Menendez, Kaine, Gillibrand, Van Hollen, Sarbanes, Hayes, Courtney Urge the Biden Administration to Extend the PSLF Waiver.
The bicameral group of lawmakers asked for the waiver deadline to be extended until July 1, 2023
U.S. Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), alongside U.S. Representatives John Sarbanes (D-Md.-03), Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.-05), and Joe Courtney (D-Conn.-02), today led a bicameral group of nearly 100 colleagues in urging U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona to extend the limited Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) waiver deadline until July 1, 2023 – when the Department of Education’s new PSLF regulations are set to take effect, in order to ensure all public servants with federal student loans can benefit from this historic waiver. Since the Department announced the limited PSLF waiver last October, more than 189,000 public servants have had their student loans forgiven through the program and one million have received an average of one additional year of PSLF credit.
“To date, the waiver has been overwhelmingly successful in reducing barriers for borrowers to receive PSLF relief, as the waiver accounts for almost all (91%) of the borrowers who have received forgiveness through the PSLF program through July 31, 2022,” wrote the lawmakers to Secretary Cardona. “The limited waiver [has] also [been] a lifeline for Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) borrowers who—for the first time—have seen their payments acknowledged in the PSLF program.”
Despite how many public servants have already benefited from the limited waiver, the lawmakers highlighted that these borrowers represent only a fraction of the public servants who are eligible for PSLF. According to the Student Borrower Protection Center’s estimates, only 15% of the 9 million public service workers with student debt have filed paperwork to track their qualifying payments under PSLF. The lawmakers also echoed the more than 20 state attorneys general who warned that fundamental programmatic problems with the PSLF program will immediately return – likely in a more exacerbated manner – if the waiver ends before the Department of Education implements its new PSLF regulations.
“Extending the PSLF waiver will also allow more military service members and federal employees to make progress towards loan forgiveness through PSLF. Though the Department has announced that it is currently working to ensure that all federal agencies and departments automatically provide credit for PSLF for members of the military and federal employees, this program is not yet in place,” added the lawmakers. “Military and federal data matches are critical to ensuring that the Department can identify which borrowers are eligible for PSLF and provide them automatic relief.”
This effort is supported by 35 advocacy groups, including: AASA, The School Superintendents Association, Accountable.us, American Association of University Women (AAUW), American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC), American Council on Education (ACE), American Federation of Teachers (AFT), American Psychological Association (APA), OCA- Asian Pacific American Advocates, Association of Young Americans (AYA), Chicago Foundation for Women (CFW), Community Service Society of New York (CSSNY), Consumer Action, Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), Fosterus, Maryland Center for Collegiate Financial Wellness (MCCFW), National Action Network Washington Bureau, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), National Association of Social Workers (NASW), National Council of Nonprofits, National Education Association (NEA), National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), New Leaders, New Jersey Citizen Action, Public Law Center, Social Current, Student Borrower Protection Center (SBPC), Student Debt Crisis Center (SDCC), The Arc, The Education Trust, The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS), UnidosUS, and Virginia Poverty Law Center (VPLC).
Joining Sens. Menendez, Kaine, Gillibrand, and Van Hollen in the Senate in signing the letter are: Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).
Joining Reps. Sarbanes, Hayes, and Courtney in the House in signing the letter are: Reps. Alma Adams (D-N.C.-12), Colin Allred (D-Texas-32), Cynthia Axne (D-Iowa-03), Nanette Barragán (D-Calif.-44), Karen Bass (D-Calif.-37), Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.-01), Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.-16), Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.-02), Shontel Brown (D-Ohio-11), Salud Carbajal (D-Calif.-24), Sean Casten (D-Ill.-06), Judy Chu (D-Calif.-27), David Cicilline (D-R.I.-01), James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.-06), J. Luis Correa (D-Calif.-46), Angie Craig (D-Minn.-02), Danny K. Davis (D-Ill.-07), Rosa L. DeLauro (D-Conn.-03), Mark DeSaulnier (D-Calif.-11), Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.-12), Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas-35), Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.-13), Dwight Evans (D-Pa.-03), Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.-07), Jesús “Chuy” García (D-Ill.-04), Sylvia Garcia (D-Texas-29), Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.-34), Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.-03), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas-18), Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.-53), Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.-07), Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.-06), John B. Larson (D-Conn.-01), Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.-14), Teresa Leger Fernandez (D-N.M.-03), Stephen F. Lynch (D-Mass.-08), Lucy McBath (D-Ga.-06), Betty McCollum (D-Minn.-04), James McGovern (D-Mass.-02), Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.-09), Gwen Moore (D-Wisc.-04), Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.-32), Marie Newman (D-Ill.-03), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.-At-Large), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.-14), Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.-06), Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.-20), Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-N.J.-09), Chellie Pingree (D-Maine-01), Katie Porter (D-Calif.-45), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.-07), Mike Quigley (D-Ill.-05), Jamie Raskin (D-Md.-08), Deborah K. Ross (D-N.C.-02), C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.-02), Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.-01), Gregorio Sablan (D-N. Mariana Is.-At-Large), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.-09), David Scott (D-Ga.-13), Adam Smith (D-Wash.-09), Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.-07), Haley Stevens (D-Mich.-11), Thomas Suozzi (D-N.Y.-03), Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.-15), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.-13), David Trone (D-Md.-06), Juan Vargas (D-Calif.-51), Nydia M. Velázquez (D-N.Y.-07), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.-12), Peter Welch (D-Vt.-At-Large), Susan Wild (D-Pa.-07), Nikema Williams (D-Ga.-05), and John A. Yarmuth (D-Ky.-03).
Thank you for your continued efforts to improve the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. As you are aware, the limited PSLF waiver, announced last October, has significantly improved the lives of the more than 189,0001 public servants who have had their student loans forgiven though the program and the one million2 who have received an average of one additional year of PSLF credit. Given the upcoming October 31, 2022 limited PSLF waiver deadline, we write to reiterate our request3 that the Department of Education extend its deadline until July 1, 2023—when the Department’s new PSLF regulations will take effect—in order to ensure that all public servants with federal student loans are able to benefit from this historic waiver.
To date, the waiver has been overwhelmingly successful in reducing barriers for borrowers to receive PSLF relief, as the waiver accounts for almost all (91%) of the borrowers who have received forgiveness through the PSLF program through July 31, 2022.4 The limited waiver is also a lifeline for Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) borrowers who—for the first time—have seen their payments acknowledged in the PSLF program. Yet, data indicates that only a fraction of the public servants who are eligible for PSLF have utilized the waiver. According to the Student Borrower Protection Center’s estimates, only 15% of the 9 million public service workers with student debt have filed paperwork to track their qualifying payments under PSLF.5
As more than 20 state attorneys general have pointed out, “[g]iven the essential benefits provided by the limited PSLF waiver, and the fact that fundamental problems with the PSLF program will immediately return (likely in an exacerbated form) upon the waiver’s end, we have grave concerns about the plans to end the waiver . . . before the Department’s new PSLF regulations take effect.”6 These attorneys general, alongside the education advocacy, government, and non-profit community as a whole, agree that operationalizing and explaining the waiver has been an incredible challenge for the Department, as well as its servicers. Such challenges have left numerous public servants confused about how the waiver, consolidation, and the Department’s one-time review to fix forbearance and deferment failures will work. This is especially true for FFEL borrowers and borrowers who still hold joint consolidated loans from the Department, many of whom are still unaware that they may have an opportunity to qualify for PSLF under the limited PSLF waiver.
Importantly, extending the PSLF waiver will also allow more military service members and federal employees to make progress towards loan forgiveness through PSLF. Though the Department has announced that it is currently working to ensure that all federal agencies and departments automatically provide credit for PSLF for members of the military and federal employees, this program is not yet in place. Military and federal data matches are critical to ensuring that the Department can identify which borrowers are eligible for PSLF and provide them automatic relief.
Since the deadline of October 31, 2022 to qualify for PSLF under the waiver program is less than one month away, we ask that the Department extend this deadline in order to ensure that all public servants with federal student loans are able to benefit from this historic waiver.
As we surpass the midway point of 2022, it’s safe to say this year has been nothing short of earth-shaking. From the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade, to the devastating number of mass shootings that have struck the United States, 2022 has been full of alarming headlines. Let’s take a look at some of the most prominent stories for the month of July.
Heatwaves in Europe
Recently, many countries in Europe, such as Britain, Italy, France, Spain, Germany have experienced unusually high temperatures, with local highs reaching 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius), which caused numerous wildfires.
Forest fires also broke out in many parts of Italy. One of the fires threatened to cut power and water to parts of the northeastern city of Trieste.
Meanwhile, the homes in Winnington, England were also damaged by the local fire. Some residents say they lost everything in the fire.
Scientists warn that extreme heat is exacerbated by climate change, making heat waves more intense and frequent and that the dry weather is likely to fuel wildfires.
Shinzo Abe dies from two gunshots
On July 8th, former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe suffered a terrorist attack while giving a speech in Nara city. Although Shinzo Abe had been hospitalized soon after being shot, the local fire department reported that he stopped cardiopulmonary function immediately after falling to the ground.
