Chris Rock hosts After a montage of major films from the past year, Chris Rock opened the 88th annual Academy Awards with his monologue. Audiences expected him to address the racial controversy surrounding the show, and he wasted no time, saying, "Man, I counted at least 15 black people on that montage. I’m here at the Academy Awards, otherwise known as the White People’s Choice Awards." He dedicated his time on stage to talk about racism and sexism, taking jabs at the film industry with his sharp-witted comedy. A platform for change With millions of people watching, some Oscar winners chose to use their moments on stage to address societal issues. Adam McKay, who won alongside Charles Randolph for Best Adapted Screenplay, urged US voters to choose candidates who do not support big money, big banks, and the oil industry. Joe Biden introduced Lady Gaga with a speech about sexual assault, and a promotion for itsonus.org. Gaga shared the stage with 50 sexual assault victims during her performance of the Oscar nominated song 'Til it Happens to You.' Leonardo DiCaprio also used the remaining minute of his Best Actor winning speech to talk about climate change, urging viewers to make a change for this generation and those to come. The big winners Over the past 12 years, Leonardo DiCaprio has been nominated 6 times, but it was not until last night that he won his first Oscar. Brie Larson took home the win for Best Actress for her performance in "Room." Alejandro González Iñárritu won Best Director for the second year in a row. "Bridge of Spies," "Mad Max: Fury Road," "The Revenant," "Room," "Brooklyn," "The Martian," and "The Big Short" were among the nominees for Best Picture, but "Spotlight" took home the big win of the evening. via GIPHY The snubs & surprises Though predictions can be made about the Oscar winners, there are bound to be a few surprises. Perhaps the most notable was Sylvester's Stalone loss to Mark Rylance for Best Supporting Actor. Best Original Song went to 'Writing's on the Wall,' despite the many predictions for ''Til it Happens to You.' The Best Picture win also came as a bit of a shock. Though "Spotlight" faced a lot of Oscar buzz, "The Big Short" and "The Revenant" were among the top contenders as well. 10 million & counting #Oscars was the worldwide trending topic on Twitter Sunday evening, clocking in with over 10 million tweets. Viewers gave their own commentary, shared gifs of Leo in anticipation and celebration, and retweeted their favorites. If you missed any of the action, check out some of the highlights below. Chris Rock’s opening monologue: There's no reason to have separate categories for men and women, @chrisrock says. "It's acting!" #Oscars — Chris Geidner (@chrisgeidner) February 29, 2016 Chris Rock is brilliant. That was outrageously well done. And hysterical. And necessary. — Jenna Mourey/Marbles (@Jenna_Marbles) February 29, 2016 The Oscars are today! You know, the awards show where Leonardo DiCaprio is "overdue" but black people can "wait till next year." — Bette Midler (@BetteMidler) February 28, 2016 Lady Gaga performance of ‘’Til it Happens to You’: thank u @ladygaga and VP @JoeBiden for bringing attention to sexual assault at the oscars. it hit very close to my heart for obvious reasons — kesha (@KeshaRose) February 29, 2016 Leo’s big win: Leo takes the best actor prize, uses speech to make plea for action to combat climate change #Oscars — Susan Stumme (@sstummeafp) February 29, 2016 Thank you to the Academy and the incredible cast & crew of #TheRevenant. #Oscars — Leonardo DiCaprio (@LeoDiCaprio) February 29, 2016 Spotlight wins Best Picture: Congratulations to @spotlightmovie. The best movie I saw all year.#itsmy2cents — Larry King (@kingsthings) February 29, 2016 Congrats to @SachaPfeiffer@PostBaron@MikeRezendes@MattAtMIT@WalterVRobinson who showed the world why investigative journalism matters — Spotlight Team (@GlobeSpotlight) February 29, 2016 Click here for a full list winners at the 88th Academy Awards.
