I got good news and bad news. I have so many comics I want to catch up on but don’t have the money to pay for them sh!ts. Than the Lordt guided my browser and I found HelloComic.com were you can read comics for FREE. That’s the good news.
The bad news is you gotta deal with some annoying redirecting ads, BUT I think I found a slight trick to avoid most of them. When you click on the page of the comic you want to read, the website will attempt to redirect you to one of their sponsors. It will do this for every 2-3 pages of the comic you're reading, again this will get very annoying (be warned). However as soon as you are finished reading one page and click the arrow to go to the next page, the second that next page looks like it is about to finish loading, click the “X” button on your web browser bar to stop the page from fully loading.This will also stop the site from redirecting you to the ad. It doesn't work all the time but does work most of the time (for me).
Man I been reading comics all night AND I got to keep my money in my pocket. They have a HUGH selection of comics from all the publishing companies.
So comic readers, if you just want the story and don't care about having the actual comic in your hands, this might work for you.
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Page 168 of 169
- Thread: READ COMICS FOR FREE!
- Thread: Kickstart 2016
im subscribed to these ppl on youtube thought ill share some of there vids to help if the new year diet or change in food and mind set.
i love his dude
i was thinking about doing this no sugar challenge wanted to know if guys wanted try it with me?
This Woman Shamelessly Ogling UFC Fighters as They Disrobe Is Living Her Best Life
On Dec. 10, 2015, in Las Vegas, Nevada, a woman in a blue polo shirt became a hero to shameless horndogs, proponents of the objectification of men, and every shade of overlap in between. Onstage at a weigh-in before last month's UFC Fight Night, the aforementioned woman in a blue polo shirt was stationed behind the designated weigh-in spot and proceeded to un-self-consciously check out each float in the UFC beefcake parade as they undressed before her.
It was (of course) caught on camera then later edited into a supercut (of course) and (of course) set to music:
There's a lot we don't know about this woman. Who is she? Where does she come from? Why is she the only woman onstage who is fully clothed? Why is she onstage at all? Is she onstage because her job requires her to be onstage? What is her job? What are its requirements and how might one go about applying for a similar position?
In fairness, we're also missing some crucial information on the disrobing men involved: No one seems to have asked how they feel after being subjected to the eyes-only version of a tongue bath. Do they feel this interaction was consensual? Or exploitative and dehumanizing? Or do they not care, seeing as how they're about to be paid thousands of dollars to fight on television? Until this matter is resolved, let's not incorporate this woman's moves into our daily lives.
But damn, blue polo shirt lady. We're one step closer to true equal-opportunity thirst.
- Thread: No Alcohol and only WEED 2016!
No substantial evidence links marijuana to traffic accidents, domestic violence or cancer, yet pot is illegal and listed as a Schedule I controlled substance by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Meanwhile, alcohol remains legal despite the fact that it has been proven to contribute to many societal ills, including domestic violence and auto accidents.
In 2011 alone, an individual in the U.S. was arrested for marijuana use, sale or possession every 42 seconds, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program. Those numbers have been climbing.
Some of the obvious hypocrisy inherent to marijuana prohibition is highlighted in a commercial (see below) that ran a brief stint before NASCAR audiences last month, until it was removed to preserve the “family atmosphere” of the event, according to race organizers. The ad space for the commercial was purchased by the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), the largest marijuana legalization advocacy group in the states, and the creators of the commercial.
The Huffington Post reported that MPP celebrated the commercial as:
“… the first time a pro-pot campaign would be seen at a major sporting event. Organizers for the Brickyard 400 race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway disputed that claim, noting that the boards set to display the commercial were not technically on stadium grounds. When officials with the company that had allowed MPP to purchase air time caught wind of its pro-marijuana message, they scrambled to take it down.”
In 31 seconds, the ad points to a series of clearcut ways pot is statistically less harmful than alcohol. The commercial has received more than 944,500 YouTube hits and made the rounds on Facebook.
It begins with the line: “If you’re an adult who enjoys a good beer, there’s a similar product you might want to know about—one without all the calories or serious health problems, less toxic so it doesn’t cause hangovers or overdose deaths, and it’s not linked to violence or reckless behavior.”
That product, of course, is marijuana. MPP created the commercial in an effort to clarify some of the myths and misconceptions that taint marijuana’s reputation—misconceptions MPP says are perpetuated by the U.S. government.
On its site, MPP states,
“If you’re like most Americans, you have been led to believe that marijuana is a dangerous and addictive drug that has destroyed the lives of millions of teens and adults. You have been encouraged to believe that marijuana causes lung cancer and is a ‘gateway’ to harder drugs. The government has even tried to convince you that most people who use marijuana are losers who sit around on couches all day doing nothing.”
MPP says its goal is to “wipe the slate clean” and replace fiction with facts about marijuana use. “We simply hope you will come to understand that it is far, far less harmful than what your government has told you,” the text states. The MPP website goes on to describes the common recreational uses of marijuana, which are similar to alcohol consumption patterns:
“None of this is ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’ or ‘immoral.’ It is simply something that these responsible adults choose to do. And frequently, it is something they choose to do specifically instead of alcohol. And for good reason! Alcohol is more toxic, more addictive, more harmful to the body, more likely to result in injuries, and more likely to lead to interpersonal violence than marijuana.”
