Welcome to Minority Report, a weekly newsletter from the LEVEL team that packs an entire week into a single email. From our last-minute…December 15, 2020 • 7 min read • View in browser
The only last-minute gift guide you procrastinators need
Welcome to Minority Report, a weekly newsletter from the LEVEL team that packs an entire week into a single email. From our last-minute gift guide to the week in racism, from pop-culture picks to a must-read LEVEL story, it's everything you need and nothing you don't. If you're loving what you're reading, tell a friend to tell a friend.
Back in the days when sites like NahRight ran the internet, the best way to stunt on fellow blog denizens was by marking your territory as its most ardent visitor. You'd strive to leave the first comment on every published post — naturally, "first!" — and collect your imagined clout from the digital gods and webmasters. Sadly, that diligence didn't become absorbed into holiday shopping culture.
If you're anything like us, when Christmastime comes around, you usually sit on the sidelines throughout Black Friday and Cyber Monday, waiting to cram all of your shopping until the very last minute and swearing you'll be more proactive and less procrastinator next year.
Christmas is 10 days out, which means we're officially in the red zone of the big holiday. But that doesn't mean it's too late to round up gifts for all of the special people in your life, who have no idea how flagrantly you've deprioritized their material happiness. Not to worry — LEVEL's got your back. Here are our 2020-friendly gift suggestions for all of your faves. That's a wrap!
For Your Homie Trying to Get Their Whole Black-Ass Life
Black Futures, Kimberly Drew and Jenna Worthman
Minority Report subscribers likely saw this hardcover anthology in last week's edition. Brilliant essays, incredible photography, some of the Blackest-ass excellence you'll ever find in one place — this book will make you feel like you're sitting at the Spades table. (Penguin Random House)
For the Screen-Addicted Germaphobe
Homedics UV-Clean Phone Sanitizer
Even if you're not a Twitter and Tik Tok obsessive constantly glued to your mobile device, you should get your screens regularly sanitized — especially in the age of the 'rona. Remember, you put your face on that thing. (Best Buy)
For the Marvel Head Who's Hyped About Black Panther 2
Shuri Vol 1.: The Search For Black Panther, Nnedi Okorafor
If you're anxious about what's gonna happen when Black Panther 2 drops — sadly without T'Challa — this will give you an idea of what to expect. Written by acclaimed author Nnedi Okorafor, it's a masterful journey back to Wakanda (through outer space). (Amazon)
For the Faux Kitchenista
Ninja Foodi 6-in-1 2-Basket Air Fryer
If they're looking for a fast-food taste without the fast-food grease drippings, this culinary appliance is the real chef game come-up. (Target)
For The Sneakerhead
Air Jordan 11 Jubilee
Ending the year with a new retro Jordan 11 drop is as much of a December tradition as Mariah Carey's Christmas album. This pair is as pristine as ever, ready to be paired with a tech fleece or a tux. (StockX)
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For the Wu-Tang Fan Who Just Binge Watched The Queen's Gambit
Chess lessons via Zoom
After binging this chess-themed mini series, we all wanna unlock our inner Beth Harmon (without popping a pill). Cop someone the gift of putting fools in check with one-on-one lessons from a grandmaster, no Flash! (Chessclub)
For Your Messy Cousin Who Lives For Drama
An invite to Clubhouse
We know you've been hoarding invites to the social media platform everyone is talking about (and on!). And while one of those golden tickets could get you some bread on the black market, you might as well spread joy to that special someone in your life who'd love to argue with the likes of 21 Savage and Meek Mill about, well, whatever the hell they're talking about on any given day. (joinclubhouse.com)
For Your Least Favorite Child
Xbox Series S
How much do you love your child? Not enough to cop a Playstation 5? We've got juuust the console for you. (Best Buy)
For the Green Thumb Who Lives on Zoom
A Monstera plant
Look, we all got tired of shuffling between virtual backgrounds for work calls months ago. Reality is making a comeback in a major way — hook up the plant mama and plant zaddy in your life with this trendy tropical plant that resembles Swiss cheese for their backdrop purposes. (Bloomscape)
For the Person You Love More Than Anything in Life (or Even Just a Little Bit)
A one-year subscription to Medium
Unlimited access to LEVEL is reason enough — and that's before you factor in premium editorial content from publications like Zora, OneZero, Human Parts, GEN, Marker, Forge, and Elemental. At $5 per month, it's less than the cost of Netflix; we'd say it's a steal. No lies told! (Medium)
This Week in Racism
🗑 Okay, We're Gonna Need to Do Something About British Horse Owners
If you're a racing fan who lives in central England, you may have decided to head to Wolverhampton over the weekend to play the ponies. That's where you would have seen a two-year-old filly enter the race under the name of — wait, this can't be right. [Holds up racing form] Really? The horse's name was Jungle Bunny? Yes, that's exactly what the horse was named. We say "was" because within a day, the British Horseracing Authority had retroactively changed the horse's name so that records of the race list it as Jungle Bells. But wait, there's more! The Guardian tracked down the horse's owner's wife, who claimed that they'd named the horse after its father, Bungle Inthejungle. (Guess they were big Jethro Tull fans.) "I'm upset because we've had our Sunday ruined by everybody ringing about it," she told the paper. "It makes you look like a racist, which I am certainly not." If you still hadn't placed your bet in the office pool because you were waiting for the most emblematic sentence of 2020, your patience has been rewarded! (The Guardian)
🗑 Things Texas Loves: Barbecue, Big Cars, and the Word "Negro"
Language changes over time. That's just a fact, as they say. (Hey, remember facts?) For instance, there was a long period of time during which the word "negro" was deemed perfectly acceptable. We can discuss why that was, or if we should have been using the word at all, but one thing we can all agree is that that long period of time is also long over. There's just one problem: someone forgot to tell the state of Texas. It's not like people didn't try — in 1991, the state legislature passed a law eliminating "certain racially offensive names given to geographical features" — but in the nearly 30 years since that law was passed, only one location's name was changed. (Also: 1991? Really? Y'all waited until 25 years after the Black Power movement?) As an NPR investigation found, the state submitted all name-change proposals to the federal government, which then reached out to the specific Texas counties where places like Negro Hollow and Negrohead Bluff could be found. And that's where the trouble really happened: according to the federal agency handling the matters, those counties resisted the change, so the federal agency rejected the request. Which leaves us in coming up on 2021, with nearly 20 places in the state register still using the word. So here's to 2021 — when Texas (hopefully) throws out a word it should have stopped using more than 50 years ago! (NPR)
🗑 Don't Worry, San Francisco's Got Things Completely Under Control
For all its famous political progressivism, San Francisco doesn't exactly have a great track record on matters of race — just witness its ever-dwinding Black population, shunted by gentrification and exclusionary zoning to some of its least-served neighborhoods. And judging from a class-action suit recently filed by three Black city employees, things aren't going all that great in SF's public sector either. Drawing on official data from the city's Department of Human Resources, the suit alleges that Black employees make on average $32,000 a year less than their White counterparts, are half as likely to be promoted, and receive nearly double the disciplinary actions. On a more personal level, the three plaintiffs detail a number of racist offenses they've endured at work, from receiving racist emails from supervisors (e.g., being told something was "mo' betta") to receiving performance reviews that claimed their facial expressions made people "uncomfortable." So much for being Sucka Free, we guess. (Mission Local)
The LEVEL Up: Culture Picks From the Editors
🎧 Kid Cudi, Man on the Moon III: The Chosen
Has there been a more fitting year for the return of the self-proclaimed lonely stoner? Our favorite humming-ass hero has blessed fans with the third installment of his signature series, a cohesive album stacked with bangers ("Tequila Shots"), exciting features (Pop Smoke), and a signature brand of emo tunes ("The Void") that will still put you in your feelings. Free your mind. (Spotify)
📺 Desus & Mero: The Obama Interview
After grilling political stars like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Bronx's most knee-slappingest duo sit down for a frank discussion with former President Barack Obama. (Yes, we're deadass!) In a nearly 30-minute interview, the legends of different games chop it up about bodegas, hoops, and the hoopla around that one time Barack wore a tan suit for a press conference. (YouTube)
📱 Verzuz: E-40 vs. Too Short
Ashanti and Keyshia Cole's Verzuz was sadly postponed this weekend due to the former catching Covid-19, but the digital series that helped us survive 2020 is back with two hip-hop bigs from the Bay Area going song for song. Let's give the 40 Over 40 gang all of their flowers, from 2020 and beyond! (Spotify)
LEVEL Read of the Week
Black Conservatives Don't Care About You — Or Anyone Else
After four years of bumbling through his presidency and stoking the fires of American racism, Donald Trump has been defeated in his quest for reelection. But that's not without growing his voter turnout amongst an unlikely demographic: Black men. Why exactly did 18% of Black male voters cast their ballots for a presidential candidate whose leadership would be particularly detrimental to Black people? Writer Scott Woods has a theory. Read the story.
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