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2015’s Songs Of The Summer (Video)



The Track: "See You Again," by Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth

Why It Stands Out: It's always cool to see artists make it to the big time in unconventional ways, and this track basically marked Charlie Puth's explosion from rising YouTube sensation to true music star. Additionally, and maybe this is just me, I love when Wiz collaborates, and I think it tends to be his best work. (I even loved his little bit in the otherwise-nauseating Maroon 5 single "Payphone" a couple summers back). But this track really stands out for its emotional connection to the film Furious 7, and its standing as the backdrop to a tribute to the late Paul Walker. It's rare that a slower, more emotional track takes over a summer, but "See You Again" has as much of an argument as anything for 2015's song of summer.


The Track: "I Know There's Gonna Be (Good Times)," by Jamie xx ft. Young Thug & Popcaan

Why It Stands Out: Just as "See You Again" marked new territory for Charlie Puth, "Good Times" signifies a new level for Jamie xx, formerly the frontman (if that's an appropriate term for what's effectively "lead producer") for The xx. Even in a brief history in the spotlight, Jamie xx has developed a reputation for mixing up unconventional sounds .That's just what he's done in "Good Times," interspersing his own electronic genius with Popcaan's soulful chorus and verses from Young Thug that exemplify the up-and-coming rapper's insistence on idolizing Lil Wayne. It's a bizarre, entrancing track that's owned the latter half of summer.


The Track: "The Night Is Still Young," by Nicki Minaj

Why It Stands Out: Nicki Minaj's versatility continues to astound, and this track is somehow simultaneously one of the best dance tracks and one of the most bedroom-ready tunes of the summer of 2015. According to survey numbers, just under 40% of us still listen to music during sex (even though to some this might seem a little old fashioned), and the trouble is a lot of modern music doesn't really seem to provide options in this arena. Enter Nicki's track. I don't want to get too far into specific sex habits, but this is the rare modern summer hit that would be just as comfortable in the bedroom as in the club. That alone makes it pretty unique in a summer full of songs blending together.


The Track: "Trap Queen," by Fetty Wap

Why It Stands Out: Talk about a track that came out of nowhere. Signed to his first studio deal in November 2014, Fetty Wap wasted no time bursting onto the scene (and actually released "Trap Queen" last year as well). But it took its time gaining popularity, eventually exploding this summer to help Fetty become arguably the hottest new rapper in the game. Now the guy is topping the charts and posing for Maxim. It's always nice to have a major breakout candidate on the short list of memorable summer tracks.


The Track: "Cheerleader," by Omi (Felix Jaehn remix)

Why It Stands Out: In a recent write-up about "Cheerleader," it was described as "the understated reggae tune that sounds like a vacation in a bottle," and that about says it. If there's a prototypical "summer song" of 2015, this might just be the one. Even saying that seems unfair to Omi, as there is something uniquely relaxing about this track. It's made a bit of a late push to get into the conversation for defining the season, but for me at least it will be one to remember.

It's hard to prop any one of these above the others, but together they make up a nice little sampling of what we've been listening to all summer long.

Earlier this week, an interesting article surfaced suggesting that the summer of 2015 is about come and go without a signature song. “Song of the Summer” has never been an official term, of course, but more often than not it seems as if we can label one or two tracks that have defined the season. The last three summers, for example, have had pretty clear-cut defining tunes. In 2014, it was “Fancy” by Iggy Azalea; in 2013, “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke; and in 2012, the world was introduced to Carly Rae Jepsen as “Call Me Maybe” was basically the only song on the radio for three solid months.

So far, no such track has defined the summer of 2015. Instead, there's been a batch of songs that have stayed popular and circled around each other vying for 2015 summer supremacy. Here are some of the tracks defining this summer together, and why they stand out in a season without a single one rising above the rest.

Film & Television

Why Did Michaela Coel Walk Away From a $1 Million Dollar Deal with Netflix?



Michaela Coel, the star of HBO’s hit series I May Destroy You had to decline Netflix’s $1 million offer after the streaming giant refused to allow her to retain “at least 5 percent of her rights” for the show.

Coel’s success in the U.S. is largely credited to Netflix. The streamer was the U.S. distributor of Coel’s acclaimed comedy series Chewing Gum. Netflix also housed a feature musical titled Been So Long in which Coel was the lead, as well as the drama series Black Earth Rising. Coel also starred in an Emmy-winning episode of Black Mirror, also distributed by Netflix. So, naturally, Coel’s history with the streaming platform made it the premier destination for her new project. After a short negotiation with a Netflix executive, however, Coel had to find a different home for I May Destroy You in order to maintain ownership of the series.

According to Vulture, Coel recalled that Netflix made her a $1 million offer for I May Destroy You in spring 2017 but she turned it down. Why? The streamer wouldn’t allow her to retain any percentage of the copyright. Coel even discontinued her relationship with CAA after it “tried to push her to take the deal”.

I May Destry You is based on Coel’s personal experience of being sexually assaulted during the making of Chewing Gum. At the age of 32, Coel is in full creative control of the series as its showrunner, director, star, and writer. She wrote all 12 episodes and co-directed nine, stars as a young writer Arabella struggling to come to terms and process a recent assault.

The series is now streaming on HBO.

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Film & Television

Ava DuVernay and Whoopi Goldberg Elected to The Academy’s Board of Governors



The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has just elected members to its 2020-2021 Board of Governors. Among the six newly elected governors are director Ava DuVernay. EGOT winner Whoopi Goldberg has been re-elected for a second three-year term.

For those not familiar with the work of the Board of Governors, here is a breakdown of how it works and what it does.

Per Oscars official website, The Board of Governors directs the Academy’s strategic vision, preserves the organization’s financial health and assures the fulfillment of its mission.

Governors attend 6-8 board meetings annually (in person or by video). Each Governor also serves on one board oversight committee and their branch’s executive committee, and they are expected to represent their branch at numerous Academy events through the year.

The Academy has a total of 18 branches, including the actors branch and directors branch, where Goldberg and DuVernay will serve. Each branch is represented by three governors who are elected for three-year terms.

Since the #OscarSoWhite campaign in 2015, the Academy has been making efforts to increase diversity across the board. After the most recent election, out of 54 governors, the number of female Academy governors increased from 25 to 26, and people of color increased from 11 to 12.

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‘The Old Guard’ Trailer: Kiki Layne and Chitewel Ejiofor Star in Netflix’s Upcoming Action Flick



The streaming giant premiered the new poster for its upcoming action-packed film The Old Guard with Charlize Theron, Kiki Layne, Marwan Kenzari, Luca Marinelli, Harry Melling, Van Veronica Ngo, Matthias Schoenaerts and Chiwetel Ejiofor.

Based on the comic book of the same name from Greg Rucka and Leandro Fernandez, The Old Guard tells the story of a group of centuries-old immortals with a supernatural ability to heal. They are forced to hide their identities to save the world. The order of things gets disrupted when they discover that another immortal has “awakened”.

If Beale Street Could Talk star plays Nile Freeman, the new immortal and a U.S. Marine, recruited by Andy (Theron), the leader of the covert group of tight-knit mercenaries. Nile discovers her supernatural powers after being killed on a mission in the Middle East.

Charlize Theron as Andy, Kiki Layne as Nile

Ejiofor plays Copley, a CIA operative and historian who has figured out the identities of the secret group.

Chiwetel Ejiofor as Copley

The superhero film is directed by Love and Basketball‘s Gina Prince-Bythewood and is set to premiere on Friday, July 10.

Watch the official trailer below.

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