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Photo illustration: Save As; Source: Everette Collection

BBased on numbers alone, Lloyd Avery II’s character in Boyz N the Hood is a minor role. Four scenes. About eight lines of dialogue. At most, two minutes of screen time. He’s listed in the credits as Knucklehead #2, but fans of the film know him as the Blood who…

Linda Franks blows into a plastic noisemaker at the perimeter of Louisiana’s East Baton Rouge Parish Prison during a protest with other members of the reform coalition. Her son, Lamar Johnson, died while in custody at the prison in 2015. Photos: William Widmer for LEVEL

Lamar Johnson was driving to pick up his grandmother from dialysis in May of 2015 when a Baker, Louisiana, police officer pulled him over because his car windows were tinted. Four days later, a guard found the 27-year-old hanging in his cell at the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison.

Years…

Photo: Robert Ector

Level Q

Don’t be fooled by the saccharine lyrics and melodies that ooze from Isley Brothers classics. The songs’ authors are gladiator competitive. Their iconic lead, Ronald Isley, is nothing short of loquacious when addressing this fact.

The man formerly known as Mr. Biggs admits that since the 1950s, he and his…

Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

The largest angels rarely live the longest. For centuries, intellects and clergymen from the Eastern Hemisphere have spoken on existence being dictated by purpose. It’s been said throughout a myriad of cultures that once a person has completed his or her education, as student and teacher, their time in human…

Photo Illustration: Save As/Medium; Source: Getty Images

The Official NBA Hair Power Ranking 2021

Last July, the NBA set up shop in Orlando to close out the 2019–2020 season in an isolated zone at Walt Disney World. Within that bubble, the 22 teams competing for a championship had a wealth of amenities at their disposal, from fishing and films to bowling and boating. But…

Illustration: Davide Barco for LEVEL

It was the night of December 8, and a group of Black users on Clubhouse were threatening a boycott.

Meezy, 21 Savage’s manager, had created a room on the voice-chat app expressly for that purpose; from its virtual “stage,” he proclaimed in his vehement rasp that he was willing to…

T.I. and Tameka ‘Tiny’ Harris attend “LIBRA” album release party at Gold Room on October 16, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo: Prince Williams/Wireimage/Getty Images

Everything should have changed for Clifford “T.I.” Harris in November 2019. That’s when the rapper went on the Ladies Like Us podcast and talked about traumatizing his daughter, Deyjah. “Not only have we had The Conversation,” he said when asked about sex education in his household, “[but] we have yearly…

Vanessa Bryant speaks at the Celebration of Life for Kobe & Gianna Bryant at Staples Center on February 24, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Over the weekend, Vanessa Bryant logged onto Instagram to once again address a grievance on behalf of her family. This time it was about an ill-considered punchline from Meek Mill on a recent song: “If I ever lack, I’m goin’ out with my chopper, it be another Kobe.”

Bryant’s response…

Photo: Josefina Santos

The LEVEL Man at 40

When your moniker is Desus Nice, you can’t afford to be mediocre. You’ve got to be quicker, wittier, more aware of and conversant with the surrounding world. You’ve got to be able to distill information, to disseminate your born knowledge to those not as learned or perceptive. You have to…

LEVEL

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