Saturday, November 25, 2017

No I won't chill because racism is not your "run-of-the-mill light-hearted joke"! So STFU

       A week or two ago, I read an article by an African American writer on MTV. The article addressed Meghan Trainor's hit "No" and its use of what is called "Blaccent" in one of the lines, "bu lemme stop you dere"! I did not immediately understand what the fuss was about. I pondered about how African Americans took offence in everything that white people did, their corn-rows, hip-hop culture, Oscars being "so white", etc. The ignorant asshole in me felt it was self-victimization that made them be so protective of their culture. Boy was I wrong!


       I knew of a few cases where innocent people of color were shot by the cops in America, their crime being their race. I knew it was unfair. I saw an episode of "Scandal" address this issue and a few pop stars like Beyonce standing up against such oppression. I still didn't get what all the brouhaha was about! I even went ahead and wrote an ignorant post about how "Cultural Appropriation" was just a careless phrase thrown around because people who wore Corn Rows were actually paying homage to black culture. (Oh how ignorant! )


       My ignorant opinions strengthened in my mind when I watched the series The People vs OJ Simpson: American Crime Story. The whole OJ case was turned into madness when the "dream team" lawyers of OJ "dealt with the race card from the bottom of the deck"! OJ was "not guilty" because there was a maximum number of African American jurors who were convinced by an African American lawyer that OJ was framed because of his race. This enraged me. (There were parts of the series I gave a miss, which was a mistake!)


       My views changed completely when I watched the documentary OJ: Made in America , another series on the footballer and his fall from grace. I picked this one up because it had 100% Rotten Tomatoes ratings and was mentioned in the top 10 movies list by TIME (At the time of writing this post, it was not yet the 2017 Oscar Winner for Documentary feature!). First of all, what a show! Well written, without any bullshit thrown around. The story is well detailed, you can see all the hard work that has gone into making this wonder. There is nothing hidden, everything is laid before your eyes to see and form your own opinion. Unlike a few shows that force the writers' opinions on the viewers, this one tells you the story as is.


       As much as I want to continue pondering over what a well made docu-series it is, I would like to get into the more important part of the series, race. Here's the thing, what other shows on OJ did not show was the history of racism in that part of the world. Without this context, isolating just the OJ trial completely misrepresents the fact (unintentionally) and paints a very different unfair picture.


This series depicts in black and white, all the unfairness that was heaped on the black community that came to America to find a home. The community faced violence from the police force, the same people that are there to protect people, turned against them due to nothing but their race. Their homes raided, their brothers and sisters beaten up, shot for no crime committed!


       Rodney King beaten up caught on video, the footage being broadcast to the world everywhere did not grant him or the community, the fairness they deserved. The violence against them did not end there. Racial discrimination and hate took a whole new turn, when a 15 yr old, unarmed Latasha Harlins was shot dead at a Liquor store by the South Korean store owner Soon Ja Du. The videotape of the incident clearly shows the little girl trying to buy Orange Juice with some change in her hand. There was no attempt from her to steal anything (the contradictory was stated by Soon Ja Du in her defense). To add insult to injury, Soon Ja was only fined and sentenced to probation and community service. No prison time was ordered! Why was Latasha's life not valued? A murder does not warrant even jail time? That's the highest form of bigotry.


       The series helps people like me, the ignorant crowd see why OJ Simpson's acquittal was not just a win for him but a huge victory to a community that was prejudiced against for a long time. It details the complete picture, the sense to understand why African Americans are in opposition to white people appropriating their culture, why they are so protective of what is theirs.


       It helps us understand why "Women's March 2017" being a peaceful strike received flak! As well-intended as the march was, it did draw some ire. As much as we would like to think that the world has become a better place, it hurts my heart to think that there are people that are treated unfairly unreasonably. Now I truly get why Kendall Jenner's Pepsi ad was met with so much criticism.


