Forever 21 Tweets Their Clothes Are “Straight Outta Compton,” Triggers (Another) Controversy

Popular fast-fashion clothing chain Forever 21 has once again found itself in hot water for tweeting out a photo that some claim is another case of cultural appropriation. On Thursday, the L.A.-based retailer tweeted “straight outta Compton” with a a photo of a white model wearing three different T-shirts referencing the City of Compton as well as hip-hop/rap artists Ice Cube and N.W.A.

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Though the tweet was quickly deleted, it wasn’t long before the image made its way around the Web, eliciting an array of responses. Some were interested in purchasing the clothes:

“(@Kariinaxo) Forever 21 has all these cute WuTang and NWA shirts omg I want them all”

“(@It_Aint__ME) Ooo i want that compton shirt”

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However, such comments were greatly outnumbered by those expressing disappointment and frustration over the new line, being very critical of what they viewed as the inappropriate commodification of African American culture for the sake of business and trend.

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The “Statement Making Compton Tee” and “N.W.A Muscle Tee” are now unavailable on Forever 21′s online retail site, though it is not certain if the controversy surrounding the T-shirts is the reason for their removal.

This is not the first time that the mega-retailer has been accused of cultural appropriation. In 2011, their “Oriental Girl” necklaces sparked a firestorm of criticism.

 

Exclusive Video Premiere: Sonia Rao’s “Little Blue Room”

In our Fall 2013 issue, we featured former The Voice contestant, singer-songwriter Sonia Rao, whose sophomore album, Los Angeles Part 1, dropped last week. Now we’ve got the exclusive video premiere of the emotionally charged single “Little Blue Room.”

“I wrote ‘Little Blue Room’ about time and love,” says Rao. “It was in writing this song that I figured out that it was time to end a relationship, a tough process, but I love songwriting for that reason. If I’m ever unclear about which step to take, I’ll start writing a song and by the end of it, I’m usually pretty certain about what I truly want. The video is a bit surprising, but I’m hoping that people will see the metaphor in it.”

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Watch as the soulful L.A.-based Rao tells the story of a woman coping with the end of a relationship — with an unexpected twist! Without further ado, the exclusive premiere of “Little Blue Room,” shot, directed and produced by Ron Utin Lalkin and Maddie Staszak.

Like what you hear? Pick up “Little Blue Room” and other tracks by Sonia Rao on iTunes — and while you’re at it, get our Fall 2013 issue here!

Video of The Week: Japanese Dancer Kenichi Ebina Wins “America’s Got Talent”

Months ago, Kenichi Ebina’s audition performance for America’s Got Talent went viral. Ebina stunned the judges and viewers nationwide with his “dance-ish” performance that included the robot, some gasp-worthy matrix moves, and entertaining martial arts.

Not only did the 39-year-old dancer’s video trend social media sites, he also gained a standing ovation from the judges and and continued on in the competition.

As the competition went on, Ebina continues to earn his spot at the top. His performances ranged from high-energy and fast-paced dances to slow and emotional routines. He easily kept the judges’ attention and became a fan favorite.

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Last night, after one of the longest, heart-pounding pauses, Ebina was announced the winner of America’s Got Talent. Although Ebina was engulfed in lights, sparks, and confetti, he was unable to hide his surprise with the results and happily gave out his thank you’s to his family, friends, and fans.

Kenichi Ebina will be rewarded $1 million along with his very own Las Vegas show.

In honor of this very talented dancer winning, our Video of The Week is his mesmerizing audition piece.  Check it out below as well as his winning moment. You can see all of this other performances here.

 

The Truth About Mammograms: To X-Ray or Not To X-Ray?

Story by Anna M. Park. 

When the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force announced that women should not be getting mammograms until they reach 50, it ignited controversy within the medical community. For years, doctors have insisted on mammograms starting at 40, and the American Cancer Society and Susan G. Komen Foundation still recommend an annual mammogram starting at the age of 40, citing early detection key to saving lives. Just do a quick search and you’ll find stories of all sorts of young women in their 40s whose lives were saved from early detection. Nonetheless, most major health organizations have concluded that the modest survival benefits of mammography in women ages 40 to 49 outweigh the risks of false positives and further unnecessary procedures. So what’s a woman to do? Dr. Maggie DiNome, chief of General Surgery at Saint John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, Calif., who specializes in breast cancer surgery, answers our questions.

Q. My OB/gyn insists I get annual mammograms starting at 40, even though I have no family history. But the new U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends mammograms starting at 50, and then every two years. What do I do?

