Spirits

Alicia Keys illustration by Kaelen Felix for 360 Magazine MasterClass article.

Alicia Keys MasterClass

MasterClass, the streaming platform where anyone can learn from the world’s best across a wide range of subjects, today announced that 15-time Grammy Award®-winning artist Alicia Keys will teach a class on songwriting and producing. For the first time ever, Keys will not only reveal her complete approach to songwriting but also share her inspiring philosophies on how to unlock authenticity, empathy and vulnerability. Keys’ class is now available exclusively on MasterClass, where subscribers get unlimited access to all 90+ instructors with an annual membership.

“Alicia is simply a legend,” said David Rogier, founder and CEO of MasterClass. “She appeals to and unites her audience with empathy and empowerment. In her MasterClass, Alicia not only breaks down her creative process, but deconstructs her most influential songs. She inspires all of us to control our power and purpose.”

Designed for artists of all levels, Keys’ MasterClass will share her rare and valuable insight into songwriting with soul. Within the intimate setting of her personal studio, Keys will take members through her entire process, starting with developing lyrics at the piano in the Live Room, recording and layering vocals in the Iso Booth, and finally, arranging sonics in the Control Room. Breaking down the anatomy of her many anthemic tracks, she explains the various influences and elements that come together to create her signature authentic and retro-futuristic sound, including how she harnesses the power of specific vocal arrangements and experiments with instruments and software. Fans will appreciate her rare deconstruction of the creative process behind one of her most iconic hits, “Fallin’.” Keys will also go beyond her technical skills to discuss her take on inequalities in the music industry and how she’s creating more space at the table for those whose voices are silenced. Offering a rare look at the wealth of knowledge and experience behind her monumental career, her class will empower members to define their purpose, channel their empathy and find their authentic rhythm.

“I cannot stress enough the power you have when you’re truly confident in yourself,” said Keys. “In my MasterClass, I’m excited to connect on a different level. We’re gonna talk about what I’ve learned, my process and how to access what’s inside of you, so you can connect and get it out into the world.”

A talented performer from a young age, Keys scored her first No. 1 hit in 2001 with “Fallin’,” which was featured on her debut album, Songs in A Minor, and landed her her first five Grammy Awards, including those for Song of the Year and Best New Artist. She’s released six more critically acclaimed studio albums since her debut: The Diary of Alicia Keys (2003), As I Am (2007), The Element of Freedom (2009), Girl on Fire(2012), Here (2016) and, most recently, Alicia (2020). As one of the most influential songwriter-performers of the last two decades, Keys has been honored with countless awards, including 15 Grammy Awards, 17 NAACP Image Awards, nine Billboard Music Awards, five American Music Awards and seven BET Awards, as well as the Starlight Award by the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In addition to her singing career, Keys is also acclaimed for her humanitarian work, philanthropy and activism. At just 22 years old, she co-founded and serves as the global ambassador of the nonprofit HIV/AIDS-fighting organization Keep a Child Alive; she launched the We Are Here Movement, a petition to demand racial justice and equality; and in 2018, Keys formed She Is the Music, a music-industry group for female advancement.

Image courtesy of MasterClass

Chloe x Halle illustration by Kaelen Felix for 360 Magazine

CHLOE X HALLE

RELEASE ALTERNATE VERSION “TIPSY” AND COVER OF “SENDING ALL MY LOVE” FOR SPOTIFY SINGLES

LISTEN HERE 

Chloe x Halle has shared two new tracks for the latest installment of Spotify Singles, marking the second-ever Are & Be-branded Spotify Singles release. 

Recorded in LA, Chloe x Halle performed a stripped-down version of their hit single “Tipsy” from their recently released album Ungodly Hour as well as a cover of Zhané’s “Sending My Love,” with Chloe x Halle adding their subtly electronic 90s-R&B-inspired twist. Listen to both songs HERE.

“We first fell in love with ‘Sending All My Love’ by Zhané because our parents would blast it all around our house in Atlanta,” says Chloe x Halle. “We fell in love with the fact that they’re a duo as well, and how their voices blended so nicely together.  It was very inspiring to us as a duo too!” 

Ungodly Hour is available HERE.  

www.chloexhalle.com
@chloexhalle

About Spotify Singles

Driving more than four billion streams since the program began in 2017, Spotify Singles was created to give artists an opportunity to record new versions of their own songs, and the songs of the artists they love. The Singles scope includes a unique version of each artist’s own song (Side A) and a cover song of their choosing (Side B). To date, there have been over 300 Singles recorded as part of the program.

