School districts across the country are increasingly taking on social media, filing lawsuits that argue that Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok and YouTube have helped create the nation’s surging youth mental health crisis and should be held accountable.
Freedom Marching Project Presents: LEGACY | ‘Legacy’ Returns With Entertainment To Celebrate and Appreciate Black Culture and Excellence
Popular Live Showcase ‘Legacy’ Returns With Entertainment To Celebrate and Appreciate Black Culture and Excellence
Community Leaders Connect Emerging Talent With Entertainment Professionals for Mentorship
For Immediate Release
February 2, 2023 (Kitchener, Ontario) – On February 25, 2023, live from the Conrad Centre for the Performing Arts, the community collective known as The Freedom Marching Project will revive Kitchener’s premier talent showcase from the early 90s. Legacy: What Was, What Is, What Will Be is an entertainment showcase nurturing up-and-coming talent in all aspects of entertainment. It’s an outlet where youth are provided with a genuinely supportive environment to share their cultural heritage with confidence. The collective’s objective is to create a showcase that will contribute a positive space and platform for the growth and advancement of Black creatives and culture by using the power of entertainment to motivate and galvanize.
From the 90s to the late 2000s, Legacy became a top-tier showcase for local talent. The presently reworked event will pair participants on the mic or behind the lens with industry Legacy Mentors to foster togetherness and hone in on their respective crafts. To execute this vision, the Legacy Mentors will guide these passionate Black youths and provide emotional support and resources to help them become stage and event ready. Stepping into the role of mentorship for the inaugural year are director and choreographer Shameka Blake (TIFF, Damien Marley, Sean Paul), educator and artist LaToya Ottley, and choreographer Raechele Lovell (Diverse Works Dance Company). There will also be volunteer positions available.
Hosted by antiracism and racial justice educator Selam Debs and arts and culture purveyor Glodeane Brown, Legacy will feature performances by hip hop artist Ramsay Almighty, percussionist Gerima Harvey and award-winning youth mentor, Top 100 Canadian Idol contestant, singer and songwriter Rufus John. Audience members will be treated to a specially recorded round table discussion with past performers about their indelible experience with Legacy and its influence on their lives. During the event, artists will perform a special tribute to honour Legacy alumni, award-winning sister duo Mystic & Miranda (“Speed of Love,” “Thinkin’ About You”) and singer, songwriter Faith Walker (“Head In The Clouds,” “Steppin’ Out”). The evening’s house band, The Recipee Band, will back the performing artists. The Recipee Band has performed with international heavyweights Brandy, Mya, Usher, Kardinal Offishall, Jully Black and many more.
“I come from an environment where I was always the other, and I struggled to find my community. So when I auditioned for Legacy, sang an Usher song, and people knew what that was, I felt at home. I found my tribe where I could safely explore and grow my creativity,” says Rufus John, Founder of The Freedom Marching Project. That same sentiment has been expressed by many alumni, and the committee continues to work diligently to carry it forward with future Legacy members as well.
Legacy is presented with the generous support of the Waterloo Region Community Foundation, Canada Council for the Arts and Region of Waterloo Arts Fund.
For more details about Legacy: What Was, What Is, What Will Be, visit our website: www.legacykw.ca
Connect with The Freedom Marching Project:
WHAT: Legacy: What Was, What Is, What Will Be
WHERE: Conrad Centre for the Performing Arts
36 Kings St W, Kitchener
WHO: Rufus John, Ramsay Almighty, and Gerima Harvey, plus up-and-coming talent. Hosted by Selam Debs and Glodeane Brown.
WHEN: Saturday, February 25th, 2023
TIME: Doors open at 5 pm / Showtime at 6 pm
Tickets available at www.legacykw.ca
** Talent available for interviews
Media is to provide interview questions in advance
The Freedom Marching Project
Rufus John |firstname.lastname@example.org | 519.500.9394
Legacy uses the power of entertainment to celebrate and appreciate Black Excellence. The Freedom Marching Project formed the Legacy Committee. It later partnered with The Caribbean Canadian Association of Waterloo Region and K-W Multicultural centre to revive the community event. The group provides a safe space where young aspiring artists can acquire tools, skills and knowledge through mentorship to build on their artistry. Then, ready with their newly acquired appreciation, they’ll hit the stage to unapologetically express Black joy, culture, beauty and excellence via a presentation at the Legacy Showcase.
NowVertical Group Solidifies its Media and Entertainment Vertical with Renewal of The Economist Group – Financial Post
TORONTO, March 20, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — NowVertical Group Inc. (TSX-V: NOW) (OTCQB: NOWVF) (“NOW” or the “Company”), the Vertical Intelligence (“VI”) company is pleased to announce it has renewed its contract with The Economist Group, the leading source of analysis on international business and world affairs. This most recent renewal marks the second consecutive service extension between the two companies. Based in London and serving a global readership and client base, the Economist Group’s flagship businesses include The Economist newspaper and website and a research and analysis division.
