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‘Stop the Hatred’ by MC Jin and Wyclef Jean Aims to Send a Message of Black-Asian Solidarity

‘Stop the Hatred’ by MC Jin and Wyclef Jean Aims to Send a Message of Black-Asian Solidarity
‘Stop the Hatred’ by MC Jin and Wyclef Jean Aims to Send a Message of Black-Asian Solidarity


 

On March 21, just days after eight people, including six women of Asian descent, were killed in the Atlanta-area shootings, thousands gathered at Columbus Park in Manhattan for a rally against anti-Asian violence. Activists took turns addressing the surge in hate crimes and hate incidents toward the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, when an 8-year-old stepped onto the stage. “Stop the hatred!” Chance yelled into the mic. Chance, it turned out, was well-positioned to be a muse: the son of rap artist MC Jin, his three words would become the inspiration for—and the title of—his father’s latest track.

“Stop the Hatred,” written in response to ongoing anti-Asian attacks, is a collaboration between Jin and Fugees alum Wyclef Jean that aims to send a message of unity between the AAPI and Black communities. The song was released at the start of the month, with a music video directed by filmmaker Bao Nguyen (Be Water) and produced in partnership with The Asian American Foundation (TAAF) debuting on May 13. Filmed in New York City’s Chinatown, where businesses have been heavily impacted since the pandemic began and multiple restaurants and stores have permanently closed, the music video features shots of multigenerational families from the AAPI community. Some stand side by side with their elders, while others hold up photos of their grandparents—in a nod to how many victims of recent attacks have been elderly people. Jin raps of his grandma’s passing last year: “Part of me sees grace in the fact that she’s not here/ As a grandson this statement’s a fact/ No elderly should ever be victim of such a heinous attack.” In another verse, Wyclef raps about George Floyd as scenes of protesters marching against police brutality play in the foreground. “Racism and hate against underrepresented communities can only be fought with unity,” Wyclef says in a press release.

These images of people of different races unifying on the streets to call for racial justice, much like that late March rally, capture the spirit of “Stop the Hatred.” The music video drops at a time when clips of attacks on Asian Americans, including instances in which the perpetrators are Black, continue to circulate online. AAPI community leaders have warned against statements that generalize about entire groups of people while calling attention to how communities of color have been historically pitted against each other in the U.S.—in part by the model minority myth.

“Solidarity between the AAPI and Black communities has always been important, but now more than ever,” Jin tells TIME in an email. “Although history has shown that there have been moments of unity, those instances may have unfortunately been outshadowed by the tension and conflict between the two groups.” The artist says he hopes healing will come from more dialogue and greater empathy “for each other’s histories as it pertains to discrimination and hatred.” He continues, “Although this song was born out of pain, hurt and tragedy, my hope is that it will encourage people to take part in productive conversations.”

Jaeson Ma, founder of East West Ventures, helped coordinate the collaboration between Jin and Wyclef and spoke of the significance of the music video in this moment. “I do think the fact that media is continually showing these crimes—these hate acts happening between the African and Asian American communities—it’s just so necessary that there is also a visual and a message from both communities to come together and say hey, we’re not about this,” he tells TIME. Ma says that rhetoric from Donald Trump, who used phrases like “Kung flu” to reference COVID-19, played a significant role in contributing to negative attitudes toward the Asian American community during the pandemic. “It was direct from a white man that came out and said, this is what it is—‘China virus,’” he says. “This did not come from the African and Asian American communities.”

“Stop the Hatred” echoes a sentiment of uniting to increase safety for AAPI and Black communities, and activists have discussed what putting that into action looks like in practical terms. One nuance of the discussion has arisen around policing as a response to anti-Asian attacks. Some have cautioned against calls for heavier policing because of police institutions’ history of targeting Black and brown people. When New York City mayoral candidate Andrew Yang—who Jin had created a music campaign in support of in April—took the stage at the March 21 rally, he spoke of increasing funding for the NYPD Asian Hate Crimes Task Force. His words were met with mixed response and a “defund the police” chant from the crowd. (Jin declined to comment on his support for Yang.)

