Cole Sprouse Explains His Poppy-Filled Photo Shoot With Riverdale Costar Lili Reinhart

When Lili Reinhart wanted to “feel like a fairy princess in a flowy dress,” her costar Cole Sprouse made it happen with a stunning photo shoot.

MTV News caught up with the Riverdale stars at the Paley Center for Media on Thursday night (April 27), and Reinhart and Sprouse gave us the scoop on how their “wonderful” adventure at Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve came to be. “Lili and I play characters who are dating, so just about any time she and I go out into the wilderness, it’s Oh my god!” Sprouse said. “But truthfully, I’m a sucker for friends, fashion, and framing.”

In case you weren’t aware of the former Disney Channel star’s prowess with a camera, Sprouse’s photography is legit. And as long as he’s promised a “fun day and a good adventure,” he’s down to go anywhere with any of his costars with his camera in tow — whether he’s walking through poppy fields with Reinhart or road-tripping with KJ Apa.

The end result of Reinhart and Sprouse’s day with the poppies was pretty magical. Check out “Blackbird,” by Cole Sprouse, below:

With reporting by Chris Kim

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Logic’s New Song With Alessia Cara Applauds Suicide Prevention Hotlines

“1-800-273-8255” is the phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and it’s also the title of Logic’s urgent new song, which raises awareness for mental health.

The Maryland MC begins by rapping from the perspective of someone who wants to take their own life. “I feel like I’m out of my mind / It feel like my life ain’t mine,” he raps before switching roles with more bars from the perspective of a suicide hotline operator. “It can be hard / But you gotta live right now / You got everything to give right now.”

Alessia Cara joins Logic throughout the song with more uplifting vocals, and RB up-and-comer Khalid beautifully closes it out by singing, “I don’t wanna, I don’t even wanna die anymore.”

Logic explained the sentiment behind his sobering new song in a series of tweets, writing, “Over the years so many of you guys have told me that my music has helped you through so many tough times. Many of you have told me its even saved your life. I’m beyond humbled. But I felt I haven’t done enough. I felt compelled to make a song that could actually help you. I made this song for all of you who are in a dark place and can’t seem to find the light.”

“1-800-273-8255” appears on Logic’s upcoming third album, Everybody, out May 5.

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Disney Star Ross Lynch On The Challenge Of Playing A Young Jeffrey Dahmer

Transitioning from Disney Channel heartthrob to darker, more mature roles is no easy task, but Ross Lynch makes it look effortless. For years, fans have known Lynch as Austin Moon on Austin Ally and Brady in Teen Beach Movie, but he’ll soon be known as one of history’s most vile characters: Jeffrey Dahmer.

The 21-year-old actor stars in My Friend Dahmer, in which he portrays the notorious serial killer and necrophiliac who ate and dismembered his male victims. The true story, based on Derf Backderf’s graphic novel, is set before Dahmer’s most horrific crimes were committed, offering the audience a glimpse into his life as a “regular” teenager.

“I think it’s kind of a sad story,” Lynch told MTV News by phone last week as the film had its Tribeca Film Festival debut. Caught in the middle of his parents’ bitter divorce and ignored by many of his classmates, young Dahmer would retreat to a secluded hut to perform experiments on dead animals.

Later in high school, Dahmer found friends — or at least, the closest thing to friends he’d ever have. Derf (Alex Wolff), Mike (Harrison Holzer), and Neil (Tommy Nelson) made up the “Dahmer Fan Club,” sneaking Dahmer into every yearbook club picture and egging him on to perform his (offensive) cerebral palsy imitation.

It’s easy to see that Lynch is a dead ringer for Dahmer, but the realization didn’t freak him out as much as it did the rest of the cast and crew. Lynch said that people who actually grew up with Dahmer would ask him to remove his character’s glasses while they were talking to him, because he “just resemble[d] him a little too much.”

Thankfully, the vibe on set wasn’t too serious, despite the film’s subject matter. Lynch explained that the four main stars often lightened the mood with a little help from Nicolas Cage. In their downtime, they liked to huddle together and watch a montage video of Cage’s biggest freak-out movie moments. “It would be quiet on set and all of a sudden you’d hear us screaming in a corner, screaming Nicolas Cage lines,” Lynch laughed.

Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic

But exactly what about playing a brutal serial killer would appeal to a wholesome Disney actor? For Lynch, My Friend Dahmer is reflective of the new direction he wants for his career. “I was looking for a challenge,” he admitted. “I was looking for something I could really sink my teeth into.”

While the project is a risk for Lynch, whose young fans love him on Disney and in his pop band, R5, darker, juicier roles are enticing for any actor. This is the path Lynch wants to take, and so far, he’s killing it.

[My Friend Dahmer screened at Tribeca Film Festival but a theatrical wide release date is still to come.]

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Ariana Grande Makes Poor Life Decisions In New Song With Cashmere Cat

Procrastinating your homework is one thing. Procrastinating a breakup is another, yet that’s exactly what Ariana Grande sings about in her new collab with Norwegian DJ Cashmere Cat. “Quit” is the fifth track on his debut album, 9, which also features Camila Cabello, The Weeknd, Ty Dolla Sign, and more of your faves.

The “Quit” lyric video dropped late Thursday night (April 27), hours before the full LP came out. The slow-burning tune builds to a soaring chorus, carried by Ari’s vocals as per usual. “They say: ‘You crazy, just leave him, he’ll suffocate you,” she croons about a troubled relationship she doesn’t know (or want) to get out of.

“Inside lives a voice, a voice so quiet / But I can’t hear that voice when your heart beats next to mine / I can’t quit you / Yeah, I’m gonna regret it,” the chorus continues. Ari repeats that last line precisely 15 times throughout the song, making it clear that this special someone is Very Bad News.

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Emma Watson Has The Perfect Idea For A Beauty And The Beast Sequel

Emma Watson had no idea the internet had been clamoring for a sequel to Beauty and the Beast, but now that she’s properly in the know, she is so on board with the idea.

“I would love to do a sequel,” Watson told Access Hollywood at the Tribeca Film Festival premiere of The Circle. “Yes!” Better yet: She already has an idea for one — and it involves Belle and a whole lot of books. (Of course it does.)

“I always thought Belle would become a teacher, and she would run the library in the castle and open it up to the village,” she said. “This was where I was going.”


It would be nice to get to know some of the villagers now that they’re not under the Enchantress’s spell. It would also give audiences an intimate look into Belle and Prince Adam’s happily ever after, and we’ll finally know if the prince grew a beard at his beloved’s request. Plus, Belle might be able to recommend some couples-therapy books for Cogsworth and his wife. She’s helpful like that.

More importantly, however, this new direction would expand on a scene from the film in which Belle teaches the girls in the village how to read. After restoring the kingdom to its rightful state, the only logical next step for our heroine would be to destroy small-minded gender norms.

Good thinking, Watson.

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I Love New York: On Jonathan Demme’s Love Affair With The City That Inspired Him

There are filmmakers who have spent their whole careers trying to nail down a vision of New York. As a result, New York is maybe the most iconicized, rhapsodized, and oversized city on film. But true to his affable reputation, the late Jonathan Demme avoided fixation. Demme was a Long Island kid who named his son Brooklyn once he had made his home in Upper Nyack, but despite his real-life fidelity, on film Demme’s New York was the New York of someone who lived in other places and liked them just fine too. His films lack the sticky sentimentality of Woody Allen, the fury of Spike Lee, the turmoil of Martin Scorsese. Instead, Demme’s New York was fun. Imagine!

Onscreen Demme’s New York period was brief, just three movies to close out the 1980’s: Something Wild, Swimming to Cambodia, and Married to the Mob. Along with his concert docs, these city movies made Demme a favorite of critics and art nerds. The period ended when Demme was offered the chance to direct the adaptation of The Silence of the Lambs, and he became a favorite of Hollywood, guiding movies from his director’s chair to Oscars and millions at the box office. But the smooth hand that Demme showed when he worked with the studios is nowhere to be found in his New York movies. Jonathan Demme’s New York was jittery, bursting at the seams with energy — a playground, never a soundstage.

Demme was making his New York movies in the 1980s, at the peak of a crime wave, in the middle of the AIDS epidemic, long before the Disneyfication of the streets of Manhattan. But though Demme made dramas elsewhere in his career, the movies that came out of his New York period are buoyant. They’re romantic comedies, they’re adventures, they’re screwball delights. Demme’s greatest contribution to the canon of New York filmmaking was his democracy. The yellow brick road of Demme’s New York is lined with trash, and he treats the trash as if it were poppies.

