Can Anyone Save the Scandal-Plagued USA Gymnastics? Li Li Leung Is Determined to Try

There are thankless jobs, and then there is Li Li Leung’s job. As the new president and CEO of USA Gymnastics (USAG), Leung oversees an organization that is struggling to justify its existence. After major sponsors walked away following USAG’s involvement in one of the worst sex-abuse scandals in sports history, the group declared bankruptcy last December, and is now in danger of losing its status as the national governing body for the sport in the U.S.

Leung is the fourth new head of USAG in two years and must now restore the reputation of gymnastics in the U.S. She inherits an organization that many gymnasts feel is working against them. Both gymnasts and USAG officials have revealed that under its previous leadership, it not only failed to immediately report sexual-abuse claims to law enforcement but also tried to keep those reports from becoming public. And even after hundreds of complaints from athletes against one man, former national team doctor Larry Nassar, piled up, USAG appointed a series of people with ties to those involved in the scandal to high-level positions. (In court, more than 150 women and girls, from local athletes to Olympic and world team members, said he sexually abused them over the past two decades, some when they were as young as 8 years old; in 2018, Nassar was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison.) Some of them believe the only way forward is to raze the organization and create an entirely new body to represent gymnastics.

Leung is betting her career that she can rebuild USAG from the inside. As a former gymnast, she wants to make athletes’ concerns more of a priority in order to rebuild the trust that has dissipated like the chalk dust gymnasts clap off their hands. She approached USAG last fall, when her predecessor resigned. “I didn’t reach out wanting to be CEO,” says Leung. “If that meant I would volunteer, then I would volunteer.”

Heading the organization wasn’t exactly a sought-after position, and many potential candidates turned it down. Leung, however, decided to leave a comfortable job at the NBA to take over the disgraced organization. Just two months into her tenure, Leung’s office at the USAG headquarters in Indianapolis is still devoid of any personal effects; there hasn’t been much time for decorating between meeting with every staff member and attending competitive events. (The first former gymnast to lead USAG in 20 years, she has even stretched with the junior national team, and kept up when they performed splits.) A few early mistakes as CEO have raised questions about whether she’s up to the task but haven’t shaken her resolve. “It’s not like you can snap your fingers and have everybody completely move on,” says Olympic gold medalist Nastia Liukin. “It’s going to take time.”

With the Olympics, gymnastics’ grandest showcase, looming in just over a year, Leung has scrawled a number, 43, on a whiteboard that occupies an entire wall of her office as a reminder of how urgent her job is. “It’s a timeline for me, a countdown of days,” she says, declining to elaborate further.

 

Leung didn’t need this job. As president of global partnerships at the NBA, she was responsible for marketing, negotiating and nurturing relationships with brands such as Nike, Samsung and Audi, and her easy friendliness helped her adapt to living around the world in London, Shanghai, Beijing and New York. But after watching USAG self-destruct over the past few years, she could not sit by any longer. “I kept telling myself, ‘It’s going to get better at some point,’” she says. “Over the course of two years, it didn’t. Because I gained so much from the sport, I felt it was time to pay it forward.”

When she was 7, she and her twin sister, May May, took their first gymnastics class in Ridgewood, N.J. The daring flips, and the license to tumble and catapult their bodies to impossible heights, left the girls smitten, so Leung’s parents soon moved the family to nearby Parsippany so the sisters could train at an elite gym. For 15 years, Leung lived the almost monastic life of an elite athlete, training twice a day, for 35 hours a week, missing most of the traditional teenage rites of passage like football games and school dances. The dedication earned both Leung and her sister gymnastics scholarships to the University of Michigan, and her athletic career even set her up for a less traditional challenge while she was at the NBA–competing in a regional first round of American Ninja Warrior. (The floating steps sunk her.)

In her new role, she is focused on enforcing new athlete safety policies to protect gymnasts. She has been advised not to reach out to sexual-abuse survivors involved in pending lawsuits, although some have contacted her. She told attorneys on the survivors’ committee that when she can, she wants to meet with them. “I don’t see them as adversaries at all,” she says. “I want to hear from them and would love them to be part of the solution going forward.”

