In a shocking incident that gripped the nation, Jermelle English Jr, a Black man from Wisconsin, faced a wrongful arrest at a local Applebee’s. An unfortunate case of mistaken identity led to this brutal episode, sparking widespread outrage across social media platforms.
The Incident Unfolds
The incident unfolded in July, when law enforcement officers from Kenosha, Wisconsin, barged into an Applebee’s, targeting English Jr. They mistook him for a suspect involved in a hit-and-run accident. A video capturing the scene went viral, showcasing English Jr. pinned to the ground, with his 1-year-old baby nearby, as the officers began hitting him repeatedly1.
Misidentification and Charges
English Jr. and the woman accompanying him, Shanya Boyd, were taken into custody and charged with disorderly conduct and resisting police. Boyd faced an additional charge for marijuana possession. The actual culprits, whom the police were pursuing, were later discovered hiding in the Applebee’s restroom2.
Aftermath and Social Media Uproar
The aftermath of this incident was equally tumultuous. Jennifer Harris, the on-duty manager at Applebee’s at the time, recounted the chaotic scene to CBS 58. She expressed her concern for the baby and English Jr., while also noting that pepper spray was used during the scuffle3.
“It was a lot, I was worried for the baby first off, the baby and the gentleman, that was my first concern,” she said.
Harris also mentioned an employee who tried to intervene, urging the police to stop their assault. However, the cops responded by threatening to arrest him too4.
“One employee was trying to get the cops to stop punching him, he was like, ‘Hey, hey, stop, he’s on the ground, stop,’ and they pushed him, pushed my employee, and said, ‘One more word out of you and you’re arrested.'”
In a shocking turn of events, Harris was fired by the restaurant chain after videos of the incident surfaced on social media. The management accused her of tarnishing the Applebee’s brand name.
“They told me they can’t trust me and that I didn’t just ruin this Applebee’s name, I ruined all the Applebee’s in Wisconsin’s name by letting these videos get out,” she stated. “I’m not the one who recorded the videos nor let them out on the internet, so I don’t understand. My employees are trying to get the right story out, so how did we ruin the name of Applebee’s?”
The Power of Social Media and Celebrity Influence
The incident, fueled by social media traction, caught the attention of influential figures, including music mogul JAY-Z. Known for his contributions towards social justice, JAY-Z reportedly helped English Jr. secure a strong legal defense5.
The incident at the Wisconsin Applebee’s serves as a stark reminder of the persistent racial disparities in our society. It underscores the power of social media to highlight social injustices and mobilize support. The episode has spurred a renewed call for police reform and accountability, and the fight for justice continues.
On a somewhat ordinary Wednesday night, a rare celestial event took place, one that we won’t witness again until 2037. As the world looked upwards, a super blue moon illuminated the night sky, offering a breathtaking spectacle. In sync with this astral phenomenon, the fearless and talented Coi Leray launched her new EP, appropriately named “Blue Moon“. This EP was not just a musical offering, but a celebration of the rare lunar event, a soundtrack to the cosmic vibes that resonated globally.
“Blue Moon”: A Soundtrack to the Skies
Creating a perfect harmony between celestial occurrences and musical rhythm, “Blue Moon” served as a fitting tribute to the rare super blue moon event. Offering a collection of five tracks, the EP was a treat for Leray’s fans, establishing a unique connection between the music and the moonlit night.
Coi Leray: The Jersey-based Luminary
Hailing from New Jersey, Coi Leray’s musical prowess has been a beacon of talent in the industry. Her audacity and unapologetic approach to her music have garnered her a dedicated fan base. With “Blue Moon”, she once again proved why she is an artist to watch.
“Isabel Morant”: A Visual Treat
Coi Leray didn’t just stop at the EP. She also released a stunning visual for the standout track “Isabel Morant”. The creative minds behind the video, Mathking64 and Rocketboy, captured Leray’s essence perfectly. The video showcases Leray’s unabashed expression of wealth, success, and the joy of outdoing her rivals.
