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‘Future Nostalgia’: How ‘Future Nostalgia’ has caused present problems for Dua Lipa | Culture

Two years ago, when English singer-songwriter Dua Lipa released Levitating from her upcoming album Future Nostalgia (2020), she could never have imagined the trouble it would cause. Nor did she likely expect the global success it ended up being. In the United States, the song reached number one on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. But this did not overshadow the negative side. First, she had to deal with homophobic and sexist remarks made by DaBaby, the rapper who guested on the single; and now, in less than a week, the song has been subject to two accusations of plagiarism.

The first band to target the British artist, aged 26, was Artikal Sound System, a reggae group from California. In their lawsuit, they claim that she could not have composed Levitating without inspiration of fragments from Live Your Life, a song released three years earlier. Both songs do indeed share similar chord progressions, typical of pop songs, albeit with a slight distinguishing variation at the end.

In the official video of Live Your Life, uploaded to YouTube by Nusoto Records, even the label jokes about the situation, via a pinned comment reading: “Dua Lipa, nothing hears that sound here! [sic]” with a link to another song from the label. The badly written comment could be interpreted as: “Dua Lipa, don’t listen to this!”

The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles, is seeking the profits that the artist and label Warner Music have earned from the song, plus compensation for damages. That said, according to data from Google Trends, the band from California had never been as popular as they are since they took the legal action.

This week was the turn of composers L. Russell Brown and Sandy Linzer, creators of Wiggle and a Giggle All Night (1979), performed by Cory Daye, as well as the song Don Diablo (1980), which was performed by Miguel Bose (the Spaniard is also listed as one of the composers). In their lawsuit, filed on March 4 in Manhattan, Brown and Linzer allege that Dua Lipa plagiarized the “signature melody” of the song. The plaintiffs argue that this part “is the most listened to and recognizable part, playing a key role in the song’s popularity.” “Because video creators frequently truncate the already brief snippets of sound on TikTok, the signature melody often comprises 50% or more of these viral videos,” the lawsuit continues.

Brown and Linzer’s attorneys argue that the artist, while seeking inspiration from vintage sounds for her album, “copied those of the plaintiff’s creation without attribution,” and using a pun in reference to the song title, hold that the composers “have levitated away plaintiff’s intellectual property.” It continues: “Plaintiffs bring suit so that defendants cannot wiggle out of their wilful infringement.” In this second lawsuit, among those named defendants are the rapper DaBaby, besides Dua Lipa and the label.

The creation of ‘Levitating’

It’s no secret that Dua Lipa found inspiration in retro sounds and disco music in combination with current styles to create her album Future Nostalgia – indeed, this mixture is referenced in the album title. The artist has admitted this in several interviews – hence the accusation of “willful infringement.” In 2018, when she began its development, the artist wanted to fill a gap on the radio, as she told People magazine in an interview, as well as experiment with music that is different from her output up to then. “I wanted to touch on memories that I had growing up listening to music that my parents loved, like Jamiroquai and Blondie and Prince – and recreate them for now. It’s a celebration of being able to be open and vulnerable and to dance and be happy. Dance-crying is very much a thing,” the singer explained at the time.

Levitating was the first song created for the album, and was written with the collaboration of three other people: Clarence Coffee Jr., Sarah Hudson and Stephen Kozmeniuk, who also contributed to many other songs from the record. For the star it was “very helpful” to have a song like Levitating, which was the starting point for her creative team to compose the rest of the album. “That song really helped me explain to everyone else – my team and the producers and people that I was working with – like, ‘Okay, this is it …’” Lipa told People. “I felt like it had both elements of the future and nostalgia in it. I just started basing everything off of it. It had to fit in that world and that was the song.”

And everything went smoothly. Future Nostalgia became one of the most listened to albums of that year, won the Grammy for best pop album, and Dua Lipa became the most listened to female artist in the world on Spotify, and fourth overall – behind The Weekend, who remain the first, followed by Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber. The overwhelming success of Levitating prompted Lipa to record another version with DaBaby, one of the most popular rappers in the United States. In fact, this version of the song would end up becoming the most played, above the original.

But just a few months later, in the middle of a concert at Miami’s Rolling Loud festival on July 25, 2021, DaBaby made sexist and homophobic remarks that became a major embarrassment for Lipa, leading her fans to ask her to remove the collaboration. In an attempt to work up the crowd, the rapper said into the microphone: “If you didn’t show up today with HIV, AIDS, or any of them deadly sexually transmitted diseases, that’ll make you die in two to three weeks, then put your cellphone light up”. He also asked the women in the crowd to turn on their cellphone lights “if your pussy smells like water,” and added: “Fellas, if you’re not sucking dick in the parking lot put your cellphone light up.”

