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Recent Entertainment articles from Daily Dot

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    Who knew the Muppets would become such a vivid canvas for rap mashups

    The latest experiment comes via Vulture, which pairs Miss Piggy with Rihanna’s “Bitch Better Have My Money,” the video for which outraged white women when it was released. Miss Piggy’s anger is mainly reserved for Kermit, though we do see her backhand a porcine rival. Bitch better have moi’s money. 

    Also, it's probably about time for Miss Piggy’s revenge thriller. 

    Screengrab via New York Magazine/YouTube 


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    There’s a good chance that you’re reading this at your computer, which you should know is disgusting: It’s basically like eating out of a toilet.

    But of course you’d never do that, because your toilet can’t play videos; hence why you’re sitting at your desk in the first place rather than having your lunch out in the park or going for a run with those annoying people who always look great.

    Well, Stephen Colbert has his lunch at a desk as well, just like you, and every day this working week, he’s invited us to join him as he prepares to take over Late Night from David Letterman starting Sept. 8. 

    The five-part series is part of Colbert’s onlineattempts to get us salivating in advance of his debut at the Ed Sullivan Theater, an effort that already includes a podcast and a choose-your-own-adventure office-based computer game that made me think of Larry Laffer for the first time in about 20 years. That’s a good thing by the way—thankfully, the “Will It Float?” tank seems to be in safe, capable hands.

    Screengrab via The Late Show with Stephen Colbert/YouTube


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    While we're waiting for Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp to debut on Netflix July 31, another summer camp movie is jumping in. 

    Staten Island Summer, which was written by SNL's Colin Jost and produced by Lorne Michaels, is set to premiere on Netflix July 30, after rumors of the deal started circulating last month. Naturally, current and former SNL cast members like Fred Armisen, Kate McKinnon, Cecily Strong, Will Forte, and Bobby Moynihan star alongside Method Man and Gina Gershon. 

    IMDb explains that the film is about two friends, Danny and Frank, who "spend the summer after high school working as lifeguards while figuring out their future." The trailer looks a little more promising than the hackneyed concept art. 

    H/T The Hollywood Reporter | Screengrab via Hulu 


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    The sweat, the chafing, the heat. Ack. August is the perfect time to settle in with a few of TV’s best curmudgeons. 

    Notable on Amazon Prime in August: All eight seasons of Curb Your Enthusiasm will be available to stream Aug. 6. And Amazon Instant will let you enjoy the patriarchy-immolating joy of Mad Max: Fury Road from your couch on Aug. 11. 

    Hulu blesses us with the debut of original series Difficult People (Aug. 5), the new comedy starring Julie Klausner and Billy Eichner; the return of the Hotwives franchise (Aug. 18); and Mr. Mom (Aug. 1).  

    Here’s the rundown of what your eyeballs will be glazing over in the summer’s cruelest month. 

    August

    Hulu

    Aug. 1

    8 Heads in a Duffle Bag

    Another Woman 

    A Bridge Too Far 

    Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex 

    Mr. Mom 

    Aug. 2

    Basketball Wives LA: Season 4 premiere 

    Aug. 4

    Bachelor in Paradise: Season 2 premiere 

    Aug. 5

    Difficult People: Series premiere 

    Aug. 6

    Mr. Robinson: Series premiere 

    A Wicked Offer: Series premiere 

    America’s Next Top Model: Season 22 premiere 

    Job or No Job: Series Premiere 

    FÉMININ/FÉMININ: Season 1 

    2Survive 

    52 Tuesdays 

    American Ghost Hunter 

    Angel, Alien and UFO Encounters from Another Dimension 

    Anomaly 

    Another Kind 

    Antiviral 

    Betelnut Beauty 

    Bicycle 

    Blood and High Heels 

    Dangerous Affairs 

    Dark Tarot 

    Eye for an Eye 

    Ferocious Planet 

    Flash Gordon 

    Freedom 

    From Dust 

    Fun Size Horror 

    Hello! How Are You? 

