Culture

High brow content with a low brow attitude.

You Have To Check Out This Andy Warhol Inspired Cocktail

Andy Warhol is one of the most iconic artists in the history of the United States. So it only makes sense that someone would eventually try to honor him with a cocktail.

Daniel Najarro, the bar manager at Bagatelle Miami Beach came up with the concept for the drink for the upcoming Art Basel in Miami.

It is Ketel One Orange, fresh strawberry, ginger beer and lime all in an iconic Campbell’s coup can.

“Inspired by Andy Warhol, one of the most iconic leading figures in POP ART, this special cocktail salutes all of his memorable work throughout the years,” Carrie Hyman a spokesperson for the Bagetelle said in a release.

unnamedDo you think the drink measures up to the legacy of Warhol?

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.

Mainstream Media Didn’t “Let” Trump Win, It Was Just Too Weak To Stop Him

Mainstream American journalism as we know it died in the wee hours of Nov. 9, 2016.

It is survived by click-bait shops and a few Macedonian kids who like to make up fake stories.

The funeral will be held at OH LOOK AT THAT LITTLE IGUANA ESCAPING FROM THOSE SNAKES!

I’ve talked to a bunch of distraught liberal friends since the election of Donald Trump to the presidency.

All are angry by what has happened and many blame “the mainstream media” for the result.

I do too.

Despite what some say, this was in fact a failure of media.

But I don’t blame cable news or print sources for letting Trump get away with it.

He was relentlessly covered during the general election and many typically straight reporters got dangerously close to the line in their reports on him.

Newspapers again showed why they are the most important institutions during a political campaign (outside of the FBI, of course).

David Fahrenthold’s indefatigable reporting on Trump’s lack of private donations and his shady charitable foundation for the Washington Post is deserving of massive praise from all sensible people. He also first reported on Trump’s controversial comments in a now infamous Access Hollywood tape.

The New York Times deserves plaudits for reporting on a leaked copy of Trump’s 1995 tax returns. It showed that Trump had possibly not paid taxes for up to 18 years and that he lost $916 million in a single year.

Many local papers chipped away at Trump’s lies and business failures in a daily beat that was impressive.

57 of the largest papers in America endorsed Clinton. Two endorsed Trump.

But none of it mattered.

People weren’t interested in the truth because they didn’t believe it when they saw it.

They either didn’t have the ability to see it or they did and chose not to anyway.

Many have simply lost faith in mainstream media and the form of journalism that emits from them.

It was a failure of media, not because reporters didn’t do a terrific job, but rather do to the fact that those reporters hold less influence that they did even four years ago.

Our media landscape is more cluttered and confused than at any time since the Tower of Babel hosted an economics reporting conference.

Social media is in part the culprit of this.

Fake news stories frequently run rampant through the ether, inciting anger and hardening views of people and issues that is unmoored to fact.

Proprietary partisan content mills churn out dozens of stories, videos, memes and pictures a day that only seeks to score points for the red or blue teams.

Some of the more irresponsible “Breaking News” twitter feeds keep people who follow them in a perpetual state of terror about the state of the world. Death and chaos is always around the corner and the decay of our culture is a foregone conclusion there.

News aggregators have trained us to only read the headlines and have stunted our ability to read pieces for depth and nuance. This started in broadcast media decades ago (rewrites and readers) and has reached a virulent level on the web.

By the time cable news outlets started doing serious reporting on Trump, it had already allowed him near unlimited amounts of free airtime during the GOP primary.

Sure Trump was horrific, but damn if he isn’t entertaining, the logic of executives seemed to go.

This cognitive dissidence on cable clearly impacted the way he was viewed by many.

But in the end, the biggest element that allowed Trump to outflank the media was the very fact that the media has been democratized and Brexited in its own way.

For example, the Times reports that one particular fake news story of Pope Francis endorsing Trump was shared millions of times.

When the news wasn’t totally fake, it was certainly skewed beyond recognition.

Breitbart has given voice to the Alt-Right, a force that has been circling under the waves of news website comment sections for decades and who forged beachheads on Reddit and 4chan. Breitbart is one of the worst offenders and it is only poised to get more popular as the go to voice box of the impending Trump administration.

Other sites feed into the worst fears and strangest parts of our brains.

Alex Jones and his Infowars outlet, for example claim that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are literal demons who smell of sulfur. Jones has one of the most popular Youtube pages out there as a result of his lunacy.

With all of this noise swirling out there, the delegitimization of mainstream media is somewhat inevitable.

Most people don’t know a journalist in their personal life and aren’t able to discern between truth and junk.

In that environment, mainstream media cannot possibly wield the same level of influence it once did.

