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While Some Celebrities Protest and Donate, Others Get Slammed for Silence

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  • Celebrities like Ariana Grande, Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx, and more attended protests all over the country following the killing of George Floyd. 
  • Others, like Beyonce and Rihanna, made statements calling for justice, while stars like Chrissy Teigen, promised to donate to bail funds for protesters who get arrested. 
  • But many stars were slammed for their silence and YouTuber Jake Paul was criticized for appearing in videos of looters at an Arizona protest.
  • CNN Anchor Don Lemon went on a viral rant calling out wealthy celebrities who are choosing silence while younger people with less influence are leading the charge.

Celebrities Attend Protests

While some celebrities took to the streets to call for justice after the death of George Floyd, others were slammed for inaction or poor responses to the news. 

Saturday’s rallies in West Hollywood and Beverly Hills saw big names in attendance, like singer Ariana Grande and actors like Tess Thompson and Michael B. Jordan. Grande and Thompson both posted footage of the protests on social media, showing the peaceful nature that they started with. 

Singer Halsey also attended Saturday’s protest, where she says she was hit with rubber bullets. When she attended a protest in Santa Monica on Sunday, she said she brought medical help for those who might need it.

Actor Timothee Chalamet also attended the Santa Monica protest and posted footage of it on his Instagram story. 

Photo via Instagram: @tchalamet

Many were seen taking a stand around the rest of the country. Protesters shared photos of J. Cole marching in North Carolina and Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello in Miami. Jamie Foxx spoke at a rally in Minneapolis, the city where Floyd was killed. 

“All I wanted to do is let you know that we’re not afraid to stand, we’re not afraid to stand. We’re not afraid of the moment,” he told a crowd. 

Statements and Donations

Protesting was not the only way celebrities showed their support. Many spoke out on social media, including Rihanna who wrote about Floyd on Instagram. 

“I can’t shake this!” the singer wrote. 

View this post on Instagram

For the last few days, the magnitude of devastation, anger, sadness I’ve felt has been overwhelming to say the least! Watching my people get murdered and lynched day after day pushed me to a heavy place in my heart! To the point of staying away from socials, just to avoid hearing the blood curdling agony in George Floyd’s voice again, begging over and over for his life!!! The look of enticement, the pure joy and climax on the face of this bigot, murderer, thug, pig, bum, Derek Chauvin, haunts me!! I can’t shake this! I can’t get over an ambulance pulling up to an arrest, a paramedic checking a pulse without removing the very thing that’s hindering it! Is this that fucking normal??? If intentional MURDER is the fit consequence for “drugs” or “resisting arrest”….then what’s the fit consequence for MURDER???! #GeorgeFloyd #AhmaudArbery #BreonnaTaylor

A post shared by badgalriri (@badgalriri) on May 29, 2020 at 8:10pm PDT

//www.instagram.com/embed.js

“If intentional MURDER is the fit consequence for “drugs” or “resisting arrest”….then what’s the fit consequence for MURDER???!” she continued. 

Beyonce also posted a video on Instagram where she encouraged her followers to sign a petition demanding justice for Floyd. 

//www.instagram.com/embed.js

“We all witnessed his murder in broad daylight. We’re broken and disgusted,” Beyonce said. “We cannot normalize this pain. I’m not only speaking to people of color. If you’re white, black, brown and anything in between, I’m sure you feel hopeless by the racism going on in America right now. No more senseless killings of human beings.”

TikTok star Charli D’Amelio also posted a video saying that as an influencer, she feels it is her job to call out and discuss racial injustice.

“We all have a voice, we need to stand up for what is right and stick together,” D’Amilio said.

Other stars opened their checkbooks for the cause. Chrissy Teigen tweeted that she would be committing $100,000 to bailout funds for protesters who get arrested across the country. When people criticized her choice to donate, she doubled the number of money she planned on sending. 

Actors like Seth Rogan, Ben Schwartz and Steve Carell also joined a Twitter chain to match a donation to the Minnesota Freedom Fund. 

Backlash to Responses

That donation train did receive some backlash because the donation they were matching was $50. Many thought that, given their wealth and platforms, they could be contributing more. Some said they should be matching donations as high as Teigen’s.

Rogan later added that he donated more than the $50. 

Celebrities faced heat for other reasons, including YouTuber Jake Paul. Paul was seen in videos at a mall where people were looting in connection to a protest. Many accused him of going to the protests with the intention of collecting vlog footage, Others accused him of partaking in the looting. 

On Sunday night, he posted a statement claiming that he did not partake in the looting and went so he could document and share what he saw at what started out as a peaceful protest. 

“I do not condone violence, looting or breaking the law; however I understand the anger and frustration that led to the destruction we witnessed,” he added. 

Don Lemon Calls Out Wealthy Elite

Celebrities who have stayed silent about the matter have found themself in some of the hottest water, though. On Saturday night, CNN anchor Don Lemon called out those with power, money and privilege who have chosen to not use their voices while young people with nothing to their names are leading the charge. He aimed his message specifically at black leaders and Hollywood elites. 