The first of Demme’s New York trio, Something Wild, was a fairy tale about leaving New York — the purest of New York daydreams. Of course, with Jonathan Demme acting his best Brothers Grimm, it means the princess asleep inside her glass box has been replaced by a straitlaced Wall Street finance executive, and the kiss to break the boring spell comes from a mystery gal who loves handcuffs and a good wig. Demme’s other great fictional New York movie, Married to the Mob, dips into city fantasies, too, and the great thing about Demme is the open delight he brings to finding situations worthy of daydreams. There’s one New York where you might find Michelle Pfeiffer in a polka-dot party dress dancing at the Copacabana, and one New York where she has a bathtub in her kitchen and is late to pick up her son from the hole in the chain link fence at his playground. With Jonathan Demme, it’s hard to tell which vision is more romantic. Even black is filmed as if it were a pop of color.

Demme’s other New York movie, Swimming to Cambodia, came between Something Wild and Married to the Mob. At first, it seems that the documentary bears little resemblance to the worlds that Demme was busy bringing to life in his fiction. Gone are the candy colors of Demme’s fairy tales — they’ve been replaced by a black box theater, a desk, and a spotlight. Demme films his friend and New York performance art stalwart Spalding Gray as he performs a monologue about his travels in Asia. Gray invites the audience into his mind and his life, one run-on sentence at a time, and maybe it would be possible to feel taken in if you were only sitting in the room with Gray, but Demme’s camera holds the audience back. For all of Gray’s Performance Group mastery, it’s hard not to get distracted by the elements Demme catches that aren’t under Gray’s control: the veins that pop in his forehead, the spit that flies from his mouth. But strangest of all is the lost world that Gray seems to occupy that could produce all of these wild and fabulous stories. Even when Spalding Gray talks about Cambodia, the subtext is New York; an entire ethnography of an era is embedded in the way Gray rattles through his stories about neighbors who once worked for the man who defaced Guernica, who play Bob Dylan at all hours of the night, who won’t respond to a phone call except to say fuck you. Cambodia doesn’t seem nearly so exotic as the New York that Demme captured from inside The Performing Garage. Spalding Gray spoke as if the New York he lived in would never die. Jonathan Demme filmed him as if the apocalypse had already happened and Gray was the last New Yorker left standing, and 30 years later, it’s Demme’s vision that’s come true.

In mourning the loss of Jonathan Demme, we remember him as a pillar of the independent filmmaking community, but Demme was a pillar of a brick-and-mortar community too. His first break came when Melvin and Howard was selected to open the New York Film Festival. When he wasn’t making a rock star out of Meryl Streep, he was premiering his movies at the Tribeca Film Festival. With Demme’s death, a little part of the old city crumbles.

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A Republican Evangelizes for Action on Climate Change

From 1993–1999, Bob Inglis served as a congressman representing Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina, which he calls “the reddest district in the reddest state in the nation.” He defined his politics in opposition to the liberal Democratic elite: If they were for it, he was against it, and of course, that included taking action on climate change. Then a few things happened: Inglis took a break from Congress, and when he ran again, his kids asked him to rethink his position on the environment. Once elected, he went on fact-finding missions to explore the evidence. He went to Antarctica and the Great Barrier Reef. He reflected upon his Christian faith’s call for believers to be stewards of God’s creation.

Eventually, Inglis became a climate believer. In 2009, he introduced a bill promoting a carbon tax, with payroll-tax-relief offsets. Between that, his moderate stance on immigration, and his reluctance to back the 2007 “surge” in Iraq, he didn’t stand much of a chance against the Tea Party challenger in his 2010 primary race (Rep. Trey Gowdy, who became a Benghazi hobbyist).

He lost the race, but he kept fighting. Today, he’s the executive director of RepublicEN, a think tank promoting free-market solutions to climate change. As a passionate evangelist to conservatives on the issue, he’s spent a lot of time thinking about how to talk to those who are in denial, and has some ideas about how you might talk to them, too.

As a conservative who believes in and thinks we should do something about climate change, what’s the most important thing on your own political agenda right now? Is it working on solutions with people who acknowledge the problem, or is it trying to convince others that the problem exists?

