Tito States his Business! Simple as black & white?

Tito Jackson and Marty Walsh Go Head-to-Head in Bid For Mayor

It’s almost that time again – mayor and city council elections are coming up this November for Massachusetts. Incumbent Boston mayor Martin J. Walsh, who has held the office since 2013, is being challenged this year by city councilor Tito Jackson. Jackson, whose city council district covers Roxbury, parts of the South End, Dorchester, and Fenway neighborhoods, has held his position as city councilor since 2011. There are numerous factors working in favor of Walsh, however; Jackson faces an uphill battle.

Jackson and Walsh are both Democrats, but their agendas differ in a few key areas. Some important points of Jackson’s campaign platform include safer neighborhoods, affordable housing, environmental sustainability, increased budgets for Boston’s public schools, and implementing opioid detox services. Jackson’s role in city council is not his first public office; he was Governor Patrick’s political director, helping him get re-elected in 2010. Jackson is also known for his work in the Boston area’s communities of color, holding a chair in several committees that focus on these groups and encouraging young people to get involved in the civic process.

Walsh, as a founding board member of the Neighborhood House Public Charter School, also focuses on strengthening Boston’s education system. However, compared to Jackson, Walsh has focused a lot more on the area’s economy by creating resources for low-income workers and apprenticeship programs for construction jobs as well as encourage innovation by attracting prime private sector employers, promoting high-quality development as the head of the Building Trades, and bolstering the city’s infrastructure.

While Boston under Walsh would no doubt see an economic boom and continued development, Jackson has based his campaign platform on running to be “the mayor of those who feel left behind” by directing more of the state’s budget to improving city services and quality of life for those less fortunate. Jackson wants to close this possible gap, one that he is afraid could lead to “two Bostons” – a rich Boston and a poor Boston, divided by class. Jackson’s criticism of Walsh’s role in the city’s ill-fated Olympics bid, his backing of the failed IndyCar race, and his offering of tax incentives to lure General Electric could all be points that Jackson could call attention to in his campaign. If Jackson makes it to the November ballot, he will be Boston’s first black mayoral candidate since Mel King, who ran for office in 1983 and lost.

Jackson, however, has quite a few barriers to overcome. A major issue for one is his campaign budget; a recent state filing indicates $65,000 in campaign funds, barely enough to run his mayoral campaign for a month. To help raise money, Jackson hired a national fundraising firm in late 2016, but budget continues to be an issue and puts Jackson at a disadvantage, especially compared to Walsh having raised $3.6 million for his campaign.

Walsh’s response to recent political events at the national level, most notably Trump’s executive order restricting immigrants from seven Muslim countries, has also caused his public appeal to skyrocket. Being raised by parents who emigrated from Ireland himself, Walsh’s aggressive denouncement of Trump’s ban was not only heartfelt and personal, but also politically effective. Walsh’s public profile has soared as a result, and this is bad news for Jackson; he’s going to have a hard time beating a mayor who has shown that he’s passionate about his city’s values.

The benefits of incumbency will also make it more difficult for Jackson to oust Walsh, especially in a city like Boston where a sitting mayor hasn’t lost since 1949. Jackson will need to leverage his influence among Boston’s minority communities to earn the support of more young voters of color and tip the odds in his favor. This might be a tall order for Jackson; in the previous 2013 election, out of about 140,000 cast votes, Walsh was narrowly able to beat his opponent John Connolly (by fewer than 5,000 votes) by getting more votes from communities of color than Connolly. If Jackson wants to be mayor, it’s on him to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself.

Weed is legal in Mass but there are rules!

The legal weed industry in the United States continues to grow as more and more states pass legislation to legalize recreational marijuana. In Massachusetts, on November 8, 2016, a majority – almost 54% – of state voters answered yes to Question 4, a bill to legalize the recreational use, possession, cultivation, and sale of marijuana. This move means that Massachusetts will join California, Nevada, and Maine as one of the next four states to legalize weed.

