Posts tagged with "journalist"

Rita Azar Illustrates an Entertainment Article for 360 MAGAZINE

The Cosby Show And Me

One woman’s journey after she learned The Cosby Show was based on her family in the 1980s.

By Ann-Marie Adams, Ph.D. | @annmarieadams

What if I told you that The Cosby Show was partly based on me and my family during the 1980s? You would probably not believe it. But it is true.

That’s the conclusion after a seven-year investigation by private investigators and government officials. Providence guided us during this lengthy investigation when I lived in Avon, and political operatives prepared me in 2014 to run for Congress against former Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty–an academic exercise worth noting. It was during this “prep” time that I learned about this connection with The Cosby Show.

This fortuitous story of the connection began when former President Ronald Reagan visited Jamaica on April 7, 1982. During that one-day visit, Reagan’s security detail reportedly made contact with me and my family. My father was an electrical engineer while working at the Government Printing Office. He owned a home in a suburb of Kingston. And my mother worked with a transportation company. If former President Barack Obama did not visit Jamaica on April 9, 2015, while I was covering the White House, I wouldn’t have believed this story. That’s because it was Obama’s first visit as president, and he was only the second sitting president to visit the Caribbean nation since its independence in 1962, according to MSNBC.

Also at play were these facts: In Jamaica, we were a middle-class family Reagan’s cabinet allegedly felt they should watch. After Reagan’s visit, several individuals made plans to put a family sitcom together. And it was called The Cosby Show, according to sources close to the U.S. federal, state, and local governments. The show aired on NBC from April 30, 1984, to September 20, 1992.

The Cosby Show’s character, Denise Huxtable, was based on me, I’m told. The character’s persona and likeness were exploited without our consent.

And the revelation about the origins of the show can also be found in Bill Cosby’s interview about how he came up with this idea.

Cosby first pitched the show about a working-class Honduran family. My father’s ancestors are from Honduras and Nicaragua. We had a wonderful life that included Sunday dinners and picnics in the park, but we weren’t exempt from obstacles. Although The Cosby Show was mainly focused on Cosby’s observations of family life, some of those observations were of my family. Moreover, the basic concept of the middle-class family depicted on the show is evident in my family: My older sibling wanted to be a doctor. Also, I wanted to be a lawyer. Those plans of ours were interrupted by government officials, according to sources close to the investigation.

In previous interviews, Cosby also stated the original conceptualization of the show: a working-class family that raised a successful child. (side note: Cosby’s wife suggested the show be based on a well-to-do family). The original premise and casting choices for the sitcom, however, reaffirmed the initial concept in the pitch that was identical to my family and me.

So I’m telling my story.

Several scenes were points of recognition of my family’s life in Jamaica and the U.S., especially my time at Brooklyn College. I also learned during the investigation that the casting directors and writers had our family in mind when they selected the actors. There are frighteningly similar personas in my family and the characters on the show. And a picture of The Cosby Show family and my family bears a striking resemblance. For example, Denise Huxtable is my doppelganger–and the investigators discovered the character’s traits are similar to mine. Theo is my brother’s doppelganger and a few scenes reflect the relationship with him and my father. Vanessa is my sister Andrea’s doppelganger and several scenes reflect her relationship between us. Rudy’s character is based on my brother. Articles about the casting claimed that the casting directors tried to find a boy at first but they couldn’t; so they used a girl for the role. Rudy is my niece Janel’s doppelganger. And the character Olivia is my other niece Franchista’s doppelganger. The optics resonate well to claim theft of services and copyright infringement.

Other similarities include Sondra, who shares traits with my cousin Carleen. Elvin is based on my brother Lloyd. Also, Aunt Vi is based on my cousin, Doreen, Lt. Martin Kindall, Denise’s husband is based on my cousin, Raymond. And of course, Claire Huxtable was based on my mother and older sister, Marcia. The patriarch of the television family, Cliff Huxtable portrays similar traits as my handsome father. Huxtable is my father’s doppelganger–not twin. Cosby’s conviction as a sex offender was not echoed in my family. In fact, my father has never been arrested for any crimes. This information, I believe, will allow people to differentiate between the actor and the individual the show was based on when talking about the circumstances around this NBC hit comedy in the 1980s and 1990s.

