Spotify Ad Calling Justin Bieber A ‘Latin King’ Infuriates Latinxs

Spotify has officially pulled an ad naming Justin Bieber a “Latin King,” after uproar from Latinos around the web.

The advertisement seemed to connect Bieber with the mainstream success of Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito” (featuring Daddy Yankee) in the United States. The Canadian star remixed the already global hit in April and that version became the first No. 1 Spanish-language single in the country since the “Macarena” in 1996.

The ad garnered attention after one Twitter user posted a screenshot and a short message directed at Spotify on June 14. The message in the tweet included a few words asking the streaming company to take down the ad on behalf of the Latinx community.  

dear @Spotify , take this down. this is disrespectful. I'm sure we all agree.

-sincerely,
ALL LATINXS. pic.twitter.com/GZ56lzHncn

— paletero papi (@pablocurates) June 14, 2017

Latinos have pointed out that the Spotify ad whitewashed the work of the Latino artists who were truly behind the mega hit. Twitter users responded to the ad by threatening to stop using Spotify and calling it “disgusting.” 

I hate that people think that Justin Bieber was that made the song when it was luis fonsi y daddy yankee sabe no tienen respeto

— Valeria Gonz Laró (@valerialaro) June 19, 2017

@Spotify I've been a paying customer for several years but looks like I need to cancel my account if we don't get an apology

— Latinx Geeks (@LatinxGeeks) June 21, 2017

This ad is so disgusting.

— El Profe (@e_odlt) June 14, 2017

As a belieber, Spotify wtf take this shit down.

— Jess A. (@ferinamami) June 21, 2017

I'm embarrassed for @Spotify

— horch@ta mami (@cartoonaesthete) June 21, 2017

Some even pointed to Bieber’s butchering of the “Despacito” lyrics during a live performance in May. The incident angered many Latino fans, who accused the singer of “mocking the Spanish language.  

This is a insulting especially after mocking our beautiful Spanish language.

— Andrew Rosado (@Andrewification) June 17, 2017

HE CAN'T EVEN SING THE SONG RIGHT, no mames

— Doña Vergas (@annaidleon__) June 21, 2017

Excuse me? He refuses to even learn and perform the song correctly. What is wrong with you, @Spotify ?

— Princess Consuela (@Jessicainga) June 21, 2017

Jeronimo Saldaña, from the Latinx political organization Mijente, even started a petition against the ad. 

The company responded to the furor in a statement Thursday. 

“We made a creative decision to feature Justin Bieber in our ad because we wanted to celebrate ‘Despacito’ as a key cultural moment when music genres crossover,” a Spotify spokesperson told HuffPost via e-mail. “We realized that this could be seen as culturally insensitive so we have pulled those ads.”

When HuffPost asked if Spotify planned to issue an apology to the community, the company responded saying there were no current plans to issue anything further.

H/T We are mitú

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Ice Cube Dishes On How He Got His Cold Rap Moniker

We all bopped our heads as Ice Cube taught us his meaning of a good day in ’92 ― but did we ever stop to wonder just how O’Shea Jackson became Ice Cube?

During Cube’s guest appearance on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” on Tuesday, the rapper and actor gave us a chance to get to know the man behind the name when he explained the origins of his rap moniker. 

Apparently, it all started with a threat from his older brother Clyde. 

Cube said that when he was younger, he would try to make moves on his brother’s girlfriends, which Clyde didn’t take lightly. 

“Back in those days when you wanted to throw out an old refrigerator you’d dump it on the curb and someone would come pick it up,” Cube began. “Well, my brother was like, ‘Yo, that refrigerator down the street? I’m gonna take you down there, I’m slammin’ you in the freezer and when they pull you out you’re gonna be an ice cube.’”

There goes it. Cube even took the time to give Colbert a rap moniker of his own.

“The Late Night Show with Pimp Daddy Colbert” has a nice ring to it, no?

Watch the full interview below: 

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Jay-Z: We Must Use Our Voices, Platforms To Demand Social Justice

Jay-Z understands the power of his voice when it comes to speaking out against injustice, and he’s pushing for more people to use theirs to help bring about social change. 

“Look around at what’s happening in your town and your city right now. Think small, and you can do much bigger things,” the rapper wrote in a moving essay for The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday.

He mentioned the ways he has used his own resources to help tell the story of the late Kalief Browder, who died by suicide in 2015 after spending three torturous years on Rikers Island for allegedly stealing a backpack.  