The incident occurred at around 11:30 a.m. local time as Abe made a speech in front of about 30 people near a subway station in Nara city, where he was campaigning for a liberal Democratic Party candidate in the upper house election. An unidentified man shot Abe from his back around 3 meters away. The Nara fire department said Abe lost consciousness, breath, and heartbeat after falling to the ground. Sixty-seven years old Abe was taken by helicopter to a hospital for emergency treatment and declared dead at 5:03 p.m. local time. The Japan Fire and Disaster Management Agency later confirmed that Abe was shot in the left chest and the right side of the neck.
The suspect was arrested at the scene. According to Japanese media reports, the suspect is a man called Tetsuya Yamagami, 41 years old, a resident of Nara. He confessed to killing Abe with his homemade weapon and holding a grudge against a specific religious group. According to Tetsuya Yanagami, he attacked Abe in the end because his original target, one of the leaders of that group, was not there, and Abe was tied to that religious group.
At the end of June, US President Joe Biden signed a gun safety bill, almost one month following the catastrophic Uvalde elementary school massing shooting. The bill entails granting “groups [the ability] to petition courts to remove weapons from people deemed a threat to themselves or others.”
Other details of the bill include halting individuals that have been convicted of domestic abuse to own a gun, as well as increasing background checks on individuals from the ages of 18-to-21-years-old pursuing to purchase a gun.
Jayland Walker murdered in police shooting
25-year-old Jayland Walker was shot dead in a car/foot pursuit after he was stopped by police officers for traffic and equipment violations in Akron, Ohio. Recent video footage from the bodycams of officers involved in the pursuit and on the scene have just been released, and protests have undergone seeking justice surrounding the confrontation.
The chase began when Walker left the scene of a traffic stop on June 27. In the video footage release to the public, narration speaks that “a sound consistent with a gunshot can be heard,” with officers thinking that the noise came from Walker’s car.
After officers continued to pursue Walker, he stopped his car and began to run, while tasers were used to attempt to halt him. Akron Police Chief Stephen Mylett stated that after this, Walker “stopped and quickly turned towards the pursuing officers.” Walker was shot then, pronounced dead at the scene, unarmed.
While the shooting is under investigation, it has been revealed that a medical examiner found that Walker endured around 60 gunshot injuries from officers. Protests have undergone since Walker was killed, continuing to raise more awareness to the scarce gun control in the United States.
9 dead amongst weekend of Chicago shootings
Amidst the holiday weekend of the 4th of July, an array of shootings took place in Chicago, Illinois. A fatal shootout took place on the evening of July 1, and more shootings continued throughout the weekend. The devastating array of shootings left 9 dead and around 57 people suffering gunshot injuries.
Highland Park Fourth of July parade shooting leaves at least 6 dead
A gunman disrupted the Highland Park Fourth of July parade in Illinois this Independence Day. The shooting left an estimated 6 people dead with other two dozen suffering injuries from the catastrophe. The suspected gunman is allegedly a white man between the age of 18- to 20-years-old, and has not been identified yet.
Ukraine news : the latest Russian invasion update
Russia claims to have destroyed a mercenary deployment point in Mykolaiv. Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, Igor Konashenkov, said in his morning war report that the Russian Aerospace Forces attacked this place with high-precision weapons.
Player Brittney Griner’s desperate letter of help to Joe Biden
The WNBA player has been detained in Russia since February and she is accused of carrying cartridges with hashish oil when she was going to take a plane and could face a sentence of 10 years in prison. Brittney wrote to the president of the United States, Joe Biden, and asked for his help to get out of the Russian prison and return to her home as soon as possible.
Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker break the silence on the recent hospitalization of the drummer of Blink 182
The couple wanted to post their opinions about Barker‘s recent hospitalization on their verified social media accounts. “I went in for an endoscopy Monday feeling great,” Barker posted in a note posted on her Instagram stories. “But after dinner, I developed excruciating pain and have been hospitalized ever since.”
Travis explained that during his endoscopy, he had “a very small polyp removed right in a very sensitive area, usually handled by specialists, which unfortunately damaged a critical pancreatic drainage tube.” “This resulted in severe pancreatitis that was life-threatening,” he added. “I am very, very grateful that with the intensive treatment I am now much better.”
Copenhagen: At least 3 dead and several injured in a mass shooting in a shopping mall that occurred this Sunday in Denmark
Prime Minister, Mette Frederiksen, assured that the authorities continue to investigate what happened. “Denmark was hit by a cruel attack on Sunday night. Several were killed. Even more were injured,” she said.
What is known about the attacker? A 22-year-old man was arrested in connection with the attack. On the morning of this Monday (July 4th), the Danish capital’s police chief, Soeren Thomassen, declared that his department does not believe that the attack was a terrorist event and assured that the suspect has a history of mental health problems.
Egypt: closes its beaches in the Red Sea due to a series of shark attacks
The Egyptian authorities closed several beaches on the Red Sea coast due to the death of two tourists due to different shark attacks. The regional governor said one of the victims was a 68-year-old Austrian woman whose arm was ripped off by a shark while she was swimming near the city of Hurghada.
It is rare for sharks to attack people in the Red Sea, but this year, there have been several incidents involving tourists.
British Airways cancels more than 1,000 summer flights from Gatwick and Heathrow
BA will cancel more than 1,000 additional flights this summer from Gatwick and Heathrow as staff shortages continue to affect its operations. More than 100,000 travelers planning to visit popular holiday destinations such as Spain or Portugal will be affected, although British Airways will mainly reduce routes with multiple daily departures.
Puerto Rican singer Ricky Martin breaks his silence after being denounced for domestic violence
Through a statement shared on Twitter, Ricky Martin assures that the accusations are “completely false” and that he will face the process responsibly. As it is a case under the Law for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, the Puerto Rico police have not revealed the name of the complainant.
As it is a case under the Law for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, the Puerto Rico police have not revealed the name of the complainant. In this way, his identity has been the subject of numerous speculations. As stated by the Puerto Rican newspaper El Vocero, the order indicates that Ricky Martin and the person who has denounced him were together for seven months and separated two years ago.
The measure aims to “address the current situation with extraordinary means and powers, with relief interventions and assistance to the affected population and restore the functionality of public and strategic services and strategic network infrastructures”, the Italian Government has revealed in a statement picked up by the transalpine press.
Australia’s largest city, Sydney, is affected by flooding
The floods in Sydney affect more than 30,000 inhabitants. Besides, mountainous seas and wild weather along the New South Wales coast thwarted plans to salvage a wrecked cargo ship with 21 crew members. Emergency crews carried out 100 rescues overnight Tuesday of people trapped in cars on flooded roads or in flooded houses in the Sydney area, State Emergency Service manager Ashley Sullivan said.
According to the local authorities, the incident happened shortly after midnight when a group of men armed with rifles and 9-millimeter pistols entered the bar. They shooted at the customers, causing 12 people dead at the scene and 2 more were cleared dead after being sent to the hospital. Police said that the suspects are still on the run.
Days of torrential rain have caused waterways to overflow and dams to overflow, producing a fourth flood emergency in 16 months in parts of the city of 5 million people.
We are facing one of the biggest events of the summer, and many fanatics of the Marvel Cinematic Universe are eager to know how many surprises they will discover within it. Who knows! Perhaps there is not room for so many, at least if we look at the supposed length of the film that would have been leaked by some of the American theater chains, and that would leave us with the shortest Marvel movie since 2018. Are you ready to watch it? Coming soon in cinemas.
UK government crisis
The mismanagement of the scandals of the celebrations in the Coronavirus pandemic and in the ranks of his party knocked down the prime minister. On Wednesday, Boris Johnson continued to fight to stay in power as prime minister, in turn sacking cabinet minister Michael Gove after his government was rocked by a wave of ministerial resignations.
In a statement to Parliament on Wednesday, Sajid Javid, a British Conservative Party politician, said after his resignation that “the problem starts from the top and that is not going to change.”
10-year-old rape victim travels across state lines to undergo abortion
One of the most shocking and prominent stories that broke the internet amidst the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade involves a 10-year-old rape victim. The young girl was refused the ability to have an abortion in her home state of Ohio. While she was six weeks and three days pregnant, this exceeded the ban in Ohio to perform an abortion at six weeks.
In Ohio, a child abuse doctor referred the victim to an obstetrician-gynecologist in Indiana to perform the procedure. She then traveled to undergo the practice, where the abortion ban had not been implemented. The Supreme Court’s decision shifted the rules on abortions in Ohio, where previously abortions were not banned until later in a pregnancy.
James Caan dies at the age of 82
James Caan, the actor who played Sonny Corleone in The Godfather has died. The American actor died on the night of July 6, as reported by his relatives on Twitter. “The family appreciates the love and condolences and asks that their privacy continue to be respected at this difficult time.”
Brittney Griner pleads guilty to drug charges in Russia
WNBA Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner has been stuck in Russia since February of 2022. Griner was at the Sheremetyevo International Airport when officials found small units of hashish oil in her belongings. Once discovered, she was taken into custody immediately, facing up to 10 years in prison in Russia for “large-scale transportation of drugs,” though her cartridge contained less than one gram of the marijuana concentrate.
