Netflix

Netflix Delivers New Culture Guidelines Giving Employees Ultimatum 

Netflix employees and viewers have been sharing their extreme dissatisfaction with the platform’s decision to upload content that can be seen as harmful or hateful to certain marginalized audiences. 

The company has now responded to all the backlash by updating their culture guidelines which laid out new rules on “artistic expression.” However, the biggest part of the guidelines that has people talking is the section where the company gives their employees an ultimatum in which they stated that if an employee is uncomfortable with the content being created, regardless of reason, they should quit. 

In the updated guidelines, the company states that “not everyone will like—or agree with—everything on our service. In order to entertain different tastes and points of view, some TV shows or movies can be provocative.”

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“While every title is different, we approach them based on the same set of principles: we support the artistic expression of the creators we choose to work with; we program for a diversity of audiences and tastes; and we let viewers decide what’s appropriate for them, versus having Netflix censor specific artists or voices.”

This means that employees at Netflix don’t always have the choice of which movie or TV show they will work on, regardless of if it goes against their personal beliefs and/or values. 

“If you’d find it hard to support our content breadth, Netflix may not be the best place for you.”

A Netflix spokesperson recently told the Wall Street Journal that the company has spent the past 19 month discussing cultural issues internally within Netflix employees, and the new language in the guidelines allows prospective employees to make a “better-informed decision about whether Netflix is the right company to work for.”

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This also led Netflix and users to ask the question: what about current employees who don’t have the financial means to just quit because they don’t agree with the company’s perspective on certain projects. 

The conversation surrounding Netflix’s ethics became more mainstream when The Closer was uploaded to the platform, a Netflix original comedy special starring Dave Chappelle in which he continuously mocked transgender people. 

Netflix employees complained on social media about the decision to give Chappelle the platform to spread harmful statements regarding the LGBT+ community. The fact that Netflix also reportedly paid Chappelle over $20 million for the special had many audience members frustrated and confused on the company’s values. 

GLAAD, a major LGBT+ advocacy group, and the National Black Justice Coalition both took to social media to call out Netflix and demand they remove the special from the platform. 

Since the controversy around Chappelle’s special, three employees were suspended and one was fired due to talks of a company walk-out. Business wise, however, between their cloudy values and consistent pricing increases, Netflix is currently down 67.79%, and has lost over 200,000 subscribers within the first quarter of 2022 alone. 

Pacman

Ms. Pacman Makes Its Way Into The World Video Game Hall Of Fame

After becoming a female icon in the video game industry, Ms. Pacman has finally earned her way into the World Video Game Hall of Fame, the Strong National Museum of Play announced Thursday. Joining Ms. Pacman in the 2022 inductions are Dance Dance Revolution, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and Sid Meier’s Civilization.

When it comes to potential inductees, the World Video Game Hall of Fame considers video games of all kinds — handhelds, arcade, consoles, mobile, and computer — that have had a large popularity over an extended period of time and and “exerted influence on the video game industry” or pop culture in general.

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Debuting in 1982, Ms. Pacman was the successor to 1980’s Pacman. While essentially the same game, Ms. Pacman saw upgrades in several areas. Instead of one maze, there were now four. Fruit bounced around the map, while the ghosts’ programming was more efficient, with their patterns having more randomness to keep the players on their toes. And of course, there was the main character herself.

Around that time, arcades had portrayed genders in contrasting ways that would put females in the backseat to the action. “Arcade flyers had generally depicted males as active players and females as passive admirers of the action,” the museum stated.

“By offering the first female video game character, Ms. Pac-Man represented a turn in the cultural conversation about women’s place in the arcade as well as in society at large.”

The museum noted Ms. Pacman’s name was also significant, as it’s the female equivalent to “Mr.,” which wouldn’t be the case if it were Miss or Mrs. It gave her a strong sense of independence. The industry-changing designs would help the game to soar, selling 125,000 arcade cabinets within its first five years while earning $1.2 billion in that time.

Of course, the other inductees contributed to the history of video games as well. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was a defining piece in the action adventure genre. The first 3D rendition of the Zelda series, Ocarina of Time was praised for its story and ability to switch through different eras of time, gameplay, graphics, and controls (which included a lock-on targeting system).

The Nintendo N64 product would see a record number of preorders, with 500,000 before the release. After it hit the shelves in 1998, Ocarina of Time sold more than a million copies in less than a week, and 7.6 million copies worldwide since then.