Welcome to our post-fact reality.

It is whatever you want it to be.

Cover Photo Credit: Oli Goldsmith/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Do It For Yourself, Not The Gram

This piece is part of our “What Do You Live For?” series. It attempts to answer that confounding question that few people ask themselves.  

As a millennial, our lives are consumed with being connected at any and all times. Our daily actions include a continuous cycle of checking our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & Snapchat feeds to see our friends, family and celebrities living their lives and giving us a sneak peek into how they are living their lives.

It is because of the habits we’ve formed as a society, as a generation that led me to rethink what my purpose is, what I am actually living for.

There is a term, FOMO (fear of missing out) that was coined a few years ago to sum up how you felt if you were not a part of something everyone else was doing.

Whether it’s at the latest concert, party, bar/club, and any type of activity that everyone would be talking about later on and leaving a digital footprint behind.

With the continued osmosis of social media platforms becoming one with our daily habits, too frequently do we find ourselves attending events only if to send a Snapchat or take a cool photo for our followers?

Since when did enjoying your free time become burdensome?

I will be the first to admit that I am as much part of the social media generation but it’s taken me quite some time to learn limits, boundaries and understanding of what is right and wrong.

At the beginning of the year I made a vow to stop using Twitter as frequently as I had once become accustomed to.

I deleted the app of my iPhone and my iPad and I changed my password so I wouldn’t be tempted to fall back down the rabbit hole that is binge scrolling.

Day after day, month after month I found myself no longer yearning for my Twitter account until one day when I realized Twitter had in fact deleted my account for some odd reason.

“What Do You Live For?” Series: An American Educated South African Answers That Question In A Poem

I didn’t even blink an eye that it was gone, because I knew that I was living completely fine not being “plugged in” to the social media network.

The generation that I am a part of has decided that as a whole we must document every aspect of our life, whether with a witty check in, a cheeky Instagram post, or a facetious Tweet about the 2016 Presidential Election.

We have become slaves to our social media following. Don’t get me wrong, it is fun to get acknowledgment and praise from time to time for something awesome or a life event that is once in a life time, but most of the time it is something so mundane or asinine that one doesn’t even bat an eyelash at.

When I think about what I am living for, I realized that I have to live for myself, for my happiness and what is reasonably acceptable for my life, both personally and professionally.

Too often I see peers who find the need to “do it for the gram” and it is that braggadocios attitude that continues to help divide our society as a whole.

It is a battle of the haves and have nots. Being a trend chaser, whether you’re at the latest music festival, or eating at the next biggest brunch place, these material things don’t matter in the long run. They’re short term activities that will have no bearing on your life in the future.

As a millennial who recently hit his “quarter life crisis” I’ve found myself become more introspective and take an inventory of everything and everyone in my life.

Over time, quality has become the overwhelming value in my life over quantity, from friends, to followers, to amounts of time I use my social media to brag to my “friends” about what I am doing.

I have put myself first in an attempt to live a better, more values based lifestyle. Instead of engaging with those who I don’t share interests with anymore, I choose to part ways and not look back.

Read More: How A Phone Call Changed The Life Of A Miami Dog Groomer (And Thousands Of Animals) Forever

Letting go of any ill will I may have harbored or any semblance of a relationship I once have has allowed me to open my heart and my mind to so much more.

I’m able to live a fuller life that focuses on who I am as a person.

It’s important in life to remember who you are as a person, and if the person you’re portraying outward is not the person you are on the inside, than that is not living a genuine and authentic life. That is superficial and will only lead to more insecurities later on in life.

If you find yourself questioning your choices because of what is expected of you from others, instead of giving in or feeling pressured to oblige, think twice about if that is something you would truly do, something you would feel good about as an individual with their own identity.

Self-identity is exactly as it sounds. Instead of doing what everyone else is doing, do what you want.

As a wise person once told me, be the flame, not the moth. Be the one to stand out, not the one who follows.

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: Robin Vintevogel/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Musical Revivalism May Be Bringing Us Back To The 1950s

By Savannah Bullard

History is often criticized for repeating itself.

Whether it is with politics, economics or social justice, people tend to avoid going back to what was meant to stay in the “good ol’ days.”

However, a surge of emerging musicians are breaking this trend.

The Economist describes soul music as a genre that “originated in the 1950s that grew out of the blues, R&B and African American church music.”

Some say the revivalism of “the oldies” began with Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Special” album, which included the ever-popular “Uptown Funk,” featuring Bruno Mars.

The funky beat and old school music video was a huge hit with younger audiences, introducing young people to the tunes that got our grandparents to get down.