The new law, which went into effect on December 15, allows anyone over 21 to possess up to 10 ounces of marijuana in their home and up to one ounce outside of the house. Anyone found carrying over one ounce faces a $100 fine. Residents may have up to six plants growing in their house (or up to 12 plants if two or more adults live in the home) and these plants must not be visible from outside. Public marijuana use will not be permitted in places that already prohibit smoking. Finally, like alcohol, open containers of marijuana or driving while high are illegal.

Yes, this new bill means that big changes are coming to the state’s weed industry. There are also major ramifications of legalizing weed; what should you expect?

The Pros and Cons of Legalizing Marijuana

Quite possibly one of the most driving motivators to legalize weed is the associated massive increase in sales revenue. States like Colorado and Washington have already seen sales surpassing $1 BILLION (billion, with a B) since legalizing weed, boosting tax revenues and the local economy. Not to mention the millions of dollars that were spent on law enforcement pursuing marijuana-related offenses can now be redirected elsewhere. Open competition means that organized crime like drug cartels will lose their income stream, and the violence associated with the illegal drug trade will decrease. Quality controls implemented with legal weed mean that people do not have to resort to buying questionable weed from a shady dealer off the streets. Finally, in recent years, numerous medicinal benefits associated with marijuana and cannabis oil have become publicly known. Legal weed means that those afflicted with health conditions like Crohn’s disease, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis (MS), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and perhaps even those undergoing chemotherapy have better access to a possibly more effective treatment.

But what are the downsides? Opponents of legalization rightfully argue that marijuana can be a dangerous substance with adverse effects and can put others in danger if used irresponsibly. States like Washington and Colorado have seen an uptick in marijuana-related fatal car accidents. While analysis of the THC found in drivers’ bodies remains inconclusive, as there is no proven way to determine how high a person is from weed in a way similar to alcohol, the correlation seen between legalization and more motor accidents is enough to raise concerns. Although the bill stipulates that weed is legal only to those 21 and over, there will no doubt be a trickle-down effect where younger age groups have easier access to it; this is dangerous because marijuana can be more psychologically damaging to their younger, still-developing brains. Finally, marijuana poses some risks to heart and lung health similar to those of cigarettes, and while not as addictive as harder drugs, marijuana users can develop a dependance over time and may have withdrawal symptoms like anxiety and irritability after stopping.

Marijuana in Massachusetts

All things considered, what’s in store for Massachusetts’ weed economy? In December 2016, Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker signed a bill which will delay the opening of marijuana stores until mid-2018. Recreational marijuana would still be legal to possess, but until the first shops open up, marijuana can only be legally sold to medical marijuana patients. Lizzy Guyton, a spokeswoman for Gov. Baker, said that Baker, along with other state lawmakers, want measures to be implemented beforehand to “thoroughly prepare for the start of a new industry distributing a controlled substance.”

Activists who protested the governor’s signing of the bill say that it “flies in the face of the will of the voters” who voted to legalize the drug back in November. Concerns were raised that the bill would create a legal gray area – a timeframe in which people can legally possess it but cannot buy it, possibly leading to more people getting arrested. This delay is due to the fact that Massachusetts legislators still need to create a three-member “cannabis control commission” to review applications for marijuana shops and issue the appropriate licenses. For now, the state will only have medical marijuana dispensaries, and these can be found in cities like Boston, Lowell, Northampton, and Salem.

Final Thoughts

This is just one step of many towards a future where legal recreational weed is commonplace in the United States. Public opinion on marijuana legalization has shifted dramatically in recent years, and Massachusetts is now further proof of that by becoming one of the next states to take this step. Although there are still heavy regulations on marijuana, even within the states that legalized it for recreational use, the ball is definitely rolling and more states will inevitably follow by passing their own legislation

Boston Hip-hop on the rise!

