Posts tagged with "social media"

Kaelen Felix illustrates Chadwick Boseman of Black Panther for 360 magazine article

Chadwick Boseman

Although Chadwick Boseman passed earlier this year, his 44th birthday would be coming up on November 29. To commemorate Boseman, National Today has created Chadwick Boseman Day in his honor.

Boseman accomplished many things over his 44 years of life and has inspired people everywhere. He always encompassed black excellence and this shines through in each role he portrayed throughout his career.

As T’CHalla in Black Panther, Boseman gave young people of color a hero to look up to in the Marvel universe. This was a monumental role as the first black superhero for Marvel. He also represented the first African American Supreme Court Justice in the movie Marshall. In the famous film 42, Boseman took on the lead as Jackie Robinson, the first black MLB player. These roles only highlight Boseman’s wildly successful career. He took on powerful roles that gave representation to the African American community and will be remembered for these roles and many others.

Chadwick Boseman passed after a four year battle with colon cancer on Friday, August 28, 2020. In 2016, Boseman was diagnosed with stage three cancer which had progressed to stage four. Boseman was able to pass at home surrounded by family.

Boseman’s passing, whose struggle with cancer was not often in the public eye, came as a shock to a majority. Even Sarah Halley Finn, who casted Boseman for the role of King T’Challa in “Black Panther” did not know he was battling cancer.
According to Vulture, “Finn had no idea the actor had been diagnosed with stage three cancer when cameras rolled on Black Panther in 2017.”

Chadwick Boseman not only was an actor, but a pillar in the black community often playing roles of historical black men, such as Jackie Robinison in “42”. His latest role as King T’Challa in “Black Panther” and the Avengers series was a historical role itself.

The black community had never seen a super hero represent them before and Chadwick Boseman’s adaptation of T’Challa provided many young boys and girls a super hero that looked just like them.

Boseman’s humble spirit was always felt throughout Hollywood. CNN entertainment shared the story of Boseman praising fellow actor, Denzel Washington, for his charity that allowed Boseman to pursue acting.

From pulled quotes from Boseman’s speech at the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019, the story of how Washington paid for Boseman’s tuition at the British American Drama Academy’s Midsummer program after Boseman was accepted but could not attend because he could not afford it. Washington not only helped pay for this program, but helped pay for Boseman to attend Howard University.

 Boseman recounted how the sponsorship was “an offering from a sage and a king is more than silver and gold. It is a seed of hope, a bud of faith.”

“There is no Black Panther without Denzel Washington,” Boseman said. “And not just because of me, but my whole cast — that generation — stands on your shoulders.”

Boseman’s role as T’Challa was much more than that, a role. This role became a national symbol of black power and strength. The “Wakanda Forever” gesture of arms crossed over the chest, became a symbol itself of perseverance and pride. 

CBS New York spoke to people in New York about how Blank Panther made them feel. “Thirteen-year-old Brehima Gueye says watching Boseman in the 2018 Marvel film “Black Panther” gave him purpose and a sense of pride.”

According to CBS, “Family members say Boseman was a true fighter who continued to work while undergoing surgeries and chemotherapy for colon cancer that progressed to stage four.” 

On August 29, 2020 fans in Los Angeles attended a vigil at Leimert Park where they remembered the impact Boseman had within the black community. The Los Angeles Times stated, “Boseman’s death in the midst of so much racial tension in the country serves as reminder to keep fighting for racial justice like he did.”

Fans of the franchise worry about how it will continue on without Boseman but are hopeful that Wakanda and King T’Challa’s legacy will live on.

Boseman’s role in not only Hollywood, but within the black community and as a symbol of black strength will not be forgotten. While his role for the Avengers franchise brought monetary achievements, it brought much more than that. It brought a symbol of power, endurance and hope that will forever be immortalized on screen.

Cotton Style House – Holiday Edition

Warm weather is just about out, and cold weather is on its way in, so stir up some hot chocolate and grab a warm blanket and your favorite movie because Cotton Incorporated is here to help.

Cotton Incorporated announced the launch of its limited-time holiday shop Monday. It is called Cotton Style House – Holiday Edition and is available exclusively on Amazon.

