Posts tagged with "homeless"

Tokyo's Revenge Press Image by Kevin Maya Used By 360 Magazine

Tokyo’s Revenge Q&A

By Sabrina Weiss

Under the alias Tokyo’s Revenge, this youthful rapper’s prestige supersedes his TikTok fame. The anonymous musician’s track “GOODMORNINGTOKYO” blew up on TikTok and topped music charts, but his raw talent and earnest personality translate beyond the app. With his new song and music video “GOTHAM” and new album 7VEN, Tokyo continues to maintain his unique style with anime and comic-book inspiration. 

With humility and honesty, Tokyo navigates his quick rise to fame with his friends, who double as his musical team, by his side. The young talent spoke equally as transparently about his previous struggles with homelessness, personal approach to mental health, and favorite flavor of Starbursts (pink). All the while, Tokyo giggled and challenged us to video game battles. Even beyond his musical talent, Tokyo’s personality gravitates listeners and a loyal following.

When did you begin your music career?

Well, I did some free-style rapping in high school a bit, but that was mostly to fit into different friend groups. Then, for awhile after high school, I was homeless and ended up couch hopping at different friends’ houses. At one point I stayed with some friends who were constantly making music but didn’t know how to engineer it. It was from these friends that I got the inspiration to learn how to engineer the music. At first, I just engineered their music. But, I only started posting my stuff on Soundcloud about two months into me learning how to mix music. I’m not sure why it took that amount of time, something just clicked at that point.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, you were on your As Good as Dead Tour. We saw all the love you give your fans, particularly when you surf the crowd and jump in the mosh pit with your listeners. What was your most memorable moment of the tour? 

Oh man there were a lot of good moments. One of the most memorable times would be when I had to lie to security about whether I was going to get in the crowd. If I were to say yes then they would chase me in there. They go in and grab me as quickly as they can when I tell them I’m going to crowd surf. But, lowkey, I hate when they do that. The crowd is where I get my energy from. So I lied so I could be in there with my fans for longer.

There is a Discord ping in your new song “Gotham.” Do you actually use the chat app?

Well, it’s funny you ask that because I have my Discord open right now. I am constantly in my Discord with thousands and thousands of my supporters. I’ll hop in there and play video games with everyone and chat with all of you. I was actually just in one right before this interview and my buddy knocked on my door and said, “Hey man, you’ve got that interview right now, hop off real quick.”

After you blew up on TikTok, we are all wondering what you will do next. How do you plan on maintaining long-term relevance?

By doing whatever I feel like. I learned early on that I am not striving to have fans and followers based on trends. I want fans, followers, and family who support me through any medium I choose because I feel like I am connected to them more than just musically. Whether it be through YouTube videos or making music, I just want to continue to be connected to my fans. My fans are one of my major support systems.

What made you decide to be anonymous?

The idea of no one really knowing about me and trying to figure me and my personality out through clues in my music, rather than social media, is really appealing to me. I am not super attached to social media because if you try to over present yourself through social media, then people won’t be into your art. I want my music to get my face out, not my social media. Some artists are more focused on being social media influencers rather than their art and I’m just the opposite. I don’t talk much about me, I just talk through my music and let my listeners figure me out.

Along the topic of the modern musician, what do you think the industry is missing right now?

Actually, I don’t think the music industry is missing anything right now. If anything, I think there is too much of everything. A little while ago, I had an epiphany and thought to myself, “The biggest problem we have right now is that we are overexposed to everything.” And I feel the same way about the music industry. 

Only two years ago, you were couch-hopping at friends’ houses and now you have quickly risen to fame. How have the struggles of homelessness made you successful in your career?

It taught me not to get comfortable, ever. Being homeless gave me this huge hunger to never stop doing something, because back then I wasn’t focused on music immediately. I was focused on finding a place to work and to sleep. But, if I was comfortable just living like that, then I would probably still be doing just that.

I always wanted to do something bigger and better than couch-crashing, bigger and better than finding a shitty apartment to stay in and just making enough money to survive. I wanted to level-up to a point that my friends and I can be comfortable forever, and that’s how I got here.

You’ve spoken honestly about your mental health in the past. What do you do to get your head right?

I wake up and take a super long, burning hot shower. And then I think of everything but music. I don’t try to force myself into the music. I wake up and remind myself that I am a regular person who came from one place to this place with my best friends. 

