Tiger Woods says he’s ‘Cablinasian,’ but the police only saw black The golfer’s DUI arrest highlights the country’s ‘one-drop’ rule and his complex relationship with black America

Tiger Woods, once the fresh-faced future of golf, stared into the police camera with a forlorn look and hooded eyes. A 41-year-old man who has famously insisted on his mixed racial heritage was identified in the arrest report with one word: black.

The former No. 1 golfer in the world was sleeping at the wheel of his Mercedes-Benz early Monday when Jupiter, Florida, police said they spotted his car stopped in the road, its blinker flashing and engine running. He was charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and is scheduled for a court appearance July 5. Woods, who is recovering from back surgery, apologized for the incident, saying in a statement that it resulted from “an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications.”

Golfer Tiger Woods after his arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) May 29, 2017 in Jupiter, Florida.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office via Getty Images

The arrest marked another twist in Woods’ quest to return to the PGA Tour after a nearly two-year layoff. His attempted comeback has stoked widespread fascination with the drama of an iconic athlete battling age and injury in an attempt to regain his championship form. But as big a part of the attraction is Woods’ standing as a racial trailblazer. He is a person of color who conquered golf. He is the record holder for most consecutive weeks — 281 — atop the world golf rankings. He won 79 PGA titles, and 14 majors, putting him second all-time on each list.

All of this looms large because of the sport’s racist history. Not only did professional golf’s most prestigious tournament, the Masters, bar black players until 1975, but its hallowed course in Augusta, Georgia, had no black members until 1990. Woods won the Masters for the first time in 1997 at age 21, making him the youngest player to win there. He has gone on to win the tournament three more times.

In the minds of many African-Americans, those achievements made Woods the Jackie Robinson of golf. The analogy would fit nicely if only Woods saw himself as black. Or only black. But Woods, 41, has long chosen to embrace his full multiracial identity. Rather than black, he sees himself as “Cablinasian” — a mix of Caucasian, black, (American) Indian and Asian.

Nobody can argue with his precision. His mother, Kultida, is of Thai, Chinese and Dutch descent. His late father, Earl, said he was African-American, Chinese and Native American. If that is accurate (and some say his father’s Chinese heritage is subject to dispute), Woods is more Asian than he is black. In any event, he has explained that to call himself African-American would have the effect of writing his own mother out of his racial identity.

Woods’ decision to embrace his full multiracial identity was respected by many African-Americans as his right. But others who celebrated his many breakthroughs and saw his success as their own, treated it as a rejection — not to mention a sign of naiveté, cowardice or even betrayal.

There were jokes that Woods would know he was black if he tried to catch a cab at night. Even Colin Powell, the first black chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, when asked about Woods, was quoted as saying, “In America, which I love from the depths of my heart and soul, when you look like me, you are still considered black.”

The criticism only intensified when Woods got caught up in the sex scandal that presaged his golfing decline and ended his marriage. Each of Woods’ many mistresses, like his ex-wife, was white. The fallout weakened Woods’ already shaky standing among many African-Americans.

Years later, the debate about racial identity ignited by Woods continues to resonate. Angela Yee, co-host of the Breakfast Club, a nationally syndicated radio show, relates to Woods’ situation. Her mother is black and from Montserrat, a small island in the eastern Caribbean. Her father is Chinese.

Growing up in black neighborhoods in Brooklyn, New York, and South Orange, New Jersey, she had nearly all black friends and schoolmates. She listened to black music, and considered herself culturally black. Yet, she also celebrated Chinese New Year and embraced both her Asian and black heritage. So she understands Woods’ choice, although she is disappointed by it.

“As a person who is mixed-race myself, I do identify as both black and Asian,” Yee said. “But to be as good as he has been in the world of golf, and with black people so proud of his success, it would have been great to have Tiger say, ‘I’m black and I’m proud.’ ”

Yee explains that when she is asked to check a racial box, she chooses African-American. At the same time, she acknowledges that racial identity can be a tricky thing. Often, when people see or hear her last name, she said, “they assume I am straight-up Asian.” At times, that has led to unfair assumptions. Earlier in her career, a blogger who had only heard her on the radio complained, “Asians are taking over our culture.”

Racial identity has long been both subjective and mutable. Barack Obama is biracial, and was raised by his white mother and white grandparents. But he will go down in history as the first black president in no small part because he identifies as black, married a black woman and raised two black daughters.

Paris Jackson, the blond, blue-eyed daughter of the late Michael Jackson, recently told Rolling Stone that she thinks of herself as black, even if a casual passerby might not.

New York Yankees legend Derek Jeter is the son of an African-American father and Irish-American mother. As a child growing up in Kalamazoo, Michigan, he “sometimes felt the stares” of people in town when he was out with just one of his parents, he told his biographer Ian O’Connor. Coming up, he claimed both sides of his heritage. He would tell people he was black and white, or black and Irish. Once he became a baseball superstar, he was romantically linked to a series of beautiful women, many of whom were white.

But Jeter’s mixed-race background did not prevent him from receiving a threatening letter in the clubhouse from someone who promised to shoot him or set him on fire if he continued dating white women. The missive was investigated by the FBI and the New York City Police Department’s hate crimes unit. Jeter publicly shrugged the threat off as “just a stupid letter,” and last year married Hannah Davis, who happens to be white.

In America, the idea of black identity being linked to even “one drop” of black blood is inextricably tied to the nation’s racist history. Beginning in 1850, mulatto was the name the government assigned to mixed-race African-Americans. By 1890, the census became more exacting, defining mulattoes as people with “three-eighths to five-eighths” black blood. A quadroon was someone who had one-quarter black blood, and an octoroon had one-eighth or less black blood.

But even people with just a drop of black blood might as well have been all black as far as the law was concerned. In its 1896 decision Plessy v. Ferguson, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the French-speaking and white-looking Homer Plessy could not ride in a whites-only rail car in Louisiana because he was an octoroon. The ruling cemented separate-but-equal as the law of the land for more than half a century.

The one-drop rule stood as the nation’s racial standard until the middle of the 20th century, meaning that if someone was a mixture of white and any other race he could not be counted as white. In 1930, for instance, census takers were told that a person who was both black and white should be categorized as black, “no matter how small the percentage of Negro blood.”

Those strictures have slowly given way, and in recent years an increasing number of Americans are embracing their full identities. The 2010 census had 63 possible race categories: six for single races and 57 for combined races. In 2010, 2.9 percent of Americans, a total of 9 million people, chose more than one racial category to describe their racial identity, according to the Pew Research Center.

Even as Woods has refused to embrace his blackness without simultaneously acknowledging the rest of his racial identity, he has always been aware of golf’s shameful past and saw himself as someone who would help usher the game into a new era.

Woods was a 14-year-old prodigy when an interviewer asked him about his goals as a golfer. Woods answered that he wanted to be a superstar. “Since I’m black, I might even be bigger than Jack Nicklaus,” he said. “I might be even bigger than him, to the blacks. I might be sort of like a Michael Jordan in basketball.”

