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Andra Day's cover of this iconic 1930s protest song is exactly what 2017 needs.

The first time you hear the song "Strange Fruit,"  the air gets sucked out of the room.

The haunting, poignant protest anthem was written as poem by Abel Meeropol and made famous by Billie Holiday, who sang and recorded the song in 1939.

Meeropol employs the metaphor of a tree and its bitter fruit to symbolize the violence and terror of lynching, which claimed the lives of more than 4,000 black people between 1877 and 1950.


But the song manages to take your breath away largely because nearly 80 years after it was written, in the wake of police violence against black and brown people, it still feels as relevant as ever.

"Southern trees bear strange fruit
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees."


All GIFs via Andra Day/YouTube.

Vocalist Andra Day masterfully covered the iconic song and recently released a stirring video.

Much like the subject matter and Meeropol's gripping lyrics, the imagery presented in Day's video is indelible. Not only is Day clad in flowers and broken shackles, but much of the video was shot on sites of known lynchings.

The victims' names and dates of death are shared at the conclusion of the powerful video.

This small but powerful tribute is more than most lynching victims have received because most lynching sites go unmarked, and there are no national monuments to the thousands who were tortured and murdered. (Though one is in the works.)

"Pastoral scene of the gallant South
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh."


Day's video is part of Lynching in America, a digital storytelling project from the Equal Justice Initiative.

Inspired by their comprehensive report on lynching from 2015, EJI created an interactive experience to explore the legacy and effects of race-baed violence and terror. Visitors to the site can hear powerful stories from the descendants of lynching victims and those driven away from the South by racially motivated terror, the primary cause of the Great Migration in the early 20th century.

There are also interactive maps to see a state-by-state breakdown of these crimes and the impact they had on the demographics of the nation. Users will also find information about mass incarceration and excessive punishment — the evolution of race-based terror and injustice.

According to its website, "By creating a digital experience for a wide audience, EJI hopes to spark an honest conversation about our history of racial injustice that begins a process of truth and reconciliation."

A couple hug during a protest against police violence in Manhattan. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

Until we confront America's bitter history, we will sing of "Strange Fruit."

Until equality truly exists, the hard work must continue. The tough conversations, the demonstrations, the calls for freedom will continue. And protest anthems like this will lead the way.

Because in the words of Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of EJI, "Slavery didn't end in 1865. It evolved."

"Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop
Here is a strange and bitter crop."


Watch Day's stirring rendition of "Strange Fruit" below and be sure to check out Lynching in America.

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

There was a time when every other girl was named Ashley. That time has ended.

As we know, baby name trends are constantly changing. One generation’s Barbara is another generation’s Bethany. But it doesn’t make it any less odd when you suddenly realize that your very own name has suddenly made it into the “old and unhip” pile. And for many of us 80s babies…that time is now.

In a now-viral TikTok post, baby name consultant Colleen Slagen went through the top 100 girl names from 1986 to find which ones “did not age well” and were no longer ranked top 1,000 today. Such a descent from popularity would mark them as what she calls “timestamp names.”

Spoiler alert: what might be even more surprising than the names now considered old school are the names that are still going strong.


The first name that Slagen says is “officially out” is Heather. That’s right, not even cult movie fame could help it keep its ranking.

via GIPHY

Other extinct names include Erica, Courtney, Lindsay, Tara, Crystal, Shannon, Brandy and Dana. Tiffany, Brittany and Casey are also heading very much in that direction.

“My name is Brandy. The Gen Z hostess at Olive Garden told me that she’d never heard my name before and it was so unique,” one viewer wrote.

However, Andrea ranks “surprisingly high,” and Jessica, Ashley and Stephanie have survived…so far.

Gobsmacked, one person asked “How is Stephanie still in there? I don’t think I’ve met a Stephanie younger than myself at 34.”

But the biggest holdout still belongs to Jennifer. “She was a top 100 name all the way up until 2008. Round of applause for Jennifer,” Slagen says in the clip.

@namingbebe Sorry Lindsay, Heather, and Courtney. #babynames #nametok #nameconsultant #girlnames #80skid #1986 #nametrend ♬ original sound - Colleen

If your name has found its way into relic of a bygone era status, fret not. Slagen, whose name also ranks out of the top 1000, assures it just means “we are creatures of the 80's.”

Of course, while we still have baby names that become incredibly common for extended periods of time (looking at you, little Liam and Olivia), the real contemporary trend is going for uniqueness. As an article in The Atlantic notes, for most of American history families tended to name their children after a previous family member, with the goal of blending in, rather than standing out. But now, things have changed.

