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Looking for a virtual getaway? A digital cure for your summertime sadness

Even though summer’s here, people all over the world are feeling that summertime sadness as the coronavirus pandemic still rages on. With all the uncertainties in place, many people’s dreams of an epic summer getaway have been crushed. 

But where there is a will, there is a way. Many industries have gone digital so people can enjoy familiar amenities from the comfort of their own home, and the travel and tourism industry is no exception. 

Here are some resources for you to have a perfect virtual getaway, all from the comfort of your own home.

CritiArt puts the “art” in art gallery visit

Looking for a digital art gallery experience that’s more than just paging through pictures on gallery websites? CritiArt has got you covered.

CritiArt acts as an alternative virtual space for artists, curators, critics, and art lovers in general, to promote their art and explore a variety of other pieces in a digital space.

Through the use of 3D modeling and augmented reality technology, the platform offers a variety of opportunities for people to see art in a digital art gallery.

Even before the COVID-19 crisis, CritiArt has been committed to giving people the chance to explore art without having to worry about time and their location. Now when people are mostly restricted to their homes, the exhibitions the platform offers are a great way to get that immersive art gallery experience.

augmented reality

Its current digital exhibit, Unity, is also an astounding reflection of current social events. A diverse collection of 13 artists from three different continents have come together to channel their collective anxiety, varied experiences, and seek to help transform artistic expression beyond the status quo. 

Drawing inspiration from Carl Jung’s concept of the “collective unconscious,” the exhibit attempts to speak to people’s deeper human nature and spark more dialogue on diversity and the current social climate.

CritiArt’s “Unity” exhibit can be found here, and you can also learn more about the organization on their website.

Travel through time with the British Museum’s collection of artifacts

The British Museum in London has one of the largest and most comprehensive collections in history, and it was among the first public national museums in the world.

If your trip to London is on hold due to the pandemic, or you just don’t have the time to go to England in general, don’t worry. You can now view the museum’s vast collection online in a new immersive virtual experience.

The museum’s online collection is neatly organized by continent, time period, and subject matter. You can also jump around on the interactive graphic the website offers so you can travel through time at your own pace.

Looking for ancient Chinese, Japanese, or Korean pottery? They’ve got it.

Viking weapons and artifacts? Therefor the pillaging, or rather, virtual sightseeing. The famed Rosetta Stone? Yep, it’s online too.

Check out the virtual tour here and see for yourself.

Take that special trip to Disneyworld you’ve always wanted

Thought that dream vacation to Disneyworld was canceled? Think again. Even before the pandemic started, the amusement park recorded a multitude of its rides and posted them on its official YouTube channel.

These also aren’t your standard recordings. They’re filmed with a special 360-degree camera that allows for a full range of movement the viewer can control throughout the whole experience.

From classics like Splash Mountain…

Pirates of the Caribbean…


And even the new Star Wars section of the park; you can still get your magical experience from the Magic Kingdom itself with a whole variety of videos.

And we can’t forget the famous Disney fireworks of course.

Journey through the savannah on an amazing safari

If you’re worried about being able to get a safari experience off your bucket list right now, there’s no need to fret. You can still have a special trip through the wild savannah and see a variety of awesome animals.

Safari companies such as Longleat Safari and Adventure Park, as well as the luxury experiential travel company &BEYOND, are offering virtual safaris on YouTube.

Longleat Safari and Adventure Park is based in Wiltshire, England. Just because it’s not in Africa doesn’t mean you can’t get an enriching safari experience.

They have a variety of animals on their grounds including ostriches, giraffes, lions, tigers, cheetahs, and many more.

People can see these incredible animals up-close through their three-part Virtual Longleat Safari series on YouTube. People can also check out more videos from them on their official YouTube channel. They also feature content on Twitter and Instagram.

If you want to take a direct digital journey to the African savannah however, &BEYOND’s livestreamed safari drives are what you’re looking for.

These take place in a variety of South African nature preserves including &BEYOND Ngala Private Game Reserve, &BEYOND Phinda Private Game Reserve, Djuma Private Game Reserve, and Tswalu and Pridelands Conservancy.

What makes these special is that they’re just like being in a real-life safari with the company. That’s because they don’t just have one or two videos for people to imagine a safari experience.

They do two three-hour drives through the savannah every day. Every safari drive, one in the morning and one in the evening, is livestreamed daily and posted onto &BEYOND’s official YouTube channel.

Since they’re livestreamed directly from South Africa, the safaris take place at 12:30am-3:30 A.M. and 9:00 A.M.-12:00 P.M. EST. If you can’t catch them on time to watch the livestream though, don’t worry, the videos are still posted on their YouTube channel.

During the livestream, viewers can also ask the guide questions in the live chat, or on their Twitter using the hashtag #WildEarth.

Check out &Beyond‘s YouTube channel, Twitter, Instagram and official website here to get started on your own safari experience.

A whole new digital world

Even though the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted many people’s vacations and travel plans, that doesn’t mean they have to be ruined completely.

Like many industries, tourism companies are also making the shift to the digital front, so people can still access the ability to travel from the comfort of their homes.

Maybe you can’t set foot into a famous art gallery or museum just yet, or maybe that trip of a lifetime can’t quite go on right now.

That doesn’t mean your summer staycation needs to be boring by any means. With a bit of technology and creativity, you can still have that perfect summer (virtual) vacation.

eSports and Photography: Getty Images levels up with Gran Turismo

Visual communications and media company Getty Images is now taking their sports photography to the next level: eSports photography.

The company recently signed a deal with the creator of the Gran Turismo racing game series Polyphony Digital Inc., which cements Getty Images as the exclusive photographic agency for Gran Turismo Championships and live World Tour events.

How does eSports racing photography work?

Polyphony has incorporated a fully functioning camera system within the game that allows Getty Images to shoot imagery as we would in real life. This includes complete control over shutter speeds, aperture control, and filter options.

