Culture

Hong Kong Channel ViuTV Just Suspended A Reality Show With Pro-Independence Content

By Jessie Pang

Travel with Rivals, a travel reality show featuring two persons with conflicting values and perspectives, has been a highly watched programme of the newly launched ViuTV channel.

Wang Dang, a student leader of the June Fourth Massacre, and Billy Fung Jing-en, the former President of the Hong Kong University Students’ Union, was particularly criticized for his open support of HK independence movement.

They both participated in the second season of the programme in which they travelled to Japan from October 5th to 19th.

ViuTV issued a statement last night claiming that the two had met the media on their own and made inappropriate remarks, deciding to cut all footage filmed with the two “Any remarks on Hong Kong Independence is not only an insult to the dignity of our nation, but a total false hope, a farce that can never happen,” the statement reads. “We reserve all legal rights against anyone who once or will use(d) our channel to promote Hong Kong Independence.”

The two were particularly attacked for their participation in a “self-arranged” press conference in which Billy Fung consolidated his points about HK Independence, and even supported the similar claim of the Uyghur people.

Read More: How Nathan Law Is Representing A New Generation Of Leadership In Hong Kong

Based on the report by Radio Free Asia, Billy Fung called on the international community to support Hong Kong Independence.

“In 1984, Zhao Ziyang openly stated that it was feasible to govern Hong Kong with democracy,” Fung said. “Such democracy in Hong Kong has since, yet, been refused on various occasions.”

Wang Dang, famous for his patriotic stance said that “Hong Kong Independence should be up to the referendum among Hongkongers, which is believed to be the most reasonable way.”

In reply to a question from a member of the World Uyghur Congress, Fung said, “Similar to Hong Kong, Uyghur people are under suppression and persecution by the CCP. Our destiny is alike. Based on the principle that locals shall make decision on their local affairs, we support the choice of the Uyghur people. We can cooperate in this respect.”

The statement and claims made by ViuTV was instantly slammed by netizens, and especially Wang Dan himself, who never knew about such hidden agenda.

Read More: Will Filipino Domestic Workers Soon Be Banned To Clean Windows In Hong Kong?

“The whole schedule was arranged by the Channel only, including the press conference. It now yet claimed it is Billy and I who ‘arranged it on our own’. There is nothing more shameless than such claim!” said Wang on his Facebook page.

He further warned ViuTV for its shameless act of lying while showing his disappointment towards Hong Kong. “Hong Kong has already fallen,” lamented Wang.

This has became the second incident recently which demonstrates the growing suppression on Hong Kong Independent sentiment, following the recent scandal of Legislative Councilors banned from oath-taking with the exhibit of a flag with “Hong Kong is not China”.

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.

You can also like our RISE NEWS Hong Kong Facebook page to stay engaged with our local coverage. 

“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.

Meet Eddie Ndopu: The First Disabled African To Attend Oxford University

Eddie Ndopu, a 25 year old South African, is set to become the first disabled African to attend the prestigious Oxford University.

Eddie has his eyes set on Oxford where he plans to revolutionize the lives of disabled people around the world.

I had the privilege of interviewing this out-of-the-box thinker on his journey so far and his plans to revolutionize the world for disabled people.

RISE NEWS: A lot of people see you as the first disabled African to go to Oxford, so how do you feel about being labelled as that person?

Eddie: First, I think it is a symbolic victory for a young, disabled African as well as disabled people throughout the world.

It’s symbolic because statistically there is about 90 ninety percent of children with disabilities across the developing world who have no access to basic education.

So it’s an amazing personal achievement as well as an achievement for disabled people all over the world.

The second perspective I don’t like to subscribe to labels. I choose to move through the world as a dynamic and fluid individual so that I am not tied to any stereotypes or preconceptions that the world may have about me.

RISE: What will you be studying when you go to Oxford?

I will be doing a Master’s degree in Public Policy.

RISE: So what are you looking to gain from your Oxford experience?

I am trying to lay the foundation for an ambitious organization that I have founded with a friend. We are calling it the Evolve Initiative we are trying to help people with disabilities live their best lives. In short, we are trying to provide the institutional support to disabled people so that they can have the same opportunities as able-bodied individuals.

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RISE: What are your plans for after you graduate from Oxford?