The page also includes the following bulleted list comparing alcohol to marijuana:
1. Many people die from alcohol use. Nobody dies from marijuana use. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than 37,000 annual U.S. deaths are attributed to alcohol use alone (this figure does not include accidental deaths). On the other hand, the CDC does not even have a category for deaths caused by the use of marijuana.
2. People die from alcohol overdoses. There has never been a fatal marijuana overdose. The official publication of the Scientific Research Society, American Scientist, reported that alcohol is one of the most toxic drugs and using just 10 times what one would use to get the desired effect could lead to death. Marijuana is one of – if not the – least toxic drugs, requiring thousands of times the dose one would use to get the desired effect to lead to death. This “thousands of times” is actually theoretical, since there has never been a case of an individual dying from a marijuana overdose. Meanwhile, according to the CDC, hundreds of alcohol overdose deaths occur in the United States each year.
3. The health-related costs associated with alcohol use far exceed those for marijuana use. Health-related costs for alcohol consumers are eight times greater than those for marijuana consumers, according to an assessment recently published in the British Columbia Mental Health and Addictions Journal. More specifically, the annual health-related cost of alcohol consumption is $165 per user, compared to just $20 per user for marijuana. This should not come as a surprise given the vast amount of research that shows alcohol poses far more – and more significant – health problems than marijuana.
4. Alcohol use damages the brain. Marijuana use does not. Despite the myths we’ve heard throughout our lives about marijuana killing brain cells, it turns out that a growing number of studies seem to indicate that marijuana actually has neuroprotective properties. This means that it works to protect brain cells from harm. For example, one recent study found that teens who used marijuana as well as alcohol suffered significantly less damage to the white matter in their brains. Of course, what is beyond question is that alcohol damages brain cells.
5. Alcohol use is linked to cancer. Marijuana use is not. Alcohol use is associated with a wide variety of cancers, including cancers of the esophagus, stomach, colon, lungs, pancreas, liver, and prostate. Marijuana use has not been conclusively associated with any form of cancer. In fact, one study recently contradicted the long-time government claim that marijuana use is associated with head and neck cancers. It found that marijuana use actually reduced the likelihood of head and neck cancers. If you are concerned about marijuana being associated with lung cancer, you may be interested in the results of the largest case-controlled study ever conducted to investigate the respiratory effects of marijuana smoking and cigarette smoking. Released in 2006, the study, conducted by Dr. Donald Tashkin at the University of California at Los Angeles, found that marijuana smoking was not associated with an increased risk of developing lung cancer. Surprisingly, the researchers found that people who smoked marijuana actually had lower incidences of cancer compared to non-users of the drug.
6. Alcohol is more addictive than marijuana. Addiction researchers have consistently reported that marijuana is far less addictive than alcohol based on a number of factors. In particular, alcohol use can result in significant and potentially fatal physical withdrawal, whereas marijuana has not been found to produce any symptoms of physical withdrawal. Those who use alcohol are also much more likely to develop dependence and build tolerance.
7. Alcohol use increases the risk of injury to the consumer. Marijuana use does not. Many people who have consumed alcohol, or know others who have consumed alcohol, would not be surprised to hear that it greatly increases the risk of serious injury. Research published in 2011 in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research found that 36% of hospitalized assaults and 21% of all injuries are attributable to alcohol use by the injured person. Meanwhile, the American Journal of Emergency Medicine reported that lifetime use of marijuana is rarely associated with emergency room visits. According to the British Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, this is because: “Cannabis differs from alcohol … in one major respect. It does not seem to increase risk-taking behavior. This means that cannabis rarely contributes to violence either to others or to oneself, whereas alcohol use is a major factor in deliberate self-harm, domestic accidents and violence.” Interestingly enough, some research has even shown that marijuana use has been associated with a decreased risk of injury.
I missed half of the interview because articulate and handsome bae Marc Lamont Hill had a nikka distracted , but from what I heard bill Cosby's lawyer (doing some needed damage control) held her own in this interview. I don't agree with all of her rebuttals but she made some valid points.
[i sill think he guilty doe]
Dear Cypher Ave Squad Members, I need your prayers and tithes for a private jet so I can travel the globe and spread the word of official Cypher Avenue business. I do not want to be on a plane filled with demons. Find it in your heart to make this vision a reality. Be Blessed
- Thread: See there...but, yes I remember.
- Thread: Best Way to Cheat on a Test?
- Thread: Hap and Leonard
I hate when I see plans for a new TV show or movie, get my hopes up and nothing comes to fruition. It’s worse when you hear the news and tell others, who also get excited and they come to you later and ask…“what ever happened to that show you told me about?” This is the reason I’ve been reluctant to share certain projects (live action Akira or Ninja Scrolls) that peck my interest with the Cypher Ave audience.
Back in 2014 I heard about possible development of a show based on the adventures of Hap and Leonard. Having never heard of the book series by author Joe Lansdale (who first introduced the duo in 1990 with Savage Season) my interest in the show was based upon reading the description of Leonard, “a Black crime fighting Vietnam vet who is also homosexual.” As not to get my hopes up (just in case the TV show may never come) I did at least want to read one of the novels.
