Actresses and activists Shailene Woodley and Rosario Dawson, and director Josh Fox all showed up in Union Square, a common gathering place for social causes, for a recent rally to oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline.
The Dakota Access Pipeline is being built and its main purpose is to transfer crude oil from North Dakota into Illinois.
The people at the rally voiced concern that a spill would affect the water in the Missouri River, where the people of the Standing Rock Reservation get there water.
“We are not saving the earth if we are not saving ourselves because we are earth,” Woodley said.
Dawson and Fox said many spills occur every year on these kinds of pipelines and have lasting negative effects on the environment.
More than 20 people of Standing Rock Reservation ran more than 1,500 miles from their reservation in North Dakota to the city, spreading their message of how the Dakota Access Pipeline would harm them.
Woodley told the crowd, “I am going from here to North Dakota to their sacred stone camp, to stand in front of the bulldozers, the tractors, because all of us know, it’s one thing to want change, its another to do a thing about it.”
Everyone says that New York is a melting pot of different cultures and that every part of the world is represented in this one city.
I represent one ingredient in that melting pot and coming 8,000 miles from the scorching sun and occasional sandstorms of Kuwait, I needed a fix of Middle Eastern food and Arabian people.
Luckily, I found the Halal Guys, a well-known established food company that serves Halal food from their 10 food trucks and three restaurants across the city.
The Halal Guys dates back to the 1990s and to its three Egyptian founders, Mohamed Abouelawin, Ahmed Al Saka, and Abdelbaset ElSayed.
Starting off as Manhattan taxi drivers in the 90’s, these three men found it difficult to find Halal food within the city without traveling to Brooklyn or Queens.
Noticing that there was a problem providing Halal food to Muslim taxi drivers, these three men took it upon themselves to find a solution.
So, they set up one food truck that served Halal food.
And from there, that one food truck has expanded into an international business that reaches all the way to Singapore to provide Halal food to any and everyone.
“We have a vision. We’re going to be the dominant and serve the best Halal food all over the world,” said Mohamed Ahmdein, the senior staff-training member.
But what is Halal?
“Halal is human[ily] raised and human[ily] slaughtered,” said Ahmedin, and follows Muslim religious law. He said that the Halal certifications can be found on the company’s website.
Walking into the Halal Guys restaurant on East 14th Street, you can see that this business is already rapidly expanding. Ahmedin pointed out that they were currently training a group of South Korean employees to work in their restaurants in NYC.
“Actually our Muslim customers is less than other customers because we are serving everyone,” said Ahmedin.
“White sauce, hot sauce, and halal” is what the Halal Guys are known for, said Ahmedin.
Without giving away the family secret he was able to tell me that the white sauce is “a creamy mayo base with citrus spices.”
“Yeah we have a lot of copycats for our white sauce out there,” he laughed.
With prices as low as $6 for a whole meal, the Halal Guys appeals to not only its Muslim customers but to any and every nationality that wishes to try Middle Eastern food.
“Hospitality, mouth watering food, and great prices is our standard,” said Ahmedin.
By following that standard the Halal Guys believe that they can continue to reach their goals of becoming an international sensation of serving Halal food.
Boxer braids, bindis, grills and henna. All things that we as teens adore and find fashionable. But did you know that sometimes we steal parts of other people’s cultures through fashion?
This is called Cultural Appropriation, which occurs when a group claims ownership of a fashion or trend, ignoring it’s actual cultural origins.
Think the Kardashians in cornrows. Then think Snoop Dogg in cornrows. Is one chic and the other off-putting?
Cornrows have always been a style in the Black community. However, some famous people have appropriated this hairstyle and suddenly it became a trend.
“Keeping Up With the Kardashians” star Kim Kardashian was seen in an Instagram photo wearing two braided cornrows.
MTV UK tweeted that the hairstyle was trendy and new.
“The A Listers are loving boxer braids right now so here’s an easy way to do them yourself,” said MTV UK.
The Tweet was soon taken down after it received a lot of comments saying that cornrows were only considered “A list” when White stars started to wear them.
Cornrows aren’t a new hairstyle. They were seen as far back as 500 B.C.E. in a clay sculpture from the Nok Civilization in Nigeria. They were later widespread throughout Africa in clans and tribes, and later into the Americas via the Middle passage.
“K.C. Undercover” star Zendaya recently said “Braids are not new. Black women have been wearing braids for a very long time. Another problem is it became new and fresh and fun, because it was on someone else other than a black woman. You know what I mean? So that is the frustration.”
In the early 2000s, cornrows were everywhere on celebrities like Alicia Keys, Tyra Banks, Ludacris, and Bow Wow.
Still, The New York Post calls Cornrows a “HOT NEW TREND” of this year.
“It’s just not fair then when our people [African Americans] wear our certain hairstyles were made fun of but when the white race does it it’s acceptable,” said 19 year old Aliya Roberts of the Bronx.
According to a survey, 75% of teens from ages 15-18 agreed that the White race isn’t ridiculed when they wear other culture’s hairstyles.
The same survey showed that 100% of teens agreed that minority groups are targeted when they wear their own hairstyles.
When Disney star Zendaya was seen wearing dreadlocks at the 2015 Oscars, “Fashion Police” co-host Giuliana Rancic said “Zendaya probably smells like patchouli oil and weed” in a segment of the show on “E!”
Many people took offense to this including Zendaya herself.
“To say that an 18 year old young woman smells like patchouli oil and weed is not only a stereotype but largely offensive,.” said Zendaya in an Instagram post.
According to Rancic the comment was entirely a joke and wasn’t meant to be offensive.
“There’s a long history about racist comments about Black people in terms of how they smell.” said Jeffrey C Stewart, Chair of the Black Department Studies at the University of California.
Model Kylie Jenner wore cornrows and posted a picture of herself Instagram. She received over one million likes with the caption “I woke up like disss.”
In her response to Kylie’s post, actress Amandla Steinberg commented “When u appropriate black features and culture but fail to use ur position of power to help Black Americans by directing attention towards ur wigs instead of police brutality or racism #whitegirlsdoitbetter,”
Steinberg even went to create a video, later in April all about cultural appropriation and how white celebrities adopt aspects of Black culture but fail to support or comment on the harsh realities of being a Black person in America.
At the end of the video, Amadla asked viewers asking an essential question, “What would America be like if we loved Black people as much as we love Black culture?”
Trends are constantly evolving. From bell bottoms in the ‘70’s to fanny packs in the ‘80’s, fashion is unpredictable. Why has the style of low-slung pants stayed around?
For the past five years young men between the ages of 14 to 20 years old could be seen wearing their pants low on their hips, according to www.Glamour.com.
It ranges from boys wearing pants without a belt visibly to show their boxers, to some boys wearing pants almost to their ankles.
For 16 year old Charles Stanley from the Bronx, sagging’ pants is merely a fashion statement.
“I wear my pants low because it’s just the style. I feel fresh, ” he said.
According to The Washington Times, “Sagging Pants May Carry A Greater Meaning.”
According to the article Leonard Jahad, New Haven’s top probation supervisor said “ The saggin trend started in prison where inmates couldn’t wear belts.”
According to the Urban Dictionary, sagging pants can also mean“A prison thing that signified that you were another prisoner’s property. “
“Outside prison wearing your pants low is just a style. It has nothing to do with homosexuality,” said 17 year old Justin Herndon from Brooklyn.
Some people continue to wear their pants low, but others don’t feel comfortable with the style.
“I’m not wearing my pants low because being a Black man there’s already a negative connotation with Black men being dangerous. I know people would feel threatened by me if my pants were low,”said Neil Crawford, 20, of the Bronx .