We All Have The Right To Bodily Autonomy #SAAM

We All Have The Right To Bodily Autonomy #SAAM

If anyone ever tells you that you’re a lesser human being because you don’t want to have sex with them ― cut them out of your life. We all have rights to our own bodies and we all have the right to say no. We should all have the right to autonomy over our own bodies.

When it comes to sexual activity, nothing is more powerful than the word ‘no’. If a person is trying to coax you into something you don’t want, you have the right to say no. If a person you’re with doesn’t make you feel safe enough to say no, you need to cut them out of your life.

ItsBabyJ is here to remind you that bodily autonomy is your right. Just because a person has lots of followers on social media or plays on a sports team doesn’t mean they’re entitled to your body. Reserve the right to say no and reserve the right to your own body.

There is no excuse for inappropriate sexual behaviour. That’s what Sexual Assault Awareness Month is all about. Let’s ditch the excuses and recognize that bragging about sexual assault is a problem. Get outraged about sexual assault and ensure your friends and family are asserting their bodily autonomy.

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J Balvin, Nicky Jam Say They Changed The Notion That Reggaetón Is Misogynist

J Balvin, Nicky Jam Say They Changed The Notion That Reggaetón Is Misogynist

J Balvin and Nicky Jam have practically become reggaetón royalty in recent years, but they don’t view their brand of reggaetón to be on par with what filled the airwaves in the early 2000s.

Both artists sat down with Billboard recently to discuss their journey to becoming global phenomenons, including why they wanted to change the idea that reggaetón is a misogynist genre for the sake of the many women and children who follow their music. 

During a joint conversation with the magazine, ahead of the 2107 Latin Billboard Music Awards on April 27, journalist Leila Cobo mentioned that both artists had “largely avoided objectifying women in lyrics and video, which is common in reggaetón.” 

In response, the 36-year-old Nicky Jam explained that given their broad audience, they need to make videos “where women look beautiful and conservative and are treated with respect, because the videos are seen by kids and adults.” He added that other reggaetón artists are targeting “one audience,” though he didn’t specify which, and didn’t have the same responsibility. 

J Balvin, 31, added that he felt the need to change the notion that the genre objectifies women because of the women in his own life.

“Plus, we both have mothers, sisters, relatives,” J Balvin said. “Part of what we did is change that misconception that reggaetón is machista and misogynist. On the contrary, women are our biggest fans, and they inspire us.”

Some examples of their portrayal of women in lyrics and music videos include J Balvin’s hit “Ay Vamos,” a song about a couple who fights each other but loves each other in the end. In the video, the artist and his supposed girlfriend try to out prank each other. 

Nicky Jam’s single “Hasta el Amanecer” has lyrics that do seem to have sexual undertones with verses that talk about wanting to be with a woman he just met until dawn. But the music video for the hit features the artist simply meeting a young woman at a laundry mat, trying to get her attention with his dance moves. 

J Balvin and Nicky Jam, who is Puerto Rican but rebuilt his career in Medellín, are both the product of a boom of reggaetón stars coming out of Colombia. The two artists were friends long before their individual success, and continue to support each other as they go head to head in both the music charts and award nominations. 

In a conversation with The Huffington Post, Nicky Jam explained what he feels set Colombian reggaetón apart.

“I just think the music is more catchy, and the lyrics are more cotidianos (day-to-day),” Nicky Jam said in Sept. 2016. “It talks about things that happen on a daily basis. Reggaeton from Puerto Rico is more about dancing music, reggaeton specifically. Now Puerto Ricans are starting to [focus more on lyrics], because they have the ability to do it.”

For J Balvin, it’s always been important to be both a leader in the genre and represent his native Colombia as an urban artist. 

“There’s vallenato, there’s pop, there’s rock [in Colombia] but we need the urban part and thankfully we’ve been able to do it little by little,” the artist told HuffPost in 2014, after the success of his single ‘6 AM.’ “Obviously we’re still in the process of growth, but there’s been a clear vision for the public that there’s good Urban music coming from Colombia for the world.”

Read Nicky Jam and J Balvin’s entire conversation with Billboard here

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The First House Antoni Gaudí Ever Designed Is Now An Incredible Museum

The First House Antoni Gaudí Ever Designed Is Now An Incredible Museum

Antoni Gaudí is known to many as the genius behind Sagrada Família, the monumental church in Barcelona, Spain, that has been called “the most extraordinary personal interpretation of Gothic architecture since the Middle Ages.”

