Freedom of Inclusion

By Phyllis Lynch

The cast of the hit Broadway play ‘Hamilton’ made a rather unique request to Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who was in the audience Friday night. They urged him and Trump to “uphold our American values”, which can be defined by equality and diversity. It’s not the vague “Make America Great Again” slogan that Trump has rallied behind in order to silence minority citizens’ voice.

Trump went as far as to demand an apology from the cast members, and claimed that they “couldn’t even memorize lines”. He referre

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nytimes.com

d to the cast as “very rude and insulting” in a tweet that was soon deleted. The issue here is that the cast of ‘Hamilton’ didn’t offended Mike Pence in the slightest. If anything, the cast just asked Pence to do his job, which shouldn’t be a ridiculous request.

The only person that is truly being malicious in this situation is Trump, and Pence by association. Maybe singling out audience members isn’t the best way to conduct yourself when putting on a performance, but it all boils down to context. In the politest fashion, the multicultural cast expressed the lack of security they feel within this country as a result of this election.

How could someone blame them? It’s no secret that racism played a big role in America’s growth, to insinuate that this nation has rid itself of every discriminatory stain is inaccurate. This election exposed every prejudice ideology that Americans have, and while some people choose to redirect their beliefs into a more positive direction, it was fuel on the fire for some.

To me, it feels as if we’re embarking on a Trump tyranny, where even a simple call for inclusion is considered heinous. Where “freedom of speech” doesn’t apply to individuals who aren’t cis white men. Then again, it seems as if that’s been the notion in this nation for quite some time.

Lil Wayne Criticizes Black Lives Matter & Gets Criticized Himself

By Phyllis Lynch

Recently during an ABC’s “Nightline” interview, Lil Wayne said some off-putting statements in regards to the Black Lives Matter movement. Wayne, who has previously called out police corruption in his music, blatantly disagreed with the notion that people need to be told that black lives actually matter.

Lil' Wayne And Fetty Wap Perform At Foxtail Pool At SLS Las Vegas
spin.com

“I am a young, black rich mother******,” Wayne said. “If
that don’t let you know that America understand black mother******* matter these days, I don’t know what it is.”

He then proceeded to claim that the white cameraman film
ing him was clear evidence of society living in a post-racial era. This extremely problematic notion is nothing more than ignorant and inaccurate, which breaks my heart to admit because we loved Lil Wayne. We were his fans, we grew up listening to him and related, even if it was only vaguely, to his struggles, so to hear that he doesn’t share our values on equality for our people hurts.

Social media ripped the rapper a new one after catching wind of the cringe-worthy interview. Fans were outraged and rightfully confused after a video of Lil Wayne supporting BLM surfaced. He tried to undo the damning damage by initially preventing the interview from airing, then apologizing after its release and blaming his disgruntled behavior on the interviewer’s questions. Reporter Linsey Davis asked Wayne if he would want his 17-year-old daughter referred to as a “hoe” or “bitch” the same way he refers to women in his songs.

Davis didn’t offend Wayne at all, and defiantly not enough for him to be so combative towards her during the interview. Davis asked him a necessary question that I feel most rappers need to be prepared to answer. It’s no secret that hip-hop has an immense amount of misogyny associated with it. While we actively listen to artists who spew distasteful lyrics at us every day in the name of good music, these artists need to be held accountable for their heinous statements.

Social Media Might Be Ruining Our Favorite TV Shows

By Phyllis L.

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Photo from jezebel.com

It’s Thursday night and you’ve been dying to catch the new episode of How to Get Away with Murder, but you’re stuck typing an essay due tomorrow. Because you’re faithful to your beloved television series, you opted to record it on your DVR, or set a reminder to watch it on Hulu the next day. Everything is going according to plan, until you take a break from your studious endeavors to check your Twitter feed. Suddenly, your followers bombard you with spoilers that reveal the death of your favorite character.

Tonight’s seventh season premiere of The Walking Dead took fans on an emotional, gory ride. It was the moment we’d been dreading since Robert Kirkman first released the 100th issue of the zombie graphic novel. A moment that we’d all been anticipating, but some did not have the pleasure of watching it live.

Social media has made it easier than ever to share anything and everything, especially reactions to prime time television. Trying to avoid this information can be frustrating, and often impossible if you’re accustomed to simply picking up your mobile device to scroll done your newsfeed. A psychology professor at Yale University, Paul Bloom, has done extensive research to figure out why spoilers drive us so mad.