Watch: Uptown Funk 

The trend continues with Meghan Trainor, who fuses 1950s pop and modern hip hop through songs like “All About That Bass” and “Like I’m Gonna Lose You (featuring John Legend).”

This year, some of the most famous artists of 2016 are coming out of hometown bars and theaters with sounds that only used to be popular in the mid-20th century.

Leon Bridges, for example, is a 26-year-old Texas native whose soulful sound captivated Spotify listeners and shot him to stardom.

Bridges quotes himself on his website saying “I’m not saying I can hold a candle to any soul musician from the ’50s and ’60s, but I want to carry the torch.”

Bridges’ popularity chips away at the stigma that all teens listen to nothing but top 40 and rap music. He closes a wide generational gap, which is hard to do when in this day and age, young people feel disconnected from their elders who “just do not understand.”

Bridges is an artist that anyone can love, and that connection is rarely seen nowadays, especially in the entertainment scene.

Watch: Leon Bridges’ Smooth Sailing

Young people are actually getting a slice of culture from artists like Bridges. His music pays homage to a beloved time period that cultivated artists like Otis Redding and Marvin Gaye. This was not just music; it was an entire way of life.

Bridges is doing an aesthetic favor by channeling this era through his sounds.

Young people pick up on this stuff, and their musical perspectives widen far beyond what is played on the radio.

The same can be said for musicians like Mumford and Sons, who recently traveled to India and Africa in order to incorporate those cultures into their work.

While this is a mix of traditional music from other civilizations instead of reviving a time period, the product is the same.

The new age incorporation of music from any culture or time period creates the most beautiful harmony that serves the same purpose.

Leon Bridges. Photo Credit: Kinsey Haynes

Leon Bridges. Photo Credit: Kinsey Haynes

Young people might not know it, but they are opening their minds to a whole new world of music. It is as if these artists are teachers by extension, offering a bit of history through their music for us to learn.

The Sugarman 3 frontman and Daptone Records co-founder Neil Sugarman says in an Economist article that “even with her big pop hit ‘Rehab,’ it was honest to Amy [Winehouse]. It was real. That’s the essence of soul music. It’s honest.”

This example speaks to a lot of emerging artists who do not want to become one-hit wonders or fall into the mainstream of bubblegum pop and modern rap music.

Soul singers are those who embrace struggle in their recordings, and wearing their hearts on their sleeves is what sells out concerts.

Watch: Mumford and Songs’ Wona

In the 1960s, African American jazz musicians wrote of their hardships with civil rights and the struggle of living in a time of racism and misfortune.

Their music was raw and uncaged; they made their voices heard through their music, because in that time, music was one of the few options that allowed them to do so.

And today, this is the very same concept that these new-age soul singers try to embody.

A song so deep and meaningful will catch the heart of a listener, while more mainstream tunes might be fun for a moment, but get skipped the next time they appear in a playlist.

Young people like connections, and sharing the feelings that are sung in a favorite song makes them love that musician much more than cookie-cutter pop singers.

These are songs that urge people to look up lyrics, decipher meanings, figure out the intention behind the art. These songs make the listener want to know the artist, not just enjoy the work.

Whether or not this trend will last remains in ambiguity, because not even the most profound musicologists can predict what teens will love next.

Leon Bridges. Photo Credit: Kinsey Haynes

Leon Bridges. Photo Credit: Kinsey Haynes

For decades, country music stays consistently popular, but still gets tweaked each year by whatever artists who make it big.

And as long as we have prepubescent teenage girls and boys, upbeat breakup songs and boy bands will never go out of style.

However, the love of soul is proven to be more than just a music style.

The fluidity and swagger of soul outlasts many other genres, and manages to stay consistent at the top of the charts.

So while other styles continue to change and evolve, soul will remain timeless.

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.

Five Alternative Ways To Observe Columbus Day

By Jason Leclerc

It wasn’t long ago—relative to the age of the universe—that Christopher Columbus defied the horizon and set off in search of a passage East.

As we’ve learned in the dominant, perpetuated myth about this series of events, he accidentally discovered a new continent.

Ever the salesman, mildly good at sailing and terrible at navigation, he convinced his fellow sailors they were in India and misidentified the exotic people he encountered with a misnomer that sticks to this day.

Columbus’s return to Europe heralded a great discovery that set off a wild fury of exploration, exploitation, and imperialism.

The “new world,” never-minding that it had been inhabited by humans for over ten thousand years, became a plucking ground for riches, resources, and renown.

Europeans that followed Columbus’s expedition brought with them diseases and conquest that ravaged the indigenous peoples of what would later be named the “Americas.”

