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'Trigger Warning With Killer Mike' Is An Absurd Show But It Works

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Photo courtesy of Netflix.

Social issues are front and center in the wildest way

Killer Mike is on to something with his new Netflix show Trigger Warning with Killer Mike, even if it's hard to nail down exactly what it is. The six-part series is being billed as a comedy documentary series, but I think social experiment or mockumentary are more appropriate. Still, Trigger Warning accomplishes what it sets out to do: make you think and laugh harder at some of American's most pressing social issues.

Over the course of six episodes, Killer Mike (real name, Michael Render) conspires with all sorts of people from his home state of Georgia to explore different aspects of the human experience—from education and economics to religion and racism. His search for answers include one-on-one interviews, site visits, and all kinds of adventures, some of them more challenging than others. In the first episode, "Living Black," Render tries to frequent only black-owned businesses, services, and products for three days. He struggles to find food and weed grown by black folks, and questions the destruction of the once-sustainable black economy when he meets local black business owners. And in episode four, "White Gang Privilege," he helps members of his local Crips and Bloods gangs go legit by selling their own brand of soda, hoping to recreate the credibility that white gangs like Hell's Angels have been able to establish for themselves. With Render's help, several members go through the process of applying for a business loan, making the drink from scratch in a "trap" kitchen, meeting with beverage industry experts, facing off with a consumer focus group, unsuccessfully pitching their Crip-a-Cola to local retailers, and teaming up with members of rival Blood gang for some healthy competition at a farmer's market.

Render's interest in social issues are front and center in Trigger Warning and reflect the activist spirit that put him on a broader national platform when he campaigned for Bernie Sanders ahead of the 2016 presidential primaries. He was a vocal supporter of Sanders as a candidate who could break our current, corrupt political system and offer the country a more just democracy. And so perhaps expectedly, Trigger Warning is unflinching in its approach to social issues. Render doesn't mince words when he tries to convince black church-goers to denounce white Jesus. It's the type of interaction that often yields hilarious results, while Render's fuck-the-man-and-the-machine attitude is irresistible to people who want to be patted on the back for having left-leaning political values. And for what it's worth, I don't disagree with any of Render's positions. I think it's important for black communities to build a stronger economy for ourselves and question our deep ties to Western Christianity. As a public school student, I also think the education system should infuse curricula with more practical life skills. Growing up surrounded by gang culture in Chicago, I know that portrayals of gang life in black hoods are narrow and shallow, denying the humanity of members. So I welcome a more nuanced portrait.

But some of Trigger Warning is just too damn silly. Things start to fall apart in the last two episodes. In "Outside the Box," Render decides that a musical supergroup can help unify our divided nation. He holds auditions (with T-Pain as a fellow judge) for performers with a political message, and ends up with a mismatched band that includes a white nationalist who uses the N-word in his verse. The season finale, "Kill Your Master," is Render's attempt at creating his own sovereign nation in Georgia. Render buys a farm and collects petition signatures to have his province, New Africa, recognized. He then recruits new "citizens," many of them people who've appeared in previous episodes. By this point, it's fair to question how many of the Trigger Warning participants might actually be actors. Just like that, the hope that this could be the revolutionary show it promises in the trailer begins to fade.

It's possible to use humor to tackle really heavy topics. For example, Render contracting a production team and adult film actors to create an original porno that also teaches actual trade skills is genius-level. It's exactly the kind of sketch I would have expected to see on Chappelle's Show if it aired on HBO instead of the more censored Comedy Central. Render also manages to start his own religion based on weed, wine, and women, and incorporate sleep as a source of spiritual healing and restoration for black folks. To drive the point home, he holds a sermon in an Atlanta strip club, and the episode's outro includes strippers dancing to a gospel choir. So much for the sanctity of the church.

Trigger Warning's most beautiful moments come from the dialogue between Render and his subjects. For example, he refuses to let a white first-grader interrupt him while he preaches to one of the black students that his skin is beautiful. "... That'd be like the first lesson in white privilege that he learns and we don't want to oppress people right now you got?" he says before dapping the child up and calling him an ally. He challenges an elderly white woman on her assumption that black people commit more robberies and crimes. There is no argument or tears, just Mike's silent defeat in realizing that her opinion on the subject isn't likely to change. It is sound bites from these scenes that make Trigger Warning worth it, however absurd it may be.

Trigger Warning with Killer Mike is available on Netflix now.

Photo by Handout / Getty Images.

From selling probiotic supplements to picture frames and umbrellas

A Kardashian-level of success doesn't happen overnight, and it certainly doesn't happen without proper planning. Kim Kardashian West clearly knows this because, according to TMZ, she has already filed for trademark protection on the name of her two-week-old baby, Psalm West. From personal appearances and entertainment services to probiotic supplements and scrunchies, she is leaving no stone unturned in terms of possible business opportunities.

Apparently, all of the Kardashian parents file these kinds of trademark protections for their kids even if the businesses never come to fruition. It's done as a precautionary measure to keep others from profiting off of their name and to make sure that, should they ever want to start a business, they don't have to worry about someone else getting to it first. The sheer length of this list speaks to the huge earning potential of baby Psalm, who can't even control his own neck muscles yet, let alone go into business. Still, this brings a whole new meaning to "securing the bag."

