By: I. Fischer
First off, “Beautiful people” (the first song on Ed Sheeran’s album, N.6 Collaborations Project) proves that, once again, Ed Sheeran can be considered one of the best songwriters nowadays. The album features several collaborations (hence the name of the album) with various artists such as Justin Bieber, Cardi B, Camila Cabello, Travis Scott and Eminem (with whom he’s already collaborated with, and in this album joins him in a track called “Remember the name”). Moreover, he collaborated with Skrillex (another artist that has also worked with him before, and in this album joins him on the track “Way To Break My Heart”), H.E.R, Bruno Mars, Meek Mill, Chance the Rapper, Dave, Paulo Londra, Yeeba, A Boogie wit da Hoodie, Ella Mai, Chris Stapleton, J Hus, Young Thug, Stormzy and PnB Rock.
Ed Sheeran is known for his soulful lyrics and playing the guitar in his Pop track, however, in this album it’s clear that Sheeran was out of his element as he featured many artists that have many different styles. Nevertheless, this doesn't limit Sheeran as he proves he can adapt to any style, such as in the tracks “Antisocial” (ft. Travis Scott) and “Cross me” (ft. Chance the Rapper & PnB Rock), while still preserving the most prominent elements of his musical style.
The first track on the album,“I Don’t Care” - which is currently Ed’s most popular song - is a collaboration with Justin Bieber. Sheeran reveals the song is about his social anxiety, which triggers in crowded places - such as his shows. He states: “I hate large groups of people, which is ironic, because I play shows for a living.”
He continues on saying: “I’ve done ‘Thinking Out Loud’, I’ve done ‘Perfect’, I’ve done the love songs. It’s about finding different angles now to do that.” While pulling off different approaches to his music, Ed shows his potential and range. "The fact is, I've already achieved more than I thought I could, so now I'm at a point where I'm just having fun.” Indeed, Ed Sheeran has conquered a lot since his last album (Divide) and his N.5 Collaborations Project. His top hit “Shape of You” was remixed by Stormzy, who also collaborated with him on the song “Take Me Back to London”.
Surprisingly, the musician features a rock record called “Blow”, which further emphasizes the amplitude of his skills. When asked why he has made the choice to feature this genre he simply said “I think people do not expect that any time I play to anyone. The first chord instantly [surprises] people, and I love that.”
Sheeran quickly became H.E.R’s fan - much like the rest of the world - and decided to ask her to join him in this project. Of course she agreed, leading them to compose the track “I Don’t Want Your Money”. The song talks about not prioritizing money over other more important things - such as your loved ones. Another person he admires is Ella Mai. The UK based artist caught Ed Sheeran’s attention due to also being a successful UK singer in the US. Sheeran contacted her almost immediately, once the tune for “Put It All On Me” was ready.
When talking about the track “Best Part of Me” (that resembles songs from his last albums, such as the tracks “Perfect” and “Tenerife Sea”) Ed gets up close and personal while sharing the reason for writing this song. "I constantly wake up everyday, with Cherry, and I'm just like, 'Why the f*** are you with me? You could literally be with whoever you want, and you chose me. I'm saying all of the things that I think are wrong with me, and you still wanna be with me.' and I just find that amazing.”
Furthermore, he says “I've always wanted to make a song with Cardi B.” Ed reveals that he’s always dreamed of collaborating with her, when talking about his Latin prompted track “South of the Border”. He shares that Camila Cabello (also featured in this track) and him are close friends and that he felt that due to Camila’s Cuban influences she would be a perfect fit for the track. “[Camila] is from Cuba, she speaks fluent Spanish, and Cardi's Dominican, and I just felt like it was a good mix. Another Latin artist which whom Ed collaborated with is Paulo Londra; Paulo Londra sings with Ed Sheeran on “Nothing On You”, where the artist Dave is also featured.
Finally, Ed shares another dream collaboration of his, which includes J Hus and Young Thug. Gladly, his dream came true with the track “Feels”. He reflects that “You should only be working with people who you think are better than you, so it helps you grow as a person.”
Best & Worst Dressed at the Oscars
By: G. Castilla
5 best dressed
1. Natalie Portman
Dressed in Dior, Natalie who presented the award for Best Adapted Screenplay alongside Timothee Chalamet. Her cape was embedded with the names of female directors who were snubbed from the Academy Awards nominations, including Greta Gerwig and Lulu Wang.
2. Brie Larson
Dressed in Celine, Brie arrived in style to present an award, where she rocked a simple but elegant light pink cape and dress.
3. Renée Zellweger
Wearing Armani Prive, Zellweger who won Best actress for Judy looked stunning in her one shoulder white gown.
4. Billie Porter
Dressed with Giles Deacon with Jimmy Choo to complete the look. He rocked the Oscar red carpet with a shimmering gold sleeveless top with feathers. He told the New York times that “this look is all about royalty”, and that the look was inspired by Kensington Palace.
5. Jane Fonda
There to present the most prestigious award, Best picture, where she shimmered in a red dress made by Elie Saab gown. She has worn this costume before in the 2014 Cannes Festival, and as she is one of the celebrities advocating for climate action, her actions include reusing gowns.
5 Worst dressed
1. Kirsten Wig
Dressed in Valentino Coutre, she took the prize for worst dressed. Her red frills made some compare her to a cell organelle and less like a Hollywood starlet.
2. Timonhee Chalamet
Dressed in Prada, Chalamet’s number was, unfortuanely, a fail, some even compared him to a valet parker
3. Maya Rudolph
For this year’s Academy award Maya wore Valentino which proved to be the wrong choice with her shapeless orange dress.
4. Sandra Oh
Dressed in Ellie Saab. Sandra, unfortunately, missed the mark for this year dressed with her excessive amount of tulle that was almost comical.
5. Janelle Monae
Some put Janelle in their best dressed list, however the Ralph Lauren dress made her resemble more a Star war Jedi then anything else.
By M. Liaw
They are a great place to make new friendships :
Summer camps are a great opportunity to socialize and make new friendships that will last forever; you can meet people from all around the world there and learn about their different life story and experiences.
Lots of different, fun activities :
There are many entertaining activities and fun learning experiences that help become stronger and more independent people. You can try to do something new and discover you are actually really good at it! There is lots of nature around you, and you can do activities that you wouldn't be able to do anywhere else.
Summer camps are the best places to feed your knowledge-craving brain: you can expand your familiarity about different countries in a fun way, maybe even a learn new language. You can attempt new sports and games that you can't do at home. You will also learn life lessons about dealing with situations in nature, and how to work as a team to solve your problems.
Discover new cultures :
Summer camps help you to discover about new cultures and ways of living, explore how people from different places think and learn differently. You will also have lots of knowledge about customs and traditions from various nations.
Visit new places :
In summer camps you get to visit new places with your new friends! There is a lot of nature in the vicinity of the area and beautiful open spaces, lakes, glaciers, waterfalls, that the summer camp crew can take you.
Gain independence :
The summer camps boost your independence and leadership, so you can work better and quicker in everyday scenarios. It increases your self-esteem and it helps you achieve your goals faster because you don’t need help from others.
By F. Lebl
Art of the month: #isolationlions
By: D. Crespo
By: V. Macedo
Antarctica. The Earth's most southern continent. This, is the place where everything, from a tiny krill to enormous whales, live in perfect harmony; where each day represents a battle for survival. The place that has such astounding interconnection among all animals, where humans need all their paraphernalia just to keep going - you can only be in awe of the world’s natural adaptations. The continent where everything is thick, white, ice... or is it?
Antarctica is a rarely visited place today. However, in the early 19th century, half of the world wanted to know where all the Southern sea ice was coming from. James Cook led an expedition looking for the so-called Terra Australis Incognita. Their mission got extremely close to the mysterious continent, but they never got to see it. It was later discovered that they were just 80 miles away! So close yet so far. That failed exploration led to the cancelation of many further missions. But the race re-sparked when Russia, England and the United States discovered the hundreds of seals and whales that were yet to be caught. Russia gave the mission to explorer Fabian von Bellingshausen who, with his team, were the first to step onto that unique continent.
