Courtesy of Fitbit

Functional Fitness: Fitbit Unveils Ionic Smartwatch And Fitbit Flyer Wireless Headphones

The global wearables brand is adding a smartwatch and more to its activity tracker lineup. 

Fitbit is continuing to add functionality to fitness.

After releasing tracking devices like the Fitbit Charge 2 and Fitbit Blaze, the global wearable brand now unveils its first smartwatch: the Fitbit Ionic watch. With more personalization features than its previous activity trackers, the Ionic has new and stronger features that allow users to manage their health.

Via its new relative SpO2 sensor, the Ionic now estimates a user's blood oxygen level, which also serves as an indicator of sleep apnea. The improved multiday battery offers up to four days of charge-free tracking, while the Fitbit Pay feature allows users to leave their wallet at home and make purchases at any store accepting contactless, NFC (near field communication) payments. The smartwatch's GPS tracking allows users to view their pace and distance, record elevation climbed, split times, view a map of their walk, run or bike ride, and swim in a pool up to 50 meters, thanks to its added water resistance.

“With Ionic, we will deliver what consumers have not yet seen in a smartwatch,” shared James Park, co-founder and CEO of Fitbit. “A health and fitness first platform that combines the power of personalization and deeper insights with our most advanced technology to date, unlocking opportunities for unprecedented health tracking capabilities in the future.”

Fitbit also is launching Fitbit Coach, which allows users to work out anytime and anywhere with audio coaching and bodyweight exercise video workouts from the multicolor screen of its Ionic watch. The personal training app also allows users to select from a few coach options and build a workout program based on their activity level.

To hear exercise cues while taking on squats or listening to your favorite playlist, Fitbit has produced new wireless fitness headphones: the Fitbit Flyer. While working seamlessly with the Ionic watch, the headphones' Bluetooth feature delivers phone-free workout sessions with two sound settings: Signature and Power Boost.

Each ear piece includes ear tips, wings and fins of various sizes to allow a more secure and personalized fit. The hydrophobic nano coating offers "sweatproof" usage that's perfect for a sweat-inducing workout or a downpour during an outdoor jog or run. With up to six hours of music playtime, every 15-minute charge offers an extra hour of battery life. Its dual microphone feature helps suppress external, conversation-interrupting noise while taking on high-quality, hands-free calls.

The Ionic comes in a silver-gray tracker/blue-gray band; a smoke-gray tracker/charcoal band; and a burnt orange tracker/slate-blue band. To learn more about the device and its accessories and how you can preorder the $299.99 device before its Oct. 2017 release, visit

As for the Fitbit Flyer, you'll find it in lunar gray and nightfall blue at the retail price of $129.95. Learn more about the headphones over at

Bonus: Fitbit also launched its new Wi-Fi smart scale, the Fitbit Aria 2, and will be partnering with Adidas to deliver a Fitbit Ionic special-edition device and training programs in 2018.

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Trailblazing Hip-Hop Journalist Dee Barnes Reveals That She’s Homeless

Pioneering hip-hop journalist Dee Barnes is "officially homeless." Barnes recently launched a GoFundMe account and the public has already exceeded her $5,000 goal by donating more than $9,000 and counting.

“Standing in our own truth not the definitions or the expectations is powerful, and this is my TRUTH,” Barnes wrote on her GoFundMe page. “This page was created as an emergency fund to stop the process and the subsequent legal fees. Even though I am facing extreme financial hardship, I keep my head up.

“I know who I am, I know my worth and I know I'm not alone,” she added. “Everyone is dealing with their own different struggles. Some of us less fortunate than others. It may sound cliche but things will turn around in your favor, this is the balance of life ups and downs, so stay strong, and count your blessings, not your problems.” The former Pump It Up! host ended the post with a show of gratitude for everyone’s “love and support.”

