Supercreator AM: Climate activism, summer travel and TikTok Shoutouts

Plus: President Biden doubles down on voting rights and vaccine adoption.

Just under Just under 2.2 million travelers were screened at US airports last Friday, the highest number since early March 2020, according to the TSA. Photo by John Raoux/Associated Press

Good morning and welcome to Supercreator AM. It’s WednesdayJuly 7. I’m Michael, writing to you from New York City. Here’s what you need to know as you start your day:

  • Delta is now the dominant coronavirus variant in the US. The strain accounts for 80 percent of new infections in midwestern states, nearly three in four cases in the west and almost 60 percent in southern states.

  • Climate activists won’t support the infrastructure framework without meaningful investments in the environment. They say the Biden-supported compromise doesn’t go far enough to address our climate emergency and falls short on every significant climate commitment Biden introduced in his initial proposal in the spring.

  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared gun violence as a disaster emergency. He’s the first state executive to sign an order focused on combating and preventing an uptick in firearm-related injuries and deaths that have been exacerbated by economic inequality and distrust in city policing.

  • Eric Adams won the Democratic primary in New York City’s mayoral race, the first that used the city’s new ranked-choice voting system. The Brooklyn Borough president would the city’s second Black mayor if elected.

  • Jeff Bezos is now worth $211 billion. The former Amazon CEO and current executive chairman is the richest person ever after his fortune increased by $8.4 billion — with a B — yesterday.

  • Airlines are overwhelmed by the summer travel demand. Travel delays, canceled flights, bad weather flooded computer systems and insufficient staff has each contributed to the mess.

  • TikTok is experimenting with a feature called “Shoutouts” that would allow people to request and pay for custom videos from their favorite creators. It’s kind of like Cameo, the video app that enables people to book celebrities and influencers to record personalized videos.

ALLOW ME TO EXPLAIN: VACCINES AND VOTING RIGHTS ⇢ The Biden administration missed its goals of getting 70 percent of all American adults at least one dose of the vaccine and passing comprehensive voting rights legislation. So it went back to the drawing board and emerged with new initiatives to get more shots in arms and protect marginalized voters from suppression.

On the vaccine front, President Biden said the administration would send people door to door, set up clinics at workplaces and urge employers to offer paid time off. But critics warn that these moves are ineffective in persuading people who have no intention to get vaccinated to do so. Nonetheless, the president is undeterred: “It sounds corny, but it’s a patriotic thing to do.”

As for voting rights, President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will hold separate events tomorrow to keep the issue in the news cycle. Harris will announce the expansion of “I Will Vote,” an initiative led by the Democratic National Committee, at an event in the Washington, DC area. Biden plans to meet privately with civil rights groups to talk about their efforts to protect voting rights.

Meanwhile, it’s unclear if or when the Senate, which is not in session this week, will take another vote on the For the People Act, which failed to advance last month.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: HANNAH-JONES PICKS HOWARD OVER UNC ⇢ In the bossest of boss moves, award-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones declined a tenure offer from her alma mater the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill to create a journalism and democracy center at Howard University that’s backed by $20 million in funding. I wrote about the story in yesterday’s Supercreator PM, which is free for you to read until Friday even if you’re not a paying subscriber.

One of my favorite parts of the story is that Hannah-Jones gave the print exclusive to the Joe Killian, local reporter who broke the first story about the discrimination she faced after her tenure was withheld.

Killian wrote an epic Twitter thread yesterday morning that speaks to the challenges Black women face in the workplace and why they’re deserving of more than what our country often gives them. It’s definitely worth your time.

THE MORNING READ ⇢ Jazmine Hughes at The New York Times on Lil Nas X:

Nas’s project, though, is to move past the mainstream and publicly acceptable practice of queerness, which is often so divorced from actual sexual pleasure that it can feel neutered. It’s one thing to accept a gay person, as many do, by ignoring what we do behind closed doors. But it’s quite another to embrace gay people as sexual beings, who can also enact an identity — just as straight people so proudly, publicly and lucratively do — in part through sex itself. Unlike many of his predecessors, Nas’s claim to his sexuality is explicit. He does not, say, sing love songs with elided pronouns. This is a man who has sex with other men. Even within the queer community, to have a young, strong, Black man openly identify as a bottom — a feminized position that’s often the target of misogynistic ire — is rare, a subversion of both power structures and social codes. It’s one thing to claim it; it’s another to brag about it: “I might bottom on the low,” he has sung, “but I top shit.”

Thank you for reading Supercreator AM. Invite your friends, fans and coworkers to sign up. If you enjoyed this morning newsletter, then you’ll love Supercreator PM — a premium afternoon deep dive into the news of the day plus exclusive features. Subscribe now to get today’s issue delivered straight to your inbox.