“The power of one voice is strong, but when it comes to social justice, the power of our collective voices is unstoppable,” he wrote. “Now is the time to recognize that through our voices we really can effect change.”

“Some of us will do the important work locally at the micro level to awaken our neighbors,” he continued. “Some of us will work for progress regionally. And a few of us will be like Kalief Browder, a modern-day prophet whose death two years ago started a discussion that continues today about how poor, black juveniles are treated in the criminal justice system.”

Jay-Z worked with film producer Harvey Weinstein to bring the documentary series “Time: The Kalief Browder Story” to TV, which he said made him realize that projects like this “could raise our voices and create that collective we need.”

“We can work together to demand change from our elected government officials,” he added. “We put them in office, we make the laws, and we show them the path to progress. That is our power, and it’s the only way that healing will come for Kalief and his family.”

Going forward, Jay-Z is pushing for more projects that speak to the harsh reality of race in America and his forthcoming documentary “Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story” aligns with this mission. 

“My hope is for my next documentary … to create a similar conversation that leads to change and helps keep our children safe,” he wrote. “But social justice isn’t a political issue. It’s a human issue. It’s a story of empathy. When we are able to identify that we are all not perfect and have compassion for someone else, we can move forward as a society.” 

Check out his full essay on THR here

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Report Finds Diverse Movies Outperform White Ones At Every Level

One of the most powerful talent agencies in Hollywood has put out a report that pushes back against many preconceived notions about the way movies with diverse casts perform at the box office.

Creative Artists Agency (CAA), which lays claim to many of Hollywood’s most famous actors and actresses, was inspired to look into film diversity after discovering that non-white Americans purchased a disproportionate number of movie tickets last year.

To be specific, non-white Americans scooped up 49 percent of all tickets sold in the U.S. last year, even though they make up a smaller percentage of the U.S. population ― somewhere around 38 percent.

So researchers sifted through 413 films released between the beginning of 2014 and the end of 2016, documenting the ethnicity of the top 10 billed actors for each of them. They wanted to find out how films with a significant non-white presence ― which they defined as 30 percent and up ― performed at the U.S. box office. 

Lo and behold, they did well. Really well. As CAA put it in an email to HuffPost: 

At every budget level, a cast that is at least 30% non-white outperforms a release that is not, in opening weekend box office.

The audience side of things tells a similar story. Films that had what CAA called a “truly diverse” audience ― meaning the audience was between 38 percent and 70 percent non-white ― pulled in around $31 million on opening weekend on average, versus $12 million for overwhelmingly white films. 

The hope is that seeing real numbers attached to the success of the inclusion of more voices and diverse casts will be further motivation for studios, networks and others to be really conscious of the opportunity.
CAA President Richard Lovett

The findings are significant. Despite increased interest in Hollywood representation due to #OscarsSoWhite and other moments, people of color have continued to struggle to convince studio executives to green-light their ideas. Last year, Angela Robinson, a black woman who directed “Herbie: Fully Loaded,” described it as a “my kind of people” problem.

“If I were to give someone $50-100 million dollars … I’d really, really want to feel super comfortable with that person,” she told HuffPost at the time. “Racism and sexism kind of go into it, but it’s more just a comfort thing. Like, you are my kind of person. I grew up with people like you. Or I went to college with people like you.”

Christy Haubegger, leader of CAA’s multicultural development group, told the Los Angeles Times that she hopes the company’s research shows that “people [actually] want to see a world that looks like theirs,” and that movie executives are hindering themselves if they only rely on white friends and try to appeal to white audiences.

“One of the interesting things that the most successful movies share is that they’re broadly appealing to diverse audiences,” Haubegger added. 

Richard Lovett, CAA’s president, told the Times he would like the hard data in the report to help studios confront some of their longstanding assumptions. 

“The hope is that seeing real numbers attached to the success of the inclusion of more voices and diverse casts will be further motivation for studios, networks and others to be really conscious of the opportunity,” Lovett told the outlet.

In recent years, CAA has made a point to promote a culture of inclusion. The agency has emphasized minority recruitment, especially at historically black colleges and women’s colleges, and used its internship program to help people of color get a foot in the door. (In the last half decade, a majority of the company’s interns worldwide have been people of color.)

Things are changing at the higher ranks of the company, too. Between 2016 and 2017, so far, the revenues of CAA’s multicultural clients have risen by 14 percent. 

“The issue of diversity and inclusion is a very important one for us,” CAA executive Ryan Tarpley said last year. “We believe more diverse voices from diverse backgrounds make our company stronger, with a better quality experience for everyone — our company and clients. It’s good business.”

