Ryan Tedder: Adam Levine Considered Leaving ‘The Voice’ 4 Years Ago

Fans of The Voice may have been shocked by the announcement that Adam Levine  was leaving the hit show after 16 seasons, but there was at least one person who knew that the Maroon 5 singer was growing tired of the series as far back as four years ago — One Republic’s Ryan Tedder.

The “Secrets” singer, 39, revealed during a Thursday, June 13, appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon that he had been contacted to possibly take over for the Grammy winner should he bow out of the NBC series.

“I initially got pitched on, four years ago, on potentially replacing Adam on The Voice, ‘cause he was just tired, he was like, ‘I think I’m gonna step off for a minute.’”

Ryan Tedder Says Adam Levine Almost Left The Voice 4 Years Ago
Adam Levine and Ryan Tedder on ‘The Voice’ NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Tedder, who now stars as a judge on the network’s new reality show, Songland, continued, “They called to see if I would do it, and before I could even decide, they called back and said, ‘False alarm, he’s back on, but we have this other show that you might be better for.’”

Carson Daly let fans in on the news that Levine, 40, would not be coming back to the show for a 17th season and would be replaced by Blake Shelton’s girlfriend and show veteran Gwen Stefani, on the Today show on May 24

“After 16 seasons, Adam Levine, our beloved coach and friend, has decided to leave The Voice, the former TRL host, 45, said at the time. “Adam was one of the original coaches that launched the show, winning the competition three times and inspiring many of the artists he worked closely with over the years.”

Ryan Tedder Says Adam Levine Almost Left The Voice 4 Years Ago
Ryan Tedder and Adam Levine. Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images; BCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Hours later, the musician made his own statement on his decision on Instagram. “About 8 years ago, Mark Burnett convinced us to sign up for this show where you sit in a big red chair with your back turned away from the singers on the stage,” he began. “We had no idea what we were doing or where it was going. After the first day of shooting, I sat there, stunned. I said to myself, ‘There’s some magic here. Something is definitely happening.’ It went on to be a life shaping [sic] experience that will be close to my heart forever.”

He also gave a special shoutout to his BFF, Shelton, 42. “BLAKE F–KIN’ SHELTON,” he wrote. “I couldn’t hide my love for you if I tried. Seriously. I tried. Can’t do it. Our friendship is and always will be one for the books.”

An insider confirmed to Us Weekly that same month that Levine had been unhappy on the show for some time due to its format and heavy reliance on country music. “Things have been very tense between the judges. …  It was his choice to go, but no one was begging him to stay.”

Levine’s costar John Legend also gave some insight into his castmate’s seemingly abrupt exit: “I think he was ready and thought it was the right time.”

Us Weekly

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This Chorus Is Embracing Every Voice

In choral music, the gender binary is all too often in effect—men are expected to have deep baritone voices, while women are expected to have higher pitched sopranos. And if you are a singer who is trans or non-binary, that spectrum can feel isolating. But the Oakland Gay Men’s Chorus is hitting all the right notes when it comes to inclusion. Artistic director Dr. William “Billy” Sauerland makes a place in the group for every person and every voice. “I want anybody who feels like their voice has been silenced to make their voice even louder,” he says.

This Great Big Story was made possible by P&G.


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Germany planning to access voice assistant data to tackle crime

German authorities are working on
guidelines to allow them to access data held by voice assistants
like Amazon’s Alexa or smart fridges to help them fight
crime, a spokesman for the interior ministry said on Wednesday.


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AI female voice assistants reinforce gender bias – UN report

Artificial intelligence voice assistants, such as Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri, are perpetuating and spreading gender stereotypes, says a new UN report. 
Tech News – Latest Technology and Gadget News | Sky News

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Coherent? Voice disorders significantly affect listeners, too

Researchers conducted a study to see if there are differences in speech intelligibility (a listener’s ability to recover a speaker’s message) in healthy voices compared to those who have voice disorders like hoarseness. They also wanted to know if using listener strategies such as paying close attention to the words or using other words to try to figure out the message would increase speech intelligibility.
Child Development News — ScienceDaily

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Listening to the mother’s voice

Communication between expecting moms and their care providers is key to a positive birth experience. Kaiser Permanente’s maternal child health teams leave nothing to chance.

