By Remy Zerber
JoJo Siwa is an American singer, actress, and YouTube star. She has been famous ever since she was on Dance Moms as a child. She has an older brother named Jayden Siwa who is also a vlogger. She was born in Omaha, Nebraska but lives in Los Angeles, California. JoJo Siwa is making history by competing on Dancing With The Stars with a same-sex partner, breaking stereotypes and gender barriers.
Siwa is the first woman to partner up with another woman to compete on Dancing With The Stars. DWTS has never had a same-sex couple compete together before. Siwa is openly queer in real life, so it only made sense for her to choose to have a female partner for DWTS. Siwa is competing on the show with Jenna Johnson, a professional dancer. It is 2021, so it is about time society started showing same-sex couples on TV shows so we can normalize queer relationships.
Siwa has done some incredible dances on the show with her partner. She did the Quickstep with Jenna Johnson and everyone loved it. Their costumes were extremely colorful, glittery, and eye-catching. This earned them the highest score of the night. Their dance made history because they got the highest score of the night as a queer couple. They also danced the Cha-Cha to “Rain On Me” by Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga. They wore blue sparkly two-piece outfits for their performance.
JoJo is a member of the LGBTQ+ community. Earlier this year in January, she came out in a TikTok video. She said she has known her whole life that she is part of the LGBTQ+ community, but she finally decided to come out because she got a girlfriend. Her girlfriend is named Kylie Prewitt. JoJo says she thinks she is pansexual but she does not really know yet. She thinks she is pansexual because she has always said that whatever human she falls in love with is her human, no matter their gender.
There have been many hints that she was part of the LGBTQ+ community even before she came out. Jojo Siwa has been dressing in rainbow colors ever since she was little. The pride flag has rainbow colors on it. This is the flag that represents the LGBTQ+ community. In one of the interviews she did where she was asked about boys and dating, she said it wasn’t for her right now and seemed like she was overexplaining herself. Overexplaining is a sign of nerves, which means the question made her uncomfortable. Another time, she was sitting at the counter with one of her friends with her knee up. According to the internet and TV, queer people have a hard time sitting properly like Jojo.
Jojo Siwa has broken many stereotypes and gender barriers on DWTS. She was the first person to compete with a same-sex partner on the show. She and her partner, Jenna Johnson, earned the highest score of the night one night. Jojo came out as queer earlier this year. She said she has known she is part of the LGBTQ+ community her whole life. Everyone's a little bit queer.
The American socialite surpassed expectations live from New York last Saturday night
By Roya Amirsheybani
Visiting Opinion Writer
On September 22nd, 2021, the iconic NBC comedy Saturday Night Live revealed the first four guests that would kick off the show’s forty-seventh season: Owen Wilson, Kim Kardashian West, Rami Malek, and Jason Sudeikis. Loyal fans of the show were quick to react to the lineup on social media, with many expressing skepticism about the choice to include Kim Kardashian West as a host.
“Ugh not Kim, will not be watching that ep,” wrote one commenter. “All great but Kim K,” wrote another. As the second Saturday of October quickly approached, skeptics did not hesitate to continue to express their concern for the episode’s impending reputation, blasting the network and emphasizing plans to boycott the show on the upcoming Saturday. Despite significant disapproval on social media, Kim Kardashian West’s hosting debut surpassed all expectations.
Dressed in hot pink from head to toe, the reality television star kicked off the night with a ruthlessly self-deprecating monologue that took many by surprise, addressing her and her family’s past controversies and rumors. “I’m excited to be here tonight to show you guys that I am so much more than just a pretty face… and good hair, and great makeup, and amazing boobs, and a perfect butt. Basically, I’m just so much more than that reference photo my sisters show their plastic surgeon,” said the star, poking fun at her family’s history of copious amounts of plastic surgery.
But the outrageous jabs at Kardashian West’s family and fame did not stop there. Almost every other sketch she was featured in centered around a dig directed toward the host somehow, with many satirized around her various claims to fame. One skit, titled The People’s Kourt, pokes fun at every Keeping up with the Kardashians cast member as Kourtney Kardashian (played by Kim Kardashian West) attempts to settle family and relationship disputes as a daytime TV court show judge. While Kourtney herself was not present, the skit featured Khloe Kardashian and Kris Jenner as themselves. SNL repertory players Mikey Day, Chloe Fineman, Chris Redd, Pete Davidson, and Heidi Gardener parodied the likes of Travis Barker, Megan Fox, Kanye West, Machine Gun Kelly, and “Kim Kardashian.” The success of this skit can be attributed to the Kardashian family’s good sportsmanship and self-awareness.
“I’m suing Kylie because she hasn’t had her baby yet. We have a whole marketing PR plan, and she’s costing us money,” Kris Jenner jokes, addressing social media commenters that connect every event in the Kardashian and Jenner daughters’ lives with Kris Jenner’s “momager” desire to promote her family.
According to a recent Buzzfeed article, despite fans of Saturday Night Live threatening to boycott this episode, Kim Kardashian West’s hosting debut boosted ratings after the previous week’s lackluster season opener. Skeptics of the episode’s success took to social media that night and expressed their surprise. “Gotta say, not a Kim fan, but the jokes were good and she was confident. She pulled it off better than some I’ve seen over the years,” a Twitter user wrote.
Considering the socialite’s past reservations of putting herself out there in fear of embarrassing herself, Kim Kardashian West’s SNL hosting debut was awe-inspiring. If there is one thing viewers have learned this past weekend, it’s that the talents of those who are “famous for being famous” (and all women for that matter) should not be underestimated. The next time Kardashian West is presented with an opportunity like this one, perhaps social media commenters will give her a chance before automatically assuming her failure.
With the premiere of their 21st season, The Voice introduces a new coach, Ariana Grande. Weekly episodes reveal a hidden side of the pop star as she coaches contestants to become their best selves in the hopes of taking home the grand prize.
By Isabelle Delostrinos
The Voice is back on NBC and is welcoming back live audiences and new coach, Ariana Grande. The pop sensation is replacing Nick Jonas as she continues to build the momentum of her outstanding career. Grande joins R&B singer John Legend, multi-talented Kelly Clarkson, and country music veteran Blake Shelton on the panel of coaches. Shelton is the most experienced coach having been part of the show since the very first season in 2011. But the target is on Grande’s back as the younger generation of singers have grown up with her and see her as an idol. With the high energy of the audience and the anticipation of seeing Ariana Grande as a mentor, this season brings something new to The Voice’s collections.
Although Grande has been part of the entertainment industry since she was a teenager, her role on The Voice is nothing like she’s ever done before. In 2003, Grande jump-started her career on Broadway in New York, starring in 13. She quickly then made the transition to television acting through Nickelodeon, cast as Cat, a red-haired performing arts student on Victorious. She brought quirkiness and comedy to the show as the ditzy, air-headed friend. Her airy voice and easily confused facial expressions convinced the public that Grande wasn’t very capable of much. In 2013, she ended her red-haired career to establish her place in the music industry with her debut album, Yours Truly.
Following the release, Grande’s career skyrocketed. She gave us hit singles such as The Way, One Last Time, Break Free, Love Me Harder, Side to Side, and many more. Her rapid success and catchy songs convinced the world that she was more than just a character on Nickelodeon. But with all the highs come the lows. After a series of traumatic events in the public eye, Grande took a break from the media and refrained from interviews and appearances. The constant manipulation of her words into clickbait was also a contribution to her withdrawal from public appearances.
She later returned to the scene with the release of her album Sweetener, where she appeared on James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Grande also became more active on social media, dedicating time in her day to engaging with fans on Twitter and Instagram. She revealed more of her personality and passion for her music, family, friends, and fans. Grande was finally ready to be back in the spotlight.
Grande’s recruitment to The Voice is a special one as fans and the public get to see the pop star in a new light. She is no longer being asked about her music or what life is like with her husband. Now, she gets to show her expertise and the way she communicates as a mentor. As a longtime fan of Ariana Grande, I am incredibly happy and appreciative that she took on the show. We get to see a side of the pop star that we have never seen before. Her ability to articulate her critiques and feedback to contestants while also graciously dissing Blake Shelton is a side of Grande that made me fall in love with her more. She’s more than just a pop star, or a girl who falls hopelessly in love, or an airhead character from Nickelodeon. Grande is passionate about music, uplifting her mentees, and celebrating everyone and everything she can. To see Grande in her element and gain insight into who she really is, The Voice airs on NBC every Monday and Tuesday night at 8 PM.
