Colorful Music

Billie Eilish Is Publishing Her Old Family Photos Ahead Of Her New Album’s Release 

Billie Eilish became one of the world’s biggest stars by the time she was 14-years-old. As the young singer gears up for the release of her sophomore album, ‘Happier Than Ever,’ she’s taken to social media to share some never-before-seen old family photos.

This promotion also comes along with a re-branding of sorts for Eilish, who recently debuted her bleached blonde hair on the cover of Vogue. Eilish claims she wants to release a book of her old family photos to help give her fans a bigger glance into her childhood, and life before fame. 

“I love my family photos but I wouldn’t risk taking them on the road with me because they’re way too valuable. I love going through them when I’m home though, I always make a point to sit and go through them every now and then.”

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She explained how the book itself felt like an intimate look inside her life, which is important due to the fact that she’s struggled throughout her whole career balancing the need for privacy and her fans wanting to be included in everything. 

“It’s too much for them and it’s too much for me and it’s not healthy. Every photo in the book is selected by me – and carefully. It was really difficult going through and deciding what to include, but I feel like I shared a lot in the book. There was some stuff that I almost put in but kept out, after I realized people didn’t need to know,” she continued.

Eilish’s success story was unlike many others for young pop stars who got their start as a teenager. She uploaded a song to SoundCloud at 13 which ended up exploding online, which led to her getting a record deal at just 14. 

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Family has always been an essential element of Eilish’s sound. Her older brother Finneas O’Connell produces and writes most of her songs with her, and both of their parents always join them on tour. 

“I love my parents and I choose to be around them a lot. They understand I need space, and they give it to me when I need it. They don;t do everything with me now but I like them, so I want them to be around.” 

“I spent so much time looking through old pictures throughout my life for this book and there were many things I looked through that made me nostalgic and made me miss a lot of parts of my life. But overall it made me more grateful for the life I have now, and made me realise I wouldn’t want to go back. I wouldn’t do it differently,” she says. 

‘Billie Eilish’ by Billie Eilish will be released alongside an audio version of the book in which the star and her parents reminisce about simpler times before fame. Both books will be available on May 11th.

Judge Gavel

Derek Chauvin Found Guilty, Investigation Into Minneapolis Police Opened

A jury has found former police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of murder over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last year. Shortly after the verdict was revealed, it was announced that a sweeping investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department would be carried out by the US Justice Department.

45-year-old Chauvin was filmed kneeling on African-American Floyd’s neck for almost ten minutes during his arrest last May. Footage of the incident went viral and sparked worldwide protests against racism and excessive use of police force.

Chauvin was found guilty by the jury on three charges: second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter. The former officer’s bail was revoked immediately and he was placed in custody. Sentencing is likely to happen within two months, and Chauvin is facing the prospect of decades in jail.

“Like so many of you, I have closely watched the events in Minnesota. Although the state’s prosecution was successful, I know that nothing can fill the void that the loved ones of George Floyd have felt since his death,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said during a speech following Chauvin’s verdict.

“My heart goes out to them and to all those who have experienced similar loss. I know such wounds have deep roots and that too many communities have experienced those wounds first-hand. Yesterday’s verdict in the state criminal trial does not address potentially systemic policing issues in Minneapolis.

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“Today, I am announcing that the Justice Department has opened a civil investigation to determine whether the Minneapolis Police Department engages in a pattern or practice of unconstitutional or unlawful policing,” Garland announced.

“This effort will be staffed by experienced attorneys and other personnel from the Justice Department Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota. The new civil investigation is separate from, and independent of, the federal criminal investigation into the death of George Floyd that the Justice Department has previously announced.

“Congress gave the department the authority to conduct civil pattern-or-practice investigations, which looked beyond individual incidents to assess systemic failures. Those investigations allow the department to determine whether a police department has a pattern-or-practice of unconstitutional or unlawful policing. The investigation I am announcing today will assess whether the Minneapolis Police Department engages in a pattern-or-practice of using excessive force, including during protests.”

