All Articles Tagged "huffington post"
Emma Gray wrote for the Huffington Post a brilliant list of 23 Things Every Woman Should Stop Doing. The list is so relevant that I feel that most women of all stripes, who might be feeling a little unsure of themselves (and who hasn’t at some point in life, right?) should print it out, post it somewhere visible, and recite it once a day, until they have it memorized or until it becomes internalized practice.
While thinking on the list, I wondered about ways in which this list could be altered to make it more germane to the challenges faced by black women specifically. Based upon my own observations in the world (yup, that’s a disclaimer), I could think of four. As such, here is my list of “Four Things Every Black Women Should Stop Doing – In Addition to the 23 Things…List” Yes, I know it’s a long title, but let’s just consider it a work in progress:
Stop Fearing The “Angry Black Woman” Label. In Gray’s 23 Things… she mentioned how women shouldn’t no longer fear being labeled as “crazy,” as its only aim is to discredit or silence women into submission. I feel the same way about all the various inferences to the “Angry Black Woman.” Every day I meet black women, who in some way or fashion, temper their character out of fear of being perceived as loud, having an attitude, or otherwise, being uncouth. As such, they also end up limiting their wants, desires, and overall potential in the process. As the always profound Zora Neale Hurston once said: “If you are silent about your pain they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.” In other words, you better learn to yell and scream if you expect to be heard in this world, particularly this country, which ranks black women as largely invisible. From personal experience, I’ve been the quintessential “proper lady” and I’ve been the girl, who could care a hot damn what folks think about my decorum. I felt the latter to be personally freeing, and I tend to get more things done. Besides, what if you are angry? So what? Hello racism, sexism, homophobia. What about unequal pay and the disparages in healthcare? Or the other ways in which we are marginalized? As far as I’m concerned, we have a right to not only get angry, but to vocalize our displeasure. How else is this world supposed to get better?
Stop Worrying About If And When You’ll Get Married. Of course, this bit of advice could apply to most women of all ethnicities and colors, especially because since childhood we have all been taught that finding a good husband is our only true aim in life – regardless of our other desired worldly achievements. However, as of late, there has been an exceptional interest by both the media, and the general public alike (after all, the media would stop putting this stuff out there if folks, including many black women themselves, would stop sharing it) in the love lives of black women. In particular, there have been news reports, films, and even special television programs all geared to the exploration of the widely circulated statistics that 72 percent of black mothers are unwed and 42 percent of black women, in general, never marry. Of course, the “marriage crisis” among black women has all been debunked many times before, but that’s not why I think you shouldn’t concern yourself. Instead, the martial status of a woman should never be used as a barometer to gauge the success, fulfillment, and most importantly, value of a woman’s life. Little in these discussions about how worthy of marriage we are, is there concern to how prosperous a woman is within either status. How’s her health? What about her financial situation? Most importantly, is she happy? These questions, as it pertains to black women and marriage, are never asked or answered. After all, you can have a woman be married to a man who beats and cheats on her constantly, and then you can be an unwed mother, who is happily in a loving relationship and not be married. Or you could be single, with no kids, hoping to one day get married – when the time is right – but for now, be content with just dating. Therefore, the constant emphasis on marriage ultimately serves as a distraction for what we should be ultimately focusing on, and that’s how fulfilled women find themselves in these roles.
Stop Being Scared to Travel – Particularly Alone. Speaking of society’s warped ideas about black women’s desirability, who says that black women can’t get a man? You know how many countries there are in this world with men in them? I suck at geography, but I’m guessing all of them. And based on my experience as a traveler overseas, there is no shortage of multi-national admirers of the dark skin. However, this is one of the nominal reasons why I have been a big proponent of solo traveling – not so much about finding a man, but seeing the world in a different perspective. In my experience, it is my black female friends who often have a harder time breaking free from the pressures and presumptions forced on us about what are supposed to be our “safe” places in the world, whereas my white female friends have been told that the world is their oyster, and have traveled the planet, from very young and often times alone, accordingly. I can’t tell you how many confused looks I have received from sistas who have been intrigued by my stories of solo traveling. And yet, they will ultimately express a similar desire to do so – especially for those trips, which a travel mate can not be found – if not for the fear of being “alone.” However, traveling alone is the greatest expression of independence as if only for a short while, you can live your life (or vacation) completely on your own terms. Don’t want to just hang out at the resort? Want to do something nerdy and extremely touristy as going on a museum hop around your vacation city? Want to be on some ole’ hookie I’m-going-to-find-myself-overseas like in the movie (also book) Eat. Pray. Love? Go for it! Who’s gonna check you, boo?
