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Kobe Bryant

Our idols love Kobe Bryant so much: 10 celebrities who wore his jerseys

Celebrities have donned Kobe Bryant jerseys for over two decades now. Beyoncé, Snoop Dogg, LeBron James, Lil Wayne, the list goes on and on.

Kobe Bryant was an iconic figure in the world, and he still is. There is a reason his jerseys have been some of the most successful of any NBA player ever. When you put on the 8 or 24, you are putting on Kobe’s legacy.

A legacy of determination, diligence, and drive to be the best. The mamba mentality in its purest form.

Whether its the classic purple and gold, the light-blue throwback jerseys, or a custom suit of Kobe’s Lakers, these celebrities have donned Kobe’s jersey because they respect the man, the myth, the legend. And there is no greater nod to Kobe Bean Bryant than that.

Beyoncé dons a unique Kobe Bryant jersey look

Cred: Tumblr

Beyhive let’s hear it! Beyoncé, the towering figure she is, does not go out of her way to appear in the public light. But for Kobe, Beyoncé would be there.

As a contemporary in the entertainment world, Beyoncé surely saw Kobe Bryant as a friend, and would thus rock his jersey from time to time to make that fact known.

Also, not that it’s any anomaly in this fact, but the Kobe jersey looks damn good on her.

celebrities jerseys
Cred: Tumblr

Bey even performed at Kobe’s memorial service in a beautiful tribute.

“I’m here, because I loved Kobe. And this was one of his favorite songs.”

Beyoncé singing XO

All the feels. All of them.

Famous Lakers fan Snoop Dogg never forgets what Kobe did for the franchise

kobe bryant jerseys

Snoop Dogg photographed by Kevin Mazur while attending the 2002 ESPY Awards in Hollywood, CA – July 10, 2002

Snoop Dogg is never afraid to make clear his loyalty for the Lakers. And Kobe for that matter.

In this custom Kobe Bryant jersey, Snoop reminds us that he’s been doing this. Showing love to the real. To the fearless.

Snoop Dogg photographed by Kevin Mazur while attending the 2002 ESPY Awards in Hollywood, CA – July 10, 2002

As legendary as anyone gets in the entertainment business, Snoop is a boss. Even during the Lakers’ years in obscurity, Snoop stayed true to the franchise.

And he always reminds us that we can do anything.

Naomi Osaka shows love to Kobe in a classic jersey during her 2020 US Open win

Naomi Osaka celebrates her US Open win in a Kobe jersey

One of our favorite athletes of this generation, Naomi Osaka is revered because she is more than an athlete. She raised awareness of the many Black lives lost to police brutality in recent years.

And she absolutely dominated the US Open in 2020. Channeling Kobe’s Mamba mentality, Osaka showed out.

Look out for her in the upcoming 2021 Olympics, taking place in her home country of Japan.

Rivals, teammates, friends: LeBron shows love wearing Kobe’s jersey in the 2020 NBA playoffs

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LeBron James on his way to the arena before a 2020 NBA playoff game (Cred: @Lakers)

Idols turn to rivals. Rivals return to being friends.

The media wanted to pit LeBron and Kobe against each other. The league would’ve loved nothing more than a finals pairing of the two up against one another. But alas, we never got one.

Whether on opposing teams, or as teammates on the Team USA squad, ‘Bron and Kobe always had respect for each other.

So it only made sense that ‘Bron would don one of Kobe’s jerseys before a big game. And, of course, in a playoffs that LeBron’s team would end up winning. ‘Bron strived for greatness by channeling his inner Mamba mentality.

Lil Wayne seen in a Kobe Bryant jersey shows us GOATS love other GOATS

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Lil Wayne getting drippy in a Kobe jersey Cred: @colormenae

The man at the pinnacle of the rap game pairing up with the man at the height of sports. Lil Wayne repping one of Kobe Bryant’s jerseys shows us GOATS enjoy other GOATS.

Don’t we all like surrounding ourselves with success?

Vanessa Hudgens represents the newer generation of Kobe fans

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8/24. Happy Kobe Bryant day💛💜 (Cred: @vanessahudgens)

Vanessa Hudgens represents the newer generation of Lakers and Kobe fans. She grew up with the Lakers being great, and found stardom herself as the franchise continued its success.