Lipa soon came out to apologize for the episode, via her Instagram account: “I’m surprised and horrified at DaBaby’s comments,” she wrote. “I really don’t recognize this as the person I worked with. I know my fans know where my heart lies and I stand 100% with the LGBTQ community. We need to come together to fight the stigma and ignorance around HIV/AIDS.” To date, the artist has not removed the song with the rapper and Levitating continues to accumulate headlines. It will now be up to the US justice system to decide whether they are good or bad.

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Here’s when your favorite show may return as writers strike is on the verge of ending | Culture

A tentative agreement between striking screenwriters and Hollywood studios offers some hope that the industry’s dual walkouts may soon be over. But when will your favorite shows return?

Well, it’s complicated. First, the agreement needs to pass two key votes, and certain paused productions such as Deadpool 3 and Yellowjackets will still have to wait on actors to reach a deal with studios.

When is ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ coming back?

Once the contract is approved, work will resume more quickly for some writers than others. Late-night talk shows were the first to be affected when the strike began, and they may be among the first to return to air now. NBC’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live and The Late Show With Stephen Colbert on CBS could come back within days.

Saturday Night Live might be able to return for its 49th season, though some actors may not be able to appear. The actors strike limits promotional appearances that are the lifeblood of the late-night shows.

Shows that return while actors are still picketing could prove controversial, as happened with the planned resumptions of daytime shows including The Drew Barrymore Show and The Talk. Those plans were later abandoned.

One show that’s likely to make a speedy return? Real Time with Bill Maher. The host plotted a return without writers but ended up postponing once last week’s negotiations were set.

What about ‘Stranger Things’ and ‘Superman’?

Writers rooms for scripted shows that shut down at the strike’s onset, including Netflix’s Stranger Things, Severance on Apple TV+ and Abbott Elementary on ABC are also likely to reactivate quickly. But with no performers to act out the scripts, long delays between page and screen will be inevitable.

Film writers will also get back to work on their slower timeline, though those working on scripts or late revisions for already scheduled movies — including “Deadpool 3″ and “Superman: Legacy” — will certainly be hustling to avoid further release-date delays.

When are Drew Barrymore and other daytime shows coming back?

Barrymore’s planned return to her daytime television show became a rallying point for picketers earlier this month, prompting her to cancel her plans. The Talk and The Jennifer Hudson Show, which also employ some screenwriters, also called off plans to return.

Barrymore and the other shows have not announced their plans for returning. However, the Writers Guild of America has made it clear: Guild members cannot start working again on projects until the tentative contract is ratified.

That vote has not yet been scheduled.

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Milan fashion celebrated diversity and inclusion with refrain: Make more space for color and curves | Culture

More curvy models than ever showed up on Milan runways this season, due mostly to a single show by Brazilian designer Karoline Vitto, while designers of color showcased their work at collateral events meant to promote their visibility — along with diversity — in the backrooms of Italian fashion.

Wherever diversity and inclusion were being celebrated during Milan Fashion Week, which ended Sunday, there was one underlying refrain: Make more space.

Curvy models get outing at Karoline Vitto

“We made history! It was incredible,’’ world-renown curvy model Ashley Graham gushed as she embraced London-based Vitto after Sunday’s show. Graham is often the only curvy model on major fashion runways, but for this show she led a cast of models ranging in size from UK 10 to UK 24 (US 6 to US 20).

By comparison, some Milan brands typically size up to 48 Italian (US size 12), while some, notably Dolce & Gabbana which sponsored Vitto, has extended some looks up to an Italian size 52 (US 16).

Graham wore an edgy black ripped corset and long sheer skirt, while other models wore form-hugging jersey dresses fitted with S-shaped metallic fixtures that sculpted their curves. She used the same technique for bathing suits.

“It feels normal,’’ Graham said, calling on more designers to get more curves on the runway. “If I feel normal on the runway with this many girls, that means that there is something that doesn’t feel normal when I am on the runway with everybody else.”

Diversifying small brand profiles

After working in fashion for decades, Deborah Latouche launched her own brand after converting to Islam and realizing how hard it was to find clothes that were “luxury, high-end and modest.”

Latouche brand, Sabirah, was highlighted along with US brand BruceGlen at the Milan Fashion Hub for new and emerging designers, sponsored by Blanc Magazine’s Teneshia Carr and the Italian National Fashion Chamber. The Hub offered space to meet buyers and other people interested in new brands.

“Something like this is really important because small brands such as myself can get really overlooked,’’ said Latouche, who has shown her brand in London, where she is based. “We put a lot of work in but we don’t necessarily get a lot of recognition.

Being invited to Milan “is an amazing platform that gives us the potential to elevate and that is really important,’’ she said.

Twins Bruce and Glen Proctor have been working on their brand for 17 years, and relished the time in Milan showing their creations to a new audience while they also connect with their true creative intentions.

