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How Kanye West uses Instagram to settle scores | Culture

On July 24, 2021, Britney Spears published an emotional message on her Instagram account. “Coming along, folks … coming along 🖕🏻!!!!! New with real representation today … I feel GRATITUDE and BLESSED !!!! Thank you to my fans who are supporting me … You have no idea what it means to me be supported by such awesome fans !!!!” The text was accompanied by a video of the singer riding a horse and doing cartwheels on a lawn. Spears was celebrating the latest step toward ending her father’s conservatorship, which saw him control her finances and personal communications. That day, she used the hashtag #FreeBritney for the first time, after her fans had turned it into a phenomenon on social media – one that gained such traction, that her emancipation became a reality in November of last year.

Spears’ continued and spontaneous use of Instagram during that legal process was similar to a kind of personal and intimate daily diary – albeit one that her nearly 40 million followers could read too. Among her posts, of which there was more than one a day, there were images with inspirational phrases, the covers of self-help books, snaps of food, selfies, videos of her dancing, memes, and images of her fiance, model Sam Asghari. Spears’ Instagram account became her direct link with the world, a self-portrait that exuded innocence, sensitivity, optimism and naturalness.

American singer Britney Spears.
American singer Britney Spears.GETTY IMAGES

Kanye West’s account, meanwhile, is the polar opposite. For someone who has never seen it before, they could be deceived: At the time of writing, there were just three publications: two images with the lyrics of songs called Divorce and Dead, and a photo (since deleted) of West accompanied by a text that explains that his new album, Donda 2, is not eligible for the music charts given that it is only available on an exclusive platform called Stem Player.

His 11th album, which is a follow-up to Donda and has come out just a few months after its predecessor, contains unfinished versions of songs and is missing tracks that had been previously announced, and as if that weren’t enough, you have to pay $200 to acquire Stem Player in the first place. That lack of accessibility, clarity and permanence are also there to see on West’s Instagram account, where the singer of Runaway has, for months now, been publishing confusing and controversial messages, only to later delete them.

If the daily posts from Britney Spears are full of light, flowers, smiles and messages of overcoming problems, those of Kanye West are filled with torn-out, wrinkled and scorched pages, filled with scrawls and scratches. He has long been a controversial public figure, having had disagreements with other celebrities such as Taylor Swift, Wiz Khalifa and Amber Rose. He also claimed that Bill Cosby was innocent of sexual assault allegations, and infamously took to wearing one of Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” baseball caps. But his use of Instagram (he was previously more active on Twitter) is now reaching levels of hostility and confusion that have never been seen before, either in his own personal history or in digital culture in general.

The publication and subsequent deletion of messages began to increase at the end of last year, and has shot up yet further through February, influenced by the divorce from his now ex-wife Kim Kardashian and her new relationship with Saturday Night Live comedian Pete Davidson. The majority of the posts were aimed at the new couple, and the fact that three of the most-famous faces in the United States have been airing their dirty laundry in public has dominated the tabloids, but also the culture and music press, with headlines such as “Everything Kanye West has said on Instagram this week.”

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West in 2020.
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West in 2020.JEAN-BAPTISTE LACROIX (AFP)

In fact, it is West who is airing all of the dirty laundry, without his ex-wife nor her partner able to do a thing about it. One of the most-commented incidents took place over the weekend of the Super Bowl, February 13 and 14. The rapper and producer shared such shocking messages that he decided to publish a photo of himself holding a yellow notepad with the date and a message that read: “My account is not hacked,” just in case anyone could not believe it was really him.

One of West’s posts included a message that Davidson had sent him saying that “as a man I’d never get in the way of your children,” and that he hoped to meet them some day. Next to the screenshot of the message West had written (the caps are his): “NO YOU WILL NEVER MEET MY CHILDREN.” He also shared a picture of a truck full of roses, supposedly a gift from West to his ex-wife for Valentine’s Day, and called on his followers to assault Davidson, whom he calls “Skete,” writing: “IF ANYONE LOVES ME AND MY FAMILY IF YOU SEE SKETE IN REAL LIFE SCREAM AT THE LOOSER [SIC] AT THE TOP OF YOUR LUNGS AND SAY KIMYE FOREVER,” “Kimye” being a reference to his relationship with Kardashian (West legally changed his name to Ye last October). He also offered to double the Saturday Night Live salary of Davidson’s colleague on the show, Michael Che, “JUST SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO LOOK AT THAT PAWN EVER AGAIN.”