Laura Wattenberg, the founder of Namerology, told the outlet that “Parents are thinking about naming kids more like how companies think about naming products, which is a kind of competitive marketplace where you need to be able to get attention to succeed.”

But again, even with a keen eye on individualism, patterns pop up. “The same thing we see in fashion trend cycles, we see in names,” Jessie Paquette, another professional baby namer, told Vox. “We’re seeing Eleanor, Maude, Edith—cool-girl grandma names.”

So who knows…give it time (or maybe just a pop song) and one of these 80s names could make a comeback.

Joy

What exactly were Mister Rogers' views towards the LGBTQ community?

In many ways, Rogers was well ahead of his time, boldly pushing boundaries in the right directions.

Screenshot via YouTube official trailer, "Won't You Be My Neighbor?"

Mister Rogers consistently shared love and kindness.

A few nights ago, I was sitting in a dark theater — popcorn in hand and tears leaking down my face — embarrassingly bent out of a shape from a movietrailer. Fred Rogers was to blame.

The whimsical theme song to "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" concluded a short but powerfully nostalgic preview for the new documentary about the soft-spoken star, "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" And yeah, I'd morphed into a teary-eyed hot mess in a matter of seconds.



A question popped into my queer little brain right then, though, and I'm not entirely sure why:

Could Rogers have quietly been a homophobe?

He was a religious dude who grew up in a wildly different era than today. It's a toxic combination that, if we're overgeneralizing and I reflect on my personal experience, tends to produce the worst kinds of homophobes. Had the former Presbyterian minister been as saintly to queers like me as he'd been to seemingly everyone else?

I needed answers! So I went searching.

big-hearted, television show, compassion, counterculture

History suggests Rogers saw humanity in LGBTQ community.

Photo pulled from YouTube official trailer, "Won't You Be My Neighbor?"


But first, let it be known that I respect Rogers and cherish the mark his big-hearted series left on me and generations past; I certainly wasn't looking for justifications to write a "Mister Rogers" hit piece. In a dark and dreary world, Rogers was a reliably bright light, and I wanted whatever I discovered to confirm my suspicions that the beloved children's advocate was a benevolent force for good — and nothing else.

But one thing I've come to learn as a jaded gay man is that the more flawless a fave of mine seems to be, the harder they fall from the high pedestal I've placed them on once their shortcomings inevitably air. Rogers could very well be the latest victim of my hero-worshipping, I warned myself, opening a Google tab with a preemptive cringe.

Here are the two big things I discovered:

1. Rogers' unfaltering kindness and compassion certainly extended to the LGBTQ community.

Rogers didn't go on the record with specific opinions about LGBTQ people or the matters that affect them (at least from what I could find). But others have reported their experiences with him on the topic. By putting those puzzle pieces together, I would confidently argue that Rogers saw the humanity in LGBTQ people.

He didn't let his faith box him into any certain ideology regarding gay people or their rights. Michael G. Long, who authored the biographical "Peaceful Neighbor: Discovering the Countercultural Mister Rogers," noted Rogers' church in Pittsburgh was and continues to be inclusive to the LGBTQ community. Rogers' widow, Joanne, has said her husband had close friends who were gay, according to Slate.

He also stood strong against outside pressures to use his platform to condemn same-gender relationships, according to Vox's Todd VanDerWerff. Panning homosexuality likely would have been applauded by many parents tuning in, as mainstream America widely embraced homophobic attitudes throughout much of Rogers' reign.

But doing such a thing on-air never felt right to the sweater-loving saint. "He felt everybody was, in some way, a reflection of God," VanDerWerff wrote.


2. But Rogers wasn't immune to the backward views society has held of queer people.

While Rogers hired and befriended Francois Clemmons — a gay man who played Officer Clemmons in the series for 25 years — he didn't necessarily want the show associated with Clemmons' sexual orientation, either.

After word got back to Rogers that Clemmons had been spotted in a gay bar, Rogers asked the actor to avoid such venues, fearful Clemmons' sexuality would bring negative attention to the show.

"It was not a personal statement of how he felt about me," Clemmons assured UU World in 2016, noting the two remained close friends. "It had to do with the economics of the show."

Rogers urged him to stay in the closet, believing Clemmons' sexuality may alienate viewers. He encouraged him to marry a woman, too. Clemmons did — and the relationship ended in divorce a few years later.

It's difficult to reconcile the harmful actions of an icon who lived in a different time.

