Monday, May 21, 2018
Sunday, May 20, 2018
New York Times – "A New Atlanta, United by Soccer"
"As in much of the American South, the sports landscape in Atlanta is dominated by football, both professional and college. But for transplants like Riddle without a tie to an existing franchise or university, true sports love can be hard to find. The Braves’ long run of success in Major League Baseball in the 1990s and early 2000s is now a memory, and last year the team moved to the suburbs. The Hawks of the N.B.A. have rarely drawn well, and two N.H.L. hockey teams have come and gone.
Last year, Atlanta United eagerly stepped into that pro sports void, smashing attendance records, dominating M.L.S. merchandise sales and leading the league in scoring. Six months after it first kicked a ball, it became only the fourth team in league history to qualify for the playoffs in its inaugural season. This year, its upward trajectory has continued unabated: Attendance has continued to grow, to about 50,000 fans a game, and the team is again competing for the league’s best record."
"For a long time, “Atlanta was known for traffic, sprawl and the airport,” said Michael Tavani, 38, another transplant and entrepreneur who works downtown. “It wasn’t cool to be from Atlanta.”
But in the last five years, he said, he has sensed a growing pride in the city, especially among its younger residents. “This generation of people,” Tavani said, “want to create a special place.”"
"For years, M.L.S. clubs had looked to Europe for marketable names for the top end of their rosters, and their payrolls. But when Eales joined Atlanta United in November 2014, he suggested something different to Blank: He wanted to focus on signing talented, lesser-known players in their 20s, mostly from South America, with an eye on developing them for a few years and then selling them to bigger, richer clubs in Europe.
The strategy is the financial survival plan of the vast majority of the world’s clubs, but in M.L.S. — which had long preferred to spend its limited acquisition funds on more established, more well-known names — it qualified as revolutionary. Eales persuaded Blank, who would need to ante up millions of dollars to fulfill the vision, to see the moves not just as acquisitions, but as investments.
“With older players, there’s no upside because they are at the ends of their careers,” Eales said. “They’re 34, and maybe have two years left,” and have little resale value.
Signing a younger player to a multiyear contract, he argued, offered the potential that even the biggest purchases might pay for themselves one day. “You might get $20 million or $30 million,” Eales said. “And at the least, you might be able to get back what you paid the player.”"
Saturday, May 19, 2018
Saturday, May 12, 2018
Sunday, May 6, 2018
June 29, 2018
Written by Jay Longino
Directed by Charles Stone III
Starring Kyrie Irving, Lil Rel Howery, Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Webber, Reggie Miller, Nate Robinson, Lisa Leslie, Erica Ash, JB Smoove, Mike Epps, Tiffany Haddish, Nick Kroll
Vogue – "Rihanna on Body Image, Turning 30, and Staying Real—No Matter What"
"Still, making those kinds of pivotal lifestyle adjustments isn’t always easy—especially if, like Rihanna, you’ve been on the celebrity treadmill since you were a teenager. It’s even tougher now that she’s not only the face of her personal brand but also the CEO of a burgeoning global beauty-and-fashion empire. Pulling double duty as both badass rock star and savvy businesswoman across a working orbit that spans California (home base for her new lingerie collaborators) and Europe can take a physical toll on even the most intergalactic of superstars. Since giving up her apartment in SoHo, New York, last fall, Rihanna spends most of her time in either London or Los Angeles, though to hear her tell it, she basically lives on a plane. "
"And yet Rihanna’s most impressive body of work begins and ends with her music. While it’s been more than two years since she released Anti, she continues to dominate the pop charts, and she set yet another benchmark this March as the first female artist ever to surpass two billion streams on Apple Music. With her next record—her ninth—Rihanna is moving the needle on her creative output all over again: She plans to make a reggae album. Though it’s too soon to name a full list of collaborators, one early influence may be Supa Dups, the Jamaican-born record producer who has worked with such dancehall greats as Beenie Man, Sean Paul, and Elephant Man. If Rihanna had to name her favorite reggae artist of all time, though, it would have to be Bob Marley. (Descriptions of the Bob shrine she once built in her home are all over the internet.) “I’m gonna sound like a real tourist when I tell you my top Bob songs,” she says, pausing to scroll through a playlist on her iPhone before rattling off many of his most beloved hits: “Three Little Birds,” “No Woman, No Cry,” and “Redemption Song,” a Marley classic she has covered on tour. It may surprise you to learn that of all the tunes in the reggae icon’s catalog, “Buffalo Soldier” is the one that resonates with Rihanna on a deeply personal level. The song’s theme of upheaval and displacement is a familiar refrain for the singer, who was whisked away from Barbados to New York within months of being discovered by record producer Evan Rogers at the tender age of sixteen. Her risk-taking instincts and taste for danger have often earned her comparisons to Madonna, though in fact the similarities between Bob Marley and Rihanna ring truer, even beyond the obvious island connection. Like Marley, Rihanna is possessed of an unstudied yet wholly electrifying sense of cool. Her ability to continually recalibrate the mood of a generation in the way she sounds, looks, and moves through the world has unwittingly positioned her, just as it did him, at the global axis of popular culture."
"Fans will recognize a version of this mission statement from the lyrics of “Needed Me,” the hit single from Anti that has gone platinum five times over. In the video, Rihanna is a woman on a revenge mission who assassinates her former lover in the smoky back room of a Miami strip club. The singer has been criticized for glamorizing violence, though her defenders say that this subversive imaging speaks to the culture’s shifting power dynamics. It’s funny to think that Anti dropped long before the dawning of Trump, or #MeToo, when you consider the spirit of resistance that quietly pulses through the record. Even the apocalyptic set design and wardrobe for the tour—somewhere between Mad Max and Blade Runner—seemed to foreshadow darker days. The album received a lukewarm reception at the time of its release. Some critics wrote it off as scattershot and uneven, laden with pop songs that were anything but sweet. Others called it self-indulgent, made to please herself. In the end Anti defied all expectations, landing more number-one hits on Billboard’s dance-club-songs chart than any other album in its history. And though it was famously snubbed at the Grammys, Rihanna would end up scooping the prestigious Vanguard award (MTV’s equivalent to a lifetime-achievement award) at the VMAs."
TIME – "100 Most Influential People of 2018: Rihanna by Adele"
"... she has designed and conquered an entire lane of her own. The innovative and groundbreaking world of Rihanna that no one else will ever be safe in and get away with copying. She makes her own rules and bends ours. Whenever I’ve met her, she’s been the most gracious, loyal and funny goofball of an icon. She glows like when someone’s taken a picture with a flash and you’re dazed for a few minutes after. But it’s also very clear in that glow that she genuinely doesn’t give a f-ck; she’s fearless and full of all the right kind of attitude to be everything that she is and will be forever."