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By now you’ve probably (or not) heard about actress Danielle Watts being approached by police officers about a call they received that her and her boyfriend Brian James Lucas were having sex in their car. There is audio of the incident, and I must say the cop approached them with the upmost respect when asking for ID and informing them why he was there. Danielle Watts refused to ID herself and claimed it was her right to do so. And in a sense she’s right…but not at this moment. The officer had probable cause to do so, and in the state of California where the incident took place the cops can handcuff and detain you if you do not comply. She claims race was the determining factor and she also try to pull the I’m famous bullshit on the cop. The problem I have with this incident is, with all that’s going on in this country in regards to race. This will be the example that closeted racists and Uncle Toms alike will use to point out, that when dealing with “authority” people of color don’t know how to act. Kudos to the officer for keeping his cool. And maybe if Danielle Watts took her head out of her ass, then she’d know that having a white boyfriend and having minor parts in a movie and having a publicist doesn’t mean you’re above the law.

This episode provides an in-depth look at the creation of Kara Walker’s monumental public project, “A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby” (2014), at the Domino Sugar Factory in Brooklyn, NY. Seated in her Manhattan studio, Walker explains how the molasses-covered space, along with her extensive research into the history of sugar, inspired her to create a colossal sugar-coated sphinx, as well as a series of life-sized, sugar and resin boy figurines. A team of artists and fabricators are shown constructing and coating the sphinx, which, as Walker says, gains its power by “upsetting expectations, one after the other.” Commissioned by Creative Time, “A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby” is the first large-scale public project by Walker who is best known for her cut paper silhouette installations, drawings, and watercolors. “A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby” is on view until July 6, 2014. Thereafter, the factory will be demolished to make way for condominiums. Read More

If you have just clicked this to hear more about the Jay Z and Solange rift that recently exploded all over the Internet, then you have come to the right place but for reasons that may differ from your expectations (but keep reading). Before we begin, ask yourself, “Why did I click this and what drew me to it?” This is exactly the point RapRehab’s Sebastien Elkoubymakes with his recent excellent piece analyzing “gossip and celebrity worship,”what draws us to these subjects, and how the behavior has grafted our society as a whole.

Our days are filled with obligation–work, school, family, friends–and our rapid shift to a world filled with instant gratification is a product of our increasingly limited pockets of time for ourselves. When we come across stolen moments of pleasure, how do we fill them? Streaming videos, memes, apps, the latest in celebrity discourse and, of course, the hot new song of the minute.

As Elkouby states in his article, “[w]e crave distractions. Stories about people like Donald Sterling, Mimi Faust, Chris Brown, Cliven Bundy, and the Carters/Knowles give us a temporary escape from our own boring lives. Many of us spend 8 or more hours a day at a job we hate, working with people we can’t stand, making less than what we need, to start all over again the following day. And out of nowhere comes a story that instantaneously takes us away from endless spreadsheets, bossy supervisors, and grueling staff meetings. Our cell phones and computers are patiently waiting, a magical portal to an exciting world of superstars, fame, drama, and anything else to make us forget our tedious daily routine.”

We invest into this perpetually refreshing “feed.” We share, comment, re-tweet and open dialogue with others looking to escape. And then with a click, we are back in the Matrix of real life. Our phones and iPads shimmer with a blank stare. The fantasy world we visited sits still like a well-behaved hound on the other side of the darkness, ready to deliver the next story with the next slide of our fingers. But is there something bigger that we are missing? How long have we been living in this virtual world and how is it affecting us in reality?

Elkouby suggests that we channel our energies toward loftier objectives. “Rather than posting countless Facebook comments about Donald Sterling’s racist rants, can that same fire be used to advocate for racial justice…even if only within our own circles?  Instead of tweeting how outraged we are about Mimi Faust’s sex tape, can we do a better job of monitoring the sexually degrading entertainment our kids are exposed to?  Can we spend more time developing healthier relationships with our loved ones than we do trying to figure out why Jay Z and Solange don’t get along?”

If we are regularly using the limited amount of time we have everyday to engage with the latest celebrity gossip, it’s a safe bet that critical societal problems will go unresolved amidst all this seemingly useless discourse. Elkouby’s ultimate concern is that our “quality of life is rapidly decreasing” amidst the endless distractions. This premise is worthy of more than just a few clicks of consideration…but it does not allow for the totality of our needs as people.

It’s okay to click on celebrity news. It’s okay to eat junk food. It’s okay to escape the rigamarole of every day life. Sometimes. Like any good nutrition plan, the keys to good health (physical and mental) are balance and moderation. We all need moments where we indulge ourselves. By contrast, there also are times where we need to strive for greatness, in ourselves and others. Sometimes, the best way to move past life’s ennuis is to face them full on and change the life circumstance that is causing them in the first place. Build that business you’ve been considering. Lose that weight you’ve wanted to shed. Make that song that makes people’s lives better. Follow that dream…

Maybe next time you see another Jay Z and Solange-related post, you won’t click it. Or maybe you will. If you do, just remember to balance the scale when the opportunity arises.

Spotted at Ambrosia for heads

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