‘Black Widow’ Woes: Who Could Last As Cory’s Partner On The Challenge?

For a game called Double Agents, the latest Challenge season has found veteran Cory spending a whole lot of time flying solo. And during tonight’s episode, his partner — once again — went MIA. So now that Cory is, once again, a rogue agent, the question is: Who could possibly survive as his partner in crime?

With Cory’s former Real World: Ex-Plosion housemate and Rivals III partner Ashley back in the game as his co-pilot, contestants got their first taste of a final mission in “Smuggle Run,” the most grueling mission so far. In pairs, players would have to carry a heavy designated capsule across a five-mile obstacle course, and though Ashley had already been eliminated once from the game, she performed like a contestant in command.

“Ashley is just in her element,” Cory said, as Ashley solved a dizzying math puzzle in a split second. “I’m just sitting there like a proud father.”

And through the last leg of the course, it seemed like a win was in the bag for Cory and Ashley. But Theresa and Jay, who narrowly missed a first-place finish in previous mission “Agent Down,” came out strong in the last leg and won, leaving Cory and Ashley with a silver medal.

But on The Challenge, silver may as well be soot. Theresa, bent on making a big move, was determined to pit Ashley against either Nany or Kam in The Crater to ensure that a strong player outside of her alliance was eliminated.

It seemed like a longshot, but Theresa’s plan worked. After getting Big T and her roundup of rookies on board, Theresa successfully got the house to vote Ashley and Cory into The Crater, and upon arrival at the elimination round, Theresa and Jay selected Kyle and Kam to serve as Team Ex-Plosion’s opponents.

Long story short: Kam knocked Ashley out with a commanding performance in “Dead Ringer” to earn her 10th elimination-round win and sent Ashley home for a second time in a single season.

And, for the third time on Double Agents, Cory was left without a partner. He had watched Aneesa send his first partner, Tori (who Devin initially poached from him), home just hours before. His second partner, Natalie, was forced to leave the game for personal reasons shortly thereafter.

“I guess it’s fair to say that I am the black widow of the season,” Cory said as Ashley bid farewell to the cast. “I can’t keep a partner to save my life.”

Still, a fourth partner will, indeed, come for Cory, so who should it be? Would he fare well with a rookie like Gabby or one of The Ambers to get a veteran’s attention off of his back? Would pal and former ally Aneesa be a good fit, or could Olympian Lolo Jones bring the type of fire that Cory needs to proceed? Tell us what you think, and be sure to check out the next Double Agents episode Wednesday!

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Epik High Is Here For You

By Regina Kim

“We were anomalies when we started,” says Tablo of the Korean hip-hop trio Epik High, which he leads. A Stanford graduate whose given name is Daniel Lee, he wears a black cap and matching hoodie on the opposite end of a Zoom call, giving off a laid-back, unassuming air that belies his status as a South Korean superstar. Though rap and hip-hop have become infused in all of the country’s major pop from BTS to Big Bang to Blackpink, Epik High were genre pioneers when they formed in 2001, mixing high-speed vocal deliveries with seemingly disparate elements as punk and classical at a time when the sound was considered niche. “As time went on and other people started experimenting with different sounds in hip-hop, we became more accepted,” he tells MTV News.

Composed of Tablo, fellow rapper Mithra Jin, and DJ Tukutz, Epik High craft outspoken, socially conscious lyrics that tackle topics ranging from discrimination and class struggle to religion and politics, subjecting them to controversy and even outright bans over the years. But that raw authenticity has only fueled their success: All of Epik High’s previously released albums have charted No. 1 on the South Korean iTunes hip-hop chart. In addition to reaching No. 1 on Billboard’s World Albums chart in 2014, they became the first major Korean act to perform at Coachella in 2016. They’re set to reprise their appearance at the music festival later this year.

Now the industry veterans are back with the first half of their two-part tenth album, Epik High Is Here, every aspect of which they treated like a film production. “Every song is a scene,” Tablo says, as on display in the cinematic, sprawling composition of “End of the World” and the lush portrait of contemporary society “Leica.” That strategy extends to their collaborators, which include the popular South Korean rappers Zico and CL, as well as contributions from emerging stateside talents, like the singer-songwriter Hayley Gene Penner, whose writing credits include tracks for The Chicks and The Chainsmokers. “The artists are like character actors, and we’re in the director’s chair,” Tablo adds. “We know exactly what we want for the scene and who would be the best actor to deliver that scene.”

