Posts tagged with "black lives matter"

Justice for George illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Derek Chauvin Trial Coverage

By: Emily Bunn

The case regarding the former police officer involved in the death of George Floyd, Derek Chauvin, has been unfolding. Chauvin has now been charged with both second- and third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. He was found guilty on all accounts. The case can be viewed live on CNN’s website here.

George Floyd’s death was recorded via cellphone footage from a nearby bystander, Darnella Frazier. Frazier, then seventeen at the time, has brought critical attention to Floyd’s death as a result of her footage, a major piece of evidence in bringing light to the case. Frazier has revealed that she only observed violence from the police officers at the scene of Floyd’s death, which contradicts the defense’s illustration of the bystanders as a “angry mob that was striking fear into the police.” Earlier this month on Facebook, Frazier had posed a query to her followers, asking what would have happened if no one recorded Floyd’s arrest and death, posing an important question surrounding the relationship between the police and the community members that the force governs. Frazier ended her testimony with an emotional statement: “When I look at George Floyd, I look at my dad. I look at my brothers. I look at my cousins, my uncles because they are all Black. I have a Black father. I have a Black brother. I have Black friends. And I look at that, and I look at how that could have been one of them.”

Frazier had witnessed the distressful scene alongside her nine-year-old cousin. The witness said that the officer on the scene had his knee on Floyd’s neck, even after the EMT personnel asked “him nicely to get off of him.” She continues, explaining that the ambulance personnel had to get the officer off of Floyd. “I was sad and kind of mad”, she remarks, “because it felt like he was stopping his breathing, and it was kind of like hurting him.”

Another witness to Floyd’s death, mixed-martial artist Donald Williams II, has taken to the stand to account what he observed at the scene of Floyd’s arrest. Williams had called the police on the police after seeing Floyd transported from the gruesome scene via ambulance. Williams claims, “I believed I witnessed a murder.”

Williams has faced speculation and discreditation from the defense attorney of Officer Chauvin, Eric J. Nelson. Nelson spent much of the morning on the second day of the trial questioning William’s knowledge of martial arts defense. Nelson also attempted to portray Williams as angry, to which Williams clarified his reaction was out of desperation because of the harrowing situation at hand. Nelson also attempted to portray the crowd of bystanders as mad at and violent towards the police officers present at the scene. As earlier stated, this claim contradicts Frazier’s assertion that the police were the source of violence at the scene. Nelson averted the attention from the video footage, asserting that there are 50,000 items in evidence and this case is “is clearly more than about 9 minutes and 29 seconds.”

On the other hand, the prosecution said it would bring in seven medical experts and the Hennepin County medical examiner who performed the autopsy on Floyd (who classified the case as homicide) to bring further clarity to the case. Chauvin’s attorney is arguing that Floyd died due to a drug overdose and heart condition, though the nine minutes and twenty-nine second video also clearly shows Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck, restricting his ability to breathe. Prosecuting attorney, Jerry W. Blackwell, spoke about the video footage: “You can believe your eyes, that it’s homicide–it’s murder.”

Another witness to the scene, paramedic Seth Zachary Bravinder, testified that when he arrived on scene, he could tell that Floyd already wasn’t breathing. When lifting Floyd into the ambulance, the paramedic recalls Floyd’s state: “I guess limp would be the best description. He wasn’t — he was unresponsive and wasn’t holding his head up or anything like that,” Bravinder said. He continues, explaining that Floyd flatlined while on the way to the hospital. Once realizing his patient had flatlined, Bravinder and his partner stopped the ambulance to give medical aid to Floyd. Bravinder elaborated on the condition of Floyd, explaining that the term “flatlining” refers to “not a good sign…basically just because your heart isn’t doing anything at that moment. There’s not — it’s not pumping blood. So it’s not — it’s not a good sign for a good outcome.”

Another paramedic who delivered medical assistance to George Floyd, Derek Smith, also delivered a testimony in the trial of Chauvin. Upon arriving on scene, Smith reports that he saw Floyd on the ground with three officers on top of him. He continues detailing the scene: “I walked up to the individual, noticed he wasn’t moving. I didn’t see any chest rise or fall on this individual.” Smith reported that he thought Floyd was dead, and upon checking the victim, he says that Floyd’s pupils were “large” and “dilated” and that he couldn’t detect his pulse. Still, Smith says he did all that he could in an attempt to revive Floyd: “”[H]e’s a human being and I was trying to give him a second chance at life.”

A doctor who provided emergency care to Floyd at Hennepin County Medical Center, Dr. Bradford Wankhede Langenfeld, also took to the stand. Dr. Langenfeld had pronounced Floyd dead on May 25, 2020. Langenfeld attested that the emergency responders who responded to the event were originally called upon for a “lower type of acute event of facial trauma,” but the call was later upgraded to call for “an individual under distress.” When Floyd arrived at the hospital, Langefeld explains that the paramedics attempted to resuscitate Floyd for “approximately 30 minutes,” by inserting a tube down his throat to ventilate his lungs, as well as attempted to administer CPR and medication. The report did not mention that the police officers on scene nor any of the bystanders attempted to give Floyd CPR. Langenfeld, who provided medical treatment to Floyd, testified that hypoxia was likely a cause of Floyd’s cardiac arrest. He says,  “Based on the history that was available to me, I felt that hypoxia was one of the more likely possibilities.” Langenfeld clarified to prosecutor Jerry Blackwell that hypoxia refers to “cardiac arrest meaning oxygen insufficiency.” Langenfeld continues describing the condition of his patient: “There was no obvious, significant external trauma that would have suggested he suffered anything that could produce bleeding to lead to a cardiac arrest.” Jerry Blackwell asked if Langenfeld theorized oxygen deficiency as the leading cause of Floyd’s death, to which Langenfeld replied: “That was one of the more likely possibilities. I felt at the time based on information I had, it was more likely than the other possibilities.”

Capt. Jeremy Norton of the Minneapolis Fire Department had also been in the ambulance which escorted Floyd to the hospital. In his testimony, he recalled the scene when he entered the ambulance: “He was an unresponsive body on a cot.” Norton continues, attesting that after Floyd was delivered to the hospital, he filed a report with his supervisors regarding the incident. Norton says, “”I was aware that a man had been killed in police custody, and I wanted to notify my supervisors to notify the appropriate people above us in the city, in the fire department and whomever else, and then I also wanted to inform my deputy that there was an off-duty firefighter, who was a witness at the scene.”

Minneapolis police inspector, Katie Blackwell, also testified in Chauvin’s trial. She detailed that she had worked with Chauvin for over 20 years, and had selected him as a field training officer. Blackwell documented that Chauvin had been regularly instructed in defensive tactics and the proper use of force as taught by the Minneapolis Police Department. She continued testifying, adding that officers are also trained in their medical unit about the dangers of possible asphyxiation and the cruciality of positioning people up right or on their side to recover from such. She added that once a person is under control, officers should position them in a recovery position “as soon as possible.” Further, Blackwell said that Chauvin participated in a 40-hour Crisis Intervention Training in 2016, and another seven hour refresher course in 2018– which included de-escalation training as part of the program. In viewing an image of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck, Blackwell said: “I don’t know what kind of improvised position that is,” she said. “It’s not what we train.”

Another witness, Christopher Martin, continues to fill in more details to the harrowing day of Floyd’s death. Christopher Martin was the cashier at Cup Noodles, a convenience store in south Minneapolis. He explains that Floyd came in to buy cigarettes with a friend on May 25, and describes Floyd’s condition as “very friendly” and “talkative.” Martin testified that Floyd appeared to be under the influence of drugs. Martin continues, explaining that Floyd had paid with a counterfeit $20 bill. After realizing the counterfeit payment, Martin reported it to his manager, as the store had a policy of deducting the amount of counterfeit payment from its employee’s paychecks. Martin’s boss instructed the worker to approach Floyd and ask him to come back into the store, and Martin was met with refusal. He returned to the store and told his manager that he would accept the pay deduction, but Martin’s manager encouraged him to again approach Floyd. After Floyd refused for the second time, Martin’s manager told another store worker to call 911. Minutes later, Martin says that he recalls a large crowd of people gathering outside, “yelling” and “screaming.” Martin joined the crowd outside, observing as bystanders demanded for the police to take Floyd’s pulse as Chauvin continued to kneel on the victim’s neck. Reflecting on the scene, Martin says he felt “disbelief and guilt.” Elaborating on that statement, Martin explains: “If I would have just not taken the bill, this could have been avoided.” Martin has also added that “the one thing I would say to Derek Chauvin is justice will be served.”

The man who had been in the car alongside Floyd, Morries Hall, refuses to testify in the trial of Derek Chauvin and has asserted that he will invoke his Fifth Amendment if called to the stand. Hall had fled Minnesota shortly after Floyd died, and was soon after arrested in Texas on account of outstanding felony warrants that had been issues to him prior to Floyd’s death. One of the charges includes being a felon in possession of a firearm. Regarding the day of Floyd’s death, Hall has been accused of trying to get rid of evidence related to the case. A court document filed by the defense reports: “Surveillance video from the nearby Dragon Wok restaurant shows that Mr. Hall appeared to use Mr. Floyd’s resistance as a distraction to destroy evidence…The video demonstrates that Mr. Hall watched through the windows of Mr. Floyd’s vehicle to ensure that he was not being observed by police, then…. Mr. Hall furtively dropped something into the sewer drain on the street.”

