“I walked into rehearsal for the first time and saw this big old pyramid and that it was gonna be filled to the brim with humans,” Williams said of the practice leading up to the show, adding that she told Beyoncé to just “go out there and have fun” and was initially taken aback by the scale of the production. “I said, 'What in the bejesus is this?' But she can never do anything that we would think is normal. And this is what's fun for her.”
Beyoncé's work ethic has always been apparent in her shows, and #Beychella was no different. “Everybody was pushing each other to do and be their very, very best. When Beyoncé does something, it's because she knows that if she can do it, everybody else on the stage can do it,” Williams explained. “They saw that she's not some glamorous girl on private jets with assistants flocking her side, who just walks in and magically dances so great onstage. She is involved.”
Williams added that the performance being such a proud display of African-American culture was “a long time coming” and proves music is one of the best unifiers. “I just love what she was able to do,” she said. “I told her, 'You have definitely had a hand in shifting the culture.'”
Williams also noted how happy she was to take the stage with her former group once again, the first time since Beyoncé's 2013 Superbowl performance. “When people see us together they still lose their minds! People are asking, 'When y'all gonna tour? When y'all gonna put out new music?' It's been 14 years since we've had an album together, and people are still asking.”
They might not have new music in the works, but the members are more united off the stage with Williams recently moving to Los Angeles, where Beyoncé and Kelly are already residents. “Kelly is a four-minute drive from me; I think Bey is 17 minutes exactly. So we can get together any time, whenever we want to,” she said. “We haven't lived in the same city since we left Houston in the early 2000s.”
On April 20, thousands of students throughout the country participated in National School Walkout Day to help keep the conversation focused on gun reform. There have been 89 school shootings just in 2018, and the one at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in February helped create a nationwide movement powered by students to force politicians to make our communities safer.
The walkouts were scheduled for this specific day because it is the anniversary of the Columbine High School shootings, when two students killed 13 people back in 1999. 19 years later, not much has changed in the way of making sure other devastating shootings don’t happen anywhere, especially in a place like a school.
Although people of all ages—and people of color in particular—have been advocating for gun reform for many years now, many will agree that the current movement, powered by the students from Parkland, feels different. As president Barack Obamawrote in his TIME entry citing the students leading that movement as one of the most influential people of the year, “By bearing witness to carnage, by asking tough questions and demanding real answers, the Parkland students are shaking us out of our complacency.”
One other important thing to remember about the teenagers of today is that they’ve grown up with social media. That might help to explain why this current movement for gun reform has been so powerful: when they go out to protest, everyone can see it, watch it, and be inspired by it, and that’s by design.
Below are some of the most powerful posts shared on social media on National School Walkout Day.
The Columbine High Schoolshooting in 1999 remains one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history, and every year they mark the anniversary of the tragedy as a Day of Service. The importance of having the walkout on this day brings awareness to this tragic event.
Soon after the shooting in Parkland, one of the ideas to help curb a tragedy like this in the future floated around by Trump and his administration was to arm teachers. It is, of course, a horrible idea. Teachers across the country took to social media to speak against the proposal, and in this tweet, one teacher from Columbine High School makes an emotional case against the entire premise. If we can't even pay our teachers properly, how do we expect them to also be trained shooters capable of killing children they've been teaching for years?
The walkout on April 20 is already the second massive planned school walkout protest this year. In March, thousands of students walked out of classrooms in solidarity with the 17 people killed in Parkland, Florida.
The protests are not about skipping class. Instead, today's walkout—and all other big protests on this issue—are designed to make sure politicians in Congress with the ability to make schools everywhere safer for students don't forget what their job is.
Many have attempted to stifle the voices of the teenagers involved in these protests, arguing they're too young to know what they're talking about. In some cases, these young activists have even been trolled in truly disgusting ways by prominent right wing and conservative figures.
Despite the loud opposition, poll after poll shows that the majority of the country supports the student's list of demands when it comes to gun reform. Besides this, the young activists across the country have plenty of powerful people on their side, too. Celebrities, including Oprah and George and Amal Clooney, as well as major brands like Gucci donated healthy checks to the March for Our Lives event in March.
Complex News' Natasha Martinez caught up with Ty Dolla Sign at his hometown stop of the Don't Judge Me Tour in Los Angeles to chat about his birthday plans, his label The Movement, who he wants to see at Coachella, and how he’s a big Beyoncé fan. He even goes so far as to compare her live shows to the legendary Michael Jackson.
