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The 20 Most Valuable Happy Meal Toys From McDonald’s

When you were much younger, did you drive your parents crazy for a McDonald’s Happy Meal? Are you still buying Happy Meals? Maybe the recent Cactus Plant Flea Market collaboration has you feeling nostalgic! If you’re like me, you were always asking for them when your parents drove you places.

Related: Cactus Plant Flea Market Nike collaboration

Either way, this is a great time to look back at the 20 most valuable Happy Meal toys of all time! Let’s see if you owned or still own any of these Happy Meal grails.

20. Potato Head Kids (1987) – $30.05
McDonald’s

Ah, the Mr. Potato Head Kids. These toys were from the animated Potato Head Kids show that aired from 1986 to 1987. The Happy Meal Miniature Mr. Potato Head toys are difficult to find sealed copies; meanwhile, the loose ones are relatively cheap, with a set of 11 selling for $30.05 on eBay in June. 

19. Despicable Me 2 (2013) July – $35.00
McDonald’s

Despicable Me Minions took over the Happy Meal craze in 2013. The toys were made available at the same time as the movie release, which ended up the 2nd highest-grossing animated movie at the time. The Minions came in a set of 8, and recent sales are around $35.00.

18. Fraggle Rock (1987) – $60.00
McDonald’s

Fraggle Rock was a part of the Muppet Universe and was immensely popular in the late 1980s. Surprisingly, you can complete this set on eBay for less than $60.00. 

17. Furby (2000) March 24 – April 13 – $69.00
McDonald’s

Furby! The 1998 toy line was a massive success that led to two separate McDonald’s Happy Meal toy lines. The 2nd Furby toy line, the 2000 set of 12 Furby key chains, is the more valuable of the two today. The most recent complete sealed set sold was for $69.00.   

16. Super Mario Bros. 3 (1990) August- September – $69.95
McDonald’s

The most popular video game character had to make his way to Happy Meals, right? Absolutely! Super Mario made his first appearance in 1990 as a set of 4, including Luigi, Little Goomba & Koopa Paratroopa. The most recent set sold was in April for $69.95. There are still complete sets available near that price.  

15. Inspector Gadget (1999) July 16 – August 12 – $70.00
McDonald’s

The Inspector Gadget set is unique. This is the first set on the list that is built into one character. You would have to have all 8 pieces to make the full Inspector Gadget, which is currently available around $50.00-$70.00 on eBay. 

14. Star Trek Meal (1979-1980) December 1979 – February 1980 – $90.00
McDonald’s

This is certainly one of the more unique Happy Meal promotions. There were 5 custom Happy Meal boxes for Star Trek, which included games & comics for the Movie. One of the notable scenes on the boxes was the death of 2 crewmembers. Imagine that being on a happy meal box today.

The toys available with the Happy Meals were a Star Trek Video Communicator, Star Trek Rings, which snapped together & a board game where you go through outer space on the Enterprise. A sealed Bracelet recently sold for $90.00 in June, and the Star Trek Communicator recently sold for $25.00 in July. Meanwhile, a case of the Happy Meal boxes recently sold for $121.73 on eBay.

13. 101 Dalmatians (1997-1998) December 26 – January 29 – $96.00
McDonald’s

This is probably the coolest set McDonald’s ever released as part of Happy Meals. The 101 Dalmatians were available in happy meals, but there was also the caveat that you could win the whole collection as part of a McDonald’s program that promoted the movie 101 Dalmatians. Recently a complete set with authentication sold for $96.00 at auction on eBay.

12. 1993 Barbie Set – $105
eBay

This set is interesting in that the concept would never fly today. McDonalds and Mattel did this collaboration at the same time they were handing out Hot Wheels toys in the Happy Meal boxes. Children were asked to choose between a “boys toy” and a “girls toy”.

This set sold for $105 on eBay, but with them all looking pristine in their original boxes, I wonder if the buyer got a steal!

11. Changeables – Transforming Food (1987 & 1989) – $100.00
McDonald’s

When I mentioned the most valuable Happy Meal Toys, my father immediately picked the Changeables. These toys would change into dinosaurs and robots from items on the menu. Recently a sealed set of 8 Changeables from 1989 sold for $100.00. 

10. Clone Wars Happy Meal Box (2008) August 15 – September 11, 2008 – $135.00
McDonald’s

Star Wars finally makes the list! This set is based on the animated Clone Wars show that aired from 2008-09. The Clone Wars complete set of 18 is quite reasonable despite being 13 years old. You can complete the set for under $60.00 if you can find a lot available. There is also a 9 piece collectible box available that recently sold for $135.00 in May. The cardboard boxes that the Happy Meal came in are also desirable, selling for $15.00 recently. 

9. Pokémon 25th Anniversary Pikachu holo #25 PSA 10 – $150
McDonald’s

To end this countdown, we have to go with the Pokémon 25th Anniversary Packs that were available in the Happy Meals. Why? The craze for packs and cases of packs was ridiculous; people were making offers to store managers and doing their best to buy cases and flip them for insane markups.