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Since its inception in 1998, Dance Dance Revolution — or DDR — has become a staple of family and party games. Having to dance to the beat of popular songs, players would be treated to an entertaining workout that challenged your rhythm and movement.

Thanks to it’s easy-to-pick-up style of play and diverse selection of tunes, more than 100 versions and spin-offs of Dance Dance Revolution have been produced on various consoles. It paved the way for similar music video game series like Guitar Hero and Rock Band.

Of course, the museum noted DDR also has additional purposes beyond just being a video game. Thanks to its promotion of strength and dexterity, it’s often used for aerobic exercise. Meanwhile, high schoolers have incorporated it into fitness workout programs.

Among the finalists for this year’s induction were Assassin’s Creed, NBA Jam, Resident Evil, Candy Crush Saga, PaRappa the Rapper, and Words with Friends.

Author’s Guild To Launch Banned Books Club To Spotlight Censored Works

The Author’s Guild, in partnership with the book club app Fable, has announced the launching of its year-long, virtual monthly “Banned Books Club” that will shine light on works — both fiction and nonfiction — that have been recently banned from school classrooms or libraries in the U.S.

“We created the Authors Guild Banned Books Club in response to the alarming number of states and school boards which have recently banned a wide number of books and other resources from school curriculums or libraries,” Author’s Guild CEO Mary Rasenberger said.

“Our goal is to give both students and adults the opportunity to read and learn more about the books being banned in their districts and elsewhere and provide the rare opportunity to engage on the platform with the authors of those works.”

The first selection for the club is the young adult novel “Two Boys Kissing” by David Levithan. Levithan, an award-winning author whose works often focus on sexual orientation, shared similar sentiments to the Guild, saying that “the growing epidemic of book banning and legislation that undermines the freedom to read across the United States is something we all must stand up against, both on behalf of the freedom to read itself and for all the young readers who need to see their stories being told.”

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Levithan will lead the club’s discussion on the book, which centers around two teenagers who decide to participate in a 32-hour kissing marathon to set a world record. Levithan also serves as an editor of a Scholastic imprint that encourages new voices and authors.

As the Guild’s statement notes, since January 2021, 15 states have enacted laws restricting books that possess concepts relating to theories, race, racism, sexual orientation, identity, and social injustice. 27 states have proposed similar bills to these in an ongoing culture war that has broken out.

Additionally, an analysis of the 1,148 books that are currently banned in one or more schools found that 74% feature people of color, or those who identify as an LGBTQ+ member. 22% dealt with race topics or racism.

Much of the attention around these actions have been centered on Florida, where state governor Ron DeSantis has recently banned 54 math textbooks due to their references to Critical Race Theory and other topics that don’t comply with their standards. DeSantis has also led the way for the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which will prohibit sexual identity and orientation discussions in certain grades.

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Among the most challenged books last year — which were tracked by the Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) — that could appear on the Banned Book Club down the line include “All Boys Aren’t Blue” by George M. Johnson, “The Bluest Eyes” by Toni Morrison, “Out of Darkness” by Ashley Hope Perez, and “Lawn Boy” by Jonathan Evison.

The Guild was founded in 1912, and currently holds the distinguish of being the oldest and largest community of writers in the world, with a total of around 10,000 members. The Guild also recently developed a “Stop Book Bans” toolkit.

Disney Resorts To Allow Mickey Mouse, Other Characters To Hug Visitors Again In Coming Weeks

For Disney fans planning to attend attractions soon who have been longing for the days when they could embrace their favorite costumed characters without distancing restrictions, the next few weeks and months should be an exciting time.

Disney Live Entertainment’s senior communications manager, Shawn Slater, announced that as early as April 18, traditional character greetings will be reintroduced at California’s Disneyland, Florida’s Disney World, and on Disney cruises.

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“Very soon, you will once again be able to hug Mickey Mouse, get an autograph from Mulan, and share a laugh with Goofy,” Slater said, referencing Disney’s “gradual, intentional approach” to COVID-19 protocols such as this. “Recent trends and guidance have provided opportunities for us to bring back some of our most beloved magic, like character greetings and dining experiences.”

Slater noted that the reintroductions will not be occurring all at once, an operational strategy Disney has frequently employed over the past two years for matters like this. Instead, only a certain amount of locations will be available for guests to interact at first, while more will see re-openings in phases throughout the spring and early summer.

Like every other entertainment venue, Disney parks were forced to close when the pandemic began back in March of 2020. While the parks reopened that summer — not at full capacity due to state protocols — characters could only stand and wave at distances to visitors, certainly not the same experience children and adults alike had come to expect.

