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The All Black Everything Summit celebrates the joy of black creativity

The All Black Everything Summit is back and we’re here for it.

But before we get into the event curated to inspire the next generation of go-getters let’s do a deeper dive into who founded the semi-annual digital event.

Ahead of time if you’re looking to attend the ABE Summit, pay what you can, and get tickets here.

Meet MUA Joy Fennell the founder of The All Black Everything Summit

There came a time when, as a young college student in Maryland, Joy Fennell, now a top-notch fashion and celebrity make-up artist based in New York, had enough of the tiresome routine: completing one homework assignment after another, writing paper after paper, meeting deadlines almost on autopilot.

Perhaps, that’s a sentiment that settles, even more than once, into all young people’s consciousnesses, as they yearn to gauge something deeper and fulfilling outside from their oft-theory-based classes.

But for Joy, it wasn’t merely a phase; it was the beginning of her chasing after her calling.

A calling that wasn’t another abstract dream to swipe under the rug and forget about when going towards it became tedious. She had to be decisive, clear with her plans, and wholly determined to get, as she did, to where she wanted to be.

She had to be that way for her mother, who understandably was initially discontent when Joy took her last semester off. Most importantly, however, she had to be that way for herself.

Her headstrong independence challenged a notion to which many young black creatives were then made to subscribe: the “gate-keeper mentality,” the idea that they have to ask for permission to get into a certain professional field.

“When I first got into the [make-up] industry, it was all about gatekeepers. It was about someone telling you that you are allowed into something safely,” she said.

Instead, she did not wait for approval. She went after her own “keys to the kingdom” and her own legacy. 


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Hello and welcome to all of my new followers!⁣⁣⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⁣⁣⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ My name is Joy Fennell and I am a makeup artist based in NYC and the founder of The Joy in Beauty but that’s just half of the story.⁣⁣⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⁣⁣⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I’m also the creatress of the All Black Everything Summit (@allblackeverythingsummit). I created this summit to support Black creatives. ⁣Feel free to follow that account as well.⁣⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⁣⁣⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ This summit emerged out of the Covid19 quarantine but now looking back, it was a foreshadowing of what was to come in the world. ⁣⁣⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⁣⁣⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Therefore, I am proud AF. Proud to know that real work was being done and hard conversations were starting to take place. Let’s keep this energy going.⁣⁣⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⁣⁣⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ If you’re ready for growth and real conversations then I say hello but if you’re not then I ask you to really challenge yourself and look inward to see what your conscious and unconscious biases are and why your ego won’t allow you to let them go.⁣⁣⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⁣⁣⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ And like I always say, perfection is NOT required but GROWTH IS!⁣⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⁣⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ And yes, I put that I’m “One to Watch.” Why you might ask? Well, you’ll just have to “watch” and see. ⁣⁣⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⁣⁣⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I’ll show you better than I can tell you.⁣⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⁣⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ps-if you follow both accounts you will see some overlapping of posts but bare with me, this will course correct soon and both accounts will eventually provide different updates.

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While she was ambitious to find a job that would speak to her, she did not immediately know that make-up was what she wanted to do.

Growing up, her creative endeavors were limitless; among other mediums, she tapped into drawing, and with that, she eventually developed a love for fashion, photography as well as perusing through old magazines and watching old films. 

It wasn’t until — serendipitously — she was walking past a MAC counter, with the stereo blasting there and people sitting and having fun, that she thought to herself: “Maybe I could work there.”

“I had never done anybody’s makeup. And I had no experience,” she said. “I went over and I asked them if they were hiring. And they said yes.”

The night before the job interview, she added:  “I had a friend who stayed up late with me and taught me a make-up look. And that’s how it happened.”

A platform designed to empower

Today, she wishes for every black creative to embrace that same mindset. That is why in May she launched the All Black Everything Summit, a platform that, through resources, virtual panels, and guides, could empower Black artists creatively and economically.

So that they can know how to better stand up for themselves, to ensure that their contributions are fairly monetized and that they have a community that supports them every step of the way.


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ATTENTION: THIS MESSAGE ISN’T FOR EVERYONE!!!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Let me first acknowledge that this message isn’t for everyone in the world. Some people are waking up to just survive the day. I don’t want people to feel like they are failing if they don’t do anything during this time of uncertainty.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ This message is; however, for the people that feel like the only way they can make it through is by doing something to stay busy.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I’m both. Some days, I want to do all the things and some days, I’m in bed barely wanting to touch a laptop.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The great thing is that you get to decide for yourself who you want to be on any given day. No judgment involved from anyone else outside of yourself. Nothing from the peanut gallery.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ So take this message how you want.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I actually heard this message in one of my #IGLIVES last week. Not sure who said it (but if you said it please let me know so I can credit you properly).⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ This message really made me think about how to make life long shifts in my life even during a pandemic.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Listen, I pray that we all make it through this with minimal repercussions but the truth is, I’m not sure that will be the case.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ My goal though is to help others because in helping others, I’m helping myself through this time. So that’s my goal. Nothing more, nothing less.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I pray that you are able to navigate through this time and cope as best you can. Don’t let the world tell you how to respond. That’s totally up to you.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ But I do pray that you find the strength to carry on and survive. Amen.

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The idea came to her in the middle of the night, after stay-at-home orders to curb the COVID-19 spread were finally given. 

Similar to the voice that spoke to her when passing by a MAC counter many years ago, another one prompted several questions in her head:

“What is going on with black creatives? How are we handling this? I knew that the pandemic would have a really disproportionate effect on us?”

Planning the first three-day summit, confirming creatives that would share their experiences, designing a digital page took everything out of her, but it brought her happiness a thousandfold. 

You have to put that work in, fam

Though she was moderating all the panels — which featured herbalist and licensed massage therapist Karen Culpepper, make-up artists Delina Medhin and Alana Wright, hairstylist Naeemah Lafond, celebrity stylist as well as inspirational speaker Felicia Leatherwood, and beauty entrepreneur AJ Crimson — she hasn’t considered it a one-woman show, per se. 

Behind the scenes, has been her advisory board, too. It includes her sister Daria Fennell, who runs her own namesake entertainment and publicity brand, JDot., co-founder and senior publicist at The JDot. Agency, NYC-based make-up artist Jennifer Fleming, and Culpepper.

The energy surrounding the project was new for Joy, but it only took two weeks between the epiphany and the manifestation of the idea.

A place of healing

It was also rather timely. Soon after the summit’s debut, the nation, already stricken with a pandemic, erupted in fury to George Floyd’s murder. Then and there, the question of how black artists are doing at such an overwhelming moment felt even more palpable.


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Repost from @theccnyc #blackouttuesday #amplifymelanatedvoices

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Whilst their social media feeds were filled with, sometimes, performative action posts, disturbing news images, and shocking clips, black artists all tacitly sought a sense of grounding.

For those who turned to the All Black Everything Summit, the platform intended to give them a “push” to foster their various crafts, so that they could get in touch with their inner voices, and heal.


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When you’re dipped in gold no one can stop you. Go get yours. 📸 by the amazing: @seyeisikalu

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“One of the things that I learned over the years as a creative, and starting out as a creative, is that creativity is what heals the community,” said Joy.

“I felt that if we weren’t creating, then, you know, I got nervous about that. I wanted to know how we are going to channel this energy and what we are going to create from this energy.”

Black artists, she says, need to understand that they will only begin to make sense of their generational wounds when they stop neglecting the fact that their creativity is their currency. Taking that into consideration, they must go out into the world and demand what they deserve.

Part of actionable healing, though, is not only sheerly confined to introspection, but also an acceptance of leaning on other artists for uplift.

It’s in that dependence, even if for a spare moment, on someone else’s positive gesture, inspiration, and words of wisdom that can remind those who might be more so falling behind that their creative journeys are real jobs.

That they do deserve an equitable wage, that their contribution to society is as important as everyone else’s because it is their creativity that shifts culture and effectuates change. 

Lean on me…

But what does it concretely mean to rely on other artists? The first step, Joy says, is to look at everyone as part of a team.

That means figuring out what others’ unique specialties are and considering them when contriving and, then, executing certain ideas.

Second, communication never hurts. Every artist, let alone anyone in general regardless of title, encounters struggles. Embracing vulnerability only opens more doors, creates a space of trust and commonality, and nurtures newfound respect beyond professional bounds.

Breakdowns happen when the aforementioned elements are not nurtured, when, afraid to appear vain, miserable, and petty, many artists withhold their emotions, bring themselves to creative blocks, and become too hesitant to reach out.

“We are always told, ‘Keep your business to yourself.’ But little do we know that people are out here struggling. They are mentally struggling and they don’t realize that there are others going through the same thing,” Joy said.

“And this is how we can all help each other out — by communicating. Lifting each other up and saying: ‘Hey, I am going through this too.’”

What you create is your business

Black artists also need to think of their projects, their businesses — no matter how small — as big.

And they need to maintain their relationships with their support systems along the way. Many are too focused, in fact, on taking the next step that they forget who, in the present, is already in their corner.

Oftentimes, without even realizing, they have “entire teams sitting in their living rooms” eager to provide help. Instead of thinking that one’s experience is lacking, that one’s endeavors are too “over-the-top,” too ambitious, these questions should be posed, Joy said:

“You might not be on the same level as being a big business right now, but what are your dreams? And how are your peers and the relationships you have right now channeling into those dreams at this point when you could utilize everyone’s gift to help?”

