May 27, 2020

Countdown to UC20: Community Building Partners

Unexpected connections don’t occur spontaneously in a vacuum, but as the result of interactions between diverse elements that includes people and the organizations they create. As we find ourselves two weeks closer to UC2020, we highlight the partners that continue to make this event possible.

Intertrend

Intertrend is an interdisciplinary communication agency based in Long Beach, California and MAEKAN’s partner. For over 20 years, Intertrend has helped to connect brands with select communities including a focus on Asian demographics.

Together with MAEKAN, we’ve hosted the first Unexpected Connections conference, our first dinner gathering “Re-examining Truths” as well as our upcoming UC2020 in early June.

Imprint Culture Lab

Imprint Culture Lab is an incubator and culture lab that aims to connect the cultural dots between segment, market and industry. Over the past 10 years, Imprint has brought together and built a growing network of talented minds and leaders through global culture conferences and interactive workshops.

These conferences have included the Unexpected Connections series of events on cross-platform creativity, which was conceived by Imprint.

Imprint Culture Lab’s diverse membership includes many of our speakers at last year’s Unexpected Connections conference, including graphic designer, curator and writer Kenya Hara who gave a talk on his concept and book Ex-formation, a term describing the focus on how little we know or what we do not know as a jumping point towards curiosity and creativity.

Coming Together

Where Hara’s idea of ex-formation questions our tendency to prematurely declare how many things we’ve heard of versus how well we know them, John C Jay’s “Future of Creativity” encourages us to unlearn what we think we know in order to learn again. As these themes have become increasingly relevant this year, we’re reminded that ideas, however entrenched or widespread, are not permanent and can be quickly changed by new ones.

This year, we’re excited to be bringing a new mix of personalities together to sharing new ideas and new takes on existing ones with Unexpected Connections 2020. This livestreamed fundraiser supports charities that are providing COVID-19-related relief, and will be held on Saturday, June 6.

To learn more about Unexpected Connections 2020, check out the event’s website.

May 18, 2020

Countdown to UC 2020: What's New This Year

Unexpected Connections is back for 2020 and this time with an emphasis on supporting creatives deeply impacted by COVID-19. This year will bring back the familiar spirit of exchanging ideas and bringing people together, but will take place virtually and act as a fundraiser for relief efforts.

What’s Been Done Before?

Unexpected Connections was first held in 2017 as a day-long event realized through a partnership between Intertrend and MAEKAN. 2018 was held in 2018 in Long Beach. The day-long event featured a star-studded cast of speakers from across the diverse landscape that is the creative community. Many of these talks offered personal insights and guidance from industry leaders while others served as organic exchanges of ideas from seemingly disparate backgrounds. All of these talks are available to view on MAEKAN.com:

  1. Julia Huang & John Maeda
  2. John C Jay
  3. Jason Mayden & Jun Cha
  4. David Choe
  5. Yimmy Yayo & Charis Poon
  6. Karen Okonkwo & Jeff Staple
  7. Jennifer Ferro & Lindsay Jang
  8. Helen Zia & Madeleine Brand
  9. Kenya Hara

Not exclusive to conferences and large events, the spirit of Unexpected Connections carried into a smaller gathering in 2019 at Namu Stonepot in San Francisco, themed around“Re-examining Truths.”

What’s New This Year?

This year, recent events have made large gathering understandably difficult but by no means impossible! Unexpected Connections 2020 is still happening and it’s coming up soon at that.

Together with Intertrend, we’re looking forward to hosting another selection of outstanding guests who have honed their craft, been deliberate in their direction and shaped their industries and are excited to share all of that with an online audience. Look forward to talks from familiar faces we’ve featured on MAEKAN.com before like Decatur Dan, Karen Rosenkranz and Jasper Wong, but also some who are hosting their first UC talks ever like Kristen Kish, Carmen Chan and James Whitner.

But aside from sharing ideas, this years talks will be drumming up support for various causes chosen by the speakers including those that serve creatives deeply impacted by COVID-19.

Why this Matters

“The smallest act in the most limited circumstances bears the seed of… boundlessness, because one deed, and sometimes one word, suffices to change every constellation.” – Hannah Arendt

The theme of this year’s even is “It All Adds Up.” It recognizes the power of small changes and decisions, that seem although appearing insignificant at first, can produce unexpected positive results down the line.