At multiple touch points throughout the day, charge nurses check in with physicians, staff nurses, midwives, and ward clerks to discuss each patient in depth. Bedside check-ins give expecting moms a chance to ask questions, and nurses use “Getting to Know You” cards to learn more about their lives and concerns.

“Our nurses really care about their patients, and it shows,” said obstetrician-gynecologist Jeffrey Martin, MD, physician in chief at Woodland Hills Medical Center.  

Learn more about maternity care at Kaiser Permanente.

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Want Your Voice Heard? Advice on How to Get Speaking Engagements

Courtney Sanders is a speaker and podcaster who knows a thing or two about getting her voice heard. Having had the opportunity to grace many stages – including those for the United Nations and White House, Sanders offered advice for ways to clinch major speaking engagements.

How to Get Speaking Engagements

Positioning Yourself as a Speaker

Wanting to speak publicly and even being a great speaker are not enough to clinch major speaking engagements. Sanders began positioning herself as a speaker by doing two key things – hosting her own events and telling her network that she is a speaker.

“Hosting my own events was really helpful as it gave my community an opportunity to hear me speak, as well as me an opportunity to document my speaking ability when pitching myself to other engagements,” she says.

“Simply telling my network that I was now doing public speaking was extremely helpful, as that’s how my first paid gig came my way. A colleague of mine, who also is a professional speaker, had a gig that he was no longer able to speak at so he referred me. The only reason he gave them my name was because I posted on Facebook a few days prior that I was now accepting speaking engagements. When you let people know that you speak, they will keep you in mind when opportunities come up.”

How to Get Speaking Engagements

Courtney Sanders (Photo: Jaren Collins)

It’s also important that you are a groomed speaker. While experience certainly assists to make you better at your craft, having a coach or expert friend provide you with advice is priceless. Sanders shared:

“I do not have a formal speaking coach. Though, I have a friend and colleague, Stacey Flowers, who has helped me both formally and informally with my speaking technique and career. She’s an amazing professional speaker who has graciously shared a lot of wisdom with me over the years,” said Sanders.

Pricing Yourself as a Speaker

Many speakers (women, especially) have difficulty pricing themselves. Sanders explained why she feels this is such a challenge as well as her suggestions for doing so correctly.

“I believe pricing ourselves is such a challenge because we naturally undervalue our talents. For instance, speaking comes incredibly naturally to me and I’ve been good at it since I was 4 or 5 years old. When something is both easy and enjoyable for you, it’s easy to get in the habit of undervaluing yourself because you think it’s no big deal and in the beginning, you’d gladly do it for free!”

“To avoid undercharging in the beginning, I started networking with other professional speakers and set my prices within the same range as peers who had similar experience and visibility as me. As I continue to get bigger and better speaking engagements, and thus refine my craft, I increase my prices to match the new level of value I’m able to bring to my audiences.”

Dealing with The Nerves

According to the National Social Anxiety Center, the fear of public speaking is the majority of the population’s biggest fear – ahead of spiders, heights, and even death. Public speaking anxiety, also known as glossophobia, is said to affect 73% of the population. The fear of being embarrassed of messing up in front of peers and the negative judgement of onlookers leave many paralyzed.

But what does one do when they have something of value to share with the world? They re-channel those jitters into something more positive.

“I wouldn’t say I get nervous, but I do get that “jittery” surge of energy right before I step on stage. I think everyone gets that feeling; it’s just a matter of how you frame it in your mind. For new speakers, they start to feel jittery and think ‘Oh no! I’m nervous now!’ If they’re not careful that train of thought can totally derail their delivery. For me, when I feel those jitters, I get excited and say to myself “IT’S GO TIME!” In other words, I use the physical jitters as validation that I’m about to really bring it on stage.”

If you get nervous speaking in front of a crowd, try re-channelling nervous energy. Also, practice multiple times in advance (preferably in front of family and friends or your mirror), along with taking a few deep breaths before stepping on stage. Breathe in for a count of four, hold, and out for a count of four to relax yourself a bit.

Setting Boundaries

Setting boundaries is essential for earning respect in your industry, maintaining your sanity, and enjoying your role as a public speaker. Because of this, I had to know the boundaries Sanders felt were necessary to form from the onset.

