TIME beauty

Beyoncé and Lupita Nyong’o are on the Covers of TIME and People and It Is a Big Deal

Having two black women— representing different types of black beauty— on two storied covers is something to celebrate

On Thursday, the hashtag #WhatIsPretty trended on Twitter, inspiring men and women across the globe to share photos of what they consider beautiful. And on Thursday, the covers of two of the world’s largest magazines, TIME and People had a resounding answer: black women.

People named the Academy Award winning actress Lupita Nyong’o “The World’s Most Beautiful Person of 2014.” And the ever-flawless Beyoncé graces the cover of TIME magazine’s issue about the world’s most influential people. (Both magazines are published by Time Inc.)

Two black women from different ends of the spectrum of beauty—one with deep brown skin a short natural ‘do, the other with flowing blonde tresses and skin like creamy caramel—were chosen to represent the most beautiful and most influential women in the world. That’s something to celebrate.

Photograph by Paola Kudacki for TIME

It would be easy to dismiss the covers as revering of the fickle world of celebrity or to brush the two off as “it girls” who will dominate headlines for a year or so and fade to the background when another, more hot woman catches the interest of Hollywood.

It’s much harder to ignore the importance of this moment for little brown and black girls who will see these covers on supermarket shelves and think for a second, “hey, she looks just like me.”

There are countless documentaries, news stories, think pieces, tweets, and soapbox moments that show black women still have a ways to go until their “black” is seen as beautiful by all. The recent documentary film “Dark Girls” dug deeply into the everyday struggles with acceptance and beauty facing brown skin women in America. African American girls have with their personal and society’s perceptions of their beauty. Lupita has described herself as “night shade” and was even quoted in People saying she considered “light skin and long, flowing, straight hair” beautiful as a young girl. “Subconsciously you start to appreciate those things more than what you possess.”


And earlier in April, the U.S. Army issued new grooming rules that reminded African American women that the hairstyles we choose are still described using words like “unkempt” and “unruly.”(And when those words don’t’ fit, we’re often questioned about whether or not the hair on our heads grows from our scalps or was bought in a store.)

Unfortunately, these moments are still too common and are representative of the deep-rooted racism our society is still struggling to overcome. In no way are two magazine covers going to change that, but you know what? Beyoncé championed her self-titled album as a message on finding the beauty in imperfection and that’s what we should do here. Recognize the beauty of all women despite the imperfect standards placed upon them.

For this not-so-little brown girl, who once questioned why her naturally curly coils didn’t fall straight; who once asked her mom why there weren’t a lot of little brown girls in TV commercials, knowing a generation of girls will grow up seeing women breaking the mold of what is traditionally seen as beautiful thrust in the face of society makes me feel good. And it should make you feel good, too.

TIME Morning Must Reads

Morning Must Reads: April 24

The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson—Getty Images

In the News: Obama in Japan; FCC proposes 'net neutrality' rules; did Sarah Palin blow the Alaska Senate race; and the 2014 TIME 100

  • Obama to Japan, yes we will defend you [TIME]
  • Overseas, Obama projects a whole lot of nothing [Washington Post]
  • “The Federal Communications Commission said on Wednesday that it would propose new rules that allow companies like Disney, Google or Netflix to pay Internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon for special, faster lanes to send video and other content to their customers.” [NYT]
  • From The Wall Street Journal: “This latest plan is likely to be viewed as an effort to find a middle ground, as the FCC has been caught between its promise to keep the Internet open and broadband providers’ desire to explore new business models in a fast-changing marketplace. It likely won’t satisfy everyone, however. Some advocates of an open Internet argue that preferential treatment for some content companies inevitably will result in discriminatory treatment for others.” [WSJ]
  • A defiant rancher savors the audience that rallied his side [NYT]
  • Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that sanctions against Russia need to be “widened and tightened” to prevent the crisis in Ukraine from escalating further on Wednesday [The Hill]
  • Caroline Kennedy says she would ‘absolutely’ back Hillary Clinton if she decided to run for president [ABC News]
  • Georgia governor signs expansive new gun law: “House Bill 60, or the Safe Carry Protection Act of 2014 — which opponents have nicknamed the “guns everywhere bill” — specifies where Georgia residents can carry weapons. Included are provisions that allow residents who have concealed carry permits to take guns into some bars, churches, school zones, government buildings and certain parts of airports.” [CNN]
  • The left’s secret club [Politico]
  • LA Times reports: “The IRS handed out a total of nearly $1.1 million in bonuses in a 27-month period to more than 1,146 employees who had been disciplined for failing to pay taxes, according to an inspector general’s report.”
  • How Sarah Palin threw the Alaska Senate race [Politico Magazine]
  • “Sen. Elizabeth Warren claims she’s not running for president in two years. Of course, President Obama and many others said the same thing before running. But even if she does seek the Oval Office, the Massachusetts Democrat wouldn’t be 2016′s version of Barack Obama in 2008. Still, Warren may be able to transform the policy debate in the way John Edwards did in 2008.” [FiveThirtyEight]

