Skip to content Skip to footer

Are Bstroy’s school shooter hoodies just adding to the trauma trend?

Trauma is trendy.

Although grotesque and mortifying to even conceptualize, it’s painstakingly true and this past weekend and the events that followed have confirmed it even more.

At a show during New York Fashion Week American fashion brand, Bstroy, featured distressed school shooting-themed hoodies, reading “Stoneman Douglas,” “Sandy Hook,” “Virginia Tech” and “Columbine” —  the sites of four of the deadliest school shootings in the US.


View this post on Instagram


Bstroy Season 5 SS20 SAMSARA. Photography : @nateshuls @kusumadjaja

A post shared by Bstroy ( on

Designed by Brick Owens and Duey Catorze, the line is apart of the brand’s spring/summer 2020 collection.

It was when the line was later uploaded onto Instagram and the outside world caught wind, that the hailstorm of criticism and outrage began.

Commenters identifying themselves as survivors and relatives of survivors started leaving comments under the Bstroy IG posts and, in a similar fashion, advocates of the victims began drawing attention to the insensitive clothing line on other platforms as well.

One Instagram user, @jgmurdock, wrote, “Y’all going to hell for sure,” while @ttcrp commented “Making money off tragedy.” A memorial page for one of the teachers killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting, Vicki Soto, called the hoodies  “absolutely disgusting, hurtful, wrong and disrespectful.”


View this post on Instagram


Bstroy Season 5 SS20 SAMSARA. Photography : @nateshuls @kusumadjaja

A post shared by Bstroy ( on

Shortly after the hoodies went up on Instagram in what one could assume is an explanation, or context, Ownes posted a card from the fashion show which had this statement:

“Sometimes life can be painfully ironic,” the statement read. “Like the irony of dying violently in a place you consider to be a safe, controlled environment, like school. We are reminded all the time of life’s fragility, shortness, and unpredictability yet we are also reminded of its infinite potential. It is this push and pull that creates the circular motion that is the cycle of life. Nirvana is the goal we hope to reach through meditation and healthy practices that counter our destructive habits. Samsara is the cycle we must transcend to reach Nirvana.”


View this post on Instagram



A post shared by (🐝). (@brickowens) on

Yet, regardless of intent, families weren’t consulted and a profit will still be made. Because trauma and the conversation around it is such a hot topic, it would be counterintuitive for a society as capitalist as ours not to monetize. The fact that depression and “sad girl” / “sad boy” vibes are a saught after aesthetics and that mental illness — even suicide — is glamorized, lets you know knew exactly which audience Bstroy was targeting with these hoodies.

Bstroy is also not the first to merchandise trauma. Popular social media influencer Demetrius Harmon is another.

Harmon gained a following by making funny vines and skits on Twitter but later transitioned his brand to mental health awareness and suicide prevention when he came out with his own struggles.

Now he sells hoodies with ‘you matter’ written on them for $65.00 a pop.

Some call it exploitation while others claim it normalizes what otherwise would be a stigma. Still, what can’t be argued is that more brands are coming out with mental health-themed tee shirts, tote bags, jewelry, which is affecting the message.

When people without the diagnosis choose to wear a label it becomes preformative and is dismissive to those who can’t take their label off at the end of the day and throw it in the hamper.

Sympathizing with victims of tragedy is one thing but making fashion out of their expense is another. These are real victims, fam.

Why SNL parting ways with Shane Gillis was more than a good look

SNL has nixed Shane Gillis from it’s cast after footage of him using racist and homophobic remarks on his podcast surfaced last week.

Gillis was one of three cast members recently added to ‘SNL’ which is set to begin its 45th season on September 28th but was officially fired Monday after the world caught wind of his comments in a now-viral video.

A spokesperson on the behalf of producer Lorne Michaels released a statement on their decision:

“After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining SNL. We want SNL to have a variety of voices and points of view within the show, and we hired Shane on the strength of his talent as a comedian and his impressive audition for SNL,” the statement said.

“We were not aware of his prior remarks that have surfaced over the past few days. The language he used is offensive, hurtful and unacceptable. We are sorry that we did not see these clips earlier, and that our vetting process was not up to our standard.”

