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makeup

ColourPop Faces Backlash After Harry Potter Collab

ColourPop is facing backlash for releasing a new “Harry Potter” themed makeup collection in collaboration with the franchise. The author of the “Harry Potter” series, J.K. Rowling, stirred up controversy in 2020 after revealing her views on the transgender community.

ColourPop is one of the most popular online beauty brands. In 2019, it surpassed Glossier and Mac in monthly visits.

Several influencers opposed the collab, citing that the collection would support Rowling monetarily. Since ColourPop used the Harry Potter logo and brand, some of its profits would have to go to Rowling under licensing agreements.

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J.K. Rowling came under fire in June 2020 after posting a series of transphobic tweets. In response to the internet backlash that ensued, she doubled down on her views, suggesting trans-rights supporters are “offering cover to predators” in a 3,600-word essay.

The internet quickly labeled her a “trans-excluding radical feminist,” colloquially known as a TERF. The cast of the Harry Potter movie series, Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint, all publicly stated their support for the trans community soon after.

ColourPop is well known for releasing pop-culture-themed collaborations. In the past, the beauty company has released products themed around Star Wars, Sailor Moon, The Mandalorian, Animal Crossing and many others.

These collaborations are usually celebrated since the brand likes to release vibrant palettes that capture the iconic shades tied to pop-cultural references. The promo posts for this collaboration on ColourPop’s Instagram, however, were riddled with comments from influencers and loyal customers criticizing the brand.

“Wow, performative activism. You can’t claim to support marginalized groups and then collaborate and actively support and give money to those who hate and discriminate against those groups. Posting a fundraiser for an LGBT group instead of donating yourselves, and y’know, not collaborating with a TERF. Not it, Colourpop.”

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ColourPop’s social media engagement strategy was one of the reasons it became one of the most popular beauty brands used by influencers with millions of followers. Temptalia, a well-known beauty blog with one million monthly readers, called out the company for not addressing the criticism head-on.

“I’m just gonna say it again… Not even having the decency to acknowledge WHY some of your customers are upset (because the creator, JK Rowling, has made transphobic comments over and over again, on top of other issues she has both past and present) is so damn disappointing… on top of green-lighting this collection anyway.”

The collaboration is still on sale on the site. It is unclear how much money Rowling would make off any profits.

movie

Lance Bass and Danielle Fishel Tease New Movie That They Are Working On About Their Past Relationship

In a recent episode of “Pod Meets World,” Lance Bass guest starred and teased that “him and fellow actor Danielle Fishel have been working together to create a movie that recounts their time together.

“Lance and I are actually working on a movie about our love story and about our prom experience,” teased Fishel. “I dated Lance for about a year while I was on ‘Boy Meets World.’ It was my senior year and Lance came with me to my high school prom.”

Over the course of the podcast, Bass and Fishel recounted the story about how they both first met and fell in love.

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During a live special in 1999, *NSYNC guest starred on “Boy Meets World.” Bass has a crush on Fishel and made Justin Timberlake get her number for him. The two of them dated while *NSYNC was on tour and Fishel was still filming. 

Bass and Fishel ended up attending the prom with one another. 

“I thought I was going to marry Lance. I had envisioned our future,” said Fishel. “I held onto hope for way too long that we were going to get back together and get married and have a family. … It turns out I’m not Lance’s type.”

Bass noted that going to prom was a big turning point in his life. By 2006, Bass came out as being gay publicly.

“The reason we wanted to make this prom story into a film, I think so many people can relate to that story; so many people in the LGBTQ community, their prom night was the night they were like, ‘Oh, wait a minute. This can’t happen anymore,’” said Bass.

Fishel adds that she had a vision for how their prom night would go and that Bass was nervous. Bass felt like he was hurting himself and Fishel by not being honest about what was going on in his life.

He felt that it would be best if he ended the relationship. Bass ended up breaking off the relationship two weeks after prom because he didn’t think that the distance between them was working. 

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The pair decided that their relationship would be a good story to turn into a film because Bass felt that so many people would be able to relate to their story.

“This was the catalyst for me that made me start to accept myself, which took a long time after that, but that was definitely the first little straw that broke,” said Bass. 