        In the many many unfair problems created by humans, I was able to realise why racism is an important issue not just in the US but everywhere. Racism is everybody's problem, it is not specific to a nation. In India, there have been instances of people being beaten up and tortured because of their race and ethnicity. In fact, in the place where I live, I have witnessed Gabourey Sidibe, an award winning actor made fun of on social media (by the way, here's her response to her haters!). Some Indians relentlessly feeling superior to her as they think their brown skin makes them better somehow. And making fun of people for their skin is "just a lighthearted joke, please chill". To all these people, why don't you look deep into your souls? You might just find a real human being in there!! Also, watch this series please. It might teach you a thing or two about being human. Not in the way that the baap of hyporcites, the bhai of the bhai's Salman Khan propogates, but in a real way that could bring some much-needed change in the world. After my tryst with the series I still feel I have a lot to understand about this whole racism thing but a beginning is always a good step to take!


[http://home.mj-upbeat.com/2015/02/27/iowa-drummer-reflects-on-30-years-of-we-are-the-world/]


       [  I didnt mean for this post to be much of a rant. But I guess that's where all the frustrations about the so-called "light-hearted racist jokes" lead one to. ]


       

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Revisiting #KimExposesTaylor Party- The Parties Involved- An Infographic!

#KimExposesTaylor Party is one of the controversial mainstays of 2016 pop culture era. A demure Taylor Swift who dissed Kanye during her Grammy speech was exposed as a wait-for-it         

                                                        

by a vengeful Kim during summer of 2016! The circus brought in lot of media attention, funny memes, twitter reaction and Taylor's media retreat. A lot has happened since, Taylor has kept a deceivingly low profile, Kim and Kanye have a new kid, a kid's clothing line, and more. 

In honor of its anniversary (almost anniversary), let's take a look back at the party by reflecting on the parties involved in the fateful day!

PS: I have never created an inforgraphic in my life. Tried something new today! (PS- All artwork by me and I know Kanye looks more like Will Smith than Kanye!)













Thursday, May 4, 2017

I Kept Up With The Kardashians

Kardashians have become a permanent fixture of 2010s pop culture. They are literally everywhere! On your TV, on the internet, in the magazines, there is just no ignoring them! I was one of those who would go, "Ugh, why are they so popular? They are just famous for being famous, whatever that means!". 


(Image Source: https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x38jinl_keeping-up-with-the-kardashians-season-10-episode-12-moons-over-montana_tv)

But then, one day, I stumbled upon a funny Scott Disick quote on Pinterest. It was hilarious! I went through similar pins and made a mental note to watch the show "Keeping up with the Kardashians" just for him. 


(Image source: http://emgn.com/entertainment/17-hilarious-moments-that-prove-scott-disick-was-the-best-kardashian-ever/)

I have to say, I am impressed. I watched the show and couldnt just hit the stop button. Yes, "that tape" brought Kim and her family to spotlight. But the way she maneuvered the entire mess towards a successful career is something everyone can learn from. You cannot let a mistake define your life. (I mean, there were 2 people involved in the tape for crying out loud and I never heard anyone chastising RayJ for it!).  I have respect for Kim for the way she rose like a phoenix after the tape fiasco. She is a suave business woman and she works really hard. She has become a business moghul, what with the DASH stores across America, being featured on Forbes, making millions out of Kimojis and her game. Right after the release of her game, at a tech conference she thoroughly surprised the host by being smart and by being ahead of her game. 


(Image source: http://heightline.com/kim-kardashian-ethnicity-and-quotes/)

I went through a personal dip in my life recently and watching the show made me feel better. Strong female influences like them make you wanna get out of your bed and do something to change your situation. Through the show, you learn about Kris Jenner, the momager and what a genius business person she is. Her sharp skills have helped her put all her kids in the forefront of being successful entrepreneurs and professionals in their own areas. Something that I like about her is the fact that she can take a joke! And she has a wicked sense of humour which helps her be positive always, no matter what. It shows her a way of dealing with serious things smoothly. 


