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This Black Texas grandmother is not giving up the fight for her grandson’s hair

Note: Karla Arroyo is the Inaugural Fellow for the CROWN Campaign.

On August 15, Governor Pete Ricketts vetoed LB 1060, also known as the CROWN Act, in Nebraska. Ricketts said he understood the point of the bill, but on the other hand, he believes hairstyles are not “attributable to one racial group” and can be easily changed.

He added that locs, braids, and twists — styles often worn by Black women — are “not exclusively worn by one race.”

This easily defeats the purpose of the CROWN Act. The law protects Black women, who are 1.5 times more likely to be sent home from work due to their hair. White women are rarely policed due to their hair because they tend to wear it straight, and obviously, they’re not Black.

The fight for Black hair and freedom

However, other groups are also being targeted due to their hair — young Black children.

Randi Hogan Woodley’s five-year-old grandson, Michael Trimble, known as “Tink,” has been isolated and discriminated against since his grandmother attempted to register him in a headstart program in Tatum, Texas.

Tink’s hair is long and often in braids which led to Randi’s arrest. It all began on August 13, 2019, when Tink was treated differently at Tatum ISD.

“He has been suspended and kicked out of school for three months and I’ve been jailed twice. The first time I went to jail was for felony child endangerment because I refused to cut his hair and continue to send him to school,” said Woodley.

She continued, “The second time I was arrested, I had to actually turn myself in because they were going to try to have me indicted under new charges.”

Tink’s suspension didn’t come with any actual premises, however. Randi states Tatum ISD unlawfully removed Tink from school without providing paperwork nor notice.

She went to the school to have what she thought was going to be a “healthy dialogue,” but instead she was presented with an unconsiderable offer — the school’s superintendent requested Tink gets his hair cut or put on a dress and be identified as transgender.

“At that point, all bets were off,” said Randi.

Actionable steps against Tatum ISD

She began organizing protests on the school’s campus and encouraged others to join. However, the school’s superintendent, J.P. Richardson, caught wind of the plans and sent an email to all parents stating that protestors will not be allowed on the premises.

This didn’t stop Randi; she organized another protest, but she was arrested.

“[Tatum ISD] gave me a criminal trespass while Tink was still in the school,” said Woodley.

The CROWN Campaign, an interdisciplinary team of women with lived experiences of hair discrimination, provided expert testimony by addressing a letter to the Tatum school district. The letter, written by CROWN Campaign co-founder Dr. Bernice B. Rumala, was loaded with points on how hair discrimination has perennial effects on Black people.

Dr. Rumala and co-founder Shemekka Ebony addressed another letter to the Tatum Independent School District’s Superintendent, Matt Crawford regarding the school’s grooming policies.

One of Tatum ISD’s dress and grooming policies suggests hair “must be neat, clean, and well-groomed.”

“This ain’t about Black hair, this is about rules that apply to the other side,” said Randi in a Facebook video below.

Tolerance, but in another district

Since then, Randi continues to journal her and Tink’s hair discrimination journey on Facebook.

As per Tink’s Godmother’s suggestion, Woodley enrolled Tink in East Texas Montessori Prep Academy, a school out of their district in Longview, Texas. He is now in Kindergarten.

“I have to get him up every morning at 4:30 am, get him dressed and have him at a bus stop so that he can take a 30-minute bus ride to a different district — due to his natural hair and due to me not giving up this fight,” said Woodley on the Facebook video above.

Luckily, Randi reports Tink has not faced any discrimination at his new school. In fact, the school’s enrollment process was seamless; no invasive questions about Tink’s hair were asked upon applying.

“I should have the opportunity to send my grandson to school in his district,” said Woodley in the video.

While Tink may be in a better situation, Randi’s fight further jeopardizes her freedom. Before these series of events, Randi never had an arrest record. She was summoned on February 18, 2020, for a different charge under the initial child endangerment one. She was not indicted for the charges, yet they have not been dropped to this day.

We got your back

Randi’s “village” also known as her Facebook friends, and the CROWN Campaign have shown strong support for her and Tink’s fight. Dr. Bernice B. Rumala, co-founder of the CROWN Campaign, reflects on how inspirational Randi’s fight for justice is; it starts with one voice.

“What [Randi] was able to do in her community is just amazing. She spoke her truth boldly online,” said Dr. Rumala. “That’s what we’re doing within the CROWN Campaign — continuing to share stories that support legislative efforts,” she added.

Randi’s freedom is still in question; she still has to report to a bail bondsman on Tuesdays. She is now waiting for her District Attorney to place her on a docket so she can go to court.

