This Art Exhibition Is Raising Money for Women to Run for Office

The art exhibition “She Inspires,” which opened May 2 at the Untitled Space in New York, showcases artwork inspired by women who left their mark on history. The massive collection includes portraits of historical figures like Egyptian queen Nefertiti, Nina Simone, and Queen Elizabeth II, and contemporary icons including Michelle Obama and Alicia Keys. Ten percent of the show’s proceeds will go to She Should Run, an organization that encourages women to run for office.

Nineteen paintings from the show appear in the exhibit and each image is noted with the women who inspired the piece. Artist Rebecca Leveille explained choosing Michelle Obama for her portrait State of Grace: “What she represents in all her actions, in her very identity, the best things about what a powerful woman is and what they can do with the grace of their spirit — she inspires,” she said. Click the image below to preview the exhibit.

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Facebook Is Hiring 3,000 People to Monitor Content

According to AdWeek, Facebook is hiring 3,000 more people for its community operations team, which reviews sensitive material to keep violence, hate speech and child exploitation off the platform. The move brings the division up to 7,500 employees.

In response to a string of disturbing videos that have surfaced on the social network in recent weeks, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company is expanding its global community operations team.

Zuckerberg said employees will be tasked with reviewing the “millions of reports” the platform receives every week. He said reviewers will help the company more quickly remove content that violates Facebook policies while working with local law enforcement to respond when needed.

“Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen people hurting themselves and others on Facebook—either live or in video posted later,” Zuckerberg wrote. “It’s heartbreaking, and I’ve been reflecting on how we can do better for our community. If we’re going to build a safe community, we need to respond quickly. We’re working to make these videos easier to report so we can take the right action sooner—whether that’s responding quickly when someone needs help or taking a post down.”

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Last month, it announced it’s exploring the use of machine learning to prevent offensive videos from being shared.

“No one should be in this situation in the first place,” he wrote. “But if they are, then we should build a safe community that gets them the help they need.”

Today, community activists and civic leaders in Chicago met with Facebook officials Thursday to urge more aggressive action to curb violence on Live as the social media giant faces a backlash from users traumatized by grisly images of shootings, suicides and murders on the streaming service. The meeting came in response to a call from Rev. Jesse Jackson and Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin to shut down Live for 30 days following last month’s murder of Cleveland grandfather Robert Godwin Sr.

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Facebook and Rainbow Push Officials Meet. Credit: USA Today. 

Barack and Michelle Obama Give $2M to Summer Jobs Programs

Former President Barack Obama hosted a community event at the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago on Wednesday — and made some big announcements about the future plans for his center’s campus.

The 44th president announced he and his wife, Michelle Obama, will be donating $2 million to summer jobs programs in Chicago.

“One of the things that we will be starting this year is Michelle and I, personally, are going to donate $2 million to our summer jobs programs here in the community, so that right away young people can get to work, and we can start providing opportunities to all of them,” Obama said.

Check out some of the details here:

IBM Watson is an Art Instructor…and I Love It

Almost three-quarters of Brazilians have never been inside a museum, according to a 2010 study from the Brazilian Institute of Economic Research. There are probably many reasons for this, but among them is the feeling that art can seem inaccessible unless you’ve studied it.

For the launch of IBM Watson in Brazil, Ogilvy Brazil created an interactive guide that lets people have conversations with work housed at the Pinacoteca de São Paulo Museum. “The Voice of Art” replaces pre-recorded audio guides with a Watson-powered program that gleans data from books, old newspapers, recent articles, biographies, interviews and the internet.

It took IBM six months to teach Watson how to make sense of all that content. Hosted on cloud platform IBM Bluemix, its AI capabilities were put to work answering spontaneous questions about art by renowned Brazilian creators like Cândido Portinari, Tarsila do Amaral and José Ferraz de Almeida Júnior.

Witness the magic below:

I recently got to experience this technology hands on. IBM is sponsoring “Art with Watson,” a special exhibit at the Cadillac House gallery, 330 Hudson Street, in New York City’s SOHO through 4.7.

The show includes portraits of pioneers of science, society, business and design — including Marie Curie, Nikola Tesla, Charles Darwin, Eleanor Roosevelt, Josephine Baker, Thomas J. Watson and Paul Rand — all created by modern artists with the help of IBM Watson technology. Watson provided the artists with unusual insights into each subject – from Nikola Tesla’s patents and journals, to Marie Curie’s correspondence with her children.