In early May, TAAF—which is supporting “Stop the Hatred”—launched with $250 million from corporations and Asian American business leaders. The funding is the single largest philanthropic gift dedicated to Asian Americans, and is aimed at combating anti-Asian discrimination. TAAF’s focus areas include collecting more comprehensive data on attacks against AAPIs with the goal of informing policymakers, and helping develop school curricula that would teach AAPI history. “Asian Americans have been successful at being successful in this country, but Asian Americans have not been successful at being powerful in this country,” Ma says. “We don’t have the seats in the boardroom, we don’t have the seats in the Senate and the House, we don’t have the seats in media and entertainment in Hollywood.” He is hopeful that the launch of TAAF reflects a larger mobilization effort across the country and that the foundation’s partnership on “Stop the Hatred” signals a belief in the power of art. “This song to me, the timing of it is to be the anthem of this AAPI civil rights and justice movement,” Ma explains.

The final moments of the music video show the link to a page on TAAF that includes resources for reporting hate crimes (through Asian Americans Advancing Justice and Stop AAPI Hate) and bystander intervention training hosted by Hollaback!.

In addition to attacks on the AAPI community, “Stop the Hatred” also urges for an end to violence toward people of all races. “A hate crime against anyone is a hate crime against everyone,” Ma says.





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Khloe Kardashian and Tristan Thompson split after he’s spotted with three women

Khloe Kardashian and Tristan Thompson split after he’s spotted with three women
Khloe Kardashian and Tristan Thompson split after he’s spotted with three women


Khloé Kardashian and Tristan Thompson have split up once again, according to a report. 

The news comes curiously after DailyMail.com exclusively revealed how Thompson, 30, disappeared into a bedroom with three women at a Bel Air house party over the weekend.

Despite sources saying they broke up ‘a couple of weeks ago’, Tristan and Khloe, 36, were seen putting on a united front together with their three-year-old daughter True in Calabasas just last Thursday afternoon. 

Khloe Kardashian and Tristan Thompson split after he’s spotted with three women

Split! Khloe Kardashian and Tristan Thompson ‘break up again’… after he’s spotted with three women at Bel Air house party (Pictured, 2018) 

‘They’re getting along. There is no drama,’ a source claimed to PageSix on Monday. ‘Everything is amicable and they are on the same page with co-parenting.’  

However, on Friday, Tristan was seen disappearing into a bedroom with three women during a Bel Air birthday party – and emerged ‘disheveled’ 30 minutes later. 

The Boston Celtics star’s antics came less than 24 hours after he was and Khloe were out enjoying lunch and playing happy families.

Thompson was then pictured looking worse for wear on Sunday night for Father’s Day, as held his head down in a vehicle at around 2:30am, after partying at LA hotspot the Nightingale Plaza. 

Rough night? Thompson was also pictured looking worse for wear on Sunday night for Father's Day, as held his head down in a vehicle at around 2:30am

Party time: The Boston Celtics star appeared to be having a riot over the weekend in LA

Rough night? Thompson was also pictured looking worse for wear on Sunday night for Father’s Day, as held his head down in a vehicle at around 2:30am

Khloe and Tristan’s split also comes as the pair were seen trying to work things out on the final two episodes of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. 

The on/off couple were filmed recently for the show talking about the future together, with Khloe even considering a move to Boston to be near him – as she continued to talk about having another child together. 

But over the weekend, it appeared that the pair were on different paths, as Thompson was pictured at a Bel Air house party. 

United front: Khoe and Tristan have been talking about their future together on the show, and recently united for Father's Day

United front: Khoe and Tristan have been talking about their future together on the show, and recently united for Father’s Day 

Sources exclusively told DailyMail.com that Thompson headed straight for the bar after arriving at the party just after midnight and did a round of ultra-luxurious Deleon tequila shots while swigging Moet champagne before repeatedly grabbing the bottom of a female guest. 

The source told DailyMail.com: ‘Tristan came in after midnight and shook a bunch of guy’s hands. He was wishing Chubbs Happy Birthday.

‘He immediately beelined to the bar where there were tons of girls; we could hear him yelling let’s do shots!

‘He was having a blast – he was actually laughing and simultaneously taking shots and drinking straight out of a bottle of champagne.

‘He was repeatedly grabbing this one girl’s butt so we all knew he was totally into her.’

