Ariana shifts a gear, as she prepares to launch her career to the next level.

As the release of her new album “Sweetener” is quickly approaching, Grande has released a new track titled “God is a woman” adding a new layer to the Ariana brand, and she shifts her creative and visual presence in the industry into more mature and substantial arena.

After a turbulent few months for the star, loved and listened to by a mix of audiences around the world. There is a presence in the air that this album may began a new wave of artistry for the young and influential singer.

Listen to her latest track here now:

Why does the popular culture domino effect, influence us so much?

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Its 2018, and we are swamped by new content everyday. From art, music, books, movies, and the trendy gem of binge worthy tv series. What do you do, your brain cant consume it all, yet your so desperate to stay in the loop. You need to know who’s screwing who in Westoros, which Kardashian is or isn’t pregnant, when the next Supreme drop is happening and if Elio & Oliver will ever see each other again (off subject how amazing was 2017’s Sundance film festival films?)

As days roll into weeks, technology enables us to consume more and more content, Netflix released that in 2017 1-billion hours of content were streamed a week! And most millennial’s streamed at least 30 days worth of music on the major music streaming services, making you wonder, how much information did we consume, without realising?

In this article I want to ask a very simple question, Why does the popular culture domino effect, influence us all so much? Don’t understand the question? Let me break it down for you:

A new show comes out, the hype is so intense, media companies around the globe are payed unimaginable sums of money to promote this new show. The show is … ok. Rotten Tomatoes starts giving each episode a 99-100% rating, making you think, well this show must be the shit, and I guess Susan who I see once a week at Starbucks also said it was a pretty good watch.

So you dive in, you watch the content, the content designed to make you feel like you are being stimulated, when in fact your brain is slowly turning to mush .. oh wait, I’m getting too deep too fast, but wait, thats exactly what the show is doing. 

You start speaking with other people, and they happen to mention the same show BOOM you can relate, you start a discussion, and other people over hear your conversation, the ball is rolling, everybody is now talking about the “IT” show. 

But whats really happening here? If you take a step back and look at these shows from a different angle, they really aren’t that great. But you enjoyed watching them so now you are confused? Oh wait, I spent 3 hours of my day watching a show, that diluted violence, and had limited if non underlining messages or themes to really stimulate my brain. 

Am I sounding a little over the top? Look at it from a different way, and this is just using one of the many media platforms as an example, note this doesn’t include music streaming and social media time:

X amount of people – Watching 52-billion hours of Netflix content a year  

=

X amount of people – NOT communicating with each other – NOT stimulating their brains – NOT realising they are slowly been influenced in negative ways.

See the issue? With or without realising it, the “Popular culture domino effect, directly influences you and your habits regardless how much or little you wish to comply”

Now lets spin a positive onto this idea, and hopefully an idea you can take away with you after reading this. What if those 52 billion hours were spent on philanthropy, research, charity, education, debate, social enterprise. What if those hours were spent talking with each other, loving each other, and contributing to real change! Now that would make a beautiful new TV show. 

Beyoncé and Jay Z release long-awaited album, ‘Everything is Love’

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Beyoncé and Jay Z have released their first collaborative project Everything is Love under their marital name, The Carter’s. As the UK leg of the On The Run II tour draws to a close, Beyoncé and Jay announced the release and debuted the visual for the track Apeshit at the end of Saturday’s show in London, where Princess Eugenie was in attendance. In Beyoncé’s trademark fashion, the album dropped with no prior warning, an approach we first saw in 2013 when she announced the surprise visual album on Instagram. The album, at first only available on Tidal is now also available on Apple Music and Spotify. It features nine tracks as well as a bonus track Salud, which appears on Tidal separately from the album but under the same artwork.

The stunning visual for Apeshit is set in the illustrious Parisian museum, the Louvre. It features the couple and their dancers performing in front of prominent pieces such as Da Vinci’s ‘Mona Lisa’ and ‘The Coronation of Napoleon’ by Jacques-Louis David. A spokesperson from the Louvre issued a statement about the couple’s use of the venue: “Beyoncé and Jay-Z visited the Louvre four times in the last ten years. During their last visit in May 2018, they explained their idea of filming. The deadlines were very tight but the Louvre was quickly convinced because the synopsis showed a real attachment to the museum and its beloved artworks.”