Courteney Batya Ross, Floyd’s girlfriend since August 2017, took to the stand and revealed that both herself and Floyd had struggled with opioid addiction. She explains their opioid use: “Both Floyd and I, our story — it’s a classic story of how many people get addicted to opioids. We both suffered from chronic pain. Mine was in my neck and his was in his back. We both have prescriptions. But after prescriptions that were filled, and we got addicted, and tried really hard to break that addiction many times.” Elaborating on Floyd’s opioid usage, Ross disclosed that Floyd had been hospitalized for overdose in March of 2020.

The prosecution presented this information regarding Floyd’s usage to light not to paint him in a negative light, but to show the full truth of the situation. CNN legal analyst Laura Coates explains the prosecution’s strategy: “’It’s because as the prosecutor, you want to present and address and resolve these bad facts. You don’t want to have the defense be able to say, ‘Hey, jury, why didn’t they tell you about this? Here are the things they don’t want you to know.’ Sprinkling seeds of doubt’….Coates added that the prosecution is addressing it so they can “package it essentially” to say, “‘So what? He has an opioid addiction.’ And of course in America, we view opioid abuse very differently than we did even decades ago. How does this actually impact Chauvin’s decision to act?’”

Retired Sgt. David Pleoger of the Minneapolis Police Department took to the stand to describe a phone call that had taken place between Chuavin and himself on May 25, 2020, after Chauvin had kneeled on Floyd’s neck. He recalls: “I believe he told me that they had — tried to put Mr. Floyd — I didn’t know his name at the time, Mr. Floyd into the car. He had become combative,” adding that “I think he mentioned that he had injured — either his nose or his mouth, a bloody lip, I think, and eventually after struggling with him, he suffered a medical emergency and an ambulance was called and they headed out of the scene.” Pleoger also detailed that he has known Chauvin since 2008.

Another member of the force, Jon Curtis Edwards, a sergeant with the Minneapolis Police Department, took to the stand to discuss details about the crime scene and body camera footage. Edwards reports that he arrived at the scene of 38th and Chicago around 9:35 p.m. ET. Upon arrival, Edwards says there were only two officers still present­– J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane– and not many other people around. While Edwards attests that he arrived on scene with his body camera turned on, he says that the two officers who had been at the scene did not have their cameras on. Edwards asked them to turn their body cameras on. Then, after the two officers detailed to Edwards where the scene had occurred, Edwards told them to place crime scene tape around the area “so that we could preserve any potential evidence that was there.”

The most senior officer on the Minneapolis police department and head of the Minneapolis Police’s homicide unit, Lt. Richard Zimmerman, also took to the stand. He clarified that the actions of Chauvin are not compliant with the training that police officers receive, adding that  “if your knee is on a person’s neck, that could kill them.” As the most long-standing member of the police force, and having been trained every year in the appropriate use of force, he says that he has never received instruction to deliver force via kneeling on the back or neck of someone, as Chauvin demonstrated. “Pulling him down to the ground face down, and putting your knee on a neck for that amount of time is just uncalled for. I saw no reason why the officers felt they were in danger — if that’s what they felt — and that’s what they would have to feel to be able to use that kind of force,” Zimmerman stated. He says that Chauvin’s use of force would only be used in a “top-tier, deadly force” situation and in case of Floyd was “totally unnecessary.” There are varying degrees of how officers can work to restrain someone. Zimmerman explains, “Once a person is cuffed, the threat level goes down all the way. They are cuffed, how can they really hurt you,” he said. “You getting injured is way down. You could have some guy try to kick you or something, but you can move out of the way. That person is handcuffed, you know, so the threat level is just not there.” Upon arriving at the crime scene around 10 p.m., Zimmerman recalls walking up to officers J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane. Determining the two as “involved officers,” Zimmerman says he instructed them to go to city hall to be interviewed. Zimmerman explains that the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) took over the handling of the case when the hospital determined Floyd had passed. Lt. Richard Zimmerman, head of the Minneapolis Police’s homicide unit, said the use of force by former officer Derek Chauvin against George Floyd was “totally unnecessary.”

Police Chief Medaria Arradondo from the Minneapolis Police Department also took to the stand to discuss the use of force and de-escalation techniques. He has held his position as chief for three years, and has been involved with the department since 1989. At the beginning of his testifying, he was asked to identify Derek Chauvin, whom he successfully pointed out. He discussed de-escalation tactics and the use of force in the Minneapolis Police Department. Reading the department’s policy, Arradondo states: “As an alternative and/or the precursor to the actual use of force MPD officers shall consider verbally announcing their intent to use force including displaying an authorized weapon as a threat of force when reasonable under the circumstances.” He continues, “The goal is to resolve the situation as safely as possible. So you want to always have de-escalation layered into those actions of using force.”

When asked about Chauvin’s use of force unto Floyd, Arradondo said “The conscious neck restraint by policy mentions light to moderate pressure. When I look at exhibit 17 and when I look at the facial expression of Mr. Floyd, that does not appear in any way, shape or form that that is light to moderate pressure.” Arradondo comments on the use of restraint by Chauvin: “I absolutely agree that violates our policy,” detailing that the Department’s core values include treating everyone with “dignity and respect.” Arradondo continues, “Once Mr. Floyd had stopped resisting. And certainly once he was in distress and trying to verbalize that, that should have stopped. There is an initial reasonableness in trying to just get him under control in the first few seconds. But once there was no longer any resistance, and clearly when Mr. Floyd was no longer responsive, and even motionless, to continue to apply that level of force to a person proned-out, handcuffed behind their back. That, in no way, shape or form is anything that is by policy. It is not a part of our training. And it is certainly not part of our ethics or our values.”

Arradondo also commented on the first amendment right of protesters to record officers with their cellphones, even if the officers find the recording “irritating.” This “absolute first amendment right” is granted to all people, “with the exception that they cannot obstruct the activity of the officers but they absolutely have the right, barring that, to record us performing our duties,” he added. In the case of Floyd, the recording of officers was deemed by Arradondo as non-obstructive.

In his own viewing of the footage surrounding Floyd’s death, Arradondo commented that the city-owned video camera footage he originally saw didn’t show as much detail as community member footage. Arradondo recalls learning of the bystander video recording: “Probably close to midnight a community member had contacted me and said, chief, almost verbatim, but said, chief, have you seen the video of your officer choking and killing that man at 38th and Chicago? And so once I heard that statement, I just knew it wasn’t the same milestone camera video that I had saw. And eventually within minutes after that, I saw for the first time what is now known as the bystander video.”

In reviewing the footage, which showed Chauvin’s use of force on Floyd’s neck, Arradondo commented on whether the officer followed the department’s de-escalation policy: “”I absolutely don’t agree with that”…”that action is not de-escalation. And when we talk about the framework of our sanctity of life and when we talk about the principles and values we have, that action goes contrary to what we’re taught.”

George Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, also was present in the court room alongside the Floyd family attorney, Ben Crump.  Having to relive his brother’s death through re-watching the traumatic video footage, Philonise commented that it was an “emotional day watching his brother being tortured to death, screaming for his mom, talking about his kids… it was a tragedy that should have never happened.” While Chauvin and his defense are attempting to pin Floyd’s death on other factors, including drug use and health issues, Crump refocuses the case on Chauvin’s defense’s allegations: “That’s their playbook. That’s what they’ve done to so many people of color who have been unjustifiably killed by police. [They] assassinate their character so it can be a distraction from their excessive use of force.” As Chauvin’s defense looks to explain the cause of Floyd’s death as due to factors outside of the police force, Crump declares “The reason Derek Chauvin kept his knee on George Floyd’s neck is because he lacks humanity.”

When it came time for Chauvin to take the stand, he plead his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent, choosing not testify in his own defense. On Thursday, Chauvin’s attorneys rested their case shortly after his invocation. The prosecution had rested its case on Tuesday, after hearing from 38 witnesses over 11 days of the murder trial. Chauvin has plead not guilty to second-degree unintentional manslaughter, second-degree manslaughter, and third-degree murder charges.

Chauvin’s defense attorney, Eric Nelson, said during his closing argument that “that Derek Chauvin’s own use of force trainer at the Minneapolis Police Department testified that placing the knee on the neck of a suspect “is not an unauthorized move,” according to CNN. Nelson is referring to the earlier testimony of Minneapolis Police Lt. Johnny Mercil, who conducts the training for the Department. Mercil had testified that using a knee on someone’s neck “can be justified in certain circumstances,” perhaps as a means of “using body weight to control.” However, Mercil had also remarked “however, I will add that we don’t — we tell officers to stay away from the neck when possible and if you’re going to use body weight to pin, to put it on their shoulder and be mindful of position.” Keeping all this in mind, during his closing argument Nelson urged the jury to consider the circumstances Chauvin had arrived at on-scene, including meeting “active resistance” and “potentially active aggression” from Floyd. Nelson stated to the jury, “The state has really focused on the 9 minutes and 29 seconds, 9 minutes and 29 seconds, 9 minutes and 29 seconds. It’s not the proper analysis because the 9 minutes and 29 seconds ignores the previous 15 minutes and 59 seconds. Completely disregards.” Nelson reminded that jury that his client, Chauvin, has a “presumption of innocent,” until possibly being proven guilty beyond a reasonable guilt by the state.