“The Pull Up” at Cambridge’s Middle East and Boston’s Hip-Hop Scene

While one of Boston’s most popular music venues, The Middle East Restaurant and Nightclub in Cambridge, is a great venue to see live shows from a variety of genres like rock and pop or jazz and blues, it has also become a premier hub for Boston’s underground hip-hop scene. The club, named Best Hip-Hop venue by the Boston Phoenix in 2010, has hosted events like the Hip Hop Fest in 2015 and now, more recently, has brought several hip-hop artists together again for a popular new installment known as The Pull Up.

The event, which had a sold-out first run in October, is a showcase for some of Boston’s up-and-coming hip-hop acts. The Pull Up’s most recent show in January saw well-known SoundCloud artists Rosewood Bape and Jefe Replay grace the stage. Other artists like PLad Fine$$e, Dutchy DoBad, Reem Skully, K.O.D, and Monavelli were also featured. If the packed crowds on January 25 were any indication, Boston’s hip-hop scene is not simply surviving, but thriving.

Boston hip-hop big names Marquis Neal and DJ Real P (aka Chimel Idiokitas) conceived the idea for The Pull Up after seeing that bookings for hip-hop artists in the Boston area were on the decline. Neal and Idiokitas hope that this new event will give more exposure to new and rising hip-hop artists.

“We wanted to try to change the platform of how hip-hop shows are being done in Boston… what we’re doing represents kids from Massachusetts, New England, who deserve to have a shot and who are actually doing the right things and should be on shows. It creates another lane for artists to create some sort of revenue for themselves… We wanted to create a forum where we can keep artists involved and also give the art back to the people through a dope experience,” Neal says.

While artists like Rosewood Bape and Jefe Replay have hundreds of thousands of SoundCloud followers, they’re not exactly big names – yet. Neal, Idiokitas, and the other event organizers hope that The Pull Up ideally will give these rising talents an opportunity to get their music heard by more people and build their fanbase. Since The Pull Up is a quarterly event that had its first 2017 installment in January, the next showcase should be held in April.

New Edition’s story told on BET

BET’s The New Edition Story Sheds More Light on One of Boston’s Most Influential Boy Bands

​NSYNC. Backstreet Boys. One Direction. New Kids on the Block. Boyz II Men. It’s hard to find a person who knows nothing about “boy bands” because of the massive success these groups have had. However, these boy bands that we have come to love (or hate)simply would not be the same were it not for the legacy of one famous pop/R&B boy band: New Edition. Originally from Boston, this outfit was composed of Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins, Ronnie DeVoe, Ralph Tresvant, and Bobby Brown (who would later be replaced by Johnny Gill). BET’s newest miniseries, a biopic titledThe New Edition Story, which premiered on January 24, chronicles the journey of the band from its humble inception to the group’s legacy, as well as the trials and struggles that the band faced in the years between. The New Edition Story is split into three segments that all detail a different chapter in the band’s evolution.

​New Edition’s origins can be traced back to 1978, in the housing projects of Roxbury, Boston, where founding members Ricky Bell, Bobby Brown, and Michael Bivins would sing together in elementary school, hoping to perform to earn some cash. They recruited friend Ralph Tresvant later, as well as a fifth member, Ronnie DeVoe, after winning a talent show in 1980. After performing the Jackson 5’s “The Love You Save” at a local gig, the group caught the attention of producer Maurice Starr. Starr signed the group to his small Streetwise Records label shortly thereafter.

​The group’s first single came with “Candy Girl” in 1983, a song Starr co-wrote for the group. New Edition’s 1983 debut, also titled Candy Girl, saw a breakthrough success with the hits “Is This the End?” and “Popcorn Love,” catching the eyes of MCA Records, who offered the group a deal. Following the group’s first major tour to promote their new release, the tour bus dropped the group off back at the projects. A financial dispute arose after the group discovered that the checks they got in the mail amounted to a measly $1.87. Tour budget and expenses were claimed to be the reason the group wasn’t paid more. The group now wanted out of their contract, hiring a law firm to sue Starr and Streetwise. This move led to the release of their 1984 self-titled second album New Edition, nowunder a new label. The album eventually went double-platinum, peaking at #6 on the Billboard 200 and number one on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop charts. It spawned three Top 40 singles: “Cool It Now,” “Mr. Telephone Man,” and “Lost in Love.”

