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TikTok’s ‘For You’ Podcast Featuring Special Guest Jason Rodelo

TikTok’s For You podcast series starring host Brittany Broski continues with Episode 5, featuring content creator Jason Rodelo. Considered one of the best dancers and comedians on the platform, Rodelo has built a strong following and talks to Broski about his TikTok rise, dancing background, and plans for the future.

The budding TikTok star currently has over 350,000 followers on the app, with 6.5 million likes and counting. As a trained professional, Rodelo will often make several videos in a row to fully break down his choreography to his audience. True to his style, he also rarely misses an opportunity to provide comedic relief, never straying too far away from his humorous roots. The dance/comedy combo has helped take Rodelo’s TikTok career to the next level as the Los Angeles native continues to be one of the most talked-about and re-posted comedians, turning the hashtag ‘Affirmations’ into a global trend on TikTok with his Motivational Warriors series.

Below is a snippet from Broski and Rodelo’s conversation. A new episode of For You will debut every Wednesday at 5:30 pm PST/8:30 pm EST on TikTok LIVE. You can also catch it on all major podcast platforms such as Apple, Spotify, and Google.

Broski: “You have been dancing for a long time. When did that transition to ‘TikTok dance’ come about? When did you download the app and what kind of drew you to it?”

Rodelo: “My relationship with TikTok is so interesting! As a professional dancer, and this is the energy of a lot of dancers in the industry who have been training, taking classes have—when a thing like TikTok came around, a lot of us laughed. It was all of these simple dances and I was like ‘I’m working ten hours a day and doing music videos. I’m out here eating one meal a day!’ I honestly used to dislike the app, but that was me misjudging it. I started seeing it pop off after quarantine began, and that is where the transition happened. The dance world shut down, and all of my opportunities and income stopped. After that, I really started looking at TikTok.”

Broski: “I wanted to ask you about having a platform in general. Are there any issues that you feel pressured to speak about? Are you passionate about anything? Do you see yourself as a creator more or a choreographer?”

Rodelo: “I think I definitely see myself as a creator for sure. I have to pay respects to that because I did create, and people gave me a response, and that response has been doing wonders for myself and my life. I’m also showing different sides of what I have to offer as well. You see comedy—and a little bit of everything. There is one issue though, and I would say it’s a general thing. There is this weird incohesiveness with people and their expectations with this thing called viral. You have to find something deeper within your content in terms of what you really want to put out.”

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Manga vs. Anime: A Brief History of the Two Mediums

Following an explosion in popularity in the late 1980s and early 1990s, both anime and manga have become a beloved niche hobby in the West amongst pop-culture nerds, avant-gardists, and fashionistas alike. On TV, anime for both kids and adults have become more commonplace; in the high art world, Takashi Murakami and Yoshitomo Nara have spun anime’s popular tropes into existentially challenging, postmodern masterpieces. 

That being said, both anime and manga are still pretty specialized interests, so we’re here to walk you through the basics. What defines anime? What’s the difference between manga and comic books? How did they get popular, and what artists are making these works?

What is Manga?

The short answer: Manga is the Japanese analog of comic books and graphic novels in the West. The art form uses illustrated images and text on a page to tell a coherent narrative. The subject matter of manga is so diverse in themes, style, and content that it’s difficult to provide a much more comprehensive answer beyond this simplistic description. Although comic books in the States have been traditionally thought of as media made for kids and teens (this has less so been the case in the 21st century), manga for both children and adults has existed since the medium’s inception, and — like any form of literature — there isn’t really a limit on what can or can’t be included.

There are a handful of popular genres of manga. Shonen manga is usually geared towards teenage boys and often features plucky heroes fighting off oversized enemies while learning new abilities throughout their journey. Shojo manga is usually geared towards teenage girls and frequently features stories about young women finding romance. Seinen and Josei manga are the more adult styles and feature more emotionally complicated storylines and sometimes include graphic depictions of violence and sex (Seinen is usually read by men, women more often read Josei). Kodomomuke is manga geared towards children: like media for kids in the West, these are more simplistic stories featuring bright and colorful characters learning simple life lessons. Manga stories draw from a wide range of genres and subgenres, including sci-fi, romance, adventure, horror, and realism. There’s also a sizable erotica sector of manga that has maintained steady popularity over time.

Japanese manga, in its original (non-adapted) form, is usually read from right to left. There are now manga produced outside of Japan — manga produced in the West is sometimes condescendingly referred to as “Amerimanga.”

Origins of Manga
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Narrative visual art in Japan had existed in the 12th and 13th centuries, according to Widewalls. Books of sequential drawings, influenced by the traditional ukiyo-e style, date back to Japan’s Edo period (1603-1867) have been considered early examples of manga’s origins.

Manga, as its own distinct art form, really rose to popularity in the wake of World War II, as Japanese art became more influenced by occidental cultural products under American occupation. Western superhero stories and cartoons from Disney began influencing Japanese artists, who explored new styles that combined more traditional imagery and themes with poppier aesthetics. Magazines and newspapers dedicated to publishing serialized stories began popping up around this time. Artist Osamu Tezuka garnered massive popularity for his stories which explored both spiritual and science-fictional themes in tales told for both adults and children.

What is Anime?

Anime refers to a stylized (and usually Japanese) form of two and three-dimensional illustration and animation. Anime was officially recognized by the Japanese Ministry of Education as an important Japanese form of artistic expression in the year 2000, according to The Anime Art Museum

The term “anime” comes from a shortening of the word “アニメーション” (animēshon), which is itself a loan word from the English “animation.” In the West, the phrase “anime” had for a while been used as a way to distinguish Japanese cartoons from products made in the USA but has more recently been used to more broadly describe a certain style of hyper-expressive animation rather than to denote its country of origin. 

