We are in the home stretch and less than 90 days out from Election Day. Between 2020 giving us pandemics, racism, and a questionable economy, the girl has outdone herself with the surprises this year. Needless to say, the very fabric of our livelihood depends on the outcome of this election. No matter where your politics may lie, being an informed voter is paramount.
After the recent Democratic National Convention, Joe Biden selected Sen. Kamala Harris as his Vice President running mate on this year's ticket. With this historic nomination, Sen. Kamala Harris will be the first woman, the first Asian-American and the first Black Vice President of the United States if elected. It has been said that Harris' mother once said, "You may be the first to do many things. Make sure you are not the last." Whether or not you choose to vote Biden/Harris, this is truly a historical moment that will create a wave for change going forward into the future.
Here is what you should know about Sen. Kamala Harris:
- Kamala Devi Harris was born October 20, 1964, in Oakland, CA to Donald Harris and Shamayla Gopalan Harris. Sen. Harris' parents are both immigrants, her father from Jamaica, and her mother from India.
- Sen. Harris has one younger sister, Maya Lakshmi Harris. Maya is a powerhouse in her own right as an American lawyer, public policy advocate, and television commentator.
- Donald Harris was an economics professor and Shamayla Harris was a physician. Her parents met during their time at UC Berkely.
- After she graduated from high school, Harris attended Howard University. Which, if you did not know before, is one of the most prestigious historically Black colleges in Washington, DC. It was here that Harris graduated with a BA in political science and economics. She also joined Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority Inc. while attending Howard University. Following up on her undergrad career, Harris earned her law degree at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, J.D., in 1989.
- To keep her children close to their Indian heritage, Shamayla gave them names that were a nod to their roots. Kamala means "lotus" and is also another name for the Hindu goddess Lakshmi.
- Sen. Harris has spoken about the fact that she was bused to her elementary school. In fact, in the first grade she was bused to Thousand Oaks Elementary School. This school was early on in the integration process and she spent the next three years being bussed from her predominantly black, lower-middle-class neighborhood to a white school district.
- As a child, Harris was able to embrace both her South Asian and Black identities. Her mother made sure her daughters attended both a Black Baptist church and a Hindu temple.
- Currently, Sen. Harris is married to her husband Douglas Emhoff who is an entertainment lawyer. They were married in 2014 making Harris a stepmom to Emhoff two children, Cole and Ella.
What you should know about Sen. Kamala Harris’ political career:
During most of the 90s, Kamala Harris served as Deputy District Attorney for Alameda County, California. It was during this time that Harris earned her reputation for being "tough" in cases such as gang violence, drug trafficking, and sexual abuse. In 1998, Harris was named managing attorney of the Career Criminal Unit of San Francisco District Attorney's Office.
From 2004 to 2011, Harris served as District Attorney of San Francisco. She became the first Black woman elected as San Francisco's District Attorney. During her time as District Attorney, Harris created a program to provide first-time drug offenders second chances. They also were able to have an opportunity to earn a high school degree and find a job. In 2010, Kamala became the first Black woman to be elected California Attorney General, overseeing the country's second-largest Justice Department, only behind the U.S. Department of Justice.
In this position, Harris managed a $735 million budget while overseeing more than 4,800 attorneys. Also while being California Attorney General, she fought for families and won a $20 billion settlement for California homeowners against big banks that were unfairly foreclosing on homes. During this time, Harris published her book, Smart on Crime: A Creer Prosecutor's Plan to Make Us Safer. Harris later went on to serve as Attorney General of California from 2011 to 2016.
Sen. Kamala Harris was elected to the U.S. Senate as a Democrat in 2016 and began her first term representing California on January 3, 2017. She was the first Indian-American to serve as a U.S. senator as well as the second African-American woman. Since being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016, Harris has introduced and co-sponsored legislation to help the middle class, increase the minimum wage to $15, reform cash bail, and defend the legal rights of refugees and immigrants. Harris is on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and also on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
In 2019, Sen. Harris released her a second book, a memoir, The Truths We Hold: An American Journey, as well as a picture book, Superheroes Are Everywhere. January of that same year, Sen. Harris announced her bid to run for President in the 2020 elections. This was followed up in December 2019 with the Senator dropping out of the race and putting her support behind Joe Biden. On August 11, 2020, Joe Biden selected Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate for the 2020 Presidental elections.
Where does Sen. Kamala Harris stand on the issues?
Harris has expressed mixed messages on the issue of healthcare. There have been many questions surrounding where Sen. Harris stands as far as "Medicare for All". What we are clear on is that Sen. Harris has spoken about underserved communities during the pandemic and she has also spoken to maternal mortality. In July 2019, Harris unveiled a different kind of healthcare platform, "KamalaCare", that would expand Medicare without ending private insurance. This platform was thought to be splitting the difference between Sanders and Biden.