CLARIFICATION: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that CAA’s multicultural clients have risen by 14 percent between 2016 and 2017. The revenues of CAA’s multicultural clients have risen by 14 percent. 

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The Problem With Identifying An Alleged Rapist As An ‘Honor Roll Student’

On Tuesday, 18-year-old Ryan Stocker was charged with two counts of felony sexual assault at the Windsor County Courthouse in White River Junction, Vermont. 

A few things you need to know about Stocker is that he is a senior in high school who allegedly sexually assaulted two women, ages 16 and 18, who attend Green Mountain Union High School with him. He’s currently facing between three years and a full life sentence in prison if convicted on those two felony counts. According to local media outlet Daily UV, Stocker could face even more chargers as police investigate additional allegations that’s he’s committed similar crimes, one possibly involving a 15-year-old girl. 

One thing you don’t need to know about Stocker is that he’s an honor roll student. 

As BuzzFeed reporter Tyler Kingkade tweeted, the Daily UV’s article covering Stocker’s trial was wildly problematic. “Chester Honor Role [sic] Student Faces Potential Life Sentence,” the Daily UV’s headline reads. 

student accused of sexually assaulting two girls, but you wouldn't know that from this @thedailyUV headline https://t.co/y3lDfrNARt

— Tyler Kingkade (@tylerkingkade) June 21, 2017

“Student accused of sexually assaulting two girls, but you wouldn’t know that from this @thedailyUV headline,” Kingkade tweeted. 

The short sentence below the headline (that’s usually used to sum up the story) apparently had to include that the girls Stocker allegedly assaulted were drunk at the time. While this short sentence isn’t included in the tweet, it is included if you click into the story. 

“Two teen girls say they were drunk when sexually assaulted,” the sentence below the Daily UV’s headline reads.  

The Daily UV’s framing of this story is problematic for a number of reasons. First, as Kingkade noted, the headline doesn’t even include that Stocker is facing a life sentence for allegedly sexually assaulting two women. (And, not for nothing, they spelled “roll” incorrectly in their Twitter headline.) 

Secondly ― and more importantly ― identifying Stocker as an “honor roll student” only fuels the delusional argument that an abuser’s crimes can somehow be nullified if he has a promising future. Just like we didn’t need to know that Brock Turner was an “All-American swimmer” with a “promising” future ― we don’t need to know Stocker is an honor roll student.

All too often, the media focuses on the details of the abuser’s life simply because that’s all they have to work with as the identity of the victim is not on public record. Including details about a person who’s been accused of sexual assault is not a bad thing, but only to a certain point. This balancing act becomes problematic when the details of the abuser’s life ― his bright future lost, his loving parents grieving, the great college he’s no longer attending ― become the story instead of the crimes he’s on trial for in the first place. 

While the Daily UV’s article is a small example, it represents a larger issue: The public and the media believe a rapist looks and acts a certain way.

Someone who gets good grades, is good at sports and happens to be white couldn’t possibly assault a woman, right? 

His grades, his athletic abilities, the fact that he may be a “good friend” ― none of this matters. These facts are irrelevant because a person can still get good grades and rape someone. Because a rapist is usually not some big, scary monster lurking in an alleyway waiting to pounce on an unsuspecting, innocent victim.

A rapist is usually someone you know, someone you’re friends with, someone your family is friends with. Seventy percent of people who experience sexual assault know their attackers. Out of juvenile sexual assault cases, 93 percent knew their attacker. 

In the same breath, it is still rape even if the victim was wearing revealing clothing, flirting, in a relationship with their abuser, doing drugs, and, yes, even if the victim was drinking.

Just as the perfect victim does not exist, the perfect abuser doesn’t either. 

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Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.

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6 Reasons Introverts Are Better At Dating Than Extroverts

It might seem like extroverts have a leg over introverts when it comes to dating, but introverts are the ones who actually bring more to the table. Sure, extroverts are naturally outgoing and talkative, but introverts lure dates in with their thoughtful conversation, unmatched listening skills and super sexy sense of mystery. 

Below, self-identifying introverts and experts on introversion share six reasons introverts are surprisingly good at dating. 

1. Introverts are masters of mystery.

Introverts are alluring to others because they aren’t inclined to give everything away at once, said Laurie Helgoe, the author of Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength. In a world of TMI, that sense of mystery is powerful. 

“A conversation with an introvert is like a journey to a vast and complex new landscape; you see part of the picture but also know there is much more to interest you down the road,” Helgoe told HuffPost. “Because introverts aren’t in a rush to tell all, they have the luxury of coming up with insights, ideas and funny observations that others miss.”

