Beyoncé’s Lemonade went into the night a critical favorite by far, but every time it went up against Adele’s 25, it lost. Adele’s “Hello” took best pop solo performance over Beyoncé’s “Hold Up;” it also took song of the year over “Formation,” making for a clean sweep for Adele.
The Lemonade visual album — arguably the most powerful aspect of Beyoncé’s release, and a film widely hailed as one of the most ambitious and profound creations in that medium — was beat out by a Beatles tour documentary for best music film.
We’ve seen this special brand of erasure year in and year out at the Grammys. For the past eight years, white artists have taken the show’s album of the year award over black artists.
I fought Nazis at Berkeley — and I can’t wait to punch them in ‘Wolfenstein II’
I am hyped as hell for Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, the latest entry in the 35-year-old video game series about American soldiers killing Nazis. This time, according to the trailer,
the Nazis have invaded America and it’s up to you to lead the
resistance in a version of the United States that seems content to
accept its new fascist leadership.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.
excitement isn’t because I’m really into shooters or games about
historical warfare; the only war that interests me is class war. And,
given that interest, I’ve organized against and counter-protested white
supremacist actions: I was at the Battle for Berkeley,
where I was tear-gassed three times and was hit with an explosive that
left me unable to hear out of one ear for the rest of the day.
Afterward, the alt-right passed around photos of me on social media as proof that antifa were getting men to dress up as women.
So I appreciate that game developers, a demographic that was embroiled in the alt-right’s predecessor, Gamergate, understand the conviction and catharsis that necessitated a game like Wolfenstein II
in times like these. Their understanding of the dangers of fascism may
not be immediately obvious under all the robot dragon-dogs and
hovercrafts and wacky bosses, one of which probably turns out to be a
hentai octopus from another dimension — you can’t really escape those
trappings of excessiveness in a big-budget video game like this. Read more (OPINION)
The most indelible image from this week’s spate of graduation ceremonies was a black commencement robe draped over an empty chair.
The robe belonged to Richard Wilbur Collins III. On Saturday, the 23-year-old black Bowie State University student was stabbed and killed by Sean Urbanski, a white 22-year-old student at neighboring University of Maryland, while he was waiting for an Uber ride in College Park, Maryland.
Collins’ robe was displayed Tuesday to memorialize a student who was, by all accounts, a model human being as well. He was a commissioned second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He was a lauded Reserve Officer Training Corps member who “would go out of his way … to go and help others,” Collins’ father, Richard Collins Jr., told NBC News.
“[A] former commander of his unit … [expressed] to me that if she had a son, Richard is the model of what she would hope her son would be,” the father said.
But none of these accolades prevented Collins’ death. His killer — Urbanski — was as unconcerned with how good a person Collins was as any other white killer who has stolen a black life in the course of U.S. history. Black children are fed the narrative that certain behaviors will keep them safe from white violence: doing well in school, dressing properly, avoiding conflict, obeying authority. And yet time and again, the same truth reasserts itself: These respectability politics will not save us. Read more (Opinion)
It is safe to say that almost the entire world has recently been exposed to the solo debut of Harry Styles, member of the band One Direction. While he was not the first one to start up a solo project – Zayn Malik left the band in 2015 to pursue a solo career, whereas both Niall Horan and Louis Tomlinson released solo material in 2016 – he was, perhaps after Zayn’s dramatic departure, the most hyped and anticipated artist out of the original bandmembers.
It’s been two weeks since Harry released his incredibly successful #1 debut single, Sign of the Times, which leads his self-titled LP that will hit stores on the 12th of May. Subsequently, critics have been quick to write their reviews, labeling the rock anthem as an epic song that establishes Harry as a credible artist. Part of the promotional roll-out of Harry’s debut seems to be centered around the cultivation of that notion: Harry Styles is to be seen as an authentic, honest, yet mysterious, credible musician. Given the fact that Rolling Stone profiles itself as the market-leading music magazine when it comes to crediting such artistry, it was to be expected that a profile and cover issue of Harry Styles would follow suit.
