What Are Those?! Podcast: 12/7/16
Missing out on Yeezys and Boosts, DJ Khaled’s partnership with Champs and the Air Jordan XI Space Jams
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Welcome back to another edition of The Undefeated’s sneaker and sports fashion podcast, What Are Those?! We’re in the midst of holiday release season, so this week, Marcus Matthews and I talked about some kicks that have recently hit the scene.
We also chatted about superproducer DJ Khaled’s personal Champs Sports store, which is interestingly connected to his music studio. Is Khaled on the Mount Rushmore of celebrity sneakerheads?
Lastly, this year marks the 20th anniversary of the 1996 film Space Jam, which means the iconic Air Jordan XI Space Jam sneakers will drop on Saturday. The Space Jams are my favorite Jordans of all time. There’s supposed to be a widespread release, so I hope Marcus and I don’t miss out on them.
Give it a listen, and if you have any feedback or show ideas, feel free to email us at email@example.com.
Daily Dose: 12/6/16
Black Santa is what we’re here for
4:22 PMQuick programming note: Domonique Foxworth and I will be hosting NFL Nation on ESPN Radio on Dec. 11 from 7-10 p.m. If you want to hear a couple of mid-30s dudes from the East Coast talk trash, tune in.
Police finally arrested the man who shot and killed former NFL player Joe McKnight. But that’s not even half the story. Earlier today, at a press conference to simply announce the charges in the case (manslaughter, btw) Sheriff Newell D. Normand of Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, went completely off the rails and blamed basically everybody other than the shooter, Ronald Gasser, for the death of McKnight. We will have more on this later, but if you want to watch the whole thing, here it is. ABC News has the details of the actual case, which it took a long while for homey to get to.
Did you know that Santa Claus isn’t real? Because he’s not. Like, there is no person who lives on the North Pole, there are no elves, yadda yadda. You know what else? Because that person is not real, he is not, technically, a white person. Just because you see images of said character all over the shop as a white guy with a beard, THAT IS NOT REAL. When, in Minneapolis, they put a black Santa Claus in the mall, people freaked all the way out. VICE’s Desus and Mero are not here for that nonsense.
It’s holiday season, which means it’s time to cozy up in a movie theater. All the big flicks are out, and if you don’t have anything better to do, you will likely find yourself slamming popcorn in a dark room for at least a couple of sessions before the end of the year. But it’s hard to know what’s worth your time and what’s not. Some people are into reviews, others do ratings systems, like say, Rotten Tomatoes. FiveThirtyEight’s Walt Hickey investigates when you should buy into a film or not.
So, Ron Rivera is apparently acting like he didn’t completely play himself. That whole situation with Tiegate, or whatever you want to call it, has the Carolina Panthers reeling from a team standpoint. Not to mention the fact that the squad is four games under .500 and all anyone is talking about is what Cam Newton wears on a team plane. Anyway, for Rivera, it’s a relatively tough spot, because they basically have no real chance to make the playoffs, which is rather disappointing coming off a Super Bowl appearance. ESPN’s David Newton has the story.
Coffee Break: The building that burned down in Oakland, California, wasn’t just a warehouse, it was a haven for people who didn’t have anywhere else to go and an artists commune of sorts. Specifically against the backdrop of a gentrifying city, it was an important edifice, overall. Check out what it looked like before it and many lives were lost there.
Snack Time: There will be no love lost anytime soon between Jeremih and PartyNextDoor. The former was acting very reckless on the latter’s tour, including sending stunt doubles out to perform instead of him, which is nuts.
Dessert: I guess we’re supposed to believe that Optimus Prime is a bad guy, now? Sure, OK.
Mistrial declared in case of Walter Scott’s killer
Jury unable to reach unanimous decision to convict Michael Slager in North Charleston
5:15 PMWhen police officer Michael Slager pulls up in his cruiser, Everlast is playing so loud on 98 Rock that the dash cam can pick up every word of his 1998 pop country jam that tells the stories of three down-and-out characters who know what it’s like to have the blues. Now, after a judge declared a mistrial in his murder case, Slager really knows what it’s like to be white.
