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Published: Wed, 10 Feb 2016 00:24:34 GMT

Things We Learned About the Fashion Industry from Zoolander (Wed, 10 Feb 2016 00:01:28 GMT)

Zoolander 2 debuts this weekend and will be hitting the big screen the same time as New York Fashion Week. We learned valuable lessons about the fashion industry during the first Zoolander and wanted to highlight our favorite things we learned because remember, models are just like us, except really good looking.

There is a person who invented each fashion trend.

Mugatu will mention he piano necktie again on Zoolander 2. #zoolander2: https://areyousage.com/prediction/mugatu-will-mention-he-piano-necktie-again-on-zoolander-2-zoolander2-nemj

Carey Elder

Models aren't just good looking, they're philanthropist too.


In #Zoolander 2 the Derek Zoolander "Center For Kids Who Can't Read Good" will be in the movie again: https://areyousage.com/prediction/in-zoolander-2-the-derek-zoolander-quotcenter-for-kids-who-cant-read-goodquot-will-be-mebg

Mitchell McKenna

Some models have had a hard life.


There's more to life than being good looking.


It showed us that models aren't just making unhappy faces when they walk down the runway.

A new facial expression will debut during #Zoolander2. #Zoolander#Zoolander2#Magnum#BlueSteel: https://areyousage.com/prediction/a-new-facial-expression-will-debut-during-zoolander2-zoolander-zoolander2-magnum-bluesteel-zlnr


Models really have to work the crowd.


The fashion industry is a high-risk business.

Mugatu will be put in jail again at the end of Zoolander 2. #Zoolander2#Mugatu: https://areyousage.com/prediction/mugatu-will-be-put-in-jail-again-at-the-end-of-zoolander-2-zoolander2-mugatu-ylgq


Fashion week is often home to protesters.


Models love taking pictures with selfie sticks!


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Kanye West Declares Bill Cosby Is 'Innocent' (Tue, 09 Feb 2016 23:57:38 GMT)

Rapper Kanye West tweeted emphatically on Tuesday that Bill Cosby is "innocent."

The show of support for Cosby seemed to come out of nowhere. A representative for West didn't immediately respond to questions about the tweet.

Cosby has been charged with aggravated indecent assault in a 2004 incident at his suburban Philadelphia home in which a former Temple University women's basketball assistant accuses him of drugging and molesting her.  

Dozens of other women also have come forward to accuse Cosby of rape and unwanted sexual contact in incidents going back to the 1960s. Several of those women have sued Cosby for defamation. Cosby has denied wrongdoing.

In December, West debuted a song, "Facts," which includes a line about the 78-year-old comedian. 

“Do anybody feel bad for Bill Cosby? Did he forget names just like Steve Harvey?” West raps. 

West was quickly denounced for Tuesday's tweet.

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Shining Star: Celebrating Maurice White (Tue, 09 Feb 2016 23:19:04 GMT)


Maurice White performing with Earth, Wind, and Fire at the Ahoy Rotterdam; 1982

My mother worked with Maurice White's father, Verdine, a doctor at a hospital in Chicago. And whenever she heard Earth, Wind and Fire, the incredible band he founded in the 70s, she grinned like he was her baby boy, too.

I never met White. Even as a rock critic, somehow, I never managed to cross paths with him or his amazing band. But I danced myself half to death on their music for decades, as many of us have. In fact, they seemed to be at one of our casinos here in Tucson at least once or twice a year until very recently. And they packed 'em in, all ages, all thrilled to bask in that "Boogie Wonderland" of yesteryear with the best ambassadors from that era, ever.

The uplifting lyrics and infectious grooves still have a magical effect. You've seen it. An Earth, Wind and Fire hit comes on in the supermarket or wherever you are, and heads start to bob, people who never dance start to tap a toe, wriggle a bit.

One song, "Devotion," contained four opening lines that never failed to move me, and that I wish all teachers could listen to every morning as they're getting ready to hit the front lines. They're not quite as stirring just written out as they are when sung by the band, but the sentiment is still sweet and stirring:

Through devotion, blessed are the children
Praise the teacher, that brings true love to many
your devotion, opens all life's treasures
and deliverance, from the fruits of evil.

They knew how to move us, body and soul. Who can forget Phillip Bailey's silky falsetto and ear splitting squeals? And that brilliant horn section with its rapid fire riffs--how many people borrowed, or borrowed from, it?

Look, let's not talk about it. The best way to remember Maurice is to listen to him. And one of my favorite performances was on the old "Live By Request" show for which Mark McEwen was the ever genial host--go watch the David Bowie one, too, while you're at it. Another stellar performance by a musician we grew up with who just left us 'way too soon.

I couldn't find the complete show for you--the one full show is on YouTube but can't be embedded. But the most exciting 45 minutes of it were available thanks to a French gentleman who calls himself "Goofy." Thanks, Goofy, for taking me back to the real good old days.

Maurice White was already too weakened by illness to join the band for the show, but he surprises them by calling in to make a request of his own. So as one of the songs demands, just "Dance!" In joyful remembrance.

Photo credit
: CC-BY-SA, Chris Hakkens

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Kim Kardashian Slams Daily Mail For Claiming She's In 'Self-Imposed Diet Exile' (Tue, 09 Feb 2016 22:56:35 GMT)

Kim Kardashian wants everyone to know that even though she hasn't made many public appearances since the birth of her royal baby, Saint West, she's not hiding from us. Hear that, Daily Mail? 

The reality TV queen went on Twitter Tuesday to slam the British tabloid for falsely claiming that she's put herself in a "self imposed diet exile." Guess they've never heard of maternity leave. 

Tell 'em, Kim! 

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Aubrey O'Day And Pauly D Are Dating, World Possibly Ending (Tue, 09 Feb 2016 22:32:37 GMT)

Everybody slow clap at Ryan Seacrest for this brilliant PR move. 

