Showing posts with label US Related. Show all posts
Showing posts with label US Related. Show all posts

30 April 2021

Nashville-Based Pop-Rock Band The Revelries Release New Single 'Cliché Love'

by
Nashville-Based Pop-Rock Band The Revelries Release New Single 'Cliché Love'
Nashville-Based Pop-Rock Band The Revelries Release New Single 'Cliché Love' (Photo by Katie Krauss) 
EDGEOUT Records and Nashville-based pop-rock trio The Revelries are excited to present "Cliché Love," the band's latest single and bold introduction to 2021. 
Produced by GRAMMY Award-winning producer Matt Wallace (The Replacements, Faith No More, Maroon 5), "Cliché Love" is an energized, pop-rock breakup anthem serving as the band's first official offering in two years. 
"I've always loved the idea of 'cliché' sayings because most of them, if not all of them, are true," frontman Beau Bailey said. "This song is about having your heart broken and then saying, 'Forget all this breakup stuff. Gimme that Hollywood, cheesy, over-the-top cliché love'."
The Revelries began late one night in the Fall of 2016, when lead singer Beau Bailey and drummer John Lewis decided to get together to jam in a Louisiana State University dorm room. The two wasted no time getting things moving and rapidly infiltrated the local Baton Rouge music scene. Performing their own version of high-energy, U.K.-style pop-rock, the band quickly went from playing small, local dives to bars, private events, and venues all across the Southeast.

The band released its first two singles, "Blonde Hair. Blue Eyes" and "Abbot Kinney," in 2018. The singles landed them on countless Spotify-curated playlists, and that same year the duo added guitarist Logan Maggio to the lineup, a musician whose musical background and tone contributed a deeper dynamic to the band's developing sound.

Nashville-Based Pop-Rock Band The Revelries Release New Single 'Cliché Love'
The Revelries (Screengrab)
Following the release of their first two singles, the band went back into the studio in Nashville to record their debut EP with GRAMMY-nominated producer/engineer John Rausch (Taylor Swift, P!nk, Moon Taxi). In April of 2019, the band released its debut EP, After 7, a title paying homage to the police-enforced curfew they experienced while practicing back in the days when the band all lived together in Baton Rouge.
"Our neighbors loved us. So much so that they called the cops on us almost every other week," Lewis recalls. "Luckily, we were able to work out a deal with the police that allowed us to practice until 7 p.m. 'After 7' is when all the acoustic writing and demoing would happen."
That summer the band made a trek out to Los Angeles to play a showcase for team members at EDGEOUT Records, UMG and UMe, and in the fall of 2019, the band performed over 25 shows across the Southeast. Most notably, the band opened for Moon Taxi in Oxford, MS, playing to over seven thousand people at Jam for Cam in Athens, GA, and performed a sold-out show in Nashville at The End. In January of 2020, the band signed a development deal with EDGEOUT/UMG/UMe and entered into their program, THE STUDIO, a development program designed to discover, vet and sign young, radio-friendly rock bands and artists.

With catchy hooks from start to finish, the release of "Cliché Love" is the perfect, and new, introduction for a band whose focus remains on the future. 
"We are a band from Louisiana that plays a style of music you wouldn't expect," Bailey said. "Our goal is to create an atmosphere so contagious that everyone wants to be a part of it."

'Cliché Love'


Beau Bailey: age 24, Hometown: Monroe, LA (lead vocals/rhythm guitar)
Logan Maggio: age 23, Hometown: New Roads, LA (lead guitar/vocals)
John Lewis: age 25, Hometown: Baton Rouge, LA (drums/percussion/vocals)

  • Stream "Cliché Love" via American Songwriter here and on all platforms here
Stay tuned for more music from The Revelries and EDGEOUT Records throughout 2021.

Connect With The Revelries:

FacebookInstagram ✔ Twitter  Youtube 

SOURCE: EDGEOUT Records/UMe

27 April 2021

Gen Z Girl Pop Rock Band 'Hello Sister' Releases New Single 'Paralyzed' [Music Video Included]

by
Gen Z Girl Pop Rock Band 'Hello Sister' Releases New Single 'Paralyzed' [Music Video Included]
Teen Pop Rock Band Hello Sister Releases New Single "Paralyzed" available on all major digital platforms. (photo credit: Margot Mason)
Teen pop rock band Hello Sister has just released their new single, "Paralyzed," which dropped on Friday, April 23rd. The band, made up of singer/songwriters and siblings Grace, Gabriella and Scarlett Mason, say the new tune is all about love and how it makes people feel. 
The girls penned the song to describe the emotional power of love, "We immediately fell in love with the catchy melodies and relatable lyrics," said Scarlett Mason. "The guitar riff is one my favorites to play," added Gabriella Mason and sister Grace chimed in, "I feel that this new song shows a different side of us. We hope people will enjoy listening to the different emotions this song evokes."

'Paralyzed' - The Music Video:

  • Hello Sister is on the roster at Create Music Group, a Los Angeles-based independent music distribution and publishing company. Create oversees Hello Sister's digital royalty collection and distributes to more than 100 DSP's including Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music and more.
Gen Z Girl Pop Rock Band 'Hello Sister' Releases New Single 'Paralyzed' [Music Video Included]
Multi-Talented Pop Rock n' Roll Band Hello Sister. L to R: Grace, Scarlett and Gabriella Mason (photo credit: Margot Mason)

About Hello Sister:

Multi-talented pop rock n' roll band Hello Sister is a dynamic trio from Orlando, Florida. Driven by three teen siblings' spirited chemistry and authentic homegrown musicianship, Grace, Gabriella and Scarlett Mason's collective love of music are inspired by their father Tim, a Pop R&B songwriter who charted songs on Billboard in Canada and Europe. All girls are musicians and songwriters poised for long-term career success.

