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On Losing My Brother | Cup of Jo – Verve Times01.12.22

In the days right after Mark died, I came across something he wrote when he was in second grade. They were studying tenses and Mark had filled in the blanks.

I could picture him smirking as he wrote hunched, freckled, and sure hed make his classmates laugh. One August afternoon, when it had been nearly 18 months without him, I took the first my sister written in his hand and had it tattooed on my forearm, just below the elbow. It hurt and then it was done. The tattoo artist taped black plastic over my arm.

Maybe I drove him nuts the week before this school assignment; maybe he thought it would drive me nuts to see his answers on the bulletin board in our kitchen. Mostly there was love between us. Marks struggle with depression began in middle school. Some things helped; others didnt. Depression returned again and again.

As his siblings, we shifted and rotated roles. One worried, another cautiously optimistic, the third uncertain. And then wed trade without ever discussing it. As things got worse, we read signs and swapped theories. Sometimes we all agreed and it was Mark who didnt. Mark who refused to go to the hospital, Mark who would not meet the latest doctor. He was the baby of our family, but he would no longer be bossed around. Hed done so many things, hed tried so hard, and he didnt feel that anything gave him lasting relief. When he died, at 21, it was suicide.

I loved the short afternoon I spent walking through Brooklyn and riding the train with that black plastic applied by the tattoo artist. It looked like a traditional mourning armband. I was, I am. I wanted a tattoo for Mark that would make him laugh.

I didnt know the tattoo would scab and peel, but it left little flecks on my arm, the sheets, and once, my boyfriends forehead. Hold on, I said, reaching for it. I think my tattoo is coming off on you. It was grim but satisfying, the way it fell away to reveal a more permanent version of itself.

Tenses no longer feel right for my family. Sometimes it hits like a sucker punch when people ask How are your brothers? and I know they mean two, not three. But every so often, I snatch the opportunity when I see it, when someone doesnt know. I love my dentist, but I lied to him when he asked. Good, good, theyre all pretty good. I plotted them on the map: Andrew in Harlem, Robert in Queens, and Mark I put in Brooklyn, next to me, where he lived the last summer of his life. Given how long its been, I hope theyre seeing someone else, the dentist said and we shared a laugh.

Six years on, its still a shock that Mark isnt here or there, asking if I want to go for a swim, texting something that made him laugh. I have three brothers, but I dont always know how to speak to Marks goneness at the same time I trace Robert and Andrews presence. I want to keep them in the same sentence, the same tense, no two-thirds good and one-third dead, no sitting up in the dental chair to spit and say we lost Mark.

Its hard to stop counting how long it has been since the dead were living, but theres little satisfaction to it. In To _____________, the poet W.S. Merwin likens it to carefully letting out a kite without a string. I cant pull Mark back to me, no matter how clearly I define his distance.

Merwin died at 91. Hed spent his final decades painstaking[ly] restor[ing] depleted flora, including hundreds of species of palm, on the remote former pineapple plantation in Hawaii where he made his home, according to the New York Times obituary written by Margalit Fox. There are so many ways to live in this world and I wish Mark had found one that worked for him. If Mark was still here, Id send him that sentence and the following one: He had lived there, in blissful near-solitude, since the 1970s, refusing to answer the telephone.

There were times in the early days after Marks death when I could pretend he wasnt dead, just elsewhere. There were days I woke up and didnt remember and then the knowledge came to me as cruel as ever. Id like to think Mark is happily tending palm trees while a phone rings in the distance, but that doesnt take me very far. For today, all there is is the certainty that those lines about Merwin would make him smile. I can picture a trace of delight spreading across his face, almost as if he were here.

A few weeks after I got my tattoo, I could close my eyes and run my hand over it and not feel the letters anymore, which meant theyd last forever. My sister. No tenses.

Alex Ronan isa writer and investigative reporterfrom New York. Her work has been published by Elle, New York Magazine, Vogue,and The New York Times. She lives in Brooklyn and is on Instagram (too much) and Twitter (sometimes).

P.S. Why suicide isnt selfish, and how to write a condolence note.

(Photo by Nina Zivkovic/Stocksy.)

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Sorry, but Hunter Biden’s profiteering matters even if the rest of the press ignore it – New York Post11.30.21

Most of the media continue to ignore Hunter Biden like toddlers with their fingers in their ears. His laptop is unconfirmed. Unsubstantiated. It doesnt matter.

The first two are obviously false, a weak excuse to cover things up for the administration. From the beginning, the laptop was substantiated: Hunters former business partner Tony Bobulinski confirmed his correspondence was real. Hunter Biden never denied they were his files; in fact, his memoir confirms the pictures of the drug use, prostitutes and financial documents from the laptop.

Post columnist Miranda Devines new book, Laptop from Hell, details how the Chinese gave Hunter a 3-carat diamond and includes pictures from the computer of the diamond as well as a Hunter selfie showing his back tattoo of the Finger Lakes. Were these all doctored? Hunter himself confirmed in an interview with The New Yorker that he received the diamond but just waved it off as a nice gesture.

The Biden files have been confirmed and substantiated eight ways to Sunday. Reporters just dont want to hear it.

So that leaves It doesnt matter. Liberal media outlets are uniquely incurious about Hunter selling the influence of his father. In the case of the Chinese deal, outlined by Devine, they say theres no indication that Joe Biden ever received the 10 percent for the big guy promised in one email.

But consider these questions:

At the very least, the Chinese were paying the vice presidents son for government access. But it also now seems that the Chinese were paying Joe Biden millions through his son.

Weve asked these questions of the administration and it ignores us, knowing that CNN, the Washington Post, the New York Times, et al. have its back and will never press things.

Joe Biden wants millions for IRS enforcement. Wonder if that includes actually finishing the investigation of his sons money-making and registering as a foreign agent. And would it include an audit of the presidents own income and whether he was declaring money given to him by Hunter?

That is why Hunter matters. The media are out of excuses.

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Memorial tattoos grow even more widespread in time of COVID-19 – oregonlive.com11.30.21

By Heidi de Marco

It was Saturday morning at Southbay Tattoo and Body Piercing in Carson, California, and owner Efrain Espinoza Diaz Jr. was prepping for his first tattoo of the day a memorial portrait of a man that his widow wanted on her forearm.