The case’s prosecuting attorney, Steve Schleicher, reminded the jury that “George Floyd is not on trial here,”…”For 9 minutes and 29 seconds. He begged, George Floyd begged until he could speak no more, and the defendant continued. This assault. When he was unable to speak, the defendant continued. When he was unable to breathe the defendant continued. Beyond the point that he had a pulse. Beyond the point that he had a pulse, the defendant continued this assault. Nine minutes and 29 seconds.” During Schleicher’s closing statement, he asserted that Chauvin’s actions were not in line with the motto of the Minneapolis Police Department, “to protect with courage.”

Another prosecuting attorney, Jerry Blackwell, took to the stand again to deliver his closing statement. He reminded the jury that while “”when he [Eric Nelson] was talking about causation, he talks about fentanyl, heart failure, hypertension. He says that we have to show beyond a reasonable doubt that none of these other factors played a role”…but “”what we need to prove is that the defendant’s actions were a substantial causal factor in his death. It does not have to be the only causal factor. It doesn’t have to be the biggest substantial factor. It just has to be one of them.” Further, he asserted the power that Chauvin held over Floyd while kneeling on the victim’s neck: “He had the bullets, the guns, the mace that he threatened the bystanders with. He had backup. He had the badge. He had all of it. And what was there to be afraid of, here particularly, at this scene?”

Blackwell also urged the jury to consider what he called the case’s 46th witness– common sense. He cited the eyewitness account of the nine-year-old bystander, claiming that the case is “so simple a child could understand… [t]he 9-year-old girl said, ‘get off of him.’ That’s how simple it was. Get off of him. Common sense.”

As the closing arguments of the case are being released today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi released her statement: “Today is a solemn day as the closing arguments are presented in the George Floyd murder trial. I commend the Floyd family for their dignified calls for justice, which were heard around the world”…”As outraged as we are by his death, let us be prayerful that the truth will prevail and will honor George Floyd’s memory.”

Chauvin is on trial for  three different charges, in which the jury must deliberate whether or not the prosecution “proved beyond a reasonable doubt.” The first charge Chauvin could be convicted of is second-degree unintentional murder. The prosecution must prove that Chauvin caused George Floyd’s death while committing an underlying felony. Futher, prosectors must also prove that Chauvin acted with no intent to kill, just intent to act. If convicted, Chauvin could face up to 40 years in prison. Secondly, Chauvin faces a possible charge for third-degree murder. In order to be convicted, prosecutors must prove Chauvin committed a reckless act that is “eminently dangerous” to others with “depraved mind.” If Chauvin is convicted of third-degree murder, he could face up to 25 years in prison. Finally, Chauvin faces a third conviction for second-degree Manslaughter. In order to be charged, the prosecution must prove Chauvin was “culpably negligent” and disregarded awareness of substantial risk of great bodily injury or death of Floyd. If convicted of second-degree manslaughter, Chauvin could face up to 10 years in prison. All of the charges are seperate, so Chauvin could end up being charged for a combination of charges, being found guilty on all accounts, or be found completely non-guilty.

While the world waits to heart the outcome of Derek Chauvin’s trial, the NYPD is bracing for the reaction to the case’s verdict. In a statement, the. NYPD said that the department has been preparing for months and has provided the necessary training for its officers to “protect and facilitate the constitutional right to peace protest.” In DC, the Army has positioned 250 members of the National Guard in preparation for potential protest, riots, and civil unrest. Around the country, police departments are preparing to face the reaction to the outcome of the trial.

The jury panel working to determine the outcome of the trial consists of six white jurors and six Black or multi-racial people. Of the jurors, seven are women and five are men. The panel consists of a grandmother, nurse, chemist, and auditor, among others. The jury’s verdict must be unanimous, and must prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.

Shortly after the juror deliberations had begun, several of Minnesota’s most prominent politicians spoke about to urge for calm, regardless of the trial’s outcome.

Gov. Tim Waltz spoke to Minnesota residents: ““We must acknowledge two truths: We cannot allow civil unrest to descend into chaos, we must protect life and property,” the governor continued. “We also must understand very clearly, if we don’t listen to those communities in pain, and those people on the streets, many of whom were arrested for speaking a fundamental truth, that we must change, or we will be right back here again.”

Minneapolis’ mayor, Jacob Frey, echoed similar peaceful sentiments: ““There’s been pain and anguish, anger and frustration that is undoubtedly acutely felt by our Black and Brown communities,” Frey said. “Regardless of the outcome of this trial, regardless of the decision made by the jury, there is one true reality, which is that George Floyd was killed at the hands of police.” Similarly, Saint Paul’s mayor cautioned against violence.

Gov. Melvin Center spoke out about the jury deliberations on Monday afternoon: ““Whatever the jury decides, we know that in this age of insurrection and extremism that we must be ready for the possibility of those who would exploit this moment and drown out the powerful voices of constructive protests across our nation with violence and destruction.'”

Even President Biden spoke out about the trial, sharing similar thoughts. The President said he hopes the right outcome of the trial will prevail, and commented on the “overwhelming” evidence of the case. Biden also had a private conversation to discuss familial loss with George Floyd’s brother, Philonise.

The verdict of the case has been decided and publicly announced, as reported by CNN: “Former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin has been convicted on all charges by a jury in the Hennepin County court. The jury found Chauvin guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in George Floyd’s death in May 2020.”

As seen in media from Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival and president and senior lecturer of Repairers of the Breach:

“Today’s three guilty verdicts in the trial of Derek Chauvin are an important public act of accountability. But any verdict on a charge of less than first-degree murder — a charge that Chauvin did not face — is a sign that we still have work to do. Before the entire nation, fellow officers took the stand in this trial and testified that their colleague did not protect and serve but abused power and killed George Floyd. We must meet this public act of justice and accountability with federal legislation that will hold officers of the law accountable in every state, and we must continue to work in every community to shift public investment from over-policing poor, Black and brown communities to ensuring restorative justice and equity for all people.”

Spark Press image by Amateur Films, LLC for use by 360 Magazine

Spark: A Systemic Racism Story

Documentary Explores Racism’s Roots and Remedies, Offers Free Educational Access

The tragic death of George Floyd sparked the largest global protest in the history of the world, a nationwide discussion, and a more profound look at deep-seated, systemic racism in America. With the Derek Chauvin trial underway and the unsettled fate of police reform, Amateur Films’ 30-minute non-commercial documentary — Spark: A Systemic Racism Story — is available as a complimentary resource to explore racism’s roots and remedies. Since the film’s release in December 2020, individuals, teachers, professors, CEOs, and diversity equity and inclusion (DE&I) leaders began utilizing Spark as a resource for racial justice, equity, and sensitivity.

Created by white allies for all allies, the documentary is an aggregator of interviews and clips of prominent racial justice advocates, providing historical context of policies and procedures that led to the oppression of the Black community. Spark also proposes pragmatic, creative remedies in policing, criminal justice, and society in both full-length and condensed forms.

The producers’ participation in a local demonstration sparked by the death of Mr. Floyd inspired the creation of a non-commercial educational documentary to encourage recognition of unconscious bias and show a path to unlearning the historical narrative that redefined an entire race, supporting authentic and effective white allies.

“The trial of Derek Chauvin illustrates a driving point: being white in America is not needing to state that your life matters. When your life matters, you have power. Some use it for good and some very clearly (as in the case of George Floyd’s murder) do not,” said associate producer Julie Manriquez. “We hope our film helps to provide space for those looking to listen and learn and do the work.”

The documentary is presented in complete, abbreviated, and mini versions and can be viewed at this website. Companies, academic institutions, and organizations are encouraged to utilize Spark as a tool and share within and beyond their circles to further the cause of creating a more equitable society designed for the success of all.

About Amateur Films, LLC

Amateur Films, LLC is based in Minneapolis, MN, created in 2020 by Tom Gegax and Mary Wescott of the Gegax Family Foundation. The production team is made up of volunteers and includes talented and passionate neighbors in addition to the retention of top Hollywood writers, editors, composers, and sound and color experts. Amateur Films was inspired by the June 2020 Black Lives Matter protests as well as Gegax’s personal experience during the late 60s civil rights uprisings when, working in Chicago with 14 Black service station owners in his territory, he developed deeply personal and business relationships as they protected him from harm during these uprisings and their aftermath.

 

DeMarcus Walker illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Justice for DeMarcus Walker

DeMarcus Walker. Say his name. Say his name along with the other victims of the hate crimes that fill our society. Just over a year ago, Demarcus was going about his Saturday morning shopping just like many others. On March 7, 2020, at approximately 10:25 in the morning, Walker was run down with a Chevy Impala and then brutally beaten with a baseball bat.

DeMarcus Walker suffered life-threatening injuries and, unfortunately, was not able to pull through. He passed away April 11, 2020, from tracheal narrowing and cerebral edema and hemorrhage due to complications from blunt injuries of the head, which was noted in his autopsy. His death was ruled a homicide.