In addition to those facts, several scenes were premised on the interpersonal dynamics of the relationships between me and my sisters, brothers, and cousins. This was too much of a coincidence to those who were investigating us during the recent investigation and prep for Congress. The public must know that The Cosby Show itself is a creation by several actors, comedians, writers, and producers who may be unfamiliar with our family. However, a few undisclosed individuals close to the recent investigation of Bill Cosby and the creation of the show gave me this information. So the very idea that it was based on our family was plausible to investigate further, officials said. I also learned that the 1990s spin-off, A Different World, was based on me and my years at college. And the show, That’s So Raven, was based on my niece, Franchista.

Why we were picked for this social experiment will perhaps remain a secret to Reagan, his staff, and others close to the show. The Caribbean’s strategic location to the Panama Canal gave us a clue as to why our family was at the center of a Cold War project. We requested other documents to uncover this mystery and are still waiting. Also, the United States Secret Service has disallowed open documentation of Reagan’s visit to Jamaica in 1982. But one thing was clear. After this revelation to me, while I was covering the Obama White House, my family and I were the victims of a hate crime and cover-up–because of the revelation of our connection to The Cosby Show.

Cosby and his associates are suspects in this crime, using unorthodox methods by Lansana Koroma of Philadelphia. So I reached out to Andrew Wyatt, his publicist. According to Wyatt, Cosby doesn’t want to talk about this affair right now.

Looking through old photographs, it was clear that the casting director used our family’s faces and likeness as a guide to casting those on the show. They were, indeed, our doppelgangers. The old pictures confirmed that much. After discovering we looked like the actors, who were selected for the pilot season that debut on September 20, 1984, we all were the victims of a hate crime to assault our faces and distort our images on television, print, and with online photos.

This insidious plot to strip us of our individual identities and image as a middle-class and Christian family the show was based on also included an incredible effort to secretly strip us of our financial resources, including houses, cars, and jobs. All this orchestrated crime during the long investigation was to hide our true identities and our impact on the show. Therefore, this sinister approach to the secret investigation must be addressed with force.

Perhaps the Bill Cosby trial in Philadelphia was divine justice when he was indicted on a day close to my father’s birthday. Also, Cosby failed to acknowledge our contributions to the show and as a result, his new family comedy slated for 2015 was canceled. But the United States State Department, state, city officials, and other individuals used to invade our privacy owe us more than an apology.

We are asking for the perpetrators of this crime to be held accountable with prison time–just like Bill Cosby–for the evil and covert attacks on our family to cover up this truth in the country. More importantly, we ask for reparation for our family because of years of disruptions and adverse experiences to discredit our claim to The Cosby Show.

Enough is enough. We want restorative justice–reparations.

Dr. Ann-Marie Adams is an award-winning journalist and U.S. History Professor. She is also the founder of The Hartford Guardian, the first nonprofit, hyper-local publication in Connecticut. Previously, she was a journalist at The Hartford Courant, People Magazine, NBC 4 New York, the Washington Post, other regional publications, and television newscasts.

Maria Soloman illustration for 360 MAGAZINE journalism article.

The War on Journalism

by Justin Lyons

What a time it is to be a journalist.

During an era in which news is a divisive, politicized topic, one man seems to have been spearheading the charge against modern media. That’s what a brand new documentary from Juan Passarelli aims to cover, at least in part.

“The War on Journalism – the case of Julian Assange” takes the case of the controversial WikiLeaks founder. Assange now faces 175 years after his site published leaked documents with information sensitive to the United States government. Now we face the never-ending battle of journalistic principles versus legality.

The thing that sticks out to me at first thought is the idea that leaks have existed as long as governments and corruption have existed, which dates back to the beginning of time. As a journalist myself, I think we consider our job as watchdogs one of the most important jobs in a functioning society. If journalists aren’t delivering news telling consumers what they need to know and why they need to know it, we’d be missing a huge opportunity to hold powerful figures accountable.

Theodore Roosevelt once called journalists “muckrakers” because they, well, rake through the muck. They dig through the dirt to find that key that might be even dirtier than the dirt itself. While it doesn’t sound like an endearing term, journalists seem to take it as a compliment.

This documentary looks at the realities of being a reporter in the middle of the action, and it seems to no longer be safe to gather information about government action. It opens with what looks like a reporter being pepper sprayed by police and proceeds to show government officials claim they will not agree to refrain from prosecuting journalists for doing their jobs.

Assange was indicted under the Espionage Act with 17 counts. The Espionage Act is a United States law published in 1917 that aims to prevent interference in foreign relations.

While it might seem that the First Amendment could guarantee freedom for press to publish information with the public good in mind, John Kiriakou, described as a CIA torture whistleblower, brought up a really interesting point.