However, while many, she points out, are slow to give people the opportunity to help and feel needed, taking advantage of another’s friendship and gift means offering the same to them, too. Each connection is always a two-way street, always reciprocal.

Those kinds of relationships she mentions, especially nowadays and particularly for black artists, require good listening.

Joy wishes for her summits to scratch beneath the surficial — so that questions, from viewers and moderators, could be deep and answers from panelists could, in turn, be thought-provoking, somewhat didactic but overall genuinely helpful.

Validation of feelings is one thing; giving a well-construed perspective, no matter how forthright, is another.

“A good listener is someone who doesn’t listen just to speak. They are not just waiting to jump at the answer. They really like analyzing and really providing quality feedback,” she said.

“And when I say quality feedback, it’s not necessarily everything you want to hear or everything you need to hear. You need that person in your corner who is going to be that critical thought — who is not just sitting there telling you that you are the greatest of all time.”

So, when’s the next All Black Everything Summit?


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TODAY’S THE DAY!!!!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The tickets for the 2nd ALL BLACK EVERYTHING SUMMIT are now LIVE!!!!!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ And guess what??? You can PAY WHAT YOU CAN!!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Yep! This is open to everyone, no barriers to entry. This is about community and growth. No excuses!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Panelists announcements coming soon but get your ticket early!!! This summit is about to be popping!!!!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Share with everyone in your network. Repost, put it in your IG stories and get ready. If you thought the first one was good. Wait til you see what we have planned for number 2!

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On October 21 to 23, Joy is planning another summit. There, she doesn’t just hope to have more moderators besides herself but looks forward to delving into solution-finding.

Acknowledging systemic injustice isn’t enough. Strategizing how to and what to do next should be imperative. Having more of those conversations is just the beginning of an ambitious objective towards a fair, inclusive, and accepting future.

Still, writing off 2020 is not an option. However dire it is, it is also still opportune. Like with any obstacle, perseverance, motivation, and independent-thinking are always keys.


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If there’s anything she most wants every black artist to take away from her new platform and summits: 

“Stop asking for permission to go after our goals,” she explains.

“We stop waiting for someone to tell us it’s okay. I want us to know that we are powerful. The goal is to have it be intrinsic from your soul, coming from out of you.”

If you’re looking to attend the ABE Summit, pay what you can, and get tickets here.

Need help engaging today’s consumer? Here’s some advice from Getty Images.

Back in February, Getty Images unveiled Visual GPS, an ambitious new research project that aims to help brands, media and small businesses better understand today’s consumer. 

Now, the leading visual content provider has released a new wave of research, its first since the Covid-19 pandemic gripped the world. The findings: almost 80 percent of people say advertisers need to do a better job showing various ethnicities and 44 percent do not think advertising does a good job representing them.

What’s missing?

Plainly, advertisers do a bad job of representing the intersectionality of lifestyle and culture. Today’s consumer is more tuned in than ever before and advertising must be nuanced to show the world as it truly is. 

getty images family
Portrait of a multigenerational family in the courtyard garden during a dinner party via Getty Images

“The first Visual GPS study conducted prior to the COVID-19 pandemic showed us how important representation is to people and we continued to track this through the last four months,” said Dr. Rebecca Swift, Global Head of Creative Insights at Getty Images.

“The Summer Update shows that amid the COVID-19 pandemic and despite massive changes in people’s lives, the demand for more diversity in visual communications has only increased.” 

From the outset, the team posited that in a world so utterly infiltrated with information and misinformation, all of which could be visually distorted and manipulated or provocative and even desensitizing, brands needed a resource to help them better engage their audience. 

The advertising community can often rely on groupthink and worn out tropes but to move the industry forward, several questions must be answered: What’s genuinely empowering for audiences of all demographics? How about resonating? Perhaps even revelatory and positively nuanced? 

In a visual content landscape that is already over-saturated, Getty Images’ Visual GPS analyzes the stereotypes, archetypes and prejudices that have built up over time. Can we hit a “reset” button on the perceptions that have built up over time?

And specifically, how would that help previously underrepresented communities, especially people of color, finally feel seen?

“In response to protests taking place around the world, in response to senseless police brutality against Black people, there’s a heightened emphasis on the need for visual content that allows brands to tell more diverse and inclusive stories,” said Tristen Norman, the Head of Getty Images’ Creative Insights.

“Our Visual GPS survey data shows that consumers want to align themselves with brands that stand for something, and while many brands have made the claim that Black lives matter, the images they are selecting are oftentimes not inclusive or representative of Black people or other communities of color.”

getty images grocery store
Customer Paying For Shopping At Checkout Of Sustainable Plastic Free Grocery Store via Getty Images

The Getty Images Creative Insight team sifts through the data

Sifting through over one-billion data points on both and, relying on its 25 years of experience in visual insights as well as 375 million assets and its over 310,000 contributors, Getty Images partnered with YouGov, a market research firm, that compiled data from over 5,000 surveyed consumers across 26 countries and 13 languages.

All of the findings also stem from a larger quantitative investigation on the effects that global issues, dependent on industry segment, and their presentation in visual media have on consumers.  

The creatives, futurists, archivists, and art directors in the team grounded their initial research on four categories — wellness, realness, technology, and sustainability —  based on emerging trends.

The results showed a gap between consumers’ surface level take on visual media versus its deeper, long-term effects. The digital world’s “information overwhelm” has made the disconnect more tangible.

The “overwhelm”

While the “overwhelm” might suggest that there is simply more access to content, it has also made it harder to find what is accurately representative and authentic, images that instead of feeding into the status quo, actively challenge it.

“The demand for more inclusive content includes not only authentic depictions of race and ethnicity but also varied use of different ages, genders, body types, and more,” said Norman.

It’s also important for brands to go beyond just featuring people of various appearances in their advertising; they need to dig deeper and portray authentic experiences and perspectives.”

creative insight
Young woman loves the sport of longboarding via Getty Images

In the team’s global customer search data, searches have been found to increase year over year for words like “diversity,” which is up 133 percent and “culture,” up 115 percent as well as “real people” and “inclusion,” up 115 percent and 126 percent, respectively.

From May to June, likely given all of the protests against social injustice and systemic racism, searches for diverse images have increased by 200 percent and those around unity and equality have increased by 500 percent.

“Our data and research tells us there’s a clear appetite to tell, hear and see inclusive stories, but brands and businesses must go beyond tokenistic inclusion to intentionally create advertising and business communications which truly capture people’s authentic lifestyles and culture,” said Dr. Swift.  

A decade of work

Having worked over a decade to address the underrepresentation and misrepresentation of various groups in visual communications, this is Getty Images’ latest effort.

Previous projects, with similar aims towards authentic content, included commercial imagery collections, such as, the Nosotros Collection, the Disability Collection, and Project #ShowUs

According to Norman,  Microsoft and P&G have also made their advertising efforts more diverse. 

“But as an industry, we still have significant work to do,” she said.

“We hope this second wave of Visual GPS data points brands in the right direction when considering what imagery to use, but at the end of the day, companies need to identify their core values and choose content that supports what they stand for.”

The Visual GPS Summer Update has also found that of the people who have felt discriminated against across visual-media (62 percent), only 14 percent said that they are well-represented in advertising.

This sentiment is more common amongst Gen-zers as compared to other generations. Also, more women feel that way than men and more consumers in America relative to those in Europe and APAC.

“There’s clearly room for improvement when it comes to representation, as evidenced by Visual GPS findings, which also suggests significant opportunities,” said Dr. Swift.

getty images creative
Teenage girl throwing packet in garbage can via Getty Images

In North America as compared to other aforementioned regions, those who have reported feeling discriminated against describing it as that which pertains to the color of their skin (57 percent).

Fifty-three percent of respondents from the same region say that they have been discriminated in a similar way but more grounded in the assumptions that the visual media has perpetuated about their backgrounds.

However, in Europe, respondents said that they have been discriminated against by the media but more so based on assumptions made about their nationality or country of origin.

Bridging the gap

Considering all of this recent data, the Getty Images Creative Insight team intends to mend the oft-broken connection between brands and consumers.

This time, though, it’s not just the bare minimum of effort that counts. Diversity and inclusion ask for much more. More thought. More insight. More determined understanding of people’s experiences, rooting out any preconceived notions. 

For better guidance, the team has released an Inclusive Video Search Guide.

It is built off Visual GPS findings and it encourages different organizations to reach towards intentional authenticity, inclusivity, and fair representation. 

“We recognize our challenge and opportunity in supporting our global customer base toward content choices which reflect consumer preference,” said Dr. Swift.

“This research will form the basis for a number of tools that will help brands and businesses on this journey.”

Pharrell and Jay-Z’s ‘Entrepreneur’ couldn’t come at a better time

Pharrell Williams’ decision to feature Jay-Z in his songs like “Frontin’,” and vice versa, like “Excuse Me Miss,” isn’t surprising. Their musical partnership has spanned decades. But with the newly released single, “Entrepreneur,” their history of collaborations has seemingly reached its climax. 

And it couldn’t have come in a more timely manner. 

It’s here amid a pandemic that is far from over, social unrest, an ongoing election that’s still very much divisive on all fronts, and economic downturns, all of which have somehow, in their own ways, not only widened income gaps but also particularly racial ones.