Zai’quaria Walker, DeMarcus Walker’s daughter, stated to NBC News Anchor Tom Powell “When it’s your family it’s a different kind of pain.” She desperately asked “Why that day? What was going through your head to do that then and there?”

Houston Walker, DeMarcus Walker’s father, commented during a news conference “I feel like it was a hate crime. It had to be. The way I understand in the paper, he was walking around Walmart with a ski mask on looking for people to beat up. That’s how I feel about it.”

Vaughn Lowery, President of 360 Magazine, states “Senseless violence has afflicted America throughout the weeks, and it seems that there is no end in sight. As a nation, we must unite and abandon this malevolent behavior. Once we recognize why the BIPOC and LGBTQ communities are under constant attack because they are intrinsically different, then we will begin to heal. At the end of the day, our legal system is not designed to protect them. In the case of DeMarcus Walker, justice must be served and the person who attempted to kill him must be held accountable according to the highest standards of the law. We can no longer allow malicious intent to pass unnoticed in our judicial system.”.

Police arrested 21-year-old Levi Arnold, who has recently pleaded guilty but mentally ill to charges of murder and resisting law enforcement for the cold-blooded crime he committed last year outside of the Apple Glen Walmart in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Arnold will be sentenced on April 16, 2021, and is facing 51 years in prison.

Illustration by Gabrielle Archuleta for 360 Magazine

Oscars 2021, Only Kind of White

By Dana Feeney

The nominations for the 2021 Oscars have finally been announced. In June 2020 it was announced that the awards show would be postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The Oscars were originally scheduled for February 21 but they will now be on April 25. The award show is run by the Academy of Motion Pictures, which was founded in the 1930s. This is the third time in Oscar’s history that the show has been postponed: the first time was in 1968 after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the second in 1981 due to an assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan.

Despite the Coronavirus pandemic, there are many incredible films that have been created in the past year. This is the first time in Oscars history that the Academy will allow streaming films meaning films that did not have a box office debut. According to the Academy announcement last April, it will be a one time exception made to the eligibility rules due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting theater closures. This makes films like 2021 awards season powerhouse Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, which exclusively premiered on Amazon Prime Video, eligible for award nominations.

Landmarks in Diversity

This is the first time in the Academy’s history that two women have been nominated for Best Director; Chloé Zhao for “Nomadland” and Emerald Fennell for “Promising Young Woman.”  Zhao is the first woman of color to be nominated for Best Director at the Oscars. She is also the first woman to ever receive four nominations in one year. 

This is the first time that the Best Actor category is not majority white. Steven Yeun was the first Asian American to be nominated for Best Actor for his role in “Minari“. Also nominated for Best Actor, Riz Ahmed is the first person of Pakistani descent and the first Muslim person ever nominated for an acting Oscar for his performance in “Sound of Metal.” They are nominated alongside Chadwick Boseman for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” Anthony Hopkins for “The Father” and Gary Oldman for “Mank.” Chadwick Boseman is the first black actor to be nominated for a posthumous Oscar and may be the first black actor to win a posthumous Oscar considering his Golden Globes win

Many black filmmakers and professionals made history this year including Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson, who are the first Black women nominated for best makeup and hairstyling for their work on “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” Additionally, “Judas and the Black Messiah” is the first movie with an all-Black producing team, Shaka King, Charles D. King and Ryan Coogler, to be nominated for best picture. Daniel Kaluuya and LaKeith Stanfield’s acting nominations for “Judas and the Black Messiah” marks the first time two Black actors from the same film were nominated. “Judas and the Black Messiah” now holds the record for most Black nominees ever from the same film with 10 nominations compared to the past record which was “The Color Purple” with 7 nominations.

The best actress nominees include Viola Davis for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” who is now the most nominated Black actress ever and Andra Day for her performance in “The United States vs. Billie Holiday.” The best supporting actor nominees include Daniel Kaluuya for “Judas and the Black Messiah”, Leslie Odom Jr. for “One Night in Miami…” and LaKeith Stanfield for “Judas and the Black Messiah.” Additionally, Yuh-Jung Youn, who is nominated for Best Supporting Actress for “Minari”, is the first Korean person ever nominated for an acting Oscar.

As expected, the nominations for the Oscars have many familiar titles from the Golden Globes nominations. You can read more about this year’s Golden Globes here. It’ll be interesting to see how the Oscars winners compare to the Golden Globes winners considering last year’s parallel with Parasite’s Oscars win for Best Picture versus it’s Golden Globes snub.

This year’s nominations are as diverse as the Oscars have ever been, though the bar still is on the floor considering the nominees are still predominantly old, white, and male. In 2020 the Oscars earned the hastag, #OscarsSoWhite so The influx of recognition for minorities is significant in comparison. For reference last year the only non-white person nominated was Cynthia Erivo, who was nominated for Best Actress. 

The Academy is working on improving their organization and have increased the number of female identifying members from 25% in 2015 to 33% in 2020, and increased members from racial and ethnic minorities, from 10% in 2015 to 19% in 2020. Considering the significant lack of diversity and recognition in categories like Best Picture and the lack of representation for Latinx individuals almost entirely, the Academy still has a way to go til its awards actually recognize and represent the diversity of the film community. 

Full List of 2021 Oscar Nominations

Similar to college basketball’s March Madness brackets, we highly recommend making Oscars ballots. It’s a super fun way to engage in awards shows which tend to be pretty monotonous and motivates people to actually watch the nominated films.

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

NOMINEES:

RIZ AHMED

Sound of Metal

CHADWICK BOSEMAN

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

ANTHONY HOPKINS

The Father

GARY OLDMAN

Mank

STEVEN YEUN

Minari

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

NOMINEES:

SACHA BARON COHEN

The Trial of the Chicago 7

DANIEL KALUUYA

Judas and the Black Messiah

LESLIE ODOM, JR.

One Night in Miami…

PAUL RACI

Sound of Metal

LAKEITH STANFIELD

Judas and the Black Messiah

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

NOMINEES:

VIOLA DAVIS

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

ANDRA DAY

The United States vs. Billie Holiday

VANESSA KIRBY

Pieces of a Woman

FRANCES MCDORMAND

Nomadland

CAREY MULLIGAN

Promising Young Woman

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

NOMINEES:

MARIA BAKALOVA

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

GLENN CLOSE

Hillbilly Elegy

OLIVIA COLMAN

The Father

AMANDA SEYFRIED

Mank

YUH-JUNG YOUN

Minari

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

NOMINEES:

ONWARD

Dan Scanlon and Kori Rae

OVER THE MOON

Glen Keane, Gennie Rim and Peilin Chou

A SHAUN THE SHEEP MOVIE: FARMAGEDDON

Richard Phelan, Will Becher, and Paul Kewley

SOUL

Pete Docter and Dana Murray

WOLFWALKERS

Tomm Moore, Ross Stewart, Paul Young and Stéphan Roelants

CINEMATOGRAPHY

NOMINEES:

JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH

Sean Bobbitt

MANK

Erik Messerschmidt

NEWS OF THE WORLD

Dariusz Wolski

NOMADLAND

Joshua James Richards

THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7

Phedon Papamichael

COSTUME DESIGN

NOMINEES:

EMMA

Alexandra Byrne

MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM

Ann Roth

MANK

Trish Summerville

MULAN

Bina Daigeler

PINOCCHIO

Massimo Cantini Parrini

DIRECTING

NOMINEES:

ANOTHER ROUND

Thomas Vinterberg

MANK

David Fincher

MINARI

Lee Isaac Chung

NOMADLAND

Chloé Zhao

PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN

Emerald Fennell

DOCUMENTARY (FEATURE)

NOMINEES:

COLLECTIVE

Alexander Nanau and Bianca Oana

CRIP CAMP

Nicole Newnham, Jim LeBrecht and Sara Bolder

THE MOLE AGENT

Maite Alberdi and Marcela Santibáñez

MY OCTOPUS TEACHER

Pippa Ehrlich, James Reed, and Craig Foster

TIME

Garrett Bradley, Lauren Domino, and Kellen Quinn

DOCUMENTARY (SHORT SUBJECT)

NOMINEES:

COLETTE

Anthony Giacchino and Alice Doyard

A CONCERTO IS A CONVERSATION

Ben Proudfoot and Kris Bowers

DO NOT SPLIT

Anders Hammer and Charlotte Cook

HUNGER WARD

Skye Fitzgerald and Michael Scheuerman

A LOVE SONG FOR LATASHA

Sophia Nahli Allison and Janice Duncan

FILM EDITING

NOMINEES:

THE FATHER

Yorgos Lamprinos

NOMADLAND

Chloé Zhao

PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN

Frédéric Thoraval

SOUND OF METAL

Mikkel E. G. Nielsen

THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7

Alan Baumgarten

INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM

NOMINEES:

ANOTHER ROUND

Denmark

BETTER DAYS

Hong Kong

COLLECTIVE

Romania

THE MAN WHO SOLD HIS SKIN

Tunisia

QUO VADIS, AIDA?