Kiriakou was charged in the Eastern District of Virginia and hired the lawyer who won cases for O.J. Simpson and George Zimmerman. That lawyer decided that Kiriakou’s case was impossible to win in the Eastern District of Virginia. His jury would have comprised of members of the CIA, the FBI, the Pentagon, intelligence community contractors and the Department of Homeland Security.

The same applies to Julian Assange. He was charged in the Eastern District of Virginia, where Kiriakou said no national security defendant had ever won a case.

Journalists aren’t seeking more freedom than the average U.S. citizen, but they should be protected with clearly defined rights. When the Sixth Amendment guarantees the right to an impartial jury, it can make you wonder how Kiriakou’s story is possible in the first place. It seems that seeking protection for the government has overwhelmed the protection of journalistic freedoms.

Overall, the documentary is definitely an interesting looking glass into what it’s like to be a journalist right now. I also think it’s an interesting look at journalistic protections. When thinking about people like Assange or Edward Snowen, who also appears in the documentary, I wonder where their protections start and end and how those protections are recognized if we consider them journalists.

In 2020, anyone can be a journalist, and using that freedom of press for information of public interest is something that is quite clearly protected by the Constitution.

Now that Assange is appearing in court for his extradition case, I look forward to the outcome, as it could become another landmark case for journalism in the United States.

If you’re interested in seeing “The War on Journalism – the case of Julian Assange” for yourself, you can check it out right here.

book, reading, Vaughn Lowery, 360 Magazine

Jini Reddy New Book

On Tuesday, June 30th, Bloomsbury Wildlife (US) is releasing Wanderland: A Search for Magic in the Landscape by award-winning BIPOC author and journalist Jini Reddy, who was just long-listed for the 2020 Wainwright Prize.

In pursuit of the Other and a connection to Britain’s captivating natural world, Jini Reddy searches for the magical in the landscape. Alone on a remote mountaintop one dark night, she hears a mysterious voice.

Propelled by the memory and after years of dreaming about it, Jini Reddy dares to delve into the “wanderlands” of Britain, heading off in search of the magical in the landscape.

A London journalist with multicultural roots and a perennial outsider, she determinedly sets off on this unorthodox path. Serendipity and her inner compass guide her around the country in pursuit of the Other and a connection to Britain’s captivating natural world. Where might this lead? And if you know what it is to be Othered yourself, how might this color your experiences? And what if, in invoking the spirit of the land, ‘it’ decides to make its presence felt?

Whether following a ‘cult’ map to a hidden well that refuses to reveal itself, attempting to persuade a labyrinth to spill its secrets, embarking on a coast-to-coast pilgrimage or searching for a mystical land temple, Jini depicts a whimsical, natural Britain. Along the way, she tracks down ephemeral wild art, encounters women who worship The Goddess, falls deeper in love with her birth land and struggles – but mostly fails – to get to grips with its lore. Throughout, she rejoices in the wildness we cannot see and celebrates the natural beauty we can, while offering glimpses of her Canadian childhood and her Indian parents’ struggles in apartheid-era South Africa.

Wanderland is a book in which the heart leads, all things are possible and the Other, both wild and human, comes in from the cold. It is a paean to the joy of roaming, both figuratively and imaginatively, and to the joy of finding your place in the world.

“A joyous celebration of the beauty we can see and the magic we can’t.” – Tay Aziz, BBC Wildlife

“…doesn’t just open your eyes to the Isles’ mystical history, but also your mind to the possibilities of what spirits may be lurking there.” – Wanderlust Magazine

“[Jini Reddy] rejects the stereotypes placed on people of color, and crafts a beautiful story of self-discovery and exploration of the natural world. – Brown Girl Magazine

Wanderland: A Search for Magic in the Landscape by Jini Reddy goes on-sale 6/30/20

About Jini Reddy:

Jini Reddy is an award-winning author and journalist. She was born in London to Indian parents who grew up in apartheid-era South Africa, and was raised in Montreal, Canada. Jini has a degree in Geography, an M.A. in English Literature and a passion for writing on travel, nature and spirituality. Her byline has appeared in The Guardian, Time magazine, The Metro, The Times, Sunday Times Style, The Sunday Telegraph, National Geographic Traveler, BBC Wildlife, Resurgence & The Ecologist and other publications. Her first book, Wild Times, was published in 2016 and she is a contributor to the forthcoming Women on Nature anthology.

