Rip Mac

Rapper Mac Miller was found dead in his Los Angeles bedroom on Sept. 7, shocking the music world. While toxicology reports are pending, officials believe that the 26-year-old rapper died from a drug overdose. Miller’s death has stunned the rap community as millions of fans have mourned his death.

Born Malcolm McCormick in Pittsburg in 1992, Miller’s life always focussed on music. The rapper taught himself how to play guitar, drums, piano, and bass, dedicating most of his time to making music on his laptop. "Once I hit 15, I got real serious about it and it changed my life completely," he said. "I used to be into sports, play all the sports, go to all the high school parties. But once I found out hip-hop is almost like a job, that's all I did," Mac said in a 2010 interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Miller began releasing mixtapes under the name EZ Mac in 2007, shaking up the underground hip-hop scene with the mixtape, But My Mackin Aint Easy. By 2010, the rapper took on the name Mac Miller and never looked back. His fourth mixtape, K.I.D.S., boosted Mac’s stardom with the cheerful tracks “Knock Knock” and “Nikes on My Feet.” With over 800,000 downloads, the mixtape emphasizes youthful, carefree lifestyles as explained by Mac.

"If you're not a kid anymore, [K.I.D.S.] is about remembering when you were a kid and how you were able to live. This is great for me because I don't have to pay a bill. I live with my mom. For right now, I just get to be a kid," said Miller.

Miller continued to rise to fame with his 2011 debut album, Blue Slide Park. The album continued his youthful flow, featuring the tracks “Party on Fifth Ave.” and “Missed Calls”. In spring of 2012, the rapper went on The Macadelic Tour in support of his Macadelic mixtape, performing alongside Kendrick Lamar, Lil Wayne, and Joey Bada$$.

By 2014, Mac signed a record deal with Warner Bros. following the release of his 2013 album, Watching Movies with the Sound Off. The headline rapper released The Divine Feminine, a unique R&B album with many notable collaborations on the track “Dang!” featuring Anderson .Paak”, “Cinderella” featuring Ty Dolla $ign, and “My Favorite Part,” featuring Miller’s superstar ex-girlfriend, Ariana Grande.

Grande has received backlash since Mac’s death. Collaborating together on the 2013 song “The Way,” the two eventually began dating in 2016. However, their relationship eventually come to a halt this past May due to Miller’s lack of sobriety. Two months later, Grande became engaged to Saturday Night Live star, Pete Davidson. Ariana’s decision to suddenly become engaged angered many fans, especially in wake of Mac’s passing. Grande has since gone silent on social media, although she did address the rapper’s death this past Friday.

"I adored you from the day I met you when I was nineteen and I always will," Grande wrote on Instagram. "I can't believe you aren't here anymore. I really can't wrap my head around it...i'm so sorry I couldn't fix or take your pain away, I really wanted to. the kindest, sweetest soul with demons he never deserved. I hope you're okay now. Rest," the 25-year-old singer wrote.


Tinder U introduces new way to connect

As of August 21, Tinder released an additional feature to the highly-used dating app. This new addition, Tinder U, is meant to be a version of Tinder meant for college students on campus. While this app is widely used among people of all ages, this makes it easier for students to connect.

In order to access Tinder U, students must have a Tinder account and open it while on their campus. After being geolocated, users will be asked if they’re interested in trying Tinder U. In order to verify that the user is a student, they must confirm a .edu email address. Once students are logged into Tinder with their college and have verified their accounts with their emails, they will receive their acceptance email from Tinder University. The next time the user opens the app, they’ll experience the Tinder U feature and be able to see students who are also using the Tinder U extension both on their campus as well as other college campuses.

Tinder, which is primarily used as a way for people to meet, date and often hook-up, has commented that this new way of connecting can move away from the hook-up culture and reputation. “Need a study buddy? Not a problem. Coffee date on the quad? We’ve got you covered. Freshman year and you don’t know a soul? This is your ticket to the coolest crowd on campus” Tinder said on their blog section of gotinder.com.

However, other than showing students on campus first when swiping and limiting the people who come up in user’s feed, the Tinder U experience is not much different than the traditional version. Users are still able to see profiles, swipe left or right if they like or dislike the photos and bios, super like accounts, and message other users. Tinder U does not prevent students from swiping on people who are not on campus or campus connected, it just makes it easier by listing other students first.

“I didn’t use Tinder that often before but I figured I’d check out the new Tinder U thing once it launched and was honestly disappointed” said senior Autumn McElroy, one student who has connected with Tinder U. “I heard that it was supposed to veer away from dating and focus on other aspects like forming a study group but it’s exactly the same as normal Tinder.”