In his book, How Pleasure Works, Bloom explains that humans cherish stories so much, we spend the majority of our free time exploring fictional worlds. To some degree, it is difficult for us to distinguish fact from fiction.

For example, a study discovered that if a piece of fudge looks like feces, people are less likely to eat it even if they’re completely aware that it’s simply chocolate. This is where appearance and reality get blurred. A psychology professor at Pace University, Thalia Goldstein, determined that this type of “blurring” occurs on a neurological level, which means that the conscious parts of the brain grasp that a story is fictional, but the most primitive parts believe that it is real.

A conclusion by Jennifer Richler at The Atlantic suggests that “spoilers suck because they remind us that a story is just a story. It’s hard to get transported when you already know where you’ll end up—in real life, you don’t have that knowledge.”

My only advice for those of you who can’t catch the premiere of your favorite show the exact time it airs is to stay offline until you can watch it; this might be the only way to avoid dreaded spoilers. And to my followers who were online but weren’t able to watch the live premiere of #TWD, I sincerely apologize for my tweets.

Ben and Jerry Officially Invited to ‘The Cookout’

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Photo from: huffingtonpost.com
By Phyllis L.

On Thursday, Oct. 6, Ben & Jerry’s posted a tweet in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. The post has since gained approximately 62,000 retweets and 86,000 likes.

The duo then released a powerful statement on their website, encouraging Americans to join in their stance of non-complicity on social inequality in this country. Their conclusion on why black lives should matter is because those lives are children, brothers, sisters, mothers, and fathers– humans, like everyone else.

“They matter because the injustice they face steal from all of us – white people and people of color alike. They steal our very humanity.”

The pair empathy expressed their difficulty in seeing “the list of unarmed [African] Americans killed by law enforcement officers grow longer and longer.”

Twitter users showed their appreciation for the company by creating the trending topic #BenandJerrysNewFlavor. The hashtag contains a horde of vibrant, witty suggestions. Here are a couple of hilarious tweets that I felt had no chill – pun intended.

And my favorite one of all:

It’s no surprised that not everyone is pleased with the dynamic ice cream duo’s perspective on racial injustice.

Even though Ben and Jerry’s specifically stated that they “believe that [by] saying Black lives matter is not to say that the lives of those who serve in the law enforcement community don’t,” some people aren’t at all convinced. Others have even gone as far as to accuse the company of promoting the killing of cops, a completely opposite notion from the duo’s peaceful perspective.

This is hardly the pair’s first encounter with unpleasant opinions and threats of boycott from one of their social announcements. They have a history of advocating for political issues. For example, last year’s celebratory name change of the classic chocolate chip cookie dough flavor to “I Dough, I Dough”, which was as a result of the Supreme Court’s verdict to legalize same-sex marriage.

Their new, creamy peppermint ice cream, “Empowermint”, was released earlier this year in an effort to generate awareness to social issues, such as voter ID laws in North Carolina. This flavor perfectly captures the compelling messages that Ben and Jerry’s is promoting.

Unfiltered Shade with Colin Powell

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Photo courtesy of nymag.com

By Phyllis Lynch

Last week’s episode of The Read, a podcast hosted Kid Fury and Crissle, brought the recent Colin Powell situation to my attention, and I must admit that it’s as hilarious as it is accurate.

Serving under George W. Bush (2001 – 2005), former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell was the first African American appointed to such position, and the only one to serve as Joint Chiefs of Staff.

I would assume that the retired four-star general’s personal emails would be filled with boring messages pertaining to foreign affairs, but Mr. Powell is a lot similar to you and me. Hacked emails, suspected to be tied to Russian intelligence services, revealed Mr. Powell’s total disdain for Donald Trump.

“He can never overcome what he tried to do to Obama with his search for the birth certificate hoping to force Obama out of the Presidency,” Mr. Powell wrote to journalist Emily Miller. He roasted Trump for launching an obvious “racist” movement and called him “a national disgrace”.

Who better to deliver truer words than the 79-year-old black statesman who could most defiantly expose the GOP. Because he’s been relatively silent during this year’s unruly presidential campaign, reading his genuine aversion to Trump only makes knowing his personal thoughts more delightful and humorous.

Although Mr. Powell unloaded on several other people in his emails, including Hilary Clinton, Roger Ailes, and Benghazi obsessed Republicans, I relish in his complete disgust over Trump as a whole.

