Dread, destruction and humanity

I know I know. I watch a lot of films and get excited about them all. First Wonder Woman, then Baby Driver, now Dunkirk. But, we have to talk about Dunkirk. I don’t have the words to describe this film, but I can try. I don’t like seeing a movie after it gets lots of renowned and hype. Too many expectations, star power, “renown”. I thought maybe Dunkirk was being celebrated because it’s by Christopher Nolan, and it’s yet another WWII film.

Dunkirk is instead a masterpiece, exhilarating and beautiful in it’s execution and structure. It is a grand yet intimately visceral story. The film centers around a short period of time during the famous evacuation of the Allied forces trapped on beaches of Dunkirk, France, surrounded by Germans, in 1940. The narrative of the film is simple-thousands of soldiers trapped by the sea, England visible across the channel, being killed in droves and scrambling to stay alive and escape. Yet the way this story is told and shaped is radical and bold.

There isn’t a traditional set up and story arc. There isn’t backstory. There isn’t character development in the traditional sense, and hardly any dialogue throughout. What we get are three intersecting storylines of one story, between the men on the beaches (across one week), the civilians coming to save them (across one day), and a few pilots fighting the faceless enemy in the air (thrilling across one hour).

We are thrown into the action from the first harrowing sequence, and do not get typical scenes so much as a sequence of events in the mad struggle for survival. Each storyline compliments the larger story, each a layer in grand, dreadful, human chapter in war. From frightening and intense sequences of men escaping sinking ships, flying through beautiful skies to shoot down a German fighter, running a wounded man across a beach as bombs drop around. Time is layered and the action is nearly chaotic but exquisitely structured.

We focus on just a few, often nameless soldiers and civilians, who do not get much dialogue or  history. It is hard to describe how our connection and empathy for these characters is created, but it is. It’s not in the way we are used to or expect. We are immediately in the moment, in a terrifying crisis, and we get to know these characters by how they face fear, dread, how they are noble and help one another, how they are hurt, the emotions behind their eyes. It’s not in overwrought moments but in the visceral and intimate experience of war we share with them. The two pilots played by Tom Hardy and Jacob Lowden, stoic and brave, maneuvering under pressure. The young soldiers, who include the excellent Fiona Whitehead and Harry Styles, vulnerable and horrified. The civilians, including Mark Rylance, who sail into a war zone unarmed, fear and determination in their faces. We see the shattered psyches of “shell shocked” men in subtle paranoia and anger. We see to compassion in the characters faces and their individual humanity. Even with relentless and random death, there is a vein of morality in small moments.

The visual experience of the film is beautiful, shot on film with majestic land and seascapes. There were so many shots in the film that my jaw dropped, including the beauty and realism of the beach and stormy skies, the sunset around thousands of men as they ships were savagely sunk. The color palate is cool, blues and greys, yet rich. There is a sense of epic space and claustrophobia.

The action scenes are inexplicable to me, created with real ships and planes, thousands of extras, rich in detail, chaotic but perfectly paced, destructive and dread inducing but not over the top. Nolan creates his story through action and it is executed better then he has ever done before (and he made The Dark Knight). The stunning score by Hans Zimmer, heart-pounding, classical and droning, fully shapes the film.

The film is non-traditional in that it does not give you a flowing and complex storyline but rather a simple narrative completely built. It doesn’t give you characters so much as humanity. It’s relentless in its action. I could see why some people may find the film challenging. I found it immersive, a film as great art.

Ode to Baby Driver

God I’ve missed you. Back to it then.

I want to talk about Baby Driver.
I’ve been a fan of Edgar Wright since I first saw Shaun of the Dead, and even more so when I saw his excellent tv show Spaced and the wondrous Scott Pilgrim vs the World. I loved his show and films- their unique style, their subversive humor, the blending of stylistic and humanistic. Edgy yet endearing. He creates films in a completely unique brand. I loved the characters he creates, somehow daring not to be cool and still ending up cool.