According to Pew Research, about 30 percent of 18-24 year olds use online dating apps as an acceptable form to meet and date people. Following college-ages users, about 22 percent of 25-45 year olds are also using online dating apps. With college students being the primary audience for dating apps, Tinder U is a sensible addition. With other apps like Facebook adding in dating features, Tinder could use this ambitious angle to enhance their app over their competitors. 

“I love it! I always want to meet students for friends or dates,” senior Nina Whitlock said. “It’s so much nicer to meet up with people who run in the same circles as you and now all my peers are easier to find and connect to.”
Tinder U recently launched for iPhones and Androids, continuing to raise its user base and revenue. According to mediapost.com, it has doubled in subscribers as of August 2018. But many students are slowly veering away from Tinder and going towards similar apps and showing a preference for Tinder’s competitor, Bumble or just not having the apps anymore at all. “I like [Tinder U] because it filters out the weirdos,” said senior Rohit Bazu. “But ultimately, I think [dating apps] are a waste of time and people should just introduce themselves to people they find attractive in person.”

John Legend wins legendary title

Singer-songwriter John Legend is known for his world renowned voice, rocking the record labels, and racking up hardware at almost every award show. Legend brought much attention to his name last Sunday when he won another award at the 2018 Emmy’s, accepting an award for the live musical, “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert.” The musical won the Outstanding Variety Special (live) award. 

The beloved musical that gave the entertainer his hardware tells the story of Jesus’ life, but is told through the perspective of betrayer Judas Iscariot. The story develops as Judas watches Jesus and begins to believe that the savior is becoming arrogant and losing sight of his purpose. The musical stars John Legend, Alice Cooper and Sara Bareilles. It’s filled with amazing talent and voices that make the audience crave to hear more. Legend plays the role of Jesus Christ and wows the audience with his vocals, which earned him the award that granted him the four crown title of EGOT. To behold this prestigious award means that the entertainer has received an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. The entertainer was afraid that many would criticize him for not looking how Jesus is traditionally portrayed, but with his Emmy in hand he knew that that wasn’t a problem.

Not only was winning an Emmy a great honor, Legend also got praised with earning an EGOT title. Legend accomplishing all of this has granted him not only this quadruple crown title but has also earned him the honor of being titled the first black man to ever receive an EGOT. The first black woman entertainer to receive this title was Whoopi Goldberg in 2002. Variety writer Margeaux Sippell interviews Legend after his monumental win for “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert.” The entertainer only speaks positive and humble words, boasting endlessly about the project to Sippell. He states how lucky he was to even be a part of the live TV musical and how he wouldn’t shy away from another opportunity to be involved in one. Looking back on the experience and the Emmy, Legend states, “We were really proud of what we did, and when you accomplish it as a big group like we were, with the producers, the cast, the crew, everybody, it feels extra special. And for that to be the final thing I needed for the EGOT is even better.” After his Emmy win he couldn’t help but boast about everyone that helped put on the production, not only focusing on his own success but on everyone’s. 

When Legend started in the industry he didn’t know that his name and talents were going to go as far as they did. Legend started off as a singer and has progressed to many other artistic outlets. He branched out of his singing career and became a songwriter and actor, as well as a music and film producer. As a man of many talents, Legend has become one of the 15 entertainers in history to be able to say that he won all four awards. When he started his career, the artist received 10 Grammys, with best new artist as his first win in 2006. Once Legend won one award he wasn’t stopping. He broadened his career and won many awards which lead him to the EGOT title, at the age of 39, making him the youngest to receive all the awards in such a short time period.

Legend met with Vanity Fair writer Yohana Desta and gave her a little insight on what he was feeling before he knew he was going to receive the EGOT title. The entertainer expresses to Desta that he puts all of his efforts in every performance of “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert.” Legend states that he never lip-synched any performance, nor relied on backing tracks that aren’t live, or using backing vocalists. The entertainer relies on his voice, putting a lot of wear and tear on his vocals and expending a lot of energy with every performance. With all of the hardware that Legend holds, one would think that arrogance would arise, fortunately that is far from the truth. The EGOT winner states, “I don’t take any of them for granted, because the competition’s always going to be there, and there’s always going to be other people that deserve it just as much.” Clearly, Legend is a man of great talents as well as outstanding morals.

Not only were his loyal fans there to cheer him on, but Chrissy Teigen, his wife, author and TV host was there to support her successful husband. Social media mogul Teigen took to social media to show her followers how proud and happy she was for Legend. One of Teigen’s posts shows Legend standing proudly in front of his many awards. The duo have had great success this year with Teigen’s award-winning cookbook and Legends EGOT title, clearly the husband and wife are making big names for themselves. 