Happy families: Tristan, Khloe, and True are seen having lunch together in Calabasas just last Thursday

Happy families: Tristan, Khloe, and True are seen having lunch together in Calabasas just last Thursday 

Despite sources close to Khloe claiming everything is ‘amicable’ between the pair, his latest efforts but surely come with a sting.

On Sunday, Khloe was seen on the second part of the Keeping Up With The Kardashians reunion saying she rebuilt trust with Tristan after seeing how hard he fought to get back with her. 

The couple – who recently reconciled – started dating in 2016 and welcomed their daughter True in 2018, just days after it was reported that the NBA player had cheated on Khloe multiple times. 

Asked if she trusts Tristan, Khloe told host Andy Cohen: ‘I mean, I definitely trust him as a friend and all those things… What I need to find out, everything comes my way. I just need to trust and focus on today and go day by day. I can’t worry too much about everything else. 

Ouch: Khloe was seen on Sunday talking about how Tristan had worked hard to rebuild her trust

Ouch: Khloe was seen on Sunday talking about how Tristan had worked hard to rebuild her trust 

‘I know the growth and the work that he’s done. I know all the help that he’s got, and the constant efforts that he makes every single day, and how hard he fought to get back with me currently. I don’t understand why someone would go through all that if they weren’t really serious,’ she said.

The two-part reunion was reportedly filmed in early April, before the latest scandal broke when Tristan was accused of cheating with a model named Sydney Chase.

During filming, Khloe was still wearing the massive diamond Tristan gave her, on her left hand. In recent snaps shared to her Instagram, however, the Good American founder appears to have removed the rock.

Precious moments: Khloe documented the birth of her daughter, at a hospital in Cleveland, for season 15 of KUWTK

Precious moments: Khloe documented the birth of her daughter, at a hospital in Cleveland, for season 15 of KUWTK

Troubled: Khloe made sure that Tristan was in the delivery room - just days after reports that the athlete had cheated on her while she was pregnant

Troubled: Khloe made sure that Tristan was in the delivery room – just days after reports that the athlete had cheated on her while she was pregnant 

The mom-of-one also admitted that she wants more kids with the Boston Celtics player.

Talking about the couple’s potential surrogacy journey, Khloe said that the process had been more difficult that she expected – partly because of COVID restrictions and her own personal feelings about not carrying the baby herself.

‘I thought it would be an easy process’ she said. It’s challenging for me.’

In April 2018 Khloe documented the birth of her daughter, at a hospital in Cleveland, for season 15 of KUWTK and memorably made sure that Tristan was in the delivery room. It came just days after reports that the athlete had cheated on her while she was pregnant.

Making claims: Tristan was allegedly in touch with 'fling' Sydney Chase (pictured) the day after daughter True's 3rd birthday on April 12, which sparked trouble again

Making claims: Tristan was allegedly in touch with ‘fling’ Sydney Chase (pictured) the day after daughter True’s 3rd birthday on April 12, which sparked trouble again 



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Ellen Pompeo Has Great Response After ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Viewer Shreds Season 17 As ‘Trash’

Ellen Pompeo Has Great Response After ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Viewer Shreds Season 17 As ‘Trash’
Ellen Pompeo Has Great Response After ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Viewer Shreds Season 17 As ‘Trash’



Ellen Pompeo doesn’t mind if you find fault with her performance on “Grey’s Anatomy” ― in fact, she welcomes the criticism. 

The actor, who plays Dr. Meredith Grey, came to the defense of a viewer who deemed the latest season of ABC’s long-running medical drama “dumpster [fire] trash.” 

“Seventeen seasons we can’t please everyone all the time,” Pompeo tweeted Friday, adding that “it’s definitely not easy keeping it going and keeping it great.” 

She went on to thank the viewer for tuning in anyway and for their honest feedback.  

Pompeo urged others not to criticize the viewer, arguing that it was a valid opinion and noting that “the only show I’ve ever stuck with until the end” was HBO’s “The Sopranos.” 

“Not to mention people are pretty much allowed to feel however they want after this really fucked up couple of years we have had,” she said

“Grey’s Anatomy,” created by Shonda Rhimes, was an instant smash when it premiered in 2005.

The series put Pompeo, as well as Patrick Dempsey, Katherine Heigl and Sandra Oh, on the Hollywood map. Since then, most of the original stars have left the show, with their characters often meeting tragic fates. In 2017, however, Pompeo signed a new record-breaking contact for more than $20 million, making her the highest-paid woman in a TV drama. 

