What You Need To Know About This Story:
-Kodak Black, the controversial Miami rapper who has had a number of run-ins with the law will be sleeping in his jail bed a little happier tonight.
-State prosecutors dropped three of the five charges that Black faces on Thursday.
-Black, whose real name is Dieurson Octave had one charge each of possession of a weapon or ammunition by a delinquent, grand theft of a firearm, and child neglect, dropped by the State.
-Despite the legal victory won by his attorneys, Black is still in jail without the option of bonding out.
-He was originally charged with grand theft of a firearm, two counts of possession of a weapon or ammunition by a felon, suspicion of committing child neglect and two counts of violating of probation.
-He was arrested in January after police raided his Pembroke Pines home after he posted a live Instagram video that showed people smoking weed near an infant. A handgun was also spotted in the video. When police arrived, they say that they found 95 grams of marijuana in the house.
WATCH: South Florida Kids Are Leading A National Revolution
This story is from The Miami Monster, a new brand focused on telling the true stories of what life is like for a young person living in South Florida. Be sure to also follow our founder Joel Franco on Twitter to keep up to date with the latest breaking news in the area. You can send news tips to email@example.com.
What Do You Think?
You Might also like
I met my best friend when I was fourteen.
Of course, she wasn’t my first best friend.
She’s not even my only one now.
Since I was little, I’ve surrounded myself with girls that push me in every possible way.
However, it wasn’t until recently that I really started to appreciate those relationships.
The lack of strong female relationships in pop culture is sort of like your heartbeat.
You spend years not noticing it.
But when you do, you can’t stop noticing it.
Even as I started to write this piece, I was shocked by how many of my favorite female characters don’t have a single strong relationship with another girl – at least not one the audience gets to see.
The moment I started to notice my heartbeat, I was still really young.
When I was 8, my favorite TV show was Wizards of Waverly Place.
For any of you who’ve ever watched it, you know that the relationship between Harper and Alex is incredibly strong and incredibly complex.
That was a friendship that changed my life.
I could see me and my friends, finally represented on screen, and it felt amazing.
Not only that, but I wanted to work to improve the friendships I had with other girls.
Nowadays, I hardly ever consume any pop culture that doesn’t have a strong female relationship at its forefront.
The best part is, they’re all different.
My favorite show is New Girl, where the relationship between Jess and Cece is both one of the show’s most subtle, while also being its very bedrock.
My favorite artist is Taylor Swift, someone who became widely known for the strong female relationships she developed.
Teen Wolf is unabashedly one of my favorite shows on TV, and its highlight of female friendships changed the way I think about them.
This is a show that finds a way to put female relationships at its forefront, despite being centered around males.
The friendships between Allison, Lydia, Malia, and Kira, in all their different combinations, display an incredibly wide variety of relationships.
Some of them have dated the same boy, some of them have tried to kill each other, and some of them have every petty reason to hate each other, but they don’t.
This show has decided that its female friendships are more important than any love triangle, even though those do exist.
The show doesn’t pretend those obstacles don’t exist, they just demonstrate that the relationships formed among girls are way stronger than anything they could face.
They have found a way to put complex, varied, and oftentimes confusing female relationships on display, something I see in very few corners of the pop culture world.
I’m not the only one who’s felt the effects of seeing strong female relationships on TV.
I asked a few of my own strong female friends to talk to me about when they’ve seen their life changed by viewing those types of friendships in pop culture, and here’s what they said:
“Ann and Leslie [of Parks and Recreation] taught me that women should strive to build each other up, and that nothing is stronger than a female friendship built on pure love, loyalty, and trust. Female friendships don’t have to be filled with drama, and the best ones consider a five hour phone call about anything and everything equally as important as huge celebrations and milestones.” – Maggie
“Cristina Yang and Meredith Gray from Gray’s Anatomy depict what not only is a wonderful friendship, but a support system for one another. The fictional characters from the show have inspired me to not only be in my friends’ lives during the good times but to be there for support during the hard times.” – Sreelekha
More and more female friendships being represented is crucial, but the way they’re portrayed is also really important.
And while we like to think all female relationships in pop culture are great examples of representation, some miss the mark.
Here’s the biggest issue with the way pop culture sometimes displays female relationships – they exist only in a two-dimensional world.