We all focus on each others’ mental health more than anything else, and the music is tied into that. I try not to think of music as a job, because it wasn’t a job to us prior it was an outlet for all of our feelings. We play Smash Bros, go out and do something, and then if we are in the zone to make music, then we make music. If not, then maybe tomorrow! There’s no pressure.

Kaelen Fenix illustration for homelessness in 360 MAGAZINE

Covid-19 Increasing Homelessness

By Eamonn Burke

A study back in May of this year by a Columbia professor found that the unemployment resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic could increase homelessness by 45%, following a peak unemployment rate in April of 14.7%. Using data from previous recessions as well as current unemployment trends, Dr. Brendan O’Flaherty estimated that another 250,000 people would become homeless this year, bringing the total number of homeless in the country to 800,000. Across the nation, evidence of this narrative coming to fruition is clear. In West Virginia, there are 10,000 homeless students. 125 homeless people have died this year in San Francisco. Homelessness is increasing in Ohio and Texas, and Residents of Long Island are petitioning for another homeless shelter. This is just some of data to show the trend of widespread homelessness as a result of the coronavirus.

Besides taking the lives of many through infection, the coronavirus has caused a massive recession, like likes of which have not been seen since the Great Depression in the 1930s. As of last month, 22 millions Americans are receiving unemployment payments, coming after one of the best economic stretches in American history.

In addition to unemployment benefits, many people were also protected by the moratorium under the Federal CARES Act, which has since expired, allowing evictions to resume. An Aspen Institute study estimates 30-40 million people could be evicted by the end of 2020. This means even more people out on the streets and more vulnerable to getting COVID, which creates a vicious cycle and creates more pressure on emergency services. Shelters are available but often overcrowded and unsanitary.

There is also the issue of those who are older and who have preexisting conditions, who have been identified as higher risk for COVID-19 and who also are becoming more prevalent among homeless populations. Over 100,000 people over 45 years old were estimated to be living outside on an average night in 2019. Another study showed that around 85% of unsheltered people had physical health issues in 2019. Lastly, a Harvard study revealed that roughly 11 million households spend at least half of their income on housing, making them vulnerable in a recession.

There is also a racial undertone of the homelessness crisis from Covid-19, as black and Latinx people make up a large portion of the population and 58% of black and Latinx people lack the sufficient liquid assets to survive a recession. This can lead to greater racial disparity in an already tumultuous period for race relations in the country.

The CARES act also provided $4 billion in funding, which the Center on Budget Policy and Priorities, along with The National Alliance to End Homelessness used to develop a framework for how to use the money to fight homelessness. It focuses on five major points: services for the unsheltered, housing, shelter, prevention and diversion, and improving future systems.

It is expected that the rising homelessness rate with correlate with the projected rising unemployment rate through 2022. The homelessness rate was already rising with overpopulation, and the pandemic is acting as a catalyst for the issue.

Naz “ItsNastyNaz” Saleh

TikTok, a phone app allowing users to share fun videos of singing, dancing and skits, has taken the world by storm, and Naz “Itsnastynaz” Saleh is its megastar.

Saleh, or “Itsnastynaz” on TikTok, was a completely ordinary fast food worker yet a complete anomaly. He was born on April 27, 1997, in Bronx, New York, and raised by his Yemeni-descendant parents looking for a better life for their kids. When he turned 12, he started working 12 hours per day, seven days per week. Saleh hit rock bottom when excessive bullying made him drop out of high school, but things changed.

Saleh went from working in fast food to being a man who enjoys all luxuries of life, but what made Naz Saleh who he is today?

It all started when Saleh was watching a YouTube video and a Musical.ly ad popped up. He saw the famous Baby Ariel. The video made him laugh and think he could do it even better than she could if he gave it a try. That was the turning point in his life. He started performing more skits with his brother in his workplace. He became an overnight success when the third video he uploaded was viewed 5 million times, and it didn’t stop there. The video spread like wildfire and was featured on news channels internationally.

His audience skyrocketed to over 6 million followers. He was awarded the “Popular Creator” badge by TikTok after his videos broke the internet and were viewed between 100 million and 350 million times.

That’s when he quit his 84-hour-per-week job to focus full time on his TikTok career. He now sits at 13 million followers.

Saleh is now known as “The Most Generous Man in New York” after filming himself giving food and money to homeless people. His videos also caught the attention of the government, giving some of those homeless people the option to go to rehab. Many said goodbye to their previous lives and moved toward a path of happiness.

Following his quick ascent, Saleh signed deals with iconic brands such as What Do You Meme? and Fashion Nova. He even received sponsorship deals from apps on the Apple App Store. He went from working in fast food to making seven figures and driving luxury cars all in a day’s work.