In a companion piece, Rolling Stone published a so-called ‘fansplaining’ column on their website – delving into the fanbase that has supported Harry Styles throughout the years, probably aimed at gauging their reaction to his debut. An interesting take, given the fact that the journalistic lens of Rolling Stone seems to focus mostly around discrediting the opinion of young women, particularly those who have been avid fans of the music that One Direction has put out in previous years, and who have supported Harry and his peers throughout that time. Aside from the fact that such an understanding of music is abhorrently misogynist, as it values the middle-aged white male’s opinion as somehow more legitimate than those of women (even when those women were able to recognize the artist’s talent years prior to those men who were blinded by their fragile masculinity), the article also failed to do what it intended: Explain what makes these fans so loyal to their idol.
There seems to be a deep-rooted misunderstanding of the relationship between fans and the artist they support, starting with the idea that all fans are the same. They are not. As such, many internal disagreement can exist within a fandom, while all maintaining the same admiration for the artist. It should be clear that fans are perhaps, aside from the artist themselves, the most critical of the output provided. People might find that contradictory, but I have found this to be true amongst many different groups of fans. It is similar to having a best friend that loves you unconditionally, but that will set you straight and call you out on your mistakes when you stumble. Fans are there to help the artist along, but that doesn’t mean they will not hesitate to analyze, criticize and educate their idol as well as their peers if they feel this is necessary. Such criticism stems from the expectations they have formed about said output products. Most fans will distinguish between music on the one hand, and image on the other hand. This is separate from the expectations and perception fans have from their idol’s personality. However, they will expect both music and image to reflect the personality of the artist – this is where the honesty comes into play.
For those who have been following One Direction’s career and musical development, the style of music chosen by Harry did not come as a surprise. In fact, while many reviewers seem to shy away from making the comparison, it seems that Harry’s music seems to progress most naturally out of the latest albums of One Direction. Songs like Walking in the Wind, If I Could Fly, or the slightly older Ready to Run and Where do Broken Hearts Go all reflect similar soft-rock vibes. It also fits the fans’ perception of what Harry’s personal taste in music is like, as he’s always hinted at big artists from the 70s and 80s as his big musical influences. His continuous rejection of explaining his lyricism is also consistent with the Harry fans have come to know and love over the years – he’s expressed many a times how much he values music as art. And art is interpreted by the person observing the artpiece, he likes that a song might give different people different perspectives, as long as it resonates, it’s enough.
This links back to image. In my view, many fans see Harry as fiercely protective of his private life. And with good reason, given how he had to grow up in the limelight – starting off on the X Factor, a reality show that is as much a storytelling drama series as it is a singing competition. However, this is also where there is a deep dissatisfaction amongst fans. Part of celebrity culture is providing the public with certain glimpses into your private life, and fans are quite ambivalent in their appreciation of this. On the one hand, fans want to see their idols be happy and have the opportunity to talk to them, or get to know them. On the other hand, fans recognize the flagrant violation of privacy in terms of stalkers, paparazzi and ‘inside sources’ speaking to the press.
In Harry’s case, this is where the dichotomy is most apparent. While he himself never speaks out about his private life or relationships, not even his friendships with other celebs such as Ed Sheeran, Alexa Chung or Nick Grimshaw; his private life has quite possibly been most speculated about and most prominent in tabloids out of all the One Direction members. Rolling Stone does an abysmal job at respecting the same mysteriousness they hail Harry for trying to uphold by filling in the blanks and pushing him to talk about relationships he’s chosen not to address in the past. Their leading title for their profile does not focus on the music, or him as a new solo artist, but rather on him ‘opening up about famous flings’. It is a common misconception that fans want to hear him say that he’s single, or want to know the ins and outs of who he beds. Rather, fans want to hear what makes Harry happy. They don’t want to marry him, they want to know if he’s hydrated and well loved by his family and friends – if he’s taken enough holidays and if there’s anything in particular he still wants to achieve or cross of his bucket list; that is if he has one. They want to hear him honour the fundamental friendships that underpin the appreciation and adoration fans carry for all One Direction members. They want to know what inspires him – not who. Does he order a cheeseburger at McDonald’s, or does he enjoy a Big Mac on cheat days?