Bosnia and Herzegovina

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

NOMINEES:

EMMA

Marese Langan, Laura Allen and Claudia Stolze

HILLBILLY ELEGY

Eryn Krueger Mekash, Matthew Mungle, and Patricia Dehaney

MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM

Sergio Lopez-Rivera, Mia Neal, and Jamika Wilson

MANK

Gigi Williams, Kimberley Spiteri, and Colleen LaBaff

PINOCCHIO

Mark Coulier, Dalia Colli and Francesco Pegoretti

MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE)

NOMINEES:

DA 5 BLOODS

Terence Blanchard

MANK

Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

MINARI

Emile Mosseri

NEWS OF THE WORLD

James Newton Howard

SOUL

Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Jon Batiste

MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG)

NOMINEES:

FIGHT FOR YOU

from Judas and the Black Messiah; Music by H.E.R. and Dernst Emile II; Lyric by H.E.R. and Tiara Thomas

HEAR MY VOICE

from The Trial of the Chicago 7; Music by Daniel Pemberton; Lyric by Daniel Pemberton and Celeste Waite

HUSAVIK

from Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga; Music and Lyric by Savan Kotecha, Fat Max Gsus, and Rickard Göransson

IO SÌ (SEEN)

from The Life Ahead (La Vita Davanti a Se); Music by Diane Warren; Lyric by Diane Warren and Laura Pausini

SPEAK NOW

from One Night in Miami…; Music and Lyric by Leslie Odom, Jr. and Sam Ashworth

BEST PICTURE

NOMINEES:

THE FATHER

David Parfitt, Jean-Louis Livi, and Philippe Carcassonne, Producers

JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH

Shaka King, Charles D. King, and Ryan Coogler, Producers

MANK

Ceán Chaffin, Eric Roth, and Douglas Urbanski, Producers

MINARI

Christina Oh, Producer

NOMADLAND

Frances McDormand, Peter Spears, Mollye Asher, Dan Janvey, and Chloé Zhao, Producers

PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN

Ben Browning, Ashley Fox, Emerald Fennell, and Josey McNamara, Producers

SOUND OF METAL

Bert Hamelinck and Sacha Ben Harroche, Producers

THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7

Marc Platt and Stuart Besser, Producers

PRODUCTION DESIGN

NOMINEES:

THE FATHER

Production Design: Peter Francis; Set Decoration: Cathy Featherstone

MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM

Production Design: Mark Ricker; Set Decoration: Karen O’Hara and Diana Stoughton

MANK

Production Design: Donald Graham Burt; Set Decoration: Jan Pascale

NEWS OF THE WORLD

Production Design: David Crank; Set Decoration: Elizabeth Keenan

TENET

Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Kathy Lucas

SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)

NOMINEES:

BURROW

Madeline Sharafian and Michael Capbarat

GENIUS LOCI

Adrien Mérigeau and Amaury Ovise

IF ANYTHING HAPPENS I LOVE YOU

Will McCormack and Michael Govier

OPERA

Erick Oh

YES-PEOPLE

Gísli Darri Halldórsson and Arnar Gunnarsson

SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION)

NOMINEES:

FEELING THROUGH

Doug Roland and Susan Ruzenski

THE LETTER ROOM

Elvira Lind and Sofia Sondervan

THE PRESENT

Farah Nabulsi and Ossama Bawardi

TWO DISTANT STRANGERS

Travon Free and Martin Desmond Roe

WHITE EYE

Tomer Shushan and Shira Hochman

SOUND

NOMINEES

GREYHOUND

Warren Shaw, Michael Minkler, Beau Borders, and David Wyman

MANK

Ren Klyce, Jeremy Molod, David Parker, Nathan Nance, and Drew Kunin

NEWS OF THE WORLD

Oliver Tarney, Mike Prestwood Smith, William Miller, and John Pritchett

SOUL

Ren Klyce, Coya Elliott, and David Parker

SOUND OF METAL

Nicolas Becker, Jaime Baksht, Michelle Couttolenc, Carlos Cortés and Phillip Bladh

VISUAL EFFECTS

NOMINEES:

LOVE AND MONSTERS

Matt Sloan, Genevieve Camilleri, Matt Everitt, and Brian Cox

THE MIDNIGHT SKY

Matthew Kasmir, Christopher Lawrence, Max Solomon, and David Watkins

MULAN

Sean Faden, Anders Langlands, Seth Maury, and Steve Ingram

THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN

Nick Davis, Greg Fisher, Ben Jones, and Santiago Colomo Martinez

TENET

Andrew Jackson, David Lee, Andrew Lockley, and Scott Fisher

WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)

NOMINEES:

BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM: DELIVERY OF PRODIGIOUS BRIBE TO AMERICAN REGIME FOR MAKE BENEFIT ONCE GLORIOUS NATION OF KAZAKHSTAN

Screenplay by Sacha Baron Cohen & Anthony Hines & Dan Swimer & Peter Baynham & Erica Rivinoja & Dan Mazer & Jena Friedman & Lee Kern; Story by Sacha Baron Cohen & Anthony Hines & Dan Swimer & Nina Pedrad

THE FATHER

Screenplay by Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller

NOMADLAND

Written for the screen by Chloé Zhao

ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI…

Screenplay by Kemp Powers

THE WHITE TIGER

Written for the screen by Ramin Bahrani

WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)

NOMINEES:

JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH

Screenplay by Will Berson & Shaka King; Story by Will Berson & Shaka King and Kenny Lucas & Keith Lucas

MINARI

Written by Lee Isaac Chung

PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN

Written by Emerald Fennell

SOUND OF METAL

Screenplay by Darius Marder & Abraham Marder; Story by Darius Marder & Derek Cianfrance

THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7

Written by Aaron Sorkin

No More Hate illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Atlanta Shooting

By: Carly Cohen × Heather Skovlund

Early this week, a tragedy had occurred in Atlanta, Georgia. A total of eight victims were killed at the Georgia spa. Six of the eight victims were Asian, and when the suspect got caught, he claimed that “his actions were not racially motivated.” It was stated that it was too soon in the investigation to claim this shooting as a hate crime; however, the shootings were “aimed at a recent wave of attacks against Asian Americans that coincided with the spread of the coronavirus across the United States.” The suspect claimed that apparently “sex addition” drove him to commit these murders.

There were multiple incidents: the first occurred at Young’s Asian Massage Parlor in a mall off Highway ninety-two, about thirty miles north of Atlanta. When the police got the call, five people were shot, and two were dead while three were rushed to the hospital. An hour later, after this tragedy, two other shootings happened right across the street- one being on Piedmont, the other at the Gold Spa and Aromatherapy.

There were seven women and one man; most of them were Asian. The victims have been identified as Delainia Ashley Yaun, Paul Andre Michels, Xiaojie Tan, and Daoyou Feng.

Yaun and her husband, Mario Gonalez, were off work getting a couples massage at Young’s Asian Massage when the tragedy started. Her husband safely made it out of the salon, but he and his wife were in separate rooms when the shooting was started. They had a family together; a thirteen-year-old son and an infant daughter. It is sad to say that this woman was a victim in this shooting that not one person deserved -separating families, taking parents, taking siblings. It is a terrible, terrible thing that no one deserved. John Beck, Yaun’s manager, voiced to BuzzFeed News that “her heart was so big.” She would feed homeless people and offer them clothes and a place to shower. Hearing a person who is so kind and so pure as Yaun makes you ask the question, “why do bad things happen to good people.” It doesn’t make sense and is not fair.

Xiaojie Tan was the owner of Young’s Asian Massage as was another victim of the attack. She was known for being an extremely hardworking small-business owner and had such a big heart filled with love and kindness. Her client, Greg Hynson, stated that when he came for an appointment on his birthday a year ago, she had a birthday cake waiting for him. Another victim, Paul Andre Micheals, was a U.S Army infantry veteran married for more than two decades. He was a “dedicated, hardworking, loving man,” his brother stated.

These killings brought a “wave of outrage and attention to violence against Asian-American people.” As soon as social media was notified of the attacks and assumed to be focused on Asian’s, you could see all over the media celebrities, influencers, and people left and right posting regarding standing up for the lost lives and spreading awareness to this hate crime and all hate crimes in general. The media has been outraged and will continue to stand together.

Cardi B Illustration for 360 Mag

21 in 21

21 Afro-Latinxs to celebrate in 2021 and beyond! 

By: Javier Pedroza

It’s Black History Month, which gives the planet time to reflect on how African American achievements have contributed to US history and how African achievements have contributed to the world. Although, don’t forget it is important to highlight and celebrate Black accomplishments year around. Due to the current global climate, it’s important to become more knowledgeable and celebrate the Afro-Latinx population for its contributions to US history and the world.

After 2020, it is an especially important time to embolden the community to take part in the celebration of Black culture. This year, the Black History Month theme is “Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity” which explores the African diaspora and their contributions.

To really understand the African diaspora it is essential to acknowledge that there were more African slaves to Latin America than to the United States. “There were 11.2 million Africans who came to the New World in the slave trade and of that 11.2 million, only 450,000 came to the United States,” Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. said in a discussion about his PBS documentary series Black In Latin America. He added, “The real black experience, in terms of numbers, is all throughout the Caribbean and Latin America.”

Today, Latinx should understand their roots, which have an undoubtedly long history of African heritage. Hispanics & Latinx identities are beautifully complex, multifaceted and multidimensional. A Pew Research Center survey of Latinx, adults shows that one-quarter of all U.S. Latinx self-identify as Afro-Latinx, Afro-Caribbean, or of African descent with roots in Latin America. This is the first time a nationally representative survey in the U.S. has asked the Latinx population directly whether they considered themselves Afro-Latinx.