    Iceland Aurora 

    Kandote 

    Ladies of the House 

    Moses: Man of God 

    My Amityville Horror 

    Nero: The Obscure Face of Power 

    Once More With Feeling 

    Peace After Marriage 

    Real Fear: The Truth Behind the Movies 

    Sharpshooter 

    Still 

    Ten Nights of Dreams 

    The Architect 

    The Big Fix 

    The Mother Grain 

    The Party Is Over 

    The Poseidon Adventure 

    Two Guys 

    Walking Man 

    We Are Young 

    Xtra Credit 

    Aug. 7

    The Next Step: Season 2

    Aug. 8

    Doctor Who: Season 8 

    Tim & Eric’s Bedtime Stories: Season 1 

    Aug. 10

    You’re the Worst: Season 1

    Aug. 12

    Catfish: Season 4 finale

    The Next Step Reality: NYC: Series premiere 

    Startup U: Season 2 premiere

    Aug. 13

    Kevin From Work: Series premiere 

    Errors of the Human Body 

    Aug. 14

    Nobunagun: Season 1

    Wanna Be the Strongest in the World!: Season 1 

    Aug. 18

    Hotwives of Las Vegas: Season 2 premiere 

    Aug. 20

    Itakiss: Season 1 

    Aug. 21

    Mr. Pickles: Season 1 

    Gallagher: Totally New

    Hyperdimension Neptunia: Season 1 

    Aug. 25

    Switched at Birth: Season 4 premiere 

    Aug. 27

    Hot Package: Season 2 

    Aug. 28

    CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: Season 15 

    Kevin Hart Presents: Keith Robinson—Back of the Bus Funny 


    Amazon Prime 

    Aug. 1

    Olympus: Season 1 

    The Patriot

    The Longest Day

    Unforgiven

    Aug. 4 

    Erased 

    Aug. 6 

    Curb Your Enthusiasm: Seasons 1-8

    My Best Friend’s Wedding

    In the Line of Fire

    Aug. 7

    A Most Violent Year

    Aug. 12

    Gett: Trial of Viviane Amsalen 

    Aug. 15

    If I Stay 

    Aug. 16

    Misery Loves Comedy 

    Aug. 20

    The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lava Girl 

    Aug. 22

    Timbuktu

    Aug. 23

    Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter 

    Aug. 28

    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 

    Amazon Instant

    Aug. 1

    The Descendants 

    Aug. 3

    The Killing: Season 4

    Strike Back: Season 3

    The Knick: Season 1

    Aug. 4

    Teen Titans Go!: Season 3

    A La Mala

    Alpha & Omega: Family Vacation

    Little Boy 

    The Casual Vacancy

    Aug. 7

    Dark Places 

    The Runner

    The Amazing World of Gumball: Season 7

    Aug. 10

    Episodes: Season 4

    Aug. 11

    Where Hopes Grows

    Lalaloopsy: Band Together 

    The Hunting Ground

    Mad Max: Fury Road

    Lego DC Super Heroes: Justice League: Attack of the Legion of Doom!

    Poltergeist Activity

    72 Hours

    Aug. 14

    Documentary Now!

    Fort Tilden 

    Cop Car

    People, Places, Things

    Aug. 17

    Homeland: Season 4

    Aug. 18

    Vendetta

    Skin Trade

    Kantemir

    The Love Letter

    Aug. 19

    Hack My Life: Season 2

    Aug. 20

    Six Degrees of Everything: Season 1

    Aug. 25

    The Age of Adaline 

    Iris

    Queen & Country

    Aug. 26 

    Public Morals: Season 1

    Aug. 28

    Zipper

    Aug. 31

    House of Cards: Season 3

    Screengrab via Hulu/YouTube 


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    On his second episode of The Nightly Show back in January, Larry Wilmore showed that he wasn't screwing around by going after Bill Cosby for the nearly three dozen rape accusations against him. Wilmore even said that “that fucker did it” as far as the court of public opinion was concerned.

    Six months to the day after that episode aired (and in light of newly released depositions from a 2005 court case), Wilmore wasn't backing down.

    He and his audience grew disgusted with each new revelation in the deposition, to the point where everyone needed a puppy break. But then Wilmore discussed two separate instances in which Cosby referenced his alleged rapes in his earlier work: A 1969 comedy routine about the “Spanish fly” and a Cosby Show episode where Cosby said that whoever had his barbecue sauce would become "huggy-buggy." Later, his daughter on the show was shown to hardly be able to keep her eyes open. Both incidents were disturbing to watch with the benefit of hindsight.

    "This is how horrible of a human being that motherfucker is. This is why I call him a motherfucker all the time, OK?" Wilmore said. "He believes that drugging and raping women deserves to be laughed at. He put it in a comedy act and he put it on his TV show. He finds what he did to be funny. Five words: you can go fuck yourself."

    Screengrab via The Nightly Show


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    Director Judd Apatow, already one of Bill Cosby’s harshest critics, took his crusade against the disgraced comedian to the place it would hurt the most: the stage.

    Prior to talking to Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show, Apatow spent a few minutes performing a stand-up routine. He made fun of himself and his family, a comedian’s usual targets, but then he set his sights on knocking Cosby down a notch.

    Cosby is facing more than three dozen allegations of sexual assault and rape, and with Apatow saying he knows a victim who won’t come forward, there's clearly a lot more about which the public doesn't know. Given that, Apatow wondered aloud what Cosby’s standup set now included—because it could get very awkward if he started making jokes about getting in trouble with his wife Camille.

    Apatow brought it to another level when he imagined a conversation between Cosby and his wife about the rape allegations.

    Screengrab via The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon/YouTube


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    When Beyoncé asked, “who run the world,” the clear answer is 14-year-old Larsen Thompson and 11-year-old Taylor Hatala. These two dance superstars are wowing YouTube yet again with their performance to the Bey hit.

    You may recognize Hatala and Thompson from their viral dance hit to Big Sean’s “I Don't F*ck With You,” (the edited version, naturally), where they showed off their “fraternal twin” vibe, as they call it. They’re not related, but they look so hauntingly similar that their dance can’t help but catch your eye. In their “Run the World” performance, the pair performs in an office building, stepping over the cubicle jockeys to assert their world-running dominance.

    An artist clearly needs to put this duo in an official video like Maddie Ziegler, who’s become a Sia fixture. Hatala and Thompson’s talents deserve more mainstream recognition.

    H/T Cambio | Screengrab via Taylor Hatala/YouTube


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    After going two years without an official host, MTV’s Video Music Awards have tapped controversial star Miley Cyrus to steer the entire evening.

    Cyrus, who was allegedly banned from performing after her 2013 VMA appearance twerking with Robin Thicke, laughed about the paradox of not being allowed to sing but still being allowed to host on her Instagram.

    Cyrus has been wowing fans with her Happy Hippie Sessions online, so perhaps she’ll get around the no-performance rule and find a way to incorporate that into her evening.

    The VMAs air Aug. 30 on MTV. The complete list of nominees is below, and fans can cast their votes in select categories on vma.mtv.com.

    Video of the Year

    Beyoncé – “7/11”

    Ed Sheeran – “Thinking Out Loud”

    Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood”

    Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – “Uptown Funk”

    Kendrick Lamar – “Alright”

    Best Male Video

    Ed Sheeran – “Thinking Out Loud”

    Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – “Uptown Funk”

    Kendrick Lamar – “Alright”

    The Weeknd – “Earned It”

    Nick Jonas – “Chains”

    Best Female Video

    Beyoncé – “7/11”

    Taylor Swift – “Blank Space”

    Nicki Minaj – “Anaconda”

    Sia – “Elastic Heart”

    Ellie Goulding – “Love Me Like You Do”

    Best Hip-Hop Video

    Fetty Wap – “Trap Queen”

    Nicki Minaj – “Anaconda”

    Kendrick Lamar – “Alright”

    Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth – “See You Again”

    Big Sean ft. E-40 – “IDFWU”

    Best Pop Video

    Beyoncé – “7/11”

    Ed Sheeran – “Thinking Out Loud”

    Taylor Swift – “Blank Space”

    Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – “Uptown Funk”

    Maroon 5 – “Sugar”

    Best Rock Video

    Hozier – “Take Me to Church”

    Fall Out Boy – “Uma Thurman”

    Florence + the Machine – “Ship to Wreck”

    Walk the Moon – “Shut Up and Dance”

    Arctic Monkeys – “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?”