Diaz, known as Rock, has been a tattoo artist for 26 years but still gets a little nervous when doing memorial tattoos, and this one was particularly sensitive. Diaz was inking a portrait of Philip Martin Martinez, a fellow tattoo artist and friend who was 45 when he died of COVID-19 in August.

I need to concentrate, said Diaz, 52. Its a picture of my friend, my mentor.

Martinez, known to his friends and clients as Sparky, was a tattoo artist of some renown in nearby Wilmington, in Los Angeles South Bay region. A tattoo had brought Sparky and Anita together; Sparky gave Anita her first tattoo a portrait of her father in 2012, and the experience sparked a romance. Over the years of their relationship, he had covered her body with intertwining roses and a portrait of her mother.

Now his widow, she was getting the same photograph that was etched on Sparkys tomb inked into her arm. And this would be her first tattoo that Sparky had not applied.

It feels a little odd, but Rock has been really good to us, Anita Martinez said. Rock and Sparky grew up together. They met in the 1990s, at a time when there were no Mexican-American-owned tattoo shops in their neighborhood but Sparky was gaining a reputation. It was artists like Phil that would inspire a lot of us to take that step into the professional tattoo industry, Rock said.

After Sparky got sick, Anita wasnt allowed in her husbands hospital room, an isolating experience shared by hundreds of thousands of Americans who lost a loved one to covid. They let her in only at the very end.

The tattooed portrait of Philip Martin Martinez on Anitas arm. She chose to get it on her forearm so she could see it every day. (Heidi de Marco/KHN)

I got cheated out of being with him in his last moments, said Martinez, 43. When I got there, I felt he was already gone. We never got to say goodbye. We never got to hug.

I dont even know if Im ever going to heal, she said, as Diaz began sketching the outlines of the portrait below her elbow, but at least Ill get to see him every day.

According to a 2015 Harris Poll, almost 30% of Americans have at least one tattoo, a 10% increase from 2011. At least 80% of tattoos are for commemoration, said Deborah Davidson, a professor of sociology at York University in Toronto who has been researching memorial tattoos since 2009.

Memorial tattoos help us speak our grief, bandage our wounds and open dialogue about death, she said. They help us integrate loss into our lives to help us heal.

The coronavirus, sadly, has provided many opportunities for such memorials.

Juan Rodriguez, a tattoo artist who goes by Monch, has been seeing twice as many clients as before the pandemic and is booked months in advance at his parlor in Pacoima, an L.A. neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley. Memorial tattoos, which can include names, portraits and special artwork, are common in his line of work, but theres been an increase in requests due to the pandemic. One client called me on the way to his brothers funeral, Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez thinks memorial tattoos help people process traumatic experiences. As he moves his needle over the arms, legs and backs of his clients, and they share stories of their loved ones, he feels he is part artist, part therapist.

Healthy grievers do not resolve grief by detaching from the deceased but by creating a new relationship with them, said Jennifer R. Levin, a therapist in Pasadena, California, who specializes in traumatic grief. Tattoos can be a way of sustaining that relationship, she said.

Its common for her patients in the 20-to-50 age range to get memorial tattoos, she said. Its a powerful way of acknowledging life, death and legacy.

Sazalea Martinez, a kinesiology student at Antelope Valley College in Palmdale, California, came to Rodriguez in September to memorialize her grandparents. Her grandfather died of covid in February, her grandmother in April. She chose to have Rodriguez tattoo an image of azaleas with I love you written in her grandmothers handwriting.

The azaleas, which are part of her name, represent her grandfather, she said. Sazalea decided not to get a portrait of her grandmother because the latter didnt approve of tattoos. The I love you is something simple and its comforting to me, she said. Its going to let me heal and I know she would have understood that.

Sazalea teared up as the needle moved across her forearm, tracing her grandmothers handwriting. Its still super fresh, she said. They basically raised me. They impacted who I am as a person, so to have them with me will be comforting.

This story was produced by KHN, which publishes California Healthline, an editorially independent service of the California Health Care Foundation.

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Harry Styles Concludes Three-Month Love on Tour Trek With Rousing New York Show: Concert Review – Variety11.30.21

After 42 shows and nearly three months, for the final song of his continent-spanning Love on Tour tour, Harry Styles wanted just a little bit more.

This is the last song of the entire tour, Style said, raising his arms in the air, as he cut into the sexually provocative lyrics of the banger Kiwi at the new UBS Arena just outside New York City. Im going to need a little bit more. OK? Were going to try that again. OK?

And sure enough, on take two, there was more energy from the mosh pit around the 360-degree stage all the way up to the nosebleed seats. Much better!, Styles said, addressing the 17,000 screaming fans in the brand-new arena. 20 percent more, the 27-year-old British heartthrob demanded, and were good to go.

And he was: Styles closed out the show and the tour with a rendition of Kiwi that went on and on, even as the lyrics wound down. He blew kisses as he ran up and down the hockey-rink length of the stage which featured two catwalks, allowing him to perform to basically everyone at different parts of the night. He caught bouquets of flowers. And he sprayed fans with so much water, those whod shelled out for a premium standing room spots should have packed a poncho. (Obviously, he no longer does his former trademark move of spitting water at the crowd.)

Hed earned the long curtain call: After being postponed for months due to the pandemic, Styles was clearly reveling in the fun, and although the set wasnt as full of surprises as his Harryween pair of Halloween-weekend dates at New Yorks Madison Square Garden where he covered Somewhere Over the Rainbow while dressed as Dorothy on one night and Britney Spears Toxic in a clown getup on the next he roared through a powerful setlist heavy on songs from his 2019 album Fine Line along with a handful from his self-titled debut and his One Direction showcase, What Makes You Beautiful. And there was one nice tour-ending surprise for the die-hard fans: Medicine, a song debuted on his 2018 tour that was considered for Fine Line but ultimately not included, although he does perform it on occasion.

Throughout the night, Styles was clad in a gold vest that didnt clasp the audience caught many glimpses of the butterfly tattoo on his stomach and he spent as much time dancing as he did singing, clocking more cardio in one night than most of us achieve in a week. During his song Treat People With Kindness, a fan tossed a LGBTQ+ Pride flag on the stage. Styles picked it up and ran up and down the auditorium, as he vigorously waved it in the air to deafening cheers.

Yet he also addressed the fact that, for many months, it was unclear when anyone would be able to launch a tour like this again.