Sam Smith's "Stay With Me" has been RIAA Diamond Certified as announced by 360 MAGAZINE and illustrated by Kaelen Felix.

Sam Smith “Stay With Me” Now RIAA Diamond Certified

Sam Smith’s 2014 breakthrough single, “Stay With Me,” has earned an RIAA Diamond certification, surpassing the 10-million threshold counting song sales and streams in the United States.  The soulful track is from Smith’s debut album, In The Lonely Hour, which won the GRAMMY® Award for Best Pop Vocal Album while “Stay With Me” took honors in both Record and Song of the Year categories and Smith was named Best New Artist.

“Stay With Me” became a worldwide hit, debuting at No. 1 on the U.K. chart and topping the charts in numerous countries. In the U.S., “Stay With Me” was played across eight radio formats and climbed to No. 1 at five formats. View the official video, which has amassed more than one billion views worldwide, HERE.

In addition to the Diamond certification for “Stay With Me,” Smith has earned a host of new certifications. In The Lonely Hour is now 5X Platinum while The Thrill of It All, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in 2017, has been certified Platinum.

New song certifications include:

“I’m Not The Only One” – 7X Platinum

“Too Good At Goodbyes” – 6X Platinum

“Lay Me Down” – 5X Platinum

“How Do You Sleep?” – 2X Platinum

“Leave Your Lover” – 1X Platinum

“Writing’s On The Wall” – 1X Platinum

“To Die For” – Gold

“One Last Song” – Gold

“How Do You Sleep?” and “To Die For” are from Smith’s critically acclaimed new album, Love Goes, out now on Capitol Records. The New York Times declares, “Smith’s voice is a prodigious instrument: a pearly, androgynous croon, at once powerful and defenseless.” The sound of ‘Love Goes’ is sweeping and luxurious: intimacy blown up to cinematic scale.  Each song feels elaborately hewed.”  NPR raves, “Sam Smith is known for their soulful voice and its satin falsetto.  But the singer’s lyrics, whether in a ballad or a bop, aren’t just about loving or losing others: They’re also about the love of the genuine, the true, the self.”  The album also includes new single, “Diamonds” – a dazzling dancefloor anthem that  showcases Sam’s unforgettable vocals in a defiant tale of love lived without regret- “My Oasis,” the cross-continental collaboration with Burna Boy, and multi-platinum global hit “Dancing with a Stranger”featuring Normani.

Since the release of their 2014 debut album, In The Lonely Hour, Sam Smith has become one of the most celebrated artists to emerge on the music scene in recent history.  Sam has sold over 25 million adjusted albums worldwide, amassed over 30 billion career streams, sold out world tours, won four GRAMMY Awards®, an Oscar, a Golden Globe and three BRIT Awards.

Love Goes follows 2017’s The Thrill Of It All, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and also topped the charts in the U.K., Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands and Belgium. Awarded four stars by Rolling Stone, the album included the hit single “Too Good At Goodbyes,” which recently became Smith’s second song to receive over a billion streams on Spotify, after “Stay With Me.” Smith, who has won GRAMMY®, BRIT, Golden Globe and Oscar awards, recently featured on Tiwa Savage’s new song, “Temptation.”  View the full list of Smith’s RIAA certifications HERE.

The Recording Industry Association of America® (RIAA) is the trade organization that supports and promotes the creative and financial vitality of the major music companies. Its members comprise the most vibrant record industry in the world, investing in great artists to help them reach their potential and connect to their fans. Nearly 85% of all legitimate recorded music produced and sold in the United States is created, manufactured or distributed by RIAA members.

In support of this mission, the RIAA works to protect the intellectual property and First Amendment rights of artists and music labels; conduct consumer, industry and technical research; and monitor and review state and federal laws, regulations and policies. RIAA also certifies Gold®, Platinum®, Multi-Platinum™, Diamond and Los Premios De Oro y Platino™ sales and streaming awards.

Kaelen Felix Illustrates a Fundraising Article for 360 MAGAZINE

Gilda’s Club x The Yellow Cab Project

Nov. 12, the Gilda’s Club NYC will host their annual gala, honoring Giovanni Caforio (M.D. Bristol Myers Squibb) and Emma Stone (Actress and Gilda’s Club NYC Ambassador), virtually.

