issue 026 • 2020-06-07
The spark of hope which will burn the fire…
Well folks, this was certainly, a week.
From church based photo ops to people uniting towards a common and necessary cause, you had cause to be either an extreme optimist or an extreme pessimist this week.
Personally, I lean on the optimists side. I’ve never seen people united like this in my lifetime. Every day, every state, everywhere, people are uniting to voice their rage, their anger, their hopes, their dreams, their wants and their needs. The goal is to be better. Whether that’s by burning down and starting anew or holding those accountable (if not both), it’s an amazing thing to see.
Yes, we’re seeing awful awful things every day, but in the shadow of those moments, something beautiful and strong is growing. I just hope the momentum continues.
I’m not going to grandstand for long here, I will simply say that this was a great link for me (even as attuned to the movement as I believed myself to be) to learn more about how to be a better ally, what organizations are worth donating to, and more.
Check it out.
Now, onto the things…
Thing #1: Meet John David Washington
Depending on how things work out, Christopher Nolan’s Tenet could be literally the movie of the Summer.
Sure, I was already looking forward to the film itself, as a long-time fan of Christopher Nolan’s work, but what was most interesting to me was the choice of John David Washington as the lead.
John David Washington first made himself aware, to me at least, in Spike Lee’s BlackKklansman. I thought he did an incredible job in the movie, and then I was surprised to find out he’s actually Denzel Washington’s son.
Kate Storey at Esquire sits down with John David Washington ahead of the release of Tenet to learn more about his journey from Hollywood star’s son, to NFL prospect, to a star in the making himself.
It was 2013, and he was training outside L.A., getting ready for a workout with the New York Giants. After two years on the practice team for the St. Louis Rams and a stint in Germany with the NFL European league during the off-season, he was in the U. S. doing explosion drills when he felt that pop. He looked down to see something resembling a worm wriggling beneath the thin skin of his calf.
He knew it was his Achilles. And he knew his football days were over.
He’d worked so hard, through so many injuries, and now he was terrified about what would come next. As a kid, he’d harbored dreams of acting, and despite his dogged pursuit of a football career, the idea of becoming an actor was always in the background. It was a constant push and pull. Now that he could no longer play professionally, there was nothing stopping him.
Check it out here.
Thing 2: Remember Baseball Cards? They’re Back. In Baseball Card Form.
What happens when you mix the nostalgia of baseball card collecting, with the modern love of unboxing videos, and people stuck at home during a pandemic?
Answer: The return of a classic hobby.
Emma Baccellieri writes for Sports Illustrated about this unexpected resurgence:
A feed focused on a man’s hands flipping through sports cards for hours on end may not be exactly what you’d think of as prime-time entertainment. But, for thousands every day, it is.
Justice, who was one of the first breakers when he started out in 2007, sells out just about every box that he lists. About 2,000 people watch each of his breaks, and collectively, his videos have been viewed more than 60 million times on YouTube, plus more on Twitter and the breaker-specific video service Breakers TV.
“I was one of the only ones [at first],” says Justice, whose operation is called Cards Infinity. “Five years later, there were hundreds trying to do it, and now, it’s way more than hundreds.” Breaks have transformed the sports-card industry—saving it from low sales at the end of the last decade, giving it a foothold in online culture and bringing cards to younger consumers.
And now, amid a pandemic that has kept Americans home and canceled all sports, breaks are experiencing a new surge in interest. Since the coronavirus shut down regular daily life in mid-March, Justice says he has seen a 25% increase in overall business and a 15-20% increase in new customers. His breaks have almost doubled in viewership. Other breakers have seen similar shifts. With no live sports, no fantasy sports, and plenty of demand for distraction, breaks have won a new audience.
“It just exploded,” says Rich Layton, whose Florida-based Layton Sports Cards has seen viewership increase by 25%, with 800 new people signing up for the rewards program that he runs for frequent buyers. “And it’s been nonstop ever since.”
Check it out here.
Thing #3: RTJ4
Since 2013, beloved underground rappers El-P and Killer Mike have formed an unlikely supergroup.
They’re middle aged. They’re under-appreciated. They’re angry as hell. But more importantly, they’re talented as hell. And that’s why Run the Jewels has become a duo you can’t ignore.
Their latest album — Run the Jewels 4 — dropped this week, and despite being written and recorded in Fall 2019, their music has never sounded more of the moment than it does right now.
Deep grimy beats meet rage filled rhymes in one of the most aggressive yet undeniably listenable hip hop albums in ages. You gotta give this one a spin. I haven’t let up since its Wednesday release.
Check it out here.
Recommended tracks: “Yankee and the Brave”, “Walking in the Snow”, “A Few Words for the Firing Squad”
Until next time…
Keep fighting. Keep moving. Don’t let up. You’re making the world better with every move. We’ll get there. Promise.