The exhibit also features a “cognitive photobooth” that puts Watson in the hands of individual attendees. Based on responses to a series of questions, Watson creates a personal portrait with the same APIs used to create the gallery portraits. Check mine out below and learn more about Art with Watson here.

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Giving Water

When Detroit began shutting off the water supply to thousands of the city’s poorest and most vulnerable residents who were behind on their water bills in 2014, U.N. experts called it a violation of human rights. Three years later, the same thing is still happening. On April 19, Detroit Water and Sewerage Department began another round of mass shutoffs.

One nonprofit has a simple way to help: If you donate money, they’ll use it to pay off overdue bills.

The Human Utility first launched in 2014 as the Detroit Water Project, when cofounder Tiffani Bell–a Code for America fellow at the time, based in Oakland–read about the situation in Detroit and started tweeting about it. As she dug around on the water company’s website, she found a list of delinquent accounts and began to speculate about helping pay them off. Bell worked remotely with another volunteer she met on Twitter (Kristy Tillman, now head of communication design at Slack) to quickly build a website to connect donors with people in need.

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Initially, volunteers manually matched donors with people who reached out for help. Now, all donations go into one pool, and anyone with an overdue bill fills out an application that automatically screens them for qualification; they also provide supporting documents like pay stubs.

After going through the Y Combinator program in early 2015, the organization expanded to also work in and around Baltimore, where the donations have helped some families keep their homes.

“You can lose your house over a water bill as well,” she says. “If you don’t pay it…they’ll essentially tack the bill onto your property taxes. So if you don’t pay the property taxes, you’ll lose the house in a tax sale.” Since 2015, the organization has helped around 40 families in Baltimore stay in their houses.

The Human Utility also helps people living in cities near Detroit, although not Flint–where residents pay three times the national average rate for water that still comes from lead-tainted pipes. “We don’t think people should be paying for the water there at all when you can’t drink it in the first place,” Bell says. Flint water shutoffs began in April.

Beyoncé is Helping Young Women Get in Formation

By way of her  website, Queen B has announced she is awarding four college students with scholarships under her recently launched “Formation Scholars” program. In celebration of the one-year anniversary of her award-winning album Lemonade, this scholarship was formed to “encourage and support young women who are unafraid to think outside the box and are bold, creative, conscious and confident.”

The college and universities selected for participation are Berklee College of Music, Howard University, Parson School of Design and Spelman College.

The scholarship will be awarded to one female student, incoming, current or graduate, pursuing studies in creative arts, music, literature, or African-American studies during the 2017-2018 academic year.

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Speaking of Lemonade, It’s been a little more than a year since B’s album by the same name had its surprise release on April 23, 2016, following an HBO special that featured videos for every track on the record. The album was actually the world’s best selling in 2016. To celebrate, the Queen has assembled “The How to Make Lemonade Box Set,” described as a “momentous tome and comprehensive look” at her “’Lemonade’ journey.”

Selling for $299.99 in a limited edition of 2,500 copies, the set will offer “unprecedented insight” into the making of the album, with a numbered, collector’s, 600-page coffee table book, a first pressing of the double-vinyl LP, and assorted audio and visual album downloads.  The vinyl discs come in a lemon color, of course.

The Return of TRL

Get your pink, crystal-studded Razr phone out and text a friend: TRL is coming back.

The show originally ran from 1998 to 2008, and it was an MTV masterpiece. As well showcasing the 10 most requested music videos of the day, TRL featured a plethora of celebrity guest stars and aired from the network’s studio in Times Square. So news that TRL is coming back to MTV is a major cause for celebration.

According to Adweek, the show will be returning in June, rebranded as MTV Live (or at least that’s the tentative title). The resurrection is the brainchild of MTV’s newest president, Chris McCarthy, who told Adweek, “That ability to be live, in culture — not responding to it but driving it — is where we belong.” His passion for the magic of TRL is something ’90s kids will be able to relate to, especially if it means seeing all of our favorite stars on MTV on a daily basis, live from Manhattan.

Apparently, MTV’s Times Square studio space has also been renovated, so it is now double the size and could broadcast as much as “three or four hours live from the studio each day.”

As an MTV alum, this gives me all the feels. I’ll be watching!

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Destiny’s Child with Carson Daley at TRL