Follow Jini Reddy: Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Website 

Jeff Langlois, 360 MAGAZINE, The Mill, LA, photography, fine arts

Jeff Langlois

It took a one-way road trip for Jeff Langlois to cultivate a passion for photography. The adventure to LA brought forth stunning deserts and mountainous peaks, as he drove from Minneapolis through the Rockies – in a 2002 Honda Civic; eager to jumpstart a career at a commercial house called The Mill. The best way to balance out the fast-paced, unpredictable, and ever-changing environment that is advertising, was to break away and see what the west coast really looks like. Traveling solo allowed him to arrive in beautiful destinations and wait for these locations to unveil their scenic characteristics. Jeff notes that the best shots always come unexpectedly. Now while still mainly shooting the outdoors, he plans just enough to get him out and moving around, but his best and most memorable shots come unexpectedly. It’s about showing up and being patient and receptive to what’s going on. 

Save Journalism Project Launches To Protect Our Press From Big Tech

BuzzFeed Reports on Recently Laid Off Journalists Serving  As Spox For New Campaign To Save Journalism From Monopolistic Power of Big Tech Companies

Today, BuzzFeed reports on the Save Journalism Project that’s launching to raise awareness and engagement about the critical need to save journalism as it faces an existential threat—the monopolistic power of big tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Apple destroying the economic model of the entire journalism industry, whether its traditional circulation newspapers or digital news outlets. At the same time, Google and Facebook have made acquisition after acquisition, gaining a monopolistic position that lets them dominate the digital advertising marketplace and distribute massive amounts of content from news publishers on their platforms without paying to produce the content. Just now are Facebook, Google, and other tech giants facing federal government and Congressional antitrust scrutiny.

Two recently laid off reporters will serve as spokespeople for the Save Journalism Project, Laura Bassett  and John StantonLearn More and Join the Fight at SaveJournalism.org and@SaveTheNews.

BuzzFeed: These Reporters Lost Their Jobs. Now They’re Fighting Back Against Big Tech.

“John Stanton and Laura Bassett are warning about what they believe the tech industry is doing to journalism, as thousands have lost their jobs this year alone.

By Rosie Gray”

Two prominent reporters who were recently laid off from digital media outlets are forming a new advocacy group formed to raise awareness about big tech’s impact on the journalism industry.

John Stanton, a longtime congressional correspondent and former BuzzFeed News Washington bureau chief, and Laura Bassett, a former culture and political reporter for nearly 10 years at the Huffington Post, have teamed up to launch a new initiative called the Save Journalism Project. The two have first-hand experience with the troubled state of the news industry: Stanton was laid off from BuzzFeed News during a round of layoffs that affected 200 people company-wide this winter and spurred a unionization drive among the news staff. Bassett lost her job in similar fashion in January after Huffington Post laid off 20 employees as part of larger cuts at its parent company, Verizon Media.

This year has been one of the worst in recent memory for journalism jobs. Across the industry, thousands have lost their jobs: from BuzzFeed News, Vice, CNN, and others across the country at local publications. Media organizations have been imperiled by crashing advertising revenues as Facebook and Google vacuum up available ad dollars.

Their new project will be set up as a nonprofit, according to Eddie Vale, a Democratic consultant whose firm is providing the man-power to launch the effort. Vale pitched Bassett on the idea, and the two of them brought in Stanton. Vale said initial funding had been secured from “someone who doesn’t want to be public so Google and Facebook don’t go after them,” and the group plans to continue to fundraise. So far, the pair have co-authored testimony given to the Senate Judiciary Committee highlighting the tech giants’ impact on the news industry — “since being laid off, we’ve made it our mission to understand how the digital marketplace works and how Big Tech is killing the journalism industry,” they wrote — flown a plane above Google’s I/O conference, and authored op-eds.

A key part of their goal is to get journalists, who aren’t known for showing a keen interest in the business side of their publications or for engaging in advocacy themselves, to take an active role in defending the future of their jobs. In an interview, Stanton said they were “trying to educate the public and members of Congress and also start encouraging our colleagues to speak up.”

“Reporters are not generally super interested in speaking about their own problems and about things that affect them directly because they feel like it becomes a conflict of interest, and in certain ways that’s true,” Stanton said. “But when the future of the free press is being pretty seriously endangered by something, I think it’s incumbent upon us to stand up for ourselves.”

Like many reporters, Bassett said she had “never really had to pay attention to the financial side of journalism.”

But “after getting laid off, I started to become really interested in why all of these amazing news publishers were sort of going under, having to lay off staff, why we were losing local newspapers. It’s a tragedy, it’s really bad for democracy.”