The Carter’s use of the Louvre feels very symbolic, positioning Hip Hop/RnB and a demonstration of Blackness and Black art inside of a building that has historically housed White European artistic expression. As with Lemonade, Everything is Love channels various forms of Black empowerment, from celebrating Blackness and showcasing Black artistic expression, to calling out systemic racism. 

On Nice, co-produced by Pharrell Williams, Jay Z addresses his court hearing from May of this year, which was ordered as part of an investigation into accounts of Iconix, the company that bought his Rocawear clothing brand in 2007:

Yeah, fuck your subpoenas and your misdemeanours / Was too busy touring out all your arenas / My passport is tatted, it look like it’s active / I play on these planes, y’all catch me in traffic / Y’all drag me in court for that shit, y’all backwards / After all these years of drug trafficking, huh / Time to remind me / I’m Black again, huh / All this talking back, I’m too arrogant, huh.

On Boss Beyoncé brags:

My great-great-grandchildren already rich, that’s a lot of brown children on your Forbes list.

This likely throws shade at the current state of wealth distribution, which sees Black people heavily underrepresented on Forbes’ Rich List.

Cotemporary cultural references include a row of Black men kneeling down in the Apeshit visual, which likely refers to Colin Kaepernick and other NFL player’s kneeling during the National Anthem in protest against police brutality towards minorities in the United States. 

Everything is Love reads as the final chapter in the Lemonade/4:44/Becky with the Good Hair/Solange in the elevator/infidelity story, as the two artists come together in a finale of togetherness, imperfection, reconciliation, love and overcoming.  

On Lovehappy Beyoncé sings:

You did some things to me / Boy, you do some things to me / But love is deeper than your pain and I believe you can change / Baby, the ups and downs are worth it / Long way to go, but we’ll work it / We’re flawed but we’re still perfect for each other.

On the same track she addresses Jay Z’s infidelity in a different tone:

B: Yeah, you fucked up the first stone, we had to get remarried
J: Yo, chill man
B: We keepin’ it real with these people, right? Lucky I ain’t kill you when I met that b- 

J: (Nah, aight, aight ) Y’all know how I met her, we broke up and got back together / To get her back, I had to sweat her / Y’all could make up with a bag, I had to change the weather / Move the whole family West, but it’s whatever.

Having previously hinted at her rap skills on songs such as Yoncé and DJ Khaled’s Top Off, Beyoncé gives her husband a run for his money on their joint venture, ‘rap-singing’ on many tracks from the new album including Apeshit, Lovehappy and 713. 713 samples the hook from Snoop Dogg and Dr Dre’s Still D.R.E, which was originally written by Jay Z. The song’s title refers to the area code of Beyoncé’s hometown of Houston, Texas.

The couple famously shy away from discussing details of their lives, choosing to address the rumours and speculation within their music and performances. In the controversial Charlamagne interview, Kanye West admitted his disappointment at Jay Z and Beyoncé failing to attend his wedding to Kim Kardashian in 2014, despite them having marital issues at the time. On the track Friends Jay Z appears to respond to Kanye’s comments, rapping:

I ain’t going to nobody for nothing when me and my wife beefing / I don’t care if the house on fire, I’m dying, nigga, I ain’t leaving / Ty Ty take care of my kids, after he done grieving / If ya’ll don’t understand that, we ain’t meant to be friends.

On Nice Beyoncé references her choice to keep Lemonade as a Tidal exclusive:

‘Cause my success can’t be quantified / If I gave two fucks, two fucks about streaming numbers / Would’ve put ‘Lemonade’ up on Spotify/ Fuck you.

Having recently achieved further career-affirming success with her ground breaking Coachella performance, the Queen B and husband Jay Z are set to make further waves this Summer, as the On The Run II tour makes it’s way through Europe and the United States. We are yet to see if the new album will be incorporated in the tour, but we’re sure Everything is Love will be soundtrack to everyone’s Summer 2018. 

How Celebrities Can Help Save The World.

