Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Black Female Celibacy...an Oxymoron?? Beg to Differ!

Reading this article from the 'New Black Magazine' brought to light and quantified in a concise format some thoughts I often have on the topic of why the stereotypical view of blacks maintains that we are sexually deviant, promiscuous and simply out-of-control in a kind of animalistic way. Also the sense of entitlement and claiming that seems to be made when it comes to women's bodies in general. If this were not the case why would sexual harassment in public be such a common place thing. I just wonder what gives a complete stranger the right to try and meddle with private parts of your body, in public for that matter so here comes a misogynistic aspect of this kind of behaviour - a need to humiliate a woman for no valid reason. It's a shame, a complete and utter shame yet when the complaints erupt, they are seldom taken seriously. In fact they are laughed upon, further perpetuation of the humiliation.

The treatment and portrayal of the female form in mainstream media seems to always boil down to this irrational notion that women do not have claim to their own bodies and what happens to them thereafter. That we see so many numerous cases of rape victims becoming the accused while their perpetrators are viewed with sympathy as the poor guy who got seduced by a women dressed raunchily who sought to use her sex to take a wealthy or powerful or publicly well-known figure down such as the case of Crystal Mangum. Now nobody seems to know what went down the night of the alleged incident but one cannot turn their eyes away from the fact that if she was raped, there is no way she would be able to have her attackers punished for their crimes. They bask in the glory of male privilege, the general public is completely favourable to sportsmen in most cases and as a figure that is commonly viewed in society as completely lascivious and sexually immoral, it is no wonder she is the one to take the blame for the assault.

Now perhaps one can understand why a complaint about the sexualization of the female form in mainstream media is not just a bunch of old tannies and oupas with overly traditionalist values and world-views frowning upon any kind of indecency or even perhaps overly religious members of the public who dismiss sexual immorality in fear of God's condemnation. Rather the problem lies in the fact that these images infiltrate the unconscious mind's of our young men and feed them with the notion that they are entitled to do as they will with women's bodies, that the female form exists to gratify the sexual hunger of the species and this in turn leads to an outward expression of these underlying beliefs: sexual harassments, rape and other sex-crimes.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Why Chauvinists Should Take Rape Seriously (will the poor things ever)

I could not have said it any better myself. The light-hearted way in which chauvinists treat the issue of rape. If I could write a constitution for the world it would entail a law that sends men who laugh at, mock or even blame rape victims to jail for a little experience of their own. See how they'll like that. Either way here's the post that struck my interest.

Tell me after reading this that women should just "sit back and enjoy the ride" when being forced to endure an event that will leave them emotional scarred for an immensely long time thereafter. It's not even about sex, it's about a heinous theft of power. But when "you're just a boy" how can you understand anything remotely close that level of insight and below-the-surface thinking.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Pariah's High School Musical...

...Would be a miserable, melancholy song of miscomprehension, silly fights, medals for academic achievement, prize-giving night, dealing with foolish social epithets, suicidal thoughts (yes ashamed as I am to admit it) and all sorts. But ohhh my am I glad it's over. With two full years experience into the real world, I'm feeling a little retrospective and this article perfectly highlighted some of the qualms plenty of losers, nerds, freaks, pariahs and outcasts experienced in high school. That ridiculous little environment where you spend five years either conforming to the popular traditions of people pleasing or choose to join the minority of kids who actually study. Lessons learned and a lot of laughable memories. Whether we like to accept it or not our adolescent years do a deal of a job shaping what types of adults we choose to become in future.
Paul Graham's thesis on Why Nerds are Unpopular was a fun read and clarified for me what I have always pondered in secret as the reason for the constant dislike of nerds. Of course, it doesn't end at high school. There are anti-intellectual adults in the real world. I have claims on head-on experiences with a couple and it was nothing more than repulsive not to mention disapointing because you thought you really thought that the foolish game was over once you were handed your Matric-certificate. You still get a weird look for carrying a copy of the Mail and Guardian, for admitting that you'd rather chill home with a good book some weekends than go to a club and wear yourself out on the dance floor (not to say that that isn't good fun every now and then because it is but three times a week is just lame straight up and down. Then there are 30-somethings (how i detest thereof) who see you as "self-focused", "apathetic" and only concerned with matters of popularity and maintaining an incredible social life by a mere statement of age. Forget those oldies, what do they know anyway. But again how can you blame them when the majority of the youth are out there on some strong I mean STRONG anti-intellectual tip. Sounding statements that intellectual issues are boring, that there is something "wrong" with young people concerned with these issues and continuing to label us losers, nerds, geeks and freaks. If that's what it means to read extensively, have an immense thirst for knowledge, use big words because you can, refuse to subscribe to the mainstream musicians vacuous philosophies, stay home watching cult movies on a Friday night, quote Shakespeare maybe because he was just the epitome of literary dopeness, not conform, be an eccentric or become subject to endless demoralizing social epithets and straight-up disses all for the sake of choosing the path of the intellectual then yes, yes I am a nerd and I am heck proud of it!

