The Hoodwitch: Weekly horoscopes 5/2-8/2018

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Written by Jessica Lanyadoo

Witch Tips:

Astrology is awesome because it allows us to have a greater sense of why things are happening and what we’re meant to do about it. That said, it doesn’t do the work for you. Part of being a person is making choices, and even when it feels like you don’t have many options or all of them are crappy, you always have a choice. What you allow yourself to focus on, the language that you use for self-talk, and the care you give to your body's most basic needs are all invisible parts of well being. These take up huge amounts of real estate in our lives, but we somehow underestimate their impact. Develop awareness of how you treat yourself when no one is looking. When you’re a good friend to yourself, even the most upsetting parts of life get easier to bear. This friendship, which includes your relationship to your body, is the longest relationship you’ll have in your life and is the central place that you greet the world from. Prioritize it, now and always.

From the 5 through the 7th, the Sun will form a creative sextile to generous Neptune. This is a perfect time to channel empathy and kindness into what you do. Part of being a good leader is listening, and this transit will help you hear your inner voice, other people, and the world around you if you decide to try.

From the 6th through the 8th is when things get heavy. Chatty Mercury will form an upsetting square to petty Pluto, while diplomatic Venus forms a square to idealistic Neptune. The combination of these transits can feel pretty dramatic, especially if you haven’t been honest with yourself or others, lately. These days can kick up some serious anxiety as your impulses come quick and sharp (especially if your clarity doesn’t). If you’ve decided to do the Gossip Cleanse <insert link> with me this month, these days are likely to be trying. You may be tempted to evade your bad feels by projecting them at others by projecting or by picking them apart. Sh$t talk may be very tempting, but it’s a diversion that will only make you feel worse this week. Tolerate your feelings without needing to put anyone down, and remember that you’re not more or less than anyone else. This is a great time to watch your reactions and to show yourself kindness as you make sense of what’s happening and determine the best ways to cope. Be gentle with what you let motivate your actions, my loves.

ARIES

March 21-April 19

In your heart of hearts you know that you’re okay, but you might be having a hard time reconciling that with your thoughts this week. Thriving isn’t the same as winning, Aries. You can lose some, and as long as you learn from those experiences, they’re not real setbacks. Life may not be playing out as you wish it to be, but you’re exactly where you need to be. Lean in, and make the most of what you’ve got by focusing on what it can be instead of what it isn’t.

­TAURUS

April 20-May 20

You’re capable of so much! The worst thing you can do now is to squander your potential by doing things you don’t really care about, and being burnt out for what holds true value to you, Taurus. Warren Buffett said “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say ‘No’ to almost everything.” While I don’t know if this holds true in all circumstances, this bit of wisdom is the perfect guide for you this week.

GEMINI

May 21-June 21

You’re just about at the end of a cycle of development that’s had you figuring out what you want and why. You may have figured everything out, or you may still be unpacking your options, but either way it’s time to slow down and get on the road you have to traverse to get where you want to be. Don’t let the easiest route lull you into thinking it’s the best. You may need to work really hard for the next little while, but it’s totally worth it. Honor your needs over your wants, Twin Star.

CANCER

June 22-July 22

Individual failures, just like the successes, aren’t meant to define you. This week is all about power. Seeking the best possible approach requires being able to stay present with the yuckiness of your fears, and it’s totally worth it, Moonchild. You’re on your way to some beautiful changes, don’t let fear of failure block your flow. If you were willing to own the abundance and resources that you have both internally and externally, how would your struggles seem different?

LEO

July 23-Aug. 22

Showing yourself compassion doesn’t mean giving yourself a pass, it means staying present with kindness in the face of suffering. It’s important that you give yourself and others space to sort through the fast moving feels that are in the air this week. Everything comes and goes, so don’t get too attached to whatever you’re going through right now. Find the creative potential in even the most stuck feeling things, and keep on keepin’ on, Leo.

VIRGO

Aug. 23-Sept. 22

You may want to forge ahead, but the truth is you need to slow down and focus before you do something rash. Find a healthy outlet for your pent up energies this week so that you can act with intention, Virgo. The key is to stop fighting ghosts and projections and to just move forward. Lay foundations for the future that you want to live in without unduly looking over your shoulder. All you gotta do is keep your side of the road clean, and place one step in front of the other, my love.

