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Ariana Grande Unfollows Starbucks and Promotes Black-Owned Coffee Shops

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  • Ariana Grande unfollowed Starbucks on social media after learning of its policy prohibiting workers from wearing Black Lives Matter apparel, a policy it later walked back on.
  • The star has instead shifted her support behind several Black-owned coffee shops in Los Angeles, like Nimbus Coffee, Undergrind Cafe, and South LA Cafe.
  • She posted Instagram Stories of her drinks to her 191 million followers, and South LA Cafe said it prompted them to receive a flood of love from her fans.
  • The shop called it, “an example of people with influence and privilege using it to forward the movement.”

Ariana Grande Unfollows Starbucks 

The murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor have prompted people all across the country to fight harder against racial injustice and support the Black community. Part of that includes demanding that major businesses and public figures do more with their enormous power.

Now, many are praising Ariana Grande for being one of the biggest stars to user her platform for good. After Starbucks came under intense scrutiny for invoking a policy that prohibited workers from wearing Black Lives Matter apparel (a policy it later walked back on), the singer cut ties with the coffee chain by unfollowing it on social media. 

Fans saw that as a huge move considering Grande worked with Starbucks last year to create a custom drink: the Cloud Macchiato. 

Grande Supports Black-Owned Businesses 

After apparently pulling her support, Grande began purchasing drinks from black-owned businesses in Los Angeles instead. Earlier this week, she posted a drink of her Instagram story from Nimbus Coffee, a Harry Potter-inspired cafe. Another story post featured a beverage from Undergrind Cafe

Reports also surfaced claiming Grande even offered financial support to Heather Sanders’ business, Sorella, after it was damaged during protests. 

But on Wednesday, the full scope of what her support meant to these shops was made clear when South LA Cafe showed kind messages they received after Grande promoted the shop to her 191 million followers.

“Did y’all know that @arianagrande stands with the Movement for Black Lives and Black-Owned businesses like @southlacafe? We’ve been fortunate to win her over from Starbucks this past week, as well as her incredible #arianators,” the post reads.

The post also included screenshots of heartwarming messages from Arianators in places like the Netherlands and Uruguay.  

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Did y’all know that @arianagrande stands with the Movement for Black Lives and Black-Owned businesses like @southlacafe? We’ve been fortunate to win her over from Starbucks this past week, as well as her incredible #arianators. (Click the first pic) They showed up in full force for today’s live of the South LA Grocery Giveaway, sending big love for our mission. This is an example of people with influence and privilege using it to forward the movement. We welcome the support and are grateful to be recognized for our impact and community leadership. 🖤 . What a day! Whew! We’re about to unwind, celebrate, and sip on a margarita! 150 folks fed in the grocery giveaway in 29 minutes! One for the record books. If you aren’t up to speed check out all of our posts from today. We’re about to rest up and get ready for another big day tomorrow! Nite. Nite. . . . #southlacafe #southlamarket #southlagrocerygiveaway #arianagrande #arianators

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South LA Coffee, founded by Celia and Joe Ward-Wallace, focuses on creating “a community space to take pride in the history, legacy, and future of the South Central Community.”

Part of their most recent community efforts included giving out free food during coronavirus lockdowns. On Wednesday, the shop prepared 150 bags of groceries to hand out, and in their Instagram post about Ariana and her fans, they wrote, “They showed up in full force for today’s live of the South LA Grocery Giveaway, sending big love for our mission.”

This is an example of people with influence and privilege using it to forward the movement. We welcome the support and are grateful to be recognized for our impact and community leadership.

According to the post, all 150 bags of groceries were picked up in a record 29 minutes, and they plan to do it all again next week.  

In a separate post, the shop thanked all its volunteers, as well as “the super supportive @arianagrande fans who sent us love and support of the Movement for Black Lives in the comments the whole time!”

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It’s a wrap! 150 grocery bags from @southlacafe and @southlamarket which took two days to prepare were gone in 29 minutes flat! THANK YOU to the amazing army of volunteers led by @_miss_destinee, @elijahrashad__, @sssarahford, and @benjimarx, the sponsorship of @immanuelpresla, @cedarssinai & @oatly, and the super supportive @arianagrande fans who sent us love and support of the Movement for Black Lives in the comments the whole time! We will be at it again next Wednesday at 3, line starts at 2, hope we can serve you then. Have a beautiful & blessed day, we are so grateful for your support! 🖤🖤🖤🖤 . If you are inspired by this and want to support our mission, please consider becoming a $10 monthly member or sponsor a $35 South LA Grocery Box for a neighbor in need. You can do both at our website: www.southlacafe.com. . . . #southlacafe #southlamarket #feedingourpeople #fightingfooddeserts

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Fans are happy with Grande for swapping out Starbucks for these Black-owned shops, but that isn’t all she’s done. The music icon has also been very vocal about the Black Lives Matter movement online and was spotted at a protest herself. 

