Travis Scott performance at LIV marks a major return to concert and live shows

A Look At Travis Scott's Second-Annual Astroworld Festival By The Numbers

For his birthday Houston-born-rapper, Travis Scott, performed live at LIV’s nightclub in Miami. This marks his very first true live performance at a venue since the start of the pandemic.

That same weekend Cactus Jack also announced dates for the third annual ASTROWORLD Fest in Houston, TEX. The festival took a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic but due to changes in Texas it would seem concerts and festivals are now feasible again. ASTROWORLD is set to take place on November 5-6.

Travis Scott follows a recent trend in artists slating new dates for future tours meant to take place toward the end of 2021. A time where many believe the pandemic will be all but over.

On the same day Travis Scott performed at LIV, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended all COVID-19 restrictions. During a news conference the DeSantis said, “The fact is, we are no longer in a state of emergency.” It would seem other nations see, to feel the same way about the matter.

Just two months ago Governor Greg Abbott lifted the mask mandate in Texas and opened capacity of all businesses and facilities in the state completely.

Then, once again on Sunday, Los Angeles County reported no additional deaths as a result of COVID-19, the first time in over a year.

Only time will tell if the rest of the country’s will open up and more artists will follow in the footsteps of Scott to perform live again.

Krispy Kreme offers free doughnut for those who’ve received their Covid-19 vaccination

Krispy Kreme is making vaccinations extra sweet with a free doughnut a day  for the rest of the year - CNN

This morning Krispy Kreme announced their Sweet Support program, which rewards customers who’ve received the COVID-19 vaccine with a free original glazed doughnut.

As of today, anyone who shows their COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card will receive the doughnut up until the end of 2021. As if the deal could not get any sweeter, the offer is not one-time only, and can be redeemed every single day.

All guests who have received at least one or two of the shots of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccination or one shot of the Johnson and Johnson vaccination qualify as “vaccinated.”

The new program aims to show support those who choose to get vaccinated and for the U.S. as it continues to roll out COVID-19 vaccinations. With that being said, the offer is only available in the United States.

A recent press release revealed that Krispy Kreme also plans to support health care workers and volunteers administering vaccines, delivering them free doughnuts to various vaccination centers throughout the country. For their own employees, the iconic restaurant is offering up to four hours of paid time off to encourage their staff to get vaccinated.

“We all want to get COVID-19 behind us as fast as possible and we want to support everyone doing their part to make the country safe by getting vaccinated as soon as the vaccine is available to them,” Krispy Kreme Chief Marketing Officer Dave Skena said in a statement.

Krispy Kreme also plants to roll out other promotions as the year continues related to COVID-19 safety and joy.

Solange Knowles gives “significant donation” toward post-freeze housing relief efforts.

Houston-born artist Solange Knowles made a “significant donation” on Thursday to an abolitionist collective in order to support their post-freeze housing effort in Houston. “The Houston love is REAL,” wrote Mutual Aid Houston on Twitter.

Texas has been facing brutal weather conditions this past week like they’ve never seen before. More than 100 million Americans are being affected due to severe weather, many of them having to go without power or even clean water.

In Houston alone 20 deaths have been reported all of which are attributed to the storm.

Knowles is a Houston native who’s never been shy about disclosing her hometown. In 2019, she dedicated an entire album to Houston writing many songs about its culture and appropriately titling them after various parts of the community. “Sending so much love back home… and I’m committed to doing more” the singer tweeted in response to Mutual Aid Houston.

The small organization in question is relatively new, according to their website, Mutual Aid Houston was formed by locals in response to Covid-19 and police brutality following the death of George Floyd. 100 percent of donations are said to go directly toward their efforts as their team is unpaid.

Within the past week they’ve gained significant traction for their successful relief efforts in Houston and high-profile donations.

Their most recent GoFundMe dedicated specifically toward winter storm relief raised $228,849 in only two days. On Friday they redistributed $54,000 worth of donations directly to 545 Houstonians in need.

With that being said, they are still working on delivering donations “as fast as possible” however according to their Twitter posting itemized receipts has been a challenge. Nonetheless, they’ve promised to distribute all funds in a “timely manner.”

Ted Cruz responds to Cancun allegations

Image result for ted cruz

Senator Ted Cruz spoke to reporters Thursday evening after photos of him emerged of him at an Airport in Cancun, Mexico. Cruz, in his statement, admitted that leaving Texas while it encountered one of its most devastating crises “didn’t feel right.”