Now, in a non-pandemic world, you will find Hudgens at a Lakers game, cheering on Kobe’s legacy and the new team.

“I was never really into sports. Then I started watching the lakers games. I cheered more for Kobe than anyone else in my life. Yearssss ago I got a call saying Kobe wanted a signed Gabriella doll for one of his daughters. Geeking out I said of course…I would also really love a signed jersey.”

Vanessa Hudgens via her IG

For all the tension, Shaq and Kobe loved and supported each other

kobe bryant jerseys
Shaq wearing a Kobe jersey before an NBA game (Cred: @ballislife)

Shaq wore Kobe’s jersey before a 2002 NBA game. Why? Kobe was serving a two-game suspension for fighting Reggie Miller.

Shaq showed support for his superstar teammate, and with the well-chronicled rifts between the tandem, this was a big show of support.

Everyone wants to find themselves in one of Kobe Bryant’s jerseys.

Lauren London shows love in one of Kobe Bryant’s jerseys

Kobe Bryant jerseys
Lauren London sporting a Kobe jersey (Cred: @laurenlondon)

Celebrities wearing jerseys is no news in and of itself. But for an LA-native, Lauren London rocking one of Kobe Bryant’s jerseys is undoubtedly special.

The beautiful actress, along with her man Nipsey Hussle, were die-hard Lakers fans. And that meant they were die hard Kobe fans.

Rest east Bean. There is a plethora of people on Earth that think about you daily.

Kyrie Irving carries Kobe Bryant’s legacy forward

kobe bryant jerseys
Kyrie rocking a Kobe jersey in 2021 (Cred: @BrooklynNets)

Kobe Bryant has many protégés in the NBA, but perhaps are none are more documented than Kyrie Irving. The two truly had a unique relationship.

And it wasn’t focused solely on basketball. Kobe instilled wisdom of life on Kyrie, and no doubt those efforts were reciprocated.

Kyrie is as enigmatic a star as we have in sports, but when he puts on one of Kobe’s jerseys, we know the place he’s coming from. Because it’s what we all feel too: love, respect, admiration, and more.

Spike Lee shows his support for Kobe Bryant at the 2020 Oscars

kobe bryant jerseys
Spike Lee and Bong Joon-Ho at the 2020 Oscars Cred: @bong.joon_ho

In addition to showing the beautiful friendship between Spike Lee and Bong Joon-Ho, these photos show how Kobe Bryant’s jerseys can be turned into anything.

Spike Lee has a flair for the dramatic outfit. But he never misses. And even as perhaps the most famous NY Knick fan of all time, he still made sure to show love to the late, great Kobe Bryant.

These celebrities rocking Kobe jerseys show how far his impact stretched

What are the similarities between all these people? Ok, they’re all celebrities rocking Kobe’s jerseys, but aside from that, they stretch across different industries, backgrounds, sexes, age groups, and more.

Kobe Bryant’s legacy will endure, not just because of his remarkable jerseys that will never go out of style. But because of the effect he had on so many different people, inside and outside of the game of basketball.

Rest in peace Kob’, we miss you.

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.

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?

Would you go completely vegan for 30 years of Jay-Z or Beyonce tix?

Want tickets to see Beyonce and Jay Z in concert for life? All you have to do is go vegan.

Queen B announced the contest to her 123 million Instagram followers, with a post directing fans to a website that outlines the health and environmental benefits of adhering to a plant-based lifestyle.

The Carters are giving away 30 years of tickets of concerts featuring herself and her rapper husband to one very lucky fan and participant.

The Carters made headlines in the new year by writing the introduction to a vegan cookbook called, The Greenprint: Plant-Based Diet, Best Body, Better World. The book was written by Marco Borges, Beyoncé’s personal trainer, and in the intro, The Caters open up about how becoming parents changed their outlook on what they eat. They wrote,

“Having children has changed our lives more than anything else. We used to think of health as a diet–some worked for us, some didn’t. Once we looked at health as the truth, instead of a diet, it became a mission for us to share that truth and lifestyle with as many people as possible. We all have a responsibility to stand up for our health and the health of the planet…”

Beyoncé and Jay-Z are doubling down on their plea to fans, via their partnership with The Greenprint Project website.