LIBRA

Sept. 23-Oct. 22

Fear is a tricky monster. We need it to alert us to danger, but it often goes rogue and is anything but helpful. This week you run the risk of allowing your fears to create the very problems you’re trying to avoid. Don’t focus so much attention on the things that you never want to have happen, Libra. Take a chance on the positive potential in your life by giving it at the very least as much attention as you give your worries, or if you’re ambitious, make it your primary focus for now.

SCORPIO

Oct. 23-Nov. 21

Someone once said that “to set a boundary you must be willing to lose something: the other person’s approval.” And no truer words have been spoken. This week is all about be brave enough to confront the needs you’ve been ignoring because you’re scared of the consequences. Find the truth and honor it, even if its scary. If you don’t like the game, you don’t have to play; choose your battles and your investments with an open heart, Scorpio.

SAGITTARIUS

Nov. 22-Dec. 21

There’s so much that is unknown and unknowable, and sometimes that’s exciting while at others it’s downright intimidating. This week is testing your ability to stay present when you feel upset, ‘Tarius. This doesn’t mean that you’re going to have a bad week, but it does mean that your ability to stay present is being tested. Strive to not take upsets at face value, and stay open to what they have to tell you about yourself and the world around you, my love.

CAPRICORN

Dec. 22-Jan. 19

You’re coming out of a hard time, and while it may be tempting to look over your shoulder and keep on expecting the worst, your best move is to move onwards and upwards. Try to become more mindful of your fears and the energy that you give to them this week. It’s OK to have concerns, but what gets you into trouble is when you let them dominate your thinking. Pursue balance in all things as you move to the next playing level, Capricorn.

AQUARIUS

Jan. 20-Feb. 18

You need to take better care of yourself, Aquarius. You’ve been burning the candle at both ends of the wick, and it’s taking its toll on you. Take a break from life’s demands, and turn to the things that give you life. You’re likely to have a million items demanding your attention, but if you’re frayed at the edges, you can’t really handle any of them. Give yourself permission to take a much needed breather and rejuvenate your spirit so you can get back to business with renewed energy.

PISCES

Feb. 19-March 20

You’ve got one job, Pisces, and that’s to follow through with your commitments. There’s a peace to be had from simplifying your life and while that’s not possible all of the time, this week it’s wise to stick to the basics.  If you can, try and commit to the present and only the present this week. Don’t make plans or try to divine your future. Just work on what’s in front of you and tend to the feels that you have – even the unpleasant ones.

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Beltane Rituals for Every Element

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Written by  Lisa Stardust

Beltane is here! It’s May 1st, May Day, halfway between the spring equinox and summer solstice. It’s time to invite some friends over eat, drink, and be merry, embracing the beauty within and outside of ourselves as we celebrate the awakened, blooming flora and fauna of Earth. Originally celebrated as a Gaelic festival to protect cattle and encourage growth, Beltane is the light and beauty where we celebrate the sun and blossoms which perfume the air. In this May Day ritual, we are celebrating and giving back to the Earth, using all the elements (fire, earth, air, water) to ignite the hearth of Beltane. 

 
FIRE

Ideally, a bale fire is traditional merriment for the last night of April going into Beltane, May 1st. However, in this modern world, it may be impossible to have access to space which permits a bonfire. Consider using a small cauldron or candles. The colors of the earth, including red for passion, green for prosperity, purple for spirituality, yellow for happiness, white for harmony (or as a stand-in for any other colors. Red, green, and white are traditional Beltane colors. If you don’t have access to colored candles, you can use tea light candles. It’s ok to use the materials you have, remembering that the most important thing about magic is your intentions. 


Facing North, light the candles, evoking the goddesses you cherish and ancestors you admire as you go. Take a deep breath. As you inhale, close your eyes while the warm glow surrounds you. Amidst the warmth of the flames, envision a protective light surrounding, purifying, and stoking your own inner hearth. Open your eyes to the beauty of the flames burning. Let the heat serve as a shield against negativity, as you welcome in positive vibrations. 

