So much happened this week and it was messy! COVID is over (but not really)! Puerto Rico is still without power. The Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka is suspended for the 2022-23 season. Highlights: Stop giving money to Shaun King, Brett Favre is a welfare queen, Khadija Mbowe looks at the history of stans, JULIA BULLOCK, Mahsa Amini protests, Real Life Magazine ceases operations, Tyler James Williams and Abbott Elementary, white boy rap, Adam Levine is (allegedly) bad at sexting, and the new Dahmer show is too much.
It has been known for YEARS that Shaun King has shady and/or possibly illegal business practices—and this is just the latest reporting on King from the Daily Beast, one of several outlets that have covered his actions over the years. Despite years of allegations that King mismanages his funds, “tax documents reveal that during the first year of [King’s nonprofit Grassroots Law Project’s] existence, a period that coincided with the largest racial justice protests in the nation’s history, the organization collected more than $6.67 million” in the months following the summer 2020 George Floyd protests. Given the frequency and severity of allegations against King, it truly is astounding that people continue to give him and his enterprises money.
2. Mississippi Today: Former Gov. Phil Bryant helped Brett Favre secure welfare funding for USM volleyball stadium, texts reveal
Former NFL quarterback Brett Favre is a welfare queen—or at least there was a scheme to make him one. Recently revealed texts “show former Gov. Phil Bryant tried to shepherd a proposal to use welfare funds on the construction of a new volleyball stadium for retired NFL player Brett Favre – a project prosecutors have called a scheme to defraud the government.” Neither Favre nor Bryant have been charged, but co-conspirators Nancy New and John Davis, who was “ousted” by Bryant as welfare agency director for “suspected fraud,” have been charged. “New pleaded guilty to 13 felony counts related to the scheme, and Davis awaits trial.”
This is not Favre’s first transgression; he was fined $50,000 in 2010 by the NFL for an “investigation into whether he sent former New York Jets employee Jenn Sterger multiple unsolicited photos of his penis while both were with the team in 2008,” amongst other things Yahoo columnist Charles Robinson outlines in his opinion on the volleyball scandal.
Following the fallout from the Barbz doxxing a YouTuber last week, fellow YouTuber Khadija Mbowe explores the fandom and how it became so protective of Nicki Minaj. In addition to discussing the history of the Barbz, Mbowe also addresses the clout of celebrity and how sometimes it isn’t it.
OH MY GOD! JULIA BULLOCK RELEASED THE LEAD SINGLE FOR HER DEBUT SOLO ALBUM! Consistent readers of this column know that I have been hardcore fanning over Bullock for years (since 2014, to be more precise), and I’ve been eagerly awaiting a solo album since.
Arranged by Jeremy Siskind and accompanied by Christian Reif, Bullock’s rendition of Connie Converse’s “One by One” is a perfect fall single, crisp and cool, yet offers the comfort of a warm bath. Masterfully articulated, the song begs for slow listening—a meditation on the contour of Bullock’s phrasing and Converse’s longing lyrics.
I am so excited to hear the full album when it drops on December 9th!
Iran has restricted internet access in response to protests over the death of Mahsa Amini. Amini died in custody last week after being arrested and beaten by the so-called morality police “for wearing tight trousers and wearing her headscarf improperly.” She was 22.
In the wake of Amini’s death, protests broke out across the country, and the state has blocked access to many internet services. On Thursday, it was reported that “at least six protesters have now been killed, according to Iranian media and officials, as well as a police officer and two members of a pro-government militia. However, activist groups say the death toll is higher.” Amini’s death and subsequent protest have people wondering if—and hoping—it could be “the spark that ignites Iran around women’s rights.”
Real Life Magazine, a publication “about living with technology” whose “emphasis was more on living,” ceased operations earlier this month. Founded in 2016, the magazine focused on “publishing writers who may not think of themselves as tech writers but are acutely aware of how they use and are used by their devices, [and] we hope[d] to make room for a wider, better understanding of the web as something neither good nor bad, neither net negative nor net positive, but human in all the weirdness and complexity of that word.” Every piece of content that I read lived up to that dream. While I’m sad that they are no longer, I’m grateful that their archive is still online.
7. TeenVogue: Abbott Elementary Season 2 Star Tyler James Williams Wants Gregory to Represent the Beauty of Average Black Men
Abbott Elementary is the best sitcom in a while, and, I think, the best comedy currently running on TV. Tyler James Williams is one member of Abbott’s star-studded cast, playing the awkwardly endearing Gergory Eddie. Throughout this profile, Williams is as endearing as his character in the mockumentary sitcom about the “eccentric yet devoted set of teachers working to make ends meet in a predominantly Black public school in Philadelphia.”
A lot of people have a lot of thoughts on white boy rap—with many adamantly arguing that it is good. One friend of mine has even tried to argue that Jack Harlow is making some of the best music right now. I don’t closely follow rap or hip-hop, but saying that white boy rap is some of the best music currently being made is something I deeply disagree with.
There are many arguments for why white boy rap is aggressively mediocre, and Jayson Buford succinctly organizes them here, writing of how “the cheerful-faced alabaster rapper never adds anything. They lack the deep pain and complexity that characterized the work of less-famous Black artists.” Buford traces the phenomenon from Eminem, who he characterizes as “an Elvis-like cultural earthquake” whose “skill wouldn’t be as big a deal if he wasn’t white,” to Mac Miller and, now, Jack Harlow.
The internet has been flooded with memes of Adam Levine’s (alleged) sexts after “Sumner Stroh caused social media havoc when she claimed on TikTok that she had been having an affair with [the] 43-year-old Maroon 5 lead vocalist.” To make things worse for Levine, Stroh claimed “[he] asked if she would have an issue naming the third child his wife, Behati Prinsloo, was expecting after her.” After these claims went viral, more women began sharing (alleged) sexts from Levine, many of them sent from his verified account, all of which are just simply bad.
Netflix released Ryan Murphy’s Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story this week. The show came out to little fanfare and “No media were granted preview access, none of the show’s stars were made available for interview.” All of this indicates that Netflix wanted to bury the show—and maybe for good reason.
I have yet to watch the show largely because of how gruesome the reactions to the series seem. Many of Dahmer’s 17 victims were Black queer men, which is one of the reasons he was able to get away with his crimes for so long—over a 13-year period from the 1970s to the 1990s. However, instead of focusing on the victims, the series is largely “a demonstration of every worst tendency that the true crime drama genre has to offer” and fetishizes Dahmer.
I don’t think I’m going to watch the show—I don’t need to see the romanticization of Dahmer.