CULTURE

Bella Hadid Shows Solidarity With the Poor By Wearing Wired Earbuds

The model recently made a statement by—gasp—not wearing AirPods.

In late 2016, Apple released what are arguably their most divisive product to date: the AirPods.

Priced at $159 and stored in a carrying case smaller than an Altoids tin, the AirPods quickly became synonymous with dispensable wealth. They're so precariously miniscule that by purchasing them, the wearer signifies that they could not only afford to buy them, but they could afford to lose them, too. Still, AirPods are an unavoidable accessory, sported by many on New York subway trains, by Wall Street bros and artsy Bushwick folk alike.


But it seems the AirPod craze might be simmering down. Around-the-neck straps have been popping up recently, defeating the entire purpose of such discreet earbuds. And to stir the pot even more, Apple recently unveiled the AirPod Pro, complete with noise-cancellation, an in-ear design, and—gulp—$250 price tag, much to the chagrin of consumers.

There's good news for the anti-AirPod crowd, however. Bella Hadid, whose net worth is reportedly around $25 million, was recently spotted out and about donning a pair of good old-fashioned wired earbuds. We're talking the kind that come with your new iPhone, or can be purchased separately for a humble $29.99.

Hadid has worn AirPods before—many times, in fact—but there is something very charming about her taking a walk on the wired side. Her look in these photos is plucked straight from the early 2000s, from her headphones of choice to her oversized suit, combat boots, and tinted blue shades. In a world where "stop being poor" has essentially become many government officials' solution to class warfare, Hadid's earbuds prove she stands in solidarity with those of us who aren't worth millions.

Or, maybe she just lost her AirPods that day.

Culture Feature

Drew Brees Exemplifies How NOT to Be a White Ally

The quarterback said "I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country." And then he tried to apologize. And only made it worse.

Drew Brees, a man who makes literally millions of dollars for throwing a ball, has come under fire for insensitive comments he made about NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem to protest police brutality.

"I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country," Brees said in the interview with Yahoo Finance. He clarified that this was in part because he envisioned his grandfathers, who fought in World War II, during the National Anthem. He continued, saying, "And is everything right with our country right now? No. It's not. We still have a long way to go. But I think what you do by standing there and showing respect to the flag with your hand over your heart, is it shows unity. It shows that we are all in this together. We can all do better. And that we are all part of the solution."

This isn't the first time Brees made it clear that he cares more for the idea of a make-believe unified America than he does for actual human lives. In 2016, he criticized Colin Kaepernick for kneeling during the anthem, saying it was "disrespectful to the American flag" and "an oxymoron" because the flag gave critics the right to speak out in the first place.


Colin Kaepernick Kneeling Colin Kaepernick kneeling in protest of racist police brutality


Of course, the flag's alleged ideals have been proven to only be applicable to wealthy, white men—men like Brees. Sure, his grandfathers did a noble thing when they fought under the US flag during WWII, and no one, including Kaepernick, has ever said that sacrifice isn't worth respecting. Thanks to the sacrifices of many people (including the enslaved Black backs upon which this country was built, including the scores of routinely abused Black soldiers who fought for American lives), America has offered opportunity and peace for many, many people. In particular, Ole' Glory has been very kind to men like Brees: rich, white men who still control the majority of the power and the wealth in the United States.

But what about the rest of us, Drew? What about George Floyd whose neck was crushed by a police officer who kneeled on him so casually that he didn't even take his hand out of his pocket? What about Ahmaud Arbery, who was shot for the crime of being Black and going for a jog? What about Breonna Taylor, a black woman who was murdered by police in her home in the middle of the night for a crime that had nothing to do with her? What about Tony McDade, Drew–have you heard his name? Have you heard about the 38-year-old Black trans man who was gunned down in Florida last week? Do you understand why these people's family's may harbor just a bit of disrespect for your precious flag?

Is it possible for you to realize, Drew, that your wish for "unity" is not a wish for progress, but a wish to maintain the status quo? When you call for unity under the American flag, you're talking about your flag, the flag that represents a long, sordid history of racial oppression and violence. There is no unity where there is no justice. When you say that "we are all in this together," what you're saying is that we all have roles to play in the version of society that has served you so well. For your part, you'll be a rich, white man, and for Black people's part, they'll continue to be victims of state-sanctioned murders– but hopefully more quietly, hopefully in a manner that doesn't make you uncomfortable?