I saw the trailer for Baby Driver months back and thought it seemed fun, but wasn’t sure what was new or interesting about it. I heard rumblings of greatness before seeing the film and I hoped for a smart, action packed time. What I got was that and so much more. This film was a pristine masterpiece of archetypal characters with humanity, music,  and biting action. It’s energy will leave you in rapture. It’s a simple story of a young man called Baby, who is mixed up with some scary criminals because of a youthful mistake. He works as their driver to pay off his debts (and stay alive). He has a dark past, and he learned to cope by driving real fast and perpetually listening to classic tunes on his iPod. He exists in his own little world, when grooving down the street, screeching around a street corner with ten cop cars behind him, or watching the diner girl walk towards him. Ansel Elgort is marvelous, badass but youthfully vulnerable, iconic but unique, shy but charismatic, naive but scarred.
Every other actor brings their characters intensity, humor, ludicrousness, and vitality, whether it’s Jon Hamm’s arrogant, evil, gaudy “Buddy”, Jaime Foxx’s clever, ruthless and unhinged “Bats”, or Kevin Spacey’s menacing near father-like boss man “Doc”. Lily James manages to be the pretty diner girl, and be gentle and loving without being pathetic. The story itself moves at a whip fast pace. You watch on the edge of your seat, moving in unexpected twists and turns along a perfectly paced plot. Maybe the end meandered just a tad but I forgive that, as Wright may have wanted to bring a dream-like conclusion to the story.


This movie achieves a unique visual and stylistic tone, with bright colors, expertly crafted action shots that are fast, flourishing and dramatic. And I haven’t even gotten to the music and editing. Funny enough, my friend told me she felt this film was a musical when she saw it. While *spoiler alert* it does not have any characters breaking out into song, the movie has a choreographed and crafted quality, which reminded me (strangely) of La La Land. It is colorful, beautiful, bold, full of movement. The music is integral the the heart of the film. Edgar Wright said in an interview with Rolling Stone, when discussing the music of the film, “What if a character was soundtracking his life?”. The film and his character are imbued with classic, groovy numbers and it feels organic and fun. You get obsessed with the music too, and I walked away from this film with this as the soundtrack to my life for days.

There is so much to say about how this film is crafted, what inspired Wright to create this story in this way. He had a singular vision and executed it perfectly. Thank you Baby!

 

p.s. I have some things to say about Wonder Woman too. Also, Master of None Season 2, 13 Reasons Why, SKAM’s last season, Insecure. Next post.

NOSTALGIA

The hardest thing is to be present and alive in the moment. To not think and think and think, but to be here. To not think but to feel. To breathe air in and out, feel the tingle of your skin, to ground yourself on the sturdy earth below. To let the noise fade and be clear. This is it. Right?

Yes, but also THIS is much richer and more complex then I realized. I had always thought nostalgia was indulgent, false. Pleasant, but like living in a nonexistent place. Pleasant but also full of melancholy, focusing on what is lost. I thought thinking about the past didn’t help us live in this burning now.
My dad loves to wax nostalgic about his past, often about his school days in Ethiopia and Eritrea. Wearing cowboy hats and watching westerns. Studying by flashlight in a dusty attic. Hitching rides with truck drivers from Addis Abeba to Asmara. And I always thought, what lovely memories…but aren’t you living in the past? Are you sad not to be there anymore? Sad at all the time that has passed, feeling like you’ve lost and lost it all?

I recently went to my ten year high school reunion. It feels like just yesterday and yet a long time ago. I feel how much I have grown and experienced. But also, I remember wandering around campus imagining my new future, a future that is now past. I hadn’t been on campus or thought about high school for quite some time. My school experience was lovely and full of emotion and dreams. Yet I have always thought reminiscing was pointless. I am fighting to feel happy and alive now, so why focus on the past? And why can’t we enjoy now, instead of having to romanticize the past? Nostalgia felt like a cruel trick of life, that we could only appreciate the beauty of moments in retrospect. Our minds racing to some other place, not able to see the ephemeral uniqueness of the time we were in. Nostalgia felt like happiness removed 10 degrees, shifted out of place.