EARTH 
Any urbanite can grab a fist full of fresh greenery and place it in a cauldron. Smelling fresh grass and flowers will bring life and abundance to any room. Honor their magical power and embrace the evergreen aroma. If possible, add some dandelions for positivity, hawthorn for fertility, and violets for protection. Try crossing twigs together with a red string to create a talisman that will also serve as a protective force against evil. When done using, recycle back to the universe by placing all remains outside to give back to Mother Earth. 

AIR
Make a wish for Beltane and release it to the air. Write down your desires on flying wish paper and let your desires travel on the wind. Through setting the intention and releasing your dream into the universe, you have the opportunity to plant valuable seeds of hope and creative renewal during these festivities. Giving prayers to the earth goddesses, pleases and inspires their support of your deepest desires to be manifested in the months to come. 

WATER 
Milk and honey is an offering made to Flora, Goddess of Flowers, to ensure vegetation blossoms in abundance during the Spring season. Added to baths, this mixture was notably used by the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra freshen up her soft, vibrant look and add beauty to her appearance. The mixture of milk and honey adds an element of fertility and sensuality to daily life. Rose petals infuse bathwater with feelings of self love and emotional healing. Use this combination for some bath magic to connect to the Earth Goddesses (such as Flora) and meditate. In this bath, be sure to take a moment of pause to connect to Flora’s lustful springtime earthy desires and evoke her spirit, as well as other water spirits like the river Goddess Oshun, who is also giver of love and fertility, and abundance, meditating on what you hope to grow. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Honey 
  • 1 Cup Salt 
  • Rose Petals 
  •  

Directions: 

  • Run warm bath water. 
  • Add milk, honey, and salt in a jar. 
  • Seal the jar and shake to mix ingredients together. 
  • Pour the mixture into bath.
  • Add rose petals to bath.
  • Lie back, relax, allowing your skin to absorb the 
  • Gently rub skin and soak in bath. 

WITCHTIPS & HOROSCOPES 4/4-10/2018

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Written by Jessica Lanyadoo

Witch Tips

Mercury Gatorade got you down? Don’t worry – this is the last full week of it! The planet of communications goes direct on the 15th, but not before it wreaks a little havoc, of course.

From the 4th through the 6th, Mercury will form an upsetting square to the master of Daddy issues himself, Saturn. This combination of planets can have you feeling depressed, pessimistic, or acutely aware of your aloneness. If you can keep in mind that you (and everyone else) are seeing the glass half empty, it may be easier to cope. The trick is to not be so “reasonable” that you reason yourself into a scared and sad hole. Reach out to people you trust, and don’t reject connection. This isn’t a great moment for serious introspection because you’re likely to be lacking in perspective, and for the same reason, it’s not wise to hang out with your most critical friends. If you’re feeling worked up, tend to your feels before you go seeking fixes. This is a great time to deal with your taxes, sort through your inbox, or any other annoying but finite task that requires attention to detail and concentration.

 

From the 6th through the 8th, we get a well-deserved break. Diplomatic Venus will form a harmonious trine to long-term planner, Saturn. Relationships or projects started at this time may carry a feeling of being fated, and they may very well be. Just wait until Mercury goes direct next week before signing papers or jumping to conclusions. This is the perfect time to tend to the folks that hold you up, to manage your finances, or to clean out your closet; basically this transit helps you to organize and prioritize the things that you value (but also just cute stuff).

From the 9th through the 11th, we have two events: romantic Venus is forming a trine to passionate Mars, and the planet that governs your sense of self, the Sun, will be square to creator/destroyer Pluto. The combination of these two transits is a mixed bag. You’re likely to feel compulsive, obsessive, and have your survival mechanisms kicked up, and there’ll be plenty of fodder for you to feel paranoid about. Pluto triggers issues of abandonment, feelings of resentment, or the drive for vengeance. The Venus transit suggests that this is likely to play out in your relationships (yay!), but don’t fear – there’s much to be gained here. Practice letting go. If there’s a dynamic at play in your life that you don’t want to deal with, recuse yourself. If you can’t walk away, you certainly don’t have to play games or take the bait when someone isn’t acting right. Moderate your behavior and what you give your attention to so that you can make the most of this time. Pluto brings intense growth or intense break downs; the only thing it never does is chill. Seek the best possible good in the situations you find yourself in, and as always, act in ways that reflect your integrity, not your situation, my love.

 

 

 

ARIES

March 21-April 19

When you obsess on things that bring you pain, all you succeed in doing is making yourself feel awful. If you don’t like something, fix it. If you don’t know what direction to point your efforts, you simply haven’t sat with the problem long enough. Picking at your wounds will result in slowed healing and nothing more, Aries. Let go of your version of who did what and why, and focus on your part. In this way the answers will organically present themselves to you this week.

 

­TAURUS

April 20-May 20

You don’t have all the facts, and it’s got you feeling off-kilter. Whether you’ve been mislead, you’ve misunderstood, or things simply haven’t played out enough yet, you can’t rush certainty. Instead of trying to collect data so you can plan your next moves, take a durn break, Taurus. If life is allowing you to pause and catch up, it’s on you to receive the gift. There will be more than enough time to plot your course once things change. Take a break, my love.

 

GEMINI

May 21-June 21

Fritz Perls famously said that “fear is just excitement without breath.” Fear doesn’t always make sense; sometimes it’s when you’re doing your best that you find you can’t shake negative thoughts. When something powerful moves through your life, it’s easy to mistake the accompanying exhilaration with anxiety, and then when you go looking for what’s got you freaking out, it’s easy enough to pinpoint what might go wrong. Make a decision and stick with it – just remember to breathe, Twin Star.

 

CANCER

June 22-July 22

It’s not always necessary to assert your opinions, even if they’re objectively the best ones in town. Being right is fun! But it won’t always win you popularity contests, and more importantly, being right doesn’t make you right. Be weary of shoving your views down someone’s throat this week because no matter how high the ground you’re standing on seems, you’re not immune to consequences. Pick your battles with reason and integrity, Moonchild.

 

LEO

July 23-Aug. 22

When you don’t resist it, heartache can be baptismal. The only things you mourn are those that you’ve loved, gotten value from, or have become attached to. This week you may need to grieve something or someone, and while it’s not pleasant, it’s not a bad thing either. Determine what’s driving you – love or attachment – and whether you need to let go or fight with all your heart. You’re a person with a great capacity for love; pour your heart’s energy into what feeds your soul, not just your habits, Leo.

 

VIRGO

Aug. 23-Sept. 22

There are creative solutions to your problems, but you won’t find them when you’re tapped. Rest is an essential part of self-care, and when you forgo it for too long, you stop thinking clearly. Take a break – not watching videos, not scrolling through your phone, and not taking care of anyone else; take an actual break, Virgo. Carve out some time this week to act like a cat that has nothing better to do than recline and enjoy a bit of sunlight. It’s just what you need.

 

LIBRA

Sept. 23-Oct. 22

Can you accept what you don’t like? This week is going to kick up how you cope with interpersonal annoyances. Before you get worried, there’s a bigger picture to consider: you’re not naturally great at this and could use the practice! Think of this time as a chance for you to be more honest, diplomatic, assertive – whatever it is that the situation calls for. Don’t protect others from the truth of who you are and how you feel, Libra. There’s no long game in that.

 

SCORPIO

Oct. 23-Nov. 21

When you’ve spread yourself too thin is when you start feeling overwhelmed and dramatic. It’s important that you keep your self-care game on point this week, or you’ll find yourself overreacting to people and jumping to conclusions about situations. Tend to the basic needs of your body (that’s water, food, rest, and breath), and this will set the foundation for managing your life wisely. What you do now will boomerang back to you, so make sure you believe in what you’re selling, Scorpio. 

 

SAGITTARIUS

Nov. 22-Dec. 21

If you’ve taken on too much, this week is gonna be extra stressful for you, my love. How you engage with your responsibilities is a huge deal. Whether you tend to get rebellious, resistant, or go full-throttle on getting things done, you’re in the same boat now. No strategy is sustainable when it’s your only one. You need support because you need to change, ‘Tarius, and the place to start is by letting go of your drive to be in control. You can do it all, but not all at once.

