Facebook Bans Trump Until 2023

Several months after Twitter banned Trump, Facebook is now following suit.

On Friday, the social media giant announced that Trump’s suspension would last for at least the next couple years. The move means that he will be barred from the platform during the 2022 midterm elections. However, Facebook will consider reinstating his page on January 7, 2023 — two years after he was indefinitely suspended — if it’s determined “the risk to public safety has receded.” If his account is restored at that time, that means he will be able to post ahead of the 2024 presidential election.

Additionally, Facebook’s vice president of global affairs, Nick Clegg, wrote in the announcement that the Trump situation has spurred the company to end its “newsworthiness” policy, which previously allowed posts by politicians to stay up, even if they violate the platform’s guidelines.

Related | Twitter Has Permanently Banned Trump

“Given the gravity of the circumstances that led to Mr. Trump’s suspension, we believe his actions constituted a severe violation of our rules which merit the highest penalty available under the new enforcement protocols,” Clegg continued, before adding that if his suspension is lifted in 2023, he will also be subject to a “strict set of rapidly escalating sanctions that will be triggered if Mr. Trump commits further violations in future, up to and including permanent removal of his pages and accounts.”

In response, Trump wrote in a statement to the New York Times that the two-year ban was an “insult to the record-setting 75M people, plus many others, who voted for us in the 2020 Rigged Presidential Election,” before accusing Facebook of “censoring and silencing” him and his followers. He also directly addressed Mark Zuckerberg by saying that when he becomes president again, the Facebook CEO will no longer be invited to the White House.

This past January, the former president was barred from Facebook after using his far-reaching social media presence to incite his supporters during the Capitol Hill riots, which led Twitter to permanently ban his account and Facebook to suspend him for an indefinite amount of time.

Read Facebook’s full announcement, here.

Photo via Getty / Tom Pennington

Would You Eat Cicadas Covered in Hot Sauce?

With trillions of cicada’s expected to emerge this summer from their 17-year slumber to descend upon the world in a cacophonous plague, many are already beginning to dread the noisy bug hell that is headed our way — but what else is there to do? Well, if you ask a certain hot sauce brand, eating them might be an option.

Related | The Joy of Cooking (With MTN DEW)

Taking the brand’s tagline of putting “that $#!t on everything” to a new extreme, Frank’s RedHot hot sauce has rolled out a new Cicada Cookbook for those looking to find creative ways to cook up the loud little critters. The digital cookbook, available now, features 13 hot sauce and insect-based recipes for everything from Air-Fried Buffalo Cicada “Wings” to Buffalo Bug Dip and even a Spicy Cicada Bloody Mary.

The idea of frying up cicadas on the grill next to your burgers and hot dogs might be a little hard to swallow, but eating bugs is not as strange as one might first think. If you can get past the initial squeamishness of chomping through a cicada shell, there are plenty of upsides to eating insects. Most insects are a rich source of protein, chocked full of antioxidants and low in fat and carbs with less of a harmful impact on the environments compared to red meat.

Cicadas, in particular, have earned the nickname “the shrimp of the land.” Plus, as a press release for the cookbook states, “The main ingredient won’t be hard to find this summer.”

Check out some cicada-based recipes, below.



Photos courtesy of Frank’s RedHot

Dorian Electra’s Pride Shirt Tackles the Complexities of Branded Activism

At first glance, you may be a little confused by some of the featured logos on Dorian Electra‘s new Pride shirt, but diehard stans of the pop star know that it’s the perfect example of their concept-driven (and somewhat bleak) sense of humor.

Related | Indya Moore: LGBTQ Oppression Isn’t Seasonal

A multi-layered critique of seasonal “activism” and virtue signaling brands who’ve realized that they can capitalize on social movements to sell product, Dorian also incorporates a self-aware spin by adding their own name to the line-up, thereby admitting to the inevitable fact that artists are theoretical brands and corporations as well.

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A post shared by DORIAN ELECTRA (@dorianelectra)

That said, while Dorian’s new shirt may acknowledge that the revolution will be monetized, their decision to directly donate all of the proceeds to the Los Angeles LGBT Center is an action that demonstrates an earnest desire for tangible change within their own community and, frankly, we need more like it. So grab your shirt via their BigCartel and learn more about the LA LGBT Center, here.

Photo courtesy of Dorian Electra

Grimes Has a ‘Proposition for the Communists’

As anyone that’s ever kept up with Grimes (and, quite honestly, you deserve rest) will know, the artist has had a somewhat contentious relationship with the concept of artificial intelligence.

From worrying that AI will make musicians obsolete to assuaging Lana Del Rey’s fears about the technology to fully embracing AI as a part of an app-based ambient project in partnership with a venture capital backed tech-startup, Grimes’ relationship to AI has been, at best, tumultuous, but it seems like the artist thinks she’s found a new application for the technology: communism.

Grimes posted a “proposition for the communists” on her TikTok yesterday, theorizing that AI could actually be the fastest path towards a communist vision of an ideal society.

“Typically, most of the communists I know are not big fans of AI,” Grimes said, appearing in front of a panel from the Japanese manga, Beserk, (whose creator, Kentaro Miura, recently passed) and with little drawings scrawled all over her face. “But, if you think about it, AI is actually the fastest path to communism.”

Grimes continued to explain her rationale: “AI could theoretically solve for abundance,” she said. “We could totally get to a situation where nobody has to work, everybody is provided for with a comfortable state of being. AI could automate all the farming and weed out systematic corruption, thereby bringing us as close as possible to genuine equality. Basically everything that everybody loves about communism, but without the collective farm. Because let’s be real, enforced farming is really not a vibe.”

@grimes

A.I. Is the fastest path to communism #ai #communism #farming

There is obviously a lot to unpack there. What Grimes is proposing isn’t exactly new, but has been a pretty popular vision for the future among theorists and was even outlined in the 2019 book, Fully Automated Luxury Communism.

There’s also the cognitive dissonance of Grimes spouting off about communism and her boyfriend being a billionaire techno-capitalist that is notorious for making meme-driven business decisions — all of which was undercut by her commenting under the video, “Haha I am not a communist! This iz a joke – but maybe the technocrats and communists could get along!”

Related | Grimes’ Boyfriend Is Richer Than Jeff Bezos

Grimes stans are undoubtedly getting flashbacks to when she first started dating the richest person in the world and removed the “anarchist” from her Twitter bio, or the whole, “I can respect a capitalist when they throw the phuck down,” comment. At this point, they’re likely not too surprised, though. Even Grimes is aware of the fact that her fans aren’t as enthused about Musk as she is.

Naturally, everyone had a lot of opinions about Grimes, her proposal to communists and her seemingly contradictory politics:

grimes is now a self identified posi vibes technocrat https://t.co/9HrFArwXVX

— u ⌕ (@umru_)
1622725332.0

For anyone confused about Grimes’ political beliefs, don’t worry, she also has no fucking clue https://t.co/DkNkcBi3Mg

— Lily Simpson (@LilySimpson1312)
1622697453.0

grimes https://t.co/xsom2CSVDh

— mars (@ceIisus)
1622688987.0

grimes went from quoting stalin and calling herself an anti-imperialist to “throwing the phuck down” with depraved… https://t.co/yMlRTG0jaw

— ☀️👀 (@zei_squirrel)
1622697872.0

Grimes is gonna be the high priestess for the Singularity cult that billionaires establish to ritually sacrifice us… https://t.co/zjqssLEtCb

— Edward Ongweso Jr (@bigblackjacobin)
1622697798.0

Not watching Grimes thing as self-care

— Sophie (@jil_slander)
1622729809.0

Photo courtesy of Eli Russell Linnetz

‘Karen’ Wasn’t a Very Popular Baby Name in 2020

For the last few years, Karen has become the name associated with caucasian female villainy.

It seems like every week or so, new videos of racist, angry and/or obnoxious middle-aged white women hit social media and go viral, leading to the name for them to become more infamous than ever. And that’s probably why the popularity of Karen as a baby name dropped drastically in 2020.

Related | Say Goodbye to the ‘Daddy’ Hat

Huffpost has revealed that new data from the Social Security Administration confirms that the name isn’t as popular with new parents as it was in recent years, with Karen being ranked No. 831 in terms of popularity for female baby names in 2020.

What makes this so interesting? It’s the lowest that it’s been in this particular popularity list since 1927.

With only 325 babies being named Karen last year (and 439 the year before), that marks the lowest number of newborn girls given that name since 1932. At its peak in 1965, there were almost 33,000 Karens born.

There seems to be no other reason for the drastic 2020 decline in using the name Karen besides the fact that Karen is associated with pure evil.

Last year, the dating app Wingman revealed that, through its research, women who had the name Karen found it more difficult to find dates. According to its research, women with the name Karen had 20% less matches when compared to results from 2019. For messages that women named Karen sent, they were responded to 33% less.

In a press release obtained by Yahoo!, Wingman CEO Tina Wilson, said, “The trends we observe with online dating usually reflect what’s going on in the real world.”

As we look to see if the name Karen makes a comeback, the work of middle-aged Karens continues to make it harder to see it return. Just days ago, A TikTok video depicting a middle-aged white woman screaming at airport police surfaced. After being accosted by airport security for entering into a restricted area, she screamed for the manager, earning the nickname “Boo Hoo Karen.”

Good luck, future generations of Karens. You’re going to need it.

Photo via YouTube

The NFT Market Has Crashed

Remember Non-Fungible Tokens? You know, NFTs? The digital assets that represent real life objects bought and sold online for the last few months that became immensely popular? Well, it looks like the market for them is crashing for the first time in just four months. It seems like this new way of selling digital moments, for the first time ever, is just a fad that’s nearly over.

According to Protos, the peak of the NFT market phenomenon was on May 3rd when $102 million worth of the digital token was sold in a single day. But as we move into the summer, just $19.4 million were processed within the last week. Protos also reports that $170 million in NFTS were transacted “in the seven days surrounding the market’s top” before referring to it as a “near-90% collapse.”

Related | Miquela’s NFTs Are Free

Let’s be clear — NFT collectibles like CryptoPunks and Hashmasks are still pushing forward strongly, but there’s a shift that seems to be happening — from crypto art to “metaverse” (such as digital real estate) NFTs.

Just months ago, NFTs were looked at as the future for digital art. It hit the public and celebrities even got in on the fun, with M.I.A., Lindsey Lohan and Grimes, being few of many to capitalize on the ridiculous amounts of money to be made. Old viral moments also found new life as NFTs such as the 2007 YouTube video “Charlie Bit My Finger” that recently sold as an NFT for £500,000.

Zoë Roth, better known as the adorable “Disaster Girl” meme featuring her as a little girl standing in front of a fire, sold an NFT of the moment for $495,000 back in April. She used the money to pay off her student loans, as well as donate to charity.

One of the most expensive NFTs sold to date is digital artist Mike Winkelmann’s (AKA Beeple) collection of artwork known as “Everydays — The First 5000 days” that racked up a whopping $69 million.

Now, it looks like all of this fun with NFTs is finally over. So what’s next? Invisible art? Well, that already looks like a reality.

Photo via YouTube

Happy Pride! Meet TikTok’s 2021 LGBTQ+ Trailblazers

It’s officially June, which means two things: Pride and Balenciaga jockstraps. You can celebrate that over on TikTok, where queer creators are dominating the For You page with content that is equal parts smart, funny and slightly chaotic. And to celebrate this year’s Pride Month, the app is once again unveiling a list of 15 LGBTQ+ trailblazers who are doing the most.

The lineup is just as varied as TikTok itself, and if you’re looking for fresh follows that will keep you entertained way beyond the month of June, this is an excellent starter kit. Spanning the fields of music, fashion, beauty and everything in between, these creators are cool kids who also emphasize community and inclusivity, seeking to empower viewers as well as entertain and inspire them.

Related | Mouthing off With the Coyle Twins

From our favorite Gen-Z drag queens the Coyle Twins to flamboyant, gender-flipping fashionista Seth Sanker to POV video icons Lisa and Pope, this year’s trailblazers reflect the diversity and excellence of queer internet culture. We’re obsessed! You will be too.

Get to know TikTok’s LGBTQ trailblazers, below, and follow PAPER on TikTok.

@antonibumba (They/Them) — Astrology/Comedy

Antoni Bumba is an iconic content creator, best known for dominating multiple TikTok niches including pop culture comedy, astrology and spirituality, as well as queer beauty and NYC culture. They are currently known for creating the viral parody trend, “The BBL Effect,” and creating a safe and relatable environment for women and all members of the LGBTQ+ community on their page.

@BryceXavier (He/Him) — Music

Bryce Xavier is a music creator and actor, known for his hit single “Bus Ride Away,” which has been featured across TikTok and Spotify’s Fresh Finds POP, New Music Friday, Label Radar, and charted in the Top 10 on multiple charts. He recently released his single, “Romeo,” about same sex love and overcoming adversity.

@coyletwins (He/Him & She/Her) — Drag/Makeup/Fashion

Twins Luca Coyle and Cooper Coyle are the Coyle Twins by day and drag queens Sugar and Spice by night. These siblings use their platform to showcase the power of drag and educate about the LGBTQ+ community, all while being their crazy selves and dressing like life-size fashion dolls.