The following year, the actor cited the LGBTQ-inclusive storylines of “Grey’s Anatomy” as one of her incentives for sticking with the show. 

“We’re touching lives and making a difference,” she told Ellen DeGeneres in an interview at the time. 

Season 17, which wrapped earlier this month, was set amid the COVID-19 pandemic and saw Dempsey and original cast member T.R. Knight return for guest appearances. 





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Alex Rodriguez Rents Home Near Jennifer Lopez, As He’s Spotted With Ben Affleck’s Ex

Alex Rodriguez Rents Home Near Jennifer Lopez, As He’s Spotted With Ben Affleck’s Ex
Alex Rodriguez Rents Home Near Jennifer Lopez, As He’s Spotted With Ben Affleck’s Ex



The dulcet tones of Chris Martin singing “Fix You” can only do so much healing, as Alex Rodriguez has apparently advanced to the petty phase of his breakup with Jennifer Lopez.

In moves that are bound to land the former MLB star on his ex-fiancée’s radar, Rodriguez has rented a mansion in Bridgehampton, New York, for the summer, a stone’s throw from Lopez’s own residence in Water Mill, according to Page Six.

Over the weekend, Rodriguez shared a video of himself on Instagram shooting hoops outside his new Hamptons abode, which, as Page Six notes, is only a three-minute drive from Lopez’s home.

And in case there’s any doubt that Rodriguez knew just how close his new mansion is to Lopez’s: The two spent last summer together at her sprawling estate before calling it quits earlier this year.

The music superstar has, of course, since rekindled her romance with Ben Affleck after nearly two decades apart, with reports claiming that Rodriguez was “very shocked” about their reunion. 

But just when you think this split couldn’t get even messier, the retired athlete was seen at the birthday party of Lindsay Shookus, a longtime “Saturday Night Live” producer ― and Affleck’s former girlfriend ― over the weekend.

In video taken at the intimate backyard gathering, Rodriguez is sitting next to Shookus, who dated Affleck on-and-off for years before the two finally went their separate ways in 2019. 

Shookus is apparently friendly with all parties involved. She was seen attending a cast dinner with both Lopez and Rodriguez in 2019 before the “Hustlers” star hosted the late-night sketch show.

As for whether there are sparks between Rodriguez and Shookus, a representative for the baseball star told Page Six “there is absolutely zero there,” adding: “They’ve been friends for 15 years.”

But, as this truly wild summer of couplings and re-couplings has shown us, no one is safe from the celebrity chaos of 2021.





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Jennifer Lopez’s ex Alex Rodriguez rents a $5M mansion ONE MILE from her $10M home in Hamptons

Jennifer Lopez’s ex Alex Rodriguez rents a M mansion ONE MILE from her M home in Hamptons
Jennifer Lopez’s ex Alex Rodriguez rents a M mansion ONE MILE from her M home in Hamptons


Alex Rodriguez seems to want to stay near his ex-fiancee Jennifer Lopez this summer.

The former baseball great has rented a $5M mansion in Bridgehampton on New York’s Long Island which is only a three minute drive from the Dance Again singer’s $10M home in Water Mill, according to PageSix.

This comes as the Dinero singer, 51, has been seen kissing her other ex fiance Ben Affleck, 48, in Malibu whom she reunited with in April just after splitting from A-Rod.

Jennifer Lopez’s ex Alex Rodriguez rents a M mansion ONE MILE from her M home in Hamptons

Hi Jenny! Alex Rodriguez seems to want to stay near his ex-fiancee Jennifer Lopez this summer. The former baseball great has rented a $5M mansion in Bridgehampton on New York’s Long Island; seen outside his new rental this weekend

Roomy digs: His new pad is gray shingled with a total of 9,200-square-feet; there are seven bedrooms and 11 bathrooms

 Roomy digs: His new pad is gray shingled with a total of 9,200-square-feet; there are seven bedrooms and 11 bathrooms

The outlet claimed that Alex, 45, has already settled into his home as he shared a video from outside the place this weekend when he was shooting hoops. 

His new pad is gray shingled with a total of 9,200-square-feet; there are seven bedrooms and 11 bathrooms. 

