One month before thousands of well-heeled millennials were set to descend on a remote island in the Bahamas for the Fyre Festival to frolic on yachts, rub elbows with models, and hear acts like Blink 182 and Major Lazer, the organizers had a big problem.
They were running low on cash and the festival lacked fundamental necessities—toilets and showers, for example—and they were running out of time. One supplier told VICE News that when they were contacted by the festival in April, they told the organizers that all the money in the world wouldn't get trailers for toilets and showers past customs in time because that takes weeks to process. The festival was scheduled over two weekends in late April and early May.
"There was no infrastructure to even support the equipment. They didn't even have a loading dock, they had no understanding of what vehicles were on the island to even move the stuff off the ship once it got there," said the supplier. "They said stuff like, 'Don't worry about customs; it's only for a weekend, you don't have to worry about customs."
For me, RuPaul's Drag Race, the drag queen competition-based reality TV show that's in its ninth season, is prime fodder for dinner conversations with my friends. We often dissect the week's episode over a panini or a plate of nachos. Halfway through burritos last Monday, I had a realization: "We never see the queens eat on the show. What are they eating?" My best friend Fitz stopped mid-yucca fry with bewilderment. I realized we needed to find out.
A few things we knew already: In episode five of this season, contestants discussed sensitive body image issues within the LGBTQ community: After Eureka apologized for making a joke about eating disorders, Valentina admitted, "This is just such a touchy subject for me because I do probably still have an eating disorder. Before I left [to film the show], I promised my mom that I would eat every single day. It's so hard because sometimes I feel like I'm force-feeding myself."
Another contestant, Shea Couleé, also jumped into the conversation, saying, "I applaud you guys for opening up because in the past I've had a deep, deep battle with bulimia," citing beauty-standard pressures within the gay community (not necessarily the drag community) to look a certain way. "Sometimes people don't understand that, though we come across as these really strong, beautiful creatures, sometimes we're really struggling on the inside," she added.
Mami Slut is one of the only dance parties in Mexico City with a mission of "desculonialization," the liberation of culos with Latin beats. Since it was started a year and a half ago by DJ Travieza (Jovan Israel) and La Mendoza, the monthly celebration at Bahia Bar has become a premier gathering point for queer folks looking for a safe space to grind to reggaeton, cumbia, dembow, and basically anything other than the house music and Madonna songs that dominate the city's gay parties.
Like many of the revelers who come to the celebration, La Mendoza and DJ Travieza are artists who push boundaries with their creativity. La Mendoza identifies as a "travestí," a word reclaimed by activists that embodies an anti-colonial spirit and rejects Western gender constructs. When La Mendoza's not turning up at Mami Slut, she's designing clothes and teaching people how to vogue. DJ Travieza, on the other hand, is well known for his genderqueer drawings. When he DJs, it's almost always in drag. The two often coordinate their outfits, from candy-colored wigs in Sailor Moon–style buns, ripped fishnets, and wild décolletage to imprudent heels worn with carefully, hyperbolically lacquered pouts.
Their emphasis on style has spread to the attendees and helped turn Mami Slut's dance floor into a runway. Kitty ears, studded dog collars, and several dance partners at once are all popular accessories. Drag queens and twinks come out in full force to pay the 50 peso ($2.61) cover. Still, a large percentage of Mami's attendees are straight girls, who feel free to body roll without the persistent male douchebaggery they face at other local reggaeton parties. Travieza and La Mendoza are not the kind of people who would discourage this—their resident DJs Mataputos and Rosa Pistola project a distinct girls-first atmosphere.
Some might say that gender equality on the dance floor won't change the world. But I know that having a positive, communal space like Mami Slut can change someone's life, because it changed mine. At Mami Slut, I'm a better, more brazen, and somehow more gracious version of myself.
I remember one recent night when my friends lifted me onstage for the party's monthly twerk contest, which had a prize of 250 pesos (approximately $13.30 USD). I was wearing a long blue wig and an ominously short dress. Right when I hit the stage, I assumed the perreo position. The competition eventually came down to a final round between my ample hips and a boy whose rock hard six pack fought for attention with his piston-like go-go moves. I'm not going to lie, the kid was athletic. But don't believe what they tell you about potheads having weak lungs: My cheering section went hard.