It wouldn’t be entirely correct to say that “anime” and “cartoons” are the same thing: “cartoons” implies a certain thematic and stylistic simplicity, whereas anime ranges vastly in its subject matter and sophistication.

Anime as its own distinct style has some notable features: people are usually not drawn in realistic proportions, characters usually have oversized eyes and exaggerated hairstyles and facial features. Anime stories are often (but not always!) fantastical, romantic, and over-the-top.

Anime is often separated into the same sub-genres as manga, like the aforementioned shojo and shonen genres. Like with manga, there is anime geared towards adults and children that spans aesthetics ranging from horror to sci-fi to action to romance. Like with manga, there is also a robust erotic subindustry.

Origins of Anime
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The first recognized example of anime, titled Katsudō Shashin, is from 1907, according to The Milford Public Library. Around 1917, artists began working with cutouts in experimental animation techniques inspired by American and French cartoons, according to Nippon.com.  These were originally described as “manga-film.” Toei Animation, considered the first anime studio, formed in 1958 with the goal of becoming “the Disney of the East” — Japanese animation up until that point had been prohibitively time-consuming and expensive to make, meaning that it was far less popular than products created in Europe and the Americas. Toei would eventually go on to produce several influential series that would garner massive international popularity in the 1980s and 90s. This included classics like Sailor Moon, Digimon, and Dragon Ball, and One Piece — most of which were based on manga. However, it was Osamu Tezuka’s TV series Astro Boy, which debuted on January 1, 1963, that really catalyzed an anime boom and led to anime becoming recognized as its own distinct and legitimate art form.

Manga vs. Anime

Although the comparison is overly simplistic, the easiest way to explain the difference between anime and manga is to compare it to the difference between comic books and cartoons. Anime is animated, manga is drawn on a page. A lot of anime shows and movies are adaptations of manga in the same way that a lot of movies and TV shows are adaptations of books — although, of course, some anime is entirely original.

These days, anime is frequently funded by Westerners with a specific interest in idiosyncratic Japanese aesthetics; manga is much more what actual Japanese people consume (although both art forms have garnered global audiences in the 21st century). 

Because it’s possible to explore subjects in far more depth in literature than in cinema, manga is often (but not always!) more detailed and emotionally sophisticated than anime.

Popularity Today
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Both anime and manga experienced a major boom in popularity in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Cartoon Network began airing chunks of anime for kids and teens on their “Toonami” programming block starting in 1997, while their late-night [adult swim] showcase premiered programs aimed at young adults. A sub-culture of tape traders, cosplayers, and convention-goers sprang up around these imports. It was through Cartoon Network that an American audience was exposed to both fun action and adventure stories (Cowboy Bebop, Inuyasha) alongside avant-garde masterpieces (Neon Genesis Evangelion, FLCL, Paranoia Agent). These shows’ popularity led to fans investigating the manga on which many of these programs were based — suddenly, major bookstores like Barnes and Noble and Borders were investing in hearty manga and graphic novel sections.

In both Japan and America, anime and manga in the mid-’90s were thought of as a bit of a shameful habit for socially reclusive nerds. In the 2000s, the recognition of the artistry of anime masters like Satoshi Kon and the Oscar-winning director Hayoa Miyazaki from Western reviewers and highbrow critics alike helped elevate both anime and manga in the eyes of the mainstream. Meanwhile, postmodernist Takashi Murakami helped legitimize anime and manga to the high art and fashion world through his superflat movement. Murakami’s collaborations with Kanye West and the Louis Vuitton label solidified anime and manga as major cultural influences. Nowadays, anime and manga remain popular across socioeconomic classes and subcultures, often appearing alongside superhero media at pop culture conventions like Comic-Con. Hugely popular rappers and streetwear hypebeasts can often be seen sporting anime-influenced clothes or dropping bars about their favorite ninja warriors — Megan Thee Stallion, for example, is famously obsessed with My Hero Academia. The LGBTQ+ community has embraced hyper-colorful anime aesthetics and the nostalgia around the medium’s queer coded characters — many drag queens cite anime as a stylistic influence and anime-themed drag shows have become commonplace.

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This Week In TikTok: Going ‘Up’ with Cardi B, DIYs, and More

We’re back with another week of viral TikTok challenges, and this edition is loaded with throwback jams, dance trends and DIYs. While creating dance routines are always a good source of fun, the majority of the top recent trends have been dominated by creators showcasing their choreography skills, making this week a bit refreshing from that standpoint. With the bulk of us still spending most of our time at home, these challenges are fun interesting concepts that you can do by yourself, or with a group of people. So let’s dive in!

1. ‘UP’ – Cardi B

Cardi B has been sparking trends ever since ‘Bodak Yellow,’ and her song ‘UP’ has inspired the latest challenge to take over the platform. The recently released single made history this past week by debuting at number one on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, and fans didn’t waste any time creating a new challenge for Cardi’s latest hit. For this one, you can literally do anything you want! Some have created dance routines while others have used the song for makeup challenges. Use your imagination and have fun with it!

2. ‘How To Save A Life’ – The Fray

A major throwback to 2005, many had forgotten about this record—that is until TikTok brought it back. This challenge is for everyone who has been dying to let out their inner ‘weird’ side (and let’s face it—we all have one.)  Get creative with this challenge! One TikToker made a video about her boyfriend’s obsession with his hamster, and another creator recorded herself playing house with her favorite plushies. The options are limitless, but just remember to make it weird!

3. ‘Just Water’- Bryansanon

Even Chance The Rapper had to get in on this challenge! Another dance trend, the theme of this challenge is…water. Bryansanon just might have one of the most catchy TikTok trends of 2021 so far, and all you have to do is pretend like you are drinking a bottle of water as you bust out your dance moves. Simple right? 

