In another White House surprise, Trump declares June as African-American Music Appreciation Month Where were you when Trump announced he liked black music?

On the surface, this is hilarious. Not like, “Oh, I’m so pleased with this piece of humor,” but more of an “every time I think I couldn’t imagine something more ridiculous, it happens and my only choice is to laugh” kind of funny.

Since we’re already in a good mood, let’s take a look at this press release, never mind the content of the declaration itself. It should be noted that this time last year President Barack Obama did the same thing, in case you were wondering where the motivation for this move came from.

“Songs by African-American musicians span the breadth of the human experience and resonate in every corner of our Nation — animating our bodies, stimulating our imaginations, and nourishing our souls,” the Obama release read. “In the ways they transform real stories about real people into art, these artists speak to universal human emotion and the restlessness that stirs within us all. African-American music helps us imagine a better world, and it offers hope that we will get there together.”

President Donald Trump’s declaration went so far as to specifically reference Chuck Berry, Dizzy Gillespie and Ella Fitzgerald. It’s also double-spaced and misspells the word “canon” as “cannon,” but that’s a different story altogether. How Kendrick Lamar, Maxwell and the Carolina Chocolate Drops were left off this list, who knows. In all seriousness though, the thought of the president sitting around jamming to black music of yesteryear is quite the exercise.

Wake us up when the president is actually inviting black musicians to play in the White House in front of his friends and family. This guy is always here, right on time.

GW Pharmaceuticals Files for FDA Approval After Report Confirms Success in Treating Epilepsy

GW Pharmaceuticals has chosen the perfect moment to file its cannabis-derived therapy, Epidiolex, with U.S. regulators.

The New England Journal of Medicine just published results from a Phase III study showing that GW’s Epidiolex (derived from cannabidiol) significantly reduced monthly convulsive seizures, especially in children with Dravet syndrome, one of the most difficult types of epilepsy to treat. Children can have dozens, even hundreds, of seizures per month.

GW Pharmaceuticals first reported in March 2016 that CBD-derived Epidiolex cut monthly convulsive seizures by 39 percent in children with Dravet syndrome, but full results of the 120-patient study were only published last week.

The findings stem from a double-blind, placebo-controlled study—the most scientifically rigorous type of investigation possible.

“This study clearly establishes cannabidiol as an effective anti-seizure drug for this disorder and this age group,” said principal investigator and lead author of the study, Dr. Orrin Devinsky, director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at New York University Langone Medical Center.

“It certainly deserves to be studied in other types of epilepsy,” he added.

The journal article also showed that five percent of patients stopped having seizures altogether and 43 percent saw their seizures cut by half.

The treatment, which is given as a syrup, is a purified form of cannabidiol (CBD) and contains less than 0.1 percent of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

GW is seeking regulatory approval to sell Epidiolex as a treatment for both Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, another severe form of epilepsy.

Stephen Wright, GW’s chief medical officer, said the company would submit its application to the Food and Drug Administration by mid-year, with a filing in Europe following a little later in 2017.

An editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine said the clinical trial represented “the beginning of solid evidence for the use of cannibinoids in epilepsy,” after an era of anecdote and emotional debates.

“These results suggest that Epidiolex can provide clinically meaningful benefits, and I look forward to the prospect of an appropriately standardized and tested pharmaceutical formulation of cannabidiol available as a treatment option for these patients,” said Devinsky.

You can keep up with all of HIGH TIMES’ news right here.

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‘The Bachelorette’ brand has a major problem if a known racist is on the cast, the fun of the show is dead

When ABC announced that Rachel Lindsay would be the network’s first black Bachelorette, many corners of the content creation world were happy. It was a progressive move for a show that was finally breaking into the full-blown mainstream of American entertainment society. The casting decision was the first one in a while that actually brought new viewers to the program. Now, they’ve got a massive issue on their hands that might be impossible to fix.

Lee, a contestant who came in playing a quick guitar riff and basically showing off his honky-tonk bona fides, is apparently super racist. I say apparently because in the past few days his tweets from not so long ago have been unearthed, and it’s like a bigot’s greatest-hits record.

