What Had Happened Was Trending stories on the intersections of race, sports & culture

Daily Dose: 6/3/16

It’s official: Prince died of a drug overdose

9:52 AMOn Thursday, Pardon The Interruption‘s Tony Kornheiser announced that his local radio show on ESPN 980 would be going off the air in June, and resuming in podcast form. It’s been a tremendous run for the man they call “Mr. Tony.”

The truth regarding Prince is finally revealed. He died of an opioid overdose, according to autopsy results. Specifically, it was the drug fentanyl, a powerful painkiller that was responsible. Opioid dependencies are a real issue in this country. Nearly everyone you know has a story of someone whose life has either ended or been ruined from an addiction. I had a college friend whose dad ended up going to prison after breaking into to a CVS to steal OxyContin. Anyway, ABC News’ explains exactly how this epidemic is affecting America at large.

When ride-sharing services first came out, they were a boon for people of color. Instead of having to hail a cab, the color of the money in your pocket was more important than one’s skin. With home-sharing services however, well, things get a little bit dicier. It’s amazing the lengths people will go to avoid having people of color stay in their homes. Many will literally reject money in their pockets simply based on the sound of someone’s name, which is nothing new. Nightline investigates the problem of #AirbnbWhileBlack.

We’re in full swing for wedding season. If your weekends aren’t already packed with various nuptial celebrations, then, lucky you! This might be a good time to tell you that I’ll be gone all next week for a wedding in Italy, so we won’t be seeing each other for that duration. That aside, when it comes to getting hitched, music is a critical factor. That and an open bar, but that’s another story. It fascinates me what folks consider good wedding music. Luckily, FiveThirtyEight’s Walt Hickey has put together a list of the best songs.

Neymar is one of the most popular soccer players on earth. Justin Bieber is one of the most popular recording artists on the planet. So when they get together, what would you imagine they do? Play music or soccer? Actually, they play soccer while listening to music. Sort of. The Biebs was having a cookout and Neymar was having a beer and decided to get a little juggle session going. And to be fair, Bieber does a whole lot more than hold his own with the Barcelona striker. ESPNFC’s Chris Wright has the video.

Free Food

Coffee Break: When it came to movies, as a kid, there were few I enjoyed as much as The Last Dragon. Any flick with a character named Bruce Leroy and Sho Nuff is going to be a winner. But how exactly did this movie even get made in 1985? Well, here’s an oral history about it with a funny reveal about who was supposed to play the lead.

Snack Time: Remember that old McDonald’s ad that took a serious bend into what we like to call “urban” from a marketing standpoint? Yeah, well, as it turns out, your boy Pusha T wrote that. For real, King Push is the man.

Dessert: Doris Burke is my favorite basketball analyst in the world. She should be yours, too.


Shaquille O’Neal

is apparently still fooling folks with goofy masks

4:01 PMShaquille O’Neal is arguably the most popular athlete/entertainer of his generation (Dwayne Johnson is his only comparison), and occasionally he busts out something so virally funny that it’s impossible not to like. This time, he’s teamed up with the ride-share company Lyft to execute that “riding undercover” bit, that is surprisingly effective with lesser-known players.

But come on, Shaq? Nobody on EARTH is getting into a car and just acting like they don’t know that he’s the driver if they look at him. He’s an insanely large human, has an extremely unique voice and is on TV constantly. I refuse to believe that there are people in Atlanta of all places who don’t recognize him.

That aside, this video is hilarious. The costumes alone are enough to do this justice, but O’Neal ad-lib skills are tremendous. A dashiki and an Afro wig? Yes, please. The best part of it is in the very beginning though. “My favorite Laker player is Kobe,” a woman says, laughing, to an obviously unmasked Shaq. Per usual, he takes it like a champ.