The resulting collection is a true epic, the story of collaborations and inspirations inevitably shaped by the coronavirus pandemic, including the title itself.  But while the songs deal with somber lyrical themes of sadness, anger, and confusion, the album’s core message is one of hope — a reflection of Tablo’s belief that, if the entire world is collectively experiencing painful emotions, then it can unite in positive sentiments, too. “We’re all in the same boat,” he says. “We’re all confused, but Epik High is here for you and with you.” Speaking with MTV News ahead of the album’s release, Tablo reveals the secret to the group’s longevity, as well as his aspirations for the future of Korean rap and hip-hop as it pervades music around the globe.

Courtesy OURS Co

MTV News: When did you start working on the album?

Tablo: It depends on the song. We had demos for “Based on a True Story” and “Acceptance Speech” about four years ago. Some of the songs are completely new — they came in a couple of weeks before we had to press out CDs. We were debating everything until the very last moment, which is normally what we do anyways.

MTV News: The word “here” comes up a lot on this album. In addition to being included in the title, it’s found in the lyrics of  “Wish You Were” and “Acceptance Speech.” Where is “here” for you, and what kind of significance does the word hold for you? 

Tablo: You live in your home, but you never really think about it. It’s just where you come back after work or go to sleep, right? But we’ve had to think about each of our “here”s in a new light. And for me, I think “here” is not a fixed place — it’s an ever-changing place that is both physical and spiritual. Even when you look at the arc of Epik High’s career, “here” has changed so many times, where sometimes “here” is a very good place and we’re flying high, and sometimes “here” is the lowest of lows.

People who are ambitious are always imagining a better “here.” They want that certain job or that certain life, which means that you’re never actually thinking about the “here” that you’re living in now. I think I was probably the same way. I think I’m finally learning that my “here” is going to change day by day or even minute by minute. Sometimes it’s going to be great, and sometimes it’s going to be horrible, but it is my “here,” and I’m OK with that. So when I say, “Epik High is here,” wherever that may be, we’re OK with that. We know it’s ever-changing.

MTV News: What do you hope people will get out of this album? What’s the overall message you’d like to convey?

Tablo: I just want people to feel like someone understands, that someone is with them and is just as confused and angry as they are. If they’re angry about something, I want these songs to accompany them. Hopefully, at the end of the song, some of their anger will have transformed into something better, like courage.

I don’t want my songs to be diversions. I don’t want our music to simply be a way to get away from or ignore what’s going on. I think there are other musicians that are great at doing that. But I don’t think that is our forte, and that’s not even close to what our music is pretending to do. I want our music to reflect whatever emotions you are really feeling, because most likely we’re feeling that way too, and we really do know what it’s like. It can feel comforting to know that you’re not alone.

MTV News: Can you talk about the meaning of the titles of some of your songs?

Tablo: Rosario” has multiple meanings, [referencing] the rosary and praying the rosary. It also comes from the Latin rosarium, which means “a crown of roses.” All of that is within the song. We’re talking about God and celebrity and dealing with your own demons. I imagined that if a Messiah figure were to come down to earth today, what would people say? I think people would attack this person, and nobody would believe them. If this person were to use a modern-day way of speaking to express their grievances, how would they do it, and how would they rap? I imagined these weird things and then put them into a song.

Based on a True Story” is for people dealing with heartbreak. In moments of heartbreak, you want to put your attention into any story that is not your own, so you watch TV and movies and listen to songs to forget. But the irony is that everything you see or hear hits close to home and feels like your own story.

MTV News: Epik High has been around for two decades. How has the group stayed together for so long, and did you guys hit it off from the beginning?

Tablo: I think we appear to get along really well because, from the very beginning, we didn’t get along. The three of us have extremely different personalities and musical differences. From the beginning, we fought, even in public and in front of the camera. We weren’t a group that was made, and we didn’t have media training, so we had no other choice but to be ourselves. And I think that worked out because that meant that we had no “yes” men. The three of us are so hard on each other that it’s impossible to have a situation where everyone around you is a “yes” man, which I think is the worst possible thing you can do to yourself, to have everyone agree with you and pretend to love you. Musically as well, I think that’s why we’ve always been able to adapt and grow because we’re really hard on each other. We’ll shit on each other’s songs, and it just never stopped. And I think ironically that is the only reason we’re still together.

