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About the AuthorRich Robinson is the CEO and publisher of Rise News. He is also a journalist and a native of Miami. Robinson graduated from the University of Alabama and can be followed on Twitter @RichRobMiami.
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“Miley Cyrus represents everything that is wrong with America.”
This is a sentence you have probably heard or even spoken yourself. But the people who believe this believe it for the wrong reasons.
Frequent marijuana use is not what is wrong with America. Nude concerts are not what is wrong with America. Obscene gestures are not what is wrong with America.
What is wrong with America is the defensive attitude that comes out when someone asks it to shut up for five minutes and let marginalized individuals speak for themselves.
In the past, Miley has called herself “empowering to women,” and I think deep down she does want to empower and to see a more accepting world, just as deep down America wants to live up to its reputation as the land of the free.
But the problem with Miley’s mission, and America’s, lies within her belief that she can fix the world’s intolerance on her terms, without actually listening to those she is attempting to empower.
Miley has spent the last three years not giving a single fuck. It started in 2012 when she chopped off her long brunette locks and began rocking a platinum pixie cut, and has since escalated into everything from excessive tongue use to posing nude for Candy magazine.
She has received equal parts hate and love for her lack of concern with public opinion on her looks, attitude and behavior.
Not giving a fuck can be empowering. In a time where government spying and posting every thought online for 1,000 of your friends to analyze is considered the norm, “worrying about yourself” is a foreign concept. So when you choose not to let unfair judgment of your character affect how you live your life, that is, without a doubt, empowering.
But there is such a thing as fair judgment, something Miley has often faced, particularly for her appropriation of POC culture and her use of the LGBTQ+ community as a prop for her brand.
Last summer, when Nicki Minaj called out the MTV Video Music Awards on Twitter for their lack of recognition for her record-breaking Anaconda video, as compared with their celebration of Taylor Swift’s Bad Blood video, Swift fired back at Minaj for “pit[ting] women against each other.”
When Minaj – and the rest of Twitter — explained to Swift that this wasn’t about bringing her down, it was about dismantling a system stacked against people of color, the pop star issued an apology and admitted that she misunderstood. It was not a perfect example of accountability for problematic behavior, but it was progress.
Miley, on the other hand, when asked about the “beef” between the two, accused Nicki Minaj of making “[the issue] about [her]self,” and suggested that next time the artist approach race issues “with love” to get her point across.
This is America’s problem. Too many people claim to empower, when what they are really doing is overpowering.
Rather than listen to a woman who also faces criticism for everything from obscenity to sexuality, Miley, a self-proclaimed feminist, decided to speak over Minaj and tell her how to best handle the issues she is facing. How can one claim to be empowering while refusing to uplift the voices of those they want to empower?
Empowering a group of people means embracing and caring about both the positive and negative parts of their culture. It means for every time you twerk with your friends in the club, you should be listening to a woman of color talk about the way she is fetishized. For every funny Grindr story you listen to from your gay friend, you should be educating yourself on bi-erasure.
And for every joint you smoke, you should be reading the statistics on imprisonment rates for minor drug offenses and how this practice serves as a systemic genocide of young men of color.
This is America’s problem. Too many people claim to empower, when what they are really doing is overpowering. So next time you see Miley on your TV or computer screen and you ask yourself “What the hell is she doing?” know that she is doing exactly what America is doing: bringing marginalized communities onto her platform, only to cut their mics.
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The day after Hurricane Irma impacted South Florida was a blur for many in the region.
Houses were plunged into darkness, almost all street lights were off and many streets were left impassable.
But after a stressful week, many people needed to get out of their homes and feel a sense of normalcy.
That’s what Bagel Bar East (1990 NE 123rd St) specializes in.
On a typical day, Bagel Bar East is a local eatery that people go to find interesting characters in North Miami and traditional New York style fair.
But over the years, it has also become known for being open almost immediately after hurricanes.
The joint is owned by Steven Hochman, a Brooklyn native who has lived in South Florida for over 20 years.
He believes that the community needs his place to be open in times of stress.
And he takes that commitment to his customers seriously.
As Irma started to impact South Florida on September 9, Bagel Bar East remained open until conditions became too dangerous and it reopened at 6:30 AM on September 11, even before the curfew in Miami-Dade County was lifted at 7:00 AM.
” I do it for the community,” Hochman told RISE NEWS as he served food the day after Irma passed. “Everybody needs ice, water and food. People have been saying thank you all day.”
Few locals were surprised by this.
“They know Bagel Bar is going to be open,” Hochman said.
They have a generator that runs the lights and gas powers the cooking equipment.
Dozens of locals from all around Northern Miami-Dade County waited hours to be served.
Bacon, eggs and cheese sandwiches were the big sellers that day.
This isn’t the first time Bagel Bar East has served the community.
They were open soon after Hurricane Wilma hit the area in 2005 as well.
“As long as it’s safe, they are going to be open,” Tracey Heldenmuth a North Miami resident and Bagel Bar East regular said while cheerfully waiting in line. “Thank you Steve for pulling through.”
Thomas Alexander, a baker at Bagel Bar East and North Miami resident was proud of his work that day. He’s worked at the restaurant for over 20 years and understands what it means for the community.
“Without us, they won’t be eating,” Alexander said. “It makes me feel happy. I love to see people eat and be happy.”
While Hurricane Irma caused widespread damage across South Florida, it also exposed a level of human goodness.
It also taught some folks in Miami how important something as simple as a bagel can be in the face of crisis.
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Gretchen Carlson, the longtime FOX NEWS anchor is suing network head Roger Ailes after alleging that he tried to engage her in sexual activities numerous times.
Carlson also claimed that she had to deal with constant sexist behavior at the network.
Bloomberg Politics went through the archives to put together a supercut of times that Carlson had to deal with sexist comments during her time on “Fox & Friends”.
Boy, is it uncomfortable:
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