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

R.I.P. Vine, the great

It changed more than social media — it changed storytelling

6:00 PMWhen we’re all sitting in rocking chairs and communicating with our grandchildren however we will in those days, we’ll probably recount how we first rebelled against Facebook, how the world opened up via Twitter and how SnapChat made us all want to act goofy with filters. But the true nature of Vine’s game-changing status in storytelling history will likely be forgotten in due time.

On Thursday, Twitter announced that it would be doing away with the looping video service, an announcement that instantly had everyone in their feelings about their favorites from over the years. Vine, quite frankly, has been the best social media platform of its time, from an efficiency standpoint. Started in 2012, Twitter bought it before it even launched. Within months, it was all the rage with the kids, so to speak. But its popularity wasn’t falsely gained.

As a medium, it was genuinely brilliant. At first maligned as too quixotic, too short and just too pointless to actually be effective, it turned out to be revolutionary. A video as long as 15 seconds via Instagram suddenly felt like a movie if you couldn’t find a way to make it work. The very nature of the concept of editing was suddenly and completely in play for a medium that was typically reserved for on-the-spot documentations of random events. Vines were full-fledged stories in six seconds. Often so complex that you had to watch them again to grasp their true meaning.

They were funny. They were creative. Often, they featured people of color. King Bach flipped his Vine fame into an actual acting career. People like Sara Hopkins had to leave their *actual* broadcast careers because the social media game just made more sense.

In the sports realm, it forced the hand of every major professional franchise and, to an extent, television networks, in the context of rights footage. Taking a Vine of a highlight made it much easier than turning on the tube to wait for something, or watching an ad before seeing a play the instant it happened if you weren’t already there.

It was a noun, a verb, an adjective and a platform. It held Q-Tip and Kleenex status. After a while, I called every single video I saw on the internet that was short a Vine. It was just easier, and nine times out of 10, it was true. As someone who is certainly not a business person in the venture capital and tech industry world, there’s no way for me to say if shutting it down is a smart move.

But as a storyteller, I’m glad I was there when it was around. Attention spans might have gotten shorter, but the ability to convey a message only got stronger.

Daily Dose: 10/25/16

It’s time to get used to The Association, again

3:25 PMThe NBA starts tonight. The World Series starts tonight. People in Cleveland are excited about both, and this is a good reason to break out one of the best GIFs of all time.

We’re officially down to two weeks in this presidential race. Which means that it likely will only get worse from here. Donald Trump’s camp is scrambling as it becomes increasingly evident on multiple fronts what the GOP presidential candidate is about. On the other end is the email leak that’s exposed Hillary Clinton’s tactics, particularly when it comes to dealing with her opponents. In this case, we find out that she was fully prepared to go “swift boat” on The Donald, literally, ABC News reports. So much for “when they go low, we go high,” I guess.

For the man who’s still in the White House, his farewell tour has been great. South by South Lawn, that tremendous party Friday that had President Barack Obama dancing to Drake, and who knows what’s in store if Clinton actually wins this election. But few things are funnier than watching the president make fun of himself. That he did Monday night on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, taking part in the “Mean Tweets” segment for the second time. Most of the jokes are funny, but the kicker is sublime. Check it out.

D.R.A.M. has always been cool to me. Why? Because he makes music about being happy, which in turn makes me happy. But his origin story is a fun one, too. Let’s just say, that basically, he had no intention of being anything other than an artist and now that he’s gotten his chance, he’s not going to be a jerk about it. He’s held all sorts of odd jobs, and even at this point as just a two-hit wonder is now working with Rick Rubin. Last year, he was sleeping on his cousin’s couch. Check out VICE‘s “Autobiographies” series on the Virginia native.

This NBA season is going to be incredible. There are so many great storylines. LeBron James and the Cavs trying to repeat. The Eastern Conference actually looking decent. The Warriors picking up Kevin Durant — a situation that adds a whole other element by signaling the breakout year for Russell Westbrook in so many ways. This doesn’t even get into social justice. I thoroughly think this will be the best year the league has seen in the better part of a decade. Here’s a preview.