The Justice Department’s investigation will seek to determine whether Minneapolis police routinely use excessive force or treat minorities unfairly. It will also examine police training and accountability practices, among other issues.

The Minneapolis police force has long been subject to accusations of racism. According to police data, black residents are more likely to be pulled over, arrested or roughed up than white residents. Black people, who account for 20 percent of the city’s population, made up more than 60 percent of the victims in city police shootings from late 2009 through May 2019.

In Minnesota, second-degree murder carries a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison, while third-degree murder is punishable by a maximum of 25 years in prison and second-degree manslaughter is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. It is expected that Chauvin will appeal against the verdict delivered this week.

Police officers in the US have rarely been charged or convicted for deaths that occur in custody, with the verdict in this trial being widely regarded as a positive indication of how the legal system will treat such cases in the future.

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Three other officers are due to face trial later this year, each facing aiding-and-abetting charges for actions on duty.

“Broad participation in this investigation from the community and from law enforcement will be vital to its success. The Justice Department has already begun to reach out to community groups and members of the public to learn about their experiences with the MPD,” Garland continued during his speech announcing the investigation into Minneapolis police.

“We also seek to hear from the department’s officers about the training and support they receive, because their perspective is essential. All these voices will help provide investigators the information they need to conduct a comprehensive assessment. All these voices will be critical to the reform efforts that will follow if the investigation determines the existence of constitutional or statutory violations.

“Most of our nation’s law enforcement officers do their difficult jobs honorably and lawfully. I strongly believe that good officers do not want to work in systems that allow bad practices. Good officers welcome accountability because accountability is an essential part of building trust with the community and public safety requires public trust.

“The challenges we face are deeply woven into our history, they did not arise today or last year. Building trust between community and law enforcement will take time and effort by all of us, but we undertake this task with determination and urgency, knowing that change cannot wait.”

US American Flag

Biden announces all US and NATO troops to leave Afghanistan this year

President Biden has declared to the world that it is time to ‘end America’s longest war’ as he announced that US and NATO troops would be removed from Afghanistan by the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

In an address to the public from the White House, Biden said that 2,500 US troops, along with a further 7,000 from NATO allies, would begin to gradually leave the country starting on May 1. “The plan has long been in together, out together,” he said.

“I’m speaking to you today from the Treaty Room in the White House, the same spot where on October of 2001, President George W. Bush informed our nation the United States military had begun strikes on terrorist training camps in Afghanistan,” Biden said during his White House speech.

“It was just weeks, just weeks after the terrorist attack on our nation that killed 2,977 innocent souls, that turned lower Manhattan into a disaster area, destroyed parts of the Pentagon and made hallowed ground of a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and sparked an American promise that we would never forget. We went to Afghanistan in 2001 to root out Al-Qaeda, to prevent future terrorist attacks against the United States planned from Afghanistan. Our objective was clear. The cause was just. Our NATO allies and partners rallied beside us. And I supported that military action along with an overwhelming majority of the members of Congress.

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“More than seven years later in 2008, weeks before we swore the oath of office, President Obama and I were about to swear, President Obama asked me to travel to Afghanistan and report back on the state of the war in Afghanistan. I flew to Afghanistan to the Kunar Valley, a rugged mountainous region on the border with Pakistan.

“What I saw on that trip reinforced my conviction that only the Afghans have the right and responsibility to lead their country, and that more and endless American military force could not create or sustain a durable Afghan government.”

The plan to remove troops was discussed at a NATO summit in Brussels last week. Member states were not opposed to plans for a full withdrawal once the US made its own intentions clear, due in part to difficulties guaranteeing the safety of their own forces without US presence.

Shortly after Biden confirmed the US’ withdrawal plan, all NATO members, including the UK, put out a joint statement, confirming they would join in with an “orderly, coordinated, and deliberate” removal of troops alongside the US.

The statement announced that the alliance had achieved its goal to “prevent terrorists from using Afghanistan as a safe haven to attack us” but also acknowledged there was no longer any good reason to stay on. “There is no military solution to the challenges Afghanistan faces,” NATO members said.