This past summer more blurbs come out stating that the project had been greenlit, casting was in progress, shooting was to begin later in 2015 and the series would premier on Sundance channel…meh. I still needed more evidence. Well, the additional evidence is here as we get our first look at Hap and Leonard.
Leonard will be play by Michael K. Williams, better known from his breakout role as Omar in HBO’s The Wire. Set in the 1980’s, the Sundance channel will premier 6 one hour long episodes reportedly in early 2016.
Additional details on the main characters;
Leonard Pine is a gay, black Vietnam vet with serious anger issues. He was raised by his uncle who shunned him after learning he was gay. However, when his uncle passes away, he leaves his house and all his assets to Leonard. Leonard has zero tolerance for racist or anti-gay slurs. Although Hap dislikes guns, Leonard has no problem carrying or using them. Quick to anger, at times he cannot understand Hap’s aversion to violence or killing if necessary, even when provoked. His relationships are also short and tempestuous. Leonard is the much more aggressive of the two and repeatedly burned down a local crack house that used to be his new next door neighbor.
Hap Collins (played by James Purefoy) is a white working class laborer who spent time in federal prison as a young man for refusing to be drafted into the military and serve in the Vietnam War. In his late forties, he is often haunted by the various unpleasant jobs he’s held over the years such as working at an aluminum chair factory and working the East Texas rose fields. The two now work for the former police officer turned private investigator Marvin Hanson. Hap tries his best to avoid violence and also tries his best to avoid the taking of another human life. Often lovesick, most of his relationships haven’t worked out. He is currently with his on-again-off-again girlfriend Brett Sawyer. Some of his past has been taken from Mr. Lansdale’s own past. The stories are told from Hap’s narrative point of view. Not as quick to anger as Leonard, he often finds himself attempting to talk Leonard out of committing serious violence.
Glad to see there will be a homosexual man of color on TV in 2016 (albeit for only 6 episodes) that will add to a small but growing list of non-stereotypical characters. Cypher Avenue will provide more details of actually air dates of Hap & Leonard when they become available. Props to the Sundance channel.
Read the whole post here.
- Thread: #WCW Women's Appreciation Thread
Just because we're gay men, doesn't mean we can't appreciate and celebrate a beautiful women!
lol To shake things up, post all your favorite women crushes here!
I'll start mine off with my ultimate woman crush of all time, a few of you probably saw this coming...but if I was straight and 15 years older chiiiiiiild the things I would do for this woman! YEah, yeah I'm that stereotypical gay dude, but I found it ironic that so more gay people love her too, cause I was it the dark about it. Ya'll already know its the greatest selling female artist of the 90s and beyond....The Infallible:
#nobodygreater #wcw #Ibetyourscantdoitlikemine #shellneverbeMC #neverforget
- Thread: Gay Siblings and Extended Family
The Father Figures thread got me thinking a lot about the whole Nature vs Nurture debate. I remember I thought it was interesting when African King said he had an identical twin brother who was also gay, but I completely forgot that I also have an older half brother who is also gay, but gender non-conforming, borderline trans. We didn't grow up together. Looking at my extended family, I've definitely noticed some gay and lesbian cousins on both sides. There might be something in our gene pool.
Do you have any LGBT siblings or extended family?
If you're black and you don't know who Nat Turner is but you know all about Django...please open up a new tab and educate yourself immediately.
- Thread: Personal Philosophies
Has anyone here developed a personal philosophy or code that they live by? I know that is vague so for example I recently came across this article called The Millennial’s Guide to Philosophy: Stoicism (the photo is linked to the article)
describing the core principals of stoicism and applying it in your daily life and I found it very informative. I was wondering if anyone knew of/has developed other ways of thinking that have helped them during tough times.
An except from the article itself that I liked was:
Hardship, pain, suffering, and ultimately, death – these are all parts of life that Stoicism would consider as natural as they are inevitable. Taking a highly fatalistic approach to all of existence’s trials and tribulations, both philosophies maintain that since you can’t exercise any control over them, you should instead spend your time in the struggle to control yourself.
This is where the term “Stoic”, in reference to indifference to hardship, originates. It’s the mentality that all of life’s ups and downs should be taken in stride.
- Thread: Burn Hollywood BURN!
Homosexual Baseball Legend – Glenn Burke [VIDEO]
Baseball Legend – Glenn Burke
Nov 16, 1952 – May 30, 1995
“He was real. He was athletic, clean cut, and masculine. He was everything that we wanted to prove to the world that we could be.”
“They can’t ever say now that a gay man can’t play in the majors, because I’m a gay man and I made it.”
Glenn Burke’s name was mentioned in the fifth season of the TV show “Crossing Jordan”. The episode titled “Thin Ice” focused on a star professional baseball player falsely accused of raping a woman. The character “Quentin Baker” would rather be smeared and imprisoned on a false rape charge than to be labeled as a homosexual. Referring to two real world athletes who were accused of rape, the character dialogue follows below:
Quentin: “Do you know what a locker room’s like? You know what they say about faggots?
What they do to ’em?”
Jordan: “What do they say about rapists?”
Quentin: “Mike Tyson got past it. Kobe was accused and he’s still going strong;
but Glenn Burke came out and he was run out of Baseball!”
