The internet was increasingly difficult to be on this week, and I don’t think next week will be any better. Highlights: remembering Tyre Nichols, remembering Tortuguita, Olayemi Olurin on Cop City and the necessity of abolition, a farewell to Inner Hoe Uprising, Kraft macaroni and cheese, fixing violins, Derek Guy, Chloë’s ‘Pray It Away,’ Beyoncé in Dubai, and BuzzFeed leans into AI.
ABC News: Tyre Nichols: A timeline of the investigation into his death
Tyre Nichols, a Black man who lived in Memphis, was pulled over on January 7th for alleged reckless driving. Nichols was subsequently beaten by 5 police officers, who were also all Black men, and died of his injuries 3 days later. Since his murder, the 5 ex-officers involved have been fired and charged “’second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravating kidnapping, resulting in bodily injury, aggravated kidnapping involving the possession of a weapon official misconduct through unauthorized exercise of power, official misconduct through failure to act when there is a duty imposed by law, and official oppression,’ according to the Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy.”
On Friday, the body camera footage was released to the public. I have not watched—nor am I going to—the video that is over an hour long. By all accounts, it is one of the most violent, gruesome, and grotesque videos that’s been released for a long time. CNN is reportedly airing the whole video, and the way media and people involved in the case have “spent days & hours emphasizing the violence of Tyre Nichols’ murder like it’s a countdown to a movie release tells you everything about the depravity of the system we live under,” as Bree Newsome Bass tweeted. And she is right.
YouTube: Atlanta Police Kill Forest Defender at Protest Encampment Near Proposed “Cop City” Training Center
Activist Manuel “Tortuguita” Teran was murdered last Wednesday during a police raid at “an encampment of protesters opposed to the proposed $90 million Cop City training facility” in Atlanta. The facility would be built on 350 acres of land in a public forest. Multiple law enforcement agencies, including a SWAT team, were evicting the encampment when “Police claim they were fired on, though protesters dispute this account.” In this segment of Democracy Now! “We hear a statement from an Atlanta forest defender about what happened, and speak with Kamau Franklin, an anti-’Cop City’ activist and the founder of the Atlanta organization Community Movement Builders.”
YouTube: INTERVIEW: Catching up with Olayemi Olurin – Stop Cop City, Atlanta Protests & More
Olayemi Olurin, a movement lawyer and political commentator, stopped by The Vanguard podcast to talk about Manuel “Tortuguita” Teran and Cop City. Olurin and hosts Zac and Gavin delve into how environmental racism is intertwined with Tortuguita’s death, police warfare tactics, why more training for cops will never help, and what activists and organizers need to do going forward. While this conversation focuses on Cop City, Atlanta, and Tortuguita’s murder, much of what is discussed about the current police state can also be applied to Tyre Nichols’s murder and Memphis as well.
Spotify: Inner Hoe Uprising’s Final Episode
After 10 seasons over 7 years the Inner Hoe Uprising podcast is coming to an end. The podcasts is filled with “honest, hilarious, and poignant conversations about sex, love, and dating as it pertains to current events in the world, our lives, and yours.” In this farewell episode Sam and her cast of rotating co-hosts “spotlight some of our most integral moments and hoests, shoutout our fave moments, hear from ya’ll the listeners, and talk about what’s next.”
Catapult: An Ode to Kraft Dinner, Food of Troubled Times
I almost had to go out and buy a blue box of Kraft macaroni and cheese after reading this. The ubiquitous American food has been around since 1937, and “while the world has continued to change, Kraft’s product has remained virtually the same, somehow evading inflation at a consistent one or two dollars per box.”
Kraft isn’t the traditional food of Yugoslavia, where Ivana Rhiter and her family immigrated from—but, nonetheless, it “is soaked with memories of my origin story,” she writes in this personal essay.
Chicago Magazine: The Violin Doctor
From age 11 through the end of high school I was surrounded by some of the best youth musicians in the world. At first, this was at Interlochen Art Camp, one of the most prestigious fine arts camps in the country and the nation’s first music camp. Then, I transferred to the camp’s boarding school for my last two years of high school. There, I was exposed to all forms of music, specializing in classical music, and had its own instrument shop to fix millions of dollars of instruments on campus.
John Becker is one of the most famous luthiers in the world, known for repairing “instruments from the Italian craftsman’s golden period, from 1700 to 1725.” The most famous violins in the world were made by Antonio Stradivari, Becker “has worked on more than 120 Stradivarius violins — likely more, he says, than any other living person.”
Becker has worked on the instruments of Joshua Bell and James Ehnes, and the collection of David Fulton, “who once possessed the world’s largest collection of historic Cremonese instruments (named for the city where Stradivari and other renowned Italian luthiers worked).” Becker views his “work is an act of historic and cultural preservation. He often points to something Fulton once told him: “We are caretakers of these instruments. We move on, but these instruments continue to the next generation.”
Slate: The “Menswear Guy” Who’s Gone Viral on Twitter Is Confused About the Whole Thing, Too
This interview is good! Derek Guy, a fashion writer, has risen to prominence in the Elon Musk era of Twitter. Guy’s recent rise coincided with Twitter’s main feed “showing users posts from people they didn’t follow but whom the algorithm thought, based on signals like other people’s likes, they might enjoy,” and his followers have ballooned to over 100K. But the attention hasn’t stayed on Twitter—he has also had a profile in GQ.
Nitish Pahwa talks to Guy about his new found ubiquity, in this interview that not only discusses the online coverage of men’s fashion from the 2000s onward, but also what Musk’s Twitter has felt like.
Youtube: Chlöe – Pray It Away (Official Video)
Chloë, of Chloë x Halle, released the lead single from her forthcoming debut album, In Pieces, out in March. I like the song—the music video is beautiful—but it is not the most convincing lead single. Chloë has been releasing solo music for about a year at this point, and I’m still excited for In Pieces.
BuzzFeed: Beyoncé Put On Her First Live Show In Four Years At The Most Lavish Opening Of A Hotel In Dubai, And Here Is Everything That Went Down
Beyoncé held her first live show since 2020 last weekend in Dubai for the opening of Atlantis the Royal hotel. The exclusive event was attended by celebrities—including Nia Long, Chloe and Halle Bailey, and Kendell Jenner— “special guests,” and press in the all expense paid weekend. Clips circulating online show that the performance was OPULENT!
The singer was reportedly paid $24 million for the hour performance, however, “a PR source from the hotel told a guest that the $24 million figure covered the cost of the whole weekend, not just Beyoncé’s fee.” While many people online were devastated they couldn’t attend, Beyoncé came under criticism for performing in a country with anti-LGBT+ laws.
The Guardian: BuzzFeed to use AI to ‘enhance’ its content and quizzes – report
While I do enjoy some BuzzFeed reporting, the media outlet has long been criticized for it use over user made content. As with a lot of other media outlets, BuzzFeed has been laying off employees over the past few years, and last month the company announced it would layoff roughly 12% of its staff in an attempt to cut costs.
This week, BuzzFeed also announced that “In 2023, you’ll see AI inspired content move from an R&D stage to part of our core business, enhancing the quiz experience, informing our brainstorming, and personalizing our content for our audience.” This announcement increased BuzzFeed’s stock, but also lead to a lot of criticism for its predatory content generation model.