The Taliban’s threat to the US has been judged by officials to be below a level where military presence is required, but many diplomats and analysts believe the hard-line group could soon be back in control across the country, potentially leading to a resurgence of al-Qaida and ISIS in Afghanistan.

CIA director William Burns told the Senate on Wednesday that he believed there was a “significant risk” that the terrorist groups could re-establish themselves and pose a threat to the US and its allies.

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“I believed that our presence in Afghanistan should be focused on the reason we went in the first place: To ensure Afghanistan would not be used as a base from which to attack our homeland again. We did that. We accomplished that objective,” President Biden continued during his speech.

“I said, among with others, we’d follow Osama Bin Laden to the gates of hell, if need be. That’s exactly what we did, and we got him. It took us close to 10 years to put president Obama’s commitment into form. And that’s exactly what happened. Osama Bin Ladin was gone.

“That was 10 years ago. Think about that. We delivered justice to Bin Laden a decade ago, and we’ve stayed in Afghanistan for a decade since.

“Since then, our reasons for remaining in Afghanistan have become increasingly unclear, even as the terrorist threat that we went to fight evolved. With the terror threat now in many places, keeping thousands of troops grounded and concentrated in just one country at a cost of billions each year makes little sense to me and to our leaders. We cannot continue the cycle of extending or expanding our military presence in Afghanistan, hoping to create ideal conditions for the withdrawal and expecting a different result.

“I’m now the fourth United States president to preside over American true presence in Afghanistan; two Republicans, two Democrats. I will not pass this responsibility onto a fifth. After consulting closely with our allies and partners, with our military leaders and intelligence personnel, with our diplomats and our development experts, with the Congress and the vice president, as well as with Mr. Ghani and many others around the world. I concluded that as time to end America’s longest war. It’s time for American troops to come home.”

Open Book

Richard Wright’s Unreleased Novel On Race Set To Be Released This Year 

Richard Wright was known as one of the most influential African American writers of the 20th century. His daughter, Julia, recently spoke with the press about how when they were younger it was difficult for her father to talk to her about race, especially because of how heavy and graphic of a topic it was/is. 

“It’s like soldiers who go to war and then come back. They don’t always find the way to share what they did at war with their family. My father didn’t really know how to share the pain of race with me.” 

Julia is 79 now, and told the media that Richard had other ways of educating her on racial issues within this country. “He would leave the doors of his office open so that I could have free range of his books and read everything I wanted to read, and that’s how I picked up some clues on what he was going through as a Black man.”

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Her dedication to her father’s work is what’s led to the release of an unseen Wright novel that was rejected by publishers about 80 years ago. The book is called ‘The Man Who Lived Underground’ and focuses on race and police violence; something that couldn’t be more relevant today with the recent verdict being made for the trial of Derek Chauvin. 

“The novel follows Fred Daniels, an African American man framed by police for a double murder he did not commit. He is beaten and tortured until he confesses but escapes into the city’s sewer system, beginning a journey into a modern underworld,” according to the Guardian.

Wright was known for his famous 1940 novel ‘Native Son,’ but he considered ‘The Man Who Lived Underground’ to be his best work yet, in fact at one point he claimed: “I have never written anything in my life that stemmed more from sheer inspiration. But publishers turned it down. Its uncompromising portrayal of police brutality may have rendered it untouchable.” 

Julia was still in her mother’s womb when Richard was writing this novel, so she jokingly refers to it as her “twin.” 

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“The publishers of the day were discounting black readership and they didn’t want to unsettle white readership. Discomfort is too gentle a word. I think they were afraid of what they read in those pages. It was too close to the truth. So it was a no brainer. This had to come out.” 

“The George Floyd video that little girl, Darnella Frazier, made on her cell phone also is too close to the truth. It has the same symbolic value that those pages on police brutality my father wrote so many years ago still have. People don’t want to see it.” Julia took the novel to the Library of America multiple times, and “then when George Floyd happened, I knocked at their door again and said ‘look here, let’s do it, because if we don’t do it now, we’ll never do it. And they said yes.” 

The novel is being published this week and will include an essay by Wright, and an afterword written by his grandson, Malcolm Wright.

