David Bowie, Prince and George Michael are all pop icons who died this year.
But something else connects them: They all helped to redefine the concept of masculinity.
Cultural critic Wesley Morris has been thinking about how these artists performed gender and sexuality. He recently wrote in The New York Times that in today's climate, "The Princes and the George Michael's seem as radical as ever."
David Bowie, Prince and George Michael are all pop icons who died this year.
You know that talking with your kids about sex and growing up is important, but it’s tempting to put it off. The reality is that these conversations can’t wait. AMAZE.org takes the awkward out of sex ed. Real info in fun, animated videos that give you all the answers teens actually want to know about sex, your body and relationships.
Fun, Factual & Less Weird Sex Ed
AMAZE.org is creating fun, factual and age appropriate online sex education videos for young adolescents. AMAZE has collaborated with a group of incredible young animators who are enthusiastic about their mission to create edgy, innovative and compelling videos to help young people learn about reproductive health.
The series of sex ed videos are being produced in conjunction with youth health organizations Advocates for Youth, Answer, and Youth Tech Health and animation studio, The Moving Company, to help break the ice and start these critical conversations so that kids get the accurate information they need.
Accurate & Non Judgmental Sex Education
In a time where "fake news" fills our kids social feeds, AMAZE.or provides provides kids, parents and teachers a happy medium between accessible, engaging sex ed materials that don't deviate from the purpose of sex ed in the first place: To provide accurate, non-judgmental answers to curious questions.
I was fortunate to work with the AMAZE.org team as a youth and social media analyst during the early phases of this project and I was was really impressed with all the different stakeholders and educators involved to bring AMAZE.org to life.
AMAZE is providing a critical resource for parents and teens and these videos will really help make talking about sex ed, sexual orientation and puberty much less weird and help shift these discussions into a more open, healthy and normalized.
Be sure to check out all the videos on YouTube!
Sqord is an motivational entertainment company that creates fun, social experiences for kids and families around healthy habits.
The company's first product is low cost wearable device tightly coupled with an interactive mobile game app to inspire and reward healthy, "active play." Together, the Sqord Activity Pod and Sqord Game App provide kids and parents with a fun and convenient way to encourage kids to get up, get active and get healthy!
Sqord is all about encouraging group play as a way to build healthier kids - – physically, socially and emotionally. One part social community, one part fitness tracker, one part game – Sqord tracks movement in the real world and converts it into Sqord Activity Points that kids can use in the Sqord App to unlock cool new features such as messaging and sending high 5’s to friends, upgrading their PowerMe avatars and much more.
Kids can compete with their friends - or the world - in head to head challenges on the Sqord leader board, encouraging friendly competition and motivation – all in a 100% safe, easy and fun experience built just for them.
Sqord App Features
The Sqord Activity Pod tracks movement in the real world and converts it into Sqord Activity Points that kids can use in the Sqord App. The more Sqord Activity Points they earn, they unlock more and more cool interactive game levels in the Sqord game app!
- Kids can create and customize their very own PowerMe character inside the online world.
- The Sqord Activity Pod inspires, motivates and tracks your play— converting that play into Activity Points. Use points to unlock cool new features such as messaging friends, upgrading your PowerMe, and much more!
- Compete on the Sqord leader board and in head-to-head challenges with your friends -- or the world. Parents can also set goals for their kids and create unique Awards to further incentivize healthy active play
- Send quick High Fives or Squawks to your friends, and all kid-safe, parent-approved. The Sqord App is specially designed to make sure all interactions are 100% safe, easy, and fun for kids of all ages
- Sqord has also been named a partner of First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move initiative focused on kids health
- Sqord is now available on Amazon!
Meet Storyteller Branden Harvey
I'm a big fan of Branden Harvey. He first popped up on my radar during the early days of Snapchat, er, Snap Inc! At that time he was a crazy kid from Portland with a awesome hair cut and unbridled good energy and positive vibes.
Then he traveled to Africa, using Snapchat and Instagram to share his adventures. And what adventures did he have! It was then I saw that Snapchat really was a powerful *storytelling* tool. Branden is a talented storyteller who combines his infectious brand of optimism, digital skills and social media presence to spread good in the world!
At a time when there's so much negativity and, frankly bullying on social media, it's so refreshing to have someone like Branden use his storytelling gift, passion for social media and photography to lift spirits and challenge us to look for the silver lining and good in other people, places and things.
Sounds Good Podcast
He has a new podcast called, "Sounds Good." Every Monday he talks to people in the creative fields about their process, living authentically and sharing their advice and knowledge. It's fantastic. You can find "Sounds Good" on iTunes, SoundCloud and other podcast networks.
Every week I listen to "Sounds Good" and think, "That was my favorite episode." But this episode featuring Jessica is just a wee bit more special.
