Category: Fashion

Brown Point Shoes Arrive, 200 Years After White Ones

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Ballet dancers of color have long painted, dyed or covered point shoes in makeup to match their skin. Could this small barrier to inclusion finally be disappearing?

For nearly her whole career, Cira Robinson has — like many ballet dancers of color — performed a ritual: Painting her point shoes to match her skin.

She did it first in 2001, when she was 15, at a summer program with Dance Theater of Harlem. The company said her shoes needed to be brown, not the traditional pink, but she couldn’t find any in stores, so she used spray paint. “It made them crunchy and just … ew,” she said in a telephone interview.

When she joined Dance Theater a few years later, she started using makeup instead. “I’d go to the cheapest stores and get foundation,” she said, the kind “you’d never put on your face as it’d break you out. Like, $2.95 cheap.”

She’d go through five tubes a week, sponging it onto 12 to 15 pairs of shoes — a process known in ballet circles as pancaking. It took 45 minutes to an hour to do a pair, she said, because she wanted to make sure the foundation got into every crevice and covered every bit of ribbon.

Did she find these steps annoying? “I didn’t know any different,” Ms. Robinson, 32, said.

But now, Ms. Robinson — a senior artist at Ballet Black, a British dance company — is no longer obliged to do so. In October, Freed of London, which supplies her shoes, started selling two point shoes specifically for dancers of color: One brown, the other bronze.

Freed is not the first firm to make point shoes for dancers of color — the American company Gaynor Minden has been producing some more than a year — but the new shoes from Freed, a large supplier in the ballet world, highlight one of the stranger rituals that dancers of color have to perform.

It’s also a reminder that black dancers — especially female ones — are still a rarity in ballet. They remain barely represented at the top of the field, despite some signs of change and an increased awareness of the need for diversity at the schools feeding professional companies.

Shoes aren’t the only costuming reminders of the lack of diversity in ballet. In September, Precious Adams, a first artist at English National Ballet raised the issue of pink tights. “In ballet people have very strong ideas about tradition,” she told London’s Evening Standard newspaper. “They think me wearing brown tights in a tutu is somehow ‘incorrect.’”

Funkmaster Flex Seems to Take Shots at Drake Again: ‘You Ain’t Qualified to Give Rules’

Though the conflict between Drake and Pusha-T has been wrapped up, one popular conversation birthed from the feud is the existence of rules (if any) in rap beef. Drake’s appearance on HBO’s The Shop spawned a debate across hip-hop, as he stated that certain lines shouldn’t be crossed in rap. Rappers and music industry individuals attempted to argue on both sides, though no general consensus was established.

While still on promo for their Beloved project, Dave East and Styles P (who both recently gave their opinion on the topic) stopped by radio veteran/media personality Funkmaster Flex‘s show on Hot 97. At the end of the video above, around the 6:09 mark, Flex took the time to go on an explicative filled rant addressing the issue of those who seek to establish guidelines in lyrical warfare.

Flex, in his usual candid, unabashed fashion, made his stance unequivocally clear.

“If you get your feelings hurt, fuck you, it don’t really matter,” he began. “If you don’t write your own shit, you ain’t qualified to give motherfucking rules on the fucking game, you fucking bozo.”

The sentiment Flex expressed echoes that of an earlier statement made by Styles regarding the Drake/Pusha T incident. Styles told Hot 97 “you can’t expect in any type of warfare, any type, not just rap, ain’t no rules.”

This isn’t the first time Flex has addressed Drake, as his disdain with the Canadian superstar has always been about the actions taken by Drake that are contrarian to the hip-hop purist (i.e. the infamous Quentin Miller reference tracks).

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The Playlist: Cardi B Hits Pay Dirt, and 11 More New Songs

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Every Friday, pop critics for The New York Times weigh in on the week’s most notable new songs and videos — and anything else that strikes them as intriguing. Just want the music? Listen to the Playlist on Spotify here (or find our profile: nytimes). Like what you hear? Let us know at theplaylist@nytimes.com and sign up for our Louder newsletter, a once-a-week blast of our pop music coverage.