Their effort comes at a time of increased scrutiny of the tech industry on the part of the federal government as well as Congress as public concern mounts over repeated privacy scandals, technology companies’ role in spreading misinformation, and their dominance over certain industries. The Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission reportedly made a deal to divide potential antitrust investigations between them; Apple and Google will fall under the purview of the DOJ, while the FTC took Facebook and Amazon. The House Judiciary Committee announced it would “conduct a top-to-bottom review of the market power held by giant tech platforms.”

The Save Journalism Project’s founders are hoping to steer the public conversation around the negative effects of Big Tech towards its impact on journalism.

Stanton, who lives in New Orleans, mentioned examples like that city’s local paper, the Times-Picayune, which laid off its entire staff last month. Around the country, Stanton said, “local reporters are so overtaxed. They’re doing as good a job as they can but there’s not enough of them.”

At the moment, Stanton and Bassett are more focused on warning the public and the industry about the issue than on proposing solutions.

“I do think that everyone is starting to see a need to break up and regulate these companies or something along those lines,” Bassett said. “And with regards to how they’re going to make journalism viable again, I don’t frankly know…I think right now we’re starting with just getting this conversation out into the public and making people aware of exactly what’s going on. I do hope at some point we graduate into saying, ‘here’s a list of policy proposals, here’s exactly what needs to happen.'”

Stanton and Bassett plan to interview elected officials, candidates and colleagues in the media about the industry’s crisis, and started with conducting on-camera interviews with Reps. Mark DeSaulnier and Ruben Gallego. They plan to circulate a letter with which media companies can sign on to their cause. And their first official event will be at the annual Congressional Baseball Game, where they plan to distribute a physical newspaper laying out the problems on their agenda.

“The DC press corps is a really powerful constituency within our industry,” Stanton said. “If we can get our colleagues [there] to start talking about this it will help more broadly.”

HOW TO TRAVEL WITH A VAPE AND NOT BREAK THE LAW

What does your usual day look like?

The most common script is that you wake up, take a shower, have your breakfast and leave for work. The other option is lying in bed until midday and enjoying your distanced work from home. However, it does not matter, which obligations you have, but it is important, which habits you have. If you have any of all possible unhealthy habits, it may be difficult for you to travel with family during your holidays or to go on business trips.

Today we would talk about possibilities to travel if your habit is vaping. If you are a long-termed vaper and cannot imagine your working day without using best vape pen (Vapingdaily gives helpful hints), you might be surprised when you would have to leave your device at home during traveling abroad. These prohibitions depend on the destination country laws, the rules of traveling adapted by your airline company and also on the type of device you use and the substance you vape. For example, even the best vape pen for weed regarding safety and security must be left at home, because in the country (or state), you travel to, marijuana or other substances are illicit.

It also happens that you have to leave your vape at home because of strict rules of airlines, but then you can buy new vape pens in any vape shop at your destination country (or state).

What are the rules of taking vaping devices to the plane?

The most evident rule is that you can never vape while being on the plane during your flight, but usually, you can bring your vaping device in the plane. The important point here is that it should not be in the checked bag, because all the batteries must be in special storage in the pressurized cabin. Some airlines may have additional peculiarities about carrying some types of e-cig or vaporizer pen. The policies of different airlines may vary, so read the policies carefully before you purchase the ticket. This may save your money and help to avoid conflicts or other possible unpleasant situations.

The other question is about e liquids and vapor juice for your pen vaporizer. You know that any airlines have limits to the amount of any liquid that you can take along with you. To minimize possible problems try to put the liquid into a special plastic container to facilitate the screening process. Do not forget that the dosage of allowed liquid may vary depending on the company.

What countries you would better fly without vaping devices and why?

The short list of countries, where using vape pen may turn sour, is:

Thailand

Singapore

Brunei

Taiwan

Vietnam

Philippines

Lebanon

India

To exemplify, a traveler caught with pen vaporizer can get sentenced up to 10 years behind bars. Lebanon, India, Vietnam and some other countries impose harsh penalties on those, who vape. Vaping is strictly banned there.

The fact is that we know very little about laws on vaping in our country, not to say about the countries we have never been to. There is plenty of either country, where vaping is illegal, and you can get a fine, or being put into prison. So find a couple of minutes to google the legislation of the country of your destination.

In 2011 not only the process of vaping is banned, but also essential, transferring, selling or buying of even those vape pens, which contain no nicotine was banned in Argentina. If you have a trip to this country, better leave you vape at home. To continue the theme of South America, the production and sales of electronic cigarettes are illegal in Brazil since 2014.

