Three Reasons Why Beyonce Is a Better Performer Than Your Fav.

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*If you haven’t seen OTRII and plan to, there are spoilers below*

It has taken me a solid week to come down from my On The Run  2 high. I am still recovering from the fact that I have FINALLY seen Beyonce live… and her husband. I can safely say without a shadow of a doubt Beyonce is the greatest performer of this generation and I will happily break down why. Excuse me while I stan.

Reason 1: Beyonce is a vocal beast.

The Queen B already had a very nice voice and she is certainly better than most of the artists that have been in mainstream music post 2009. I say 2009 because that’s the year Michael Jackson died and I believe that he took most decent music with him (please don’t argue with my logic).

Beyonce (in Destiny’s Child) came out during a time where artists had to not only be good vocally but be entertaining on stage. If you listen back to the Dangerously In Love album and compare it to Lemonade, you cannot deny that the woman has really improved her vocals. And they were NEVER bad. I watched this Beyonce sing I Care (from the 4 album), match her voice to the electric guitar and sing in operatics on the same song! Beyonce will give the audience all these amazing vocals while doing a complex dance rountie at the same time. With the exception of a few artists such as Bruno Mars and Lady Gaga, most of the artists that were renowned for giving such performances, are no longer in the land of the living. If you are someone who appreciates good quality live vocals at a concert, you will not be disappointed at a Beyonce show.

Reason 2: Choreography & Visuals

I don’t know if you’re familiar with Beyonce’s music you should know that her routines are so much fun. I bet all of you know part of the choreography to Single Ladies, Run The World or Formation. What I enjoy about Beyonce is that even though she has legendary choreography, she’s always switching it up. The dance rountine that she does in her music video will never be the same as what she does on stage.  For example, for Crazy In Love, she performed her routine as if her and her dancers were part of a dance line at an HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) and remixed the song with Back That Ass Up.

If you have no idea what a dance line does, please watch the link below.

Now for the visuals. It is actually frightful the amount of money that Beyonce spends on her visuals for her tours. I  don’t know who in  Parkwood Entertainment (Beyonce’s company) is in charge of her visuals and camera placement, but whoever it is deserves an Oscar. Parkwood have cameras from every part of the stage and make sure that not only can you see every angle that Beyonce wants you to see. She ensures that you can see not only her but the band and dancers. It doesn’t matter if you are sitting in the highest part of the stadium, Beyoncé has ensured that you will see everything that is happening on stage.

The Queen B and Jay Z also gave the audience a mini film (shot in Jamaica) while they were doing their costume changes. It was so intriguing that if they decides to put it on Netflix, I would watch it.

The Carters also maintained a theme of pro black imagery throughout the concert that included images of Black influencers and Black Heroes. This included images of Martin Luther King Jr, Angela Davis and James Shaw Jr (the American civilian who saved people in a waffle house from a crazed shooter this year).

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Reason 3: Surprises

You never know what surprises you might get at a Beyoncé concert. She could bring out Destiny’s Child, Solange or Kendrick Lamar at concert. At the Formation tour, DJ Khalid was her opening act. At the London show, Beyoncé said that she loved performing in London and that we would be the first to see their new video for The Carters’ single Apes***. To which my sisters and I screamed for joy.

After the video ended the words NEW ALBUM OUT NOW appeared on the screen. To which I fell out!!!

Beyoncé is consistently setting the standard and then surpassing it. If you’ve listened to the new album please tell me what you’re favourite song is.

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Love Island: Alex vs Samira

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I watch TV for the same reasons that most people do; escapism. I like to be submerged into a world that I will never be a part of, for between 20 minutes to an hour. I don’t watch it to be reminded of the horrors of reality. If I wanted to do that then I would do like most African fathers and keep CNN on for 24 hours.

I had said in the previous post that I enjoyed Love Island and nothing was going to keep me from watching the remainder of the season. Well I think I’ve found a reason as to why this show and I might have to part ways. I cannot watch the humiliation of black women.