I began to see things more complexly recently. Walking around my high school campus, all the dormant memories of my teenage self, in this place, came back. It was all vivid again. The fireplace surrounded by couches, where we sat during free time, in our large two story wood paneled library. The large auditorium where we had morning meeting, the stage on which we would make announcements and perform plays. The hidden side doors into our high school. The classrooms littered with feminist quotes and posters of Malcolm X and Gandhi. The algae filled lake next to the pick up lane. The blue lockers.

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I felt like I rediscovered a part of myself I had forsaken. A passionate, silly, imaginative teenager, obsessed with Veronica Mars and poetry. I dreamt and wrote and studied and thought about what real life might be like. I knew I was awesome and special and the future would be fucking fantastic. I would be successful and do everything I was supposed to do. And at our little all girls private school, I felt nourished and safe.

In the intervening years, I somehow lost touch with that girl (don’t you feel that too, a bit?). My time in high school was a time of enormous growth, where I became who I am, where I felt life vividly and yearned. And I forgot it all, maybe even willingly, in an effort to be present in my current reality. But who I was then is still within me. The past is alive in the present. Who we were informs our every moment. Without all of our experiences, we would be nothing, empty shells. The present moment is not meaningful without our selves and our lives behind it. There is a continuity between past moments and present moments, past selves and current selves. Without being able to reflect, we are lost.

I understood this, as my core was lit up by being back in high school. This Psychology Today article entitled “Looking to our past: Escapism or Exploration”, says it perfectly-

“The moments we experience are imbued with the meaning we have accumulated over a lifetime”
“In a time of rapid social and technological change, nostalgia motivates the rehearsal of past experiences that can remind us of our authentic self.  In the midst of a kaleidoscope of social and personal transformation, nostalgic reminiscence grounds us with the reminder of the one constant—we are the source of our thoughts, actions, and feelings across time and change.  By maintaining a relationship with old parts of our self, we can measure our development and sustain a sense of continuity.  Nostalgia allows us to visit, not remain with, our former self.  Especially during difficult times, reconnecting with our past self can restore the comfort and security we once had.”

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/longing-nostalgia/201511/looking-our-past-escapism-or-exploration

Finally, two minutes of the beginning of Before Sunset. Sayin it all better than me. #richardlinklateristheman

Alternate reality

I have been thinking about creativity recently. Pretty much all my life, actually, but even more so lately. For me, the most compelling principles in life have always been: 1) creating stuff and 2) helping people.

When I was 8 years old I wrote my first (and one of few completed) short stories. I kept it simple then. I have had a creative core, essential to me, ever since. I don’t create enough art and writing out of fear of it not being good enough (just like ever other could be creator). It flourishes in fits and starts. A 35 page unfinished, rip-off fantasy novel at age 12.  A series of pen illustrations throughout college, where I became intrigued with the intersection of words and images, very comic-like. Adapted from movie stills or magazines, with a borrowed line of poetry or lyric sprawled across the image. My college application to NYU was a small pinnacle. They told us to submit anything- a dress we made, a video, a regular old essay, a creation of our own. So I recorded a creative essay, recording myself reading it, and had it end with the song “Toyko” by Headlights.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5iLPUvf4YU

I was obsessed with the film Lost In Translation, which I had just seen at the time, and was filled with ideas of melancholy, travel, fleeting beauty, the end of high school, and somehow connected that film to this song. When I first got instagram in 2011 (like, way back in the day), I experimented with it in ways that were a bit random, before the full artsy range on Instagram came forth. Up close photos of pictures I cut out of newspaper, pictures of myself in the dark.