One of the most popular countries for holidays is Egypt. Electronic cigarettes are banned there for already four years. Border patrol agent can commandeer your device at customs.

Talking about Asia, you would have to pay from $300 to $500 if you use any type of vaporizer pen in the areas, where smoking is forbidden, since 2010 in Brunei. To talk business, the government does not regulate the ability of personal use of vape pens, but people advise not to take your device to this country. One cannot be too careful.

In Singapore, the fines are much higher. The first offense will cost you about $4000 or more. In Cambodia, the government banned vaping in 2014. In India, though e-cigs are forbidden only in six states (Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Punjab, Jammu, and Kashmir). In some of these states, police can force you to pay a fine, but in some, they can get you into prison as well. Some states in Malaysia also have particular bans on vaping. It is illegal in public buildings, gas stations, etc. The fine might rich $2000, or you can get into prison for up to 2 years. In Jordan, any type of e-cig (even those, which contain no nicotine) is under a ban since 2009.

As for Europe, you cannot transfer, sell or purchase any of the products, which contain nicotine in Norway. The only exception is a medical note, which proves that you need an e-cig to give up smoking. On the contrary, the Netherlands are famous for the ability to smoke anything. They sell weed in cakes, as cigs, and in many other forms. Therefore, this is the country, where you can use drugs, surely, if you stick to the dosages allowed.

As a conclusion, we have pointed out several tips for traveling with vapes. They are:

Demount your vaporizer pen before the trip. You have to put different parts of it into some plastic bags or something because not all the constituents are allowed to be taken in the checked bag. This means you would better clean them, not to make your clothes dirty or sticky. Be sure to browse flawless vape shop for pens which don’t leak.

Check how much of e-liquid you can take according to the policy of your airlines. It is better to use several bottles because one can be broken or spilled during the flight or inspections at the airport.

Check the expiry date of all the substances you need and check if you put your charger with you. Also, it is better to google the location of vape shops in the area of your hotel.

You must pack all the batteries into special packs. This rule is extremely strict-followed in all the airline’s companies.

Check the laws of the country you travel to once again. It is better to read more than to spend two years in an Asian prison.

About the author:

Christina Matthews, the journalist who studies the latest news in the health industry. Now she studies the effects of smoking and vaping on health and reasons for such its popularity.

It also happens that you have to leave your vape at home because of strict rules of airlines, but then you can buy new vape pens in any vape shop at your destination country (or state). If you decide to travel to Canada we recommend 180Smoke.ca.

MICHAEL LETTERLOUGH JR.

Michael Letterlough Jr. is an Award-winning fashion, commercial and portrait photographer whose work has been seen and published in national and international magazines such as Forbes, Vogue Italia, GQ, Vibe, EuroMoney, Ebony/Jet and Essence to name a few; as well as international selling CD and book covers, national ad campaigns, top modeling agencies, and countless celebrities – including Janet Jackson, Kevin Hart, supermodels Beverly Johnson and Janice Dickinson, and Hip-Hop mogul, Russell Simmons.

However, it’s the work Michael has created with such companies as American Express, Nike, and the Bravo TV Network, as well as smaller businesses and individual personalities that positions his style of imagery as strong, commercial branding tools. When aligned with businesses – big and small – Michael has the ability to creatively and ingeniously produce photographs that not only perfectly represent their brand, but also command an audience’s attention.

Michael was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated with a degree in Communications/Magazine Journalism from Temple University. After beginning his professional career as an entertainment journalist, he eventually discovered his passion for photography and developed much of his photography career living in New York City. Michael currently lives in Los Angeles, California.

Official Site

W Hotels of NY

On Tuesday, June 19th:
From 10pm-2am, W Hotels of NY will host No Shade at W New York – Times Square, a ball to celebrate voguing culture. Attendees will be invited to partake.
Ballroom categories include (for those wishing to compete):

– Old Way vs. New Way – In a tracksuit.
– Runway – All American vs. European.
– Foot & Eye – In a colorful combo. Designer not required, just be FIERCE.
– Face – Pride Queen/King with all five rainbow colors on your face.
Music by MikeQ. $1500 in cash prizes and two night weekend stays at the W Hotels of New York will be at stake. Open to the public with tickets for $15.