After Oxford I’ll spend two years trying to get people to understand what the Evolve Initiative is about. That will take the form of this kind of “Beyonce-esque” feature length presentation.

At the end of the presentation I hope to be launching into space as the first disabled person to ever be in space. I also want to address the United Nations from space about the rights of disabled people globally.

RISE: How has the public supported you in achieving this goal of going to Oxford?

The public has been quite amazing and very supportive. People have been very generous giving whatever they had whether it was R500 or R2000 rand. I did expect more support from Corporate South Africa but a lot of the time people want to be associated with you because you making headlines. Yet they aren’t prepared to put their money where their mouth is.

RISE: Are there any things that worry you about leaving South Africa and going to study at Oxford?

No, not really because it’s not my first time abroad. I did my undergraduate in Canada and so I left for four years and it was an incredible experience. I see myself as a global citizen. I am an African of the world. I like to keep moving so I am not anxious at all.

READ MORE: Can This Young South African Change The Way The World Looks At Farming?

RISE: How do you deal with being disabled and queer? Are there challenges?

For me I always say that there is no contradiction in embodying all of these identities. I cannot compartmentalize my identity. When I am doing disability activism I am also doing queer activism and antiracist work. Everybody is not just one thing we embody so many identities at once. I make sure that I am able to always speak about my identities in a nuanced way.

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RISE: Could you talk to me a bit more about your ideas surrounding independence versus dependence as well as what it means to be a abled-bodied adult in our society?

For me as a young 25 year-old man I find that people will forever treat you like a child. People always talk down to you when you are disabled. I have realized that with the experience of disability, adulthood becomes hard to navigate.

When we think about what it means to be an adult its always about doing things for yourself. So the societal conception of being an adult does not fit with the experience of a disabled adult who relies on other adults for their survival. People only see a basic surface level of what it means to be independent.

I reject independence because I don’t think it’s real.

Able-bodied people get help all the time, but as I said in the my YouTube video the help that they get disappears into the background and it makes it look like independence. The world is constructed around the needs of your able-bodied experience and because of that you are being helped on an institutional level.

RISE: I heard you say that you want people to see disabled people as gifts to humanity. Could you explain that a bit more?

It comes from the deep recognition that changes happen on the margins of society. Marginalized people are the most innovative people because they need to figure out creative ways of surviving.

So because disabled people are one of the most marginalized groups in society we are able to challenge the status quo and reimagine a world that opens up equal opportunities for all people. If you can address the needs of people with disabilities you can change the world because every part of society will be different from the way we design our environments to the way we relate to each other as human beings.

Eddie is set to begin his Masters in September of 2016.

Calling Young South African Writers, Journalists And Leaders: Tell Your Story And Make A Difference

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.

Photo Credits: Eddie Ndopu/ Submitted

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

Why Are There So Few Minority Characters In YA Books?

Representation in all walks of life has been in the spotlight recently. And one area that is full of controversy is what young people are exposed to in books that often help inform them during some of the most important years of their lives.

A study by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center of the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that out of the 3,400 books that they received for 2015, 106 were by Black authors and 269 were about Black characters, and 58 were by Latino authors and 82 were about Latino characters.

Malinda Lo, a YA novelist, has been following the uptick in LGBT+ YA.

According to Lo, “In 2014, mainstream publishers published 47 LGBT YA books. This is a 59% increase from 2013, when only 29 LGBT YA books were published by mainstream publishers.”

Yes, these statistics look optimistic, but they are still not what they should be.

So what is the damage done when proper representation can’t be ascertained?

All groups suffer because such lack of representation fails to encapsulate the differences between different people; essentially, one person is not the whole.

“I think the tendency has been to reduce Latino characters as this one thing or Asian characters as this one thing, Muslim characters as one thing, and the fact is that we’re people,” Meg Medina, a Cuban-American writer of YA books and an Advisory Chair for the group We Need Diverse Books, said in a interview with RISE NEWS. “And all of those very specific identifiers and experiences shape how we move. It’s what makes us people.”

Meg Medina, a well known Cuban-American YA author. Photo Credit: Meg Medina/ Facebook.

Meg Medina, a well known Cuban-American YA author. Photo Credit: Meg Medina/ Facebook.

