Haiti's Progress (Or Lack Thereof) One Year Later

Today marks the one year anniversary of the catastrophic earthquake that struck Haiti last year which left Port-au-Prince leveled and 230,000 dead but some residents say not much has changed since.

“Life hasn't progressed at all since the earthquake” 63-year-old Feralia François told TIME magazine while standing on the rubble that was once her home.

“For us, every morning when we wake up and see this, it's still Jan. 12, 2010,” added Georgina Jean, a neighbor.”

Among many setbacks, one of the major issues is that 95% of the rubble still hasn’t been removed.

From TIME Magazine:

Unfortunately, on the first anniversary of one of history's worst natural disasters, François' despair is still vastly more common among Haitians than Labrousse's optimism. The quake drew a remarkable emergency response from the international community. It also prompted ambitious plans to reconstruct, even reinvent, the hemisphere's poorest nation — to "build it back better," as the mantra went. "But the recovery process really hasn't begun yet," argues Leslie Voltaire, an urban architect and presidential candidate. Two-thirds of the 1.5 million Haitians left homeless by the quake still live in tents, and fewer than half the 45,000 t-shelters that the U.N. and other housing organizations had hoped to build by now have been erected.

The biggest impediment to the reconstruction is the most basic. "Nothing can really be done," Voltaire notes, "until the rubble is removed." And only 5% of the up to 22 million cubic yards of heavy debris has been tackled. While it took more than two years to clear less than half that amount of rubble from the Indonesian province of Aceh after the 2004 tsunami, at the current rate of removal it could take another 19 years to clear Haiti.

Facts On Progress:

•An $8 million grant from the U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), two American NGOs, Cooperative Housing Foundation International (CHF) and Project Concern International (PCI), have helped connect Ravine Pintade to running water, set up a health clinic, installed latrines and built a daycare center. Most important, they've rented heavy machinery, and employed local workers, to extract the tons of rubble choking the bidonville's entrances and arteries.

•Kids are playing soccer again, and residents can expect sturdy, temporary housing, or "t-shelters," in the coming months.

•Washington has so far spent $100 million on hauling debris, with some of the money coming from the $1.15 billion the U.S. pledged to Haitian recovery last March. “Rubble removal,” says Cheryl Mills, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's Chief of Staff, “is endemic to the success of any infrastructure project.” Gabriel Verret, executive director of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC), insists that the smaller rubble work that his agency and NGOs like CHF have undertaken “must be duplicated on a massive scale” now with massive contractors.

Facts On Setbacks:

•Of the $9 billion that other donor nations pledged last year — only 10% of which has materialized — is earmarked for backhoes, earth movers and dump trucks. One reason, say disaster experts, is that rubble removal isn't sexy. Governments and NGOs want to give taxpayers and donors the satisfaction of building new schools or supplying prosthetic limbs. Hauling rocks just doesn’t do it.

•Another obstacle is the enormity of the concrete deluge: Almost all of Port-au-Prince, a hyper-densely populated capital with criminally lax building codes, was reduced to gravel. Worse, the city's jagged topography (San Francisco can seem flat by comparison) and its chaotic maze of narrow byways makes maneuvering large equipment an ordeal. Liability concerns are a further restraint: rubble removal often involves demolition and the risk of sending a condemned structure crashing onto other properties. Then there's the problem of where to dump it. Right now, the only available site for Port-au-Prince rubble sits alongside one of the city's most troubled slums, Cité Soleil — a spectacle that does little for the “build it back better” campaign. [TIME]

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Jacquees Blames 'Hater' DJ Mustard For The Removal Of His 'Trip' Remix

DJ Mustard, the producer of Ella Mai’s “Trip,” is responding to reports that he was “hating” on Jacquees, who famously deleted his “quemix” of the aforementioned song. Jacquees visited the L.A. radio show Big Boy’s Neighborhood, where he discussed the controversy behind deleting his version of the popular track from the Internet.

“Really, DJ Mustard hated on me, no cap, that was crazy,” he told the hosts about the issues at hand. “I wanna work with DJ Mustard too, but that was a hating move.” The release of his popular version sparked rumors that the “Boo’d Up” musician was jealous of the 4275 artist’s success with his version.

Mustard, who founded Mai’s label 10 Summers, commented on Instagram about his feelings on the R&B star’s latest comments. "That n***a Big Boy said ‘it was really goin’ too!'” he laughed in a video shared to his IG Story. “You stupid ni**a," he continued.

Last year, Mustard wrote on Twitter that if a song that the artist doesn’t own is monetized, it’s stealing and “no one steals from 10 Summers.”

“This is simply a press or marketing plan, or some strategy to deviate from the narrative that Ella is breaking records left and right because the music she’s making is cutting through straight to fans at a rate people haven’t seen in years,” he continued. “Ella’s career started by doing covers and we support all her fans and fellow artists doing the same.”

To whom it may concern . pic.twitter.com/w3lzuU5tqM

— Mustard (@mustard) September 26, 2018

I’m not going to blogs or any media outlets to address this Jacquees situation ima address it right here and after this we will never address anything like this again I’m just tired of people picking on @ellamai !

— Mustard (@mustard) September 26, 2018


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#PressPlay: #DJMustard responds after #Jacquees talks about his #Trip remix getting removed!! (SWIPE)—(📹: @bigboysneighborhood)

A post shared by The Shade Room (@theshaderoom) on Mar 25, 2019 at 10:40am PDT

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'Black Monday' Becomes A Dramedy As Its World Flips Upside Down: Episode 9 Recap

Blair was Mo’s mirror in episode “295.” In this week’s episode, he internalizes Mo’s qualities, and now the reflection wants to take over the original’s life, like a scene from Jordan Peele’s Us. Some of the most analytically rich parts of this episode revolve around all the allusions to Blair assuming Mo's role after agreeing to go along with the Georgina Play, two months after Mo informed him of the rouse.

