Things That Matter

Black Eyed Peas’ Taboo Is Coming Forward About His Grueling Cancer Battle

Jamie Luis Gomez, a.k.a. Taboo of the Black Eyed Peas, is breaking his silence about his private and excruciating battle with cancer. For two years, Taboo quietly battled against stage 2 testicular cancer and ultimately beat the disease. Since conquering the disease, Taboo is using his celebrity to give hope and awareness to cancer as an ambassador for the American Cancer Society.

Taboo first realized something was questionable with his health in 2014 when he felt pain in his back and abdomen.

Taboo (Black Eyed Peas) / Facebook
CREDIT: Taboo (Black Eyed Peas) / Facebook

According to People magazine, Taboo initially thought it was just the flu.

“I was so busy working that I wasn’t worried about it, but I went to the emergency room to get checked out,” Taboo told People.

A series of tests proved that he had testicular cancer and Taboo credits will.i.am for getting him in touch with a doctor immediately.


“The very next day I went into surgery to have the ‘mother ship’ removed. But my fight had just begun,” Taboo told People. “My family and the group were all in shock, but will.i.am instantly reached out to a great doctor who helped me figure out a treatment plan. I was racing against the clock.”

Despite his “intense, aggressive” chemotherapy, Taboo tried to keep his spirits up.


“There were times that I wanted to give up, but I became inspired by sports figures who have gone through similar battles,” Taboo told People. “I began channeling my energy into the thing that keeps me alive and spirited: music.”

Now, as a cancer survivor, Taboo is using his fame and music to bring attention to the real impacts of cancer.


“I’m not trying to leave just a catalog of music. I want to leave a legacy that speaks to humanity,” Taboo says in his American Cancer Society PSA. “And that’s why I’m very, very honored that I got the opportunity to join forces with the American Cancer Society. The American Cancer Society is making a big difference.”

He just released a new song “The Fight” and all proceeds will go to the American Cancer Society.


“I created ‘The Fight’ that will be on cancer.org and let people know, like, we’re not going to curl up in a ball and say, ‘Oh. I got cancer. This is it,'” Taboo said during his interview on The Doctors. “No. We’re warriors. We’re fighters. We can get through anything.”

Taboo told The Doctors that he’s staying visible because his Native American and Latino communities don’t get educated on cancer as much as other communities.

The Doctors / YouTube
CREDIT: The Doctors / YouTube

But he wants to make it clear that he’s not doing this to lecture people on their health.

The Doctors / YouTube
CREDIT: The Doctors / YouTube

“But, most of all, it’s like, how can I be as real and as effective and inspire people through my journey and let people know about my experience,” Taboo said on The Doctors.

Taboo has been cancer-free for over two years, but there’s more to this happy ending. After being told by doctors that he might never have kids again, Taboo and his wife welcomed their newest bundle of joy just eight months before he went public with his story.

Taboo (Black Eyed Peas) / Facebook
CREDIT: Taboo (Black Eyed Peas) / Facebook

READ: Here’s The Amazing Way This Mexican Doctor Is Helping Children Fight Cancer

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Neon Indian’s ‘Toyota Man’ Is A Pro-Immigration Anthem That Fans Are Loving And Supporting

Entertainment

Neon Indian’s ‘Toyota Man’ Is A Pro-Immigration Anthem That Fans Are Loving And Supporting

alan_palomo / Instagram

Amidst President Trump’s impeachment hearings, a new protest song is making the rounds online. Except this one sounds more like a festive, satirical and catchy tune; rather than a political critique. Just last week, Neon Indian dropped his first song in Spanish “Toyota Man” after four years of not releasing any new music. The pro-immigration anthem references classics like Selena’s “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” and Miley Cyrus’s “Party in the U.S.A.” The song talks about migrant laborers, the American dream, and DACA recipients in a catchy and witty way. 

Alan Palomo aka Neon Indian dropped his new single last week, “Toyota Man,” with a self-directed video that tells his immigration story. 

