Share your voice Music Online Comment Tags Taylor Swift’s Reputation tour lives forever and ever on Netflix How Taylor Swift flipped online fandom on its head for the better Some days social media is a laugh-a-minute whirlwind punctuated by puppy gifs, travel inspo and meme exchanges with your best online friends. Some days it is hell.It’s something global superstar Taylor Swift knows all too well.In an essay on turning 30 for the latest edition of Elle magazine, Swift opens up about how she copes with the massive amount of noise directed at her through social media platforms, and specifically how she deals with negative comments and trolls. Taylor Swift 1 It’s unlikely that any regular human being gets anything like the influx of notifications or comments that celebrities deal with. But as Swift explains, minimizing this is more than just about keeping the constant pinging to a minimum.”Social media can be great, but it can also inundate your brain with images of what you aren’t, how you’re failing, or who is in a cooler locale than you at any given moment,” she said in the essay.”One thing I do to lessen this weird insecurity laser beam is to turn off comments. Yes, I keep comments off on my posts. That way, I’m showing my friends and fans updates on my life, but I’m training my brain to not need the validation of someone telling me I look.”The question of how much of our ego and self-worth is tied up in validation from social media is relatable no matter how many, or how few followers, you might have. Whether you turn off comments and notifications or delete apps altogether for a while, everyone has their own way of getting a handle on those negative feelings — Swift included. “I think it’s healthy for your self-esteem to need less internet praise to appease it, especially when three comments down you could unwittingly see someone telling you that you look like a weasel that got hit by a truck and stitched back together by a drunk taxidermist. An actual comment I received once,” she said.For Swift, a successful woman, abuse and negativity are sad and still unavoidable side effects of putting herself out there. Keeping comments turned off is one way to block out “anyone who might feel the need to tell me to ‘go die in a hole ho’ while I’m having my coffee at nine in the morning,” she said.Swift is in the top 10 most-followed people across multiple platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. But for the reasons she herself has stated, it’s rare to see her engage with people directly through any of these services. Instead she tends to hang out on Tumblr, where she follows many of her fans. She often likes and sometimes comments on or reblogs their posts.But there have been times when Swift has disappeared from the internet altogether. In her essay, she described what it feels like when it feels like the internet turns completely against you.”A few years ago, someone started an online hate campaign by calling me a snake on the internet,” she said. “The fact that so many people jumped on board with it led me to feeling lower than I’ve ever felt in my life, but I can’t tell you how hard I had to keep from laughing every time my 63-foot inflatable cobra named Karyn appeared onstage in front of 60,000 screaming fans.”Unlike the other measures suggested by Swift, this might not be a practical solution for everyone dealing with internet bullying. But the point is to take a stand and make a statement in a way that allows you to laugh rather than feel bad about yourself.”It’s the Stadium Tour equivalent of responding to a troll’s hateful Instagram comment with ‘lol,'” she said. Related stories
AP Photo/Asmaa WaguihA member of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) defuses a bomb left by Islamic State militants at the stadium that was the site of IS fighters’ last stand in the city of Raqqa, Syria, Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017.A Houston man who planned to travel overseas and shared information on making bombs and using machetes has pleaded guilty to trying to join the Islamic State group.Prosecutors say 20-year-old Kaan Sercan Damlarkaya pleaded guilty Monday to attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.Damlarkaya, who is a U.S. citizen, was arrested in December 2017 following an undercover FBI investigation. He remains in custody pending sentencing in Houston and faces up to 20 years in federal prison.Investigators say Damlarkaya shared information on making and using weapons with people he thought also supported IS. When agents arrested Damlarkaya, they executed a search warrant at his residence and found a machete by his bed. As part of his plans to join ISIS overseas, starting in approximately early August 2017, Damlarkaya had numerous conversations online with many individuals he believed to be fellow ISIS supporters, according to the Department of Justice.During his discussions, Damlarkaya described his intentions to travel overseas to fight for ISIS in Syria or Afghanistan. He added that if he was unsuccessful in joining ISIS overseas, he would conduct an on attack on non-Muslims in the United States and that it was his “dream” to be a martyr.U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen accepted the plea on Monday and has set sentencing for Sept. 30, 2019. At that time, Damlarkaya faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a maximum $250,000 possible fine. Share