From now until the end of the calendar year, a variety of cotton apparel, gifting and home items are available, all curated by world-renowned celebrity stylist Irma Martínez.

Using virtual programming and a goal to connect all communities and cultures, the collection aims to bring people together at a time during which togetherness has come in short supply.

You can see actress Debby Ryan and influencer Daniela Ramirez and her husband in their favorite styles by clicking right here. You can also see the entire collection and find the right pieces for your taste.

Marissa Barlin, director of brand partnerships for Cotton Incorporated, said The Cotton Style House is celebrating the holiday season with chic, cotton-rich styles to provide both comfort and joy.

“The collections speak to how consumers anticipate celebrating the season with a focus on personal panache or creating a cozy home,” Barlin said.

With brands like Mara Hoffman, Levi’s, Calvin Klein and STAUD, the collection shows the versatility and comfort of cotton.

Ryan Clark, Gregory Dava, Coco Bassey and Jill Wallace also joined to show off their favorite cotton styles and trendy designs that they’ll be sporting this holiday season.

Each creator worked alongside Cotton Incorporated and Irma Martínez to create unique looks that represent their styles and personalities, and now they’re offering everybody a chance to join in the fun.

To shop the whole collection, you can click right here.

You can also follow Debby Ryan, Jill Wallace, Ryan Clark, Patrick Van Negri, Daniela Ramirez and Gregory Dava on Instagram.

Harry Styles illustrated by Kaelen Felix for 360 MAGAZINE

Harry Styles × Vogue

By Cassandra Yany

Harry Styles made history Friday as the first male to grace the cover of US Vogue. Styles defies gender stereotypes in the fashion magazine, which has become a point of controversy on social media in the days following its reveal.

On the cover of the December issue, Styles is photographed in a field wearing a pale blue, lace Gucci dress. He is featured wearing different skirts a number of times throughout the spread.

“Clothes are there to have fun with and experiment with and play with,” Styles says in the cover story. “What’s really exciting is that all of these lines are just kind of crumbling away. When you take away ‘There’s clothes for men and there’s clothes for women,’ once you remove any barriers, obviously you open up the arena in which you can play. I’ll go in shops sometimes, and I just find myself looking at the women’s clothes thinking they’re amazing.”

While most fans took to social media to praise the artist for his redefinition of gender norms in the shoot, some public figures shared their distaste for the photoshoot and Styles’ stereotypically feminine attire.

Coservative author and political activist Candace Owens quote-tweeted Vogue’s post promoting the cover story, saying “There is no society that can survive without strong men. The East knows this. In the west, the steady feminization of our men at the same time that Marxism is being taught to our children is not a coincidence. It is an outright attack. Bring back manly men.”

Styles’ supporters quickly called out Candace, posting TikTok videos of her wearing a pantsuit, citing her hypocrisy. Actress and filmmaker Olivia Wilde responded to Owens’ tweet with a simple, “You’re pathetic.” Styles is set to star in Wilde’s upcoming film Don’t Worry Darling.

Conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro had a similar reaction to that of Owens, saying “Outward indicators of masculinity and femininity exist in nearly every human culture. Boys are taught to be more masculine in nearly every human culture because the role of men is not always the same as the role of women. The Left knows this, of course. The POINT of style doing this photo shoot is to feminize masculinity.”

One of the most recent celebrities to jump to Harry’s defense has been internet personality Logan Paul. On the latest episode of his podcast “Impaulsive,” Paul showed his respect for Styles in his effort to challenge social norms. When his co-hosts questioned his stance on the issue and the “manliness” of the dress, Paul said “What is manly to you? What does it mean? Is manly like being comfortable in your own skin and being comfortable with who you are, regardless of what people think about what you’re wearing?”

On social media platforms like Twitter and TikTok, it is evident that more users praise Styles than criticize him for his bold statement in the cover. Many argue that fashion choices do not define a person’s identity. Despite his detractors, Styles remains one of the biggest names in pop culture and it doesn’t look like his widespread admiration is going anywhere with his first solo single “Sign of the Times” just re-entering the Top 100 US chart on iTunes. 

