Pepsi Lost Their Fizz.

The internet has gone bananas about the new Pepsi ad starring Kendall Jenner...and not in a good way. Naturally, I have to throw in my two cents:

First of all, why is this advert nearly three minutes long? Unless it’s a charity appeal, there’s no need for any advert to have that duration.

Secondly, what was the point? I watched it thrice and still didn’t get it. I thought it was a parody. It was like a stylised, ultra glossy version of an American protest, with extra layers of FA-SHUN added by bringing Ms Jenner to the mix. 


What were Pepsi thinking? I wasted my time watching something that felt like a very colourful Gap ad or a music video than a pointed illustration of modern American life.

The advert was utterly pointless. Even if they were attempting to make a point (and I still don’t know what that was), this was probably the dumbest way to do it. Was there no person of colour at Pepsi HQ (or any person, in fact) who could have said, ‘Are you sure this is a good idea?’ 


Who decided that little ‘Wonder Woman’ bit where Jenner whipped off her wig was a slice of genius? It only succeeded in making me laugh. The fist bump between her and the black guy dancing throughout was cringeworthy, as was the mini-flirting with the violinist who cannot sip properly from a can of Pepsi. But let’s be honest, the entire ad was two minutes and forty-six seconds of cringe and I’m still trying to figure out WHAT THE FRIGGING POINT OF IT WAS. 


So if peaceful protestors of the past such as Martin Luther King and Malcolm X had a Pepsi on their person, maybe the powers-that-be would have been more sympathetic to their plight? If Black Lives Matter had a Pepsi multipack, things might have been less problematic? If only real life was as simple as handing a fizzy drink to a member of the riot police, eh? Why did Pepsi think they could crowbar themselves into this issue and turn it into something palatable, edgy and trendy (ugh)? It’s as bad as that time Sky Sports turned their Super Sunday credits into WAG Central: an unrecognisable football crowd full of gorgeous model-esque women, suited blokes and happy families all waving their hands to ‘Loving Each Day’ by Ronan Keating, with not a single regular-looking football fan in sight. 

Pepsi released an apology which only apologised to Kendall Jenner rather than those who complained about the ad- why I do not know. Ms Jenner is twenty years old. She is not a child. She can make her own decisions regarding which projects she takes on and those she does not, so why they aimed their apology at her and her alone is weird. 

Seriously Pepsi, stick to what you’re good at. In fact, all big brands should probably do so unless they’re absolutely sure they have got their message right. I’m not looking to you to make a statement on the world today- I want you to carry on making mindless and insanely expensive adverts that I can roll my eyes at and not expect anything other than you selling your cold beverage to me through heavy-handed product placement. Trivialising the protests of recent times into happy vignettes of aesthetically-pleasing young people in technicolor (I saw no diversity in terms of age in that crowd at all) walking through sun-drenched streets clutching cans of your drink is not the one.


© isanynamefree 2017

In (Self Imposed) Exile.

Twitter. Facebook. Instagram. The holy trinity of social media. I scrolled through them everyday looking at updates, funny gifs and random shit because let’s be honest, that what we all love: the lack of thought that goes into reading these things. It was a bit of escapism.

I was going to give up Twitter for Lent because over the past few months, it appears that the lunatics have taken over the asylum. Even though I try to stay away from all the nonsense swirling around the Twittersphere (especially since Brexit and Trump becoming President), it feels like it has been hijacked by the alt-right and leftists slating and baiting each other online.


It is full of trolls and jackasses who need little invitation to act that way. There have been times where a picture of a beautiful black woman is posted with a caption along the lines of, ‘she’s too dark’ next to it. It’s usually followed up by the tweeter gloating about how much attention he got from those who took the bait and snapped. It’s unbelievable and mind-numbingly stupid. I started muting and blocking people who were getting on my nerves or receiving too much attention for their trolling. And still I scrolled through my timeline everyday, reading about various events (or non-events) in people’s lives, various arguments unfolding before my eyes, constantly refreshing the page to see if anything new came up even though the last update was five seconds ago. It got to the point where it became exhausting to look at yet I couldn’t turn away, almost like I was rubber-necking an accident. Also, I realised the amount of time I spent reading tweets was time that I could have been doing something productive, which annoyed me even more.

This was also the case with Facebook, where I scrolled down the list of friends posting about their lives or some random video that they wanted a reaction from. As for Instagram, that just made me feel like I was wasting my life or I was inferior. All these people posting selfies with their X-Pro and Mayfair filters and pouting like models when I don’t even know how to pout like that (and when I try I look like I’ve been punched in the gob), talking about how amazing their lives are. I know 98% of the time it is a picture that is not a genuine reflection of their life at the time, but sometimes it made me feel like crap and was not what I wanted to see when I was in a mood.