The Hamptons is one of the places Jennifer and Alex use to visit as they enjoyed their three year romance before calling it quits earlier this year.

Done: The two split earlier this year, breaking their engagement; seen in January 2020

Done: The two split earlier this year, breaking their engagement; seen in January 2020

Her Hamptons home: The Jenny From the Block singer has a $10M home in Water Mill

Her Hamptons home: The Jenny From the Block singer has a $10M home in Water Mill

Just a short drive for A-Rod! Water Mill and Bridgehampton are very close to each other

Just a short drive for A-Rod! Water Mill and Bridgehampton are very close to each other

They often shared images from Jen’s sprawling Water Mill home that is over 8,500 square feet as their kids – she has Max and Emme with ex Marc Anthony and he has Ella and Natasha with ex Cynthia Scurtis.

According to People, the Hustlers actress plans on staying at her Hamptons residence this summer with her kids and perhaps on-again Affleck.

That means Lopez is likely to run into Rodriguez who is only one mile away in Bridgehampton. 

Her back yard: In a video shared last summer, Jennifer gave a good look at her patio

 Her back yard: In a video shared last summer, Jennifer gave a good look at her patio

So many places to party: There is also a dining area by the swimming pool and pool cabana

So many places to party: There is also a dining area by the swimming pool and pool cabana

Lopez at play: In this image Jennifer is seen from the back as she plays a game with her kids, her mom and Alex

Lopez at play: In this image Jennifer is seen from the back as she plays a game with her kids, her mom and Alex 

Though Jennifer is not in the Hamptons yet – she was seen shopping in Beverly Hills over the weekend – she should be there soon.

Alex is firmly in the Hamptons these days as on Friday he held a meeting with his A-Rod Corp staffers at the Sag Harbor restaurant Le Bilboquet, PageSix also reported.

He was with his nephew Nick Silva as well as Liz Cohen, a business development manager at A-Rod Corp. 

Jennifer her been in Los Angeles to be near Ben, who co-parents three kids with his ex-wife Jennifer Garner.

Earlier this week, the Argo star and director was spotted having a steamy makeout session with J.Lo at the swanky Japanese restaurant Nobu Malibu during a dinner in honor of her younger sister Lynda Lopez’s 50th birthday.

Another view of her posh digs: The siren working out outside her mansion last year

He did the same: Alex made himself home at Jennifer's spread; seen here in 2020

Another view of her posh digs: The siren working out outside her mansion last year. Alex made himself home at Jennifer’s spread; seen here in 2020

The twins were both in close proximity and Max was even seen approaching the lovebirds just after they locked lips.

Despite the potentially awkward interaction, Ben seems to have already made a positive impression with the kids. 

‘Her kids really like Ben and think he’s funny and fun to be around,’ a source close to the Jenny From The Block singer told E! News earlier this week. ‘He’s totally won the family over with his charm.’

Another person at the party for Jennifer’s sister noted how easily the Oscar winner socialized with his on-again partner’s twins.

The way they were: Rodriguez and Lopez attend the Tom Ford AW20 Show at Milk Studios in February 2020 in Hollywood

The way they were: Rodriguez and Lopez attend the Tom Ford AW20 Show at Milk Studios in February 2020 in Hollywood

‘Ben was very good with them. He was asking them questions and smiling,’ an eyewitness shared. ‘He was very engaged and seemed to like hanging out with them. They all left together and Ben opened the car door for the kids and made sure they got inside. He was smiling the whole night and seemed very happy with the family.’

His charm assault also extends to the Out Of Sight star’s mother Guadalupe, who was seen spending some time in a Las Vegas casino earlier this month as he directed a film project. 

‘Guadalupe loves Ben and is happy that he is back in Jennifer’s life,’ a source told E! News.

What's old is new again: Jennifer her been in Los Angeles to be near Ben, who co-parents three kids with his ex-wife Jennifer Garner. Earlier this week, the Argo star and director was spotted having a steamy makeout session with J.Lo at the swanky Japanese restaurant Nobu Malibu. Seen in 2002

What’s old is new again: Jennifer her been in Los Angeles to be near Ben, who co-parents three kids with his ex-wife Jennifer Garner. Earlier this week, the Argo star and director was spotted having a steamy makeout session with J.Lo at the swanky Japanese restaurant Nobu Malibu. Seen in 2002

‘They enjoy gambling together and have done it in the past,’ they added. ‘Ben had the opportunity to work in Vegas this week and she came out.’