 

CAPRICORN

Dec. 22-Jan. 19

The bad news is that you’re not in control, and in fact you may find that things are progressing in such a frustrating way that you want to fast forward to find out how the show ends. The good news is that you can’t do that (obvi), and life wouldn’t be better if you could. Have faith, Capricorn. There’s a bigger picture playing out in your life, and what you do now is not as important as how you do it. Pace yourself, honor your values, and keep on showing up.

 

 

AQUARIUS

Jan. 20-Feb. 18

Pacing yourself is not an Aquarian trait, as your sign prefers to focus on the future. Feeling like you’ve arrived is not as important as having confidence that you’re solidly on your way. Likewise, you don’t have to have all the answers. You’ll get them sooner or later. Staying in the here and now has its advantages though. The goal is to work smarter, not harder, and that requires not trying to forge plans based on predictions. Keep it simple and put one foot in front of the other this week. You’ve totally got this, my love.

 

 

PISCES

Feb. 19-March 20

This week will test your clarity. What you want can get clouded by what you think is possible, your hopes, fears, and of course, other people’s projections onto you. When you get caught off guard by your reactions, take a moment to center yourself. If you’re not careful, you may catch yourself defending something you actually don’t want to protect, or busting your hump trying to achieve something that you don’t actually care about, Pisces.

 

 


Bitter Brew: Why The Hoodwitch Should Hex Starbucks

Written by Katherine de Vos Devine of Cauldron Arts Incubator

Starbucks recently introduced a “Crystal Ball Frappuccino,” presumably hoping for a sequel to its wildly successful Unicorn Frappuccino.

Here is Starbucks’ Crystal Ball Frappuccino Instagram post from March 22, 2018:

This Starbucks ad is clearly based on the distinctive images produced by Bri Luna, aka The Hoodwitch, for her web site, social media, and various collaborations.

Bri Luna is a distinctive witch. Her look, style, writing, and images do not fit popular stereotypes about what witches look like, what they wear, or how they act. Luna troubles the definition of “witch” and expands it to be more broadly inclusive. She’s intersectional and inspirational.

But Luna was not remunerated, consulted, or in any way involved in the production of the Starbucks ad. Understandably, Luna was pissed, as were her Instagram followers and fans.

Granted, most witchy imagery isn’t distinctive enough to merit this level of outrage. The stereotypical witch aesthetic is culturally pervasive – and thus ineligible for copyright protection – at this point in time. But black brujas with witchtips, a predilection for saturated colors, a penchant for glitter, and love of neon haven’t exactly reached critical mass on the internet or in the popular imagination. If Starbucks had gone with a black cloth, silver jewelry, and a milk-white hand, I’d probably be on their side

But they didn’t.

If I say “crystal ball,” you’re likely to think “witch” or “fortune teller.”

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If I say “witch,” you may think green skin, hooked nose, pointy hat, enjoys the company of flying monkeys.

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If born after 1975, pale skin, black-clad, silver jewelry, dark lipstick, and a scowl may come to mind.

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If you’re into millennial witchcraft, you may also think Free People, tarot apps, and palo santo perfume.

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You probably don’t think:

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or this: 

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It’s hard to call anything or anyone “original” in the twenty-first century, but Luna is one of the few people I laud with that accolade. Luna has greatly expanded what it means to be a witch. (So have lots of other witches, in lots of different ways, but that’s a different post.)

Yet, witchcraft remains a fairly small community, its internal aesthetic debates are not known to the broader public, and the singularity of Luna’s imagery is not likely to register with most Starbucks customers.

Thus, prospective Crystal Ball Frappuccino buyers aren’t likely to see the Starbucks ad above and think, “Hey, that looks like Bri!” They’re likely to think, “Oooo, that’s looks magical, fresh, colorful, sweet, and kind of badass.” But “magical, fresh, colorful, sweet, and [totally] badass” is Luna’s brand, her imagery, her vibe. And it’s highly distinct from other magical practitioners.

And that’s why Starbucks’ behavior sucks.

Ripping off an artist’s images to sell corporate coffee is poor form.

Riffing on witchcraft to sell corporate coffee is worthy of an eye roll, but this is not the first time that mysticism has unwittingly served capitalism.

