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Kamala Harris Proposes Decriminalization Of Sex Work

“When you’re talking about consenting adults, we should consider that we cannot criminalize consensual behavior as long as no one is being harmed.”

Sen. Kamala Harris is formulating progressive initiatives for her 2020 presidential campaign. The California Democrat recently told The Root that she believes—under the right circumstances—that sex work should be decriminalized. In spite of her support of 2017’s SESTA (The Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act) and FOSTA (Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act), Harris thinks the act of selling sex shouldn’t be penalized if it’s consensual.

“When you’re talking about consenting adults, we should consider that we cannot criminalize consensual behavior as long as no one is being harmed,” Harris said. “But at the point where people are being harmed or exploited then I think we have to understand that is a different matter.”

The 54-year-old politician also revisited her time as a district attorney, where she championed the end of incarcerating women who participated in sex work as a means for survival. “Back when I was a D.A. I was advocating then that we have to stop arresting these prostitutes, and instead go after the johns and the pimps because we were criminalizing the women, but not the men who were associating with it and making money off it and profiting off it,” she added.

Still, other sex workers don’t feel supported by Harris’ politics. “Her progressive achievements and championing for the underprivileged are completely overshadowed by her hostile initiatives against sex workers,” CEO of online sex worker directory Sixla, Lee Jennings told The Daily Beast.

The backlash stemmed from the takedown of Backpage, a now-defunct webpage that reportedly advertised child trafficking and prostitution. SESTA and FOSTA made this possible, which left people in the sex work community having to seek other alternatives to find work. There's also an online platform designed to challenge these laws.

“As soon as FOSTA/SESTA passed and as soon as Backpage went down, we were inundated by texts from would-be pimps saying, ‘Baby, you need me now,’” Caty Simon, an escort and editor also told The Daily Beast. “And for some people that became the best choice among many many horrible options.”

Harris maintains her position by saying she did it to protect the youth. “The people who were running Backpage basically thumbed their nose at us and kept doing it making money off of the sale of youth,” she explained. “And so I called for them to be shut down.”

The Democratic representative also discussed reparations for African Americans and her stance on the legalization of marijuana. Though she believes it should be legal, she thinks more research needs to be done on the matter.

Watch the full interview below.

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Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’ Is Expected To Make $64 Million Opening Weekend

Thanks to Us, Jordan Peele has another blockbuster on his hands. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the highly-anticipated horror flick starring Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex, is expected to have a $64 million opening weekend at the domestic box office.

Peele’s sophomore horror film earned an impressive $7.4 million on Thursday (March 21) night previews, and is forecasted to take in about $27 million from Friday sales. The film is also on pace to knock Captain Marvel out of the No. 1 spot at the box office.

Once final numbers are tallied, Us will likely snatch the third-best opening weekend record for an R-rated horror film behind It, which brought in a whopping $123.4 million, followed by Halloween’s $76.2 million opening weekend last year.

Aside from rave reviews and a genius promo run that included simultaneous screenings in major media markets, Us earned a 95 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The film, set in the mid-1980s centers around a family of four who set off on a vacation that finds them confronting some familiar faces.

Peele recently spoke to VIBE about casting Duke (our April 2019 cover star) in the role of patriarch, Gabe Wilson. “I have to have somebody voice what the audience was saying,” he said. “In the case of Get Out, it’s Rod, like, ‘How have you not left yet?’ [In Us], Winston is largely that voice. There’s one moment where Lupita [Nyong’o] takes a step into the unknown, where black people [will think], ‘I don’t know.’ But to have Winston say, ‘Aaaand she left. Your mother just walked out of the car.’ That’s all we need.”

Duke also opened up about the intricacies of his character. “His function isn’t to see through the veil. His function is to tell the absolute truth how he sees it,” explained the 32-year-old actor. “He’s sometimes there to say the things that other people don’t want to say, but he’s also there to make fun of things to keep it from not getting too heavy, even though it’s real. That was my job. [Peele] respected that. I like to lean into functions. If I’m going to be your antagonist, I’m gonna really push you. If I’m gonna be your clown, funny guy, I’m gonna do that.”

Click here to read VIBE’s April 2019 cover story.

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Cardi B Explains Why She Wants To Trademark “Okurrr”

Cardi B hopes to secure as many “bags” as possible. In response to backlash and burning questions surrounding her decision to file to trademark “okurrr,” the 26-year-old rapper took to social media Friday (March 22) to defend her latest money move.

Since people tend to ask Bardi to use what has become her signature catch phrase, she figured that it was time to cash in. “You think I ain’t gonna’ profit off this sh*t? B*tch white folks do it all the motherf**king time,” she said. “So you gon’ be mad at me ‘cuz I want to get some motherf**king money?

“While I’m still hear I’ma secure all the fucking bags,” Cardi continued before adding that there are a “lot of ways to get rich” in 2019.

The Bronx native caught heat for wanting to trademark the word because she wasn’t the first to say “okurrr.” Cardi already revealed that she started using it after she heard Khloe Kardashian saying it, but the word was originally popularized in drag culture -- most notably by Rupaul’s Drage Race contestant Laganja Estranja, in 2014.

However, Rupaul attributed the word to Broadway actress, Laura Bell Bundy, who used it in YouTube skits dating back to 2010. In the skits, Bundy pretends to be a hairdresser named “Shocantelle Brown.”

Although Bundy caught criticism for her little character, which was deemed racist, she typically gets credit for bringing “okrrr” (different spelling) to the internet a full decade before Cardi made it mainstream.

No matter the origin, it looks like Cardi will be the only one profiting off of “okurrr.”

 

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#CardiB on why she decided to trademark “Okurr”

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Kanye West, EMI Working Towards Private Settlement

Kanye West and EMI could be close to settling their legal drama. Each party filed documents requesting a stay of the case to “explore the potential for a resolution,” The Blast reports.

West sued EMI in an effort to “gain freedom” from his contract, and to own his publishing. In the lawsuit, ‘Ye argued that his contract ended in 2010 under California law, which bars entertainers from being tethered to an agreement for more than seven years. The multi-Grammy winner, who signed the deal back in 2003, also accused the company of slavery because the contract doesn’t allow him to retire.

“Even if the contract were not lopsided in EMI’s favor (it is), even if its terms valued Mr. West’s artistic contributions in line with the spectacular success he has achieved for EMI (they do not), and even if EMI had not underpaid Mr. West what it owes him (EMI has), he would be entitled to be set free from its bonds,” the lawsuit reads.

EMI hit back with a countersuit filed in New York, instead of California. The suit pointed out that the 41-year-old rapper signed multiple contract extensions, in addition to accepting millions in advances.

According to The Blast, West and EMI now feel that putting a hold on the legal proceedings will be beneficial to both sides “and the Court by enabling the parties to engage in meaningful discussions in an attempt to resolve this action without having to incur the burden and expense of litigation and motion practice.”

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