Taking a Chance. Rap music is not my flavor, but I nonetheless have a fascination with Chance the Rapper. He’s been exploring but not quite embracing Christianity in his music for years, and I’ve written about him here and here. Now, though, it appears he has taken that final step of faith, embracing Jesus and marriage in very public manners. His new album – nearly 80 minutes and 22 tracks long – celebrates marriage and family and his newfound faith. He calls it “The Big Day” and critics have panned it because it doesn’t have the darkness of previous albums, though – be forewarned if you want to explore this album – it does contain a good bit of profanity. Though it also contains seemingly heartfelt lines like this: “Eyes closed, right now sayin’, Lord of Lords / I know you gave abundantly, even gave up your son for me. … And I love to say your name….”
Joyful Noise. Speaking of rappers, Christian rap artist Flame will get $2.78 million from Katy Perry for copyright infringement. A Los Angeles jury said her 2013 hit “Dark Horse” stole a unique beat from Flame’s 2009 rap song “Joyful Noise.” Flame’s real name is Marcus Gray, and he said more than money was at stake. He said his song was sullied by “Dark Horse” references to black magic, witchcraft, paganism, and the Illuminati.
Not So Smart? U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., introduced legislation that would limit features on social media apps. “Too much of the ‘innovation’ in this space is designed not to create better products, but to capture more attention by using psychological tricks that make it difficult to look away,” he said. “To guarantee an audience big enough to make their ads profitable, big tech has developed a business model designed to do one thing above all: addict,” Hawley wrote in a USA Today editorial. The Social Media Addiction Reduction Technology Act (SMART Act), would, according to WORLD, “ban infinite scroll, a feature in which apps load new content as a user moves down the page. It would also require apps to include natural stopping points, ban autoplay of music or videos, and restrict the use of badges or other awards to recognize a user’s engagement level.” However, Hawley has yet to find a co-sponsor. Even many who understand the dangers of social media think Hawley’s bill goes too far in regulating the industry.
Ideologues Strike. Actor Mario Lopez told an interviewer, “If you’re 3 years old and you’re saying you’re feeling a certain way, or you think you’re a boy or a girl or whatever the case may be, I just think it’s dangerous as a parent to make that determination then.” Sounds pretty reasonable to me, but the comment brought down a firestorm on Lopez, and he was forced to make an apology. He released a statement saying, “I have been and always will be an ardent supporter of the LGBTQ community, and I am going to use this opportunity to better educate myself. Moving forward I will be more informed and thoughtful.” Conservative commentator Candice Owens, who conducted the original interview, responded on Twitter: “Bullying people into issuing public statements of apology so that they can keep their careers—because they state a FACT—that 3-year-olds are not equipped to make life-altering decisions—is why @realDonaldTrump is your President.”
Upside Down World. South African Olympic runner Caster Semenya is a woman who has a genetic condition that results in naturally high testosterone levels. She takes no testosterone enhancing drugs. It’s just who she is. But she has been banned from international competition because she would have an unfair advantage. The ruling means she will not be able to defend her world championship during competitions in Doha, Qatar, in late September and early October. Meanwhile, the International Olympic Committee is looking for ways to allow transgender women (men who identify as women) to compete, even though they would obviously have an advantage.
Milestones. Harold Prince, a director and producer of some of the most endearing Broadway musicals in theater history, died last Wednesday at age 91. Some of his best-known shows included The Phantom of the Opera, Fiddler on the Roof, Damn Yankees, Cabaret, The Pajama Game, and West Side Story. Prince won a record 21 Tony Awards during his long career…. Randy Shilts was born this week (Aug. 8) in 1951. Shilts covered gay culture and AIDS for the San Francisco Chronicle in the 1980s, and he wrote an important book about AIDS called And The Band Played On. The gay rights movement has done a masterful job of painting LGBT people as victims, but Shilts — though gay himself — was unblinking about how the gay rights movement itself bears major responsibility for spread of AIDS, especially in those first few critical years…. Alexander Solzhenitsyn died this week (Aug. 8) in 2008. To read a BreakPoint on the 40th anniversary of Solzhenitsyn’s famous speech to Harvard University, click here…. Sen. Mark Hatfield died this week (Aug. 9) in 2011. To read my friend Russ Pulliam’s appreciation of Hatfield, click here.