By Mark F. Gray, Special to the AFRO, firstname.lastname@example.orgTwenty three scholarships were awarded to students in the PrinceGeorge’s County’s District 8 area during the annual Empowering Future Leaders Scholarship Breakfast for the 2019-2020 academic year on June 13 at the Harborside Hotel in Oxon Hill.(left to right): Deborah Harris (Coalition member) , Dr. Valencia Campbell (Coalition President), MD State Senator Obie Patterson, Evelyn Anderson, Oxon Hill High School Honoree, Duke Haggins (Coalition member) Representative from Congressman Ben Cardin’s office, Rachel Jones, and Tiffany Hannon , Representative from Congressman Anthony Brown’s office. (Photo Credit/Maurice Fitzgerald)Since 2011 the Prince George County Drug Policy Coalition has provided more than $150,000.00 in scholarships to students throughout the area. This year another $18,000 were awarded to the group of students who excelled, not only in the classroom, but in their communities as well.The Prince George’s County Drug Policy Coalition is a nonprofit organization that promotes policies and laws that embrace the public health nature of drug abuse. Through its scholarship program, they provide community-based support to families within the County with a focus on students obtaining higher education and living a drug-free life.“Although we were extremely proud of the students’ academic accomplishments, we were very impressed with the students’ vast involvement in their communities,” said PGCDPC President Dr. Valencia Campbell in a statement. “That included serving seniors and the homeless, mentoring younger students, working on mission trips abroad, working in their church and participating in many school related extracurricular activities.”Includes Senator Obie Patterson, Former MD State Delegate Tony Knotts, 2nd from left, Ebony Mc Morris (gold dress) Student Honorees, and Judge Arthur Burnett, Sr. far right back row, and Representatives from Congressman Ben Cardin and Congressman Brown’s office ( far right). (Photo Credit/Maurice Fitzgerald)The students who have been awarded this scholarship had to reside in Prince George’s County, Maryland District 8 which is comprised of Camp Springs, Clinton, Forest Heights, Fort Washington, Glassmanor, Marlow Heights and Oxon Hill. They had to provide an official transcript and write a one page essay on what advice they would give Maryland legislators on the legalization of recreational marijuana.Many of the students shared personal stories of how they had seen the impact of recreational use of the controversial drug had impacted their peers. They recalled how many of their peers considered smoking marijuana recklessly as “fun and games” without fully understanding the side effects of long term use of the drug which has been legalized in the state for medical purposes.Students also expressed their concern through their essays on how they noticed changes in behavior from other members of their generation who have used synthetic forms of marijuana. Some of the students said they have witnessed a lack of motivation in school and a loss of interest in recreational and social interactions with their friends.They also said the members of the Maryland legislature should be vigilant regarding the research into marijuana’s long term side effects such as psychosis after prolonged use and the health issues that can be brought on by extensive use of the substance.Ronald Blakely, Coalition Vice President, and Former Ajssociate Director, White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities,. Seated–left to right Ebony McMorris, Mistress of Ceremonies, Dr.. Valencia Campbell Coalition President, Jerome Haggins,, Scholarship Chairperson, Judge Arthur Burnett, Sr. and Pastor O. Jermaine Bego. (Photo Credit Maurice Fitzgerald)PGCDPC Vice President Ronald Blakely was one of the keynote speakers of the event. A Tuskegee University graduate who earned a post- graduate degree from Pepperdine, Blakely offered sage wisdom to the scholarship recipients. The former deputy with White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities told the incoming college students, and those who were continuing, they must become experts in networking to establish contacts that will benefit them after they graduate. In one of Blakely’s anecdotes he told students to “stay in [their] lanes” and to resist the temptation to challenge the authority of professors. He shared the story of how, during his undergraduate years, that one of his friends was so preoccupied with proving that he knew more than the instructor it led him to confrontations that earned him a failing grade. Maryland State Senator Obie Patterson and Rachel Jones, representative of U.S. Senator Ben Cardin’s office, presented the students with Senate citations. Patterson also reminded the students to apply for his scholarships which can be applied to any school in the state annually.