“I am very fulfilled. This has been a 10-year uphill wait for it to come to light and out of the darkness, out of the underground, literally, of those unpublished papers. I think it’s going to change a lot for his reputation. People tend to think of Wright as a bit of a naturalistic disaster or a simple writer of protest novels but he’s so much more complex and people are going to have to reassess him with this book,” explained a joyful Julia. 

“He would have been very bittersweet about it. My father was so much in advance of his times that sometimes what he wrote was not recognized or was denied because it was too far ahead. So he wouldn’t say, ‘I told you so,’ because he was too kind a person to do that, but he would sort of chuckle and take his pipe and smoke placidly and say, ‘Well’. Almost what Malcolm X said: ‘Chickens come home to roost, don’t they?’”

American Football NFL

Former NFL Pro Kills Five, Then Himself

Former NFL player Phillip Adams has shocked a South Carolina community by fatally shooting five of its members, including a prominent doctor, his wife and their two grandchildren. Adams then went on to kill himself, authorities revealed on Thursday.

The York County Sheriff’s department announced that Phillip Adams, 32, shot two air conditioning technicians outside, killing one in the process, before finding his way into Dr. Robert Lesslie’s Rock Hill home.

Along with his wife, Barbara, and two grandchildren, aged 5 and 9, Lesslie was found shot to death in a back room of the house.

James Lewis of Gastonia, North Carolina, was the air conditioning technician found dead outside.

The technician that survived, Robert Shook, is out of surgery, according to a Facebook post from his daughter on Thursday evening. Her father is in intensive care on a ventilator, she wrote.

She said that she was able to see him and that he has a “very long road ahead of him.”

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“On behalf of the Lesslie, Alexander, and Colbet clans, we would like to address the outpouring of heartbreak, shock, grief, and support from our family, friends, and community. We are truly in the midst of the unimaginable,” a statement released by the bereaving families read.

“The losses we are suffering cannot be uttered at this time. While we know there are no answers that will satisfy the question why, we are sure of one thing: we do not grieve as those without hope,” it continued.

“Our hope is found in the promise of Jesus Christ, and we are enveloped by peace that surpasses all understanding. To that end, our hearts are bent towards forgiveness and peace, toward love and connectedness, toward celebration and unity.

“We honor all of those involved in this story with prayers and compassion, specifically for the Shook family, the Lewis family, and the Adams family. As Robert Lesslie would say, when peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrow like sea billows roll, it is well with my soul.

“If you would like to do something for the family, Adah and Noah would want you to stock the free pantries and libraries in your community. Barbara and Robert would want you to be good stewards of what you are given, leaving every place better than it was before you got there.

“Adah, Noah, Barbara, Robert, and the rest of the family would ask any memorials or gifts to be sent to Camp Joy, North Carolina, 918 South Pleasantburg Drive, Greenville, South Carolina, 29607 in honor of hope and the promise of eternity. The Lesslie, Alexander, and Colbet families, April 8th, 2021.”

York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson described Lesslie as a ‘pillar in the community’. The doctor served as Winthrop University’s supervising physician and medical director and founded a hospice service and a house-call doctors’ service in the community.

“He treated me in the past at his clinic. … he knew everyone, he treated everyone with respect,” Tolson said.

Winthrop University President George Hynd said Lesslie’s contributions to the school were wide-ranging.

“Students, in particular, have long benefitted from referrals to his practice when additional care was needed beyond our scope,” Hynd said in a statement. “I personally will be forever grateful to him for the advice and counsel he provided to our COVID-19 response team as we opened the campus last fall to residential living and learning.”

Adams himself was discovered by the authorities dead due to a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the bedroom of a home approximately a half mile away that was shared with his parents.

Tolson said it was unclear why Adams took two guns to the Lesslie property in Rock Hill, a city of 74,000 residents just across the border from Charlotte, North Carolina.

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“There’s nothing about this right now that makes sense to any of us,” the sheriff said.