Amongst the travesty, Griner appeared in trial this month with images of her handcuffed being posted all over social media. She has pleaded guilty to her charges, seemingly in hopes of returning to the US quicker. Griner sent a handwritten letter to the President of the US Joe Biden expressing her concern and fear for her freedom. Segments of the heart wrenching letter were released to the media by Griner’s representatives.
“As I sit here in a Russian prison, alone with my thoughts and without the protection of my wife, family, friends, Olympic jersey, or any accomplishments, I’m terrified I might be here forever,” Griner expressed.
She continued to the president, stating, “I realize you are dealing with so much, but please don’t forget about me and the other American Detainees. Please do all you can to bring us home. I voted for the first time in 2020 and I voted for you. I believe in you. I still have so much good to do with my freedom that you can help restore. I miss my wife! I miss my family! I miss my teammates! It kills me to know they are suffering so much right now. I am grateful for whatever you can do at this moment to get me home.”
With no way to measure how long Griner could be held in Russia, her teammates and supporters have taken a stand to urge for her release. As a Black, LGBTQ WNBA player, many have questioned the treatment of Griner. Her coach presented this point, stating, “If it was LeBron, he’d be home, right? […] It’s a statement about the value of women. It’s a statement about the value of a Black person. It’s a statement about the value of a gay person.”
The chain (Vkusno i Tochka) that replaces McDonald’s in Russia runs out of fries due to the sanctions for the war in Ukraine
Vkusno i Tochka (Delicious and Point), the fast food chain that took over McDonald’s restaurants in Russia in June is now facing a growing shortage of French fries due to Western sanctions against the Russian capital, according to RBK TV reported.
Balenciaga showcases celebrity models at Paris Fashion Week
Kim Kardashian, Dua Lipa, Naomi Campbell, Nicole Kidman become the stars of the Balenciaga fashion show.
Balenciaga’s Fall 2022 Couture Collection fashion show transformed celebrities into the best ambassadors of the firm. Paris has become the center of fashion in recent days, because of Haute Couture Week. The great opportunity has brought together the most recognized faces in the sector, and amazing everyone with one of the most surprising Balenciaga fashion shows to date.
Kim Kardashian, the brand’s muse, melted into a striking black dress. She showed off the same color Naomi wore, but with a more voluminous design. Dua Lipa dazzled in a yellow one-shoulder dress, while Nicole triumphed in a mopped, long, metallic design.
The stars were able to parade through the impressive Balenciaga salons wearing the latest haute couture collection from the house, becoming the protagonists of the event and fashion week in the Parisian city. In this new Balenciaga collection, a common thread between the technological future and the past was seen, where a tribute was made to the work of the founder of the house. “It starts in the future and then sinks into the past, in the Infanta dresses that later became the origin of the house,” said Balenciaga designer and creative director Demna Gvasalia.
These uncovered faces, some of them world-famous, contrasted with the mannequins whose faces the creative director of the ‘Maison’ wanted to cover with black enameled polyurethane helmets, made by the Mercedes design team that made it impossible to identify those who they paraded
During these days, we have also been able to enjoy the designs of other major brands such as Chanel, Giorgio Armani, or Christian Dior. Although without hesitation, Balenciaga has overseen shaking up the ‘fashion’ universe at fashion week in Paris.
Oprah Winfrey’s father, Vernon Winfrey, passes away
At 89 years-old, Vernon Winfrey passed away after battling cancer. His daughter, Oprah Winfrey, released a statement via Instagram, where she stated, “Yesterday with family surrounding his bedside I had the sacred honor of witnessing the man responsible for my life, take his last breath, […] We could feel Peace enter the room at his passing.”
Big Brother 24 premieres
The 24th season of CBS’ Big Brother premiered on July 6 with an all-new cast. 16 contestants entered the Big Brother house, where they’re in for a summer full of game play, strategy, and challenges, all while making life-transforming memories. Who will conquer the competition and take home the $750,000 prize? We can’t wait to see!
Ukraine: 15 killed and 24 trapped by Russian missile
On July 10, a Russian missile hit eastern Ukraine and destroyed part of an apartment building, killing at least 15 people and making 24 buried beneath the debris.
“The search and rescue operation continues,” according to Pavlo Kyrylenko, the governor of Donetsk Oblast, “We have more proof of Russia’s crimes, that they shell residential areas of any community, whether it’s close to the front lines or not.”
Ukraine has accused Russia of launching a bunch of missiles to its cities in recent weeks, targeting civilians. Even though Russia denied the accusation, the army kept attacking population centers like Mariupol, Kharkiv and Severodonetsk.
South Africa: Mass shooting kills at least 15 at a bar
According to the local authorities, the incident happened shortly after midnight when a group of men armed with rifles and 9-millimeter pistols entered the bar. They shooted at the customers, causing 12 people dead at the scene and 2 more were cleared dead after being sent to the hospital. Police said that the suspects are still on the run.
France will deport any foreigner who has committed a serious crime
Under current French regulations, anyone who arrived in France before the age of 13 cannot be expelled. Although, the French government is studying the possibility of facilitating the expulsion from the country of “any foreigner who has committed serious acts”, lifting the age restrictions in this regard, according to Gérald Darmanin, the Minister of the Interior.
The Euro against the Dollar
The European currency reaches its lowest level in 20 years against the dollar. The euro and the dollar, both currencies, have been less than a cent from reaching exactly the same value, when the euro hovered around $1,007 last Monday, down almost 15% since the start of the year. This has been caused by different serious reasons. While the fear in the markets of an economic recession in Europe increases, in a context of growing uncertainty about the continuity in the supply of Russian gas and high inflation.
Brad Pitt’s Bullet Train to premiere in August
August 3 marks the date for the release of all-new film Bullet Train. Directed by David Leitch, Brad Pitt stars as Ladybug, an unlucky assassin determined to do his job peacefully after one too many gigs gone off the rails. Fate, however, may have other plans, as Ladybug’s latest mission puts him on a collision course with lethal adversaries from around the globe—all with connected, yet conflicting, objectives—on the world’s fastest train.
The Bachelorette 19 premieres with two leads
ABC’s The Bachelorette promised to be another one of the “most shocking seasons ever” when they named two women as the lead(s) of the popular reality dating series. After making it to the final three of Season 26 of The Bachelor, Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia went through a shocking double breakup.
The pair was named the first set of double bachelorettes at the season finale of their original show. Season 19 of the show will now follow their journey to find love. Navigating how to date 30+ men side by side, the season premiered on July 11. Both Gabby and Rachel will travel the world dating a pool of men, hoping to leave engaged and in love!
US President Biden visits Israel and Saudi Arabia
US President Joe Biden made his tenth visit to Israel this summer. Many believe that at the forefront of Biden’s agenda was to tackle negotiations regarding oil production in Saudi Arabia. Others sincerely hoped Biden will tackle the issue of Iran gaining more nuclear weapons.
Uvalde elementary school shooting footage shows law enforcement lacking action
Footage from one of the deadliest mass shootings that the US has endured this year was released. Original video clips from the Robb Elementary School mass shooting that left 21 dead are lightly edited to eliminate identity and sounds of children screaming. The footage was published by the Austin American-Statesmen newspaper just days before family victims were scheduled to watch the footage.
The video shows the gunman crashing a car before shooting at two individuals who responded to the accident. Continuing, footage shows the gunman entering the school carrying his weapon. After he enters the school, a child comes around the corner where he watches the gunman enter another classroom and open fire, to which he runs away in horror.
The most outraging element of the leaked footage reveals officers lack of response to the incident, though they arrived at the scene 77 minutes before shooting the gunman dead. The lack of action from the officers has enraged the community and nation on a widespread scale. Uvalde County Commissioner Ronald Garza stated, “They just didn’t act. They just didn’t move, […] I just don’t know what was going through those policemen’s minds that tragic day, but … there was just no action on their part.”
POLAND: The ashes of more than 7,000 victims of a Nazi extermination camp have been located
The Polish country lost 17% of its population during World War II. An excavation carried out at the site of the former Nazi extermination camp in Soldau, near the city of Dzialdowo, has uncovered 17 tons of ashes which, according to researchers, indicate that at least 7,000 people were cremated there.
The number of victims has been calculated according to the weight of the ashes, Karol Nawrocki, president of the Institute of Historical Memory, has expressed, since a human corpse corresponds to around two kilos of ashes.
Ivana Trump dies at 73
Ivana Trump dies at the age of 73, the first wife of Donald Trump and the former US president has announced it on his social network (Truth Social). The businesswoman was the mother of three of the former president’s children and she was crucial in building his real estate empire. They divorced in 1992, long before Donald Trump entered politics.
Ivana Trump passed away at her Manhattan apartment on July 14. This has been announced by Trump himself on the Truth Social network and who has not indicated the causes of her death.
Greenwood Park Mall shooting leaves four dead
A shooting broke out at the Greenwood Park Mall, in which a gunman killed three and injured two. The unidentified gunman was, too, shot dead by an armed 22-year-old man. Greenwood Police Chief Jim Ison released a statement about the catastrophic event, stating that, “This has shaken us to our core. This isn’t something that we have seen here in Greenwood before. It is absolutely horrendous and our thoughts and prayers are with those loved ones hurting tonight.”