4. ‘Born For This’- Foxxi

Ah the memories of 2018! Sometimes certain songs are so upbeat and positive that makes you dig deep  and tap into your talents, and that is exactly the case with the ‘Born For This’ challenge. A ‘DIY,’ TikTok creators are using the song to display their arts and crafts skills, showcase their recipes, and more. So if you have a special talent that you want the TikTok universe to know about, then this trend is right up your alley!

That’s going to do it for this week’s roundup, but as usual we will be back next week with the latest trends and challenges.

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This Week In TikTok: Throwbacks With Lil Uzi, Will.I.Am, T-Pain, and More

This past week was full of love, laughter, and…viral TikToks. While our last roundup was pretty dance heavy, this week saw a good mixture of both singing and dancing trends taking over the platform. These challenges are crafty, easy, and fun, so let’s not waste anymore time and get straight to them!

1. ‘Two’- Lil Uzi Vert

Released in 2017, off of Lil Uzi Vert’s album Luv Is Rage 2, this song originally made waves on social media as Uzi made the single as a way to address those who were copying his style and lyrical cadence. Now years later, the song has become popular again as TikTokers are using the intro to make funny lip syncing videos. Some have made date night videos at restaurants while others have chosen to make their TikToks leaning over the toilet pretending to be ‘drunk.’ So as you can see, there are no limits to this challenge.

2. ‘Throat Baby Remix’ – BRS Kash ft. DaBaby and The City Girls

You may remember the original ‘Throat Baby’ challenge from this past Fall. Well, the newly released  remix has reignited the trend, bringing on a fresh set of dances. Unlike other challenges, there isn’t specific choreography for this one, so you can make up any dance you like! While dance videos do take up the majority of this challenge, some have also chosen to make TikToks lip synching to the song in their cars. It is really up to you which direction you want to take.

3. ‘Scream and Shout’- Will.I.Am ft. Britney Spears

This 2013 Will.I.Am and Britney Spears collab has officially made its way onto the platform, as many younger TikTokers are discovering the song for the first time. Again there aren’t any real ‘rules’ to this challenge, so you are free to use your creativity. Some are making ‘flashback’ TikToks, while others are taking advantage of the app’s animations to create unique dancing videos. Whatever you choose to do, just make sure you have fun with it!

4. ‘Up Down (Do This All Day) – T-Pain ft. B.o.B

Another 2013 throwback, this hit single remains an oldie but a goodie. This trend appears to actually have choreography that goes along with it, making this particular challenge different from the others on this list. However, the routine isn’t too complicated, so you can definitely perfect it with a little bit of practice. You can do this challenge solo dolo, or grab a group of friends. It’s up to you!

That’s going to do it for the challenges for this week, but we will be back next week with another round of TikTok trends!

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TikTok’s ‘For You’ Series Continues With Special Guest Loren Gray

TikTok’s For You podcast series, starring host Brittany Broski, continues with Episode 3 featuring musical artist and TikTok superstar Loren Gray. One of the most high-profile creators on the platform, Broski uses her charm and experience to connect with other prominent creators on the app to discuss their personal TikTok journeys. These conversations serve as a way for audiences to learn more about their favorite TikTok leaders, while also providing a learning board for inspiring creators.

This week’s episode highlights a very special conversation between Broski and Gray as they discuss her rapid rise to fame. Signed to Virgin and Capitol Records, Gray currently has over 51 million followers on TikTok, making her one of the most-followed individuals on the platform. With songs like ‘Queen’ and ‘Alone’ netting her millions of views on YouTube, Gray has quickly gained the respect of her industry peers, working with Captain Cuts, Jason Derulo, Taylor Swift, Saweetie, and countless others.

Like many musicians, Gray uses TikTok not just to promote her latest releases, but also as a means to connect with fans and showcase her personality. Her latest video is a hilarious duet with fellow content creator Alana Clem, as Clem ‘rants’ about how ‘rude’ Gray is, while Gray nonchalantly goes about making her lunch. Other videos show the artist (who is also a beauty influencer) creating different ‘looks of the day,’ giving helpful makeup and hair tips to her viewers.

Below is a snippet from Broski and Gray’s conversation. A new episode of For You will debut every Wednesday at 5:30pm PST/ 8:30pm EST on TikTok LIVE. You can also catch it on all major podcast platforms such as AppleSpotifyGoogle.

Broski: It’s interesting that you touched on 2014-2015. The sense of social responsibility that creators had didn’t exist. It was very much a different time—it was so free, but it was still a form of escape. Do you find that was a reason why you started posting videos?

Gray: So right before I started social media I had gone through some of the hardest things that I have ever gone through in my life. I started posting on Musical.ly by accident, and began gaining all these followers on Instagram. I realized I had been featured, and it was really cool in the beginning—it still is. It was a form of escape because people watched my videos and cared about what I had to say. They didn’t know anything about me, but they were really nice to me and I guess I didn’t really have that. It definitely does mess with the brain a little bit. I was always live streaming because I was doing online school at that time and craving human interaction

Broski: Can we talk about this for a second? I feel this immense pressure to not only share what I like, but I think that we also have this responsibility put on us to educate. Sometimes I feel like, do we have to educate? Do you have any thoughts on the role of a creator?

Gray: I think it is really difficult to navigate because I do obviously feel a responsibility to educate as a person with a platform, but it is also tough because people put so much pressure on creators and forget that we are also people who are trying to learn as well and figure out what’s the best standpoint to take. I am an 18-year-old girl! I’m in college and trying to learn too! I feel that people have such high expectations, and it is dangerous waters because it’s either you say something and get attacked, or you don’t say anything and get attacked. It is really difficult to navigate, and people need to realize that we are a one-man show. We don’t have a big production team that can tell us what to say. We have to figure it out ourselves—sometimes we get these things wrong and we are not quick enough. We’re all just trying to learn!