Many Latinos identify with their ancestral countries of origin – Puerto Rico, Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Cuba, Peru, the Dominican Republic, etc. Others may also identify with their Indigenous roots and all of these experiences made contributions to Black History. A goal to have moving forward is to celebrate global Black History and continue to recognize the contributions African-Americans have made to the world, including achievements made by Afro-Latinxs & Afro-Indigenous people. It’s imperative for Latinxs to acknowledge their African & Indigenous heritage given that history and cultures are inextricably linked to slave trade in the Americas, genocide and the African Diaspora. 

Here’s a growing list of amazing Afro-Latino (a,x) heroes and their contributions. 

1. Arturo Alfonso Schomburg

(January 24, 1874 – June 10, 1938)

Place of birth: Santurce, Puerto Rico 

Contributions: Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, born to a Black mother and father of German descent, was a historian. Mr. Schomburg is considered to be one of the Fathers of Black History & a key figure in the Harlem Renaissance. Schomburg’s lifework consisted of research and preservation—work that would lead him to become one of the world’s premier collectors of Black literature, slave narratives, artwork, and diasporic materials. 

2. Dr. Marta Moreno-Vega 

(January 3, 1942)

Place of birth: East Harlem, New York

Contributions: Dr. Marta Moreno-Vega is an Afro-Boricua who established the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI). Dr. Moreno Vega has been an advocate for cultural equity, cultural studies and education. As the second director of El Museo del Barrio, one of the founders of the Association of Hispanic Arts, Network of Centers of Color and the Roundtable of Institutions of Color, Dr. Moreno Vega has contributed to assuring that the contributions of African and African descendants are integral to the lives of civil society in the Americas. 

3. Celia Cruz 

(October 21, 1925 – July 16, 2003)

Place of birth: Havana, Cuba

Contributions: Celia Cruz was a singer & recording artist born and raised in Havana, Cuba. She was one of the most iconic artists of the 20th century. Her many honors included three Grammy Awards and four Latin Grammys for recordings such as Ritmo en el corazón (1988; with Ray Barretto) and Siempre viviré (2000).

4. Dr. José Celso Barbosa 

(July 27, 1857 – September 21, 1921)

Place of birth: Bayamón, Puerto Rico 

Contributions: Dr. José Celso Barbosa was a Physician, Sociologist and Politician.  Known as the father of the Statehood for Puerto Rico movement, Barbosa was the first Puerto Rican, and one of the first persons of African descent to earn a medical degree in the United States.

5. Ruth Fernández (Ruth Noemi Fernández Cortada) 

(May 23, 1919 – January 9, 2012)

Place of birth: Ponce, Puerto Rico

Contributions: Ruth Fernández, “El Alma de Puerto Rico Hecha Canción” (“The Soul of Puerto Rico Turned Song”) was a Puerto Rican contralto, actress, and a member of the Puerto Rican Senate. She was the first and only singer ever elected to the Senate of Puerto Rico. She was considered by many to be the Rosa Parks of Puerto Rico when she refused to enter the Vanderbilt Hotel in San Juan through its back entrance because she was a woman of color. The owners of the hotel stated that blacks had to enter through the rear of the building, but during one evening where she was set to perform at the hotel’s ballroom, she marched into the hotel via its front entrance. After this event, the hotel changed its policy.

6. Cardi B (Belcalis Marlenis Almánzar)

(October 11, 1992)

Place of birth: Manhattan, New York

Contributions: Afro-Latina Cardi B is a Dominican & Trinidadian rapper, songwriter, and actress raised in the Bronx, New York. Recognized by Forbes as one of the most influential female rappers of all time, Cardi B is known for her aggressive flow and candid lyrics, which have received widespread media coverage. She is the highest certified female rapper of all time on the RIAA’s Top Artists (Digital Singles) ranking, also appearing among the ten highest-certified female artists and having the two top-certified songs by a female rap artist.

She is the only female rapper with multiple billion-streams on Spotify and became the first artist to top the inaugural Billboard Global 200. Her accolades include a Grammy Award, eight Billboard Music Awards, five Guinness World Records, five American Music Awards, eleven BET Hip Hop Awards and two ASCAP Songwriter of the Year awards. In 2018 Time magazine included her on their annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world, and in 2020, Billboard honored her as Woman of the Year. 

7. Rosa Alicia Clemente 

(April 18, 1972)

Place of birth: Bronx, New York

Contributions: Afro-Boricua Rosa Alicia Clemente is the 2008 United States Vice-Presidential Candidate, Producer, Journalist, Political Commentator & Scholar-Activist. Rosa is a graduate of the University of Albany and Cornell University. She is currently a doctoral student in the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies of University of Massachusetts Amherst. 

8. Congressman Ritchie John Torres 

(March 12, 1988)

Place of birth: Bronx, New York

Contributions: Ritchie Torres is an Afro-Boricua politician who is a member of the Democratic party. He is the US representative for New York’s 15th congressional district. Torres was the first openly gay candidate to be elected to legislative office in the Bronx, and the youngest member of the city council. Torres won the November 2020 general election and assumed office on January 3, 2021. This makes him one of the first openly gay Black men elected to Congress (along with Mondaire Jones). This also made Torres the first openly gay Afro Latino elected to Congress. As such, he is one of the nine co-chairs of the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus in the 117th United States Congress. 

9. Zoe Saldana (Zoë Yadira Saldaña Nazario) *Trending Now

(June 19, 1978)

Place of birth: Passaic, New Jersey

Contributions: Zoe Saldaña is of mixed ethnic heritage, with her mother being of Puerto Rican descent and her father hailing from the Dominican Republic. Zoe is the only performer to get star billing in more than one movie that grossed over $2 billion worldwide with Avatar and Avengers: Infinity War. 

10. Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos 

(September 12, 1891 – April 21, 1965)

Place of birth: Ponce, Puerto Rico 

Contributions: Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos was a Puerto Rican attorney, social activist, nationalist and the son of a mixed-race mother who was the daughter of slaves and a Basque father from a farming and landowning family. The latter not only provided no financial support but also did not legally recognize his son until he was 19, and Albizu Campos grew up in poverty. In 1912 he was awarded a scholarship to study chemistry and engineering at the University of Vermont. He transferred a year later to Harvard University, majoring in chemistry and literature and becoming the first Puerto Rican Harvard graduate. Many people in Puerto Rico consider Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos the father of the Puerto Rican Independence Movement. 

11. Carmelo Kyam Anthony

(May 29, 1984)

Place of birth: Brooklyn, New York

Contributions: Carmelo Anthony is an Afro-Latino professional basketball player. He has been named an NBA All-Star ten times and an All-NBA Team member six-time Anthony also played in the 2016 Olympic Games, his fourth straight stint in the Olympics, which was a record for a US male basketball player, breaking the old record of having played in three Olympiads he shared with James and Robinson. He has celebrated his roots by giving back to Puerto Rico, remodeling basketball courts in a poor neighborhood 3 years in a row now. 

12. La La Anthony (Alani Nicole Vázquez) 

(June 25, 1981)

Place of birth: Brooklyn, New York

Contributions: La La Anthony is an Afro-Puerto Rican actress, host, producer and New York Times best-selling author. La La Anthony has supported charities such as the Elton John AIDS Foundation, Gabrielle’s, Angel Foundation, GLAAD and Voto Latino. 

13. Rosie Perez (Rosa María Perez) 

(September 6, 1964)

Place of birth: Brooklyn, New York

Contributions: Rosie Perez is an Afro-Latina actress, choreographer and community activist. Rosie was appointed to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS by President Barack Obama in 2010. Among many honors, Rosie was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Fearless as well as three Emmy Awards for her work as a choreographer on In Living Color (1990–1994).

Perez has also performed in stage plays on Broadway, such as The Ritz, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, and Fish in the Dark. In addition, she was a co-host on the ABC talk show The View during the series’ 18th season. 

14. MJ Rodriguez (Michaela Antonia Jaé Rodriguez) 

(January 7, 1991)

Place of birth: Newark, New Jersey

Contributions: MJ Rodriguez is an African American and Puerto Rican actress who is among the largest cast of transgender actresses on the show Pose. MJ made history by becoming the first Trans woman to ever sign a beauty deal with Olay Body. MJ was awarded the Hispanic Heritage Special Trailblazer Award at the 31st Hispanic Heritage Awards in Washington D.C. 

15. Ramon E. Contreras 

(22-years-old)

Place of birth: Brooklyn, New York

Contributions: Ramon Contreras is a young political activist, advisor and filmmaker who is changing the nature of civic engagement by championing and encouraging minorities to participate in politics. Ramon is a fierce gun control enthusiast and founded YouthOverGuns, a platform advocating for change in underserved communities of color. He led a protest of thousands across the Brooklyn Bridge and is the National Strategist for the nation-wide organization, March for Our Lives. 

16. Laith Ashley De La Cruz 

(July 6, 1989)

Place of birth: Harlem, New York

Contributions:  Laith Ashley is a model, actor, singer-songwriter and entertainer of Dominican descent. He was the first transgender man to be featured in a Diesel campaign. Laith has been on the cover of countless magazines and has had featured stories published on countless others all around the world; ie, British GQ.