Before the premiere of E!'s new "relationship rehab" reality show, "Famously Single," two of the series' stars, former Danity Kane singer Aubrey O'Day and Pauly D of "Jersey Shore" have announced that they are, like, totally doing it. 

"I didn't know that I would be as successful as I was with finding someone," O'Day told E! News about her romance with the hair gel aficionado. "The show is about all of us coming together, dating, learning through a dating coach how to go out there and approach people that are better suited for us and kind of get over the issues that we were having. And it ended up just like becoming like this chemistry happened within the house with a few of the castmates and Pauly and I were one of them."

"We connect in a really interesting way. I mean, it's definitely something you're gonna want to tune in and watch we have a very funny relationship," she added.

Yeah OK, Aubrey. Keep pluggin' away. 

O'Day and Pauly D aren't yet serious enough to call each other boyfriend or girlfriend (duh, that's Season 2), but E! maintains that they have a "deep connection."

"[Our] label is always 'enjoying the moment.' That's the label I feel comfortable with," O'Day explained. 

Can we scrap this whole reality show and just get the Danity Kane girls in a Miami mansion "Bad Girls Club"-style, so we can finally get some answers on why The Beatles of MTV all hate each other? 

But who are we to judge? We're all #damaged.

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Chinese Food Emojis? Chinese Food Emojis! (Tue, 09 Feb 2016 22:23:50 GMT)

Do you like emojis? And Chinese food? Then 2017 might be your year.

Five new emojis have been selected as candidates for next year's Unicode 10.0, the standard which governs the special characters that appear on your devices. Four of them represent Chinese takeout staples, while the fifth is a "face with one eyebrow raised." (Perhaps indicating a tummy ache from too much lo mein?)

The Unicode Consortium announced the update in a blog post Tuesday. Emojipedia, a site devoted to all things emoji, was quick to release its own renderings of what the emojis might look like:

"If approved as part of Unicode 10 next year, they can and likely will start appearing on devices later in the year," Emojipedia founder Jeremy Burge told The Huffington Post.

In other words, there's no guarantee that these will actually see the light of day. There are plenty of others that haven't, after all -- like this drooling face, which has been approved as a candidate but not yet finalized for phones:

If you can't wait until 2017, don't forget that a few new emojis -- including a glass of whisky! -- might be coming to your phone this year.

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Here's What You Might Not Remember About O.J. Simpson's Police Chase (Tue, 09 Feb 2016 22:02:50 GMT)

It's been nearly 22 years since former running back O.J. Simpson hopped in a white Ford Bronco and led Los Angeles police on a highway car chase after his ex-wife's murder. 

News helicopters broadcast footage that held millions transfixed throughout the roughly 90-minute pursuit, which ended peacefully in front of Simpson's Los Angeles home. Just five days previously, his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman were killed, and detectives found evidence linking the former football star to the crime. On June 17, 1994, Simpson fled.

Those who catch Tuesday's episode of "American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson," FX's murder trial drama, will get to relive the whole low-speed debacle. But since it's been a while, here's what actually happened that day -- with a few details you might not remember or know. 


Prosecutors filed murder charges against Simpson that morning.

Simpson's lawyer, Robert Shapiro, received a call that morning from the LAPD. Instead of sending officers to arrest Simpson, authorities instructed Shapiro to surrender his client at 11 a.m. By noon, it became clear that Simpson wasn't planning to show up.


Simpson wrote three letters that morning, also: One to his mother, one to his family and one to the public.

Due to what Shapiro called a "fragile" emotional state, Simpson had spent a sedated night at Robert Kardashian's house, where his doctors and other lawyers joined him the next morning. When police arrived at Robert Kardashian's house a little after noon, they learned their murder suspect and Al Cowlings, a friend and former teammate, had escaped. Simpson left the three notes behind.

Simpson wasn't at the wheel.

News reports were initially confused, but it became clear he was sitting in the back seat of the white vehicle that became an emblem of the case. Cowlings was at the wheel.


It wasn't his Bronco, either. 

Cowlings owned it. Confusingly, Simpson also had a white Bronco -- the one authorities found bloodied -- but that one had been confiscated as evidence in the case.


Three hours after he was supposed to surrender, the LAPD declared Simpson a fugitive.

Gil Garcetti, district attorney at the time, later added that anyone helping Simpson escape would be charged with a felony; a couple hours later, police issued an arrest warrant for Cowlings, too.


Around the same time, someone claiming to be Simpson dialed Brown Simpson's home, threatening to come over.

As the police declared Simpson a fugitive, Brown Simpson's father ran into the street in front of his daughter's home, begging someone to call 911. He had received phone calls at his daughter's home from someone claiming to be Simpson; the caller said he was coming over to "go join Nicole." Whoever it was, though, never showed up.

Kardashian read a letter from Simpson, which was generally interpreted as a suicide note, on live television.

"I have nothing to do with Nicole's murder," Simpson wrote. "I loved her. Always had, and always will. If we had a problem, it's because I loved her so much." To members of the press, he requested, "Please, please, please leave my children in peace. Their lives will be tough enough."

"Don't feel sorry for me," the note ended. "I've had a great life, great friends. Please think of the real O.J. and not this lost person. Thanks for making my life special. I hope I helped yours. Peace and love. O.J." Shapiro also said he believed his client to be suicidal.


Around 6 p.m., Simpson called 911 on his cell phone.

The call was traced to a spot nearby the cemetery where Brown Simpson was buried. 

After police tracked down the Bronco on the freeway, crowds gathered along its path.

As Cowlings drove, Simpson sat with a revolver pointed at his own head. People gathered to wave from the side of the road and overpasses above, carrying signs in support of "the Juice," Simpson's nickname on the field.


Live coverage of the pursuit interrupted a highly anticipated NBA playoff game on televisions across the country.

NBC initially gave helicopter footage of the Bronco a corner cut-in over Game 5 of the NBA Finals -- a highly anticipated matchup between the Rockets and the Knicks. But the Bronco eventually took center stage, CBS Sports' Ken Berger reports, as the network struggled between the event they were supposed to cover and the more shocking one unfolding on the opposite coast.