For the past five days, millions of Texans have had to go without power, clean water and even food in what is becoming one of the most brutal weather conditions the nation has ever had to face. Adding insult to injury was their Senator seemingly abandoning them during their time of need in order to take a vacation in Cancun.

Cruz has since returned from his shortened trip after an onslaught of criticism from his fellow constituents and Texans.

Initially Cruz told NBC that the trip had been for his daughters stating, “With school canceled for the week, our girls asked to take a trip with friends. Wanting to be a good dad, I flew down with them last night and am flying back this afternoon.”

Once Cruz had arrived back from the airport he told reporters: “I started having second thoughts almost the moment I sat down on the plane, because on the one hand all of us who are parents have a responsibility to take care of our kids, take care of our family….but I also have a responsibility I take very seriously of fighting for the state of Texas…”

Since this incident the Texas Democratic Party have called on Cruz to resign. In an official statement made by the Texas Democratic Party chairman Gilberto Hinojosa he said, “Ted Cruz jetting off to Mexico while Texans remain dying in the cold isn’t surprising, but it is deeply disturbing and disappointing.”

“The Texas Democratic Party calls on Ted Cruz to resign or be expelled from office… We must restore ethics, competence, and a government that works for the people,” the group added.

Others did not wish to share their thoughts on the matter, like Gov. Greg Abbott who said, “I haven’t been following people’s vacation plans.”

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner shared similar sentiments during a press conference on Thursday stating, “My job is to stay here until the situation is resolved so that’s it you know, I’m gonna let the senator speak for the senator.”

As this occurred many Twitter users were quick to point out Cruz had recently made a hypocritical Tweet just last December, where he criticizes Mayor of Austin Steve Adler for flying to Cabo, Mexico during lockdown.

Cruz made no attempt to defend his now ironic tweets saying, “I got no defense. A blizzard strikes Texas and our state shuts down. Not good. Stay safe!”

Kanye West throws in the towel for 2020 election

Kanye West the Atlanta-born rapper turned presidential candidate took to Twitter last night as the ballots were being counted officially conceding in the election whilst proclaiming, “KANYE 2024.”

According to Deadline, West garnered over 60,000 votes in the 12 states where he appeared on the ballot.

Here’s an official state-by-state breakdown from the AP:

Arkansas: 4,040
Colorado: 6,254
Idaho: 3,631
Iowa: 3,202
Kentucky: 6,259
Louisiana: 4,894
Minnesota: 7,789
Mississippi: 3,277
Oklahoma: 5,590
Tennessee: 10,216
Utah: 4,344
Vermont: 1,265

West was a latecomer to the election announcing his bid in early July. In an interview with Forbes, West announced he would be running under an independent party known simply as “The Birthday Party” effectively renouncing his prior support of President Donald Trump.

His initial platform was primarily focused on his personal biblical ideals. In the same interview with Forbes, West denounced vaccines, abortion and the death penalty.

West would later officially reveal his platform on his official website, which focused on religious freedom, equality and peace.

During this period, West made headlines due to his health, rhetoric and constant push to be recognized as a legitimate candidate. In the states where he was not on the written ballot, West encouraged his followers to “WRITE IN KANYE WEST.”

On election day, not only did West reaffirm he had never voted before but he also confirmed he would be voting for himself and himself only.

While Kanye certainly gained a lot of notoriety from his campaign as it turns out he was not the most popular third party candidate of this election. Jo Jorgensen who was running under the libertarian party according to the AP received 1,604,519 total votes as of today.

With that being said these numbers are very little compared to the 70 and 67 million voted held by Biden and Trump respectively. Only time will tell what these numbers will translate to in the real election.

Tyler, the Creator encourages his younger fans to vote

Grammy-award winning rapper/singer Tyler, the Creator uploaded an unexpected video on IGTV Monday afternoon urging his younger fans to vote in this year’s election.

“Please, please, if you are young, and your f******g back don’t hurt, go to them polls and cast a f*****g vote,” said Tyler.

Tyler, The Creator who’s real name is Tyler Okonma, has been known in the past for his immature and exaggerated character. While the rapper has voiced his political and social opinions before, never before has he directly asked his fans to do something of this nature. “I know I’m the last person y’all should ever take advice from,” Tyler admits, “but I’m reiterating what everyone else is saying.”

Okonma continues his message while addressing the current social climate: “Y’all was posting black squares and protesting from y’all phone, and rights this, and canceling everybody, n***a pull up. Y’all want a new DA? Pull up.”