“A lot of the people I ask to come on this show to talk about this, wealthy celebrities, wealthy political people, say, ‘I can’t, I won’t do it, I’m mad, I don’t want people to see me mad. It might hurt my business or I’m so upset that I had to go to my country house and I just can’t do it.’” Lemon said. 

“Where are you? Why aren’t you fighting for these young people?” he continued. “If you don’t do it know, when are you going to doit? If you are a millionaire or a gaziollionare or a movie star or a politician and you don’t step up now, when the hell are you going to do it?” 

He added that while it is helpful that some are donating, it is still not enough. Lemon believes those who can should speak up and bring visibility to the issue so that their followers have something to turn to. 

“If they see you out there, then they know there is that person like me. There is that Oprah like me.There is that Jay-Z like me. There is that Colin Kapernick like me who is on television because of the knee and now it is all coming full circle,” Lemon said.

He later went on to call out other stars like Ellen and Tyler Perry as well. He said he was calling out names because he loves them and wants them to do more in this moment.  

See what others are saying: (Variety) (Entertainment Weekly) (CBS News)

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Netflix Passes 200M Subscribers as Other Streamers Struggle With Retention

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  • In a letter to shareholders, Netflix said it has hit over 200 million subscribers following a successful year of growth.
  • The pandemic gave Netflix a significant subscriber boost in March and April. The company continued to perform well even in its final quarter, gaining 8.5 million subscribers when it was only projected to add 6 million.
  • The data also highlights how relatively unaffected Netflix has been by new streaming services entering the market. While companies like Disney+, HBO Max, and Peacock continue to grow, they also struggle to retain the subscribers that sign up.

Netflix Passes 200 Million Subscribers

Netflix has topped 200 million subscribers following a year of strong growth in 2020.

In its Tuesday letter to shareholders, Netflix announced that it added 8.5 million subscribers in its fourth quarter. This exceeds projections, which estimated the streaming giant would only add around 6 million. In total, Netflix gained 37 million new memberships throughout 2020, bringing the company to 203.6 million subscribers.

Pandemic lockdowns gave Netflix a substantial boost in March in April. In the company’s first two quarters, it added a combined 25.7 million subscribers. According to data from the letter, Netflix had added over 10 million more subscribers by May of 2020 than it had by May of 2019.

When it comes to the success of their fourth quarter, Netflix pointed to shows like “Bridgerton” and “The Crown.” The fourth season of “The Crown” hit the platform in November, prompting many to return to older seasons of the show. Netflix claims the series has been viewed by 100 million households since it first aired in 2016.

Success Amid Growth of Competition

The year 2020 could have been a difficult one for Netflix as new streaming services entered the market. Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max, Peacock and more have all made waves with their original programming or by taking some of their brand’s content from Netflix to host on their own site. User-based content on YouTube and TikTok also became increasingly popular throughout the pandemic, further posing as a threat to Netflix. 

Still, it reached a massive milestone. 

“Our strategy is simple: if we can continue to improve Netflix every day to better delight our members, we can be their first choice for streaming entertainment,” Netflix said in the letter. “This past year is a testament to this approach.”

Netflix potentially sees Disney+ as the biggest competitor among new platforms. In its letter, the company noted that the streamer added 87 million subscribers in its first year. In a Q&A, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings seemed enthusiastic about this competition.

“It’s super impressive what Disney’s done,” he said. “It’s going to be great for the world that Disney and Netflix are competing show-by-show, movie-by-movie. We’re very fired up about catching them in family animation, maybe eventually passing them, we’ll see. It’s a long way to go just to catch them, and maintaining our lead in general entertainment that’s so stimulating like ‘Bridgerton,’ which I don’t think you’re going to see on Disney anytime soon.”

Streamers Struggle with Retaining Subscribers

Even as new streamers have had impressive years, there is one hurdle that many are still struggling to jump over: retaining the subscribers who sign up. The Los Angeles Times named Disney+, HBO Max, Peacock, and Apple TV+ in particular, writing that people create accounts with these services, watch the TV shows or movies they are interested in, and cancel once they are done.

An October survey from Deloitte said that 46% of respondents canceled at least one streaming service in the last 6 months, which is up 20% from January of last year. Most who had canceled said they did so because they had finished watching whatever programming it was that brought them to that service. 

Places like Disney+ and HBO Max are really vulnerable to this because they have banked on drawing people in with exclusive marquis titles like “Hamilton” or “Wonder Woman 1984.” However, since they are newer, they are still building their original programming catalog, meaning that people can quickly burn through highlight titles. 

See what others are saying: (Los Angeles Times) (Wall Street Journal) (The Hollywood Reporter)

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Paramount+ To Launch March 4

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  • 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.

See what others are saying: (Variety) (Deadline) (CNBC)

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Olivia Rodrigo Smashes Records with “drivers license”

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  • 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)

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