FKA Twigs Bodied This New Apple Homepod Commercial

Apple HomePod Commercial Goes META w/ FKA Twigs & Anderson Paak.

FKA Twigs and Anderson Paak shape-shift our reality with their new Apple Homepod commercial. And it’s all over our social media feeds.

Director Spike Jonze begins with a glimpse of a bleak, exhaustively grey corporate world concluding for the day. Claustrophobia-inducing blocking creates a tunnel vision between us and our protagonist in a crowded train of faceless strangers. A bustling, rainy street no one wants to be on. A suffocating elevator that muffles her already-faint “Excuse me.” Calling FKA Twigs’ immersive performance mere acting almost feels like an insult. The serene silence illuminated by the first flick of her light switch warms the tone immediately. She punctuates the tension with, “Hey, Siri. Play me something I’d like.” Perfect pacing.

As the Anderson Paak’s ” ‘Til It’s Over” plays we feel the resolution crescendo with the music. Loosening up both our protagonist and the audience from what they thought was a serious-toned Apple Homepod commercial. As she begins to take life less seriously, so do we. The table and other rigid structures in her home that were built for her are now manipulated by her. She has become the master of her own universe. Shape-shifting everything that was flat from squares to hexagonal prisms. FKA Twigs takes it a step further by choreographing the light to dance with her.

But then.

She’s forced to look at herself in the mirror that she initially tries to ignore. As if offended by her own image. After changing all that’s around her, it’s now time to take a good look at herself. Confined by a mirror too small to frame her entirety. So she extends the mirror to see a bigger picture. All of who she is with space. Embraces herself. Literally stepping in and locking arms to dance herself through the darkness where this experience has allowed her to not only find herself. But to love herself. And in loving herself, letting go of the old version of who she was. Watch closely. It’s the new and improved version of herself that gets thrown on the couch. Renewed and uncolored–untainted by the pressures of the old, cluttered world. Her inner joy personified. Reborn. Inseminated by Apple’s HomePod that knew exactly how to bring out that side of herself. By simply playing what she likes.

A genius Apple HomePod commercial indeed.

Is Bruno Mars Even Black? The Cultural Appropriation Debate

This video addressing Bruno Mars cultural appropriation has sparked controversy.

Many Black fans have ran to his defense with fists in the air claiming, “the man is Black! Leave him be! Go after Iggy or Justin Timberlake!” But pointing our fingers at White people for cultural appropriation is picking the low-hanging fruit. We can hold Iggy, Timberlake, and Bruno Mars accountable. All at the same damn time. People are allowed to be concerned about more than one thing at a time.

People of color tend to get a pass for cultural appropriation merely because they aren’t White. And because the power dynamic isn’t as polarizing as a White person profiting off Black culture, it’s swept under the rug. So whether or not you agree with the claims that Bruno Mars is a culprit of cultural appropriation, it opens the important conversation about the relationship between non-Black people of color and Black people.

But first.

Bruno Mars has yet to confirm if he identifies as Black. Before we even accuse someone of stealing from Black culture, we must at least agree on whether or not someone is Black.

This isn’t the first time Bruno Mars’ identity was questioned. In 2017, he was accused of changing his name in order to hide his Puerto Rican heritage. He immediately cleared the air telling Latina:

 ““I never once said I changed my last name to hide the fact that I’m Puerto Rican. Why would I fucking say that? Who are you fooling? And why would anyone say that? That’s so insulting to me, to my family. That’s ridiculous. My last name is Hernandez. My father’s name is Pedrito Hernandez, and he’s a Puerto Rican pimp. There’s no denying that. “

In the same interview, Bruno Mars speaks about being mistaken for biracial(Black and White) while growing up in Hawaii. He’s identified with many things including Ashkenazi Jewish, Puerto Rican, Spanish and more. Everything but Black of course. Despite the numerous times he credits Black music as his inspiration, he never calls himself Black. He remains in the “safe zone” of racial ambiguity.

And I’ve already heard it.

Bruno Mars cultural appropriation? But How? Puerto Ricans are Black!

Nuance please.

If you’re Puerto Rican, chances are you MIGHT be Black. More African slaves were dropped off in the Caribbean than in the present-day United States. However. After the revolution, many Spaniards remained. Despite whatever ‘Latino’ label you want to give, Spaniards are White. Not even people of color. Spicy Whites perhaps. The ‘Mestizo’ race of people who were offspring of the White colonizers and indigenous Taino population in Puerto Rico also remained. Then of course you have the ‘Mulatto’ Black-Spaniards and tri-racial Creoles. Similar to Dominican Republic.