You see, watching Samira on Love Island is the perfect example of what dating is like for black women in mixed spaces and it’s uncomfortable to watch.

The housemates and the nation have taken a great deal of pity upon Alex. The boys on the show have done everything from giving him pep talks, kissing lessons and even engaging Eyal in ridiculous  conversations about stars in order to help Alex talk to Megan. I get it. When you’re on a show that is based on physical attraction and everyone is turning you down, it’s painful. It can easily knock down one’s confidence. I too felt bad for Alex. However, Samira is in the exact same position as him and I haven’t seen anyone giving a fraction  of the sympathetic energy to her, that was given to Alex.

None of the girls have tried to boost Samira’s confidence. In fact Samira has had to act like the “Mami” of the group and be the shoulder to cry on for both Rosie and Laura. Now there is a new guy in the villa and there is a tiny glimmer of hope for the poor girl, these so called “best friends” are hyping up Rosie to try and secure  the new guy. Rosie. The same girl who has been single for all of one minute and had no issue taking Adam away from Kendall. Over Samira who has been single since she got on the island.  I barely see any sympathy for Samira on the internet either but heaven forbid that she dare complain otherwise she will be labelled the angry, bitter black woman.

This show has been a reminder that we as black women can only depend on ourselves. I would have hoped that we could have relied upon the black men on show for allyship. Instead, Josh basically told his fellow sister in the struggle that she should take her lot and let Alex have his time. Thanks bro (insert eye roll).

The show is also a disappointing reminder that sometimes black men will happily abide by the beauty standards of the race totem pole ( White women, Latina women, Asain Women and Black women). Remember Wes told us that his type are blondes and brunettes. (Again, insert eye roll). Before anyone starts typing furiously to talk about “it’s okay to have your own preferences.” I know it is. I’m not silly. However, preferences are not part of ones genetic make-up. The things we are influenced by will shape our preferences. If you see that the majority of your favourites athletes and rappers are continually glorifying a particular race or shade of woman, that will play a part on who you will prefer to date. If you walk by any magazine stand and you see that 90% of the women on the front pages are white, you are indirectly being told that these women are standard of beauty. Media representation is so important. Why do you think that Ebony, Essence and BET exist?

I sincerely do not know if I can continue watching this show. At this point I’m watching Love Island with my head in my hands whenever Samira is on screen (assuming she gets any screen time at all). I want the best for her and I know that she hasn’t been perfect. I just hope for her sake that she realises that the Prince Harrys and Alexis Ohanians of this world are few and far between.

 

 

 

 

I can’t believe I like Love Island

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Let me set the scene.

My sister and I were sitting around the kitchen table making small talk and sharing Instagram memes with each other. We generally have good communication and can talk about most things. However, that evening, we were talking but not really listening to each other. To be honest, I was barely paying attention to what she had to say and I know she felt the same way about me. Why do you ask? Because Love Island was going to start in 35minutes and we were just trying to find ways to pass the time.

How on earth did I get here? Truth be told, I don’t know. I usually avoid reality TV like it’s the plague.  I don’t watch The Real Housewives of anything, Love & Hip Hop is a joke and I gave up on Big Brother after season 3. I don’t have any tolerance for X Factor, the Voice and I’m only amused by the audition phase of Britain’s Got Talent. If I’m going to take time out of my day to watch TV, then I like to watch shows that  have a script written by professionals and the characters should be played by actors and actresses. Basically I watch anything produced by Shondaland.

For me to move so far away from my convictions about reality TV is bizarre. I might be going through a quarter life crisis. However, I’m not disgusted enough in myself to stop. Why? Because I am engrossed in this mind numbing show. I am completely baffled at how most of the participants  really think they are on this show to find love.  No my darlings, you are there to attempt to win £50,000, grow your social following and somehow make a career out of that.

I have to admit that ITV have done their thing when it comes to this show. Their cliff hangers have 2.9 million of Britain’s population dedicated to that 9pm slot on ITV2. I  find myself yelling at the TV because I am baffled at how these girls cry over guys that they’ve only known for 72 hours. Watching these people is like discovering a new species. I’m basically watching Blue Planet but the human version.

Let me emphasise this again. If you think I have any intentions of giving up this program anytime soon, you are WRONG! I need to see if Alex FINALLY gets a girl! It’s brutal watching him be disregarded by all the women in the villa. The man is a doctor for crying out loud! His IQ is probably higher than everyone else in that house combined!

I also need to see that snake in the garden, Eyal, receive all  bad karma floating around in that house. There was no need for him to kiss Megan in front of Alex, the rude, disrespectful, tree hugging… let me stop.

I will also add that Samira has me out here completely conflicted. I normally (like Issa Rae) root for the black girl to win everything.giphy[1]However, I’m not sure if Samira realises that she is running a different race (no pun intended) in this love shack. It’s disheartening to watch this woman pine for guys that have zero interest in her. None of the men have any desire to be with her. Not even the black guys! If Alex and Samira had any sense, they would make a union of convenience and just aim for the money. If she can’t do that then she should do like Niall and  just come home Queen. The community can’t keep watching her take these Ls.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that Love Island may be trash TV and there is very little value in the content but I love it. Maybe I’ll come to my senses and boycott it next year.

P.S Alex may be a demon  but that plan he hatched to distract Eyal  was everything!

 

Yes, I’m late to the BTS train

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I’m a millennial. This means that  I’ve lived through some of the major transitions in how we operate through life today. I witnessed the shift from the Nokia 3310 to the Samsung S7. The transition of the CD walkman to the iPod Nano. Finally, the glory of the internet and moving from dial-up to wireless broadband (you children should be grateful that you’ll never know that struggle).

We are living in the Internet age and it is truly a beautiful place to be. The Internet has brought everyone from across the globe closer together.  What I’m enjoying is that the Western world is having to realise  that there are non English speaking cultures out there and they are LIT! YouTube has played a vital role in that realisation. Afrobeats is on the rise and K-Pop is a force to be reckoned with.

Now I will confess that I never gave anything from South Korean media  a chance until last year. My good friend, who does my hair, basically held me hostage and made me watch K-dramas (we started with Weightlifting Fairy) and I’ve been addicted ever since.

Let me tell you something about the South Koreans, THEY ARE TALENTED! Your favs should be shook. They are triple threads and this is how I discovered BTS. One of the members of their group was in a series called Hwarang. I’m aware of  this because this time, my friend from uni and my best friend, held me hostage and made me watch the entire series with them. My girls are obsessed with BTS and I  thought that we had left our days of fangirling behind us (there was a very intense B2K, B5 and NLT era). Therefore, I decided to YouTube this BTS and find out what all the fuss was about.

I fell down the rabbit hole.

I think I have listened to BTS’s song DNA no less than 100 times (no exaggeration). I’m low key trying to learn the choreography for the Mic Drop remix and I’ve watched their Billboard Award performance at least 4 times. If you put adorable looks, wonderful vocals and amazing dancing ability into a mixing bowl, the result would be BTS. These boys have music videos that individually have over 300 millions views! That’s the viewership of at least 10 Beyoncé videos combined!

I am completely enthralled by this singing/rapping group. I wish they could have challenged B2K and One Direction. I think  BTS would have won both battles and you can feel free to fight me if you don’t agree.

Please don’t even get me started on their fashion because these boys have me feeling like I’ve been walking around in a bin bag my entire life. I would love to be on their level of bold. Someone find me the name of their stylist I beg.

I may be late to the BTS train but I am on board!

 

Short hair. Oh, you do care?

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I have another rant in my hair spirit so bare with me.

I feel like I should give some back story about myself. I am an advocate of the natural hair movement. I stopped perming my hair in 2009. I stopped wearing weaves in 2011 and I cut off a large chunk of my  hair in 2012. I’m committed to the cause.