After the actual discovery, humanity moved onto the next stage: reaching the South Pole. All around the world, hundreds of explorers raced to reach that extremity. The endurance needed for such a mission was absurd and hardly any were bold enough to go all the way. But Ernest Shackleton, one of the world’s best and bravest, was not just anyone. Even though he did not reach the Southern magnetic point, he managed to save his crew of 27 men. Shackleton spent two years on ice after his ship, the Endurance, got stuck. “Frozen, like an almond in the middle of a chocolate bar” one of the crew members described, as it was destroyed by the moving packs of ice of the Weddel Sea. After spending more than a year on floating and unstable ice, Shackleton took 3 lifeboats and navigated through the Drake Passage (one of the most revolting seas) to reach Elephant, an inhospitable island. He left most of his crew in a small camp and left, yet again, on a row boat only to reach the South Shetland Islands at its furthest point, with no civilization. Shackleton had to cross glaciers to finally reach civilization and send help to the rest of the crew. They were at their limits, every day their lives were in danger, but they did not give up for nearly 500 days. One of the harshest endurance experiences ever.
Seeing a wildlife documentary in real time in front of your eyes is something I will never forget. I always asked myself “Wow, how did they film that?”. And then I saw it, live, freezing water sprinkles and all. Tourists can see those enormous animals while trying to keep their balance in fragile zodiacs. Whales can be admired preying upon tiny little krill by using huge bubbles to trap those shrimp-like-creatures. They admire the mothers protecting their babies by placing their humongous bodies between the boats and the calves. The next minute these same tourists are disgusted by smelling the nauseating vapors that are sprayed from the whale’s spiraculum when they breathe. Adorable penguins that climb all the way up the mountain just to find that one perfect rock for their little nest and then go sliding downhill to find the next one. Where every day their issues are of life and death, yet, somehow, the interconnection allows all of them to survive. It is simply mind-blowing.
One of the most adored group of animals in Antarctica are the famous penguins. They are so cute to inevitably surface your cuddly instincts. Chinstraps tobogganing on the ice. Rock-hoppers hopping from rock to rock. Adélies climbing up and down the mountain with their exclusive highway. Macaronis with their spaghetti-like eyebrows. King penguins slapping and nagging at each other like most human siblings during their forced quarantines. All of them, carve their way into your heart.
Moreover, the seals are loved for everything about them. Their whiskers, their flippers, their puppy eyes, their chubbiness! After spending about two days seeing those fluff balls, you already start packing your bags because you have decided that you belong with them. Even though some of them are very scary (like the leopard seal), they all go back to the same spot in your brain: complete admiration.
By: S. McManus
Guide to: The Kenyan Coast
By: P. Szwarc
Until recently, Diani beach kept its beauty between locals and cultured tourists that have been vacationing on the coast since the early 70’s. Due to its recent urbanization and commercial growth, Diani beach has become a bucket list destination for many western travellers. Being only a short flight away from Mombasa, its easy access came hand in hand with touristic growth. Diani beach is the ideal spot for tourists that are looking to relax after a Safari trip in the Maasai and Samburu regions.
With its 17 kilometres of sparkling white sand, Diani beach has been awarded the best beach destination in Africa for 5 consecutive years. Due to its location, range of facilities and leisure activities, Diani beach is the perfect destination for families, honeymooners and backpackers. Activities include: visiting the marine national park, diving in the deep-sea canyons, kitesurfing and enjoying the nightlife. Another must is to visit the sandbar; a five-minute boat ride from the main beach. There, you will encounter traditionally dressed locals, sun-drenched tourists and magnificent corals, making it the ultimate spot for snorkelling.
When you think of Kenya, the first thing that pops up in your mind are the safaris. However, its beaches are equally wonderful and have great significance. Its warm waters that vary in shades of blues and greens seem more like a tropical island getaway than a strip of the African continent. Even though you are not on a safari trip, colobus monkeys can be spotted everywhere swinging from tree to tree and casually sunbathing on rooftops.
Overall, Diani beach is a stunning setting for a beach vacation and it’s truly idyllic for anyone.
By: The Lion Team
Following Disney’s long-chain of live-action remakes, Mulan is set to debut, once again, on the silver screen in March 2020. However, following the initial teaser release, a series of mixed reactions have taken place, bemoaning the loss of Mushu, General Shang, and other iconic characters that have come to shape our childhood. On the other hand, there are those that praise its historical accuracy and hope that it will finally do the legendary tale justice.
Here’s a little context for you: back in 1998, the original animated Mulan movie flopped in Chinese box offices, and to this day, is generally regarded as a caricature of Chinese culture made for the entertainment of an American audience. In the past years, Disney has gone through extra-lengths for cultural accuracy in hits such as “Frozen” and “Moana”; Mulan is no different, but perhaps more complex. The ballad of Hwa Mulan, the inspiration behind the movie, dates back to the 6th century, but Mulan herself is said to have been around as early as 380 AD, according to the legend that is. While the animated version is not necessarily popular with the Chinese public, the tale of Mulan, the girl that took her aged father’s place in the army, is a story that is dear to the hearts of the Chinese people. It is a centerpiece to one of the richest cultures in the world, so it is no wonder that Disney must tread lightly, in its attempt to win over the hearts of the Chinese public.
Due to the oral origins of the original tale, there are numerous variations to the story of Mulan, such as having a pair of younger siblings to taking her own life when asked to become a concubine for the emperor. This may explain the addition of the sister seen in the trailer, though the new sorceress is not a character that had been previously associated to Mulan, that has even been suspected of having been an actual person, due to lack of fantastical elements in her legend, but has not raised any red flags thus far. The character of Disney Mulan herself, was not so different from the tale, save for the fact that she was already a skilled fighter before enlisting, and the animated version was regarded as too “individualistic” and disregarded Confucius philosophy. Like the new movie, there is no love interest, no talking dragon, and no musical numbers, though there is a pretty epic orchestral rendition of “Reflection” featured in the trailer.
Personally, though I grew up watching Mulan in a mainly Chinese household, I do believe Disney is now doing the right thing in redeeming itself, even if it comes with the loss of beloved scenes and characters. Having a replica of the 1998 version, like Disney had done with Lion King, would be rather redundant, and only serve to tarnish Disney’s name in what is the now the second largest cinematic market in the world. There is so much to offer from the legend of Mulan, that the international audience hasn’t seen yet, which is what I’m counting on the Studio to portray.
Nevertheless, the controversies don’t end there. Following the casting of what was luckily a non-white-washed cast, Liu Yifei, playing Mulan, was first met with praises for symbolizing Asian representation, but now has turned bitter in the public-eye. Back in August, the actress had tweeted about her support towards the Hong Kong police, following months of violence and unrest between police and protesters in Hong Kong. For anyone who somehow isn’t aware of the political situation: it’s tense. Though backed by a lot of national support, international audiences have been calling to boycott the movie, claiming that Liu supports police brutality, or favors her career over calling out what is wrong.
This, is where it gets tricky. While it is entirely possible that the actress does support China’s view on Hong Kong, it is also worth mentioning that almost every Chinese entertainer has posted very similar things in support of China, and all right around the same time. Even non-Chinese entertainers have involved themselves in huge criticism by supporting either side of the situation. Past Chinese singers and actors who have openly defied China’s stance on HK have been black-listed or at the very least, lost a huge part of their Chinese audience, even if they received love from international ones. We must consider that this is their own country we are talking about, where they live, and yes, their main source of income. While I do not speak for Liu specifically, it is hard to be neutral in such a dilemma, especially when we don’t know what is going on behind the scenes.
I, for one, will be going to watch the movie, and though you are not obliged to do the same, it shouldn’t stop you from watching the trailer below: