Hot and Cold: Month of July 2016

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Art by Jeff Dekal. (Marvel Comics)


After last week’s post about #BlackLivesMatter, we are back to regularly-scheduled programming for July’s “Hot and Cold” roundup. I was aiming for this to be a weekly series before, but because of end-of-school shit and my summer internship, I just didn’t have time to write something that regularly. Also, it’s summer and hot as balls. Don’t blame a bitch for wanting to just Netflix and chill (literally).

The month of July proved to be eventful, for better or for worse, so read ahead for the awesome news and then … for humanity to disappoint you. What else is new?

HOT

  1. Superhero news

I don’t even care about superhero shit and I’m still pumped about all the developments happening in the Marvel universe. First, Time magazine announced that a black teenage girl is set to take over the role of Iron Man from Tony Stark in the comic-book event series “Civil War II.” Riri Williams, a 15-year-old science genius who enrolls in MIT, gets Stark’s attention after building her own Iron Man suit in her dorm room.

On the flip side though, Cameron Glover pointed out that none of the writers who created Riri were black women, a demographic that’s consistently kept out of the comic world even though they  are often huge fans of it. It’s an interesting take on something that is seemingly a slam dunk, so check out the full Ebony article for more.

The second noteworthy superhero news is that a teaser for Netflix’s upcoming “Luke Cage” premiered at San Diego Comic-Con, and the series will debut on Sept. 30., making it Marvel’s first black superhero film or series. For many such as Isaac Rouse, an African-American writer, this is a Big Fucking Deal, especially in the wake of recent police shootings of black individuals:

“Cage deals with the same profiling and negative connotations of being a black man in America, the same any African American has the misgivings to deal with, and yet he still does good. … Luke Cage can be that symbolic hero for young black men and women during these scary times in the African American community.” (Huffington Post)

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Mike Colter stars as the titular character in “Luke Cage”

2. Leslie Jones

I wasn’t sure if I was going to put this in the “COLD” or “HOT” category at first (I’m sure you were losing sleep over this too!), but I decided instead of focusing on the assholes who threw racist slurs at Leslie Jones (although Head Asshole has since been banned from Twitter), I wanted to let Leslie’s greatness be the bigger emphasis.

Even if you’re like me and haven’t seen the new Ghostbusters movie yet, it’s still important to acknowledge how much this film will mean to countless girls and how much Leslie has done to raise awareness for double standards some women face in Hollywood. She’s not only been subjected to unfair treatment from Internet trolls, but even from fashion designers who aren’t willing to dress her. Kudos to Christian Siriano for reaching out and designing her a kick-ass dress to wear at the premiere:

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Michael Tran/FilmMagic

FYI: The mark of a truly talented designer is the ability to make beautiful clothes for everyone, not just size 2 models.

3. Gilmore Girls trailer

We’ve known about the “Gilmore Girls” Netflix revival for a while, but it wasn’t until July 27 that the trailer for the upcoming “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life” premiered online.

I started watching the original series in middle school, so references to The Clash and “Saved by the Bell,” while appreciated, weren’t that current to my 12-year-old self. Hearing them discuss Amy Schumer and whether or not Jon Oliver would find Lorelai hot (he does, in case anyone’s wondering) is both extremely weird and incredibly awesome. I can’t wait for Nov. 25. Also, I wonder if the girls love Beyoncé as much as the rest of the world. They have to, right? For goodness sake, Rory went to Yale! #importantquestions

4. Kimye vs. Taylor Swift

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I saved the best and pettiest for last, obviously. By now, everyone and their mother have heard about the beef between Kimye (can Merriam-Webster put that in the dictionary already?) and Taylor Swift. I feel like words such as “beef” or “feud” don’t truly capture the magnitude of this whole situation, so instead, why not take the title of almost any famous apocalypse movie and taylor (get it?) it to fit this debacle?

For example:

“This Is the End (for Taylor Swift’s career)”

“Terminator 2: Judgment Tay”

“Tay of the Dead”

“These Final Hours (of Taylor’s career)” (okay, that one is a bit repetitive).

You get my point.

To be honest, I don’t really like the recent trend of celebrating pettiness online. But, considering how Taylor has made such a Big Production of acting like the victim, it’s only fair to point out that it’s a bit shady she’d be fine with “I think that me and Taylor might still have sex” in Kanye’s song “Famous,” but object to the line calling her a bitch, and give a whole Grammy speech about him undercutting her fame.