Such a partnership with survivors may not be as easy as Leung hopes, given her rough start at the helm. In her first broadcast interview, Leung revealed that she too had been seen by Nassar, but said she was not abused by him because her coach was in the room. Survivors took offense; many had testified that Nassar abused them, under the guise of treating them, while their parents or coaches were in the room unaware of what he was doing. Leung quickly issued an apology on social media. “I could have chosen my words a bit more artfully,” she says a few days after the fallout. “My comment was never meant to diminish the horrific experiences the survivors had to go through. I continue to apologize for that.”

Then Leung hired Ed Nyman, a former gymnast and an expert in biomechanics at University of Findlay in Ohio, who had worked at his wife’s gymnastics facility, to serve as a medical liaison between athletes, coaches and the organization, and to oversee athlete care and wellness. But on his first day, she fired him, after she says she learned he “fail[ed] to disclose athlete safety complaints involving him and his wife’s gym.” Nyman says the complaints were made to SafeSport (an independent body that evaluates any complaints about athlete abuse, regardless of whether they are sexual in nature), did not require a formal investigation and were known to people at USAG. He maintains, “I have never done anything that disqualifies me for this job.”

Despite all the problems USAG must contend with, Leung is determined to turn it around. The U.S. Olympic Committee’s investigation into whether USAG should be decertified as a national governing body is on hold because of the bankruptcy, but she hopes the organization will be financially solvent again by the end of the year. That would give her time to make the case that USAG should remain the representative for the sport at the Tokyo Games in 2020. “My goals are to work in several main areas,” she says of the critical year ahead. “One is finding a fair and full resolution with the [Nassar] survivors. The other piece is athlete safety; we want to empower athletes. And finally, our financial stability is a big part. I believe if you put your house in order and do what’s right, the partnerships will come. That way our athletes can focus on the Olympics without any distractions.”

This appears in the June 24, 2019 issue of TIME.
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Does Anyone Else Hate Having Barbershop Convos?

A few weeks ago, Uber rolled out their premium black car service Uber Black, which gives passengers the option to not only upgrade their vehicles but also shush drivers with a mute button. The program is Uber’s attempt to provide passengers with a more customizable experience, as well as address the ambiguity surrounding the relationship between drivers and passengers. Unlike taxis, calling an Uber means getting into someone’s personal car. Do you talk? What if the driver doesn’t feel chatty? What if you don’t feel chatty? No matter how many times I’ve gotten into an Uber, I’m never quite clear whether I should chat — and whether the wrong amount of chatting will bother the other person.

Predictably, when the program rolled out, everyone on Twitter had opinions. Some said that it was destined to failure; others said this came by the grace of God (pro tip: I’ve found that Uber Pool, strangely, is an excellent way to get a quiet ride by default. The more strangers there are in the car, the less social pressure there is for you to talk). All the debate made me wonder: should barbershops also have a mute option?

It turns out, I’m not the only person who prefers a quiet barbershop experience. In a super scientific Twitter poll, over half our readers said that, if given a choice, they would prefer to sit silence (almost double the number of people who said they like to talk). Which is odd since there’s so much romance around the idea of barbershop conversations: the long and close relationship between a man and his barber, the communion over sports and politics, and the catching up. I chat to be polite, but if given a choice, like many other people, I’d rather sit peacefully.

Unlike other commercial relationships, such as getting coffee from your barista, getting a haircut is strange. You can’t start and end with a simple “hello, how are you today?” The experience lasts about thirty minutes — up to an hour if you’re in some place fancy — and sitting that long in silence can be, well, awkward. But that doesn’t stop my fellow introverts from wishing they just didn’t have to engage. “I hate being rude, but I also hate being captive to small talk,” says Jay Arem. “If it were a new barber each time, I’d shoot the shit out of curiosity. But over time, it feels like you’re having the same plodding conversation.” Jared Sylvester says he enjoys the silence. “When I don’t have to talk, it’s a very meditative experience.” Steven Lerner adds: “It’s strange to have a conversation while looking at yourself in the mirror. Sometimes I wonder if the other side is chatting just to be nice.”

 

Karl Marx, who definitely needed a haircut

 

Social theorists call this affective labor, which is closely associated with the Marxist critique of alienated labor. It posits that service workers in highly advanced capitalist societies — namely those in Western countries — are expected to foster certain affective states that have little to do with the real job at hand. A mechanic or gardener or baker, for example, may be highly competent at fixing or planting or baking, but he or she is also expected to generate the right feelings in their customers. In this sense, the person isn’t just selling a service or product, but also a part of their personality.