@geronimo.warrior (He/Him) — Fashion/Indigenous Heritage Conservation

Geronimo Louie is an indigenous person from the Chiricahua Apache band and the Navajo Nation. He identifies as “two-spirit” or “indigenous queer” and brings indigenous people’s issues to light, as well as teaching his viewers about culture sensitivity and respect. Geronimo works to uplift his people and their sacred culture through education, representation and his clothes, while also working closely with a small LGBTQIA+ organization called “Diné Pride” as a youth director.

@jaydemcfarlane (She/Her) — Lifestyle

Jayde Mcfarlane is a social media influencer who has gained a large following on TikTok by sharing her life as a trans woman of color with confidence, authenticity and humor. She also posts comedy, beauty and relationship content, which have all played a role in making a name for herself.

@jessesulli (He/Him) — Family/Lifestyle

Jesse Sulli is a transgender father, who shares his journey going from mom to dad while raising his 12-year-old daughter, Arlo. His mission is to highlight that not all families look the same and be a role model to young transgender people all over the world. Jesse wants LGBTQ+ people to feel not only heard, but celebrated and empowered.

@kennethpabon (He/Him) — Comedy

Kenneth Pabon is emblematic of a generation that embraces exactly who they are. He is strong in his beliefs, confident in his style and unabashedly himself. His videos will make you laugh, all while giving you the tools and confidence to be an icon yourself.

@lkbphotography_ (She/Her) — POV

Lisa Brezinski and Pope are social media personalities, business women and popular TikTok creators, best known for their dark aesthetic and inclusive POV videos. Their focus is to create a safe space for all to feel loved, accepted and inspired to be themselves. Lisa is a LA-based fashion photographer and creative director. Pope is an entrepreneur, media mogul, and international barber and educator, best known for her 14 years in the hair industry. She is the former CEO of Vatican Barbershop in Orange County.

@mechanicshopfemme (She/Her) — Automotive Education

Chaya Milchtein is an automotive educator and journalist with a flare for explaining complicated concepts to everyday people, and a passion to provide automotive education for people often left out of automotive spaces. Chaya launched Mechanic Shop Femme in June 2017. Her videos are filled with glamorous outfits that bring her femininity to the forefront, sharing automotive insights while normalizing the existence of fat queer people in the automotive conversation.

@mschanggifted (She/Her) — Teacher/Education/Family

Growing up in a small town in Georgia gave Jere Chang a zest for the outdoors and desire to educate those unfamiliar with the LGBTQ+ community. Today, she has two sons — ages five and seven — with her wife, and teaches gifted education at an elementary school in Atlanta. Her TikTok content is centered on teaching and sharing her life, in hopes that people will see the value of her fun-loving family.

@rjchumbley (He/They) — POV/Lifestyle/Fashion

The Goddess Boys — AKA RJ Chumbley and Adrian Patterson — are a dynamic duo known for their work in makeup and fashion. They are always pushing the boundaries of masculinity and femininity, creating a community where everyone can be “goddess babes.”

@sedonerrr (She/They) — Athletics/Lifestyle

Sedona Prince is a 21-year-old collegiate basketball player at the University of Oregon. She uses her platform on TikTok to advocate for change, not only in the LGBTQ+ community but also for women’s sports across the country.

@sethsanker (He/They) — Fashion/Inclusivity

Seth Sanker is a photographer and fashion content creator living in southern California. He is a proud first-generation Asian American, and a gender non-conforming male that believes fashion has no gender. Seth is best known for turning pride flags into dresses on TikTok.

@Spencer2TheWest (He/Him) — Wellness/Disability Education

Spencer West is a gay disabled motivational speaker, content creator, author and activist. After losing both legs from the pelvis down at age five, Spencer has tackled challenge after challenge, learning to navigate a world set against those with disabilities. Spencer has summited Mount Kilimanjaro, opened for Demi Lovato’s 2014 World Tour and starred in the documentary, Redefine Possible: The Story of Spencer West. Spencer is also the author of the best-selling book, Standing Tall: My Journey.

@stapleyourmouthshut (He/She/They) — Fashion/Beauty

Alex Renee is a 17-year-old LGBTQ+ content creator that began their TikTok journey making POVs, and is now popular for “masculine to feminine” transition videos. In addition to creating content, they run their own jewelry business and sell paintings made by their disabled sister to raise awareness and money for Cytomegalovirus (CMV). Alex is also currently working on music, which has been an extensive part of their life.

Photos courtesy of TikTok

Sienna Mae Gomez Addresses Jack Wright Sexual Assault Allegations

TikToker Sienna Mae Gomez is responding to accusations that she sexually assaulted ex-boyfriend, Jack Wright.

According to a new report from Insider, the allegations against Sienna began after his friend, Mason Rizzo, alleged in a since-deleted tweet that she was sexually and verbally abusive to her fellow Hype House member.

“I struggle with seeing a girl getting praised after telling my best friend to kill himself and sexually assaulting him numerous times after he set boundaries and then repeatedly wonder why ‘he doesn’t like you back,'” he purported in a statement that was later retweeted (and subsequently removed) by Jack’s twin, James.

Related | How to Support the Recovery of Sexual Assault Survivors

“She also has a history of verbally abusing people in high school and in LA. she prioritizes the growth of her platform rather than the positive message she represents herself as,” Mason added. “Followers should not be an excuse to get away with abusive behavior. you guys all deserve to know the truth about her.”

That said, in response to the accusations, Sienna denied the allegations in an IGTV broadcast where she claimed that they “never had sex.” She also went on to say that she was “strung along and mislead by Jack,” and reflected on how “frustrating” it was to see that her “passion” for him was “now newly regarded as possessive or desperate.”

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A post shared by First Ever Tiktok Shaderoom (@tiktokroom)

“After everything that I did for him, after all the love that I gave him, I feel so stupid,” Sienna said, before accusing Jack of only using her when he needed a “TikTok kiss.”

“That’s the only way I can explain it,” she continued, adding that she was left “second guessing” their supposed relationship after unsuccessfully trying to convince Jack to film a video about the split. Sienna also refuted Mason’s claims as untrue and claimed she was “surprised” by James’ retweet.

Additionally, a representative for Sienna reiterated to E! News that she “unequivocally denies the charges made by Mason [Rizzo] and amplified by James [Wright], which have since been taken down.”

“She has never sexually assaulted anyone nor have she or Jack ever had sexual relations together. Period,” they said. “Jack is part of her extended family and clearly there are issues causing him pain right now in his personal life. She hopes Jack gets the peace of mind he needs to move forward beyond these challenging times.” However, the spokesperson also insisted that Sienna is in “no way responsible for these issues and is comfortable in the fact that she has been nothing but a good and loyal friend to Jack since they were young.”

Even so, Jack ended up responding to Sienna’s statement by telling his followers that “while I love sharing my life with all of you, some parts are deeply personal and I have been hesitant to share for my on emotional and mental wellbeing.”

“But I will say this,” he said. “Sexual assault is a serious matter that has real consequences that has real consequences.”

Jack continued, “Mason and James’ only intention was to protect me with the truth, and I really value their enormous support through this extremely difficult time. I truly encourage my childhood friend Sienna to get the support and help that she needs. I don’t want to tear anyone down and only with healing for everyone involved.”

Watch Sienna’s statement video, below.

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A post shared by sienna mae gomez!!! (@siennamaegomez)

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE.

Photo via Getty / Tommaso Boddi

Watch TikTok’s Favorite Queer Creators Glow Up for Pride

This article is a sponsored collaboration between Michael Kors and PAPER

As some of TikTok’s most prolific queer creators have demonstrated this past year, nothing beats authenticity when it comes to building loyalty and engagement on Gen Z’s hottest app. And with Pride Month fast approaching, it’s never been more important to celebrate the LGBTQ community’s most authentic selves.

The popular transformation video trends, in particular, were a welcome source of joy and inspiration for many of us at a time when we were all stuck indoors. Since style is such an important tool for showcasing transformation, the videos have really taken off with fashion lovers and comedy crowds alike.

That’s why we partnered with Michael Kors to highlight four of TikTok’s most inspiring queer content creators who definitely know a thing or two about style, authenticity and, of course, being hilarious. As a nod to the viral transformation trends, we asked them to show us how they glow up and put their pride on display while wearing Michael Kors’ new Pride capsule collection.

Tyshon Lawrence, Ve’ondre Mitchell, Mad Tsai and Soph Mosca are all representative of this community’s diverse following, each with their own unique story to tell but united in their ability to remain utterly authentic and creative while using clothing to help express who they are. Below, we spotlight each of their LGBTQ journeys, learn about what Pride means to them and what makes their style unique.

Tyshon Lawrence

Tyshon is a hilarious TikTok personality from North Carolina who’s amassed nearly 10 million followers on the app thanks to his witty video reactions, social experiments and candid glimpses into his personal life. He’s also dating queer and non-binary TikTok star Cristian Dennis.

How does clothing help express who you are and what you’re about?

Clothing helps me express who I am because I can show off my different styles. If I’m feeling sassy one day or if I’m feeling like I want to just be a confident bitch, I wear strong and sassy clothes which represent that. If I’m feeling chill I wear something that I feel comfortable in. Clothing helps me express who I am and what I’m feeling.

How would you describe your personal style?

I would have to say that my personal style is eclectic. I’m very inspired by Nicki Minaj and her “Barbie” personality. She has other personalities, but I really connect to Barbie. I have a Barbie chain, pink clothes, and fur jackets that are all inspired by her. But then some days I’m not feeling my Barbie fantasy and I’m feeling more ’90s inspired. I love the early 90s, like Boyz to Men, all that type of stuff. I like the ’90s baggy clothes look. So my personal style is definitely both Nicki Minaj “Barbie” inspired and ’90s inspired.

What does Pride mean to you?

Pride means a lot to me. Pride means honoring who you are, not being apologetic and just having the confidence to be yourself. Everyone thinks they have to listen to what people say and care what others think. In my opinion, Pride means you don’t need to do that. You need to own who you are and never apologize for it and just love yourself for who you are

What has your LGBTQ journey been like?

My LGBT experience has been a little rough. There were certain family members and people in my life that didn’t accept me for who I was right away. But as time went on, I think some of them realized like, hey, I still want him to be in my life. I feel like they just took time to just realize, you know, life is short and if you want to keep people in your life that you love, there’s no point in being mad at them just because of their sexuality. So it’s been a little rough but it has gotten better. It’s an evolving journey.

How have you managed to stay creative the past year?

I’ve used the time to really focus on my dreams and think about what I want to achieve. It’s an important time for me as a Black creator. I’ve focused on comedy and ways to make people happier — it’s been a tough time for so many and if my content can bring joy, that’s great.

Ve’ondre Mitchell

A self-described proud Black and Latinx trans woman, 16-year-old Seattle-based Ve’ondre has used her platform as a fierce advocate for the transgender community, sharing her experiences of bullying and injustices to speak up about issues to her nearly 3 million TikTok followers.

How does clothing help express who you are and what you’re about?

On the surface, it helps me express if I’m feeling fancy, bold or cute! More importantly when you dig deeper, it helps me express my femininity and gender. Being a little kid and starting my transition so young, clothes were all I had to express myself.

How would you describe your personal style?

I like to dress up like a doll, it gives me that childhood nostalgia and before I transitioned I expressed myself through my toys that I carried everywhere. Now I can be those dolls who carry such high fashion!

What does Pride mean to you?

Pride means a place where everyone is welcomed and accepted and celebrated. Whenever I think of Pride, I think of my auntie taking me to my first Pride festival and feeling like I wasn’t alone in my journey. This shoot with Paper reminded me of that feeling.

What has your LGBTQ journey been like?

I’ve had so much love and acceptance that I’ll never take for granted. My mom was here for me to be who I am with open arms and it makes me feel so ecstatic. The outside world gives me hate but it only propels me forward to my success. Those bullies have given me a thick skin to deal with hate I get online daily. Being trans has also made me understand myself at such a young age which gives me the confidence I need to thrive!

How have you managed to stay creative the past year?

Covid has really had to make me think out of the box but what really helped was educating myself. Becoming an Human Rights Campaign Foundation youth ambassador challenged me to do that. I really had to dig deeper into trans issues and rights being at stake. That helped me brand myself and helped me so I knew my purpose to really understand the message I was putting out. Through all of this my creativity is at an all time high and nothing can stop me!

Mad Tsai

Over the holidays, musician Mad Tsai went viral for coming out to his mom in the car by playing his own music. Since then, the bi TikTok star has amassed nearly 2 million followers on the app, where he shares tons of original songs. He recently released a bisexual pop anthem called “Boy Bi.”

How does clothing help express who you are and what you’re about?

The way I dress helps me express how I’m feeling and parts of my identity. Whether it’s the color, fit, or overall vibe of what I’m wearing, I like using fashion to feel the most “me”. I kinda stopped caring about what gender clothes I’m wearing or how others might feel about my outfits— so long as I’m happy with how I look is all that matters. I feel most confident when I wear what I want and use my fashion as a statement.