Before this sounds like an ‘I hate social media’ rant, let me say that there are positives to all these apps. I found some of the funniest things I have ever read or watched in my life on Twitter, tweets that made me howl with laughter while thinking ‘I’m going to hell’ at the same time. Not everybody is a troll- there are decent people behind some of the usernames, it’s just that so many of them get caught up in the madness. 

Facebook is a good way to keep in touch with people from your past, whether it be former classmates or colleagues. Also (like most social media) you control who sees your life- I have friends who have 400, 500, even a thousand ‘friends’. I’ve barely got eighty. A few years ago that actually bothered me for some stupid reason, then I quickly realised that I didn’t give a shit. At least the people who are on my timeline are people I don’t mind reading my business. 

Anyway, I was going to give up Twitter for Lent but decided to do it sooner rather than later. When you’re talking to your family or friends and only half-listening to what they’re saying because you’re reading some nonsense on social media, you need to make a change. Or you’re bored and end up absent-mindedly scrolling through a shedload of tweets before moving onto see who’s saying what on Facebook then rolling onto Instagram where everything makes you feel inferior. It was like some weird form of punishment/self-flagellation. I was addicted to it (especially Twitter) and found that social media became a habit that I could not kick. Well, not this time. It’s been seven hours and fifteen days (not really, more like twelve hours and six days) and it’s going well. The first couple of days were a bit odd- I found myself opening my phone looking for those apps and realising they were not there. But since then, it’s a case of so far, so good. 

Social media can be like a drug if you’re not careful. The need for validation from (mainly) strangers…the constant pressure to post the perfect selfie…or tweet something funny…or look like you’re doing something amazing for fear of looking like you live a boring life. Honestly, who gives a toss? It was addictive to me for various reasons and it became unhealthy for me. So I’m in self-imposed exile for a while, bar posting some of my articles on Facebook. Wish me luck. 

Unnecessary Poise.

Over the past few days, actress Leslie Jones has been on the receiving end of a shedload of abuse from anonymous keyboard warriors because of her starring role in the new Ghostbusters movie. The movie has attracted a lot of attention as the main characters are all female (the original characters were all men). As she is both black and female, she has been subjected to what’s known as ‘misogynoir’ because of this.

Many have come out in support and to defend her against the unwarranted abuse she has endured, but naturally, she was very upset- she even had someone create an account that looked like hers and sending homophobic tweets. 

But among all the vicious content sent to her, one tweet caught my eye. It was from someone (a woman no less) who decided that Jones’ natural reaction was unbecoming of a woman and tweeted that to her instead of, y’know, support: 

‘More poise’? I beg your pardon? 

So she’s getting dogs abuse hurled at her from various people/trolls and you expect to be demure and ladylike in her responses? Because she cannot possibly react like a normal human being and be allowed to give back what these people deserve. 

As the line in the legendary Pharcyde song ‘Runnin” goes: ‘There comes a time in every man’s life when they’ve gotta handle shit…’ There is a time and place for rapier wit and pithy one-liners and some situations call for exactly that. But when you are called a nigger, an ape and countless other disgusting slurs just for doing your job, sometimes the only way to respond is to fight back. If she has to swear and cuss, so be it- it is an absolutely understandable reaction. 

As for this woman telling her- a black woman -to act with more poise when confronted with such offensive comments: how unbelievably patronising. How dare you tell her how she should behave and react to such unrelenting abuse? I am not one of those people who thinks that people should turn the other cheek every time something horrible happens or is said to them. Even then, we- and others -can be so taken aback that we don’t respond in the necessary way. She was subjected to all this purely because of her race and gender and you want her to reply like she’s meek and mild. Various other women with an online presence have to deal with disgusting, inflammatory, rude and hateful comments on a daily basis, simply because of their race and gender or because they do not act in the ‘way a woman should’. So for this silly girl to tweet this nonsense is insulting and buys into the BS regarding how women should behave.

Leslie Jones tweeted a reply to her and (though it took a while), eventually this girl realised the extent of the situation and how traumatic it was for Jones and how she managed to feed into it by making it sound like Jones was making a mountain out of a molehill. 

I’m not even going to get into the whole situation regarding certain persons on Twitter and how they appeared to fuel the fire for others to aim their vitriol at Leslie Jones- I’m looking at this from a different angle. Despite Twitter banning some of those who sent abusive tweets to Jones, she has unsurprisingly taken a break from social media as a result. Will she be back? Who knows.  

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 really liked 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 disgraceful 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 is ‘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 another Black woman in a public arena. DJ 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 them about their features the next? You bleach your skin, therefore you have no right to talk about any woman’s appearance. To top it all off, she also 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 astounding 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- unsurprisingly -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 spin her tweets 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.