Vogue’s ’73 Questions with Serena Williams’
It’s a must-see video
We all know Serena Williams as the best tennis player on the planet. But rarely have we been granted a peek at the tennis great’s sweet, funny and flirty side. A few highlights gleaned from the clip: Williams is above haters, terrible at basketball, owns all of her controversial fashion choices and thinks the funniest person she knows is “Aubrey,” whom we’ll assume is her rumored paramour, Drake.
A quick aside: Clinton Yates officially offered me this particular “Superena” item ostensibly because it falls in my style wheelhouse. Smarter minds know your boy was having difficulty dialing back his reflexive fawning factor. No shade on this side because that body! That dress! Speaking of which, skip ahead to the 6:55 mark for Williams’ dance moves that are just dying to be memed. Y’all can thank me later.
Crying Jordan is the only one we acknowledge
If you’re a newspaper in Malawi, apparently
Lmaoooooooooo Malawian newspaper really used that pic of all pics. Ati "photograph BBC" Dead dead dead pic.twitter.com/kPIXMoGqbf
— Man City 2018 CHAMPIONS (@daliballz) July 27, 2016
On Tuesday, your people at The Undefeated broke a little news. Michael Jordan, for basically the first time ever, decided to talk about a social issue. The statement itself, never mind the stance he took, was news because arguably the greatest player in the history of the NBA effectively never does this. So, the exclusive spread quickly.
Apparently, it also got as far as the east African nation of Malawi, which was once an English colony. The national soccer team refers to itself as “The Flames,” which is very dope, as most African squads’ nicknames are. Yet, if we were still in an era in which polite society used the term “third world,” this nation would qualify as such. And when a friend forwarded me this picture from a newspaper there, I couldn’t help but laugh. The paper in question is called The Nation. If you want to catch up on Malawi politics (the state of which is not good, by the way), here you go. Though a search for Jordan’s face on the site turned up nothing.
But I refuse to believe this picture was a mistake. I’d like to believe that, although an error, it was a cognizant choice to match an emotional Jordan photo with what was an emotional story. In the news business, people do it constantly in print: take an out-of-context headshot of a famous person and stick it with a story that sort of portrays a similar feeling to whatever is being expressed in the text. I’ve done it a million times, myself.
But without being overly culturally insensitive to the fact that things like this tend to get lost in translation, this is completely hilarious. To go from news photo, to ridiculous pop-culture symbol, back to news photo on the other side of the earth is a perfect development for the meme that will never die.
All charges dismissed against police in Freddie Gray case
Those remaining will walk before seeing courtroom
4:00 PMAccording to the state of Maryland, Freddie Gray deserved to die for looking at a police officer a certain way.
If you want a basic explanation of how white privilege, police brutality and injustice work, look no further than Gray’s case. An officer didn’t care for the look Gray gave him. So he initiated an arrest, illegally, mind you, and threw him in the back of a police van. There, no one bothered to secure him to anything while in the van. He sustained an injury, then died. The medical examiner ruled it a homicide. The city paid off his family. Then, multiple officers walked, before all charges were eventually dismissed Wednesday.
The development marked the end of what’s been an interesting rise and fall for Marilyn Mosby, state’s attorney for Baltimore City. She came out with force last year when she made clear her intentions to charge the six officers involved. Now that she’s clashed with both protestors of the police and law enforcement as well, she’s in a tough spot politically. But that didn’t stop her from taking on a borderline preacher-like tone when she addressed the media Wednesday.
“We do not believe that Freddie Gray killed himself," prosecutor on charges being dropped against Baltimore officers https://t.co/fYfSY1J0tf
— ABC News (@ABC) July 27, 2016
Standing in front of the mural dedicated to Gray in Baltimore where he lived — and his father, wearing a green New York Jets hats and matching dashiki, by her side — Mosby spoke for 15 minutes about what she considered to be the obvious injustice in the outcome.
“Baltimore finds itself at the epicenter of a national conflict between urban and rural populations of color and the law enforcement agencies that are sworn to protect and serve them,” she said. “It is a struggle that strikes at the basic ideas of self-determination, justice, equality and sadly, humanity in America.”
She then proceeded to call the Baltimore Police Department out for seemingly doing everything it could to prevent the state from ever building a case against one of their own. In effect, Mosby described exactly how the “blue wall” works in practice, rather than concept.