How would you describe your personal style?

I draw a lot of inspiration from the TV shows and movies I watch, and I make mood boards for inspiration all the time. Pink and blue are my to-go colors to wear, but I change up my colors depending on how I’m feeling and my mood. I also love switching it up between what’s considered “feminine” and “masculine” and combining the two — whether it be wearing a tennis skirt with a muscle tank or putting glitter under my eyes and rocking pink short shorts. I also love using accessories like sunglasses (I always have some sunglasses on my head), hats, bandanas, rings, chains, etc.

What does Pride mean to you?

Pride means being completely free of worry about what others might think. It’s something I’ve struggled to practice my whole life, and am still learning to master. It’s freedom to express one’s identity and wear it proudly. Pride is being able to be as authentically “you” as you can possibly be.

What has your LGBT journey been like?

It definitely has been tough growing up as queer, especially from an Asian-American family in a traditionally conservative area of California. I never really felt like I fit in anywhere or would be completely accepted if I had come out, so for most of my life, I was constantly pretending to be something I wasn’t. I got bullied constantly in middle school and high school, so I felt like for a lot of my teen years, I had learned to retreat and draw as little attention to myself. I was constantly coming back home with bruises, so I had just assumed it was better if I tried to fit in instead. It wasn’t until I began writing music when I started expressing how I felt about my identity and my journey. Songwriting was probably the only outlet I had for a really long time where I could be unapologetically me and voice my thoughts and who I was.

How have you managed to stay creative the past year?

I’ve been writing songs almost everyday and creating music that I’m so proud of. I’ve also been creating and planning out everything for my future releases as an artist, whether it be creating storyboards for music videos, planning out live performances for when it returns, or just creating the world I want to immerse my fans in when I drop my next projects. I’m constantly trying to think ahead and plan my next move or release, and I think my creativity has been off the charts because I’m being so ambitious.

Soph Mosca

Lesbian TikTok star Soph Mosca has amassed 1.5 million followers on the social app thanks to her goofy dance routines, spot-on lip syncs and joint videos with her girlfriend and fellow content creator Avery Cyrus. She’s also the host of her podcast “Unqualified” where she dives into topics about the LGBTQ community, life as an influencer, relationships and more.

How does clothing help express who you are and what you’re about?

Clothing is my way of visually expressing my personality, who I am, and what I like to do. In my opinion, someone’s outfit says a lot about their personality. I always keep this in mind when picking out what to wear, as I want others to be able to accurately learn about me as a human being through my clothing choices.

How would you describe your personal style?

I would describe my style as both beachy and androgynous. I tend to wear muted, soft colors such as grey, white, black, sage green, and navy blue. My favorite way to spice up an outfit is cool socks and/or fun jewelry.

What does Pride mean to you?

Pride means proud of who I am and being the most genuine self I can be. To me, pride means having confidence, self-love and acceptance.

What has your LGBT journey been like?

My LGBTQ journey has actually been very easy! I was so lucky to have supportive family and friends who have loved me through it all. While I am still growing and finding myself, it has been so encouraging to have such a huge support system.

How have you managed to stay creative the past year?

Having so much free time has been the biggest blessing in terms of creativity. The more free time I have, the more creative I get. I tend to lose creativity and motivation when I am stressed out and busy. If this past year had played out differently, who knows if I would’ve been able to explore my love for content creating so in-depth.

Video direction: Olivier Lessard

DP and editing: Olivier Lessard

Photography: Kenneth Cappello

Creative production: Peter Schwab

Fashion Stylist: Julian Antetomso

Set Designer: Robert Sumrell

Hair: Ro Morgan

Makeup: Yuki Hayashi

Nails: Dawn Sterling

Addison Rae Apparently Wants to Get Married Soon

Addison Rae just confessed that she wants to get married sooner rather than later.

On a new episode of Hailey Bieber‘s Who’s In My Bathroom? YouTube show, the TikToker opened up about her future plans for her career and love life. And the newly single star’s dream scenario? To hopefully be married by next year.

Related | Bryce Hall Appears to React to Addison Rae’s Tanner Buchanan Kiss

That’s right. In response to Hailey’s question about what her ideal life looks like 10 years down the road, the He’s All That actress by expressing her desire to star in “many more films.” However, when Hailey began asking about the topic of marriage, Addison responded by saying that she does “love love.”

“I’m a hopeless romantic. So I’ll hopefully be married,” she said. “Hopefully I’ll be married like next year.”

Granted, Addison didn’t elaborate on what her current relationship situation looked like, probably because she recently broke up with fellow social media star Bryce Hall. And even though she also kissed co-star Tanner Buchanan on-stage at the 2021 MTV Movie & TV Awards (much to Bryce’s apparent chagrin), it seems pretty unlikely that they’re anything more than just friends. So who knows what Addison’s future holds?

In the meantime though, watch Addison and Hailey discuss the topic below.

Photo via Getty / Todd Williamson / NBC

Kim Kardashian Addresses Island Birthday Party COVID Report

Kim Kardashian‘s private island party is back in the news.

Back in October, the reality star sparked some serious controversy (and plenty of memes) after posting photos from her weeklong 40th birthday celebration in Tahiti. And though she insisted everyone was quarantined and tested for COVID-19 ahead of the trip, a new report has now suggested that her family’s subsequent COVID diagnosis was linked to the vacation.

Related | Kim Kardashian’s 40th Birthday Party Is Already a Meme

On the heels of this week’s Keeping Up With the Kardashians episode, BuzzFeed News constructed a timeline noting that the Kardashian-Jenners decided to not reveal at the time that Kim tested positive about 10 days after the trip. However, after the article began gaining traction online, Kim herself decided to address the report head-on via a strongly worded Twitter post.

“False. Nobody caught Covid from the trip,” she wrote before claiming that Saint caught it from school where “another student who tested positive first.”

False. Nobody caught Covid from the trip. Saint was the first to have it in our family and he caught it from school from another student who tested positive first. I then developed symptoms and got it a few days after he coughed on me while caring for him. https://t.co/hTWbB6JC25

— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) May 28, 2021

Kim added, “I then developed symptoms and got it a few days after he coughed on me while caring for him.”

Even so, as The Daily Beast went on to point out, the dates also seemingly line up with Kendall Jenner’s equally-as-contentious Halloween birthday bash, which Kim appeared to be at — so who really knows?

Read Buzzfeed News’ original report, here.

Photo via Getty / Angela Weiss / AFP

Mouthing off With the Coyle Twins

I have to remind myself at several points throughout my interview with the Coyle Twins that no, I did not just ingest a bunch of drugs.

Luca and Cooper Coyle first came to prominence on the now-defunct social network Vine, then parlayed their success over to a YouTube channel in 2016, where they released a heavy flow of videos including “ARRESTED & FIRED FROM OUR FIRST JOB?! | Storytime” and “WE WERE ALMOST KIDNAPPED | Storytime.” Their biggest viral moment came in May of 2018 when they released the video “Twins come out to mom & you won’t believe her reaction.” (Her reaction, which I had no trouble believing based off the fact that this surely could not have come as a shock to her: “Okay… so what?”)

Related | A Very Necessary Check In With Gottmik

Once out of the closet, and no longer tethered to presenting a masculinized version of themselves, the pair began to experimenting with drag, and over time, introduced the world to the drag duo Sugar & Spice. 86 million likes later, the pair are among the most popular LGBTQ+ content creators on TikTok, where they share videos of themselves living their best, most chaotic lives.

Below, I try to get a word in edgewise in conversation with the enthusiastic, magnetic, never-boring pair about their public coming out, their drag pursuits, Miley Cyrus and how embracing their femininity helped teach them to love themselves.

When this interview is published, it will be three years since your viral coming out video to your mother. I’m wondering, with three years of hindsight, how you look back on that moment now?

Cooper: Oh, God!

Luca: Honestly, I kind of forget about it now. It seems like a lifetime ago, it’s crazy. The thought never really comes to my mind. Now, the thought of coming out as gay just seems so minut to being a crazy, life-sized doll/drag queen stuck in the middle of suburbia.

Cooper: It seems a little like “Oh, sweetie, you’ve got a long road ahead of you if you think that a hurdle, so buckle up, baby!'”

When you say you guys are stuck in suburbia, where are you?

Cooper: We are in the South Shore of Long Island.

Luca [In an exaggerated Long Island accent]: Long Island, New York! [Back to normal speaking voice] If you haven’t been able to tell with the accents. Hopefully we aren’t giving you like, Long Island, New York. I mean, our parents have it worse, like our dad’s from Staten Island and [back to exaggerated Long Island accent] they talk like this [back normal speaking voice now] his name’s Cooper, and our dad will be like…

Cooper: He knows my name, you don’t have to say it, but okay.

Luca: No, I know! But our dad will be like [in exaggerated Staten Island accent] “Coop-ah, get off the comput-ah!” Like, when we were growing up they’d say “Coop-ah.”

@coyletwins

his walk at the end tho😭😭

♬ Beef FloMix – Flo Milli

So, do you both have aspirations of moving to New York City or Los Angeles one day? Or do you guys want to stay where you are?

Luca: Oh, no, no, no, no. We are trying to get to LA as soon as possible. The plan was to go last year, then the pandemic happened.

Cooper: It’s very the Christina Aguilera meme where they’re asking her about when the album is gonna drop and she’s like, “It’s a creative process, it takes time…”

Luca: “…we’re not gonna rush it.” But eventually, yes

So is there a gay scene in South Shore? What is the scene like in terms of the homosexual persuasion?

Luca: [Playfully] Oh, the homosexual persuasion.

Cooper: I think we took up the majority. I think our town was like, “Okay, this is enough. Just the two flaming fags on the street.” Like yeah, that’s going to be enough.

Luca: I mean there really isn’t much. There’s definitely not a bar scene or a gay scene at all. I think they’ve all just fled to New York City by now probably.

Cooper: No, no, no. My mom actually told me the other day, there is like a gay pride parade in our town in June. She was like, “You guys should come with me!”

You guys should Grand Marshal it!

Luca: [Laughing] Oh, no.

Cooper: Imagine!

I’m curious when each of you had the realization that you were gay and how you communicated that to one another? Did you know each other were gay?

Cooper: Our bond was so strong. As you can imagine, growing up as a queer kid you feel like you can’t really relate to anyone else, you’re still waiting to find your tribe, you feel out of place. But luckily for us, we were able to validate each other. Even though we still had to go through the same struggles as everyone else, like finding ourselves and all that bullshit, our self esteem was pretty strong because I was like, “Oh, he’s just like me.” So I didn’t feel that out of place.

Luca: We had each other. I’m like, “Well if I’m weird and different from all the other boys, I can’t be that weird because I have someone that looks just like me that is also ‘weird’ and different from the other boys,” so there was some comfort and camaraderie there.

Cooper: Just like how I always knew I was gay, I just knew he was, too. It was like this thing we didn’t address.

Luca: I guess that is that twin telepathy after all. Then in collage a friend brought us to a gay club on our second night out in the city when we went to FIT and all of the sudden we were living for it. First of all, I don’t even know how we got in because I was wearing Birkenstocks and shorts, I literally looked twelve years old. I don’t know how that happened.

Cooper: With the fake IDs…

Luca: Oh right. But we got in, and I saw boys kissing boys, he saw boys kissing boys, and we were living for it.

Cooper: We weren’t running for the hills, we were running for the dick, and yeah.

That’s poetic. Do you two ever get sick of each other?

Both: Oh, yeah!

Luca: Our favorite videos are ones where we’re fighting.

Cooper: Our bloopers.

Luca: Because those are our real, candid moments. We only fight over artistic things, but our way of fighting is so weird. We could be like screaming at each other, and two minutes later we’re like best friends.

Cooper: We will go off and read each other down, but it’s chaotic because two minutes later we’re like, “Okay, let’s go to Panera and get mac n’ cheese.

@coyletwins

WHO WON?! Sugar💙 or Spice❤️?? ##heels ##runway ##tiktokfashion ##fashioninspo

♬ original sound – SUGAR & SPICE✨

When did each of you first start getting interested in drag?

Luca: This question is like opening Pandora’s box…

Cooper: Asking a drag queen their drag name, or when they got started, it’s like five hours later, I just needed a simple answer and you gave me the whole novel. Also, every other drag queen is like, “I played with dolls growing up, now I’m a life-sized doll.” Like, oh, bitch, give it a break.

Luca: Give it up, sis. Like, we get it, we get it.

Cooper: The thing about us that really bonded us together when we were younger, and even now, were our dolls. We were really invested because…

Luca: It was our escape.

Cooper: I had no interest in what the world and reality provided to me. I was into the glamour…

Luca: That’s why we love Housewives and reality TV. We started watching that really young. I think in like sixth grade I was like transfixed and fascinated by Nene and Kim, like the first episode of Atlanta, and ever since then we’ve been hooked. But before that, we were watching America’s Next Top Model, starting in like third grade. I was obsessed with the glamour and the photography and then we started taking pictures of our dolls. Then in middle school we would turn them into models and started doing their hair and make-up. So we look back and are like, ‘Wait, we were literally doing drag back then.” It’s no different than what we’re doing now, it’s just on ourselves.