In the end, Travieza had a difficult time judging the crowd's winner from the screams of the audience. It didn't seem fair that the Mami Slut crowd was going to have to decide between me and the go-go guy, two visions of perreo perfection. So I leaned over to my dance foe, put my mouth next to his ear, and asked, "What if we tied?" Go-go babe's eyes lit up, and he grabbed the microphone. "We're going to share the prize!" he shouted. The crowd squealed triumphantly. We were the conquerors of the night, our hang-ups, and reggaeton gender essentialists. Thanks for sharing the love Mami Slut, air kisses, and perreo duro para ti, siempre.
Scroll down for more photos of Mami Slut by Erin Lee Holland.
Body positivity is the hottest new trend in socially conscious marketing. If you want your brand in the news, it seems all you have to do is swap your stick-thin models with "real" people and watch the accolades roll in. But behind every photoshoot or body positive ad from Arie, Dove, or ModCloth, there's an army of fat-liberation activists: women and men who've been working for decades to free themselves and others like them from the social stigma that comes with living in a fat body.
We talked to some of the fat-posi movement's rising stars about their pet peeves about the fashion industry, the hate they get from strangers online, and the ways allies of the cause be supportive without dominating the conversation.
Jessica Hinkle: Owner of Proud Mary, a plus-size fashion site and blogger, stylist, and photographer at Fat Fashion
VICE: What inspired you to get into the plus-size fashion scene? Jessica Hinkle: I always wanted to work in fashion but didn't pursue it earlier because I felt that I wouldn't be welcome. I used to fill books with sketches of clothing and then get rid of them. When I was 20, I came across a fan zine with nude photos of Beth Ditto from the band the Gossip. It was the first time I'd felt my internalized fatphobia to be challenged, and I started to unlearn all the bullshit society tells us about our worth as determined by our size.
As someone with such a public profile, what kinds of things do strangers say to you that get under your skin? How do you deal with that? I've gotten a lot of messages where people tell me I'm disgusting and/or to kill myself. They say I glorify obesity when I actually glorify self-love. I don't understand why that threatens people so much. It used to affect me pretty intensely, but now I just get sad that someone is so full of anger and hate that they'd feel the need to break a stranger down in such a way.
I get looks and comments in the real world just wearing some of the things I do. People feel like you should hide when you're my size—that you should be ashamed for existing and therefore aren't allowed to be stylish and happy. I also get a lot of men messaging me because they assume a fat woman visible on the internet would be happy to get their attention. That affects me the most, at this point. It makes me mad that just existing is treated like an invitation for sexually explicit messages.
You've written about the connection between intentional weight loss and fat-phobia. Could you talk a little bit about the thinly veiled aura of anti-fatness you see lurking around "health" and weight-loss spaces? Everyone obviously should have autonomy over themselves, and I don't judge people for the choices they make concerning their bodies. Part of this issue is that the weight-loss industry makes a lot of money off of anti-fatness. We've been told our whole lives that being fat is one of the worst things you can be and that it's so "unhealthy." That health concerning has been used to justify anti-fatness countless times. People hide their fat-phobia as "concern" for our health.
If people want to work out and eat only salad, go for it. Do what makes you feel good. The problem comes when people are posting "before and after" images, which inherently champions being smaller as better. If that's how you feel, fine, but do not call yourself body-positive. In order to be body-positive, you have to acknowledge that people truly deserve respect and autonomy over their bodies without judgement. Fat people aren't "before" photos. We need to stop centering conversations about body-positivity around health in general.