So to equate every person that’s Puerto Rican–especially when they specify that their mom is Spaniard– as Black is a grave generalization at best. An injustice to the Afro-Ricans that still experience anti-Blackness at the hands of non-Black people of color at worst.

Bruno Mars’ brown skin could just as easily come from his Filipino ancestry. Asians can also be of darker complexion. Cambodians. Filipinos. Indians. Vietnamese.

When a racially ambiguous person tells you they are all of these heritages except for Black, believe them.

Stop caping.

When You See Black Panther & Don’t Know How to Act

Watch Chio Dancing to Black Panther “Waterfall Fight” while she waits for the bus in New York City.

If you thought you couldn’t take Black people anywhere, wait until you see how we act after we leave the Black Panther Premiere.

You can take the Queen out of Wakanda. You can’t take the Wakanda out the Queen.

Dancer: @BabyGrrlChi

Meet Chio — The Multifaceted Dancer That Killed the Milly Rock

Get to know the girl in the pink bodysuit that killed the Milly Rock and gained traction for her online dance videos.

– A Chio Interview.

Chio joins Cashmere in the Nexus to talk about her multi-talented childhood and life after going viral.  Similar to Almonte, Chio is a young renaissance woman. She describes herself as a ‘whirlwind of art’ being an alto saxophonist that studied dance and acting in college. Chio even went to the same African dance program as Cashmere in Brooklyn’s Restoration ART Youth Academy with legendary Baba Chuck Davis as her primary dance choreographer. New York really is a small world when it comes to artistry.

Chio’s transition to becoming a music artist

Chio recently teamed up with the producer of hip hop’s iconic hits “Ether” and “Pop Champagne” Ron Browz. “Candy” is Chio’s break from her serious tonality in previous tracks. She talks about embracing a more fun, vibrant aura. Something her fans “can dance to.”  It’s great to see Hip Hop’s icons empowering the next generation of music as she describes Browz to be “in tune with social media–” a primary platform for most young indie artists.

Pressures to stay relevant and being an ‘inspiration’

As Instagram’s new algorithm ghosts accounts from the explore page that don’t have 10% engagement rate, the pressures to keep your clout pushes on. And Chio describes the pressures to pump out daily content being ‘odey.’

“I wanna give you content, but… I got a life.”

The idea of giving up your real social life to unlock the full potential of your online social media presence is pretty haunting. Especially when the internet holds you to a higher moral standard just because you’re popular.

Chio humbly rejects the idea of being an inspiration. While she finds herself “not perfect,” it is that very fact that makes her relatable to the fans that look up to her. Fans don’t look to idolize a saint but to find guidance in someone they can relate to. Someone that is flawed yet still pushes themselves to grow.

It’s hard for artists to get a grasp on the fact that they are leaders. People literally follow their every move. And even people just minding their own business like Target Bae (Alex from Target) develop online followings they’ve never even asked for.

Artists Are Being Robbed by Venue Owners

Venue owners are laughing their way to the bank while artists continue to work for ‘exposure.’

Artists and venue owners fight over crumbs in New York City. Painters. Rappers. Singers. Stand up comedians. Poets. Musical theatre performers. The over saturation of desperate artists rushing to New York City opens a huge market of victims just waiting to exploited. Event organizers recruit artists to perform shows for free in the name of ‘getting exposure.’ And if they have a good turnout, they promise to book them again… for more free shows.

And that’s how the incessant cycle of doing free work usually is.

You think, well I love what I do anyway so I don’t mind doing it for free. Eventually it’ll pay the more popular I become. 

But, no. You don’t. Petty bourgeois capitalists like organizers hustling free labor will pay you as little as they can get away with. And as long as you are willing to work for free (since you don’t see doing something you love as work) they will exploit your ambitions. I’ve seen entire $50 ticketed, for-profit shows where rappers perform and the organizers take all the profit.

