Horoscopes Spilling The Zodiac Tea

Spilling the tea on the assumptions of compatibility in astrology

Follow our Zodiac series for everything astrology related. We’re Spillin’ the Zodiac T! Stay tuned for the juice.

Self-care. At this point, we’ve all heard the phrase, but how many of us actually practice it? No matter how busy our days are, self-care should always be a priority, especially because it’s a surefire way of mentally, physically, and emotionally de-stressing. Taking time for ourselves may seem selfish, but it’s necessary in order to maintain our mental wellness and wellbeing.

Trying to find that special someone in our lives, be it a friend or a lover there are many questions we find ourselves asking. One of those questions is most certainly on compatibility. When it comes to astrological compatibility, be it in romantic relationships, friendships, or even a parent-child relationship—it’s not only the sun sign that suggests whether you will be compatible. In fact, the sun sign is probably the last thing you should pay attention to when it comes to compatibility! The sun sign however does represent your identity, it is how you answer the question “I am” and how you experience life and express your individuality. 

There are other placements in your chart that make up who you are. Each placement plays a role in what you may find attractive, what does not appeal to you, and who you would be most compatible with. This means you need to look past the sun sign of someone and dig deeper into who they are.

The placements that you should be looking at when it comes to getting along with others are mainly your rising sign and your moon sign. Your rising sign is the sign that describes your personality and the type of person you project out into the world. The rising sign is who you are around people. Your moon sign deals with emotions and your interpersonal relationships. Your moon sign does not necessarily show outwardly like your rising sign but influences your emotional self. These two signs are very important when trying to find out whether you would be compatible with someone both romantically and platonically.

It is common that you will gravitate towards people with the same sign as you. To match up signs with similar elements, water signs with water signs or fire signs with fire signs. However, some of the best relationships are the ones where your partner, friend, or child, has a sign with a completely different element from you. This can bring a vibrant and new fresh take on things pushing you to grow beyond your limits. With each one of these out-of-element pairings comes out one of the most compatible combinations.

Now if you are curious about which elements may be the most compatible with one another, we may be able to guide you with some insight on that topic! And who knows, this could help you find your true love.

First up we have Aries and Libra. Fire and air ignite to start a fire! While Aries is impulsive and even hotheaded, Libra brings in the balance. Libra is known for being the one to restore harmony and peace as its symbol is the scales. Libras appreciate all perspectives and see all sides of the story and would likely never try to change their Aries partner. In return, the Aries can help the Libra to gain confidence in making bold decisions without spending an eternity weighing all the possible consequences.

Moving on to the next pair, Taurus and Cancer may be different but the two aren’t so far apart. Both the signs love taking care of loved ones, are homebodies, and appreciate the simple pleasures in life, good food, friends, and pleasant surroundings. What makes this pair so special, is that Taurus is protective of others, while Cancer longs for security. Cancers tend to be afraid to trust others and tend to withdraw into their shell. But if there is anyone that can earn and keep their trust, it is a Taurus. Like the banks of a softly flowing river, the earth meets water.  

Another earth and water pair are dreamy Pisces and firm Virgo. Spiritual Pisces is the one with the ideas, and practical-minded Virgo helps to bring in all the details necessary to put the plan into motion. When these two work together, they can pull off marvels!

The rule of physics says opposites attract. It is the same with Leos and Scorpios. While fire and water usually cancel one another, that is not the case with this unusual pair. While Cancer and Pisces can be gentle and soft, Scorpio is not your typical water sign. So, what could Leo and Scorpio have in common? Both signs are complex and can be prone to drama, but Leos wear their hearts on their sleeves and, are Scorpios secretive and to themselves. In this relationship, Leos can help the slightly-too-intense Scorpios to lighten up while the Scorpio can provide encouragement when Leo becomes fiery and volatile.

A guide and tool that many would swear by astrology when viewed with an open mind can teach you a thing or two about who you would most get along with.

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Fashion Lookbook

Tracing Virgil Abloh’s career through his finest work

From Pyrex and Been Trill, to Off-White and Louis Vuitton, Virgil Abloh gave new meaning to what it means to make clothing. To give Abloh the title of just a fashion designer does not do him justice. He was more than that. Powerful in his execution, he not only borrowed from fashion but from art, music, architecture, and dared to merge genres in his collaborations while producing era-defining pieces in his collections. At the height of his career, it was as though Abloh had always known that his days on earth would soon come to an end. The designer, who died of cardiac angiosarcoma, a rare form of cancer, a little over a month ago at the age of 41, accomplished more in his career of nearly 15 years than most would long for in a lifetime.

Abloh’s fashion career didn’t pick up until he was 29, when he started an internship at Fendi and established a close working relationship with Kanye West. As he worked his way up, breaking through fashion’s high walls, Abloh became a focal point for hypebeasts, streetwear enthusiasts, and people who had been excluded from the industry. Becoming the first Black person to head up French fashion house, Louis Vuitton, was almost revolutionary. His designs and existence in the fashion industry set up a direct line for young people.

