PAPERhttp://www.8617965.com/PAPERen-usMon, 21 Jan 2019 17:53:37 -0000https://assets.rbl.ms/19068909/210x.pnghttp://www.8617965.com/PAPERCult Chunky Shoe Brand Eytys Joins Forces With H&Mhttp://www.8617965.com/hm-eytys-2626634088.html

Giant, chunky sneakers have officially become a 2019 wardrobe staple, and there's no better footwear brand to achieve the coveted suburban dad look than Eytys. With their luxurious take on oversized shoes, the Stockholm-based label has developed into a cult favorite for the underground — and now they're partnering with another established Swede: H&M.

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Eytys Creative Director Max Schiller designed their collaboration as a way to introduce the H&M customer to his brand's design philosophy of "robust and fuss-free design where function triumphs embellishment and styles span genders." He said the collection is "all about proportions — creating a distinct unisex silhouette by playing around with loose silhouettes and chunky architectural footwear."

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The result is a range of what Eytys considers to be a "generic" look, or "one that is meant to elevate integrity, attitude and confidence." Of course, there is a lineup of fashion-forward sneakers, shoes, and boots that bring Eytys' style to a more budget-conscious consumer. The clothes, with their boxy silhouettes aimed for a genderless audience, come in snakeskin print, shiny patent leather and suede. Several pieces are stamped with a fictional "Utopia Airlines" graphic.

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"We admire that Eytys has a look distinctly their own and initially approached them with the idea of creating a shoe collection," said Ross Lyndon, who's the Acting Head of Menswear Design at H&M. "But after initial brainstorming, it was decided that a full collection — shoes, clothes and accessories — would enable our customers to really experience the whole brand aesthetic and ethos. With this collaboration we want to offer our customers a total look that is all about chunky statement shoes and mindful proportions that are genderless."

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The Eytys x H&M line will be available in selected stores worldwide, as well as online beginning January 24. Go behind the scenes of their campaign, below.

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Behind-the-Scenes:


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Photos courtesy of Eytys x H&M

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Mon, 21 Jan 2019 17:38:11 +0000http://www.8617965.com/hm-eytys-2626634088.htmlH&mEytysFashionJustin Moran
Becky G Knows Who She Ishttp://www.8617965.com/becky-g-lbd-2626625229.html

A bicultural upbringing can sometimes be alienating: Attempting to straddle both can draw as much criticism as aligning yourself with just one side. An Inglewood-born Chicana, Becky G knows the feeling — and rather than fight the polar pulls, she's embracing the spectrum that is her identity.

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Having launched out of Disney and English-language commercial pop and, in the past few years, headfirst into the Latinx market, Becky G undoubtedly solidified herself a bonafide urbano star in 2018. Trepidations about whether or not she'd be welcomed into the market quickly subsided with help from reggaeton king Daddy Yankee, who enlisted the young singer for the "Dura" remix alongside Natti Natasha, her collaborator in the single "Sin Pijama."

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Related | 100 Women Revolutionizing Pop

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Then there's "Mayores," featuring Bad Bunny — released ahead of the other two, the track was enough, on its own, to earn her a place on any decent contemporary reggaeton playlist.

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But in 2019, Becky G is returning to singing in English: Starting with "LBD," released earlier this month. PAPER caught up with the singer ahead of its release to hear more about what's next in her career, and how lessons in navigating her own identity will guide her going forward.


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You've posted in the past about your fears around acceptance from the Latinx music community. It really feels like you're being embraced, though, especially considered all your Univision Premio lo Nuestro nominations. How do you feel about those fears lately?

It's been, I don't know, how many years since I got signed at 14 for my first record deal. And obviously I started with singing English music when I got signed, and I always knew, since the beginning, that one day I would want to embark on that journey of singing Spanish music, but I just didn't know when that time would be. I always had this subconscious fear, and I don't know if it was instilled by watching the movie Selena too many times — when her dad is like, "You're either too Mexican for the Americans, or too American for the Mexicans! — and you're just like, OK, I'm in the middle. I'm clearly so proud of my upbringing and being submerged in both cultures, and obviously the Latina side of me being such a huge inspiration in all of my videos, it was never something that was done with the intentions of gaining a market for financial benefit. It was a genuine pride to represent this flag, and kids like myself, who are born here in the United States but very well aware of the history of their last name, and how their stories began before they were even born, and with all this common thread which is the American dream. As scary as it was to make that decision, all signs at this point in my career point to just do it, Becky. Just go for it. You've got nothing to lose. And it's real, it's a dream of yours: What's stopping you?

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In that moment, I realized that the only thing that was stopping me was myself. Because I can always learn more Spanish, and I can always surround myself with more Spanish-speaking people, and that's exactly what happened. I got in the studio, started working with some really awesome producers and songwriters and explained to them a little bit of my insecurities around these things, and they were like, "Girl, you got this." Because they were so encouraging, it created this safe space for me to be OK being what we call pocha — Spanglish-speaking, I guess.

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I think people still struggle to understand that I love singing in Spanish but I think in English. It's hard for people — if you don't live that life, it could be confusing for some. But I learned that it's only brought more fans to the #beasters community, I guess you could say. A lot of my fans are the same as I am.

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Related | Normani Is the Next Household Name

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Working with people like Maluma, did you feel welcomed?

Oh, 100 percent. I would joke around with them all the time. My grandma always makes fun of me because she says that my Spanish accent is a mix, she's like, you sound so diverse with your Spanish. When you're singing songs with, like, Joss Favela, this regional Mexican music, you sound very dulce, very sweet. And then when you sing reggaeton, you sound like you're from the streets, girl! I'm like, don't forget I am — I'm from Inglewood!

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So it's totally been influenced by traveling, and it's the best thing that's ever happened to me, traveling throughout Latin America and other parts of the world that speak Spanish. The truth is that I'm like a child of the world now. Because I'm open to learning, and I guess too, they say that when you have a musical ear you kind of pick up on people's tones of voice and their accents, and that's kind of what's happened to me. My accent's not really anything except a little bit of everywhere that I've been and everyone that I've met. I think that's so cool, and it kind of makes my sound very unique in a way, and kind of like a chameleon.

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Of all the Spanish-speaking cultures you've visited, which have really stood out to you as especially impactful?

I mean, everywhere, to be honest. I'll never forget, for instance, my first time to doing a tour in Latin America; I was doing a tour with Fifth Harmony and we went to places like Chile to Argentina, and it was like my first time really performing in these territories. I was so overwhelmed with the love and how they received me. Ever since that tour, when I was given the opportunity to travel to places like that — it was very eye-opening and inspiring, and it made me feel like you know what? My biggest critic is going to be myself, and I just gotta do it. So if I go onstage and I mess up, talking to the crowd, saying a certain word, they're going to understand what I'm saying anyways. I feel like everyone speaks a little bit of everything these days. It was really cool to feel accepted, you know?

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For sure. And you're a "dura in training," I saw.

[Laughs] It's kind of an inside joke because Yankee and Natti constantly use the terms like that song, es muy dura la canción, or ella es muy dura. And Natti's thing was like "la dura de las duras." The best chick of all the chicks. I think it's so cool, and when they totally embraced me in that little family that they have, it was one of those situations where I was like, oh my god, I just felt embraced by them as like a little sister. They took me in, kind of guiding me — when we were recording the "Sin Pijama" song and also when we were recording the "Dura" remix, they were super hands-on with me recording my parts, and super encouraging. Like, maybe you should sing this line like this, or with a little bit of this accent, and emphasize on this part. Just for them to take the time to do that — Natti, as another female in this industry, we really do have the same message and believe in the same thing of empowering each other and building each other up, and she was totally hands-on in that sense, like a big sister, and for Yankee to do the same, he's like the king of reggaeton. That's why when I saw dura in training, I feel like they have swag in their own right, they've accomplished so many things, and for them to take the time to guide me was really awesome.

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"I'm going to jump out of this box that they're putting me in, and I'm just going to jump into whatever I'm feeling at that moment."

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That's so great. Can you tell us a little about where you're taking your music from here?

For me personally, as the years have gone by, and for feeling kind of like my creativity was suppressed for some time, and I was constantly being put in a box just to check it, and being told to only stay in that box, once I learned the power of my own voice and the power of the fans and having that stronger connection with them, and finding ways to really get your vision through to the people around you and creating a safe space with the people around you, I realized you know what? I'm going to jump out of this box that they're putting me in, and I'm just going to jump into whatever I'm feeling at that moment.

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I've been working on more English music. I released a song not too long ago called "Zooted" with Farruko and French Montana, and it wasn't an official single or anything, it was kind of just to put it out there and let people know that this is kind of the vibe I'm going for. I think my last impression on the English market was pop music, and it was music that didn't really represent my message. I think too, when you're young, you don't really know what you're capable of or what you're allowed to do. Now the English music that I'm making is 100 percent a side of me that's so authentic and so genuine, and that's the side of me that's more urban, a little bit R&B influenced, a little bit of that Latin flavor. That's going to be coming very soon, which I'm really excited for.

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It's like building pillars for me. I kind of want to set all these pillars in place to create a new platform for my sound, because I don't think people have seen this side of me yet. I'm not talking about smash number one hits right out the door, but more so pace-setting songs for my fans to kind of live with and digest, and kind of get familiar with me singing music of this style, if that makes any sense.

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It does. I like that you're thinking in terms of the fans adjusting to changes, but sticking to the changes you want to make.

I'm totally looking for longevity. I'm not trying to find — I've done the one-hit wonder thing before, and don't get me wrong, songs like "Shower" really did teach me a lot of things: Good things and maybe not the most positive things, but it did teach me that a song can be bigger than the artist, and it can take on a life of its own. I was very fortunate that that song was mine, but that song wasn't written with me in mind, let alone was it a style of music that I wanted to continue singing. I think my fans could see that. I think people who loved the song loved the song but didn't know who I was. And so now, moving forward, take away the numbers of views and social media — I just want to make good music that means something to me. And that kind of captures these moments in my life, and like I said, that may be more rap music, that may be more R&B music, that may be more ballads, that may be more, I don't know, reggae-type songs. The truth is I can't say I am one genre because I am inspired by everything, and that's kind of created this overall sound.

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Related | Transformation: Christina Aguilera

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What do you think the through-line is, then? What ties it all together as a representation of you?

I've been super transparent since day one about my upbringing and who I am and how I was raised. Being born here in Los Angeles, which is one of the most mixed-culture places you could possibly live in when it comes to fashion, when it comes to music, when it comes to food, the people. Growing up in what I guess people would call the hood, but I call it home, in Inglewood, growing up going to school with kids who only spoke Spanish and the other 50 percent were African-American kids who listened to hip-hop music and my parents would play Tupac and Biggie and TLC, and I'm a '90s baby, so I grew up on '90s music, and my parents had me super young, and I would listen to Brandy and Christina Aguilera. I was never limited when it came to that catalog of music. You can even say, because of the quote Chicano background in L.A., even the lowrider oldies, to my parents playing James Brown and Etta James, the inspiration literally goes on forever. When I think of things in the studio, it's all drawn from those moments in my life.

Like, I just recorded my first country song with Kane Brown, and I don't think anybody was expecting that! But little did they know, I grew up listening to country music: Brad Paisley, Tim McGraw, Blake Shelton, Rascal Flatts, the Dixie Chicks. That is stuff that I also grew up on, so it's not something that's like, fake, you know? All these things are authentic layers to my artistry, and my inspirations.

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I'm really looking forward to hearing what's next.

I'm genuinely super excited to dive back into the English side but with a new sense of self, where I can finally be who I am, because I know who I am now. And obviously continue doing what I'm doing as far as the Latin market goes, because it's a genuine passion of mine to keep pushing those boundaries. Since I started in the Latin space, the walls that we've managed to tear down for women in music and urban music and the people that I've had the opportunity to collaborate with, has been so educational and inspiring. I'm just super excited for this year.

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"Both sides of the music that I create, the Spanish side and the English side, are so true to who I am."

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I hope it's clear to everyone, when they hear a single like "LBD," that it doesn't mean you're abandoning the Latin market.