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This Week In TikTok: Hoobastank and the Revival of 2 Pretty Best Friends

Ah! Another week of viral TikTok challenges! Last Monday’s roundup was a bit quieter than previous weeks, but we still saw a lot of dance trends dominating the platform. This week was the complete opposite with no dance challenges at all. Instead we had more reflecting trends complete with storytelling and tons of creativity. Let’s take a closer look at what has been the talk of the town on TikTok over the past several days.

1. ‘The Reason’ – Hoobastank

A power ballad released in 2004, ‘The Reason’ is one of those songs that makes you sit back and reflect on your various life experiences. TikTokers are now using the track as a challenge to disclose their most embarrassing memories. For example, one user revealed that she didn’t know until recently that you couldn’t make left turns on red lights, while others have even gone as far as sharing the stories behind how they were dumped. If you want to participate in reliving one of your most awkward moments, this is the perfect challenge for you.

2. ‘2 Pretty Best Friends’ – Jayrscottyy

One of the most viral memes of 2020 has made its way back to TikTok. Unlike other challenges, there are no ‘set rules’ to this latest version of the ‘2 Pretty Best Friends’ trend as you can make it pretty much anything you want. Some are using the song to participate in ‘teeth filters’ to see if their teeth are white or yellow, and some are just simply singing along to the song. It’s a clever challenge; you get to decide how to use it.

3. ‘Fucc Valentines’- Huncho Moonk

Some of us are in a Valentine’s mood, and some of us aren’t. Whether you booed up or not, this Valentine’s Day will definitely be different as we unfortunately mark another major calendar event ruined by the pandemic. So now we have no other choice but to express our frustrations on TikTok. Users are taking to the platform to showcase their disappointment by sadly walking past the Valentine candy isles in stores, making screaming videos in their room, and putting their middle fingers on proud display. Hey at least we have funny videos to keep us entertained, right?

4. ‘21st Century Vampire’ -Lilhuddy

Sometimes you need a song that you can jam out to, and ‘21st Century Vampire’ is the perfect song to unleash your inner rockstar. Known as one of the more prominent musicians on TikTok, Lilhuddy has inspired a new trend on the app, with TikTokers putting their own spin on the song. Again this is another one of those limitless challenges, where you can do whatever you want. You can make a reaction video of the song, show off your sick ‘air guitar’ skills, or even tell a story about how your day went. Whatever you do, just make sure you have fun with it!

That’s it on the trends for this week, but we will be back next week with another round of TikTok challenges!

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TikTok’s ‘For You’ Podcast Starring Brittany Broski Welcomes Boman Martinez-Reid

Last week saw the official debut of TikTok’s For You podcast starring Brittany Broski.

This week Broski is back for Episode 2 with TikTok content creator Boman Martinez-Reid. Also known as ‘The Bomanizer,’ the social media star has become popular on the platform due to his hilarious videos. He takes everyday activities and turns them into reality show spoofs. Since joining TikTok in December 2019, Martinez-Reid has amassed a whopping 1.4 million followers on the app, with nearly 29.9 million likes. His success on the platform has since earned him representation from talent agency powerhouse CAA, and when scrolling through his account, it is not hard to see why.

The TikTok creator’s latest skits feature reenactments of reality show confrontations, hilariously showing ‘The Bomanizer’ as he pretends to address his sister at an upscale restaurant (think Real Housewives). Videos like these are just additional examples of Martinez-Reid’s talent. He sat down with Broski to cover a number of subjects, including his success on the platform, creating content during a pandemic, adapting to TikTok’s many changes, and more.

Below is a snippet from their conversation, and a new episode of For You will debut every Wednesday at 5:30pm PST/ 8:30pm EST on TikTok LIVE. You can also catch it on AppleSpotifyGoogle , and all major podcast platforms.

Broski: You came to TikTok in 2019 right?

Boman Martinez-Reid: December of 2019! And it was the perfect moment because that was when TikTok just took off! Personally, I’m very thankful and grateful that I came to TikTok at that time because that was when it was all about creativity and putting in an effort. 

Broski: For the people that don’t know about your content—it is extremely well-produced! You do spoofs of reality shows the perfect sound effects, music, and stuff like that. So I want to know, what was the video that really boosted you?

Martinez-Reid: There are two parts to this. I started this reality TV series where I would take these small problems and make them larger than life. The first one was my professor sending me a syllabus email, and I acted like I was ‘stabbed in the back.’ Nobody saw that one except my friends, and they were like, “That’s pretty good!” I kept going with it, and one morning I woke up and saw a pile of dirt on the floor because my roommate had swept, but he didn’t clean up the dirt! I thought to myself, “Am I the one that is supposed to clean that up?!” So I made a TikTok where I was ‘shot in the gut’ from the disrespect and ‘passed away’ from it. I kept making more of those videos, and part two ending up being when the pandemic hit. I made a video where my friend coughed—and it was the cough that was heard around the world!

Broski: Earlier, you were talking about quarantine—you know we have all been stuck inside. Has that boosted your creativity, or has it gone down?

Martinez-Reid: I would say it is a mixture of both. The pandemic hit, and suddenly I was getting millions of views. All of my DMs were like, “Make more now!” Every week I was focused on making one good reality TV TikTok, and not only do we shoot for about two hours, everything is all improv to get that reality feel to it. It has boosted my creativity in the sense that I am exactly where I need to be. I have so much room here in the house alongside my mom and best friends to help me with my videos. At the same time, it’s been absolutely exhausting!

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The 20 Best Super Bowl Halftime Shows of All-Time

Whenever a new NFL season starts, there is always one question that isn’t necessarily football-related: Who will be this year’s Super Bowl halftime entertainment?

