Colors: Red Color

 

Kazakhstan's tourism board has adopted the Borat catchphrase "very nice" in its new advertising campaign. The phrase is used by the film character Borat, a fictional journalist from Kazakhstan.

 

The first Borat film caused outrage in the country, and authorities threatened to sue creator Sacha Baron Cohen. But the country's tourism board has now embraced Borat as a perfect marketing tool - particularly as a second Borat film has just been released.

 

It has released a number of short advertisements that highlight the country's scenery and culture. The people in the video then use Borat's catchphrase "very nice".

 

"Kazakhstan's nature is very nice. Its food is very nice. And its people, despite Borat's jokes to the contrary, are some of the nicest in the world," Kairat Sadvakassov, deputy chairman of Kazakh Tourism, said in a statement.

 

The tourism board were persuaded to use the catchphrase by American Dennis Keen and his friend Yermek Utemissov. They pitched the idea and produced the advertisements, according to the New York Times.

 

The response from social media users has been positive with many saying the advertisements capitalise on the film and send a positive message. One said: "Well done. Great way to take the publicity created by a comedian and turn it to a positive message." The second film itself has had a mixed reception. The Kazakh American Association has slammed the film for promoting "racism, cultural appropriation and xenophobia".

 

In a letter sent to Amazon, which has distribution rights to the film, the group asked: "Why is our small nation fair game for public ridicule?" In Kazakhstan, more than 100,000 people signed an online petition demanding a cancellation of the film after a trailer was released.

 

"They completely desecrate and humiliate Kazakhstan and the dignity of the Kazakh nation," the petition said. Others on social media branded the film as a "stupid American comedy".

 

When the first Borat film was released in 2006, authorities banned the film and release of it on DVD and people were blocked from visiting its website. Officials felt the movie portrayed Kazakhstan as a racist, sexist and primitive country.

 

In the film Borat bragged about incest and rape. He also joked that the former Soviet nation had the cleanest prostitutes in the world. The film also caused outrage in Romania where an entire village said they were "humiliated" by the film.

 

The village was used as the backdrop for Borat's house. Residents said they were told the film was going to be a documentary, but instead were portrayed as backward people and criminals. Years later, however, the Kazakhstan government thanked Sacha Baron Cohen for boosting tourism in the country.

 

In 2012, the foreign minister at the time, Yerzhan Kazykhanov, said he was "grateful" to Borat for "helping attract tourists" to the country, adding that 10 times more people were applying for visas to go there.

 

The funeral for the founding fathers of reggae music, Frederick ‘Toots’ Hibbert, was stalled on eve of the planned service after no could find the burial permit as the body made its way to the Dovecot Memorial Gardens in St. Catherine, in Jamaica.

 

It followed concerns from family members who were disappointed at him being laid to rest outside his hometown. Hibbert’s daughter Jenieve Bailey, previously announced the decision to have her father’s body to be laid to rest in May Pen, in Clarendon, where other family members were buried.

 

Toots’ nephew, Wilbert, said: “The whole family agreed for him to come back home to where his mother, father, three brothers and sister are buried. He needs to take the country road back to the place where he belongs. You don’t need anything plainer than that.”

 

But just days before the planned date of burial, the announcement was made about a change in the place of rest.

 

In defending his stance he went on: “He sings about the country road in one of his biggest songs, and he is always visiting us down here. He never left us out.”

 

He went on: “From the time Miss Doreen (Toots’ widow) and some of the children came down here and chose the land, we didn’t hear a word. No grave digging was going on down here and everybody — my mother, sisters and aunt — were asking me what is happening?”

 

The day of the burial saw the planned procession, with a private service for close family members which took place at Perry’s Funeral Home chapel.

 

Hibbert’s body was transported to Dovecot Memorial Gardens, but no one in attendance possessed the burial certificate, which is usually provided by the Registrar General Department when receiving a signed death certificate.

 

Without a signed burial order, the body cannot be placed in the grave.

 

Following the family being unable to provide the relevant documents, Toots’ body was returned to the funeral home.

 

The reggae legend, 77, was admitted to the University Hospital of the West Indies after reporting concerns with his breathing before later passing away as a result of challenges brought on by COVID-19 last month.

 

 

 

 

Ireland’s rising talent Flynn has released just two solo tracks in 2020, but they’ve quickly placed him in prime position for greater things. ‘One of Us’ and ‘B-Side’ have introduced him as an artist with global potential, with numerous Spotify New Music Friday playlists plus The Pop List (Spotify) and New Pop Hits (Apple) helping to introduce him to a whole new audience. His surging status has also been spotlighted with a quick succession of tips from influential tastemakers including The Line of Best Fit, Wonderland, Fault and Clash.
 