What’s prettier in print: TIME 100 2014

Political highlights

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Sen. Rand Paul

Former Sen. Alfonse D’Amato on Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

Congressman John Lewis on Attorney General Eric Holder

Gov. Chris Christie on Gov. Scott Walker

41 women made the 2014 TIME 100 list



TIME health

New Push to Raise Tobacco Age in Washington State

The King County Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Board says tobacco sales should conform to the same regulations as marijuana and alcohol, barring purchases by anyone under the age of 21. A similar measure in Colorado failed to pass in March

A Washington state group wants the state to keep tobacco out of the hands of those under 21.

The King County Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Board, which recommends substance abuse polices, wants the state legislature to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco from 18, KOMO News reports. Adults over 21 are legally able to purchase alcohol and marijuana in the state, and the board thinks tobacco should conform to the same standards.

Board chairman Pat Godfrey said a new minimum age would also prevent teens from picking up the habit in the first place. “Our concern is that nicotine is a very powerful addictive substance,” Godfrey told KOMO News in Seattle. “If we can discourage teens from beginning the habit, that’s a better strategy than trying to get adults to stop the habit after they’ve started.”

A similar measure in Colorado, where marijuana can also be legally purchased by adults 21 and up, failed to pass through committee in March. Several states and localities have been considering and passing legislation that restricts tobacco sales to 18 through 20-year-olds.

Keeping tobacco products away from young people is championed by the same groups who worry the influx of electronic cigarettes will promote the habit. Some research supports the idea that e-cigarettes help smokers quit, though the Food and Drug Administration has yet to confirm its effects.

[KOMO News]


Court: Amsterdam Mayor Can Ban Red Light District Pot Shops

Mayor Eberhard van der Laan reportedly plans to close 26 of the 76 existing weed shops in the Red Light District, where he has already shut down almost half of the neighborhood's brothels, because he believes they promote more crime

The mayor of Amsterdam has received court approval to ban weed shops in the city. Mayor Eberhard van der Laan believes the shops and brothels promote criminal activity, the Associated Press reports. The mayor has reportedly closed almost half of the brothels in the notoriously debaucherous Red Light District, though prostitution remains legal in the Netherlands. The “coffee shops” that sell marijuana openly may be next. The ruling published on Wednesday says that the mayor “has the freedom to carry out policies he considers desirable to protect public order.” In several cities in the Netherlands, foreigners have been banned from purchasing marijuana as a part of a national law that requires residential status in order to buy weed. Eberhard van der Laan has not imposed that particular law on Amsterdam, because of the potential impact on tourism. However, the mayor reportedly plans to close 26 of the 76 existing pot peddling coffee shops. [AP]

TIME justice

Low-Level Drug Convicts Get New Route to Ask Obama For Clemency

The Obama Administration opens a door for non-violent drug offenders to reduce their sentences

Non-violent federal inmates who have served at least 10 years of their prison term are eligible to participate in a new initiative to send more clemency requests to President Barack Obama, the Department of Justice announced Wednesday.

The Obama Administration has been working for years to reduce the sentencing disparities between convictions for crack cocaine and powder cocaine, but sentencing legislation updated in 2010 was not made retroactive. Obama recently granted commutations to eight crack-cocaine offenders who were serving lengthy sentences, but there are thousands more in similar positions, some of who are expected to qualify under the expanded criteria for clemency announced Wednesday. Under the 2014 Clemency Initiative, non-violent, low-level, federal prisoners who would have received a lower sentence if convicted today and have served 10 years in prison with good conduct can be identified and seek clemency through the Bureau of Prisons, Deputy Attorney General James Cole said.

