The Internet is Exploding: 10 Must-Read Articles This Week 7/23/23 🔥

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The internet had me exhausted this week. Highlights: Carlee Russell, Drake, Aliyah Boston, Tupac, Pinkydoll, selling the Commanders, the Ivory-billed woodpecker, and Obama’s playlist. 


AL: Carlee Russell: The 5 strangest things from the Hoover police press conference

Thankfully, Carlee Russell, a Black woman who reportedly was missing in Alabama, made it home safely. Initially, it was reported that Russell was “kidnapped from the side of I-459 after seeing a toddler walking alone.” However, since her return, police have not been able to substantiate her kidnapping claims, and found web searches on her devices that align with some of the facts of the case. Various aspects of this case are very strange, like money in a sock, and pre-purchased Cheez-its for a snack. Five of the most interesting facts are laid out in this article. 


Rachet & Respectable: APB

The internet ran the whole gamut of reactions to both the disappearance and news that Russell might not have been kidnapped. Statistically, Black women and girls go missing at higher rates in this country, and fewer resources go into finding them than white women. The violence against Black women and femmes is real. It is something that we need to take seriously and the vast majority of cases are not hoaxes, which is what makes the Russell case so frustrating. 

This is a ‘both and’ situation because really, What the fuck? You had the whole internet worried when you planned the whole thing? And didn’t even cover your tracks? Predictably, there were jokes. We don’t know if this case is a hoax yet, but there are a lot of contradictory allegations, it is strange, and there are many details that are hard to believe. 


XXL: Ebro Darden Calls Out Drake for Never Saying Anything About Black Issues

Drake is often trending on Twitter, and this week it was due to comments Ebro Darden made about the singer’s politics. Drake, as Bianca Betancourt describes in her Vox piece below, “is one of the best rappers in the game,” the king of sad boys, and never comments on race or “Black issues.” 

In a response to a recent video in which rapper Childish Gambio stated that his 2018 song ‘This is America’ initially was a Drake diss, “Drake took a shot at Childish Gambino at his It’s All a Blur Tour stop at Chicago’s United Center” on July 5th. Ebro criticized Drake’s remarks, stating that “Drake, who has never shown up… Drake has never shown up to have anything to say about anything going on in society with Black folks or anything other than himself.”

There is much to criticize in ‘This is America,’ and a critique from Drake feels disingenuous. As Marc Lemont Hill responded to the “controversy,” Ebro never demanded that Drake be an advocate. His critique of Drake’s relative silence on Black issues was in response to Drake’s criticism of “This Is America.” You can be silent, @oldmanebro is saying, but the silence becomes relevant when you respond to someone who speaks out.”


Vox: How Drake Won 

Drake’s achievements have indisputably become a measure of success in rap. Worth an estimated $250 million, has and continues to influence generations of younger musicians across genres. The king of Instagram captions, Drake has the “uncanny ability to be relatable and unobtainable at the same time. His alternately sad and sultry lyrics resonate not just with men who want to be him but also with the women who want to be with him. His unapologetically emo demeanor attracts the I-can-fix-him types, while his playful toxicity encourages the rest of us to keep pressing play.” 

It doesn’t matter “whether or not you’re a devout follower of the cult of Drake, few can look at his rise to fame and not acknowledge that a biracial boy from Toronto rose against all odds from a teen actor on Degrassi to a beefy, self-referential hip-hop demigod. Everything that makes Drake, Drake — the cryptic, emo self-deprecation, the media aversion, the desirable mirage of an image that he’s cultivated — should have set him up to fail. Instead, the rapper born Aubrey Drake Graham has gained a chokehold on popular culture.”


Andscape: Aliyah Boston and the beginnings of the WNBA’s next (All-) Star

Aliyah Boston is already a star, but she is also the WNBA’s next star. Dawn Staley, Boston’s college coach at the University of South Carolina has always predicted this for Boston although there have been haters. too. After leading South Carolina to a national championship in 2022 as player of the year, she was the WNBA’s “No. 1 overall pick in April, the spotlight that already shined on Boston since her time at South Carolina has only grown bigger and brighter.” 

