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

12 May 2021

John H. Mudgett Wins Silver Medal in eLit Book Awards for Psychological Horror 'Crazy Is as Crazy Does: The Life of a Serial Killer'

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John H. Mudgett Wins Silver Medal in eLit Book Awards for Psychological Horror 'Crazy Is as Crazy Does: The Life of a Serial Killer'
'Crazy Is as Crazy Does: The Life of a Serial Killer' - Front Cover
Pseudonymous author John H. Mudgett announced that his novella, "Crazy Is as Crazy Does" was recently awarded an eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in the Horror Category
The 12th annual awards program honors the very best of digital publishing and is open to all English publishers across North America and those abroad publishing for an American market.
"Crazy Is as Crazy Does" is a tensely clever, first-person psychological thriller that deep-dives into the world of an experienced serial killer. 

Synopsis: 

The fictional protagonist, John Goodman, is an amalgam of human predation and darkness, carefully stitched from the ragged shreds of multiple serial killers' lives – shadowy predators that have stalked the American landscape for centuries. But though he is fictional, the circumstances of Goodman's dark life are firmly rooted in historical characters and events. "Crazy Is as Crazy Does" begins in 1955 and follows John as he evolves from a timid and disorganized criminal into a powerful mastermind of deception and intimidation. The story takes readers on a journey through the 75-year-old killer's life, ending shortly after the capture of the Golden State Killer in 2018. But like all unreliable narrators, readers are forced to grapple with an important question: Can they accurately separate fact from Goodman's twisted fiction? Readers quickly discover that the real horror unfolding is twofold: the murderous activities described by Goodman himself, and the twisted transformations of those around him – culminating in a shocking, high stakes ending.
Crazy Is as Crazy Does: The Life of a Serial Killer' - Back Cover
"The book is an exploration of evil – but not some evil that is distant and unknown," said decorated Navy veteran and author David Brown (John H. Mudgett). "Readers have to ask themselves: What leads someone to kill another just for self-gratification? How does a killer manage to elude detection for his entire life, even if he's prolific? Who was the 'Zodiac Killer,' and why did he abruptly stop antagonizing the police with his encrypted letters? And who helped Officer Roseland escape from jail? I explore these questions, along with other real killers from history, with names like the Co-ed Killer, the Texas Tower Sniper, the Damsel of Death, The Killer Clown, and The Lizard King."

 

  • The e-book is available for purchase via Amazon, and is free for Kindle Unlimited readers.

From "Crazy Is as Crazy Does": 

"I opened the trunk of my broke down car to make sure my little package was wrapped tight. She was okay with her hands and feet loosely hogtied. She was lying sideways, stomach-up, her back putting pressure on her limbs against the spare tire container located at the bottom of the trunk. When I opened the trunk lid, I saw her head move slightly, her eyes wide open and her mouth filled with a tennis ball which was duct-taped around her entire head. I could hear her struggling to breathe but knew she would not die until I decided. I was overpowered by that feeling of total intoxication. Soon I would get to hear her scream when I ripped the duct tape from her head tearing off clumps of her hair with it. I imagined the look she would be giving me."

 

  • Learn more about "Crazy Is as Crazy Does" by following David Brown (John H. Mudgett) on Facebook.
SOURCE: John H. Mudgett

5 May 2021

#BlackTransPrayerBook - Black Trans Artists Say This Film Will End Anti-Trans Violence

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#BlackTransPrayerBook - Black Trans Artists Say This Film Will End Anti-Trans Violence
Dane Figueroa Edidi (L) J Mase III (R) photo by Michael J. Eckert
Transphobia is rooted in white supremacy. This is what J Mase III & Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi, executive producers of the forthcoming documentary, the Black Trans Prayer Book, continuously remind their audiences. 
At a recent workshop for Syracuse University, the two went through a timeline of ways that Trans & Non-Binary individuals have been targeted in North America since the 1500's. Dane spent some time sharing with the audience a poem for one of her biggest inspirations, Mary Jones, a Black Trans ancestor from the 1800's that lived in New York City; Mase did a call and response piece that moved the virtual room through a legacy of Black & Brown Trans experiences via the lens of a platypus. 

As performers and educators, the two have been skillful at combining a robust stage presence with insightful historical analysis and humor. Having co-edited a book published last year, the Black Trans Prayer Book, they have set their sights on producing their first feature length documentary using this text as a framework.

#BlackTransPrayerBook - Black Trans Artists Say This Film Will End Anti-Trans Violence
'The Black Trans Prayer Book' - The Book (image via theblacktransprayerbook.org)

About 'The Black Trans Prayer Book' - The Book:

The Black Trans Prayer Book is an interfaith, multi-dimensional, artistic and theological work that collects the stories, poems, prayers, meditation, spells, and incantations of Black Trans & Non-Binary people. Often pushed out of Faith spaces and yet still deeply connected to a historical legacy of spiritual essentiality, Black Trans People face unprecedented amounts of spiritual, physical, and psychological violence. The Black Trans Prayer Book is a tool of healing, and affirmation centered on uplifting Black Trans & Non-Binary people and celebrating our place within faith.

What does it mean to have a faith practice that simultaneously challenges white supremacy and transphobia? Where is there a theological framework that centers the most marginalized and creates pathways towards an active spirituality moving alongside social justice? How might a spiritual practice not in tune with these questions cause harm? The #BlackTransPrayerBook, is holding these very questions.
  • Having launched a GoFundMe to call attention to this daring project as well as raise funds for its completion, these two have begun production all while keeping COVID safe. 
When asked what they imagine this film will do, Dane shared she believes it will, "Help build a world free from oppression." While Mase views it as, "the first film of its kind to connect white supremacy to transantagonism, by centering the experiences of Black Trans people."
SOURCE The Black Trans Prayer Book

30 April 2021

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

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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]

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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]

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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'

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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]

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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]

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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]

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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

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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

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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

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