Sam Jackson and friends wow at ‘Incredibles 2’ premiere
Judging by the response of an early audience, sequel is worth the super long wait
7:52 AMLOS ANGELES — The Incredibles 2 premiere was a magical place. In addition to guests Wiz Khalifa, Jason George and black-ish star Marcus Scribner, stars of the film — which features Samuel L. Jackson, Craig T. Nelson and Holly Hunter — were positioned in the carnival-like atmosphere, where they posed with fans who’ve been waiting a decade and a half for a sequel.
In keeping with the spirit of the much-anticipated animated sequel, the party happened before the world premiere of the film, in a tented area near Hollywood’s El Capitan Theatre where jugglers juggled, acrobats balanced larger-than-life balls and performers on stilts entertained guests. All this as revelers feasted on deviled eggs, macaroni and cheese, chicken corn dogs, chocolate-dipped Rice Krispies treats, candied apples, flavored snow cones and the requisite open bar.
And a few hours later, as the crowd leapt to its feet at the conclusion of the premiere, the wait felt more than worth it. Unlike other recent premieres (perhaps because this is an animated film?) there wasn’t the usual pomp and circumstance. No director opened with a speech, and no cast members were called onstage to be introduced to the audience. The studio let the film speak for itself, and judging by the rousing round of applause (and early responses), it was the exact right move. The film is in theaters June 15.
The Audemars Piguet watch LeBron James wore for Game 1 worth at least $40,000, expert says
According to the luxury brand’s website, only 1,500 of the model were made
2:27 PMOAKLAND, California — Remember when LeBron James broke out a short suit outfit, valued $46,964.95, for Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals? Well, the ensemble is actually worth much more. Just take a look at the Cleveland Cavaliers star’s wrist.
According to watch connoisseur FakeWatchBusta, a social media sensation known for exposing celebrities for wearing inauthentic timepieces, James donned a super-rare Audemars Piguet, called the Royal Oak Offshore Arnold Schwarzenegger The Legacy Chronograph during pregame and postgame of the Cavs’ 124-114 loss to the Golden State Warriors. The watch’s features include:
- Self-winding chronograph with date display and small seconds at 12 o’clock
- Ceramic case, bezel and crown.
- 18-carat pink gold pushpieces
- Titanium caseback with medallion.
- Black ceramic case, black dial, anthracite strap.
According to the Swiss luxury brand’s website, only 1,500 were made, and the watch is currently “not for sale.”
“It retailed in shops for right over $40,000,” FakeWatchBusta told The Undefeated via email. The watch can be found on websites, such as swissluxury.com, for a resale value of as much as $46,495. But there’s certainly a chance James’ version of the Royal Oak Offshore Schwarzenegger could be worth more.
“Since he is endorsed by Audemars Piguet,” FakeWatchBusta wrote, “it could also be something special made, of course.”
James has a longstanding partnership with Audemars Piguet that led to the limited release of his own signature watch, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore LeBron James, in 2013. At a retail price of $51,500, only 600 pieces dropped worldwide. And in early 2018, the watchmaker tapped James for an ad campaign directed by fashion photographer Rankin in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the iconic Royal Oak Offshore.
Come Game 1 of his eighth-straight Finals appearance, James’ choice of watch was surely a no-brainer. The Royal Oak is fit for a king and apparently worth every penny. The accessory brings the minimum total of this Game 1 outfit to nearly $87,000 — not even including his custom jewelry. Guess that’s just the luxury of getting paid more than $33 million a year to play in the NBA.
Kanye West dropped a new album while we were all recovering from the NBA Finals chaos
The rapper’s latest, ‘ye,’ offers a small peek into the weight his controversies had on his marriage
12:59 PMOnly the NBA — and one of the weirdest, most controversial and high blood pressure-inducing regulation endings ever — could make a Kanye West album listening session a secondary story.
Thanks to the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers, particularly J.R. Smith, such was the case Thursday night. West, who has been in the news for all the wrong reasons since he returned to social media and the public spotlight, played his new album ye in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, for invited media members, a host of collaborators and close friends who included his wife, Kim Kardashian (who just returned from a White House visit with President Donald Trump regarding prison reform).
The cover art for ye, which Kardashian said is a picture West took while riding to the session itself and features the statement “I Hate Being Bi-Polar. It’s Awesome,” is the first glimpse into West’s state of mind. West’s eighth studio album bookends a landmark week for G.O.O.D. Music, as it comes on the heels of Pusha T’s album and blistering battle record toward Drake with “The Story of Adidon.”
Lyrically, the album is standard Kanye. A witty punchline here, a cringeworthy run there (i.e., his Russell Simmons/#MeToo line on “Yikes”) and a splash of introspection. Those looking for lyrical precision are better off taking in Black Thought’s Streams of Thought, Vol. 1 EP that was also released Thursday night. Or a more cohesive listen in A$AP Rocky’s TESTING. If nothing else, West is a producer capable of stringing together glowing moments with soul samples, well-placed singing features (Jeremih, Charlie Wilson, Ty Dolla $ign and more) and harmonies.