NOW’s UK-based Acrotrend Group began working with the Economist Group in 2020 to establish capabilities to define and standardize strategic and operational KPIs, provide critical insights for acquisition, retention and engagement, and provide solutions to improve the experience for their subscribers. The Company has also created a framework for delivering a modernized data platform to better serve demands from The Economists’ Marketing, Finance, and Customer Services teams. Under the renewed contract, NOW will continue to provide services to the Economist Group to support its robust architecture and introduce new technologies from the NOW VI-OS.
With this recent extension, NOW builds on its established list of approximately 30 media and entertainment customers. NOW’s current and past customers include Universal Music Group, Starz, Spotify, and Lionsgate, amongst many others.
“NOW continues to add incredible value for our Media and Entertainment customers,” said Daren Trousdell, Chairman and CEO of NOW. “This renewal further confirms our strength in the media and entertainment vertical, demonstrating how NOW delivers long-term value through the Vertical Intelligence (VI) approach. We look forward to continuing to drive value for The Economist and showcasing these winning use cases to more customers in this rapidly growing vertical.”
About NowVertical Group Inc.
NowVertical Group is a Vertical Intelligence (VI) software and services provider that delivers vertically-specific data, technology, and artificial intelligence (AI) applications into private and public verticals globally. NOW’s proprietary solutions sit at the foundation of the modern enterprise by transforming AI investments into VI, enabling its customers to minimize their risk, accelerate the time to value, and reduce costs. NOW is rapidly growing organically and through targeted acquisitions. For more information about NOW, visit www.nowvertical.com.
Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn
For further information, please contact:
Daren Trousdell, Chief Executive Officer
t: (212) 302-0868
Glen Nelson, Investor Relations
t: (403) 763-9797
Elon Musk roasted for bizarre social media posts about Taylor Swift: ‘Stay away from her’
The divisive CEO of Twitter and Tesla shared comments with followers on his social media site as the Swift began her new Eras Tour in Arizona.
Musk commented underneath a tweet from Dogecoin founder Billy Markus, which read: “Taylor Swift rules and if you disagree you’ll be kicked off the internet i’m pretty sure.”
“Her limbic resonance skill is exceptional,” Musk replied.
“Limbic resonance” refers to the notion that a person’s capacity for sharing deep emotional states stems from the brain’s limbic system.
Musk also responded directly to a tweet from Swift’s official account, which comprised four images of the singer on stage.
The 51-year-old billionaire responded to the collage with a “cigarette” emoji, seemingly implying that he thought Swift was “smoking”.
In another tweet, Musk reacted to a post from a user called “Teslaconomics”, which asked whether Musk and Swift would “make a cute couple”. He replied with a “crying laughing” emoji.
Swift fans were repelled by Musk’s shows of admiration for the artist, with many writing that he should “go to horny jail”.
“You stay away from her,” one person wrote, while another commented: “Elon Musk better leave Taylor Swift alone dawg.”
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“I don’t know what a limbic resonance skill is but I’m gonna work on mine as soon as I find out,” one person joked.
The Independent has contacted a representative of Elon Musk for comment.
The opening night of Swift’s tour drew rave reviews from critics and concert-goers, including The Independent’s Kelsey barnes.
In a five-star review, she wrote: “In the 44-song setlist that spans three hours and 15 minutes, [Swift] shows why the ‘era’ concept is so integral to who she is. Each chapter marks a specific shift in her artistry.
“There’s a palpable elation at the State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Costumes are emblazoned with hand-painted lyrics; faces are bright with glitter; hands are covered in Swift’s lucky number 13. The fans I speak to say the concert feels like ‘coming home’.”
School systems sue social media companies for unprecedented toll on student mental health
The legal action started in January, with a suit by Seattle Public Schools, and picked up momentum in recent weeks as school districts in California, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Florida have followed. Lawyers involved say many more are planned.
San Mateo County, home to 23 school districts and part of the Silicon Valley in northern California, filed a 107-page complaint in federal court last week, alleging that social media companies used advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to create addictive platforms that cause young people harm.
“The results have been disastrous,” the filing asserts, saying more children than ever struggle with their mental health amid excessive use of the platforms. “There is simply no historic analog to the crisis the nation’s youth are now facing,” it said.
The suit points to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing climbing rates of depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts among the nation’s high school students. The increasing popularity of social media, it contends, “tracks precisely” with a youth mental health decline. It quotes President Biden’s remarks in his State of the Union address that tactics used by social media companies are an “experiment they are running on our children for profit.”