"BlackkKlansman"

In a brilliant effort to show the strikingly horrific parallels between past and present-day racism, legendary film director Spike Lee returns to tell the remarkable true story of the first African-American cop to investigate, infiltrate and expose the malicious acts and ideologies of the infamous Ku Klux Klan. 

Produced by the same team who brought you the Academy Award winning film “Get Out,” Lee’s two hour and 40 minute box office hit “BlacKkKlansman,” was released on Aug. 10, making $10.8 million during its first opening weekend, according to Forbes. 

Based off the memoir “Black Klansman: Race, Hate, and the Undercover Story of a Lifetime,” written by Ron Stallworth, the film is set during the early 1970’s, a decade known for cultural change and political movements that would (hopefully) improve the lives of marginalized individuals living in America. It was during this pivotal time period of liberation when Colorado Springs Police Department decided to employ Stallworth, their very first African-American officer.

Now recognized as an American hero, the real Stallworth was a member of the Colorado Springs chapter of the Ku Klux Klan in 1979, the year in which he launched his groundbreaking investigation after answering a newspaper advertisement calling for new Klan members in his city. From here, Stallworth wrote them a letter disguising himself as a white man who shared similar views. Within the following week, the chapter president of the Colorado Springs Ku Klux Klan called Stallworth asking if they could meet. 

Contrary to real life events, Stallworth’s character in the film, played by John David Washington, simply calls the Klan’s chapter president directly. Disguising himself as a white supremacist, Stallworth is able to seamlessly gain the chapter president’s trust while simultaneously landing an in-person meeting with the other Klansman to secure and authorize his membership. For obvious reasons, this is when Stallworth’s plan grows rather complicated.

  Stallworth, whom is clearly not white, decides to then recruit another member in the Colorado Springs Police Department to pass as him during Klansman meetings. Played by Adam Driver, Flip Zimmerman is the man Stallworth decides to drag into this investigation. Little does the Klan know that Zimmerman is most definitely not Stallworth. He’s also Jewish, making the operation that much more dangerous. 

While Zimmerman meets with the Klan members face to face, Stallworth continues to contact them by telephone and even becomes acquainted with the grand wizard, David Duke. Contrary to the stereotypical, racist caricatures that are often found in mainstream Hollywood cinema, Duke is a persuasive and well-spoken leader whom is oddly likeable on the service level. Duke’s character is meant to show audiences that some of the most evil and clever masterminds are able to pass themselves off as charismatic, only making them more dangerous and undetectable.

Although the film was set to occur nearly five decades ago, many have praised “BlacKkKlansman” for seamlessly weaving our country’s dark past and present together in a way that is neither subtle nor questionable. By doing this, Lee was able to create a film that truly shocked audiences into reality, summoning American citizens to wake up and face the realization that our past and present are one in the same. 

This film is not to be taken lightly. Although having comedic moments from time to time, Lee does not allow his audience to ever become comfortable with the subject matter. From start to finish, “BlacKkKlansman” will have you squirming in your seat, horrified with the stark reality presented in front of you, but perhaps that’s what makes this film a true piece of cinematic gold with a powerful message that will haunt you long after you leave the movie theater. 

“Shameless” returns with Season 9

From the first episode, it looks like the season will optimistically bring a more dysfunctional drama to the family than ever before. SHOWTIME’s American drama-comedy series, Shameless, is returning for it’s ninth season. This time, however, it adds fourteen new episodes to the season, with a mid-finale in Oct. and continues back up again in January.

After watching the premiere episode of the season on Sep. 9, "Are You There Shim? It’s Me, Ian," this would be rated four out of five stars.

Each character comes back hard with an array of emotions, more so than any season has displayed before. Ian remains in jail from his arson outbreak and gay Jesus fiasco, with Fiona helping to bail him out. Debbie is still at work, fighting against discrimination in the workplace. Lip delves into a new romance while also protecting Eddie’s daughter, Xan, from sex-raging teenagers. Carl returns to boot camp with his wife there by his side for the remaining days to cheer him on. Kevin and Vee are training their daughters like dogs, playing fetch, to tire them out so the couple can go back to their sex life. Liam is the anti-Gallagher who wants to return all the silverware he stole. Then there’s Frank, who lines the show with comedy as he somehow turns any bad situation he is stuck in on other characters.

Shameless still brings in a high viewing to their premiering episode but with the help of having an On-Demand way to watch the show at our own convenience this brings the premiere date showing even higher. According to Variety Magazine, “’Shameless’ drew 1.3 million viewers in its initial airing, off approximately 30% from the Season 8 premiere. However, when adding in replays that aired Sunday night as well as streaming and On Demand viewership, the show’s haul grows to 2.2 million.”