A lot of the art I am drawn to is about the unexpected, honest, quietly thrilling moments. I see a lot of it on Instagram, actually. Random example…

https://www.instagram.com/sluttyyyvibes/

Pushing the bounds of the normal, the linear. But, probably, anyone doing any kind of non-traditional, modern art, since the turn of the 20th century, is trying to achieve this. This moment from Miranda July’s instagram, for example. Miranda July the person is an example of someone who creates unexpected beauty.

The woman seated next to me is like Um.

A post shared by Miranda July (@mirandajuly) on

Who would even if think to create a brief snippet of a confession from pretend space flight? It’s weird, funny, magical, unexpected. Somehow honest.

There are a million examples I’ve loved recently. Random example- the surreal, sad, comic book world within a surreal, sad, WWII story in The Amazing Adventures of Cavalier and Clay.  And art doesn’t have to be experimental to be good. I love Skam because, while it’s not experimental, and is very much grounded in ordinary daily life, it is the ordinary life of teenagers that is constantly refreshing, random.

     

(season 4 of SKAM slays, with muslim girl realness. GIFs courtesy of my favorite tumblr skamedits.tumblr.com)

Another point. Sometimes, in more nihilistic moments, I wonder what the point of art is, of pretend, of made up shit. What drives humans to make a piece of art, write a story? We create an alternative world, a parallel universe. Our own romance, yearning, confusion, pain, visions go into what we make. The connections we draw between random points. We have all these weird feelings, we see the world through our own psychedelic kaleidoscope. And this can become a character, a plot. We create another world, characters, emotional moments, and they actually exist. We tell a story and we create a new space of existence.

And if people see it, read it, a fictional world can inhabit our collective minds. That is why creating stuff is valuable, challenging, but fun.

Being present in a time of resistance

Part 2 in a series on the intersection of art and the political/social turmoil of our time.

 

Is introspection and creativity frivolous in a time of such social and political turmoil? I have the freedom to contemplate life’s dimensions and not worry about surviving and fighting for my rights. How do we look into ourselves and still look at at others? Can we be introspective and creative, and still adequately contemplate the state of humanity itself, the struggles of our society? Maybe understanding ourselves is the natural counterpart to understanding others and having empathy for their humanity. A meaningful life may require both introspection and fighting for our own happiness, and fighting for the rights and happiness of others.

The questions of how to be yourself, live authentically, how to spend your time on earth, how to create art, are not frivolous. Every single person on this earth should be able to truly be themselves and ponder these questions. Tyranny, war, prejudice disrupts everything, and makes survival the most important thing. People deserve to survive and then do more than that. All these refugees, all these homeless people, all those “others” you don’t understand, have complex inner lives. Even in political/social turmoil, the questions of our humanity and their humanity are still important. Being present, joyful, and creative is essential.

So I begin by contemplating these questions. I love love love this Cheryl Strayed quote (which I think she partially adopted from Audre Lorde), where Strayed says it is not a question of whether you stay or go, but whether you choose to love this life with all your intelligence. What intelligence do you bring to this life, to this moment? And remembering our privilege, the privilege to ask the question, to even have the time or hope to ask that question, and actually be able to do whatever I want.

This is an insanely amazing shimmering life given to me. How do I embrace this moment? How do we understand ourselves in the quiet of the present? Write, write, write. Remember my childhood dreams. Listen to a song. Say positive mantras haha (I am beautiful, I will have a great day, I am revitalized and reenergized). Create art.

 

I love this article that came out recently in Rolling Stone, which has so many excellent points about taking action and resisting, entitled “How to Take Action-and Stay Sane-in the Trump Era“, by . She interviews the author L.A. Kauffman. Read this (it’s awesome and short – http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/how-to-take-action-and-stay-sane-in-the-trump-era-w462512 ). One great point they made is below:

I already know some folks who are feeling a sense of burnout. What’s your advice to them?
There’s a lot of work that’s going to be needed over these next four years…. But taking time to connect with friends, appreciate the things about the world that are worth saving – whether it’s taking a hike in the woods, reading poetry or enjoying music – is as essential to sustaining resistance as learning specific techniques for how to do a direct-action blockade.”