Monday afternoon in North Charleston, South Carolina, the jury was unable to come to a unanimous decision about on a verdict in the killing of Walter Scott, a black man who was unarmed. This happened in April 2015 and at the time was one of the more clear-cut visuals we’d seen of an officer doing something that most people found atrocious. Because the system is stacked against nearly everyone who ends up on the business end of a police bullet, there was no reasonable expectation of a conviction. White fear trumps black lives, and this has been the case since the dawn of the nation.
— ABC News (@ABC) December 5, 2016
But, in this case, enough things had happened that might have led some to believe we’d see more than the usual. No. 1: Slager was actually fired from his job. No. 2: He was charged at all. No. 3: He was actually charged with murder, not some form of a manslaughter charge. Lastly, let’s not forget that the mayor and the police chief both indicated they had problems with Slager’s actions, a borderline stunner considering that most authorities will rarely take a stance on sensitive matters like these. Even within the intellectually fraught world of respectability politics, people felt bad for Scott versus, say, Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
To review, Slager shot Scott in the back while he was running away. He then cuffed Scott. If it wasn’t for a random person filming this, we might have never seen any of this at all. Later, the officer was heard talking rather lightheartedly about the adrenaline that comes with shooting at a suspect, if you’re wondering.
— T.J. Holmes (@tjholmes) December 2, 2016
— brenda rindge (@brindge) December 2, 2016
So, in short, one juror basically could not bring himself/herself to putting a white officer in jail for killing an unarmed black person. Literally, could not. Slager pleaded not guilty. He will surely be retried and also faces a federal case in this matter, but it’s an another obvious example of how inherent biases and institutional forces can sway even the minds of those who consider themselves the most righteous.
Art Basel 2016: Our favorite moments
The Miami art festival had no shortage of them
3:30 PMEvery year, tastemakers from across the globe flock to the annual Art Basel show in Miami to check out the latest and greatest from the contemporary world. It’s popularity has boomed to the point that the 305 during the week of the festival becomes a bit of a catch-all celebrity trap, where brands launch items and the pop-up musical performances make headlines.
So, with that in mind, here our some of the things that caught our eye from Wynwood and adjacent.
Sammy Sosa is still about that skin-lightening life
Ever since the legendary Major League Baseball slugger turned up on a red carpet looking like someone had sucked the melanin not just from his soul, but also his skin, sightings of the onetime Chicago Cub have been relatively rare. But here he is turning up with squad, and the look is still in full effect. Then again, this should be no surprise, because back in 2009, he didn’t even try to hide behind the skin condition excuse. Not that he needs to, your skin is your own, but my man is very committed to the cause.
Ti-Rock Moore’s “Flint”
"Flint" by TiRock. Art Basel in Miami. pic.twitter.com/7iW6XgQB6Q
— NANA JIBRIL 🌙🏳️🌈 (@girlswithtoys) December 5, 2016
It doesn’t take an art genius to understand what’s going on here. While Flint, Michigan, isn’t segregated by law, it might as well be when it comes to what’s happening with the city’s water crisis. The image of the “colored” sign, paired with the brown (colored) water, evokes an interesting emotion and raises a question that cuts to a larger concern: Is toxic synonymous with people of color in the eyes of authorities and elected officials? This could have been a static installation with just the stains of the dirty water indicating what flowed from the fountain. The fact that it’s moving makes it even more poignant and, well, depressing. Want more Ti-Rock? Check her out here.
Adidas, Pusha T launch #TLKS
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The Virginia gawd has been everywhere recently, but in Miami, he joined Ben Jones and Adwoa Aboah to talk about all sorts of topics from creative motivation to world affairs. Of course, where this series lands next and with whom is up for debate, but with the next four years ahead of us, it’s a good start for a platform of talks that surely will be needed for the culture.
Reefa’s work put on display
— MIATOWN (@miatown) July 24, 2015
Three years ago, Israel “Reefa” Hernandez was killed by police officers, by a Taser, specifically. It was obviously a sad case, but in the last year, his work as a street artist and otherwise has gotten its due. In August, a children’s book based on Hernandez’ life was released, titled Isra & Lito. This year, his work was displayed as part of a series at Blank Canvas Gallery.
