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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.

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Coldplay Announces They Will Stop Recording Music In 2025

Chris Martin, the lead singer of famous band Coldplay, announced in an interview with BBC Radio this week that the band will stop recording music as a group in 2025. 

Coldplay recently released their ninth studio album, Music of the Spheres, two months ago. The album went straight to number one earlier this year upon its release. Although Martin announced there may not be anymore music coming from the band, they still intend on touring and sharing their work with the world. 

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“Our last proper record will come out in 2025, and after that I think we will only tour, and maybe we’ll do some collaborative things but the Coldplay catalogue, as it were, finishes then.”

Jo Whiley, who interviewed Martin when he made the announcement, discussed how while the lead singer is “disarmingly honest,” she never is “sure if he’s joking or being deadly serious.” 

Martin, however, has previously told other media outlets that the band intends to stop recording music as well. Back in October he discussed with NME Magazine how the band was planning on releasing three more albums to bring their total up to 12, however, this is the first time he put an actual date on the end point of Coldplay’s journey.

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“Well, we knew the day would come sometime. I guess I was just in denial and hoping it would be longer. It’s the first time they’ve put a date on it … Here’s to the last 3 albums!” fan Thomas Rowson tweeted in response to the news. 

Back in October Coldplay announced a world tour that would benefit a range of initiatives as a means of mitigating the environmental impact touring can have. The band promised to cut their personal CO2 emissions by 50% when compared to their major 2016-17 tour. 

The band intends on using almost entirely renewable energy to power the stage show for their upcoming tour, which is currently set to begin in August of next year. The tour will also include a “kinetic floor” to harness the energy of fans. 

The stage will also be made up of renewable materials including solar panels, and all battery and main power will be drawn from renewable sources.

Major Hollywood Union Votes To Ratify Contracts For Better Streaming Payments

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), a major Hollywood union, have ratified their new film and TV contracts this week after six months of contentious negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). LA locals rejected the deal in a popular vote. 

“From start to finish, from preparation to ratification, this has been a democratic process to win the very best contracts,” said IATSE International President Matthew Loeb in a statement today. 

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“The vigorous debate, high turnout, and close election, indicates we have an unprecedented movement-building opportunity to educate members on our collective bargaining process and drive more participation in our union long-term.”

AMPTP released a statement as well, stating: “We congratulate IATSE President, Matt Loeb, the IATSE Bargaining Committee and Board for their leadership in achieving ratification of the new contracts. Throughout the negotiations, IATSE leadership advocated changes to improve quality of life for those they represent. These agreements meaningfully reflect the industry’s endorsement of those priorities and keep everyone working.”

The union uses an electoral college system for ratification votes such as this one. During this particular vote, 359 (56%) voted in favor compared to 282 (44%) who voted against it out of 641 total delegate votes; the votes were taken from 36 local unions nationwide that were eligible.

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The Basic Agreement was rejected in the popular vote with 49.6% voting yes to 50.4% voting no. Overall 50.3% voted yes to 49.7% voting no for both contracts. In the end, “72% of the 63,209 eligible members cast digital ballots this weekend,” according to IATSE.

According to media reports, “there were actually two separate contracts that were ratified: the Basic Agreement, which covers 13 Hollywood locals, and the Area Standards Agreement, which covers 23 locals outside of Los Angeles.”

“For the LA centric Basic Agreement, the vote was 256 voting for the deal that IATSE made with the AMPTP last month, yes to 188 no. In regards to the non-LA based Area Standards Agreement the yes vote was 103 to 94 no votes for the more recent deal,” according to Deadline. 

“Our goal was to achieve fair contracts that work for IATSE members in television and film—that address quality-of-life issues and conditions on the job like rest and meal breaks. We met our objectives for this round of bargaining and built a strong foundation for future agreements,” Loeb stated. 

Abdulrazak Gurnah Awarded 2021 Nobel Prize In Literature

Abdulrazak Gurnah, a Zanzibar-born novelist, has been awarded the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature for his ground-breaking pieces of work.

The Swedish Academy, which presents the literature prize, explained that Gurnah was given the award due to his “uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents.”

When Gurnah first heard of his selection, he though it was “a prank” and kept wondering who would win. The Associated Press captured some of Gurnah’s thoughts on receiving the highest honor a writer can achieve.

“It’s still sinking in that the Academy has chosen to highlight these themes which are present throughout my work, it’s important to address and speak about them.”