Pharrell whispers with a kind of falsetto-like croon in the first verse:

“I am black ambition/ I am always whisperin’/They keep tellin’ me I will not/ But my will won’t listen”

Jay-Z later follows reasonably overtly:

“Uh, lies told to you, through YouTubes and Hulus/ Shows with no hues that look like you do.”

Chad Hugo from The Neptunes also co-produced the song with Williams.

“Entrepreneur” is a celebration of the oft-challenging journeys that Black creatives, strategists, and business owners have taken to get a spot in the light against all odds. 

Calmatic, an award-winning director — though he prefers the title “artist” in lieu of director because he likes the idea of being creatively limitless, exploratory, and just always approaches everything through the perspective of “hip-hop” — was in charge of conjuring up the visuals. 

He mostly did it from home.


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New music video for Entrepreneur by Pharrell ft. Jay-Z. Directed by CALMATIC. It’s hard to wrap my head around this one.To be honest this feels like a dream. Some many people and places near and dear that are out here changing the world, super humbled to be able to capture it all. If you know you know. I want to take to time to thank all the people that help make this happen. Prettybird for facilitating such a huge production and superwoman @_lolavictoria for grinding so hard day and night finding stories and helping us navigate the streets during all this pandemic madness. This piece wouldn’t be the same without you. Big love to @parallax_post coming through with the edit and making something out of nothing. Shout out to @name___date___ providing his artwork at the end of the film and big thank you to @ayindeanderson_ @samdavisdp @jaredmroyal and the rest of our international crew for helping capture this whole thing all across the globe! Lastly I want to thank @pharrell and the @i_am_other team for trusting me with this monumental song. Blessed. 🖤🌍✨🖖🏾 #entrepreneur #blackman

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Producers came up with a list of Black-owned businesses and searched for the most poignant stories, and went around the country to capture their vision, even if most of it was set in LA, considering that that’s where Calmatic spent his time for the past months of quarantine.

In previous years, he worked on “Old Town Road,” which received a Grammy for 2020’s Best Music Video of the Year, with Lil X Nas, Anderson Paak’s “Bubblin,” and Vince Staples’ The Vince Staples Show.

Williams’ team had reached out to Calmatic around last year pitching an idea for a project that was supposed to be an ode to Black people in general but only recently did he decide to finally put out the song. It took two weeks to create the video that would live up to the bold lyrics. 

Initially, he wanted it to take a docu-style form, but he told Complex that it became more special. It grew not into an anthem, per se, considering that the connotation for the word is “exciting,” but into something spiritual and meditative.

The goal, he said, was to appeal to people’s positive emotions; instead of adding to the “shock” that’s all-present in headlines, political debates and one-offs and Twitter and images, his intentions were grounded on sensitization.

He wanted to show the art of the Black “will” — a word that runs thematically in the lyrics — to overcome and regain what, for centuries, their ancestors had been missing: pure respect for their humanity and thus, equality of opportunity.

“It’s just like, everything is shock,” he explained. “You just wake up in the morning and you see something. That shit is shocking and traumatic, over and over and over and over and over again. So the goal was to make something that’s shockingly positive or shockingly motivational.”

Though the song quite explicitly has a refrain of “Black man,” Calmatic points out that while it’s wrong how people sometimes even refer to humankind as “mankind,” he says that in this case, “Black man” is a general term that relates to “anybody that’s Black.”


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woah @spotify ‼️

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Women of color own more businesses anyway, according to the State of Women-Owned Business report from 2019. Last year, they accounted for 89% of those who opened businesses.

Among the men featured in the video, like TyAnthony Davis who founded Vox Collegiate junior to help his underperforming school district.

Iddris Sandu who, at just 23, has already written algorithms for Snapchat, Uber, and Instagram.

There’s Issa Rae who has built her own web series empire on the same South LA blocks on which she used to make low-budget films.

There’s Angela Richardson who turned her home cleaning goods into a retail line.

There’s Chef Alisa of the vegan-soul food place, My Two Cents. And there’s Denise Woodard of Partake Cookies.

There’s also Debbie Allen, whose own experience with childbirth at a hospital wasn’t favorable, so she became the CEO of Tribe Midwifery to create a safe space for Black women (who are 3-4 times more likely to die from childbirth-related issues than white women).

The song-and-video release also comes on the heels of Williams’ curating a project for TIME, which features conversations with those like Angela Davis, Naomi Osaki, and Tyler, the Creator.

He told the magazine that he considers economic equity to be one of the most fundamental aspects of ensuring some kind of success.

“They keep saying the American Dream is about the house and picket fence, the wife and two kids,” he said. “Come one — let’s be honest. It’s always boiled down to money and an opportunity.”

Unfortunately, however, that sense of fair opportunity has been even more battered by the pandemic. Black-owned businesses benefit less from federal stimulus programs. They usually don’t have steady banking partners, access to loans, and usually not enough employees to be able to move their businesses online fully.

Most of their businesses fall into industries that have been more directly affected by shutdowns and a decrease in demands, such as nail salons, daycare centers, taxi services,

A non-profit research policy group, The Center for Responsible Lending, reported that 95 percent of Black-owned businesses are so small that most of them make up the owners’ primary source of income.

According to a survey conducted by the Global Strategy Group for ColorofChange and UnidosUS, only 12 percent of those Black and Hispanic owners who applied for aid through the Small Business received what they requested and 26 percent only got a portion of what was promised.

The Paycheck Protection Program, however, mainly seems to favor big organizations, even though the Treasury Department recently promised to work more with the Small Business Administration to close the gaps and help those families whose businesses are not only on the cusp of closing permanently but who also live in areas where the COVID-19 infection rates have been some of the highest.

In June, when all of those estimations of the pandemic’s disproportionate effects were being contrived, Pharrell gave a resounding speech that addressed his home state of Virginia. Joined by Governor Robert Northam, he urged legislators to make Juneteenth, a day that celebrates the end of US slavery in 1865, a national holiday.

His words were powerful then. And they are now, in “Entrepreneur.” He doesn’t mean, and neither do those with whom he has collaborated, to spread the message of hopelessness. 

Instead, the song and the video are a gift, even if he and Jay-Z are in none of the scenes. 

That’s the point. To shine a light on those who need it most now, or at least on those whose tough beginnings and big successes could inspire others from similar circumstances and aspirations.

That’s the point. Uplift those who need it most now: The Black entrepreneurs.

‘The Happy Broadcast,’ an anxiety-free news platform, inspires hope

Illustrator Mauro Gatti wants to remind us that no matter the constant influx of bad news these days, we can still be optimistic. Not through wishful thinking, but by actually being and accepting that we have the potential to look at the bright side. 

Gatti doesn’t consider himself a journalist nor an influencer, but having had his own social anxiety exacerbated by daunting headlines, he set up an online art project in 2018, called The Happy Broadcast.


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Kenya had just 16,000 elephants in 1989, and this rose to more than 34,000 in 2018, the tourism minister Najib Balala said. “In the last couple of years, we have managed to tame poaching in this country,” he told reporters during a visit to the Amboseli National Park. The number of elephants poached so far this year stood at seven, down from 34 in all of 2019, and 80 in 2018. The government has put in place stiffer penalties – longer jail terms and bigger fines – on anyone convicted of poaching or trafficking in wildlife trophies, saying poaching was harming tourism, a major foreign exchange earner. Source: Reuters (link in bio) #thehappybroadcast #elephant #baby #kenya #africa #nopoaching #elephants #wildlife #conservation #animals #progress #positivenews

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The Happy Broadcast

The Happy Broadcast spreads good news with stylized cartoons. On Instagram, it has already garnered over half a million followers.

“I want to create something positive as an anti-venom to the vitriolic rhetoric that pervades our media,” Gatti wrote on his website.

“That’s why I illustrate and share positive news from around the world in the hope that it brings you some happiness and inspires you to spread some good news yourself.”

Hailing from Italy, now based in Los Angeles, Gatti has illustrated for more than fifteen years — things such as children’s books, like A is for Apricat, Batti le Ali, Ping vs. Pong, and Hugo makes a Change,  games, apps, and videos.

He has even won an Emmy for his work on Ask the StoryBots, a 2016 original Netflix series for children, featuring animated creatures who, living beneath technological screens, jump about looking to answer young people’s questions.

His posts include news about rehabilitation centers for captive dolphins, Scotland becoming the first nation to include LGBTQ history and rights into the curriculum of every public school there, and NASA renaming its headquarters after the first Black female engineer Mary W. Jackson.


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Mary W. Jackson, who was featured in the 2016 movie “Hidden Figures,” began her career at NASA “in the segregated West Area Computing Unit of the agency’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. Jackson, a mathematician and aerospace engineer, went on to lead programs influencing the hiring and promotion of women in NASA’s science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers. In 2019, she was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal,” NASA said in a news release.⁣ ⁣ “Mary W. Jackson was part of a group of very important women who helped NASA succeed in getting American astronauts into space. Mary never accepted the status quo, she helped break barriers and open opportunities for African Americans and women in the field of engineering and technology,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. Source: NASA (link in bio) #thehappybroadcast #nasa #women #blackwomen #womenempowerment #girlpower #science #space #hiddenfigures

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Similar posts feature stories about the Native American Esselen tribe having regained ownership of its land after 250 years and New Zealand’s parliament having passed an Equal Pay Amendment Bill for gender-based pay equity.