Also, to be clear, I don’t have a stake in this drama. Yes, Kanye is a musical genius, but that doesn’t mean I will blindly support him when he does questionable shit like slut shaming Amber Rose. And although I don’t like Taylor’s music and think she was being sketchy in this situation, I’m not praying for her career to end. I’m just sitting back and enjoying this drama, far away from Hollywood. What sandy beaches and margaritas do for the regular vacationer, pop-culture drama (and margaritas) does for me.

¿NOT SURE WHAT TO THINK ?

 

  1. Frank Ocean to “release” new album … sure … 

Sure, Frank, you weren’t the source of my trust issues but you definitely didn’t help them either. I’m tired of getting my hopes up, only to have you shatter my dreams. So while I’m praying to Jesus, Buddha, the Flying Spaghetti Monster and The Holy Trinity (Bey, Nicki and Rihanna, obviously) that you will come through and release “Boys Don’t Cry” tomorrow like you say you will, I feel like there is a definite chance this will turn out to be another round of “Rachel Always Cry (Feat. Frank Ocean’s false promises).”  

  1. “The Great Wall” trailer

I have very, very conflicted thoughts on this upcoming film, and may write more about this later. But for now, all I can say is, even though it is worrisome that a film related to Chinese history stars a white guy, there are many famous Chinese actors in it and the director is Chinese. Plus, a lot of the backlash has been from Asians Americans as opposed to Chinese people in China. It’s a complicated issue and I don’t know exactly where I stand yet.

COLD

  1. Shootings across the nation

There’s nothing I can really say that hasn’t already been said. #BlackLivesMatter and #BlackLivesWillAlwaysMatter. Remember Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, and remember Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, Rekia Boyd and countless others. 

There are many, many things we can do to help the cause, and there are many things I know I can do better. Here are just a few suggestions:

 

So that’s it for July! For people who stumbled upon this blog while looking for hot-pot recipes, my bad. This is probably less exciting.

But if there’s someone who did read the post, I have some questions: What is something that happened in July that I missed? What other things can we do to raise awareness about police brutality and support #BlackLivesMatter?

See you in the next post!


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Hot and Cold: Week of 4/9

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Want to know what I think about the “Queen of Katwe” trailer, Becky with the good hair, Justin Bieber and more? Of course you do! My opinions are just like Kevin Hart movies — the world doesn’t necessarily need them, but they’re at least mildly entertaining. Or so I hope. 


 

HOT

 

1. #StarringJohnCho

So y’all know that the lack of Asian-American representation is a big issue for me (and should be, for everyone), so of course I was ecstatic to hear about William Yu’s campaign to raise awareness about the lack of diversity in film today. Yu noticed that so many films and their posters often only showed white people, so instead he decided to replace actor John Cho, of “Harold and Kumar” and “Stark Trek” fame on posters for films like “The Martian” and “Avengers: Age of Ultron.”

He says that he wanted to show people evidence that “having an Asian-American star in a leader role wasn’t quite so crazy or outrageous,” and I think he did a damn good job of that. Cho is relatively well-known, attractive, a good actor — why wouldn’t it be fitting for him to play a leading role? I’m tired of seeing Asians not represented, or only shown as stereotypical characters, so this whole campaign gets a two thumbs-up from me.

It’s got me thinking though, what other famous films could we see with Cho substituted in? “Charlie and the CHOcolate Factory”? “CHOcolat”? “The Truman CHO”? The possibilities are endless.

 

2. “Queen of Katwe” trailer

The trailer for the upcoming Disney film, “Queen of Katwe,” came out on Tuesday, and I started crying 30 seconds into it. Going by that sign, I think my tear ducts will be permanently emptied by the end of the actual film. It’s awesome to see a story about black people that isn’t about slavery or child soldiers (not that there aren’t great films about those subjects), and is about black kids seeing the power in themselves and taking initiative to make their goals happen, without the help of the Nice White People that we so often see. Also, Lupita Nyong’o and David Oyelowo are in it, so it should be a great time.

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3. Rachel Roy and Rachael Ray have each other’s backs

I can’t believe this is an actual thing that exists in the world. This entire situation is so messy, I have to break it down step-by-step to convey how hilarious the whole ordeal is.

Phase 1. Beyoncé implies Jay cheated on her with “Becky with the good hair” in one of her songs from “Lemonade.”

Phase 2. Rumors spread that Rachel Roy is Becky. 