Read More: #IfMenHadPeriods Is Well Intentioned But Also Very Flawed

The effects of poor representation of minority groups are not limited to people of color.

Alex Gino uses the singular they pronoun and wrote George, a YA book about a trans girl that won the 2016 Stonewall Book Award.

“It’s important to remember that each trans experience is unique and different the way that each cis experience, the way that each trans experience, the way that each gay or queer experience is unique,” Gino said in an interview with RISE NEWS. “And so I wouldn’t even say that one trans story can cover it, or one gay story would cover it. There’s nothing quite like finding someone like yourself in a book.”

Leaps and bounds have been made in representation, however, despite this work, there are still advances to be made.

For example, Lo estimated that 1.9% to 2.4% of YA books published in 2013 had LGBT+ characters or dealt with LGBT+ issues.

YA author Alex Gino at a book signing in 2015. Photo Credit: Alex Gino/Facebook

YA author Alex Gino at a book signing in 2015. Photo Credit: Alex Gino/Facebook

“There is a lot of work to be done. I think that we only started to drill down into the many experiences that make up being a young person,” Medina said. “I think there are lots of questions in publishing now, like who’s writing these stories? Are they authentic, are they not authentic, are they written from sort of an outsider point of view, people imagining what it’s like to be x y or z, are they generally writers of color? I think when we have many people at the table with many points of view, the books that get published are richer, are more nuanced, are truer stories of real peoples’ lives.”

Gino seemed to agree with that sentiment.

“I think that we are scratching the surface of the stories that are available to be told, and the stories that are available to read,” Gino said. “I think that we need more books by diverse people and we also need more diverse groups of people publishing the books, so that stories that are being picked have more things to offer.”

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: Amber McKinney/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Why Tomi Lahren Has Pierced Through My Democratic Heart

I love America.

I appreciate and cherish the rights and liberties afforded to me by those who fought for them throughout time.

I also believe in justice and what is fair.

As I grew up and learned who I wanted to be and what I wanted to believe in, I realized that in this post 9/11 world I was living in, there was so much hate, so much injustice and so much sadness that it would be impossible to align myself my ideal system with those who didn’t believe in equality for all across all spectrums.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m a registered Democratic voter and a staunch supporter of all things that were supposed to be deemed “Democratic.”

As I spent time around those who didn’t grow up in the privilege bubble I lived in and exposed myself to other ideas and opinions, I started to question everything I had once believed true.

The 2016 Presidential Election has been the most divisive, abusive and zany political experience I have encountered in my very short time as an educated voter.

The rhetoric, the antics and the very pointed “journalism” by both sides to discredit the other has been extremely off putting.

Then I saw a Tomi Lahren video.

The first time I saw a Tomi Lahren video it was on my Facebook newsfeed and it was “liked” by one of my many “friends” on the social media platform.

I took the time to watch the brief two minute video of Ms. Lahren expressing her opinion on the Black Lives Matter movement and the radicalization of it’s members.

Her delivery was sharp, her tone was unapologetic and furthermore she was not afraid of whatever backlash was to come to her.

She wanted her audience to know her “Final Thoughts” on that topic and shed light on what she felt was the truth.

For those of you who don’t know who Tomi Lahren is, she’s a young Conservative political commentator who rose to prominence in 2015 over her remarks about the Chattanooga shootings.

Since November 2015, she has been working for The Blaze, owned by the one and only Glenn Beck, known for his very staunch Conservative views.

She’s gained quite the following among the Republican base both old and new and brings a millennial feel to the Conservative movement.

On a daily basis on her Facebook page she has new content of her show “Final Thoughts” usually about a topic that is in the headlines that day, whether it be the Dallas shootings, the 2016 election, or her thoughts on what’s going on in the world at the time.

READ MORE: Here’s The Ugly Truth About Conservative Talk Radio

She doesn’t hold back and her segments back it up.

Video after video I’ve watched, often times binging if I’ve missed a few, I find her words resonating with me because she brings a different look at headlines, often times forcing viewers to think outside the box, strip away the big media machine telling you what they want you to hear and laying out the facts.

Yes, she is a Republican.

Yes she often says things I don’t agree with, but I also identify with the views she so often shares with her viewers.

