Strippers Are Doing It for Themselves

Around 10 most nights, Nikeisah Newton hops into her car for a 10-minute drive into downtown Portland, Ore., so that she can deliver healthy meals that include ingredients like massaged kale to strippers working the evening shift. “One of the best forms of activism is feeding people,” Ms. Newton said. Her company is called Meals 4 Six Inch Heels, and it’s intended to support a community that she feels has been shunned and taken advantage of for too long.

Ms. Newton, whose ex-girlfriend is a former stripper, has joined a wave of dancers and their allies across the nation who are fighting to reform labor practices; put an end to sexual harassment and discrimination in their workplaces; and stifle the stigma around what they believe is as legitimate a profession as any.

Members of this movement are sharing their experiences with the public through podcasts, books and visual arts; using technology to spread information about their industry; and protesting injustices in the streets. They are also finding ways to care for each other, with meal-delivery services, yoga classes, book clubs, clothing lines with slogans of solidarity, financial planning lessons and comedy workshops.

When you use the word “platform” now in the stripping community, it’s as likely to refer to social media as shoes. At V-Live in Los Angeles, guests are encouraged to use their phones to take videos and photos of the dancers. On a recent evening, a photographer circled the dancers, taking images that they could later buy to use on their Instagram accounts.

The water-cooler conversations in the 1980s and ’90s, with the mainstream movies “Flashdance,” “Showgirls” and “Striptease,” may be coming back, as strippers return to the big screen in September with “Hustlers,” about dancers who steal money from their rich customers.

The film features the celebrities Jennifer Lopez, Lizzo and Constance Wu. Cardi B, a megastar, takes pride in and has spoken positively about her experiences with stripping. Beyoncé’s best-selling album, “Lemonade,” has a song called “6 Inch” about working as a stripper. Magic City and other clubs in Atlanta are well known among hip-hop fans as places where musicians test out new songs.

And across America, the face of stripping, and its audience, is changing. No longer the domain solely of finance bros and the like unwinding after hours, strip clubs these days are also frequented by couples and friends.

“Our audiences in the last 10 years, specific to my home club, have become more diverse, younger, more gender broad,” said Elle Stanger, 32, who has worked as a stripper for a decade and lives in Portland. “It’s not just middle-aged white men anymore.”

Drake Deserves Nod For Album of the Year

“Nothing Was The Same” is by far the best rap/R&B album of 2013- a bold statement with several big names dropping records in 2013. Drake raps and sings over tremendous beats and offers lyrics much deeper and personal than recent releases by kingpins Jay-Z and Kanye West. “Hold On, We’re Going Home” and “Started From The Bottom” show the two sides of Drake: a singer with talent to top R&B charts, and a rapper with the charisma and energy to dominate the club scene.

The album boasts great songs on both sides of the spectrum and truly can be enjoyed from start to finish. Drake displays his conversational style rapping and as we have grown accustomed to, he questions the pleasures of fame while also enjoying the limelight. The album truly sounds like a Greatest Hits compilation and should earn some recognition as the best of 2013.

Win, Fail, or Racist?

More than 111 million people tuned into the 2012 Super Bowl, the most-watched program in television history. Sunday night could be another record-breaker.

The commercials that air during the game are becoming a large part of the Super Bowl experience and companies will pay top dollar to be included. CBS sold out its ad inventory for Super Bowl XLVII at prices averaging between $3.7 million and $3.8 million for each spot, according to Ad Age.

The commercials will make some people laugh, some people cry and infuriate others.

Take a look at the commercials listed and tell us if you think they’re a win, a big fail or racist.

Read it at Colorlines.

PACKER SHOES X ADIDAS TOP TEN 2000 “2WO 1NE”

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Iman Shumpert unveiled this wildly bright colorway of the adidas Top Ten 2000 last season before going down with an injury against the Miami Heat. While adidas might be campaigning #thereturn with Derrick Rose, Knicks fans are anticipating a return of their future All-Star anytime now as well. Meanwhile, Shumpert’s bright orange retros will help fans celebrate his return to the hardwood. Releasing at 21:21 on January 21 is the “2WO 1NE” (Iman’s jersey number) edition of the adidas Top Ten 2000. These special edition adidas are limited to just 500 pairs worldwide and individually numbered. They will retail for $140 and be available at Packer Shoes.

DWYANE WADE AND CHRIS BOSH TALK ART AND BASKETBALL AT ART BASEL IN MIAMI

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Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh tagteam off the court to host the “Art of Basketball” exhibit in Miami. The NBA stars spoke on expressing oneself through art and giving the neighborhood a chance to flaunt their passions. “Teaming up with Chris Bosh, we’re giving the kids and the community the opportunity to showcase their talents,” says D. Wade. “At one point in our lives, we all thought we were artists. We all feel we’re artists in our way, and it’s great to express yourself.” Local artists framed their best basketball-inspired portraits and street art, even incorporating basketball rubber provided by Spalding into their work, at the annual Art Basel festivities. Catch their interview with VIBE on the red carpet below.

http://www.vibe.com/article/dwyane-wade-and-chris-bosh-talk-art-and-basketball-art-basel-miami