Simply put, these cards/packs are #1 on the list because a PSA 10 graded Holographic Pikachu sold for $445 on eBay in July. However, they are currently selling for around $150. While that’s certainly trending in the wrong direction, it’s still not a bad return on what was supposed to just be a fun Happy Meal giveaway.

Regardless, of whether this card is worth $100 or $400 (if graded a pristine PSA 10) today, it’s still more than most other single item on this list.

Over 42 years, McDonald’s has included toys in Happy Meals, and yet one of their most valuable is a Pikachu Card that’s just over a year old, which illustrates just how powerful and collectible the Pokémon brand is.

8. 2013 NFL Rush Zone (Complete Set) $225
eBay

NFL Rush Zone was an animated show on Nickelodeon that only ran for three seasons and focused on an 11-year-old San Diego Chargers fan (Ish) that protected a power source which was hidden in all 32 NFL stadiums. NFL stars and head coaches such as Drew Brees, Eli Manning and Mike Tomlin made guest appearances on the show, and every NFL team was represented by one of the “Rusherz”, a race of humanoid aliens that in some way resembled the logo or the city.

As weird as that concept sounds, this set going for $225 is proof that you can pretty much sell anything with an NFL logo on it.

7. Snoopy (1998-1999) – $350.00
McDonald’s

The Snoopy World Tour came with 28 figures and was available as a complete set in a case designed as Snoopy’s house. Each toy represented a different country. The 2nd set of Snoopy toys was also available individually in 1999, and recently 27 sealed copies sold for $52.28. There is one complete set in the case listed currently on eBay for over $350.00.

6. Power Rangers (1995) – $350.00
McDonald’s

The Power Rangers Mania was real, with demand causing shelves to be empty and families calling Bandai direct demanding toys. The demand wasn’t nearly that great for the Happy Meal toys, but they were popular. I remember having each one and enjoying a lot of happy meals when these were released. Recently a loose set sold for $85.04 in May, while a sealed set is valued at over $350.00.

5. Underwater Monsters By Diener Keshi (1979) – $400.00
Diener Keshi

The first two sets of toys made available in Happy Meals were from Diener Keshi. Both were also multi-purposed as toys & erasers. Loose sets fetch over $80.00, and sealed sets, which are very rare, are valued at over $400.00. 

4. Robots By Diener Keshi (1979) – $400.00
Diener Keshi

Like the Underwater Monsters, Diener Keshi also made the Robots. These are the first toys available for Happy Meals and the first Keshi toys shipped to the USA. The set contains 14 figures, and some are still available loose on eBay. A sealed set would also fetch north of $400.00, like the Underwater Monsters.

3. “Cactus Plant Flea Market” Adult Happy Meal Toys – $551
eBay

Adult Happy Meals might seem ridiculous to some people, but I disagree. You’re never too old for a Happy Meal!

McDonald’s linked up with Cactus Plant Flea Market for this collaboration that features four figures, Grimace, the Hamburglar, Birdie and Cactus Buddy. There is also a website where you can purchase some gear that celebrates the collab!

“We’re taking one of the most nostalgic McDonald’s experiences and literally repackaging it in a new way that’s hyper-relevant for our adult fans,” said Tariq Hassan, McDonald’s USA’s chief marketing and customer experience officer, in a statement.

This set of all four figures sold for $551, which is quite a return on the tasty investment.

2. Hot Wheels (1983) -$875.00
McDonald’s

The McDonald’s Hot Wheels are the most underrated of all the toys listed. Sealed vintage hot wheels have been climbing in value steadily, and the 1983 McDonald’s set is no different. A complete 15 car sealed set was recently sold with the original sheet for $875.00 in May. Of all the items on this list, these are likely to be the most valuable moving forward.  

1. TY’s Teenie Beanie Baby Boos (1999) April 11, 1997 – May 15, 1997 – $1,000.00
TY

If you weren’t around for the Beanie Baby craze, let me just say it was worse than the Pokémon Packs being sold earlier this year. Parents were buying out all the Teenie Beanie Babies at McDonald’s, and with limited supply, there were multiple incidents that led to injuries and arrests. One McDonald’s employee was charged with theft after being caught stealing $6,000.00 worth of them.

The Teenie Beanie Babies were smaller versions of the Beanie Babies and were available in Happy Meals or individually for sale at $2.00 each. Sealed versions of the original Teenie Beanie Babies fetch over $50.00, and as a set, they are worth over $1,000.00. Not bad for 22-year-old Happy Meal Toys. 

Categories
Popular Culture

‘Walker Independence’ Review: A High-Stakes Story of Revenge in the Old West

Who doesn’t love a good story set in the Old West? You need only look at some of the best movies from the genre to know why: TombstoneThe Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, and High Noon are just three examples, but the list is practically endless. The CW’s newest series, Walker Independence, is the next property in a long line of Westerns to earn its spot among the all-time greats.