She takes her targets to task for their actions, specifically the Black Lives Matter movement, the Clinton & Trump campaign, our government officials, and those who can often times be so one sided.

Her intent is to get viewers thinking, to be engaging in civil discourse about issues that matter.

While her tone and her rhetoric may often be described as subjective rather than objective, she also backs up her pieces with fact, whether it’s statistics or it’s video clips or reports.

She’s a woman who understands accountability.

Her intent isn’t to incite a riot, rather it’s to awake her demographic from the mainstream media news cycle we’ve grown accustom to.

It is because of her I’m able to further engage in conversations with my peers about the issues in our community as well feel confident enough to ask questions and do my research and take an interest in subjects I may not always feel so comfortable with.

If anything, I’m grateful for Tomi Lahren because she allowed my bleeding blue Democratic heart to be challenged and force my hand to continue to learn.

Take a moment, regardless of your political beliefs and view one of her videos and then think about all the issues you weren’t actually thinking about before you watched her.

That is the magic of Tomi Lahren.

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.

The Cruel Reality Of Finding Love While Studying Abroad

By Caitlin Roberts

Our love was easy.

Our love was what both of us had always been searching for, and when I left him in the Paris Metro station that day, I really believed that the two of us would survive a year apart, but it was not that cut and dry.

It soon became this messy cluster of depression, missed phone calls, and living in this constant state of missing each other.

It destroyed us from the inside out and it led to him saying to me, “I think that we may have run our course.”

What I ultimately learned over this past year and some change, is that a long-distance relationship, with an ocean standing between the two of us, could be one of the worst decisions either of us have ever made, yet neither of us regret any of it.

Almost every girl dreams about going abroad and having the cliché, tall, dark and handsome man sweep them off their feet, but I never thought it would actually happen to me.

Something like that only happens in dreams, right?

So, when I arrived in London to spend a semester abroad, the last thing I thought would happen was to meet the love of my life.

When I met him, I had only been in the city for six days.

Hell, I had only gone to one class.

I just kept asking myself, “How is this happening to me?”

Our first conversation was about drinking tea and discussing history like we were invited by Catherine the Great of Russia to one of her salons in the 1700s.

That just completely knocked the wind out of me.

Not only did I meet a handsome English boy six days into my trip, I met one that loved history as much as I did and wanted to discuss it with me over tea.

I thought I had died and gone to heaven and that was only the beginning of the best, and simultaneously the worst, thing that has ever occurred in my life.
Just when I thought things could not get any better, January 24, 2015 happened.

We spent the whole day shopping, eating lunch, flirting and just enjoying each other’s company.

It was that day when I realized that I was in love with him.

I was head over heels, for lack of a better term, in love with him.

Only two weeks had gone by and we were almost inseparable and I honestly thought I was crazy for feeling this way.

How could I know for sure after only two weeks?

Later that night, after we had way too much to drink with his friends and I was successful in having them all yell “Roll Tide” when we took tequila shots at a bar in Clapham, we were standing out in the cold air drunkenly goofing off waiting for our Uber to arrive.

I had said something completely ridiculous and he responded with a jovial laugh and said, “This is why I love you,” and pulled me closer to him.

Without hesitation, I responded by laughing and saying, “I love you too.”

For the first week after that night, we were very noncommittal with “I love you,” because we were both wary about saying it too soon, but it felt right so finally we said it.

We both put it out there, even though we were not sure who actually said it first on the street a few nights before or whether that one counted.

We said it sober instead of just texting the uncertain “I <3 you” and decided to embark on the greatest and most fulfilling relationship either of us had ever had.

The next three months were filled with too much netflix, The Simpsons, debating over whether or not putting Nesquik in milk was considered a milkshake, and going on dates to places like the Churchill War Rooms.

I felt so alive.

A Creperie in London. Photo Credit: Davide D'Amico/ Flickr (CC by 2.0)

A Creperie in London. Photo Credit: Davide D’Amico/ Flickr (CC by 2.0)

I felt so safe and sure of myself.

Being with him gave me so much confidence to just be me and go after what I wanted.

He supported me and was genuinely interested in everything I had to say, even if I did talk about my love for Kate Middleton too much.

He loved me for me and wasn’t asking me to change a thing.