(Image source: http://www.azquotes.com/author/44993-Kris_Jenner)

Recently, Khloe's Good American Jeans and Kylie's LipKits sold out like crazy within a few days' time. Kendall Jenner has rose to become one of the prominent Super models. Kim Kardshian has made money out of all of her business ventures. Her come back was stronger than her set back with all the robbery and Kanye's hospitalization. Rob Kardashian is doing decent business with his Arthur George collection. Kourtney is singlehandedly taking care of DASH stores and making them successful (when her sisters are busy with other ventures). Looking at all these women fighting it out in today's dog-eat-dog era and winning makes me want to become something. They taught me to never give up, to not take criticism personally, to always believe in myself, to never let anyone make me think otherwise. They taught me that it's just as easy to build yourself up as it is to break you down. They are famous because they are hardworking role models in their own right, according to me. I kept up with the Kardashians and I dont regret it one bit! 


(Image source: https://in.pinterest.com/explore/kardashian-quotes/)

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Archie and the gang from Riverdale- Worth a watch!

Riverdale, the new show to hit TV screens has been touted as the next hit teenage drama following in the footsteps of The Vampire Dairies and Pretty Little Liars

(Image source:https://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3809605)

The pilot immediately drew the attention of many viewers who grew up with beloved Riverdale residents, Archie and the gang! The dark and serious portrayals of the characters and a death in the first episode created a mystery that kept us hooked.

(Image source:http://www.upi.com/Entertainment_News/TV/2016/11/17/The-CW-dates-Archie-series-Riverdale-shuffles-Supernatural-and-Legends-of-Tomorrow/3331479397841/)

As much as it is based on the fun loving and simple Archies, the subsequent episodes take your attention away from the show's source as the series develops into a story of its own. Apart from the characters, everything else is detached and new. For eg, in the comics, we have an elderly respected and annoyed Miss Grundy. But in Riverdale, you have a bombshell of a Miss Grundy with pouting lips and impeccable dressing sense, being darker than a goth teen! (However, upcoming episodes point to a different direction. Until we see the mystery revealed, lets assume this bombshell is Miss Grundy). 

(Image source:http://www.ign.com/articles/2017/01/25/riverdale-cast-on-revamping-archie-into-a-dark-dreamy-and-dangerous-world)

Archie comics have been a significant part of my teenage years. The thing about it that always bugged me was why exactly is Archie a stud? Why does he have Veronica and Betty and many other girls go crazy for him? I mean, I get it that he is the protagonist but Veronica belongs with someone as charming (and narcissistic) as Reggie and Betty would rather hang around someone like Dilton or a much better character that is yet to be featured in the comics! (Yeah, I am team Betty). Riverdale, seems to somewhere, address this dilemma with its feminist premise! Here, Veronica would rather be friends with Betty than date Archie. That makes me happy :P ("That kiss" was so attention seeking, btw!)

(Image source:http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/riverdale-2017-tv-series/videos/40230691/title/strange-birds-betty-veronica)

I love the fact that Cole Sprouse, someone who is charmingly witty in real life gets to play Jughead. Jughead in the comics is just a girls-hating, food loving, laid back teenager with a funny dog and a funnier hat. In this neo-noir drama though, he seems to have different layers of a character. 

(Image source:http://tvline.com/2017/02/01/riverdale-spoilers-season-1-jughead-asexual-cheryl-jason-twincest/)

Archie is played by K J Apa. He is a serious and mature character as opposed to the comics Archie Andrews but his perverseness is kept intact or rather higher with him sleeping with his teacher!

(Image source:http://www.polygon.com/2017/1/26/14388636/riverdale-statutory-rape-archie-ms-grundy)

Veronica is played by a delightful Camila Mendes, she comes across as a strong female persona that has her priorities right and no, it's not Archie or her wealth or her beauty as in the comics. She is all about strong female friendships, learning from her past mistakes and more. 

(Image source:http://heavy.com/entertainment/2017/02/camila-mendes-veronica-lodge-actress-riverdale-archie-biography-age-boyfriend-instagram/)

I am a little disappointed at Betty's portrayal in the show. We are yet to see what the actor, Lili Reinhart brings to the stage and the character seems to be sad all the time! I am not really drawn to this Riverdale Betty yet. But it's just a few episodes, so I am willing to wait to see how she shapes up. 

