GOOD

THEESatisfaction

Meet the musical duo making cultural appropriation, inappropriate.

Much of what you need to know about musicians Catherine “Cat” Harris-White and Stasia “Stas” Irons of THEESatisfaction can be gleaned from the artwork on the front of their recently released album, EarthEE, drawn by Rajni Perera. They sit, tall and proud, upon a golden throne adrift in the cosmos, ritualistic adornment draped atop their naked bodies. It’s both a bold celebration of the female form and a testament to the intelligent, self-assured women sitting beside me.

“She said she wanted to make us look like bored queens sitting on a throne,” says Harris-White with a laugh, lounging in a back room of Los Angeles’ storied Hollywood Palladium, where they’re due to play later in the night. And while the pair makes light of other high compliments paid to them—They were palpable amongst the flat. Regal in a manner that is mostly forgotten, penned good friend and artist Maikoiyo Alley-Barnes in a poetic opener to EarthEE—the praise is anything but misguided.


The duo has been collaborating for the past seven years since first meeting in Seattle, weaving social, political, and cultural commentary into their self-proclaimed “funk-psychedelic feminist sci-fi epics.” Currently, they’re split on either side of the U.S.—Irons still in Seattle and Harris-White in Brooklyn—but they make THEESatisfaction work, even amongst their other solo musical and artistic endeavors. Now signed to indie label mainstay Sub Pop, EarthEE is their second child, following their well-received debut album, 2012’s awE naturalE. Irons’ slow-burn raps layered over Harris-White’s jazz-tinged, soulful vocals tip a hat to the musical greats from a host of genres—R&B, hip-hop, neo-soul—while still crafting THEESatisfaction’s own contemporary truth.

“Some of the shit that we go through—racism, sexism, being in a relationship, not being in a relationship—we just love to mix it all together and catch people’s ears, and make them dance too,” says Irons. “It’s just what we love to do.”

Part of their truth involves not shying away from their beliefs or identity, and EarthEE is no exception. They tackle cultural appropriation on the track “Blandland,” with Irons calmly rapping, “If it was in your heart you wouldn’t have to work hard” to those who have stolen jazz, soul, and hip-hop before Harris-White takes off scatting melodically. “Post Black Anyway” confronts realities of the black experience today. Irons wrote the lyrics around the time of Mike Brown’s death in Ferguson, Missouri, prompted by online debates over the notion of a “post-racial society” she was seeing. Perhaps all too fittingly, Irons chose one of Harris-White’s beats that had been created some time before, attempting to aurally capture “being soaked in the heavy downpour of feelings and emotions,” as she puts it. “But ‘post-racial society’ or ‘post-black society,’ that doesn’t exist, because we’re always going to be here,” Irons says matter-of-factly. “We can’t be post-black. We just can’t be.”

This unflinching candor certainly contributes to the refreshing vibe of THEESatisfaction. For Harris-White, her philosophy is simple: “You can generate darkness or you can generate light,” she says. “I’m about loving yourself, knowing yourself, appreciating yourself. And if you love yourself, it’s easier to love other people. And then you shine through that.”

Features
Photo by Li-An Lim on Unsplash

The future generations will have to live on this Earth for years to come, and, not surprisingly, they're very concerned about the fate of our planet. We've seen a rise in youth activists, such as Greta Thunberg, who are raising awareness for climate change. A recent survey indicates that those efforts are working, as more and more Americans (especially young Americans) feel concerned about climate change.

A new CBS News poll found that 70% of Americans between 18 and 29 feel climate change is a crisis or a serious problem, while 58% of Americans over the age of 65 share those beliefs. Additionally, younger generations are more likely to feel like it's their personal responsibility to address climate change, as well as think that transitioning to 100% renewable energy is viable. Overall, 25% of Americans feel that climate change is a "crisis," and 35% feel it is a "serious problem." 10% of Americans said they think climate change is a minor problem, and 16% of Americans feel it is not a problem that worries them.

The poll found that concern for the environment isn't a partisan issue – or at least when it comes to younger generations. Two-thirds of Republicans under the age of 45 feel that addressing climate change is their duty, sentiments shared by only 38% of Republicans over the age of 45.

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The Planet

The healthcare systems in the United States and the United Kingdom couldn't be more different.

The UK's National Health Service is the largest government-run healthcare system in the world and the US's is largest private sector system.

Almost all essential health services in the UK are free, whereas in America cost can vary wildly based on insurance, co pays and what the hospitals and physicians choose to charge.

A medical bill in the US

One of the largest differences is cost. The average person in the UK spends £2,989 ($3915) per year on healthcare (most of which is collected through taxes), whereas the average American spends around $10,739 a year.

So Americans should obviously be getting better care, right? Well, the average life expectancy in the UK is higher and infant mortality rate is lower than that in the US.

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Plus, in the U.S., only 84% of people are covered by private insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. Sixteen percent of the population are forced to pay out of pocket.

In the UK, everyone is covered unless they are visiting the country or an undocumented resident.

Prescription drugs can cost Americans an arm and a leg, but in the UK, prescriptions or either free or capped at £8.60 ($11.27).

via Wikimedia Commons

The one drawback to the NHS system is responsiveness. In the UK people tend to wait longer for inessential surgeries, doctor's appointments, and in emergency rooms. Whereas, the US is ranked as the most responsive country in the world.

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The New York Times printed a fair evaluation of the UK's system:

The service is known for its simplicity: It is free at the point of use to anyone who needs it. Paperwork is minimal, and most patients never see a bill. … No one needs to delay medical treatment until he or she can afford it, and virtually everyone is covered. …

According to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States spent 17.2 percent of its economic output on health care in 2016, compared with 9.7 percent in Britain. Yet Britain has a higher life expectancy at birth and lower infant mortality.

Citizens in each country have an interesting perspective on each other's healthcare systems. UK citizens think it's inhumane for Americans have to pay through the nose when they're sick or injured. While Americans are skeptical of socialist medicine.

A reporter from Politics Joe hit the streets of London and asked everyday people what they think Americans pay for healthcare and they were completely shocked.

Health
via Found Animals Foundation / Flickr

Service dogs are true blessings that provide a wide array of services for their owners based on their disability.

They can provide preventative alerts for people with epilepsy and dysautonomia. They can do small household tasks like turning lights on and off or providing stability for their owners while standing or walking.

For those with PTSD they can provide emotional support to help them in triggering situations.

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Communities