Others are about stories like the “modern”  Dr. Dolittle, who has created custom animal prosthetics, saving over 20,000 of them in the last sixteen years.

And most recently, Gatti shared news about a town in Costa Rica getting nicknamed “Sweet City” to celebrate the biodiversity of all its bees.


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A suburb of the country’s capital is showing how urban planning can be harnessed to benefit both humans and wildlife. “Pollinators were the key,” says Edgar Mora, reflecting on the decision to recognise every bee, bat, hummingbird and butterfly as a citizen of Curridabat during his 12-year spell as mayor. The move to extend citizenship to pollinators, trees and native plants in Curridabat has been crucial to the municipality’s transformation from an unremarkable suburb of the Costa Rican capital, San José, into a pioneering haven for urban wildlife. Now known as “Ciudad Dulce” – Sweet City – Curridabat’s urban planning has been reimagined around its non-human inhabitants. Green spaces are treated as infrastructure with accompanying ecosystem services that can be harnessed by local government and offered to residents. Source: The Guardian (link in bio) #thehappybroadcast #bee #pollinators #bee #climatechange #biodiversity #nature #wildlife #costarica #positivenews

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The importance of positive news

Gatti doesn’t intend to stray away from the more tragic stories that circulate in the media. What he does intend, however, is to find silver linings in the hopes that he could inspire the enactment of more positive change.

For instance, even when focusing on the pandemic, instead of reporting on deaths and surging cases, he shared a post on how Australia has signed a deal for a coronavirus vaccine and will make it free for its population. And how more than one million people in the U.K have given up on smoking since lockdown, a large percentage of whom are young people.


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Australia has secured access to a potential coronavirus vaccine, the prime minister announced Tuesday, saying the country would manufacture it and offer free doses to the entire population.

”The Oxford vaccine is one of the most advanced and promising in the world, and under this deal we have secured early access for every Australian,” he said. “If this vaccine proves successful we will manufacture and supply vaccines straight away under our own steam and make it free for 25 million Australians.” Countries around the world are looking to secure supplies of Astrazeneca’s potential vaccine. Most recently Argentina and Mexico said last week they would produce it for much of Latin America. Having previously stopped the virus in its tracks, Australia has seen a surge of new infections in the past month. Nonetheless, its tally of nearly 24,000 cases and 438 deaths is still far fewer than many other developed nations. Source: Independent (link in bio) #thehappybroadcast #australia #coronavirus #covid19 #vaccine #science #progress #medicine #healthcare #positivenews

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Gatti has affirmed for us somewhat tacitly: the brain really does work in miraculous ways. 

The effect of negative news on the brain

Have you ever caught yourself in the heat of an irrational addiction to particularly bad news? Usually, you are sitting slouched over a screen in the safety of your own home, food in the fridge, and most ideally, there is someone by you whose presence is reassuring and protective.

Admittedly, you feel better-off than the rest of the world, so you keep on reading disturbing headlines and pathos-appealing clips with politicians preaching about abstract, idealistic notions that most of them don’t even know how to manifest.


Your reality doesn’t scare you, so you jump into others’ realities: loss of jobs, illness, death, injustice, breakdowns.

We tell ourselves that we cannot take it anymore. We shut off the TV, uninstall Facebook and Instagram, cancel our subscriptions to newsletters, tune out of any sociopolitical or socioeconomic-involved conversation. And yet, in a short while, we return to that same routine, to that one, the one that set in us nothing but hopelessness. 

But we can’t admit one thing: in a very twisted way, we want to go back to it, not because something is terribly wrong with us. Rather, it validates our feelings. Then and there, our fear isn’t only ours. It also belongs to every nook of the world. And comparatively, some of us might, indeed, be better off.

We are not alone. None of us are okay, we are told. 

However, it’s natural. Since the beginning of human history, we’ve been trying to adapt and overcome the triggers in our environments. Our “negative bias,” counterintuitively, is what saves us from stepping into danger.

Neurologically, our cerebral cortex gives off more electrical activity when processing bad news than vice versa. It excites our nervous system and we are stimulated to process information, visualize ourselves in that kind of negative circumstance we had just read about.

We delve deeper. We think of ways to keep ourselves and our loved ones from harm’s way. 


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The dogs, who vary from a beagle to bloodhound, began training from birth before working at 18 months-old at the Southern African Wildlife College in Greater Kruger National Park. They received their training from K9 Master Johan van Straaten that said, “The data we collect for this applied learning project aimed at informing best practice, shows we have prevented approximately 45 rhino being killed since the free tracking dogs became operational in February 2018.” Johan stated that the dogs’ success rate was about 68% in the areas patrolled by the South African Wildlife College patrol. Johan believes that free tracking dogs have made the real difference since they can track at speeds much faster than any human. Source: Mirror (link in bio) #thehappybroadcast #southafrica #rhino #poaching #dogs #k9 #antipoaching #wildlife #rhinoceros

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Gatti’s wisdom in spreading positivity

Gatti encourages us to rework the plasticity that is our brains. His work teaches us not to necessarily ignore the bad news merely because it makes us uncomfortable, but to try to look at all sides of the spectrum.

It teaches us to approach topics with reason and passion, not just to choose one over the other, but to take care of our mental and physical well-being, for what kind of benefit do we bring to helping society if we feel relentlessly burned-out? 

Now, when good news is more in demand because millions are isolated, confused and grief-stricken, a deep appreciation for his work is nowhere near to slowing down.


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After healing from injuries they sustained in the 2019 Australian wildfires, 26 koalas, including seven joeys, are being released back into the wild to Australia’s Blue Mountains. Anwen, a 4-year-old female koala, was the third patient admitted to the world’s only all-koala hospital, Port Macquarie Koala Hospital, in the Australian state of New South Wales. Photos of her went viral in October 2019 due to burns she sustained in wildfires that covered 90% of her body. Anwen is now one of 26 koalas, including seven joeys, that was released in the Lake Innes Nature Reserve over the course of a week. Hospital employees carefully considered a mix of koala ages and sexes in order to make for a well-rounded community, especially in hopes the animals will breed and grow their population in the wild. The release is the first step of rehabilitating the animals and environment that suffered in Australia’s bushfires. The emergency is not over so please consider donating to the Blue Mountains Koala Project – link in bio. Source: KWQC (link in bio) #thehappybroadcast #koala #australia #wildlife #wildfires #koalas #mountain #nsw

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The Happy Broadcast has been self-funded from its beginning. Gatti doesn’t like to monetize on something that’s meant to heal people.

In June, he released a book with 160 pages of positivity. Proceeds for the sales will go towards Choose Love, a non-profit organization that supports LGBTQ refugees at the U.S.-Mexico border.

“I’ve always felt that there are so many good news stories in the world that don’t get enough attention,” he wrote on his Instagram account as he announced his book.

“I felt a responsibility as an artist to use my art to highlight positive events, and to share the kind of stories that give us hope.”

That way, he said, much-needed change can finally be brought about.


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This is a very exciting moment for me. After almost two years of hard work The Happy Broadcast book is finally available for preorder (link in my bio).⁣ ⁣ I’ve always felt that there are so many good news stories in the world that don’t get enough attention. I felt a responsibility as an artist to use my art to highlight positive events, and to share the kind of stories that give us hope. It is my goal, that by sharing these stories, they will inspire us to get involved and enact more positive change for the future.⁣ ⁣ The Happy Broadcast has made me a better, more positive, more aware person. I hope it did the same for you. I’m super excited about this book, because it’s an amazing extension of the project and my mission to spread happiness. It is something tangible, something non-digital that can be shared like in the old days.⁣ ⁣ This book is a physical reminder of all the positive changes we are making to create a better world for ourselves. It serves as another way to look on the bright side, (which can be difficult in an age of endless notifications and news alerts).⁣ ⁣ It would mean the world to me if you decide to support The Happy Broadcast, which has been 100% self funded by me. Your contribution also goes to support the nonprofit group, Choose Love, which will receive 50% of the pre-order sales to help the LGBTQ+ Refugees at the US-Mexico border.⁣ ⁣ Thank you for your continued support and love. I really hope you will enjoy this book (find out more by clicking the link in my bio). #thehappybroadcastbook #thehappybroadcast #chooselove #pride #refugees #love

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Going ‘back’ to school is taking a toll on an entire generation of students

If the U.S. now was pandemic-free, parents would be taking their children to places like Staples, piling up on tons of back-to-school supplies. They’d be going on last-minute vacations, maybe touring another country or chilling somewhere near a lake, with friends and family and good vibes abound. 

And although feeling bittersweet about the summer’s end, they’d be fervently awaiting their children’s return to the classroom. Well, these are new times we are living in. New times that show just how little much of the country cares for working-class parents and educators, and naturally even students.

Thinking about all of the good — seemingly olden — days, feels irresistibly upsetting. It’s upsetting for the parents who, while juggling their own jobs or fighting to secure unemployment benefits, have assumed upon themselves additional tasks: like making sure their children are actually learning online.

It’s upsetting for the teachers who, while also trying to be there for their families, worry about their students falling behind academically. 

And it’s upsetting that an entire generation, while living amid America’s gun violence crisis, frightening global warming prognoses, and social unrest and economic downfall and political disarray, has a foundation as fundamental as education rid from their grasp.

