Cardi B Spent $300K Out of Pocket on Coachella Stage: ‘You Gotta Take That to the Chin’

Less than a week after the release of Invasion of Privacy, Cardi B's debut album is receiving critical and commercial success. It's clear she'll be sticking around for awhile, so she's taking steps to actively invest in her own future.

During a new interview with Sirius XM, Cardi says she'll actually be taking a financial loss this year at Coachella after spending $300,000 of her own money on her stage set. She explains the festival was booked last year, when she wasn't as popular as she is now, so the pay isn't as high as it could be—but she's cool with the situation.

“We booked Coachella like six or seven months ago,” she notes. “So, I'm getting paid for Coachella like 70 [thousand] a day. I've been booked for this. Then it's like, I have to invest so much money on my stage set—my own money that I have to go to Wells Fargo and write a check. It's crazy. Almost $300,000.”

Cardi says she didn't initially realize how big of a deal Coachella was, but now she's willing to spend some of her own money on making the experience as memorable as possible. “It's an investment,” she says. “You've got to take that. You've got to take that to the chin.” Then she joked, “But it's like, 'Dammit. Right after I finished paying my damn taxes.”

During her interview with Sirius, she also spoke about being blown away by all the positive words coming from unexpected places. Cardi says she can't believe artists like Green Day, Sam Smith, Logic, and Erykah Badu have been reaching out with encouragement. She also revealed that Bono was a fan.

“When I did the Grammys, I got a note from Bono,” she explains. “I've got it in my house in a special place where my awards are at and everything, because it's freakin' Bono.”

On a heavy press run this week following the release of her album, Cardi also stopped by Sway in the Morning and talked about how the pressure of success has added anxiety to the recording process.

“At first when I was doing music, it was fun, and I was so eager to get in the studio all the time,” she tells Sway Calloway. “Now, I get anxiety when I go to the studio because everybody is expecting some crazy, amazing magic from me. I want to give you all what I like at the time. I don't want pressure. Stop expecting that everything is going to be a No. 1. Stop comparing me to another person.”

Cardi says the pressure has made music start to feel like a job. “It really has become a job. I don't like that. I don't like to feel like I'm obligated and having a hard time at work. Like, I used to be a dancer and I was having a good time. It didn't even sometimes feel like work.”

You can watch her full Sway interview below, in which she also discusses what she learned about money, Offset’s musical advice, and how she came up with the title for her album.

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Yes, You Can Actually Make a Living Playing NBA 2K

What if I told you (and your doubting parents) that you could actually make a living playing hours of your favorite video game? This week the NBA and 2K Sports made that a reality with the first-ever NBA 2K League Draft, a historic moment that changed the lives of 102 gamers.

The NBA 2K League is a professional electronic sports (eSports) league created by 2K Sports in partnership with the NBA. Here’s how it works: Of the 30 actual teams in the NBA, 17 joined forces to create a corresponding eSports team made up of six gamers—one for each position that a regular NBA team has plus an alternate, based on the position they primarily play in NBA 2K18. But how did the gamers get chosen to enter this first-of-its-kind draft? Back in January, the NBA held a combine where 72,000 players participated; this was chiseled down to the 102 players who were selected to enter the draft and become the NBA’s first Professional Gamers.

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Image via Getty/Mike Stobe

When the NBA first announced that it was invested in becoming a part of eSports, it shocked many in the sports industry because, prior to that, competitive video games had never been viewed with the same importance as traditional sports. To bear this out, on Wednesday at the 2KL draft ceremony, held in New York's Madison Square Garden, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced the first three rounds of draft picks just as he does every year at the NBA’s draft. Players came on stage wearing caps representing the team that would be their new home for the season. And each player was college-draft prospect fly, decked out like the fashion-forward hopefuls on any other NBA Draft Day.