“I think the biggest boundary you have to set for yourself as a speaker, or even as an entrepreneur where your knowledge is your product, is what you will and won’t do for free. At times, speaking or giving expert advice for free can be beneficial to gain more experience and exposure. But I’ve noticed that as you get better at what you do those that are close to you will want you to speak or advise them for free, and if you’re not careful, you’ll miss out on paid opportunities because you’re committing to so many free ones.

“For me, I set boundaries by — one, getting clear on what non-monetary benefits I’m willing to exchange my time for, and two, how much time I have every quarter or year to gift my services to people and causes I care about. For instance, I was not paid to speak at the White House, but I was of course willing to do so in exchange for the experience, networking opportunities, and footage for my speaking reel. As you can imagine, speaking at the White House has opened many doors for me, including a recent speaking engagement I did at the United Nations in New York City,” she says.

Public speaking gives you a platform to share your knowledge with others and position yourself as a thought leader in your niche. If you’re really great, it increase your visibility instantly.


Black Enterprise Contributors Network 

The post Want Your Voice Heard? Advice on How to Get Speaking Engagements appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Career | Black Enterprise

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Herman Cain: ‘My voice is needed’ to counter Fed and its ‘professor standard’

The prospective nominee promises to pursue a stable dollar if confirmed to a central bank board that he thinks is too dominated by academics.
Economy

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How the son of Pakistani immigrants became the voice of the women’s Final Four

Mohammed Amin moved to Chicago at age 40, fell in love with the Cubs, and raised four sons including the thoroughly American Adam, who learned on his way to ESPN, “It’s not about feminine or masculine. It’s just, it’s sports.”
Sports

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‘Female cotton farmers in Pakistan will be the voice of empowerment and gender equality’

Trailblazing sustainable farming practices in Pakistan, an increasing number of female cotton farmers are defying social convention to drive positive change, writes Nicola Moyne

Female cotton farmers

Sustainable farming practices are firmly on the agenda in Pakistan thanks to a growing community of female cotton farmers who are leading the charge to tackle climate change – as well as empowering women to take on equal responsibilities in the fields and family businesses.

In rural Pakistan, where approximately 1.5 million smallholder farmers rely on cotton for their living, this means overcoming entrenched attitudes towards stereotypical gender roles and actively pursuing leadership opportunities. For women like Almas Parveen (pictured), the cultural, practical and financial hurdles faced to farm cotton more sustainably are challenging, but not insurmountable thanks to the support and training she has received from the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI).

At just 27, Almas defied convention and decided that she wanted to run her family’s nine-hectare farm in place of her elderly father. It was a bold move, and one that immediately presented problems.

‘She experienced opposition from community members, who did not agree with a young woman working on her own and providing training to male farmers. The farmers too, were wary of Almas and questioned her right to train them,’ explains Afshan Sufyan, Senior Programme Officer at BCI Pakistan. ‘But Almas stood strong. Undeterred, she continued to deliver BCI training and, in time, the farmers’ perceptions changed as her technical knowledge and sound advice resulted in tangible benefits on their farms. Eventually, anger turned into appreciation.’

female cotton farmers

And it’s not just brave farmers like Almas driving positive change in the industry. Working closely with partners, including the Better Cotton Initiative and WWF, Marks & Spencer – already a key investor in BCI’s female cotton training programmes – has announced that it is committed to using 100 per cent sustainably sourced cotton for all its clothing fabrics – not a limited-edition collection or capsule drop – everything, which means less water, pesticides and fertilisers used in cotton production and thousands more female cotton farmers like Almas being supported to adopt better practices.

Carmel McQuaid, M&S Head of Sustainable Business, explains: ‘Marks & Spencer has been sourcing more sustainable cotton for over 10 years, as well as supporting and enabling thousands of farmers to be trained in more sustainable methods, which include using less water and fewer chemicals. We care for the people we work with and the planet, as do our customers, which is why 100 per cent the cotton for our clothing fabrics is now sustainably sourced and always will be.’

So while you shop the M&S summer collections guilt-free this season, know that female farmers like Almas are continuing to empower more women in their communities to farm cotton sustainably.