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70th Cannes Film Festival – Screening of the film “Okja” in competition – Red Carpet Arrivals- Cannes, France. 19/05/2017. Singer Rihanna poses. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

 

Last week, former business mogul and reality TV star Donald J Trump, met with Kim Kardashian, current reality TV star, in the Oval Office of the White House. 

Kim K is famous for a sex tape and now incredibly rich and starring in a show about her life alongside her family. Surprisingly, instead of talking about their shared history in reality TV, Kim K was there to talk about prison reform and a particular case surrounding great-grandmother Alice Marie Johnson, who has been jailed for 20 years for a non-violent drug charge. 

In addition to the messed up US justice system, a few other things worth pointing out; the Earth is dying and our oceans are choking because we made them so dirty. Every minute, children are dying of malnutrition and the surge in conflicts has seen millions of people displaced, and one thing that pretty much everyone owns, is a tiny device known as a mobile phone with data and access to social media. 

The lovechild of the World Wide Web is social media, which comes in many forms from chat apps to photo-sharing platforms like Instagram. The power of social networking is such that the number of worldwide users is expected to reach over 3 billion by 2021, and teenagers are averaging 9 hours a day online. Our smart device, that constant companion with its immediacy, often paints a picture of human nature at its most rosey and people have become obsessed. Influencers and celebrities have been quick off the mark to monetise their social success, making their life a business by charging brands to feature products in their pictures, while being whisked away on exotic weekends full of lavish dinners and parties. 

This is a very fake reality. Staged by brands and celebrities alike and quiet frankly shocking that Gen Z are absorbed by this for most of their day instead of tackling global issues. People scroll through Instagram and see a bikini or an advo on toast and they just Like it without reading. So there is NO engagement.  It actually makes much more sense to post something that is authentic and have followers actually read and comment on the post. The ability of a celebrity to raise awareness for a good cause in just one social post is an incredible way to generate awareness, educate and make a difference. Shockingly, many influencers are imposing the same demands from charities as if they were a brand, charging hefty sums for a social post or event appearances. 

The hardest part is gaining a celeb status; the problem is using it wisely. With power comes responsibility. If you have a platform, do something good with it. It is sad but true, that the world we live in can, at times be frightening. The reality is, the world we want to live in is a world that we will have to construct ourselves and social media is a powerful platform to build a better world. Imagine if social platforms were peppered with the realities of our world, communities disproportionately affected by climate change, racism or education, all championed by celebrities. We need to use social platforms to communicate the reality of our world at zero cost. 

The climate is changing, not only literally, but in the blogosphere sense too, as brands are also far more concerned with engagement. After the Kim K White House meeting the Internet went WILD. Not just for the obvious reasons like famous people are running the US, welcome to 2018, but the purpose of their meeting had a profound reaction. Trump has since pardoned a few people and put US prison reform higher on the political agenda. 

Take Adwoa Aboah, appeared on Vogue heralding a new era for the magazine, who will post about mental health and a whole discussion will erupt underneath. The actual picture is secondary to a much bigger thing: community. And you can’t buy that. Recognition not just for the dozens of magazine covers, appearances and campaigns but with her platform Gurls Talk, she has reinvented what it means t be a supermodel in 2018. We are also witnessing the #MeToo conversations unfold through bold actresses using their platforms to voice their experiences with sexual harassment and campaigning for change. 

These movements and conversations are really powerful. It may just be the peak time to enforce celebrity power with good causes. There are no boundaries to collaboration, just as you use social media to embrace gender diversity, politics, race and geographical regions you can inject purpose into your own fruition.  Every person and product will have a purpose and future generations will be asking; if it doesn’t benefit the world, why should it take up space? 

 

Cardi B accepts BET award and calls out music industry sexism in Instagram post

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Cardi B won the 2018 BET award for Best Female Hip Hop Artist as well as the Coca Cola Viewer’s Choice award for her debut single Bodak Yellow, the song that she says changed her life and “made people give me a chance”. Bodak Yellow also made her the first female rapper to reach number one since Lauryn Hill in 1998 with the legendary Doo Wop (That Thing). Cardi posted her acceptance speech on Instagram as she was not in attendance at the BETs due to being, in her own words, ‘really, really close to her deadline’, more commonly known as a due date.