As part of this year’s Gilda’s Club NYC fundraising, Remembering Marco will participate in the virtual auction launched on Nov. 5 with The Yellow Cab Project. The Yellow Cab Project is part of Remembering Marco, a charity initiative started by Annalisa Menin in 2013 to raise funds in memory of her husband, Marco Omiccioli.

Annalisa Menin, an Italian entrepreneur and writer who was originally from Venice, Italy, built her name with her first publishing project “My Last Year in New York,” a blog that then became a book.

It was dedicated to her husband, Marco Omiccioli, who died prematurely at the age of 33 from cancer in Nov. of 2013.

The Yellow Cab Project started when Annalisa stopped in front of the Kendra Scott window in SoHo, located at the intersection of Spring and Greene Streets. Along with jewelry and beautiful handbags, there were a few die-cast model yellow cabs being used as props, a tribute to the city of New York.

Annalisa went inside to ask what would happen to all those models once the window was emptied. Once she discovered that they would be thrown away, she thought, “Oh, no! I want them!”

Two weeks later, she went home in a real life version of those models, driven by a lovely gentleman with a white, cloud-shaped beard. She carried eight boxes containing as many cabs.

Annalisa created The Yellow Cab Project in 2020. It involved five international artists, designers and creatives, giving them the opportunity to “contaminate” the die-cast model cabs in their own way. The five artists were Warø, Jon Koon, Iena Cruz, Marco Gallotta and Clint Henderson.

To remember Marco in this very eventful year, Annalisa chose to support Gilda’s Club NYC. She strongly believes in their mission to “support, educate, and empower cancer patients and their families.”

This year, Gilda’s Club is turning 25 years old, and they will celebrate this important milestone with a virtual gala Nov. 12. It is the perfect occasion for the die-cast models, now precious objects of beauty and art, to be donated and auctioned, raising funds for Gilda’s Club NYC and its community from Nov. 5 to Nov. 16.

“We are so excited to have these one-of-a-kind yellow taxis included in our 25th Anniversary milestone event to benefit our cancer patients and families and are grateful for this generous collaboration with Annalisa and the remembering Marco Omiccioli Charity Initiative,” said Lily Safani, CEO of Gilda’s Club.

In these unprecedented times of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gilda’s Club NYC, the cancer support organization founded in memory of Saturday Night Live comedienne, Gilda Radner, transitioned their free cancer support program to a virtual program. They will continue to provide essential support services to cancer patients who are among some of the most vulnerable in this pandemic.

Members have expressed sincere gratitude for their quick transition to virtual programming. Due to the increased demand for this program and an affected donor base, they need additional funds to serve their current and growing community.

Annalisa personally experienced how important it is for grieving individuals to have a support system, especially in a city like New York, where many are far away from loved ones. She joined one of the bereavement group at Gilda’s Club NYC in 2013 after her husband Marco passed away, and it helped her tremendously.

You can find more information about Gilda’s Club by clicking right here.

Bastille Day Cocktail illustrated by Mina Tocalini for 360 MAGAZINE.

New Malibu Rum X Kahlúa cocktails for you!

Malibu Rum and Kahlúa have festive and refreshing cocktails perfect for any Friendsgiving gathering, virtual Holiday Zoom, or socially distanced New Year’s Eve party.

Malibu

MSRP : $17.99

Malibu Fizz

Ingredients :

  • 1 part Malibu Original
  • 1 part Fresh lime juice
  • 1 part Cranberry juice
  • top up with Sparkling wine
  • Edible glitter

Method :

  • Wet the rim of a glass and dip it in edible glitter (optional).
  • Pour Malibu, lime juice and cranberry juice.
  • Top up with prosecco and enjoy!

Sparkling Pina Colada

Ingredients :

  • 1 ½ parts Malibu Original
  • ½ part Pineapple juice
  • ½ part Coconut cream
  • 3 parts Sparkling wine

Method :

  • Pour all ingredients (except prosecco) into an ice-filled shaker.
  • Shake until cold, pour prosecco into shaker and stir.
  • Strain into a chilled glass and top with a slice of pineapple.