But there’s little that the federal and state governments, regardless of how much they preach about the futures of today’s children, are able to do to do to bolster the safe reopening of schools or at least to assist teachers and counselors in their adjustment to online instruction. 

A federal relief package passed in March only offered $13.5 billion for K-12 education. That made up only one percent of the full aid, if not less, since education secretary Betsy DeVos wants that money to be shared with private and religious schools.

90 percent of American students rely on the public school system.

Private schools have historically been more flexible, have had smaller class sizes and a greater budget for hiring more staff members and renovating their ventilating system to ensure healthy filtration throughout the buildings.

As this report suggests, an average public school district of about 3,700 students would need to spend an extra $1.8 million to take safety measurements and keep the virus under control.

All of that, even if incredibly necessary, takes away from investing money into catch-up programs and tools for equal access to the internet and technology, a disadvantage that causes a deeper widening of the gap between the rich and the poor.

The government has decided to bail out airline companies and banks, but when it comes to public school, economic goals seem to overshadow that of public health.

While it’s important to save the economy (a recession was long feared since the beginning of the lockdown), it’s equally as imperative to stop threatening the cutting of funds to public school districts that cannot fully reopen, if at all. 

Epidemiologists suggest that to contain the coronavirus, the daily infection rate within a community should not exceed five percent, but eight of the nation’s ten largest school districts belong to counties that have passed beyond that threshold — by about four times.

Only New York City and Chicago seem to have things under more control, with the former having the lowest rate of all, at around two percent.

Although that five percent metric wasn’t established particularly for the ongoing decisions on whether or not to reopen schools, it’s one on which public health experts have agreed.

The ideal rate is under three percent, but even ten percent or less would indicate a control of the virus. Of course, to accurately consistently monitor that rate in school communities would require there to be an adequate amount of testing, which has also, since the beginning of the pandemic, been lacking.

In a recent survey, however, for the Rasmussen Reports, 57% of elementary- and-secondary school parents said that they want their children to return to the classrooms, and they believe that the cons of staying home outweigh the pros. 

Health and education officials who are for reopening also argue that the tens of millions of children in the nation’s schools are not likely to contract and spread the virus; the social and psychological aspect of their development is, they say, under much dire threat.

Children rely on stability, as scholars like Herbert W. Marsh, Rhonda Craven, and Raymond Debus claim in their research on young people’s development. 

A regular day at school provides a routine that young minds are otherwise unable to yet contrive for themselves without, oftentimes, a little push in the right direction. That routine ensures a sense of productiveness, learning and retention and it encourages discipline on every level of social and psychological development.

Experts say that while younger children, whose goals are to be closer to their caregivers,  and teenagers might not experience as much of a hurdle and eventually build resiliency, they are most concerned for tweens, who are just learning how to socialize with their peers, leaping into their desires for independence from their parents and forming their own perspectives and identities. 

Many pediatricians recommend a reopening of schools, and educators are finding themselves under an enormous pressure to keep to their professional obligations in-person.

Occupational and speech therapists, counselors and psychologists are, too, understandably in demand.

What is overlooked now is not only that tweens are suffering developmentally, but more specifically, it’s those with special needs, those who grow and thrive in environments where social information feels tangible and not disembodied, hardly tractable through a screen.

The number of special ed students is on the rise. In 2015-2016, there were 6.7 million across the American school system.

But teachers and their unions also have legitimate arguments, one of which maintains that if education were indeed a priority, they’d be, by this time, given a more concrete plan.

The CDC guidelines for a safe return to classrooms, if schools decide to open, were just released, though it all feels inconclusive.

What to do if a student or a teacher gets the virus? Will there be regular temperature checks? Is it a question of if or when someone contracts the virus? How big of an outbreak within a school community qualifies for the re-cancellation of in-person classes?

With fewer educators willing to risk their lives (around one-quarter of public school teachers are over fifty and one-fourth of them are at risk for serious illnesses if infected with COVID-19), and more going on medical exemptions, the feat of reopening school becomes difficult and uncertain.

Public school staffing is lagging behind, but so are many teachers’ financial circumstances and parents’ assurance that their children are, indeed, learning.

The excitement shared amongst families at the start of a new academic year is amiss these days. And it’s incredibly hard to say what feels right: to stay away from classrooms or to go back.

Inside the Aurora PD: A long history of abuse and lack of accountability

Shortly after 10:30 p.m on August 24, 2019, 23-year-old Elijah McClain, headed to a convenience store in Aurora, Colorado to buy an iced tea for his brother. That venture, however, turned out in vain. He never returned home.

McClain wore a ski mask that night, his sister told ABC affiliate Denver7,  because he was anemic and was battling social anxiety. Wearing it made him more comfortable.

He was likely listening to music through his headphones then, too, not anticipating that in the next 15 minutes three Aurora police officers — Nathan Woodyard, Jason Rosenblatt, and Randy Roedema — would tackle him to the ground with a carotid hold.  Elijah begged for them to release him, but soon went into cardiac arrest and was rendered brain dead three days afterwards. 


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This is who we are fighting for! @auroragov @govofco @repmikecoffman @coag_philweiser Source- Fox31 Denver KDVR

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As heinous as the officer’s actions were, they weren’t at all an anomaly in the Aurora Police Department. The most recent example of negligent and irresponsible behavior is when on August 2, Aurora police officers stopped a group of black women (aged 6-17), handcuffed and pointed their guns at them, when the vehicle the cops were looking for was actually a motorcycle.

The department has a history of enabling and protecting officers who have acted irresponsibly, and has a lack of accountability rooted in its foundation. 

The case of Elijah McClain

In addition to clearly not posing a threat, McClain kept apologizing for vomiting as the officers held him down. 

“Sorry, I wasn’t trying to do that,” he is heard saying on uncovered body-camera footage, that was released only in November 2019, three months after McClain’s death.

“I just can’t breathe correctly,” he continued, wanting to rid himself from their grip. 

The officers eventually called paramedics because McClain was under, quite obviously, “a level of physical exertion,” to put it as lightly as they did. A mere “level?” He was, also, according to them again, in “an agitated mental state.”

Imagine being in his shoes, being caught off-guard, choked for — what? — seeming “suspicious” to a 911 caller? What precisely made him appear “threatening”? Was it that his mask, as his sister said, was open-face anyway? Or was it simply his black skin?

The caller’s own statements sounded rather contradictory and suspect of racial bias. No immediate danger was reported and the caller confirmed that McClain was unarmed. And yet, the open-face mask and the flailing of hands, which was likely him just reacting to his music-emanating headphones, was enough for the caller to conjecture that McClain was acting “sketchy.”

Covering their tracks

When the officers tried handcuffing McClain, claiming that they had the right because he had been reported to be “suspicious,” they also alleged that he tried to reach for their guns. But there is no evidence of that.

Somehow conveniently their body cameras had, at that instance, fallen to the grass as the struggle ensued. One of the officers is even heard on audio telling the other to “move” his camera. The answer as to why remains unfounded.

Meanwhile, as they held him down, McClain was telling them how much he respects the work that policemen do, how much of an introvert he is and how sorry he is if he seems standoffish and awkward. He didn’t mean to be, he said.

In that 15-minute recording, too, the officers admit that McClain didn’t do anything illegal and yet, all the while, one of them continues physically restraining him as the others stand idly, without pulling their colleague back, without even trying.

The medics soon injected McClain with ketamine to sedate him because he was, unsurprisingly, in distress. They, supposedly, intended to take “life-saving” measures. Everything pointed to them doing the exact opposite.

The medics administered a 500-milligram dose to a man who, according to the Adams County Coroner’s measurements, was five feet, six inches and 140 pounds; Aurora Fire Rescue later confirmed that only five milligrams of ketamine are allowed per kilogram of someone’s weight.

Mathematically at least, that dose was lethal. They could have, at most, given him 320 milligrams. But was that even necessary in the first place?

A questionable autopsy

An autopsy later revealed that McClain had chronic asthma and a narrow coronary artery; though as a runner, his family said, he had lived with those conditions for most of his life without much of a problem.

Otherwise, the report was inconclusive. 

The coroner, Stephen Cina, couldn’t — why exactly, is the question — determine whether it was an accident or a carotid-related homicide. Actually, even employing the term “accident” in the latter sentence feels wrong.

How could it feel right to anyone investigating the incident— whether the coroner, the Aurora mayor Mike Coffman, Colorado governor Jared Polis, or District Attorney Dave Young.  An “accident” implies unintentionality.

Most everything about that encounter seems intentional from the get-go: reporting of a threat without precise reason, applying a carotid twice, claiming McClain’s inclination towards aggression and mental agitation, ingesting into him a likely overdose of ketamine.

“Excited delirium” as a cop-out from accountability

Organizations like WHO, and frontliners who work in the ER, including those who once wrote about the sedative in outlets like Journal of Emergency Services (JEMS) and Vice, assume ketamine’s versatility as a major appeal.

Unlike other anesthetics, it does not hinder respiratory reflexes, it is cost-effective, and it works relatively quickly. But EMS is allowed to give the drug to treat “excited delirium” or for legitimate medical reasons.

Whether or not McClain was experiencing any kinds of so-called delirious behavioral symptoms is questionable, considering that even if he was physically trying hard to release himself from restraint, he was doing it as a survival reflex. He wasn’t hallucinating or being delirious: he was, indeed, under attack.