Hello Sister has successfully garnered worldwide attention by way of their charismatic social media streamed shows from their rapidly growing base of fans and followers.

With a large catalog of original high energy songs already released, these teen girl rockers have drawn musical inspiration from a diverse group of legendary music artists like Johnny Cash, Taylor Swift, Prince, Keith Urban, Avril Lavigne, Luke Combs, Shawn Mendes, Norah Jones, Selena Gomez among many others! 

  • Hello Sister recently released their first ever NFT, with a limited-edition remix of their hit song "Wave of LOVE" on Rarible.com making them the youngest music artists known to release an NFT.

Gen Z Girl Pop Rock Band 'Hello Sister' Releases New Single 'Paralyzed' [Music Video Included]
Hello Sister - Logo (image via hellosistermusic.com)

Connect with Hello Sister:

Instagram ✔ Facebook ✔ Twitter ✔ TikTok ✔ YouTube ✔ Website ✔

SOURCE: Hello Sister

16 April 2021

Selena Photos Acquisition Commemorates Iconic Tejana Singer's 50th Birthday [Rare 1994 Interview Included]

by
Selena Photos Acquisition Commemorates Iconic Tejana Singer's 50th Birthday [Rare 1994 Interview Included]
Selena Photos Acquisition Commemorates Singer’s 50th Birthday (photo via americanhistory.si.edu)
The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History has acquired 18 images of the iconic Tejana singer Selena Quintanilla-Perez (1971–1995) to add to its collection of photographs taken by San Antonio, Texas-based photographer Al Rendon
  • It will also release an educational video April 16 highlighting objects about, and images of, Selena in the Smithsonian's collections to share her story on what would have been her 50th birthday. One of Selena's performance costumes was gifted to the museum by her family in 1998.
These recently collected photographs depict Selena in concert, interacting with fans and professional headshots. A purchased acquisition, the images are part of the museum's Photographic History Collection and join images of Selena taken by Rendon and donated in 2015 as part of the museum's collecting initiative around Hispanic advertising history. 

In addition, the museum is publishing several digital resources to help audiences learn about Selena's legacy, including the final installment in the Smithsonian's "Latinas Talk Latinas" video series, produced in collaboration with the Smithsonian Latino CenterThe video was filmed in spring 2021 in her home state of Texas and in Washington, D.C. An educational Learning Lab featuring Selena in the Smithsonian collections will accompany the video, and the museum will publish blog posts and social media content.

Selena Photos Acquisition Commemorates Iconic Tejana Singer's 50th Birthday [Rare 1994 Interview Included]
Curator Mireya Loza holding one of the newly acquired photographs (photo via americanhistory.si.edu)
Selena was an American singer-songwriter who became known as the "Queen of Tejano Music," a popular form of music originating in Texas that takes influences from polka, rock, conjunto and mariachi. She rose to fame in the late 1980s among Mexican Americans and Mexicans, and her popularity quickly grew across U.S. and international Latino markets. She went on to sign with a major record label and served as a regional spokesperson for Coca-Cola from 1989 until her death. Selena played for crowds of 80,000 and won a Grammy for the best Mexican American album in 1994. At the time of her death, Selena was recording her first album in English, her native language, and had opened several fashion boutiques. She was killed March 31, 1995, by the president of her fan club, who also managed her clothing stores.
"Selena's music continues to animate family BBQs and celebrations such as quinceañeras, as her music and story continue to inspire, resonate and connect across generations and communities," said Verónica A. Méndez, curator at the museum. "Almost 30 years after her tragic death, she remains one of the most influential Latina artists of both the 20th and 21st centuries, with a growing fan base introduced to Selena by the 1997 namesake movie starring Jennifer Lopez, one of the best-selling cosmetics celebrity collaborations in 2016 and the recent 2020 Netflix series."
The museum's "American Enterprise" exhibition displays Selena's black leather jacket and black satin bustier that she wore between 1990 and 1995 for performances in the U.S. and Mexico to illustrate the story of Hispanic Advertising. It is the same outfit in which she is depicted at the Selena Memorial statue in Corpus Christi, Texas, and in several of the newly acquired photographs. 

Selena Photos Acquisition Commemorates Iconic Tejana Singer's 50th Birthday [Rare 1994 Interview Included]
Photo transparencies of Selena by Rendon for Coca-Cola advertisements (photo via americanhistory.si.edu)
The exhibition also features transparencies of Selena from a Coca-Cola photo session taken by Rendon, some of which were never published, and an image from the 1994 Coca-Cola ad developed by Sosa, Bromley, Aguilar & Associates. In addition, images of Selena are featured in the museum's new "Girlhood (It's Complicated)" exhibition.

A rare video of an interview with Selena on the program "Tejano USA" was discovered as part of a separate donation to the museum's Spanish-language television project by Univision, the parent company of San Antonio's KWEX-TV, Channel 41

  • The interview, with footage of Selena from 1994, has been viewed almost 4 million times.
Selena's costume is part of the museum's entertainment collections in the division of Cultural and Community Life. Other Mexican American artists whose costumes are in that collection include Lydia Mendoza (1916–2007) of Texas, who was known as the "La Alondra de la Frontera" or "The Lark of the Border," and "San Antonio's First Lady of Song" Rosita Fernández (1918–2006), who was best known for her corridos or ballads.