Not at all. More present than ever! And that's the thing, what I really want people to understand is that they can't make an artist choose one or the other, when both are very much so part of the artist. Both sides of the music that I create, the Spanish side and the English side, are so true to who I am, and they mirror each other but they're not the same, and I like that. I don't want to just record an English version of a Spanish song because I have to. Sometimes the translations come out super cheesy and don't make any sense, and to me, that's when people are doing it to get a bang for their buck, and make more money. Nah, I just want to make good music. As far as being present in both markets, obviously I'm much more established right now in the Latin market than in the English, and I'm super excited to get down and dirty and kind of build something from the ground up. It's going to be a very humbling experience but it's exciting because it's something that's really true to who I am. I think one's going to feed off the other eventually, but they're kind of in different places — I'm on one level in the Latin industry right now and kind of starting from the ground up in English. But it doesn't scare me, it feels right.

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Photography: Nikko LaMere
Hair: Scott King
Makeup: Ash Holm
Styling: Jaclyn Fleurant
Featured Photo: Jacket by Opening Ceremony



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Mon, 21 Jan 2019 16:02:52 +0000http://www.8617965.com/becky-g-lbd-2626625229.htmlBecky gLatinLatinxMusicDaddy yankeeNatti natashaDisneyBad bunnyMalumaNormaniFifth harmonyStory Jhoni Jackson / Photography Nikko LaMere
Lexie Liu's Got Tricks, and Tracks You Need to Hearhttp://www.8617965.com/lexie-liu-paper-interview-2626573461.html

Nineteen-year-old Lexie Liu has had quite the year. The singer signed on with 88rising, — the label behind artists like Rich Brian, Joji, and the Higher Brothers — released three singles, produced three music videos, and was dubbed "The Voice of a Chinese Generation." She's one of the first independent artists from China making it big in the West, and having her experimental cross-cultural sound heard on the global stage. But despite what you may read about her, Lexie is not a hip-hop artist. She's not a pop star. And, no, she isn't an R&B singer. She's a singer of her own making.

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And while some may see her refusal to define her genre as indecisiveness, she sees it as a playful advantage. She's not about to pigeonhole herself when she's got all this youthful creative energy to give. Lexie's yet to run out of tricks as her unpredictable, ever-changing sound, and free-flowing lyrics take her audiences by surprise. And with the upcoming release of a new single "Hat Trick," and her very first EP, she's showing she's got more hot tracks up her sleeve.

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The enigmatic artist herself sat down with PAPER Magazine to talk about her soon-to-be-released single, making her first EP, and how she got to where she is in the first place.

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How did you decide you wanted to be a singer?

"Becoming a singer isn't really what I thought would be my future when I was little. When I first started singing, I liked it a lot, but I felt like becoming a singer is really risky. My parents wouldn't want that for sure. They said, "Hey, Lexie, can you just keep it as your hobby?" And I was like, "Yeah, you're right. I should listen to you guys." And then I applied for college to major in Global Business in Fordham University in New York, and then I was there for a while. I found out that I did not enjoy studying something that I really was not interested in. Music was the only outlet for me to relax [away from] the heavy schoolwork. And at the time I was trying to transfer to NYU for Music Business to be more relevant in this industry. I made a lot of effort trying to get straight A's, buried under pressure, and then I still failed. Got rejected."

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But what made you want to keep going, despite everything?

"[I thought] everything was falling apart, because I was expecting a lot from the schoolwork. My family was having some issues back then, too. Music was the only thing giving me hope of keeping my shit together."

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Your current music is totally different from the original route you were headed. You won fourth place in a talent search show called K-pop Star 5.

"I've always loved performing and singing. Back then, I was having a gap year before college, so I was just trying to experience more, to figure out what I want to do with my life. I was there for half a year without speaking any Korean. And then, I figured out that that industry was not for me. I'm a free spirit. I like to write my own stuff and perform the way I wanted, which is why I decided to become a more independent and self-made artist."


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And that's great! Now people are basically calling you the voice China's modern music.

"Wow. It's a lot."

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Do you feel like you are the voice of modern music in China?

"I feel like it's a little bit overrated," she laughs. "But I'm also happy to hear that. I see my potential to becoming the voice of China's modern music maybe in the future, but it's also a lot of pressure."

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What made you decide that 88rising was the place for you?

"It was a big decision for me. For sure. 88rising is a really cool label, and I've known about their existence for a really long time. Their artists, their music — I dig. Mostly I decided [to sign on] because of its brand. It's more like a bridge connecting different cultures and uniting the world through music and great content. So that's what attracted me. When this opportunity knocked on my door, I was like, 'That's it.'"

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When you make your music now, are you thinking more of an Asian audience in mind? Or more of an American audience?

"I would say both, especially language-wise I use bilingual in a lot of my stuff, and also in what I'm trying to say, and what kind of style I use in my music. It's because the two different markets, the tastes and everything, are getting more and more similar. And these audiences in China are getting more open-minded and receptive to new waves of music, other styles and genres. I'm trying to ride that wave, do what I want, and at the same time make people happy."


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What should people expect from "Hat Trick"? Are there going to be any surprises?

"Yes, I would say. It's pretty retro, and there's no rapping. It's very romantic, and with a little sadness in it. It's pretty different from what I've put out so far."

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What's the inspiration behind it?

"The Great Gatsby. I was reading it, trying to improve my reading, because I got really low SAT scores in reading," she laughs. "Then I got very inspired by the prologue. I actually quoted some of it in the lyrics. It's just me reimagining what I would be like if I lived in that era. Just dreaming."

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And you're also coming out with your very first EP — essentially you officially introducing yourself to the industry. What was it like working on it?

"It definitely took quite a long time. I started working on some of the songs two years ago in the bathroom of my dorm in Fordham, squatting in the corner trying not to wake my roommates up," she laughs. "It's definitely a turning point for me, when I decided to become a musician. It includes my thoughts on my life, how I see the world, my experiences, everything. I definitely took a lot of things into consideration, too. Like what language I should use. All the more professional stuff. Before that I was just recording on my home microphone with beats from YouTube. Everything is more industrialized, and I'm trying to reach another level and make everything perfect. It's been a great experience for me."

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What do you want audiences to take away from your work? How do you want them to know you?

"I want to give them my versatility. Show them my different sides, but not too drastic that people don't really know who I am. I feel like there is some kind of consistency between these different genres and styles in my music. Mostly, I do really want to represent Asian female artists. This EP is making an approach, and just trying to test the waters for a bit."

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Who would your dream collab be with?

"Roy Woods. Other than him, I would say Swae Lee."

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Catch PAPER's premiere of "Hat Trick" on January 25, 2019.

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Images courtesy of 88rising

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Mon, 21 Jan 2019 04:01:12 +0000http://www.8617965.com/lexie-liu-paper-interview-2626573461.htmlK???5SbsVideoYang hyeon seokJyp???EntertainmentKorean wavePark jin young????????????MusicEp...Yu hui yeolKpop star 5???Season 5??Youtube.comCoco made me do itLiu boxinSleep awayLexie88risingRap of china2029PumaLevisLike a mercedesLexie liuNadaHat trickNew musicK-popMusic hip hopMusic industryMusic videoJasmine Ting
You Can Help the Bahamian Restaurateur Affected?by FYREhttp://www.8617965.com/help-bahamas-fyre-festival-2626569611.html

Hulu's Fyre Fraud documentary is able to tell the story of the fiasco that was the FYRE Festival with a linear narrative, and was able to show just how much of a pathological liar and sociopath Billy McFarland is. The original doc was also able to show how millennial social media culture has ultimately led to this dumpster fire of an event. But Netflix's FYRE truly highlights how much damage this event has caused to the Bahamian locals — particularly restaurateur Maryann Rolle.

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Rolle did her best to accommodate hundreds of guests who were brought to the Exuma Point Bar and Grill when the actual Fyre Festival campsite wasn't ready just yet. "[The organizers] said the grounds aren't ready, we would like to bring the guests to your place for a few hours until the site is ready. We had a good relationship, we did so much for them so we couldn't say no to that," she told Tribune 242. She successfully served influencers and other ticket-holders breakfast, and she kept cooking and cooking along with other women until breakfast turned into lunch. "We had a lot of food, it's just that we weren't prepared because I would have had a couple grills out on the beach."

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The businesswoman says that Fyre owes her $136,000. She and her husband, Elvis, trusted that the company would be able to compensate them for their services. "You're thinking it's real, we liaison in good faith. In the Bahamas, sometimes we tend to get careless about business and we lean more to good faith, that's our culture," she said. "They invested a lot of money, and that was what I was looking at, the investment that went forward. It was no way they were gonna have you do all this work and not pay you and it's not going to come off well."

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But, as the Netflix documentary details, Fyre has caused Mrs. Rolle a lot of pain and suffering. On-camera, she says that she had ten persons working with her to prepare food all day and all night for 24 hours. She, of course, had to pay these people, and took $50,000 out of her personal savings to do so. "I just wiped it out, and never looked back."

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Thankfully, there is a way to help Maryann Rolle. Gabrielle Bluestone, the Executive Producer of the Netflix documentary, tweeted that the Rolles have set up a GoFundMe page to help them make up for their losses during the Fyre Festival.

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Rolle wrote on the page, "As I make this plea it's hard to believe and embarrassing to admit that I was not paid…I was left in a big hole! My life was changed forever, and my credit was ruined by Fyre Fest. My only resource today is to appeal for help." As of Sunday evening, the GoFund me has reached over $97,000 dollars out of their $123,000 goal.

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If you'd like to help the Bahamian locals who have suffered at the hand of fraudulent American "businessmen," make sure to click on this link, and donate.

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Image via Netflix

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Sun, 20 Jan 2019 22:59:04 +0000http://www.8617965.com/help-bahamas-fyre-festival-2626569611.htmlFyre festivalFyre festFyreDocumentaryFyre documentaryNetflixHuluBahamasMusic festivalCareJasmine Ting
This Truckload of Male Models Made Quite an Entrancehttp://www.8617965.com/truck-models-paris-mens-fashion-week-2626548455.html

For his second menswear collection, Simon Porte Jacquemus decided he wanted to look to the "rural life in the hills around Montpelier" for inspiration. And so to bring his main theme of "traditional French work wear" across — inspired by blue collar workers and meant to be an homage to laborers such as bakers, electricians, and farmers — Porte Jacquemus himself made a point to arrive at the show with his diverse group of models in a big white truck. This was meant to simulate arriving from the countryside.


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This isn't the only very extra, very literal step the designer took in presenting his fall 2019 collection. WWD also reports that the invite for the show held in Palais de Tokyo in Paris, entitled "Le Meunier," or "The Miller," was an actual loaf of bread "wrapped in a white tea towel signed Jacquemus." And, according to Vogue, after the models and designer were delivered to the venue, and "after a turn around the gallery," they all "sat down to eat breakfast at a rustic table laden with bread, cheese and coffee."

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The collection was comprised mostly of workwear jackets, pants with pockets aplenty, light linen shirts and suits, and cotton outdoor basics with a modern update. The colors were mostly comprised of neutral tones, with a pop of pastel blue, and some orange shades here and there.

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Porte Jacquemus, who grew up in Provence, said, "When I was a kid I was obsessed by the uniforms of my uncle who was an electrician." "There is no political message, but I am from the countryside, from a farmer family," he continued. "I was born with these guys, these Gilets Jaunes. So all these messages about people's suffering, I understand them. I feel close to them. But it's a bit wrong to have a message in a fashion show on a Sunday morning."


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Still, without meaning to, the collection spoke volumes — in the diversity of the male models he chose, in the collection's delivery, and in the way he said, "For me, this is the France of today."

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Image via Intagram

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Sun, 20 Jan 2019 21:54:32 +0000http://www.8617965.com/truck-models-paris-mens-fashion-week-2626548455.htmlParis fashion weekJacquemusModels in a truckParisFashionFashion weekFashion industryJasmine Ting
Ja Rule Breaks His Silence on FYREhttp://www.8617965.com/ja-rule-fyre-festival-tweets-2626555842.html

Two years and two documentaries later, Ja Rule is giving his take on the infamous FYRE Festival. Since Hulu and Netflix released their respective documentaries on the 2017 fraud fiasco led by Billy McFarland, the rapper has been compelled to tweet out his feelings as co-founder on Sunday morning.

