SZA’s SOS History Making Album
On Dec. 9, Grammy Award-winning artist SZA released SOS, her sophomore album. The New York Times describes this album as “a roundelay of infidelities and reunions, betrayals and connections, self-doubt and self-affirmation.” SOS debuted at No.1 on the 200 Billboard albums chart earning 318,000 equivalent album units. This is the second biggest one-week sales total among all R&B albums. Currently, SOS has been on the Billboard charts for three consecutive weeks, making SZA the first Black female artist to have a No.1 album on the Billboard 200 in its first three weeks. SZA is also the second female artist in history to simultaneously chart 20 songs. SOS earned the biggest streaming week for an album in U.S. history with 404.85 million streams. SZA took to Instagram to thank her fans for their support and to announce the SOS tour.
On Jan. 2, Buffalo Bills football player, Damar Hamlin, suffered cardiac arrest during a Monday night game against the Cincinnati Bengals. 90 minutes into the opening quarter, Hamlin was tackled by Bengal’s wide receiver, Tee Higgins. Hamlin collapsed in the middle of the field. CPR was administered to Hamlin after he collapsed. Sixteen minutes later, Hamlin received oxygen and was immediately escorted to the hospital. Following the game, Hamlin received an outpour of support on social media. On Jan. 4, he was still in the intensive care unit with signs of improvement. Hamlin spent two nights at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where he still remains. Hamlin is now awake and communicating with his doctors. Hamlin announced in a social media post that he has a long road of recovery ahead of him and is grateful for all the love and support he has received.
On Sept. 22, 2020, Christine Harris,a 57-year-old North Carolinian woman, was killed when police officer Jonathan Farmbo crashed into her car at 90 mph in a 50 mph zone. On Dec. 22, 2022, Harris’ family announced they were filing a lawsuit against the city of Fayetteville and its police force. This lawsuit is in response to the death of Christine Harris; Harris’ relatives and attorney, Ben Crump, claim the police purposefully undermined the justice system to protect Officer Farmbo from prosecution. Harris was driving into her church when Farmbo crashed into her car, killing her instantly. Officer Farmbo was not responding to any emergencies when he crashed into the car. The Harris family hopes this lawsuit will give Christine Harris justice. Bill Harris, Christine Harris’s widower, told reporters the lawsuit would not heal the pain he has been dealing with since his wife’s death.
Duke Energy Blackouts
On Dec. 24th, Duke Energy announced it would implement rotating power outages to protect their energy grid which left over 500,000 Carolina residents without power during the Christmas weekend. Duke Energy’s power outages were only supposed to last between 15-20 minutes, but during the coldest time of the year, residents were left without power for hours. The National Weather Service issued wind chill warnings for the western part of the Carolinas. Duke Energy stated that they strategically chose to not inform residents about power outages; therefore, residents were unable to prepare. Duke Energy’s company officials said the need to cut power arose quickly early on Dec. 24 and the process of informing residents would have taken several hours. The North Carolina Utility Commissioners are calling on Duke Energy to improve their communications with residents.
Andrew Tate Arrest
On Dec. 29th, Andrew Tate and his brother were arrested by Romanian officials on rape and human trafficking chrages. Andrew Tate is a controversial media personality who gained traction from his misogynistic and shady entrepreneurial videos. After Tate’s videos went viral, middle and high school teachers noticed an increase in sexual harassment and sexist hate speech amongst their male students. In response, Tate’s social media accounts were suspended for a couple of months. Recently, Tate is back in the headlines because he is being accused of recruiting victims for an online porn scam. Press releases state the Tate brothers coerced women into thinking they were interested in genuine relationships, then forced them to live in Romanian houses where they were watched and threatened to act in porn videos that would be sold online. The Tate brothers will appear in court during the forthcoming weeks to appeal a judge’s decision to their arrest warrants.
Biden Border Block
On Jan. 5th, Biden’s administration announced new immigration policies. These policies limit the amount of asylum claims accepted at the Southern US border by expanding the use of Title 42. Title 42 was enacted during Donald Trump’s presidency. This immigration policy was created to limit the amount of asylum seekers that entered the US during the pandemic. President Biden is using Title 42 to push back thousands of Cubans, Haitians and Nicarguans back over the Southern US border. Additionally, the Biden administration is increasing ways immigrants and migrants can apply for asylum without going to the Northern border. President Biden stated he knows these policies “aren’t going to fix our entire immigration, but they can help us a good deal in managing what is a difficult challenge.”