BREAKING NEWS IN MUSIC

Some of us are interested who works with who, specifically the teams behind a public figure’s on-going rise and successes. One such star on my radar has been ADELE. Her publicist seems to be the same one she’s had at Columbia Records: Benny Tarantini, according to The Hollywood Reporter back in 2013. He oversaw the publicity department at Columbia, and in two years Adele sold 10 million copies of her album 21 which a quite a feat. With such results, I believe that he’s still part of the team now.

Clearly Adele’s team is on fire because her album became the year’s fastest selling album, and surpassed Taylor Swift. Money moves? Adele had her new album ‘’30’’ launched 19th of  November. To prepare for the USA launch, they snagged an interview with Oprah Winfrey for CBS packaged with star-studded concert at the Griffith Observatory – which was impressive to say the least, apart from scheduled interviews with journalists(the best one). For the UK, Adele executive produced a show for ITV, taped at the London Palladium, where she invited the firefighters who helped put out the fire at the Grenfell Tower, as well as the survivors.

The UK show has made the internet rounds, mostly because of the two Emmas present: Watson and Thompson(so we can also call it a Beauty and the Beast reunion), both who passionately danced and sang throughout the show, to the delight of the viewers. I received a clip of the fabulousness from my Emma-Watson.net teammate, then stayed up to 2am to watch the whole show. Adele knows how to make a show allright, in case you haven’t watched, well – WHAT ARE YOU ON!? Second, Emma Thompson brought Adele’s former English teacher till 8th grade, Ms. McDonald to the stage(who was there with her kids), much to the surprise of Adele who got teary-eyed. Then she wanted a ‘’makeup break’’ and called Alan Carr to the stage to entertain while she gets a minute – again the delight of the whole internet and viewers.

In other news, Lady Gaga got Tony Bennett to sing one more time, as the artist was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease which progressed a lot. The album, titled ‘‘LOVE FOR SALE’’, which is a ‘’de-lovely’’ jazz album infused with swag and a tribute to Cole Porter. The album received its recognition being nominated at the 64th Annual Grammy Awards, which It has to win. Christopher Wallace wrote on ‘’I’ve got you under my skin‘’ music video: ‘’Gaga is one in a million, my little sister told me the other day that she was starting to listen to some jazz because she heard Gaga and Tony.’’ Considering the TikTok plethora of absurd challenges and harmful trends this platform brings out I think it’s a success to make people feel the jazz, a reminder that there is quality music out there still.

Kylie Minogue decided to move Down Under(back home to Australia) which I don’t agree with at all, not happy. She recorded a song with Jessie Ware called ‘’KISS OF LIFE’’ which is so fun to listen to, and the video is double the fun to watch. Equally, her music video with Olly Alexander and Years&Years called ‘’A second to midnight’’ is ear pleasing. Fun fact, I am Kylie’s gift because I was born on her birthday! Both me and Kylie were born on Thomas Moore’s birthday. Were you born on your favorite’s artist’s birthday?

REFERENCES:

Anon. 2021. Alan Carr singing Make You Feel My Love – An Audience with Adele. Viewed [12/2/2021]. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4LfAb5xaG0&ab_channel=O%27Hanfey

Rhys Thomas, 2021. Adele invited Grenfell survivors and firefighters to her London concert. Viewed [12/2/2021]. Available from: https://www.timeout.com/london/news/adele-invited-grenfell-survivors-and-firefighters-to-her-london-concert-112221

Roberto Vargas, 2021. Clip of Emma Watson having fun at ‘An audience with Adele’. Viewed [11/22/2021]. Available from: https://twitter.com/emmawatsonnet/status/1462560861621473282

The Hollywood Reporter, 2013. Adele’s Publicist Gets a Promotion. Viewed [12/2/2021]. Available from: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/music-news/adeles-publicist-gets-a-promotion-415642/

Zane Lowe, 2021. Adele: The ’30’ Interview | Apple Music. YouTube. Viewed [11/22/2021]. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gtPULpjzuA&ab_channel=AppleMusic

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RETURN TO HOGWARTS

The Harry Potter reunion broke the internet on 16th of November. The news were posted by news outlets like Film Updates, Variety, Wizarding World as well as some of the HP cast. The HBO Max special is titled ‘’Return to Hogwarts’’ celebrating 20 years of the beloved franchise, set to premiere on New Year’s Day, 1st of January 2022. I didn’t feel that old until that news!

‘’I’ll believe it when I see it’’ I said on @emmawatsonnet twitter account upon seeing the news, yet I didn’t quite believe it, even when Emma Watson confirmed it on her Instagram feed and stories. Me and other fans(@hpana on twitter) felt the reunion was somehow spoilt by J. K. Rowling’s transphobia from recent years.

Cast and crew of Harry Potter. Emma Watson, Instagram.

The fact that Rowling won’t take part in the special didn’t go down well with the TERFs(acronym for trans-exclusionary radical feminist who are anti-trans groups) who criticized the decision of going ahead with the reunion without the author.

Moreso, @emmawatsonnet was mentioned by Neil Sean, (Media correspondent and Filmmaker for Westminster Live), in a Twitter post in which he expresses his feelings of Rowling not being included in the reunion titled: ’’No magic left for Harry Potter thanks to woke mob’’. The post is leading to a Youtube video, where he said that the actors are ’’very rich, very successful, and of course, very wealthy, all thanks to the powerful pen of J.K. Rowling’’ who he believes saved the British Film.

