Weekly Debrief: June 24-July 7

  • Post Author
    by Talk
  • Post Date
    Sun Jul 07 2024

It's officially July, and while this means the end of Pride Month, many individuals such as myself are glistening with hope that JoJo Siwa will stop trying to host concerts. Even though the year is halfway over, pop culture still reigns over the U.S., like it's 2021 again and everyone is talking about Lil Nas X's newest music video… Or, like it's 2017 again and many individuals are just finding out about BTS for the first time… Or, like it's 2018 again and “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” fans are taking sides in the beef between Kylie and Jordyn Woods. Do you get the trend? Americans are seemingly obsessed with messy, typically-problematic pop culture drama. 

While this fixation on random celebrities that we'll likely never even meet exists, it could just be Americans' way of coping with U.S. politics… But this is a pop culture column, not a political commentary column. I myself would be the largest hypocrite if I claimed celebrity culture to be distracting from much more important matters, as its distraction sure often works on me. 

WSUM's news team is on break for the summer, but it'll certainly be back in the school year for all-things news related. In the meantime, indulge in this happy dose of pop culture drama while not forgetting that real news still exists. If you look hard enough, you may find some celebrities that are actually talking about the real news, too. 

Eminem announces new album  

‘The Death of Slim Shady (Coupe de Grâce)', Eminem's new album, will be released on July 12. This is his first studio LP since 2020, yet fans are speculating that this will be his last album because of the title. He has released two singles, ‘Houdini' and ‘Tobey', as he teases the release of his album. Find the trailer below: 

Lady Gaga allegedly gets law firm to drop Diddy

Powerhouse law firm Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks, which represents many popular musicians, has dropped rapper Sean “Diddy” Combs, who was their client for over 20 years. Diddy is currently facing a large amount of sexual assault allegations. 

NewsNation reported that this drop was because Lady Gaga told the firm to either drop Diddy or she would leave; however, a spokesperson for the firm denied this. A source told Page Six that the law firm dropped Diddy due to his sexual assault allegations. 

“The decision to part ways with Mr. Combs was proactively made by the partners in the firm a number of months ago as they felt it was the right thing to do,” a spokesperson for  told Page Six.

Regardless of Lady Gaga's involvement, fans seem to be happy with the drop. Some past and present GSM&S clients include Barbara Streisand, Lil Nas X, Elton John, The Weeknd, Madonna and Drake. 

Oklahoma orders public schools to teach the Bible

Republican State Superintendent Ryan Walter ordered that public schools in Oklahoma to incorporate the Bible into their lessons for grades five through 12. The order was sent to districts across the state, with Walter saying that the order is “immediate and strict compliance is expected.” 

Oklahoma law already allows Bibles in the classroom for teachers to use if they so choose. But, it isn't very clear if what Walter is ordering is… well, legal. Oklahoma state law says that individual school districts have the authority to decide on instruction, curriculum, reading lists, instructional materials and textbooks. However, the U.S. Constitution's Establishment Clause prohibits the government from “establishing” a religion — one could argue that by mandating one religious book in schools and inherently discouraging other religious books, that is, in fact, establishing a religion. 

This isn't out of the blue, though. Louisiana recently made a requirement to post the Ten Commandments in classrooms, and there is pressure in countless states about book bans. 

It should be remembered that Walter ran for superintendent on a platform of fighting “woke ideology,” so one can't be too surprised that he is now pushing for Christian Nationalist ideas. He claims that “radical leftists” are indoctrinating children, and I have to find a little bit of irony in that statement given his current actions. Rather than reading the Bible, perhaps Walter would find it useful to read the Constitution, instead. 

Jade Thirlwall's solo debut

Jade Thirlwall, member of popular girl group Little Mix, announced that she is releasing a new single, ‘Angel Of My Dreams', on July 19. Leigh-Anne Pinnock and Perrie Edwards, the other members of Little Mix, have also released their own solo music, so this is no surprise. 

Additionally, Jade announced that her solo name will just be JADE. As a long-time Little Mix fan, I can confidently say that I will be listening. 

Apple classifies iPhone X and AirPods as “vintage”

As the Apple ecosystem continues to grow, Apple has announced that they are now classifying the iPhone X, the original HomePod and the first-generation AirPods as “vintage.” The iPhone X only came out in 2017 — mind you, I had this phone until I was halfway through my first year of college — and it is now the seventh iPhone to be classified as vintage. 

Are they really vintage, though, or does Apple just want their customers to buy the most recent products? As an Apple user since their iPod Touch, it has not gone unnoticed to me that Apple moves through their products quite quickly — at an alarming rate for my bank account, for sure. 

Perhaps, Apple could consider some more affordable options or make their IOS updates more accessible. However, their net market is over $3 trillion, so I can only assume their ecosystem will just continue growing.

Camila Cabello defends Drake

Camila Cabello is certainly trying to make a statement with both her new album ‘C,XOXO' and her most recent take on the Drake and Kendrick Lamar beef. An important note is that Drake is featured on the new album.

In an interview with The Times, Camila defended Drake. 

“He is such a delight,” she said. “It's so frustrating to see people talk about someone you know in a way that is negative. You're like, ‘Dang, if only you guys could just have dinner or something.'” 

One must wonder, what would Drake and Kendrick even talk about if they were to have dinner together? What celebrities they've DMed? Who had the better diss track? 

People are slamming Camila for even trying to take a side, as she historically has said racist remarks. Is the collaboration with Drake even good? I suppose people will just have to listen. 