“As the world has witnessed over the past 14 months, the prosecution of on-duty police officers in this country is unsurprisingly rare and blatantly fraught with systemic and inherent complications. Unlike with other cases, where prosecutors work closely with the police to investigate what actually occurred, what we realized very early on in this case was that police investigating police, whether they’re friends or merely their colleagues, was problematic,” she said. “There was a reluctance and an obvious bias that was consistently exemplified, not by the entire Baltimore Police Department, but by individuals within the Baltimore Police Department at every stage of the investigation, which became blatantly apparent in the subsequent trials. Although Commissioner [Kevin] Davis was and has been extremely accommodating, there were individual police officers that were witnesses to the case, yet were part of the investigative team. Interrogations that were conducted without asking the most poignant questions. Lead detectives that were completely uncooperative and started a counter investigation to disprove the state’s case.”
The system did not fail #FreddieGray. It was never set up to protect people like him or us. In that sense it all went according to plan.
— Blocked by AIPAC (@Delo_Taylor) July 27, 2016
If "law enforcement" isn't accountable for the easily verifiable homicide of #FreddieGray, then what's the point of "law" or a constitution?
— jesse Williams. (@iJesseWilliams) July 27, 2016
Mosby grew up in a law enforcement family and her husband happens to be a city council member. More importantly, as an elected official in Baltimore, her role as someone that’s taken an oath to protect all citizens is one she takes extremely seriously. Yet, there are people who want her disbarred for how she’s handled this case.
She ended her news conference not with questions (as there is pending litigation involving lawsuits from the officers) but with a concession that there are lessons to be learned from Gray, courtroom decisions aside. As Mosby sees it, a corrupt system will beget unjust rulings, but if you can nip the problematic interactions in the bud, things will never get this far, so senselessly.
“Never again should there be a question as to why someone is being stopped, detained or arrested, due to the fact that there will now soon be full implementation of body-worn cameras on all officers. Never again should someone be placed unsecured and defenseless in a metal wagon, head first, feet shackled and handcuffed, due to the fact that officers are now required to secure and seatbelt all prisoners,” she said, her voice rising each time she repeated the refrain. “Never again should there be a need to rely on circumstantial evidence to observe what takes place inside police wagons, due to the fact that cameras are now equipped in every one of them. Never again should an officer ignore or neglect a prisoner’s request for medical attention to no avail, due to the fact that it is now mandatory for officers to call a medic when requested. Never again should a commanding officer or a rank and file officer be able to assert that they are unaware of departmental policies general orders or procedures due to the fact that there is now a software verification and accountability system to ensure their adherence. Never again should an officer exhibit a blatant or reckless disregard for human life, due to the fact that there are now use-of-force policies that emphasize the sanctity of life, accentuates de-escalation and requires that officers intervene if fellow officers cross the line.”
Alas. Never say never.
Daily Dose: 7/27/16
It’s Prince Day to celebrate the release of ‘Purple Rain’
9:44 AMToday at The Undefeated, we celebrate the life and times of Prince. It’s the anniversary of the release of the film Purple Rain, so if you notice something a little different on the site, that’s the feeling of love coming through your screen.
On Monday night, the Democratic National Convention got the first lady. On Tuesday, it was Mr. Clinton. On Thursday, it’ll be Mrs. Clinton. But on Wednesday night, the convention will get the sitting president of the United States. That’s the thing about one party occupying the White House for the better part of a decade. Everyone you bring out to speak at your events, by default, feels like more of a winner, because, well, at the highest level, they are. President Barack Obama is probably the best speaker of them all, too, in fact. ABC News’ Serena Marshall previews what to expect.
Madam President has a great ring to it. But it doesn’t mean that magically the glass ceiling (or cliff) is suddenly going to disappear in American electoral politics. Not remotely. What it will likely mean is that more grizzled old men will dig in their heels and act like they’re the only ones who know what’s good for the nation, since, you know, they’ve been the ones ruling it since forever. FiveThirtyEight’s Christine Laskowski explores how this country is so behind the rest of the world in this regard.
The MTV Video Music Awards are my favorite. Not because typically there’s some goofy prank or controversy that ends up dominating the headlines, but it’s typically just the most real of the shows, with artists I’ve actually heard of and whose music I genuinely enjoy. On Tuesday, the nominees for the VMAs were announced and there was one shocking omission: Your girl Taylor Swift was nowhere to be found. Not a single nod for anything. ABC’s Andrea Dresdale has the full list. Yes, Beyonce has the most, folks.
When Amar’e Stoudemire first came into the league, I’d never seen anything like him. He was a big man who didn’t play like a five, could run the floor and dunk on anybody if you got in the way. For a good stretch there, he and Steve Nash as a combo with the Phoenix Suns was as exciting as the NBA had ever been. But his body never truly cooperated with him, and various knee problems took the bounce that he once had away from him. On Tuesday, he retired as a member of the New York Knicks, but still might play overseas. ESPN’s Ian Begley reports.
