Some have described the 2023 Super Bowl Halftime show, featuring Rihanna, as one of the best halftime shows to date. In my opinion, the show left much to be desired and was far below the expectations of viewers. It is perhaps one of the worst halftime shows that I’ve witnessed.
The show was exceptionally low in entertainment value. Rihanna performed on a levitating platform that resembled a scene from a video game. She did not move very much due to her pregnancy, and her movements did not match the energy level of her backup dancers. While the movement of the backup dancers was high tempo, Rihanna was more or less static, merely swaying from side to side. This created a huge imbalance in the aesthetics of the overall spectacle.
To provide maximum entertainment, previous Super Bowl halftime show headliners have invited other stars to complement them. However, Rihanna chose to perform solo. Performing solo meant there was no wardrobe, or elaborate stage manipulation. The only “change” was when the levitating platforms rose or fell. Thus, the show was rather flat and lacked attention grabbing activities.
To a wholesome and impressionable person, Rihanna’s show would be considered “not ready for prime time.” It is not surprising then that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) received over 100 complaints that some of the dance moves were “patently offensive and completely inappropriate for children.” Some even commented that her inappropriate movements were not suitable for broadcast!
In sum, it is necessary for future Super Bowl organizers to endeavor to recruit performers who will entertain and keep the attention of the entire audience, old and young. Performers, who will not only present a varied and diverse show, but who will respect the sensibilities of the game’s diverse audience. This will keep future shows from being lackluster.
O’ Shea “Ice Cube” Jackson is one of the biggest Rap sensations to grace the music world. Coming from Compton in the inner streets of California with his mother, Doris, and his father, Hosea. Cube had a strong support system that took him away from the drugs and crime of Compton and created a strong foundation that would lead him toward a life of prosperity. In 1988, Cube graduated from the Phoenix Institute of Technology. Around this same time, Ice Cube got more involved in music.
Ice cube had been rapping since he was 16 but strayed away from that life as he drifted from Compton. After finishing college, Cube caught up with some of his old friends from South Central L.A. with the big names of Dr. Dre, Eazy E, and MC Ren to form the gangster rap group N.W.A. N.W.A is seen as a group of pioneers in the new music wave of gangster rap. The group’s heavy sounds and lyrics of the reality of inner-city neighborhoods shook the music industry as the group delivered songs about racial injustice and poverty, particularly in the African American community. The group’s popularity skyrocketed throughout the 1980s as they released hit after hit. Tours, albums, and concerts shook America, with Ice Cube spearheading the groundbreaking group making Ice Cube a pop culture name. This all changed in 1989 when Ice Cube split from N.W.A over a dispute of payment between the group.
Even though Ice Cube’s time with N.W.A had ended, but it didn’t stop the growth of Ice Cube in music. As if he had never skipped a beat, Cube released his first solo album, “Amerikkka’s Most Wanted.” This groundbreaking album showed Cube could run the music world by himself. This domination continued for the next four years as from 1991 to 1994, Ice Cube would release an album every year and rock the billboard charts with albums “Death Certificate,” “The Predator,” and “War and Peace.” Ice Cube would grow as a name in the music world as his popularity grew. This empire would continue from the 90s until Ice Cube’s last album was released in 2018. Cube was on top of the music world for over a decade, leading him to grow from rags to riches.
In addition to being a household name in the rap industry, he has been a part of several movies throughout his career. A majority of the movies he is in are comedy and action movies. Some of his films include: Barbershop, Are We There Yet?, Three Kings, Friday, Boyz N The Hood, and more! In 1991, Ice cube made his cinematic debut in the role of Doughboy in the late director John Singleton’s featured film Boyz N The Hood. Ice Cube praised the director after his passing in 2019, saying: “….He loved bringing the black experience to the world.” Following that role, he starred in the legendary comedy movie Friday in 1995. Because of his brilliant and hilarious performance in the film, his acting career seriously took off. Ice Cube then became the face of the Barbershop franchise, which movies were released in 2002, 2004, and 2016, respectively. Ice Cube has appeared alongside actors such as Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum in 21 and 22 Jump Street, Charlie Day in Fist Fight, and Kevin Hart in Ride Along 1 and 2 in a swarm of well-enjoyed comedy films. Ice cube also has experience as an executive producer for the 2015 film Straight Outta Compton, in which his son, O’Shea Jackson Jr., plays the role of his father, Ice Cube.
Thanks to the works of Ice cube and the N.W.A, gangsta rap became mainstream. Ice Cube’s legacy is one to remember, and his joy and charisma are widely recognized and reflected in his work. Ice Cube inspires many with his lyrical genius and abilities, which makes him one of the most influential artists in our world today. In the words of Ice Cube himself, “Don’t worry about being a star; worry about doing good work and all that will come to you.”