Dr. Maggie DiNome: You would need to weigh the data to know what is right for you. The U.S. Task Force came out with their consensus statement based on their recommendations of what is most efficient for screening, meaning what has the biggest bang for the buck for the population as a whole. According to their review of the existing data, starting mammograms at age 40 only results in one life out of 1,000 being saved. That might not seem like much, but if you were that one patient, it means the world.

So what is the trade-off for starting mammograms at age 40? Well, the argument is that it leads to more false positives, which leads to more unnecessary biopsies and imaging. It may also be finding stages of “cancer” (i.e. DCIS, or ductal carcinoma in situ) that truly do not need treatment, although currently we treat everyone diagnosed with DCIS because we don’t yet know who can safely avoid treatment. As a breast surgeon, I see more than one might expect of breast cancers diagnosed by routine mammograms in women in their 40s, so it’s hard for me to say “stop.” I wouldn’t necessarily argue that biennial mammograms is a bad thing though, and maybe a compromise would be biennial mammograms beginning at age 40. In Europe, it is this way.

My recommendation to you would be to start mammograms at age 40, and plan to get them every year or every other year.

 

Q. Even if a woman holds off on regular mammograms until she’s 50, should she get a baseline mammogram in her 40s?

Dr. DiNome: That’s a difficult question to answer because, if you are starting your screening at age 50, that means you agree with the U.S. Task Force data that it is not efficient to begin screening at age 40. So a baseline at that age would not make sense. There is no doubt that starting annual screening at age 40 reduces death from breast cancer, but the argument is that it is too low of a number to be considered significant. The probability of dying from breast cancer after age 40 is 3 percent. If you screen biennially between ages 50-74, you can reduce that to 2.5 percent. If you start screening annually at age 40, then you reduce it to 2.4 percent, which hardly seems significant when you talk about numbers. It’s just difficult when you equate it with a life because in my mind any life is worth saving.

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Q. I got a mammogram and was told I have dense breasts, which I believe most Asian women have. Should we insist on an ultrasound?

Dr. DiNome: Almost every premenopausal female will have dense breasts because it’s a reflection of the hormonal stimulation on our breast tissue. After menopause, there is significantly less (unless they’re on hormone replacement therapy) and the breast tissue becomes more replaced by fat. The downsides of mammograms are that they are notoriously less sensitive in a woman with dense breasts, and that’s why we don’t recommend beginning screening in a woman under age 40. The ability of the mammogram to show anything helpful in that scenario is so low it’s not worth doing. For women over 40 who have dense breasts, a mammogram should still be performed because it is the only imaging modality that will pick up calcifications reliably, and this can be one of the earliest signs of breast cancer. A screening ultrasound does have some value as an adjunctive screening test to a mammogram, but not in place of. I do think it is worthwhile for women with dense breasts to advocate for a screening ultrasound, but it is not yet a test that is covered by insurance for routine screening.

Q. The risk of breast cancer for Asian American women seems to be rising (compared to women in Asia) — is there anything in particular we should be doing to protect ourselves?

Dr. DiNome: I think this has a lot to do with adopting a western diet. Population studies have demonstrated that if you followed immigrants from Asia to America, that over two generations the risk of cancer increases significantly. Right now, the risk of breast cancer in Asia is five times less than the risk in America. My recommendation would be to adopt a more whole food, plant-based diet and to minimize the amount of animal protein, which we eat way too much of in the U.S. My husband and I went vegan a few years ago for the health effects. I have a strong family history of cancer (not the least of which is my father who died from colon cancer at age 39) and I now have 3 1⁄2-year-old twin girls. Because my husband and I had kids later in life, we feel it’s our responsibility to do whatever we can to ensure that we will be around for them as long as possible. So we did a lot of research and we both independently concluded (my husband before me, mind you) that a vegan diet has the most evidence-based data for a cancer protective diet.


Dr. Maggie DiNome is the current chief of General Surgery at Saint John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, Calif. She is a board certified general surgeon, who focuses her clinical expertise on cancer surgery and advanced laparoscopic techniques. As a fellow of the Society for Surgical Oncology and a member of the American Society of Breast Surgeons, Dr. DiNome is particularly dedicated to caring for patients with breast and colorectal cancer. 

 

This story was originally published in our Fall 2013 issue. Get your copy here

Men Do Makeup With Michelle Phan … and Fail Miserably

With over 4 million YouTube subscribers, Michelle Phan has become one of the most known YouTube makeup artists to date. For years, she has taught us all about contouring, the perfect way to put on liquid eyeliner, and even how to take selfies.

