With Covid rates remaining stagnant and Russia continuously attempting to invade Ukraine, the world is in a very odd place as we enter April. Here are the top news stories of the month.
Twelve people were injured, with six dying, as a result of two gunmen in Sacramento, California. Dandrae Martin was arrested on April 4th for his alleged connection to the crime. Police expect more suspects to surface as massive amounts of video footage and physical evidence are examined.
On April 1st, 360 Magazine launched its very own NFT collection, Animal Series. Despite the date of release, the NFT is no joke. There are four animal themed NFTs currently on the market, which will be available to bid on until May 1st. Head to OpenSea to secure an animal of your own.
The 64th Grammy Awards were held on April 3, giving well-deserved wins to artists like Olivia Rodrigo, who went home with three Grammys (one of which she broke). Lil Nas X performed “Industry Baby” with Jack Harlow and Billie Eilish performed “Happier Than Ever.” Other highlights include a message from Ukrainian President Zellenskyy in which he discussed the importance of music during these troubling times. Find more information HERE.
Fashion Week Brooklyn
Fashion Week Brooklyn is now underway. For Rick Davy, founder of the 501c3 non-profit BK|Style Foundation (BK|SF), sponsorships and partnerships have been key factors in ensuring the success of the esteemed showcase. This year’s series of runway shows and events kicked off April 2nd with kidswear at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum with events across the borough and a finale at Socceroof on April 10th.
Urban Beauty TV is partnering with BK|Style Foundation to highlight the April 8th Denim show. This program will air during season two, slated for premiere in August (National Black Business Month). Coverage includes onsite interviews with the founder(s) of Fashion Week Brooklyn, featured designers and behind-the-scenes footage. Host of Urban Beauty TV, Midori Amae, will present the segment filmed backstage. A teaser will be released shortly after production via social media.
Oklahoma Abortion Ban
Oklahoma recently passed Senate Bill 612 that bans abortion except in the case of a medical emergency. Rape and incest are not causes for abortion, with Republican Sen. Jim Olsen stating that the baby “should not be liable for the sins of the father.” Those attempting to perform an abortion will be subject to a $100,000 fine or 10 years in prison.
This bill is especially troubling for Texans, as many fled to Oklahoma for their operations because of the state’s ban. Now many are left without options.
Smiley Martin Arrested in Connection with Sacramento Shooting
With Dandrae Martin arrested April 4th, another individual has been detained in relation to the six murders: Smiley Martin, Dandrae’s brother. A fully-automatic machine gun converted from a pistol was also recovered.
Smiley was convicted in 2016 after beating the mother of his two children. He was attempting to force her into prostitution.
Judge Jackson Confirmed
Despite an extensive confirmation process, the Senate has officially confirmed the nomination of Ketanji Brown, making her the first Black woman to serve. In a close 53-47 vote, three republicans joined the democrats. Only five women have ever been on the Supreme Court prior to Jackson, and this move will greatly broaden the diversity of the Supreme Court.
Britney Spears Teases Pregnancy
April 11, Britney Spears took to Instagram hinting at a pregnancy. The caption to a photo of a pink tea set and flowers left fans a little confused, while others began congratulating her. Britney teased about being “food pregnant,” but then states, “So I got a pregnancy test … and uhhhhh well … I am having a baby …”
Further on in the post, Britney speaks about the depression she experienced with her past pregnancies stating, “I obviously won’t be going out as much due to the paps getting their money shot of me like they unfortunately already have … it’s hard because when I was pregnant I had perinatal depression … I have to say it is absolutely horrible … women didn’t talk about it back then …”
New York City Shooting
Tuesday morning a shooting reportedly broke in Brooklyn upon the subway. There has been 13 people reported injured after the gunman threw smoke bombs into a subway car and began shooting on the southbound R train. The gunman has not been identified, but was seen wearing a construction vest and gas mask. Schools in the area went into lockdown as the NYPD and FBI began their search for a suspect.
