Posts tagged with "Instagram"

Chadwick Boseman mural inspires Downtown Disney

September 28, 2020

A powerful tribute to beloved actor Chadwick Boseman, who died in late August at the age of 43, has been unveiled in California’s Downtown Disney District.

The mural, entitled “King Chad,” was created by former Disney Imagineer Nikkolas Smith and depicts Boseman, who played King T’Challa in “Black Panther,” giving a Wakanda salute to a child wearing a hospital gown and a “Black Panther” mask, ABC-TV’s Good Morning America reports..

Boseman, who succumbed to colon cancer, had famously visited with children at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.

“This one is special. My King Chad tribute is now on a wall on display at Downtown Disney,” Smith wrote on Instagram on September 24. “It is a full circle moment for me: My final two projects as a Disney Imagineer last summer were working on the Children’s Hospital project and the Avengers Campus.

“To millions of kids, T’Challa was a legend larger than life, and there was no one more worthy to fill those shoes than Chadwick Boseman,” Smith added, noting,. I’m so thankful to be able to honor Chadwick’s life and purpose in this way.”

Disneyland is not yet open to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Downtown Disney reopened in July, GMA reports,  with capacity restrictions.

Research contact: @GMA

The meaning behind the #FilterDrop campaign you’re seeing on Instagram

September 9, 2020

While “authenticity” is highly valued these days, you wouldn’t know it by looking at social media: Just as many women wouldn’t leave the house without some form of makeup, many Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter users wouldn’t post a selfie without a filter.

In the age of image-altering apps like Facetune and seemingly flawless influencers, many would likely admit to being filter-dependent. In fact, according to a survey results posted by Bustle, fully one-third (33%) of girls and young women will not post selfies online without using a filter. 

The findings, published by the UK-based charity Girlguiding, highlighted that two out of five of the young women (40%) surveyed “feel upset” that they can’t look like the way they do online.

Between influencer culture and social media ads and posts, more than half of the girls said they have seen ads that have made them “feel pressured to look different”—and this figure is higher for girls who identify as LGBTQ.

The findings also revealed girls from Black, Asian, and minority backgrounds are “more likely” than their white peers not to use social media “because of fear of criticism of their bodies.”

As part of their 2020 survey, which spoke to more than 2,000 young women aged 11-21, Bustle reports that Girlguiding is calling out the apps, filters, and online adverts that “knock girls’ confidence.”

In reaction, a new #FilterDrop campaign has emerged online—but what is it and how is it helping?

UK-based model and make-up artist Sasha Louise Pallari launched the #FilterDrop campaign after noticing influencers “advertising a makeup brand with a beautifying filter on.” Taking to Instagram, the 28-year-old claims “false advertising” in this way is contributing to low self-esteem.

“I so strongly wish you would realize the vast scale of damage the constant use of filters are,” she wrote in the caption. “Flawless, poreless, scarless, wrinkle-less skin does not exist and it’s only because of the overuse of these [filters] we believe it does.”

In a video posted to her Instagram page, the model showcased how drastically different filters can make you look. In the clip, she’s seen heavily filtered and with her “normal skin.”

And, following the response to her filter-free images, Pallari has since devoted her Instagram page to normalizing skin blemishes on the app, as well as exposing the deceptive nature of filters.

She writes in another post: “Please think about what using filters all the time is doing to our already damaged society. A LOT of money is made from us not feeling good enough. So let this be a reminder that your pores, wrinkles and the texture on your skin are beautiful, yet still the least interesting things about you.”

The model also questioned the lasting damage filters could have on children who may base their self-worth on “how beautiful they are” and “the filter they need in order to even be beautiful.”

It’s a legitimate concern.

People seem to be watching. The #FilterDrop campaign page on Instagram now shows hundreds of photos of people ditching the filter and sharing what they really look like. Here’s hoping for a more unfiltered reality.

Research contact: @bustle

Strut your stuff: A digital dance-off spreads from Argentina to the world

September 7, 2020

Care to dance? With theaters closed around the world, three South American hoofers have created a digital dance-off for aspiring twirlers, with Instagram the new stage where competitors from Argentina and Brazil to Israel and Italy post clips of their moves, Reuters reports.