Bob Inglis: It’s time to convince conservatives that there’s a solution that is consistent with conservative principles. It’s not so much about talking about the problem, [but] talking to them about the exciting solutions that exist in free enterprise. That there’s a real answer in accountable free enterprise, and if we really believe in the power of free enterprise, we’ll venture on that belief and lead the world to a solution on climate change.

Why do you think this doubt and denial about climate change is a particularly conservative issue in America? In Europe and other countries there’s much less left/right division over this.

Inglis: Well, I think it has to do with the fact that the solutions that have been offered have generally been about growing government, and so that creates a reaction against climate change by conservatives.

There’s a social science theory that people identify with a tribe first, and then accept the beliefs that come with it. So in terms of climate change, people first decide they identify as a conservative or Republican, and their stance on climate change comes with that. How do you address that? I mean, it seems like a tougher nut to crack when it’s part of someone’s identity.

Inglis: I think we need to [send] credible messengers to confirm their truth. Tell them that they’re really good and they’re right, their philosophy works — it makes sense to have free enterprise rather than government regulations. And we’re in the business of trying to make people see that [climate change] is not contrary to what the tribe believes, [but] actually completely consistent with what the tribe believes.

Are you concerned that climate denialism is going to become even more ingrained in the Republican belief system, because of their current leadership?

Inglis: I think that leadership is passing and it’s going to be a short-lived phenomenon. Populism made some false promises and is going to be found out. The coal jobs are not coming back. It was not a war on coal by Barack Obama. It was a war on coal by George Mitchell, the perfecter of fracking, who increased supply of natural gas, brought down its price. Populism told those people that the jobs are coming back, [but] those promises will be found as false. When they are, I think there [will be] a conservative resurgence, where people [will] actually have solutions based on free enterprise that are acceptable on the left as well.

There are people on the left who agree that free enterprise, properly held accountable, can deliver innovation. It’s the lack of accountability for emissions that’s creating the climate havoc. So you make us accountable, and all kinds of innovations become economics. Conservatives are really good at understanding and spreading that message. But populists know that’s not their message. Their message is that coal jobs are coming back, [which] will be proved to be unworkable.

Your family, particularly your kids, played a huge role in changing your mind about climate change. What advice do you have for young people who might want to influence their parents on this issue?

Inglis: Oh, it’s so important. We find the greatest acceptance among young conservatives. Their parents are little bit harder, and their grandparents are pretty much set. But the love that the children have for their parents and grandparents will enable them to be heard by their parents and grandparents. In this case [young conservatives who believe in climate change can say], “I’m a conservative, and I say climate change is real, and yeah Grandma, I’m here, and I love you, and this is not going to destroy our way of life. This is not going to make us untrue to our Republican tribe. It’s going to make us saviors of the conservative cause.” Because if we don’t get with it and show that there’s an answer in free enterprise, and lead progressives to that answer here in America, and lead the rest of the world to the answer, then we are going to miss this opportunity and conservatives are going to be relegated to the ashes of history.

What I hear you saying in that scenario is definitely not to start with facts, but with the position of, for instance, saving conservatism. You’re not starting with, “Let’s look at CO2 levels,” but with the idea that maybe we need to be open to this. Is that a more helpful way to have these conversations?

Inglis: We want to start with a solution, not with a problem. And that sounds strange until you come to consider the possibility of what we’re dealing with [among conservatives] is solution aversion. The psychological state where you don’t think there’s an acceptable solution, and therefore you doubt the existence of the problem.

I was thinking about climate denialism in terms of evangelism. In my experience, the most powerful kind of evangelism, for anything, is seeing people who live their lives according to their values, in a way that makes sense to me. In 12-step programs, they talk about “attraction, not promotion.” What is the “attractive” way of doing climate change evangelism?

Inglis: That’s part of my story. First, my son [said], “Dad, I’ll vote for you, but you gotta clean up your act on climate change.” What he [was] really saying [was], “Dad, I love you.” He wasn’t threatening me. “Dad, I love you, you can be better than you were before.” That’s step one.

Step two was coming to know the science. And the trip to Antarctica [helped], really because I was able to see [the impact we made on the climate] as human beings.