Rape, drug abuse, domestic violence, gambling, infidelity you name it; All these things are forgivable in sports except homosexuality.
Glenn Burke is the person who is credited for inventing the “High-Five“…how? Well it was late in the 1977 season. Player and teammate Dusty Baker of the Dodgers was rounding third and heading for home (having just hit his 30th home run). The Dodgers were heading for a National League pennant. The on-deck hitter was Glenn Burke, enjoying his second season in the big leagues. As Baker crossed the plate, Burke raised his hand. Baker responded by raising his. The two hands slapped together and a bit of history was made. The first high-five!
Oh and by the way he also happened to be a masculine African-American man who was openly gay within the ultra homophobic Major League Baseball. He was the first and only baseball player open about his homosexuality. This streak was not broken until 1995 when Billy Bean came out of the closet.
Burke was a basketball and baseball star at Berkeley High in the late 1960s and 1970, remembered by locals mostly for his phenomenal hoops skills. The big money that was offered to him was on the baseball field. He quickly rose through the Los Angeles Dodgers ranks, to eventually be the starting batter in a World Series game in 1977.
Five minor league seasons in which Burke batted over .300 and plus he had exceptional defensive skills caused him to be heralded as the “Next Willie Mays”.
Burke felt the Dodgers management knew of his sexual orientation, but they would attempt to come up with a cover story. General Manager Al Campanis once suggested that it would be a good idea if Burke got married and even offered to give him a $75,000 bonus if he would get married. Al Campanis also offered to pay for a wedding and the honeymoon. Of course being true to himself Burke turned the offer down.
In 1978, his third year with the club, he was traded to Oakland. The Dodgers said it was because he had not lived up to his minor league promise. His teammates, feeling he had made good progress toward star if not superstar status, were angry at management for making the trade and felt it was really because his sexual orientation and his relationship with with Tommy Lasorda’s son.
In his autobiography “Out At Home,” written with Erik Sherman, Burke said that he felt his close association with Spunky Lasorda (nickname of the son of baseball legend Tommy Lasorda) and this was something Spunky’s dad could not tolerate. Although the rest of the world accepts the fact that Spunky was gay and died of AIDS, Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda is in total denial on both counts.
“The Next Willie Mays” took his hat and glove and went to Oakland, but did not enjoy his year and a half with the A’s. The team was struggling in the late ’70s. Also, Burke felt his secret was not safe in his hometown so he retired before the end of the ’79 season. The retirement was brief. He reported for spring training in 1980, but injured a knee. Right or wrong, he thought baseball no longer wanted him because of his sexual orientation, and he retired for good at the end of the ’80 campaign.
Glenn Burke opened up about his homosexuality in a 1982 Inside Sports magazine article “The Double Life of a Gay Dodger” and on “The Today Show” with Bryant Gumbel. Burke continued his athletic endeavors after retiring from baseball. He competed in the 1986 Gay Games in basketball, and won medals in the 100 and 200 meter sprints in the first Gay Games in 1982. His jersey number at Berkeley High School was retired in his honor.”He was a hero to us”, said Jack McGowan, former sports editor of the San Francisco Sentinel (a gay newspaper). “He was … real. He was athletic, clean cut, masculine. He was everything that we wanted to prove to the world that we could be.
His athleticism wasn’t the only thing going for him. Glenn had a great sense of humor, was a great dancer and was the life of the party everywhere he went. Although he remained active in amateur competitions; as with many athletes, Burke turned to drugs to fill the void in his life when his career ended. An addiction to cocaine began to destroyed him both physically and financially.
In 1987 he was hit by a car in San Francisco while crossing the street, suffering a broken leg and crushed foot. An out of court settlement brought him some money, but it was soon gone. He was never again the athlete he had been.
His drug use increased and his behavior became more erratic. The man friends once flocked to was now avoided by them. The big guy they once looked to for protection now became an object of their fear. He was homeless on the streets of San Francisco for a number of years often congregating in the same neighborhood that once embraced him. In 1991-92 he spent seven months in San Quentin for grand theft and possession of a controlled substance.
When news of his battle with AIDS became public knowledge in 1994, he received the support of his former teammates and the Oakland Athletics organization. In interviews given while he was fighting AIDS, he expressed little in the way of grudges, and only one big regret – that he never had the opportunity to pursue a second professional sports career in basketball.
Glenn Burke spent the last months of his life at his sister’s Oakland apartment. First diagnosed in January 1994, AIDS had taken his once magnificent six foot, 195 pound physique to a lesion scarred, 150 pounds. Pain and fatigue were now his constant companions.
A few old friends would stop by to say hello. But they all knew they were really saying good-bye. The man who greeted Dusty Baker at home plate in 1977 with the first “high five” could barely lift his arms. Glenn Burke died of AIDS related causes in May 30, 1995. He was only 42 years old.Glenn Burke’s story has now been immortalized in film. “Out: The Glenn Burke Story” is a documentary about his life and career (which is currently viewing on some local Comcast stations). With open and candid interviews from former teammates, you really get a true sense of who this baseball legend really was. A trailer for the documentary is below.