Valentine’s Day was complicated this year for Kim Kardashian, who sent a message to her ex-husband calling on him to stop inciting his followers to assault Davidson. West responded by sharing a screenshot of the message and writing on Instagram: “UPON MY WIFE’S REQUEST PLEASE NOBODY DO ANYTHING PHYSICAL TO SKETE. I’M GOING TO HANDLE THE SITUATION MYSELF.” Then he shared another screenshot of the conversation with the mother of his four children, who asked him why he couldn’t keep their conversations private. “CAUSE I GOT A TEXT FROM MY FAVORITE PERSON IN THE WORLD,” he wrote. “I’M YOUR NUMBER ONE FAN. WHY WOULDN’T I TELL EVERYONE!!!” Then, shortly after, he deleted everything.

Comedian Pete Davidson, the current partner of Kim Kardashian, in September 2021.
Comedian Pete Davidson, the current partner of Kim Kardashian, in September 2021.ANGELA WEISS (AFP)

West has spoken in the past about his bipolar disorder, and admitted that there are times when he doesn’t take his medication because it affects his creativity. His tantrums on Instagram don’t appear to be a good sign with regard to his current state, but it is true that they are in line with something that has always interested the musician: controlling his own public narrative.

The question is, what is the narrative that West wants to transmit? Depending on the day, he has stated that God wants to get him back together with Kardashian, he has attacked Davidson, and he has shared pictures of his family together with affectionate words.

On another occasion, he shared a mockup of the poster for Captain America: Civil War, apparently created by him, and in which he superimposed pictures of himself along with hip-hop starts Drake, Travis Scott and Future, as well as his then-girlfriend Julia Fox; and on the opposing side, Pete Davidson, with Kim Kardashian, Billie Eilish, Kid Cudi and Taylor Swift.

What’s genuinely concerning, however, is West’s aggressive tone and abusive behavior toward Kim Kardashian, whom he accuses of coming between him and their four children. After she criticized his behavior, on February 14 he shared a photo of himself with this message: “I know sharing screenshots was jarring and came off as harassing Kim. I take accountability. I’m still learning in real time. I don’t have all the answers. To be a good leader is to be a good listener.”

However, two hours later he shared a photo of a roadside billboard that had the following message written on it: “Stop telling fathers they should have fought harder to see their children & start asking mothers why he had to fight at all.” One post included an image from the movie Baby Boy (2001), in which actor Ving Rhames has Tyrese Gibson in a headlock. West tagged Gibson’s face with Kim Kardashian’s Instagram handle.



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Top 10 Urban Property Hotspots

Bradford And Blackpool Lead The Pack

Bradford is the top urban property hotspot for the second consecutive quarter, exclusive data from OnTheMarket reveals.

A combination of affordable house prices and growing number of buyers being priced out of nearby Leeds is helping lift Bradford’s property market, OnTheMarket said.

Speaking to This is Money, Robert McCarthy, manager of Hunters estate agency in Bradford, said buyers were attracted to the area because properties are ‘dirt cheap.’

Hotspots: Bradford is the top urban property hotspot for the second consecutive quarter, data reveals
Hotspots: Bradford is the top urban property hotspot for the second consecutive quarter, data reveals

He said: ‘Bradford is seeing a high increase in first time buyers and investors, with properties ranging from around £70,000 for a two bedroomed terrace, £110,000-£130,000 for a three to four bedroom terrace and £120,000 to £240,000 for a three bedroom semi-detached or detached property.

‘This gives a buyer much more for their money, while keeping the mortgage payments lower.’

He added: ‘This week we had a three bedroom semi-detached property go on the market needing some work at £100,000.

‘We we had over 90 requests to view, with some buyers offering before a viewing at well over the asking price.

‘I personally bought a three bedroom semi-detached renovation project in the area with a large garden for £51,000 a few years ago.

‘Now fully renovated, if I was selling to put it on the market it would be around £180,000 to £190,000.’

Mr McCarthy told This is Money that it was possible to buy a one or two bedroom flat in the centre of Bradford for between £20,000 to £60,000.

