The Epidemics of Prejudice and Discrimination in Dating

Prejudice and discrimination have been worldwide epidemics that have plagued the minds of the ignorant for centuries. Attitudes, perceptions, and behaviors have progressed and evolved over time; however, many distorted minds still operate in a prejudice fashion, discriminating against those who don’t fit the “perfect” or “ideal” physical image. This is indeed TOXIC CULTURE.

When it comes to dating, many women (and men) are overlooked and counted out because of their physical appearance, with no consideration of quality of character, personal ambition/drive, personality, etc. Let’s check out a couple examples: A Pakistani gal and guy make a great connection online. They even talk over the phone. Weeks pass, they have built strong rapport, and they are ready to meet in person. When the time comes to meet, the guy is INSTANTLY turned off by what he sees. The young lady is beautiful and dresses well, but she is far darker than what he expected or desired (though he is of darker complexion himself). In addition, she stands 5’ll, two inches taller than him and she is overweight. The guy endures the date but expresses his disinterest of continuing the relationship - ALL BECAUSE OF APPEARANCE. This example could also be reversed, where the gal is the “ideal” image of a Pakistani woman and the guy is too short, dark, and overweight. How unfortunate to miss out on a great relationship with a great person just because they don’t fit the “perfect’ or “ideal” image set forth by TOXIC CULTURE.

The best way to combat the epidemics of prejudice and discrimination is to UNDERSTAND that we’re all EQUAL! A person is much more than their skin tone, weight, height, etc. Also, we need to know that there is no such thing as the “PERFECT” or “IDEAL” image! Beautiful people come in all shapes, sizes, colors, etc.

Don’t appraise someone’s beauty based upon faulty standards set forth by a toxic culture. Don’t be a victim of the epidemics of prejudice and discrimination that have plagued (and still plague) the distorted.

Keep up with the project at https://www.twentytwentyproductions.com/ and Otessa.me

Peace and love.

#ThriveOver35

Did you know that 35 is the average life expectancy for black and brown trans women? Many probably don’t…which is unfortunate. That’s why our sister co., 20/20 New Media, is producing the new podcast, Conversations with Hysterical Womxn, which is scheduled to launch in the very near future. Check out the teaser above, ft. human rights activist, media critic and spokesperson, Ashley Love. So many different communities remain overlooked and ignored…and as a result people are suffering…BIG TIME. An average life expectancy of 35 is simply unacceptable! But speaking out and spreading awareness can inform and educate society, helping to create a world conducive for HEALTHY LIVING- FOR ALL!

Stay tuned as we unpack this and many other forms of toxic culture in the very near future.

Peace and love.

Speak Up. We're Listening.

Photo credit: Otessa Ghadar

Photo credit: Otessa Ghadar

As many of you know, we are working on our newest project, “Conversations with Hysterical Womxn” through our sister company 2020 Productions. The project will consist of a series of interviews that focus on the horrible effects of toxic cultures on womxn. You’ll enjoy a variety of perspectives stemming from different races, cultures, industries, backgrounds, etc.

Toxic culture is ubiquitous. It’s unfortunate, but it’s true. we see it on tv, we hear it on the radio, we witness it first hand on many jobs. Toxic culture comes in many forms - discrimination, biases, hypocrisy, prejudice, abuse, neglect, lack of self-care, gaslighting, etc. The list goes on and on.

We’re calling this stuff out. Straight up. We’re having real conversations, with real people who are tired of being told, “well I didn’t see it”, or “It didn’t happen to me so…” or “just keep quiet to keep peace”. So many people all over are suffering in silence because they are afraid to speak out due to the many possible repercussions. This project is all about speaking up and putting stuff out there so we can work towards shunning these toxic cultures. Just because toxicity is the norm set forth by toxic people, doesn’t mean YOU have to conform to it. It’s NOT ok.

Let’s set a standard. Let’s speak out.

Peace & Love.

Keep Creating!

International web series watch party at Mindspace

International web series watch party at Mindspace

Time is FLYING! So crazy, it’s already been well over a month since DC Web Fest 7 concluded and we are still pretty excited. Some of the most rewarding components of the festival (aside awarding the hard work of our winners) are seeing the emerging relationships among creators along with the progression of our creators.