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“?I love how ppl watch a doc and think they have all the answers,” he wrote. The rapper defended his part in the production of the festival, saying, “I had an amazing vision to create a festival like NO OTHER!!! I would NEVER SCAM or FRAUD anyone what sense does that make???”



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Ja then specifically calls out Hulu and Netflix on their unethical production practices, saying, “Hulu PAID BILLY!!! That money should've went to the Bahamian ppl Netflix PAID fuck Jerry the same guys that did the promo for the festival...” He also adds, “Because Billy was involved with BOTH he was trying to get them to pay him and Hulu bit... I heard they paid him somewhere btw 100 to 250... that money was supposed to go to the locals by LAW...” This, of course, was not confirmed by either streaming platform.





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While Ja makes a fair and good point about the Bahamians, it also seems like he’s doing the same as the rest of the interviewees on both documentary specials — attempting to clear his own name, taking minimal to no responsibility, and claiming he did their best to avoid the inevitable disaster.

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Hulu’s FYRE FRAUD and Netflix’s FYRE are now available to stream and watch online.

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?Image via Getty

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Sun, 20 Jan 2019 19:33:30 +0000http://www.8617965.com/ja-rule-fyre-festival-tweets-2626555842.htmlJa ruleTwitterEntertainmentInternet cultureFamous peopleJasmine Ting
Ncuti Gatwa of 'Sex Education' Isn't Here to Play into Stereotypeshttp://www.8617965.com/ncuti-gatwa-sex-education-interview-2626495356.html

Netflix's new series Sex Education follows Otis (Asa Butterfield), the son of a professional sex therapist who winds up running an underground sex therapy operation of his own — treating his classmates who are going through the awkward pains of teenage sex. But the show doesn't just talk about sex, it talks about sexuality. And one of the characters that shines brightest on the show is Eric Effiong, a loud and proud gay black teenager with a socially awkward straight white male (Otis) for a best friend, who does everything but play into the "gay best friend" and "POC best friend" stereotypes.

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Ncuti Gatwa is the breakout actor that plays Eric. And while he's new to the silver screen, he easily becomes the show's golden boy. From banana blowjobs to identity crises, Gatwa's candid portrayal Eric can get audiences to crack up one second and cry in the next. In beautifully portraying, and truly understanding all the human complexities of his character, he is able to bring this well-rounded, realistic non-caricature to life.

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Gatwa chats with PAPER Magazine about being the voice for a "minority within a minority," shooting the most awkward scenes, and what he wants for Eric in season two (if it happens).

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PAPER: Eric is one of the only portrayals of a young black gay teenager. Why do you think that's important?

Ncuti Gatwa: "First and foremost, what I love about that storyline is that it's not that classic coming out story. Eric is out, and everybody knows he's gay, and it's what happens after he came out. And so exploring that is really interesting, and seeing how he's dealing with the world around him that knows who he is. Being a teenager is a testing time, because you're figuring out who you are in the world, and where you stand in the world. When you're a minority within a minority, and you're starting to realize 'The world's not going to love me as much as it loves my white friend, or my straight friend.' It's tricky."

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In terms of representation?

"We haven't seen a lot of gay black teenagers on TV, especially like Eric. And so, to see it represented on TV, I just hope Eric speaks to a lot of people who haven't see themselves represented on TV thus far, and they can seek solace in the fact that it's fine to be whoever you are. Like Eric says in the seventh episode, 'I'll be hurt either way. Isn't it better to be who I am?' The fact that Eric is just so who he is, I just hope people can look at him and think that it is okay to be who you are. And it's really important that he represents a lot of intersections, because the world is so diverse, but we only see a certain amount of people in the media. I just it's just important to see yourself represented, and I wish I had a show like Sex Education when I was younger."


"When you're a minority within a minority, and you're starting to realize 'The world's not going to love me as much as it loves my white friend, or my straight friend.' It's tricky."

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Did you realize just how important it was when you took the role?

"To be honest, I was just more excited to play him. I was thinking about how awesome of a character he is. I think before we started filming, as I was doing my script preparation and line learning, that's when it dawned on me that he's going to be such an important voice for so many people. And in the last four episodes, he goes through such a journey, and he's resilient in his strength. He represents strength in a way that hasn't been portrayed before, and I really wanted to get that right. The show deals with masculinity at many different points, and I think what we've tried to do — and I hope that we've done — is show that masculinity can be multi-dimensional, and there's no one particular way to be strong."

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What did you have to keep in mind while being Eric?

"I really wanted to get him right, because there's a lot of people who are going to be looking at him, and seeing themselves in him. It was important to me that he wasn't a caricature. We've seen the gay best friend caricature, and we've seen the black best friend caricature, and I really wanted to move away from that. Shout out to Laurie Nunn for writing such a well-rounded, fully-fleshed, gay black character, because you're in danger of making him comedic relief. But he has such a beautiful and creative story arch in the show, so it was important to me that he wasn't a stereotype."

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As we both know, there are many admirable qualities about Eric. One of those qualities — and I think many people will agree — is how well he handles a banana.

"Oh my god! That scene! We went through about 300 bananas, you know, all three of us: me, Mimi Keene who plays Ruby, and Simone Ashley who plays Olivia. We just had to keep getting caught, and it was like "New bananas! New bananas!" There's actually a video on YouTube where a girl eats a banana, and it gets stuck in her throat. I think we just watched that before we shot that day, and said, 'This is what we're aiming for.'"

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How would you describe your own coming-of-age and sexual awakening?

"I had quite a thorough sex education from Scotland, and they had actually just introduced LGBT education into their curriculums. Everybody has to learn about LGBT history.

But my sexual journey… I don't know. It's the same as anybody else. I lost my virginity when I was a teenager, and it's just quite awkward, isn't it? It's uncomfortable and weird. Well, obviously, it gets better as you get older. You think you know what you're doing when you're young, and it gets better with time and practice."

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"Shout out to Laurie Nunn for writing such a well-rounded, fully-fleshed, gay black character, because you're in danger of making him comedic relief."

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How different is Ncuti's style from Eric's style?

"They're very different. I think I'm a bit more bougie than him," he laughs. "But I definitely share his affinity for well-fitted and tight clothing. Eric is a lot more brave than I am, and he is willing to try anything: mismatched clothes, color-block clothes, and put on a whole ensemble of things that might not work together. I'm a Libra, so I do like to look good, so I try to put my outfits together more carefully. I think I'm more of a coordinated, fitted dresser than Eric."

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That bright orange look was… a look.

"It was a brave look! He really went there. He really went to that part of town."

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The online queer community has been celebrating Eric. Have people been sliding into your DMs? In a totally platonic way, that is.

"I've had some beautiful, beautiful DMs from people talking about how they feel so much more comfortable to be themselves. Honestly, it warms my heart more than anything. I'm a very cynical, grumpy Brit occasionally, and it's definitely warmed my British heart the amount of love that Eric has gotten. I'm happy to play this part, and be that voice for people. It's definitely an honor and a privilege."

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What would you want for Eric if season 2 happens?

"I would like for Eric to continue discovering who he is, and coming into his own. I would like him to get better at playing the French horn, because he seems to be really into that. And then also, potentially find love. I'd be quite exited for Eric to find love, because he's got a lot of love to give, and it would be quite nice for it to be returned."

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Images courtesy of Netflix

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Sun, 20 Jan 2019 01:46:42 +0000http://www.8617965.com/ncuti-gatwa-sex-education-interview-2626495356.htmlNcuti gatwaSex educationNetflixNetflix sex educationNew showsFilmtvTvTelevisionEntertainmentAsa butterfieldSexInterviewNcuti gatwa interviewLgbtqLgbtPrideJasmine Ting
The World Says Goodbye to This Insta-Famous Puphttp://www.8617965.com/boo-worlds-cutest-dog-dies-2626493827.html

On Saturday, fans are mourning the loss of the "world's cutest dog," a Pomeranian dog named Boo. According to the social media-famous pup's humans, he died of a broken heart — literally.

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The twelve-year-old doggo was apparently experiencing some heart issues, ever since his partner in crime Buddy passed away in 2017. The dogs' owners posted a statement on both Facebook and Instagram, which states, "Shortly after Buddy died, Boo showed signs of heart issues. We think his heart literally broke when Buddy left us. He hung on and gave us over a year. But it looks like it was his time, and I'm sure it was a most joyous moment for them when they saw each other in heaven."

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Since the spring of 2006, Boo's been a huge hit to all the dog-lovers of the Internet. His Facebook page has gained over 16 million followers, and his joint Instagram page with his brothers Buddy, Blue, and Benny has over 567,000 followers. The little pup also has a published book entitled Boo: The Life of the World's Cutest Dog.

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"I've received so many notes over the years from people sharing stories of how Boo brightened their days and helped bring a little light to their lives during difficult times. And that was really the purpose of all this...Boo brought joy to people all over the world," wrote Boo's owner. "Boo is the happiest dog I've ever met. He was so easy going that we never had to bother with training. He made the manliest of men squeal with delight over his cuteness and made everyone laugh with his quirky, tail wagging personality."


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The Internet is still in the midst of processing such a huge loss, and people on Twitter are remembering boo through posts, thanking the little furry bundle of joy for "making this world a little brighter."

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Image via Instagram

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Sat, 19 Jan 2019 22:39:34 +0000http://www.8617965.com/boo-worlds-cutest-dog-dies-2626493827.htmlBoo#ripbooInstagram.comInstagramBoo the pomeranianDogsCuteDeathInternet cultureJasmine Ting
Before She Was Famous, Nicki Minaj Rapped on This Jeffree Star Songhttp://www.8617965.com/nicki-minaj-jeffree-star-2626477840.html

When Nicki Minaj appeared on Jeffree Star's single "Lollipop Luxury," the Brooklyn rapper was largely a mixtape artist, just beginning to generate buzz through Myspace and her growing relationship with Lil Wayne. She'd released her debut mixtape, Playtime Is Over, in July 2007, her second, Sucka Free, in April 2008, and Beam Me Up Scotty in April 2009, which helped launch her to a new level of hip-hop fame through its chart-topping track, "I Get Crazy."

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As the self-declared "Queen of Myspace," Star was arguably one the most visible figures on the social media platform, which hadn't yet been overshadowed by successors Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. He became popular initially as a makeup artist, painting the faces of celebrities like Kelly Osbourne, and eventually eased into electronic music, first through his 2007 debut EP, Eyelash Curlers & Butcher Knives (What's the Difference?).

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Related | Break the Internet: Nicki Minaj

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He was polarizing, but he was powerful, flaunting a bubblegum pink, feminine persona that danced with gender and dark motifs, from serial killers to fallen celebrities. Though millions of Myspace users loved to critique him, they loved even more to click, comment and constantly come back. So it made sense for a rising artist to partner with Star at the time — especially someone like Minaj, who was securing rap credibility while also creating a bond with her young LGBTQ fans, who then were wearing skinny jeans, dying their hair jet black, and frequenting Warped Tour.

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"Lollipop Luxury," co-written by Star and produced by Smile Future, was initially released without Minaj on his 2008 sophomore EP, Cupcakes Taste Like Violence. Packaged with glittery synths and unruly arrogance, the track was a climax in the musical style Star had been carving out for himself online. It ambitiously united all of Star's obsessions — candy, wealth, sex, self-obsession, and celebrity — inside a dance-pop single blatantly designed to shock.


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"Fuck me, I'm a celebrity/ Can't take your eyes off me/ I'll make you fuck me just to get somewhere," Star sings on the pre-chorus, with a melody that sounds like a bitchy lullaby, as if he's threatening and luring all at once. "Fuck me, I'm a celebrity/ Can't take your hands off me/ I know you wanna suck me, what you waiting for?"

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Following the track's success, Star announced he'd be rereleasing it on his debut full-length album, Beauty Killer, through his own record label Popsicle Records. This version would feature a guest appearance from Minaj, which officially dropped in September 2009 — only one month after the breakout rap sensation signed with Young Money Entertainment. "Lollipop Luxury" was before "BedRock," before "Roger That," and well before Minaj finally unveiled her first solo single, "Massive Attack," in March 2010.

