The Spice: 1/14-1/20

Updated: Jan 22, 2019

Did Ariana Grande Steal From Princess Nokia?

Ariana Grande’s song about the six diamond rings she got her friends (“7 Rings”) has been accused of plagiarism. In a Twitter video, Princess Nokia recorded herself listening to a side-by-side comparison of “7 Rings” and her own song “Mine,” from her mixtape 1992. At the end, she says “Ain’t that the lil song I made about brown women and their hair? Hmmm… sounds about white.” To add more fuel to the fire, Princess Nokia also retweeted a tweet that says, “[Ariana Grande’s] new album literally plagiarizes flows, words, bars from Nokia… yo what a shame, millions of dollars and a TEAM of people to make and write your music…”

Given that "Thank U, Next" made so many headlines for its fun approach to addressing exes and "Imagine" is a heartbreaking song about someone so beloved by the industry and listeners, "7 Rings" is disappointing to me. Grande's new release is already problematic for several reasons (I would argue that the music video appropriates several cultures), and these recent plagiarism allegations are certainly not helping.

Netflix Implements its Biggest Price Hike in its 12-Year History

For the fourth time in its 12-year history, Netflix has raised its US monthly subscription prices. Depending on your monthly plan, the price hikes are between 13% and 18%. Without ads to support its growing original content inventory and demand for bigger star power, Netflix is unsurprisingly strapped for cash. People are not upset now, but a recent study has found that the streaming service’s frequent price hikes will alienate subscribers.

Two Snap Executives and One “Inappropriate Relationship”

On January 18, Snap fired Francis Racioppi (Head of Global Security) and Jason Halbert (Human Resources Chief). Such action was taken after an internal investigation found an inappropriate relationship that involved an outside contractor. The investigation found that Racioppi allegedly had an affair with a woman, a Snap employee whom he hired, then fired her as soon as the relationship ended. Although Halbert was not directly involved in the incident, Racioppi reported to Halbert, which was enough to justify his termination at the company. These departures are the most recent in the latest wave of executive exits for Snap and several business missteps. Last week, Snap CFO Tim Stone stepped down after just eight months in the position.

“World’s Cutest Dog” Dies

Boo, a pomeranian and the “World’s Cutest Dog,” died earlier last week, allegedly from a broken heart. His owners shared that their other dog of thirteen years, Buddy, the best friend to Boo, passed away. "We think his heart literally broke when Buddy left us," the owners wrote on Boo’s official Facebook page.

During his life, Boo amassed a following of 16 million followers on Facebook, made various TV appearances, and even released a book.

Water Under the Bridge for Kim Kardashian and Taylor Swift

With the release of her new makeup product, Kim Kardashian posted to Instagram a video of herself listening to Taylor Swift’s “Delicate.” This caused a bit of a stir, as the last time those two made headlines was when Kardashian West released a recording of Swift approving Kanye West’s “Famous” lyrics about her.

Kardashian West is known to hold a fucking grudge, so this seemed fake.. Kardashian West is known to hold a fucking grudge. But then I remembered her appearance on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen. During the “Squash that Beef!” segment, Cohen asked Kardashian West, “Kim, you and Taylor Swift — still a beef with Taylor after all that went down?”

She claimed she was “over it.” She even revealed that she would rather be stuck with Swift than Drake in an elevator, an answer likely due to the recent argument between West and Drake.

Bad Blood: Gisele Bundchen and Tereza Cristina Dias

While her husband celebrated his advancement to the Super Bowl on Sunday, Brazilian supermodel and environmental activist, Gisele Bundchen, found herself caught in a feud with Brazil’s Agriculture Minister, Tereza Cristina Dias.

The drama began when the Minister accused Bundchen of ruining the country’s reputation abroad. Dias called her a “bad Brazilian” for criticizing deforestation and said she should be focused on promoting Brazil’s agriculture and economy.

Bundchen responded on Wednesday with a statement that said she would “be happy to announce positive actions” taken toward sustainable development. She continued to clarify that her criticisms of deforestation in Brazil have all been supported by science.

R. Kelly Dropped by Sony

Last week, R. Kelly and Sony agreed to end their relationship. The musician was also taken down from the RCA website. This news follows the release of the Lifetime documentary Surviving R. Kelly, which takes a detailed look at the allegations of sexual misconduct against the singer.

In the early 1990s, Kelly was signed to Jive. When Jive was brought under Sony BMG, the singer became a part of the Sony umbrella. He has been a member of RCA, a Sony subsidiary, since 2012.

The debut of the Lifetime series sparked protests against Kelly, a broad movement called #MuteRKelly. These protests have been held outside the Manhattan Sony building. In addition, artists such as Lady Gaga, Chance the Rapper, and Celine Dion have apologized for collaborating with Kelly.

Despite parting ways with the record label, Kelly will be able to keep his work from his partnership with RCA/Sony on digital retailers and streaming services.

New Year, New "Family Guy"

It’s 2019, and the Family Guy producers have decided that it’s time to phase out gay jokes.

In an episode that premiered two weeks ago, the Fox animated series focused on Donald Trump.

The main character, dad Peter Griffin, recounts his time as Trump’s latest press secretary. Between the gags, Griffin quickly mentions to Trump that “Family Guy” is “trying to phase out” gay jokes.

Last week, the producers of the show, Alec Sulkin and Rich Appel, confirmed to TVLine that this is true.

“If you look at a show from 2005 or 2006 and put it side by side with a show from 2018 or 2019, they’re going to have a few differences,” Sulkin said. “Some of the things we felt comfortable saying and joking about back then, we now understand is not acceptable.”

He continued to assure that this was not a reaction to the current PC culture, but rather a recognition that the climate has changed.

“The climate is different, the culture is different and our views are different,” Appel said. “They’ve been shaped by the reality around us, so I think the show has to shift and evolve in a lot of different ways.”

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