Asked whether there was a tournament that he wanted to win once he turned professional, Woods did not hesitate. “The Masters,” he said.

Why?

“The way blacks have been treated there. [Like] they shouldn’t be there,” he said. “If I win that tournament, it will be really big for us.”

Seven years later, Woods won the Masters by a record 12-stroke margin. His victory rocked the golfing world, and not everyone knew how to handle it.

As Woods was cruising to victory, tour veteran Fuzzy Zoeller was asked about the young pro’s performance.

“He’s doing quite well, pretty impressive. That little boy is driving well and he’s putting well. He’s doing everything it takes to win,” Zoeller said of Woods. “So, you know what you guys do when he gets in here? You pat him on the back and say congratulations and enjoy it and tell him not to serve fried chicken next year. Got it. Or collard greens or whatever the hell they serve.”

Zoeller called the remark “a joke gone awry,” and Woods was forgiving. He was similarly forgiving in 2008 when broadcaster Kelly Tilghman said golfers challenging the dominant Woods in the Mercedes-Benz Championship should “lynch him in a back alley” to win. Through his agent, Tiger said, “We know unequivocally that there was no ill intent in her comments.”

Woods has said he also faced racial hostility back when he started school in Orange County, Calif. On his first day of kindergarten, he said, a group of sixth-graders tied him to a tree, spray painted the N-word on him, and then threw rocks at him. He said his teacher “didn’t do much of anything,” about the assault. The former teacher has dismissed the story, which Woods has recounted in several interviews, saying it never happened.

Through the years, Woods has paid tribute to the black pros who paved the way before him: Lee Elder, Teddy Rhodes, Bill Spiller, Calvin Peete, and most of all, the late Charlie Sifford, the first African-American to play on the PGA Tour. Woods would refer to Sifford as his grandfather, and went on to name his son, Charlie Axel, after the golfing pioneer.

Meanwhile, the 20-year-old Tiger Woods Foundation has spent tens of millions of dollars — more than $7 million in 2015 alone — on after-school centers and scholarships for low-income students.

Woods’ substantial philanthropy and respect for golf’s racial history has not been enough to draw other young black golfers onto the professional circuit. Is it because of his refusal to identify only as African-American?

The National Golf Foundation estimated that 1.4 million African-Americans were recreational golfers in 2009, the latest year for which statistics are available. Yet, there is only one African-American on the PGA Tour: Harold Varner III. And there is also only one Cablinasian: Tiger Woods.

13 documentaries to dive into this summer — on Netflix, PBS, or at the cinema A Baltimore step team. Dr. Dre. A woman wrestler. Freedom of the press. This summer’s docs aim to entertain — and educate.

If you’re looking for deep dives into real-life information to go alongside the usual summer offerings of massive explosions and budget-busting superhero fights, we’ve got just the thing. There’s Stanley Nelson’s latest project focusing on historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and Step, the film about a group of girls on a Baltimore step team that netted raves at Sundance. Debuting in theaters Aug. 11 is Whose Streets?, the film from artist-activists Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis about the killing of Ferguson, Missouri, teen Michael Brown and the aftermath of his death. If the date sounds familiar, it’s because the film is opening on the anniversary of Brown’s death.

There’s a wide range of subjects to peek at this summer, both unfamiliar and not, with edifying works that will leave you a little bit more knowledgeable about the world than you were when you walked into the auditorium to see them.


Unacknowledged | May 9

Director: Michael Mazzola

Remember the warm, fuzzy feeling of hope and intrigue that you felt after walking out of Arrival? Well, Unacknowledged is a film about aliens too, although it will likely leave you feeling uneasy, paranoid and maybe more than a little willing to don a tricornered hat made of Reynolds wrap. Unacknowledged bears a tenor not unlike Alex Gibney’s explosive 2016 documentary Zero Days — they both set about to reveal things the U.S. government purportedly doesn’t want you to know, and in the case of Unacknowledged, it’s the government’s apparently vast secret apparatus directed at all things extraterrestrial. Assuming you believe in that sort of thing, Unacknowledged boasts footage of UFOs and, in an effort to distance itself from the inventions of supermarket tabloids, interviews with government officials. At the center of the film is Steven Greer, founder of the Disclosure Movement, which agitates to get the government to release whatever information it has about aliens and their contact with humans. This movie is now available to stream on Google Play, iTunes and Amazon Video.

Dumb: The Story of Big Brother Magazine | June 3

Director: Patrick O’Dell

In every generation, there’s a group of maniacs who insist upon rule-breaking, not in the name of some sort of principled stand for freedom but simply because they’re a bunch of roustabout, devil-may-care libertines. And that’s basically the characterization of the skateboard fanatics behind Big Brother magazine. The ideological predecessor and inspiration for Jackass, Big Brother was a chronicle of all tricks great and stupid, instructing its readers in the art of hell-raising, interspersed with the usual NSFW sex stuff about Big Brother-certified hotties. In short, it was sought-after contraband for teenage boys before YouTube, or The Man Show, or Tosh.0. The movie will be available to stream on Hulu.

The Defiant Ones | July 9

Director: Allen Hughes

Hughes (Menace II Society, Dead Presidents) followed Dr. Dre and Interscope records co-founder Jimmy Iovine for three years, resulting in a four-part HBO documentary that shares a name with the 1958 film starring Sidney Poitier and Tony Curtis. Iovine was instrumental in the astronomical success of Beats by Dre headphones, and the two men’s professional partnership is one that’s netted many millions for both. Hughes’ look at their empire includes interviews with Dre’s protege Eminem, plus Nas, Ice Cube, Gwen Stefani, Tom Petty, Trent Reznor, Snoop Dogg, Iovine’s business partner David Geffen, and Bono. Promos for the documentary series have promised never-before-seen footage of recording sessions with N.W.A, J.J. Fad and Eazy-E.

City of Ghosts | July 14

Director: Matthew Heineman

One of the challenges of America-centered rhetoric about Syria and the Islamic State group: It’s generally framed as a discussion of how what’s going on there affects the interests of the United States. But City of Ghosts, the latest film from Cartel Land director Matthew Heineman, is a searing look at the people who are most directly victimized and terrorized by ISIS: other Muslims, particularly those who refuse to pledge allegiance to the group’s extremist ideology. Heineman’s film follows those who are risking their own lives to document and stop ISIS’s campaign of terror, and who risk the lives of their families to do so.

Step | Aug. 4

Director: Amanda Lipitz

If you liked The Fits, chances are you’ll enjoy Step, Amanda Lipitz’s look at a real-life step team providing hope, confidence and motivation to a group of impoverished Baltimore teen girls, which netted admirable buzz and even better reviews at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. With a cast of compelling subjects, Step reels you in as the seniors on Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women strive to become the first individuals in their families to attend college.