Emmy Rossum, portrayed as Fiona Gallagher, made the decision to leave after nine years on Shameless. She announced on Facebook her departure from the TV show, explaining how her career path is arranged to turn in a different direction. She seems to be taking the movie route with two new movies coming out before the end of the year-- “A Futile and Stupid Gesture” and “That’s Harassment”. She is currently working on a film called “Cold Pursuit” with Liam Neeson.

“The opportunity to play Fiona has been a gift.” Rossum stated. “There are few characters — female or otherwise — as layered and dynamic. She is a mother lion, fierce, flawed and sexually liberated. She is injured, vulnerable, but will never give up. She is living in an economic depression, but refuses to be depressed. She is resourceful. She is loyal. She is brave.” Fans are lucky to have a strong female lead in such an empowering show.

So, let’s enjoy Rossum’s character and enjoy what her character can bring to her final season. Season 8 left her off with a love interest, will a potential marriage be ahead for Fiona ultimately leading to her character moving to a new city? She looks like she is soon in the position where her family will not need her anymore and she will no longer need to provide for them.  

Keep in touch with season nine Sunday at 9 p.m. exclusively on SHOWTIME. SHOWTIME can be watched online or On Demand and now can be activated with a student Spotify account with no extra fees.  


SSU Jazz Orchestra rocks out for a cause

Featuring popular classic rock arrangements from the 1970s and 1980s, the Sonoma State University Jazz Orchestra will be performing this Friday, September 21, in Rock, Strings & Horns - A Concert For Violet.Director of Jazz Studies Doug Leibinger is starting his tenth year with the Sonoma State Department of Music. The concert will be honoring his mother, Violet, who passed away from early onset Alzheimer’s disease. The performance is dedicated to Alzheimer’s awareness. 

Although the performance is by the Jazz Orchestra, the event is a rock concert--including songs by Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and others. “We will play rock tunes from the 70s and 80s orchestrated for a 50-piece band,” Leibinger said, “The choice of songs is inspired by tunes that I used to listen to with my mother growing up.”

Along with the Sonoma State students and community members that make up this semester’s Jazz Orchestra, the high energy concert will also feature Nicole Yarling from the Miami Jazz Co-Op on vocals and electric violin, Sonoma State Faculty Eric Caballo on guitar, and Sonoma State Department of Music Chair John Palmer on keyboard and piano. While being the director and conductor, Leibinger will also be featured on vocals, guitar, and even accordion. According to Leibinger, the Jazz Orchestra is “a 20-24 piece band, with 10 brass, 6 saxophones/woodwinds, and rhythm section.” This concert also features a string section, a chorus, and encourages the audience to participate by singing along.

Starting at 7 p.m. last Wednesday, in Weill Hall, the Jazz Orchestra began the rehearsal with the vocalists in the chorus. Grouped around the set of four microphones, the chorus laughed and joked around with one another during sound checks and in between instruction. At around 7:30 p.m., the instrumentalists began to spill onto the stage. Soon Weill Hall was filled with the sound of chatter and various instruments warming up. As the mass rehearsal began, Leibinger walked around the stage to listen for different parts of the orchestra and conduct, instead of choosing to remain stationary in center stage.

Throughout the rehearsal, the ensemble danced and sang along from their seats as each song went on. Having been in Sonoma State’s Symphonic Orchestra, junior cellist Brynn Dally is a first time member of the Jazz Orchestra. “I like how in Jazz Orchestra, it’s really open ended,” Dally said “we have to improvise.” When comparing the differences of the two ensembles, Dally emphasized the camaraderie between the members of the Jazz Orchestra felt greater.

 Although the energy is high and the ensemble members are jamming out along with the score, the rehearsal remains focused. Sophomore cellist, Ryan Toulouse said, “Doug keeps very on task.” Toulouse went on to say that the rehearsal process is different in feeling. Unlike the acoustic strings in Symphonic Orchestra, the string section of the Jazz Orchestra is microphoned. “It feels like they have more power,” he said.

Focusing on the nostalgia of the 1970s and 1980s, the setlist of the concert has strong emotional ties for many of the ensemble members. Sophomore baritone saxophone player, Matthew Bowker, said that his favorite song from the setlist is “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” by Billy Joel. “My mom and I listen to it all the time,” he said. “It really hits home.” 

The upcoming concert is only the first of the season for the Sonoma State University Jazz Orchestra. There will be two more Jazz Orchestra concerts this semester on Thursday, Oct. 18 and Friday, Dec. 7 in Weill Hall.

Sonoma State University Jazz Orchestra’s Rock, Strings & Horns - A Concert For Violet is Friday, Sept. 21 in Weill Hall. Tickets are $8 for the community and free for Sonoma State students.