You have been so generous to me and I thank you from the bottom of my heart, Styles told the crowd between songs. I really, really did not know if this tour would happen and I thank you for everything that youve done.

The sense of occasion also extended to the building itself: This was the first concert at the UBS Arena, which sits beside the border of Queens and Nassau counties and opened its doors just two weeks ago.

Its an honor to be the very first show in this building, Styles said earlier in the show, to a crowd that drew visitors from all across the Tri-State area. Not only does the venue add another major venue to the area saving fans treks through daunting traffic to Manhattan or New Jersey its a state of the art building, part of a $1 billion development, with vivid video screens and so many concessions stands that there was hardly a wait for food or drinks (although hundreds of girls patiently queued for a selfie with Harrys The Love Bus, an activtion prop presented by American Express).

After tonight, Style said, were going to go away for a little bit and were going to work on some stuff and then well come back and see you very soon.

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Jack Dorsey: the outgoing Twitter CEO with an artists vision – The Guardian11.30.21

Jack Dorsey likes to keep things simple, at least for a 45-year-old multibillionaire. He eats one meal a day, fasts at weekends, and tries to meditate for two hours daily. The post that launched Twitter, and ultimately a million pile-ons, was equally austere: just setting up my twttr.

Dorsey was born in St Louis, Missouri, in 1976 and was a self-taught computer programmer, using a Macintosh computer that his father bought for him. In 1999 he dropped out of New York University and moved to California, where he dreamed up the idea of a Twitter prototype while co-founding an online courier and taxi dispatch firm. The company later failed.

The Twitter story began to take shape when Dorsey was hired as a coder at Odeo, a podcasting startup run by a future Twitter co-founder, Evan Williams. This is where Dorsey appears in Sarah Friers award-winning history of Instagram as one of the peripheral figures in the story, trying to make his way in Silicon Valley like so many others.

Dorsey, a 29-year-old New York University dropout with an anarchist tattoo and a nose ring, considered himself to be more of an artist. He would sometimes dream, for instance, about becoming a dressmaker. He was an engineer, but only as a means to an end to create something out of nothing, with code. Also, so he could pay rent.

There was enough hard-edged business sense within Dorsey, however, for him to co-found Twttr soon renamed Twitter with Williams, Biz Stone and Noah Glass in 2006. Dorsey became chief executive for the first time in 2007.

Indeed, Dorseys artistic mindset was cited, pointedly, when he was removed as chief executive for the first time in 2008. According to Nick Biltons book Hatching Twitter, Williams said to him: You can either be a dressmaker or the CEO of Twitter. But you cant be both. Dorsey would apparently intersperse his chief executive duties with breaks for hot yoga and sewing classes.

Dorsey came back as executive chairman in 2011, having set up payment company Square today worth $100bn in the meantime. Twitter struggled in the wake of its 2013 flotation, which made Dorsey a billionaire, and he replaced Dick Costolo as chief executive in 2015 while relinquishing the executive chairman role.

Dorsey leaves the company with 210 million daily active users and annual revenues of $3.7bn. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, he is worth $12.3bn, ranked 174th among the ranks of the worlds super-wealthy. He still owns 2.3% of Twitter.

But unrest had been building about Dorseys priorities. In 2019 Dorsey surprised staff and investors by announcing plans to move to Africa for up to six months a year. Announcing the move during a month-long trip to the continent, he tweeted, from Addis Ababa: Sad to be leaving the continent for now. Africa will define the future (especially the bitcoin one!). Not sure where yet, but Ill be living here for 3-6 months mid 2020. Grateful I was able to experience a small part.

Dorsey, who remains a cryptocurrency enthusiast, dropped the plan after coronavirus arrived. But it wouldnt have dissuaded the activist investor firm Elliott Management from its view that Twitter was a business in need of more focus at the top. Elliott took a stake in Twitter last year and is still the 13th largest shareholder in the business, according to the financial data company Refinitiv, with a stake of just over 1%. At the time of the stake-building move, Elliotts billionaire owner, Paul Singer, was reported to have been concerned by the fact that Dorsey had two chief executive jobs, at Twitter and Square.

By the end of last year it appeared that Dorsey had survived the pressure. In November a committee of Twitter directors said it had confidence in management and recommended that the current structure remain in place.

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Much of the innovation shown by Twitter under Dorseys leadership in recent months has been more to do with safety than making money, however. It has launched trials warning users that they are about to enter a heated conversation and is testing a safety mode that blocks accounts for seven days if the tech firms systems spot them using harmful language or sending repetitive, uninvited replies and mentions. In the context of Frances Haugens Facebook revelations and the upcoming Online Safety Act in the UK, social media companies know they have to focus on protecting users.

On the money-making side, in the US the company launched Twitter Blue, a product that for $2.99 a month offers a range of services including a 60-second grace period to amend a tweet before it is fully posted. Expect more money-making initiatives under the new boss, the chief technology officer Parag Agrawal, who has to hit ambitious targets: to increase the companys daily average users by more than 50% to 315 million, and more than double revenue to $7.5bn by 2023.

According to one California-based analyst, now is a good time for Dorsey to leave, with the social media industry becoming ever more competitive.

Dorsey is a pillar of the social media world, said Dan Ives, the managing director of the investment firm Wedbush Securities. These are big shoes to fill.

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Three Men Charged With Running Scam PACs That Bilked Small Donors – The New York Times11.13.21

The Justice Department on Wednesday accused three political operatives of running a scheme to mislead donors and enrich themselves, charging the men with defrauding people of $3.5 million in 2016 and 2017.

The allegations involve two political action committees and include wire fraud, money laundering and making false statements to the Federal Election Commission. It was the latest indictment against operatives who raise money for what are known as scam PACs, which direct much of the proceeds back to the people who run them.

One of the three men charged, Matthew Tunstall, 34, of Los Angeles, has drawn scrutiny for years over the activities of his political action committees, which he has continued to operate. This year, CNN reported on the lavish lifestyle of Mr. Tunstall, who poses as an internet influencer under the name Matte Nox, flashing Gucci rings, wearing designer accessories and driving a black Porsche.

In social media photos, Mr. Tunstall sometimes appears shirtless, exposing a tattoo on his chest that reads God Will Give Me Justice.

