Minaj responded to tweets from fans late Saturday evening and into the early morning. The series of tweets came after Minaj promoted a contest for a fan to join her at the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas later this month.
The contest had fans tweeting at her with #NickiBBMAs, and eventually escalated into pleas to the multiplatinum artist for help with college tuition fees and student loans.
The requests went beyond tuition and student loans, with some fans asking for less than $1,000 for books and other supplies for school. Minaj appeared to grant those requests, asking for the contact and bank info for some of her fans.
By the end of the evening, Minaj said she would pay for about 30 fans’ college tuition, student loans or other education-related fees. The fees ranged from $500 to books to $6,000 for tuition.
She said she’d make these payments Sunday, “then see if I have any money left.” She also promised to respond to more requests from fans to help pay college fees in a month or two.
Ok u guys. It's been fun. Let me make those payments tmrw then see if I have any money left😂. I'll do some more in a month or 2. 😘😘😘💋💋💋💕💕🎀🎀🎀
Culture critic and “Bad Feminist” author Roxane Gay told Buzzfeed News yesterday (January 25) that she split with her next book’s publisher, Simon & Schuster, over its recent deal with infamous Breitbart journalist and banned Leslie Jones Twitter troll Milo Yiannopoulos. The Hollywood Reporter first revealed in late December that Yiannopoulos signed a $250,000 book deal with Simon & Schuster’s conservative-leaning imprint Threshold Editions.
“When the announcement about Milo’s book first came out, I was relieved because I thought I didn’t have a book with Simon & Schuster and tweeted something to that effect,” said Gay to Buzzfeed News. “Then I remembered my TED Book and that TED is an imprint of Simon & Schuster.”
TED Books slated Gay’s “How to be Heard” for publication in March 2018. It is still listed on Simon & Schuster’s website. “I was supposed to turn the book in this month and I kept thinking about how egregious it is to give someone like Milo a platform for his blunt, inelegant hate and provocation,” she continued. “I just couldn’t bring myself to turn the book in. My editor emailed me last week and I kept staring at that email in my inbox and finally over the weekend I asked my agent to pull the book.”
Today I woke up to a Facebook post that my roommate from college shared on her feed. Her response to that tauntingly generic Facebook encouragement— “What’s on your mind?” seemed a little more perturbed, urgent and determined than usual: “This is a must read! #blacklivesmatter#takeaknee and if u don’t like my hashtags feel free to unfollow me.” Whoa… okay, she had my attention. I found my glasses and I was in. The share was an essay by Solange Knowles about her recent experience with racial discrimination at a Kraftwerk concert.
The essay is entitled “And Do You Belong? I Do…”, and the title is a pretty good indication of what follows. Here we go, I thought… I am about to read about how someone had caused Beyoncé’s sister to feel some type of way. I knew it would be a truthful expression of Solange having to deal with some, well… ignorant mess. I’ve certainly been there. This was going to be a level of discrimination probably more than the norm though, because why else make such an effort to share?
Solange’s essay is thought-provoking and definitely worth the read. She is insightful and honest about her past experiences with racial discrimination, as well as her recent encounter while trying to dance and enjoy music with her family.
Though the content of the post is not surprising – again, so many of us have been there – the trash throwing did surprise me. (Yes, someone throws trash at Solange and her family.) Really?? It was taken there??? But instead of responding in the moment in a way that likely would have brought negative attention to her and her family, I have to applaud Solange for instead turning to Twitter, then laying it out there again in writing, as well as covering the anticipated naysayers with intelligent responses.
We are reminded by her action that knowledge is power, well-chosen words are power, and speaking up in protest is power. I think it’s important that she bravely lays it out there for the world to hear.
Colin Kaepernick, quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, chose not to stand for the National Anthem at a recent pre-season football game. Players are not required to stand under NFL rules, and Kaepernick was clear about his reasons to remain seated, stating ”I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” Subsequently, he has given interviews about his decision, and the well-thought out reasons behind it.
Some of the online criticism has been of the typically jingoistic “my country – love it or leave it” or “my country – right or wrong” variety that tends to become prevalent when legitimate protest involves the flag, the Pledge of Allegiance or the National Anthem. And these types of criticism are particularly troubling, because they are designed to tell people “you can’t be a good American if you don’t honor this symbol in a particular way.”
I have spent the majority of my career working for the federal government. I am proud to work in a building where the American flag flies, and where pictures of the President and Vice-President are in the lobby. I understand the power and meaning of symbols. And it precisely the power and meaning of symbols that makes protests involving them so resonant – and necessary. I don’t know much about football, but I do know something about the First Amendment. Kaepernick’s actions are fully-protected free speech, and the type of peaceful public protest that has been central to social justice movements.
And for those whose response to Kaepernick is “my country — right or wrong,” it’s time to look at the response to that quote by US Senator Carl Schurz in 1899. Schurz decried the statement as “a deceptive cry of mock patriotism”, and went on to state that the “welfare of this and coming generations of Americans will be secure only as we cling to the watchword of true patriotism: ‘Our country — when right to be kept right; when wrong to be put right.’”