The Carter’s are challenging their dedicated fan-base to incorporate more plant-based meals into their diets by touting the impact going vegan has on the environment and reducing one’s carbon footprint.

Here are the options:

All plants. All the time.

Plant-based for breakfast

Plant-based at work

Two plant-based meals a day

Meatless Mondays

Plant-based on weekdays

Nonetheless, the BeeHive is going APESHIT and the response elicited some hilarious Tweets.

In all seriousness though, at the same time, a plant-based lifestyle isn’t necessarily accessible to everyone, especially for those who are living in food deserts, wherein nutrition may be more financially accessible in the form of processed food supplied by corner stores, bodegas and/or gas stations.

While some have criticized, the power couple’s endorsement regarding food consumption — given that our relationship with food is highly personalized — The Carter’s alluring incentive for fans to convert to veganism is a way public figures can raise awareness around social and environmental issues.

The contest ends on Apr. 22 and a winner will be selected at random on May 22. Good luck!

How Travis Scott is redeeming himself for performing at the Super Bowl

When it was announced that Travis Scott was joining Adam Levine to perform at the halftime show of Super Bowl LIII it was at the displeasure of, well, everyone.

Not only wasn’t it standing in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick, who is currently suing the NFL on counts of collusion, but the NFL didn’t even bother to get an Atlanta-native to perform at halftime. They called upon Jay- Z, who turned it down. They gave Rihanna a ring, and she said, “Nah”.

Everyone was on board of curving the Super Bowl to the point that it was reported that Maroon 5, who was the chosen headliner for some reason, was “having a lot of trouble finding guests” to perform with them, with a source telling US Weekly that,

“No one wants to associate themselves with the NFL in light of its response to Colin Kaepernick’s protest against police brutality.”

Yet, Travis bit anyway.

However, believe it or not, Travis Scott may have redeemed his ill-advised decision.

A source close to the negotiations has now confirmed to Billboard this week that Scott required the NFL to make a joint donation to an organization fighting for social justice in order for him to move forward with the event — an effort which seems to be in response to the backlash he’s received.

Turns out the figure is $500,000 and it’s a partnership with the NFL to the “social justice accelerator” Dream Corps, an organization founded by Van Jones in 2014, and will work with the NFL on additional initiatives. Scott said in a statement,

“I back anyone who takes a stand for what they believe in. I know being an artist that it’s in my power to inspire. So before confirming the Super Bowl Halftime performance, I made sure to partner with the NFL on this important donation. I am proud to support Dream Corps and the work they do that will hopefully inspire and promote change.”

Some say, if you’ve been watching the NFL there’s no room for you to criticize Travis Scott because that’d mean you weren’t standing in solidarity with Kaepernick in the first place; to which, they’d be correct. Others say it’s a matter of making a statement to the NFL and being firm as one.

Either way, the “Sicko Mode” artist has made up his mind and will be at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday, Feb. 3rd.

Whether or not a $500,000 donation to a beneficial cause is enough to make up for the crimes the NFL has yet to pay is up to the fans and what they’ll do at halftime, but honestly, it’s probably more than anyone who’s raised their tongue in disapproval has done.

I’m not sure if Travis’ motives are any more displaced than anyone who’s watched one lick of the NFL this season. For him, the matter could be as simple as securing the bag, and I know none of us can hate on that.

Travis Scott Sky Walker GIF by Miguel - Find & Share on GIPHY

At the end of the day, if more of us would get up and do something instead of criticizing what someone else is doing, more might get done.

Maybe it’s good Travis was pressed; who knows, the NFL might not have given a donation at all. But let’s not pretend that his choice to perform isn’t, if even a little, softened by the fact that it came with the stipulations Travis made.

Good for Scott, and let’s hope he all artists, players, and influencers can make more sound plans to disrupt the corruptness of more institutions like the NFL.

Beyoncé and Jay-Z issue a Vegan Challenge: Why we should all accept

2019 has arrived and if you don’t have a resolution this year worry not, for auntie Beyonce and uncle Jay-Z have decided to make one for you.