“Yeah I’m on they a**, hop up on that couch and roll up Latto out the bag, I don’t need a stylist, they can’t f**k with Coi Leray, tried to count me out, and now I’m big as Trippie Redd, woo, I hope I don’t crash, scrapin’ up the rim up on that sidewalk, ride it fast, I can’t wait to pour up and cook up, up in that lab, this that brand new ring, Denim Tears, LV tags…”
The music video, directed by Michael Vincent, presents Leray in various settings, from a bathtub to deep waters, and even amidst a mob of her supporters. Each frame is a testament to her bold personality.
“COI”: The Sophomore Journey
Earlier in June, Leray released her second LP, “COI”. The 16-song album featured collaborations with renowned artists like David Guetta, Saucy Santana, Giggs, Lola Brooke, Skillibeng, and even the late James Brown. With tracks like “Players”, “Bops”, “My Body”, and “Run It Up”, the album was a resounding success.
Leray’s Recent Collaborations
Leray has also been involved in notable collaborations recently, contributing to tracks like Dave East’s “Sex So Good”, Roy Woods’ “Hate Me”, Metro Boomin’s “Self Love”, RAYE’s “Flip A Switch. (Remix)”, and OhGeesy’s “Better Together”.
Wrapping Up: A Celebration of Music and the Moon
The “Blue Moon” EP and the “Isabel Morant” video release are prime examples of Coi Leray’s bold approach to music. She is not just creating songs, but experiences, linking her art to the world around her. As we wait for the next super blue moon, we can enjoy the lunar vibes from Leray’s “Blue Moon”. Press play and let the music transport you to the night sky, under the light of the super blue moon.
The United States, a global economic titan, seems to be treading water in the vast ocean of cryptocurrency regulations. Despite the tumultuous year for the crypto industry, marked by scam incidents, company collapses, and layoffs, it’s far from its end. However, the narrative that the US government could potentially obliterate the crypto industry persists, fueled by the media and public opinion. This narrative is not only misleading but also detrimental to the progress of blockchain technology in the country.
The Misconception: Crypto’s Apocalypse
The crypto industry’s recent turmoil has been largely attributed to its own failures. Major industry players had initially pledged self-regulation, but the actions of a handful of bad actors over the past year have extinguished any possibility of such a system. The remaining legitimate crypto companies, despite their resilience and continued operation, are often viewed with skepticism and doubt, likened to the living dead of the digital asset sector.
The Reality: Crypto’s Potential
Contrary to these bleak portrayals, the crypto industry is not dead nor dying. It’s merely undergoing a metamorphosis, navigating through the growing pains associated with any revolutionary technology. The potential of blockchain technology is vast, and it’s beginning to permeate various aspects of the global financial system.
Crypto is more than just a new form of currency; it’s a foundational layer for future global commerce, banking, communication, and individual ownership. This is reflected in its widespread adoption, with hundreds of millions of people worldwide using crypto for various purposes and believing in its potential.
The Regulatory Challenge: SEC’s Approach
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been heavily criticized for its aggressive approach to crypto regulations. The SEC’s actions, heavily influenced by public opinion rather than a comprehensive understanding of blockchain technology, have been seen as overreaching and heavy-handed, stifling innovation rather than fostering it.
Despite the high stakes, with crypto becoming increasingly integrated into the global financial system, the SEC’s approach remains largely unchanged. This regulatory approach not only undermines the potential of blockchain technology but also puts the US at a disadvantage globally.
The Global Perspective: Crypto Regulations Elsewhere
Other economic powerhouses, such as the EU, UK, Japan, Singapore, UAE, and even China, have introduced or are in the process of introducing comprehensive regulatory frameworks for crypto. The absence of the US from this list is conspicuous, highlighting the country’s lag in addressing this frontier technology at a federal level.
As a result, the crypto industry is rapidly shifting offshore. According to a recent report by Electric Capital, the US’s share of the world’s open source blockchain developers dropped from 42% in 2018 to 29% in 2022.
The Implications: Economic and Technological Consequences
The lack of a fully regulated financial market for crypto in the US contradicts the global economic interdependence observed in other major economies. The risk of losing crypto to other world powers is severe. Imagine if tech giants like Google or Twitter had been founded in a country like China. The internet, as we know it today, would look drastically different.