Ariel Woodson and KC Slack: Co-hosts of Bad Fat Broads, a podcast breaking down "the bad fat bitch perspective on everything important"
VICE: What does body positivity mean to you, and how do you practice it in everyday life? Ariel Woodson: That phrase doesn't mean anything to me. It's been so devalued that it doesn't carry any weight. But if we're playing the question straight, body positivity at its best means an intersectional take on bodies. You want to prioritize the bodies that are most oppressed in our society and make sure things are equal for people. It means doing away with the real-world implications of living inside a body that people don't like. KC Slack: I actually think of our work as more about fat liberation than about body positivity. Not that I'm not positive about all bodies, but my analysis is that when the most marginalized bodies are freed, everyone will be able to have a more free relationship with their body. For me, body positivity means getting to feel good about the weird amazing gift that having a body is. Sometimes it really sucks to have a body. Sometimes, you're oppressed because of the shape, size, or overall look of your body. Sometimes, your body itself is painful. Those things are all real, but it's still amazing to have this tactile interface with the world via a body.
You both recently did a show called "The Airing of Fat Grievances," in which you called out companies that are getting a lot of positive press for promoting a super-sterilized and white version of fat acceptance. KC: It's really popular right now for brands to champion body positivity for everyone while their clothes stop at a size 20. I think that's hilarious, because it completely misses the point! For me, personally, Lane Bryant has been canceled for a long time because they keep doing this advertising around every body being OK, but every time I've been in a Lane Bryant, someone has tried to sell me something with a concealing stomach panel. It's just like, yo! Either my body is good and OK, or I need extra spandex in my pants so maybe people won't notice it. It's really upsetting. Woodson: Aerie has really monetized this body positivity thing. They talk about how they don't airbrush models, but they're still using models who are well within conventional beauty standards. Their largest model is, like, a size 12, and she's white. That's not really pushing any boundaries. On the practical side of it, I still can't shop at American Eagle! I can't fit into any of their clothes. I'm not saying that every brand has to cater to every single kind of body, but let's talk about what makes body positivity useful in marketing beyond the money grab.
What are some of the most frequent body-related aggressions you've encountered from people in your life? I went to the ER for something a couple weeks ago. Not that it matters, but I'm in excellent health. I don't have any of the things they like to tag fat people as having—I don't have high blood pressure, I'm not diabetic. Still, I couldn't get treated because the doctor couldn't stop harping on my weight. I was there because my feet had swollen up in the course of 24 hours, which had never happened to me before. All he could tell me was to go home and lose weight! OK!
I'm gonna go out on a limb here and assume that as self-assured, fat-positive women on the internet, you might get a little bit of hate. What are some of the most common things you hear, and how do you deal with that? KC: I have a perfectly absurd number of people blocked on Twitter. If somebody enters my mentions, I use a program called Block Chain that lets you just block everyone who follows someone. I just don't care! I don't think people are entitled to my space, and I don't think anyone is entitled to interact with me. I said something on Twitter recently about how you're actually not morally obligated to be healthy. A bunch of people told me to kill myself: "fat bitch, you'd be better off with a bullet in your head!" I also get a lot of people telling me I'm ugly and no one wants to fuck me, which is so incredibly not true that it's hard to take seriously.
What are some things people who want to be supportive of the fat-pos movement can do to change their ingrained stereotypes and behaviors? I would like it if people would notice physical space and how it excludes fat bodies. If you go to a restaurant and the chairs have arms, think about what it would be like if your hips were too wide to fit. Woodson: Listen to fat people. Fat people are the authority on the fat experience. If you have a friend who is practicing fat acceptance or body positivity, model that behavior. Even if you don't do it in your everyday life, just do it when you're around them.
Cat Polivoda: blogger, personal stylist, consultant, and owner of Cat's Closet, an online plus-size thrift shop
VICE: How do you practice body positivity in everyday life? Cat Polivoda: I strive to quash negative self talk and replace it with positive affirmations. I live as unapologetically as possible, especially when it comes to my size. Oh—and I pretty much remind myself how cute I am every time I walk past a mirror.
You recently came out with resolution resistance series, which breaks down the assumption that losing weight should be a goal for everyone. Can you talk a little bit about why you started it, and what it means to you? In our culture, it's a standard assumption that if you're curvy, plus-size, or fat, you must be actively trying to lose weight. On a very regular basis, accomplished business professionals and experts in their field aren't taken seriously because of their weight. People don't get promoted because of stereotypes about their size. And I hear countless painful stories from people whose parents have "never been prouder" of them as they were when they lost weight—never mind graduations, landing jobs, creating works of art, or any other accomplishments. Somehow, weight loss trumps all of those? It's both infuriating and heartbreaking.