Kahlúa

MSRP: $17.99

Kahlúa Cold Brew Soda

Ingredients: 

  • 1 ½ parts Kahlúa
  • 1 ½ parts cold brew
  • 3 ½ parts soda

Method: 

  • For this recipe, you’ll need an old jar (or a new one that looks like an old one), or a glass.
  • Fill it up with ice. 
  • Add Kahlúa and cold brew and stir. 
  • Top off with soda.
  • Garnish with lemon or orange wheels.

Latte Martini

Ingredients:

  • 1 PART KAHLÚA
  • 1 PART ABSOLUT VODKA
  • 1 PART ESPRESSO
  • 2 PARTS PLANT-BASED MILK
  • GARNISH WITH COFFEE GRINDS

Method:

  • Fill a shaker with ice cubes.
  • Add all ingredients.
  • Shake the ingredients until cold.
  • Strain into a cocktail glass.
  • Garnish with coffee grinds.

Holiday Dalgona

Ingredients: 

  • 1 part instant coffee
  • 1 part hot water
  • 1 part sugar
  • 1 part Kahlúa
  • Milk of your choice

Method:

  • In a bowl, combine hot water, sugar and instant coffee. User an electric mixer to combine.
  • In a high ball glass add ice, Kahlúa and milk. 
  • Place the whipped coffee mix on top of the Kahlúa and enjoy. 

Espresso Martini

Ingredients:

  • 1 PART KAHLÚA
  • 1 PART ABSOLUT VODKA
  • 1 PART ESPRESSO

Method:

  • Ok, you’ll need an espresso machine and a shaker for this one. It sounds complicated but it’s just a matter of mixing booze with coffee. Shake the Kahlúa, Absolut Vodka and espresso together with plenty of ice. Strain into a cocktail glass to get rid of all the small ice chips. Tip: Shake for like 10 seconds for optimal frothiness.

360 with Integrity

To kickoff the holiday season, 360 Magazine launched its very own collection of bottles, stemware, and glasses in collaboration with Integrity Bottles. The bottles are sand-carved by hand with the 360 logo, painted, and etched with our trademark in either deep etch (no color), silver, or gold. The collection features seven products.

At 360 Magazine, drinks are taken seriously. The magazine’s Spirits section pays homage to celebrity and libation culture. There, 360 celebrates new drinks, like the JAJA-peño Margarita and D’USSE’s exclusive cocktail, beers, like the Coconut Coffee Stout, and wine-tasting events, like those which take place at Benovia Winery. Thus, 360 knows the value of nice glassware.

Two of the seven products are decanters, fit to hold and present your scotch, vodka, tequila, gin, or rum. The first product shown on the 360 x Integrity Bottles’ webpage is the 360 Magazine Refillable Capital Decanter. This is 750 ML and retails for $69.99. The second, which is the 360 Magazine Refillable Diamond Decanter, is also 750 ML and retails for the same price as its sister product.

Another option in this collection is the 360 Magazine Refillable Liberty Bottle. Like the previous two decanters, this one is 750 ML. It retails for $49.99.

There are four glassware options for buyers. For fervent wine-lovers, this collection includes a stemless wine glass. The wine glass is priced from $19.99. Particularly for those who prefer to drink whiskey, the 360 Magazine Whiskey Rocks Glass is ready and waiting. It is 10 ounces and retails for $19.99. Beer drinkers have two options as well. The collection offers a 16 ounce beer/pint glass that retails for $19.99 for the first option and a gibraltar beer mug, which retails for $29.99.

As the holiday season approaches, a gift from the collection would surely not disappoint.

Integrity Bottles is a small business that started amongst friends. The shop then transitioned to Etsy and then to its own online site. Now, Integrity Bottles has sold more than 3,200 bottles, and earned 265 5-star reviews. They offer customizable glassware, water bottles, accessories, and free domestic shipping for orders over $50. The company is run by military veterans and former law enforcement.

Use the code “360MAG20” for 20% of your first purchase of glassware from the 360 Magazine collection. Also, the code “GIVEBACK” will save you 5% on a separate order, not limited to the 360 Magazine collection.

Sean “Diddy” Combs x REVOLT

Comcast and REVOLT, the unapologetically Hip Hop content platform from Sean “Diddy” Combs dedicated to the creators of this generation, have reached an agreement to significantly expand its availability to Xfinity TV customers across the country in new and existing markets.