Her Instagram post features a heavily pregnant Cardi B chilling in her home with two cups of crushed ice, her latest pregnancy craving. In her endearing, no-frills manner she thanked the Bardi Gang with the following message:

“You know female rappers really get it the hardest when it comes to the music industry, we always getting blamed because of our raunchy lyrics and the way that we raunchy, our raunchy outfits and sh*t. You know, practically doing the same shit that the n*ggas do but you know get blamed the most for it. We constantly getting threatened by people like ‘Oh, you not gonna make it next year, you not gonna make it next year’, so we always gotta keep up, keep up and keep up, always putting female rappers against each other and you know, I’m just really grateful for winning the award because female rappers be going through some f*cking sh*t.”

Her speech calls out some of the many ways that misogyny infiltrates the music industry. It is widely acknowledged that female musicians will, in reflection of wider society, be criticised for overt sexuality within their music and performances long before male musicians ever will. Women are also heavily underrepresented in the music industry, so will of course need to work harder than the average male to maintain their music career.

Cardi also addresses the ever-present spectacle of female artists being pitted against each other in a competition that neither contestant asked to be a part of. Think of the alleged battle to be crowned ‘pop-princess’, which saw Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera constantly positioned as rivals. This narrative completely ignored the fact that the two had been friends and co-hosts on the 90s kids TV show, The Mickey Mouse Club and played on the underlying assumption that two females of similar ages and backgrounds cannot both enjoy successful pop careers without some form of rivalry or envy. At the very same time Westlife, Boyzone and the Backstreet Boys were free to co-exist in a harmonious monopoly of pop records, six-packs, dance routines and hair gel. And while these mandatory female rivalries are customary throughout the music industry, they are especially prominent within Hip Hop, where commentators rally around the notion that there can only be one successful female rapper at any given time.

It’s likely that Cardi B’s comments about ‘putting female against each other’ refer partially to the animosity that’s been constructed between herself and Nicki Minaj. This alleged beef has been continuously speculated since 2017, despite both artists repeatedly denying any ill feeling. It appears that this ever-present reach for the two artists to be in beef with each other may be root cause behind the recent tension involving Nicki’s verse on MotorSport. As acknowledged by Cardi B herself, drama is created because it’s entertaining, but it’s important for those who are pushing these narratives to take responsibility for the type of environment that they’re creating.

The 90s and early 00s was definitely something of a golden era for female rap, with an abundance of talented and successful women such as Lauryn Hill, Missy Elliott, Lisa ‘Left-eye’ Lopez, Foxy Brown, Kelis, Salt-N-Pepa, Lil Kim, Trina and Eve. As we moved through the 2000s, however, the number of prominent female rappers started to dwindle. It is suggested that as Hip Hop became more commercially viable in the 2000s and as record executives began deciding which artists to promote, it became more difficult for women to break through. Enter Nicki Minaj, the larger-than-life, self-proclaimed Black Barbie signed to Lil Wayne’s record label, Young Money, back in 2009. As Nicki’s career crosses the decade mark with spectacular success, critics observe that she has re-defined what it now means to be a female rapper. Because of her prominence, any female now entering the rap game is automatically pitted against her and portrayed as a threat to her success. Because of this we see a big difference in the way the male and female rappers are discussed. While the conversation around women tends to focus on ‘who is the best female rapper’, the conversation around male rappers will consider a multitude of relevant angles such as flow, influence, longevity and stage presence, which acknowledges of the space for variation between rappers and the value in that variation.

In less than two years Cardi B has gone from reality TV star, to breaking records and gracing the cover of the Rolling Stone with husband Offset, who she confirmed to have married in secret in a post on Twitter. She is firmly cementing her position in the music industry but her success story is not a threat to career of Nicki Minaj or any other female rapper – present or future. There is space for multiple women in rap and we welcome that variety and diversity. The last couple of years have seen a strong female empowerment movement, where people are standing up and speaking about the many ways that misogyny is affecting women’s lives. At a time when the conversation is centring around holding men accountable for their actions towards women, breaking the glass ceiling and generally lifting women up instead of berating their every action, this tired rhetoric of female rappers automatically disliking each other and needing to be the only female rapper in the game, is starting to feel a little dated.