In the introduction for Marco Borges’ (Beyoncé’s trainer) new book, The Greenprint: Plant-Based Diet, Best Body, Better World, the couple challenge their fans to try veganism.

According to People, they wrote,

“Having children has changed our lives more than anything else. We used to think of health as a diet — some worked for us, some didn’t. Once we looked at health as the truth, instead of a diet, it became a mission for us to share that truth and lifestyle with as many people as possible.”


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44 days until Coachella!! Vegan Time!! Click the link in my bio to join me! 💪🏽✨

A post shared by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on

Apparently, this has led to switching it up for their entire family, and a “want to challenge you, as we challenge ourselves,” as well. They added,

“We all have a responsibility to stand up for our health and the health of the planet. Let’s take this stand together. Let’s spread the truth. Let’s make this mission a movement. Let’s become ‘the Greenprint.’”

However, most of the Beyhive and Hov stans aren’t going.

And understandably so — being vegan ain’t cheap.

One study reported by ABC News last year showed that low-income Americans now would have to spend up to 70 percent of their food budget on fruits and vegetables to meet new national dietary guidelines for healthy eating.

A second study found that in rural areas, convenience stores far outnumber supermarkets and grocery stores — even though the latter carries a much wider choice of affordable, healthy foods. Author of the second report and an associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, Angela Liese, said,

“I think it’s a matter of raising awareness among health professionals — and that could be dieticians or diabetes educators or even doctors — that when we typically give people a recommendation to eat more fruits and vegetables, that is actually so much more complicated in a rural environment.”

However, what Beyoncé, Jay-Z and anyone living the vegan lifestyle is trying to tell us, is that going plant-based is not only to look good and be healthy but that it’s also in our best interest given the times we’re in.

Last year was a doozy for the industrialized food industry. The Centers for Disease Control investigated 24 foodborne illness outbreaks in 2018, a huge leap considering there was only 25 investigated in 2015 and 2016 combined.

The E. coli outbreak was that happened last year was the one no one missed. It was the biggest E. coli outbreak of the last 13 years, sickening 10 people in 36 states and killing five. 96 victims landed in the hospital, 27 of whom developed kidney failure.

And while, yes, the main product affected was romaine lettuce (a vegetable) the Food and Drug Administration thinks a concentrated animal feeding operation water came in contact with and affected romaine lettuce.

If You Say So Reaction GIF by Identity - Find & Share on GIPHY

Similarly, in February there was a salmonella outbreak in chicken salad that hit Iowa (240 sick, the one death) and seven other Midwestern states that didn’t draw much notice compared to the E. coli outbreak.

The USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service reported a recall of 91,388 pounds to 147,276 pounds of the ground turkey brand Jennie-O Turkey that occurred right before Thanksgiving and again, recalled 164,210 pounds of their ground turkey products, on the Friday night before the turkey industry’s other big day — Christmas.

Between tariff wars with China, which have already affected the soybean and corn harvest in Iowa, the food recalls and E. coli outbreak, it’s been damn scary just to grocery shop.

If there was ever a time to take special notice to our dietary consumption it’s now. And while it’s inevitably easier for billionaires to invest in what they’re putting in their bodies, it doesn’t make what they’re saying any less valid.

If we cannot afford to go vegan or we’re not even interested, we should at least research what we’re eating; if there’s anything to take away from the Carters’ vegan challenge, it’s that.

We all should probably go vegan, but if you don’t at least make sure you know what’s going in your body.

What is cultural appropriation? Why Twitter is wrong about Beyonce’s dress

Figuring out music for your wedding is often a site of contention between newlyweds as they often have to pick between hiring a DJ or a live band. But when you are the daughter of India’s wealthiest man, you have a lot of options.

For Isha Ambani, she chose to have Beyonce perform at her pre-wedding bash. The lavish celebrations took place in a 16th-century palace in Udaipur — and this was not even the ceremony. The actual wedding took place at her father’s 27-story home in Mumbai and was reported by Bloomberg to have cost over 100 million dollars.

Other famous people attendees of the wedding were Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and celebrity newlyweds Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas who recently celebrated their own Indian wedding.