Gillis offered more than an apology but nonetheless it didn’t hide the fact that he is still on the hot seat. Last week he stated that he “missed” while trying to “push boundaries” in explaining the viral clip and after news broke that the wouldn’t be joining the new cast — which has it’s the first member of Asian descent in the show’s history, by the way — he called it “ridiculous” for him to even have to say anything at all.

While free-speech is indeed fundamental to democracy and comedians should have the liberty to touch on any topic, the public isn’t dumb and people can tell when something is a joke and when it’s clear hate speech.

There was no punch-line, there was no value to draw away from and no “boundaries” were being pushed. As Pablo Torre from ESPN’s High Noon tweeted, “he didn’t say anything different from what every Asian person in America has heard by the 6th grade. It was only a “risk” because you and your hack friend are dumb enough to record it.”

‘SNL’ firing Gillis isn’t an attack on comedy or speech but a stand for integrity. I’m sure Asian people don’t mind taking a joke. In fact, Presidential hopeful Andrew Yang, who is orchestrating a sit-down with Gillis, said that he “prefers comedy that makes people think and doesn’t take cheap shots.”

If ‘SNL’ played coy and pretended as if they couldn’t see that Gillis wasn’t joking and was just being flat-out racist, it would have emboldened others with hidden racist pasts to go for public positions and elevated platforms unafraid of repercussions.

A good joke is one that most people find funny and there weren’t a lot of supporters defending Gillis. Even if there were, chances are that they aren’t Asian.

SNL doesn’t always get it right but standing by their Asian cast-mate and firing Gillis was a proud moment in humanity. Be sure to catch the new season of SNL on NBC this Fall.

We are living in a Juul epidemic: Why you should put the vape down bro

You either Juul, know someone who Juuls or have seen a mysterious cloud of that nicotine pixie dust spewing from someone’s mouth — either way, everyone is familiar with the newest e-cigarette sensation.

Except now, it’s time to put the Juul down.

We are living in a Juul epidemic. More than 450 possible cases of lung illness associated with using e-cigarettes were reported to the CDC across 33 states and the US Virgin Islands last Friday.

Adding on to the vaping conundrum, the sixth death from lung disease related to vaping was reported in Kansas this Tuesday. Now, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has asked anyone who uses a vape to stop while they investigate.

Known as Juul Labs, the small, compact, easy-to-use vape that was supposed to replace cigarettes altogether, comes in a variety of colors and leaves virtually no scent. It’s to no wonder Juul represents 76 percent of total revenue in 2018.

Now the convenient stress reliever is taking lives.

The alarming new studies have been making their rounds. Along with the CDC, the American Lung Association has also come out to urge e-cig smokers to quit and Monday, the Food and Drug Administration accused the e-cigarette juggernaut of illegally marketing its merchandise as “unauthorized modified risk tobacco products.”

“Regardless of where products like e-cigarettes fall on the continuum of tobacco product risk, the law is clear that, before marketing tobacco products for reduced risk, companies must demonstrate with scientific evidence that their specific product does, in fact, pose less risk or is less harmful,” acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Ned Sharpless said in a statement Monday.

“JUUL has ignored the law, and very concerningly, has made some of these statements in school to our nation’s youth.”

Even President Trump showed action, calling a ban on all flavored e-cigarette pods, banning all flavored carts.

“We may very well have to do something very, very strong about it,” Trump, flanked by Azar and Acting Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Ned Sharpless, told reporters in the White House Oval Office.

A lot of Juul users turned to the e-cig in hopes of quitting cigarettes but now they’re forced to nicotine-quitting recommendations that have helped people stop using cigarettes in the past and are struggling badly.

The epidemic affects both marijuana and tobacco users. The vaping process turns liquid into a gas by heating up the oils but some oil droplets may be leftover as the liquid cools back down, and inhaling those drops may cause breathing problems and lung inflammation.

The life-threatening mysterious illness is causing patients in their late teens and 20s rushing up the hospital with severe shortness of breath, often after suffering for several days with vomiting, fever, and fatigue.

Health officials are uncertain these are new batches of vapes where a particular toxin or substance has sneaked into the supply, people reusing cartridges containing contaminants or a combination of drugs.

What they do know is that you should stop smoking them until further notice.

The National Cancer Institute has an online resource available for teens. They also have more information about e-cigarettes for adults.