UK undergoes record heatwave
As wildfires spread around Europe, the UK endured scorching, record-breaking temperatures. The UK’s previous leading temperature of 101.7 degrees in July 2019 was estimated to be exceeded on July 18 with predictions of 105 degrees. The heatwave sent the UK into a “Level 4” heat warning which can be defined as a “national emergency.”
FRANCE: Shooting on a terrace of a bar in Paris
One person dead and four injured in a shooting with a Kalashnikov against the terrace of a bar in Paris. The events occurred around 21:30 pm on Popincourt Street. According to the Europe 1 channel, a “Kalashnikov-type” long weapon has been found. “Two individuals got out of a vehicle and shot two individuals sitting on the terrace of a bar,” specified the Paris police headquarters. The main hypothesis of the investigation is a reckoning.
Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck marry in Las Vegas
Actor Ben Affleck and singer Jennifer Lopez got married this Saturday (July 16) in a small family ceremony in which the two children of the singer and her mother have been present. Jennifer Lopez has confirmed the news with a statement. “We did it. Love is beautiful. Love is kind. And it turns out that love is patient. 20-year patience.”
“Exactly what we wanted. Last night we flew to Las Vegas, queued for a license with four other couples, all making the same trip to the wedding capital of the world,” added the singer.
Japan: At Least 30 Endangered Green Sea Turtles Found With ‘Bleeding’ Neck Wounds
At least 30 endangered green sea turtles were found Thursday (July 19) with neck injuries near the remote island of Kumejima in southern Japan’s Okinawa prefecture. Police began investigating the case last Friday after the sea turtles were found at low tide. Some of these were barely breathing and others were bleeding. They had wounds around their necks caused by what appeared to be a blade.
US House passes bill that defends gay marriage rights
After the Supreme Court overturned the landmark decisioning in Roe v. Wade, Justice Clarence Thomas suggested that other milestone rulings needed to be looked at again, like Obergefell v. Hodges, the ruling that established gay marriage rights. In response to this, the US House of Representatives passed a bill that would ensure protection of equal marriage rights.
The bill passed by a vote of 267-157, and would ensure “federal protections for gay marriage and prohibits anyone from denying the validity of a marriage based on the race or sex of the couple.” Now, the bill will be reviewed and voted on by the Senate.
World Health Organization warns that global cases of COVID-19 have doubled in the last six weeks
Infections have reached their maximum peak in the first week of July. So the impact of omicron increased and created the seventh wave of the disease: From about three million weekly cases to six million currently, warned this Wednesday (July 2) the director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
“An increase in cases means that there may be more hospitalizations and deaths in the coming weeks,” Tedros Adhanom mentioned at a press conference, noting that most of the current infections seem to belong to the omicron variant, “for now the most contagious known,” he added.
US President Biden tests positive for COVID-19
For the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, US President Joe Biden tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday July 21. It was reported that he took Paxlovid for his symptoms which included a cough, runny nose and overall exhaustion.
Flight cancellations and delays in Germany due to Lufthansa strike
As the airline warned on its website this Monday (July 25) there will be delays and cancellations of flights in Germany due to the Lufthansa strikes this Wednesday (July 27). The warning strike will start at 3.45am and end at 6am this Thursday (July 28), the German Verdi union said in a statement. The German union orders a 9.5% salary increase for Lufthansa ground staff, with a minimum of 350 euros per month for one year.
Police officers in Mexico City seize 1.5 tons of cocaine bound for the West Coast of the US.
Mexican police seized 1.5 tons of cocaine headed for the west coast of the United States, Omar Garcia Harfuch, Secretary of Citizen Security, published on Tuesday (July 26), describing it as “the largest seizure of cocaine in the capital.” During a press conference, Omar commented that the cocaine has a value of up to US$20 million and added that after reaching its final destination it would be worth “almost twice as much, in Los Angeles.”
Red Hot Chilli Peppers announce new album: “Return of the dream canteen”
Selena Gomez chose a Versace design with which she looked like a real princess on her 30th birthday
The actress welcomed her 30th birthday last Friday, July 22. She held a party for her birthday surrounded by family and friends. For this important occasion, the protagonist of her outfit was the elegant dress that she wore from the luxury brand Versace.
The dress is made in a pale peach tone with short sleeves and a delicate tulle that covered Selena’s bodice and neckline. Added to this are the transparent details from the height of the thigh to the end that dragged a few centimeters. To give her dress more prominence, the actress added some hoop earrings and tied her hair up in a high ponytail. There is no doubt that Selena Gomez chose an elegant ‘look’ to welcome her 30 years.
The Latin Grammy 2022 will be held on November 17 in Las Vegas
Another Nicaraguan opposition leader sentenced to 10 years in prison
In Masaya (Nicaragua), an opposition leader from the department of Masaya, Yubrank Suazo, was sentenced this Wednesday (July 27) to 10 years in prison for a crime committed in spreading false news and national integrity, the Nicaraguan Center reported on its social platforms. of Human Rights (Cenidh).
Nicki Minaj advances the release of her new song “Freaky Girl“
The musical return of the rapper after her motherhood is being as successful as we remembered. Nicki was for years the artist who released the most video clips and songs in a calendar year and this year she has returned to her origins by introducing what will be the fifth song of 2022. Its release will be on August 12 under the title of “Freaky Girl.”
Beyoncé releases new album RENAISSANCE
REINAISSANCE was released as Beyoncé’s latest studio album on Friday July 29. The album platforms the reignited dance genre infused with elements of disco, house, and pop music. The icon released the album’s first single “BREAK MY SOUL” earlier in the year, taking the industry by storm.
US President Biden and China’s Chairman, Xi Jinping had their first virtue summit on November 15th. This summit was set towards the improvement of bilateral cooperation but there was no concrete action after three and a half hours of the conference.
The summit had its focus on a wide range of issues, including human rights, climate change, and the economy. However, among all the topics, the future of Taiwan has been one of the major focuses of the globe.
Since the uncertainty of the global pandemic and political concern, Xi has canceled all his traveling plans since January 2020. The two leaders have spoken through telephone twice this year, nevertheless this time they were intended to lead a more exhaustive discussion of the previous issues.
Although the summit was taken place virtually, the place was carefully selected. Xi along with his allies was at the East Hall in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Biden and his team were at the Roosevelt Room at the White House.
During the conference, each side has mentioned their dispute which concerns them the most. While the disservice has been deeply rooted which offered little room for compromise. Although Xi called Mr. Biden “my old friend” at the beginning of the summit and used a metaphor that compared the two superpowers to ships that navigate together in the ocean’s wind, under the water, there is disagreement and conflict which is hard to be resolved.
Spotlight focus: Taiwan Affairs
Taiwan affairs are always the most significant issue among China and US. The White House and Xinhua News Agency, the mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, have individually quoted Biden and Xi’s speeches, which demonstrated their respectively different opinions.
While on the other hand, Xinhua News Agency quoted Biden as saying, “The U.S. government is committed to pursuing the long-term and consistent one China’ policy and does not support Taiwan independence.
Despite the fact that Xi Jinping always mentioned Taiwan in the past, This time his words are tougher, and more sounds like a warning. He warned that “Taiwan independence” is “very dangerous. It is playing with fire, and you will burn yourself if you play with fire.” He emphasized that the one-China principle and the three Sino-US joint communiqués are the foundation of China-US relations.
Seek common ground while reserving differences
It is impossible to solve the enormous divisions that occur among the world’s two superpowers through just one meeting. While the virtual summit between Xi Jinping and Joe Biden obviously has removed the concern whether China-US would spiral into a new Cold War. The relationship is rebounding from the Trump era which there was a great misunderstanding. Cooperation of the world is urgently needed, since the COVID pandemic, economic recession, and climate crisis.
Although there is dissension in many ways, the communication was structural and honest, The fact that the summit has taken place for almost four hours is a clear sign that both leaders are putting a great amount of effort to achieve substantive and constructive results. They showed a strong desire to eventually find a way to reach a consensus. And Biden in his word said that we need to have “commonsense guardrails” and prevent the China-US competition from “veering into conflict”.
A devastating stream of tornadoes unleased late Friday December 10 and early Saturday December 11 across sections of the central and southern United States. In accordance with information from the Storm Prediction Center, there were at least 50 tornado reports. The states affected include Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio and Tennessee.
Click HERE to see how you can assist and support the victims of these destructive tornadoes.
The most substantial damage arose as Tornadoes and strong winds broke down a nursing home in Arkansas, an Amazon warehouse in western Illinois and an inhabited candle factory in Kentucky. People were killed in all separate incidents and responders have been struggling to rescue survivors.
At least one death out of an anticipated two in Arkansas has been credited to the collapsing of a nursing home. Several were trapped in the nursing home before being saved. Around 20 people were injured at the nursing home, and eventually all were taken out of the home and accounted for. Another individual in Arkansas was reported dead after being trapped in a Dollar General when the storm hit, as reported by Mississippi County Sheriff Dale Cook.