Abloh’s work was not always met with admiration. He received much criticism of plagiarism and disdain, which was prompted by the inception of cancel culture. It would be easy to say that Abloh’s legacy is unimportant because of this. But it is what he epitomized and symbolized that were the authentic devices he used in breaking through boundaries. In honor of his impactful work, we highlight Abloh’s career and fashion footprint through his most iconic designs of our time.

Watch the Throne

[caption Description: Watch the Throne album cover.] Via RobbReport

In 2011, Kanye West hired Abloh as the creative director of his agency, DONDA. Abloh was responsible for designing a few albums covers such as Yeezus and, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Of the artworks he designed, Watch the Throne, is probably one of the most memorable. Abloh created the gold-foiled artwork for Jay Z and Kanye’s project, winning a Grammy nomination for Best Recording Package.


[caption Description: Virgil Abloh at the Spring-Summer 2019 Off-White show in Paris. ] Via RobbReport

In 2013 Abloh launched his label Off-White. The label merged both streetwear and high fashion which was seen as unprecedented at the time. The Milan-based label soon gained a huge following, and now has some 49 store locations around the world.

Nike and Off-White collaboration

[caption Description: Nike x Off-White Air Jordan 1.] Via RobbReport

With a collection of ten sneakers in collaboration with Nike in 2017, Abloh earned his title as the master of hype. The Nike x Off-White Air Jordan 1 was the first release where Abloh applied his signature design motifs. Abloh also designed 50 sneakers for Nike along with creating the tulle-skirted look worn by Serena Williams at the 2018 US Open.

Appointed Artistic Director of Menswear at Louis Vuitton

[caption Description: Kayne West and Virgil Abloh attending the Louis Vuitton Menswear Spring Summer 2019.] Via RobbReport

In 2018 Abloh was appointed as the Artistic Director of Menswear at Louis Vuitton, becoming the first Black designer to lead a major luxury brand. His opening polychromatic collection was presented on a rainbow runway at the Palais-Royale gardens during Paris Fashion Week.

$1 Million raised to Support Black Students

[Virgil Abloh.] Via RobbReport
In 2020, Abloh raised $1 million through the Virgil Abloh “Post-Modern” Scholarship Fund in partnership with the Fashion Scholarship Fund (FSF). The funds will provide scholarships for black people who seek to work in fashion.

LVMH Invests in Off-White

[Image Description: LVMH invests in Off-White.] Via RobbReport
Earlier this year, LVMH announced plans to attain 60 percent shares in Off-White. The luxury corporation also gave Abloh a new role, expanding his domain of influence to reach all 75 of LVMH’s brands. This move made Abloh the most influential black executive in the industry, allowing him to work across LVMH’s portfolio, such as watches, spirits, and hospitality.


Virgil Abloh’s revolutionized the fashion industry and the way we dress, helping find a place for those who felt like outsiders in the fashion sphere. His career achievements and formidable impact in music, art, and design will be forever remembered.

Mind Mental Health Health Wellness

As the year draws to a close, go easy on yourself

We are nearing the end of the year, and everyone is tired. We are all in a hurry to wrap up at work, attend to family needs, and focus on other life commitments before the year ends. Exacerbated by the stress of having to navigate life in a pandemic and having undefined work and life boundaries, we have been burning at both ends of the candle. This is not only tiring but is harmful to our wellbeing, and can lead to year-end fatigue.

Year-end fatigue manifests itself as physical, psychological, and emotional exhaustion and is often accompanied by self-doubt, helplessness, lack of motivation, being overwhelmed, and burnout.

Experiencing burnout has as much of a detrimental effect on your mental health as on your physical health. Physical ailments that are related to burnout are headaches, nausea, and body aches. In addition, burnout may affect our sleeping patterns and cause us to become easily irritable, have difficulties concentrating, and neglect those around us.

I remember the first time I experienced burnout; I felt very tense. I soon realized that it was due to the stress of having to complete all my tasks. As someone who enjoys multitasking, I have always kept my mind stimulated by working on various projects, taking on different tasks, while still being a student.

Being busy was all I had ever known. Resting was not always a part of my schedule until I experienced burnout. My mind was foggy. I was slow to think and had mild headaches. My body was pleading for rest. Since then, I have had to re-evaluate my relationship with productivity and work. Having to check in with my emotional and mental self often has helped improve my wellbeing.

For many, year-end fatigue is inevitable. However, by listening to what your body needs you can help minimize its impact. One of the things that we tend to overlook when it comes to taking care of ourselves is getting enough sleep and drinking plenty of water. I have recently made it a rule for myself to never steal time from the new day. That means no sleeping past midnight, which has done wonders for my productivity. Now, I am a lot more vibrant during the day.

In addition, to combat fatigue, we need to consume food that is iron-rich. Women are especially prone to iron deficiency (Anaemia), which can lead to feeling fatigued. Including foods such as beans, peas, dark green leafy vegetables, and lean red meat in your diet will be beneficial in receiving the iron you need.

