Karl-Anthony Towns wants you to get out and vote
Timberwolves team up with Minnesota secretary of state for public service announcements
5:15 PMWhen it comes to professional basketball, Minnesota is officially the wokest state in America. On Wednesday, in conjunction with Secretary of State Steve Simon, the NBA’s Timberwolves launched a series of voter registration public service announcements designed to educate state residents ahead of the polls opening this fall. Of course, they don’t endorse any particular candidates, but they’re important nonetheless.
Featuring second-year star Karl-Anthony Towns, the first one is short and to the point. These ads are currently running on FOX Sports North in the state. As a friend put it to me, “Can you imagine a top 10 NBA player from a decade ago doing a sincere importance of voting PSA?”
My answer was simple: Absolutely not. Which is the most basic way to explain how far this league has come in terms of what social activism means to its players. Not everyone can get on an ESPYS stage and tell America that enough is enough. All players don’t necessarily feel empowered enough to wear an “I Can’t Breathe” shirt during warmups.
For younger guys such as Jabari Parker of the Milwaukee Bucks, who’s written eloquently about his hometown of Chicago for The Players’ Tribune on a couple of occasions, the activism isn’t necessarily as bold or as brazen, but for the impressionable kids watching at home, it can be equally effective. The softer diplomacy of community involvement on a level larger than just giving food to the homeless or basketball clinics (which are important in their own right) can work, too. Setting an example for young people that civic involvement is a necessary part of change is as good a reason to use the spotlight of the league as any.
Mind you, this is also the franchise that on the WNBA side players wore T-shirts in protest of gun violence and the community where Philando Castile was killed in front of a 4-year-old while riding with his girlfriend in a car. For a state with a population that’s 75 percent white, their hoopsters are as progressive as it gets.
The other side of the tracks in Whistler
has some art gems that aren’t easy to find
Most people know about Whistler, British Columbia, from snowboarding. The town north of Vancouver, British Columbia, has hosted the Winter Olympics and is generally just considered a mecca for the sport. So tourism there is a huge deal. People come from miles away to not just board, but also hike and enjoy outdoor activities in the mountains. But there’s one spot that’s become a street art haven in a unique way.
It’s called the Whistler Train Wreck. An artificial accident created a site where old boxcars were overturned in a forest. Eventually, it got so popular that local tourism boards had to stop telling people to go there because the trails were too dangerous to guarantee safety. Anyways, the homeys over at Mass Appeal took a trip up there and brought their cans with them. Check it out.
Gary Rogers goes in-depth
in a new interview with the ‘No Jumper’ podcast
If you’re not familiar with the No Jumper podcast, don’t be upset. It’s a not exactly obscure, but certainly niche show that started last year in Los Angeles. It’s hosted by this guy Adam22 (née Adam Grandmaison), a BMX rider who started the website The Come Up about his craft. He’s also the creator of OSS (which stands for something we can’t print here), a brick and mortar store that’s about the whole culture, as well. Dude is OG as far as that scene goes.
Anyway, his latest interview is with Gary Rogers, host of the YouTube show SKATELINE, whom we’ve discussed before. He’s officially major at this point, and so an in-depth interview with him was well needed. Per usual with him, it’s a very vulgar chat, but he talks about everything from how he got into skating, where his YouTube show started, his Black Gold brand and music career.
He’s got Viceland show written all over him.
A tough week in the Wade-Union family
Both have kept it very real in the past couple of days
3:43 PMWhen Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade got married last year, they instantly became one of the biggest celebrity couples in the country. It also came with a glut of Hollywood drama, which made their nuptials feel like a scene from a made-for-TV Tyler Perry movie. There was Wade’s high school sweetheart, whom he had divorced, along with dueling tell-all books and, of course, the unforgettable “break baby” situation.
But in the past week, the realities of their lives have drastically changed their family image — a blended family with a famous baller and activist father and a mother who on Friday penned a harrowing op-ed in the Los Angeles Times about her experience with sexual assault. In it, Union discusses her difficulty in wrestling with the denouement of details from Birth of a Nation director and star Nate Parker’s past coming to light. In the film, Union plays a rape victim. For the Los Angeles Times, she points out that she does not take the allegations lightly.
“Since Nate Parker’s story was revealed to me, I have found myself in a state of stomach-churning confusion,” Union wrote. “I took this role because I related to the experience. I also wanted to give a voice to my character, who remains silent throughout the film. In her silence, she represents countless black women who have been and continue to be violated. Women without a voice, without power. Women in general. But black women in particular. I knew I could walk out of our movie and speak to the audience about what it feels like to be a survivor.”
Being a rape victim playing a rape victim in Birth of a Nation must be an impossible position. I'm glad @itsgabrielleu is talking about it.
— Ashley C. Ford (@iSmashFizzle) September 2, 2016
Has anyone *ever* done what Gabrielle Union did, calling out their director in an award-bait film prior to opening like that? She is so rad.
— Marlow Stern (@MarlowNYC) September 2, 2016
As for Wade, in late August, his cousin Nykea Aldridge was shot and killed in Chicago, the day after he’d appeared on An Undefeated Conversation: Athletes, Responsibility and Violence, hosted by ESPN, during which he discussed how he felt his hometown of Chicago needs to curb its gun violence problem. It was a sad coda on what had hoped to be an uplifting week. And the next day, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump was tweeting about it on the campaign trail.
Donald Trump using Dwayne Wade's family tragedy for his own means should not surprise you.
Remember it in November.
— Brittany Packnett (@MsPackyetti) August 27, 2016
Wow Trumpy is mentioning Dwayne Wade’s cousin in his stump speech. He really knows no bounds, has no class and runs away from taste.
— Touré (@Toure) August 27, 2016
Thursday morning on Good Morning America, Wade explained how much that situation hurt him and left a bad taste in his mouth. It’s been an incredibly trying week for that family, but also one that reflects the struggles of many black Americans. It’s not all about rom-com marriage videos, courtside seats and banana boats, just because you’re famous. When pressed on issues facing the nation, the two have stepped up and been voices to be heard.
That’s one woke household.
White House announces SXSL Festival
It will take place in October on the South Lawn
2:00 PMBarack Obama continues to be the most lit president in history. If he’s not dropping mixtapes or filling out brackets, he’s got something else going on that makes him interesting on much more than a policy level. On Friday, it was announced that in conjunction with the organizers of the South by Southwest (SXSW) Festival (which Obama attended this year), the American Film Institute and the President’s Committee on Arts and Humanities, the White House will have its own little creative/intellectual kickback on Oct. 10. South by South Lawn (SXSL), get it? It’s a dad joke in itself, but we’re OK with that.
The goal is to hold “a conversation on civic engagement and to challenge creative thinkers and entrepreneurs from across the country to help tackle our toughest challenges,” according to officials. There will be movies, interactive discussions and, of course, music. If you think there’s someone who needs to be a part of it, you can nominate them here.
If you want to know who’s winning the battle of social media on a presidential level, the form only asks for said nominee’s Instagram account in addition to his or her email. Overall though, this is easily going to be one of the hottest tickets in Washington, D.C., for the fall. But we have to wonder: Who’s going to headline? My guess is whomever Sasha Obama wants to see.
Daily Dose: 9/2/16
The man who ruined Leslie Jones’ life has no regrets
There’s a reasonable argument that Love & Basketball is the best hoops movie of all time. Some will tell you that it’s basically a love story masquerading as a sports flick, but when you compare it to other movies that do that, like say, Jerry Maguire, it’s not even close. Add that to the fact that the main character is a black woman whose identity is constantly challenged, and you’ve just got a great film, the importance of which was lost on no one. I didn’t know one girl in college who didn’t own this movie. VICE‘s Lyndsey D’Arcangelo looks back on its importance.
One of the scariest parts about internet trolls is that they believe in themselves. Take the case of actress/comedian Leslie Jones. She was targeted by a guy named Milo Yiannopoulos, who genuinely thinks that attacking people and ruining their lives over basic disagreements is a reasonable thing to do. As a result, Jones’ fans, co-workers and others came to her defense and Yiannopoulos got his Twitter account suspended. Now, he’s saying that he regrets absolutely nothing, but still wants to find his way back to Twitter. ABC News reports.
Wedding season is coming to a close, as far as the busy portion. But plenty people will still be having fall nuptials as a way to get out of the hectic summer. I’ll be at a wedding this weekend, myself. But as the online registry/donate to charity and/or our honeymoon fund matrix becomes more complicated, we wonder where we are with this. And there’s always the eternal question of how much should I actually be spending on gifts? Luckily, FiveThirtyEight’s Walt Hickey has a new guide for this, just in time for those football season nuptials.
If you don’t think that skin color matters in the judicial system, take a look at the case of Brock Turner. This man, a former swimmer at Stanford University, sexually assaulted a woman, then was given a sentence of only six months because his dad pleaded with the judge not to ruin his life. Gross. On top of that, he’s only serving half of it. Now, let’s look at the case of Corey Batey, a former Vanderbilt University football player who received a mandatory sentence of 15 to 25 years. Turner was released from jail Friday.
Coffee Break: Back when rapper Kid Cudi broke into the acting scene in HBO’s How to Make it in America, it appeared that he was headed for small-screen stardom. Alas, that show only lasted two seasons and his acting career has been solid, but not quite breakout yet. Now, Kid Cudi is being replaced on the cast of Empire by Romeo Miller, whom you might know as rapper Lil Romeo.
Snack Time: If you’re a big fan of The Simpsons, but don’t necessarily understand why Apu’s accent is problematic, you might want to read this story about how many Indians feel on the matter.
Dessert: Print media is dying, but it’s not dead yet.
Vince Staples’ new video is eerie
The music industry can be scary, or in this case, a haunted hotel
9:45 AMVince Staples’ style might be tucked in, but his latest visual opus is everything but. In conjunction with the release of his new EP Prima Donna, he dropped a 10-minute short film directed by Nabil, which features the Long Beach, California, native wandering through a world of psychedelic visions and mystery following a video shoot and a cab ride that starts off with intrigue and ends with a glorious dancing man signaling his arrival. Various tracks from the project are heard or performed throughout.
A dance version of OutKast’s ATLiens makes a random appearance as he wanders around a hotel he doesn’t understand. In it, everywhere he turns are either screaming fans, flash-clicking paparazzi or worse. It’s part Thriller, part The Shining with a healthy dose of Stranger Things.
Staples is 23 years old, and I imagine that since he’s moved to that secondary level of stardom where magazines ask him to do things like talk about random stuff for web videos. Maybe he’s feeling a tad trapped in. He gives back to his community and is a thoughtful guy, but fame can get to you.
He said as much in a recent interview with Highsnobiety. “Music was never really something I wanted to do, so I never thought about it as a kid,” Staples said. “I don’t have any dreams or aspirations or goals I want to meet music-wise, so there’s nothing to keep me from being level-headed.”
Let’s just hope he doesn’t become the modern-day Dorian Gray, as this film suggests.
Colin Kaepernick was ahead of the game
He was wearing socks in defiance of the San Francisco police a while back
9:40 PMWhile everyone was screaming about how San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was way out of line for sitting during the national anthem in a game last week, he’d already made a point that many had missed. In protest of police behavior, he wore socks with pigs depicting police on them. No one noticed. That wasn’t until recently when he decided to take a public stance against the United States flag by sitting during the national anthem. Mind you, even that first happened nearly a month ago.
This is important for two reasons. Clearly his team and his coach knew that this subject had been on his mind for some time. For those of you in the “you just don’t do it that way” argument in reference to his sitting during The Star-Spangled Banner, welp, he tried this way first. Secondly, clearly his team and his coach knew about it, so if you’re going to pile on, it’s only fair that criticism extend to the 49ers organization for allowing such
blatantly disrespectful rationally demonstrative behavior.
Kaepernick issued a statement about the matter Thursday afternoon.
Georgetown University has plans to atone
But those don’t include financial assistance for slave descendants
1:00 PMHere’s the big problem with slavery: Without actual legal tender, there is no way to repay the damage done. It’s as simple as that. So when it was revealed that Georgetown University, the prestigious institution in Washington, D.C., once had to save itself by selling off slaves, many were prepared for not only an apology, but more. On Thursday, Georgetown has plans to do exactly that. Up to a point.
University President John J. DeGioia will say sorry, create a major, throw up a memorial and rename a few buildings, according to The New York Times. Oh, and the school will allow an advantage in admission for the descendants of the slaves sold, sort of like a legacy status if your parents went to Georgetown. But you know what isn’t on the list of things? Money.
