Magnificent Seven: Chloe x Halle Are Grown & Sexy

Chloe x hally do it

We are living in uncertain times. Boris Johnson is sending four, six, and eleven year olds to the front lines of  Coronavirus. Donald Trump is advising his citizenship to inject themselves with bleach to keep Covid-19 away and Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, is on the fast track to becoming a trillionaire. What a time to consider eating the rich.

However, if there is one thing that has been keeping the spirits of the common folk alive, it’s music. Whether it comes from TikTok dance challenges (Don’t Rush, Savage challenge). New remixes dropping (Doja Cat feat. Nicki Minaj), or artists now holding online concerts (BTS with Bang Bang Con), it cannot be denied that music has been a source of joy for us all. I am going to share what songs have been getting me through the lockdown. Here is this week’s magnificent seven:

Chloe x Halle – Do It

The prodigies of Beyonce have returned with their new single ‘Do It’. Aside from the sister duo upholding the reign of Black Girl Magic in the lockdown. I have really enjoyed the girls are transitioning to a grown & sexy imagine without looking extreme and tacky.

Kelly Rowland – Coffee

Speaking of grown & sexy, I will not let anyone forget that Kelly Rowland dropped a new single on 16th April. Kelly Rowland is renowned for talking dirty on songs in a way that doesn’t make me want to scrub myself with soap. The music video (MV) is a celebration of black women of all different shapes, hairstyles, all while wearing Nubian Skin. Thanks for reminding me that I need to make some purchases from their website Kelly. #supportblackbusiness

TXT – Can’t You See Me

The children of BigHit have returned! Tomorrow by Together (TXT) had their comeback yesterday, 18th May, and their lead single ‘Can’t You See Me’ and it did not disappoint. The little brothers of BTS have not played a game with their music since the day they debuted. The single takes on a darker tone from what we are used from them to but I love it.

6lack & Quin – Mushroom Chocolate

I will admit that I have never heard of this song until Lisa from BlackPink did a dance video to this song, and had the entire Kpop community sweating. The couple gave us smooth R&B which also blends jazzy electronics. I highly recommend you adding to your Slow Jamz playlist. Fair warning, this video is PG 13+. You have been warned.

I also thought I’d be cheeky and show you Lisa’s dance video too.

ONEWE- 모르겠다고 (Q) Feat Hwasa

South Korean rock band ONEWE dropped a collaboration with their labelmate Hwasa from MAMAMOO. Tell me, how often do you hear of Rock -R&B? Their vocals blended exquisitely together, which should come as no surprise since Hwasa does not make bad songs. Ever.

IU feat Suga – Eight

Speaking of an artist who has never made a bad song. When Suga (BTS) announced that he had featured and produced a song for the critically acclaimed IU (aka Lee Ji-Eun), the Twitter timeline combusted. I don’t think anyone could have predicted these two legendary artists coming together. I’m sure we all thought that Jungkook (BTS) would work with her first. ‘Eight’ is an upbeat, airy song that talks about being 28 years old.

Megan The Stallion feat. Beyoncé – Savage remix

This song needs no introduction. Beyonce just proved once again that we will only be sick of a song when she declares it so. This is also a real remix where the verses have been redone, not where an additional verse has been slotted into the song. The Savage remix is sitting comfortably at number 2 on the Billboard Top 100. Right behind Doja Cat & Nicki Minaj. Making it the first time in the history of the charts that black women have sat on the first and second spots . Didn’t I tell you that Black women are reigning supreme?

🚨Episode 14 Itaewon Class Review feat @veramor from @hearthenoisepod!!!

Fighting for a man’s heart: Do we upgrade him (Team Yi Seo) or wait for him to build his empire (Team Soo Ah)?

#asoulfulstorm #asoulfulstormpodcast #podcast #itaewonclass #parkseojoon #kdrama #kpoppodcast #ukpodcast #blackpodcasts #podcastersofinstagram #dopeblackpods #blackbritishpodcast #spotifypodcast #anchorpodcast https://www.instagram.com/p/B-_5EIVJr5J/?igshid=w71oxhobtdbo

The Surprise MV for Black Swan: Five Ways BTS Have Trolled ARMY This Comeback

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BTS and the staff BigHit have proven once again that they love planting their feet on the entertainment industry’s neck and enjoy watching ARMY going into a state of hysteria anytime they drop anything new. Especially when they do it without warning. In honour of this new MV that they had the audacity to release today, I have compiled a list of the top five ways BTS have trolled ARMY during the comeback for Map of the Soul:7.