Whose Streets? | Aug. 11

Directors: Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis

Even the release date of Whose Streets? — which coincides with the anniversary of the death of Mike Brown, the teen slain in 2014 by former Ferguson, Missouri, Police Officer Darren Wilson — makes a statement. Whose Streets is a story about not just Brown’s killing but also the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement and the violent reaction to news that Wilson would not be indicted for killing Brown. The story is told from the viewpoint of those who were on the ground in Ferguson — Folayan identifies herself as an activist — and serves as a counterweight to national media struggling to fairly and accurately cover the result of decades of injustice that came to define black life in Ferguson. After Whose Streets? premiered at Sundance this year, film critic Nick Allen declared it the documentary he’ll recommend when people ask about the Black Lives Matter movement in 50 years.

Wrestling With Chyna | release TBA

Director: Erik Angra

Even if you weren’t a consummate wrestling fan, it was nearly impossible during the late ’90s not to have encountered Joanie Laurer — although you likely knew her as Chyna, the muscular, 5-foot-10 star of the WWF, and wrestling’s “Ninth Wonder of the World.” Angra takes a look at the tumultuous life and career of Laurer, from her struggles to reconcile her career and physique with pressure to look and appear traditionally feminine, to the struggles with drugs that led to her 2016 death at age 46. Angra captures Laurer as a smart, self-aware, tortured figure, including footage of an interview with Laurer days before her death. Wrestling With Chyna is a sober look at one of pro wrestling’s most magnetic performers just as hype begins to surge for Glow, Netflix’s forthcoming dramedy series about female wrestlers.

Served Like A Girl | release TBA

Director: Lysa Heslov

In recent years, there has been a lot of discussion about the specific challenges many female soldiers face, whether it’s a military structure not exactly conducive to identifying and punishing perpetrators of sexual assault or the debate over women serving in combat roles. But less attention is given to female veterans returning from war. In her debut feature, which premiered this year at SXSW, Heslov follows the lives of five female vets as they compete for the title of Ms. Veteran America. Yes, it’s a pageant, but it’s also more than Miss Congeniality with combat fatigues: The pageant serves as a fundraising event for homeless female vets.

Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities | release TBA

Directors: Stanley Nelson and Marco Williams

For so long, education has held a particular significance in the black American community: valued as an engine of freedom, social uplift and economic advancement. While recent studies show education is not a salve for the racial wealth gap, Stanley Nelson and Marco Williams take an in-depth look at the importance of HBCUs, historically and culturally, beginning with the rise of such schools during Reconstruction. Nelson is perhaps best known as the director responsible for Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution and here, with Williams, he delivers another chapter of black history on film, in the exact moment that chronically underfunded and undervalued HBCUs are facing new threats and uncertainty about their futures.

500 Years | release TBA

Director: Pamela Yates

Bursting with color and inspiration, 500 Years examines the aftermath of the conviction of former Guatemalan President José Efraín Ríos Montt, who stood trial in 2013 for genocide and crimes against humanity. The title draws its name from the five centuries of violent apartheid to which the indigenous Mayans of Guatemala have been subjected, a subject Yates examined in the 1983 film When Mountains Tremble and again in 2011 with Granito: How to Nail a Dictator. Now, the Mayans face new challenges as they assert their voice politically — namely, destruction of their homeland from multinational corporations seeking to mine the land and control their water with hydroelectric dams. Yates, a familiar and regular presence at Sundance, is an accomplished director when it comes to telling the stories of people living under repressive and unjust regimes. Besides her epic trilogy following Guatemala, she’s explored the subject in The Reckoning: The Battle for the International Criminal Court, and in 2015 told the story of political documentary filmmaker Haskell Wexler.

Give Me Future | release TBA

Director: Austin Peters

Granted, a whole concert documentary about the electronic dance music group Major Lazer sounds, well, eye-roll-worthy, but Peters manages to sneak in more than a little bit of a look at Cuban youth culture and politics. Turns out Major Lazer was the biggest American name allowed to perform in Cuba in 2015, not long after President Barack Obama began normalizing relations with the country. Besides following Diplo, Jillionaire and Walshy Fire behind the scenes, Give Me Future offers a glimpse into what it’s like to live in a place that for so long has been largely immune to America’s most potent export of all: its pop culture.

40 Years of Rocky: The Birth of a Classic | release TBA

Director: Derek Wayne Johnson

Forty years after the release of the film that came to define Sylvester Stallone’s career, director Derek Wayne Johnson (Broken Blood, John G. Avildsen: King of the Underdogs) captures the actor and Rocky director John G. Avildsen discussing work on the most recognizable boxing movie of all time. Johnson brings a passion to the story of Rocky and Stallone that practically makes him the Ken Burns of the subject. Besides 40 Years, Johnson is also responsible for a biographical documentary about Avildsen and another yet-to-be completed project about singer-songwriter Frank Stallone, Sylvester’s younger brother.

Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press | June 23

Director: Brian Knappenberger

The result of Hulk Hogan’s 2013 lawsuit against Gawker Media was a chilling one for journalists. Financially backed by venture capitalist and PayPal founder Peter Thiel, Hogan sued the Nick-Denton-founded media company for invasion of privacy. With a $140 million judgment hanging over the company’s head, Gawker was forced to declare bankruptcy, sell itself to Univision and settle with Hogan for $31 million. Knappenberger’s (We Are Legion, The Internet’s Own Boy) film, which will air on Netflix, seeks to put the lawsuit and its fallout in a broader context: Thiel’s involvement in the case set a dangerous precedent. Don’t like what a news organization says about you? Find someone rich enough to help you sue them out of existence.

Daily Dose: 5/25/17 Ben Carson is still wilin

Another reminder: I’ll be hosting The Right Time with Bomani Jones on Friday, so be sure to tune in to ESPN Radio from 4-7 p.m. EST. Really looking forward to it, kiddos!

I don’t know what Ben Carson’s problem is. He is one of the worst types of people when it comes to being in power. He blames poor people for their own problems, as if systemic income inequality isn’t a real thing, and it’s infuriating. Not everyone can just make it out of bad situations because they want to. There are very real obstacles to upward mobility in this nation, so his arbitrary declaration that poverty is a state of mind is ignorant and harmful. Ugh.

At this point, every time Barack Obama speaks, it’s a blessing. The 44th U.S. president is such a far cry from who we have in the Oval Office now, and it’s almost weird to see a politician talking with a measured calm. Everything from Capitol Hill and the White House seems so hectic and harried that you have to wonder who’s in control at all. Earlier Thursday, during an appearance in Germany, Obama said a wall on the Mexico border is straight up not the answer.

The NFL is shortening overtime. Why? They say that 15 minutes is just too long and increases risk of injury. Sure. But presumably this situation will lead to more ties, which are always supremely weird in the league. Totally unsatisfying. It’s the second semi-major overtime modification that the shield has put in place in the past five seasons, but if you do the math, will it really lead to more ties? The answer is likely yes. Awesome.

The Lonzo Ball situation is not improving. He’s decided that he’s only working out for the Los Angeles Lakers, which is something that could eventually crush his draft stock. Sure, he’s a good player, but these kinds of shenanigans are starting to look bad. He clearly wants to play in Los Angeles. Yet, by basically boxing out every other team in the league, he might be screwed if the Lakers don’t actually decide to pick him. You live, you learn.