With creating, one of the most important factors is CONSISTENCY! The only way to truly learn, grow, and evolve is through continuation. Each year, DC Web Fest partners with various companies and organizations (such as Final Draft, Amazon Web Services, MakeOffices, etc.) to provide our winners with resources to help them continue creating on an even greater scale. What we all have to remember is that we are indeed living in a digital age. Don’t believe it? The next time you’re on a train or bus just look at the people around you. 9 times out of 10 you will see heads down with eyes glaring into mobile device screens. Because of the wide and easy access to mobile devices , the barrier to entry has been lowered to the point where anyone with an idea can create. You DO NOT need a huge budget. You DO NOT need a degree from film school or anywhere else (though we are all about education, so if you feel led to pursue such, we encourage and support you all the way!). Whether you’re an amateur or an expert, we just want you to keep creating, the world needs it.

The THE POWER of creating lies in a purpose much greater than oneself. Simply put, it’s not just about you. Your story, your passion can reach people all around the world. Your voice, your ideas can make social impact. Whether you create a story to feed people a healthy dose of laughter (which is indeed needed in this society) or you create a podcast as an avenue to express and speak on the challenges of grief like DC Web Fest alum Darwyn Dave (Creator of Dealing with My Grief Podcast) or you create virtual reality to provide technical solutions for NASA like Navteca, someone out there needs you. YOUR VOICE MATTERS, SO BE HEARD through whatever creative medium is for you.

We have been saying it and we will keep saying it. KEEP CREATING, THE WORLD NEEDS IT. The DC Web Fest/2020 Productions team will lead by example. Keep a lookout, as we’re creating some pretty awesome new projects this summer. Hold us accountable, feel free to drop us a DM or email asking about the status of our new works. We’re all stronger together than divided. So let’s mutually uplift to keep the indie spirit alive for the sake of digital content.

Peace and Love.

New Projects!

Hey everyone!

It’s Wednesday which means we’re half-way through the week. SO AWESOME! We’re also approaching Memorial Day weekend, which is a 3-day weekend for many of us, again, AWESOME! We hope everyone is enjoying the kiss of spring (well…except allergies!). Over here at DC Web Fest, we’ve got a lot of cool, new things happening and we’re excited to share with you!

This summer, we’ll be spending most of our time working on two projects: HardDCcore, an upcoming series about a group of teens who find themselves amidst the emergence of DC’s punk rock scene during the early 80s; and a podcast that revolves around the effects of toxic cultures on womxn - from microaggressions to mental health. If you follow us on social (which you should!), you know we did a few story polls requesting help with a name for the podcast. Here are a few names that were in the run: “Well I Didn’t See It…”, “Out of Control”, “Conversations with Hysterical Womxn”, “Don’t Be Hysterical”, and “Stop the Hysteria”. Out these names, the winner is…..”WELL I DIDN’T SEE IT…”!!!!!

We’re expanding our team with brilliant, local creatives who can help us bring these projects to life in the BEST possible ways. Keep an eye on our website redesign as we add project clips and teasers. We’re excited about this and we hope that you are too!

Remember, keep creating. The world needs it.

Peace & Love.

Name reveal cake!

Name reveal cake!

More DC Web Fest 7 Photos & Videos!

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HAPPY MAY FOLKS!!!

It’s hard to believe that it has been over two weeks since the fun and festivities of the 7th annual DC Web Fest! Time surely flies when you’re having fun. We just wanted to let you all know that we are working away at our website redesign!

We’ve added dozens of new photos to our recap gallery, so be sure to head on over to check them out! Along with photos, we captured various memorable moments with loads of video footage and we’ll have trailers, reels, etc. for you to enjoy very soon, so be sure to keep an eye on our website and follow us @DCWebFest over IG, Twitter, and Facebook

Also, don’t forget to share and repost your favorite DC Web fest 7 moments on IG, Twitter, and Facebook with hashtags:

#DCWebFest7recap

#DCWebfest

#DCWF

#RiseUPDC

#WhyICreate

Much peace and love.

Guest Blog! @daynasays_xo

Photo credit: Suzanne Fladung (@wellaforma)

Photo credit: Suzanne Fladung (@wellaforma)

In the past three years, the most valuable lesson I have learned is the importance of self-care. As a creative person, I constantly have a wellspring of ideas that I can’t wait to put on paper. The problem is, when I started each of those projects, I left very little time for myself. I started Color Story Magazine in the summer of 2016, with ambitious plans to design and publish my own magazine once a month. As I got started, I realized that even with my optimism and resilience, this was impossible. Working full-time, being a full-time journalism student, spending time with family and friends, doing freelance makeup, and starting a magazine seemed to sound insane to everyone but me. I took pride in juggling each commitment and giving each one equal attention—until I burned out. I mean like ugly cry, ruin your mascara in the car, burnout. Not the best time for a selfie, right? 