The art world was forever changed when programs like Dalle-2 and Midjourney came to the public’s attention. These programs use A.I. generation to create images based on text prompts that you input. This allows anyone to make almost anything they can think of with only a sentence or two. While this is incredible in its own right, it has also caused some concern in the art world. That is, whether or not A.I. image generation will advance to the point where it could replace human artwork.
Some of you might not know what A.I. image generation is or how it works, so allow me to explain it. A.I. Image generators are programs that use algorithms based on pre-existing images to create whole new images from scratch. This could assist with sketching out artistic works, mass production of marketing applications, and helping artists develop new ideas for artwork.
However, despite the impressive technology displayed, there are a few aspects of A.I. image generation that make it unlikely that A.I. artwork will replace human artwork anytime soon.
One fact is how the images are created. An A.I. uses existing images to develop the generated images’ look, layout, and style. So the end results are only based on the already existing images, giving the user less control of the end results of the generation. Art created by humans has the benefit of designing. Artists can draw the picture how they want, where everything is placed, and use their own personal style.
Another reason A.I. art will most likely not overtake human art is that A.I. generators use existing images, and the images used could potentially contain copyrighted material. This causes images and artwork created by A.I. programs to be unsettled regarding copyright laws. Making it difficult for these types of images to find mainstream success.
Such as the case of what is happening with Getty Images. Getty images chose to put a ban on all A.I.-generated art and pictures. The reason for this ban stems from the uncertain copyright laws and complications that seem to plague A.I.-generated art.
A final reason A.I.-generated art won’t replace human art is that artists aren’t receptive to A.I. generation as an art form. An example was when a person used A.I. generation to create an image that won an art contest. Art community members were quick to criticize this, saying the man didn’t technically make an art piece.
So what is the future of A.I.-generated art? If it won’t replace human art now, will it later? Well, it is safe to say that the issues that revolve around A.I. generated art are slowly being fixed up. As time passes, copyright issues will be cleared up, and more control will be accessible over how the image is laid out. In the future, A.I. generation programs might serve as tools to assist more artists in the creative process. But when it comes to the actual creation of art, humans succeed in some areas that machines simply can’t.
Aidan Bajadek is a Junior member of the MultiMedia Journalism class.
On November 5th, 2021, rapper and artist Travis Scott held his 3rd annual Astroworld Festival featuring some of the biggest names in music, such as SZA, Tame Impala, Earth Wind and Fire, Bad Bunny, and many more. In addition to being the festival organizer, Travis Scott was also the main headliner of the festival, who would be performing last to close out the 2-day festival held at NRG Park in Houston, Texas.
As soon as the rapper hit the stage, festival officials say there was a massive push towards the front barricade, causing a giant crushing event. People started to pass out due to the lack of room in the area, which caused patrons to fall over. Patrons kept pushing forward, leaving the victims on the ground to be trampled. Ten innocent concert attendees lost their lives that night due to the incident and other problems during the festival.
Obviously, there had to be a significant change in how venues and festivals operate to ensure patron safety when attending a show or festival. Coming from someone who works in this environment, I think there was a huge change in both the venues and the artists.
I recently attended a concert at Baltimore Soundstage in Baltimore City, and the artist, Steve Lacy, took matters into his own hands. Off the bat, when I walked into the venue, I immediately noticed that the temperature was very cold in the room. I believe it was set up this way to keep everybody cool and ensure nobody would overheat.
Another initiative Lacy took to ensure the safety and well-being of his fans was a dedicated segment in the show to pass out cases of water to all of the fans. The tour had planted cases of water throughout the venue that workers would pass out about midway through the show to make sure everyone was staying hydrated throughout his set. Steve Lacy and the tour did a very good job ensuring everyone was safe and well cared for.
The bottom line is that there needed to be a significant change in concert safety and security from the minute people walk into the venue until the moment people exit the property. Venues worldwide and artists stopping at these venues have taken action to fight more events like the one seen at Astroworld.
Quinn Wells is a Junior member of the Multimedia Journalism class.
After a solid 2021-2022 school year of school-wide masses, football games, and other events, the Mount Saint Joseph Band Program will see some changes this year.
The Mount Saint Joseph Music Program is currently renovating as we are seeing some new faces pop up in the basement of the Knott Fine Arts Center. Mr. Nathan Royer has stepped in for Mr. Michael Alfieri, who has moved into the city to help teach band and other musical activities to younger kids.
Returning to the Mount this year as a graduate of the class of 1998 is Mr. Nathan Royer. Mr. Royer is no stranger to the Knott Fine Arts Center as he has returned to his alma mater to fulfill the job of MSJ’s new Music Teacher and Band Director. Not expecting to come back to the Mount, Mr. Royer says, “I happened to come across the listing for the job on accident as I moved back down the street.” His goal is to return to the school to help new and existing musicians work on their craft and teach what he has learned to everyone who steps into the band room. Mr. Royer also tells me that the adjustment back to a school setting has been pretty easy except for some long days, but nothing he can’t overcome.