Jennifer was seen a week ago being driven away from Ben’s home in Los Angeles’ Pacific Palisades neighborhood after spending some time together.

Their renewed relationship seems to be a kind of wish fulfillment for the actress, who sees Ben as ‘the one that got away,’ a source told Page Six earlier this week.

‘Jennifer always saw Ben as the one that got away. She was crushed after they broke up, though she felt at the time that she had no other choice but to call off their engagement,’ the insider said. 



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Kate Middleton, Prince William Share Never-Before-Seen Photo For Father’s Day

Kate Middleton, Prince William Share Never-Before-Seen Photo For Father’s Day
Kate Middleton, Prince William Share Never-Before-Seen Photo For Father’s Day


Kate Middleton and Prince William’s social media accounts posted a sweet tribute with a special, previously unseen photo to mark Father’s Day on Sunday.

The royals’ account shared a video message with four pictures alongside the caption, “Wishing fathers everywhere a happy Father’s Day.”

The never-before-seen snap shows William with his three children: Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.

The royal holds little Louis, while George hugs his father’s leg and Charlotte gives the camera a sweet smile. The photo is from 2019’s Trooping the Colour celebration. 

A closer look at the never-before-seen photo shared on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's social media accounts for Father's



A closer look at the never-before-seen photo shared on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s social media accounts for Father’s Day. 

The other photos in the post show Prince Charles lying on the grass with a young Prince Harry and William; the Duchess of Cambridge with her father, George Middleton, as he walked her down the aisle at the royal wedding in 2011, and the late Prince Philip surrounded by his grandchildren. 

The photo with Philip, which was taken at Balmoral in 2018, was only recently shared by the royal family in a tribute after the Duke of Edinburgh died in April. 

Princess Eugenie also gave royal fans a sneak peek of her home life with her baby son, thanks to a heartwarming post dedicated to her husband, Jack Brooksbank, for his first Father’s Day.

The pictures show a grinning Jack walking with the couple’s son, August, in a stroller, him cuddling with his sleeping son on the couch and the family of three posing together. August Philip Hawke Brooksbank was born Feb. 9 at The Portland Hospital in London. 

“Happy Father’s Day to you my love,” the royal wrote in the caption of the social media post on Sunday. “You are the ultimate father to our boy!!” 

Social media accounts for Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, as well as the Royal Family’s official account (which represents Queen Elizabeth and other members of the family), also shared tributes for Father’s Day: 

Though Meghan Markle and Prince Harry do not have or use social media accounts at the moment, the Duchess of Sussex spoke about her husband and their son, Archie, in a segment for NPR that aired on Father’s Day. 

Meghan gave her first ― and only ― interview to NPR about her new children’s book, “The Bench,” which was inspired by a Father’s Day gift and poem she gave to the duke before his first time celebrating the holiday. The interview, which was pre-taped before the birth of the couple’s daughter, Lili, is Meghan’s first since speaking with Oprah Winfrey for a bombshell special earlier this year. 

“As most of us do, you go, what am I going to get them as a gift?” Meghan told NPR’s Samantha Balaban for Weekend Edition’s children’s book series. “And I thought I just wanted something sentimental and a place for him to have as a bit of a home base with our son.” 

The duchess ended up giving Harry a bench, along with a plaque that read “This is your bench/Where life will begin/For you and our son/Our baby, our kin.”





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Bennifer 2.0 Got You Pining For Your Ex? Therapists Say Forget It

Bennifer 2.0 Got You Pining For Your Ex? Therapists Say Forget It
Bennifer 2.0 Got You Pining For Your Ex? Therapists Say Forget It


The one that got away. The long lost soulmate. The what-could-have-been. The unlikely romantic rapprochement between Ben Affleck, 48, and Jennifer Lopez, 51, has captured the public interest with an intensity that feels like a throwback to a time before reality TV when there was a limit to how many famous people we were allowed to care about. Photos of the once-engaged couple merely disembarking a plane together made global headlines. By the time the New York Post got a photo of an actual kiss, even people who could not name one J.Lo song were riveted.

