Woh boy! I’m pretty sure it is 2019 after everything that happened this week. Highlights: Janelle Monae finally came out, Kanye did a lot of stuff, Avengers: Infinity War hurt a lot of people, Roxane Gay meditated on getting weight loss surgery, the first lynching memorial opened, Bill Cosby was convicted of rape, North Korea and South Korea want peace, and Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron might have starred in an episode of Desperate Housewives.
1. Rolling Stone: Janelle Monáe Frees Herself
If you have eyes and have looked at Janelle Monae nothing in this interview is all that interesting. Monae FINALLY came out as a “ queer black woman in America,” something that everyone has known for forever, and discusses her new album Dirty Computer. The album differs from her earlier work in that she is taking off her android mask, and beginning to show us what is underneath…
2. YouTube: Dirty Computer
I wanted to like Dirty Computer. I wanted to like it so badly. But I am disappointed. If there is one thing I hate its didactics, and Dirty Computer feels both didactic and contrived. The only thing saving the album is the “Emotion Picture,” linked above, because the visuals are just so beautiful.
Monae feels lost in the album and its aesthetics, employing all the trendy moves of rapping, making a visual album in the first place, and using experimental movement, fashion, and architectural structures. While the visuals are beautiful, they are derivative, and watching the video feels like a regurgitation of SZA, Beyonce, Solange, and Betty Who. Monae’s earlier albums, The ArchAndroid and Electric Lady, sat on the edge of queerness and created a psychedelic afro-futurist moment, but now that her tactics are mainstream, she is struggling to keep up.
When listening to the album Dirty Computer, it all falls apart. The songs are flashy and bold, but the lyrics leave something to be desired. Songs on the album continuously and explicitly reference the American dream, black queerness, and sexual liberation and the power that comes with it. We need more of all of these things in pop culture, but Monae’s lyrics leave little room for metaphorical interpretations, what used to be one of her strong suits. Dirty Computer traps Monae in that we learn she—and her performance of herself as the android—is more interesting than her music.
My desire to love this album, and Monae, might outweigh my disappointment in Dirty Computer. I hope it grows on me. I hope it ages well. And I hope Monae continues to make more work. But for now, Cold War has my heart.
You don’t have to agree with trump but the mob can’t make me not love him. We are both dragon energy. He is my brother. I love everyone. I don’t agree with everything anyone does. That’s what makes us individuals. And we have the right to independent thought.
— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) April 25, 2018
The tweet that launched a thousand, well, idk what but a lot of shit hit the fan after Kanye tweeted that he and Donald Trump “are both dragon energy.” If there is one thing we know about Kanye it is that he is obsequious to design. If you take his relationship to design into account, it is quite obvious that Kanye would be interested in Trump.
Donald Trump’s brand is amazing, regardless of whether or not you agree with what it symbolizes. Personally, I do not think Kanye actually believes in what Trump’s brand symbolizes, but I do think he likes how Trump thinks. I have said it before, and I will say it again: Kanye is brilliant. There is no other celebrity that has warranted as many philosophical interpretations as Kanye.
I could talk about this forever, but just watch this video by Scott Adam and read this FB thread because I don’t get paid enough to write a book. But if you would want to read one please give BmoreArt a tax-exempt donation. 🙂
4. Kanye West: Lift Yourself
“Whoopdi scoopdi poop,” whaaa??? Kanye released a surprise song, Lift Yourself and no one knew what was going on. He then released ANOTHER surprise song, ye vs the people, which seems to solidify his tweet from earlier in the week on Donald Trump, and alludes to his interest in running for president in 2020. His album, to be released June 1st, and his collaborative with Cudi to be released June 8th, will be interesting, to say the least.
5. The Hollywood Reporter: How ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Transcends Its Comic Book Origins
Okay…so this article is filled with spoilers, just an FYI.
Avengers: Infinity War came out on Thursday and it was a lot. Everyone dies. Well, only half the cast, but it feels like everyone. This movie is a movie for Marvel Compic Universe fans. And if you have not been following the franchise you will be lost. But saying that, it was satisfying for fans, and its tragic ending, while heart-wrenching, is a refreshing change from the good always conquers evil. While Infinity War concludes the decade-long movie franchise, “Marvel Studios’ future installments will have a tough task in finding something more threatening, more emotionally engaging, and more graceful than this saga of Infinity Stones.”
6. Medium: What Fullness Is
I almost didn’t add this article, until I read the sentence “Some bodies and minds simply cannot be brought to heal.” Author Roxane Gay underwent weight loss surgery in January. Gay is known for writing about her body and what it means to be fat in a society that values thinness. Two of her most recent projects—her book, Hunger, and the popup magazine on Medium, Unruly Bodies— address what it means to occupy bodies in society. I think I almost didn’t post this because I knew how it would read, and it was as I expected. But Gay’s honesty and clarity always warrant a second look.
7. New York Times: A Lynching Memorial Is Opening. The Country Has Never Seen Anything Like It.
The National Memorial for Peace and Justice opened in Alabama on Thursday and is the first memorial to reckon with the country’s history of lynching. The memorial is on a six-acre piece of land, and address other acts of white supremacy as well, with the lynching memorial in the middle. There is “a walkway with 800 weathered steel columns, all hanging from a roof. Etched on each column is the name of an American county and the people who were lynched there, most listed by name, many simply as ‘unknown.’” The steel columns are meant to reference hanging bodies, and we their historical spectators.
8. BuzzFeed: Bill Cosby’s Disgrace Is Complete
Bill Cosby was convicted on 3 counts of drugging and raping a woman in 2004, each with a 110-year sentence. The conviction comes after a mistrial last June due to a deadlocked jury. In the wake of the #metoo movement, it is not surprising that Cosby was convicted, but his “situation is specific, and the revelations about him predated the recent reckoning on sexual harassment and assault.”
9. The Guardian: North and South Korean leaders promise ‘lasting peace’ for peninsula
North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, and the South Korean president, Moon Jae-in released a short statement committed to denuclearisation and peace amongst the two countries. This is HUGE and the world looks on in optimism for Trump’s summit with Kim. Hopefully, he does not mess it up.
Previously in Desperate housewives pic.twitter.com/Oc8i0PsvNw
— Antoine-K Mokrane (@AntoineMokrane) April 24, 2018
French President, Emmanuel Macron, has been in the US on a state visit this past week. As a gift, Macron brought Trump an oak tree, representing our need to address climate change. It became a meme because of the internet and OMG it is so good!
Apart from planting trees, Macron did a lot of other things, including speak to lawmakers from both the senate and house. Macron urged Trump to get involved in more global issues, including climate change, instead of creating isolationist policies. TBH, from the applause in the CNN video, US lawmakers are into it. And they should be.
*All images taken from reference articles*
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