“They can’t ever say now that a gay man can’t play in the majors, because I’m a gay man and I made it.” – Glenn Burke
Read more: Homosexual Baseball Legend – Glenn Burke [VIDEO]
- Thread: Bigorexia: Never Buff Enough
Saw this Doc and thought it would be nice to share. Firstly I would like to say this has and always been prevalent in the gay culture. Men in general are first attracted to the physical and being Buff is nowhere else worshiped than in the Gay community. We struggle with body issues most of the time. I do think straight men are now, with ''the perfect body'' images shown in the media from David Beckham to Joe Manganiello to Dwayne Johnson, filling the pressure to look a certain way. They are always playing catch up to gay men. eg Eating ass.
Side note: The Indian guy has an AMAZING bawdy and those lips, GAWD DAYUM!!! He looks like he got a big ass too, guys with that body build from my experience got nice assess
- Thread: Team Dog/Team Cat/Team No Pet
This is my ride or die, my fur baby. Her name is Queen Reina (Rain-NAH) and she is a German Shepherd Dog and she is the sweetest most loyal dog ever. But the bitch sheds A LOT.
Are you Team Dog or Team Cat or Team No Pets?
- Thread: Meet Martyn Ford
So I just got into a passionate discussion offline with some buddies from Cypher Avenue (S/O to the original activity stream squad lol) talking about Adele and her album sales for her upcoming LP, '25.' She is on pace to sell anywhere from 1.3 to 1.8 million albums in the first week just based on pre-sales alone! She will break the record for highest sales for a female solo artists since Britney Speaks dropped her album, 'Oops I Did It, Again,' in the early 2000s, which sold 1.32 million copies in the first week alone!
I was talking to my guys about how it is so crazy that someone like Adele can come along and basically take over the music industry while black artists (more so singers than rappers) are STRUGGLING out here. Don't get me wrong, I am a fan of talent and I do believe that she has plenty of it. I like her song "Hello" and the music video starring my man Mack Wilds (looking too good in there... but uh uhm-hmm anyway lol back to what I was saying). I was wondering why it is like black artists make good music that people can feel too but they just do not sell like their white counterparts (see: Eminem, Sam Smith, Adele, Macklemore, etc). There are exceptions to the rule like I told my guys in artists like Drake, J. Cole, Future, Kendrick Lamar and a few select other rappers. Even though those rappers have had strong 1st week album sales debuts, the majority of those buyers are White people. The majority of attendees of tours for many rap artists are White people.
One of my guys said you can't compare rap artists to Adele but I honestly think you can when speaking on the rappers that have more of a mainstream appeal (see: Future & Drake) or those that have a large following (see: Kendrick Lamar & J. Cole).
You also have the conversation when it comes to R&B/Soul and comparing artists like the Sam Smith and the Adele to other black artists like Tyrese and Syleena Johnson. I have to agree with a point made by Tyrese on The Breakfast Club Radio Show when he discussed how the gatekeepers (white people) keep the doors closed to black artists when it comes to them being able to really break them on larger platforms. In the meanwhile, black radio keeps the doors WIDE open for white artists that dibble and dabble in R&B and hip-hop music. You're more likely to hear Robin Thicke, Adele, and Sam Smith on black radio than you are to hear Mary J. Blige, Tyrese and Jhene Aiko on white radio. It is what it is.
So tell me....
Why do you think black artists don't sell like they used to back in the 90s and early (& mid) 2000s?
Does it have to do with piracy?
Do white people have more money to spend on music compared to other minority populations?
Do other races generally support their respective genres of music when it comes to albums and/or tours?
What do YOU think?
Sound off below!
- Thread: These Damn Memes
Brehs, we present to you a new episode of the CYPHER AVENUE PODCAST where you’ll hear us give updates, engage in heated topic debates, interviewing interesting homosexual men of color and us verbally adding on to the articles posted on the website. The episodes will be available in four ways: You can listen to them on the site, watch on YouTube, download a MP3 version or subscribe to us on iTunes or YouTube for automatic updates!
In this podcast, hosts Octavius Williams and Nick Delmacy discuss the official start of Cuffin’ Season and Self Esteem Issues that have affected them in their dating lives over the years.
Read the whole post here.
I've watched this trailer a dozen times already!
I got my tickets!!! IMAX 3D!!! Opening Day, baby! The nerd in me is happy!
Just gotta get cuffed before December 17th up so I can have someone to see it with me!
- Thread: Film Review: Beasts of No Nation
“I just want to be happy in this life. If I’m telling this to you, you will think that…I am some sort of beast or devil. I am all of these things…but I also had a mother, father, brothers and a sister once. They loved me” – Agu
Over the last couple of years, Netflix has become a power house in how scripted media is consumed. The streaming service continues to build on its critically acclaimed original series such as House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. Now Netflix has entered into original feature film territory with Beasts of No Nation…and it absolutely doesn’t disappoint.
The film is based on Nigerian author Uzodinma Iweala’s novel of the same name and shows how easily captured young boys are initiated and indoctrinated into becoming a child soldier. Beasts is beautifully directed by Cary Fukunaga (True Detective S1), who reportedly had been working on the adaptation since 2006. I almost felt like I was “cheating” by not seeing this film in theaters.
Beasts’ starts off innocently with the introduction of 11 yr old Agu (played by newcomer Abraham Attah) and his group of neighborhood friends. We see them going around town attempting to sell a shell of an old television as they act out marital arts and dramas from behind the missing screen. We go onto see the day to day life for Agu and his family sprinkled with humorous moments. There’s a subtle nod to the influence of hip hop as Agu’s brother dances to the old school “Wild Style” theme. Their childhood imagination and innocence is still abundant within the confines of the Nigerian / UN peace keeping buffer zone.
Viewing the teaser and extended trailers, you know doom is on the way. After the rebels bring chaos death to Agu’s community, he escapes to the jungle to survive while mourning his losses. Agu begins his journey as a child soldier after he is eventually captured by a group of rebels lead by the charismatic Commandant (Idris Elba). The Commandant has a compelling leadership and sway over the group, which may be influenced by a connection to tribal roots and customs. This sets the contrast between Agu’s Christian influences and traditional African culture that exists through out the film.
I’m sure most have seen or heard about the horrors of children forced into fighting in paramilitary troupes and caught up in a region’s civil war. Even though Beasts graphically shows many of these horrors (killings, executions, rapes, drug use), surprisingly it strongly hints at the trauma of molestation and sexual assault that typically is inflicted upon the younger soldiers by the older boys or men higher in the ranks.
Fukunaga’s cinematography is part of the reason I felt like I was “cheating” while watching the film. Another reason is the score by Dan Romer which is haunting in parts and makes some of the more active sequences seem surreal. Many of the scenes throughout the film feel like they need to be shown on the big screen. In one scene we see a tiny, almost invisible Agu in comparison to the overall vastness of the large encompassing jungle, providing a sense of bewilderment and loss. Even though there are numerous violent scenes throughout, to me what pushes the emotional conflict is the continued focus on Agu’s facial expressions (or sometimes a lack thereof) and body language. Initially he obviously doesn’t want to commit these atrocities and he goes from being forced, to becoming a desensitized. We see a boy transformed into a killer along with how drugs are used as attempts to empower, ease distress and cope.
I strongly feel the viewer should examine the similarities between child soldiers and inner city youth as it relates to the psychology of violence and within environment. Although it is not the same type of violence, there are parallels to the atmosphere that exits not only in war torn countries throughout the world but also within the landscapes of cities like Chicago, Los Angeles and Baltimore. Many boys and young men go through a process of becoming disenchanted with life and desensitized to death and murder. Just like in the film, many young black and brown boys are not giving a proper opportunity to grow and evolve constructively without disorder once they find themselves in dysfunction.
I was emotionally caught off guard by Abraham Attah’s break out performance of Agu and the way Fukunaga brought his turmoil to screen. In addition to Attah, on should also take note of the other young actor Emmanuel Nii Adom Quaye for his performance as Strika, fellow child soldier and Agu’s friend. As the story unfolds, I found myself questioning – even with all his vileness – was the Commandant fighting on the side of an oppressed people that were being slaughtered by the government? Was he once in Agu’s position and used the unfortunate circumstances to his advantage to become Commandant? Maybe not, but could not the same be said for 2 I-C (Commandant’s young second in command played by Kurt Egyiawan)? I think that is the beauty in Elba’s performance; he is very convincing. This film gives a sense of deflated humanity similar to Schindler’s List, Hotel Rwanda or Sometimes in April (also starring Idris Elba).
Beats of No Nation has captivated audiences and critics and is generating Oscar buzz for Fukunaga’s directing/cinematography and Attah’s performance. Given the make-up of the voting body of the Academy, I think this may be a weak possibility and wishful thinking. The Hollywood spin machine has already labeled Beasts a flop due to only making around $51,000 its opening weekend, showing in only 31 theaters nationwide. It should be noted that most theater operators boycotted the movie and have threatened to do the same with other upcoming Netflix films. Something tells me there are elements in Hollywood that fear Netflix’s model and growing success.
Netflix continues to charm network and cable television audiences with series like Narcos and the upcoming Marvel series Daredevil S2 along with Jessica Jones. Now it looks like they may start a trend of keeping some folks home instead of partaking in an expensive night at the movie theater. Netflix has announced that they will be releasing the sequel to Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon on the same day of its release in China and in select IMAX theaters. They also have announced War Machine starring Brad Pitt but have not given a release date. If Netflix continues to bring their customers exclusive films that are as good as if not better than Beasts of No Nation, they may change the game and continue to freak out Hollywood.
Read the whole post here.
Like most gay men on social media, I follow certain Personal Trainers on Instagram, Twitter and/or YouTube. In addition to sharing fitness tips, these chiseled bodied men bless us by showing off their abs and muscles daily in the form of new photos and videos.
Their positive inspirational photos and videos in no subtle way say, “you can get like me with just a little hard work and consistency.”
And there’s a lot of truth to this. These men have no doubt bust their asses to achieve the physiques they have.
Recently, I started to see through the Matrix that is the Social Media Influenced Fitness Industry and noticed a very common trend.
Just about 90-95% of the most popular, oiled up and chiseled fitness models online selling us Herbalife supplements and discount “training” sessions had an unfair advantage from the start.
Turns out, most of them just might be full of shit.
THE UNFAIR ADVANTAGE
Its safe to say that most people who seek out the help of a personal trainer are looking to lose weight, sometimes tons of it. They hope to lean out enough to expose the muscle hiding underneath, giving them a “toned” look. Basically, obtaining the lowest possible body fat percentage is the goal.