Jacking an African-American-Mexican bruja’s photographs, concepts, and style, which have greatly changed how the witchcraft community sees its members, but are mostly unknown to the broader public…that’s a multi-pronged abuse I can’t dismiss.

Legally, it’s tough. Hypothetically, were Luna to sue Starbucks, a court would look at specific similarities between the Starbucks image and Luna’s images. There are plenty. Thus, most courts would consider “substantial similarity” and “total concept and feel” –  a doctrine developed for situations such as this one.

When considering total concept and feel, a judge is invited to consider both “intrinsic” and “extrinsic” elements.

“Extrinsic” elements are defined as “the type of artwork involved, the materials used, the subject matter, and the setting for the subject.” [Sid & Marty Krofft Television Productions, Inc. v. McDonald’s Corp., 970 F.2d 106 (9th Cir., 1977)] But…“Obviously, no principle can be stated as to when an imitator has gone beyond copying the ‘idea,’ and has borrowed its ‘expression.’ Decisions must therefore inevitably be ad hoc.” [Sid & Marty Krofft Television Productions, Inc. v. McDonald’s Corp., 970 F.2d 106 (9th Cir., 1977), citing Peter Pan Fabrics, Inc. v. Martin Weiner Corp., 274 F.2d 487, 489 (2 Cir. 1960)] Translating this legalese: things can get fuzzy.

“Intrinsic” elements concern the judgment of “an ordinary person” when the expression of the works are compared. The comments on Starbucks’ Instagram post are divided, and suggest that witches see too much similarity, while non-witches don’t see a problem. Thus, we’re left with a question: who is the ordinary person? Someone familiar with Luna’s imagery or someone who is not? (Get nerdy about the identity of the “ordinary person” with me in the comments – it’s definitely an open question.)

I’m sure another lawyer could argue that the elements in each image are so simple that “total concept and feel” doesn’t apply. Or that the ordinary person is a non-witchy type who wouldn’t see Luna’s imagery as distinctive. But I think the Starbucks image clearly bites Luna’s style, in a way that might rise to the level of infringement. (And, before you ask, fair use absolutely does not apply here, as the Starbucks image has no purpose consistent with fair use.)

As you can see, the legal answer is a bit messy. But, ethically, it’s pretty straightforward.

Starbucks, a multinational corporation, decided to mimic imagery from an independent artist who belongs to numerous minority groups – African-American, Latina, witch – and seemed to think she wouldn’t fight back, that her fans wouldn’t notice, and that consumers wouldn’t care. (Given my interactions on Instagram, 1 out of 3 of my assumptions seem to be correct: Becky just wants her Frappuccino.) This is an abuse of power and this is wrong.

Starbucks most likely paid someone to source and create imagery for the ad. If they liked Luna’s work so much, they should have asked her to direct the project, take the photographs, or style the ad. At minimum, Starbucks should have credited Luna as the inspiration for the Instagram spot. And it’s all much worse because Luna actually lives in Seattle and has a robust online presence. She isn’t hard to find.

Finally, Starbucks posted the ad to Instagram, one of Luna’s primary modes of interaction, with no credit. Even a nod – “Inspired by @thehoodwitch” – would have gone a long way towards mollifying Luna’s fans (if not Luna herself). However, they would never do this, because it could weaken Starbucks’ position should Luna sue them for infringement. Which, frankly, should make you more suspicious than anything I’ve said so far.

As I’ve discussed before, there is aware appropriation and there is sterile appropriation. (The terms are Jaron Lanier’s and if you haven’t read his book, go do that right now.) Aware appropriation uses pre-existing material in ways that enliven the images or information, creating a new lens for the viewer or reader. It takes thought, feeling, and effort to be an aware appropriator. Sterile appropriation, on the other hand, repurposes pre-existing material in ways that are flat, serve only the appropriator, and have no intelligent effect on the audience’s engagement with the pre-existing material. Corporations almost always engage in sterile appropriation, but with a modicum of effort, entities like Starbucks can use their colossal influence in more positive ways.

It starts, as you might imagine, with crediting – and paying – artists like Bri Luna.