The Tulsa Race Riot

Wednesday marks the 95th anniversary

11:50 AMThe Tulsa Race Riot, also more colloquially known as the Black Wall Street Massacre, came to a close on this day 95 years ago, but the damage still endures for many. In 1921, an encounter in a downtown building between two teenagers (a white girl and black boy), led to a manhunt and a standoff in the Oklahoma town. With a lynching averted by local authorities, what was merely a childish run-in quickly escalated into one of the most disgusting and violent moments in American history.

White mobs burned down schools, churches, homes and even a hospital. Of course, this was all after the town voted to segregate everything in the first place and black people, aided by the influx of soldiers coming home from World War I, had created their own economy, effectively allowing them some level of agency and even prosperity economically.

Perhaps most shamefully is the fact it was essentially struck from history books in Oklahoma. Meaning kids in school were denied the opportunity to truly understand one of the most important parts of their local legacy. Now, teachers will use it in curricula, but there are still people who are stunned such a thing ever happened. All the while, actual survivors of the horror were still trying to get reparations for the businesses and residences they lost.

So the next time you hear someone arguing about how black people need to just pull themselves up by their proverbial bootstraps, don’t forget they once did in the second-largest city in America. Everything they had was destroyed and the truth was hidden.
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Adebayo Akinfenwa

is that dude, in case you didn’t know

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If someone in Major League Soccer was smart, they would sign Adebayo Akinfenwa instantly. If you don’t know who he is, I don’t blame you. For some time now, he’s been sort of a fun, underground fan favorite of people who watch way too much lower-league English soccer. He’ll turn up every once and again in an FA Cup match somewhere and people will gawk at him, but he’s been playing professionally for nearly 15 years.

It’s not quite clear what his exact body weight is, but don’t get it twisted: My man can move. And he plays striker, which makes everything more amazing. His size is both a plus and a minus from a marketing standpoint. His nickname is “The Beast,” which is a tad pedestrian but we could fix that right up, here stateside. But he’s famous enough to have parody accounts too, obviously.

He’s had interest from MLS teams before, and it’s time to make that happen. This guy is a star waiting to happen. Check out his interview after AFC Wimbledon won the League 2 playoff Monday. He’s the kind of guy that actually says “sidebar” in regular conversation, which means he’s my kind of person. And if soccer doesn’t work out, a WWE career is there for the taking.

Akinfenwa scored a late-game penalty on his way to helping Wimbledon to promotion. But he was released by the club — a fate he was aware of heading into Monday’s game.

I can’t wait to root for this Brit on American soil.

Pusha T

is having a big week. The Virginia legend can’t lose

10:02 AMhttps://www.instagram.com/p/BF-Yo9JEgQT/?taken-by=kingpush

Over the past couple years, Pusha T — once half of the legendary duo The Clipse — has established himself as one of the smartest men in music. While still keeping his raps primarily focused on his narcotics-selling past and his entertainment industry present with a healthy cut of political commentary, he’s stayed relevant by pushing the envelope as president of G.O.O.D. Music and creator of the Play Cloths line of streetwear.

But this week started with a bang and ended with a banger. First, a run-in with potentially the only person more important to Virginia’s hip-hop history: Allen Iverson. The recently inducted basketball Hall of Famer and Hampton native A.I. showed up with a signed jersey and Push lost his mind. For real, jumping up and down like a little kid, which is exactly what every single person in the world would do in that situation.

Then, as if that weren’t enough, he turned right around and dropped a genuinely vicious track with Jay Z of all people called Drug Dealers Anonymous. Aside from the fact that this Jay Z verse is actually good, there’s an added value in that they threw in a clip of a rant from The Blaze’s Tomi Lahren. You can check out the full thing here, if you like.

It’s been a great week for King Push, just check out the look on his face. And we’re still two days away from a potential G.O.O.D. Friday.

Daily Dose: 6/1/16

The Mediterranean refugee death toll continues to rise

9:46 AMWe’ve got a palindrome as the date today, which is always fun. I’ve been in Los Angeles in the lead-up to the premiere of the Ezra Edelman film O.J.: Made in America that will air starting June 11. Trust me, you do not want to miss this.