Music article illustration by Mina Tocalini for 360 Magazine

Grow Your Spotify Plays Overnight

If you are looking for more Spotify exposure, then you can join the millions of other Spotify artists that are trying to do the same thing. However, it feels like all we are ever doing is just treading water. We post songs and playlists only to have them fall into oblivion. They never see the light of day and never get a hit. 

Promotions seem to go nowhere. It doesn’t matter how many times you Tweet out a link to your music. It all ends up the same way, low plays, low streams, and low follows. It doesn’t have to be this way. It doesn’t have to be so hard. You have to be proactive about your marketing, but you also need to focus on the metrics that will actually improve your Spotify rankings. Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook are all great places to start but you won’t grow a following unless you hit the below metrics. Once you understand what you need to do, just rinse and repeat. You will soon be basking in the glow of plays.

You need to market your music by increase your play and follower metrics. You need to buy Spotify plays. This common practice will get your listings over the hump to be seen by a new crowd.

Why Improve Your Plays?

The Spotify algorithm is specific to Spotify platform metrics. This means that you need to focus on improving your Spotify platform numbers. Like what was mentioned above, exposure on other platforms is great but it will only get you so far. You need those marketing events to convert into Spotify metrics.

The first metric you need to improve is the play count. This could be connected to an album, playlist, or a specific song. It all depends on what your goals are for your artistic talents. Song pay count tells the Spotify algorithm that people are listening to your stuff. It shows that you are relevant and significant to the current music scene. It could be based on a genre of music or just the industry as a whole. 

Plays matter over the course of time. If you have a bunch of plays in a single day, it isn’t going to boost anything for very long. You may appear higher in the algorithm for the next 24 hours, but afterwards you will be forgotten, again. Instead you want to think about the long term. More plays overtime is the better philosophy. So, if you got 100 plays, it is better to have 1 a day for 100 days than all 100 plays in the same day. 

Why Improve Your Followers?

Remember that it isn’t just about plays. If you stuff gets played a bunch, that is great, but it isn’t the end of the story. If you are looking to solidify a top spot in the Spotify algorithm, you need to show that it isn’t just about your music, it is about you as an artist. Take a band like Radiohead. Their music is wildly popular. However, Radiohead as a band is popular as well. So, if they were still making music, they would be recommended alongside similar artists because the “followers” action shows that it is more than just a single song or two that makes them so important.

This is obvious. When you look at other social media platforms you see the same actions taking place. Instagram and Facebook are the best examples of the potential for ranking improvements when there are more followers, not just likes or shares. The Spotify algorithm takes in the totality of the artist’s metrics in order to decide how worthy they are to be recommended to other listeners. Once you get there, royalties will start to improve as organic listeners start to steadily increase with time.

Are Certain Listeners Better Than Others?

Yes, certain Spotify listeners are more important than others. However, you want a mix of all types of listeners in order to really impress the algorithm. What does this mean? There are generally two types of Spotify listeners and they can interact with your account in one of two ways. So, basically, there are four different results that could happen. Let’s go through them.

First, you could have a free listener listen to a song once. This individual has the least amount of impact on your account. Second, you could have a free listener continually listen to your music. This has more impact because it shows that an individual really likes your stuff and wants to listen to it more and more.

Third, you could have a paid premium listener listen to a song once. This has some impact due to a higher royalty payment that comes from premium members. Fourth, you could have a paid premium listen subscribe and continually listen to your music. This has the largest impact of all of them. Make sure that when you are buying Spotify plays that you focus on the mix of different listeners.

Rita Azar illustrates relationship article for 360 MAGAZINE

The Top 5 Most Important Qualities a Guy Should Have

Are you restarting your dating life but find yourself swiping left a little too often? When you’re outing the dating world, it can be hard to find the right balance. Although we don’t want to “settle” for a person, we also don’t want to discount men.

We’re here to help you along your way. You always can try to meet a right person on Promenad, but first of all read on for the top five qualities on what to look for in a man so that you can date with intention. 

1. He’s Respectful

Your man knows that your time is valuable, and he respects it by making sure that he’s present when you’re together. He’s interested in your opinion about topics and gives you a platform to voice them.

He’s also upfront about what he wants in a relationship and doesn’t lead you on. Lastly, you feel free to live your own life without his micromanagement or what he believes is “better.”

