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Nike Releases Its Black Dollars’ Matter Campaign, and I Love It

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First of all, Nike ain’t new to this, they are absolutely true to this. Last year, around this time, I decided I needed to address the NikeID Custom Air Huarache that had been weighing on my spirit. As I was trying to fix it with some new shoes because I thought it would make me feel better, completely forgetting Solange’s warning, I pooched (shout out to King of Reads) over to Nike.com and immediately noticed the full array of Blackness prevalent on the site. Their homepage was so steeped in Black culture, I thought for sure Nike.com was tracking me and created this website for my personal consumption just to get me to buy two pair of sneakers. It worked.

This latest ad campaign featuring Serena Williams as the mythic tennis Goddess and Colin Kaepernick as the self-sacrificing Black King was not surprising at all. It would appear that the Nike marketing department took a look at the numbers and realized the one thing I wish more corporations would get – Black people love Nike’s shit and they decided to talk directly to us. And I bet these same statistics show that Black women are far more educated with more disposable income than cis-het men, and Nike decided to really pay attention to what we get excited about – Serena is definitely it. Serena’s ad, which is beautiful in the most beautiful way, is a thinly veiled manifestation of Black Girl Magic. Reflecting the community that keeps you fed in your advertisements is so simple that it makes me wonder why Waffle House and Papa John’s and Chick-Fil-A don’t get it. You would have thought Black Panther’s success would have been enough, Marvel got it. Rumor has it they are planning to refilm scenes of Infinity Wars 2 to show more Wakanda. And I’m buying all the tickets.

Lest we forget, it must be mentioned that Nike is a multi-million (billion maybe?) dollar, international corporation, and corporations cannot, by their very nature, have morals. Corporations exist purely for capitalistic reasons, and there are no morals or high-mindedness in capitalism. To those of you prepared to build an altar to Nike, simmer down (Listen, they allegedly still have those babies in workshops stitching up all this sh*t, so let’s not get it twisted). It’s purely a dollar and cents thing; and honestly, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Really, that’s the only good thing about capitalism – my money (or lack thereof) has the potential to influence you to represent my needs. Nike gets it.

To those of you prepared to build an altar to Nike, simmer down (Listen, they allegedly still have those babies in workshops stitching up all this sh*t, so let’s not get it twisted). It’s purely a dollar and cents thing. Click To Tweet

In my lifetime, I have spent a small fortune on Nike products just like most of the people in my family, all my friends, my neighbors, too many of us for them to ignore. Kanye said it best, “We shine because they hate us, floss ’cause they degrade us. We tryna buy back our 40 acres.” And if Nike is going to keep doing this, they can keep getting my money.

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Jada Speaks on August Alsina Drama in Latest Red Table Talk

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In her first “Red Table Talk” since the infamous August Alsina-Jada Pinkett-Smith drama began, Jada admitted that she did in fact have a relationship with singer August Alsina. 

In response to Alsina’s claim that he was involved in a romantic years-long relationship with the actress, Jada said their relationship began “4 and a half years ago” at a time when both her and August were going through an immense amount of change in their lives. 

“You and I were going through a very difficult time,” Jada said, speaking to her husband Will Smith. “You kicked me to the curb.. We basically broke up.” Will agreed that he was “done with her ass” while commenting that “marriages go through that.” 

When her husband asked her why she chose the relationship with Alsina, she replied “I just wanted to feel good. It had been so long since I felt good, and it was really a joy to help heal somebody.” Since news of the relationship broke, much of the criticism Pinkett-Smith has faced revolved around her possibly wanting to heal August as he had recently lost his sister and taken on custody of her children. In an interesting comparison, she likened her need to help broken people – such as August, at the time – to an addiction.

She argued that she “was really able to do some really deep healing” before he suddenly broke communication and hadn’t had any contact with her since then. According to both Jada and Will Alsina cut the Smiths off “years ago” and that’s why Alsina even mentioning all this now was so “strange.”. 

The actress then went on to thank her husband for being such a good companion that both of them “could make mistakes without fear of losing [their] family.” They both expressed gratitude in each other for sticking around especially when, according to Will, Jada messed up so badly he wasn’t sure he was even going to speak to her again. 

The two shared laughs then reaffirmed their marriage some more by talking about how whatever Jada did that had Will so pissed off wasn’t enough to scare him away. 

In all, this latest installment of “Red Table Talk” was interesting to say the least. Check it out below.