Laith was on the cast of the reality TV series, “Strut,” executive produced by Whoopi Goldberg, and raised the heart rates of viewers in his appearance on hit series, “Pose,” on FX. Ashley is also an activist, particularly in transgender issues. He worked with FLUX, a division of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which is dedicated to raising awareness and providing support to trans and gender-nonconforming people. 

17. Dianne Morales 

(June 21, 1967)

Place of birth: Brooklyn, New York 

Contributions: Double Ivy League graduate Dianne Morales is an Afro-Boricua with degrees from Harvard University and Columbia University. Dianne is the former CEO of several multi-million dollar social service nonprofits and is also the first Latina / Afro-Latina candidate for New York City Mayor. 

18. Johnny Pacheco 

(March 25, 1935 – February 15, 2021)

Place of birth: Santiago De Los Caballeros, Dominican Republic

Contributions: Johnny Pacheco was one of the most influential artists of Latin music. He was one of the creators of The Fania All-Stars and Fania Record (#latinmotown), the most successful record label in the history of Latin music. 

19. Aida Rodriguez (Aida Margarita Parada Rodriguez) 

(August 29, 1977)

Place of birth: Boston, Massachusetts

Contributions: Aida Rodriguez is a comedian, host, producer, actress and the first Latina / Afro-Latina (Puerto Rican & Dominican) to appear in two comedy specials airing in one month on both HBO and Showtime. Aida’s latest comedy special premiered on Netflix as part of the “They Ready” series hosted by Tiffany Haddish. Rodriguez has also appeared on Comedy Central’s This Week at the Comedy Cellar, The Nightly Show, five-time host of the PBS Imagen Awards, NBC Last Comic Standing’s finals, TRUtv’s Laff Tracks and is also a regular contributor for The Young Turks. 

20. Indya Moore 

(January 17, 1995)

Place of birth: Bronx, New York

Contributions: Indya Moore is of Haitian, Puerto Rican, and Dominican ancestry. They are an actor among the largest cast of transgender on the show Pose. Moore does not identify as a Latinx, and instead identifies as Afro-Taíno. In June 2020, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the first LGBTQ Pride parade, Queerty named them among the fifty heroes “leading the nation toward equality, acceptance, and dignity for all people.” 

21. Gina Torres 

(April 25th, 1969)

Place of birth: Manhattan, New York 

Contributions: Gina Torres is an actress and the first Afro-Latina to create, produce and star in her own show, ‘Pearson’. Torres won the ALMA Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Syndicated Drama Series for her role in Cleopatra 2525. Gina also received the Best Supporting Actress award by The Imagen Foundation (Spanish for “image”) Awards, the only premier Latino entertainment awards program dedicated to honoring the positive portrayal and creative excellence of Latinos and Latino cultures on screen. 

Fact Check: We strive for accuracy and fairness. If you see something that doesn’t look right, contact us!

protest illustration by Alison Christensen for 360 Magazine

ANDERSON .PAAK – LOCKDOWN, LEAVE THE DOOR OPEN

ANDERSON .PAAK WINS GRAMMY FOR BEST MELODIC RAP PERFORMANCE FOR EMOTIONALLY CHARGED SINGLE “LOCKDOWN”

MAKES TV DEBUT AS SILK SONIC PERFORMING NEW SINGLE “LEAVE THE DOOR OPEN”

Esteemed singer, songwriter, producer Anderson .Paak takes home the Grammy Award for Best Melodic Rap Performance for his critically acclaimed single, “Lockdown”.

.Paak released his highly regarded single “Lockdown” last year on Juneteenth via Aftermath Entertainment, exclusively distributed by 12Tone Music, LLC. Inspiration for the song came from .Paak’s participation in a Los Angeles Black Lives Matter protest where peaceful protestors were being shot with rubber bullets by the police. The song was accompanied by the Grammy nominated video directed by Dave Meyers featuring Andra Day, Jay Rock, Syd, SiR, Dumbfoundead & Dominic Fike.

WATCH THE VIDEO FOR “LOCKDOWN” HERE

The now 4-time Grammy Award winning .Paak also took to the stage with Bruno Mars in a television performance debut of new project Silk Sonic with Bruno Mars. The duo performed a funky retro rendition of their new single, “Leave The Door Open.” Variety coincidentally described the song as “a glorious blast of vintage R&B that could be a Best R&B Song Grammy winner from 1974.”

Anderson .Paak was nominated for Best Music Video: “Lockdown” and Best Melodic Rap Performance: “Lockdown”.

The win for Best Melodic Rap Performance follows his Best R&B Album win for Ventura and Best R&B Performance win for “Come Home” featuring Andre 3000 earlier this year. He won his first Grammy in 2019 for Best Rap Performance for his song, “Bubblin.’”

.Paak was also featured on this year’s Grammy Award nominated albums from Nas (Kings Disease) and Free Nationals (Free Nationals). He was a co-producer on John Legend’s “One Life” from his album, Bigger Love.

Lil Baby illustrated by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Lil Baby Performing at Grammy’s

PERFORMING ON THE 63rd ANNUAL GRAMMY’S

AIRING SUNDAY, MARCH 14, 8 PM ET / 5 PM PT ON CBS

NOMINATED FOR TWO GRAMMY AWARDS:

BEST RAP SONG AND BEST RAP PERFORMANCE FOR THE BIGGER

The Recording Academy announced that Lil Baby will perform at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards. The Awards will air on Sunday, March 14th, at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT on CBS Television Network from the Los Angeles Convention Center in downtown LA.

Lil Baby has been one of the most dominant and critically acclaimed names in rap since his first release in 2017. In February 2020, he released My Turn, which entered The Billboard 200 at #1, hovered in the Top 5 for 14 weeks, and then returned to the #1 selling album of any genre in 2020.

Lil Baby is as authentic as they come. At just 26 years old, he is unapologetically himself, speaking his truth in his lyrics and that connects him to listeners like no other. Last June as the nation protested, Lil Baby dropped a powerful record “The Bigger Picture”; articulating frustration, confusion, and a call to stand up for something much bigger than himself.

My Turn held 14 records simultaneously on The Billboard Hot 100 and Lil Baby has recently surpassed musical titans Prince and Paul McCartney among others in Billboard Hot 100 hits in his young 3-year career. To date, Baby’s catalog reached 22 billion global streams, scored 8 #1 songs at Urban Radio, won the BET Award for Best New Artist, named Vevo’s Top Performing Hip-Hop Artist of 2020, named MVP on Rap Caviar, and won the top award of Global Artist of the Year at the Apple Music Awards. The Bigger Picture was nominated for two Grammy’s (Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song). He has seen widespread critical acclaim from the likes of GQ and Vanity Fair and has graced the covers of Rolling Stone and NME. With such a rapid rise and a relentless stream of critical and commercial hits, it’s clear that Lil Baby is one of the greatest modern success stories in hip-hop.

Illustration of a Booker by Kaelen Felix for 360 Magazine

Ambition Ladiez: Up-And-Coming Agency Proves That ‘Representation Matters’

In an era that has been ripe for the gradual erosion of longtime social stigmas in seemingly every area of human activity, the emergence of Ambition Ladiez has proven to be quite timely.

Founded in 2018 by Easop Winston, the San Francisco Bay Area-based agency equally fills niches in the urban and women’s markets, both of which feature strong consumer and brand loyal bases.

From its inception, Ambition Ladiez established itself as an urban lifestyle model and marketing agency which specializes in various forms of media, including photoshoots, brand ambassadorships, event hosting, music videos, and television placements. Ambition Ladiez has also branded itself as a disruptive outlier in its industry, having a diverse roster of models — Women of Color ( or BIPOC) — represent the company in a refreshing and empowering manner that would provide a beacon of inspiration for upcoming generations of young women who aspire to work in the modeling world.

Although the company has made its mark on the industry as a model and marketing agency, Ambition Ladiez is currently evolving to be yet another trendsetter — this time venturing into the podcast space. Original programming such as “The Lounge,” the “Cooking With” series, and the “Conversations” series have proven to give viewers a smorgasbord of delectable content for their consumption.

Adding more gas to the blazing path that the brand is currently on, Ambition Ladiez has ramped up its digital footprint, now making it virtually impossible for its movement to be slowed down — or, for the sake of the brand’s most ardent supporters — ignored either. In the past couple of years, Ambition Ladiez was able to successfully launch its app, which includes its featured content (of all forms/genres) uploaded on to major streaming platforms, such as Apple, Google Play, and Amazon Appstore, Roku, Fire TV, and Android TV.

One of the more popular shows on the Ambition Ladiez digital platform  — the “Cooking With” series — allows viewers to get a glance into their more redeeming sides of the models that supersede just their outward beauty by giving a glance of their cooking skills.

Another branch of the marketing and modeling agency’s ecosystem is its magazine. As of this writing, Ambition Ladiez Magazine has already successfully pressed and launched two issues of its quarterly publication, with more expected to be released by the end of 2021. The magazine remains true to its core demographic of longtime supporters and subscribers, providing written features on public figures, Bay Area-based artists, health, politics, and other hot topic social issues which peak the interest(s) of its target audience.