The world is more volatile and the future more uncertain than usual. We’re being asked to physically stay in place, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take action. Despite the constraints we feel, powerful change can be made incrementally. We can still make decisions on how we spend our time, attention, energy, and resources. No matter how inconsequential a choice may seem, our consistent movement towards the things we value matters. It all adds up.

So save the date and join us online on Saturday, June 6, 2020! For more information, check out the event’s website and follow Unexpected Connections on Instagram.

We are excited to announce that Unexpected Connections is happening virtually on June 6th.

April 30, 2020

Save Points — Media Consumption

Our latest MAEKAN Open Office had us discussing the changing dynamics around media consumption including business and personal approaches to evaluating media’s role in our lives.

The Community’s Take

🌟 Jeremy L. weighs on the role of the human factor for media to differentiate: 

“Not to draw too many allusions to Throwing Fits, but I think what they succeed is in the personalities of the hosts. And that’s what kind of lodges in your mind all the time when you think of them. So that’s why I actually put Making It Up as your forefront product because that’s what keeps me coming back, at least maybe even for new people to understand what MAEKAN is all about.”

🎙️ Seth F. emphasizes the importance of transparency in media:

“I think that transparency is really interesting because especially in media, it always feels now like whenever you read bigger media if it was a newspaper or a big website or wherever it’s always someone who owns it that’s got an agenda or the writer’s got an agenda or something. But it’s nice to have something that’s just totally honest.”

📱 Kevin K. notes the changing playing field and competitive dynamics between digital media businesses and influencers that produce media:

“I’ve been thinking a lot about how digital media is now not competing with other digital media, but digital media is actually competing with ‘influencers.’ Has [MAEKAN] considered that a playing field? Because it’s different. I know from my experience it’s way different at least on the financial sides. I think on the business side it’s way different to build a business in media and make the media thing as an influencer aspect of it.”

April 13, 2020

Save Points: "Show & Tell"

On our last Open Office, which took place at the beginning of the month, we tried to take our minds off of the news feed and focus on some of the simpler meaningful things in our lives with our first attempt at a grown-up “show and tell.”

The Community’s Take

👐Jeremy L. talks about one of the small but important items that make repetitive actions fun

“I love putting my hand sanitizer in these Muji PET bottles. It increases the ‘affordable luxury.’ It makes the action of like pouring hands and be just a little bit more enjoyable.”

👨‍🍳 Spencer K. also shares a quality of life item that’s gotten its fair share of usage

His choice is a pair of slim kitchen tongs that have been deftly handling everything from steak to sashimi, making both cooking and plating a cinch: “You get so much dexterity when you’re cooking anything in a pan on cast iron or like big pot, and it makes cooking so much fun.”

🖊️ Eugene’s enamored with the affordable luxury of the humble ballpoint

Believe us when we say this, but Eugene has cyclical addictions to writing instruments. Shifting from his previous love for Blackwing pencils, his latest for the past few years has been his Pilot G2 Ballpoint Pens. Also described as an “affordable luxury,” he’s enamored with the amazing writing experience it provides for what is a disposable $2-3 pen.

🌿Charis is all about the joys of gifted plant life 

Charis shared about her mint plant back home in London that was given to her by her ceramics teacher. For her, the meaning behind nurturing a live plant stems (pun intended) from the idea of continuity of life — and the sustainability of using it for her (very) occasional mojito!

🖱️ Nate’s invested in gaming accessories for a future of computer use

For Nate, the customizable multi-button G502 mouse and G13 keypad from Logitech are meaningful because they’re investments in a future of prolonged computer use. His rationale? We’re absolutely going to be using computers for the rest of our lives and to do a variety of complex tasks, so why not invest in making that experience more enjoyable and even less frictionless?

March 30, 2020

Save Points — Sustainability and Fast Fashion

Amid the climate crisis, the fast fashion has industry has inevitably found itself in the crosshairs for its lightning-fast seasonal turnaround and disproportionate impact on the environment. During our first Open Office on fashion and its future, a few members of the MAEKAN community and the team shared their thoughts.

The Community’s Take

⚖️Jeremy L. weighs the importance of consistency in brand messaging when it comes to fashion in general and overtly sustainable fashion:

“I just think there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with wanting to have a form of self-expression through clothing. And if that means buying certain things in moderation, I think that’s reasonable. But I don’t buy when brands tout a sustainability model when they’re constantly floating new seasons.

And I, that’s why I kind of appreciate what Noah’s doing and admitting outright in their promotion that, you know, we are not a sustainable brand, but here’s our transparency in terms of like where we make the clothes.”