With this new tech, an eSports photographer can move around within the game world at their choosing via a specialized PS4 unit to position themselves. All while enjoying complete creative freedom.

Together with their experience in shooting real-world motorsports, the partnership is a powerful combination.

Known by many for its massive stock photography collection, the company also has an impressive amount of sports photography and covers approximately 50,000 events per year. But entering the world of esports is a whole new ball game, and has a great deal of potential for photographers.

“This partnership with Polyphony Digital signifies the next phase of sport photography and the true growth that is occurring across the esports landscape,” said Getty Images Global Head of Content Ken Mainardis. 

Not only that, but esports attracting the attention of a massively popular visual communications company reflects the massive growth the field has seen in recent years.

Esports events already attract thousands of live spectators in addition to millions of watchers on streaming platforms such as Twitch. Tournaments for Gran Turismo’s events alone have taken place around the world including in Nuremberg, New York, Salzburg, Tokyo, Sydney, and Monaco.

The eSports world is massive and extends beyond just racing games like Gran Turismo. Popular video games for esports also include ones such as League of Legends, Counter-StrikeFortnite, and a wide assortment of many more games.

This deal between Getty Images and Polyphony Digital Inc. will not only arguably draw more attention to esports and racing games, but also make this content more accessible to spectators. It’s a beneficial deal for parties on both sides, and now fans will have better access to content from Gran Turismo eSport events.

Cutting edge images of intense racing and cars speeding past aren’t just restricted to the real world now. With Getty Images entering the esports photography world, perhaps more companies will follow suit, and sports photography and esports photography might just even become one and the same.

Make sure to take a look at what’s to come here.

New Warriors Movie

Marvel’s ‘New Warriors’ series draws criticism about diversity

Just a few months ago, Marvel announced the next incarnation of their New Warriors series.

Originally made in the 1990s, the team of superheroes known as the New Warriors were meant to appeal to the modern generation and embody current social trends and ideals. 

Now 30 years later, a new generation of heroes is about to step up. Unfortunately, the reveal of Marvel’s “new” New Warriors has produced less than stellar results.

In fact, comic book and superhero enthusiasts throughout the Internet have banded together for a variety of reasons to do one thing: roast these new heroes meant to be diverse and appeal to the current generation. 

Let’s take a look at these new New Warriors, the criticisms thrown at them, and why many forms of media seem to struggle with diversity.

Introducing a new generation of superheroes

In a similar vein to some other superhero storylines, the upcoming New Warriors series focuses on a young group of heroes who must deal with the responsibilities of becoming true superheroes.

Marvel has used this for much of their recent projects such as their movies Spiderman: Homecoming, Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse, and its Marvel Rising animated series.

One of the “New Warriors” main plot points will deal with the passage of what’s known as “Kamala’s Law,” which originates from Marvel’s “Outlawed” comic book. The law prohibits any superpowered individuals under the age of 21 to do any vigilante work unless they have a government-assigned mentor.

That’s where the New Warriors come in, at least the previous generation. The heroes that comprised the team from the 90s including characters such as Firestar, Rage, Night Thrasher, Speedball, Silhouette, and Namorita, are now presiding as mentor figures over the next incarnation of the New Warriors.

This new cast of heroes includes Trailblazer, a former foster kid with a magical backpack from an alternate dimension that can summon a variety of items;

Screentime, whose brain is wired into the internet after being exposed to his grandfather’s internet gas; 

Snowflake, who can create icy shurikens, and also happens to be one of Marvel’s few nonbinary characters; 

Their twin Safespace, who can create forcefields that can protect others but not himself; 

And finally, B-Negative, who received an unusual blood transfusion from the vampire Michael Morbius, giving him vampiric powers in turn.

Yet this new generation of heroes has also caused an immense amount of criticism to be directed at Marvel, as well as writer and artist of this series, Brian Kibblesmith and Luciano Vecchio, respectively.

The criticism of New Warriors

Many individuals across the internet have made their distaste for this new New Warriors series widely known.

People have claimed it lacks originality and inspired character designs, panders to SJWs or “social justice warriors,” and isn’t truly diverse or representative of marginalized individuals. Let’s break down these claims and delve into the meaning and reasoning behind these criticisms, as well as what the creative crew behind the series has given to the audience.

One of the foremost criticisms surrounding the series is in regards to the character designs, as well as what the audience knows so far of the main casts’ backstories. Let’s tackle each of the new characters and analyze these points.

The superpowered twins Snowflake and Safespace have generally received the brunt of fans’ criticism. 

“Snowflake and Safespace are the twins,” said Kibblesmith, “and their names are very similar to Screentime; it’s this idea that these are terms that get thrown around on the internet that they don’t see as derogatory. [They] take those words and kind of wear them as badges of honor.”

While the intent of this idea is noble, it’s arguably its execution that’s flawed. The idea of repurposing these mocking terms is noble, but many people have criticized their names as being tacky or unable to be taken seriously.

As for their designs, Kibblesmith mentions that “the idea was that they would mirror and complement each other.”

Their designs appear to do almost exactly that in terms of color, appearance, and even general silhouette. Just because they’re twins, however, doesn’t mean they need to be carbon copies of one another.

Perhaps a better idea to repurpose these terms would be to not use them verbatim, but instead, alter them into an empowering form to make them into new monikers that can truly be a superhero name.

Many people have also criticized Screentime’s superhero alias as well. “The word ’screen time’ is only ever used in a sort of restrictive sense, and because we’re doing a story about teenage rebels, a lot of the names are about teens fighting against labels that are put on them. So with Screentime, we liked the idea that he has infinite screen time,” said “New Warriors” writer Daniel Kibblesmith.

Similar to the idea behind Snowflake and Safespace’s names, Kibblesmith also applied a similar concept to Screentime. Despite the motivation behind his name though, it seems the execution and what Kibblesmith thought the expectations the audience would react are what’s flawed here.