SOURCE: Smithsonian's National Museum of American History

12 April 2021

Transgender & Non-Binary Youth Influencers Launch Book Collection with Kids Media Disrupter 'A Kids Book About'

by
Transgender & Non-Binary Youth Influencers Launch Book Collection with Kids Media Disrupter 'A Kids Book About'
The GenderCool Project has teamed up with A Kids Book About to create a collection of books hoping to bring clarity and positivity to a national conversation that’s in need of support.
While many teens took e-learning as an opportunity to level-up their gaming skills, a group of young people chose instead to write a collection of books about their lives.
The GenderCool Project, a storytelling campaign turned global movement led by 18 young people known as the "Champions," has teamed up with A Kids Book About, the company making kids media that matters, to create a collection of books hoping to bring clarity and positivity to a national conversation that's in need of support.

There are three books in the collection:

  • 'A Kids Book About Being Transgender' by Gia Parr
  • 'A Kids Book About Being Non-binary' by Hunter Chinn-Raicht
  • 'A Kids Book About Being Inclusive'  by Ashton Mota and Rebekah Bruesehoff
Launching on preorder today, and shipping in June for Pride celebrations across the globe, the collection aims to open conversations about topics that are complex and important, a hallmark of A Kids Book About that helped land 10 of A Kids Book About's titles on the coveted Favorite Things 2020 list in the December issue of O, The Oprah Magazine.
At a time when the American nation is seeing an unprecedented level of harmful legislation targeting transgender and non-binary youth, this book collection will help bring to communities everywhere the real stories of Gia, Hunter, Ashton and Rebekah, written by these young people who are thriving.
"The GenderCool Project will be our first-ever non-profit partner on a themed collection; we felt it was critical to help bring these topics to kids everywhere in a relevant and honest way," said Jelani Memory, co-founder and CEO of A Kids Book About. "Our unique publishing model and writing process will elevate the underrepresented voices of transgender and non-binary teens with real, lived experiences, to spark productive and positive conversations around this topic a priority for kids and grownups everywhere."
Gia Parr (screengrab)
Gia Parr (she/her), age 17, author of A Kids Book About Being Transgender, said, "It's been a dream of mine to return to my elementary school and be able to read a book that I wrote to help my school and its students understand who transgender kids are, and show the younger kids coming out that their lives can be great!"
Hunter Chinn-Raicht (screengrab)
Hunter Chinn-Raicht (they/them), age 15, author of A Kids Book About Being Non-binary, added, "It's awesome to be able to help grownups and kids have conversations about re-imagining who human beings truly are. Not all people are binary, which is a fancy way of saying 'one thing or the other.' For me, I am able to express myself outside of the pink and blue stereotype. I am grey, white, and all the colors mashed up into one!"
Ashton Mota (screengrab)
Ashton Mota (he/him), age 16, co-author of A Kids Book About Being Inclusive with his Champion peer Rebekah Bruesehoff (she/her), age 14, hopes people will understand how important it is to embrace and celebrate each other's differences. 
He said, "My life as an Afro-Latino kid growing up is totally different than Rebekah's. When we wrote this book, we learned so many new things about each other. It brought us closer together as friends."
 
Rebekah Bruesehoff (screengrab)
Rebekah added, "I've always wanted to be an author. For me, stories are bridges to empathy, courage and hope."
GenderCool co-founders Jen Grosshandler and Gearah Goldstein believe this collection is an organic evolution of the work GenderCool has done since launching in 2018. "We waited for the right opportunity to partner with a publisher who believed in the power of young people to drive change in the world," said Grosshandler. "We are proud to partner with A Kids Book About. They are the future of what kid content should be."
Goldstein added, "These beautiful books will help people replace their opinions with real, positive experiences learning about our Champions who are thriving throughout the country with the love and support of their family, friends and community."

About The GenderCool Project:

The GenderCool Project is a youth-led movement replacing misinformed opinions with positive, powerful experiences meeting remarkable kids who identify as transgender and non-binary. Our movement is creating positive change by influencing understanding, business and culture. 

 About A Kids Book About:

A Kids Book About is a media company that created the industry's first direct-to-consumer kids book brand and publishing company. On a mission to make kids media that matters, A Kids Book About works with authors and creators from all kinds of backgrounds and identities.

With two book series for kids ages 5-9 and 0-4 respectively, and a flagship podcast that launched in 2021, A Kids Book About explores themes like racism, feminism, disabilities, death, community and belonging. 

8 April 2021

New Survey Shows America Celebrates Post-COVID With In Home Disco Parties [Infographic]

by
New Survey Shows America Celebrates Post-COVID With In Home Disco Parties [Infographic]
New Survey Shows America Celebrates Post-COVID With In Home Disco Parties (Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko)
L.O.L. Surprise! has new research showing more US families have turned to kitchen dance parties with 65 percent of households enjoying more in-home discos - complete with dad-dancing and wooden spoons for microphones - over the last year than ever before and 49 percent of the 2000 Americans polled saying a kitchen disco is now a regular weekend occurrence.