I started thinking about affective labor a few years ago when I visited China and Russia, where service workers don’t engage in what we would deem to be basic customer service. If you go somewhere to get your hair cut, the barber performs the job without a smile. At first, it felt alienating, but then I started wondering about my own assumptions. When a McDonald’s employee hands us our burger and says, “my pleasure,” do we really believe them? Do we engage in these things because both sides want to? Or is the service provider trying to make us, the person who determines their livelihood, feel nice?

The idea of affective labor allows us to think about our relationships with drivers and barbers in a few ways. Who are these conversations for? Are service workers chatting for their pleasure or ours? Do these relationships actually extend beyond economic life, or are people talking because they want a better rating and/ or higher tip? As we know, such service workers aren’t employees — they’re often independent contractors who rent access to commercial spaces. Drivers use Uber as a marketplace; barbers frequently rent chairs in barbershops. A mute feature can make a customer feel like they’re an employer, giving them control over whether the fiction of affective labor is a pleasure for all parties involved.

 

 

Wes Duncan, a PTO reader who goes to black barbershops, says he can’t imagine going without the convo. “Silence is not an option,” he jokes. “There have been a lot of articles written over the years about the importance of barbershops in the black community. For me, it’s a social gathering place where men talk about sports, politics, and relationships. I’ve only had two barbers in my life, and have been with my current one for almost fifteen years now. So we have a great relationship. He also worked in the same industry that I’m in now, so he’s always giving me solid career advice. Some compare the experience of going to a black barbershop as therapy. I don’t know if I would use the word therapy — mental health is important and should be handled by professionals — but I see it like those old social clubs. A barbershop is a place where men can go for interesting conversations and heated debates, especially about sports. A lot of people will go just to be around other people and talk, even if they’re not getting a haircut.”

David Coggins, the style writer who penned the book Men and Manners, has some practical advice for introverts such as me. “My feeling is that there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be in silence if you’re sitting at the barber. If you don’t want to talk just say (in a polite way of course), ‘I’m just going to relax and close my eyes, if that’s alright with you.’ Usually, they’re happy they don’t have to make small talk. If I’m in a car, I also tell the driver from the airport I’d just like to relax after a flight. When you’re done, you still smile and say thank you, and I think that’s a fine equation.”

For Coggins, respect is key. Treat others as you would want to be treated, so goes the Golden Rule. “If you’re actively looking at your phone in the barber chair that’s different,” he says. “That communicates that you have something more important to do and that your mind is somewhere else. That’s less appealing to me. You might quickly check a message if it’s urgent (and tell your barber first), but I put my phone away. Getting a haircut is about a half-hour without the phone — it’s probably a good thing.”

Whether you like to have conversations or not, most of us visit the same barber every two or three weeks. “Naturally, you want to have a good relationship with the person. That’s a basic human instinct,” Coggins adds. “If you want to look at it more cynically, don’t you want to be on good terms with someone who has that much control over the way you look?”

Damn, looks like I’m going to be chatty now.

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Google and Legendary Dancer Bill T. Jones Create Interactive Dance Experience for Anyone

Bill T. Jones and Google Creative Lab have collaborated to launch Body, Movement, Language, a collection of experiments that have resulted from a two-way residency between the writer, dancer director, and Tony Award winner.

Inspired by Jones’ long history of intertwining live, improvised speech and dance, these open-source experiments use AI to invite people to explore the creative possibilities of their bodies and make new connections with Jones’ iconic works right at home, using nothing more than a laptop and webcam.

When asked why Jones partnered with Google he said, “The idea of machine learning intrigues me. The theme of our company’s Live Ideas Fest this year is artificial intelligence. AI is supposed to take us into the next century and important things are supposed to be happening with this technology, so I wanted to see if we could use it to stir real human emotion. Maybe it’s ego, but I want to be the one to know how to use PoseNet to make somebody cry. How do you get the technology to be weighted with meaning and import?”

The series of four experiments include:

Manifesto

An intimate message composed in digital space

Bill T. Jones is famous for improvising with speech and movement in performance– deftly weaving together deeply personal stories, and commentaries on culture. Manifesto allows the user to create a trail of words that respond to their movements in real-time. If you exit your camera’s frame of vision, the trail of words will suspend on screen. With this process, you can compose a statement, a poem, or letter to someone you know. Jones has his dancers use this experiment to tell stories about their lives or write a letter to someone.