Urban property hotspots

Blackpool, Rochdale and Plymouth came in second, third and fourth place respectively in OnTheMarket’s latest rankings, with Rochdale climbing from 23rd to third place.

As cities like Manchester become increasingly expensive, Rochdale has ballooned in popularity with buyers.

Andrew Cardwell, manging director of Cardwells Estate Agents, said he wasn’t surprised about Rochdale’s colossal climb in the rankings.

Ample space: The property in Bradford is link detached and perfect for families
Ample space: The property in Bradford is link detached and perfect for families
Time to eat: The dining room in this Bradford property is chic and modern

Time to eat: The dining room in this Bradford property is chic and modern

Outdoor space: the property has a low maintenance garden perfect for entertaining
Outdoor space: the property has a low maintenance garden perfect for entertaining

He said: ‘Earlier this year Rochdale was recognised as one of the most affordable places to buy a property, with an average house price of around £206,000.

‘As well as offering excellent value for money, it’s within easy reach of Manchester city centre and has beautiful countryside.’

Plymouth jumped from 22nd to fourth place in the rankings. It is the only southern location to make it to the top five, OnTheMarket said.

Plymouth is home to HMNB Devonport, the largest naval base in western Europe and the city is brimming with shops and restaurants.

Jacob Tebb, president of OnTheMarket, told This is Money: ‘Property buying decisions continue to be heavily influenced by affordability, according to our latest hotspots index, which reveals that some of the most active or “hottest” areas also offer buyers the best value.”

He added: ‘Overall, the north/south divide is holding firm, with some of the most vibrant and cheapest locations in the north seeing the most heat in terms of housing market activity and only one southern location making it into the top ten.’

Leicester, Stoke-on-Trent, Swindon, Sunderland, Wakefield and Derby also made it to the top ten, while Middlesborough, Burnley and Coventry were just outside the top 10.

Wakefield rose from thirtieth to ninth place, while Birmingham climbed from forty-third to twenty-third place.

Where is the market cooling? Urban property hotspots

OnTheMarket added: ‘Moving in the other direction, demand in Wigan cooled significantly, dropping from second to fifteenth place in our rankings, while Liverpool has fallen from eleventh place in the first quarter to thirtieth.

‘Worthing, one of the few southern locations to be considered a hotspot, fell from twentieth to fifty-third place. The “coolest” hotspot on our list is Brighton.’

The average price of a house in Brighton and Hove was £422,000 in April, according to the Office for National Statistics. Its coastal location and proximity to London makes it popular but expensive with buyers.

Activity in Gloucester, Norwich and Warrington is also cooling, OnTheMarket said.

How is the London property market faring?

OnTheMarket crunched separate data for the London property market. The data suggested there has been ‘less fluctuation nationally and very little movement’, On The Market said.

Within the London-focused rankings, Barking and Dagenham, Havering, Sutton, Redbridge and Newham comprised the top five, followed by Bexley, Hillingdon and Enfield. Hounslow and Croydon also made it to the top 10.

However, Hounslow dropped out of the top five London hotspots in the quarter, while Lambeth, Southwark and Merton all fell four places.

In the last few years, higher mortgage rates have put a dampener on the property market. However, the Bank of England is expected to cut interest rates this summer and some banks and building societies have already started trimming rates on their mortgage deals.

Barclays recently upped the ante in the mortgage price war currently playing out between banks and building societies.

The mortgage lender cut rates by up to 0.33 percentage points across a wide range of deals for both homebuyers and those remortgaging, resulting in several new best-buys.

Halifax also announced it was cutting mortgage rates by up to 0.13 percentage points on selected deals.

What’s on sale now?

1. Three-bed semi-detached house, Bradford, £190,000

This three-bedroom semi-detached house at Hopefield Way, Bierley in Bradford, is on sale via Hunters estate agency for £190,000.

It has a light and airy living room and a spacious kitchen-diner. The property has gardens at the front and rear and comes with one driveway parking space.

Bargain: This three-bed semi-detached home on sale via Hunters could be yours for £190,000
Bargain: This three-bed semi-detached home on sale via Hunters could be yours for £190,000
Chill time: The semi-detached house in Hopefield Way, Bierley, is light and airy inside
Chill time: The semi-detached house in Hopefield Way, Bierley, is light and airy inside
Culinary delights: The Bradford property comes equipped with a spacious kitchen-diner
Culinary delights: The Bradford property comes equipped with a spacious kitchen-diner
Relax: One of the three bedrooms on offer at the property in Bradford
Relax: One of the three bedrooms on offer at the property in Bradford

2. Two-bed flat, Plymouth, £220,000

Plush: This spacious two-bed flat in Plymouth is on sale via Julian Marks for £220,000
Plush: This spacious two-bed flat in Plymouth is on sale via Julian Marks for £220,000
Features: The period features at the two-bed flat in Plymouth are clear to see
Features: The period features at the two-bed flat in Plymouth are clear to see
All the mod cons: The Plymouth flat comes equipped with a newly fitted pristine kitchen
All the mod cons: The Plymouth flat comes equipped with a newly fitted pristine kitchen
Space: The Plymouth flat has a small private garden and communal grounds
Space: The Plymouth flat has a small private garden and communal grounds

This two-bedroom ground floor flat on sale via Julian Marks is set in a substantial end of terrace late Victorian-era property and is listed for £220,000.

The newly fitted kitchen is modern and stylish, and elsewhere charming period features have been retained.

The property has been owned by the same people since 1994 and comes with use of a small private garden, as well as a communal garden.

3. Four-bed house, Rochdale, £325,000

Ideal: This four-bed detached house on sale via Hunters could be yours for £325,000
Ideal: This four-bed detached house on sale via Hunters could be yours for £325,000
Family hub: The living room in this Rochdale property is spacious and calming
Family hub: The living room in this Rochdale property is spacious and calming
Ready to go: The property in Milnrow, Rochdale, is in turn key condition
Ready to go: The property in Milnrow, Rochdale, is in turn key condition

This four-bedroom detached property located in Milnrow, Rochdale, is on sale via Hunters for £325,000.

The house is in mint condition throughout with light and airy rooms. A family could move straight into this home without needing to lift a finger. There’s off-road parking, a single garage and gardens to the front and rear.

It’s an ideal property for a growing family.


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Culture

Assessing Property Size: What Square Footage Can You Get With The Average UK House Price In Your Area?

Assessing Property Size In The UK

In the United Kingdom, there is a prevailing tendency to gauge the size of residences based on the number of bedrooms rather than square footage. In fact, research indicates that three out of five individuals are unaware of the square footage of their property.

However, a comprehensive analysis conducted by ‘Savills’ reveals significant variations in property sizes throughout the country. For instance, with the average property price standing at £340,837, this amount would typically afford a studio flat spanning 551 square feet in London, according to the prominent estate agency.

Conversely, in the North East region, the same sum would secure a spacious five-bedroom house measuring 1,955 square feet, nearly four times the size of a comparable property in London.

Best value: Heading to the North East of England is where buyers will get the most from their money

In Scotland, the median house price equates to a sizable investment capable of procuring a generous four-bedroom residence spanning 1,743 square feet. Conversely, in Wales, Yorkshire & The Humber, and the North West, this sum affords a slightly smaller four-bedroom dwelling of approximately 1,500 square feet, while in the East and West Midlands, it accommodates a 1,300 square foot home. In stark contrast, within the South West, £340,837 secures a modest 1,000 square foot property, and in the East, an even more confined 928 square feet.

London presents the most challenging market, where this budget offers the least purchasing power. Following closely, the South East allows for 825 square feet of space or a medium-sized two-bedroom dwelling. Lucian Cook, head of residential research at Savills, emphasizes the profound disparity in purchasing potential across Britain, ranging from compact studio flats in London to spacious four or five-bedroom residences in parts of North East England.

While square footage serves as a critical metric, with a significant portion of Britons unfamiliar with their property’s dimensions, the number of bedrooms remains a traditional indicator of size. Personal preferences, such as a preference for larger kitchens, may influence property selection. For those prioritizing ample space, Easington, County Durham, offers a substantial 2,858 square foot, five-bedroom home, while Rhondda, Wales, and Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Scotland, provide 2,625 and 2,551 square feet, respectively. Conversely, in St Albans, Hertfordshire, £340,837 secures a mere 547 square feet, equivalent to a one-bedroom flat.