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A prequel to the 2021 Walker, Texas Ranger reboot, WalkerWalker Independence follows a widow named Abby Walker (Katherine McNamara) as she arrives in the small town of Independence, Texas.

Traveling across the country from Boston to Independence, Texas, Abby and her husband are attacked on the trail by unknown assailants. Her husband is killed, but she survives after playing dead. She makes her way to town and discovers that the new sheriff is one of the men who killed her husband and begins planning exactly how to bring him to justice.

The series stars McNamara, Matt Barr, Greg Hovanessian, Lawrence Kao, Justin Johnson Cortez, Philemon Chambers, Katie Findlay and Gabriela Quezada.

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Anna Kooris / The CW

In this fish-out-of-water tale, the story rests on the shoulders of McNamara’s Abby, and when she’s on screen, she can take that responsibility and run with it. McNamara conveys a ton of emotion through her facial expressions, helping to reinforce just how bad things have gotten for her character.

Barr also shines as Hoyt Rawlins, a preacher/outlaw who is initially standoffish with Abby, but as the events are set in motion, they eventually begin to trust each other.

The first episode is adept at setting up the story, all while hinting at how the other prominent cast members are sure to be vital characters as Abby’s tale continues to unfold.

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Anna Kooris/The CW

The sets on the show also help provide a true sense of time and place for the town of Independence. As the shots go down the main street, you come across all the usual things you’d expect to see in an Old Wild West town: The saloon, the hotel, the sheriff’s office, to name a few. Independence hustles and bustles around our characters and delivers when it comes to immersing you into their world.

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Anna Kooris/The CW

Overall, if you’re a fan of Walker or even Westerns in general, there’s a good chance you’ll also enjoy Walker Independence. The pilot episode does more than enough to get you invested in these characters’ lives and will have you tuning in for a new episode every week.

Tune-in to Walker Independence Thursdays at 9/8c on The CW or stream free next day on The CW app.

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Categories
Popular Culture

Is IShowSpeed The New King Of Content?

In professional sports leagues of the world, there comes a time when one generation must pass the torch to the next, a time when one group of individuals must call it quits and watch a new generation spur on evolution to the game they love. The same goes for platforms like Youtube, Twitch, TikTok, etc. Where we once had Pewdiepie entertaining us weekly, we now tune in to Mr.Beast. Streamer and content creator Darren Watkins, better known as IShowSpeed, has been on a meteoric rise to superstardom and may just be the new king of content. 

IShowSpeed currently has over 11 million subscribers on Youtube, with his most popular video, “Shake,” eclipsing 130 million views. Speed has released other songs like “Ronaldo (Sewey)” and “God Is Good,” which have both reached over 15 million views. On Tik Tok, Speed has crossed the 8 million follower mark, racking up over 35 million likes on the app. What’s most shocking is that Speed has hit those milestones on Tik Tok while only posting nine videos. 

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How Did IShowSpeed Become So Popular?

IShowSpeed began gaining popularity while sitting as a guest on prominent streamer Adin Ross’s Twitch channel. Ross, who moved to L.A. in 2021, would regularly host streams with high-profile rappers. Guests like NLE Choppa, Torey Lanez, Polo G, Lil Yachty, and more. Always present sitting in the bottom right of the screen was IShowSpeed. 

Speed would first gain notice for making outlandish comments or even barking at guests that attended Adin’s streams. Whenever someone would press Speed or test to see if he’s playing a character, he would break out into a loud bark and go, well, I guess the only way to describe it is Super Saiyan.

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Interest In Proper Football

Over the last six months, IShowSpeed has garnered attention for exploring the Proper Football world. Speed would regularly stream NBA2k or other social games with friends, but after being asked by a donator who his favorite footy club was, he responded excitedly, saying, “Cristiano Ronaldo… SUIIIII.” Speed then began regularly watching Proper Football highlights and even started playing at local fields. 

Most recently, Speed participated in the annual Sidemen charity match, which saw him go viral for a number of reasons. Speed and prominent influencer KSI had some mild beef before the big game, which led to a hilarious slide tackle from Speed just 15 seconds into the match. The most memorable moment had to be when Speed scored a goal (which would be called off for offsides) and ran to celebrate with a Ronaldo “Sui.” As soon as he hit the ground, nearly the entire stadium, in unison, yelled “SUIIII”.  

It’s clear that IShowSpeed isn’t just the flavor of the month, but he is a genuine content creator who is here to stay. Speed is just a kid who loves to stream and make content, and I can’t wait to see what the young creator does next. 

Categories
Popular Culture

The Cast of Love and Hip-Hop Atlanta and Miami Talks What To Expect This Season

The new seasons of Love & Hip-Hop are locked, loaded, and ready to go tonight. Last month, VH1 announced the back-to-back season premieres of Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta and Love & Hip Hop: Miami as part of VH1’s summer hot ‘Level Up Mondays’ programming. The juggernaut franchise returns to two of the hottest cities in the south for a raw behind-the-scenes look into iconic industry legends and ambitious rising stars pushing the envelope while trying to balance realities at home.