👜 Aladar L. shares how the interpretation and approach to sustainability can start with us at the social circle level:

I think it very much so falls into your friend circle. My buddy, we’ve been passing the same visvim bag back and forth. He bought it second-hand and he used it. He passed it to me. And chances are when I’m done, I want to pass it to someone else.

But it’s a behavior that’s just normalized in our friends circle group, right? Like I think part of it is education and nobody feels shame. In fact, everyone feels that type of behavior is, for the lack of better words, “cool.” Like, it’s very cool when we do it and we’re just like, “this is nice ’cause it feels good.”

🐣 James M. considers the chicken-and-egg issue of consumer or political will creating lasting impact on fast fashion markets:

“The debate at the end of the day is like, can we rely on them (political candidates) or is voting with our buying power the more important thing that we can try? But then you have too many people that might not necessarily have the same belief system, whether it’s government or their buying power.

And if, if people continue to buy cheap, then it might not necessarily change anything. A lot of it boils down to dollars and cents on the manufacturing side. You see a kind of every day and people are more willing to save a little bit to get their customer the purchase versus like charge a little bit more and have kind of feel like maybe they’re missing out on customers, you know?”

From our end

🤔 Eugene wonders specifically how fashion will emerge out of the pandemic:

“We’re perhaps in the midst of both the establishment of a new normal and a realignment of the world of fashion. We will inherently need to see if the past structures of seasonal shows, global trips to see things in real life, and even the value of clothing-only fashion continue to hold true. I really think a lot of people have come to realize that fashion itself while important, is far LESS important than we are all led to believe, especially without the element of interaction. I would like to seel the emergence of clothing and fashion that’s slower, more thoughtful, more ethical, and returns to the core of being a creative medium, and not purely as a means to an end.”

🔥 Scott is loving the fallout:

“Like Nero fiddling whilst Rome burned, I’m loving how much this industry is suffering. Don’t get me wrong, I feel for those most affected, namely the sweatshop workers, children and exploited immigrants working for pennies making those ugly ass Triple S’ (or equivalent) hypebeasts find fashionable. Fashion won’t be alone in feeling these setbacks. 

Having said that, it’s a beautiful sight to see companies that have done nothing for their employees or the environment take a huge hit. We know how disastrous fast fashion is for the environment, our wallets and mental states. I hope this will push brands to entirely re-think their fashion cycles along with their design teams. Since people will hopefully stop spending frivolously on the latest bullshit “it” item, solid and innovative designs will need to take center stage for brands to move forward. 

No more crappy H&M knock-offs of underserved designers, no more wasted discount racks, no more employees exploited across the world to make an ugly-ass teeshirt that some blogger will call “iconic”, as is everything these days. Hopefully, fashion is reborn, reinvigorated and re-innovative from the onset.”

🤷🏻‍♂️ Nate thinks there’s several layers of cultural barriers to get through before people ditch fast fashion:

“There’s a triangle of style, price and function that’s allowed fast fashion to maintain its firm hold in popular consumer culture: it’s always new enough to be on trend, easy to maintain and cheap enough to dispose of often. For consumption (and therefore the demand for production) to drop, we need to both be willing to pay for and maintain a smaller number of high quality clothes while dropping our assumptions attached to wearing and seeing the same outfits regularly.”

March 23, 2020

Save Points — Working from Home

The world is in the midst of the world’s largest remote working experiment in the face of COVID-19. What was once an opportunity granted to only a select few, it’s clear that we’re embarking on and accelerating a new approach towards work. There’s no doubt that remote working existed pre-pandemic, but for a few of the MAEKAN members, they’re quickly putting the format through its paces.

The Community’s Take

A few members of the MAEKAN community shared with us their thoughts:

Philippe H. in Hong Kong contemplates a big question:

“I’m wondering how society will change if a lot of us will actually get more choice to work from home or not. Should have quite some impact. I’m leaning towards it being a negative thing, individualizing us even more.”

💡 Jenny S. in Beijing shares with us some of her initial learnings:

“(Scheduling) Morning meetings are always effective to discourage colleagues from sleeping-in, which initially had pissed off my seniors big time. I’ve always had an 8-6 office job, so I found it quite hard to mentally “get off work” while working from home. I think my productivity level hasn’t been hugely affected, but it’s just unhealthy to keep working until late.”