    Artist to Watch

    Fetty Wap – “Trap Queen”

    Vance Joy – “Riptide”

    George Ezra – “Budapest”

    James Bay – “Hold Back The River”

    FKA Twigs – “Pendulum”

    Best Collaboration

    Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood”

    Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – “Uptown Funk”

    Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth – “See You Again”

    Ariana Grande & The Weeknd – “Love Me Harder”

    Jessie J, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj – “Bang Bang”

    Video With a Social Message

    Jennifer Hudson – “I Still Love You”

    Colbie Caillat – “Try”

    Big Sean ft. Kanye West and John Legend – “One Man Can Change the World”

    Rihanna – “American Oxygen”

    Wale – “The White Shoes”

    Professional Categories

    Best Art Direction

    Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood” (Charles Infante)

    Snoop Dogg – “So Many Pros” (Jason Fijal)

    Jack White – “Would You Fight For My Love” (Jeff Peterson)

    The Chemical Brothers – “Go” (Michel Gondry)

    Skrillex & Diplo – “Where Are U Now” with Justin Bieber (Brewer)

    Best Choreography

    Beyoncé – “7/11” (Beyoncé, Chris Grant, Additional choreography: Gabriel Valenciano)

    OK Go – “I Won’t Let You Down” (OK Go, air:man and Mori Harano)

    Chet Faker – “Gold” (Ryan Heffington)

    Ed Sheeran – “Don’t” (Nappy Tabs)

    Flying Lotus ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Never Catch Me” (Keone and Mari Madrid)

    Best Cinematography

    Flying Lotus ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Never Catch Me” (Larkin Sieple)

    Ed Sheeran – “Thinking Out Loud” (Daniel Pearl)

    Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood” (Christopher Probst)

    FKA Twigs – “Two Weeks” (Justin Brown)

    Alt-J – “Left Hand Free” (Mike Simpson)

    Best Direction

    Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood” (Joseph Kahn)

    Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – “Uptown Funk” (Bruno Mars and Cameron Duddy)

    Kendrick Lamar – “Alright” (Colin Tilley & The Little Homies)

    Hozier – “Take Me To Church” (Brendan Canty, Conal Thomson)

    Childish Gambino – “Sober” (Hiro Murai)

    Best Editing

    Beyoncé – “7/11” (Beyoncé, Ed Burke, Jonathan Wing)

    Ed Sheeran – “Don’t” (Jacquelyn London)

    Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood” (Chancler Haynes at Cosmo Street)

    A$AP Rocky – “L$D” (Dexter Navy)

    Skrillex & Diplo – “Where Are U Now” with Justin Bieber (Brewer)

    Best Visual Effects

    Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood” (Ingenuity Studios)

    FKA Twigs – “Two Weeks” (Gloria FX, Tomash Kuzmytskyi, and Max Chyzhevskyy)

    Childish Gambino – “Telegraph Ave.” (Gloria FX)

    Skrillex & Diplo – “Where Are U Now” with Justin Bieber (Brewer)

    Tyler, The Creator – “F****** Young/Death Camp” (Gloria FX)

    H/T Variety | Illustration by Jason Reed | Remix by Fernando Alfonso III


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    Pixar fans got their first teaser of the company's next film The Good Dinosaur when they watched Inside Out. On Tuesday, Pixar released the first full-length look at the film, which finds the animation powerhouse traveling well-trodden but still-adorable paths. The Good Dinosaur is a story about a friendship between an apatosaurus and a cave-dwelling boy in a world where a mass extinction event never happened. 

    You might think this sounds like How to Train Your Dino, but it's more like How to Train Your Caveboy. The trailer's best moment is actually a straight riff of HTTYD in which the caveboy leaps, snarling, in front of—well, we won't spoil it for you. Just watch the trailer.

    But first, a warning for those of you who don't like anthemic indie choruses chanting over your scenes of childlike wonder: This trailer is straight out of the Where the Wild Things Are playbook in that regard, so we hope you like the band Of Monsters.

    Now that we've all been sufficiently imbued with joy and awe at the beauty of the universe and the lasting power of friendship, we can talk about how the trailer tells us nothing about the plot. It really seems more like The Fox and the Hound without the creepy racialized overtones—and hopefully without the same levels of innocence-shattering tragedy.

    Pixar wouldn't do that to us, right?

    Right?

    Screengrab via Disney•Pixar/YouTube


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    With attendance expected to top 20,000 for a three-day program of events ranging from fan-creator meet and greets to fireside chats with power executives, VidCon 2015 can seem overwhelming. To help you make sense of the chaos, Video Ink’s staff has poured over the VidCon agenda to single out the events that will define the next year for creators, viewers and industry professionals alike.

    Here Is VI’s VidCon Must-Hit List:

    Thursday, July 23rd

    Fireside Chat with Guillaume de Posch, co-CEO RTL Group, led by Jocelyn Johnson

    9:35 am – 9:55 am – The Ballroom

    The RTL Group spent the better part of the last year betting big on the online video space. With a controlling stake in Freemantle Media and beauty of lifestyle focused network StyleHaul as well as a significant investment in BroadbandTV, RTL is positioned to both anticipate and shape the future of the online video ecosystem. Find out how CEO Guillaume de Posch sees that future in a fireside chat hosted by VideoInk founder Jocelyn Johnson.

    Fireside Chat with Ze Frank, president of BuzzFeed Motion Pictures, and Katie Couric, global news anchor, Yahoo

    10:15 am – 10:35 am – The Ballroom

    Ze Frank, sometimes credited as the inventor of the modern vlog format, will expand on his plans for Buzzfeed Motion Pictures and share how the fast growing media brand  aims to conquer the world of online video.