Afshan Azad was the only actor of the cast I have seen to thank J.K. Rowling on social media, who wrote: ‘’I owe everything to @jk_rowling, the casting agents and the Potter films. #20’’ as a result she was love-bombed by anti-trans accounts, where one user called her ‘’a gracious young woman who appreciates those who gave you your big break.’’ Of course the rest of the cast had received backlash for not thanking the author.

The films were made in active collaboration with J.K. in a time when her transphobia wasn’t yet public, or else could have the series become such a successful one? I dare write that it wouldn’t have been as big of a success otherwise. The actors of the series don’t have to thank her because for 10 years of their lives they worked their bums off, from early morning till it got very dark once they were old enough, often sleeping where they could on sets, in between takes. They earned their money fairly, paid by the studio.

Now, I recognized the author as a highly intelligent woman who created and wrote the universe Harry Potter, of course. That until she showed support to Maya Forstater who got fired after her employer got complaints because she was openly transphobic at work(NBC News, 2019). She’s went on to following LGB Alliance, who ‘’promote the rights of lesbians, bisexuals & gay men, as recognised by biological sex’’ – and of course there’s an issue with that, and their #SexNotGender hashtag. The main cast was clear: Trans men are men, and trans women are women.

J.K. claimed that only women menstruate in a tweet from 2020: ’‘ ’People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?’’ but I’d like to tell her that my cousin was born a woman, has premature menopause and yes, does not menstruate and very much a fully fledged woman, yet trans women can menstruate too, even capable to give birth. Why is she afraid of trans people in public bathrooms? Of all places?!

In other news, it took Bonnie Wright 12 days to delete a post which contained highly offensive words ”killgays” in her custom URL leading to her website. She was promoting her newsletter. I didn’t take her apology for it either, sorry, as she claimed to have used a link shortener, who appears to be blamed for the mishap and not her team for not having spotted the error quicker than the fans. Bonnie, a bit.ly account is free! Not the woke mob again!

REFERENCES:

Afshan Azad, 2021. When the Philosophers Stone film came out.. Twitter. Viewed on 12/1/2021]. Available from: https://twitter.com/afshan_azad/status/1460699041092747264

Bonnie Wright, 2021. Apology. Twitter. Viewed on [12/1/2021]. Available from:  https://twitter.com/thisisbwright/status/1459174408157863940

Dr. Veronica Ivy, 2019. J.K. Rowling’s Maya Forstater tweets support hostile work environments, not free speech. NBC News. Viewed on [12/1/2021]. Available from: https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/j-k-rowling-s-maya-forstater-tweets-support-hostile-work-ncna1105201

Emma Watson, 2020. Trans people are who they say they are..Twitter. Viewed on [12/1/2021]. Available from: https://twitter.com/emmawatson/status/1270826851070619649?lang=en

Emma Watson, 2021. Harry Potter was my home (..). Instagram. Viewed on [12/1/2021]. Available from: https://www.instagram.com/p/CWWGFOXLZYs/

Emma-Watson.net, 2021. I’ll believe it when I see it. Twitter. Viewed on [12/1/2021]. Available from: https://twitter.com/emmawatsonnet/status/1460656614336344073

J.K. Rowling, 2020. ‘People who menstruate.’ Twitter. Viewed on [12/1/2021]. Available from:  https://twitter.com/jk_rowling/status/1269382518362509313?lang=en

Neil Sean, 2021. No magic left for Harry Potter thanks to woke mob. Twitter. Viewed on [12/1/2021]. Available from: https://twitter.com/neilseanshowbiz/status/1461293237822529545

BRITNEY IS FREED AND ASTROWORLD DIED

Few things set the world on fire and united everyone for a cause quite like Black Lives Matter. It gave the movement a lot of fuel and visibility after the world saw how George Floyd was killed by an officer who knelt on his neck and then we found out about Breonna Taylor’s house raid which killed her.

Such an event was #FreeBritney. If you don’t know Britney Spears has spent her last 14 years in a conservatorship. A conservatorship is usually seen as a last resort for the elderly, people who have ailments like Dementia or Alzheimer’s, who cannot care for themselves, not being able to run basic daily tasks. Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan are just two of the most famous cases among conservatorships.

Britney’s case caught on fire because of a podcast called Britney’s Gram, featured a voicemail from a paralegal who worked on her case who heard their latest episode, who told them that Britney refused to take her prescribed medication during rehearsals for the Domination tour, which her father then canceled. Her team set themselves up, and created companies off of Britney’s back, examples being TriStar Entertainment founded by Louise M Taylor, the alleged mastermind of the conservatorship and CrowdSurf, the company who managed Britney’s social media and to several other celebrities, like Backstreet Boys.

Fast forward to when her lawyer, Samuel D. Ingham III resigned and she got the right to choose a lawyer to better represent her, former federal prosecutor Mathew Rosengart back in July 2021. Since then, it took ‘’Rosendaddy’’ as fans started to nickname him, around 5 more months to get the judge to terminate the conservatorship on 11/12/2021. It was a hugely celebrated day, but it really was thanks to her fans who reviewed and analyzed each court document and shared insight online, organized protests etc. That’s what one can accomplish with proper support. Fans updated the hashtag to #FreedBritney, who said on Instagram that it was her ‘’best day ever’’.