The Game

A kinetic conversation

This concept was discovered accidentally when Jones’ dancers began playing with a glitch in PoseNet that allowed them to “steal” the shape rendered on screen from one another by modulating their poses. Inspired by their experimentation, Jones asked them to think of three words with strong relationships to each other that would imbue this new game with meaning and weight. This game begins with his chosen triad: “lover, stranger, friend,” but you are encouraged to enter your own collection of words to give The Game more significance to you.

Hold That Thought

A soliloquy with digital props

Inspired by Jones’ work with language and movement, this experiment started as a visual pun on the significance of speech. As the words you say appear on screen, they become part of your body and are affected by your movements. While developing this experiment, Jones prompted his dancers to speak and feel the physicality of the words in the stories they tell. Hold That Thought invites you to speak freely while contending with your words as if they were physical objects that you can enlarge, shrink, or tilt with your movements.

Naming Things: Approaching 21

A new way to experience one of the most iconic pieces in the history of American dance

Debuting in 1983, 21 has become one of Bill T. Jones’ signature works. Jones cycles through 21 poses with spoken titles and improvised associations in a commentary on the body and its symbolism in culture. This dynamic performance is rooted in the time and space in which it is delivered. It is never executed the same way twice, making it impossible to archive. This experience, Naming Things: Approaching 21, is a complement to the live performance. This experience pays homage to the structure of 21 and allows you to experience each section uniquely. First, you watch him perform each pose. Second, you participate in the piece and must match his pose to advance the video and learn each poses’ title–a function powered by Google PoseNet. Last, you hear Jones’ reflections on the piece.



This project is an example of an innovative, socially responsible application of AI and even more specifically, the use of AI to explore and better understand the black and LGBTQ+ experience through art and dance.

 

The post Google and Legendary Dancer Bill T. Jones Create Interactive Dance Experience for Anyone appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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The More You Know: Anyone Can Have PTSD. In Fact, You May Have It Right Now.

Woman sitting home alone

Source: Vladimir Vladimirov / Getty

From May 12-18 it’s National Women’s Health Week, an annual effort put on by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office to encourage women to be as healthy as possible. To help observe the week, we’re speaking with experts about everything from mental health, diet, pregnancy, fertility issues and more. 

The first time I thought that I may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, I was on the phone weeping to my mother about my period.

Just a few months prior, I’d experienced a miscarriage. It was my first pregnancy, one that I was overjoyed about. I was elated to the point where I was walking around the baby section in Target, beaming at my thoughts for the near future.

When things didn’t work out as I’d hoped, I was heartbroken, but life had to go on. I opted to miscarry naturally, a process I read online could last a few weeks. Unfortunately for me, the process lasted three months. I bled every day, had contractions that I feared, and sobbed on the toilet while looking down at my reality. For three months, I was held captive to my pain, not fully able to let go of the sadness because my body wouldn’t hurry up and let go of the fetus. When it finally did, I tried my best to be strong, but I realized that so many things ended up being a trigger, a reminder of the grief I’d experienced. I found myself speed walking past that same baby aisle in Target to keep myself from acknowledging the shame I was feeling. When I finally stopped bleeding, and then my menstrual cycle began a few weeks later, I started bawling. I was mentally exhausted and tired of seeing red. I couldn’t do it, even for just a few more days. Sitting on the toilet for too long reminded me of late nights I spent bent over, trying to find any sort of relief. Seeing babies reminded me of what I felt I was missing out on. Before I knew it, I was breaking down in tears on the phone with my mother, telling her that I felt like I had PTSD. At the same time though, I assumed I was being overdramatic. “People who have PTSD have been to wars, seen murders and survived attacks,” I would think to myself. I had experienced something that was sad, but common. I couldn’t be suffering from symptoms of something so serious, right?

According to New York metro area-based mental health professional Cindy Bowers, MA, LMHC, I very well could.

“Symptoms of PTSD can be prompted by any experience, direct or indirect, that is perceived to be traumatic,” she said. “Some examples of experiences that can contribute to symptoms of PTSD consist of witnessing or experiencing accidents and assaults, witnessing death or experiencing near-death events, military combat, significant loss of family members, home, employment and natural disasters.”

Those symptoms, according to Bowers, run the gamut. They can include thinking of your trauma to the point where you struggle to sleep, dealing with a strong sense of fear, avoiding things that can remind you of what you’ve been through, and having bodily reactions to memories of your disturbing experience. Such symptoms, whether one or a few, usually occur for at least a month.

