The story of JT Thor

The NBA summer league is upon us, and as usual, we find a star to zero on, and this year we have JT Thor. We are not sure how much of a god he is in other aspects of his life, but we can say that he has cracked this god-juice with basketball. 

 

This 18 year old south Sudanese-American player who recently got selected to the Charlotte Hornets is a brilliant player who dazzled us at the NBA summer league. 

His story is quite an inspiring one. Before getting drafted by the Hornets for the 37th overall pick in the NBA draft, Jokhow Panom Thor played college basketball for the Auburn Tigers. In west high, where he went to high school, he played for the varsity team and then moved on to West Virginia’s Huntington Prep, where he played among people who were better than him. Knowing that the competition was now stiffer, JT worked harder than he had ever worked in his life because he was looking at getting noticed. 

 

JT had to work hard because he had made a huge sacrifice for basketball. At a young age, he left his family at Anchorage and went to West Virginia to chase basketball, earn money and send money home to his family. He comes from an immigrant family, with a mother who left Sudan 23 years ago when the country was ravaged by war to chase a better life for her family. 

 

JT would again use this hard-wor strategy when he was waiting to be drafted for the NBA 37th overall draft. The work he did showed clearly in his body and skills that the Hornets were convinced that at that rate, he would grow better. When asked about his growth process, he said, “From my last game until now, I’ve drastically improved. My lower body got stronger, and my shot mechanics are way better. I feel like I’m going to be a great player someday, and I think the coaches seen that in me, and that’s why they took a chance on me.”

Seeing his recent performance at the summer league, it is clear that his hard work is paying, as we can see. Future predictions show that he will do even better as time goes on and become one of those names we sing of. 

 

JT Thor may not have a hammer, but he has a basketball, and right now, in our eyes, they are one and the same thing. 

Conrad Khalil shoots exquisite photographs of Bow Wow AND Soulja Boy Verzuz battle via The Vision Room.

Last night we witnessed what was arguably the most entertaining Verzuz episode ever. Bow Wow and Mr. I did it first, Soulja Boy delivered a performance that was all shades of entertaining, fun, nostalgic, and crazy dances.

If you missed it, here it is in a wrap. After months of throwing shades on social media, these two American singers, rappers, and songwriters throw down old gees style.

But aside from the baggy jeans, jerseys, and blinged wristwatches, it was fun all through the night as they took the crowd through some of their favorite hit songs from 2000. While many thought the Verzuz would not happen because Bow Wow has failed to honor a previous invite, this was different.

As the crowd screamed their favorite tunes, acclaimed songwriter, freelance photographer, creative content creator, and guy-with mad vibes were there to capture this once-in-a-lifetime moment from his lens. If you missed it, well, you missed it. It was dope, and the atmosphere was legit vibrating.

Conrad Khalil, a member of Vimeo, is now a photographer that shot out of the Vision Room to create high-quality images that replicate being in the moment. 

Vision Room is a creative space that collaborates with creative content creators, giving them a well-deserved platform to showcase their skills and sell themselves on social media. 

Supported by an experienced team tailored to enhance your talents, the Vision Room is all about creating a unique and never-before-seen experience.

Despite their Twitter rant and banters, the two rappers were present at Verzuz and brought the house down with electrifying music from the past and some new records too. There is certainly no bad blood between these two music legends as they cranked it to the audience’s amazement.

For more information, check out Conrad Khalil, Verzuz, and Vision Room’s Instagram pages.

Everything I Learned from Chandler Bing

By Neha Seenarine (Photo from Tumblr) 

 

“Friends” is one of the most well-known sitcoms. Six young adults learning how to live successfully and happily in New York City. We all know about Rachel’s iconic haircut and Joey’s pickup lines. However, for me, Chandler Bing is the one that hits close to home. Sitcom characters are made to be relatable. We find them in similar situations with wanting to get a dream job or going through heartbreak and Bing has been through it all. 

The Man Behind It All 

Bing’s character would not be possible without Matthew Perry. His wit drives through every episode’s performance. We hear Perry’s sarcasm in most lines and see his body language when he is trapped in certain situations. I could not imagine any member “Friends” cast, being replaced with someone else. 