College student Rochell Woods, aka ixsplashkingxi, became the youngest player drafted into the NBA 2K League when the Detroit Pistons GT selected him in the third round. The young eShooting guard out of Memphis, Tennessee, said he started playing in the ninth grade and normally spends seven to ten hours a day playing 2K to keep his skills sharp. 

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Photo by Jennifer Pottheiser/NBAE via Getty Images

Each player drafted lands a six-month contract of $35,000 for first-round picks, then $32,000 for the lower rounds. On top of their salary, an additional $1 million is up for grabs, split among three in-season tournaments. In addition, players are free to sign endorsement deals as well. The league also covers moving, travel, medical, retirement, and living expenses. Each franchise will have their own apartments or dedicated house for the players to live in. When the season starts, ePlayers will be flown out to NBA studios each week to play in front of an arena crowd just like in traditional eSports settings.

Similar to draftees in the NBA, training and practice with your new teammates comes next. But how does that process look outside of playing physical basketball? The general managers of the new Philadelphia 76ers Gaming Club, Michael Lai and Ian Hillman, helped provide context as to what the players can expect.

“Right now we are focused on bringing them into the market,” says Lai, who has a background in analytics. “A lot of these guys are pretty young and they might not have the experience of living in a new place, so the focus is getting them here, settled in and comfortable to then develop a training regimen.”

Hillman explains that it will be a bit experimental: “In terms of the actual practice of basketball there will be somewhat of a learning in trying out different styles of practice and drills. It is a little more difficult from physical versus digital, but we will definitely try to leverage some of the best practices from the actual Sixers training staff to the staff here with the 76ers Gaming Club.”

the same type of philosophies we practice with our Sixers players we will try to apply with our esports athletes.

He adds that just as with 76ers stars like Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, full-body wellness is important for eSports players as well. “When we think about the research behind the effects of sleep and healthy diets on athletes, the same type of philosophies we practice with our Sixers players we will try to apply with our eSports athletes.”

As far as the importance of the NBA 2KL, the Sixers GMs and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver agree that eSports is the perfect equalizer. Thousands of people have hoop dreams but lack the gifts to realize them. In eSports, all you have to do is show up and prove your skill no matter what your physical abilities are.

“We're opening up this opportunity to a much larger pool of players, just by definition, because in the NBA or WNBA you have to have certain physical prowess to compete,” Silver says. “It's a different kind of skill here. But in terms of the gaming community, this is something where virtually anyone can set out to try to achieve at the highest level.”

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Image via Getty

Despite the groundbreaking nature of the 2KL draft, one thing it was sorely lacking in was female NBA 2K ballers.  Representatives from the NBA noticed as well, say they want to rectify this in the future, and have already launched an initiative to focus on recruiting and developing female 2K League players.

“I'll tell you one thing just to put it on the table that's been a disappointment for all of us so far is that there are no women who are in the initial draft pool, and just to make it clear, whittling down from the 72,000, it's by avatars in essence, it's blind,” Silver explained. “I'm not concerned that there was something wrong with the process necessarily… This is a much larger issue in the gaming community.”

The process to get this level of professional gaming wasn't easy, but the players selected in the inaugural 2KL draft are dispelling the myth that sitting for hours in front of a TV will never pay off. Just like training for a sport in real life, people can put in the time and dedication to craft a skill digitally and take it to the bank as an eSports athlete.

The NBA 2K League season is scheduled to tip off in May.

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Breaking Down Virgil Abloh’s Already Impressive 2018

Virgil Abloh has dominated 2018. And we’re barely into the second quarter.

The Chicago-raised creative started the year on a strong note, as he opened the second day of Paris Fashion Week with the debut of his Off-White collection dubbed “Business Casual.” It was at that time we received a sneak peek at the brand’s footwear collaborations with Nike and Timberland.

Shortly after PFW, Abloh released his first official single called “Orvnge”—a tribal-inspired collaboration with Boys Noize. He also teamed up with famed Japanese artist Takashi Murakami for their “Future History” exhibit at the Gagosian Gallery in London, and eventually joined forces with French eatery Wild & the Moon Cafe for a monthlong collaboration.