Trump. The art of the media.

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I don’t know if you’ve asked the children in your life what they want to be lately, but maybe you should. When you ask about their aspirations compared to the usual responses of cowboys, superheroes and the fastest driver in the world, you are now much more likely to get answers such as Social media influencer, makeup guru and youtube sensation.

The world nowadays is a social media maze where businesses, supermarkets and presidents alike all take part In this never ending internet feud we’ve bizarrely come to live with. If you own a Tv and have some sort of social media account there is no doubt you will have heard the notorious name that is the Kardashians. Social media power couple Kim and Kanye West have a certain talent when it comes to attracting just about every media platform there is, Kanye gave us controversial tweets about how to run America to Kims Prison reform ideas, this celebrity couple are definitely biting off more than they can chew when it comes to American Politics.
Talking of American Politics, Tv show boss and businessman Donald Trump is by far the most interesting President to see the insides of the White House and here is why.

The celebrity Apprentice boss went from starting up a business with his father’s money, owning hotels and casinos, jetting round the world marrying European models, starring in a show about starting up businesses, to somehow being the leader and possibly the most powerful man in the free world, with little to no political experience Mr Donald Trump is a prime example of the sheer powers social media can have over not just a country but the world.

In the 21st Century you’d imagine someone dynamic, inspirational and eager for change sat in the Oval Office however due to social media the man sat in the office currently is someone who has been charged for multiple harassment, misogynistic views, racist comments and just about every homophobic insult there is in the book, but really I’m not here to complain and nor should anyone be, Donald trump has followed through on almost every promise he made in his election campaign, socially acceptable or not and that is a rarity, but if I take you back a few years you definitely wouldn’t be used to seeing celebrities In meetings with Mr President about how to run the country.

In the recent years Celebrities have used every platform they could to voice their social, ethical and political views from Oscar speeches to social media outcries, celebrities around the globe are giving their input. A study found that more than half of teens are more likely to smoke, drink or do drugs if they see a Celebrity influence doing it. Trends in clothes, make up, music and every aspect of society can change based on one song, one item of clothing or one makeup product worn by a certain celebrity so what’s to say they can’t influence something bigger like the running of the country.

Since Donald Trump got into power there have been huge marches on Washington containing some of the biggest influences of all, Anti-Gun marches, pride Marches, who controls America marches and even get rid of the president marches but despite all this, the power social media can have can often be irreversible. My point is that celebrities have so much more power than people realise, people take sides and base their decisions on those of celebrities without even realising, within the most recent presidential campaign Hillary Clinton had all the boxes ticked from Katy Perry to Lebron James and from Beyonce to Tyler Oakley she had them all posting and tweeting and singing and even despite this Donald Trump’s election was more powerful, backed by the National Rifle Association the President was still able to get the majority and thats whats scary. According to Pew Research Centre reports “ social media users say they are worn out by the politics they see on their feed”. This means that not only are people opinions being swayed by celebrity views online but they are also getting smothered with information and opinions by some of the biggest names at the moment and conforming to what they read without even having a balanced view.

Recently we’ve seen Donald Trump have meetings with various celebrities, commenting on their tweets and posing for pictures online, Trump had Kim Kardashian, the make up, reality tv, social media star in the White House talking about a woman who was in prison at the time and how they could change her punishment and one could argue is Trump using social media stars to gain a stronger following and wider reach? Honestly who knows, we can’t possibly know the whys and hows behind what happens and what’s happening in the White House, we can only assume and maybe thats a good thing. The media, the celebrities and the politicians can do what they want but as long as the public stays united and you stick to your views and your ideas and your opinions we won’t get lost in this social media maze, were stronger than that, we have to be.

Time to celebrate Pride!

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It’s currently Pride Month where sexual diversity and the identities of the LGBTQ community are openly celebrated in an act of protest against on-going LGBTQ-phobic attitudes in society. LGBT stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and the Q can stand for ‘queer’ or ‘questioning’, so it may sometimes be written ‘LGBTQQ’.