But then the third step really is this attraction rather than promotion. I could just tell that Scott Heron, my climate-scientist friend, was a believer based on what I saw in his eyes, what I heard in his voice, what was written all over his face. [He] was worshipping God in what he was showing me at the Great Barrier Reef. Then he told me about conservation changes he’s making in his life in order to love God and love people. He takes his bike to work, he hangs his baby’s diapers out on the line rather than using the dryer. He tries to do without air-conditioning. And so, all of that was very attractive to me. I wanted to be like Scott, loving God and loving people. That’s really when I decided to introduce the Cut Carbon Act in 2009. He wasn’t promoting, at least in that interaction… The attraction was not the position, it just was what he was embodying.

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Gorillaz Are Getting Their Own Animated TV Show

After seven years of silence, Gorillaz are finally releasing a new album, Humanz, on Friday (April 28). But that’s not the only fresh project fans can expect from the quirky animated band — Gorillaz also have an animated series in the works that’ll bring Murdoc, 2D, Russel, and Noodle straight to your TV screen.

Rumors of a Gorillaz TV show began circulating earlier this month, and creative director Jamie Hewlett confirmed the project in a new interview with Exclaim. He said the plan is for a 10-episode run to premiere sometime in 2018, and he’ll draw the character illustrations and even direct a couple episodes. While Gorillaz recently dabbled in CGI and 360 virtual reality for the “Saturnz Barz” video, Hewlett said the TV show will feature only two-dimensional animation.

“They’ll be that way from now on. I think it’s a beautiful style of animation,” he said. “Everybody does CGI now, and it is great when you’re making backgrounds, like environments and landscapes, but not the actual characters. I’m still very much inspired by the work of Chuck Jones, and I love that animation. It’s art. I’d like to keep the characters in that style for the rest of this campaign. So the characters on the show will be 2D, but everything else is up for grabs.”

So what can we expect from this exciting new adventure? According to Hewlett, the possibilities are endless.

“It could be real footage with real people talking to the characters,” he explained. “We’ll have guest appearances in the series by various artists that appear on the album or whoever we happen to write into the series. Or it could be a mix of collage and photography and a bit of CGI as well.”

Well, at least we know Gorillaz’s comeback won’t be short-lived and will extend into 2018. When they make a comeback, they really go all out.

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The Fullness Of Rodney King

Twenty-five years after Los Angeles rose up, how far have we come as a nation? Ten stories about the L.A. riots and the world they made.

By the time I was old enough to understand Rodney King as more than the man at the center of a city’s push to the edge, it was two years after the videotape. I understood him, from then on, as a man drawn back over and over to the same mistakes. In 1993, he crashed his car into a wall in downtown Los Angeles while driving under the influence. Two years after that, he was arrested after hitting his wife with his car and knocking her to the ground, later spending 90 days in jail for the offense. In 2003, he was arrested again after slamming his car into a house and breaking his pelvis. In 2007, King was shot in the face, arms, and back with shotgun pellets while on a bike ride home. On March 3, 2011, the 20th anniversary of his violent beating at the hands of the LAPD, King was stopped for running a red light and later charged with driving under an expired license. This came only about a year before he died, found by his fiancée at the bottom of his swimming pool, a combination of alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, and PCP in his system.

It is true that we are more than the violence that has been inflicted upon us — either by ourselves or others. It is also true that there is some violence that defines a life, not only for its trajectory, but for the trajectory of those surrounding that life. Sometimes even for a city the life fills. It also depends, of course, on the victim of the violence, and the hands that build the victim. A video of a man on the ground being beaten is, perhaps, jarring enough now, in the era of murders being streamed and shared along the internet. In 1991, though, the grainy video of Rodney King is still disturbing and intense. He crawls, briefly trying to hold a hand up — perhaps asking the white Los Angeles police officers for some mercy — while they cock back their nightsticks and swing again, and again.

Because of the video’s rattling nature, and the city swallowed in flames a year later after the officers were acquitted of the beating, it is difficult to imagine Rodney King as a full person beyond his writhing on Los Angeles concrete in 1991. To assign sole responsibility to the 1992 Los Angeles riots to King’s beating and the acquittal of the officers would be somewhat inaccurate. The riots were the inevitable explosion of a city that had been at a boiling point of racial tension for a while, accelerated by the murder of Latasha Harlins less than two weeks after the video of King’s beating took place. While the weight of the riots doesn’t entirely rest on Rodney King, it was the officers who beat him walking free that pushed the city past the point of no return. Everyone remembers the pin being pulled from the grenade, and not always the entire architecture that led to the moment of the pin’s falling.