The competition, open to all, has attracted hundreds of applicants— some professionals, others amateurs—dancing from lockdown in their own homes. A panel described as “renowned expert judges” assesses each dance, and viewers also can vote with “likes.”

“We were struck by the desire of participants to be seen, to express themselves and their dance, what is happening to them at the moment,” Argentine Facundo Luqui, who organized the ‘@stayhomedancecompetition’ event with two other dancers, told Reuters.

“What we thought when we started this project was that anyone can participate,” added Luqui, 23, who is a member of the ballet company at Buenos Aires’ iconic Teatro Colón.

The competition, which wraps up on Sunday, September 6, challenged dancers to raise awareness about the pandemic, reference the coronavirus, and honor an artist. In one video, a mother wearing a doctor’s coat and a mask guards her daughter while she dances.

Giovana Soria, 18, a Paraguayan who has studied Latin rhythms for two years, told the news outlet that her dance was to encourage people to take steps to prevent infections spreading.

“I started to watch the news and saw that many people respected the quarantine, but when going out they did not take measures like putting on a mask, they touched everything and didn’t wash their hands,” said Soria.

Paz Schattenhofer, an 11-year-old who studies classical dance and who took part from Buenos Aires, said her performance was a homage to Russian photographer Yulia Artemyeva, who made a series of works comparing ballerinas to flowers.

“I would love to win it, but in reality it’s to have fun. It is great when people ‘like’ you and that people see me, it is like a stage,” she said.

Performance art globally has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, closing theaters and leaving dance troupes unable to perform or rehearse at close quarters.

 “I think dance at the moment is undergoing a great crisis,” said Manuela Lavalle, 24, another of the organizers, who dances in a company in the United States but is passing the quarantine in her native Buenos Aires.

“It’s complicated because many companies do not have the money they need to get by. I believe the world of dance is going to change a lot and we still do not know how, but it is a matter of waiting and continuing to create in the meantime.”

Research contact: @Reuters

Foxy ladies: A new eye makeup technique is trending—but critics insist it is racist

August 19, 2020

On Instagram, TikTok and YouTube, people from all over the world have been posting videos and photos modeling “the look”—using makeup and other tactics to emulate the lifted, so-called “almond-shaped” or “fox eyes” of celebrities such as Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, and Megan Fox.

Fox-eye makeup tutorials show how to use a combination of eye shadow, eyeliner, and fake eyelashes to get a winged aesthetic. Tips include shaving off the tail end of eyebrows and redrawing them to appear straighter and angled upwards. Others have suggested pulling hair back into a high ponytail or using tape to further lift the eyes.

Accentuating eyes to appear slanted, or elongated in shape, creates a more sultry effect, according to some makeup artists creating the look. But to Asian Americans, the “migraine pose” that sometimes accompanies these images— using one or two hands to pull the eyes up by the temples to exaggerate the result -—is far too similar to the action used to demean them in the past, CNN reports.

Indeed, they assert, it’s a form of cultural appropriation.

Kelly H. Chong, a Sociology professor at the University of Kansas, defines cultural appropriation as the adoption, often unacknowledged or inappropriate, of the ideas, practices, customs and cultural identity markers of one group by members of another group whom have greater privilege or power.

“The cultural influencers from the dominant group legitimize it as a cool style ‘trend,’ and in the process exoticize and eroticize it,” Chong added in an e-mail interview with CNN. Even the term “almond eyes,” she says, which is being used to describe the shape of fox eyes, has long been used to describe the shape of Asian eyes.

She points to Hollywood’s uncomfortable past in the appropriating the shape of Asian eyes. In the early 1930s, makeup artist Cecil Holland used techniques — some, similar to creating fox eyes today—to transform White actors into villainous Asian characters, like Fu Manchu. And Mickey Rooney, the White actor playing the part of Holly Golightly’s thickly-accented Japanese neighbor in Breakfast at Tiffany’s cemented “the buck-toothed, slit-eyed Asian man look” in the popular imagination.

TikTok user @LeahMelle, whose video denouncing the fox-eye look went viral, said she couldn’t believe that such a trend could be so popular nowadays: “This wasn’t some dated movie where you could blame the distorted norms of the time period. This was happening now. And it was still viewed as acceptable,” she wrote in an email.