“The movements that have been the most effective have almost all had humor, mischief and mirth as well as a celebration of community and each other. Those are the kinds of things that sustain people, and those are the movements that are the best entry points for people who are new to activism. That’s why you see music, art and culture as part of every single movement that’s been successful; those are the things that keep people going. Anger is necessary and righteous, but it’s corrosive over time.”.

 

One amazing amazing example is an actress/comedian/awesome human I follow on instagram, Ulrikke Falch. She plays Vilde on my favorite show Skam. She combines absurd humor, raw honesty, self-empowerment, social consciousness, and silliness in her art and self-expression, with instagram as her platform. She is so weirdly brilliant. Her joy is resistance.

#Ullesinformationcorner

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Icelandic Feminist Rap

Part 1 in a new series I made up just now about the intersection of art and the political/social turmoil of our time. Part 1 – “Icelandic Feminist Rap” 

I’ve been obsessed with Icelandic hip hop and rap for a little while now. I’ve been listening to Ulfur Ulfur, Emmsje Gauti, and Aron Can on repeat. I’m not trying to be pretentious and obscure, I just genuinely love the cold/cool aesthetic and sounds of Scandinavian hip hop. The last two days at the VA I have gotten no consults, a true February miracle. In between reading the news, reading psychiatry articles, and checking Facebook, I went into a lovely music-listening-binge-spiral. I watched some live performances of my favorite Icelandic rappers and discovered a link to what looked like a group of female Icelandic rappers! I realized that I had only been appreciating the male version of this unique and vibrant hip hop scene.  I discovered the Daughters of Reykjavik (or Reykjavíkurdætur in Icelandic). ICELANDIC FEMALE RAPPERS. Wow wow wow do these women slay. I want to talk about them because their music, vibe and words are sick. They also got me thinking a lot about feminism, my previous thoughts on “white” feminism, and even concerns over cultural appropriation.

The group is a hip hop collective of 15+ young, white Icelandic women who started performing and recording together a few years ago, initially on a whim. Imagine a huge, frenetic, aesthetically eclectic group of young women with different styles and voices, rapping, singing and posing/dancing together. I watched almost all their YouTube videos, live performances, interviews, and read articles about them. Daughters of Reykjavik have edgy electronic beats, with groovy and clean raps that I dig more and more. Their sound is sort of similar to other Icelandic hip hop, but with their own twist. Their whole vibe is wild, free, grounded, refreshing. They rap about slut shaming, about anal sex, about social issues, about desire and vulnerability. They are empowered, funny, organic.

Just chillin and saving energy for our @eurosonicnoorderslag performance that's in one week! Photo by @heidah

A post shared by Reykjavíkurdætur (@rvkdtr) on

The fucked up thing is, I noticed the comments on their live performance at KEXP were disabled, with lots of dislikes, which wasn’t the case for their male counterparts performances. These male artists seem to be more popular and respected in Iceland. Daughters of Reykjavik is “confrontational” in a country where the culture can be conservative. The rebellious, rising hip hop and rap scene is male dominated. Any random viewer who comes across this group sees a bunch of young women, dressed like “hipsters”, “flaunting” their sexual empowerment and feminism, and might think “what a bunch of stupid girls pretending to rap”. Hipsters, feminists, wannabes, hippies, fake-ass rappers. The judgment is probably visceral. Those thoughts passed through my mind for a second, even though I hated it. We reject a bunch of women taking on this role. They can’t have the grit, the edge of male rappers, and their boldness is taken for obnoxiousness. What I see after exploring this group and hearing them speak is smart, daring women making good music, even with a ton of inherent prejudice against them. If only feminist wasn’t a dirty word in our culture…because a vibrant, witty and daring feminism explodes from them. Maybe they are too in-your-face, too trying-to-be-edgy. Because they don’t give a fuck, and also because they have to be. A man in the same position as them automatically gets more respect, seems more legit. They have to be bold and unapologetic to get the point across. That they don’t have to be pleasant, and they can define and express themselves.