Though he has found success on TikTok, life isn’t always easy for Saleh. He receives many hateful comments online.

When asked how he deals with hateful comments, Saleh said, “Receiving so much hate can be heart-breaking and really demotivating. It used to have really bad effects on my mindset and my happiness until I realized making skits, helping people and making others happy is my safe place, and no one can make me feel bad about that.”

He admits sudden fame can be a bit overwhelming, but Saleh tries to remain positive, using his power to spread as much love and happiness as he can.

Bodega Picture

Community illustrated by Mina Tocalini for 360 MAGAZINE.

Renewal Award Winners 

A global pandemic. Racial injustice. Extreme political polarization. In an incredibly challenged moment for the country, extraordinary people in communities across America are working tirelessly to light the way forward. Community-based organizations have become essential lifelines, which is why five nonprofits that represent the brightest lights were chosen as recipients of this year’s Renewal Awards.

The Renewal Awards, presented by The Atlantic and Allstate, is a national competition recognizing organizations that use innovative solutions to create lasting change in their communities. This year’s winners are the 5th class of award recipients and were selected from more than 13,000 nominations. Each winner receives a $40,000 grant to amplify their mission of helping others, along with national recognition that elevates their profile and awareness for their work.

Despite facing significant funding and staffing challenges in this unprecedented year, the winning organizations continue to stay relentlessly focused on the most pervasive and systemic challenges affecting society—homelessness, educational equity, skills and job training, and children and families in need. Each organization serves different needs, but all are united by a core belief that defines our times—no matter who we are, we can lift each other up in times of need.

2020 WINNERS

  • Choose 180 (Burien, WA): Engages youth in critical moments and empowers them to make positive changes in their lives, especially when facing jail time or school expulsion. *Allstate Youth Empowerment Award Winner.
  • College to Congress (Washington, D.C.): Levels the playing field and fosters bipartisanship for congressional interns, providing both financial support and mentorship across the aisle.
  • Facing Homelessness (The BLOCK Project) (Seattle, WA): Integrates 125-square-foot detached accessory dwelling units in residential backyards to reduce homelessness.
  • Hello Neighbor (Pittsburgh, PA): Supports recently resettled refugees with mentorship, educational training, and community events.
  • More Than Words (Waltham, MA): Empowers youth who are in foster care, court-involved, homeless, or out of school by helping to run a bookstore.

The Atlantic’s Ron Brownstein writes about the work of this year’s winners, and the larger story they tell about the country, in a piece published today: “Real Reform Comes From Civic Stamina”. “We are proud to continue this critical partnership with Allstate, especially during the unprecedented events dramatically affecting all communities across the country,” said Hayley Romer, The Atlantic’s Publisher and CRO. “The generous spirit and relentless work modeled by these community leaders is inspiring and driving the progress we need.”

“2020 has changed our way of life, yet these five organizations continue to find ways to serve others despite the enormous challenges they face,” explained Stacy Sharpe, Allstate’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Brand. “These amazing community leaders should remind us all that anything is possible when you know your purpose and have the passion to create a lasting impact.”

Finalists were selected by The Atlantic’s editors and writers. Winners were evaluated by a panel of judges who include former Mayors Rahm Emanuel (Chicago) and Karen Freeman-Wilson (Gary, IN); Anne Marie Burgoyne, managing director of social innovation at Emerson Collective; Kate Nack, director of The Allstate Foundation; former Rep. Carlos Curbelo (Florida); and two past Renewal Award winners, Juedy Mom, director of The Compton Initiative, and Pamela Urquieta, CEO and Executive director of Let’s Innovate Through Education. Allstate selected the Youth Empowerment Award winner.

Started in 2015, The Renewal Awards spotlight grassroots solutions to challenges faced by communities around the country and the people making a positive difference. The awards are the flagship initiative of The Renewal Project, The Atlantic and Allstate’s broader partnership that covers innovation and celebrates change-makers in local communities. With this year’s award, 31 organizations have received more than $800,000 in funding from The Atlantic and Allstate to further their work. To learn more about the awards, and read about past winners, please visit TheRenewalProject.com.