Free Food

Coffee Break: Charles Barkley has a new show coming out soon, all about race, and if nothing else, it promises to be provocative at the very least. Who knows what the program will actually entail, but he’ll be talking about race. Here’s the trailer.

Snack Time: Drake said something very foul about Kid Cudi on a song he released this week, making fun of his mental condition, which ultimately is not why any of us are in this game. Rap battles aren’t what they used to be.

Dessert: I didn’t know I liked animated shorts about NBA teams, until I saw this one.

Daily Dose: 10/24/16

Kanye West might boycott the Grammy Awards

2:45 PMWhat’s up, gang? Hope everyone had a good weekend. We’re in full fall mode finally here on the East Coast, which is all right by me.

With all the craziness that has been the presidential race, it’s easy to forget about the down-ballot races. If we’re being honest, in terms of what genuinely affects your life, the votes you cast for the people who aren’t going to be in the White House anytime soon are probably more important than the top of the ticket. Which ultimately is the real issue for both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Neither of them is particularly popular outside of themselves, so how they’re handling the battle for Congress is certainly worth looking at, too.

As a child, I spent countless hours playing Super Mario Brothers. My cousin Marc was better than me at the game, but I was determined to see all the levels (boards) and all the characters, so I didn’t like warping to get ahead in the game. Of course now, there is an entire world of people who play 8-bit games simply to race through each level as fast as possible. So, when I first watched this video of a guy beating the game in less than five minutes, I wasn’t sure what to think. FiveThirtyEight’s Oliver Roeder breaks down what this world is all about.

Kanye West is having a rough couple of weeks. First, he decided to yell about Jay Z while onstage at a concert, airing his family business to the entire world, which was not only awkward, but also rather sad. In addition, with the Grammys coming up, he’s now saying that if Frank Ocean isn’t nominated for anything, then he won’t be attending the event. Ocean missed the deadline to submit, so has yet to be named eligible for a nod. ABC News has the details on Yeezy’s latest cause.

Last weekend produced one of the worst NFL Sundays in a long time. There was an early game from London that was terrible, the 1 p.m. games were a mess and we ended with possibly the most awful game in the history of Sunday Night Football, a touchdown-free affair that ended in a tie. Both the Seattle Seahawks and the Arizona Cardinals missed field goals that could have won the game, which is just embarrassing on multiple levels. That aside, ESPN’s Ian O’Connor thinks that if there was any winner, it was the Seahawks’ Richard Sherman.

Free Food

Coffee Break: If you didn’t know, it was very lit at the White House this weekend. It was the final musical event for the first family, and though you technically weren’t supposed to have phones in the building, it appears that Usher managed to get his in, no problem. So, now you can watch the president dance to Drake’s Hotline Bling.

Snack Time: If you’re wondering where the Trump campaign is these days, people are yelling things at rallies that are quite literally taking us back to the days of the Nazis.

Dessert: Saturday Night Live continues to kill it this election season.

Daily Dose: 10/21/16

Josh Brown will not be traveling to London with the New York Giants

2:37 PMSo, Twitter’s been down for a decent part of the morning, creating a major hole in my life, if I’m being honest. Alas.

If you’ve ever been in a relationship, you’ve been to Ikea. You’ve argued over chairs, cursed at the kids running amok, and spent way more than you ever thought you would on candlesticks that go just right with that stupid thing you’ve been keeping in your living room since college, for no real reason other than it’s got a good story connected to it. But, how is it that Ikea makes money? The company sells a million things at a million prices and everything is available all over the internet-connected world. FiveThirtyEight’s Oliver Roeder explains the weird economics of Ikea.