The new research celebrating the launch of the new L.O.L. Surprise! Dance Dance Dance toy line reveals several interesting details about these at home discos:

  • Saturday night at 6pm is the most popular time for families to shake their booties.
  • The number one song on the kitchen disco list is Queen's iconic anthem, Bohemian Rhapsody (35 percent).
  • In second place is Justin Timberlake's funky Can't Stop the Feeling (33 percent), followed by the uplifting Ain't No Mountain High Enough by Marvin Gaye (30 percent)
  • 89 percent of households confess they can't get enough of dancing together in the kitchen during the weekend.
  • 29 percent admit that they try to keep their parents up to date on the latest music and how to bust a move - but it's just no use.
  • Three in 10 parents are being introduced to the wonders of TikTok, with U Can't Touch This by MC Hammer the number one dance taught to parents by their children (33 percent), followed by Savage Love by Jason Derulo (32 percent), and Toosie Slide by Drake (30 percent).
Isaac Larian, CEO and Founder of MGA Entertainment, conducted the research as part of the L.O.L. Surprise! Dance Dance Dance toy launch, said, "Dancing is always something that has brought people together from around the globe. We love that our toys have inspired our fans, parents and children, to find escape and joy together in kitchen disco parties, and that they have embraced dance as a way to connect no matter what is happening in the world around them."
New Survey Shows America Celebrates Post-COVID With In Home Disco Parties [Infographic]
New Survey Shows America Celebrates Post-COVID With In Home Disco Parties (Photo by cottonbro)
The survey found that 42 percent of kids still think dad's moves are embarrassing and 37 percent claim mom's moves are just as bad. However, 67 percent say that despite this, they still love to have a dance with their parents at home, although 26 percent wouldn't be caught dancing with them in public.

As for the parents, two thirds (64 percent) said dancing with their kids had lifted their spirits over the last year, with 82 percent agree being able to bust some moves together always cheers them up and helps improve their mood, and over half having used dance parties as a fun way to let off steam (55 percent). 


  • Plus, 26 percent of families are taking things to the next level and have pulled out all the stops to turn the kitchen into a home disco, complete with flashing lights and decorations to bring the party to life.
New Survey Shows America Celebrates Post-COVID With In Home Disco Parties [Infographic]
New Survey Shows America Celebrates Post-COVID With In Home Disco Parties (Photo by KoolShooters)

The 20 Greatest Kitchen Disco Songs Of All Time According To Americans:

  1. Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen (35%
  2. Can't Stop the Feeling - Justin Timberlake (33%)
  3. Ain't No Mountain High Enough - Marvin Gaye (30%)
  4. Happy - Pharell Williams (28%)
  5. Uptown Funk - Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars (28%)
  6. Shake If Off - Taylor Swift (27%)
  7. Crazy in Love - Beyonce (26%)
  8. Hey Ya - Outkast (25%)
  9. Dancing Queen - Abba (23%)
  10. I Want to Dance with Somebody - Whitney Houston (23%)
  11. Believe - Cher (21%)
  12. Wannabe - Spice Girls (20%)
  13. I will Survive - Gloria Gaynor (18%)
  14. Don't Worry Be Happy - Bobby McFerrin (18%)
  15. Sweet Child O' Mine - Guns and Roses (18%)
  16. Buffalo Soldier - Bob Marley and the Wailers (18%)
  17. My Name is - Eminem (18%)
  18. Gin & Juice - Snoop Dogg (18%)
  19. Toxic - Britney Spears (16%)
  20. Staying Alive - the BeeGees (15%)

The Infographic:

New Survey Shows America Celebrates Post-COVID With In Home Disco Parties [Infographic]
L.O.L. Surprise! shows US families are turning to kitchen dance parties celebrating post-COVID!


29 March 2021

AAPI Celebrities Rally Community for Social Change in #StopAsianHate Music Video [Video Included]

by
AAPI Celebrities Rally Community for Social Change in #StopAsianHate Music Video [Video Included]
AAPI Celebs Dante Basco, Lisa Ling, Simu Liu Stand Strong with Director Johnny Lee in New Music Video "Tonight #StopAsianHate" to Unite Community
Asian American artist Johnny Lee hopes his latest music video inspires Americans to stand together again. Lee last directed "Stand Up/Stand N Rock #NoDAPL," earning him an MTV Video Music Award in 2017 for "Best Fight Against the System." Now, the message in his latest music video hits even closer to home.
Following a weekend of nationwide rallies in support of Asian American Pacific Islander communities, Lee's music video "Tonight #StopAsianHate" showcases solidarity for AAPI, BLM, and LGBTQIA+ lives. Joining Lee in this #StopAsianHate anthem and calling for racial unity and social change are notable AAPI personalities, including journalist Lisa Ling of CNN and actors Simu Liu, Dante Basco, Kelly Hu, and Hayden Szeto.

AAPI Celebrities Rally Community for Social Change in #StopAsianHate Music Video [Video Included]
"Tonight #StopAsianHate" (screengrab)
"There's a long history of Asian discrimination in America, but there's an equally long history of Asian American activism," said Liu, known for his role as "Jung Kim" in Kim's Convenience and appearing next as "Shang-Chi" in Marvel Studio's Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. "It's our responsibility to continue that fight and that legacy."
Basco, whose recent film "The Fabulous Filipino Brothers" premiered at SXSW, noted, "The song 'Tonight' is a reminder to stand together, tonight and every night, against fear, hate, and violence."
Also appearing in the music video are young actors Michael Campion, Christian Isaiah, and Cade Michael, musicians Henry Fong, KLAXX, and Kaleena Zanders, youth dancers of Mighty Shock L.A., reality TV's Kevin Kreider, Kelly Mi Li, and Kane Lim of "Bling Empire," and members of Lee's family.

AAPI Celebrities Rally Community for Social Change in #StopAsianHate Music Video [Video Included]
"Tonight #StopAsianHate" (screengrab)
In response to the staggering increase of anti-Asian sentiment and violence in the last year, Lee hopes all people will speak out. The music video shares community resources and ends with a call-to-action to report all hate crimes or incidents.
"What began as an anthem to support #BlackLivesMatter has evolved into uplifting the AAPI community and the LGBTQIA+ community – really, empowerment for all people," said Lee, who wrote, recorded, and performed "Tonight" as one half of the DJ/EDM duo The Hotel Lobby.
Developed and produced by an Asian American team, "Tonight #StopAsianHate" is directed and edited by Johnny Lee with producers Jessica del Mundo, Gilbert Le, and David Christopher Lee

  • All proceeds from digital purchases of "Tonight" will go towards StopAAPIhate.org.