Originally commissioned in 1882, Gaudí became the lead architect of Sagrada Família in 1883, working on the astonishingly detailed project right up until his death in 1926. The massive structure was famously only a quarter of its way to completion at that point, nonetheless, tourists have continuously flocked to the monumental feat of art, marveling at the ways various architects have attempted to finish Gaudí’s vision over the years. 

Sadly, those waiting to see Sagrada Família in all its finite glory will have to wait until at least 2026, the projected date for its highly anticipated completion, which not-so-coincidentally will mark the 100th anniversary of Gaudí’s death. In the meantime, though, fans of the Spanish Catalan architect can soon visit another one of his distinctive designs ― Casa Vicens, the first house he ever built.

What was once a private home in Barcelona, built for the broker Manel Vicens from 1883 to 1885, will be transformed into a museum dedicated to Gaudí this fall. In the 1920s, the tiled house temporarily served as three separate apartments ― arranged by architect Joan Baptista Serra de Martínez with Gaudí’s approval ― but for the last century has functioned as a private home to one family. The Andorran bank MoraBanc bought the property in 2014, and renovations have been underway since 2015, overseen by Martínez Lapeña-Torres Arquitectes S.L.P. and architects José Antonio Martínez Lapeña, Elías Torres and David García.

Casa Vicens, which has been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage site, along with seven other Gaudí buildings, since 2005, will reopen to the public in just a few months. While no set date has been announced, organizers have recently released a batch of images that allow people around the world to tour the yet-to-open, but ever so ornately decorated destination. Enjoy:

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Justin Sayre Has A Word Or Two About Queer Stories On Television

Justin Sayre Has A Word Or Two About Queer Stories On Television

Justin Sayre has a few thoughts on the why recent efforts to bring queer stories to television audiences have fallen short. (WARNING: contains graphic language.)

In his latest video for HuffPost Queer Voices, the writer-performer has one stipulation when settling in for an LGBTQ-themed TV program: “At least the hair and makeup will look pretty on people.” In Sayre’s view, however, most shows that have incorporated a queer storyline have failed to measure up in that area ― and others. “I think [studio executives] are afraid that if we’re funny or if we’re loose about things, we’re still not proving to straight people how serious we are,” he said. “It feels really insincere.” 

Sayre’s “International Order of Sodomites” (I.O.S.) gathers once a month for “The Meeting,” a variety show honoring an artist or a cultural work that is iconic to the gay community. The next installment of “The Meeting” hits Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater in New York April 23 and is dedicated to legendary Broadway diva, Patti LuPone. Julia Murney, Cole Escola and Molly Pope are among the performers scheduled to appear. 

You can check out Sayre’s comedy album, “The Gay Agenda,” here. Meanwhile, the latest episode of “Sparkle & Circulate with Justin Sayre,” the official I.O.S. podcast, was released in March featuring an interview with singer-songwriter Gabrielle Stravelli.

You can also view some previous performances from “The Meeting” on Sayre’s official YouTube page. For more Sayre, head to Facebook and Twitter.  

For the latest in LGBTQ entertainment, check out the Queer Voices newsletter.

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Photo Series Shows How Two Moms Tandem Nurse Their Triplets And Toddler

Photo Series Shows How Two Moms Tandem Nurse Their Triplets And Toddler

When Dublin-based photographer Johanna King set out to document breastfeeding mothers, she came across a family with a rather unique story.

Last year, King photographed around 10 breastfeeding mothers and their families in their natural environments. One such family was Cliona and Sue, a married lesbian couple who both breastfeed their toddler daughter and infant triplets ― a boy and two girls.

A breastfeeding mother herself, King came across Cliona and Sue’s story through a parenting and breastfeeding support group called Cuidiu. When she reached out about photographing them in their home, they were delighted to participate

King told HuffPost photographing the family was a very relaxed experience. “I felt instantly welcome when Cliona opened the door, and I believe they felt at ease too,” she said.

The photographer documented the family as Sue rotated their then-6-month-old triplets to nurse two at a time. 

“Cliona and Sue’s session wasn’t really different from any of the other sessions apart from the fact that their family is quite extraordinary,” King recalled. “I don’t think you will come across many families of two mothers feeding simultaneously four children with four boobs!”

Still, she added, it was like other photo shoots in its focus on capturing the reality of the family’s life in that moment, so they could look back years later and remember how it felt.

