Because They Said So

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Vegans, like vegetarians do not consume meat, fish or poultry “but they also do not use other animal products and by-products such as eggs, dairy products, honey, leather, fur, silk, wool, cosmetics, and soaps derived from animal products.” Veganism has been around since the 1850’s. images (1)Back then, the reasons for going vegan were quite similar to some of the reasons why people are vegan today. Some vegans really want a healthy lifestyle and desire to give all living animals a better life. They choose not to eat animal by-products such as eggs or dairy because they don’t want to promote the meat industries and it’s all the same for why they don’t wear leather or cosmetics. Though veganism has been around for more than a century, it is still pop culture of today because the mediums of media are different.  It’s always in your face and the tastemakers of this time makes sure that all have an opportunity to choose a vegan lifestyle.

“Tastemakers can help keep culture vital by introducing the public to new ideas, music, programs, or products. But the ability to sway or influence the tastes of consumers can be worth millions of dollars. In the traditional media model, media companies set aside large advertising budgets to promote their most promising projects. Tastemakers are encouraged to buzz about “the next big thing.” -Jack Lule

                Is vegan at all what it was originally meant for anymore? That is my question. When I see that celebrities like Beyoncé and Ariana Grande have gone vegan or when I type “vegan” in Pinterest and see how many boards comes up, i’d say, no.  It’s been around for all of our lives, but this this generation is reshaping its purpose and it has now become the “cool” thing to do. With that, businesses have created many forms of non-vegan foods to appease vegan dieters making this diet doable as well as comfortable.

There are so many substitute foods for “old cravings” that a vegan dieter may have. Though tofu and soy products have been around for a while, businesses have added more “foods” to the list of products that a vegan can eat. There are Vegan substitute guides all over the internet giving guidelines to what one can eat when they are “feeling like a burger”.

Sweet Potatoes and coconut products have become a big hit within the vegan community and now there are vegan IMG3465 dairy products. Vegan cheeses are newest on the block. They are pretty expensive but come in many varieties. And if you cannot shower with Dove, soap is breaking your bank as well. Whole Foods is just one store that is vegan friendly. Imagine how many other businesses are gaining unimaginable profits because their vegan store says “YOU’RE A VEGAN, YOU HAVE TO BUY THIS!”

images (8)It goes without saying that celebrities have a huge influence on what their audience sees and emulates. Early this month, Beyoncé and her husband Jay-Z joined forces with the 22 Days Nutrition meal service. The couple tried the product for themselves before they sold the idea of their own Vegan campaign to their fans.  However, Beyoncé made her personal challenge public by posting her journey on Instagram. Even if the challenge hadn’t worked for her, her fans had already joined the movement, simply because she tried the product. 0c500b65_b.xxxlargeIn a short, written by MTV’s John Walker, Walker makes a very good point that I don’t think people think about when they jump on celebrity bandwagons. He states that “If you are what you eat and you’re eating “the Beyoncé diet,” then this meal plan’s big selling point is that you will effectively “become” Beyoncé by the end of it — and therein lies the problem.”

Young actress turned pop star is an example of this. There is a webpage that is dedicated to Look and Act Like Ariana Grande. On this page you will find out how to get her skin, style sense, and eating habits. In 2013 Ariana Grande went 100% vegan. A vegan YouTuber was ecstatic about Ariana’s decision to go vegan and states that “she has such a huge following that she has so much potential to change an entire generation”. 

While this is true, it may also be dangerous. I think the idea of Vegan eating (clean eating) is a great thing but just because its right, doesn’t mean that it’s right for everybody. Celebrity trainer and founder of Twenty Two Training, Dalton Wong stated to Telegraph.co.uk that “Every year there is some eating fad that we all get behind. Last year we had the 5:2, the year before we had the alkaline diet, and the year before that gluten free. Veganism is now cool, but if you don’t do it properly, it’s really not that healthy,” As pop culture consumers, we hear all of the glorious things about movements, products and results that make us want to jump on the bandwagon. However, doing so leaves a ton of room for ignorance, accidents and destruction. Some will do it right. Some will seek a doctor to gain knowledge about themselves and how becoming a vegan would be beneficial for them. They will figure out why they want to switch lifestyles and how to appropriately do so. While others will spend a lot of money trying to eat like Beyoncé and who knows, may turn out worse than if than had they not tried it. I’m amazed how many people will follow a single person in a serious life change JUST because they’re famous. The future of Veganism is bright. Businesses make loads money, some people lose weight and become healthier, and some try and fail. The rest of us eat animals, animal by-products, honey and everything dairy. We wear, fur, silk, wool, and cosmetics and we enjoy life.

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Gladiators For A Night

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Scandal is one of the reasons that we now have a “Thank God It’s Thursday” slogan and hash tag #TGIT. It’s the reason many flock to their television sets at 9/8c every Thursday night. The show lives up to its name. There is never a comfortable moment and when you think there is, you’ve become too lax and then Shonda Rhimes, the creator, has shocked you again.  It’s a show that follows the life and interactions of Olivia Pope, the Mrs. Fix It of our time & the creator of Olivia Pope and Associates (OPA). Mrs. Pope and her team also known as Gladiators manage crisis of the political world in Washington D.C. and they do a pretty good job at it.