You use the word "fat" to describe yourself, and you mention in a recent blog post that many in the body-pos community might find that radical. Can you explain why? Body positivity comes from fat liberation activism. Though I value parts of body positivity because I think it has allowed more people of all sizes to embrace their bodies, I am way more connected to fat liberation.
"Fat" is my preferred term. There is an element of reclaiming the word that I love. I think it's easier to actively resist misconceptions about fat people when I am comfortable with using the word. For instance, when people insist that I am "not fat" but I am, instead, "beautiful," I can remind them that I am both "fat and beautiful." Of course, "fat" is a very loaded term, and everyone gets to decide what words they want to use to describe themselves or with which to identify.
If you could change one thing about the way fat people are viewed in society, what would it be? Our bodies aren't something to be fixed. It's our culture that is in desperate need of repair. We deserve respect and access and representation right now. Those aren't things to be gained only if we change our bodies.
VICE: Why did you start blogging? Kelvin Davis: I started Notoriously Dapper after a bad experience at Express. I went to go get a blazer, and they unfortunately didn't have it in my size. I asked for a bigger size, and the lady said that they did not carry a larger size. That was really the first time, as a male, experiencing things not coming in my size. I felt the need to talk about that, but as a guy, the societal standard of masculinity is that you're not supposed to talk about body issues, anything emotional or anything that has to do with how you feel.
Scrolling through your personal Instagram , it looks like the vast majority of the feedback from fans is positive. However, you're also a mod for the Tess Holliday–led @effyourbeautystandards Instagram page, where I expect you see your fair share of negativity. How do you deal with that? Sometimes women in the community tell me to stop whining because women have to deal with so much more. I hear a lot of "suck it up and be a man." But body positivity is supposed to be for everyone. Tess Holliday chose me as a moderator because she wanted it to be for everybody. Not just for women. Not just for white people. For everybody! Every shape, every age, and every race and gender.
Have you ever experienced any real-life body aggressions from friends or family? I was at a pool party and somebody asked me why I had all these white marks all over my skin. It seemed like he thought I had a disease or something, he was worried about me. He was like, hey, man, what are all those white marks on the side of your stomach, do they itch? I was like NO! They don't itch! It's not a rash; they're just stretch marks. I just remember being like what the fuck! Are you serious?
Alysse Dalessandro: size-inclusive designer, writer, activist, and owner of Ready to Stare, a plus-size fashion and jewelry brand
VICE: Tell me about Ready to Stare. Where does the name come from? Alysse Dalessandro: I started Ready to Stare after I was fat-shamed on the street. I was walking along wearing a short dress, and someone yelled out of a car window: "Hey, fat girl! Stop trying to look skinny!" When you're confident but you don't fit the beauty standard, people are going to stare at you. I stood out because people who look like me are supposed to hate themselves; we're supposed to hide. So I called my brand Ready to Stare. I took a moment of shame and turned it into a celebration of the things that the people in that car were shaming me for.
A few years ago, you were in the news over photos of you in a red cupcake dress. You wrote a blog post about the hate you got, a lot of which was from women who objected to the shape of the dress on your body. Why was the cut of that dress controversial? Fashion for me is armor. I've always been bullied for the way that I dress, but as Rihanna says "she can beat me, but she can never beat my outfit." That's my mantra. I made this dress because I wanted it to exist. I actually modeled it after Rihanna's Grammy dress from a few years ago. When I put it out there, it bothered people, because it was a dress that was very obviously not trying to make me look thinner in any way. The idea that fashion for plus-size bodies is only acceptable if you are actively trying to look thinner became this huge point of contention for people.
You're pretty open about the trolling you get from people—both online and in person. Do you employ any self-care tactics to keep yourself sane? Just last week, someone went in on me saying, "Look at this whale standing there like she thinks she's a human female." That really struck me. When that person looks at me, they don't see a person; they see a whale. How dare I stand in a pose that someone they consider to be human would stand in? When someone says something that dehumanizing about me, I'll talk to a friend about it, delete it, or sometimes I'll leave them up so people can see how we get talked to. I think it's important to give some type of visibility to these comments because if this isn't your reality, you have no way of knowing how people treat us.