Okay wait, but to go back to Housewives real quick, I know you mentioned Nene and Kim, formative for me as well, but is there a singular housewife that you really look at and you feel like has the characteristics of a drag queen?

Cooper: We love the people that everyone hates…

Luca: Yeah, we love the villains. Like the Kenya Moores, the Danielle Staubs, even Kelly Dodd. We love the crazy ones that bring drama, controversial in that sense.

Cooper: I like watching unhinged people on TV. I feel like, we always are like Jill Zarin: “We’re not gonna lie, we miss the gossip.”

You both are huge Miley Cyrus fans. What is it you love most about her?

Luca: Literally, I ask myself that question sometimes, like, why do I love her so much? Like what is going on up in here, like why? And I feel like the answer is because I really liked her growing up, like Hannah Montana, Disney channel, all that stuff. But right when the Bangerz era started was when I really fell in love with her. I kind of saw her as an underdog in terms of the media because I could see her true talent…

Cooper: She was overlooked.

Luca: They didn’t realize how much of a good singer she was, how much of a writer or an artist she was. They would slut shame her and say all of these horrible things about her, so I kind of saw myself in her in a weird way, or just felt oddly connected to her, and ever since then I always root for her. I’ll be out and about and I’ll respond to her name faster than when I hear someone say my name. Like Miley and Tyra Banks, if you say a bad thing about them, even though, obviously, everyone is not perfect, everyone has had their fair share of shit they’ve done, but I will always ride for them.

Cooper: I think why we connected with Miley so much when Bangerz came out, because in ninth grade that’s like the peak of social inclusion and you’re trying to fit in. So to see someone be so unapologetically themselves, I was like, “Oh my god, that’s the confidence and aspiration that I needed.” Like “Do My Thang,” she was just fearless.

Luca: People wanted her to be something that she wasn’t. “We want the long hair,” and she was like, “I’m me and you’re going to deal with it.” I feel like that’s us. Originally when we did YouTube and we were switching over to drag, we got so much hate. “Go back to the old you,” “We don’t like this.” And I look back and there’s kind of a correlation. We stuck to our ground like her. I would always be like, “Well Miley would do what she wants to do and not what other people wanted her to do,” so I kind of developed that mantra.

Cooper: And I think there is an important message behind when someone thinks you’re one thing, you can turn around and be like, “Woah, woah, woah, I’m actually this thing,” you know? So I love that.

Biggest celebrity crush?

Cooper: Actually, it’s weird because growing up I was never into the guys or anything, I was just into the girls. I think I pushed my gayness off so much that I was stanning Hilary Duff and Lindsay Lohan.

Luca: Yeah, those were our icons. Those were my crushes, like, Hilary and Lindsay.

Cooper: But I will say, we were watching The Assassination of Gianni Versace…

Luca: Oh, this! We never have crushes on the same people and we were both living for…

Cooper: We were introduced to Cody Fern and we were obsessed.

Luca: We were watching it and looking up, “Is he gay?” Oh, yes he is. And we were doing our research like, “Oh, he has a boyfriend… great. “

Cooper: And you get on the thing and find the boyfriend and you’re like, “Oh, shit.”

Luca: But yeah, he’s definitely our shared celebrity crush. That’s the one person we will fight to the death over.

And speaking of crushes, what goes down in your DMs?

Cooper: The DMs are dryer than the Sahara Desert. It’s literally just 13-year-old girls from TikTok being like, “Hi what make-up brushes did you use in this video?”

Luca: I feel like maybe back when we were doing YouTube and not doing drag the DMs were more popping, but now I feel like if someone comes across our page…

Cooper: We scare them off.

Luca: They don’t really understand what’s happening. “Are they people? Or are they just animated, wanna-be cartoon dolls?”

Cooper: That is the nice thing, when it comes to dating and all of that, with drag and I guess the way we present ourselves online…

Luca: It’s going to cancel out the stupid masc-for-masc gays that are going to judge you anyways. Because a lot of times you see the really butch guys, all muscle-y and you might think, “Oh, they might be judgemental, maybe they don’t like the more feminine gays or whatever.” But a lot of times the ones that I meet that present as more stereotypically masculine, they’re like more feminine than me in real life.”

@coyletwins

We had to let them know!! ##gay ##lgbtq ##trans ##lesbian ##dragqueen ##pronouns

♬ original sound – SUGAR & SPICE✨

What is your message for our community this Pride?

Cooper: I think the main message is just we don’t have to be the token anything. For us on TikTok, when we started we didn’t realize that these young kids didn’t know what drag was or a drag queen. They only knew James Charles. I figured everyone knows RuPaul and Drag Race but….

Luca: They literally don’t know what it is.

Cooper: Literally, like, nine, 12, 17-year-olds. They see us and they’re like, “Oh my god, James Charles!” And it’s funny, that’s kind of when we saw the opportunity, that this is our chance to actually educate people and be that representation, but also kind-of normalize it for them. So when they’re in school, and they’re like…

Luca: Someone doesn’t know the difference between a trans person and a drag queen, they can be like, “Oh, well I know those two crazy twins on TikTok that dress in those outfits, they’re just drag queens, and they have fun…”

Cooper: And they can explain the difference between a drag queen and a trans person, and educate them about how trans people can also be drag queens. It’s all about familiarity for us, like we can be that for people, but also have the conversation continued. LGBTQ+ people defined by just being trans or just being gay, or lesbian, or a drag queen. They’re so much more, their entire existence doesn’t just have to be that.

“Wear Me Out” is a column by pop culture fiend Evan Ross Katz that takes a look at the week in celebrity dressing. From award shows and movie premieres to grocery store runs, he’ll keep you up to date on what your favorite celebs have recently worn to the biggest and most inconsequential events.

Photography: The Coyle Twins

Join the PAPER Volleyball Club With FILA for Pride

This article is a sponsored collaboration between FILA and PAPER

The PAPER Volleyball Club, at least between me and you, has nothing to do with sports at all. Or your ability to engage with anything fitness-related, really. If you happen to get the ball over the net, great! If you only look good posing with the ball… and never manage to bump pass, decoy, cut shot or spike (I’m literally Googling “Volleyball Terms,” right now), that’s great too!

Because our Volleyball Club requires no tryouts or any practices. We might have games if we’re bored, for sure, but definitely no clear winners or losers here. And absolutely no opponents. There are zero rules, only opportunities, and, at its core, a dedication to the community of weirdos, free thinkers and LGBTQ+ dreamers that find their way onto our courts. (Unfortunately, you might get a little sweaty).

For Pride 2021, PAPER teamed up with FILA to create a uniform — available June 1st — for our not-so-serious Volleyball Club, featuring a tee, zip-up hoodie, short shorts and sneakers all customized with our official bunny mascot… that has no real meaning other than the fact that we thought it was really cute. We think you will, too.









“We are without a doubt stronger together,” says Seth Williams (All Pronouns), an honorary player in the PAPER Volleyball Club. “Coalescing to support one another as a community is incredibly important, especially in our group specifically, because so many of us are misunderstood and mistreated by our natal families. Our community is an extended family to me, which has helped me more than I can describe in my journey to better understand myself.”

For Neil Shibata (He/Him), this strong sense of teamwork in the LGBTQ community has allowed him “to learn alongside the people that best support” him. “These people provide spaces in which I can express myself freely,” he says, while fellow PAPER Volleyball Club player Diya Dabash (All Pronouns) underscores the importance of community for “impressionable queer people” and those still in quarantine “who unfortunately don’t have the support they deserve.”



As the queer community grows stronger, the people within it do too, according to the Volleyball Club’s own Chloé Pultar (She/Her). “Having that space of understanding creates more conversations and connections,” she says. “We can all help each other. Finding the LGBTQ+ community online helped me uncover and accepts parts of myself I didn’t know, and I think that’s true for a lot of young people.”​

As part of their involvement in creation of PAPER Volleyball Club, FILA has donated to every team member’s charity of choice for Pride: Seth, Neil and Diya all aligned with The Trevor Project, while Chloe contributed to The Transgender District SF.

The PAPER x FILA Volleyball Club collection for Pride is available June 1st on www.fila.com. Get your safety pins, hair gel and spiked collars ready — oh, and maybe an actual volleyball… but only if you want.

Photography: Zamar Velez

Styling: Katie Qian

Hair: Preston Wada

Makeup: Nick Lennon

Video director: Symone Ridgell

Video assistant: Dylan Mondeschein

Models: Diya Dabash, Seth Williams, Chloé Pultar, Neil Shibata

Influencers Were Offered Money to Criticize Pfizer Vaccine

French and German influencers were apparently offered money to discredit the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

According to a new report from The New York Times, several prominent social media creators were approached by a mysterious London PR agency offering thousands of euros to falsely claim that government officials and the mainstream media were covering up the vaccine’s “deadliness.”

Related | How Should Influencers Act During a Pandemic?

However, what’s even more troubling is that Mirko Drotschmann — a German health YouTuber who was contacted for the disinformation campaign — said in a tweet that advertising agency Fazze appeared to be linked to Russia. Additionally, the publication noted that there is no official record of Fazze within Britain’s Companies House registry.

Sehr interessant: Eine Agentur meldet sich und fragt, ob ich Teil einer „Informationskampagne“ sein will. Es geht darum, einen Link zu angeblich geleakten Dokumenten zu Todesfällen bei Corona-Impfungen zu teilen. Gegen Geld. Sitz der Agentur: London. Wohnort des CEO: Moskau. pic.twitter.com/5x0Wqx79oZ

— Mirko Drotschmann (@MrWissen2Go) May 18, 2021

Not only that, but French YouTuber Léo Grasset went on to share emails with the Associated Press that showed a man named “Anton” asking for 45 to 60-second videos where the influencers ask why the EU was buying the vaccine when “the mortality rate of the Pfizer vaccine is 3 times greater than the AstraZeneca.”

Per Anton’s email, he claimed that the Pfizer vaccine was a “monopoly” that was “causing harm to public health,” before refusing to name his client, who “prefers to remain incognito.” He also instructed the influencers to not mention the sponsorship, rather they should relay the disinformation as their “own independent view.”

“I can’t work for a client that won’t give its name and who asks me to hide the partnership,” as Grasset told AP. “Too many red flags. I decided not to do it.”

Grasset then advised people to be “super, super cautious” about negative vaccine claims online, before adding that large social media creators were “at the center of something going on like an information war.”

“We, as creators, need to set our standards really high,” he said. “Because it’s, I think, just the beginning.”

Photo via Getty / Joel Saget

‘Adrian’s Kickback’ TikTok Party Results in 150 Arrests

A TikToker’s giant birthday bash ended up resulting in 150 arrests on Saturday night.

Last week, user @adrian.lopez517’s posts about his “Adrian’s Kickback” party went viral on the platform, attracting thousands of revelers who flooded into Huntington Beach, California this past weekend.

According to reports, things started getting unruly around 7:30 p.m. on Saturday when partygoers began setting off fireworks and crowding the streets. Not only that, but videos from YouTubers Steezy Kane and TikToker @TheSyncUp also appears to show people climbing flagpoles, using their cars to do donuts and jumping off what seems to be a boardwalk to crowd surf.

Related | Miley Cyrus Fans May Have Unfollowed People at Kendall Jenner’s Birthday Party

In response, Huntington Beach deployed 150 officers to break up the gathering and imposed an emergency 11:30 p.m. curfew lasting until Sunday at morning. Not only that, but TMZ went on to report that the kickback led to arrests of 121 adults and 28 juveniles on charges such as failure to disperse, curfew violations, vandalism and firing dangerous/illegal fireworks.

However as the publication also noted, people on the ground also shared footage of HBPD apparently began using tear gas and what @TheSyncUp described as “paintballs” on the crowd, though no major injuries have been reported as of now.

Some bottles, one firework and a glow in the dark frisbee thrown towards the police. More less lethals (mostly pepper bullet munitions) into crowd. #adrianskickback pic.twitter.com/0XAKIp4Zcy

— Sean Carmitchel (@ACatWithNews) May 23, 2021
@thesyncup

#adrianskickback just ended!! Soo many cops, they were firing paintballs!!😳 #adrians #foryou

♬ original sound – 🥸

Prior to the party, the police tweeted that the department was ” actively monitoring multiple social media posts advertising a large gathering on the beach this weekend,” before saying that the “safety & well-being of our residents, visitors, businesses & motorists is paramount.”

“The which is why the Huntington Beach Police Department is taking significant steps to prepare for the potential influx of visitors, including working closely with our regional public safety partners,” they went on to add. “Toward that end, the HBPD will also be strictly enforcing all applicable laws & ordinances throughout the weekend.”

See HBPD’s tweet about the kickback, below.

(2 of 2) …is taking significant steps to prepare for the potential influx of visitors, including working closely with our regional public safety partners. Toward that end, the HBPD will also be strictly enforcing all applicable laws & ordinances throughout the weekend.