During her presidential candidacy, Harrisadvocated for several things: using executive powers to reinstate and expand the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Also, creating a clear path to citizenship for Dreamers brought into the U.S. as children.
While being California Attorney General, Harris' role in securing a $25 billion settlement for California homeowners from big mortgage firms confirmed hef stance as a consumer advocate. Harris' record included prosecution of predatory lenders, protections for those drowning in student debt, and being tough on online consumer privacy issues.
Harris has called for reforms to address racism in the criminal justice system during her presidential candidacy. This platform included an end to private prisons and mandatory minimums, legalizing marijuana, and abolishing the death penalty and solitary confinement.
Harris introduced a plan that proposed canceling up to $20,000 in student loans for borrowers who started a business in a poor community and maintained it for three years. This was very different than most of her opponents who wanted to cancel student loan debt altogether.
Over that last few years, Harris has taken a stance on addressing climate change and environmental justice. She endorsed the Green New Deal and in September, Harris released a climate plan that allocated a $10 trillion investment in a clean-energy transition over the next ten years. Harris and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez introduced a plan for legislation that would ensure that new environmental bills be evaluated based on how they impact frontline communities.
If you want to find out more about where Sen. Harris stands since accepting the nomination, tune in to the Vice Presidential debate on October 7.
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This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
We waved farewell to summer last week, along with all its highlights. Now we warmly embrace music that encourages us to feel, calm down, and think back on the last enjoyable months and their aftermath. Some of the aftereffects of our summertime delights, like "Lil Boo Thang" and "Guarantee," will make us feel content and that our time was well spent. Other repercussions, like "I Just Wanna Feel Your Love Again" and "No SZNs," are more severe and will leave us contemplating some ill-placed steps while we spiral into deep despair.
Whichever side you find yourself on during this change of seasons, or if you're between, consider adding some of these new singles to your playlist to help mourn what's left of this summertime weather. While also welcoming the possibilities that only autumn's beautiful breeze can create.
1.Doechii - "Pacer"
Oh, Doechii, how we have waited for you at every door and corner for what seems like an eternity; yet we are so grateful that you have finally arrived. Doechii has released another single to further demonstrate her versatility after releasing one of the summer's most popular songs. With "Pacer," Doechii, who stunned us with her vocal range on "What It Is," goes back to her rapping roots. The TDE phenomenon starts the song out completely unhinged. With a blood-curdling scream, similar to fellow TDE artist Jay Rock, Doechii gathers her clique to prepare for battle, as though she had just returned from a fierce altercation.
However, instead of amassing casualties upon those who doubted her, Doechii plans to render them inept under the weight of her accomplishments and accolades. She acknowledges that she has arrived at her success later than she had hoped, but says she is on "God's time," and that while reaching her level of achievement later than others, she has done it regardless and with enough assurance to intend to remain for a while.
2."No Statements" - ScarLip
No matter what rap music you play these days, there is always a critic waiting to proclaim that rap and hip-hop are dying. Although part of what they say is true, they haven't yet detected the faint pulse that keeps the business alive. If the naysayers would quiet down long enough to hear that fading pulse, it would be the sound of female rappers smashing through locked doors in an attempt to reclaim its strong and steady beat. One of those rappers, besides Doechii, is ScarLip.
ScarLip, who is 22 years old, fresh off the success of her 2022 "Glizzy Gobbler," has dropped her newest single "No Statements." The rapper says in "No Statements" that she is not in the business of snitching, making statements, or leaving a paper trail of her wrongdoings, but rather needs to be fully aware of the circumstances so she may proceed with her decisions. It would be difficult to not hear people humming this song for weeks to come, because of the catchy chorus and straightforward lyricism. Maybe after this, critics can follow her lead and refrain from making detrimental statements.
3."How Were We To Know" - Emeli Sandé
How were we to know? We ponder this question after a relationship has ended and everything has been put out on the floor to be either picked up and rebuilt or swept away and abandoned. How were we to tell if the connection would burn to the ground or vanish into thin air? How could we have known that the person we intended to spend forever with would be gone the next day? How were we to recognize all the signs when they were arranged randomly and incomprehensibly? In this query, we pardon ourselves for not being omniscient. We accept responsibility for failing to recognize the apparent facts that were put in front of us.
Emelie Sandé asks the same questions in her most recent song, "How Were We To Know." She ponders how she might have known that the relationship was doomed. But as the song goes on, it becomes obvious that she, just like the rest of us, could have easily figured it out if we had communicated better, assigned blame less frequently, and set aside our egos.
4."Angel" - Halle (Acoustic Performance)
At the beginning of August, Halle Bailey released "Angel," her debut single as a solo performer. In less than a few hours, the piano-driven ballad that explored what it is like to be a Black woman growing up in this tiresome, neglectful environment captured millions of listeners and became an anthem for all sun-kissed girls. With beautiful lyricism that acknowledges the weight unfairly burdened upon Black women, Halle reminds audiences that they are in fact angelic, despite the demons that appear out of the woodwork to tell us otherwise.