Stop Being Afraid of the Word “Feminism” – Even If You Don’t Want to Call Yourself a Feminist. I get it: white supremacist ideology. Folks like Margaret Sanger and even Susan B. Anthony were known for mixing their fight for gender equality in with their racism. However, the system of patriarchy is an old system and there have always been women throughout history, who have resisted or sought to shift gender equalities. As such, white women did not invent – therefore could never take ownership of – the concept of feminism. Likewise, black women (and men) were not excluded from the formations and progression of any of the American woman’s suffrage movements (first or second wave). Just ask Sojourner Truth; Ida B Wells; Elaine Brown; Angela Davis; Rosa Parks, etc., who were all just as concerned about ending gender oppression in addition to racial inequalities. And here are some other considerations: The black family is led overwhelmingly by black women; religious leadership in our communities institutions, while mostly led by men, is upheld by congregations of largely women; and black women outnumber black men in colleges and university. Clearly, black women are the economic and developmental backbone of the community. However, our religions tell us to know our places, which is under the rule of a male thumb; despite our education, black women are still paid and valued less than both our male and female counterparts (quick: name a contemporary black woman leader? Now compare that to the list of Obama, Sharpton, Jackson, Smiley, West, etc., who are often cited as black leadership); and there is still this widely held belief that seeks to attribute all blame for dysfunctional families on single black mothers (as opposed to the wayward and otherwise absent fathers and national public policies). If anyone needs reprieve from male dominance and privilege, it would be black women. Yet feminism is not just about some battle of the sexes, which is how these discussions usually show up online nowadays, but rather challenging a framework of hierarchy, which places white Anglo Saxon straight men at the top of the food chain. In essence, it is through the black woman’s fight to help women in poverty; through violence prevention; and with health and reproductive rights, we have found and continue to find liberation not just for women, but also men, who find themselves unable to live up to and meet the narrow definitions of manhood.
So there is my list. I know, some of y’all are gnawing at the bits to counter point or add points of your own. As usual, list them in the comment section below.
What do you want on your Subway sandwich? I would guess you would probably pass on the p*nis.
“I would never do that at work — it was at home. This isn’t something I’d ever do at Subway. It was totally a joke.”
“This isolated incident is not representative of SUBWAY Sandwich Artists™. These actions are not tolerated and the franchisee took immediate action to terminate the two employees involved.”
“I saw the frozen piss picture and thought, ‘What is this guy doing?’ Then came the p*nis picture. They’re stupid enough for doing this in the first place, but then to post it to the world? It was a dumb move.I didn’t send these to be vindictive. But something needs to be done. It’s disgusting.”
According to the Huffington Post, our favorite famous-for-being-the-sister-of-a-woman-who-is-largely-famous-for-nothing-in-particular, Khloe Kardashian has channeled the innovative spirit of the late, great tech-god Steve Jobs, and has sent forth to the world a new hair trend called braids. All hail the power of the Kardashian name!
From the Huffington Post
“The Kardashian sis debuted her own version of the half-braided head on Wednesday evening, showing off her ‘do at an event for her family’s new line of self-tanner. Khloe drew attention with her sheer shirt (hello, bra!) but even more so with her braids, which reminded us of Jennifer Aniston’s hair at the Spike Guys’ Choice Awards last week. Carmen Electra has also rocked lopsided braids several times over the past few months, giving us the creeping feeling that this fancy update to the Skrillex-inspired hairstyle is becoming a trend.”
If ever there was a proof that we live in a WASP-focused culture, it’s that. Black girls have been putting braids in a variations and patterns since likely the inception of time – no one declares it a trend. White women come along and slap a couple of half-hearted braids in their hair and, with the wave of a wand, which could only be mimicked by the color-cueing commands of the great and powerful Wiz (the Black version), it’s considered not only a trend but also representative for all.