Because Grande is so massively loved, it’s unquestionable that her actions will inspire at least some of her fans to follow her lead in support of the Black Community. 

See what others are saying: (Daily Dot) (Insider) (CapitalFM) 

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Major Chinese Company on Verge of Collapse Could Create Economic Trouble in U.S. 

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The company, Evergrande, accumulated $305 billion in debt through a business model that some have deemed “the biggest pyramid scheme [in] the world.”


Evergrande Can’t Pay Back Loans

The Chinese real estate company Evergrande, the second-largest property developer in the country, will likely be unable to meet interest payments on $84 million in offshore bonds due this week.

That amount almost seems like chump change compared to the whopping $305 billion in debt it managed to accrue since its founding in 1996, but if Evergrande defaults on its payments and collapses, it could send shockwaves through Chinese markets and economies abroad.

At its height, Evergrande was a Fortune 500 company. In addition to real estate, it also owns a theme park, a line of electric cars, a mineral extraction group, and a soccer team; however, it has struggled to maintain its real estate business model over the last several years due to government crackdowns on how much companies can take out in loans.

Evergrande Struggling to Pay Its Debts

In the 2000s, Evergrande aggressively borrowed money from banks and other lenders to buy land from local governments that were eager to sell. As the value of land rose, it kept borrowing, ultimately driving up the price of land even more. Because of that, many discredited Evergrande’s business model as “the biggest pyramid scheme the world has yet seen.”

For years, the model did not stir up any major challenges from Chinese regulators, but in 2018, President Xi Jinping began emphasizing “financial risk” as a problem that the government needed to address. Two years later, regulators imposed a system known as “three red lines,” which was meant to curb unregulated borrowing.

Under the system, the more a company owes, the less it is allowed to borrow. Notably, Evergrande crossed all three of the “red lines,” so regulators barred it from borrowing any more money.

But Evergrande would need to generate some form of income if it wanted to stay afloat. Because of that, it pre-sold more than 1.4 million apartments it hadn’t yet finished building. In other words, Evergrande stopped borrowing from official lenders and essentially started borrowing from everyday homeowners, asking them to pay major deposits before their homes were completed. Perhaps unsurprisingly, some people have now waited years for their homes to be ready.

At one point, Evergrande even became so strapped for cash that it forced its own employees into a corner, telling them to provide the company with a short-term loan or lose their bonuses. That, in turn, led to some employees needing to take out loans through banks. 

Similar to its inability to pay back banks, earlier this month, it stopped paying back the loans from its employees. 

Amid Evergrande’s uncertainty, the company’s stock value has steadily fallen over the past year from around $4 last September to just 30 cents Tuesday. 

Will This Lead to a Global Market Crisis?

There is currently no market crisis or collapse, only concerns that one could come. 

While Evergrande’s inability to repay its lenders is unsettling enough for homeowners and the company’s employees, the effects of an Evergrande default could be much more far-reaching. 

For one, if Evergrande defaults, banks and other firms will potentially be forced to lend less given the fact that the company owes large sums of money to around 300 institutions. If that happens, it could lead to a credit crunch, meaning companies would struggle to be able to borrow money at affordable rates. Some might be forced to close up shop for good. 

On top of that, the property values of existing homes in China would likely diminish. Since homes are such a valuable asset, that would likely lead to a decrease in consumer spending.

With those two effects combined, other countries would almost undoubtedly feel the financial shock. On Monday, upon the continued news that Evergrande likely can’t pay lenders, the U.S.-based Dow Jones fell 900 points. While it has recovered somewhat, other major U.S. indices like the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ saw similar pullbacks.

Many have asked if China is about to face a “Lehman Brothers moment,” a reference to the events that caused the disastrous 2008 recession. For now, the answer is uncertain, but many analysts expect it won’t.

That’s because while a full-scale crisis isn’t off the table, many believe the Chinese government will step in to bail out Evergrande, which some have called “too big to fail.”

“Rather than risk disrupting supply chains and enraging homeowners, we think the government will probably find a way to ensure Evergrande’s core business survives,” Mattie Bekink, of the Economist Intelligence Unit, told the BBC.

Still, nothing is certain. It’s possible China could refuse to bail out Evergrande to avoid what could be seen as it setting a bad precedent as it tries to rein in corporate debt. 

Chinese markets were closed Tuesday, but they will reopen Wednesday. No doubt, analysts will closely study how investors in the country react and whether or not that reaction could give the public a better idea about how the government might respond. 