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#FreeKesha The hashtag spread on Twitter over the weekend after the results from Kesha’s lawsuit against her producer, Lukasz Gottwald (Dr. Luke), were announced. Kesha filed suit against Dr. Luke in October 2014, accusing him of drugging, raping and verbally abusing her. She also asked to be released from her contract. The request was denied on Friday, and Kesha is now obligated to record her next six albums with him. Fans and celebrities, including Lady Gaga, Demi Lovato and Lorde, flooded Twitter with the hashtag #FreeKesha to show their support. More celebrity support was shown by Taylor Swift who donated $250,000 towards the legal battle. Fans have also made a GoFundMe page. At this point, if a settlement is not made, then the suit will continue in court. Miss New Jersey 2013 dies Cara McCollum, Miss New Jersey 2013, was critically injured in a car accident last Monday after she spun off the highway into trees. McCollum was unable to make a full recovery and died earlier today. Her family announced the tragic loss on Facebook with a heartfelt message, “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years. ... We all will miss her now that she’s gone.” Hunger Week MerServe’s Hunger Week continues with a new event each day to create more awareness about hunger issues right here in Macon. Head on over to the CSC tonight at 6 for their Empty Bowls event where you can purchase a bowl of soup for $3. All proceeds will be donated to Macon's Daybreak center. Other events are set up to benefit the Middle Georgia Food Bank as well as the Backpack Buddies Program. See more details on the MerServe Facebook page to find out how you can get involved. The latest in Primaries Saturday’s results narrowed the presidential nomination field for the Republican Party. Donald Trump won the South Carolina primary with 32.5% of the vote followed by Marco Rubio with 22.5% and Ted Cruz at 22.3%. The South Carolina winner has been favored to win the GOP nomination. Jeb Bush suspended his campaign. Bush's departure prevents the family from being the first father-and-sons trio to serve as President. Meanwhile, in Nevada, Hillary Clinton won the caucus with 52.6% of the votes, leaving Bernie Sanders with 47.4%. Shooting in Kalamazoo County Saturday evening, a gunman shot eight different victims in Kalamazoo County, Michigan. According to CNN, Jason Brian Dalton has been charged with six counts of murder, two counts of assault with intent to commit murder and eight firearms charges. Authorities do not know of any motive for the shooting, viewing it as a random act of violence. Dalton even picked up people as an Uber driver in between the alleged murders. ABC News has reported that Dalton’s bail was denied and his next court appearance is set for March 3.
Justice Scalia dies at 79 Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia passed away in his room at a hunting resort in West Texas on Saturday. According to The Washington Post, Presidio County Judge Cinderela Guevara pronounced Scalia dead. She claimed that he was suffering from chronic conditions and various health problems, and an autopsy was not ordered. Though Scalia’s death came as a shock to the nation, many were quick to question who would replace him on the Supreme Court. President Obama stated he would make a nomination for a replacement, however many Conservative politicians are hoping that the decision will be made by the next president. Macon music at the 5/4 Music Space The 5/4 Management Group, a team of music professionals, has initiated a campaign for a music incubator to help new artists and further the development of the music scene in Macon. This space will support musicians by providing them with a venue and recording space as well as management and distribution support. According to the Group, “the first 11 musical artists to sign with 5/4 Management will hold the first 11 commitments from the New Capricorn Recording Studio, opening in 2017.” You can donate to the project and learn more on the 5/4 Management Indiegogo campaign page. Kanye’s can’t stop tweeting Kanye West has been known to cause a bit of controversy on Twitter, and this past week was no exception. On Tuesday, he posted a tweet saying “BILL COSBY INNOCENT !!!!!!!!!!” which enraged many users. Later in the week, he was back on Twitter again to defend himself against backlash from a lyric about Taylor Swift in his new song 'Famous.' Many listeners