I didn’t feel like I needed to be someone I wasn’t, just to make him stick around.

My friends back home quickly noticed my change in demeanor.

I would light up whenever I would talk about him.

I was not trying to find faults that would allow me a way out, like I had done with every other guy I had ever been romantically involved with in the past.

This time was different and I really thought that this one was going to stick.

Fast forward to May of 2015, and my friends had arrived for our month long trip through Europe.

We checked off our eight days in London and the next stop was Paris.

He joined us for the last three of our five days and when I had to say goodbye to him on the afternoon of May 14, you could have thought that one of us was dying or that we were never going to see each other again.

The second thought could have honestly not been too far off.

We had only spent four months together, which has never seemed like a lot in retrospect, yet we both felt as if we were losing someone we had known for years.

We felt like we were losing a part of us and we didn’t know if we were ever going to get it back.

We stood there in the metro station, holding each other while constant waves of tears rolled down the shapes of our faces.

For me, no one else was there.

It was just the two of us, cherishing the last time we would physically feel our love for each other for half a year.

Then, it was over.

We both went our separate ways and embarked on the dreaded long-distance relationship that so many people avoid at all costs.
“I have searched so long for the perfect girl for me,” he said. “And now that I have found her, I’m never letting you go.”

The next six months were awful in the sense that I was alone most of the time even though I was surrounded by friends who were constantly trying to cheer me up.

None of it seemed to work.

My body was constantly bogged down with an overwhelming sadness and I sunk into a state of depression that I had seen in others, but never experienced myself.

Facetime sessions, phone calls, and texts that read “I miss you,” and “I love you,” were becoming too much.

I was not only sad, but I was angry.

I couldn’t understand how I could find someone that I thought was perfect for me and I wasn’t able to be with them.

I was becoming bitter and angry because I was just so sick and tired of missing him.

Things on his end, 4,300 miles away, were just about the same.

We wanted so badly to make this thing that both of us had searched for, for so long work, but it seemed like it was only getting harder everyday.

November 14 is when he left Alabama after coming to visit me for two weeks.

After that date, nothing seemed to be going right.

Sweet, loving conversations turned into screaming matches over things that did not matter and times when both of us would spend half of our day angry at one another because we were six hours apart in time.

We began to rip apart what was left of this, piece by piece like animals.

Then, my visit in March, marked the end.

Something had been off for a really long time and it had driven a wedge between us.

Our Titanic hit the iceberg and started going down fast, but unlike the original, there were only two casualties this time.

Now, I have to ask myself, “How will I manage to get over him?,” because I never imagined that this would be the outcome.

I imagined it lasting for much longer, and possibly forever, but now I am seeing that some things are not meant to last, no matter how much you want them to.

I still love him with every inch of me and I can’t say I regret us, because I would be lying.

Part of me hopes that when I move to London later this month, our timing will be right this time.

Maybe in this version of the Titanic, Jack and Rose survive the turmoil and overcome everything that is thrown at them, but I absolutely cannot throw my life away by putting all that I have onto a sinking ship.

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.

Black Lives Matter Group Plans Protest Outside Of Graceland During Elvis Week

By Courtney Anderson

Why Graceland?

Memphis,TN residents and the city’s chapter of the Coalition of Concerned Citizens have planned a Black Lives Matter protest outside of Graceland during Elvis Week.

It’s a bold move that has many questioning its appropriateness.

After all, Graceland is a major tourist attraction for Memphis.

Tourists, both national and international, pay good money to travel to Elvis’s home and participate in Elvis Week impressions, tours and vigils.

Protesting in front of it could potentially cause an economic hit to the attraction.

But maybe that’s the point.

According to a statement released by the Coalition of Concerned Citizens, the protest is a demonstrative rally against the “social injustice, police brutality, and socio-economic disparity” in the city of Memphis.

The socio-economic disparity felt by many in the city is a major concern for local leaders.

According to the group, that’s why Graceland is an appropriate place of action.

“Graceland was chosen as a protest site because it demonstrates one of Memphis’s most common forms of financial inequity,” the group’s statement reads.

Graceland is located right in the center of Whitehaven, a predominantly Black and almost entirely working-class neighborhood.

And while the museum brings in a lot of money, many citizens of Whitehaven don’t see that money being reflected in the state of roads, housing, and places of employment surrounding the house.