Netflix Originals "Like Father"

Netflix’s new original film, “Like Father,” is a drama starring Kristen Bell and Kelsey Grammer. The film is one hour and 43 minutes long and will keep you completely hooked. The film is worth a watch if you’re looking for something to indulge in without having to go to theatres. It has a great mixture of laugh-out-loud comedy as well as some heart-wrenching drama.

After watching the Netflix original, I would rate it three out of five stars.

The story begins when the audience is introduced to a striking, hard-working blonde. Rachel, played by Kristen Bell, grabs the audience's attention when she is in the middle of her beautiful white wedding, but is left at the altar right before she says I do. Her soon-to-be husband realizes Rachel’s work life is more important than her love life.

As if getting left at the altar wasn’t hard enough, Harry, Rachel’s estranged father played by Kelsey Grammer, shows up unexpectedly. She hasn't seen or heard from him in years. Heartbroken, angry, and confused about her father’s return, Rachel decides a night out drinking with her father will help with the pain.

After many drinks, Rachel and Harry find themselves on a beautiful cruise that was prepaid for her honeymoon. While drunk the two believed this was a great idea, but once she comes back to her senses Rachel realizes this “honeymoon” is not what she wanted at all. Rachel’s desire to get off the boat is in full force.

Sailing across the sea, Harry decides this will be a great time to reconnect with his daughter and rebuild the relationship. Harry tries to be as positive as possible and is harshly rejected by his unhappy daughter. Throughout the movie viewers begin to feel for Harry and his efforts, but also understand Rachel’s frustrations. You may find yourself grabbing for more popcorn as their rocky relationship goes up and down, rooting for the father-daughter relationship to flourish.

The cast of the film grows while Harry and Rachel are onboard their tropical cruise, with Rachel adopting a love interest with well-known actor Seth Rogan. Rogan plays a role completely different from his usual raunchy comedies. Cast as a dorky, sensitive man, he falls into the arms of Rachel as they have a one-night stand that ends up leading to more.

Sonoma State University student, Amanda Endersby stated, “When he came into the movie I expected a completely different character, seeing him as the innocent, dorky guy was super surprising and hilarious.”  Endersby, along with others, recognized the well-known cast and appreciates them playing rolls that aren’t common to them. Bell, known for her sweetheart attitude, both on and offstage, plays a mean, hothead in “Like Father.”

While aboard, Harry and Rachel are accompanied by three other couples, that help make the movie. Sonoma State Junior, Brihana Marmol stated, “The couples that went on the boat with them literally made the movie for me, I loved their dynamic.”

“Like Father”, did a wonderful job of casting characters that reached all walks of life, bringing great comedy to the movie.

“Like Father” is a movie that you can watch and enjoy. A couple laughs and a few tear jerking moments will come with the Netflix original. When scrolling through Netflix’s new arrivals, know Kristen Bell and Kelsey Grammer are going to do a great job of keeping you involved and wanting to watch until the end.


"The first Degree"-new suspense thriller

Podcasts have been around for years, but only recently have they started to gain major popularity. The range of podcast topics are endless--from comedy, to politics, to crime, the podcast scene covers a wide variety of topics to keep it’s target audiences intrigued and wanting more.

However, if you're a lover of CSI and chilling Netflix crime specials, a new podcast, “The First Degree”, has taken all the things we love about crime, murder, and mystery, and put a new spin on it.

True crime stories are being told by real people who were one degree away from the crime itself. This appealing take on crime is different because others focus on the detectives, lawyers, and police involved in a case. “The First Degree” refers to friends, neighbors, and family members to discuss the events leading up to the crime, their relationship with the perpetrator, and details of the crime itself.

The podcast is run by Jac Vanek, one of the three from the Lady Gang Podcast, true crime TV producer Alexis Linkletter, and investigative journalist Billy Jensen. Linkletter has taken part in shows such as “Snapped,” “She Made Me Do It,” and “CNN’s Unmasking a Killer.” Billy Jensen has written articles for The Rolling Stone, NY Magazine, and the Times.

“The point of ‘The First Degree’ is that everyone in their lives is one degree away from a violent crime, and those are the people we are bringing on the show each week,” said Jensen. “These cases can touch people in so many ways but you never know the person sitting next to you, in the cubicle sitting next to you, the person in the other car listening to this, they may be a killer at some point.”

With only four episodes out so far, “The First Degree” dives into crimes their guests were only one degree away from. However, it also discusses crimes the hosts themselves were connected to. In approximately one hour there is a lot to discuss and unpack.

The first episode dives into the story of  millionaire Ryan Jenkins, who becomes a reality TV star and then commits a murder. The podcast airs footage of Jenkins talking with his ex lover Megan from his first reality show, as well as her best friend and an acquaintance of Jenkins.

The episode takes a look at Jenkins’ personal history before he committed the heinous crime of murdering his wife. To Megan he was caring, affectionate, and sympathetic, while to others (such as Megan's best friend) he was manipulative and seemed a bit “off.” Discussing his upbringing in television, his money, and initially what drove him to brutally murder his wife with people who knew him personally tells a unique story while shining light on the facts and his actions.  

Another episode exposes the sad story of one of the hosts. Linkletter’s first degree experience was with her old best friend Chunga, who commited a murderous crime.

In an effort to steal drugs from another student, Mathew (who Linkletter also knew), Chunga attempted to murder him and succeeded in murdering his 70-year-old grandma. Not only do the hosts tell the disgusting and shocking story, but they shine light on the opioid epidemic and drug problem that played a large role in this case--something that is far too often overlooked by police investigators.

“It’s interesting because when you hear a lot of these podcasts or watch these true crime shows you're always hearing from a detective or something after the fact,” said Vanek. “We don't get that many insights into people before these gruesome acts happen and seeing into their personal lives because, we’re still human.”


Variety Magazine honors three at Power of Young Hollywood Event

On Tuesday, Aug. 28, in West Hollywood’s Sunset Tower Hotel, Variety Magazine honored comedian Pete Davidson, musician Shawn Mendes, and actress Amandla Stenberg at their annual Power of Young Hollywood event. The event serves to bring light to the achievements and influences of the younger generation of Hollywood. Variety also recognized Riverdale actress, Lili Reinhart, for her activism on body positivity and mental health awareness, with the H&M Conscious Award.

At just twenty years old, comedian, Pete Davidson, was one of the youngest cast members in the history of Saturday Night Live. Although not in attendance, Davidson was one of the honorees at the Power of Young Hollywood event. Now at twenty-four, Davidson has continued to serve as a cast member on the popular late night comedy special for the past four years, and has used his painful life experiences as inspiration for his work. At age seven, Davidson’s father, a firefighter, lost his life in the attacks on 9/11. Since then, Davidson has struggled with mental illness and suicidal ideations. He uses his personal life in his stand-up comedy and appearances on Saturday Night Live’s “Weekend Update,” where he has spoken about his father’s death, his drug use, and his struggle with mental health. Most recently, Davidson has been in the public spotlight for his engagement to pop singer, Ariana Grande. Despite all this fame and popularity, in his interview with Variety Magazine, Davidson told a fan, “I’m not a celebrity.”

Beginning by posting six second singing videos on Vine, twenty year-old Canadian musician, Shawn Mendes was also honored at Variety’s Power of Young Hollywood. Much like another young Canadian musician, Justin Bieber, Mendes was discovered by his manager, Andrew Gertler, via YouTube. By early 2014, Mendes had already accrued four thousand followers on Twitter and almost one million followers on Vine. Gertler told Variety, “he was so inquisitive and willing to learn. That humility — ‘How do I do this?’ — told me this is a once-in-a-lifetime artist, that this kid is going to do anything in his power to be great.” At fifteen, Mendes’ first single “Life of the Party” hit number one on the iTunes chart. After opening for several artists, such as Taylor Swift, Mendes began touring as a headliner, and released his second album “Illuminate.” As for Mendes’ personal life, Mendes told Variety, “I want to push myself to my limit of what I can handle and play as many shows and write as many songs as I can and fly around the world 10,000 times in a year, pushing myself to the point where it seems crazy.”

In 2012, then fourteen year-old actress, Amandla Stenberg broke through into Hollywood’s critical eye as Rue in the “The Hunger Games.” Immediately facing racially based criticism for her role, Stenberg has continued to work as an actress and activist. Since her breakthrough role, Stenberg has been increasingly active about using her platform and influence to call attention to the need for diversity and representation in Hollywood. When Marvel approached her for an audition for the role of Shuri in “Black Panther,” Stenberg ultimately decided to abandon her pursuit of the role. As a biracial actress, Stenberg saw the importance of young dark-skinned girls seeing themselves represented in a place of power on the big screen. Stenberg told Variety, “That was not a space that I should have taken up.” Stenberg works to increase diversity seen on the silver screen. Her role in the film, “The Darkest Minds,” was originally written as white. Stenberg told Variety that it was important that the standard dystopian narrative was now being told through the eyes of a black woman. This past summer, Stenberg also came out as gay, telling Variety, “I wanted to be transparent about who I was and stand with pride and hopefully, through that, make other people feel proud of their identities.” Stenberg also stands with the Time’s Up movement, and will only sign onto projects where half of the crew on sets are non-white and female.

At Power of Young Hollywood, Variety reported many young influencers mingling and enjoying themselves while honoring the achievements of their peers.


Selena Gomez fights to end modern day sex slavery

“Abolish slavery everywhere, forever.” This is the mission and slogan of A21, an organization celebrity-singer Selena Gomez has recently become vocal about as an intern working for the non-profit. The goals of A21 are to put an end to human trafficking and end all slavery. In an interview with Elle Magazine, Gomez said, “I can’t be silent about this... The idea of human trafficking to me is... I’m flabbergasted.”

According to the A21 website, human trafficking is one of the fastest-growing criminal industries, making more than $150 billion every year. Gomez, who is currently working on a new album after moving and changing the pace of her life, has been volunteering and interning with A21 since March of this year. Their goal is to stop human trafficking in all forms, which includes sex trafficking, forced labor and child soldiers.

Gomez’s goal in doing her interview with Elle was to spread the word and help strengthen this organization, as well as promote some of her new music and her new fashion line with Coach. Instead, the interview focused on Gomez’s personal life: church, both her intimate relationships as well as her friendship with long-time friend Demi Lovato who recently overdosed, and unreleased lyrics to some of her new songs. Gomez quickly took to her Instagram to clarify, “I understand that reporters are working to grab the attention of a reader, however I will always work to ensure that what is public represents my truth,” Gomez said. “I’m a bit bummed but rarely surprised.”

While sometimes thought of as problem of the past, or a problem for third-world countries, human trafficking hits much closer to home today than it appears. According to Humantraffickinghotline.org, the statistics for human trafficking in 2017 in America show that 1,305 cases were tracked in California, followed by 792 cases in Texas. However, this statistic is only based on calls received and cases reported, not able to include cases unreported.

This form of modern day slavery continues to get closer with some cases being reported in Sonoma County. According to the Press Democrat, a man and his mother were charged with human trafficking in Santa Rosa in February of this year. The mother-son duo have been running a sex trafficking ring out of their home for a decade and were expanding to a home in Rohnert Park when police were tipped off by property management. One of the girls who was recruited into the prostitution ring was a child, the Press Democrat reported.

This story was broken just a month after a local girl came forward to the press with her own story of human trafficking also taking place in Sonoma County. Argus-Courier reported the story of Maya Babow, a Petaluma resident who faced years of sex trafficking after being seduced by an abductor at the age of 12. Babow, now 21, said, “I was so discombobulated and scared and tired and hurt. I’d do anything for food and water … it was a cycle of men and sleep and being forced to have sex and people beating me.” Babow hopes that by telling her story, she’ll raise awareness of human trafficking, especially at the local level.

Petaluma Police Detective Sgt. Paul Gilman told the Argus-Courtier, “Generally what we’ll see is someone trafficked from a nearby jurisdiction for the purposes of having underage sex and that person doesn’t have a way out. They’re stuck in the lifestyle due to separation from family and controlled through narcotics and stuff like that.”

After a long 2017 for Gomez, she found herself at an orientation for A21 to end all human trafficking everywhere. “I know my voice is very prominent, but I’m not careless with it” Gomez said. “I’m selective.”

Actor Ashton Kutcher has used his platform to also shine the light on A21 in hopes to end modern slavery. Many other celebrities have supported similar organizations like the HRC- Human Rights Campaign. Some of these other big names include George Clooney, Lady Gaga, Whoopi Goldberg, Brad Pitt, Chelsea Clinton and many others according to the hrc.org. For more information on these organizations, what they do, and how to help, visit A21.org or HRC.org.


Slim Shady is Back with a Vengeance

“Tried not to overthink this 1,” Eminem tweeted on August 31st after unexpectedly releasing his 10th studio album, Kamikaze. Treating fans to a transformed sound that delivers the Detroit Rapper’s attitude driven flow, Eminem responds to his haters, throwing shade at those that bashed his rather dull 2017 project, Revival.


With 10 studio albums under his belt, Eminem has remained one of the most significant figures in Rap. From 1999’s The Slim Shady LP to 2009’s Relapse, Eminem’s angry Rap flow has accumulated over 10 Grammy’s. Visiting the thoughts and emotions of the rapper’s life once touched by drugs and violence in his early projects, Shady’s albums take a unique turn as we entered the 2010’s.


Eminem’s 2010 album, Recovery, steered the rapper into the pop genre. While the project focused on Shady’s battle with depression and drug use, the rapper shied away from authentic 90’s rap, featuring pop singer Rihanna on the song “Love The Way You Lie” and P!nk on “Won’t Back Down.” The album prospered, setting the tone for Eminem’s 2013 album, The Marshall Mathers LP 2, featuring several pop artists including Sia, Rihanna, and FUN’s Nate Ruess.