Frank James Arrested in Relation to Brooklyn Shooting
Frank James was arrested in connection to the shooting in the Brooklyn subway. Reports have suggested that he was a lonely and angry man, very active in politics, and had a YouTube channel where he discussed current events. Police have not yet released a motive.
Video Footage Released from Patrick Lyoya Police Shooting
On April 4, Patrick Lyoya was fatally shot by a Grand Rapids, Michigan police officer after being pulled over. Video footage was captured from varying angles, including from a police bodycam point-of-view, a police dashcam, cell phone and home surveillance footage. The video shows the police officer, whose identity has been kept private, shooting Lyoya in the head and killing him. An investigation is underway.
DJ Kay Slay Passes From COVID
New York City graffiti artist and hip-hop musician DJ Kay Slay passed away at 55 on April 17 after a longstanding battle with COVID-19. After being hospitalized with the virus in December, as the Sun reported, he was placed on a ventilator and has been dealing with health problems since.
Highest Gymnastics Championships Viewership
The NCAA announced that this year’s Women’s Gymnastics Championships brought in a record 922,000 viewers. This championship has an 11% higher viewership compared to 2021. Oklahoma’s Trinity Thomas recieved a perfect 10 and won gold.
South Africa Suffers Fatal Floods
Flooding across South Africa’s eastern KwaZulu-Natal province has shocked the country, with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa affirming a state of disaster. A total of over 440 people were killed, with around 40,000 people homeless. With little water, food or housing, $68 million for cleanup was dispersed from the national government after the natural disaster hit South Africa.
Airlines Lift Mask Mandates
Many US airlines have discontinued mask mandates that have been in place for almost two years. The lift came after US District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle ruled that the CDC’s travel mask mandate was unlawful. Said airlines lifting their mask mandates include Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Spirit and JetBlue.
Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard Defamation Trial
Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard took to a Fairfax, Virginia courtroom to battle out their defamation trial. The lawsuit filed resulted from Heard’s reported allegations of abuse during their marriage. Having divorced in 2016, an op-ed written for the Washington Post by Heard in 2019 alleged she was a victim of domestic violence. The trial took to the courtroom on April 11.
Syracuse Police Scrutinized Over Treatment of 8-year-old Boy
An investigation went underway surrounding a video that went viral of an 8-year-old boy being placed into the back of a police car by Syracuse police offers. The boy allegedly stole a bag of chips, and the video shows him crying while officers put him into the car. In the video footage recorded by Kenneth Jackson, he offered to pay for the bag of chips and walk the young boy home.
The young boy was not handcuffed or arrested, and officers drove him back to his father’s house. The child’s father, Anthony Weah, spoke to ABC News when recalling “that police knocked his son off his bike and slapped him on the back, according to his son.”
Biden Announces Additional Ukraine Assistance
Thursday April 21, President Joe Biden declared that the United States would be sending $800 million in military aid to Ukraine amidst the ongoing against Russia. He also made announcements that the US would ban all Russian-affiliated ships into the nation’s ports. Included within the package of assistance is “heavy artillery weapons, such as 72 155-mm howitzers, 144,000 rounds of artillery and dozens of tactical drones.”
Shanghai COVID Lockdown
In late March of this year, Shanghai endured their largest COVID-19 outbreak to date since the onset of the pandemic. Since the outbreak, strict lockdowns were set into place, significantly affecting businesses. There has been a push from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology to reopen major businesses, but labor shortages affect the likelihood of returning to work.
Mike Tyson Punches Plane Passenger
Video footage of Mike Tyson depicts the former heavyweight champion boxer getting physical with another passenger aboard a plane at San Francisco International Airport. Said passenger seemed to annoy after taking a photo with him, and Tyson ended up punching the man, leaving him with a slightly bloody head.