“These defendants were properly held accountable for their criminal conduct,” Cole said. “However, some of them, simply because of the operation of sentencing laws on the books at the time, received substantial sentences that are disproportionate to what they would receive today.

Officials said the new initiative will streamline the process of clemency requests and identify more candidates for Obama to consider. They said the initiative will keep public safety in mind, reiterating that clemency does not mean prisoners are being pardoned for their crimes. “Even low-level offenders cause harm to people through their criminal actions, and many need to be incarcerated,” Cole said.

A number of pro-bono lawyers and organizations, including the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Families Against Mandatory Minimums, the American Bar Association, and the American Civil Liberties Union have also agreed to work with prisoners who fit the criteria and request legal assistance. The groups praised the administration’s shift on sentencing, while noting there are many other federal inmates whose sentences are disproportionate to their crimes.

“The doors of the Office of the Pardon Attorney have been closed to petitioners for too long,” said Mary Price, FAMM General Counsel. “This announcement signals a truly welcome change; the culture of ‘no’ that has dominated that office is being transformed. We stand ready to assist in any way we can to support petitioners and bring their cases to the attention of the President.”

TIME Morning Must Reads

Morning Must Reads: April 23

The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson—Getty Images

In the News: Obama visits mudslide town, kicks-off Asia trip; Tuesday was a busy day for the Supreme Court; New York Times poll on Southern Senate races; and Rick Perry wants to debate Andrew Cuomo

  • Obama visits Washington town devastated by mudslide [TIME]
  • From CNN: “”I just wanted to let you know that the country is thinking about all of you, and have throughout this tragedy,” the President said. “We’re not going anywhere. We’ll be here as long as it takes.”
  • The President landed in Japan this morning, kicking off his tour of the region. From Reuters: “Obama, who is making the first full state visit to Japan by a U.S. President since 1996, must assuage worries by Tokyo and other allies that his commitment to their defense in the face of an increasingly assertive China is weak, without hurting vital U.S. ties with Asia’s biggest economy.”
  • On your mark, get set, lie: the Supreme Court weighs in about truth in politics [TIME]
  • U.S. Supreme Court upholds Michigan ban on affirmative action [WSJ]
  • From Bloomberg: “The ruling has both symbolic and substantive significance. A decade ago, the University of Michigan won a Supreme Court decision that let institutions across the country continue to use race as an admissions factor. The survival of the voter-approved initiative means that ruling is nullified for the university that secured it.”
  • Another bad day for affirmative action…another good day for the conservative backlash [The New Yorker]
  • How Lindsey Graham outmaneuvered the tea party [Politico]
  • Texas Gov. Rick Perry wants to debate New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo [Dallas Morning News]
  • In case you forgot….. [Youtube]
  • From Washington Post: “Perry famously stumbled badly in a debate among Republican presidential candidates in 2011 when he failed to remember the final of the three federak agencies he said he would cut if elected. ‘If anybody’s looking for the slickest politician or the smoothest debater, I readily admit I’m not that person,’ Perry said on ‘Fox & Friends’ after that debate.”
  • “Four Senate races in the South that will most likely determine control of Congress appear very close, with Republicans benefiting from more partisan intensity but a Democratic incumbent, once seen as highly vulnerable, holding a surprising edge, according to a New York Times Upshot/Kaiser Family Foundation poll.” [NYT]
  • GOP Newtown bill hits impasse [The Hill]
  • American reporter held by Ukraine separatists [NYT]
  • Reuters reports: “General Motors Co filed a motion in a U.S. bankruptcy court to enforce a bar on lawsuitsrelated to ignition defects in carssold before its 2009 bankruptcy as it fights a class action lawsuit that seeks to set aside the restriction. The plaintiffs also filed a class action lawsuit on Monday, seeking an order declaring that GM cannot use the bankruptcy protection to absolve itself from liabilities.”
  • Another from TIME’s interactive master : Obama thinks he can rank colleges. Can you do better?






TIME Morning Must Reads

Morning Must Reads: April 22

The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson—Getty Images

In the News: It's Earth Day and TIME talks to U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz; Biden pledges American support in Ukraine; Court orders release of drone memo; and Aereo case at Supreme Court

  • Happy Earth Day! TIME talks to Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz who will toss out the first pitch at a Red Sox game on Tuesday in honor of Earth Day [TIME]
  • Not a single Republican has mentioned Earth Day in Congress since 2010 [National Journal]
  • Keystone pipeline may be big, but this is bigger [NYT]
  • Keystone route ruling should be overturned, Nebraska says [Bloomberg]
  • Court orders U.S. to release memo on drones, al-Awlaki killing [Reuters]
  • Spy agencies told to plug media leaks [WSJ]
  • The Aereo Supreme Court case is about to change TV forever [TIME]
  • “Vice President Biden pledged American support Tuesday to help Ukraine stage a successful presidential election next month and to defy Russian economic pressure, but he also warned Ukrainian leaders that they must confront the nation’s rampant official corruption to meet the high political demands of a frustrated public.” [Washington Post]
  • Obama’s strategic shift to Asia hobbled by pressures at home and crises abroad [NYT]
  • “The Supreme Court will consider Tuesday whether an anti-abortion group can challenge an Ohio law that could have restricted it from publicly accusing a political candidate of voting for taxpayer-funded abortions in Obamacare.” [Politico]
  • Hillary Clinton’s Hard Choices [New Yorker]
  • GM’s recall troubles haunt former executive’s run for Congress [TIME]


TIME Television

Orphan Black Creators Sued for Cloning Writer’s Idea

A writer claims the BBC screenplay is based off an idea he submitted to the production company a decade ago

Either the Orphan Black plot was cloned or the hit BBC show’s producers have some explaining to do. That is, at least, according to a writer suing BBC and Temple Street Productions for copyright infringement.

Writer Stephen Hendricks claims key aspects of the show are near carbon copies of plot points from a screenplay he submitted to Temple Street co-president, David Fortier, in 2004, according to a Huffington Post report. In the complaint, Hendricks says the protagonist in his screenplay “Double Double” and the protagonist in Orphan Black are both “young (early 20s) attractive women who want the same thing: to understand who they are and where they come from.” Cloning is also a recurring theme in Hendricks work, much like the BBC show about a young woman who discovers she and many others are clones.

Orphan Black’s creators are listed as Graeme Manson and John Fawcett, who reportedly sent a spec script to Fortier. Hendricks says they’re script has to be based off of his idea. He’s seeking $5 million in damages from the suit.

[Huffington Post]

TIME Crime

Prep-School Grads Accused of Running Drug Ring

This photo shows drugs, money, guns and other illegal items that were seized when Lower Merion Police broke up a drug distribution ring during a new conference in Montgomery County, Pa, Monday, April 21, 2014.
Drugs, guns and other illegal items were seized when Lower Merion Police broke up a drug-distribution ring in Montgomery County, Pa. Clem Murray—The Philadelphia Inquirer/AP

Two former students of the expensive all-boys Haverford School allegedly used their lacrosse contacts to recruit buyers and sellers in a business that peddled cocaine, marijuana, ecstasy and hash oil in an affluent Philadelphia suburb

Welcome to high school. Two prep-school graduates are being accused of establishing a teen drug ring in the affluent Main Line suburbs of Philadelphia. On Monday, prosecutors filed charges against Neil Scott, 25, and Timothy Brooks, 18, the leaders of the so-called drug monopoly.

The two former students of the Haverford School, a $35,000-a-year all-boys preparatory school in Pennsylvania, allegedly used their lacrosse-team connections to establish a five-school drug enterprise, selling ecstasy, marijuana, cocaine and hash oil to students, the Associated Press reports. Dubbed the “Main Line Take Over Project,” the ring allegedly had marijuana shipped from California and recruited local teens to sell the drugs.

Authorities seized about 3.6 kg (8 lb.) of marijuana, a loaded assault weapon, two guns, over $11,000 and equipment to manufacture hash oil. Scott reportedly began selling weed when he returned to the area from San Diego last year. He told police a connection from California supplied the pot that he said would “sell very well on the Main Line because everyone between 15 and 55 loves good weed.”


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