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And from what we’ve seen so far, the action is only going to get better in the weeks to come.

This new season of Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta will turn hip-hop culture on its head and remix it into a new era as Spice becomes the first artist in Love & Hip Hop history to be nominated for a Grammy while on the show. Filled with twists and turns, this season will combine emotional depth with over-the-top humor, shocking betrayals, unforeseen grief and loss, unexpected alliances, divorce, co-parenting, and long overdue family encounters.

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As for the 305, these artists are turning the heat all the way up like never before. As the fight for reinvention, ambition, and quest for love reaches new heights, nothing is off limits.  Will big dreams and conquests fuel their fire or burn out the flame? With new babies, paternity questions, weddings on the horizon and family bonds tested, Miami’s secrets will be revealed on the South Beach strip.

We spoke with the cast of both this past week to get the scoop this new season.

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ONE37pm: You guys are back! From what I’ve seen, this season is already off to a litty start!

Rasheeda: Oh yeah! People are really going to grasp on to all the different stories and elements and not only be entertained, but be able to get some answers. Now some things do remain unanswered, but at the end of the day the audience is going to see growth and be able to grow with us.

Joc: I think if you had to some up this particular season, it would be a culmination of all of our past seasons. It’s like seeing Scrappy and Stevie J fight. It’s like seeing Benzino get shot at his mother’s funeral. It’s like seeing what took place with Kirk and Rasheeda, and them overcoming their hurdle.

There’s a lot of those big moments that I think will trigger a lot of people to really look in the mirror and ask themselves how they can learn to overcome situations and obstacles as well because it’s action-packed. I hate to talk about this season like it’s a movie, but just from looking at the trailer I had so many questions about certain things and now I’m like “Oh!” I think people are going to feel the same way.

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ONE37pm: We cover style here at ONE37pm, and we wanted to ask what goes into the looks you guys create on camera.

Sierra: There’s a lot that goes into it! We all like to be glammed, and I feel like Atlanta is the capital of glam. I know it’s not the fashion capital, but we just have our own little personal touch from how we like our hair to our makeup. Just everything is on a whole nother glam. I’m gonna pass the torch to my gemini sister now because her fashion is next level.

Rasheeda: Why Thank You! Women and people in Atlanta are so full of culture and original flavor, and I think from the beginning of Love & Hip-Hop to now, we’ve been authentic. I don’t overthink stuff, I do what I feel. I’m a gemini, so one day I might wake up on some girly girl stuff, the next day might be tomboy, and then the day after that might be neutral. I just go with the flow when it comes to fashion. I do what I feel, and that’s just what it is.

Joc: You know what’s interesting? I’m coming from it like you by asking questions. Rasheeda and Sierra are always fresh, but they are even fresher now because before you couldn’t even see certain designer things because of the logos. I’m not saying that designer logos say that you are fashionably inclined or correct, but it kept them from wearing a lot of the drip that they probably would have normally worn. So now they are really going in.

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Kirk: Rasheeda wears something and it pretty much sells out! I’ve had to ask her to stop wearing clothes from other designers and get into her stuff. I think that was a good move because at the end of the day they were standing in line selling these clothes out, but what were we getting from it? I was like “Nah!” Be more original, put your pieces together and do what you do!

Rasheeda: What do you do about your fashion?

Kirk: I am not a fashion guy at heart. I’m the guy that walks around in sweatpants, a t-shirt, and that’s that! I am not a fly dude. I dress only when I have to as needed.

Kirk: What about you Florence? What are you doing in Miami?

Florence: I love fashion! I own the biggest beauty bar in South Florida right now, and I collab with the dopest stylist right now, Celcha (Cassie Giles). We do a lot of custom pieces, and I’m from Haiti so we like to incorporate different things. You’re just going to have to watch and see! We don’t like to do the regulars. We have done some of the name brands, but most of the stuff that I wear on the show is custom made.

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ONE37pm: Lastly, we wanted to talk about Atlanta culture which is the inspiration for a lot in terms of fashion, music, and entertainment. How has Atlanta evolved?
Joc: You know Kirk has been around for a minute, and he can probably vouch for this. I think Atlanta is a smaller version of New York, meaning it’s a multicultural melting pot. Our culture influences everybody it seems like, but one of the tokens to our culture is Hartsfield Jackson, which allows any and everybody to touch down on our soil. Then we have such great real estate which means you come here and live nicely. We also have this huge conglomerate of HBCUs.

So everybody gets to come here and mix, mingle, and intertwine, and the rest of the world can receive. I’ve asked the very same question that you just asked, and I have also asked others this question when interviewing them. They can never give me a straight answer on it. It’s always opinions, so that’s when you have to start looking at facts. So So Def, LaFace, and even now.

Atlanta is the only city that a business class sprouted and uprooted from entertainment. You can’t go to other places and find that. That’s why our culture is so enriched. The ATLiens give off that sauce with a lot of people coming together, and it influences everything. 

There you have it! The new season’s premiere tonight at 8pm ET/PT. Be sure to check it out. 