— Huntington Beach PD (@HBPD_PIO) May 21, 2021

Photo via YouTube / Steezy Kane

Papa John’s Founder Called Out for ‘Creepy’ TikTok Flirting

Disgraced Papa John’s founder and ex-CEO, John Schnatter, is getting majorly side-eyed for his flirty response to a 21-year-old’s TikTok.

Last month, the 59-year-old posted a cringe-inducing duet with a video posted by one Paige Evans. In the original clip, the Canadian actress can be seen lip-syncing along to a line from Phoebe Waller-Bridge‘s Fleabag, in which her character’s sister sternly says, “Don’t flirt with him,” before Waller-Bridge responds, “I’m not going to.” And for some unknown reason, Schnatter decided it’d be a good idea to respond to Evans TikTok with a weird-as-fuck chin tilt and eye wink.

Related | Should 50-Year-Old Actors Flirt With TikTok Teens?

Needless to say, it didn’t take long for the roasts to begin, with many people commenting “yikes” on the “creepy” “thirst trap” and accusing him of being a “groomer” who should be sent “straight to jail.”

“Why would you do this to that poor child,” as one person wrote, while another added, “I just got secondhand embarrassed that I don’t think I can recover from.”

Extremely sus age difference aside, Schnatter has also courted controversy for a 2018 audio recording from a conference call where he can be heard using the N-word during a discussion about distancing himself from racist online groups and previous comments blaming slow sales on the NFL national anthem protests.

Related | Grease-Soaked Papa John Predicts ‘Day of Reckoning’

Following his resulting resignation, Schnatter went on to name everyone he believed conspired to remove him from power, before telling these people that their “day of reckoning will come” and asking Papa John’s for an apology. His attorneys also claimed his use of the N-word wasn’t meant to be ” racial slur nor was it directed at any person or group” in a 2020 investigative report.

That said, Evans herself ended up commenting on his video with an “omg hey papa,” to which Schnatter responded, “Thanks for enjoying a laugh and having a sense of humor! Respectfully, PJ #papabless.” Eeek.

See the offending TikTok for yourself below.

@thepapajohnschnatter

##duet with @paigemevans ##DoritosDuetRoulette ##papajohns ##papabless

♬ original sound – Papa John Schnatter

Photo via TikTok / @thepapajohnschnatter

Give Nicki Her Crocs Deal Already

We need no further proof. Nicki Minaj is single-handedly spear-heading 2021’s Rise of the Crocs.

Related | A Lot of People Are Buying Crocs, Actually

In a post promoting the release of her new clean version of Beam Me Up Scotty, Minaj posted a picture in a swimsuit and Crocs shoes. These aren’t your run-of-the-mill black Crocs. They were decorated with luxury logos and given their own twist, making them the most glam iteration of the iconic slide we’ve seen.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Barbie (@nickiminaj)

Just days ago, Minaj said she didn’t expect to make Crocs sales soar after she wore her bedazzled pink pair last week. The 4,900% spike in sales for the colorway even led the site to crash. We only hope Crocs’ tech support is on standby for the black colorway’s inevitable traffic.

Or maybe, just maybe, it’ll be green. Last week, Minaj re-released her 2009 mixtape Beam Me Up Scotty and, with it, a new track, “Seeing Green,” that featured Lil Wayne and Drake. Could Minaj release a music video featuring herself wearing green Crocs? Maybe another post wearing them? One can only hope.

Photo via Getty/ Jamie McCarthy for TIDAL


‘The D’Amelio Show’ Is Coming Soon

TikTok’s most family is almost ready for prime time with arrival of the first official look at The D’Amelio Show.

The Hulu docuseries following the life of TikTok stars Charli and Dixie D’Amelio along with parents, Marc and Heidi, as they navigate their newfound viral fame. From the looks of it, the show will follow in the footsteps of Keeping Up With the Kardashians subsisting off of a combination of melodrama and the dubious insistence that at the end of the day they are just ordinary teenage girls.

Related | Charli D’Amelio on Why She Almost Quit Social Media

And while this claim doesn’t hold up under much scrutiny, as evidenced by the D’Amelio’s spacious LA home, the expensive recording studio Dixie is seen laying down another track, private dance lessons and numerous photoshoots, Charli still claims that she still has to make her bed everyday and her mother insists that, “being normal kids, that doesn’t change with a following.”‘

Other than that, there’s not much information to glean from the trailer aside from a vague promise that the show would be coming soon. So in the mean time, might as well actually go make your bed for once, you know you haven’t.

Photo via Getty/ Amy Sussman

Goop Calls Exploding Candle Lawsuit ‘Frivolous’

Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle company, Goop, has responded to a lawsuit from a man who claims that one of its candles exploded after burning, calling it “frivolous” and claiming that its products are very safe.

Related | Gwyneth Paltrow’s Vagina Candle Went Up in Flames

A Texas resident named Colby Watson filed a lawsuit — seeking triple compensation and punitive damages — claiming that one of the candles exploded after lighting it for “an estimated three hours or less.” Watson bought the candle in January, lit it in February, and watched it become “engulfed in high flames.”

Speaking to Page Six Style, a rep for Goop dismissed the suit’s claim: “We’re confident this claim is frivolous and an attempt to secure an outsized payout from a press-heavy product,” they said. “We stand behind the brands we carry and the safety of the products we sell. Here, Heretic – the brand that supplies the candle — has substantiated the product’s performance and safety through industry standard testing.”

The Goop vagina-scented candle has become extremely popular and is sold out on the brand’s website. Speaking with Glamour last year, Paltrow revealed that the candle started out as a “funny joke.” “So Douglas Little, who is the owner of Heretic Perfume, we’re very close friends and we’ve worked together a lot,” she said. “He does all of our fragrances for us and one day were were smelling different fragrances and I was joking around and I smiled something and I said (this candle name)” as a joke. But then I was like, ‘Wouldn’t that be cool if somebody actually had the guts to do that?'”

“What a punk rock feminist statement to have that on your table,” she continued. “And then he made it. I thought he just made me one, as a joke, but then the next thing I knew, it was on my website.”

Photo via Getty

‘Charlie Bit My Finger’ Is the Latest NFT

There are few videos online as adorable, and viral, as “Charlie bit my finger – again!” on YouTube. The 55-second video features two tiny brothers sitting together on the couch while one of them, Charlie of course, bites the finger of the other. The bitten kid gets angry, then laughs, while Charlie continuously tries to take another bite.

It’s, by definition, a feel-good video that has to be seen to be fully appreciated. But if you plan on doing so, you’ll only have until May 22 because this classic viral video is about to become an NFT.

This upcoming Saturday, “Charlie bit my finger – again!” will be auctioned off as an NFT (non-fungible-token) through the platform Origin Protocol. If you want to commit this clip to memory, you’d better get in on the bidding and plan to stick around. After the auction closes, the video will be removed from YouTube forever.

How much will it cost to own this video? Well, it’ll probably be a lot based on what Origin Protocol has amassed for its NFTs in the past. Earlier this year, the platform led to a $11.7 million record-breaking sale for the world’s first-ever crypto albums from an artist named 3LAU. This money was made in the first 24 hours. One song from the Ultraviolet album sold for over $3.6 million.

Last month, Origin Protocol launched Jake Paul’s first-ever boxing-themed NFT drop. He did so to coincide with his fight with Ben Askren that occurred on April 17. Some of the proceeds from the sale were donated to the Seven Genesis Grant to help its mission to spotlight emerging artists.

With over 880 million views on YouTube, it’s safe to say that “Charlie bit my finger – again” is going to make some serious money — perhaps even more than 3LAU’s already hefty sum. Since it’s being sold to honor the video’s 14th anniversary, it makes it even more special to be able to own a piece of internet history like this.

Make sure to tune in to the auction here if you want to participate and, if not, well, you still have some days to enjoy the video on YouTube.

Photo via YouTube

Why Not Wear a Double-Brim Trucker Hat?

DJ Chapel’s design approach is all about the why not’s and what if’s of fashion.

Through his independent NYC brand Duality Junkie, Chapel has introduced internet-friendly styles that abandon preexisting rules in order to transform — and subvert — everyday staples that we’re all familiar with.

Why are trucker hats only sold with one brim, not two? What if your classic white tee stayed wrinkly throughout the day? Soda can tabs could become jewelry and plaid boxers could become prairie skirts. Maybe they even should?

“I’m taking things that everyone has a relationship with and manipulating its intention,” Chapel says, underscoring his playful, nostalgic practice. “Like it’s a fucking lace front wig; why doesn’t it have pair of shoe laces tied up at the part?”

Below, PAPER talks with Chapel about the “spiraling intersection between reality and fantasy” that informs the design dimension he calls “duality.”




How has your background informed the work you create today?

I grew up studying almost every art form, but was motivated to be a triple threat theater kid. After dropping out of Point Park University (PPU) dance conservatory, I needed to find movement outlets to fulfil my body’s craving. Playing dress up became a muscle memory; it became a part of my daily routine. Duality Junkie is the world I’ve created to reminisce on my childhood nostalgia. It motivates me to feel comfortable in unfamiliar environments, so I share that healing power with others. I remember wanting to grow up so bad; now that I’m a little older, all I want to do is find ways to sustain my youth. The industry is too serious for me, it doesn’t look like anyone is having fun. I provoke my audience to indulge in their innocence and explore how wearing a boxing glove go-go boot makes you feel empowered.

“I’m taking things that everyone has a relationship with and manipulating its intention.”

At what point did you decide you wanted to launch your own brand?

When I got my own room in Brooklyn and I had space to create. Growing up sharing a room with my two brothers, I was limited to how far I could go with creative expression. Having walls to reflect my interest, I slowly curated the world I now call Duality Junkie. I would make a look, run up to the roof, play some music and investigate the character I’ve transformed into. That eventually evolved into dressing friends in my garments and creating sets for us to document them in. I wanted to share the fun we were having from playing dress up with more people. Designing is only a fraction of the brand.

How do you approach design? Is it fair to suggest there’s a level of humor involved?

An item of clothing can really affect my mood, so when I’m designing I’m studying the garment’s influence. I be feeling like a mad scientist with controlled experiments and lab rats. I heavily rely on getting in a playful and relaxed frame of mind. I have a hard time making decisions; I see everything through a double lens. When I start working on a design that I’ve sketched probably a thousand times, I’ll have it 69% done when I start to morph it. I’ll take the garment in its pieces and play with its possibilities. I can’t say it enough when I say I am playing. I’m taking things that everyone has a relationship with and manipulating its intention. Like it’s a fucking lace front wig; why doesn’t it have pair of shoe laces tied up at the part? Even when I’m in production and I have to sew a dozen hats and four skirts, I legit dance through the entire work day. If I’m not having fun, I don’t want to do it; the quality of the work goes down when I’m not enjoying myself.

“I could care less what people think about me or my work.”

Do you consider virality and the internet when you develop ideas?

I say I’m diagnosed with digital personality disorder; Duality Junkie is my computerized persona. Having a visual portfolio to use to reference myself is power. I could care less what people think about me or my work. As a businessman, I will say if people are attracted to something I’ll find ways to desaturate the design so it’s available for sale. I’ve also noticed that people aren’t just interested in the art, but the artist too. My occasional clip of me spiraling in the studio defines the mood of my designs. We need to see more images of Black men enjoying themselves. Documentation is so important to me. I was able to confirm my identity through the few images of gay Black men I was exposed to as a baby gay. Most of those visuals being from the white man’s perspective, I prioritize redirecting the stereotypes placed on gay Black men. I see things like clout, money and exposure as tools, so I’m just tryna fill up my tool box so I can build this house.

Who in the industry — or not — do you consider to be your biggest influences?

Now that I’m designing myself, I try not to look at other designers’ work. I honestly only reflect on other young independent Black queer creatives grinding, right now. I know how hard it is out here, so I’m just learning lessons from my peers. I feel connected to Alexander McQueen and Shayne Oliver. I’m performance-oriented, so looking past the clothes the way they presented their worlds influenced me to combine my interest in dance, theater and fashion to build my own.

“We need to see more images of Black men enjoying themselves.”

What inspired the double brim trucker hat?

Duality. You know when you were a kid, and you would get dizzy and see two of everything? I look at everything with a dual perspective. I can never just do one thing at a time; I need to multitask when I’m working. I reintroduce myself to myself every morning; the hat is giving bipolar, tbh. A mentor of mine told me to make a bunch of shit and with time I’ll catch up with my taste. When I got into my studio after a long day of work I would prioritize making one thing a day. I’ve never been into mass production, but I want an army of double brim truckers.

Is upcycling important to your practice?

My resourcefulness came from me refusing to let my income limit my design capability. I just use whatever is around me: if it’s can tabs, an old shoe, wire hangers, a boxing glove, honestly anything highly reflective of the time. I’ll find a way if not a few ways to manipulate it into something wearable. When I’m exploring a new material, I’m transported to when I was a kid watching the unconventional challenges on Project Runway. I enjoy building a relationship with an item. I feel like SpongeBob in that episode when he’s afraid of being outside and makes friends with a penny, a used tissue and a chip in his living room. I see the can tabs as currency in the Duality Junkie world. I used to go on long walks in my childhood neighborhood, Lower East Side, and pick up all the can tabs I’d see on the floor. Repurposing items is like creating a new language for me to communicate with.