 "Tonight #StopAsianHate" - The Video:

About Johnny Lee:

Johnny Lee is a Vietnamese American artist with decades of experience in the entertainment industry as a composer, musician, and award-winning director. In 2017, his work as director of "Stand Up/Stand N Rock #NoDAPL" by Taboo of the Black Eyed Peas, featuring Shailene Woodley and the "Magnificent Seven" Native American artists, earned him an MTV VMA in the cause-related category of "Best Fight Against the System." Lee appears in "Tonight" with A'shanti as DJ/EDM duo The Hotel Lobby. 
AAPI Celebrities Rally Community for Social Change in #StopAsianHate Music Video [Video Included]
"Tonight #StopAsianHate" (screengrab)
SOURCE: Johnny Lee

23 March 2021

Sesame Workshop Releases New "ABCs of Racial Literacy" Content to Help Families Talk to Children About Race and Identity ["Giant" Song Video Included]

by
Sesame Workshop Releases New "ABCs of Racial Literacy" Content to Help Families Talk to Children About Race and Identity ["Giant" Song Video Included]
Sesame Workshop Releases New "ABCs of Racial Literacy" Content to Help Families Talk to Children About Race and Identity (image courtesy of Sesame Workshop)
Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, is releasing new resources to support families in talking to their children about race and racism. The "ABCs of Racial Literacy" is part of Coming Together, Sesame Workshop's ongoing commitment to racial justice. Designed to provide families with the tools they need to build racial literacy, to have open conversations with young children, to engage allies and advocates to become upstanders against racism, and more, Coming Together includes a racial justice educational framework, ongoing research, and a rolling release of new content on SesameWorkshop.org/ComingTogether.
Coming Together is rooted in extensive research and consultation with experts to develop a groundbreaking Racial Justice educational framework and curriculum for young children. Like the science-based whole-child model that Sesame Street is known for, this framework will help guide and inform the creation of new Sesame Workshop content going forward—including future seasons of Sesame Street. Today's announcement, which is part of the Sesame Street in Communities initiative, builds on recent efforts focused on tackling racism and its impact on children, including The Power of We: A Sesame Street Special, the CNN Town Hall Coming Together: Standing Up to Racism, and related short-form content.

Sesame Workshop Releases New "ABCs of Racial Literacy" Content to Help Families Talk to Children About Race and Identity ["Giant" Song Video Included]
Sesame Workshop Releases New "ABCs of Racial Literacy" Content to Help Families Talk to Children About Race and Identity (screengrab)
"At Sesame Workshop, we look at every issue through the lens of a child. Children are not colorblind—not only do they first notice differences in race in infancy, but they also start forming their own sense of identity at a very young age," said Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, Senior Vice President, Sesame Workshop. "'The ABCs of Racial Literacy' is designed to foster open, age-appropriate conversations among families and support them in building racial literacy. By encouraging these much-needed conversations through Coming Together, we can help children build a positive sense of identity and value the identities of others."
The new 'ABCs of Racial Literacy' resources launching today are designed to help all families celebrate their own unique identities, while also providing age-appropriate language and strategies to answer sometimes-tough questions around race and racism. In one video featuring two new Muppets, 5-year-old Wes and his father Elijah, Elmo wants to know why Wes's skin is brown. Elijah explains the concept of melanin and that the color of our skin is an important part of who we are. In a new music video, the Sesame Street Muppets celebrate their own unique identities; the song, "Giant," is available on all major platforms through Warner Music Group's Arts Music. In another video coming soon, Rosita's mom and her friend Sofia help Rosita cope with a racist incident in the grocery store, while also celebrating speaking Spanish. Additional resources include videos featuring real families talking about their experiences, activities for families to do together, and talking points and conversation starters for families.

The new Coming Together: The ABCs of Racial Literacy resources launching today are available at no cost to families at SesameWorkshop.org/ComingTogether. The resources, which are available in English and Spanish, will also be distributed through a wide range of national and community providers as part of Sesame Street in Communities, Sesame Workshop's program to support children and families, particularly those most vulnerable. Additional professional development materials for providers like social workers, educators, and healthcare providers will also be available.
"Sesame Workshop has always stood for diversity, inclusion, equity, and kindness. As a trusted source for families, we have a responsibility to speak out for racial justice and empower families to have conversations about race and identity with their children at a young age," said Kay Wilson Stallings, Executive Vice President of Creative and Production, Sesame Workshop. "The work to dismantle racism begins by helping children understand what racism is and how it hurts and impacts people. Sadly, today's announcement comes at a time of racial and social discord when many families are in need of support in talking to their children about racism. We're proud to reaffirm our Coming Together commitment to racial justice, which will be woven into new Sesame Workshop content for years to come."
  • According to a recent Children and Racism study commissioned by Sesame Workshop to capture and elevate the voices of children ages 6-11 and their parents, racism was top of mind for nearly half the children surveyed with racism more prevalent in responses of Black children. The majority of parents were comfortable with children learning about race and racism through media, books, or school, yet only 23% of parents report that specific resources helped them prepare for discussions with their children. The new ABCs of Racial Literacy resources seek to fill a gap for parents and caregivers as they embark on conversations with their children about race and racism. A full report of the study findings will be released this spring.