The NFL has a huge problem on its hands with the Josh Brown situation. The New York Giants kicker was an admitted and known spousal abuser and the team signed him anyway, keeping all of the details of his personal relationship effectively secret. This matters because the league’s domestic abuse policy was clearly violated, but Brown was never suspended. Even crazier is that, for whatever reason, the Giants haven’t cut him, but he won’t be traveling with the team to London this weekend. Total mess.

Jail is a dehumanizing experience on many levels. And prison is a whole other level of subhumanity, constructed under the guise of reform. I’ve never been to either and don’t hope or plan to go in my lifetime. As a black man who comes from where I do, it’ll be an accomplishment if I achieve that goal. One of the things that being incarcerated often does is take away your ability to vote. Which, if you think about it, doesn’t make a whole ton of sense. Check out this story about a former inmate voting for the first time.

For the record, Major League II is a funnier movie than Major League. That being said, it’s worth noting that the final scene in the former is one that, if on television, I will watch every single time, no questions asked. Mainly because it features an old school radio bit with a stadium sound team employee running to grab what was known as a cart to play Wild Thing’s music after he surprisingly reboots his old persona in a playoff game. There were people who wanted to see Charlie Sheen throw out a World Series first pitch, in character. Not happening.

Free Food

Coffee Break: There are media mergers and then there are MEDIA MERGERS. If this deal with AT&T and Time Warner goes through, we’ll be looking at one more powerhouse conglomerate that will control far more things than you might realize. Alas, such is the way of the world these days.

Snack Time: If you don’t know, Fat Joe has been a crazy sneakerhead for decades. He’s the guy that made licking the soles of new sneaker a thing. Anyway, he’s opening a shoe store in New York City, and it’s guaranteed to be live.

Dessert: New Chance video. Happy weekend, kiddos.

Kanye West is upset with Jay Z

And it started with a dispute over streaming music platforms

2:00 PMSo, this is awkward. Kanye West and Jay Z are apparently in a fight, and Yeezy is airing dirty laundry publicly. So-called rap battles usually involve some level of machismo, maybe someone’s girl or a couple of lyrics that one particular artist took offense to. But this feud is one that can basically only happen between these two music titans. Music-streaming services and play dates appear to be at the center of this one.

But let’s just consider for a second the possibility that this goes full nuclear. The Kardashian-West clan vs. the Knowles-Carter clan? That’s a battle that could affect the future of our pop culture universe for the rest of our lifetimes. Forget going after a guy over using a ghostwriter, West is talking about people’s children on stage. This is clearly well beyond an intrasquad beef. West is basically yelling at his neighbor in the elementary school parking lot in full view of the teachers and the kids.

OK, so a music platform beef between Tidal and Apple is affecting the way that West can do his shows. This is a legitimate concern. West is all about his live shows, it’s a huge part of his identity and his creative process. We all know what happens when that get interrupted. But calling out Jay Z is a whole other matter. These two have been partners in crime, at least in our heads, for some time. Jay Z obviously put Ye on, but Yeezy is also arguably a more influential pop culture persona, on some level, at this point.

When the two made Watch The Throne, pretty much the best buddy duo rap album ever, you felt like they were going to ascend to the hip-hop heavens together someday. The day that the Otis video dropped was one of the happiest days of my life, if only because we got to watch those two look so genuinely into their friendship.

The fact that West has a real concern about how much time the two dads’ families are spending together is very intense. I don’t pretend to know what these people do with their kids when the cameras aren’t on, but obviously West is not happy about it. Check out this rant, in which he refers to the recent incident in which his wife, Kim Kardashian, was robbed in Paris.

There’s an element of this that’s rather sad. West is an emotional guy and him expressing himself in such a vulnerable manner onstage is basically what he does. It’s probably also why Jay Z is not in the business of co-mingling family business. We’re certainly not rooting for people to dislike each other, and on some level, watching these two break up would be sad. But if this feud is genuine and not just a temporarily petty rant from West, the fallout could be nuclear.

Maybe we can get Aziz Ansari to intervene.