Another event that heated optic fibers around the world has been Astroworld Festival. It ran between 5-6 November, which is organized by rapper Travis Scott in Houston Texas. This year’s one has been a tad different, because the crowd – a staggering 50,000 – ‘’ surged toward a stage and were crushed against each other’’ (CNN, 2021). The death toll rose to 10, after a 9 year old child died in hospital.

Attendees reported to CNN that they ‘’started screaming for help … I felt so scared, like I was going to die.”(Emily Munguia) while Amper realized ‘’that people were dying’’. So, this wasn’t a regular festival, one that came after a long lockdown which WeForum called ‘’the largest psychological experiment ever’’. That pent up excitement to attend a live concert led to this.

People were seen in various clips posted online climbing the stage and screaming for help, that people are dying. It is clear that the event organisers have done an extremely poor job, considering the festival’s history, where in 2019 people were trampled in the rush of others to get into the festival, so it could have been avoided. Many suffered internal bleeding, spinal injuries and more.

The worse part for me has been finding out that Travis Scott teamed up with Better Help to offer a free month therapy for the attendees. A month free won’t solve trauma. Better Help is known to have sold data to 3rd parties like Facebook/Meta. To date, there are 177 lawsuits filed against Travis Scott, Drake, Live Nation and others, with one rising to $2 billion, and another of $750 million. Travis Scott stayed in his mansion to avoid facing the public, presumably the advice of his legal team.

REFERENCES:

Barker and Gray, 2019. #FreeBritney special emergency episode. Viewed [11/24/2021]. Available from:  https://britneysinstagram.libsyn.com/75-freebritney     

Cheyenne Roundtree, 2021. Inside Travis Scott’s Strange Post-Astroworld Partnership With BetterHelp, the ‘Tinder of Psychotherapy’. Viewed [11/24/2021]. Available from: https://www.thedailybeast.com/inside-travis-scotts-strange-partnership-with-betterhelp-the-tinder-of-psychotherapy

Elke Van Hoof, 2020. Lockdown is the world’s biggest psychological experiment – and we will pay the price. Viewed [11/24/2021]. Available from: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/04/this-is-the-psychological-side-of-the-covid-19-pandemic-that-were-ignoring/

Hanna, Brown and Flores, 2021. At least 8 dead and many injured after crowd surge at Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival in Houston, officials say. CNN. Viewed [11/24/2021]. Available from: https://edition.cnn.com/2021/11/06/us/houston-astroworld-festival/index.html

Hatfield, Mycah, 2021. 177 lawsuits filed two weeks after deadly Astroworld tragedy. ABC13.com. Viewed [11/24/2021]. Available from: https://abc13.com/astroworld-festival-travis-scott-houston-concert-deaths-live-nation/11255030/

FASHION JUST GOT LIGHTER

In my previous blog post I mentioned Stella McCartney. The brand is rated ‘’Good’’ on Goodonyou.eco’s directory, and despite the brand being known to use some eco friendly materials like organic cotton and regenerated cashmere, they still use polyester and nylon which is a major letdown for me and Goodonyou shares the sentiment. I noticed there was no ’’recycled polyester’’ on farfetch.com, when I searched for the brand’s clothing and accessories and they’re still marked as Positively Conscious. I have to say I don’t really understand how that works.

But fashion just got lighter, because a well known fashion brand – CHLOE –  the first luxury maison to become B-Corp certified last month, as reported by EcoWatch. There wasn’t much of press fuss about it, there was no noise on social media about it. They came a long way from being rated ’’Not good enough’’, after ’’18 months of collective work by our teams worldwide’’(Chloe 2021). Prada wants to follow on this path as well, and recently began using recycled nylon.

What is a B-corp certification? On their website, Chloe describes it as being ’’one of the most demanding certifications that evaluates brands’ social and environmental impact, with over 300 questions about governance, workers, communities and impact on the environment’’ and committed to updating their Sustainability section.

There are several B corp directories online which are very useful for every eco-happy wardrobe:

B corporation:

UK:

Latin America and Caribbean

Canada:

B corp directory Australia:

As many climate activists have shared on social media, if all these companies wanted to make changes they would today, but instead get lazy. Not Chloe’s creative director Gabriela Hearst, whose own brand was rated ’’Not good enough’’ yet she’s done her research, inspired by her life living on family inherited farm, where ’’Everything gets used, so that’s where I learned utilitarian skills for sustainability’’.

I don’t want perfect activists but I do want to see that my favorite activists and public figures respect their given word and seeing their commitment reflect in their own closets, outside red carpet events. Most fashion houses rated ’’Not good enough’’ or worse, ’’We avoid’’. Now, of course Goodonyou would need to grow a bigger team to be able to update all ratings, as some of them are a year or two old. Even so, I don’t want public figures to do nice speeches in public and in interviews, posting on social media about what happened with Rana Plaza, asking their followers if they know ’’who made your clothes?’’ then wearing H&M and Topshop, when you know that they are promoting sustainability, fair wages and decent working conditions for garment workers.

