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I think I want my kid to dance just because I can’t. When I see clips of Memphis “Jookin” — a dance style I’ll tell you more about below — I can’t help but think how cool it would be to see my daughter on stage doing that. In today’s mix, we’ll introduce you to some father-daughter duos taking on the world, plus what happens when we blast past that world and to some of the greatest power couples of all time. And as for my princess becoming a battle dancer? Who knows.
Joshua Eferighe, Reporter
News in a Minute
1. Humanitarian Crisis
More than 3 million Texans are still without power while heating their homes with gas stoves and watching as icicles form on indoor ceiling fans. Texas Republicans, who have fully controlled the state government since 2003, blamed renewable energy and the Green New Deal, while the state’s own energy department said the problem was failing to winterize fossil fuel pipelines. (Sources: WaPo, The Weather Channel, The Week)
2. Sputnik Landing
The Russian COVID-19 vaccine, Sputnik V, is spreading through Latin America as a new form of diplomatic soft power. Six nations have gladly accepted the aid, and staunch U.S. ally Colombia seems poised to join them while looking past human rights protests in Moscow and its own expulsion of two Russian diplomats just three months ago. (Sources: CNN, Foreign Policy)
3. Rush Signs Off
Rush Limbaugh, the “king of conservative talk radio,” died Wednesday at the age of 70 after battling lung cancer. Beginning 33 years ago, his bombastic show aired on more than 600 stations across the U.S., drawing an audience of 15 million listeners, affectionately known as “Dittoheads'' for agreeing with the host. More recently, Limbaugh faced scrutiny for bigoted comments and “stolen” election claims. (Sources: New York Times, AP)
4. Payment Plan
Google agreed to pay Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation for its stories, just days before Australia considers a law to set prices for online news content. The agreement, part of a $1 billion initiative to pay publishers around the world, sets a precedent for tech giants to fund the news industry they’ve helped decimate — although Facebook is holding out, blocking Australian users from sharing news articles. (Sources: BBC, WaPo)
The tooth fairy was shirking its duty some million years ago. Researchers in Siberia have just dug up a pair of mammoth teeth that set a record for ancient DNA, predating that of a horse’s genome dating from 560,000 to 780,000 years and even the existence of humans.
Dive into the wild world of spies, warriors and heroes with CuriosityStream’s Military History Collection. The coolest new streaming service brings you the best of nonfiction. Interested in something else? They have thousands of documentaries on topics ranging from food to space exploration to animals.
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While history tends to repeat itself, Father Time is at least kind enough to sometimes give it a remix. Cue this version of the Cold War space race, as players in the battle for intergalactic superiority are a lot more diverse this time around. China and the U.S. seem to be taking the lead, but the United Arab Emirates made history with its probe, Hope, which landed on Feb. 9, making it the first Arab nation to have a scientific presence on the Red Planet. Unlike last time, Russia is trailing the field as its Roscosmos mission was postponed until 2022 due to technical issues.
2. New Dominance
If you’re wondering what the big deal is, consider how global power status is at play down on Earth. President Xi Jinping wants to use the mission as a 100th-birthday gift to his Chinese Communist Party, channeling government and military resources to the cause. China considers space a “tool of geopolitical and diplomatic competition,” according to the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. Meanwhile, the Indian government’s 2019-20 annual report showed plans to launch a space agency for military defense. Who knows, maybe they’ll revive President Ronald Reagan’s mythical “Star Wars” space lasers.
3. What We Could Learn
With three missions from three different countries looking to possibly land on Mars this year, humanity can hope to uncover more evidence of past life, comprehensive details on the planet's weather systems, soil samples and more. That’s building on the evidence that Mars was once home to oceans and other geologic and atmospheric data. These missions are a crash course in Martian space engineering that may be essential to getting private space flights like SpaceX off the ground and to Mars in the near future — a trip that could take 12 months there and back.
Tune In To OZY’s Latest Podcast
Based on the HISTORY channel documentary series, OZY and HISTORY are proud to bring you your new podcast obsession: The Food That Built America. Hear about the bold visionaries behind some of the most recognizable brands on the planet. Today, catch the second part of the cereal saga: As Corn Flakes take over the world, the Kellogg brothers battle with a former patient-turned-rival, William “C.W.” Post. Eventually they go to war with each other. Listen now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever else you get your podcasts.
There is parenting and then there is our children parenting us — and those relationships can change a lot of things.