As of yet there is no projected air date, but the script has been started being written by “Jurassic World’s” Lauren Lapkus and “Golden Arm’s” Mary Holland. 

music

AI Rapper FN Meka Dropped From Capitol Records After Being Called Out For Racial Stereotyping 

Capitol Records has dropped AI rapper FN Meka and offered its “deepest apologies to the Black community,” after the virtual celebrity was criticized for perpetuating racist stereotypes. This comes just 10 days after the record label signed FN Meka. 

FN Meka is an AI (Artificially Intelligent) rapper who was given the appearance of a Black Male cyborg. He was initially created in 2019 by Anthony Martini and Brandon Le, co founders of Factory New, a “first of its kind, next-generation music company, specializing in virtual beings” as performers. 

According to Martini, the rapper’s songs are performed by an anonymous Black man, but the music and lyrics are generated by an AI that analyzes popular music. Capitol Records boasted about how he was “the world’s first AR [Augmented Reality] artist to sign with a major label.” 

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However, within the 10 days that FN Meka was signed to the label, backlash against Capitol Records and the creators of the AI rapper grew due to his use of the N-word in his 2019 song ‘Moonwalkin,’ and an Instagram post that showed FN Meka being beaten by a police officer in prison. 

Capitol Records announced on Tuesday that it had “severed ties with the FN Meka project, effective immediately.” 

Just hours before Capitol’s statement Industry Blackout, “a unified body of Black people in the industry committed to changing the community,” released their own statement on FN Meka. 

“FN Meka is offensive and a direct insult to the Black community and our culture. An amalgamation of gross stereotypes, appropriative mannerisms that derive from Black artists, complete with slurs infused in lyrics.” 

“This digital effigy is a careless abomination and disrespectful to real people who face real consequences in real life,” Industry Blackout wrote in their statement to Capitol. 

“For example, Gunna, a Black artist who is featured on a song with FN Meka, is currently incarcerated for rapping the same type of lyrics this robot mimics. The difference is, your artificial rapper will not be subject to federal charges for such,” the group explained. 

 

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“Some of the early content, now if you take it out of context, it obviously looks worse or different than it was intended,” Martini said when he was asked about the image of FN Meka being beaten by a police officer.

“We offer our deepest apologies to the Black community for our insensitivity in signing this project without asking enough questions about equity and the creative process behind it.”

“We thank those who have reached out to us with constructive feedback in the past couple of days – your input was invaluable as we came to the decision to end our association with the project,” the statement read. 

Back in 2021 Martini, who is white, and Le, who is Asian, explained how they were working on making FN Meka fully AI, meaning he would no longer need a human as a voice. 

“As of now, a human voice performs the vocals, but we are working towards the ability to have a computer come up with and perform its own words – and even collaborate with other computers as ‘co-writers’,” Martini said. 

 

girl

Visual Effects Artists Speak Out Against Marvel Mistreatment 

Media outlets have reported first-hand accounts of individuals who have worked for Marvel’s visual effects department, stating that the company constantly had high demands and would overwork employees for little money to create the movie magic we’re all used to when we turn on a Marvel film. 

Dhruv Govil, a visual effects artist who worked on a handful of Marvel films, tweeted: “Working on Marvel shows is what pushed me to leave the VFX industry. They’re a horrible client, and I’ve seen way too many colleagues break down after being overworked while Marvel tightens the purse strings.”  

“The issue is Marvel is too big, and can demand whatever they want. It’s a toxic relationship.” 

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An anonymous visual effects artist told New York Magazine’s Vulture site:  “When I worked on one movie, it was almost six months of overtime every day. I was working seven days a week, averaging 64 hours a week on a good week. Marvel genuinely works its workers really hard. I’ve had co-workers sit next to me, break down and start crying. I’ve had people having anxiety attacks on the phone.”

Joe Pavlo, an Emmy award-winning visual effects artist who worked on Guardians Of The Galaxy stated that working for the company was a “crazy mess.” 

“The visual effects industry is filled with terrific people with lots of goodwill who really care but, at the end of the day, there’s nothing in place when their backs are up against the wall and Disney is making crazy demands,” Pavlo told The Guardian

“All the goodwill in the world just evaporates when everything gets changed and they decide they’re replacing that character with a different actor or changing the entire environment – they’re now in a pizza restaurant instead of a cornfield. It can be that extreme at the very last minute,” Pavlo continued. 

