Favorite Queer Musicians

I just wanted to post some of my favorite songs by queer musicians or about queer peoples:

Hayley Kiyoko is a wlw (woman who loves women). We watched the music video for her song “Girls Like Girls” in class. All of her music videos feature girl-girl relationships.

“Girls Like Girls” by Hayley Kiyoko:  https://youtu.be/I0MT8SwNa_U

Brockhampton is a self described “boy band” although they’re more of a rap group. The group is both multiethnic and multiracial and they often rap about queer relationships and are known for being quite politically outspoken with their music.

“Bleach” by Brockhampton:  https://youtu.be/cTMucy4PR2k

“Love My Way” by the Psychedelic Furs is a song about queer love in the 1980s.

“Love My Way” by the Psychedelic Furs:  https://youtu.be/Zb4JY2mr-_Y

Troye Sivan is openly gay and features men in his music videos and lyrics.

“Bloom” by Troye Sivan:  https://youtu.be/rxmtHVSVjdo

King Princess is openly queer. She often uses female pronouns in her songs.

“1950” by King Princess:  https://youtu.be/LNxWTS25Tbk

Girls & Subcultures McRobbie and Garber

The categorization of females within sub-genres was pretty interesting with, ranging from the mod culture, to biker girl and the hippy. My take away was during this time period is was unfortunate that women were thrown into these three categories as if they were incapable to establish themselves without the presence of a male or has the writers mentioned “invisible”. It appears that women of the 1950s and 60s were not fully established as a equal group to men. This time period was the start of the feminist movement and it was surprising to learn that females were still dependent on a male figure. Its rewarding to see roles change especially today where female dominance and status is present. My question is will we see a shift in culture where perhaps males may be dependent on the women?

The Audio-Visual iPod

As an avid music fan, Michael Bull’s “The Audio-Visual iPod” deeply resonated with me. I find it fascinating that a whole section in a book was written solely on iPod users and how the usage of their iPods greatly influences the way in which they navigate the cities where they reside. Bull notes that city residents often ignore their surroundings and move about, infrequently taking in their environments. Bull states that “the use of an iPod enables users to create a satisfying aestheticized reality for themselves as they move through daily life” and he is completely right. Different songs can color different shades of meaning or perception to a single scene. For the average city dwelling person, that scene is life in urban space.

Bull mentions one such city dweller, Jason, who enjoys shutting out the world while listening to audiobooks at a coffee shop. However, Jason does not completely shut people out – he invites them back in to play characters in the books he aurally reads. Jason states “I get more emotional about things, including the people I see in my thoughts in general. Sometimes I project the lyrical content of songs on to the people I see while I’m listening.” This is especially relatable to me, as I tend to be very emotional when it comes to art – particularly music because it tends to elicit visceral reactions from me. As proved by film soundtracks, music can completely elevate the mood of a scene and this is true in real life too.

The internet proves Gambino’s point….

Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino just broke the internet with his cinematic and powerful visual “This is America”. The video’s main concept is to focus on the distractions social media emphasizes such as dancing, viral videos, and music rather than real social issues such as mass shootings and racism. A day after the video was released a picture of Donald Glover surfaces the internet with him and his girlfriend who is a white. This not only proves the point Glover was trying to demonstrate but it was totally unnecessary. The internet is trying to discredit Glover and his messages and themes throughout the video. Why must one’s personal life affect the message somebody is trying to get out? Personally I don’t believe it matters and it really proves that social media overpowers all. Something that was commended was quickly reversed by social media due the personal life of Donald Glover. If that is the case then everybody who is associated with the opposite race and his advocating black progression then they should all be discredited. For example J. Cole, mixed race who raps black progression and well-being. Should be discredited due to that? No matter the circumstances a message is a message regardless of race, Gambino is such a genius for the song and the visuals. Do you believe the message is discredited due to his relationship?


A comeback for dancehall and afrobeats?

Neyo has been underground for a minute. this soulful RnB artist serenaded our ears in the early 2000’s with tracks such as So sick and Because of You. anything after that, I wouldn’t quite remember, other than probably the song he did with Mr 305 himself, Pitbull, which must’ve been in 2013.

he has managed to make a comeback with this afro infused dancehall track called Push Back that features Bebe Rexha and rising UK artist Stefflon Don. The song makes you want to get up and dance obviously due to the tropical meets reggae production mixes in with his pop-RNB sound that he’s perfected over the years. It has its catchy moments and grows on you after a couple of listens but that’s mainly because of the sexy chorus. “Baby, push back when I jump behind it, when I jump behind it. So when I jump behind it, push back on me”.His verses are quite strong but Bebe Rexha steals the show because… well… she is Bebe Rexha. This is the strongest song he has released in a VERY long time but it’s definitely not in the same category as his other hits, which is a bold step because his usual audience may or may not appreciate the new sound that came along with this song. But me? You will not fail to see my imitate the choreography that comes with the song every time I hear it. This will definitely be a summer banger in my opinion

J. Cole’s new album KOD take on addiction

With his highly anticipated fifth studio album KOD,J. Cole delivers an album that may not be digested and enjoyed by much. An album where he speaks about drugs and addictions that many of millennials often face, such as lean, weed, money, social media, and sex. I came across this article on Vulture and the writer Craig Jenkins had interesting comparisons to films about drug use such as the film Trainspotting which he argues glorifies the use of heroin rather than condemn it. The writer found it odd that at the top of the cover reads “This album is no way intended to glorify drugs” which why will he stat that if his raps say otherwise. The writer then goes to analyze records one by one such as “Photograph” which speaks about being infatuated with somebody on social media without even knowing the person. I’m pretty sure at some point some of us have been there due to the fact that we are in a heavy social media society. Then other songs like “ATM” where he raps that he needs money and can’t live without it which is true but raps it in a form that proves the idea of money being an addiction especially when seeing the music video for the song. Cole addresses the new generation of what they mumble rappers with the song “1985” with lyrics like “I heard one of em’ diss me, I’m surprised I ain’t trippin’, listen good to my reply Come here lil’ man, let me talk with ya’ See if I can paint for you the larger picture Congrats ’cause you made it out your mama’s house I hope you make enough to buy your mom a house” not a traditional diss record more of a statement addressing the younger rappers. Although a “boring album” according to most, J. Cole’s stardom is proven to be apparent with record breaking streams. According to XXL J. cole broke the record for first day streams of any artist with 36 million in the first 24 hours, with no features. Relating back to the article the writer states “Cole should maybe call on some session singers to sweeten up his idea for melodies, and if he’s as interested in the success of other rappers as “1985” suggests, he should open himself up to collaboration instead of handling everyone’s flows himself.” I totally disagree with this statement being that Cole really hasn’t had any features since his debut album The Sideline Story. If anything this may discredit J. Cole and or make him seem hypocritical to make music with such artist. For those who listen to hip-hop did you enjoy this conscious album and content or prefer the more upbeat have fun music?


Riot Girrrl

I adore the feminist work in “The Riot Grrrl Collection.” The word “feminist” has historically been associated with women who were passed off as being angry, bitchy, and a bit off. Because of this fact, feminism as a movement has garnered quite a negative reputation. Siri defines feminism as the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men. This definition has always seemed convoluted to me: if we want men and women to be treated as equals, shouldn’t feminism be called equalitarianism? The works in Riot Grrrl challenge this notion.

Some of the authors speak of sexual abuse and feeling excluded from male spaces. One writer poses a list of reasons as to why Riot Grrrl is a necessary movement. She starts off by stating “Because we will never meet the hierarchical boy standards of talented, or cool, or smart.” She continues, “Because every time we pick up a pen, or an instrument, or get anything done, we are creating the revolution. We ARE the revolution.” I love that the writers bring up intersectional feminism by speaking of race relations and the tendency for middle class white women to ignore the voices of black and brown women in their discussions of feminism. As I look back at everything we covered this semester, I realize my great appreciation for all that I learned. There are so many female and female identifying musicians whom I’d never come across and I love that this class has allowed us to discover and celebrate the outstanding women who have been forgotten in music history.

Fela everywhere

Beyoncé sent the crowd and definitely me into an uproar during one of her intermissions at Coachella when her band played “Zombie” by the late musical genius and founder of acrobats, Fela Kuti. The superstar’s affinity for Africa has long been documented, she recorded a Fela-inspired album a couple of years back, she referenced Afro-diasporic spirituality extensively in Lemonade, she visited Nigeria back in 2006 as part of the Beyoncé Experience world tour, where she sang the country’s national anthem, and she consistently looks to African creatives for inspiration and creative direction.