2. They genuinely listen to what their date has to say. 

Forget monopolizing the conversation. Introverts would rather listen then spill their whole life story, brag about a recent vacation or lecture their date on news of the day. They value a back-and-forth conversation and ask follow-up questions. (Bonus points for that: A recent Harvard Business School study found that people who asked a lot of questions, particularly follow-up questions, were considered more likable by others.)

In short, introverts win their dates over with their genuine curiosity and ability to listen with intention, said Michaela Chung, the author of The Irresistible Introvert: Harness The Power of Quiet Charisma in a Loud World.

“As someone who has gone on a lot of dates with both introverts and extroverts, I can honestly say that the most exceptional dates were with fellow introverts,” Chung said. “Instead of flitting from topic to topic or telling one long-winded story after the next, introverts slow down, look you in the eye and truly listen. Introverts draw you in by posing interesting questions and sharing their own unique perspectives.”

3. Introverts tend to have deeper and more meaningful relationships.

Introverts would rather have a few promising relationship leads than dozens of open chats with people they’re only vaguely interested in, said Steven Zawila, a writer and the editor of the blog Charming Introvert. 

“As an introvert, I take my time when I’m getting to know someone romantically and I don’t really try to get too physical until I know them better,” he said. “I compare myself to my extroverted friend: He enjoys hitting on a lot of women at bars and clubs and taking things to the next level fairly quickly. He has a lot of numbers in his phone but my relationships have lasted longer and been more meaningful, I think.” 

4. Introverts know who they are and what they want.

Introverts put forethought into everything they do ― and that includes sizing up the pros and cons of a potential relationship. Generally speaking, they know who they are and what they want, Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, the author of The Genius of Opposites: How Introverts and Extroverts Achieve Extraordinary Results Together. 

“A huge benefit of reflection while dating is that introverts have probably taken the time to get to know themselves as a single person,” she said. “Most introverts aren’t looking for that other person to ‘complete’ them, which actually makes them more of an interesting person to their date.”

5. Introverts won’t spend time on the date staring at their phone or looking for someone else to talk to. 

Introverts may be wary of small talk, but once they’re committed to a conversation, they truly lock in. Chung compared her experience dating to the experiences of an ex-roommate to illustrate some key differences in how extroverts and introverts look for love IRL.

“My roommate, an extrovert, seemed to be the epitome of extroverted charm: she was outgoing, witty and full of energy,” Chung explained. “At first, I envied her easy ability to chat and flirt with any guy in the room, but as I spent more time with her, I realized that her attention was always divided. She was constantly looking at her phone or scanning the room.”

As an introvert, Chung felt like her friend was missing out on opportunities to have deep, meaningful conversation with worthwhile matches. 

“Introverts naturally slow down in conversation and give you their full attention which is so refreshing,” she said. 

A post shared by Marzi (@introvertdoodles) on Jan 6, 2017 at 9:35am PST

6.  Introverts provide refuge from a too-fast, too-intense world.

One of the biggest selling points for dating an introvert, according to Helgoe? In this fluid, constantly changing modern world, introverts provide stability and calmness to the ones they love. 

“When an introvert confidently owns his or her preference for a slower pace, the message is, ‘I’m not trying too hard. I’m comfortable with pauses. I have time,’” she explained. “That’s powerful. An introvert is less interested in performing and competing and more willing to truly be with you.”

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The 395 Kids Philando Castile Left Behind

It was a few weeks after his death in July 2016 when Sakki Selznick learned that her daughter had been giving imaginary high-fives to Philando Castile.

Castile ― or Mr. Phil, as students at J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet School would call him ― often greeted students with high-fives while they waited on line to get breakfast in the cafeteria. Now that Mr. Phil was gone, Selznick’s young daughter worried she’d never get one of his famous high-fives again. One evening, she explained, she was thinking about it and she’d started high-fiving the air, hoping Mr. Phil would respond somehow.

A magical high-five didn’t arrive. Through tears, Selznick explained to her daughter that she would not be getting one.

Jeronimo Yanez, at the time a St. Anthony police officer, shot and killed Castile last summer during a traffic stop. Castile, 32, left behind not only a girlfriend and her daughter, a mother and a family, colleagues and friends, but also 395 adoring students at the Saint Paul, Minnesota, elementary school where he worked.

The students have spent the past year mourning Castile, a loss that was felt anew last week with the news that Yanez had been acquitted of any wrongdoing.