Marjorie Taylor Greene Testifies
Republican Congresswomen Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia undergoes a disqualification hearing based off her involvement with the January 6 uprising on Capitol Hill. Some of her involvement on social media involving the insurrection has raised questions. Regarding the pro-Trump protest, Green stated while testifying, “I only believe in peaceful demonstration… I do not support violence.”
There has, also, been evidence from Greene’s socials depicting “support for executing prominent Democratic politicians in 2018 and 2019 before being elected to Congress in 2020.” Greene rebutted by claiming she has a lot of people running her socials, so she doesn’t know who liked said posts.
Washington DC Shooting
Friday April 22 a shooting erupted in Northwest Washington DC. A suspect has not been identified yet, while three adults and one child were reportedly injured. The suspected gunman is Raymond Spencer, a man who was updating a Wikepedia page for the school across from where the shooting took place.
The Washington Post reported that Spencer wrote, “A gunman shot at the school on April 22, 2022. The suspect is still at large,” with another post on 4chan stating, “Dear God please forgive me,” and “Waiting for police to catch up with me.”
The shooter reportedly committed suicide, and it is unknown if Spencer is the confirmed gunman.
Air Force General Receives First Court-Marital Conviction
Maj. Gen. William T. Cooley of the US Air Force was found guilty of one of three abusive sexual contacts. This court-marital trial and conviction became the first of a general officer in the Air Force to ever be found guilty. The incident dates to 2018 in which Cooley has been found guilty of “the first specification, ‘kissing (the victim) on the lips and tongue, with an intent to gratify his sexual desire.’”
Will Smith Endures Oscars Backlash
Following the Oscars held in May of this year, Will Smith continues to suffer consequences after slapping Chris Rock during the award ceremony. Two of his upcoming films have halted production, with one being cancelled altogether.
Netflix’s Bright 2 has officially been rescinded, with Netflix stating that the cancellation has nothing to do with Smith’s Oscars turmoil. National Geographic has postponed filming for Pole to Pole, which followed Smith as he traveled from the North and South Pole.
Elon Musk Buys Twitter
Coming in at a whopping $44 billion, Elon Musk is set to close a deal on buying Twitter. The venture began when Musk became one of the platforms largest shareholders, swiftly being offered and turning down a set on Twitter’s board to finally bidding to purchase the site.
Regarding the acquisition, Musk stated, “Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated, […] Twitter has tremendous potential — I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it.”
Oldest Living Person Passes Away
A Guinness World Record holder, Kane Tanaka of Japan has passed away at the age of 119. Tanaka held the record for the eldest living person and was confirmed on March 9, 2019. Her family released a statement in Tanaka’s words, in which she stated, “I was able to come this far with the support of many people. I hope you will continue to have fun, [and be] cheerful and energetic.”
Footage Following “Rust” Shooting Released
Video footage taken after the deadly shooting on the “Rust” movie set has been released. The shooting occurred onset of the Western movie, in which Alec Baldwin allegedly shot a prop gun that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and struck director Joel Souza.
Footage has been made public depicting Baldwin debriefing with the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s office, as well as officers speaking with Souza in a hospital room after the shooting.
Kamala Harris Tests Positive for COVID-19
April 26 Vice President Kamala Harris tested positive for COVID-19. She released the following statement via Twitter, “Today I tested positive for COVID-19. I have no symptoms, and I will continue to isolate and follow CDC guidelines. I’m grateful to be both vaccinated and boosted.
Willow Pill Wins Rupaul’s Drag Race
Willow Pill, the underdog of season 14, surprised many by winning the season 14 crown. The “twisted little doll” from Denver, Colorado and drag sister of season 11 winner Yvie Oddly had a sweet personality and dark, eccentric style of drag. She became the first trans contestant to win a regular season of drag race. Many remember Willow for her runway looks, like her all-white, early ’00’s inspired entrance outfit and her white with red spots mushroom getup. Fans loved her talent show, her roast and her direction in the Girl Group episode. Despite her constant battle with cystinosis and only receiving one challenge win, she won the hearts of many—and the crown.
