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

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.

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?

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.