  1. BTS dropped a surprise MV for Black Swan

Excuse me BTS & BigHit but how dare you! You gave us a Comeback Map with all the dates of everything to expect from this comeback. Yet you decided that you wanted to watch ARMY get into a state of confusion and panic by dropping an unexpected music video for Black Swan. Black Swan is not even the lead single. This is Beyoncé level of trolling; who do you think you are?

  1. CONNECT BTS

Remember when BigHit gave the public a calendar of all of BTS’s upcoming promotional events and it said CONNECT BTS for London, New York, Seoul, Berlin, and Buenos Aires. The problem was that no one knew what CONNECT BTS was so UK fans went to Piccadilly Circus and waited for a sign that never came. Only to find out online that CONNECT BTS is a global project to connect five cities and twenty-two artists, each of whom contributes their unique philosophy, imagination and who resonated with BTS’ philosophy.

  1. ON Kinetic Manifesto Film

The confusion of ON (the lead single) having two music videos and ARMY could not decipher whether the fandom was meant to make a concerted effort to make the Kinetic Manifesto Film the most streamed video in the history of YouTube or if we needed to wait for the 27th February.

  1. ON: The Official MV

I could use this entire blog to talk about how ON’s official MV is a cinematic masterpiece and should win Video of the Year at the upcoming VMAs. However, the video is filled with different film, literary and Biblical references that had Twitter buzzing at what message BTS was trying to convey. Everything from Noah’s Ark, The Maze Runner, The Lion King, Lord of the Flies and Bird Box was debated. Theories were flying left to right and we need BTS to tell us what everything means. We are tired of feeling dumb.

Taehyung’s address to the neck tattoo that he sported in both MVs is proof that these seven men enjoy watching their fans try and to decode their every move.

  1. BTS on Carpool Karaoke

This was not too big a deal, but I did not appreciate how BigHit and the Late Late Show made us wait so long for confirmation that BTS was going to feature on Carpool Karaoke. They had already appeared on the show to debut the performance for Black Swan, so for a while it idea of the group appearing on the famous segment was things of dreams. However, it was worth the wait as we got to see BTS singing along to Bruno Mars, nickname Corden “Papa Mochi” and watch Jimin teach Hollywood Housewives their choreography.

BigHit needs to be commended for planning what can only be described as an impeccable comeback befitting for the Kings of Kpop. Between the release of Interlude Shadow, Outro: Ego, CONNECT BTS, and Black Swan, BigHit has ensured that the world kept their eyes firmly focused on BTS the 10th January 2020 and my mere mortal brain cannot begin to imagine what they have planned for the remainder of the year.

What have you been your highlights of this comeback so far?

Remembering the life of Kobe Bryant

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On Sunday 26th January, it was announced that Kobe Bryant had died in a helicopter crash. Bryant was one of nine people who died when the helicopter he was in crashed on a hillside in Calabasas, California. The victims included Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter and rising basketball star Gianna as well as John Altobelli, his wife Keri and his daughter Alyssa.

Let me take a breath because I’m struggling not to cry as I write this. This is so horrifying and upsetting. Basketball fans, the Black community, friends and people who just knew of the brilliance of Kobe Bryant are devastated. How can we not be? He was one of the great athletes to ever live and he inspired an entire generation of athletes. Who else remembers trying the throw a paper ball into a bin yelling “Kobe”? If we are devastated, then I cannot begin to imagine what Kobe’s wife Vanessa is going through. To lose your husband tragically at the age of 41 is one thing but to lose your child too… I can only imagine it is as though one’s worst nightmare has come to life.

A lot of the press coverage surrounding the death of Bryant has been questionable at best and deplorable at worst. From TMZ reporting of Bryant’s death on social media before the family was informed or the BBC using Lebron James’ image in the tribute instead of the deceased is beyond incompetent.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-51259479

I am expecting lawsuits for TMZ and heads to roll at the BBC. Can you imagine finding out about the death of your loved one on Twitter and then having one of the reputable news sources prove that their staff doesn’t know how to Google search? I am willing to bet that if David Beckham were to tragically pass, the BBC would not use three video clips of Steven Gerrard.

Despite the nonsense of the press coverage, it does not take away that Kobe Bryant was a hero to many and will never be forgotten. Fans have been paying tribute to him throughout LA, basketball players current and retired and there were several tributes to him at the Grammys awards. These included songs by Alicia Keys & Boys II Men and him being included in the tribute to Nipsey Hustle. Even the Empire State Building lit up in the Lakers colours of purple & yellow in Bryant’s honour.

Here is my tribute to Black Mamba:

I remember the first time I saw Kobe Bryant. It must have been in 2000/2001. I was watching the music channels and Destiny’s Child’s video for Bug A Boo came on. I loved Destiny’s Child so I sat and watched it. I was drawn in as the then DC4 hid in a men’s locker room to escape their “bug a boo” boyfriends and in that locker room was Kobe Bryant. I thought he was gorgeous. At that moment he came more important to me than Beyoncé & Kelly. I later found out that he wasn’t an actor for the video but the famous Lakers player, Kobe Bryant. So, I became a Lakers fan of the strength of his cameo on Bug A Boo. I used to stay up until the early hours of the morning to watch the Lakers play. Kobe was the reason I became invested in basketball. I even bought the official Kobe jersey when I was 15 in Hamburg, Germany. He is the reason I love Basketball and used to table official games for extra money at University.

The death of Kobe Bryant is a painful reminder that life is not guaranteed, and death is not a respecter of person. All I can say is that we should live life to the full, fulfill our purpose, be kind to everyone and tell the people who mean something to us how much we love them.

Please remember the Bryant and Altobelli family in your prayers. They will need them.

Mamba Out

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Meghan & Harry’s Long Walk To Freedom, BTS Performing at the Grammys & Love Island Is Boring This Year

Prince Harry and Meghan Duchess of Sussex visit to Canada House, London, UK - 07 Jan 2020

In case you have been living under a rock, I’m sure that you know by now that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have decided to leave the Royal Family. At this point aliens on Jupiter have heard the news given the amount of noise the British media have made about it. The Duke & Duchess of Sussex have decided to give up being senior members of the Royal Family and will be splitting their time between North America and the UK. What made me chuckle was the fact that the other members of the Royal household found out about it the same way that the rest of us did, via their website. How very Beyoncé of them.

This begs the questions, why would they do such a thing? Well those of us who are Black British would say that the answer is incredibly obvious. There has been a smear campaign against Meghan Markle since she was rumoured to be dating Prince Harry and things because considerably worse when she became pregnant. All of this has been steeped in the language of ‘dog-whistle politics’ with articles criticising Meghan for guest editing Vogue, eating avocados and holding her pregnant belly.  Now I am not going to argue whether Meghan Markle has been experiencing racism from the British media because it the answer is clear. Buzzfeed news put together a wonderful article where they compared news articles of situations whether Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle would be the exact same thing but where Kate would receive praise, Meghan would receive scathing remarks.

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/ellievhall/meghan-markle-kate-middleton-double-standards-royal

Not to mention her son was compared to a  “chimp in a suit” by BBC 5 Live presenter. Prince Harry has also written two letters calling out the press’s racism, so the debate of whether their decision to leave was based upon racism is null & void.

What Meghan and Harry have done by publicly deciding to step away from the Royal Family is declare to the world that there façade of England being a racially safe haven is a lie and now several media publications have been falling on their swords to declare that they are not racist. There is just “something about Meghan they don’t like.” Would anyone like to take a wild guess as to what that ‘something’ is?

What is frustrating is how black scholars, broadcasters and lecturers, such as Afua Hirsch and Dr. Shola Mos-Shogbamimu are being carted out onto programs such as This Morning and Channel 4 news to explain the racism that was so glaringly obvious. It is an insult to our intelligence. It is bad enough that in the UK Black and Brown people are subjected to racism and are to navigate our way through it in silence. Then when incidents like this happen, we have to explain what racism is and defend ourselves when people on the other side refuse to believe that anything outside of saying the N-word isn’t racism. It’s draining and if it is taking a toll on the average Black Briton then one can only imagine the mental turmoil that Meghan Markle has been under. Yet she is expected to take the abuse and bullying in silence.

Maybe we should not be surprised that a country where an overwhelming majority was given to Boris Johnson, a man who openly and unapologetically used racist and Islamophobic language, would harass the first biracial woman who married into the Royal Family. I should add that the excuse that Meghan is ‘arrogant, manipulative and an American’ is hardly a defense against the slander she is receiving. Aside from the fact that many of the people, like Eamonn Holmes, are making comments about the Duchess’s character have not had a conversation with her or even been invited to be in the same room as her. Why are people acting as though the fact that Meghan Markle is a United States citizen is a reason to berate her? So, racism is bad but casual xenophobia is fine? This country baffles me. The latest news is that Meghan and Harry will be stripped of their title of Duke & Duchess but if losing their Royal titles ensures the stability and mental health of their family then I am with them until the end.

BTS Are Performing At The Grammy

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It has been confirmed that BTS will be gracing the Grammys with their presence for the second year in a row. Only this time, they will not be attending as presenters but as performers. RM did warn you that they would be back.

In a feature article written about Lil Nas X,  Variety confirmed that BTS would be joining him on stage alongside Diplo, Young Thug, Mason Ramsey, Billy Ray Cyrus, and the OG Nas. Do I for one think that BTS deserves their own stage, absolutely. However, I am grateful to Lil Nas X to opening his platform to share with the sensational seven. Old Town Road beat Mariah Carey’s record for the longest standing single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart so he is under no obligation to share his stage with anyone.

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Fans are certainly excited to see what the outcome of this performance will be.  Ariane Grande posted a picture of herself and BTS at the Grammy rehearsals.

None of this negates the scandal that has broken out about the Grammys with their voting irregularities stemming from the board, who don’t promote a transparent nomination process, and the Recording Academy president Deborah Dugan being put on administrative leave. It’s no secret that the Grammys have a history of racism and homophobia which likely plays a huge part in why BTS was not nominated this year. That being said, fans know it has been a dream of BTS to perform at the Grammys so if they like it, we love it.

Love Island

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I don’t know what everyone else is thinking about this season of Winter Love Island but I am getting a little bored and I need them to inject some drama. All I have seen so major insecurity red flags on the part of Small Connor and Shaughna (although she is hilarious), pathological lies from Sophie and delusions of grandeur from Siannise. There is not a single couple that makes sense. I don’t know what Sophie & Small Connor are doing and Shaughna has practically strongarmed Callum into a relationship. At this point in the game, I am backing Nas to win. He has taken so many Ls but he sweet and is the least dramatic person on the show.

Please comment on your thoughts on the Meghan and Harry situation

Are you looking forward to seeing BTS perform at the Grammys?

Is this season of Love Island boring or do you think it will get better?

Please also listen to asoulfulstorm podcast which is available on Spotify

Niki & Sammy Interview on Kpop in the UK, Award snubs & Simon Cowell’s attempt to rival Kpop.

Niki and Sammy

My journey into the world of Kpop might have been a little smoother if I had known about Niki & Sammy earlier. If you want a funny yet intelligent conversation about BTS, BlackPink or the way the western world perceives music not sung in English, they are people to turn to.

Niki & Sammy are twins, Youtubers and the go to source for understanding Kpop in the UK. The siblings have a Youtube channel called TTK (Twins Talk Kpop), where they discuss everything from South Korean music, dispelling the myth of what age demographic enjoys the genre and fighting for mainstream acceptance of Kpop in the UK. This is fresh off the heels of their podcast (Peachy Podcast), which airs on BBC Radio 1. The series featured interviews with several high-profile guests including Steve Aoki, Monsta X, and Tiffany Young.

I had the opportunity to interview Niki & Sammy and ask them about the current climate of Kpop, their thoughts on Simon Cowell’s attempt to rival the thriving genre and award snubs.

 

Tasha: How did both of you get into Kpop and which songs were your initiation into the genre?

Sammy: I love answering this question because a lot of people assume we only have a surface knowledge of the genre! Our “way in” was back in 2014/2015 with a second generation Kpop group called SHINee.

Niki: SHINee combined all of our favourites sounds of pop, with the best theatrics and performance you’ll ever see. Shortly after, we discovered BTS who were on a unique journey and the newly debuted MONSTA X.

 

Tasha: As twins do you often find yourself liking the same music or was the love of Kpop a first for you?

 

Niki: Even when we’ve tried to deny it, we’ve always loved the same music. We’re both big pop fans and have always enjoyed the genre.

Sammy: Kpop combines some of the best elements of groups we loved in the 90s, with contemporary music and neither of us can get enough of it!

 

Tasha: Many fans talk about receiving negativity or push backs from family or friends once they got into Kpop, did you have similar experiences in the beginning?

 

Sammy: We’ve never experienced any negative comments from friends or family. My girlfriend loves BTS just as much as she loves “western” artists.

Niki: I think we’re living in a world where you’re allowed to enjoy a varied taste in music and with streaming platforms, geographical borders aren’t important and the national charts don’t determine our listening habits anymore.

 

Tasha: Why do you think so many media publications are quick to stigmatise BTS’s fanbase as “a bunch of screaming young girls” and invalidate their success?

 

Sammy: Because they can place it as “other,” a phenomenon. If you can successfully align a popular act with “screaming young girls” then you can dismiss it as being a result of young fan hysteria. And if you do that, it means you don’t need to find the resources to cover it effectively with sufficient knowledge.

Niki: It also helps traditional media to excuse it as a fad, because then they can just hope it disappears, instead of understanding it.

 

Tasha: Across the board (whether it be BTS, GOT7 or BlackPink) do you see a difference in the way Kpop groups treat Korean fans vs international fans and are there improvements that need to be made?

 

Sammy: One important thing to acknowledge is that fan cultures around the world are wildly different. For example, you have ssaesang fans who take things to a whole different level, but equally, there were British fans stampeding BTS’ cars once they finished their gig at the O2.

Niki: Personally, I think both audience and artist are adapting and it’s interesting to see idols interact with fans on a whole new level compared to many artists in the West.

Tasha: What do you think about the Brit Awards scraping Best International Group category after months of engaging BTS fans on Twitter?

Niki: It was a classic bait-and-switch. Changes like this aren’t made overnight, so it’s safe to assume it was planned in advance. With that knowledge in hand, perhaps it was disingenuine to tweet about BTS extensively this past 12 months. However, I would say that platforms like BRITs are always on the mission to stay relevant and so tweeting about BTS was a natural fit. The omission of the category is therefore surprising.

Tasha: And what are your thoughts on Simon Cowell trying to create UK (as a rival to Kpop)

Niki: Put into context, it’s actually not shocking that Simon is looking to create another group – he no longer has Little Mix, or One Direction, so that much is logical. Also, if you consider that Little Mix are launching a show in search of the next biggest UK band then, that too makes sense. I think his choice of wording could have been better – “UK-Pop”, or pop in general, has been sung in English for decades. Some of the biggest artists right now are also British, so I think the wording highlights perhaps insecurity in SYCO’s own journey rather than that of the UK market/export as a whole. He basically used K-Pop for clicks, but as a fandom, K-Pop is used to that.

 

Tasha: What upcoming projects do you guys have?

 

Sammy: Well our BBC Radio 1 podcast is currently on hiatus but we’re really excited about potentially starting something new with a more specific Kpop angle.

Niki: we’re also pitching to production companies for our own projects as we’re still yet to see Traditional media take Kpop seriously and that’s our goal!

 

Tasha: If you guys were to create a playlist of 10 songs that would be someone’s kpop starter pack, what songs would you add?

That’s actually a surprisingly tough question so here’s a list of what we’re listening to at the moment:

SuperM – Jopping

Stray Kids – Side effects

BTS & Charli XCX – Dreamglow

Everglow – Bon Bon chocolate

Loona – Butterfly

Taemin – move

(G)-idle – LATATA

MONSTA X – follow

BTS – Not Today

NCT 127 – Highway to heaven

 

It was a pleasure to talk to Niki & Sammy. Please make sure that you check out their channel TTK.

The Weather Report: Sulli, dead at 25 & Gina Rodriguez says the N-word

Sulli

It has been quite a week and we have a lot to talk about.

Sulli, K-pop star and actor, found dead aged 25

It saddens me that I must report that Sulli from the South Korean group f(x) was found dead on Monday 14th October 2019. It was confirmed that the cause of death was suicide. Sulli (real name Choi Jin-ri) was a standout beauty in the girl group f(x) under K-pop’s biggest agency SM Entertainment. Choi and her the band members deviated from K-pop’s ‘cute look’ and were known for singles such as “Rum Pum Pum Pum” and Electric Shock”

Sulli was a singer, songwriter and actress but had been subjected to malicious comments since her departure from f(x)’s promotions for 2014 album Red Light. Citing both mental and physical fatigue from continuous comments and rumors that followed her.

Today it was reported by media outlet World Today, that a bill referred to as the “Sulli Act” was proposed by lawmakers to counter malicious comments and it is being supported 200 celebrities. I’m glad that action is finally being taken to get real legislation in place to protect South Korean celebrities from online hate, but it shouldn’t have taken Sulli dying to spring people into action.

On a side note, I would like Western publication to stop trying to scandalise South Korean celebrities at every juncture of their lives and careers. I understand that the Far East is a section of the world that you’ve probably never paid attention to. However, due to the growing audience, the need for “clicks” you are now forced to report on POC celebrities that you may not care about. Fair, but you are paid to do a job and it will not hurt you to be respectful. There is no need to constantly bring up Sulli’s “braless scandal” (as the BBC felt it necessary to mention), Jonghyun’s death or “the dark side of Kpop.”

Mental health is a serious issue and I did not see any publications write something so sinister when Robin Williams committed suicide. There was no reporting of his “scandals” or “the dark side of Hollywood”. A young woman lost her life at the tender age of 25. Stop trying to scandal South Korean celebrities even in their deaths.

Gina Rodriguez said the n-word then offers a weak apology

Gina Rod

Last night on 15th October, Gina Rodriguez, star of Jane The Virgin, found herself being dragged through the internets’ street. Why do you ask? Because she uploaded a video on Instagram of herself getting her make-up done, singing along to the Fugees “Ready Or Not” and sang the N-word.

What gives me pause is not the fact that Rodriguez said the N-word. It’s the fact that she was reckless enough to post this on her own social media platform. She was not tripped up by a reporter in an interview. She did this to herself which makes me wonder if she says the N-word so often that she forgot that she has thousands of followers.

This not the first time that Rodriguez has let her anti-blackness rear its ugly head. During the promotional run of “Black Panther”, she tweeted, “Marvel and DC are killing it in inclusion and women, but where are the Latinos?! Asking for a friend…” despite Afro Latinx actresses Zoe Saldana and Tessa Thompson both starring in Marvel films.

In 2018, she also spoke over her black “Smallfoot” co-star Yara Shahidi during a junket interview. When the interviewer asked Shahidi how she felt about being a role model to black women, Rodriguez interrupted and said: “So many women.”

Later in 2017, Rodriguez posted an Instagram photo from an all-Latina women brunch with the caption: “Fiercely Latina. #LatinaPower.” Given that only fair-skinned Latinas were present, observers were quick to wonder where the Afro Latinx representation was.

You get the picture, Gina is problematic and her apology was so disingenuous that she should have just kept to herself. You can see that her PR team had to swoop and made her write a second apology that was slightly better but as far as I’m concerned, Miss Rodriguez is canceled.

I’m sure people will debate whether Black people should be saying the N-word either or if it should be said in rap sounds. Regardless, that is for us as a people to decide. If you are not Black you have no space or room in this debate. It is not for you to say. Period!

I’m going to add the link to Kevonstage’s synopsis of Gina’s apology because it summarises how I feel perfectly.

Please comment on your thoughts on Gina’s comments. Is anti Black?

Could SM have done more to protect Sulli and are you an f(x) fan?

Please also listen to asoulfulstorm podcast which is available on Spotify

If you have suicidal thoughts or need to talk someone please contact Samaritans on 116 123