REFERENCES:

Anon, 2021. Stella McCartney. Goodonyou.eco. Viewed [11/21/2021]. Available from: https://directory.goodonyou.eco/brand/stella-mccartney

Anon, n.d. Chloé just achieved B Corp Certification. Chloe. Viewed [11/23/2021]. Available from: https://www.chloe.com/experience/en/news/chloe-just-achieved-b-corp-certification/

Fiona Sinclair Scott, 2021. ‘We’re not perfect but we’re freaking trying’: Chloé’s Gabriela Hearst on making fashion sustainable. CNN. Viewed [11/21/2021]. Available from: https://edition.cnn.com/style/article/gabriela-hearst-sustainable-fashion/index.html?fbclid=IwAR0p9qTyJ29AmVIt29pUovciZEWmCTpfEgX18xzQxJYekXcUiAXudfnKkqI

Isabella Wolfe, 2018. How Ethical Is Stella McCartney? Goodonyou. Viewed [11/21/2021]. Available from: https://goodonyou.eco/how-ethical-is-stella-mccartney/?fbclid=IwAR2v9frxpe5JQHB6V8i6OgR_CrGHIsO6btJ_t5ywMA_mJfQmhICZGnTn7DA  

Paige Bennett, 2021. Chloé Is First Luxury Company to Become a B-Corp. EcoWatch. Viewed [11/21/2021]. Available from: https://www.ecowatch.com/b-corporations-clothes-chloe-2655324118.html?fbclid=IwAR0p9qTyJ29AmVIt29pUovciZEWmCTpfEgX18xzQxJYekXcUiAXudfnKkqI

THE FASHION INDUSTRY SHOULD BE A MAJOR DISRUPTOR

The fashion industry as we know it is a major polluter. ECOCULT reported that it is responsible for 4-8% of global emissions, and it is interesting to see a parallel with the natural gas and oil sectors who are responsible for 3.9%.

I saw someone on Twitter posting that Emma Watson’s dress is sustainable(referring to the time she wore Alexander McQueen Resort 2020 collection on the cover of VOGUE UK December 2019). Couture is often not sustainable, far from it. Then, I had the inspiration to look at Goodonyou_app, a company who analyzes brands, looking at areas such as People, Planet and Animals. They rate brands from lowest’’We avoid’’, ’’Not good enough’’, ’’It’s a start’’, ’’Good ’’, to highest ’’Great ’’. Alexander McQueen’s rating is ’’It’s a Start’’ which is not good enough considering how big and popular the fashion house is, and surely they have to have the resources to accelerate their progress.

Emma told Vogue in June 2020 that ”I have committed to only purchasing and wearing brands that are rated ‘It’s A Start’ or above, as I want to be able to support brands moving in the right direction’’. I admire that in Emma, but I am quite split between being upset over fashion houses not making progress fast enough despite resources they have available, that it is extremely difficult to only buy clothes from brands who are only rated ’’Good’’, or ’’Great’’, price being a factor to most citizens, but that clothing fabric composition often contains polyester even from designers who champion sustainability like Stella McCartney.

Emma does have the privilege to having a bigger budget than most of us, but she also has the power and influence to lobby and pressurize brands to fasten their seatbelts toward sustainability. She joined Kering’s Board of Directors in June 2020, also chairing their Sustainability Committe of the Board, so she can really use that to drive change.

I really feel that the fashion industry should be a major disruptor, because as ECOCULT showed, fashion involves other industries in their processes: cotton, linen, silk(produced by silkworms but there is a vegan alternative called lotus silk), plastic (which is often not recycled), leather(when vegan leather can be used instead). The most difficult thing would be to change the perception of the public, to influence them to change their behaviour and buying decision-making process.

When I discovered sustainably made fashion it was like discovering a whole new world 😉. I became an affiliate partner with Immaculate Vegan, after using items from their website into sustainable fashion dupes of Emma Watson’s outfits on Instagram. I thought I couldn’t do what a stylist does so ended up creating sustainable outfits and made friends with brands in the process. So, buying sustainably is possible but getting consumers on board is a whole other cake, just like getting people to wear their clothes more than once, except for Kate, she’s great at fashion repeats, she takes that #30wears seriously. Hats off to you humans, who wear their clothing(nudity not being an option in public).

Photo by FreeStocks.org for PEXELS

One simply can’t write a blog about fashion and not include the fabulosity which is Eco-Age, a consultancy agency, describing themselves as creative communicators and providing progressive sustainability solutions whose founder is Livia Firth. They started the challenge #30wears because fashion is oftentimes seasonal, based on trends. There’s an app too, and it wants you to ask yourself ’’will I wear it 30 times?’’ before you buy.

Back to polluters, the footwear and apparel together were reportedly responsible for 8% of global carbon equivalent emissions(Wicker, 2021). There are vegan leather options who look absolutely beautiful, you wouldn’t believe that they were made from Appleskin(one type of vegan leather made from apple waste). Other brands use recycled polyester, recycled and upcycled rubber. There are handbags made of Piñatex(textile made of waste leaf pineapple fibers). These products are fair priced, considering their natural leather counterparts. Just think of how often a woman changes her handbags, going after trends or because they wear off.

I have that hope in my heart that one day these vegan brands will be mainstream popular, as much as I hope that companies stop using so called virgin plastics in their clothing. Take the W’s Dynamic Tee as an example, sold by Houdini Sportwear, made of 100% polyester(plastic), and calling it recylable because you can send it back to them once it wears off.

They’ll be surprised that they’ll never run out of plastics to recycle, surely in my lifetime and theirs! Goodonyou_app showed in an entire post how brands are not putting in the effort to make changes and to show leadership, they reported brands getting a low score for environmental policies for example, only 11% of brands achieve the ’’Great’’ rating in that area. The fashion industry should be a major disruptor because they have what it takes, just not the motivation. It’s like with going to the gym, make yourself do it!