In the earlier years, Super Bowl halftime shows would mostly feature college marching bands. That changed in the early 1990s when the NFL instead began utilizing artists as their live entertainment choice for halftime segments. Super Bowl performances have always been a solid trade-off for both parties. The NFL gets one of the hottest acts in music, and the artist benefits by being able to take their career to the next level (a Super Bowl performance either signifies that you have officially made it or solidifies your career as a legend). With The Weeknd gracing the stage this year, we decided to reflect on 20 of the best halftime shows.

1. Paul McCartney-Super Bowl XXXIX

Paul McCartney. The Man. The Myth. The Legend. One of the greatest to ever do it. You had to know that at some point, the NFL was going to pull out all the stops to get McCartney on their stage and that finally happened in 2005. McCartney was as captivating as ever, unleashing all of his hits, including ‘Live and Let Die’ and ‘Drive My Car.’ McCartney closed his spectacular performance with his classic ‘Hey Jude.’ Fifteen minutes of Rock ‘n’ Roll heaven.

2. The Blues Brothers, James Brown and ZZ Top–Super Bowl XXXI

Ain’t nothing like a round of the good ole Blues. You want to talk about Soul? This show embodied the Soul genre to the fullest. This performance was a grand production that brought the funk while giving you a little bit of gospel as well. The Blues Brothers busted out ‘Soul Man,’ and James Brown hit us with ‘I Feel Good.’ Not too over the top, but still enjoyable. A funkified revolution for sure.

3. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers-Super Bowl XLII

Tom Petty remains dearly missed. Often underappreciated, the world got the chance to fully experience Petty’s greatness in 2008 when he took the stage with The Heartbreakers. They kicked things off with ‘American Girl,’ and the entire stadium joined along to sing ‘Free Fallin,’ ‘Won’t Back Down,’ and ‘Runnin Down a Dream.’ By the time 2008 rolled around, we had gotten used to spectacular sets and lavish productions, but Petty and The Heartbreakers dialed it back letting us know that simple works too.

4. The Black Eyed Peas, Slash and Usher–Super Bowl XLV

When this lineup was first announced, there was some skepticism as to how such different artists could come together. Well, they did it beautifully and stylishly. The Black Eyed Peas were coming off a massively successful 2010, and both the Peas and Usher were in their respective EDM phases, and they, almost surprisingly, blended together with Slash nicely. Despite the technical difficulties, the performance was still excellent. 

5. Shania Twain, No Doubt and Sting–Super Bowl XXXVII

A match made in early 2000s heaven. Gwen Stefani and No Doubt performed ‘Just A Girl,’ while Shania gave us her 1997 hit ‘Man, I Feel Like A Woman.’ Sting slid his way in there towards the end of the set, doing a rendition of ‘Message in a Bottle’ alongside Stefani, which was by far the highlight of the show.

6. Motown Tribute-Super Bowl XXXII

Motown was long overdue for an official tribute, and it finally happened in 1998 when the NFL put together an all-star cast to pay homage to Motown founder Berry Gordy and his many radio dominating protégés. Led by Boyz II Men, one of the biggest groups in the world at the time, the R&B crooners made their way through different Motown songs before bringing out Smokey Robinson, The Four Tops, Martha Reeves, and The Temptations. 

7. Justin Timberlake-Super Bowl LII

This performance gets mixed reviews depending on who you talk to. Some believe Timberlake put together an appreciable performance, while others felt the set was lacking. In our opinion, Timberlake deserves his props. He put together a creative body of work, gave us a major blast from the past by bringing out NSYNC, and went deep into his catalog by pulling out songs from Justified and Future Sex/ Love Sounds. The Prince tribute fell short but other than that, Timberlake didn’t do too shabby.

8. Katy Perry, Lenny Kravitz, Missy Elliott and the Arizona State University Marching Band–Super Bowl XLIX

Again this is another one of those performances that could be considered a hit or a miss depending on who you are talking to. This set will go down as one of the best due to Perry’s collaborations with Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliot and the social media phenomenon it sparked afterward. At that time, a good percentage of Perry’s fan base consisted of those aged 12-19, and many of those Gen Z’ers weren’t previously familiar with Kravitz and Elliot’s work. Elliot had several songs chart on iTunes after the performance (as did Kravitz), and her former young mentee Allison Stoner made a dance video recreating some of their routines. You can make the argument that Perry’s performance remains among the most talked about in the social media era.

9. Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers-Super Bowl XLVIII

Make no mistake. There were people who doubted Bruno Mars and wondered if he could compare to previous acts in terms of his catalog. Those people forget about his talent. Like Prince, Mars can sing, dance, and play instruments, all while being a charismatic ladies’ man. Mars put all those skills to use in an appearance with his band, The Hooligans, and a surprise appearance from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, who proceeded to rock out to their 1991 lead single ‘Give It Away.’

10. Janet Jackson-Super Bowl XXXVIII

We already know what you are thinking. Unfortunately, the ending of this performance caused such a controversial ruckus that it overshadowed what would have otherwise been one of the best Super Bowl halftime shows ever. Jackson’s last name has always been associated with greatness, and the majority of Janet’s halftime performance was a celebratory effort of her then twenty-five-year career. We don’t need to revisit all the aftermath of the performance as we are all quite familiar at this point, but hopefully, one day, we can look past the negative element and focus on the positive.

11. Coldplay, Beyonce and Bruno Mars-Super Bowl 50

Bruno Mars? Check. Coldplay? Check. Beyoncé? Triple check (sorry, Bruno and Coldplay). All three artists already had a rapport with one another through friendship, and previous performances and everyone involved delivered a head-turning performance. Coldplay got the party going with a ‘Yellow’ and ‘Viva La Vida’ mashup, and Beyoncé and Bruno essentially had a dance-off performing their hits ‘Uptown Funk’ and ‘Formation.’ Tributes to previous halftimes acts were thrown in there at the end making it a well-done performance, and arguably more entertaining than the actual game.