1. Like Father, Like Daughter
Corey Gauff was a former Division 1 tennis player at Georgia State who was determined to help his daughter, Cori “Coco” Gauff, follow in the footsteps of the famous Williams sisters — Black women who transcended the often lily-white world of women’s tennis. Coco put in the work and, in 2019, won her first WTA singles title before going on to beat Serena Williams at Wimbledon to global acclaim. With Corey winning Coach of the Year in 2020 and Coco becoming the youngest player ranked in the top 100 women — currently 48th — this family is brimming with potential.
2. Swimsuits for Equality
Jamie Alexander didn’t plan on becoming a children’s fashion designer but that’s exactly what the Canadian dad from Toronto is now, after developing a swim line for transgender women. Inspired by his daughter Ruby, who transitioned at 9 years old, Alexander hoped to help other parents who couldn’t find many form-fitting clothes or swimwear for their trans children. So he launched Rubies in February 2020, with unique designs and "no tucking required," as per the brand's website.
3. A Fateful Fall
His teenage daughter fell and hurt herself while on an escalator, partly because she was trying to avoid touching a handrail festering with germs. And that injury inspired Kim Kyeong Yeon, a South Korean interior designer, to develop a UV-light sanitization technology that could help millions avoid contracting COVID-19 — cleaning spaces in just 10 minutes while removing 99.9 percent of all germs.
If you missed them the last time around, the sneakers we can’t get enough of are back — and just in time for spring! These all-season low-tops are OZY’s favorite look for dressing up or down. But don’t wait around — these comfy kicks fly off the shelves and won’t be here for long.
As the world revisits the life of Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton in the newly released major motion film, Judas and the Black Messiah, the romance between him and his fiancé, Deborah Johnson (played by Akua Njeri) is also explored. She was with Hampton every step of the way as the BPP rose to power, even up to Hampton’s assassination. She also bore his son, Fred Hampton Jr. An activist and writer, today she continues to protect the party’s legacy.
2. Cleopatra and Julius Caesar
You can’t talk power couples without mentioning this political duo. The romantic alliance of the Egyptian ruler and the Roman general was the ultimate power move. Positioned as the richest and most influential ruler in the world when she became the pharaoh of Egypt in 51 BC, Cleopatra wasn’t going to give it all up just because Caesar the conqueror rolled into town. To retain power, she became Caesar's lover and had his son Caesarion in 47 BC. If you can’t beat them, join them?
3. El Chapo and Emma Coronel Aispuro
Given people’s fascination with villains, there couldn’t be a more fitting cult favorite than El Chapo, the Mexican drug lord and former leader of the Sinaloa Cartel. Just check out the Netflix series and reams of rap songs serving as odes. And we all know what’s behind every great man, right? A woman, particularly this one: Emma Coronel Aispuro supported her man all the way down. Although she was only 18 when they met, the former beauty queen reportedly helped orchestrate his escape from a Mexican prison, sat through nearly every day of his trial and has displayed loyalty as a wife and mother that’s garnered her a cult following of her own.
Regional Dance Moves
I’m already dreaming of building a basement Rocky-style gym for my daughter — but for now, checking these out on YouTube is as good a start as any.
I couldn’t blink for fear of missing even a second when I first laid eyes on the southern dance style known as Memphis Jookin. A viral tweet landed on my timeline of a club, packed skin-to-skin like a high school hallway, with two dancers battling head-to-head on stage in the middle of a pandemic, and I decided that watching this for 60 minutes was worth my time. Originally called “Gangsta Walking” when birthed in the mid-’80s, the steps range from a simple walk with a bounce to intricate slides, glides and toe spins.
2. Kpakujemu, Nigeria
Africa has been setting dance trends and influencing music stars, ranging from Donald Glover to Beyoncé, for years. “Kpakujemu” is another popular dance and single, this time by choreography and dance crew Westsyde and rising musician Olamide. There is a lot of jumping around and knee-jerking, but this tutorial makes it look easy once you get it down.
3. Khon, Thailand
This Thailand dance style is more of a performance than anything. Khon is set to a live orchestra, with acrobatics, acting and singing to boot. The act is an adaptation of the Sanskrit Indian epic Ramayana and includes scenes from Thailand’s Ramakien epic. Check out the Bangkok shows in particular for a peek of this mesmerizing dance style.
Spot the Difference
Can you find the four things that are different in the two images above?
Congratulations to the winners of our Feb. 4 contest — and our apologies for the delayed recognition: Pat. B., Ed T., D Courtnier, Shari O., Susannah, Cathy L., Jen L., Louanne V., David S., Jo Anne M., Jacqueline T.