Realistically, it seems unlikely someone would want to reclaim that term as a screen name, much less a superhero one. Many fans have also directed critiques at Trailblazer’s seemingly-weak role due to having her abilities solely being the product of a backpack.

The character of B-Negative has also been criticized as a stereotypical goth and a carbon copy of Marvel’s living vampire character Michael Morbius. Even Kibblesmith refers to B-Negative as “the goth kid” in Marvel’s trailer announcing the upcoming “New Warriors” comic series.

Within this wide web of fan criticism however, many of them have taken to going beyond just offering their two cents and have even created re-designs of the characters. Snowflake and Safespace have been among the most popular re-designs since they have generally received the most criticism out of the other characters.

Some people have done complete redesigns of the whole team, including new art and even backstories for them.

The difficulty of diversity in comics and media

The New Warriors have always been an embodiment of the current generation and the trends at the time, and this new incarnation of them is no different.

“We wanted to have big colorful characters, personality clashes, romance, a diverse cast, which is something that the New Warriors titles have always strived to make a priority,” said Kibblesmith. “Every New Warriors comic has always felt like a reflection of the year that it came out. And I don’t think we’re worried about being dated. I think we’re way more interested about being now.”

Ironically enough, being dated and out of touch with modern trends is exactly one of the things Daniel Kibblesmith and artist Luciano Vechhio are being criticized about. This is particularly in response to their attempts at creating a diverse cast for the upcoming series.

As mentioned before, the characters of Snowflake and Safespace have been the main targets of this critique, with both of them being Black twins, and Snowflake being nonbinary.

One key issue here, however, is that the two of them being twins seems to be one of the main factors that define them. The same issue could also be said of Snowflake, where so far the only defining trait fans know about them is that they’re nonbinary.

This raises a key issue not just in this new “New Warriors” comic series, but media as a whole: the way they try to tackle diversity. Kibblesmith and Vecchio’s goal of trying to create a diverse cast that resonates with the modern generation is noble, but as with many of their design choices, the execution is where the problem lies.

Doing diversity right in media can be a challenge, but Marvel actually has done it well in the past. One example is their recent film Black Panther.

Black Panther as a character that’s arguably a very empowering icon for Black people. The movie is also extremely diverse in that it consisted of a mostly-Black cast and crew and had multiple, well-done, empowering characters of color in it.

The key feature here is that even though most of the characters in it are Black, it’s never the exclusive trait that defines them. In fact, it’s not even brought up. It’s simply a part of their characters.

This is what well-done diversity looks like. Diversity doesn’t mean making people stand out as “special” and “different.” 

Diversity is not checking off marginalized groups or traits like a shopping list and throwing them into a story. Diversity is all about taking people from underrepresented groups and incorporating them into a story as regular people.

Because at the end of the day, that’s what they are: people. And just like regular people, what defines these diverse characters should be their personality and their actions, not what makes them different.

An uncertain future for the New Warriors

Kibblesmith and Vecchio’s goals of creating a modern and diverse cast for the next incarnation of the New Warriors is an admirable and ambitious goal, but unfortunately, it suffers from a disconnect between what they believe fans want and what fans actually want.

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Reddit leaks possibly dealing with that unannounced series for ABC (assuming that it ends up happening) a couple of words that stood out from the leaks included “warriors” and “comic accuracy” and talk of scripts from some scrapped projects being used. Only thing that makes sense would be a secret warriors spinoff from #agentsofshield or a revival of #newwarriors Honestly i just want more mainstream stuff I’d rather not have everything just be on Disney plus and in theatres #moonknight #msmarvel #shehulk #avengersendgame #mcu #disneyplus #abc #savedaredevil #jessicajones #tonystark #spiderman #dceu #stargirl #batwoman #theflash #blacklightning #eternals #thefalconandthewintersoldier #wandavision #doctorstrangeinthemultiverseofmadness

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The fans’ criticism has already taken a heavy toll on the comic series’ production, however. Where it once was supposed to have a release date of April 15, many online comic shops are now saying they’ll have the first issue available starting around October 27.

However, perhaps the first issue’s release and the rest of the series will improve due to fan critiques, and it may even leave a better impression on them than the initial trailer did. Either way, it seems the future of these new New Warriors is uncertain.

Until the first issue of the comic series comes out, if it comes out, who knows what lies in store for this new generation of superheroes.

Mel Gibson is making possibly the most tone-deaf movie of all time

In a time where police brutality is rampant, the last thing that people need right now is a gritty cop thriller. Unfortunately, that’s just the time when the film Force of Nature decided to step onto the crime scene.

The movie starring Mel Gibson and Emile Hirsch tells the story of a group of cops who are sent to Puerto Rico to thwart a heist for 55 million dollars, but things get complicated when a category five hurricane hits.

The film has already come under fire for what many deem to be its insensitive and tone-deaf portrayal of Puerto Rican people, the disaster of Hurricane Maria in 2017, and of course, police. Here are some of the things that makes this film problematic in today’s social context.

It’s insensitive to those that suffered from Hurricane Maria

One of the film’s chief criticisms is how it’s insensitive to those that went through the life-threatening and traumatic experience of Hurricane Maria.

Back in 2017, the category five hurricane-devastated Puerto Rico. The disaster killed at least approximately 3,000 people, but the exact number is still highly uncertain.

Beyond the high fatality rate, the hurricane also destroyed much of Puerto Rico’s power grid, homes, and utilities. Most families were left without electricity, cell service, and even running water in the aftermath of the event.

Puerto Rico still struggled to recover even 18 months after.

While Force of Nature doesn’t necessarily specify the name of the hurricane in it, the fact that it’s also category five disaster in Puerto Rico, unfortunately, doesn’t leave much to the imagination.