“Of course Beyoncé’s the queen, I would love to see Beyoncé,” Ty said. “I saw her Formation Tour […] and like watching her perform first of all, it was the most amazing show I’ve ever seen in my life. When I was a kid and used to watch Michael Jackson on TV, like seeing Beyoncé live, it gave me those vibes. Just like the greatest performer ever. Just the greatest stage set—everything about it, from her vocals to her dancing to all the attributes, she got it going.”
Ty wrapped up the majority of his Don’t Judge Me Tour in early April, and is now gearing up to join G-Eazy, Lil Uzi Vert, YBN Nahmir, P-Lo, and Murda Beatz on the 32-date Endless Summer Tour, which kicks off on July 20 in Seattle and ends on Sept. 8 in Miami.
On today’s show, Gilbert Arenas and the #OutofBounds boys catch NBA playoff fever! But first, they discuss a curious cosmetic/medical trend that shows just how lost, vain, and celebrity-obsessed humanity is. With the 2017–18 NBA regular season in the books, OOB takes a closer look at the Eastern Conference matchups. Gil is intrigued by one in particular, but also throws water on the idea of another potential “upset” and dissects the sure-to-be-hyped LeBron-Lance Stephenson showdown. Plus, the guys make their picks for which team is coming out of the East. Before discussing the Western Conference playoffs, the team reacts to Russell Westbrook grabbing a career-high 20 rebounds last night to become the first player in NBA history to average a triple-double twice. A hand wave from one host leads to a heated defense of Brodie and his hustle. Plus, Gil explains why the triple-double average was MVP-worthy last season but not this one. Next, OOB breaks down the playoff matchups in the West, and Gil makes a case for the Spurs against the Warriors before throwing water on Pierce’s Rockets-T’wolves intrigue. As with the East, the crew shares their picks for the team that will make it to the Finals, then adds who they think is winning it all. Finally, in “Fair or Foul?” the guys weigh in on the Miami Marlins claiming foreign citizenship in the Caribbean to wiggle out of a lawsuit with local Miami and Miami-Dade governments. Everybody feels strongly about the story, but Gil’s take is…something else. Following that up, the squad asks how new Marlins owner Derek Jeter is doing so far. Let’s just say life isn’t as charmed as it was in Yankees pinstripes.
In clinical terms,Love & Hip Hop is a long-running reality franchise about the personal and professional struggles of figures in the music business. In colloquial terms, it’s a ratchet-reality soap opera with around 200 interwoven characters. Many of them exist at the periphery of the music industry; others have won Grammys, gone platinum, and crafted No. 1 records at some point in their career. In nearly every episode, there is an obligatory scene of one or more of them in the studio. But with very few songs released, we need to know: What exactly are they working on?
LHH is the cornerstone of Vh1. In 2017, the network had four of the top 10 unscripted shows on cable, and the Atlanta and New York editions were Nos. 1 and 2, respectively. And shows weren’t measured in “social engagement” before Love & Hip Hop started dominating Twitter each time an episode aired. All this to say, everyone is watching the show. Everyone is talking about the show. But no one is fucking with the music from the show.
In fact, for a program called Love & Hip Hop, only one featured personality from its cast is actually relevant for their current musical output: a former stripper with minimal prior rap experience named Cardi B.
And no one saw her coming.
When Cardi joined Love & Hip Hop’s New York cast in season 6 she was already a social media starlet with over a million followers on Twitter (she now has 2.8M). She was known for her personality, not any musical inclinations, and had retired from the pole two months before the season premiere on December 14, 2015. By that point Cardi had started making a whole living off club appearances. But Vh1 wanted to portray her as a silly exotic dancer languishing in a messy situationship.
“Yo, it’s so crazy, like, them motherfuckers [the producers] really doubted me. It’s like, why would y’all doubt me? Like, I have seven hundred thousand bajillion followers,” she told THE FADER in February 2016. “I’m telling them like, ‘Yo, I have a brand. I’m not even an artist and I fill out clubs. Three thousand, whatever the crap, I fill them shits out!’ But they didn’t care about that. They just wanted to make me look as the stripper, a struggling stripper.”
love & hip hop may help raise an artist’s visibility, but for all the wrong reasons when it comes to their actual artistry.
And indeed, she played her part. In her now-legendary LHH video introduction, Cardi announced, “Hey, America, washpoppin’? You might know me as that annoying dancer on social media that be talking hella crazy, with the long nails and the big ol’ titties, but I’m just a regular, degular, shmegular girl from the Bronx.” We went on to see Cardi’s frustration over Power 105 radio personality DJ Self, whom she slept with occasionally, not playing her music. In her words, he was “the hottest DJ in New York or whatever” and she was willing to deal with him seeing other women so long as he helped get her music played.
See, for most of the show’s history, that was the dynamic: The men were the legitimate figures in the industry, and the women were around to jockey for their assistance or attention. Remember how Stevie J. constantly threatened to send Joseline Hernandez back to the strip club on Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta? Like no character before or after her, Cardi B. was able to flip the script.
To understand how disruptive Cardi was, we should rewind. The show’s earliest iteration, Keeping Up With the Joneses, centered around Dipset rapper Jim Jones, his longsuffering girlfriend Christine Lampkin, and outspoken mother, Nancy “Mama” Jones. But Jimmy became less interested after he released his most successful single, “We Fly High.” To save the show, manager Yandy Smith and her mentor, Violator Management co-founder Mona Scott-Young, bumpedJones down to supporting cast member, and elevated Chrissy and her friends to the main cast. Re-christened Love & Hip Hop, the show was now giving visibility to the women behind famous men in hip-hop.
Now, fast-forward: Cardi B. came on the show with a game plan, and it wasn’t to be behind anybody. Her cunning, singular focus is perhaps what allowed her to become the show’s unlikeliest success story. This theory makes more sense when you consider that Cardi quit after two seasons in order to pursue her music. She paused the shenanigans to go work on her craft, instead of posturing in the studio like many of the men we see every episode. Within months of leaving LHH, she released her second mixtape, signed a multimillion-dollar record deal, then released “Bodak Yellow.” And within a year of her last trip to Vh1, Cardi had a No. 1 record, two Grammy nominations, and multiple pop and hip-hop features dominating the charts.
Given her beloved personality, Cardi could’ve easily joined the likes of LHH mainstays Stevie J., Lil Scrappy, and Yung Joc, bouncing between spinoffs in reality TV purgatory. But unlike them, Cardi didn’t want chasing checks from Mona Scott-Young to be her ceiling. “A lot of the n***as on that show are cornballs, but it is what it is,” clairvoyant Cardi said in an interview right before she left the LHH.
That about sums up why no one who continues to appear on the show is likely to break through on the charts any time soon. LHH may help raise an artist’s visibility, but for all the wrong reasons when it comes to their actual artistry. We all agreed amongst ourselves that the franchise was fake, but it was a juicy lie that we enjoyed pretending to believe. Cardi’s contrasting authenticity made us step into the light.
Cardi could’ve easily joined the likes of LHH mainstays Stevie J., Lil Scrappy, and Yung Joc, bouncing between spinoffs in reality TV purgatory. But Cardi didn’t want chasing checks from Mona Scott-Young to be her ceiling.
Millions of people rallied behind her as a person—she could have sold us anything she wanted after that, lip kits or weave—but she chose to sling hits. Cardi didn’t blow up the day after she left, no. But she was persistent and converted momentum into clout. Some of the credible artists remaining on LHH, like Remy Ma and Trina, haven’t been able to figure this part out yet—even though both have albums on the way and purposefully steer clear of the drama by limiting their camera time. There appears to still be an understanding of their brand equity, which is something many of their peers seem to lack, but the reality of reality TV is that it’s a means to an end.
As we sit here in the afterglow of Cardi’s soon-to-be-crowned No. 1 debut album, her feature on Saturday Night Live, and third appearance on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon, we have to respect what she’s achieved. Cardi was an underestimated woman whose role on LHH was to orbit the “powerful” men, but yet she launched past them all. As a soon-to-be mother engaged to one of the hottest artists in the industry, she’s basically secured the love and the hip-hop without the cameras. It’s doubtful anyone else on the franchise can replicate those shmoney moves.
In this episode Tony and Justin stop by the Drone Racing League office to learn more about this up and coming sport. Tony speaks with CEO/Founder Nicholas Hobaczewski about the origin of the DRL. Ryan Gury, Director of Product, gives Tony the tour of the DRL workshop and shows off the fastest drone in the world!