2. He’s Supportive

You’ll know a man is supportive if you feel as if you can talk about your life, career aspirations, and goals without judgment. He trusts the decisions you make and will often back you up on them–not make you feel as if you need to constantly second-guess your decisions.

Best of all, supportive men are often good listeners. They’ll give you the silence you need and won’t frequently interrupt.

3. He’s Honest

They’ll be times when your man disagrees with a decision you’re making, and he’ll let you know in a way that doesn’t diminish your character. You won’t need to second-guess his thoughts or motivations because he’s upfront and doesn’t feel the need to hide. This often leads to better communication, one of the most important aspects of a relationship. If you ask him a question, you don’t feel any doubt in his answer–even if it’s not the one you wanted to hear.

4. He Pays Attention

Men who pay attention are often talented at active listening because they want you to know that you’re being heard. They also have good dating etiquette. When you’re together, he’s good at putting down his phone and giving you his full attention. They’re attentive to your needs because it’s their way of showing that they value you.

5. He’s Happy

A man’s attitude is often a good indicator of their self-confidence. If you find that your man has a constant, pessimistic outlook on the world, they probably have the same view of themselves. You may feel compelled to help him or find that your own mood becomes low when you’re around him. Although it’s not realistic to expect someone to be happy all the time, generally you’ll feel happy and comfortable around someone with a positive attitude. They often have a good sense of humor and smile more.

What Do You Look for in a Guy?

What are you looking for in a man? It’s important to ask yourself this question frequently until you have a definite answer. Once you know what you want in a relationship, it’s far easier to find a man that’s looking for the same theme.

It’s all about trusting your instinct. Pay attention to how you feel when you’re around him. If you feel understood, respected, and cared for, you may have found the one.

Rolls-Royce illustration by Gabrielle Marchan for 360 MAGAZINE

Tips for Getting a Job Related to Pop Culture

If you know a lot about pop culture, you might have considered working in the field before. When it comes to getting a job, having a lot of knowledge will give you an advantage over your competitors as long as you know the right way to use it. Believe it or not, there are many chances to start a new career, especially if you’re considering integrating graphic design or writing. 

Preparing to Start a New Career

No matter what field you’re considering entering, having the right training can boost your resume. So, before you start applying to jobs, consider getting a degree in your chosen field. For example, if you’re thinking about going into writing, you might major in journalism or English. And if graphic design appeals to you more, get the training you need with a graphic design degree. Many times, students worry about paying for school. That’s why you might want to look into taking out a private student loan. Before signing the papers, it’s a good idea to do your research. For example, consider using a student loan repayment calculator to estimate what your monthly payments may be. That’ll help you create a realistic repayment plan, so your debt doesn’t overwhelm you.

Writing and Pop Culture

If you’re interested in writing, you might have a successful career path. For example, you could work as a freelance or staff writer and write about celebrities. Or you could be a content creator and create pieces for pop culture blogs. If you want to do more serious work, consider working in journalism. You may be able to create pieces on famous actors or other celebrities. If writing doesn’t appeal to you, consider going into editing, where you help the pieces created by others flow smoothly. You might feel that you’re interested in this job, but you may not want to leave your current job. Or you may still be in school and want to see what the career involves. You may consider working part-time as a freelancer, so you gain some experience. That’ll help you decide if this career is for you.

Graphic Design

You might decide that graphic design fits your skills better. If that’s the case, you could choose a career that involves making logos for pop culture events or making covers for magazines. You could also make posters for events or movies. And you could even get a job that includes making memes for social media accounts. If you study graphic design in college, you’ll get the skills you need to be successful. And if you decide not to go to college, you can still find online courses to get the experience you need. 

Tips for Success

It’s easy to tell yourself that a job doing freelance writing or creating logos isn’t an important job and doesn’t relate to your career goals. But this is not the case. For example, if you can create a social media post that goes viral, you’re already on the path to success. No matter what you ultimately want to achieve, it’s important to begin small. So, if your end goal is to work at an important magazine creating art, you’ll have to focus on getting the needed experience and skills first.

relationship illustration by Rita Azar

How Much Time do We Spend Using a Smartphone in the UK?

On average, the Britons are currently spending more than 30 hours a week online making it one of the most addictive activities around. People spend a good part of their time on the internet doing a variety of things including betting, playing online games, dating while others are there mainly for business purposes. 

In recent statistics, most of the youths aged between 16 years and 24 years have been noted to be having the highest population of internet users. Smartphones have made work extremely easy and manageable due to the high levels of technology prevailing in the country.

Some Statistics

In these times, the rate at which people are using the internet, especially the smartphones has greatly risen compared to the past 10 years. The statistics have also shown that women are spending more of their time on the internet as compared to men.

More time online

As previously stated, in the UK people are averagely spending 24 hours a week on the internet. This tells of the great influence the internet has to the people and their general well-being. The comprehensive report which was compiled by Ofcom has also revealed that 78% of the UK population use smartphones on online related activities. 

The addiction has moved to a higher level in that people here check-in using their smartphones after every 12 minutes and as well 35% of the population check their phones just before going to bed.

Less time on phone calls

Another good example that can really tell how much people treasure their smartphones than any other thing else is in the way they are making their phone calls. It has been noted that the total number of outgoing calls has greatly dropped by 1.7 percent. 

The main cause is that people have turned away from the normal phone calls and have opted to call using WhatsApp or messenger. To be more precise, 75% of the population prefer making phone calls in this way and at the same time 92 percent of the population say browsing the web is more important.

The Most Popular Mobile Activities

Mobile related activities have been on the increase especially after the introduction of modern technology and the wide use of the internet by most people in the UK. This brought a lot of advancement and development in the mobile sector and the entire IT fraternity.

Social Media

The social media platforms are among the most popular among many of the UK residents. People have turned away from messaging and currently WhatsApp, Facebook and twitter among the widely used social media platforms. This has become one of the simplest ways of reaching out to a wider audience and is equally an effective tool for communication.

Slots

This is another common activity among many residents of the UK, especially the adults. Most of the residents are glued on their screens spending a few of their minutes and hours playing at casinos not on Gamstop via mobile. This has gained popularity among the residents and it has greatly contributed to uncontrolled rates of addiction among many. Slots can either be played for fun or for real money. Although it is liked by many, it has as well caused high rates of addiction leading to problem gambling rising.

Dating services

This is yet another more popular activity among many. Most people have linked up through these dating sites and it eventually ended up in marriage to a number of them. It has been a common thing on the internet among many youths and adult and several relationships have thrived to a greater extend.

Conclusion

Since the introduction of mobile technology especially smartphones, a lot of developers have been realized in the technological sector. This has glued many people on their screens spending time with mobile gaming. Great thanks to the recent advancements in mobile technology who are taking the lion’s share in terms of offering reliable, fast and standard solutions to many of the problems.

Anthony Jawan McEastland releases new EP “Aligned” as announced by 360 MAGAZINE.

JAWAN – ALIGNED

“Aligned can only be described as the EP’s theme song, as it discusses the evolution of me using real events, but on the surface, descriptions of loving yourself and having a high level of confidence. Aligned is essentially my current life, aligning itself to what I want my destination to be. This EP I feel is the perfect balance between being relatable and being something that only the person who the track is about can fully understand,” Jawan comments.

Jawan is truly an anomaly — as he will tell you. “When I say I’m not a simple man, that is an understatement. As a Gemini most people love me, but some struggle to understand,” says the Los Angeles based musician. He has spent the last seven years in L.A chasing the promises of a determined artist of his craft; as both him and his parents knew it was no turning back after his flight.

This Chicago choir boy was once only identified for singing and conducting numerous high-profile gospel events. Jawan has now worked with a number of heavy hitters in the music industry and this time around it’s not gospel. He is making his artistry well known with hard work and dedication, in the heart of Los Angeles. Jawan has worked with many artists, such as, John Legend, Pharrell, the late Aretha Franklin and the list continues. He has worked hard even during COVID-19 pandemic, which apparently hasn’t slowed this artist down. He just finished a track with the rapper Big Sean doing background vocals, which is at the top of the charts right now titled “Harder Than My Demons”. Currently he is working with one of the biggest, if not the biggest, powerhouse mogul in the music arena today. He is a part of Creative team for Kanye West’s Sunday Service. This is the team that writes, arranges, and pulls the whole thing together. Needless to say, coming from a gospel background, this transition was seamless for Jawan. He has vocal produced and arranged on both of Kanye’s latest albums that are also nominated for 11 Billboard Music Awards.

Leaving everything familiar in his hometown of Chicago, he quit three jobs and moved to Los Angeles, to go back to school with a serious approach to further his career as an entertainer. Jawan reflects on that time and recalls the experience forcing him to be alone more than he was used to, but allowing time for him to become, through his faith in God, more aware of who he was. He saw what he liked, did not like, and what only he could change about himself. Through many tears and prayers, Jawan saw that his biggest fault was that he did not love himself enough. It showed in every area of his life including his relationships, his jobs, and his music career in general. On his quest to love himself more, he gained a greater prayer life and during those quiet times, God kept reminding Jawan that he was in control and Jawan was right where he needed to be. Also, trust that everything would align the way it should, which is completely mind blowing seeing where he is today.

According to Jawan, the Aligned EP is just the start of so much more to come and he has high expectations of his projects that he is rolling out. The video of “Aligned” will be out soon and he has stated that it’s one of his best videos so far. Jawan adds, “I took this venture as another chance to explore and discover. I’m learning myself while you’re discovering me! I’m switching the gears, changing my approach and committing to my vision.”

Listen to Aligned here.

Rita Azar Illustrates an Entertainment Article for 360 MAGAZINE

How to Use YouTube Offline

YouTube is a great place to watch videos and listen to your favorite music, but only when you have uninterrupted internet access. However, if you commute to work every day and find some spotty areas where there is no connection, it spoils all the fun. Yet,there is nothing you need to worry about at all. We are here to suggest a few ways you can enjoy your favorite music offline on YouTube. One of the lots is that you can use YouTube offline, and another is that you can download from YouTube using video downloader apps such as MP3Studio. Using either of these will enable you to watch your video and listen to your favorite playlist offline without any interruptions and internet connection.

But in the section hereafter, we will only discuss how you can access videos and music using Youtube offline. However, these offline music do not remain for more than 48 hours, and you have to sync with Youtube again to check availability. Let us not waste more time and move towards the steps to help you understand how to use YouTube offline.

Steps To Use Youtube Offline

We want to inform you beforehand that not all videos or audios are available offline, but most of them do offer this feature. These offline music are ad-sponsored, so you have to bear with one before enjoying your downloads. Now let us follow the steps below to learn how to use YouTube in an offline mode.

1. If you are using your mobile device, open the YouTube app, and if you are using your PC, then open Youtube on your browser.

2. Search and select the video or audio you want to consume in the offline mode to experience later.

3. Click on the Download button (it will not be available if the video does not have the feature), which you will find below the video, between the Share and Save buttons.

4. On clicking the button, you will be asked to select the resolution, which is Low, Medium, and HD, of the video you want for offline consumption.

5. Once you click Ok, the video will start downloading. After the download ends, you will see a blue tick, which indicates that the music is now ready for the offline mode.

Now that you have your videos and playlist ready for offline consumption, you only need to head to your YouTube app or browser. Then, open your Account tab and look for Saved Videos. And that’s it, enjoy your music all day long even without internet access.

Music is something that you can only enjoy uninterrupted. Hence, YouTube has it all sorted for you. Just a few clicks, a little patience, and there you are with all your favorite music that you can enjoy anytime and anywhere without an internet connection. We hope we have been able to help you understand how YouTube offline works and how you can consume the videos later. However, we would like to remind you that you will only enjoy them for 48 hours.

Netflix – Cuties

By Cassandra Yany

One of Netflix’s newest films, Cuties, has garnered much attention and backlash since its Sep. 9 release on the streaming platform. The coming-of-age film depicts a young girl as she tries to navigate her life as a pre-teen growing up in a Muslim family living in Paris.

Many critics have spoken out against the film, which currently holds the no. 7 spot in Netflix’s ‘Top 10,’ for its depiction of 11-year-old girls dancing and behaving in an indecent manner. According to the New York Times, the movie was first deemed controversial in the U.S. in August when Netflix released the promotional artwork. The original marketing for the film displayed an image of four young girls in skimpy dance costumes posing provocatively.