The "Giant" Song  - Video:

More to read, listen, and play is coming soon from across the Workshop to continue the conversation as part of Coming Together. In the coming year, Sesame Workshop will release additional Sesame Street in Communities resources made possible by the generous support of donors including PNC Foundation, USAA, and the Joan Ganz Cooney Fund for Vulnerable Children. SesameWorkshop.org/ComingTogether will be regularly updated with new content for children and families promoting racial justice.
SOURCE: Sesame Workshop

21 March 2021

History Repeats Itself: From The New Testament To QAnon

by
History Repeats Itself: From The New Testament To QAnon
Although a product of the current cultural environment, QAnon also reproduces trends and dynamics from the earliest history of Christianity. (Shutterstock)

QAnon’s cryptic predictions read like something out of a Philip K. Dick novel. In the science fiction author’s book, Valis, the protagonist experiences visions he interprets as revelations about alien intelligence, political scandal and secret wisdom. The book was inspired by Dick’s own experiences and contains imagery drawn from early Christian gnostic groups — loosely organized religious and philosophical movements — that claimed to possess special knowledge about the true nature of the universe.

For the followers of QAnon, an equally gnostic vision of reality is unveiled through obscure remarks from their online oracle.

Although debated by modern scholars, the basic premise of the gnostic worldview is that reality is not what it appears. Ancient gnostics believed that the world we perceive is, in fact, a prison constructed by demonic powers to enslave the soul and that only a small spiritual elite are blessed with special knowledge — or gnosis — that enables them to unmask this deception.

A revisionist reading of reality, in which social and political events are only understood by a chosen few, is the basis of the QAnon gospel. Yet, it is also a worldview driven by long-standing religious impulses clearly evident to historians of early Christianity.

QAnon followers today

QAnon followers — predominately Donald Trump supporters and conservative Christians — appear to believe that the real cause of this past year’s crisis was an underground religious war being waged by U.S. soldiers against legions of Illuminati demons.

They believe that these beings torture and abuse children in order to procure a highly addictive drug called adrenochrome used by liberal and Hollywood elites. Building on the Pizzagate conspiracy theory of 2016, this belief has now morphed into a more expansive “end of the world” narrative.

Much of it reads like science fiction.

The QAnon story casts Trump as a kind of radical Christian ruler, deputized by God to wage war against the liberal infidels destroying a once great and holy nation. Followers believe that the former president’s tweets were not chaotic ramblings, but in fact the words of a Christian oracle, the meaning of which only true believers can decipher through online message boards.

QAnon is a curious mixture of sex scandal, anti-government protest, science fiction, biblical religion and military ethos. These ingredients make for a uniquely American religion and manifest the “cult” of Trump in its most extreme form. All of this seems incredible, even amusing, except for that fact that QAnon is tearing apart families and poisoning American politics.

A woman holds up a sign with a QAnon message. (Shutterstock)

A look at the history

Although very much a product of the current cultural environment, QAnon also reproduces trends and dynamics from the earliest history of Christianity.

In particular, the first Christians also viewed their world as a cosmic battleground and struggled to interpret an often violent and chaotic social context. Like QAnon today, some early Christians speculated about overturning their contemporary socio-political order using imagery of demons and holy war. For example, we might look to the Apocalypse of John, the final book of the New Testament and the first surviving early Christian “apocalyptic” text.

Biblical scholars have long understood that this work is an encoded, first century C.E. attack against Roman imperial power, yet, John’s apocalypse has often been interpreted as a scriptural key to how the world will end.

The earliest Christian readers of the New Testament thought that the end of times was imminent and, ever since, Christian groups have periodically arisen to proclaim that the hour is at hand, only to be disappointed.

Usually, such millenarian sects appear in times of crisis and instability, and are often unpredictable. Millenarianism is a recurring belief in religious, social or political groups about the coming fundamental transformation of society, after which “all things will be changed.” In fact, the Apocalypse of John was not widely accepted into the emerging New Testament until well into the fourth century C.E. Many early Christian leaders thought the text encouraged extremist sectarian impulses that the institutional church found difficult to control.

Inevitable immolation

QAnon is not so much a “church” (in a sociological sense) but a loosely connected network of online commentators. Even though it was birthed in a matrix of evangelical fundamentalism and Republican extremism, QAnonners are under no recognizable institutional framework.

They themselves might assert that their so-called “White Hats represent an organized military force carrying out complex operations in an underground war. It is important to recognize that QAnon is more than just a “conspiracy theory” or fringe political movement: it has all the hallmarks of a new religious movement, one that manifests deeply rooted tendencies in sectarian Christianities from the past.

Few religious sects successfully transition to stabilized religions. Most burn themselves out. Unfortunately, the nearly inevitable immolation that occurs often consumes more than just the believers themselves.

About Today's Contributor:

Timothy Pettipiece, Assistant Professor, Carleton University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. 

17 March 2021

New Book to Celebrate Centennial Landmark of U.S. Women's Suffrage

by
New Book to Celebrate Centennial Landmark of U.S. Women's Suffrage
'A Vote for Women: Celebrating the Women's Suffrage Movement and the 19th Amendment' -Front Cover
August 2020 marked the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which provided a constitutional right to vote by prohibiting voter discrimination against women.
Titled 'A Vote for Women: Celebrating the Women's Suffrage Movement and the 19th Amendment., this fully illustrated and beautifully designed hardback book charts the history of the women's suffrage movement in the U.S., the fight for the vote, and some of the advances that have resulted from that victory.

In addition to exploring the history of women's suffrage in the U.S., the book brings together important stories from the fields of equality and women's rights. It also offers an insight into Congress and U.S. government departments, and the contributions they have made in shaping the U.S. of today.

A Vote for Women features editorial contributions from academics, government agencies, charities, corporations, and other organizations, alongside archival photography that vividly brings the battle for the ballot to life.