When you say, "We can all do better. And that we are all part of the solution," what you mean to say is that POC and their allies are at fault. Sure, you probably agree that Derek Chauvin took it a bit too far, and you probably feel a little self-conscious that he's brought all this "Black rights" stuff up again. But when you say "all," you place blame on the victims who are dying under a broken system. And what, exactly, do you expect POC to do differently, Drew? Ahmaud Arbery was just out jogging, and still he died. George Floyd was just trying to pay a cashier, and still he died. POC and their allies try to peacefully protest by marching in the streets or taking a knee at a football game, and still white people condemn and criticize. Still the police shoot.

After much criticism, Brees did attempt an apology on Instagram, where he posted a hilariously corny stock photo of a Black and white hand clasped together. His caption, though possibly well-intentioned, made it even clearer that his understanding of the movement for Black lives is thoroughly lacking.


Highlights of the "apology" include his immediate attempt to exonerate himself from culpability, claiming that his words were misconstrued, saying of his previous statement: "Those words have become divisive and hurtful and have misled people into believing that somehow I am an enemy. This could not be further from the truth, and is not an accurate reflection of my heart or my character." Unfortunately, Drew, white people like you are the "enemy," as you put it, because by default you are at the very least part of the problem. No one is accusing you of being an overt racist, Drew; no one thinks you actively and consciously detest Black people. But your lack of empathy, your apathy, and your unwillingness to unlearn your own biases are precisely what has persisted in the hearts and minds of well-meaning white Americans for centuries.

Next, you say, "I recognize that I am part of the solution and can be a leader for the Black community in this movement." No, Drew. Just no. Black people don't need white people's savior complexes to interfere in their organizing; what they need is for us to shut up and listen. What they need is for us to get our knees off of their necks.

Finally, you say, "I have ALWAYS been an ally, never an enemy." This, Drew, is suspiciously similar to saying, "But I'm one of the good whites!" The fact of the matter is that feeling the need to prove your allyship is not about helping a movement; it's about feeding your own ego. Not only that, but your emphasis on "ALWAYS" does a pretty good job of making it clear that you don't think you have a racist bone in your body and that you have taken great offense at any accusations to the contrary. I have some news for you, Drew: Every white person is racist. Sure, the levels vary, and while you may not be actively and consciously discriminating against POC, you have been brought up in a racist system, and your implicit biases are as strong as any other white person's. Your job now is to unlearn those biases and confront those subtle prejudices in yourself and in other white people. Maybe the first step in doing so is just shutting your f*cking mouth about kneeling at football games. Maybe you should even consider taking a knee yourself.

For other non-BIPOC trying to be better allies, check out one of these 68+ anti-racism resources.

The Fader

Everyone knows that it's a good and positive thing to find positivity and goodness in the world.

But not everyone is a visionary, once-in-a-generation genius capable of producing groundbreaking music, religious revival, and weird-looking shoes. If we were, then we would have come up with the party game—or "bored" game, as West punned—that Kanye and family showcased on this weekend's episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians. The good news is, you don't have to be Kanye West, or even to know Kanye West, to play this game with your own loved ones.

The rules are simple. Keep your pockets stuffed with pocket dictionaries so that, when the mood strikes, you can produce and distribute said dictionaries to everyone who wants to play. The only other equipment you need to play is a heart full of love and a highlighter. Pick a page in the dictionary and have everyone flip to that page together. Now take a minute to go through that page in silence, everyone highlighting the words they think are "positive." Once everyone is done highlighting, it's time to convene and discuss your results with the group.

This is where the magic happens. Did everyone highlight "precious," but only one person highlighted "precarious?" Why did they do that? Do they not know how the game works, or do they not know what that word means? If they don't know what that word means, why didn't they just read the definition? More importantly, who the hell highlighted MAGA? There are no wrong answers, but they need to explain why they think something that no one agrees with.

As Kanye says, "This always sparks these kinds of conversations." "These kind of conversations" being disagreements about whether "barter" is technically positive, since it "could also introduce so many negative things," and an insistent request for an explanation of why Kim highlighted "basic"—"You're not wrong or right, I just want to know why."

Thrilling. This is not the first time Kanye has espoused the wonders of reading the dictionary. Apparently he uses this exercise to assist in the song-writing process for his Sunday services. And now that you know how to play at home, you and the people you love can unlock your own religious muses by debating the emotional value of words such as "tedious," "hector," and "discord."

My only issue with the game as demonstrated is the fact that not even one member of the group highlighted "barrel." Do they have any idea how useful barrels have been to human civilization?! Do they hate beer, and wine, and oil, and basically the entire history of seafaring? Don't they know the philosophical teachings of Diogenes the Cynic? Do they have some kind of issue with the cooper community? Or maybe they're just a bunch of morons who wouldn't know true positivity if it bit them on the ass!

diogenes in a barrel Pictured: Me in my room

I don't even want to play this game anymore! Not with that bunch of jerks! I'm going to my room!