Rodney King was a whole and haunted person, who fought his demons publicly from the moment he was pulled over in 1991 until the moment he died in 2012. But I saw Rodney King most clearly decades after he was beaten by police, on reality shows where he tried to fight the uphill battle of sobriety. In 2009, stories surfaced of King traveling the country in a boxing league for low-level celebrities. It was, he said, a way to stay busy, and away from all of the ills that had chased him for an entire life. He wasn’t very good at boxing. There isn’t much video of this period, but in the few short clips that exist, he throws and misses several short-armed punches at his opponents. The fact that he wasn’t a beautiful fighter seemed appropriate to his life. In the ring, he was like a street fighter — someone aching for survival. He won matches, too, once beating a former basketball player named Derek MacIntosh in a three-round decision. There was something that I found riveting about this era: a man who came into our cultural consciousness through violence, now using a circus act of organized violence as a tool to give himself freedom.

In one fight, which I remember watching on some small local television station, King faced off against a former police officer named Simon Aouad, a match that he ended up winning. King wore a black shirt and white trunks, and danced clumsily around the ring, throwing mostly short jabs. The camera was shaky, a little grainy, almost like it was looking in on some brutal clash from a time past.

What hasn’t changed is the idea that black people, even in the face of injustice or death, have to have lived a life that earned the right to be fought for. We are all angels until we are actually angels. It is a struggle, I imagine, to try to be so good that you might not be worth killing, or that you will be worth mourning if you are killed. As a boy, I watched Los Angeles go up in flames from across a country and never once asked if Rodney King was a good man, because I had seen, days earlier, the footage of him unarmed and struggling to rise from the ground while men hit him with sticks. And so it seemed to me then, as it does now, that there had to have been better methods, whatever his level of goodness might be.

I am not in the business of tallying sins, but Rodney King had plenty. The night of his beating, he didn’t stop for police because he was driving drunk and concerned about the parole violation that would stem from that being discovered. And still, what we have done cannot open up a window for all manner of injustice to sit on our minds, our bodies, to have our blood in the streets. What I grew to appreciate and understand about the Los Angeles riots was that Rodney King could have been anyone black, beaten by anyone white and in power. But underneath the talk of violence, death, and property damage, there is something small to be said about a people so fed up with the generational effects of their condition that they will take to the streets, at least partially in the name of someone who perhaps could have been their kin, a family member who couldn’t get right but was still trying nonetheless.

My heart broke when I heard of King’s later transgressions. We, in the larger conversation, do not afford grace to people who are in the grips of addiction, especially if they were once sympathetic figures in the center of major moments. King fought with alcohol until his death, even as he managed to claw out of the bottle’s hold.

What often gets overlooked in King’s narrative, particularly after the beating, is the impact it must have had on him, mentally and emotionally. In an interview late in life, while promoting his 2012 book The Riot Within, King told NPR that he was still plagued with nightmares from the beating. That he still felt the impacts of it in his bones, even years after. What lingers from these types of wounds doesn’t go away when a city settles a civil suit for some amount that can be burned through in a few years. Rodney King was maybe always pulled toward excess and addiction, and perhaps that worsened the more he had to escape from — the memory of that 1991 night, and of the city exploding a year later. It is hard, I think, to have a riot unfurl in your name, even if you believe that what happened to you is unjust. Even if you can still feel the effects of what happened to you every time you close your eyes.

Barkley Hendricks died last week. This may mean nothing to you, or you may think it means nothing to this particular story. But Barkley Hendricks, painter of black people, is dead. I am sad that he is dead, even though I never met him. I am sad because I feel like even though I never met him, Barkley Hendricks saw me. Which is to say, he saw all black people with a type of tenderness, a type of fullness, which sat in his work. He painted his subjects large and dignified, often against backdrops of American stillness. His best subjects were black people who felt like they could be your type of black people: some folk you could know from a porch, a barbershop, or a cookout where the music was something all of the black people could sing along to. His subjects wore bellbottom pants and tall Afros and crop tops and bucket hats and baggy jean shorts and sometimes nothing at all.

This is less about art and more about ways of seeing, is what I’m saying. I’m saying that I would have loved to see how Barkley Hendricks would have painted Rodney King, in any era of his life after 1991. What dignity he would have seen in him and been able to bring to life. It is the whole life worth fighting for, after all, which is what I remind those around me when people take to the streets in the name of someone who perhaps accumulated a mug shot in their time on earth before being unjustly killed, beaten, or detained.

I used to imagine a world in which every black person lived a small life inside of a Barkley Hendricks painting, immortalized forever. I am sad that Barkley Hendricks is dead because, through him, I saw my people the way they were meant to be seen. Even the hustlers, even the fighters, even the drunks, even those who bled once and never healed. Someone who looks at you and sees a whole life is, sometimes, the best weapon. Someone who looks at you and sees an entire line of people whom you have loved and will love, beyond what you have done or what you fail to do.

It’s hard, I know, but I try to remember Rodney King as someone greater than just the violence that was committed against him. So much of American history, specifically black American history, is held up as a series of survivals against that which would rather not have you survive. I also try to remember Rodney King as someone greater than just the things he couldn’t escape. Somewhere at the intersection, he boxed to get free. He made reality television shows rich in a quest to get sober, even if it was for the sake of performance. He had grandchildren and nephews and I imagine he sometimes held them in his arms and I imagine they sometimes smiled up at him. Somewhere this year, a building will surely burn in some city, though not in his name. You are not always the fires you start, and you are not always the ruins after the fire is through. Sometimes, you are just trying to stay alive as best you can, for as long as you can. Rodney King, eventually, lost the big fight. And I know that makes him easier to romanticize and sympathize with, for some. Without a doubt, his struggles pushed him to do harmful things. Not only to himself, but to others. No one asks to be remembered for the brutalities laid upon them, though.

I’m going to miss Barkley Hendricks, and I hope that what he gave to the world was a type of empathy for what exists for a person in a long and layered life. What happens when, instead of your worst and most infamous moment being captured and frozen in time forever, someone imagines you standing tall, briefly undefeated, and with a whole unpredictable world waiting for you.

Read More: Ten stories about the L.A. riots and the world they made.

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Latasha Harlins, American Girl

Twenty-five years after Los Angeles rose up, how far have we come as a nation? Ten stories about the L.A. riots and the world they made.

“This is not television. This is not the movies. This is real life.” This was how Deputy District Attorney Roxane Carvajal cautioned a jury before showing them the last seconds of Latasha Harlins’s life, as captured by a security camera on March 16, 1991. The video showed the 15-year-old girl first struggling with Soon Ja Du, the owner of Empire Liquor Market and Deli on South Figueroa Street, then walking away, and finally falling down, having been shot in the head by Du. According to the Los Angeles Times, the tape “drew gasps” in the courtroom as the jury watched, and Du, sitting at the defense table, cried.

“Was her fear reasonable?” This is the legal standard that Judge Joyce A. Karlin, who heard the case against Du later that year, used to evaluate the then-51-year-old store owner’s culpability. Was Du’s fear reasonable when she became suspicious of a teenage girl who entered the store at 9:35 a.m. on a Saturday morning? Was Du acting reasonably when she accused Harlins of stealing the bottle of orange juice she had put in her backpack after quickly browsing an aisle? Was Du reasonable when, after engaging in a physical altercation with Harlins over the juice, which Harlins had insisted she was going to pay for, she shot the girl in the head? Was all of this — the final moments of Latasha Harlins’s life, the girl lying on the store floor, clutching the dollar bills she had intended to purchase the juice with — the rational result of the reasonable fear that an adult woman might feel of a teenage girl?

Karlin sentenced Du to five years of probation, 400 hours of community service, a small fine, and no prison time. Speaking 25 years after Harlins’s death at an event held last month at the Hammer Museum, Loyola Law School professor Priscilla Ocen argued that the court proceedings were marred by the same social disdain that motivated Du’s fatal act of racial profiling: “When I see that case … one of the things that strikes me is the way in which anti-black bias, anti-black-girl bias, is embedded in the jury’s verdict and is embedded in the judge’s decision to grant Soon Ja Du probation.”

Ocen’s specification — of the gendered aggression that colors the perception of young black girls in public — restores to Harlins’s story the precision of its tragedy. In the prestige projects that have emerged a generation after the Los Angeles riots, including Ezra Edelman’s notable 2016 documentary O.J.: Made in America, Harlins’s death has figured as a sort of informational prologue to the narratives of black men like Rodney King and O.J. Simpson. “It is important for us to remember that [the riots] were not just about Rodney King,” said legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw at the same Hammer Museum event. For many Angelenos, Latasha Harlins was the only point.

