So Late and So Awkward.

Time for some praise.

I finally got round to watching The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl. I have been meaning to for some time but I’m terrible with most television unless it’s Line of Duty (I always watch that shit live because it is amazing). Family and friends recommend boxsets to me and I never get round to watching them. I still have an unopened DVD of the first series of Mad Men on my shelf- that’s how bad I am.

So I thought I would watch Awkward Black Girl and see what it’s like, especially as I like Issa Rae and I haven’t started watching Insecure yet (See? I’m rubbish at this).

It is absolutely brilliant. I devoured the first series in a few hours; the second one in an evening- it’s that good.

Awkward Black Girl is about a woman called Jay and how she navigates through life with her awkward self. There are many hiccups along the way (some self-inflicted, others not) but the sheer brilliance of the writing and acting resulted in one of the funniest programmes I have ever watched. I also discovered to my detriment how difficult it is to watch this show at work. The episode where Jay is at a party and everyone on the dancefloor is abruptly stopped by the DJ so they can sing ‘Happy Birthday’ had me sitting at my desk unable to laugh as hysterically as I wanted to for fear of embarrassing myself, so I ended up convulsing with laughter instead.

Not only is Awkward Black Girl incredibly funny, it resonated with me because I am definitely one of them. I thought I was the only one who felt like this but apparently not, judging by the number of comments left after each video. Most people seem so self-assured and composed, while I’m usually the muppet who stumbles and trips over her words and is constantly trying to please other people instead of myself.

Her passive-aggressive behaviour struck a chord as well. That desire to tell someone to fuck off but instead you bite your tongue and repress that feeling? That’s me every single day.

Before anyone says it’s a bit late for a review considering that it came out in 2011 and Issa Rae and Tracy Oliver have moved onto bigger and brighter things… yes, I am late to the party and nobody is more annoyed about this than myself but well, better late than never. Awkward Black Girl is fantastic, relatable and reflects my life far more than I imagined. If you have not watched it, make it a priority to do so.

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Banking on Bad Karma?

Azealia Banks started an almighty Twitter ruckus in the space of 24 hours. She went to town on everyone and for the life of me, I cannot understand why. Banks kicked things off by calling Zayn Malik all manner of disgusting things as she felt that he had stolen ideas and looks from one of her previous videos. One of her tweets was as thus:

“Do you understand that you are a sand nigger who emulates white boys’ renditions of black male hood?”

Sand. Nigger. She actually called him that. I mean…there’s being upset at feeling that someone has (allegedly) taken your style and run with it without giving you a hint of credit, but this was off the scale. To think that this statement came from a woman who freely admitted that she bleaches her skin so…who’s emulating the so-called white people perception of black man/womanhood?

Some people have said that she needs help or an intervention of some kind, but I doubt that will help. Banks is so bull-headed and there is an air of defiance about her taking on what appeared to be the whole world. Malik, Disney star Skai Jackson (who destroyed her in a series of wounding tweets), the entire UK rap/hip hop industry…the list grew bigger as the night wore on. By the time I woke up this morning, she was still at it and while I couldn’t tear my eyes away from it, I found it depressing.

I loved Banks’ 1991 EP and despite numerous Twitter beefs and public spats, I was rooting for her to come through and let her talent do the talking. Unfortunately, she is not allowing that to happen. Previous rows have not gone down well (T.I, Iggy Azalea, Lily Allen, the Stone Roses) but this one- which Malik, to his credit, barely responded to -could prove to be her downfall.

Anyone who says that what she is saying is just her being ‘honest’ needs their head checked. Calling Malik a ‘curry scented bitch’ and a ‘Paki’ makes her sound like a member of the National Front. To call herself a proud Black woman and then make such nasty slurs baffles me. Then to go after a teenage actress who didn’t even @ her on Twitter and criticise her skin colour (THE SAME SKIN COLOUR AS HER) and tell her to start her menses and get a boob and bum job is beyond words. Any other fourteen-year-old would have taken that to heart, but not Miss Jackson. She clapped back and then some and it was richly deserved.

I’m disturbed at how someone who claims to be ‘pro-Black’ and always talking about how Black women get a raw deal in the music industry and life in general, thought it would be a good idea to make derogatory remarks about the looks of a young Black girl in a public arena. Jamz Supernova, a black British DJ, was on the receiving end of Banks’ tongue when she dared to tell her about herself. How on earth can you be on the side of black women one minute, then roast us about our features the next? Azealia, you bleach your skin – by doing such a thing, you are showing your insecurities and letting those who judge you win, because you are changing your appearance to appease them. Therefore, you have no right to talk about any woman’s appearance. To top it all off, she went on Periscope and ranted about all the above topics without a hint of remorse.