“Folks, there’s nothing more powerful that I can say today or you can print or you can broadcast than the words that I just read. We have probably more questions than what you do about this case right now,” Tolson said at a York County police press conference following the incident.

“We are working hard to provide some answers. Obviously, one answer is why. That is a question that we are probing.

“As we speak with numerous investigators, we hope to be able to get to those answers and provide some why to the family. Most importantly, out of respect for the families that are victims of this, I’m only going to discuss information that has been released to them.

“Again, that’s out of respect for the family. Also out of respect for the family, please understand that speculation is very harmful to them right now.

Rumors that spread are very harmful to them. We’re trying to provide them with the best information that that we can, and I ask that you do that as well.

“Also, the family has asked that they not be contacted right now. I would ask that the media please respect that as they are in a tremendous amount of grief right now.”

And the Oscar goes to

Academy Expecting 2021 Oscars To Have Lowest Ratings In History 

Based on the audience figures from this year’s Golden Globes and Baftas ceremonies the Academy is gearing up to potentially present one of the least watched Oscar ceremonies in history. The Oscars are currently expected to air on April 25th.

Steven Gaydos is the executive vice president of content for Variety, a film industry magazine, who recently spoke to the press about this year’s ceremony. “Before Covid hit the audience numbers were declining rapidly, year on year, for all awards shows. The Academy is essentially funded by the TV show, and they are about to open a big expensive museum. They have taken on a half-billion-dollar enterprise at a time when their primary source of income is declining. There could be an iceberg ahead for the Academy.”

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences typically receives around $75 million every year from ABC thanks to a contract that the two groups signed that will last until 2028. ABC makes a majority of their revenue from advertising, last year they brought in around $120 million, but last year’s figures were the lowest in history, which stunts how much profit is made. 

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“Further, the telecast itself has struggled to retain audience approval, with frustrations over its lengthy running time, choice of hosts (if any) and the quality of the spectacle on offer. The problems have been compounded by long-running complaints over the lack of diversity in nominees and winners, triggered in 2015 by the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag campaign,” according to film editor Andrew Pulver.

“I personally don’t think a host makes much impact. It’s more about whether the show as a whole entertains and feels fresh. The Oscars remain meaningful to the film industry, but to succeed as a mainstream TV special you’ve got to entertain,” said Jeremy Kay, Americas editor of Screen International magazine.

“The Covid delays have enabled smaller movies to go farther than they might have done had there been the usual barrage of studio heavyweights. It’s not been a banner year, but the quality across the board has been high. These movies, the film-makers behind them and the stories they tell have had more visibility than they might have expected in any other year, and we’re all the better for it,” Kay explained. 

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Gaydos, on the other hand, thinks that there’s a systemic issue between the way the Academy connects audiences with certain contemporary Hollywood films: “For some time the movies nominated for best picture represent only a tiny fraction of the tickets sold – there is chasm between the Oscars and the moviegoing public. The Marvel and DC films are hardly ever up for best picture, or Star Wars, while the Pixar movies are relegated to the animated category, so the pictures that constitute 90% of moviegoing just aren’t there.”

“At the point that the Oscars become all spinach and no dessert, they put themselves up quite a tree.”

Gaydos went on to explain how “the decline of ‘movie-star culture’ also plays a part, as most franchise films are not really star-driven. Part of the awards show fun is seeing these stars being themselves – nervous, emotional, passionate about their work – and you are effectively spending an evening with some very beautiful people at an important night in their lives. The more that is diminished the less of an event the Oscars is. If the franchise is the star, it doesn’t make you want to tune into an awards show. I love the Academy, I love movies, I love the Oscars, so this current concern gives me a lot of heartache.”

US Presidental Debate

Biden Reveals Details of $2 Trillion Infrastructure Investment Plan

President Joe Biden has this week unveiled plans for what he calls a ‘once-in-a-generation’ investment in infrastructure across America, promising it would lead the country out of the struggles of the pandemic to create the “strongest, most resilient, innovative economy in the world”.

Speaking at the site of the launch of his presidential campaign two years ago, a carpenters’ training center outside Pittsburgh, Biden revealed details of his plan that would elaborate on his campaign pledge to “rebuild the backbone of America”.