Think of it this way: The kids of Georgetown graduates have parents who likely made actual money off the fact that they attended said institution. The prestige of being on campus there is not just the fun had whilst matriculating. It’s about being able to walk into an interview in America and command a job. It’s not the same to say to some kid, ‘Hey, great, you can go here because we sold your relatives back in the day.’ Those people NEVER made any money off their time there. Not that it ever could be, but the non-apples-to-apples solution is obvious.
All this, mind you, after the school created a whole panel to work on this, who put out an 100-plus-page report along with recommendations. You know what wasn’t on those either? Scholarship and financial assistance. It took 20-odd people to sit around for a few weeks and tell people you didn’t plan to give any actual money to the families who need it? The message is: We profited off you, now you can be first to hand us more cash!
Money talks and it appears that Georgetown University isn’t quite ready to align itself to the notion of reparations.
New Pumas harken back to tennis legend
Guillermo Vilas serves as an inspiration for sneaker line
10:00 AMGuillermo Vilas is the best men’s tennis player never to be ranked No. 1 in the world. The Argentine left-hander, who won four Grand Slam tournaments, was inducted into the ATP Hall of Fame in 1991, but in the past year, there’s been a push to get his named officially recognized as a one-time best player in the world. Now, with Puma’s new G. Vilas line, his legacy lives on in a different way.
Vilas originally partnered with the brand back in the 1970s, and these new kicks with his name on them are sure to be of interest for the dad rap retro crowd. According to the company, “this new version for fall is similar to classic, OG design, but has been given a fresh update featuring a speckled midsole inspired by the different textures of the tennis court. This season sees the classic in rich winter colors and warm hues.”
The shoes basically look like a suede version of the California’s, but with a sleeker, slightly more mature design. I’ll say this: They’re a definite improvement on the G. Vilas brand. Perfect for back to school, even if your days on the playground are long behind you.
As for that No. 1 ranking, not sure these kicks will help.
Daily Dose: 9/1/16
Chris Brown stays in some foolishness
9:50 AMHappy September, kiddos. In all honesty, if you are headed to school today or have kids going back, good luck and have fun. If not, you can be just like the rest of us, lamenting all the stuff you didn’t do this summer that you said you would.
Larry Sanders is a fascinating individual. Not just because he had the courage to walk away from the NBA when he didn’t feel mentally stable enough to play. Nor simply due to the fact he’s got an interest in fine art or dabbles as a musician. It’s because he considers himself a young entrepreneur. It’s well within his right to use the cash he’s made in the NBA as seed money for his projects, so why not? Being a pro athlete at one point of your life doesn’t mean you’re beholden to it forever. VICE Sports‘ Mike Piellucci chronicles Sanders’ continuing growth.
Well, that was a doozy. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump reignited his base Wednesday night in Arizona, just hours after what seemed to be an about-face regarding his feelings on immigration in Mexico. There, he held a rather awkward news conference with President Enrique Peña Nieto in which he said the wall on the border he has such high hopes for was never even discussed. Anyway, Wednesday night was a return to form, complete with someone calling for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s death from the crowd. Here’s the fact check on what Trump said and ABC News’ Rick Klein has an analysis.
Chris Brown’s summer is not ending well. The entertainer was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, which is never good. The scuttlebutt of the story is a tad strange, but what in Hollywood isn’t. The woman who accused Brown of doing so is also a pageant queen who’s been accused of stealing luxury items in the past. So whatever dispute there was over a piece of jewelry in his house, who knows who’s telling the truth. The accuser’s name is Baylee Curran and she talked to Good Morning America about the experience.
James Harrison would like you to know that he is a clean. The Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker took to Instagram to make sure that once he was cleared of any wrongdoing by the NFL in a situation stemming from an accusation of using performance-enhancing drugs based on an Al Jazeera report, the world absolutely never forgot it. We tried to tell him he had nothing to lose by talking to the NFL about the allegations, and we were right. More specifically, every current player mentioned in that report is in the clear, ESPN reports.
Coffee Break: My feelings about the Harambe meme have been well-outlined in this space (if you’re new here, I love it all), but this latest news is almost too much. The Philadelphia Zoo has a new baby gorilla. They’re having a naming contest. This is not a drill.
Snack Time: Ever since he and Jay Z broke up, Dame Dash has been out to prove to the world that he’s a successful, relevant individual. Presumably, his new “brutally honest” TV series in development will help.
Dessert: The Buffalo Bills have three black quarterbacks. Read about them here.