And yet, even in loving them, I felt a guilt in listening to female European rappers, because of the obvious concerns of cultural appropriation. I mentioned they were white upfront because I think it does matter when you want to acknowledge the roots of the hip hop sounds that inspire them. Here is a quote from the group, from a very interesting interview with Noisey.

https://noisey.vice.com/en_uk/article/reykjavkurdtur-interview-2016

Cultural appropriation is a contentious issue for many white hip-hop artists, so how do Reykjavíkurdætur reconcile this with what they are doing? “I think we entered the scene in the same way that originally hip hop and also punk emerged – basically people who don’t know how to play an instrument but need to have a voice in society,” offers Salka. “We didn’t know how to rap at all, but we felt that it was needed. But we have been doing it for two years now and of course we’re getting better but at the core of it has been this punch back to something that we have been told to do, break that wall; for me that makes me believe in it as what hip hop originated as; black males trying to be heard in society.”

She continues: “We have something to fight for as women and we are trying to use this platform to fight for that. It’s rapping about our own reality as women, as white women of course, and we’re not trying to speak anyone else’s mind or suffocate any other groups who are trying to fight for their rights. We are just making space for ourselves in a society that doesn’t usually allow us to do.”

I think that is a pretty decent answer (and I’ll temporarily ignore the Indian headdress one of the members wears in a music video b/c I don’t know the lyrics and maybe its ironic…).

And maybe it’s fucked up, that black female rappers without the privilege of young, pretty white women might not have the same appeal, even if they are doing the same thing. Why should I like Daughters of Reykjavik when there are so many talented black female rappers who still address feminism, and have been at it longer, and have to struggle even more? I hope that appreciating both is not mutually exclusive. It is about awareness. That white artists doing the same thing (hip hop) as artists of color, get to be edgy and cool, without the prejudices of their race against them. I can love Daughters of Reykjavik and still love Princess Nokia, and Noname, and many others. They are all bold female hip hop voices, exploring their own unique feminism and self-expression. As long as we are aware that feminism is not by default based on the experiences and views of white feminists. It is always an inverted, diverse, kaleidoscopic feminism. I can appreciate the art of Icelandic feminism, and afro-Puertorican feminism, and more.

Daughters of Reykjavik are so cool, so authentic, uncompromising. Their lyrics (when you can get the translations) are raw, poetic, insightful and also ridiculous.
p.s. One last thought. The term “basic bitch”. I’ve used it a lot. I recognize it was initially a way to make fun of conformity, privilege, boringness. But I think it has become a way to just put women down, and it’s actually a sexist term. So maybe I should stop saying it lol.

p.p.s. Also, the word ghetto. Friends friends friends. I am sorry. Just stop. Maybe I haven’t told you to your face every time, out of cowardice. But I cringe inside. Please let us all stop using this word. Like, yesterday.

 

 

The Humanity of the Other Woman

We are living in a momentous time in history. Maybe the present always feels like the most important time in human history. We all exist together, collectively breathing the same air on the same earth in this time, a moment out of infinite time. Each individual human experience and life reverberates and affects others. And I feel that acutely now, especially living through the enormous, worldwide demonstrations of the Women’s March.

I was inspired and in awe of the scale of the demonstrations, the varied messages of acceptance and resistance, the coming together of humanity for love and action. I am so happy and supportive of everyone who went and think it was beautiful, momentous. However, the brand of feminism, which despite efforts at diversity, was inherently a white feminism, left me ambivalent. The outrage after Clinton lost, the outrage that spawned this movement, felt like it originated from the outrage of white females who were mad a white woman was not elected. I believe the intentions are beautiful, if narrow sighted. A grand movement of resistance is not going to start woke. Its going to start from the white standard that is stitched into our daily existence. Of course, there is the outrage that a misogynist/sexist/sexual harasser/abuser is our president, outrage from women who’ve experienced abuse and want to fight against a president trampling on their rights. But this all comes, rather conveniently, when certain people are affected. When women of color, Muslim women, transwomen and other LGBT women, have endeared struggles. Their experiences of sexism are tied to racism, islamophobia, homophobia. And it will have to be more than just trying to include more diverse women, when diverse women should be inherent to how we understand feminism.

