This New California-Based Photo Exhibit Is a Love Letter to Women of Color

Photographer Amanda López and multidisciplinary artist Tanya Melendez aren’t just looking to change the perception of multicultural art—they’re painting it gold. The two artists are teaming up to put on a photo gallery based on the beauty of women of color and their accessories called Adornment. Taking back the unpopular and ignorant “ghetto” distinction of styles such as braids and big hoop earrings, they are celebrating the regal (and real) stories of the women behind them. Speaking with Remezcla, Melendez went deeper into the strange double-standard between urban style and high fashion: “They’re seen as ghetto or you know the larger the hoop, then the more promiscuous you are, the more sexualized you are…not until they get their hands on it and they make it hip and cool or trendy [is it acceptable.]”

 

The exhibit started its in Chinatown in March, and was met with rave review but not because of the pictures. But because it’s a powerful snapshot of culture and the betrayal of problematic cultural norms. “We’ve been using these adornments to elevate ourselves, to say that we are worthy, to say that we we have status, we have class,” Melendez added. “And in a way, it connects us to our ancestry. Adorning yourself with all this gold to shine bright to say that yes I’m a queen. I’m a goddess. I am important. I am somebody. And so we wanted to flip that and work with door knockers basically to reclaim it and to elevate it.” Adornment is moving to Sacramento, CA this July, so check it out if you’re in town.

Serena Williams Is Adding Another Feat to Her Resume—Joins SurveyMonkey’s Board of Directors

Tennis star Serena Williams has fought many battles on the courts during her legendary career—amassing over 39 Grand Slam titles and countless other accolades, but she’s about to embark on a journey of a different kind. A boardroom deep in the heart of Silicon Valley. Online poll-taking company SurveyMonkey announced her appointment this week, in an attempt to push their environment (and in turn the makeup of Silicon Valley) in a more diverse path. They certainly couldn’t have found a better representative.

In a statement to the Associate Press, Williams said that she feels like “diversity is something [she speaks] to, adding that “Change is always happening, change is always building. What is important to me is to be at the forefront of the change and to make it easier for the next person that comes behind me.” There are no open specifics of what her time as a board member will entail, or what she’s being compensated but this is certainly more of a statement by the company more than anything else. The tech industry has been under an enormous amount of pressure to display diversity among the hundreds of companies that reside in Silicon Valley—especially considering that their culture has been playing up this very fact. For example, of the 650 people that work at SurveyMonkey, only 14% of them are African American, Latino or people identifying as another race and only 27% of those employed there are women. To them, hiring Williams could be the start of an increased focus on diversity, something that has been a struggle for Silicon Valley for years. “My focus is to bring in change agents around the table who can open our eyes,” SurveyMonkey CEO Zander Lurie said of the move.

Williams, who is connected to the company through her friend Sheryl Sandberg (who is also on the board of directors at SurveyMonkey), is already set to hit the ground running. Her interest in the tech industry has only grown more frequent due to her engagement to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohania, and now she’s ready to jump in “the deep end of the pool,” she said in a statement. “When I do something, I go all out.”

Celebrate America’s Diversity with Gap’s New Summer Ad

In Gap’s new summer ad, they used real people from the streets to model their summer clothing line. Gap continues its approach to multicultural youth in the US by creating ads that are relatable to the changing face of America and the way we consume advertisements. “I am Gap” also is also set as a vertical video frame to emulate the way consumers are creating social content on Instagram and Snapchat.

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May Day

In a sign of solidarity and pride, May first marks “May Day” where people will participate in marches across the nation to fight for minorities and workers’ rights. More than 100,000 people are expected to participate in the march in Los Angeles alone. In an effort of coming together, protesters are defining the march as one of unity and resistance during a time of great divide in our nation.

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Barack Obama Reemerges, Gives First Speech Since Presidency at University of Chicago

It’s been a grueling, and at times confusing 100 days for most of America after Barack Obama officially stepped out of office. General unhappiness and fear have replaced the sense of comfort that the 44th president brought to the country, yet he’s remained silent aside from the odd vacation picture. Not to say his time off was unwarranted, but it was a huge juxtaposition to the literal horror show that American politics have been in for the first months of Donald Trump’s presidency (still can’t believe we’re saying that).

Obama has finally reemerged, however, and this week he gave his first speech since he left office to the University of Chicago.

The former president was still as sharp as ever, dropping in his usual brand of dad jokes and engaging the audience with his specific brand of uplifting and inspiring commentary. He shied away from speaking on the issues that have befallen the country since he left, not wanting to take shots at Trump—even though he did bring up the immigration issue briefly. Other than the president doing his duty to enlighten the youth through telling them about his experiences, there are questions about what role (if any) he will play politically in galvanizing the still shell-shocked Democrats. He’s already being taken to task for reportedly taking money from Wall Street to give speeches, but his silence in regards to current events is telling if not a little worrying. We’ll just have to wait and see, but for now—I think we’re all glad that Obama is back in the public eye.