This, along with the trailer, prompted opposers to start petitions online and call for the removal of the film from Netflix’s catalog. Netflix apologized and changed the artwork for the film to a more innocent photo of the same four characters walking down the street with shopping bags, donning bras and underwear over their clothes.

Last week’s release of the film has sparked conversation once again amongst parents, politicians and others, causing #CancelNetflix to trend on Twitter. Lina Nealon, the Director of Corporate and Strategic Initiatives at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation has spoken out against the film saying “While we commend Director Maïmouna Doucouré for exposing the very real threats to young girls having unfettered access to social media and the internet, we cannot condone the hypersexualization and exploitation of the young actresses themselves in order to make her point.” She called for Netflix to cut the “sexually-exploitive” scenes from the film, or remove the film from the platform altogether.

On Friday, Hawaii Rep. Tulse Gabbard tweeted, “@Netflix child porn ‘Cuties’ will certainly whet the appetite of pedophiles & help fuel the child sex trafficking trade. 1 in 4 victims of trafficking are children… Netflix you are now complicit.”

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz penned a letter to Attorney General William P. Barr Friday calling for the Department of Justice to start an investigation into the production and distribution of the film to “determine whether Netflix, any of its executives, or anyone involved in the making of ‘Cuties’ violated any federal laws against the production and distribution of child pornography.”

Cruz wrote that “the film routinely fetishizes and sexualizes these pre-adolescent girls as they perform dances simulating sexual conduct in revealing clothing, including at least one scene with partial nudity” falsely claiming that there’s a scene exposing a “minor’s bare breast.” The Associated Press reported that one of Cruz’s representatives, Lauren Aronson, said that the senator has not seen the film.

According to the Washington Times, some critics are even calling on the Obama’s— who have a production deal with Netflix— to take action against the film. Deadline stated that “The reality appears to have been lost in the storm, and the truth is very few of the people reacting so strongly will have actually seen the film.”

Netflix told USA TODAY “‘Cuties’ is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children. It’s an award winning film and a powerful story about the pressure young girls face on social media and from society more generally growing up— and we’d encourage anyone who cares about these important issues to watch the movie.”

Director Maïmouna Doucouré defends the film, saying that it works to shed light on these issues so they can be fixed. Cuties first premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 23, where it won the Directing Jury Award for the dramatic film category. According to the New York Times, the movie did not stir up much conversation in France after its theatrical release (as Mignnonnes in French) in August.

Deadline reports that Doucouré did not see the promotional material prior to when it was circulated on the internet. She said that she received death threats as the outrage grew over these images. She told the news site that the film is not apologetic about the hypersexualization of children, but instead is her “…personal story as well as the story of many children who have to navigate between a liberal western culture and a conservative culture at home.”

Cuties was Doucouré’s feature directorial debut. Similar to the film’s main character, Amy, Doucouré is of Senegalese descent and grew up in a Muslim culture in Paris. In an interview at Sundance, she said she first had the idea for the movie after attending a neighborhood gathering in Paris where she saw a group of 11-year-old girls doing a stage performance of a “sensual” dance. She was shocked to see girls that age dance like that in short clothing. “We can’t continue to close our eyes about that,” she told the interviewer.

Doucouré researched for a year and a half, meeting with hundreds of pre-teens who told her their stories. She learned about their ideas of femininity, and how their self image is affected by the emphasis of social media in today’s society. According to IndieWire, the young actresses’ parents were on board with the project to spread awareness of the issue, and there was a psychologist working with the girls throughout filming who is still helping them throughout the release process.

The film is centered around Amy, an 11-year-old girl who has recently moved to a housing development in a poor suburb of Paris with her Senegalese, observant Muslim family. She looks out for her brothers, takes care of responsibilities around the house, and is in the process of being taught how to ‘be a woman’ by  her aunt.

One day after prayer, Amy walks by the laundry room and sees a girl her age dancing to music playing from her phone. In a subsequent scene, Amy is seen trying to straighten her hair with a clothing iron, burning part of it off as a result. 

