i-Dhttps://i-d.vice.com/en_usRSS feed for https://i-d.vice.comenTue, 11 Dec 2018 19:01:05 +0000<![CDATA[what's it like being an openly gay k-pop artist?]]>https://i-d.vice.com/en_us/article/59vk8d/whats-it-like-being-an-openly-gay-k-pop-artistTue, 11 Dec 2018 19:01:05 +0000At this point, everyone’s aware of the reach and power of K-pop around the world. BTS, Twice, Exo, and NCT have all been popping up on end of year lists. BTS even won Time’s online poll for person of the year. But what’s it like being an indie K-pop artist in South Korea?

Go Tae-seob, aka Holland, has done everything himself since he started his career. Without the support, or training, of one of the country’s huge entertainment companies, it’s hard to achieve the kind of success enjoyed by other artists. He knew, however, that this was his only choice — Holland is openly gay. In an ultra-conservative society, not only being gay, but actually singing about it, is an incredibly audacious and disobedient act, and meant that none of the big record labels would pick him up.

What Holland didn’t expect, however, was that a generation of young South Koreans would be open to his message of self-love and acceptance. “I don't get hurt anymore,” he tells i-D, when talking about how he deals with the toxic and homophobic comments he gets online. “It's true. Because I have my loving fans.”

i-D spoke with Holland about self-care, his advice for living authentically, and what 2019’s going to look like.

holland kpop

Do you think you are opening the way for more LGBTQ+ Korean artists?
Not yet. I think I have to be more famous and do a lot of work as an artist. I'll work harder so that I can answer 'yes' to this question, so please support me.

What advice would you give to the people that are afraid, to be honest about who they are?
I always tell my fans, "don't doubt yourself, love yourself." To be confident, you have to care yourself and love yourself. You're perfect. Never doubt it.

Who do you admire right now?
Me. I want to know me better and become a better person. I'm maturing as I work by myself. I'm really proud of myself. Am I too bold-faced? Lol.

What music are you listening to?
Obviously K-pop, because I'm a part of the industry. I monitor other artists' new works every day. Otherwise I started listening to carols. Christmas is coming!

How do you deal with online toxic comments?
I don't get hurt anymore. It's true. Because I have my loving fans. But sometimes I leave a nice comment on my news pretending that I'm one of my fans.

What's the best thing that happened to you in 2018?
My debut, getting lots of fans who support me, and the fact that I am making a great album with their support. Isn't it wonderful?

Describe your perfect day in Seoul… what places would you visit?
It's a really hard question. Seoul is huge city. I would recommend Hongdae, Itaewon, Gangnam, since these places are very cultural. If you go around Gwanghwamun, you can see the traditional side of Seoul. It's wonderful. Just grab your beloved's hand and wander around. It would be super romantic. Even though I'm not as amazed, since I live here.

What are your biggest plans for 2019?
I will make a super cool comeback in early 2019. The world tour is scheduled, too! Are you looking forward to it? I love you!

Credits


Photography Esteban Vargas Roa
Styling Alina Castro

Hair & Makeup Lee Eun Seo
Production Tam Sun

Text Cheryl Santos

Translation Park Yeha

This article originally appeared on i-D Spain.

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59vk8di-D TeamCheryl SantosMusicSouth KoreaLGBTqueerK-Popholland
<![CDATA[a glimpse of seoul’s pulsating rave scene ]]>https://i-d.vice.com/en_us/article/d3bwzk/a-glimpse-of-seouls-pulsating-rave-sceneTue, 11 Dec 2018 18:14:08 +0000This article originally appeared on i-D DE

Imagine you could teleport yourself to South Korea right now, Seoul to be more precise. Directly into a sweaty nightclub with bursting bass and the illest techno music. As soon as your whole body starts vibrating, every single worry vanishes. There’s only you and the music. This is the feeling photographer Yoong Jang tried to capture in her series Strange Seoul Rave.

The winner of the first Dior Photo Award actually likes to compare her life to a rave: “No one knows what will happen tomorrow, after the loud music has stopped,” she explains. Yoong was recently in Berlin in order to document the local rave scene so I got in touch with her for a chat.

