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Incredible: 8-Year-Old Inspires Touching 'Black Panther' Hashtag

Black Panther is inspiring a lot of good on social media — from campaigns to help people see the movie to celebrations of its cultural significance.

A key part of the social media outpouring sparked by director Ryan Coogler's film is the hashtag #WhatBlackPantherMeansToMe, which celebrates the release of Black Panther by opening a dialogue with fans about why this film isn’t just another Marvel movie to them.

Responses have included the opportunity for Black kids to view themselves as heroes, seeing a Disney princess who reflects themselves, like Shuri (Letitia Wright), or watching darker-skinned black women in the forefront in various roles.

The hashtag was created by Kayla Sutton, director of online marketing for Black Girl Nerds, a well-regarded genre news site that highlights diversity in the geek sphere — and has become a popular destination for women of color to celebrate geekdom.

As a proud Afro-Latina mom of an eight-year-old autistic son, Sutton has been a staunch advocate of media that's representative of her son and other children of marginalized communities. She sounds wistful when talking about her son’s excitement about Black Panther, noting that he gets excited every time a promo for the film comes on.

"I said, ‘Hey, why are you excited for the movie?' Because it was just curious to me, because for him he's young, he's black and autistic. I feel like he has a unique perspective on the world and he always has," Sutton tells Heat Vision. "He's like, 'He's awesome, he's like the coolest in all of the comic books and all of the stuff. And he's Black like me.’”

It was her son who inspired her to make the hashtag the next day, Feb. 6, for BGN. She asked her colleagues to engage in the content — but soon it grew far beyond the staff using it. It becoming a trending topic as well as a Twitter moment by the afternoon. But more than that, many fans from the casual to committed, provided emotional and personal stories centered around representation in media.

The level of support overwhelmed her, with Sutton admitting it's "just blowing me away with the response that it has gotten.”BGN  boasts 144,000 Twitter followers and is known for its strong fan engagement. Sutton has played a key role in the brand's success, so she isn't new to the whole “my hashtag trended” thing. Of course, there's no simple formula for a winning hashtag like this one. She says she doesn’t want discussions on social media to feel forced, but she does put serious thought into the objective of the hashtag and its desired effect.

“I think about my audience, how can [the hashtag] reach across everyone. Of course at BGN we want it to hit a certain amount of people, but I feel like if we can make it inclusive to everyone, because that's what we're all about, right?" she says, noting she hopes the hashtag can resonate beyond BGN target audience of women of color. "We're excluded so much, and yes, we're excited for black women, but we're also about inclusivity. And so for me that is my number one rule is that we can be inclusive to everyone.” Sutton also finds it important to make the content entertaining, from the design to the questions asked to followers.

Outside of the part-time work she does for BGN, the success of the #WhatBlackPantherMeansToMe has inspired her to actively look to do this type of work full-time.

“My ‘Clark Kent’ job as we call it, is online marketing specialist, and it’s very niche for the market that we work in,” she explains. “But popular content is where my heart lies, and being able to have a pulse on what's trending. And I think I have that, so social media marketing and content creating when it comes to writing as well, that's where I'm trying to push myself up next.”

For Sutton, the best part of this roller coaster was giving people the proverbial microphone to share their stories of being seen in this film. She says #WhatBlackPantherMeansToMe can serve as a reminder that pop culture can influence entire communities for the better or the worse — and that Hollywood decision makers should ensure that the marginalized voices are represented in the projects they greenlight.

“The gift that I could have gotten from this whole thing is that it did make people emotional, it did make people think, and actually be able to put their feelings out there for what this has done for them.”

Here's Sutton's son back in October, when he went viral for a hashtag about Star Wars representation:

This article was originally published on The Hollywood Reporter.

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Popular Celeb Spot 'La Marina' Shut Down After Drug Bust

Adored by celebrities like French Montana, Jay-Z and Leonardo DiCaprio, New York hot spot La Marina might be closing its doors for a good after a drug bust led to a suspension of their liquor license.

A statement released Dec. 6 by the New York Liquor Authority (SLA) broke down the case, which overlapped with an investigation by the NYPD in July. Bar manager Christian Mendez, 33, was arrested in November on felony charges after he was caught selling large amounts of cocaine, oxycodone and other drugs to undercover NYPD detectives. Their investigation into the venue also revealed 72 violations of the state liquor law like selling liquor to minors and impaired customers.

Chairman Vincent Bradley and Commissioner Lily Fan condemned the venue and hope to yank their liquor license for good. “When a bar manager is able to traffic and sell these types and quantities of narcotics from within an establishment it is incredibly alarming," Counsel to the Authority Christopher R. Riano said.

“Licensees have a responsibility to ensure their establishments are operating within the law, and the SLA is obligated to take emergency action as it is clear that this licensee has failed to take any meaningful actions to protect the public.”

La Marina was also hit with sixteen violations of the ABC Law, including seven counts of operating disorderly premises for permitting the trafficking of controlled substances, six violations for fire, health and more safety code violations. Their inspection grade in July was something close to an F minus for mishandlings of food, shoddy plumbing and the presence of mice and flies.

The venue has been a staple in the area since its opening in 2012, attracting big celebrities and brands like Red Bull and HBO. The New York Post notes La Marina has a 15-year lease, where they make up to $7 million a year in revenue.

Their social presence hasn't acknowledged their current status, but their calendar for upcoming events has been scrapped from their website.

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Judge Awards Cardi B Release Without Bail After Alleged Bartender Attack

Cardi B reported to court Friday morning (Dec. 7) in efforts to resolve an ongoing court case, which stems from an alleged altercation back in August at a Queens strip club involving two bartenders named Jade and Baddie Gi.

Prior to attending court, the "Money" MC was threatened to face jail time by the judge in charge of the case if she missed today’s court date. She reportedly had a court appearance on Monday (Dec. 3) that she failed to report to.

In October, the Bronx rapper (born Belcalis Almanzar) turned herself in to authorities after being accused of orchestrating a physical attack on the servers at Angels Strip Club. Per TMZ, she was arrested for two misdemeanor charges: assault and reckless endangerment.

One of the bartenders, Jade Gi, was accused of having an affair with Cardi’s (now possibly estranged) husband, Migos member Offset. The “She Bad” rapper was released without bail. Prosecutors reportedly wanted to charge her with a $2,500 bail, but the judge felt she wasn’t a flight risk, meaning she wouldn’t leave the country before the case is over in its totality.

However, the judge did warn Cardi to have “no contact” to Baddie and Jade Gi, after he granted both an order of protection against the 26 year-old. She’s also not allowed to make any threats or comment on the two on social media.

Cardi is reportedly scheduled to head back to court sometime next month.

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Premiere: Fuego And A. Chal Take Over The Strip Club In "Dancin" Music Video

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The two are seemingly in a never-ending party in efforts to promote strip club etiquette through their tantalizing lyrics. There's no denying that Fuego's sound is reminiscent of today's prominent trap artists like Migos and Future, but he packs in a Latino flair, like his contemporaries Bad Bunny and El Alfa. The Washington D.C. native's sound is similar, but it's worth noting he's been on the scene for a while, steadily etching his mark as his musical prowess rises within hip-hop and Latin audiences.

“For some reason, I've always wanted to do a sound that American hip-hop has, and then break that my way,” he tells VIBE. “When it comes to putting stuff together and making fusions of music, I've done it all my life. When I first started out, I did reggae beats, but I was rapping over them. There’s a little more urban, hip-hop sound in the Latin community. Before, it was mad reggae. It either had to be a tropical type song or reggaeton song. I've always wanted to come out with hip-hop music."

Watch the video for "Dancin" below.

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