NowThis Wrongful Conviction producer Andrew Johnson on storytelling

When it comes to Black storytellers, Andrew Johnson producer at NowThis also known as Andy, has been in the digital media space for over a decade. He is currently a video producer at NowThis News, specifically for their series Wrongful Conviction.

The inspirational glo-up

Andy recalls being interested in filmmaking and creating visual media after watching MTV’s Making the Video.

He was fascinated by hip hop culture while growing up and would watch a lot of music videos. Andy also noticed something interesting–he would look at the bottom of the screen to see who directed the video.

Johnson would often guess who the director was based on their thematic and artistic choices. Hype Williams, Paul Hunter, and Little X were his common guesses. Watching this series gave Johnson the opportunity to see the creative process of the music videos. It also introduced him to a possible career path.

He knew he did not want to create music videos, but rather full-length movies. When he enrolled in college at Long Island University – post campus, he became a film major.

Andy’s first filmmaking gigs started at weddings. He would do 10-hour wedding days and then edit the footage. He would have hours of video and ultimately turn them into short, five-minute films.

NowThis’ Wrongful Conviction

NowThis News covers investigative reports, interviews, along with original series, like Wrongful Conviction, which Johnson produces. The series highlights individual cases of people who were sentenced for crimes they did not commit.

One episode Johnson produced was that of Huwe Burton’s. Burton’s mother was murdered when he was 16. He came home to the body and called the police.

At first, it appeared that the police were conducting an investigation on the murder. They shifted the blame towards Burton and he eventually was jailed following a coerced confession.

Huwe Burton’s case

At the time of the murder, Huwe had a 13-year-old girlfriend. The police accused Burton of statutory rape and told him if he admits to killing his mom, they will bring him to family court and he will serve no jail time. If he didn’t admit to the murder he never committed, authorities told him he will get a murder charge alongside a statutory rape charge.

Johnson remembers the episode:

“Being that he was 16 years old, he confessed to the cops’ coerced confession about his mom’s death. Basically, it made me think of what I would have done when I was 16.”

He continued,

“At 16, you’re not necessarily operating with a full deck, so that kind of weighed heavily on me. [I reflected] on what kind of child I was at 16, and said if I was in a situation like that…where would my life be right now?”

Huey Burton’s case hit close to home for the producer. Andrew admits he develops emotional connections to some of the stories on the NowThis series. He cites that Black and Brown people are disproportionately affected by incarceration. However, he focuses on other demographics as well in order to keep his work versatile.

“As a Black person…my outlook on life and every day is the Black experience. So, I do cover that, but I also don’t want to be boxed into, ‘He only covers Black content’.”

The experience is for everyone to see

By expanding his palette, he can also highlight the human experience overall. Andy is interested in finding other groups affected by incarceration, like suburban moms and convicted children.

“I want to take the time to get different aspects of the problem or different demographics…Although this does disproportionately affect Black and brown people, it can happen to anyone.”

The COVID-19 outbreak caused a lot of companies to shift the way they operate. In Andrew’s experience, NowThis switched in-person interviews for the show to Skype interviews. The pandemic altered the storytelling, but the episodes still garnered thousands of views and engagement.

Andrew Johnson may make film production look easy, but there are some challenges that come with it. Research is paramount to the creation of a successful episode. Usually, when you speak to friends or family of incarcerated people, they will suggest the person in question is innocent.

By conducting heavy research, the Wrongful Conviction team can present the public with the facts of a case. For Andy, this means he has to make sure he can stand behind what he published. Sometimes, that involves filing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and talking to forensic examiners.

The end-goal

Andy’s end goal doesn’t stop with NowThis. The film producer dreams of creating feature-length documentaries on stories surrounding social issues in general. More specifically, he wants to explore the African and Caribbean diaspora through his lens.

He’s already started doing the work–Johnson is currently working on a project about Black farmers in America. Johnson cites that there were over a million Black farmers in America in the 1920s and that there are roughly 49,000 today. That makes up less than 1% of all farmers. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is notorious for discriminating against Black farmers, of which we see the effects of today.

“[We] have less Black farmers now and when you look at Black areas, there’s a lot of food desserts. And then when you look at it even deeper, you find out that the top deaths for Blacks are food-related, like diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.”

Advice for the up-and-coming

Andrew’s pro tip to young aspiring producers: start now.

We have an abundance of technology to the point where you can even record a film of an iPhone. There are a lot of software programs and apps to download for editing, like iMovie. YouTube is also a great resource for tutorials.

“Start now. It doesn’t matter if you suck, you’re going to get better. Just keep working on improving. Find your niche, find the stories you like to tell; even if they’re quirky.”

He continued,

“Chances are, if you are interested in something, there’s probably other people who are interested in it.”