Disney took further steps towards easing the restrictions last fall by allowing characters to come back to locations around the parks for individualized meetups, but they were required to remain at a distance and not touch visitors for photos.

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Back in February, Disney — which previously removed on-site temperature checks — announced it was lifting mask mandates for vaccinated guests in all of its U.S. resorts, while unvaccinated guests are expected to continue wearing masks and practice social distancing.

Disney’s major COVID-19 change came in the form of a new reservation system meant to prevent overcrowding, which is still currently in effect. The system includes everything from rides and restaurants to character meetings, and allows for a “better visitor experience” according to Disney higher ups like CFO Christine McCarthy.

“It allows us to better balance load throughout the year, throughout the week, throughout the month,” McCarthy said during an investors conference. “That’s something that has really given us a toggle for how we’re going to manage attendance.”

“When you’re a guest in a park and you can’t do things and everything is too crowded, your guest experience is going to go down, your intent to return is going to go down and word of mouth will not be as good.”

Returns of classic attractions like character interactions could help Disney to continue reaching pre-pandemic attendance. Also drawing in consumers is Disney’s 50th anniversary celebration, which kicked off last October and will last until 2023 for a full 18 months.

Taylor Hawkins, Foo Fighters Drummer, Found Dead At 50 

The Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins was found dead in his hotel room on Friday afternoon, just hours before the band was set to perform at Colombia’s Estéreo Picnic festival as part of its South American tour. Preliminary toxicology reports show that Hawkins had at least 10 substances in his body when he died. 

Colombia’s attorney general’s office said that “an analysis of Hawkins’ urine found traces of marijuana, opioids, tricyclic antidepressants, and benzodiazepines. The office stated that Hawkins died after experiencing cardiac arrest caused by an overdose. Forensic medical experts were shocked by how swollen the musician’s heart had become. 

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Hawkin’s sudden death has devastated fans and concertgoers who have been following the Foo Fighters since their beginning. Festival Goers who were waiting for the Foo Fighters to perform had the news broken to them by Black Pumas singer Eric Burton, who asked the tearful crowd to have a moment of silence. 

Fans then gathered outside of the hotel where Hawkins passed to light candles, leave flowers, and sing some of the band’s songs in his honor. Many other well-known musicians took to social media to express their devastation over the sudden passing. 

 Queen guitarist Brian May wrote on Instagram: “No. It cannot be, I’m heartbroken. Taylor, you were family to us. Our friend, our brother, our beloved child. Bless you. We will miss you so bad.”

“So incredibly sad to hear of the passing of Taylor Hawkins. My thoughts are with his family and the band at this time,” tweeted Mick Jagger.

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Ozzy Osbourne called Hawkins “a truly a great person and an amazing musician. My heart, my love and my condolences go out to his wife, his children, his family, his band and his fans. See you on the other side.”

In a statement, the Foo Fighters said they were devastated “by the tragic and untimely loss of our beloved Taylor Hawkins. His musical spirit and infectious laughter will live with us forever. Our hearts go out to his wife, children, and family, and we ask that their privacy be treated with the utmost respect in this unimaginably difficult time.”

Dave Grohl, the Foo Fighters lead singer, spoke very highly about the loving relationship he had with Hawkins: “Upon first meeting, our bond was immediate, and we grew closer with every day, every song, every note that we played together. I am not afraid to say that our chance meeting was a kind of love at first sight … Together, we have become an unstoppable duo, onstage and off, in pursuit of any and all adventure we can find.”

Singer-songwriter Miley Cyrus broke down on stage during her Lollapalooza set and she took a moment to honor Hawkins memory: “We lost a legend in rock music, and I just want to send my most peaceful wishes to the Foo Fighters family and the Hawkins family.”

Antarctic Explorer Ernest Shackleton’s Ship, Endurance, Discovered After 107 Years

On Wednesday, the team of maritime archaeologists and technicians that comprise the Endurance22 Expedition announced the finding of the Endurance, a 144-foot wooden ship lost in 1915 during an Antarctic expedition led by British explorer Ernest Henry Shackleton.

Shackleton began the British Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition in 1914, leading 27 men through the South Pole across the Weddell Sea in what would be the first crossing of Antarctica. Unfortunately, the Endurance suffered the cruel fate of becoming trapped in the ice, forcing those on board to attempt to wait out the stoppage.