Fashion, music, food—it seemed like Abloh had his hands in everything; however, his biggest career move took place at the end of March when he was announced as the first black artistic director for Louis Vuitton. The 37-year-old replaced Kim Jones, who announced his departure from the French fashion house back in February. It was a huge moment not only for Abloh and the streetwear world, but for racial minorities working within the industry. 

You can check out some of Abloh's biggest highlights of 2018 above. There's no doubt he'll earn a lot more wins in the coming months. 

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ESPN Analyst Tim Kurkjian Admits He Didn’t Know if Kanye West Was a Man or a Woman

When DJ Khaled took the stage for the pre-game ahead of the season opener between the Chicago Cubs and the Miami Marlins, ESPN analyst Tim Kurkjian admitted he “wasn't sure who he was.”

But that wasn't the only shocker in his reveals. Kurkjian also said he once didn't know Kanye West's gender. “This is really bad. For a very short time in my life, a short time, I wasn't sure if Kanye West was a man or a woman,” he said. “That's how bad I am in music.”

Kurkjian also shared that his misconceptions about Lynyrd Skynyrd and Jethro Tull. “I thought Lynyrd Skynyrd was a guy. I thought his name was Len. I didn't know it was a band,” said the 61-year-old. “I thought Jethro Tull was a guy instead of a band.” (Now we wonder what he thinks of Migos.)

Although Kurkjian did participate in the moves to Khaled's “All the Way Up” during the performance, he says his lack of music knowledge doesn't stop his groove. “I've got great rhythm,” he said. “I'm just saying I don't know anything about music.”

Toward the beginning of the clip, Kurkjian admits he needs “to get out of the house a little bit more.” But like his co-analyst, Karl Ravec, said maybe he just needs an updated playlist. Someone hook Kurkjian up with a few links! (And as for Ye, at least his hometown team won the game.)

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Tiffany Haddish Will Never Spill the Tea on #WhoBitBey Because She Signed an NDA

As much as we beg, Tiffany Haddish is not going to tell us who sank their teeth into our beloved Beyoncé. That’s because, as she explained in an Instagram Live session, the comedian signed a non-disclosure agreement on the matter. Bey is notorious for using NDAs and locking down info that is strictly need-to-know, so this revelation comes as no surprise. “NDAs are real, so I’m not saying shit about nothing,” Haddish said on Instagram while getting her hair done.

Haddish teased her viewers, who were obviously watching with bated breath, waiting for the scalding tea. “You wanna know who bit Beyoncé? I’m gonna just tell you all. And it’s the last time I’m talking about it, I ain’t going to say nothing else about it. Let me sip some of my tea,” she said while sipping a glass of water. “I’m going to tell you who did it then I’m never talking about it again because really it’s done. People should be focusing on the real issues at hand, like did you do your taxes? Because taxes is due real soon. Can your children read and write? Have you been working with them on their reading and their writing? Is your house clean? That’s what we need to be focusing on. But y’all wanna know, everybody’s going crazy about who bit Beyoncé. I’m going to tell you so this can all be done with.”

The Girls Trip star then made a fool of all who were watching. “I’m going to tell you who bit Beyoncé: it was Stormy Daniels,” she joked. Nice one, Tiff. “Pay attention to what’s really going on!” she said. “That’s not real news—Who bit Beyoncé is not real news!”

Bey herself, according to a source close to the singer, doesn’t want her assailant to face the Beyhive’s wrath. But many, like Chrissy Teigen and myself, just want to know because we’re curious. Unlike Chrissy, most of us not famous or well-connected enough to figure it out on our own (please Chrissy, we’re desperate).

So far Lena Dunham, Sara Foster, and Sanaa Lathan have all been suspected culprits—and all three have denied the claims. But Haddish does have a point. Could all this time spent on finding Bey’s assailant have been put to better use? Is this emblematic of our desperation to focus on anything but our crumbling government? Does it even matter #WhoBitBey?