Categories
Popular Culture

Dose of Society Brings Compassion to Social Media

Social media doesn’t always have to be a toxic place and Dose of Society is changing that.

Anyone that visits their favorite TikTok or Instagram account will likely find that for every rational and compassionate comment there are probably five others that aren’t as nice.

That’s where Ahmed Faid and Nii Lartey come into the picture.

[ MORE: Who Are The Current UFC Champions? ]

The entrepreneurs, based out of the United Kingdom, met while at university. Faid was an economics major and Lartey a journalism student at the time. 

What came next is a project that has quickly become one of the fastest-growing street content accounts across social media.

<code><blockquote class="tiktok-embed" cite="https://www.tiktok.com/@doseofsociety/video/7073532575435853061" data-video-id="7073532575435853061" style="max-width: 605px;min-width: 325px"> <section> <a target="_blank" title="@doseofsociety" href="https://www.tiktok.com/@doseofsociety">@doseofsociety</a> What’s the most painful thing you’ve ever been told? Featuring the amazing artist @farah_nakhoul <a target="_blank" title="♬ original sound - Dose of Society" href="https://www.tiktok.com/music/original-sound-7073532587474078469">♬ original sound - Dose of Society</a> </section> </blockquote></code>

Dose of Society has millions of followers across it’s Snapchat, TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram accounts, and the common word that can be associated with their pages is humanity.

“The idea actually started back when I was 16 years old,” Faid told ONE37pm. “London was an interesting place when I was growing up. We had a massive increase in knife crime and university fees, and on top of that we had to deal with the London Riots.

“A lot of young people were involved in that and I saw it as an expression of people like myself that were tired and frustrated. It seemed like our voices weren’t being heard.

“So I had this concept of hitting the streets of London and talking to people my age about various stuff because at the time there really wasn’t a platform that was open to these types of discussions.

“Originally I was a little bit nervous, but once I got to university two or three years later I gained that confidence to pick up a camera and just speak to young people about real issues.”

For Faid, his vision has always been about creating a safe environment for everyday humans to share their personal experiences no matter how serious or light hearted.

Once he realized his concept was gaining traction, that’s when Faid brought in his partner Lartey to take things to another level.

“I immediately fell in love with the stories and all the different walks of life,” Faid said. “After university, I was building up my following and that’s when I got my co-founder involved.

“I shared my vision with him and he was on board pretty much immediately.”

Faid and Lartey would grind out videos for months during their lunch breaks of their regular 9-to-5 jobs in the hopes of making a dent on social media’s biggest platforms.

Luckily for Dose of Society, they received a significant opportunity early on that would change the outlook of their business when Snapchat came calling.

“We had this really cool opportunity with Yellow, which is run by Snapchat, and that was really kind of our big break,” Lartey said. “Snapchat were investing in 10 companies around the world so this all happened very fast for us.

“We flew out to Los Angeles, they started a timer and they gave us 10 minutes to present just like on Shark Tank.

“To this day I can’t even remember what we said there. We just gave it our all and thankfully it happened and it really changed everything for us with their investment.”

Dose of Society has prided itself on its ability to connect with a broad global audience despite mainly targeting the United Kingdom and United States markets early on the company’s growth.

<code><blockquote class="tiktok-embed" cite="https://www.tiktok.com/@doseofsociety/video/7114223118335429894" data-video-id="7114223118335429894" style="max-width: 605px;min-width: 325px"> <section> <a target="_blank" title="@doseofsociety" href="https://www.tiktok.com/@doseofsociety">@doseofsociety</a> <p>Call one of your male friends right now and tell them you love them... 📲🥺</p> <a target="_blank" title="♬ original sound - Dose of Society" href="https://www.tiktok.com/music/original-sound-7114223139924413190">♬ original sound - Dose of Society</a> </section> </blockquote></code>

To date, their channels have collectively gained over 3.5 million followers and four billion views.

Faid and Lartey plans on developing further relationships with those located in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and other regions that haven’t received as much exposure because they believe many of those people have similar stories to tell.

“All these things we talk about on our pages, whether it’s mental health or gun issues, these are topics that really affect people everywhere,” Faid said.

One project Faid and Lartey have been particularly invested in is known as “All Men Cry” in an effort to normalize the emotions men around the world have but may sometimes be too afraid to share publicly.

These are common initiatives Dose of Society has begun to slowly integrate more into their content strategy to help serve an ever-changing world that is beginning to open up more about personal struggles.

“Our goal really is to normalize these concepts that really already are normal human behaviors but still have this stigma attached to them,” Larety said. “Our team go out on the streets and ask people about the last time they cried or when they called up their male friends and told them they love them.

“Even myself as a man, sometimes it’s hard to admit my own emotions and talk about crying, so that’s when I knew we really had something here with this topic.

“To this day, I’ll try to look at the comments and you just see that this is something that’s really needed because we all have emotions and it’s not something that people should have to hide.”