The telling rewards of slogging through school and maybe even college (depending on where you attend) with a nerdy status.

Now he wouldn't go down as a quintessential nerd but he's reading that's a massive deviation from the unfortunate "black male norm" (not that I ever agreed with it, please don't get it twisted) so yes he qualifies!

Women can be nerds too but for some reason I can't really think of a prominent example of one. Why is that. Even when I refer to myself as a nerd, it's somewhat strange. Perhaps the defintion should not only apply to those that take interest in computers/technology but any individual who undertakes extensive intellectual reading in any topic for that matter. Music nerds, theatre nerds, wikipedia nerds, political nerds, physics nerds, geology nerds etc etc The list goes on.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Obama Magic

Ladies and gentlemen I think we could just have a replacement for our beloved Madiba because although we hail him as some sort of superhuman, he too will one day become captive to the natural human process of 'passing on'. But not to worry, we have a replacement. A man who has siezed the affection, admiration and utter respect of almost the entire world. The world's newly elected president. You've gotta see this. There is some sort of magic around this guy for real. He even had to make the remark himself, "I was not born in manger". Perhaps people should be careful not to view him as a type of Messaih because he is not and what a job the man has ahead of him. On top of that a pile of expectations from his country and the world beyond.

But what is it that has made a whole planet fall in love with him. For me, it's what his achievement represents - HOPE! That one can beat circumstance, beat the odds, stomp through all the obstacles that stood in your way and become something great. Make history. Considering the fact that most of this planet's inhabitants are people of colour living poorly, Obama's presidency represents a great deal for most of us who understand the sting of racial oppression, have ever dismissed a dream on the basis of economic position or ethnic background. We know we truly can't do that any longer after something this incredible has happened to one of our own. A man of colour becoming the most powerful man in the world. Nothing is impossible and I can truly 100% believe that this time round.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Analysis: influences on M.I.A.'s style

Her video graphics are deliberately low budget looking (reminds me of videos from DRC by Werrason, Fally Ipupa etc etc) which is very reflective of what she represents - her background and where she comes from. The 'birdflu' video looks as though it was shot in village situations somewhere in rural Pakistan. Then you have the 'boyz' video with its dancehall/ragga theme probably shot somewhere in Jamaica. This is what I appreciate most about her vids that she's bringing something from the 3rd World and that's unusual considering her mainstream appeal.

Jimmy with the Eastern/Bollywood vibe

Boyz taking it all the way down to Kingston

She's 33 which means she was a teen during the late eighties and early nineties so she probably remembers the time when hip hop was just gaining speed and music videos were colourful and looked similar to what she's bringing in the 'boyz' video. So retrospective. The early nineties was a great time for rap and hip hop. I was only a tot but I remember some of it.


This is certainly because I just love the girl's music and persona so much that I was only going to flood my usual blog with posts about her new music, videos, interviews, comments or antithesis' of critics reviews and what not so I decided to be wise and set aside an entire blog dedicated to the woman herself. Maya Arulpragasam.
Just caught a view of a new vid she's got with Blaqqstar. Great beat, dope lyrics. She couldn't miss the mark in my books. Not at all.

Way Down in the Hole
is Tom Waits cover for the series The Wire. It's morbid and beastly with the black and white which suits the sound completely. Showing multiple windows of streaming is clever too, just reflects the times we're living in. The youtube generation mood shown nicely here.

MTV EMA 2008: Horrors and Humours

So I was really looking forward to watching the EMA's this year a) because I never have sat down to watch it in full ever and b) MTV hyped the whole thing up to a very large degree. So I sat down to watch two hours of the thing and felt alright about it. Wasn't great but wasn't bad either. But I need to remark about one or two or maybe three things I found ridiculous, silly or just plain shocking. Excuse the intense cynicism, I just don't have friends these days it's turning me a little icy!

So the show opens with the most annoying song of 2008, wide-eyed Katy Perry with her troop of tarty cheerleaders. Unfocussed singing and eyes like that of someone strung out on cocaine. Thank goodness the horrendous scene only lasted a minute. But guess what, the chic was hosting the damn show. Oh yeepie.

But there was more to laugh at at that. Beyonce comes out wearing a futuristic grey and black outfit with fabric mimicking the texture and appearance of corrugated iron. All this to match the hard, feminist mood she's obtained for her new album and persona "Sasha Fierce". There is nothing hardcore about, "If I Were a Boy" - murmurings of a finishing diva who married a big-lipped rapper for money and power and probably (this is purely speculative) cheated on her. What else would've inspired such lyrics. She must have been cheated on - shameless - Hova the adulterer.

