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Why Jordan Peele is On His Way To Becoming the Next Horror Master

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Jordan Peele
PHOTO | AP
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When a filmmaker comes out of the gate with a film that’s universally loved by audiences, lauded by critics and is financially successful as ‘Get Out’ was in 2017, it’s rare to see a director follow it up with something comparable.

Jordan Peele, the writer, projector and director of ‘Us,’ did just that with the release of his last film.

The film shattered the previous open weekend box office records, making an astounding $70 million. At the time of writing, the film has already made $90 million domestically.

Coming from a comedy background, Peele shocked many with how innovative, creative and horrifying his debut film was. Naturally, many had questions about how good of a job a sketch comedian turned first-time director would be.

‘Get Out’ silenced those critics and earned the love of fans and critics alike, winning an Academy Award for best original screenplay and nominations for both Best Picture and Best Director.

After his sophomore effort has been even more successful than his debut film, it’s now undeniable that Peele is not only a horror auteur but a director making films with a level of representation Hollywood has never seen before.

Peele told Variety in a recent interview, “‘Get Out’ is the beginning of a movement of representation in the genre of social relevance in fun movies — of elegant, artistic movies that also can have great box office potential,” Peele said. “It’s the same in television. I think people recognize that if you’re going to make something in this subgenre, we’re the experts.”

After the success of ‘Get Out,’ Peele created his LA-based production company Monkeypaw Productions, which he’s used to start work on upcoming projects like CBS’s ‘Twilight Zone’ reboot, a first-look deal with Amazon Studios and an upcoming animated series.

Peele’s films are so great not only for their exceptional direction, horrifying subject matter, and poignant socio-political messages but for how his films are unafraid to feature people of color in leading roles.

British actor Daniel Kaluuya was the leading man in ‘Get Out,’ earning a Best Actor nod at the Academy Awards, an NAACP Award and a National Society of Film Critics award for best actor.

The wide majority of the ‘Us’ cast are black as well, with the four main characters played by Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex all playing dual roles.

With ‘Us,’ Peele did something not many horror directors have. He cast people of color as the leads without putting emphasis on the color of their skin. The characters in this movie could have been any race and it would not have impacted the story that all.

That’s something we don’t see often in Hollywood regardless of genre and it’s a major step towards proper representation on screen.

After all, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that innovative, celebrated films like ‘Black Panther’ and ‘Sorry To Bother You’ with majority black casts created black creatives like Ryan Coogler and Boots Riley have been applauded by audiences and critics alike.

Peele is positioning himself as a leading force in both the horror genre and an innovative force for black excellence on the big screen.

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Culture

Ricky Williams Flips the Script with new Highsman Brand

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PHOTO | HIGHSMAN

Once scrutinized by sports pundits and fans alike for using cannabis, Ricky Williams, is flipping the script with Highsman — his new cannabis lifestyle brand line of personally curated products.

Created to empower professional and everyday athletes as well as sports enthusiasts alike, Highsman offers premium quality cannabis as well as a collection of apparel and accessories designed to compliment an active lifestyle on and off the field. 

“It is time we change the way we talk about cannabis,” says Williams. “Highsman is about an appreciation for greatness. There is a passionate and dedicated team behind the brand, and together we want to help all people inspire greatness in themselves.” 

Initially offered as pre-packaged eighths, three cultivars have been curated by Williams to compliment moments in the day. Pre-Game is a sativa for an energized boost; Half-Time is a hybrid for focused awareness; and the Post-Game Indica offers a relaxed mood. A line of pre-rolls is currently in development.

Williams brings a deep knowledge of herbs, sports and wellness to the brand. He studied the origins of cannabis in the foothills of the Himalayas and spent years learning about the healing properties of the plant. He credits smoking cannabis as a way of overcoming the challenges associated with being a professional athlete, from social anxiety to physical injuries. 

“Highsman is at the intersection of sports and cannabis and was created for fans and aficionados of both.” says Eric Hammond, CEO. “Years in the making, Highsman launches at a tipping point where sports and cannabis collide, and we are excited to continue to break boundaries between the two.” 