“For a longtime we did black and white, based on what we thought the industry wanted,” Bruce Glen said. Now they are doing what comes naturally, “Colors, prints and fur.’’

Carr said presentations where people can touch the wares are a great way to connect people with a new product, without the huge expense of a runway show.

“The fashion system isn’t working for anyone but the 1 percent. I am all for trying to make new systems where everyone gets paid and people get clothes that make them feel better,’’ she said.

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Hollywood Studios Reach Tentative Agreement With Screenwriters To End The Strike

The picket line of writers and actors outside Netflix offices in Los Angeles.

The picket line of writers and actors outside Netflix offices in Los Angeles.

A happy ending in Hollywood. The studios and the writers’ union have reached a tentative agreement to end the screenwriters’ strike that has brought the world of film and television in the United States to a halt for nearly five months.

After four days of negotiations, Hollywood studios and the Writers Guild of America (WGA) managed to set down the bases of a new collective agreement. The deal announced Sunday unblocks one of the longest labor conflicts in the industry, with the strike now at 146 days.

“We can say, with great pride, that this deal is exceptional, with meaningful gains and protections for writers in every sector of the membership” the WGA stated in a press release. The leadership of the screenwriters’ organization must ratify the pact on Tuesday by a vote. The studios must now focus on resolving the conflict with the actors’ union, which is still on strike, so that productions can resume operations.

The studios and the WGA resumed negotiations on Wednesday after months of tension and a failed attempt to reach an agreement in mid-August. This time, there was a greater sense of urgency from both sides, who were concerned that further disagreement could have stretched the strike to 2024.

The main executives of the four studios attended the meetings with this in mind to show their willingness to negotiate. The parties set the goal of drafting the new contract before the Yom Kippur holidays, which began Sunday afternoon.

The negotiations were attended by Bob Iger, from Disney; David Zaslav from Warner Bros. Discovery; Netflix’s Ted Sarandos and NBCUniversal’s Donna Langley. The studio heads were present for three days at the meetings, which were held at the offices of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).

Over the weekend, the studios were able to finalize the remaining details of the deal with the WGA. California Governor Gavin Newsom was also involved to ensure that both sides remained at the negotiating table. The strike has cost the state about $3 billion, according to a conservative estimate by California State University Northridge.

SAG-AFTRA actors and Writers Guild of America (WGA) writers rally during their ongoing strike, in Los Angeles, California, U.S. September 13, 2023.

SAG-AFTRA actors and Writers Guild of America (WGA) writers rally during their ongoing strike, in Los Angeles, California, U.S.

In the press release to announce the tentative agreement, the WGA made it clear that the strike is not over yet: “No one is to return to work until specifically authorized to by the Guild. We are still on strike until then.” The WGA’s 11,500 members must vote on the agreement.

This will happen after Tuesday, when the Negotiating Committee ratifies the deal once the final version of the text is ready. The deal is likely to be overwhelmingly approved by screenwriters, who have expressed their satisfaction for the resolution. Union members have also recognized the work of the Negotiating Committee, headed by Ellen Stutzaman.

While the strike continues until the deal is voted on, the WGA has brought an end to the picket lines at the gates of major studios in Los Angeles and New York, which have been in place since May 2.

If the strike had reached September 30, it would have become the longest in the history of the WGA, surpassing the 153 days of the 1988 strike. Actors, in the meantime, remain on strike, until they reach a deal with the studios.

According to the writers, the agreement was made possible after the studios agreed to reformulate the scope that artificial intelligence will have in the writing of content, and to set minimum rules for writers’ rooms.

During the strike, screenwriters complained that studios were abusing so-called mini rooms, a more compact version of a writers’ room. These mini rooms were used to develop more content for streaming platforms in less time and with fewer hands, which made the work more precarious. The new agreement establishes a minimum number of people who must write a television series.

One of the most insistent demands by the WGA was a review of the residual payment model. Residuals are compensation paid for the reuse of a credited writer’s work. The union argued that the previous scheme worked in the times of broadcast TV, but that adjustments needed to be made for the era of streaming. In the digital age, writers, producers and actors receive see hardly any compensation for shows that become hits on platforms.

The studios agreed to change the model to increase compensation depending on a show’s audience figures. This issue is also key to resolving the conflict with the actors’ union SAG-AFTRA, which has 160,000 members, and has been on strike for 72 days.

After the failed negotiations in August, the pickets at the doors of the studios became larger in September. The writers flexed their muscles when Drew Barrymore announced she would return to filming her CBS talk show. This provoked the anger of the scriptwriters, who argued that the popular actress was violating the strike. Barrymore defended herself by stating that many members of the production were suffering financial hardship after months without work. But she came under a lot of pressure.

After a week, Barrymore tearfully apologized in a video posted on social media and announced that she would not resume filming. Other television productions followed, reporting that they would not return until the strike was resolved.

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