MTV News: Who are some of your biggest influences, for you and for the group?

Tablo: For the group, A Tribe Called Quest was probably the biggest influence. It’s one of the only groups that all three of us liked equally. Also, Outkast. Personally, I’ve been a huge alternative rock fan. I love Smashing Pumpkins and Nirvana. Also, growing up I was in love with The Beatles and Bob Dylan. My favorite hip-hop artist was and still is Nas. Illmatic was the first hip-hop album that I bought with my own money.

Nowadays as a group, we’re really into the Rolling Stones. We imagine performing as a group when we’re grandpas, and we hope that we’ll have the same energy on stage when we’re 90.

MTV News: Are there any artists that Epik High might want to collaborate with in the future?

Tablo: Mark Ronson. Billie Eilish. Kid Cudi. Bruno Mars.

Courtesy OURS Co

MTV News: Epik High are pioneers of Korean rap and hip-hop, and I think it’s safe to say that you guys were the ones who brought those two genres into South Korea’s mainstream music. How would you describe the current rap and hip-hop scene in South Korea? How would you describe the music’s popularity in Korea compared to K-pop and other genres?

Tablo: I think rap and hip-hop are the most popular genres in Korea right now by far. BTS is heavily a hip-hop group as well. The members of the group started off as hip-hop artists, and even when they’ve branched out into other genres, the way they approach lyrics has never left their hip-hop roots behind, and I think that’s why they’re so popular. Major groups like Blackpink and Big Bang have always been hip-hop-based. Now the scene is so huge that there are so many rappers and hip-hop artists that I don’t even know. It’s very vibrant.

We’ve also had a renaissance of indie and folk-rock artists, and many of them have been featured in our music. We’ve always wanted to introduce different genres and artists to our fans. We just want everyone to like each other’s stuff, because there’s no bad that can come out of that. I’m all about having people expand their circles and break down whatever barriers they may have between each other. I can’t understand why someone who loves hip-hop must hate other genres, or why some fans of K-pop idols won’t listen to other genres like Korean indie. I can understand that familiarity can be good, but I’ve never divided people into genres. I don’t see those barriers, and I don’t want our audience to see those either.

I believe that if everyone who is a fan of Korean music in one form or another can all share in this experience and get behind not just Korean music but Asian music, art, films, and culture in general, then these can do even better. We are having a moment, but I want that moment to become a movement. I really want some 12-year-old with a guitar and a unique sound somewhere in Asia to feel like the path to their dreams isn’t farther than some other kid living in Tennessee. I don’t want anyone of any race to think that their path to their dreams is farther away.

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Rookies’ Revenge: Is Big T’s Girl Gang The Next Big Threat On The Challenge?

Later, Lavender Ladies. Move along, Inferno 2 Mean Girls. There’s a new girl gang in Challenge­-town, and while they might be little, they proved on the most recent Double Agents episode that they can certainly pack a wild punch.

After Nelson’s shocking Crater elimination, Big T and her gaggle of rookie pals — The Ambers and Gabby — began to grow frustrated with some of the vets’ bravado. More specifically, they were sick of Tori citing their small group “layups,” and rather than wait to get bowled over — the typical routine for a Challenge rookie — they decided to stand up and fight.

After a five-alarm meeting, the girls committed to winning the next mission so they could pit Tori, their Public Enemy No. 1, against Tori’s best pal Aneesa. This would ensure one of the veterans was eliminated, Big T said, and forge a wider path for the rookie girls to advance.

“You can’t make people feel weak just because they don’t have muscles popping out of their eyeballs,” Big T lamented. “I’m over it.”

And quickly, the Itty Bitty Small Committee was officially in motion.

As part of the next mission, “Agent Down,” host TJ Lavin told the agents one partner would have to hold the other — legs dangling — from atop a platform suspended high above a waterfall. The catch? The designated holder would first have to unspool a giant mess of rope until he reached a blue marker — and only then could he race to his partner.

While Jay and Theresa outperformed the first crop of competitors and held on for a Challenge eternity, it was ultimately Big T and CT who won the day’s mission after a Heat Two victory.

And Tori, who knew a reckoning was brewing, was frustrated that she’d likely have to confront the social mistakes she’d made.

“Me and Aneesa are playing such a messy game — what the f*** are we doing?” Tori said. “We’re just kind of annoyed. I think until you prove yourself in this game, I’m gonna consider you a weaker player.”

