Durant High School Journalism

Taylor Swift Feuds with Big Machine Label Group

Swift's struggle with Big Machine continues amidst the pandemic.

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Swift's struggle with Big Machine continues amidst the pandemic.

Ten months after a very public social media feud, Taylor Swift is begging fans not to buy her new album- Live From Clear Channel Stripped 2008-a recording of her 2008 live radio performance.  Swift claims the album is being released by Big Machine Label Group without her consent and is “just another case of shameless greed in the time of Coronavirus.”

In the Instagram story, Swift claims entertainment executive Scott “Scooter” Braun is broke after buying Big Machine Records which gave him control of her previous masters- a collection of over 90 of her hits. 

“It looks to me like Scooter Braun and his financial backers, 23 Capital, Alex Soros and the Soros family, and the Carlyle Group have seen the latest balance sheets and realized that paying $300 million for my music wasn’t exactly a wise choice and they need money,” she said in the post.

The music mayhem began in June of 2019 when Braun and his group bought Big Machine Label Group from Scott Borchetta, who signed Swift at the start of her career when she was 15.  Braun already owned the music from Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, and Kanye West (West and Tay-Tay have had an equally public singer’s spat for the last 11 years).  She has accused Braun of backing her social media “bullies,” such as Bieber and West, causing her hostility towards the sale. 

The record deal row continued into the winter when Swift was nominated for Artist of the Decade by the American Music Academy.  Her performance on the nationally televised awards program was set to include the songs she had written over the last ten years, such as Shake It Off and Love Story.  Braun, however, argued she could not do so, at least, not without permission from the Big Machine Label Group. 

After Swift used her fan base, dubbed “Swifties,” to beg Braun to let her perform her own music, Braun gave into the demands of the social media protest and allowed Swift to perform her hits at the awards show.

Braun said, after the concession, that he would not participate in the social media drama but posted his response on Instagram later that day.  In the lengthy Instagram post, Braun urged Swift to meet with him so he could talk to her personally.  He referenced death threats he and his family have received since their spat made headlines and said he never intended to make her feel “cornered or bullied.” 

Swift seemed to address the spat with Braun when she opened with her new single “The Man,” wearing a t-shirt with the titles of her albums now owned by Braun.  While she did not directly mention Braun, like Taylor’s refrains, the message was loud and clear- she and Braun were never ever getting back together.

The singers’ squabble prompted other celebrities to take sides, but the alliances were predictable.  Swift’s best friend Selena Gomez and other supporters, such as Halsey, publicly declared their allegiance to Miss Americana, while Braun’s clients, such as Kanye West, sided with the entertainment executive.

Since the sale to Braun, Swift, whose deal with Big Machine expired, has signed with Universal Music Group/Republic, who says she will own the rights to all her future masters recorded with them.  However, the April 2020 release of the radio performance proves the pop singer has no control over her original masters and will be forced to fight with Braun if she hopes to ever control them again.

About the Writer
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Lilyann Belcher, Staff Writer

Lily Belcher is a sophomore at Durant High School and she is a Staff Writer for the PawPrint newspaper. She is also part of Durant’s Flag Football team,...

Selena Gomez ends musical hiatus with new album

The album has 13 songs, each song averaging about three minutes.

The album has 13 songs, each song averaging about three minutes.

On January 10, 2020, singer Selena Gomez released her new album Rare. Back in 2015, with her album Revival she expressed that she would take better care of herself and she has come back stronger and putting her words into action with her new album.

Gomez took some years on silent as she was going through a rough time, but has found a new version of herself in which she has more self love and expresses this energy in her new songs. Gomez released her saddest energy before dropping the full album.

On October 23, 2019, Gomez released her lead single, “Lose You to Love Me”, that expresses her emotions with heartbreak and pain and getting through hard times as a way of cleansing herself from a relationship that didn’t work out. It deals with the singer’s journey to wellness and about learning to stand up for yourself to reach happiness. The song references , Sorry, by Justin Bieber and ended up becoming Gomez’s first number-one single in the United States. She earned her first Billboard Hot 100 chart topper and a spot on Vulture’s list of best songs of the year.

The last few years have not been eay for Gomez. The singer fought a battle with lupus which led to intensive therapy, kidney transplant surgery, and cruel internet speculations regarding her weight. Not to mention her high-profile breakups. She spent some time in rehab to work through her depression and anxiety.

In the album she wants to “Dance Again”, throwing a party for her new and happier self and being ready to let love back into her life. In some of her songs “Kinda Crazy” and “Fun” the artist is allowing herself to a little bit of danger and trouble into her life because she wants to feel strong enough to handle it and see everything with a positive mind. Her voice is assertive and soft and she delivers her lyrics with strong messages she trys to covey to her audience.

Rare celebrates Gomez peace and independence that she found in herself. “You don’t do the same for me, that’s not fair”. She talks about how she knows that she is special and doesn’t need anyone to treat her as if she is not rare. Although her songs celebrate the new version of herself, they don’t really go into depth about the war she went through to get to where she is now.

In an interview with Zane Lowe and Apple music Gomez talks about her struggles to speak up for herself and some of the setbacks she went through that prevented her to keep working. She explains that she was hurting and trying to take out the toxic in her life.

She says that when she released her single, Lose You to Love me, she felt like that was a special moment for her emotionally. Gomez says how the people she surrounded herself with challenged her and motivated her to speak up.

“I just needed to let my old self go. I was purging multiple different things but it was specifically who I was then I would like to say that this is a fresh start and I started with this album but I’m going to continue to just do better.” 

The artist is continuing to heal and embracing the progress she is making. 

About the Writer
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Adamari Jaimez, Staff Writer

Adamari Jaimez is a junior at Durant High School. She was a staffer for the Durant yearbook and then became a Staff Writer for the Pawprint newspaper to...

The rap industry loses another artist

Juice+Wrld+gained+immense+popularity+from+his+single+%22Lucid+Dreams.%22

TMZ

Juice Wrld gained immense popularity from his single "Lucid Dreams."

In the rap industry, it is difficult for upcoming rappers to gain fame. Nowadays, rappers are coming from small apps like SoundCloud or Spotify, expecting to become legends, although reaching legend status takes time, dedication, and effort. Many rappers now are writing more emotional lyrics to prove a point or be inspirational.  

For example, XXXtencion is known by young adults and teens for being more relatable and emotional. Sadly, there is a more twisted side in being a rapper. Many rappers involve themselves in salacious activities, ranging from drugs to gang affiliation. Even though XXXtencion was young, fresh, and on the verge of becoming one of the best rappers of the time, he was shot because of being involved in salacious activities.

But more recently, Juice Wrld, a young rapper as well, who had just recently signed with the major record label Interscope Records, died on Dec. 8 after suffering cardiac arrest at a private hangar at Midway Airport. 

Around 2 a.m., according to the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said, “Paramedics were called to hanger operated by Atlantic Aviation.” 

Juice Wrld‘s real name is Jarad Higgins, passing away just six days after turning 21. Higgins died just after he arrived at Midway on a private jet. Higgins was immediately taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center where they announced his death at 3:14 a.m.

It was determined that Higgins died after having a seizure. Many of his fans believed that he was faking his death. Not to long before his unexpected death, he posted on Instagram that his lifetime goal was to successfully fake his death. Juice Wrld’s younger audience believes that this was his doing to shine brighter and become famous, but he suffered a seizure and began bleeding from his mouth. The cause of his seizure is not yet known. The medical experts who examined the body, did find traces of drugs but more tests are required to confirm.

When Higgins was still in school, he left a huge mark in the schools he attended. The teachers and staffs always knew him to be highly creative and talented in what he does best, make music. Higgins was a very caring person even before he was famous, he would make sure someone was okay if he noticed something was wrong with them. His former teachers, staff, and classmates always thought he was a generous and hardworking; they are very devasted that Higgins is gone now, and he will be remembered by many people who looked up to him. 

Universal Hollywood updates the Jurassic Park section of the park

The+Jurassic+World+World+ride+replaced+the+old+Jurassic+Park+that+had+been+in+place+since+1997.

The Jurassic World World ride replaced the old Jurassic Park that had been in place since 1997.

At Universal Studios Hollywood a new, fun, interactive ride was built for the enjoyment of welcoming visitors, Jurassic World the Ride. This ride includes many aspects that make it unique, such as a Raptor encounter where visitors can meet Blue the Raptor and other friendly new dinosaurs.

Another new feature to Universal Studios Hollywood is a display, which is an interactive play area for younger guests. If parents need a break from their kids, this would be the spot to send them. Another new addition is the new shop Isla Nu-Bar. If guests are thirsty from a long walk to the ride, they can stop by Isla Nu-Bar and get a refreshing tropical drink, they offer a large selection to please picky customers. To add, if guests’ appetites grow and want something to eat, well they can stop by the Jurassic Café and get a delicious meal for lunch and feast like a T-rex.

According to the official Universal Studios Hollywood website, the minimum height is 42 inches or 107cm, passengers 42 inches to 48 inches are required to be accompanied by a parent or guardian. For more information, the Universal website can provide more details.

To start off, the boat consists of four rows, each seating five people. The ride is like a flume ride therefore it floats on water with safety pads to prevent damages to passengers. The ride starts by going over a bump that may shake passengers up. Afterwards, the boat heads into a viewing of the mosasaurs tank with a speaker that will explain the mosasaurs background and their appetite, it is likely that guests will get wet on the ride.

Next guests head through a tunnel to herbivores section and get to see them in action feeding. Then the boat will enter the predator code section, and lucky enough, guests will get to enter the T-rex kingdom and guests get to see the king. After that, guests will travel through a tunnel seeing their favorite Raptors and the T-rex and the new Indominus Rex all in full conflict with each other fighting. Then guests head down a drop having water splashed all over guests, ending the ride. If guests enjoyed the ride, afterwards they can stop by the little store to grab a collectable or shirt or even jewelry

About the Writer
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Nick Travis, Staff Writer

Nick Travis is a sophomore at Durant High School and one of the Staff Writers for the PawPrint. He has an outgoing and creative personality. When isn't...

R. Kelly accused of sexual assault

R.+Kelly+accused+of+sexual+assault

Robert Kelly, famous R&B singer who goes by R. Kelly, has been accused of sexually assaulting and preying on young black teenagers specifically, for the past twenty years. Now, with the largely established #MeToo movement, R. Kelly’s alleged crimes are brought to the forefront of the public’s attention as women continually share their stories of his alleged sexual abuse done unto them.

Most prominently the Lifetime special “Surviving R. Kelly” has created controversy regarding R. Kelly’s alleged crimes against young black women. Many take to social media to share their opinions on: whether Kelly is guilty or not, and assuming he is guilty, whether his music should be muted or respected based on a separation from Kelly’s character.

Celebrities such as Taraji P. Henson and Erykah Badu’s morals have been called into question online. Henson claims that her statements about Kelly were misconstrued and she is in full support of the alleged victims. Badu, contrarily, has been criticized for her rumored refusal to take part in “Surviving R. Kelly,” which producer, Dream Hampton, asked her to join.

Although, Kelly has never been found guilty on any counts, many accusations have been made against him; in 1994 Kelly married an underage Aaliyah while she was just 15 and he was 24, in 1996 Kelly was sued by Tiffany Hawkins for sexual misconduct, in January of 2001 Kelly was indicted on child porn charges and found not guilty, in August of 2001 Tracy Sampson sued R. Kelly for alleged sexual abuse, in 2002 Patrice Jones sued Kelly for assaulting her when she was 16, and in May of 2002 Motina Woods sued Kelly for taping their sexual encounter without her consent. Kelly settled all cases of sexual assault and misconduct brought against him and many of the women signed non-disclosure agreements.

Kelly’s avoidance of any legal repercussions is not definitive proof of his innocence and does not indicate, as many argue, that the women who have shared their stories are lying. According to BBC.com only about 8 percent of all rape accusations are false. This percentage being much smaller than the number of rapes which go unreported each year.

The controversy surrounding R. Kelly in the media right now, regardless of his stance as an innocent or guilty man, could be detrimental to his career and may forever damage his image as a respected artist.

Big Hit’s new entertainment group is “TXT”

Big+Hit%E2%80%99s+new+entertainment+group+is+%22TXT%22

Big Hit Entertainment is a company that created the most successful, worldwide music group BTS. Big Hit announced a new boy band on January 10, called “TXT.” Big Hit shared an introductory film to the act.

TXT stands for “Tomorrow X Together”, but Big Hit tells Billboard to read it as “Tomorrow by Together,” as it is written in Korean. The first introduction film, titled “What do you do?”, introduces the first member, Yeonjun, in TXT. At the end of the video, it goes blank and shows a Morse code that fans quickly decoded to translate into “Dreaming.”

Shortly after the introductory film, terms like “Yeonjun,” “BigHit” and the hashtag #TOMORROW_X_TOGETHER began trending, worldwide on Twitter. TXT is Big Hit’s second group after six years since Billboard 200 chart-toppers BTS got their start in 2013. Big Hit has yet to announce TXT’s debut date or the amount of members in its lineup but that doesn’t stop billboard to reach out for further details.

Big Hit Entertainment states: “Tomorrow X Together is a bright and youthful boyband where each member is different from one another, shinning in their own way to create a synergy. Just as how their name suggests, the different members have all come together under one dream in hopes of building a new tomorrow.”

The company also described Yeonjun as a “19-year-old member with outstanding dancing skills.” Big Hit tells billboard that he is the eldest in the group. The company also tells billboard that the name signifies how the act has “all come together under one dream in hopes of building a new tomorrow.”

Since Yeonjun was revealed as the first member of TXT, Big Hit shared teaser videos and imagery for Soobin and Hueningkai over the past few weeks. Each member has been introduced with his own distinct setting and sonic backdrop with their short intro videos all titled “What do you do?” featuring bright rock and roll, EDM and pop. All members are teens.

According to Big Hit Entertainment, Soobin is 18 and the leader of the group, while Hueningkai is 16 years old. Big Hit has gained a lot of attention for weaving a creative storyline throughout BTS career, and already TXT is promising to feature a similarly intriguing narrative, one who dreams are likely to play a key factor.

Already there have been multiple references to dreams in the lead-up to the group’s launch, including Morse code at the end of each intro video spelling out “Dreaming.” It’s unknown whether the idea of dreams has to do with the group’s first single or album title, but it is a bit of a throwback; BTS debuted with the song “No More Dream” in June 2013.

It’s unknown when TXT’s first song will be released because Big Hit has only revealed some of the members and other tidbits, so it is unknown when they’ll put out their first release, but anticipation is high.

The History of the ‘Meme’

We all know what memes are. You know, the funny little pictures and videos? We are like moths as memes are like lamps; memes draw us in.

Over the years, memes have evolved into a massive part of pop culture; they have become engrained in our society and virtual lives. But where did they come from? Let’s start from the beginning.

Earlier this year, a comic from the early 1920s was posted to Twitter, which later stirred controversy if it was possibly the first meme ever.

According to a man by the name of Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene, memes are “ideas that spread from brain to brain.” Basically, memes are variations of one original joke or picture, and it pertains to a wide variety of people.

Back to the original meme, many credits this as being the first meme, as it set out the first category of memes: the “Expectations vs. Reality” joke.

Memes are a huge part of pop culture. They tend to revolve around events taking place in society during a specific time. They are ever changing, meaning memes are only relevant for a very short period of time, often a month or two on average. After that month or so, the meme slowly becomes less and less relevant, all the while the emergence of a new meme occurs.

Memes became a huge part of our culture along with the rise of the internet and smart phones. While cell phones have been around since 1973, the rise of “smart phones” began in the early 2000s. Brands like Nokia and Blackberry were among the first smart phones, and were the platform for the emergence of other smart phone companies, including, Samsung, Android, and perhaps most popular of them all, Apple. In 2007, the very first iPhone was introduced to the public, and became known as the “father of all smart phones.” This phone was a computer and a camera in one, all the while being touch screen.

This iPhone revolutionized the way people communicated, and changed pop culture forever. People were able to take photos of themselves, upload them on a social media site, like Facebook and/or Instagram, and share their lives with the world.

The idea of uploading images and words online became easily accessible for everyday people; families can now stay in touch online, friends can share funny pictures and videos to others, and ultimately, the door was opened for everyone to be connected.

While it is hard to track down the very first internet meme, meme trends became prevalent on various social media sites. Some of the most iconic memes of the late 2000s included the Pepe meme, Bad Luck Brian, Doge, and of course, the “But that’s none of my Business” meme.

Over time, variations of memes like these led to the creation of new ones. In the 2010s, memes began to display overlaps in society, as they appear to follow trends and events that are occurring in the world.

Memes may only appear to simply be funny pictures with lots of different captions, however there is a deeper meaning behind memes; they are forms of expression. They are essential to understanding the pop culture of Millennials and Generation Z, as memes are apart of the culture of these generations, and how humor has evolved overtime with the influence of technology and global events. They can be put as inside jokes that relate to everyone, as they connect people together and display the growth of a culture. With that, we can say, “Thank You Memes, Very Cool!”

About the Writer
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Meghan Dulay, Editor-in-Chief of Design

Meghan Dulay is a senior at Durant High School and she is Editor-in-Chief of Design for the PawPrint newspaper. Meghan is part of many other clubs at Durant,...

Rapper 21 Savage is being held in custody by ICE

Rapper 21 Savage is being held in custody by ICE

John Lamparski

21 Savage was born in the United Kingdom and is now in an immigration battle with the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). As 21 Savage came into the U.S. at age seven and has been living in the states for almost twenty years, many are angry that the ICE is just now questioning his legal status.

ICE was created to protect the borders from illegal immigration, deporting non-citizens back to where their citizenship lies. After 21’s new rap in his song “a lot” about kids being separated from their families at the borders, ICE’s suspicions rose. They questioned if he was from the UK or a legal citizen, and ICE began an investigation.

With much current controversy over family separation at the borders focusing mainly on the illegal immigrants, 21’s story has been broadcasted widely with him being a celebrity in music entertainment. Over ten million illegal immigrants are living in the U.S. along with 21. With many fans speaking out with their opinions on whether he should be granted the ability to stay in the U.S. or not, many other situations like his have also been thrown in the spotlight.

Remaining in custody of ICE, 21’s lawyers are doing what they can to provide him and his fans the support they need in order for him to stay. While the ICE organization has faced some blame in releasing private information, some being false. His legal team has released new statements that include 21 being born in the UK but coming to U.S. at age seven, ICE being incorrect in saying he had criminal convictions, and ICE should grant 21 Savage bond. With lawyers and ICE debating, 21 remains in a cell at an ICE detention center for most of the day.

For what turned out to be nine days, 21 was kept in the ICE detention center until a bond was granted. The bond was set at $100,000, the Atlanta Journal Constitution put out however 21’s attorney Charles Kuck would not admit to that statement. After the bond was set, 21 and his legal team went for a hearing to confirm his legal status. The legal team involved, announced a new statement saying “He will not forget this ordeal or any of the other fathers, sons, family members and faceless people, he was locked up with or that remain unjustly incarcerated across the country.”

21 then continues on to say that his arrest was “definitely targeted” and that he still fears deportation after his arrest.

About the Contributor
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Marina Hawkins, Social Media Coordinator, Photo Editor

Marina Hawkins is a junior at Durant and is the Photo Editor and the Social Media Coordinator for the PawPrint newspaper. She is also part of the Varsity...

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