“He is at 1% black voters and will drop,” Mr. Powell wrote. “He takes us for idiots.”

A harshly accurate description of how Trump views black America and it’s no secret. On August 19, Trump’s rationale for the black vote was, “What do you have to lose? You’re living in poverty. Your schools are no good. You have no jobs.”

I’m black, and last time I checked I didn’t grow up nor do I live in poverty. I went to a decent school. And while I don’t currently have a job, I’m a full-time undergrad embarking on an internship soon. This is not a peculiar case for the majority of black Americans. Trump just continued to spew the tired, derogatory stereotype of ‘all black people are poor, dumb and lazy’.

My man Powell is not here for Trump’s shenanigans. I dream of one day accompanying Mr. Powell to a Bennigans, like Kid Fury imagined, and getting him so full off of cheesy potato skins, to the point where he spills every ounce of executive gossip. While this is an unfortunate breach in personal confidentiality, it is hilarious glimpse into our government.

Social Media Fuels the Beauty Revolution

By Phyllis Lynch

Beauty brands are marketed through various channels to grasp consumers. Social media is an online network that has taken the promotion of these brands by storm. Both major and smaller brands benefit from the ability to develop an online presence without a costly marketing budget.  Platforms like YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat frequently introduce consumers to an array of beauty products.

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Nickel Genesis; YouTube Beauty Vlogger

The cosmetic industry’s target market is coincidently the largest demographic of social media users. This has enabled brands to be in continuous contact with their projected audience. Millennials, born between 1980 and 2000, are the frontrunners for utilizing the latest methods in digital retailing. Neustar surveyed 1,020 purchasers to determine different shopping preferences between Millennials and Baby Boomers. The study also shows that 54% of Millennials consider their mobile device the most important shopping research tool, followed by 31% for desktop, 8% for television and 7% for print.

Often times consumers seek out reviews of beauty products before deciding whether to purchase them, this is where implementing the world’s second largest search engine and social media platform, YouTube, is essential. YouTube is known as the go-to for beauty tips, tricks and tutorials; it is has made learning about makeup more inclusive. Brands are able to gain exposure by offering beauty gurus and influencers incentives in exchange for product reviews. According to a 2015 report conducted by Pixability, there are 45.3 billion total beauty video views on YouTube. Fifty-five percent of those views come from mobile devices, which closely correlates to the percentage of Millennials that mainly use their mobile device as a retail research tool.

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Colourpop Cosmetics’ Ultra Matte Lip swatches

Social media has influenced and encouraged diversity by giving women with darker complexions an outlet to showcase and promote their beauty. These women have been notoriously ignored by the cosmetic industry. Major companies have been criticized for featuring one to only a few deep shades, while offering a range of fair-toned shades. It’s not like the demand for deep toned makeup products is nonexistent, with African American spending $7.5 billion on cosmetic products annually.

Some companies have noted the complaints and made strides to incorporate product diversity, which has earned them rave reviews. Examples of this are L’Oréal Paris’ latest campaign and Colourpop Cosmetics, which grew in popularity because it uploads makeup swatches on different skin tones. Online networking gives women of color a platform to voice frustrations, as well as share beauty tips that would otherwise be inaccessible due to a lack of mainstream diversity.

 

References:

Burstein, Daniel, and Liva LaMontagne, Dr. “Ecommerce Chart: Online Shopping Behaviors of Millennials versus Baby Boomers.” MarketingSherpa. N.p., 28 July 2015. Web. 11 Sept. 2016. https://www.marketingsherpa.com/article/chart/online-shopping-behaviors-based-on-age

Nouril, Perdita. “L’Oréal Paris’ Latest Campaign Breaks down Racial Barriers in Beauty.” The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group, 30 Aug. 2016. Web. 11 Sept. 2016. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/beauty/skin/loral-paris-latest-campaign-breaks-down-racial-barriers-in-beaut/

Pixability, Inc. “Beauty on YouTube 2015.” Beauty on YouTube 2015 Report. N.p., 2015. Web. 11 Sept. 2016. http://www.pixability.com/industry-studies/new-beauty/

Smith, Stephanie D. “Essence Panel Explores Beauty Purchasing.” WWD. N.p., 18 May 2009. Web. 11 Sept. 2016. http://wwd.com/beauty-industry-news/color-cosmetics/essence-panel-explores-beauty-purchasing-2139829/