Johnson also reminds the new generation to opt for start-ups or smaller companies versus large corporations.

He searched for openings at companies like MTV and CBS when he was in college. However, when he began to look at smaller organizations, he noticed he could have the opportunity to do more work.

Internships sometimes have a bad reputation (e.g. supervisors making their interns grab coffee and print and copy documents).

The medium you’re looking to get into also plays a large role in your job search.

“Sometimes, you can actually be functional without a large company. So when you look at segments of media like podcasting, you can do that on your own.”

Andy also suggests creating a name for yourself. If you’re working for a large corporation, your work reflects their practices and tone. So, by creating your own experience, people learn about you, what you do, and ultimately turn yourself into a brand.

To check out more of Andrew Johnson’s work, click here.

#BLM is about real social change not symbolic excuses

After George Floyd‘s death, people from all over the country have protested against the U.S. justice system. These protests make their message extremely clear: Reform the police and create laws that hold racists and abusers accountable for their hate crimes.

Although this seems fairly simple, it is clear that those in power care more about policing than protection.

In hopes to please protestors, there have been countless “victories”. These victories include painting street murals, having non-Black actors/actresses drop out of their role if they are not Black, and removing racist episodes on streaming services.

However, none of these “changes” are exactly what the protestors are fighting for. By completely ignoring the actual demands of the protestors and skirting around the real issue, it shows how little the government actually cares.

Painting Murals

On June 19th, New York City Mayor, Bill De Blasio, announced the five streets that would be painted and renamed in honor of the Black Lives Matter movement. This mural will be designed along the streets of Centre Street in Manhattan, 153rd street in Queens, Joralemon Street in Brooklyn, Morris Avenue in the Bronx, and Richmond Terrace in Staten Island.

In a June press conference, de Blasio said, “What will be clear — the street name and on the streets of our city — is that message that now this city must fully, fully deeply feel and this nation must as well, that Black Lives Matter.”

He also declared Juneteenth an official city and school holiday.

NYC Governor Andrew Cuomo also stated that Juneteenth will be recognized as a holiday for state employees. Next year, he will introduce legislation to make it an official state holiday.

Actors Stepping Down

Last week, actress Jenny Slate stepped down from her role as Missy in Big Mouth. She informed her followers of the decision via Instagram.

Hulu has taken down Golden Girls

Hulu has taken down an episode of Golden Girls which depicts two white women wearing a brown mud face mask. The women claim they were doing “blackface” but anyone with eyes would be able to tell that was not the case.

The two characters, Betty White and Sue McClanahan wore the beauty mud mask in preparation for a wedding they were to attend later that episode. Although these characters are not purposely wearing blackface, Hulu believes they are showing solidarity by removing this episode.

Twitter users have expressed their annoyance at how people seem to be doing a good job of avoiding what they actually want to happen.

Symbolic victories do not change or reform systems that actively harm Black people. This causes the government to push a narrative that protesters are ungrateful and unsatisfied.

In reality, every “change” as a result of protests is not effective. What is a street sign going to do for Black justice?

As Malcolm X gracefully put it, “The white man will try to satisfy us with symbolic victories rather than economic equity and real justice.”

Protestors will not back down until proper justice can be given to those who have been failed.

Senator Kelly Loeffler’s dumb ass is launching an anti-BLM movement

Black lives don’t matter to a lot of racist whites, and certainly not to Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-GA).

This week, Popular reported that Loeffler said she adamantly opposes the Black Lives Matter movement.

Black Dreams deferred

The Georgia senator is co-owner of the Atlanta Dream, a team on the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) and also, whose members are majority Black.

On July 7th, Kelly Loeffler wrote a letter to the WNBA commissioner, Cathy Engelbert, expressing her objection to the WNBA’s plan to “affirm Black Lives Matter and honor victims of police brutality and racial violence.”

Loeffler received a lot of backlash by team members and the public for this decision. Other large corporations such as AT&T and Google will face criticism as well, especially since they publicly supported BLM. Clearly, not enough.

Corporate bullshit

In June, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson called on chief executives to make a statement following the racially motivated killing of George Floyd. In the same month, Google Assistant added an explanation of the BLM movement when users ask, “Do Black lives matter?”. The company also updated responses to “Do all lives matter?”

While this is a way to educate and bring awareness, it still doesn’t coincide with uplifting Black voices.

AT&T will dedicate an event to the Black Lives Matter movement next weekend at the WNBA’s Tip-Off 2020. However, according to FEC filings, AT&T donated $2,500 to Loeffler’s campaign on March 3rd. AT&T did not respond to Popular’s request for additional information on the support for Loeffler’s campaign.

Google’s corporate PAC also donated $5,500 to Loeffler on December 30, 2019, despite their homepage support of BLM.

Best Buy also had questionable intentions when vowing to do better to address racial injustice. Its CEO, Corie Barry, wrote in a letter that the corporation apologizes for not doing enough to address racism.

It was discovered that they too contributed $1,000 to Loeffler’s campaign on March 10.


One of Senator Loeffler’s outrageous claims is that the BLM movement is anti-Semitic. In addition, Loeffler believes the movement “called for the removal of Jesus from churches and the disruption of nuclear family structure…” in a letter.

Atlanta Dream players want Loeffler to resign from her opposition as part owner. The senator says politics should be kept out of sports, but that’s virtually impossible when the Black bodies on the team are at risk every day.

Black maternal mortality rates are still rising: Is poor healthcare to blame?

If you Google, “Black women dying in childbirth“, or “Black maternal mortality rates,” you will find outdated articles on page one of your search.

This is one way Black women are disregarded when it comes to human rights. Unfortunately, not enough people are talking about it.

The death of YouTuber Nicole Thea brings awareness to Black maternal mortality rates

A recent case highlights YouTube star Nicole Thea’s death. The 24-year-old was pregnant when she died on Monday. Her unborn son also died. The cause of death is not yet public, but it adds to the racial disparities Black women face in reproductive healthcare.

In 2019, the CDC reported that Black, American Indian, and Alaska Native women are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes as opposed to white women. The disparity increases with age.

In January, NBC News acknowledged that Black women have the highest maternal mortality rates historically.

Amber Isaac’s case proves that medical negligence is really a thing

Institutional racism is at fault for the lack of treatment Black women receive in the healthcare system. In late April, Amber Isaac, a Black woman who was pregnant, died shortly after delivering her son, Elias.

A few days before she died, she tweeted about her subpar treatment at Montefiore Medical Medical Center. Isaac was induced on April 20 and on that same day, she learned she had the HELLP syndrome. This group of symptoms can complicate pregnancy.

Amber’s negative experience with Montefiore took place during the COVID-19 pandemic, another barrier to the proper healthcare she deserved.

This would end up being her last tweet. Her partner, Bruce McIntyre, recalls her unfair treatment and says that she died as a result of it.

A 2018 National Partnership issue brief revealed many Black women have difficulties accessing the proper reproductive healthcare. National Partnership also discovered Black women are at higher risk of experiencing preventable maternal death.

Black violence refers to many things including racially-motivated police brutality, systemic racism, as well as healthcare disparities.

The case of Elijah McClain proves that Blacks’ lives just don’t matter to the healthcare system

Black people cannot thrive in a society that refuses to give them the proper healthcare and treatment they deserve. By limiting their access, they become a target to whites, like that of Elijah McClain.

Colorado police choked and killed McClain after someone placed a 911 call saying he “looked sketchy” last August.

The police arrived at the scene, attempted to handcuff him, and then utilized a carotid hold. The hold restricts blood flow to the brain, resulting in unconsciousness.

Medical responders arrived about 15 minutes later and injected him with ketamine.

A bystander deemed Elijah McClain suspicious because he wore a ski mask due to his anemia. This is a perfect example of how Black people don’t have access to proper care.

Perhaps if McClain received adequate healthcare, he wouldn’t have to wear a mask for his anemia, and therefore, not be seen as a target.

McClain’s mother, Sheneen McClain, stated her son was a massage therapist. If he was alive, he could’ve possibly been of service to a pregnant Black woman, or even postpartum Black women.

Both medical practitioner institutions (like hospitals and clinics) and government agencies should track Health outcome data and report it in order to make progress towards medical equality for Black people.

According to the Endometriosis Foundation of America, hospitals and birthing centers should make health outcome information for labor and delivery available, with an emphasis on the Black community.

By tracking this information, we place importance on Black bodies. To support causes related to Black women’s health, visit the Black Women’s Health Imperative, Black Mamas Matter Alliance, and Fertility for Colored Girls.

How Many Hats’ Black creatives directory will change the industry

Many Hats describes itself as a resource hub for community and content for multi-hyphenate hustlers.

More specifically, its Black Creatives Directory caters to the Black community including artists, freelancers, and vendors. The directory will serve as a community-sourced list with the goal of elevating Black talent in the media, creative, and event industries.

Talk about many hats.

The Black Creative Directory

The founder, Katerina Simonova noticed gaps between the opportunities for Black and white people, which inspired the idea.

Simonova recalls being conscious of diversity every time she produced a shoot or a project in general. Katerina’s experience comes from the PR, marketing, and events sectors.