Similarly, many fans will find the sudden recognition by Rolling Stone and other acclaimed music reviewers to be bittersweet. While they will feel proud of Harry at seeing him succeed and get this approval, they also call it for what it is: a thinly-veiled rejection of One Direction and the Harry Styles prior to his solo debut. It is an honour to be hailed as the next David Bowie or Mick Jagger, but the line between inspiration and imitation is thin, which makes fans wary. What is more – the celebration of Harry’s apparent ‘new honesty and authenticity’ (again a rejection of his previous work) is rather awkward, when the reviews do not seem to provide Harry Styles with the room to be iconic as himself. They make sure to draw comparisons with a multitude of icons from the past, as if every choice he’s made has been infused with the mentality to emulate his predecessors. Fans want Harry to succeed by being true to who he is, and while his music gets recognition, it’s still not perceived as being something that is only fully Harry’s.Finally, it is important to not just address what fans expect from their idol, but also what they take away from them. In Rolling Stone, Harry Styles shared that what hurts him are fundamental issues that are lacking in today’s society – things like ‘equal rights, for everyone – all races, sexes, everything’. He’s a feminist, has been involved in the HeforShe campaign, and has expressed his support for LGBTQ+ as part of One Direction. He was frequently seen waving a rainbow flag in concerts, stated that ‘here at One Direction, we love love. Love is love,’ and has worn rainbow bracelets – most recently even a rainbow pin proudly fastened on his shirt. Moreover, he’s taken great care in answering questions about partners, favouring the word ‘spouse’ and always using gender-neutral pronouns. Harry is proud of the fact that he wears 26inch women’s skinny jeans, and continues to present himself as vulnerable in photoshoots, and to break gender norms by not shying away from the colour pink, silk and sheer, glitter boots, or wearing nailpolish. While some might not see the significance in this, these moves are incredibly powerful and can help people of all ages feel more accepted and comfortable with being who they are – it makes them feel normal and safe in a heteronormative world that is dominated by gender stereotypes. What is more, it reinforces their love and support for the artist, as they agree with their worldview – it’s a connection on a more fundamental level, that is not fueled by romantic love interest, or aesthetically pleasing faces and outfits.
Moreover, it inspires fans to change their views on society, and to extend the same charity and empathy as their idol does. In this respect, One Direction and its individual members have - unfortunately - been grossly underrated. Only recently did Steve Aoki note the incredibly power held by this fanbase in particular, calling the fans ‘an institution, like an army of bees’, recognizing how Louis Tomlinson’s fans were mainly responsible for his debut single’s smash success – creating and coordinating their own promotional campaigns, creating merchandise and posters, and requesting the song on radios. But this dedication does not limit itself to seeing their favourite artist succeed. Inspired by the great amount of charity work that One Direction has done itself, ranging from participating in Comic Relief and being patrons of numerous charities to Louis Tomlinson spending over 3 million pounds to organize a fundraiser in the form of a Princess Ball for ill children, the fans have bolstered this attitude to give to those in need and started charity drives in honour of the multiple members. The popular account 1DFansGive encourages fans to donate money to the charities that Harry and his peers are patrons of or have expressed their support for – with unparalleled, consistent success.
These positive aspects of the unique relationship between Harry Styles/1D and the fanbase are entirely lacking or even erased in media representation, which further fuels the dichotomy and love-hate relationship that fans have with media outlets. They stigmatize his fans as being teenage girls who fantasize about a relationship with him, and therefore are obsessed with his sex life – when this is frankly an insulting and gross overgeneralization. It is off-putting that fans are shamed for behavior they do not demonstrate, all the while the press engages in exactly that same behavior. It is not fans who force the idea of Harry Styles dating Taylor Swift or Kendall Jenner down anyone’s throats – it’s the press. It is not fans that prioritize his romantic relationships over his musical abilities and interests – it’s the press. On the other hand – it’s not the press that makes an artist successful, it’s the fans. And most importantly, it’s not the press that annually raises thousands of dollars inspired by an artist’s activism - it’s the fans. And the press doesn’t even report it; not even when they attempt fansplaining.
My advice? Don’t try something if the verb is derived from a harmful, toxic, divisive, humiliating and belittling behaviour that takes away someone’s voice and agency. Fansplaining is just as appreciated by fans as mansplaining is by women - not at all.