Emma Chamberlain, an influencer with 9.8 million followers on Instagram, was criticized recently for posting a picture that showed her striking this pose while sticking out her tongue.

Her fans rushed to defend her—commenting that those who felt offended were “overreacting.” Chamberlain later deleted the picture and apologized, saying it wasn’t her “intention” to pose in an “insensitive way” and that she was “so sorry to those who were hurt by it.”

But the damage already had been done.

“They mock my eyes, then say ching chong; call me a dog eater and then call me a ch*nk. Like why would you think I’d be fine with Emma’s post?” one person tweeted. “Obviously if she gets to do slant eyes whilst getting praised but it’s my natural eye shape and I’m getting discriminated (of course) I’m mad.”

“It’s a new trend that brings out old stereotypes and old taunts,” Wang said in a phone interview with CNN. “Because it makes people like me feel uncomfortable and (to) some degree annoyed, it’s time to talk about it.”

Like most beauty trends, the craze for fox eyes will eventually subside, and has begun to already since it first came about earlier this year. But that’s exactly the problem, according to Stephanie Hu, founder of Dear Asian Youth, a California-based organization that encourages Asian activism.

In an Instagram post, entitled “The problem with the #FoxEye trend,” the organization wrote, “While it may not have originated from a place of ill-intent, it appropriates our eyes and is ignorant of past racism.”

“It really feels like this is a temporary trend,” Hu told CNN, adding that she believes Asians’ eye shapes aren’t just something to be casually adopted and then “given back” when the trend is over. “Our eyes are something that we have to live with every day,” Hu said in a phone interview.

Research contact: @CNN

Give me some skin! This family-owned bandage company was founded for people of color

August 19, 2020

Just as “flesh-colored” crayons are politically incorrect; so too are flesh-colored bandages—which, for nearly as long as we can remember, have been available stores in strictly “neutral” colors, ignoring the reality of multicultural skin tones.

The crayons were phased out by Crayola in 1962 and replaced with a “peach” color; then updated again this June with a Colors of the World product that offers a variety of shades—from deepest almond, to medium golden, to light rose, and all the dark and light shades in between.

What’s more, just as Black Lives Matter took hold nationwide—and after 100 years in business—Band-Aid also finally expanded its shade range this June. About time, most commenters said, while others were quick to point out that other companies already had emerged to fill the gap namely Tru Colour, and Browndages, Vogue Magazine reports.

 

Browndages was founded in 2018 when Intisar Mahdi and her husband, Rashid, were inspired to provide a better experience for their family. “The bandages we were buying did not match the flesh of our family,” Intisar told Vogue from their home in Columbus, Ohio, “so we thought to create our own company.”

Also drawing from personal experience, Browndages has developed a line of more whimsical bandages for kids. The couple noticed that their three children—now ages 5, 8, and 10—were very interested in wearing colorful bandages that had princesses and superheroes on them. “But none of those images that we’d purchase looked like them,” Intisar says. Secondly, “they couldn’t really grow up to be a princess.”

Above, a box of the new Browndages. (Photo source: King Day Productions)

As an alternative, the Mahdis had the UK-based artist Princess Karibo draw images in the likeness of their own children, illustrating them as aspiring veterinarians, chefs, astronauts, ballerinas, and more. “We wanted to show them what they could actually attain,” Intisar told Vogue.

 

After seeing themselves depicted in this way, their oldest and youngest daughters expressed interest in the culinary arts and veterinarian field, respectively. “It’s amazing to see how that representation can expand a child’s mind. They start to believe, ‘I can do this too’,” Intisar says.

The Mahdis currently work full-time jobs while running Browndages—Intisar in IT Management, and Rashid in logistics. They’ve divided up their tasks accordingly: Intisar focuses on the customer service aspects of the job, answering emails; while Rashid focuses on fulfilling orders; sometimes enlisting the help of family friends.

Recently, the brand earned the attention of Instagram after actress Lupita Nyong’o posted herself with a Browndage on her knee. “Finally, a bandage that blends!“ Nyong’o exclaimed in the caption.. “Thank you, Browndages for helping me conceal my clumsiness.”

Intisar is still on a high from the post. “It felt really good to be seen by someone on her level,” she says. “It gave us exposure in places that we may not have reached otherwise.”

