Category: Music

A reluctantly written note to white people: “Formation” isn’t about us. You don’t have to get it.

I wasn’t going to say something, but I’ve seen enough things being Said that I kind of had to say something, which I hate, because it puts me in the category of people who have said stuff. But here goes, and I’m sorry.

White people writing analyses and critiques of “Formation”: “Formation” isn’t about us, for us, or at us. At all.

Oh No It’s Award Season Again Thread

A pale skinned woman with blonde hair stands in the foreground of an expansive rural landscape. She is dressed extremely stylishly in 50s-era dress, gloves and hat, and is carrying a Singer sewing machine in its case.

Share your thumbs-ups and thumbs-downs here, for whatever production and whoever’s performance, and feel free to go to town with subtext and meta-commentary. Just please be spoiler-aware for those readers who haven’t managed to catch up with various books/movies/TV yet.

I’ll get you started. Consider going to see The Dressmaker.

Monday morning mood lifter: The best defense

It’s a gray, drizzly Monday morning in Birmingham, Alabama, and I’m grumpy because I stayed up last night reading a book because I was hoping it would get better, and it never did, and I’m perfectly happy to accept a degree of sleep deprivation if it’s for a book that’s actually good, but this is just out of line, but you know what? This weekend, a kid in St. Andrews, Scotland, took down a bigoted street preacher in “the most Scottish way possible.”

Today in the No Shit, Sherlock Files

Shorter Pogo: I said some awful things, and now my Twitter is full of people are telling me they were awful, and I may have just alienated my core fanbase. So NOT FAIR, because it was all just an experiment anyway, you bratty feminist hyenas!

Using so many words to say so little…

What is the famous song “Strange Fruit,” by Abel Meeropol, a New York Jewish communist schoolteacher, and most famously performed by Billie Holiday, the immensely influential and important black singer, about? Lynching.  It’s about lynching.  It’s about whites lynching black…

Let’s talk about that bass

Chances are, you’ve heard the much-lauded pop song of late summer, Meghan Trainor’s body-acceptance anthem “All About That Bass.” (Chances are, just reading that title has driven the season’s most pernicious earworm directly into your brain, and for that, I apologize.) You may or may not like it. You may or may not be disappointed that it wasn’t better, like I was, which seems unfair because nothing’s perfect, but there’s so much promise that the problematic stuff is extra frustrating.

“High velocity bitterness” shuts down Ani DiFranco’s racist plantation party

Ani DiFranco’s “Righteous Retreat” songwriting camp was originally scheduled for next June at Nottaway Plantation in White Castle, Louisiana. It’s a charming, verdant resort with luxurious rooms, fine dining, and expansive event facilities, all built on the back of a “wiling workforce” (per the resort’s website) of hundreds of slaves used as physical labor and, on occasion, currency.

Beyoncé’s Break from the Shell of Respectability

As one blogger asked, where were you when Beyoncé’s self-titled album was dropped on December 13, 2013? The world was shell-shocked when the Beytomic bomb exploded on the musical landscape. After this initial shock and awe, fans of her music have been able to digest her masterpiece in all its glory. We can surely talk for days about her more explicit sensuality. Or her refined ratchetness. Or how this coincides with her shift in musical expression. I’d like to explore the latter of these two. And what it means for her as black woman who grew up middle class in the south. They are these intersections of race and class—not to mention gender, which has already been talked about a good bit in feminist spaces—that make Beyoncé so fascinating and, as one of my homegirls and Melissa Harris Perry (my homegirl in my head) put it, will doubtless be the album that launches a thousand woman’s studies papers.

Roundup: Miley Cyrus needs to stop.

Sunday night’s MTV VMAs: Miley Cyrus gets to wear and/or remove revealing clothes. She gets to put her hands and/or pelvis in assorted places. She gets to wear latex granny panties and grind up on a fully-dressed Robin Thicke. She gets to stick her tongue out — constantly — no matter how gross it is — like a cartoon dog seeing a sexy cartoon lady dog. Miley Cyrus is a grown woman and gets to use her body as she wants.

Using other people’s bodies is a different story, and a number of bloggers have commented on that crucial fact.