But the star-studded guest list that wasn’t the thing that incited Twittersphere to weigh in on the event. It was Beyonce’s outfit.


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A post shared by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on

By looking at these tweets, it’s apparent that white people aren’t entirely clear on what counts as cultural appropriation.

Cultural appropriation is when a dominant culture takes elements of a minority culture after having systemically disenfranchised that very population throughout history. Moreover, it’s not borrowing from another culture, it’s exploiting another culture.

Since white people have so often been called out for wearing the attire of another culture, (just think back to the last Halloween party you attended), some hastily criticized Beyonce’s outfit as offensive.

Yet, these sentiments are just as misconstrued as concepts and slogans like “reverse racism” and “all lives matter,”  which further proves how so many white people are unable to recognize their inherited privilege that is enabled through systematic and historical exploitation of people of color.

But people of Southeast Asian descent came to Queen B’s defense. They emphasized that Beyonce wore Indian cultural attire to an Indian cultural event.

The Lion King doesn’t drop until summer and people are already losing it

If the reception of a teaser trailer is any indication of how hyped people are to see a film, the live-action reboot of the Disney classic, The Lion King is bound to be a major box-office success. Within only 24 hours, the teaser received close to 225 million views.

Disney released the trailer on Thanksgiving Day, knowing full well that families across the U.S. would gather together to watch the one-minute-plus video. With each viewing,  all were transported to a nostalgic place of their first and repeated viewings of the film.

Much of the excitement surrounding the reboot of the treasured Disney classic came from a desire for us to relive our childhoods and for parents to relive the moment they watched the film. They might not show it but our parents are just as excited and eager to reembark on Simba’s journey as we are.

At the same time, seeing the enlarged name of “Knowles-Carter” appears in title sequence on screen was plenty of incentive for people to watch the trailer.

Though some haters online anticipated Nala’s voice to have Beyoncé’s Texan accent, the Béyhive swarmed to the defense of their Queen.

Whether the superstar’s Southern accent hinders an authentic portrayal of a “lion accent,”  for sure, will be revealed once the film is released in July 2019.

Nonetheless, the response from Beyoncé’s fans on the release of the teaser trailer is evidence that the Twittersphere will most definitely be buzzing with unconditional support from the Béyhive.

The addition of CGI isn’t the only thing that is new to the reinstallment of the film. The cast is notably different too.

The original film included the voices of Mathew Broderick as Simba, Jeremy Irons as Scar, Moira Kelly as Nala, Rowan Atkinson as Zazu, and Nathan Lane as Timon.

In short, the original cast was predominately white, with the exception of James Earl Jones’ whose god-like voice in portraying Mufasa has become a hallmark of the film. It’s hard to admit and accept, but some of the most beloved movies from our childhood are racist and employ racist tropes.

Before some of you roll your eyes, at our contemporary PC culture, let’s just point out and address that some of the supporting characters in many of our favorite Disney films reproduce racial stereotypes and offer pejorative depictions of ethnic identities and cultures.

Let’s just let it sink in that the main crow in the Disney classic Dumbo, is called Jim Crow. The crows speak in the Black vernacular and serve the stereotypical role in classic musical films to be the source of Black comedic relief.

The Crows Lol GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Similarly, in the Jungle Book, the orangutan’s character serves as another source of Black comedic relief and entertainment. Singing in Louis Armstrong like fashion, the leader of the troop is King Louie.

When the head Orangutan, expresses his desire to be a man like Moguli, singing lyrics, “I wanna be a man, man-cub, and stroll right into town, and be just like the other men I’m tired of monkeyin’ around,” it is hard to disentangle these words from the historical development of biological racism that remains steeped in culture today.

It is a racist discourse that advanced a linkage between Black people and primates, in order to solidify their ‘sub-human’ status, legitimize imperialism and the enslavement of populations.

Plus, let’s not forget that the author of The Jungle Book, Rudyard Kipling was a white imperialist who wrote “The White Man’s Burden;” a poem that praises white colonizers for leaving their idyllic ‘civilized’ lives behind in the West to undertake their paternal civilizing mission to the ‘natives’ of Indonesia.