I wish Rogers had addressed Clemmons' predicament differently, of course. I wish he'd celebrated Clemmons' queerness on screen and off and allowed the actor to sashay his way on stage one trailblazing episode, rainbow flag held high.

But that's the thing: The rainbow flag wasn't associated with LGBTQ pride when Clemmons considered leaving the closet, because LGBTQ pride wasn't even a thing in those pre-Stonewall days (at least in the mainstream). It's not reasonable for me to expect a straight, cisgender man — even a superhero like Rogers — to possess a visionary moral compass and will to champion queer rights half a century before same-gender marriage even became normalized.

Rogers was extraordinary — but he wasn't a social justice clairvoyant.

Mister Rogers' empathetic nature pushed him, and his viewers, to be bold and continually grow in wonderful ways.

It's what has helped enshrine my appreciation for him and his show.

He adored kids and relentlessly fought for their wellbeing. His show regularly took on important and tough topics, like racism, the messiness of divorce, and the importance of inclusion. In many ways, Rogers was well ahead of his time, boldly pushing boundaries in the right directions.

Even on queer issues, Rogers evolved as time went on.


As Long wrote for HuffPost in 2014, Rogers' perspective on Clemmons' sexuality shifted throughout the years:

"Rogers evidently believed Clemmons would tank his career had he come out as a gay man in the late 1960s. But — and this is a crucial point —Rogers later revised his counsel to his younger friend. As countless gays came out more publicly following the Stonewall uprising, Rogers even urged Clemmons to enter into a longterm and stable gay relationship. And he always warmly welcomed Clemmons’ gay friends whenever they visited the television set in Pittsburgh."

I can't speak for Mister Rogers, of course. But he was the one who always told me, "I like you just the way you are."

If he were around today, I'd like to think queer kids would feel right at home in his neighborhood, too.

Watch the trailer (that made me cry) for "Won't You Be My Neightbor?" below:

This article was written by Robbie Couch and originally appeared on 06.07.18


Mel Robinson making a TED Talk.

Towards the end of The Beatles’ illustrious but brief career, Paul McCartney wrote “Let it Be,” a song about finding peace by letting events take their natural course. It was a sentiment that seemed to mirror the feeling of resignation the band had with its imminent demise.

The bittersweet song has had an appeal that has lasted generations and that may be because it reflects an essential psychological concept: the locus of control.

“It’s about understanding where our influence ends and accepting that some things are beyond our control,” Jennifer Chappell Marsh, a marriage and family therapist, told The Huffington Post. “We can’t control others, so instead, we should focus on our own actions and responses.”


This idea of giving up control, or the illusion of it, when it does us no good, was perfectly distilled into 2 words that everyone can understand as the “Let Them” theory. Podcast host, author, motivational speaker and former lawyer Mel Robbins explained this theory perfectly in a vial Instagram video.

“I just heard about this thing called the ‘Let Them Theory,’ I freaking love this,” Robbins starts the video.

“If your friends are not inviting you out to brunch this weekend, let them. If the person that you're really attracted to is not interested in a commitment, let them. If your kids do not want to get up and go to that thing with you this week, let them.” Robbins says in the clip. “So much time and energy is wasted on forcing other people to match our expectations.”

“If they’re not showing up how you want them to show up, do not try to force them to change; let them be themselves because they are revealing who they are to you. Just let them – and then you get to choose what you do next,” she continued.

The phrase is a great one to keep in your mental health tool kit because it’s a reminder that, for the most part, we can’t control other people. And if we can, is it worth wasting the emotional energy? Especially when we can allow people to behave as they wish and then we can react to them however we choose.

Stop wasting energy on trying to get other people to meet YOUR expectations. Instead, try using the “Let Them Theory.” 

@melrobbins

Stop wasting energy on trying to get other people to meet YOUR expectations. Instead, try using the “Let Them Theory.” 💥 Listen now on the #melrobbinspodcast!! “The “Let Them Theory”: A Life Changing Mindset Hack That 15 Million People Can’t Stop Talking About” 🔗 in bio #melrobbins #letthemtheory #letgo #lettinggo #podcast #podcastepisode

How you respond to their behavior can significantly impact how they treat you in the future.

It’s also incredibly freeing to relieve yourself of the responsibility of changing people or feeling responsible for their actions. As the old Polish proverb goes, “Not my circus, not my monkeys.”

“Yes! It’s much like a concept propelled by the book ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k.’ Save your energy and set your boundaries accordingly. It’s realizing that we only have “control” over ourselves and it’s so freeing,” 60DaysToLive2012 wrote.