    Katie Couric is the famous face of Yahoo’s big push into online video news. Expect the anchor to share her insights into the changing media landscape, the convergence of new and legacy media, and the ways that Yahoo plans to disrupt the video news paradigm.

    Fireside Chat with Baljeet Singh, product director and head of media, TV & video at Twitter, and Tim Peterson, digital media reporter for Ad Age

    10:45 am – 11:05 am – The Ballroom

    While Facebook has surged ahead in video, Twitter has been quietly experimenting with how to both deliver content and traffic to video from content partners. Over the last year, the micro-blogging platform has dabbled in integrating video into its news feed and expanded the range of video tools available to its advertising partners. In addition to discussing these innovations, Singh may reveal plans for the future of Twitter-owned video platforms Vine, which has proven its ability to generate revenue for content creators, and the recently-launched Periscope, which is making waves in piracy circles.

    Fireside Chat with Jim Lanzone, president and CEO of CBS Interactive, and Jim Louderback, VidCon

    11:05 am – 11:25 am

    Last year, CBS became the first of the big three major broadcast networks to jump on the streaming bandwagon with its own streaming VOD service, CBS All Access. This spring, CBS’s digital arm, CBS Interactive launched Studio 61, focusing on custom branded content for marketers hoping to target an online video audience. Find out how CBS is embracing the opportunities presented by streaming video, both in terms of content and commercial gain.

    Read the full article at the Video Ink.

    Illustration by Max Fleishman


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    Every day, dozens of free rap releases hit the Web. These are the moment's most interesting and resonant. This week, breakout beats from flavorful new artists.

    1) Kap G - Real Migo Shit 3

    Following a scene-stealing cameo in the coming-of-age film Dope, Kap G dropped his newest mixtape since 2014’s Like a Mexican. Kap is a Mexican-American who was born and raised in Atlanta. He’s signed to Atlantic Records and has had a few popular singles featuring Young Jeezy and Chief Keef, but his best work is “Fuck La Policia,” a slightly Spanglish appeal toward humanity and against law enforcement, from the perspective of someone whose family members are here illegally. Real Migo Shit 3 picks right up after that left off, with a “Fuck La Policia” remix featuring Southern legends David Banner and T.I.

    Only Banner really brings it on the remix, but Kap added a new verse of his own, even more politically charged than before. It makes sense, though, when you consider Michael Brown and Eric Garner–both of whom are mentioned in the song–were both murdered by police since the original came out. Nothing else gets as explicit, but the same themes are ever-present throughout Kap’s music.

    I don’t hear anything as immediate as “Fuck La Policia,” but each song is fully realized—with Kap getting better and better with melodies and hooks. The production only helps, like on “Andelay,” by Chicago beatmaker Young Chop, which is built around a strumming acoustic guitar and perfectly sets the stage for the pseudo-narcocorrido track. There’s also “If I Want,” which uses Juvenile’s “Slow Motion” and “All Eyes on Me Freestyle,” which is more self-explanatory. Kap murders both tracks. Underneath Atlanta’s most prolifically creative acts like Future and Young Thug, Kap G might be one of the most essential ATLiens.

    Remarkable reference: “Came from picking bottles to popping bottles/I got the big head like I’m Hey Arnold”

    2) Icewear Vezzo - I Can’t Fall Off

    There’s a lightweight rich street rap scene in Detroit. Groups like Doughboyz Cashout and Stunthard Hotboyz are heavily influenced by late-’90s New Orleans rap, and that has created a sort of post-post-regional sound that’s not rooted in the city but sits in its unequivocal backdrop. The city takes influences from anywhere, like the minimal plinking of West Coast rap, and ends up with something all its own.

    Icewear Vezzo first came to prominence in Detroit with the song “Money Phone,” a plodding drug dealer anthem. His most-recent mixtape I Can’t Fall Off shows that as his music has become more polished, his purview has stayed the same. The tape is entirely too long, but it still has its rewarding moments. “Ball On My Own” is an '80s pop song covered in bells and whistles. “My Time” is as close as Vezzo gets to a straightforward narrative and also contains some of the best rapping on the tape. “Codeine Dick” is exactly what is says. For all the tape’s vast creativity, it could’ve gone the same distance with half the tracks.

    Remarkable reference:“Bleu cheese all in my pocket I’m on that healthy shit/Bet that chopper catch everything just like a selfie stick” 

    3) Verse Simmonds - Fuck Your Feelings 3

    Some singers are just songwriters with a nice voice. Verse Simmonds has written a few songs for Chris Brown in recent years, as well as the Justin Bieber single “Confident,” but has yet to gain traction as a solo artist despite his best efforts. The Puerto Rican native’s biggest–and pretty much only–successful song was “Boo Thing” with Kelly Rowland, which is owed almost entirely to the featured player. That collaboration makes up Simmonds' five most-viewed YouTube videos, each uploaded by a different account. That said, he does have a nice voice, this is his third mixtape that jacks beats from popular rap songs, and there’s a couple of original songs that could hint at a more serious solo career.

    The first two tracks on Fuck Your Feelings 3 are not retreads, featuring the enigmatic Chicago singer Jeremih and the off-the-wall energy of the Atlanta group Migos. They’re not out of place with the fake freestyles over radio flips, but the biggest problem Simmonds has is even on his own mixtape, he sounds like an accessory. For some reason he keeps some of the original song he’s singing over intact and buries himself somewhere in the second verse. The only song Simmonds really takes over himself is “Ass Everywhere,” which also appeared on Gucci Mane’s Trapology tape. Maybe at some point he’ll be able to hold a track all on his own.

    Remarkable reference:“Feeling on your oh nana/Got you saying go papa/Drop me like a soap opera/Give it to you so proper” 

    4) Young Scooter - Juggathon

    Young Scooter might be the only rapper left in his lane. Despite appearances there isn’t much unfiltered gangster rap coming out of Atlanta. It’s either turn-up music or a shift to left field, and a lot of the rappers on Scooter’s early mixtapes have moved on. He’s still great at what he does best, though–creating tableaus with just a few clever, simple turns of phrase. Longtime collaborator Future aids two songs with hooks and there’s a toothless radio grab with Cali rappers E-40 and Kid Ink. A couple highlights are “Irrelevant,” where Scooter deems everything he mentions as such, and “Melrose,” which describes an L.A. vacation more interestingly than seven seasons of Melrose Place.

