music and entertainment

arts + entertainment

If #OscarsSoWhite is 2016 #GrammysSoBlack

For the second year in a row, “when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced its 2016 Oscar nominees, only white actors and actresses were among the chosen few in the top four categories.”

via  LA / A.M.P.A.S.

via LA / A.M.P.A.S.

For the second year in a row, Twitter saw the resurgence of #OscarsSoWhite, a hashtag created by April Reign in January of 2015.

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After much outrage, the Academy responded with “extensive new rules includ[ing] a commitment to doubling the number of women and minorities in the academy by 2020 and limiting lifetime voting rights.” 

The Los Angeles Times reports academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs as believing “It’s the right thing to do.” According to Isaacs, “We've been a more than predominantly white institution for a long time. We thought, we've got to change this and reflect the community much better."

via Billboard

via Billboard

With all the recent Oscars publicity, one can’t help but shift attention to the upcoming Grammys. 

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Having been on the receiving end of its own backlash and accusations of racism, the Grammys is often criticized for snubbing black artists, relegating their nominations to R&B or urban categories while excluding them from major categories like Song and Record.

But could 2016 represent a change in race relations for the Grammys?

With Record of the Year nominations for D'Angelo And The Vanguard’s “Really Love,” and The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face;” Album of the Year Nominations for Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly, and The Weeknd’s “Beauty Behind the Madness;” and a Song of the Year nomination for Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright,” some might be willing to say so.

Important here is not just the fact that black artists are being recognized in top categories, but that (at least when considering D’Angelo and Kendrick Lamar’s work) the music being recognized is markedly black, or at least markedly non-white, as well.

D’Angelo’s “Really Love” opens with “swelling strings,” giving way to a Spanish guitar, which sets the stage for a woman’s hushed address to her jealous, possessive lover. The lyrics sung by D’Angelo present a vulnerable figure (“When you look at me / I open up instantly / I fall in love so quickly”) grateful for the patience of his lover (“I'm not an easy man, to overstand, you feel me / But girl you’re patient with me”). Released on Black Messiah – an album Craig Jenkins calls the “dictionary of soul,” an album released as response to “national unrest [and] unprosecuted police officer involved shootings in Ferguson, MO and New York City” – "Really Love" offers an intimate peek into the messiness of love. Some might suggest it as an outlier to the rest of the album, though, its existence feels more a reminder that the black and brown resist, and yes, they get to experience love too.

Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp a Butterfly,” named by Complex’s Justin Charity as an “undeniably ... important album” even if not “a conventionally enjoyable record,” is recognized by most for its “overwhelming blackness.” Songs like “Alright” and “King Kunta” immediately resonated with black listeners; Cleveland protesters even used Lamar’s lyrics in direct protest to police violence.

We can't predict how future Grammys history will unfold.

But whether this year is a fluke or catalyst for trend, with nominations in the top categories as well as artistically competitive nominations in the Best R&B, Best Rap, and Best Urban Contemporary categories, it seems that the Grammy awards stand a chance of being, if not overwhelmingly, somewhat celebratorily black.

(This story was originally written by khoLi. and published with uiculture.com)

EXPLORE: Listen to King's new album, We Are King

 

arts + entertainment

Kanye West Changes "Swish" to "Waves"

via Twitter

via Twitter

Like a decent amount of the rest of the world, we've been anxiously awaiting the release of Kanye West's forthcoming album, "Swish."

Well, it seems the wait is over.

But not necessarily because the album's been released.

About 3 hours ago, Kanye announced via Twitter that we are all now anxiously awaiting "Waves."

According to Billboard, "Waves" will be released at Madison Square Garden during West's Yeezy Season 3 debut during New York Fashion Week.

We'll be waiting. And resting.

Because Yeezy.

 

 

 

Majid Jordan drops new single, "King City"

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We’re always over at @complexmagazine looking for music to make our day in the morning. Thank god this morning we stumbled across more Majid Jordan and their newest hit, “King City.”

With less than a month away from the release of their self-titled debut album, Majid Jordan share a new record in “King City.” This one is more somber in tone than their previous track, “Something About You,” and definitely plays up the electro-R&B style the duo has been honing for sometime now. If you’ve been sleeping on Majid Al Maskati and Jordan Ullman’s chemistry, take this as an opportunity to catch up. Bump “King City,” which you receive free of charge for pre-ordering Majid Jordan’s upcoming project on iTunes here.

Perhaps you’re more familiar with Majid Jordan's most recent single, “Something About You.”

If not, trust us, there’s definitely something about Majid Jordan that keeps us coming back for more. Look for them to be bigger than you ever expected very very soon.

Meshell Ndegeocello, "Conviction"

“I’ve never felt like, ‘Oh, people will bite at anything that’s Drake,’” he says. “I’m just not that guy. I don’t feel that way about any of my music… If it didn’t connect, I would have a huge problem.” (Drake)

“I mean, I’m really trying. It’s not like I’m just sitting here, just fuckin’ shooting with my eyes closed. Like, I’m trying. I’m really trying to make music for your life.” (Drake)

“It was like an offering—that’s what it was. It was just an offering. I just wanted you to have something to start the year off. I wanted to be the first one. I wanted to set it off properly.” (Drake … on If You’re Reading This)

“I always used to be so envious, man, that Wiz Khalifa had that song ‘Black and Yellow,’ and it was just a song about Pittsburgh,” Drake says. “Like, the world was singing a song about Pittsburgh! And I was just so baffled, as a songwriter, at how you stumbled upon a hit record about Pittsburgh. Like, your city must be elated! They must be so proud. And I told myself, over the duration of my career, I would definitely have a song that strictly belonged to Toronto but that the world embraced. So, ‘Know Yourself’ was a big thing off my checklist.” (Drake)

“I’ve just become really adamant about leaving fragments in everything I do that belong strictly to my city,” he says. “The world will pick up on it.” (Drake)

“I just want to be remembered as somebody who was himself. Not a product.” (Drake, again)

Need a few more quotes to live by?

Check out more of this guy, Leon Neyfakh’s writing, and Mark Peckmezian’s photography now.