Last month, West told The Breakfast Club‘s Charlamagne Tha God that while he was on medication he didn’t go to therapy because the world was his therapist. The music, in both positive and negative ways, reflects this. Look no further than ye‘s most honest moment in “Wouldn’t Leave,” featuring PARTYNEXTDOOR and the aforementioned Jeremih and Ty Dolla $ign. West weighs the consequences of his actions and offers unique perspective into how his recent controversial comments affected his marriage. When West infamously proclaimed on TMZ that “slavery was a choice,” the world erupted.
West was once a symbol of hope and the living embodiment of chasing a seemingly impossible dream with courage and self-confidence as fuel. For many, his comments were the last straw in pardoning an embattled artist who once spoke for so many. But according to West, the weight of the moment was felt most heavily in his own household. Now I’m on 50 blogs gettin’ 50 calls/ My wife callin’, screamin’, say, “We ’bout to lose it all!” he raps. Had to calm her down ’cause she couldn’t breathe/ Told her she could leave me now, but she wouldn’t leave. The cut is an unscripted look from the premier unscripted artist of his generation inside a household whose foundation is known for being heavily scripted. Though, it should be noted, that Kim’s reaction was out of fear of their empire crumbling, not the venom and ignorance in West’s statement. “For any guy that ever f— up. Ever embarrassed they girl. Ever embarrassed they wife. She told you not to do that s—. She told you’s gon’ f— the money up. But you ain’t wanna listen, did you?” he says on the song’s outro. “Now you testing her loyalty. This what they mean when they say, ‘For better or for worse,’ huh?”
Unfortunately for West — as a considerable amount of his fan base, many who have been searching their souls for weeks now, came to this conclusion — the music doesn’t matter more than the man and the actions he takes. Just ask Rhymefest.
Two Starbucks employees say the anti-bias training was needed, but it’s not nearly enough
‘Maybe it can stand as a pillar of equality’
12:50 PMIn April, Starbucks was in the news because a Philadelphia store manager called the police on two black men who were waiting for a friend. To address the bias that could lead to such an unfair response, Starbucks closed its doors early on Tuesday to send its employees through an anti-bias training session.
I talked to two employees from different stores who participated in different sessions. After the conversations I was shocked, confused, and slightly encouraged. Here are excerpts from our conversations. Frank is a white male in his late 30s. Mark is a person of color in his mid-20s.
Do you think the session was needed?
Mark: Truthfully, as a person of color, I feel as though these are things I intrinsically already understand. But I believe it was necessary for my store specifically.
Mark: After the incident in Philadelphia, a co-worker asked me, ‘You know the whole Kanye West thing’ and I was like ‘umm, yeah, I do.’ And she went off saying that people online are calling him an Uncle Tom and a fake n—–. I went, ‘Excuse me?’ And she REPEATED HERSELF. And then she said, ‘it’s not like I was calling you a house n—– or something, I was just talking about the situation.’
Mark: On a different occasion a co-worker said to me, ‘I’m brown just like you, just on the inside’ while I was washing dishes one day. And another time, a friend told me that she heard transphobic comments as we just hired an individual who is transitioning. I didn’t report any of this, because it will just make a hostile work environment. I am trying to transfer.
What was the goal of the session?
Frank: The goal of the training was to bring into the light real-life racial, sexual, insensitive bias and to talk about how we can minimize those situations to the point that hopefully will have them no longer happen. Starbucks admitted that one four-hour training session isn’t going to fix any problems, so they made sure to stress that we all have to make efforts continue the progress that they made. (Neither man could remember the training facilitators giving recommendations for specific continued efforts.)
Mark: Being Color Brave was one of the main themes. The term colorblind was referenced as a platform long ago used to describe people who don’t see color, which is now known to be just as bad. Color Brave is being brave to be who you are and embracing your racial and ethnic backgrounds.
What happened in the sessions?
Mark: One of the first activities we did was introduce ourselves in small three- to six-person groups. We then were told to break off into pairs within those groups and make a list of eight reasons why we are different.
Frank: For me the most effective exercises were watching videos of people of color still telling stories about how they get followed in stores to ‘prevent theft’ and then hearing one woman say that she wishes she could walk out her door and feel carefree like the white guy she sees on the street. That last part is a direct quote and it bothered me to my core that still this bulls— continues.
Frank: They gave us 39-page workbooks. We were supposed to write our thoughts in them and take them with us.
Mark: They explained the difference between explicit and implicit bias. Then they ran us through the Stroop Color [and] Word test so we would understand that stereotypes are cognitive shortcuts we form.
Was the session beneficial?
Mark: For the company, perhaps. Maybe it can stand as a pillar of equality, great.
Frank: Yes. I think more companies need to do this, but the real change that needs to happen are everyday people coming to the same realization that racial bias needs to stop. That’s when true change will happen. I just wish it was easier. People give up because learning anything new is tough and Americans are lazy.
How would you describe the training with one word?
Closing 8,000 stores for a half-day most certainly cost Starbucks some profits. But the costs of biases are ordinarily paid by the same segment of our society. And they don’t get to pick the day or the price.
On April 12, when Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson were cuffed and arrested, they were forced to pay with a bit of their dignity. Though everyone knows one session won’t eradicate biases held by Starbucks employees, if the result of the session is a lower likelihood of an incident like that recurring, then Tuesday’s cost is a worthwhile investment.