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Family Matters: The 2013 Mad Decent Block Party Tour Stop In Philadelphia Recap

An audience over 6,500 filled the The Great Plaza, located on Philadelphia’s Penn’s Landing Waterfront, coming together for the 2013 Mad Decent Block Party tour. The festival was a clash of cultures, as glow stick-wielding Ravers jammed side by side with Hood By Air, Supreme, and Jordan-wearing hipsters.

“Look at the crowd outside, everyone’s represented. There is no label for this,” Mad Decent artist Riff Raff, who also performed during the show, said. “Originality is where it’s at.”

The outside grounds were littered with food vendors and tour sponsors such as UrbanEars and Puma. There was a Who’s Who of cultural influencers and musical artists backstage, but the atmosphere was anything but industry. Words like “family,” “energy,” and “creativity” were typical responses from artists asked to define what the label name means. Old friends reconnected while new friends exchanged ideas, manifesting the spirit of the Mad Decent culture. Internet entrepreneur and clothing designer 40 Oz. Van spoke about supporting the culture that shows love to him.

“It’s beautiful out here. I don’t feel like I’m seeing an artist," he said. "I’m out here to show love to my friends performing, whether it’s for an hour or 15 minutes. It’s all organic, it’s all real.”

Mad Decent affiliates and Philadelphia native sons Swizzymack, Dirty South Joe and DJ Sega kicked off the show. High-level energy filled the amphitheater packed with people that tour creator, and one-third of House Music group Major Lazer, Diplo descried as “getting turnt.” Girls with jean shorts and glowing necklaces were twerking to bass heavy trap records and the fast-paced Philly Club music. Patrons scaled the tall towers located throughout the venue to get a better look at the show and claim 15 minutes of fame high above the crowd. The vibe from the event was always ascending. Turn down for what?

DC natives Nadastrom took the event to another level, spraying water into the crowd and inviting some of the female partygoers on stage to join them in the festivities. Trap music power duo Flosstradamus and EDM upstart Dillon Francis continued to captivate the crowd with 45-minute sets that blended the bass and drum patterns of hip-hop music with the synthesizers of electronic music, creating something totally different, something genre-defining.

Major Lazer closed the show with an appropriate climax: 60 minutes of crowd surfing, streamer cannons, and a fusion of traditional Dancehall riddims with underground House and Electronic music. One lucky kid even found himself straddled by dancers. As the crowd demanded more, Mad Decent proved that the best live shows are an experience. Major Lazer gave all that it could before sending everyone home.

What started on a small street in Philadelphia and has expanded into a 13-city international tour, the Mad Decent Block Party's return to where it all began always carries a different feel to it.

“There’s no other place in the world in which an entire block will shut down and its residents will have a party like it’s a normal thing like we do in Philly,” Diplo said. “The city embodies the Mad Decent Block Party experience, and we do our best to take that with us all over the world. All we aim to do is keep it organic and real, break down barriers and continue to share what we do to the world. ”

Cory Townes is a Digital Content Producer born and raised in Philadelphia, Pa. His work has been featured in Vibe.com, The Grio, and other media publications. For more of his work, visit www.CoryTownes.com and follow him on Twitter at @CoryTownes.

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Don Cheadle as Mo in 'Black Monday,' Episode 4 ("295")
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'Black Monday' Recap: Mo Feels The Weight Of Playing God

Another week, another dive into Black Monday. In this week's episode, “295,” Mo tries to salvage his plan to get the Georgina company’s shares after Blair and Tiffany Georgina’s surprise breakup in the previous episode threw a wrench in that plan. By the end of this week’s episode, Mo gets what he wants but it doesn’t go as planned. Don Cheadle told VIBE that Black Monday was “insane...in a good way,” and this episode shows just that, starting with Mo’s God complex.

Stop Trying To Be God

You need a certain cocktail of self-aggrandization and delusions of grandeur to walk around with a God complex. Mo has that cocktail coursing through his veins. The entire episode revolves around Mo’s attempt to control the actions of humans by placing them in certain situations he is sure will yield his desired results. Only someone blinded by their obsession with being right wouldn’t see having to fix a “foolproof” plan makes him a fool.

The writing expertly showed that when you play God your creation is your reflection, especially in the tense scene at Mo’s dining room table with Blair and Dawn. He turned Blair into a cocaine-addicted party animal to show him how empty life is without having someone you love. Then, in one scene, Dawn exposed how all Mo did was build Blair in his image without realizing that part of his plan was to inadvertently show Blair just how miserable Mo really lives.

Even ostensibly innocuous details carry a huge emotional weight thanks to Black Monday’s writing and Cheadle’s consistently engaging performance. The writers literally had Mo on the outside looking in at forces out of his control at the end of the episode when he’s looking into the bar. It’s at this climactic moment of the show that Mo realizes his own mortality by getting what he wants but missing out on what he knows he needs.

It’s also at this moment that the show’s most boring lead character grew into someone worth watching.