Now that Castile’s killer has been found not guilty, the young children are grappling with another uncomfortable truth: The justice system doesn’t always deliver justice.

In a country where many schools are segregated by race and class, J.J. Hill is a small bastion of diversity, a Montessori school that draws from surrounding progressive neighborhoods. About 47 percent of the students are Asian, black or Hispanic, with a number of Somalian and Hmong immigrants. The rest of the students are white. For the most part, everyone gets along, parents say. The fact that this harmonious racial coexistence does not extend beyond the school’s four walls is a reality students had to confront when a cop killed their nutrition services supervisor last summer.

For some white families, it was surprising that an incident of stark police brutality could happen to someone in their circle. The shock mobilized them to action via protests and petitions. For some black families, the reality of police violence was something for which they had long prepared their children.

But the fact that it happened to Mr. Phil ― a man whom parents describe as exceedingly gentle and unfailingly kind, a man who did everything “right” ― was something no one could have prepared for.

Selznick is white, but used to live in an all-black neighborhood in Los Angeles. She says she isn’t naive about the harsh facts of police brutality. Still, when a jury found Yanez not guilty of second-degree manslaughter last week, she felt like she had been tricked into the idea that there would be some sense of justice. Earlier reports of a deadlocked jury had given her hope. I got snookered,” she said.

When Selznick’s 10-year-old daughter learned of the verdict, she seemed overwhelmed. She said she could no longer remember Mr. Phil’s face. Selznick’s 16-year-old son, who also knew Castile, almost put a hole through the wall in anger.

They’re right at the age where they believe there will be social justice,” Selznick said. “That’s a lie.”

Zuki Ellis’ son, entering fourth grade, isn’t likely to forget about Castile’s death any time soon. Ellis is black. She’s never tried to conceal from her son the realities of racism or police brutality. But this was the first time anything had happened to someone so close.

“He has the same question a lot of us have: How does something so awful happen and no one is accountable for that?” Ellis said. “How do you kill Mr. Phil and nothing happens?”

They’re right at the age where they believe there will be social justice. That’s a lie.
Sakki Selznick

This year, when kids at J.J. Hill had to face school without Mr. Phil, regardless of their race, some students emerged from the experience as changed individuals.

Tony Fragnito, a small business owner who is involved in local politics, says his two boys were noticeably different. They were more somber and had less energy when they got home from school. Then, in November, the election happened, building on the trauma of Castile’s death. After Donald Trump won, Fragnito’s younger son packed a suitcase and said he was moving to Canada with his Somali friends from school because “it’s not safe for them anymore.”

Andrew Karre, a children’s book editor, recalled that when his 9-year-old son found out about Castile’s death, he asked a simple but difficult-to-answer question: “Why was the police officer scared?” Karre’s son followed Yanez’s trial on public radio. When the verdict was announced, the family headed down to the Capitol to protest. Given the facts of the case, Karre said, his son was troubled by the outcome. 

John Horton, a teacher at J.J. Hill who also has two kids enrolled, said Castile’s death would often come up in class. The children drew connections to Castile when learning about civil rights issues. They tried to make sense of Castile’s death in relation to a larger context of injustice. But for many, he said, it still seemed senseless.

I think a lot of the adults are still trying to work through it, and the kids see this,” Horton said. “They see the instability and the not understanding from the adult side.”

The school has mostly dealt with the grief head-on. Teachers got special training, and counselors were available for therapy throughout the year. A handful of teachers sported pins with Castile’s face on them. There is a bench in his honor, and a tree in his name.  

But some parents are still struggling to provide answers to questions they can’t figure out themselves.

“It has been a hard year,” Ellis said. “I don’t imagine the next year will be easier.”

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Why Ashley Graham Broke Down In Tears After This Lingerie Shoot

Ashley Graham is a pro at workin’ it in her lingerie, so it makes sense she would share her skills with the rest of us. 

The model recently partnered with Glamour to coach four girls on modeling their lingerie and ― at the same time ― overcome their various insecurities and struggles with their bodies.

Over the course of the 8-minute video, the girls shared their powerful stories about recovering from an eating disorder, battling skin conditions, scars and more. Graham encouraged the women to open up about what they liked about their bodies and just say “screw you” to the body parts they struggled with. 

After dancing and coaching the new models, Graham went over the photos with the women and told them just how beautiful they looked.

“It’s not every day that I see a girl like me in this kind of lingerie,” one of the girls said to Graham.

“Yeah because they don’t put us out there like that,” Graham answered.

