- Harry Styles is selling $26 dollar T-shirts that encourage social distancing, with 100% of the profits going to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.
- Many argue that encouraging people to donate directly or doing so himself would be a better move, rather than losing some of that money to cover production expenses.
- Others took issue with him asking people to buy unnecessary items when so many are financially struggling and worried about those who now have to manufacture and deliver the shirts.
- But fans say this strategy gets people to donate who otherwise wouldn’t have since they’ll receive something in return.
Harry Announces “Stay Home. Stay Safe,” Merch
Singer Harry Styles revealed Tuesday that he was selling t-shirts to help raise funds for those fighting the coronavirus, but his plan was quickly met with some pushback online.
For $26, fans can get a white tee with a black slogan printed on the front and back. The front reads,“’Stay home. Stay safe. Protect each other,’ while the back reads,“’This T-shirt fights COVID-19 treat people with kindness.’
According to the official website where you can pre-order the item, 100% of profits will be donated to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organization, powered by the UN Foundation.
“In times like these, it is more important than ever to remember the power of people,” Styles said in a statement to fans. “If you are able to help, please donate where you can. Stay home, self-isolate, and protect each other.”
People Raise Concerns
While many were excited about the news and rushing to order their shirts, others raised several concerns.
Some argued that encouraging people to donate directly or doing so himself would be a better move, rather than losing some of that money to cover production expenses. Many were also concerned about those who would now have to make and deliver the shirts.
“Quick reminder that 100% of the profits does not = 100% of the cost,” a Twitter user wrote. “ It is more effective for you to donate directly to the charity. You do not need this merch. You do not need to be encouraging factory workers being comissioned to make this.”
Quick reminder that 100% of the profits does not = 100% of the cost. It is more effective for you to donate directly to the charity. You do not need this merch. You do not need to be encouraging factory workers being comissioned to make this.— Emily Linka ♿️🏳️🌈 (@emilylinka) April 7, 2020
“How is making these t shirts safe? what about all the people making these and dispatching them? they’re clearly not ‘staying home’ and ‘staying safe,”’ one user asked, while another wrote, “Don’t people have to go out to work to manufacture these shirts? Isn’t that really contradictory?”
how is making these t shirts safe? what about all the people making these and dispatching them? they’re clearly not ‘staying home’ and ‘staying safe’— A | (@finelineoverhs1) April 7, 2020
I love Harry, and this message, and I know a lot of money is going to be donated which is amazing… but I have to raise the question…don’t people have to go out to work to manufacture these shirts? Isn’t that really contradictory?— aiden ✯ misses Louis (@ToBeSoLounly) April 7, 2020
Others took issue with Styles asking people to buy unnecessary products when so many have lost their jobs and are struggling to pay their bills.
Also, it’s incredibly tone deaf to ask fans to spend even more money now, when most of normal people are struggling to make rent right now. The US has had the biggest surge in unemployment in years, for example. A lot of my friends from the UK are losing their jobs as well.— Leonie (@pinkisloudest) April 7, 2020
or you know as y’all are millionaires you could give the money yourself and not ask to people who might have lost their job to give even more money away.— chloé. W△LLS (@chloe_ledx) April 7, 2020
Fans Defend Harry
But others hit back at the concerns and pointed out that the shirts are not expected to ship until 4-6 weeks after receiving a purchase confirmation, which might signal that manufacturers are holding off on production or slowing it down to ensure safety. However, no information about those details have actually been confirmed or explained.
The shirts are on preorder for 4-6 weeks, and even then it could be extended depending how things develop, so it’s highly likely that those workers ARE staying home right now and that’s why the shirts aren’t being manufacturered and shipped out as we speak— g (@kangawhoo) April 8, 2020
Others supported the strategy, arguing that some people who would not have donated before might do so now because they’ll get something in return.
It’s cause it could encourage people to indirectly donate who wouldn’t otherwise. The UN foundation still gets the money and the person purchasing the shirt feels like they’re getting something in return since people don’t like spending money and not getting something in return— m🍉✨ (@hsmoons) April 8, 2020
The backlash is not completely unexpected since Rita Ora faced similar criticism last month after releasing her own merchandise to raise funds for the same organization.
But this move is also not surprising coming from Styles. Earlier this year, he launched the Treat People With Kindness (TPWK) movement and created a range of merchandise with profits distributed to local charities around the world.