 

As an older millennial, I can appreciate the warm fuzziness of a handwritten letter and the ability to send someone a quick email. I understand the balance of powering through life and also slowing down to observe my surroundings. This sense of balance gives me an edge in the creative field, because I’m able to connect with audiences of all ages. As technology evolves however, so do stress levels. In the fabulous book “Burnout” by Nagoski sisters Emily and Amelia, I found comfort in reading that stress is a cycle. As millennials, there is so much expected from us on a daily basis—and it almost always results in burnout. As a creative from any generation, when we produce something that everyone seems to love, we feel pressured to make more—and fast. How can we make the cycle of stress easier to manage? After three years in DC, I found the answer. 

 

When I met Otessa Ghadar, I knew she would be someone who would be in my life for years to come. Being resilient Taurean women, we have a similar work ethic and tend to think we are immune to burnout, when the truth is; we need to take breaks too. DC Webfest opened an entire network of possibilities for me, and introduced me to a sea of new people and ideas. When I spoke with Otessa about the 2019 DC Web Fest, she said, “I think the theme of the year for me is DC as a creative/cultural destination…and how to improve the connections between creators. That’s what this 7th year is meant to do—to build that creative connective tissue; so we all have more support and know who is there for us and we can mutually uplift.” I couldn’t help but smile, because as good as that sounds, the reality of it is even better. 

 

Through this amazing network of individuals, I have learned that it is okay to ask for help. No one person can do everything, and if you can, then you aren’t dreaming big enough. I now have a family of photographers, journalists, designers, filmmakers, stylists, makeup artists, illustrators, copy editors, podcasters, and small business owners to reach out to whenever I need them. While Color Story submissions came from all over the world, the heart of the first two issues beats as a result of the hard work from my fellow DC creatives. During the 7th Annual DC Web Fest fireside chat, Otessa asked us, the panelists, “How can we help you?” I found so much irony in her question, as she and her entire team have helped me so much already. My magazine started as a response to a void in the media, evolved into something tangible, and for the first time, I was a panelist at an event I truly believe in—speaking about something that means something to me. Sure, I did the work, but DC Web Fest had my back. Surround yourself with people who get it, and things will become so much easier. Stress is inevitable, but with a strong creative family like this one, it is nearly impossible to burn out—we just burn too damn bright. 

 

Dayna Hood, Teacher & Beauty Editor 

@daynasays_xo

DC Web Fest, Edition 7: Feel the Energy!

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So can you believe its spring already? Where in the world is time going? Seems like we were just bringing in the year yesterday.

Anyhow, everything is blossoming and the weather is breaking. The 7th annual DC Web Fest is just a few weeks away and we couldn’t be more excited!

Early bird tickets are up now, so make sure to grab them, as we anticipate selling out. We don't want you to miss out on the incredible offerings we have this year, at "The Indie Webbys" :)

Here's how the party will flow ~


On Friday, April 12th, feel the energy as we kick off the festival at Google. Feed your brain and your body!

  • Fuel up with some KIND snack bars provided by our KIND snacks sponsor.

  • Break the ice by participating in a fun people scavenger hunt.

  • Enjoy games and VR created right here in the nation's capital by fellow Washingtonians like Joey Cathey of Capital Interactive (who has done work for Discovery) and Shayna Skolnik of Navteca (who has done work for NASA).

  • Gain new skills and become more competitive in the marketplace by nerding out at one of the two General Assembly sponsored courses:

    • Digital Market  

    • UX Design

  • For our creatives, some of the DC Web Fest team players have decided to offer pro bono creative consultations, so bring your work if you'd like some constructive criticism. While you're at it, get a FREE professional headshot by one of our talented DC Web Fest photographers.

  • To wrap up at Google, Creative Control will be providing you with pro bono legal counseling on IP law so you can know your rights as a creator and take control over your work (sign up and secure your spot here!). 

Oh! Google has dope food, so don't worry, we'll feed you :) Also, our snack sponsor, KIND snacks, will KINDLY provide plenty of sweet treats to keep you ENERGIZED throughout the day.

For Friday evening we'll migrate on over to Mindspace for international night.