Over the next 500 years, this America would grow to be the richest, most powerful nation on Earth.

 

Over the next 500 years, this America also built upon the atrocities pioneered by Columbus.

The precedent for exploiting the indigenous people of the Americas was repeated over and over again. Land was taken. Riches were appropriated.

The staples of a once-thriving civilization—herds, fertile land, sacred spaces—were either destroyed or confiscated.

The heirs of Columbus, now calling themselves Americans, enslaved, murdered, and marginalized whole groups of people in their march toward becoming this shining beacon of hope for the world.

America cannot celebrate Columbus for the former without rightly acknowledging other appropriate celebrations alongside Columbus Day.

Here is a list of five alternative observances that can be paired with celebrations of Columbus’s legacy.

1) National Monday off Day:

Let’s be honest. The more distantly past and personally disconnected we are from an event or celebration, the more space there is to re-interpret it.

In many ways, Columbus Day is as special as a national “day off” as it is a specific celebration of Columbus’s important place in our history.

We have a few of these federally prescribed holidays each year.

Governments and banks close to provide a welcome respite from toil and labor.

While on the surface it may seem a cynical approach to a holiday, it foils nicely with Labor Day which occurs a month earlier, and in a rather postmodern, twenty-first century way, celebrates the idea of celebration itself.

2) Myths and Legends Day:

The story of Columbus being the first European—as was taught to us in fifth grade history—has value, not in its verifiable fact, but in what it stands for.

Likewise, the notion that all people thought the world was flat is equally laughable as a statement of “fact.” European Christianity taming savages?

Such myths and legends around Columbus’s voyages do stand as symbols of a new era of exploration, discovery, and experimentation that highlight Europe’s emergence from the middle ages.

Rather than discount the value of these events based on the verifiable “facts” uncovered by recent historians, we can acknowledge that we need myths and legends to coalesce around to better understand the “stories” of us.

3) Indigenous People’s Day:

This is a fitting pair to Columbus Day and has actually been adopted as a holiday—in some places called “Native American Day” or “First Peoples’ Day” by many cities, states, provinces, and countries around the world.

The number of municipalities embracing this day is growing rapidly.

First designed as a protest fueled by the modern historical reassessments of Columbus’s legacy, it can also be a day of reflection and atonement for the deplorable actions of Americans who—in their quest to control the full continent—mistreated Native American nations, decimating their cultures and sovereignty.

We could also treat it as a positive celebration of the rich cultures and enduring legacies of the continent’s first citizens.

Further, it can be a day to reflect on the effects of such remarkable Native Americans as Black Kettle, Osceola, and Buffalo Bird Woman.

4) Immigrants Day:

Celebrations of Columbus’s “discovery” of America took place as far back as 1792. The history of Columbus Day as a national holiday actually has its roots in American Immigrant communities who were—during the 1870s and 1880s—poorly treated, mostly because of their unpopular Catholic faith, but also because they looked and sounded different.

Eventually these groups would gain acceptance and be subsumed into the mainstream culture of America’s melting pot—or salad bowl, if you prefer.

Even today, as different immigrant populations from new and exotic parts of the world arrive on the shores of our nation, as they seek asylum or freedom or riches, a reminder that we are a nation of immigrants wouldn’t hurt.

Like many other minority groups throughout American history, visibility is a great first step toward understanding and integration.

Such a holiday would be a perfect reflection that, at some point in our lineage, we are ALL immigrants.

5) American Atonement Day:

Americans set aside a full day to give thanks for all of the bounties that have been heaped upon us.

Thanksgiving is as necessary and culturally-ingrained a holiday as Independence Day.

We rightly observe Thanksgiving as a secular celebration of something beyond us and before us for which we should celebrate with gratitude.

Built, still, upon myths and legends and how we’d like to view ourselves in the prism of our collective history, Thanksgiving reflects upon a passivity that led to our success as a nation.

A national day of atonement—An American Yom Kippur—would be a well-placed point from which to view those regrettable things we, as a nation did, even as we were being blessed in other ways.

Quite aside from dwelling upon slavery as a national horror, quite aside from dwelling on our historical treatment of Native Americans, immigrants, gays, Catholics, Muslims, the poor, the disabled, and other groups that have not fully realized the bounties for which we can give thanks, we can dwell on how we may have fallen short—on an individual as well as collective level—of “earning” our pieces of the gifts of America’s potential.

Were we to dwell upon these things every day, we would be paralyzed in grief. Setting aside a day for reflection on how we have failed, even as we have achieved so much as a lead-up to Thanksgiving would be a timely and sanguine preparation for the holiday season.