Aside from being one of our personal favorites, the 26-year-old makeup artist has already packed in a number of achievements under her belt.

In conjunction with L’oreal, Phan recently released her own makeup line called EM Michelle Phan.  After purchase, customers of EM Michelle Phan products are encouraged to upload videos of their own “looks” and share them with one another.

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In 2012, Phan became a YouTube advertising partner and launched FAWN (For All Women Network) – a women’s lifestyle network in which guest hosts produce videos about makeup, cooking, fitness, fashion and careers.

But Phan’s fanbase certainly extends beyond women and the following men have decided to show that off to the world. Three brave souls decided to take on one of Michelle Phan’s makeup tutorials with no previous makeup experience.

The results? The boys were left with black eyes, smeared makeup, and a new-found appreciation for girls who have mastered the art of makeup. Check it out for yourself:

Kick-Ass Asian Leading Ladies: Audrey Cover Girls Edition

Recently, Buzzfeed released the story 27 Asian Leading Ladies Who Kick Ass. They described these actresses as women who defied the various stereotypes often imposed on Asians. Among this list of very talented actresses were some of Audrey Magazine‘s past cover girls:

 

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MINDY KALING
Hometown: Cambridge, Massachusetts
You know her fromThe Office, and her hilarious book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?
Current project: Her self-produced star vehicle The Mindy Project is going into its second season.

From Audrey Magazine: “As confident as I feel, it takes an almost comically confident person to be able to say they were destined to be in movies and television. I don’t think I was destined, but I think I am of the personality type where the rejection or odds of something doesn’t scare me.”

 

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MAGGIE Q

Hometown: Honolulu, Hawaii
You know her fromMission: Impossible IIILive Free or Die HardBalls of Fury
Current project: Since 2010, Maggie has starred in The CW’s Nikita, which is now going into its fourth season.

From Audrey Magazine: “When I first started acting, there were times where I absolutely didn’t know who I was, and because of that, the confidence didn’t follow. You feel lost and you’re always trying to find something that matters to you. But the older I get, the more I understand what my values are, who I am, what I believe in. And because of that, I’m able to have confidence.”

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JAMIE CHUNG

Hometown: San Francisco, California
You know her fromThe Real World: San DiegoSucker Punch
Current project: Jamie plays the recurring role of Mulan on ABC’s Once Upon a Time.

From Audrey Magazine: “I just want to do the things I love and spend time with the people I care about and cut out the bullsh-t. Life is too short. … And that goes for food, too. If I want a burger, I’m going to eat a burger.”

 

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RINKO KIKUCHI

Hometown: Hadano, Japan
You know her from: Her Oscar nominated-role in Babel, this summer’s Pacific Rim
Current project: Rinko is in the upcoming movie 47 Ronin, starring Keanu Reeves.

From Audrey Magazine: “Since Babel, I’ve had few roles in international films since there are so few roles for Japanese, [but] I want to continue working in the United States.”

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ELODIE YUNG

Hometown: Paris, France
You know her fromThe Girl with the Dragon TattooG.I. Joe: Retaliation
Current project: Elodie’s latest project, 10 Things I Hate About My Life, is slated for release in late 2013 and stars Evan Rachel Wood.

From Audrey Magazine:  “If I’m hired for an action film, there’s no point in me not trying everything, or at least as much as I can. This is not Shakespeare. It’s not about what I’m going to say. I’m not going to have a beautiful monologue. It’s about the action. As an actor, you should invest yourself as much as you can. I want to give 100 percent. It’s more fun that way.”
To read the full stories, purchase issues of Audrey Magazine and subscribe HERE

Hello Kitty Jet Makes First Flight to the U.S.

Story by Taylor Weik.

 

They may have launched a Cartoon Network-themed line of trains back in July, but now Taiwan isn’t the only country who gets to experience cartoon travel firsthand. Taiwan’s EVA Air, known for its popular line of Hello Kitty jets, flew its Boeing 777-300ER Hello Kitty Hand-in-Hand Jet from Taipei to Los Angeles on September 18.

This will be EVA Air’s first long-range flight route and an expansion of the five shorter-range jets that, from its conception in 2005 up until now, had only flown from Taiwan to Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, China and Guam.

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Piloted by EVA Chairman and airline Captain K.W. Chang, who conceived the idea for a Hello Kitty-themed flight line “to make flying fun,” the Hello Kitty Hand-in-Hand jet flew from the Taoyuan International Airport to LAX to celebrate the new jet service with fans and guests. Among those present for the celebration were Sanrio Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Kunihiko Tsuji, Japanese pop star Yoshiki and Head Hello Kitty Designer Yuko Yamaguchi, not to mention the nine cartoon members of the Sanrio Family.