​The band soon discovered that they were in a restrictive production deal; the record deal they signed was not actually under MCA, but rather a production comapny called Jump and Shoot that had its own deal with MCA. The band members had to borrow $100,000 to be able to record for MCA directly, effectively mortgaging them under the label. The group’s 1985 album All For Love became the first in a line of albums and tours to pay off their debt. Other issues arose; Bobby Brown’s increasingly problematic behavior led to the group voting him out of the band in December 1985. Shortly thereafter, the group’s success with a cover of The Penguins’ 1954 hit “Earth Angel” led to the release of 1986’s Under the Blue Moon, an album of doo-wop covers and the group’s first album without Brown. After the album’s release, the group wished to add a new member to fill the void Brown left, enlisting singer Johnny Gill as a vocalist.

​The group’s 1988 release Heart Break, the first to feature Gill as the co-lead vocalist, marked a shift in the band’s musical style from a bubblegum pop sound to a more matured adult sound that coincided with the band members’ own transition from their teens to their twenties. Heart Break ended up being the band’s most commercially successful album at the time, eventually going quadruple platinum. Five singles from the album were released: “If It Isn’t Love,” “You’re Not My Kind of Girl,” “Can You Stand The Rain,” “Crucial,” and “N.E. Heartbreak.” The title of one of the album’s tracks, “Boys to Men,” served as the inspiration for the musical group that became Boyz II Men. The album’s success also led to the group’s successful concert tour in the last few months of 1988, with Al B. Sure and former member Bobby Brown serving as their opening acts.

​Bobby Brown, who had found his own success with his 1988 album Don’t Be Cruel, inspired the New Edition band members to go on hiatus to pursue their own side projects. 1990 saw three of the band’s members, Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins and Ronnie DeVoe, forming the group Bell Biv DeVoe and finding massive success with their debut Poison. Tresvant and Gill also released their own solo albums, both of which went multi-platinum.

​By 1996, New Edition’s splinter groups had reached roughly the same amount of success on their own compared to when they were together as a band. However, after promising a reunion to fans as well as owing MCA another album as part of their contractual obligation, the group briefly reunited to record 1996’s Home Again, their first album in eight years, and to go on tour in 1997. The album became the best-selling of the band’s career, selling over 4 million copies worldwide and yielding the hits “I’m Still In Love With You” and “Hit Me Off.”

​The group’s subsequent concert tour, however, resulted in disaster. At one of the group’s gigs, Ronnie DeVoe tried to pull Brown off the stage as he was extending his solo set. Brown dropped the microphone and a fist fight between the two broke out. Security guards were called out, the concert was stopped, and Bivins and Brown ended up dropping out for the rest of the tour while the rest of the group continued the tour as a quartet. The group separated again on a sour note, appearing to be disbanded for good until 2004, when the band (minus Brown) released a new album, One Love. The band’s activity has been picking up momentum in recent years, and rumors of a new album are floating around.

​The New Edition Story’s top-tier cast effectively captures the triumphs and struggles of one of Boston’s most influential R&B boy bands while putting a fresh spin on the story by recording new renditions of the group’s music sung by the actors themselves. The show dives deep into the story as well, revealing interesting details about the band that even the most devoted fan may not have known about. The original run on BET has ended, but all three parts of The New Edition Story miniseries can be found online.

Tom Brady celebrates another Birthday!

Tom Brady’s 40th Birthday: Is He Set For Future Success At His Age?