At 8 p.m., the Bronco pulled up to Simpson's home, which was swarmed with media, fans and police.

In a 1994 article, New York Daily News published a description of the scene outside Simpson's Tudor-style mansion: "Thousands gathered in a circus-like atmosphere chanting, 'Juice! Juice! Juice!'"

Officer Tom Lange spoke with Simpson on his cell phone in the driveway for nearly an hour. Simpson apologized to the officers and explained that he wanted to come to his house because he and Nicole Brown Simpson had their first date there. Eventually, Lange convinced Simpson to give up his gun.

Unarmed, Simpson was allowed a few minutes inside the house to call his mother and have a glass of juice before officers took him into custody. Officers finally arrived at LAPD headquarters with their suspect 11 hours later than expected.


Inside the Bronco was $8,000 in cash, a loaded .357 Magnum, a passport, family pictures, a fake goatee and a set of clothes.

According to an account by former Simpson defense attorney F. Lee Bailey, Simpson's reluctance to surrender had sparked some fears of a shootout at the scene.


Later, the white Bronco found a different owner: a "porn king."

The Bronco's sale record is muddy, but after a bungled attempt to sell the vehicle for $200,000 in 1995, it ended up in the hands of Michael Pulwer. Interviewed by USA Today, Pulwer's cousin describe him as a "porn king." But he's taken good care of the Bronco.

"It’s not on the street," Pulwer told New York Daily News in 2014, near the 20th anniversary of the chase.


And people have rented the infamous car for parties.

Pulwer told the Daily News that he received between five and 10 requests per year to rent the thing. Apparently, he's agreed to some of them -- the Bronco appeared at the Luxor hotel in Las Vegas in 2012 and a Greenwich, Connecticut, art exhibition opening.  


CORRECTION: This article previously misidentified the team the New York Knicks played on June 17, 1994. 


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Did You Know You Can Play Virtual Chess In Facebook Messenger? (Tue, 09 Feb 2016 22:00:55 GMT)

Facebook's nerdy secret is out: There's a hidden chess game in Facebook Messenger that you can play if you know the secret commands. 

Instead of just using Messenger to send stickers and chat with friends, you can challenge anyone to a game of chess and threaten their virtual queen with your e-bishop anytime, anywhere. Some helpful Redditors discovered this feature, which has quietly existed for at least a month.

All you have to do is type "@fbchess play" in a message thread, and it pulls up a board that looks like this:

You still have to use text commands for everything, but the instructions are easy to summon if you type in "@fbchess help." From there, you can use letters and numbers to reference where you want each piece to move on the board. 

For example, typing in "@fbchess c6" will move your pawn to the spot where c and 6 intersect. Once you get the bigger pieces moving, it's helpful to remember that K=king, Q=queen, B=bishop, N=knight, and R=rook.

So typing in "@fbchess Nf6" will move your knight to the f6 spot. You get the idea. 

Now go get your pieces moving and let your nerd flag fly!

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Watch Jessica Williams Shut Down Beyoncé Haters On 'The Daily Show' (Tue, 09 Feb 2016 21:59:08 GMT)

"The Daily Show's" Jessica Williams had a few choice words for those unwise enough to diss Beyoncé's Super Bowl halftime performance, and the empowering message it sent to black Americans. 

One such comment came from former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, who shared his disapproval of Queen Bey's performance on Fox News on Monday morning: "It was really outrageous that she used it as a platform to attack police officers," he said, missing the point of the performance -- and her "Formation" music video -- entirely. 

But on Monday night, Williams dropped some truth for all the Yoncé naysayers on "The Daily Show."

As for why race was brought into the Super Bowl halftime show, she said: "Race was brought because Beyonce was brought in. And, brace yourself, you might want to sit down for this, but Beyonce is black." 

Mic. Drop.

Watch the full video below. 

H/T The Daily Dot

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Kris Jenner Explains How She Dealt With Caitlyn Jenner's Transition (Tue, 09 Feb 2016 21:53:58 GMT)

Kardashian matriarch Kris Jenner recently sat down with Harper's Bazaar and discussed, among other things, how she dealt with her ex-partner Caitlyn Jenner's transition to live as her authentic self.

The 60-year-old manager and reality star got candid with the publication, saying that her faith in God got her through the significant change in her relationship with Caitlyn.

"I think at some point, although it was difficult and, uh, a challenge … I just have to let it go. And try to be tolerant," Kris said. "Prayer. God. You know, just trying to understand. It takes time. But time is a wonderful healer. And we have two children together. It's important for my kids to see our family strong and united."

Jenner also told Harper's Bazaar that Caitlyn's decision to transition never affected her understanding of her own identify. "Thank God, I never doubted myself. I just doubted the relationship. You know, what were those 20-plus years all about?"

Initially following Caitlyn's transition, Kris claimed that she was hurt by the way that Caitlyn treated the family, as captured on camera during an episode of the hit reality show "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" that aired in September 2015. Kris told Caitlyn, "You're sensitive and amazing to all these new people in your life, you're just not so sensitive and amazing to the family that you left behind."

Also on HuffPost:

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Brie Larson Reveals Why She Hasn't Spoken To Her Father In 10 Years (Tue, 09 Feb 2016 21:48:18 GMT)

Brie Larson gets personal in the March issue of Elle magazine.

The Oscar-nominated "Room" actress opened up about her nonexistent relationship with her estranged father, revealing why she didn't talk about him for so long. 

"When legally I didn't have to have visitation with him anymore, I jumped on it," Larson said. "As a kid I tried to understand him and understand the situation. But he didn't do himself any favors. I don't think he ever really wanted to be a parent. It wasn't until truly recently that I realized that's why so much of my work was so volatile."

But while her work was "volatile," Larson told Elle that she kept her feelings about her father bottled up and out of the public eye. 