On September 29, REVOLT will be added in HD to the Xfinity Digital Starter package in Philadelphia, Northern New Jersey, Orlando, West Palm Beach, Ft. Myers, Jacksonville, Tampa, Knoxville, Indianapolis, Charleston, and Augusta, making the network available to millions more Xfinity customers. Additionally, in markets where REVOLT has been available in standard definition as part of the Xfinity Digital Premier package, the network will be moved to Digital Starter in HD, beginning September 29.

“REVOLT exists to tell our stories and empower our community,” said Sean “Diddy” Combs, Chairman, REVOLT Media & TV. “As one of very few Black-owned media platforms, it is important that we can reach our audiences wherever they are. We are excited to continue to grow with Comcast and deliver our content to millions of additional homes.”

“Comcast was one of the first television distributors to carry REVOLT to millions of its customers when it launched in 2013, and we are very pleased to bring its creative music- and social justice-focused content to even more Xfinity TV customers across the country,” said Dana Strong, President, Xfinity Consumer Services. 

As part of the new agreement, the companies will collaborate to create impactful cultural content. The first program, “Black Voices on Mute,” will feature original content that bridges the past with the present to illuminate the importance of voting and the history of voter suppression in the Black community. This short form content will amplify narratives around social justice, empowerment, and voter turnout leading up to the November 3rd national election.

This original content will also be featured in Black Voices. Black Stories, a specially curated content collection on Xfinity X1, Stream and Flex featuring a wide variety of movies, documentaries, TV series and more. Designed to educate and drive awareness, the collection of curated content specifically reflects the country’s long history of racial discrimination and injustice along with bold movies and specials featuring some of the most recent efforts by the Black community to attain social justice and create inclusive movements towards equality.   

“There is no better time than now to amplify Black stories and content, and we are excited to bring new programming from Revolt to our platform and recently launched content collection, Black Voices. Black Stories,” said Keesha Boyd, Executive Director, Multicultural Video & Entertainment, Xfinity Consumer Services. 

The broader relationship with Comcast also comes on the heels of REVOLT’s expanded commitment to social justice. In the past few months, the network aired a live and urgent town hall, “State of Emergency,” hosted by Combs, with notable guests exposing the disproportionate impact that COVID-19 has had on Black communities; partnered with NAACP, Sankofa, March for Our Lives, and Hip-Hop Week MKE for notable social justice livestream events; and launched “REVOLT Black News,” a weekly news show hosted by Eboni K. Williams that presents an unfiltered conversation about current events with the leaders of Black culture, including artists, activists, politicians, experts, and more. REVOLT has remained steadfast as an unfiltered platform and home for content by artists including its recently launched “The Fat Joe Show” and Guapdad 4000’s “The Valentino Vlog,” as well as “The Breakfast Club,” “Drink Champs: Happy Hour,” and series partnerships like “Anatomy of…”  and “What’s Good Africa.”  

With just weeks until the November election, REVOLT will air its second “State of Emergency” virtual town hall on Thursday, September 24th at 9pm EDT/6pm PDT with confirmed guests Dr. Cornel West, Kerry Washington, Tamika Mallory, Jeff Johnson, Cordae, Vic Mensa and others in a Vote or Die discussion.

Sam Smith – Diamonds

Capitol Records will release Sam Smith’s new album, Love Goes, on October 30th. Today, as the album pre-order launched, they shared their new single, “Diamonds,” a dazzling dancefloor anthem that showcases Sam’s unforgettable vocals in a defiant tale of love lived without regret. Smith wrote the track with Shellback (Adele, Maroon 5, Taylor Swift) and Oscar Holter (The Weeknd, Tove Lo). Shellback and Oscar Görres (MARINA, Allie X) produced. Download/stream “Diamonds” HERE.

In the official video, Smith dances alone with abandon, reveling in their newfound freedom and emerging from a stormy night to greet the morning sun. The clip was directed by Emmy award winning filmmaker Luke Monaghan, who also teamed up with Smith on such videos as “Too Good At Goodbyes” “Writing’s on the Wall” and “I’m Not the Only One.” Their work together has amassed over 2.5 billion streams. Watch the “Diamonds” video HERE.