Yoong Jang Strange Seoul Rave

Credits


Photography Yoong Jang
Photography Assistant Jieun Lee, Jaehak und Hyein Choi
Styling Yohan Kim
Hair and Make-up Ryungkyung Hwang
Models Myeonggwan Lee / Esteem Model. Takh / etcmgmt and Paul G / etcmgmt

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d3bwzkJuule KayElektra KotsoniCultureSouth KoreaundergroundSEOULPhotographyraveClubbingYoong JangStrange Seoul Rave
<![CDATA[the fashion awards in london gave 10 new year’s resolutions for the industry]]>https://i-d.vice.com/en_us/article/kzvxny/the-fashion-awards-in-london-gave-10-new-years-resolutions-for-the-industryTue, 11 Dec 2018 15:29:58 +0000As Kim Jones picked up the first ever Trailblazer Award, the Fashion Awards 2018 were the biggest yet, with more winners than ever in a ceremony that’s been going since 1989. As the likes of Gucci’s Alessandro Michele and Marco Bizzari, Craig Green and Demna Gvasalia were celebrated once more, there were multiple first-time winners too. Most notably, Givenchy’s Clare Waight Keller received the British Womenswear Designer Award from none other than a pregnant HRH The Duchess of Sussex -- Meghan Markle -- to guarantee front page coverage for an unforgettable night. Beyond an appearance and outfit that split the tabloids (the same black one-shoulder Givenchy gown was “sensational” for the Daily Mail but “vulgar” for the Daily Express), A-COLD-WALL*’s Samuel Ross walked away with the Emerging Menswear Designer Award, while Richard Quinn won the Emerging Womenswear category, i-D cover star Kaia Gerber became the youngest ever Model of the Year and for the first time, the awards recognized 100 members of the young global creative community with NEW WAVE: Creatives. Ultimately, the night paid homage to the incredible success of both home-grown and international fashion talent whose imagination and creativity have broken new ground in fashion over the past 12 months and are continuing to push the possibilities of fashion tomorrow. With the future of fashion in their hands, many of the winners used their time on stage to encourage positive change.

In her “I can save you but you have to follow me” call-to-arms acceptance speech for the Swarovski Award for Positive Change, Dame Vivienne Westwood called out the “inhumane” behavior of politicians and the “rotten financial system”, just as the roaming guest-focussed camera zoomed in on George Osborne. Awkward. Elsewhere, as the People’s Princess 2.0 introduced Claire Waight Keller, HRH The Duchess of Sussex reminded us that “it's about supporting and empowering each other as women.” Even royalty can see that the culture of fashion has shifted, “where it was once cool to be cruel, it’s now cool to be kind.” From Dame Viv to Pierpaolo Piccioli, we’ve compiled the most inspirational quotes that can be read as New Year’s resolution that the fashion industry needs to follow in 2019.

Kaia Gerber in i-D
Photography Mario Sorrenti. Fashion director Alastair McKimm. The New Fashion Rebels Issue, no. 352, Summer 2018.

7. “To be included among a group of such exceptional women that I’m lucky enough to call my peers is so humbling. You all inspire me in ways that I can’t describe.” Kaia Gerber

8. “All of us who work in fashion should feel more responsibility to defend human rights and freedom, which are now in danger.” Miuccia Prada

9. “The planet is already broken. We’re not looking at something that will happen in 100 years, it happened already. Climate change is real. We missed the deadline. We’re already in the red zone. We’ve already lost too much life. We’re driving so many species into extinction. They will not come back. The reality now is: how much can we still save? It’s not about saying in 20 years time I will do this. Recycling alone is not the answer. We have to say in seven years we will all have stopped using virgin plastic and in 12 years we will have stopped using all plastic, that’s a better time frame. I’d say we have 15 years, maximum 20, and then our quality of life, our health, everything, will go downhill drastically. We will find ways to survive, but the question is, will life be worth living?” Cyrill Gutsch, founder of Parley for the Oceans

10. “Dreams can take you to places you never expected to go. This is for all the dreaming eyes and outsiders; those far from everything, who don’t fit into any boxes, but still love to dream." Pierpaolo Piccioli

The Fashion Awards 2018 in partnership with Swarovski Winners
2018 Trailblazer: Kim Jones
Urban Luxe: Virgil Abloh for Off-White
Accessories Designer of the Year: Demna Gvasalia for Balenciaga
Swarovski Award for Positive Change: Dame Vivienne Westwood
Business Leader: Marco Bizzarri for Gucci
Special Recognition Award for Innovation: Parley for the Oceans
British Emerging Talent Menswear: Samuel Ross for A-COLD-WALL*
British Emerging Talent Womenswear: Richard Quinn
British Designer of the Year Menswear: Craig Green for CRAIG GREEN
British Designer of the Year Womenswear: Clare Waight Keller for Givenchy
Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator: Mert & Marcus
Brand of the Year: Gucci
Model of the Year: Kaia Gerber
Outstanding Achievement: Miuccia Prada
Designer of the Year: Pierpaolo Piccioli for Valentino

This article originally appeared on i-D UK.

