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Lady Gaga Schooled Everyone On How to Make a Political Statement ❤️🏈🎤🙌🏽

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There’s no need for an instant replay of Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl 51 halftime performance. Drones. Aerial stunts. The mic drop. We all saw it.

The 30-year-old pop star blew the roof off the NRG Stadium in Houston Sunday night and electrified the audience with a spellbinding performance that subtly schooled America, and pretty much the rest of the viewing world, on how to properly make a political statement.

As the days leading to Gaga’s halftime moment unfolded, speculation brewed heavy of whether or not the unpredictable performer would address the tumultuous political climate in the United States.

The artist has never let a moment slip to make a pitch for a cause in the past. In 2010, she walked the MTV Video Music Awards red carpet with four military service members affected by the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on gay and lesbian service members. That same night she changed into a raw meat dress to urge the military not to discriminate against gay men and lesbians from serving in the army. She told British Vogue she chose to wear the controversial dress to point out the law prevented the military from enjoying “the greatest cut of meat” America has to offer. In 2016, Gaga shared the stage during her performance at the Oscars with 52 survivors of sexual assault to raise awareness that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 20 men will be raped by the time they finish college.

At the halftime extravaganza, however, Gaga ultimately took a more insidious approach in expressing her passion for inclusivity of all people. She didn’t make a direct statement opposing the current state of political affairs. Instead, she kept a political poker face by practicing what she preaches.

Starting off the 13-minute set with “God Bless America” and “This Land Is Your Land,” she reminded people that our nation belongs to everyone.

She reminded people to accept and embrace themselves and others with “Born This Way.” Over 100 million people watched her sing and dance to celebrate these lyrics:

You’re black, white, beige, chola descent

You’re Lebanese, you’re Orient

Whether life’s disabilities

Left you outcast, bullied, or teased

Rejoice and love yourself today

‘Cause baby you were born this way

No matter gay, straight, or bi

Lesbian, transgendered life

Despite how people may feel during this divided time, Gaga reminded everyone to just dance and that everything will be okay with her hit “Just Dance.”

Instead of shoving her personal views down everyone’s throat like most people do all over social media, Gaga normalized equality and acceptance and lead by example. She captivated everyone with a stellar performance. In a recent interview with Michael Strahan, Gaga said:

“I have an opportunity with this performance to show a different part of this country that those who think that they are so different from me and my fans — to see that our hearts are really the same.”

That’s how you make America great again! We just have to remind people that we’re not all that different from one another. Our actions have to unite people to demonstrate that everyone matters. We need to make the people around us feel good and feel safe — not different or threatened.

It should be easy.

Making America great again doesn’t come from pushing your views down someone’s throat and trying to force them to see things your way. It doesn’t come from a political post on Facebook. It comes from our actions. Gaga figured it out. Everyone expected her to do something controversial. While on the world’s biggest stage, she chose not to divide people with a message that could come across as threatening to people who don’t see the world the same way she sees the world. She knows the world is divided enough. She knows that if you want others to see things your way, or at least consider it, then you should let your actions lead the way. People have a better chance at following examples when they’re not forced to see things a certain way. When someone can see for themselves that the result of practicing certain views leads to a positive impact, they’re more likely to follow. It’s human nature to want to figure something out on our own — but sometimes we need some guidance from someone who is brave and strong.

Thank you for this lesson, Lady Gaga. Here’s to hoping people will take note.

Pop Culture

George Clooney Donates $500,000 and Pledges to March in Student-Led Gun Control March

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Reuters

Thousands of teenagers are taking matters into their own hands after last week’s shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, replaced Columbine as the deadliest high school shooting on American soil. Outspokenly unwilling to sit on their asses and wait for adults to do something to help prevent more massacres from taking place, they’re advocating for stricter gun laws and more mental health resources for treating their peers, swiftly mobilizing in a way that is commanding attention of the world.

Calls to action have spread across social media, from school walkouts to a march on Washington.

Student organizers got the surprise of their lives when George Clooney donated half-a-million dollars in support. The actor even pledged that he’d be there, alongside wife Amal.

Facebook

“The mission and focus of March For Our Lives is to demand that a comprehensive and effective bill be immediately brought before Congress to address these gun issues,” according to their website. “No special interest group, no political agenda is more critical than timely passage of legislation to effectively address the gun violence issues that are rampant in our country.”

Other celebrities have voiced their support for the students’ efforts on social media, including Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga and Cher.

The March For Our Lives will take place on March 24.

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Haters can say it’s fake, but Justin Timberlake has No. 1 album

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Justin Timberlake snagged the No.1 Spot on the U.S. Billboard 200 album chart with “Man of the Woods,” despite harsh reviews and a Super Bowl halftime show that was deemed underwhelming on social media and by music critics.

“Man of the Woods,” Timberlake’s first studio album since 2013, sold more than 242,000 units in its first week of release, according to Nielsen Music data released on Monday.

The Billboard 200 chart tallies units from album sales, song sales (10 songs equal one album) and streaming activity (1,500 streams equal one album).

“Man of the Woods” marks Timberlake’s fourth Billboard No.1 album and was the biggest-selling album in the U.S. since Taylor Swift’s “Reputation” in December 2017, Billboard said.

It debuted at No.1 after a Feb. 4 Super Bowl performance consisting mostly of Timberlake’s old hits that also featured a controversial segment featuring a huge projection of Prince, who died in 2016.

The former NSYNC singer also took heat on social media for failing to mention, or perform with, Janet Jackson after an infamous 2004 Super Bowl appearance which ended with Timberlake ripping off Jackson’s top and accidentally briefly exposing her breast.

Nevertheless, the Super Bowl and halftime show were watched by some 103 million Americans on television. Nielsen Music reported last week that on-demand audio and video streams for all of the songs performed by Timberlake jumped 45 percent on the day after the game, compared to the day before.

Timberlake, best known for pop tracks like “SexyBack” and “Rock Your Body,” promoted “Man of the Woods” as a country-inspired album that took him back to his Memphis roots.

But the album had few fans among music reviewers. Esquire called it “disappointing” and “kind of embarrassing,” while USA Today said the album “can’t pull off its Americana-pop fusion.”

On the digital Billboard songs chart, which measures online single sales, Timberlake had three songs in the top 20 – “Say Something” featuring Chris Stapleton, “Man of the Woods,” and his 2016 hit “Can’t Stop the Feeling.” Canadian rapper Drake took the top spot with “God’s Plan,” with more than 55,00 units sold.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

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Kanye West settles lawsuit of Saint Pablo tour cancellation

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Kanye West and Lloyd’s of London insurers have resolved a $10 million lawsuit over the rapper’s cancellation of his 2016 tour.

A California federal court judge on Wednesday dismissed the lawsuit brought by West’s Very Good Touring company against syndicates of Lloyd’s of London insurance markets after requests by both parties, court documents showed.

Paul Schrieffer, the attorney representing Lloyd’s, said on Thursday that the dispute “was resolved amicably” but gave no details. West’s attorney did not return a request for comment.

West sued Lloyd’s for nearly $10 million in insurance payouts after he abruptly canceled his Saint Pablo tour in November 2016 with more than 20 shows left.

His lawsuit said he canceled because he was hospitalized with a “serious, debilitating medical condition.” The nature of West’s medical issues, which followed a week of no-shows, curtailed concerts and on-stage political rants, have never been disclosed.

Lloyd’s filed a countersuit saying there were “substantial irregularities” in the rapper’s medical history and noting that its policies exclude any losses caused by the possession or use of illegal drugs, the impact of prescription drugs not used as prescribed, or the use of alcohol.

West has kept a low profile, with few public appearances, since November 2016. He and his wife Kim Kardashian last month announced the arrival of a third child, this time born to a surrogate.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by David Gregorio)

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