Amy learns that her father, who is still in Senegal, has taken a second wife and will be coming to Paris soon to have the wedding. Her mother, Mariam, tries to hide her reaction to the news, but Amy sees her grow upset and take her frustrations out on herself. This is where Amy’s behavior begins to shift; she starts to reject her culture and identity, and instead tries to conform to fit in with the other girls at school. 

At school, Amy is teased for her clothes and lack of fashion sense, so she begins to wear her younger brother’s t-shirt to match the crop tops that her classmates wear. After seeing a group of girls her age dancing after school, Amy steals her cousin’s iPhone to learn how to dance, herself. She comes across their social media accounts and begins taking selfies, imitating what she sees on their profiles. 

Amy finds herself a spot in the girls’ friend group and dance troupe, and as a result, begins to neglect her responsibilities at home. Amy starts to show more self expression, wearing her hair natural rather than pulling it back. She also begins to explore the internet more, finding videos of almost-naked women dancing rather suggestively and moving their bodies in ways that an 11-year-old probably shouldn’t be watching. 

Taking what she found online, Amy practices dancing with her friends and teaches them how to twerk. This is where the movie begins to make viewers slightly uneasy. It was jarring to see these young, innocent girls tainted by this inappropriate content and doing dance moves that they didn’t understand the implications of. It appears that this was the intention of director Doucouré, as she stated in an interview with Netflix that the film is “…a mirror of today’s society; a mirror sometimes difficult to look into and accept but still so true.”

Some of the scenes, frankly, are very disturbing to watch. These include the girls dancing provocatively for two older male workers at a laser tag facility so that they wouldn’t get in trouble for sneaking in, as well as Amy beginning to undress for her cousin once he found she had stolen his iPhone in an attempt to smooth over the situation. Perhaps the most disturbing scene is when Amy takes a picture of her genitals to post on her social media profile so that people at school would think she’s mature. While there was no nudity shown in this scene, the implied action was horrifying to watch. 

At the end of the film, Amy performs with her dance troupe at a local competition. Dressed in revealing outfits, they dance immodestly in front of a crowd of people who quickly seem unsettled. (This is the scene from which the original promotional photos were taken.) Toward the end of the song, Amy freezes as she begins to think about her mom, then runs off the stage crying. She goes home where she asks her mom not to attend her father’s wedding. Her mom continues to get ready for the event, but tells Amy that she doesn’t have to go.

Instead of going to the wedding, Amy steps outside and begins jumping rope. This scene depicts a mixture of her two identities: she is wearing jeans and a crop top with her hair down, but is surrounded by people of her culture dressed in traditional garments. After suppressing her family’s background for a majority of the movie, Amy is finally able to find the balance where her multiple cultures intersect in order to be her honest self. 

After watching Cuties, it is evident that it is not meant to promote this behavior among young girls, but instead provide commentary on what is happening today and warn the adults who see the movie. The harsh reality is that more pre-adolescents are exposed to this type of content than we think. Any child who has access to a smart device and social platforms have the potential to see a video not meant for them. Take TikTok for example: racy dances to Cardi B and Meg Thee Stallion’s “WAP,” as well as a recent trend where women make “thirst traps” to Beyoncé’s “Rocket” are some of the most popular videos on the app right now. Young TikTok users can easily see creators on their For You Page enjoying themselves while engaging in these trends, causing the young viewer to want to do the same.

When speaking to Deadline, Doucouré said, “What happens is young girls see images of women being objectified, and the more the woman becomes an object, the more followers and like she has— they see that as a role model and try to imitate these women, but they’re not old enough to know what they’re doing.” In a separate interview, she posed the question, “Isn’t the objectification of a woman’s body that we often see in our Western culture not another kind of oppression?”

Overall, Cuties shows the dangers of uncensored media for young children and displays how impressionable they can be. It also shows the journey of Amy’s self-discovery and learning how to blend her multiple cultures in order to shape her identity. Unfortunately, the risqué nature of the film overshadows the storyline and the message is lost for a number of audience members.

In various articles, Doucouré is quoted discussing the meaning of the film in the broad context of femininity and what it means for young girls to enter womanhood in this digital age. During her aforementioned interview with Netflix, she stated “The real question of Cuties is can we, as women, truly choose who we want to be, beyond the role models that are imposed upon us by society?”