Columbus Day is no less relevant today as it was two hundred years ago. It has accumulated more meaning and, when paired with these additional reflections, gives Americans a greater and broader view of who we are: worth celebrating, worth grieving, worth accepting that we still have much more to discover.

Jason Leclerc is a poet, prolific blogger, film-maker  and political columnist. Learn more about Leclerc and his new book Black Kettle on http://momentitiousness.com/black-kettle/

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: Mike Steele/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Y’all, We Really Do Have To Talk About These Damn Clowns

By Courtney Anderson

Creepy clowns have been popping up all over the country.

There’s been so many sightings, heavy.com has compiled a list of states that have reported clown sightings. And it’s a long list.

So far, at least 28 states have reported weirdness in the form of people in clown costumes intimidating and even assaulting people.

And most of the states have reported varying degrees of violence and intimidation from the clowns.

While some the police departments in some states have found the clowns to be just annoying hoaxes, some have had it much worse.

In Memphis, Tennessee, someone in a clown mask robbed a bank and threatened customers with explosives.

A couple of weeks earlier, students at the University of Tennessee received an alert from the university stating that students in clown costumes were physically assaulting students who on campus after dark as a part of a “Purge” re-enactment.

A Georgia news site reported that someone in a clown mask tried to lure children into a wooded area.

The article on Heavy.com reported an 11-year old girl in Athens took a knife to school to protect herself from clowns that had been spotted in the area.

A 10th grade student in Pennsylvania was fatally stabbed after getting into a fight with someone in a clown mask, according to Pennsylvania news site Pennlive.com.

Police have been arresting many clowns, but it hasn’t stopped many others from popping up in their place.

It’s got to be one of the strangest—and most frightening–trends, but it’s not a trend that’s entirely new.

In 2014, California dealt with creepy clowns.

According to a report from CNN, while California is sans-clowns in 2016 (as of now), Bakersfield police had about 20 reports about clowns threatening people in the area.

And then there is the 2013 clown sighting in England that turned out to be a “performance art” stunt.

Not to mention the various reports of “Ain’t Clowning Around” social media accounts that have been created and deleted or proven to be hoaxes over the past couple of years.

One major question regarding these sightings is “why?”

Why are people deciding to dress up as clowns and terrorize people?

People.com tried to answer the question in its article “Why You Shouldn’t Panic About This Year’s Clown Panic.”

In the article, author of Bad Clowns, Benjamin Radford states that many of the creepy clowns are “copy cats,” taking inspiration from previous reports.

Radford also said that social media has been a “powerful amplifier” for the sightings.

And he doesn’t really see it going away permanently, especially with the escalating reactions to the clowns.

“These archetypes are in our culture, they are not going away,” Radford said to People.com. “I guarantee you there will be another phantom clown panic – maybe two years, maybe five years, but it’ll happen again.”

Well, as long as the sightings continue, so will the creepiness.

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: Coconut Cove/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

“What Do You Live For?” Series: An American Educated South African Answers That Question In A Poem

For?

For the morning drizzle outside
cuddled with a lover
or the sweat on my brow
while I lift boulders.

For the smell of spices from a cast iron orange pot
or the lingering taste of fermented grapes
in the lull of a Thursday evening.

For the black man who waves
at a white baby
or the queer who helps the straight guy sow.

For the corrupt politicians finally serving their sentences
or the homeless woman finally getting a fresh slice of bread.

For the aborted children giving meaning to life,
or the orphans succeeding despite hardship and strife.

For music
for pain
for love
for art.
For the swing in my hips
when the strobe lights flash and the
music vibrates my ribcage.

For the conversations that last all night
or the eye contact with a stranger that lingers for weeks.

For discoveries revealing us to be insects
to Gods,
or the majestic Cathedrals
DEMANDING REVERANCE
(Its own type of gift.)

For humanity’s love
(which needs explaining)
and the fault lines of the heart
causing families to slip between tectonic plates.

For tragedy
for birth
for death
for utter chaos:
reminding us that we’re riders of this rock
with fists plunged deep into moist soul
we cultivate, we reap, we straddle
riding this beast till all is eventually
forgot.

Read More: Everyone Should Read This Incredibly Powerful Poem A Man Wrote To His Transgender Sister

Read More: “Peace”:A Powerful Poem About Police Violence

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.

This Lady Has Been Dressing Like The Statue Of Liberty For A Year To Teach Kids About America

By Ana Cedeno

For most people their daily job consist of a day at the office, losing vision in front of a computer monitor and telling jokes amongs coworkers during lunch, all for the a salary that allows them to life a comfortable and sensible life with limited to minimal free time or breaks in routine.