While those two songs have delivered a snapshot of Flynn’s talents, his debut EP, also titled ‘One Of Us’, will show that there’s much more to come – out now via Jive Germany / Sony, Flynn launches the EP with the focus track ‘Selling Me Love’.  ‘Selling Me Love’ proves that Flynn is impossible to pigeonhole after the alt-pop of ‘One of Us’ and a modern update on the sounds of Stax with ‘B-Side’. ‘Selling Me Love’ is supremely larger-than-life, taking flight from understated opening verse into a dynamic chorus that melds hip-hop energy and chart-bound immediacy with a dash of muscular funk. The trait that shines through all three songs is Flynn himself, with a voice of seasoned maturity emerging from the young artist.
 
“This is my first EP release so I just really wanted to put my life so far into words and touch on all the little experiences I’ve encountered along the way. It feels so surreal to be able to finally share all these stories with everyone, I loved the whole process of making this EP and I’m really proud of it. I hope it resonates with people and they can take something away from it.” says Flynn.
 
In addition to the three recent singles, the ‘One of Us’ EP will be completed by the piano ballad ‘I Don’t Wanna Love You’ and the tropical soul of ‘Young’. 
 
Flynn co-wrote all five of the EP’s tracks with collaborations including producers Toby Scott (Cashmere Cat, JC Stewart, Kaiser Chiefs) and Blair MacKichan (Sia, Lily Allen). 
 
Flynn’s big breakthrough came when he featured on Lost Frequencies’ ‘Recognise’, which has since reached 42 million streams. He recently continued his connection with the renowned producer and DJ by featuring alongside Love Harder on ‘You’, from Lost Frequencies’ current EP ‘Cup of Beats’.
 
Despite that huge opportunity, Flynn is anything but an overnight sensation. He was raised in Mullingar in County Westmeath, Ireland before relocating to Bristol to focus on a career in music. It certainly demanded some sacrifices - in any given week, he might be found busking in Bristol then writing in London before heading home to work shifts in a local restaurant. That combination of talent and tenacity is now paying off.
 

 

Hollywood superstar Idris Elba and his wife, Sabrina Dhowre Elba, have said individuals can make a difference in tackling climate change.

 

The actor, producer and DJ, said: "There is definitely something that we can all do. You are doing it now listening to this. There is hope."

 

Model and actress Sabrina added: "There is a method, there are steps. It isn't just throw your hands in the air and go 'the world is on fire'.

 

"There are solutions and it's figuring out what those solutions are and how we can each play a part because we do know that every person can make a difference.

 

"It is so easy to feel hopeless when you do hear all of that scaremongering but people can make a change. Each individual person." Climate change is often seen as a problem that's so big, it needs to be tackled at the level of world governments. But the couple say every person can play a role.

 

The 10-part podcast explores issues and solutions around climate change. The couple feature in an episode which looks at the impact of climate change on our global food systems.

 

Idris said he wanted to use his platform to "shine a light" on those most affected by global warming. "There's no shortage of voices talking about climate change and the green debate," he said, "but there's not much visibility on the people that haven't much at all and still suffer climate change.

 

"We look at small farmers as slightly unrelated to us, somewhere in the Sahara, but that food chain links to all of us. The effect is not apparent now, but it will be massively."

 

Sabrina and Idris are ambassadors for the UN's International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

Some of IFAD's projects aim to make food production more resilient to the impacts of climate change. They are piloting climate adaption technologies such as rainwater harvesting and supplementary irrigation.

 

Sabrina said she and Idris had a strong passion for taking care of the planet for the coming generations. "We've just got married. I want to have children one day and bring them into a world which I don't think will be destroyed in the coming years," she said.

 

That sense of responsibility has led them to look for programmes which help people in Africa who are affected by climate change. Last year, they went to Sierra Leone to meet farmers affected by the Ebola epidemic.

 

"These farmers are probably the least contributors to the climate change problem but are yet being affected the most," said Sabrina. "This demand, which we saw go up with the pandemic, has always been an almost unreal demand. Food waste is no secret issue in the West and in the North".

 

Speaking of how he would like to see the world change, Idris said: "My son is six years old and I want him to know Daddy went to Sierra Leone to look at agriculture.

 

'What's agriculture, Daddy?' Well it's a way of growing food. It's a way of looking after our world. And if we look after our world, it will supply us back.

 

"And that is something we should leave with the next generation. Even if it's just not that everyone is going to be a great farmer but it's the understanding of the food chain and food supply.

 

“That is really important."

 

Rapper/actor Chris Bridges, more popularly known as Ludacris, is set to produce a new animated series called ‘Karma’s World’ inspired by his eldest daughter Karma Bridges. The series will be released on Netflix soon.

Ludacris’ production company Karma’s World Entertainment is one of the producers of the coming-of-age story that will follow the life of 10-year old girl Karma Grant, an aspiring musical artist, rapper, and songwriter, who wanted to use her music to be able to change the world.