Born in 1948, Gurnah came to Britain— where he is currently active— as a refugee in 1968 after facing persecution in Zanzibar. The British Council details many of his works, which include Memory of Departure (1987), Pilgrim’s Way (1988), and Dottie (1990). These novels “document immigrant experience in contemporary Britain from different perspectives.”

Gurnah’s Paradise, published in 1995, is what the Nobel Prize website refers to as Gurnah’s “breakthrough as a writer” while comparing the piece to Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Paradise deals heavily with the theme of European colonialism as a young boy, who was sold by his father, is forced to adjust to World War I East Africa and the clashing cultures that are present. Paradise was nominated for both the Booker Prize and the Whitbread Prize.

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Recent pieces of Gurnah’s include The Last Gift (2011), Gravel Heart (2017), and Afterlives (2020). Gurnah is also known for his short stories and companion pieces, such as The Cambridge Companion. Gurnah becomes the first black writer to win the literature award since Toni Morrison in 1993.

According to the AP, Anders Ollson, a professor and chairman of the Nobel committee for literature, called Gurnah one of the world’s “most prominent post-colonial writers.” Ollson also praised Gurnah for his detailed and accurate portrayals of Africa as it underwent numerous cultural and repressive shifts due to colonialism.

Gurnah’s selection could help many to discover his writing on issues that still plague refugees and countries around the globe. According to a poll on the Noble Prize’s website, 95% of voters have not read any of Gurnah’s work.

Additionally, the AP notes that Zanzibar does not have Gurnah’s pieces as required reading in schools, nor are they easy to find in general, despite the region’s immense impact on the novelist. However, he is becoming more relevant among Zanzibar’s young population thanks to his achievements.

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Meanwhile, the Swedish Academy is likely relieved the literature prize no longer has clouds above it. The Academy has faced widespread controversies in recent years, with the prize being suspended back in 2017 among sexual abuse and corruption scandals.

Talking to The New Republic, Ollson explains that the Academy used the controversies to “renovate its organization.” Ollson added that modernizing the said organization was also an action that the Academy took, eliminating some aspects such as hierarchy.

The Nobel Prize for Literature award comes in the form of a gold medal, along with prize money in the sum of 10 million Swedish Krona (over $1 million in U.S. dollars).

Among the many other winners of the Nobel Prize in Literature, which have been awarded since 1901, are Bob Dylan, Winston Churchhill, Wislawa Szymborska, and Ernest Hemingway. Last year’s winner was American poet Louise Glück.

Along with literature, the Nobel Prizes in medicine, physics, chemistry, and peace have also been unveiled. The awards will be presented to their respective winners during the Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden, in December.

‘The Wire’ Creator, David Simon, Pulls Upcoming HBO Series From Texas Following Abortion Ban

David Simon, mainly known for being the creator of popular series “The Wire,” announced that he will not be filming his newest upcoming series for HBO in Texas as originally planned because of the state’s abortion ban that passed earlier this month. 

The specific project that was set to film in Texas has not been announced, however, Simon claimed the restrictive abortion law passed in the state motivated him to film in other locations. The ban currently in place means abortions can’t be performed after six weeks, and allows citizens to sue doctors and other citizens who attempt to access safe abortion procedures after the six week point in their pregnancy. 

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“[As] an employer, this is beyond politics. I’m turning in scripts next month on an HBO non-fiction miniseries based on events in Texas, but I can’t and won’t ask female cast/crew to forgo civil liberties to film there. What else looks like Dallas/Ft. Worth?”

Simon took to Twitter to make his announcement, which was met with mixed reactions based on the individuals in Texas who don’t support the law but don’t have the means or desire to leave. Critics argue that the refusal to film in the state hurts working professionals in Texas and also diverts critical resources. 

The Dallas Film & Creative Industries Office in response to Simon’s announcement tweeted: “Laws of a state are not reflective of its entire population. Not bringing a production to Dallas (a big ‘D’) only serves to further disenfranchise those that live here. We need talent/crew/creatives to stay & vote, not get driven out by inability to make a living.”

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Simon then responded to the tweet, defending his decision and claiming that his intentions were being completely misunderstood by critics. 

“You misunderstand completely. My response is NOT rooted in any debate about political efficacy or the utility of any boycott. My singular responsibility is to securing and maintaining the civil liberties of all those we employ during the course of a production.”