Whitehaven is victim to unevenly paved roads with potholes, empty buildings lining the streets and low-wage jobs moving in and only employing a few people.

The city of Memphis has made a promise to revitalize the area.

According to a report from WMC Action News 5, the Memphis City Council advanced a $43 million plan that would “expand and enhance the Whitehaven community.”

“This is Whitehaven, and the people of Whitehaven care about their community,” councilman Harold Collins said during that meeting in 2012.

The reconstruction is set to take place on Elvis Presley Blvd and includes new restaurants, businesses, new light fixtures and repaved roads.

There is also supposed to be a gate to Elvis Presley Blvd from the interstate.

So far, the only project that is underway and near completion is a new 450-room “Guest House” at the Graceland Hotel.

According to WREG News Channel 3, the Guest House cost $92 million and is set to open on October 27, 2016.

A recent Memphis Daily News editorial also claimed that $38.7 million of that money came from a “5 percent tourism surcharge on Graceland tickets and other Graceland items.”

The Graceland estate released a statement saying that those claims were false, and that the Graceland project has not received any money from the city or county.

“All financial risks associated with the construction, completion and continuing operations of expansion projects in Whitehaven will be borne by Graceland and related entities, not the taxpayers of Memphis and Shelby Count,” the statement reads. “The tax incentives for the project are based solely on Graceland’s performance and are site-specific, limited to the Graceland campus.”

Members of the coalition remain skeptical of the benefits of the Guest House to the larger community of Whitehaven.

“Project developers and city officials promised Whitehaven residents the project would be an economic boon to the community but, as has been case for decades, residents have seen little if any of that money ‘trickle down’ into the middle-class neighborhood’s economy. This is not an uncommon story,” the coalition’s statement reads.

That’s why the Graceland protest, named #OperationBlueSuedeShoes, is still a go for 6 p.m. on Monday, August 15, 2016.

Stay with RISE NEWS as we bring you updates to this story as it develops.

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.

Photo Credit: Lindsey Turner/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

A Tale Of Two Sara(h)’s: Why SaraBeth And Sarah Dunn Are Two Of Country’s Rising Stars

While they may be from two different regions in the United States, there are two young artists who are shaking country music up and making the millennial generation proud too.

They are Sarah Dunn, from the Sarah Dunn Band and SaraBeth.

They have a lot in common, including the fact that both just released their latest works in the past few weeks.

The Sarah Dunn Band released their album “Wild Wild Heart” and SaraBeth released her EP “Full Speed Ahead”

Sarah Dunn Band and SaraBeth thank social media for giving the greatest push in obtaining their “trending” status in the country music scene.

BUT they come from very different walks of life.

Sarah Dunn is from Monett, Missouri, where she grew up on a small farm along with her father and mother.

Musical talent ran in her family as she saw her father perform musically often while she was a little girl. Her great grandfather also played the fiddle.

WATCH: Sarah Dunn Band’s song “You or the Whiskey” 

And, it was that musical family that taught her all she knows about music.

Why?

Because that is all the training that she had.

“There was a time in my life that I was working two regular day jobs, and it seemed like there was never enough to make ends meet,” Sarah Dunn said in an interview with RISE NEWS. “This situation made my path difficult but it also made me stronger.”

READ MORE: Up And Coming Country Star Mitchell Tenpenny Is Proving Nashville’s Relevancy

On the other side of the equation, we have, SaraBeth.

Growing up in the suburbs in Dallas, SaraBeth decided to dip into her toes into the country music scene after being pushed by her brother’s success in baseball.

WATCH: SaraBeth’s “Nowhere With You” 

“My younger brother got drafted to play for the St. Louis Cardinals, and, being able to see my little brother accomplish this dream by battling all the negative thoughts and comments in his path, that inspired me to follow mine too,” SaraBeth said.

Interestingly, SaraBeth went on to study entrepreneurship at Baylor University.

After that, she went to the epicenter of country music, Nashville to start her career.

And then, success came, and their worlds collided.

READ MORE: New Jersey Girl Lacey Caroline Tries To Break Into Country Music Scene

Sarah Dunn Band and SaraBeth have performed in the same concerts before and have mutual respect for each other.