One of the tornadoes fell upon an Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville, Illinois on the night of Friday December 10. Authorities were unable to recount the exact number of workers in the Amazon warehouse because “the warehouse does not employ a ‘set staff.’” It has been verified, however, that at least two individuals died when the warehouse collapsed. Edwardsville police chief Michael Fillback validated this report on Saturday December 11 and stated that an additional person was hospitalized.
Fillback also communicated that rescue operations were not at ease due to misplaced power lines, concrete and extra water everywhere from the fire suppression system. An OSHA investigation was opened on Monday December 13 to dig deeper into the collapse of the Amazon warehouse.
On the night of December 10, another tornado hit the Mayfield Consumer Products candle factory in the Mayfield, Kentucky. Inside, around 110 people were working, and dozens were anticipated to be dead there. At least 40 people were rescued from the candle factory, but piles of metal and corrosive chemicals that toppled the factory limit the number of anticipated survivors that could be found alive.
Kyanna Parsons-Perez, survivor of the catastrophe that struck the candle factory, recounted the events of that night. She explained that workers had been hurried into a safety area before the storm officially hit. Parsons-Perez recounts seeing “a little dust of wind. My ears start popping. And it was like the building, we all just rocked back and forth, and then boom — everything fell on us,” Parasons-Perez told CNN’s Boris Sanchez.
During the devasting storm, Parsons-Perez broadcasted the tragedy on Facebook Live and made phone calls to 911 and other family members. She recounts realizing that rescuers were there when she felt pressure from people walking on the debris above her. “I was screaming like, ‘Sir, can you please just get this so I can move my leg?’ He said, ‘Ma’am, there’s about 5 feet worth of debris on top of you,'” Parsons-Perez recounts.
As of Monday December 13, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) said that there is a confirmed number of 64 deaths across Kentucky, and that it could take some time to account for the full number of fatalities and damage that fully hit the state. Beshear noted that at least 105 individuals were unaccounted for as of that Monday morning. At least 13 people in the other varying states have been confirmed dead.
Emergency workers consisting of 300 members of the National Guard have been searching for survivors, searching through wreckage and remains and delivering water and generators to residents of Western Kentucky. Beshear talked of the damage during a press conference, stating “I’m not doing so well today and I’m not sure how many of us are. The people of Western Kentucky have gone through an unspeakable trauma. The devastation is unlike anything I have seen in my life,” Beshear stated.
President Biden is scheduled to travel to Kentucky on Wednesday, December 14 to assess damages and aid in the recovery processes. “We’re going to get this done. We’re going to be there as long as it takes to help,” Biden stated during a briefing on Monday December 13 regarding federal reaction to the destructive tornadoes. Biden ensures that he does not want to get in the way of rescue efforts, but to just provide aid to the community that truly needs it in these trying times.
Columbus day is a U.S. holiday celebrated on the second Monday of October each year to mark the landing of Christopher Columbus on October 12, 1492. This holiday is oftentimes associated with days off for most schools and businesses, and in some areas parades and street fairs are held.
Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy in 1451. Given his nationality, the federal holiday created in the 19th century was intended to honor Columbus’ discovery as well as Italian American heritage because of the persecution that Italian immigrants were facing during the period in which it was made. The day is a reminder for Italian Americans of their culture and to remember that the United States is an immigrant country.
The reasons that Columbus day is renowned are also the basis for criticism. Columbus did land in the Bahamas, but he was not the first to find it. Believing he reached East Asia, Columbus actually landed on an island in the Bahamas that he called San Salvador, disregarding its name from the native Lucayan inhabitants of the island, Guanahani. The identification of the holiday, as mandated by the government, fails to acknowledge the native populations that were displaced and decimated.
During his lifetime, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean and paved the way for future European exploration and colonization of the Americas. His first expedition, to what is now known as the Caribbean, he placed his men to settle down, kidnapped a great number of Native Americans, and took gold, native birds and plants to bring back to Spain and his financiers upon his return. The abduction and maltreatment of the Native people were only the beginning of the transatlantic slave trade and genocide, which is why many people nowadays reject the endorsement of Christopher Columbus on this day.
Although the appreciation of Indigenous people on Columbus Day is slower to be incorporated in youth education, many higher institutions such as Colleges and Universities are conscious of the historical significance of the day and their curricula are reflective and validating of Indigenous awareness.
Beyond schooling, the discussion on whether or not to change the values of Columbus Day extend to corporate. Companies and retailers are open with their stances on the holiday, choosing whether or not to support Columbus Day or as it was previously and informally recognized, Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Their contributions come from choosing to keep their stores open, posting their views on social media, or using their platforms to boost Indigenous voices and businesses. Brands such as Sephora, Ben & Jerry’s, Patagonia, and Vogue Magazine, are known supporters for Indigenous Peoples’ Day on Twitter and used their accounts to amplify their principles. Equally, there are retailers that support Columbus Day causes for Italian American legacies.
On October 8th, the 47th president of the United States, Joe Biden, issued the first ever presidential proclamation of Indigenous Peoples’ Day to be observed on October 11th. The objective of this domestic pronouncement was to shift the focus from a holiday celebrating the controversial efforts of Columbus and instead to appreciate Native folk, “On Indigenous Peoples’ Day, our Nation celebrates the invaluable contributions and resilience of Indigenous peoples, recognizes their inherent sovereignty, and commits to honoring the Federal Government’s trust and treaty obligations to Tribal Nations” (Joseph R. Biden Jr.).
Indigenous Peoples’ Day does not replace Columbus Day and his statement does not condemn the celebration of Columbus day. However, for Indigenous people, the affirmation that there have been systemic inequalities because of the annexation of their ancestral land is a positive move in the direction of keeping the existing native land autonomous and protected.
“Jaguar Century: 100 Years of Automotive Excellence” by Giles Chapman
“Jaguar Century” is a lavishly illustrated large-format retrospective examining 100 years of Jaguar, one of the most acclaimed marques in automotive history. Established in 1922 by William Lyons and William Walmsley, the Swallow Sidecar Company transformed into one of the auto industry’s most revered car brands, synonymous with performance and luxury. “Jaguar Century” chronicles this company and its remarkable vehicles, from the 1935 Jaguar SS sporting saloon to today’s F-Type sports cars, F-PACE SUV, and X-Type sedans—filled with images, history, and in-depth analyses of the incredible cars Jaguar has created year after year.
Automotive historian Giles Chapman showcases how company visionaries developed the brand in the trying economic times leading up to World War II before resetting Jaguar during England’s bleak postwar years. “Jaguar Century” will make a great addition to any holiday gift list, just in time for the marque’s 100 anniversary next year.
Publishing September 28, 2021 by Motorbooks ∙ Hardcover, 224 pages ∙ $75.00 US, $99.00 CAN ISBN: 9780760368664
“DAMANHUR Social Alchemy, Magical Temples and the Superindividual” by Jeff Merrifield
What is Damanhur? It is an alternative way of life. A societal model for the betterment of humanity, an experiment in human consciousness. A collective of people devoted to the sustainability of communal living; an ecovillage and spiritual community based in Northern Italy. Founded by Falco Tarassaco in the mid-70s, Damanhur has grown from humble beginnings to become a prime mover in spiritual-artistic standing and research and the ecological protection of the planet.
In Jeff Merrifield’s book, he writes with reverence about this community that has fascinated him for over two decades. His book is an introduction to the intricacies, philosophies and structures of the seemingly closed-off Damanhur, the guide to the lessons of this community.
DAMANHUR Social Alchemy, Magical Temples and the Superindividual by JEFF MERRIFIELD (10th August; Watkins/Penguin Random House; £18.99/$29.95; 9781786783707
“Move Like Water × Be Fluid” is a stunning memoir documenting the author’s journey from a childhood in the Detroit’s subsidized, section 8 housing to a successful career in fashion and media. The arc of this remarkable passage twists and turns in surprising ways, ensuring readers will believe in the concept that this life truly is what you make it. The text will debut as an exclusive multi-volume installation within 360 MAGAZINE and marks the inception of the brand’s foray into publishing.
This provocative coming-of-age story explores the power of branding strategy, a technique the writer developed at an early age and carried with him throughout his lifetime. Lowery, from the time he was a young child, is able to comprehend that one’s innate, individual self is their greatest commodity in life. Through the highs and lows that inform his experience, he stays true to that ideal. Lowery puts forward a raw and compelling narrative of a child, and later a man, who repeatedly picks himself up, reimagines his life, and finds innovative ways to move forward.
Move Like Water x Be Fluid is available in PDF format on Blurb.
Signed copies of Vaughn’s memoir, Move Like Water × Be Fluid, are available in ourshop.
“Bodega Cat” by Louie Chin
Already a recipient of starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus Reviews, Louie Chin’s “Bodega Cat” has been selected by the Junior Library Guild as a Spring 2020 Gold Standard in the City Elementary category. Referred to as “the subscription box for the modern librarian,” the Junior Library Guild plays a pivotal role in stocking library inventories nationwide with the highest caliber of books for children. Of the thousands of applicants, only 3% receive this annual distinction and over 95% of JLG Gold Standard books go on to win other book awards. Congratulations to Louie Chin, and to editor Jordan Nielsen!