After Texas officially passed the abortion ban, several other film industry professionals called for a “boycott” of using the state for any sort of Hollywood production. Oscar winner Patricia Arquette called for a boycott of the Lone Star state while Salesforce CEO, Mark Benioff, offered his Texas employees the option of relocating with support of the company in response to the ban.

The overall goal of these “boycotts” when state’s pass laws that attack civil liberties is to show them that human rights are more important than the revenue that can be brought in by being the setting of a Hollywood production.

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Why Younger Musicians Are Getting Their Estates In Order Early

Artists like Anderson .Paak and Taylor Swift are already planning out their legacies as a means of keeping control of their music catalogues as their careers continue to develop.

Music Teacher Creates Map Of Female Composers Lost In History 

We all know who Wolfgang Amadeaus Mozart was; one of the most famous composer prodigies of the 18th century and all time. However, most of us don’t know he also had a sister, Maria Anna, who was just as much of a prodigy as her brother, but wasn’t given the same opportunities due to the fact that she was a woman. 

Sakira Ventura is a music teacher from Valencia who wanted to shine a bright spotlight on Maria and any other woman in music who has been lost and forgotten due to sexist societal values. To do so, Ventura created an interactive map that features more than 500 female composers from across the globe. 

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“We’ve never given women the place they deserve in history. They don’t appear in musical history books, their works aren’t played at concerts and their music isn’t recorded.”

“I came up with the idea after realizing I had rarely heard of women who had composed classical music during my academic studies of music. I had always talked about putting these composers on the map – so it occurred to me to do it literally,” she explained. 

To create the map, Ventura did extensive research into encyclopedias, libraries, and social media archives. 

“When I started I thought I wouldn’t know more than five female composers, but after more than a year and hundreds of hours of work, the site documents 530 composers – including a short description of each one and a link to listen to their work.”

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Ventura is currently working on cycling through another 500 names to add onto the map as well. The catalogue currently includes artists who were born all the way back in 810, who wrote hymns that are still sung in the Orthodox Church to this day. 

Ventura explained that women are often erased from music history, especially classical music, due to the fact that at the time music was only seen as a hobby for women, and could never be taken up professionally. 

“It was taken for granted that a work composed by a woman wouldn’t be of the same quality as that composed by a man. The barriers forced female composers to get creative; some enrolled in convents in order to study music while others published works under male pseudonyms.”

Ventura has even collaborated with other teachers on the map who are using it as a part of their lessons now. “I’m 28 years old and nobody ever spoke to me about female composers,” she said. “So I want to do what hasn’t [been] done for me, I want my students to know that [Wolfgang Amadeus] Mozart and Beethoven existed but also that there were also all these female composers.”

Aaliyah Estate Releases Statement After Former Label Teases Music Release 

The late Aaliyah was truly an icon in the 90’s. Her untimely death left a true void in the pop/R&B sphere but her talent has continued to live on for decades. However, a majority of the singer’s music is unavailable to stream on most platforms. Her albums One In A Million (1996) and Aaliyah (2001) have remained off all platforms since the dawn of their existence. 

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Aaliyah’s earlier singles and debut album Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number (1994) are available. This week, fans on social media began to speculate that the remainder of her discography would finally be uploaded to streaming services after the account Blackground Records 2.0 shared a new website and hashtag: #AaliyahIsComing. 

The original Blackground Records was owned by the late singer’s uncle and former manager Barry Hankerson, who released the majority of Aaliyah’s music. Hankerson owns the majority of Aaliyah’s master recordings aside from her debut album, and he confirmed that he’s behind the label’s “2.0” revival which suggests he’s also behind the new hashtag. 

The Estate of Aaliya Haughton shared a statement this week, detailing the battles behind the scenes they’ve faced when it comes to releasing the icon’s music, including this recent attempt: “We’ve battled a lot behind the scenes, enduring shadowy tactics of deception with unauthorized projects targeted to tarnish the work.” 

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“Although we will continue to defend ourselves and her legacy lawfully and justly, we want to preempt the inevitable attacks on our character by all the individuals who have emerged from the shadows to leech off of Aaliyah’s life’s work.” 

“Ultimately, we desire closure and a modicum of peace so we can facilitate the growth of the Aaliyah Memorial Fund and other creative projects that embody Aaliyah’s true essence, which is to inspire strength and positivity for people of all creeds, races and cultures around the world,” the statement continued. 