Gibson’s character Ray is also portrayed as being very resistant to the idea of evacuating with his daughter, Troy, played by Kate Bosworth.

The fact he’s not willing to leave despite the hurricane also comes off as insensitive to those who’ve gone through the horror of surviving such an experience.

Another criticism of the film is how it portrays native Puerto Ricans. Despite being set in Puerto Rico, the film’s antagonists are also Puerto Rican.

Considering the main cast and protagonists are all white, this gives the film a big “white savior” feel that arguably leaves a bitter taste in the audience. Villainizing the native inhabitants of a setting is also a poor storytelling choice in general.

Combining the villainization of Puerto Rican people, along with coming off as insensitive to those who had to go through Hurricane Maria, Force Of Nature is already insensitive enough.

When you consider recent events in reviewing the film though, its taste just gets worse.

The cop characters in the film aren’t the shining example of justice

Many people are already dissatisfied with law enforcement considering the recent deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, as well as the rising police brutality in the wake of protests.

Force of Nature having the cop character Officer Cardillo and ex-detective Ray, played by Emile Hirsch and Mel Gibson respectively, isn’t the best cinematic choice in a time like this. The characters of Cardillo and Ray aren’t the most morally upright ones either.

Both character seem to have an underlying distrust of civilians, and Cardillo even discourages his protogé Jess from trying to save evacuees, claiming they’ll file a complaint which will ruin her.

This point proves to be especially untrue in today’s context, where many officers who have committed acts of violence against people are either not prosecuted, or they simply fade into anonymity in another police department.

Cardillo’s backstory is especially bitter to take in. He’s now a disgraced cop after accidentally shooting an innocent woman. This is also cruelly ironic since Hirsch has previously been guilty of assaulting a woman.

Mel Gibson’s character Ray is also a similarly grizzled ex-detective, which makes him problematic enough. In addition, Gibson has also been known for making racist and anti-semitic remarks in the past.

More like a “farce” of nature

Considering current events such as protests and widespread police brutality, Force of Nature is already a rather poor-timed film. As opposed to where most police-related media is being suspended or cancelled, the movie instead decided to step on out.

Combined with how it poorly portrays the Puerto Rican people and seems callous to those who have gone through Hurricane Maria, the film certainly comes off as extremely tone-deaf and insensitive. Not to mention the movie’s leading actors Mel Gibson and Emile Hirsch are already controversial in their own rights.

Many have already taken to social media to decry the film. From issues in the show’s plot to the actors themselves, there’s, unfortunately, no shortage of things for people to criticize.

All bets are on LeSean Thomas, Stanfield, and FlyLo for Netflix’s ‘Yasuke’

Any anime involving mechs, magic, or samurai already has an insanely intriguing factor to it, but what about a show that combines all three?

That’s exactly what the upcoming Netflix original anime Yasuke, starring LaKeith Stanfield, will be all about. While much of the series is still under wraps, what we do know so far suggests that it’s going to be a truly epic tale.

Here’s what we know so far about Yasuke, the upcoming Netflix anime based on the real historical figure: a famed Black samurai from 16th century Japan.

It’s got magic, mechs, and samurai

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We don’t know too many details about the show’s plot, but we do know that it’s going to have these three amazing concepts mixed together. Shows with just one of these things are already interesting, but putting together all three is sure to be an exciting combination that caters to a big audience.

The story will follow the titular character of Yasuke in feudal Japan as he’s charged with the task of protecting a mysterious child who’s threatened by dark forces.

Who this child is, what these dark forces are, and just how you somehow have mechs in feudal Japan will hopefully be answered soon when the anime releases on Netflix.

The cast and crew are brilliant

If the premise of the show isn’t enough to draw you in, it’s also got a diverse and immensely skilled crew that’s making it all happen. In addition to starring Stanfield, it’s being created and directed by animation veteran LeSean Thomas and has Flying Lotus in charge of the music. All three also serve as executive producers for the show.

black samurai

Stanfield is known for his role in the TV series Atlanta, and he’s also featured in films such as Sorry to Bother You and Knives Out. Now, he’s entering a new domain as the voice of the series lead, Yasuke.

The Grammy Award-nominee Flying Lotus has created music for Adult Swim, in addition to working with artists such as Kendrick Lamar and David Lynch.

He’s also no stranger to bringing his music skills to anime, having written the soundtrack for the short film Blade Runner Black Out 2022 in addition to contributing music to Carole and Tuesday.

LeSean Thomas is an artistic legend. A television animation creator, producer, director, writer, as well as comic and artist, he’s the intellect behind a variety of incredible shows.

In addition to Yasuke, he’s also the creator, executive producer, and showrunner of another Netflix original anime known as Cannon Busters.

He’s also worked as a director and lead character designer for the award-winning series The Boondocks, and he was a storyboard artist for shows such as The Legend of Korra.

With these creative powerhouses behind the creation of Yasuke, it’s set up to be an incredible anime.

Yasuke was a real-life samurai

What history books won’t tell you is that the titular protagonist of the anime is also a historical figure from 16th century feudal Japan.

Not only was he Japan’s first and only Black samurai, he was also the first and only foreign one to have such a distinction.

Many historians say Yasuke came from Mozambique and traveled to Japan as a part of a Jesuit missionary entourage.

His legend doesn’t end with that, however. Yasuke quickly gained the interest of the famed daimyo Oda Nobunaga, who was one of feudal Japan’s unifiers.

He swiftly rose through the ranks and eventually became a full-fledged samurai. Not only that, but he also was said to have been a trusted friend of Nobunaga’s.

After Nobunaga’s suicide following the betrayal of his general, Akechi Mitsuhide, the history of Yasuke’s life, unfortunately, appears to fade away. Yasuke’s legacy still lives on, however, and this anime will only help strengthen it as more people learn about this famed samurai.