This is a subject well explored on the internet and media recently, by smarter people then me ( https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/24/magazine/who-didnt-go-to-the-womens-march-matters-more-than-who-did.html ).  To be honest, I don’t share the anger of some women of color. I was not against the Women’s March, in fact I supported it (mostly). Even if it appropriated prior black female activist marches, even if women of color have had a contentious place within this current movement. I felt contradictory feelings. How about the different, unseen voices of diverse women? The default is white womanhood, a default inherent in how we see the whole idea of women’s empowerment.

Diverse women are viewed differently, and they feel differently about themselves. Our feelings about ourselves and our place in society is influenced by personal experiences of prejudice, of not belonging. By media (if and how different women are represented). The Women’s March actually raised a lot of exciting questions in my head. How is your identity as a women is viewed in society? Your worth, your complexity, your sexuality, your intelligence? Recently, I have found complex, layered representations of diverse women in music, movies/tv, on youtube/instagram/tumblr. This feels revolutionary to me. A few dope examples below (a bunch of whom were actively involved in the Women’s March!).

 

Jessica G Jackson, a too cool black woman and internet style icon. Love her aesthetic. I only found her after watching many white female style gurus on youtube, instagram, tumblr, and I thought maybe  black girls also do this stuff?

http://bornoasischild.tumblr.com/

More portrait shots of myself in 2017. (Maybe)

A post shared by Jessica G. Jackson💫 (@jessgracejcksn) on

 

Princess Nokia is a Afro, Puerto-Rican, new york alternative hip hop artist who is independent, a little wild, unapologetic, vibrant. An urban feminist. I’ve stalked her, watched a great mini-doc on her, a fab interview (links below), listened to her music and watched her badass videos. Check out “Brujas”, “Kitana”, “Tomboy”.

Me bein me

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Mitski is a half-japanese, half-white indie rock artist, who released a great rock album Puberty 2 last year. Her epic song “Your Best American Girl” explores the idea of not belonging, not being the american ideal woman, how her identity affects her relationships. From an NPR interview -“I am half Japanese, and it[the song] came from wanting to just fit into this very American person’s life and simply not being able to. Just fundamentally being from a different place and feeling like I would just get in the way of their progression of their life, because I could just never get to wherever they’re naturally going.”

 

Adwoa Aboah is a too cool British model and activist for women’s rights, and founder of GURLS TALK, “a movement that strives to create a platform where girls can openly share their experiences and feelings in a safe and trusting environment.  We are working together to create a community of girls from all different backgrounds, looking beyond external differences, and focusing on the essence of what it means to be a girl in the 21st century”.  She did a fascinating series with i-D, exploring different communities/subcultures of women.

Blondes have slightly more fun… Beautiful earring by @annelisemichelson

A post shared by Adwoa Aboah (@adwoaaboah) on

 

And of course, I can’t not mention SKAM. The third season (my close favorite), focuses on Isak. But the first two seasons are complex explorations of teenage girls. One character I’ve loved throughout the three seasons is Sana. She is a brash, sarcastic, human, fabulous Muslim girl. We don’t get to see girls that are Muslim and wear hijabs be funny, rude, loyal, stylish, with her friends. LOVE her (and every other SKAM character).

(all Sana gifs courtesy of skamedits.tumblr.com)

 

On another note, I have found amazing Scandivanian music in the last month or so. I love love love it all. OBSESSED.

Skott – “Porcelain”, “Amelia”, “Lack of Emotion”, “Wolf”

LEON – “Treasure”, “Think About You”, “Liar”, “Nobody Cares”

Aron Can

Emmsje Gauti

Ulfur Ulfur