This past week, Lauren Daigle broke Christian music records as her song, “You Say,” became the longest running No. 1 hit on Billboard’s Hot Christian Songs chart. At 63 weeks in the top spot, it has beaten out Hillsong UNITED’s “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)” which previously held the top spot, according to The Christian Post.
Daigle remembers the impact “Oceans” had on so many people, calling it “beautiful” and wishing she could be a “part of something that shakes the earth like that song,” she told Fox News. “I have this call in my heart to reach all people. It doesn’t matter if they’re in this block, or that block, my heart is for all people to know and encounter the love of God,” says Daigle.
Tyler Perry also hit a milestone this week when he officially opened his Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta. The film factory, one of the largest in existence according to CNN, is also the first major studio to be owned outright by an African-American. Samuel L. Jackson, who attended the event, said that Perry’s studio opening meant that young people in the Atlanta community with big dreams of going to Hollywood would now get that same experience locally. “They have a place that they can come to and learn and understand and demystify the film process and hopefully become great filmmakers themselves,” he told ABC News. Perry himself added that he wanted “to inspire somebody to dream, to believe that they can do it too. No matter where he came from.”
Walgreens and Kroger joined a list of companies this week that have discontinued (or will do so soon) all sales of electronic vaping devices. In a statement, Walgreens said, “We have made the decision to stop selling e-cigarette products at our stores nationwide as the CDC, FDA and other health officials continue to examine the issue.” According to ABC News, Kroger posted a similar statement, saying that “the company will exit this category after selling through its current inventory.”
CBS News reports that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are investigating more than a thousand illnesses connected to vaping, which have resulted in at least 18 deaths. ABC News also reports that First Lady Melania Trump also has problems with vaping. “It is important to me that we all work to educate children and families about the dangers associated with this habit,” she said. Mrs. Trump has also advocated directly to the companies who create and sell these products, such as Juul Labs Inc., to stop marketing e-cigarettes to children.
Another company facing potential consequences for their “addictive” product is Epic Games Inc., the creator of the popular video game Fortnite. USA Today reports that a Montreal-based law firm has launched a proposed class-action suit against the company on behalf of two Quebec parents who claim that Fortnite is “as addictive, and potentially harmful, as cocaine.”
Owing to the fact that Fortnite was developed by psychologists and statisticians “to develop the most addictive game possible” using the same tactics as the creators of slot machines, according to the suit, the company could be held responsible for not disclosing the health risks of using their products, says Fox News. The game is free to play but requires players to pay real money for accessories and other add-ons. Children are particularly vulnerable to this type of manipulation, according to the suit, “since their self-control system in the brain is not developed enough.” The lawsuit also notes that the World Health Organization declared video game addiction, or “gaming disorder,” a disease.
According to National Public Radio, Instagram launched its new anti-bullying feature this week. Called Restrict, the feature allows users to limit the content that bullies are able to post via comments or send via direct messaging. When a potential bully is restricted, the user can choose which comments and messages from the bully they want to see. Then, if they do choose to view a comment from the bully, they have the option to block that comment from being released to the public.
The new feature was created to address issues that arose from blocking. According to NPR, many teens reported that “when you block a bully, you render yourself invisible, but at the same time, you give up your ability to see what the bully is doing. To counter abuse, you often have to know what is happening.” It also addressed the issue that in blocking, the bully knows they are blocked. In restricting, the bully can still see the comments they made, but they have no way of knowing if the user restricted that content to prevent others from seeing it as well.
Scott Freeman, the CEO of the Cybersmile Foundation (a nonprofit cyberbullying advocacy group) told ABC News that “a way of helping moderate comments on your own posts is a welcome addition.” However, he also said, “What it doesn’t do, is… it’s not helping the primary problem of people sharing content with the intention of hurting others.”
Ellen DeGeneres arguably faced this “primary problem” earlier this week after she was seen watching a Dallas Cowboys football game whilst sitting next to former President George W. Bush. When some lashed out at Ellen, the talk show host Ellen addressed the public’s concerns directly on her daytime show. “They thought, ‘why is a gay Hollywood liberal sitting next to a conservative Republican president?’ Here’s the thing. I’m friends with George Bush. In fact, I’m friends with a lot of people who don’t share the same beliefs that I have. But just because I don’t agree with someone on everything doesn’t mean that I’m not going to be friends with them. When I say, ‘be kind to one another,’ I don’t only mean the people that think the same way that you do. I mean be kind to everyone.”