Despite some criticism, most people online generally believe that the intentions behind these merch releases are good and are ultimately benefiting an important cause.
See what others are saying: (PopBuzz) (Forbes) (Independent)
Today in Awesome: Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’s Possible Return and Ways to Help Students
Happy Tuesday! Here are some awesome stories that you should know about today, from potential TV show reboots to organizations doing important work for students.
Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Drama Reboot
The first bit of awesome is the news around a “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”
reboot. Back in March 2019, independent filmmaker Morgan Cooper released this mock-trailer for a re-imagined dramatic take on the popular TV show.
Check out the trailer for yourself because reading about it doesn’t do Cooper’s work the justice it deserves.
According to Hollywood Reporter, the video caught the attention of Will Smith, who then approached Cooper and Universal TV (they own the rights to the show) and got them on board for the drama reboot. The current working name for the project is “Bel-Air.”
The project is still in its early stages, being shopped to streaming services such as HBO and Netflix. HBO Max is where “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” currently resides, although it currently up in the air if that will make any difference in negotiations.
Currently, there is no official date for when the project is expected to officially begin.
Organizations That Fight the Digital Divide
Then let’s talk about some organizations doing good. Despite indications that students are susceptible to COVID-19, schools across the nation have plans to reopen classrooms.
Currently, 12 out of 15 of the largest school districts across the country will be doing school remotely. However, unfortunately, many students affected by the decision experience the “digital divide,” a term used to describe the vast disparity between students who have access to tech and those who don’t.
About 9 million children are expected to have difficulty completing assignments online because of bad internet, while 14% of children are thought to have no internet access at home.
But there are organizations working to combat this issue, particularly during the pandemic, where students are more likely to need at-home internet and access to devices that can be used for at-home school work.
One organization catching attention is EveryoneOn, which works to get brands to offer low-cost data and internet for those who need it, while also trying to connect low-income families with those brands.
Community vs. Covid-19 does similar work and is currently raising $20,000 to give devices to students who are in need. They also provide a way for people to set up their own campaigns to try and raise money to help their communities, many of which have raised thousands on their own.
If you have the ability to donate, check out their websites.
Conservatives Slam Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion Over “WAP” Lyrics
- Cardi B released her new song “WAP,” featuring Megan Thee Stallion, which has prompted a mix of reactions online.
- Some conservatives said the song’s explicit sexual nature sets women back, encourages promiscuity, and is degrading. James P. Bradley, a Republican running for a Congressional seat in California, said it “made me want to pour holy water in my ears.”
- Fans defended the song as empowering and argued that women should not be shamed for talking about or enjoying sex, especially since men in the industry make similar music without the same level of backlash.
- Others were frustrated that Kylie Jenner was featured in the music video, which prompted over 65,000 people to sign a petition asking for her cameo to be removed.
Rapper Cardi B released a new song and music video with Megan Thee Stallion on Friday that took the internet by storm.
The song is called “WAP,” which stands for – well, if you know you know– and it’s already amassed over 59 million views on YouTube as of Monday morning. It’s no secret that the song is explicit and if you’ve spent any time on the internet this weekend, you’ve probably seen a huge range of reactions to it.
Criticism Over Explicit Lyrics
Some were quick to slam the song for its sexual nature. For instance, James P. Bradley, a Republican running for a Congressional seat in California, tweeted: “Cardi B & Megan Thee Stallion are what happens when children are raised without God and without a strong father figure. Their new “song” The #WAP (which i heard accidentally) made me want to pour holy water in my ears and I feel sorry for future girls if this is their role model!.”
DeAnna Lorraine, another Republican and former congressional candidate from California made similar remarks, tweeting: “Cardi B & Megan Thee Stallion just set the entire female gender back by 100 years with their disgusting & vile “WAP” song.”
She even pointed to specific lyrics she took issue with and claimed the song should be banned.
Still, Bradley and Lorraine weren’t alone. Other politicians made similar remarks about the song being degrading and encouraging promiscuity.
All the comments were met with backlash for several reasons, but in general, many pointed to double standards in the music industry since men often sexualize women without the same level of criticism. Others said the song is empowering and that women shouldn’t be shamed for talking about or enjoying sex.