‘Almas will be the voice of Pakistan, the voice of empowerment and gender equality,’ adds Sufyan. Now that sounds like something worth growing.

Visit marksandspencer.com, marksandspencer.com/c/sustainably-sourced-cotton and bettercotton.org for further information.

The post ‘Female cotton farmers in Pakistan will be the voice of empowerment and gender equality’ appeared first on Marie Claire.

Marie Claire

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Brain response to mom’s voice differs in kids with autism

For most children, the sound of their mother’s voice triggers brain activity patterns distinct from those triggered by an unfamiliar voice. But the unique brain response to mom’s voice is greatly diminished in children with autism, according to a new study.
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The Weekly Reset: Misfits, hash brown nests and a voice for the ages.

It’s Friday. Looking for something to switch up your weekend, or to give you an excuse to relax a little? That’s what the Weekend Reset is for. Each week contributor Tim Johnstone pulls together five things to get your weekend started. Could be something to read or watch, something to eat or listen to, or even something to do. Enjoy the weekend fellas.

 

BINGE: The Umbrella Academy is not your usual super hero show.

Gerard Way spent years leading the band My Chemical Romance. He apparently also spent years reading comics. He, along with Gabriel Bá authored several volumes of a comic/graphic novella called The Umbrella Academy. Netflix has just release the first season of its limited series. I can’t tell you how or if this differs from the original source material but it seems that Gerard Way is happy with the adaptation. I pretty much loved everything about this. It has a great cast, with a mixture of familiar faces and some terrific newcomers. Ellen Page is just fantastic. And Mary J. Blige shines as she always does. There is terrific music throughout, from classic British Invasion cuts (The Kinks “Picture Book”) to indie rock (“Mary” by Big Thief and “Run Boy Run” by Woodkid) and bigger artists like David Gray and Way himself.  They get so many details right. It’s big. It’s ridiculous. And it’s touching. I yelled out loud, repeatedly and with much astonishment at one point in the 8th episode; Like, really loudly and for an extended period of time. This was repeated in episode 9 and episode 10 as well. There are some truly inspired scenes in this first season, nearly always action oriented, accompanied by a soundtrack that always brings a smile. It is quite the ride.

 

EAT: Brunch treats with a side of culinary skillz.

Taste of Home Hash brown nests with portobello mushrooms and eggs.

Hash brown nests with portobello mushrooms and eggs. This is a relatively quick and easy dish that is not only something that would work for brunch, but parties as well. Half the reason I’m sharing this is because once you master the hash brown “nest,” (pre-browning is recommended) you can easily adapt this for other ingredients. Use your imagination (as well as whatever you might have in your fridge or pantry) to tweak the recipe. A good example would be using black beans, roasted green chiles and a suitable cheese like sharp cheddar or cojita. You are really only limited by your imagination. Go for it.

 

DRINK: Get a head start on happy with England’s favorite Summer drink.

It’s light, flavorful and easy to make. This would be a good choice for that brunch you’re going to host where you serve those delicious tater-fungi-cups. Also, you could consider it your fruit dish. So, yeah. Double bonus.

 

LISTEN: J.S. Ondara’s Tales of America is an absolute gem.

The first time I heard J.S. Ondara’s voice, it stopped me in my tracks. Floating atop the neo-folk arrangements of his new album Tales Of America, his is a voice that reaches out and soars. It is an incredibly expressive tool and it is one that tells stories about the American dream as seen from the outside. Raised in Nairobi, Kenya, Ondara discovered Bob Dylan as a young man and was inspired to do his own thing. His music is timeless, and the production is sparse where it serves the song, which allows Ondara’s voice to take center stage. He has a sense of style that is confident and charming. I’m just completely won over.

 

WRITE: It’s good for your little grey cells.

Dappered.com

I catch a bit of grief at work because I’m still an analog guy. I use pen and paper in as many aspects of my job as I can. I write proposals. I write out contests and content for my daily air shift. I write thank you cards to colleagues and artist managers. I write out marketing and promotion campaigns. I write as much as I can. I do this because my memory has always been a bit shaky and I learned a long time ago that actually writing things down helps my memory. It was years after this realization that I began to see articles on studies that basically backed me up. It might be easier to use any number of keyboards that are in front of us on a daily basis. But this is better for you.

