THE WOMEN OF AFROFUTURIST SOUND by Kareem Reid (westindians)
These women are just a few examples of pioneers in contemporary art and culture that offer unique perspectives on the multi-narratives and realities of black femininity. They often re-appropriate and challenge mainstream representations of black female bodies, sexuality and desire. Emphasis is placed on the inherently fluid nature of their identities and often present themselves as aliens or androids to communicate their “otherness”, a common thematic trend among Afrofuturist artists.
Betty Davis and Grace Jones in the 70s and 80s preceded the huge commercial success of many acts of the 90s; particularly girl group TLC, Janet Jackson, Missy Elliott and cult favourites Aaliyah and Kelis played key roles in bringing Afrofuturist aesthetics to the forefront of popular culture.
The rise of emerging artists Janelle Monae,THEESatisfaction, Solange, Kelela and Moko are encouraging signs of a new wave of enigmatic performance artists charged with the double-objective of making us dance as well as think.
Sometimes, in busier neighborhoods, a crowd begins to gather when I conduct my interviews. In this case, it was a particularly large crowd of 15 or 20 people. As the man recounted his happiest moment, the crowd laughed along with him. He told about a wild night out with his friends, and the crowd shouted encouragements. Some people were patting him on the back. Then the interview turned to sadder moments. And he began to talk about the death of his mother. Tears began streaming down his face. And seeing this, the crowd respectfully disappeared.
Photograph by Steven Klein; styled by Camilla Nickerson; W magazine August 2007.
the Queen, Ray Of Light Era 1998
Happy, happy 51st birthday to the tremendously wise and darling T ♥
Argentina: doing it right. After passing a groundbreaking gender identity law on Wednesday, Argentina, which became the first Latin American country to legalize same-sex marriage, now leads the entire world when it comes to trans rights.
The new law, which was passed by 55-0 and is expected to be signed by president Cristina Fernandez, grants trans people the right to legally change their gender identity without having to get approval from doctors or judges–and, importantly, without having to change their bodies at all first. Not having a valid ID that matches your gender identity is a huge barrier to access to education, employment, health care, you name it. As Kalym Sori, an Argentinian trans man said, “This is why the law of identity is so important. It opens the door to the rest of our rights.”
You really need to go read this thing Sady Doyle wrote about Tori Amos whether you like Tori Amos or not.(via perpetua)
This quote from Tori Amos is so, so, so right on. I hope she can pull this off.(via perpetua)
Almost inevitably, this new decade will bring us a large crop of bands recycling ’90s guitar rock. Of all the various strains of ’90s rock, I think the most quintessential and commercial is “alt-rock,” an aesthetic I think is best connected to the bands on the DGC label — Nirvana, Weezer, Hole, Elastica, Sloan, Sonic Youth, Teenage Fanclub, Veruca Salt — as well as other major label acts like Bush who were running with a similar formula and aesthetic. But what is that formula? What is that aesthetic? I think “Number One Blind” is a very good answer to those questions. In my mind, this song is a perfect example of the archetype, and just hearing it takes me back to the era of actually-pretty-great mainstream rock radio and suburban malls full of alterna-teens.
I’ll break it down for you.
* Gently rolling, thick bass line. Kim Deal has so much to answer for, and even the worst of it is pretty decent. (Like, say, “Good” by Better Than Ezra.) I think Krist Novoselic’s approximation of Deal’s style was itself extremely influential. I would argue that even ahead of fuzzy guitar tone, this is the most essential and recognizable element of ’90s alt-rock, especially when contrasted with a simple, pretty guitar figure as it is on the verse of “Number One Blind.”
* Strict verse/chorus/verse construction. I find that archetypal ’90s alt-rock very seldom includes pre-choruses, and bridges are generally quite brief. The bridge in “Number One Blind” takes us from a chorus into a solo, but it’s not necessary — a lot of songs in the subgenre will just slam a solo between choruses, or skip the solo entirely.
* Verses are mellow; choruses are loud. Duh! You stomp on your fuzz pedal when it’s time for the chorus. ’90s rock radio was basically this steady ebb and tide of soft verses and loud choruses. Black Francis didn’t invent this, but I think pretty much all of this music is directly traceable to the Pixies catalog.
* The solo break is very short. The solo is always melodic, but the playing is never too smooth or overly professional. These are mainly to add some touch of melodic flourish and to break up the rigid grid of the song’s construction for a few seconds.
* The melodies are simple. Okay, but not so much that it’s totally sing-song.
* The vocals have an arch quality. This depends on the character of the frontperson, but there’s pretty much always some touch of irony and bitterness in the tone.
* Obscure title and/or lyrical references. The chorus — “Levolor, which of us is blind?” is a play on words — blindness, as in obliviousness, and Levolor, as in the manufacturer of window blinds. There’s a metaphor in here, but it’s not fully formed, which is pretty much the way things go in this style. It’s more about suggesting an idea and an image rather that explicating it. Bonus points for the specific reference to Levolor, which has some kind of nostalgic quality despite being a brand that still exists.
(Originally posted on Fluxblog 10/14/2010)
"Are you selling your soul to a cold gun ?"
Sofia Vergara reads mean tweet.