Cardi B, for her part, seems to be enjoying the outrage. She responded to news of conservatives wanting her song banned by saying, “THIS IS KINDA ICONIC AND IM LIVING FOR IT.”
In fact, Cardi and others have even been making jokes about the explicit nature of the song. When Charlemagne tha God pretended to be offended by the lyrics, Cardi issued an “apology” to “all ass eaters.”
“We didn’t want to offend any ass eaters around the world especially offending ya by calling ya a derogatory word such as ‘bottom feeder.’ This have tough us a lesson and we will never do it again,” she teased.
For the most part, however, it seems like many have been loving the song and supporting the two rappers, and all of the outrage over the lyrics has actually just inspired a slew of memes and joking responses.
For example, one user told Lorraine, “If you don’t got that gorilla grip just say dat.”
Meanwhile, music critic Anthony Fantano said, “if you hate WAP, you’re bad at f–king.”
Outrage Over Kylie Jenner
The lyrics weren’t the only reason the rappers faced backlash this weekend. Many were also frustrated by the fact that Kylie Jenner made a cameo appearance in the music video.
At one point in it, the music stops as Jenner walks down a hallway and opens a door. However, she wasn’t the only star who made an appearance. Near the end, artists like Normani, Rosalía, Mulatto, Sukihana, and Rubi Rose were featured, with Normani, in particular, having a dance number.
Still, many felt that Jenner was given too much screen time in comparison or shouldn’t have been included at all. There’s even a change.org petition to have her cameo cut from the video that has over 65,000 signatures.
One user also shared her frustrations about Jenner’s appearance online, writing, “Normani did ALL this and Kylie walked down the hall and opened a door. If that’s not a perfect visual indication of Black women having to do the most and white women do the bare minimum work to get somewhere, I don’t know what it.”
However, Cardi B responded to that post in a series of now-deleted tweets. “Normani is one of the best female artists that dances Like she dances her fuckin ass off!” Cardi wrote. “Why would she open a door? Please tell me how that would make sense? The best of the song is the beat and hook it makes you want to shake your ass.”
She also added, “Not everything is about race,” saying that there are other issues in the world that are, which she speaks on.
Finally, she added, “why did i put Kylie on my music video? She treated my sister and daughter so lovely at her kid bday party. Travis and Set are real close and Kris Jenner have giving [sic] me advice on certain things I ask for and her husband real cool with mine.”
Cardi also agreed with another person’s tweet, which said Normal danced because that is her talent, and Kylie “strutted like a model,” because that’s hers.
Still, others noted that whether you like Jenner or not, her presence got more people talking about the video, which likely brought in even more views as people became curious to see what all the outrage was about.
See what others are saying: (Metro UK) (Junkee) (EOnline)
Twin YouTube Stars Charged With Felonies After Fake Bank Robbery Video
- The Stokes Twins, who have 25 million TikTok followers and 4.8 million YouTuber subscribers, were charged with false imprisonment and swatting on Wednesday in connection to a fake bank robbery prank video they filmed in October 2019.
- In the video, they run around the Irvine, California area dressed in all black, with ski masks and duffle bags full of cash to make it seem like they had just committed a crime.
- The prank resulted in their Uber driver being held at gunpoint by police, who authorities later learned was not involved. Even after police issued the duo a warning, they continued to carry out their prank on the UC Irvine campus.
- Each face a maximum sentence of four years in state prison if convicted on all counts.
Stoke Twins in Trouble
A pair of brothers known online as the Stokes Twins are in serious legal trouble over a fake bank robbery prank video they uploaded to their YouTube channel last year.
The brothers are 23-year-old Alan and Alex Stokes, and they have 4.8 million followers on YouTube, where they post challenge videos, pranks, and other content. They also have over 25 million followers on their joint TikTok account.
On Wednesday the Orange County District Attorney’s office in California announced that they had each been charged in connection with their robbery prank.
The DA’s office said the video at the center of this case was filmed on October 15, 2019. However, in the video, the twins say it was filmed over the course of three days. According to The Hollywood Reporter, it had more than 1.4 million views before it was set to private sometime yesterday. Still, reuploads of the prank have already been posted and shared, along with more details about what happened when it was filmed thanks to a press release from the DA’s office.
What Happens in the Prank Video?
