Culture

THE WORD | Jussie Smollett Removed From Empire’s Final 2 Episodes Following Arrest

On Friday, February 22, producers Lee Daniels, Danny Strong, Brett Mahoney, Brian Grazer, Sanaa Hamri, Francie Calfo andDennis Hammer revealed in a statement that Smollett, 36, will not appear in the final two episodes of the season.

The decision, producers said, was made to "avoid further disruption on set."

"The events of the past few weeks have been incredibly emotional for all of us," the statement said. "Jussie has been an important member of our 'Empire' family for the past five years and we care about him deeply. While these allegations are very disturbing, we are placing our trust in the legal system as the process plays out."

 

 

THE WORD | Gucci removes $890 "blackface" sweater, apologizes after receiving backlash

Gucci has removed a controversial sweater from its website and apologized after some people said the sweater resembled blackface. The black turtleneck covers the face and has mouth opening with red lips surrounding it. It originally cost $890, according to screenshots from the Gucci website, taken before the product was removed. Social media was outraged, especially because the release came during Black History Month. Below is Gucci’s Statement.

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 A screenshot taken before the sweater was removed made its rounds on social media, with many people writing to Gucci in outrage over the racist sweater.

WorldStarHipHop Founder Lee 'Q' O’Denat Dead At 43

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WorldStarHipHop founder Lee O’Denat, who was known by his nickname “Q,” died on Monday, January 23, TMZ reported on Tuesday. He was 43. He died in his sleep, and although the autopsy has not been completed, a source told TMZ that the entertainment mogul died of a heart attack.

 

During Final Hours, Pres. Obama Frees 300 More Inmates, The Most In A Single Day

In his last act, Pres. Obama, shortened more sentences in a single day in U.S. history

In his last act, Pres. Obama, shortened more sentences in a single day in U.S. history

On his last day in office, President Obama granted 330 commutations. This will allow many drug offenders a lesser sentence. During the last eight years, Obama shortened 1,715 sentences, including 568 of whom were sentenced to life.

Read Obama's Tweet About Thursdays Move 

In a letter to the recipients the outgoing President said he believed they had the opportunity right now to do what is right. 

"I am granting your application because you have demonstrated the potential to turn your life around. Now it is up to you to make the most of this opportunity. It will not be easy and you will confront many who doubt people with criminal records can change... remember that you have the capacity to make good decisions."

Watch: What's The Word at Obama's Farewell Speech in Chicago

According to officials at the White House, this was the most commutations done in a single day by a sitting President. White House counsel Neil Eggleston said this comes as Obama worked on lessening harsh sentences.

"The vast majority of these men and women are serving unduly long sentences for drug crimes... He has a strong view that people deserve a second chance." For an inmate to be considered under Obama, they needed to demonstrate good behavior, already served 10 years, have a nonviolent offense. However, some exceptions were made for the 10-year-rule and there were some firearm violations in relation to the drug crimes.

President Obama made history when his was the first sitting President to visit a Federal Prison

President Obama made history when his was the first sitting President to visit a Federal Prison

During his final press conference Wednesday afternoon, Obama discussed the role of voting  and how the United States should make it easier to vote. He blames the Jim Crow era, saying the reason for the low turnout is because many Americans are eligible to vote who don't go to the polls. "It became sort of acceptable to restrict the franchise... The idea that we put in place a whole bunch of barriers to people voting doesn't make sense."

You can read his entire last speech here.

President-Elect Donald Trump will be inaugurated at noon on Friday, January 20th. Close to 60 Democrats will be boycotting the event for Trump's word to Civil Rights Icon and Representative John Lewis. 

Trump has been having close door meetings with a number of people ahead of his inauguration including Steve Harvey and Martin Luther King III. 

What do you take away from Obama's final gesture in office? Comment below and tell us.

Black Twitter Goes Off on "Hidden Fences"

The NBC red carpet correspondent Jenna Bush-Hager was interviewing Pharrell Williams when she wrongly stated that the musician was Golden Globe-nominated for his work on "Hidden Fences," an erroneous statement if ever there were one.