And, while caffeine may boost your energy levels, it can also cause fatigue. I used to be an avid coffee drinker and would have myself a warm cup of coffee every day with no fail. I’ve since cut down on caffeine as my body would later feel tired and my productivity would be affected in the long run. My tip is to remove caffeine gradually, reducing your intake over time.

Lastly, to regain your balance and feel more at ease, avoid overextending yourself with others. The end of the year is busy, and you can easily find yourself spreading yourself too thin. To avoid ending the year completely run-down, prioritize your tasks first and attend to others when you can. By doing so you show kindness and love to yourself.

So many times, we centralize work and productivity and equate it to our sense of purpose and fulfillment. The idea of putting productivity above ourselves can lead to fatigue, stress, and burnout. One way to fix this is by coming to terms with the idea that we should derive purpose from things outside of our jobs. Finding something you love outside of work allows you to grow and learn more about who you are. Through creating and exploring my talents I have been able to find purpose in my own journey. 

If you’re experiencing year-end fatigue, burnout, or stress, it is a sign that something of importance in your life is no longer serving its purpose. Take this time to re-evaluate your goals, slow down, and find out what it is that you are neglecting. It’s never a bad idea to check in with yourself, and the end of the year is a great time for reflection.

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Pop Culture

The cast of the Harry Potter films reunite, but with one exception- JK Rowling

HBO Max shared that it would reunite the cast from all eight Harry Potter films for a special entitled Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return To Hogwarts. This retrospective is an honor to those who have been touched by the cultural phenomenon and still upheld the essence of the Wizarding World alive 20 years late. However, the noticeable absence of the creator of the series, JK Rowling from the reunion has caused much controversy.

The release of the special was said to feature Filmmaker Chris Columbus and actors Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint – who have not made a public appearance together since the premiere of, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2, in July 2011. But no mention of the author JK Rowling, who has been the main centre of controversy for her harmful and damaging opinions on transgender people.


[Video Description: Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts HBO Max Official Trailer.] via Youtube

Over the years Rowling has received much criticism for her views on transgender people. As someone who has been a fan of the enchanting film series over the years, I was quite disappointed to find out Rowling held alarming views on biological sex. It was in June 2020 when the author shared on Twitter an opinion pieced where she criticised an article for using the phrase “people who menstruate” including trans men, saying that it erases women. Rowling further spoke about biological sex by saying, “If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction”. “If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased,” she added. She then continued to support a person convicted of being discriminatory towards trans people, further invalidating the experiences of trans people. These statements were not only harmful but show carelessness on Rowlings end.

After receiving much backlash, she later explained that she respects “every trans person’s rights to live any way that feels authentic and comfortable to them”. “I would march if you were discriminated against on the basis of being trans,” she added. This was not the only controversy the author was involved in. In September 2020 she was called out for being transphobic after it was discovered that the villain in her latest book, Troubled Blood (written under her pseudonym Robert Galbraith), is a male serial killer who dresses as a woman to slay his victims. The book’s moral seems to never trust a man in a dress’ – sparked immediate backlash online. In a 3600 word essay written by Rowling, she attempted to elaborate and clarify the comments she made about trans people. The Fantastic Beasts screenwriter went on to address why trans women were a threat to feminism and to other people.  “I want trans women to be safe.  At the same time, I do not want to make natal girls and women less safe. When you throw open the doors of the bathrooms and changing rooms to any man who believes or feels he’s a woman – and, as I’ve said, gender confirmation certificates may now be granted without any need for surgery or hormones – then you open the door to any and all men who wish to come inside,” she wrote in the essay.

In the wake of these statements actors Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliff and Eddie Redmayne, who stars in her Harry Potter film series disapproved of the author for her views. Actor Rupert Grint, who plays Ron Weasley acknowledged that he felt he needed to speak up for transgender people following Rowling’s remarks. In an interview with Esquire, he stated “I am hugely grateful for everything that she’s done. I think that she’s extremely talented, and I mean, clearly, her works are genius”. He went on to say, “But yeah, I think also you can have huge respect for someone and still disagree with things like that”.

Daniel Radcliffe also shared his opinion on the author remarks by saying, “Transgender women are women. Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional health care associations who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo or I”.

Rowling’s exclusion from the filmed reunion is likely to be because of her beliefs on biological sex, that women are something more than a feeling. Her remarks of refusing to “bow down” to a movement that she believes to be doing “demonstrable harm in seeking to erode woman as a political and biological class and offering cover to predators like few before it”.

We are all entitled to our own opinions and what we choose to stan by but, it is important to be responsible and take careful consideration in what we choose to support. Other authors such as Gillian Philip, who has publically vouched for Rowling, was fired by her employer for standing up for Rowling on social media as she tweeted #IStandWithJKRowling.

As a result of the harmful comments made by the author, the special will only show Rowling in archival recordings taken from the first movie but will not make a new appearance in the special. Rowling’s and her representatives have not given any statements and have said they will not be giving any. The events that have led up to the decision of excluding Rowling reflect more on who she is and the harmful beliefs that she carries.