“Following exposure to a traumatic event, one may experience symptoms such as intrusive, involuntary or distressing memories of the event, flashbacks, dreams and night terrors, sleep disturbance, memory loss, persistent negative thoughts and emotions associated with anger, shame and horror,” she said. “They may feel detached from their surroundings, exhibit self-destructive behaviors, avoidance of anything that is reminiscent of the event, and having other psychological or physiological reactions to the event.”

After finding myself an emotional wreck once again, I called my mom. She implored me to seek out a counselor to share my feelings with. While she could hear me out during my breakdowns, she was worried that she wasn’t saying the right things that could truly provide me with the support I needed. I was hesitant about the idea at first, but I couldn’t deny that I just needed someone to truly talk to. Bowers says that those who struggle with dark memories of trauma need to seek professional help. There are many options, including social workers, mental health clinicians, psychologists, psychiatrists and nurse practitioners who are experienced in treating PTSD.

“It is imperative for our community to be educated regarding the many forms in which post-traumatic stress disorder can impact them regardless of race, age, class, or socioeconomic status. Such knowledge equips us to access the readily available resources, such as community mental health clinics, private therapy and non-profit associations that provide linkage to PTSD resources, to get assistance,” she said. “It can also help people who feel they are impacted by symptoms of PTSD to have normalized conversations about their experience and reduce mental health stigma, particularly within the African-American community.”

However one chooses to go about dealing with the disorder, it’s important to know you’re not alone. Per the National Alliance for Mental Health, PTSD is something impacting 8 million Americans. Sadly, in addition, Black people have a higher chance of being impacted by violent crimes, which can trigger symptoms of PTSD.

Aside from seeking professional help, and contacting crisis hotlines when you need immediate help (such as The National Alliance of Mental Illness Helpline and National Alliance on Mental Illness), there are things you can do on your own to obtain some peace. With social media especially providing a lot of triggers for people, it’s important to also know how to cope through self-care by tuning and logging out.

“People can take a self-care approach to PTSD, particularly in the social media age, by limiting their exposure to trauma on social media, TV, or the radio,” she said. “There may be ways to set parameters to this content. Some people also take social media and other related breaks or cleanses periodically.”

“It’s also recommended to engage in a grounding activity,” Bowers added. “That can include a deep breathing exercise, a counting exercise in which one may count backwards from a particular number to de-escalate heightened feelings of anxiety, fear or anger, meditation, describing one’s surroundings to focus on the present, or having an object handy that symbolizes safety. Examples of those things can be furry objects, stress balls, a picture of someone or something significant, and having domesticated animals. Journaling can also be effective.”

I’ve done a little bit of everything to ground myself when I’m feeling emotionally overwhelmed by my memories. I log off of social media sometimes, or I use it to help me by searching for things that are humorous. I also do deep breathing in moments where people ask me triggering questions about my plans for parenthood. Nothing has helped more though than seeking out a counselor, whom I see biweekly.

All of these measures haven’t completely helped me to move on from what’s happened and not look back, but they’ve given me the strength to no longer be consumed by it all. More than a year after the beginning of that traumatic episode, I’m grateful to be where I am at now, because it’s far from where I used to be.

MadameNoire

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The Art of Being RihannaIf anyone embodies the flawless…

The Art of Being Rihanna

If anyone embodies the flawless intersection between beauty and fashion, it’s Rihanna. For BAZAAR’s May issue, the singer, fashion icon, and makeup mogul stages the ultimate one-woman show in the season’s most daring beauty looks and showstopping couture.

Photo by Dennis Leupold; Maison Margiela Artisanal by John Galliano jumpsuit.

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Former Facebook exec: ‘Zuckerberg is sitting on more data about what people want to do online than anyone else in the world’

Alex Stamos, Facebook's former chief security officer, said Zuckerberg is sitting on a whole lot of data about people's online decision making.
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Don’t Let Just Anyone Handle Your Money: Use Caution When Choosing a Financial Adviser

African Americans may do well to check out a financial adviser’s credentials thoroughly before hiring one to manage their investments. New data shows what you need to know before choosing a financial adviser.

Some 48% of Americans mistakenly believe all financial advisers are required by law to always act in their clients’ best interest, a new survey by digital wealth manager Personal Capital shows. The finding comes after the Securities and Exchange Commission this month settled charges against 79 investment advisers who must return over $ 125 million to clients tied to mutual fund sales, with a large chunk of the money going to retail investors, DI Media reports.

