Did Jay-Z Sell Out with Roc Nation’s deal with the NLF?

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“I said no to the Superbowl. You need me I don’t need you.”

Those were Jay-Z’s own words on the song Apes**t, so you can imagine the collective surprise when it was announced this week that Roc Nation (the management agency Jay-Z founded) will be launching a social justice partnership with the NFL. They will be consulting the on marketing and music events, including the Super Bowl halftime show. This will help the league to bolster its activism initiative and inspire Change. Let’s just say Jay-Z’s 180-degree turn has my neck hurting.

 

What feels like an additional stab in the back is that it appears though Roc Nation will be profiting off the sacrifice of Colin Kaepernick. The San Francisco 49ers Quarterback who was ‘blacklisted’ from the NFL for kneeling in protest to the way Black & Brown people are being treated across the United States. This is specifically in reference to police brutality. The treatment that he received the from owners is why various artists such as Rhianna and Cardi B refused to take part in the 2018 Superbowl half time show. It is also the reason why artists such as Travis Scott and Chloe x Halle were given flack by the black community for having anything to do with NLF that year.

 

This would not be the first time the NFL has set up campaigns in an attempt to remove the negative spotlight off themselves. A series of anti-domestic violence campaigns started after Ray Rice caused the league international embarrassment when he beat his fiancee (now wife) to the point of unconsciousness in an elevator in 2014. Initially, Rice had received nothing more than a two-game ban but after TMZ leaked footage of the attack, Rice was released from his team altogether.

 

This Social Justice Partnership appears to be nothing more than a similar smoke and mirrors tactic from the multibillion-dollar league. It is difficult not to question their motives when you have people like Stephen Ross, owner of the Dolphins, facing huge backlash because it came to light that he was holding a fundraiser for Donald Trump to run again in the 2020 election. Surely if NFL was hellbent on real reform, they would include Kaepernick & Reid, the two who sparked the conversation that there need to social change in the first place?

On his Twitter timeline, Eric Reid retweeted a series of people who did not support Jay-Z’s decision.

The rapper is defending his deal in an interview with the NFL Commissioner. He stated:

“I think we’ve moved past kneeling and I think it’s time to go into actionable items,” Jay-Z said Wednesday at Roc Nation headquarters in New York while seated beside Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner.

He clarified that he didn’t want people to stop protesting, however.

“Kneeling — I know we’re stuck on it because it’s a real thing — but kneeling is a form of protest. I support protest across the board. We need to bring light to the issue. I think everyone knows what the issue is — we’re done with that,” he said.

And though he said he wasn’t trying to minimize the significance of this practice, he asked what the next steps would be.

“How are we going to stop it? Because the kneeling was not about a job, it was about injustice,” he said.

 

One wonders how don’t not how Jay-Z can make such a statement when this deal is surely going to make the rapper millions while Kaepernick is unable to play in the NFL? The union between Roc Nation and the NLF is making many question if the Pro-Black rhetoric that Jay-Z spoke about in his last albums 4:44 and Everything Is Love was a capitalist gimmick.

It would not be right to take away strides that Jay-Z has made so far. Tidal (the rapper’s streaming platform) donated 1.5 million dollars to Black Live Matter in 2016, he produced The Kalief Browder Story for Netflix and he (along with his wife Beyoncé) made generous financial contributions to post bail for Ferguson and Baltimore protestors in 2015. It would be unfair to act as those this deal eradicates all the work Jay-Z has done for the Black community. However, people do maintain the right to raise their eyebrows.

Maybe this is a situation wherein order to make a change, you have to work from the inside. Only time will tell.

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BTS Are On Hiatus and We Should All Be Doing a Praise Dance!

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I had a friend send me a BBC online article telling me that BTS was on an extended hiatus. He was checking to see if I was okay with them being out of the limelight and I chucked hard. First of all (as I have said on this blog many times), I am an unapologetic BTS fan. I knew about this break before this article was even published (the power of Twitter). Also, hearing that BTS are going to be on break fills my heart with so much joy and I will happily explain why.

This will be BTS’s first official break since when they first debuted. They debuted in 2013. That was six years ago! Can you imagine not being given an official break in six years??? Think about all the things you would have missed out on. Milestones in the lives of your friends, the freedom to go on holiday as you please or even being able to relax with your family. All those basic life luxuries go out of the window when you are not given a break from work. Most of us would riot in the streets if we were not given our contracted annual leave days.