A supporting collection of sports-inspired streetwear varsity jackets and baseball tees and must-have smoking accoutrements — rolling trays, pelican cases, water bottles — are also available. that compliments the Highsman lifestyle.

Highsman cannabis is available at select retailers in California and Oregon and online

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Culture

Stevie Van Zandt Launches Little Steven’s Underground Apothecary, Grown By Iconic Cultivator Chemdog

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Little Steven’s Underground Apothecary
STEVIE VAN ZANDT

Stevie Van Zandt is a founding member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, Silvio Dante of The Sopranos, a New York Times best selling author and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer — and he’s adding cannabis to his iconic credentials. Van Zandt is getting into the weed game with his eponymous line of pre-rolls under the name Little Steven’s Underground Apothecary. 

The pre-rolls contain high-CBD, low-THC craft cannabis grown by Smash Hits cannabis — Canna Provisions proprietary craft cannabis flower. Van Zandt is certainly in good hands as the Director of Cultivation of Canna Provisions is non-other than legendary grower Chemdog.

Meg Sanders, Canna Provisions CEO, said, “Little Steven wanted to be sure to have an approachable, low-THC and high-CBD cannabis that is less about the recreational high, and more for people seeking the benefits of cannabis and cannabinoids like high-CBD cannabis on the body and mind.”

Little Steven’s Underground Apothecary Pre-Rolls | PHOTO CREDIT

According to the website, “this cannabis is meant to provide a powerful feeling of well being and enriching your endocannabinoid system with high-CBD and low-THC flower, so it’s less of a stoned-high and more a full body balancing effect with uplifting pep.”

Like so many others, the pandemic gave the guitar hero and a wake up call on the importance of personal well-being, promting him to create his Underground Apothecary, which offers a range of holistic teas, lollipops, candles and now pre-rolls.

“I have always demanded the very best from myself and of everyone around me, and my new wellness brand Little Steven’s Underground Apothecary is no different,” says Van Zandt. “Products like Smash Hits cannabis are like my other partners for the Apothecary – the best I can find in the world. So enjoy, be well, and stay focused on the only part of our destinies we totally control – what we choose to put in our bodies.”

“We need to help spread cannabis education, destigmatization, and stop unjust criminalization for a plant that not only does a lot of good, but has proven during COVID to be almost as essential as art to people’s well being and quality of life,” says Van Zandt.

To that end, ten percent of all profits from Van Zandt’s Little Steven’s Underground Apothecary will be given to the National Organization for Marijuana Legalization (NORML).

Canna Provisions, home of Little Steven’s Underground Apothecary | PHOTO CREDIT

Available exclusively at Canna Provisions dispensaries in Lee and Holyoake, Massachusetts.

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Culture

Stuff & Puff Berner’s New Cali Pre-Roll

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Cali
PHOTO | VIBES

Cannabis mogul Berner has dropped the latest must-have pre-roll paper from his premium rolling paper brand, Vibes. A fresh alternative to the traditional cone, The Cali is a cylindrical pre-roll tube that’s been designed for optimum airflow for the optimal smoking experience.

In a press release, the Bay Area rapper says that he’s been rolling for over 20 years, and that over that time, he was constantly told by friends that they would smoke joints over blunts if they could roll them. So he partnered with Greenlane to develop this innovative alternative.

PHOTO: Vibes

“As passionate smokers, and connoisseurs, we are gonna continue to focus on quality papers and products that consumers are missing, such as The Cali,” said Berner in a press release.

“All you have to do is stuff and puff with The Cali.”

The Cali is dedicated to those of us who like a big-smoke experience. We found the papers to burn very evenly and smoothly. They are also easy to extinguish and relight,  and even burn evenly in areas where I packed it too tightly or too loose (deliberately, before y’all start commenting). 

Plus, The Cali pre-rolls are massive, so make sure you have plenty of herb on hand for your next session to fully enjoy the experience either with your homies or when you’re chilling alone.

The Cali Collection | PHOTO: Vibes

The Cali is offered in three sizes — one, two, and three gram — across all four signature Vibes paper collections: Ultra Thin, Rice, Hemp, and Organic Hemp

Look for Vibes papers at your local retailer nationwide.

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