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5 Things We Learned From Kehlani’s Candid Interview About Life and Loss

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Related: Black Lives Matter Protests That Are Changing The World

2020 has been an emotional roller coaster for many people.

Yet, singer-songwriter Kehlani had no clue what a tumultuous year this would be when she first conceptualized her latest album, It Was Good Til It Wasn’t. (How on the nose the album title turned out to be.)

And while this latest musical venture–which dropped back in May amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic–is a high for Kehlani, she has faced some hardships this year, too. For a new profile with Bustle, the “Toxic” singer revealed how she’s persevering through a time of great loss, civil unrest against police brutality and systemic racism and more.

At the same time, Kehlani gave a look into her big heart and shared insight into her love language. “I’ve been able to identify the difference between what is feeding my ego and what is feeding my soul,” she explained to the publication. “Understanding that I feel fuller longer after things like seeing my family on holiday versus how I feel after I buy myself something.”

Here, we compiled some of Kehlani’s most candid quotes for an exclusive first look at the profile. Scroll on to see what she had to say.

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Inspiring Moments from Black Lives Matter Protests

On Coming to Terms With Death:

As detailed in the profile, Kehlani had recently experienced a heartbreaking loss before participating in the interview. Specifically, Kehlani’s friend and fellow artist Ryan Bowers took his own life back in July. “I just lost my third friend this year and it’s only been half the year,” the singer shared. “So, that’s been strange, just processing that, but also just trying not to feel guilty, has been the hardest thing.”

Previously, Kehlani also mourned the loss of rapper friends Lexii Alijai and Chynna Rogers. As she said, “I’ve had to almost develop this relationship with death that I kind of always had… of really being conscious about what I do while I’m here.”

Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Audi

On Being in Public Relationships:

Kehlani isn’t hiding her personal life from the public eye. Even after several public breakups, including her February split from rapper YG, the 25-year-old artist clarified that she’s only worrying about what brings her joy.

“There’s been some people that are always like, ‘You’re always in a relationship and we just see you do this and this and this.’ And I’m just like, ‘Why aren’t you going out and experiencing things?'” she said. “I’m not hurting anyone. I’m not hurting myself. I’m bringing myself joy. I’m not holding back because I really understand time. I try to go spend as much time thoughtfully creating those moments as I can.”

On Acts of Service:

For Kehlani, acts of service is one of the best ways to show love and support. She articulated this by noting, “When I do feel it, which I do, acknowledging that I have a way to assist others, is just the biggest balance for me.”

She continued, “There’s literally nothing that feels better than being of some type of service. So when I hit the point of ‘I’m feeling all of this’ I find it helpful to acknowledge that I can do shit about it in other ways.”

Most recently, she curated care packages for those who need them. “I just dropped off some bath salt and CBD to a bunch of the homies the other day who were out protesting and got arrested, and their bodies were all sore,” the mom of 17-month-old Adeya said. “So even being able to know that I can’t show up for this protest because there’s a lot of exposure to people and I don’t want to bring a virus home to my baby, but what I can do is go take care of the people who’ve been protesting, is helpful.”

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Stars Donating to Black Lives Matter Organizations

On the Need to Support Black Women and the Black Queer Community:

In the interview, Kehlani revealed that the rape and killing of Toyin Salau has hit her “the hardest.” Thus, she made a call for those within the Black community to protect women and Black queer people.

“There has to be some type of real step of accountability from inside the community,” she said. “If we’re really asking for abolition, we’re asking for the eradication of the people that are supposed to protect us, which means the after effect of that is we’re going to have to have our own systems developed within our community–that has to start now. That protection, that sharing, that let me reach out, let me help with this. How can I be a service? That has to start now. And that has to come with some sense of protecting our most vulnerable, protecting our children and our women and our trans women and our queer Black people.”

On What She’s Teaching Her Daughter:

Kehlani wants a better future for daughter. In order to achieve that, she plans to learn and listen to activists leading the charge. And, in result, will share that wisdom with her little one.

“I want her to be able to walk around here knowledgeable, to be able to feel confident that when she opens her mouth to teach somebody else that it’s accurate,” she said. “So I always have to come from an accurate standpoint in order to do that for her.”

Fore more from Kehlani, check out her full Bustle interview here.

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Netflix is developing a live action ‘Assassin’s Creed’ show

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Netflix announced this morning that it’s partnering with Ubisoft to adapt the game publisher’s “Assassin’s Creed” franchise into a live action series.

The franchise jumps around in history, telling the story of a secret society of assassins with “genetic memory” and their centuries-long battle the knights templar. It has sold 155 million games worldwide and was also turned into a nearly incomprehensible 2016 film starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, which underperformed at the box office.

The companies say that they’re currently looking for a showrunner. Jason Altman and Danielle Kreinik of Ubisoft’s film and television division will serve as executive producers. (In addition to working on adaptations of Ubisoft’s intellectual property, the publisher is also involved in the Apple TV+ industry comedy “Mythic Quest.”)

“We’re excited to partner with Ubisoft and bring to life the rich, multilayered storytelling that Assassin’s Creed is beloved for,” said Netflix’s vice president of original series Peter Friedlander in a statement. “From its breathtaking historical worlds and massive global appeal as one of the best selling video game franchises of all time, we are committed to carefully crafting epic and thrilling entertainment based on this distinct IP and provide a deeper dive for fans and our members around the world to enjoy.”

It sounds like there could be follow-up shows as well, with the announcement saying that Netflix and Ubisoft will “tap into the iconic video game’s trove of dynamic stories with global mass appeal for adaptations of live action, animated, and anime series.”