criticized Kanye for the lyric, claiming he was being misogynistic, and he denied the claims with a string of tweets. Perhaps he is trying to gain attention for his new album. Maybe it’s just Kanye being Kanye? Let us know your thoughts. The Grammys are back The 58th Grammy Awards air tonight at 8 p.m. on CBS. Taylor Swift will open, and LL Cool J is set to host. Adele, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and The Weeknd are among the acts slated to perform. The question is: who will win Album of the year? Alabama Shakes, Kendrick Lamar, Chris Stapleton, The Weeknd and Taylor Swift are all nominated. You can play along at home by filling out a Grammy ballot of your own. GCPA Awards A few of our very own headed to Athens to represent The Cluster at the Georgia College Press Association (GCPA) awards on Saturday. The Cluster competed against 28 other GCPA student newspapers in a number of different categories. As a whole, The Cluster placed 2nd for Best Campus Community Service News Coverage and 2nd for Best Website. Be sure to check out the award winning stories from a few of our writers, listed below. 1st place for Best Review: “Beauty Behind the Madness” makes the ficklest Weeknd fans proud by Katie Atkinson 2nd place for Best Sports Story: Mercer cricket kicks off inaugural season with high hopes by Nicholas Wooten 3rd place for Best Sports Story: Women’s club soccer bends it like the boys by Justin Dean Baxley 3rd place for Best Features Story: Local Business Owner Sews On Despite Tragedy by Nicholas Wooten
This year, Mercer University’s School of Medicine (MUSM) is celebrating their tenth annual “Women in Medicine” Celebration. Despite the exclusive name, the Women in Medicine Celebration is open to all Mercer faculty, staff, and students. MUSM encourages the Macon community to participate in the event as well. "This is an annual event, and proceeds go towards the Detmer-Harris Endowment Fund, which memorializes two women from MUSM who served as strong role models for MUSM’s women, Dona Harris and Kristina Detmer," Carol Bokros, the assistant director of Pre-Health Professions Programs, said in an email. Throughout the month of February, the Women in Medicine Celebration will host a series of events and encourage all Mercer students, faculty, and staff to participate: Monday, February 1, the undergraduate chapter of the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) will sponsor a bake sale in the Connell Student Center Lobby from 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. Wednesday, February 3, the graduate chapter and committee of the AMWA will sponsor a bake sale in the Medical School Lobby from 8:30 a.m.- 9:30 a.m. and in the Medical School Atrium from 10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Monday, February 8, the Medical School will host a Cajun Cook-Off in the Medical School atrium from 12:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m. Participants may compete or observe. Lunch will available at $5.00 per plate. Monday, February 8, the Silent Auction will begin Monday morning in the Medical School library and will continue through to Tuesday afternoon. Monday, February 15, the Medical School will host a lecture and reception on “Maintaining Wellness as a Health Professional” in the Medical School auditorium and lobby from 3:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. Admission is free. Wednesday, February 24, Jerome Gratigny will teach a Self-Defense course for women in the Connell Student Center from 5:30 p.m.- 6:30 p.m. Self-Defense classes are $5.00 per person. Questions about this event can be directed to Carolann L. Curry at email@example.com or to Carol Bokros at BOKROS_C@mercer.edu
Super Bowl 50 The Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers faced off in Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California. The score was fairly close for the majority of the game, but the Broncos’ defense kicked into gear in the third quarter and kept it up until the end. Hopefully this is not the first you are hearing, but Denver came out on top with a 24-10 win. Extra, extra: If you missed the Puppy Bowl, Team Ruff claimed victory over the equally adorable Team Fluff. At only 20 weeks old, Star was named MVP for her incredible game performance that included a double touchdown — a first for the Puppy Bowl. Much like Peyton Manning, we are unsure if she will be returning for another season. Midnight Movie returns You may remember the