Guests checked in at the Flight Path Museum at LAX, which was decorated with blown-up, pink boarding passes and various pictures of Hello Kitty flying in an airplane, before being escorted outside to a spacious tent where they could glimpse the jet landing on the strip. While waiting for the jet’s arrival, guests were invited to sip on champagne and munch on Hello Kitty-themed treats like red velvet iced cupcakes and browse the displays of all the in-flight items available. Hello Kitty playing cards, pillows and hand creams are just a few of the many items passengers can purchase in the jet’s sky shop. Hello Kitty artists from Tokyo were on hand to draw pictures of Sanrio characters and adorn fingernails with special Hello Kitty nail art, and Sanrio characters Cinnamoroll and Bad Badtz-Maru mingled and took pictures with fans.

 

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The arrival of the Hand-in-Hand jet revealed a colorful paint job, with 19 Sanrio characters splashed across the length of the aircraft holding hands. EVA explained that the union of the critters was designed to “bridge cultural barriers and invite new friendships from around the world.” The airline also pointed out that “this is the first time Sanrio has featured characters with the familiar Hello Kitty that are not typically depicted among her family and friends.”

 

A performance by a troupe of Hello Kitty dancers, the introduction of nine Sanrio characters and the recognition of Chang, Tsuji and the jet’s other pilots were given before the jet’s doors opened to reveal its first passengers –– Hello Kitty and Dear Daniel themselves –– and to invite guests on board to take a full tour of the cabin.

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The 312-seat is split into three cabins: Royal Laurel, Elite and Economy Classes, all of which offer passengers the opportunity to use more than 100 in-flight service items and select meals from its seasonal menus. EVA confirmed the Hand-in-Hand jet will be used on three of 17 weekly flights from LAX to TPE, with flight schedules listed on its website.

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Struggles of Modern-Day Cambodia According to Filmmaker Kalyanee Mam

Story by Kanara Ty

The Cambodian American experience has often been defined by one event — the Cambodian genocide that took place from the mid- to late-’70s, led by the Khmer Rouge. However, in recent years, there has been a cultural movement amongst 1.5- and second-generation Cambodian Americans to reconcile the past and move forward — namely, through the medium of filmmaking.

Human rights lawyer-turned-filmmaker Kalyanee Mam is one of them.

“We have been so stuck on this  narrative about the Khmer Rouge,” says Mam. “It’s because it’s so exotic to people. It’s easy to sell violence, it’s easy to sell bloodshed. I think we need to take our- selves away from our past and look for- ward to the future. Our future will not be anything unless we do something about our present.”

Mam is taking up that task in her feature directorial debut, A River Changes Course, due for theatrical release in October. The award-winning documentary (it won the Grand Jury Prize for World Cinema Documentary at this year’s Sundance Film Festival) follows three individuals — Sari Math, Khieu Mok, and Sav Samourn — whose lives are impacted by some modern-day problems in Cambodia, including deforestation and overfishing due to large land and fishing concessions. While the film takes on a heavy topic, the images of Cambodia presented in the film portray a beautiful country that leave you with a heartfelt and lasting impression. The film may be activist, but the last thing on Mam’s mind is violence.

“I don’t believe in violent ways of changing things,” says Mam. “I believe in slow movements in helping raise people’s consciousness. After [audiences] watched the film, it was on their minds for weeks. The images stayed with them. The images that dig into the subconscious — those are the images that last and continue to inspire people.”

Human rights is something Mam became passionate about after her first trip to Cambodia during the summer of 1998, where she worked as a research intern at the Documentation Center of Cambodia. “The first time I went back, I completely fell in love with the country. It was like a summer romance. It was such a beautiful experience. I grew to understand the country and people more,” says the 36-year-old. “Now it’s no longer a romance. Or a young love. It’s a more mature love. I understand its weaknesses. I understand the corruption. I understand the complexities. I accept Cambodia for everything that it is.”

Initially, Mam chose law school as the vehicle to fight for human rights, but she found it frustrating. “I thought the law would aid me with the mechanisms and tools to assist people who had undergone human rights violations,” she says. “But I felt the law was not broad enough. It was so defined and so specific. There were all these boundaries, rules and regulations. People’s lives are not so restricted. People’s lives are much more complicated.”

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After graduating from UCLA School of Law, Mam worked as a legal consultant for the Mozambique Ministry of Labor, as well as the Iraq Ministry of Justice. But she soon realized that she wanted to do more than just provide legal counsel for human rights victims.