Palomo’s video for “Toyota Man” opens with himself standing at the U.S.-Mexico border flipping through cue cards. “Llegamos al apartamento cuatro de un tío después que cruzamos el río en Reynosa.”  Born in Monterrey, Mexico, the Chillwave singer tells the story of his crossing the border through Reynosa on to San Antonio and Austin. Once in ‘el otro lado’ he gets hired to wash Toyota trucks. The musician takes a rag to a red vehicle in what could be an ode to American underground experimental filmmaker, Kenneth Anger’s “Kustom Kar Kommandos,” 

Fiestas, piñatas, tacos, and abuelas, the satirical video is all about representing Alan Palomo’s Mexican culture.

Credit: Neon Indian / YouTube

At a backyard party featuring the classic taquiza and piñatas, a  Trump-shaped piñata comes to life and makes a run for it. The 45th president  duels with an abuela, and gets chased by children to the sound of the chorus “Venimos a estudiar, queremos trabajar, y aunque lo quieran negar, todos somos Americanos” Spanish for “we come to study, we want to work and even if they want to deny it, we’re all American.” There’s also a puppet show about migrant labor, a cowboy giving birth to cars and a lot more weird stuff going on before the Trump-ñata gets hits by a car and spills green cards all over the road.

The pro-immigrant anthem speaks to the American dream.

Credit: alan_palomo / Instagram

Palomo calls out Uncle Sam for all the obstacles the U.S. government has put in place to ensure that immigrants find it hard to achieve success and stability. He talks about citizenship trials, labor rights violations, ’Aquí tu no cuentas igual,’ he sings. “Though my music has always been generally apolitical,” Alan Palomo said in a statement to Pitchfork, “I realized when recording this song that it was impossible to write biographically (in the rhetorical context of the Trump administration) without being entirely that: political. The story of my family, which before felt commonly American, was suddenly politicized.”

Palomo’s first song in Spanish, “Toyota Man” takes from a variety of both Mexican and American classic tunes.

Credit: alan_palomo / Instagram

The beat of the Mexican folk song “La Cucaracha,” plays in the riff of ‘Toyota Man’. Palomo mentions “The Star-Spangled Banner,” Selena’s “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” and Miley Cyrus’s “Party in the U.S.A.” “Te tienes que aguantar hasta que no te puedan deportar, asi es este party in the U.S.A.”

But above all, ‘Toyota Man’ is a satirical pro-immigration Latino song.

Credit: alan_palomo / Instagram

“Recognizing the absurdity of it all,” said Palomo in a statement, “I thought it would be refreshing to address the social narrative around immigration through comedy — nods to Benny Hill, misremembered San Antonio car commercials, and School House Rock. My family and I had a ton of fun making this and I hope it’s equally as fun to watch.”

“Toyota Man” is Neon Indian’s first track since his 2015 album.

Credit: alan_palomo / Instagram

The track is Palomo’s first new single since his 2015 album, “VEGA INTL. Night School” and his all-star Prince tribute in 2016. The tone and sound of his new song “Toyota Man,” hints at a new direction for the indie-rock artist. He’s talked about singing in his native language for a while, and if this track is any indication, perhaps we can expect more personal, political works from Neon Indian, and hopefully, a new album is in the works.

Neon Indian is nearing the end of a fall U.S. tour that wraps up on Nov. 29 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

READ: These Drug Smugglers Left The Internet Laughing At Their Less Than Intelligent Attempts At Smuggling Drugs

Vulvas of the World, Rejoice! This Vagina Museum Aims to End Stigma

Entertainment

Vulvas of the World, Rejoice! This Vagina Museum Aims to End Stigma

vagina_museum / Instagram

Museums, by definition, are institutions that conserve collections of objects and artifacts of artistic, cultural, historical, or scientific significance. Of course, this significance is almost always influenced by a museum’s location—the Dalí Theatre-Museum surely belongs in the town of Figuieres, Spain, where Dalí lived and died, and the Blue House is the only place that could adequately capture the lives of Frida and Diego. It’s true that traveling exhibits can bring new knowledge to museums around the world, but a museum’s permanent installations are what really define its impact. As more than half the planet’s population possesses a vagina, the new Vagina Museum in London’s Camden Market is no exception. With its educational posters, sculptures, and feminist-focused gift shop, it boasts content of truly universal (and gynecological) importance.