The Personal Capital 2019 Financial Trust Report further disclosed that 65% of investors who work with a financial adviser incorrectly believe that financial advisers only make recommendations that are in a client’s best interest, a rise from 46% in 2017.

A startling discovery was that just 44% of Americans know the fee amounts they pay on all their investment accounts. And 20% do not know how their adviser is paid. Personal Capital claims hidden fees can add up to more than an eye-popping $ 400,000 in an investor’s lifetime.

This report stemmed from a CARAVAN survey by Engine among a sample of 2,007 adults—1,004 men and 1,003 women—18 years of age and older. The online interviews were conducted in December 2018 and entailed responses from 202 African Americans.

Though 30% surveyed think a financial adviser is likely to take advantage of a consumer, 97% trust that their own financial adviser will act in their best interests.

A Lack of Awareness When Choosing a Financial Adviser

Accentuating the lack of awareness pertaining to advisers’ legal obligations to clients, 18% were unable to identify if their adviser is a broker/dealer or a fiduciary. The 26% who indicated their advisers are broker/dealers should reconsider if they are receiving unbiased financial advice, Personal Capital says.

Questioned about who they would trust their money with, 28% said a registered investment adviser, 21% a big bank/brokerage firm, 14% a local advisory company, 8% an online platform. Thirty-three of the respondents said none of the above.

On the loyalty front, millennials surprisingly were the most devoted with 80% declaring they would follow an adviser to a new firm. Seventy percent of Gen Xers and 66% of baby boomers felt that way. Respondents reflected on the usefulness of technology in financial services and cybersecurity concerns.

The overall findings come after years of public debate among regulatory bodies over the fate of the fiduciary rule focused on arguing the definition of “best interest,” which Personal Capital claims may be contributing to the increased public confusion.

“While we hope all financial services professionals and firms are working with Americans’ best interests in mind regardless of fiduciary designations, this simply isn’t the case,” said Jay Shah, CEO of Personal Capital. “When it comes to wealth management, anything less than advice that meets the fiduciary standard simply isn’t acceptable. Investors deserve more.”

How to Find a Reputable Adviser

Responding to the Personal Capital report, Kevin Mayeux, CEO of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, said, “Broker-dealers and their registered representatives provide affordable, trustworthy financial services and products to clients at all income levels, from the wealthy to those with more modest means.” The NAIFA is the nation’s largest membership association of insurance and financial professionals.

Mayeux added,  “Fiduciary regulations, such as one imposed by the U.S. Department of Labor before it was struck down by a federal court, can create burdensome and costly requirements that make it difficult or impossible for advisers to provide individualized, human-on-human advice and services to middle- and lower-income consumers. Many registered investment advisers charge fees and require account minimums of $ 200,000 to $ 1 million or more while relegating people who cannot maintain those balances or afford those fees to one-size-fits-all computerized models or call-centers.”

“The truth is, insurance and financial advisers are highly-trained and licensed professionals. They are governed by state and federal securities laws, and every securities transaction they complete with a client is subject to compliance reviews by their broker-dealers and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.”

Mayeux pointed out NAIFA members agree to abide by a code of ethics that includes a promise to promote their clients’ interests. He says the vast majority of these advisers build and maintain enduring relationships with clients that often last decades and would not be possible if the advisers were not looking out for the best interests of their clients.

“Nonetheless, NAIFA supports an ongoing effort by the Securities and Exchange Commission that would further require advisers to serve in the best interests of their clients and is working with the SEC to ensure that the final rule benefits consumers of all income levels and allows them to continue to receive needed services and advice.”

A “Staunch Advocate”

Geoffrey Brown, CEO of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, said the findings from Personal Capital’s 2019 Financial Trust Report are not surprising. He said because of efforts to mislead and confuse the public by non-fiduciary financial services professionals, consumers often don’t have the clarity needed to evaluate the relationship they have with their chosen professional.

He added this leads to a lack of understanding about the true cost of the engagement and the duties owed to the client under the law. Since its inception, Brown claims NAPFA has been a staunch advocate for fiduciary principles, something he maintains is the most transparent way of serving the public. The NAPFA calls itself the country’s leading professional association of fee-only financial advisers.

