Jay-Z's joy about his mom being openly LGBTQ is a good sign for hip-hop and masculinity.

In a ridiculously heartwarming interview clip, rapper Jay-Z discussed his excitement for his mom’s newfound lesbian love.  

In David Letterman’s new series "My Next Guest Needs No Introduction," Jay-Z sat down with the comedian to talk candidly about his mother, Gloria Carter, coming out to him as a lesbian.  

“This was the first time we had the conversation,” Jay-Z said in a clip of the interview set to air April 6. “And the first time I heard her say she loved her partner. Like, ‘I feel like I love somebody.’ She said ‘I feel like.’ She held that little bit back, still. She didn’t say ‘I’m in love’; she said ‘I feel like I love someone.’ And I just — I cried. I don’t even believe in crying because you’re happy. I don’t even know what that is. What is that?”


Photo by Ari Perilstein/Getty Images for Roc Nation.

Jay-Z's tearful response to his mother's coming out experience is a much-needed example of publicly dismantling toxic masculinity.    

Often told that emotions aren't masculine or that crying isn't for men, many men struggle to openly express their emotions, much less recognize them. Toxic masculinity is a pervasive, dangerous societal problem that forces men into a hole of fear, making them reluctant to share their emotions for fear of not being seen as "man enough." By acknowledging he cried tears of joy, Jay-Z is adding a welcome change to the narrative that men, especially men of color, can't be both emotional and masculine.        

Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images.

Jay-Z’s openness to his mother’s later-in-life queerness in lyrics and on-screen is also refreshing from someone so prominent in the hip-hop industry.      

Having been a pretty early advocate for gay rights, Jay-Z’s views are still fairly unique to his industry. For decades, hip-hop artists have been using extremely homophobic lyrics and have often been extremely exclusionary to queer artists. But world-renowned artists like Jay-Z, Common, and Frank Ocean are using their own personal experiences to change the narrative of how queerness is viewed in the hip-hop industry. Through their own music, activism, and public interviews, many hip-hop artists are starting to show respect for queer love and rights. In the song “Smile” on Jay-Z's most recent album "4:44," the rapper talks about how long his mother hid her identity:

“Mama had four kids, but she’s a lesbian / Had to pretend so long that she’s a thespian.”

By sharing his mom's story so lovingly, Jay-Z shows that homophobia is outdated, masculinity should be so much more than bottling up emotions, and people deserve the most love, respect, and openness we can give them.        

Though the clip definitely is a tease for more, it certainly paints a promising picture for hip-hop artists and their relationships with queer people in the future. We'll enjoy that for now.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

When the COVID-19 pandemic socially distanced the world and pushed off the 2020 Olympics, we knew the games weren't going to be the same. The fact that they're even happening this year is a miracle, but without spectators and the usual hustle and bustle surrounding the events, it definitely feels different.

But it's not just the games themselves that have changed. The coverage of the Olympics has changed as well, including the unexpected addition of un-expert, uncensored commentary from comedian Kevin Hart and rapper Snoop Dogg on NBC's Peacock.

In the topsy-turvy world we're currently living in, it's both a refreshing and hilarious addition to the Olympic lineup.

Just watch this clip of them narrating an equestrian event. (Language warning if you've got kiddos nearby. The first video is bleeped, but the others aren't.)

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