Near the end of the video, the model broke down in tears talking about the amazing experience. 

“People just think that body image and the body revolution is a ‘trend’ and a ‘fad,’ and, you guys, it’s not,” Graham said through the tears. “It goes from big girls to little girls. It goes from Spanish girls to black girls. It goes from white girls to young girls. It’s everybody in between.”

She added, “If we keep having this conversation, if we keep talking about the things that society has said are ugly, the things that we don’t see in media, that is what is gonna change. That’s how we make a statement. That’s how we rule out all the things that are here right now and make a new normal.”

Amen to that. 

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If you’re struggling with an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorder Association hotline at 1-800-931-2237.

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Gay Couple Recreates Pride Photo 24 Years Later And It’s Perfect

Two gay men who’ve been together for more than two decades recreated a photo of their first Pride march ― and have effectively melted hearts across the internet.

Nicholas Cardello and Kurt English took the original photo at the March on Washington, D.C. in 1993, which was held to raise visibility and advocate for the LGBTQ community. The second photo ― almost identical to the first ― was shot at the Equality March for Unity & Pride in Washington earlier this month.

he couple made a massive impact with a tweet of the two side-by-side photos earlier this week, which was cheekily captioned “it’s just a phase.”

The pair first met in 1992, and the rest was history.

“People ask how we lasted for 25 years? That is a good question especially since the structure of our society is set up to pull us apart,” the pair told HuffPost. “We have decided to promote positive change in society by coming out to our families, at work, on social media, and with neighbors. We also decided to involve ourselves with groups that positively influence politics such as Equality Florida, Lambda Legal, and the American Civil Liberties Union. It takes work, no denying it, but in the end Love Will Win!”  

Cardello and English had no idea that their story would resonate with others in such a profound way. 

“We could never have imaged the incredible response to this that we received,” they continued. “We were deeply touched by people’s personal stories and comments from around the world about the challenges that they experience in their personal lives and in their particular cultures. Many times we have been moved to tears by reading the comments.”

They also told HuffPost that they think the photos are especially important since we see so few examples of same-sex couples growing old together in entertainment and the media.

“The youth needs to see that it is possible to find a loving partner ― and that the relationship can last,” they said.

 

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Demi Lovato On Her Career: I Wouldn’t Start So Young If I Could Do It Again

At 24, Demi Lovato feels she’s “lived a lot longer than I have.” 

The singer spoke briefly about her more than 17 years in the entertainment industry during an interview at Cannes Lions on Monday. Lovato attended the event to discuss her upcoming YouTube docuseries “Demi Lovato: Simply Complicated.”

“I feel like I’m at a pivotal point in my life, I’m turning 25,” she said about why she decided to do a series that follows her daily life. “I’m looking at my future and my past, and I want to share that with my fans.”

When asked about her past as a child star, Lovato said she would’ve preferred to begin her career later in life.

“I wouldn’t start that young if I could do it over again,” said Lovato, who began acting at age 8. “I don’t regret anything but it was difficult to transition from being a child star to transforming into a mainstream artist. It’s something that is very challenging.”

“You have to find your identity,” she continued. “For so long you’ve been kind of molded into something and now you’re expected to figure out who you are very fast and in front of the entire world. So it’s definitely been difficult but it’s been a learning experience and I’m still figuring out who I am every day.”

The former Disney star told Nylon magazine in 2016 that being successful at a young age contributed to the self-harming behavior she struggled with as a teenager.

“My parents tried to control me, but I’d be like, ‘Oh, really, I’m grounded? Well, I pay the bills,’” Lovato said. “They did the best they could. And I think that’s why a lot of young stars struggle when they’re making money or providing for their family.” 

“I thought that if I was adult enough to get there, then I could party like an adult,” she added. “And obviously, I couldn’t.”

Watch Lovato’s full interview at Cannes Lions below. 

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8 Things Every Woman Should Know Before Trying Kink

Kinky sex can be a bit intimidating: it includes everything from bondage to BDSM and role play. Fortunately, you don’t have to jump into a life of sadomasochism to try out kink (you totally can if you’d like, though).

HuffPost spoke with Babeland co-founder Claire Cavanah to get some tips for women who want to get into kink (also known as “kinky play”) but don’t really know where to start. Stepping outside of your comfort zone in the bedroom can be hard ― and, for women, sometimes even harder. After all, letting your sexual freak flag fly isn’t part of your average girlhood experience.