The album’s 17 songs were written over the course of the past two years. The pandemic gave Smith a fresh perspective on the album and impacted both its title and the recording of tracks such as the recently released “My Oasis,” a cross-continental collaboration with Burna Boy. As Smith details in this announcement, posted today, “Every time I went into the studio I promised myself I would shoot for the stars and have no limitations…I am sorry it’s taken a while. But these unprecedented times gave me the room and space to fall in love with these songs all over again…After it all I still believe love is the answer. And with love in our hearts and kindness in our words and actions, we sing on.” The new album builds on the 30 billion career streams Smith has amassed and the global success of their multi-Platinum debut and sophomore albums, In the Lonely Hour and The Thrill of It All. For the artwork for Love Goes, Smith worked with world-renowned British fashion photographer/filmmaker Alasdair McLellan (Vogue, Kim Jones, Louis Vuitton) to bring their vision to life. Love Goes is available for pre-order HERE. Fans who pre-order the digital album will instantly receive “Diamonds” plus “My Oasis,”“Dancing with a Stranger,” the chart-topping collaboration with Normani that has sold more than 13 million units and racked up over 2.5 billion streams worldwide, “To Die For” and “How Do You Sleep?” The new album also features collaborations with Labrinth (“Love Goes”) and Calvin Harris (“Promises”). See below for track listing. Love Goes follows 2017’s The Thrill Of It All, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and also topped the charts in the U.K., Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands and Belgium. Awarded four stars by Rolling Stone, the album included the hit single “Too Good At Goodbyes,” which recently became Smith’s second song to receive over a billion streams on Spotify, after “Stay With Me.” Smith, who has won GRAMMY, BRIT, Golden Globe and Oscar awards, recently featured on Tiwa Savage’s new song, “Temptation.”

TRACK LISTING – LOVE GOES

  1. Young
  2. Diamonds
  3. Another One
  4. My Oasis (feat. Burna Boy)
  5. So Serious
  6. Dance (‘Til You Love Someone Else)
  7. For The Lover That I Lost
  8. Breaking Hearts
  9. Forgive Myself
  10. Love Goes (feat. Labrinth)
  11. Kids Again

 BONUS TRACKS

  1. Dancing With A Stranger (Sam Smith & Normani)
  2. How Do You Sleep?
  3. To Die For
  4. I’m Ready (Sam Smith & Demi Lovato)
  5. Fire On Fire
  6. Promises (Calvin Harris & Sam Smith)

Netflix – Cuties

By Cassandra Yany

One of Netflix’s newest films, Cuties, has garnered much attention and backlash since its Sep. 9 release on the streaming platform. The coming-of-age film depicts a young girl as she tries to navigate her life as a pre-teen growing up in a Muslim family living in Paris.

Many critics have spoken out against the film, which currently holds the no. 7 spot in Netflix’s ‘Top 10,’ for its depiction of 11-year-old girls dancing and behaving in an indecent manner. According to the New York Times, the movie was first deemed controversial in the U.S. in August when Netflix released the promotional artwork. The original marketing for the film displayed an image of four young girls in skimpy dance costumes posing provocatively.

This, along with the trailer, prompted opposers to start petitions online and call for the removal of the film from Netflix’s catalog. Netflix apologized and changed the artwork for the film to a more innocent photo of the same four characters walking down the street with shopping bags, donning bras and underwear over their clothes.

Last week’s release of the film has sparked conversation once again amongst parents, politicians and others, causing #CancelNetflix to trend on Twitter. Lina Nealon, the Director of Corporate and Strategic Initiatives at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation has spoken out against the film saying “While we commend Director Maïmouna Doucouré for exposing the very real threats to young girls having unfettered access to social media and the internet, we cannot condone the hypersexualization and exploitation of the young actresses themselves in order to make her point.” She called for Netflix to cut the “sexually-exploitive” scenes from the film, or remove the film from the platform altogether.

On Friday, Hawaii Rep. Tulse Gabbard tweeted, “@Netflix child porn ‘Cuties’ will certainly whet the appetite of pedophiles & help fuel the child sex trafficking trade. 1 in 4 victims of trafficking are children… Netflix you are now complicit.”

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz penned a letter to Attorney General William P. Barr Friday calling for the Department of Justice to start an investigation into the production and distribution of the film to “determine whether Netflix, any of its executives, or anyone involved in the making of ‘Cuties’ violated any federal laws against the production and distribution of child pornography.”