That attention, along with the imperative to support Black-owned businesses, has led Browndages to sell out of all their bandages, though they’re working to restock the products this year, along with a new offering: a full first-aid kit.

Research contact: @voguemagazine

Double or nothing? Microsoft’s dual-screen Android phone will arrive September 10

August 13, 2020

Microsoft announced on Wednesday, August 12, that its new Surface Duo—a dual-screen smartphone powered by Alphabet’s Android operating system—initially will be offered at a price point of $1,399. It will arrive in stores beginning September 10—and is available for pre-order now.

According to a report by Reuters, the device will fold closed like a book. Unlike devices such as Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 2—which uses special flexible glass to create a single display—the Duo will feature two traditional screens separated by a hinge but synchronized to work together.

At a media briefing ahead of the Surface Duo announcement, Microsoft executives positioned the phone as a tool for getting work done with its productivity apps, similar to how many business users employ dual-monitor setups with PCs.

In the company’s Teams chat app, for example, a video chat occupies one screen while the other screen displays chats. In Microsoft’s Outlook email app, clicking a link in the body of an email opens the link on the opposite screen, so the user can continue reading or responding to the email.

 “I’m not trying to reinvent the phone,” Panos Panay, Microsoft’s chief product officer, told reporters. “But I do believe this is a better way to get things done.”

The dual-screen setup also allows users to pair up non-Microsoft apps, such as running social networks Twitter and Instagram side by side, notes Reuters. Panay said that one of Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella’s favorite combinations was using Amazon.com’s Kindle app to read books while taking notes with a stylus in Microsoft’s OneNote app on the other screen.

Panay said Microsoft chose Google’s operating system because it would give users access to Android’s large ecosystem of mobile apps. “Having the Play Store is critical,” he said.

Microsoft said pre-orders for the device begin Wednesday at its own site, AT&T, and BestBuy. Devices will work on wireless networks from AT&T, Verizon Communications, and T-Mobile US.

The device does not have 5G connectivity and is only available in the United States at launch. Microsoft gave no timeline for other markets, Reuters said.

Research contact: @Reuters

Getting the brush-off: Clarisonic is shutting down and its devoted fans are panicking

July 30, 2020

Clarisonic, the brand that invented vibrating skin cleansing devices, stunned fans earlier this month when it announced that it was shutting down for good, CNN reports.

The news originally came via an Instagram post on July 14, in which Clarisonic, owned by L’Oreal, said the brand would shutter its operations on September 30 after “more than a decade of game-changing innovation.”

The brand—which has sold has sold more than 15 million devices and counting—has become part of the daily skincare rituals of both women and men worldwide, CNN reports.

Now, fans are responding with a mix of shock, denial and fear: One Twitter user even asked investors from the ABC-TV show Shark Tank to step in, tweeting, “@ABCSharkTank can’t help out @Clarisonic??? We don’t want this to be the end.”

Lawyer Jessica McElfresh tweeted at @LOrealParisUSA: “Do not do this! Everyone knows Clarisonic is the best. You are making a massive mistake.”

McElfresh has used a Clarisonic device since college. She said the news “just came out of nowhere” and confused her because she didn’t think there was any problem with the device or any valid reason to discontinue the brand.

“Every aesthetician I’ve ever visited uses one,” she said. “The market has more facial cleansing devices all the time, but I truly don’t believe any are as good.”

Clarisonic said the decision to close the brand was made in an effort to help L’Oréal “focus its attention on its other core business offerings.” L’Oreal did not respond to requests for comment from CNN.

In recent years Clarisonic has been grappling with competition in an increasingly crowded marketplace where other lower-priced alternatives have been winning over consumers.

A more immediate problem for all Clarisonic users now, is how to get replacement brushes since the device requires users to buy a new cleansing brush every three months.

In an FAQ section on its website, Clarisonic said it won’t sell devices, brushes, or other attachments after September 30, and all of its subscription services for replacement brushes will be inactive after July 31.

In 2018, Clarisonic owned 14% share of the U.S. market for skin cleansing devices, according to market research firm Kline & Co. As the market grew, it became fragmented with newer brands like Foreo and NuSkin, which ate into Clarisonic’s share and following.