"All of the stuff I wasn't dealing with in my actual life -- all of this anger, my fears and my vulnerabilities -- I didn't feel comfortable expressing because I felt like it was part of the human code that when we're out in the public space, everyone's perfect and good, and we're all nice women, and we dress well and we brush our hair and agree with these customs."

Now there's a new man in her life that she can't stop talking about -- her "Room" co-star Jacob Tremblay. 

"He's an angel," Larson said during her "Jimmy Kimmel Live" appearance on Monday. "He's the most fun person ever. We've gotten so close at this point. We have this symbiotic relationship that's gone beyond the movie." 

The actress put everything she had into "Room." She revealed that she locked herself in an apartment for weeks, participated in a silent retreat and relived childhood memories with her single mother, according to a press conference at the Toronto Film Festival.

Here's to that Oscar, Brie! 


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'The Bachelor' Is Designed To Fuel Girl-On-Girl Hate (Tue, 09 Feb 2016 21:48:04 GMT)

There are few things “The Bachelor” franchise enjoys more than milking some good, old-fashioned sh*t-talking and some good, old-fashioned female insecurity.

On Monday night, viewers watched a depressingly familiar scene play out between Bachelor Ben and Leah: Girl feels insecure about her relationship with Boy (who happens to be dating 10 other girls on reality TV). Girl goes to Boy in a bid to get his attention, and instead of talking about herself and productively furthering her relationship with said boy, talks badly about another girl. Boy is unimpressed by such behavior and unceremoniously dumps Girl to great acclaim from those watching back home.

It’s painful to watch girl-on-girl hatred on-screen, and it’s particularly frustrating to watch a woman speak poorly about another woman (twice!) and then lie about it, as Leah did to Lauren B., Becca and Amanda. But it’s also exactly the type of interaction “The Bachelor” is structured to create. The show takes the most base, retrograde gender dynamics of the real world and magnifies them a thousand times. Viewers are left to simultaneously be repulsed by and enjoy the spectacle.

“Bachelor” story arcs like Leah’s make for satisfying television -- a villain is born and defeated all within the span of two hours. Scrolling through Twitter, the general sentiment seemed to be that Leah had gotten what she deserved. She stabbed another woman, frontrunner Lauren B., in the back! How could she?

Leah's “mean girl” behavior -- in all of its carefully-edited, presumably producer-prodded glory -- was pretty shitty. But there were also moments during Monday night’s episode where her actions felt uncomfortably human -- a reflection of our most unattractive, immature romantic failures. She gets passed over for a one-on-one date for Caila, and then watches as Ben spends the entire group date with Lauren B. She passive-aggressively says that she’s “fine,” while internally (and to the cameras) having a low-key emotional breakdown. Her reactions weren’t pretty or productive, but they also didn’t seem so out of the realm of reality.

In “The Bachelor” world, male attention is perceived as a zero-sum game -- the more another girl is getting, the less you can have. And a woman’s ultimate value within the franchise is defined by the amount of male attention she receives. This plays out nearly every season, as the women who are “not here to make friends” throw other women under the metaphorical bus on their “journeys” to true love. Sometimes these women are portrayed as cunning villains who have seduced the Bachelor into falling for them despite their evil inclinations, like Courtney Robertson on Ben Flajnik’s season. When they are less well-liked by the lead, they get the Carly Waddell edit, portrayed as desperate mean girls who cut down other women in a futile play for the Bachelor’s affection.

It’s not just “The Bachelor” world, though. On “The Bachelorette,” plenty of men still seem smugly aware that they’ll do just fine with the ladies when they leave the show, while the girls on “The Bachelor” moan that not getting a rose would be the worst thing in the world, a true indictment of their desirability. In the real world, women have been socialized to compete for male approval, while men have been taught to pursue as many women as possible with the plan of at least one working out.

In the context of the show, where a single romantic target rules all, this leaves the women to desperately cut each other down to get love from the one man present. The men, in contrast, seem to cut their losses and speculate that they’d be great Bachelors next season. 

In "The Bachelor" world, male attention is perceived as a zero-sum game -- the more another girl is getting, the less you can have.

Leah thought she was gaming the system by sneaking out of the house to “do something extreme” and make an impression on Ben. But in reality, she just played into the idea that the ultimate prize is a man’s affection, and that the“fight” for that “love” trumps all -- including basic human decency to the people she’d been sharing a home with for the last month and a half.

Ultimately, "The Bachelor" gamed her. The show got a dramatic plotline and an emotional exit. Leah got called a b*tch on Twitter, and earned herself a spot in the hot seat during the "Women Tell All" episode. She will likely apologize for her bad behavior, and be ushered into "Paradise" with a relatively clean slate. The show will move on, and producers will ready themselves for a new crop of young, beautiful women who are hungry for true love and socialized to go after it at all costs. When your worth as a female human being is inextricably tied to how desired you are by men, why would you prioritize anything else?

Want more on "The Bachelor"? Listen to this week's "Here To Make Friends" podcast.

Do people love "The Bachelor," "The Bachelorette" and "Bachelor in Paradise," or do they love to hate these shows? It's unclear. But here at "Here To Make Friends," we both love and love to hate them -- and we love to snarkily dissect each episode in vivid detail. Podcast edited by Nick Offenberg.

The best tweets about this week's episode of "The Bachelor":

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11 References You Missed in Beyonce's 'Formation' (Tue, 09 Feb 2016 21:44:50 GMT)


On Saturday Beyoncé released a single that spoke to us on so many levels. Which one are you on?

There are so many levels to Formation that those of us who felt it, really feel it. There really isn't (that) much to joke about. Or waste time hating on. This isn't really a song about designer labels and Red Lobster. (Although RL's Twitter manager picked up the ball and ran with it -- with 13K re-tweets on their first tweet reference to the song --well played.)