Blair Is Here

For the first three episodes, Blair was as interesting as paint on the wall; always in front of your face but in the back of your mind. Before a single character utters a word in this episode, Blair is chain-smoking cigarettes, snorting coke and dressed like a Saturday Night Fever extra. He died “for a song and a half” and was electroshocked back to life, all in the first minute of the new episode. Blair has finally joined the Black Monday party and the show is better for it.

Mo molding Blair into his image allowed Blair to tap into a new level of confidence.  Blair’s exchange with Dawn about the implicit racism and sexism in 1980s films like Teen Wolf was rewind-worthy hilarious and ends with Blair remarking, “My favorite line from the movie is, ‘I’m not a f*g, I’m a werewolf. Oh, Michael J,” easily one of the funniest 1980s critiques on a show full of them.

The episode also entangled Blair in the show’s first love triangle, ensuring that Blair’s character growth is probably not done. With Blair now being compelling, following Dawn and Keith’s character-defining performances in the previous episode, Black Monday has set up its four most accomplished actors to be able to carry entire story arcs without relying on each other. But, the Black Monday world got bigger than those four in this week’s episode.

The Wall Street Mythology

There’s not enough time in a 30-minute episode to flesh out every character’s backstory and fully formed personality. The most surprisingly funny part of episode “295” was the story arc of Jammer Group traders Keith and Yassir (Yassir Lester) trying to stop Wayne (Horatio Sanz) from completing a “The LaGuardia Spread”. The arc showed that Black Monday has an ingenious way of speeding up character development: mythologize Wall Street.

On Black Monday, “The LaGuardia Spread” is when a trader takes a huge position on a stock, goes to LaGuardia Airport and waits to see if they made a huge profit or debilitating loss. If you guess right, you come home. If you guess wrong, “you don’t come home ever. You get on a plane and you f**king disappear,” according to a frantic Keith. Wayne was nothing more than a bumbling joke punchline of a trader before this episode. In only a few minutes of screentime we find out Wayne slept with his wife’s sister, has some weird dislike for The Howard Stern Show’s weekly guest Jackie Martling, and is so money hungry that he’d be giddy at the news of a mad cows disease epidemic and it’s positive effect on his “LaGuardia Spread” trade.

A similar result happened before on Black Monday. In the series premiere, the Lehman twins (Ken Marino) laid out the Georgina Play, the foundation of Mo’s plans to get all the shares from the Georgina company from Blair after he marries Tiffany. That Wall Street myth led to their grandfather setting himself on fire. That myth also showed that at any moment any person you see on screen become valuable because of what they about know how this fictionalized world works. As long as Black Monday continues to use the inherent absurdity of Wall Street as a machine for character development, this show could begin entering the conversation for one of the best ensemble casts on television.

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Cardi B Says Jussie Smollett May Have "F**ked Up Black History Month"

Many people are split on the alleged attack on Jussie Smollett. The Empire actor claims he was attacked by two MAGA supporters in late-January, who doused him in an unidentified liquid while shouting racial and homophobic slurs at him.

Cardi B, who is often vocal about issues in society on her social media platforms, spoke out against the reports that Smollett potentially orchestrated the attack.

"I'm really disappointed in him," she said in an Instagram Live video. "I feel like he f**ked up Black History Month, bro. Like, damn. I'm not gonna say, yet. Until he say it out his mouth that it was fake and the sh*t was staged, I don't want to completely blame him, because somebody I was talking to they said police in Chicago are racists..."

She continues by stating that there's a possibility that the police may be trying to frame the actor, who maintains his innocence amidst damning reports. However, she said that it's "f**ked up" if he is indeed lying to the public.

"Then you gave Donald Trump immunity to f**kin' laugh at n***as and sh*t. Make mothaf**kas look bad," she concluded.

Watch her comments.

Cardi B gave her opinion on the Jussie Smollett case on Instagram live. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/6AYU7cT5nL

— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) February 18, 2019

Cardi B gave her opinion on the Jussie Smollett case on Instagram live. (2/2) pic.twitter.com/c9CdhEB3sN

— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) February 18, 2019

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Reports Emerge Claiming Jussie Smollett "Rehearsed" Alleged Attack

TMZ reports that Empire actor Jussie Smollett, who claimed in late-January that he was attacked by MAGA supporters, reportedly rehearsed the alleged assault with the two men involved. According to prosecutors, his alleged racial and homophobic attack will be headed to a grand jury next week.

Per the site, "Abel and Ola Osundairo told cops they got in a car with Jussie and scouted a location, settling on the one right outside the actor's apartment. The brothers said Jussie chose the spot because he believed a camera would have captured the action."

The sources close the the situation said that Jussie reportedly wanted to make the attack a "physical thing," but did not want to be seriously injured. While Jussie left the scene with just a scratch, the brothers- who are Nigerian, and not white- did not know they left a mark on him, as that's not what they had rehearsed.

"On the night Jussie says he was attacked, the brothers claim they showed up at the scene but were extremely nervous because, just as they played out the scene, a car drove by and they were worried they'd be ID'd," the site continues.

Smollett released a statement through representatives vehemently denying the allegations that he orchestrated the attack, maintaining his original story.

 

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