However, I had never done the Big Chop. The Big Chop is when one cuts off almost all of their hair and starts growing it from scratch. I never felt the need to. I had always expressed an interest in it but never got round to it. To be honest, it was all talk. I never wanted to cut off all my hair.  Well, I was going through a lot of stress in the Spring of 2016 and a third of my hair fell out. Therefore, I was confronted with my fear of finding out the true shape of my head.

I’m not going to lie to anyone who reads this blog. I sat on the grass of my local hospital and cried on the phone to my best friend. I was so sick that I now had to shave off my hair. I thought I was going to look so ugly. While I was at the barbershop, one of the barber’s said that I shouldn’t worry and he was going to make me look like Amber Rose. I was not sure whether to take this as a compliment.

To cut the long story short I ended up loving having short hair. That time in my life forced me to like my looks and build up my own self esteem. This is due to the fact that everyone and their mama required an explanation as to why I cut my hair.

“But why did you do this to yourself  T?”

“Couldn’t you just wear a wig?”

“How are you planning to get a job with hair like that?”

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Believe me, when you constantly have to answer questions like that on a regular basis, you will learn to be your own hypeman. In the year of our Lord, 2018, I am ready to cut  my hair again for several reasons. One of them being that I’m tired of constantly braiding my hair and I want something new. Braids have been breaking my new growth. And lowkey, SOMETIMES I’M LAZY!!! Sometimes I can’t be bothered to twist my hair every night. Don’t even get me started on wash day.

However, the majority of times I have expressed my plans for my new hairstyle, a male friend expressed that I shouldn’t do it. Why, do you ask?

“I’m not attracted to girls with short hair.”

I’ve heard several variations of that answer since November 2017. One guy even told me that he “would allow me to cut my hair.” So I’m going to make something abundantly clear. What I do with my hair is not for the attraction of men. I understand that there are plenty of women out there who will base their whole look on what men like and that’s fine. If it makes them happy, go ahead. I, on the other hand, do certain hairstyles because I like to experiment and because it makes me happy. I do NOT do things to the hair that God gave me because it might increase one’s sexual desire for me.

The day a man decides to sit with me the whole six hours (and that’s the minimum) it takes to do my braids or decides to hand over the £200 for a wig, THEN and only then will he be worthy to have an input on my hair. If the desire to keep my hair long concerns you so much then please feel free to send the funds for all my natural hair products. I will be like Samson and a razor will never touch the hair on my head. Until that day, keep your opinion to yourself.

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Who Run the World… Girls?

Well we’re getting there.

Today I’m taking a moment to celebrate the wins of women across the globe. For clarity, I chose this title because Run the World is one of my top five Beyoncé songs. I run to it ritually on the treadmill and it makes me feel like I can literally do anything. I suggest that all women (if they have streaming services) add it to their motivation playlist along with Independent Women by Destiny’s Child and Electric Lady by Janelle Monae.

This world that we live in is both progressive and problematic. I’m baffled by the fact that we live in a society where the pay gap between men and women still exists. I’m even more confused by the fact that we  have to convince people that there even is a pay gap when Google exists. Women are still having to beg for a seat at the table. So I was elated to hear on BBC World Services, that the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) had announced that Stacey Cunningham would be their first female President. The NYSE has been in existence for 226 years. Take a second and let that sink in. Stacey Cunningham started her career at the NYSE in 1994 when she was 19 years old as an intern (internships matter). She even left the NYSE in 2005 and studied at the Institute of Culinary Education before briefly working as a chef.

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For further details on this remarkable woman, please click  the link below

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/may/25/stacey-cunningham-nyse-first-female-president-wall-street

 

To add further perspective on this monumental moment, currently the only full time female broker on the entire New York Stock Exchange floor is  Lauren Simmons. She is only 23 years old and single handedly the female and African-American representation (shout out to you young Queen).

Like I said, progressive and problematic at the same time. The NYSE needs to do better and we as a society need to encourage more women to go into finance, both in the UK and USA.