Below, a list of all the things Kardashian West is seeking usage rights for.

Hair accessories

Barrettes

Bands

Bows

Clips

Ties

Ornaments

Pins

Scrunchies

Chopsticks

Twisters

Wrap

Hair extensions

Ornamental novelty pins

Entertainment services

Personal appearances

Skin care

Probiotic supplements

Toy figures

Doll accessories

Computer software

Clothing

Baby bottles

Furniture

Strollers

Beverageware

Swaddling

Blankets

Skin moisturizers

Lotions

Creams

Bubble bath

Fragrances

Body powders

Shower gels

Body oils

Skin serums

Nail polish

Nail polish remover

Nail care preparations

Puppets

Puzzles

Toy jewelry

Toy cameras

Toy food

Bath toys

Baby gyms

Playground balls

Electronic action toys

Baby bouncers

Baby changing tables

Baby walkers

Pillows

Mirrors

Cushions

Picture frames

Playpens

Baby carriers

Cosmetic bags

Toiletry cases

Duffle bags

Umbrellas

Clocks

Watches

Key chains

Calendars

Books

photo albums

Stationery

Stickers

Writing utensils

Collectible trading cards

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Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Well, actually it's crocodile, but she looks out of this world so...

Winnie Harlow walked the Cannes red carpet on Wednesday on her way to a screening of Oh Mercy!, wearing a showstopping gown.

The sheer black dress featured green embroidery on the front and back, which Ralph and Russo confirmed was in the shape of a crocodile. She belted the dress with a black crocodile skin-like belt and finished the look off with some strappy heels. She didn't leave it at just that. For beauty, Harlow packed on full lids of sparkly purple eyeshadow. She kept her hair sleek and simple.

Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Though the brand says otherwise, as Game of Thrones fans, we'd like to think the embroidery is reminiscent of a dragon's skin. Not to mention, Harlow looks out-of-this-world beautiful in it.

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Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

That denim kimono!!

Marion Cotillard shut down the Cannes red carpet on Wednesday at a screening for Matthias Et Maxime. Instead of an extravagant gown that's expected of the event, Cotillard wore a matching black crop top and shorts. Despite wearing an outfit I typically don to a hot yoga class, she looks incredible. She completed the look with an oversized denim kimono, a statement necklace, and heeled booties.

Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

At first, I was drawn in by the crop top and hotpants duo, but, after looking closer at the kimono, it's clear that it's the real scene-stealer. The floor-length Balmain piece was decorated with artful rips and dragon motifs. I would like to live in it.

Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Let's all bow down to the Khaleesi of Cannes.

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Photo by Frazer Harrison / Getty Images.

"It doesn't make you weak to ask for help"

Singer Billie Eilish is continuing to open up about mental health, this time in a new PSA video in partnership with the Ad Council and Seize the Awkward.

In the video, Eilish insists that "it doesn't make you weak to ask for help." She doubles down on the importance of asking for help, and stresses the importance of friends and family being there when their close ones reach out and checking in on them as well. "You should be able to ask anyone for help, everyone has to help someone if they need it." According to Eilish, there have been times when someone reached out to her at the exact moment she needed it, and it helped.

It was particularly refreshing to see Eilish acknowledge that there are things she still doesn't know and has to learn about her mental health. At the very beginning of the video, the interviewer asks her to reflect on her mental health journey, and all Eilish can do is let out chortle. "I think when people hear, 'Remember to take care of your mental health,' they think that everyone else is, and that is not at all accurate," she admitted. "You know, for me I'm trying to learn still to make sure that I stay okay."

Check out the PSA below.

Billie Eilish On Mental Health & Friendship | Ad Council www.youtube.com

Photograph via @kimkardashian.

"#NotOnMyMoodBoard"

Kim Kardashian has definitely been accused of borrowing a design now and then. But when Instagram influencer and Kardashian look-alike Kamilla Osman claimed the entrepreneur copied her birthday look for a Met Gala after-party, Kardashian was not going to let it fly—and shared plenty of photo evidence to shut down the claim.

Fashion industry watchdog Diet Prada first noticed Osman's claims on Instagram and shared side-by-side images of Kardashian's Cher-inspired outfit designed by Mugler and Osman's dress. "Never get confused with who 'inspires' who. They won't give you credit but they will copy," Osman wrote on her IG story. "I designed this dress for my birthday last year. Nobody had a dress like this was an original design."

Kardashian responded by posting the true inspiration behind her look: images of Cher, in similarly sparkly, plunging-neckline dresses and wigs, and of model Yasmeen Ghauri walking a Mugler show in the '90s. In fact, the only similarity between Osman's and Kardashian's looks is the bodycon mini-dress style, which the two are not the first to wear. Among the images, Kardashian included a blank slide with the hashtag "NotOnMyMoodBoard," making it clear that this was in response to Osman's claims.

Screenshot via @KimKardashian Instagram Stories

Screenshot via @KimKardashian Instagram Stories

Though I am with Kim on this one, Kardashian does have a history of co-opting other people's work. From being sued over her Kimoji app, to claims she copied makeup palettes and perfume bottle designs, to being accused of copying Naomi Campbell's entire style, it's far from the first (and probably, far from the last) time Kardashian's name will be mentioned like this.

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