Durant High School Journalism

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.

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
Photo of Meghan Dulay
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,...

BTS’ impact is spreading worldwide



As the time passes, BTS’ impact on the world is steadily expanding. Their fanbase is unmatched, their loyal supporters residing all over the planet.

BTS’ songs hold powerful messages and the group addresses important topics such as mental health, societal pressures, self-expression, and loneliness in their lyrics. Their socially conscious lyrics and authentic and humble personalities are what draws most of their fans to them.

The group is very passionate about self-love, their recent album series, Love Yourself projecting a message of self-advocacy. The series ends on a hopeful note, highlighting the importance of loving yourself.

In September, BTS spoke at the United Nations for UNICEF’s Generation Unlimited launch, with RM giving a powerful speech on the significance of having your own voice and speaking for yourself instead of letting others speak for you.

“No matter who you are, where you’re from, your skin color, gender identity: speak yourself,” said RM. “Find your name, find your voice by speaking yourself.”

In November of 2017, BTS entered into a partnership with UNICEF Korea and began the Love Myself campaign. The campaign is focused toward ending violence and spreading love in the world. All funds raised during the two-year collaboration will go toward protecting adolescent victims of domestic and sexual assault and providing educational opportunities in local communities.

It has been brought up multiple times that BTS is playing a role in redefining masculinity and erasing barriers that limit what an individual can and cannot do or be based on their gender. During a Billboard interview, the interviewer brought up the fact that the songs on the Love Yourself: Her album seemed to be gender neutral.

“I was reading the lyrics are gender neutral, which I think is really powerful,” said the interviewer. “Was that a conscious decision?”

RM replied, “The lyrics were based on rare and special things in life. So, I thought, those feelings transcend genders, cultures and barriers between people.”

Western audiences have a preconceived notion of what men should look and act like. Self-care and precise attention to appearance are considered feminine by Western standards, but BTS defies all of these ideas, sporting full-face makeup and impeccable fashions.

In 2016, BTS did a photo shoot for Singles Magazine in which they dressed in skirts and fishnets in open protest of gender norms.

There is a long-standing toxic belief that men should not cry or show emotion. BTS’ emotional vulnerability and authenticity in their lyrics goes against this belief and encourages others to disregard predetermined gender roles and live their lives the way that they desire.

In Suga’s song, ‘The Last’, recorded under his solo stage name, Agust D, he opens up about his struggles with depression, OCD, and social anxiety, including lyrics such as, “On the other side of the famous idol rapper stands my weak self, it’s a bit dangerous. Depression, OCD, they keep coming back from time to time.”

This degree of honesty and openness is uncommon for Korean hip-hop artists, who typically practice censorship when it comes to personal feelings such as these.

Even out of the studio, BTS is very vocal about their views on the importance of mental health. There is a long-standing stigma in Korea around mental health that prevents many people from seeking help and BTS’ outspokenness about sensitive subjects such as this defies all notions that individuals should keep their feelings hidden.

In a Billboard interview, BTS spoke up about mental health after the suicide of Jonghyun, a member of the K-Pop group, SHINee.

“I really want to say that everyone in the world is lonely and everyone is sad,” said Suga, “and if we know that everyone is suffering and lonely, I hope we can create an environment where we can ask for help, and say things are hard when they’re hard, and say that we miss someone when we miss them.”

The new wave of musicians and innovators like BTS bring new hope to the world and have the potential to change the music industry forever.

Keeping up with the Borns

Keeping up with the Borns

Everyone loves unique and new music. We all crave the feeling of hearing a sound of something that is completely unique and fresh. We all crave the overwhelming sensation of Dopamine. We all crave an artist like Garrett Borns.

Garret Borns (BORNS is his stage name) is a 26-year old indie-rock artist that has a very unique style to his music. In 2012, he released a debut album called “A Dream Between”. Since then, his career took off. Three years later in 2015, BORNS released another album, called “Dopamine”. The name was inspired by a chemical that is released when a person feels a strong sense of longing, “The old ‘you want most what you can’t have’ expression,” BORNS explains himself. Earlier this year, the artist released a new album, this one being called “Blue Madonna”, featuring other artists, such as Lana Del Ray. BORNS has been very successful in the past from his two albums, Dopamine, which was released in 2015, and Blue Madonna, which was released earlier this year.

But let’s start from the beginning. In 1992, BORNS was, well, born. All throughout his childhood he was drawn to music. As a teen, he began to write his own music and find his own sound. In 2011, BORNS spoke on TEDX TALKS about a trip he took to Paris to get inspiration, and inspiration is what he found. BORNS discusses how on his trip he made connections with people that didn’t even speak English, and how it was music that brought people together. “The ultimate language of love is music, it’s the ultimate connector,” BORNS explains.

About the Writer
Photo of Meghan Dulay
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,...

PRETTYMUCH brings their show to Tampa


Angelique Robinson

Gunnar has fans swaying as he performs his song Ocean Blue.

Ybor City, Fla.–PRETTYMUCH came to Tampa and performed their first ever show in Florida. The band performed at 7:30 at the Ritz in Ybor. This show was a part of their 2018 Funktion tour to perform a lot of their recently released music.

The band’s opener was a relatively new performer named Gunnar Gehl. He is a 17-year-old pop singer who performs covers and has recently begun to post his own music.

He started with his most widely known song Ocean Blue, the song catchy tune that people can sway to as they listen. He also performed one of his released songs that he wrote and produced with Edwin and Brandon from PRETTYMUCH.

He performed two more of his unreleased songs both having upbeat dance vibe. Gunnar ended his set with a medley of songs. He orchestrated the medley through a story of love and heartbreak, he used the songs Life of the Party by Shawn Mendes, Lucid Dreams by Juice Wrld and Lose Yourself by Justin Bieber.

Angelique Robinson
The boys are performing their fan favorite Healthy off of “A PRETTYMUCH EP” which was released earlier this year.

After a short intermission for people to use the restroom and to get drinks or to buy merch, PRETTYMUCH began their set. The boys performed all their released music making sure to keep the crowd moving and involved.

They also performed two unreleased songs that the fans know from pervious concerts. The two songs are called Jello and Mind of Poseidon both are songs that describe aspects of relationships, both getting the crowd to dance and bob along to. They also performed two of their new unreleased song deemed Sauce and Denim on Patrol these songs discuss the amazing qualities in the boys’ ideal girl.

The boys made little skits to transition into fan favorites like their song “Hello.” Each boy introduced themselves in the order of their fandom name with their nicknames and one thing about themselves. They also made a video skit about the power going out and correlated this to their song Open Arms.

Overall the concert was very enjoyable. The music was fun to move, jump and dance along to. Gunnar’s performance caused numerous PRETTYMUCH fans to want to further investigate Gunnar’s music and his life. This also left fans anticipating the band’s return to Tampa.

About the Contributor
Photo of Angelique Robinson
Angelique Robinson, Web Editor

Angelique Robinson is a senior at Durant and is Web Editor for the PawPrint newspaper. She loves writing creative pieces, as well as more serious articles...

What is K-pop?



The K-pop band, BTS.

K-pop is a music genre that is abbreviated for Korean pop.

K-pop originally started in South Korea in the 1990s, but because of one K-pop group named “Seo Taiji & Boys” they made a revolutionary moment in the history of K-pop in 1992. Their experimentation with different styles and genres of music and integration of foreign musical elements helped reshape and modernized South Korea’s contemporary scene.

Even though “Seo Taiji & Boys” made a revolutionary moment in K-pop, the music still wasn’t recognized all around the world until recently. In 2016, BTS became famous in America and started to have more international fans all because of their song “Fire.” BTS first became a band in 2013, but they were not famous back then which shows how hard they worked to become famous and well-known in different countries other than Korea.

In America, you can find about four to five people in one boy or girl music group. In K-pop you can find up to eighteen members or more in one group. To become a K-pop idol, they had to audition in a company and the company graded them based on how well they dance, sing and rap. The company will choose people if they are really good at singing or dancing or rapping.

When a company chooses someone that is capable, they become a trainee and train for about six months or more. After they train and the company thinks they are ready, the company chooses the leader based on their personality, everyone in the group roles and how many people are in one group. The youngest member is always called the “Maknae.”

Being a K-pop idol is hard because their schedule is always packed and they don’t get to rest as much as we do. Sometimes they have to practice up to fifteen hours a day to make sure their performance is always perfect. K-pop idols cannot do certain things like for example choosing their clothing for when they perform, dating, and most of the time they have to be a certain weight as well.

Even though K-pop started in the 1990’s and got fully recognized in America in 2016 because of BTS, it’s hard to start off with nothing and to work your way up to become an idol to an audience that previously was unfamiliar with this kind of music.

Some upcoming events that involve K-pop music include: EXO performing as the opening performing act for the 2018 festival in Busan, South Korea, and BTS performing on the City Field in New York City in October.

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