“It can be characterized as bullying but filtered through multiple layers of management and supervisor and hierarchy. It’s not like the executive from Disney is grabbing someone and swearing at them or something like that. It’s more like an atmosphere where everybody feels like this is the most desperately important thing and, if we don’t do it, we’re all f*cked.”

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“The average artist doesn’t even have any contact with the clients. It’s really just the people at the producer and the supervisor level and then they pass it on to their crew. So you could say, oh, the supervisor’s a real bully, but actually it’s a knock-on effect and then the people who are the team leaders, once they can’t handle it, end up being bullies,” Pavlo exclaimed. 

“Bullying is a huge problem in our industry because everybody’s so desperate sometimes. It seems like there’s such a high level of stress and pressure on these jobs to complete on time, to change everything at the drop of a hat.”

Pavlo is also the chair of the animation and visual effects branch for Broadcasting, Entertainment, Communications and Theater Union (BECTU). 

“Disney-Marvel is very famous for wanting multiple versions running parallel so that they can decide what they want. A strong union would be able to reel that in a bit.

“If you imagine you get the art department to design a set, you wouldn’t get them to tear down the set and rebuild a completely different set 35 times. Because it’s digital, people don’t see it as the same thing but it is: it involves work and creativity and long hours. It doesn’t create itself,” Pavlo explained, adding that the recent union organizing efforts from Amazon and Starbucks workers have offered a “possible blueprint” for how VFX artists can follow suit. 

“Disney is going to have to utilize their visual effects teams more and they need to be compensated for their contribution and working conditions. Ultimately they’re going to get to that point but it takes one person like that article from Vulture to say, hey, it’s time for somebody to step in and protect this side of it, as have all of the other departments been protected as well.”

pop culture

UK’s First Major Exhibition Of Korean Culture To Open At London’s V&A Museum

The term “hallyu,” meaning Korean Wave, entered mainstream culture in the 1990s. It refers to the prominence of Korean culture in things like movies, theater, music, and fandoms. Now, the London V&A is gearing up to host its first exhibition of Korean culture in the modern world.

Netflix

Netflix Delivers New Culture Guidelines Giving Employees Ultimatum 

Netflix employees and viewers have been sharing their extreme dissatisfaction with the platform’s decision to upload content that can be seen as harmful or hateful to certain marginalized audiences. 

The company has now responded to all the backlash by updating their culture guidelines which laid out new rules on “artistic expression.” However, the biggest part of the guidelines that has people talking is the section where the company gives their employees an ultimatum in which they stated that if an employee is uncomfortable with the content being created, regardless of reason, they should quit. 

In the updated guidelines, the company states that “not everyone will like—or agree with—everything on our service. In order to entertain different tastes and points of view, some TV shows or movies can be provocative.”

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“While every title is different, we approach them based on the same set of principles: we support the artistic expression of the creators we choose to work with; we program for a diversity of audiences and tastes; and we let viewers decide what’s appropriate for them, versus having Netflix censor specific artists or voices.”

This means that employees at Netflix don’t always have the choice of which movie or TV show they will work on, regardless of if it goes against their personal beliefs and/or values. 

“If you’d find it hard to support our content breadth, Netflix may not be the best place for you.”

A Netflix spokesperson recently told the Wall Street Journal that the company has spent the past 19 month discussing cultural issues internally within Netflix employees, and the new language in the guidelines allows prospective employees to make a “better-informed decision about whether Netflix is the right company to work for.”

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This also led Netflix and users to ask the question: what about current employees who don’t have the financial means to just quit because they don’t agree with the company’s perspective on certain projects. 

The conversation surrounding Netflix’s ethics became more mainstream when The Closer was uploaded to the platform, a Netflix original comedy special starring Dave Chappelle in which he continuously mocked transgender people. 

Netflix employees complained on social media about the decision to give Chappelle the platform to spread harmful statements regarding the LGBT+ community. The fact that Netflix also reportedly paid Chappelle over $20 million for the special had many audience members frustrated and confused on the company’s values. 