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kzvxnySteve SalterClementine de PressignyFashionCharles JeffreyVivienne WestwoodBFCMiuccia Pradafashion awardsrichard quinnsamuel ross
<![CDATA[no, supreme is not collaborating with samsung​]]>https://i-d.vice.com/en_us/article/kzvx3a/supreme-samsung-fake-collaboration-chinaTue, 11 Dec 2018 15:28:22 +0000You read that correctly but we’ll say it again for good measure: Supreme is not collaborating with Samsung. Well, not that Supreme anyway.

At a launch event this week Samsung China’s head of digital marketing made some noise when he announced a partnership with Supreme, Hypebeast reports. The announcement was even elaborate enough to include bringing executives from Supreme on stage. Except he wasn’t referring to the real Supreme, as in James Jebbia’s Supreme, instead he was talking about Supreme Italia — a knock-off that’s technically legal in China.

After fans called out the collaboration a Samsung China representative clarified details of the partnership on his Weibo account, “We are collaborating with Supreme Italia, not Supreme NYC,” he says via translation. “Supreme NYC has no sales and marketing authorization in China, but Supreme Italia has obtained product sales and market authorizations in the Asia Pacific region (except Japan).”

During the event Supreme Italia’s representatives also claimed to be opening a seven story Supreme store in Beijing and has plans for a runway event for 2019. These claims lead to the real Supreme releasing a statement via Instagram Stories, “Supreme is not working Samsung, opening a flagship location in Beijing or participating in a Mercedes-Benz runway show. These claims are blatantly false propagated by a counterfeit organization.”

Supreme_Samsung_statement
via Instagram

This isn’t the first time an elaborate fake Supreme in China has made news and, thanks international differences complicating intellectual property laws, it might not be the last. All of the attention however does cast a shadow on Samsung, and whether the legitimate company will continue its plans to work with a fake Supreme.

As for the real Supreme’s relationship with Samsung? Well they seem more like Apple people anyway.

This article originally appeared on i-D AU.

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kzvx3aMitch ParkerBriony WrightNewschinaCollaborationStreetwearsupreme
<![CDATA[the rebel rescuers of the mediterranean migrant crisis]]>https://i-d.vice.com/en_us/article/yw7qaj/mediterranean-migrant-crisis-rescuers-sea-watchTue, 11 Dec 2018 14:59:32 +0000 This article first appeared in Good Trouble Issue 22. A couple of weeks ago, the civilian volunteer rescue boat, Sea-Watch 3, returned to the search-and-rescue zone off the coast of Libya. It had previously been detained unlawfully in Malta for almost four months, but has now resumed its mission of rescuing migrants at sea and documenting human rights violations in the Mediterranean. This interview and photographs were done earlier this year, before the boat was detained. While migrant arrivals have decreased in recent months, according to a report by the Italian Institute for International Political Studies, one in five people who attempting to flee across the central Mediterranean in September drowned -- a figure that Sea-Watch attribute to the impediment of civilian rescue operations such as their own.

On one Sunday in June, more than 100 migrants were killed when a boat sunk in the waters off Tunisia, making it the deadliest migrant disaster in 2018. In the ongoing refugee crisis in the Mediterranean, human traffickers are increasingly using Tunisia as a launch pad for migrants headed to Europe, because of difficulties faced from armed groups in Libya. U.N. refugee agency UNHCR is now advocating for safe routes for refugees to travel “so that these unnecessary deaths don't take place,” UNHCR spokesman William Spindler said in a briefing. "People should be able to find protection and travel in a legal, safe way.”

In the meantime, the situation in the Mediterranean remains dire, and more than 1,000 migrants died at sea just in the first half of 2018. One organization taking matters into their own hands is Sea-Watch, a non-profit that conducts DIY search-and-rescue operations in the central Mediterranean. Formed at the end of 2014, Sea-Watch is a volunteer initiative of people who “could not stand on the sidelines witnessing people dying in the Mediterranean Sea any longer.”

1544443487881-AWG_261118-595

sea-watch.org

This article originally appeared on i-D UK.

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yw7qajRod StanleyMatthew WhitehouseCultureMediterraneanmigrant crisisSea Watchgood trouble
<![CDATA[the reality of the natural hair journey, by women who have lived it]]>https://i-d.vice.com/en_us/article/8xpkga/the-reality-of-the-natural-hair-journeyTue, 11 Dec 2018 14:57:22 +0000Finally, the natural hair movement seems to be gaining real traction, and afro-haired women have never felt more inspired to wear their true texture. Instagram and YouTube are full of stories from people transitioning from relaxed to natural hair. There’s entire product ranges dedicated to the process, as well as a whole dictionary of words to describe the different stages. The topic is covered in first-person thinkpieces across the internet, and has even become the subject of a Netflix film, Nappily Ever After.