Pride Month is celebrated in June in remembrance of the Stonewall Riots that took place in 1969 after a police raid of the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay club in Greenwich Village, NYC. The following year, marches coordinated by gay rights activists celebrated ‘Christopher Street Liberation Day’, in reference to the address of the Stonewall Inn. Alongside similar events in Los Angeles and San Francisco, this march marked the anniversary of a watershed moment in the history of LGBTQ rights. It was US President Bill Clinton who officially declared June ‘Gay and Lesbian Pride Month’ in June 1999, before Barack Obama extended its title to ‘Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month’ in 2011. Throughout the years, Pride Month has played an important role in calling for mainstream acceptance of sexual diversity and raising awareness of injustices and inequality faced by the LGBTQ community.

The rainbow was popularised as an official symbol of the gay community in the 1970s. San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker is believed to have designed the first modern gay pride flag, comprising of eight symbolic stripes. Pink for sex, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, blue for art, indigo for harmony, and violet for the human spirit. When Baker wanted to manufacture the flag for sale, he found that pink fabric was hard to come by, so pink was dropped from the flag. He then dropped the violet stripe in order to keep an even number, and the flag arrived at its contemporary six coloured stripes.

While June is the official Pride Month, Pride events also take place throughout July and August. This year’s London Pride parade is on Saturday 7 July, while the UK’s largest event takes place on Saturday 4 August in Brighton, which is recognised as the UK’s ‘gay capital’, hosting the largest LGBTQ community. Other key pride events include:

  • Pride Edinburgh – 16 June
  • Bristol Pride – 14 July
  • Newcastle-upon-Tyne – 21 July
  • Belfast Gay Pride Festival – 27 July-5 August
  • Sheffield Pride – 28 July
  • Nottingham Pride – 29 July
  • Pride Cymru – 25 August
  • Manchester Pride – 25 August

It can appear that mainstream society is becoming less prejudiced against the LGBTQ community, with relative milestones such as Pope Francis’ recent comments on homosexuality, Leyna Bloom becoming the first transgender model to feature in Vogue India in October 2017 and the Canadian province of Ontario issuing the first non-binary birth certificates in May of this year. While these are positive milestones, their novelty, and the phobic attitudes that are still prevalent in society show that we have a long way to go in achieving an equal society. Same-sex relationships are still illegal in 72 countries and territories worldwide, and in eight of these homosexuality can result in a death penalty. On a global scale, attitudes in the West are recognised as less LGBTQ-phobic than those in the East. Despite this, the 2017 Stonewall report found that in Britain, one in five LGBT people and two in five trans people had ‘experienced a hate crime or incident because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity’. Abusive treatment exists far beyond acts of hate and violence in the street and many LGBT people still endure acts of discrimination while going about their daily lives. The report found one in six LGBT people visiting a café, restaurant, bar or nightclub and almost three in ten LGBT people visiting a faith service or place of worship had experienced discrimination based on their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

Stonewall has made the following recommendations for those wanting to help tackle hate crime and discrimination:

  • Take a visible stand against LGBT hate crime, join Stonewall’s ‘Come Out for LGBT’ campaign and show your support for LGBT equality in all forms. Encourage your friends, family and colleagues to join the campaign.
  • Call out online anti-LGBT abuse whenever you see it, so long as it is safe to do so. Support those being targeted by letting them know you are an ally.
  • Report incidents of discrimination you experience when accessing public services to the service provider or local council so they can take action. Contact Stonewall’s Information Service on 08000 502020 for advice and support.

Is it time for a social media cleanse?

Woman Typing Phone Message On Social Network At Night
Young woman using cell phone to send text message on social network at night. Closeup of hands with computer laptop in background

 

Most of us have found ourselves guilty of excessively using social media apps. Maybe we’ve simply acknowledged it to ourselves, or spoken about it with our friends or even taken the plunge and made a concerted effort to spend less time on apps such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter. This may have involved setting a time limit on daily usage or even deleting the apps altogether for a period of time. Or maybe, we did nothing at all. For a lot of us, spending too much time on social media is a habit we just can’t seem to shift.