Tim Johnstone is Dappered’s music correspondent as well as our resident gatherer of all things interwebs related. He’s currently chasing his spirit animal. He is not a fan of pudding.


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Benefit’s new Boss Brows campaign is all about empowerment and raising your voice

Benefit’s new Boss Brows campaign is all about empowerment and raising your voice


Benefit’s new Boss Brows campaign is all about empowerment and raising your voice

Since launching back in 1976, San Francisco-based Benefit Cosmetics has been focused on empowering women and providing them with tools to look their best. In the past, the beauty brand has launched the massive Bold Is Beautiful campaign, where the brand donates 100% of brow wax proceeds to local charities that focus for women and girls around the world.

Starting today, February 1st, the brand has launched a new campaign called Boss Brows, a digital, social and in-store campaign that celebrates and profiles people who are breaking down boundaries and raising awareness of their specific causes.

Benefit Cosmetics
Benefit Cosmetics

The four activists and influencers Benefit has chosen for the Boss Brows campaign are artist, director, and LGTBQ and human rights champion Hayley Kiyoko, ban.do founder and mental health advocate Jen Gotch, non-binary femme sexuality educator and breast cancer survivor Ericka Hart, and model, advocate, and cancer survivor Mama Caxx.

Benefit Cosmetics
Benefit Cosmetics

So what does the campaign entail? First, if you head to @benefitcosmetics Instagram page between February 10th and February 17th to share a time when you most felt like a boss, you’ll receive a discount code for 20% off.

Benefit Cosmetics
Benefit Cosmetics

Benefit is also selling a limited edition set featuring two Benefit brow products (a full-size Gimme Brow+ and a full-size Precisely, My Brow Pencil) inside a holographic ban.do bag. You can buy that cute set now at benefitcosmetics.com.

Benefit Cosmetics
Benefit Cosmetics

Finally, ban.do and Benefit Cosmetics have teamed up to launch a lifestyle line, which comes out on February 4th and will be available on the ban.do site, as well as Sephora, Ulta, and Urban Outfitters.

You can watch the campaign video below to learn more about the Boss Brows campaign.

Make sure to also head to Benefit’s site to learn more about the four activists and what they each stand for.

The post Benefit’s new Boss Brows campaign is all about empowerment and raising your voice appeared first on HelloGiggles.

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‘Overwatch’ Makes Voice Chat Essential, But is Winning Worth The Online Abuse?

Unlike most team-based shooters, in Overwatch, voice chat is essential if you want to perform well at the upper echelons of competitive play. Ignoring the every player for themselves approach of its contemporaries, Blizzard‘s shooter is refreshingly team-oriented and here working collectively as a team can go a long way. From strategizing to shot-calling, here, communication is always key to winning.

Despite this, bafflingly, lots of Overwatch players actively refrain from using voice chat. Not only do some players decide against talking in the voice channel—some even go as far as to leave it entirely, meaning that they can’t even hear those who are using the feature. Why? <Well, as with many other online games, Overwatch can be a platform that’s plagued with toxicity. While popping on for a quick bit of pew pewery, it’s sadly not uncommon to hear an angry voice yelling personal attacks or even hate speech in the voice channels of Blizzard’s shooter. Like with the rest of the internet, here players revel in the anonymity they’re afforded by voice chat, using the feature as a means of bullying others with little consequence.

So, in an effort to understand why people do and don’t use voice chat, we spoke with Josh Bishop, Aimee Hart, and Natalie Flores. All avid players of Overwatch, they each had their own unique opinions on the pros and cons of voice chat in competitive Overwatch.

Josh’s story



I didn’t use voice chat in the past. It felt really bad whenever I got flamed in Overwatch—I don’t really know why, but in Overwatch specifically, it felt worse than other games. A while back I joined a Diamond/Masters Overwatch team and ever since then I’ve used voice chat because the part I enjoy now is the teamwork aspect. I definitely feel this is the best game out there for teamwork and that not using voice chat does kind of mess up you and your team. Now I don’t care much about what they say and if I get a particularly annoying person in one of my games I just mute them specifically instead of leaving the entire channel.

