#ThrowbackThursday: Lauryn Hill Wins Album of the Year Grammy Award, 1999

Lauryn Hill, Grammys 1999 (The Drop FM)

Lauryn Hill, Grammys 1999 (The Drop FM)

When Lauryn Hill’s album “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” was released in 1998, it instantly became #1 on the Billboard 200 chart, and set a record for “first-week sales by a female artist.”

Hill won Album of the Year for “Miseducation” at the 1999 Grammy Awards. The album also won four other awards; it had been nominated for 10 Grammys. Hill set another record that night both with her number of wins and nominations.

Hill was the last black woman to win the Grammy for Album of the Year.

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Beyonce Is the Highest Paid Woman in Music for 2017

Beyonce performs at the Grammy Awards, 2017 (Billboard)

Beyonce performs at the Grammy Awards, 2017 (Billboard)

No surprise here: Superstar/icon/QUEEN Beyonce was ranked the highest-paid woman in music for 2017 by “Forbes” for their annual Highest Paid Women in Music list. Beyonce earned $105M (!!!) in pre-tax income.

Here’s how “Forbes” arrived at this number:

We looked at pretax income from June 1, 2016 through June 1, 2017, and did not take out fees charged by agents, managers and lawyers. We gathered data from Nielsen SoundScan, Pollstar, the RIAA and interviews with industry insiders.

Beyonce has had one hell of a streak. She released her popular and critically acclaimed album “Lemonade” in April 2016. “Lemonade” handily become her sixth #1 album. Beyonce’s Formation world tour (which occurred during the timeframe) netted her “a quarter of a billion dollars.”

In personal news, she also took some time off to give birth to her twins Rumi and Sir. It’s safe to say that she would’ve earned even more without the break.

Beyonce’s earnings put her far ahead of the pack: The second-highest-paid woman in music was Adele, who earned $69M during the measured timeframe.

 

Trends: Slaying While Pregnant

 

Beyonce's performance at the 2017 Grammy Awards (The Fader)

Beyonce’s performance at the 2017 Grammy Awards (The Fader)

It seems like almost every female celebrity is pregnant right now (and that almost all of them are pregnant with twins). But instead of lying low and taking it easy during their pregnancies, many of these women are stepping it up, and making pregnant and non-pregnant women alike look like slackers.

First case in point: Beyonce. Leave it to Queen Bey to put us all to shame. The superstar performed a set during this year’s Grammy Awards. One portion featured her leaning back in a chair perched at a very precarious angle. (I don’t know about you, but my heart was in my throat for that whole portion. And I audibly exhaled when she got off that chair.)

Beyonce had also been scheduled to perform at Coachella before withdrawing. But we can’t fault her for that, considering she’s done more while pregnant than many people do in their lives.

Serena Williams is widely acknowledged to be the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) tennis player in the world. Last month, she announced her pregnancy. When she announced the news, Williams was 20 weeks along. Someone very smart (and awesome) did the math and realized that Williams had recently played in a match while pregnant. And, as Laura Wagner at “Deadspin” put it, this wasn’t just any match:

Serena Williams won the 2017 Australian Open, her record-breaking 23rd major, without dropping a single set, while nine fucking weeks pregnant. She is the greatest of all time.

Elsewhere in entertainment, Gal Gadot has been preparing for her upcoming movie “Wonder Woman.” Last November, she shot reshoots for the movie…while also five months pregnant. And she was probably doing more than a few stunts. NBD.

It’s great that we’re seeing so many women dominate during a time in life when women traditionally have been relegated to the sidelines.

Trends: Genderless Awards Categories

MTV Movie & TV Awards nominees Daniel Kaluuya, Millie Bobby Brown, and Emma Watson (Entertainment Weekly)

MTV Movie & TV Awards nominees Daniel Kaluuya, Millie Bobby Brown, and Emma Watson (Entertainment Weekly)

Last month, MTV announced that its MTV Movie Awards would be no more. Instead, the show would now involve awards for TV, and be called the MTV Movie & TV Awards. But that wasn’t the only new thing the cable network had in store for its new awards show: Certain major categories will be gender neutral.

This new gender neutrality spans the acting categories: Best Actor in a Movie (which includes Emma Watson from “Beauty and the Beast” and Daniel Kaluuya from “Get Out”) and Best Actor in a TV Show (which includes Donald Glover from “Atlanta” and Millie Bobby Brown from “Stranger Things”). Of course, some categories have always been gender-neutral, inkling Best Kiss, Best Villian and Best Hero.