Free Food

Coffee Break: One of the best things about California is the driving. But one of the scarier things about the state is the weather and climate situation. So when you read that a mudslide took out a large part of the Pacific Coast Highway, that is not a good omen.

Snack Time: Podcasts are all the rage right now, in all forms. It’s basically the premier form of personal entertainment. But could they possibly lead to the mainstreaming of audiobooks?

Dessert: Need some new music? Here you go.

The Undefeated turns 1! A look back at our first year

It has been one year since The Undefeated officially launched, and it feels like it was just yesterday.

Within that year were 12 months of journalism, 365 days of meetings and 8,760 hours of writing, editing and producing that made The Undefeated what it is today. We hosted a conversation with Barack Obama in the twilight of his presidency; we traveled to Cuba with Misty Copeland; basketball legend Michael Jordan spoke candidly with us about race and social justice; and Serena Williams opened up about being the greatest of all time as a black woman — and that’s just the big stuff. We worked tirelessly every day to bring you a unique perspective, highlight the efforts of historically black colleges and universities and put a spotlight on the uplifting achievements of our community.

One year later, we feel as fresh and as fearless as we did on day one. We are still the premier platform for exploring the intersections of race, sports and culture. We will always be not conventional, never boring. We remain Undefeated.

Michelle Obama claps back over school lunches saying Trump administration is not looking out for children’s health

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“Why don’t you want our kids to have good food at school? What is wrong with you?”

Those were the words of Michelle Obama speaking at the Partnership for a Healthier America 2017 Healthier Future Summit in Washington on Friday. The former first lady was addressing the recent actions of new Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, who has decided that basically the rules that the Obamas implemented to create healthier food choices in schools shouldn’t all be required, ostensibly for the purposes of not hamstringing the food service providers.

Ever since Donald Trump decided to run for office, he promised to roll back various measures that President Barack Obama had put in place over the previous eight years. In those cases, one could reasonably argue that political differences were a decent reason for said actions. People disagree on what should and should not be regulated all the time. But food for kids? It doesn’t take a policy wonk to know that the health of the next generation is vital to, well, the survival of the nation. This isn’t difficult.

“Think about why someone is OK with your kids eating crap,” Obama continued. “If somebody is doing that, they don’t care about your kid.”

Which, as an aside, is what made her efforts while in the White House so smart. First ladies are often saddled with the often unfair burden of representing a “cause” just for the sake of keeping up appearances. Lady Bird Johnson wanted to make the nation’s capital look better. Nancy Reagan took a different route, lending her face to the Just Say No movement, arguably the most asinine, ineffective and ultimately harmful marketing campaign in American public health history. As the outward-facing image of the highly problematic war on drugs, Reagan was a star in her own right.

So when Obama decided to put a vegetable garden on the White House lawn and use it as a way to teach visiting schoolkids the importance of healthy eating, it was unimpugnable. On top of that, her Let’s Move campaign, an effort to curb childhood obesity, dovetailed nicely with the overall message that healthy living is better for everyone from a basic human standpoint.

Which is why she brought it up today. Do we know why these rollbacks are happening across the board when it comes to The Donald vs. Barack? Of course we do. But now, we also know that if a corporation or company can benefit from something at the cost of your kids’ future, this administration is willing to allow that.

Are we willing to sacrifice a generation to spite the Obamas? Some people in our country have already said yes to that. The question is whether we’re willing to admit why.

Michelle Obama and MTV celebrate 2017 College Signing Day The former first lady steps back into the spotlight — in style, of course

Michelle Obama is officially back from vacation, y’all. We have seen her twice this week.

The former first lady glided onto the stage of the Public Theater in Manhattan on Friday to celebrate one of her signature events: College Signing Day, which is the day high school seniors post their college plans on social media.

She came dressed in head-to-toe monotone gray: V-neck T-shirt emblazoned with a Princeton Tiger (her undergraduate alma mater), flowy cardigan sweater, cropped denim pants and low-top Converse All-Star sneakers. It was an informal, casual look for the glamorous style icon, who was usually seen in public wearing glamorous day dresses, stunning formal gowns or hip athleisure attire during her eight-year tenure in the White House.

“I might not live in the White House anymore, but Barack and I are gonna keep on celebrating you all and supporting you and lifting you up no matter what house we live in.”

Leaving the public life has given the Obama family a new lease on their low-key-style life. The bottom practically drops out of Twitter whenever photos of the Obamas living their best beach and yacht life hit social media. Former President Barack Obama has been rocking his vacation suntan and open-collared shirts (sans neckties) with suits in his most recent appearances. Michelle’s hairstyles are still getting attention — these days for being worn natural or in twin pigtails under a sun hat. Malia Obama is setting street-style fashion trends by wearing short dresses, leggings and boots to her gap-year internship with film industry powerhouse The Weinstein Company.

Former first lady Michelle Obama speaks onstage during MTV’s 2017 College Signing Day With Michelle Obama at The Public Theater on May 5, 2017, in New York City.

Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for MTV

This is the fourth year that Michelle Obama has headlined the College Signing Day event, which is a continuing part of her Reach Higher initiative and the Better Make Room campaign. Her appearance today comes only days after President Donald Trump’s administration denied reports about ending the former first lady’s 2015 global education initiative Let Girls Learn, despite the fact that future funding is in question, according to The Huffington Post.

The College Signing Day event was only the latest in a recent series of sightings of the former president and first lady. When the Obamas appeared May 3 at a community event on the South Side of Chicago to preview the design of the $500 million Obama Presidential Center, Michelle Obama donned a black-and-white print dress and kitten heels.

“We’ve gotta celebrate students going to college bigger than we celebrate the Final Four or the Super Bowl.”

Michelle Obama was preceded onstage at Friday’s event by a procession of high-profile actors, singers, athletes and stars: event host Nick Cannon; Charlamagne tha God; Questlove and Black Thought from The Roots; journalists Tamron Hall, Soledad O’Brien and Robin Roberts; Jidenna; Michael B. Jordan; author, speaker and digital strategist Luvvie Ajayi; Zoe Kravitz; and Emeka Okafor. Many wore apparel with the name of their alma mater, and they all gave pep talks about the benefits of finishing college.

But to no one’s surprise, Michelle Obama was the star of the event. Her pep talk was equal parts “mom-in-chief” and ’round the way girl who studied hard, graduated double Ivy and helped her husband become the first African-American U.S. president. “I might not live in the White House anymore,” she told the college-bound students at the Public Theater, “but Barack and I are gonna keep on celebrating you all and supporting you and lifting you up no matter what house we live in.”

She summed up her talk to the students by saying, “We’ve gotta celebrate students going to college bigger than we celebrate the Final Four or the Super Bowl. The number of acceptance letters should be more important than the number of followers you have on social media.”

Obama library confronts the question of symbolism vs. substance Center aims to train people in the nitty-gritty of durable change

Ever since he stepped onto the national political stage, Barack Obama, the symbol, has been in conflict with Barack Obama, the pragmatist.