Coffee Break: Speaking of Prince, you might want to take some time to listen to this deep dive into the origin of The Minneapolis Sound, from Minnesota Public Radio, which tends to do these kinds of things really, really well. It’s two hours of your time well spent.
Snack Time: Bill O’Reilly said something completely insane Tuesday night on television. That’s not news. The news is that this time he decided to pop off on his feelings about slavery.
Dessert: Missed the All Day Podcast from Tuesday? Check it out here, kiddos!
All Day Podcast: 7/26/16
‘Too late or not, Michael Jordan talking on the matter is as big as it gets’
5:46 PMA big day for the All Day Podcast as the crew — host Clinton Yates, senior style writer Jill Hudson and senior writer Domonique Foxworth — tackled one of the most popular conversations in the world of sports and culture this week:
On Monday, Michael Jordan wrote a one-page open letter released exclusively to The Undefeated on the recent shootings of African-Americans and the targeting of police officers. Clinton and Jill provide interesting perspectives on how large of an impact a statement such as this could have, given Jordan’s stature in both sports and American society as a whole. Domonique, who filled in on the podcast for staff writer Justin Tinsley for a second straight week, chimes in to discuss the type of stand NFL players could have during the upcoming season. (Check out Domonique’s conversation on race and violence in America with NFL cornerback Richard Sherman.)
Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | RSS | Embed
Also on the pod: Justin calls in from Philadelphia, where he’s on the ground at the Democratic National Convention after also covering the Republican National Convention last week. The crew also discusses the new dating app, Smoochr, which has an odd business model that has recently received a lot of criticism.
Last but not least, this week’s opening segment is probably the funniest the gang has ever produced. One-word summary of it: Twerkfest.
Give it a listen, and if you have any feedback or show ideas, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Miss Cleo dies at 53
The pay-per-call psychic icon had cancer
Glad to see as much effort is being put into Miss Cleo jokes today as there was in the 90s pic.twitter.com/qRB4jj22PD
— Nat Baimel (@NatBaimel) July 26, 2016
2016 is rude. RIP Miss Cleo. I enjoyed your free readings. You were a cultural phenomenon.
— Karlie Hustle (@THEkarliehustle) July 26, 2016
During her heyday in the late ’90s, Miss Cleo, born Youree Harris, was everywhere. Her over-the-top commercials and outsized character were the stuff American dreams are made of and the judgmental tarot card shuffling and raw dog advice made it must-see-TV. Miss Cleo, who is the father of my baby? Well, she’s got an answer for that.
Her “Call me now!” tagline was a frequent chorus in high school locker rooms, and in an era in which programs like The Jerry Springer Show were in their heyday, her shtick genuinely wasn’t that ridiculous. Check this out, a classic from 2002, which by the way is far later than I realized she was even still doing this. She was often parodied in pop culture, as well. People would even call other places claiming to be her, prank calling folks with taglines from a soundboard.
Basically, as far as snake-oil salespersons go, she was as legit as it gets. Of course, in the end, it all fell apart when the Federal Trade Commission came after her company for various shady and illegal actions of all types. She eventually settled, but by that point her time with the Psychic Readers Network was done. It was a strong hustle while it lasted.
Anyway, Miss Cleo will always hold a special place in our hearts and taught a sometimes valuable lesson for anyone trying to be successful in show business: Fake it till you make it.
Future and DJ Esco channel O.J. Simpson
in new music video for ‘Juice’
10:14 AMThe meltdown continues for Future.
The Atlanta rapper has taken his obsession with his baby momma, Ciara, to the next level, with a video released this week titled “Juice.” Technically, this is DJ Esco’s song, but technically, the white Ford Bronco that former football great O.J. Simpson led California police on a chase in back in 1993 belonged to his friend Al Cowlings. You get the idea.
We open the presentation with CNN footage of the “not guilty” verdict being read in the Los Angeles courtroom, an event that drastically polarized America, as documented in Ezra Edelman’s 30 for 30 film O.J.: Made in America. We then cut instantly to a shot of a different white Ford Bronco, ominously portending what we’re going to just presume is something that will not hold up well in a family court. Ciara, Future’s most recent ex, is married to Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. She has previously expressed concern about Future’s threatening actions.
Not to put too fine a point on it, this video is creepy on many levels. First, actively affiliating yourself with anything having to do with a person widely believed to be a double-murderer is just odd, but then again, that’s something rappers choose to do all the time, just not O.J. in particular. Second, for all the hilariously tall tales of gangsterism that many hip-hop artists try to sell as art, recreating that chase is potentially the least believable of all.
It was genuinely the seminal television moment of a generation, not just another thing that people happened to be watching. To say that DJ Esco hanging out a truck window after smoking a blunt while the cops are on his trail doesn’t quite evoke the same emotion as the moment, it’s pantomiming would be a massive understatement. The parts you want to laugh at ultimately aren’t funny, because, again: O.J.
Thankfully, from a visual standpoint (oh what up, Metro Boomin), this analogy doesn’t go much further. We aren’t subject to recreating anything else from the trial of the century. But you have to wonder what Future is thinking. The lyrics of this song quite definitely reference someone trying to be with his baby momma, which to give him the benefit of the doubt, he has four of. Nonetheless, this video is mad reckless.
This song came out a month ago, and people were willing to give it the benefit of the doubt because it’s on a mixtape that ultimately isn’t really going anywhere, even though it is dope. This video, however, shows that whatever it is that Future can’t deal with about his past isn’t going away anytime soon, alas.
Daily Dose: 7/26/16
The first lady brought the house down in Philadelphia
The Democratic National Convention got off to a rousing start Monday night. Between the celebrities, Sen. Cory Booker and the Bernie Sanders supporters (who are doing their best to hijack this event), there was enough activity between the stage and the floor to fill a full news day. Then, first lady Michelle Obama took the stage. She delivered a speech so moving, so honest and so full of flourish that you’ll be hearing about it for decades to come. ABC News’ Meghan Keneally has five more things to watch on Day 2 of the DNC.
The other story out of Philadelphia that made noise, oddly enough, comes from Russia. Before the week started, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager asserted that hackers had gotten into the Democratic Party’s email system and were trying to find a way to hurt the party. Why would Russian operatives do this? Well, maybe, perhaps, because Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has extensive business ties in Moscow, and reportedly is decent friends with Russian President Vladimir Putin. FiveThirtyEight’s Farai Chideya wonders: Does that theory hold any water?
Typically, it’s an honor to stay in the Olympic Village as an athlete. But with less than two weeks to go until the Summer Games of the XXXI Olympiad, apparently the facilities are a mess. Mind you, this isn’t Sochi, where the journalists were the ones complaining about accommodations. These are the people who are actually supposed to be competing in the games, saying that water is running down the walls in their rooms. Australia, in particular, isn’t having it. ABC News’ Catherine Thorbeck explains all the things that are going wrong.
The Chicago Cubs want to win the World Series and they want it now. So much so that they were willing to go out and trade for a player who was accused of choking his girlfriend and firing off a bunch of gunshots in their home during a domestic incident. But, you know, he can throw it in the triple digits and the Cubbies haven’t won in a long time. Apparently, they took a long, hard look at the Cuban reliever, as they should have. But with him, ESPN’s David Schoenfield says they become the team to beat in the National League.
Coffee Break: These days at concerts, a big concern is trying to make sure people don’t record your shows. But Rihanna is more concerned about something else: people playing Pokemon GO. For real, she’s cussing at people at shows about it. Slay.
Snack Time: In Senegal, two women who created a land-rights app are at the forefront of a larger movement to get more girls to code in West Africa. I love everything about this story.
Dessert: If “Holy Key” is any indication, this next DJ Khaled album is gonna be bananas.
Ka(i)ne is in the building
Hillary Clinton’s vice president pick has an unintentionally built-in hip-hop connection
3:30 PMWhen the Hillary Clinton campaign announced that Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine would be her running mate on the Democratic ticket in the 2016 presidential race, you couldn’t help but think of Daniel Johnson. Better known by his stage name Kane Beatz, his popular producer drop “Kane is in the building” has adorned various hits in the past.
Trey Songz and Nicki Minaj’s “Bottoms Up” (triple platinum) and Lupe Fiasco’s “The Show Goes On” (also, triple platinum) are just a couple that you might be familiar with and maybe didn’t even know it. The line is particularly funny because it’s not the sultry voice of a woman a la “Mike Will Made It” or “Maybach Music,” nor is it the innocent voice of a child like say, “Cooking Soul” or “Zaytoven.”
The voice on Beatz’s drop is so cartoonishly robotic that it almost feels like something suited for a politician. And though Beatz, who’s from Orlando, and Kaine, who was born in Minnesota, don’t have a whole lot in common on the surface, they do share a name that sounds the same. It’s time that whomever is in charge of productions for the Clinton campaign gets on that.