You can learn more about Dose of Society and their social efforts at www.doseofsociety.co.

Follow Dose of Society on Instagram, TikTok and YouTube to view their content and partake in these meaningful discussions. 

Categories
Sports

Nike’s NYvsNY Tournament Has A Fun Night At Dyckman

Since its launch five summers ago, Nike’s “NYvsNY” summer tournament has provided great energy in New York City’s reemerging basketball scene. With five of the best city parks (reigning champion Dyckman Park, Lincoln Park from Queens, West 4th, Tri-State, and Watson Basketball Classic) competing in a nearly-two month-long tournament each week is guaranteed to have great action.

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On Tuesday night (June 28th), the second week of the 2022 NYvsNY tournament took place at Dyckman Park. As always suggested by Dyckman’s team, early arrival was encouraged as the park was already halfway packed an hour before game time. But soon, in front of a packed house, with barely any room to move, the first of two games got underway between Lincoln Park and West 4th.

While NYC’s summer hoops can consist of all three levels (youth, college, and pro), NYvsNY serves as a big stage for the former. With each park consisting of their area’s brightest high-school talents, you’re often staring at the game’s future. Guards come in all shapes and sizes but possess the same skillset. The big-men jump so high you think they were playing on a trampoline. And it becomes more surreal once you remember they’re in high school, where their age ranges from 14-18.

But we did witness a bit of everything on Tuesday. After having a memorable 17-point comeback win last week, Lincoln Park followed up with another one and pushed their record to 2-0. The reigning NYvsNY champion, Dyckman Park, cruised to an 18-point victory and entertained their home crowd. With the first two weeks of action concluded, three weeks of regular season play are remaining before the playoffs begin on August 2nd.

Click here to learn more about the 2022 Nike NYvsNY tournament!

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Popular Culture

Bronx Pastry Chef Paola Velez Is Dazzling NYC

Meet Paola Velez. An award-winning Afro Pastry Chef who has quickly amassed a large following on Instagram with over 28k followers. Also a social justice advocate, Velez hails from New York, and has worked for renowned restaurants such as the Milk Bar and Maydan in Washington, DC. In 2020, Velez co-founded both the organization Bakers Against Racism along with a pop-up donut shop called  Doña Dona. Her latest project is one with Häagen-Dazs, which is a partnership that includes an exclusive ice cream sundae creation. 

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The sundae hit Häagen-Dazs shops nationwide, and what’s more is Häagen-Dazs Shops and Paola will be donating a portion (10% of sales) of the proceeds of the Sundae to Dreaming Out Loud, a nonprofit organization selected by Paola out of her hometown of D.C. that supports underserved food communities and entrepreneurs at large. 

We spoke with Paola about her career and the collab last week in an interview that you can check out below.

Sara Remington

ONE37pm: Hi Paola! Great to be chatting with you today! How did you get your start as a pastry chef?

Velez: I started out as a savory cook in different NYC restaurants, and my now husband and I had just started dating. I took a job as a pastry chef where he worked, and it’s been non-stop ever since!

ONE37pm: Could you just speak a little more about this collaboration with Häagen-Dazs?

Velez: It’s a dream come true from the packaging to the presentation! This is a special sundae that has chocolate, peanut butter, banana, and more, and it’s called the Dazzler. It even has a cherry on top! It’s called The PBJ Sundae, and there’s a card with all of the information on it including the organization where a portion of the proceeds will be going to for charity.

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ONE37pm: How did you come up with creation?

Velez: For me, I’m always trying to figure out what people want to eat and how to appeal to everyone. This project is one that is nationwide. In the past I’ve had projects that were geared towards the East or the West Coast, and I created with that in mind. With this one, I wanted to nail American culture, and who doesn’t like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. It starts from the time you are little, and goes into adulthood.

ONE37pm: How does it feel to be working with Häagen-Dazs in particular?

Velez: It’s amazing. I’m from the Bronx and grew up eating Häagen-Dazs, so now being able to partner with them is a dream come true! There is a charitable component, where 10% of the sales will be going to Dreaming Out Loud, which supports organizations and allows us to make an impact.

You can continue to keep up with Paola via Instagram.

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Popular Culture

Ballroom Dancer Leiomy Is Entering the Metaverse As a Judge on HBO Max’s ‘Legendary’

If you had told me ten or even five years ago that I would be conducting an interview VR style in the metaverse, I would have looked at you crazy. It just didn’t seem fathomable. Yet that is exactly what happened this past week when I interviewed Leiomy, a key icon in ballroom culture,who was also tapped to bea judge on HBO Max’s Emmy-Nominated Ballroom Competition series Legendary. 

Meta

The interview shouldered a Metaverse-hosted panel that Leiomy joined with fellow LGBTQ+ community leaders Law Roach, Renee Montgomery, and Dr. David J Johns (Executive Director, National Black Justice Coalition) for a discussion on gender identity, their unique journeys as intersectional individuals, safety in virtual reality, and owning their identity and culture in uncharted immersive spaces.