 Having worked really closely with the President and those in the White House before OPA, Olivia Pope knows a lot of people and a lot of things but for the people and things that she doesn’t know, she gathers information from her Gladiators Quinn, Huck, Abby & Harrison (RIP). These are some of her first “fixes” and so they have devoted their lives to doing the same; being Gladiator fixers. That’s Olivia’s main gig. c34b3f2e7ae63461159a8a1706fe86a3Her side secrets hence, the Scandal involves some pretty important people such as her lover, President of the Free World, Fitzgerald Grant, his wife, First Lady Mellie Grant and some frienemies she’s made along the way; Cyrus Bean and David Rosen. And as if her life couldn’t get more scandalous, her Father, Rowan Pope, Eli Pope or as we know him, Command, led Olivia to believe that he worked at the Smithsonian all her life but was really the Commanding Officer of the CIA’s B6-13. But WAIT, there’s more!

d2db0396bf42593b9b3dfa9cbddb6cf6Now in season 4 everyone knows that her father was Commander of PLENTY, including her mother, Maya Lewis who we all believed died when Olivia was 12 but was kept imprisoned by her husband because she’s a threat to the C.I.A, Huck, a Gladiator, and Olivia’s other lover, and my favorite character, Jake Ballard, a man once trusted by President Grant and once Command of B6-13.

“Pop culture and American media are inextricably linked—it’s no coincidence that Jenny Lind, the Beatles, and American Idol were each promoted using a then-new technology—photography for Lind; television for the Beatles; the Internet and text messaging for American Idol. For as long as mass media have existed in the United States, they have helped to create and fuel mass crazes, skyrocketing celebrities, and pop culture manias of all kinds. Whether through newspaper advertisements, live television broadcasts, or integrated Internet marketing, media industry “tastemakers” help to shape what we care about. “

Many acclaim Scandal’s popularity to social media and I agree. The show is kind of wonderful and so is the cast. Each week some, if not all of the cast members of Scandal live tweet with the rest of their audience. They enjoy watching as we watch as well as interacting with us. Kerry Washington, who plays Olivia Pope never misses a Thursday and neither do her fans. Scott Kleinberg, Social Media Editor for the Chicago Tribune told thegrio.com, “It’s a connected community. “Though there are so many people tweeting, never does it feel like the tweets are scattered. They all seem connected by fans – it’s like a giant party. The show is exciting in its own right with a storyline that continues from week to week. So in between episodes, these tweeting fans are building excitement toward next week. The social portion never really stops.”

Along with social media, viewers also love that the cast have become regulars on the Jimmy Kimmel show who not only loves Scandal but flipped the switch on how they can view Scandal with his mini-series Escandalo.

 Jimmy Kimmel has given Scandal fans a new way to relate to the cast. With him, they share secrets, they’re personable and fun and because of this, fans feel like they know them and that totally makes them want to watch whatever work they’re involved in.

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Though everyone is not supportive of this, the show is also pro twenty-first century! Olivia is a black woman, in charge and taking care of business every week. And because every character seems to hold some form of power, every culture presented on the show is powerful. Her handsome lovers are white; interracial love/lust in all its beauty. Cyrus bean was married to James Novak, who was sadly murdered by Jake Ballard, cough, (RIP James) and they adopted a black baby girl. There isn’t a reoccurring scenario for EVERY desire but everyone wins.

It may come as a surprise to you but Scandal is LOOSELY based on real life people; President George Bush Senior & his special assistant Judy Smith. No, the two were no Clinton-Lewinsky but Smith did work for the President and has her own crisis firm. I’m not sure how long Scandal is scheduled to air but Shonda Rhimes, who also created Grey’s Anatomy, has proven to be a brilliant writer.  Grey’s Anatomy is on its 11th season and its 10th year and the fans still get hypertension when talking about it. Judy Smith has many stories and as long as she and Mr. Bush continue to be Shonda’s muse, I don’t think Scandal will have a problem.  Despite all of the obvious “thou shalt nots” behind Scandal, download (2)people enjoy losing themselves in a world that they may never live in and that is exciting and needed for viewers. Scandal is a show given to us by Shonda Rhimes who apparently can fix anything. Her main character fixes lives for a living, she fixes the dread of our almost Friday with an evening at Shondaland, an emotional television journey of pure
excitement and shock and if nothing else proves it, Columbus Short’s personal life took a few turns for the worst,  Gladiator, Harrison Wright dies and the show didn’t skip a beat. I wish I could give a better prediction of where I think Scandal is going.  The show seems to be moving into very unexpected territory but the fans will always watch and it will be epic!

BELLAMY YOUNG, DARBY STANCHFIELD, JEFF PERRY, TONY GOLDWYN, KERRY WASHINGTON, SCOTT FOLEY, JOSHUA MALINA, GUILLERMO DIAZ, KATIE LOWES