But Big T proved her strength when she rallied the house to vote Aneesa into The Crater and waited until the next elimination round to nominate Aneesa’s BFF, Tori, herself.

In “Asset Destruction,” Aneesa and Tori would each have to pull their own crate of medicine balls across a line, at which point the crate would tip over and set the balls free. Then they’d toss the balls at a wall of targets, and the first to strike 13 would win.

Sadly, it wasn’t a close call. By the time Tori managed to upend her crate, which left her struggling straight out of the gate, Aneesa had nearly completed her target practice, and when the dust had settled, Aneesa officially earned her 10th elimination-round win and the distinction of the only woman to hold a Gold Skull (Natalie, a previous Gold Skull holder, left the game at the start of the episode for personal reasons).

And Aneesa, who spent the start of Double Agents as the No. 1 seed, resolved to reassume her position as Top Dog.

“The old bitch still has it — never count me out,” she said. “If you want my Skull, you have to come f*cking get it.”

Whaddya think: Is the Itty Bitty Small Committee primed for greatness, and will it stand among The Duel Drama Mafia or Cara’s Cult as a top-tier Challenge girl gang? Or will Tori’s elimination prove to have been a mistake, and are the rookies on the chopping block next? Share your thoughts, and be sure to tune in to the next Double Agents episode Wednesday!

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Joe Biden Calls For Unity In Inauguration Speech: ‘We Must End This Uncivil War’

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were sworn into the office of the president and vice president of the United States, respectively, on Wednesday (January 20). Shortly after, the new POTUS took the podium outside the U.S. Capitol to address the nation for the first time as its leader, in a speech that again and again stressed unity, togetherness, and healing amid a turbulent time.

“My fellow Americans,” Biden began. “This is America’s day. This is democracy’s day, a day of history and hope.”

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Biden largely stressed unity and healing, amid the rising threat of white supremacy and domestic terrorism, as well as the continued deadliness of COVID-19, which “silently stalks” the nation amid 400,000 deaths in America since last March. As he spoke, Biden returned to the topic of togetherness, saying that we can fight all that ails Americans with unity, which can help teach children, reward work, rebuild the middle class, defeat the virus, and implement racial justice.

“I know speaking of unity can sound like foolish fantasy these days,” he admitted. But he pointed to the historical fight between “the American ideal” and the divisions that have never been more present in our contemporary culture. He touched on past wars and plagues that America has weathered, again returning to the idea of togetherness. “History, faith, and reason have showed the way of unity.”

He offered a seemingly bygone method for Americans to do so: showing dignity and respect for their neighbors. Biden also stressed the importance of unity on progress and the advancement of the nation, instead of the perils of hopelessness. “If we do that, I guarantee you we will not fail. We have never, ever failed in America when we’ve acted together. So today, in this time, in this place, let’s start fresh,” he said, echoing a similar sentiment tweeted from his official account this morning.

While largely avoiding any potshots at the previous administration — former president Donald Trump was not in attendance, though former vice president Mike Pence was — Biden condemned the culture of manipulated facts that characterized his predecessor’s four years in office. He evoked the Capitol itself, just two weeks ago the site of an insurgency carried out by Trump’s supporters, for its healing symbolism. That government takeover failed, he said in a strong, clear voice, adding that “it will never happen.”

He also touched on the fight for women’s suffrage and remarked on the long journey that leads all the way to Harris’s swearing in, eliciting applause. Repeating one of his biggest campaign lines, the president addressed those who do not support him by welcoming their disagreement and “the right to dissent peacefully.” “I will be a president for all Americans,” he added once again, saying he’d fight just as hard for those who didn’t vote for him. It was one of the clearest signs of his call to unity, and he went further into detail to try to heal a divided country.

“We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue, rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal,” Biden said. “We can do this if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts, if we show a little tolerance and humility, and if we’re willing to stand in the other person’s shoes.”

The virus weighed heavy on the day, with masks prevalent and social distancing in place at the Capitol. It’s a thread Biden picked up near the end of his remarks: “We need all our strength to persevere through this harsh winter.” He offered taught talk on the virus as well as one final call for unity, before a moment of silence for the unfathomable 400,000 Americans who have died because of COVID-19. It was a powerful and tacit acknowledgement of the severity and enormity of the virus, as well as its impact on the country, something characteristically absent from the previous administration.