Fueled by a goal to end stigma, support reproductive justice and promote public health initiatives, London’s Vagina Museum is the first of its kind.

credit: Instagram/@vagina_museum

Unlike Reykjavik’s famous Phallological Museum—a space densely packed with nearly 300 penile specimens from local animals—the Vagina Museum focuses on disseminating information, rather than putting biological samples on display. Even so, visitors might expect the Vagina Museum to resemble a sex museum (which, no joke, exist all over the world, from New York to Amsterdam to Barcelona), showing examples of early pornography or ancient Stone Age dildos. But in lieu of tangible collections, the Vagina Museum is dominated by its first exhibition, Muff Busters: Vagina Myths and How to Fight Them, comprised mostly of informational panels that address and shatter long-held myths about vaginal health.

“The anatomy has such complex politics around it that we found it was best to first engage people through what they know, so we can teach them things they don’t know,” said Sarah Creed, the museum’s curator, to The New York Times. “We can talk about cold, hard facts all we want, but that’s not going to change people’s minds. It’s all about unpacking social constructs and changing perspective through engagement.”

While the space itself is quite small, Florence Schechter, the museum’s founder and director, takes advantage of the museum’s intimate atmosphere to fully realize this intention. A single room with exposed brick and wood floors, the museum feels comfortable and safe, inviting people—of all genders, sexes, and ages—to enter and learn about the nuances of the female anatomy (a subject that is still widely and unnecessarily taboo). To Schechter, this information is of particular importance to visitors who themselves possess this anatomy.


“According to a recent poll, more than half the women couldn’t identify the vagina on a diagram,” she said to The Daily Beast.

credit: Isabel Infantes/Getty Images

3-D drawings and sculptures serve as original, customized extensions of the information on the posters, helping to distill and demonstrate the educational content hanging from the walls. Schechter emphasizes the necessity of these creative renderings, affirming that her museum is not rooted in the questionable, largely patriarchal tradition of “steal[ing] some stuff from Africa, put[ting] it in a building, and pretend[ing] it’s a really good thing”—to Schechter, the Vagina Museum is about connecting with its visitors in a way that is current and relevant, focusing instead on “sharing a particular story.”

With her plan to run two exhibitions per year, covering everything from human cervical health to reproduction in the animal kingdom, Schechter intends to take full advantage of this new brick-and-mortar space. On its very first day, the museum drew large, eager crowds, which seems to bode well for the museum’s future.

The Vagina Museum currently has a two-year lease on its Camden Market property, with plans to expand when the contract ends in 2021.

credit: Angus Young/The Daily Beast

“The ultimate goal is to build a permanent museum, but that takes a lot of time and resources. This is like our starter home,” Schechter told the New York Times. The Vagina Museum team has expressed surprise at the public’s positive reception, though they’ve also conceded that the internet has been difficult to navigate. 

“Algorithms are set to assume that anything with the word ‘vagina’ in it is adult content or porn,” said Development and Marketing Manager, Zoe Williams. “Our emails go to spam and our online ads get rejected, and it’s all because of stigma.” The hope is that by challenging this stigma with its educational approach, the museum—and other emergent institutions that are sure to crop up in its wake—will not continue to face this sort of issue in the future.

Fortunately, word of the Vagina Museum has spread organically, and people have continued to flock there in pursuit of knowledge, support, and camaraderie. 

“I would like people to leave the Vagina Museum knowing that there’s nothing to be ashamed of,” said Schechter. “I want to get rid of the stigma, so we can start making progress towards equal rights and protecting women around the world.”