The world’s most obnoxious creature: How to spot a Karen in the wild

You’ve heard of them. You’ve seen the memes. You may have even gone through the heart-pounding terror of seeing one in-person. They’re some of Earth’s deadliest and delusional creatures. It’s a being with an insatiable need to speak to your manager: Karen.

But what makes these people so deadly? One issue, in particular, is how Karens tend to target people of color, which is especially dangerous in the current social climate.

Many actively use their senses of entitlement and privilege, as well as their insistence to call authority figures like cops, as a weapon against these people. What makes them even scarier is that they seem to have no remorse for what they do.

But some questions still remain: Why are they like this (no, really, why are they like this)? And just where do they come from? Let’s get our Steve Irwin on and look at some Karens in the wild to see what we can learn about them. More importantly, let’s see how we can avoid them.

What they look like

One of the scariest things about Karens is their ability to camouflage.

They can look like anyone at any time. While they typically take on the appearance of a middle-aged white woman, with a haircut and sense of style that usually leaves a lot to be desired, older and younger Karens alike are still possible.

Yes, people’s fears are coming to life, they’re evolving.

Not only that, but they’ve even branched off into a masculine subspecies known as “Kevins.” Don’t be fooled by their new appearances, they’re still just as dangerous.

Their wild behavior

Yes, their behavior is definitely wild, but this is also about their behavior in public. We’ve all seen the memes in their cringy glory. We’ve all judged their style or rather lack of it. For those who aren’t aware, here are some of the main traits that set Karens apart from other fauna in the animal kingdom.

The most obvious one is their sense of entitlement. They want to speak to the manager or some other authority figure, and they want to do so now. They think they’re above the masses and society’s rules, yet expect other people to follow them.

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UPDATE Her name is allegedly Tamara L Harrian. She apparently works with her husband’s Law Firm, Harrian Law Firm in Phoenix allegedly This just happened at the #shell #gasstation in #Phoenix, #Greenway and 7th st. ****please share, let’s make her #racism known ***. #racism #ignorance #viral #Iwishakarenwould #viralvideos #trending #fyp #blm #trend Backstory: Greg was checking out and this lady comes into the store all flustered yelling at the clerk to get another clerk to help because the line was getting long and her pump wasn’t working. Another clerk came out and she said to the young lady in the video, she can go checkout in an authoritative manner. The young lady said “thank you but I don’t need your assistance”. She was clearly annoyed with the lady like everyone else in the store. At this time the lady told the clerk not to serve her, told her she can leave, and go back to her country. That’s when I took out my phone, and the rest is here in the video. Video Credit Greg Conn – Thanks for stepping up and do what is right

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Karens are the kind of people who seem to be rude to service workers for no reason.

Considering how difficult it is to work a service job of any kind already, this makes Karens just downright nasty. After all, you can likely tell a lot about a person from how they treat service workers, who play an important role in many jobs.

Here’s another Karen in their natural habitat, doing just what they’re famous for:

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Video from Sunday in NYC Video by @_brownsugarbaby #Karens #karensgoingwild #kevin

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Karens have also become infamous on the internet for not following COVID-19-related regulations, such as wearing face masks or maintaining social distancing. These Karens are sometimes categorized into a new subspecies called “corona Karens.”

They’ve also adopted the habit of spewing venomous particles at people to cause sickness, usually after being told to follow coronavirus regulations.

And by “spewing venomous particles,” I mean spitefully coughing at people. A real testament to their nastiness.

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#Karen tells doctors go back to china, after he asks her to please wear a mask allegedly.

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This leads us to another defining trait of Karens: their utter hypocrisy. While they’re willing to call out everyone and everything that even makes them the slightest bit uncomfortable, they’re notably ignorant of the incredible annoyances they themselves are.

And of course, the one trait that makes them just plain awful: their racist tendencies.

This is probably fueled by the fact that they can’t live out their fantasies of living in the Old South and acting like Scarlett O’Hara from “Gone With The Wind,” as if they could be even a bit as glamorous as Scarlett. 

The only thing worse than their uneducated brains is their willingness to spit out their stupidity at any given chance they get. Unfortunately, they’re not above spewing terrible slurs or toxic remarks at people either.

More than a meme

No matter who they are or what they look like, people with “Karen” characteristics are more than just the people in those disturbing videos on social media.

For those who don’t have people around to defend them, being confronted by such a person can truly be a terrible experience.

Considering how often Karens are to get the police involved over the most insignificant matters, and how they tend to target people of color, this makes for some dangerous possibilities considering the times. 

The influence of systemic racism in this country makes Karens calling the police a terrifying weapon and an equally scary experience for people of color. By involving police even over minor inconveniences, this can make a situation unnecessarily escalate.

It’s arguably these people’s senses of entitlement, hypocrisy, and delusional nature, that make them so toxic to others. With these mindsets so deeply ingrained in them, it affects many of their main behaviors.

Even though many people regard Karens as a meme, and they may seem like an annoying person, encountering such a toxic individual can be legitimately scarring for some people.

In a time where many people are divided and police brutality is rampant, it’s important to be conscious of the effects these people can have.

How to deal with a Karen

If you have to deal with the wild beast that is a Karen (or worse they come to you), here are some survival tips. In the end though, the best thing you can do is to ignore their delusional raving, keep calm, and carry on.

When confronted by them, try ignoring them at first. If that doesn’t work, one great way to survive is to try and ask others for help. The Karen is really just a prey animal that tries to act like a predator, so ganging up on them with witnesses is a good way to ward them off.

If you’re in a situation where an authority figure like a manager or police officer is involved, just cooperate, but be careful. In most cases though, Karen will get caught in their lie and break down.

One of the best ways to defeat a Karen is to give them a taste of their own medicine. No, I don’t mean get another Karen. No one needs that. If you’ve got a friend or can find someone who’s got some privilege and influence, getting them to help will usually turn that Karen quiet.