The Rock and Dany Garcia are changing fitness culture with ATHLETICON

These days there’s a convention for everything.

If you’ve got a mean sweet-tooth, there’s a CookieCon to fix your needs; if conspiracy theories are your thing, there’s a ParanoiaCon to tickle your fancy; even when it comes to the massive all-encompassing genre that is pop-culture, there’s a convention for that —  ComplexCon, which dubs itself as the Super Bowl of the internet.

Now, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and his business partner Dany Garcia are bringing their field of expertise to the convention world in 2020 with an exciting new venture called ATHLETICON.

Set to take place next October in Atlanta, Georgia, ATHLETICON has the same concept of any convention — groupies and superfans stepping out of their virtual worlds and into the physical manifestation of an obsessiveness bred by the Internet.

ATHLETICON, however, is billed as the first of it’s kind.

In an exclusive interview with CNN earlier today, Garcia, who is CEO and Chairwoman of The Garcia Companies and TGC Management, said the convention has been three years in the making and is the “culmination” of her and Johnson’s body of work throughout the years.

According to Garcia, who is a former bodybuilder herself, the plan is to have panels, speakers, interactive experiences, competitive athletic events, performances and exhibitors that appeal to people of all ages and on all levels of the fitness spectrum.

They even plan on hosting a movie premiere in hopes that the current craze in superhero flicks will create a “natural” and accessible entry point for conversations about fitness and health. Johnson said in a statement,

“We’ve always been committed to fitness and health — it’s what sustains us mentally and physically. Creating Athleticon is a natural extension of everything we do for our global audience who are connected to the people and brands that inspire them. Whether you’re at the peak of your fitness game or fighting for every gain, I can’t wait to see your transformative journey at Athleticon.”

There will be more announcements to come as the date gets closer Garcia tells CNN but even still, there’s something to be said about health being made popular and a priority by people that matter.

The Rock leveraging his platform to promote physical health not only normalizes fitness and the need to get be responsible for our health but it gives kids a positive influence and a reinforcement that isn’t being shared online.

All you hear nowadays is kids overdosing on Fentanyl becoming addicted to Juuls and that because what the majority of they’re consuming on a daily basis is content on drug abuse. That’s what makes Athleticon so important.

Dwayne Johnson, being as influential as he is, still dedicating so much attention to well-being says a lot about his character, and for that alone deserves support.

Antonio Brown doesn’t owe anyone an apology for making his own decisions

ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith called Antonio Brown “embarrassing,” “selfish,” and “disgraceful.”

John Brown of the NFL on CBS questioned his integrity and whether he was prepared to succeed at life. Going even harder on Brown’s name, Superbowl Champion Coach Tony Dungy said, “He’ll be the biggest loser in the end.”

If you were to listen to the soundbites over the weekend, and this past summer for that matter, you’d think NFL wide receiver Antonio Brown had either punched his wife in an elevator, was charged for prostitution solicitation of an Asian Day Spa or took performance-enhancing drugs.

No, instead all Antonio Brown has done — in a shark, cold, shrewd manner — is look out for himself. What’s been most surprising about the outrage and sheer viciousness of the media coverage the 31-year-old now New England Patriot has had thrown his way is the hierocracy in it all.

Where did this mandate that players must put coach, team, and league before themselves come from? We’re talking about the same league that has the highest athlete turn-over, where fans will hate you the second you don’t produce for them and forget you when you’re done, and, by the way, is currently still blackballing a player for free speech.

Where did this virtuous molehill everyone is standing on come from? How many of us at with regular 9 to 5s would put our jobs over ourselves and, for all intents and purposes, not do what’s in our best interest when the time arrives?

Granted, everything Antonio Brown has done lives up to all the stereotypes that come with being a diva star wide receiver, and then some. From his last moments as a Pittsburg Steeler to signing his one-year deal worth up to an estimated $15 million with the Patriots, there is no real vouching for a character for the star receiver.

Antonio Brown may not have agreed with the Steelers’ team policy on social media but he could have handled it better than getting in a heated dispute with the coaches and throwing a football at his starting QB. 

Similarly, he may have had issues with the NFL’s new policy which decertified his longtime helmet but he didn’t have to ghost practice and the Raiders’ attempts to communicate with him.  