On Thursday, June 21st:
From 6:00-8:30pm, W NY – Union Square will host What She Said: Gender Identity, an open-format panel discussion. What She Said: Gender Identity will open the floor to a panel of activists, business owners, models and actresses to share their personal journeys with gender identity, fluidity, and sexuality. Free and open to the public.
The panelists will be:

Elliott Sailors, androgynous model, award-winning actor and LGBTQIA activist.

Rob Smith, founder of Phluid Project, the world’s first genderless retail space
Jess Miller, queer activist and model
Anita Dolce Vita, Editor-in-Chief of dapperQ, a leading online queer style magazine
Serving as the moderator is Jane Mulkerrins, a journalist whose work covers the topics of sexuality, gender, politics, and race; and where it intersects with Hollywood. The event is part of W Hotel’s What She Said global speaker series focused on empowering women. Link: http://www.whotelsnewyork.com/events/what-she-said-gender-identity/

“About You”

Asralwerks will release About You, the debut album by Albin Lee Meldau. The album which is available for pre-order today along with the release of the starkly powerful opening track Before & After marks the arrival of a remarkable new voice and an emerging artist to watch in 2018. About You will also include the standout songs The Weight Is Gone, Same Boat, and Lou Lou.

When you distill the 13 breathtaking songs on About You down to their essence, you’ll arrive at Albin’s motivation: Storytelling, says the 29-year-old singer-songwriter. That’s what will matter in the long run. If I achieve that, I’m happy. Anyone can sing. First and foremost, Albin considers himself a musical journalist who not only documents what he feels, but also what he sees. But before you discover his gift for weaving emotion, detail and humanity into a unique blend of classic soul and modern pop production, you will hear his voice and be bowled over. Maybe anyone can sing, but as NPR writes, Few singers can command an audience’s attention quite like Albin Lee Meldau. His voice is breathtaking, soulful, thunderous and impossible to ignore.

Indeed, on About You those pipes of his connect a rich history of rhythm and blue Al Green, Van Morrison to contemporary innovators like James Blake, Sam Smith and Hozier. The music does that too, swelling from spare guitar or piano-backed ballads, to Ronson-like mashups of hip-hop beats and sweeping strings, to hands-in-the-air soul-soaked dance-pop. That’s no doubt got a bit to do with Albin’s collaborators: writers like Jimmy Napes (Sam Smith, Disclosure), DJ Khalil (Anderson .Paak), and Neil Ormandy (James Arthur), plus producers Bastian Langebaek (Jessie Ware, Jack Garratt) and Jamie Scott (Rag’n’Bone Man, Ed Sheeran).

But lest you assume such a who’s who would sway a young artist from his mission, consider the fact that the haunting, unadorned song which introduced him to the world in 2015, Lou Lou, is perfectly at home on About You. And that’s where we come back to the storytelling: Just as that tune documents heartache as a woman close to Albin succumbs to madness, its neighboring songs are deeply poignant. They’re little novels about life from a man who’s heartbroken, who’s had his problems, who is weird, says Albin. It’s a breakup record and the start of something else.

The UK buzz for Albin continues to grow with a BBC Radio 2 A-List add for The Weight Is Gone, and following a sold-out London show at Omeara on April 17, Albin will return to the U.S. to support Jessie Ware on her upcoming North American tour, which includes shows in Chicago (Vic Theatre, April 29), Boston (Paradise, May 5), NYC (Brooklyn Steel, May 7-8), Philadelphia (TLA, May 10), and Washington DC (Lincoln Theatre, May 11).

2018 is shaping up to be a breakthrough year for Albin, the son of a Swedish jazz singer mom and a British punk rocker dad who hails from Gothenburg, Sweden. His debut album follows two impressive EPs that have already notched more than 30 million streams on Spotify. Last year he made his debut at SXSW and Bonnaroo, and NPR Music invited him to perform on their popular Tiny Desk Concert series. Albin was nominated for Best Newcomer at the 2017 Grammis (Sweden’s Grammy Awards) and won the 2016 Anchor Award, an international competition hosted by the Reeperbahn Festival in Germany that seeks out the best new emerging talent. He was selected by a jury that included producer Tony Visconti (David Bowie) who sang Albin’s praises in presenting him the award: Something is pouring out of his heart and soul when he sings.

SOUTH BY THE WEST CONFERENCE

Texas A&M University has announced it will return to Austin for South By Southwest Conference (SXSW) during Interactive Week March 11-14 to showcase thought leadership and innovation in addressing some of the world’s most urgent challenges.

