25. I'm a writer and illustrator. I like films, television, books, music, politics and being black.
For Black History Month I Watched All of A Different World
The Black sitcom surge in the ‘80s and ‘90s helped craft the future of sitcoms as we know them. 227, Martin!, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Living Single and several others employed black writers and producers who put black culture on the forefront, giving black audiences something to relate to. Among these is the revolutionary HBCU sitcom, A Different World, which follows a group of college students attending the historically black, Hillman College. Despite the ups and downs of the show (both behind the scenes and on screen), this show goes down in history as one of the most educated and instrumental sitcoms ever aired and continues to influence black audiences to this day.
DID "POLITICAL CORRECTNESS" TANK MILES MORALES?
At this point in my life, I’m not much of a gamer. My friend got me this PC controller, but my computer can’t handle games and I just can’t convince myself to spend money on a console and games, but I love video games, especially those with open world formats. In late 2020, we got Spider-Man: Miles Morales, with Nadji Jeter in the titular role (SN: I love Nadji Jeter. I remember him from Reed Between the Lines, I’ve always thought he was talented). Though I haven’t played it myself, I have watched gameplay for it at least six times because I feel personally connected to the game, the world and the characters. The game is beautiful, the voice acting is really well-done and the soundtrack is really good. I think it's a great game, but its desire to show diversity in its characters and experiences was overshadowed by its limited ability to display reality. On the flip side of things, the game’s desire to be diverse and “politically correct” left a sour taste in the mouth of some gamers and may have affected its sales. So, let’s cover what is perceived as the “political correctness” of the game, the shortcomings of said “political correctness” and how that may have impacted sales.
The Rise and Fall of Empire and Star
Empire began airing in January of 2015 and was an instant success. The show was created and directed by Lee Daniels, who also directed Precious and The Butler, and followed a successful family navigating the music. However, Empire came to a screeching halt in April of 2020 and its sister show, STAR, wrapped in May of 2019. So let's talk about Empire and STAR, beginning to end.
Gender and Sexuality in Hip Hop
“Women can be kings.”-Little Simz, The Guardian Hip hop encapsulates the richness and shortcomings of black and pop culture. These different aspects of culture come to a head and are expressed to a large audience of people through hip hop, since it is currently one of the most influential genres.
Is Lizzo Unlikable?
Lizzo is one of the biggest stars of the past year and implored us to ask the philosophical question: why mean great till they gotta be great? She made a lot of noise with tracks like “Juice,” “Truth Hurts” “Good as Hell” and “Tempo.” Her rise to stardom was something that we hadn’t seen before as her most notable tracks were released years ago and only recently made their way to the tops of the charts.
The Logistics of the Rap Crown
The rap crown is arguably the most desired accolade in music history. Since rap music became mainstream so has its top spot. Now that rap music is one of the most influential aspects of pop culture, it is more coveted than ever. It’s customary for every rapper to think that the top spot belongs to them, but it’s usually the general consensus that they need to put in some work before they can truly justify their place at the top. Rappers that fans often indicate as top tier and deserving of that spot include Eminem, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Biggie, Tupac, Lil Wayne, Nas and many others. Some people think that the crown is simply transferred from one rapper to another after a certain period of time, others think that it has to be earned and once it is acquired, someone better has to come along to take it.
Boom Bap and the Pro Era Effect
For many, boom bap is synonymous with real hip hop and is one of the only forms that truly encapsulates the genre. Even with the young genre continuing to grow and dominate popular music, these fans still remain persistent in their desire for raw beats that call back to the 90s. Boom bap was popularized in hip hop in the 90s and is revered as one of the staples of the East Coast hip hop movement. It's the combination of a bass drum on downbeats and a snare on the upbeats, but even without a specific or lengthy explanation, listeners know boom bap when they hear it. And hearing it in 2000s always introduces a sort of nostalgia for older, East Coast records.
Anderson .Paak: All Teef, No Beef
Over the last three years or so, Anderson. Paak has taken the music industry by storm and his success is long overdue. At the age of 33, .Paak is already a veteran and has been involved in the music industry in one way or another for about 15 years. However, to some, it may seem like his success came out of nowhere. Being the protégé of a legend like Dr. Dre automatically grants you a bit of sway in the building, but Paak has long been an artist that paved his own lane in popular music, sporting his own set of values, crafted by his inspiring history.
'Atlanta' (FX): One of a Kind
In 2016, FX aired the first episode of Atlanta and it is incredibly true to the diversity of the black experience. I remember hearing about Donald Glover’s upcoming series while I was still in high school, and I wondered what it would consist of. For the most part I knew Glover as Troy from Community, and I didn’t think his acting went much farther than that. However, after two seasons and a confirmed third, Atlanta is one of my favorite shows ever. And I am not alone here, it has great reviews from critics and fans alike, and is refreshing in an entertainment world that only does what is comfortable. After all, the reason that there are so many super hero movies, reality shows, and nostalgic reboots is that executives know that these will do well, these things involve absolutely zero risks (though that doesn’t mean that they can’t go incredibly wrong). Atlanta, on the other hand, is full of experimental and risky choices from plot lines to wardrobe decisions. Since Glover is a fan of classics like Freaks and Geeks and Twin Peaks and wrote for 30 Rock, while simultaneously working as an RA in at NYU, we weren’t surprised to see that this show was successful, but I don’t think we expected it to be this successful.