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Ben & Jerry’s is making sure weed legalization doesn’t leave POC behind

On 4/20, also known as the nation’s weed day, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream released a short, powerful video reminding us about how far we still have to go in the ongoing decriminalization of marijuana, and in remedying racial disparities under the law.

Ben & Jerry’s argues that despite the increasing legalization of marijuana at the state level, Black people are still getting arrested at a disproportional rate to white people. Thus far, 10 states and Washington DC have legalized recreational marijuana for individuals over 21, and 33 states have legalized medical marijuana.

In a link attached to Ben & Jerry’s video — which has racked up 305k likes and 137,000+ RT’s on Twitter — the company notes that in Alaska, where weed is legalized, “Black people are still being arrested 10 times more than whites. In DC, they’re arrested four times more. In Colorado? Three times.”

The ice cream giant is calling on Congress to expunge marijuana convictions and “provide pardons/amnesty to anyone whose only crime was possession of cannabis.” They attached a petition at the bottom of the page for this Congressional campaign.

Though Ben & Jerry’s video was met with widespread enthusiasm, some people felt uneasy about a giant corporation possibly co-opting a social justice movement, and using it to hawk their ice cream.

For instance, the brand argued that “legalization without justice is Half Baked,” a reference to their popular ice cream flavor. Additionally, Ben and Jerry’s partnered with Caliva, a popular marijuana dispensary based in the San Francisco Bay Area, to give away free pints of Half Baked for all delivery orders on 4/20.

But I believe when a company has a huge platform, why not use it for good? I also believe that their commitment to the cause is not just surface level (as many corporations who supposedly support social-justice movements are).

That is to say, they’re not just voicing their support because it looks good for their brand, but backing it up with a call to action.

Even in their partnership with Caliva is based on activism. Proving this the dispensary donated 4.2% of its sales on 4/20 to Code for America’s Clear My Record Program, which helps individuals who have been arrested in relation to marijuana possession.

Ben & Jerry’s marketing manager Justin Gural stated,

“Knowing that Caliva is challenging the status quo of bogarting human rights of non-violent offenders — and providing these communities a second chance — is exactly the 420 effort we want to support.”

It’s time to do better, to give communities a second chance, and remember who 4/20 is really for.

For his new Guava Island flick Childish Gambino re-stages ‘This is America’

Following his headlining set at Coachella on April 12, Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino (though perhaps not for much longer, as he’s announced he’s retiring the persona at the height of his popularity) released a short film entitled Guava Island.

Directed by frequent collaborator Hiro Murai — Murai has directed many episodes of Glover’s acclaimed, surrealist show Atlanta, as well as Childish Gambino’s heart-stopping “This is America”– Glover portrays the film’s lead role, a musician named Deni Maroon.

Guava Island also stars Rihanna as his love interest, Kofi Novia, and Black Panther’s Leticia Wright.

In the short film, Deni tries to stage a huge music festival on the beautiful island run by a dictator named Red Cargo (Nonso Anozie), who forces the island’s inhabitants to work in a factory. The breezy movie is all about how music can create unity and connection in the face of tyranny.

Sound familiar?

Glover’s choice to release the film at Coachella– the highest grossing festival in the world— further emphasizes the power of the music festival. Even one populated by Instagram influencers trying to gain clout and peddle Revolve clothing.

Though the film features three new songs, “Die With You,” “Time,” and “Saturday,” shockingly, Rihanna doesn’t get the chance to sing– prolonging her musical drought. Rih, stop making Fenty beauty kits and get back to music! We need you. (Luckily, Ms. Fenty has promised her Army a new album in 2019.)

Most notably, Guava Island features a re-staging of “This is America,” which takes place in the film’s factory. The re-staging features some of the same dance moves, wide-eyed expression, gunshots, and Glover’s bare chest as the original video.

But having the characters sporting red jumpsuits, à la Jordan Peele’s Us, gives the video a new bite. And with the movie set outside the continental U.S., “This is America” can be seen here as an outsider’s critique of the world power and the evils of capitalism and imperialism.