Phase 3. Some people mistake Rachael Ray for Roy, because obviously they are the same person.

Phase 4. People start attacking Ray on her Instagram.

Phase 5. Rachel Roy sends Rachael Ray flowers and Ray gifts Roy with “a big bottle of wine and a straw.” 

Phase 5. Rachel Yang is confused as hell. But good for them, girls lookin’ out for girls. 

 

COLD

1. Justin bieber’s new face tattoo

When I first saw the Instagram picture of him with the new tattoo he got this week, I spent about 3 minutes trying to locate exactly where it was since it’s so small it might as well be a smudge. Look Justin, if you’re trying to convey that you’re a badass who doesn’t give a fuck, instead of a Canadian pop sensation who got famous from YouTube, make the tattoo at least bigger than an atom. Go big or go home, Justin. When Gucci Mane’s ice-cream tattoo is more intimidating, there’s a problem.

 

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Not to pull a Perez Hilton or anything, but come on Justin, really?

2. Azealia Banks’ Twitter tirade 

Where to begin? Azealia Banks’ Rant of Terror on Twitter was almost impressive in the breadth it covered — in just one day, she managed to sling derogatory statements about Zayn Malik, Skai Jackson, the Desi community, the LGBT community and women in general. Her account was (rightfully) suspended and she was pulled from the Born & Bred music festival, but these actions have spurred even more conversation about the fact that while her account was suspended, others who are spewing hate on Twitter have gone unpunished. That’s definitely a dialogue that should be happening, but for now, I’m glad to be free of Azealia Banks-related news.


 

Catch you later!

 

Hot and Cold: Week of 4/11 (ish)

ovo

It’s been a whiiile since I’ve done another “Hot and Cold”! This week I talk about Drake, new bills and whitewashing (cheery topic I know), among other things.


HOT

1. Drake releases new songs, date of album drop & plans to trademark his name (probably) 

There’s been a slew of Drake news in April, from him dropping two new songs, to him announcing that his upcoming album, “Views From the 6” will be out on April 29. Artists who are rumored to be involved with the album include Beyoncé, Jay Z, Kanye and even Willow Smith.

I’m stoked for the album, which will be Drake’s fourth and the follow-up to “Nothing Was the Same,” but right now I’m just wondering what’s next for young Aubrey. He’s done everything from rapping, singing, acting, to even hosting (both “Saturday Night Live” and the ESPY Awards) — what can we expect in the future? A collaboration between OVO and actual owls? Trademarking the name “Drake”? It doesn’t seem that unthinkable, since the last time Drake Bell’s name was mentioned, it was probably in a sentence like, “Who is Drake Bell again?”

In the words of Tyra Banks: “Two Drake’s stand before me … but only one can be America’s Next Top Drake.”

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Drake on “SNL” in 2014

2. BuzzFeed’s profile of Karyn Kusama

I know, I know. It’s been BuzzFeed this, BuzzFeed that on this blog lately, but I really do have to give it props. BuzzFeed writer Adam B. Vary wrote a beautiful profile of director Karyn Kusama, who, despite making an acclaimed debut film, didn’t have the ascent to stardom other directors with her talent had because she was a woman. It’s a great read for a better understanding of the unfairness in Hollywood and how hard it is for movies to get made that aren’t about straight, white guys. 

3. Profile of Metro Boomin

As y’all can see by now, I love me some profiles. I always like it more when writers actually get to follow their subjects around (which sounds more trench-coaty and suspicious than it is) and spend a few days with them. It allows you to know that person in a much more intimate way than just asking, “Who’s your favorite artist?” or “What can we expect from your next album?”

This profile features the very in-demand producer, Metro Boomin. He’s known for producing for artists like Future (and for Future’s now-famous intro, “If Young Metro don’t trust you I’m gon’ shoot you”). But this piece dives in deeper, and examines Metro’s (real name Leland Tyler Wayne) childhood and how he got to where he is now.

At 23 years old, Metro seems relatively inexperienced, but he’s actually been on his production grind for about 10 years now, and even left the prestigious Morehouse College to follow his passion. It’s a wonderful look into an artist who’s so passionate and fun to be around — maybe that’s why Future values him and whether or not he trusts you? 

metro boomin

4. New bills, bills bills

It was announced just two days ago that famed abolitionist and overall bad-ass Harriet Tubman will grace the front of the new $20 bills, and that other influential figures like Sojourner Truth, Eleanor Roosevelt and Martin Luther King, Jr. will be on the $10 and $5 bills. Go inclusion! 