The comprehensive proposal, which Biden has dubbed the American Jobs Plan, intends to rebuild 20,000 miles of road and highways and repair the 10 most economically significant bridges across the country, as well as a long list of other projects that Biden claims will help tackle the climate crisis, bridge wealth inequality and strengthen US competitiveness on the global market.

“It’s time to build our economy from the bottom up and from the middle out. Not the top down, it hadn’t worked very well. For the economy overall it hadn’t worked, because Wall Street didn’t build this country. You, the great middle class, built this country. And unions built the middle class. And it’s time. And this time, when we rebuild the middle class, we’re going to bring everybody along,” President Biden said at the announcement in Pittsburgh.

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“Regardless of your background, your color, your religion, everybody gets to come along. So today I’m proposing a plan for the nation that rewards work, not just rewards wealth. It builds a fair economy that gives everybody a chance to succeed. And it’s going to create the strongest, most resilient, innovative economy in the world.”

Biden’s proposal includes hundreds of billions of dollars of funding to expand access to high-speed broadband; replace lead water pipes, ensuring access to clean drinking water; and upgrade the electric grid, making it more reliable while shifting to new, cleaner energy sources.

It also aims to improve community care facilities for seniors and those with disabilities, as well as modernize schools and retrofit homes and office buildings. Labor unions would also come out well if the proposal is put through, with dedicated funding to training millions of workers and supporting initiatives that strengthen unions.

“It’s not a plan that tinkers around the edges, it’s a once in a generation investment in America, unlike anything we’ve seen or done since we built the interstate highway system and the space race decades ago. In fact, it’s largest American jobs investment since World War II,” Biden continued.

“It’ll create millions of jobs, good paying jobs. It’ll grow the economy, make us more competitive around the world, promote our national security interest and put us in a position to win the global competition with China in the upcoming years.”

Spending for the plan would take place over eight years and generate millions of new jobs, according to Biden. The President proposed to pay for the package by way of introducing a substantial increase on corporate taxes that would offset the spending over the course of 15 years.

Among the corporate changes, Biden called for the corporate tax rate to increase from 21% to 28% and for measures to be introduced that would force multinational corporations to pay more taxes in the US on profits earned abroad.

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The plan for funding would begin to undo major pieces of Donald Trump’s tax-cut laws, which included lowering the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%.

Biden carefully chose the venue for the unveiling of this huge plan. He spoke at the site he initially announced his campaign in Pittsburgh – a city he won, in a swing state that helped deliver him the presidency – that was once a symbol of American industrial decline but has steadily rebuilt its economy with green medical facilities, research universities and tech companies.

“It’s big, yes. It’s bold, yes. And we can get it done. It has two parts. The American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan, both are essential to our economic future. In a few weeks, I’ll talk about the American’s Family Plan. But today I want to talk about the Americans Jobs Plan,” Biden said.

“It modernizes transportation infrastructure, our roads, our bridges, our airports.

“It’s about infrastructure. The American Jobs Plan, we’re modernizing 20,000 miles of highways, roads, and main streets that are in difficult, difficult shape right now. It’ll fix the nation’s ten most economically significant bridges in America that require replacement. Remember that bridge that went down? We got ten of the most economically significant across the country and we’ll rebuild them.

“We’ll also repair 10,000 bridges, desperately needed upgrades to unclog traffic, keep people safe and connect our cities, towns, and tribes across the country. The American Jobs Plan will build new rail corridors and transit lines, easing congestion, cutting pollution, slashing commute time, and opening up investment in communities that be connected to the cities and cities to the outskirts where a lot of jobs are these days.”

Popcorn and Netflix

Netflix Buys Kanye West Documentary That’s Been In The Works For 21 Years 

Netflix has acquired the rights to a documentary series covering the life and career of Kanye West. The series has been in the works for the past 21 years, and is set to cover the death of his mother, Donda, back in 2007, as well as his failed 2020 presidential bid.