According to an admission by hit-maker and Grammy-winning artist The-Dream, Beyonce had previously played around with a sound modeled after Fela, the musical based on music and lyrics by the late Nigerian singer Fela Kuti.

“We did a whole Fela album that didn’t go up. It was right before we did 4,” said Dream. “We did a whole different sounding thing, about twenty songs. She said she wanted to do something that sounds like Fela. That’s why there’s so much of that sound in the ‘End of Time”  The Dream told Genius.

In May 2017, Beyonce had an African themed baby shower to celebrate her upcoming bundles of joy with friends and family. in a clip her mother shared on instagram, Fela Kuti’s music is heard playing in the background as her guests interacted. Not forgetting that they were all cladded in beautiful Ankara prints. Fela has clearly had a heavy influence on her music. Hopefully even more people will realize the potential in the African authentic sound just as she did.

This is Africa

South London’s Maleek Berry, was best known as a producer to  Nigerian megastar Wizkid. But as a solo artist he’s shaping up as one of the scene’s frontrunners. His debut EP, Last Daze of Summer, was the soundtrack of last summer in Nigeria ,a staple for club nights and car journeys , and among the diaspora, and earned him a fanbase devoted enough to sell out two nights in Camden.

Afrobeats is a genre defined by its charismatic personalities and energetic performances. While Berry’s singing is often pitchy, his greatest asset is his showmanship: he pulls female fans on stage to serenade them and nimbly keeps up with one of his dancers during Sisi Maria. he really finds the ‘pockets’ within the songs where he can manipulate the melodies of the track with the help of his vocals

Veering off a sequence of exploratory and ambitious videos , ” Sisi Maria” is set on a beach front, with Maleek performing around adulating women heavily garbed in African wax print. The African print must’ve been to provide proper representation since the song is about Nigerian women. new age afrobeat artists are now continually trying to incorporate traditional prints rather than usual casual looks from ZARA or Calvin Klein and I think its brilliant.

This Is America – We Are All Americans

Yesterday’s pre-class discourse about ethnicity and heritage was the perfect precursor to our discussion of Childish Gambino’s music video for his new song, “This is America.” Those of us who had arrived to class early sat around eagerly waiting to learn the ethnicities of each other. We guessed first, based solely on appearance, like one might do to a mutt, before each person revealed his or her heritage. After we had all spoken, we turned the question to Professor Herzog. “Where are you from?” Quellie asked. Professor Herzog prefaced her answer by stating that this idea of being a true or legitimate American is something that comes up frequently, before replying that we are all American. After some cajoling, she revealed that her family had come to America through Ellis Island, where some members of her family had actually been quarantined for what I believe was a cognitive disability. She noted the irony in this because some of her family members are now supporters of Trump, someone who is fond of keeping certain types of foreigners out of the United States.

“This is America” is quite a jarring video. It is filled with gun violence, death, and lots of dancing. From the framing of the camera to every move each character makes, everything portrayed in the video seems to be intentional. It almost feels silly to refer to the people in the video as “characters” because of how real everything feels. Is it hyperbole or is it reality? The gun violence was particularly jolting because I lost a cousin to a random shooting and it feels like I’m not alone in that most people can name someone who was killed by gun. Childish Gambino appears to portray multiple personas throughout the video. It seems obvious that shooting almost everyone around him is an allusion to the rampant gun violence in the United States. I wonder if he is simultaneously portraying the gun violence plaguing colored communities in Chicago as well as the white male “lone wolf” shooters emboldened by lax gun laws. Someone in the background of the video commits suicide and I wonder if this portrayal was intended to shine a light on the fact that often times, we never recognize or clearly see the signs of depression in our loved ones. At the end of the video, Childish Gambino is pictured running away from, presumably, white people. The look on his face is one of pure fear, something many minorities know all too well. However, we all know this fear:  fear of the unknown. For minorities, this might be fear of not knowing if one might see one’s loved ones again. For non-minorities, this might be fear of change. This is all happening now, all around us, right here in America. No matter where we or where our are ancestors came from, we all afraid of something.

As Professor Herzog has mentioned several times, we are all Americans. We are all living on borrowed – or rather stolen – land, thus, we are all, simply by virtue of being here, the embodiment of America.