[time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”]

Why this middle-aged couple and why now? Part of it, of course, is the duo’s storied history. They met on the set of a legendarily bad movie (Gigli) in 2002 when she was married. They made scandalous music videos on yachts, got engaged with a pink diamond, weathered several tabloid scandals and another poorly received movie (Jersey Girl), called off one wedding ceremony the day before it was to take place, and eventually broke up in early 2004. Six months later she married Marc Anthony. The following year, he married Jennifer Garner. That’s a whole lot of narrative arc in three short years.

But for many folks, Bennifer 2.0 (3.0, if you count the whole Jennifer Garner marriage) is more than just a standard issue famous couple fairy tale. It’s personal. “I think we all know this feeling on different levels and we see something of ourselves in what’s happening with Ben and J.Lo,” says James Sexton, a New York divorce lawyer and author of How to Stay in Love. “At some point we all had a connection with our exes.” Seeing a couple reunite can remind people of the road not taken in their lives, or what young love was like, or of a lover they regret losing. And of course, in memory, all exes take on an idealized celebrity-esque sheen; like Lopez, they still seem remarkably untouched by time. Like Affleck, they seem to be the kind of interesting and fixable.

Therapists say it’s not unusual for people to hanker after lost loves, long after the relationship has ended. “In my experience, sometimes people feel they found a true love at an age that was too young to be able to stay with that person,” says Daphne de Marneffe, therapist and author of The Rough Patch. “Immaturity, wanting more experience, poor relationship skills doomed things and they got broken up with, and yet that person remains ‘the one that got away’ long after they’ve married someone else.” Indeed, in 2016, while Affleck was married to Jennifer Garner, Lopez told People that their breakup was not because they didn’t love each other: “I think different time, different thing, who knows what could’ve happened, but there was a genuine love there.”

Lopez and Affleck Filming
WireImageJennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck Filming “Jersey Girl” in 2002

The pandemic, which has kept people apart from each other, has amplified the yearning for connection, say therapists. “I think [the fuss is due to] COVID, frankly,” says Julie Gottman, therapist and co-author of several bestselling marriage books with her husband, John Gottman. “People have experienced isolation, they’ve experienced a lot of pain, of loss, people getting sick people dying around them. People have been reprioritizing.” Gottman thinks the pandemic dissolved the fantasy of immortality that people generally live with and seeing couples like Affleck and Lopez reconnect inspires them to examine their future. “For a lot of people they’re thinking, you know, it may not have been perfect, but it’s better than being all alone and I don’t want to grow old alone. I want to share my life with somebody that I have some connection with.”

But it’s not just their futures that people are reconsidering; it’s their past. The isolation might have led to people thinking about those from the old days with whom they’d like to reconnect, say therapists. Even before the pandemic, de Marneffe noticed a desire in her clients as they grew older to understand events from a different angle or to make sense of their lives. The implausible realignment of two stars after more than a decade and a half might supercharge such ruminations.

Read more: Why Would a Long term Couple Like Bill and Melinda Gates Get Divorced? Here’s What Therapists Say

Of course, in an era where activity is restricted and people are bored, a genuinely unusual love story resonates more. And after a year full of surprises, nearly all of them unwelcome, the Bennifer reunion is at once unlikely, but also like seeing an old friend. Scott Haltzman, a psychiatrist and medical director at Fuller Hospital in Massachusetts, says nostalgia might be playing a big role. “Jennifer and Ben’s relationship emerged at the threshold of major changes in our society. In 2002, people weren’t getting their information from the Internet, they weren’t getting daily tweets from celebrities and there was no such thing as following somebody on Facebook,” he says. “Absorbing the ideal of Jen and Ben being back together brings with it recollections of a calmer time in the world of celebrity news.” Sexton agrees: “There’s something comforting about something that can be both simultaneously new and familiar.”

For those itching to reach out to their former flames, however, the therapists and experts have a word of advice, and it is: don’t. “The opportunity to reconnect with ‘the one that got away’ or one’s ‘soulmate’ has a universal fairytale appeal,” says Haltzman. But the belief that there is one right person for each of us, one Ben for each Jennifer, he says, is a myth. “My own experience as a marriage educator and my understanding of marriage research has led me to the conclusion that soulmates aren’t found,” he says. “Soulmates are made.”





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