If the stories are to be believed, the natural hair journey is a dreamy experience of self-discovery and liberation. A path that’s akin to a kind of spiritual enlightenment.

You go for the big chop (which, we’re told, should induce feelings similar to a rebirth) to shed your chemically-altered strands. Then comes the beautiful voyage back to your natural afro texture, where using 25 products and committing hours upon hours of styling and care is just a small price to pay for the promised result of a cascade of impossibly soft curls long enough to sit on. And it almost feels as there’s an unspoken rule forbidding anyone to claim otherwise.

But this one-sided narrative isn’t particularly helpful to anyone. In reality, natural hair journeys are as diverse as the spectrum of afro hair textures experiencing them.

My big chop was the result of a newfound fuck-it mentality. I’d come off birth-control, come out of a relationship and totally changed my career. Several days watching women (who, come to think of it, had way looser curls than my 4C texture) do magical things to their post-transition hair provided the final push I needed to pick up the scissors. But what came next were months of never-ending knots and tangles, crying through painful combing sessions and hair that dried up an hour after I moisturized it. This isn’t what YouTube promised. I may have weaned myself off the ‘creamy crack’ relaxers but I was still chasing hair that was never actually going to be mine, rather than accepting my kinky hair in all its nappy glory.

Don’t get me wrong, I have loved rediscovering my hair, learning how to nurture it and watching it transform with every new coil that springs from my castor oil-ed scalp. But no one speaks of the struggles of going natural like they do the good stuff. I can’t help but feel if there was more transparency and honesty in the conversation, not to mention a greater diversity of hair textures in the images presented, then the natural hair movement would feel a whole lot more positive for everyone.

I asked three afro-haired women to share the reality of their natural hair journeys -- the highs as well as the lows -- and what they wish the natural hair movement had taught them.

Hannah Anderson, musician

“When I shaved my hair, I’d recently moved from Texas to California and was at a recording studio with my boyfriend and some musicians. I just got up and said, “I’m leaving to cut my hair. I’ll be back in a little bit,” and I literally came back bald. I was having a bit of a crisis, moving between two cities was a huge transition, but years of relaxing and straightening had left my hair dried out and breaking, so it was a practical decision too.

I didn’t really know how to work with my hair in its natural state, so it was a learning process for sure, one that was very self-directed and included tons of YouTube videos. I realized that everyone’s hair is so different and I found it difficult to find people with not only the same hair type as me but also that wore the styles I wanted to wear.

The hardest part for me was when my hair was an inch or two long, in this really weird and awkward phase. I didn’t want to cut it but I had no idea what to do with this hair -- it kinda stuck up and didn’t have any particular shape. So I started to learn how to braid my own hair, which has been really cool. I still haven’t cut my hair since I shaved it three years ago, so I’m debating on what I should do now as it’s like an afro mullet. It’s like I’m back in another transition phase again.

I do appreciate the natural hair movement, as this process helps you uncover your true self in a sense, and when you see people in this free place it can be quite encouraging. But I watched Nappily Ever After, which shows the most dramatic haircut process I’ve ever seen that somehow solved all of [lead character Violet’s] life problems and she seemingly became this beautiful person. Realistically, even after cutting your hair there’s still that lingering doubt in the back of your mind. I questioned if I was doing the right thing, if I would still consider myself beautiful. Those things don’t just automatically change. Yes, I felt a shift, but it didn’t solve all of the issues I had with my self image.”

Aunty T

“Right now my hair’s half relaxed and half natural, so it’s a bit of a mess. I can be quite disrespectful when it comes to taking care of my hair. I tend to do things in the moment, especially if there’s a hairstyle I want. But before this, I hadn’t relaxed my hair since I was about 16. I used to live with my Mum and she never liked the idea of having kinky or afro hair so she always relaxed mine. But when I left home, I went natural.

My natural hair journey has been frustrating. [At the start] my hair would never do what I wanted it to. I thought that I couldn’t do anything other than have it in braids but I’ve come to appreciate it more, as I’ve learned how to do more with it, like twist-outs which I had no idea about. I didn’t know you had to put it in cornrows, leave it overnight and take it out. I thought people were literally just born with that type of hair.

I’m for the natural hair movement, but I’m also against it in many ways. I feel that a lot of it is bullshit. It’s good as it’s encouraging a lot of black women, and guys too, to do more with their hair. On the other hand, the movement has this specific image of black beauty that doesn’t represent everyone. Not everyone has the same curl pattern; I’ve always wondered where’s everyone with my hair texture?

We’re trying to promote going natural but really we’re still being told how to be natural. We spend so much money on products to make our hair curlier and to get us to have a curl pattern that’s not even ours, so are we actually trying to be our own natural or a natural that’s seen as beautiful?”

