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.

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.

Logan Paul is the Mascot of Selfie Culture

Logan Paul Suicide Video. The media’s new scapegoat for a worldwide sin.

Let’s be real about the Logan Paul Suicide Video.

Selfie culture existed long before the term “selfie” was a thing. Documenting everything from violence to natural disasters to famine. All in the name of “awareness.” But were we really unaware that these things existed? There’s a fine line between news and entertainment. But they’re not mutually exclusive. Gossip is both news and entertainment. As well as controversial sites like Best Gore that pride themselves in spreading the good news about all the dangers in the world. To spread awareness.

Do we need more ISIS beheading videos to know they happen? A month’s worth of footage of trapped bodies under cement after an earthquake? 17 Years’ worth of media coverage to know how bad 9/11 was?

Why are you even watching a video of me reacting to Logan Paul’s reaction to death? There’s articles everywhere to read what happened. But you want my opinion. It’s entertainment.

Was Logan Paul wrong?

Well. Duh. We can unanimously agree that Logan Paul’s actions at Aokigahara were disgusting. However. He is the low hanging fruit when we have a conversation about what’s wrong with humanity. This is the perfect moment to see ourselves in his tremendous flaw.

Plenty can guess what happens in a place called “Suicide Forest.” We know what content we will indulge in when we read a headline like, “Youtube Star Logan Paul Captures Suicide in Vlog.” But we still click anyway. Morbid curiosity? Mind numbing entertainment? Who knows.

Everyday tragedies have become a spectacle for us to indulge in. Even when someone decides to end their lives to get away from it all, the very same kind of person they’ve loathed is in their face with a camera to make sure everyone can see them against their will. The privilege of being able to capture a moment has made us desensitized to this same moment. Then addicted. Obsessed over capturing everything before the memory fades. A birthday boy on walking an endless winter, clamping onto the ribbon of a helium-filled balloon. Paranoid that he won’t even feel when it slips between his gloved fingers. He can only watch in awe what he couldn’t feel. The balloon our fleeting humanity.

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.

Ghetto Jeffro Unboxes Ghost White Timbs

The Ghost White Timbs are an icon of Hood Rich Culture.

This the first time I dropped two bucks on some sh*t some hating ass peasant will probably step on anyway. Why did I get the Ghost White Timbs? Look good; feel good, am I right?

Kinda. Not really.

I know I coulda got White boots from any other brand like H&M for 50 cash. But I don’t f*cks with fugazi sh*t. I’ma keep it a shtack. I haven’t worn Timbs since I was in middle school. Honestly, they blister my ankles and they played out. Everybody and their moms was rockin constructs. Issa lazy way to complete a navy blue color coordination. But Ghost White Timbs that make my eggshell-painted section 8 apartment look yellower than my teeth after eating two chopped cheeses back to back? I had to cop. Come on now.

Keep it 100. You hatin on me for one of three reasons:

  1. I gets more money than you.
  2. They limited edition and you was waitin til next Friday for your check. D*ckhead.
  3. You from the Bronx.



Harlem Gentrifier Silences Mister Softee Ice Cream Truck

Or at least she tries.

First they came for our chopped cheese.

Now they are coming for Mister Softee? You can’t be serious.
This new harlem resident AKA gentrifier complained that Mister Softee’s ice cream truck was too loud. This is an iconic staple of New York City in general. She really tried to call the police on this man doing his job. The weaponization and threat of force is continuously used by these invaders trying to redefine the pace of the hood.

Gary V Hiring Slaves– Ahem — Interns. He’s Hiring Interns.

Are you looking forward to Gary V hiring you? Your pay is $15.


Look. I love Gary Vee. He’s the best motivational speaker leading this generation of entrepreneurs. But what could possibly justify paying someone McDonald’s money for video work?  He’s looking for dedicated young folks with the skills to create videos but, you know… young and ‘inexperienced’ enough to pay crumbs. The saddest part is that people would be STOKED to work with him. And that’s the exact issue with Gary V hiring young interns that would do anything to breathe the same air as him.

The problem is much bigger than Gary V honestly. Brands do this all the time. They gain a large audience and use their notoriety to exploit fans for cheap labor.

Keep it a stack. You would love work with big names like Jay Z, Beyonce, and Lady Gaga just for bragging rights.
At least your resume looks good(even if your bank account doesn’t).