Actually, excited delirium, even if he were to have had it then, is itself a controversial condition that neither the American Psychiatric Association nor the American Medical Association recognizes.

Many civil rights organizations, including the NAACP and the Civil Liberties Union, have claimed that the notion of excited delirium protects law enforcement from punishment if, during an arrest, they happen to use excessive force.

Steps have, of course, been taken since then, though not anywhere close to enough, at least not internally in the Aurora Police Department. The three officers were put on administrative leave but no criminal charges were ordered against them because of a “lack” of evidence, according to D.A. Young.

Internal and external investigations into the department

Considering the poor accountability within the Department, Governor Polis assigned Attorney General Phil Weiser to investigate further whether officers there had deprived McClain, and others under their watch, of constitutional rights.

It will be grounded on assessing the levels and credibilities of the Department’s “patterns and practices,” as according to the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division. 

That investigation, which has gone on for “several weeks” now, is separate from the one ordered in June, whose purpose was to win justice for McClain.

The more recent investigation comes on the heels of McClain’s parents, Sheneen McClain and Lawayne Mosley, filing a lawsuit against the city. Their lawyer, Mari Newman, wrote in a statement that one of the aims was to “hold accountable the Aurora officials, police officers and paramedics responsible for his murder.”

Performative justice vs. actual

However, it is only as of late, too, that any kind of reform, internal to the Department, actually manifested. In light of nationwide protests, spurred because of Ahmaud Arbery’s, Breonna Taylor’s, and George Floyd’s — amongst others’ — deaths, McClain’s case has been revisited.


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Denver last weekendWe will continue fighting until justice for the McClain Family is served. Link in bio for ways to help. @zach_hues_

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The new chief of the Aurora police department, Vanessa Wilson, banned carotid holds in June, made it a requirement for police officers to report when their colleagues use excessive force and to announce an intention of “deadly force” before firing their weapons. 

 Those moves, though forward-looking to some extent, feel almost superficial for now and for-show just to win back “trust.” At least until the officers and Wilson prove themselves as otherwise and live up to the mission on their very own site: To make Aurora safer every day.

A refusal to change its ways

Since McClain’s death, the same department has come under fire time and again.

The department protected an officer who was armed and on-duty yet passed out drunk in his vehicle. Other cops stole money from a non-profit, some were charged with DUIs, and others forcefully dispersed peaceful protesters

And the worst example of a lack of remorse and professionalism came when several officers posed for selfies, even faking using the carotid hold, at McClain’s memorial.

As if that hasn’t been enough with which to reckon, on August 2nd, three police officers from the same department mistakenly stopped the wrong vehicle, with four young girls, aged 6 to 17, and a mother inside, and forced them, handcuffed, onto the ground.

The SUV they had stopped had a similar license plate to a stolen motorcycle they were after. Had they checked their database in the National Crime Information Center and determined the status of the SUV, which earlier in the year was reported missing but later cleared, they would have avoided this mess. 

If the department had acted responsibly, it would have avoided traumatizing four children and rendering the adult figure there, Brittney Gilliam, helpless and frantic for the lives of her daughter, sister and nieces. 

Although, according to Chief Wilson, police are trained to treat a stolen vehicle situation as high-risk and, following protocol, lay all its occupants, handcuffed, onto the ground, she argued that, considering the children, the officers could have deviated from the so-called “rules” and acted in a more appropriate way.

Aside from basic physical training and protocol, officers should also adhere to their ability to make decisions about how they respond to everyone with whom they interact.

Before someone is stopped, pinned to the wall, handcuffed and held down, there must be a valid formation of suspicion. Not every course of action can be direct because not every person reported to be “sketchy” is “sketchy.”

So, how about we hold authorities that are supposed to protect us accountable for the times when they don’t?

How about we show our fellow humans, who for centuries have had a harder time securing their “American dream” because of the color of their skin, that we stand by them at all costs, until we trust that they feel the change, not only hear about its possibility.

Change begins internally, just as it had to for the Aurora Police Department. The fact that it has taken so long, after so many misdeeds, to bring the agency under an investigation is reprehensible.

Had it not been for the senseless 911 call that summer night, Elijah McClain would still be here.  He would have played the guitar and violin many times over for the stray animals that he so loved. He would have gone on to “change the world,” as his family and friends said he had always wanted to do.

He would have returned home.

They, who took his breath from him as he was pleading for his life, must be held accountable. 

Time and again, there shouldn’t be excuses and unapologetic apologies. That’s enough.

Lady Gaga’s ‘Gaga Radio’ proves her versatility knows no bounds

Little monsters, which is the way that Lady Gaga addresses her legions of fans, are in for a treat they didn’t know they needed:

Mother Monster is becoming a talk show host on her very own “Gaga Radio” for Apple Music.

At this point, is there really anything she can’t do?

Her innate, long-proven versatility in music — pop, disco, jazz, rock, electronica — is only more impressive when one considers her acting in AHS and A Star Is Born.

Not to mention her directing (of Marry the Night, for instance), co-founding a mental health foundation, Born This Way, and launching her make-up line, Hauslabs.

The multifaceted brilliance is almost too much to fathom. She can morph into anything she envisions and take on any role.


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The announcement of the partnership with Apple came on Wednesday and the premise of the endeavor doesn’t seem to be strictly a promotion for her new, sixteen-track, return-to-dance-pop, chart-smashing album, Chromatica, released on May 29.

Rather, its purpose is to delve into the creative process and the origins behind the work. For that, she will have guests of the likes of BURNS, Vitaclub, and Tchami, all of whom helped with production; they, at their turn on her show, will also present their own DJ mixes.

BloodPop, who has been one of her longtime producers dating to the Joanne-era, was on Friday’s debut episode. In an excerpt of it, he touched on the topic of what kickstarted the album (which to EW magazine, he revealed to be “Enigma”).

And his favorite moment of making it, when Gaga tried the baseline for “Rain On Me,” because it was then that, he said, she was “fully geared up, ready to go to Chromatica.”

From thereon, the show will continue weekly at 11 a.m PT/ 2 p.m. ET.

“The last few weeks I’ve been figuring out different ways at home that I can be of service to what I would call the singular global community, one that I believe to be kind in nature, one that I believe to be very special to my heart and I believe to the hearts of many,” Gaga. expressed in a press statement.

“And so I’ve been thinking of all the ways that I can be someone that contributes to the society and the world. I’m super-thrilled and excited to have this opportunity to play an incredible mix of music every week.”

The album has been, for Gaga, a therapeutic venture, according to her at length interview with Zane Lowe in May.

In it, Gaga described her creative journey as dancing through her pain, as she has also been open about her PTSD and fibromyalgia diagnosis and her longing to finally ground herself in a reliable, fulfilling relationship. 

However, Chromatica, she has said, and wholly expressed in her lead single, “Stupid Love,” is also about metaphorical colors — inclusivity, identity-building, kindness, acceptance, and belonging.

“Gaga Radio” promises to be just that, too. Conversational, deep, and as she has always been with her fans, vulnerable.

Billie Eilish is finally back with her self-love anthem ‘My Future’

In a recent interview with Zane Lowe, Billie Eilish revealed that she and Finneas wrote her latest single, “My Future,” in just two days.

The setting was perfect. It was pouring rain — you know, the kind of rain that all artists appreciate at least once in a while, one that’s conducive to utmost creativity, one that’s on its own moving and even somewhat musical in its rat-a-tats and pitter-patters.

They then recorded the vocals in Finneas’s studio — his basement. That, too, didn’t take long. The original try felt right and she went with it.

“There was something about this one take that did it. I don’t know,” she told Lowe. “I was like, ‘this is the only way that it can be.’”

Not only does Finneas’ birthday coincide with the date of the release, July 30, but it also comes in tandem with Eilish securing a VMA nomination for “Everything I Wanted.”

She is the first artist to score two of those nominations (last year, it was for “Bad Guy”) whilst still being in her teens.

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At the end of January, she also made history by becoming the youngest artist, since Christopher Cross in 1981, to have won four of Grammy’s top awards — best new artist and record, song, and album of the year.

But ever since the pandemic struck, she has been musically silent, except for her participation in the One World: Together At Home concert in mid-April, when she covered Bobby Hebb’s “Sunny,” and her recent radio talk show with her dad on Apple Music’s Beats 1 platform. 

“My Future” is her very own quarantine comeback.

Its underlying meaning goes on a tad of a different turn relative to her other songs. Somehow it feels like the first one to possess a balance between the world of doom, with which many of her fans are familiar — in pieces like “All The Good Girls Go To Hell,” “Hostage” and “Xanny” —  and that of light.

In a similarly nuanced fashion, when the instrumental arrangement, the subdued piano, the electronic guitar, percussion, and bass, reach the world of light, the focus remains there from the second verse till the last line: “See you in a couple years.”

The song starts out slowly and drearily, very lo-fi, very heavy, very wistful — “I can’t seem to focus/ And you don’t seem to notice I am not here/ I am just a mirror,” she goes, practically talking along to a background of soft piano and sound effects that mimic rain. The music video put together by Australian director Andrew Onorato, is reminiscent of Hayo Miyazaki’s animated films.