  • The book is being published by St James's House – an imprint of the SJH Group – in association with the 2020 Women's Vote Centennial Initiative (WVCI), and is being promoted as part of WVCI's ongoing celebration of centennial activities around the country, which have been extended into 2021 due to the impact of Covid-19 and the desire to bring the centennial story to as wide an audience as possible.
Ahead of the book's launch, Anna Danby, Publishing Director at the SJH Group, said: "This book celebrates the work of the remarkable women behind this achievement, and will heighten awareness around the ongoing work of our partner organizations to support social equality."
Nancy Tate, Co-Chair of WVCI with Krysta Jones, said: "WVCI serves as a central information-sharing entity for activities around the country that commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment and the long struggle that produced it. St James's House has beautifully combined the work of many contributors into a keepsake book that celebrates both the centennial and the contributions made by many women over the last 100 years."
  • The book will be launched through a digital launch event on March 31, 2021 at 11am PDT/ 2pm EDT/ 7pm GMT. To attend the virtual book launch, please register at: hopin.com/events/a-vote-for-women-book-launch. The deadline for registration is March 26, 2021.

About the WVCI:

The 2020 Women's Vote Centennial Initiative (WVCI) is a collaborative effort created to share information and stimulate activities around the country in the years leading up to 2020. The mission of the WVCI is to serve as a central organizing and information-sharing entity for programs, projects, and activities that commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, educate the public on the legal and social advances resulting from the amendment, and stimulate dialogue to address the ongoing fight for women's rights.

SOURCE: St James's House

8 March 2021

Nathan's Famous And Andy Cohen "Get Along Famously" In New Video Campaign [Video Included]

by
Nathan's Famous And Andy Cohen "Get Along Famously" In New Video Campaign [Video Included]
Andy Cohen shows fans how Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs can help bring people together in new “Get Along Famously” video campaign
Earlier this year, Nathan's Famous, the iconic New York-based hot dog brand, teamed up with another pop-culture icon from the Big Apple, Andy Cohen, to star in the Get Along Famously Stranger Stand campaign – a series of dynamic short videos showcasing how the one and only taste of Nathan's Famous 100% Beef Franks can help bring people together and foster genuine moments of connection.
Throughout the eight episodes, Cohen, a TV host known for interacting with famous faces and settling heated debates on his reunion shows, can be seen taking to the streets of a residential neighborhood to set up a Nathan's Famous hot dog stand. Along the way, he encounters strangers passing by – cliquey high schoolers, bickering siblings, a very friendly pack of dachshunds and more – who are having trouble seeing eye-to-eye and finding common ground. But Andy, using delicious Nathan's Famous Franks and his expert connection skills, helps them reach a mutual understanding and eventually 'get along famously.'
"At Nathan's, we strive to provide a unique taste experience with our original 105-year-old recipe that can bring together individuals from all walks of life, no matter what age, where they live, or who they are, and turn strangers into friends," said Bethany Gurecki, brand manager for Nathan's Famous. "There's no denying that Andy Cohen also knows a thing or two about bringing people together – including feuding A-listers – which is why he was the perfect fit for our Get Along Famously Stranger Stand video campaign."
This past weekend, Cohen posted one of his favorite episodes on Instagram, Episode 3: Capitalistic Beef. In the endearing clip, Cohen manages to 'get along famously' with the kids who strategically set up a lemonade stand next door. 


The entire collection of videos can be found on Nathan's Famous' YouTube channel, including:
  • Episode 1: Dog Thoughts
  • Episode 2: Like Father, Like Son
  • Episode 3: Capitalistic Beef
  • Episode 4: Gamer Headset
  • Episode 5: Bike Security
  • Episode 6: High School
  • Episode 7: Virtual Wedding
  • Episode 8: Sibling Rivalry
Nathan's Famous And Andy Cohen "Get Along Famously" In New Video Campaign
Nathan's Famous And Andy Cohen "Get Along Famously" In New Video Campaign (screengrab)

About Nathan's Famous:

Nathan's Famous is a Russell 2000 Company that currently distributes its products in 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and 16 foreign countries through its restaurant system, foodservice sales programs and product licensing activities. Last year, over 700 million Nathan's Famous hot dogs were sold. 

Smithfield Employees, Local Volunteers Serve Hot Meals to More Than 2,500 'Hometown Heroes' Across Southeast North Carolina
Smithfield Employees, Local Volunteers Serve Hot Meals to More Than 2,500 'Hometown Heroes' Across Southeast North Carolina (PRNewsfoto/Smithfield Foods, Inc.)

About Smithfield Foods, Inc.:

Headquartered in Smithfield, Va. since 1936, Smithfield Foods, Inc. is an American food company with agricultural roots and a global reach. Our 40,000 U.S. and 15,000 European employees are dedicated to producing "Good food. Responsibly." and have made us one of the world's leading vertically integrated protein companies. We have pioneered sustainability standards for more than two decades, including many industry firsts, such as our ambitious commitment to cut our carbon impact by 25 percent by 2025. We believe in the power of protein to end food insecurity and have donated hundreds of millions of food servings to our neighbors in need. Smithfield boasts a portfolio of high-quality iconic brands, such as Smithfield, Eckrich and Nathan's Famous, among many others.

SOURCE: Smithfield Foods, Inc.

4 March 2021

Why White Supremacists And QAnon Enthusiasts Are Obsessed – But Very Wrong – About The Byzantine Empire

by
Inspiration for a mob of angry white men? (Getty Images)

From Charlottesville to the Capitol, medieval imagery has been repeatedly on show at far-right rallies and riots in recent years.

Displays of Crusader shields and tattoos derived from Norse and Celtic symbols are of little surprise to medieval historians like me who have long documented the appropriation of the Middle Ages by today’s far right.