Born and raised in New York, Louie Chin is an illustrator who creates commercial and editorial content. He has always been an animal-lover, and there is one family pet in particular from which he drew inspiration for “Bodega Cat”: a spirited and feisty orange tabby cat named Simba. His favorite bodega order is coffee and an egg and sausage sandwich on a toasted roll. “Bodega Cat” is the first book that he both wrote and illustrated. He currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.
Animals & Cats / City & Town Life / People & Places, Hispanic & Latino Hardcover, 10.5 x 10.5 Inches, 32 Pages ISBN: 978-1-57687-932-0, $17.99 US/$23.99 CAN
“The Fragile Skin of the World” by Jean-Luc Nancy
The world is everything that passes between us – ourselves and everything that happens to us, everything that becomes of our contacts, our gazes, our movements; and through referrals from skin to skin, from the fleeting to the immemorial, you reach without even knowing it the entire actuality of the world: the act of its existence. This act is made up of works and disasters, splendors, horrors, and catastrophes. As long as it is ours, it is the act of an infinite emergence that is all the sense there is: a sense that incessantly goes from skin to skin and is itself never enveloped by anything.
The texts in this volume are all oriented by the concern for what is currently happening to us – we, late humanoids – when we arrive at an extremity of our history, whether this extremity should turn out to be a stage, a rupture, or quite simply a last breath.
Jean-Luc Nancy is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Université Marc Bloch in Strasbourg and teaches Political Philosophy and Media Aesthetics at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee.“The Fragile Skin of the World” will be published in November 2021.
“Passion for Practice with Musings From Music Masters” by Becky Chaffee
Becky’s new book for anyone playing an instrument, Passion For Practice With Musings From Music Masters, is an imaginative visual presentation expressing music practice concepts. Whether you take private lessons or you learned an instrument in grade school and need to take some lessons to get started again, this book will encourage you. The better you are, the more fun you’ll have. Regular practicing can be rough, but Ms. Chaffee’s book helps you to practice smarter, making it more of a fun challenge than rote practice.
Both an art book and a practice reference book, Passion For Practice With Musings From Music Masters contains personal practicing stories and suggestions from musicians around the world, including famous musicians, Grammy award-winning musicians, and principals of sections in major orchestras on all instruments. You might also enjoy her first book, Have Fun With Your Music to inspire young musicians to make practicing their own. Buy this book to inspire music practice or as a gift for a music teacher’s studio.
Becky Chaffee grew up in a musical household and raised two musical children. She has degrees in civil engineering from UC Berkeley and Cornell University. She enjoys playing flute for her music club. Through her music gifts company, Becky raises funds for music education and has distributed $1,000s to youth. Much of the artwork in her books is presented on note cards, prints and Tee shirts that sell in music stores and symphony gift shops such as the Brevard Music Center, Nashville and San Francisco Symphony Gift Shops, SW Strings, and so on.
TheFair Trade Handbook, Edited by Gavin Fridell, Zack Gross and Sean McHugh
Framed within the common goal of advancing trade justice and South-North solidarity, The Fair Trade Handbook presents a broad interpretation of fair trade and a wide-ranging dialogue between different viewpoints. Canadian researchers in particular have advanced a transformative vision of fair trade, rooted in the cooperative movement and arguing for a more central role for Southern farmers and workers. Contributors to this book look at the issues within global trade, and assess fair trade and how to make it more effective against the broader structures of the capitalist, colonialist, racist and patriarchal global economy. The debates and discussions are set within a critical development studies and critical political economy framework. However, this book will appeal to a wide range of readers, as it translates the key issues for a popular audience.
Dodge Viper by David Zatz
The story of Chrysler Corporation’s 1990s image-building V10-engined sportscar – now in eBook format! The Viper stunned Americans by showing that Dodge, known for tame cars and minivans, could make a brutal monster of a sports car. At Le Mans, Team Viper showed they could handle turns, too, winning its class at a fraction of the usual cost. This book covers the Viper from concept to rough rocket to world-class supercar.
This is not just a gushing tribute to the Dodge Viper, the author provides an objective view of the full story, using business, historical, and enthusiast perspectives. The book looks at the business case for each generation, the development stories and their outcomes, and describes some of the issues owners may have to watch out for, particularly in the early models.
True Teryn: The Last Lumenian Book 2 by S.G. Blaise
Princess Lilla finds herself tasked with recruiting the biggest and most dangerous army in the Seven Galaxies. However, the Teryn Emperor will not cooperate unless Lilla earns the blessing of the Guardian Goddess Laoise – no simple task! Is she willing to pay the price to bring her people a second chance at a new beginning?
Perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Leigh Bardugo and Emily Skrutskie, this compelling and adventurous tale is set in a rich sci-fi fantasy world. The True Teryn is a captivating coming-of-age story with a diverse cast of characters, a powerful female lead, and a beautiful overarching message: you don’t have to be perfect to be a hero.
“At the heart of The Last Lumenian series, is the story of how young women struggle with today’s critical challenges, including: mental health, personal freedom, self-esteem and managing relationships amidst overwhelming expectations,” says Blaise. “I love hearing from my readers, how inspired they are by Princess Lilla, taking brave action in their own lives.”
True Teryn, (The Last Lumenian, #2) will be available on Amazon and at other booksellers on Dec. 7, 2021.
The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story by Nikole Hannah-Jones
The 1619 Project comprises 18 essays, and 36 poems and works of fiction, all revolving around slavery in America, and how it continues to play a role in our society. By exploring America’s long past with slavery, the root of modern racism can be revealed. It’s both a deeply provocative and highly upsetting work. It doesn’t work to display a bright future for America, but instead provides a revealing, if depressing, narrative on the American experience.
This work acts as an expansion of the highly praised New York Times Magazine project, which was highly controversial at the time due to its conceit: that America wasn’t founded in 1776 with the signing of the Declaration of Independence, but in 1619 when the first African slaves were brought to the US and exploited.
A children’s book, presenting aspects of the novel’s contents in a way accessible for children, was also released. Titled, 1619 Project: Born on the Water, the book was written with help from Peabody award-winning author Renee Watson.
Author Nikole Hannah-Jones is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, who’s won a Peabody Award, two George Polk Awards, three National Magazine Awards, and the 2018 John Chancellor distinguished journalism award from Columbia University.
The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story by Nikole Hannah-Jones is available via Amazon.
“Ultimate Illustrated Guide to Sewing Clothes” by Joi Mahon
Joi Mahon, esteemed designer and fashion entrepreneur, teaches readers about necessary sewing skills in his new book, Ultimate Illustrated Guide to Sewing Clothes.
Joi simplifies and explains techniques used in sewing such as stich types, fabric qualities and just how to obtain perfect fit of a garment. He speaks on the book, stating, “I created the book to be a complete reference guide and it includes all my tips from over twenty-five years of professional sewing. I believe it will make an excellent addition to any sewer’s library with it’s modern and up to date illustrations and photography that is visually appealing.”
YONDER by Jabari Asim
YONDER is a new novel by Jabari Asim, one of the best writers we out there. And according to Evangeline Lawson’s brilliantly written review in The Washington Post, it is a must-read book for Black History Month, for Americans of all backgrounds, a necessary and different kind of addition to literature.
SENTIENT: How Animals Illuminate the Wonder of Our Humans Senses
In SENTIENT: How Animals Illuminate the Wonder of Our Human Senses (Atria Books; Hardcover; On Sale: February 22, 2022; $28.00; ISBN 9781982156558), Jackie Higgins explores the breadth of our capabilities as sentient beings through the lens of the animal kingdom. This book looks to animals to better understand the ways we sense and make sense of the world. Scientific research shows that there is more to unite, than divide us and that all creatures are built on the same foundations—a message of particular importance right now. Through their eyes, ears, skin, tongues, noses and more, we can uncover what it means to be human and rediscover the extraordinary in the ordinary waking moment.
UNSTOPPABLE: How I Found My Strength Through Love and Loss
Chiquis Rivera’s new memoir UNSTOPPABLE: How I Found My Strength Through Love and Loss (Atria Books; Hardcover; On Sale: February 8, 2022; $27.00; ISBN: 9781982180683) is an exploration of her recent triumphs and challenges. Rivera reveals the personal journey she went through after her mother passed, and how she was able to still follow her dreams and become a renowned singer and entrepreneur. Throughout UNSTOPPABLE, Rivera opens up to her audience revealing her life experiences that helped her obtain the strength she has today.
Word Up: The Life of Amanda Gorman
This biography captures the life of National Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman. This is an inspirational read that showcases her journey from her beginnings growing up with a speech impediment and a single mother. Ultimately, she thrived and eventually, at the age of 23, spoke at the inauguration of President Joe Biden.
“It’s a story with a happy ending,” says author Marc Shapiro. “Hollywood couldn’t have scripted it any better. This is real life and an object lesson to all the young women out there who are looking for a role model to inspire them to their full potential. Amanda Gorman is that role model.”
Author Marc Shapiro also wrote New York Times bestseller J.K. Rowling: The Wizard Behind Harry Potter and Justin Bieber: TheFever.