However, my initial excitement to this news was slightly dimmed by the fact that former President Andrew Jackson, who is on the $20 bill now, will still be featured on the back. Remember, this is the guy who was responsible for the “Trail of Tears,” which some estimate killed nearly 6000 Cherokee. So the announcement is progress … I guess? 

COLD

1. Whitewashing in “Ghost in the Shell” film

Yes, let’s cast Scarlett Johansson as a Japanese character in a movie that’s based on a Japanese manga. What, was she just so hooked from being in “Lost in Translation” that she just had to do something involving Japan again? If you love Japan so much, just stick to Instagramming your sushi like normal white girls, ScarJo, and let actual Asians tell their stories for once.

[EDIT 5/1: I wrote about whitewashing and Asian representation for my school paper, check it out here: bit.ly/1QweJcx!]

2. Earthquakes in Japan and Ecuador

At least 40 people were killed and 1000 injured after two earthquakes in Japan last week, and the earthquake in Ecuador has claimed the lives of more than 270 people. It really puts shit into perspective, like the realization that you have no idea where Ecuador is on the map and what that says about both you and the American school system. So if you can, please go and donate to charities like Oxfam.

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Aftermath of earthquake in Ecuador


That’s all for this week! See you next time (although that could be in like a week, or a month or whenever Frank Ocean drops that album (a.k.a. never)).

Hot and Cold: Week of 2/29

Welcome to Hot and Cold, where each week, I talk about the best and worst things that happened in that week. I decided to include stuff from Sunday, Feb. 28, because why not, it’s my damn blog.

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HOT:

1. Chris Rock at the Oscars
I want to give Chris Rock all the credit in the world for not holding back and really going to town on Hollywood and its insidious anti-blackness. It takes nuance to be able to point out that the racism du jour isn’t the overt racism we’re used to; it’s the kind of racism where “the nicest, white people on Earth,” who are all gung ho about Obama, refuse to hire black people.

2. Kendrick Lamar’s new album
“Untitled unmastered” is basically composed of stuff that didn’t make it on “To Pimp a Butterfly,” but damn, even Kendrick’s leftovers are 1000x better than Tyga on his best day (which isn’t saying much). If you want to know my exact thoughts on it, please read my review here.

*End of shameless plug.*

3. Pinot Noir from “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” is a thing now
I wasn’t aware that there was even a demand for Titus Andromedon’s pinot noir to actually be sold, but sometimes the best thing in life is shit you don’t expect. It’s 25 bucks, which is 20 bucks above my alcohol budget (don’t knock $5 wine until you try it. It doesn’t smell like feet. That much), but I’m a sucker for packaging and pop-culture references so I must have it.

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COLD:

1. Chris Rock at the Oscars 

Now I want to solidly smack Chris Rock with a shoe for that Asian joke (and Sacha Baron Cohen for even remotely implying that Asians are comparable to minions, a.k.a. the bane of my existence). Bringing out this old trope of Asians being good at math is not only wildly unoriginal, it’s indicative of the fact that many people claiming to be progressive still have blind spots when it comes to including people of other ethnicities. While it’s atrocious that films featuring black people are not given the accolades that they deserve, what about Hispanics and Asians? Are we not “people of color,” just like black people? Do we not deserve for our stories to be told? Are we not routinely skipped over for roles and instead have white people play us instead (let’s not forget the “Avatar” disaster)?

When you talk about people of color and only include black people, while making jokes about Asians, you are pretending to be progressive when in reality you are still excluding many voices that should also be heard. We all deserve better.

[EDIT 5/1: *shameless plug #2* I actually wrote an article in my school paper about the Oscars and whitewashing, so check it out here: bit.ly/1QweJcx. It also includes a more nuanced take on Chris Rock’s role in suppressing Asian voices, which I realized after writing this “Hot and Cold” post!]

LUKEWARM:

1. Peyton Manning is Retiring
I only include this as a way to convince myself that I’m remotely cultured about football. Truth be told, the only time I’ve ever watched Peyton Manning was in that SNL sketch, and he was so good in that I don’t really care what he did on the field. I mean, I barely understand what a quarterback is, and it was only recently that I learned that halfback is a real position (is halfback twice as important as quarterback, since it’s twice as much as 25 percent?? Someone help me). Adios, Peyton. Maybe I’ll see you in a Bud Light commercial one day.

I love sport.

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Until next week, folks.