On Wednesday, the Justice Department said that the two PACs linked to Mr. Tunstall had spent heavily to recruit small donors under false and misleading pretenses, including through robocalls that impersonated President Donald J. Trump.

The indictment, which also includes Robert Reyes Jr., 38, of Hollister, Calif., and Kyle George Davies, 29, of Austin, Texas, accused the operatives of defrauding donors through two entities, Liberty Action Group and the Progressive Priorities Political Action Committee.

Between January 2016 and April 2017, the defendants obtained approximately $3.5 million from unwitting donors based on false and misleading representations and used those funds to enrich themselves and to pay for additional fraudulent advertisements soliciting donations, the Justice Department said in a statement.

If convicted on all counts, Mr. Tunstall and Mr. Reyes face a maximum of 125 years in prison, and Mr. Davies faces 65 years.

The charges are notable in part because there are numerous political groups that raise money from unsuspecting small donors and then spend most of the funds not on actual politicking but on themselves, often directing cash to companies owned by the operatives behind the groups.

Paul S. Ryan, the vice president of policy and litigation at Common Cause, a watchdog group, called the indictment good news for democracy and small donors, adding that Mr. Tunstall was perhaps the best known of the fund-raising operatives taking advantage of donors in this way.

This should send a sign to potential scam artists that the Department of Justice is watching, Mr. Ryan said.

This year, the Federal Bureau of Investigation warned consumers that scam PACs are on the rise. Other scam PAC operators have faced charges, including one who pleaded guilty to wire fraud in May after he created PACs that purported to support both Mr. Trump and Joseph R. Biden Jr. last year.

While the charges cover activities in 2016 and 2017, Mr. Tunstall has continued to operate groups that have raised millions of dollars through 2021. One group, the Support American Leaders PAC, raised nearly $3 million in 2019 and 2020 and disclosed nearly $700,000 in direct payments to Mr. Tunstall.

The Support American Leaders PAC was accused of using Mr. Trumps name and likeness to solicit contributions, and in 2019 Mr. Trumps campaign sent a disavowal notice to the F.E.C.

That groups activities were not in the charges that were announced on Wednesday.

Mr. Ryan said he expected that a superseding indictment would eventually cover Mr. Tunstalls past four years of activity. He noted that the charges filed were made under financial crimes statutes and not under campaign finance law. And he urged federal lawmakers to stiffen the existing campaign-finance rules to better protect small contributors.

Congress really needs to act here, Mr. Ryan said.

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The NBA’s burgeoning tattoo culture has created a new type of influencer – CNN11.13.21

Written by Leah Asmelash, CNN

On any given night, NBA games are a showdown between some of the best basketball professionals in the world. But increasingly, the courts are not just stages for athletes showing their physical prowess -- they've also become an exhibition of some of the best, and most interesting, tattoos.

From sprawling sleeves to intricate face tattoos, the NBA has become not just a hub for world class basketball, but also for body art, showcasing some of the latest trends in the world of tattooing.

"When I see someone like (Utah Jazz guard) Jordan Clarkson getting a face tattoo, I know I'm going to be doing a lot of face tattoos," said Herchell Carrasco of Pachuco Tattoo in California.

Jordan Clarkson's facial tattoo may inspire other athletes to get similar ink. Credit: Logan Riely/NBAE/Getty Images

Carrasco has been tattooing for over a decade, but he began tattooing NBA players in 2017. Now, he's the artist behind some of the league's most recognizable ink, including works on Kyle Kuzma, LaMelo Ball and Brandon Ingram.

LiAngelo Ball, who currently plays in the G League with the Greensboro Swarm, was going back and forth on getting a neck tattoo, Carrasco told CNN. Now that Clarkson has done his face, Carrasco said it may be a push for other players to get more ink on the face or neck area.

Mike Scott has a series of emoji tattoos on both arms, one of the more eclectic pieces in the league. Credit: Elsa/Getty Images

It wasn't always this way. A glance at a photo of the 1992 USA Basketball "Dream Team," which won gold at the Olympics and featured the talents of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Scottie Pippen, will reveal few, if any, visible tattoos -- let alone giant pieces.

But the team that played at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo was a different story. Between Damian Lillard, whose arms are covered in ink, and Jayson Tatum, whose back tattoo peeks out over the shoulder of his jersey, tattoos on players were the norm.

Damian Lillard, who played for the USA at the Tokyo Olympics, has sleeves on both his arms, a far cry from players in the past. Credit: Aris Messinis /AFP/Getty Images

And, as their popularity grows, more people pay attention to the quality of ink they get -- researching artists ahead of time to find the best one. Carrasco has noticed some players get lower quality tattoos before they enter the league, eventually replacing them with higher quality pieces when they make money.

Derrick Rose, of the New York Knicks, is an example of this, said tattoo artist Jose Guijosa, who has tattooed the NBA veteran multiple times.

"He has a few tattoos he got when he was younger ... in his friend's garage," Guijosa told CNN. "And the tattoos are not too good. ... I feel like he doesn't mind spending now, he just wants to make sure it's a really nice piece."

As more players in the league get nicer tattoos, younger players on the come up, who may be in college now, are taking notice. Guijosa, for example, did G League guard DJ Steward's very first tattoo while he was still in college at Duke University.

"(The younger players) are looking to get nice tattoos," Guijosa said. "I think they see the new tattoos the older players get, so they're probably thinking about getting better work now instead of just going anywhere."

Guijosa prepares to tattoo Derrick Rose's neck. Credit: Jose Guijosa

It's not just the amount of ink that's changing. Where players are getting tattoos has changed too. Leg and knee tattoos have become more popular, Carrasco said, especially as the volume of tattoos people get rises.

"It's like once you do your arms, where do you go after that?" he said.

Still, Carrasco noted he tends to do more visible areas, whereas back, rib or stomach tattoos remain less frequent.

"(With Kuzma), I was surprised he wanted to do his back, but we were just running out of space," he said.

Kyle Kuzma gets tattooed by Carrasco. Credit: Herchell Carrasco

The way NBA players get tattooed is also slightly different from the way the general public does it. With more money, players often request artists travel to them, rather than the other way around. Rose, for example, once flew Guijosa first class to Arizona so he could get tattooed.

Years ago, Carrasco was invited to a penthouse with multiple young players on the Los Angeles Lakers at the time -- Ingram, Kuzma, Thomas Bryant and Vander Blue. Though Carrasco had initially been in contact with Bryant, he ended up tattooing multiple players at the penthouse that day.

