- Taylor Swift donated $113,000 to an LGBT rights group in Tennessee.
- The group is specifically fighting several bills that are currently floating in various stages of the state’s government and that will impact the rights of the LGBT community.
Pop star Taylor Swift donated $113,000 dollars on Monday to an LGBT rights group in Tennesse.
Swift’s donation was given to the Tennessee Equality Project, which fights to stop anti-LGBT legislation from passing within the state, and aims to educate the community on equality.
TEP’s Executive Director, Chris Sanders, posted news of Swift’s charitable contribution to Facebook. He thanked her for being a long-time ally and said, “she sees our struggle in Tennessee and continues to add her voice with so many good people.”
With his post, he also shared a hand-written letter Swift addressed to him, where she said she was “inspired” by TEP’s work, specifically noting their stance against the “Slate of Hate.”
Anti-LGBT Bills in Tennessee
The “Slate of Hate” Swift mentions in her letter refers to a series of bills proposed in Tennessee’s General Assembly that could negatively impact the LGBT community. TEP created “The People’s Petition Against the Slate of Hate” to fight against them.
These bills include HB1152 and HB836, which both aim to allow adoption agencies to deny services based on religious beliefs, which TEP called “state-sanctioned discrimination.”
The slate also includes HB1369, which is known as “The Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act.” This act defines natural marriage as between a man and a woman and allows courts to void the 2015 Supreme Court ruling that effectively legalized gay marriage.
There are also two pieces of legislation that TEP specifically believes will target the transgender community. The first being HB1151, which is an amendment to the state’s indecent exposure rules that expand it to specifically include incidents in restrooms, fitting rooms, and locker rooms. The TEP called this bill a “devious attempt to criminalize transgender and gender nonconforming people” in these settings.
Then there is also HB1274, which some refer to as the “bathroom bill.” This would require the state’s Attorney General to defend schools that mandate that students and faculty use the bathroom of their “biological sex.” This bill also just passed through Tennesee’s House on Monday.
TEP released a statement on these bills, that was also backed by over 100 religious leaders in the state, ranging from pastors to rabbis.
“As residents of Tennessee, we oppose these bills in the Tennessee General Assembly,” the statement reads. “They promote discrimination rather than justice and demean the worth of LGBTQ people in our state. We call on people of good will to join us in speaking out for basic fairness.”
Reactions to Swift’s Donation
The “Shake it Off” singer’s donation trended online, and was met with positivity.
Ellen Degeneres tweeted her praise.
The Human Rights Campaign thanked her for supporting their “incredible partners.”
Taylor’s Past Political Actions
This hefty donation is not Swift’s first jump into Tennessee politics. Back in October, she made a long post on Instagram about her choice to use her voice for politics and endorsed Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen.
She also encouraged her followers to head to Vote.org to register before the upcoming midterms, which lead to a surge of registrations. The site said they received 65,000 new registrations in the 24 hours after she posted, which is more than they received throughout the whole month of August.
See what others are saying: (Tennessean) (The Hollywood Reporter) (Jezebel)
Paramount+ To Launch March 4
- ViacomCBS is launching Paramount+ in the United States and Latin America on March 4 before rolling out to other markets internationally later this year.
- The streaming service will be a relaunch and expansion of CBS All Access. It will include content from Nickelodeon, MTV, and more on top of the CBS-focused selection.
Paramount+ Gets Launch Date
ViacomCBS will be launching its streaming service Paramount+ in the U.S. and Latin America on March 4 before rolling out in more countries throughout the year.
It will be an expansion and rebrand of CBS All Access, the service the company currently offers that is used by nearly 8 million subscribers. Paramount+ will go beyond the CBS-centric content promoted there, including works from brands like Nickelodeon, MTV, BET, Comedy Central, and the Smithsonian Channel.
More details about their streaming strategy will be released during an investor event on February 24. Right now, ViacomCBS is boasting that the service will have over 30,000 episodes and movies in their catalog, which will also include live sports and breaking news.
“The Paramount brand is known and loved all around the world, and is synonymous with great entertainment. It’s always brought people together, which makes it a perfect fit for a streaming service that’s uniquely positioned to do the same,” Josh Line the chief brand officer of ViacomCBS said during a brand announcement in September. “The Paramount+ streaming service will elevate ViacomCBS’ iconic family of brands.”
State of the Streaming Wars
Paramount+ has already announced a slew of original projects including a revival of “iCarly” and a series about the making of “The Godfather” titled “The Offer.”
