I will spare you my thoughts on the Will Smith and Chris Rock drama because it's been everywhere, from think pieces to social media. I have seen it referred to as an exhibit of toxic male masculinity to a man protecting Black women - his Black woman out loud and more. Here's my take on it all in a quick paragraph:
I don't think it was toxic masculinity. I think it was a man protecting his wife, which I appreciated, yet the slap was excessive. He could've just cussed him out from his seat. I am glad they each apologized but hate that it even happened. The moment completely overshadowed Will's well-deserved win. It also overshadowed a night that was big for the William's sisters, Richard Williams, and the cast and the crew of the movie. But, ultimately, it shouldn't have happened at all. The joke was dumb and didn't land. When I watched with my mom, both of us thought the joke was about two different things: hair and Jada's green dress. It just landed poorly, so it could've been skipped.
The moment also almost overshadowed Beyonce's performance of her song, "Be Alive," from King Richard, BUT THANKFULLY it didn't. Our good sis was dressed as a fancy-ass tennis ball, and my heart was so happy.
The performance was FLAWLESS, and in a sea of Beyonce performances that I have loved - there's been many, this performance falls right under "Deja Vu" from the BET Awards where Jay Z touched her butt, and she wore the silver two-piece and the BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG hair of my dreams.
But let's spend just a second on the Oscar performance. It was iconic. She performed on the court that Serena and Venus played on. The two women, Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton, who played Venus and Serena, were in the introduction as a horse followed them. They had the sister's iconic beads in their hair which the dancers and singers had during the performance. I loved the horns and the strings during the performance - not to mention the ode to Compton with the short sample of Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre's "Nuthin’ But a 'G' Thang.'"
Here are a few other things that were on my mind this week:
An ode to scampreneurs
If you have read this newsletter for a while, you know that one of my favorite genres of things to follow are scammers and scam-preneurs. I’m not 100% sure why but I think most of the scams and companies feel very WTF to me and leave me staring into space like:
That being said, I have been watching Apple TV’s WeCrashed, which follows the rise and fall of WeWork and its founder Adam Neumann played by Jared Leto. The series follows the podcast of the same title, and like all the other things I have read about WeWork (this book was so interesting), I am fascinated. Unfortunately, I think the casting is a little off. Adam’s wife Rebekah is played by Anne Hathaway, which threw me for a loop, but it’s a pretty interesting show so far. Here are some of the hot takes about the show that I’ve read recently, which are pretty spot-on:
The Comforts of “WeCrashed” and The Modern Grifter Series, The New Yorker
This article draws a good connection point between shows like Hulu’s “The Dropout” about Elizabeth Holmes, founder of Theranos, Netflix’s “Inventing Anna” about Anna Sorkin, aka Anna Delvey, who is getting deported back to Germany, and Showtime’s Super Pumped: The Battle For Uber which follows Uber CEO Travis Kalanick - and yes I watch them all.
One might think of the scam-trepreneur series as the new crime procedural: viewers know where the story starts, as well as where it ends. “We’re not selling desks,” Neumann says, of WeWork, and Rebekah adds, “We’re selling an experience.” What kind of experience can “WeCrashed” offer, given that many of us have bought the desks ourselves and know them to be nothing more than that? Despite claims that the grifter boom is exciting and cathartic—that it speaks to a generation of viewers who have become jaded by capitalism—shows like “WeCrashed” often seem designed to be reassuring. You’re not stupid for falling for it, they seem to say, as celebrities play far more attractive, far more compelling versions of real-life con artists. Bad Entrepreneur TV isn’t thrilling; it’s comfort food.
As the show made its way toward its final episodes, it seemed to me that it, too, was beginning to go through the motions. More money, more pressure, more problems, more ambitions, more New Age drivel. I wanted to go back to the start, to looser jokes and mesh muscle tanks.
WeCrashed isn’t a comedy, but there is a comedic quality to the show, even in some of its most serious moments because of how so many of the people involved in the WeWork story behaved in utterly ridiculous ways. Throughout the show, the truth about what WeWork is — a company that subleases office space — repeatedly pierces the thick, opaque bubble of distorted reality Neumann projects, and it will leave you wondering why, exactly, these people were entrusted with so much money to run a fundamentally non-innovative business. WeCrashed doesn’t exactly go so far as to deride the coworking industry, but rather the show wants you to think about how these kinds of companies come into being and what kinds of people are allowed to be their stewards.
I’ve been a lover of Glossier since I first discovered it, perhaps because, in a way, I was fascinated by the cult following and also that the founder, Emily Weiss, was on The Hills on my favorite episode (when Whitney falls down the stairs which is a favorite terrible thing). Nonetheless, it’s been exciting to see how fast Glossier grew and the following that the brand captured throughout the years. With the growth came many things happening internally that we weren’t keen on, the latest being 80+ employees being laid off earlier this year. This article speaks to many things happening behind the curtain to the brand, and I’m interested to see what happens from here. I saw people say that this article was a takedown of the brand, and although I’m not sure of that, it is interesting to see what will happen. Here are some of the tidbits that I took note of from the article:
But Glossier's financial success belied a sometimes chaotic and unstable work environment, according to 17 former employees who as recently as January worked at Glossier's New York City headquarters. They describe a founder who sometimes overvalued employees' social-media clout and appearance and whose yearslong obsession with transforming the beauty brand into a tech company sparked internal tensions. New hires from Facebook and Amazon clashed with veteran employees while Weiss' nebulous vision for an in-house social e-commerce platform led to stalled progress and wasted resources, they said.
Last year, Glossier's US sales decreased by 26% year over year, according to Bloomberg Second Measure, and its Instagram following has steadily declined since July 2020.
With Glossier, Weiss didn't just create a company — she created a spellbinding world. "We're selling you packaging, we're selling you a brand, we're selling you a feeling," one former employee said.
Every July, the company hosts Camp Glossier, where employees are shuttled away for all-inclusive weekends with private chefs, bracelet-making tutorials, and personalized Bruna Malucelli swimsuits. Most recently, in 2019, Camp Glossier took place at Cedar Lakes Estate in Port Jervis, New York, where a lakeside cottage for two can run more than $1,000 a night. It was the highlight of the year for many employees who got to see Weiss "let her hair down and be very fun," a former staffer said.
This reminded me of WeWork’s Summer Camp.
By all accounts, Weiss leads Glossier with the emphatic passion typical of Silicon Valley founders: She's in early, works late, and wants the final say on every project, former employees said. They used words like "guru," "idol," and even "God-like" to describe her magnetic presence at the office, where she's said to always greet everyone with a smile.
At her twice-monthly all-hands meetings — which switched to Zoom during the coronavirus pandemic — Weiss had a special knack for pumping up her employees, telling them that they're single-handedly "revolutionizing beauty." She often compared Glossier to the US's biggest companies, saying things like "we're going to be the beauty version of Nike" — a sentiment she reiterated in a 2017 Domino interview, declaring, "I plan to, you know, like — just 'dew' it." During several all-hands meetings, Weiss proudly described Glossier's packages as being so desirable that porch thieves were targeting them more frequently than Amazon boxes, one former employee recalled.
A few other shares this week:
My cozy playlist is still thriving.
That’s it for this week:
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