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After spending 10 months living on the Endurance, the crew were forced to abandoned ship in January 1915 due to pressure from the ice slowly crushing it. The vessel would finally sink into the ocean towards the end of that year while Shackleton and his crew — none of which perished through the ordeal — would eventually be rescued in 1916 after surviving on Elephant Island.

Now, the Endurance is seeing the light of the day once again. It was found at a depth of 3,008 metres (or nearly 10,000 feet) in the Weddell Sea, which the team notes is four miles South of its position originally recorded by the Endurance’s captain, Frank Worsley. The discovery comes a few weeks after Endurance22 began the search in late February.

According to the search expedition’s Director of Exploration Mensun Bound, the Endurance is in fantastic shape despite its long disappearance and the conditions endured, while he called the finding a “milestone in polar history.”

“This is by far the finest wooden shipwreck I have ever seen. It is upright, well proud of the seabed, intact, and in a brilliant state of preservation.  You can even see ‘Endurance’ arced across the stern, directly below the taffrail.”

Speaking to NBC News, British historian Dan Snow surmised that the Endurance’s stellar appearance and preservation is thanks to the temperatures in the Weddell Sea, which can range around 0° to -0.8° Celsius (32° to 33° Fahrenheit). Because of this, there were “no wood-eating microbes and microorganisms” that could further damage the ship.

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“Shackleton, we like to think, would have been proud of us,” Bound expressed in a blog post while also sharing his hope that the discovery will engage with younger generations and inspire them with with the “pioneering spirit, courage and fortitude of those who sailed Endurance to Antarctica.”

The ship’s status is a satisfying reward for Endurance22’s efforts, as Dr. John Shears — the expedition’s leader — stated that it was the “world’s most challenging shipwreck search.” The team used state-of-the-art technology which included the SAAB Sabertooth underwater vehicles, which combines attributes of remote operating vehicles (ROV) and autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV).

Russian Arts And Cultural Events Canceled Worldwide 

Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has prompted worldwide responses from the cultural, sporting, and arts fields. An increasing number of performances and cultural events put on by Russians are being canceled worldwide in response to the invasion. 

One of the biggest announcements came from the European broadcasting Union (EBU) who said that Russia would no longer be able to participate in this year’s Eurovision song contest. 

EBU, the producers of Eurovision, said the “event promoted international exchange and understanding, Russia’s inclusion could bring the annual competition into disrepute in light of the unprecedented crisis in Ukraine.”

Initially, state broadcasters from countries like Iceland, Finland, Norway, and the Netherlands all called for Russia to be banned from the contest, a move that was also endorsed by the UK’s culture secretary Nadine Dorries. 

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The Royal Opera House (ROH) has also canceled a planned residency by Moscow’s Bolshoi Ballet, which is known as one of the oldest and most prestigious ballet companies in the world. 

The ROH released a statement regarding their cancellation: “A summer season of the Bolshoi Ballet at the Royal Opera House had been in the final stages of planning. Unfortunately, under the current circumstances, the season cannot now go ahead.” The group was initially expected to put on 21 performances from July to August. 

Performances from the Russian State Ballet of Siberia have been canceled by both the Wolverhampton Grand Theater and the Royal and Derngate in Northampton. 

In terms of concerts, the Munich Philharmonic has separated itself from its chief conductor, Valery Gergiev, due to his ties to Putin. Munich’s mayor, Dieter Reiter, gave Gergiev an ultimatum that stated if he condemned Putin’s actions he would be able to maintain his position in the Philharmonic, he refused. 

“With immediate effect, there will be no further concerts by the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra under his [Gergiev] direction,” Reiter said. Gergiev was also dropped by his management and had several upcoming concerts canceled due to his ties to Putin.

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The Russian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale will not be taking place as planned after Russian artists and curators themselves chose to pull out. Alexandra Sukhareva and Kirill Savchenkov, as well as curator Raimundas Malašauskas, released a statement in which they explained how they would no longer be participating. 

“There is no place for art when civilians are dying under the fire of missiles, when citizens of Ukraine are hiding in shelters, when Russian protesters are getting silenced,” Savchenkov and Sukhareva said in a joint statement. 

Warner Bros, Disney, and Sony have halted the release of all new films in Russian cinemas, which means major upcoming releases such as The Batman, Turning Red, and Morbius, will not be released as scheduled. 

“In light of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, WarnerMedia is pausing the release of its feature film The Batman in Russia,” a spokesperson said.

Disney said: “Given the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and the tragic humanitarian crisis, we are pausing the theatrical release of films in Russia.”

