/ 26 May 2017

The weekly pop sack: Good looks, messy looks and the looks of AKA

(Pascal Le Segretain)
(Pascal Le Segretain)

A great sense of bewilderment must have washed over many of us when we learned, thanks to a Guardian article relaying Australian property mogul Tim Gurner’s comments, that the main reason millennials are struggling to afford property is our relationship with avocados. For the first time in history — I’d prefer that you don’t quote me here — we are being warned against acquiring avocado toast and café coffee lest we become too broke to pay future mortgages. Speaking about Australia’s millennials, who pay an average of $19 (R188) for avocado toast, he might be on to something, fam.

Beyoncé pushes through

Once again, it was Beyoncé’s turn to hold the internet in the palm of her hand, and not a moment too soon. A few weeks short of giving birth to what may become the world’s most famous pair of unborn twins, the Carters invited close friends and family to a second baby shower, which they called the Carters’ Push Party and photographed it for the world. In the themed photoshoot, she showed off her ongoing love affair with West African style, this time adding a henna tattoo drawn over her near-term belly. In keeping with her aesthetic, Bey and her family were a picture of Afro-Asian-inspired royalty.

But rapper AKA wasn’t buying what the Carters were selling. The rapper, a tweep who often makes the news for spoiling for a fight, cried foul and trialled Beyoncé for what he viewed as a theme that stank of cultural appropriation. He asked how the much-loved singer — having never tasked herself with including Africa in any of her tours — was getting away with lifting African tropes for photoshoots. Needless to say, members of the Beyhive were naturally partial, leaving AKA the subject of a drag across these social media meadows. Still, does AKA (aka Mr Kiernan Jarryd Forbes) raise an important question here?

Trigger warning

Meanwhile, Katy Perry is doing things over — resurfaced and all “new hair, don’t care”. Although her image screams rebellion and anarchy, it made statements that were poles apart on Saturday Night Live.

For the performance of the song Bon Appétit, alongside trap lords Migos, Perry, who’s been known to adopt Egyptian and Asian references in many of her colourful costumes, lays on a banquet table and appears to offer herself as an edible for the male chefs to devour.

The song’s music video opens with a scene of a nearly naked Perry lying on a bed covered in cling rap. The plastic is then ripped open by a group of eight burly knife-wielding male chefs, who take her body and dip it in flour, only to cook her up and serve her throughout the video, with not one opportunity for sexual objectification missed.

Is this pop singer complicit in creating an image that glamorises abusive threads of behaviour towards women? AKA’s sharp critique could also have been put to good use.

Billboard Music Awards

The BBMAs this year might as well go by the name of Drake. The rapper was this year’s favourite after bagging an astonishing 13 awards. In the well-entrenched tradition of award ceremonies, where one artist gets more than the fair share, Drake received all the recognition possible for his album Views, which boasts upwards of 60 writers and on which contributions by Jay Z and Kanye West were deemed unsatisfactory and left out.

Naturally, the most coveted award was Artist of the Year after coming out at the top in every category, from best rap album to most streamed. The Controlla hit-maker was never one to mince his words and, although he made a point about haters in his acceptance speech, he gave credit where he felt it was due.

Celine Dion was also there and stole the show with a flawless rendition of My Heart Will Go On for the ballad’s 20th anniversary. Beyoncé may not have been there to make an acceptance speech, but she was honoured for Lemonade.

Having turned a wholesome new leaf, Miley Cyrus showed up on stage escorted by her father and younger sister before debuting her new single Malibu and, later, crying in a performance that left us thinking that she’s left the “stick your tongue out and middle fingers up” life for real.

Issa movie, Issa pact

Recently, when a flawless image of Rihanna and Lupita Nyong’o seated front row at a fashion show surfaced, the internet angels created magic when a fan tweeted the caption: “Rihanna looks like she scams rich white men and Lupita is the computer smart best friend that helps plan the [scams].” It birthed a now confirmed Netflix movie starring Rihanna and Nyong’o, directed by Ava DuVernay and written by Insecure creator Issa Rae based on the fan’s plot. There is a God.