It’s a bummer on so many different levels. No. 1, this dude is still on the show. Only ABC knows how far he goes on the program. Secondly, Lee very strangely stated in the first episode that he was going to have some issues with people in the house. Mind you, there are more black contestants this year than ever. The promos for upcoming episodes have him set up to basically be a villain. That’s one thing in Bachelor Nation, but it’s quite another when the person in question is out here recklessly tweeting about how #BlackLivesMatter is a terrorist group. Non-update: It’s not.

But perhaps most important is whether the creators and producers of the show were aware of Lee’s social media exploits before putting him on the show. Those tweets were from last year. It’s not like these were ancient. A casual, cursory look at his history on the site would have turned these up, presumably raising a red flag about this guy’s intentions and, hello, general demeanor.

The next step in that logic is the one that no one wants to believe: that a racist was cast on purpose. If you’ve ever seen UnReal, you know that this was an actual storyline in season two that isn’t far outside of the realm of reality, pardon the pun. For all the ridiculous arcs that are pursued on a show like this, planting a bigot in the mix is not the move, at all. It’s a super joy-killer for people who tried to enjoy this show in good faith, considering it’s TV dating.

It puts the entire premise of this season in a huge moral quandary. Are we seriously supposed to keep watching a season in which a guy who clearly hates a lot of people is the main antagonist? Never mind how he deals with Rachel, a black woman, and all that entails from a societal standpoint. It’s just not a good thing going forward at all, for a season that had so much promise.

Chicago Sky center Imani Boyette is helping break taboo on mental illness African-Americans are 20% more likely to experience serious mental health problems than the general population

Once there was a 10-year-old girl who found herself in an unexplained and vulnerable position. Filled with hurt and pain, in her mind she thought her presence on this earth was doing more harm than good. In her mind, she was the black sheep of the family. In her mind, she was crying out for help with a voice that no one could hear. But one day, her mind told her it was time to stop crying out. She decided it was time to end the pain she felt, or at least to try.

Before she was the center of the Chicago Sky, she was a child named Imani Stafford-McGee who tried to overdose on headache medication. It was her first attempt at suicide, but it was not her last. She was in a battle for her life. It’s a battle that many in the African-American community face but believe they are not free to discuss.

They are like Amanda Chambers, the founder and CEO of Divine Legacy Publishing, who once didn’t leave her house for three months because of anxiety attacks.

Today, the 22-year old WNBA standout and the publisher are sharing their truth in an effort to dispel the myth that mental health should remain a taboo subject.

Stafford-McGee married her college sweetheart, University of Texas football player Paul Boyette Jr., in 2015. The 6-foot-7 Los Angeles native was drafted 10th overall out of Texas by the Sky in the 2016 WNBA. Last season, she ranked seventh in the league in blocks per game and was named to the WNBA All-Rookie Team.

The troubles for Boyette, the daughter of former WNBA star Pamela McGee, began when she was caught in a custody battle between her mother and father, Kevin Stafford, at the age of 3. The court granted custody of Boyette to Stafford, implying that McGee’s playing career was interfering with her parenting ability. Her older brother, Golden State Warriors center Javale McGee, remained in the care of their mother.

She developed a rocky relationship with her mother and was sexually molested by a family member while in the care of her father. After revealing as a WNBA prospect that she had been sexually abused from the ages of 8 to 12, Boyette began to speak more openly about her battles with depression. It is one of the leading mental illnesses in the black community, followed by attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (commonly known as PTSD).

Using poetry and her WNBA platform, Boyette has become an advocate for mental health, most recently serving as a spokeswoman and summer camp counselor for Sparks of Hope, a nonprofit in Portland, Oregon, that helps children who are survivors of abuse. Through her time speaking out for mental health awareness, she’s observed firsthand the difficulty African-Americans face when approaching this subject. “It is one of the biggest reasons that our community is so heavily afflicted,” said Boyette.

“Poetry helped me find my voice and the confidence to tell my story,” she said. “The more I dove into poetry and shared it with others, I realized my problems weren’t unique. I would go to open mic and poetry slams and watch poetry videos on YouTube and hear all these people speaking openly and authentically about issues that were similar, if not the same, as mine.”

Among the many obstacles that burden the black community, for some the list begins with systemic racism and runs through poverty, police brutality, poor access to quality education, unequal employment opportunities and incarceration. What often won’t be found on that list is acknowledging mental illness.

There is often a “don’t ask, don’t tell” attitude when it comes to this matter, so mental health remains a secretive subject that many African-Americans who struggle with it refuse to discuss or report. While sometimes keeping things under wraps may not have an adverse effect, in other cases it can mean the difference between life and death. For Boyette, it could have been the latter.

According to the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, African-Americans are 20 percent more likely to experience serious mental health problems than the general population. They are also more likely to experience factors that increase the risk for developing a mental health condition, such as homelessness and exposure to violence. The National Alliance on Mental Health states that African-American children are more likely to be exposed to violence than any other race.

There are several components that make publicly discussing mental illness a challenge. One of them is the notion that it’s not real.

Chambers often found herself separating from the outside world for fear of having to explain her anxiety attacks. People often lack empathy when talking about certain disorders, she said.

“It used to be very hard because people’s stock response regarding anxiety is typically, ‘You just need to relax.’ Well, if it was that easy, don’t you think I would do it? I mean, who wants to feel anxious?

“For a long time, I just kept it to myself. I didn’t even try to explain it to my husband, let alone other people. I stayed to myself, didn’t leave the house much, which was easy because I work from home, and I stopped attending events. At the time, it was just easier for me to retreat than to have to explain myself to people who refused to acknowledge that anxiety is a real thing. At one point I didn’t leave the house for about three months.”

Another obstacle is the idea of keeping in-house business in-house. “I was always taught what happens in the Stafford household stays in the Stafford household,” Boyette recalled. And while this tactic helps keep family business private, it can make it difficult to decipher when professional help is needed.

Dr. Janet Taylor, a psychiatrist who has appeared on several television networks, told Essence magazine that there is a general distrust of medical professionals because of their cultural bias.

“There are some health care providers who assume that … strife in black people or having a difficult time are what’s to be expected. In some cases they may normalize what may be a traumatic reaction,” Taylor told the magazine. Compound this with the fact that fewer than 2 percent of American Psychological Association members are African-American and it becomes clearer why black people might not seek help: They don’t believe providers are culturally competent enough to understand their issues.

Chambers found the strength to deal with her anxiety in her company. “It’s one of the reasons I started my publishing company,” she said. “When it comes to my business, I map everything out and set realistic deadlines that my clients and I agree on. Being able to see the deadlines puts me in control, and I don’t feel anxious at all. My clients love it because I’m extremely organized and detailed with everything, which is important in my line of work.”

Boyette found her strength to handle depression in poetry: “I always credit poetry with saving my life, and the many beautiful and supporting people I met through the art.”

Both Boyette and Chambers understand the lack of mental health resources in the black community, and that is why they speak out. Boyette uses her life as a warning to others to seek help. “My biggest word of advice is to keep fighting,” she said. “It sounds so cliché, but I couldn’t fathom my life today at 15-16 because I didn’t want to live. But I’m so overjoyed that someone bigger than me calls the shots.

“I encourage people dealing with these issues to, one, give yourself a break; some days you may only be able to brush your teeth — and that’s OK. But you have to try again tomorrow. And, two, you have to stay hopeful. Hope is the strongest weapon you have against darkness, against sorrow. I encourage people to seek help, be it professional or a loved one.”

Chambers is trying to provide a voice for the voiceless. Through programs with her sorority, Sigma Gamma Rho, Chambers talks about mental health with college students and is more open about it now than ever before. “In the beginning, it was [difficult to talk about having a mental illness]. Now I’m very outspoken about it. I have to be, because somewhere there’s a person who’s been sitting in his or her house for three months because they are scared of what people will say. I have to give that person a voice. I know how it feels to have no voice.”

LeBron James’ home vandalized Reports say someone painted N-word on side of house

When it comes to intimidation, spray-painting someone’s home is about as intimate as it gets for nonviolent crime. As someone who’s been an advocate of street art my whole life, there are still certain things that are considered off-limits, to an extent. Houses are one of them. But more importantly, the use of racial slurs in such a situation is clearly an act of aggression designed to scare through racism.

Someone decided to go that route on one of LeBron James’ homes in the Los Angeles area recently. According to TMZ, the slur in question was the N-word, leading me to believe that the person who did this was at least 40 years old, if I’m gonna wildly speculate. The N-word as an aggressive stand-alone tactic is just old-school enough for me to think that anyone who deploys it in such a way is used to hearing it basically in that context alone.

Because the NBA Finals start Thursday, this will probably turn into a much bigger story than if it were August, but nonetheless, it’s still a pretty scary violation of property.