    Remarkable reference: “Tennis racks I got a bitch named Serena/Put her with me I tell her smash her sister Venus”

    5) Hyfe Santana - When the Smoke Clears

    Bay Area rap has its own entire ecosystem. Rappers can go gold out of their trunk in the East Bay and never get recognized in downtown Los Angeles. This is why local legends like E-40 and Mac Dre are either roundly ridiculed or completely ignored nationally. Within this environment, there are loads of underground rappers filling the Bay with all the sounds of slap.

    When the Smoke Clears is the second mixtape from Richmond, California, rapper Hyfe Santana that I can find on the Internet. It’s full of West Coast milieu, from hyphy minimalism to mob music atmospheres. It always surprises me how much better generic Bay Area rappers’ beats and flows are than any other region. “Hit My Line” is one of my favorite songs featured in this column in a minute. There are guest verses from Bay mainstays Beeda Weeda and Young Gully, as well as lesser knowns Coupe Cujo, 3D the BankMan, and the 7up Gang, of which Santana is a member. All 12 songs slap, which is as ambitious as rappers should get on mixtapes.

    Remarkable reference:“You can’t hit the weed ‘cause I ain’t with the cool shit/No I ain’t your partner that you used to go to school with/But I’m the same n***a that your sister used to fool with”

    Screengrab via WORLDSTARHIPHOP/YouTube


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    The nominations for the MTV Video Awards were announced Tuesday, and after receiving only a handful of chances to win, Nicki Minaj took to Twitter and declared her dismay—though she probably didn't expect Taylor Swift to fire back at her so intently.

    While "Anaconda" was nominated for the best hip-hop video and the best female video, it was not nominated for video of the year, which will be won either by Swift, Beyoncé, Ed Sheeran, Mark Ronson, or Kendrick Lamar.

    The fact she was left out did not make Minaj happy.

    Swift apparently felt that Minaj's tweets were directed at her and confronted Minaj about it.

    OK, let Minaj respond to that, because apparently, she took Swift's tweet personally:

    Minaj also retweeted this one.

    Does any of this stuff really matter? Most of us would agree that, in regards to award-show trophies, the answer is no. 

    It's probably all just a misunderstanding that, even though Minaj was making a valid point, Swift thought she was being singled out by somebody she perhaps considers a friend. And now, it's all playing out across our timelines.

    Luckily, Vox.com breaks down the relevance of this bickering: "The Swift kerfuffle distracts from Minaj's larger point, which is that the artistic achievements of black people — particularly black women — are frequently co-opted and commodified by white culture, which is then celebrated for being edgy or groundbreaking. When you view Minaj's tweets in this context, it seems much more likely that she simply wasn't even thinking about Swift when she wrote her tweets ... This is not to say that Swift is wrong, per se — indeed, both her point and Minaj's are hugely valid. But Swift's point utterly misses the larger discussion Minaj was trying to kick off."

    But what's really important is that I have two questions that, thus far, have gone unanswered.

    1) Why didn't Swift take this perfect opportunity to do her Kanye West impression, since their infamous interaction actually happened at the VMAs?

    In my opinion, it's a missed opportunity for Swift to pull out what would have been perhaps the greatest tweet in history.

    2) People still make music videos? And why are there are still award shows that celebrate said videos on a network that never plays them?

    Either way, Swift has an easy solution to this whole mess. She and Minaj can reunite on the VMA stage to celebrate a Swift victory.

    Photo via Republic Records/YouTube


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    The newMuppets show, a reality-style documentary series following all your favorite Muppets characters behind the scenes, already looks ridiculously awesome, 

    This 10-minute video was shown at San Diego Comic-Con, a quasi pilot episode filmed to persuade the network that an adult Muppets mockumentary could work—and it totally does. It has everything you could want from the Muppets—drama between Kermit and Miss Piggy; callbacks to previous movies; and moments of real emotion depicted by silly puppet characters. It also gently makes fun of a few reality TV cliches without being too heavy-handed.

    The new series begins in September and is framed as a behind-the-scenes documentary about a late-night talk show hosted by Miss Piggy. This show-within-a-show concept will delve into the Muppets' personal lives when they're not starring in movies—including, as we've already seen in this video, the perils of interspecies dating.

    Screengrab via ABC Television Network/YouTube


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    More than 36 million Ashley Madison users are at risk after hackers threatened to expose them, but Jimmy Kimmel is thinking of the real victims of that potential data release.

    When the hack produces the inevitable divorces, it'll be hardest on younger kids, because many of them might not understand what’s going on. Kimmel decided to give them a head start by asking them if they knew what the word adultery meant.

    Their definitions of adultery are a lot better than the real thing, but even when the interviewer asks them to define cheating, their answers are still mostly filled with childhood innocence. Never change, kids.

    Screengrab via Jimmy Kimmel Live/YouTube


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    Imagine the Minions, but with less personality. That's what the phrase "emoji movie" brings to mind, anyway.

    Sony has just won a multi-studio bidding war to make a movie about emoji, the little pictographs used in tweets and texts. In the annals of vacuous Hollywood film concepts, this is right up there with the Play-Doh movie.

    Sony Animation Pictures signed a deal nearing seven figures for a movie concept pitched by writer-producers Eric Siegel (Men At Work) and Anthony Leondis (Igor, Lilo & Stitch 2). As Deadline points out, this doesn't rule out another emoji movie at another studio, as the idea of an emoji story is not copyrighted in the same way as a branded product like Lego or Minecraft.

    While it's nice to imagine some talented filmmaker using emoji as the starting point for a genuinely interesting and original movie, the most likely outcome is a mediocre animated feature that relies on the existing popularity of emoji. But hey, we'd be happy to be proven wrong.