The film/series is currently untitled, and will include unseen home videos of West that were taken by Clarence “Coodie” Simmons and Chike Ozah over the past two decades. Ozah is known for directing West’s music videos Jesus Walks and Through the Wire. 

Billboard reported that the series is likely to be released later this year, and Netflix acquired the rights to it for $30 million. It’s currently unknown if the documentary will discuss West’s pending divorce/ past relationship tribulations with reality star Kim Kardashian West. 

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Kris Jenner, West’s mother-in-law, did recently claim how the couple’s divorce will be featured in the final season of Keeping Up With The Kardashians, which is currently airing on E!

Within the past two decades Kanye West has had one of the most rollercoaster careers in the industry. He first became known as a producer, mainly for his work on Jay-Z’s The Blueprint, before launching his own successful music career with albums The College Dropout, Late Registration, and Graduation. 

In 2008 he released 808s and Heartbreak, and in 2010 with the release of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, West’s legacy as a musician was truly solidified. Those three albums were thought to really shoot West into the mainstream. 

In 2013 he went full on experimental with his Yeezus album, which was also widely regarded as one of his best albums by fans. Then, as the decade progressed West’s Christian faith became more central to the art he was creating, in fact, his most recent album, Jesus Is King, was a gospel-inspired body of work that won best contemporary Christian music album at the Grammys last month. 

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West is also no stranger to controversy. In the beginning of his career he made headlines by calling out George W Bush for his lack of care for Black people after Hurricane Katrina, and interrupting teenage Taylor Swift during her first ever major win in the music industry. 

In 2016, West also made it public that he supported Donald Trump until 2020 when he announced he was “taking the red hat off” to run for president himself. His support over Trump, claims that slavery was “a choice,” and anti-abortion rants led to him becoming one of the most controversial individuals in the music industry.

In 2014, he married Kardashian and the two would go on to have four children together before filing for divorce in 2021. Kardashian recently took to social media to ask the public to have more compassion for West, after implying a lot of his erratic behavior was triggered by his bipolar disorder. 

While the documentary has no set release date, it’s expected that we will likely see it around Summer.

Soccer Stadium

Soccer Players Protest Qatar World Cup as Talk of Boycott Grows

The latest round of international soccer fixtures has seen controversy over the upcoming World Cup in Qatar intensify as Norway players wore T-shirts reading ‘Human rights on and off the pitch’ in the build-up of their qualifier against Gibraltar this week.

Several top division clubs in Norway have suggested over the past few weeks that the national team boycott the 2022 FIFA World Cup because of the conditions migrant workers have faced in Qatar.

The Guardian reported last month that more than 6,500 migrant workers have died in Qatar since the country won the right to host the global tournament back in 2010.

“The mortality rate among these communities is within the expected range for the size and demographics of the population. However, every lost life is a tragedy, and no effort is spared in trying to prevent every death in our country,” the Qatari government said in a statement by a spokesperson provided in response to the Guardian story.

The controversial decision to award Qatar the 2022 World Cup saw them beat out the US and Australia, with the tournament having to be moved into November and December for the first time due to the intense heat.

“It’s about putting pressure on FIFA to be even more direct, even firmer with the authorities in Qatar, to impose stricter requirements,” Norway manager Stale Solbakken said before the game against Gibraltar.

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Captain Martin Odegaard, currently playing on-loan for the English Premier League’s Arsenal, added: “I have the impression that a lot of (players) are interested in this, care about it and want to do something to try and contribute in a good way.”

The Norwegian Football Association (NFF) has now set up a committee to look into the concerns of players and officials across the country, while the Netherlands Football Federation released a statement this week on the subject.

The NFF’s committee consists of six women and eight men, with the NFF claiming it contains “a broad composition of people in and outside football, with different voices in the debate and with important professional competence in the issues the committee is to assess”.

According to the association, the committee has been set up with the aim of determining what the country “should do to respond to Qatar’s handling of human rights in the country, including studying, assessing and setting on which instrument Norwegian football shall use for its reaction”.

Netherlands head coach Frank de Boer said taking part in Qatar if they qualify for the World Cup “can better promote the cause”, but added that talks about boycotting the event are justified.