How can Banks (who, remember, claims to be ‘pro-Black’) possibly be so when she made such astoundingly insulting comments towards her own people? Some claim she has a mental illness or are saying that her troubled background is the reason for her behaviour, but nope, I’m not having it. She was very aware of what she was saying. To say such things to women of the same race as you, as well as people from other ethnic minorities, makes you a nasty piece of work. Furthermore, to type those words before posting them online suggests that she must have been thinking lucidly as she did so. So that argument cuts no ice.

As for her saying British rap artists are crap, she collaborated and was friends with Shystie for years until they fell out (with Banks throwing nasty comments towards her as well). After all, this is her modus operandi so we should not be that surprised.

The powers-that-be at Twitter headquarters itself stayed remarkably quiet during her tirade. At what point did they think they should have stepped in? Or did it not cross their mind at all?

Regardless of the fact that Banks has now issued an apology of sorts, let’s be honest. Her management should be deleting her Twitter account, never mind allowing her just to delete those vicious messages.

Banks can spin this any way she likes and however she tries to dilute her tweets and pass them off as showing concern for Skai Jackson and derision for Zayn Malik, she has burned her bridges. There won’t be any Drake-like collaborations with British grime and rap artists, that’s for sure.

A Princely Phenomenon.

Like most people, I was shocked when I heard the news that Prince had died. Although I haven’t listened to his music much in the past few years, his music remained fresh in my mind. If I heard a song of his, the lyrics would instantly come back as quickly as a click of the finger. 

I grew up with his music, listening to U Got the Look or Sign o’ the Times, or dancing as a teenager to the Cream video, wondering how I could become a dancer and wear one of those gorgeous black and white leotards that the women wore. 

I remember when he released Sexy MF and the outrage and clutching of pearls it sparked when it premiered on Top of the Pops. Oh, how I laughed when they faded out ‘MF’ with his trademark scream. 

Gett Off was absolute filth and I played it at full-blast while listening to lyrics such as ‘There’s a rumour going all around that you ain’t been getting served.’ Being the naive young girl that I was, I wondered exactly what it was that the dancer was not being, ahem, “served”. (Don’t worry, I learned soon enough).

Prince was much mocked and ridiculed by the press and the public while he was alive (particularly during the ‘Slave/Symbol/The Artist Formerly Known as Prince’ era), but you realise that he had the last laugh on them because he lived life exactly the way he wanted: being creative to the fullest, making music he loved and to hell with what anyone else thought. 

The way he genuinely did not care what people thought of him was a sight to behold and something to aspire to. He just turned up, made and played music, showed love, threw shade and walked out, leaving everyone wanting more. When he played at the O2 in London a few years ago, the tickets were priced at £21 (as he was playing 21 nights at the arena) and I have never seen so many people get to work early with the sole intention of getting those gold dust tickets. 

He gave us food for thought and a lot of downright sexiness, then would metaphorically drop the mic. He was a whirlwind of creativity, none more so than on his debut which he wrote, produced, sang all vocals and played all instruments. He was the epitomé of a one-man band.

He influenced people without them even realising. Flamboyant, sexy, almost other-worldly. It is only now in his untimely passing that I realise how much reminded me of the legendary James Brown. He was one of Prince’s idols but they were very similar: the genius, the brilliance, the perfectionism, the flair and flamboyance and risk-taking, the way in which they both were absolute game-changers in the music industry. Simply phenomenal.

Prince also had a wicked sense of humour. Who can forget Dave Chapelle’s epic impersonation of him in a hilarious sketch for Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories? Prince loved it so much, he used Chapelle’s image of him as a front cover for one of his singles (if you have not seen the sketch, stop what you’re doing and watch it right now. It is a classic). 

Prince was a legend in every sense of the word and his reach spread far and wide. It is a shame how, from my perspective, it is only once an artist like him is gone forever that we truly comprehend their legacy. Songs such as Purple Rain, When Doves Cry and Diamonds and Pearls will always be a part of the musical and cultural landscapes. 

Bond Song Gone Wrong.

