With the COVID-19 pandemic upending her community, Brooklyn-based singer Tiffany Obi turned to healing those who had lost loved ones the way she knew best — through music.
Obi quickly ran into one glaring issue as she began performing solo at memorials. Many of the venues where she performed didn't have the proper equipment for her to play a recorded song to accompany her singing. Often called on to perform the day before a service, Obi couldn't find any pianists to play with her on such short notice.
As she looked at the empty piano at a recent performance, Obi's had a revelation.
"Music just makes everything better," Obi said. "If there was an app to bring musicians together on short notice, we could bring so much joy to the people at those memorials."
Using the coding skills she gained at Pursuit — a rigorous, four-year intensive program that trains adults from underserved backgrounds and no prior experience in programming — Obi turned this market gap into the very first app she created.
She worked alongside four other Pursuit Fellows to build In Tune, an app that connects musicians in close proximity to foster opportunities for collaboration.
When she learned about and applied to Pursuit, Obi was eager to be a part of Pursuit's vision to empower their Fellows to build successful careers in tech. Pursuit's Fellows are representative of the community they want to build: 50% women, 70% Black or Latinx, 40% immigrant, 60% non-Bachelor's degree holders, and more than 50% are public assistance recipients.
2020 has definitely, for sure, without a doubt, been the strangest year we as a society have collectively lived through. And it's not even close. Remember when we all thought 2016 was a doozy? How adorable were we then?
We've all worked on ways to cope through the upheaval of a global pandemic, the intensity of social unrest, the chaos of political insanity, and the uncertainty of what comes next. Some of us are dealing with the loss of loved ones, unemployment and financial stress, helping our kids navigate virtual schooling, and the mental health toll all of this is taking.
Considering all of that, most of us can use all the help we can get in the coping department.
Perhaps that's why the "Keep Going Song" from The Bengsons—a husband-wife musical duo—is resonating with so many people. The song, which they says is "meant as a gesture of love, a try, a fail, a blessing, way to be gentle," is quirky, funny, alternatingly silly and profound, and overall just thoroughly delightful. In between the catchy "Keep going on song" choruses, Abigail Bengson speaks and sings a seemingly spontaneous narrative while Shaun Bengson plays a simple guitar riff in the background, and it all works in a weird and wonderful way.
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When the novel coronavirus hit the United States, life as we knew it quickly changed. As many people holed up in their homes, some essential workers had to make the impossible choice of going to work or quitting their jobs— a choice they continue to make each day.
Because over 80 percent of working Hispanic adults provide essential services for the U.S. economy, the Hispanic community is disproportionately affected. Hispanic families are also much more likely to live in multigenerational households, carrying the extra risk of infecting the most vulnerable. In fact, Hispanics are 20 times more likely than other patients to test positive for COVID-19.
Claudia Romo Edelman saw a community in desperate need of guidance and support. And she created Hispanic Star, a non-profit designed to help Hispanic people in the U.S. pull together as a proud, unified group and overcome barriers — the most pressing of which is the effects of the pandemic.
Because the Hispanic community is so diverse, unification is, and was, an enormous challenge.
Photo credit: Hispanic Star
Electing Donald Trump to be president of the United States set an incredibly ugly example for the nation's youth.
We know how it's affected the national discourse of regular adults. But there's no denying the conduct of a president impacts how children around the world see the example being set for them. Every day for the past four years, children have been subjected to the behavior of a divisive figure that many of their parents chose to exalt to the most powerful office in the world.
Sure, adults can make excuses for him saying he's an "imperfect messenger" or that they "didn't vote for him to be reverend," but these are all just ways to rationalize voting for a man with zero character. What a message to send to children: Act awful and you'll be handsomely rewarded.
But what if you took away the "Trump" name and examined the character traits of him as an ordinary person? More specifically, what if your daughter came to you and said this was the kind of person she was planning to date? Well, one MAGA family found out and the results are funny, insightful and quite revealing about how we somehow hold our leaders to different and lower standards than we expect from ourselves in our day to day lives.
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Would Bob Dylan by another name still sing as sweet? Lost letters and interviews from Dylan are up for auction at Boston-based RR Auction, and they reveal a rare insight into the legendary singer's feelings on anti-Semitism as well as his name change.
The archives include transcripts of interviews between Dylan and American blues artist Tony Glover conducted in 1971, as well as letters exchanged between the two musicians. Some of the 37 typed pages are scrawled with handwritten notes from Dylan. "In many cases, the deletions are more telling than the additions," Bobby Livingston, the auction house's executive vice president said.
Dylan, who was born Robert Zimmerman to Jewish parents in Minnesota, discussed his name change with Glover. "I mean it wouldn't've worked if I'd changed the name to Bob Levy. Or Bob Neuwirth. Or Bob Doughnut," Dylan joked on March 22, 1971.
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