12. Michael Jackson-Super Bowl XXVII

Michael Jackson was actually the artist credited for taking halftime shows to the next level. Jackson started off the performance using a special stage toaster to ‘pop’ his way onto the stage and whipped his way into a medley that included ‘Jam,’ ‘Billie Jean’ and ‘Heal The World.’ A balance between the old school joints and newbies, Jackson changed the landscape of halftime shows with this one.

13. Aerosmith, Britney Spears, Nelly, Mary J. Blige, and *NSYNC-Super Bowl XXXV

Talk about a star-studded lineup. The 2001 halftime show was one of the moments where you didn’t know exactly how it was going to work. Still, in some weird way, everything wound up coming together. *NSYNC opened up the show with their catchy single ‘Bye, Bye, Bye,’ going back and forth with Aerosmith on hits until around the midway part of the show. Britney Spears and Nelly then joined them, and Mary J. Blige, for the grand finale performing Aerosmith and Run D.M.C’s 1986 smash ‘Walk This Way.’

14. Lady Gaga-LI

Super Bowl LI is known for two reasons: The Atlanta Falcons blowing a 28-3 lead to Tom Brady’s New England Patriots and Lady Gaga’s Cirque Du Soleil-esque performance. Depending on which way you swing, many prefer to remember the latter as opposed to the former. Since releasing her first album in 2009, Gaga has established herself as being one of the music industry’s finest performers, and she got the chance to put her talents on display nearly a decade later. Of course, there were plenty of ‘monsters,’ and Gaga literally ziplined her way from the top of NRG stadium to the stage. Gaga ended the performance by jumping off the set and essentially disappearing. Where did she go? Nobody knows.

15. Diana Ross-Super Bowl XXX

If you know anything about Diana Ross, you know that she is the literal definition of the word extravagant. ‘Ms. Ross The Boss’ delivered one of the most stellar halftime performances of all-time in 1996, and the theme of the show was the altitude. Ross started off the performance being lowered onto the stage, went through four different glamorous costume changes, had fireworks go off mid-show, and performed all of her classic hits as both a solo artist and a member of The Supremes. Ross concluded the performance by leaving the stadium via Helicopter to ‘I Will Survive,’ making a grand entrance and a grand exit.

16. Madonna-Super Bowl XLVI

It was sort of an unspoken requirement that every 1980s music legend perform at the Super Bowl. By the time we approached 2012, just about every single 80s icon had graced the stage except for The Material Girl. Joined by Nicki Minaj, LMFAO, Cee-Lo, and M.I.A., the performance was described as revolutionary. Many were in awe of Madonna’s intensity and ability to perform at such a high level nearly thirty years after getting her start.

17. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band-Super Bowl XLIII

There is one thing that everyone remembers from Bruce Springsteen’s 2009 halftime performance: His crotch grab. Nobody expected it—not even the people in Springsteen’s inner circle. It was a complete and utter surprise. While the crotch grab was certainly the defining moment, Springsteen’s performance was one for the ages. It was loud, crazy, and definitely electrifying. At the time, Springsteen’s segment was the most-watched in Super Bowl history. Oh, and the game was a thriller as well, with the Pittsburgh Steelers beating the Arizona Cardinals 27-23.

18. U2-Super Bowl XXXVI

Super Bowl XXXVI was a poignant one. It was the first Super Bowl to take place in the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks. It had only been a few months since that terrible day that impacted so many lives, and the NFL needed a performance that would help heal and bring everyone together.

Enter U2.

Instead of putting on a grand-scale production, U2 opted for a quieter approach. Performing on a heart-shaped stage, U2 played their songs ‘MLK,’ ‘Beautiful Day,’ and ‘ Where The Streets Have No Name’ as they projected the names of those lost in the attacks across the ceiling of Madison Square Garden. The performance was a moving one, with U2 doing what they did best.

19. Beyoncé-Super Bowl XLVII

Having previously performed ‘The National Anthem’ at the 2004 Super Bowl, Beyoncé finally took to the halftime stage in 2013, putting on an absolute show. Joined by former Destiny’s Child bandmates Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams, Beyoncé went back to her early beginnings with the group and performed many of her biggest hits at the time, including: ‘Crazy in Love,’ ‘Single Ladies,’ and ‘Run The World.’ Beyonce concluded the performance with her 2008 anthem ‘Halo,’ and showed the world why she is ‘Queen Bey.’

20. Prince-Super Bowl XLI

Prince Rogers-Nelson left us all speechless in 2007 when we delivered a flawless medley of his greatest hits during Super Bowl XLI. Backed by a marching band, Prince immediately got the crowd out of their seats with ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ and ‘Baby I’m A Star.’ He then launched into his own rendition of songs from artists including Bob Dylan’s ‘All Along The Watchtower’ and Foo Fighters ‘The Best of Me.’

Then the unthinkable happened.

It started to rain while Prince was performing his signature ballad ‘Purple Rain.’ Many believe Prince’s guitar solo that night was his personal best, and after being on hiatus for most of the 2000s, it was good to see Prince back in action. 

The Super Bowl has always been one of the biggest stages in music and will continue to be. We are looking forward to seeing what The Weeknd does this year.

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Culture News

This Week In TikTok: Migos, Billy Joel, And More!

A new week means new viral TikTok challenges. Continuing our weekly update series where we bring you all the top trends in TikTok, this week was a little quieter but still brought forth some unique and interesting challenges that are relatively easy to participate in. So let’s dive right into it!