“Repurposing items is like creating a new language for me to communicate with.”

How do you see your brand growing and developing into the future?

Growth looks like finishing my collection to continue documenting my relationship to space and time. Sometimes I feel congested, like I have so many ideas and want to do everything, but I’ve honestly been playing “Moment 4 Life” by Nicki Minaj every day. I used to think about the future too much, restricting me from enjoying the present. I’ve always wanted to own space, whether it be a retail store, public art studio space or just land. Expanding as an artist means taking up more space, so I’ve been applying to art residencies. I’d build an installation and curate an interactive performance with the space and funds granted. I want to start creating short films and animations for my designs to live in. I just want to keep having fun and keep studying. I eventually want to be an art teacher. I appreciate all my art teachers, no matter the relationship, I want to pass that knowledge on to the future artist. Dead ass sometimes I’m like I’m done with this tbh, I’m a Sagittarius I get bored so fast. I’m always finding new ways to express myself, lately I’ve been exploring rapping. Duality Junkie is the rock star, hero, princess and all the possibilities I dreamt of as a kid.

Photography: Julian Camilo







Today Belongs to the Barbz

Good morning! Remember the perfect year that was 2009? Today we get to time travel back there, because Nicki Minaj has released her Beam Me Up Scotty mixtape on streaming services for the first time, to celebrate its 12-year anniversary.

As teased on social media all week, Minaj included two new songs, “Seeing Green” feat. her longtime Young Money collaborators Drake and Lil Wayne, “Fractions” (invented math) and a remix of Skillibeng’s “Crocodile Teeth.” A few tracks from the original mixtape didn’t make the cut, such as “Feel Free” and “Mind on My Money.”

Related | Break the Internet: Minaj à Trois

Nicki as a general rule doesn’t upload any of her mixtapes to streaming. She told Barbz that she was making an exception for Beam Me Up Scotty as a treat for her extremely loyal fans. “This is the 12-year anniversary of the mixtape, and a lot of you have been there with me for so fricking long,” she said during last night’s much-anticipated Instagram Live. “So because this is the anniversary, we thought we would do something special.”

Minaj also confirmed she has a brand new album in the works, as follow up to 2018’s Queen. Other memorable highlights from the livestream: Minaj saying hi to Halle Berry and Drake, and revealing that Papa Bear recently said his first word, “Mama.” She may or may not share a video of that moment soon.

Related | Nicki Minaj Had Her Baby!

Minaj also said that fans on her mailing list will get an exclusive letter soon revealing more about what she’s been doing during her hiatus. It sounds like she went through a stint of writer’s block in recent months, but “all of a sudden” her inspiration returned, with the help of Drake, who insisted she appear on “Seeing Green.”

“When you’re gone, I’m speaking for everybody on the Live, when I say we really miss you,” Drake told Minaj during the slightly chaotic stream. Seconded!

We hadn’t been able to sleep since Monday, when Minaj blessed us with her first Instagram post since January. It featured footwear-of-the-moment Crocs, as well as Chanel-branded candy. The post was cryptically captioned with just the word “F R I D A Y” and a crossed finger emoji. In a follow-up post, Minaj posted a few lines from “Fractions.”

Despite vaguely entering retirement and giving birth to her first child over the past year, she’s actually remained fairly active in music, memorably putting down a verse for Doja Cat’s “Say So” remix and, uh, 6ix9ine’s “TROLLZ.” More upcoming Nicki content: an upcoming HBO documentary series about her life and artistry, dates TBA.

Today, truly, belongs to the Barbz. And they deserve it. Listen to Beam Me Up Scotty, below.

Photo via Instagram

Cara Delevingne Is Auctioning Off an NFT Video of Her Vagina

Cara Delevingne is entering the NFT market by selling a video of her vagina.

Yep, you read that right. Turns out the sexpert and former model is currently auctioning off the “one-of-a-kind NFT” in collaboration with anonymous artist Chemical X.

Related | Cara Delevingne Is Tackling Taboos With Her New Sex Toy Venture

Not only that, but all the proceeds from the sale will apparently go toward her charitable foundation, which “supports women’s empowerment, COVID relief, LGBTQIA+ organizations, environmental causes, and fighting institutionalized racism,” per her Instagram post about the sale.

But why choose this particular part of her body? Well, in her post, Delevingne alluded to the fact that there were some conceptual parallels between NFTs and her exclusive ownership of her vagina.

“My first word was ‘mine.’ To me, that means something that is most mine — my vagina. I own it. It’s mine and no one else’s,” as she explained. “I choose what I do with it. And no one can take that away from me.”

See Delevingne’s post about the week-long auction, below.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Cara Delevingne (@caradelevingne)

Photo via Getty / Pascal Le Segretain

Chrissy Teigen Apologizes for Telling Courtney Stodden to Kill Herself

In the disturbingly recent past, it was deemed pretty okay — fun, even — to slut-shame young femme celebrities. That trashy 2000s tabloid era may be over, but we’re still dealing with its repercussions. And so is one of that era’s victims: Courtney Stodden.

Stodden married ex-husband Doug Hutchison at 16 years old back in 2011. He was 50. Despite the clear power imbalance, an entire nation turned on Stodden as some kind of teenage harlot gold digger. Some of Stodden’s most prominent haters were celebs like one Chrissy Teigen, who according to a series of disturbing screenshots frequently harassed Stodden on Twitter.

Speaking to The Daily Beast, Stodden gave more background info about how they were treated by Teigen, as well as other women like Joy Behar and Courtney Love. “She wouldn’t just publicly tweet about wanting me to take ‘a dirt nap’ but would privately DM me and tell me to kill myself,” Stodden said of Teigen. “Things like, ‘I can’t wait for you to die.'” (Teigen has come under fire before for this kind of thing: she drew controversy back in 2013 for tweeting that she found nine-year-old actress Quvenzhané Wallis to be “cocky.”)

Related | Chrissy Teigen Weighs in on ‘Creepy’ Ben Affleck and Matthew Perry TikToks

Sadly, Stodden explained, “There were a lot of celebrities acting like playground bullies. Some of the worst treatment I got was from women.” (In a surprising twist, Stodden said that notorious gossip blogger Perez Hilton “stood up and was kind” back in the day.)

This afternoon, Teigen publicly apologized to Stodden on Twitter. “I have tried to connect with Courtney privately but since I publicly fueled all this, I want to also publicly apologize,” she tweeted. “I’m so sorry, Courtney. I hope you can heal now knowing how deeply sorry I am.”

When accepting the apology, Stodden noted that they were still blocked by the former model, and pondered whether Teigen was making a statement purely for PR reasons.

The way Stodden was treated in the early 2010s — by their husband, and by people like Teigen — has understandably contributed to mental health issues. “There have probably been five times that I’ve felt like I wanted to kill myself — and made the actions to go ahead and do it,” they told The Daily Beast. “So, there’s been a lot of dark moments in my life.”

Related | Courtney Stodden Takes Control in ‘Pleasure’

We’re really glad Stodden, who recently announced that they’re nonbinary, is still here. You can read more about their 2021 plans and new music releases in their PAPER interview here.

Photo via Getty

Soulja Boy Wants His Check

When Soulja Boy talks, you shut the fuck up.

He’s in the middle of explaining, over the phone, the process he uses to make hit songs like “She Make It Clap,” his latest viral single that hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Triller US Chart. “When you’re making music, you got to think about the people,” he yells at the top of his lungs, surprised that no one else knows this secret. “People be thinking about theyselves. You selfish. What about the people that’s listening to this? The people that got to listen to this, that’s what I’m thinking about.” Immediately after wrapping up his long-winded tangent, he’s back to business — requesting that PAPER pay him for his knowledge. “I’m giving away too much game, PAPER. PAPER, cut my check. I need a check, PAPER. That’s a check right there, PAPER.”

This is Soulja Boy in a nutshell, and if you’ve been paying attention, this has been him the entire time — since he first made a dance out of ejaculating on a woman’s back and naming it after DC Comics’ world-renowned Kryptonian. The 30-year-old rapper became the unofficial King of Teens in 2007 (long before Lil Yachty — who he beefed with back in 2016 — would claim the title) when he released “Crank That (Soulja Boy) and pissed off every “serious” hip-hop fan and rapper in the world. But Soulja Boy’s steel skin had already been shown in his idiosyncratic MySpace and Limewire marketing strategies centered on tricking people into checking out his music. Instead of folding to the critics, who thought his simplistic, dance-oriented music mocked hip-hop into near oblivion, he made more dances , engineered made-up words, and trolled the world into a place in hip-hop history. His 2007 debut album, Souljaboytellem.com, was his highest-selling effort. Following projects haven’t lived up to it — however, he’s somehow still remained at the tip of hip-hop culture’s tongue for more than 15 years now. That’s no small feat.

Related | Thanks to TikTok, Soulja Boy Is Viral Again

You can point at his five follow-up albums and dozens of mixtapes as to how he’s continued to stay relevant, but that would truly only be a slice of the truth — and the smallest one at that. Since 2007, he’s constantly been going viral — for both good and bad reasons. On one hand, back in 2011 he pissed off the US Military with a truly cringeworthy line about how he felt about troops (he came out later and clarified that he never meant to diss anyone), released a few very bad gaming consoles, and has — and continues to — deal with his fair share of legal problems. But on the flip side, Soulja Boy’s interviews — such as his dramatic reenactment of a home robbery to DJ Vlad in 2016 or his explanation of how he’s better than Drake on Power 105.1’s The Breakfast Club in 2018 — as well as his numerous, lucrative business endeavors, have constantly kept him on the precipice of a career comeback.

Depending on who you ask, especially Soulja Boy, that comeback has finally arrived with the release and subsequent success of “She Make It Clap.” The song — which he initially freestyled during a Twitch session — has birthed a TikTok challenge that once again has everyone doing one of his signature dances. Nowadays every artist, probably at the urging of their record label, wants to replicate that TikTok success organically. And Soulja Boy wants to help them out — for the right price. “You got to come and talk to me,” he says, speaking directly to the record labels. “I need a position at the label. No more free sauce. I am the blueprint.”

Here’s Soulja Boy on “She Make It Clap,” us living during the era of Soulja Boy and so much more. As long as this interview is, it’s been edited and condensed for clarity.

I remember in 2018, you told the world that you had the biggest comeback of any artist that year. That feels more suited for 2021, due to your recent success with “She Make It Clap.” Why do you think the comeback happened now versus then?

I just feel like it was just time. Now, I’m ready for all the success. Back then, I probably wasn’t ready. Back then, I probably wasn’t in the right position to do what I’m doing now. So I feel like it’s coming for me now because I got my head straight. I’m more focused. I’m working harder. I’ve just changed all the way around. I focus my energy on the music. I focus my energy on the craft. I focus my energy on the comeback. And I manifested it, so I feel like it happened right now because right now was the time for it. Everything happened at the right time.

You’ve been around for 15 years and you’re still here — you even said so in a recent tweet. So many artists from your early era haven’t been able to do that. What do you think has worked for you to remain relevant?

Just sticking to what I know. I started viral. I started the internet. I started it, so of course I’m going to be able to keep doing it. I started, I came in on YouTube. That’s how I’m going to go out. I came in digitally. I came in on the internet, so now that the whole rap game is digital, of course I’m going to thrive in something that I created. This is a lifetime eternity. This ain’t just with millennials and Gen-Z. No, it’s the year 3000, they still going to be talking about Soulja Boy. Year 4000, they still going to be talking about Soulja Boy. People don’t understand what I did. I really made history in our timeline. It’s lit. It’s lit for y’all to be the witnesses. Y’all was alive during Soulja Boy. This timeline is lit for y’all. I made history.

“Year 4000, they still going to be talking about Soulja Boy. People don’t understand what I did. I really made history in our timeline. It’s lit. It’s lit for y’all to be the witnesses.”

The latest chapter of your story is “She Make It Clap.” How did that come about?

I freestyled it on Twitch. I be streaming on Twitch, twitch.tv/souljaboy, and I got my own server called Soulja World on Grand Theft Auto. And when we in Grand Theft Auto, I got a studio in there, so I’m in the studio. Because of the pandemic, it was Corona and stuff like that, so I couldn’t really be around my niggas. So I had all of them come to the studio in Grand Theft Auto, so I’m in there. We recording. I’m going through beats, going through beats, going through beats, and as soon as I heard a beat, I’m like, “Yeah. As soon as I get off stream, I’m going straight to the studio. Yeah, I’m finna to drop this right now, and I’m finna make a dance to it,” no cap.

Quick — who do you think has the best challenge so far?

It’s so many of them, man. Oh man, it’s so many of them. I just want to really give a shout out to Ciara. Big shout out to Ciara. Shout out to Polo G. Shout out to everybody that did the challenge, man. It was crazy, just to see people support me. It’s crazy. So I don’t know, it’s so many of them, it’s hard to just choose one though, no cap.

I want to know about how you separate from the status quo now. You were one of the earliest rappers using the internet to vlog and go viral. Now that everyone else has caught up, how do you stay ahead?