While Aladdin, Pocahontas, Lady and the Tramp, and Peter Pan are other examples to add to this list. All of these examples described are indicative of the type of racial coding that is implicit in many animation films and are intentionally portrayed to depict Black and brown people as foolish, ‘uncivilized’ and ‘backward.’

Returning back to the original Lion King, the hyenas in the film stand in stark contrast to the main characters in the film.

The depiction of the hyenas, Shenzi, Banzai and Ed and their buffoonish witless behavior are the most racialized characters in the film. They are highly villanized in their accents and vernacular. They also stand in stark contrast to the other characters in the film who have American and British accents.

Plus, the hyenas refuse to live under the lion’s rule and consequently exist on the margins and are banished to the Elephant Graveyard, that pretty much functions like a ghettoized space. The depiction in the original film ultimately aligns with traditional Hollywood conventions wherein Black and Hispanic perform racial stereotypes and are sources of comic relief.

The Lion King Laughing GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

I know I may seem like the ultimate buzz kill and deliverer of bad news but I am simply encouraging us to be more critical of the images we see on screen and how they have implications for viewers, especially younger ones. But there is still a lot to be optimistic and hopeful about with the live-action version of the Disney classic.

If you peep the cast for the reboot of the film, you will see the likes of Donald Glover, the actor-producer-comedian-director-writer-singer whose highly politicized ‘This is America’ brazen music video explores what it means to be Black in the United States.

Glover has a huge following from his TV series Atlanta, his role as Lando Calrissian in the reinstallment of the Star Wars franchise, and finally, his rap persona as Childish Gambino. His inclusion in both Star Wars and The Lion King demonstrates that Disney isn’t afraid to have the star’s name attached to their projects. If anything, they see it as a benefit.

With the cast predominately a Black ensemble, we can see that Disney is aware of the financial viability of creating projects that cater to Black audiences.

Plus, given that Disney owns Marvel, the success of Black Panther is further proof that audiences (Black or not), are in support of providing diverse cinematic representation, even if Black artists are only lending their voice to the screen. It’s enough for many.

Why you should know Kahlil Joseph, the filmmaker redefining visuals in music

If you don’t know the name Kahlil Joseph, you should.

Especially since the filmmaker’s body of work ranges from major collaborations with the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Sampha, FKA Twigs, hip-hop duo Shabazz Palace, and Flying Lotus. Plus, to top it all off, Joseph was one of the primary artistic visionaries and directors behind Beyoncé’s visual album Lemonade.

So, who is Kahlil Joseph and why should we care? Joseph is an LA-based filmmaker, music video director, and video artist whose work, I would argue, stands out within the development of a new iteration of music videos that we have increasingly seen emerge and have come to consume in the last ten or so years.

I mean, one only has to go onto YouTube to see the latest trending music videos to show how we have come a long way from the now-kitschy, early music videos at MTV and VH1’s inception decades ago.

What remains key to Joseph’s body of the work as a filmmaker is music. This may be obvious to say when describing a director whose filmography largely consists of music videos, but Joseph really immerses himself in the musicality of the artists he collaborates with to craft his videos.

In an interview with the LA Times, Joseph expressed how in,

“trying to get at the core of what they are trying to express musically…I try to soak it all in: the lyrics, the artist, where they are from.”

Joseph mediates between music video genre conventions by presenting visuals that are organized in a non-linear fashion and are governed by the auditory and sonic. His music videos are not visually marked by choreographed dance routines with any given popular artist at the forefront of the frame, nor are they grandiose depictions of fame, or are committed to elevating a celebrity’s persona.

Instead, Joseph’s music videos are invested in expressing and representing the artists’ creative preoccupations with their work, often culminating to the telling of poignant and resonant stories.  Importantly, his music videos and short films display a set of experiences that are intimately tied to blackness and are splendid cinematic pieces that belong in any art museum or art gallery.

In fact, the most recent work of Joseph’s work, Fly Paper, is a short film that exhibited at the New Museum in New York City. The short film provides a focus on the rich cultural history of Harlem; exploring what Harlem was, and indeed, what Harlem is now.

In the moments shot in black and white, one cannot help but envision Fly Paper as the moving and animated version of a photo album belonging to renowned artist, Roy DeCarava. Admittedly, Joseph cites DeCarava’s photography as his artistic inspiration in crafting his short film, since DeCarava’s oeuvre examines the quotidian, with particular attention to African-American cultural production in Harlem.