One of the magazine’s featured artists in mind is Yung Lott. A Bay Area Native and well-respected recording artist, Yung Lott’s alliance with the Ambition Ladiez brand has been solidified through him having Ambition Ladiez models featured in his music videos, as well as having a story written about him in the magazine. All of this is a testament to the agency’s reach and streamlined operations.

Prior to the widespread shutdowns of entertainment venues and live events due to the COVID outbreak of 2020, Ambition Ladiez models could be seen at such events, usually working as brand ambassadors, hosts of parties, or even utilizing their interpersonal skills to conduct red carpet interviews with VIP guests at many of the more premier events. 

The events are not only relegated to the San Francisco Bay Area. Ambition Ladiez soon will look to extend its presence to Las Vegas and Los Angeles. These two cities would be an ideal accommodation for the fast-growing entertainment/media centered brand.

In light of the country’s progressive transition towards inclusion, diversity, and proper representation in all industries, Ambition Ladiez is writing the blueprint for how to construct an outlet that’s a great alternative to traditional modeling and marketing agencies by focusing on BIPOC models. The agency then uses its multimedia capabilities to highlight not only the naturally appealing ethnic features of its models, but it can also use its original series to profile them in a favorable light in which they may not have been if they worked elsewhere.

In spite of the company’s fast growing profile among industry peers, Ambition Ladiez has enabled enthusiasts of the brand to actually buy into what it stands for, having merchandise for sale. This helps to expand its already fast growing fanbase, and allows them to feel a sense of connectivity to the brand by donning Ambition Ladiez merchandise.

The movement that the brand is creating can be likened to a record-setting storm, and in the eye of ‘Hurricane Ambition Ladiez’ exists two powerful components yet to be mentioned in great detail: company Founder & CEO Easop Winston, and…the Ambition Ladiez themselves.

A Bay Area Native, Winston has always embodied the very essence of ambition. A man of tremendous vision and unmatched work ethic, he learned the ins and outs of the entertainment and media business as a recording artist. Touring the world, writing and recording countless music projects, and weathering the treacherous paths of ‘The Business’ has molded Easop into a seasoned veteran, and quite the entrepreneur. After witnessing misrepresentation and mistreatment of creatives in the industry for years, he has assumed the role of an emancipator of sorts, allowing individuals who want to step foot into the entertainment or media world a platform to let their light(s) shine. “As a young artist, I would have relished the opportunity to be signed to an agency that thoroughly cultivates its talent with care in the manner that Ambition Ladiez does,” he states. “Once I was in a position to impart the knowledge that I have acquired on to up-and-coming generations of talent, I did not hesitate. This is what compelled me to launch the agency.”

The lucky recipients of Easop Winston’s tutelage are none other than the ACTUAL Ambition Ladiez. This extensive assortment of young women who hail from different places, ethnicities, and skill sets have set the modeling industry’s bar higher for the precise blend of riveting beauty, natural talent, and marketable personalities. Holding true to its ethics as a modeling and marketing agency, Ambition Ladiez has managed to maintain an impressive retention rate — from one of its original ‘Day 1’ signees (Nicole), to one of its newest faces (Lulu). The agency does its due diligence to provide an adequate platform that will allow them placement for other opportunities, while preparing them for longevity in the industry.

The way in which Easop establishes leadership to his company is worth taking notes from. As Owner of Ambition Ladiez, he has built an operation that’s reminiscent of many of the same methods Barry Gordy used to successfully run the legendary Motown Records many decades ago. While from first glance, the business appears to move smoothly and emanates an atmosphere of fun and leisure, Easop gives us a friendly reminder of the figurative blood, sweat, and tears that go into all things Ambition Ladiez. “I preach punctuality (for both in-person and recorded appearances), dedication to excellence, and an open line of communication for the ladies signed to this team (agency).”

With such a strong and rich culture of opulence infused into the Ambition Ladiez brand, the agency could very well forge its own path into the history books as a shining example for industry peers to follow for many years to come. 

Now THAT’s “Ambition.”

Def Jam Recordings × Marvel Comics – Black Panther

Def Jam Recordings and Marvel Comics – two iconic brands who have left an indelible stamp on popular culture the world over – today announce a special collaboration designed to integrate the voices of young Black creatives with one of the most transformative characters and storylines in graphic arts history: Black Panther. Three of Def Jam’s rising stars – Saint Bodhi, Bobby Sessions, and Kaash Paige – will each contribute character-driven short stories in Black Panther #23, #24, and #25, the last three issues of the “Intergalactic Empire” saga from the acclaimed creative team featuring writer Ta-Nehisi Coates and artist Daniel Acuna.

Black PIn celebration of Black History Month, arriving February 24th, Black Panther #23 will see buzzing South-Central-LA singer/songwriter Saint Bodhi share her take on Storm for an emotional story grounded in tragedy and acceptance.  One month later in issue #24, Dallas-native, revolutionary rapper Bobby Sessions will tell a story about the King of Wakanda Black Panther himself.  And in the series finale issue #25 in April, “Toxic R&B” breakout star Kaash Paige will forge a tale about Wakandan Princess Shuri and the power of knowledge. Aligned with the Def Jam Forward initiative to promote social, economic, and educational equality, each three-page story will also feature an exclusive one-page Def Jam artist profile.

“Bringing these two logos together was a dream,” said Def Jam partnerships consultant Jonathan Rheingold. “There was a mutual desire to unite these two great brands for a mission and a cause — leveraging Def Jam’s rising stars and the legendary Marvel characters to tell powerful stories that would make an emotional connection with fans of both cultures.”

Bodhi, Sessions and Paige are stepping into comics for the first time within these highly anticipated issues, but each of the Def Jam artists have a long-standing passion for Marvel and the world of comics and graphic arts in general. And like the inspirations behind their latest albums, the challenges faced by Marvel’s heroes are not so far removed from their own. “My album Mad World is a raw, honest, and very personal journey into my life and upbringing in South Central L.A.,” Saint Bodhi writes. “I grew up with a not-so-normal past.  I say the things people are afraid to say. I let you experience the ‘mad world’ that is my life.”

Similarly, “Teenage Fever is my debut album and it was important for me to capture my last year of being a teen through my music,” says 20-year old Kaash. “This chapter of my life is coming to an end so I wanted to put all my experiences into a document that will live forever.”

“My album Manifest is a guide for people to transform into the greatest version of themselves,” Sessions concludes.  “A body of work that will lead people to find their inner super hero!”

Bodhi, Sessions, and Paige will bring their short stories to life alongside some of Marvel’s most talented comic book writers and artists. Kicking off with her Storm story in Black Panther #23, Bodhi will be joined by co-writer Danny Lore, artist Alitha Martinez, and colorist Rachelle Rosenberg. Don’t miss this iconic new issue of Black Panther and Bodhi’s Marvel Comics debut, on stands in comic shops everywhere February 24th! As a bonus, Bodhi’s debut story will also be included in Marvel’s Voices: Legacy #1, a celebration of Black voices and artists, on sale the same day.

Over the next week, fans can tune in to Marvel’s podcasts on SiriusXM including This Week in Marvel, Women of Marvel, and Marvel’s Pull List to hear from these artists making their Marvel debuts. More information about Sessions and Paige’s stories will be released in the coming weeks.

About Def Jam Recordings

Founded in 1984, Def Jam Recordings has represented the cutting-edge in hip-hop music for more than 35 years. Def Jam began as a maverick independent label inspired by downtown New York City’s vibrant street culture and the emerging sound of hip-hop, pioneered by iconic stars like LL Cool J, Slick Rick, The Beastie Boys and Public Enemy. Over the following two decades, Def Jam established its dominance with superstar acts like Jay-Z, DMX, Ja Rule, Method Man & Redman, Ludacris, Rihanna, Jeezy, and the inimitable Kanye West. Now in its fourth decade, Def Jam’s music and lifestyle has grown into a global brand – synonymous with creativity, quality and authenticity – encompassing a diverse roster of marquee and emerging stars like West, Justin Bieber, Alessia Cara, Logic, Pusha T, Jadakiss, Vince Staples, Jeremih, Big Sean, YG, 2 Chainz, Dave East, and Jhene Aiko, among others. Today, Def Jam has reaffirmed its passion for and commitment to hip-hop culture, and has expanded its global brand reach to become the most-followed major label on all major social media platforms.

About Marvel Entertainment

Marvel Entertainment, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is one of the world’s most prominent character-based entertainment companies, built on a proven library of more than 8,000 characters featured in a variety of media for over eighty years. Marvel utilizes its character franchises in entertainment, licensing, publishing, games, and digital media.

For more information visit marvel.com.

© 2021 MARVEL

About Def Jam Forward

Def Jam Forward is a task force committed to fostering a community that values, promotes and demands respect, freedom, equal opportunity and justice for Black lives.

Our goal is social, economic and educational equality for every Black person in our community, starting with our own artists, staff and colleagues. Our commitment to equality means we will examine and amend our internal practices, as well as support organizations on the frontlines of the fight for change.

As a company, we are uniquely positioned to be a thought leader within the music industry and the world at large. As members of this task force, and ambassadors of its message, it is imperative that we embody and implement a roadmap to lasting and meaningful change.

MarvelXDefJam – Storm