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Billie Eilish and AOC made powerful fashion statements at yesterday's Met Gala
Images via Wikicommons here and here

Billie Eilish and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY)

It seems like every year someone makes a splash at the Met Gala with their fashion choices. In 2018 it was Lena Waithe's "queer cape" that enthralled the press and public alike, with its simple but powerful message about inclusivity and LGBTQ rights. In 2016, Emma Watson used that year's technology theme to send a more subtle but equally powerful message about the environment with a dress made entirely from sustainable products.

Even with America and much of the world still reeling from COVID-19, this year is no different.

In fact, two dresses, in particular, have gone viral with very different but very powerful messages about life in 2021. This year, the honor of showcasing the most talked about outfit is being shared between singer Billie Eilish and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). And much like Waithe and Watson before them, one dress wore its heart on its sleeve (or tails to be exact), while the other was subtle in its vital message about animal rights.


First was Eilish. Everyone is talking about her stunning homage to Marilyn Monroe and we get it. Eilish has been getting increasingly comfortable stepping out publicly in more adult, form-fitting attire, such as her appearance on the June cover of Vogue. During the Met Gala, Eilish talked about finding new confidence in having her figure on public display and the personal empowerment she's gained while staying true to her past comments about body positivity. "I've always wanted to do this," she said during her red carpet appearance when asked about the Monroe comparison.

However, it wasn't just about a killer gown. There was a catch and we love Eilish all the more for it: She only agreed to wear the Oscar de la Renta dress on the condition that the acclaimed fashion designer agrees to stop using animal fur.

"It is an honor to wear this dress knowing that going forward Oscar de la Renta will be completely fur free!!!" Eilish, who is vegan, wrote to her 91 million Instagram followers. "I'm honored to have been a catalyst and to have been heard on this matter."

At the same time that Eilish was going viral, AOC was making waves of her on the political front. The New York Democrat showed up to the Met Gala in a white dress with red lettering on the back that read "Tax the Rich." Ocasio-Cortez said she was proud that her dress was drawing attention to what she called the nation's unfair taxation system which enables seemingly endless loopholes for wealthy Americans and corporations.

"When Aurora and I were first kind of partnered, we really started having a conversation about what it means to be working-class women of color at the Met, and we said, 'We can't just play along, but we need to break the fourth wall and challenge some of the institutions,'" AOC said during a red carpet interview about her collaboration with designer Aurora James. "While the Met is known for its spectacle, we should have a conversation about it."

Ocasio-Cortez did receive some criticism from both the political Right and Left for her appearance, with some saying it was hypocritical for a public servant so critical of economic privilege to appear at an event with a $30,000 ticket price and attendees paying an estimated $250,000 per table. However, others praised the lawmaker for bringing her message of equal taxation directly to those who would be most affected by it.

Regardless of your politics, it was refreshing to see both Eilish and AOC using their respective perches and power to make bold statements for the causes they care about. And let's be honest, it doesn't hurt when those more serious topics are conveyed with some top-level fashion sensibility.

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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Pop Culture

14 things that will remain fun no matter how old you get

Your inner child will thank you for doing at least one of these.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Swings can turn 80-year-olds into 8-year-olds in less that two seconds.

When we’re kids, fun comes so easily. You have coloring books and team sports and daily recess … so many opportunities to laugh, play and explore. As we get older, these activities get replaced by routine and responsibility (and yes, at times, survival). Adulthood, yuck.

Many of us want to have more fun, but making time for it still doesn’t come as easily as it did when we were kids—whether that’s because of guilt, a long list of other priorities or because we don’t feel it’s an age-appropriate thing to long for.

Luckily, we’ve come to realize that fun isn’t just a luxury of childhood, but really a vital aspect of living well—like reducing stress, balancing hormone levels and even improving relationships.

More and more people of all ages are letting their inner kids out to play, and the feelings are delightfully infectious.

You might be wanting to instill a little more childlike wonder into your own life, and not sure where to start. Never fear, the internet is here. Reddit user SetsunaSaigami asked people, “What always remains fun no matter how old you get?” People’s (surprisingly profound) answers were great reminders that no matter how complex our lives become, simple joy will always be important.

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

via YouTube

This article originally appeared on 02.15.22


These days, we could all use something to smile about, and few things do a better job at it than watching actor Christopher Walken dance.

A few years back, some genius at HuffPo Entertainment put together a clip featuring Walken dancing in 50 of his films, and it was taken down. But it re-emerged in 2014 and the world has been a better place for it.

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via Lewis Speaks Sr. / Facebook

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