Intending to tattoo one player but actually tattooing several is common, Carrasco said. Sometimes friends of players or their managers will want new ink too, and "it turns into a little tattoo party."

"I've learned wherever I go, I always take a backup artist for that reason," he said, noting it can be a good opportunity for another younger artist.

LaMelo Ball's leg tattoo, done by Carrasco, is one of the more recognizable pieces in the NBA. Credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

But players and tattoo artists aren't the only ones paying attention to NBA ink. The fans are, too.

The subject of many social media accounts, the sheer visibility of tattoos in the NBA (in part due to the nature of the uniforms) means it's easy to see when a star gets a new piece.

Matt Mangano created the account in 2019, when he was pondering his first tattoo. He turned to the NBA for inspiration, because he "always saw cool tattoos on the court."

"Certain styles of clothes, (it's) the same thing, certain styles of tattoos," he said.

D'Angelo Russell, of the Minnesota Timberwolves, has a N:OW tattoo that many people have copied, Mangano said. Credit: Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Some people go so far as to copy their favorite tattoos, and followers of InkedNBA have sent Mangano photos of their new ink. D'Angelo Russell, of the Minnesota Timberwolves, has a standout tattoo on his shoulder that reads N:OW. At least 100 people have sent Mangano their own copycat versions of that tattoo, he told CNN.

In some ways, the obsession with NBA tattoos is similar to how people follow fashion influencers, Mangano said.

Just... a little more intense.

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Waiting On A Friend: The Rolling Stones and Tattoo You – hotpress.com11.13.21

We'll Always Have Paris. The Rolling Stones retouch Tattoo You. Words: Pat Carty. Portrait: Helmut Newton.

Theres an argument to be made and here we go for the late seventies in Paris as the last great creative period for The Rolling Stones. As a sixties singles band, they were second only to The Beatles and their 1964 debut album and 1966s Aftermath the first one written entirely by Mick and Keith are classics. Then, from Jumpin Jack Flash in May of 1968 to the release of Exile On Main St. in May of 1972, they simply made the greatest rock n roll records of all time. The only way was down Goats Head Soup is a fine record, just not as good as what went before it. Its Only Rock N Roll (74) and Black And Blue (76) are better than their reputations suggest, but there is an undeniable air of water-treading about them.

Contracts are up for renegotiation in 1976. Black And Blue was, perhaps, not the strongest evidence that could be presented in order to extract a decent sized cheque so the decision was made to put a live record together.

June 6, 1976: The Stones are due to play the Pavilion de Paris in the northern part of the city, a venue also known as Les Abattoirs because of its former incarnation as a slaughter house. Keith Richards gets a phone call. His youngest son Tara has choked to death in his cot. Richards decides to go ahead with the gig. You can hear how he played that night on that Love You Live album, his way of dealing with unimaginable pain. To further strengthen their hand, the band had already decided that this double album would also include some club gig material, just like they used to do. Canada seemed like a good spot for this. Richards wouldnt need a visa for entry, and it wasnt a million miles away from New York where Jagger - and no better man - was doing the negotiating.

February 28, 1977: Members of the Canadian Mounted Police enter a hotel room. Keith is out of it, having been up for days. It takes several slaps to the face to bring him round so he can be charged with possession of heroin with the intent of trafficking. Its highly unlikely that Richards had any interest in selling anything on, but the charge indicates the amount he had to hand. If we go by his autobiography, Keith may have seen himself as some sort of romantic outlaw on the run figure, but this was serious; the human riff was facing the distinct possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison. The Stones still managed to play two nights at the citys El Mocambo club, and they were good too, as side three of Love You Live attests. The other Stones left town, but the authorities seized Keiths passport. On March 12, the night before the court date, Richards recorded several country ballads like Say Its Not You and Apartment No. 9. These recordings are the definition of fragile. Even someone as outwardly cavalier as Richards must have had some sense that his luck had run out.

The Canadian authorities allowed Richards and partner Anita Pallenberg permission they were rich and famous, after all - to enter the US for treatment and, while he endeavoured to get well, he mixed the live record with Jagger. Its hardly essential but it sold, which must have helped in the boardroom.

September 31, 1977: Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood take the Concorde to Paris. Richards cant remember the address of the apartment hes kept there since 1968. The band are there to check out Path-Marconi studios owned by the record company and Keith decides on the rehearsal room in the complex instead because he likes the sound of the room. Theyd be in and out of there for the next few years and the sessions they recorded there were incredibly fruitful. There are several possible reasons for this.

Until the final trial in October of 78, where Richards would get off extremely lightly with a suspended sentence and a requirement to play some concerts for charity, he had a Damoclean sword hanging over his head. For all he and his band knew, they were living on borrowed time. He was determined to get as much as possible down on tape, in case this really was the last time.

While Richards may not have been aware of it, and certainly would never have admitted it, the music business had changed around The Stones. Disco and punk were in the air and Jagger immersed himself in both genres. The first album that emerged from these sessions, Some Girls (1978), is a Jagger album in the same way that Sticky Fingers was before it, with one eye on the dance floor Miss You and another on The Roxy/CBCGs with the likes of Respectable and Shattered. Jagger probably didnt care for being called a dinosaur in his mid-thirties - either. It was also Micks decision to bring in engineer Chris Kimsey, thanks to his work with Peter Frampton and Bad Company.

Another factor, according to Richards himself, was musical downsizing. They shed the clever bastards like Nicky Hopkins and Billy Preston who, Keith claimed, had led them in different directions. Jagger stepped in again, making up the shortfall with his aggressive rhythm guitar, which gave the songs extra heft.

Some Girls is quite rightly seen as to use an awful rock writing clich a return to form, an album that rocks and rolls, from the cornball Far Away Eyes to Keiths other great Keef anthem Before They Make Me Run to the gorgeous Beast Of Burden. Further proof that these sessions were special came later on in 2011 when it was re-released as a 2-CD deluxe edition with an additional twelve songs recorded at the same time. If they had released this collection as the follow-up instead of Emotional Rescue released in 1980, again recorded in Paris, not as good as Some Girls but better than people remember we would still be going on about it. With proper rockers like Claudine and So Young, and country covers like We Had It All and You Win Again, it is that rarest of beasts, a collection of outtakes that stands up beside the original album.