When one falls, they fall "onto clouds" and find a way to make their way through the limitless struggles bestowed by simply existing. After all, as I said before, black women are the only things to ever grow without nourishment. As if the song couldn't be lovelier than the original rendition, Halle debuted an acoustic version of the smash a couple of weeks ago to demonstrate just how genuinely heavenly she is.
5."No SZNS" - Jean Dawson and SZA
Every day is like the day before. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west, and everything beautiful and dismal that can happen occurs in between. The seasons bring a certain ambiance that allows for differentiation between the past and the present, but only if you're in a place where it matters, and the changing of seasons can be felt. If not, then every day is every day. In "NO SZNS," by Jean Dawson and SZA, this simple fact is mentioned repeatedly in the chorus; but the reality of every day being the same creates an unshakeable melancholy that can only be felt through their lilting vocals and sometimes abrupt instrumentals.
They appear to be pleading for some other truth, because they find it difficult to accept that each day will be the same as the last, and that, despite the passing of time and the changing of the seasons, we are doomed to repeat the at times idyllic, terrifying cycle.
6."Black Dress" - 070 Shake
It's unfortunate that not as many people tune in to 070 Shake as frequently as they ought to. Despite becoming popular with her song "SCAR" on Beyoncé's The Lion King: The Gift, many people are still unaware of how good she is as an artist. The unclassifiable New Jersey musician, whose music is tough to define, has released "Black Dress," in preparation for her second album, You Can't Kill Me. The brand-new 070 Shake track "Black Dress" is a sensation with a haunting feel.
The song has strong, churning guitars, hazy synthesizers, and trap 808s that help to create an eerie and encapsulating, daunting melody. Shake plays the sole survivor of an aircraft accident in the popular song's music video, which was shot by Noah Lee. She is originally stranded in a tree with her parachute before descending to the burning wreckage below. When she finally touches the ground, she performs a song deserving of the fame she will one day enjoy.
7."You" - Lola Brooke ft. Bryson Tiller
What's that I hear around the way? Oh, another female rapper here to save the day? With the help of Bryson Tiller, Lola Brooke's newest song, "You," aims to kick off this cuffing season in the 90s. The rapper, who is relatively new to the hip-hop scene and who recently released the single "Don't Play With It," samples Foxxy Brown's popular song "Get Me Home" on this nearly three-minute tune.
In time for the fall, Brooke and Tiller's powerful voices and sensuous vocals have created the ideal song to dance to while searching for love. In her lyrics, the 29-year-old displays both her Brooklyn heritage and the characteristics ideal in a potential suitor. By the end of the song, it is clear that Brooke plans to move through this cuffing season with intention and refuses to settle for anything less than what she deserves.
8."Guarantee" - Black Eyed Peas
No matter how far into the future we are, you can always depend on the Black Eyed Peas to come from a more vibrant, lively, and distant time period than our own. The trio speaks about having what other people need in their newest song, "Guarantee," off of their 2022 album ELEVATION. In this single, they assert that they can elevate all that is freely provided to them, leading to greater love, knowledge, and total pleasure.
Promising endless satisfaction, they show what is guaranteed if only given the opportunity. With a fun summer mix and poppy, futuristic beat, "Guarantee" is one of the dance songs the endless heat has to give.
9."Lil Boo Thang" - Paul Russell
It is almost ridiculous how often this song has been played throughout the summer, to not have made it in time to be a summer hit. But with only the first 30 seconds available to audiences via TikTok, it had no other choice but to be a glimmer of what it could have been. Nevertheless, now that Paul Russell's "Lil Boo Thang" has been made available, it includes a much lengthier version of the endearing summer song about liking someone enough to be open and honest about one's intentions.
In this short song, he sings of all the potential and affection he can bring to the relationship if only given the chance. Concluding with a nice homage to The Emotions' "Best of My Love," "Lil Boo Thang" might be able to reclaim the love it was unable to receive in the summer this fall.
10."I Just Wanna Feel Your Love Again." - Montell Fish
If Kevin Abstract, Leon Bridges, and Moses Sumney had a baby, I'd imagine it'd be this Montell Fish single. In "I Just Wanna Feel Your Love Again." Fish laments the end of his relationship and the unrestricted love that came with its demise in this song. Without her affection, the need and want to be with her consumes his weekends and moments, but he is always left pleading and alone.
To make matters worse, he is compelled to navigate the world knowing how wonderful it is to experience everlasting love and realizing that he is unlikely to come close to doing so again. As he sings over a guitar and echoing backing vocals, the song has a loneliness that cannot be placed into words. Ultimately, his longing to once again experience his love's devotion feels almost unearthly and forever out of reach.
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