Midnight Movie controversy from last semester. QuadWorks opened up the movie event to the general public and not everyone was guaranteed a seat. But worry no more. QuadWorks shared good news that Amstar management has apologized for the previous mix up and assures Mercer students that Midnight Movie will be running as usual. In addition, Amstar is offering pizza for the first 100 students and promises to open additional theaters if there is any overflow. Check out the event’s Facebook page for details on their canned good entrance exchange, as well as the movie lineup for Friday evening. #Bearstrong Saturday was an incredible day for Mercer basketball. The women’s team started off the afternoon with an 81-47 win over UNCG, improving them to 18-6 overall and 8-1 in the SoCon. When it came time for the men’s team to take the floor, the support was already flooding in. After a heartbreaking week, the Bears needed it. A record-breaking 4,772 people gathered in Hawkins Arena to prove that even through tragedy, the Mercer community remains ‘bearstrong.’ The men powered through with an 88-72 victory against the Citadel. Get in formation Beyoncé pulled a Beyoncé and dropped a surprise music video for her new single ‘Formation’ on Saturday. Despite being unlisted on YouTube, the video has already garnered over 10 million views. Reviewers have praised the video for it’s messages about black culture, feminism, police brutality and Hurricane Katrina. She performed part of the song during the Pepsi halftime show at Super Bowl 50 and made it available for a free download, exclusively on Tidal. North Korea rocket launch Despite international warnings and a ban on ballistic missile launches, North Korea fired a long-range rocket Sunday. North Korea’s nuclear test sparked the United Nations attention back in January, and this recent activity has caused an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting to push for tighter sanctions. U.S. defense officials have been tracking the rocket, and they claim that it does not pose a threat to either the U.S. or its allies.
CS For All President Obama announced the Computer Science for All initiative in his most recent weekly address. He discussed the importance of computational thinking skills for young students, claiming that “computer science isn’t an optional skill — it’s a basic skill.” This initiative aims to give K-12 students the education they need to stay ahead in this digital world and prepare them for future job opportunities. Computer Science for All will give $4 billion in funding to states and $100 million to school districts in Obama’s future budget. "Looking Backward, Living Forward" Head on over to Willingham at 10 a.m. on Wednesday morning for the 2016 Founders’ Day address. Chancellor Dr. R Kirby Godsey, who served as Mercer's 17th president and CEO for 27 years, will be giving the address titled “Looking Backward, Living Forward.” For more information and updates on the coveted Founders’ Day t-shirts, be sure to RSVP to the event on Facebook. SoCon lead continues for the Bears The women’s basketball team is on fire with 16-6 overall and 6-1 in SoCon play. Their most recent win against Furman kept them on top in the SoCon standings, and the ladies are looking good for the remaining portion of the season. Mercer students surprised the Bears with an impressive student section earlier in the season, but let’s keep it up. Don’t miss Thursday’s home game against Western Carolina at 7 p.m. Grease is the Word Did you get a chance to catch "Grease: Live" last night? FOX premiered the one-night musical, which featured Julianne Hough as Sandy, Aaron Tveit as Danny Zuko and Keke Palmer as Marty Maraschino. The show was the top trend on Twitter, and viewers were particularly impressed with Vanessa Hudgens’ performance as Rizzo. Earlier on Sunday, Hudgens announced the passing of her father Greg, who had been battling stage IV cancer. She dedicated her personal performance to him, and FOX paid tribute at the end of the show. Let the race begin Tonight Iowa voters will gather at their local caucuses to discuss and elect their presidential favorites. Keep in mind though that this is not the be-all and end-all for Iowa's delegate selection. It does, however, hold some value as it is the first electoral contest, and it will give a bit of foreshadowing for what is to come in the race. Confused on why we should care about the caucus? Check out this short explanation video as told with Lego.