Campus Climate Survey
A week after its launch, the Campus Climate Survey is in full swing. Students, faculty, and staff are invited to participate in a campus-wide survey in regards to Saint Mary’s current climate. (Image Courtesy of Writer).
By Isabelle Delostrinos
On September 27th, Saint Mary’s launched the Campus Climate Survey, giving students, faculty, and staff the opportunity to use their voice and be part of future change on campus. With diversity, equity, and inclusion in mind, Saint Mary’s is looking forward to creating a more welcoming and safe space for all members of the community. This open survey demonstrates Saint Mary’s mission to support community members with mutual understanding and respect. By taking in honest feedback and concerns, the administration is willing to learn and improve the environment and attitudes on campus.
The Campus Climate Survey has been in development since March of 2021. Saint Mary’s Climate Study Working Group has chosen to work in partnership with an external consultant, Rankin & Associates Consulting, to maximize the survey’s most valuable information. From creating the survey, analyzing the data, and forming a plan of action, Rankin & Associates Consulting will be part of the process every step of the way to ensure all possible perspectives will be accounted for, as well as to eliminate any biases or conflicts of interest.
Another benefit of an external partner is the complete confidentiality of the survey. The twenty to thirty minute survey is taken off site from Saint Mary’s associated databases and answers are sent directly to the third party partner. Because of this complete anonymity, participants are encouraged to be as honest as possible with their opinions and concerns of their place in the community. Your participation is essential to the future of life on campus. You can share feedback on things you have loved about Saint Mary’s, like the measures they have taken after the past two transformative years the world went through. Or, take this time to address the not-so-great moments and experiences you have gone through on campus. Saint Mary’s cannot improve the campus climate without your stories and experiences. This is your time to bring any issues you may have to the table. As the survey touches on sensitive and personal topics, resources are readily available for you throughout the process, such as the SMC 24/7 CARE Line.
By April of 2022, analysis of the results and data will be shared in a campus town hall meeting with Rankin & Associates. Implementation of action plans will begin the following May. All participation is valued, even from those who may no longer be on campus when plans are enforced. Everyone is encouraged to be part of the change Saint Mary’s is seeking. Once you’ve completed the survey, you have the opportunity to be entered in a weekly raffle. A link will be provided at the end of the survey, which will take you back to the Saint Mary’s website to input your email. Again, confidentiality is important and there will be no connection of your identity from the raffle entry back to the survey. Every Friday you’ll be in the running for free SMC swag, an Amazon gift card, and even an iPad.
The survey is open to all students, faculty and staff until October 29th. You can access the survey at rankinsurveys3.com/stmarys-ca/, or by scanning the QR code at the bottom of any Campus Climate Survey flyer. It can be completed on a laptop, phone, or tablet. To learn more about the survey, head to www.stmarys-ca.edu/campus-climate-survey. The mini site includes frequently asked questions, a timeline of the survey, members of the Climate Study Working Group, resources, and more. To discuss any questions, comments or concerns in person, Dr. Kathy Littles and students are available outside of Cafe Louis from 1 PM to 2:30 PM every Wednesday.
*The 24/7 CARE Line (925-878-9207) is available via phone call/text for support/resources related to sexual assault and violence during the academic year.
The Return of Live Theatre
You can’t miss the SMC Theatre’s production of Jacobs-Jenkins’ show Everybody.
By: Dylan Cazin
If you’ve been missing live theatre, you’re in luck. Everybody, a play by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, marks the return of live performances for the Saint Mary’s Theatre Program. A finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer Prize, Everybody is a playful riff on the fifteenth-century morality play Everyman. The Saint Mary’s production will be performed in the Redwood Grove, a magical natural setting and an iconic location for both students and alumni. Guest director Daniel Larlham explains, “Audiences who come to see Everybody should expect to be surprised; it is an unusual offering, a site-specific environmental show. As the action follows an ordinary person on the journey towards life’s greatest mystery—mortality itself—our production will be timed to map onto the setting of the sun and the coming of darkness.” This is something that has never been done before in Saint Mary’s history!
In another twist on typical theatre, the lead character, “Everybody,” is being played by three different actors: Aero England, Naomi Kalter, and Xavier Romero. Who will play “Everybody” on any given night will be determined by a lottery at the start of each performance.