I know there's a debate in the body-positive community about using the word "fat" to describe yourself. How do you use that word? I really believe that words have power that we give them. When I say that my body is fat, I am removing the power that it's held over me in the past as an insult. It's literally just a description of the size of my body—"fat" doesn't mean ugly; "fat" doesn't mean worthless. When we take back the word and say "yeah, I'm fat and that's OK," we're kind of taking that power away from it. I think it does a lot of harm when people say they don't want to be called fat or plus-size. There's already a stigma against those words, so when you deny them and say you just want to be seen as "beautiful," you're enforcing the idea that fat can't mean beautiful, and that's a big problem.
Congratulations to all the Canadians who have done dumb shit while bombed on Bombay Sapphire in the past couple of months, you've just earned yourself a hell of an excuse.
You can now explain some of it away because, as it turns out, some bottles of Bombay Sapphire were a lot fucking stronger than advertised. So, if you punched your fist through that Corvette window, slept with that person at the bar you really shouldn't have slept with, or stole your neighbor's cat, well, it's now on the gin.
We know this because an investigation by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario quality assurance team found out that some of the gin was a little more ginny than it should have been.
"This recall was initiated after an investigation by LCBO Quality Assurance revealed a deviation in the stated 40 percent alcohol content by volume," reads a news release by the board. "The affected lot... has alcohol content by volume of 77 percent."
Hell yeah, that's so much more bang for your buck.
Not everyone followed that particular line of logic though—Saskatchewan, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland have all followed Ontario's lead in pulling the liquor from the shelves. Turns out having more alcohol in your drink than you advertised is, understandably, a major no-no.
Furthermore, this isn't the first time that extra-boozy booze has wound up on the shelves in Ontario. A few moths ago, the province recalled Georgian Bay Vodka because, again, it would fuck you up more than it was supposed to (the vodka, sold at 40 percent, had some bottles with up to 80 percent.)
Next time, just drink a whiskey—you can always blame it on whiskey.
People have been talking about Hulu's live TV service for months. How many channels will it offer? What will the deal be with local content? How much will it cost? All those questions have been answered with the beta launch of live TV on Hulu.
The service includes about 50 live channels plus the Hulu on-demand content you're already used to for $39.99 per month. As with the the traditional Hulu service, you can pay a bit more for no commercials on content in the on-demand library. It also comes with a cloud-based DVR, which allows you to record 50-hours of live TV (you can add extra storage for an additional $15 per month).
All that sounds good, but as with other services, it's not perfect. Live service isn't available on all devices yet. For instance, it will work on Xbox One, Apple TV (4th gen), Chromecast, and mobile devices, but Amazon Fire devices and Roku do not yet have the available support.
Republicans leaders in the House of Representatives announced Wednesday night that they will vote on Thursday to replace Obamacare with a renegotiated Trumpcare bill they expect will pass.
After months of haggling, Republicans expressed confidence they had finally crafted a bill that will get the 216 votes necessary. "Do we have the votes? Yes. Will we pass it? Yes," said Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, the second-highest ranking Republican.
The Trump administration is putting enormous pressure on members to support the new president in his first major legislative initiative, and it's possible that McCarthy and Republican leaders are calling the vote and projecting confidence as a final lean on squishy members.
Don't you hate it when you go see your favorite band and they don't return for an encore? It's not just disheartening, but honestly kind of disrespectful. That's how the media (and some of the general public) felt after White House press secretary Sean Spicer snuck out of a press conference without taking any questions.
During Wednesday night's episode of Desus & Mero, the hosts dissed "the Spiceman" for literally not doing his job—which definitely stung a lot more than when artists refuse to play their biggest hits.
You can watch last night'sDesus & Merofor free online now, and be sure to catch new episodes weeknights at 11 PM on VICELAND.
This story appears in the May issue of VICE magazine. Click HERE to subscribe.