Here’s an example formula:

  • Venue owners charge organizers a rental fee up front.
  • Instead of hiring promoters to sell tickets, organizers recruit performers and even the DJ to perform for free and tell them to get their friends/family to support their show. The family/friends of the performers think their dollars are supporting the artists. But of course the organizers are paying their artists in ‘exposure.’ Oftentimes these events have no one important in the industry besides the friends and family of the artists
  • Organizers sometimes incentivize the performers to invite more people to the show by giving them a referral bonus.
    – Example: You get 4 dollars for every 20 dollar ticket you sell(a 20% commission). This word-of-mouth marketing pretty much does all the work for them. Organizers don’t even have to pour money into marketing besides a digital flyer performers can harass their friends with in their DMs. Now the performers are doing the job of a promoter.
  • Some events are even pay to perform. Not just cheap open mics trying to pool money for venue costs. But big price tags y0u’d see in beauty pageants–without the prizes– like charging artists $400 dollars just because some radio show execs will be watching you.
  • The show happens. Maybe some friends forgot to use the promo code and now the organizers don’t even have to pay for unaccounted referrals.

It makes sense that the artist gets a royalty  of the profits if they refer many people. However, this referral commission shouldn’t replace up-front payment for the time & skill it takes to perform. They’re performers. It’s their job to perform and entertain. Not to sell tickets.

Give me my damn money.

Scarlett Johannson’s popularity encourages casting agents to book her. However, they still have to pay for her on-screen performance up front. Not get her to do the job of desperately telling her fans to buy tickets while her pay is held ransom.

In the case of hip hop, organizers are responsible for recruiting performers they know are popular in the venue location and gauge what the turnout will be.

If an event organizer doesn’t even invest money and take risks ahead of time, what does that say about their faith in their event? They have no faith in their own value. They want the success of the event to rest solely on the backs of the performers. If the event flops, it’s okay because they didn’t pay the performers anyway. If plenty of people come, they walk away with most of the money. Or all of the money. Plenty of artists perform even without a commission bonus 100% pro bono. The work of the artist in this petty bourgeois capitalist scheme is reduced to a mere popularity contest.

And I’d be damned if I paid for an Uber to take all my DJ equipment to some guy’s crappy venue without an advanced payment for my labor.

What about the poor little ol’ venue owner that pays for everything?

Sure venue owners pay large costs in overhead, rent, inventory, etc. Boo hoo. That’s the risk of a business. Even McDonald’s pays workers for their time and labor(even if they steal the profits). McDonald’s sure doesn’t tell their workers to go beg their friends to buy a McDouble in order to be paid. Why are practices like these given a pass in the entertainment industry? Because it’s okay to exploit free labor as long as the worker likes their job? Artistry is work.Talent honed into skill. If you can’t afford to pay your workers and make a profit, you shouldn’t be in business. Period.

Artists. Get your sh*t together and stop putting up with this nonsense. Hustlers are gonna hustle. It’s up to the disenfranchised to liberate themselves of their chains. Don’t let yourself be a cash cow. Learn the game. Negotiate your rates with assertion. Collaborate with other honest artists. Make your own show. Whatever you do… please don’t think you have to ‘pay your dues’ by making these venue owners richer.

When the Chinos Get Your Order Right

Jinzo just copped some Chinos in East Harlem.

And the Chinos made sure to make the sesame chicken extra crispy just how he likes.

Black people love the chinos. There’s one on every other block in our neighborhoods.

Watch @CallMeJinzo bust it down.



Jinzo Hits Every Beat

Watch how Jinzo kills this remix to this famous Hip Hop Tutorial Video that became a meme.

Jinzo kills it–per usual. But he makes sure to take it back to his popping roots to show you he never misses a beat.

Let’s Talk About Lil Uzi Gay Mannerisms…

What exactly makes Lil Uzi gay to so many Black men?

As the group that dominates Hip Hop, we need to self-critique our perspective of these new rappers. Not just whether we are right or wrong. We need to ask; where is this judgement coming from? What are the subjective biases we grow up with that make us look at someone and say, “na man. That looks sus. Lil Uzi gay.”

Why do certain things turn us off? You could just say “well I prefer my favorite rappers to look masculine” and leave it at that. But we have been taught to like half of what we like. Not everything we think is “natural” is truly organic. Our preferences are socialized. Men are taught since birth to “man up” at any remote sign of emotion by family. The news gives us a hyper-representation of Black criminality. Mainstream music & film glorifies a lifestyle of promiscuity, violence, and aggression as defining traits of Black masculinity. It’s ironic that there are so many men with a hand in the media yet masculine-presenting men have such a one-dimensional TV presence. No one wants to break the cycle. The moment a man goes against what we normally see, us men get naturally insecure in the box we’ve been comfortably living in.

That’s sus.

That looks gay.

That’s fruity.

Let’s define gayness for a second. Attraction to the same gender. Sexuality doesn’t have a look. Cool. We know this. Yet that all goes out the window in everyday practice. A lot of things go out the window in practice. Like knowing that cheating is bad. Stealing is wrong. That you should floss after every single meal.