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Our codependency habits can be traced back to our childhood

 Oftentimes the habits that we form (good or bad) are learned in our formative years and carried into adulthood. When you enter your early 20s these habits make themselves known to you and are mirrored in the relationships that you form with others. Habits can be formed in early childhood or as you get older. These habits determine how you treat others and reflect how you feel about yourself. 

Habits are rituals and behaviors that we knowingly and unknowingly perform that help us carry out everyday activities such as brushing our teeth, taking a bath or a shower, fixing our hair in the morning, and unwittingly following the same routines every day without much thought put in.

There are three subcategories habits fall into. The first category is the habits that we don’t pay much attention to because they are a part of our daily life, such as tying shoelaces or brushing teeth. The category is habits that we have worked hard at establishing and are beneficial to our wellbeing like exercising, following a healthy diet, or sleeping early to get your 8 hours of sleep! The third category of habits are the habits that are not good for us, these are habits such as smoking, procrastination, overspending and finally the habits you form of codependency 

Codependency is the mental, physical, emotional or spiritual reliance on a partner, friend, or family member.

The word codependency was first forged in the 1950s, by members of the Anonymous Alcoholics as a way to support the partners of individuals who were involved in substance abused. 

However today, the term covers a much broader topic.

Codependency is a learned behavior. When we observe the behaviors of our parents (good and bad) as children, we make them our own. They can stem from having a parent or guardian who had difficulty with setting boundaries, could never say ‘no’ to others, was the martyr, had poor or unhealthy communication skills. These behaviors are learned early on and brought into our close and intimate relationships. 

Adults who grow up with parents that were emotionally unavailable are more likely to become codependent adults. And as adults, they will mostly find themselves in relationships with partners that are emotionally unavailable , exhibiting the wound that stems from their childhood. At first, you may excuse this behavior from the other person, in hopes that they will change or believe that you can be the one to change them. 

Our subconscious may hope to dream that one day the other person will acknowledge the love that we give and be inspired to change. And maybe if we give them more time, they will finally return all the love that we so desire. This kind of reasoning is harmful. It is more so when the other person displays abusive behavior. Codependency does not only exist in romantic relationships but can be seen in platonic relationships and friendships. In trying navigate relationships in my, I have found that I too have some codependent habits that have been not only harmful to the relationship but harmful to my wellbeing. Before starting my journey of healing I was unaware of these habits and I would find myself repeating the same unhealthy cycles when it came to my friendships and relationships. This all came to an end once I started becoming more self aware of myself and how my own behavior contributed to having to repeat these cycles.  Being aware of my codependent habits was the start of my healing process.

If you believe you are in a relationship where you carry out habits of being codependent, the first thing in becoming independent is to take a look at yourself first and not at others. Signs that you be codependent include feeling responsible for the actions of others, doing more than you should in your relationships to keep the peace, being afraid of being alone, needing the approval of others to attain your self-worth, challenges with adapting to change or making decisions for yourself, and having your own emotions determined by the thoughts and feelings of those around you.  

But here is the good news, codependency is a behavior you can unlearn. In order to hold space for all healthy relationships in your life, you need to heal yourself first. Start with being honest with yourself and others, in your communication and in expressing your needs and desires. Practice having positive thoughts and higher expectations to counteract the negative ones. Learn to not take things personally, not everything is yours to fix or change. Take breaks! Taking breaks is important in grounding yourself and remembering who you are. And last but not least establish boundaries. Establishing boundaries is one of my favorite things to do lately, not only with others but with yourself as well. Having boundaries has taught me where my needs begin and where the other person’s needs end.

As you navigate your way in trying to break the cycle of codependency, it may seem as though you are being selfish and unfair. You’re not. Putting yourself first is not selfish but rather self-care. Unlearning unhealthy habits needs one to be patient with themselves and allow for mistakes along the way, as you won’t always get it right. If you start to experience feelings of guilt when you make the initiative to put yourself first, know that it is okay and that you are still learning.  

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Celebrities Pop Culture

Are your favorite celebrities breaking gender norms, or just queerbaiting?

As gender roles blur, and sexuality being fluid, there have been allegations around some artists queerbaiting.

Queerbaiting can be defined as the practice of implying non-heterosexual relationships or attraction, to engage or lure in an LGBTQ+ audience without ever explicitly showing such relationships or sexual interactions. The term queerbaiting is used to critique the practice of queerbaiting as an attempt to capitalize on and take advantage of the appearance of LGBTQ+ relationships when there is no actual real LGBTQ+ representation.

Queerbaiting can be seen in TV shows where interactions between two same-sex characters are suggestive of sexual attraction or relationship, but the characters are never in such a relationship. This is especially so when their sexuality is not depicted or mentioned. For instance, Tegan and Michaela, in the TV series How To Get Away With Murder. Yes, Tegan is a mentor to Michaela, but why do we get a closeup when Michaela expresses a devasted face when Tegan chooses to spend time with Annalise. It is subtleties like these that insinuates that there is more to the relationship of the two characters.

[Image description: Tegan and Michaela holding hands] Via ABC
[Image description: Tegan and Michaela holding hands] Via ABC
While the Oxford English Dictionary recently recognized the term in March 2021, it has been used in the cultural lexicon for decades. The use of the term queerbaiting dates to the early 1950s, where it was first referred to as the encouragement of anti-LGBTQIA+ hatred. However, since the 2010s, the use and meaning of the term have changed and, is used in reference to opportunistic acts that aim to appeal to LGBTQIA+ audiences. Although the word “queer” has a history of being used as a slur, it is now used in its reclaimed sense, in the context of LGBTQ+ identities. The word queer is used to describe and refer to things involving people whose gender identity or sexual orientation falls outside the heterosexual mainstream.

In June and towards the month of July 2021, accusations of queerbating surfaced in our pop-cultural discourse at many celebrities, such as Madonna, Billie Eilish and repeat offender Harry Styles. The allegations were that non-queer artists were ‘appropriating’ queer culture and aesthetics in efforts to secure the monetary support and the support of LGBTQ+ fans without having to identify themselves outright openly as queer. This portrayal allows them to brush up alongside the seeming edginess of queer identity, without having to pay the price of openly being themselves in a queerphobic society.

In her music video for the song “Lost Cause”, Billie Eilish is having fun and dancing with other women, in a manner that some see as sexually suggestive. When Eilish shared photos from the video with the message “I love girls”, that was read by some as being indicative of a sexual attraction towards women. Critics, including those of the LGBTQ+ community, defended Eilish and rejected the accusation of queerbaiting and, emphasized that no one should be pressured in having to disclose or clarify their sexuality.


The central principle of the queerbaiting critique is targeted at celebrities who are often on the fence about announcing their sexuality. Comments that have brought on widespread criticisms of queerbaiting range from Harry Styles who draws on a feminine and playful ambiguous display of himself to, the comparison made between Madonna’s 2003 VMA kiss with Britney Spears, and Christina Aguilera and, Rapper Lil Nas X’s performance at the BET Awards in June 2021 where he kissed one of his male back-up dancers. Several cultural moments that were seen as groundbreaking at the time are now being scrutinized, as real queer representation is being shown on screen.

Much of the criticism can be taken from a celebrity’s queerness being valid only if said explicitly in public spaces and interviews, or if represented to expectation. Ambiguity is seen as a wrongful act. In Harry Style’s case, this displayed itself as frustration that he portrays himself to be bisexual and continues to be winked at rather than explicitly proving or declaring that he does have sexual relations with other men. In as much as it may be seen as queerbaiting, we cannot accuse him of it without specifying that he is in fact not queer. Our assumptions about his relationship with queerness are only just a leap in the dark.

It can be said that the argument around queerbaiting, recognizes a material injustice and that many queer people are in a fight for their lives and livelihoods. While the sour double standard of praise is given to stars such as Styles, those who originate this aesthetic are faced with daily violence and exclusion. However, forcing one to out themselves as queer can also be seen as violent as it takes away the choice to be candid about their sexuality from the get-go. So maybe some people would like to have their queer cake and eat it too!

Not allowing others to self-determine their sexuality and even doing so vaguely falsely assumes that the queer identity or is rigid, contained and dictated when it is not.

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Pop Culture

Travis Scott shows that fame and ethical responsibility go hand in hand

With great influence, currency and power come great responsibility. Compared to the average person, artists, musicians and actors do in fact have moral obligations towards their fans. For instance, Travis Scott and the mass casualty incident that occurred at Astroworld in November this year.

If you’ve been following Travis Scott throughout the year, you probably already know the broad strokes of the tragedy that occurred on the 8th of November, but here’s a quick introduction: the Astroworld festival was first held in 2018 at NRG Park in Houston. Scott was a huge fan of the amusement park (which closed in 2005) as it inspired his 2018 album. In addition, the festivals have been said to have a specific theme that is particular to Scott’s aesthetic. A merger of Marilyn Manson and Willy Wonka, rides, and swings along with magicians and dancers in full mirror suits. There was an intentional eeriness to it. A murky twist that made otherwise rides suitable for children, appropriate for Scott’s audience that is predominantly young adults.

The causes of this tragedy were entirely due to mundane negligence.

Since 2018, the festival has grown significantly. From 35 000 people attending then, to now 50 000 attendees, forcing the concert to become a two-day event. Back in May, it was said by several outlets that 100 000 tickets sold out in less than an hour. This brings into question what the real number of attendees was. It’s not surprising that 10 people were reported to have died and many injured when the crowd was compressed toward the stage at the  Astroworld concert. It’s more surprising that tragedies like this are not prevented.

Despite the outlandish and thankfully short-lived satanism conspiracy theories, the causes of this tragedy were entirely due to mundane negligence. When examining the principles of crowd management and what may have gone wrong at the festival, there are two things that stand out.  The crowd was plagued with disorderly and even violent elements. According to the Guardian, there was an operations plan in place however, it did not include protocols for a mass crowd outpour. When crowd management is properly adhered to, the staff can identify the characteristics and frequency of the crowd and respond in accordance with a prearranged strategy.

What was more alarming about the management of this event, was that there weren’t enough medics on duty. Those present were not adequately trained, making it almost impossible to walk through the crowds to people in need of help. While the industry requirement is to ensure that for every 250 people there is one crowd manager, there are strict guidelines as to what kind of training those managers must have. Some organizations even offer 15 to 30 minutes of online course training, which underlines the little to no regard the organizer’s had for the safety of the people who attend the event.

The tragedy that happened at the Astroworld concert could have been easily prevented had there been a careful and calculated plan

It’s been reported that Scott tried to stop the concert numerous times in an attempt to draw attention to audience members needing help from medics on duty but he was not aware of the severeness of what was going on. In as much as he may have attempted to stop the show, too many people lost their lives for Scott and his team to not have made responsible decisions.

Scott may say that he cares about his fans, but he has on many occasions has famously encouraged “raging” at his shows. Not only that but the musician does not institute age limits and openly markets himself to younger audiences. In 2017, he encouraged a fan to jump from a second-floor balcony during a show in New York City. It’s uncertain if the fan suffered any injuries, but this is just one of the many reckless acts he has initiated.

The tragedy that happened at the Astroworld concert could have been easily prevented had there been a careful and calculated plan regarding the availability of medics on duty, adequate training for medics and maybe a little compassion shown from Travis Scott and his team would have gone a long way. To be fair we could say that with all the blinding lights, hazy smoke, and an elevated platform, Scott could not have been able to grasp the severity of what was happening in the crowd.  But his crew and management team could. They were on the ground and bearing witness to the cries for help, suffocation, and gruesome scenes of many fans fighting for their lives. Even though Scott was on stage, we have seen many artists over the years pause their performance when a fan needs help or is in distress. In 2011 at London’s Hammersmith Apollo performance, the singer Adele paused the show when someone in the crowd fainted. It was only when medics arrived and the fan was taken care of did she proceed with the performance.

We have seen many artists over the years pause their performance when a fan needs help or is in distress

In the greater scheme of things, this conversation is not about the satanism conspiracy theories that have made their rounds on the internet or music or even unruly crowds. It is about professional responsibility of which Travis Scott is failing dismally at this. He may have a ‘cool’ job, but it comes with a great deal of responsibility and in this case safety and security. In the same way that traditional businesses must ensure that their building is safe to occupy, and offices aren’t fired hazards, artists have a moral, ethical, and legal responsibility to make sure their shows or events are safe for attendees. This is why his brief pauses during the show are not only to blame but were damning and ineffective.

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TV Shows Uncategorized Pop Culture

Netflix’s Sex Education does better at teaching sex ed than most schools

Netflix’s comedy Sex Education, now in its third season, is centred around a group of students and teachers at a British high school. The show aims to teach its viewers about sex, and sexuality and, often does a greater job than most schools sex ed classes.

The premise of the show is that students at Moordale High are not receiving satisfactory sex education programs, so Otis (Asa Butterfield) and his classmate Maeve (Emma Mackey) set up a sex therapy service for their peers. The young teenagers seek out material on how to improve one’s love life and overcome sexual problems. The two find often correct and honest information, that they give to those asking for advice.

In the first episode of season three, we see Dr Jean Milburn (Gillian Anderson) do an interview on her new book, Uneducated Nation: A Sex Education Manifesto for Our Youth. When the host asks her to speak about the book, she replies by saying she was, “shocked at the ineptitude” of school sex ed classes. So, she wrote a book that is an “easy-to-read manual to help empower our teenagers, and their parents, as they become sexually active young adults.” The interviewer responds to her, “Sounds a bit racy.” Dr Milburn replies, “Well, if, by racy, you mean highly researched and completely essential to the health and well-being of our children, then, yes, I suppose it is.”

Milburn’s response could be used to describe the series itself, racy but essential. Sex Education could also be a mirror to how school-based sexual education curricula could advance the communication of pertinent material to curious and impulsive teenagers.

Sexually provocative, but educational, Sex Education is one show that exemplifies how narratives in popular culture can represent teenage sexuality positively. Often the positive aspect of sex is left outside of the classroom. Teenagers are sexual beings too who desire and deserve sex-positive information.

For instance, in the first episode of season three, the opening scene is lively, teasing, and sexy. The scene moves between various moments of sexual pleasure. From heterosexual sex to masturbating while watching porn, gay sex between young men, gay role-playing sex between young women, online sex, virtual reality sex and, the pleasure of reading a book while indulging in cheese puffs. This series of sexual arrangements not only shows a range of desires across ages but sexualities and body sizes.

One of the things to note about the show is how it does not have any messages or hints about abstinence, fear that is related to representations of teen sex, or timidness around what sex is. Instead, it portrays a very open, bold, and authentic truth about what relationship teenagers have (or should) with sex.