Mans even threatened to wash the team’s general manager, Mike Mayock — “in the face” — because he wasn’t happy with them canceling his guarantees which he could have gotten out of in a more peaceful way. 

Antonio Brown may be picky, a diva, sensitive, and incredibly selfish but not a single soul was harmed. He decided that he wasn’t happy with the workplace and did what he thought was best to change it.

People easily forget how gruesome, short and how underpaid the athletes are in the NFL. While jokes of Brown having CTE go round, 29-year-old Pro-Bowl quarterback Andrew Luck has retired due to the toll of the game on his body while quality players like Melvin Gordon of the San Diego Chargers are still fighting to get paid his worth.

This isn’t the NBA. NFL players have a short window to maximize talent before they’re exhausted and replaced by someone cheaper.

In nine previous seasons with the Steelers, Antonio Brown has made seven Pro Bowls and earned four first-team All-Pro honors. He has led the NFL in receiving yards twice (14′, ’17) and in receptions (14′, ’15) on two occasions.

Just last season, Brown was the league leader in touchdown receptions.

He’s cold and he knows it. So why not leverage his Hall of Fame paced prime?

As he said when he became unhappy and wanted out as a Steeler to ESPN’s Jeff Darlington,

“I don’t even have to play football if I don’t want to, bro. I don’t even need the game. I don’t need to prove nothing to anyone. If they want to play, they’re going to play by my rules; if not, I don’t need to play.”

And, honestly, I don’t blame the guy.

As “extreme” as his Brown’s antics have been, Kansas City Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill just signed a $54 million dollar extension last week, this after prosecutors ended an investigation into allegations that he physically abused his 3-year-old son.

While investigators couldn’t link him as the child’s abuser, audio that appears to be him threatening his fiancée is far worse than anything Antonio Brown has done.

“You need to be terrified of me too, bitch,” I would think, would be less received than being annoying about a helmet. Brown was not eligible when the Patriots opened their regular season against Brown’s old team Sunday night at Gillette Stadium but is expected to be active by week three.

As for his guaranteed $30 million that gripers are saying he foolishly left behind, Brown’s agent said Saturday it’s possible they’ll file legal action against Oakland on how discipline was carried out and his voided contract. If he wins the grievance, he would count over $50,000,000 this year in dead money for two teams: Oakland for $29,125,000 and Pittsburgh for $21,120,000.

Say what you want about how Antonio Brown handles disagreements, his attention span, or neediness. Just make sure you add that he knows he’s a talented athlete in a league who knows his worth.

Antonio Brown isn’t a bad guy, he just wants what he wants and knows how to get it. What everyone has trouble accepting is that when you’re behavior doesn’t come at any consequence and you have the talent to boot, you can.

Offset joins FaZe Clan: Why hip-hop and gaming makes perfect sense

One of the biggest rap stars in the game has joined forces with one of the biggest e-sports brands in the world and no one is batting an eye.

As reported by The Verge, Atlanta recording artist and one-third of Migos, Offset, joined the gaming juggernaut, FaZe Clan, as a principal investor on August 20th for an undisclosed amount.

According to the article, stories of teenagers winning millions of dollars playing Fortnite and the gaming company’s reputation for winning sold the 27-year-old Father of Four on the collective.

In a statement, Offset, whose real name is Kiari Kendrell Cephus, called FaZe Clan “the biggest esports organization with some of the best players in the world.”

Being that Offset is a Grammy-nominated and FaZe Clan a multi-million dollar top gaming channel on YouTube, one would think this would be groundbreaking.

This, however, and for a lack of better words, is old news.

Don’t get me wrong, the Atlanta rapper investing and becoming the unofficial ambassador for the entertainment organization was, I’m sure, huge for their 4 million Twitter followers, 7.1 million YouTube subscribers and massive international following.

But the deal — wherein which the details were not disclosed — is but the latest of what has proved to be a match made in heaven: Hip-hop and competitive gaming.

In October of last year, Drake became an owner of Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag’s 100 Thieves alongside entertainment heavyweight Scooter Braun.

Similarly, Sean “Diddy” Combs invested in high school esports initiative PlayVS  a month prior; and just this past April, Canada pop sensation.

The Weeknd became a co-owner of OverActive Media, a Canadian group that funds and runs many eSports teams, including Toronto Defiant of the Overwatch League, as well as teams for League of Legends, Starcraft, Rocket League and more and that only names a handful.