Pink took the award for "Most Addictive Song" - another angry lady but at least she was strong enough to just bounce and then write a jolly song about it which is so catchy you could just sing along anytime of the day and so empowering, you just wanna sing it to all the hateful people in your life.

Britney Spears beating Colplay to "Album of the Year" is ridiculous, nuff said.

The Killers had a killer performance for lack of a better word. The pyrotechnics and lighting was just incredible in it, I was dumbfounded it looked so good.
Speaking of things that look good. Jared Leto mmm mm mm! Even Grace Jones was flirting with him at one point. Hell I would to, ahaha.

Kanye West's biggest err was deciding to sing "Love Lockdown" and using distortion techniques to mask the fact that he cannot sing to save his life. At one point you could hear him straining his voice trying to belt in the final parts of the song. I would've loved to see him cough on stage after the way he was hurting his vocal cords like that. What saved the performance was the stage of course, a crisp white lake of illuminated milk - visually stunning with projections of the two "alien" women from the video.
Then Ms Estelle came out wearing a royal blue sequinned dress shaped like a triangle or something it looked wierd that's all I'm going to say.
They both sounded bad but to a crowd of drunken, oversexed young Europeans anything will sound good so they cheered on.

Funny that both parties hosting the show win awards. Match-fixing maybe? Whatever. Who cares anyway?

Some tips on making music for European audiences, construct extremely basic sentences in English and repeat them numerously over a drum arrangement, some keyboard chords and what not like The Ting Tings. There you go, a hit song in Europe...oh they're so easy!

The show ended with Duffy singing "Mercy" so badly you would beg for mercy yourself to make her stop. Studios really make people sound talented. They're all getting lazy with their live performances. Telling you these singers of nowadays need some lectures from the greats on how to give live performances. I saw nothing impressive last night. Nothing, all the hype was for nothing. Perhaps we'll see better next year.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Audacity of Hope Realised!! Yes We Can!

I watched in tears as the Obama Family alongside the Bidens walked the stage in Chicago, Illinois in front a cheering crowd of thousands of American civilians willing to embrace and welcome the change that the USA so desperately needed at such a time as this.

I love technology, news coverage happens at lightning speed!

USA Today Article on the Win.

Some ABC News Coverage on the Win.

At 5.50am this morning I shot myself out of bed and tuned into CNN for Election Night America to see a dream that many thought would never be realised so soon come to life. Barack Hussein Obama has been elected as the 44th President of the United States of America. A man born from a Kenyan father - Barack Obama I and a Jewish American mother - Ann Dunham, a BLACK MAN has become the president of the United States. Who would have thought, who would have ever thought.

Yes he was met with immense doubt at the begin of the campaign, immense doubt and opposition throughout the campaign, villifications and all sorts and he has conquered and opened the floodgates for opportunity for millions all over the world that have ever seen their social standing, their race, or their nationality as a setback or limitation in their ambition to have their goals attained.
Nothing is impossible and "Yes we can" regardless of circumstance! What an inspiration, I feel so proud to be alive at such a time to be alive to see this happen. It's amazing beyond words. Congratulations to this incredible human being. I have all the faith and belief that he will serve his sentence bearing in close mind the needs of his people, that he will govern with grace and continue to inspire the people of America and the world to be the change that they wish to see in the world.
Let the celebrations continue, what a day, what a day!

Also, let me just mention that Senator John McCain accepted his defeat with such eloquence and grace, his words and spirit were wonderful in stark contrast to the dissapointed Republican crowds jeering in Phoenix. In expressing his promise to support Obama in his future governance of the nation, he displayed much wisdom and strength. A graceful and sophisticated acceptance of loss. I take my hat off to him, he ran a good campaign despite his loss.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the 44th President of the United States of America.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Trip Hop making a Massive Attack on my playlists

This is shocking I know but I have only come full circle to discovering this beautiful genre of music this year!! I'd heard about it before - trip hop and I'd seen Tricky make a guest appearance on Girlfriends in 2005 as Lynn's philandering love interest who of course was a trip hop artist/producer helping Lynn make waves in her up and coming career as a singer. But that was it, didn't know much about the music itself until this year when I was scanning the DMX Audio channel bouqet on DSTV and came across a track on the "Subterranean" station called Black Steel by Tricky himself. I loved it instantly and found the root sample line that Phraroah Monche uses in The Book of Judges - "They wanna send to the army of whatever, picture me giving a damn I said Never". That line is so loaded with attitude man it's a classic in itself. So back to the topic of conversation. So got the song and been listening to it nonstop for the past week. Love it, last night I heard a track from Massive Attack called Protection and fell in love with it instantly. After checking all these artists on wikipedia and finding that they all have the same genre tag of trip hop attached to them, I'm starting to realise that this is a genre I definitely love in its wholeness. Just like neo-soul and alternative rock, it's a music I'm coming to love. New discoveries everyday. How great to mature this way!

Timeless tracks: