A Florida artist is organizing the burning and the burying of the Confederate flag today at 2 PM EST in order to celebrate Memorial Day in a unique way.
According to Mic, John Sims is a Sarasota based artist who has previously approached the stars and bars in his art, and organized a similar event last year.
The meaning of said burnings are to address the history behind the Confederate flag.
“It is a way to ritualistically confront through reflection and catharsis, the pain and trauma of a very horrific part of American history.” Sims told Think Progress.
The event has not been without its detractors.
A group named Sons of Confederate Veterans questioned the burning’s timing in 2015.
“To me, it represents the flags my ancestors fought and died under on the field of war,” Tom Strain Jr. told WTOC.
Sims has made the project accessible for people with a stream and a kit that contains items such as John Sims’ Gettysburg Redress and a Confederate flag to print out and burn for those who cannot or are inclined against buying a Confederate flag.
Sims will be broadcasting his burning and burial of the Confederate Flag at 2 P.M. EST.
LIVE on #Periscope: john sims https://t.co/Xdv9HzzqA2
— burnandbury (@burnandbury) May 30, 2016
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No, Star Wars Is Not RacistBy Contributor
By Chris Beacham
MSNBC anchor Melissa Harris-Perry on Saturday insinuated that she had issues with the Star Wars series because of, in her view, racially motivated subtext related to the character of Darth Vader.
“While he was black he was terrible and bad, awful and used to cut off white men’s hands, and didn’t actually claim his son. But as soon as he claims his son, goes over to the good, takes off his mask and he is white — yes, I have many feelings about that.”
Harris-Perry also said that the fact that actor James Earl Jones voiced the character, and is black, is important for framing her views as well. As a casual Star Wars fan, I can testify that Ms. Perry has no real understanding of the mythology she is so offended by.
Perry also seemed to feel that wookies, like Chewbacca, are black. This is nuts.
First of all, the moment she is referencing where Vader is unmasked is from Return of the Jedi, the third film in the original trilogy and the sixth episode of the saga.
If one were to analyze the films in the order they were released, the second film of the originals, The Empire Strikes Back, is when it was first revealed that Darth Vader is really Luke Skywalker’s father.
In the chronological order, the audience would know from the prequels that Darth Vader is truly Anakin Skywalker, the father of Luke and Leia Skywalker.
Darth Vader claims Luke as his son in The Empire Strikes Back, in which he is not unmasked. This makes Perry’s claim that the moment Vader claims his son he “becomes white” completely false. One can also assume Vader wanted to claim his son throughout, but did not have the opportunity to confront Luke until this moment in the story.
It is also important to look at diversity throughout all six films. Using Perry’s twisted views on color, race, and implicit meanings in storytelling, we can use multiple instances that prove her views to be false.
Throughout the original three films, every person who works for the empire is white. For one, the stormtroopers, soldiers of the evil fascist empire, have white suits and masks. Darth Sidious, the true mastermind behind the rise of the empire, who Vader also answers to, is white.
Darth Sidious was once Chancellor Palpatine, a corrupt politician in the galactic senate, and he was white then, too. Although there is a minor skin tone change once he becomes Sidious, he is still caucasian, and arguably more evil than Vader. Yes, Vader does cut off a hand, but so does the evil Count Dooku in Attack of the Clones, and he is white.
The character Lando Calrissian, who originally betrays Han Solo and Princess Leia as part of a deal with Vader, develops a guilty conscience and assists in saving Han Solo from his imprisonment from carbon freeze in Jabba the Huts lair is black. He also aids in destroying the second Death Star. Lando stands out as one of the great heroes of the original films.
“The facts do not support her views. Dark and light representing good versus evil are established storytelling motifs that have been around for centuries.”
In the prequel films, arguably the coolest and most powerful Jedi is Mace Windu, played by none other than Samuel L. Jackson. Mace Windu fights valiantly in the Clone Wars, kills the evil bounty hunter Jengo Fett, and is the first Jedi to confront Palpatine about his corrupt intentions.
It is also worth mentioning that he is one of the few Jedi who is suspicious of Anakin Skywalker and his future allegiance to the Republic. In my opinion, this makes him one of the most intelligent Jedi. Windu’s demise is at the hands of (the white) Palpatine and (the also white) Anakin Skywalker, as he fights for justice and the Republic.
Last but not least, Anakin Skywalker turns to the dark side before he becomes Darth Vader. With this, he is not wearing a black suit or mask. Even with the Vader suit, since we know beneath it is the father of Luke and Leia, we know that he is white.
The Star Wars films, which George Lucas has admitted were originally made for children, is about as pure as you can get (even for those of us who believe Gredo did not shoot first).
To state that there are malicious racial intentions with this story, which is about morality and good versus evil, continues this ridiculous trend in this country to be offended by as much as possible. It is unfortunate that our culture is so politically correct and hyper-sensitive that people seem to be insulted by everything.
One can respond: “It’s her opinion. It’s how she sees it and she can be offended”. I disagree.
There is no valid justification to be offended by something as pure and child-like as Star Wars, especially now with one of the heroes of the new film The Force Awakens being a black character.
The facts do not support her views. Dark and light representing good versus evil are established storytelling motifs that have been around for centuries. The PC police needs to leave this one alone.
As for Chewbacca being a black guy, just give me a break.
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GB: A Unique Hip-Hop Hopeful Hailing From Boca
When I first met GB three years ago, I didn’t know at the time of his ambitions and goals nor of the immense level of talent he had.
I only knew him as a young man looking to get initiated into the fraternity that I was advising at the time.
Flash forward three years later and he’s on the cusp of reaching the next level.
GB is the definition of a millennial artist using the resources at his fingertips to put his music out there and take advantage of the open web to leave his mark. It was important for me to use the platform I have elevate GB to a larger audience.
I remember distinctly hearing GB play his guitar here and there and I thought, man this kid has talent. Of course I didn’t know what was yet to come. From performing at sorority philanthropy events to performing at actual nightclubs for the first time, his future is brighter than ever.
I asked GB, who is now in his senior year at Florida Atlantic University if he wouldn’t mind me speaking with me to share his story, his ideas and his passion.
RISE: First off, tell the readers something you want them to know about you?
Something you should know about me is that I do my best to keep out negative energy. Positivity is the answer to life, you can do and be anything in the world. If you believe in yourself and set your sights on goals that incorporate your passions and talents, you will be successful.
RISE: When did you know you wanted to pursue music?
I knew I wanted to pursue music the day that I turned 20. I released my first album “Phenom” along with 20 tracks that featured my rap and singing debut. I could feel in my heart everything seeming to fall into place, each time I write, reminisce or think up something new. Music is truly my love and passion, no matter what comes out of it, I feel accomplished in knowing that.
RISE:When you dropped your first album “Phenom” what did that feel like?
It felt nice dropping my first album “Phenom” with 20 tracks because it was [and is] something that rarely anyone is doing. The doubt of my peers really pushes me harder and harder everyday, support definitely builds you the most though. I released my second album “The Bakery” with 21 tracks just to prove to people I could do it again and come even hotter. With my third album release “TRILLA G,” it was all about capturing the best aspects of my artistry. I released 8 tracks that all pushed for futuristic style and vision. My main goal now is to just keep pushing singles in hopes of making that one hit song that everyone falls in love with.
RISE:Who are your musical influences?
My biggest musical influences at the moment would have to be Bryson Tiller, Jeremih, Chance the Rapper & Frank Ocean. My passion for music started with John Mayer but I really enjoy listening to music that enhances my ear for R&B influenced hip hop.
RISE:Who are you listening to right now?
I am really selective with what I am listening to, I have been listening to Frank Ocean’s new album “Blonde.” I am in love with the pop influenced vocals; With this type of sound coming back into the mainstream, as well as influencing myself, my own music is being taken with ease to listeners of all genres.
RISE:Who would be your dream collaboration?
I would love to make a dope R&B influenced track with Bryson Tiller or a party influenced hit with Chance the Rapper.
RISE:Who are other up and coming artists that you have worked with in South Florida that you hope make it big?
My favorite artists in Boca Raton are Mansa, Vaughny Vo & Ali Embry. I have worked with plenty of producers & engineers that deserve credit too: MaClean Studios, Influence Studios, Lykia, Equus & more. They have all been big parts of my evolved sounds and I appreciate all their efforts and advice. Other than that, I have worked with so many artists, going on 100 hip hop songs in the past two years. I really enjoy working with people and making music that people can enjoy and possess as their own as well. That is what it is all about.
RISE:Tell me about what it’s like working with other people who are also trying to break into the music scene?
It is great finding those artists that have the same mindset as you. A lot of people are really only focused on breaking into the music scene and don’t have the talent or work ethic that comes with that success. The best collaborations are when the music comes from the heart, you should take each confrontation and learn from it. Each artist I have made music with has taught me something whether it be what to do or what not to do.
Listen to one of GB’s songs:
RISE:How would you describe your sound?
The sound that I am consistently working towards in my own mind is a mix of positive catchy lyrics, a marketable theme throughout, hard-hitting instrumentals topped with impressive pop vocals that could impress any listener with soothing melodies. I am very persistent on my new sounds being based around my singing.
RISE:How often do you go into the studio to record?
I record at least a couple of times a week. I have 4 studios in Boca that I flip flop between and make my music at. When it comes down to it, I built my own recording studio in my room and I am able to record literally at any moment of the day. Whenever I am feeling something heavily, I will not wait around, I definitely feel at home in the studio.
RISE:Do you ever feel creatively stifled? If so how do you combat that?
Most definitely, it happens to the best of us. Whenever I am feeling stuck on something, I will just put it away and work on another topic. It always seems to brighten a new light when I come back to something at another time with a fresh mind and full attention.
RISE:What is the headspace you put yourself in when you go into the recording studio?
I really just put it in my head to be comfortable. You never want to push it too hard or blurt something too loud, studio recording is a lot different than singing live. By the time I get in the studio I know the lyrics so well that I really try and focus on the pronunciation of every word and melody.
RISE:If you wish you wrote any one specific lyric or bar, what would it be and why?
There are countless lyrics that I love to be honest? In every song there is something that I probably enjoy most about it, but when I first started rhyming I said “Like a foreign student way he study abroad, know the heavens must be the real the way she shaped by the gods, GB must stand for Gary Blessed…” and that was how I was stuck with “Gary Blessed” being the acronym for my initials GB. Before that song, GB just stood for Gary Baker.
RISE:What was it like to take the stage truly for the first time at Crowbar in Tampa, your hometown?
It felt so nice to be on stage performing the sounds that I had been working so hard on. I had been on stages before considering I have been making music since I was 16 and played in my own band in high school, but this was definitely the first time it was 100% my music. It felt like the start of destiny.
RISE:What is your end goal with your music?
I have really grown an obsession with music, my first end goal started out just getting a feature with my favorite rapper at the time, Cam Meekins. My ultimate end goal would be me as a major recording artists, the executive of my own label, have a few businesses that incorporate my own brand and different lifestyle aspects, and consistently release music that is noticed and perceived by the world in a positive way. In the least, I want to be recognized in the music industry and make a living from it.
You can check out all of GB’s music here: https://soundcloud.com/garyblessed
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.
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Religious Tensions Rise As Indian Elections Come To ForeBy Kyle Jones
Last week, India entered the second of five phases of voting for seats within the Indian Parliament.
This is the first major election in India since the conservative Indian People’s Party (BJP); led by Narendra Modi, won a landslide victory in the 2014 General Election. This election is viewed by many as a major test of approval for Modi’s policies as Prime Minister.
In addition to a reflection on Modi’s performance as Prime Minister, this election has taken a much greater significance as religious tension flares throughout the country. The tension comes as a result of conflict between India’s Hindu majority and other religious minorities.
In late September a 50 year old man in northern India was killed in a mob lynching allegedly over rumors that his family had been storing and consuming beef at home. The lynching took place in the state of Uttar Pradesh, one of a number of states that have imposed tightened laws banning cow slaughter and the sale and consumption of beef on religious grounds.
“We would want the BJP to win all the state elections because only then can significant social, political and cultural changes take place in this country,” said RSS Joint General Secretary Dattatreya Hosabale.
Uttar Pradesh is a traditional stronghold for the Hindu nationalist group, The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). The RSS was founded in 1925 as anti-colonial organization, but since independence has advocated for Hindu first policies in the hopes of uniting the Indian people under the Hindu faith. The RSS is the ideological forerunner to the BJP, and Prime Minister Modi was a volunteer with the RSS during his youth.
In addition to the lynching in the Uttar Pradesh region, the Punjab region of India has also erupted into violent protests by the region’s Sikh population following the destruction of copies of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib – Sikhism’s holy text.
The RSS played a major role in the BJP’s electoral victory in 2014, as a majority of the BJP’s ground volunteers were also members of the RSS. Likewise, the RSS is now running a grassroots campaign to ensure a victory in the upper house of Parliament for the BJP.
“We would want the BJP to win all the state elections because only then can significant social, political and cultural changes take place in this country,” said RSS Joint General Secretary Dattatreya Hosabale. “The 2014 election victory should be seen as the starting point of a long term mission.”
Read More: Deep Dive into the issue by Reuters
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