“In today’s marketplace, it’s virtually impossible to distinguish a salesperson from an adviser, or between those advisers who are legally obligated to provide advice under a fiduciary standard versus those who are not. When working with an adviser or salesperson, consumers need to be clear about the nature of the relationship,” Brown says.

 

The post Don’t Let Just Anyone Handle Your Money: Use Caution When Choosing a Financial Adviser appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Is Anyone Surprised? YouTube Had to Deal With an ‘Unprecedented Volume’ of Violent Videos After Christchurch Terrorist Attack

The Washington Post has reported that YouTube dealt with an “unprecedented volume” of violent videos after last week’s terrorist attack in New Zealand.

On Friday, a gunman murdered 50 worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. Currently, 35 more are hospitalized with 12 in critical condition, including a 4-year-old-girl. In an appalling act of cruelty, the murders were recorded and posted to social media channels around the world. As the news unfolded, the footage spread at an alarming rate. After the weekend, Facebook has reported that they removed an astonishing 1.5 million videos of the attack in just 24 hours.

Although YouTube has not made an official statement about how many videos have been moderated, the company said they have experienced an unprecedented volume of violent content. According to The Washington Post, moderators worked through the night to remove tens of thousands of videos of the terrorist attack. In an interview with The Post, chief product officer Neal Mohan said that some uploads were altered to prevent automated tools from spotting the footage.

Reports suggest that copies of the video were being added as fast as one per second. Eventually, this drove the streaming site to disable some search options to control the problem. In addition, they also shut down some human review features to speed up the process. However, by Friday, they had no choice but to send newsworthy clips via human moderators to check for violence or disturbing imagery.

Since the shootings last week, the entire world has been united in shock and sadness. The assailant, Brenton Harrison Tarrant, appeared in court on Saturday. The Australian citizen did not make a plea, but flashed a white supremacist hand signal.
In response to the attack, US Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said:

“We, too, have seen the face of such evil with attacks in places such as Charlottesville, Pittsburgh, and Charleston. And in the wake of the New Zealand tragedy, I want to make one thing very clear: We will not permit such hate in the homeland.”

However, unlike the United States, New Zealand’s government has made decisive moves to reform gun laws in the country. In a statement, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said:

“We have listened to public sentiment following Friday’s terrorist attack in Christchurch and decided to remove all semi-automatic firearms sales and parts associated.”

Meanwhile, social media giants are facing new challenges about how to moderate violent or disturbing content. While most services agree that this was an unusual incident, the spread of the Christchurch footage has led to calls for companies to do more to protect users from hateful and violent material.

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WWE star Paige on sex tape humiliation: ‘I don’t wish that for anyone’

She was once one of the biggest stars in the pro wrestling business, but by 2017, she had become depressed and nearly suicidal. She locked herself away from the public and her family. She became sickly and was treated for anorexia. Her hair started falling out. But a chance encounter with a young fan at…
Living | New York Post

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Is anyone surprised Tituss Burgess cleans to a Pointer Sisters soundtrack?

“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” star Tituss Burgess has the whole work-life-balance thing down. Ever since the Athens, Ga., native came to New York more than a decade ago, he’s worked steadily, onstage and off. You’ll next see him as a psychic in the comedy “I Hate Kids,” out Jan. 18. But once Saturday hits, he turns…
Entertainment | New York Post

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A North Pacific Purple and Red Sends the West Coast Solid Swell This Week, Anyone Taking A Sick Day?

The West Coast and Hawaii are in for an early Christmas!

“The North Pacific continues to impress as we inch closer to halftime in December. Hawaii gets a good-sized dose of NW swell midweek, however, strong trades have been a persistent annoyance — when will they relax enough for you to enjoy the surf?

Meanwhile, Northern and Central California continue their run of sizeable surf but with varying winds this week. What day (or hours) is your zone are looking best to paddle? Further downstream, Southern California gets in on the action to start the week” – Surfline 

For constant swell and weather updates, follow Surfline and their social media listed below.

IG @surfline

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The post A North Pacific Purple and Red Sends the West Coast Solid Swell This Week, Anyone Taking A Sick Day? appeared first on .

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Kevin Hart’s Out At The Oscars – But Does Anyone Else Want The Job?

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The “most thankless job in town” just got even more difficult.

The Oscars have a longstanding host problem, but Kevin Hart’s swift downfall over old anti-gay tweets has led to bigger questions about the gig and the liability of social media histories.