Chandler’s Average Life 

Bing’s character is pretty normal. He’s an average dude, and that’s all we need from a sitcom character. Then there is Rachel who comes from a rich household and Phoebe who has an estranged twin. I think Bing’s storyline is the most relatable out of all the characters. He has a lost hope for love because of his divorced parents. Regardless of our parents’ marital status, we tend to realize our love lives is not the easy “lose a shoe at the ball” plotline from Cinderella. We have seen Bing strike out with women he’s interested in, go through heartbreak, and even go back to his crazy ex, Janice. It happens to us all. A good portion of “Friends” is not knowing what Bing’s career is. We see him in an office setting from time to time. He works in statistical analysis and data reconfiguration (I had to Google it). Regardless, it’s okay not to have a job like Rachel at Ralph Lauren. Yes, we shoot for the stars working for big companies and it is important to have goals. However, a local firm that pays the bills and offers 401k will get you by day to day. 

 

Modernizing Chandler 

Bing’s character would fit in any timeline. In 2021, I can imagine a storyline of him being upset about gas price inflation. He’s an average guy you would meet in the grocery, and that’s what is perfect about him, he is relatable. Bing being average does not mean he’s boring, it means more people can identify with him if he does not have much of a story at all. 

What We Can All Learn from Mr. Bing 

Normal is not bad or boring. Characters are always portrayed to be rich, happy, and glamourous. It took Bing almost the entirety of “Friends” to find his special someone and be content with his life. You can’t always get what you want, but what is meant for you will come to you.

 

What’s Up Next Meets Bingeables:

 

Bingeboundby: Samantha Stemmer (Bingebound-Binged LLC) 

With all the recommendations coming from The Vision Room’s series “Bingeables” one might be feeling overwhelmed with all these shows on their “to watch list.” Well, those overwhelming feelings can move along because Binged LLC created an app called Bingebound which will satisfy all your binging needs. The app allows people to track what they are binging, want to binge, and have binged. In addition, the app provides a social aspect for friends, family, and TV watchers to bond over their favorite shows they have binged. Trying to keep track of all the shows one has seen and then the ones that they still want to watch on phone notes apps, is now a task of the past. 

Bingebound has created three simple categories to organize shows into one’s profile: binging, want to binge, and binged. The “binging” category allows one’s social network to see what they are currently watching. The “want to binge” category will provide the user with the space to organize their TV recommendations and now no one will not miss out on a great recommendation because they simply forgot about it. Lastly the “binged” category allows the user to look back at everything they have seen and leave ratings and reviews. 

Along with the organization of TV shows, Bingebound has data on over 100K television programs, tells users what streaming platforms the programs are available on, and provides users with updates on any shows that are saved to their profile. Bingebound also alerts when new episodes are released, what the most popular and trending shows are, and programs that are similar to what users have seen. 

Bingebound is the app of every TV lover’s dream. The app is still very new and working out kinks on the technical side, but the concept of this app is beyond genius. That being said, we at The Vision Room believe Bingebound might be the next big thing. Make sure you download Bingebound for free from the App Store or Google Play

 

Special Screening of HBO original PAUSE with Sam Jay

As told by JIMMYSODOPE

Keenan Ivory Wayans’ “In Living Color” set the bar for sketch comedy
shows. Today we are seeing shows like “A Black Lady Sketch Show”
innovate their approach to the genre, building a scripted story around
the skits. Last night Fader presented a virtual screening of the HBO
original “PAUSE with Sam Jay”. Sam, a former writer for SNL, pushed
the boundaries of how a sketch comedy can be structured and delivered
a message to viewers that could empower them and alter the way they
see the world. Dare I say… It was genius.

PAUSE displayed a level of authenticity and honesty not seen on
television these days. The skits laid in a bed surrounded by a party
scene where Sam and her crew of friends/writers had casual
conversations that served as precursors for each skit. For instance,
in the “Go Judge Me” bit, and the conversation that preceded it, Jay
challenged the way we see Go Fund Me campaigns.

“It would be nice to shed light on these conditions of poverty that
force these circumstances”, Sam Jay expressed in a pre-recorded
interview that aired after the premier.

The writer/comedian spoke of the lessons learned since spending time
amongst wealthier friends and acquaintances. She mentioned how the
approach to wealth is different in affluent environments as opposed to
the hood. Whether it’s access to loans or candid investment group
chats, Sam simply stated, “Access creates opportunity.”

One of the last questions posed to Sam during the exclusive conversation with comedian and show writer Zack Fox was about how views on cancel culture. She explained “The only thing that frightens me is the mob needing blood. Needing a particular version of retribution.”

Sam Jay is here to make you laugh hysterically, question what you
think you know and push the limits of comedy!

“PAUSE with Sam Jay” airs Fridays on HBO and is also streaming on HBO Max.

A Photographic Love Affair with digital graphics, Arts and Fashion

Written by: The Vision Room

VIARAP Gallery, a limited time pop up, is now open this June for an artistic exploration that showcases how arts and fashion intertwine. A viewing of hip hop’s most influential visual moments through the lens of pop culture and social justice.