Every year, thousands of people cross the Mediterranean Sea. Many of them are doing it to try to save their lives. Whether they’re from East Africa or the Middle East, various refugees regularly endure horrible conditions on the water for even the slightest shot at a better circumstance, often risking everything they have to do so. This week, nearly 1,000 people have died on said mission and one photo has come to really embody that entire struggle. ABC News’ Michael Edison Hayden reports on the image that’s gone global.

Remember Michael Jace? The brother who was in The Shield on FX? A little more than two years ago, he shot and killed his wife in a domestic dispute. Tuesday, he was found guilty of second-degree murder. April Jace was a track athlete and the couple had children together. At the time, it was a chilling account of a man who shot his wife, then called police himself to report the incident, saying, “I shot my wife.” Now, court details of what actually happened revealed that Jace basically did it because she wanted to leave him. ABC’s Jovana Lara and Lesley Messer report.

Once Donald Trump clinched the GOP presidential nomination, no one was shocked. It felt like an absurd reality in a way that was tough to explain, but after watching months of the Republican Party trip and fall all over themselves while a New York real estate guy basically engineered a hostile takeover, you figured it would happen. The question came in whether they’d back him if he got that far. Well, it appears they are. His support numbers are on par with other presidential candidates from within the party voters. FiveThirtyEight’s Harry Enten explains and discusses Trump’s actual chances at winning.

If you think the Zika virus is just some faraway threat, think again. With the Olympics coming up in Rio de Janeiro soon, many athletes are expressing major concerns. Also, think about this way. Half the athletes there will be women of child-bearing age, the greatest risk group when it comes to the illness that can cause children to be born with encephalitis. And all those women will be going back to where they came from. It’s a scary thought if there’s an outbreak. But you know who actually DID catch it? The Tigers’ Francisco Rodriguez. ESPN’s Katie Strang tells it.

Free Food

Coffee Break: There was a time in my life when mini-golf was my absolute favorite leisure activity in the world. I feel like that was probably the summer between fourth and fifth grade. Good times. Anyways, it’s nearly impossible to find a decent course these days unless you live in Myrtle Beach. What happened? We need to know for the summer.

Snack Time: If you’re wondering why disenfranchising voters because of felony convictions is a big deal, it’s not just a matter of right and wrong. If you were wondering, yes, that practice started based on racist policy, too.

Dessert: New Chance is Old Chance to commemorate Bold Chance so, yay Chance.

Daily Dose: 5/31/16

Kevin Durant: Will he stay or will he go?

9:30 AMHappy Tuesday, folks. We hope everyone’s Memorial Day went swimmingly and you enjoyed a lot of food and merriment. Including hot dogs. Which are not sandwiches, in case you weren’t entirely clear on that. Let’s get back to work.

One family had a very eventful holiday weekend. In Cincinnati, a child fell into an enclosure at the zoo, and was put face-to-face with a silverback gorilla. Officials were in a tough spot given the gorilla is an endangered species. A quick perusal of any search engine will garner you quite a few opinions on who was at fault for this incident, between the parents and the zoo. Some might even say that the ape was protecting the child. Either way, the video is extremely hard to watch. ABC News’ Michael Edison Hayden, Julia Jacobo and Emily Shapiro report.

Sexual assault is major issue. It doesn’t look a certain way or dress a certain way. All sorts of people do it, and the culture surrounding rape and how we eradicate it is ever evolving. Lesson one: Don’t do it. All other lessons are secondary. In California recently, a group of women helped stop what was thought to be a potential assault by speaking up when it appeared a man was drugging a drink. The women moved into action and the guy was caught. ABC’s Doug Lantz has the story.