After a three-day weekend, it can be hard to get back into the real world. Here are 5 things to start your week. CFP Championship Alabama and Clemson faced off in the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship last Monday. Although the Crimson Tide was ranked at No.2 in the nation, just behind the Tigers, they came out on top. The final score was close, coming in at 45-40. Powerball $2 gave millions of Americans the chance to dream about what they would do with the $1.5 billion Powerball jackpot. However, the odds of winning were very slim, at one in 292 million. The money will be split between the three winners who hail from Chino Hills, California; Munford, Tennessee; and Melbourne Beach, Florida. The winning numbers were 08, 27, 34, and 19, followed by the Powerball number of 10. Maybe try that combo for the next jackpot? The drawing is tomorrow night at 10:59 p.m. EST. MU Muslims in America Series Mercer announced a new series that will focus on “Muslims in America.” This is an opportunity for Mercer students and the surrounding community to create a dialogue about something that stems far beyond the Middle Georgia area. The series will be held every month in Willingham Auditorium, hosted by Mercer’s Center for Community engagement, the Department of International and Global Studies, and the Quality Enhancement Plan Office. Check the Student Affairs site for more details. Will Leo finally get an Oscar? The nominees for the 88th annual Academy Awards were announced, and the ceremony is set for Feb. 28 with Chris Rock as the host. The usual snub controversy has surfaced (sorry, Star Wars fans), and many have pointed out the lack of diversity of nominees. Déjà vu from last year? Check out the full list and let us know your thoughts. MLK Day of Service Mercer students may have had the day off from school yesterday, but many took that opportunity to lend a hand in the Center for Community Engagement's 4th Annual MLK Day of Service. Students started the day serving breakfast at St. Peter Claver Catholic Church, followed by a MLK Jr. Memorial March to the Macon-Bibb Government Center. MerServe student board members played a huge part in planning this successful event, which will hopefully return bigger and better in years to come.
Katie Atkinson is a current freshman pursuing a double major in journalism and media studies. She enjoys taking photos, reading, and writing about her community. One day, Katie hopes to become the Leslie Knope of journalism.
Molly is a senior Media Studies major, with a double minor in Photography and Film Studies. She is the Assistant Digital Editor for The Cluster. In her free time, she likes to check Instagram, watch YouTube, and jam to T-Swift.
Patrick is a senior at Mercer and loves graphic design. He joined the team this year and is the brains behind the paper's layout design.
Carina is a marketing major with a double minor in graphic design and environmental studies. Aside from The Cluster, she also works for QuadWorks and holds exec positions in several organizations on campus including the Latin American Student Organization and AWARE.
Geovic is a senior Biochemistry & Molecular Biology major on the Pre-Physical Therapy track with a Photography Minor. He is passionate about everything to do with photography and sneakers. He aspires to be 'the very best, like no one ever was.'
Blossom is an undeclared freshmen who's favorite subject is lunch. She enjoys expressing herself through Opinion articles and can also be seen in the Arts and Lifestyle section. She is a health and school freelance writer with a passion for blogging and making videos.
Mercer students graced the stage for the 2015 Homecoming Skit Competition. Six student and greek organizations put on their best Mickey, Minnie, Toby & Tot costumes to perform on stage in Willingham Hall. Be sure to relive the Disney magic with these video clip highlights. Greek Organizations: [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psVT5289-d0[/embed] [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZEzhOJr2zc[/embed] [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FQ7qDtuAIE[/embed] [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtFXi9X-9po[/embed] Student Organizations: [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Sbm0zYj-6k[/embed] [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qEPOUkrZ4w[/embed]
After a year-long hiatus, Mercer's Got Talent came back with full vengeance. This year's competition, featured speed painting, rapping and many talent singers. The prizes ranged from a paid semester of rent for The Lofts at Mercer Village, to a year of free tacos at Margaritas. Check out these video clips of the first, second and third place winners. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqHh4S5Hr7k[/embed] [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUsHiBAX05g[/embed] [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0GMTi8732A[/embed]
The Cheetah Girls prowled Willingham Hall and heroes and villains duked it out onstage for Mercer's Disney-themed Lip Sync Competition. Both of Willingham's bottom and top floor were jammed-packed with Disney fanatics eager to relive some of their favorite tunes. Greek Organizations: [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwoHFBVWeYA[/embed] [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IiH4bh13gVg[/embed] [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6YIihQndEo[/embed] [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=csKD7nYKM3U[/embed] Student Organizations: [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0C3XfOqYjnU[/embed] [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6AqDRZBsDXA[/embed] [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETUuO26VL9U[/embed]