Black Twitter responses to the situation:

#hiddenfences #blackcomedy #twitterfamily

A photo posted by ZeustreyO5 (@zeustrey05) on

This is the best one #hiddenfences #butchered

A photo posted by ZeustreyO5 (@zeustrey05) on

Hidden Fences? I can't... #hiddenfences #lmao #what #getthenamesright #fences #hiddenfigures

A video posted by Chris-Tia Donaldson (@tginceo) on

#HiddenFences #BlackTwitter

A photo posted by Brooklyn Brand (@brooklyn_brand) on

I'm bout to go awf #hiddenfigures #hiddenfences

A photo posted by Michelle🐛MyInvisibleChyrsalis (@anneem83) on

Culture vs Commerce: The Christmas Clash

What comes to mind when we see the different lights around the Christmas Tree? During the christmas season celebrants receive a feeling of excitement due to the glow of the holidays. But is this feeling of excitement driven through the fuel of commerce that is put at the center of American Christmas holiday traditions?

According to the 2016 Satista Survey 92% of all americans celebrate christmas. Adding to this percentage, 81%  of non-christians in the U.S. celebrate Christmas. However only 5% of the survey said that they will not be celebrating during this season . Holiday Retail sales have been account to $655.87 billion for 2016. U.S. Retail e-commerce sales hold an account of $94.71 billion in 2016. In a way this Christmas season is seen as an economic booster as it brings 750,000 people into employment.

The holiday season brings acknowledgement of good tidings while people start to become  more involved in the charitable season. Charity may even be seen as a “cultural” tradition seen during the holiday season. However, exactly how much of a tradition? In 2016, 35% of the year’s charitable giving occurs during the last 3 months year. While 18% occurs during the month of December.

An interesting aspect about the holidays is that it influences societies in different parts of the world in different ways. However, what would happen if we were to compare these stats to another country that may have more of an emphasis on culture as the center of the holiday traditions instead of commerce?

 

In Nigeria, the holidays still can be commercial just like the rest of the world. In the country there has been a spike in household expenditures by 65% during the giving season. At this festive time most traditional marriages take place , as well as most communities hold fundraisers  towards development projects.  However, Nigeria is still fighting a struggling economy with an increased recession and rising inflation, lowering trade for market sellers. President Muhammad Buhari of Nigeria has recently urged citizens to use this season as a time of prayer & reflection, through a publicized presidential letter.

On December 24, 2016, President Muhammad Buhari wrote : “ As we celebrate this year’s Christmas, I believe it is very appropriate for us to reflect on the love of God. There is no better time than now in our nation’s history to pray for divine guidance to get over our current challenges.”  As Nigeria turns to staying true to its cultural traditions, one to highlight during their low economy is the Okazi Festival celebrated by the Emii people of Owerri State. In the midst of this festival,  citizens celebrate from Christmas to New year’s Day  through different communities’ market days. This is where there is a huge exchange of visitation by family and friends that have not been back to their homeland for some time.This also includes a major highlight on food as different traditional dishes are cooked by the wives, mothers, and daughters of each household.  In a similar way, the season is viewed as a homecoming of its own.

Different countries as well as different cultures  celebrate the holiday season in their own traditional way. However it is important to understand the different aspect that affect the reasons why we celebrate during these holiday times. This is  just as significant as the influence it brings into our lives and others. As we look back in the year and remember what we have gained and what we have lost , we also must remember the faith, beliefs and lessons these times have added into our beings in order to grow towards the new year ahead.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays,

Nosike.

3 Woman Bobsled Team Set to Represent Nigeria in 1st Winter Olympics

 

In the country’s first appearance in a Winter Olympic sporting event, Nigeria will be represented by a three-woman bobsled team in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The members of the Nigerian Women’s Bobsled Team are Seun Adigun, Ngozi Onwumere, and Akuoma Omeoga. The determined US-based trio are hopeful of capturing gold and in doing so, spreading an important message to the rest of the world.