👍 Behzod S. in San Francisco outlines some definitive pros to working from home:

I’m very fortunate that I have a standup desk and a setup I like at home, so the biggest adjustment is simply being in my space all day with my girlfriend who is also working from home.

We have had to adjust our schedules to include time for cooking at home, walks outside to break up the being indoors all day, and exercise not at a gym. That said, I appreciate the control and flexibility that it affords and assuming you have a level of discipline (or create a schedule), I’m all for it.

I don’t think WFH is for everyone, and I think you need to be set up for it (not sitting on your couch), but I’m optimistic that this whole crisis will force us to rethink a lot of things about how we work.

Behzod also provides a few things that make WFH more enjoyable:

🎵 Good music! I can’t listen to words while I’m working, so Tycho is often my artist of choice, though Spotify has a lot of great focus playlists I would recommend.

🏢 A dedicated workspace (and standing desk if that’s your thing): I bought a Fully Jarvis right around the time I started at Slack and it’s been incredibly worth it. This doesn’t work for everyone, but having a dedicated work space is super helpful and allows me to be in flow a lot better than sitting on my couch. If nothing else, get an ergonomic keyboard and mouse.

Zoom Coffees! I’ve set up a few Zoom coffees with friends, colleagues, and family this week so that being in my apartment doesn’t feel as isolating.

Yeah, it’s so different choosing to work remotely than having it forced upon you.”

Jeremy L. in Brooklyn explains some of the initial challenges:

“This week has been rough, my Brooklyn apartment feels small during daylight hours and I’ve had to adjust my time budgeting around meal prepping and taking breaks/walks around the block.

Next week, I feel more optimistic with some planned one-on-one work sessions with a friend. This whole thing has really made me realize how valuable it is to simply be able to look far into the physical distance, even from an office window onto the streets below.”

🎮 Yannick L. in Paris explains how his industry has been less affected relative to his counterparties in other sporting arenas:

“It’s OK. WFH is pleasant, I can’t lie. The situation could be worst. Working in the e-sports industry is “interesting” when the rest of the sports world is on hold — our players are good to perform as long as they stay in a safe place.”

From our end

For much of the MAEKAN team in Hong Kong, the past year has created conditions that necessitate working more and more from home, whether it be the current COVID-19 pandemic or the over six months of protests that preceded it. A few members of the MAEKAN team had some thoughts on WFH:

🤔 Eugene ponders the challenges of staying focused:

“I work from home a few days a week and it’s not always the most productive. I find when you have no definitive start/stop (like entering and leaving an office), things drag on. It’s far too easy to stretch out tasks because you know your workday is suddenly 16 passive/chill hours versus a deliberate 8 hours.”

🔗 Charis reflects on the boost in social connectivity despite physical distance:

“Since I have been primarily working as a freelancer for the past 4.5 years, I’m used to setting my own schedule and working alone at home. The difference now is that everyone else is also constantly online and virtually gathering together. It’s actually been a nice change for me that I get to regularly voice and video call with groups of people for both work and social reasons. I think the real difficulty for me hasn’t been working from home, but working in the time of a global pandemic—I’ve found that even work relationships have become a form of social support.”

🧠 Scott enjoys the added flexibility and accountability:

“I enjoy working from home because it cuts out all the unnecessary bullshit from a normal work environment and allows for real focus time. The hard part is staying disciplined, but as long as you set the alarm, you get it done. I think many people are still adjusting to this new reality, but after a few weeks, people will find their grooves and thoroughly enjoy it. It just takes a little planning to get in rhythm. The one drawback is not knowing when to stop. I find myself working a lot more these days, so it’s also important to set boundaries.”

🥳 Nate is building anticipation back into this new work-life rhythm:

“As a freelancer, I’ve embraced the different creative energies that come from working on the couch, at my desk or parked at one of thousands of coffee shops before switching locations when the work is done. But in isolation, there are no choices any more; the office is around you when you wake up and long after you finish. The challenge is building after-hours anticipation when there’s no more rec league, group dinners, travel or events waiting after 7pm — or even in the foreseeable future. This pandemic may have made homebodies of us all, but it’s also driven us to be creative at finding joy in our otherwise upended work-life rhythms.”

How about you? How are you holding up amid this uncertain situation? What’s been the biggest challenge and how have you solved it? Feel free to write us at info@maekan.com or DM us on Instagram.