The recording of a follow-up to Emotional Rescue was always going to be a problem. This was the beginning of the great Jagger/Richards conflict of the 1980s. Mick had decided he wasnt going to tour that album, preferring instead to try and reignite his movie career by flying to South America to work on Fitzcarraldo with Werner Herzog, a project he would eventually abandon when he was needed in the studio. Richards was furious, although, to be fair, he had other stuff going on as well, having fallen in love with model Patti Hansen, the women he would marry on his fortieth birthday in 1983, and he also had his hands full becoming a full-time alcoholic to replace the heroin addiction, so he must have been a joy to work with. Accordingly, writing songs together wasnt happening so it was Kimsey who suggested they go back into the archives there was plenty of Paris material for a start to put the album together.

The perceived wisdom amongst Stones aficionados is that the results of this archive-dive, Tattoo You, first released just over forty years ago, in August 1981, is their last great record. I could bore for Ireland about the fact fact, mind that there is at least one or two moments of greatness on every Stones album released since then, and heres some evidence, but the general consensus is probably accurate; Tattoo You is the last one worthy of mention beside Beggars Banquet, Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers, Exile On Main St. and Some Girls.

It is then, an obvious candidate, for the bell and whistles reissue and Universal have obliged with several different formats. For one thing, theres a cohesiveness to it thats absent from latter efforts. Its nicely arranged into a rockin side and a quiet side on the original shellac and side two is very nearly perfect. This is surprising given the fact that it was a cupboard raiding exercise, put together to give the band something to tour when they couldnt be arsed, or werent able, to put together a new new record.

It opens, spectacularly, with the last Keith Richards/Rolling Stones riff that ate the world, the last one that casual admirers could whistle back at you without too much head scratching, a riff so brilliantly simple, youd wonder why it wasnt the first one he came up with when he first started tuning the guitar to that open G chord. Go and see The Stones next week and Start Me Up is still the most recent big number in the setlist. Some nights it might even start the show because its that good. It was first attempted during the German sessions for Black And Blue and then again in Paris for Some Girls, and originally envisioned as a reggae tune. It was Kimsey who rescued the take were more familiar with after Richards told him to erase it, something for which The Stones should send him a box of chocolates every December. Once the lyrics changed completely from Start It Up, the song was unstoppable. A huge hit when released as a single in August of 1981, it was supported by the most Jaggery video clip of all time where Sir Michael throws a series of shapes that only he, amongst all the people of the world, living or dead, has ever been capable of.

The Stones didnt usually go in for message songs much, which is a good thing because theres nothing worse than someone preaching at you when youre trying to dance. Hang Fire might be having a go at the state of their home country at the time but we dont need to worry about that now because Keith does Chuck Berry, Charlie cracks the snare like an angry teacher taking a ruler to your knuckles, Mick throws in a few doo-doos, and they get out of there in just over two minutes before anyone has a chance to think too much about it.

Slave, another track that first surfaced during the Black And Blue sessions, is simply as good as anything The Rolling Stones ever recorded. Clever Bastard Billy Prestons contribution is vital, as is jazz maestro Sonny Rollins sax recorded later, while he watched Jagger dance but this is really The Stones at their most distilled. If you need to know what was lost when Charlie Watts passed on, just listen to him here, nobody does a spoken word put-down like Jagger pass by the liquor store and be back by a quarter to twelve and if they need a Keef riff for an entry in some class of rock n roll encyclopaedia, this might be the one to choose. Its the groove. It seems simple but very few if any other bands have ever been able to manage it. There is a near-ten minute version of this knocking around out there its years before Rollins sax would be added and theres another guitar, possibly Jeff Becks and while its a shame that they couldnt find room for it here, the finished release is one of their finest five minutes.

To tell the truth, side one does go off the boil a bit after that. Keiths Little T&A take a wild stab in the dark as to what those letters stand for, the Ronnie Wood co-write Black Limousine and even Micks affectionate take on Richards getting evicted from his apartment for playing loud music are all grand, but theyre not as good as the rest of the record. Still though, the piano and saxophone on Neighbours jump and wail, proving they were still plugged in.

The songs that bookend side two Worried About You and Waiting On A Friend both stretch back past Paris; the former was worked up for Black And Blue while the latter first took shape as far back as the Goats Head Soup sessions in 1972 in Jamaica. The question remains, why werent these cuts of genius included on those albums in the first place where they would have easily outshone everything else? Whatever the reason, theyre probably the two greatest songs on Tattoo You and yes, that does include Start Me Up. The soulful, yearning Worried About You is one of Jaggers finest recorded moments as he slips in and out of falsetto, Charlie watts proves again that he could play anything, the wondrous guitar solo from Wayne Perkins they were in between permanent guitar players at the time makes you wonder why he didnt get the job and its one of the last recorded examples of Mick and Keith actually singing together, a feature of all their best work. Waiting On A Friend is as good a song about male friendship as you're ever going to hear, and it might be the love song of - not just by - the glimmer twins. It also inspired the greatest music video of all time and is, quite possibly, the last single truly worthy of their name.

Tops hop into my bed and Ill make you a star also comes from the GHS sessions and features Mick Taylor on guitar and Nicky Hopkins on piano, while No Use In Crying - Ronnie Wood's best ever Stones writing credit - and the slinky, dream-like, un-Stonesy Heaven both came from Paris, and that was that. Tattoo You was a hit and its still their last album to top the American charts. The tour was on, and they got to keep the crown, for another while at least.

As alluded to earlier, The Stones have cracked open the archives during the last decade or so, expanding their best post-sixties output. Allen Kleins company still holds the rights to the likes of Beggars Banquet and Let It Bleed so dont expect anything similar for those records anytime soon. This closet clearing has uncovered some brilliant music Plundered My Soul and Following The River added on to Exile, Scarlet and Criss Cross appended to GHS and that great extra Some Girls disc. There has been some grumbling from the gallery, complaining churlishly, in my opinion that Jagger, the driving force behind these exhumations, has dared to mess with what was already there and not just release the tapes as they were. This is daft, for a few reasons. First and foremost, the majority, if not the entirety, of these tracks werent finished at the time. A lot of the instrumentation was but the vocals were rough if they were there at all. They were never going to release them like that. Another point to make is that while of course Mick Jagger in his seventies does not sound the same as he did in his twenties and thirties, his voice is in much better nick than most of his contemporaries and, one could argue, a lot of his voice was always about his personality anyway, and that is most certainly still there. This argument seems even more spurious when were talking about Tattoo You because that was what they did at the time anyway dig out old cuts and finish them off. Anyway, it would take even the most gormless internet luddite about five seconds to locate a recently leaked collection which I wont name wherein theyll find a lot of the untouched tapes if thats what theyre after.