Gina Knight , founder of The Wig Witch

“I initially went natural 10 years ago as I really wanted an afro. It was my first big chop. I wouldn’t exactly call it liberating as it was more of a means to an end, so I wouldn’t have to deal with two textures of hair as my full ‘fro grew in. I was confronted with this head of hair that I didn’t know, but more than that, because I was adopted by a white family, it felt like a relearning of my culture, too.

I became a natural hair blogger, but developed alopecia in 2012, which led to a bit of a crisis of self. I thought, “If I no longer had hair, would people really want to learn about it from me?” So I hid it. I’ve spent the last six years trying every remedy, every mask, every fix to get my hair back to the condition it was before and I’ve not enjoyed it.

I’ve now lost 50% of my hair. I need to accept that, let go and say goodbye to a phase of my life that was quite hair-obsessed. I went for a second chop just a couple of weeks ago. That one has been more life-affirming and cathartic. I’m owning up to the fact that I have alopecia and choosing to be brave by not always wearing wigs to mask it. People usually do big chops with the motive of wanting to grow their hair back but I don’t have plans to do that. I’m over it.

On social media there tends to be this idealization of the perfect curl. I always see the kind of hair that goes really wavy when it’s wet and dries in seconds and mine just doesn’t do that. If you have 4C hair like me, it’s as though it has to be as long as your back to be seen as ‘super-natural’ and to get the likes and follows. Social media also makes it look really easy but natural hair can be time-consuming and take a lot of care and effort.

The pros definitely outweigh the cons, though. The movement has given me the chance to connect with people who look like me. But, we have to be honest about the ups and downs as a lot of people feel that their journey isn’t what was promised. It’s about knowing that even though the majority of us struggle, it’s worth it in the end.”

This article originally appeared on i-D UK.

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8xpkgaGiselle La Pompe-MooreShannon PeterBeautyhairNatural Hairafro hair movementafro hair
<![CDATA[daily horoscopes: december 11, 2018]]>https://i-d.vice.com/en_us/article/j5zag3/daily-horoscopes-december-11-2018Tue, 11 Dec 2018 05:30:00 +0000 It’s quiet today, which might make us all a bit nervous.

Read the horoscopes for your rising, Sun, and Moon signs to help you stay cool, calm, and collected.

Sagittarius
(Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

Make it a priority to always come back to your joy, today. The things that make you laugh, the songs you like, the people who make you feel supported. Working towards goals and watching things unfold doesn’t have to be a painful process. Make it what you want it to be.

Capricorn
(Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

There’s no shame in lust. It’s okay to want things that you don’t have. Just really make sure that you don’t actually already have what you think you’re missing. Sometimes we can cloud our vision of what we’ve got and self-sabotage. Redirect your energy if you find yourself doing this, today.

Aquarius
(Jan. 20-Feb.18)

If it makes sense as your next step and it feels good in your body and heart, it’s a go. Don’t step away from something just because it’s going to be messy or the process intimidates you. The only way incredible things have been done in this world is through people who are scared but persist.

Pisces
(Feb.19-March 20)

If a situation feels out of your hands, and it’s giving you anxiety, think about what power you do have over it. Even if it is as simple as your own mindset, turn your attention to where you have power, not where you think you lack it.

Aries
(March 21-April 19)

When life gets hectic, just remember that you can’t, and you shouldn’t, do it all. Humans can only do a few things well at one time. Make a list of priorities so that you feel neither guilt nor shame about saying “no” to whatever is not at the top of your list, right now.

Taurus
(April 20-May 20)

The yearning for belonging is strong, right now. Be careful where you go looking to soothe your spirit. People know of your power and it is important that you invest it only where reciprocity is abundant. Test the waters, first, before settling in anywhere for good.

Gemini
(May 21-June 21)

You’re being asked to make a choice, right now. Don’t hesitate with making your decision just because it will be hard. Life is hard. When you embrace what you feel is your truth you will always be rewarded. You know what to do.

Cancer
(June 22-July 22)

Be very careful about who you let influence your decisions, right now. You are the one who has to live with whatever path you take, and the people around you know that. It’s okay to make mistakes, just make sure they’re your own.

Leo
(July 23-Aug. 22)

It can be easy to trick yourself into thinking you’re in the same place, mentally, emotionally, and financially, as the people you surround yourself with, even if that’s not the case. Be selective about the kinds of narratives you expose yourself to, or keep a close eye on what stories you start to believe about yourself that just aren’t true.

Virgo
(Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

Make sure that whatever you’re exhausting yourself for actually has the return on investment you think it does. If you find out it doesn’t, divert your attention to projects that make you happy, first, and let everything else fit in where there’s room.