Back when I would regularly leave voice chat I liked to play Mei. Even if she wasn’t amazing, she was still playable and I definitely won games on her. No one else really agreed with me, though, and the second I would pick Mei everyone would scream at me and want me to switch. I will say that this is for sure the most toxic community I’ve ever been a part of, for reasons just like this. They’re angry all the time for no reason.

It sounds strange to say, but I feel League of Legends’ toxicity isn’t anywhere near as bad. I think it’s because they don’t flame you often for your pick or other dumb things like that—they flame you over whether or not your decisions are correct. This doesn’t bother me as much because I stand by my decisions usually. Plus, it’s all through text. League has no voice chat at all. I just mute their chat and forget they exist. When I’m trying really hard in ranked I just mute chat right when the game starts.

If I’m playing ranked and trying hard to win, that’s what I do. I have a habit of trying to type back when people get toxic. I feel like I have to be the one defending everyone from the flame. Also, in League not much that gets typed is important. I’d say maybe 5% of messages are important.

LoL has a very good system of pings so you can communicate without having to type it all out. You can press one button to bring up a menu of four pings; enemy missing, on my way, be careful, and I need assistance. On top of that, you can ping enemy abilities and items to call attention to them or to ping that they’re on cooldown or whatever else. None of these things get muted when you mute chat.

Flamed for choosing his favorite heroes but receptive of the fact that voice chat is essential for successful team play, Josh has resolved to mute toxic players with a zero-tolerance policy toward toxicity. This is a quick fix and does remove the toxic elements of the game, but it also limits Josh’s ability to communicate with some teammates. In order to block out their toxic behavior, all lines of communication must be severed, which directly impinges on team play.

Aimee’s story


Heroes of the Storm Overwatch Officer D.Va
And just like that a brand new Officer D.Va cosplay was born

It was a while back but I can remember who I was playing and everything because it was just that good, y’know?
I didn’t used to like voice chat, but I used to watch a streamer called RagTagg and he was always like “you’ll do better in competitive if you talk. You may not want to, but you’ve gotta do it if you want to do well.” So, I tried it out myself, and it was pretty hit and miss. Sometimes we’d win, sometimes we’d lose. I found that I was mostly by myself on voice chat, which I didn’t mind because I’m quite shy.

Until it got to that game. It was competitive (Gold) and I was on King’s Row. I was playing D.VA and to be honest, we didn’t have a good team. I can’t remember the full composition, but I know there was a Mercy and a Widowmaker, and I was the only tank. So, it wasn’t great, but I didn’t tell them to change and was like “okay, we’d probably do better if we had another tank and another healer, but if you don’t want to change then that’s okay. Just have fun.” Or…something along those lines.

Like, it was definitely forced positivity at that point, solely because I’d been miserable on competitive before and got real toxic so now I was like “LET’S BE POSITIVE –EVEN WITH DIRE ODDS.”

We’d pushed the payload to the very last point on King’s Row, but we couldn’t complete it.It was the enemy’s turn, and just as we were preparing, someone on our team suddenly left.I can’t remember who it was, but I know it wasn’t Mercy or Widowmaker because I remember them distinctly.

Like I said, I could tell the team was down and we were stumbling a lot. The enemy team took the first point easily and by that time I just knew if we didn’t do something then we’d lose for sure.

At that time I went off voice chat because I could feel myself getting angry and didn’t want to take it out on anyone; but,  just as they went past the first corner of the payload, I was like “ah, f** it” and went back on chat and was like “alright, I know it looks bad but I think we can do this. We’re trickling in at the moment, but I’ve got my ult and if we can get rid of the tank (I think it was Rein) then I can do my ult and we can hold the payload,” or something along those lines. It was a really long time ago—I think Orisa had just been added to the game.

But anyway, we teamed up and managed to get Rein out of the picture and I flew my mech into the enemy team and BAM! Caught them completely unaware and it was a team kill.