He closed on talk of being judged (ideally favorably) by future generations as well as reminding of his sacred oath he’d just taken on his old family bible. “Together, we shall write an American story of hope, not fear, of unity not division, of light, not darkness.”

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Watch Lady Gaga Belt Out The National Anthem At Joe Biden’s Inauguration

Lady Gaga brought her pipes to Inauguration Day.

On the steps of the United State Capitol, as President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris awaited to be sworn in to their new offices, Gaga belted out “The Star-Spangled Banner” in a red ball gown and black top a golden dove pin attached to her. Accompanied by the marine band, Gaga utilized a gold microphone, gold in-ears, and a gold olive branch in the dove’s mouth a show of what she tweeted would be a “healing” moment.

Rob Carr/Getty Images

“Singing our National Anthem for the American People is my honor,” Gaga tweeted before the inauguration event. “I will sing during a ceremony, a transition, a moment of change — between POTUS 45 and 46. For me, this has great meaning.”

“My intention is to acknowledge our past, be healing for our present, and passionate for a future where we work together lovingly,” she continued. “I will sing to the hearts of all people who live on this land. Respectfully and kindly, Lady Gaga.”

As she exited, she stopped to speak briefly with Biden and Harris, as well as Barack and Michelle Obama. On Instagram on January 20, Gaga shared a message that she prayed that Inauguration Day “will be a day of peace for all Americans. A day for love, not hatred. A day for acceptance not fear. A day for dreaming of our future joy as a country. A dream that is non-violent, a dream that provides safety for our souls. Love, from the Capitol 🇺🇸”

After Harris was officially sworn in as the new Vice President, Jennifer Lopez took the podium to sing a medley of “This Land Is Your Land” and “America the Beautiful,” likewise with help from the marine band. And then it was Biden’s turn to take his oath of office.

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Sneak Peek: Briana Reveals A Huge Family Secret In The Brand-New Teen Mom 2 Special

Some families have secrets — and Teen Mom 2‘s Briana is about to reveal one about her own brood.

“I have a brother,” Briana tells her sister Brittany in the clip above from the brand-new Teen Mom 2 special “Briana’s Family Secret.” “What the f*ck? I just don’t understand.”

Briana’s limited information: Her sibling’s name is Kevin, he is 14 years old and he lives in New York.

So how did Briana find out this lifechanging news, and what is Brittany’s reaction? Watch the entire video, and do not miss Briana’s special tonight at 8/7c.

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Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘Drivers License’ Zooms Into No. 1 Chart Spot With New Streaming Records

In late 2018, when “Old Town Road” was first gaining steam on TikTok and other online platforms, conversations arose around the nature its rise. Was it a meme with a BPM? A savvy bit of web culture come alive with a Nine Inch Nails sample? The apotheosis of the yeehaw agenda?

The answer was likely yes to all, and the result became legendary: After Billy Ray Cyrus hopped on the remix, Lil Nas X’s country-trap hit reached No. 1 and eventually became the longest-running song at the top spot of the chart in its history. Why bring this all up now? Well, there’s a new No. 1 in town, and its extremely accelerated and much-celebrated success recalls a bit of the rise of “Old Town Road,” though the two songs couldn’t sound more different.

Today (January 19), Olivia Rodrigo’s “Drivers License” — a heart-racing tale of heartbreak and suburban loneliness — debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. It’s also become one of the most-streamed new songs in history, racking up 76.1 million plays in the United States in a week and marking a new weekly best. Additionally, “Drivers License” is the most-streamed song since Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s “WAP” in August.

Fans of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series already know Rodrigo and her talents, and her song “All I Want” from the show was Rodrigo’s first Hot 100 hit back in January 2020. Her starring role likely helped propel “Drivers License” right out of the gate, along with the song’s much-discussed backstory involving her rumored relationship with co-star Joshua Bassett and the seeming references hinted at in the lyrics.

There’s also the matter of the song’s explosion in popularity on TikTok (hence the “Old Town Road” echoes) as well as its co-sign from none other than Taylor Swift, who said she was “really proud” of the song’s performance.

“Drivers License,” too, absolutely slaps. There are certainly echoes of both Swift and Lorde in its poetic realism and encapsulation of teenage feelings from the 17-year-old Rodrigo (and her co-writer, As Tall As Lions’s Dan Nigro). But it all feels very much her own, and true to the kind of emotional rite of passage captured in its lyrics.