REFERENCES:

Alder Wicker, 2021. Fashion Is Not the 2nd Most Polluting Industry After Oil. But What Is It?. ECOCULT. Viewed [11/17/2021]. Available from: https://ecocult.com/now-know-fashion-5th-polluting-industry-equal-livestock/

Anon. n.d. 30 wears app. Viewed [11/17/2021]. Available from: https://30wears.app/

Anon. n.d. Immaculate Vegan. Viewed [11/17/2021]. Available from: https://immaculatevegan.com/

Anon., n.d. Emma Watson – Independent Director. Viewed [11/15/2021]. Available from: https://www.kering.com/en/group/our-governance/board-of-directors/emma-watson/

Elena Niculescu, 2021. Emma Watson’s fashion commitment. Vogue Uk. Viewed [11/17/2021]. Available from: https://twitter.com/emmawatsonnet/status/1459561122785378315

Houdini Sportwear, 2021. W’s Dynamic Tee. Viewed [11/17/2021]. Available from: https://houdinisportswear.com/en-eu/clothing/shirts-and-tops/ws-dynamic-tee-157524?color=157524907

Sophie Benson, 2021. Fashion Climate Inaction. Goodonyou. Viewed [11/15/2021]. Available from: https://goodonyou.eco/fashion-climate-inaction/

COP 26: JUST TALKS, CARBON-HEAVY FOOD & RACISM

What is COP26 and who attends it? COP stands for ‘’Conference of the Parties’’ or countries where 26 marks the 26th year the parties or countries meet up, this year in Glasgow, Scotland. It ran between 12/10/2021 and 12/11/2021, so it just wrapped.

This year’s COP had almost 40,000 delegates registered, suggesting it was the biggest COP to date. Brazil had 479 delegates, just a few delegates shy from 566 they had at COP15. In a press release, Global Witness reported that 503 fossil fuel lobbyists ‘’affiliated with some of the world’s biggest polluting oil and gas giants, have been granted access to COP26, flooding the Glasgow conference with corporate influence’’, but I never heard of Fossil Fuel country before. Good thing Elon will fly us to Mars.

It’s always been a gender disproportionate event too, in a chart made by Joe Goodman we can see COP26 shifted to having 65% males and 35% females. Republic of Moldova had most females on their team (89%), and the UK was one of 8 delegations to maintain a 50-50 balance. As a Romanian, to my surprise, saw that Romania had 33 males with 16 females(67% – 33%). Why so many men? I guess they didn’t want to stay home, they were exhausted from the many lockdowns and restrictions, and their gov duties piled up, can’t relate.

The COP26 menu was equally legendary! Did you think they’d hold such an big event without food?! It contained several categories: Fish and chips, Pasta, Pastries(you can’t have negotiations without these), Pizza, Scottish larder, International larder, Wraps and baguettes. Being that the host was traditionally Scottish half of the meals contained meat, as reported by Sarah Wilson for The Big Issue. Where’s the recipe for change If those meals which contain meat have the highest carbon footprint? But at least they were sourced locally.

In the Scottish Larder category, they had ‘’Haggis, Neeps & Tattis’’ cost 6.5 GBP and used 3.4kg of carbon, its vegetarian option only 0.6kg of carbon. Only two thirds of the menu options used below 0.5kg of carbon. The menus were measured by Swedish start-up Klimato to help delegates ‘’choose the dishes with the lowest carbon footprint”. Who thought this was a good idea? The menu didn’t remain anonymous for too long, it trended on Twitter with the line “It’s like serving cigarettes at a lung cancer conference’’ made by Joel Scott-Halkes, who is a spokesperson for Animal Rebellion. So the COP was just talks and carbon-heavy food.

This year’s COP caught my attention not only because I’m a PR student who intended to write about it, also because one of my favorites Emma Watson was invited by The New York Times to host a session for their Climate Hub. This session’s panel was composed by 9 young activists aged between 18-24(Watson, 2021). I was shocked how fiercely dedicated and eloquent they are about the issues they stand for. Much to my dismay, Tori Tsui and Dominique Palmer reported racism at the COP without naming anyone, and Mya-Rose Craig shared on Twitter: ’’That is why @COP26 was doomed’’ and called for a Revolution.

Her mother, Helena Craig, shared with me via Twitter private message the many challenges Mya-Rose faced, not only at COP. It often meant dealing with being deliberately overlooked by local media ’’unless they benefitted’’, the NGOs she volunteered for didn’t even ask her what she was doing at COP, instead taking white school boys.

Greenpeace did not respond to Mya-Rose’s request to receive a blue zone pass despite being an Oceans Ambassador, Helena recounted that journalists decided they were in the blue zone at the COP, chose other people there and dropped her from tv interviews. This was too much to deal with so Mya-Rose decided to leave COP like several other young activists including Dominique Palmer.

Dominique Palmer also reported on the regress UK made post-COP: rejected to join BOGA (Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance), ‘’new Cambo oil and gas field, 40 new fossil fuel extraction projects in the pipeline, not accepting loss and damages as their historic debt to these countries and paying their share’’, so if UK did this, Romania can only follow suit. I can see how COP26 was just talks, carbon-heavy food and filled with racism.