For these Theatre majors, the production is especially meaningful. After the challenges posed to live theatre during the pandemic, all are eager to get back to what they love doing. Senior Naomi Kalter is enthusiastic about “rehearsing in the fresh air and being together as a cast.” “The energy at rehearsals feels different,” she says, “because everyone is so thankful to be on stage again and to have this opportunity to perform for a live audience.” The company of student actors and crew members are adapting to a new way of theatre and performance during their time rehearsing outdoors.
Third-year student Xavier Romero has called this “an adjustment,” but adds, “The actors have connected in a way that wasn’t possible on Zoom or in our virtual classrooms.”
Senior Aero England notes that Everybody is different from any show they’ve previously been part of. “I’ve never done anything this existential before,” England says. “I believe it’s going to make audience members think a lot about their own lives, as well as about death and its inevitability—themes extremely relevant given everything we’ve been through since 2020.”
Director Daniel Larlham’s recent productions (Dance Nation, Lysistrata, and Twelfth Night) were lively performances and expressive pieces of art. Larlham and his actors are finding humor and great wisdom in Jacobs-Jenkins’ script. “Audiences should expect a very vital, boisterous, and funny play,” says Larlham, “one that’s full of life and ends with a sense of poignancy and gravity that will touch their hearts.”
With in-person performances from Wednesday, Nov. 3rd through Sunday, Nov. 7th, and a pre-recorded video available on-demand on November 14th, there are six chances to see the show. “We felt that it was important to have a streaming option,” explains Theatre Program Director Deanna Zibello, “because some people may not feel comfortable yet being in a crowd.” With two ways to watch—as part of an adventurous (masked) live audience or from the comfort of your couch—you can’t miss this performance!
In-person performance dates:
Wednesday, November 3 (5 pm)
Thursday, November 4 (5 pm)
Friday, November 5 (5 pm)
Saturday, November 6 (5 pm)
Sunday, November 7 (4 pm)
Pre-recorded streaming option:
Sunday, November 14 (12:15 am to 11:45 pm)
Tickets limited – reserve early.
For tickets or more info, please visit stmarys-ca.edu/everybody or call (925) 631-4670. $8 Students; $12 SMC Faculty/Staff/Non-SMC Students; $15 General
Please dress warmly and bring blankets. Masks will be required for the audience, and Covid-19 regulations will be followed.
Harry Styles’ Love On Tour
Harry Styles’ tour is a highly anticipated event that many fans have been looking forward to for over a year. (Image Courtesy of Writer)
By Remy Zerber
Harry Styles is one of the most successful English musicians of this generation. He was in one of the most successful boy bands ever, One Direction, which was formed on the X Factor in 2010. After they split, all the band members went on to pursue solo careers, with Harry Styles becoming one of the most successful former One Direction members. He has recently embarked on his Love On Tour to promote his second album, Fine Line. While on tour, Harry has already had some interesting things happen on his tour like a fan asking for dating advice, Harry doing a gender reveal for a couple, a sighting of former 1D member Louis Tomlinson by a fan, and much more.
Harry Styles played cupid for a fan at a show in Minnesota when he offered her some relationship advice. When he saw a fan holding a sign that said “Should I text him?” he responded by asking the fan if the guy was nice to her and the fan’s friend replied “no.” The crowd booed and Harry explained "in my opinion, if you should [text him], this isn't even a question," he said. When sharing what he would do in the situation, he said, "My personal opinion is that if there's any sort of games, trash! Trash! Trash! Not for you!" His response was something that sounded like it was from The Notebook, which gained a lot of attention on social media to the point where “TRASH, TRASH, TRASH!” was trending on Twitter.
At a show in Chicago, Harry gave out even more love advice when he saw a sign that said “Help me get my boyfriend to propose to me.” After the sign caught his attention, Styles asked the couple how long they’ve been together and noted, “Seven years, oh, I can’t help you. … What’s the hold up, Lucas? It’s a thing, you know, you love each other and you’re best friends.” He added with a shrug, “Just do it. It’s fine, you don’t have to do it now, but she’s your best friend, just do it, you know what I mean? Just give her what she wants!” After looking into Lucas’ eyes, he concluded, “Yeah, he’s going to do it.”
In addition to love, Harry has been supporting the LGBTQ+ community at his concerts in multiple ways. He frequently waves around LGBTQ+ pride and bisexual flags at his concerts, and wears different colors for every show. For example, he wore an orange outfit with an orange boa for his show in Nashville, which could be another nod to the LGBTQ+ community. Harry also waved the bisexual flag during a show in September, which is Bisexual Visibility month, to show support forthe Bi community.
Harry Styles always makes sure to include some funny and sweet moments on stage for his fans. During another show in Nashville, he did a gender reveal for a couple. As Harry opened the envelope decorated with blue and pink question marks, he said “don’t worry there’s another [blank piece of paper]. … Woo-hoo, you know, I revel in these moments because I know everything and you don’t.” After a countdown from the crowd, Harry revealed the fan would be having “a little baby girl.” As the audience started cheering, he began tearing up.
In addition to these more touching moments, Harry’s tour has also seen some funny moments. For example, when Harry was singing “Sign Of The Times,” he paused briefly to laugh at a joke a fan wrote on their sign. The fan recorded the moment and posted the video on Twitter, captioning it "HARRY LAUGHING AT MY JOKE OMG THIS IS THE BEST THING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED TO ME." Additionally, during Love On Tour, Harry started singing about a fan dressed as a banana. He first sang about this during his show in Detroit and has continued to sing about it during “Watermelon Sugar” ever since. Fans seem to love these new lyrics because they laugh every time he sings them. Harry is a great performer who knows how to get the crowd going and put on a show while leaving some easter eggs behind for fans to find.
Clearly, Harry’s tour is going to be an interesting and successful one. He has proven himself to be a relationship guru because he has offered love advice to fans many times during his tour. He has also proven that he supports all kinds of love between all different people, making everyone feel included at his shows. Harry creating these fun and adorable moments on stage for his fans to enjoy during his shows proves his talent as a natural born performer. Undoubtedly, Harry is an incredible artist who many people enjoy watching and he uses his shows to make people feel less alone.
The Show That Has Everyone Asking: "What Is Squid Game and Why Is It All Over My TikTok Feed?"
This series has everyone asking "what the actual f**k is a Dalgona cookie?"
By Sarah Bagdon
The K-drama known as “Squid Game” has taken the world by storm. It has reached the No. 1 spot on Netflix in 90 different countries. It has completely dominated the Internet. We’ve all seen the TikToks: people attempting to make those traditional Dalgona cookies, people poking fun at Gen-Z if they participated in the games, cosplayers dressing up as the characters, even people who find player 067 very attractive.
Ahmed Twaij, a journalist, filmmaker, and doctor wrote an article for NBC, saying that on TikTok the hashtag “#SquidGame” has been used over 22.8 billion times. The real question is: is it over-hyped? The answer: Well, that depends on if you’ve seen the show or not. As someone who has recently finished the show, I can say that I’ve been left with many questions. Now don’t worry, there won’t be any spoilers, but I can say that this show is filled with drama, plot twists, plot holes, and will leave you with so many questions.
A show about people in severe debt, playing childish games, and getting killed if they lose—how on Earth did it become an overnight sensation that completely dominates the Internet? The main character, Seong Gi-Hun, is in severe debt and tries his hardest to find a way to make money to save his sick mother and support his young daughter. He is the cliché kind of person who drinks away his problems and spends the little money that he has. He goes against any advice that anyone gives him, until it starts to really affect him. In the show, we learn that his sickly mother does not have medical insurance and he can’t afford the bills because he gambled all their money away, so he gets desperate. He begins to do whatever it will take to earn the money.
He’s so desperate that he agrees to play a children’s game with some stranger in a suit at the subway station. Now, why would he agree to play some game with a random person? The wager was 100,000 won (about $84 USD). Granted, in the U.S., that’s not much money, but it was almost enough for Gi-Hun to pay for his mother’s medical bills. Of course, the show couldn’t stop there, that was only the beginning. The strange man offers Gi-Hun that cursed card that we’ve all seen, the one with the circle, square, and triangle. A phone number is on the back, and as with all suspicious cards, it’s a suspicious number. But of course there would be no show without Gi-Hun calling the number and realizing that if he played some childish games and won, he’d earn a substantial amount of money.
6 games, 456 players, only one winner. As viewers, you’d think “eliminated” would mean sent home, but oh boy is that wrong. The first game, ‘Red Light, Green Light,’ is your typical juvenile game where someone says “green light,” and you move as far as you can, then they say “red light,” and you stop. If you move, you’re out. Little does the audience know that when someone’s out, that’s the end of the line… for good. You lose, you die. Each person that dies, means 100 million won (about $84,000 USD) added to the total. 45.6 billion won (about $38 million USD) is now at stake.
This show leaves viewers biting their nails and hanging on to the edge of their seats as 456 turns to 1. Unique main characters that each have a different story make for good television. Not only is each character special in their own way, but the writer, Hwang Dong-hyuk, created characters that are easy to get attached to and sympathize with. In this show’s case, it stirs strong emotions in the viewers as they watch players get eliminated throughout the course of nine episodes.
This morbid, dark, mysterious thriller K-drama has shocked and enticed audiences in over 90 countries. It has dominated almost every social media algorithm. It has everyone asking, “How do I make these cookies properly?”
But one question still remains: Is it over-hyped? Quite frankly, yes, but it’s making history before our very eyes as it inches closer to becoming the most streamed series on Netflix.
Lil Nas X Makes Waves
Lil Nas X continues to be a rising star in the music industry, despite facing controversy, homophobia and racism.
By Remy Zerber
Lil Nas X has become a cultural icon ever since his hit song “Old Town Road” with Billy Ray Cyrus. Some people don’t like him because he does very controversial things like dance nude in his music videos, or pretend to be pregnant even though he is male. He just released his first album titled Montero and it is doing pretty good, considering it debuted at number two on the Billboard album chart. Lil Nas X is quickly rising to fame and becoming a cultural icon in many ways.
Despite Lil Nas X being a rapper who is new to the music industry, he is very good at marketing himself. In one of his music videos, “That’s What I Want” he plays a football player, which is a smart marketing move because a lot of people like football, so this appeals to a certain masculine audience. Then in the same music video he kissed a guy while in a football uniform. This angered many people because of homophobia, but simultaneously markets himself to a LGBT+ audience.
Even with his good marketing, Lil Nas X is extremely controversial for many different reasons. For one thing, and most obviously, he is gay and people are homophobic. Another controversy of his is his music video for Montero (Call Me By Your Name), because he pole-dances with Satan and then steals his crown. Critics say this is inappropriate for children. His other controversy is about shoes he sold to promote the music video. Lil Nas X calls the shoes “Satan Shoes”, which are modified Nike Air Max 97s containing “one drop of human blood” in their soles. They are a collaboration with the streetwear label MSCHF, retailing for $1,018 and sellingout in under a minute when they launched. The backlash heightened because some people, mainly Republicans, think that this is “devil worship.”
Kristi Noem, the Republican governor of South Dakota, said: “This is outrageous, disgusting and perverted and on #PalmSunday no less. Somehow Lil Nas X thinks that Satanic worship should be mainstream and normal. I don’t think there have been better candidates to cancel than Lil Nas X and these shoes,” and claimed that the shoes prove the US is “in a fight for the soul of our nation.”Lil Nas X took the criticism well and defended his song by saying, “I spent my entire teenage years hating myself because of the shit y’all preached would happen to me because I was gay. So I hope you are mad, stay mad, feel the same anger you teach us to have towards ourselves.” In the end, he had the last laugh because his song became the highest trending music video on YouTube.
Lil Nas X’s clothes and costumes are controversial too. He made a clothing line that makes fun of the controversy about the shoes he sold. He designed and sold three different t-shirts. One t-shirt said “I [Heart] Jesus” in big bold letters in the style of “I [Heart] NY” shirts. It had a message in much smaller font that said “and that one part in the ‘Montero’ music video by Lil Nas X when he gets nasty with the devil because it was a cool form of self-expression and art.” This shirt comes in black and white. Another shirt said “I watched the ‘Montero’ video by Lil Nas X and all I got was this lousy shirt and now I’m also gay and love Satan,” with little icon images of Lil Nas X and Satan from the music video along the sides of the text.
As a result of the music industry being homophobic, Lil Nas X has faced homophobia and tried to combat it several times. Last Halloween when he dressed up as Nikki Minaj, Rapper 50 Cent tweeted, "what the f---, Nikki come get him !!! Lol." Another person tweeted "How much money u think Lil nas x is being paid to destroy the minds of young black kids to go against their God?”. In response to this tweet, Lil Nas X tweeted "yes because ur child is gonna say 'lil nas x dressed up as nicki minaj so why should i worship god anymore.'" Lil Nas X is quick to shut down homophobia on social media, and works at normalizing Black gay people in the media. For example, in his music video for “That’s What I Want,” there is a lot of Black and queer representation. Clearly, Lil Nas X is a genius and is becoming a cultural icon. While he has angered many people with his first album, Montero, (because most people are either homophobic or think he is making inappropriate content for kids), he has risen above the criticism. Lil Nas X is dominating the music industry despite the odds being against him.
Netflix debuts a new documentary on Britney Spears and her fight to freedom. The film takes you into the reality of Spears’s career and analyzes confidential documents that were anonymously sent in.
By Isabelle Delostrinos
2019 was filled with memorable moments in pop culture such as Jordyn Woods’ betrayal of Kylie Jenner, Olivia Jade and her mom’s college admissions scandal, and Trump vs. Chrissy Tiegen on Twitter. But a more serious matter was brought to attention and is still relevant today. After a social media hiatus and a suspicious return to Instagram, longtime fans of Britney Spears knew something was wrong. Fans made it a point to spread awareness of Spears’s conservatorship, creating the #FreeBritney movement. Since then, Britney Spears, pop icon and once America’s Sweetheart, has been fighting for her freedom.
Britney Spears is undoubtedly one of the most iconic female pop stars of our time. From 1998 to 2003, Spears brought in over $73 million dollars in sales from different categories. In 2004 she was the biggest selling female artist of her generation. From dancing with a python at the VMAs, rocking latex bodysuits (before Kim Kardashian), and making a cameo on Glee, Spears’s artistry was a force to be reckoned with. Her happy places were in the studio working on choreography, recording new singles, or being on stage in front of millions of people. But like many celebrities in the limelight, external problems consumed her life. Stressors from her personal relationships affected her mental health, leading to numerous breakdowns and hospitalizations.
Britney vs. Spears brings light to the conservatorship and the reality of her career. Journalists Erin Lee Car and Jenny Eliscu share their findings and what led to the conservatorship. They mention some of the people that influenced Spears’s mental instability, such as ex-husband Kevin Federline and former manager Sam Lutfi. Events like a public divorce and child custody battle kept the artist from making music. Crowds of paparazzi followed her every move, constantly interrogating Spears while dangerously snapping photos. Lack of support from her parents caused her to turn to people that didn’t have her best interests in mind. After completely shaving her head and being admitted to a psych ward, a temporary conservatorship over Spears was signed.
What differentiates this documentary about Spears from the others is the evidence presented. Car and Eliscu reveal that an anonymous source sent confidential documents to them in hopes to tell the truth about Jamie Spears, the father and head conservator of Britney Spears. Spoiler alert: her father and psychiatrists determine that Britney Spears is not fit to run her life and is determined that she has symptoms of dementia. It’s odd to see dementia be diagnosed at 28, especially for someone who was working and writing her own music. She then loses complete control of her decisions. Spears could not contact anyone unless approved or accept work opportunities unless approved. At times she didn’t know what was going on because her father basically became her. When the conservatorship became permanent in 2009, her finances and estate were signed off and put under Jamie Spears.
While on this conservatorship, Spears gave the world the Circus Tour, Femme Fatale album and tour, and the Piece of Me Vegas residency that equated to a world tour. She has creatively directed the majority of her projects by herself, defying the claims that she is not stable enough to be part of decision making processes. During this time, Spears also made appearances on How I Met Your Mother and X Factor. What seemed like a joyful Britney Spears during these years was really an unhappy artist making money for other people. Her love for performing and creating was exploited through conservatorship. To learn more about the conservatorship and what Jamie Spears tried to hide from the world, watch Britney vs. Spears on Netflix. It is an informative, eye-opening documentary that sheds light on Spears’s reality.
As of September 29, Jamie Spears has been removed as head of the conservatorship, being replaced temporarily by a Californian accountant. The next court hearing will take place on November 12 to determine if the conservatorship should be terminated.
Ryan Ford '23,