"Cheddar Bey Biscuits" has a nice ring to it, don't you think? #Formation@Beyoncepic.twitter.com/QzgVtYAKNo

— Red Lobster (@redlobster) February 7, 2016

Spoiling your man aside, lets take a deeper look. In case you missed it while you were busy being offended or offending her. Here's a break down -- thanks Bey:


1. Sinking Police Car.

The video opens with a New Orleans Police Car submerged in deep NOLA flood waters...the stage is set. Hurricane Katrina aftermath. The voice over says, "What happened after New Orleans?" -- the voice? Messy Mya, a controversial African American social media celeb/comedian from New Orleans who was shot down in the street. A video of the murderer confessing surfaced online, he was arrested, claimed he was bipolar, they put in a psych ward for 18 months and released him. He's since claimed he had nothing to do with the murder. Ahhh the taste of freedom.


2. Flooded Waters.

Clips from a Sundance Documentary shows New Orleans disaster footage after Hurricane Katrina as well as a look at bounce music and the emergence of black gay rap in NOLA. The film and this video was a clear reminder of two things: that music unites us (across all genders and no matter how raunchy it's perceived by those who don't 'get it') and that Hurricane Katrina was real...and oh yeah...what DID happen in New Orleans? p.s. a final note worth mentioning here for those who still think Bey just exploited NOLA in this song instead of helping --she and former band mate from Destiny's Child, Kelly Rowland, started a charity called the Survivor Foundation. They started providing aid in 2005 and transitional housing in Houston for Hurricane Katrina victims and evacuees in 2007.


3. Black self-love.

"I like my baby hair, with baby hair and afros. I like my negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils" -- this of course addresses the culture of open social hate and bullying towards girls like her daughter who stands proudly in her beautiful afro, and her husband, Jay, both of whom are often childishly mocked for their physical appearances. (Fellas -- no need to get your nose done like Michael Jackson. Queens love you just the way you are.) Loving your beautiful black self is an ongoing theme in Formation. Throughout the video Beyoncé rocks a number of black hair styles including her own natural afro. That may not mean much to you if you don't have black hair, but know -- it's a struggle. Especially for little girls.


4. Women in White. Men in black.

The clothing worn in these scenes represent a time before and after slaves were freed around the 1900s. White corsets, binding the women -- during a time when slaves were technically "free" but still being oppressed. The black attire scene depicts a more empowered and free people, with the men dressed up in nice suits and Beyoncé adorned in jewelry and blatantly flicking off the camera in front of a plantation.



5. NOLA Parade.

Church. Hair salon. Lobster. Culture. Period. Let's not get into all that. If you get it, you get it. If not, no worries. Just bounce.


6. MLK.

A man holding up a newspaper is briefly seen. On the cover? Martin Luther King Jr., with the words: "The Truth - More Than a Dreamer". At this point, we are definitely in deep. Not just in flood waters. This is a history lesson living on in the present. This is modern day sh*t y'all.


7. Formation.

There are several choreographed sequences of "ladies in formation" but one takes place at the bottom of an empty pool. Formation is first introduced at the beginning of the song in the form of family references, then women. We need each other during tough times. Especially when we're literally drowning. In water or in haters and "illuminati mess". Stick together. As ladies, as family, or as survivors under flood waters. We'll get through it together. ❤


8. Albino Alligators.

"I twirl all my haters...Albino alligators" -- Ever seen the movie? With the police standoff? If so, you'll probably remember the reference to alligators using an albino among them as a sacrifice to distract opposing alligators, who then become prey. Bey is seen twirling an umbrella in her white corset here. Like an alligator death roll-- #slay. She sacrifices herself constantly to get the conversations going. Bravo haters. We all have our role.


9. B-boy.

There's a powerful scene of a little boy in a black hoodie break dancing in front of a line of police in riot gear. He stops dancing and puts his hands in the air. All the policemen put their arms in the air in response. Peace at last. A clip of graffiti on a wall comes across the screen that says, "Stop shooting us". It is what it is.

(p.s. - All this just days after Bey's husband announced a $1.5 million donation to Black Lives Matter and other social justice organizations.)

Then of course there's yesterday: Super Bowl 50. The day after Beyoncé released Formation, she performed it at 1/2 time of the big game: Broncos vs the Panthers.


10. Black Panthers.

Her dancers were dressed in black panther gear -- as in the Black Panther Party who practiced militant self-defense of minority communities against the U.S. government. Forget Super Bowl 50. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the formation of the black panthers. Are you getting the picture now?


11. Michael Jackson.

Subtle yet clear, not only was Bey, Bruno Mars and all their dancers decked out in black panther gear, she also paid homage to former friend and idol (R.I.P.), Michael Jackson. Her outfit was chosen as a tribute to what he wore during his Super Bowl performance of We Are the World in 1993. Remember how that song went?

"There comes a time when we hear a certain call
When the world must come together as one
There are people dying
And its time to lend a hand to life
The greatest gift of all

We can't go on pretending day by day
That someone, somewhere will soon make a change
We are all a part of God's great big family
And the truth, you know,
Love is all we need..."

So what next? What do you do if you have the attention of about 114 million+ viewers? (At least that was how many people were watching the Super Bowl last year.) Well...if you're as smart as Beyoncé, you announce The Formation World Tour in a Super Bowl commercial that plays immediately after your half time performance. 2 days before tickets go on sale. That brings us to a whole other level on this playing field. Ladies -- time to #getinformation for tickets. ;)
There's a lot to learn from this entrepreneurial Texas bamma. But only if you get the message. Or...you can always sit on the sidelines and be a part of the negative conversations. Oh yeah, there's one last line Bey wrote about that too:

"You know you that * * when you cause all this conversation.
Always stay gracious, best revenge is your paper."
Now excuse me while I go 'get it'.

Formation (Dirty):

This post originally appeared on Medium.

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The One Thing Shakira Wanted Changed About Her Disney Character (Tue, 09 Feb 2016 21:42:04 GMT)

Shakira will join the Disney family when the company's new animated movie, "Zootopia," premieres later this month. The Colombian singer lends her voice to Gazelle, an international pop sensation.  