We see these magazine-cover-ready trainers posting the weight loss progress photos of their clients and assume that their own personal journey was the same. They surely overcame the same struggle of losing those layers of stubborn fat that once caused unwanted bulges in their clothes.
Let’s take a look at one of the main hot-bodied “personal trainers” out there, super attractive Dolvett Quince, best known for his work helping overweight people lose pounds on NBC’s The Biggest Loser.
According to his own book, The 3-1-2-1 Diet, he says about his origins:
“One day, I caught my reflection in a car window, and I looked huge and ripped. My string-bean body had responded quickly to the rigors of weight training.“
Dolvett helps people lose hundreds of pounds, yet he’s never had that struggle in the past himself. He was (and is) a naturally slim guy who had/has the struggle of gaining muscle, not losing fat.
Two different beasts for most people. Even more difficult if your goal is to both lose fat by limiting calories AND gain muscle by consuming more calories when your body has a slow metabolism and naturally follows its evolutionary instinct to retain all fat possible for survival.
And there you have it.
That’s the main unfair advantage that I noticed over and over.
Most of these male personal trainers whose photos and videos we lust after and seek advice from started off with the unfair genetic advantage of a High Metabolism. They’re naturally slim men whose primary struggle is eating too FEW calories, not eating too many calories.
Most people don’t have this “problem.”
Is this akin to being a Marriage Counselor who has never actually been married himself?
What’s harder: Gaining weight or losing it?
Given that our society obsesses over being “slim,” I’d argue that it’s the latter.
Case in point, there’s never been an NBC show called, “THE BIGGEST GAINER” featuring slim men struggling to gain mass.
Full disclosure, I’m sorta one of these naturally slim men as well. While my love of junk food and alcohol causes the size of my mid-section to fluctuate, I’ve always been more of a skinny guy…So I know the struggle…but I’ve never been so skinny that I was one of the men who could “eat anything and never gain weight.”
Turns out, many Personal Trainers are like this and they avoid sharing this key detail with their clients.
Many of them had perfectly fine and desirable toned bodies even BEFORE they ever stepped into a gym.
On top of their naturally high metabolism, many of these Trainers were lifelong athletes whose bodies were already heavily conditioned to look like they had worked out for years, even if they hadn’t.
Their BEFORE photos look better than most of their clients’ AFTER photos.
Let’s go through some of them now.
1. Ray Grayson aka Mr Shut Up And Train
Based out of Atlanta, celebrity personal trainer Ray Grayson who also goes by the moniker Mr. Shut Up and Train, boasts an impressive 67,000+ followers on Twitter and over 48,000 followers on Instagram.
He’s undoubtedly helped a lot of people and worked hard to achieve his own fitness goals, but an archival photo reveals that he never had to face the struggle of losing tons of pounds.
As Ray puts it regarding this photo: “Twelve years ago you couldn’t tell me I wasn’t fly and Swole (skinny swole)!!!”
2. Ray aka Big Play Ray
I’ve been following the “other” Ray (aka Big Play Ray) and his bodybuilding tips and videos for years. He’s amassed an impressive 4.6 million views on his YouTube channel. But as “swole” as Ray is now, his journey has never included being a 6′ 2″ tall man needing to lose 20-40 lbs of body fat before he saw any of those impressive gym results.
Like Ray Grayson, Big Play Ray can eat whatever he wants and STILL lose weight and maintain definition if he doesn’t go to the gym multiple times per week.
3. Ulisses Jr
Bodybuilding Icon and 4-times Musclemania Pro champion, Ulisses Jr, details his workouts and meal plans to his over 1.4 million followers on Instagram…but as built and defined as he is, it turns out his main struggle is adding and KEEPING the mass, not losing layers upon layers of fat like most of his followers.
4. Chris Smith aka GetFitBySmith
Personal Trainer Chris Smith has over 250,000 Instagram Followers over multiple accounts and goes above and beyond helping people achieve their goals with fitness tips and positive inspirational messages…it doesn’t hurt that he’s also a beautiful man.
But digging into Chris’ archives we see that he’s also one of those naturally “skinny nikkas” who probably played sports since he was able to walk. Check out his Before and After. I’ve seen male strippers who currently look much flabbier than Chris Smith did way back before he started his gym journey.
So not fair.
5. Rauve Suave
Personal Trainer and (sexy) Model Rauve Suave shares fitness tips with over 53,000 Instagram followers and looks amazing doing it. But again, unlike his clients, it turns out that adding mass was his main struggle, not losing weight like his clients.
I don’t know many women (or gay men) who would turn him down if he still looked like his Before photo. There are many men out there who would trade anything to AT LEAST look like Rauve Suave did 3 years ago.
6. Gabriel Sey
Former athlete and current bodybuilding personal trainer Gabriel Sey shares his workout and fitness tips (and sexy British accent) with well over 4 million YouTube views and over 45,000 subscribers.
But as you can see, being athletic with a high metabolism, Sey has never had the struggle of looking in the mirror and seeing a depressingly fat belly like most of his clients.
Slender, muscular, college-aged Gabriel Sey’s body looks even better than some of the other current personal trainers in this list.