But, never fear, Cavanah said trying new things is natural to a person’s sexual development. “Novelty is fun,” she said. “We’re always growing and changing. You don’t reach the end of your sexual development unless you forget to keep going or you put an artificial limit on it.”  

Cavanah’s first piece of advice to anyone new to kink is, well, you might like it. “I would start with accepting that you might be into it,” she said. 

So, if you’re new to kinky play and don’t know where to start, scroll below to read a few handy tips for your next sexual escapade.   

1. “Kinky sex” is different for everyone. 

It’s a form of “playing,” Cavanah said. It’s everything that falls outside of the confines of having sex simply to orgasm, which means it can take many different forms. Kink is an umbrella term that includes everything from sadomasochism (SM) to bondage, fantasy, sensation and toy play.

SM is finding pleasure in inflicting pain or receiving pain from your partner, while bondage is when you tie your partner up or your partner ties you up for pleasure. To bring it back down a notch, Cavanah said, sometimes simply bringing a vibrator into your sex life with a partner can be kinky. 

“Kinky is in the eye of the beholder,” Cavanah said. “It reflects what your values are and what you like to do.”

2. Communication, trust and consent are key. 

Communication is key for any sexual activity, but it’s even more important when stepping outside of your sexual comfort zone. You should always have a full conversation with your partner about what you are and aren’t comfortable with.

“If you don’t take care of your inhibitions or your worries beforehand then you probably won’t have a very good experience,” Cavanah explained. “If you’re going to try this with your sweetheart ― even if you know them well and you’ve been with them a long time ― you still have to communicate what your limits are and how you will express those limits.”

Kinky is in the eye of the beholder.

3. Make sure you set boundaries beforehand. 

If someone’s tying you up, you’ll probably want to be on the same page beforehand. Setting ground rules and boundaries (such as agreeing on a safe word) will be the difference between kink “working and not working” for you, Cavanah said. 

One great way to start the boundaries conversation? Try out lists like the “Yes/No/Maybe” list, Cavanah said. The list comes in different variations depending on the sexual escapades you’re looking for. The list is an exercise you and your partner can use to see what you both like and don’t like and what you’re willing to try. 

“It’s a really great conversation starter and it’s very illuminating about where you and your partner’s desires overlap,” she said. 

4. Do your research. 

Cavanah said hitting the books can actually help in bed: “Get some sort of masturbation material and find out what your fantasies are. It will really guide you in the right direction of getting what you want and finding out what you need in order to get what you want.”

How do you do that? Read, read, and read some more. Take a sex workshop at Babeland. Talk to your friends. Talk to your partner. If you’re still not ready to talk about it, pick up a copy of 50 Shades Of Grey. Although the books were problematic in some ways, Cavanah said they gave women “a big permission slip” to be interested in and explore kink. 

5. Start out small.

Most beginners aren’t going to dive into a 24/7 lifestyle of sadomasochism and that’s just fine. Start by buying a vibrator (if you don’t own one already). Talk to your partner about using sex toys together. Explore your own fantasies: Do you like role play? If so, what kind of role play? Do you like being tied up? Do you like tying your partner up?

“All of it sort of mimics power over someone or giving your power up or hurting someone or asking to be hurt by someone ― it’s not easy when you’re starting out,” Cavanah said. “You have to be sweet and kind to yourself.”

6. For kink, sex toys are quite literally all around you. 

According to Cavanah, a wooden spoon works very well as a paddle. Things to stay away from? “We don’t suggest using scarves or neck ties as restraints because they’re slick and they can tighten more than it’s safe,” she said. “A proper set of restraints is a really good idea.” 

Cavanah suggested Babeland’s “Under The Bed” restraints for anyone looking for an easy-to-use set of bondage restraints. As for that wooden spoon, Cavanah said “striking somebody means you have to know a little bit about where it’s OK to strike someone.” So, again, do your research

You should treat your sex life with the same respect that you treat the rest of your life.

7. You probably won’t hit it out of the park on your first try. And that’s OK. 

Kinky play ― like most other experiences ― takes practice. You’ll get better at it the more you do it. 

“The more communicating that you do the better you’ll get at whatever you choose to try,” Cavanah explained. “And the more you practice this kind of sex play, the more you’ll learn about yourself and the better you’ll be at it. Don’t expect great things the very first time.”

8. Variety is the spice of life, people.

Trying out new things is integral to a healthy and enjoyable sex life. You don’t have to become a full-blown dominatrix, but getting out of your comfort zone (in a safe and consensual way) is really important. 