Then I think it was Widow or Mercy who came on the voice chat and was like “YES! Go D.VA! We can do this everyone!” He was an American guy for definite, because he had a real thick accent. And honest to GOD we ended up winning. It was so great. Me and the guy were cheering when we won and just spammed thanks. Honestly, it was the best feeling in the world. I’ve not had a comp match like that for ages.
Aimee’s story is warm and uplifting, highlighting the side of Overwatch that players dream of. Aimee is the person you want on your team—the anti-toxic teammates who praises you when you do well and forgives you when you make a mistake. When Aimee told us this, we don’t think she knew that she was the star of the story, but that’s just how it is. If more people were like this, Overwatch’s toxicity problem would be solved in a heartbeat.

Natalie’s Story


Mercy is an essential part of many Overwatch teams. But will these latest changes make Mercy mains think twice?

So basically, sometimes I’ll play overwatch with my friends and I’ll want to play a little more after they take their leave. When that happens, I have to disconnect my headphones, plug in my splitter cable with the headphone jack, and plug my headphones back into that so that I can join voice chat without my own voice getting picked up. This is how I play Overwatch, because voice chat is super important since it’s supposed to be a team-based game.

Sometimes, I’m a little Zenyatta getting focused by the enemy team, but I’d rather frustratingly keep dying and drop in rank—which I honestly take pretty seriously as someone who is really involved with this game—than to go on voice chat with my microphone

I think the last time I went on mic was when I was playing as Mercy in a competitive match on Lijiang Tower. I hadn’t been using my mic for most of the match, but when I got attacked by an asshole for not healing enough (despite healing 8k at that point and doing my best with the other healer on our team that was focusing more on attacking than healing), I got on mic to tell him how much I had healed and that I wasn’t the problem, actually.

He then proceeded to call me a dirty whore and got super aggressive and hostile, and nobody was defending me, so when he said that, I just nodded and told them “Oh, I see how it is. Well, nice game!” and I purposely left the match, which I never usually do.

If it’s not that kind of interaction, then the other interaction in voice chat that I most vividly remember is playing on Eichenwalde with a team of dudes who seemed pretty nice, which made me felt confident going in voice chat and making callouts, strategizing, etc.

Almost immediately after I joined voice chat, this one guy started to fawn over my voice, telling me it was really cute and repeating some of the things I’d say, saying that he just loved my voice. He kept doing that and it was super distracting because I just wanted to focus on the game, but instead I was thinking about how much he was Othering me from the rest of the team.

It was the exact opposite of calling me a dirty whore; it was nice, even if flirtatious, but they both served the same purpose: to other me because I’m a woman. Any reason I should use voice chat for, like strategizing or asking for help since I tend to main supports and the enemy team often focuses me as a result, has never been a risk that compensates for the possible vitriol or othering I will experience.

You can never know—sometimes, a teammate may seem nice and not toxic, but then they’ll say something is “so gay” when we’re in 2018. And, because you can never know, I’d rather not put myself at risk. So that’s how I play Overwatch now: with my splitter cable so that I can listen to people talk but never speak myself. I’m rarely afraid to voice my own opinions, and you know me as someone who definitely doesn’t shy away from doing that, but when it comes to playing online games, I shut down. It’s a bit uncomfortable, because I’d like to speak. I’m used to it—but I can’t do it in Overwatch.

The only times I will join voice chat are when I know another woman is in there. And I’ve had it happen to me, when I used to go into voice chat more often than not, that me speaking leads to another woman in the team plugging in her mic later on and feeling comfortable in speaking. I have almost 1,000 hours played in Overwatch. Maybe less than 30 of those hours have involved me participating in voice chat. And 30 is really generous, frankly.

Natalie brings a whole new issue to the table here. An avid Overwatch player, Natalie takes competitive matches very seriously and tries to use voice chat as much as possible. Tragically, her voice is what makes her teammates either toxic or distracting—purely because she’s a woman. This issue extends the whole way up to professional play, with Shanghai Dragons’ Geguri being the only woman currently playing in the Overwatch League. Alongside the general toxicity that ruins an objectively great game for so many people is a culture founded upon gendered insults and misogyny. The worst thing about Overwatch

Don’t make a stellar teammate like Josh mute you. Aim to be Aimee. Treat Natalie with the same degree of respect that you’d afford your very own friends and family. Overwatchvoice chat is a feature designed to make a team game team-oriented. It’s not for bullying people. It’s for helping them.

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