This week Branden sat down with Jessica Hische, an amazing lettering artist and author, who has worked with creatives like Wes Anderson, New York Times, American Express and many, many others.
IBrad Montague is the creator of Kid President, the popular web series featured on Rainn Wilson's Soul Pancake YouTube channel that has been viewed more than 16 million times.
With a passion for helping foster creativity and compassion in young people he is constantly creating new and unique ways to make the world a better and more childlike place.
In this podcast, Brad sits down with Branden Harvey, a storyteller, social media pioneer and doer of good deeds!
These are two of my favorite people, so it's great to have them together in the same podcast! Both Branden and Brad are really inspiring and it's such a treat to listen to them both talk about their creative process.
As a bonus, Brad shares the Kid President origin story (Hi, Kid Prez!) and a reminder to not to "Hide Your Magic." So sit back, relax and dream better dreams!
Non-profit organization I AM THAT GIRL joins forces with 20-year old EP Entertainment/Def Jam Recordings global sensation Alessia Cara to create the “I AM YOU” empowerment campaign. The powerful message of Alessia’s new single “Scars To Your Beautiful” is the lynchpin behind her alliance with I AM THAT GIRL, the national movement that has been inspiring girls for the past six years to love, express, and be who they are through a global peer-to-peer community committed to creating a new norm for girl culture by raising the standard of how girls treat themselves.
“I AM YOU” launches with a short video directed by Kim Jacobs, which delivers the meaningful message of empowerment, strength and inclusivity using a striking visual. The piece, which is narrated by Alessia and features a musical soundbed from her powerful self-anthem, reinforces the message that while we have our own unique stories, we are all connected by the universal truths that make us human.
In the film, a rapid montage of girls of varied ages, sizes, and races flashes by, seamlessly composited together as if they are all speaking as one person, creating an extraordinary focal point for the singular voice that connects them all.
Jacobs shot around 50 young women over the course of one day, including a series of stills set to the playback track of the scripted voiceover. Most of the talent already were members of IATG chapters or volunteers, along with others who ended up taking the IATG pledge after wrapping the shoot.
“The stills were transcoded to feel like motion. Then the process of cutting between the faces required sensitivity, precision and a crazy amount of patience,” explains Jacobs. “Matching three girls blinking their eyes within a second of film is work for only warriors. We worked with the team at EXILE to fine-tune the edit until we finally struck the perfect balance of technique and humanity.”
“In any given second there are multiple faces cut to appear to be one person. I thought this would be a really strong and beautiful way to communicate the core ethos of I AM THAT GIRL,” says Kim Jacobs, who co-wrote the script with IATG Co-founder Emily Greener.
“It takes so many people to make something, especially in film, and all the people involved in every single part of the process were essential to the outcome. The I AM YOU film was generated from pure love.” - Kim Jacobs
“Scars To Your Beautiful” was not only used for the film, but also inspired IATG and Alessia to create an action-focused curriculum for young women everywhere, to shift girl culture and help them transform self-doubt to self-love. The conversation kit, which is downloadable at iamthatgirl.com/alessia, centers around five primary interactive meeting topics, each cued by a lyric from “Scars.”
Our Immersive Youth team got some exciting news! Inc. Magazine has named us one of the Top Youth Marketing Blogs to watch in 2016! Needless to say, we are pretty excited to be in such great company with other digital youth firms like Ypulse and YouthBeat!
The Inc article cites our Gen Z and Millennial Youthvine platform as a key differentiator from other digital youth agencies:
"What sets the company apart is Youthvine, its proprietary online community. Youthvine is a forum driven by young administrators.
It is coordinated to allow owners to communicate with next generation buyers. IYM's agency establishes the relationships, but Youthvine creates a unique experience to engage the new age."
Thanks to Dave Kerpen and Inc for including us on this list! And check out some of our work for a few of our clients, like Walt Disney World, Disney Yellow Shoes Creative Group and Funny or Die! And if you have a Gen Z or Millennial project you need help with, give us a shout out!
"Once the VR space takes hold, kids will ultimately become "world-smiths," as they create immersive social experiences utilizing powerful, easy-to-use tools found on 3D user-generated content platforms.
These platforms will empower children to create and distribute VR content for consumption by their peers."
There’s some very cool stuff happening out there with virtual reality in education! I've covered some of these classroom VR experiences in other posts, but Welcome to Mars---a new VR program for schools, created by Lockheed Martin, is among the coolest!
“The first people who will visit Mars are sitting in a school today. In fact, the first astronauts will arrive before today’s kindergartners graduate college. To help inspire these students, Lockheed Martin created a one-of-a-kind virtual reality experience.
The Mars Experience Bus is the first immersive VR vehicle ever built and it replicates the Martian landscape. Riders experience a virtual drive along the surface of the Red Planet.”
- The Social Life of Virtual Reality Learning Environments
- Oculus VR for Good
- Top Educational VR Google Cardboard Apps