Amazon has high hopes for its new shopping service
but it’ll be a long time before we trust this technology
Amazon just changed the entire game. pic.twitter.com/fcKK84xIPI
— doctorlove (@feelickss) December 5, 2016
At a time when reasonably large amounts of people are protesting the fact that a shopping mall has a black Santa Claus, Amazon wants us to believe that walking in and out of a store without having to ever do so much as pull out a wallet to buy things is going to fly.
The online retailer is unveiling a new grocery store that due to various forms of microchip and other technology will allow shoppers to check in, shop as they choose and walk out without having to ever stand in line, deal with a cashier or pull out money. In theory, this is a beautiful system. In practice, most people who’ve grown up under the watchful eye of shopowners their entire lives wouldn’t set foot in this place.
Seriously, think about it. At the Mall of America in Minneapolis, the largest in the country, after 24 years, they’ve finally got a black Santa. His name is Larry Jefferson, by the way. He seems to be a great guy from all accounts. But his blackness alone has people on guard, when he’s playing a character that hands out toys to children. People don’t even want black folks conceptually handing out freebies to their children in fictional form, that’s how serious it is.
So, you just imagine how this will go once someone who doesn’t fit the bill of person with enough disposable income to be able to readily afford to shop at an Amazon Go snack shop walks in. We can barely get in and out of our homes without someone thinking we’re breaking in to sleep in our own beds and eat our own food.
Amazon go looks neat.
Oh it's only one store in Seattle. Never mind!
— Brian Janson (@BryyJayy) December 5, 2016
The fact that they call it the “just walk out” technology is doubly fascinating. The ad is particularly interesting because of the type of people they choose to represent shoppers they presume will be using this service. Because we sure as heck don’t see any black men there. Maybe they’re at the mall, waiting in line with their kids for Santa.
Daily Dose: 12/5/16
What does Ben Carson know about housing and urban development?
11:30 AMWhat’s up, gang? Hope your weekends went well. I’m finally recovered from a rough week, healthwise, but we’re good.
When you hear the word “urban,” do you think about black people? Because it appears that’s why Dr. Ben Carson was initially nominated to be the secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Now, he’s accepted that position even though he quite literally has no experience in such matters, considering he’s a brain surgeon. It should also be noted that Carson said rather publicly a while back that this wasn’t something he was interested in from a work standpoint. Alas. ABC News has the details.
Protestors scored a huge victory at Standing Rock over the weekend. Basically, the U.S. Army said that no, it won’t be routing the Dakota Pipeline close to the Native American reservation land in North Dakota. This comes after a few weeks of really ugly disputes that did not sit well with many people who believe in basic decency. Police had used power hoses to douse demonstrators with water during subfreezing temperatures, which does not remotely exemplify decency. VICE reports on the latest.
Advice columns are as old as journalism itself. So, when FiveThirtyEight launched its version of the stalwart feature, I was rather interested in what type of topics they’d explore, considering it’s a data-based site. Most people giving out advice are doing it based on gut, not numbers. But there’s a twist to this. They run polls based on questions they’re asked. Check out how people thought someone should handle leaving his or her office Bible study group (who knew that was a thing.) They call it Survey Says.
Joe McKnight’s tragic death has been a very sober reminder of what race means to justice in America. It’s not just police officers who get the benefit of the doubt when it comes to working the system after they’ve done something wrong. The former University of Southern California and New York Jets running back was gunned down in the street in New Orleans in a road rage incident, which nobody seems to be able to really explain, from a motive standpoint. The guy who killed McKnight was released, with no charges, somehow. ESPN explains.
Coffee Break: ICYMI, a terrifying situation unfolded over the weekend in Washington, D.C., in which a guy brought an assault rifle into a pizzeria and decided he wanted to investigate a claim he’d heard on the internet. They’re calling it the “Pizzagate” scandal, but it’s actually far more dangerous than that when you hear the details.
Snack Time: I’m not typically huge on random videos of humans interacting with animals, but this one of a guy punching a kangaroo in the face to prevent it from messing with his dog is completely wild.
Dessert: Under Armour’s global dominance continues. The company is taking over Major League Baseball uniforms.