What’s the opposite of a palate cleanser? Currently, Cardi B is featured on the No. 1 song in the country, Maroon 5’s “Girls Like You.” It is not her best, nor most apt work. So here comes the palate roughener? “Money” is effectively a stripped-bare version of BlocBoy JB and Drake’s already-bare “Look Alive,” and a de facto lo-fi rejoinder to Cardi B’s steady pop incursions over the past year. The trash talk here is pure, if a little staid: “I like boarding jets, I like morning sex/But nothing in this world that I like more than checks.” Instead, “Money” — the first solo single Cardi B has released since giving birth in July — is notable for its acknowledgment of new-mom problems: “I got a baby, I need some money, I need cheese for my egg.” JON CARAMANICA

 

‘Transgender’ Could Be Defined Out of Existence Under Trump Administration

Screen Shot 2018-10-21 at 6.25.10 PMWASHINGTON — The Trump administration is considering narrowly defining gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth, the most drastic move yet in a governmentwide effort to roll back recognition and protections of transgender people under federal civil rights law.
A series of decisions by the Obama administration loosened the legal concept of gender in federal programs, including in education and health care, recognizing gender largely as an individual’s choice and not determined by the sex assigned at birth. The policy prompted fights over bathrooms, dormitories, single-sex programs and other arenas where gender was once seen as a simple concept. Conservatives, especially evangelical Christians, were incensed.

Now the Department of Health and Human Services is spearheading an effort to establish a legal definition of sex under Title IX, the federal civil rights law that bans gender discrimination in education programs that receive government financial assistance, according to a memo obtained by The New York Times.
The department argued in its memo that key government agencies needed to adopt an explicit and uniform definition of gender as determined “on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.” The agency’s proposed definition would define sex as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with, according to a draft reviewed by The Times. Any dispute about one’s sex would have to be clarified using genetic testing.

“Sex means a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth,” the department proposed in the memo, which was drafted and has been circulating since last spring. “The sex listed on a person’s birth certificate, as originally issued, shall constitute definitive proof of a person’s sex unless rebutted by reliable genetic evidence.”

The new definition would essentially eradicate federal recognition of the estimated 1.4 million Americans who have opted to recognize themselves — surgically or otherwise — as a gender other than the one they were born into.
“This takes a position that what the medical community understands about their patients — what people understand about themselves — is irrelevant because the government disagrees,” said Catherine E. Lhamon, who led the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights in the Obama administration and helped write transgender guidance that is being undone.

The move would be the most significant of a series of maneuvers, large and small, to exclude the population from civil rights protections and roll back the Obama administration’s more fluid recognition of gender identity. The Trump administration has sought to bar transgender people from serving in the military and has legally challenged civil rights protections for the group embedded in the nation’s health care law.

MORE ON THIS STORY: https://apple.news/AApI1C7vASruuUKqJyd5nEA

The 7 Biggest Street Style Trends of Spring 2019

2017FALL38_39It’s such a cliché to talk about the weather, but when you’re covering a month of fashion shows—widely considered plush, leisurely events, but ones that actually require a lot of time outdoors and on your feet—temperatures and precipitation make a big difference. In Paris, the air was crisp, the sun was shining, and we saw some of the week’s best looks. Some women we know packed entire suitcases of romantic, voluminous floral dresses, which make an easy, effortless impact; others showed up in retina-searing neons, the direct result of a single Fall 2018 show; and many women seemed to reject the idea of trends altogether, sticking to a mix of elegant, everyday button-downs, jackets, and trousers. Below, we’ve distilled the month of street style photos—828, to be precise—down to the seven most important trends.

Hemlines Keep Rising (and Rising . . .)

Back in the ’60s, miniskirts were a symbol of rebellion, of sexual freedom, and of youth in general. They’re creeping back into the zeitgeist—both on the runway and on the streets—partially in response to the modest midi and maxi lengths we’ve been wearing for years, but perhaps also because women of 2018 are embracing the bold, anti establishment spirit of ’60s women. On the runway, hemlines rose at Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Stella McCartney; on the street, we saw minis in all manner of prints, patent leather, denim, and suede.

Back to Black

There are no real “rules” of street style, but over the past few years, it’s been a commonly held belief that wearing black won’t get you noticed. The competition for a photographer’s attention is fierce—you need color! Glitter! Prints! Things changed drastically this season: Not only did we see droves of women (and men) in head-to-toe black, but they wore it in uniquely interesting, un-minimal ways. Tulle frocks, leather harnesses, asymmetrical LBDs, and furry accessories were plenty eye-catching in stark black, perhaps even more so than if they’d been in a predictably bright color.

2017FALL28_29Groovy, Baby

Some are calling it escapism, others say it’s all a numbers game, but the groovy prints and hippieish chill of the late ’60s and ’70s were all over the Spring 2019 runways (Etro, Paco Rabanne, and even Dior), a trend we saw immediately reflected on the streets. It doesn’t get easier than a breezy, billowy caftan and leather sandals—but if you’re really leaning in, you’ll layer on a tangle of beaded necklaces, too. There’s a sense of naivety to that “Summer of Love” look, which turned 50 last year; maybe that’s why it’s coming back around. Vogue’s Sarah Mower drew a brilliant line between these boho-chic vibes and our current obsession with wellness and self-care in her Etro review: “The modern ideal of a sound mind in a superhot athletic body, clad in an accidentally pretty print dress.”