Barnes, who became the first female hip-hop journalist with her own television show, also opened up about her predicament in an interview with Hip-Hop DX. “What made me finally say enough I’m going to ask for help is that quote, ‘You can overcome anything in life, but you must first be willing to live in your truth,’” she said before recounting how being assaulted by Dr. Dre in 1990 led to a strong show of public support that inspired her current crowdfunding effort.

“I had never asked for public help before, but I then remembered a long time ago while I was going through the assault trial in 1991 people were sending me checks for my legal fees. I never cashed any of them — not one — but knowing I had that support kept me strong enough to continue to face each court date, she revealed. “Right now, I am officially homeless. My goal with the campaign is to regain stability, which is imperative for survivors of any trauma.”

According to the U.S. Department of Housing, more than half a million people in the U.S. are battling homelessness. As of 2018, California has the nation's highest homeless population with more than 129,000 people in need of permanent shelter. New York is in second place with a homeless population of more than 90,000 people, followed by Florida, Texas, and Washington.


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Report: Jehovah's Witness Community Kept Secret List Of Child Molesters

The Jehovah's Witness community is reportedly being investigated for allegedly keeping a secret database that listed thousands of "undocumented" child molesters within the community, The Atlantic reports.

According to the latest report, the information was obtained after the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, which serves as the head of the Jehovah's Witness organization, sent a survey to its 10,883 U.S. Kingdom Halls seeking information about members of the community accused of sexual abuse in 1997. The survey was reportedly comprised of 12 questions, including how the community viewed the alleged abusers, whether the abuse was a one-time occurrence, and more.

The responses were then mailed back to the Watchtower in a blue envelope and scanned into a Microsoft SharePoint. It was never shared with the police, however.

In 2014, a man filed a lawsuit against the Watchtower, claiming he was molested by a Jehovah's Witness leader in 1986. During that case, the Watchtower disclosed that its U.S. headquarters had received 775 blue envelopes from 1997 to 2001.

In 2012, Candace Conti, a former member of the community, was awarded $28 million by a jury after claiming a man she worked with for a community service project sexually abused her when she was nine and group leaders ignored her because of the  "two-witness rule."

According to The Atlantic, the organization's "two-witness rule" requests that two people bare witness to the crime being alleged. "Barring a confession, no member of the organization can be officially accused of committing a sin without two credible eyewitnesses who are willing to corroborate the accusation," the rule states. Critics have said that the rule makes it easier for child molesters to abuse kids.  

According to estimates, the number of accused Jehovah's Witness child molesters listed in the secret database could range from 18,000 to 23,000. It's unclear how police are proceeding in light of the new report.

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Report: Streaming Services Account For 93 Percent Of Latin Music's Revenue

A new report by the Record Industry Association of America (RIAA) found that streaming is now making up 93 percent of Latin music’s total revenue in the U.S., Billboard reports. This amount is in comparison to the 75 percent made of all other genres in total in the U.S. by the various streaming platforms available. It’s estimated that now Latin music currently accounts for 4.2 percent of the total $9.8 billion dollars of the music business in the U.S. The figure has increased since last year, which stood at 4 percent.

"Latin music’s transformation from a physical-based business to a streaming driven one is even faster than the overall U.S. music market’s turnaround," reads the 2018 Latin music revenue report. Most of the revenue comes from paid subscriptions, which make up a total of 58 percent of the genre’s revenue.

These paid subscriptions all come from music/content streaming services like Amazon Unlimited, Spotify Premium, Apple Music, which all grew 48 percent year by year. Ultimately, the growth generated a cool $239 million. Revenue from other ad-driven platforms like YouTube and Vevo garnered a total of 34 percent, which made $93 million. The sub-category made Latin music 24 percent in revenue, which is three times larger than the average eight percent made off the U.S. general market.

The artists whom helped push forward the genre digitally within the last year have been: Ozuna, Daddy Yankee, J.Balvin and Karol G, among others. "Overall, the Latin music market is showing signs of strength again," the report stated. "We are excited for the next chapter of this comeback story."

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