Whatever you do, don’t escalate the situation, and don’t try to reason with them. Karen’s are too far gone, there’s no getting through to them.

If anything, it just gives them more ammunition to use against you. The best way to defeat a Karen is to have them get caught in their lies and get them to show just how empty their claims are.

It’s a wild world out there

Karens, Beckys, Kevins, whatever you call those toxic people, they’re not just a cringy caricature you hear about in the media. Despite their ludicrous nature, they’re still extremely toxic people that can pose a threat to members of marginalized communities.

Now that America’s issues of police brutality and systemic racism are coming to the fore, the last thing the world needs are entitled racists who get upset at the mildest inconvenience (which often is just to preserve the well-being of those around them).

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Remember, if you encounter someone like them, the important thing is to either try to ignore them or band together to expose their hypocrisy.

Now to answer a question I’m sure most of you are thinking: “If I know someone named Karen, are they really a ‘Karen’?”

And to that I say, sometimes a name is just a name. It’s their actions that matter, so don’t go off calling your friends named Karen and telling them that they’re…well, “Karens.” They’re better than that.

Diversify musicals: Shows with diverse casts and powerful stories

When people think of musicals, especially classical ones, they’ll probably bring up names like Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, and The Sound of Music, among others. In the musical theatre industry, it seems many of the classic shows are often focused on white or euro-centric narratives.

That or the casts are just often not the most diverse when it comes to including people of color. This doesn’t make these kinds of shows inherently bad, and it shouldn’t take away the enjoyment people get from seeing them.

But with many modern productions now featuring diverse casts, it’s important to shine the spotlight on them as well. Here are some musicals telling the stories of BIPOC.

The Wiz

If the title doesn’t make it obvious, The Wiz is a re-telling of the classic The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, but this isn’t a carbon copy of the traditional musical everyone knows about. The Wiz, tells that story with a modern black twist to it, and it typically features an all-Black cast.

What makes this even more remarkable is how this show originally premiered in 1974. The fact that this musical made its first appearance not even ten years after the end of the Civil Rights Movement shows just how powerful it is as a showcase of black art.

The show was also adapted into a film just about four years after it’s premiere, in 1978. Not only that, but the movie also features superstars such as Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, and Richard Pryor playing the roles of Dorothy, the Scarecrow, and the Wiz respectively.

So with all these shows achievements, why aren’t people talking about it. Even more importantly, why aren’t more people watching it?

Fortunately, The Wiz made a recent return to the public eye when NBC premiered a televised production of it back in 2015. If you thought the movie adaptation had a star-studded cast, then prepare yourselves.

NBC’s revival featured stars like Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige, Uzo Aduba, Ne-Yo, Common, Elijah Kelley, Amber Riley, and even Stephanie Mills, who played Dorothy in the show’s original Broadway production.

Meanwhile, Dorothy was played by up-and-coming star Shanice Williams, who absolutely slayed as the slayer of the Wicked Witches of the East and West.

NBC’s revival of The Wiz was also briefly streamed on YouTube as a part of the channel The Shows Must Go On, which provides weekly free showing of various musicals for a limited time.

In the Heights

Lin-Manuel Miranda may be mostly known for being the brilliant mind behind the popular musical Hamilton, but he’s also the brains behind In the Heights as well.

This musical tells the story of the inhabitants of the Washington Heights neighborhood in New York. With characters whose relationships intertwine with one another, and each of them having their own struggles, the musical portrays a truly life-like experience.

What makes this show especially unique is how it focuses on the lives of immigrants and Latinx individuals living in Washington Heights. As a result, the production generally has a diverse cast as well. The musical also features stars such as Christopher Jackson, Olga Merediz, Karen Olivo, and the creator himself Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Like Miranda’s smash hit HamiltonIn the Heights is also getting an upcoming movie adaptation treatment. It’ll feature stars such as Anthony Ramos, who previously starred in “Hamilton;” Stephanie Beatriz; as well as Olga Merediz who will be reprising her Broadway role as Abuela Claudia; and of course, Miranda will also be making an appearance.

In the Heights provides a unique perspective into the immigrant and Latinx community, which generally is seldom seen in the musical industry. It’s this unique lens which also makes it that much more special.

The Color Purple

A musical adaptation of Alice Walker’s famous novel, The Color Purple tells the story of the character Celie as she navigates through hardship in the early 1900s South. Similar to The Wiz, the show generally consists of a mostly Black cast.

What truly sets this musical apart though is how it deals with heavy themes such as abuse and sexual assault. This arguably gives it a new sense of impact and power compared to many other musicals.

The Color Purple was originally published as a novel told through letters in 1982 before Stephen Spielberg made his famous film adaptation in 1985 that included famous actors such as Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey. The musical however is fairly recent, with its original Broadway production premiering in 2005, which Winfrey also helped produce.

Since then the show has had multiple tours and a 2015 revival. The original musical back in 2005 included stars such as LaChanze, who famously starred as one of The Muses in Disney’s Hercules; as well as Renée Elise Goldsberry, who originated the role of Angelica Schuyler in Hamilton on Broadway.

The 2015 Broadway revival of The Color Purple packed no less star power either. It features actresses such as Cynthia Erivo, Danielle Brooks, and Jennifer Hudson.

With its diverse cast and bravery to approach such serious topics all set against a musical backdrop, The Color Purple has an important story to be told, and a musical score to back it up.

The importance of diverse musicals

While modern productions have provided a gateway for underrepresented communities to have a voice in the mainstream music scene, there’s always room for improvement.

The influence of the Black Lives Matter movement has certainly drawn attention to creative content created by the black community, and it’s also pointed out the importance of supporting people of color as a whole. Giving voice to marginalized communities shouldn’t be just due to this movement however, but a continual process.