Alas and alack, the new Bond theme has premiered- Writing’s On the Wall by Sam Smith. All I can say is I have no desire to listen to it again. Why? I hear you ask.

It is DULL. Seriously dull. How on earth was such a boring song chosen to be a Bond theme? Now, I have no problem with Smith himself- I know for some people, his voice is like Marmite (you love him or hate him), but this song is a dirge. Where is the fire, the passion, the sass? Damn it, where is the sexiness and sensuality that were in abundance in the majestic previous Bond theme, Skyfall? In fact, after I managed to listen to Writing’s On the Wall in its entirety, I put Skyfall on and was amazed at how brilliant it still is and how marvellous Adele sounded and how much it craps all over the new song (in case you wondered, it’s all over it like a bunch of pigeons on Trafalgar Square).      

I am so disappointed because when the one minute snippet of Skyfall was released the day before its world premiere, I was curious to hear it but wasn’t expecting it to be a classic.How wrong was I? I found myself listening to it on a loop for a day and a half until the full song came out. I thought it was- and still is -utterly magnificent and one of the best Bond themes ever.

I’m not a Bond film aficionado but I know my Bond theme songs and there are few which I would consider to be classics. Goldfinger (of course), Goldeneye, A View To A Kill, Licence To Kill. I adored Tomorrow Never Dies by Sheryl Crow. I liked Chris Cornell’s You Know My Name because it sounded different and in-your-face compared to the usual Bond themes, yet it worked. I also have a soft spot for Madonna’s Die Another Day, an underrated song lambasted by people who were snobbish about how a Bond theme should sound, although let’s not discuss Another Way To Die because that song was a mistake.

This is how dire the situation is: I have  found myself wondering how the song will fit in with the opening title sequence and I never do that.
Writing’s On the Wall is similar to Smith’s old song Stay With Me- it starts off promisingly then peters out into nothingness, plodding along when instead, it should reach a triumphant and satisfying ending. 

According to Smith’s tweet, the song is already number one on the iTunes charts. I’m not sure why because it really does not deserve it. Skyfall only reached number two (you FOOLS!), so for this blandness to get all the credit that its predecessor should have got would be wrong in my eyes. It looks like social media sees the song the way that I do: a Bond theme that is as flat as a pancake and not up to scratch.

Video

Tune!

I discovered this song about 2 hours ago and haven’t stopped playing it since. You know there are women out there who have this as their anthem, even though it’s satirical. Brilliant lyrics throughout but I keep rewinding the bridge from 2:15 onwards (it’s too damn good). I hope it ends up being a massive hit.

Jazmine Sullivan- Mascara

Bae Humbug.

‘Merry new year!’ as Eddie Murphy yelled in Trading Places.

One thing I hope for in 2015 is that the word ‘bae’ disappears forevermore. Oh, how I hate that word. An abbreviation of ‘babe’ or ‘baby’ and is- in my opinion -one of the worst words in the world. It sounds so awkward, like the person is lacking a vocabulary or too lazy to finish the whole word.

Why would you need to shorten a word like babe into something that makes you sound like a strangled sheep? Even on paper or on screen, it looks clumsy. I cant stand it, it makes me cringe as it is such a bastard of a word. Just say ‘babe’ or ‘baby’ or ‘boo’. That’ll do! It’s as awful as ‘chillax’, which makes me itch (do you know anyone who actually says this word? I don’t). And of course there is ‘my bad’, which has infiltrated the English language and has me despairing for mankind when someone uses it. The day you hear me use that term, slap me. I would rather say ‘my mistake’ or ‘sorry’ than say that.

Years ago, Take That soared to number one in the charts with a song called ‘Babe’. It was during the height of their fame first time round and all made all the girls in my secondary school (except me) swoon and cry at the same time while breathlessly insisting, ‘Mark Owen is singing it to meeee!’ No he wasn’t, dear. (And don’t get me started on the mayhem that occurred when they split up). Can you imagine if they remade it and called it ‘Bae’? I’m not giving Barlow et al any ideas but I laugh and shudder at the thought. Or ‘Baby Baby Baby’ by the legendary TLC renamed as ‘Bae Bae Bae’? Ooh, it makes me want to vomit.

Here’s hoping that it disappears from view over the course of 2015, because I do not want to hear that it has been included in the Oxford Dictionary at the end of the year in their list of ‘words that we will include to make us look trendy’. Hell no.