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Simone Biles Stuns On Vogue Cover

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Stop everything! Simone Biles, possibly the greatest living gymnast in the world, on the cover of Vogue. She’s giving power. She’s giving sophistication. She’s giving ballerina. She’s giving praise dancer. She’s GIVING YOU LIFE.

We’re all here for it, too. And why wouldn’t we be? Simone is adorable, kind, and the future of Black athleticism. To make this shoot even more iconic, people have also pointed out that her shoot is aesthetically similar to the shoots Annie Leibovitz, who is also the Biles’ photographer, has done for Serena Williams in the past, and I can see it.

One interesting, and sad, parallel here, is that Biles has come under racist fire in the past for her appearance. Leibovitz’s work captures the musculature in the bodies of her subjects and glorifies them. These photos don’t hide Simone’s body or make any effort “accent” them. They center her body, which has been scrutinized throughout the years, in a way that Black people have seen only occasionally in the past. These earth tones? The softness of the focus? The high fashion? You can’t deny any of it!

As you might remember, Serena also did a maternity shoot with a similar aesthetic. (Same photographer) So, I’m interested to see how she if she might do the same if that time ever comes.

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Kanye West Isn’t Your Father

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Fox News

Disclaimer: This is the opinion of one young writer, and does not reflect the views and opinions of KingOfReads.com or its proprietor.

I’ve spent a lot of time with Kanye West’s music. I was born in 1994, so Kanye arrived on the scene at a time when I was a developing Queer boy. I had so many feelings, these uncontrollable hormonal emotions, that Kanye’s music really spoke to in some ways. That said, he was trash. Like most of our heroes, he was trash. But we ate it up, didn’t we? Now, some of us have outgrown him. Some of us need to grow up.

Kanye has, yet again, let his ego do the talking. Whether you believe he is serious or not, he wants us to believe that he is running for president. He also wants you to believe he loves Black people. It’s dangerous for you to believe either. Kanye has a non-Black wife, whom he has allowed to scold and threaten the Black people running the foundation named after his Black mother. Kanye was (is?) an ardent supporter of Donald Trump. Kanye implied that slavery was a choice. Kanye’s given you every indication that his interests lie with his current state of mind and y’all (spelled: Black cishet men) ignore the fact that said interests consistently cause harm. That makes you complicit. So let’s talk about it.

Kanye Sunday Service

As JustLatasha once said, “I’m sorry your fathers never came home.” Kanye is not your long-lost Daddy. Neither is Nas, Jay-Z, J. Cole, or Robert Kelly. These men are businessmen. Their allegiance is to the money they make. Don’t get me wrong. I’m anti-capitalist, but I understand that Black people need money to survive, and in order to leverage capital for progress against oppressive systems. All these men have enough money to survive for several hundred years. Yet, instead of redistributing it or supporting the work of people who have been fighting toward Black liberation for decades, they sprinkle a few tax-deductible dollars into organizations that may or may not actually appropriate these funds correctly, or give you a soundbite that makes you think they’re on your side. Then, they turn around and say things like “we’ve moved past kneeling” and “400 years?! That sounds like a choice.” They spew rhetoric, not backed by facts or even well-thought-out opinion, that undermines people who have done the reading, who have done the research required to participate in the discussion. The problem is, at every turn, Black cishet men want to believe that they’re “playing chess not checkers” when it’s clear they aren’t even on the board.

Y’all have this faith in these men, as if they somehow are providing something substantive in your life. Let’s take a look at a few of the “chess” moves Kanye performed today. He told you vaccines were “the mark of the beast”. He said one of the police officers who aided in the murder of George Floyd didn’t deserve to be in jail. He implied that God was punishing us with COVID-19 and that prayer was all that was needed to stop it. But when he was asked about taxes, this man who’s worth more than some small countries said “I haven’t done enough research on that yet. I will research that with the strongest experts that serve God and come back with the best solution.” And the worst part is that he doesn’t have to answer for any of this. You’ll all do it for him. You’ll defend him until the day he dies because you see him as a patriarch, a father-figure, here to guide you through life in the way your father never could. Guess what, Tiger, daddy isn’t really out for a pack of smokes. He’s in Wyoming with his White wife and a whole lot of money he doesn’t want your dirty little fingers to touch.

Do you feel attacked? You should. Toyin is dead. Tony McDade is dead. Trans women are dying at such a rapid pace, I have lost track. George Floyd’s gasping death is still playing in my mind, and Breonna Taylor’s killers are still not answering for their crimes. These are our chess pieces. You, not Kanye, should be moving them, but your fingers are too preoccupied defending a man who doesn’t know you exist and never wanted to.

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