Hype or not the attention has made its
way all the up to the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families which is currently investigating possible counts of child negligence.
Sources say that the youngin' was also affiliated with popular rapper,
French Montana's, Coke Boy entourage, something that Montana now strongly denies despite videos and photos linking the two. It's also been reported that Poopy's father has
legally disowned him while undergoing the investigation. Looks like
another case of the monkey-see-monkey-do syndrome. Unfortunately, when the
bananas hit the fan nobody wants to take responsibility for the unwanted
attention. What a shame!
Not since Al Capone has the U.S. city of Chicago, Illinois declared a criminal Public Enemy No. 1. This, according to The Associated Press, is the status of Mexican cartel head hancho, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. The said-to-be notorious leader of the Sinaloa Cartel is a wanted fugitive that escaped maximum security prison in 2001 and has been at large in Mexico ever since. So why the big hoopla over a supposed drug lord that isn't even in the states? Well, according to authorities, El Chapo's cartel is responsible for most of the narcotics sold in Chicago, a supply that pretty much dictates the criminal activity surrounding gang territory and homicides. Yikes! As of currently Guzman's bounty is at $5 Million USD.
stranger to drama and controversy, it seems like Miami-based rapper, Rick Ross,
is in the middle of the crosshairs yet again. This time the incident was
literal as the megastar's vehicle was shot at after a birthday celebration at
a local club. Hip-Hop journalist, Elliot Wilson, chimes in to try and separate
the facts from the fiction. Personally, we think that he does a terrible job of
defending Ross' "street credibility" and the allegations that the
incident was staged. It's too cloudy to know or say what really happened, but
we do know that Ross and Wilson do share enormous Hip-Hop comradery via past
press conferences and publicity. Not sure we're getting an unbiased opinion
here. It's also interesting to consider that the average Rick Ross lyrics are
laced with drugs, guns, death-threats and bravado talk. Life imitating art
Professional skateboarder, Paul Rodriguez, visits New Orleans' infamous 9th Ward in the latest episode of his Life series. The humanitarian ripper connects with a knowledgeable resident who recaps the stunning details of Hurricane Katrina's damage, seven years later! There's also a moment of clarity where the host poetically acknowledges the power of skateboarding and what it has the potential to for this community and others like it. Remarkably touching stuff!
With all the negative publicity that rappers and MC's get on the mainstream media, we thought it'd be cool to send out some positive vibes by highlighting all of the Christmas toy drive action this season. Everyone from Meek Mills to 2 Chainz, Mistah Fab and even Young Jeezy got down with the kiddies. Respect to that!
Last March when Japan was struck by a massive earthquake and tsunami, fashion retailer UNIQLO immediately jumped into the fray by actively working with affected local communities soon after the disaster struck. It donated funds and relief supplies, as well as sending volunteer staff to distribute clothes to people in need.
Now Uniqlo is at it again, this time in the US with their recently launched "United In Warmth" pro-social platform.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, they are reaching out to those
affected and spreading some warmth with a volunteer and donation program
that will distribute 100,000 Heattech items and 10,000 Ultra Light Down
jackets to those living in the areas of New York and New Jersey hardest
hit by the storm.
For several weekends starting December 8th, they will be be
sending buses of 25 to 50 volunteers, including UNIQLO employees and
customers, to deliver winter wear.
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