But amid all the expected Viking imagery and nods to the Crusaders has been another dormant “medievalism” that has yet to be fully acknowledged in reporting on both the far right and conspiracy theorist movements: the Byzantine Empire.

Byzantium – or more properly, the medieval Roman Empire – controlled much of the Mediterranean at the height of its territorial rule in the mid-sixth century. Centered in modern-day Istanbul from A.D. 330 to 1453, its capital of Constantinople was a thriving intellectual, political and military power. One of its crowning achievements, the church of Hagia Sophia, is a testament to the empire’s architectural and artistic prowess.

The Hagia Sofia stands as a testament to Byzantium’s achievements. (Salvator Barki/Getty Images)

But in the Western world, the Byzantine Empire has been largely overlooked and forgotten. High school students in the United States are likely to know little about the empire. And nowadays, the word “byzantine” has simply come to mean complicated, secret and bureaucratic. This lowering of its status isn’t entirely a new process. As far back as 1776, English historian Edward Gibbon was disparagingly referring to the empire’s inhabitants as “the servile and effeminate Greeks of Byzantium.”

A ‘New Byzantium

Despite this modern disdain for Byzantium in the West, it has recently served as an inspiration to various factions of the far right.

In September 2017, Jason Kessler, an American neo-Nazi who helped organize the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, inaugurated a new supremacist group calledThe New Byzantium” project.

Described by Kessler as “a premier organization for pro-white advocacy in the 21st century,” The New Byzantium is based on the white supremacist leader’s misrepresentation of history.

His premise is that when Rome fell, the Byzantine Empire went on to preserve a white-European civilization. This isn’t true. In reality the empire was made up of diverse peoples who walked the streets of its capital, coming from as far away as Nubia, Ethiopia, Syria and North Africa. Contemporaneous sources noted – at times with disdain – the racial and ethnic diversity of both Constantinople and the empire’s emperors.

But Kessler’s “New Byzantium” is intended to preserve white dominance after what he calls “the inevitable collapse of the American Empire.” The organization has been operating under the radar since 2017 with little online footprint.

The original ‘deep state

Kessler isn’t alone in appropriating the empire. Through my research, I have monitored references of Byzantium in online forums. Mentions of Byzantium are scattered across message boards frequented by both white supremacists and QAnon enthusiasts – who spout conspiracy theories about a deep-state cabal of Satan-worshipping, blood-drinking pedophiles running the world.

Across 8kun and other online platforms I have reviewed, the Byzantine Empire is discussed as either continuing the legacy of Rome after it was, in their understanding, “destroyed by the Jews” or being the only true empire, with Rome being merely a historical myth created to degrade Byzantium’s power and importance.

This latter story emerges in a QAnon thread on “Baking” – that is, the connecting and weaving together of drops (messages) by the enigmatic Q. One post states: “It all makes sense when you learn that the books of the bible are plagiarized copies of the chronology of Byzantium, and so is the mythical Roman Empire, that never existed in Italy but was in fact centered in Constantinople.”

Other QAnon commentators across message boards and Twitter speak of the “exiled throne of Byzantium,” noting, “the Empire never went away, it just went occult.” They exclaim “Long live Byzantium” and call for a “return to Byzantium” to save people from the satanists.

Oddly, while some hold up the Byzantine Empire as the vanguard of white supremacy, a smaller group of white supremacists and conspiracy theorists sees it as “the original Deep State.”

In some renditions, Byzantium is, by way of some hazy illuminati connections, the origins of the “deep state” – the myth of an underground cabal of elites who run the world in secret. It has persisted in secrecy since Constantinople’s fall, either trading in eunuchs on the clandestine market or preserving whiteness and Christianity, depending on the thread’s negative or positive outlook on the empire.

Reconquest of Hagia Sophia

For many on the far right, talk of Byzantium is cloaked in Islamophobia – both online and in tragic real-life events.

A white supremacist who killed more than 50 worshippers at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2019 railed against the Turks and the conquest of Constantinople in a 74-page manifesto.

We are coming for Constantinople, and we will destroy every mosque and minaret in the city. The Hagia Sophia will be free of minarets and Constantinople will be rightfully Christian owned once more,” the shooter wrote. Throughout QAnon message boards, the reconquest of Hagia Sophia is emblematic of the destruction of Islam and the restoration of a mythic white Byzantium. One post stated: “When we free Constantinople and the Hagia Sophia, maybe we can talk.”

Third Rome

This “reconquest” of Constantinople had even been tied in some online posts to the presidency of Donald Trump, with images circulated online seemingly prophesying that it would happen under his tenure. In one image, Trump is seen congratulating Russian President Vladimir Putin “on the retaking of Constantinople” and shaking hands in front of what is presumably meant to be the Hagia Sophia, though is actually the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque.

Putin himself is not averse to drawing on the symbolism of Byzantium. The Russian state has long tried to position itself as the rightful successor to the Byzantine Empire, with Moscow as the “Third Rome.” This forms part of a religious and political doctrine tied to Russian territorial expansion that can be traced back as far as the late 15th century.

The far-right appropriation of Byzantium in the U.S. appears to be influenced by this Russian interpretation. Indeed, Russian proponents of the “Third Rome” doctrine have been cited as influences by prominent figures on the American right.

No matter the provenance of the recent interest in Byzantium from America’s white supremacists and conspiracy theorists, one thing is clear: It is based on a very warped idea of the Byzantine Empire that has emerged out of the empire’s fraught place in our histories, caught between ancient and medieval, spirituality and bureaucracy.

About Today's Contributor:

Roland Betancourt, Professor, University of California, Irvine

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

You Might Also Like