That’s the reality of work for many of us.

For Kristen Sharp however, the routine is a little different. Her workday starts when she puts on body paint and dresses up as the Statue Of Liberty.

Sharp is part of the The Liberty Learning Foundation, which provides civic education to children by taking a theatrical approach.

According to their website the Libby Liberty Foundation aims to tackle the financial situation and aims to get kids college-ready and job-ready by bringing back Civics into the classroom.

They do this by training volunteers and teachers to “teach beyond the test” and giving students lessons that supplement what they learn in the classroom.

This is where the person Libby Liberty comes in.

Having a love for acting, and a practice in it since age 14 Sharp, has been putting those talents toward teaching children about the importance of civic duties for a little over a year.

“It is a bit of a whirlwind being thrust into a costume and green paint on a first interview so I was pretty terrified,” Sharp said adding that that first performance she did on that interview didn’t actually go so well.

In spite of that early hiccup, Sharp and the staff at the foundation sat down to exchange ideas and got to know one another.

“We became a family,” Sharp said. “A family with a common vision and goal and that changed things. That’s when I decided to be a part of the team.”

Kristen from then on became part of the Libby Liberty team, dressing up as the Statue Of Liberty and taking on the moniker to help children learn about civics and patriotism in a more interactive way.

As Libby Liberty, Sharp travels around the country delivering to students a message of hope and liberty.

The students themselves take part in the Super Citizenship program, a ten-week long course intended to teach civic duty, leadership and entrepreneurship.

Kristen, or rather Libby, usually surprises the students by jumping off her pedestal and ‘coming to life’.

She then tells them her history-America’s history- and explains to the young citizens how even young students can someday have an effect on the country they live in and make a difference.

This is something that Kristen, along with the Libby Liberty foundation, feel is truly missing from a lot of the kids in the country.

“It is important because most, if not all, of these students haven’t heard this message,” Sharp said. “I am not standing up delivering a fluffy message for the students to clap and cheer to, I am empowering them to break out of the mold and to not be oppressed by what they may or may not have been born into. I am showing and telling them that because of what Lady Liberty stands for, they can make a tremendous impact in their lives and the lives of people around them.”

The impact this message has on the children is according to Sharp, palpable and invigorating all at once.

“The best part of what Libby does is to light a fire of hope and excitement in the eyes of these children,” Sharp said. “They go on to do incredible things in the Super Citizen Program, in their schools, homes and communities. I get to see first hand what a difference Libby makes in the lives of these students.”

This feeling of making an impact is what really cemented her commitment to the Libby Liberty foundation.

“I did not choose to truly love Libby until I watched my first Super Citizen Kickoff,” Sharp said. “Hundreds of children in crowns, waving flags and singing ‘YOU in the USA’ at the top of their lungs. I sat surrounded by them and cried.”

Sharp has a long history of performing, and has been acting since the age of 12.

She did her first musical theater role in high school and started touring with Broadway shows at the age of 16.

She then proceeded to act professionally for many years.

She traveled back south 9 (she’s originally from Alabama) after 9/11 saying the attack made her “refocused to what was truly important to me “

While the theater is her first love and passion, and she still performs from time to time Sharp states that she doesn’t consider Libby Liberty to be a performance.

“Acting is not really a part of Libby for me,” Sharp said. “While I may have to muster up some energy backstage, once I see the faces of the students, it is just my heart to tell the story and see the change happen in their lives.”
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.

HuffPost Deleted That Shameful “Ladies Of The SEC” Piece, But We Saved It So You Can Read It

The internet was aflame last night with many people upset over a piece in the Huffington Post from contributor Rebecca Walden.

Walden penned a piece titled, “Young ladies of the SEC, cover it up!” and boy was it just awful.

Now, it turns out that the Huffington Post wants this all to go away and so they deleted it.

Not a good look HuffPost and not very journalistically sound either.

But have no fear, below you can read the piece as it look on the HuffPost website before it was deleted:

screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-12-29-20-am screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-12-29-28-am screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-12-29-56-amHere is a plain text version: (HT/ SaturdayDownSouth)

Dear young ladies of the SEC, can you do us all a solid and start covering it up?

Standing amongst many of you at the recent Alabama-USC game in AT&T Stadium, I was bewildered.

An Alabama student myself not 20 years ago, I remember what fun it was to dress up for football games. My friends and I would scour the racks of Banana Republic and other favorite stores for anything and everything crimson. We’d swap favorite pieces, share accessories and pull together our “best look” week after week, not only for those cute fraternity boys, but also to cheer on the mighty Tide.