Enamel the Camel
Enamel wishes he were like all the other camels who live in Camel-lot, but his front teeth are bigger than anyone else’s. Enamel has an overbite, which he brushes to a bright, glowing shine. This makes Enamel different from his fellow camels and he’s the only camel who brushes his teeth. Because his teeth are so prominent, he gets teased at school. Despite kind words from Enamel’s friends, the bullying gets him down. After being teased one time too many during a student outing at the Big Palm Oasis, Enamel decides he’d rather be alone. But when an epic sandstorm blows in, Enamel saves the day. Using his teeth in a very “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” fashion, Enamel leads his scared classmates home to their worried parents. The town thanks him with an award for heroism, and everyone starts brushing their teeth and smiling.
Enamel the Camel is an upbeat humorous story for children about sticking out, stepping up, and the importance of good dental care written by Dr. Mike King, a pediatric dentist in New York City since 1986.
In his dental practice, Dr. Mike as he is called, uses jokes, magic tricks, and a calming nature to treat his young patients. Enamel the Camel is his latest book to help children understand and appreciate their teeth. He has pioneered the philosophy or “flossophy” as he likes to call it, that smiling and laughing should be part of a child’s dental experience.
Fierce Love by Susan Scott
Diving deep into the problems that often are imposed within relationships, Susan Scott investigates why relationships in the modern day and age have often been unsatisfactory. Reviewing the leading problems that typically affect the success of a romantic relationship, this book analyzes common mishaps and miscommunications that typically occur between partners. “Fierce Love” offers insight on communication tactics that are critical to a surviving, healthy relationship.
Scott refers to the current situation of relationships in America as a “communication crisis.” She continues by stating, “What gets talked about in a relationship, and how it gets talked about, determines whether a relationship will thrive, flat-line or fail. We often long for deep connection in our relationships, but we don’t know how to communicate well and sometimes withhold what we’re really thinking and feeling. This can lead to fighting, resentment or, worse, complacency where you are just going through the motions … more like roommates than two people in love. Enduring love happens one conversation at a time. Unfortunately, far too many are not innately equipped with the intuition, knowledge and skills to adeptly steer dialogues that way … and modern society reflects those shortcomings.”
The Other Side of Yet
Michelle Hord was no stranger to tragedy, having started her professional career as a producer on America’s Most Wanted, where she came face to face with the unthinkable on a daily basis. But when it happened in her own family, Michelle’s entire life crashed down around her.
One moment, Michelle had a husband, a career that was taking off, and a beautiful baby girl. When her marriage started to deteriorate and she had to fight for a divorce, she found strength in her seven-year-old daughter, Gabrielle. Just as the divorce was nearly finalized, the most important thing in her life was taken away. Her soon to be ex-husband, the man she once loved, murdered their daughter.
InThe Other Side of Yet: Finding Light in the Midst of Darkness (Atria Books; On sale March 15, 2022; $28.00 Hardcover; ISBN: 9781982173524), Michelle Hord expresses how she survived a mother’s worst nightmare, a devastating loss that most cannot even imagine. In her darkest hours, she turned to the bible, with a particular verse she kept coming back to: “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him”(Job 13:15). In the space between before and after, between ruin and recovery, there is “yet.” Michelle found strength in her yet—it meant that there would be an after, that there was more to come.
Cocktail Chemistry is a distillation of Nick Fisher’s expertise, expansive knowledge, and passion for mixology. In the book, you’ll find the essential techniques, skills, and finesse needed to create exceptional cocktails at home. But what makes Nick’s book unique, and harkens to experts like Binging with Babish, is his use of cocktails from popular culture as his launching point. Take James Bond‘s classic martini, which then morphs into a lesson on the science of ice and alcohol, and how shaking or stirring your drink affects flavor and consistency, or Don Draper‘s Mad Men Old Fashioned is the entry point to bourbon cocktails and how to complement bourbon’s flavor profile.
Cannabis for Creatives: How 32 Artists Enhance and Sustain Inspiration
Cannabis has long been used and revered for its many benefits, from its widely acknowledged medical applications to its commonly accepted ability to help people relax. And now, with more and more states and countries legalizing marijuana usage for all purposes, we’re finally reaching a tipping point where cannabis is achieving a level of mainstream acceptance and usage, especially among artists. In Cannabis for Creatives: How 32 Artists Enhance and Sustain Inspiration, photographer and cannabis advocate Jordana Wright details what you need to know to take full advantage of cannabis’ potential in your creative work.
Beginning with the basics (how cannabis grows, how it’s ingested, and the nuances of variety), Cannabis for Creatives tells the history of its usage and all the pertinent details of the plant itself—lineage, strains, appearance, flavor, terpenes, and the types of high you can experience. Wright also discusses the neuroscience of cannabis use, including how it affects the brain and how science measures creativity.
Investments in science and technology research are vital to the United States’ economic growth and global leadership, according to a new report from Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.
The Biden administration has made science and technology (S&T) a centerpiece of its early policy agenda with ambitious targets for federal investments in research and development (R&D). There are also growing concerns in Congress about the United States’ global leadership in S&T-focused industries, especially in relation to China.
“As the high technology sector (e.g., advanced computing and communications, social media platforms and other web-based services) becomes an increasingly large part of the overall U.S. economy, federal funding for early stage R&D, which has been at the root of much of the technological progress of this past century, is more important than ever,” wrote the Baker Institute’s Kenneth Evans, a scholar in science and technology policy, and Kirstin Matthews, a fellow in science and technology policy.
While President Biden’s first budget proposal aims to authorize historic increases to federal R&D agencies, the authors argue that significant challenges remain to ensure long-term, international competitiveness across scientific disciplines and advanced technologies.
According to their report, shifting priorities between administrations, changes to the ideology of Congress and broader economic conditions in the U.S. at large have resulted in inconsistent funding for R&D.
“Traditionally, federal funding for R&D receives bipartisan support in Congress, particularly for health and defense-related research activities,” the authors wrote. “However, since the mid-1990s, government spending on basic research has declined or stagnated as a share of the U.S. GDP, in part due to the intrinsic uncertainties about the ultimate impacts of basic research.”
Science and technology R&D is essential to creating new knowledge and tools, the authors argue, because it ensures the development of new products and technologies that can drive domestic and global economies. Economists estimate innovations stemming from S&T accounted for more than 60% of economic growth over the last century.
Yet scientists have placed relatively little value on evaluating and communicating the broader societal impacts of basic research to the public and especially to policymakers, the authors argue. The authors encourage researchers, especially academic scientists driven to action by anti-science rhetoric during the Trump administration, to continue to engage in public outreach during the Biden presidency.
“Universities should encourage and incentivize avenues for public engagement through increased support of existing programs or funding new activities for interested faculty, postdocs, graduate students and research staff,” they wrote.
“Building public support for R&D, strengthening trust in scientific institutions and expertise, and increasing scientists’ participation in decision-making related to S&T issues are critical to ensuring that scientific discoveries and innovation benefit the broader public and that increased investment in R&D serves the public interest,” they continued.
The report was a collaboration with two Rice undergraduate students and research interns in the science and technology policy program—Gabriella Hazan and Spoorthi Kamepalli.
Ka$hdami released a deluxe edition of mixtape Epiphany Reloaded, featuring three new tracks.
Today, Las Vegas-born and DMV-based buzzing 16-year-old rapper Ka$hdamiexpands his critically acclaimed debut mixtape, Epiphany, with the Deluxe Edition entitled Epiphany Reloaded. He added three brand new songs to the original tracklisting, presenting his complete vision for the first time now.
Among the unreleased material, he extended his explosive anthem Reparations! with a never-before-heard version. The original has amassed over 11 million Spotify streams and 1.6 million YouTube views on the music video. Elsewhere, his voracious verses ignite Average, while Beep Freestyle! hinges on his artfully nimble wordplay.
Upon arrival, Epiphany earned a Top 10 debut on Spotify, while multiple cuts lit up playlists such as Soundcloud’s New & Hot Overall and New & Hip Hop Charts. Not to mention, Cole Bennett, Internet Money, Lil Tecca, Trippie Redd, Yung Bans, and more have publicly endorsed Ka$hdami. He also kept the momentum going with the recent music video for Wake Up [feat. SSGKobe].
Recently, Pigeons & Planes hailed him as one of the Best New Artists for May 2021, and he lives up to this high praise on the project. In addition to the recent single Dior, the tape includes the magnetically melodic standout I Know produced by none other than multi-platinum phenomenon Lil Tecca. Not to mention, SSGKobe dips into the undeniable Wake Up. yvngxchris trades bars with Ka$hdami on Fitness, while BabySantana pulls up with a rich cameo of his own on Receipts.
Epiphany includes Ka$hdami’s recent single Dior and the viral banger Look N The Mirror!. The latter crashed the Top 20 of the Spotify Viral Chart and Top 25 on the Rolling Stone Breakthrough 25 Chart, while Pitchfork proclaimed, “Must Hear Rap Song of the Day.” It has already racked more than 20 million total streams.
With bold bars and electrifying flows, Ka$hdami initially set TikTok on fire with Kappin Up. At just 12-years-old, he accumulated traction on Soundcloud as part of the “hvmor” rap collective. As he took off online solo, he served up the independent projects #KashDontMiss and 16.
Receipts [feat. BabySantana]
Look N The Mirror!