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Similarly to “My Neighbor Totoro,” and “Spirited Away,” Eilish is made out to be the coming-of-age heroine in the short who, set in a forest that is drenched in a storm, wanders and finds herself at some point looking dreamily at the moon as if symbolically wishing to be reborn into a new version of herself. The whole arrangement is irresistibly and so obviously Studio Ghibli-esque.

From merely watching the video once, it’s obvious that the Eilishian flair is still very much present: a bit of dark pop, though much more thematically uplifting than her previous hits from “When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” and James-Bond-film-tailored “No Time to Die”; a practically consistent crooning regardless of the song’s low-to-up tempo range; and electronically textured layers with bass-like additions.

The most surprisingly optimistic transition lies in the second half of the song and video. There, the night passes and the sun appears. Plants begin to sprout and grow, one of whose roots encircle anime-Eilish’s legs and bring her up. In her own right, she seems to bloom, too, getting nearer to the sky. As she is further elevated and inspired, she sings:

“But I am in love/ with my future/and you don’t know her/And I, I’m in love/But not with anybody here.” 

The very idea of a future that’s personified through that imagery alone or through the word “her” touches for many, especially for youth hunkered in mainly isolation, the now ever-confusing topic of socializing, growth, and the overall idea of fitting in with the passage of their time. 

How is it possible to grow, as we know it when it’s hard to hang out with friends or meet new people? How could certain relationships continue if some of them have become now long-distance? How to make yourself belong to you? How not to rush? How to be patient with yourself? How to get to love your own company?

Those are only some of the questions that linger over “my future.” The answer? Perhaps it feels cliche but it asks to be reiterated: Find happiness within yourself. Have a relationship with yourself first. Get to know yourself. Only then will you know what you need and want.

Let’s be frank here. Billie Eilish’s talent is, well, in one word, disarming. In other words, unraveling, riveting, soulful, fulfilling, chilling, introspective, somnambulistic, spiritual even.

Metaphorically, if it’d have a tactile texture, it’d be like the eye of a tornado — without giving you much of a choice, if you find yourself in its midst, it swoops you in and carries you into faraway, deep places that were previously unexplored within you. 

It doesn’t matter which age-group listens to her, or whether or not those who do have even a modicum of understanding of musical styles and genres; notwithstanding, her music reaches well beyond the “captivating” level. It disorients, pries, lifts yet breaks you apart.

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When Lowe asked about Eilish’s favorite lines, she chose:

“I’d like to be your answer/ ‘Cause you’re so handsome/But I know better/Than to drive you home/’Cause you’d invite me in/ And I’d be yours again.”

That’s revelatory in itself. For so long, she said, she relied on others to maintain a sense of contentment in her life, but now she wants to be freed from that desire. Solitude, she learned, is sometimes also appealing.

Eilish might have told Lowe that nowadays even hoping feels hopeless but “My Future” mends. It consolidates the ties to the past with the threads to the future. Meanwhile, in between, in the present, it paves a path for a hope that feels, actually, hopeful.

A dedication to the ‘Queen’ of the LGBTQ liberation movement

Marsha P. Johnson never knew privilege

She was destitute for much of her life, beaten up as a child, humiliated for — what? — just being herself, and marginalized at society’s every corner. But because of her, a black and transgender woman, the LGBTQ community feels freer.

“As long as gay people don’t have their rights all across America,” she’s been quoted saying. “There’s no reason for celebration.”

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It was June 28, 1969, when, as historical evidence suggests, she started an uprising at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village that the police raided.

Same-sex, bisexual, transgender, or other gender-nonconforming solicitations, back then, were illegal and considered sodomy across the country in the 60s, except in Illinois (which eliminated its sodomy law code in 1962).

Seeing gays dancing with or kissing one another in bars and transgender people wearing “gender-inappropriate” clothing was enough to warrant an arrest.

Some bars, however, were safe-havens — well, not really, to a small degree. Just like in many other cases, a Mafia family, for instance, owned Stonewall and took advantage of its patrons who longed for an escape from discrimination.

Because the place was founded as a “private” bar, it didn’t require workers to have liquor licenses and even if it did, the Sixth Police Precinct nearby turned their eyes away in exchange for money.

On the one hand, Stonewall was the better of the bars; it allowed dancing and drag queens and welcomed all kinds of homeless and ostracized youth.

On the other hand, it was untidy and ill-equipped for any kind of emergency. Some wealthier patrons were often extorted. Others were blackmailed. And bribery did not stop the police from raiding it that morning in late June.

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Whether or not Marsha threw the first brick or shot glass, back then, is irrelevant to the bigger picture because she kept on proving, not just in the heat of the moment, her devotion to LGBTQ liberation at every turn. Her activism spoke volumes for those whose voices needed amplification.

“History isn’t something you look back at and say it was inevitable,” she once explained. “It happens because people make decisions that are sometimes very impulsive and of the moment, but those moments are cumulative realities.”

And yet, the media didn’t give Marsha P. Johnson the attention she so deserved.

Only now, posthumously, numerous books have been written about her, like “Stonewall” by LQBT historian David Carter, and documentaries, like David France’s “The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson.”

All of these works try to bridge pieces of her life together about which information remains incomplete; when that task gets too tedious to tackle, the works feel just wholly celebratory of her. As they should be.

Their main objective perhaps is not to pretend to know too much about her story’s beginning, middle, and end, but to point to the fact — yes, the fact — that she was a trailblazer despite everyone who attempted to dismiss her.

Being black and transgender, she understood that at an instant whilst fighting on the frontlines, any breath could have been her last. And any step forward, a risk.

Though, having been as adamant about social and economic justice as she was, she had — according to many of her friends’ recountings — a charismatic aura to her, a “joie de vivre,” as Susan Stryker, an associate professor of gender and women’s studies at the University of Arizona, once described to the New York Times.

The “joie de vivre” was most visibly reflected through her ornate, decorous style — her bold walks through the streets of New York City in red garments, floral headdresses and at times, plastic high heels, stockings, slippers, and big, dazzling wigs.


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Andy Warhol himself recognized Marsha for her outstanding fashion. In his 1975 screen-print project, “Ladies and Gentlemen,” he took polaroids of her, amongst other drag queens, at the Gilded Grape nightclub.

She used to say: “I was no one, nobody, from Nowheresville until I became a drag queen.”

A year after Stonewall, Marsha, and her friend Sylvia Rivera, who was an activist and also transgender, founded the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) program to protect and house homeless youth in a tenement in the Village.

Both of them soon joined the Gay Liberation Front. In 1970, too, the first pride parade promised to commemorate, and to continue to do so, a time when those at the bar, their friends, and even passersby who had grown rightly aggravated by constant police scrutiny and violence, rose up to the occasion and protested thereafter for about five consecutive days.

When the AIDS epidemic struck in the ‘80s, Marsha persisted and stood on the frontlines again. She cared for her ill friends and attended AIDS Advocacy organizations’, namely ACT UP’s, charity meetings, all while fighting her own battles with mental health and an apparent two-year positive HIV diagnosis.

She, however, didn’t relinquish. Even if in her own community, she felt like an outcast, too.

When the pride parades gained traction in the early ’70s, some white, gay men and women, as well as cisgender people, often blocked Marsha and Sylvia from participating.

An archival footage on a site as accessible as YouTube shows how Sylvia is booed off the stage as she tries to tell the jeering crowd:

“If it wasn’t for drag queens, there wouldn’t be the gay liberation movement. We’re the front-liners.”

And they were the front-liners, and they still are. But violence and discrimination against transgenders are prevalent to this day.

Take, for instance, the recent victims of murder: Nina Pop, Tony McDade, Layla Peláez, Serena Angelique Velázquez, and countless others. They also deserve justice; if Marsha were here, she would fight for them without end.

And perchance here, now, we should reflect.

How do we draw an analogy between Marsha and ourselves as we reckon with today’s world?

Close your eyes, if you may, fix your posture, sit upright in, say, a lotus position, and release the tension, inhale, exhale, and — go on — breathe. Yes, even if your breath can’t be caught.

Does your mind wander? Refocus it. Do your thoughts pressure your muscles to twitch? Stretch a bit. Body aches? Then, rest. A power nap can work miracles. Low spirits? Well, please talk to someone.

That’s what we’re told to do. Easier said than done, right?

We’re in a time when it has become difficult to disconnect from our screens, newsfeeds, Zoom meetings, financial, and physical and mental instabilities.

When hope and distress have at once converged somewhat blearily on the horizon only to drive us into bigger confusion regarding what kind of change will heal the wounds wrought from COVID-19 and systemic racial injustices, it is hard to take deep breaths without breaking down.

It is so hard. And that’s all right to acknowledge.

But amid that overwhelm, it’s easy to forget that none of this pain, especially to those who’ve experienced it first-hand, is new.  While we all need to take breathers at times, we strive to do better when we know better, as Toni Morrison put it, should not take a breather.

No matter who we are — students, teachers, artists, doctors, lawmakers — progress depends on all of our willingness to effect it.

There shouldn’t even be a notion of a mere “every-day” person, for it suggests a sense of passivity, naïveté, and ordinariness, which is all outrightly misleading.

Rather, let’s elevate that term to a higher order and dare to consider this: so-called “every-day” people make more of a difference in the name of change than “officials,” “celebrities,” and “elites” do.

Why’s that?

Because those “every-day” people cannot afford to stay still.