April 4, 2019

Huncho Day 2019 with The Migos and Colin Kaepernick

quavo migos colin kaepernick huncho

Colin Kaepernick has been a dominant cultural force ever since taking a knee at an NFL pre-season game in 2016. His opposition to America’s oppression of the black community sparked intense debate. While Kaepernick ultimately forced his own exile from the NFL, he has had a broader impact across several areas. In 2018, he starred in a powerful Nike ad titled “Just Do It,” which pushed athletes far and wide to take control of their destiny.

Last month, Quavo of The Migos hosted his second annual Huncho Day football event. The casual game has brought together athletes and entertainers alike with a focus on giving back to Quavo’s high school alma mater, Berkmar High School. MAEKAN Community member Gavin Guidry, a Senior Art Director at Havas, was on hand to document the day’s events. No stranger to the solidarity of Atlanta’s black community, Gavin provided his insights into the power and inspiration of Colin Kaepernick.


Colin Kaepernick at Huncho Day 2019 in Atlanta. Photo Credit: Gavin Guidry

Tell us a little bit about the event. What was it was all about.

Huncho Day is a give back event from Quavo of the Migos. He was a quarterback at his high school (Berkmar High School) so his way of giving back is giving his alma matter and kids of the community a full day of fun centered around football. They have a carnival for families, a football camp for kids, and then cap it out with a celebrity game of flag football with some of the world’s biggest celebrities and athletes.


Rapper Gucci Mane and NFL star Julio Jones at Huncho Day 2019 in Atlanta. Photo Credit: Gavin Guidry

Kaepernick has been a big point of discussion over the last few years. How do you see? Athlete? Activist? Something else?

So it’s funny because I have come to see Kaepernick as this larger than life activist who is starting conversations and igniting a movement. But for this day, he was an athlete just having fun throwing the football around with his friends, which I think is probably how he wants to be seen. I don’t think he ever meant to become this huge civil rights figure, just an athlete that uses his platform to talk about things he believes in.


Julio Jones at Huncho Day 2019 in Atlanta. Photo Credit: Gavin Guidry

After all the focus around his most recent campaigns, what’s it like seeing him in the flesh?

Kaepernick? Well I was super shook because I knew he had been in Atlanta but had no idea that he would be there. First off, he’s like 6’6″ so his presence becomes literally larger than life. Seeing him call plays with Quavo and Julio Jones and throwing passes to Saquon Barkley made me smile because you could tell how much he enjoyed playing. He was cracking jokes and laughing basically the whole time, so I could see his love for the game. But the NFL isn’t letting him do the thing he loves right now, so it was kind of bittersweet.


Colin Kaepernick throws a pass at Huncho Day 2019 in Atlanta. Photo Credit: Gavin Guidry

What sort of hope does somebody like Kaepernick give?

He gives hope to people that don’t speak up out of fear. When he first got cut, I think people were viewing him as a cautionary tale, but he’s been able to grow his platform and his influence to keep the conversation going.


New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara. Photo Credit: Gavin Guidry

Favorite moments from the day?

Definitely seeing Kaep throw a touchdown to Saquon Barkley. Seeing Von Miller dance before every snap. Or Gucci, Quavo and Julio cracking jokes with Coach K and P from QC. The amount of love and positivity that was there is contagious. It was such an Atlanta thing. All of these celebrities, most of which were black men, came through just to have fun. I think the world needs to see more of that.


A group photo (L-R) featuring Offset of The Migos, Colin Kaepernick, and Quavo of The Migos at Huncho Day 2019 in Atlanta.

March 23, 2019

What It Takes is a book by MAEKAN Community's Dillion S. Phiri and focuses on Africa's young creatives

Creative Nestlings Whatever It Takes Book Dillion S. Phiri

What It Takes is a book that documents the emerging creative class in Africa. The book published by Dillion S. Phiri, founder of Creative Nestlings, serves as a tool to connect Africa and beyond. The multi-faceted Creative Nestlings platform focuses on “nurturing a curious, creative, innovative and entrepreneurial mindset” across Africa. For the book, Whatever It Takes, Dillion and his team captured the story of 60 young African creatives and outlined their processes and challenges in an emerging world. It’s an exciting time for the continent of Africa and its diaspora. The intersection of global network and connective tools are resulting in some exciting opportunities ahead.

What It Takes is available now via hardcover for USD 48.63.