I just keep doing me. That’s what I figured out. And then everybody I see, they’re just doing what I’m doing. Don’t do nothing different. When you try to switch it up, that’s when people try to take what I did and say they did it. Nah, I’m just going to keep doing me. That’s the key. That’s the goal. I’m Soulja Boy, I got to do Soulja Boy. No cap, that’s how I stay ahead, doing me. People try to switch it up, people try to not be themselves. Be yourself. I’m the one that made the internet. I’m the one that made everything viral. I’m the one that goes platinum. I’m the one that goes number one on Billboard. I’m the one that dances. I’m the one that got the moves. I’m the one that got the drip. I’m going to be me. That’s all I got to be. I ain’t got to do nothing else. I don’t have to do nothing extra.

Joe Budden said something similar when speaking recently on the No Jumper podcast about new competition in the podcasting space. When asked if he was nervous about it, he said something along the lines of “No, because I can do what I do, and it separates me.”

Yeah, for sure. But they don’t want Big Draco to make no podcast, because my podcast is going to go viral, you understand what I’m saying? Exactly. Soulja Podcast is on the way. Thanks for the idea.

I’d tune into that every day. You should definitely do that.

Soulja Podcast, coming soon.

Back to TikTok. I’m sure you’ve seen rappers trying to make songs pop on TikTok, before “She Make It Clap” and especially afterwards. You’ve succeeded where a lot of people haven’t. What do you think has accounted for your success where others have failed?

Come to meet me and find out! I went number one, no marketing budget. Thank you, you just said it. No marketing budget. No labor dollars. No trickery. No hitting up TikTok to actually do it for me. No paying nobody. No nothing. Just uploaded a song, and it went viral. Come ask me how I did it. The labels need to be cutting me the check. That $1 million deal you gave to your artist, and that $200,000 marketing budget you spent on them, and they ain’t had nobody to do their dance, they got a thousand videos. Big Draco got three million videos, uploading it by himself! No nothing!

So let that sink into your head, labels. Y’all need to stop trying to dope me, cross me, go behind my back, and steal my artists and sign them into these deals, when they know I found them first off of YouTube, and you need to come straight to me and give me my correct respect, and give me my deal. And I make all y’all artists viral forever. We all could be viral, get money on TikTok. What do you mean how I did it? I’m not finna give up the songs. Record labels, major labels, everybody reading this interview, come talk to me.

How would you summarize the advice that you have for them? If you feel comfortable sharing the sauce.

Hire Soulja Boy. Hire Soulja Boy. I need a position at your label, major labels. I need to be Vice President. I need to be President of Marketing. I need a position at your label. If y’all want me to teach y’all how to go viral, cut me a check. What? I done showed y’all how to do it. Y’all been stealing my songs for years and y’all labeled me, talking about Soulja Boy, do it like Soulja Boy. I showed y’all the YouTube. I finessed the whole world with LimeWire, Napster, BearShare! When you click that song, and you downloaded that song, you thought you was going to get that song for free. You was listening to me! You can’t pay for that. You can’t copy that. You can’t learn that. You got to come and talk to me. I need a position at the label. No more free sauce! I am the blueprint.

I saw recently that you signed a new deal with Virgin Music. How did that come about?

I’m the hottest. I went number one on the Billboard. How you think it came about? I had seven labels trying to sign me. 13, if you include the indies! Seven majors. What you mean, how it came about? They all called me and said, “Soulja, we want to sign you.” And I said, “Okay, I just went number one on TikTok, number one on artists of editorial playlists, no label. Okay. I’ve been independent for the last, how many years? Okay. Do I really want to give this music thing another shot?” Yeah. It’s what I worked so hard for.

People was talking about, “Stay independent.” For what? For what? 100% of what? I’m trying to take it to the moon. They believed in me, and the bag. They gave me the bag. I want the bag, and I want my masters, and I want my own label, and I want a partnership. I didn’t sign to y’all, y’all signed to me. This ain’t no regular record deal. This ain’t no artist’s agreement. This ain’t no 360. What you think this is?

You know what one label tried to do? They tried to take my touring. They tried to take my publishing. They tried to take my merch. They tried to take my… No. This Big Draco. We don’t do 360s over here. We don’t give up. We don’t give up the record. No, I went number one by myself. You couldn’t pay me enough to do that. I got the best record deal in the music game right now. I can drop my album today. Partnership.

You’re back in full effect. With that said, how do you feel about your place in hip-hop now?

I don’t care about my place bro. I got so much money, bro, I don’t care. I just find that the game is whatever you want to make it. It’s whoever you respect. Who cares? Man, I don’t care. I know where my place in hip hop is. I know what I did for the culture. I know how lit I am. The people are going to figure it out when they figure it out. I don’t really care about your opinions and assumptions any more, because I now understand that people don’t know what they are talking about.

“I don’t care about my place bro. I got so much money, bro, I don’t care.”

With “She Make It Clap” being your latest viral song, after doing it for so many years, is going viral still exciting to you?

It’s very exciting. I love it. Yes, yes. It’s very exciting, yes. I feel great. This is more exciting than the first time, because there’s new technology. I ain’t have TikTok when “Crank That” came out. Now I got TikTok. Oh man, and we are just getting started. They think this is it? This the first one. I just dropped the song last month. Can I get the second one out? Can I drop my album? Can I keep it going? We are just getting started. They’re not ready for the remix. They don’t want to hear the remix.

I’d love to know what’s up it. Who’s on it?

They don’t want to know. They’re going to want to kill me. They don’t want to know who on the… I can’t say. I just got to drop it, and they hear on the radio. I learned the game.

Back to the deal. You signed it, you’re back on top. What’s next for you?

I’m working on Soulja Boy game console. You can follow @souljaboygame on Instagram, on Twitter, on TikTok. We just went into Amazon stores. We just put billboards up all around the world, check them out. We in London. We everywhere. We viral right now. So I’m really putting a lot of energy into the Soulja Boy game. It’s really doing good right now. It’s really doing good right now. And after that, I’m dropping my album, so y’all stay tuned for the summer. My album is going to come this summer, for sure.

What can we expect from the album? Aside from more songs like “She Make It Clap.”

Exclusive album details. Man, just hit, hit, every song hit. That’s all I want to do, hit. Every hit, viral. Everything viral, no plan. No plan, no game, just hit, good music. Hit, hit, hit, hit, hit.

Walk me through the process you use to make your hit songs.

I do the Soulja. I do the Soulja. I do the Soulja. That’s the hit. I do the Soulja. I go to the studio and do the Soulja. I do the Draco, no cap. I go in there. I know how to make a hit. I’m know how to make a hit, no cap. I can’t really just put it into words. All I can just say, the Soulja. Soulja. You got to be in. You’re not on you. You got to know what you’re doing. I know what I’m doing. Am I not? Did I not go number one on Billboard?

Yeah, you did.

See? I know what I’m doing. So we just lock into that studio, man. I just have fun though. All jokes aside, I have fun, man. I have fun. I’m in that studio and I’m just having fun. I can’t wait for the people to hear. I can’t wait. I know they going to like this. I know you’re going to… When you making music, you got to think about the people. People be thinking about theyselves. You selfish. What about the people that’s listening to this? The people that got to listen to this, that’s what I’m thinking about. What they going to think when they hear this? They’re going to be like, “Ay, Draco.” That’s how you make a hit. You got to think about the people that’s hearing your music, and how they going to feel. I’m giving away too much game, PAPER. PAPER, cut my check. I need to check, PAPER. That’s a check right there, PAPER.

“I’m giving away too much game, PAPER. PAPER, cut my check. I need to check, PAPER. That’s a check right there, PAPER.”

Your confidence is through the roof. How has it evolved into this since you came into the industry so long ago?

Man, I’ve been like this since before. I had the same confidence I have now was the same confidence I had, when I was in a trap in the trenches, and I was trying to tell them. I was like, “Yo bro, I’m finna be the biggest rapper in the game. I’m finna make millions of dollars. I’m going to be the most famous person in the world.” And everybody was looking at me like I was crazy. I’m like, “Bro, I’m trying to tell y’all.” I’m like, “Bro, stop.” They like, “Bro, Soulja, come on.” I’m like, “Bro, stop. Bro, stop playing.” I’m like, “Bro, I’m finna be rich.” I’m like, “Bro, stay focused.” I’m like, “If you don’t listen to me, you’re going to be broke.” You’re going to be in the hood and you’re going to be looking at me on TV and you’re going to be like, “Damn, why didn’t I listen to him?” I was telling niggas that shit, I promise. They can come back and tell you. That’s what I was telling people.

So I always had this same confidence. I knew I was the nigga since I was born. I knew when I seen the rap game, I watched, I listened. Now, I’m here. I watched everybody in the rap game and I was like, “Ooh, if I get in the rap game, it’s going to be so easy.” I was like, “If I just get a song or anything, something like a rapper, I’m going to kill it.” I just knew it. You feel me? And look what happened, so it’s like, “Come on, man.”

How do you feel about the industry today? Do you still find it as easy to maneuver in as when you came in?

Man, I am the industry. You feel me? It’s a new industry. The old, that doesn’t exist no more. When I came to the game, that don’t exist any more. I created a whole new game. It’s different. It’s Spotify, Apple music, playlists and vlogs, YouTube and cryptocurrency. I changed the world, bro. Ain’t no maneuvering through the industry. I am the industry. The industry got to maneuver through me. They got to copy me. They got to watch me. You feel me? Ain’t no maneuvering, now. I’m a boss. I took over the industry. When I came into the industry, they were trying to little boy me. Now I’m a CEO. They can’t tell me what to do. I do what I want to do. You see, I just went number one how I wanted to. You feel me?

Y’all see how I just broke the rules. You think they liked that? They want to control that. They couldn’t control that. I went number one off the people, off the strength, off the muscle, because that’s me. That’s the respect. That’s the love I get ’round the world because I’m a legend, and people know that. I got that off the strength. You feel me? I ain’t need no clout, no extra none of that. So yeah, ain’t no maneuvering through no nothing. It goes through me.

Photo courtesy of Soulja Boy

daine on Her Brat-Pop Anthem ‘boys wanna txt’

Emo princess daine broke into 2021 with a fresh, new sound on her ericdoa-assisted single, “boys wanna txt” — a testament to her willingness to burn her own rulebook. Where the Filipino-Australian artist’s music thus far has leaned into more emo, brooding pop cuts, this Dylan Brady co-production thrust her into the rapid-fire, glitchy world of internet electronica. And it’s perfectly bubblegum and bitchy, just in time for the summer of our lives.

This sonic shift is in large part due to her quarantine party series, Nocturne, which became a regular space for musicians — from ethel cain to umru — to showcase their work and build community in a time when connection was nonexistent. It’s also where Charli XCX famously surprise dropped in to perform her True Romance cult favorite, “Stay Away,” for a special Halloween edition.

Related | Skrillex Interviews 100 gecs About the Future of Music

But don’t expect the bright, cheeky attitude of “boys wanna txt” to stick. Though she’s been busy making more music, daine finds it “really hard” to write happy-sounding songs. “I don’t think the fun arrogance I executed with [‘boys wanna txt’] is gonna be a reoccurring thing,” she says. “So we’re back to sad angry catharsis in my unreleased catalogue. Can’t wait to unleash it.”

Until then, PAPER caught up with daine to talk about her texts with boys, the limitations of “hyperpop” and why there should be more representation for neurodiversity in the music industry.

“boys wanna txt” is your first release of 2021. Is this a reflection of where your music is going?

Not particularly. I think “boys wanna txt” was a spontaneous and fun song I had written during last year’s lockdown. It felt like the right moment for me to branch out from my usual style and experiment. Releasing it in 2021 felt like a celebration of everyone being in better spirits this year with the vaccine and all.

What was the process like collaborating with Dylan Brady and ericdoa on that track?

It was super laidback. My friend Ryan made a group chat with Dylan, and we messaged back and forth until the song was in a good place. Then I hit up eric and bish bash bosh song done.



What’s the last text you received from a boy?

“I JUST HANDED IN MY ASSIGNMENT” from my boyfriend.

Prior to “boys wanna txt,” your 2020 drops are these heavy, midwest emo anthems. Where do you think that comes from?

Thank you for hyping them up, I love that description! I think my initial drive to make music came from the heavier scene and also internet core emo bands like Midwest Penpals, Camping in Alaska, early Foxing, Merchant Ships. Initially, I wanted to be in a band so bad until I figured out I could do it alone.

It was really inspiring to see that world blend into the emo-rap soundcloud scene in like 2016/17, seeing kids sample those bands and chuck 808s on it. Adam from Tigers Jaw becoming Wicca Phase Springs Eternal was notably motivating to me when I was younger because I saw that it was possible to honor emo influences while stepping into a newer sound and being a solo artist.



Do you think being grouped into the online “hyperpop” category is limiting or fitting?

I find the description “hyperpop” to be super confusing, vague and controversial. I notice that my peers in that scene shy away from using the term and culturally I think people hear the word hyperpop and think it’s cringe. I think hyperpop arose because we didn’t have a word to describe these kids online, but now I think it’s a bit limiting because everybody seems to have a strong notion of what hyperpop means.