The 40-episode series with 11-minutes screentime each will feature original music scoring created and supervised by Ludacris himself in collaboration with James Bennett Jr. and produced by Gerald Keys. The compositions tackle the issues young children are facing from friendship, creativity, emotions to self-esteem, and discrimination.

Karma’s World Entertainment is partnering with 9 Story Media Group, Oscar-nominated Brown Bag Films, and Emmy Award-winning Creative Affairs Group to produce the new series. Ludacris is hoping the series will get to inspire young children and empower young girls.

“I’ve had a lot of accomplishments in my life, but everything that I’ve experienced seems to have led up to this point to where I can leave a legacy for all my daughters,” Bridges said.

“Karma’s World is one of those legacies. I hope this series will show kids that there are many ways to overcome difficult situations. This show is going to move hip hop culture forward and show young girls that they have the power to change the world. This project has been a long time in the making, and I can’t wait to bring Karma’s World to the entire world.”

 

 

The Church of England is said to be a co-owner of Beyoncé's Single Ladies, Rihanna's Umbrella and Justin Timberlake's SexyBack and is one of hundreds of investors in a company called Hipgnosis, which, for the past three years, has been hungrily snapping up the rights to thousands of hit songs.

 

So far, it has spent more than $1bn (£776m) on music by Mark Ronson, Chic, Barry Manilow and Blondie. Its latest acquisition is the song catalogue of LA Reid, meaning it has a share in tracks like Boyz II Men's End Of The Road, Whitney Houston's I'm Your Baby Tonight and Bobby Brown's Don't Be Cruel.

 

And when those songs get played on the radio or placed in a film or TV show, Hipgnosis makes money. And, by association, does the Church of England, along with other investors like Aviva, Investec and Axa.

 

According to Hipgnosis founder Merck Mercuriadis, the music he's bought is "more valuable than gold or oil".

 

"These great, proven songs are very predictable and reliable in their income streams," he explains. "If you take a song like the Eurythmics' Sweet Dreams or Bon Jovi's Livin' On A Prayer, you're talking three to four decades of reliable income."

 

He says hit songs are a stable investment because their revenue isn't affected by fluctuations in the economy.

 

He explains: "If people are living their best lives, they're doing it to a soundtrack of songs. But equally, if they're experiencing the sort of challenges we've experienced over the last six months, they're taking comfort and escaping in great songs.

 

"So music is always being consumed and it's always generating income."

 

With Spotify users increasing by a monthly average of 22% between March and July, streaming royalties have increased during the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, Hipgnosis' share price has largely withstood the turmoil that has affected much of the business world.

 

Mercuriadis, from Quebec, Canada, got into the music industry after calling the Toronto office of Virgin Records every day for months until they gave him a job in the marketing department, where he worked with acts like UB40, The Human League and XTC.

 

In 1986, he joined the Sanctuary Group, ultimately becoming its CEO, where he managed the careers of Elton John, Iron Maiden, Guns N' Roses, Destiny's Child and Beyoncé, as well as working on the relaunch of Morrissey's career in 2004.

 

Kanye West recently called him one "of the most powerful and knowledgeable people in music".

 

"I've been very lucky to work with everyone I've ever wanted to work with," says Mercuriadis.

 

“The key to managing any successful artist is to fight hard for them and tell the truth", even when it's uncomfortable.

 

"The thing that most people don't realise is that, if you have a career that's the length of Elton's, you're going to be the coolest artist in the world seven times over. Equally, you're going to be the most uncool artist seven times over.

 

"Real life is saying, 'This is where we currently are, this is where we want to be, and this is what we have to do to get there. So let's roll our sleeves up and get our hands dirty and get stuck in.'" He admits he's been "fired for telling the truth" in the past - although he won't name names.

 

"It happens all the time," is all he will say. "The truth is something few people want to tell. It's arguable that even fewer want to hear it."

 

The idea for Hipgnosis came to Mercuriadis in 2009, around the time Spotify launched in the UK.

 

"I could see that streaming was going to change the landscape, and was going to make the music industry very successful all over again," he says.

 

He points out that the industry's traditional benchmark for success is the platinum record - which, in the US, represents a million sales. It sounds impressive, he says, until you realise that a hit film like Toy Story 4 sold 43 million tickets. "So that immediately tells you that, while the vast majority of the population may enjoy music, very few of them put their hand in their pocket and pull out a tenner and pay for it."

 

Streaming changed that, he says, because previously passive consumers were willing to pay a monthly subscription. "Instead of the focus being that one in 350 people would actually pay for music, the focus is on all of them."

 

An estimated 88 million people subscribe to streaming services in the US, more than a quarter of the population. Unlike most music companies, Hipgnosis isn't focused on finding the "next big thing". A third of the songs it owns are more than 10 years old, and 59% are between three and 10 years old.

 

Fewer than 10% are newer releases.