US Marine Returned Home from Russia via Prisoner Exchange
Russia and the US engaged in a prisoner exchange to return home previous Marine Trevor Reed. Reed was jailed in Russia during the summer of 2019 after allegedly assaulting a Russian police officer. The trade also brought Russian drag trafficker Konstantin Yaroshenko back to his country after being sentenced 20 years in prison in 2010.
Reed’s family made a statement to the public, in which they expressed, “Today, our prayers have been answered and Trevor is safely on his way back to the United States, […] While we understand the interest in Trevor’s story – and as soon as he’s ready, he’ll tell his own story, we’d respectfully ask for some privacy while we address the myriad of health issues brought on by the squalid conditions he was subjected to in his Russian gulag.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci States US is “Out of the Pandemic Phase”
When sitting down with PBS NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff to discuss the state of the US, Woodruff asked Dr. Anthony Fauci questions about the pandemic and the status of the country.
Woodruff raised the question of when we would see the closing of the pandemic, in which Fauci replied, “We are certainly, right now, in this country out of the pandemic phase, […] Namely, we don’t have 900,000 new infections a day and tens and tens and tens of thousands of hospitalizations and thousands of deaths. We are at a low level right now.”
Disney and Florida Battle Ongoing Dispute
Republican Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida has thrown out Disney World’s special tax status that has been in place since 1967. The status allowed the corporation to operate as a self-government, which includes making decisions about construction on properties, reducing taxes and creating electricity, which saved millions of dollars for them.
The repeal comes after the newly passed is the “Parental Rights in Education” law, commonly known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Disney’s chief executive Bob Chapek has publicly shown his disapproval for the bill, in which DeSantis countered via a fund-raising email to supporters, “If Disney wants to pick a fight, they chose the wrong guy.”
Disney has not released a statement regarding the loss of their exclusive rights.
Southern California Drought Controls
The state of California has experienced its driest conditions in state history throughout the course of the past three years. 2022 has already revealed extremely dry conditions through in the state in just the early first three months, which are times in which California typically obtains half of its precipitation totals. Because of this, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California declared a Water Shortage Emergency, and have limited outdoor watering to only one day per week in certain regions.
Biden Proposes New Ukrainian Aid Bill
President Joe Biden has asked Congress to pass a $33 billion bill to help provide relief to Ukraine throughout the war with Russia. The bill is set to provide $20.4 billion in military/security aid, $6 billion towards the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative and $4 billion towards the State Department’s Foreign Military Financing Program.
About the bill, Biden stated, “The cost of this fight is not cheap, but caving to aggression is going to be more costly if we allow it to happen. We either back Ukrainian people as they defend their country, or we stand by as the Russians continue their atrocities in Ukraine… We need this bill to support Ukraine in this fight for freedom.”
Moderna Submits COVID-19 Vaccine for Younger Children
Moderna submitted their request for granted emergency use authorization (EUA) regarding new COVID-19 vaccines for children under the ages of six to the Food and Drug Administration. Currently, children above the age of five are able to be vaccinated in the US.
Regarding the submission, Moderna’s chief executive officer Stéphane Bancel stated, “We believe mRNA-1273 will be able to safely protect these children against SARS-CoV-2, which is so important in our continued fight against COVID-19, and will be especially welcomed by parents and caregivers.”
Naomi Judd Passes Away at 76
Naomi Judd, one half of the mother-daughter Grammy award winning duo The Judds, passed away. The singer, mother to her bandmate Wyonna and Ashley Judd, was dealing with mental illness as reported by her children through a statement released on Saturday April 30.
“Today we sisters experienced a tragedy. We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness,” the daughters stated, “We are shattered. We are navigating profound grief and know that as we loved her, she was loved by her public. We are in unknown territory.”