But there is more to this grand opening.

Super talented celebrity photographer Shareif Zidayat will also be there,2 not just to take pictures as VIARAP Gallery will be showcasing his marvelous works to the public.

Shareif Zidayat and graphic artist Flashgrfx are joining skills to deliver an exhibition like no other. You are invited to the 4-day event, and the stars are showing up.

The opening is sponsored by some of the best premium liquor brands. Ciroc Vodka and Deleon Tequila are getting guests started with the perfect glass.

One of their works worth seeing is the beautiful art piece of the late artist, DMX, whose picture was shot by Shareif Zidayat and surrounding mural and enhancement finished by Flashgrfx himself. Besides the elegant mural/photography of the rapper, Shareif has worked with countless celebrities, including Jennifer Lopez, Alicia Keys, Swizz Beatz, Black Eyes Peas and Wyclef Jean to name a few.

This is one fashion & art show not to miss. It is the best collaboration between the graphic artist and photographer. This high-profile gathering will feature VIPs and celebrities from all walks of life. They will celebrate with these two talents and also gain valuable insight during the event.

Where is the event taking place?

The VIARAP Gallery photography exhibition promises to be exciting and fun-packed in a 6-day event holding at 2 Rivington Street, New York, NY 10002.

The event begins June 8th with the grand opening of the exhibition to VIP guests from the red carpet welcome starting at 6pm and ending by 9pm.

June 9th presents the Panel – An art and activism program hosted by two young and fashion-forward ladies taking female independence to the next level. They are Nialah Edari and Savannah Britt.

June 10th is a special program tagged The Black and Brown Experience

June 11th is the last day for VIPs and hosts the Masters of Ceremonies for VIP and VVIP.

The VIARAP Gallery will also be opened to the public from 9th to the 13th from 11am to 4pm to appreciate our fans.

The VIARAP gallery grand opening will not be complete without the master strategist, award-winning marketer, brand consultant, and motivational speaker, Nick Storm.

If you love fashion, digital arts, and photography, this is one place to see all three in the spectacular works of Shareif Zidayat and Kedar Flash grfx Griffith.

Vote of thanks from The Vision Room

We are living the American dream and are determined to give back to our society and other African American people as well. We appreciate the support from all the artists, designers, celebrities, and especially celebrity photographer Shareif Zidayat and VIARAP Gallery.

Thanks to Ciroc Vodka and Deleon tequila for your sponsorship as they push to be a major brand in the industry.

 

Page Turners: “Later”

By Neha Seenarine

 

Stephen King released his latest novel, “Later,” earlier this year.

(Photo from Stephen King’s website)

“Later” follows a teenage boy, Jamie Conklin and his unordinary power to see the dead. His abilities are taken advantage of when he is forced to talk to dead to receive unanswered questions.

King has a specialty for coming-of-age stories. He writes young characters and develops them in a way you would think he was writing about his childhood best friend. We see numerous young characters in King’s popular work like: “The Shining,” “It,” and “The Body.” 

Young characters tend to have a supernatural ability to see the dead. A part of the skill is that children have not been exposed to the “real world.” They do not know their parents go Black Friday shopping for their Christmas presents, they think Santa Claus took a year to build it at his workshop. Adults are used to not having magic in their lives anymore. The adults in Conklin’s life struggle to believe him but they take his word. It is an interesting dynamic to see how he interacts with adults when they want to use his ability.

The theme of this story is manipulation. It seems people will take advantage of others regardless of consequences. Conklin interacted with a ghost to help his mother’s ex-lover out. Conklin was held accountable with his interaction with the dead. It seems like the adult never thought about how this might disturb someone’s childhood. People can become selfish when they see an opportunity and not recognize the aftermath because it does not affect them personally. 

Personally, I am not into the horror genre. “The Shining” is the only horror movie I have seen and will be the only horror movie I will ever see. It was great, it just successfully gave me the heebie jeebies. “Later” did not make me feel uneasy, but it did make me want more. I read this book in under a week because I wanted to know where Conklin was headed next. I am familiar with some of King’s previous work, but this book is perfect for anyone who may have not read “Rita Hayworth” or “Shawshank Redemption” and wants to be exposed to a new genre. 