I Know [prod. Lil Tecca]
Trust Issues [feat. Riovaz& D’mari Harris]
Fitness [feat. yvngxchris]
WAKE UP [feat. SSGKobe]
Ka$hdami envisioned his dream and chased it down relentlessly as a rapper and entrepreneur. The 16-year-old Las Vegas-born and DMV-raised multi-hyphenate possesses wisdom and business acumen beyond his years coupled with impressive lyrical acuity. At 12-years-old, he joined the “hvmor” rap collective and lit up Soundcloud. Finding his signature sound, he continued to rap on Instagram throughout 2020, teasing out snippets and organically building viral buzz. Eventually, his original Kappin Up caught fire on TikTok. It appeared in videos by Bronny James, Tory Lanez, Shareef O’Neal, and Giannis Antetokounmpo, piling on tens of millions of views. As he took off online solo, he unleashed the independent projects #KashDontMiss and 16. In 2021, Look N The Mirror! crashed the Top 20 of the Spotify Viral Chart and Top 25 on the Rolling Stone Breakthrough 25 Chart, while Pitchfork proclaimed it a “Must Hear Rap Song of the Day.” At the same time, it accumulated 3 million-plus streams straight out of the gate. Gathering millions of streams, lighting up TikTok, launching his successful Ka$hwayz brand, and receiving acclaim, he presents an unfiltered and undeniable vision on his official debut mixtape, Epiphany, led by Dior.
At least eleven people are dead after a building collapse in Surfside, FL. Rescue operations continue.
A condominium partially collapsed in South Florida on June 24, at 1:20 AM. At least half of the 135 units in the 13-story building have collapsed, according to the Miami-Dade mayor Danielle Levine Cava. The Champlain Towers South building was originally shaped like an “L,” but the lower half of that shape was completely sheared off, including the building’s pool and garage.
The Miami-Dade Fire Rescue is leading the rescue efforts along with multiple other agencies. The White House and FEMA are also monitoring the situation and will provide assistance to the local officials if needed.
A woman who resides on the ninth floor recalled her experience to Local 10, “The whole building shook like an earthquake. I opened my sliding glass and I saw a plume of dust and then I opened the door and I saw that the building had pancaked in the back.”
Another resident commented that he and his wife fled to the garage, only to find that the pipes had burst and it was flooded.
Rescue teams are recovering victims from the rubble, while all tenants in unaffected apartments are being evacuated. Firefighters continue to sift through the wreckage for victims, which includes using dogs and microphones.
“Debris is falling on them as they do their work. We have structural engineers on site to ensure that they will not be injured, but they are proceeding because they are so motivated and they are taking extraordinary risk on the site every day,” says Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, describing the “extreme risk” of the firefighters dangerous duty.
Over 400 workers are involved in the rescue effort, with up to 200 rescuers searching through debris at all times, according to Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Chief Alan Cominsky.
Surfside Mayor Charles W. Burkett cannot think of a reason for this collapse to have happened, other than an unexpected sinkhole or human interference. While he confirmed that roof work was being done on this building, this is a regular occurrence that he doesn’t believe could have caused the collapse. However, former Surfside Vice Mayor Barry Cohen, a resident of the collapsed building, believes that the roof work actually may have compromised the integrity of the building.
Unfortunately, a thunderstorm has paused all rescue efforts for the time being, according to Commissioner Sally Heyman.
The Champlain Towers South condominium community have continued to mourn the victims of the tragedy in the days following the harrowing accident.
A third lawsuit has now been filed against the Champlain Towers South Condominium Association on behalf of ninth floor resident, Raysa Rodriguez. Rodriguez is seeking unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial. The compliant alleges: ““Despite the obvious duties required by Florida law, and this admitted duty of care by the Association’s Declaration and other governing documents, Defendant, through their own reckless and negligent conduct, caused a catastrophic deadly collapse of Champlain Towers South in Surfside.”
Rodriguez additionally alleged that in 2018, “major structural damages” were outlined in a structural field survey report submitted to the defendant by Morabito Consultants. The compliant is seeking a class action status lawsuit to represent all of the condominium’s victims of the tragic accident.
Rodriguez’ attorney, Adam Schwartzbaum, argued that the building has been aware of these “critical” structural issues for some time, and that warning signs of collapse have been apparent for the last decade. Schwartzbaum says, “Certainly for at least three years, there was a major red flag…sirens flashing, alerting the condo association of this of this danger.” He elaborated in another comment that, “based on our investigation there were many warnings signs more than 10 years ago, maybe even longer. These are not things that were just a few years ago.”
A letter sent from the building’s condo association president reveals that damage to the basement garage of the building had become “significantly worse” since its prior inspection, three years ago. The letter also reveals that the estimated repair costs had risen from $9 million to $15 million, reveals USA Today.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki has said that President Joe Biden thinks an investigation into the Champlain Towers South collapse should be set in motion.
The harrowing search-and-rescue operation is still currently underway, stretching into day six of the rescue effort.
A family reunification center has been set up for anyone looking for unaccounted or missing relatives at a community center at 9301 Collins Ave. Those searching for their loved ones or to report that they have been located are asked to call 305-614-1819. An emergency information hotline has also been created at 305-993-1071.
For many, June is a month of celebration. Between Pride Month and the official start of summer, June’s thirty days are chock-full of various festivities and commemorations. And still, one of June’s national designations in the United States is almost wholly overlooked annually: African American Music Appreciation Month.
Though this coining of June as African American Music Appreciation Month was first introduced by President Jimmy Carter in 1979, originally dubbed Black Music Month, its current name was given by President Barack Obama in 2009. From its initiation, this commemoration was intended to serve as most generally as a celebration of all African American music in the United States.
And in a recent official White House press release, President Joe Biden voiced his own sentiments behind the importance of Black Music Appreciation month: “During Black Music Appreciation Month, we honor the innovative artists whose musical expressions move us, brighten our daily lives, and bring us together. Across the generations, Black music has pioneered the way we listen to music while preserving Black cultural traditions and sharing the unique experiences of the Black community.”
It would be premature, though, to celebrate Black Music Appreciation Month by solely celebrating a handful of the most prominent Black artists. Because what is Black music exactly? While many companies and streaming platforms have taken to commemorating various iconic artists or works, the goal of this commemoration ought to be to acknowledge and celebrate the vast influence and impact of African American music in the United States as a whole.
Of course, to even begin to fathom how to track this influence, one must attempt to define Black music itself. And inherently, the phrase, and the genre, if it can be put under a singular one, evade definition. Is Black music music simply made by Black artists? Yes. But is music inspired by or influenced by Black artists Black music? This answer is not so clear.
One of the many issues with the distinction and defining of Black music in the music industry is that oftentimes Black artists are often pushed into genres such as R&B or hip hop, which is both reductive and limiting to the artists and their work. Singer-songwriter FKA twigs spoke about this phenomenon in an interview with the Guardian in 2014: “When I first released music and no one knew what I looked like, I would read comments like: ‘I’ve never heard anything like this before, it’s not in a genre.’ And then my picture came out six months later, now she’s an R&B singer.”
For years, high profile award shows such as the Grammys have only helped to perpetuate this boxing in of Black artists. Take, for instance, the confusingly and formerly titled “Best Urban Contemporary Album” category. It was only last year that the category was renamed to “Best Progressive R&B Album”. The change was born out of the award show’s desire for more inclusivity and to better reflect the fluidity and scope of the category. In the past several years, many in the industry and in the media have called for an end to the use of “urban” in describing music, arguing that the term is a vague and limiting generalization for Black music as a whole.
And even in genres that are considered to be most influenced or dominated by Black artists, there has historically been underrepresentation in the industry. For example, just last year, producer Kaytranada became the first Black artist to win the Grammy for “Best Dance/Electronic Album”, though the genre has been unarguably most influenced by traditionally Black dominated genres such as disco and hip hop.
With these inequalities and failures of the music industry in mind, the necessity for Black Music Appreciation Month is most evident. To celebrate Black music is to acknowledge its importance in the history of American music, with respect to both Black artists and otherwise. It is likewise clear that a rigid distinction between what is Black music and what is not is not necessary–for in reality, so much of contemporary American music has been in some way touched or influenced by so-called Black music. It is an undercurrent that has served as the foundation for all of contemporary American music, and has been, in fact, so integral to all of American music.
Because for centuries now, Black music has been a keystone of the American music identity. Antonin Dvořák, a Czech composer, once cited the late nineteenth century African American spirituals he encountered in America as a great inspiration for his “New World Symphony”. Even more than simply citing these spiritual hymns as inspiration, Dvořák similarly recognized their power, importance, and place in the future and legacy of American music: “These beautiful and varied themes are the product of the soil. They are the folk songs of America, and your composers must turn to them.”
And just as Black music cannot simply be a subgenre of music, it can likewise never be defined as any one thing. Thus, Black Music Appreciation Month ought to celebrate the protean nature of Black music as well as to acknowledge the historical injustices to Black artists and musicians. From folk to the blues, from jazz to hip hop, the influence of Black music on American music as a whole is both undeniable and wholly remarkable. And just as Dvořák was prescient to recognize, Black music has become the indelible foundation and promising future of American music.
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