See what others are saying: (BBC) (The Washington Post) (Axios)

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Philadelphia Will Pay $2M to Black Woman Beaten by Officers Whose Child Was Used in a Pro-Police Social Media Post

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The post from the National Fraternal Order of Police claimed officers found the toddler “lost” and “barefoot,” but the mother’s lawyers said police ripped the child from her vehicle during an unjust stop and caused him to lose his hearing aids. 


$2 Million Settlement

The city of Philadelphia has agreed to pay a $2 million settlement to 29-year-old Rickia Young, a Black woman who was pulled from her car and beaten by police officers last year while trying to navigate through protests spurred by the police killing of Walter Wallace Jr. 

Along with the settlement, both an officer and a sergeant have been fired in connection to their treatment of Young that night. Another 14 members of the Philadelphia Police Department are awaiting disciplinary hearings that stem from an internal investigation into the incident. 

The terminations and investigations have not satisfied Kevin Mincey, one of Young’s attorneys. He’s currently calling on District Attorney Lawrence Krasner to file criminal charges against those officers, saying, “If any citizen did something like this, there would be no question they will be charged with aggravated assault as a felony.”

As of Thursday morning, Kranser has not said whether he plans to pursue such charges. 

Police Beating of Rickia Young 

On Oct. 27, 2020, Young said she drove into West Philly to pick up her 16-year-old nephew because he lived near the epicenter of the protests that were happening that night.

On her way back home, she reportedly came across a group of protesters blocking the street while engaging in a standoff with police. The police allegedly ordered her to turn her car around, and according to her attorneys, she complied but paused at one point to avoid hitting protesters running past her car.

From there, Young’s attorneys claimed police surrounded her vehicle. They then allegedly broke her windows with batons before pulling her and her nephew out of the vehicle. According to multiple outlets, the officers began beating her, leaving her with swelling on her face and body, as well as a swollen trachea. A video of this incident later went viral online.

For hours, Young was separated from her toddler, who was removed from the car by police and lost his hearing aids at some point during the night, according to her attorneys. Even after getting her son back, for days, she was without her car. 

Ultimately, neither young nor her nephew were cited. 

Pro-Police Post Involving Young’s Son

Two days after the incident, the National Fraternal Order of Police, the country’s largest police labor union, posted an image to Facebook showing an officer holding a young, Black child.

“This child was lost during the violent riots in Philadelphia, wandering around barefoot in an area that was experiencing complete lawlessness,” The caption read. “The only thing this Philadelphia Police Officer cared about in that moment was protecting this child.”

“We are not your enemy. We are the Thin Blue Line. And WE ARE the only thing standing between Order and Anarchy.”

While claiming that she had been abused by police, Young would also go on to claim the “lost” child in the photo was that of her son.

“They’re attempting to erase what happened — police brutality — and turn it instead into police saviorism,” Riley Ross, one of Young’s attorneys said. “It’s another deep wound that they cut.”

After being informed of the background behind the photo, the National Fraternal Order of Police deleted the post with Young’s child.

Still, as Philly council member Isaiah Thomas asked in February, “Who knows how many people there are who’ve seen that original image, but never actually understood that parent was not involved in some type of looting situation as it was displayed unfortunately on social media?”

See what others are saying: (Philadelphia Inquirer) (USA Today) (ABC News)

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TikTok Works To Block “Devious Lick” Trend That Has Kids Stealing School Equipment

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Some schools have even threatened to pursue charges against those stealing or destroying school property.


What Is a Devious Lick?

TikTok is taking action against a new trend on the platform that involves users showing off what they consider impressive thefts they’ve pulled off, often at their own schools.

Users on the app refer to these thefts as “devious licks,” and some standout examples include kids stealing school projectors, street signs, microscopes, fire alarms, and pretty much anything you can imagine.

A lot of students also seem to particularly enjoy targeting school bathrooms, stealing paper towels or soap dispensers and even entire toilets or sinks, sometimes leaving bathrooms totally unusable.

Schools Respond

School officials across the country are obviously unhappy with this trend since it’s leaving their schools destroyed and low on equipment that is expensive to repair or replace.

In fact, many have issued warnings calling for the behavior to stop. Along with threats of suspension, some schools have said they will make families pay for the cost of the damage their child creates. Others even said they would get law enforcement involved.

For instance, Aubrey Chancellor, executive director of communications at North East Independent School District in San Antonio Texas, told Fox News, “It’s important for students to understand what they see on social media is not always a good idea in reality.”

“The students involved face disciplinary action and are expected to pay restitution as well. If possible, charges may be filed as well.”

With the trend generating widespread concerns, TikTok issued a statement Wednesday saying, “We are removing this content and redirecting hashtags and search results to our Community Guidelines to discourage such behavior.”

See what others are saying: (NBC News)(Desert News)(Gizmodo)

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