Welcome back to the "Spotlight!" With the Fourth of July just around the corner here in the States, Americans can set aside their many differences (one of the few Judges that did anything that I can applaud this past month presides over 161st Street in the Bronx) and celebrate a holiday on which we “dissolve[d] the political bands which have connected them with another” and declared independence from a tyrannical, autocratic ruler. But with the dark shadows of autocracy remaining in our midst (if not outright supported by many) today and our current political bands fraying, perhaps our lowest common denominator for common ground is wholesome entertainment and (sports?) competition. For that, look no further than the gluttonous spectacle that is the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island. If the tradition of watching people (elbow-to-elbow in scorching, soup-like conditions) scarfing down in one sitting more tubed beef and soggy rolls than many have had in their lifetimes does not foster a common sense of patriotism (and nausea — even more so for the vegans and Celiac sufferers among us) and galvanize our esprit de cor(-onary artery disease), I don’t know what does. So, take that, Britain! Without further fanfare, one truth I hold to be self-evident is that this week’s "Spotlight" is below:
- Comedian Kevin Hart is not joking around with his new, entirely plant-based fast-food concept restaurant, “Hart House.” With the first location opening in Los Angeles, perhaps it is ripe for a partnership with a different kind of plant-based establishment.
- Tomorrow marks one year since “NIL Day” in college sports – a financial Independence Day of sorts – that has allowed athletes even from smaller colleges to monetize their name, image and likeness. Rayquan Smith of Norfolk State University is a prime example.
- House music pioneer Marshall Jefferson’s publishing company sues Kanye ‘Ye’ West and creator of the Stem Player device on which West’s latest album “DONDA 2” was exclusively distributed, alleging copyright infringement over unauthorized sampling of Jefferson’s work, “Move Your Body.” One wonders whether West would be in the same predicament had the song been named, “Clear Your Samples.”