    Photo via fill/Pixabay (PD)


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    At a casual glance, Atlanta’s Woodruff Arts Center looks like an amateur furry convention, with people dressed as dragons and owls and raccoons milling around. Look closer, though, and you notice people in pajama sets, nightshirts. Closer still, and the glittering signs reveal the real cause of this crowd: Tyler Oakley, YouTube’s golden boy, is in town, and he’s hosting a slumber party.

    The 26-year-old has spent the last year criss-crossing the globe as part of his Slumber Party Tour, his first solo jaunt to meet his 7 million fans beyond the computer screen. In between it all, he’s worked on a book, attended the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, made videos with the likes of Michelle Obama and Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and won both a Streamy and a Teen Choice Award.  

    He’s a bona fide tween idol, so it’s only natural that I’m witnessing his tour from my tween and teen home base of Atlanta—with my mother in tow. She’s just as clueless as the other parents dragged along, although she and I have the benefit of being able to share a glass of wine legally before the event kicks off. When I was the age of most Oakley fans, my obsessions ran toward Broadway shows, and, content with my message boards and just old enough to go unchaperoned with my friends, I didn’t ask my mom to take me to any growing up. I grew into liking *NSYNC in my 20s, way past their prime, so experiencing a renaissance of my teenage potential fan-self is fun, especially when there are so many infectious Oakley fangirls around. My mom and I are both wearing onesies to fit in, and even Oakley is not exempt from the dress code. He dons a skeleton onesie for his VIP meet-and-greet pre-show, and then enters the stage to deafening screams in a rainbow-colored leopard number. “My gayest onesie ever,” he laughs.

    Oakley has mastered the art of the YouTuber on tour. Where other shows can feel one-sided, with the crowd playing the part of the screaming mass while the star poses for a few selfies from the stage, answers two pointless questions, then heads off to a meet-and-greet line, Oakley spends a full two hours on stage actually interacting with his audience. It’s a mix of storytelling, games, and general banter, but through it all Oakley’s show maintains the feeling of an actual slumber party. He looks at you, at the individuals dotting the room, not just out to the general audience. Sure, fans are in the seats and Oakley’s on the stage, but it’s the most true translation from watching an Oakley video to an actual physical experience. This skill is possibly unique to Oakley, one of YouTube’s breakout stars who’s poised to bridge the divide fully between mainstream and Web.

    “This year is when people are really starting to get digital talent, and not question it as something amateur or young or unprofessional,” Oakley told the Daily Dot backstage minutes before starting the event. “It’s something that I think is the next big thing, and I’m really lucky and fortunate to be a part of it. This year has been the year of realizing crazy dreams and seeing them come to fruition. It’s been the most bizarre year of my life.”

    Through that defining year, as his numbers and influence continue to jump, he’s noticed how his fanbase has changed as they age—and how he’s changed right along with them.

    “High school is a very different atmosphere from college or when you graduate and go off to the workforce,” he said. “What I’ve found is not only do [fans] stick around, but new people join in as they discover you. I just want to continue to be myself and show my growth, because obviously I’m going to change over the years. I’m not going to hide me growing up; I think that’s a good part to show.”

    And Oakley doesn’t shy away from showing much of anything. The special sauce that makes Web stars and their content sparkle is connection. While a traditional celeb might respond to a Facebook post during a pre-ordained time or favorite a fan tweet occasionally, digital stars thrive by removing much of the divide between celebrity and fan. Oakley is so connected with his fanbase that he said he recognized almost all 150 people who came through his pre-show VIP meet-and-greet line. Some people have been tweeting at him, he explained, so he recognizes them from their avatars, while others who aren’t making the show have been telling him which of their friends to look out for during the photo session. Oakley’s appeal is as much about him as it is about fans connecting with other, likeminded fans. While Oakley poses with the VIP set, out in the lobby a local fan is excited after meeting her Canadian friend for the first time.

    “I met this friend from Canada because of Tyler, and I asked my mom if I could meet her, since she planned to come down here for this, and also to meet me,” said 14-year-old fan Emily Hall. “My mom said yes to it right away because she knows how much I love him.”

    Emily’s mom, Kristie, one of the many parents dotting the landscape as chaperones, said she thought the whole affair was “cute,” and that she was happy to take her daughter an hour away from home to see Oakley and meet her Canadian friend, even if her understanding of Oakley’s brand was vague. “I know that my daughter watches him all the time. He’s cute and gay and funny.”

    That’s a well-trained parent who knows the value of #content.

    The tour is the PG version of himself, Oakley said. It’s also parent-appropriate, since he knows the crowd is filled with his younger fans in the company of adult supervision, which they may lack online. In fact, he plays to that throughout the night, inviting parent-child pairs up on stage for a Newlyweds-style challenge that wonders just how much moms and dads know about their kids’ Internet consumption and Tyler Oakley addiction. In Atlanta, Oakley’s own mother is the surprise guest, and they participate in the game against two other duos. (The Oakleys lost, but it was a close race.) Of course, everyone gets a crown and a selfie with the star, with one diligent dad videotaping the entire exchange, even while he’s getting his picture taken. That’s a well-trained parent who knows the value of #content.

    Oakley’s enlisted his YouTuber friends like Troye Sivan and Zoe Sugg to make videos for throughout the evening that move the narrative along (and give Oakley a chance to sit and sip water). They prompt him to play games; craft a Mad Libs fanfiction story that, in this iteration, pits Mamrie Hart and Franklin the Turtle against each other; and give him room to jokingly promote frequently touted brand sponsorships on his channel. When he asks the crowd for suggestions of brands he promotes on his YouTube, their immediate response of “Audible” and “Nature Box” are about as good a survey of how well YouTubers are working as an advertising machine as any. Every time Oakley answers a tweeted question from the crowd, he asks the actual person to stand up, chats with them, usually compliments their look, and gives long and detailed responses. He even knows when someone who’s tweeted a question isn’t in the room and has hijacked the hashtag by his or her username. Of course he still answers dutifully.

    One question that Oakley elaborates on is about his book, Binge, which comes out in October. He’s one in a long line of YouTubers turned authors this year, and Oakley says he’s taken special care to ensure that he’s putting out the best product possible.

    “The book is full-color pictures—not like an insert, pictures throughout the book,” he explains. “It’s super high-quality paper. I just wanted it to be worth the money. I’m not putting out something that’s crap. I’m really fortunate that I’ve been able to do videos, which is short-form and concise, and I’ve done podcasts, which lets me talk things through and also have somebody to bounce off of, but this has been a whole new experience.”

    Oakley may have made his mark as a digital celeb, but he’s hoping on the page he doesn’t simply tell a story of a YouTuber’s rise to fame. It’s the No. 1 question Oakley says he gets from traditional media, but he knows his fans already know that story. Instead he hopes to convey stories from his life beyond the camera.

    “[There will be] maybe some glimmers of what a YouTuber will do in their life, but it’s so much more than that,” he explained. “I think there are some parts that are gems for YouTube fanatics, especially behind-the-scenes gossip.”

    One story he promises to tell is a story he’s never told online, despite being a large part of his draw for young fans: his coming-out story. While otherYouTubers have made heartfelt, emotional videos on their channels coming out as LGBTQ+, Oakley has been living out on the platform since he started, and he never circled back to tell the tale on video.

    “I’ve never made a video about my coming-out story; I’ve never talked about anything gay,” he said before the show. “To include that was really important to me, because it’s something a lot of people don’t know about. I’ve talked about it here and there, but it goes in deep about it.”

    Oakley spent the past year writing locked in hotel rooms or in fellow YouTuber Mamrie Hart’s office, where she was working on her own debut book. The space was perfect because Hart had banned one key thing from it: Internet.

    “We’d have the door open, a couple of beers, and just write,” he said. “We’d bounce off each other when I needed someone to figure out a word. Reading her book was like being with her; it was incredible, and that inspired me so much. Like, holy shit, she brought it. Surrounding myself with people I really respected, not just creators but writers, meant a lot to me.”

    Back on tour, though, the most reading that happens on any given night are tweets on the screen and the closed-captioning on the video segments. Mostly Oakley sticks to reading his fellow digital celebs, teasing them with a Most Likely segment that plays off the idea of yearbook superlatives. A bit of insider baseball for the fans who love and follow the intermingling of their favorite stars, this is about the point where the parents and the generally uninitiated in the audience tune out, including my mom.

    Otherwise, though, she was a trooper through the whole experience, even jumping from her seat to try and catch Oakley’s eye during interactive moments. We snap a bunch of selfies, both with each other and with Tyler when he encourages the crowd to turn around and do so. We jump up and down to be caught in less than a second of his Vine for the night. Embracing my fandom right next to my mom feels liberating, and watching the rest of the crowd do the same makes me feel even warmer. At the center of it all is Oakley, a young adult with multiple generations both at his own command and connecting with each other in a safe and welcoming environment.

    Oakley wraps up the night with purpose, explaining to the fans assembled that the greatest work he’s gotten to do as a result of his celebrity is charity, and speaks about the Trevor Project, an LGBTQ+ suicide prevention organization. Oakley started as an intern with the Trevor Project, and for three years running, he has made it his birthday project to raise funds in lieu of gifts from his fans. Collectively, his fans (his “people,” as he calls them) have raised more than $1 million for the organization, the largest single group gift, and Oakley now sits on the board of directors. Oakley is clearly thankful, and he’s in awe of the people who surround him—not just as fans, but as creators in the own right. He talks to them about making their own work, not just following his, since he can see how creative and talented all of his 7 million subscribers can be. Before he leaves the stage, he’s got a message for them:

    “I’d love to be your first subscriber.”

    Photo by Ben Chandler


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    Twitter is the best app money can buy, and it’s free. After Nicki Minaj spent her Tuesday on the platform calling out structural racism in the music industry, her boyfriend decided to take shots at her ex.

    That’s how Meek Mill’s messy Twitter diatribe started, at least. The Philadelphia rapper, who released his second album Dreams Worth More Than Money last month, called Minaj’s ex-fiance Safaree Samuels "gay":

    This was odd enough, but after a few haphazard tweets about his album sales, he dropped the bomb:

    In rap, authenticity is incredibly important. Calling someone’s raps ghostwritten is both a serious accusation and somewhat common according to many album liner notes. There is a line between crediting people in the studio who might suggest an idea and paying someone to write whole verses however, and Meek was accusing Drake of the latter.

    Meek finally elaborated on Drake, saying Drake didn’t write the verse on his album, confirmed by having heard the verse rapped by an unnamed “youngbull” before the song had come out.

    The rising beef was undercut by rumors that Meek Mill and Nicki Minaj had broken up. Neither camp has confirmed them, but Meek Mill did pull photos of Nicki Minaj from his Instagram account.

    At this point the entire rap Internet was set aflame and nobody could believe that Meek Mill was really dragging the most popular rapper in the game through the mud. That absolutely included celebrities.

    As many people wondered if Meek had been hacked, he posted this photo on Instagram:

    At some point, Rick Ross tweeted and deleted a tweet containing "Drake>>>>>>Meek" and nothing else.

    Meek responded:

    More than a few rappers tried to get some press off this tizzy the rap Internet got itself into, including SpaceGhostPurrp and the perpetually thirsty OG Maco. Maco posted screenshots of Drake’s song credits, including the name Quentin Miller:

    Miller is from Atlanta and makes up half of the pretty trash rap duo WDNG Crshrs, and has apparently been alleged as Drake’s ghostwriter before. Meek even ended up tweeting Miller’s name, and he is sure to be more famous today than he was yesterday.

    After circling back to making fun of Samuels, Meek was asked to provide receipts for his Drake accusations, to which Meek responded, “I’m not saying nothing else!”

    Meek’s refusal to give proof of Drake not writing his own rhymes extinguished some of the flame emojis from his earlier tweets, especially since it’s unclear how many people really care. Those are all still Drake’s hit songs regardless of who wrote them. But it was too late—the night became an avalanche of memes. By morning #MeekBeLike became a national trending topic, complete with its obligatory parody account.