(Image source:http://www.geekexchange.com/reviews/review-riverdale-1-01-chapter-one-the-rivers-edge/)

I have never been a fan of Cheryl Blossoms, so her part in the whole drama does not interest me!  

(Image source:https://www.comixology.eu/Cheryl-Blossom-10/digital-comic/36624)

The show definitely wins in the casting department in that, it is inclusive. Josie and the pussy cats is a band consisting of all three black rockstars, Mr Weatherbee is played by Peter James Bryant and Reggie by Ross Butler. Also, the cinematography of this series is so amazing. Colorful when required, dark other times but it is truly captivating and makes it all the more watchable. 

Josie & the Pussycats

(Image source:http://www.themarysue.com/riverdale-set-pics-feat-josie-and-the-pussycats/)


Mr Weatherbee

(Image source:http://riverdale.wikia.com/wiki/File:Season_1_Episode_2_A_Touch_of_Evil_Mr._Weatherbee.png)


Reggie

(Image source:http://me.ign.com/en/tv-shows/129136/feature/what-riverdale-couldnt-change-from-archie)


With unexpected twists and turns every week, we can only wait and watch more unfold in the coming episodes.

Amazing Cinematography- Pop's Chocklit Shop

(Image source:http://horrormoviepodcast.com/horror-movie-podcast-ep-110-rings-2017-and-sundance-film-festival-horror-preview-2017/)



Monday, January 30, 2017

The Forgotten Decade

        I have been a huge fan of the 70's with its fashion that is relevant today, its coming of age music, its hippie culture, teen movies and everything else. I am a 90s kid, so that's my favorite era and I don't have complaints about the decades that have followed in terms of pop culture. 

(My favorite 70s Fashionista Pattie Boyd)
(Image Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/10766486582134922/)


(Everyone's favorite 90s Band- Backstreet Boys! N'Sync Who?!)
(Image source: http://www.officialcharts.com/artist/348/backstreet-boys/)

        80s is a decade that I have blissfully ignored specifically because of the music and the fashion! It seemed like they were trying to remake the entire disco music into something new, that sounded unoriginal, had a little too much "robotic" undertones and people tried too hard at creating some new kind of dances, et al. 


(Read this image source for a completely contradictory article to mine- http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/computer-scientists-prove-80s-music-boring/)

        Even though I have never agreed with Madonna's fashion choices in the late 80s and the early 90s, I made an exception to listen to her music. More importantly because, my dad had this "top 10" cassette tape that played her hit Holiday over and over again (This tape also had Enigma's Sadeness Part-I that I woke up to every morning!)! And then came the glorious "Papa Don't Preach", the gospel induced "Like a Prayer" and the Latin pop "La Isla Bonita". (While on that topic, my papa never let us listen to the "blasphemous" "Like a virgin", I discovered this song fairly late!). So, my only connection to the 80s was Madonna, her music, her over-blown hair, and her over-the-top fashion besides, of course, my favorite artiste of all time, Michael Jackson. 

(Image source: https://www.pinterest.com/saramazariegos/madonna-80s/)

        See, Michael's music not only transcended borders but it also transcended time. His music did not sound 80s or any particular era for that matter. Or may be music from the Mowtown stable was new and fresh to us because Michael was bringing it to the fore. So, my point being, you cannot classify Michael Jackson's music to a particular era, and hence, the argument "But MJ was 80s" is invalid! 



(http://michaeljackson.wikia.com/wiki/Billie_Jean_(song))

        Recently, by accident, I discovered that the decade was actually not that bad. Thanks to "Now That's What I Call Music" series, I started listening to this band called Roxette. I thought their music sounds like early 2010s music. No that's the wrong way to put it! The right way would be to tell you that seems like the early 2010s took an inspiration from the 80s. 

(Image source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/175288610470463153/)

        Anyway, I only knew a few songs of Wham and George Michael as a solo artist. "Wake me up", "Last Christmas", the ever sweet-sounding "Careless Whisper" and "Jesus to a Child"! However, I tapped a bit more into the band (and GM as a solo artiste) and found more gems like "Faith", (the super models soaked) "Freedom", "Club Tropicana", "Where did your heart go" and more. 

