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

Pepsi severely misses mark with new ad

Kendall Jenner stars in one of the least woke commercials of all time

1:44 PMIeshia Evans certainly didn’t stand for this. On Tuesday afternoon, Pepsi released a new ad starring Kendall Jenner that features her as a model-turned-activist who wins over the heart of a riot officer simply by giving him a can of soda. The think pieces have all been written, and the problem is obvious: Co-opting an actual movement that kills actual black people with a ham-handed attempt to sell soda is insulting.

There’s also the larger issue of, how on earth did this see the light of day? But we all know that the world of advertising isn’t exactly chock-full of black folks making decisions when it comes to imagery. Just look at some of these headlines.

“What the Hell Is This New Pepsi Ad” (Eater)

“Kendall Jenner discovers the true joy of Pepsi comes from ripping off protest movements” (Fusion)

“This Pepsi Spot Is A Frontrunner For Most Tone-Deaf Ad Of 2017” (Digg)

Of course, there are a lot of serious matters to be discussed on this. First off, why are there free sodas at a protest? Secondly, what are they protesting? Third, why is Kendall throwing wigs at black women? And, most importantly, why are people playing cellos?

For now, we’ll stick with the funniest tweets.

https://twitter.com/juliacraven/status/849406756333772801

Do better, Pepsi. Oh, and shout-out to Alfonso Ribeiro.

Daily Dose: 4/3/17

AP to the Patriots? That would be sick

12:53 PMClinton Yates is not here today. He’s nursing injuries after receiving a “Stone Cold Stunner” last night.

We’re talking rasslin’ today. Sunday night was the 33rd edition of WWE’s WrestleMania, and it was quite the (SEVEN-HOUR) show. Tinashe performed “America the Beautiful,” New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski trucked a guy, and former ESPYS host John Cena proposed to his longtime girlfriend, Nikki Bella. Also, we saw the last match of 30-year veteran The Undertaker. For the melanin crowd, all-black group The New Day was an excellent host, and Naomi became the first African-American to win a women’s championship at WrestleMania.

The rich get richer. The Patriots won the Super Bowl two months ago and arguably won free agency in March, and quarterback Tom Brady says he can play another six or seven seasons. So how could things get any better? ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports former MVP running back Adrian Peterson is set to visit the Patriots on Monday. Keep in mind, New England had the highest-scoring running back in the league last season (LeGarrette Blount) and could possibly upgrade at the position by bringing in Peterson. The man they call “All Day” may be getting up there in age (he turned 32 two weeks ago), but he’s defied the “old running back” trope before.

Kendrick Lamar and the “male gaze.” Grammy-winning artist Kendrick Lamar released his new single “Humble” late last week to much critical acclaim. Then lyrics to the song were further deconstructed over the weekend, and Lamar’s lines about being “sick and tired of the Photoshop” and preferring women with “somethin’ natural like Afro on Richard Pryor” were put on blast. Look, sometimes social media can overreact to rap lyrics, but this isn’t the case. Everyone’s entitled to their personal preferences, but Lamar and his (predominantly male) defenders need to learn one important lesson: Men should never tell women how they should look. Period.


Quick notes:

1. Ghost in the Shell bombed at the box office this weekend. Surprise, surprise.

2. Many casualties and injuries after Russia metro explosion.

3. The University of Missouri is shutting down three residence halls because of “low freshman enrollment.” Will be interesting to see how much the student protests from 2015 had to do with the low numbers.

4. Major League Baseball Opening Day + NCAA men’s national championship = great sports day.

Daily Dose: 3/31/17

You think you black? This is blacker

12:28 PMEvery once in a while, someone does something so impressive that all you can do is tip your cap and say bravo. Ashley Feinberg, congrats. You won the internet yesterday. FBI director James Comey has been outsmarted.

If you think of the word “black,” what comes to mind? A person, a color, both? From an art standpoint, black means the combination of all. As in, put everything together, you get black. From a sociological standpoint, it means: problem. Blackballed, blacklisted, you get the idea. But the visual itself of the color is a different matter. In recent years, matte black has risen to prominence as a go-to style, but Vantablack? Next level. The color is so dark that it distorts typical light rays, meaning what you normally see in 3-D just goes flat. Mind. Blown.

So, things are getting very touchy with Russia. Basically, every news headline coming out of President Donald Trump’s administration is somehow related to the country. Be it questions about who’s investigating whom, how Russians might have been involved with our presidential election, whatever. Now, even the Kremlin is saying that relations are frayed to a level that goes even further than the Cold War. Also, Mike Flynn is saying he’s willing to talk about the Russia probe, if he gets immunity. Sounds like he’s admitting to having committed a crime.

When it comes to music videos, Kendrick Lamar knows what he’s doing. The Los Angeles artist has always pushed the envelope with his visuals, and his latest is pretty incredible. He’s the kind of guy who manages to link his lyrics and images in ways that are direct without being obvious and poignant without coming across as forced. More plainly, even if you don’t love his music, you’ll enjoy his videos. “Humble” is no different, but my favorite part about it is watching him swing a golf club.

Rougned Odor is about that action. Let the record state that the Texas Rangers second baseman is typically ready to throw hands anywhere, anytime. You might recall when he blessed the Toronto Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista with a vicious right cross, then proceeded to take on all comers. He’s been about this life since the minors, too. Well, all that pugilism hasn’t hurt his status with his team. The Rangers recently signed him to a six-year deal that nears $50 million. Oh, and they threw in a couple of horses, too. Seriously.

Free Food

Coffee Break: The world of marijuana is basically completely mainstream. Viceland is doing something called Weed Week next month, which I imagine is not dissimilar to Shark Week. Reasonable crossover market there, too, likely. Anyway, check out this story on a collective called Women.Weed.Wifi in Washington.

Snack Time: There’s more than one way to get involved in sports. Playing, writing, coaching, you name it. One overlooked route? Refereeing. Everyone needs them, and in Chicago, one group is doing something about it.

Dessert: Cam’ron rapping over a Vanessa Carlton beat, and a video, are all you need to start the weekend.

Daily Dose

Daily Dose: 3/30/17

Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel are not friends

11:52 AMClinton Yates isn’t here today. He’s finally auditioning for the next season of ABC’s The Bachelor.

Take that, college basketball. It’s long been debated by certain parts of the country that college basketball is better than the NBA. The NCAA men’s tournament has had its share of fantastic finishes over the past two weeks (see: Wisconsin-Villanova and North Carolina-Kentucky), but the pros showed Wednesday night why they’re the best in the world at what they do. Russell Westbrook had a 57-point triple-double, all but solidifying his MVP candidacy. The Milwaukee Bucks’ Matthew Brogdon and the Charlotte Hornets’ Kemba Walker both put up big-boy shots to lead their teams to victories. And the Golden State Warriors showed why they won a title two years ago and put up 73 victories last season, overcoming a 22-point deficit against the San Antonio Spurs to win by double digits.

The Rock vs. Vin Diesel, part two. In August 2016, The Fate of the Furious star Dwayne Johnson posted a cryptic diss on his Instagram about one of his castmates, referring to the unknown man as a “chicken s—” “candy a–.” It turns out he was beefing with Vin Diesel. While all hostility was reportedly squashed over the summer, new reports allege that the two blockbuster stars are being kept apart for the movie’s current press tour. Here’s to a “Rock Bottom” and “People’s Elbow” at the New York premiere next month.

The goalposts continue to be moved for the Trump family. It’s been well-documented that the expectations for former presidents don’t apply to the current administration (look at this helpful illustration). But things have gotten more complicated over the past few days. President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka was given an official position (with security clearance) in the White House on Wednesday, despite zero government experience and in direct conflict with what the president said just four months ago. First lady Melania Trump is reportedly just now “easing into her role” two months after the inauguration. During Michelle Obama’s first two months back in 2009, the then-first lady was already visiting homeless shelters and soup kitchens and venturing out on solo missions at the G-20 summit in London.


Quick notes:

1. Ear-whisperer Lance Stephenson is back with the Indiana Pacers. In an unrelated note, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Pacers are the No. 1 and No. 8 seeds in the playoffs.

2. Convicted murderer Aaron Hernandez’s girlfriend Shayanna Jenkins has officially changed her name to Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez despite not being married to the former Patriots tight end. Ride-or-die.

3. Kevin Love explained why he’s not fat anymore.