Slim Shady’s 2017 album, Revival, served as a disappointment to many. Although the album was loaded with notable features, Eminem’s bland production and spiceless hooks left fans uninspired and confused. While the album focuses on Donald Trump and police brutality, Eminem failed to deliver his once electrifying 2000’s flow that we once appreciated.


Fans definitely weren’t sure what to expect when Eminem dropped Kamikaze a couple of weeks ago. The message of track #1, “The Ringer,” is clear: Shady is angry! Marshall successfully brings his original uptempo flow back to life, dissing all the “haters” in his path behind a powerful backbeat. “Do you have any idea how much I hate this choppy flow...I can see why people like Lil Yachty, but not me though,” Eminem proclaims as he disses the style of today’s “mumble rappers”.  


My personal favorite on the album is track #3 “Lucky You,” featuring Joyner Lucas. The modern trap production creates a sound by Eminem that fans aren’t used to.  “Hatata batata, why don't we make a bunch of f***** songs about nothin' and mumble 'em!” Shady exclaims as he imitates today’s triplet flow often used by Migos and Future.

Eminem shames several rappers in Kamikaze, especially on the track “Not Alike,”  featuring Royce Da 5’9. Using the Tay Keith beat from the song “Look Alive,” by Drake, Shady calls out rappers Machine Gun Kelly. “And I'm talkin' to you, but you already know who the fuck you are, Kelly,” Marshall raps. “I don't use sublims and sure as f*** don't sneak-diss. But keep commenting on my daughter Hailie.” This verse snippet fires shots directly at Kelly, who made inappropriate comments about Eminem’s daughter, Halie, on Twitter back in 2012.


As a response, MGK quickly responded on his track, “Rap Devil.” “Mad about something I said in 2012,” Kelly raps. “Took you six years and a surprise album just to come with a diss. Homie we get it, we know that you're the greatest rapper alive. F***** dweeb, all you do is read the dictionary and stay inside.”


Eminem responds to his haters in Kamikaze, successfully crossing over his classic flow with modern trap beats.


"RBG"-an Intimate look into the life of the Supreme Court Justic

The Notorious RBG, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, features in an all new documentary on CNN, “RBG.” This documentary goes to great lengths to provide intimate detail of the Supreme Court Justices’ successful career, while also expressing a witty, endearing and engaging personality. Politicians stereotypically work which in turn Ginsburg makes work the one priority in her everyday life.

The atmosphere conveyed throughout “RBG” may be interpreted as motivating for women because of marty ginsburg, RBG's then husband, was a very encouraging partner due to his understanding of her decision to prioritize herself and career. While understanding Ginsburg’s decision to prioritize her career and herself as an individual, which was uncommon during the 50’s. Having a supportive partner has lead the Justice to flourish in her career, leading her to the top tier of the political scale. because of marty ginsburg, RBG's then husband, was a very encouraging partner due to his understanding of her decision to prioritize herself and career.

Many advocates of changing the system are in full support of Ginsburg. As she was nominated by President Bill Clinton, a democratic president, has used her supremacy to fight for women’s rights, gender equality and also fighting for the rights of minorities.

Erin Chazer, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Alumni and Political Science major stated, “I saw the documentary in theaters when it first came out and I was awed. She has done so much in her life and overcome so much prejudice. But even more so she fundamentally changed the country we live in to make it a more equal place to help others overcome prejudice. If you are at all interested in seeing how women and minorities and any marginalized group moved forward in this world, I highly recommend the documentary about a woman who was in the center of it.”

Through being an icon she has become a political internet meme supporting the case of the Shelby County v Holder. Tumblr blogs have been made quoting her feminist phrases and expressing her importance to the country to something more relatable to high school and college students. Several skits on Saturday Night Live admire and praise Ginsburg for her “badass gangster-like” boldness. Ginsburg has expressed phrases such as, “When I'm sometimes asked when will there be enough [women on the Supreme Court] and I say, 'When there are nine,' people are shocked. But there'd been nine men, and nobody's ever raised a question about that.” She can be seen on t-shirts, hats and most importantly her upcoming film.

The upcoming film by Focus Features, On the Basis of Sex, coming out Dec. 25th, concentrates on a young Ginsburg, played by Felicity Jones, life experience as a lawyer battling for equal rights. Alongside her husband Marty Ginsburg, played by Armie Hammer, together working on the case of gender discrimination that changed society's future in the Supreme Court. The release of this film will be celebrated on her 25 year anniversary  on the supreme court, now with a new perspective of what she has done prior to being a supreme court justice.