Kaepernick saw something he thought was wrong in his country. Like generations of Americans before him, he engaged in a peaceful public protest to bring attention to that wrong, and to make a statement as to how it needed to be put right. And for that he should not be vilified, but applauded.
NEW YORK (AP) — Under a barrage of hateful posts on Twitter, “Ghostbusters” star Leslie Jones said she was “in a personal hell” and urged the social networking service to do more to eradicate abuse. In a series of posts Monday night, Jones said she had been pummeled with racist tweets. She retweeted numerous tweets directed at her with disturbing language and pictures of apes.
Jones said the messages were deeply hurtful and brought her to tears. The “Saturday Night Live” cast member called on Twitter to strengthen guidelines and for users to “stop letting the ignorant people be the loud ones.”
“I feel like I’m in a personal hell,” wrote Jones. “I didn’t do anything to deserve this. It’s just too much. It shouldn’t be like this. So hurt right now.”
The exchanges came at a career high point for the “Saturday Night Live” cast member. “Ghostbusters,” which opened last week, is her first major film role. “It’s like when you think, ‘OK I’ve proven I’m worthy’ and then you get hit with a shovel of (hatred),” she said.
She concluded a string of messages early Tuesday morning. “I leave Twitter tonight with tears and a very sad heart,” wrote Jones. “All this cause I did a movie.”
The tweets caught the attention of Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey, who sent Jones a message asking her to get in touch with him. Twitter later responded in a statement.
“This type of abusive behavior is not permitted on Twitter, and we’ve taken action on many of the accounts reported to us by both Leslie and others,” said a spokesperson for Twitter. “We rely on people to report this type of behavior to us but we are continuing to invest heavily in improving our tools and enforcement systems to prevent this kind of abuse. We realize we still have a lot of work in front of us before Twitter is where it should be on how we handle these issues.”
Many, however, have come to Jones’ defense, tweeting support for the actress under the hashtag “#LoveForLeslieJ.”
UPDATE: In rush nationals ordered by Fox, “Empire” was revised up to a 6.7 in adults 18-49 and 16.2 million total viewers for its second-season premiere. In the demo, that puts it ahead of its two-hour finale average from March (6.5) and only a bit behind that night’s second hour (6.9).
Fox juggernaut “Empire” showed no signs of slowing down in its sophomore season, returning Wednesday to its second best ratings to date. The network dominated the opening Wednesday of the season overall, with its “Rosewood,” the only series premiere on the night, benefiting from pre-“Empire” tune-in to deliver solid scores.
ABC’s comedy block returned strong, with “The Middle” and “The Goldbergs” on par with last year and “Modern Family” and “Black-ish” a hearty second to “Empire” in the 9 o’clock hour. CBS’ “Survivor” was down a bit but remains potent kicking off its 31st edition.
According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, “Empire” averaged a huge 6.5 rating/20 share in adults 18-49 and 16.0 million viewers overall — beating the ratings for all but the show’s final episode from last season. Its 9 p.m. episode on finale night in March averaged a 6.9/21 in 18-49 and 17.62 million total viewers (and its two-hour finale night average of 6.5 matched last night’s premiere).
The show had seen its overall audience grow with every episode during its first season, but that amazing streak came to an end on Wednesday.
Compared with last season’s premiere in January, “Empire” on Wednesday was up by 71% in 18-49 (6.5 vs. 3.8) and by 62% in total viewers (16.0 million vs. 9.9 million). This is the biggest improvement from season 1 premiere to season 2 premiere for any scripted series since Fox’s “House” in 2004 and 2005.
The demographics score for “Empire” more than doubled the next highest-rated program on the night (3.1 for ABC’s “Modern Family”) and it’s 38% higher than the No. 2-rated series of premiere week (4.7 for CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory”). The only entertainment series on television to have drawn a higher 18-49 rating for an episode this year is AMC’s “The Walking Dead.”
And in total viewers, “Empire” also towered over the Wednesday pack. Its 16.0 million was more than 6 million viewers higher than runner-up “Survivor” on CBS (9.6 million).
“Empire” was also a social-media superstar last night, with 1.3 million tweets sent during the episode — making it the most-tweeted one-hour broadcast drama series on record (since Nielsen began tracking about four years ago). Perhaps most impressively, and a true indication of the show’s wide appeal and reach, the tweets generated 63 million impressions.
The most-tweeted minute occurred at 9:30 p.m. with 32,363 tweets after Anika (“Boo Boo Kitty”) was dancing.
Leading off Wednesday for Fox was medical drama “Rosewood” (2.4/9 in 18-49, 7.3 million viewers overall) starring Morris Chestnut. Though it hadn’t generated much buzz leading into the season, it clearly found an opening-night audience. The 2.4 rating in 18-49 makes it the young season’s No. 4-rated series premiere, behind “Blindspot,” “The Muppets” and “Life in Pieces.” It saw a big jump in the second half-hour (2.7 vs. 2.1 at 8 p.m.), a clear sign of pre-“Empire” tune-in.
Elsewhere, ABC had to be pleased with its returning comedy block: “The Middle” (2.1/8 in 18-49, 8.2 million viewers overall), “The Goldbergs” (2.4/8 in 18-49, 7.6 million viewers overall), “Modern Family” (3.1/10 in 18-49, 9.3 million viewers overall) and “Black-ish” (2.4/7 in 18-49, 7.3 million viewers overall). “Middle” and “Goldbergs” were identical to their demo premieres of last year and topped their final nine episodes of last season.
“Modern” and “Black-ish” were down as expected, lower by 18% and 27% respectively from last year’s opening Wednesday when the competition on Fox was considerably softer (“Red Band Society” did a 1.1 in 18-49). The 2.4 for “Black-ish” matches the show’s highest rating to date opposite an episode of “Empire.”
Closing out the night, “Nashville” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 5.0 million viewers overall) was within a tenth of its year-ago premiere.
CW aired “America’s Next Top Model” (0.4/2 in 18-49, 1.4 million viewers overall) and the finale of “A Wicked Offer” (0.2/1 in 18-49, 0.5 million viewers overall). “Arrow” and “Supernatural” kick off their seasons on Oct. 7.
Daylight Saving Time may have sapped the ratings strength of mere mortal television shows over the past week, but it had little effect on Fox phenomenon “Empire,” which on Wednesday grew its audience for a ninth consecutive airing heading into next week’s two-hour finale.
According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, “Empire” averaged a 5.6 rating/17 share in adults 18-49 (down a tick from last week’s prelim score) to more than double the rating of any other program on the night.
In total viewers, it gained about 400,000 to set yet another milestone with 14.7 million. Last night’s episode of “Empire” also drew a series-high 750,258 tweets during the live broadcast, according to Nielsen Social Guide/Twitter. As a result, its average for the season (451,270) is now ahead of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” (444,029) and ABC’s “Scandal” (354,085).
“Empire” again more than doubled its “American Idol” lead-in (2.3/8 in 18-49, 9.3 million viewers overall) though the music reality competition was up a couple of ticks from last week to edge out CBS’ “Survivor” (2.2/8 in 18-49, 9.4 million viewers overall) both head-to-head and as the night’s No. 2 program in 18-49.
According to Variety.com, primetime television has never seen a ratings growth story like Fox’s smash hit drama “Empire,” which continued to defy the odds on Wednesday night by drawing a series-high audience for a sixth consecutive week.
In its 7th week of airing, “Empire” moved above the 13-million mark in total viewers for the first time (13.02 million). As a result, it gained week to week by a big 8% in the 18-49 demographic and 9% in total viewers; and vs. its premiere on Jan. 7, it’s up 37% in 18-49 and 32% in total viewers.
Since debuting with 9.9 million viewers on Jan. 7, “Empire” has grown with each week in total viewers: 10.32 million, 11.07 million, 11.35 million, 11.47 million, 11.96 million and now roughly 12.9 million. In 18-49, it has set highs with five of its six episodes following its premiere, which did a 3.8 rating/11 share: 4.0/12, 4.4/13, 4.3/13, 4.6/14, 4.8/15 and now 5.2/15.
Compared to its premiere, last night’s “Empire” was up 34% in adults 18-49, 55% in adults 18-34 and 30% in total viewers.
Additionally, in social media tracking, last night’s “Empire” episode generated a whopping 615,461 tweets on Twitter during its on-air broadcast. (By comparison, AMC’s “The Walking Dead” drew 243,986 on Sunday.
First Daughters Sasha Obama and Malia Obama, Little League superstar Mo’ne Davis and Jaden Smith are included in Time Magazine’s “25 Most Influential Teens of 2014” list.
Davis (pictured above), is the first girl to earn a win and pitch a shutout game in Little League World Series history. The braided cutie is also the first Little League baseball player to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated as a Little League player.
The Obama girls are bright, opinionated and it is already very evident that they will one day be accomplished, strong, opinionated leaders in their own right, just like their famous mom and dad.
Jaden Smith (pictured), the 16-year-old son of Hollywood A-listers, Will and Jada is an accomplishedactor in his own right and the kid already has quite a way with words. Known for his brow-raising Twitter postings, Jaden has managed to garner 5 million followers on the popular social medium.
The unranked list, which was released Monday morning, “analyzed social-media followings cultural accolades, business acumen and more” in order to highlight worthy candidates who influence society in a positive way.
Devon Still has been making headlines over the past few months after the Cincinnati Bengals added the tackle to their practice squad, enabling Still to get health insurance to take care of his four year-old daughter Leah’s cancer treatment.
Bengals and NFL fans have been incredibly supportive of Still’s daughter’s struggle, and last week the New England Patriots’ cheerleading squad showed their support by donning jerseys of the Bengals’ player during Sunday’s game.
Still was incredibly appreciative of the gesture, as the image above captured by a Twitter user showed the player with gracious tear streaming down his cheek.
Devon Still’s daughter is still in the hospital, and yesterday the New Jersey Jets showed their support and camaraderie by sending Leah a gift package. Gestures like this from the NFL community have to lift everyone’s spirit after another long Sunday.