Lets get the live one out of the way first. Included in the super deluxe version is a complete concert recorded in Wembley in 1982. Frankly, it was surely more fun to be at then to listen back to, although if you require evidence that Charlie was good every night, then here it is. This is the tour that would stop in Slane about a month afterwards but it might be better served by the original Still Life album released in 1982 and that one is hardly anyones favourite Stones record either. In its favour, it has fine versions of Smokey Robinson And The Miracles Going To A Go-Go and Time Is On My Side and at least, as a single album, it doesnt outstay its welcome. This version stretches over a patience testing three records. If you want to know what all the fuss is about when it comes to The Stones live, the ones to track down are still the incendiary Some Girls: Live In Texas 78, Get Your Ya-Yas Out!, and perhaps the greatest live rock n roll album of them all - Brussels Affair, recorded in 1973 and included with the Goats Head Soup reissue.

The meat then is Lost And Found, a further disc of outtakes to go with the original album, of outtakes. The surprise is that the well still isnt dry. The long-bootlegged Living In The Heart Of Love Charlie batters the floor tom, Keith riffs, Mick yelps should really have been finished at the time as it would have improved Its Only Rock N Roll no end, and you can hear elements of it in the half-arsed reggae of Luxury that they did put on that album. Fiji Jim previously known as Fiji Jin comes again from Paris and sounds like it was a good party. Jimmy Reeds Shame, Shame, Shame does at least show what the slightly over-egged Blue And Lonesome could have sounded like but the other two covers are exceptional. Apparently, their go at Dobie Grays Drift Away was left off IORAR at the last minute, which was a serious error in judgement as its a marvellous performance. I also suspect it was the most finished outtake which required the least touching up. The third cover, of The Chi-Lites Troubles A Comin heres a useless pop fact, the song comes from their 1970 album I Like Your Lovin (Do You Like Mine?) which also featured Are You My Woman? (Tell Me So) from which Beyonc lifted the horn riff for Crazy In Love is a welcome surprise with the get it together line that could have been written for them.

Is Jagger having a go at the purists with Its A Lie, those devotees who insist he shouldnt be allowed to go back and finish his own work? Dig out the original version of this mid-tempo rocker, recorded in Paris for Some Girls, and the vocal is a mumbled guide at best. On this finished release he also seems to be taking shots at Jerry Hall and the press, and he helpfully mentions eBay and the internet in case anyone still thinks were in the seventies. Come To The Ball is produced by Jimmy Miller and features Mick Taylor on guitar which puts it squarely in The Stones imperial period. Id happily listen to recordings of Jagger and Richards ordering breakfast from room service if I was told they were from 68-73 but this has a slashing rhythm that calls to mind the great Metamorphosis outtake Im Going Down so Ill take it instead. Taylor and Billy Preston also feature on Fast Talking Slow Walking and again, it doesnt matter if Jaggers vocal is from forty days or forty years ago, theres no one like him.

We finish off near where we came in with that early take of Start Me Up where, as Chris Kimsey remarks in the beautiful hardback book that accompanies this box, you can hear Richards and Jagger pulling against each other. Keith is still playing reggae while Mick is starting to rock. It does prove that they and Kimsey made the right decision by giving us the version that they're possibly playing in some American enormodome as you read this.

The last Rolling Stones studio album of original material was A Bigger Bang, which is now sixteen-years old. Despite some perfectly good stand-alone fare like Doom And Gloom and Living In A Ghost Town, were still waiting for the follow-up. Will it ever arrive, now that Charlie has left us? Who knows, but the thing is, it doesnt really matter, the outtakes from the seventies are always going to be better. Would I like to see The Stones release a late career masterpiece akin to Dylans Rough And Rowdy Ways? Sure. Is that likely? Again, who knows, but why leave it to chance? Is it not better to enjoy again the music from when it seemed effortless to them, when their arsing around was better than nearly everyone else's best efforts, from the last times when they really were the greatest rock n roll band in the world?

__________The anniversary edition of Tattoo You is out now, in various formats and would make a very fine present indeed, especially for yourself.

Thanks to all the team at Universal Music Ireland, especially Lady Laura Allen.

By the way, this is really the last great Stones album.

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Waiting On A Friend: The Rolling Stones and Tattoo You -

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Lower-Back Tattoos Are Back – The Cut10.08.21

Photo: Ethan Miller/2010 Getty Images

In the last year, Austin C. Pratt-Fusari, a tattoo artist at Sacred Tattoo on Broadway, has noticed a resurgence in lower-back tattoos. Women in particular, he said, are coming in and asking for so-called tramp stamps again more than they have in about a decade.

When I first started tattooing around 2005, they were quite common, recalls Pratt-Fusari. But then, probably around 2011, they just stopped.

Men and women have been tattooing their lower backs in one way or another since forever. But the tramp stamp, specifically, became a thing in the late 90s and early 2000s, when the eras biggest celebrities Britney Spears, Aaliyah, Nicole Richie, Lindsay Lohan all started getting tattoos of butterflies and crosses and such on their lower backs, and flaunting them with fashions of the day like crop tops and low-rise jeans.

Inevitably, the Y2K aesthetic fell out of favor not to mention the word tramp, which is steeped in misogyny and the pendulum eventually swung toward a more minimalist, more covered-up style. By 2013, Nicole Richie had gotten her lower-back tattoo removed, saying, It just means a certain thing, and I dont want to be part of that group.

But now, after a year and a half of a pandemic, the tramp stamp is being welcomed back with open arms, it seems, along with Y2K style in general. Earlier this year, Paloma Wool released a capsule collection that was an ode to lower-back tattoos of the 90s. Time to Get a Tramp Stamp, read a Jezebel headline in April of 2020. And just this past month, Collina Strada showed belts inspired by lower-back tattoos for its spring 2022 collection.