But here’s the thing. There is a gay look. A straight look. There shouldn’t be. But there is.

There’s a reason why straight men get called “f*ggots” for doing “unmanly” things as we previously mentioned. Anything outside of a man being dominant and a woman being submissive pretty much gets thrown in the gay box. 

The capitalist protection of the monogamous white family has us conflating gender identity with expression and with sexuality. Yet so many white male models get away with expressing femininity without feeling like their manhood is threatened. Even openly speaking about being straight and being attracted to trans women.

I’ll give you a hint.

White men have nothing to be insecure about when they have solid, objective government power. Many ankh-right, hoteps, Black capitalists & nationalists… do not seek equality justice even among their own people. They seek power. They seek to replace white patriarchy with Black patriarchy. This hierarchy is expressed in more overt homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, classism, and every -ism outside of racism. When you are oppressed in one way, it is easy to latch onto the other -isms for a leverage of power in your own community.

Low-income whites blame those filthy immigrants for stealing all their jobs.

Black men blame the ‘gay agenda’ and Black feminists for ruining their progression.

Hip Hop is the cultural expression of the hood. Thus, the fight for power using masculine dominance is emphasized. The hierarchy straight Black men control is less secure and more violent. Being simultaneous victims and oppressors of their own people. White patriarchy is much more institutional. Social bigotry doesn’t need to be as blatant to maintain its power.

So who cares if it looks gay anyway?

The fact that a lot of ‘new age rappers’ are coming about wear tight jeans, chokers, makeup and come out of their shell to speak about “soft sh*t” is a GOOD thing. It expands hip hop’s masculine spirit to leave the one-dimensional definitions behind.

The commercialization of Black aggression has made Hip Hop a branded cash cow spitting out the same “look” for ages. Perpetuating the same dangerous hierarchy we already have in urban culture. It’s about time we see new steps in fashion and gender expression and still recognize artists as a man simply expressing themselves differently.

Rappers Drinking Pepto Bismol At The Club is Now a Thing

It was only a matter of time before rappers drinking Pepto Bismol in music videos became a thing.
Why tho?

I guess shitting on niggas gets tiring after a while.

Sometimes you realize you’ve been flexing entirely too much. So you have to get your hands on that pink drink to stop yourself from indulging in consumerist behavior and shitting on everyone less iced out than you are I suppose. Rappers drinking Pepto Bismol at the club is the new wave.

@TimHannRivera really killed it. It even got nominated Best Sketch Comedy at the Official Latino Film Festival. 

Here’s the Lyrics:

Sippin on that pink drink,
Got my stomach moving slow,
Sip it with a gingy,
Mix it with that combo,
Finish till it’s empty,
Think I might need one more,
Got me feeling sweaty,
Hope I make it to my show
Sippin on that pink drink,
Hope my shit don’t stink,
Popped a pill and it’s pink
Too late to rethink
Cus now I gotta go gotta go gotta go gotta go
Niggas see me with the hoes
can’t feel me toes
now I’m froze can’t move
got shit on my shoe
got Shawty saying what are those
I suppose fucked up my clothes
that’s how it goes when you
order out and get a three topping pizza at dominoes,
Gotta pop another pill,
cus mothafuckas is too trill,
drink a bit of gingerale,
boutta get that peptobismol refill
Sippin on that pink drink,
Got my stomach moving slow,
Sip it with a gingy,
Mix it with that combo,
Finish till it’s empty,
Think I might need one more,
Got me feeling sweaty,
Hope I make it to my show
12:28 I’m tryna get this drank,
Haven’t ate nothing but a fuckin frank,
Debit card not working gotta run to the bank,
Sharted in my pants shits about to stank,
Ima street nigga fuck you talking bout,
wanna order wings but I’m having doubts,
Ayo Bandage don’t do it man you’re butthole gonna feel like a drout,
Nigga fuck all that other shit I’m ready to check out,
I just got me two piece chicken wings,
Ima street nigga I can do these things,
once I took a bite my fuckin stomach dropped,
these mothafuckin wings made my heart stop,
gotta find me a drug store,
anything that sells that peptobismol,
Ima street nigga y’all already know,
but these wings boutta make my stomach blow…
Sippin on that pink drink,
Got my stomach moving slow,
Sip it with a gingy,
Mix it with that combo,
Finish till it’s empty,
Think I might need one more,
Got me feeling sweaty,
Hope I make it to my show


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