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: 4/4/17

Haters still hating on Deshaun Watson

1:10 PMSorry for being out sick yesterday, gang. The Morning Roast was very NCAA tourney-heavy on Sunday, obviously, but we’ll be filling in for Bomani Jones on #TheRightTime on Thursday and Friday, so be sure to check that out.

More often than not, Big Brother is watching. According to a new report from The Guardian, back when people were taking to the streets to protest the death of Eric Garner, the New York Police Department was doing everything it could to stop what seemed like otherwise legal demonstrations. That includes infiltrating small groups of #BlackLivesMatter activists. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump’s administration is still pushing “extreme vetting,” trying to take the measures even further (like asking for social media passwords), including for nations we consider allies.

My phone is my alarm clock. It also happens to be my lifeline to everything else, but one thing I certainly do is sleep with it close to me. But for one man in Alabama, that habit nearly killed him. He received a severe electric shock after a necklace he was wearing in bed came into contact with a frayed charger wire. We all know those can be awful when they don’t help your phone juice up, but, yeah, they can also be really harmful. Thankfully for Apple, he’s alive, but the story of just how he managed to save himself is pretty impressive.

How do black people communicate? Obviously in a variety of different ways, but others always seem to want to know, as if it’s a secret. The usual spheres β€” salon, barbershop, church, school β€” have become a very dated way of looking at things now that the internet is basically the globe’s communicative currency holder. And you know black people use social media as much as any group of people in America, which shouldn’t surprise you. When your voices have been quelled for so long, you find a way. Roy Wood Jr. breaks down Black Twitter on Trevor Noah’s show.

Alabama fans stay butthurt. Deshaun Watson torched the school’s oh-so-vaunted defense to win Clemson a national championship this year, but no one in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is getting over it anytime soon. Last week, he was legitimately asked to leave an establishment in the college town, where he was dining with his girlfriend. Former Crimson Tide player Ryan Anderson was there, too, which just makes this whole thing a lot more childish. What he was doing eating in such a public place in that town, I don’t know, but still a very wack situation.

Free Food

Coffee Break: James Corden does everything better when he’s not in a studio. Watching the comedian serve as Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry’s life coach is about as funny as it gets. Also, watching Steph sing Disney songs will make your day better.

Snack Time: Whatever you do, do not taunt a chimp at a zoo. You just might end up with its poop on your face, and not because you fell in the cage. Gross.

Dessert: Pitbull is still doing it, man. Might be time for him to run for office.

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.