Using social media can feel like a waste of time that could be put to better use, it can be monotonous and often quite boring. Yet we still find ourselves reaching for our phones, opening and re-opening the same apps, refreshing our screens and scrolling for long periods of time every single day. It can feel very compulsive, particularly when you’re not even enjoying it, which is why we often find ourselves referring to social media as an addiction. This is not exactly a farfetched notion, as we have seen developers of social media technology speak out about features within these apps that specifically encourage us to use the apps for longer periods of time. Features such as auto play on Facebook videos, which automatically play the next video without asking the user if they would like to watch it, ‘Snapstreak’ on Snapchat which rewards daily contact between users and even the pull down to refresh function whose addictive nature has been compared to that of slot machines used for gambling. All of these features are designed to keep users on the apps for as long as possible and when you combine this with the dopamine-driven social gratification we receive from online interaction, it’s really no surprise that we find ourselves spending more and more of our precious time using social media. This is a result of what is referred to as the ‘attention economy’, where free platforms use advertisements to create revenue and user’s attention equals profit. It’s commonly acknowledged that excessive use of social media platforms can have a negative impact on our mental health and development. And it speaks volumes that many developers in Silicon Valley strictly limit their own and their children’s use of these technologies, influencing a number of schools in the Silicon Valley area to adopt low level tech use within their teaching.

It’s food for thought, but we all know that sense of achievement we feel when we haven’t used our phones for a period of time, whether we’ve been reading a book, watching a film or have taken a walk and left our phones at home. It’s a gratifying feeling rooted in the guilt of knowing that we spend ‘too much’ time on our phones. It’s a difficult habit to break, like eating unhealthily and not getting enough sleep or exercise. The difference is that those bad habits have visible, physical effects that encourage us to make a change. When you no longer fit comfortably into a pair of jeans you may change your diet to include less carbs and unhealthy fats for a set period of time. These are concrete reactions to concrete circumstances. When the side affect is poorer mental health, or a neglect of activities that don’t involve using our phones, it’s harder to see the warning signs. So how do you know when you’re spending too much time on social media? Or whether it’s having a negative impact on your life? And what can you do to form better social media habits?

There are numerous indicators that social media is taking up too much space in our lives. If you find yourself using social media but not really enjoying it, feeling frustrated with your compulsion to use these apps and the amount of time you spend on them, you probably need a social media cleanse. If you notice that social media is getting in the way of your interactions with those around you or you’re unable to attend a social event without spending a significant amount of time documenting it online, rather than enjoying the experience, you probably need a social media cleanse. Another indication is if you are finding yourself emotionally affected by social platforms. Social media is often referred to as ‘highlight reel’ of other people’s lives and is known to have damaging impacts on the way we view ourselves and our own lives. Other factors such as ‘likes’, followers and perfectly edited images of beautiful insta-celebrities have been known to damage our self-esteem. If you find yourself comparing yourself to others and feeling down about yourself as a result of social media apps, it’s a good indication that you might benefit from a little social media cleanse in your life.

As with most positive changes we’d like to see in our lives, it boils down to putting in to action the things we know we should be doing. If you would like to make a change in your social media habits, have a think about what kind of difference you would like to see. A cleanse might mean deleting your social media apps for a week or a month, or selecting one day per week where you don’t open any social apps, or maybe you feel that your life would improve if you deleted all social media from your phone indefinitely. Most of us, however, would like to find some middle ground between our current social media habits and implementing a complete social media ban. This temporary ground has more to do with simply not spending excessive periods of time using social media on a daily basis. Which is arguably more difficult than getting rid of it altogether as it involves repeatedly exercising our will power in order to break bad habits. These six apps to stop your smartphone addiction use various software to help us form healthier relationships with social media, so we can still enjoy posts from our friends, families and favourite celebrities and influencers without it taking up too much of our precious time. If you decide to try a social media cleanse for yourself, let us know how it worked for you, or any hints and tips that you have to share, they’re always welcome!

“Girls” by Rita Ora, Why we love it and why we don’t.

rita

 

So lets talk about music, in contrast to many previous years 2018, which for the record has been named 20GAYTEEN, currently has quite a few LGBT artists taking the music industry by storm, with rising superstars such as Hayley Kiyoko, Troye Sivan, King Princess and FLETCHER making the charts theres a lot more cultural and social awareness surrounding the music industry at the moment.