“Let It Be” brought Paul McCartney solace as he dealt with losing his band in a very public breakup. The same state of mind can help all of us, whether it’s dealing with parents living in the past, friends who change and you don’t feel like you know them anymore, or someone who cuts you off in traffic because they’re in a huge rush to go who knows where.

The moment someone gets on your nerves and you feel a jolt of anxiety run up your back, take a big breath and say, “Let them.”


This article originally appeared on 3.4.24

Family

15 tweets that only married people will understand

Even the perfect marriage (if that exists) would have its everyday frustrations.

Photo from Twitter.

A typical... frustrating day.

Being married is like being half of a two-headed monster. It's impossible to avoid regular disagreements when you're bound to another person for the rest of your life.

Even the perfect marriage (if there was such a thing) would have its daily frustrations. Funnily enough, most fights aren't caused by big decisions but the simple, day-to-day questions, such as "What do you want for dinner?"; "Are we free Friday night?"; and "What movie do you want to see?”


Here are some hilarious tweets that just about every married couple will understand.

grievances, irritable interactions, dissastifsfaction

The dinner debates...

Image from Twitter.

texting, resentments, bummer

What do we need from the store?

Image from Twitter.

competition, team, newlyweds

A silent competition.

Image from Twitter.

misplaced items, vanished, missing keys

Stop moving things around.

Image from Twitter.

altercations, , remedy, healing

Lack of empathy.

Image from Twitter.

breakfast in bed, bickering, quarrels

Breakfast in bed!

Image from Twitter.

deliberation, disputes, agitations

Load it; then start it.

Image from Twitter.

espoused, mated, joined in holy matrimony

Marrying up.

Image from Twitter.

united together, walking the path, joined at the hip

Watching shows together.

Image from Twitter.

little forms of affection, affectionate, considerate

Putting the seat down... or up?

Image from Twitter.

tolerant, understanding, all heart

Like me on Instagram. Like me!

Image from Twitter.

inside jokes, tweets, frustration

We both get up when I get up.

Image from Twitter.

funny marriage jokes, marriage memes, marriage tweets

Share and share alike.

Image from Twitter.

marriage, couples, relationships

There are rules to the bedroom.

Image from Twitter.

married life, wives, husbands

Fun with pets.

Image from Twitter.

This article originally appeared on 09.06.17

Family

This is the best mother-daughter chat about the tampon aisle ever. Period.

A hilarious conversation about "the vagina zone" turned into an important message about patriarchy from mother to daughter.

A mother and daughter discuss period products.


Belinda Hankins and her 13-year-old daughter, Bella, seem to have a great relationship, one that is often played out over text message.

Sure they play around like most teens and parents do, but in between the joking and stealing of desserts, they're incredibly open and honest with each other. This is key, especially since Melinda is a single parent and thus is the designated teacher of "the ways of the world."

But, wow, she is a champ at doing just that in the chillest way possible. Of course, it helps having an incredibly self-aware daughter who has grown up knowing she can be super real with her mom.

Case in point, this truly epic text exchange took place over the weekend while Bella was hunting for tampons at the store.


Here's how Belinda introduced it on Facebook:

"THIS was the highlight of my parenting week. Sending my 13-year-old daughter into the store for (whispers) 'feminine hygiene products,' and having the following text exchange."

Let's give this the fanfare it deserves.

Act 1: The "right" aisle.

Every woman, whether she's 13 or 30 has said or thought "THEY'RE NOT HERRREEEEEE" while standing in an aisle, desperately searching for period products. It's like they're trying to make it a scavenger hunt for which we did not sign up.

Act 2: Everything is a lie.

Act 3: Success! Well, sort of.

That's right, Bella. Vagina, like Voldemort, is a word some people refuse to invoke because they're terrified what great, untamed powers doing so might unleash.

Act 4: The truth.

Only a truly great mom could put this in such a way that inspires laughter and fist-pumping agreement at the same time.

Act 5: Smash the patriarchy!

A brilliant conclusion, mom/daughter solidarity AND an accurate map that illustrates what women encounter on a daily basis? If this exchange were a stage play, it would receive five stars.

And many others have agreed; the Facebook post has already been shared over 57,000 times in just two days.

So hip-hip-hooray for moms like Belinda who are candid with their kids on issues big and small and teach them how to be strong using humor and real talk.

The more hilarious conversations like Belinda's and Bella's about vaginas and the patriarchy that there are in the world, the better.

This article originally appeared on 09.14.16