What we didn’t want, and what we never did, was to show up for a college football game looking like we belonged in a Victoria’s Secret fashion show.

More than once at that last ballgame, I wished I could have wrapped my elephant scarf around one of you, teetering around on stilettos with your bra straps exposed and operating under the misguided notion that you looked irresistible.

I wondered if your mother knew what you were wearing.

I wanted to tell you that if you’re doing this for a boy, he’s not the one for you.

I wished you understood that a trend can be interpreted as fun and flirty without being tasteless.

Most of all, I hoped you would soon wake up to embrace the ethos shared by higher learning institutions everywhere – class.

That lucky shaker tucked into the back of your on trend boot?

The team logo you’re sporting on your cheek?

The Greek letters sticker on your shirt declaring the sorority to which you belong and your loyalty to your team?

All rendered classless by those ill covered curves you’ve made sure are on full display.

In talking with friends from all over the Southeast after college football’s opening weekend, it was immediately clear that this trend was hardly limited to the students I saw that Saturday.

Not that that made me feel any better.

Families attend these games. Little eyes are watching you.

On behalf of them, and the rest of us who feel embarrassed for you as you walk by, stop baring almost all in the name of game day fashion.

To be clear, I admire individuality and personal style. Team spirit is a precious tradition, and the vastly wide interpretation of any given school’s football culture is part of what makes Saturdays down south so darn fun (not to mention the stuff of people watching legend).

So by all means, be creative. Don your most debonair collegiate colors ensemble. Heck, try to sneak in a flask or two (this is college, after all).

Be young and fun and carefree.

But please, leave the club clothes at home.

Do you have an opinion about this piece and want it published in RISE NEWS? Send it to us at editor@risenews.net.

Here is a comment sent in to us by Katherine Y. Carothers, a student at Auburn University:

“You know it’s funny because on my college campus (which by the way I’m here all the time — not just on the game days you come to visit), the man jogging down the street with his shirt off is never seen as tasteless, the frat boys dressed in their embarrassing and frankly tacky pledge gear are considered funny and “builds character,” so besides this post being extremely right winged and strongly sexist — I see where your coming from, but not from the same perspective.

People dress how they feel about themselves and also as they were raised. So instead of addressing “these girls” attire as classless and repulsive, let’s remind ourselves of where it all started.

Shame on the ADULT who never told them they didn’t have to advertise their body to get attention, shame on the ADULT for never teaching their children, both girls and boys, that their clothing is not just what they wear but how they carry themselves, shame on the ADULT who never taught their son or daughter how to look sexy, confident, and cool without exposing every inch of their body.

So instead of body shaming and berating my peers, these young women, someone else’s daughter….hug your “little ones” a little tighter and remind them of their worth…because someone obviously forgot to tell the young woman you’re condemning.”

Not everyone disagrees with the Huffington Post piece. 

Here is a comment sent in to us by Luisa Kay Reyes, a student at the University of Alabama.

“My Mother and I were walking around the quad during the tailgating at the last home game versus Western Kentucky and we were pretty shocked.

We’ve been going to the quad for years, so we’re used to the summer dresses worn by the sorority girls. But, now, it seems like the trend is these really, really, really, low cleavages with very short shorts and wedge heels.

We saw so many girls holding the wedge heels in their hands and going barefoot about half-time, as it is really too much for them to handle. And the low cleavages prompted my Mother to say that they looked like a Mexican man, with their shirts unbuttoned down to the navel.

Admittedly, all of the girls we saw were incredibly thin and looked like they could all be walking down the runways of New York or Milan.

But, it came across as “advertising” rather than enjoying the camaraderie of Alabama football.”

Do you have an opinion about this piece and want it published in RISE NEWS? Send it to us at editor@risenews.net.

WATCH-What Real “Ladies Of The SEC” Have To Say About That Slut Shaming Piece: 

So How Many Of The Bachelor Couples Are Actually Still Together?

The record of long-lasting love is a bit of a heart breaker for America’s darling of reality romance shows, The Bachelor.

If finding love on camera seems close to impossible maybe that’s because it is. Competitive reality TV dating is hard.

Just ask the 20 bachelors who’ve vied for the attention of swooning women since the show’s inception in March 2002.

In 20 seasons of The Bachelor, 12 men have popped the question on air, which is a solid 60% of couples who came out of the show engaged.

However, relationships start to fall apart when the cameras disappear: Only two of the 20 couples are still together, one of whom is married.

Season 17 winners Sean Lowe and Catherine Guidici got married in 2014 and recently celebrated the birth of their first child. Success!

Season 20 winners Ben Higgins and Lauren Bushnell are currently enjoying their engagement.

