Racial inequality is an ongoing concern of young people, especially given the recent settlement between the NFL and Colin Kaepernick, the Jussie Smollett case, and rapper 21 Savage’s deportation. There is still suspicion around supposed opponents to racial equality, especially when it comes to (historically corrupt) Chicago law enforcement handling the Jussie Smollett case. Additionally, ICE’s arrest of 21 Savage is very suspicious because it immediately followed a performance on Jimmy Fallon in which he added a verse to his song that criticized the ongoing water issue in Flint, MI and immigration.
While teens might not be fully plugged in and aware of it, a great deal of pro-life legislation has been prioritized at the state level (see AZ, AK, KY, TN, and UT) despite the problematic legislation passed in New York earlier this month. This is encouraging and movements like this are being supported by stories being told in the media like Unplanned, the movie coming out March 29 which tells the story of Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood clinic director turned pro-life activist.
Ariana Grande is still queen bee and recently claimed the first three spots on the Billboard charts with three of the songs off her most recent album thank u, next – the last musicians to hold this record were the Beatles. Fans worked hard and harnessed the power of social media to get her there by boycotting the already successful songs in order to generate more listens on less immediately successful tracks. Additionally, she was featured on the YouTube series The Zack Sang Show where she opened up very honestly and personally about the process of creating the album.
Movies and TV
Keep Unplanned and Breakthrough on your Christian movie radar. Both have some elements of overtly Christian movies that may be turn-offs to your teens, but they also have powerful messages based on true stories. Additionally, romantic comedies Isn’t it Romantic and Think Like a Man both star female leads and involve largely female writing teams. They are being celebrated as huge successes for female equality in Hollywood, but are also calling into question the lack of a stage for quality comediennes that continues to exist. The Frozen 2 teaser trailer dropped and fans were elated, but many started to speculate about the possibility of Disney making the lead, Elsa, a lesbian in the narrative.
Fortnite is still a thing and was recently home to the “largest concert of all time” in which DJ Marshmello live streamed his performance for a digital audience of 10.7 million viewers. Events like this have us thinking this platform is far more of a digital connection space than purely a gaming platform and we are curious to see the way it will continue to evolve. Additionally, Apex Legends came out – a new battle royale style game – which is proving to be a worthy competitor to Fortnite.
On Their Feeds
We’ve been keeping our eye on the layered irony that TikTok users exist in. If you’re unfamiliar, TikTok is a short-form video social platform, where users can create quick videos and make use of different types of effects meant to facilitate creativity (i.e. sound effects, songs, lip-syncing, frame-by-frame editing, reverse, high-speed, slow-motion video, etc.). Some teens, especially teen girls have found “success” and variations of “fame” on the app, and Buzzfeed recently ran an article about the “egirl” aesthetic that is on the rise due to the types of users that are successful on the app. It noted some users’ experiences of receiving unwelcome advances by way of direct message, which is a general reminder to the incredibly public nature of most teens’ digital experiences.
In other social media news, we’re expecting Byte to drop sometime in the next couple months. Byte is a re-iteration of the popular short-form video social platform Vine, which was successful between 2013 and 2016. Vine has dissolved, but founder, Dom Hofman is behind Byte, a new platform, which will likely include many of the original elements of the app which turned 6-second clips into viral sensations.
Huge red flag, the Momo challenge. This is a series of challenges given by Momo who’s identity is concealed by a creepy image. Momo encourages the participant to complete a series of tasks, including self-harm, and the participant must provide photo evidence to continue in the challenge. Usually, the challenge ends with Momo telling the participant to take their own life and record it for social media. This game has been found within WhatsApp as well as hidden within animated videos for children with the challenges surfacing halfway through videos on Kids YouTube, Fortnite, and Peppa Pig to avoid detection.