Musical theater has the power to convey life experiences both fictional and non-fictional in an immersive and powerful way that draws the audience in. For an hour or two, all people need to do is just sit back and relax as they get to peer into another world.

While modern musicals provide insight into issues and themes that many individuals face today, that doesn’t mean people should dismiss the importance of older more classical musicals. Even if they may not have started out as the most diverse productions when they originated, that doesn’t mean they need to stay stuck in the past.

One of the beautiful things about art is the ability for it to be re-imagined, and musicals are no different. Even if a musical originally had a mostly-white cast, or primarily revolved around euro-centric topics, there can still be room for change and adaptation.

Who’s to say a director can’t do an all-Black production of “Phantom of the Opera?” What about a more diverse version of “The Sound of Music?”

By diversifying the musical theater sector and giving attention to musicals about underrepresented communities, this will do more than inform audiences’ perspectives. It will arguably help enrich the beautiful world of musical theater as a whole.

Federal Change: Nancy Pelosi removes portraits of Confederate Speakers

A symbolic deed of justice has finally occurred at the federal level. Last Thursday on the eve of Juneteenth,

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi ordered the removal of four portraits of previous House Speakers that served in the Confederacy.

The portraits depicted former Speakers Robert Hunter, Howell Cobb, James Orr, and Charles Crisp.

This act of removing Confederate and otherwise racist symbols is just one of many in 2020. Already people have called for the removal of statues of controversial figures around the US, and some protesters have even taken down statues themselves.

These efforts have occurred not just domestically, but all over the world, as many people are finally taking action against the issue of systemic racism and the symbols that glorify it.

There have been massive Black Lives Matter protests in England, along with the removal of statues of former racists.

Belgium has also taken part in removing statues of horrid historic figures, along with other countries…

The fact that there was a decision made at the federal level in the US to remove these Confederate portraits holds special significance. Not only does it show the impact that people’s voices can have, but it also reveals just how widespread the effects of social campaigns such as the Black Lives Matter movement and racial advocacy efforts can be.

As some of the internet hype for these movements on social media seems to be dying down, it’s important to not take this as a sign to slow down or stop these efforts. If anything, it should be a motivator to keep moving forward.

Maintaining the current momentum of protests and calls for reform is one of the key ways to ensure these efforts stay within the public eye. Spreading the word is also vital in ensuring society doesn’t return back to an unjust status quo.

No matter how you decide to take action, whether it be educating yourself, taking part in activism, donating to charitable causes, or even spreading the word, know that even your one voice can be the catalyst to spark greater change.

A convergence of crises: Why Yemen needs international aid and coverage

The country is suffering from one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. In addition to coronavirus, there is also widespread conflict, and food and water shortages.

This isn’t about America. This is about Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the Middle East that are now being ravaged by a global pandemic and a civil war, among other issues. The biggest problem? Barely anyone seems to be paying attention.

The question is, why? And what can people do to help?

History of the conflict

Yemen is suffering from more than just the COVID-19 crisis. The country has also been embroiled in a civil war that has raged on for several years. The history of this war can be traced back to 2011 when President Ali Abdullah Saleh was ousted and forced to hand authority to his deputy, Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi.

The transition of power was not a seamless one. President Hadi’s term was wracked by civil unrest, corruption, and food insecurity. This contributed to the rise of the Houthi movement, which eventually overthrew Hadi’s government and gradually took control of Yemen’s government in the city of Sanaa between 2014 to 2015.

The Houthis have since expanded to control much of the western areas of the county, and President Hadi, as well as other members of his government, have been forced into exile.

In 2015 a coalition led by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and other countries assembled in an attempt to restore Hadi’s internationally recognized government. However, some countries such as the UAE are now withdrawing their support from Yemen.

The civil war has continued on since then, and it has contributed to a multitude of problems such as food and water shortages, a lack of central government, and countless deaths.

While a cease-fire was in effect for a time, the Southern Transitional Council or STC, recently declared self-rule in an island off of Yemen’s southern coast known as Socotra. This island is not only a UNESCO world heritage site due to its unique plant life, but it’s also a vital shipping port for Yemen. 

The STC’s actions not only violate the conditions of the country’s cease-fire agreement, but it also further complicates the nature of this conflict. The STC was previously allied with the Saudi Arabian and UAE coalition, and it formerly received support from the United Arab Emirates in particular.

As conflict rages despite attempts to render a cease-fire agreement, this only worsens the issues the people of Yemen are already facing.

Yemen faces more than just a pandemic

With the continuing and ever-complicating civil war in Yemen, the country is going through the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. Despite attempts at international aid, some relief organizations are still struggling to deliver relief to people.

According to a United Nations press release, “A funding deficit of more than $1 billion remains, following the 2 June High-Level Pledging Event for Yemen, when donors pledged $1.35 billion, out of the $2.41 billion needed for essential humanitarian activities through the year.”

Another UN press release mentions, “UNICEF’s COVID-19 response in Yemen remains severely under-funded. So far, only 10 percent of UNICEF’s $53 million funding appeal has been received.” As a result, they face the possibility of shutting off clean water stations in the country.

Doctors Without Borders has suffered as well due to the civil war. Back in 2018, two of their operation sites were attacked.

“For the second time in less than a week, the staff house of the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Ad Dhale governorate in southern Yemen was targeted with explosives. The most recent incident occurred on October 1,” according to a press release from the organization.

“Due to the severity of these attacks and the clear lack of safety for the team working there, MSF has been forced to withdraw its staff from Ad Dhale and suspend its medical programs until further notice, leaving thousands of Yemenis without humanitarian and medical assistance.”

Even without taking the COVID-19 crisis into consideration, the humanitarian crisis in Yemen is still among the worst in the world. The country suffers from severe issues such as food shortages, lack of access to clean water and hygiene, and what is considered to be the worst cholera epidemic in modern history.

When compounded with the coronavirus pandemic, however, the situation in Yemen is truly an apocalyptic one.