7. Brandon Hendrickson
Trinidadian Brandon Hendrickson has clearly worked hard on his physique, leading him to place 5th at the IFBB 2015 Olympia Competition. He shares his journey and fitness tips to his over27,000 followers on Instagram daily.
But as we can see, once again, Brandon’s diet of Caribbean Rotis and Doubles couldn’t compete with his super high metabolism back then.
Notice the trend yet?
8. Justin Reynolds
Personal trainer and aspiring musician Justin Reynolds has amassed over 70k Instagram followers and a whopping 250,000 twitter followers over the last 4 years. I’ve been there since nearly the beginning after learning about him when I responded to his unexpected “follow back” request long before I started blogging.
He’s grown from a young cute light skinned dude to an impressively muscular grown man in that time.
The key thing to note, though, is that once again he started from the point of it being hard for him to put on mass, not lose fat.
Must be nice.
9. Markell aka Mr London
Another British personal trainer, Markell aka Mr London has over 35,000 Twitter followers andover 18,000 Instagram likers who closely follow his workout/fitness tips, as well as lust over his many thirst trap photos.
As you can see by his Before photos, losing a pudgy mid-section was never a concern for the London native.
First World Problems.
10. Jonathan Garcia
Personal trainer Jonathan Garcia helps his over 10,000 Instagram followers lose weight, but he would never have been accused of being “fat” before he started hitting the gym and learning the tricks of the trade for his future clients.
11. Laquan Jones
Trainer Laquan Jones would have been called a “twink” if he was gay, but since he’s not, back then he looked like just another naturally skinny man who’s now impressively swole and teaches his over 3,000 Instagram followers how to lose weight.
A problem that he’s never really had himself.
12. Brandyn Watson
Personal trainer Brandyn Watson’s ripped muscular body is sick! His physique is full of striations and veins, you can tell that his body fat percentage is insanely low. The hard work he’s put in is very evident. This impresses his 3,500 Instagram followers, but a guy like me sees his Before photo and realizes that natural genetics plays a huge factor in his cut up appearance. I’m sure he’s a guy that LOSES weight if he doesn’t work out.
Does this hold true for most men out there?
Brandyn is blessed with the metabolism that keeps him lean, no matter what he eats. Lucky man.
13. Corey S. Taylor
Model, Actor and Personal Trainer Corey S. Taylor effectively inspires many of his over 3,000 Twitter followers with photos of his own progress. But as you can see in the Before and After photo below, Corey was sexy as hell even without gaining the extra muscle mass. To be honest, I had to squint to see the differences between the two photos.
Many of his clients, walking tubs of body fat lard, don’t have such a solid starting point as a foundation to work from.
14. Metrell Hurst
Had to include at least one fellow gay man to the list. Open gaylebrity, Personal Trainer, Military Veteran and Recording Artist Metrell Hurst has over 16,000 followers on Twitter who not only look to him for updates on his music career, they like to see his slim muscular body (present company included, the man is beautiful).
Many of you may remember the D’Angelo “How Does It Feel” inspired music video he produced where he is essentially naked.
However, once again, this chiseled black man (who’s also now Married and off the market) starts off from a place where getting fat is really not a possibility for him unless he tried very hard.
Granted, there are definitely exceptions to the rule. There are some popular Personal Trainers out there who started off fat and lost the weight.
For example, green-eyed YouTube personal training sensation Elliot Hulse has an astonishing 46 Million views on his channel…As you can see from his Before photo, he’s been what we would call overweight at the start of his journey…But if you look at his After photo, he doesn’t quite have the “Magazine Cover Model” look that the men above have.
No doubt that he’s still very attractive and muscular, but he’s not very lean or defined or, well…chiseled.
True he has tons of followers and YouTube views, but there is clearly a difference in the results here over the others mentioned.
Elliot Hulse looks perfectly fine. And he’s probably in better physical shape than anyone reading this. But I can’t help but to observe that his less-than-defined body reminds me of how bodybuilders USED to look in the 70s and early 80s.
Living in Atlanta, I know many non-famous Personal Trainers here in the city…and sure enough, 100% of them have the same story. They started off and maintained a slim/toned physique even before getting serious in the gym.
None of them were ever overweight or fat men who then lost the flab to go on to become fitness trainers
So what was the point of all this? Am I saying that the men listed above did not work hard for the bodies that they have? That they just had great genes and didn’t have to put in much effort?
Nope, the opposite. I know for a fact that a high metabolism and genetic predisposition to muscularity doesn’t always guarantee muscle mass and definition. The individual still has to put in the daily effort in the gym and eat properly.
However, we also have to accept that many of the above men find it much easier to shed fat than the rest of us. This makes their journey to muscle definition and “results” a bit easier than the plight of their clients and fans who have muscle mass hidden by hard-to-lose fat.
Are they actually “full of shit” as the title states? No…that was click bait…Many personal trainers at the very least are motivators to get people to resist temptations.
They’re kinda like Alcoholics Anonymous Sponsors who help stop addicted people from having a drink…except A.A. sponsors typically also used to be alcoholics themselves.
I seriously doubt these naturally lean Personal Trainers are telling their clients that they’ve personally never been “fat” or had to work as hard to lean out like most Americans.
What are your thoughts?
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