“A lot of attention is now focused on whether we should go there if we qualify,” he said before their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign started with a surprise 4-2 defeat by Turkey on Wednesday.

“It is right to ask that question. Everyone knows that what is happening there is not good.”

 After the game FIFA said that Norway will not face “disciplinary proceedings” for the protest.

“Fifa believes in the freedom of speech, and in the power of football as a force for good,” a statement said.

Amnesty International weighed in on the issue this week, calling on FIFA to make sure Qatar honour the labour reforms they promised to deliver before the tournament.

In a four-page letter to Fifa president Gianni Infantino, the human rights organisation said “urgent and concrete action” was needed.

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In response, the Qatar government said it “is committed to working closely with its international partners, including Amnesty International, to protect all workers and ensure the new laws are effectively implemented and enforced”.

The Football Association said in a statement that it recognizes there was “evidence of some progress” in improvements of conditions for migrants, but said there was still more work to be done.

“We are working closely with all to ensure that, if we qualify, we approach our participation in the upcoming World Cup in a socially responsible manner,” it added.

Former Fifa president Sepp Blatter has this week been given a new ban of six years and eight months from football, the game’s global governing body has announced.

The ban has been imposed for multiple breaches of Fifa’s ethics code and comes into force when a current suspension ends in October, Fifa said

A statement from Fifa read: “The investigations into Messrs Blatter and Valcke covered various charges, in particular concerning bonus payments in relation to Fifa competitions that were paid to top Fifa management officials, various amendments and extensions of employment contracts, as well as reimbursement by Fifa of private legal costs in the case of Mr. Valcke.”

Blatter said in a statement released by his spokesman Thomas Renggli that it was a “painful and incomprehensible blow” and added: “The ethics committee in its current form has nothing to do with an independent body – it is much more the extended arm of the Fifa president [Gianni Infantino] and not much more than a ‘parallel justice’.”

Industry’s Top Songwriters Call For An End To ‘Artist Bullying’ Over Royalties

Songwriters for some of music’s biggest artist’s have penned an open letter to everyone within the industry calling on them to stop pressuring these writers to give up their publishing royalties. Writers for artists like Dua Lipa, Lady Gaga, and Ariana Grande have all signed the letter in a new collective known as the Pact.

The songwriters themselves don’t name any specific artists within the letter, however, they do claim that pop stars and their teams can “abuse leverage, use bully tactics and threats to prey upon writers who may choose to give up some of their assets rather than lose the opportunity completely.”

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The Pact claims that as a group they “will not give publishing or songwriting credit to anyone who did not create or change the lyric or melody or otherwise contribute to the composition without a reasonably equivalent/meaningful exchange for all the writers on the song.”

Besides the performance royalties, artists generally receive an income for ticket sales, advertising deals, and numerous other revenue streams that have to do with the artist’s image itself. Songwriters, on the other hand, need the publishing royalties as that’s their main source of income when it comes to producing music.

“Over time, the practice of artists taking publishing from songwriters have become normalised.”

Victoria Monét was one of the signatories of the letter. She’s written many of Ariana Grande’s songs, as well as Emily Warren, who wrote the Grammy-nominated track Don’t Start Now. Savan Kotecha has written numerous songs for Ellie Goulding and Grande as well, and Justin Tranter, writer for artists like Britney Spears, also signed the letter.

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“My hope is that new songwriters can operate with a little less fear and [a] little more money.”

These writer statements come after a long debate regarding streaming services and the revenue they provide artists. In the US, streaming services like Spotify had to increase the royalties they gave to songwriters from 11% to 15%.

Crispin Hunt, chair of the Ivors Academy whose yearly Ivor Novello awards reward songwriters, argued in March that “record labels were taking too great a cut of revenues. Record labels are still taking a manufacturing and distributing cut when all they’re doing is a marketing job.”

At the end of the day, songwriters are finally taking a moment to credit themselves for their contributions to the industry, and are demanding that they be treated with the same respect and admiration as the artists that bring their words to life, and wouldn’t have a career without them.