Follow The Renewal Project: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Jane Velez-Mitchell illustration by Mina Tocalini

Meat Causes Cancer

The American Cancer Society’s (ACS) new guidelines for cancer reduction were revealed recently and it’s no surprise that they recommend avoiding or reducing meat intake. The ACS is advising the public to consume far less processed and read meats while shifting to more plant-based whole foods. In the guidelines they do advise consuming nutrient-rich, high in fiber foods like vegetables, whole grains, beans, fruits, and peas. “Eat the rainbow” as we’ve all heard for years. 

These new guidelines follow in line with the World Health Organization (WHO) stance released in 2015 where they famously classified red meats as a Group 2A carcinogen that was “probably carcinogenic to humans”. They referenced studies that lined consistent consumption of red meat to colorectal cancer.   

New Day New Chef: Support and Feed Edition focuses on the organization’s work supplying food to children’s charities, homeless and domestic abuse shelters, food banks, family and senior centers by supporting vegan restaurants in Los Angeles, New York, and Philadelphia. Filmed largely with robotic cameras during the COVID-19 outbreak, the show follows Maggie Baird, (actress, screenwriter, vegan, and mother of musicians Billie Eilish and Finneas, who are also vegan) on her journey to create Support and Feed. Two episodes are now available to stream on Prime Video, with more released weekly. 

Animal Rights Activist & Host of “New Day New Chef: Support and Feed” Jane Velez-Mitchell is the founder and editor of JaneUnChained.com, a multi-platform social media news channel producing thousands of widely shared videos on animal rights and veganism. Jane is the winner of four Genesis Awards from the Humane Society of the United States. For six years she hosted her own show on HLN (CNN Headline News) where she did a weekly animal segment. Velez-Mitchell also reported for the TV show Celebrity Justice, and was a news anchor/reporter at KCAL-TV in LA and WCBS-TV in NY. Jane is active in the LGBTQ community in Los Angeles. Two episodes are now available to stream on Prime Video, with more released weekly. 

Follow New Day New Chef Support and Feed: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Young Bae

A native of Seoul, South Korea, Young Bae’s childhood reads like a painful chapter of Oliver Twist. Using her innate talent – art – to overcome years of poverty, homelessness and abuse, Young managed to escape.

Young’s mom, an artist herself, was consistently unable to provide and care for her children and members of their community refused to volunteer assistance. Young recalls the cultural reaction to her family’s suffering with clarity,

“Korea is a materialistic country,” confides Young, now proprietor of the marquee Diamond Tattoos shop in New York City’s Times Square. “No matter how hard you work, it is hard to break away from poverty – nobody gives you an opportunity. If you’re poor, you’re poor for life. They treat the less fortunate like shit, hence I couldn’t talk to anybody about how I was living – not even my best friend. So I kept it all a secret, as best I could.”

Young did her best to mix in with other more privileged kids, even as she and her family moved around in church basements, abandoned houses and even a shipping container throughout her teenage years. “I may have been homeless with no money, but I was always fresh and fashionable,” says the self-taught tattoo queen has come a long way to now ink high-profile clientele and eager fans of the drama-filled show, “Black Ink.” “When my family didn’t have access to a shower I would clean up at public restrooms every morning. I’d also get hand-me-down-clothes from church and create my own fashions, or at least I tried to. My teachers suspected I was poor because there were things I couldn’t pay for, but for the most part I think I flew under the radar.”

She didn’t fly under the radar though when it came to her talent, her teachers and classmates acknowledged her ability to sketch, draw as well as paint. Young began receiving accolades for her fabrications, using the sales to buy basic necessities.

Young was able to land a partial academic scholarship to a college where she continued to hone her craft until she was ready to leave Korea.

“New York is an artist’s city,” says the Chugye University graduate, “so it just made sense.”

They say if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere and the bonafide hustler Young took the motto to heart. In 2007, the 22-year-old made a beeline for Koreatown in Manhattan, touching down with just $80 and a student visa to study English, she landed a job at a local nail salon.

Despite a language barrier, she wouldn’t stop there. Young continued job hunting, getting jobs at restaurants, jewelry shops, even illegally hawking her art in New York’s famed Union Square. All this to make her share of the rent for a small place with roommates in New Jersey.

On the way to the tattoo shop in NYC, the neon lights of New York City brightly shined on the other side of the Lincoln Tunnel.

Tattooing was illegal in South Korea so Young had no experience. “I walked in, took a look around at the tattoo sketches on the wall, and thought, hey, I could do this. So I offered the shop owners a barter: in exchange for giving me a shot I would clean their shop for free. They agreed.” With that, her apprenticeship commenced.

In no time, Young became confident in her skills and moved to another shop where she could demand a tattoo artist’s wages. Quickly becoming the most requested artist in the shop, Young decided look into owning and operating her own business.

“I rented this little ratty spot on 46th Street in Times Square. It was literally a storage room in the back of an eyebrow threading shop. I got licensed, worked like three additional jobs to afford the $1000/month overhead and scoured the area to find shelves, paint and other stuff to decorate. I upholstered my first tattoo chairs with fake leather I found on the street. Then every day I’d go hold up this human-sized sign advertising my shop, and miraculously people showed up. Eventually so many showed up, I quickly outgrew the space!”

With Young’s growing credibility and reputation among fellow artists throughout the tri-state area, it was no wonder that reality TV show producers eventually came calling.

“My shop might not have been the fanciest, but my work was good and news about me began to spread quickly. It kept getting bigger and busier every year,” she says.

Young was delighted to join VH1’s popular show “Black Ink Crew: New York” during its fifth season. Heading into its seventh season, Young Bae is a fascinating and loveable character to watch.

Through it all, Young gives God the credit for not just where she is today but where’s she’s headed, “I had faith that poverty, homelessness and abuse wouldn’t be the end of my story. I went through all of what I did so I could come out on top on the other end and eventually go on to help others who are vulnerable like I was. There is greatness waiting for us all and I’m determined to live and share my best life now.”

Currently, Young Bae is working on an athleisure line 2one2 and a book sharing her life experiences.

Additional information can be found on her wikipedia.

Architects for Animals + “Giving Shelter” Event

Architects & Celebrities Including Clint Eastwood, Jay Leno & William Shatner Accept Challenge to Help Homeless Cats

Architects for Animals “Giving Shelter” Event October 19 in Southern California’s Culver City to Benefit Local Non-Profit FixNation

 
One of this year’s most innovative design events, Architects for Animals® “Giving Shelter” exhibit, returns to the Herman Miller Showroom in Culver City on Thursday, October 19th 2017. The event is expected to be a sold-out fundraiser for LA-based non-profit FixNation, which provides free spay/neuter services for the city’s skyrocketing population of homeless cats.  

LA’s top architecture and design firms as well as individual architects and designers have been invited to design, build and donate one-of-a-kind and functional outdoor dwellings for cats. Shelters will be displayed at a cocktail reception attended by the public, VIPs and media representatives. Also on display: cat food bowls decorated by feline-loving celebrities such as Jay Leno, Beau Bridges, Elvira, William Shatner, Clint Eastwood, Eric Dickerson, Tricia Helfer and Morgan Fairchild, which will be available for purchase via an online auction.

“These cat shelters are absolutely remarkable,” says FixNation’s Co-Founder and Executive Director Karn Myers. “They will help raise awareness about homeless cats and provide practical solutions that can be implemented throughout our community.” 

This year’s event has added significance as the organization honors Myer’s late husband, Mark Dodge. The couple co-founded FixNation 10 years ago.

Los Angeles is home to one of the nation’s largest populations of homeless felines, an estimated one to three million cats. FixNation is a model for successful Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) and humane colony management programs across the country and around the world.

“Many communities use lethal methods in an attempt to control the population of stray, abandoned and feral cats. Such methods are not only horribly cruel, they simply don’t work,” explains Myers. “We founded FixNation because we believe TNR is a much more effective and compassionate alternative. Our mission is to manage colonies of homeless ‘community cats’ and gradually reduce their number through humane sterilization.”

Participating design firms this year include: Abramson Teiger Architects; d3architecture; ES-EN-EM; HLW; HKS; HOK; Knowhow Shop; Kollin Altomare Architects; RNL; and Standard Architecture | Design.

The event is open to the public from 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm at the HermanMiller Showroom: 3641 Holdrege Ave, Los Angeles CA 90016. Tickets are $50 and may be purchased online or at the door.

Photos of the 2016 Architect for Animals “Giving Shelter” creative designs can be found here.

About FixNation

FixNation is an award-winning Los Angeles-based non-profit that supports Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) programs for homeless cats. The organization provides free spay and neuter services for homeless cats as well as low-cost services for pet cats. Founded in 2007, FixNation has cared for nearly 150,000 cats to date. Details at fixnation.org.

About Architects for Animals®

Architects for Animals® by Feral Design Group LLC is an awareness raising initiative that plans one-night events benefiting select animal welfare organizations. Participating architecture and design firms as well as individual architects and designers design, build and donate creative outdoor shelters to provide animals with refuge from the elements. Details at architectsforanimals.com.