Image result for fly paper kahlil joseph

What is evident in Fly Paper and consistent in Joseph’s work overall, however, are the visual poetics that are rendered through his meditative and floating camera work. It’s a visual style that imbues a dream-like quality.

At the same time, the pacing and energy of Joseph’s work aren’t always as sedate and ruminative. One only has to look to his short film for Shabazz Palace’ album Black Up to demonstrate Joseph as playful in his style.

In Black Up, visual breaks and ruptures are matched with the song’s beats and kicks, and his use of rapid editing denies viewers to rest on the images. We are constantly moving as spectators, occupying liminal spaces as we try to orientate the video’s setting as the camera often shifts and floats through time and space.

Shifting between a collision style of montage into Joseph’s more meditative camerawork, Black Up, like Joseph’s other work, illustrates the way Joseph is interested in visually exploring how we as people move through our worlds and absorb the sights and sounds of our surrounding environments.

Critical work is not only being done formally in Joseph’s work but also through representation, as each of Joseph’s pieces offer a more nuanced depiction of blackness.

In the interview with the LA Times, Joseph emphasizes the importance of media representation, asserting:

“Everyone wants to see themselves on the screen. But when I see black people in movies, I don’t see them as I know them to move and talk.”

Joseph’s career as a music video director and filmmaker shows his commitment to offering a type of art that is legible, highly accessible and sharable to and for communities of color.

Joseph’s work typifies the way in which music videos are a largely overlooked form of narrative story-telling but in doing so, ultimately reinforce how we need to look out for, and spread the name: Kahlil Joseph.

Tidal is bringing philanthropic vibes to Brooklyn with benefit concert of the year

We on now, huh? We run the world, no? Our lives are fire, right?

Then let’s all stand together, in the name of music, for those who have fallen victim to the vicious criminal justice system that has longed for reform.

Today is the day you decide to help give back to the families that have been affected by a justice system that has failed miserably and has, even, punished those who have done no wrong. There were people who have stretched out their hands before you, three years in a row, actually, and you can do the same.

If you are a TIDAL member or just a member of society make the right decision, pull up to the Barclay’s in BK, and rejoice in a shower of musical blessings at the 4th annual “TIDAL X: BROOKLYN” philanthropic concert.

The global music and video streaming platform always delivers and, thus far, has helped raise more than $10 million for social justice, disaster relief & recovery, and education causes.

This time around, on Oct. 23, over 30 artists and fans are getting together in support of criminal justice reform efforts through organizations like #Cut50, the Equal Justice Initiative, the Innocence Project, and REFORM.

Do you need a reminder of why banding together to combat the threat of mass incarceration is important? Here are some stats from the EJI:

The United States incarcerates more of its citizens than any other nation in the world. The increase in the jail and prison population from less than 200,000 in 1972 to 2.2 million today has led to unprecedented prison overcrowding and put tremendous strain on state budgets.

Since 1973, 158 people have been released from death row after evidence of their innocence was uncovered. A shocking rate of error has emerged: for every nine people executed in this country, one innocent person has been exonerated

African Americans make up about 13 percent of the nation’s population, but constitute 28 percent of all arrests, 40 percent of those incarcerated in jails and prisons, and 42 percent of the population on death row.

If you are unable to pull up (in like real life) you can still live stream via TIDAL and partake in the fundraising efforts. Trust that it’ll be very lit as 100 percent of ticket proceeds will support criminal justice efforts.

Did we also mention that past performers include Beyoncé, JAY-Z, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Jennifer Lopez, Kaskade, Fifth Harmony, Jessie Reyez, Alessia Cara, and the Flatbush Zombies?

This year the philanthropic concert will include performances from Lil Wayne, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Meek Mill, Anderson .Paak, Kaskade, Normani, Kodak Black, Teyana Taylor, Bazzi, Lil Skies, and many more.

Yeah, there’s reason to tune in for a good cause. TIDAL members can cop tix today or tune in here. All other members of streaming services not giving back click here or sign up for a free TIDAL trial.

Stay woke and kind.