His famous 2004 Democratic National Convention speech is better remembered for its soaring aspiration than the keep-it-real admonition that people have to partner with government to make progress happen. As president, some critics said, he underachieved and was given insufficient scrutiny because of his race. Others argued that the first black president did not do enough to help black people.

Obama mostly answered with facts and figures about how he repaired the broken economy and worked to slow climate change. Or about how policies such as Obamacare and reworked student loan programs were designed for all Americans but disproportionately benefited African-Americans.

Echoes of that pragmatic Obama could be heard Wednesday as he laid out plans for his presidential center to be built in Chicago’s Jackson Park. There was little talk of symbolic racial achievement but lots of talk about how the project, estimated to cost at least a half billion dollars, could be used to impart practical skills, inspire young people and serve as an engine for economic growth on Chicago’s struggling South Side.

Former President Barack Obama speaks at a community event on the Presidential Center at the South Shore Cultural Center, Wednesday, May 3, 2017, in Chicago. The Obama Foundation unveiled plans for the former president’s lakefront presidential center, showcasing renderings and a model at an event where former President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama were expected to give more details.

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

Obama said he wanted to develop a presidential center, not just a library or museum, because he wanted it to help people navigate the future, not just reflect on the past. The center, to be constructed over the next four years, will have three buildings laid out in the style of a small college campus. There will be a museum with artifacts from his presidency, a library that will archive his presidential papers, a building to host public events and open space that will integrate into the surrounding park. The plan also envisions a movie studio and recording studio, likely firsts for presidential centers.

“We are interested in having displays and exhibits that can teach young people about not just my presidency, but all the people who led to my presidency,” he said. “The process of struggle and the process of overcoming that I stand on top of.”

In some ways, the center harkens back to Obama’s roots as a community organizer. The former president envisions it serving as a center for training people in the practicalities of leadership, as well as a place to train young people in fields such as filmmaking and coding.

“What we want this to be is the world’s premier institution for training young people and leadership to make a difference in their communities, in their countries and in the world,” Obama said. “That is our goal.”

For a president whose election made him a symbol of racial hope, and whose charisma and eloquence energized supporters and even earned him the Nobel Peace Prize, Obama often talked about the limits of his power. He could not just decree change. Instead, he said, change comes about through persistent, organized effort that shapes politics. “We are the change that we seek,” he would say.

Similarly, Obama does not envision the new center reaching for the sweeping change that some people hoped for when he ascended to the presidency. Instead, he wants it to be a place where people hone the skills needed to make the incremental but durable change that is the stuff of government. He said he hopes to see the center partnering with schools and colleges to teach the process of public policy, activism and politics.

The plans for the most visible monument of Obama’s postpresidency speak to his determination to move beyond symbols to the nitty-gritty of tangible change.

He sees the project, for instance, as a catalyst for upgrading Jackson Park, a 500-acre oasis on the South Side designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, who also designed New York’s Central Park. Despite its beauty, Obama said, Jackson Park is underused, not easily accessible to pedestrians and a little rough around the edges. “It is not as good as it could be,” he said.

The big public parks in predominantly white areas of town are better, but Obama sees development of his presidential center changing that. The plan calls for closing a six-lane road that bisects the park, creating better access to Lake Michigan, and adding sledding hills, playgrounds, barbecue grills and an open lawn — all of which should make the park more inviting to the mostly black communities that surround it.

While unveiling plans for his center, the former president announced that he and former first lady Michelle Obama were donating $2 million to help fund summer jobs and apprenticeships in Chicago. Those positions will start this summer, in the hope that more young people will be qualified for the estimated 1,500 jobs expected to be generated by construction of the center.

No doubt many of the historians who visit the Obama center after it opens in 2021 will be searching for information to help define the legacy of the nation’s first black president. Did he live up to the hype? Were his achievements more symbolic than substantive? Did he make real change?

But if the plans for this center offer any clues, Obama seems convinced that real change does not start at the top. The former president said his greatest wish for his presidential center is that it instills hope among young people in Chicago.

“It is about the story that our children tell themselves,” Obama said. “If they see a world-class institution in their community, populated by people who come from their community, they have a sense of importance, and that ultimately is what I want to give back.”

Rolling Loud. Essence. Lollapalooza: The 13 best rap and R&B festivals of summer 2017 Chance is everywhere, there’s a hip-hop cruise — plus two big weekends in New Orleans

Summer is upon us — why not make a trip to George, Washington (yes, that’s an actual place), or East Rutherford, New Jersey? By June, even the small city of Manchester, Tennessee, will be a go-to destination. As random as these places may seem, they are music meccas: home to iconic summertime festivals.

The official start to summer isn’t until June 21, but while festival season spans nearly six months of the year (bookended by Coachella in mid-April and Made in America in early September), summer is the peak fest time. Jazz, hip-hop, old-school R&B, trap music — there’s a festival lineup of musical artists out there for everyone.

Be careful, though. Lineups and locations can be deceiving. If there’s one thing we’ve learned early on this season, it’s to resist attending a festival organized by Billy McFarland and Ja Rule. The recent debut of the inaugural Fyre Festival was an utter disaster. It began with so much promise: There was a dope lineup of artists, featuring Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music, Rae Sremmurd, Migos and Lil Yachty, and the location was the Bahamas’ Great Exuma (which has an interesting historical connection to America). The festival now faces a $100 million lawsuit. Fyre, though, is an exception to the rule. Festivals reign supreme come this time of year, and summer 2017 has much to offer. Below are the festivals that should be on your radar as we wind up basketball season, head deep into Major League Baseball and WNBA, and prep for NFL preseason.

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival — New Orleans

Usher, Black Thought and Questlove perform with Usher & The Roots during the 2017 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival at Fair Grounds Race Course on April 29, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Erika Goldring/Getty Images

April 28-May 7

Notable performers: Stevie Wonder, Usher and The Roots, Snoop Dogg, Alabama Shakes, Patti LaBelle, Nas and the Soul Rebels, Corinne Bailey Rae, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly

Happening right now in the Big Easy, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival is blessing people with an all-star lineup that specializes in feel-good sounds. There’s the legend Stevie Wonder and the O.G. Snoop Dogg. There’s the sweet-singing Patti Labelle (hope she brought some of her pies) and the Grammy Award-winning blues rock collective Alabama Shakes. Boomers and Gen X-ers from far and wide get to two-step to Maze and Frankie Beverly’s “Before I Let Go,” while hip-hop preservationists get to witness Nas float through tracks from his 1994 Illmatic. But the one set in particular to circle in red ink? Usher performing with The Roots. Imagine Questlove on the hi-hat cymbals of “You Make Me Wanna.” Lord, give us strength.