How have you spent the last year staying creative and what impact has isolation had on your music?

I think isolation forced me to rely on my internal resources a lot more for writing. I’ve had to figure out what I want my narrative to be and how I want to connect with others. I started my online festival Nocturne for this exact reason and it gave me a lot more motivation to be creative because there was a community around me.



Beyond Brady you’ve been working with a ton of incredible collaborators like Danny L Harle. What’s that production process like?

Usually it’s via email, just a lot of back and forth and recording in my bedroom. It sounds boring when I put it that way, but it’s super exciting to me and every time I get sent a more refined demo I’m jumping around in my room getting hype.

Assuming you’ve been making tons of music we’ve yet to hear, what have you been writing about lately?

I find it really hard to write happy music, so I don’t think the fun arrogance I executed with [“boys wanna txt”] is gonna be a reoccurring thing. So we’re back to sad angry catharsis in my unreleased catalogue. Can’t wait to unleash it.



The world is beginning to open up again. What are you most looking forward to experiencing again?

I can’t wait to play my first show! I’ve never met any of my fans face to face, so I think it’ll be a beautiful experience to finally perform in real life. Hopefully I go onto touring from there.

You recently wrote a very powerful note for Autism Acceptance Month. Why was it important for you to be so vulnerable with your audience about this?

I think neurodiversity is so common in the scene, but I hadn’t seen anyone open up or talk about it. It’s really important for autistic kids to have autistic role models that they can relate to, so while it’s difficult for me to be open about my experience, I got hundreds of messages from other kids saying how much they appreciated it.

I don’t want people to feel alone. Neurodiversity is awesome; if we don’t talk about it, people will think it’s taboo. We are swamped with horrible inaccurate autistic representation in media, so I wanna make sure there’s at least one person people can look to and see real representation in the music industry.

Stream “boys wanna txt” by daine and ericdoa, below.

Creative direction and styling: Kurt Johnson
Photography and editing: Joshua Hourigan
Makeup: Rose Letho
Hair: Madison Finn

Yaeji Gets ‘PAC-TIVE’

Super Mario Bros. has Charli XCX, Pokemon has Katy Perry and Post Malone, and now it looks like we can add PAC-MAN to the list of video game franchises dipping their toes into the realm of pop thanks to their newly unveiled collaboration with Yaeji.

Commissioned by PAC-MAN for their latest campaign urging fans to stay engaged and active, the classic arcade game has tapped DJ and producer Yaeji for the new track, “PAC-TIVE.” Featuring the China and Japan-based creative collective, DiAN, Yaeji’s latest sees the artist incorporating samples of the iconic game into her laidback brand of house, complete with a bouncy bassline, drum breaks and gossamer vocals.

Related | Yaeji Has Her Own Anime

The new song comes alongside similarly PAC-MAN-themed animated visual courtesy of WEiRDCORE. Incorporating some of Yaeji’s own childhood memories of Korean market fronts as well as her adorable Woofa character, which we were first introduced to last year as a part of the WHAT WE DREW 우리가 그려왔던 mixtape roll out. The video sees WEiRDCORE bring the 2D game into a pixelated 3D world as ghosts chase our tracksuit wearing pup through city streets, munching on dots and eventually turning the tables on the spectral pursuer.

“PAC-MAN is a game my parents and I can both remember playing in arcades growing up,” Yaeji says. “It connects me to my previous generation and possibly to future generations too.”

Watch the official video for Yaeji’s “PAC-TIVE,” below.

Photo courtesy of Yaeji/ WEiRDCORE

Why #YangSupportsGenocide Is Trending on Twitter

New York City’s mayoral candidate Andrew Yang tweeted out his support for Israel amidst its ongoing clashes with Palestine, leading to many believing that he supports genocide — so much so that it became its own trending hashtag, #YangSupportsGenocide.

Yang took to Twitter with a tweet condemning the Islamist group that is in control of the Gaza Strip. “I’m standing with the people of Israel who are coming under bombardment attacks, and condemn the Hamas terrorists,” he wrote.

I’m standing with the people of Israel who are coming under bombardment attacks, and condemn the Hamas terrorists.… https://t.co/y1X6QWgj6A

— Andrew Yang🧢🗽🇺🇸 (@AndrewYang)
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The candidate continued on, suggesting that the entirety of NYC also, similarly, stands with Israel. “The people of NYC will always stand with our brothers and sisters in Israel who face down terrorism and persevere,” he said.

Republicans seemingly couldn’t wait to cheer him on. One of the first was Ted Cruz, of course, who wrote on Twitter, “Bravo to Yang for opposing the rabidly pro-Hamas & anti-Israel attacks from fellow Dems Omar & Tlaib.”

Joining Cruz was Stephen Miller, a former senior adviser for Donald Trump during the latter’s presidency. “@AndrewYang is exactly right, @IlhanMN is outrageously wrong,” he tweeted.

.@AndrewYang is exactly right, @IlhanMN is outrageously wrong: https://t.co/2g1Q5BBU7x https://t.co/gzSF51uQ7W

— Stephen Miller (@StephenM)
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Cruz and Miller’s definitions of “wrong” stemmed from representative Ilhan Ohmar, a Democratic senate member from Minnesota, and her tweet on Monday following Israeli airstrikes that killed at least 23 Palestinians and injured another 107. “Israeli air strikes killing civilians in Gaza is an act of terrorism,” she wrote.

Israeli air strikes killing civilians in Gaza is an act of terrorism.

Palestinians deserve protection.

Unlike Isr… https://t.co/VAxh4xKase

— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN)
1620675777.0

Opposing Yang’s tweet was Bishop Talbert Swan, the president of the Springfield, MA chapter of the NAACP, writing that “the systemic oppression, institutional discrimination, and violent persecution of Palestinians are crime against humanity. It is wicked, evil, and inhumane. Glad to know where you stand.”

@AndrewYang The systemic oppression, institutional discrimination, and violent persecution of Palestinians are crim… https://t.co/qTSDMLFxUu

— Bishop Talbert Swan (@TalbertSwan)
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Despite trending, Yang has yet to update his account with any kind of response to his previous tweet.

Photo via Getty

How Thrifting Became an Online Cult Personality

The very concept of thrifting has been rejuvenated through Gen-Z heavy apps like Tik Tok and Instagram in the last few years. What was once heavily ostracized in the hierarchy of social normalities — as buying secondhand often indicated a lack of means for lower class families — is now the latest fashion trend, particularly for teens and young adults. In today’s digital landscape of algorithms and hashtags, “expert” thrifters (often white, upper class influencers) reign supreme as they amass hundreds of thousands of followers with their tips on where, what and when to thrift. Now, thrifting in itself isn’t a problem: it might create new ones.

Related | Gen Z Texans Are the Next Wave of Vintage Fashion

“The idea of thrifting is brilliant,” says fashion historian Rachel Weingarten over e-mail. “Instead of discarding or destroying, someone reuses, resells, or repurposes. Take it a step further and promoting the practice is also an excellent idea. After all, as we move away from fast fashion, what better way to enhance a wardrobe than by buying something that matters or by finding a treasure that no longer serves someone else?”

But like many movements that become inflated through social media, the actual issue can get buried in the sea of virtue signaling. Look no further than Blackout Tuesday of last summer when millions of Instagram users posted a black square as a response to murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Presumably, most people had good intentions. But it doesn’t take away from the fact that once an action — whether it’s boosting a legitimate cause like Black Lives Matter or sustainability — becomes visible, folks tend to stop there.

“Once anything becomes a cult of personality, the purity or original intent gets lost in the shuffle to aggressively promote what we have now come to see as online personal brands.”

The fashion industry, in particular, has a particularly bad history of surface level activism. In the last decade, sustainable fashion has become a buzzword, but it’s been a slow and uphill battle to enforce policies that actually support less wasteful productions (and pay fair labor to workers). The idea of thrifting and sustainability is certainly appealing, but as social media has shown, it’s easier to talk the talk (or in this case: post the post) than to walk the walk by critically examining what issues thrifting itself is trying to fix.

At that same intersection of performance and profit is, as Jezebel writer Hazel Cills puts it, the gentrification of thrifting. Weingarten says it’s not uncommon for acts of good deed to be driven by ego or money (we are, after all, still human living under capitalism). “Once anything becomes a cult of personality, the purity or original intent gets lost in the shuffle to aggressively promote what we have now come to see as online personal brands,” she says.

Search “sustainable fashion” on any platform and you’re bound to get a flurry of aesthetic infographics, thin white influencers and 60-second Reels of best thrift tips. On one hand, it is undoubtedly better for the environment that people are thrifting as opposed to buying new from sustainable brands. But on the other hand, one has to wonder how much of it is done in the pursuit of the personal brand, whether that monument will stay, and if you’re a pessimist, if it’s actually being done at all.

“Thrifting is having a moment that will probably be amplified,” says Weingarten. “The larger problem will be when we scratch the surface and probably find out that a lot of this might have been virtue signaling on the part of the internet-famous faces who either don’t practice what they preach or are paid hefty sums to say that they do.”

“…a lot of this might have been virtue signaling on the part of the internet-famous faces who either don’t practice what they preach or are paid hefty sums to say that they do.”

Adam Minter, author of Secondhand: Travels in the New Global Garage Sale, is pretty optimistic that thrifting is here to stay. He argues that the outcome of people thrifting outweighs their motivation for doing so, even with the very valid criticisms that upselling — buying from donation centers like Goodwill and Salvation Army and reselling on apps like Depop or Poshmark at higher prices — is unethical. In his book, Minter talks about how we’re facing an environmental crisis with our excess textile waste (85% of clothing ends up in landfills or incinerators). Thrifting relieves some of that waste and despite what some might think, thrift stores are not facing a shortage of supply.

“The average thrift store in America only is able to sell about 1/3rd of the inventory that it has,” said Minter over a phone call. “The other 2/3rd comes off the floor or they have to find somewhere else for it to go. That somewhere else might be an export market [like Depop, ThriftCon, Poshmark, etc]. It might be a rag making operation, it might. But buyers are doing all of us a favor. The more people go into thrift stores and buy stuff up so that thrift stores can get that stuff off their floors, it’s a good thing for everybody.”

With misinformation tending to run rampant on social media, it’s easy to confuse ethical harm with environmental harm (though oftentimes they are one and the same). But in the case of thrifting having a cult following, it leans towards the former. While it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s morally right that folks are making a profit off of secondhand wear, it also doesn’t negate the positives it does.

Or as Minter puts it: “Anything that promotes reuse — whether it’s for profit or not for profit — to me, that’s sustainable. There’s no question.”

It is worth noting that in a capitalistic society, all means of production (even repurposing) has some element of profit in it. Take no further look than ThriftCon, a buzzy vintage gathering selling merchandise promoting sustainability. But again, what else can we expect when the carrot dangling at the end of the stick amounts to dollar signs and likes?

“There will always be purists who understand the importance of value over junk (and that’s somewhat ironic considering that at one point junking was a term used for thrifting),” says Weingarten. “Sadly though, I think we’re going to see new products sold under the guise of thrifting, even at events geared only to thrifting. In the end, it’s about making money, or they wouldn’t be doing it on that scale, would they?”

Chrissy Teigen Weighs in on ‘Creepy’ Ben Affleck and Matthew Perry Videos

She has spoken! Queen of social media Chrissy Teigen has inevitably weighed in on the whole old-Hollywood-dudes-being-seedy-on-dating-apps thing, and spoiler alert: it’s not sitting right with her.

To catch you up, actress and influencer Nivine Jay went viral earlier this week after sharing on TikTok that Ben Affleck had slid into her DMs with an unusual and revealing video. Jay and Affleck had initially got into contact via famous person dating app Raya. But Jay had unmatched with the actor, believing his to be a troll account. Affleck made the effort to track her down and film an honestly pretty funny video where he deadpans: “Nivine. It’s me.”

Related | Should 50-Year-Old Actors Flirt With TikTok Teens?

Then, taking Jay’s lead, TikTok user Kate Haralson recalled how Friends star Matthew Perry had once FaceTimed her after they’d matched on Raya, when he was 50 years old and she was just 19. And while she said Perry was ultimately a good guy, Haralson questioned why exactly Chandler from Friends was talking to teens on dating apps in the first place.

So what does Chrissy think of it all? On Thursday, Teigen tweeted her agreement that “celebs shouldn’t be making these creepy desperate video replies on Raya.”

I agree celebs shouldn’t be making these creepy desperate video replies on raya but it’s tacky to release private m… https://t.co/4ZwlgzkqiN

— chrissy teigen (@chrissyteigen)
1620320714.0

But she wasn’t letting the influencers get off too easy, either: “It’s tacky to release private messages. Ya both wrong, congrats.”

Posting screenshots or screen recordings from dating app convos is pretty invasive, and definitely breaks a few unwritten social rules. (Presumably it also contravenes most dating app terms of service.)

But this is DeuxMoi‘s world, and we’re just living in it! If you’ve got a juicy celebrity story to share, just try resisting the call of all that TikTok clout.

Photo via Getty