Offset isn’t even the first rapper on FaZe Clan — Lil Yachty joined the group as a content creator in December. Long gone are the days of nerds versus jocks, feeling different for liking anime or being a heavy gamer, because, surprise, surprise: rappers do too.

“My four-year-old plays Fortnite, my little brother who’s 21 plays Fortnite. It’s every range of people, and it’s nothing but positivity. It’s going to be forever,” Offset said to Verge.

And when you really sit down and think about it, the same homies you hoop with are the same ones you’re playing Call of Duty and NBA 2K or FIFA with as well — why wouldn’t the two merge?

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by OFFSET (@offsetyrn) on

We’ve long known hip-hop to be the most influential genre in the world but we’re for the first time ever we’re witnessing what it looks like being the number one consumed genre in the world. From politicians and fashion to sports and even the corporate world, everyone is clamoring to get their hands on the revenue rap brings and e-gaming is getting in while the getting is good.

Drake knew what the hell he was doing linking up with popular streamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins last year. The “God’s Plan” rapper brought Travis Scott for a session on Fortnite: Battle Royale with Ninja in and broke records on Twitch that ended up being mutually beneficial to all parties.

As hard as it is to imagine, the three gamers on the planet earth who didn’t know who Drake or Travis Scott was sure did after that stream. Likewise, hip-hop fans were introduced to a world they may have never thought to look at. There’s clearly an overlap in opportunity in the two worlds and Offset is just the latest to take advantage.

Later on in the interview, Offset admits seeing a lot of himself in these professional gamers. According to the rapper, “they’re like rock stars,” he said. “They’ve got great followings, they influence kids, and that’s what I do. It was just organic. These guys are cool,” he continued.

As competitive gaming and hip-hop continue to grow in popularity so will the number of things they have in common. Just as hip-hop artists tap social media influences to create a viral dance to their records, you’re going to start seeing rappers do more collabs with gamers and vice versa.

Think about the songs you’ve heard on Madden or 2K that you would have never heard elsewhere — that’s the market that Offset sees. The fact it’s something he actually likes doing is a plus.

Gamer life and hip-hop coming together is no longer a shocker, it just makes sense.

Dior’s racist ‘Sauvage’ ad pulled: Why it’s time to stop pretending we care

“Deeply offensive,” “racist,” “cultural appropriation at it’s worst” —  are just light notes from the hailstorm of criticism Dior’s new Native American-themed campaign has received since it’s August 30 release.

Marketing their latest campaign for the fragrance “Sauvage,” the French fashion house lasted all up but a couple of hours before seeing the ad completely removed from all social platforms due to the backlash.

The now-pulled ad featured actor Johnny Depp playing the guitar against the Arches National Monument in Utah as Rose Sioux tribe member Canku Thomas One Star performs a traditional dance in the background.

Described as “an authentic journey deep into the Native American soul in a sacred, founding, and secular territory,” the “We are the Land” ad is claimed to be in “honor” of native people and was said by Dior to be the result of close collaboration with the indigenous advocacy organization, Americans for Indian Opportunity (AIO).

The end, however, resulted in negative stereotypes against women, racist tropes of Native Americans and even the use of a Native American actress who said she “felt conflicted during filming” afterward.

Even the fragrance name itself, “Sauvage,” is French for “wild” and “savage,” — a racial slur used to describe Native peoples throughout North American history (the fragrance name has been used since the 1960s).

At first thought, one would assume an ad so blatantly offensive and overtly racist making it to the writing-table let alone the test screen would be unthinkable, but the truth of the matter is: we simply don’t care.

Of course, there’s always outrage, anger, and demands for apologies but no one really does any true boycotting or actions to demine the corps.

The cycle is almost a joke: luxury brand releases something offensive; we get upset; we cancel said brand; then we wear said brand again. The follow-through never matches the outrage and the process has honestly turned into a sad case of the marginalized group cried wolf.

As recent as February of this year, rappers, social media influencers and all of Hollywood we’re high on their ‘cancel Gucci’ horse after the high-end fashion dealer dropped an $890 wool balaclava jumper resembling Blackface.