    Now all there is to do is turn on notifications for Drake’s tweets.

    Screengrab via Jimmy Kimmel Live/YouTube


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    Be a judge, slap your friend, and show off your superpowers? Thanks to NBC Entertainment Digital, VidCon attendees will get the chance to do all of that this week, when three of its digitally active shows head down to the annual digital video convention.

    The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon returns to VidCon this year with an all-new experience for fans. Last year attendees got to try their hand at lip-syncing, and this year they can slap their friends. It’s all fun and games, in Slapjack: After a hand of blackjack, the winner slaps the other player with an oversized foam hand, and they’ll get a GIF of their moment to share on social media. 

    The Voice makes its first appearance at the convention, bringing along the iconic judges’ chairs and offering fans a chance to snap a photo poised in the red thrones, complete with their own dramatic button-push.

    Finally, upcoming show Heroes Reborn brings one-of-a-kind “motion poster booth” that allows users to take a photo and immediately be GIFed into a superpower pose. The results are impressive.

    NBC Entertainment Digital has won Emmy Awards for its work across digital platforms and for Web-exclusive content. Fallon’s show is one of YouTube's most subscribed-to talk shows on the platform, and clips from The Voice performers frequently go viral on the site. All the activations will be available to convention attendees from 8am to 6pm July 23-25 at the Anaheim Convention Center.

    Screengrab via The Voice/YouTube


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    Bill Simmons, who became one of this country's most powerful sports writers and Web presences at ESPN.com and Grantland, has left behind the digital world—at least temporarily—and HBO announced Wednesday that he's now headed to premium cable to host his own talk show.

    In HBO's press release, the pay TV company said it had signed Simmons to a "major new multi-year, multi-platform exclusive agreement" in which he'll star in a new weekly series that will "feature stories and guests from across the sports and cultural landscape" and that will be shown on the TV service along with its digital platforms.

    Simmons will appear exclusively on HBO, but he's also agreed to a production deal to produce video podcasts and other features. He'll also consult with HBO Sports on the development of new shows and documentary films, but it doesn't appear as if HBO will give him the same kind of Web platform that he had at Grantland.

    “We have been fans of Bill Simmons and his work for a very long time” said Michael Lombardo, the president of HBO programming. “His intelligence, talent, and insights are without precedent in the areas he covers. We could not be more thrilled for him to bring those talents to HBO and to become a signature voice at the network, spanning the sports and pop culture landscapes.”

    Simmons became the Pied Paper of a new generation of fan boys across the world when he rose from the ranks of his own BostonSportsGuy.com website and caught on—and caught fire—at ESPN.com in 2001. He went on to create a well-regarded sports/pop culture vertical at Grantland, and that, combined with his co-creation of the ESPN 30 for 30 sports documentary series, made him one of the most powerful sports media figures in the nation.

    But he was suspended multiple times at ESPN—his latest was for calling NFL commissioner Roger Goodell a liar on Simmon's podcast—before the network decided in May not to re-sign him to a new contract, throwing Grantland into disarray and leaving the website's future in doubt.

    And he's not been ESPN's only big loss. Along with Simmons—who was thought to be earning $5 million a year while with the network—Keith Olbermann and talk-radio host Colin Cowherd also won't be back on the network or its website.

    But that's no longer Simmons' concern.

    “It’s no secret that HBO is the single best place for creative people in the entire media landscape,” Simmons said in the press release. “From the moment I started talking to Michael and Richard (Plepler), it was hard to imagine being anywhere else.”

    HBO, though, might not be Simmons' lone employer for long.

    Screengrab via YouTube


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    The Daily Dot is celebrating Woman Crush Wednesday, better known as #WCW onTwitter andInstagram, by highlighting female creators onYouTubewhose work we admire.

    I have long maintained that carrying a book is much more practical than hauling around a phone.

    What if your prom date falls asleep on the bus, and you get stuck in traffic, and all the smartphones stop working? What if Sally’s fiancé gets drunk and lost on the way to the wedding and you have to wait a couple hours for the ceremony to start? What if the subway stops on the way to work and I’m stuck underground for long intervals without reception? Book time, people. That’s why, if you were to rifle through my bag at any point in the past 15 years, you would be bound to find pens, unusual quantities of chapstick (I blame the snowboarding sunburn incident of 2007), and a novel.

    My latest ally in this bookish battle? YouTube’s Ariel Bissett.

    My love of literature has always drawn me to Bissett, whose channel focus is books, books, and more books. Her videos cover a wide spectrum of topics, from hauls (VidCon Book Haul and George Orwell: A Haul), critiques and analysis (Is Fanfiction Literature? and The Hunger Games Hypocrisy), and general bibliophile thoughts (How to Read More and Growing out of YA?!).

    With a head full of knowledge and an enthusiasm that outweighs the thousands of books she owns, Bissett is changing the way people think and engage with literature. The Canada native is currently an Honors English student at the University of Guelph in Ontario and recently took her passion for literature to England, where she studied abroad for six months, capturing every detail of the trip on YouTube. In just under three years, Bissett has gained a loyal following of over 78,000 subscribers and become one of the great influencers behind the growth of the literary-focused vlogging community known as BookTube, which consists of hundreds of creators like RonLit and Bazpierce.

    And if creating videos for her own channel wasn’t enough, Bissett is also the founder of BookTubeAThon, YouTube’s official weeklong readathon. Now entering its third year, BookTubeAThon will take place Aug. 3-9, 2015, and each day, viewers and creators will be given reading challenges ranging across tags, genres, and subject matter. And at the center of the reading madness sits Bissett, who not only participates but also runs all the social media platforms, organizes different hosts on the BookTubeAThon channel, and gives readers her much-beloved pep talks.

    So thanks, Ms. Bissett, for making my bookshelves a little more beautiful and a lot more full. You continue to give all us English majors the warm fuzzies.

    Screengrab via Ariel Bissett/YouTube


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