Ahead of the movie's upcoming premiere in Spain, Shakira spoke with El País to discuss her silver screen debut and the one part of the character that she asked animators to change. 

Who wore it better? Looks like I have competition... Shak

A photo posted by Shakira (@shakira) on

Shakira told the Spanish newspaper that she and Gazelle have a lot in common, but when she noticed the character lacked some of her signature curves she made sure the animators knew it. 

"A lot of the details are mine: the eye color, the eyelashes, the hair. Even the clothes. That skirt is very me. I felt she needed more hips... and I asked them for more and they did it!" she said. 

Shakira's newest single "Try Everything" will appear in the film, as well. 

"[It's] a song about being unafraid of your dreams and the size of your own dreams and being able to fight for them and follow them," Shakira told ETonline last month.

~ Shak's brand new single, Try Everything, from @disneyanimation's upcoming #Zootopia movie is out worldwide now! Listen to this clip... ~ El nuevo sencillo de Shak, Try Everything, de la película #Zootopia ya está disponible! Escuchen este clip... ShakHQ

A video posted by Shakira (@shakira) on

The song's lyrics also reflect themes in the film that the songstress says she can personally relate to. 

"The bunny [and protagonist], Judy Hopps, wants to fulfill dreams that seem impossible, illogical... I've had Judy moments in my life," Shakira told the El País. "Imagine, when I was young in Barranquilla, I dreamt of big stages and becoming a music star while my voice teacher said my voice was dissonant and that I should limit myself to moving my lips and not singing in the chorus."

And while Shakira has always been a Disney fan, the new gig also comes with some extra perks for the mother of two.  

"More than once I've found myself by myself on a couch watching Disney movies with a big jar of popcorn," Shakira told ETonline. "But I also think it's very cool now to brag to my son about my connection to Mickey Mouse."

Sasha likes Gazelle so much, he's been eating her fringe skirt!! / A Sasha le gusta tanto Gazelle que le ha estado comiendo su faldita de flecos!!

A photo posted by Shakira (@shakira) on

"Zootopia" premieres in the United States on March 4. 

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Reviewing Cleveland Versus Wall Street (Tue, 09 Feb 2016 21:39:51 GMT)

Before Margin Call, 99 Homes and The Big Short, there was this gem of a Swiss docu-drama that should've gotten better play in the States (considering the content) titled Cleveland Versus Wall Street. Produced in 2010 it was set in a courtroom -- sort of Twelve Angry Men meets Judgement at Nuremberg -- postulating a trial of those Wall Street Mega-Banks that had been responsible for turning wide swaths of Cleveland into vast wastelands; all before these self-same banks succeeded in doing the same for the global economy.

Based on an actual lawsuit filed by the city of Cleveland in January, 2008, this should-have-happened trial used real folks -- lawyers, judges, witnesses and jurors -- to weigh in on whether 21 banks (Wells Fargo, Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs, among them) were nothing more than irresponsible public nuisances who knowingly peddled mortgages to people who had no realistic means of keeping up with loan payments.

Cleveland's mayor at the time, Frank Jackson, quoted in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, mirrored the thinking of many of his constituents.

To me, this is no different than organized crime or drugs. It has the same effect as drug activity in neighborhoods. It's a form of organized crime that happens to be legal in many respects.

Some of the actors (playing themselves) were directly involved in the lawsuit: Josh Cohen at the plaintiff's table was lead lawyer. Kathleen Engel, a Cleveland-Marshall law professor, appears as a prosecution consultant. In reality, she provided the legal research that underpinned the law suit, namely: municipalities have standing to recover damages inflicted on communities by predatory lenders.

Witnesses for the prosecution were genuinely compelling. Robert Kole, a Cleveland policeman who participated in hundreds of evictions appears visibly upset as he testifies about the impact of foreclosures on the East Cleveland neighborhood where he grew up. Keith Taylor, an ex-drug dealer turned sub-prime mortgage broker, offers insights into how he baited the homeownership hook with all sorts of pie-in-the-sky BS that suckered in vulnerable Cleveland residents; a spiel that allowed him to reap in hefty commissions.

The director, Jean-Stephane Bron, sets up the defense table with a real financial services lawyer, Keith Fisher. While Fisher had no actual role in the lawsuit he does know the terrain and argues that the banks had no culpability in creating the mess. Additional witnesses for the defense include Peter Wallison, a former Reagan White House advisor; unrepentant defender of the free market and proponent of deregulation (to this day), currently serving time at the American Enterprise Institute.

It's straight from the horse's mouth when Michael Osinski appears on the stand and Bron wisely uses him to explain the "mechanics" of sub-prime lending. One of Wall Street's fabled "Quants," the financial engineers who set up the alchemy that transformed mortgages into securities, he's contrite about his role in creating the sub-prime mess.

The courtroom drama reaches a peak with the testimony of Barbara Anderson, an African-American, who moved her family into the formerly all-white working class community known as Slavic Village. As the sub-prime epidemic began to impact homes in her area she mobilized neighbors into a "Street Club" with the goal of keeping vacant homes from falling prey to gangs and drug dealers. Anderson was also active with a community organization, ESOP (Empowering and Strengthening Ohio's People), which put pressure on banks to negotiate with homeowners.

While the trial in the film is make-believe the reality is not and while Bron was at work my company, Pacific Street Films, was also in Cleveland shooting for a documentary, Tale of Two Streets.

Our tour of the devastation was facilitated by those close to the action and they included Gus Chan, an award-winning Cleveland Plain Dealer photographer, who had documented the human misery wrought by foreclosure. David Rowe, a Cleveland policeman, took us on his eviction rounds and like his counterpart in the film was emotional when discussing the situation. Tony Brancatelli, a Slavic Village City Councilman (who appears in the film as a witness for the prosecution), walked us through one of the vacant houses stripped of anything valuable and made the point that while vandals eviscerated homes, the Mega-Banks ripped out the very soul of the community: its population of long-time blue collar residents.

The jury deliberation is a deflated contrivance that doesn't rise to the level of Twelve Angry Men but the outcome isn't a slam dunk either. Bron has intentionally packed the jury with a cross-section of just-plain-folks, from a single mother to a retired soldier with a son fighting in Iraq. He also throws in two Tea Party supporters but in the end the majority buys the prosecution's case, finding the banks guilty as charged. We're left with some hope that the legal process has worked its magic and delivered justice.

It's a nice fantasy...

The real story, according to Kathleen Engel, goes like this. The case became an instant hot potato after it was filed. It bounced around, pin-ball style, between State and Federal courts and on the Fed level it became clear this was mine-field strewed legal territory that judges were reluctant to wade into. By 2011, the lawsuit died an ignominious death

Flash forward five years and we're in Big Short territory. These same Mega-Banks, from Goldman to JP Morgan to Wells Fargo, are settling big time with regulators over the same shenanigans that created the sub-prime crisis and the displacement of millions of homeowners, including those in Cleveland.

Kathleen Engel believes these settlements should raise eyebrows and give pause for thought:

The size of the settlements means they have a lot to hide. They are willing to pay billions of dollars to prevent the truth from coming out. Without lawsuits that include discovery, it is impossible to know the extent of the banks culpability and difficult to gather the evidence needed for criminal prosecutions. Plus, by settling, no law is created.

We can only imagine how trials held today, based on evidence hidden by these settlements, might play out. Then again, like the "X" files, the truth is out there waiting to be discovered.

Note: Cleveland Versus Wall Street is available for screening on VIMEO but be warned to brush up on your French since the overdub does obscure the English underneath.

Joel Sucher is a writer/producer with Pacific Street Films. He's written about the foreclosure crisis for American Banker,In These Times and Huffington Post. Presently he's working on a number of media-related projects pertaining to the 2008 financial meltdown.

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Maddie Ziegler Shakes It Off For A New Capezio Campaign (Tue, 09 Feb 2016 21:38:47 GMT)

Maddie Ziegler might be headed for Hollywood, but this new ad serves as a reminder that she's still quite the dancer. 

Sia's video sweetheart appears in the newest campaign for dance apparel and accessories brand Capezio, released Tuesday. The clip sees a black-clad Ziegler start moving in line with a bunch of young ballerinas in pink, only to break off into an expressive dance of her own that totally reminds us of Taylor Swift in the "Shake It Off" video -- that is, if Swift was a 13-year-old dance prodigy. 

The other dancers are eventually inspired to follow Ziegler's lead, a message she told the Huffington Post she hopes other young dancers will take from the ad, too.

"Self expression in dance has always been so important to me, so I fell in love with the concept of this film," she said. "Hopefully it will remind young dancers everywhere that expressing yourself can be empowering, contagious and fun." 

Inspiring, creative or otherwise, we just love getting the chance to see Ziegler dance.

Check out the video above.

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Kylo Ren, the Parent Wound, and Complicating Good vs Evil in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Tue, 09 Feb 2016 21:35:15 GMT)


Image courtesy of Karina Gelencser (rdjpwns).

*Spoiler alerts for Star Wars: The Force Awakens*

It's always a risk when creators decide to continue a well-loved and what we thought was an already-put-to-rest story. Look what happened to beloved Atticus Finch when the sequel to To Kill A Mockingbird came out. He went from hero to man -- and an unlikable one at that -- in a matter of just a few hundred pages. And Lisbeth Salander got the world's most mediocre treatment in the new installment of the Millennium Trilogy, a book so dreadful I only read 20 pages before throwing it across the room, preferring to keep my memories of her intact and make my own imaginings about her future. The Star Wars franchise itself has fallen into this trap in the past, with the painfully horrible first three films.

And so, thirty years later The Force Awakens. It's decades after the defeat of the Empire, and yet the war between good and evil still rages in a galaxy far, far away. So begins JJ Abrams's remarkable spin on the Star Wars world, where the entire notion of heroes starts turning on its head and landing in unusual formations: While genocide takes place at the hand of both sides, often indiscriminately and wholly calculatedly, one wonders how is there even still a concept of the Light and the Dark Sides when everyone is committing such atrocities of war? Could the forces of Light and Dark get any more grey?

Which brings us to our former heroes Han Solo and now-General Leia Organa, who still continue to lead the Resistance against the forces of darkness who in the meantime abandoned their son because their war was more important than the care and attention Ben Solo needed as he struggled between the Light and Dark Sides, just as his uncle and grandfather had done before him.

Nobody is born into the Light or the Darkness. A Jedi or dark warrior is made by their circumstances, just as in real life. So, who could blame Ben Solo for struggling to understand good and evil when his father is a rapscallion, a thief, and an egotistical misogynist with no regard for anyone, and his mother is a self-righteous and entitled princess whose narcissistic tendencies and hunger for power to prove herself clearly dominate? These were always complicated characters, and it seems time has done nothing to temper their core personalities, nor has it transformed them into good people or good parents.

How do you expect a boy to learn good from evil when his own parents' behavior toes the lines of both? How do you write a child off when he's still so young and hasn't even had a chance to explore different ways of being?

You cannot abandon your child and expect there to be no emotional or physical consequences, even more so when you leave them vulnerable to the kind of emotional and physical abuse Ben Solo/Kylo Ren experienced in the fold of The Dark Order. Leia and Han may fight for the Light, but they're horrible people. It doesn't matter how many great things you do for justice or equality or humanity, if you do bad by children you will never be redeemed.

It also never fails to surprise me how people with their own deep and unresolved parent wounds go on to perpetuate the cycle of woundedness in their own children, and out of sheer laziness by Leia and Han in this case. The opportunity for them to shift the cycle was so clear, and instead they chose otherwise. Han Solo has now paid the karmic price and I'm sure Leia's penance won't be far behind, not that these violent retributions will help their broken son much.