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On the same day, BBC World Services announced that Barbados had elected Mia Mottley as their Prime Minister. She is the first woman to be elected Prime Minster since Barbados gained independence from the British in 1966. She is the head of the Barbados Labour Party and won all 30 seats in the country’s House of Assembly. To put it simply, she had a landslide victory.

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Now for anyone who is in their feelings, no, women are not taking over the universe. We obviously have a long way to go before that is even a serious statement. It’s 2018 and it is a problem that we are still having  “the firsts” conversation. We still operate in a world where women are overlooked for jobs where they are clearly the most qualified candidate for the role. Look at what happened in the America election between Trump and Hilary Clinton. I’m not saying that she was perfect but she was the one with the qualifications necessary to be the  President of the United States of America. Now look at the mess they are in!

Woman just want to even the playing field and I think that’s fair.

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The Come Up of Trevor Noah

imageAs a society we have an obsession with celebrity culture. We need to see what celebrities are wearing, who they are dating and where they are going. With social media it’s become even worse. Now we read what celebrities are thinking (some of them are really dumb), what they are eating and even what their workout regimes are. My mother has always taught me to follow the habits of successful people because they are normally willing to share their secrets. So I don’t mind keeping my eye on certain celebrities who I feel I can learn from and emulate their ways.

 

One of those celebrities is Trevor Noah. He is one of my favourite comedians along with Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle and Katt Williams. I will admit that when I  watched one of his earlier stand up specials in South Africa, I didn’t like him at all. When my cousins in Zambia constantly sang his praises, I didn’t want to hear any of it. The only thing I could give him was that I thought he was really cute.

 

The change came in December 2014 when I heard he was coming on tour to England and the tickets were only £15. Then I found out he was coming to certain areas in Essex. Not just London but Essex! Let’s be clear, no one comes to Essex unless they’re going to Southend-on-sea. I decided to give this guy’s recent material one more try, and to my horror I found that I was  laughing hysterically. I realised that the reason why I didn’t like his earlier material was due to the fact that it was catered for a South African audience and I wasn’t up to date on South African politics. His latest  material was his views on the world and it was fun-nee.

 

I bought the tickets for everyone in my immediate family. We went to the show and left as paying members of the Trevor Noah fan club. Ready to defend our South African Brother to the death. If you think I’m joking then you should know that my mum insisted on us waiting behind after his set to get an autograph. We didn’t get one but you get my point.

 

At the end of 2017, Trevor Noah announced that he was doing a show in London and it was only for one night. At this point, my family were no longer part of the fan club but had elevated to the Dora Milaje for Trevor Noah. Therefore, we bought tickets (in the words of Okoye) “without question.” I can safely say, without exaggeration that it was the best comedy show I had EVER been to and I was so proud to see my Southern African cousin (in my head) win.

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Now the success of Trevor Noah does not surprise me at all. I watched this man grow  his audience around Southern African, to England and eventually the USA. When he came to England, he covered every nook and cranny of the country. He not only covered every majority city but went to regular towns such as: Colchester, Southend and Milton Keyes. The show I went to had no more than 150 people, so to see this man come back and sell out the O2 arena was wonderful. Trevor Noah has shown commitment and the willingness to do the ground work. However, what I like the most about him is his ability to dream with no limitations.

 

As Africans, we sometimes believe that it is not possible for us to be in certain spaces. Sure, being doctors, lawyers, accountants and engineers is a standard for us. However, no African kid is running home to tell their parents that they want to be a comedian and being met with praise and excitement. I’m sure if you had told most Southern Africans four years ago that Trevor was going to be the host of one of the biggest shows in late night tv in America (The Daily Show) or an A list celebrity, they would have told you get real. Yet here we are.

 

The possibilities for us are endless and they are not limited by race, gender or nationality. So here’s what have I learnt from cousin Trevor. Have a strong work ethic, hustle in the places where its unexpected and have the audacity to dream big!

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