Rolling Loud — Bayfront Park, Miami

May 5-7

Notable performers: Everybody and they mama

Do I go see Future at 9 p.m. on one stage, or Travis Scott on the other stage at 9:30? Do I go see Kendrick Lamar at 10, or Young Thug at 10:30? These are the unfathomable questions that festivalgoers will ask themselves at Rolling Loud — which is the best hip-hop festival lineup since the Rock The Bells days of the mid-2000s. Rolling Loud has come a long way since its debut as a one-day show in 2015 with Schoolboy Q as the headliner. In 2016, it was a three-day event with Future leading the pack. This year’s lineup, though? Kendrick Lamar, Future, Lil Wayne, A$AP Rocky, Travis Scott, Young Thug … the fact that Migos is on the fifth line of the bill is mind-boggling.

Broccoli City Festival — Washington, D.C.

Anderson .Paak and the Free Nationals perform on the main stage at the 2016 Broccoli City Festival.

Kyle Gustafson / For The Washington Post via Getty Images

May 6

Notable performers: Solange, Rae Sremmurd, 21 Savage, Lil Yachty

In the backyard of the country’s 45th president will be a unique display of unapologetic and green-living blackness: Broccoli City. The festival boasts brothers Swae Lee and Slim Jxmmi, who form Tupelo, Mississippi’s, own rock star rap duo known as Rae Sremmurd — the geniuses behind the 2016 megahit “Black Beatles.” The young phenom 21 Savage will be out there “trappin’ so hard,” and headlining the show will be Solange, fresh off winning her first Grammy for “Cranes in the Sky,” the lead track from her No. 1 album A Seat at the Table. Remember, don’t touch Solange’s hair. Don’t touch Lil Yachty’s either. He’ll be taking the stage at Broccoli City, too, swinging his red-beaded braids.

Powerhouse 2017 — Glen Helen Amphitheater, San Bernardino, California

May 6

Notable performers: Big Sean, Lil Wayne, DJ Khaled

Lil Wayne hasn’t released an album in almost two years, but people still love Weezy, and they’ll be there to see him break out his deep catalog of hits at the Powerhouse, hosted by Los Angeles’ Power 106 FM. Wayne will be joined by Detroit’s own Big Sean and the king of the summer anthem himself, DJ Khaled, who recently dropped “I’m The One,” the first single from his highly anticipated album Grateful. And with Khaled set to take the stage, you gotta wonder: Which surprise guests will he bring along? (Insert eyes emoji) Hope his 6-month-old son and executive producer, Asahd, is one of them.

Sasquatch! Festival — Gorge Amphitheatre, George, Washington

Leon Bridges plays an acoustic pop-up show at the Sasquatch Music Festival at the Gorge Amphitheatre on May 29, 2016 in George, Washington.

Suzi Pratt/WireImage

May 26-28

Notable performers: Frank Ocean, Chance The Rapper, Kaytranada, Mac Miller

What better way to celebrate Memorial Day Weekend than with Frank Ocean and Chance The Rapper at one of the most beautiful venues in the country? The Sasquatch! Festival, which launched in 2002, is bringing both for the three-day festival. Ocean headlines Day 1, and Chance closes out Day 3. These two artists became musical gods last summer, with Ocean dropping his first album in four years, and then another album days later, and Chance releasing a Grammy Award-winning mixtape. Both deserve to be on that stage as the last act of the night. Spoiler alert: This won’t be the last time you see Chance’s name on this list.

Spoiler alert: This won’t be the last time you see Chance’s name on this list.

The Governor’s Ball — Randall’s Island Park, New York City

Fans react as De La Soul performs at the Governors Ball Music Festival, June 4, 2016 in New York.

BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images

June 2-4

Notable performers: Chance The Rapper, Schoolboy Q, Majid Jordan, Kehlani, Childish Gambino, Wu-Tang Clan, Rae Sremmurd, A$AP Ferg, YG, Wiz Khalifa, Logic

Another Chance The Rapper festival appearance? Yup, another Chance The Rapper festival appearance. Can’t knock the hustle, and what’s so crazy is, while he’s hitting all these festivals, he’ll be in the thick of his own nationwide spring tour. In New York City, he’ll tee up an epic weekend of music. To be honest, the roster for Day 2 rivals the depth of the Golden State Warriors: YG, A$AP Ferg, Rae Sremmurd, Wu-Tang Clan and Childish Gambino. Sheesh. If you have to pick just one day to go, Saturday is your day.

Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival — Manchester, Tennessee

Recording artist Chance The Rapper performs onstage at Silent Disco during Day 4 of the 2016 Bonnaroo Arts And Music Festival on June 9, 2016 in Manchester, Tennessee.

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for Bonnaroo Arts and Music Festival

June 8-11

Notable performers: Chance The Rapper, The Weeknd, Travis Scott, Tory Lanez, D.R.A.M., Skepta, Gallant

The city of Manchester, Tennessee’s, population of approximately 10,100 balloons by tens of thousands when the masses flock to the fields and stages of Bonnaroo, where the wide range of performers include U2, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Weeknd, Travis Scott and D.R.A.M. And, yes, Chance The Rapper will be at Bonnaroo. His festival appearance tally is up to three.

Summer Jam — MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey

Travis Scott, Kanye West and Big Sean perform at the 2016 Hot 97 Summer Jam at MetLife Stadium on June 5, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Manny Carabel/FilmMagic

June 11

Notable performers: Too many to count

Summer Jam is an institution. Since 1994, the New York City radio station Hot 97 has preserved the sanctity of the hip-hop genre and black musical culture by hosting artists such as The Notorious B.I.G., Mary J. Blige, Aaliyah, Big Pun, Missy Elliott, 50 Cent, Eminem, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Drake, Nicki Minaj, Kendrick Lamar, Jay Z — let’s just stop there, because we could be here all day listing names. Chris Brown, Fat Joe and Remy Ma, Migos and DJ Khaled “& friends,” as noted on the lineup, are among 2017’s crop. One of the most special sets of the show will certainly be delivered by Faith Evans. It’s been exactly 20 years since her husband, The Notorious B.I.G., was murdered in Los Angeles in 1997. She’ll likely perform songs from her new album, which features the slain rapper. Will there be a hologram? R.I.P., B.I.G.

Summerfest — Henry Maier Festival Park, Milwaukee

June 28-July 2 and July 4-9

Notable performers: Future, Big Sean, Migos

Scrolling through the lineup page of 2017 Summerfest, it’s hard to get past a row without discovering another bomb artist who’s scheduled to perform. Ironically, Summerfest has the most diverse bill of any festival this year. The main amphitheater features Paul Simon, Pink, The Chainsmokers, Future, Big Sean, Migos, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan and Sheryl Crow. (How much you want to bet Willie Nelson and the Migos blow an L together?) But don’t sleep on the ground-stage performers, who include Alessia Cara, Steve Aoki, Ziggy Marley, T-Pain, BJ The Chicago Kid and more.

Ironically, Milwaukee’s Summerfest has the most diverse bill of any festival this year.

ESSENCE Festival — New Orleans

Singer Andra Day performs onstage at 2016 ESSENCE Festival Presented by Coca Cola at the Louisiana Superdome on July 3, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for 2016 Essence Festival

June 29-July 2

Notable performers: Diana Ross, John Legend, Mary J. Blige, Chance The Rapper, Solange, Chaka Khan, Jill Scott, India.Arie, Monica, Jazmine Sullivan

Still looking for a Mother’s Day gift for your mama, aunt or granny that you will enjoy as well? Go ahead and cop those ESSENCE Festival tickets. They’ll love you forever, because this lineup is LOADED. Three generations of #BlackGirlMagic will take the stage in the form of Diana Ross, Mary J. Blige and Solange. If that isn’t enough R&B for you, John Legend, Chaka Khan, Jill Scott, India.Arie and Monica all have you covered. New Orleans hometown hero Master P will also be performing. Oh, and Chance The Rapper will be there (that’s four festivals and counting).

Summer Fest Cruise — Miami to Nassau, Bahamas

June 30-July 3

Notable performers: Future, Lil Wayne, A$AP Rocky, Migos

There is nothing in the history of this universe that could be more fun than a five-day cruise from Miami to the Bahamas featuring performances from Future, Lil Wayne, A$AP Rocky and Migos, hosted by none other than DJ Khaled. If you haven’t booked yet, congratulations, you played yourself. Don’t worry, though, DJ Khaled’s Snapchat stories will keep you in the loop — and in the process give you the worst fear of missing out you’ve ever had.

Lollapalooza — Grant Park, Chicago

A general view of crowds watching Flume perform on the Samsung stage during Lollapalooza at Grant Park on July 31, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.

Daniel Boczarski/Redferns

Aug. 3-6

Notable performers: Chance The Rapper, Run The Jewels, Wiz Khalifa, Big Sean, Rae Sremmurd, Migos, Lil Uzi Vert, 21 Savage, Lil Yachty, Joey Bada$$, 6lack, Sampha

Lil Chano from 79th is coming home. After winning three Grammys and embarking upon a cross-country tour (with multiple festival appearances in between), Chance The Rapper is returning to his hometown of Chicago in August as one of the headliners of the four-day, jam-packed Lollapalooza festival. Chance has to bring out former President Barack Obama during his Saturday set. The two saints of Chicago dancing together onstage would be nothing short of legendary.

Made in America — Philadelphia

Jay-Z performs with Pearl Jam during Budweiser Made In America Festival Benefiting The United Way – Day 2 at Benjamin Franklin Parkway on September 2, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Sept. 2-3

Notable performers: Jay Z, J. Cole, Migos, Solange, Run The Jewels, Sampha, Pusha T, Vic Mensa

The finale of festival season couldn’t feature two better top performers. A mentor and mentee. Mr. Miyagi and Daniel Son. One of the greatest of all time in American music and one of the leaders of its new school. Jay Z and J. Cole are the marquee names of this year’s anticipated weekend, with Hov headlining after the warmup from Cole. With Jay’s sister-in-law Solange also on the bill, Made in America 2017 will be all about keeping the family close and fans screaming.

Ray Allen talks about his passion for teaching others about the Holocaust The activist and 10-time All-Star was sworn in to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Council

After former NBA 3-point legend Ray Allen retired in November 2016, the two-time NBA champ picked up something he’d started more than three decades ago: to study, raise awareness, connect cultural lines and advocate for Holocaust history.

It all started at the University of Connecticut in 1993, when a young Allen developed a curiosity about the Holocaust. He began to frequent the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., and his education there fueled a full-on passion project. Now he has chosen to lead by example. He encourages those close to him, and anyone who will listen, to learn about Holocaust education through his dedication to the cause.

And now the 41-year-old former shooting guard is on the governing board of the museum where he first found his cause. Officially sworn in Tuesday four months after being appointed to the position by President Barack Obama, Allen raised his right hand and took the council member’s oath in a ceremony at the museum during Days of Remembrance, the nation’s annual commemoration of the Holocaust.

“I am proud to serve in this role and to continue to share the important messages and lessons we all need to remember from the Holocaust,” Allen said in a statement. “I want to inspire people to break down stereotypes, and treat one another — regardless of race, religion or anything else — like family. It’s more important now than ever.”

Allen wants to show others that cultural relevancy is shared between groups and discussion should not be limited to a single issue. He has visited the museum many times, each time bringing a different friend, teammate or coach.

Ray Allen is sworn into the board of directors for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

The museum is a living memorial to the Holocaust. According to its website, it inspires citizens and leaders worldwide to confront hatred, prevent genocide and promote human dignity.

Allen was selected fifth overall in the 1996 NBA draft by Milwaukee, where he stayed until 2003. He went on to play for the Seattle SuperSonics, Boston Celtics and Miami Heat, winning championships in 2008 with Boston and in 2013 with Miami. He polished his game and became the NBA’s all-time leader in 3-point field goals. The 2000 Olympic gold medalist also once took his game to the big screen, starring in the 1998 Spike Lee film He Got Game. Also a 10-time NBA All-Star, he founded the Ray of Hope Foundation in 1996. The nonprofit organization’s mission is to “assist with sports-related, community-based programs and provide avenues of opportunity through which our youth can hope to realize their full potential,” according to its website.

Allen spoke to The Undefeated about his journey into Holocaust history and education and why he’s now on the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Council.


How did you first become interested in the Holocaust?

It started in ’93 when I was in college. I knew about the Holocaust, but I didn’t actually understand the players. Everything was like a shock to my system to understand this could take place and people didn’t really do anything about it.

It did something to my soul to be more cognizant of people around me. Care more about the next person. In ’98, I was playing for the Milwaukee Bucks and my owner at the time, I came to D.C. to visit him. We were having a meeting in the summer and I had time to kill, and he suggested I come to the museum.

And I took a two-hour tour, just got in and out ’cause we had a flight to catch. And, again, I was blown away. I thought, This is a place that everybody should go to. It’s just like one of those things that every kid should go to, every person that [if] you’re in D.C., you should come through this museum. And now, since then, the African-American museum had been built, and I believe the same thing about that museum. Both can teach the same lessons.

The one feedback I got from a lot of people: ‘What about slavery?’ I said, ‘This is slavery. This is slavery. There’s so many different acts of genocide and oppression in the history of the world.’ And I said, ‘The Holocaust is a lesson that we all need to learn so it doesn’t happen again.’ So, I took, from that day forward — every year, whatever team I played on — I would bring them to this museum.

Like, we set in this hall, 7:30, 8 o’clock at night after having gone through the museum and people just kind of in reflection of what they’d just seen, this experience, all the atrocities, and it humbled a lot of people. So it put us in a frame of mind that we started understanding that we play games for a living. People are so tied into what we do, and they make it seem like it’s such an enormous event to watch a basketball game and to follow an athlete, but this seems like this is more important. It touched a lot of people.

And so, from then on and forward I’ve brought my family here. People just know I always come here. It’s an important teaching tool, and we can never forget the moments that shape up, shape our country and where we come from.

Now that you’ve been educated more on this atrocity and the history of blacks here in America, how closely intersected do you think we are?