Libra
(Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

Fighting with yourself is always a losing battle. It’s time to just pick a direction and follow through with it. You will see if it’s really right for you as the process unfolds, but now is not the time to be stagnant and indecisive.

Scorpio
(Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

Your strength will always be in how deeply you understand other people and their pain. Just make sure you’re not carrying it around with you. Set the necessary boundaries so that you can be there for someone, without being there with them.

Jaliessa Sipress is an astrologer, writer, and artist.

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j5zag3Jaliessa SipressJack SunnucksCanceraquariustaurushoroscopesGeminiAriesleolibravirgoSagittariuspiscescapricorn
<![CDATA[coach brings a 70s groove to shanghai]]>https://i-d.vice.com/en_us/article/kzvx7a/coach-show-shanghai-stuart-veversMon, 10 Dec 2018 23:09:55 +0000As recent events in the fashion world have clearly demonstrated, Western fashion houses don’t always get it right when it comes to China. When it came to celebrating 15 years in the country, Coach were determined to get it right, and so Creative Director Stuart Vevers brought with him the spirit of 70s New York, but melded it to collaborations with Chinese creatives. Coach’s collabs are always subtle in their execution — think the faded Keith Haring glitter prints, or the goth-y nods to Bambi. This collection was no different. Sui Jianguo’s T-rex sculpture was made into a distorted print, paying tribute to the house’s mascot, Rexy. Rexy was also incorporated into a YETI OUT’s signature graphic round face, while Guang Yu gave the dinosaur the graffiti treatment.

All this was transposed with dreamlike 70s inspired clothing, replete with handkerchief hems that looked like they’d stepped straight out of an Ossie Clark fever dream, lightly draped suede jackets, and worn looking mohair sweaters. Amidst a forest of neon signs and vintage cars, the diverse cast looked like they might be sneaking into a movie theater in peak-era Time Square (maybe we’ve just been watching too much of The Deuce), with a distinctly Chinese update. Bravo Coach for embracing what cross cultural conversation can really look like.

Coach Shanghai
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kzvx7aJack SunnucksNicole DeMarcoFashionchinacoach
<![CDATA[is the media helping us foster more empathy for addicts?]]>https://i-d.vice.com/en_us/article/vbaxej/is-the-media-helping-us-foster-more-empathy-for-addictsMon, 10 Dec 2018 22:46:21 +0000Few people can say their lives haven’t been touched by addiction in some way. The drug related death toll continues to rise -- in 2016 there were more than 42,000 deaths in the US, while that same year 3,700 people died from drug misuse in England and Wales. According to Dr. Tom Doub, the Chief Clinical and Compliance Officer for American Addiction Centers, the opioid issue has now become a full-blown epidemic. “We’re losing more lives than those lost during the Vietnam War and more than at the height of the AIDS crisis,” he says. “Opioid addiction is impacting everyone .”

But despite growing statistics, negative attitudes towards addiction have always been pervasive as alcoholics and drug addicts have a history of being demonized in the media. Addictions have long been considered a moral failing or a character defect with earlier films such as Requiem for a Dream portraying a hyper-dramatized image of addiction. The movie, which was directed by Darren Aronofsky, received positive reception from critics and the public. This was despite the fact that it painted addicts negatively as lonely, strange and bad people who willingly chose to engage in addiction, and due to this, ultimately live as sex workers, or end up in jail or dead. Beyond this, most films and television shows have failed to represent addiction from a place of authenticity or compassion, neglecting to educate audiences about why these issues might arise -- and what it’s really like to suffer from the disease.

Lauren, a New York-based actress and recovering addict, believes we never really see portrayals of the true day-to-day life of an addict. “People think we are selfish and crazy and it would be so easy if we just stopped and cleaned up our lives, but it’s not that simple,” says the 33-year-old. “We are powerless over the disease and don’t have the ability to cure it or control it,” she explained over the phone.

Feeling lonely and disconnected as a young adult, Lauren started smoking and drinking as a teen, growing addicted to opioids in her early twenties. For her, consuming alcohol and drugs were a form of escapism that helped her live a more functional life. Until they didn’t. “I think if people saw others they could identify with [in the media], they'd be more likely to admit they have an addiction and seek help.”

Dr. Adi Jaffe, an expert on mental health, addiction and stigma, believes that negative stereotypes around addiction for decades have resulted in higher treatment failure rates as well as adverse outcomes including hospitalizations, imprisonment and death. “For decades, the media portrayed addicts as weak-willed degenerates who lied, stole and destroyed everything in their path.” Beyond this, negative stigma around addiction has likely caused less scientific research on the issue, education and affordable resources that would help spread awareness and readily assist sufferers and their families.