The disparity continues in central London, where purchasing power diminishes considerably. In Kensington, the budget accommodates a mere 220 square feet, contrasting with the slightly more spacious 236 square feet in Westminster. Conversely, in Dagenham, the same investment translates to 770 square feet. Three properties currently listed on Rightmove exemplify the diversity within this price range across the UK market.

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

2. Lewisham: One-bed house, £345,000

This one-bedroom property in Lewisham, South London, is on the market for £345,000.

The semi-detached house is set over two floors, and has a private patio.

The property is located near to bus links and amenities, as well as Catford train station.

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

3. Edinburgh: Three-bed house, £350,000

This three-bedroom detached house in Edinburgh could be yours for £350,000.

The house, which has a two-car driveway, boasts a large kitchen diner, and is within easy reach of Newcriaghall train station.


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Culture

Top 10 Florida Cities Dominate The Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

Top 10 Florida Cities And Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

The Voice Of EU | Florida emerges as a hub for entrepreneurial endeavors, with its vibrant business landscape and conducive environment for startups. Renowned for its low corporate tax rates and a high concentration of investors, the Sunshine State beckons aspiring entrepreneurs seeking fertile grounds to launch and grow their businesses.

In a recent report by WalletHub, Florida cities dominate the list of the top 10 best destinations for business startups, showcasing their resilience and economic vitality amidst challenging times.

From Orlando’s thriving market to Miami’s dynamic ecosystem, each city offers unique advantages and opportunities for entrepreneurial success. Let’s delve into the chronologically listed cities that exemplify Florida’s prominence in the business startup arena.

1. Orlando Leads the Way: Orlando emerges as the most attractive market in the U.S. for business startups, with a remarkable surge in small business establishments. WalletHub’s latest report highlights Orlando’s robust ecosystem, fostering the survival and growth of startups, buoyed by a high concentration of investors per capita.

2. Tampa Takes Second Place: Securing the second spot among large cities for business startups, Tampa boasts a favorable business environment attributed to its low corporate tax rates. The city’s ample investor presence further fortifies startups, providing essential resources for navigating the initial years of business operations.

3. Charlotte’s Diverse Industries: Claiming the third position, Charlotte stands out for its diverse industrial landscape and exceptionally low corporate taxes, enticing companies to reinvest capital. This conducive environment propels entrepreneurial endeavors, contributing to sustained economic growth.

4. Jacksonville’s Rising Profile: Jacksonville emerges as a promising destination for startups, bolstered by its favorable business climate. The city’s strategic positioning fosters entrepreneurial ventures, attracting aspiring business owners seeking growth opportunities.

5. Miami’s Entrepreneurial Hub: Miami solidifies its position as a thriving entrepreneurial hub, attracting businesses with its dynamic ecosystem and strategic location. The city’s vibrant startup culture and supportive infrastructure make it an appealing destination for ventures of all sizes.

6. Atlanta’s Economic Momentum: Atlanta’s ascent in the business startup landscape underscores its economic momentum and favorable business conditions. The city’s strategic advantages and conducive policies provide a fertile ground for entrepreneurial ventures to flourish.

7. Fort Worth’s Business-Friendly Environment: Fort Worth emerges as a prime destination for startups, offering a business-friendly environment characterized by low corporate taxes. The city’s supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives facilitate the growth and success of new ventures.

8. Austin’s Innovation Hub: Austin cements its status as an innovation hub, attracting startups with its vibrant entrepreneurial community and progressive policies. The city’s robust infrastructure and access to capital foster a conducive environment for business growth and innovation.

9. Durham’s Emerging Entrepreneurship Scene: Durham’s burgeoning entrepreneurship scene positions it as a promising destination for startups, fueled by its supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives. The city’s collaborative culture and access to resources contribute to the success of new ventures.

10. St. Petersburg’s Thriving Business Community: St. Petersburg rounds off the top 10 with its thriving business community and supportive ecosystem for startups. The city’s strategic advantages and favorable business climate make it an attractive destination for entrepreneurial endeavors.

Despite unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Great Resignation, and high inflation, these top Florida cities remain resilient and well-equipped to overcome obstacles, offering promising opportunities for business owners and entrepreneurs alike.


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