Released to the public on 6/21, today, the panel is part of the fourth installment of the Metaverse Culture Series, DREAM HOUSE. As mentioned earlier, we spoke with Leiomy about this project last week in what was an incredible interview that you can check out below.

Meta

ONE37pm:  Hi Leiomy! It’s so good to be chatting with you today! Let’s first start by talking about DREAM HOUSE. How excited are you for the release?

Leiomy: I’m super excited! I’m a gamer myself so I was already used to using the device, but being a part of the metaverse has been something completely different for me, and I loved it so far. I love the fact that I’m able to create an avatar and the movement behind it, as well as the facial expressions and the fact that you are able to play around with motions.

I also like how you can create your own rooms as well, and have spaces to create your own meanings. You can create different things and ideas are so endless!

ONE37pm: This upcoming installment of Metaverse Culture Series, Meta brought together an epic group of LGBTQ+ community leaders. What are some of the things we can expect from this monumental moment?

Leiomy: Honestly, I want to see how many people get involved with this! I feel like a lot of times people are shy to try new things, or socially awkward. A place like this will help so many people be more open to just talking and being expressive. I look forward to even seeing people having events and seeing huge turnouts with so many different types of people. 

Meta

ONE37pm: There’s also a ballroom inspiration behind this project. Could you talk a little bit more about that?

Leiomy: Oh yes! I love the fact that they created a runway. It’s really cool! I love how they put together everything about this. I look forward to seeing more and what they can create because I know this is a first phase kind of thing, but it’s beautiful. The environment itself is so beautiful to look at, and even the judges’ panel is so cool. The dance floor makes it look so surreal.

ONE37pm: Let’s talk about the guests for this panel. We’ve got Renee Montgomery, Law Roach, and Dr. David J. Johns. That’s an awesome lineup!

Leiomy: We all did the panel altogether, and it was so amazing to be a part of the panel and hear everyone’s perspectives on being public figures and sharing our platforms and journeys. I feel like that’s something that’s important for so many different reasons. We’re all from different walks of life, but we can come together and make things happen.

ONE37pm: How about the way we are doing this interview “Inside The Metaverse.” I don’t think we could have imagined this ten years ago!

Leiomy: Honestly, I couldn’t have imagined this ten years ago. Even hearing about the way we were doing these interviews at first was crazy. Being a part of the panel was something different, and I feel like the exploring has been really fun. I’ve loved seeing all of the reporters coming in, and everybody having their different avatars. It’s been cool to see that!

ONE37pm: What are you most excited about with this project?

Leiomy: I love how mobile the movements are. As a dancer, I feel like I can actually teach a performance class via metaverse. That will be really cool!

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Music

The Five Best Moments From 2022 Governors Ball

With an uptick in concerts, albeit smaller, across New York City, the 2022 Governors Ball (June 10th-12th) represented a massive step up as far as attendance and expectations go. But if you had to ask any of the thousands of attendees who were present, the 11th annual Governors Ball at Citi Field in Queens, NY not only lived up to the hype but exceeded it.

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With great weather and beautiful sunsets curating the vibes this past weekend, the 2022 Gov Ball didn’t lack in star power or quality of music. As the trio of Kid Cudi, Halsey, and J. Cole headlined each of the nights (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday), attendees were first blessed to watch the day’s long performances by a who’s who of artists– Playboi Carti, Jack Harlow, Kaytranda, and Ashnikko amongst others– before or after enjoying an assortment of attractions and spaces on-site.

Even though music festivals are becoming an experience more targeted at younger fans, it still manages to unite fans of all ages and backgrounds. The sight of watching two generations of listeners rap or sing their favorite words alongside each other is a sight that can’t be lost; especially when they’re singing Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill.”

Here are the five best moments from the 2022 Governors Ball Music Festival.

J. Cole, Halsey, and Kid Cudi’s superstardom is clear as day
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To some this talking point is obvious but that’s the beauty of attending performances like the Governors Ball— you’re reminded of that truth in the clearest way possible. Regardless of which stage these trio of superstars performed at (there’s a lot of space to cover in Citi Field’s parking lot, by the way), thousands of attendees sprinted their way there in order to find the best view of them.

For nearly an hour each night, J. Cole, Halsey, and Kid Cudi each effortlessly cruised through their sets; aided by a variety of their most popular songs, and new material. And if that wasn’t enough, we also watched Halsey perform a lovely rendition of “Running Up That Hill” by Kate Bush.

The Playboi Carti show is every bit as advertised
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The term “the ground was shaking” is often misused but in this case, it was beyond accurate. As Playboi Carti touched the stage at Citi Field, the ground was literally shaking as his rabid fanbase turned up in the night.

With the influential Atlanta, GA MC standing on top of a built-in hill and the lighting being mostly dark minus an occasional flash, his set was not only memorable but proved why he’s one of hip-hop’s most-watched performers. The energy and visual effects of Carti’s performance at Governors Ball were the talks of excited fans on the subway home.