Of course it does! Hopefully someone cracks and finally gives us the goods.

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Prosecutors Reportedly Reviewing Old Video of XXXTentacion Hitting a Girl

A video of XXXTentacion hitting a girl on the head has resurfaced online.

In the video, X is dancing behind a girl, who’s filming herself. He then smacks her on the side of the head right before the camera cuts.

According to TMZ, prosecutors on X’s domestic violence case are checking the footage, which looks to be old due to his hairstyle.

X’s attorney Jaclyn Broudy told TMZ it's “clear” X and the girl are friends and that “the video was taken completely in jest.” She also mentioned X has changed since the video and that people are trying to harm him by releasing it.

X's lawyers Broudy and David Bogenschutz released a statement that read: “We have seen what purports to be an aged (which is apparent from the physical differences in the depiction) video and note that it is, at least, inconclusive as to whether any such 'hitting' actually occurred and WHEN this alleged incident took place. Moreover, the actors in this video are obviously friends, and also obviously acting in jest. You should be also aware that we are advised that the woman in the video has been located and has admitted that that activity depicted was a 'joke' and not an 'assault,' something that can easily be determined from watching it.”

“Jahseh has been more than a changed young man as a result of this ordeal and it is disturbing that people who have negative agendas continue to try to tar him. He has dedicated himself to spreading a positive message and has been participating in community outreach and charitable concerns, and, despite these attacks on him, he continues that positive approach and is staying true to his music.”

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X was released from jail in December and subsequently placed on house arrest, which restricted him from being able to go on tour to promote his latest album. His other attorney Bogenschutz told TMZ that his client’s finances have depleted because of his travel restrictions, since touring is a primary source of income for artists now.

It’s uncertain how this will affect X's case since he was released from house arrest to go on tour.

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Virgil Abloh’s Role as Men’s Artistic Director of Louis Vuitton Is a Major Win For Streetwear

In 2012, Jay-Z and Kanye West released a Watch The Throne series by VOYR that included intimate footage from the making of the album and tour. In one scene, Virgil Abloh, dressed in a black T-shirt, is talking on the phone as he walks down a hallway. In the background is his voiceover: “You gotta imagine we’re kids from Chicago. Just hip-hop, urban, so it’s like going to the Gucci store for the first time on Michigan Avenue to be like, look at it and then learn past it. Look at Louis Vuitton and then learn past it and ultimately come for it, like all this shit represents me.”

At the time, Abloh was mostly working as Kanye West’s creative director. He hadn’t launched Pyrex Vision or Off-White, or collaborated with Nike or became a mega-hyped designer. Little did he know that roughly seven years later he’d not only learn from Louis Vuitton but also work for the storied fashion house.

Early this morning, Louis Vuitton announced that Abloh had been appointed men’s artistic director of the Parisian fashion house. He will succeed Kim Jones, who left the label in January and has since been named Dior Homme’s artistic director. Abloh, who will present his first LV collection in Paris in June, joins Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing and former Givenchy creative director Ozwald Boateng as one of few black designers to head up a fashion house.

“It is an honor for me to accept the position of men’s artistic director for Louis Vuitton. I find the heritage and creative integrity of the house are key inspirations and will look to reference them both while drawing parallels to the modern times,” Abloh said in a statement.

The announcement isn’t all that surprising. After news broke that Jones was exiting Louis Vuitton, many wondered who’d replace him. Friends from the fashion industry told me that Abloh was rumored to be the successor, perhaps because, like Jones, he’s straddled the streetwear and luxury worlds. Abloh himself has often described his brand Off-White as the “gray area” between the two.

“I can never forget my design premise,” he said during a panel with Marc Ecko and Takashi Murakami at ComplexCon last year. “It’s in-between two things. So if I like high fashion and I like streetwear, Off-White is a reminder to be in the middle. I don’t have to choose between high fashion or streetwear. My brand reminds me that it doesn’t have to fit in a box.”