If they’re looking for the perfect song for Kaine to hit that Philadelphia stage at the Democratic National Convention with, and make his debut on the ticket, look no further than Cash Money Records. “Right Above It” by Drake and Lil Wayne couldn’t possibly be more perfect for his entrance.
We can make this happen, America. Yes, we can.
Daily Dose: 7/25/16
Los Angeles basketball fans are being very petty
9:48 AMHappy Monday, folks. If you’re in Philadelphia, make sure you’re staying hydrated. The East Coast is about as hot as it gets these days. I love it.
Right when you thought the Republican National Convention was a mess, here come the Democrats. Their national convention has likewise started off with a disaster, as chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced she’ll be stepping down. The scope of those leaked emails is pretty wide and we have no idea what’s going to come of Bernie Sanders supporters who are still upset about the Hillary Clinton situation. Anyways, here are five things to watch from the DNC this week.
Gucci Mane is out of jail, slimmed down and looking healthy. His new album dropped on Friday, which is tremendous, by the way, if you haven’t gotten to listen yet. But perhaps more importantly, he hit the stage again in Atlanta, and it was a staggering show of stars. The fact is that nearly every artist that matters in the rap game these days is a big Gucci fan. So when you can bring out Drake, Future, 2 Chainz and Fetty Wap, you know you’re doing something right. VICE‘s Richposlim says it was like a revival.
It’s about that time when we’ve got to start thinking about the NFL. Training camp is around the corner and I’m already hearing about people gearing up for their fantasy drafts. I’m not the biggest football fan in the world, but I do recognize how it makes all boats rise when it comes to the tide of sports news. That and the fact that I root for a franchise most people can’t stand means I’m still at least six weeks away from caring. However, FiveThirtyEight’s Chase Stuart breaks down who might get a hot start due to their schedules.
The USA Basketball men’s national team is gearing up for Rio. Team USA is playing warmup matches across the country, beating up on teams that have no chance. On Sunday, the team opened up its summer tour with a game in Los Angeles against China. Kevin Durant is on the team, and since Staples Center fans are apparently extremely petty, he got booed along with his Golden State Warriors teammate Draymond Green by the sellout crowd. I’m all for booing when guys play poorly, but booing a countryman over a matter of club is stupid. ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reports.
Coffee Break: Getting dunked on in a summer league game is never cool. Getting dunked on in a summer league game by an amateur when you’re a pro is even more problematic. And when it happens twice? Well, then your name is Andre Drummond.
Snack Time: If you didn’t know that Alfonso Ribeiro and Justin Timberlake had an annual tradition of dancing at his golf tournament, now you do. This year, however, Stephen Curry joined in, too!
Dessert: Congrats, Bill Rhoden on a tremendous career. What an inspiration.
Let’s build a wall!
Except, this one around the man whose idea it was?
We all know about Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall and have Mexico pay for it. He wants to keep out people trying to immigrate illegally and has no bones about sharing that opinion with the whole world. If you watched last week’s Republican National Convention, you know as much.
However, while the GOP was going at it with each other in Cleveland, an artist by the name of Plastic Jesus was in these Hollywood streets building a wall of his own. Specifically, one around Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Why he has one? Who knows.
This wall is genius, however.
Get familiar with the Milk Squad
Because they’re taking Baltimore by storm
8:00 AMThey call it “Bodymore” for obvious reasons. It’s a term I’ve been hearing for years, and it refers to Baltimore, Maryland’s disastrous crime situation, which unfortunately includes a murder rate that in many ways defines the city. With the unrest of the last year under the national spotlight, stories of hope out of Charm City aren’t necessarily few and far between, but they are at a premium.
Freddie Gray might not be able to get justice, but kids are still skating. And that’s a good thing. A recent Baltimore Sun story highlights a crew called the Milk Squad, which embodies the latest generation of the city’s black skate scene.
“They are from different neighborhoods; many of them are from the parts of Baltimore crippled by violence and poverty, while a few are relatively privileged. Some feel overlooked by the city and the mainstream skating community, while others say their skills aren’t at the level that would earn acknowledgement. But the bond that connects this disparate group is the love of the skateboard, and it’s through the skateboard that their differences are subsumed,” Christiana Amarachi Mbakwe writes.
Skating as a means of urban escape is basically the ethos of the sport and the culture. This feature perfectly embodies why, in many cities, building a skate park probably makes more sense than say, building more jails. And if you want more of the Bodymore Skate Company, you can check them on Instagram here. Also, you might want to spend some time with the homey Jamone Mckenzie.
Riding is a much more fun way to get noticed than rioting.