The estate also released its own hashtag, #IStandWithAaliyah, which superstar Missy Elliott, who was also close with Aaliyah, retweeted. 

“While we share your sentiments and desire to have Aaliyah’s music released, we must acknowledge that these matters are not within our control and, unfortunately, take time.”

Movie Clapper

Lucy Liu Recalls ‘Inexcusable And Unacceptable’ Behavior From Bill Murray During ‘Charlie’s Angels’

Lucy Liu recently appeared on the “Asian Enough” podcast where she opened up about her career, specifically working with Bill Murray in the 2000s smash hit “Charlie’s Angels.”

Liu explained how she had a not so pleasant interaction with Murray when he came to set after attending a family party and began hurling insults at everyone on set, especially Liu. 

Liu claimed that after Murray was not present at a rehearsal due to a family gathering, he showed up and began to “hurl insults that kept going on and on.” 

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“I was, like, ‘Wow, he seems like he’s looking straight at me.’ I couldn’t believe that it could be towards me, because what do I have to do with anything majorly important at that time? I asked whether Murray was speaking directly to her as the conversation started to become a one-on-one communication.”

“It was unjust and it was uncalled for. Some of the language was inexcusable and unacceptable, and I was not going to just sit there and take it. So, yes, I stood up for myself, and I don’t regret it.”

“Because no matter how low on the totem pole you may be or wherever you came from, there’s no need to condescend or to put other people down. And I would not stand down, and nor should I have and nor did I,” Liu explained. 

Liu also claimed that in the years following the confrontation, numerous crew members came up to her and told her they were “grateful” that she spoke up. 

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Today, Liu claims to have nothing against Murray, and has even interacted with him pleasantly in recent years. “At the SNL Reunion he came up to me and was perfectly nice, but I’m not going to sit there and be attacked.” 

“I don’t want to be that person that is not going to speak up for myself and stand by the only thing that I have, which is my dignity and self-respect at the end of the day.”

“Because in the end, we all end up in the same place as time goes on. Nobody is immortal. But in that time, no matter what happens between now and whatever career choices I make or whatever life decisions I make, I will walk away with my dignity.”

“I didn’t understand how it got flipped when I had nothing to do with instigating it or creating that platform of confrontation or anxiety. So even though it’s been decades, it’s something that obviously I remember very intimately,” she explained.

British Museum To Display More Than 100 Unseen Works By Katsushika Hokusai 

More than 100 postcard-sized drawings by Katsushika Hokusai will be on display to the public for the first time in two centuries after being acquired by the British Museum. The museum’s director, Hartwig Fischer, claims the drawings were “remarkable and unique, the discovery alone is incredible.” 

Hokusai is most famously known for The Great Wave, one of the most recognizable and reproduced artworks of all time. He’s known for having extreme influence on 19th-century European impressionist art; Van Gough was deeply inspired by Hokusai. 

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According to the museum, at some point in the 1840s, when Hokusai would’ve been in his 80s, he began working on a new project called The Great Picture Book of Everything, in which he let his imagination run completely wild with fantastical and intricate drawings of beautiful fantasy scenes. 

The project was never published, so the drawings were simply put in a box, and have been stored away ever since. The history of these prints is rather unknown. They were once owned by Henry Vever, a Japanese art collector who died in 1942; a century after they were originally made. 

In 1948 the prints appeared at an auction in Paris, and were purchased to become a part of a private French collection, where they were eventually forgotten about. In 2019, they reappeared at a Paris auction, where the British Museum purchased them for around $270,000. 

“They were created at a time modern audiences could relate to. These drawings were created in a period of lockdown, if you will, when Japan had closed its borders for almost 200 years.”

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Fischer explained that at the time, “contact with the outside world was limited and strictly regulated and even journeys within the country required an official permit. It is a situation many of us can sympathize with.”

The drawings mainly depict  religious and mythological figures as well as animals, birds, and flowers. Alfred Haft, a project curator at the museum, said “all 103 drawings were gems, each rewarding close study, each showing us Hokusai’s lively mind and hand at work together.”

Fischer said Hokusai’s art combined “boundless invention, subtle humour and deep humanity. The museum already has one of the most comprehensive collections of Hokusai’s work outside Japan, so this is the appropriate home for the drawings in my opinion.”

Currently anyone can view the drawings on the British Museum’s website, and the actual drawings will be on display in the museum for the first time in history starting September 30th until January 2022.