It remains to be seen if these options will help placate disappointed Clarisonic users. “I’ve tried other options before and just didn’t like them as much,” said McElfresh. “They’re not the same as a Clarisonic.”

Research contact: @CNN

A ‘Mandalorian’ PEZ dispenser gift set is coming and it will be an instant collectible

July 21, 2020

While the hype around Baby Yoda feels like it was years ago, it’s safe to say that everyone still has a soft spot for the breakout character of Disney+’s The MandalorianPeople may not be actively obsessing over the cute creature as much as they once were, but he’s still popping up as toys, a cereal, and now, as a PEZ dispenser, Delish reports.

If you’re a PEZ dispenser collector or just like eating the chewy little candies, this is huge news. PEZ dispensers are a phenomenon themselves, with new characters constantly coming out and super rare dispensers going for steep prices on resale sites like eBay.

The Baby Yoda dispenser might see a similar fate after it comes out because of the sheer popularity of the character and the fact that the other Yoda dispensers have been retired in years past. News of the candy was spotted by @DadBodSnacks on Instagram—at which a Baby Yoda plush and candy combo as well as new Harry Potter PEZ dispensers are heralded, as well.

The Baby Yoda dispenser comes in a set along with a Mandalorian dispenser and grape, lemon, and strawberry PEZ candy. The new Harry Potter dispensers already are available on the PEZ site, but the Mandalorian candy set is not, Delish reports; so it’s unclear when exactly these will be available online or if they’ll be available in stores as well.

Research contact: @DelishDotCom

Whatchamacallit candy bar maker asks fans to name its newest creation

June 1, 2020

What’s in a name? Well, according to Hershey’s, it depends what’s in a candy bar—and who knows that better than the customer who eats it?

Now, Fox News reports, the popular bar, Whatchamacallit—launched by the Pennsylvania-based chocolate manufacturer back in 1978—is expanding its “wacky, crazy, crunchy, chewy” brand by releasing another equally layered and equally zany confection in July. But, instead of adding another no-named bar to its repertoire, Whatchamacallit wants its fans to weigh in.

The as-yet-to-be-named candy—slated to be the first released under the Whatchamacallit brand in ten years—will be made up of layers of chocolate rice crisps and peanut butter crème, and covered in chocolate.

If naming the “latest wacky and wild innovation” sounds like a dream come true, simply submit your moniker on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag whatchamacallit and hashtag contest, along with tagging @whatchamacallit on Twitter or @whatchamacallit_bar on Instagram.

The contest will run from June 1 through June 15. The winner will receive $5,000 and a year’s supply of the new chocolate bar, as well as lifetime fame of seeing the name printed on the bar’s packaging.

Research contact: FoxNews

Obama tweets ‘vote’ after Trump promotes ‘Obamagate’

May 18, 2020

Now that his Attorney General Bill Barr has dropped DOJ charges against Mike Flynn, President Donald Trump has asked Republicans to take on the Obama Administration—promoting a planned political take-down with the term, Obamagate.

The issue, he says is that Obama-era officials “unmasked” the former national security adviser—gaining knowledge of his identity—after his call to reassure then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak that sanctions on his nation would be expunged after Trump took the oath of office in January 2016.

Although, intelligence officials routinely “unmask” the identity of those who are in communications with the nation’s foes, President Trump demanded on Twitter that Senate Republicans call on Obama to testify, blasting what he called “the biggest political crime and scandal in the history of the USA” and claiming that Obama “knew EVERYTHING.”

Indeed, on Wednesday, May 13, the White House sent lawmakers a declassified list of Obama-era officials whom Trump and his aides claim requested documents that led to Flynn’s identity being “unmasked” in intelligence reports.

According to a report by The Hill, former President Barack Obama had a simple message for the public on Thursday after his successor went after him on social media: Vote.

The former president shared similar messages on Facebook and Instagram, calling on supporters to “vote.”

Trump repeatedly lashed out at Obama last Sunday after the former president criticized the Justice Department’s decision to drop the case against Flynn. In a call that was subsequently leaked, Obama warned that the move to drop the Flynn case threatened the “rule of law.”

Trump declined to name a specific allegation when pressed by reporters on Monday, May 11, about what crime he was accusing Obama of committing following his tweets over the weekend.

Research contact: @thehill