The Ukranian Film Academy has also called for an international boycott of Russian cinema, including a ban on all Russian films at international festivals:

“At a time when world powers are imposing economic and political sanctions on the Russian Federation, the country continues to be active in the cultural field”. Any action, however, has yet to be taken.

CDs Receive Wave Of Support From Music Lovers As Sales Decline

Many major retailers have ceased selling CD’s as a physical format for albums. Tesco recently became one of the larger retailers to announce they would be clearing the shelves of all CDs, sparking a major wave of support online from music lovers who appreciate the versatility that compact discs offer.

In 2007, the CD market was at its peak, with more than 2 billion physical copies of albums being sold globally. The digital music streaming platform, Spotify, was then launched in 2008, revolutionizing the way we consume music. CD sales began to immediately decline with the launch of the platform.

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Last year, however, CD sales saw an unexpected rise in sales thanks to Adele’s ‘30’, ABBA’s ‘Voyage’, and Ed Sheerans ‘=’.

Rob Sheffield also published a love letter to CDs in Rolling Stone last month: “Compact discs were never about romance – they were about function. They just worked. They were less glamorous than vinyl, less cool, less tactile, less sexy, less magical. They didn’t have the aura that we fans crave.

“You didn’t necessarily get sentimental over your CDs, the way you fetishized your scratchy old vinyl, hearing your life story etched into the nicks and crackles …. But CDs work. They just do. You pop in the disc, press play, music booms out. They delivered the grooves so efficiently, they became the most popular format ever.”

“Things like CD box sets, bootlegs, mixes from friends old and new, young bands whose albums I buy from the merch table at live shows and lamented the ephemeral nature of streaming culture.

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A recent article in Wired magazine also praised the “CD format, and its ridiculous affordability. Streaming was for the masses, vinyl was for hipsters, said the author, but his experiment in CD listening had brought unexpected joys.”

Some music fans just prefer the tangible aspect of having their favorite artists work in a compact physical form. Adele’s album was able to help aid CD sales after she gave an interview where she discussed how albums “tell a story, and those stories should be listened to as we intended,” meaning in order of the tracklist.

“We may be seeing the end of CDs as a mass-market product, but we could also be seeing the beginning of the repositioning of the CD as a more fetishistic item,” Bassett said.

“It’s unlikely to match the vinyl revival of recent years. There is not the same romance, the magic of dropping a needle on to vinyl. The plastic cases cracked easily. I remember listening to Nirvana’s Nevermind on the school bus and every time that the bus went over a bump, your CD would skip,” he added.

Sean Jackson of Reckless Records in Soho said “some customers insisted that the quality of analogue sound was superior to digital. But unless you’re really concentrating, you probably wouldn’t notice the difference. There’s a market for everything – vinyl, CDs, cassette tapes. Formats go in and out of fashion, but music doesn’t.”

Picasso Family Clarifies No NFT Is Set To Be Sold In Auction

It turns out Pablo Picasso won’t be making a jump into the digital age. After Picasso’s granddaughter, Marina Picasso, and her son, Florian Picasso, announced that they would be selling 1,010 NFTs — or non-fungible tokens — of his never-before-seen ceramic work, lawyers for the family clarified the heirs hadn’t authorized the launch of any such asset.

The two previously sat down for an interview to offer a glimpse of the artwork a week before its planned launch. The brief look showed the underside of a grey ceramic bowl, splattered with green and yellow markings with “58” written on the base.

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The 71-year-old Marina received one-fifth of Picasso’s art and La Californie villa following his passing. One of eight grandchildren the artist had, Marina said that the 58 dates back to October 1958, when she was a child. She shared some thoughts on the piece, and what it represents to her.

“It’s a work that represents a face, and it’s very expressive. It’s joyful, happy. It represents life. It’s one of those objects that have been part of our life, our intimate lives — my life with my children.”

“We’re trying to build a bridge between the NFT world and the fine art world,” Florian explained to the Associated Press, noting they chose the specific piece because it was a “fun one” to start with.

Despite the family’s enthusiasm, there was clear confusion right away. Florian’s manager, Cyril Noterman, told the AP that the auction would be held at Sotheby’s, but a spokesperson for the fine arts company clarified no sale would be taking place.

Noterman — who stated they should have been more clear from the start — said that the more than 1,000 NFTs going up for sale Friday were linked to Florian’s artwork, not Picasso’s. Florian had previously spoken about how the planned NFTs would have honored his grandfather and fit within his legacy, and never seemed to imply they were his own doing.