GLAAD, a major LGBT+ advocacy group, and the National Black Justice Coalition both took to social media to call out Netflix and demand they remove the special from the platform. 

Since the controversy around Chappelle’s special, three employees were suspended and one was fired due to talks of a company walk-out. Business wise, however, between their cloudy values and consistent pricing increases, Netflix is currently down 67.79%, and has lost over 200,000 subscribers within the first quarter of 2022 alone. 

Disney Refusing To Cut LGBTQ Scene In Doctor Strange 2 For Saudi Arabia

An official from Saudi Arabia has said that while the nation is not planning on banning Doctor Strange 2 for its inclusion of a 12-second scene referring to a lesbian character, they’re still trying to get Marvel to cut the scene.

Golden State Warriors Launch Golden State Entertainment To Produce Documentaries, Music, And Events

The Golden State Warriors have announced the launch of Golden State Entertainment (GSE), a new affiliate company that will be used to create original content and tell compelling stories that are “rooted in and transcend the world of sports and entertainment,” according to the NBA

GSE announced that they will be producing documentaries, collaborating with recording artists on musical releases and new marketing/partnership opportunities, as well as hosting a slew of culturally relevant events that speak specifically to the Bay Area, as well as the world. 

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David Kelly is the Warriors Chief Legal Officer, and will now also be the Chief Business Officer of Golden State Entertainment.

“It is an honor to be a part of this new chapter in the Warriors story. Audiences demand compelling content that speaks to them on a visceral level,” said Kelly. 

“With the launch of Golden State Entertainment, we are excited to create content that celebrates the nuances of our experiences as athletes, artists, and members of diverse communities in ways that not only entertain, but hopefully create opportunities for learning and deep engagement.”

Kelly also discussed how GSE and Mandalay Sports Media are currently collaborating on a production of a feature-length documentary exploring the cultural legacy of prominent sports figures throughout the industry. 

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GSE is also currently collaborating with Frank Chi and the team behind the Academy Award-winning short film “Two Distant Strangers” for another upcoming documentary set to premiere this summer. 

In terms of music, GSE has already collaborated with KPop star BamBam on the new single “Wheels Up,” which will be released this Friday, April 22nd. BamBam already debuted the single during a live halftime performance at the Warriors regular season finale against the Los Angeles Lakers on April 7th. 

“Wheels Up” also features MAYZIN, an Oakland-based recording artist who recently signed a multi-album recording contract with GSE. This would also make MAYZIN the entertainment company’s lead artist. 

“Music has such a rich history in the Bay Area. Being the lead artist for Golden State Entertainment provides an opportunity to be a voice that reflects and is understood by the community.”

According to the NBA, “GSE is the entertainment and content vertical under the larger company umbrella that encompasses the six-time NBA Champion Golden State Warriors, Santa Cruz Warriors, Chase Center, the Golden Guardians and Warriors Gaming Squad.”

Taylor Hawkins, Foo Fighters Drummer, Found Dead At 50 

The Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins was found dead in his hotel room on Friday afternoon, just hours before the band was set to perform at Colombia’s Estéreo Picnic festival as part of its South American tour. Preliminary toxicology reports show that Hawkins had at least 10 substances in his body when he died. 

Colombia’s attorney general’s office said that “an analysis of Hawkins’ urine found traces of marijuana, opioids, tricyclic antidepressants, and benzodiazepines. The office stated that Hawkins died after experiencing cardiac arrest caused by an overdose. Forensic medical experts were shocked by how swollen the musician’s heart had become. 

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Hawkin’s sudden death has devastated fans and concertgoers who have been following the Foo Fighters since their beginning. Festival Goers who were waiting for the Foo Fighters to perform had the news broken to them by Black Pumas singer Eric Burton, who asked the tearful crowd to have a moment of silence. 

Fans then gathered outside of the hotel where Hawkins passed to light candles, leave flowers, and sing some of the band’s songs in his honor. Many other well-known musicians took to social media to express their devastation over the sudden passing. 

 Queen guitarist Brian May wrote on Instagram: “No. It cannot be, I’m heartbroken. Taylor, you were family to us. Our friend, our brother, our beloved child. Bless you. We will miss you so bad.”