It’s no wonder so many people of non-WASP descent subscribe to the many philosophies of ‘white is always right’ and dark skin as nothing more than a synonyms of crime, poverty, immortality and all other pathologies. A couple of months ago, I drew the ire of a lot of readers to a piece I wrote in which I dared suggest that two black teenage girls did not deserve to be beat mercifully on camera by their father for twerking, especially considering that twerking is not as perverse as folks in the community want to believe. But rather follows a long tradition of cultural dances movements centered on the behind, which too have a long history throughout the Black Diaspora. People thought I was mad – among other things – for the mere suggestion. And some even went to great intellectual lengths to disassociate themselves from the immoral or bad behavior.
But that was a couple of months ago. Today, many of those same folks are raging mad again; this time about Miley Cyrus, her twerking across mainstream America and how everyone is loving it – well mostly everyone. You would think that folks would be happy she has taken this “ratchet” perversion of everything “virtuously black” off of our hands. But nope, folks are still pissed. Now it’s appropriation, they say. Now she is making a mockery of our culture, they shouted. Now she is a selective thief, stealing the fun parts of the black experience, in hopes of appearing cool and rebellious, but not bearing the brunt of the responsibility, they argue. All true however, how can we blame others from picking up the cultural baton when we give it away so cheaply and freely?
Since before our ancestors reached the shores of the original 13 colonies, folks of largely darker skin tones (as well as other non-WASPy differences), had their cultures demonized, removed or altered, in some instances violently, and were forced to adopt the culture of their colonizers – included religion, education and history and language – for the purpose of exploitation. That was colonialism. Yet as we have progressed onwards, hundreds of years into a future, mostly free of the sort of White oversight and exploitation, which ruled and basically developed the Western world, the beliefs of these ideologies still linger on in the hearts, minds and deeds of many of the same oppressed folks, who have conditioned themselves to believe that by internalizing many of the values and principles, it will provide them some leverage in this WASP-centered, thus inherently exclusionary, racist system. When in reality, all it does is reinforce the original oppression. That is called neo-colonialism.
Last Thursday and Saturday, a social experiment by Antonia Opiah came to life in New York City’s Union Square. Three black women stood with signs that read, “You can touch my hair,” for two hours each day, allowing passersby to touch their tresses. A fair amount of people stopped to touch their hair, question them and take pictures – embracing the ‘social experiment’. Conversely, quite a few women came with signs telling the public that they could NOT in fact touch their hair and asking what would they want to touch next?
If the overall objective of the “You Can Touch My Hair” display was to garner a reaction – or many reactions – then, I suppose the objective was achieved gloriously. Strong polar opposite opinions have been expressed via all sorts of social networks and social/cultural websites, one side feeling that the experiment was “empowering” while many others captioned the whole idea a “petting zoo.”
It took me a while to get my thoughts together on this display. First, I was a bit intrigued. I wanted to know what this was all about and who these gorgeous women were. But once all of the facts were presented and I viewed the videos of anybody touching these young ladies’ hair, grabbing handfuls and even plunging their hands to their scalps, I was confused and quite frankly, I felt sick.
I was confused because I had no idea how this qualified as an experiment. What was being measured? What was the principle being tested? What was discovered? There was no clear indicator of what was to be learned by this experiment. And isn’t that what an experiment is?
After reading the creator’s thoughts on the first installment of “You Can Touch My Hair,” I felt that the overall idea was just to begin a dialogue in a new way. A way that would cause controversy and possibly garner a few more site hits. No shade, but that is exactly what I came away with. I could see no other reason for black women with such a textured (no pun intended) history of objectification to stand in a public square and invite any and all to invade/violate their personal space in the name of starting a discussion.
The parallels between the display and the days of slavery with their publicly shaming auction block meat markets gave me pause. The closeness of the two ordeals caused me to cringe not unlike the way I cringed and felt ill after watching Spike Lee’s controversial film Bamboozled. This is the exact yoke that our grandmothers and their grandmothers and more died to lift from our necks, yes? That, in and of itself, was sickening enough. Of all the ways to begin this conversation, I could not help but to agree with many who found this particular method to be nothing short of a slap in the face to our ancestors.
I viewed the display from every angle so as to be as inclusive of all ideas as possible, but I failed to see what it did besides further divide black women on a topic that is already tender to the touch. We’re divided by who’s natural and who’s relaxed, by hair type, by hairstyling and now by who is willing to allow others to touch their hair and who’s not. The Huffington Post reported that mostly people of color decided to touch these young ladies’ hair.
On one hand, I can appreciate the three participants’ bravery (I guess…) in putting themselves on display, but on the other I ask, “Why do we do this?”
I see no other race going out of their way to explain how and who they are ALL OF THE TIME. Why does a woman’s dislike of others invading her space and touching her hair need to be discussed and philosophized about? Why can’t it just be? We fight in so many other venues not to be objectified or violated, but then stand in public squares and invite the world to partake.
I am beginning to feel that WE are the problem, more so than any other race or culture. We, as black women, are so preoccupied with the differences among us that we make a spectacle of ourselves in the name of beginning conversations that are not necessary. For those of us who do not allow it – we do not have to explain to others why they can’t touch our hair. They just can’t. Our hair belongs to us, not the public. We are not in charge of making others comfortable with who and how we are. We do not have to apologize for or explain our ‘fros and braids and locs and twists.
In an interview about the experience, Malliha, an aspiring actress, said something really interesting. She said, “It’s just dead follicles. Hair is just hair.” By that reasoning skin is just skin and holding signs saying, “You can touch my breasts,” is no big deal either, right? Malliha also stated that she participated voluntarily, in an attempt to deflate the comparison to slavery, as some onlookers called the exhibit something of “a slave trade.” I appreciate her pride in her decision and the joy she clearly came away with from the experience, but objectification is no less objectification even if participants are willing.
To pick apart our bodies to find a ‘less important’ piece to give away to the public to handle… It is a symptom of a deeper issue among black women. We do not owe the rest of the world a discussion about our bodies. We do not need the masses to validate us. We belong fully and beautifully to ourselves, not the general public.
La Truly’s writing is powered by a lifetime of anecdotal proof that awkward can transform to awesome and fear can cast its crown before courage. La seeks to encourage thought, discussion and change among young women through her writing. Follow her on Twitter: @AshleyLaTruly and AboutMe www.about.me/ashley.hobbs.
Lance Gross Talks “Temptation,” Tyler Perry And Why We Should Give Kim Kardashian’s Performance A Chance
After some pretty good promotion and some very captivating trailers (“He’s going to take you straight to hell…”), I’m sure you know that Temptation was released yesterday, and everybody and their mothers will be in the movie theater watching it. While promoting the film, one of the film’s very fine stars, Lance Gross, opened up to the Huffington Post about all the early backlash the movie received (back when it was still called The Marriage Counselor) because of Perry’s choice to allow Kim Kardashian to be in it. But Gross says that while he can understand why people might be upset about her being in the movie, she actually did a great job so people should give her and her performance a chance before they talk crazy.
So what is the movie about? Clearly its center is the fight to resist the temptation to cheat. While no one would dare cheat on Gross in real life, his character of Brice doesn’t have the same luck:
“He’s a small town guy, very passionate about his career, on his way to becoming a pharmacist. And he’s just a very regular guy. He married his childhood sweetheart, “Judith,” played by Jurnee Smollett-Bell. Along the way, as far as his relationship, he becomes comfortable and stops doing the things that he used to do to make her feel special. And then she meets this guy and the temptation comes in. He shows her a whole new world that she’s just not used to. So I spend most of my time in the movie fighting for my marriage.”
He also discussed how Perry is also starting to target a wider audience with his films and what kind of director Perry is:
“It’s definitely different. Tyler has his thing. He appeals to a certain type of audience, but Tyler really targets the African-American, church going community. And actually, it’s really growing now. Tyler works very quickly, he knows what he wants and he executes. It’s like a good boot camp for an actor, because it’s just puts you on your “A-game.” It prepares you for other directors who tend to take their time. But it’s depends on who it is, because some directors work fast like Tyler Perry and some like to take their time and do 17 takes.”
As for Kim K…
“I’ve been working with Tyler since 2007 and he has a great business mind. He knows what he’s doing and he knows what he wants for his films. So I don’t really question his decisions in casting people. To Kim’s defense, she did a great job. The role that he gave her was well thought out. It was something that he believed she could execute. And I think she brought her “A-game.” I get what all the fuss was about, but at the end of the day you got to give people a chance. And I feel like she really proved herself.”