Cruz wrote that “the film routinely fetishizes and sexualizes these pre-adolescent girls as they perform dances simulating sexual conduct in revealing clothing, including at least one scene with partial nudity” falsely claiming that there’s a scene exposing a “minor’s bare breast.” The Associated Press reported that one of Cruz’s representatives, Lauren Aronson, said that the senator has not seen the film.

According to the Washington Times, some critics are even calling on the Obama’s— who have a production deal with Netflix— to take action against the film. Deadline stated that “The reality appears to have been lost in the storm, and the truth is very few of the people reacting so strongly will have actually seen the film.”

Netflix told USA TODAY “‘Cuties’ is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children. It’s an award winning film and a powerful story about the pressure young girls face on social media and from society more generally growing up— and we’d encourage anyone who cares about these important issues to watch the movie.”

Director Maïmouna Doucouré defends the film, saying that it works to shed light on these issues so they can be fixed. Cuties first premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 23, where it won the Directing Jury Award for the dramatic film category. According to the New York Times, the movie did not stir up much conversation in France after its theatrical release (as Mignnonnes in French) in August.

Deadline reports that Doucouré did not see the promotional material prior to when it was circulated on the internet. She said that she received death threats as the outrage grew over these images. She told the news site that the film is not apologetic about the hypersexualization of children, but instead is her “…personal story as well as the story of many children who have to navigate between a liberal western culture and a conservative culture at home.”

Cuties was Doucouré’s feature directorial debut. Similar to the film’s main character, Amy, Doucouré is of Senegalese descent and grew up in a Muslim culture in Paris. In an interview at Sundance, she said she first had the idea for the movie after attending a neighborhood gathering in Paris where she saw a group of 11-year-old girls doing a stage performance of a “sensual” dance. She was shocked to see girls that age dance like that in short clothing. “We can’t continue to close our eyes about that,” she told the interviewer.

Doucouré researched for a year and a half, meeting with hundreds of pre-teens who told her their stories. She learned about their ideas of femininity, and how their self image is affected by the emphasis of social media in today’s society. According to IndieWire, the young actresses’ parents were on board with the project to spread awareness of the issue, and there was a psychologist working with the girls throughout filming who is still helping them throughout the release process.

The film is centered around Amy, an 11-year-old girl who has recently moved to a housing development in a poor suburb of Paris with her Senegalese, observant Muslim family. She looks out for her brothers, takes care of responsibilities around the house, and is in the process of being taught how to ‘be a woman’ by  her aunt.

One day after prayer, Amy walks by the laundry room and sees a girl her age dancing to music playing from her phone. In a subsequent scene, Amy is seen trying to straighten her hair with a clothing iron, burning part of it off as a result. 

Amy learns that her father, who is still in Senegal, has taken a second wife and will be coming to Paris soon to have the wedding. Her mother, Mariam, tries to hide her reaction to the news, but Amy sees her grow upset and take her frustrations out on herself. This is where Amy’s behavior begins to shift; she starts to reject her culture and identity, and instead tries to conform to fit in with the other girls at school. 

At school, Amy is teased for her clothes and lack of fashion sense, so she begins to wear her younger brother’s t-shirt to match the crop tops that her classmates wear. After seeing a group of girls her age dancing after school, Amy steals her cousin’s iPhone to learn how to dance, herself. She comes across their social media accounts and begins taking selfies, imitating what she sees on their profiles. 

Amy finds herself a spot in the girls’ friend group and dance troupe, and as a result, begins to neglect her responsibilities at home. Amy starts to show more self expression, wearing her hair natural rather than pulling it back. She also begins to explore the internet more, finding videos of almost-naked women dancing rather suggestively and moving their bodies in ways that an 11-year-old probably shouldn’t be watching. 

Taking what she found online, Amy practices dancing with her friends and teaches them how to twerk. This is where the movie begins to make viewers slightly uneasy. It was jarring to see these young, innocent girls tainted by this inappropriate content and doing dance moves that they didn’t understand the implications of. It appears that this was the intention of director Doucouré, as she stated in an interview with Netflix that the film is “…a mirror of today’s society; a mirror sometimes difficult to look into and accept but still so true.”

Some of the scenes, frankly, are very disturbing to watch. These include the girls dancing provocatively for two older male workers at a laser tag facility so that they wouldn’t get in trouble for sneaking in, as well as Amy beginning to undress for her cousin once he found she had stolen his iPhone in an attempt to smooth over the situation. Perhaps the most disturbing scene is when Amy takes a picture of her genitals to post on her social media profile so that people at school would think she’s mature. While there was no nudity shown in this scene, the implied action was horrifying to watch. 