There’s clearly a sea change happening, as mainstream culture has gotten hip and woke to the nuances of gender identity. And the young generation isn’t averse to asking for what they want, particularly in terms of representation. Actor Asia Kate Dillion, known for their role on Showtime’s “Billions” as a non-binary character (and TV’s first one at that!), wrote to the Television Academy and asked them to reconsider their binary male and female categories. This was a big ask: the Television Academy governs the Emmy Awards. The Television Academy was very receptive to Dillon’s letter, and Dillon decided to submit themselves under Best Supporting Actor

If the Emmys were to do away with gendered categories, the award show would be getting back to its roots. The Emmys enacted separate categories for male and female performers in 1951, its third year.

I hope this new gender consciousness grows until it becomes so commonplace we no longer need to remark on it.

#ThrowbackThursday: “Best Kiss” at the MTV Movie Awards, 2000

Selma Blair and Sarah Michelle Gellar win "Best Kiss" at the MTV Movie Awards, 2000 (IBTimes)

Selma Blair and Sarah Michelle Gellar win “Best Kiss” at the MTV Movie Awards, 2000 (IBTimes)

Let’s take it all the way back to the year 2000. Remember when? I was in middle school, about to go to high school, and the MTV Movie Awards were a big deal. You had to watch them, and see who got awards like “Best Movie,” “Best Hero,” and “Best Villian.”

But the above categories (and all the rest of them) paled in comparison to “Best Kiss.” Each year, we voted to see which of our fave onscreen couples would win, get up onstage and give the audience what we so obviously wanted. And each year would be the same: they’d tease us, before finally going in for the kill. And the crowd went wild!

In 2000, actresses Sarah Michelle Gellar and Selma Blair won for “Best Kiss.” This was based off their now-iconic scene in “Cruel Intentions” (also, watch the whole movie if you haven’t seen it). Their acceptance kiss was light and quick, and both women giggled. But it became a seminal moment in pop culture history.

 

#ThrowbackThursday: “Ghostbusters,” 2016

'Ghostbusters,' 2016 (Geek)

‘Ghostbusters,’ 2016 (Geek)

2016 saw the release of the rebooted “Ghostbusters: Now With More Women!” OK, that wasn’t the actual title, but it might as well have been. The remake of the classic comedy film boasted Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones as the titular Ghostbusters. The film battled high expectations from all corners: nail-biting and hand-writing over whether (gasp!) funny women could open a movie, and unreasonable standards from people for whom the original 1984 movie stood as an unassailable classic.

Fortunately, the movie proved that people (and not just women) would turn out to see funny women in a remake. The film ranked second in its opening weekend with $46M+ and went on to rake in $229M+ worldwide.

User Engagement for Beyonce’s Pregnancy Announcement: By The Numbers

Beyonce's Instagram pregnancy announcement, 2017 (Time)

Beyonce’s Instagram pregnancy announcement, 2017 (Time)

OK, we all know that Beyonce is PREGNANT with TWINS, right? (And if that’s the first time you’re hearing this, OMG!!) The music icon announced her pregnancy on February 1st via an Instagram post on her personal account. (Later, she released an entire pregnancy photoshoot that was shot by Awol Erizku.)

As much fuss was made about Kim Kardashian breaking the Internet in 2014, Beyonce actually *did* the damn thing. Beyonce now has the most-liked photo on Instagram.

Here are some numbers to put this fact in context:

Likes on Beyonce’s 2017 Pregnancy Instagram Announcement (#): 10,468,451 

Beyonce’s Instagram Followers (#): 94.8M

Pregnancy Announcement User Engagement (# of likes/# of followers): 11.04%

Number of Likes the Pregnancy Announcement Received within 30 minutes of posting: 1.2M+

Number of Likes the Pregnancy Announcement Received within 1 hour of posting: 2.4M+

Amount of time it took for the pregnancy announcement to become Instagram’s most-liked photo: Less than 8 hours

Number of Likes the Pregnancy Announcement got to become Instagram’s most-liked photo: 6.33M

Second most-liked Instagram photo of all time: Selena Gomez sipping a Coke

Number of Likes for second-most-liked Instagram photo of all time: 6.4M