The Internet Is Exploding: 10 Must-Read Articles This Week 6/13

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The internet was kinda MESSY this week. Jeff Bezos is going into space, people are losing their shit over Ilhan Omar telling the truth, Jeffrey Toobin is back on CNN. Highlights: Thot Shit, Jazmine Sullivan, Lorde, LOTS of YouTuber drama, Yashar Ali, Pose comes to an end, finding Stonewall, and Kelis. 


1. YouTube: Megan Thee Stallion – Thot Shit [Official Video]

I woke up Friday morning and almost immediately watched this video. It was a way to start the day. This song will definitely be a contender for song of the summer, and is likely to be turned into a TikTok trend as most of her singles are—digital blackface be damned. 


2. Pitchfork: Megan Thee Stallion: “Thot Shit”

I usually feel that I’m not a good enough student of pop culture, hip-hop, rap, and music videos to analyze most things Megan Thee Stallion does, including her new video for “Thot Shit.” This week “Thot Shit” topped Pitchfork’s Best New Tracks, and Cat Zhang describes Meg’s character in the video as “a union leader once again, organizing hot girls against crusty men.”

Apart from the review of “Thot Girl,” the page has reviews for all of the Best New Tracks this week, including Lorde’s “Solar Power,” linked below. 


3. YouTube: Jazmine Sullivan – The Other Side (Live)

For nearly a year, Jazmine Sullivan has periodically released videos from this live recording session of her most recent project, Heaux Tales. Every time a new video drops I lose my shit, send the link to everyone, and listen to it on repeat. From the lead single, “Lost One,” released last August, it was clear that the project was going to be amazing. What I’m not sure I expected, however, was for the project to be both an intensive fire and a slow burn. 


4. YouTube: Lorde – Solar Power (Official Music Video)

Lorde also released music on Friday, and for the first time in four years. Produced by Jack Antonoff, “Solar Power” is a light and fun transition from the moody ballads the singer is known for. With bass and guitar by Antonoff, drums by Matt Chamberlain, and backing vocals by Clairo and Phoebe Bridgers, the song really doesn’t have a sound of its own and feels a bit like a mix of Lana Del Rey and Taylor Swift with a pinch of Haim for good measure. 


5. BuzzFeed: YouTuber Jessi Smiles Released A Call With Gabbie Hanna About Having A Relationship With The Man Who Assaulted Her

CW: sexual assault, rape

I’m not one to closely follow YouTuber drama because there is so much of it and I usually don’t have any background on the people involved. But this week, YouTuber drama made it to my various social media feeds. (Another incident is posted below.)

This week, YouTuber Jessi Smiles released recordings of a conversation she had with Gabbie Hanna, another YouTuber, “about Curtis Lepore, her ex-boyfriend whom she accused of rape in 2013.” Under a plea agreement, Lepore was convicted of felony assault in 2014, and as a result the rape charges were dropped. 

I’ve watched part of the conversation, and the whole time Hanna sounds like she is trying to gaslight Smiles, who is clearly triggered and has to take a break at one point. “People on Twitter are standing in solidarity with Smiles and calling out Hanna for how she responded. Some called Hanna ‘cruel’ for how she reacted to Smiles’ attempts at clarity and accountability throughout the call.” From what I’ve learned about Hanna in the past week, this behavior isn’t out of character. 


6. YouTube: Prayer Circle for Trisha Paytas

In another happening on the YouTuber/podcast section of the internet, Trisha Paytas announced that they would be leaving the popular Frenemies podcast, which they co-hosted with Ethan Klein. There are a lot of rumors as to why Paytas is quitting, including ownership issues, but the conversation is WILD! Part of the mess of the situation, which Kimberly Nicole Foster addresses, is Paytas’s known history of mental illness and how it has been monetized. 

If you love a good mess, this is for you. 

7. Los Angeles Magazine: The Curious Rise of Twitter Power Broker Yashar Ali

I’m on Twitter but I hadn’t heard of Yashar Ali (sometimes a Twitter main character) before reading this. “Part investigative journalist, part gossip columnist, and part trusted confidante, Ali is a uniquely twenty-first-century media personality.” Over the past few years, Ali has become an influential Twitter power broker. From “his humble beginnings as a Hollywood production assistant; his transformation into a powerful political aide to then-San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom; his tangled relationships with a slew of celebrities; his stunning reinvention as a social media star—are a testament to his uncanny ability to get lots of very important people to care for him.”

I love the internet, but I find articles like this, and people like Ali, uncanny. 


8. Harper’s Bazaar: How Pose Changed Hollywood Forever

I ravenously watched the first two seasons of Pose. Sadly, I have not had much time to watch anything over the past few months, but am excited to watch the third and final season. The show is “about New York’s ballroom scene set at the height of the AIDS epidemic, written by a queer man of Black and Puerto Rican heritage, starring an almost all-nonwhite cast, and with a triptych of trans women as its nucleus.” This is a roundtable with one of the show’s writers and producers, Janet Mock, and “Mj Rodriguez, who began acting at 11, entered the ballroom scene at 14, and came out as trans mid-career; Indya Moore, a foster kid who was bullied as a teen and has since walked runways and fronted fashion campaigns; and Dominique Jackson, an emigrant from Trinidad and Tobago who became a true ballroom icon,” who play the show’s main characters. 

The love and care in the photos for this (Dominique Jackson was sick on the day of the shoot) is on full display in this roundtable. 


9. The New Republic: Finding Stonewall

I have a lot of hesitations around Pride—mostly because of how it has been commodified into a white capitalist holiday. (I also don’t generally like parades, or going to parties or clubs, which are often associated with Pride.) And as much as people like to reference Marsha P. Johnson, an activist and prominent figure of the Stonewall riots, the remembrance and celebration can still feel gatekept from its founders and “dominated by white gay men, selling an idea of desire—a young muscular white man, smiling and dancing without a care in the world.”

Alexander Chee wades through the sentiments expressed above and the complexities of queerness: “There is no license to be queer, as my friends and I used to say, no exam to pass. That is both a weakness and a strength of this identity, and it has always been this way.”

Apart from Chee’s personal narrative and its historical contextualization, I love this article so much is because it is, in fact, a review of two books: The Stonewall Reader, edited by Jason Baumann, which “aims to correct a narrative that has so often excluded LGBTQ people of color,” and James Polchin’s Indecent Advances that looks at “the treatment of gay men in true crime and crime fiction [and] reexamines the violence that people at the Stonewall Inn had faced every day, and the rage crackling up underneath.”

If you want to know more, you know where to start. 


10. Harper’s Bazaar: Kelis on Finding Freedom Through Farming

There is so much to love about this: Kelis, Roxane Gay, clear and concise writing, colorful descriptions, beautiful pictures. In 2019 the “Milkshake singer and her husband, Mike Mora, sold their house in LA. When the pandemic hit, “Kelis was in Europe, with Knight and her younger son, five-year-old Shepherd, in tow, touring in celebration of the 20th anniversary of her debut album, Kaleidoscope.”

The transition to farm life led Kelis to consider a lot of things, including “Black bodies and how we nourish ourselves, how all too often we don’t have access to the foods that would best serve us, and how since the beginning of the slavery era we have been pushed further and further away from who and what we once were.”

This piece is so wonderful in so many ways, including its meditation on the history of diets and cuisines. 


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