Culture Clips: Billie the Kid Takes Home Five Grammys

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The 62nd Grammy Awards were held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles Jan. 26. The evening was marked with a somber moment (news of Kobe Bryant’s sudden passing had broken earlier that day) as host Alicia Keys said, “Earlier today, Los Angeles, America, and the whole world lost a hero.” The show also paid tribute to the NBA superstar by tilting the camera up to show Bryant’s retired jerseys

As the night progressed, Billie Eilish took home the top four honors (Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best New Artist), making her the second artist to ever do so (Christopher Cross being the first in 1981) and, at just 18 years old, the youngest. In one of her five acceptance speeches of the night (she also won Best Pop Vocal Album), Eilish thanked her fans, saying, “I think the fans deserve everything. I feel like they have not been talked about enough tonight. Because they’re the only reason any of us are here at all!”

Eilish shared three of her awards with her brother and collaborator Finneas, who also took home five awards. And while the awards show had its lowest rating ever with only 18.7 million viewers (down from 19.9 million in 2019 and way down from the show’s high of 39.9 million in 2012), the stars are already reaping the awards. Billboard reported that music sales for Eilish were up 109% following the televised program.

Tyler, the Creator won his first-ever Grammy for Best Rap Album and dedicated the win to his mother for doing a great job raising him. However, the moment was bittersweet for the artist, who also said, “it [stinks] that whenever we – and I mean guys that look like me – do anything that’s genre-bending or anything, they also put it in a rap or urban category. I don’t like that urban word. It’s just [a] politically correct way to say the N-word to me.”

Camila Cabello made her own father cry during the ceremony when she dedicated and performed her song “First Man” to him, hugging him as she finished with the lyrics, “you were the first man that really loved me.”

Demi Lovato also gave a tear-wrenching performance of her newly released song “Anyone” in one of her first public appearances since her accidental overdose in July 2018. Relevant Magazine said Lovato “had to briefly stop after being overcome by emotion, but then restarted from the top and delivered a nigh-flawless performance.” The song, which was written just four days before Lovato’s overdose, notes how lost and desperately alone the artist was feeling at the time. Since then, the singer (who is scheduled to perform the National Anthem at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday) has credited God and the church in helping her on the road to recovery:

I tried to seek God through other experiences, whether that’s through other relationships or substances. And it’s just like, I had to realize that the God that I’m seeking, the God that I love and the God that I want to be my God is available 24/7, always at an arm’s length and constantly with me,” she said. “I need to focus on myself and my relationship with myself and my relationship with God.

Several NFL teams, including the two playing this weekend (the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs) fell victim to hacking this past week. Taking credit for this breach of security was the “white hat” hacker group OurMine, according to NBC News. The group claimed its intention was to announce its return and to “show people that everything is hackable” in an attempt to encourage people and companies to tighten their cybersecurity measures.

FedEx and Amazon has had to warn customers this past week about a new nationwide scam called “smishing.” According to CBS News, thousands of people across the U.S. “are receiving text messages that claim to be from FedEx and ask you to set ‘delivery preferences.’” The scheme is similar to phishing, only it’s powered by the short message service, or SMS, technology used in texting.

Authorities have also had to issue a warning this past week regarding the popular TikTok “Outlet Challenge.” ABC News states, “it involves partially inserting the brick portion of a mobile device charger into a wall outlet and then sliding a penny down onto the brick’s exposed metal prongs. The result is a blast of electrical sparks.” After students at the Westford Academy in Westford, Massachusetts damaged school property recording themselves doing the challenge, state fire marshals alerted fire districts and schools especially that the challenge could cause “electrical system damage, and in some cases fire.” Other spokespeople for utility companies and fire departments across the country have urged parents to talk to their children about the dangers of playing with electricity and outlets, reminding them that it can cause damage to their homes and their persons.

TikTok has found a new competitor in the short-form video sharing world with Byte. Created as a successor to Vine, which was discontinued in 2016, Byte replicates the once-trending video app by allowing users to create six-second videos that play on a loop. Vine launched the careers of many YouTube stars, including Logan Paul, whose channel now has more than 20 million subscribers, and some say that Byte is likely to do the same. Slate reports that Byte plans to build on its predecessor by offering creators more opportunities to monetize their content.

Unfortunately, this promise of profit has attracted an unprecedented number of spammers hoping to make bank on the new features. Within 24 hours of its launch, users were complaining about spammy comments from automated bots. The creators have already promised to develop blocking, limiting, filtering and liking features to improve the overall quality, and according to Time magazine, Byte “ended Friday as the No. 1 free iPhone app on the U.S. App Store and is still in the top spot.”