If you’re reading this from your parents’ basement, good for you. I, for one, won’t judge you. I do wonder why when people live at home, it’s always assumed that a transition has been made to the very bottom floor. I’m sure there are tons of people out here working hard straight out of their old bedrooms. That aside, quite a few millenials are living with their boomer parents. Hey Mom and Dad, I’m back — thanks for ruining the economy when I was a kid! FiveThirtyEight’s Ben Casselman explains how that’s not the only reason people are coming home in droves, again.

Now that the Oklahoma City Thunder are out of the playoffs, NBA fans can turn back to a fun focus: Kevin Durant’s future. The Washington, D.C.-area native will be a free agent this summer. He’s in an interesting spot. Having never left the Oklahoma City franchise, there is a certain nervousness that comes with branching out. Then again, with the salary cap going up, he can make a ton of money. Then, of course, there is basketball. The Thunder have built a powerhouse around KD. But they just can’t get over the hump. ESPN’s Tim MacMahon ponders what Durant will do next.

Free Food

Coffee Break: Personally, I struggle mightily with getting sleep. Been that way for years. But for professional athletes, sleep, obviously, is critical. Not enough rest could lead to a bad night, or perhaps more disastrously, an injury. As it turns out, the National Hockey League legit has sleep coaches. Here are some tips from the pros.

Snack Time: We’re in a bit of a renaissance when it comes to movies and television shows made by black people, not necessarily just about black people. Check out this list of the 50 greatest films by black directors. Very fun.

Dessert: The new Alicia Keys video looks like a blast. Here’s how the choreographer pulled it off.


has an oasis of graffiti and street art

7:00 AM




On our way out of town from a wedding last week in Asheville, North Carolina, we happened upon what appeared to be an abandoned warehouse with some rather well-executed pieces along a wall. As it turned out, various artists were painting what felt like two full city blocks of abandoned warehouses and old 18-wheelers with nothing but surface to paint.

Artists were out doing their thing. Some other people were practicing at the skate park on the grounds. As an enthusiast, the scene was a tad overwhelming. One guy on Twitter said it looked like a level on a Tony Hawk video game. Overall, it was an incredible thing to happen upon on the way out of town.

Asheville’s River Arts District is home to many a studio, but this grittier industrialized version of an effective canvas town was quite remarkable. In recent years, Asheville has thrown an event called “Burners and BBQ” as a way to help continue the artistic efforts there.

It really was quite remarkable in skill and scale.

We The North

Especially when it comes to art

7:00 AM

Trevor Wheatley is a Toronto-based artist who was very much so looking forward to what the Raptors were going to do against the Cleveland Cavaliers. That didn’t go so well, but this is dope.

Board on Saturday

Ethiopia Skate

gives the globe a new visual backdrop for the sport

7:00 AMYou don’t typically think of Addis Ababa and skateboarding as “natural” partners, but thanks to Ethiopia Skate, they are. Their entire operation is pretty incredible, because while skateboarding is a full-blown industry, in East Africa we’re still in the infantile growth stages. Volunteers, donated equipment, the whole scene is still super grassroots.

From a style standpoint, what’s particularly fascinating is to watch people skate with a backdrop that’s so different from what we’re used to. Be it the United States, South America, Australia or Europe, the visual vocabulary of each place, while varied within themselves, is still somewhat similar. Africa presents a whole other landscape palette that is extremely appealing.

“We use skateboarding as a means of building confidence, encouraging individual creativity, and making community,” their mission statement says. “We vision that children from all backgrounds can come together to have access to skateboarding equipment and free skateboard facilities and this community can ensure that all members have the means of education and healthy living.”

It’s about more than just tricks or transportation. It’s about family.

Thrasher Magazine’s

OG tastemaker gets a deep dive

7:00 AMIf you read Thrasher, you know who editor Jake Phelps is. If you don’t, he’s basically one of the most hardcore humans on Earth. The mag has been around as long as I’ve been alive, and if you want to take a look back at what the skate world was like through the eyes of a truly pioneering person, check out this long form profile of Phelps from The California Sunday Magazine.