Hopefully, their new reality spin-off show will still send them happily down the aisle and not running for the hills.

It still seems like yesterday the young Missouri banker Aaron Buerge got down on one knee and proposed to adorable school psychologist Helene Eksterowicz in 2002.

The proposal was the first for the show as the winners in the inaugural season did not become engaged.

Long before DVR, social media, iPhones and Kardashian takeover, and way before ABC offered virtual reality (VR) experiences online, The Bachelor was starting to form a match-making empire that quickly evolved into the creation of The Bachelorette in January 2003. (The Bachelorette took a three-year hiatus between 2005-2008.) Then along came the trashier if not entertaining spin-offs, aka Bachelor in Paradise and Bachelor Pad.

The Bachelorette has also yielded a much better success rate than Bachelor in terms of the couple staying together after the show ended.

In 12 seasons, five couples are still together – a 42% commitment rate.

The very first season brought us sweethearts Trista Rehn and Ryan Sutter, who’ve been married almost 13 years. They are the king & queen of reality television romance.

Here are the others.

Season 7 winners Ashley Hebert and J.P. Rosenbaum are married and expecting their second child.

Season 9’s Desiree Hartsock and husband Chris Siegfried are having a baby this fall.

The most recent couples are Season 11’s Kaitlyn Bristowe and Shawn Booth and Season 12’s JoJo Fletcher and Jordan Rodgers.

We’ll see if those two couples go the distance to the altar.

As in real life, not just TV, relationships, dating, love and marriage don’t always work out.

If dreams are dashed along the way because someone is looking for 15 minutes of fame and not love, the success rate is probably even lower.

Add a mix of personality types that only reality TV attracts and a bunch of booze that’s readily available, and you start to see some mental health issues that TV is famous for.

But all that is just a buzzkill.

Here’s to the success of the next Bachelor Nick Viall!

May he find “the one.”

After countless tries, he deserves happily-ever happiness.

We all do.

Here’s the complete list of Bachelor and Bachelorette winner history and their record of keeping it all together after the end of the show:

THE BACHELOR Couples:

Season 1
Alex Michel and Amanda Marsh- Not Together

Season 2
Aaron Buerge and Helene Eksterowicz- Not Together

Season 3
Andrew Firestone and Jen Schefft- Not Together

Season 4
Bob Guiney and Estella Gardinier- Not Together

Season 5
Jesse Palmer and Jessica Bowlin- Not Together

Season 6
Byron Velvick and Mary Delgado- Not Together

Season 7
Charlie O’Connell and Sarah Brice- Not Together

Season 8
Travis Lane Stork and Sarah Stone- Not Together

Season 9
Lorenzo Borghese and Jennifer Wilson- Not Together

Season 10
Andrew Baldwin and Tessa Horst- Not Together

Season 11
Brad Womack and no one (sad trombone)

Season 12
Matt Grant and Shayne Lamas- Not Together

Season 13
Jason Mesnick and Melissa Rycroft- Not Together

Season 14
Jake Pavelka and Vienna Girardi- Not Together

Season 15
Brad Womack and Emily Maynard- Not Together

Season 16
Ben Flajnik and Courtney Robertson- Not Together

Season 17
Sean Lowe and Catherine Giudici – STILL TOGETHER

Season 18
Juan Pablo Galavis and Nikki Ferrell

Season 19
Chris Soules and Whitney Bischoff

Season 20
Ben Higgins and Lauren Bushnell -STILL TOGETHER

Season 21
Nick Viall and TBD

THE BACHELORETTE Couples:

Season 1
Trista Rehn and Ryan Sutter- STILL TOGETHER

Season 2
Meredith Phillips and Ian Mckee- Not Together

Season 3
Jen Schefft and Jerry Ferris- Not Together

Season 4
DeAnna Pappas and Jesse Csincsak- Not Together

Season 5
Jillian Harris and Ed Swiderski- Not Together

Season 6
Ali Fedotowsky and Roberto Martinez- Not Together

Season 7
Ashley Hebert and J.P. Rosenbaum- STILL TOGETHER

Season 8
Emily Maynard and Jef Holm- Not Together

Season 9
Desiree Hartsock and Chris Siegfried- STILL TOGETHER

Season 10
Andi Dorfman and Josh Murray- Not Together

Season 11
Kaitlyn Bristowe and Shawn Booth- STILL TOGETHER

Season 12
JoJo Fletcher and Jordan Rodgers- STILL TOGETHER

Read More: Dashed Dreams: How My “Audition” For A Reality Show Opened Up My Eyes To The Fleeting Fame Of The Genre

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: The Bachelor/ Facebook

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