But what does it mean to release a film that critiques capitalism, at a music festival that embodies its very heights? Perhaps the Coachella crowd was meant to see it for themselves.

Guava Island streamed on Amazon for free on April 13 until 9 p.m. and is now only available to Amazon Prime members. How ironic!

It’s a dub: Like most American teens, AOC has quit using Facebook

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the 29-year-old Representative for New York’s 14th Congressional District and Democratic breakout star, announced Sunday that she had stopped using her Facebook account.

This departure from the social network by the Green New Deal champion mirrors social media trends among teen.

According to a study conducted in 2018, “roughly half of the nation’s teenagers say they use Facebook, compared to 71 percent in 2015.” Does this make the idea that Facebook is now just for old people and your crazy neighbor an actually fact?

Speaking on the Yahoo News podcast “Skullduggery,” AOC explained that she is scaling back her activity on all social media platforms, calling them a “public health risk.” AOC said that they affect users of all ages, and create “increased isolation, depression, anxiety, addiction [and] escapism.”

But Facebook specifically has been mired in scandal, especially as of late.

In Dec. 2018, it was revealed that the platform had been sharing millions of users private photos without their permission. Another report concluded that the platform had also been “offering more of its users’ data to companies including Microsoft and Amazon than it has admitted.”

Facebook is also deeply tied to the Trump campaign.

New York Times report detailed how Cambridge Analytica, a political data firm Trump hired for the 2016 election, “gained access to 50 million Facebook users as a way to identify the personalities of American voters and influence their behavior.”

Additionally, the report showed that the data firm received lots of funding from Breitbart nutcase and former Trump strategist Steve Bannon, who was eventually ousted for being too unhinged even for Trump. That’s when you know.

As a result of the scandal, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had to face the music, and endure 10 hours of questioning from Congressmen who were wildly out of touch with how Facebook works.


Beyoncé is dropping a Coachella doc and the BeyHive is too hype

On April 17, Netflix announced its upcoming documentary “Homecoming,” with little to no explanation.

Still, the Beyhive was quick to discern that the doc had Beyoncé written all over it.

Using the same Greek lettering and colors she wore during her Coachella set, the eagle-eyed Beyhive immediately freaked out.

Another clue, “Homecoming” could also refer to the Homecoming Scholars Award Program Bey launched last year through her BeyGood Initiative.

Her website explained that four HBCUs, Xavier, Wilberforce, Tuskegee and Bethune Cookman would receive the scholarship.

She further explained that her legendary concert set was “an homage to excellence in education…a celebration of the weekend homecoming experience, the highest display of college pride.”

A winner from each school would receive $25k for the 2018-19 school year.

Even the most casual Beyoncé fan knows, she is no stranger to surprise drops. She released the visual album Lemonade by surprise in 2016.

On Monday, Netflix confirmed that the focus of the doc would be Beyoncé’s historic Coachella set and performance. Of course, Mrs. Carter was the first Black woman to headline Coachella.

Additionally, the streaming giant explained that the concert film would be “an intimate look at Beyoncé’s historic 2018 Coachella performance” that would feature “candid interviews detailing the powerful intent behind her vision.”

In the trailer is Blue Ivy participating in Beyoncé’s choreography, whipping her hair in a chair in front of her mom and other dancers.

And whose voice is that you hear in the opening trailer? It’s the late Dr. Maya Angelou, who proclaimed,

“I have a chance to show how kind we can be, how intelligent and generous we can be. I have a chance to teach and love and to laugh and I know when I’m doing what I’m sent here to do, I will be called home.”

Beyoncé, a living symbol of Black excellence, is coming home.

Of course, Yoncé fans are on the edge of their seats. Especially because Beyoncé will voice Nala in the highly anticipated live-action remake of The Lion King, hitting theatres in July.

Right now, Beyoncé is giving the Beyhive everything they want and more. Album next?