Jourdan B. Gooden
You’re putting the final touches on prep for your almost post-pandemic hot girl/hot boy summer. The sun’s out and come Monday, those (hamburger) buns better be out! I want you to crack open that hard seltzer. Go ahead and pour that wine glass past half full! Btw, I’m still accepting invitations to the Memorial Day BBQ!
Tuesday marked the one year anniversary of the death of George Floyd. Since May 25th, 2020 when he was murdered by a Minneapolis police officer, George has become an iconic symbol in the fight for racial equality and police reform in the United States. The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act is a huge subject of debate and it is slowly making its way through Congress.
Some prefer for the bill to be signed into legislation immediately, while others desire a full bill that achieves every provision thoroughly as opposed to a rushed bill. There are also those who think so little of Black lives that they would prefer not to see this bill passed at all. Those in opposition to the bill — often lacking the creativity to rationalize their position with original justification — tend to perch on the abhorrent branch of rebellion against the provision that restricts the application of the qualified immunity doctrine for local and state officers.
Qualified immunity continues to allow law enforcement officers to egregiously harm, if not kill, Black people and never be held accountable as it has increasingly been used as a legal defense to “shield police accused of excessive force.” And the lack of accountability doesn’t stop at use of force cases.
Brands have put pressure on Congress. Last year, this letter calling for an end to qualified immunity, signed by more than 650 of current and former CEO’s, founders, and leaders of businesses across the country, was sent to Congress. It is no surprise that Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield are atop the list of signatories. The Ben & Jerry’s co-founders continuously demonstrate leadership in the fight for civil justice and racial equity by exceeding the comforts of performative activism.
All of the people who continue to march, protest, write, call senators, study, educate, and more on behalf of the fight for racial equity and civil justice for Black people in America are significant and much needed in this ongoing struggle.
A friend of mine is a writer at Fast Company. Every time I see one of her articles on LinkedIn, I drop everything and read. This week, she posted this article about Lego launching their own LGBTQIA+ set called “Everyone is Awesome.” This set was created by Matthew Ashton — VP of Design at Lego. According to Ashton, this set marks the first time that Lego celebrates diversity in its fanbase and the LGBTQIA+ community.
Using his childhood as an inspiration for this set, Ashton says, “If I’d had somebody alongside me that gave me something like this, saying this is a token of how much you mean to me and I’m there for you, something like that would have meant so much to me.” The purpose of this set however, shouldn’t be misconstrued. Certainly, there are many LGBTQIA+ children around the world today that would appreciate meaningful gestures of support, love, and solidarity. But this doesn’t seem like one of them. After all, Lego says that the toy is designed for people 18 years and older.
Additionally, it is inexcusably incumbent upon corporations with the wherewithal, reach, and influence that Lego has, to actually affect positive change for the lives of marginalized groups like the LGBTQIA+ community. Simply designing a product, claiming gestures of solidarity, and promoting diversity and inclusion every June is worse than just creating a “context of so-called ‘slacktivism.’” Essentially, it is pimping LGBTQIA+ Pride Month and as this Fast Company article cites, “these expressions don’t do much to offer tangible support.”
“While the Everyone Is Awesome set is not going to solve the entrenched problems of the LGBTQ community, it’s a fun addition to the Pride merchandise out there, especially for die-hard Lego fans.”
At this point, with roughly 20 (twenty) products and services and over 40 (forty) subsidiaries, one would be hard pressed to identify a part of everyday life that Amazon doesn’t have their hand in. It was probably naive to expect anything less than the “King of E-Commerce” finding a way to bolster Amazon Studios. At a time when so many companies are engaged in streaming wars and have digital catalogs of shows and movies available for subscribers to view, what else could Amazon do but make it their business to become involved? They did so by way of a reported $8.45B definitive merger agreement with MGM, announced on Wednesday.
MGM is a 97-year-old film and television studio with upwards of 4k films and 17k shows in its catalogue. With so many mega-deals between tech and entertainment companies being executed, leaving smaller studios vulnerable, perhaps this was a match made in Hollywood heaven.
Media’s Take: Look out for a price-hike in your Prime subscription soon!
I’m sure that so many of the Apple Watch owners will be excited by this news. Heck, I’m just an Apple Watch hopeful and I’m excited for you! Last week, the Spotify Newsroom announced that you can now download your favorite Spotify music and podcasts to your Apple Watch and listen to them offline. Beware! This feature is only available for Spotify Premium users, but if you have Spotify, you saw that coming from a mile away. It’s certainly a nice feature to have for Apple Music rebels and the like because until now, “Apple Watch users could only enjoy music and podcasts on the go (and phone-free) using Apple Music.”
Music streaming service Tidal (formerly majority owned by Jay Z until he sold his stake to Jack Dorsey-owned Square) is also now available on the Apple Watch. Tidal subscribers can stream music directly to their Apple Watch or download it for offline listening. Between Apple Music, Spotify, and Tidal the competition certainly seems to be heating up.
Media’s Take: As more and more time gets spent with premium, ad-free products like Amazon Prime Video, Spotify Premium, and others like Netflix, there is an increasing disappearance of ad-supported opportunities to reach audiences with more spending power. Despite setbacks like iOS 14, expect social media investment to only continue to increase.