“Sarah Dunn and her band are absolutely amazing. They are very genuine and those are the types of people that you want to be surrounded in this industry,” SaraBeth said. “We both are in an industry that is usually connected to money, success and ambition, and Sarah Dunn and her band feel like home when you are surrounded by them.”

Sarah Dunn had positive things to say about all the artists hustling in the musical world, including SaraBeth.

“In the society that we live now, it is extremely important to be uplifting to others. I don’t really view them as competition because everything is unique and shines on their own light,” Sarah Dunn said. “There is so much opportunity to grow and help grow each other. We have to celebrate each other. That is a wonderful thing.”

For more about each artist, you can visit: 

SarahDunnBand.com

SaraBethMusic.com

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: SaraBeth/ Facebook

Working On The Sidelines Of The Porn Industry Is Probably Different Than You Think It Is

By Nate Nkumbu

For many people when they think of the porn industry, they think of actors and actress getting paid to be naked and have sex on camera.

But there is a lot more to it then just that. And for the folks that make one of the largest content industries move, the sex isn’t even important.

Since the rise of the internet, the industry has seen a large amount of public knowledge and even a form of increased social acceptance.

Actors and Actress are well known on the internet and they are part of a massive $97 billion global industry that is expected to continue to grow. 

But what about the people working in the industry off camera?

Do they have different views about how the public sees and think of their work?  

We set out to find out.

JD Obenberger is Lawyer based in Chicago that works with clients within the porn industry. A veteran of four years in the U.S Army during the height of the Cold War, Obenberger said that he finds his current job to be a dream and interesting.

Photo Credit: stallio/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Photo Credit: stallio/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

“I’ve always been a person that fought for the underdogs and for people that were less fortunate, so this job has been very enjoyable to me,” Obenberger said in an interview with RISE NEWS

Obenberger said that despite the popularity, many people still are not comfortable with viewing porn as a legitimate career choice.

This is especially tough for family members of people who get involved in the industry.

“It’s very difficult for a person to come out to their parents and say, ‘Hey mom, I’m going to California to become a porn star’, than say, ‘I’m gay,'” Obenberger said. “You would never admit to your parents that you watch porn, there’s a sense of shame that comes with saying that.”

One such issue is the repression of brick and mortar strip clubs around the country, which Obenberger said is especially common in the city of Chicago.

Obenberger said that it’s often impossible for joints to get licences to sell booze if they have nude performers.

While the internet has fundamentally changed the way most people access and interact with porn, Obenberger said that the technology has not been all good.

“The golden age of online porn was actually from 2001 to 2008,” Obenberger said. “There were multiple website that catered and produce videos to the many fetishes that people had, unfortunately for them, internet piracy was a major thing and often those sites would see their revenue go down as many of their videos would be pirated and uploaded to Tube sites.”

The legal battles over tube sites are still ongoing and could lead to lasting damage in the industry. 

Another person that works in the porn industry off camera is Michael Stabile, the Media Representative for Kink, an adult production company that caters to folks interested in BDSM. (Think Fifty Shades of Grey type stuff.)

A former journalist who wrote about the porn industry for 10 years, Stabile said that he finds his job to very relaxing and creative.

“This is the type of work in which you meet a lot of people from various walks of life sexually, professionally, so you’re getting mixed bag of people that you’re working with,” Stabile said.

One of the benefits of working at Kink Stabile said was that outside of his job being really fun and adventurous is the learning experience that comes with it.

“At Kink, we shoot 15-20 times a week,often we’ll have people who’ll be sick, can’t come to work so other’s who’ll fill in,” Stabile said. “In my case, the company needed somebody to do webcasts, so I learned and they even pay for me to get training in video editing.”

Interestingly enough, Stabile said that he most recent experiences with the industry is more of like a film school.

“It’s the type of industry that if you like to help, they are more than happy to give you work and help gain skills that can be applied outside the work site,” Stabile said.

Stabile said that they aren’t that many issues when he talks about his work with friends or fellow journalists.

Often he says, they are just curious about his work.

“They are some conflict that can occur, like me working for Disney and Kink would not fly for example, but because i’ve been working for 10 years in the industry as a journalist then media rep, it was easy for me not to hide what I do.”

 

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: fnogues/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

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