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Sephora To Temporarily Close U.S. Locations For Diversity Training

The shutdown comes over one month after SZA experienced racial profiling at one of their locations.

To train its staff on proper and fair diversity practices, Sephora announced its decision to temporarily close all U.S. stores to enact this change. The shutdown will take place on Wednesday (June 5), CNN reports.

"Sephora believes in championing all beauty, living with courage, and standing fearlessly together to celebrate our differences," a statement on the brand's Facebook reads. "We will never stop building a community where diversity is expected, self-expression is honored, all are welcomed, and you are included."

At the end of April, singer-songwriter SZA tweeted her experience at a Calabasas, Calif., based store, claiming an employee believed she was going to shoplift. "Lmao Sandy Sephora location 614 Calabasas called security to make sure I wasn't stealing," SZA said. "We had a long talk. U have a blessed day Sandy." The revelation prompted a public response from Sephora's Twitter account, stating, "You are a part of the Sephora family, and we are committed to ensuring every member of our community feels welcome and included at our stores."

The news follows a similar path taken by Starbucks last year. The coffee conglomerate enacted an anti-bias training program by shutting down 8,000 stores across the United States. The decision followed an incident at a Philadelphia store where officers were called on two black men by a store's employee. The two men said they were just meeting at the restaurant and were apprehended even though they weren't committing a crime.

The brand also issued a lengthy statement on the matter:

“Sephora is a client-centric company and creating a welcoming space for all our clients is our top priority.  The “We Belong to Something Beautiful” campaign has been in the works for a year, and the plan to close our U.S. stores, distribution centers, call centers and corporate office for a one-hour inclusivity workshop with our 16,000 employees has been in development for over six months, timed with our first campaign chapter debuting on June 6th. This store closure is part of a long journey in our aspiration to create a more inclusive beauty community and workplace, which has included forming employee resource groups, building Social Impact and philanthropic programs, and hosting inclusive mindset training for all supervisors.While it is true that SZA’s experience occurred prior to the launch of the “We Belong to Something Beautiful” campaign, the campaign was not the result of this Tweet. However, it does reinforce why belonging is now more important than ever. Our entire organization is excited to set aside this time to re-commit to building an environment of inclusion.  We’ll be discussing what it means to belong, across many different lenses that include, but are not limited to, gender identity, race and ethnicity, age, abilities, and more.  This week marks the first step in our journey, and with the goal of ensuring everyone feels welcome in the beauty category, we hope that We Belong to Something Beautiful helps further foster that belief, for the benefit of our clients, for the betterment of the industry and our communities at large.”

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21 Savage Unveils Free Online Financial Literacy Program For Young People

In continuing his efforts to help young people access financial literacy, 21 Savage announced  the launch of his Bank Account at Home Financial Literary Project on Wednesday (July 1). The campaign includes a partnership with Atlanta Mayor Keisha Bottoms to offer free Wi-Fi and tablets to those in need.

“I felt like it’s important more than ever to give our next generation the tools to succeed in life,” the rapper said in a statement to the Associated Press.

 

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I’m making financial literacy available to kids and families across the country this summer with #BankAccount At Home- a free online program to give you the tools you need to learn to save and make money. @chime @everfi @keishabottoms

A post shared by Saint Laurent Don (@21savage) on Jul 1, 2020 at 12:21pm PDT

21 Savage and his charity, Leading by Example, partnered with mobile banking service Chime, Juma Ventures and EverFi to “connect our youth with financial education and work opportunities to teach them how to manage and earn money.”

The Grammy winner launched the Bank Account Program in 2018.

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California, Arizona And More States Tighten Lockdown Restrictions As COVID-19 Cases Surge

Coronavirus cases are surging around the country with several states changing quarantine guidelines as 4th of July weekend approaches. The U.S. reached a grim milestone of more than 80,000 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 since Tuesday (June 30).

In total, at least 2.7 million people in the U.S. have contracted COVID-19 since March. Over 1.1 million people have recovered, while more than 100,000 have died.

California, Texas, Arizona, and several other states announced new restrictions this week including the temporary closure of bars, beaches, gyms and other business in hopes of flattening the curve after easing lockdown restrictions in May.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that travelers from over a dozen states with surging cases including Florida, Texas, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Utah, must self-quarantine for 14 days.

If you're traveling to New York from the following states you must self-quarantine for 14 days.

The states are: AL, AR, AZ, CA, FL, GA, IA, ID, LA, MS, NC, NV, SC, TN, TX, UT.

— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) June 30, 2020

The traveling restriction don't just apply to the states. The European Union has closed its bordered to U.S. travelers until further notice.As of Wednesday (July 1), Florida reported an additional 6,500 new cases, pushing the state total above 100,000. But despite the surge in cases, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis refused to reinstate social distancing restrictions.

Meanwhile, Texas reported over 8,000 cases in just 24 hours, the highest one-day total for the state since the pandemic began. California saw record-breaking numbers as well, prompting Gov. Gavin Newsom to order the closure of beaches, bars, restaurants, and other businesses. The Golden State has surpassed 233,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, many of which are centered in Los Angeles County.

Arizona added 4,682 cases to its total of nearly 85,000 confirmed cases on Tuesday. North Carolina also hit a record high of 1,843 cases, bringing the state’s total of 66,513 following slight dip in the number of infections last weekend.

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50 Cent Offers To Help Virgil Abloh Amid Backlash Over Pop Smoke Album Cover

50 Cent wants to assist Virgil Abloh with the cover of Pop Smoke’s debut studio album, Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon. The fashion designer caught criticism after the album artwork hit the web earlier in the week, and fans felt the creation was disrespectful to the late rapper.

Fif initially criticized the creation on Instagram writing, “f**k Virgil he’s [out] of here,” after he learned that Abloh was behind the cover.

Taking to Twitter on Tuesday (June 30), the G-Unit honcho offered Abloh a helping hand. “Hey Virgil we need new album art. They ain’t going for that bulls**t. Love ya work let’s get to it.”

Hey Virgil we need new album art, they ain’t going for this bullshit. Love ya work let’s get to it. 🤔Steven i told you this shit was 😡eww let’s get it right! #bransoncognac #lecheminduroi pic.twitter.com/mE24CtErto

— 50cent (@50cent) June 30, 2020

Abloh later explained that the cover was inspired by his final conversation with Pop Smoke. “This album cover was one of like 5 things we talked about,” Virgil wrote in a deleted Instagram post. “He mentioned his story felt like the metaphor of a rose & thorns growing from the concrete of his hood in Canarsie, Brooklyn. In your memory, I just finished it yesterday.” Pop Smoke's manager reportedly decided to change the cover of the album, which is slated for release on Friday (July 3).

UPDATE: Pop Smoke’s manager says they will change the album cover after listening to the fans. https://t.co/eGPQ9DXa1t

— Hot Freestyle (@HotFreestyle) June 30, 2020

In March, Fif announced that he was working on Pop Smoke’s posthumous LP. “I’m on the move listening to Pop Smoke. I deduced I’m gonna executive produce and finish his album for him,” he revealed on Instagram.

Pop Smoke was shot and killed inside his Southern California rental home in February. His murder remains unsolved.

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