The fossil fuel companies who attended COP26 are often well represented. Take Edelman, who represents Exxon Mobil, who reportedly had private talks with activists to drop their fossil fuel client, because as Aurora James stated in an Instagram post: ’’They often invite people like us to join sustainability campaignson hehalf of their clients’’ and that those private conversations ’’led nowhere’’ so Aurora and over 100+ designers, models and activists made their message to Edelman public. Them and the rest of companies who are responsible for 71% of all global emissions, so it’s getting rather slippery in Fossil Fuel country.

REFERENCES:

Anon, 2021. Hundreds of fossil fuel lobbyists flooding COP26 climate talks. Global Witness. Viewed [11/14/2021]. Available from: https://www.globalwitness.org/en/press-releases/hundreds-fossil-fuel-lobbyists-flooding-cop26-climate-talks/

Aurora James, 2021. @Edelman is the world’s largest PR firm. Instagram. Viewed [11/16/2021]. Available from: https://www.instagram.com/p/CWBr24QJG2m/?utm_source=ig_embed

Dominique Palmer, 2021. The UK words: green revolution, climate leader, keep 1.5 alive... Viewed [11/14/2021]. Available from: https://twitter.com/domipalmer/status/1459853294608736258

Emma Watson, 2021. So, what IS COP26 ??? Instagram. Viewed [11/14/2021]. Available from: https://www.instagram.com/p/CVYRnQpJNn9/

Emma Watson. Sneak peek of COP26 panel. Instagram. Viewed [11/14/2021]. Available from: https://www.instagram.com/p/CWQdMhMt3Ma/

Mya-Rose Craig, 2021. Central to the #climateaction. Twitter. Viewed [11/14/2021]. Available from: https://twitter.com/BirdgirlUK/status/1459601702441660427

Mya-Rose Craig, 2021. Did you know that 100 companies are responsible for 71% of all global emissions? Twitter. Viewed [11/16/2021]. Available from: https://twitter.com/BirdgirlUK/status/1430574876662902786

Robert McSweeney, 2021. Analysis: Which countries have sent the most delegates to COP26? Carbon Brief. Viewed [11/14/2021]. Available from: https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-which-countries-have-sent-the-most-delegates-to-cop26

Sarah Wilson, 2021. The COP26 menu is ‘like serving cigarettes at a lung cancer conference’. The Big Issue. Viewed [11/14/2021]. Available from: https://www.bigissue.com/news/environment/cop26-haggis-the-most-unsustainable-dish-at-glasgow-climate-conference/

LIVING WITH DEPRESSION

I saw Ellie Jones’ posts on self-care and how she dealt with change, and it got me thinking ‘’hmm, I have depression and never wrote about it’’. Depression can happen to anyone, just like any other mental health ‘’disorders’’. Depression is, in my humble opinion, not a disorder, but a part of us like a piece of metal which was hit too many times by the blacksmith(who can be a woman too) and was tired of being strong and broke down at one point.

Like Ellie, I started recognizing I have bouts of not wanting to get out of bed, or getting out of the house at all, these bouts do not happen daily, when they do happen I have to show kindness to myself, and take another route to getting whatever done in that day. It happened today. It rained so I was triggered. It was cold too, and rain and cold combined obviously didn’t go well.

How is it for me to be living with depression? Well, it’s okay. It’s okay because I have had small accomplishments which make me feel proud and these make the week fly by like Ursula von der Leyen’s private jet (for more than 31 miles btw). It’s manageable. It feels great to have stuff to do, important stuff, they feel important and when I get stuff done, I go ‘’YESSSS!’’, booty shakes and all. You forgot booty shakes, Ellie! A PR blog simply has to list those, Ellie!

Photo by Gui Spinardi from Pexels

I arrange my day so that university work is done, so I can argue that lists are indeed useful, but you have to read them, ….every once in a while. Being kind to oneself is terribly important went going through something like depression, taking day by day, as judging oneself over things that you didn’t do in a day simply isn’t useful, it can only make you feel worse about yourself. I’m okay whatever I choose to do. For some, therapy as in talk therapy might be useful, but I already talk to myself so I don’t feel the need for that.

I’m quite the depression specialist after dealing with it since I was 18. You might be thinking, what causes depression? One can’t really pinpoint at a single cause, because we’re intricate humans, it’s rather a combination of factors like stress, bullying, unemployment, financial struggles, grief, medication, or simply genetics. It is like depression embodies a different personality every time or maybe it’s a different side to myself which requires attention? Food for thought there.

What I do for myself, other than taking small steps daily, is listening to music, getting work done because we need as much endorphins and serotonin as possible and getting stuff done means dopamine will make us feel bliss, increasing motivation and concentration. Basically what you need when feeling not so good. Exercising every morning, but random mornings. I cook food that I eat with my eyes, not just my mouth. Oh and keeping hydrated because we’re all 70% water, unless you’re not human. And if you aren’t human, why are you reading this blog?

THE BIG PROBLEM WITH CYBERSECURITY

For this week, I have three blog ideas, one of them being cybersecurity, as I noticed my Facebook and Instagram accounts were being broken into. Cybersecurity in the words of IT GOVERNANCE is ‘the application of technologies, processes and controls to protect systems, networks, programs, devices and data from cyber attacks. It aims to reduce the risk of cyber attacks and protect against the unauthorized exploitation of systems, networks and technologies’’.

Inside your Facebook account(the web address hasn’t changed) you can find several ways to cyber protect your account. Click on the arrow down next to the Notifications bell, go to Settings and Privacy – Settings – Security and Login. This is where you will see all the unauthorized logins to your account, in the ‘’Where You’re Logged In’’ section. This is where I saw logins from different Romanian counties on my account. One cannot be in multiple locations at once, digitally and physically, so I knew I had a big problem with cybersecurity. One enabled option doesn’t cover you.