T.I went viral for checking an innocent bystander for wearing Gucci, 50 Cent took his own Gucci shirt and burned it on a video shortly after the sweater’s release and a protest to boycott the brand even seemed to be catching real steam… That’s how serious people we’re about this damn sweater.

Yet, just last weekend on the red carpet of the VMA’s, Rick Ross was dropped in Gucci from head to toe and not a peep was said.

Rick Ross, MTV Video Music Awards, MTV VMA's, Red Carpet Fashion
Erik Pendzich/Shutterstock ( E Online)

Similarly, back in 2016, Moncler was under fire for a line of expensive puffy jackets and shirts that had an emblem that resembles racist dolls, known as golliwogs, as well as racist depictions and imagery of black people from the late 19th century.

As the routine goes, an apology was sent out, and, on cue, Tyga, dawned big bright red Moncler pants in the video for his single “Dip” with Nicki Minaj just this year.

The truth of the matter is that we’re not angry at these brands, care that their racists, or really want to stop supporting them. We’re never angry at the people, we’re just pissed you did it in our face.

They’ll keep testing the line as long as we keep giving them one to test. Dior keeping Depp, who played Tonto in Disney’s re-imagining of “The Lone Ranger” in 2013, a portrayal that drew criticism for promoting a stereotypical image of Native Americans, to portray deep and rich Native American culture, is proof.

Pictured: A screenshot of the couturier's SAUVAGE 2019 advertising featuring Johnny Depp. Their caption reads Sauvage is a creation inspired by wide-open spaces. A composition distinguished by a raw freshness, a fragrance that's both powerful and noble."

A spokesperson for the brand said:

“The House of Dior wishes to address the strong reaction to the trailer of the new campaign of the Sauvage fragrance featuring a Native American artist performing a traditional Fancy dance.”

It’s okay though, they and we both know, we’ll be ready for the next heat that drops.

Jay-Z is still getting backlash over NFL deal, is it time for him to speak out?

It’s really going to be tough for Jay-Z to stay silent as footage of him discussing social justice with NFL owners resurfaced and circulated the web this weekend.

In the video, which didn’t seem like a big deal at the time when it first came out in January, you can hear the 49-year-old billionaire touching on topics that, especially in today’s social and political climate, would rub folks the wrong way.

Sitting along with Jay-Z was fellow rapper Meek Mill, Patriots partner Robert Kraft, Philadelphia 76ers co-partner Michael Rubin, Brooklyn Nets co-partner Clara Wu Tsai and others to launch the Reform Alliance. An initiative created by the group to address criminal justice issues.

Still, Jay blamed single-parent households for negative police relations regarding Black people, defended jailing with discretion, and sympathized with “hard-working” taxpayers who pay for jails.

In the videos, Jay says single-parent houses give people an “adverse feeling toward authority” which causes them to tell police “f*ck you,” resulting in interactions that “causes people to lose lives,” which, seemingly, puts the blame of police/civilian casualties on the victims.

One could argue that these clips are out of context and that bigger points are being lost but what’s not up for debate is the outrage it’s brought forth, adding to what has already been a rocky — no pun intended — partnership with the NFL.

The sports and hip-hop community were both torn in half three weeks ago after the announcement that Jay-Z would be the NFL’s new ‘Live Music Entertainment Strategist’ and “contributor” to the NFL’s activism campaign, Inspire Change, as part of the Roc Nation partnership.

Jay-Z, who is beloved in the hip-hop community and has even survived a cheating scandal with Queen B, couldn’t quite win people over with this one. It was pointed out that Jay-Z has rapped about not needing the NFL, advised Travis Scott not to perform at the halftime Superbowl show, and left out Collin Kaepernick, the man who brought all this to our attention.

There were NFL players like Eric Reid —  a former teammate of Kaepernick who was blackballed until his return to the league last year — who brought to our attention that the partnership conveniently took place on the public’s knowledge of Stephen Ross’ fundraiser for Donald Trump and pundits like Stephen A. Smith, who called the partnership “beautiful.”

You even had individuals like New York radio host, Charlamagne who took both sides, saying in an Instagram post, “it may not work but why root against it.”

The resurfacing of the footage from Jay’s meeting with NFL owners earlier this year, however, adds a new lens. It puts his supporters in a pickle as all the fears of Black capitalism and Jay-Z being an NFL puppet become more prevalent in popular conversation. Especially, when their first roll-out of actionable items this past week was the culmination of hoodies to purchase.