COVID-19, a civil war, and a cholera epidemic

Like the rest of the world, Yemen too suffers from the coronavirus pandemic, which has compounded upon the many other problems its people unfortunately suffer. According to a UNICEF spokesperson:

“COVID-19 is spreading rapidly across the country already experiencing the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, driven by an unabated conflict.”

“The conflict in Yemen has a disproportionate impact on women and children,” the spokesperson continued. “Yemen is already one of the worst places on earth to be a woman or a child…As COVID-19 spreads throughout Yemen, their futures will be at even greater risk.”

Due to the lack of a centralized government and the divided nature of the country, the Yemeni people already struggle in obtaining medical care for issues caused by the civil war there. Trying to combat a new disease now only makes things more difficult.

“These outcomes are almost certainly a result of the conflict. More than five years of war have devastated Yemen’s health infrastructure, subjected Yemenis to repeated disease outbreaks and malnutrition, and substantially increased vulnerabilities,” said a UNICEF spokesperson.

“Civilians continue to bear the brunt of the conflict, with close to 100,000 Yemenis having been forced to flee their home since the beginning of the year.

With attacks ranging from airstrikes to artillery shellings, the thought of any sort of coronavirus-related regulations to mitigate the spread is nothing more than a distant dream. Not to mention the country is already suffering from the worst cholera epidemic in modern history, which puts further strain on its healthcare system. According to a UNICEF spokesperson:

“Sanitation and clean water are in short supply. Only half of health facilities are functioning. Many functioning health centres lack basic equipment like masks and gloves, let alone oxygen and other essential supplies to treat COVID-19.  Many health and frontline humanitarian workers have no protective gear, and most are receiving no salaries or incentives.”

The spokesperson added, “In spite of the efforts of local health workers and international agencies, the health system is buckling further under the additional strain of COVID-19.”

Even calling the events in Yemen “the worst humanitarian crisis in the world” almost doesn’t seem to do it justice. Despite the horrifying multitude of crises its people endure, there seems to be little media attention on Yemen in the United States, which makes the fact that some are unaware of the suffering there all the more horrific.

“Children in Yemen continue to face a myriad of threats to their survival. A further spread of cholera, high levels of malnutrition and outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases compounded by COVID-19 will only exacerbate the burden that children and their families already face,” said Sara Beysolow Nyanti, UNICEF Representative in Yemen.

How to help out

Donating directly to humanitarian organizations is the best way to give aid, but there are alternatives available for those who might not have the resources to give directly.

If you’re looking for a one-stop online resource for how to help the people of Yemen, this website provides a list of sources you can use to educate yourself and spread the word of what is going on. There are also names of organizations you can donate to if you decide to do so in the future.

As mentioned previously, INGOs such as UNICEF and the UN, as well as many others are still immensely short on their required funding. UNICEF offers a variety of resources that give people guidance on how to take action, and the UN has a page where people can donate to any one of their branch organizations.

Spreading the word through social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, is also a good way to show others the severity of the situation in Yemen.

In a time where a multitude of tragic happenings such as the COVID-19 crisis, protests, and civil unrest are occurring, it’s important to consider events beyond one’s own home country. Even keeping international events in mind can help start the spread of awareness and coverage. Just remember, even now…

“A tragedy continues to unfold in Yemen in the full glare of the world.”

Juneteenth is the holiday you need to know the history of. Here’s why.

June 19 is a day of freedom and independence for many people in the US. No, this isn’t confusing today for July 4, This is about Juneteenth, the day slaves in the US were finally able to be truly free.

While the time of slavery may be over in America, however, the influence of racism has yet to fade away. People of color are still oppressed in the US, and the influx of police brutality is only making things worse.

This makes Juneteenth even more prominent now more than ever. But if it’s so important, why isn’t it so famous? Here’s a look into the history of this holiday and why it’s essential today and beyond.

The History of Juneteenth

While July 4, 1776, is America’s Independence Day, back then not everyone was truly free. To slaves, it was just another year.

The origins of Juneteenth can be traced back to the American Civil War. On June 19, 1865, Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas to announce the end of the Civil War, and that all slaves were free.

This took place a couple of months after Gen. Robert E. Lee’s surrender at the Battle of Appomattox Court House on April 9, a decisive battle that marked the beginning of the end for Confederate forces.

One important fact to consider is that Juneteenth does not necessarily mark the day slavery ended in the US. Technically, slavery was abolished in America on January 1, 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln gave his famed Emancipation Proclamation.

 However, the proclamation hardly had any real effect outside of the Union.

In fact, it essentially had little effect on the Confederacy, since they didn’t acknowledge President Lincoln’s authority. Meanwhile, in Confederate territories often occupied by the Union, they often lacked the manpower to enforce the order.

Juneteenth, in reality, is the day when the last of America’s slaves actually found out they were free, but really they had technically been free since the Emancipation Proclamation. It was only on Juneteenth that it actually began to get enforced across the country at the time.

Why it’s important

While the time of slavery is long past, and America has come a long way since then, unfortunately, it’s still not perfect.

Racism is still present in many aspects of society. With the issue of police brutality back in the public eye as well, it shows that the US still has a ways to go in order to be truly equitable for everyone.

That’s why this year’s celebration of Juneteenth is especially important. The holiday’s message of independence and liberation truly resonates in the current social climate.

Juneteenth originally started out as a celebration of independence in Texas, but since then it’s spread beyond and started to take root across the country.

Despite the important values it celebrates, however, it’s still struggled to break into the mainstream until today. After all, can everyone honestly say they’ve heard of Juneteenth before today, much less this year?

With America’s issues of systemic racism and police brutality now more significantly exposed, this has arguably given Juneteenth the opportunity needed to emerge as a light of hope in these dark times.

This holiday should not be important just over the course of this year, however, but even in the years beyond.