Facebook login page

I was already using a password manager called LAST PASS, which also generates strong passwords, and you can customize them to contain numbers, symbols, uppercase and lowercase; I already had two factor authentication enabled but it clearly wasn’t enough. Once somebody hacked your account, they can see your backup codes for your account in Instagram, I know because I tried using several backup codes and didn’t work which means they were already used.

I could tell somebody was spying my accounts because my messages were opening up seemingly at random, when I knew I closed these conversation windows, also my Instagram theme changed from dark to light without me changing it. I had alerts enabled for unrecognized logins as well in my Facebook account but these were never received.

What you can do instead is enabling the Authentication app which is readily available as an option in the ‘’Two factor authentication’’ section. Google Authenticator app is easy to install from the Android Play Store or Apple Play Store and easy to use. As a result, I get random codes sent to me as early as 6am but I sleep well knowing they can’t access my account.

Another tip I have to give is using these strong passwords and changing them often. Strong passwords aren’t strong on their own, but use them anyway. ‘’S3Dg6&E4e4yd’’ is still better than ‘’hotcookie2’’ – which I never used for any account, just made it up for this blog, if you have it as a password do be ‘ashamed’ of yourself, and go change it. Make sure each password is different on each platform.

Your accounts could also be broken into as a result of ‘’phishing’’, which is when the attacker masks themselves as a website or institution you trust to do something like clicking on an instant message, email or fake social media page, online banking. ‘’The FBI has noted about a surge in pandemic-related phishing, tied to the growth of remote work’’(IBM, 2021). My old Myspace account was phished using a fake social media page which looked as normal and I’d have to unlock my account, change the password and it would happen again till I changed the email.

I did notice the difference between the safe and normal Facebook login page and the fake one(the colors are different and the design), where the fake page looked like a mobile version. I apologize for not screenshotting it to use here as an example but be super attentive of these changes in web pages. Hope you found my story useful and stay safe on social media!

REFERENCES:

Anon., n.d., What is cybersecurity? IBM. Viewed [11/9/2021]. Available from: https://www.ibm.com/topics/cybersecurity

Anon., n.d., What is cybersecurity? Definition and best practices. IT Governance UK. Viewed [11/9/2021]. Available from: https://www.itgovernance.co.uk/what-is-cybersecurity

SHOULD BRANDS TAKE A STAND FOR SOCIAL ISSUES?

In any industry, we strive to be the best, get the best feedback, attention and praise and hopefully some pretty money too. Brands want their corporate activity to reflect into being featured in the best PR campaigns lists for that year, that’s what they aim for: having the most impact because who doesn’t want global visibility and a pretty annual report?

Should brands take a stand for social issues? The answer, in my opinion, lies in the execution of their campaigns and advertisements. Not all ads are made equal, not all ads become viral sensations. Just like not all brands out there can hire a top advertising agency. Still, if one has the budget to, say Nike and Gillette, it doesn’t mean you are protected from public backlash.

The Gillette ‘We Believe’ ad was created by New York based ad agency GREY, who were founded in 1917, the same agency who made Carlsberg’s ‘Adopt a Keg’. But going back to 2019 when Gillette’s ad aired, it had both public’s love combined with tears and backlash. Reactions came from tv and film personalities like Jessica Chastain, who lauded the ad for ‘’this reminder of the beauty of men’’ on Twitter, whilst other users tweeted that the ad brought tears in their eyes, and called the ad fantastic.

The ad, at the time when NPR wrote their article, had amassed over 14m views, now (in 2021 when this blog was in its writing process) has over 37m views. Gillette and Grey thought they nailed it. They researched widely prior to getting the ad done; they had an amazing concept/idea calling out toxic masculinity and behaviors but it fell short with a lot of us. Why?

Pavel Danilyuk/PEXELS.COM

After watching the ad several times, came to the conclusion that the backlash is largely due to the poor execution of the ad and Alan Abitbol (who is a Comms Assistant Professor at University of Dayton) had the same point of view, adding his own primary research into the matter, quoted by Inc., stated: ’’The problem, in short, is that razors never make an appearance. Viewers might be questioning the company’s motives because the ad doesn’t directly tie the cause to what the brand is known for: shaving and grooming. In a study I conducted about how consumers perceive messages of female empowerment, showcasing the product–and tying the product to the message–seemed to resonate best”, yet Wired argued that most of the ad reactions were mostly positive as a lot of ‘’media and ad experts(..) agreed the commercial was clever and as emotionally moving as an ad can really ever hope to be’’.

Yes, brands should take a stand for social issues, but it is more important to choose an issue relevant to the brand and to mesh the issue into solutions, otherwise what point are they going to make? Ads should be made to help change public’s perceptions on a particular issue and offer solutions to truly have a long-lasting effect. Like Alan pointed out, a product tied-in with the social issue would have been better suited for the brand.

I want to think that sustainability is on Gillette’s board as an urgent matter because users threw their razors in the toilet to protest their ad, we can agree that these aren’t flushable items, some other users threw their razors in the trash. Safety razors have plastic components and a plastic packaging which need to be redone in a more sustainable way.