She has worked with LVMH, Playboy, and Yves Saint Laurent. She ultimately ended up in the creative direction and production realm.


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In an effort to elevate Black talent within the media and creative industries, Many Hats and some friends are putting together The Black Creative Directory – a community-sourced list of Black artists & freelancers, which will be continuously updated and made public, for maximum visibility. You’ll be able to share your website/portfolio, specialties, contact info, experience level, etc. and in turn, we’ll share it with leading creatives, brands, agencies, producers, and recruiters. · [ Please Submit Your Info Via The Link In Bio & Tag Others Who Might Benefit Below ] · THIS DIRECTORY IS FOR YOU IF YOU SPECIALIZE IN ANY OF THESE AREAS: · creative consulting | copywriting | graphic design | web design | social media | content creation | production | creative direction | photo | video | sound | sets | props | podcast production | recording | engineering | editing | mixing | wardrobe | hair | makeup | nails · (other fields and all levels including assistants also welcome) · The Black Creative Directory is a collaboration with @TheJoyInBeauty, @KavitaKaul, and our respective brainchildren @AllBlackEverythingSummit, @BrinkTalent and @ManyHatsNYC – please follow, share, and stay tuned for more! · If you have any questions, want to get involved, or have ANY feedback at all please DM or send an email to

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The mad hatter also noticed a pattern amidst the resurfacing of the Black Lives Matter protests: company statements. Simonova noticed the pressure put on brands to take action in light of BLM, but the pressure only resulted in statements.


The submission process

While still in progress, the Black Creative Directory will accept submissions via Squarespace. If you’re a creative, this will be the first step in acquiring the resources you need.

The form will ask questions about what projects, clients, or collaborations you’re seeking, along with your field of expertise and beyond.

All submissions will be added to the soon-to-launch directory and organized by location, role, and more for easy searching.

Support from BIPOC

As a non-Black ally, Katerina understands the sensitivity surrounding Black endeavors. In turn, the support of Black partners in this project, like makeup artist and creative director, Joy Fennell has helped her better navigate the Black creative space.

This resulted in social media attention via sharing, commenting, and tagging. That was when Simonova noticed that creating this space began to resonate with people.

“I wouldn’t have had that immediate of a reaction without [Joy] spreading the word.”

The great resource that will come out of the Black Creatives Directory only costs Katerina time and attention. She prioritizes inclusion and representation in all spaces and plans to achieve that with this new project.

Some partners of the directory include All Black Everything Summit, Brink Talent, Moonage Event Production, and Palm Micro influencer Network.

The next steps for Many Hats’ new venture include building an advisory board, doing some pro-bono work from Katerina’s end, and offering consulting services to Black creatives so they can have mentorship.

The Black Creative Directory is launching by the end of next week. The system will be updated frequently once it’s published.

Who is P-Will? The Minnesota rapper addressing survival as a Black man

P-Will, also known as Prince William$, is representing Minneapolis the right way despite its recent tragedy: George Floyd’s death.

The 23-year-old rapper may be young, but he’s no newbie to the music game. His first project, Chosen debuted in 2017. The Minneapolis native recalls a growth in vocabulary from this project to his second latest track, “Justice4George.”

The Minnesota rapper hits #Justice4George

P-Will’s video captures the events that have taken place following George Floyd‘s murder in Minneapolis. By highlighting the protests and looting in his video, he sends a message that goes deeper than music: Justice for Black lives.

Prince William$ not only resonates with the racial motivation behind Floyd’s murder.

“We was at the crime scene just a few minutes before Floyd died. “[My little brother and I] drove past that incident. When we drove past, [George Floyd] was still in his car…I came back to the studio and I’m like, I just saw that.”

Prince continued,

“[The news] put up the article…normally when something like that happens, you think [someone] got shot. It wasn’t that…I called my little brother. I’m like, ‘that’s that incident that went down, I kid you not.’ This is why I went home and got to writing; I couldn’t believe it. That could’ve been anybody, you know?”

The Minneapolis riots following George Floyd’s murder set the tone for other cities across the country and the world. Newer generations may not have experienced riots like the Watts and Los Angeles riots. For younger generations, witnessing today’s riots sheds a light on issues that have been dismissed for years.

Prince William$ has a grasp on how Black people are treated in the U.S., especially in neighborhoods stricken by poverty.

“Here in Minnesota, it ain’t sweet.”

The rapper reflects on past incidents in the last five years in Minnesota similar to those of Jamar Clark and Philando Castile. He feels overwhelmed by the repetition of history, particularly in his hometown.

He has had enough.