San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools Nancy Magee said in an interview that rampant social media use has left a mark on schools, to the point where administrators have observed a spike in mental health emergencies during the school day. There have been “very serious” cyberbullying incidents related to social media — with content “nearly impossible” to get the companies to take down — and school threats that have kept students at home, she said.
Magee also pointed to other harms — for example, vandalism in high school bathrooms during what was called the “Devious Lick Challenge.” Students across the country stole soap dispensers, flooded toilets, shattered mirrors — then showed off their stunts on TikTok.
“The social media companies create the platforms and the tools but the impacts are felt by schools, and I would really like to see an understanding of that, ” Magee said. “And then that the education community receives the resources in both people and tools to help support students adequately.”
Social media companies did not directly comment on the litigation but in written statements said they prioritize teen safety and described measures to protect young users.
TikTok cited age-restricted features, with limits on direct messaging and livestreams, as well as private accounts by default for younger teens. It also pointed to limits on nighttime notifications; parental controls, called Family Pairing, that allow parents to control content, privacy and screen time; and expert resources, including suicide prevention and eating disorder helplines, directly reachable from the app.
You Tube, which is owned by Google, has Family Link, which allows parents to set reminders, limit screen time and block certain types of content on supervised devices, said spokesperson José Castañeda. Protections for users under 18 include defaulting uploads to private and well-being reminders for breaks and bedtime.
Meta, which owns Instagram, said more than 30 tools support teens and families, including age-verification technology, notifications to take regular breaks and features that allow parents to limit time on Instagram. “We don’t allow content that promotes suicide, self-harm or eating disorders, and of the content we remove or take action on, we identify over 99 percent of it before it’s reported to us,” said Antigone Davis, Global Head of Safety of Meta.
Snapchat said its platform “curates content from known creators and publishers and uses human moderation to review user generated content before it can reach a large audience.” Doing so “greatly reduces the spread and discovery of harmful content,” a spokesperson said, adding that Snapchat works with mental health organizations to provide in-app tools and resources for users.
The first of the lawsuits, filed Jan. 6 for Seattle Public Schools, said research shows that the social media companies “exploit the same neural circuitry as gambling and recreational drugs to keep consumers using their products as much as possible” and that social media is so popular it is used by 90 percent of those ages 13 to 17. One study showed users check Snapchat 30 times a day, it said. Nearly 20 percent of teens use YouTube “almost constantly,” it said.
Seattle has seen a surge in the share of youth “who say they cannot stop or control their anxiety, who feel so sad and hopeless they stop doing the activities they used to love, who are considering suicide,” or made plans to take their lives or attempted suicide, the suit said.
Outside Philadelphia, officials in Bucks County filed suit Tuesday against the social media companies, laying out a similar case. It’s not because they are against social media, said Commission Chair Bob Harvie — who points out the county itself has used TikTok — but rather that the algorithms that get teens to “keep looking, keep focusing, keep scrolling” take a toll on kids’ mental health.
“The way we look at it, it’s not unlike the way cigarette companies used to manipulate nicotine levels to make sure that people kept smoking,” Harvie said. “… Our number one priority is just to get the behavior of these companies to change.”
School districts are generally seeking that the conduct of social media companies be declared a public nuisance, that their practices change and that damages be paid to fund prevention, education and treatment for excessive and problematic use of social media.
The 109-page lawsuit on behalf of Bucks County highlights worsening mental health data, saying the problems have “advanced in lockstep with the growth of social media platforms deliberately designed to attract and addict youth to the platforms by amplifying harmful material, dosing users with dopamine hits, and thereby driving youth engagement and advertising revenue.”
Later, it says social apps “hijack a tween and teen compulsion – to connect – that can be even more powerful than hunger or greed.”
In northern New Jersey, the School District of the Chathams has invested increasing resources over the years to help students struggling with anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts, said attorney Michael Innes, whose firm is representing the district in its litigation filed in mid February. The firm filed a similar action for another New Jersey school district, Irvington Public Schools, in early March.
“We’ve spoken to school districts that have made a decision between spending on mental health and spending on classroom education,” Innes said.
For Richard Weissbourd, a psychologist and senior lecturer at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, the lawsuits may make a lot of sense but parents, coaches and others involved in teens’ lives need to become more effective in talking to adolescents about the benefits and hazards of social media.
One problem, Weissbourd said, is that many parents are preoccupied with their own devices. In recent research, he said, many teens reported that their primary caregiver was using a smartphone or computer at times when they wanted help or to be together.
Marisol Garcia, a staff therapist at the Family Institute at Northwestern University, said social media can be a powerful means of connection but the downsides are significant too. She was not surprised schools have begun filing lawsuits, saying they want to do what they think is good for their students’ mental and physical health.
The long-term ramifications of social media use — on attention span, social skills, mental health — are unclear, she said. The legal action, she said, “could be a positive thing.”
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