Young creatives are just looking to get their foot in the door and establish some credibility. Getting paid crumbs can be overlooked if it means being able to hone your skills with their favorite celeb. Especially since being young usually means having less financial responsibilities like a mortgage or paying off a house. We even see this exploited when the social dynamic ratio of celebrity:fan is not so polarized. Example, videographers have to lower their prices to compete with the young cats unknowingly devaluing the market by doing extremely cheap work. I’ve been there; working entire music videos for 30 hours of shooting + editing for $150 commissions.

Popular brands continue this ageist tradition of targeting younger, impressionable creatives with too much ambition for their own good. It’s cheap and it works in a practical sense.

Look. Capitalism has never claimed to have the moral high ground. It’s up to us to take a stand and not engage in things like this.

Don’t Read the Worldstar Hate Comments… Trust me.

It’s never healthy to take Worldstar Hate Comments to heart.

Comment sections in general are a trip. The Worldstar hate comments especially add to the ‘bitter-‘ part of the bittersweetness of going viral. When you’re in the spotlight, 15 minutes of fame can also mean 15 minutes of shame if you let the hate get to you. We’re talking outright off-the-wall insults. Not criticism. Especially not constructive criticism. Straight roasting. Like Jesus coming back for a 2nd round of miracles, walking on water, and people making fun of him for wearing fake pumas. Or for leaving his edges in 33 AD.

Worldstar hate comments are ruthless. Don’t read them until you’re ready.

Two Ex Googlers Can’t Replace the Bodega

Especially not with an App called Bodega.

With a bodega cat as a logo.

While not having actual bodega cats.

Paul McDonald and Ashwath Rajan are creating an app that will allow to you open a vending machine via smart phone and contain all the things a bodega needs. Of course don’t actually call it a vending machine. Otherwise, this wouldn’t be news.

How much audacity can these yuppies have? How can business owners do so much research to satiate their hood ambitions yet be so out of touch with their target audience? Columbus syndrome; that’s how. Culture hijacking at its finest. The west calls indigenous tribal culture savage yet wants to retain the aesthetic by using dream catchers and headdresses as fashion statements. These ex googlers’ marketing campaign insinuate that bodegas are obsolete and outdated. In the same breath they base their entire aesthetic on them.

Technology is a great thing. In its own lane.
Here’s why the Bodega app won’t replace actual Bodegas:

They set themselves up in a niche that excludes the hood.

  1. You need a charged smartphone.
  2. You need to have internet data/wifi on that smartphone.
  3. You need space to download this app.

Smart phones are supposed to remove steps from your everyday life. Not complicate it. There is a reason why Apple is so popular despite not having a lot of specs their competitors have. Simplicity. Ease of access. This app cannot eliminate  traditional bodegas for the same reason Uber can’t eliminate the old school hailing-down-a-cab. There are certain parts of New York City culture you simply cannot eliminate with fancy new gadgets.

The culture of walking into a bodega to two familiar faces– the clerk and the cat– simply cannot be replaced by this lifeless machine. This machine cannot make my chopped cheese. Not my salsalito turkey. Not even a bougie ass mozzarella panini. My abuela will not be downloading this app. The sex workers and drug dealers on my block definitely won’t be downloading this app on their 2nd track phones.

Say what you want about the lumpenproletariat, but sex workers and drug dealers are major patrons of the Bodega. The hood may be poor. But we are not broke. You need our money? Get the marketing right. And respect your jaw.


Digital Blackface: The Imaginary Phenomenon

Are White people using Black emojis and GIFS as a form of Digital Blackface?

The better question is probably; are White people using Black emojis at all? Sure we have seen the usage of gifs that contain Black people. But writer Victoria Princewell from BBC claims that White people are deliberately using gifs with Black people to appear more sassy or aggressive in their comment reactions. Whenever White people use gifs of famous entertainers that happen to be Black, it is the 21st century equivalent of minstrel shows AKA Digital Blackface.

Cultural appropriation and tokenism is most definitely a thing.  Especially when analyzing the appropriation of AAVE(African American Vernacular English) or Ebonics. The “Cash me outside” girl that has found huge financial success imitating the linguistics of Black Urban America. Phrases like Yass. It’s Lit. Finna. On Fleek. Fasho. And we can’t forget when Snapchat featured a stereotypical 4/20 filter of Bob Marley

However, BBC’s Digital Blackface is a shot in the dark to coin a new buzzword. One they can monetize for shock. Black entertainers find no issue seeing everyone references their performances in GIFS everywhere.

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