Tag Archives: music

VIDEO: Willow Smith’s “I Am Me”

Last night at the BET Awards, Willow Smith (the incredibly talented eleven year-old daughter of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith) debuted her new song and video, “I Am Me.” Smith has described the song as a personal anthem of sorts.

It’s just explaining who I am and what symbolizes me-like me as an energy, me as a person, just cool and rounded.

Many have also suggested that the song is a message to other kids her age. Lyrics like these confirm this.

Listen to this song, because this is real facts
That will help you move along, yeah
That’s all I wanted to say, so I love you guys so much
Hope you like the song and you know, yolo, misfits, argh haha.

But then there are lyrics like these that make it worth listening to for older kids as well as adults.

People don’t like the way I dress
So it won’t matter, I’ve been looking
I’ve done my hair and it’s not just that easy
I’ve been looking
Your validation it’s just not that important to me

You have to be yourself, be real, be honest

Cause ain’t nobody got time for that

Obviously, I’m a Willow Smith fan – have been since her anthem to hair pride. But this song and video is even more touching to me. As I explained on our Facebook page, I’m especially drawn to her oversized shirt. In one way, it suggests an adult-sized talent and maturity that’s bigger than her 11 year old body; in another way, it acts as a barrier that defies the hyperfeminization and sexualization of girls in public culture from the Toddlers & Tiaras ilk to, I don’t know, every reality show star?

Androgyny here (from her shirt to her hair, to so many of her facial expressions – isn’t she the mirror image of her dad?? -, the skateboard, etc) seems enlisted towards a feminist project in a way that is so powerful and so compelling to me. YOLO, indeed.

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Filed under (AD)DRESSING GENDER & SEXUALITY, LINKAGE, THE MEDIUM IS THE MESSAGE

Wired For Wednesday: Chuck D Edition

A few days ago I posted about the draconian new anti-immigration law in Arizona that formally (because let’s face it, informally it had already been operational) criminalizes what one legal reporter calls “breathing while undocumented.” (This post was also syndicated to Jezebel, by the way.) In response, everyone’s been circulating Public Enemy’s “By The Time I Get to Arizona,” their 1991 protest against Arizona’s refusal to honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day. But Chuck D’s been busy! Earlier this month he released the single “Tear Down That Wall,” which responds in part to the anti-immigrant fervor and the deaths of migrants crossing the Mexico-United States border, and is as such amazingly timely. (Davey D posts about it here, and the track is available for download here.) Here’s what Chuck D and his wife Dr. Gaye Theresa Johnson have to say:

Jan Brewer’s decision to sign the Arizona immigration bill into law is racist, deceitful, and reflects some of the most mean-spirited politics against immigrants that the country has ever seen. The power that this law gives to police, to detain people that they suspect to be undocumented, brings racial profiling to a new low. Brewer’s actions and those of Joe Arpaio, Russell Pearce, the Arizona State Senate are despicable, inexcusable, and endorse the all-out hate campaign that Joe Arpaio, Russell Pearce, and others have perpetrated upon immigrants for years. The people of Arizona who voted for this bill, as well as those who crafted it, demonstrate no regard for the humanity or contributions of Latino people. And for all of those who have chosen not to speak up, shame on you for silently endorsing this legislated hate.

In 1991 I wrote a song criticizing Arizona officials (including John McCain and Fife Symington) for rejecting the federal holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The same politics I wrote about in “By the Time I Get to Arizona” are alive and well in Arizona today, but this time the target is Brown people.

These actions must stop. I am issuing a call to action, urging my fellow musicians, artists, athletes, performers, and production companies to refuse to work in Arizona until officials not only overturn this bill, but recognize the human rights of immigrants. This should include the NBA playoffs, revisiting the actions of the NFL in 1993, when they moved the Superbowl to Pasadena in protest against Arizona’s refusal to recognize Dr. King. We all need to speak up in defense of our brothers and sisters being victimized in Arizona, because things are only getting worse. What they’re doing to immigrants is appalling, but it will be even more damning if we remain silent.”

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Filed under FASHIONING RACE, FASHIONING THE HUMAN, WIRED FOR THE WEEKEND

Wired for the Weekend: MIA “Born Free” / Suicide “Ghost Rider”

MIA has released “Born Free,” the first single from her as-yet untitled third album (due June 29), which samples “Ghost Rider,” by no wave legends Suicide (below the sweat-suited MIA). My mind is blown.

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Wired for the Weekend: Learning to Tightrope

In the spirit of Mimi’s Weekend musical interlude, I want to add Janelle Monae’s video to the mix.
(I know I’m late to the party on this but can’t help sharing it anyway!)

I have a wedding to go to next weekend – can I learn this dance in time to rock the dance floor?
I think, yes! (I already have the tuxedo, in jumpsuit form of course – photographic evidence anon.)

Cuz whether you’re high or low, you got to tip on the tightrope!
(The famous McQ by Alexander McQueen tuxedo jumpsuit.)

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Filed under SARTORIAL INDULGENCES, WIRED FOR THE WEEKEND

Wired for the Weekend: Become the Machine

I can barely see because allergies are destroying my eyes, damn these industrial agro-business corn and soybean fields. My life would be so much more improved right now if I were made of machine parts.

Spokane’s Sweet Madness in a music video for their incredibly catchy 1980 song “Mechanical Things.”

The Scissor Girls, lip-syncing their song “Oscillator” on the Chicago cable access show Chic-A-Go-Go in 1996.

Oakland’s post-punk trio Numbers, live at Liminal Arts in 2004.

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Filed under FASHIONING THE HUMAN, WIRED FOR THE WEEKEND

New Wave/New Look

The staples of my graduate student wardrobe were striped t-shirts, black skate shoes, a red Members Only jacket, and a haircut given to me by a middle-aged Korean lady who didn’t much flinch when I asked to look like a boy. But, as The Stains snarled, “Do you wanna be a professional?” And can you appear to be one if you are costumed as a post-punk No Wave/New Wave androgyne?

From the classic Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains, The Stains perform “Join the Porfessionals.”

Formed in 1976, the legendary X-Ray Spex featured the amazing Poly Styrene on vocals. Here’s “Identity.”

Mo-Dettes were an all-female punk band formed in 1979 by Kate Korris, an original member of The Slits and brief member of The Raincoats. Here they perform their first single “White Mice.”

Formed in early 1978, check out Swiss band Mother Ruin, and their video for “Dreamy Teeny.” (For more like this, check out the truly awesome archival resource for women in punk called Dear Diary.)

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Filed under FASHION 2.0, FASHIONING RACE, FASHIONING THE HUMAN, WIRED FOR THE WEEKEND

Kleenex

I am sick in bed with a cold. Unfortunately, I ran out of tissue and have had to resort to a roll of toilet paper tucked besides my pillow. To illustrate my lack, here is a video from Kleenex (later forced to change their name LiLiPUT due to threatened legal action), a Swiss all-girl punk band from the late ’70s and early ’80s.

Minh-Ha and I have a number of big posts planned, so stay tuned!

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Filed under OUR JUNK DRAWER