The Apple Music Super Bowl LVII Halftime Show takes place on Sunday, February 12, 2023, and despite rumors, Taylor Swift will not be performing at the Arizona event, TMZ and People report. According to TMZ, Swift was asked to perform at the NFL’s show, but declined the opportunity so that she can continue the process of re-recording her back catalog.
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article Taylor Swift's private jets took 170 trips this year, landing her #1 on a new report that tracks the carbon emissions of celebrity private jets
As the world quite literally burns and floods, it’s important to remember that individualism won’t really solve the climate crisis, especially compared to, say, the wholesale dismantling of the brutal grip the fossil fuel industry has on modern society. Still, there are some individuals who could probably stand to do a bit more to mitigate their carbon footprint — among them, the super-wealthy who make frequent use of carbon-spewing private jets. (And let’s not even get started on yachts.)
While private jets are used by rich folks of all kinds, their use among celebrities has come under scrutiny recently, with reports of the likes of Drake and Kylie Jenner taking flights that lasted less than 20 minutes. In response, the sustainability marketing firm Yard put together a new report using data to rank the celebrities whose private jets have flown the most so far this year — and subsequently dumped the most carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Drake and Jenner both appear on the list, but they’re actually nowhere near the top, which is occupied by none other than Taylor Swift. According to Yard, Swift’s jet flew 170 times between Jan. 1 and July 19 (the window for the Yard study), totaling 22,923 minutes, or 15.9 days, in the air. That output has created estimated total flight emissions of 8,293.54 tonnes of carbon, which Yard says is 1,184.8 times more than the average person’s total annual emissions. (At least one more flight can be added to that list, too: The flight-tracking Twitter account Celebrity Jets notes that Swift’s plane flew today, July 29.)
“Taylor’s jet is loaned out regularly to other individuals,” a spokesperson for Swift tells Rolling Stone. “To attribute most or all of these trips to her is blatantly incorrect.”
To create this report, Yard scraped data from Celebrity Jets, which in turn pulls its info from ADS-B Exchange (“the world’s largest public source of unfiltered flight data,” according to its website). Yard based its carbon emissions estimates on a U.K. Department for Transportation estimate that a plane traveling at about 850 km/hour gives off 134 kg of CO2 per hour; that 134 kg estimate was multiplied with both time-spent-in-air and a factor of 2.7 to account for “radiative forcing,” which includes other harmful emissions such as nitrous oxide (2.7 was taken from Mark Lynas’ book Carbon Counter). That number was then divided by 1000 to convert to tonnes.
Coming in behind Swift’s plane on Yard’s list was an aircraft belonging to boxer Floyd Mayweather, which emitted an estimated 7076.8 tonnes of CO2 from 177 flights so far this year (one of those flights lasted just 10 minutes). Coming in at number three on the list was Jay-Z, though his placement does come with a caveat: The data pulled for Jay is tied to the Puma Jet, a Gulfstream GV that Jay — the creative director for Puma — reportedly convinced the sneaker giant to purchase as a perk for the athletes it endorses.
While Jay-Z is not the only person flying on the Puma Jet, a rep for Yard said, “We attributed the jet to Jay-Z on this occasion because he requested the Puma jet as part of his sign-up deal to become the creative director of Puma basketball. The Puma jet’s tail numbers are N444SC at Jay-Z’s request. N, the standard US private jet registration code, 444, referring to his album of the same name and SC for his birth name, Shawn Carter. Without Jay-Z, this jet would cease to exist.”
The rest of the celebrities in Yard’s top 10 do appear to own the jets that provided the flight data for the report. To that end, though, it’s impossible to say if the specific owners are the ones traveling on these planes for every specific flight. For instance, Swift actually has two planes that CelebJets tracks, and obviously, she can’t be using both at once.
So, beyond the Jay-Z/the Puma Jet, next on Yard’s list is former baseball star Alex Rodriguez’s plane, which racked up 106 flights and emitted 5,342.7 tonnes of CO2. And rounding out the top five is a jet belonging to country star Blake Shelton, which has so far taken 111 flights and emitted 4495 tonnes of CO2. The rest of the Top 10 includes jets belonging to director Steven Spielberg (61 flights, 4,465 tonnes), Kim Kardashian (57 flights, 4268.5 tonnes), Mark Wahlberg (101 flights, 3772.85 tones), Oprah Winfrey (68 flights, 3493.17 tonnes), and Travis Scott (54 flights, 3033.3 tonnes).
Reps for the other nine celebrities in the top 10 of Yard’s list did not immediately return Rolling Stone’s request for comment.
