There was a lot of news this week! Trans Day of Visibility. A shooting in Nashville. Gwyneth Paltrow’s ski trial. France continues to protest. Highlights: Gladys Bentley, ‘Blurred Lines”, Jonathan Majors, Trump’s indictment, banning TikTok, Canada’s dark legacy, Disney vs. DeSantis, Angela White, RuPaul x Build-A-Bear, and Chloë’s debut.
Every so often, and image of Gladys Bentley will flash across one of my timelines. Bentley grew up in Philadelphia then moved to New York as a teenager, and went on to becoming the most popular and infamous speakeasy performer in Prohibition-era New York. A large, masculine, Black woman—a ‘bulldagger,’ in the language of her day—she was known for wearing a white tuxedo and top hat onstage while expertly playing the piano and singing dirty versions of popular songs to rapt’“slumming’ audiences.” She was on the pioneering edge of drag kings in the 1920s when “lesbian identity was just becoming visible in America popular culture.” Dr. Cookie Woolner explores Bentley’s impact, and how her “open queerness in the 1920s and ’30s offers us a model of daring resistance that can inspire us today as we enter a new era of backlash against queer and trans visibility in American society.”
Blurred Lines was EVERYWHERE the summer of 2013. I remember it feeling like I could hardly go an hour without hearing that song by Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell. While the song reached No. 1 on the charts, it also marked the downfall of Thicke after the song’s “rapey” undertones were analyzed in multiple media outlets. On its 10th anniversary, Jayson Greene discusses the “cursed megahit [that] predicted everything bad about the past decade in pop culture.”
Over the weekend Jonathan Majors was arrested for domestic assault. The woman he assaulted has been identified by police as his girlfriend. After being released on bail, Marjors’ attorney released a series of texts to TMZ with the intent of proving his innocence. The woman in the texts reads as deferential, and “primarily seems concerned with protecting Majors from further legal trouble.”
While Majors’ legal team released the text to TMZ to exonerate him, they “the texts only stoke further confusion and concern. Sharing them with TMZ is an eyebrow-raising choice on behalf of his legal team, especially as it isn’t clear whether the woman consented to his team doing so.” All of this comes as Majors was receiving acclaim for his role in Creed III, which recently debuted, which saw a surge in his popularity. It does not look good for Majors.
Damnnnnnn!!!! Donald Trump was really indicted and we love that for him! The Leftist Mafia hosted a party and panel featuring “journalist Matt Binder, movement lawyer Olayemi Olurin, Mike of The Humanist Report, Lance of The Serfs, iilluminaughtii, and David of The Rational National.” The panel breaks down why Trump was indicted, the right-wing’s talking points, and possible outcomes.
I am not a user of TikTok, but I greatly enjoy watching the apps videos as they make their way across other platforms. U.S. Congress does not necessarily feel the same and “last week TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew” testified in a hearing politicians used “to argue for a complete ban of the platform in the United States.”
TikTok is not new to concern, stemming from “TikTok’s parent company, Chinese tech giant ByteDance, and worries that the Chinese government could compel ByteDance or TikTok to hand over data on TikTok users or manipulate content on the platform.” Much of the debate on what to do about the app, however, lacks nuance and “we have lost a sense of why this conversation matters—for the public, for Americans’ privacy, and for U.S. policy toward the global internet,” as Justin Sherman explains in this piece.
I’m always so interested in how (white) Americans rave about how amazing Canada is without any knowledge of the country’s racism—especially to First Nations and Indigenous peoples.
In 1876, Canada passed “a federal law that was explicitly designed to carry out Canada’s assimilation agenda, had created the reserve system—wherein a plot of land is set aside by the government for a First Nation whose members are wards of the state—and paved the way for the residential school system.” The law has been changed over the years, but the Indian Act is still in effect today and upwards of 25,000 children died in the residential school system. Annie Hylton documents “story of one community’s search for unmarked graves.”
Disney and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (and by extension the state of Florida) have been fighting for years now. Tensions started “back in 2020, when Disney enacted COVID-19 masking measures and, later, vaccine mandates. The conflict reached a tipping point when Disney sided against Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Act, known by its critics as the Don’t Say Gay bill.”
In February, “DeSantis signed a bill that took control of a special tax zone encompassing Walt Disney World,” and appointed a board of five of his allies to oversee the area, an act that was largely seen as retaliation. The special tax designation “allowed Disney to operate and expand with a lot of autonomy for the last 50 years” and “on paper, the new board would supervise municipal services and development for the land around Disney World. In practice, DeSantis said, the board would also serve as a moral arbiter for a company that had lost its way.”
Disney, one of the state’s largest employers, and its lawyers had different plans and just “nineteen days before DeSantis signed the final bill, the former board had signed agreements with Disney essentially stripping the board of power and handing that power back to Disney.” LMAO.
Angela White, formerly known as Black Chyna, is going through a rebirth. Known as a TV personality and internet baddie after being mentioned in a Drake song in 2010, White augmented her body through using fillers, injections, and other cosmetic procedures. Now, White has embarked on a “spiritual journey and plastic surgery reversal.”
Throughout her career she has been deeply objectified. In this exclusive interview with Tamron Hall, “the model, socialite, and entrepreneur also takes us behind-the-scenes of her decision to remove her cosmetic surgery—giving us an inside look at the process. Plus, she opens up about returning to her birth name, Angela White, and how her kids inspired her to embark on this new chapter.”
Drag icon RuPaul collaborated with Build-A-Bear to create the RuPaul Bear. The bear “is ready for any Eleganza Extravaganza thanks to her signature wig, gold sequin dress and matching shoes included in this glamazon gift set.” I do not know what to think about this information, but I haven’t stopped thinking about it since my friend told me.
Chloë, half of Chloë x Halle, released her debut album ‘In Pieces’ on Friday. I like it! ‘In Pieces’ was more cohesive than Chloë’s singles, and it was fun hearing what she does on her own. I’m excited to see what is to come from her solo music.