You can learn more about “Later,” and Stephen King’s work here

 

April Kae – RIDE ON

The tricky thing about being young is that you’re expected to have an infinite supply of energy and ambition. Our culture acts as if young adults are immune to generational trauma, endless loops of police brutality on the news, paying rent, depression and heavens knows what else. What intrigues me most about April Kae is that the musician, influencer, activist and  podcaster embodies relentlessness. Seeking until she find what she’s looking for, April continues to ride on… 

“I’m originally from Austin, Texas. I was born in a small town called Denton, Texas where my parents met because the university of Texas is there. Which is a really great jazz school. I actually went college in Oregon. I went back home to get my life together then I realized I wanted to be in Philly. I visited a friend there and I fell in love with the city. I was also able to start a music club. A HipHop writing club after school. I’m not pretending like I went to the school to save these kids. Hopefully I helped a couple people but if anyone saved anyone it was the vibe of blackness. The black community saved me. I felt more empowered and decided to go back to college to study finance.”

The decision to study economics led April to New York, but even the big city wasn’t loud enough to quench her thirst for creative freedom. After more schooling and travel, April was committed to starting a band. Teaming up with her sister Nikki, Imani Gold was birthed in Portland. 

“Growing up in a musical household, singing together and playing music together was always a given. My mom is also music teacher and was the whole time I was growing up. During the holidays she would take my sister and I and her students around caroling to nursing homes. Then she would have twice a year concerts where I would play bass and my sister would help with organizing. Before the band was a thing, that’s what we were doing. That’s who we are.” 

The name of the band “Imani Gold” stays true to the sisters bond. Imani not only means faith in Swahili, it’s also Nikki’s middle name. Gold is a representation of the sense malleability and strength of marginalized people. Listening to their single “Ride On” you get a sense of April’s story and inspiration. Ride on has an island vibe but was written with the intention of writing a GREAT country song. 

“I actually wrote “Ride On” as an exercise for myself. I wanted to write the most straight forward country song possible. I think it was Miles Davis that said that he liked country music because of the stories. It starts ‘I was born in a small Texas town’. Like how much more classic country can you get than that?”

So whether you’re experiencing April Kae as the lead vocalist of Imani Gold, the influencer showing how beautiful natural body can be or the host of the “I See What You Mean” podcast, brace yourself for a big dose of authenticity and passion. 

Follow April Kae on Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/aprilkae.nyc/

See official visual for Ride On by Imani Gold

MUSIC

Hear the latest episode of I See What You Mean

https://www.april-kae.com/what’s-your-legacy-kimmortal-musician-and-artist

 

Bingeables: Love Life

Written by Samantha Stemmer

 

As June approaches, the blazing heat of summer is in full swing and the joys of beach trips, pool days, and “dog days” are among us. However, along with the summer heat comes summer storms that usually only last thirty minutes to an hour, and what better way to spend those thirty minutes than curling up on the couch to watch a romcom? 

(HBO Max)

 

Debuting on HBO Max over a year ago on May 27, 2020, the show “Love Life,” created by Sam Boyd and starring actress Anna Kendrick alongside Zoë Chao and Peter Vack, has been criminally underrated. “Love Life” currently has one season that consists of ten episodes running around thirty minutes a piece and in June of 2020 was renewed for a second season, yet no release date has been announced. No, “Love Life” will not change your life and does not delve into deeper conversations or messages; however this show will put a smile on your face and make thirty minutes fly by. “Love Life” can be described as an anthology that follows one person per season through their journey into finding their soulmate, and the first season followed Anna Kendrick’s character, Darby Carter. 

 

The first season of “Love Life” spanned from 2012 to 2019 and over the course of the seven years features all the different relationships Darby Carter has had. Darby began the season as either a senior in college or a recent graduate living with two roommates in New York City. The episodes, typically titled after Darby’s boyfriends, for example the first episode is titled “Augie Jeong” and the second titled “Bradley Field,” play through the relationships Darby had with those particular partners, until in the last episode, Darby meets “the one.” There are a few episodes that vary from the pattern of being about Darby’s boyfriend, including one about her roommate and best friend, an episode about her mother, and one about her childhood, however that episode did include her high school relationship. So while the show is primarily about Darby’s relationship with men there is also an aspect about “Love Life” that is about Darby’s relationship with the women around her and her relationship with herself. The episodes are both comedic, romantic, and relatable enough to keep you watching.

       (Sarah Shatz / WarnerMedia / HBO Max)

 

The biggest flaw with “Love Life” is the lack of attention to the surrounding characters. For example Zoë Chao’s character, Sara Yang, who is Darby’s roommate and best friend is incredibly interesting but only receives one episode dedicated to her with a ton of character to unpack. It would have been more satisfying for viewers if this episode was instead a part of an entire season which focused on Sara and her finding her own soulmate. Along with Chao’s character being glossed over, so was Peter Vack’s character, Jim, who is revealed as Sara’s boyfriend in the first episode.

