Arts & Life: Summer 2022

Summer afternoons of outdoor activities and limited screentime can make it hard to keep up with the latest in pop culture. Here is a recap of the past season’s biggest news in movies, music, TV and the tabloids.

Cale Strickland, Staff Writer

  • Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s Civil Clash Crescendos

In a unanimous decision, a Washington, D.C., jury certified actor Johnny Depp’s claims of defamation by actress Amber Heard, Depp’s ex-wife. Depp was awarded $15 million after being declared victorious. The case stems from a 2016 op-ed article in which Heard wrote that an unnamed individual subjected her to domestic violence. Depp presumed the article to be about himself. Heard countersued for $100 million which resulted in a $2 million reward from the jury. Depp was charged with a single count of defamation.

  • “Harry’s House” Subsumes Summer Streaming Charts

Harry Styles’s third studio album, “Harry’s House”, has dominated the charts of the world’s largest music streaming services. The project remained one of Billboard’s 10 most-streamed albums for the entire summer. Styles’s viral single “As It Was” remains the project’s most popular song, and the track has raked in well over 1 billion streams on Spotify alone.

  • “Top Gun: Maverick” Soars at the Box Office

Just over 36 years after the release of “Top Gun”, Tom Cruise has returned to the big screen as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell. Cruise’s action film is the highest-grossing film of the summer, and it is the sixth highest-grossing movie on the all-time domestic box office rankings. The film is the biggest box office hit of Cruise’s decades-long career.

  • BTS Calls it Quits — For Now

K-pop sensation BTS is taking a step back from the spotlight, telling fans the group’s members are planning to focus on solo efforts. The popstars’ looming enrollment in their nation’s military, a mandate enforced upon all able-bodied South Korean men, has been cited as a key factor in the band’s breakup. In 2020, the South Korean government revised its rules to allow recognized cultural influences to postpone their services until the age of 30. Kim Seok-jin, 29, is the group’s oldest member, and he is expected to be the first of BTS’s superstars to enlist in the armed forces.

  • “Stranger Things” Sets Sights on Netflix’s Top Series

Following the debut of Season 4 Volume 2 of “Stranger Things”, the series climbed to second on Netflix’s list of the most-streamed shows of all-time, sitting just behind “Squid Game”. Residing at the premier spots of the streaming service’s Top 10 chart from May 27 through July 1, the series garnered over 1 billion hours of viewing over the summer.

  • “Running Up That Hill” Soars in Summer Resurgence

Kate Bush’s 1985 single “Running Up That Hill” is back at the forefront of music culture after its inclusion in a climactic scene of “Stranger Things” Season 4. The song is eclipsing modern popstars’ hits on streaming charts and earning Bush millions of dollars. According to Luminate, the group responsible for providing Billboard’s data, the singer has brought in over $2.3 million since the series debuted on Netflix.

  • Shakira’s Tax Trouble

After compensating the Spanish government with over 15 million euros, popstar Shakira is preparing to fend off accusations of tax fraud. The singer spent a considerable amount of time in Spain with FC Barcelona’s Gerard Piqué, a long-term partner, throughout the 2010s, deeming her responsible for unpaid taxes from 2012 to 2014. Shakira’s team remains adamant in her legal struggle, and they commend her financial record.

  • “Kete”: The End of an Era

After struggling to fit a long-distance relationship into their schedules, power couple Pete Davidson and Kim Kardashian have separated. The two met on the set of “Saturday Night Live” and remained together for nine months. Davidson and Kardashian braved several bouts of tense drama with Kanye West, Kardashian’s ex-husband.