“So incredibly sad to hear of the passing of Taylor Hawkins. My thoughts are with his family and the band at this time,” tweeted Mick Jagger.

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Ozzy Osbourne called Hawkins “a truly a great person and an amazing musician. My heart, my love and my condolences go out to his wife, his children, his family, his band and his fans. See you on the other side.”

In a statement, the Foo Fighters said they were devastated “by the tragic and untimely loss of our beloved Taylor Hawkins. His musical spirit and infectious laughter will live with us forever. Our hearts go out to his wife, children, and family, and we ask that their privacy be treated with the utmost respect in this unimaginably difficult time.”

Dave Grohl, the Foo Fighters lead singer, spoke very highly about the loving relationship he had with Hawkins: “Upon first meeting, our bond was immediate, and we grew closer with every day, every song, every note that we played together. I am not afraid to say that our chance meeting was a kind of love at first sight … Together, we have become an unstoppable duo, onstage and off, in pursuit of any and all adventure we can find.”

Singer-songwriter Miley Cyrus broke down on stage during her Lollapalooza set and she took a moment to honor Hawkins memory: “We lost a legend in rock music, and I just want to send my most peaceful wishes to the Foo Fighters family and the Hawkins family.”

Russian Arts And Cultural Events Canceled Worldwide 

Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has prompted worldwide responses from the cultural, sporting, and arts fields. An increasing number of performances and cultural events put on by Russians are being canceled worldwide in response to the invasion. 

One of the biggest announcements came from the European broadcasting Union (EBU) who said that Russia would no longer be able to participate in this year’s Eurovision song contest. 

EBU, the producers of Eurovision, said the “event promoted international exchange and understanding, Russia’s inclusion could bring the annual competition into disrepute in light of the unprecedented crisis in Ukraine.”

Initially, state broadcasters from countries like Iceland, Finland, Norway, and the Netherlands all called for Russia to be banned from the contest, a move that was also endorsed by the UK’s culture secretary Nadine Dorries. 

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The Royal Opera House (ROH) has also canceled a planned residency by Moscow’s Bolshoi Ballet, which is known as one of the oldest and most prestigious ballet companies in the world. 

The ROH released a statement regarding their cancellation: “A summer season of the Bolshoi Ballet at the Royal Opera House had been in the final stages of planning. Unfortunately, under the current circumstances, the season cannot now go ahead.” The group was initially expected to put on 21 performances from July to August. 

Performances from the Russian State Ballet of Siberia have been canceled by both the Wolverhampton Grand Theater and the Royal and Derngate in Northampton. 

In terms of concerts, the Munich Philharmonic has separated itself from its chief conductor, Valery Gergiev, due to his ties to Putin. Munich’s mayor, Dieter Reiter, gave Gergiev an ultimatum that stated if he condemned Putin’s actions he would be able to maintain his position in the Philharmonic, he refused. 

“With immediate effect, there will be no further concerts by the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra under his [Gergiev] direction,” Reiter said. Gergiev was also dropped by his management and had several upcoming concerts canceled due to his ties to Putin.

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The Russian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale will not be taking place as planned after Russian artists and curators themselves chose to pull out. Alexandra Sukhareva and Kirill Savchenkov, as well as curator Raimundas Malašauskas, released a statement in which they explained how they would no longer be participating. 

“There is no place for art when civilians are dying under the fire of missiles, when citizens of Ukraine are hiding in shelters, when Russian protesters are getting silenced,” Savchenkov and Sukhareva said in a joint statement. 

Warner Bros, Disney, and Sony have halted the release of all new films in Russian cinemas, which means major upcoming releases such as The Batman, Turning Red, and Morbius, will not be released as scheduled. 

“In light of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, WarnerMedia is pausing the release of its feature film The Batman in Russia,” a spokesperson said.

Disney said: “Given the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and the tragic humanitarian crisis, we are pausing the theatrical release of films in Russia.”

The Ukranian Film Academy has also called for an international boycott of Russian cinema, including a ban on all Russian films at international festivals:

“At a time when world powers are imposing economic and political sanctions on the Russian Federation, the country continues to be active in the cultural field”. Any action, however, has yet to be taken.