What Had Happened Was Trending stories on the intersections of race, sports & culture

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.

All Day Podcast: 9/6/16

College football is back and the SXSL Festival is upon us

5:39 PMSummer might be over, but you know what that means? College football season has arrived, and the All Day Podcast crew is here to break down the best moments from Week 1.

Staff writer Justin Tinsley recaps perhaps the most exciting game of the weekend — a Texas upset of No. 10 Notre Dame — while podcast host Clinton Yates tackles the question of why Louisiana State struggles to produce a solid quarterback. With the NFL season starting this week, stay tuned for weekly chats about everything football.

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Also on the pod: A discussion surrounding an exciting upcoming event in the nation’s capital — the South by South Lawn Festival. Last week, it was announced that the White House will host this arts, film and music festival in October. In terms of music, the question is who will be taking their talents to the South Lawn stage. Senior style writer Jill Hudson has the perfect candidate to organize the musical lineup.

Our segment Missed Connections with Miss Karin is also back this week, in which Undefeated copy chief Karin Berry reads entries from the “Missed Connections” section of Craigslist.org and provides her own commentary. Keep a lookout for this segment on future podcasts.

Give it a listen, and if you have any feedback or show ideas, feel free to email us at allday@theundefeated.com.

Daily Dose: 9/6/16

Obama is still righting wrongs committed by the U.S. military

12:22 PMAlright, kiddos. Labor Day is done, football has started and all the first days of school are behind us. It’s time to kick things into overdrive.

You know what sucks about school? Homework. The existential dread that exists for all of us who’ve ever sat in a classroom is something that you learn to manage, but never really enjoy. No one likes homework. All across the country, people have been questioning whether or not sending kids home with more tasks is an effective learning tool, so one school in Massachusetts is doing the smartest thing ever. They’re banning homework. I have no words for how genius this is. ABC News’ Morgan Winsor reports.

The Vietnam War was an extremely destructive process. We don’t even need to get into the human capital that were killed, injured or otherwise affected from an American standpoint, while the physical damage to the lands was extensive. On Tuesday, President Barack Obama pledged $90 million to help fix that in Laos, where the United States once held a secret bombing campaign. There are still bombs littered across that nation’s countryside, which is a terrifying thought. The president calls it a moral obligation.

Your boy spent two days stuck in Florida because of Hurricane Hermine. Daytona Beach is not that exciting of a place, but I can tell you that I know a whole lot more about NASCAR than I did when I left. Let’s just say that I spent a lot of time watching old guys smoke 100s while drinking beer out of Styrofoam cups. But the storm itself was interesting. Garden variety stuff for those parts, but I’d never been around anything that might be considered a hurricane. FiveThirtyEight’s Eric Holthaus explains from a meteorological standpoint why this storm was different.

So, football’s back. If you didn’t catch any of this weekend’s action on the gridiron, I don’t know what you were doing, because it was excellent. LSU lost a game the Tigers definitely should have won, and Florida State showed the country that the Seminoles are for real. On top of that, Tennessee got a huge scare from Appalachian State, which has been known to knock people down a peg. But the most interesting story of the weekend is probably Oklahoma, which got throttled by Houston in a game that many expected to be close, but not like that. Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops is in trouble, no doubt.

Free Food

Coffee Break: I love a good revenge story. Particularly when it’s between two lovers when one is wronged. But this story of a woman setting fire to the wrong vehicle in an attempt to get back at her boyfriend is absolutely hilarious.

Snack Time: Things are a tad hectic over at Fox News right now. Roger Ailes was ousted recently, Gretchen Carlson was awarded $20 million to settle a sexual harassment suit and Greta Van Susteren straight up walked out on Tuesday. Wow.

Dessert: Come for the story, stay for the picture of the back of my head.

The other side of the tracks in Whistler

has some art gems that aren’t easy to find

7:00 AM

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

7:00 AMhttps://soundcloud.com/nojumper-1/the-gary-rogers-interview

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.”

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.

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

11:30 AMTo all of you across the country dealing with the effects of Hurricane Hermine, good luck. It feels like half of Florida is underwater.

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.

Free Food

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.

Music

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.