J Balvin and Nicky Jam on Conquering the Music World

J Balvin and Nicky Jam have single handily changed reggaeton music, from what was once dismissed as a fad to the biggest music on the globe. Nicky Jam’s rise to fame was not easy, he struggled with alcohol and drug abuse in his early life and a difficult childhood in Puerto Rico. But his early struggles is what keeps him motivated and on the right track to a clean and sober life. He is now one of the biggest names in reggaeton music and has paved the way for other artist to continue in his footsteps.

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Making History: This Latina Is the First Undocumented Student to Earn a PhD

Mexican-born California native Gloria Montiel is breaking barriers and making history—literally. After becoming the first high school student from Santa Ana High School to attend Harvard in 2005, she has just made history in becoming the first undocumented student to earn a Phd from Claremont University.

Taking advantage of Barack Obama’s DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) initiative—which he enacted in 2012 to give undocumented students a chance to gain higher education, Gloria strived to prove her detractors wrong. Though the journey didn’t come without struggle. “I said, ‘I want to go to Harvard,” she recalled to Ed. Magazine adding that a former classmate in her freshman year of high school said: ‘Don’t you know Mexican girls don’t go to Harvard?” This heartbreak only drove her to pull off a “miracle.” Taking on babysitting jobs to cover the rest of her tuition, she did—graduating from Harvard’s Education Master program in 2011.

Montiel spent most of her post-grad life educating people like her who may not know that they have the same opportunities and rights to education as other students do—mentoring prospective students about the same lessons she learned. Gloria’s story is the same as many people like her in America, especially in the turbulent times we live in today. However, she remains hopeful and determined in showing those people that they have one thing left—hope. In an interview with Univision she said: “I hope my story gives people a little bit of hope at a time when people are living in fear. However, it’s also proof of what’s possible to achieve.” It looks like she’s on the right path, as usual, already. 

YouTube Raises Flags With New Restrictions Appearing To Target LGBTQ Content

Recently, mega platform YouTube has been a topic for star content creators and fans alike. What have they been talking about? Well, YouTube recently unveiled a contoversial new privacy setting that allows the site to sort content creators posts based on if they contain “potentiallly objectable content.” Again, what is “potentiallly objectable content?” you ask, well this is where the controversy comes in.

Complaints, have come from major stars like GiGi Gorgeous (2.5M followers on YouTube), Tyler Oakley (7.5M followers on Youtube), Teagan ad Sara (238K followers on YouTube) and more. They have spoken out on their YouTube channels and social channels highlighting the issues of videos being screened off their subscribers feeds that have to do with LGBTQ content.

In the midst of the negative response, YouTube released a statment admitting their fault and acknowledging that they are aware of the inconsistancies with the filtering mechanism and its ability to properly disipher content and understand the context of select video content.

From where we are standing this certainly looks like a tool that uses a “family friendly” facade to filter out the voices of those talking about issues in the LGBTQ community.

GiGi Gorgeous used her massive following as a platform and released a video shaming YouTube for their LGBTQ discrimination. Gorgeous educated her community on the importance of LGBTQ equality, “At the end of the day, stories are what educate. Someone’s coming out video is what a 10,11,12 year old might need to see. That video might be the ultimate tipping point for them in their transition in their gender identity, in them becoming the best version of themselves that they can be.”

Do you think YouTube has gone to far? Are they targeting LGBTQ channels specifically? Or is this just the next step in safety filters for the platform. Please let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

 

The L Festival Brought Together the Biggest Names in Latin Music

The two day L Festival took place in Pico Rivera, CA this past weekend and hosted the biggest names in Latin music. This included Marco Antonio Solis, Alejando Fernandez, Daddy Yankee, Juanes, J Balvin, Los Tigres Del Norte, Jesse & Joy, Banda El Recodo, Luis Fonsi, La Septama Banda and The Jenni Rivera Hologram. The event was packed by fans of all ages who enjoyed the two stages and weekend filled fun. Juanes and Alejandro Fernandez were the headliners for night one and brought down the night with their biggest hits.

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Asian Culture Gets “Whitewashed” Again

With heightened attention on diversity and culture, you would think major Hollywood films would take notice. The newest film by Paramount Ghost in the Shell with lead actress Scarlett Johansson is the newest culprit in whitewashing films. The original character from the source material is Japanese and fans made their voices heard by using the films own marketing promotion. The film created a meme generator for fans to create their own creative content; many used it to promote Rinko kikuchi who fans thought should have been casted as the lead role.

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