Sex Education also debunks misinformation about sex, such as the idea that pornography is only harmful to teens. Watching porn can be “a bit of fun,” to quote one of the characters. In addition, Sex Education debunks another assumption where one of the characters falsely believes that a large penis guarantees one sexual satisfaction and, another thought that her labia should be tucked in.

The quality of sex education differs from one education system to another. However, it is clear that the need for more conversations centred around pleasure must be prioritized instead of focusing only on reproduction. Sex Education contests a commonly held perception about teenagers that they should be sheltered from the ills of sex and sexual material. A narrative portrayed by teens and about teens can bring about crucial tools to invite conversations between children and adults about sex.

The discussion brought by television shows like Sex Education emphasizes and highlights the need for more comprehensive sexual education not only in schools but in cultures and in family homes themselves.

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I love weddings, but they make me melancholy

It’s unpopular, I think, to admit how much weddings mean to me. As a diehard romantic from a young age, there’s a lot I love about weddings as an aspiring bride — the chance to wear a beautiful one-of-a-kind gown, the attention bestowed upon me, the commitment expressed through vows, the promise of a lifetime of togetherness, the celebratory atmosphere of it all… it’s safe to say I’m obsessed. 

And yet, several weddings I’ve attended in the past few years have left a sad taste in my mouth. 

After one wedding in the summer several years ago, I drove to a parking lot and cried. At another wedding, I sequestered myself to a corner and moped. I felt so alone, surrounded by adoring couples and a celebration of love. I spent a third wedding mourning that my relationship with the bride wasn’t what it once was. 

I’ve always struggled with jealousy. Or maybe it’s more accurate to say that I’ve struggled with comparison, which has led to my feelings of jealousy. I’m constantly holding myself up against those around me, measuring us, and coming up short in my own estimation. Usually, I compare myself to my friends and family — my brother got more Facebook likes on his post; my best friend is more beautiful; a writer friend got a book deal before me. I’m looking for reasons to love myself and have fallen into the trap of comparison, except I always come up short.

As much as I’ve loved watching the couples celebrating their love during those three weddings, I couldn’t help but compare myself to them. I’m 28, and my list of “nevers” in the dating world stretches like a CVS receipt. Never been in a relationship. Never been on a second date. Never been kissed. Never held hands. On and on it goes. The only thing I have done is go on two first dates. Two whole dates! In 28 years! 

And here I thought someday I’d be a bride!

It’s just too easy to feel like a fool, and it’s so easy to resent the people who are getting married while I’m not. When one of my family members married several years ago, I remember attending the wedding and feeling true joy for him and his bride. It was an honor to stand up at the front of the church with the wedding party. I loved the new dress I bought just for the occasion to celebrate with the happy couple and their guests.

After the ceremony and festivities ended, I took off in my five-inch heels and pretty new dress, got into my car, drove to Walmart, and cried. I cried because it dawned on me, at the time, that I was 20 and despite my strong desire to fall in love and have my own forever story, I had never been on a date. All my crushes had been unrequited. I was heartsick and devastated. The high of the celebration was wearing off, leaving nothing but sorrow.

It’s been eight years since that experience. Last summer I went to my best friend’s wedding – this time around I loved celebrating with her. I was emotional throughout the ceremony –  it was beautiful, moving, and I was unspeakably elated for my friend. During the dinner, I managed to forget that I was there alone. 

I’m so grateful I was able to celebrate my friend’s wedding this way. I regret that I got so caught up in my own issues at the other weddings that I couldn’t enjoy the celebration right in front of me. Moving forward, I will try to revel in the love showcased in future weddings I attend and put to rest all thoughts of my own future.

Maybe someday I’ll have my own wedding; maybe I never will. But one fact I’m sure won’t change is that I’ll stay a little bit obsessed with the institution of a wedding.

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Culture Life

I didn’t realize how white my upbringing was until I moved to London

Spain is a very white country – I didn’t notice the extent of it, though, until I moved to London.

In Spain, we rarely talk about race. At least I never did. To give an example, Spain doesn’t include a racial or ethnic category in their census and official documents never ask you to state your racial background. Therefore, an official breakdown of the country’s population by race doesn’t exist.

Genetically speaking, Spaniards are a mix of the different civilizations that have conquered the Iberian Peninsula throughout history, including the Visigoths (Northern Europe), Romans (Italy), and the Moors (Northern Africa). However, if we were to categorize the ethnicity of the majority of the population, they would be white.

Nonetheless, I never realized that I was living in a bubble. I went to a school where everyone only two people in my whole year (around 150 people) were people of color, and those two people were both transracial adoptees and therefore had been raised in a white family. Moreover, everyone was also Christian, or at least ‘culturally Christian’.

According to a survey done in April 2020, 61.2% of the Spanish population considered themselves Catholic. Out of the rest of the population, 36.1% of people identified themselves as agnostic or atheist, and 1.8% said that they practiced a religion different from Catholicism. This is of course related to the fact that, until 1975, Catholicism was the country’s official religion.