At the end of the film, Amy performs with her dance troupe at a local competition. Dressed in revealing outfits, they dance immodestly in front of a crowd of people who quickly seem unsettled. (This is the scene from which the original promotional photos were taken.) Toward the end of the song, Amy freezes as she begins to think about her mom, then runs off the stage crying. She goes home where she asks her mom not to attend her father’s wedding. Her mom continues to get ready for the event, but tells Amy that she doesn’t have to go.

Instead of going to the wedding, Amy steps outside and begins jumping rope. This scene depicts a mixture of her two identities: she is wearing jeans and a crop top with her hair down, but is surrounded by people of her culture dressed in traditional garments. After suppressing her family’s background for a majority of the movie, Amy is finally able to find the balance where her multiple cultures intersect in order to be her honest self. 

After watching Cuties, it is evident that it is not meant to promote this behavior among young girls, but instead provide commentary on what is happening today and warn the adults who see the movie. The harsh reality is that more pre-adolescents are exposed to this type of content than we think. Any child who has access to a smart device and social platforms have the potential to see a video not meant for them. Take TikTok for example: racy dances to Cardi B and Meg Thee Stallion’s “WAP,” as well as a recent trend where women make “thirst traps” to Beyoncé’s “Rocket” are some of the most popular videos on the app right now. Young TikTok users can easily see creators on their For You Page enjoying themselves while engaging in these trends, causing the young viewer to want to do the same.

When speaking to Deadline, Doucouré said, “What happens is young girls see images of women being objectified, and the more the woman becomes an object, the more followers and like she has— they see that as a role model and try to imitate these women, but they’re not old enough to know what they’re doing.” In a separate interview, she posed the question, “Isn’t the objectification of a woman’s body that we often see in our Western culture not another kind of oppression?”

Overall, Cuties shows the dangers of uncensored media for young children and displays how impressionable they can be. It also shows the journey of Amy’s self-discovery and learning how to blend her multiple cultures in order to shape her identity. Unfortunately, the risqué nature of the film overshadows the storyline and the message is lost for a number of audience members.

In various articles, Doucouré is quoted discussing the meaning of the film in the broad context of femininity and what it means for young girls to enter womanhood in this digital age. During her aforementioned interview with Netflix, she stated “The real question of Cuties is can we, as women, truly choose who we want to be, beyond the role models that are imposed upon us by society?”

Kaelen Felix draws Snoop Dogg for 360 Magazine

Snoop Dogg × COVID-19

On September 12th 2020, Snoop Dogg will be streaming live from his Compound in LA to millions of homes around the world to raise funds for the International Medical Corps, which is helping to fight the global pandemic and provide life-saving care around the world.

Since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on March 11th 2020, cases have continued to increase rapidly. The International Medical Corps works closely with international, national and local charities and health organizations, providing medical expertise, equipment, training and triage & treatment services. Its goal is to ensure that at-risk countries and regions can prepare for and respond to outbreaks of coronavirus quickly and safely.

This will be the first of many shows created by Couch Concerts Live, a new streaming platform that presents major artists’ performances in support of those suffering from the effects of global crises, from COVID-19 to climate change and more.

The partnership between TARI Global, American Artist Company, The Temple Company and Jam Management Group brings together a team with the reach, experience and expertise that will enable them to support International Medical Corps on a global level.

Nathan Tari, CEO of TARI Global, and Founder of the event, comments: “The entertainment industry has been hard hit by the pandemic. While we were staying safely at home, we put our heads together and decided to use our talent and experience to do something in support of those suffering from the outbreak of this terrible virus. We are looking to bring some fun, excitement as well as a special experience with some of the world’s most celebrated stars. This concert will be the first of many, and we are excited to have Snoop Dogg to help us launch.”

Tickets for Couch Concerts Live presenting ‘Snoopadelic in da Pandemic’ are now available to purchase on TicketcoSeeTickets or Couch Concerts Facebook. Join Snoop Dogg as he entertains us live from his Compound, with his infamous Snoopadelic Live DJ Show, expect some hits whilst hanging out with Snoop from the comfort of your own home, staying safe and raising funds for COVID-19 causes.