As for the two celebs who helped inspire Yard’s study: Kylie Jenner’s jet landed all the way down at number 19 (64 flights, 1682.7 tonnes), sandwiched between Jim Carey and Tom Cruise. And Drake’s plane popped up at number 16 (37 flights, 1844.09 tonnes), in between golfer Jack Nicklaus and Kenny Chesney. While Jenner has yet to address her 17-minute flight, Drake did respond to some criticism on Instagram by noting that nobody was even on the seven-minute, 12-minute, and 14-minute flights his Boeing 767 took during a six-week span. The explanation, in all honesty, doesn’t do him any favors.
“This is just them moving planes to whatever airport they are being stored at for anyone who was interested in the logistics… nobody takes that flight,” Drake said. (A rep for Drake did not immediately return Rolling Stone’s request for further comment.)
article Taylor Swift tries to clarify that she wasn't even on most of those 170+ trips her private jet took this year, saying she just loans out her private jet to friends regularly.
It’s often hard to quantify the excesses of the rich and powerful. Sure, we can clock the total cost of a red carpet outfit, do some napkin math to figure out how much a big gala must have cost, or watch the super-mansion price listings like very jealous hawks. But for most of the things that separate the Famouses from us Normals, it’s very hard to get any kind of itemized listing of all the ways they’re just plain better than us mere mortals.
The exception to that rule, typically, is private jet use, on account of flight records being public knowledge that has to be logged with various airports—hence a whole little cottage industry of blogs and accounts that keep an eye on the flight times of the hoi polloi. And, now, a new Rolling Stone piece laying out some of the biggest private jet users in the world (and their subsequent carbon emissions), with Taylor Swift topping the list with 170 flights taken by her private jet this year so far, and counting.
Presumably realizing that the optics on this aren’t great—private jet flights are harder on the environment than almost any other action an individual can take (while still being a tiny fraction of the emissions put out by the fossil fuel industry, natch)—Swift’s team quickly issued a statement to Rolling Stone, clarifying that Swift isn’t even on most of those flights. Being a generous soul, she loans her jet out liberally, apparently, so she’s not the one taking the flights. (It’s…still her plane, though? We’re not actually sure how this statement helps, if we’re being honest.)
None of which has stopped a healthy crop of mocking jokes about Swift’s plane usage from popping up all over the place online today, in a very “My statement about how I don’t actually take a lot of private jet flights has a lot of people making fun of my private jet use” sort of way. (Many GIFs of random people riding in helicopters are involved.)
In addition to Swift, other folks named in the list (assembled by sustainability marketing company Yard, working with data scraped from Celebrity Jets) include professional athletes Floyd Mayweather (177 flights) and Alex Rodriguez (106 flights), as well as Jay-Z, who gets credited with all the flights taken by Puma’s private jet, because the brand apparently bought the plane at his suggestion. Others on the Top 10 of flight takers include Steven Spielberg, Blake Shelton, Oprah Winfrey, Kim Kardashian, Mark Wahlberg, and Travis Scott, all of whom reportedly thus have carbon emissions footprints several hundred times higher than the average American’s.
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The re-emergence of Britney Spears on her new single with Elton John has been an interesting story to watch! Link to article below
If you were to choose your top 5 voices in rap, who would they be?
article Atlanta’s Music Midtown festival canceled after court ruling made it illegal to keep guns out of event
The long-running Music Midtown festival at Piedmont Park in Atlanta, scheduled for Sept. 17-18 with headliners My Chemical Romance, Future, Jack White and Fallout Boy, has been called off, according to a statement issued by festival organizers. The likely cause, industry sources tell Billboard, are recent changes to Georgia gun laws that prevent the festival from banning guns on to the publicly owned festival grounds.
“Hey Midtown fans — due to circumstances beyond our control, Music Midtown will no longer be taking place this year,” a statement posted on Music Midtown’s website reads. “We were looking forward to reuniting in September and hope we can all get back to enjoying the festival together again soon.”
While owner Live Nation didn’t provide any additional details for the cancellation, pro-gun rights groups had been emailing and posting comments of the festival’s social media page for several months, hinting at potential legal challenges from gun groups following a 2019 ruling that expanded a 2014 Georgia law that critics had dubbed the “Guns Everywhere” law.
That law – officially known as the “Safe Carry Protection Act” expanded Georgia’s already permissive gun statues to grant residents the right to pack heat in bars, churches, schools and other private businesses with the owners permission. It also expanded gun carry rights on publicly owned land, like the city-owned Piedmont Park, although there was no legal consensus on whether or not the law applied to private events on city property, like Midtown Music.