Yet, as the number of high-profile celebrity deaths due to addiction is inclining -- most recently Mac Miller, a beloved artist who wrote songs about his battle with an opioid addiction, accidentally overdosed in September 2018 -- there has also been a greater amount of public discourse and engagement with these issues, which is resulting in an increasingly realistic view of addiction. This is causing us to move away from depicting those who suffer as deviants and showing them more accurately as people suffering from a serious illness, believes Dr. Doub.

Another turning point occurred earlier this year when Kanye West addressed his own experience with addiction in 2016 following a surgical procedure in which he was prescribed opioids, ultimately causing him to be hospitalized and forcing him to cancel part of his Saint Pablo tour. In April, he told HOT 97 radio host Ebro Darden how he felt isolated during his hospital stay and that no one “showed love” for him while he was undergoing treatment.

Beyond this, some believe new films such as A Star Is Born and Beautiful Boy showcase a new image of addiction -- one that is more realistic and empathetic towards sufferers and their loved ones. In A Star Is Born, Bradley Cooper’s character, Jackson Maine, a famous country music singer, secretly battles with substance abuse disorder, likely due to untreated mental illness and the neglect he experienced as a child. Using drugs to cope with the weight of his issues and relentless celebrity lifestyle, his addiction directly impacts his personal relationships with his brother, Bobby, and his partner Ally.

When Ally pays Jackson a visit in rehab *spoiler alert* towards the end of the movie, he is riddled with shame over his disastrous behaviour. Yet instead of faulting him, Ally recognises that his struggles are a disease, showing some compassion for his illness. However, the guilt seems to get the best of Jackson after Ally’s manager accuses him of ruining her career. Feeling hopeless and as if he has no way out, Jackson takes his own life -- sadly he couldn’t go on living his life as an addict, and likewise couldn’t find a way to live life without drugs or alcohol. In the end, his love for Ally and Ally’s love for him was not enough to keep him alive. The disease went deeper than that.

The film illustrates another grim reality: the fact that suicide is incredibly common among those with substance abuse disorder. Statistically speaking, individuals wrestling with addiction are six times more likely to attempt suicide at some point in their life according to the Addiction Center. “Once you quit drinking all you can think about is committing suicide, it feels too hard to live without it,” says Lauren. With this, she thought the film accurately portrayed the emotional pain and everyday struggle to stay sober and alive.

Authenticity was a motive of Bradley Cooper, who co-wrote, directed and starred in the remake of the 1937 classic. He told TIME, “I wanted anyone who’s gone through addiction to go, ‘Holy shit, that’s the way it is.'”

When it comes to breaking down stigma, there’s real power in showing authenticity. Vanessa Kensing, a clinical social worker based in New York, thinks media portrayals like this can open the door for more compassionate views while Jaffe says that as we abstain from punishing people for struggling with addiction and recognize the various factors involved, more people will seek help because they will feel less judged.

Yet, while the film emphasizes how alienating and hard life with addiction can be, the movie still romanticizes it, showing a relatively obscure experience since addiction is not something that only affects famous artists and celebrities.

In the opening scene of Beautiful Boy, actor Steve Carell's character, David Scheff, visits a doctor to inquire about his son Nic’s addiction to crystal meth. “What is it doing to him and what can I do to help him?” He asks the doctor. Throughout the movie, David tirelessly attempts to understand his son’s addiction and support him as best he can, wrestling with raw pain and the heartbreaking realization that there’s nothing he can do to fix his own son. While he doesn’t always do the best thing (near the end of the film he momentarily gives up on Nic who has overdosed again, before ultimately supporting him), he shows immense empathy for Nic and loves his son despite his disease.

Dr. Doub believes, “[ Beautiful Boy] did an excellent job of demonstrating the devastating effects of addiction not only on the person struggling, but their family members and loved ones as well.” Whether someone is directly or indirectly impacted by addiction, Doub believes that films like this will help reduce the stigma of addiction and normalize it as an illness rather than a moral issue. “Addiction is a chronic relapsing brain disease that the individual did not ask for and is as much of a disease as diabetes or depression,” says Doub. “The more we can help people view addiction as the chronic, relapsing disease that it is, the better we can treat it.”

Mae Krell, a 19-year-old musician and recovering addict, says that they grew used to seeing media representation of addicts as losers or hopeless people from a young age. “Typical portrayals were often teenagers with no future, or adults who will never be ‘real parents’ to their kids,” they recall. “Nearly any movie I saw growing up that had a character go to AA or NA damaged my perception of those groups, and made me scared to join them when I needed it most.”

