/ 7 April 2017

The weekly pop sack: Walking into the obscure like

Hip hop star Kendrick Lamar is nominated for best album for "To Pimp A Butterfly" and best rap performance.
Hip hop star Kendrick Lamar is nominated for best album for "To Pimp A Butterfly" and best rap performance.

It seems that every week brings us more reason for disbelief. These days South Africans appear united only by this and not a lot else. We, the people, do not run the world, nor do we run this country — a truth that has always been the reality for many South Africans on the wrong side of advantage.

The proponents of #BlackMonday in parts of Johannesburg this week encouraged suburban residents to take a stand by marching to the politically significant national key point that is Tashas restaurant in Melrose Arch.

In this impassioned call for everyone to do something for once, they suggested protesters park their cars in the safety of this community and bring their children, dogs, live-in gardeners, security guards and housekeepers, to which one Facebook user cheekily responded: “But who’s gonna watch the house?”, because black domestic workers and gardeners are mostly just the talking appendages of white property?

A tone-deaf hashtag

A wayward, disobedient president has knocked off the rose-tinted glasses through which many liberal white South Africans view life; President Jacob Zuma is shaking up their money trees like no earth tremor could. But, at R250, a #ZumaMustGo T-shirt? The spirit of survival in some of the sick and tired, but entrepreneurial, protesters is zealous.

You will hear some exclaim, “It’s all Zuma’s fault” and “This country has gone to the dogs”, forgetting that government corruption and rapacious self-enrichment is what sustained colonialism and apartheid, colonialism that some still defend tweet and nail. This is how #BlackMonday, a seemingly well-intentioned protest, started to trend for all the wrong reasons, turning into a punchline by the end of Monday. Because of white people’s selective outrage.

While the rest of the country is also in a state, the underlying call made by #BlackMonday is a vicious circle of silence and silencing. Black people have been protesting for many reasons — fees must fall, Marikana, service delivery, wages — protests that are usually criticised for their very existence, their inconvenience. These are the problematic notions of people with power compared with people without power: the startling discord between the lived experiences of those outside the circle of privilege and those inside it.

Music takeover

When the line-up for this year’s Cape Town International Jazz Festival came out, American band The Internet had every millennial breaking their piggy bank for a spot in the audience. There was this and much more to feast on. The festival drew an eclectic crowd of jazzists, old-school hip-hop heads, beat junkies and new-school buffs, from Andra Day to Digable Planets and Taylor McFerrin. Tsepo Tshola celebrated 47 years in the music industry and was a crowd favourite.

Not to be left behind, the Alchemy festival in Jo’burg was deeply satisfying, a treat for the kind of music lover who lives on the B-side. Although headlined by Chicago rapper Mick Jenkins, United Kingdom-born producer of soulful electronic music Tom Misch and Low End Theory’s experimental approach to making and sharing sounds, the platform was also owned by the homegrown, mind-altering DJ outfit the Fly Machines Session, Akio and Kid Fonque.

Airwaves of change

Reshuffling and pulling the rug out from under people’s feet has clearly been in the water: Zuma reorganised his Cabinet in the witching hours of last Friday morning and, not even a week later, your favourite state broadcaster’s radio station, Metro FM, has been dragged across social media for reshuffling its presenter line-up. After T-bo Touch of Touch Central poached one of Metro FM’s seasoned and most loved radio personalities, Glen Lewis, co-host Unathi Msengana’s resignation swiftly followed.

Metro FM announced further changes on Monday morning, having secured DJ Fresh, who has left his breakfast show on Five FM to do a new breakfast show with Somizi Mhlongo. Media darling Bonang Matheba, who hosts The Front Row with the popular #AskAMan segment, has been paired with former Miss Soweto Lerato Kganyago as co-host of Matheba’s daytime slot.

Both celebrities have been framed as rivals in the media and their first show together proved as much. The first broadcast was awkward, with both hosts appearing as if they had been told about their new roles just hours before they went on air. It didn’t help that the worst of the Twitterverse called Kganyago “Bonang Lite”. Hours later, Matheba announced that she was leaving the radio station.

Kendrick must humble up

The visuals from American hip-hop artist Kendrick Lamar’s new offering made our pupils dilate. The video for the second single off the Top Dawg Entertainment prodigy’s upcoming album, Humble, sent waves through the internet. But while enchanting on the eye, K.Dot falls into the trap of misogyny in the tradition of hoteps everywhere. The subject matter exalts the rapper as he preaches, but he goes on to reduce black women to a binary. How it must be to operate from this sense of entitlement while positioning himself as a saviour of sorts.