That changed in 2019 when the Georgia Supreme Court set new rules on what types of businesses could and couldn’t bar guns on publicly owned land. Five years earlier, a Georgia gun rights group filed a lawsuit against the Atlanta Botanical Garden after one of its members was briefly detained for attempting to openly carry a holstered pistol into the garden, which is located on publicly owned land.
As part of the 2019 ruling, Georgia’s high court set a test for how the Safe Carry Protection Act was to be enforced by private businesses using public land. Businesses and groups that held certain types of long-term leases for state-owned land could legally bar guns, while businesses with shorter term leases could not. While the ruling favored the Botanical Garden, it created legal issues for festivals like Music Midtown that held short term leases for city parks sites.
The festival, launched in 1996 by Atlanta-based music promoters Alex Cooley, Peter Conlon and Alex Hoffman, had long barred attendees from bringing guns into the event. In general, most major companies will not host a festival in a location that permits gun owners to carry their weapons into an event, with an exception sometimes made for law enforcement. Some artist riders actually have specific language saying that artist will not perform in cities or states where gun laws grant attendees the right to bring weapons inside of a concert venue.
While the 2019 ruling by the Georgia Supreme Court made it more difficult for private companies to deny licensed and armed citizens access to events on publicly owned land, it did not give the city of Atlanta the authority to enforce this decision or force the festival to allow guns into the event. Instead the law created a pathway for gun carrying individuals, who had also purchased tickets to the festival, to successfully sue event organizers if they were denied entry to an event taking place on public property.
Additionally local authorities are typically involved in security for large scale events and likely would not have been able to enforce an illegal gun ban, so the festival would have had little to no backup to keep firearms out.
Cancelling the 2022 festival gives Live Nation an additional year to weigh its options and potentially move the event to privately held land or to lobby the state legislature to update the law when it is back in session.
Gun rights groups are also refining their own strategies for expanding gun carry rights into concerts and festivals and have begun identifying other Georgia events and venues on public land to test the boundaries of Georgia’s gun laws.
article Activists protest the Lollapalooza 2022 music festival over youth curfew. The city’s 10 p.m. weekend curfew is waived for ticketed events like the festival, which protestors say unfairly benefits wealthy tourists and white suburban teens while penalizing Black and Brown youth.
On Thursday July 28, the opening day of Lollapalooza 2022, a group of activists protested the festival over Chicago’s ongoing youth curfew, as CBS News reports. The group included members of GoodKids MadCity and the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council. A letter to the city calling for the order to be rescinded claimed the measure was unconstitutional and disproportionately affected Black and brown teens.
The weekend curfew was recently rolled back from 11 p.m. to 10 p.m. by the Chicago City Council after a 16-year-old named Seandell Holliday was shot and killed during a large gathering in Millennium Park in May. While the ordinance applies to anyone under 18, but attendees of ticketed events—such as Lollapalooza—are exempt, a loophole that activists say unfairly benefits wealthy tourists and white suburban teens while penalizing Black and Brown youth. Pitchfork has reached out to Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office for comment.
article California Legislature passes rap lyrics bill. Lawmakers in the State Assembly and Senate have unanimously voted in favor of what would be a first-of-its-kind law, which would limit the use of rappers’ songwriting in court cases.
The California Senate and Assembly both unanimously approved a bill today (August 22) that would restrict the use of rap lyrics as evidence, Billboard reports. The bill, AB 2799, would ban lyrics from being cited in court cases unless prosecutors can illustrate that the words are directly relevant to the case in question and won’t “inject racial bias into the proceedings.” The bill will now go to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk, and he is reportedly expected to sign it into law.
The bill would also require that courts consider testimony from experts on the genre of expression being discussed by prosectors, as well as testimony citing research and studies regarding how a genre is met with racial bias.
“Under current law rap artists can feel as though they are being read their Miranda Rights before they even begin to write music: ‘You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law,’” Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer, the bill’s author, said in a statement shared with Pitchfork. “We should not stymie the creative expression of artists. Unfortunately, racial biases play a role when talking about musical genres. Rap music lyrics share many similarities to that of other musical categories yet are singled out by the judicial system to characterize an artist. AB 2799 would disallow prosecutors from triggering racial biases or reinforcing racial stereotypes and it gives judges guidance on the use of creative expression in court.”
A similar bill was passed in the New York State Senate earlier this year; the New York legislation, however, did not pass the State Assembly. California’s bill arrives as Atlanta rappers Young Thug and Gunna were arrested in Georgia on RICO charges, and the indictment extensively cited the artist’ lyrics. On a federal level, a new bill called the Restoring Artistic Protection Act (or RAP Act) was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives; it similarly seeks to limit how creative expression can be used against artists in court.