Now, this is not to say that BTS has not had a moment’s rest in 6 years however, the ‘official’ part of the statement means that their break cannot go interrupted. That means if there is an award show (the VMAs cough cough), tv appearances or any other type of engagement, BTS is not obligated to turn up because (say it with me now) they are on holiday.

I feel like I keep having to explain to people that the Korean music industry operates very differently to the Western music industry. In the West, you can have artists like Beyoncé or Rihanna, have a 3-year gap between albums and no one except slightly disgruntled fans will complain. In those same 3 years, a South Korean group can have 4 comebacks, two solo mixtapes from certain members and have a subunit album. This is while doing variety shows, performing at multiple awards shows and mentally preparing to go to the army (if you are a man).

Some of these idols are burnt out and suffering from health conditions like Shindong from Super Junior and Kihyun from Monsta X. It should come as no surprise that BTS’s fanbase is ecstatic that the guys are going to be extending their break. If I had my way, BTS would be out of commission for a year. However, I know that with the growing popularity of the group and the looming decision of whether the guys will be going to the military or not, I know that a year break is unlikely to happen. So, I will take what I can get.

Let’s be honest, ARMY has been overfed this year. In the space of the 8 months, BTS released their new album ‘Map of the Soul: Persona’, went on a sold-out stadium world tour, did several tv appearances in South Korea, the USA, and the UK. They released BTS World (an app game) which came with its own soundtrack that featured songs with the group, Charli XCX, Zara Larson and Juice WRLD.

Just last week Bring the Soul: the movie came out in cinemas across the world and V gave us a surprise music video for his solo song ‘Winter Bear’. I haven’t even mentioned anything about their Muster Anniversary show or RUN BTS the variety show. The point I’m trying to make this that BTS has produced enough content to the last the fandom well over a year.

BTS deserve to eat, sleep and be merry. And if any of you see them on road, walk the other way and mind your business. They’ll be back in October.

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Love Island, The Black Little Mermaid & Black Girl Magic on the Tennis Court

Halle Bailey cast to play Ariel Disney’s Live-Action Little Mermaid

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Congratulations are in order to Halle Bailey from the duo Chloe x Halle, who has been cast to play Ariel in the Disney live-action adaption of the Little Mermaid. I personally believe that Halle is more than capable of pulling off the role. The 19-year-old already has a lot under her belt. She is Grammy nominee, signed to Beyoncé’s label: Parkwood Entertainment, was the opening act for US leg of On The Run II tour and stars in the hit TV show Grown-ish.

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This is not the first time that a black woman has been cast to play Disney princess in a live action adaption. Brandy was the first, with her outstanding performance as Cinderella in 1997 and Bailey is the second more than 20 years later.

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The bar has been set high with Halle Bailey joining a cast that includes Jacob Tremblay and Awkwafina, while Melissa McCarthy is in talks to play Ursula. On a side note, who at Disney do I need to petition to get Park Jimin from BTS to play Prince Eric?

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Love Island

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*SPOILER ALERT*

Fire and brimstone has rained down upon the villa. This week has been a complete whirlwind on Love Island and I am still in recovery. Needless to say, the men on the island are moving mad! Curtis tried to recouple with new girl Jourdan. Only to get his face cracked because she decided to couple up with Danny (more power to her because the British public has not forgotten what he did to Yewande). We watched in horror as Amy, who had been geared up to profess her love for Curtis, was told that their relationship was lacking, and he still wanted to pursue Jourdan.

As for the Michael & Amber situation, someone please nominate Michael for an Oscar because he has clearly been playing a role this whole time. The person who he has presented himself to be up until Casa Amour is completely different from the person we are seeing now. I am not saying that Amber has been perfect. I personally believe that she needs to learn some emotional intelligence. However, Michael’s conduct towards her has been abhorrent.

We all know that the premise of Love Island is find love (hopefully) and win money. Michael simply could have done what Anna did with Jordan. Which was take Amber to the side and admitted that he had a better connection with Joanna. Instead, he has been gaslighting the situation and has been dragging Amber’s name through the mud for days. Yet he wonders why the original girls of the island aren’t willing to hold hands and sing Kumbaya with him.

This behavior is toxic, and I sincerely hope that the Love Island producers have a therapist on standby for Amy & Amber. And I need that therapist to remind the ladies of the wise words of Rihanna.

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Cori ‘Coco’ Gauff beats Venus Williams

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At age 15, I was praying to get good grades in my GCSEs . At age 15, Cori ‘Coco’ Gauff has set a record by becoming the youngest player to qualify for the main draw of Wimbledon in the professional era. The rising star also beat her idol, Venus Williams and had a straight-set victory, 6-3 6-3 over Magdalena Rybarikova. What a way to come out of the gates swinging.

The gatekeepers of tennis really had no idea what they did when they allowed Venus & Serena Williams to break through the doors. They have inspired not only Coco Guaff but Sloane Stephens, Naomi Osaka and I’m sure more are coming. Watch the space, I can’t wait to see Coco Gauff become a huge name in tennis.

Are you looking forward to the live-action Little Mermaid?

What do you think of this week’s antics in Love Island?

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The Adventures of a BTS Fan: The Wembley Stadium Edition

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The Anticipation

My body was in a state of anxiety and I could not sleep. I had gone to bed at 3 a.m, woken up at 5 a.m. Why was my body in a state of emotional turmoil, because this was the day I was going to see BTS at Wembley Stadium. You could say that I had been waiting for this day February when I had to pay my youngest to get online and buy my BTS ticket because I was at work? The reality is that I had actually been waiting for a little over a year, ever since I discovered BTS.

I arrived at Wembley just before 1pm and was immediately confronted with several giant banners of BTS, the 7 men who would make me question everything I’d ever thought. The banners started at the tunnel leading out of Wembley Park underground station and ended at the stadium itself. As I took a picture of Jimin’s banner, I muttered to myself

“Girl you are not ready for this.”

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The interesting thing about being a BTS fan ( also known as Army) is that, despite selling out the first date for London in 90 minutes, despite having three Billboard number one albums in less than a year (something that has not been done since the Beatles), many people still don’t know who BTS are. Many people try and berate fans for listening to a group who do not sing/rap in English. Therefore, I really appreciate Bangtan UK for organising the BTS preparty at Wembley BoxPark. It was a place where the Army was able to fellowship together, to eat together and dance to music by Korean artists. Shout out to the fans there who knew each and every piece of choreography that BTS, BlackPink, EXO, and Big Bang have ever done. They were fun to watch.

 

After making new friends, buying a lightstick (also known as an Army Bomb) and ensuring I had been to the toilet several times, I made my way to my seat. There is something truly special about Army, while we were waiting for the guys to come on stage, their music videos (MVs) were playing on the big screen. Why we were singing at the top of our lungs as if the concert had already started, I don’t know.

The Concert Begins

It was a peaceful time until a video of BTS wearing Greek robes and suits came onto the screen. I knew this meant one of two things. One, “Dionysis” would surely be the opening song. Two, I was in danger. These men were surely about to rip my soul from my body. I was having palpitations just from this opening video because in case you didn’t know, BTS are visual KINGS! Out of nowhere, two enormous silver Siberian Tigers (the official animal of South Korea) appear on the stage and “Dionysis” begins. When RM asked if we were ready to get hyped up, I screamed out

“NO!”

The Individual Members

My advice to anyone going to a BTS concert is don’t go in there thinking that you have favourite member. Abandon all ideas of a bias because the things those 7 men do on stage will have you rethinking your entire existence:

Jungkook: This boy lifted up his shirt twice times during “Fake Love” and as far as I’m concerned, he was the tamest of all the members.

Taehyung: This man is the enemy of my progress. He decided he was going to murder 60,000 people with his baritone. I was prepared for him to do the intro to “Singularity” (which is already the sexiest song on the setlist) with the coat stand. I was not prepared for him to do the intro on a bed! You are a dangerous man Kim Taehyung and you know it! Not to mention we got the return of headband Taehyung during Mic Drop. An ode to the DNA era which was Tae in Super Saiyan form.

Jimin: The duality of this man. He will make you think that he is cute and harmless, but it is a lie! He gave us the body rolls of life during “Fire” but where I lost my mind was during his solo performance of “Serendipity”. He lifted his shirt and I froze. I stopped waving my Army bomb. I just stood there with my mouth wide open until drool started dripping down my chin.

RM: As the leader of BTS I blame him for all of this and yet I would marry him if the opportunity arose. Who gave him permission to go that hard during “Silver Spoon” (Baepsae)? He attacked us. Yes, I appreciated it but who told him it was okay?

J-hope: The King of stage presence. Whoever selected that Dior Harness for him during “Outro: Tear” should be knighted! He looked like a Supreme King. You mere mortals could never with the dance captain.

Suga: I would pay my taxes to him. He is an amazing rapper and he was showing off all his lyrical skills. However, where he made me salivate was during the video montage of himself and Jin. How did I feel attacked by video footage of him simply WALKING?

Jin: There is a reason he is called Worldwide Handsome (or as the Brits now say, Worldwide PengTing). He stared at us at the of Epiphany. He simply looked at us and I was ready to dedicate my womb him.

High Voltage Energy

I could write a dissertation about why BTS are some of the most visually pleasing men I’ve ever seen in my life but that would do a disservice to this concert. BTS work so hard at their craft and they put on an incredible show. The rap line came out spitting bars, the vocal line was on job and even their background dancers did not come to play any games. This was demonstrated in their solo songs, the sub-unit stages and the songs where the 7 of them came together.The commitment they gave during performances such as “So What,” “Idol” and “Fake Love” was so infectious that we are an audience were determined to match their energy. You would have thought I was trying to audition to be a member of BTS with the way I was committed to the choreography of Mic Drop.

Not to mention, the boys are so entertaining, and their comradery is lovely to witness. They were having fun doing English accents, they acted out spells from Harry Potter using a BTS lightstick in place of a wand and watching them play on the bouncy castle during Anpanman was adorable. We engaged in doing multiple Mexican waves with our lightsticks and Jin lead the crowd in doing the classic Freddie Mercury “Ay Oh” chant.

However, the most moving part of the night was when the most moving part of the night was during the encore. Before their performance of “Mikrokosmos”, the crowd made up of 60,000 surprised the band with a singalong to the chorus of “Young Forever”. It is a very emotional song. The group was so shocked that half of the members (Jungkook, Jimin & J-Hope) cried and so did a good number of us in the crowd.

 

It was an emotional end to a perfect night.

The Adventures of a BTS Fan: The BT21 London Pop Up Shop

 

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The 28th of May was finally here. After months of begging and pleading on Instagram, the BT21 Pop Up Shop in London had arrived and if you thought I was not to going to get my merchandise, you were sadly mistaken. I would have saddled a horse into London if necessary. Now you are probably wondering why I was so hellbent on getting BT21 merchandise. I’ll break it down into three simple points. One, I am an unapologetic BTS stan. Two, the BT21 merch is adorable and it is not being sold at the upcoming concert this weekend. Three, there is no BT21 shop in the UK so its either fly to the LA or Seoul store. Now that you are familiar with the reasons for my quest, I am going to share six things that I learned from today’s adventure.

  1. Be patient and check Twitter

I arrived in Camden Market at 10:45am and I was confronted with a queue that could rival the wait time of a car accident on the M25 in rush hour. It’s okay though because scrolling through Twitter on the way to the venue had prepared me for the wait ahead of me. Originally, I had mentally prepped myself to be in line an hour, but Lucy Ford’s tweets told me that one singular hour was wishful thinking on my part. Come on, this is BTS.

Which leads me onto my next point…

2. Come prepared
Come in flat shoes. Bring a power bank to charge your phone. Go to the toilet before getting in line. Stay dehydrated. Bring an umbrella because this is England. The British weather is as reliable as Lauryn Hill turning up to a concert on time.

  1. Like it or not, you may end up being a BTS ambassador

Now I’m in this line, waiting for 2 hours to get into this one shop and there countless people staring at us. Who can blame them, there were lines of people being ushered by crowd control security. I had to explain to one passerby why we were there, who BTS was and what BT21 was. I also had to explain to BT21 store staff, BTS’s brand of music and how BT21 came into existence. Thankfully rewatching the creation of BT21 an unhealthy amount of times on Youtube had prepared me for this mission.

  1. Fan Chants

There is a time and a place for everything. I wholeheartedly stand by those wise words by King Solomon. I learned something new about myself and that is I actually cannot stand fan chants. Unless we are at a concert or BTS is performing on a specific stage such as the BBMAs or Graham Norton, I don’t want to hear it. You can imagine how irritated my soul when I could hear fans chanting the boys’ names inside the shop itself. For what?

  1. The Black Girl Alliance

The Black Girl Alliance is real and it can take place anywhere. The most common way the alliance can be formed is over hair. This happened to me when I complimented my fellow sister black & green hair. The colours blended beautifully and I had to tell her. We ended up in a conversation about hair and our distress in trying to get tickets for the BTS concert. Despite Ticketmaster being the enemy of progress, we both are going to see BTS this weekend. Also, shout out to the sister who worked in the shop, who let me try on the hoodies to see if they fit me properly. She also didn’t have a clue who BTS was but got converted in one morning, off the strength of working in the BT21 shop.