Kick back and enjoy a plethora of international web series over Australian wine (provided by the Embassy of Australia DC) and dinner brought to you by Broccoli Bar.

We'll end the night chatting with our international web fest friends, creators and curators, followed by another fun people scavenger hunt and gift card giveaway.

Sleep. Eat. Repeat @ MakeOffices Glover Park on Saturday, April 13th. 

  • Get your energy going with some more KIND snack bars and tasty, locally brewed Kombucha brought to you by Wild Kombucha.

  • Bring your listening ears for our podcast listening booth and fireside chats with our podcast, writing, social impact, and digital art folks. 

  • Amazon Web Services Educate is coming through to exclusively offer educators and students with cloud training along with AWS credits.

    • Sign up here and use promo code dcwebfest-students19 - NOTE: you will be required to use your academic email. 

  • Sweetgreen will be providing dinner to select ticket holders, order instructions will be provided upon ticket purchase.

For the first time ever, DC Web Fest x Discovery Education x the USC Shoah Foundation have partnered to uplift the Teaching with Testimony: Stronger than Hate Challenge, where students identify and address the issue of hate in their schools and community.

The festival will conclude with an award ceremony and closing party featuring Australian wine, beer, and champagne (provided by the Embassy of Australia DC) and a cash bar.

For the extreme party heads, head on over to Decades nightclub for the unofficial afterparty. 


Then sleep. Eat. Reflect. 


Tickets and spots are limited 
and we do anticipate selling out. We feel very strongly about keeping our event closely curated, as we want to create an experience that facilitates connections. Having been to too many conferences with 1000+ attendees, we have found that it is not easy to make organic and deep connections with other people in the circumstances. The DC Web Fest is an event that is meant to inspire collaborations, connections, and creation, and to bolster and uplift everyone together… And we feel the human element is so important to our mission. The digital age works best when we use it to connect with people. So, get your tickets! We are @DCWebFest across all social platforms and our website is www.dcwebfest.org, so check out the attached fliers and feel free to share! 

Lastly, if you're in need of a place to stay, our official hotel partner, Hyatt Place (US Capital) is offering a great group rate for DC Web Fest guests, so take advantage by booking below:

https://www.hyatt.com/en-US/hotel/washington-dc/hyatt-place-washington-dc-us-capitol/waszd?corp_id=G-FEST

See you in a few weeks!

Much peace and love.

Tomorrow = Last day for regular submission rates for DC Web Fest 7!

Hurry up to get that regular submission rate!

Hurry up to get that regular submission rate!

Time is flying! Thanksgiving has passed us by and we are less than a month away from Christmas! So crazy. Over here at DC Web Fest, we want to make sure that you save some bucks by submitting before the regular submission rate ends TOMORROW!

The thing we love most about the content we receive is the diversity and authenticity. We get a little bit of everything, from content produced right here in DC to stories produced in Iran and various other parts of the world. We’re looking for the BEST of indie web series, digital shorts, trailers, podcasts, VR/AR, games, apps, blogs, and scripts. So if you’re making amazing digital media- we want to see it!

We all have stories. What’s yours? Head on over and submit!

Peace & Love.

DC Web Fest @ Rewind by Decades

Lunch was LIT yesterday maaaan! No seriously…Otessa had previously visited Rewind by Decades (a fabulous diner serving up the tastiest classics and comfort foods) and she told us about this unicorn waffle.

Photo credit: Diana Eaton

Photo credit: Diana Eaton

WHEN I TELL YOU that was the BEST waffle I have EVER eaten in my entire LIFE. I know, I know. The thought of waffles and ice cream may seem repugnant but once you try it, you’ll be hooked. The next time you’re in the Dupont area, come through and give it a try!

Anyways, we didn’t meet for waffles- that was just an awesome byproduct of meeting at lunchtime. We actually went to meet up with DC Web Fest advisory board member and friend, Marcus Dowling. If you know Marcus, you know he’s in to just about everything cool. He’s like that go-to guy if you want to know about the awesome stuff happening in the city. We had a great conversation about prepping for the 7th annual DC Web Fest.

Among some of our topics of discussion were potential partners, venues, event programming, connections, etc. We can’t quite get into the specifics yet but just know that things are steadily unfolding and we are working to the best of our ability to make this the absolute BEST year yet. Just stay tuned as we reveal more partners, sponsors, venues, guests, and everything else web fest related.

Hope you’re shopping for thanksgiving :)

Peace & Love.