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Her verse kept in line with Star's original cocky flow: "I'm a super superstar on Hollywood Boulevard/ And I can make all of the boys come to my yard," Minaj raps with a bratty attitude through autotune. "You see Jeffree, I can show you how to do it/ Make-make a lollipop squirt squirt a lot of fluid."


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Their collaboration was one of the more pop-friendly tunes on Beauty Killer, which had cover art (shot by Kat Von D) with Star's hands wrapped in bandages and dripping blood. Other tracks were doused in searing electric guitars, twisted storytelling, and more aggressive punk-rock production — a shift from the Peaches-inspired electro of Cupcakes Taste Like Violence. On "Get Away With Murder," Star threatens to break his lover's heart without any consequences; "Louis Vuitton Body Bag" features Blink-182 guitarist Matt Skiba; and "Love Rhymes With Fuck You" outlines an insane, masochistic love affair: "You're trash, but it feels like love," Star shouts.

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Related | The Break the Internet Awards? 2018 Winners

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Beauty Killer became Star's first project to chart on the Billboard 200 at No. 122, and it also peaked at No. 22 on the U.S. Independent Albums chart. But the LP largely became only a cult staple among scene kids, mall goths and emo queers, who have now grown up to become the adult consumers supporting Star's multi-million dollar beauty brand, Jeffree Star Cosmetics.

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Minaj's 2010 debut album, Pink Friday, went on to be a massive success, with hits like "Moment 4 Life" and "Super Bass" catapulting the rapper from a trendy Lil Wayne co-signee to the world's biggest pop star. And "Lollipop Luxury," with its risky, outsider edge, remains one of the strange, unsung gems behind her rise to the top.


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Photo via Instagram



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Sat, 19 Jan 2019 19:55:23 +0000http://www.8617965.com/nicki-minaj-jeffree-star-2626477840.htmlNicki minajJeffree starJustin Moran
'Pro-Life' High Schoolers Harass Native American Marchershttp://www.8617965.com/covington-catholic-school-native-americans-2626481956.html

On Friday, Native American marchers took to the streets of Washington, D.C. for the Indigenous Peoples March. A small group went out and brought their drums to pray, sing, and chant. But on the same day, the March for Life protest was also happening in the area. A group of high school students, which the Cincinnati Enquirer reports is from Covington Catholic High School — an all-boys private school in Park Hills, Kentucky — was seen taunting the chanting elder. This was all caught on video.

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The video, which has now gone viral, shows a huge sea of teenage boys wearing red MAGA hats, and some sporting the Covington logo, surrounding this small group of Native Americans. They chant loudly to try and overpower the singing elder and his drum, and many of them are also seen laughing in the background, as well as capturing the whole encounter on their phones.

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One of the posts that show the video (by @lilnativeboy) details that the group was "praying & singing for these white devils even though they were provoking them." They stood their ground and stayed strong, despite the disrespect.



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While there is no absolute confirmation that these boys are from Covington Catholic High School, Laura Keener, the communications director with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington, released a statement saying, "We are just now learning about this incident and regret it took place. We are looking into it." People are now calling on the school's principal, Bob Rowe, for a statement.

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It's important that the school's administration be held accountable for the student's actions, as it seems that the culture of toxic white supremacy might be permeating within their institution. They need to be informed about their students' culture, and clearly need to educate them on what it means to honor people of color, and the different cultures that exist in the country.

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If you'd like to reach Principal Rowe, and have any suggestions or strong opinions about the event, @lilnativeboy points out that you can reach him via email at browe@covcath.org.

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Image via YouTube

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Sat, 19 Jan 2019 19:05:35 +0000http://www.8617965.com/covington-catholic-school-native-americans-2626481956.htmlPoliticsNewsCareNative americansIndigenous peoples marchPro-lifeMarch for lifeDonald trumpMagaVideoJasmine Ting
Show Me Yours, I'll Show You Mine: Jessica Simpsonhttp://www.8617965.com/show-me-yours-jessica-simpson-2625764422.html

In Show Me Yours, I'll Show You Mine, different PAPER editors share their not-so-guilty musical pleasures from the vaults of yesteryear. This week: a pair of criminally underrated deep album cuts by Jessica Simpson.

Show Me Yours:?


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Justin Moran: After Jessica Simpson's 2006 divorce to Nick Lachey, the newly single star delivered her last pop album before making a (less-than-desirable) pivot to country. A Public Affair was apparently inspired by Janet Jackson, according to Simpson, who tackled all her singing ballads "with an 'Earth Angel' type of approach." She also dropped a ton of playful, clubby bops, most famously the project's title track, which featured a star-studded music video that stayed on rotation for weeks in TRL's countdowns.

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This was a time when producer Scott Storch was still a coveted collaborator, having worked with icons like 50 Cent ("Candy Shop"), Beyoncé ("Naughty Girl)" and Christina Aguilera ("Fighter"). He began dipping more into the pop market, notoriously through Paris Hilton's impeccable debut album, Paris, on highlights like "Turn You On" and "Turn It Up," which was released the same week as A Public Affair in late August, 2006. Storch's contribution to Simpson's project had sonic similarities to Hilton's, most noticeably on "Fired up" — a giant, bass-heavy club anthem that pits breathy, bedroom vocals against sexed-up 50 Cent-style production.

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Throughout Simpson's career, she's largely existed as America's sweetheart, abiding by, and in many ways amplifying, her cultural position as a blonde, girl-next-door type. On "Fired Up," she slips into a completely different costume, lubing up her latex, downing a few too many tequila shots, and descending onto the dance floor. "Stone cold sober 'bout to get knocked out," Simpson slurs on the first verse. "Wanna party hard/ Wanna get real loud/ Girl over there damn near passed out." The chorus gets even hotter: "All the girls at the bar better get fired up," she chants, followed by a call-and-response, "Get fired up! Get fired up!"

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The entire production has the trashy splendor of early 2000s Los Angeles, when A-list stars were spilling out of parties, dodging swarms of paparazzi and piling into expensive sports cars with a bizarre assemblage of celebrities they got drunk with that night. Grouped inside an album of other oddball tracks within Simpson's discography — "B.O.Y." and "You Spin Me Round (Like A Record") — "Fired Up" is, if anything, a fascinating study into the ways pop producers attempt to replicate success across completely different artists, from 50 Cent to Jessica Simpson.

I'll Show You Mine:?




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Michael Love Michael: We all know Jessica Simpson starred on MTV's Newlyweds, which chronicled her too-good-to-be-true, perfectly Christian marriage to 98 Degrees' Nick Lachey. But do you recall that, while also building her Macy's-friendly billion-dollar shoe empire, she was a singer? Some of you may not remember that she had several hit albums, so that's where we come in.

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The sensual In This Skin, released in 2003 initially pre-Newlyweds success, was re-packaged for an America that had fallen in love with the bubbly blonde Texan on TV, and so, a re-released star was born! We're not here to talk about the head-over-heels acoustic-pop confessional "With You," the breathy, panting title track, or the drama of that soaring Robbie Williams cover, "Angels."

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We are here to explore the merits of "Forbidden Fruit," which features a partially grunted vocal and glitchy, strip-club beat, because Britney, strange lyrics about wanting to taste "it," because pop-branded sexuality for impressionable teens, and dramatic fake strings and electric guitar stabs, because somehow that all spells "bad girl"?

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For me personally it also spells gay agenda, because what's gayer than too much sex, vocal fry, and beats tailor-made for stripteases? Honestly if this came on in the club (and it should), I would find it a struggle to earnestly shake my ass, but as Jessica sings, in a demented baby coo that we also love, "I'm tempted to try."

Photo via Instagram

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Sat, 19 Jan 2019 17:47:45 +0000http://www.8617965.com/show-me-yours-jessica-simpson-2625764422.htmlForbidden fruitIn this skinMusicNostalgiaJessica simpsonA public affair50 centScott storchJustin Moran & Michael Love Michael
GUESS Revamps Sold Out Collab with 88risinghttp://www.8617965.com/guess-88rising-collab-new-2626466105.html

Last fall, GUESS had its first-ever collaboration with 88rising — the brand by Sean Miyashiro that's "making a place for Asians in hip-hop" — called GUE88 Head In The Clouds. The limited 14fourteen-item capsule collection sold out within 20 minutes of its exclusive release with retailer HBX. Now, GUESS is bringing the collab back.

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The brand gives PAPER an exclusive look into the now 16-item collection. GUE88 Head In The Clouds started out with multicolored tie-dye hoodies and shirts, sported by rappers like Rich Brian and the Higher Brothers. But the latest additions to the line show street style at its simplest and sleekest.


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The new items all feature the killer GUESS x 88rising logo, printed in blue and green on black and white sweatshirts, hoodies, and joggers. See the full lookbook, below.

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GUE88 Head In The Clouds' new drip, which will restock worldwide, drops on January 25, 2019.


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Photos courtesy of Silas Lee

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Sat, 19 Jan 2019 16:50:31 +0000http://www.8617965.com/guess-88rising-collab-new-2626466105.htmlFashionFashion industryGuess88risingStreet styleStreetwearJasmine Ting
Praise Yeezus! Kanye Is Leading a Churchhttp://www.8617965.com/kanye-sunday-sessions-2626432951.html

Rapper, producer, fashion designer, art patron, and general source of outrageous headlines, Kanye West is undeniably a man of many hats (except for maybe that hat). If we have come to learn anything about Kanye its that you never know what to expect from him other than it will definitely be "very Kanye."

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For instance, if you told me that Kanye was regularly meeting with a gospel choir every Sunday in his home to perform reworked versions of his own songs in a quazi-call-to-worship set up, I would probably never in a million years have guessed that would be something Kanye do but still be like "yeah, that sounds about right."

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Related | Kanye Drops Out of Coachella Due to 'Artistically Limiting' Stage

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If it isn't already painfully obvious, it appears that Kanye has in fact seen the light and started a church in his own home. First teased by wife, Kim Kardashian West, in a series of videos posted to Instagram, little information seems to be known about the new series of live sessions being referred to as "Sunday Service." From posted clips we can gather that it involves a full choir decked out in Yeezys, monochromatic nightclub lighting, guest appearances from Kid Cudi, 070 Shake, and Tony Williams, but other than that your guess is as good as mine.


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Setlists have included everything from classics like "I Wonder" to extended reworks of "Lift Yourself" and "Father Stretch My Hands." The spiritual turn for Kanye actually makes some sense if you take a step back and look at his history of sourcing samples. Plus his self canonization as "Yeezus" and "Saint Pablo" feel glaringly obvious in retrospect.



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And while many Hollywood celebrities like Glenn Close, Joaquin Phoenix, and Tom Cruise have all been a part of a cult at one point in their lives, you would be hard pressed to find a celebrity to that actually started one themselves. In that regard, Kanye would be a trailblazer if he was indeed laying the groundwork for a fledgling new religion. The leap from stan to member of the church of Kanye, fully decked in Yeezy supply and reciting lyrics word for word, isn't that much of stretch if you think about it.

Photo via Getty

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Sat, 19 Jan 2019 06:04:52 +0000http://www.8617965.com/kanye-sunday-sessions-2626432951.htmlKanyeKim kardashianKim kardashian westSunday sessionsRapMusicChurchCultGospelKanye westMatt Moen
Dior Rides a Conveyor Belt Towards the Futurehttp://www.8617965.com/dior-fall-19-2626418690.html

Ever since taking over the reigns of Dior Men, Kim Jones has managed to translate his penchant for streetwear sensibilities into a sleek yet luxe take on the fashion of tomorrow. Bringing artists like KAWS and Hajime Soriyama to fabricate massive sets for his fantastical runway shows, Jones has worked to bridge the gap between the storied old guard of fashion houses of yesterday and the collab-driven drop-based culture of upstart labels today with the ultimate goal of finally achieving the fashion equivalent of the singularity.

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Related | Dior Men Goes Ms. Roboto

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In his third collection for Dior, Jones trudges ahead with his futuristic aesthetic juxtaposing utilitarian vests and shoulder bags with billowy metallic scarves and coats playing on the eternal clash between synthetic and organic. The collection's muted palette certainly gave it a more somber, serious feel but that isn't to say that there weren't a few moments of whimsy injected along the way. Molded leather dog heads playfully poked out of hand bags in what is actually a really cute take on an accessory that has historically had a contentious relationship with masculine identity.

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But, by far, the feature of the show that had everyone talking had to have been the moving walkway that allowed stationary models to glide from one end of the catwalk to the other. (Mitt Romney, I see your "binders full of women" and raise you a conveyor belt of men!)


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The centerpiece of Jones' collection was undoubtedly the collaboration with esteemed punk-era visual artist, Raymond Pettibon. Enlisting the Sonic Youth and Black Flag collaborator to design a sweater with the artist's own riff on the Mona Lisa, several of Pettibon's works appeared throughout the collection as prints adding a polished-yet-gritty flair to the sleek runway.

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Take a look at Dior Men's full fall 2019 collection below:

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Photos via Getty

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Sat, 19 Jan 2019 04:25:53 +0000http://www.8617965.com/dior-fall-19-2626418690.htmlDior hommeKim jonesRaymond pettibonKawsHajime soriyamaSoriyamaFashionParis fashion weekParis men's fashion weekFall 2019DiorMatt Moen
This Entrepreneur Is Uniting Weed, Rave Culture and Social Justicehttp://www.8617965.com/michelle-lhooq-weed-rave-2-2626420741.html

You might know Michelle Lhooq from her bylines on the Fader, GQ, VICE, New York Magazine, and the major outlets where for more than 10 years, she's written lovingly about a menagerie of youth subcultures from EDM to rave culture. Her latest muse? LA's weed scene.

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While party-hopping cannabis parties as research for her new book, due in April: Weed: Everything You Want to Know But Are Always Too Stoned to Ask, Lhooq realized that there was a strange dearth of nightlife focusing on the intersections between music, weed, and wellness.

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With this gap in mind, Lhooq conceptualized a monthly private "Weed Rave:" a 12-hour party from 4:20 PM to 4:20 AM. Her mission? To merge the subcultures she loves and carve out a new niche in LA nightlife; support the small startups and businesses being challenged by rapidly a corporatizing cannabis industry; to redefine weed as something generative and healthy that can be an alternative to riskier party drugs, rather than a slacker vice; and to foster a space where women, queer people and people of color (those left out by the Seth Rogan American visage of a pot-lover) can appreciate and enjoy weed in a safe, inclusive space.

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The event will be divided into two parts. First is a wellness and education-focused portion, featuring local start-ups with weed goodies of every shape and substance, cooking demos, yoga classes and educational panels. Later, it'll turn into an all-night dance party with both rave, and ambient music spaces.

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Few know more about the current transformation of weed culture in America, so PAPER caught up with the writer-entrepreneur to hear all about this weekend's rave, her research, and her vision for the future of weed.

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Tell me about your vision for this event.

When I moved to California two years ago, I was witnessing all of these cultural changes that have come with weed legalization. I feel like this is one of the most interesting and important movements of our generation. You know, as far as easing the war on drugs, our ability to see weed as a plant and a medicine rather than some dangerous drug. I feel like it's always been woven in to the cultures that I'm interested in, which is rave culture and the cultures of youth, fashion and art. Weed is woven into these histories but it's always been so underground. So now, there's this incredible opportunity for all of these entrepreneurs and women and people of color and queer people to sort of create businesses based around weed. The economy is booming, there's this green rush that's happening. Also, I didn't realize it until I moved here and started reporting on weed but it's a very female-dominated industry.

Do you have any theories on why weed is a friendly industry to women?

I think for one thing, just because it's less established and less corporate.

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Right, so there's fewer corporate gatekeepers that tend to privilege their own.

Right. And then there's also the fact that weed is medicinal, and for healing, and cooking like edibles and stuff, things women might be attracted to. Though now, as it gets more corporate, the industry is becoming less female-focused. It's become harder to get money to launch businesses, and a lot of small operations have shut down.

I always want to highlight women, people of color and queer people who are doing interesting things in whatever scene I'm writing about. I have a book coming out in April, called Weed: Everything You Want to Know But Are Always Too Stoned to Ask. It's sort of a beginner's guide. One cool thing with it as that I only interviewed women of color and queer people. I discovered a lot of really interesting people in the scene, and I basically wrote the book by going out to cannabis parties, just hitting the circuit and meeting interesting people and then finding out who they were, what they thought was interesting and going from there.

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How did sampling all those parties inform this event?

One thing I noticed at a lot of these cannabis parties was that they were all kind of corporate and awkward, and just not as lit as you would expect them to be. The only party that really stood out to me as really amazing was this one that Snoop Dogg hosted in this opulent Hollywood mansion. It was so fun, there were all these babes like rolling blunts by the pool, handing them out for free. I was just like, "wow this feels like a paradise."

That was really cool, but it was specifically a hip hop party, right? So I was like "OK there's a real opportunity here to bring together my musical community together with the weed world and combine it in a really interesting way." That was sort of the genesis of the idea. I want to highlight how this culture shifting, and be a part of pushing it towards wellness, holistic health, education, taking care of yourself and educating yourself — rather than just you know treating rave culture or weed as a thing you just use to get fucked up. So that's why I split the party, which is 12 hours total into two.

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What will the two halves be?

The first half of the day is really focusing on wellness and education. We have two panels: 1) the weed-fluencer and 2) the intersection of the war on drugs and sex work. Both are moderated by women in cannabis scene — all of our our guests are women or trans men in the cannabis scene. In between we'll have activations? I shouldn't say activation, that's such a branded word — demos. I'm going to have cannabis chefs teaching about the culinary side of cannabis (have you ever been to a rave with a kitchen before?), and a yoga instructor leading cannabis yoga on the roof. Our instructor is an Asian-American woman who does origami ashtrays and blends all of her joints with these amazing herbs. Once the music starts, we'll transition into two rooms of music: one with hardcore techno, and one that's chiller. I want to show people that weed is a really good party drug — it's not something that you need to save for chilling at home.

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Yeah, my first instinct is that getting high and raving aren't a natural pairing. Why am I wrong?

Yeah! Most people don't think it's a party drug, especially in the UK. But in other countries, it's been key to party culture. There's a really long-standing link between rave culture and weed, especially with the genres of music that I've asked my DJs to play: jungle, dub, dancehall. Weed is also a really multidimensional plant, and different forms of it have all kinds of different effects, some are like coffee and you can't sleep when you're on them. If you're not into THC, we'll also have a ton of CBD products, like energy drinks and coffee. The weed yoga is going to be paired with CBD lotion and tinctures.

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There'll be something for everyone.

Totally. There are going to be around 15 companies involved who are all going to be showing their products and all of these company are run by people that I really admire. That's another thing I'm excited about, connecting people from the rave to the people from all communities to the companies.

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It's pretty remarkable how quickly weed culture is corporatizing.

Yeah, that's really the main topic of conversation when you go out and talk to people in the industry. The number one struggle is figuring out the regulations, figuring out how to stay afloat and navigating these crazy taxes, which is easier for big companies. We're in a really unique time where a lot of big interests are coming in and trying to claim their stake in the market.

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So this party is kind of an intervention into the corporatization, as far as highlighting these startups and small businesses.

Yeah, this is also a transitional time where all of these smaller players are standing together and helping each other, which is amazing. All the companies that I've been working with have been so supportive of this rave. Most of them are run by the women and I think that that's telling! Women want to support other women. Together, we all have a chance to define what weed nightlife and what the new weed aesthetic looks like. Weed has always been associated with this stoner bro-y, psychedelic look for a while, but some of the companies that are going to be selling are leading the way in that aesthetic. It's very modern. Very sleek, very streetwear.

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Tell me a bit more about that Seth Rogen, Pineapple Express slacker stoner trope. Why has that been so dominant for so long?

I think it just has to do with the fact that straight white men have dominated the culture for so long. Not just weed culture, but all of pop culture and we're experiencing this incredible moment right now where other voices are being amplified. They've always been there, we just haven't heard from them. Now women are being given an opportunity to showcase their worlds, who appreciate weed in a really different way from that sort of stoner bro like douche bag. Which involves treating it as a wellness product.

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It feels like there's a burgeoning backlash against weed-normalization. I'm sure you saw, but Malcolm Gladwell recently published a piece arguing that weed isn't as safe as we think, that a lot of others have pushed back against, calling it fear-mongering. What did you think of that?

My first reaction was like "OK the weed backlash has begun." There's no way for there to be so much hype and positivity, without a counter movement. But I also think it is important to talk about safety, and addiction, as well as weed's benefits. I think one of the coolest things that I'm trying to show with weed raves is that you can actually replace alcohol and other drugs with weed and feel a lot better. That's what I've done in my life. I've been raving for like 10 years or something, and I've realized you can't do cocaine every weekend! I've actually quit all those other party drugs and I'm pretty much sober right now besides weed. I want to show people that like weed can be a healthier alternative.

But we also need to talk about addiction. In the industry, there's a lot of hype that CBD is a cure for everything and it'll solve all your problems and cure cancer! Like, we do need to check that and look at the studies research being done. But luckily, legalization has opened up the opportunity for there to be so much more quality research. If we don't pay attention to science and facts as we go through this shift, there's just going to be more articles like the Malcolm Gladwell one.

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What was your entry-point into both weed and rave culture?

Weed journalism and rave journalism are interestingly similar. When I first started writing about raves, I was like "this is a joke like nobody takes raves seriously." How am I supposed to create a career out of this? I was kind of, to be honest, down on music journalism, just like that it's wishy washy to just be describing sounds. But I realized how many interesting things are happening in music that go beyond sound, it's about culture, it's about politics. We can talk about gender, racial inequality. There are so many interesting subcultures that are converging within music. You're talking about youth culture when you write about music, when you write about underground rave culture. Some of the most interesting visionary people are at these raves. I felt the same thing about weed where when I arrived in California.

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I still feel that there aren't many qualities weed magazines out there. But we are starting to see them, like Broccoli Magazine is one that I really love that that is run by women. But it still feels kind of underground. I knew there were stories to tell about weed that go deeper than people might expect. Maybe people still think of weed as like something kind of frivolous, they think about raves. I want to show people how this plant touched so many lives outside the underground. So yeah, I just felt like there were opportunities to do really interesting work in a space that hasn't been saturated by journalists.

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You're an expert on nightlife in general. As far as the LA landscape, what role will this party play in the scene?

LA is the only underground that's really popping right now. It's really exciting. There are so many there's so many warehouses and weird spaces. I went to a rave last weekend that was literally underneath a bridge, totally outdoors, no guest list, no bar nothing, real raver shit. I go to different warehouse parties every single weekend. That's something I missed living in New York, where I lived for 10 years. You know in the mid 2010s, there were tons of warehouse parties as well and then after Ghost Ship, everything kind of shut down and the parties moved to clubs.

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What's your take on the state of NYC nightlife?

I mean, New York nightlife is also popping right now too, it's come back in a way that's reminiscent of the 90s, where all these clubs are the center of nightlife, sanctioned by the city. There are underground spaces in New York. But they're not the same as the Bushwick warehouse hay-day. Now everything's happening in clubs like Elsewhere, Nowadays and places like that. Nightlife comes in cycles and now this late stage of oh now we have these clubs. Whereas LA doesn't have any clubs really except for the stuff in Hollywood, which is really a whole different scene.

With LA, I wanted to unify all of the things that I think are really interesting, because as I've learned in New York, when these different subcultures come together, it can be really powerful and parties really pop.

Cover Photo by Kaitlin Parry

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Sat, 19 Jan 2019 01:02:34 +0000http://www.8617965.com/michelle-lhooq-weed-rave-2-2626420741.htmlWeedCannabisMichelle lhooqJael Goldfine
Nakhane Will Never Live in Fear Againhttp://www.8617965.com/nakhane-new-brighton-interview-2626404946.html

South African singer-songwriter Nakhane's name is fairly new in America, but he's quickly proving himself one of music's most gifted and singular young creators. His ineffable art-pop is devastatingly sad, romantic, theatrical, and often autobiographical: reaching deep into his past, growing up gay in a devout religious community on the eastern cape of South Africa. With his singular vision, it's unsurprising that peer iconoclasts like Mykki Blanco, Perfume Genius and Madonna have all expressed support leading up to the February US release of his debut album, You Will Not Die.

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Today, Nakhane shares a new single off his upcoming debut, titled "New Brighton," which features trans avant-garde singer-songwriter AHNONI (who formerly released as Antony and the Johnsons). The pair are mutual fans, but first connected online, after AHNONI wrote on Facebook:


Black Boys Don't Cry), in which Nakhane awakens on the beach and wanders around a lavish house full of religious imagery, that he seems to both be discovering and returning to.

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"The video is about being completely alone in a foreign place and trying to figure out your identity to get to closer to home, wherever that may be. It was really interesting because I wanted the video to be close to Nakhane's own upbringing as well his identity; we used references synonymous with his childhood and explored religious and non-religious symbols to reflect his viewpoints. I think this is what makes the video so important." LDN explains.


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The song crests with its anthemic chorus, on which Nakhane promises that he'll: "never live in fear again, no never again." It's a line that knocks the wind out of you, knowing the unique fears that Nakhane has faced. Though his music is rooted in exceptional experiences, as AHNONI puts it, Nakhane's "courage, generosity and open-heartedness" is a gift to anyone willing to listen.

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PAPER spoke with Nakhane about the story of "New Brighton," collaborating with AHNONI, and being called a pop artist.

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The song is latched to these vivid geographies. Why is the song centered around these places?

"New Brighton" was actually the first song I wrote for what would eventually become You Will Not Die. I didn't realize it at the time, but listening to it now I hear that it really has everything that I wanted the album to be about: home, love, Christianity (and my rejection of it).

On the 31st of December in 2013 I was in Port Elizabeth for the December holidays in New Brighton, a township in Port Elizabeth on the East coast of South Africa. For the first time ever I decided to look at my city from the eyes of a tourist. I couldn't ignore the many colonial names and monuments that were triggers and oppressive reminders everywhere one went. Even the township New Brighton is named after Brighton in England. I was alone that New Year's Eve so I went to the nearest tavern to get a couple of beers, and settled down to write the song. It's a paean to the place and the people, but it's also a mourning for so much that we lost and are still losing because of colonialism.

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In the video, what is this lavish, grand house that you seem to be both discovering and returning to?

I've always been of the opinion that if you are truly over something, you should be able to return to it, look at it in the face, and see that it no longer has power over you. One way of looking at it would be to see it as a reference to the mansions that Jesus spoke about in the book of John. "In my father's house, there are many mansions," he says. Okay. Let's create one in this world, in this little film, and look at it straight in the eye... and then leave it behind. There's nothing for me there.

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The line "never live in fear again, no never again" feels like it could be an artist's statement for you. What does it mean to you, in the context of this song and your work?

When I wrote it, I wondered if it was too throwaway. Is it too expected of an artist like me to have a line like that in a song? But I realized that sometimes, one has to put mystery aside and be as clear as possible. To be reminded not to live in fear is a good thing. The world is dark and sometimes we forget.

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Tell us about working with AHNONI on this song, and your relationship to her as a collaborator.

ANOHNI changed my life. I was working in a music store in South Africa at the time when I discovered her work. She rolled up the heavens like a scroll: That's how I describe it to people when I tell them about ANOHNI's work. As much as I loathe monuments; her work is monumental. So when I asked her to sing on the song, I thought I was really being cheeky. How could such an icon even say yes to me. I still shake thinking about when I first heard the mix of her vocals in the song. She means every word she sings. What more could we want from an artist?

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You're often referred to as a pop artist, though this song, like much of your music, straddles many styles. Do you think of yourself as belonging to any particular genre?

In my early 20's when I was playing in post-punk bands and recording the most lo-fi music possible. I would have spat in the direction of anyone who called my music pop. Now I celebrate it. We should not forget the etymology of the word: popular. It's popular music. And within popular music, there are many branches. I like to think of myself as a figure who has spread themselves over many different branches.

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Photos courtesy of Tarryn Hatchett

]]>Fri, 18 Jan 2019 22:26:17 +0000http://www.8617965.com/nakhane-new-brighton-interview-2626404946.htmlAhnoniQueerMykki blancoMadonnaPerfume geniusNakhaneJael GoldfineThe Not-So-Subtle Racism Behind the Marie Kondo Criticismhttp://www.8617965.com/marie-kondo-racist-criticism-2626402092.html

Marie Kondo became famous for her 2011 book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and has recently become a viral internet phenomenon with the release of her Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo earlier this month. Although her show was initially met with positive reaction and internet virality, the white public has suddenly turned against her. An avalanche of attack pieces, tweets, and comments largely by white people has been launched at Kondo. This backlash was initially triggered by statements that Kondo made regarding books in episode five of her show. In numerous viral tweets and pieces, white people alleged that Kondo was forcing people to keep under thirty books, telling everyone to throw out all of their books, and was a threat to literature. A viral tweet by a white woman, Jennifer Wright, who later apologized in response to criticism, called Marie Kondo a "monster" and photoshopped a speech bubble onto an image of Kondo stating that she was telling people to keep under thirty books.

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These accusations have now been proved to be lies and a willful misrepresentation of Kondo, who has stated repeatedly in her book and on her Netflix show — that she personally keeps under thirty books but that others should keep as many as is fitting according to how much they value books. Interestingly, even her statements in episode five that triggered this white rage are surprisingly tame and provide no basis for the attacks. In the episode, she gently advised a frazzled couple regarding books, "Take every single book into your hands and see if it sparks joy for you. Books are the reflection of your thoughts and values."

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In addition to the book controversy came a wave of outraged pieces by white people mockingly fixating on Kondo's "spark joy" phrase and jeering at her philosophy as "moral righteousness." Anakana Schofield, another white woman, whose viral tweets started the book controversy, used coded racist language —"fairy finger" "woo-woo nonsense"— to disparagingly refer to Kondo's Shintoism-influenced methodology in her piece in The Guardian. Then came further endless tirades by, you guessed it, more white people eviscerating Kondo's method for not working perfectly for their hyper-specific personal situations, projecting extreme malice onto Kondo, and launching patronizing vitriolic attacks such as, "[T]ake your tidy, magic hands off my piles."

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In nearly every major publication, white people have repeatedly grabbed at the mic and been given the platform to attack and be the authority on Kondo, a Japanese woman and woman of color. Ultimately, white people's initially voracious viral consumption of and then sudden vilification of Kondo exemplifies the duality of the tropes projected onto Asian women — we are either a fetishized exotic experience or embodiment of a yellow peril threat. Once Kondo was no longer an exoticism's site of pleasure and exploitation for white people to experience their orientalist fantasies, she became the other orientalist trope — the yellow peril threat to white people's insecurity over their destructive capitalist consumption.

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In contrast to the enormous wave of criticism by white people portraying her as a frigid mystical dragon lady, Kondo in both her show and her book has repeatedly emphasized that the core of her philosophy is a gentle approach based on one's individual sense of value for items. In her show, Kondo is a kind guide, helping the guests tidy their homes while repeatedly stating that her philosophy is a non-forceful and gentle approach centered around the person.

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In fact, as Twitter user Clara Mae pointed out, Kondo in her book explicitly prescribes against tidying methods that enumerate a specific number of items to keep. She wrote in her book, "The majority of methods give clearly defined numerical goals...but I believe this is one reason these methods result in rebound...Only you can know what kind of environment makes you feel happy."

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If any of these white people read her book or watched her show even briefly, they would have realized this. Or perhaps they did, but the truth did not fit into the ominous orientalist narrative about Kondo that they seem determined to construct. Ultimately, Kondo was forced to come out with a statement, reiterating yet again that her philosophy is explicitly against the harsh, forceful approach that white people have projected upon her. She stated:

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"I do think there is a misunderstanding of the process, that I'm recommending that we throw away books in the trash or burn them or something… The most important part of this process of tidying is to always think about what you have and about the discovery of your sense of value, what you value that is important. So it's not so much what I personally think about books. The question you should be asking is what do you think about books."

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The contrast is startling between the gentle philosophy she espouses and the perception that white audiences have, against all reason, projected onto her as a bogeyman from the Orient descending upon the peaceful West to throw away their books and possessions. In actuality, the backlash has little to do with Kondo — who has done nothing wrong — but instead entirely to do with the duality of orientalist tropes projected by whiteness upon Asian women. To whiteness, our bodies are either exploited by whiteness as fetishized experiences or the embodiment of a yellow peril threat.

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The internet provides a digital conduit for the white gaze to virally and endlessly consume bodies of the "Other." To the white Western audience that consumes Kondo via their screens, Kondo fits the white West's fetishized conception of the ornamental yellow Asian woman. As Professor Melissa Borja wrote, Kondo's virality and traction with white audiences may in part be due to the fact that her image and show fits the white conception of the oriental "sage" coming to deliver a mystical message. The white West is fixated on the exotic Orient as a resource to extract from, and Kondo comes onto our screens as a non-threatening means through which white people can consume spiritual Asian religions in a palatable and neat manner.

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Kondo is a vector through which white people can consume "Asian-ness" to assuage their insecurities about their destructive capitalist consumption and economic anxieties over the U.S.'s potentially faltering power as an imperialist superpower. Kondo may even provide a palatable East Asian foil to the white West's racist, orientalist fear of China as the yellow peril superpower coming to take away the U.S.'s wealth, which it accumulated via racist and global imperialist exploitation.

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Thus, Kondo's show first achieved enormous virality likely in part because whiteness deemed her worthy of consumption to alleviate their own first world white capitalist anxieties. They were able to project their orientalist conceptions of the exotic Orient onto her and derive their fantasies of "Asianness" for their own pleasure. However, the sudden backlash against Kondo exemplifies the violence with which whiteness consumes Asian women's bodies and non-white bodies in general.

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The white West's consumption of images of Asian women via the internet and digital representations almost always reduces women to certain fetishized tropes, meant solely to be exploited for white pleasure. Our images are never fully ours. Instead, our bodies and images are snatched by white audiences, viciously warped, and ultimately used against us. Our value and utility only last as long as whiteness chooses to consume and forcefully derive pleasure out of us. At the hint of deviation from whiteness' authority, our existence and images are suddenly no longer of use — and whiteness turns hostile and attacks.

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Whiteness' ego is fragile and fickle. Thus, at the drop of a hat and the most benign of statements, white people turned on Kondo. Once Kondo was no longer a useful fetishized salve to the white West's anxieties about their capitalist consumption for them, she became the other orientalist yellow peril trope — reminding white people of their own stress surrounding their first world economic anxieties and destructive capitalist consumption. White people suddenly became enraged at their perception that an East Asian woman had the audacity to tell them what to do. She has now been relentlessly attacked by a barrage of self-righteous white people.

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Major publications have published an avalanche of think pieces with coded racist language, such calling her philosophy "fairy finger motions" "woo-woo nonsense," repeatedly referring to her "diminutive" stature in relation to her being a Japanese woman, and patronizingly referring to her method influenced by Shintoism as fake "magic."Her image has been distorted over and over by white people to create a wave of (often demeaning) memes. Her rich and kind philosophy has been reduced to a reductive "spark joy" catchphrase that white people have latched onto to make infantilizing memes and pithy jokes about. Her image has been manipulated and commodified by companies to capitalize off of whiteness' viral consumption of her.

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Thus, what has happened to Kondo — the en-mass viral consumption and then sudden disposal of her, all via the internet — evinces greater truths about the duality of the exploitation of Asian women and about whiteness' exploitation of non-white people as a digital voyeuristic experience of the "Other." To whiteness, the existence of non-white people is only valuable as long as whiteness deems our existence pleasurable for their consumption. To white people, Asian women's bodies are either fetishized sites of exploitation to mine and extract for their own pleasure, or the embodiment of the threatening yellow peril orientalist trope. They voraciously consume our bodies, images, and cultures to satisfy their orientalist fantasies. But once white people deem we are no longer of value to them, they do what they always do to Asian women and non-white people in general — they attack and tear down.