It’s just the latest controversy for the organization that puts on the Academy Awards, which is trying to combat declining ratings for its marquee event while weathering the pressure of being a focal point for the shortcomings of the entertainment industry as a whole.

“I think it’s embarrassing,” Matthew Belloni, the editorial director of The Hollywood Reporter, said about the academy’s decision to pick Hart. “It shows that they either didn’t vet this host properly, or they did vet him and didn’t think this would be an issue. And both are a little troubling.”

Hart seemed to fit the bill for what the academy was looking for.

“He checks all the boxes for a show like the Oscars,” Belloni said. “He’s a legitimate movie star. He’s a funny guy and can handle the stand-up element of the show. And he has a gigantic social following. And to the academy, that’s important. They want someone who can bring a new audience to the show.”

But Oscars hosts have always been subjected to a lot of scrutiny.

Poor or even mediocre performances can haunt people for years (Anne Hathaway and James Franco). Off-color jokes have a way of festering in the cultural consciousness (think of Seth MacFarlane’s “we saw your boobs” song, or Chris Rock’s Asian jokes). And even when things go decently enough, everyone is handed the right envelope and nobody walks away offended, the hosts can still be blamed for poor ratings.

“Oscars host has become a not very desirable job in Hollywood. Very few people see an upside,” Belloni said. “You put a huge target on your back.”

People have stepped down from being the public face of the event amid controversy, as producer Brett Ratner did in 2011 for anti-gay slurs. But Hart’s case is a little different. Ratner’s offensive remarks came after he had secured the gig. Hart’s tweets were from almost a decade ago and were well-known.

But in 2018, an unsavory social media past can cost someone their job. Just this past summer, the Walt Disney Co. fired director James Gunn from the third “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie for old tweets in which he joked about subjects including rape and pedophilia. As with Hart, the problematic tweets were amplified by social media outrage.

Immediately after Hart was confirmed as host on Tuesday night, some journalists began tweeting reminders of Hart’s past comments. By Thursday morning, a few publications had written articles about them. The outrage escalated, Hart commented but did not apologize, stoking even more outrage, which culminated with Hart’s announcement on Thursday night that he was stepping down as host of the 91st Academy Awards.

As the dust settles, the situation has proved vexing for some in the entertainment business. Actor D.L. Hughley commended Hart for his decision.

“A Comedian says something that offends people and refuses to apologize?” Hughley tweeted. “(Expletive) ’em if they can’t take a joke! Well done #KevinHart.” Snoop Dogg posted an even more colorful Instagram video in support of Hart.

The advocacy organization GLAAD wishes Hart hadn’t stepped down, however.

“Hart’s apology to LGBTQ people is an important step forward, but he missed a real opportunity to use his platform and the Oscars stage to build unity and awareness,” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis.

The film academy has yet to address Hart’s departure. Hart said the film academy told him he had to apologize or he’d lose the gig. He bowed out on his own, and with an apology.

Now everyone has an opinion about who should be named host. A woman? A comedian? Not a comedian? Someone in the LGBTQ community? All of the above?

Many keep coming back to Whoopi Goldberg, who has hosted the awards four times. Some have said Ellen DeGeneres, who hosted one of the Oscars’ highest-rated shows, or Tom Hanks, who has a longstanding academy relationship.

Others have said Keegan Michael-Key and Jordan Peele, Will Smith or Lin-Manuel Miranda. Busy Phillips threw her own name out there (“I AM AVAILABLE,” she tweeted). Philips also proposed Issa Rae, Sarah Silverman, Ali Wong, Samantha Bee, Robin Thede and Aisha Tyler, or “any other woman working in Hollywood right now who wants to.” Stephen King suggested Patton Oswalt (He’s “funny, sharp-tongued, and he knows film,” King tweeted.) Some have even proposed Philadelphia Flyers mascot Gritty. Or no host at all, which has been done several times before, and as recently as 1989.

But the film academy will need to move quickly. The 91st Oscars are less than three months out.


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Entertainment – Black America Web

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259 people have died taking selfies – but that won’t stop anyone from taking risks to get that perfect snap

Vanity is killing us.

A man in Maryland narrowly avoided death Sunday after falling into the Potomac River while trying to snap a selfie in front of wild floodwaters. He was thankfully saved by onlookers, but accidents and deaths by selfie are far from rare.

Last month, an Italian teen fell off…

Life Style – New York Daily News

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