I guess we’ll see now won’t we?
Are you catching Temptation this weekend?
Today while Goggling Kandi Burruss’s name for accuracy, a rather interesting/hater-worthy article on The Huffington Post, popped up at the top of my search page: “Kandi Burruss’ Engagement Ring Is Not What It Appears to Be.”
What follows that headline is a 550-word article by diamond industry veteran Ira Weissman that, for what reason I don’t know, attempts to discredit Kandi, her fiance Todd, and even US Magazine all because her engagement ring isn’t as expensive as he and apparently the one other person who thinks like him — the editor who approved this piece — thought it was. Confused? Here’s what Weissman wrote:
According to the US Magazine report, Tucker proposed to Burruss with a “a gorgeous two-carat white diamond sparkler by ring designer Gregg Ruth.”…
At first glance, the ring looks like a stunning (and HUGE!) two-carat oval diamond. In a fine pave setting like this from a high-end designer like Gregg Ruth, one would expect the diamond quality to be rather high. In my professional estimation, a large oval in a setting like this would need to be at least a G color. A diamond like this would likely cost at least $25,000 for the diamond alone. A designer setting like hers could easily add another $4,000 to $5,000. At full retail from a high-end Las Vegas jewelry store, this ring would likely cost well over $40,000.
But at closer inspection, this is clearly not what we’re dealing with here. A quick look at Gregg Ruth’s website brings us to this ring’s specific page.
The MSRP listed there is about $11,000….
US Magazine is perhaps deliberately misleading us. The ring is not a “two-carat diamond sparkler” — it is a two-carat total weight diamond sparkler. The face of her ring, which is in the shape of an oval, is filled with much smaller round diamonds that when clustered together give the illusion of a much larger diamond.
Now I am the last one to disparage creative ways to save money when buying diamonds. Diamond clustering is a fantastic way to get a stunning ring at a fraction of the price of a single large diamond. Her ring, for example, costs $11,000 instead of approximately $40,000 for the same ring with one large oval-cut diamond.
What I am vehemently against, however, is that she has tried to hide this fact. She had a great opportunity to make a difference by explaining what her ring was really all about and telling the world she didn’t care — that this ring made her extremely happy because of how much her man loves her, not because of how much he spent on it. US Magazine’s reporting unfortunately just perpetuates the unreasonable expectations held by many women, and the sense of obligation their men feel in fulfilling them.
Nice job using a woman you have no real knowledge of to try to make a larger point about the financial burden placed on men at the time of engagement, but let me tell you where you failed, Weissman.
It’s clear this man has no knowledge of who Kandi Burruss because if there’s one thing we know about her, she is not afraid to talk about where she saved a few pennies. Kandi is the epitome of ballin’ on a budget and I didn’t gather that she was trying to pass off her ring as more than it was from her US mag exclusive at all.
And not to get all racial, but I’m not surprised this white jeweler HuffPo dug up isn’t familiar with this Black woman known for her time in Xscape and for being an Atlanta housewife. Had he actually done a little background and perhaps tried to speak to Kandi first, I’m sure she would have given him the rundown on her ring. Or, she would have slammed the phone on his ear because it’s tacky as hell to be all up in somebody’s bank account, pricing their ring like that. The only one concerned with how much Kandi’s ring cost is Weissman, so don’t be mad at her because you bought into the hype and were so surprised at this Black woman’s ring you had to investigate it. Go keep up with some other Joneses, please.
From Black Voices
The body of 10-year-old Jade Morris was found in a Nevada desert on Thursday, according to family members.
The discovery was made by a man walking his dog near an unfinished housing development in the northern stretches of the Las Vegas Valley, Las Vegas Metro Police said.
Family members told the Black and Missing Foundation that they visually identified the remains for police, who have not yet released a statement positively identifying the body.
Read the statement from the family and the rest of the story surrounding Jade’s disappearance and subsequent death at Black Voices.com
Dreams of retiring early are becoming nightmares. According to a new study, Americans feel they won’t be able to retire—at all. “Thirty percent of middle-class Americans, or nearly one in three, say they plan to work until their 80s because they can’t afford to retire earlier,” reports The Huffington Post. This means people are planning to work their entire lives—as the average American dies at age 78, according to the World Bank.