“As we look at the families of Trayvon Martin and Ezell Ford, we can do the roll call” of racially charged killings, said David Bryant, cofounder of the Latasha Harlins Justice Committee, speaking at a vigil held on the 25th anniversary of Harlins’s death. In the ’90s, the committee would conduct yearly protests, demonstrating outside the courthouse where Karlin handed down her decision. “We were … the forerunners to all that misery.”

UCLA professor Brenda Stevenson’s The Contested Murder of Latasha Harlins: Justice, Gender, and the Origins of the LA Riots, published in 2013, gives readers a detailed portrait of the girl and her familial, geographical, and racial contexts. She was born in Illinois in 1975, and had moved to South Central when she was 6 years old. Harlins’s father left Latasha and her siblings when they were still young; her mother, Crystal, was killed at a nightclub in 1985. The trauma, her family surmised, contributed to Harlins’s quiet and shy demeanor, though her grandmother lamented that right before her death, Harlins was showing interest in dating. Tasha, as she was called by friends and family, was raised by her grandmother Ruth, a “strong-willed and dignified” woman from Alabama. They lived about five minutes away from the market owned by the Du family. “[She] told friends that she was acutely aware of eyes watching her every move,” two reporters wrote a few weeks after Harlins’s death. “Her grandmother told her not to go inside unless she meant to make a purchase.”

Contested Murder, Stevenson writes, “maintains that much about the outcome of this case can be understood when one examines closely the personal biographies and group histories of Latasha Harlins, Soon Ja Du, and Joyce Karlin. Their individual life stories, and those of their ancestors, are windows into their personal socializations and perspectives that must have affected the ways in which they regarded and responded to each other.” Stevenson argues that Du, a wife and mother who had been raised in Korea and had been instructed, by various social forces, to be wary of people who looked and dressed like Harlins, reproduced the policing eye that America has toward its “others,” even though Du was an “other” herself. Likewise, Karlin, a white woman from an upwardly mobile Jewish family, allocated her judgment on Du and Harlins based on the differences with which white people “other”-ize minority groups.

Stevenson’s focus on women shifts the usual framing of this type of race-related violence and miscarried justice. The experiences of black women are often subsumed under a too-capacious race category, one that ignores issues of class and gender especially, and puts all the brutality black people experience under the umbrella of police violence. As Stevenson writes, it wasn’t “just the police” that contributed to the riots and resistance in early-’90s Los Angeles. Structural realities — a complex nexus of ethnicity and hostility, economic opportunity and systematic disenfranchisement — shaped the distressed community relations between Korean business owners and the black people who patronized them.

The documentary Sa-I-Gu, Korean for “April 29,” is named for the day the looting and burning of neighborhood shops began, hours after a jury acquitted the four officers who attacked King. Three female filmmakers — Dai Sil Kim-Gibson, Christine Choy, and Elaine Kim — interviewed female business owners in the immediate months after the National Guard was sent in to quell the riots. The documentary applies an intensely sympathetic eye to its subjects, rarely providing any insight or space for black perspectives on the issue of race-based brutality and anti-black treatment. It focuses, instead, on waves of gang violence in South Central and adjacent neighborhoods. The women sound defensive — they recognize the injustice done to Harlins, but insist that injustice was also done to them. “I thought America was perfect, since she helped others abroad,” says one woman. “Mexicans and blacks — 200 of them, maybe more — looting all night,” says another.

The fact of Latasha Harlins’s short and tragic life is suspended in the profoundly dissonant views two ethnic communities had of the city and of the country they were living in. That dissonance did not resolve itself. Most grotesquely, in the months after Harlins’s death, a naive narrative emerged, one that conjoined her lot in life with Du’s — two women, subjects of masculinist racial forces, encountering irreparable “adversity.” In more recent years, the work of activists involved with #SayHerName and other intersectional movements has recovered the centrality of Harlins’s story to the events that consumed her city just months after Du’s trial. They’ve denied the idea that all female suffering can be equated, or that it is subordinate to the suffering of men. They’ve given Latasha a narrative of her own.

Read More: Ten stories about the L.A. riots and the world they made.

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