Combined, all this buzz and connection leads to “Drivers License”‘s accolades: replacing 24kGoldn and Iann Dior’s “Mood” at No. 1, becoming the top-selling and most-streamed song of the week, and, according to the ChartData Twitter tracker, the fastest song to reach 100 million streams (in roughly eight days).

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اول يوم تدريب بعد ما تفتح النوادي

أتمنى الإشتراك بالقناة وتفعيل جرس الاشعارات ونشر المقاطع في المنتديات والمواقع الإجتماعية مفيدة صحة ولياقة وتغذية اسم القناة والربط 1-مهووس عضلات قنوات /كمال …



What Martin Luther King Jr. Taught His Son About Protest

By Virginia Lowman

What translates as Martin Luther King III shares memories of his father, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., is the gentle intimacy and admiration between a child and his parent. When we speak in late December, he brings stories of a man whose teachings I’ve studied since I was a young girl, but who I have only known in a scholarly sense. It is both shocking and endearing to hear someone refer to the iconic civil rights leader as “Dad.”

On our Zoom call, King speaks warmly of playing baseball in the front yard with “Dad” and two of his siblings. He talks about traveling with his father as a boy in 1967 to organize for the Poor People’s Campaign in the fight for fair wages. He recalls the family’s nightly routine, the “kissing spot,” where each child was given a designated place on Dr. King’s face for their bedtime kiss. These intimate moments of parental love formed the basic principles for Dr. King’s culture-shifting speeches and groundbreaking organizing work.

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

This August will mark 58 years since Dr. King delivered his legendary “I Have a Dream” speech at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, which continues to resonate today, harkening for equity and a better world for all. As we near the close of a tumultuous four years, it’s essential to remember that this unprecedented time not only highlighted the many deep-seated injustices in our country’s foundation but also compelled people of all ethnicities to champion change. “The most important thing [activists] can have is a strategic plan,” King suggests for the path forward.

In the aftermath of a year of protests against institutional racism, calls for police reform in the fight for Black lives, and the siege of the U.S. Capitol, Dr. King’s lessons and his strategic approach to enacting change are crucial guideposts for a new generation called to action as America grapples with its roots. Here, Martin Luther King III shares what he learned from his father about life and protest for experienced and emerging activists alike.

Make love your foundation.

It should come as no surprise that love was a core value in the King household. In fact, as King explains, the first thing he learned from his father and mother, activist Coretta Scott King, was an age-old adage: “You can’t really love others until you really, truly love yourself.” King notes that this was the “broad lesson” of his childhood, and it was constantly reinforced. “My parents taught us to love ourselves, they taught us to love our families, they taught us to have a love of our community, and they taught us the love of God,” he says.

This informs how King pursues his work and handles conflict. “You can disagree with someone without being disagreeable,” he adds, meaning without causing harm to someone or their property. Approaching life with compassion as the moral compass helps to maintain a level of respect and dignity, two principles Martin Luther King Jr. championed.

Stephen F. Somerstein/Getty Images

Strive to eradicate “triple evils.”

As King expounds love as a foundation, he also knows how it goes beyond the individual. “[Self-love] extends to the community,” he says. “When you love your community, there are things that you don’t accept. Poverty is one of them.” The legacy of his parents is rooted in that idea, and he explains how they hoped to eradicate the “triple evils” of poverty, racism, and violence.

“My dad and his team were willing to go to jail for [equality],” King says. “As a kid, I thought that if something was wrong in our society and you wanted to correct it, you go to jail, because that’s when the situation would be addressed.” The lesson isn’t that we should normalize breaking the law, but that when the laws are not rooted in equity, we should lean into what the late Representative John Lewis called “good trouble, necessary trouble.”

Activism requires strategy.

For the oppressed and marginalized, King says, civil law does not change without strategy: “If you want to be effective and successful, you must have a plan,” he says. Perhaps one of the most profound plans of the civil rights movement was “Project C,” a year of strategy and coordination across numerous Southern states to engage in sit-ins, boycotts, and other peaceful demonstrations to combat segregation.

The “C” stood for confrontation. Additionally, the four pillars King’s father laid out in his 1963 “Letter From a Birmingham Jail” — fact-finding, negotiation, self-purification, and direct action — are still evident in the work of many activists today. Perhaps the most interesting pillar is self-purification, which, as Dr. King wrote, deals with asking the questions, “Are you able to accept blows without retaliating? Are you about to endure the ordeals of jail?” King points to the peaceful protests of the contemporary Black Lives Matter movement, saying his parents would be proud and that they “always applauded young people’s engagement and encouraged it.”

Robert W. Kelley/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images

Factor economic disruption, patience, and rest into your plan.

Disrupting economics is often the long game of protest, often yielding the greatest return because of its relationship to capitalism. As fellow civil rights organizer Wyatt Tee Walker knew, demonstrators would have to “mess with the money and make it inconvenient for the white community.” King considers this the greatest strategy, though he notes that it requires “a degree of patience.” He also mentions that a question often posed in movements from his father’s time was: “After confrontation, then what?” King charges present activists to “know when to have patience and when to be forthright,” and to acknowledge that one cannot be engaged in physical protest all of the time.

Practice forgiveness.

King says practicing forgiveness is the primary lesson his father taught him by example. He does note, however, that it was made manifest through his grandfather, Martin Luther King Sr. Despite his wife being gunned down in an Atlanta church just six years after their son was killed in Memphis, the eldest King said, “I refuse to hate [the people who] killed my wife and my son,” his grandson remembers. It is here that Dr. King’s lessons came full-circle.

King says he learned that in order to decide to reject hatred, you must go forth in love. As people continue to take to the streets in pursuit of systemic change and execute their civic duty at the polls, it’s important to remember the lessons of those who came before us. Hold fast to compassion, honor strategy and community, and remember that enacting change does not require violence — it takes accountability.

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J.Lo At 20: Celebrating The Album That Made Jennifer Lopez An Icon

By Yasmine Shemesh

When Jennifer Lopez began recording her sophomore album, J.Lo, in 2000, she was in the midst of an incredible career high. With a $1 million salary for 1997’s Selena, she’d become the highest-paid Latina actress in Hollywood history and had no less than three new movies in the works. “Waiting for Tonight,” her dance-infused 1999 single, had become an anthem for the new millennium and was nominated for a Grammy. And she was about to make fashion history, thanks to a certain plunging Versace dress. In hindsight, given how long she’s been a multihyphenate, Lopez’s early ambidextrousness wasn’t one bit surprising. In fact, as she told Rolling Stone the following year, she felt like she hadn’t even started yet. “I’m looking forward to the ninth album, the 30th movie. I want to write more songs, tour, find the right roles, have my own family. That’s why I have so much energy. I know what lies ahead.”

Lopez brought the same resolve into acting, and her title performance in Selena served as the perfect jumping-off point into the pop-music sphere. Starting with the sultry, groovy single “If You Had My Love,” her debut, On the 6, also made Lopez — alongside Ricky Martin, Marc Anthony, and Enrique Iglesias — an important contributor to 1999’s Latin Explosion, which saw a substantial increase in the mainstream visibility of Latin music.

With everything she already accomplished, Lopez proved she could evolve artistically and do it well. But J.Lo represented the most significant turning point for Lopez yet, securing her status as an icon. Released on January 16, 2001, the same week The Wedding Planner opened in theaters at No. 1 at the box office, J.Lo debuted on the Billboard 200 at the very top spot. She was already a star; this — the only double No. 1 debut of its kind to date — made her intergalactic. With four singles, subsequent smash Murder Inc. remixes featuring Ja Rule, and a refreshed image that presented Lopez through a glamorous-yet-still-relatable lens, J.Lo became an influential catalyst that positioned its star  to define nearly every corner of Y2K pop culture.

The shift was imminent when J.Lo’s lead single, “Love Don’t Cost a Thing,” dropped in December 2000. Sparkling and bass-heavy, with empowered lyrics that dismissed lavish gifts as the glue holding Lopez’s love in place, it was more confident than anything she’d released before. The press speculated the song was a wink at Lopez’s high-profile relationship with Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, who also co-wrote and produced four tracks on J.Lo. The music video saw Lopez — draped in gold jewelry, a cream duster, and caramel-gradient sunglasses — tearing off her luxuries until she was just about bare on the beach. J.Lo, the nickname given to her by fans, had arrived.

As a producer and co-writer, Lopez had creative control over J.Lo and leaned into R&B and hip-hop. On the 6 did too, but J.Lo was distinctly shaped by the influences and yielded some impressive collaborators. Lopez breathlessly yearns for a lover on the Diddy-produced slow jam “Come Over.” “Play,” co-written by Christina Milian with the singer on background vocals, combines a funky groove with ’80s dance sensibilities. Hip-hop meets Latin pop over a subtle sample of the Sugar Hill Gang’s “8th Wonder” on “I’m Going to Be Alright,” while Mambo-inspired “Cariño” and “Si Ya Se Acabó,” with flutters of flamenco guitar, fully embrace Latin sounds — another formative influence on J.Lo.