May 13, 2018

The MAEKAN Community weights in on Donald Glover's new music video "This is America"

Donald Glover has every reason, as a young black man in America, to be angry at and frustrated with society. The music video for his latest single “This is America,” directed by Hiro Murai, is a carefully choreographed piece of art filmed in one location to appear as if all the events are occurring continuously. Each facial expression, dance move, and character in the rotating cast seems to carry the heavy weight of symbolism. Yet without Glover or Murai’s commentary, interpretations of the video necessarily carry with them the perspectives of the people writing them.

Glover is showing us the America he sees, how each of us responds depends on the America we see. I see this video as a creative expression of the pain Glover feels, but I don’t see “This is America” as him proposing a solution or working as a solution itself. Childish Gambino also debuted another single on Saturday Night Live along with “This is America,” and I trust that both songs are the beginning of the story he is telling on a larger project he is releasing. Gambino has proven himself to be a storyteller best understood over time, so whatever we might think “This is America” is saying, is likely to be challenged when the entire album drops.

Please note that we received many more longer, thoughtful answers than what is reproduced here. So many in fact that we will be including more on the website at a later point. Thank you to everyone who submitted responses: Soshi, Alan, Scott Masek, Carter Moore, Amina, Jeremy Leung, Spencer Kerber, Ryan Pun, Bee, Edward Barnieh, Graham, Alex Lendrum, GT, Lewis J, Sharon Lam, and Dennis Dang.

How else have you observed music being used to provide social commentary? What potential do you see music as having to push change?
Music has all the potential to serve a critical purpose in inciting meaningful change because it articulates what we feel and brings us together. When there’s enough people resonating with the music and what it’s saying, it crystallizes into a rallying cry, an anthem. — Alan
Ever since NWA and Public Enemy, rap and hip hop has been a vehicle for social commentary. Contemporaries like Kendrick, J Cole, Eninem have all used their platform in innovative ways to cause a stir in the media but to also get the audience to wake up. The potential to push change has become more than just potential, I think music has such a massive influence on a private citizen’s personal life; we want to emulate the people we admire. — Jeremy Leung
Praise to Donald Glover and Hiro Murai for taking their time to put out a complete, calculated performance despite the ugliness of the subject. Now the performance is out, and they can start preparing their subsequent rebuttals to the different responses that come. Let’s hope their militant performance moves beyond talking about change to enacting it. — Spencer Kerber
How did you feel while watching “This is America”?
The entire video kind of reflects how I feel about the US — it’s trying to present itself as this idyllic promised land but in reality, it’s as broken and chaotic as any other first (or third!) world country. I just felt really angry for all the injustice that minorities have to face. They can’t trip up, they have to be on their best behaviour and even then it isn’t enough. — Soshi

This feels more like an art exercise dabbling into some political message, but nothing much or far beyond it. This pains me because I know I am missing the bigger picture, and that it’s probably incredibly rich in meaning, but I also found that the commentary on the video I saw and read so far fails to really explain everything in detail or provide the meaning I think this video likely has. — Scott Masek

Happy then brought back to reality then happy then brought back to reality… this is a great representation of how it feels to be black in America. We gotta find our happiness again everyday until another, yet disregarded race driven, tragedy happens again. Then when we get too frustrated and exhausted of trying to find the good we take a long ruminating pause and just give up trying to be happy for that moment and do what’ll just keep us sane (smoking weed for some.) — Amina

Any additional thoughts?
While this song, and more importantly the video, go to impeccable lengths to illustrate so many current ideologies and behaviours within America, I hope in some way this unites people more than divides. I can see one half of America really embrace and resonate with this artwork in a positive way, while the other half despise it. The aim of art and expression is often to provoke thoughtful discussion, which this certainly does, but does this piece do it in a way that is meant to unify, divide, or simply illustrate the perspectives and emotions of the artist himself (and undoubtedly many others) I don’t know yet. Regardless of the motive, I’m here for it. It’s a compelling visual and auditory experience that is well executed regardless of if it’s message is agreeable or not to its audience. — Carter Moore

Where does the conversation go from here? I look forward to seeing what the recent album of J-Cole, Gambino’s “This is America”, and even Kanye’s recent remarks have on the collective of people of color. Is it an alarm to wake up from the “system” to change focus, or is it just another wave of conversations that’ll be passed up and drowned out by white noise? — Lewis J

The internet runs in our veins at this point. Streaming records break weekly. 45M views on “This is America” after 3 days? The consumption of entertainment is exponentially growing. I wonder if we’ll ever notice real world problems. — Dennis Dang

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