  1. There is Fellowship in the fandom

Army is an interesting and fun fandom to be a part of. I want to shout out to the girls who had the good sense to bring their Bluetooth speaker. They blasted Cypher Part 4 twice and Go Go, which had us dancing and singing along while we waited. They certainly made my time more enjoyable when I had to turn off my phone to conserve battery.

Also, the girl saw that the camera quality on my phone was inadequate, so she took pictures for me and sent them to my phone. Army fellowship is a unique experience that was not limited to age, race or gender. We were united in our appreciation of seven Korean guys who are going to shake the stands of Wembley stadium come the 1st & 2nd June 2019.

 

 

 

 

I hope you enjoyed my BT21 story

The Weather Report: Monkey Tweets, The MET Gala & Fenty Beauty

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Danny Baker fired from BBC over royal baby monkey tweet

Do you remember the time when Kate Middleton gave birth to three children and people started posting memes about monkeys in suits? Oh, wait, that never happened. Archie Harrison Mountbatten Windsor, son of the Duke & Duchess of Sussex has not even been out the womb a week and the racists could not hold back. Danny Baker who worked for BBC 5Live (I say worked in past tense because he was sacked this morning by the BBC), tweeted a picture of the royal baby leaving the hospital as a chimp in a suit.

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Referring to a black person as a monkey is one of the laziest and unimaginative forms of racism. A blind man with half a brain can see that kind of racism from a mile away. For Danny Baker to state that the tweet was nothing more than “stupid unthinking gag pic” is an insult to everyone’s intelligence. This really speaks to the way a lot of people in British media feel about Meghan Markle and her child, who are of mixed heritage. Despite Archie Harrison being three-quarters white, due to the one drop rule, the media will treat him as the “black royal baby.” There will undoubtedly be more of this level of ignorance throughout Archie Harrison’s life and it is sad. However, I am very happy that Danny Baker got sacked. Since he has plenty of time on his hands now, he can visit the London zoo and learn the difference between monkeys and humans.

The MET Gala

Since my very first post was about the MET Gala, it is only fitting that I write about it again. This year’s theme was Camp (which Lena Waithe rightly reminded us was started by Black Drag Queens) and did the celebrities show up and show out. We were denied the presence of the reigning MET Gala Queen, Rihanna but everyone else brought their A-Game.

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Zendaya

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Prikanya Chopra & Nick Jonas asoulfulstormjanellemonaeJanelle Monae

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Can we also shout out the male celebrities who seemed more committed to the Camp theme than in previous years theme’s, where they bore us half to death by only wearing black Armani suits. I really believe that I should at least be security for the MET Gala because if you do not keep to the theme and want to show up in a regular dress, you should be sent home. I am a firm believer in following colour schemes & themes at parties.

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Darren Criss, Harry Styles, Billy Porter, Jared Leto & Ezra Miller

Fenty Beauty is coming to Boots

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Speaking of Rihanna, she continues to give traditional make-up brands a run for their money. Boots UK announced that it will be launching Rihanna’s global beauty brand, Fenty Beauty in selected stores and online as part of its plans to transform the face of high street beauty. This takes place from the 10th May and I could not be any more thrilled because Harvey Nichol is far from where I live.

* Fenty Beauty will be available from the following Boots stores:

 

Bath Southgate, Blanchardstown, Bluewater, Brent Cross, Bromley, Cambridge, Canary Wharf, Cardiff, Chelmsford, Derby, Dudley Merry Hill, Exeter, Glasgow Braehead, Glasgow Fort, Kingston, Hull-end May, Leeds, Leicester (Fosse Park), Lincoln, Liverpool Clayton Street, London Sedley Place, London St Pancras, London White City, Manchester Trafford Centre, Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Nottingham, Oxford, Piccadilly Circus, Plymouth, Reading and West Thurrock.

Baby Sussex Is Here

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I will always appreciate the stance that the Duke & Duchess of Sussex have taken in ensuring that they control their own narrative and do things their own way as much as possible. This was further cemented today when Prince Harry personally gave the announcement that Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, had given birth to a baby boy.

As I also predicated on my previous post, we also found out about Baby Sussex via an Instagram post. This is a huge poke in the eye to the British media, who are used to receiving the news of royal births first hand from outside of Buckingham Palace. What a way to keep up with the millennials.

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The name of the baby is unknown, and we are yet to see pictures of the child who is seventh in line to the throne. Like I said, Prince Harry & Meghan Markle have thrown tradition to the side when it comes to how their child will be introduced to the world. We will see pictures of the baby in two days’ time when they are ready to come forward as a family. In the meantime, we hope that both mother and baby are healthy and happy.