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Mississippi State player proudly waves the state's new Confederate-free flag on game day
via WLBT / Twitter

When Mississippi State ran onto the field on Saturday in a game versus Vanderbilt they did so while proudly waving the state's new flag. On Election Day, 68% of Mississippi voters approved "The New Magnolia" by graphic designer Rocky Vaughan to be the state's new official symbol.

The flag replaces a 126-year-old banner that incorporated a version of the Confederate battle flag.

Senior defensive end Kobe Jones, a native of Starkville, Mississippi, carried the flag to lead his team on the field. "I was very proud to finally get to wave a flag that unites all Mississippians," Jones said after the game. "That was a huge moment for me and the whole state."



The moment was perfectly encapsulated by Shaun King on Instagram. "Today, a Black player for Mississippi State ran onto the field with their BRAND NEW FLAG, without having to compromise his integrity," he captioned a photo of Jones.


Mississippi State running back Kylin Hill was instrumental in pushing the state to change its outdated banner that paid homage to a movement rooted in slavery. "Either change the flag or I won't be representing this State anymore & I meant that .. I'm tired," Hill tweeted in June.

Hill responded to critics by sharing his own experience living under the Confederate banner. "Unlike rest I was born in this state and I (know) what the flag mean," he tweeted."

Hill opted out of this season after his second game due to an injury. He hopes to be a top pick in the 2021 NFL draft.

Lawmakers in Mississippi passed a bill in June to retire the old flag in favor of one that isn't blatantly racist. "This is not a political moment to me but a solemn occasion to lead Mississippi's family to come together, to be reconciled and move on," Governor Tate Reeves said after signing the bill.

After the state ditched its old flag, it received over 3,000 submissions for a new design. The only prerequisites being it must read "In God We Trust" and be free of any Confederate imagery.

The design that eventually won features a magnolia in its center surrounded by twenty stars. The stars symbolize Mississippi's history as the twentieth state admitted to the union. The flower is "a symbol long-used to represent our state and the hospitality of our citizens," the Mississippi Department of Archives and History said.

That's a far cry from the previous flag which featured a symbol of bigotry and oppression.

Election Day was surreal for Vaughan, who couldn't believe his design was approved by such a margin. "My phone was blowing up," Vaughn said according to WTVA. "Watching the numbers just kept rising and I was like 'wow, this is gonna happen,'" Vaughan explained.

Vaughn believes his flag received overwhelming support because of its attractive design. "It looks good," said Vaughan. "It looks great, and I knew if it was pleasing to the eyes it would be more acceptable and an easier transition."

"Every time I see it, I'm, I know I'm going to just stop and stare for a little bit and be thankful," he added.

10/10. The Mayyas dance.

We can almost always expect to see amazing acts and rare skills on “America’s Got Talent.” But sometimes, we get even more than that.

The Mayyas, a Lebanese women’s dance troupe whose name means “proud walk of a lioness,” delivered a performance so mesmerizing that judge Simon Cowell called it the “best dance act” the show has ever seen, winning them an almost instant golden buzzer.

Perhaps this victory comes as no surprise, considering that the Mayyas had previously won “Arab’s Got Talent” in 2019 and competed on “Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions.” But truly, it’s what motivates them to take to the stage that’s remarkable.

“Lebanon is a very beautiful country, but we live a daily struggle," one of the dancers said to the judges just moments before their audition. Another explained, “being a dancer as a female Arab is not fully supported yet.”

Nadim Cherfan, the team’s choreographer, added that “Lebanon is not considered a place where you can build a career out of dancing, so it’s really hard, and harder for women.”

Still, Cherfan shared that it was a previous “AGT” star who inspired the Mayyas to defy the odds and audition anyway. Nightbirde, a breakout singer who also earned a golden buzzer before tragically passing away in February 2021 due to cancer, had told the audience, “You can't wait until life isn't hard anymore before you decide to be happy.” The dance team took the advice to heart.

For the Mayyas, coming onto the “AGT” stage became more than an audition opportunity. Getting emotional, one of the dancers declared that it was “our only chance to prove to the world what Arab women can do, the art we can create, the fights we fight.”

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