According to the Washington Post, in 2016, roughly 43% of registered voters did not fill out a ballot. A year later, Pew Trusts released a study that revealed 62% of unregistered voters weren’t asked to register at all.

Even Okonma himself confesses 2020 will be his first year voting since he became eligible in 2009.

Okonma not voting in the 2016 election came as a shock to some fans who noted that his brand, Golf Wang, released a shirt the same year that featured a superimposed a Hitler-style mustache over President Donald Trump’s lip with the text “We f****d up” printed at the bottom.

However, in the video Okonma doesn’t mention either presidential candidate. Instead, he gives affirms his opinion on educational reforms and the school system. “The s**t that I actually give a f**k about is more art in schools and more music classes in schools and them changing the curriculum,” says Okonma.

Okonma follows a long line of other celebrities and influencers encouraging their fans to vote in this year’s upcoming election. Many of them sharing resources for how to get their fans registered.

What effects this will have on the 2020 election are currently unknown but will likely manifest within the coming months.

Trump Administration gives Microsoft 45 days to acquire TikTok

The Rush for TikTok Followers: Will You Be Among the Platform's ...The Trump Administration has given Microsoft 45 days to acquire the Chinese-owned video-sharing app TikTok despite Trump’s recent plans to ban the app, according to a recent blog post made by Microsoft.

It’s only been a few days since Trump recently said that he was planning on banning the App in the United States. While aboard the Air Force One he said, “As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States.” According to President Trump, the ban could have occurred as soon as Saturday.

Late last year, US Lawmakers voiced concerns over TikTok possibly posing a threat to national security due to the data it handles and tensions between the administration and China have only heightened over time.

Due to these developments, many believed the deal between Microsoft and TikTok was dismissed.

However, in a recent blog post, Microsoft confirmed they were “prepared to continue discussions to explore a purchase of TikTok in the United States” due to a recent conversation between Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and President Donald J. Trump had in private.

According to the post, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) will handle all subsequent negotiations made by Microsoft and the TikTok parent company, ByteDance. Microsoft vowed to “move quickly” and close the deal by Sept. 15.

In their closing statement, they wrote: “Microsoft appreciates the U.S. Government’s and President Trump’s personal involvement as it continues to develop strong security protections for the country. These discussions are preliminary and there can be no assurance that a transaction which involves Microsoft will proceed. We do not intend to provide further updates until there is a definitive outcome to our discussions.”

This isn’t the first time the CFIUS has ordered a company to divest. Earlier this year, Chinese gaming company Beijing Kunlun Tech Co Ltd sold, Grindr, a gay dating app, for $620 million to San Vicente Acquisition LLC as per the request of the CFIUS.

Whether this deal between the tech giant Microsoft and ByteDance will go the same way, however, is still unknown.

Recent developments in the UC college system look promising for minorities

New lawsuit suggests U of California has been considering race in ...The UC announced last week they hit a record-breaking number of Latino admissions to its nine undergraduate campuses for the upcoming school year.

At 36 percent, this is the highest it has ever been, topping last year by two percent. Now, according to UC, Chicanx/Latinx students now comprise the largest ethnic group of admitted freshmen.

“UC continues to see increased admissions of underrepresented students… The incoming class will be one of our most talented and diverse yet, and UC is proud to invite them to join us,” UC President Janet Napolitano said.

Last week, the Trump administration also decided to roll back their original plan to send foreign students back to their home countries if schools go online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The plan was met with criticism from universities like Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which both argued that the policy was created unlawfully.

If this plan was successful, however, it would have affected over 1 million international students currently enrolled in U.S. colleges. These international students who make up a decent portion of the student body were also responsible for contributing $45 billion to the US economy in 2018.

In a similar vein to their previous achievements, the University of California also elected its first black president since the institution’s inception in 1868.

Michael V. Drake, 68, is a distinguished member in the UC community who previously served as chancellor of UC Irvine for nine years, and as the systemwide vice president for health affairs for five.

On the topic of his election, Drake said, “Much has changed in the 15 years since I was given the privilege of becoming chancellor at UC Irvine, but not my absolute belief in this great University and its time-honored mission.”

It would seem Drake’s appointment has come at a very crucial time in the Unites States increasingly tense social climate. What these recent developments represent is a growing trend among many other institutions attempting to narrow the gap between less fortunate students and their privileged counterparts.

Doja Cat tested positive for COVID-19 after initially downplaying it

Doja Cat Tests Positive for COVID-19American singer and rapper Doja Cat revealed this week that she has tested positive for COVID-19 despite previous comments mocking the severity of the virus.

The news came out in an exclusive interview she conducted with Capital XTRA, during the interview she said, “I got COVID. Honestly, I don’t know how this happens…. and I don’t know how I got it but I got it.”

In the interview, she also revealed that has since recovered and no longer exemplifies any symptoms. “I’m OK now. It was a four-day symptom freak out but I’m fine now,” said Doja Cat.

The news was quite a shock to many, due to the fact that since the start of the pandemic the singer had previously downplayed the virus and ridiculed those who expressed concerns.

While on an Instagram Live Doja Cat said, “I’m gonna get corona and then I’m gonna get a Corona, cuz I don’t give a f**k about corona, b***h. It’s a flu!”

She later added, “”I’m not scared. Y’all are p*ssy, period. You just take some Mucinex and drink water and tea and sleep — that’s all you gotta do. Y’all are so scared of some damn corona.”

Today, the CDC reports that there have been over 4 million cases and more than 146 thousand deaths in the U.S. alone.

Doja Cat has been in the limelight a lot recently due to a previous controversy she had back in May. When an unreleased song she made that prominently featured the racial slur “dindu” surfaced on the internet.

The song stirred a lot of debate in her fan base as many saw the abundant use of the slur as offensive. She later apologized for the song calling it “an attempt to flip its meaning” but acknowledged it “was a bad decision to use the term” in her music.

Doja Cat has not made any public statements regarding her previous comments about COVID-19.

Remembering and Understanding John Lewis

john lewisJohn Lewis is considered one of the “Big Six” leaders of the Civil Rights movement that swept America during the 1960s. His passing was confirmed by Nancy Pelosi late on Friday night. This was following a seven-month-long battle he had with stage four pancreatic cancer. He was 80.

Born on February 21, 1940, into a family of sharecroppers, John Robert Lewis was the third child of ten living in rural Alabama.  He attended segregated schools as a boy and was often told by his parents not to challenge the inequities of the Jim Crow laws which had been set in place during that era. However, as he grew older so did his distaste for the unfairness racial segregation.

Lewis first heard Martin Luther King, Jr. on the radio in 1955 and closely followed Montgomery Bus Boycott that King began later that year. Lewis was deeply inspired by King’s actions and from then on vowed to act upon the change which he wanted to see.

In 1957, Lewis traveled to Nashville, Tennessee to attend American Baptist Theological Seminary. It was here where he learned about nonviolent protest and how to organize protests. He became involved in sit-ins at segregated lunch counters and was arrested during these demonstrations. Despite this Lewis stuck to his philosophy of nonviolence and became a strict adherent which he kept to for the rest of his life.

After doing civil work in Nashville and meeting with both Dr. King and Rosa Parks, Lewis became one of the original 13 Freedom Riders. Freedom Riders were a group of six whites and seven blacks, who in an effort to get southern states to enforce the laws that prohibited segregated public transportation, all rode buses from Washington, D.C., to New Orleans in an integrated fashion. In doing this Lewis and his fellow freedom riders were brutally beaten and arrested many times yet still consistently made it to freedom rides.

In 1963, after Charles McDew stepped down as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Lewis was elected to take his place and as such helped plan one of the most important marches in American history: the March on Washington.

The March on Washington took place on Wednesday, August 28, 1963, and was meant to advocate for the civil and economic rights of African Americans. During this March is also where Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech. Alongside King was Lewis, who at only 23, was the youngest speaker at the event. In a powerful declaration, Lewis announced, “We all recognize the fact that if any radical social, political and economic changes are to take place in our society, the people, the masses, must bring them about.” The March on Washington is credited with helping to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which among other things, outlaws discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

20 years later in 1986, Lewis was elected to the House of Representatives, representing Georgia’s 5th District. Lewis was reelected 16 times only dropping below 70 percent of the vote once. Being one of the most respected in congress, Lewis advocated for health reform and education improvements. He also oversaw multiple renewals of the Voting Rights Act.

John Lewis is not dead, spokesperson says | 11alive.comIn the recent past, John Lewis was hailed by Pelosi as “a titan of the civil rights movement” by Pelosi, and out of respect, President Donald Trump ordered all flags to be flown at half-staff. A number of other people also voiced their grief in response to the passing of Lewis including  Former President Barack Obama, who just ten years prior awarded Lewis the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

On all fronts, Lewis is what every activist looking to make a change should aspire to be. Unwavering, unflinching and most important of all peaceful.