“Today, the NFL and Roc Nation announced the launch of Inspire Change apparel and Songs of the Season as part of their new partnership. Inspire Change apparel, a new social enterprise model, will fund and support Inspire Change programs across the country,” the official press release on Thursday said in part.

After being bold enough to say that we’re “past kneeling,” the NFL and Jay come out with t-shirts and music concerts, something that some people ridiculed as already falling well short of the progress that Kaepernick’s anthem protest had achieved in its three years.

Jay-Z has managed to stay silent on the anger he’s incited so far, but I’m not sure how much longer he can go without clearing up what appears to be everyone’s concern.

Meghan Trainor, Meek Mill, Rapsody, and DJ Pharris will be performing a free concert at Grant Park in Chicago on Thursday, Sept. 5 where proceeds from the concert will be donated to social justice organizations before the first game of the season kicks off between the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field.

Jay-Z says he’s in it for change, let’s just hope this isn’t the extent of it.

Travis Scott’s Netlfix doc shows how rappers can control their own narrative

A new documentary, Travis Scott: Look Mom I Can Fly today, premiered today on Netflix detailing the Houston rapper’s creation of the wildly popular and successful album, Astroworld. 

The doc goes behind scenes dating all the way back the conception of the album, recording it, touring, the nomination process, getting to the key to his hometown and the whole bit.

The doc was great. It gives a new appreciation into Travis’ craftsmanship, work ethic, vision and just how much he cares about his music. He also gives an inside look to his personal life, showing off his daughter, the house he grew up in, home videos of him as a kid and other gems that you just can’t get anywhere else.

Being that Astroworld was released last year August, one could ask why now? Why post-album rollout and tour would he share his life story and the making of his latest album? And the answer is simple: to control his own narrative.

While platforms like The Breakfast Club, Hot 97, Sway, Big Boy and others will always be a staple in rap, especially for up and coming artists, if you noticed, rappers are starting to no longer feel an obligation towards them.

Back in the day, media outlets needed artists just as much artists needed them but now that we’ve transitioned into a digital and stream-first society, the middle man is no longer needed.


View this post on Instagram



A post shared by flame (@travisscott) on

Artists no longer need to chop it up with a radio host for exposure just for gossip and their business to be put in the open nor do artists need to go up and rap for someone like a show pony that has something to prove. They can if they’d like, but it’s no longer a must-do in the industry like it was a decade ago.

Today rappers are skipping the traditional media run and are adopting new media practices to control their own narrative.

Nicki Minaj has Queen Radio, a Beats 1 radio show on Apple where she talks her shit when she wants, how she wants. Then you have Solange who, when her latest album When I Come Home, dropped, offered what she’s called a “Texas Film” to accompany the sounds with immaculate visuals.

Travis is just the latest of artists who are going a different route in explaining their art and that’s exactly what Look Mom I Can Fly is.


View this post on Instagram


Out now on @netflix

A post shared by flame (@travisscott) on

Scott is not a vet in the game and he’s certainly hasn’t reached a level in his career where he can tell his life story.

Travis wants you to know he was disappointed about his Grammy snubs and excited when the Drake verse came in and how much he appreciates the Mayor of Houston his way, not via some outlet with an agenda. That’s the purpose of the doc.

I don’t think stars are totally against sharing intimacies of their life, I just think they want to do it on their own terms. Thanks to the streaming age, they can.

Dave Chappelle will never learn his lesson and our society is better for it

Dave Chappelle has everyone pissed off again.

Hours after the release of his latest comedy special, Stick & Stones on Netflix Monday, outrage ensued that was both passionate and predictable.

Cries from political correct police and social justice warriors rang loud as Chapelle brilliantly worked his way through society’s hottest and most push-button topics.

Michael Jackson, R. Kelly, Jussie Smollett, the LGBTQ community, you name it; the DC-native decided to speak his mind on any and everything and he didn’t hold back, not one bit.

However, despite the title of the special and history of Dave’s work, his words did exactly what he hoped — or didn’t hope, depending on how you look at it — to avoid: offend.

From accusations of punching-down to being called a victim shamer with an anti-PC shtick that is “boring and predictable,” the takes came in hot and heavy for the 46-year-old now Ohio resident.