Blair flirts with Dawn – the woman Mo still loves – while sitting in Mo's desk chair as Mo walks in and sees them. He gifts all of the Jammer Group inner circle with replicas of Mo's custom-made Rolex and calls them “Molexes” with "f**k em all" engraved on them. It’s the latter mantra that, in a surprising twist, leads to Blair potentially ending Mo as we know him.

An early criticism of Black Monday was Andrew Rannells’ inconsequential portrayal of Blair in the first few episodes. After carrying a large number of scenes in last week’s episode, this week’s showcases his shining moment. One of the funniest scenes s when Blair stops himself from saying "it's all good in the hood," after glancing at Mo, before replacing "hood" with "municipalities." That’s a very artful way to say if he wants to be Mo, he’ll have to do more than speak like him. Consequently, Blair does just that in order to get Tiffany Georgina to go along with the Georgina Play.

The Agency Of Tiffany Georgina

Casey Wilson, who plays Tiffany, needs to star in a spin-off show if for nothing else than to see her do another interpretive dance routine to a remixed version of the national anthem like she did at Tiffany’s wedding reception. We predicted in our review of episode “243” that Tiffany would have a bigger hand in the Black Monday collapse than we originally assumed, and this episode brings our prophecy to life.

Tiffany admits to Blair in the final scene of the episode that she’s a lot to handle but poignantly justifies it by stating everyone isn’t as sure of themselves as she is. It’s in that moment we realized out of all of the characters with considerable screen time, Tiffany may be the only one who never lied about herself. The comments about smart “orientals” are vacuous and her obsession with social status is asinine, but they’re also genuinely Tiffany; Everyone else adjusts their morals and personality to fit whatever gets them money.

Tiffany also reveals that when she was in sixth grade, her parents prevented her from legally emancipating herself from them by giving her a cartilage piercing and a new credit card. In episode “243,” when Blair innocuously says he’s staying late at work to do “compliance,” Tiffany instinctively knew that meant illegally shredding documents because her family is wealthy. Tiffany’s parents had their own daughter kidnapped in last week’s episode to boost the company’s value and now their daughter plans to steal that very company from them. The Black Monday writers used the Georgina family this season as a commentary on how money can make anything transactional, even love and loyalty.

Just like with Mo, the Georgina family may be undone by a monster they created.

The Dramedy

In today’s age of television, shows rarely fit perfectly in one genre. Orange Is The New Black’s second season was nominated in the drama category at the 2015 Primetime Emmy Awards, a year after its first season was nominated in the comedy category. This blurring of the artistic lines has created a new type of show that is equal parts drama and comedy: a dramedy. After the last two episodes, Black Monday has become more dramedy than comedy.

In the first half of the season, Black Monday was roughly 90% hilarious debauchery with the 10% of deep introspection reserved for the final minutes of the episode. Over time, that ratio began to even out until last week’s episode, which delivered the highest concentration of drama acting of the season. In this week’s episode, the double and triple crossings in Blair and Mo’s heated rivalry are more central to the episode than Keith’s hysterical attempts at tricking the SEC and Tiffany’s ridiculous wedding. Aside from Dawn and Mo forming a secret alliance, the episode concludes with Blair’s most intimidating piece of dialogue as he breaks down the illusionary world Mo has constructed for himself.

While episode “7042” is the most compelling episode of the entire season, so far, the move into dramedy has its drawbacks. There are still gems like Mo’s double entendre of “I’ve unearthed secrets, got winded and fired,” a play on the name of legendary funk band Earth, Wind & Fire, who released their 1987 Billboard hit “System of Survival” a month before the events in this week’s episode. But, the hijinks and absurdist humor that Black Monday is predicated on are more separated than in any other episode.

As a result of this shift into dramedy, certain jokes not only fall flat but feel out of place and tonally different than the rest of the episode. Keith referring to the ability to know who is gay as “Navi-gay-tion” would be amusing in almost any other Black Monday episode. Him delivering it at the end of this week’s episode, after a dramatic exchange between Dawn and Mo, felt cringeworthy.

Hopefully, there’ll be plenty to laugh about when everything comes crashing down in the season finale next week.

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Jordan Peele attends the 'US' premiere at Museum of Modern Art on March 19, 2019 in New York City.
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'Us' Nabs Title Of Biggest Opening Weekend For An Original Horror Film

Jordan Peele’s second major film Us dropped over the weekend (Mar. 22), and much like its predecessor Get Out, it’s a monster of a hit.

According to reports, Us’ debut was the best opening for an original horror film in history, bringing in $70.25 million during its opening weekend. Its massively successful weekend also secures its spot as the third-best horror movie debut in history, behind the remakes of It and Halloween.

“Internationally, “Us” earned $16.7 million, bringing its total worldwide tally to $86.9 million,” reports CNBC.

Us tells the story of Adelaide Wilson (Lupita Nyong’o), a woman who is traumatized by an experience she had as a child. When unexpected visitors who look exactly like her and her family pay a visit to their beach house several years later, she, her husband (Winston Duke) and children have to help her combat her fears and demons.

CNBC reveals that early projections for her film were close to $50 million. However, strong ticket sales prompted analysts to change their estimates.

"The film took in $29 million between Thursday previews and Friday night showings, a strong start for a horror film that doesn’t have the benefit of a major franchise fueling ticket sales," the report continues.

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