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Former Black Comics Editors Allege Years of Racial Discrimination at DC Comics

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Clay Mann/ DC Comics

Former African-American DC Comics editors, Harvey Richards and Lateef Ade “L.A.” Williams, shared their separate struggles to succeed in their career paths due to their race. Although both men were able to land editorial staff jobs with DC Comics, neither felt that they were ever able to maximize their capacities in the time they spent working for the longstanding comic book company.

What We Know:

  • Williams cut ties with the company in 2000 after six years of work and no advances or promotion. Similar to Williams, Richards was also hired in the 1990s yet, stayed with the company for 22 years only receiving one promotion the entire time he was there. Richards was the only Black editor at the time of his termination.
  • Richards began working as an assistant editor. After four years he was offered the opportunity to prove himself by working on the Superman comics with hopes of being promoted to associate editor. Before he could do so, Richards was asked to complete what he described as an “unusual” task to write about how he would personally strengthen the Superman books. When he finished the assignment, he was told by the then executive vice president and DC publisher, Paul Levitz, that he had issues with his grammar. Despite his hard work and good reviews, Richard was not promoted until 12 years after his initial hire when a new president, Diane Nelson, replaced Levitz.
  • Almost two decades prior, L.A. Williams experienced a comparable altercation with Levitz who expressed to him that as long as he was publisher, Williams would never receive a promotion and he was welcome to stay there as an assistant editor for as long as he liked.
  • Williams believed that people of color on the editorial staff were often purposely set up for failure. In an interview with Business Insider, he recalled a time in 2000 when assistant editors were provided with monthly comics to edit on their own, but according to him the comics he would be assigned were ill-fated from the get go.
  • When a book he was assigned actually became a hit, the executive director at the time, Mike Carlin, was not pleased. Rather than getting any praise for the success of the sales, he was condemned for wasting the time of comic veteran, Walt Simonson, who drew two issues of the comic when Carlin claims he could have been working on “characters like Superman instead”.
  • DC Comics emerged in 1939 and by 1971 the first African American superhero, John Stewart, appeared. Yet, it was not until 1990 when DC Comics hired their first Black editor and writer, Christopher Priest, a mere few years prior to Richards and Williams. Black superheroes were not being represented by Black writers or editors for years, and even when it finally happened the representation was still lacking heavily.

In order to appropriately promote diversity and advocate for the success of editorial staffers of color it is important they are given legitimate opportunities to succeed.

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Cannabis

Jaleel White Launches Cannabis Brand ‘Purple Urkle’

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The Family Matters actor launched his own cannabis brand in a partnership with 710 Labs.

What We Know:

  • Jaleel White’s new cannabis line is called ‘ItsPurpl’, and features variants of a popular cannabis strain ‘Purple Urkle’. The brand will launch onto California dispensary shelves on April 20, 2021. The brand has plans to potentially grow more marketplaces in the future. White revealed in a statement to Forbes that he was frustrated in seeing there was no brand leader for the ‘Purple Urkle’ weed strain.
  • Purple weed is made possible by the use of Flavonoids. Flavonoids are a class of plant pigments and the pigments work in combination with other chemicals to give plants distinctive and varied colors. The main Flavonoid responsible for purple cannabis is Anthocyanin. Anthocyanin gives plants a red, purple, or blue hue depending on the pH level. A more neutral pH level gives plants a purple color.
  • ‘Purple Urkle’ has been around since cannabis was legalized in California. White’s variant of ‘Purple Urkle’ will be sold as eighths. Additionally, the brand will include vape pens with live rosin pods and Noodle Doinks. Noodle Doinks is a hand-rolled joint that has a rotini pasta filter. White has admitted that he plans to create edibles but states, “We gotta crawl before we can walk.”
  • 710 Labs founder, Brad Melshenker, believed that collaboration with White made perfect sense. He revealed that he generally doesn’t do celebrity partnerships, but he and White are actually friends which makes the collaboration genuine. The two individuals met on a flight and connected over their shared love for cannabis.

710 Labs began in Boulder, Colorado in 2009 and has since moved its base to Los Angeles, California.

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Entertainment

Daughter of Dennis Rodman Makes History in Her NWSL Debut

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Trinity Rodman cemented her professional soccer debut with a goal on Saturday for Washington’s Spirit team.

What We Know:

  • Rodman is 18 and just became the youngest player ever drafted in the league as the second overall pick in 2021. She subbed in for fellow teammate Kumi Yokoyama after 55 minutes and scored after playing five minutes during the game. Yokoyama originally put Spirit on the scoreboard with a goal. The Washington Spirit lost the game to North Carolina Courage in the National Woman’s Soccer League (NWSL).
  • Rodman’s father, Dennis Rodman, won five NBA league championships with the Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bulls. Dennis is regarded as one of the most prolific defensive players and rebounders in NBA history. Despite her father’s notable accomplishments, she admits that her role model is actually her mother, Michelle.

“I just want everyone to know that my mom’s been my support system in everything in life and she’s my best friend and my rock,” Trinity stated after the game.

  • The Spirit team is due to return to their home at Audi Field and host Racing Louisville FC in the challenge cup on Thursday. Prior to her pro career, Rodman was a finalist for U.S Soccer’s Young Female Player of the Year. She was the standout for the women’s U.S U20 National team. She scored eight goals and six assists at the 2020 CONCACAF U20 Women’s Championship last March.
  • Rodman was originally supposed to play for Washington State as a freshman, but the 2020 NCAA season was postponed until the spring. Trinity plays the forward position and in 2018 played 164 minutes in the U-17 Women’s World Cup and provided one assist. She was the number one high school recruit in the country in 2020 and had extensive international experience, having played throughout the U.S National Team system.

So far, Rodman has significantly impacted Washington’s Spirit team and hopefully can continue to surprise senior players in the NWSL.

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Entertainment

Kid Cudi Pays Tribute to Kurt Cobain with Floral Dress for SNL Debut

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The performance took place days after the 27th anniversary of the Nirvana singer’s death.

What We Know:

  • Rapper Scott Mescudi, a.k.a. Kid Cudi, performed songs from his latest album, Man on the Moon III: The Chosen, on this week’s Saturday Night Live episode. In both of his performances, “Tequila Shots” and “Sad People,” he paid tribute to lost celebrities.
  • While singing “Tequila Shots,” Cudi wore a fuzzy olive-green cardigan. It was similar to one Kurt Cobain sported during Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged in New York months before his death in 1994. Underneath the cardigan, he donned a white shirt with a headshot of late SNL comedian Chris Farley, who passed away in 1997.
  • When Cudi performed “Sad People,” he changed into a spaghetti-strap floral-print dress. This was another tribute to Cobain, as he wore similar apparel on the cover of “The Face” in 1993.
  • Many fans praised Cudi for his attire and performance. They were happy that he was spreading awareness about suicide and prevention on SNL. Cobain committed suicide at the age of 27. Cudi has also struggled with mental health issues. In 2016, he registered himself into rehab for “depression and suicidal urges.”  He made the statement on Facebook and signed the post with this real name. He described himself as “a damaged human swimming in a pool of emotions every day of my life” on the social media page. Additionally, he said his depression and anxiety ruled his life for as long as he could remember. He emphasized he would no longer hold himself back. His openness sparked a national conversation on Black men’s mental health.
  • Cudi mentioned on Twitter that Off White CEO Virgil Abloh designed the dress for him. Furthermore, he mentioned that he wanted to commemorate Cobain somehow in the outfit.

In a follow-up tweet, Cudi announced he is collaborating with Off White. He also stated the dress he wore on SNL would be included in the collection. Cudi is continuing Cobain’s legacy of advocacy and acceptance to ensure no one else succumbs to their battle with mental illness.

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