The Prada Effect

The retina-searing neon dresses, vests, and handbags filling Prada’s shop windows have become something of a beacon. Passersby are scratching their heads, and they aren’t alone; anyone remotely familiar with Miuccia Prada’s work might be struck by the futuristic, embellishment-free unnaturalness of it all. Fashion obsessives, of course, took Prada’s blinding Fall 2018 show as a cue to dive headfirst into the neon trend: Kelela and Sasha Lane both turned up in supercharged lime knits, Aleali May wore a cobalt fur with acid-green boots, and we saw dozens of guys and girls pledging allegiance to Prada in head-to-toe Fall looks in highlighter pink and traffic cone orange. Prada has always played a part in influencing trends, but a word to the wise: Spring 2019 only had a few touches of citron, lime, and bright peach, so if you’re into supercharged, nearly glowing neon, now’s the time to wear it.

READ MORE: https://www.vogue.com/article/spring-2019-street-style-trends

Hear the story of Chicago residents fighting against mountain of debris dumped near homes

Screen Shot 2018-09-16 at 9.17.33 AMIn the spring of 1990, Gladys Woodson and her neighbors in Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood started to notice dump trucks rolling down their streets—some sporting mismatched license plates and arriving as late as two or three a.m.

Woodson had lived in a historic greystone since 1970. She was president of her street’s block club, a tight-knit community of neighbors who looked out for each other. So other residents would come to her with questions and concerns.

When the trucks were first brought to her attention, Woodson says she didn’t give them much thought.

“I just thought, ‘Well, somebody’s just parking their trucks in there,’” said Woodson, “’til a guy said, ‘Ms. Woodson, come down, look at this. Do you know that somebody’s over there dumping in that lot?’”

When the dump eventually reached its peak, it sprawled across a lot the size of 13 football fields — or, about half the size of the Pentagon. It towered six stories above the neighborhood, creating a habitat for rats and crime, and filling the air with noxious dust.

But it wasn’t just trucks going in and out of this lot. There was also a limo, and the guy inside it —a heavy-set man who liked to wear colorful sweaters.

“Any time you see anybody drive over in a vacant lot in a limo,” Woodson told USA TODAY, “you know it’s no good.”

A Chicago story

Before the dump trucks came, before the lawsuits and the secret FBI tapes, before the arrests and the president’s executive order, before “the mountain” appeared and then disappeared— along with the guy who put it there – there was then-Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley.

Sworn into office April 24, 1989, Daley vowed to bring his city roaring back. In the 40 years leading up to his inauguration, Chicago lost nearly a million people and hundreds of thousands of jobs. The new mayor wanted to stem that tide.

He began a major push to revamp Chicago’s aging downtown, paying special attention to tourist-friendly destinations like Navy Pier and the now-iconic Millennium Park, with its big silver bean sculpture and Frank Gehry-designed amphitheater. He also set about rebuilding crucial parts of the city’s infrastructure, including roads and highways. READ THE FULL STORY:https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/investigations/2018/09/24/city-new-podcast-usa-today/1403927002/

Shonda Rhimes, Jada Pinkett Smith, Gabrielle Union-Wade Sign on as Producers of Broadway’s ‘American Son’

The drama about systemic racism in America begins performances Oct. 6, starring Kerry Washington, Steven Pasquale, Eugene Lee and Jeremy Jordan.

RHIMESA handful of big names will bolster the ranks of Broadway producers for American Son, which marks Kerry Washington’s return to the New York stage. Shonda Rhimes, Jada Pinkett Smith, Gabrielle Union-Wade and her husband, NBA star Dwyane Wade, have joined an existing team that includes Washington’s Simpson Street, Jeffrey Richards, Rebecca Gold and Will Trice. Also newly on board is businessman Steve Stoute and NFL veteran-turned-actor and producer Nnamdi Asomugha, who is married to Washington.

The team of heavy hitters stands to draw added attention to Broadway newcomer Christopher Demos-Brown’s intense four-character drama set in a Florida police station, where an estranged married couple converge in the middle of the night in a desperate search for their missing 18-year-old biracial son.

The play examines how we deal with family relationships, love, loss and identity. It won the 2016 Laurents/Hatcher Award for best new work by an emerging playwright. READ MORE: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/shonda-rhimes-jada-pinkett-smith-gabrielle-union-wade-sign-as-producers-broadways-american-son-1146766