The service is entering an already crowded battlefield as the streaming wars wages on. It will have plenty of uphill battles to fight since brand recognition for Paramount is not nearly as strong as it is for studios like Disney or NBCUniversal. It will also have to compete with Netflix, which leads the pack in subscribers and unveils new content regularly; HBO Max, which will be home to Warner Media’s new theatrical releases; and Hulu, which hosts original content as well as shows currently airing on cable and network television.
ViacomCBS has not released information on pricing, but that will likely come during or before the February investor event.
Olivia Rodrigo Smashes Records with “drivers license”
- Olivia Rodrigo’s debut single “drivers license” has set multiple records on Spotify, becoming both the most streamed song in one day for non-holiday music and the most streamed song in a week.
- It also has become the most globally requested song on Alexa in one day on Amazon Music.
- After its Jan. 8 release, the song became a trending audio on TikTok. Since TikTok’s rise to popularity, the app has helped many songs reach viral success at lightning speed.
“driver’s license” Breaks Records
At just 17-year-old, Olivia Rodrigo is smashing records with her new single “drivers license” after debuting the tune on Jan. 8.
On Friday, Spotify announced the single set the record for most streams in a week. Prior to this, it set the record for most streams on the platform in one day for a non-holiday song.
As of Monday morning, the song has over 125 million plays on Spotify. According to Pop Crave, it was also the fastest song to reach 100 million streams on the popular music service.
Over on Amazon Music, “drivers license” became the most globally requested song on Alexa in a single day. It also became the biggest global streaming debut on the site.
Song Goes Viral on TikTok
Rodrigo is best known for her role as Nini on “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.” She has also appeared in a variety of other Disney projects where she showcased her singing and songwriting capabilities. In “drivers license,” she croons about using the newly minted independence her license affords her to mourn a recent breakup.
The pop ballad has become a popular audio on TikTok. Many use it for dances, to discuss the possibility that Rodrigo wrote it about her co-star Joshua Bassett, or to just wallow in its lyrics. It has been used by some of the app’s most popular creators, including Charli D’Amelio.
Its success on the platform has likely contributed to its success on streaming platforms and charts. The app has had an immeasurable impact on the music industry by helping songs and artists reach the mainstream at lightning speed. Hits like “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X first found a home on TikTok before breaking records on the billboard charts.
Rodrigo has been happy and surprised to see her song perform so well and be so positively received.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I expect this,” she wrote on Instagram after learning that “drivers license” was the number one song on global iTunes charts. “thank u guys so much for listening. I can’t believe this is real life.”
See what others are saying: (Teen Vogue) (CBS News) (Billboard)
Chris Evans Dismisses Reports of His Possible MCU Return
- Deadline published an article Thursday reporting that Chris Evans was in talks to return to his role as Captain American for at least one future Marvel production.
- The news was unexpected as Evans retired from the role following 2019’s “Avengers: Endgame.”
- After the rumor became a trending topic, Evans tweeted, “News to me.”
Deadline Reports Evans Is Coming Back to the MCU
According to Deadline, actor Chris Evans is in talks to return to his iconic role as Captain America in at least one upcoming Marvel project.
However, according to Evans himself, that rumor is “news to me.”
Evans trended online Thursday following Deadline’s report, which stated that the actor could return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in up to two projects.
Reportedly, the roles would not be for an Evans-led “Captain America” film; rather, they would be more akin to Robert Downey Jr’s role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe post-“Iron Man 3.”
Evans Said Goodbye To Captain America in 2019
Evans’ subsequent tweet appears to indicate that the actor has no plans to return as Captain America.
Indeed, the reports of Evans’ return were unexpected as the actor has been vocal about 2019’s “Avengers: Endgame” being his last outing as the character.
“Officially wrapped on Avengers 4,” Evans said in 2018. “It was an emotional day to say the least. Playing this role over the last 8 years has been an honor. To everyone in front of the camera, behind the camera, and in the audience, thank you for the memories! Eternally grateful.”
In addition to Evans’ own desire to retire from the role, the character of Captain America (AKA, Steve Rogers) was given a firm conclusion in “Endgame.”
In its original article, Deadline explained that while Evans was initially adamant about not returning to the role, he has been more open to the idea in recent months.
So far, Marvel has not confirmed or denied the reports, but it might not be unfathomable to think that Evans’ could return to the role at some point, even if Thursday’s rumors are false.
For example, Downey Jr. is set to briefly reprise his role as Iron Man in Scarlett Johansson’s upcoming “Black Widow,” despite Downey Jr also retiring from his role in “Endgame.”