On the 11th of may Rita Ora, a British, seemingly straight artist released a song called ‘Girls’ featuring Cardi B, Bebe Rexa, and Charlie XCX. Straight away this song had media coverage like nothing before but for some reason i started to notice a different sort of reaction to the ones that i think Rita was expecting. Artists such as Hayley Kiyoko and social media influencers such as Shannon Beveridge both released posts saying “ It is important for us to use our platforms to move the cultural needle forward not backwards…i literally have a knot in my stomach right now…this is a song that fuels male gaze and marginalises the idea of a woman loving another woman…leave it to the people who actually love women”.

On one hand, despite all the social media backlash, in the first verse of the song Rita Ora sings “I’m fifty-fifty and I’m never gonna hide it” sparking rumours about Rita’s sexuality, personally I think if the first verse is about Rita getting to grips with her sexuality and feeling safe enough to tell the world then good on her, we as people should respect her choices and leave her sexual identity out of our own views, however that doesn’t seem to be the problem, later in the chorus Charli XCX sings “ last night we got with the dude, i saw him, he was looking at you..Red wine, I just wanna kiss girls”

Originally a lot of people including myself just saw this as a song about Bisexuality but after listening to the lyrics i realised it actually made me feel a bit embarrassed. In the song, bisexuality is portrayed as a mood, something to do when you are drunk, something that you can only feel when you’ve had a glass of wine but really it’s so much more than that. Bisexual people already have enough problems with people saying “ oh you’re just greedy, its a phase, oh its just because you haven’t found the right guy yet” and so on and this song has simply reinforced that view. Okay so, if I’m being honest, this song scared me, artist like Rita Ora have songs that are listened to by millions and millions, music that reaches almost every country in the world, and because of the influence she has, Bisexuality could be seen through her lyrics, i mean really its not just about this song, its happened before, 10 years ago Katy perry released ‘I kissed a girl’ a song about getting drunk and experimenting and when i read the lyrics i was stunned. “I got so brave, drink in hand…Just wanna try you on,

I’m curious for you..It felt so wrong..No, I don’t even know your name, It doesn’t matter you’re my experimental game, it’s not what good girls do”

As a young adult trying to deal with changes in my own sexuality a song like this can knock you down from the top of the ladder to the bottom and with so many teenagers and young adults now identifying as LQBT i worry about the impact a song like this could have on them. Music has the potential to change a mood, shift an atmosphere, encourage a different behaviour. Music has the power to culturally, morally and emotionally influence our society and thats where it gets scary.

Songs by Rita Ora and Katy Perry are often labelled as Summer anthems and thats what gets me. These summer anthems are about being Bi or getting drunk and kissing a girl. These are songs that will be sung by straight teens or adults directly before turning back round and carrying on with the homophobic remarks they have been making all their lives due to society and its views and will probably continue to do. Id also like to briefly point out that, fair enough if the song was written by just Rita Ora then maybe the backlash would have been minimised and could have been seen as a simple, blind mistake however news has come out that in fact this song was written by 6 straight guys plus Rita.

That is the problem. A song about a certain sexual identity was written by guys who stereotype and sexualise ones sexuality and turn it into a tune for mindless people to dance to but only when you listen to the hints of a threesome, consumptions of heavy alcohol and other misogynistic statements, do we really realise the intention behind the song. Lastly, its not just the LQBT community Rita has rubbed the wrong way, at the very beginning of the song Rita says “ i ain’t one sided, Im open minded”. Hear me out about this one, by saying this she has implied that just because you are straight you are close or small minded and i don’t really think thats the case at all, i have some straight friends that are the most open minded socially aware people i know and i have some LGBT friends who can say the most small minded things without thinking, so a comment like this has no significance at all and at the end of the day is just rude. I would like to close with something, yes, sexuality is a secondary part to someone and is not the staple thing that people should judge them on, but please, don’t get into your head that someones sexuality is based on a glass of red wine or what a guy wants, if you are out there and you are Bi, Gay, Straight, Trans, Queer, Blue, Red, Yellow or Green please know that small minded songs do not define your sexuality and you can be whoever and whatever you want to be, no matter what society, music, films, your friends, family or i say, we aren’t here for a long time we’re here for a good time, so go and live your good time.