Hip-hop played an even larger role on the album through Murder Inc. remixes, particularly with “I’m Real” featuring Ja Rule. The song was a standout in its original iteration (with its now-infamous sample of Yellow Magic Orchestra’s “Firecracker,” which Mariah Carey planned to use for “Loverboy”), but the remix — an entirely new track, written by Ja Rule with backup vocals from Ashanti and a melody sampled from “Mary Jane” by Rick James — was a spectacular hit, becoming a signature for Lopez and carving out a place in the cross-genre prism of featuring rap on a pop song.

The model gained massive traction through the decade with, for example, Carey’s “Fantasy” remix featuring Ol’ Dirty Bastard and Aaliyah’s “Are You That Somebody?” featuring Timbaland. But as “I’m Real” dominated the airwaves and received critical acclaim, Lopez’s duet with Ja Rule helped cement the lasting power of the pop/hip-hop composite. Over the next decade, everyone from Beyoncé (“Crazy in Love” featuring Jay-Z) and Usher (“Yeah!” featuring Lil Jon and Ludacris) to Justin Timberlake (“Like I Love You” featuring Clipse) tapped in. The success of “I’m Real” led to other J.Lo remixes, including “I’m Gonna Be Alright” with Nas and “Ain’t It Funny” with Ja Rule and Cadillac Tah. “It’s gonna put her in another zone,” Ja Rule told MTV at the time. “After this one, they gonna be expecting hot crossover R&B joints from J. Lo.”

Lopez kept them coming after J.Lo: “All I Have” featuring LL Cool J; “Jenny from the Block” featuring Jadakiss and Styles P; “Get Right” featuring Fabolous. With 2018’s “Dinero,” pairing her with DJ Khaled and Cardi B, and 2019’s “Medicine” featuring French Montana, Lopez continues to bridge pop and hip-hop today. She’s also still blazing genre-crossing trails, dipping pop into trap and reggaetón: “Te Guste,” a 2018 duet with Bad Bunny, was described as a “trap-pop gamechanger,” and her two-track collaboration with rising Colombian star Maluma, “Pa’Ti” and “Lonely,” appears on the soundtrack for the forthcoming romantic comedy, Marry Me.

While J.Lo was contributing to the trajectory of early 2000s music, Lopez herself was making her mark in fashion and beauty. After wearing the palm-print chiffon Versace dress to the 2000 Grammys — and inadvertently spurring the invention of Google image search — Lopez’s style quickly permeated into the era’s aesthetic. Athleisure, nude tones, fur-lined puffer jackets, hoop earrings, French-tip nails, and high-heeled Timberland boots proudly channeled her Nuyorican roots and fused them with Hollywood glamour. Lopez rocked the looks in her music videos, which now serve as chic time capsules, from the pink terrycloth shorts set in “I’m Real (Remix)” to the long fur coat and taupe bucket hat in “Play.”

Months after J.Lo was released, Lopez launched her clothing line: J.Lo by Jennifer Lopez reflected her own style and included sweatsuits, bedazzled tops, and denim. “The voluptuous woman is almost ignored,” Lopez said during a press conference. “I want to offer clothes that are wonderfully designed and will fit women of all sizes.” It’s hard to overstate how the visibility of Lopez’s body inspired a cultural shift. The ’90s, especially, were the era of “heroin chic,” an impossible standard of beauty that excluded anyone who wasn’t 5’10” and a size zero. With so much attention fixed to her natural curves, Lopez — repeatedly asked to lose weight early in her career (she refused) — undeniably contributed to the media’s more inclusive view of all body types. Her clothing line was a physical realization of that.

Lopez, of course, is now at the helm of a multimillion-dollar empire spanning film, television, music, fashion, and beauty. She is one of the most versatile, influential, and recognizable artists in the world, not only increasing Latin representation in the entertainment industry through the strides she took in the early 2000s but helping to redefine the entire media landscape along the way. She’s an icon — an important one. And J.Lo, with the reverberating impact it made, was a vital stepping stone in that path: Because of that album, those three letters are forever embedded in the vernacular of contemporary pop culture.

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