The fact that Spain’s population is mostly white and Christian is neither a good nor a bad thing. But it made for a very narrow experience of the world. I was never conscious of it until I moved to the UK.

I moved to London in 2016, an exciting year, to say the least, right after the Brexit referendum and before the USA election. Immigration was, therefore, a hot topic of conversation. Moving to London allowed me to come into contact with people that looked different to me, that believed in different things, that had gone through struggles, and it felt like my whole world opened up.

Granted, London is still in Europe. However, it has a very diverse population. In 2019, 40.2% of its residents identified as Asian, Black, or Other ethnic groups. I was excited about being an international student and I often asked people (I admit it, mostly POC) where they were from. The question usually (and understandably) resulted in annoying looks and people stating “I’m from here.”

Since then, I have learned about Jewish, Muslim, and Hindu traditions. I have learned to not make assumptions about people’s origins, diets, or religions. I have learned to recognize the statements and attitudes that are disrespectful, and I notice when a group of people in a position of power have no POC amongst them.

I notice when people stare at my non-white friends, or when they always get the ‘randomly checked’ at the airport.

I realized I had never been fully tolerant, or accepting because I had never been in a situation where I had to be. It is very easy to say that you believe a certain thing or stand up for something when no one is questioning it.

Leaving Spain put me to the test.

I have committed mistakes, I am sure, But I have learned to identify internalized racism and strive to be the best ally that I can be. I have learned the importance of listening and understanding. The most important step, however, was for me to recognize how much I needed to learn.

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History Historical Badasses

This Somalian queen took girl power to a whole new level

If you grew up in Somalia, one of the first childhood tales you are told is about an ancient Somalian queen who fought for female empowerment and championed gender equality. Her name was Queen Arawelo and her mark on history is one that is not as widely recognized as it should be today.

The first of three daughters, Queen Arawelo took the throne of what is today’s Somalia after the death of her brutal, sexist father in 15 A.D. Under Arawelo’s rule, stereotypical gender roles were reversed as girls ruled the world and men stayed at home. Queen Arawelo challenged patriarchial norms and is considered one of the leading feminists of folklore history.

Having never followed the expected social roles her position and gender dictated, Arawelo possessed essential leadership traits before she took power. She demanded the same education as boys and engaged in activities regarded as too “masculine” for women to participate in. During her father’s reign, when the famine-spreading Buraan droughts devastated the region, Arawelo organized a group of women to fetch water and hunt to prevent inhabitants from starving and migrating, usually men’s work.

When Queen Arawelo took power, she was determined to give all women the same opportunities as men by banishing all gender roles. She actively encouraged women to take on responsibilities perceived as masculine and become providers for their families. Arawelo hired women for crucial political positions as she believed that women held key attributes men did not when it came to their approach to power. Queen Arawelo found women to be natural peacekeepers and more efficient leaders. Growing up, Arawelo saw how men were more often instigators, participators, and conductors of war as opposed to taking more diplomatic routes when it came to conflict.

But not everyone embraced her alternate way of thinking. Furious by her convictions, Queen Arawelo’s husband objected to her self-ascribed role as the breadwinner and believed that women should only focus on their domestic and child-rearing duties, leaving the “important” things to the men.

Angered by her husband’s stance, Queen Arawelo responded by demanding all women across the land to abandon their “womanly” roles. The strike was successful in establishing a role reversal whereby men took on child-rearing whilst the women became leaders in things like politics and hunting. Not only did Queen Arawelo fight for the liberation of women, but she also fought for women to hold power and authority in her kingdom.

As Arawelo lived so long ago, her story and portrayal have become somewhat knotted in myths and legends, particularly when it comes to her alleged radical forms of punishment. Some say that out of hatred for men, she trained women to incite violence against their husbands and sons as retribution for being raped in her youth, as well as castrating men to keep them from reproducing. Others say she used to hang rapists and prisoners by their testicles. Whether these legends are true or not, Queen Arawelo unequivocally made men think twice before committing a crime.

Just like her extraordinary life, Queen Arawelo’s death is also shrouded in mystery. One legend that seems to be a historical favorite is that Arawelo was killed by her grandson who wanted to return the reign to male hands and remove all notions of female power.

Queen Arawelo remains one of the greatest rulers in Somalian history. She defied gender roles and what it meant to be a woman and was proud to stand up for her matriarchal values upon taking the throne. Under Arawelo, the country experienced a long period of prosperity.

In Somalian culture today, a variation on her name is still a Somalian term for a girl or woman who is assertive, strong, brave, and independent: Caraweelo. Her relentless fight for gender equality motivated her throughout her rule, but the sad truth is that the fight for equality continues in 2021. Women today are continuing to fight for the values Queen Arawelo proudly stood for in 15 AD…and we mustn’t forget those who led the way and championed female empowerment.

To discover more stories from Somalian culture, read Folktales from Somalia by Ahmed A. Hanghe.

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