Similar to its summer seasoned counterpart, the Winter Olympics is traditionally held every 4 years. The games feature most winter sports including ice hockey, skiing, curling and bobsledding. Remember, with these sports being held in icier conditions, it is important for athletes in training to practice in similar conditions that they will experience throughout the winter olympic games. Interesting enough, participation in the Winter Olympics has become exclusive to athletes from countries with similar year round conditions like North America or Northern/North-East Europe. Financially, the cost of, as well as having access to, the advanced high tech gear required to compete in the games is very high for potential athletes in Africa. Barriers like these discourage athletes from the Olympic Games because they lack the financial support needed to pursue.

However, it is clear that regardless of theses barriers, the nigerian trio’s purpose of going to the olympics still remains true.  The wonder women of the Nigerian Women’s  Bobsled Team want to win gold to inspire those back home to dream big and popularize the sport in Nigeria and the rest of Africa.

“Together, we can demonstrate that nothing is impossible with a little faith, support, and willingness to persevere.” - Seun Adigun,

The team’s decision to compete in the 2018 Winter Olympics was influenced by recent push of the Olympic Committees of several different African countries. This was done in wanting to expand the number of sport events athletes compete in. The significance in increasing the numbers of athletes that compete may bring increased attention towards theses countries economically, as well as increase the number of medals won for the competing countries.

Many nations hope to improve their overall medal victories at the games. A technique used to solve this is by the nation grooming its athletes to participate in other sports that have a high medal turnover rate such as swimming or gymnastics. The athletic trio has launched a GoFundMe page in order to raise $150,000. The money will be used towards equipment, logistics, and to create awareness towards what they plan to accomplish at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.

Watch Video Below:

Extendo Media Launches New Parody Driven Clothing Line

Upcoming business Extendo Media has used the power of parody to create a clothing line. Founded and own by Chicago rapper Von Marley in 2013, Extendo transcends across several different facets of media (including video production, graphic design, photography, etc.). Their clothing line specifically focuses on parodying some of the country's most recognizable images usually into a weed reference. In fact, the company’s logo itself is a parody of the “Nintendo” logo re-adapted into a term generally associated with long blunts.

Despite the lines growing popularity, it has also garnered some criticism due to its often drug or violent slogans. To this the Von replies;

“Extendo isn’t a brand attempting to appeal to everyone, I created the line based of clothes that me and people like myself would wear. We also have pieces that don’t contain a drug or violent reference because at the end of the day we understand that our target demographic aren’t all smokers or gangsters.”

Extendo Clothing is currently being sold via Amazon and is available in men, women, and youth sizes and via their website. With the Christmas season quickly approaching be sure to not be the last one rocking clothing by Extendo.

Kanye West's International Weekend of Pablo

August 19-21st was the international weekend of Pablo as Rapper/designer Kanye West opened his 21 Pablo stores all over the world. The 3 day execution of temporary stores were established to promote materials from his album "The life Of Pablo." From Chicago to Sydney thousands of people slept outside and stood in incredibly long lines to get an inside look on what the Pablo shops had to offer. 

The Pop Up Shop consisted of 12 different items ranging between $45-$325 with the most affordable item being a Pablo cap. Many items were covered in Gothic font with phrases from songs listed on his album. On top of high prices, many customers were unable to touch merchandise, or enter into a particular store unless in a trio. Visitors received a "store menu" upon entry that listed all merchandise for sale and completed transactions via iPads. Given the stores would only be open for a weekend the traffic encountered was massive. With Ye's past pop up shops in March reportedly bringing in $1 Million over three days, it's safe to say the Yeezy is trying his best to decrease his $56 million debt declaration. 

Photos From The POP UP SHOP In CHICAGO

Photo Cred http://www.highsnobiety.com/2016/08/22/kanye-west-pablo-pop-up/

Photo Cred http://www.highsnobiety.com/2016/08/22/kanye-west-pablo-pop-up/

Photo Cred: http://www.highsnobiety.com/2016/08/22/kanye-west-pablo-pop-up/

Photo Cred: http://www.highsnobiety.com/2016/08/22/kanye-west-pablo-pop-up/

by: Cody Mack

by: Cody Mack

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