Well, for the longest time I’ve had like this … despair. I don’t know if that’s the right word, but I’ll go with that for now, in relation to Memphis. I had this gut-wrenching feeling every time I went to Memphis. Before I even went there I felt that way. So the very first time I went there, I was troubled. And I went to the Lorraine Motel — like, I just left the hotel and I walked down the street, went to the Lorraine Motel because I needed to see where MLK was killed.

Ray Allen tours the museum back in 2008.

U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

And so, the whole time it’s like looking at history and trying to understand history and how it played out in my life, even though I didn’t live in that era. Everything he did affected me up to this point where I’m able to play in the NBA and eat at restaurants, walk down main streets of cities, make the money I’m making.

Like, this motel is so symbolic for a lot of my life. So the oppression, the racism, the bigotry, what went on during the civil rights movement was everything similar to what happened during the Holocaust, you know, starting back in the ’30s and the ’40s. Between the Jewish people and black people, we’ve been heavily oppressed.

One thing that I would love to see, and you start to see it now, more with the building of the African-American museum, is the black culture coming together so we can tell our story. For many years, it was almost like our country wouldn’t accept the bad things it did to black people. The oppression, the racism, just all the negative issues that we’ve dealt with as people, we’re still recovering.

So, I think between both museums, there’re opportunities for all of us to learn that each one of us were equal, and you can’t create somebody less than a human. And it’s here in D.C.; they’re examples for every child. The bully starts off in a small fashion, but he could grow into a dictator. All we had to do is walk into one of these museums and you see what the bullies did. How they controlled societies, controlled people, and it gets ugly.

How has visiting the Holocaust museum been inspiring for you?

You see the names of people who’ve fought, who survived under extreme circumstances. What would I have done in each of these situations, would I have been tough? You get to see great examples of people who are extremely tough, who defied the odds, who survived countless horrors.

Ray Allen tours the Holocaust Museum with his family. Mr. Allen was recently appointed to the Museum Council.

U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

Not being able to eat, not being clothed properly — it teaches you to live stronger and not be such a complainer and a worry wart. But then the people who did, they lived to tell their story, and that’s one of the only reasons why we have this building we’re sitting in, because people told the story.

How do you feel being the guy to encourage Holocaust history education?

I think anything that’s for the good is definitely worth the conversation. And we have to be careful that we get caught up in, like, how the message delivered. Just pay attention to the message. It happens to be me talking about it, walking in and out of the museum. Taking a picture, putting it on Instagram and educating people about certain things. I want people to look at something that I post, or something that I say, and then for themselves say, ‘You know what, I should go see that for myself.’

Are your kids old enough to understand the work that you’re doing with the Holocaust Museum?

Yeah, we’ve sat in this room, listened to all the survivors tell their stories, and they were sad. They just asked questions, like, ‘Why would somebody do something like this?’

I have a 24-year-old, 12, 10, 7, and 5-year-old boys. The world is so small. They have access to everything. I try not to hide the world from them. Because it’s happening right in front of us. I try to just let them experience everything, and then talk to them about it and see how they feel, get them thinking from a spirited perspective. I want my children to be very aware of the world that they’re walking into.

How do you think we can integrate more cultural history that’s not our own into our community?

It’s just education, it’s just reading. Programs that are put in place that allow kids to read. And read something different. Something that involves your life or something that involves somebody else’s life that teaches you about the world that we live in or we come from.

But it’s important that the parents set a mandate to what kids continue to learn. We just can’t rely on our teachers at school to teach our kids.

What do you see going forward in your journey?

Well, in two weeks I’m going to Poland, so I’m going to Auschwitz. I’ll be firsthand at a concentration camp. I get to walk those grounds and feel exactly everything that I’m knowing, that I’ve seen personally in this museum and heard from survivors and watched in movies. Just to continue to have the conversation and talk to people I know about it. It’s one thing to post stuff on Instagram about things that I have.

What was the hardest thing about visiting the Holocaust Museum?

It was a lot. I saw a rail car that was bent because they took the bodies of the dead and they burned them on it, and the flames were so hot it just kind of, twisted. Imagine that temperature that’s twisting steel like that. Walk into a room and seeing hair. Walk into a room and seeing shoes. These are actually real people’s items. Like, it’s real. It’s not a prop. This is not even small, like, half of what the inventory is that they have.

How did your teammates respond after their first visit? Were they grateful for you bringing them here?

The fact that I had the access to be able to get people here, that’s one of the blessings of our reach when you play in NBA, to be able to do things with so many people and show them different places they would’ve never seen otherwise. Each one, teach one. When you do something, great, you take people with you so you could share your experiences.

Daily Dose: 4/26/17 Barack Obama is taking money from Wall Street

The Houston Rockets did something crazy last night, but it worked out. They sold beer for a dollar before the game last night, and thankfully they didn’t end up with a Ten Cent Beer Night situation from the ’70s in Cleveland.

In the latest edition of ‘Should we be worried about this?’ we have two cases. Number one is the situation in South Korea. The military is effectively girding its loins for what could be a dangerous situation should North Korea decide to make a move on that front. Today’s the day that elected officials gather at the White House to be briefed on the circumstance. Secondarily, President Donald Trump has decided that he’s going all the way to the wall over the matter of sanctuary cities, claiming he’ll be taking them to court if they don’t change their ways.

Barack Obama has done plenty for this nation. Aside from being commander in chief for eight years, he served the country as an elected official for years before that. Point being, his record as a stand-up person is solid. But now that he’s out of the Oval Office, he’s free to do as he pleases, taking speaking fees and the like. But taking $400K from Wall Street is not a good look. It’s worth noting that, back in the day, he criticized said fat cats for their greed, so taking their money now seems disingenuous.

People love playing with their faces on the internet. It’s basically the reason why Snapchat got popular and, in general, is basically never going to get old. Manipulating one’s image is as old as humankind itself. So when the latest version of said filter, a thing called FaceApp, hit the market, it was obviously popular. I’m still creeped out about people posting photos of what they’ll look like when they’re old, as that’s just not a smart thing to do, IMO. Shockingly, it turns out the app was racist as hell.

It seems like a whole lot of people are looking to play pro basketball. Ever since they relaxed the rules to allow college players to participate in combine drills and NBA evaluations if they don’t sign with an agent, far more players have been declaring just to make sure that there isn’t a chance they might skyrocket up a draft board at some point. What that’s also done is let players be evaluated by other non-NBA folks, which is still playing ball for money. This year, 182 players declared for the NBA draft. Wow.

Free Food

Coffee Break: You know how people say that hip-hop has more references to drugs than any other genre of music? Welp, turns out that’s a huge lie. According to a new study, that crown goes to country music, but I can tell that it’s flawed because it’s counting Wu-Tang Clan and Method Man mentions of “meth” as drug references.

Snack Time: Why anyone would want to own a pair of jeans that looked like they were extremely dirty, legit muddy, when they had in fact done no work is beyond me. But Nordstrom is selling them for $400, if you’re into that.

Dessert: When it comes to crossover, do not EVER come for Allen Iverson. Ever.