MOBO Awards 2015: uniting with one hand, dividing with the other

MOBO Awards 2015, Section Boyz, by MOBO/PR( 900x506)It’s got moxie, that’s for sure. Because even after 20 years of handing out awards for music of black origin, and taking flak left, right and centre for it, the MOBO Awards are still with us. The MOBOs shouldn’t, and never will, be all things to all people. But, even as it unites its award-winners in celebration, it continues to divide its audience. Continue reading

Hip hop, misogyny and the media: why ASAP Rocky’s diss is damaging much more than Rita Ora’s self-esteem

ASAP Rocky, Rita Ora collage, BS, FG, 2015, AL (1080x608)We’ve been here before: egoistical, millionaire rapper insults famous female he had a fling with in “gross misogynistic” song lyrics that have “sparked outrage”. But that’s why you’re reading this, isn’t it? Because hip hop’s ASAP Rocky* has called UK pop singer, Rita Ora, a “bitch”, and much worse, in a song from his newly released album, At Long Last ASAP.

Right now, you might be thinking: “big deal, hip hop artists do this all the time”. Or, perhaps: “ha ha ha, the bitch deserved it”. I’m no fan of Rita Ora, but, as well as being an unnecessary knock to the singer’s self-esteem, Rocky’s diss, in ‘Better Things’, adds fuel to the already-strong belief that hip hop is, and should be, solely about narcissism, hatred and misogyny.

Well, here’s the thing: hip hop’s got 99 problems, and “bitch” is just one. Continue reading

Thunderbirds Are Go: the tropes of a bad reboot

Thunderbirds Are Go, ITV, press image, 01 (2070x1164)Gerry Anderson must be turning in his grave. Harsh, yes, but that’s the thought that crossed my mind upon glimpsing ITV’s Thunderbirds reboot when it premiered on Saturday, April 6.

Since then, I’ve watched the entirety of the 45-minute, two-part premier, titled ‘Ring of Fire’, on catch-up TV. I haven’t watched the latest episode. And nor do I wish to watch anymore of this painful abuse of my childhood. With all due respect to the folks behind the CG show, Thunderbirds Are Go has to be one of the worst television reboots of the 21st century. Continue reading

Brits Awards 2015: Madonna’s tumble the high point of a show that’s lost its mojo

Madonna falls, Brit Awards 2015, Feb 25, 2015 screenshot, ITV (620x349)“Oh, Madonna. Did you learn NOTHING from the heroes who fell before you?” asked a quizzical tweet, attached with an image of The Incredibles’s eccentric fashion designer Edna Mode. Those who watched the 2015 Brit Awards live on ITV last night saw it – and then saw it again moments later on Twitter. Madonna, in an austere black suit, a long cloak draped behind her, yanked from her feet midway through her assent to the main stage.

The Twitter crowd had been restless for entirety of the show, but, thanks to the ill-fated timing of a backup dancer, the bait had been thrown and video snippets of Madonna’s tumble – quickly coined ‘#capegate’ – started circulating. The 56-year-old entertainer recovered quickly, carrying on as if it had been little more than a graze. But it was too late. The music had already been forgotten. Continue reading

Why British-Grenadians should care about the island’s 40th independence day

Grenada flag-waver, by Wayne Marshall (Sep 2008) (1448x815)There are just over 9,700 Grenadian-born people living in the United Kingdom, according to the 2001 UK Census. How many of them were aware that the island of their birth celebrated its 40th anniversary of independence on Friday, February 7, 2014? Continue reading

Does liking rock music make you ‘less black’?

Shingai Shoniwa of Nosiettes, by Kmeron (Oct 2009) (1448x815)So it turns out I’m wrong. Musical prejudice is alive and well here in 2013, despite the internet and its supposed ability to make the digital age a more progressive one. Continue reading

Is the Mercury Prize 2013 shortlist ‘too commercial’?

Laura Mvula in WFUV studio, by WFUV (Apr 2013) (585x329)

If it was any other awards ceremony, commercial success would be applauded. But it’s the Mercury Prize, so, naturally, it’s another reason for the pundits to get their soapbox on.

There are no obligatory ‘token’ albums from folk and jazz acts this year. And no indie starlet, sneaking in at the last minute to become the bookies’ favourite – as The xx and Alt-J have done in the past. Continue reading