Now, what she has done in the first 20 games of her career in the lead shows why Staley was never prophesying, but simply stating facts: “She is the first player in WNBA history to average 15 points per game on 60% shooting through 20 career games. Since the WNBA’s first All-Star Game in 1999, Boston is the second rookie to lead the league in field goal percentage, after Brittney Griner. She’s the sixth player over the last two decades with 300 points and 150 rebounds through their first 20 games, after players such as Wilson, Breanna Stewart, and Candace Parker.” Her stats are on par with legends and hall of fame-ers, and I can’t wait to see what is next. 


The Root: Las Vegas Police Reveal What They Seized From Local Home in Connection With Tupac’s Murder

Nearly 27 years after his murder, Tupac Shakur’s case is still unsolved. On Monday, police in Las Vegas searched the home of “Paula Collins, who is married to 60-year-old Duane Davis, better known as ‘Keefe D.’” In the past, “Keefe has claimed to be a former crip and the uncle of Orlando Anderson, who is rumored to be the man who fatally shot Tupac in September 1996.” 

In his memoir, Keefe claimed that he was “one of the only living eyewitnesses to Tupac’s killing, who also knows the much larger story around the reasons why both Tupac and Biggie were killed.” No arrests have been made, and “while it’s a good thing that police are continuing to investigate the murder of Pac, what was the probable cause that allowed them to get a search warrant? What did investigators learn about Keefe D?”


The Tab: Meet Pinkydoll: The TikToker who has gone viral for acting like an NPC on livestreams

Over the the past two weeks or so, videos of Pinkydoll have plastered the internet. Based in Canada, Pinkydoll, whose name is Fehda Sinon, has gone viral on TikTok for saying the same phrase repeatedly while playing a NPC, or non-player character in video game terms. The trend has gone viral, and people make money when viewers “[send] virtual coins to the creators, which can be converted into real money.” Sinon has become the one of the most popular creators in this genre, earning a reported $7,000 a day. 


ESPN: NFL owners approve $6.05B sale of Commanders to Harris group

Dan Snyder is out as the owner of the Washington Commanders NFL team and the city is CELEBRATING. A group of investors led by Josh Harris, and including Magic Johnson Mitchell Rales purchased the team for over $6 billion. Snyder, who has been the subject of numerous investigations over the past few years, “purchased the team in 1999 for $800 million. From 1971 to 1992, the organization appeared in five Super Bowls and won three — with all those titles occurring in a 10-year period that ended in 1991 under former coach Joe Gibbs.” Over his tenure the team quickly became one of the worst in the league. Hopefully the team gets better for the sake of the city and fans. 


Garden & Gun: Chasing the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker

I first learned of the ivory-billed woodpecker during one of my nature classes in elementary school. The last verified sighting of the bird was in 1944, but in 2004 “Gene Sparling reported seeing a huge, funky woodpecker while kayaking in the Big Woods of the Arkansas Delta, at Bayou De View.” 

That sighting has not been irrefutably verified, and “any day now, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) will decide whether to declare the ivorybill extinct, which would strip it of all protections and put an official death stamp on a species that has sparked a heated, century-long debate; captured imaginations; marred reputations; influenced the creation of Congaree National Park; and sparked infighting in the scientific community between those who demand hard proof and those who say the ivorybill has persisted against all odds, transformed by natural selection into a creature so quiet, so wary, and so elusive that producing a crisp photo or video of one is as difficult as spotting the bird in the first place.” 

Bobby Harrison has looked for the woodpecker for the past 20 years, and “with the federal decision looming, he’s determined to produce irrefutable evidence.”


Spotify: Barack Obama’s 2023 Summer Playlist

Former President Barack released his summer playlist for this year via Spotify and it is interesting. A mix of SZA, Leonard Cohen, Aretha Franklin, and Ice Spice and Nicki Minaj, the playlist has good songs, but is all over the place and chaotic. Tbh, I have not listened to this all the way through and probably won’t.

Header Image: Pinkydoll via TikTok

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