Of course, there were praises of genius from his contemporaries and, as you’d expect, tons of fanfare. And for the second and third time since coming back from Africa, the man who had us laughing at slave beatings is getting grilled and reprimanded.

It’s almost as if people thought the backlash from his comeback specials in 2017 — The Age of Spin: Dave Chappelle Live at the Hollywood PalladiumEquanimity, and the Bird Revelation — would somehow set him straight; as if all he needed was a couple of scathing reviews to help him see how things worked after his decade-long hiatus from Hollywood.

VICE dropped a piece saying Dave is “tarnishing his own legacy” while The Ringer compared him to Aziz Ansari saying, “The latter is circumspect and performatively torn” in his latest comedy routines, while the former is regrettably “openly combative.” In other words, Aziz appears to have learned his lesson while Dave has not.

And they’re right, Dave Chappelle hasn’t learned his lesson and won’t be learning it anytime soon — however, both comedy and our society are better for it.

It appears people have forgotten the provocative skits on the Chappelle’s Show, like getting Oprah pregnant, the blind white Black supremacist piece or his infamous R. Kelly bit that will go down in sketch comedy history.

Before Sticks & Stones and before the two controversial specials he dropped two years ago, Dave’s content was incredibly insensitive. He made fun of kidnap victims, the blind, the rich, the poor, drug addicts and more. Dave has always been offensive; it just so happens that his career’s resurgence is now getting caught in the crosshairs of PC and cancel culture. Still, he’s clearly not changing.

In one particular segment of the special that’s being previewed online, Dave uses impressions to call out the audience on this idea of canceling someone.

“This is my impression of the Founding Fathers of America when the Constitution was being written: ‘Hurry up and finish that Constitution nigger, I’m trying to get some sleep,’ Chappelle says, to uproarious laughter from the crowd.

“The next one’s a little harder,” Chappelle says, asking the audience to try “to guess who it is. ‘Uh, Duh… Hey, der, if you do anything wrong in your life, and I find out about it, I’m going to try take everything away from. I don’t care what I find out. It could be today, tomorrow, fifteen, twenty years from now — If I find out, you’re fucking….duh…finished.’

In the clip you can hear the audience guessing out “Trump,” but it hits home when he points at them and says, “it’s you.”

Not for nothing, but the sensitivities who he offended as well as the real-life manifestations of homophobia, misogyny, transphobia, as all realities that should not be ignored, and is something that Dave also doesn’t completely dismiss.

During the special, he talks about using the N-word versus using the F-word in a well thought out bit where he describes how during Chappelle’s Show one of the few times he got in trouble was when he was called out for using the latter slur.

In the story, Dave concedes and apologizes to his boss but before he leaves, he asks why it was okay to use to former slur and the latter. His boss responds by saying he can’t say the F-word because he’s not gay, to which he responds, “well….I’m not an N-word either.” The punchline not only brought forth roars from the audience but was thought-provoking to the point that had people clapping on their feet.

Similarly, at the end of the special, Netflix followed Chappelle’s performance with an epilogue called “The Punchline,” where the comedian gives anyone the chance to pick apart his thought process for the jokes.

It was here when he acknowledged that his latest routine might offend many. But he said his act is not intended to hurt, even if that’s ultimately the end result.

“I’ve been telling these jokes and sometimes [people] look like they’re in actual pain over the jokes,” he said. “None of it is that bad to me, but I understand why it could hurt some people’s feelings.”

Dave Chappelle isn’t trying to hurt just anyone — he wants to hurt everyone and he doesn’t want rules on who gets it and who doesn’t.

Chapelle critiquing culture is important and necessary. It’s all about exposing incongruities; making fun of people equally is a part of comedy. The moment a subject becomes untouchable, it becomes that much more taboo, making it more awkward and out of the norm than what the joke ever could have initially done.

You cannot control humor or what makes something humorous. It’s a coping mechanism to how we experience pain and can relate. All Dave Chappelle is trying to do is preserve that.

No one is above jokes. Not your dead grandma, not Michael J. Fox and his shakes nor the LGBTQ community. It’s hard to say if the outrage that follows Dave’s specials nowadays will ever stop, but one can hope that one day they see the jokes as inclusion and not exclusion.