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BLKWRAP: Go Big or Go Home

Image: Janelle Monae In Concert - New York, New York

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 13: Janelle Monae, Isis Valentino, Alex Belle, Roman GianArthur, Jidenna, Nate Wonder and Chuck Lightning perform during the Eephus tour on August 13, 2015 in New York City. NIKON CORPO / Getty Images

From politicians to pop stars the message this week was go big, or go home. On the political front we have well over 400 days until the presidential election and we already have some folks in financial trouble.

Former Governor Rick Perry is giving his staff an IOU because he can’t pay his bills; essentially his bags are packed and at the door. Bernie Sanders, everyone’s favorite lefty is nipping at Hillary Clinton’s heels not only in the polls but garnering crowds in the tens of thousands.

Image: Bernie Sanders
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., lifts his arms in celebration as he speaks at a rally, Sunday, Aug. 9, 2015, at the Moda Center in Portland, Ore. Troy Wayrynen / AP

#BlackLivesMatters is proving that disruption is part of America’s founding principle forcing bi-partisan attention to the BLM movement. They ain’t going home anytime soon—so buckle up candidates, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Janelle Monáe and her Wondaland crew are showing us all what it means to be “woke”. This week The Electric Lady released a revamped version of her song, “Hell You Talmbout”. Between the hypnotic beat Janelle and other featured artists including Deep Cotton, St. Beauty, Jidenna, Roman GianArthur and George 2.0 chanted the names of slain black men and woman whose lives were taken by police.

On her Instagram Monáe said that she wanted this song to be “vessel” that “carries the unbearable pain of millions”. Janelle Monáe continued her reign when she explained her Wondaland collective as “a movement to help lift the community with music and show a different perspective of young black artists.” Mission accomplished!

Janelle Monáe talks about Wondaland, Sean Combs’ support 4:08

Pop Off of the Week: Sucker Punched

What happens in an NFL locker room no longer stays in the locker room. What would cause someone to sucker punch his teammate—breaking his jaw? $600 dollar debt.

The fight (well you can’t really call it that when only one person is swinging) occurred in the New York Jets locker room, when IK Enemkpali, a reserve linebacker, cold-cocked fellow teammate Geno Smith and team quarterback in the face. The altercation began because of a charity event, which Enemkpali paid $600 for Smith to attend but he didn’t show. Smith said he would reimburse but didn’t and then the gloves came off. Now, Enemkpali is off the team and Smith is out for the next 6-10 weeks. Who knew charity events could cause such violence?

Image: IK Enemkpali
Buffalo Bills' IK Enemkpali, released this week by the New York Jets, speaks to the media at NFL football training camp, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015, in Pittsford, N.Y. The Bills claimed the second-year player off of waivers on Wednesday, a day after he was released by the Jets because he hit quarterback Geno Smith with a sucker punch, breaking his jaw. Mike Groll / AP

Poliwood Round-Up: Trending Topics in the #BlackTwitterverse This Week

Trend of the Week: #StraightOutta

In 1988 the world was introduced to the unapologetic rhymes of N.W.A. with their debut album “Straight Outta Compton”. During their reign as America’s #1 Gangsta Rap group they brought attention to the over-policing that was occurring in Compton, poverty, drugs and more.

Now, over two decades later the biopic of how group members: Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Easy-E, Arabian Prince, DJ Yella and MC Ren came together. The marketing for the film, which included a meme generator, has been flawless and went viral this week with a “Straight Outta” meme—even the White House got in on the fun.

THREE: Teen Cultural Warrior

Hunger Games actress Amandla Stenberg is dropping more knowledge about cultural appropriation and this time it’s for Dazed and Confused magazine. In the feature Stenberg had this to say, “I want to make things that have an impact on how we look at the world. I know it’s a tall glass to fill, but it’s a glass that really does need to be filled, as an African American woman.”

She goes on to discuss her thoughts on other conscious teens:

Sometimes I meet teenagers who are much wiser than many adults I’ve met, because they haven’t let any insecurities or doubts about themselves get in the way of their thoughts.

I can’t wait to see what she does next—this is one girl that is on FIRE.

Image: Amandla Stenberg
Amandla Stenberg arrives at the Women in Film 2015 Crystal And Lucy Awards at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza on Tuesday, June 16, 2015 in Los Angeles. Richard Shotwell / AP

TWO: Revelation

The seriousness of street harassment just received another powerful voice. This week singer Alicia Keys wrote an essay on her site discussing how she used to dress like a tomboy to deter the harassment from men on the streets.

Here’s an excerpt:

I definitely started hiding when I got old enough to walk down my NY streets alone. I started to notice a drastic difference in how men would relate to me if I had on jeans, or if I had on a skirt, or if my hair was done pretty. I could tell the difference, I could feel the animal instinct in them and it scared me.

From Blitz To Hits 5th Anniversary Celebration
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 11: Alicia Keys at Stage 48 on August 11, 2015 in New York City. Shareif Ziyadat / Getty Images

ONE: September Just Got Bey’d

How many times can one person make history? If you’re Beyoncé your only limits are your imagination. Queen Bey just landed Vogue’s coveted September cover. Beyoncé is the first black female artist to grace the September issue. While this is Bey’s third cover for the publication, September is the issue that everyone in the world waits for with baited breath, they even made a documentary about it.

If the opening lines aren’t going to have you running to the stands August 14th, I don’t know what will.

Writer Margo Jefferson begins her piece with this:

What do we want from the glamorous, powerful women we call divas or icons or cultural forces? We want them to want—and in our names get—everything they possibly can. Success in work and love. Sexual pleasure. Money and power. We want them to embody multiple fantasies. We want them to make us believe that exciting realities are just around the corner.

Vogue