Sue gave birth to their triplets and Cliona delivered their first daughter, Aoife. Both women struggled at the start of their breastfeeding journeys. When Aoife was born, Cliona turned to formula due to latch issues. Once they discovered the baby had tongue tie, lactation consultants helped Cliona deal with the issue and relactate.

Their triplets were born two months early and spent about a month in the hospital. “Doctors and nurses wanted to establish a routine and know exactly how much the babies were getting,” said Cliona. “Sue expressed around the clock, despite the fact that she was exhausted, recovering from a C-section, suffering from serious nipple damage, and at one point got mastitis.”

All of the triplets also had tongue tie, but eventually, “after a lot of tears,” Sue managed to nurse the three babies.

Having another breastfeeding mom in the family can be an asset for Sue, though she does the vast majority of the triplets’ feedings. 

“It is great that I am able to help out now and again ― for example if one of them has a hospital appointment, I can bring them in and know that I can breastfeed them if they get upset, and we don’t need to bother bringing a bottle of expressed milk with us,” Cliona explained. “Sue has also fed the older child a few times, although she doesn’t show much interest as she says it is ‘too spicy!’”

On the day of the photo shoot, King stayed for two hours documenting the family. She told HuffPost she was struck by Sue’s methodical approach to rotating between all three babies as she nursed.

“It was quite amazing to see how much she cared that they all got enough, even if it meant no break for her. The babies were 6 months old and exclusively breastfed. I don’t think Sue got more than 30 minutes a day (and night) without a baby latched on.”

As a sleep-deprived mother herself, King felt for Sue but said she was glad to see how much support she gets from Cliona and her own mother as well.

The couple loved the finished photos of their family. “I think they reflect what our house is like ― the madness and sheer chaos of it,” said Cliona. “Like I said to Johanna, it is easy to forget with all the stress and exhaustion that there are beautiful moments too. I am so happy that we will have these gorgeous photos to remind us what it was like when the gang was so young.”

Cliona hopes that people who see their photos learn that it’s possible to breastfeed triplets, though it may take perseverance. 

“There is no easy way to feed triplets ― when they were on bottles it was a nightmare doing all the cleaning and managing feeds ― but this is definitely the best way for our family,” she said. 

“I also hope that people see the happiness in our family, even if the house is messy and our hair hasn’t been washed in days!” she added.

The photographer said she was honored to work with Cliona, Sue and their family.  “I love taking breastfeeding photos because of what it means to the mothers,” she explained, adding that she hopes people feel the love in their home. And as with her other breastfeeding photo sessions, she wants to help other nursing moms feel empowered. 

“I think every breastfeeding journey is different, and every mum faces different challenges,” Cliona told HuffPost “I don’t think either of us were prepared for how life-changing and empowering it would be to breastfeed our babies. Before we had children, we just viewed it as ‘food,’ but it is so much more than that.”

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Yes, Even Oprah Flips Out Over Black Girl Magic

Yes, Even Oprah Flips Out Over Black Girl Magic

Oprah is the queen of all queens and among the most magical of black women. This, we know.

But at a press event in New York on Tuesday ― in promotion of her new film “The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks” ― Oprah stepped into a room filled with all black women reporters, myself included, and totally lost her cool. And THAT, we didn’t expect. 

“When has this ever happened?” Oprah asked all of the women of color in the room. “This is a story in itself!”

To our delight, she broke into a little dance and belted out “Black Girl Magic.” Oprah insisted on taking a group picture that she posted to her personal Instagram page and she live-streamed the interview on her Facebook page

I recorded some of these magical moments (for the sole purpose of re-watching them for eternity, obviously): 

In preparing to be starstruck, the journalists in the room hadn’t considered that a black woman who has broken every glass ceiling would be so taken back by the moment of solidarity. It was a scene that reinforced the power of representation as a group of young black women journalists not only got to meet but interview the woman who helped to pave the way for black female storytellers everywhere. 

TMZ caught up with the media mogul on Thursday and asked her specifically about her thoughts on Facebook Live and its effectiveness in media and communication today.

Oprah praised the feature and referenced Tuesday’s press event and why she wanted to share it live on social media.

“I love the fact that we can connect, like, instantly” Oprah told TMZ. “I’ve never been in a room where there were all these beautiful black women who didn’t know each other who all showed up at a junket from various news organizations. I walked into the room and every single person was an African American woman and it was so damn cool! So I just started using Facebook live right there.”

You can read more about the film and our interview with Oprah here, which goes into detail about why she wanted to bring to light the experiences of another black woman who helped change the world. 

“The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” premieres on HBO on Saturday, April 22.

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