REFERENCES:

Dreyfuss, E., 2019. Gillette’s Ad Proves the Definition of a Good Man Has Changed. Wired. Viewed [11/2/2021]. Available from: https://www.wired.com/story/gillette-we-believe-ad-men-backlash/

Smith, T., 2019. Backlash Erupts After Gillette Launches A New #MeToo-Inspired Ad Campaign. NPR.org. Viewed [11/2/2021]. Available from: https://www.npr.org/2019/01/17/685976624/backlash-erupts-after-gillette-launches-a-new-metoo-inspired-ad-campaign?t=1635850768268

Stillman, J., 2019. Yes, Consumers Want Brands to Take a Stand, but That Gillette Ad Got the Execution Wrong. Inc.com. Viewed [11/2/2021]. Available from: https://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/yes-consumers-want-brands-to-take-a-stand-but-that-gillette-ad-got-execution-wrong.html

IT’S NOT MANAGING, IT’S ENGAGING AND INFLUENCING: STAKEHOLDERS

Stakeholders, as the name suggests, have a stake, or interest in a company and its activities, they could be individuals or groups of individuals. Stakeholders, to have and to hold, till conflicts do us part. Even then, we should always show up with their favorite flowers and chocolate, (preferably outside their offices), to try dissolve the argument to get on common ground, because Mike Clayton said it(he worded it differently). Discovered today(Monday when I started writing) that we have R. Edward Freeman to thank for writing Strategic Management: A stakeholder approach in 1983 which made the term ‘’stakeholder’’ popular and Mike Clayton mentioned in his book ‘’The influence agenda’’ that Stakeholder Theory took off as a discipline.

I was thinking of the relationship between The Walt Disney Company widely known as Disney, its  stakeholders and their suppliers. I found on Instagram that Disney owes their manufacturing supplier factory Industrias Florenzi located in El Salvador, Central America, who sewed scrubs for Grey’s Anatomy for 15+ years, just about 1.3 million USD in unpaid wages since the pandemic started. In Year 2, I had a brilliant professor called Robert Dalton who taught us how to create a stakeholder map and roughly how to find annual reports, so my first thought was to look for these documents for Disney, because I was sure they made billions.

Yes, they did. The numbers are staggering, but for their size as a brand, it’s probably just like counting Cinderella dresses in the shop. Speaking of which, the revenues for Europe stand at 7,3 bn(Fiscal year 2020 Annual Financial Report), 16.5 bn. globally in Parks, Experiences and Products segment, with a global revenue of 65,39 bn, as seen on Statista(see references). In their Suppliers Document, they say they ‘’work with our suppliers to receive electronic payment via ACH(direct deposit)’’ clearly not received by Industrias Florenzi workers due to fraud. Disney is asked to #PayYourWokers by the @CleanClothesCampaign account on Instagram, who can be seen as an activist group highlighting the issues we don’t otherwise see or hear companies talk about.

Like Mr. Clayton mentioned in his video giving 5 tips for Project Managers on how to engage with stakeholders, stakeholders aren’t to be managed but rather to be engaged with and who can be influenced through leading by example, building trust which leads to credibility, which then inspires confidence in the company. Disney could revolutionize the game by paying up their workers now. The amount owed is just a small cheque compared to how much they earn worldwide even during the pandemic. Everything was quiet on the Disney front, while they quietly furloughed thousands of workers in 2020. Thinking about it, haven’t seen any of my favorite tv and film personalities react to all this.

In 2021, Disney can start to engage with all of us Beauty and the Beast lovers(the live action for my generation) by admitting what they’ve done and enabled is wrong, be willing to take steps towards mending the situation, they might as well pay in full, so that the petals won’t all fall off the rose. Even better if they would ensure that their workers are treated fairly going forward, that they have a decent living wage, a pension for all who work for them (inside and outside of the USA), as the pandemic showed the true face of capitalism. Why is decency too much to ask? This should not be about annual reports looking pretty, it should be about making sure people who work for you don’t go hungry. For dignity. The world would look different today if more and more Public Affairs practitioners would pressurize governmental bodies to toughen the laws to make it impossible for companies from continuing to behave like this. For dignity.

REFERENCES

Anon., 2021. 2020 Annual Report and Form 10K. Viewed [10/21/2021]. Available from: https://www.annualreports.com/Company/walt-disney-co

Clayton, Mike, 2014. The influence agenda – A systematic approach to align stakeholders in times of change. 1st ed. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, pp 6-9.

Clayton, Mike, 2019.  Stakeholder Engagement Tips: 5 Tips For Project Managers. Viewed [10/24/2021]. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APc9S_8v7YY&ab_channel=OnlinePMCourses-MikeClayton

Clean Clothes Campaign, 2021. Disney robbed Industrias Florenzi workers of $1.3 million. Viewed [10/12/2021]. Available from: https://www.instagram.com/p/CVYJj_Os9Gj/

José Gabriel Navarro, 2021. Global revenue of the Walt Disney Company 2006-2020. Statista. Viewed [10.26/2021]. Available from: https://www.statista.com/statistics/273555/global-revenue-of-the-walt-disney-company/

Julia Stoll, 2021. Revenue of the Walt Disney Company in 2020, by operating segment. Statista. Viewed [10.26/2021]. Available from: https://www.statista.com/statistics/193140/revenue-of-the-walt-disney-company-by-operating-segment/

The Walt Disney Company, n.d. Suppliers. Viewed [10/21/2021]. Available from: https://thewaltdisneycompany.com/app/uploads/2020/03/Suppliers-Document-2.20.pdf