Netflix recently placed an eight-episode order for “Resident Evil,” another video game franchise that was previously adapted for the big screen. And it also had a big hit with its adaptation of “The Witcher,” which is based on a fantasy book series that was popularized via video games.

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Original Content podcast: ‘Lovecraft Country’ is gloriously bonkers

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As we tried to recap the first season of HBO’s “Lovecraft Country,” one thing became clear: The show is pretty nuts.

The story begins by sending Atticus “Tic” Freeman (Jonathan Majors), his friend Leti Lewis (Jurnee Smolett) and his uncle George (Courtney B. Vance) on a road trip across mid-’50s America in search of Tic’s missing father. You might assume that the search will occupy the entire season, or take even longer than that; instead, the initial storyline is wrapped up quickly.

And while there’s a story running through the whole season, most of the episodes are relatively self-contained, offering their own versions on various horror and science fiction tropes. There’s a haunted house episode, an Indiana Jones episode, a time travel episode and more.

The show isn’t perfect — the writing can be clunky, the special effects cheesy and cheap-looking. But at its best, it does an impressive job of mixing increasingly outlandish plots, creepy monsters (with plentiful gore) and a healthy dose of politics.

After all, “Lovecraft Country” (adapted form a book by Matt Ruff) is named after notoriously racist horror writer H.P. Lovecraft, but it focuses almost entirely on Black characters, making the case that old genres can be reinvigorated with diverse casts and a rethinking of political assumptions.

In addition to reviewing the show, the latest episode of the Original Content podcast also includes a discussion of Netflix earnings, the new season of “The Bachelorette” and the end of Quibi.

You can listen in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You can also follow us on Twitter or send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!)

And if you’d like to skip ahead, here’s how the episode breaks down:
0:00 Intro
0:36 Netflix discussion
3:18 “The Bachelorette”
6:30 Quibi
14:35 “Lovecraft Country” review
31:32 “Lovecraft Country” spoiler discussion

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The short, strange life of Quibi

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“All that is left now is to offer a profound apology for disappointing you and, ultimately, for letting you down,” Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman wrote, closing out an open letter posted to Medium. “We cannot thank you enough for being there with us, and for us, every step of the way.”

With that, the founding executives confirmed the rumors and put Quibi to bed, a little more than six months after launching the service.

Starting a business is an impossibly difficult task under nearly any conditions, but even in a world that’s littered with high-profile failures, the streaming service’s swan song was remarkable for both its dramatically brief lifespan and the amount of money the company managed to raise (and spend) during that time.

A month ahead of its commercial launch, Quibi announced that it had raised another $750 million. That second round of funding brought the yet-to-launch streaming service’s funding up to $1.75 billion — roughly the same as the gross domestic product of Belize, give or take $100 million.

“We concluded a very successful second raise which will provide Quibi with a strong cash runway,” CFO Ambereen Toubassy told the press at the time. “This round of $750 million gives us tremendous flexibility and the financial wherewithal to build content and technology that consumers embrace.”

Quibi’s second funding round brought the yet-to-launch streaming service’s funding up to $1.75 billion — roughly the same as the gross domestic product of Belize, give or take $100 million.

From a financial perspective, Quibi had reason to be hopeful. Its fundraising ambitions were matched only by the aggressiveness with which it planned to spend that money. At the beginning of the year, Whitman touted the company’s plans to spend up to $100,000 per minute of programming — $6 million per hour. The executive proudly contrasted the jaw-dropping sum to the estimated $500 to $5,000 an hour spent by YouTube creators.

For Whitman and Katzenberg — best known for their respective reigns at HP and Disney — money was key to success in an already crowded marketplace. $1 billion was a drop in the bucket compared to the $17.3 billion Netflix was expected to spend on original content in 2020, but it was a start.

Following in the footsteps of Apple, who had also recently announced plans to spend $1 billion to launch its own fledgling streaming service, the company was enlisting A-List talent, from Steven Spielberg, Guillermo del Toro and Ridley Scott to Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Lopez and LeBron James. If your name carried any sort of clout in Hollywood boardrooms, Quibi would happily cut you a check, seemingly regardless of content specifics.

Quibi’s strategy primarily defined itself by itself by its constraints. In hopes of attracting younger millennial and Gen Z, the company’s content would be not just mobile-first, but mobile-only. There would be no smart TV app, no Chromecast or AirPlay compatibility. Pricing, while low compared to the competition, was similarly off-putting. After a 90-day free trial, $4.99 got you an ad-supported subscription. And boy howdy, were there ads. Ads upon ads. Ads all the way down. Paying another $3 a month would make them go away.

Technological constraints and Terms of Service fine print forbade screen shots — a fundamental understanding of how content goes viral in 2020 (though, to be fair, one shared with other competing streaming services). Amusingly, the inability to share content led to videos like this one of director Sam Raimi’s perplexingly earnest “The Golden Arm.”

It features a built-on laugh track from viewers as Emmy winner Rachel Brosnahan lies in a hospital bed after refusing to remove a golden prosthetic. It’s an allegory, surely, but not one intentionally played for laughs. Many of the videos that did ultimately make the rounds on social media were regarded as a curiosity — strange artifacts from a nascent streaming service that made little sense on paper.

Most notable of all, however, were the “quick bites” that gave the service its confusingly pronounced name. Each program would be served in 5-10 minute chunks. The list included films acquired by the service, sliced up into “chapters.” Notably, the service didn’t actually purchase the content outright; instead, rights were set to revert to their creators after seven years. Meanwhile, after two years, content partners were able to “reassemble” the chunks back into a movie for distribution.

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