“Darwin may have been quite correct in his theory that man descended from the apes of the forest, but surely woman rose from the frothy sea, as resplendent as Aphrodite on her scalloped chariot.”
A Moodboard for Mermaids
i think it’s important to note that there is a difference between the original intent of “manpain” - which was to refer to situations where the narrative focuses on how an event affects a male character, especially in a situation where a female character was hurt or killed, and the frequent application of “manpain” in fandom to refer to…literally any time a male character has feelings, about anything
like. the one is a useful term to refer to a specific phenomenon, often adjacent to fridging; the other is (unfortunately) often used in ways that reflect the tendency to shut down men’s emotional expression and limit the range of emotion permitted to men
like…just watch how you’re using these things, is all I’m saying
I am Polish with a bit of Tatar blood. I strongly identify as Slavic and have genuine affection for any Slavic nation, but mostly I am Polish and so proud to be. I find it kind of hurtful how we are perceived in the Western nations and how we are depicted in mainstream media in America. I feel rejected both by the white community and the opressed community of People of color. Of course by no means Slavs are POC and by no means we have it as bad, but actually anyone who isn’t of Western European descend has it hard. Nevertheless we are painted with the same brush as those Western Europeans simply due to our race, but we’re not the same.
Have you ever notices the way Slavs are depicted in mainstream media in USA? Let’s start with the fact that you don’t really see other Slavic nations than Russians. I know that Russia is the big bad of the US generally, but not ever Russian is a villain or a villain-turned-hero. There are tons of amazing people. NOT EVERY RUSSIAN IS EVIL. Their authorities are evil, but the Russians are not. For example, look at the Russians in the MCU. First of all, we’ve got Natasha. As much as I love Scarlett Joahnsson and I am aware that she is of Polish descend, there are so many talented Russian actresses who could have got the role, yet as far as I’m concerned no actual Russian was even considered. Second thing is while Natasha is a Russian protagonist she despises Russia. Her homecountry is everything evil when it comes to the character. She doesn’t show young Slavs that being Slavic is cool. The rest of the Russians in the Universe are villains. Let’s start with Ivan Vanko. Again, Rourke is not Russian nd he doesn’t have ANY Russian or Slavic blood. The accent was terrible, the character was absolutely despising. While his motivation was weak it kind of made sense until the reveal that Anton Vanko was practically a leech. So yeah, evil runs in the Russian blood I guess. Russians in Captain America? Okay, I don’t have a fucking idea what went on there. The Russians captured Bucky and experimented on him, yet he’s a Hydra asset? Hydra was a Nazi organization and it makes no sense since the Soviets actually had a lot to do with defeating Nazis. Both were evil, but they’re not the fucking same. Actually Nazis hated Slavs almost as much as Jewish people and by the time “The First Avenger” takes place historically the Germans had already blocked Leningrad, so the Soviets would never work with them. Let’s take a look at “Arrow” now. We’ve got plenty of Russians here. Except they all are shady gangsters with good intentions only for themselves. Yeah, the brotherhood and severe loyalty in Bratva is depicted, but it’s still a criminal organization. Got to mention that they actually cast David Nykl who is Czech Canadian (so he’s Slavic) in the role of Anatoli, yet Kovar is played by a Swede. I’m in the supehero fandoms, so most of my examples come from there, but I guess you get the idea. I can’t recall many other Slavs with prominent roles in American mainstream media apart from Sophie and Oleg from Two Broke Girls and don’t even get me started on those. The Hollywood also didn’t care enough to cast somebody of the right ethnic background for the role of Nikola Tesla who was Serbian (so a Slav) with David Bowie playing him in “The Prestige” and Nicholas Hoult in the upcoming “The Current War”. Have you heard of the movie “The Zookeeper’s Wife”? It’s about the Żabiński family who hid Jews in the Warsaw Zoo during WWII. Yet the main roles of Polish people again went to actors with nothing Slavic about them.
I could rant more on this, but I actually want to mention one more thing. Dear People of Color, as I said we are not opressed like you, but please do not paint us with the same brush as those actually responsible for all the awful things that happened in America to your ancestors. And I am talking as A POLISH PERSON here. Specifically Polish person. We are not your enemy. We never colonised Americas. We never had slaves there. While your ancestors were slaves (actually the term “slave” derives from the word “Slav”, because Slavic people were often kept as slaves in Arab Spain in ninth century), mine were living in a non-existent country since it was literally stolen away from us by Prussia, Russia and Austria. For 123 years there was no independent Poland, Polish culture was opressed and depolonization was crazy. Yet we managed to survive. We fought for our freedom. One of our national heroes is actually also a national hero in US. His name is Tadeusz Kościuszko. If you haven’t heard of him, you’re missing out. He was a prominent figure in American Revolution. There’s actually a story that while he was in Philadephia, the leader of Little Turtle came to him and Tadeusz gave him guns with guide to use them against anyone who would want to conquer Little Turtle. Then he came back to Poland to fight for his own country which was being torn apart by their neighbours.
There’s also the story about Poles in Haiti. Let me start things of with saying that many Poles viewed Napoleon as a way to regain freedom. It kind of worked since the Kingdom of Poland came to existance, but don’t think it was any kind of independent coutry. It still belonged to Russia. Napoleon exploited the Poles in his army, seriously. He didn’t actually give a damn about us. So he sent them to help subdue the Haitian Revolution. As you may or may not know, the revolution was successful. Want to hear the story of the Poles’ role? Well, it’s simple. When they arrived there and saw that the Haitians fight for their freedom just like the Polish, they decided to actually help them. Not immediately, but it didn’t take them much time. They saw the Revolution as paralell to the Polish situation back then. Jean-Jacques Dessalines called the Poles (AND I’M LITERALLY QUOTING HIM THERE): “the White Neg***s of Europe” with was actually regarded a great honour. The Poles who fought there aquired Haitian citizenship and you can still find their descendants on Haiti.
And the WWII. Oh, the WWII. It all started in Poland which was still weak. We actually existed as an independent country for only 20 years when Hitler attacked us. It’s no mystery that our allies (Great Britain and France) didn’t give a damn about us and didn’t help Poland at all. I could talk and talk about the Poles in the WWII, because our role was HUGE. Let me just say that Poland was the only country were hiding Jews was punished by death, yet so many Polish people (count in my greatgrandparents) still did it. Of course not every Pole was a saint back then and some actually did horrible things, but majority of Poles really helped the Jews. Just check which country has the most citizens who got the honorific of Righteous Among the Nations. (Spoiler Alert: it’s Poland) Poland is actually the only country and Germany conquered back then where they couldn’t form a SS force, because most of us would rather die than fight for the Nazis. A Pole, Jan Karski, risked his life when he was smuggled into the Warsaw Ghetto to gather information. Actually when he reported those to Western leaders, they pretty much didn’t give a shit. Polish officer Witold Pilecki voluteered to go to Auschwitz to gain information on the camp. And please, NEVER say “Polish death camps”. The death camps were never Polish. They were on our territory which was taken from us by force. Poles also fought in Britain (Polish pilots in Battle of England anyone?) and in other parts of the world. After the war ended no one gave a shit. Roosevelt and Churchill easily sold us to Soviets, so we actually became dependent on Russia yet again. We regained our independance in 1989 and were actually the first nation to break the communist regime.
We’re no saints and the country is a mess right now. There are tons of rasist, homophobic and sexist people among us, but a lot of Poles actually fought for basic human rights for everyone, for freedom, for justice. We may be a mess, but if the times are hard, we’ll come together and fight for ourselves and for each of you, because in the end we’re all people, we all deserve the same treatment and opportunities.
So what I wanted to say by this rant? I wanted to kindly ask POC not to paint every white person with the same brush and to not think that we’re the same as your opressors. We are not your enemy, we never were. I wanted to kindly ask opressed POC not to erase the beautiful Slavic cultures by saying that “white people have no culture”. I get you’re angry with your opressors, I can fully understand it, but it is hurtful for me as a person who doesn’t really identify with the Western culture. I wanted to demand Western white people for more respect towards other cultures, also those of other ethnic groups of your own race. Slavs are the biggest white ethnic group in Europe, yet they are neglected and stereotyped.