“After I left Iraq, I felt like I left a part of me behind,” she says. “I was still concerned with my friends who were still there. Everyone was trying to escape the country. I was helping them legally, such as seeking asylum. I knew that wasn’t enough.” So Mam decided to make a documentary. She had been interview- ing her friend and her colleague on the down low while she was in Iraq so she had all these transcripts. She eventually turned those interviews into an award-winning documentary short, Between Earth and Sky, which focused on three Iraqi artists.

That led to work on the Academy Award-winning documentary Inside Job, which examined the global financial crisis of 2008, where Mam worked as cinematographer, associate producer, and researcher. And now with A River Changes Course, Mam is embarking on a campaign to screen the film in every single village in Cambodia, with the help from the Documentation Center of Cambodia.

“If every single person in Cambodia sees this film and sees what’s happening to [the subjects], then [they’ll realize] it’s happening to every person in Cambodia. That knowledge [would be] overwhelming,” says Mam. “It’s the first step towards raising consciousness of Cambodians living in Cambodia, and also it empowers them to do something about their situation. If everyone feels empowered to do something, you can imagine the ripple effect from that.”

This story was originally published in our Fall 2013 issue. Get your copy here.  

New York Fashion Week: Less Than 10% Asian Models

With New York Fashion Week behind us, Jezebel decided to conduct a study on the diversity of the models, or lack thereof, who walked down the runway at New York Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2014.

In previous years, people have commented on the lack of representation of models of color. In fact, the Fall/Winter 2013 collections were subject to heavy criticism due to an alarming number of companies — Araks, Assembly, Belstaff, Calvin Klein, Elizabeth & James, Gregory Parkinson, J Brand, Jenni Kayne, Juicy Couture, Louise Goldin, Lyn Devon, Threeasfour, and Whit — 13 in all, that featured only white models.

So naturally, we were eager to see what would happen this past Fashion Week. Companies had to try and remedy this diversity gap, right? And there were nearly 5,000 looks. That’s plenty of opportunity for models of color to take on the runway.

The results? Almost 80 percent of those 5,000 looks were modeled by white women, a number that has pretty much remained static since 2008.

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This is not to say that all designers completely ignored the criticism of previous years. Anna Sui, Pamella Roland, Jeremy Scott, Dennis Basso, Vivienne Tam, KaufmanFranco, Rachel Comey, Alice + Olivia, Ohne Titel, Tracy Reese, Thom Brown, Diane von Furstenberg and Zac Posen are on the list of designers who featured at least 30 percent models of color. While this number may still seem rather low, it is unfortunately the best we’ve got.

Many of the designers who were critiqued for having no models of color tried to remedy this by adding three to five non-white models. (We know. We’re rolling our eyes, too.)

Some designers tried to trick the crowd and give the illusion of a more diverse set of models. While this season seemed to be more diverse, the same models of color were being booked and were simply walking the runway multiple times.

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From left: Liu Wen at Jason Wu; Ji Hye Park at Nicole Miller; Tian Yi at Monique Lhuillier; Yumi Lambert at Y-3.

The Asian models above prove this. Tian Yi walked 15, Yumi Lambert was seen in at least 13 and Ji Hye Park and Liu Wen walked 12 shows. Rather than book a variety of models of color, companies relied on the same faces.

Somali supermodel Iman Abdulmajid was part of the crowd watching this season’s New York Fashion Week and noticed the lack of diversity on the runway.

“I’ve always said runways and photos are important to shape our young girls,” Abdulmajid said in an interview last week. “To see models of color on the runway is important to the self-esteem of our young girls. To see otherwise makes them feel like they can be in or out.”

We can only cross our fingers that those in power in the fashion industry also begin to understand the importance of diversity on the runways.

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HappyPlayTime: A Masturbation App for Women

Story by Kanara Ty

Masturbation is not an easy topic to talk about because of its taboo-ness. But when designer/web developer Tina Gong introduced her mobile app, HappyPlayTime, to the world, the art of self-pleasure just got a little easier to discuss — and in the cutest way possible.

The Chinese American uses an animated cartoon character named Happy (yes, she’s a vagina) to help female users get in touch with their genitalia (and yes, including the G-spot). All in all, her purpose is to help remove the social stigma of masturbation and help females become more comfortable with and adept at it.

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The app launches this fall, and it’s already picked up a lot of buzz. Sign up on the website and be one of the first users to test it.

Details Happyplaytime.com

This story was originally published in our Fall 2013 issue. Get your copy here.