Ross Lynch at Troye Sivan show

At Troye Sivan's recent concert in London, Ross Lynch appeared on stage to recreate the iconic ‘One Of Your Girls' music video. For those of you who haven't yet delved into the YouTuber-turned-singer Troye Sivan, he released his music video for his song ‘One Of Your Girls', where he dressed in drag and danced in front of Ross Lynch. 

Ross Lynch's job was to just sit on a chair and look pretty; he did a stellar job recreating it on stage in London, too. To put the cherry on top, too, Ross Lynch commented on Troye Sivan's post of them on stage, saying “You're my only girl.” 

Rumor has it, women all over the world could be heard crying, screaming and throwing up when reading that comment. 

Thai actors Both and Newyear announce engagement

On June 18, Thailand made a monumental decision to enact marriage equality, making it the third territory in Asia to do so after Nepal and Taiwan. 130 senators voted in favor of passing the bill, but it needs to be endorsed by Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn first. This has not stopped many of Thailand's LGBTQ+ citizens from celebrating the decision, though. 

Most notably, Thai actors Both Nattapong and Newyear Kitiwhut announced their engagement. The couple has been together for over eleven years, and they even got engaged in September before it was legal. However, this second proposal was incredibly emotional and heartwarming, as now there is an actual chance of them formally getting married. In the video that they posted on TikTok, Both proposed to Newyear in a room full of roses. 

The caption of the post said that Both asked, “Will you marry me?” to which Newyear responded, “I said ‘yes' from the first day we met.” 

As an adored couple across the world — even I used to watch their YouTube videos — many fans expressed nothing but joy for the couple. Congratulations, Both and Newyear! 

Major Labels sue AI firms Suno and Udio 

Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group are uniting to sue Suno and Udio, two AI start-ups, for copyright infringement. Suno and Udio use AI to generate songs from users' texts, but the major labels are concerned about how the companies trained their AI models, many of which stemmed from popular pop music. 

Both Suno and Udio claimed “fair use” of the copyrighted music, but lawyers are claiming that it isn't fair use as it is being used for imitative, AI-generated music. Both AI companies have denied that they used already-published music in the AI models. 

The lawsuit states that the major labels wants three things: for the two companies to admit that their AI models are trained on their libraries of music, for injunctions to be in place to prohibit that alleged training and to be paid up to $150,000 per song. 

This lawsuit is important to watch as AI attempts to enter the music industry; WSUM will certainly be watching it go down. 

Rapper BG faces lyrical restrictions

Rapper BG, who made the 1990s rap classic ‘Bling Bling', must provide the government with any songs he writes prior to the production or promotion. Prosecutors originally requested that BG be prohibited from “promoting and glorifying gun violence/murder” in any song or at concerts. The judge firmly denied this but then ruled that BG would have to get approval instead.

BG, whose legal name is Christopher Dorsey, received this backlash after he performed at a concert with fellow rapper Boosie and released an album with Gucci Mane. Prosecutors said that Boosie and Gucci Mane both have felonies and that BG doing such undermined his goals of rehabilitation. 

During the case, which occurred in New Orleans, prosecutors argued that the lyrics on the album echoed some of the conduct that led to BG's prior imprisonment and “are inconsistent with the goals of rehabilitation.” BG's lawyers argued that any lyrical prohibition was a violation of his free speech rights. The judge called the prosecutors' concerns about BG's rehabilitation goals “legitimate,” and she decided that BG would have to get approval of his lyrics prior to production in addition to not working with people previously convicted of felonies unless given permission to. Additionally, she ordered BG to complete 400 hours of unpaid community service. 

This case has sparked debate on Constitutional free speech and how it applies to music. Music stars, including Megan Thee Stallion, Jay-Z, Coldplay and Christina Aguilera, have condemned prosecutors' using rap lyrics as evidence in criminal courts, claiming that it disproportionately targets Black artists. 

One could only wonder what this decision will mean for other musicians, too. 

“Stranger Things” season five to have egregiously long episodes

Maya Hawke, who plays Robin on “Stranger Things,” said on a recent podcast that the episodes of season five of “Stranger Things” will be “movie length.” The season is expected to have eight episodes. 

“We're making, basically, eight movies. The episodes are very long,” she said.

Season four of “Stranger Things” also had incredibly long episodes, with all of them being over an hour long and the final episode being two and a half hours. 

What are the Duffer Brothers planning? 

STRANGER THINGS. (L to R) Finn Wolfhard as Mike Wheeler and Gaten Matarazzo as Dustin Henderson in STRANGER THINGS. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022

TikTok creator Mama Owl is ‘canceled' 

Mama Owl, a TikTok content creator who makes point-of-view (POV) videos about teachers' interactions with students, is under fire for a recent video. She got her start by recreating submissions — many of which are about injustices in school settings. 

In her recent video, she acted out an evangelical teacher attempting to inappropriately touch a transgender student. It goes quite far in detail, and people had an issue with the video. Mama Owl deleted the original video and restricted her comments. 

Since getting called out for the video, Mama Owl made a response that wasn't what people expected. Rather than apologizing or discussing the issue at hand, she talked about how she's getting ‘canceled' because she started blocking accounts who steal her content. She also posted a video about boundaries. 

The situation gets more complicated because there have been allegations of people doxing her and threatening her kids, in addition to a rumor that Mama Owl was fired from her job. 

While people are discussing the ethicalness of finding her LinkedIn and making comments about her children, there doesn't seem to be any true apology for the video Mama Owl created that made many people uncomfortable. 

Yes, skits have always been pretty popular on TikTok. But, should there be a line drawn of what is appropriate to act out or not? If someone does make questionable content, is it still acceptable to look them up and find their LinkedIn?