An example of this comes from an often-raved about female friendship that just premiered this winter – Betty and Veronica on The CW’s Riverdale.
Now, I watch and love Riverdale, and I think there’s a lot of potential for the relationships to develop in new and interesting ways, but the way Betty and Veronica’s relationship exists now is very two-dimensional.
Disregarding the discussion of queerbaiting, and any sexual tension fans have picked up on, Betty and Veronica have the quintessential Strong Female Relationship.
Sure, they’ve both had feelings for the same guy, but that doesn’t matter!
They’re Strong Female Friends, and all they do is lift each other up.
The reason this comes across as a little unrealistic is because it is.
Look, I love my best friend with my everything I have.
I really would die for her, but sometimes I want to be the one doing the killing.
We’ve fought – a lot – and we have fought about boys!
The reason I consider our friendship one of the strongest in my life isn’t the fact that we’ve had jealous, petty moments – it’s the fact that we were able to move on.
Female relationships are just like any other relationship in life – they’re complicated.
The right way to portray a strong female relationship isn’t by following the rule book about what you think that should be.
It’s about embracing the different ways girls interact, the different ways they form bonds, and the different types of relationships that rise from those bonds.
One show that’s done this perfectly is HBO’s Big Little Lies.
Much of the miniseries is based on petty fighting between these women, but the end result (no spoilers here) is all the more satisfying because of that.
The show portrays female relationships exactly as they are – complex, frustrating, petty, and most of all, different.
All five of the main characters have extraordinarily different personalities, and the show doesn’t pretend those don’t exist.
In fact, every episode up until the finale points in a certain direction that is the destruction of those bonds.
However, the final episode clearly puts on display the way relationships between women are stronger than anything else in this life, even if their personalities don’t exactly mesh.
Despite all of this, all strong female friendships are good, just like all strong female characters are good.
The reality is, when a girl sees two other girls being friends, whether on TV, in a movie, in a book, or in real life, she’s inspired to develop those same sorts of ties with her friends.
And the effects of that are really, really good – like, scientifically proven good.
A UCLA study from 2002 suggests that women respond to stress with a cascade of brain chemicals that cause us to make and maintain friendships with other women.
Hanging out with our friends can actually counteract the kind of stomach-quivering stress most of us experience on a daily basis.
Relationships among women aren’t only good for the women themselves, they’re a necessary foundation to our entire society.
When women build each other up, instead of tear each other down, everyone wins.
And as women work to unlearn the decades of media that taught them girls should always fight over boys, the representation of female friendships in pop culture will be more important than ever.
My list of strong female relationships in pop culture to check out, not already mentioned:
Rachel, Phoebe, and Monica: FRIENDS
Blair and Serena: Gossip Girl
Cher & friends: Clueless
Hailee Steinfeld’s music
The Clone Club: Orphan Black
Ginny and Luna: Harry Potter series
Sansa Stark and Margaery Tyrell: Game of Thrones
Selena Gomez’s “Me & My Girls”
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.
Cover Photo Credit: rawpixel.com/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)Post Views: 114
What Do You Think?
You’ve probably been hearing a lot about something called the Panama Papers in recent days.
That’s because on Sunday morning The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and other media organizations announced the largest data leak in the history of journalism.
The leak contained 2.6 terabytes of information with over 11.5 million files that identified corruption amongst some of the top political figures in the world. It’s larger than the Wikileaks leak in 2010 or what Edward Snowden brought to light in 2013.
Now, what is in the leak exactly?
Mossack Fonseca is a law firm which specializes in the creation of shell companies and offshore accounts. It’s where the rich stash their ill-gotten or legally obtained earnings from their governments. These accounts are completely legal and can be used to protect their assets from raids or simply for inheritance reasons and estate planning.
However, there are other common reasons for stashing money in a offshore company, such as money laundering, dodging sanctions, and avoiding taxes.
The firm is based out of Panama but runs a worldwide operation.
On their website they claim to have a global network with 600 people working in 42 countries. It has franchises around the world.
It operates in tax havens including Switzerland, Cyprus, the British Virgin Islands, Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man.
Mossack Fonseca has their fingers dipped in many questionable pies. From Africa’s diamond trade, the international art market, to dealing with Middle Eastern royals and Russian oligarchs.