 

While “Love Life” is a wonderful series to binge that is light-hearted and enjoyable, I do not know if a second season is necessary. The show’s ending did a great job of balancing tying up any loose ends yet keeping some elements up to the viewers imagination. I think another season following Darby Carter would be redundant, however a season following Sara, Jim, or Mallory, Darby’s other roommate and friend played by Sasha Compère, would be worth watching. Overall if you want an easy show to binge during the summer give “Love Life” a shot and let us at The Vision Room know what you think. 

 

Complexity of Cartoon Characters

By Neha Seenarine

 

‘Space Jam’ is coming back to theaters, but with all sequels, the characters are never the same.

Photo from Collider

The sequel, ‘Space Jam: A New Legacy’ will not feature Pepé Le Pew and Lola Bunny will have a new look.

Pepé Le Pew has been removed from the film. His character promotes rape culture relentlessly with the same storyline. 

“Each begins with a cat, usually but (interestingly) not always female, getting a stripe of white paint on its back, usually (but not always) by accident,” said Jennifer Finney Boylan, journalist for The New York Times. “This makes our hero, Pepé, mistake the cat for one of his own kind — and his response to those of his own kind is always deep and passionate love. He has a curious way of expressing it, though. Even though he is French (which in the Looney Tunes world is shorthand for relentless amour), his terrible smell repulses the objects of his affection, who struggle valiantly to get away, sometimes successfully, sometimes not. “Odor-able Kitty” ends with Pepé with a chain around his ankle. “Now we are inseparable, are we not, darling?” he says. The shot follows the chain across the room to the cat, whose leg is also bound. The last we see of the pussy, she is desperately hacking away at the chain, trying to get free.”

In today’s world, Pepé Le Pew’s image of being a cartoon bachelor is not acceptable. Some may argue that audiences are too sensitive about animation. However, cartoons are created by people with a purpose. There are writers that sit down to create a character and their motives. An animated French skunk can easily be portrayed as a womanizer by simply flirting.

There is a line that should not be crossed. Critics act like sensitivity is a problem. However, the media industry should be mindful of its viewers. In a world with the ‘Me Too’ movement and the constant fight for people to be heard; there are victims who have been taken advantage of. It would be traumatic to sit down and watch a family-friendly movie that depicts rape. When the movie is over, it can leave a good or bad impact on someone.

It would be a step backward if Warner Brothers chose to leave Pepé Le Pew in the ‘Space Jam’ sequel. At the end of the day, companies have a reputation to protect. ‘Cancel culture’ is real. The internet will not hesitate to black-list industries. It is either lose the skunk or lose the company’s revenue.

The ‘Space Jam: A New Legacy’ controversy did not stop there. Lola Bunny is dressed appropriately for a children’s movie. However, ‘Space Jam’ fans are appalled with the lack of cleavage. 

Cartoon characters do not have to be sexy. Animated female characters like Lola Bunny are portrayed to have a fit body and be seductive to the protagonist (in this case, Bugs Bunny). She is a bunny that plays basketball, it is okay if Lola has a flat chest. 

Sex appeal does not add value to a character. For example, the Scarlet Witch (Wanda Maximoff) from Marvel Comics wears a revealing costume. When the comics were adapted to live-action movies and shows, actress Elizabeth Olsen, wanted to wear clothes that covered her body when playing Wanda Maximoff.

“It’s funny because sometimes I look around and I’m just like — wow, I’m the only one who has cleavage, and that’s a constant joke because they haven’t really evolved my superhero costume that much,” Olsen told ELLE Magazine in 2018.

The Disney+ show, ‘WandaVision’, debuted a new look for the Scarlett Witch. Olsen gave input on how she wanted her costume to function. 

“She is so practical that she immediately put it on and she was like, ‘OK, I can do this move and I can’t do this move. And I need to be able to do this move,’” ‘WandaVision’ director, Matt Shakman said in an interview with Entertainment Tonight this week. “We were like, ‘Great!’ So then we have to re-engineer it because those suits are tough. I mean, it’s one thing to look amazing. It’s another thing to actually function.”

Photo from Disney+

There are more to characters besides how they look. Characters are impressionable to audiences based on their behavior. It is important for young audiences to get a glimpse of heroes projected for who they are, not how pretty they look. Young audiences should be kept away from bad influences that will taint the way they think. They are young, let them imagine the world as good and inspiring.

We are seeing a shift in the entertainment industry. Our characters representing our culture as society develops with new standards. Would you be satisfied with your favorite cartoon being rebooted to represent today’s ideals?