“[The police] had his foot on his neck for minutes, and minutes…[George Floyd] is telling you he can’t breathe and you just sit there, applying more pressure…and it’s like, we can’t let [the police] get away with that. What more proof do you need?”

“Justice4George” isn’t the only woke track on Prince’s resume. The BLM rapper’s song, “Survival” focuses on maintaining strength as a Black man in society.

The music video starts off with a newscast about the rise of gun violence in north Minneapolis.

Surviving as a Black man without privilege

One of the song’s lyrics, “Last night I talked to God and he told me to keep going,” represents his desire to be a better version of himself, even on dark days.

“Survival” also touches on growing up in urban neighborhoods while simultaneously staying out of trouble. Often, violence or drug sales are survival mechanisms for those in low-class neighborhoods.

“I don’t want to sound like I’m promoting violence in my music. I’m just speaking as a voice of the people, my reality, and what they go through…”

Prince continued,

“You have to think about how we live on a day-to-day basis. Imagine going through that and then seeing a cop; they’re not here to protect anything…trying to survive is the main thing nowadays.”

Ultimately, P-Will wants to make relatable music for all people. He wants to let people know it’s okay to step out of their comfort zones and be different.

While other rappers like Lil Baby are using their platform to address issues regarding Black Lives Matter, Prince William$ considers his style unique based on his word choice.

He dissects his lyrics before laying them down to make sure his message is clear.

Beyond the music

The rapper has another venture that goes beyond music–a clothing line. 6TWELVE represents Minneapolis’s area code. It also means “double everything”–a positive message he wants to share with the world.

“All it takes is an idea,” says P-Will about creating your own project(s).


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🦖🎈Double everything. #6twelve

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The brand is only limited to clothes at the moment, but Prince William$ envisions 6TWELVE toys and speakers as part of the line in the future.

The Minneapolis native is always thinking ahead. He mentions he’s already planning his next projects, features, and a possible new department for his creativity–film.

The rapper grew up watching Ice Cube in movies and having transitioned from music–that’s his inspiration for wanting to explore the world of Hollywood as a musician.

P-Will also shares his love for writing. Out of all his classes in high school, English and gym were his favorites.

The Future (no pun intended)

If he had an opportunity to work with a select amount of rappers they would be Future, Meek Mill, and Lil Wayne. He admires Future for not changing for anyone.

His appreciation for Meek Mill comes from his grit; he isn’t afraid to address truths in his music. Lastly, he respects Weezy because he’s been in the game since he was young and always had big brother figures surrounding him–similar to P-Will’s own experience.

The rapper plans to continue being a part of the #BlackLivesMatter movement via his music and as an influence. He has a younger brother who he guides and makes sure stays out of trouble.

His motto is “do school and avoid the streets.” Check out P-Will’s latest single, Only Up From Here, which he dropped on his birthday, July 6.

The cover art depicts a balloon on the word “From”, and it’s not as simple as it representing his birthday. Prince William$ says balloons symbolize happiness, and that’s what he wants to keep spreading.

Why the WNBA doesn’t support white privileged Kelly Loeffler

When it comes to social justice, the WNBA is certainly among the champions of the effort.

Players such as Maya Moore and Natasha Cloud have been prominent figures in the fight for change, especially in the case of the Black Lives Matter movement. Not only that, but the league itself is an extremely diverse community that prides itself on equality and using its platform for good.

So when a partial owner of one of the WNBA’s teams criticized the league for supporting #BLM, there was going to be backlash from players and fans alike.

Senator and Atlanta Dream co-owner Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) did just that.

A message from Loeffler

On Tuesday, Loeffler expressed her opposition to the efforts the WNBA is taking to support the Black Lives Matter movement. In a letter obtained by the Atlanta Journal Constitution, she recently wrote to WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert:

“The lives of each and every African American matter, and there’s no debating the fact that there is no place for racism in our country,” said Loeffler.

“However, I adamantly oppose the Black Lives Matter political movement, which has advocated for the defunding of police, called for the removal of Jesus from churches and the disruption of the nuclear family structure, harbored anti-Semitic views, and promoted violence and destruction across the country. I believe it is totally misaligned with the values and goals of the WNBA and the Atlanta Dream, where we support tolerance and inclusion.”

Loeffler’s point about diversity and inclusion is especially ironic here, however, considering how she wants to draw attention away from the fact that Black people are dying in the US at the hands of police brutality.

Not only that, but she politicizes the movement that is fighting against these tragedies. What’s so political about people dying?

The senator and co-owner did not stop there. She also proposed adding the American flag to the player’s attire and fan merchandise.