Photo via Instagram

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Fri, 18 Jan 2019 22:07:56 +0000http://www.8617965.com/marie-kondo-racist-criticism-2626402092.htmlTidying upNetflixSparksjoyKonmariKonmari methodMarie kondoBy Muqing Zhang
Fall Into Micah James' Mystical Worldhttp://www.8617965.com/fall-back-2626403902.html

Sometimes you see a piece of art that transports you to the mystical corners of your own mind, and if you are already processing something difficult, what you see may provide a sense of tranquil relief.

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It's hard to describe the beauty of "Fall Back," the video for the latest song by Los Angeles queer musician, Micah James, but alongside director Shahana Khan, serenity is exactly what you may come away with.

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Related | 50 LGBTQ Musicians You Should Prioritize

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The video juxtaposes natural scenery with surreal imagery, creating a world both immersive and dreamlike. In the first few frames, James strokes the golden hair of a beautiful horse, before wandering the hills and ravines of his surroundings, seeing caped figures, apparently in search of a higher form of connection after losing someone (or something) meaningful to him. The song takes us on a similar journey. Using a familiar looped Maxwell via Kate Bush vocal moan, and the crash and swell of throbbing beats, dreamy harp and synths, and layered harmonies, James raps and sings — in a world-weary vocal quality that might remind listeners of pensive contemporaries like Drake — about love lost, grief, and the road back to oneself. The solitude of nature, then, is the perfect backdrop for this self-exploration, as sounds of rushing water and gentle breezes usher James forward.

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"The video begins as the document of a strained relationship, and by the end of it we descend into nothingness, James tells PAPER, outlining the themes of "Fall Back." "Instead of the 7 Stages of Grief, imagine this as the 'Four Pillars of Breakup': you process; you then commit yourself to disbelief for a while; you eventually take stock, making the decision to be ok with everything, whether that's actually true or not; and lastly, you realize that the person you were is gone."

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Khan notes that her collaboration with James was a seamless one, fueled by the energy present on set. "The relation between Micah and the environment continues to diverge, as he sashays through a field," she explains. "I felt the hills in the distance needed to be set ablaze to match Micah's strong performance. I digitally added fire to the scenes, and it felt like it was that thing you didn't know was missing until you saw it [...] The end presents a stark minimalism with Micah at its center; reborn from the ashes with a new found assurance."

Adding to the sense of peace emanating from the visuals is the presence of a mostly queer cast and crew consisting of Black and Brown people who love and respect one another and the ultimate vision for what "Fall Back" became.

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James says that the creation of "Fall Back" can be a shining example of what inclusion should always look like. "It's just built into the life that I already lead," he says. "And I think I can say similar for Shahana. I know that the larger world either isn't cognizant or doesn't care about things like this, and for that we have to fight. We have to be vocal and push for visibility that creates equitability. I hope to make it clear that inclusivity isn't just a sensible way to exist, it's the only way."

Don't miss the PAPER premiere of "Fall Back," below.


Photography: Shahana Khan

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Fri, 18 Jan 2019 21:49:36 +0000http://www.8617965.com/fall-back-2626403902.htmlShahana khanQueer musiciansLgbtqLgbtFall backMusicNew musicMusic videoMusic video premiereNew music fridayMicah jamesMichael Love Michael
Bops Only: 10 Songs You Need to Start Your Weekend Righthttp://www.8617965.com/7-rings-bops-only--2626373684.html

New Music Friday always promises a plethora of that good-good new-new from some of your favorite artists, maybe some long-awaited, maybe some tired, through, and delayed, and maybe some songs by a treasure trove of #whos you've never heard of before. We know. It's overwhelming! Thank the heavens PAPER is here help sift through the goodness, the garbage, and the noise, and bring you the best every Friday. We gotchu, sis. Let's bop to it!


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The most talked-about song today is most likely Ariana Grande's diamond-encrusted new single, "7 rings," from her forthcoming album, rumored to be titled thank u, next. We have our own thoughts about the video (and its striking similarities to career moves of Gwen Stefani) but isolating the song on its own, it's still a bop, which also feels very Gwen. I mean, Gwen sort of did forever immortalize The Sound of Music for a new generation with her wildly fun 2006 song "Wind It Up." Ari takes a page from that book, repurposing the melody of "My Favorite Things" and adding bubbly trap overtones for 2019. Much will be made about Ari's hip-hop flexing (and maybe stealing — oof?), singing about how rich she is and all, but whatever you have to say about the song's context, just for posterity, something about it still rings true to her hit-making prowess.


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James Blake's new album Assume Form hits today and, as a whole, it's like an sonic orgasm had while in the throes of depression mixed with hip-hop, so obviously we love that. His collaboration with Moses Sumney, the moody-catchy-sexy "Tell Them," is one of many standouts, not least because two of our favorite modern vocalists join forces to show the magic that can happen when male divas share center stage. But in all seriousness, from the beat to the abundant melodies on down, tell all your friends about this A-game banger.


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The Lordt hath blessed us with a great day for new releases, we see! Here is "PLAY," a team-up between J-E-T-S and rap's queer superhero goddess Mykki Blanco, and it's every bit as fun as its title promises. Mykki teases out the differences between hustling and love on top of a buzzy, industrial beat with speaker-rattling hip-hop kickdrums. It snaps and fizzles the way that Mykki at his best often does. "PLAY" is also, such a nice tease of what's to come. Our bodies are so ready for Stay Close to Music, Stay Close to God we can hardly stand it.

Burning


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Sultry-voiced siren Maggie Rogers releases her long-awaited debut today, Heard It In a Past Life, and while we take some time let the power of her voice and impressive songwriting wash over us, "Burning" is a delicious palate-cleanser should you need one in this sick, sad world. It finds our heroine singing about the joys of being alive, especially if you've sleepwalked through relationships or life, and come out on the other side, newly on fire. "I'm in love, I'm alive, oh, I'm burning," Rogers sings as the beat marches to a steady pace designed to fill stadiums. And on this gray and wintry Friday, Rogers' "Burning" is definitely keeping us nice and toasty.


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Pop polymath Lafawndah drops "Daddy" today, from her forthcoming debut Ancestor Boy, and it's a mysteriously sensual slow jam that somehow manages to feel like it's about family dynamics, and how it shapes us, dysfunction and all, while also feeling like an exploration of coming-of-age sexuality. The music stalks the dark corners of a house full of secrets and roils like bodies rolling in the club. "Now is the time for you to know," Lafawndah croons in the chorus. Now is the time for us to hear Lafawndah like we've never heard her before.


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Judging by how prolific he is, it's clear that Future lives in the studio. His latest album, as part of his Hendrxx alter-ego project, The Wizrd, feels more aligned with his impulsive rockstar tendencies than ever. The Travis Scott-assisted "First Off" cops inspiration from Dr. Dre (definitely a rockstar in his own right) and his West Coast classic, "Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang," and gives it a murky, Atlanta-trap update. And as Southern-bred icons, Future and Scott sound right at home blending their melodic styles together — a treat for their new generation of fans and lovers of old-school hip-hop alliances alike.


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Toro y Moi's newest album Outer Peace is out today, and speaking of Future's enduring influence on modern trap, here is "Monte Carlo," an atmospheric trappy tune with distorted vocals and croons that lend an element of lovelorn nostalgia to a hip-hop genre increasingly defined by trends.


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Australia's newest indie alt-pop group on the rise, Cub Sport drops their self-titled album today. "Video," featuring Mallrat is a steamier bop about... recording lovemaking and thinking about it later, but when have you ever heard it sound this pleasant and consensual, and dare we say, romantic?


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John the Blind, a hitmaking machine for acts like Maroon 5 (no big deal), steps out of the shadows as an artist with a slightly anonymous identity. But that's all strategy, you see: as Sia once proved when she emerged wearing wigs and not showing her face in live performance, when an audience isn't distracted by an image, the music can speak for itself. And we all remember how successful that was. So, case in point: "Two Months," John the Blind's debut single definitely lives and breathes in a world of its very own — with incredible singing and quirky production, accented by funky breakbeats, catchy rhythms, and just a dusting of vocoder as a cherry on top. I can't quite make out what the song is about, but mystery is sexy, so enjoy "Two Months" for the excellence it is.


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If you're not attuned to Norwegian pop upstart Sigrid's music yet, get into her raspy howl, smart lyrics, and yes, plentiful melodies on early tracks like "Don't Kill My Vibe" and confessional, newer offerings like "Raw." Once the magic of those pop gems have sunken, cleanse the palate with "Don't Feel Like Crying," which, while similarly vulnerable is also a work of science, truly. Whoever said a pop formula that works is inauthentic should really be crying, because Sigrid is the master of making her truth something we can all sing along to. Also it's worth noting that this track to me is like "No Tears Left to Cry," but make it fashion.

What was your favorite track this week? See you next week, lovers!

Photo via Instagram

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Fri, 18 Jan 2019 21:18:45 +0000http://www.8617965.com/7-rings-bops-only--2626373684.htmlMusicNew musicNew music fridayAriana grandeJames blakeMykki blancoJ-e-t-sMaggie rogersLafawndahFutureTravis scottToro y moiWetCub sportMallratJohn the blindSigridBops onlyMichael Love Michael
Sony Music Drops R. Kellyhttp://www.8617965.com/sony-label-drops-r-kelly-2626404403.html

dream hampton's Lifetime documentary series Surviving R. Kelly has pushed numerous sexual assault allegations against the disgraced 2000s R&B star back into the spotlight and given strength to the #MuteRKelly movement, which started gaining real traction in 2017. Multiple musicians have spoken out against Kelly or apologized for collaborating with him. Now, Variety reports, Sony has dropped Kelly from its roster of artists in the face of public pressure.

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Although Sony is yet to make a public statement on the matter, Kelly is no longer listed as an artist on the RCA records website. Kelly has been with RCA his entire career, and last released an album with them in 2016.

Related | R. Kelly's Daughter Buku Abi Speaks Out Against Him

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#MuteRKelly activists have been physically protesting outside of Sony offices over the past week, and have circulated a petition asking that he be dropped as an artist. A spokesperson from the movement told PAPER that organizers are "extremely grateful to RCA/Sony for finally doing the right thing and dropping documented child molester, R. Kelly, from the label."

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They cautioned that Kelly will still continue to profit from his past work with Sony:

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"It's high time corporations put people over profit and stop supporting artists who have a track record of abusing young women. We hope that they will take this moment to enact a morality clause in their artist contracts so that it doesn't take another 25 years to cut off financial support for criminally problematic artists to be dropped from the label."

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Additional reporting by Michael Love Michael

Photo via Getty

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Fri, 18 Jan 2019 21:04:46 +0000http://www.8617965.com/sony-label-drops-r-kelly-2626404403.htmlMute r kellySurviving r. kellySonyMusicMetooTimes upR. kellyKatherine Gillespie
Ride the Subway With Stella Santanahttp://www.8617965.com/stella-santana-steady-video-2626399869.html

In November, New York-based musician Stella Santana — yes, she's got a famous dad — quietly released her single "Steady," a catchy take down of stupid straight men everywhere that samples the hook from Funkmaster Flex's 1998 hit "Here We Go."

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"The boys look so good but their minds are not ready," she slyly sings. "That's why I'd rather stick with my girls 'cause their minds are so steady."

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Santana tells us that the glitchy song came together after she spent one too many NYC summers getting cat called on the street.

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"Dudes really just don't learn, do they? I'm unimpressed by men and boys overall these days and conversely I continue to be impressed over and over by the women and girls I encounter on a regular basis and read about in the world," she says. "I've just found us to be so solid and tough. I'd rather hang with my girls 'cause their minds are steady. It's just the energy I need around me and have found to be most valuable."

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Today "Steady" finally gets a video, shot entirely on nostalgic VHS and premiering on PAPER.

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Filmed on the streets and in the subway, "Steady"'s video is "inspired by the energy of NYC" rather than afraid of it: "I wanted to highlight some of my girls who are killing it everyday — who I know have to walk past one hundred construction sites and deal with the cat calls from men who can't recognize how powerful and special these ladies are. They just see objects and it's pathetic to me. There's no excuse for that behavior anymore."