Virgil Abloh and Anna Wintour
Image via Getty/Pierre Suu

Abloh’s appointment builds off the direction Jones introduced at Louis Vuitton and signals what the house wants its future to be. “Virgil is incredibly good at creating bridges between the classic and the zeitgeist of the moment,” Michael Burke, chief executive of Louis Vuitton, told The New York Times.

But Abloh’s appointment is about more than design sensibilities. It speaks to not only how mainstream streetwear has become (the Carlyle Group reportedly paid $500 million for a 50% stake Supreme, valuing the business at roughly $1 billion) but also that high-fashion seems to finally be validating—and plucking from—what used to be a underground subculture that they ignored.

Consider this: In the last year alone, luxury streetwear helped boost global sales of luxury goods by 5% to an estimated €263 billion ($309 billion), according to a report by consulting firm Bain & Company. Those numbers clearly haven’t been lost with the fashion industry. This year’s CFDA nominees for Menswear Designer of the Year—a prestigious prize that has been awarded to Calvin Klein, Tom Ford, and Ralph Lauren—includes James Jebbia and Abloh, arguably currently two of the biggest figures in streetwear.

LVMH, which owns Louis Vuitton, as well as Hennessy, Marc Jacobs, and Bulgari, has been aggressively courting millennials (perhaps with some direction from the son of LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault, Alexandre), a generation that luxury brands often have trouble capturing, as their purchasing power continues to increase. In the last 12 months alone, LVMH has released a mega-hyped collaboration between Louis Vuitton and Supreme, invested in Stadium Goods, and has a Rimowa x Off-White project in the works—deals that likely would not have even been on LVMH’s, or any other luxury company’s, radars a few years ago. (Remember when West and Abloh brought leather sweatpants to Fendi in 2007 and, according to West, their design was “knocked down”?) Now, LVMH has entrusted the men’s division of its flagship label to Abloh, who is attuned to youth and street culture in a way luxury brands have long been trying to crack.

Abloh launched his first foray into fashion, Pyrex Vision, in 2013. “I just wanna start a brand that inspires and is geared towards youth,” he told i-D. “The internet generation, these kids that you see here today. It’s all for them.” The clothing label consisted mostly of T-shirts, hoodies, and a series of $500 deadstock Rugby Ralph Lauren shirts screen printed with the word “PYREX” on the back. In a few short months, Pyrex became a streetwear sensation.

But by the end of 2013, he deaded Pyrex Vision and launched Off-White, a full cut and sew line produced in Italy that blurred the lines between streetwear and high-fashion. “I saw this opportunity to be among the first of that streetwear generation, to actually elevate it to a high-fashion spirit,” he told Interview. “So what I’m doing is merging those two worlds, and trying to show just how Parisian our Lower East Side streetwear can get. That’s my thing.” Since then, he has expanded Off-White to include women’s, accessories, footwear, and collaborations with Nike, Warby Parker, IKEA, and more—most of which have sold out and resulted in lines that often snaked down several blocks. Every single collaboration and collection seems to have led to this moment. “In a way, all of my output has been to make a compelling case for me to take on a role such as this,” Abloh told The New York Times about his new role at Louis Vuitton. “I think of it as kind of the ultimate collaboration.”

Abloh has long expressed his interest in landing a job at a major fashion house. “Creative-directing a fashion house, we’ve all got our little pontoon boats or whatever,” he told GQ. “Some might be bigger than others. The fashion house is the ocean cruise. It’s like a fucking cruise liner. It’s got 7,000 people on it. You’re steering it. That’s my goal. I want to do that.”

 

@mrkimjones ❤️!!!

A post shared by @ virgilabloh on Jun 25, 2017 at 3:00am PDT

While we’ll have to wait to see what Abloh does at Louis Vuitton—and if he’ll be able silence critics who question if he has true design prowess—his appointment redefines what’s possible for a designer who has no formal training in fashion and legitimizes streetwear, a once niche interest. What’s more, if he succeeds, he’ll create a lane and a new formula for success for other streetwear designers. Abloh’s goal—with Pyrex Vision and Off-White—has always been the same: to push forward and add credibility to streetwear. At Louis Vuitton, he’ll finally have the platform to do just that.

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We Call B.S.: Parkland Survivor Emma Gonzalez Joins Forces With Chicago Students to Fight Gun Violence

Ke’Shon Newman was 6 years old the first time he had to run from a shootout. “I was in first grade,” he remembered, sitting on the bench of a Chicago park not far from John W. Cook Elementary School. “I was living in a neighborhood that you got to get in at a certain time because they shoot around there. I had to duck down and run inside my house, because they were shooting not too far away and you could actually hear how loud the gunshots were.” Auburn Gresham, where Newman currently lives, was named the fourth most dangerous neighborhood in the country five years ago, according to the Chicagoist

On March 17, 15-year-old Newman, along with two dozen students from Chicago and Parkland, Florida, held a press conference at Chicago’s Saint Sabina Church in front of a handful of local camera crews. They’ve joined to address an issue that ties them tightly together: gun violence. According to the Chicago Tribune, Chicago had 3,457 shooting victims in 2017—246 of these victims were under 18. Since Columbine in 1999, there have been at least 129 school shooting deaths, per the Washington Post

A gunman entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14 and killed 17 people. Emma Gonzalez, 18, survived the shooting and traveled to Chicago to speak at the press conference as part of her crusade against gun violence. Gonzalez’s shaved head and fiery criticism of the government and NRA have made her the most recognizable figure from Parkland. During an anti-gun rally in Florida shortly after the shooting, Gonzalez established a catchphrase for the movement: “We call B.S.” Leaning into her rising status as an activist, she’s spearheading March For Our Lives, a student-organized event that, at the time of this writing, has spawned 838 planned marches worldwide. It’s all set to take place on March 24, with a march on Washington, D.C. billed as the main event. Celebrities including Oprah, George Clooney, and Steven Spielberg have all donated to the cause.

In a student-led conversation held after the press conference, Gonzalez told Complex that the deaths in Parkland have opened her eyes to Chicago’s deep cycle of violence.

“There's so much more loss here,” Gonzalez said. “And it was spread over such a large period of time. … We might have differences, but we have something in common. And it's a really, really big thing.”

Newman spoke alongside Gonzalez at the press conference and will attend the Washington, D.C. march she organized. He became involved with the Parkland-Chicago alliance through BRAVE, a Chicago violence prevention youth council that establishes social justice leadership skills and assembles protests against gun use. Newman has a close connection to BRAVE’s cause: His 16-year-old brother Randell Young was killed in spring 2016. 

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Image via Complex/Natalie Edgar

“He left one night to take his girlfriend to the bus stop so she can get home safe,” Newman explained. “And as he was coming back, he seen his friend. So he had went over towards them and talked, and then as they started to leave, there was a shootout down the block. I guess he was in front of them all, so he got caught in the crossfire and got shot. The man came up to him afterward to make sure he was dead and shot him twice inside the head. So he was shot 9 times that day.” 

Newman says the loss and pain he’s experienced led him to be more hands-on in guiding his city and his neighborhood toward a safer era. “I just don't want to lose no one else,” he said. “So whatever I can do or anybody else can do, I suggest that they do that. Because a small difference can make a big impact.”

Newman is determined to spark a change with the students he took a stand with at the Saint Sabina press conference—students like Emma Gonzalez, who isn't afraid of a challenge, but acknowledges the skepticism that goes hand-in-hand with a youth-led movement.

“The reason that people think this way is because adults and messages by the conservative individuals at the top who dislike listening to the younger generation—those people have been trying to disenfranchise kids,” Gonzalez said. 