“Though I was not consulted about—nor do I agree with the League’s decision in this matter, I am proposing a common-sense recommendation to ensure we reflect the values of freedom and equality for all,” Loeffler said. “I believe we should put an American flag on every jersey. Include it in our licensed apparel for players, coaches and fans.”

The rhetoric she uses here appears to strongly echo with that of “All Lives Matter” supporters. Despite the seemingly-benevolent slogan, it’s generally used as a way to divert attention and care away from the Black Lives Matter movement.

Freedom for all?

Well, the systems in place in this country aren’t targeting white people the way they are BIPOC communities.

“All of us have a constitutional right to hold and to express our views. But to subscribe to a particular political agenda undermines the potential of the sport and sends a message of exclusion,” said Loeffler. “The truth is, we need less—not more politics in sports.”

For someone against bringing “politics” into sports, it certainly appears that Loeffler is stirring up politically-related controversy in the WNBA. Especially when she, being a senator, refers to protestors and their establishment of autonomous zones in some areas of the country as “mob rule.”

Soon after Loeffler’s message, WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert released the following statement saying:

“The WNBA is based on the principle of equal and fair treatment of all people and we, along with the teams and players, will continue to use our platforms to vigorously advocate for social justice. Sen. Kelly Loeffler has not served as a Governor of the Atlanta Dream since October 2019 and is no longer involved in the day-to-day business of the team.”

Loeffler’s insider trading controversy

For one who claims to be against merging politics into other fields, Kelly Loeffler has actually been previously accused of using her political position for private gain. In fact, she was previously investigated for insider trading earlier this year. 

As a member of the Senate Health Committee, Loeffler was accused of using her access to information about the coronavirus which was new at the time to determine how to invest her money.

Specifically, she allegedly sold millions-worth of stocks shortly after a private, all-senators briefing on the coronavirus in January. This also happened to coincide with the approximate time the pandemic began to negatively impact the US economy.

She was also further scrutinized considering her husband Jerry Sprecher is the CEO of the International Stock Exchange, which also owns the New York Stock Exchange.

Loeffler and spokespeople on her behalf have continually denied these allegations.

After an investigation that lasted several months, the Senate Ethics Committee and the US Department of Justice dropped the insider trading investigation against her, and other Senators including Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.) last month.

The WNBA and its fight for social justice

Despite the criticism from Kelly Loeffler, the WNBA and its players are still committed to fighting for social justice and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Some players such as Maya Moore and Natasha Cloud even sacrificed their careers to focus on social justice issues.

Some of the efforts the WNBA is taking in solidarity with the movement include displaying the “Black Lives Matter” slogan on courts, such as the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

The warm-up shirts for players will also feature the same slogan, as well as “Say Her Name,” which is a reference to Breonna Taylor. They will also have jerseys which specifically honor her. 

These and the other initiatives the league is taking are immensely positive steps in honoring victims of police brutality such as Sandra Bland, Vanessa Guillen, and Breonna Taylor.

The efforts of the WNBA and its players’ social justice efforts show just how powerful they are in the fight for positive change. These are great leaps not just for the sports world itself, but the Black Lives Matter movement as a whole.


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A strong voice bringing about meaningful change @mooremaya 👏

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Where are all these fireworks coming from? The NYPD set us up again

Most of us may be used to only hearing or seeing fireworks on July 4th or on New Year’s Day. I thought I would be only hearing them next week, but I was wrong. Fireworks in New York City have been going off continuously for about a month.

I noticed them in their early days but I did not think I would also be hearing them at 3pm. They usually get worse after dusk. I’m from the Highbridge section of The Bronx and gunshot noises are common, but now it’s a matter of differentiating.

Was that a firework, or a gunshot?

Whatever it was, it’s becoming excessive, and dangerous. This week, a firework burned a toddler after it reached his window.

I caught up with a friend this past week who lives in Highbridge as well, and I asked him what did he know about the fireworks. They are usually set off by his building, so I figured he’d have more of an idea.

He shared that men on his block are setting them off for fun. There was no other reason behind it, but–why is everyone in NYC in sync with their fireworks?!

I dug a little deeper and learned that the fireworks, to some, are a form of protesting. It’s a form of making noise in order to not let the Black Lives Matter movement sleep. Sometimes, movements are seen as trends, but this time around, those who support BLM are not letting up.

However, BLM supporters may not be the only ones protesting. According to TikTok user @nomimrx, fireworks are going off starting at around 8 pm to 3 am. Coincidence? I think not.

The user cited videos of fireworks being lit from the back of police precincts. Earlier this week, a video surfaced of police cars driving around in circles in Harlem at 3 am. The cars all had their sirens on, which were extremely loud. This took place late at night. Why would the NYPD do this? If you’re a firm believer of ACAB (All Cops Are Bastards), then this proves your point.