The firm rejects that it has ever been involved with dirty money.
“Recent media reports have portrayed an inaccurate view of the services that we provide and, despite our efforts to correct the record, misrepresented the nature of our work and its role in global financial markets,” a statement on the Mossack Fonseca reads. “These reports rely on supposition and stereotypes, and play on the public’s lack of familiarity with the work of firms like ours.”
FIFA, the international football association, an organization often connected to corruption and scandal, is also featured.
The leaked documents allegedly show that FIFA ethics committee member Juan Pedro Damiani, a Uruguayan lawyer, had business links with three men who have been indicted by U.S. officials on corruption charges: former FIFA vice president Eugenio Figueredo and father and son Hugo and Mariano Jinkis.
The latter two were convicted of paying bribes to obtain broadcast rights for soccer matches in South America. Documents show that Damiani’s law firm represented a company registered to Jinkis and seven others registered to Figueredo in a tax haven.
Interestingly, the British government has been especially vocal against offshore companies in recent years, but Prime Minister David Cameron hasn’t come out of this squeaky clean. His late father is one of the names revealed in the leak.
It is not yet clear, if Cameron himself has financially gained from off shore accounts.
According to some of the reporting in the aftermath of the leak, Mossack Fonseca has helped Russian President Vladimir Putin hide $2 billion, setting up offshore banks under the name of two of his close acquaintances.
The now former Prime Minister of Iceland, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, has also been implicated and was facing calls for his resignation as the public’s confidence in his leadership had been shattered.
He resigned on Tuesday, and is the first political casualty. Also listed are Iceland’s minister of finance, Bjarni Benediktsson, and Iceland’s Interior Minister, Olof Nordal.
China’s leaders have relatives who are named in the leak, propelling the government to limit local access to western media coverage of the leak and accusing them of being biased.
In a further twist, documents show Mossack Fonseca’s links to Rami Makhlouf, a cousin of the Syrian president, even though Washington imposed sanctions Makhlouf in 2008.
Though the firm is under no obligation to comply with US sanctions, it was legally bound to react to EU measures in 2011. It took until September of that year for the firm to finally resign from Makhlouf’s companies. By that time, Syria was in the middle of a genocidal civil war.
Other world leaders in the leak include Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan’s prime minister; Ayad Allawi, ex-interim prime minister and former vice-president of Iraq; Petro Poroshenko, president of Ukraine; and Alaa Mubarak, son of Egypt’s former president, just to name a few.
The list of questionable characters goes on, although it gets worse. It includes Ponzi schemers, drug kingpins, tax evaders, dictators and at least one jailed sex offender.
And that’s when it becomes unbearable. The sex offender was a U.S. businessman traveling to Russia to have sex with underage orphans. He signed papers for an offshore company while he was serving his prison sentence in New Jersey.
It’s notable that Mossack Fonseca is the fourth biggest provider of offshore services, meaning that if this much information is coming from this company, larger law firms with these same services must have shocking anonymous beneficiaries.
In reply to ICIJ questions about their methods, Mossack Fonseca said that backdating of documents “is a well-founded and accepted practice” that is “common in our industry and its aim is not to cover up or hide unlawful acts.” The company is extremely protective of their clients’ privacy.
Honestly, should we be surprised by this leak?
The exposé once again emphasizes the need for world financial reform. It shows that not only is the global tax system broken, but with so many world leaders involved, global governance itself is fractured too.
Due to this leak the ability of the super rich to hide their money may be made more difficult. But if government officials themselves are doing this, how are we meant to expect them to do anything about tax havens?
The storm may be about to arrive in the United States as well.
A reporter from the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung responded to tweets about the lack of names from the United States, by saying “Just wait for what’s coming.”
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us!
Cover Photo Credit: Jon Gosier/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)Post Views: 37
What Do You Think?
Miami’s Shame: Little Farm Trailer Park Sinks Into Slum As Chinese Land Owners Ignore Resident’s Plight
The closest that most of the world has come to the Little Farm was during the pilot episode of HBO’s original series Ballers.
In the show, retired NFL player Charles Greane works as a salesman at the very real Tropical Chevrolet car dealership (8800 Biscayne Blvd) before Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson swoops in to convince him to get back on the field.