Texas A&M’s follow-up SXSW appearance to 2017’s “Texas A&M House” will feature panel discussions with internationally recognized thought leaders and immersive Texas A&M brand experience opportunities at multiple locations in the heart of downtown Austin.

Texas A&M’s participation in SXSW in 2018 will showcase faculty expertise and generate brand impressions with a global audience of 280,000 attendees in a way that solidifies the institution’s commitment to a modern, progressive future while celebrating its prestigious land-, sea-, and space-grant status, academic prominence and storied traditions. This week of panels, exhibitions and brand engagement opportunities will impart Texas A&M’s reputation for creating leaders of character and substance to the future employers of students.

Panel Sessions at the Courtyard Marriott

Texas A&M’s faculty innovators, creators and influencers will team up with some of the world’s leading voices in national affairs, next-generation technologies and public policy to explore cutting-edge solutions to issues that include human rights, artificial intelligence, health care and natural disaster mitigation.

• Human Rights Policy in a Connected World: Texas A&M President Michael K. Young, former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton and former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large Rabbi David Saperstein will dissect social, economic and diplomatic strategies that could be enhanced by the integration of digital technology. The panel will be moderated by BBC Journalist Kasia Madera.

• Future Society: AI and Generative Systems: Emmy-winning TV host Mario Armstrong and industry experts from the College of Architecture Philip Galanter, Ann McNamara and Jinsil Hwaryoung Seo will analyze how technology has not only reshaped the media landscape, but society itself.

• Disrupting Traditional Healthcare with Innovation and Technology: PhilipsUSA Chief Medical Officer Joseph Frassica will lead a discussion on challenging the traditional health care model with Carrie L. Byington, Dean of the Texas A&M College of Medicine, Senior Vice President of the Texas A&M University Health Science Center and Vice Chancellor for Health Services, CEO of Engineering Health (EnHealth) and Executive Dean for Engineering Medicine (EnMed) Roderic I. Pettigrew and Center for Remote Health Technologies and Systems Director Gerard Coté.

• “Future Proofing” Disaster Recovery: Commission to Rebuild Texas Chair and Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp, Texas Senator John Whitmire (D-Houston) and State Representative Geanie Morrison (R-Victoria) will explore the changing dynamics of natural disaster recovery and preparedness with journalist Roland S. Martin.

• The Community, Culture and Science of Texas BBQ: Author and cook Jess Pryles will lead a discussion on Texas’ rich BBQ culture and the techniques, seasonings and cuts that drive the culinary art. Joining Pryles will be Jeff Savell, Davey Griffin and Ray Riley, meat scientists and pitmasters behind Texas A&M’s Camp Brisket.

Texas A&M X ’47 Brand Discovery House at The Clive on Rainey Street

The Texas A&M X ’47 Brand Discovery House will bring Texas A&M’s global impact as a land, sea and space-grant institution to life through a captivating sensory experience at a redesigned Clive. The Discovery House collaboration between Texas A&M, premier apparel partner ’47 Brand and leading new media lifestyle brand Highsnobiety also will feature live musical performances from emerging talents and breakfast, lunch and dinner from Texas A&M’s BBQ Geniuses and Stiles Switch BBQ.

Texas A&M Discovery Lounge at the Courtyard Marriott’s Brazos Ballroom

SXSW-goers will have an opportunity to relax and recharge at the Discovery Lounge while exploring Texas A&M through engaging sensory experiences.

• Live Mural with LifeWTR: Teams of Texas A&M students will create a mural in real-time and compete for scholarships and an opportunity to have their work featured on apparel in a special campus series.

• “Saving Brunch” Smoothie Counter: Attendees can take a pit stop and refuel with coffee, juice and smoothies while learning about Texas A&M sustainable agriculture research and the Healthy Texas initiative.

• BBQ Genius Q&A Counter: Pick the brains of Texas A&M’s “brisketeers” and learn the finer points of the culinary art of BBQ while snacking on complimentary samples.

• Aggies in Space: Guests will have an opportunity to experience outer space through the eyes of Aggie astronauts with Q&A sessions, virtual reality experiences and a chance to try ice cream developed by Texas A&M scientists for NASA.

• Buyer BeWhere: Residents of Galveston and Harris counties can receive flood hazard risk information through an interactive map developed by coastal environmental planning expert Sam Brody.

• Innovation Hour: The Mays Business School and the School of Innovation will crowdsource and identify global challenges with the help of SXSW guests, and then discuss them.

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Funding for Texas A&M at SXSW was made possible through brand licensing revenues, without the use of tuition dollars.

This story is posted on Texas A&M Today.