“Stepping outside of any ruts or boxes you find yourself in just gives yourself a chance to find something new that you like,” Cavanah said. “You don’t know what door you’re going to open when you try something new. It may not be a door that you want to open again, but it might be.”

Cavanah likened trying a new type of kink to trying a new genre of fiction for your next book choice ― it’s healthy to try new things: “You should treat your sex life with the same respect that you treat the rest of your life.”

HuffPost Women thinks pleasure is important. For this reason, we’re bringing our readers more information about all the good stuff: pleasure, sex-positive education and body positivity. To read more scroll below. 

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LGBTQ People Share How They Came Out In Powerful Photo Series

A striking and emotional photography project is pairing photos of LGBTQ individuals with their personal stories of coming out.

Photographer Alejandro Ibarra was inspired to shoot the “Coming Out Stories” photo series after a friend came out to his family and relayed the experience.

It was then that Ibarra realized that no matter how someone identifies or what their experience was like, “coming out” is a universal rite of passage that all LGBTQ people who open up about their sexuality or gender identity share.

Each account, while brief, captures a pivotal and cornerstone moment in the lives of LGBTQ people Ibarra photographed ― memories filled with a mixture of pain, liberation, joy and sorrow.

“Even though [my friend’s coming out experience] was very different from mine, I really related to it: to him, his emotions, his concerns,” Ibarra told HuffPost. “It was almost like it had happened to me. I knew then that it would have the same effect on pretty much most of the community because, whatever you happen to identify as ― this is one thing we all have in common.”

Ibarra explained that he knows how terrifying coming out can be for LGBTQ people and that some people may not even have the option to come out due to issues related to safety and survival. But, for him, coming out of the closet is a choice that he has never regretted.

“It’s the best decision I ever made,” he told HuffPost. “No more staying up at night worrying if anyone suspects; no more overthinking how you’re behaving around people because you’re afraid they’ll notice; and no more depriving yourself of the opportunity to put yourself out there and fall in love and have a real and acknowledged relationship if you want one. If you need support prior to coming out, you can find it either over the phone or at LGBTQ community centers if your city or town has one.”

As a creative pursuit, Ibarra wants “Coming Out Stories” to be both a testament of the power of storytelling and also perhaps a way to relieve some anxiety for LGBTQ people that may still be in the closet.

“I’m hoping that people who are struggling to come out can find comfort in seeing these stories by people from all over the world,” he continued. “When I came out, I had one friend who had come out a few months before me, and even just that made me feel so much more comfortable and confident and allowed me to gather the strength to just do it. With this project, people can hopefully be inspired by dozens of other people’s stories and realize they’re not alone.”

As for allies and those who aren’t in the LGBTQ community, Ibarra says this project is for them too.

“For people who don’t identify as LGBTQ+, I’m hoping this will give them some insight into what we go through, and hopefully turn them into allies of the community if they aren’t already,” he said. 

Check out more of the “Coming Out Stories” project below and head to Ibarra’s website to see more of his work.

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Alex Rodriguez Says J-Lo Is One Of The Most ‘Impressive’ People He’s Met

Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez aren’t afraid to show the world how happy they are.

Lopez recently shared some romantic shots from their recent trip to Paris on Instagram, dubbing the getaway “baecation.” And the former MLB player isn’t staying mum, either.

Rodriguez spoke to Extra on Monday during a press event for ABC’s “Shark Tank.” During the interview, he explained that he and Lopez prioritize spending time together despite their hectic schedules and are very compatible. 

“If you want to be together, you are together,” he told Extra. “Our kids get along really well, we’re both from New York, we’re both Latin, we’re both in our 40s, we’re really enjoying life, but she really is one of the most impressive and smartest human beings I have ever met.”

The baseball star attended the “Shark Tank” press event as he prepares to become the first Hispanic “shark” on the show in the fall.

“The fact that (Hispanics) contribute over a trillion dollars annually to the economy is just a phenomenal feat,” Rodriguez said, according to CNBC. “I think in D.C. and other business communities, we should be having really smart conversations on how to double that number.” 

A post shared by CNBC (@cnbc) on Jun 13, 2017 at 4:16pm PDT

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100 People Share the Strangest Places They’ve Had Sex

When you have a “whenever, wherever” attitude toward sex, you’re bound to end up in some interesting places.

Just ask the people in the viral WatchCut video above. In the clip, 100 men and women share the weirdest places they’ve gotten it on, including their grandparents’ bed, a wall behind an LA Fitness….and in church.

Watch the video above for more funny spur-of-the-moment sex stories. 

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