​The Patriot’s against-all-odds comeback victory on Super Bowl Sunday rocked the sports world and got people talking. No other team in 50 years of Super Bowls had ever come back from a deficit of more than 10 points. During the Super Bowl itself, when Brady directed his passes to rookie players like newcomer Malcolm Mitchell, a wide receiver who had 7 catches and 70 yards against the Falcons, helping tip the odds back in the Patriots’ favor. As far as stellar performances from players other than Brady, we can look to none other than running back James White, who ended up scoring 20 of the Patriots’ 34 points on Super Bowl night, setting the record for most points scored by a single individual in the Super Bowl. White gave the team a pivotal two-point conversion and three touchdowns, one of which included the Patriots’ game-winning touchdown in the final play.

​The man himself, Tom Brady, has a pretty impressive track record that shows a successful history as a Patriots QB. Brady has a 63.8% average completion rate, 61,582 yards, and 456 touchdowns accumulated over his career. But Sunday’s game shattered records and put Brady into the stratosphere of sports moguls. After the Patriots’ victory, Brady broke the record for most Super Bowl rings by a quarterback, at 5. The game saw the most pass attempts and completed passes (62 and 43 respectively), and the most passing yards at 466. Brady beat Joe Montana’s record when he was awarded Super Bowl MVP for the fourth time. Brady also has the all-time highest number of game-winning drives in the postseason, with 10. Finally, Sunday’s amazing comeback was nothing unfamiliar to Brady, as he is the only QB with now threeSuper Bowl fourth-quarter comebacks.

​There’s been a lot of publicity surrounding the Patriots in recent years. The Deflategate in 2015, the infamous allegation of the Patriots using deliberately underinflated footballs to gain an unfair advantage in-game, a move which saw NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suspending Brady for four games. In a more political context, the fairly well-known longstanding friendship between the current controversial president Donald Trump and Brady (as well as Belichick) has cast some negative light on the Patriots as a whole, and made some Patriots fans who don’t support Trump uncomfortable.

​The victory marks the fifth Super Bowl that Brady has won during his 17-year stint as quarterback for the Patriots. Brady, 39, is no spring chicken, and while the four-time MVP winner has seemingly defied Father Time even until now, all good things must come to an end. This most recent victory has so many asking: should Brady keep playing or end his career on a high note? Can he keep this winning streak going?

​The question should be: why not?

​Brady shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon; his Sunday performance proved he can still keep up with his younger counterparts and run circles around his competition. The unparalleled synergy between Brady and Belichick has propelled the team to massive success and made the Patriots a powerhouse of a team and formidable opponent. NFL reporter Ian Rapaport tweeted that the Patriots, who currently have Brady signed to be on the team until the 2019 season, are looking to extend Brady next offseason, and believe he could play three to five additional years. Brady stated in 2015 that he wished to play until he was 45, which, if he gets the additional play time, could see him becoming the oldest quarterback in the NFL’s history.

​But what roadblocks could he face? The most obvious issue would be the health and injury risks that come with age. Brady, who will be starting the 2017-2018 season on the wrong side of 40, won’t be able to play at such a high level indefinitely, and his diet and workout habits must be optimized to make the most of his remaining years with the Patriots. Diminishing health played a major part in Peyton Manning’s 2016 retirement at the age of 39; it’s imperative that Brady and Patriots consider this and plan accordingly. Brady has also been troubled lately with his mother’s health, addressing concerns about her 18-month battle with serious illness. Staying mentally in the game while also worrying about what his family is going through will also undoubtedly bring its own set of challenges.

​So could Tom Brady win another trophy for New England? Anything could happen, but it’s highly likely. Brady, while facing a new set of challenges, is still such an asset to the team; if they play their cards right, another Brady-era Patriots Super Bowl victory could be waiting right around the corner.

Moufy

Moufy

Raised in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston, a city not known for its Hip-Hop music, Moufy is quickly making a name for himself, both locally nationally, with the fastest growing fan-base of any urban artist in Boston. Moufy was born and raised in Roxbury, MA and attended the Buckingham Browne & Nichols School in Cambridge, MA up until this year. Born on September 13, 1991, Moufy finds the inspiration for his music through his experiences living in the Projects of Orchard Park and going to competitive private schools.

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