1. ‘YRN (TikTok)’- Tyler April

Migos have become such a phenomenon over the past several years that it is almost hard to believe that there was once a time where they were just rising stars trying to establish themselves in music. Taking it back to 2015 when the trio released their single ‘YRN’ featuring Young Thug, this remix is an electronica spin of the song, with the main objective of this challenge being to dance until you can’t anymore. There is no set choreography with this one—you can come up with your own routine or simply freestyle it. Whatever floats your boat.

2. ‘Zanzibar’- Billy Joel

Rockin and Rollin all the way back to the 70s, this latest trend was inspired by Billy Joel’s 1978 hit single ‘Zanzibar.’ The song was a moderate success then, and is experiencing a revival over forty years later thanks, in no small part, to the power of TikTok. Another dance trend, all you have to do is create a robotic dance routine while mouthing along with the lyrics. A simple and easy challenge that’s fun to do.

3. ‘Can You Feel My Heart’- Bring Me The Horizon

Released in 2013 to praise from fans and critics, ‘Can You Feel My Heart’ is yet another throwback to make its way to TikTok. A melodramatic rock single, this challenge involves people lighting their mirrors on fire with different shapes to match the beat and lyrics. Be careful if you’re taking this challenge on, as this could either go very good or very bad depending on the outcome. We recommend you sit this one out if your fire-making skills aren’t up to par.

That’s it on the challenges for this week, but we will be back next week with another round of TikTok trends. Stay tuned!

Categories
Culture News

What It’s Like Going Viral On TikTok and How To Do It

Yesterday I got a text from my friend from film school. She said, “I just had a TikTok get really good attention, and I don’t know what to do next!” The video was of her in clown makeup, smoking a cigarette, and doing an amusing, raspy-voiced character. The last shot was her Mom, who was condescendingly asking her what she was doing with her life. It was a really funny video that got 70k views and 16k likes. She went on to ask me, “Do I continue doing a clown character? If I have to dress up as a clown every day, I’m going to kill myself.” It made me laugh. Why would she have to dress up as a clown? Charli D’Amelio gets a deal with Dunkin Donuts, and my friend Rose is tying her own noose in shoes 5 sizes too big.

The First Time

Why would many people appreciate her video mean that she would have to make the same joke if she no longer wanted to tell it? She went on to tell me, in regards to her video’s success: “it’s fun when the validation starts to roll in, and you don’t want the high to stop.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. My friend has just gone viral on TikTok for the first time. As someone who has gone viral quite a few times, I can attest that calling it a “high” is not at all an understatement though it is fun, it can leave a void in its wake if you don’t approach it with the right mindset.

What Kind of Person Wants to go Viral?
Sean Millea

In my fifth grade yearbook, I had listed next to my photo that my favorite movie was Superbad (I snuck in a viewing at a sleepover) and that the occupation I one day hoped to attain was a comedian/ impersonator. The only impression I can do is Patrick Warburton (Joe from Family Guy, Kronk from Emperor’s New Groove). I don’t foresee leading a particularly successful career impersonating Patrick Warburton. Considering I look nothing like him and he has no distinguishing features beyond his voice, only being able to give a convincing “hey Peter!”  would get old quick if you rented me for a party. So… sorry, fifth grade me, that dream has since passed.

However, I have had success making funny videos on the internet, specifically TikTok. If that classifies me as a comedian, I’m not sure, but it didn’t stop me from putting it in my bio (I used to frequent stand-up but have since stopped). My whole life I liked being funny, and sometimes, I was! I have had several videos reach millions of views and amassed 650k+ followers on TikTok alone. For whatever reason, I have always daydreamed of being famous. Tons of us have. When you want to have a successful career in entertainment, a lot of the time, it requires fame, as shallow as it may seem. It’s the human condition. We want to be validated, and the more people doing it, the better. But what little sliver I’ve had of it, the microcosm of fame TikTok has granted me—and seeing the pursuit of it from others—has made me realize it can be an unhealthy obsession to have.

How I Went Viral

My first viral videos were me challenging kids on TikTok to guess Justin Bieber’s social media passwords and to message me “I got in” once someone did. I followed up with a video where I made it look like someone successfully got into Justin’s Instagram and DMed the code words to me (I just messaged Justin “I got in” on Instagram and marked it as unread, so it looked like he sent ME the message). 

That video got 7 million views. It was quite cool knowing that Justin probably saw the video. If he did, he might have absolutely hated it. But it made me laugh, and that’s really all that mattered. Plus, I know he must have double authentication – so who gives a damn! The thought of millions of kids trying to guess Justin’s password is hysterical to me.

And therein lies the key factor for me having gone viral many times: Making myself laugh.  

I did another series where I had a bunch of kids tag celebrities like Billie Eilish, David Dobrik, and Ellen in photos of me in a Teletubby costume on Halloween until they answered me. We successfully got David Dobrik and Ellen to acknowledge us. At one point, cults of children (and adults, I’d later find out) started tagging other celebrities. At a time, Former President Barack Obama, and every other celebrity I could think of had photos of me in their tagged photos. As fun as it was, it was also kind of scary — some kids started “revolting”, accusing me of using them for clout. Others were just demanding more “targets” to “attack”. It made me laugh, watching children form governments inside Instagram group chats akin to Lord of The Flies. Even the photos of me being beheaded made me laugh.

But after a while, the virality made me anxious. Were these celebrities pissed? Was I going to be known as the Teletubby guy for the rest of the time? I once thought of myself as an artist, but am I now just destined to be a meme? Just like my friend in the clown costume, I was worried that the artistic integrity I thought I once had would be undermined by a juvenile joke in a costume.

What Virality Feels Like

The nature of the internet is such that people will tell you what they really think, and when millions of people are seeing something you’ve done, there are going to be people that don’t like it. Even if it’s great… even if it’s the BEATLES… by nature of probability there will be people who will hate it… and they will tell you. Maybe you can have a higher percentage than most people. Fewer people hate the Beatles than they do, say, Lil Pump (no disrespect Pump), but the opposition will always exist. And that is what you have to be ready for when going viral. There’s not much you can do to stop it besides preventing yourself from reading all the comments.

The Tiktok “clout” I’ve received has definitely resulted in some experiences in the real world. I’ve been recognized twice in public beneath the mask—and it was pretty underwhelming. 

Girl at liquor store: Are you the teletubby guy? 

Me: Yeah.

Girl: Oh, cool. Your total is $15.98.

Me: Nice. 

Seeing people I know is cooler because they most certainly know about it already. But even that has gotten somewhat old. You get sick of telling the same story. They wanna know about the Teletubby thing! Forgive me if I seem ungrateful, but sometimes you just don’t feel like telling a story 1000 times. Now imagine being Paul Mccartney, where everyone knows and loves the Beatles. I bet it gets annoying talking about how the song “Yesterday” came to him in a dream or that the original words in place of “Yesterday” were “scrambled eggs” for the millionth time. Or maybe it doesn’t, I don’t know. I won’t pretend my Tiktok clout compares to being among the best songwriters to have ever lived. But it does make me wonder.

Don’t get me wrong. I love that people enjoyed the videos I have made so far. And I will always tell you about it if you wanna know. But you can only ride the high of that successful thing you did for so long before you think, “Well, what’s next?”. When you make the video, and tons of people like it and commenting on it, you feel like a legend. But a week, a month, a year later, you no longer feel like you did on the day it got a million views.

I hit 700 thousand followers on Tiktok. Then, over a few months, it dropped down to 660k. My first thought was, “wow, I could fill Madison Square Garden twice with the number of people that thought, “fuck this guy’.” A friend of mine pointed out that I could fill it 33 times with the people that stayed, which is a nice sentiment, but “a broken heart has never been mended through the ears.” I realize everyone is different; the nature of my relationship to going viral will be different from other peoples’. Some people post 20 times a day, anything that pops into their head, and they have no problem receiving hate, losing followers, etc. And some people cannot post at all. Everyone’s different! I can only tell you my own perspective. Additionally, getting a lot of followers made it harder to post because there was suddenly a guarantee that a ton of people would see my video, whereas before, it was contingent on the video doing well with the algorithm. 

Going viral is undeniably an amazing feeling. Tons of people enjoying what you’ve made, adding their own twists and observations in the comments, further amplifying the value of the video (and bringing you, the creator, a satisfaction with having collaborated with strangers). It’s not going viral that makes you feel down, but the failed pursuit of getting it again can make you feel like shit. If you’re expecting a video to get a ton of views, or for people to just think it’s funny/engaging, and it ends up tanking, It’s like that first sip of your hot coffee when you find out it’s cold. It’s waking up from the dream where you were married to that person. You can’t go into it with expectations. You have to make it for yourself and be okay with it not connecting like you thought it might have.

How to Go Viral (Understanding the Algorithm)

So how do you go viral on Tiktok? First of all, post a lot. I’d post one, and then watch as the algorithm would take my video away… first to 100 people, then, to 1000 (if the first 100 interacted with it positively)…. And when one would fall flat at 100, I’d delete it and try again. The nature of Tiktok’s algorithm (and art in general) is you really can’t be certain what is going to do well. Doggface said after going immensely viral with his cranberry juice video that he almost didn’t post it, he thought it was silly. 

That being said, there are still some things you can understand about the algorithm. The algorithm likes when you watch a video more than once. If you’re stopping to pause throughout and reading things with text and going back to look at something else, it picks it up and determines, “well, this must be a pretty decent video,” and shows it to more people. It seems to understand how much the audience liked the video based on if they watched it to the end, if they watched it again, if they liked, commented, shared, paused, etc. To achieve these things, I believe it’s similar to essay writing in high-school; you need to hook the viewer right away and keep them throughout. 

Sometimes, like in the case of the Teletubby video, I straight up asked them to watch the video over again. I said, “if you wanna be a part of the cause but don’t feel like tagging celebrities, watch this video multiple times so more people will see it”. And that worked! I think kids, or audiences in general, like to feel like they are a part of the video. Both in the case of Justin’s password, and in the case of the Teletubby thing, it wasn’t just a funny video, but a call to action. 

Chris Rock said in “Talking Funny” that you need to have a clear premise for a stand-up bit to work. I think that is true for videos too. You need a clear premise or a clear thesis. In one video, I say we have to guess Justin Bieber’s Password. In another, I’m showcasing how easy it is to flood celebrities’ Instagram profiles or be seen by them. In another, I’m writing a prisoner. The rules of storytelling remain consistent across platforms, and the baseline rule there is you need to have a story to tell. 

Another thing I like to keep in mind is that there are a lot of kids on TikTok, so remembering that makes being funny, or at least knowing your audience, easier. Not that they laugh easier, because kids are smart (and based on what I see on TikTok, super funny too), but you can still cater to the adolescent humor they would appreciate. And for whatever reason, they seemed more likely to take part in the calls to action.

Some Final Words of Encouragement

So I told you about my friend in the clown costume. I specified she was a friend from film school because I know that she too is an artist. I know she wants to be appreciated for her hilarity and unique storytelling ability. And for the first time, on Tiktok, she was! But instead of feeling great about making tons of people laugh, she turned it into a negative thing. “I guess I have to be a clown for the rest of my career.” No. You have to be you for the rest of your career. That is what people enjoy. You brought life to the clown, and the clown didn’t bring life to you. So untie the noose, take off the big shoes, and go make some people laugh. Or cry. Or whatever it is you want them to do as a result of your story.

And if they don’t, fuck ‘em.