Shaq + random kid = exciting DJing duo
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At the halfway point of Saturday’s action at Governors Ball, NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal AKA DJ Diesel, performed what some considered the best set that day. Having jumped into the world of DJing EDM, Diesel controlled the crowd with the same ease once exhibited on the basketball court. But you know it wouldn’t be a Diesel show without crowd participation.

At one point, Diesel brought a kid on stage, put him on his shoulders, and they DJed together. The Gov Ball faithful provided a loud ovation to the interaction and the fact that Diesel’s set was only getting better.

Plenty of upcoming artists shined on stage
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What makes Governors Ball a fun experience for music fans is the ability to discover more talent. This weekend, it was routine for attendees to watch new acts perform and immediately pull their phones out to download the songs they liked during their set (and trust me, it happened a lot).

As someone who is personally an avid new-music listener, I enjoyed OCTAVIO the Dweeb, Peach Tree Rascals, and Jax during their performances!

The weather and sunsets were beautiful to look at
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Seriously, it doesn’t get much better than that!

Categories
Popular Culture

From Athlete to Author: Jada Lewis

When I first met Jada Lewis in the Fall of 2017, we were both in different phases of our lives. She was a sophomore standout basketball player at Georgia State University, and I was in my first year covering the team. I was having a conversation with the play-by-play announcer Sam Crenshaw, who’s first words to me were: “That’s Jada Lewis, she’s always the first one in the gym, and the last one to leave.” Through the following two years of covering the team, I found that to be true. One day after a game, I had a brief conversation with Jada, and she told me then that she had a passion for writing.

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Fast forward two years, and now Jada is officially adding author to her resume. Her first book, which is entitled Pretty Is Me, is a tribute to her niece Draiyah, and a tribute to young little Black girls around the world to love themselves just as they are. One of Jada’s hidden talents has always been her ability to write powerful stories in an effort to teach valuable life lessons in a creative and illustrious way. I caught up with Jada last week to talk about her new releases and goals for the future.

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ONE37pm: This is a full circle moment! I remember meeting you in 2017, and now here we are almost five years later and you’ve got a book out! I think in order to be a writer, you also have to be a reader. Have you always loved reading and writing?

Jada: Yes! I was that kid that went outside a little bit, but I was most in my element when I was reading books. I read all of the Junie B. Jones books, and before that I was reading all of the children’s books. My mom had to take me to the library weekly because I just kept going through books. I would put all of my puppets on the floor and pretend to read to them, not even realizing that I was expanding my vocabulary. It wound up eventually translating to writing over the years. I was a reader first, and that probably did inspire my writing identity.

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ONE37pm: I love the message of your first book Pretty Is Me, which is all about self-love. I know it’s dedicated to your niece Draiyah. Could you tell us more about that?

Jada: This book was inspired by my niece Draiyah, and it’s so crazy because I never imagined that I would write children’s books! I always thought I would write a memoir which I am working on, and I thought that was going to be my sole piece of writing. I didn’t want to write any other major pieces of work besides telling my story, but I’ve been watching my niece grow over the years, and she’s become one of my best friends.

Just watching her grow inspired me, and my main inspiration was the desire to have her look at this book one day and realize she was in the inspiration. There’s not a lot of African-American girls in books that reach a large-scale audience, and that is my goal because I think it is important that we feel empowered and beautiful. My niece doesn’t even realize how big this is for me!

ONE37pm: We see former athletes go on to work in athletics, but we never really see “athlete to author.” Can you tell us more about that?

Jada: The roles have reversed as I’ve gotten older. When I was younger I read a lot, and as I got older I started to write. I would always tell myself that I can create my own stories. Even as an athlete I always knew I wanted to be a writer. I didn’t realize I had a gift until college when I had to write papers. A lot of students dread writing papers, but I loved it. Anytime I was given a paper, I would light up. I could write a paper in a day. Those instances showed me I had a gift, and I think God called me to write books. That’s how I got into writing.

ONE37pm: What all goes into the process of publishing a book?

Jada: I didn’t know much about publishing, but I am a very determined person. If I want to do something I’m gonna find out how to, even if I don’t have the knowledge. With technology nowadays, if you don’t accomplish something, it’s on you. I just went onto Google and searched the process of writing and publishing your first book. With this one, I self-published and edited through Amazon, but in the future with my memoir I will hire a publisher. 

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ONE37pm: You’ve gotten a lot of support from your teammates, coaches, family, etc. How does that feel?

Jada: It’s amazing you said that because I feel like everything is coming back full circle for me. My mom always taught me to be nice and respectful to everybody through her actions. How you treat people and the impression you leave on others is very important because you never know how people can end up supporting you and helping you. That is always something that I’ve kept in the back of my mind. You never know! People will always remember it. Everybody supporting me is just a full circle moment. It feels great! 

ONE37pm: What are you reading right now?

Jada: I love memoirs and people’s stories. I’m actually reading Michelle Obama’s Becoming. I’m fascinated with how people made it to where they are.

You can continue to keep up with Jada and all of her latest projects on Instagram