The jewelry we did this season is not only a nod to Y2K trends but also a cheeky gesture to a lot of my friends, some of whom are embracing the tattoos they got as teens, and others who are revisiting the idea now that theyre adults, designer Hillary Taymour told the Cut.

Miley Cyrus also revealed what seemed to be a fresh a lower-back tattoo this summer. I dont know what yall wanna see more, she wrote in an Instagram post. My back tat or me in concert!

Years ago, trend forecasters predicted that low-rise jeans would return in 2020, as Gen Z discovered the Y2K aesthetic for the first time, and as the siren song of unflattering pants began to wear off on millennials. But did low-rise jeans and crop tops and exposed thongs come first, and then lower back tattoos? (This is what happened in 2002, according to the Wall Street Journal.) Or was it the other way around?

I think on a surface level, theres the Y2K thing with low-rise jeans, said Phoebe Satterwhite, a 21-year-old full-time hand-poke tattoo artist living in Bushwick, who decided to get a tramp stamp earlier this year when another artist, whose lower-back work artist she admired, announced that she was visiting New York. (Shes certainly been wearing more low-rise bottoms than she was before she got the tattoo.)

But on a deeper level, its also about sexual liberation and taking back the idea that being a tramp is a bad thing, she added of the trend, pointing to the rise in 2020 of Bimbo TikTok (or BimboTok for short), an online community aimed at reclaiming the word, and celebrating hyper-femininity.

Ella Rene, 20, a student in New York who has been thinking about getting a lower-back tattoo this year, noticed that when she brought up the idea to her friends, they were a lot more accepting. I used to get weird looks, but now every time I mention it to someone, theyre like, Oh, yeah, definitely. Do that. Originally, she wanted a flaming butterfly on her lower back as an ironic joke, inspired by the influencer Mara Bernad, who got something similar in June. But the more I thought about it, Rene said, the more I was like, Wait, this is actually really cute.

The images may be the same butterflies, lotus flowers, filigree but the design of lower back tattoos today is generally much thinner and softer more flow according to both Pratt-Fusari and Phoebe, who says this aesthetic will probably age better.

In many ways, a lot has changed in the last ten years. Its generally accepted that having a tramp stamp doesnt make you a tramp but if thats what youre going for, thats cool, too. Tattoos have also become less taboo in general, and continue to grow in popularity.

Theyve become more of a fashion statement, without really the thought of the permanence of the idea, said Pratt-Fusari. Lately, hes been doing cover-ups for clients who got a tattoo maybe three months ago, as opposed to three years ago, and who just want to try something different.

Mary Anderson, who runs her own consulting agency, started working with Ephemeral, a made-to-fade tattoo parlor this year. Ive always liked the idea of a tramp stamp, she said. Im a Millennial. Im a child of that era. But it was a huge commitment. A tattoo that faded over time, however, felt like less of a risk, and she was finally able to go for it. I was like, Im going to lean into it and get the most ridiculous tramp stamp that I can get, which is a Playboy bunny. My teenage hot girl desires came full circle.

If she were to ever get it done permanently, shed get it a little higher, she said, seeing that shes not a huge fan of low-rise bottoms.

The return of low-rise jeans may have been inevitable, but what no one predicted was that 2020 would also bring a global pandemic. A year ago, Pratt-Fusari would have told you that his industry was never going to bounce back. I was convinced that no one was going to want to risk doing anything mildly dangerous, he said. Tattooing is intimate work, with bodily fluids involved.

But he was wrong. Following lockdown, not only did people want tattoos again, they also seemed to crave being something of a hot mess as well, to borrow a popular Y2K phrase. They wanted to show some skin, and celebrate their bodies, as opposed to shielding them. They wanted to take risks, within reason.

I have an urge to be more fun and experimental with my appearance in general, said Rene, who got five tattoos in the past year, after moving out of her parents house. I just care so much less about what people think because I had so much time at home alone to experiment.

Its empowering to know that we have these bodies that survived this, Pratt-Fusari concluded. And maybe we want to decorate them with some designs, whether they have to do with the pandemic, or not.

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Tattooed Guy Infuriated Cardi B Attended Paris Fashion Week – AllHipHop10.08.21

Cardi B has been dubbed the Queen of Paris Fashion Week, but her triumphant return to the French capital could end up costing her money.

The man Cardi is battling over a stolen back tattoo is asking a judge to sanction the rap star, claiming she misled the court under oath.

Kevin Michael Brophy is suing Cardi B for $5 million, claiming she swiped his distinctive back tattoo of a tiger and used it on the cover of her mixtape Gangsta B#### Chronicles Vol. 1.

On September 8th, after years of wrangling, the judge overseeing the case set a trial date for October 26th, 2021. However, Cardi convinced the judge to push the trial back until February 1st, 2022, since she gave birth to a precious baby boy on September 4th.

Cardi said she was concerned about catching COVID if she was forced to travel through airports and stay in a hotel in California to fight the allegations, so soon after giving birth.

However, two weeks after she filed her sworn declaration, Cardi B was spotted in Paris at Paris Fashion Week at numerous high-profile events.

Cardi B, born Belcalis Almanzar, garnered praise in the fashion world for her head-turning outfits. She attended Thierry Muglers exhibit, visited Balenciagas offices, and had a date night with her husband Offset under the Eiffel Tower.

Her trip to Paris was documented in a steady stream of photos on social media and a variety of media publications showing off her fitted designer dresses at multiple public events, Kevin Michael Brophys lawyer Lawrence Conlan snapped.

A post shared by Cardi B (@iamcardib)

There is no reasonable explanation for Ms. Almanzar to suggest that she could not, and would not, leave New York because she needed to be with her children and that it was not safe for her to be in public places, only for her to appear two weeks later in Paris in multiple designer looks at extravagant events amongst crowds of people, at public parties and dinners, Conlan quipped.

Kevin Michael Murphy claims he has been prejudiced by the unwarranted delay of the trial since Gangsta B#### Chronicles Vol. 1 continues to be marketed and sold while earning royalties off his back literally.

Kevin Michael Murphys lawyer says it is unlikely that Cardi B did not know she would be attending Paris Fashion Week when she filed her declaration under oath, requesting to delay the trial.

Kevin Michael Brophy is asking the judge to sanction Cardi B by setting the trial date for December 2021, or in the extreme scenario, entering into a default judgment against the fashionable rap star.

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