Jean-Jacques Neuer, the Picasso administration’s lawyer, stated that any NFT of Florian’s work was his own creation, “independent of any claim vis-a-vis Pablo Picasso and his works.” Neuer added any NFT associated with Picasso would be a counterfeit and violate “artistic monopoly.”

The Picasso administration manages the holdings of Picasso’s three children — Maya Widmaier Picasso, Claude Ruiz Picasso, and Paloma Ruiz Picasso — and two grandchildren, Marina and Bernard Ruiz Picasso. Neuer said that the only person who could authorize an NFT is Claude, who doesn’t share the same feelings on the digital marketplace as Marina and Florian do.

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Picasso’s family would have attempted to ride the fad that all but has a stranglehold on the crypto community. Artists have netted quite the bounties with their work – on Dec. 2 last year, Pak’s “The Merge” became the highest-selling NFT to date, selling to a combined 30,000 collectors for $91.8 million.

Meanwhile, Mike Winkelmann — known professionally as “Beeple” — has seen several of his pieces go for multi millions of dollars, like “Everydays: the First 500 Days” ($69.3 million), “HUMAN ONE” ($28.9 million), and “Crossroad” ($6.6 million).

It wouldn’t have been the first time an NFT reminisced back to the past, either. Mintable, a marketplace, auctioned off a 20th-century avant-garde piece, “Abstract Composition,” by Russian-French painter and sculptor Wladimir Baranoff-Rossine in March.

Baranoff-Rossine’s piece, autographed and still in its original frame, was sent to the buyer along with a NFT authentication certificate. Nine digital NFTs based on his work were also sold.

Any authentic Picasso NFT would have surely brought in a sizeable compensation. Last year, eleven of Picasso’s pieces totaled nearly $110 million at a Sotheby’s auction. “Woman in a Red-Orange Beret” — which features Picasso’s lover, Marie-Thérèse Walter — went for $40.5 million, while self-portrait “Homme et Enfant” was snatched for $24.4 million.

African American Girl Reading Book

New Online Platform Aims To Link Black Women To Supportive Healthcare Systems 

Health In Her Hue is a New York City-based digital platform that has been operating since 2018 with the goal of empowering Black women with the community and resources they need to find a supportive and culturally sensitive care facility. 

Ashlee Wisdom and Eddwina Bright are the co-founders of the platform. Back in 2018 they secured a $1 million pre-seed funding which helped them immensely when it came to getting their business running. 

“Fundraising is never a walk in the park, especially as Black women. No matter how credentialed you are, it’s hard for everyone. But then you add on the layer of the fact that there aren’t many Black women who are building venture-backed companies or get funding. We’ve experienced some challenges throughout that journey,” says Wisdom.

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The pair are currently working on building their new web platform and membership experience to offer care, support, and resources tailored to each woman’s specific healthcare needs. 

“Ultimately, our vision for Health In Her Hue is to be the first touchpoint for women of color managing their healthcare.”

Eddwina Bright explained how the social relationship between herself and Wisdom led to their desire to make a change in the industry: 

“I think our first foray into working together was when Ashlee was doing a video series on maternal health and asked me to share my birthing story – at that point, we knew each other socially. My experience giving birth to my oldest was not great. I felt very much coaxed into a C-section; doctors were not answering my questions, not telling my husband anything. It was just not a great experience. And so from that, I was able to take a step back and find a provider that was more culturally aligned with me. So when it came time to have my second child, I felt seen, I felt heard, I felt taken seriously, and was able to really advocate for myself and have a much better birthing experience.”

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“So that’s the passion that I bring to the work that we do. I’d like us to help the women that we serve to advocate for themselves without having to go through really traumatic healthcare experiences. And the company happens to align with my professional experience in finance and non-profit entrepreneurship. So we definitely have a great balance of health and business expertise,” Bright explained.

 Wisdom explained how the “resounding thing we kept hearing was that it’s difficult to find a Black doctor, or a doctor of color, on existing platforms. So that was the impetus to build out a curated directory of Black physicians across the country. When we launched that directory in June 2020 – given the pandemic and the racial reckoning – people were ready. Thirty-four thousand people logged in within the first week or two.”

In the future, the pair hope to become the ultimate resource for BIPOC women so that they feel confident when it comes to their health. 

“I’d love for us to also become a resource for BIPOC women to better navigate not only their individual health, but the health of their families: their kids, their spouse, their parents. Because we know that community health is very important for the collective.”

The two are currently working on launching their online platform to get their message out there and to ideally help as many women as possible.