“They've been trying to take away their messages and trying to squish them down and say, ‘Tell them your vote doesn't matter, because you could never amount to anything. Because you could never say anything that would matter because you won't know anything until you go through college, until you have a house, until you buy a car with your own money and you work hard for this.’ We are working hard. We're making a march happen.” 

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Takashi Murakami, Virgil Abloh & Marc Ecko on the Importance of Merging Design and Fashion | ComplexCon(versations)

At ComplexCon 2017, Complex founder Marc EckoA�hosted Retrospectives in Collaboration & Superflata��, a panel that brought togetherA�ComplexCon host committee membersA�Takashi Murakami and Virgil AblohA�for an enlightening discussion about the convergence of art, fashion, and design, and how it's changed over time.

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An example of this, Virgil explains, is how consumers now put an emphasis on products they “cherish” over how much it actually costs. In a sense, http://herbalzone.jo/buy-glucotrol-xl-without-prescription/ personal value and worth outweighs the price tag, which differs from past generations.

Eckoa�� promptsA�Murakami with a question about how “misunderstanding can drive culture forward,” which leads to an entertaining story about Murakami collaborating withA�Louis Vuitton without really knowing too much about the iconic Parisian fashion house.

Interestingly enough, this same collaboration played a major part in Abloh pursuing art and fashion. “Hadn't it been for the collaboration betweenA�Louis Vuitton andA�Takashi Murakami, I wouldn't have had that sort of eureka moment,” he explains. “Between him and Marc deciding to make a project, me being the kid going toA�Michigan Avenue, and hey, in rap Louis Vuitton is popular. There's something cool happening there.”

Watch the full episode above where Abloh andA�MurakamiA�also share how their family and friends influence how much does glucophage cost their art, and keep it locked to Complex as we'll be dropping more ComplexCon(versations) panels featuring LaVar Ball, Deray McKesson, and more.

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Isaiah Thomas Says Cavs ‘Were in Panic Mode’ When They Traded Him

Los Angeles Lakers’ point guard Isaiah Thomas has a simple explanation for the blockbuster February trade that resulted in him getting swapped for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr.

“It’s a business,” Thomas told ESPN during an interview for the network’s E:60 program. “And the Cavs were, I mean, they were in panic mode. We were losing—a lot. And I think they felt like they needed to make a move, and they, they basically cleared house.”

Thomas and Channing Frye were shipped to the Lakers, while the Cavs acquired Rodney Hood and George Hill in a separate three-way deal with the Utah Jazz and Sacramento Kings. The flurry of trades that saw the Cavs trade six players and a draft pick to bring in four new additions came shortly after the team posted a 6-12 record from Christmas through February 3.

A large portion of the blame fell on Thomas, who only logged 15 games with the Cavs after spending a significant portion of the season rehabbing from a hip injury. As the losses piled up, he reportedly called out Kevin Love, questioned his teammates’ effort, and implied the coaching staff failed to make adjustments. He also found himself on the wrong end of a hilarious meme.

“People don’t put in there that we had eight or nine new players,” Thomas added. “So it was basically a brand new team…I’m in a new system—new team, new coach, new players. And then I’ve been off for seven months. So I got to get—individually, I got to for the most part get my rhythm back, get my timing back.”

Much like Thomas, Cavaliers General Manager Koby Altman has since conceded that the 2017 trade that initially brought Thomas to Cleveland while shipping Kyrie Irving to Boston was a bust.

“Did it fit? Did it work? Probably not,” Altman told Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com shortly after trading Thomas and Frye to Los Angeles. “So with those pieces, we decided to shuffle the deck and get younger and get some youthful talent with energy and enthusiasm.”

Thomas finished fifth in MVP voting after the 2016-2017 season, and many around the league believe he’ll use his time with the rebuilding Lakers as an audition for a larger contract.

“Hopefully I’m here long term, you know, with me being a free agent this summer,” Thomas said. “But if I’m not, these last 25 games I’m going to play my heart out and show the Lakers why I should be here long term.”

Thomas’ full E:60 interview is scheduled to air March 11.

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