Growing up amid intense pressure from their parents, when Krell realised they had a problem, it was hard to admit that they were one of “those” people. Krell, who grew up in New York but finished high school at a treatment centre in Utah, said Beautiful Boy was “absolutely brilliant” and that Nic’s experience with addiction was portrayed in a “super realistic way” as he tried to get sober countless times but was not able to maintain it because he hadn’t healed the root of the problem or found the right solution yet. Krell says that both themselves and Nic were lucky they had family who refused to give up on them.

Lauren agreed that the film accurately portrayed what it's like to be touched by addiction and the damage addicts can cause others around them. “I liked that Beautiful Boy showed a somewhat normal family because it helps people see that addiction can affect anyone from any background.” But at the same time, she felt the film lacked a real understanding of Nic’s spectrum of emotions as he personally wrestled with addiction.

While A Star is Born and Beautiful Boy show how media portrayals are improving in some ways, both films end before the real work to stay sober begins, failing to capture the ongoing and lifelong struggle it can be to stay sober. For example, Lauren expresses that living without alcohol and drugs is an incredibly difficult choice she must consciously and tirelessly choose each day.

Beyond this, these films also reiterate the ways in which diversity is still desperately needed when it comes to storytelling about addiction. Both Nic and Jackson’s characters are white men who are part of society’s middle to upper echelon. Kensing notes, “These films can reinforce the often unspoken notion that when white upper-class people experience addiction, it deserves thoughtfulness and compassion and subtlety in response, whereas a poor person of color who abuses substances just needs ‘education’ or to ‘experience consequences’.” Beyond this call out, we’re still missing diverse portrayals of women and gender nonconforming individuals in the throes of addiction.

While these films underline how we are moving away from older, more negative portrayals that othered and demonized people with addiction, they also serve to humanize those who are battling with substance abuse disorders. Kensing believes that empathetic storytelling has the power to cause more people to recognize that addiction is not who someone is, but it is something that individuals of all backgrounds and circumstances use as a means to cope with other challenges such as mental illness or trauma.

Moreover, Lauren believes that a rise in compassion could help addicts and alcoholics like her have a chance to come out of the shadows, help them feel more connected and allow them to share their stories without feeling ashamed of their past. Living with addiction is isolating but, “if other people understood what goes on in our heads it might help build more empathy for the struggle to live a ‘normal’ life,” she says. Though A Star Is Born and Beautiful Boy are definitely steps in the right direction, in order to keep shifting towards de-stigmatization of addiction for all kinds of people, we will need to create more colorful, nuanced approaches to storytelling about this complex disease.

If the big screen is a window into a brave new world and a not so far-off future, these films are telling about where culture could be headed -- and what is still missing.


watch this

This article originally appeared on i-D UK.

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vbaxejSara RadinClementine de PressignyaddictionMediaOpinionA Star Is Bornbeautiful boy
<![CDATA[jaden smith is back in the 'neo yokio' christmas special]]>https://i-d.vice.com/en_us/article/bjepvz/neo-yokio-pink-christmas-jaden-smith-netflixMon, 10 Dec 2018 22:11:37 +0000Neo Yokio may have only 31% on Rotten Tomatoes, but don’t let that put you off the Netflix series’ Christmas special. Entitled “Pink Christmas,” which sounds suspiciously like a Nicki Minaj holiday mixtape, the episode is drenched in the weird, baroque aesthetic that the Ezra Koenig-created series is known for, and is a weird romp through the post capitalist metropolis of Neo Yokio. It opens with our young, bored hero Kaz Kaan (Jaden Smith) asking his mecha butler for a Christmas story — what follows is a surreal take on the classic, replete with money, morality stories, and questionable mumblecore.

As always, the show is voiced by a weird and wonderful array of talent, including Susan Sarandon as Aunt Agatha, Jude Law as the aforementioned robot butler, and Jason Schwartzman as dastardly rival bachelor Arcangelo Corelli. There are also some surprises in the form of iconic Beninese singer Angélique Kidjo, who gobbles up the scenery as Kaan’s “pretentious” novelist aunt from Paris, Angélique, and Richard Ayoade as an aspirational sales clerk. Together, they conspire to uncover the origins of Kaan’s family, the mystical magistocrats. Drug addled cocktail parties and fights with demons are interspersed with the kind of wild consumerism the show loves to explore — Kaan’s friends the Caprese boys are still peddling their foul Caprese salad Martinis, while there’s a particularly spot on shopping scene involving a Vetements x Mt Sinai collaboration at Bergdorf Goodman’s.

And if a laconic homage to anime with a Tavi guest cameo isn’t to your taste, there’s always The Christmas Chronicles, starring Goldie Hawn’s life partner Kurt Russell.

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bjepvzJack SunnucksNicole DeMarcoNewsNETFLIXanimeJaden SmithEzra Koenigneo yokio