The Angel Reese drama is a prime example of the double standards young people of color face
LSU star Angel Reese is defending the “you can’t see me” John Cena-inspired move and other gestures she aimed at Iowa Hawkeyes’ Caitlin Clark during the Tigers’ first NCAA women’s basketball national championship victory game on Sunday. Reese’s move has been highly criticized this week across the news and social media, but Reese defended herself by making a point to show viewers that she was just giving the same energy back to Clark, who made similar gestures toward Reese and others and was not criticized for her behavior. Even Clark herself has come forward to defend Reese.
Reese pointed out the double standard between the two players in a statement saying, “All year, I was critiqued for who I was. I don’t fit the narrative…I don’t fit the box that y’all want me to be in. I’m too hood. I’m too ghetto. Y’all told me that all year. But when other people do it, and y’all don’t say nothing…So this is for the girls that look like me. For those that want to speak up for what they believe in. It’s unapologetically you. And that’s what I did it for tonight. It was bigger than me tonight. And Twitter is going to go into a rage every time.” Her statement encapsulates the judgements she and other people of color face that their White competitors do not, and takes a stand against it. And while Reese received heavy backlash online, she also had many supporters. For example, ESPN’s Holly Rowe tweeted, “People hating on Angel Reese or Caitlin Clark. Stop. Unapologetically confident young women should be celebrated NOT hated. Get used to it.”
The new Barbie trailer and matching AI selfie generator is everywhere
If Greta Gerwig’s upcoming Barbie wasn’t already primed to be the movie of the summer, it is now, because the latest full trailer and cast photos have the internet overcome with excitement. That, and the matching AI selfie generator that’s allowing users to make their own Barbie or Ken cast poster—which of course has already been turned into a meme template. With BarbieSelfie.ai, anyone can upload a photo that the app will remove the background from, customize their taglines, and pick their Barbie (or Ken) background color of choice.
Brands have quickly gotten in on the easy, silly format: E! News posted an album of Barbies and Kens on Instagram starting with one of Taylor Swift with the tagline “This Barbie is the reason I have bad blood with TicketMaster,” and another of Pedro Pascal (with an image from one of his many memes) captioned “This Ken is daddy.” On IG, the hashtag #BarbieTheMovie has over 36K posts with Barbies and Kens of all kinds, from personal posts to branded ones.
TikTok is, of course, all over the selfie generator, too, and brands are also sharing tons of homemade posters to TikTok, thanks to the Insta-mimicking album feature that’s now a staple on the platform. Letterboxd posted an album of movie and TV characters like Adam Sandler in Uncut Gems captioned “This Ken is trying to win,” and even the phone toy from Toy Story with the tagline “This Barbie is your worst nightmare.” But TikTok’s #BarbieTheMovie hashtag (77M views) is actually more full of users dissecting the trailer for their favorite easter eggs or making fan edits of the trailer—so be on the lookout for Barbie collabs, because the fan base for this movie is already growing.
Bud Light received pushback for a collab with trans activist & influencer Dylan Mulvaney
Celebrating the one-year-anniversary of her “365 Days of Girlhood” series, Bud Light partnered up with Dylan Mulvaney to also promote a March Madness giveaway. In one ad, Mulvaney celebrates her partnership, despite “not knowing” March Madness is about sports, and in another she’s seen in a bathtub drinking from Bud Light beer cans, which are adorned with her smiling face. But having been the subject of online hate since the beginning of her series documenting their first year out as a trans woman, this collab sparked debate amongst non-supporters and fans of Mulvaney.
Right-wing commentators, specifically on Twitter, ignited a “#BudLightBoycott” with users like @endwokeness posting a photo of the cans with the caption, “Bud Light is clearly clueless about who their target audience is.” Others knocked the brand for “going woke,” and said “We’ve now reached the point where we can’t even drink beer in America without politics being shoved down our throats.” But supporters of the TikTok star quickly shot back and revealed the truth behind the campaign: one user tweeted, “…conservatives really think they are selling cans with Dylan [M]ulvaney’s face on them💀💀 Y’all never look into anything cause it was one can sent SPECIFICALLY to her as a way for her to talk about March Madness.”
YPulse data shows that this year, support for transgender people in advertising is notably low amongst young people, Gen Z specifically—and it can likely be contributed to political strikes against the LGBTQ+ community. What brands should take from this is not to swear off collabs with LGBTQ+ influencers and activists who might upset some consumers, but rather to continue supporting this community as pushback is at an all-time high. Though Gen Z is showing just slightly less than majority support for transgender people in advertising, more than a quarter of the gen identifies as LGBTQ+, so brands should continue to unabashedly support this community and be unafraid to partner with Gen Z LGBTQIA+ icons.
Links We’re Passing:
TV / Movies: HBO Max is rebooting Harry Potter with a new series—and J.K. Rowling is involved
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is starring, again, in the upcoming live action Moana
TikTok: Where there is an everything shower, there must also be a nothing shower
People are having grounding, private, little mouse moments
Gen Z are evaluating their decisions with this combability filter
Millennial parents: Getting out of the house with their kids is easier at this library with crib-desks
AI: Image bots answer the question: What if the cast of Harry Potter walked for Balenciaga?
Music: Bad Bunny makes history with the first all-Spanish cover story of TIME magazine
Beauty: Some makeup lovers are ditching foundation, and letting their bold eye looks stand alone