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

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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Beyonce’s Melanated Meghan, The Politics from Hell and Black Outrage Pays the Bills

Let’s discuss what happened in the world of pop culture this week.

The Brit Awards

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Due to work, I was forced to watch the Brit Awards this year. It wasn’t as horrendous as I thought it was going to be. Hugh Jackman proved that he is the definition of a triple thread, Jorja Smith won Best British Solo Artist and H.E.R. did a duet with Jess Glynne while she removed her make-up with a legion of women on stage. It was all very nice. However, the highlight of the show (for me) was when The Carters won The Brit for Best International Group. Now Beyonce and Jay-Z did not show up in person to the Brit Awards. Instead that they sent a clip of them accepting the award in front a portrait of Meghan Markle as the Mona Lisa.

I stood up at work and YELLED!

At this point, it is international knowledge of the abuse that Meghan Markle received from the British Media. George Clooney as even spoken out against it stating that she is being “pursued and vilified,”. Therefore, no one will convince me that Jay-Z & Beyoncé were not acutely aware of the statement they were making by a video of them standing in front of a portrait of Meghan Markle dressed and crowned as a Queen. Beyoncé over recent years has been opening showing support of Blackness from her performing Formation at the Superbowl with her dancers dressed like the women of Black Panther Party, donating 1.5 million dollars to BlackLivesMatter & $100,000 to four HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges & Universities). Also well as the APES*** video which celebrating all the black art that is in The Louvre

I know some of you truly wish that Beyoncé would go back to shucking & jiving to Single Ladies for your entertainment and stop reminding you that she is a Black Woman. However, our melanated Queen B is celebrating our melanated Duchess of Sussex. Get Over It.

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Does Black Outrage Pay the Bills Burberry?

 

So, Burberry decided that as part of their Autumn/Winter Fall line. they were going to include a nose hoody on the catwalk. Many took to be racist imagery and glamorizing suicide. I’d like to remind the readers that lynching was a real thing and the United States only made it illegal Federally in December 2018. A lot of people are starting to suspect that ever since the H&M incident, brands are using black outrage as a way of drumming up publicity for their companies. In response to public outcry, some of the brands have either reinforced their professed commitment to diversity or promised to increase it — suggesting, then, that a lack of corporate diversity is to blame. Well isn’t that obvious Sherlock

I personally believe that these brands are trolling us. I do not think that it is a coincidence that Prada, Gucci and now Burberry have had to apologise and take down clothing with insensitive imagery within less than 4 months of each other. A lack of diversity or not, as soon Prada made their blunder, the marketing departments of the rest of the fashion houses should have been on high alert. Unless they wanted it to happen.

It all goes back to the age-old saying “All publicity is good publicity.” We all know that something hasn’t been a hit on the internet unless Black Twitter has something to say about it. If Black people are outraged about something online, it will make the blogs, news outlets and day time television shows.  This is why, as of this moment, I will no longer be talking about brands want to use racism as a marketing tool. The hurt of my people should not be used to drum publicity for fashion houses that are older than my grandmother. Recruit some people of colour and do better.

 

More Members of Parliament Leave Labour

On a political note; Ian Austin MP quit the Labour Party just this morning. He is blaming leader Jeremy Corbyn for “creating a culture of extremism and intolerance” He is now the ninth Labour MP to resign this week and three MP left the Conservative Party. If MPs are dissatisfied with their party’s ethics and feel as though they can no longer follow the direction of their leader, that is their prerogative. However, we have the impending doom that is Brexit happening in less than four weeks. I wonder if now is really the time for them to decide that they want to jump ship and form new political parties?

Presently there is nothing United about the Kingdom and we are going to hell in a handbasket. Pray for us.

 

Please share your thoughts on Beyoncé giving props to Meghan Markle.

Do you think these high-end brands are turning into attention seekers or are they just negligent?

Do you think it’s fair for MPs to be forming new parties four weeks before Brexit?

Rep Your Flag: BTS At the Grammys

61st Annual Grammy Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 10 Feb 2019

A lot can be said about the Grammy this weekend. From the surprise appearance of my forever First Lady, Michelle Obama. Alicia Keys reminding us of her incomparable piano playing skills, the wins & snubs, as well as the lackluster of a tribute to Motown by Jennifer Lopez. However, all I care about is the fact that BTS graced the staged of the Grammys by being the first Korean Artists to be nominated and present a Grammy award.

Now I am not here to talk about whether BTS should have won the award that they were nominated for (they should have). Nor am I here to talk about whether they ought to have performed (they really should have). I am here to talk about the fact that the band arrived onto the Grammy Red carpet looking dapper in classic tuxedos. They were looking more delicious than a buffet at an African wedding. Why am I so concerned with their red-carpet look? Other than the fact that they looked like any one of them could have been the next James Bond, I love that they chose to wear Korean designers Kim Seo Ryong and JayBaek Couture.

Presently, BTS are the biggest boy band in the world. For millions of fans, they were the highlight of the night, even though they were on stage for no more than one minute. Having an artist wear your clothes is free promotion and more money for the designer. Which is why I am sure that many designers were ready and willing to dress all seven of these modelesque men. On the day of the Grammys, BTS had taken a picture with Kim Jones which had lead many to believe that the guys were going to be wearing Dior to the big event.

From everything I know about BTS, they are not disillusioned about their influence or the power their fans possess. Anyone else remembers the time that Jungkook let the fans know what fabric softener he uses and the next day it was sold out in the whole of South Korea? What better way for BTS to use their platform than to spotlight designers from their own country? Let’s be honest, how many South Korean designers can you name? I’ll be more generous, how many Asian designers can you name other than Jimmy Choo?

I love it when people from different ethnic groups go out of their way to give exposure to people from their country or race. It is important because the reality of life is that no one will have your back like your own. I personally believe that when one of us manages to break down the door, we should make an effort to allow others to come through. Just so you know, BTS are not the only ones who have been representing their country on the fashion front lines. Gemma Chan (Crazy Rich Asians) has been wearing Asian designers (such as Jason Wu) most of this award season.

Beyoncé also gave a spotlight on her Instagram to all the African designers that she wore while she was in South Africa for The Global Citizen Festival (such as Ivorian label Yhebe Design, Peulh Vagabond & Senegalese Sarah Diouf’s line Tongoro Studio)

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Most of us know how hard it is to get a seat at the table regardless of our field of expertise. Hell, most of us will probably never be able to get a seat unless we already know someone who already has a spot at the table. Why do you think networking events were created? The point that I am making is, we should never be satisfied being the sole representative for your race, gender, religion etc. The top can be lonely and it ain’t no fun if the homies can’t get none.

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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.