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Street Soldiers TV: Social Media and Relationships: Does It Help or Hurt?

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Dating used to be so sweet and simple: ask the object of your affections out, treat them to a date, and let nature take its course. But social media has changed the game and not necessarily improved it, according to strategist Kristen Ruby. It has made things much more complicated and added to the disposable culture, she says.

Hip hop artist and “Love and Hip Hop New York” star Grafh is also skeptical. He says that people don’t know how to communicate and connect one on one.

But if you’re at the stage where the goal is variety with no strings, then social media is ideal, according to up-and-coming hip hop artist Lougotcash, who is featured on the “Into the Spiderverse” soundtrack. He doesn’t use dating apps—just Instagram. He calls his approach “same day shipping.”

On the positive side, others say the many choices on social media help you clarify what you really want. And once you find that person, you may need to take it one step further to make sure you’re on the same online page.

LISA EVERS, Host and Executive Producer, Street Soldiers

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Street Soldiers TV: Nipsey Hussle’s Life and Legacy

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The outpouring of love continues for murdered rapper Nipsey Hussle. Even former President Barack Obama sent a condolence letter. But the most moving remembrances of the hip hop artist and community activist came from those closest to him.

Thousands of people filled the Staples Center in Los Angeles to celebrate Hussle’s life and mourn their loss. His son and his mother showed their personal strength despite their heartbreaking loss.

Hussle was on the verge of major mainstream success with “Victory Lap,” which earned him a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Album. He was also becoming widely recognized by city officials for his leadership in his Crenshaw community in South L.A.

He built Vector 90, a shared workspace to attract science and technology entrepreneurs and give youth a wider variety of role models. Hussle also created a playground for the kids.

He opened his Marathon clothing store in the same strip mall where he first sold his mixtapes. Employing formerly incarcerated gang members, he created real economic opportunities. It was the same location where police say he was shot and killed on March 31 by a suspect named Eric Holder.

Hussle never renounced being a member of the Rolling 60’s Crip set and tried to build on that affiliation to transcend gang violence.

The audience for the memorial included Jay-Z and Beyoncé but with the tickets free on a first come, first serve basis many of the community people Nipsey cared about so much were able to attend.

LISA EVERS, Host and Executive Producer, Street Soldiers

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Street Soldiers TV: Teen Girls Town Hall

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Lisa Evers hosted the very first Street Soldiers town hall inside a high school. Hundreds of teenaged girls from several schools in Jersey City attended the town hall, which focused on confidence and mentoring. The panelists were Laura Stylez of Hot 97, Velissa Vaughn of Dsquared2, and recording artist HoodCelebrityy.

LISA EVERS, Host and Executive Producer, Street Soldiers

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Street Soldiers TV: WOMEN MAKING MAJOR MOVES

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Multiplatinum hip hop artist Cardi B smashed through a music industry glass ceiling to become the first solo woman to win a Grammy for best rap album. She proved once and for all that a woman could do it on her own. She got support from hip hop legends like Missy Elliott, Lil Kim and Salt N Pepa.

Cardi B also inspired emerging talent like Hood Celebrityy. Her hit “Walking Trophy” became a popular pro-female anthem. Hood Celebrityy’s new single “inside” showcases her unique style, seasoned with reggae and dancehall flavor. It also gave her a chance to show a softer, more vulnerable side.

Nowhere has the progress of women been more visible than in politics. For the first time, more than 100 women were elected to Congress, making the public face of government more closely reflect the diversity of the United States.

Women have long been the glue holding families, organizations and neighborhoods together. Now in increasing numbers, they’re taking that concern and caring for others beyond the personal to leadership roles, and empowering others.

—LISA EVERS, Host and Executive Producer, Street Soldiers

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Street Soldiers TV: Hip Hop, the Feds & Snitching

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The code of the streets says you don’t talk to police or the feds. But the no-snitching rule seems to be changing. Are there still lines you don’t dare cross?

Tekashi 6ix9ine exploded on to the music scene and within two years acquired millions of loyal fans, a multimillion-dollar record deal, and a gang affiliation flaunted in videos. He enjoyed an unprecedented meteoric rise.

Equally unprecedented was his indictment on federal racketeering, drug conspiracy and weapons charges. Key evidence came from photos in his own Instagram account.

The shock effect continued after it was revealed that Tekashi made a secret plea deal as a cooperating witness, and admitted to being a member of the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods set. He told a judge he was involved in shootings and drug dealing with other alleged gang members, according to court records. The charges carry a potential sentence of 47 years to life.

Many called him a snitch.

Tekashi is behind bars awaiting sentencing, which will depend on his level of cooperation and how much information he gives federal prosecutors. He is also in protective custody, separated from other inmates due to death threats.

LISA EVERS, Host and Executive Producer, Street Soldiers

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Street Soldiers TV: Mainstreaming Marijuana

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There are many songs about marijuana in hip hop but now superstar Snoop Dogg is turning his passion for pot into big business, raising $45 million for his Casa Verde investment firm.

“As build brands, as you look at the ancillary businesses, there’s tremendous money to be made,” International Cannabrands CEO Steve Gormley said. “And will only really realize the scope of that when prohibition is actually repealed.”

Marijuana’s popularity is spawning many businesses, like the Emerald Farms Tours in San Francisco. With recreational use legal there, the seed-to-dispensary tours are like a wine country tour for weed lovers. Las Vegas is considering pot lounges at the airport. It’s full steam ahead towards legalization, according to Evan Nison of NORML.

“Now you pretty much have a bipartisan Congress that is looking very seriously at the issue, so the momentum over the last 10 years I’ve been involved has picked up much quicker than I would have hoped,” Nison said.

In tandem with the legalization momentum is drive for decriminalization, especially after studies showed that black and Latino males were disproportionally prosecuted.

But that is confusing people, according to Phillip Hamilton, a criminal defense attorney.

“It has not yet been decriminalized, the conversation is ongoing, we are having a lot of reform measures that are being put out,” Hamilton said. “But right now, as we speak, marijuana is still illegal in New York.”

Excessive use of marijuana and the impact on public safety was on the mind of Police Commissioner James O’Neill when I sat down with him recently for an exclusive interview.

“As far as legalization for marijuana, I know it’s coming, NYPD knows it’s coming, but there are a number of things that I’m concerned about,” O’Neill said. “Driving under the influence of narcotics, it’s a real issue for us, there’s no instantaneous test for it like dui, driving under the influence.”

–LISA EVERS