After months of resistance and public outcry, on December 4, 2016, the Obama administration announced it would halt construction on the Dakota Access pipeline, and the Army Corps of Engineers soon started conducting a study on the potentially harmful effects it could have on the environment. But the effort didn't last long. In January, President Trump gave instructions to cease the study, which meant construction could begin again. Then, in February, North Dakota governor Doug Burgum, citing safety concerns, issued an emergency evacuation order, giving protesters until the 22nd to leave their camps near Lake Oahe. Larry Towell, who has spent years documenting Native American issues in Canada and the US, made his third and perhaps final trip to the pipeline. There, at the Oceti Sakowin camp, he captured the remaining water protectors—the demonstrators, many of them tribal leaders and young people from around the country. The next day, police trucks and construction vehicles entered the camp, and some holdouts fled onto the frozen Cannonball River.
This story appears in the May issue of VICE magazine. Click HERE to subscribe.
Before March 28 of this year, something exciting and potentially world-changing (in a good way) was playing out in Pennsylvania. Seven young plaintiffs, including 17-year-old Rekha Dhillon-Richardson, were suing their state, arguing that the government had failed to protect their constitutional rights by refusing to adequately and immediately combat climate change. Article I, Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution guarantees "the right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic, and esthetic values of the environment." This groundbreaking case, which requested strict reduction and regulation of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse-gas emissions in order to ensure a habitable planet for young people and future generations, made its way through the legal system until the Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently upheld a lower court's ruling in the state's favor.
Even though they lost, Dhillon-Richardson and her allies made important ethical and legal arguments on the public stage. As many of us adjust to a presidential administration that denies the reality of climate change and scoffs at basic science, I talked to Dhillon-Richardson about what we can learn from this case and its creative pursuit of state-based avenues for progressive action.
VICE: Why did you get involved in this case? Rekha Dhillon-Richardson: Because I believe that it is absolutely crucial that youth are central players in developing local and national strategies to fight environmental degradation. The fundamental human rights and futures of children and youth are disproportionately threatened by climate destabilization, even though we have had little to do with the production of the problem.
What have you learned being part of this process? It's taught me how to be a more effective advocate for the things that I believe in and to use whatever avenues necessary to seek change and bring about justice. I have also learned that the court process is extremely slow; it is hard to make quick and significant changes through the courts. Those of us deeply concerned about issues of environmental injustice would be wise to explore multiple strategies to challenge the government.
Pennsylvania's environmental constitutional rights are pretty impressive. What do you think about the fact that we have rights on the books that aren't implemented? Although Pennsylvania has extensive environmental constitutional protections, it is shameful and shortsighted that they are not being put into practice. I am encouraged by our government's consideration of the right to clean air, water, and natural resources—these are rights that everyone should have. However, it is very disappointing that Pennsylvania is failing to do the work to actually ensure that these rights are upheld. This case made me realize that just because a law is created in theory does not mean that it is applied in reality.
Has the new administration changed how you think about the case and what needs to be done to protect the environment? The people Trump has chosen for his Cabinet are dangerous and are now in a position of authority. With this new administration that threatens the environmental movement, it is imperative that we continue to take immediate and significant action—protests, public education, youth organizing, and challenges in the court are all part of this resistance.
Are there things young people see about the future that older people don't? My generation is ready and willing to fight for our human rights and for the rights of our earth. There are amazing kids all around the world who are standing up to environmental degradation and who live with the consequences of the decisions around extractive industries that are made in places like the United States. The natural world that my generation and the future generations will inherit is going to be very different than the one that older people have enjoyed. I think young people have the ability to imagine a better world—to have a vision for the longer term.
Do you think previous generations have let people your age down? I do think we have been let down. Children across the globe have trusted the adults to make the right decisions—to lead us forward into a cleaner and more just future for everyone. We have been harmed by decisions that were made without our authorization.
What are your plans for the future? Has being part of this case shaped what you want to do later on? I plan to become an environmental scientist—I start college this fall—and continue my advocacy work for climate justice, with a focus on areas in the world that are disproportionately impacted. Being part of this case has confirmed that young people are needed more than ever. Consequently, I also plan to continue to create platforms for young people to become leaders alongside me.