@Nomimrx reported that police use fireworks as a form of psychological warfare against protesters. This causes a lot of negative effects, like sleep deprivation and heightened levels of anxiety.

Reddit user bandicat created a data visualization map representing the amount of 311 complaints of illegal fireworks. He collected the data between June 1 and June 20. The visual shows there have been 6,862 calls during the time frame. The map also uses beige, red, and orange to show the density of the number of calls.

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It’s safe to say the U.S. government cannot be trusted. We have seen how our leadership has failed us several times; one instance being the handling of COVID-19. Was New York City ready to reopen?

Not necessarily, but that’s another way of how Black and brown people are at a disadvantage. Groups of color do not have the same access to healthcare as their white counterparts. So, if a non-white person contracts coronavirus, the quality of their treatment won’t be as effective.

This is similar to what is happening with the fireworks. One Twitter user reported his theories on recent events. He shared that the organization of the fireworks is another way to attack Black and brown communities. In other words, the purpose is to distract people from the Black Lives Matter movement.

I’m very curious to see what will happen with the fireworks on July 4. A lot of Black people are choosing not to celebrate the holiday because it doesn’t work in sync with their independence. Juneteenth has become our fourth of July if I’m being real.

Will the fireworks heavily increase on that day, or will they cease? We will cross that bridge when we get there. Just know that as long as the fight for Black lives continues, we’re going to be at war with the system for a very long time.

Why the #BLM movement needs more from our government

With everything going on, there are a lot of questions coming to the surface about race and society. Though we aren’t quite ready to yet, people have been trying to answer the question of how to move forward. And I mean, it’s not an easy one.

There are campaigns like 8cantwait, a local grassroots campaign for defunding the police, Act Now JH, and a lot more.

The government, arguably, also seems to be trying to move past everything happening. “Breonna’s Law,” a law banning no-knock warrants has been unanimously passed in Louisville, Kentucky.  New York also just passed a bill making it a class C felony for a police officer to use a chokehold, for Eric Garner.

However, there’s just…



You cannot have reconciliation without acknowledgment.

To move forward, justice needs to be dealt. Accountability needs to be in place. Without both, it’s like asking someone if you guys can be all good again after they stabbed you, without remorse.

Other countries fail to do this too

This isn’t something that only functions on an individual level, either. Even other countries have grappled with how to move forward after tragedies, some better than others.

In the 1970s, Spain enacted the “Pact of Forgetting”, a law that refuses to acknowledge the crimes committed during the dictatorship. It failed on a fundamental level because it did not provide any victim with support, nor charge any human rights violator.

Turkey does not acknowledge the Armenian Genocide. Argentina has never spoken out about the forced disappearances that occurred under their military dictatorship in the 1970s.

Acknowledgment can be hard. But the people wronged will never really forget. To this day, there are women in the Mother of the Plaza de Mayo who march for their disappeared children. Why? Because they want to be heard. They want those forced disappearances to be acknowledged. They want their government to be held accountable.

What tools have governments been using?

Of course, countries have succeeded in acknowledging crimes and offering justice. Still, though, what about on a national scale? How do we even start to have accountability? It’s beginning to look more and more like a whole other can of worms.

Even if we suspend our beliefs for a moment–just a moment, stick with me–and ignore the specific case of Breonna Taylor, is creating these laws enough? Will it prevent future deaths like hers and ensure accountability?

For that, let’s turn to NPR.

According to NPR,  the NYPD banned chokeholds in 1993, except when an officer’s life is in danger. The LAPD banned (a type) of a chokehold in 1982. Chicago did it in 2012.

But bans don’t work. If they did, Eric Garner would still be alive right now. But he’s not, and neither is Breonna Taylor or the hundreds of other victims. Garner’s death was ruled a homicide and none of the law enforcement officers involved were charged. Reform might not be the answer.

So…What Now?

What does it mean to name these laws after individuals if a solution is not being offered in their present cases? The fact that these bills are coming into play is not a bad thing. But to suggest to continue without charging these officers makes these bills not much more than a gesture.

How do we progress forward? We don’t until justice is met. If the system is broken, introducing more rules to that same system will not change it. Especially when the discretion of upholding those rules is up to the same bodies.

People want to feel safe and heard. If a random civilian committed a homicide, they would most likely be charged, right? Yet today, most police officers are not convicted for their fatal shootings.

This is not about guilt, this is about doing what is morally (and legally) right. In the field of human rights and reparations any forward change always requires acknowledgment by the perpetrators.

We want to move forward, right? Well, Breonna Taylor may have a law named after her, but as of today, her killers are still free.

There’s some food for thought.