The Solution: A Path Forward
Despite the slow progress at the federal level, there are promising signs that a clear regulatory framework is on the horizon. A recent draft bill provides a pathway for digital assets that start as securities to eventually be regulated as commodities.
The proposed framework would allow tokens offered as part of an investment contract to remain under the SEC’s purview, while those qualifying as commodities would fall under the jurisdiction of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). There are also ongoing discussions about the classification of an asset as a commodity if it belongs to a decentralized blockchain network.
The Recommendations: Shaping the Future of Crypto
As the US navigates its way towards a comprehensive regulatory framework for crypto, several key considerations come to the fore.
The US government should actively invest in blockchain R&D. The country has a track record of incubating world-changing technology, and this should be no different.
Policymakers should familiarize themselves with the technology. Understanding the fundamentals of the technology they’re regulating is crucial. Other governments, including the European Commission, are already doing this.
The US government should establish a sandbox to experiment with compliant and mutually beneficial ways to engage with the private sector and the technology itself.
Conclusion: The Inevitability of Crypto’s Survival
Predicting the demise of crypto is a misguided narrative. The US, with its history of embracing and regulating frontier technologies, will undoubtedly adapt to the rise of crypto. The industry will only strengthen as meaningful regulations replace the current strong-arm enforcements. The future of crypto in the US is not a question of ‘if’ but ‘when.’
Image Credit: Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash
In the vast crypto landscape, Kotani, a Nairobi-based startup, stands out with its ambitious vision to simplify cross-border payments for Africa’s enormous underbanked population. This two-year-old startup is specifically focusing on a use case that directly affects the lives of hundreds of millions of individuals in countries like Kenya, Ghana, Zambia, and South Africa.
Securing $2M Pre-Seed Funding
Kotani recently announced the completion of a successful $2 million pre-seed funding round. The funding was led by P1 Ventures, with significant contributions from other prominent investors, including DCG/Luno and Flori Ventures. This financial boost is poised to propel Kotani’s mission to promote financial inclusion through the use of cryptocurrency.
Aiming for Expansion
With this newfound capital, Kotani plans to amplify its operations and extend its reach to other African nations. The countries in sight for expansion include Rwanda, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Tanzania, and Nigeria.
Remittances: The Lifeline of Sub-Saharan Africa
Remittances to the Sub-Saharan region are estimated to reach $55 billion this year, according to the World Bank. In certain African countries, remittances make up as much as 20% of the GDP, as reported by the United Nations. Despite playing a critical role in the African economy, remittances are plagued by high transfer fees.
High Transfer Fees: The Insurmountable Challenge
In some nations, transfer fees can gobble up to 20% of the transferred amount. The reasons for these exorbitant costs are multifaceted, ranging from a poorly developed banking system, lack of information, and currency volatility. Kotani aims to overcome these challenges by leveraging blockchain technology to facilitate remittances to Africa.
Stablecoins: The Solution for Remittances
Specifically, Kotani is utilizing stablecoins, a type of cryptocurrency pegged to fiat currencies like the USD. The startup’s goal is to enable the transfer of money across borders using stablecoins, thus significantly reducing the cost of remittances.
Integrating with Local Payment Networks
To allow users to cash out their stablecoins and make payments in local currencies, Kotani has developed a middleware that connects blockchains to local payment networks. This system works with networks that enable users to send money on feature phones without internet connectivity, using a protocol known as Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD).
B2B Solutions and Partnerships
Kotani offers its technology as a B2B solution, connecting crypto platforms’ smart contracts on one end and mobile money APIs on the other. Some of its major crypto partners include Yellowcard, DCG, Fonbank, Celo’s Valora, Mercy Corps, UNICEF Crypto Innovation Fund, and Stellar.
On-Ramping: Converting Local Currencies
In addition to cross-border remittances, Kotani also enables users to “on-ramp,” i.e., convert their local currencies into USD. This service is primarily offered to businesses but could potentially be extended to retail users in the future.