For so many people the almost-primordial parent wound is the root of mental illness, addiction, and a special kind of soul suffering. Kylo Ren personifies the damage his parents did by passing him off as someone else's problem. And so the call of the Dark Side would inevitably grow stronger as the rage in him grew. Yet, still, in Kylo Ren the call of the Light is ever-present, but without guidance to develop it he remains in an emotional limbo caught between the events that were put in motion by his abandonment and an actual desire to change that course. Even Darth Vader -- the most evil denizen of the Dark Side -- had light left in him, and how poetically ironic that Kylo Ren prayed to Vader to help give himself over to Darkness when his grandfather experienced that exact same struggle. And for Kylo Ren, the secondary emotion other than rage that flowed off his shoulders in waves -- even with his face masked -- was the visible pain and further evidence of a profound sadness that had never known any respite. Kudos to Adam Driver for crushing his performance of Ben Solo/Kylo Ren on an epic level. Not many can achieve that perfect balance of wounded soul and villain simultaneously, and Driver accomplished it to marvelous effect.

Ultimately, our goodness or badness are in our own control, you don't need to be a Jedi warrior to understand that. Often, where that parent wound hurts the most is in the what ifs of what could have been, something Kylo Ren struggles with the entire film. He's been inducted into the Dark Side, he was given up by the Light, and by the time his parents attempt to heal those early wounds it is already too late. For Kylo Ren, like for so many others, that original parent wound has been festering for so long it's gone gangreneous and amputation is the only solution.

For a narrative based on the polarities of Good versus Evil, The Force Awakens certainly complicates both notions into a sweeping shade of grey that overtook the entire visual and narrative palate of the film. In fact, I'd argue that the entire film is made up of anti-heroes, none of whom should be reified as Light or Dark. I was disturbed by the ease at which Rey murdered Storm Troopers (candidate for the Dark Side, anyone?), while in contrast actual Storm Trooper Finn was unable to pull triggers (someone train this kid in The Force and stat). Kudos to JJ Abrams and his team for creating a nuanced chapter of the Star Wars saga in a way I haven't quite seen before. Here's hoping that the greying of Light and Dark continues to upend the tropes we've come to expect in Star Wars, and sci-fi beyond for that matter.

JJ Abrams and company took a huge risk bringing the story 30 years forward, and in so many ways my main takeaway from Star Wars: The Force Awakens was a pervasive melancholia at where these beloved characters had ended up, the reprehensible choices they made, and the futility of continuing to fight a decades-long war. As a Sri Lankan American, I can't help but think of the civil war that tore apart my fatherland, a war that even a decade after its dissolution continues to have physical, emotional, and psychological repercussions to this day, and not just in the country, but beyond into the Sri Lankan diaspora. To that effect, I can't imagine there will be many happy endings for anyone in the Star Wars galaxy, even if the Light wins.

And as for my new favorite character Kylo Ren: my hope is that when all is said and done he can find some peace wherever in the spectrum of Dark or Light that may be.

Abrams did a marvelous job of complicating the notion that just because you may fight for the side of Light, that doesn't mean you're a good person, just as fighting for the side of Dark doesn't necessarily make you a bad person. There's no room in today's media for the polarities of good or evil -- Republicans, please take note -- and it's groundbreaking to see a creator take a story with an extremely polarized worldview (or galaxyview, rather) and turn it on its head in so many clever ways. Now if the future Star Wars films could find a way to pass the Bechdel Test more than just marginally then we're really on our way to some truly magnificent storytelling.

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Valentine's Day Cards For Introverted Millennials With Commitment Issues (Tue, 09 Feb 2016 21:33:27 GMT)

Love is complicated. When you tack on the experience of dating in the modern technological age ... well, it becomes a straight-up s**t show. No one is interested in settling. People are deathly afraid of hurting someone or being hurt.

So there are a lot of shy, non-committal, young people out there, and where do they go for Valentine's Day cards designed specifically for them?

They go right here, to HuffPost Comedy. 



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Here's What Will Smith Really Thinks About Janet Hubert Now (Tue, 09 Feb 2016 21:15:54 GMT)

Will Smith and Janet Hubert’s longstanding feud may have finally hit a positive note.

On Monday during an interview with BBC Radio 1Xtra, Smith shared his thoughts on his former "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" costar and credited Hubert for bringing dignity to her role as Aunt Viv. 

"I think that Janet Hubert brought a really powerful dignity to ['The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air']," he said. "I think she’s brilliant. I think as an artist, there's so many things that she does. She sings, she dances, she’s like a really powerful artist.  So I loved what she brought to the 'Fresh Prince.'"

After three seasons on "The Fresh Prince," Hubert was replaced by actress Daphne Reid in 1993 due to “creative differences.” Despite her candid viral response to Jada Pinkett Smith’s decision to boycott the 88th annual Academy Awards in January for its lack of diversity in nominations, Hubert recently said that she has "respect" for Jada.        

"I respect Jada highly," Hubert said earlier this month on daytime talk show "The Real." "I respect her skill, I respect her as an artist, I respect her as an actress, very much."

Here's to more positive dialogue between Hubert and Smith.

Check out Will Smith’s BBC Radio 1Xtra interview in the clip above.

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Watch Kevin Hart Totally Lose It When He Sees A Giant Python (Tue, 09 Feb 2016 21:02:16 GMT)

Kevin Hart is no Steve Irwin, that's for sure. 

The "Ride Along 2" comedian and his co-star Ice Cube were treated to a slimy surprise on Australia's "Today" show. The two got to meet creatures from Australia's Wild Animal Encounters, and Hart was not having it. 

"We can't curse on here, right?" Hart said as he made his way over to the animals. As he got closer to the scaly guests, the 36-year-old jokingly said, "I just got a little bit of gas!" 

True to his name, Ice Cube managed to maintain his cool, but Hart abso-freaking-lutely lost it when the handler introduced them to a MASSIVE python. Can you blame him?  

As the "Today" show said on Facebook, "LOL, welcome to Straya, boys!" 


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