Their lives depend on movements. Their objective isn’t to be performative or to garner superficial attention for the remarkable work they are doing; they are not listening to the fervor of applause that might mean nothing in the long-term.

They are not promoting themselves for the sake of “fitting-in” to a “hashtag.” Their lives aren’t “trends” on social media platforms. Theirs are lived lives that beckon for something more than merely surviving. They want to thrive as freely, fairly, and fearlessly as everyone else. Those are “every-day” people.

Marsha was one of them.

An “every-day” person who took on extraordinary feats. Moving away from her working-class family in New Jersey to New York City at the age of 18, she had nothing but fifteen dollars, a bag of clothes, and memories of childhood and adolescence that didn’t give her the adequate space to simply be.


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If she were to have chosen silence, it might have, maybe, shielded her and, maybe, prevented her murky death, but silence wouldn’t have let her truly live in the way she wanted.

And she wanted more of what she deserved so much, even if that meant confronting head-on the direst of circumstances.

In honor of her legacy and of pride month, here’s something on which to ruminate, and it’s conveyed through Marsha’s own words:

“How many years has it taken people to realize that we are all brothers and sisters and human beings in the human race?”

Toronto-based musician Jules is using her art as an empowering escape

Right before her singing debut ten years ago, when she was around twelve or thirteen years old, Jules, a musical artist based in Toronto, could not resist the trembling in her legs as she peered through the curtain and observed what seemed to be a daunting sight: a packed auditorium.

She hadn’t even stepped onto the stage then, but it felt like everyone was scrutinizing her already. Earlier that day, she tried so hard to quell her nervousness by telling herself that it wasn’t a “big deal.”

It wasn’t. It was just her first time, and she had plenty of chances to do even better afterward. She was ready for the performance, yes, but it was the almost ineffably empowering change of perspective that she didn’t perchance entirely expect.  

As she finally emerged into the spotlight, picked up the microphone, and belted out to Sarah Bareilles’s “Gravity,” she felt confident and comfortable. To this day, she cannot, and will not, shake away that love for performing, but most of all, for music — a medium that helps get her through, well, everything sayable and unsayable.

“On stage, I feel most confident and more comfortable, and I will sing my heart out. When I am in my element, I do best,” Jules said.

“It’s better to connect when I have an audience as well. And just feeding off their energy makes me stronger.”

It’s that memory of a time when she first conquered her fear and let herself feel free that, in some subtle ways, has kept her going. Unlike some young adults whose parents usually recoil at the mention of such phrases as “I want to be a pop-star,” Jules’s support system — family and friends— has been beyond encouraging and she, in turn, determined.

It was her dad who initially drew her into music.

“I spent a few summers busking in the city, and also performed at private events with my dad, who is a drummer,” Jules said.

“He was actually the one who introduced me to music and singing. I would always watch him practice in our basement and loved watching him perform. I have memories of always dancing and singing along. He really taught me to appreciate and love music at a very young age.”

At thirteen years old, she had asked her parents if she could take vocal lessons to which they put her to right away. Her current coach, Kristina Minchopoulos, with whom she has been for the past five years, has guided her closely and reliably. 

“I don’t know where I’d be without [Kristina]. I have seen such an improvement in my voice since I have worked with her,” she said. “ I always turn to her for anything I need, and she always has really wonderful advice.” 

Scrolling through Jules’s Instagram page alone, it’s not hard to tell that her musical taste is varied and versatile.

Among her covers are Post Malone’s “I Fall Apart,” Lewis Capaldi’s “Someone You Loved,” Selena Gomez’s “Lose You To Love Me,” Dua Lipa’s “Don’t Start Now,” Tones and I’s “Dance Monkey,” and Lady Gaga’s “Dope,” “I’ll Never Love Again,” and “Stupid Love.”

There’s, however, a methodology to the way she chooses which songs to perform, and the following are the questions she poses before deciding: Does a particular piece empower, inspire her? Is a certain musical artist’s message aligned with her own principles? Would she want to support that artist, and why?

Those are the questions that guide her own journey as an artist, too.

“I want to write music that inspires people and have them appreciate the power of music in their lives,” she said.

She added, “I want it to be an escape for people — just like a place where they can go when they feel the need to dance around.” Uplift and encourage, that’s what she wishes to do with her talents for her listeners.


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Still so obsessed with this movie! This is a cover of I’ll Never Love Again-Lady Gaga {A Star is Born} @ladygaga @starisbornmovie @bradley_cooper.official ———————————————————————— #toronto #canada #astarisborn #ladygaga #gaga #bradleycooper #astarisbornmovie #crazygoodvoices #starmusicians #starisborn #talentedmusicians #wowmusicians #singersspotlight #talentedmusicians @unlimited.voices @ladygaga @buzzvocals @ohmygaga10 @wanaynay @singersspotlight @sarahtannomakeup @fredericaspiras @iammarkronson @bradleycooper__original @briannewmanny @topvoices_ @astarisbornmoviee @dailysingoff @hotvocalsextra @wowmusicians @crazygoodvoices.1 @topvoices_ @thedivinevoices

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Last November, she began writing and producing her own music. At first, it felt almost as a “hobby” put aside for the weekends, as she used the rest of the weekdays for schoolwork.

But soon, it grew into a calling so resounding that all of her prior, and ongoing, contemplations on whether or not she would like to pursue music, career-wise, were affirmed and reaffirmed. Set to graduate from a master’s program in October, she is ready to delve into music full-time.

On April 3, she released her first single, “Don’t Wanna Be,” which she co-wrote with singer, writer, producer Chiara Young. As the first female producer with whom Jules has worked, Young taught her invaluable lessons about the creative process — how to connect new themes or to recalibrate old ones, how to build on ideas in a nuanced and daring fashion, and generally how to have faith in moments of inspiration.

The song is now available on all streaming platforms.  Also, on her YouTube channel, she has premiered her first ever performance of it.

“It’s about an experience I had with a guy,” she explained, “After ending things with him, he was very persistent and clingy. I felt the only way he would get the message was literally telling him, ‘I don’t wanna be your girl.’ That’s really how the idea of this song came to me. All of the lines in it are so true, like I say, ‘You keep blowing up my phone when I want to be alone.’”

When the song came out, she started receiving messages from young girls who found resonance in her lyrics and a sense of optimism, healing, and hope in her dance-pop beat. Touched by much of the feedback, Jules feels even more motivated to keep on giving that beacon of light; even while the entire world feels isolated and uncertain, she trusts in the spiritual antidote that music can offer.

“I was debating about pushing the release. My first idea for this song was to perform it, to showcase it, to meet and connect with people face-to-face. I was very excited about that,” she explained.

“But music is a big part of my life and it gets me through difficult times, so I thought I should release it for people to listen to and enjoy.”

That unwavering will to create content despite all odds is just one of the numerous aspects of the vision she holds for herself and her audience.

There’s something perhaps so sacred in being able to jot on a piece of paper seemingly fleeting feelings that then go on to inform her larger artistic projects and to release those ideas when they are most fresh and tractable.

It’s clear that she not only believes in the power of music but in the power of the all-encompassing oneness of the world, a oneness whose threads music helps to tie. 

Under current circumstances, and in general encounters with life’s obstacles, it’s sometimes the case that people let down their hands and hardly know how to go on without feeling grounded, but Jules yearns to instill a more positive message: manifestation.

She likes to manifest her pursuits and firmly believes in the transformative function of knowing that manifestation is possible and how much good could come from it.

While as of late she has mostly written about young girls — and their battles with a lack of self-confidence in a society that feels daunting, hard-to-navigate, and at times shallow — she does not mean for her music to apply to solely any age group or, at that, to just a single-gender.

In fact, aside from creating new music, her other biggest goal is to connect directly with more people; she is looking to social media to help her with that endeavor.“You could just put so much out [on social media] without anyone stopping you,” she said.

“You could talk with people, engage with people. I just love that for young artists especially — that you could have a platform like that.”

Because of the circumstances with COVID-19, Jules is also scheduling online performances and live-streams. “I’m trying my best to reach out to my audience in any way that I can,” she said.

Her mission of deep connection calls to mind what one of her biggest idols, Lady Gaga, has been saying about the yearning for fame, or some kind of materialistic success, versus the yearning for impact.

Like Gaga, Jules values the latter ideal over the former. It might seem “predictable” to hear from artists that their hope is to inspire, but it’s different in Jules’s case. She takes it a whole step further; the word “inspire” hardly covers it. Her hope is for young creatives to feel entirely confident in the pursuit of their dreams.

She remembers how, before she turned fifteen, she was always so hesitant about telling her teachers and classmates who she wanted to be when she grew up. It always felt, to her, like she was hiding, but the secret quickly became unbearable when she began questioning herself:

“Why am I keeping this a secret? It’s what I love to do. And if someone wants to support you, they will. If not, then don’t worry about them. Worry about you.” 

Since then, she tries to not have other people influence her decisions — her journey is entirely reliant on what she feels is right.

It has taken some “growing pains” and finding “pieces of peace of mind” — as another one of her idols, Alessia Cara, sings — to dig deep for the courage to put her own music out there, but she’s finally here: Jules, her talents, her voice, her first single, “Don’t Wanna Be,” and her continuing ambitions.

Free, happy, empowering escape. That’s how she describes her music. So, sit patiently until another curtain lifts, lights dim, and Jules emerges into the spotlight.  She is just getting started.