(Image source: http://www.liketotally80s.com/2011/09/80s-party-costume-ideas-wham/)

        I did try watching a few movies of the decade too. Damn, it seems like John Hughes and Molly Ringwald owned the decade like it was their b***h!  Like "Ferris Bueller's Day Off", "The Breakfast Club", "Sixteen Candles" and a few Brat Pack movies like "Pretty in Pink"  (Alan Harper as Ducky? I dont know how to react to that!) and St Elmo's Fire! Sorry, I couldn't finish even a single movie. A few minutes into these movies and I am dozing off! So, may be I haven't warmed up to the movies yet, but hey, thank god, I am into their music now and I don't regret it a bit. 

(Image sources at the end of the post)

        May be because everyone ignored the 80s so much and all of us explored all the other decades a little too wildly, the forgotten decade seems more interesting now. Anyway, gottago now. I have Duran Duran, Depeche Mode, Def Leppard, The Smiths, Motley Crue to listen to on my playlist. Do you have any recommendations? Let me know in your comments :) Ciao! 




Image sources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferris_Bueller's_Day_Off
http://www.biography.com/news/st-elmos-fire-anniversary-best-scenes
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sixteen_Candles
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088847/
http://www.zimbio.com/quiz/Qa10rg4yQZw/Pretty+Pink+Character
http://www.allmusic.com/artist/depeche-mode-mn0000239921
http://www.playbuzz.com/thewerido10110/motley-crue-quiz
http://www.rollingstone.com/music/artists/def-leppard
https://www.pinterest.com/explore/the-smiths/


Friday, September 2, 2016

I Let You Go- A Review

I Let You Go- A Review


I challenged myself two months ago to read a book every weekend. With all my might I opened the old cupboards filled with all the books I had bought and never read with cobwebs and lots of dust! I started my book reading hobby again with a book called Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger and oh my, was that a huge mistake! That has been the worst read. I mean, the insincerity with which the story is just randomly carelessly written is a whole other can of worms that I would like to open some other time!

(Image source: http://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Her-Fearful-Symmetry/Audrey-Niffenegger/9781439169018)


A swarm of funny chick lit books followed this. Last weekend, when I finished all the unread books in my cupboard, I set out to the book shop near my home. I had made a list of novels I wanted to buy. Bought 2 and while searching for more from the checklist, I found a book that looked a little old on the shelf. “If you fancy Girl on the Train or Gone Girl, this is the book for you”! Something like this was written on the back cover. I thought, why not! I seriously enjoyed reading Girl on the Train. Although, any thriller book you see today has the same line written all over, not all of them give you the same gratification which is promised.


I still felt I should take a chance and bought the novel, I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh. And trust me, it was worth every penny I spent on it! There are two things that make this book a winner- the story and the way its written!

(Image source: My phone! )


*spoilers ahead*


Although the story is not extraordinary, it does drive your focus towards an important issue. That’s what makes it striking.  If it were written in a straight line, there would be nothing remarkable about this book. You could just pass it. The way the events unfold is astonishingly gripping! After some pages, you think the story is getting normal but then it hits you with a twist you did not expect! When I started reading the second part in the book, I was so stunned, I went back to the first few pages to see if I read it right or if the author had made a mistake. But nope! She hasn't made a mistake. She hasn't mislead you. Everything is right there written very clearly. You just missed the point!
The fact that Clare Mackintosh, the author is an ex-cop makes this fiction more credible (at least for me). With a first hand experience in solving crime, it makes you think she knows her stuff.


The way this book is written is commendable. I have read so many chick lit books (Way many!) and thrillers that just add a character or two to fill up that vacuum or to add a few pages and make that paperback thicker! But this has none of that nonsense! There is the main plot with 2 other small stories around. These stories add charm to the characters. Rather they tell you why the characters are what they are. It doesn’t make you think you are wasting time with each page.


So, all in all, this has been the best book I have ever read! There I said it! This is my favorite book.

I wish I could write a bit about the story but I don’t want to spoil it for anybody who might read this review. Hence, with this, I finish my write-up. I highly recommend this and if I were to follow some kind of star rating system, I would give it 5/5! Do read it. If you wanna borrow it from me, you know where to find me :)

Friday, June 17, 2016

Grieve Calvin, Grieve!

