This one is going to generate some serious discussion, methinks. (You can go directly to Badu’s official site @ www.erykahbadu.com/ to see her new video, about which you may have already heard some noise.)
Shameless self-promotion or audacious creative experiment? A bit of both? It is undeniably bold. The simple act of a woman (much less a black woman) slowly stripping as she strolls through Daley Plaza is political. And provocative. My first take is that this video is neither as visionary as some will claim, nor is it as outlandish (or offensive) as many of the predictable suspects will insist. Badu is about to get a bunch of people talking, and it’s hard to argue that’s ever a bad thing.
Paul McCartney finished his somewhat unofficial “Good Evening” concert tours a couple of months ago, but his fans have spent that time speculating about what songs he would perform for his next concert tour. Last night, the rumors were put to a rest as the first night of the “Up and Coming” tour went underway at Phoenix, Arizona’s Jobing arena.
Thirty-six songs were performed, ranging from the Beatles’1963 hit “All My Loving” to last year’s Emmy nominated “(I Want To) Come Home”. Though most of set list was identical to that of the previous tour, some of his newer solo tunes, like “Only Mama Knows” and ”Flaming Pie” got cut along with some Beatles classics, like “Drive My Car” and “I Saw Her Standing There”. Those songs were replaced by well-loved Wings gems like “Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five” and “Venus and Mars/Rockshow”.
Dum Dum Girls I Will Be
Releasing: 30 March
1960s girl pop stages a resurrection with the 30-minute, 11-song debut album of the Dum Dum Girls.
01 It Only Takes One Night
02 Bhang Bhang, I’m a Burnout
03 Oh Mein M
04 Jail La La
05 Rest of Our Lives
06 Yours Alone
07 Blank Girl
08 I Will Be
09 Lines Her Eyes
10 Everybody’s Out
11 Baby Don’t Go
Future Islands have signed to Chicago indie Thrill Jockey and are releasing their debut EP on the label this April to be followed by the full-length In Evening Air this May. The “Tin Man” MP3 appears as the lead track on the In the Fall EP, while the band has also put out the video below of “An Apology” from the upcoming album. Today the band made “In the Fall” available as a free MP3.
Rap star Akon’s March arrival in India has gone viral on the net-boob-tube, and youth commentators seem to have descended into a frenzy of excitement over the star’s potential work here in Bollywood. As a commercial rapper, Akon raps about women, but only the ones who strip and swing from poles. With global marketing deals as the spokesman for Fair and Handsome skin bleaching cream, Shahrukh Khan has appeared in TV commercials ridiculing skin half as dark as Akon’s, telling these darkies that they’ll never be successful in their careers or with women. What a match. Wow, hopefully Shahrukh Khan does not try to get Akon to use Fair and Handsome. That would be sad, but perhaps it will work the other way around. Maybe Kareena & SRK will find Akon’s chocolate skin so beautiful that they will stop promoting self-hate through self-destruction. Bleaching literally destroys the skin. Indeed, there’s no questioning that skin bleaching physically damages the skin, but to that I would add that skin bleaching destroys the spirit and births and nourishes a false self.
In the welcoming ceremony, a real craft in modern publicity, Akon claims to have this long interest in India and her popular culture. Yet, as an exotic star (blacks are popular in the Indian imagination and popular culture in a narrow range of stereotypical roles from blinged-out rappers, to cricketers, to criminality), he will likely continue to receive his local laudation and respect. Yet, like many other Africans who settle here in India and are confronted regularly with signs and symbols of India’s color caste, how might this impact this deliciously chocolate global superstar? Will his exotic roots and international status trump his darkness here in India? Will Akon rap about the Indian color caste? Though we would all like to sit aback and enjoy this Afro-Indian love, we cannot and should not let Mr. Khan off scot-free, not when millions of individuals around the world revere him as an icon and worship him as an idol, and he chooses to earn money through self-promotion and damaging habits. This is nothing short of gross.
Finally, on the streets of Delhi, Akon has undoubtedly made his mark. Here, for example, Once I encountered a group of adolescent boys in a park in South Delhi. Perhaps it is my gender and black skin that attracted the youth to me, announcing my admission into the global hip-hop corpus. The boys approached me as I sat quietly on a park bench one day, buffering my time spent at work, with the evening at home. At 14, the boys knew all the lyrics about girls swinging on poles. See for yourself:
“I see you windin’ & grindin’ up on dat pole” by adolescents on the streets of Delhi!