Mr. Royer has been on the road for the past 12 years as a freelance musician. In addition to being on the road, Mr. Royer is a private music teacher who gives lessons in the studio right in his home. In addition to teaching from his home, Mr. Royer does have past teaching experience as he was a teacher at a smaller private school just after finishing grad school. To say the least, Mr. Royer is looking forward to the new music played at sporting events, school masses, and other school-wide events.
In addition to welcoming Mr. Royer to The Mount, Mr. Ryan Slattery of the MSJ Spanish Department has stepped in to replace Mrs. Susan Esserwein as the Choir Band director. Mr. Slattery has extensive experience in the music department. As a 2015 graduate of MSJ, Mr. Slattery has participated in multiple school-wide events and other musical events as an experienced vocalist and musician. Mr. Slattery tells me that he is excited about the new opportunities coming his way and believes that he will bring a new kind of energy and expertise to the program that the band hasn’t seen before.
“I feel that Mr. Slattery has brought his ‘Slattery’ energy to the existing Choir band and has kept the foundation that was built by Mr. Alfieri and Mrs. Esserwein together to bring it to the next level.”
– Mr. Michael Stromberg
In addition to directing the choir band and teaching Spanish, Mr. Slattery has prior experience teaching musicians and vocalists as he teaches at a theatre organization called Cockpin in Court, which has been run out of CCBC in Essex, Maryland, in the summer for the past 3 years. A graduate of the Catholic University of America, Mr. Slattery studied Music Performance during his time there. I asked Mr. Slattery if it has been an easy adjustment taking over, and he told me, “it’s funny how you have an idea of things on the outside, but once you’re in it, the true colors sort of come to light. In some aspects, it has been easy, but the actual implication and practice time is definitely very difficult.” Mr. Slattery looks forward to planning more of the music that we could be hearing during the Campus Ministry events throughout the remainder of the year, and has enjoyed taking over the Choir Band so far this year.
Speaking as an instrumentalist in the Choir Band, the addition of Mr. Slattery has been very good. He definitely had an idea of what he wanted to do with the music and the changes he wanted to make to the setlist for the events that we have here. Campus Ministry also plays a significant role in how the band plans for the masses, and with new faces comes different feels to how the music is played during the masses. I took the time to ask the Campus Ministry department for their thoughts.
Mr. Michael Stromberg is one of the Campus Ministers at the Mount. As I said earlier, with new faces comes different feels to the music we hear. Mr. Stromberg told me, “I feel that Mr. Slattery has brought his ‘Slattery’ energy to the existing Choir band and has kept the foundation that was built by Mr. Alfieri and Mrs. Esserwein together to bring it to the next level.” Mr. Stromburg tells me he’s looking forward to seeing what Mr. Slattery brings to the Campus Ministry events throughout the year and can’t wait for what’s to come with the program.
For all returning students and staff, the next time you attend a Campus Ministry event, see if you notice a change in the feel of the music compared to previous years. For all you new students and staff, do you like what the band is doing during the mass? Make sure to check out the band during upcoming events, and make sure to greet Mr. Royer in the basement of Knott Fine Arts Center soon.
Quinn Wells is a Junior member of the Multimedia Journalism Class.
Abel Tesfaye, better known as The Weeknd, had to abruptly stop the second night of his two sold-out shows at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles due to the performer losing his voice. On September 2nd, 2022, during the first song of his set, Tesfaye sang out the opening song which in the original recorded version goes, “In Vegas, I feel so alone.” Throughout the tour, Abel changes it to the city he is playing in, but fans knew something was very wrong when he sang out, “In Los Angeles, I feel so alone,” as his voice cracked terribly while singing the lyrics.
Tesfaye eventually walked off stage in the middle of his hit song, Can’t Feel My Face. Fans were left in confusion as all the lights came on and the music stopped. Tesfaye eventually walked back on stage to fill fans in on his condition. The Toronto native expressed his frustration to fans by explaining that he could not give them “the show he wanted to give them.” In addition to rescheduling the second show, fans would receive their money back from the canceled show.
The Weeknd and his crew set out on the 20-show journey in mid-July, beginning in Philadelphia and ending in what they thought would be LA. That would change due to communication problems in Toronto where the tour was originally supposed to embark, forcing Tesfaye and his crew to move the Toronto show to a later date. In addition to making up the Toronto show, The Weeknd told fans in his message on stage that he will make up the second night of the LA show, “real soon.” After expressing his grief to the crowd, the superstar walked off stage and left fans in disbelief.
As of now, there is no scheduled make-up date for the second night of the show. The tour is expected to finish with two more shows, one in Toronto, Canada, and the last one in Los Angeles at SoFi Stadium. Fans have received their money back from the show and look forward to seeing the superstar for one final show on the After Hours til Dawn tour.
Quinn Wells is a Junior member of the Multimedia Journalism Class.
The Student Newspaper of Mount Saint Joseph High School