Harris Interactive on behalf of Wells Fargo surveyed 1,000 Americans about their retirement goals. The middle class is basically disappearing, say some experts, leaving little room for people to save for retirement. “The U.S.’ real median household income, at just $50,054, is roughly at the same level where it was in 1989. While worker productivity has risen 69 percent since 1979, median hourly compensation rose just 6.5 percent during the same time period, according to the Economic Policy Institute,” write HuffPo.
Americans seem to feel they won’t have enough to retire on. And this may be true. Americans need about $1 million in retirement savings to maintain a decent standard of living in retirement, according to Kiplinger.
And even if workers do retire from one job, most say they plan on getting another. “Thirty-nine percent of middle-class Americans said in the Wells Fargo survey that they plan to work in retirement out of financial necessity, according to the survey,” states the article.
There are ways, however, to try to save for retirement even if you have a low income, according to US News & World Report:
- Set up a direct deposit. Have a portion of each paycheck automatically deposited into a 401(k), IRA, savings, or investment account.
- Redirect your tax refund and tax break. If you don’t need your tax refund for immediate expenses or debts, consider saving a portion of it for retirement.
- Take advantage of tax breaks. Saving in a retirement account has the added bonus of reducing your current or future taxes.
- Don’t spend your savings early. Once you begin to build a nest egg, try not to spend any of it before retirement.
OWN will not go down without a fight—if at all. Arianna Huffington and her team have come to Oprah’s aid with a new joint venture for the launch of Oprah Winfrey’s very own section on The Huffington Post. The collaboration between the Post and the Oprah Winfrey Network will launch in August, and according to a press release:
“The special section on the website will feature content created and curated by writers and producers from OWN and Oprah.com specifically for The Huffington Post. Additionally, the section will call upon The Huffington Post’s vast network of bloggers and community to have a conversation around Oprah.com content….
“The Huffington Post Oprah section will contain a mix of articles, blogs and interactive content that will connect with the audience on an emotional and spiritual level. The site will provide practical advice and resources encouraging people to discover their best selves and to lead happy, fulfilling lives by taking steps to attain their goals. Topics covered will include personal growth, spirituality and aspects of physical and mental health.”
This may have been something Oprah should have done from the beginning, although the talk show legend has always been able to stand on her own until now. The Huffington Post has been widely successful, with stats as of February showing that the site receives 36.2 million unique monthly visitors. Oprah could definitely use that type of exposure but whether reading about the media mogul and her network of experts will translate to more viewers of her television channel is a toss-up. The OWN folks are going to have to get creative.
Do you think this Huffington Post section will give Oprah and OWN the boost they need?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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Just when you think you can’t love Zoe Saldana anymore she turns around and does something else to make us do just that.
On the red carpet at the Cosmopolitan for Latinas launch party Wednesday night, Zoe was showered with praise for being the face of the mag’s first issue and when The Huffington Post asked the actress why she chose to cover Cosmo Latina when she can cover any magazine in the world she had to correct the interviewer just a teeny little bit.
“First of all I can’t yet pose for any magazine. I wish I could,” she told the Huffpost. “There are a lot of magazines that are still sort of…that only cater to a certain demographic and only put certain people on their covers,” she added. “And that’s fine – I never lose hope that one day certain big magazines can broaden their exposure of what is an American face.”
Don’t let the cute face and the petite stature fool you, though. Zoe’s just about done with white-washed magazine covers.
“I never like to get political, but when you have the ability, through your media, to influence a large mass of people, I would want to be a part of the evolving cycle of progress versus keeping things the way that they are. That said, I think that I speak for a lot of us, Americans, that I would want to see a little more diversity.
“It is happening, but not at the pace that it should be,” she added. “For the love of God, we have a Black president. That should’ve set the tone on a lot of things that should’ve been a little quicker, and it’s not enough.”
The good thing, Zoe said, is that there are magazines like Cosmo Latina who are celebrating diversity on their own terms.
“For me to have been invited to be the first on their cover, I feel so honored and grateful. To be seen and to be respected for my work and acknowledged as a true American Latina…means a lot to me.”
Check out more of her red carpet interview here. What do you think is the answer to more cover diversity in a non-print friendly market?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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