/ 3 March 2017

The weekly pop sack: Bring back the spotlight

Moonlight won the Oscar for Best Picture.
Moonlight won the Oscar for Best Picture.


When does an awkward moment cross over to the dark side, where it’s just too difficult and too unhandy to be innocent? Where the subtext reeks of more than just inconvenience? The Oscars, as is becoming increasingly glaring, are not good for us. By us I mean everyone. If they aren’t excluding black Hollywood, they are highkey stealing the credit and the spotlight. But let’s not blame it all on the Oscars when the Grammy’s are famous for the same kind of misappropriation of merit. It was also awards weekend here at home with the Metro FM awards and the South African Film and Television Awards nomination dinner. And, unsurprisingly, some artists had a bone to pick.

The Oscars: A bad romance

It’s been a momentous run of extra-ordinary storytelling in Hollywood. Soulful filmmaking that captures the heart and calibre of everyday, often trodden, often overlooked, experiences. Moonlight, Fences, Lion and Hidden Figures have become household anthems next to La La Land, which took a total of six Oscars on Sunday. All of these were nominated but the wins were few and far between for the former. This may have been the Oscars lukewarm attempt at recognition. But what is popularly called a “nod” is no longer enough.

Viola Davis finished first and left us beaming and claiming her with every Instagram post after a thoroughly quotable acceptance speech for her best supporting actress win for Fences. Then came what usually comes next when a person of colour or a woman of colour wins anything. We’re often required to celebrate the “first black” this and the “first black” alongside a list of other ­historical disadvantages. The line between being admired and patronised is blurry.

Still, we’re thankful. Moonlight walked away with the most coveted award, best picture, but it wasn’t as straightforward. Some say it came down to the wrong envelope. Or to host Jimmy Kimmel’s brand of wishful thinking. Others think that Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway weren’t the best to carry out a task of this magnitude. But the margin of error was clearly wide if the mistake was only noted after the entire cast thanked their entire lucky stars and entourages and more.

Denzel Washington, after winning the Screen Actor’s Guild award for best actor in Fences, was overlooked for the umpteenth time by the Oscars. Casey Affleck took the best actor award for his role in Manchester by the Sea.

Team Nicki or Team Remy?

Rap fans who have been in the middle of an ongoing feud between MCs Nicki Minaj and Remy Ma were treated to a twist as heels were dug deeper into Minaj’s glossy veneers. Although a very misogynistic hip-hop fraternity may want to dismiss the decade-long conflict between the female rappers as another catfight, they are showing us how it’s done. Well, at least Remy just did in her new diss track, ShEther, recently released on social media. The track is a retake on another classic diss track, Ether, by Nas, and it is nothing if not scathing. We take it Minaj is yet to respond to being chewed up and spat out, after an Instagram post flaunting what appears to be an endorsement by Beyoncé saw no match, which has since been deleted.

Awards weekend in SA

The 16th Metro FM music awards also fell victim to beef with some celebrities accusing the whole affair of being bought and rigged. But isn’t this always the argument when it comes to awards? That the talent hardly ever wins. Nasty C took home song of the year and pretty much all the best awards, leaving the stratosphere gasping at Babes Wodumo, who walked away empty-handed. Black Coffee expressed his distaste on Twitter and best hit single winner Riky Rick stood in solidarity with all the other artists who got snubbed.

Minnie vs every female soccer player in SA

Minnie Dlamini may be the darling of television presenting in South Africa but is she any kind of seasoned sports presenter or even a football player? Football magazine Kick Off was oblivious to its questionable choice of cover girl. It seems all that qualified Minnie for their cover was her social currency and celebrity over the likes of Portia Modise and Carol Tshabalala. Is Minnie being wrongly targeted or could she have pulled an “Adele” and named the great women ahead of her as more deserving? Or perhaps the whole culture lost its sense of fairness a long time ago. Everything doesn’t have to be so dog-eat-dog, sometimes.