But three blocks away at the Little Farm trailer park in El Portal (8500 Biscayne Blvd), the HBO cameras wouldn’t dream of going. No luxury to be found there. Just unspeakable despair.
There, one of Miami’s former great working class neighborhoods has been turned into a slum by years of bad landlords and poor governmental oversight.
The Little Farm is not talked about much- mostly because few people seem to know about it and even fewer care.
There’s lots of poor people in Miami and the area’s middle class is somewhat used to the idea that poverty is close to home.
Homeless men and women are a ubiquitous site at most I-95 off ramps in the area, meaning that it is near impossible to avoid the thought of abject poverty on your daily commute.
And yet, we ignore it and go home to our comfortable lives filled with Netflix and minor inconveniences.
But the Little Farm is different.
I’ve lived six minutes away my entire life and didn’t know about it until a few months ago when one of our reporters wrote about it.
And even then, I didn’t fully comprehend what was happening there until I got off my ass and drove into the development last week.
“They Didn’t Tell Us Nothing”
Clairmise Blanc is fed up.
A youthful looking Haitian woman in her early 70’s, Blanc is the defacto point person for outsiders to the Little Farm. She also lives right next to a burnt out trailer that stinks to high heavens.
“My husband died on April 22, 2011 and left me here alone,” Blanc said to me, causing me to pause and offer my condolences. “I’d like to live here. But there’s no future in this. Everything is down, especially at the nighttime. Too many people are drug addicts here. I don’t like it no more. I’ve tried to find other places to go.”
Born in Haiti, she moved to the United States in 1981 and has lived at the Little Farm for eight years. She owns her own trailer, but it is poor shape, with holes in the windows and a sagging look to it. She also pays $450 a month for the trailer to sit on her small plot.
At one time, hundreds of trailers dotted the 17 acre property, but after a Chinese company bought the property last year, people started getting evicted. Then came the buy out offers– $2,000 to up and leave.
If you didn’t take the deal, it wouldn’t matter much because you had to leave under the terms of a deal the Village of El Portal signed with the Chinese company- Wealthy Delight.
From a Miami New Times report on Little Farm a few months ago:
“One day last February, everything changed. Little Farm was sold for $14.25 million, and Wealthy Delight, a company based in Coral Gables but whose owners are difficult to trace, took over. Soon it became clear the Village of El Portal had agreed to forgive more than $8 million in liens on the site if the new owners paid $575,000 and razed the mobile home park.”
Many people took the buy outs and soon their trailers were razed.
Legal action has delayed the complete eviction of the remaining residents at Little Farm, but only around 40 people remain according to Blanc. And they will all certainty will be pushed out in the coming months.
“They didn’t tell us nothing,” Blanc said. “They’ve tried to push us away. It’s not fair.”
According to multiple witnesses, a fire broke out in a Little Farm trailer on the evening of February 19th.
“It was a mother, son and a daughter was living in there,” Blanc said.
While no one was hurt, the fire was intense and devastating.
The family living there had to move- one less eviction for Wealthy Delight to conduct.
Blanc’s trailer sits less than 15 feet away from the burnt out trailer. Nearly two months after the blaze, little has been cleaned up and the smell is starting to become unbearable for the remaining residents in the area.
“I’m tired of that smell, it just stinks,” Blanc said. “I want them to clean this thing. It is a mess. People can’t live like this.”
I start to cough after the breeze picks up and I notice how disgusting the burnt out remnants really are.
“That’s the office right there,” Blanc said while pointing towards the land lord management building across the road.
The burnt out unit is directly in front of the office, which means that the land lord would have to see it everyday as they arrive for work.
“They don’t care,” Blanc said of Wealthy Delight. “You think if they cared, they would have cleaned it a long time ago. But it’s been two months now. If they cared, they would have cleaned it because people are living here.
I ask her if she thinks the trailer hasn’t been cleaned up as a way to get her to move.
She demurs and says that in order for her to leave they are going to have to fork out more money.
El Portal Village Manager Jason Walker told RISE NEWS that he had not been aware of the fire but that it was the landlord’s responsibility to clean it up.
A representative for Wealthy Delight refused to answer questions on the phone and asked for questions via email, which they have also not answered.
Have a tip? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us
All Photo Credits: Rich Robinson/RISE NEWS.Post Views: 112
What Do You Think?