                                               


Tay Tay has been my idol for a while now. I think she is one of the most talented singers/ song writers I know of. Her music has inspired me in so many ways. TBH, I never understood what it meant when people said music inspired them until I heard her! 



                                                                                    (http://giphy.com/search/music-style)

On 1989, I also understood that not only does she write her own music, she is also one of the composers. It blew my mind knowing how multifaceted her talents are.



                                                                                    (http://wallpapers.brothersoft.com/s/taylor-swift-1440x900/)


I will be honest. The first song I heard of hers was Lovestory. I hadn't heard of her before that. I loved the song! I was in an age where I appreciated songs like that (since it has so many memories attached to it, I still love the song even though I think it's a little immature!). Then I saw the idiot who stopped her midway during her awards speech and felt for her . Because she deserved the award completely. And there by began my reverence for her! The way she handled the whole shebang at a young age really was admirable.


                                                      (http://www.elle.com/culture/celebrities/news/a34369/kanye-west-twitter-rant-grammys-taylor-swift/)

RED was the album that was like a breath of fresh air! I like every song on the album (except, We are never getting back together, because, ahem, it is a little immature again?!). I still have the entire album on my playlist. After Red, there was no stopping her! 1989 was a hell-of-an epic album! The tracks that seem self deprecating on the surface but have clever sarcasm hidden everywhere were top notch. Her transition from country to pop is what classics are made of.


                                                                                  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_(Taylor_Swift_song)

I have been a fan not only of her talents but also of how she has been able to steer her life so well. Taking on the haters, donating money to Ke$sha, giving well thought of life advice to her fans, patching things with Nicki Minaj, displaying girl power with her squad, dealing with her ex's, making legends feel overwhelmed to be present at her concerts and so much more! I have also admired her dignified silences on unnecessary controversies (read Kanye Idiot). Kudos to her!


(http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3144194/Meet-Swift-Squad-Taylor-Swift-created-loyal-girl-gang-make-powerful-beautiful-friendship-group-EVER.html)

Without doubt, I will still listen to the music she will make. However, I am no longer her ardent fan. When she took a year off from all the guys, built a squad and focused on girl power and individuality, it really did seem like a planned image makeover strategy. You know, draw away media and the fans from the ex's drama to her music and new way of life. She fooled nobody. But I thought it was commendable that she took her time to work on changing what people thought about her. It took courage to attempt something like that. So, I still liked her.



                                                                                                  (https://www.pinterest.com/iamfearless13/bad-blood/)



I am saddened reading the recent news about her and Tom Hiddlestone though! I know it's her life and you gotta do what you gotta do. But it really is not pleasant to see all the efforts and time she took to remake her media representation all go in vain. I was thinking why even?! And to top it, I feel bad that the media calls Calvin Harris a "cry baby" for being angry with all the drama!


    (http://www.glamourmagazine.co.uk/news/celebrity/2015/03/27/are-taylor-swift--calvin-harris-dating) 


                                    Let's keep Taylor and Tom aside for now. Think about Calvin. It took 15 days for his ex to move on. Why shouldnt he be angry? Let the guy pour out! For once, let the guy involved in the Taylor drama display his exasperation! Taylor has been writing songs about her ex's. Let us let Calvin grieve his relationship peacefully. So he deleted all the posts with Taylor on social media, so he wrote an angry tweet, so he deleted after a while, so what?! Why are we calling him the cry baby, why are we judging him? I mean, Taylor has dated guys who broke up with her over texts, who wrote mean songs about her, we didn't take Taylor's side then. But why are we showing contempt towards a guy who clearly needs to grieve and get over?! To be honest, he has been the best guy Taylor has been with. He took her side on so many controversies she was involved in. His last tweet about their relationship read that he had love and respect left. (I know he deleted it, but come on!). Cut this guy some slack, will ya'all?



                                                                                   (https://www.ministryofsound.com/magazine/2015/10/13/calvin-harris-split)

                                      And as for Taylor,