In the video, the pair dresses up in all black with ski masks and duffle bags full of cash to make those around them believe they have just committed a crime. Much of the video is filmed in the Irvine area and UC Irvine campus, where the two run around to catch people’s attention, sometimes tripping and spilling cash onto the ground.
In some parts of the video, they approach strangers and ask for directions to the nearest bank. “Do you know how tight their security is?” one brother says after getting directions from a group of students. “I’m just going to make a large withdrawal if you know what I mean.”
A short time later, they return to anyone they previously approached and offer them money for their help. “Hey man, I just wanted to give you this cause I would have never gotten this without your help,” one brother says.
At other points, they ask people if they can buy their clothes off of them and approach women to ask them out on dates, showing off their bags of cash. They even ask some women to help them commit their fake crimes.
“So I’m actually trying to rob a bank and I’m looking for an attractive female to distract the security guards. Would you be down to do that?” they ask.
The video ends with extra footage from these encounters, where the two explain that it was all a prank and people admit that they saw the cameraman or suspected it was a joke.
Stunt With Uber Driver Goes Wrong
Still, there were some people who didn’t think it was a joke at all. At one point in the video, the twins get into an Uber and the driver quickly becomes uncomfortable by the situation they’ve put him in.
“What is this?” the driver asks. “Uh, our getaway driver just bailed on us so uh,” one twin says.
“We’re going to like a costume party…Could you step on it? Like step on the gas,” they add.
“This is weird. It’s not funny. Okay, I can’t just take this ride. Just get out of my car please.” the driver tells the twins.
According to the DA’s office, a bystander saw this exchange and believed they were attempting to carjack the driver, so they called the police. When authorities responded, they ordered the driver out of the car at gunpoint. He was ultimately released after they determined that he was not involved.
Police also issued a warning to the brothers at that time about how dangerous their conduct was and let them go, which the twins actually include in the video.
When the brothers explain that its a prank, one officer says, “A public prank that gets about 15 police officers in the area hauling butt over here cause you guys are pulling off masks.“
One of the twins explains that he called the non-emergency police number and notified them of the days they would be filming their video. The officer responds with, “This is what’s going to get someone potentially gunstuck or someone hurt. We have people stopping the middle of the street because they’re watching this, guys pulling up ski masks, throwing stuff of the ground, changing clothes.”
One of the brothers explains that most people were laughing and he didn’t expect this to happen, seeming to admit that they took it too far. The officers continue to try to explain the seriousness of the situation to them, with one saying, “Dude, this about what’s going on nowadays. Think about it man you’ve got to be smarter than that.”
“You know better…I want you guys to be creative and do what you want to do, but you’ve got to be smarter than this. What do you think people are going to do? Right, and you’ve lucky you didn’t get any guns drawn at you. You’re absolutely lucky you didn’t get any guns drawn at you.”
The officers remain calm, warning them to be careful and advising them to maybe rent a space or a controlled area for future videos instead. Because the brothers placed this at the end of the video, you might believe that maybe the twins realized what they did wrong and were learning from their mistake.
However, according to the press release, the brothers performed the prank on the University campus four hours after police initially spoke to them.
In fact, they even laugh about how they’ve had the police call on them throughout the day when talking to others that they pranked on campus.
They tell one group of students about the incident with the Uber driver adding, “The Uber driver kicked us out of the car. One minute later, there were like 10 cop cars that pulled out guns on him. They were like rifles. They thought he was the getaway driver guns so they had like 15 guns put up. He’s like ‘I’m not even a part of this.’ So yeah, poor guy.”
What Were They Charged With?
The brothers have each been charged with one felony count of false imprisonment affected by violence, menace, fraud, or deceit, and one misdemeanor count of falsely reporting an emergency, which is often referred to as swatting. They both face a maximum sentence of four years in state prison if convicted on all counts.
When announcing the charges, D.A. Todd Spitzer condemned their actions, saying in a statement, “These were not pranks.”
“These are crimes that could have resulted in someone getting seriously injured or even killed. Law enforcement officers are sworn to protect the public and when someone calls 911 to report an active bank robbery they are going to respond to protect lives. Instead, what they found was some kind of twisted attempt to gain more popularity on the internet by unnecessarily putting members of the public and police officers in danger.”
The brothers have no made any public comments about the charges as of now.