Related | Hear Terror Jr's Deliciously Dark New Political Anthem 'Pretty'

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Watch the video for "Steady" by Stella Santana, below.


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Fri, 18 Jan 2019 19:58:30 +0000http://www.8617965.com/stella-santana-steady-video-2626399869.htmlMusicPremiereMusic videoNew yorkFunkmaster flexStella santanaKatherine Gillespie
Princess Nokia Says Ariana Grande’s ‘7 Rings’ Beat, Lyrics 'Sound Familiar'http://www.8617965.com/princess-nokia-ariana-grande-7rings-2626390661.html

Following the release of Ariana Grande's "7 Rings" video this morning, Princess Nokia, aka Destiny Nicole Frasqueri shared a video on her Twitter suggesting that song sounds similar to her 2017 track "Mine." The track was released on Princess Nokia's debut album 1992 Deluxe, and addresses the politics surrounding black and brown women's hair.

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"Did that sound familiar to you? 'Cause that sounds really familiar to me" the rapper said in the clip, after playing "7 Rings" and "Mine" side by side.

"Oh my god… Ain't that the lil' song I made about brown women and their hair? Hm, sounds about white" she continued.


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Some online are echoing Princess Nokia's claim, both posting independently and in response her video.



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In her video, Frasqueri seems to refer to the song's beat, although some have pointed out that the lyrics and delivery bear similarities as well.


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Grande sings on the chorus of "7 Rings": "I want it, I got it, I want it, I got it/ You like my hair? Gee, thanks, just bought it." Meanwhile, the lyrics of Princess Nokia's "Mine" include a repeated bridge line, which refers to her hair: "It's mine, I bought it/ It's mine, I bought it."

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Not everyone feels the similarities are an issue, however. Some have pointed out that "7 Rings" has generic elements often recycled in pop and hip-hop.




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Others are claiming that the song borrows from Soulja Boy's 2010 "Pretty Boy Swag."





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In addition to Soulja Boy and Princess Nokia, Mike WiLL Made-It's "23" featuring Miley Cyrus, Wiz Khalifa and Juicy J, is being brought up in comparison.




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While a number of comparisons have been made, many are ambivalent about whether this controversy is a matter of plagiarism or inspiration -- a long-standing debate in pop and hip-hop, especially given the increasing ubiquity of sampling across genre. "7 Rings" itself explicitly samples the Sound of Music soundtrack and Notorious B.I.G.'s "Gimme the Loot."

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Grande recently told Billboard, that she's long been interested in pivoting to a hip-hop-style creative process.

"My dream has always been to be—obviously not a rapper, but, like, to put out music in the way that a rapper does," she said. "I feel like there are certain standards that pop women are held to that men aren't."

Check out all the songs in question, below:





Photo via Getty

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Fri, 18 Jan 2019 19:26:47 +0000http://www.8617965.com/princess-nokia-ariana-grande-7rings-2626390661.htmlAriana grandeSoulja boyMiley cyrusPrincess nokiaMike will made-itJuicy jWiz khalifaJael Goldfine
Amazon Fashion Secrets: The #20ninescene Editionhttp://www.8617965.com/amazon-fashion-secrets-emo-2626378097.html

Amazon is the ultimate one-stop-shop for absolutely everything, but it's rarely regarded as a source of cool, new fashion. Keely Murphy, a 25-year-old LA-based stylist, has embarked on a mission to change that through her Instagram @fashionsecrets93, which spotlights Amazon's hidden gems. In celebration of #20ninescene, a long-overdue emo revival, Murphy has curated 50 scene-inspired Amazon fashion secrets, @ll 0f wh!ch y0u c@n buy h3r3.

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Related | Bring Back Emo in 2019

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Photos via amazon.com

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Fri, 18 Jan 2019 18:57:38 +0000http://www.8617965.com/amazon-fashion-secrets-emo-2626378097.htmlAmazon fashion secretsAmazonEmoScene20ninesceneKat von dMy chemical romancePanic! at the discoPaper Magazine
Hollyweird: Jack Nicholson Inspired This Joni Mitchell Songhttp://www.8617965.com/hollyweird-joni-mitchell-2626391060.html

Hollyweird, in collaboration with @velvetcoke, takes stock of once-known but obscure or forgotten stories about popular celebrities and cult figures.

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Ara Gallant, a famous hairdresser, threw a party at her West End Avenue apartment in the early '70s. She had blacked-out windows and black-patent walls. Among the invited guests were Anjelica Huston, Jack Nicholson, Joni Mitchell and Apollonia van Ravenstein — a popular Dutch model whom Nicholson called "Apples only."

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Huston and Nicholson were an item at the time, and Huston was good friends with van Ravenstein, having "often modeled together in London and New York."

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At some point during the party, a propos of nothing, van Ravenstein broke out in tears. "[Apollonia] had been crying that night — laughing and crying, it was hard to figure out which or why," Huston wrote in her 2014 memoir Watch Me. "She had balanced a lampshade on her head; tears were pouring down her cheeks." Huston couldn't figure it out, until the reason the model was so hysterical was crudely revealed to her days later in London, when van Ravenstein came to visit Huston.

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Related | Hollyweird: The Leo DiCaprio Movie He Doesn't Want You to See

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"During dinner, she let slip that she'd slept with Jack at Ara's the night I'd left. She told me they had been in a relationship before he met me," Huston wrote. "Now I understood the reason behind the lampshade hat and the tears. I hadn't understood that she loved him. When I confronted Jack on the telephone, distraught, sad, mad, he said, 'Oh, Toots, it was just a mercy fuck.' ...somehow he thought it was an acceptable answer."

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Though Nicholson never apologized, the whole debacle was put down on vinyl.

Joni Mitchell, a longtime friend of Nicholson's, played witness to the fit of tears. The incident inspired the lyrics of "People's Parties" on her 1974 album Court and Spark. In verse two, she refers to Apollonia's meltdown, singing, "Photo beauty gets attention/ Then her eye paint's running down/ She's got a rose in her teeth/ And a lampshade crown/ One minute she's so happy/ Then she's crying on someone's knee/ Saying laughing and crying / You know it's the same release."

People's Parties


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Photo via Getty

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Fri, 18 Jan 2019 18:48:22 +0000http://www.8617965.com/hollyweird-joni-mitchell-2626391060.htmlJack nicholsonHollyweirdJoni mitchellTrey Taylor
Junya Watanabe Sent DILFs Down the Runwayhttp://www.8617965.com/junya-watanabe-dilf-2626385331.html

We're so pleased with the fashion industry's increased age diversity in its choice of models lately, needless to say. So you can imagine our excitement when Japanese designer Junya Watanabe sent a harem of fine-ass daddies down the runway modeling his Paris Fashion Week: Men's fall 2019 collection.

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The Junya Watanabe MAN show featured up top, a range of tailored, neutral blazers, striped cardigans, mixed-texture gingham and tartan overcoats and button-downs, and on the bottom, a little more party, but not too much, because DILFs.

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Related | Is Diversity Still Just a Buzzword In Fashion?

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So there were visible stockings and polka-dot socks for the cool dad-lover in you, paired with a tapered, flared trouser or denim with patchwork trimming or detailing. And New Balance trainers here or there. The ugly-on-purpose kind that, yes, dads the world over tend to wear when being tourists or going for morning walks. And as if in on a joke, which, knowing the Watanabe legacy of irreverence, dad-friendly hats also adorned the scalps of our next men's calendar: Curved brims and newsie caps and beanies and all.

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And just like that, I suddenly feel like I want to throw away my independence and sign up for Seeking Arrangement.

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Photos via Getty

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Fri, 18 Jan 2019 17:23:45 +0000http://www.8617965.com/junya-watanabe-dilf-2626385331.htmlDilfsDad styleDaddiesLgbtLgbtqGay menModelsFashionParis fashion weekMenParis men's fashion weekFall 2019Comme des garconsRei kuwakaboScruffWoofJunya watanabeMichael Love Michael
Hear Terror Jr's Deliciously Dark New Political Anthem 'Pretty'http://www.8617965.com/terror-jr-pretty-premiere-1-2626383389.html

The steady pop drip-feed of pop songs coaching women to love their bodies, feel confident and be themselves, can get... exhausting. Especially when society isn't necessarily becoming any more conducive to these revelations. With this in mind, indie pop mystery act Terror Jr's new song "Pretty" — the first single off their debut album, Unfortunately, Terror Jr — and it's dark, contemptuous take on the ennui of living in a female body, feels refreshing and rebellious.

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"Gold chains and blood stains/ Good girls cover their shame" riffs Lisa Vitale aka Ms. Terror on top of an eerily delicate melody and staccato drum machines. Pouting in a prom dress, she spouts brutal lyrics in her airy falsetto about medicating doubt and dead-eyed smiles, questioning if anyone will love her when she's older. She's a barbie-doll-prom-queen cartoon in "Pretty"s psycho-thriller music video, which watches like the mash-up of The Shining and Botched b-roll, as a surgeon picks out a new face for a little girl, while a botoxed older woman strokes a fluffy white cat.

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In the form of a dark, cinematic spoof, "Pretty" sheds the banalities of the cloying political bop canon, most of all in the chorus's condemning conclusion: "Oooh, she's insecure/ But she's got money in her pores/ Oooh, we'll never find a cure/ Why should we pretend anymore?"

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"It's painful chasing something that inherently can't last... But we all do it... And we shame ourselves for it... The never-ending cycle of vanity and fuckery... Rinse and repeat" explains Terror Jr.

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Rather than a tedious empowerment banger futilely aspiring to shatter toxic beauty standards, "Pretty" makes its mark by acknowledging their violent, ongoing reality. The stinging lyrics, juxtaposed with the band's signature bubblegum sound, perfectly capture the nauseous nightmare of living in a sexist society, that then turns around and punishes women for revealing shame or insecurity. It's dark, delicious and a breath of fresh air from the saccharine picture painted by Dove and Nike girl power ad campaigns, which slap a band aid on a cancer and call it a day.

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It's the teeniest bit ironic that Terror Jr, a band most of us learned about because of a rumor they were fronted by Kylie Jenner, has started to make this political insurgency their pop niche. This isn't the first time the group has waded into cultural commentary, but "Pretty" is their freshest and most iconoclastic statement to date.

Check it out, below, and stay tuned for Unfortunately, Terror Jr due January 25.


Photo courtesy of Neil Favila

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Fri, 18 Jan 2019 16:41:26 +0000http://www.8617965.com/terror-jr-pretty-premiere-1-2626383389.htmlKylie jennerMusicPopFeminismTerror jr.Jael Goldfine
Coolest Person in the Room: Gianna Giannahttp://www.8617965.com/coolest-person-gianna-gianna-2626382419.html

Popularity is relative, and especially in the digital age. You could have hundreds of thousands of followers online, but be completely unknown in the streets — massively famous on Instagram, YouTube or Twitter, but lack any kind of real, authentic cool in person. For our new series, Coolest Person in the Room, New York-based photographer Megan Walschlager pinpoints all the people whose energy is contagious regardless of their following count or celebrity. Get to know LA native Gianna Gianna — a trained opera singer, dancer, rapper, filmmaker, writer and all around artist — that strives to document authenticity beyond a singular medium. She's already your favorite artist's favorite artist. She's also a preschool teacher.

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Related | Coolest Person in the Room: Mazurbate

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What is your day job?

I'm a preschool teacher.

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How did you get into that?

Well, I actually went in to interview for a receptionist job and I met with the head of the school and she was like, "Why aren't you a teacher?" and I was like, "Well, I never went to college," and she was like, "Why didn't you?" and I was like, "I have no time, no money, and I'm an artist!" and she said, "Well, what if I paid for your school and everything?"

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Wait, really?

Yeah, just because this one lady was like, "You should be a teacher." I'd always taught dance, because I'm a trained dancer first, but more like after school program-esque for a steady paycheck type of deal. But I had never been a teacher teacher. So then she paid for my school.

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That is sooo crazy.

It's insane. So I taught dance classes to get a normal paycheck while I was in college, and once I got my degree, she was like, "Ok, now you're a teacher." First I taught third grade, and then I was the art director of a school for a long time. I missed working with little kids though, because I got to create a curriculum from scratch and feature my brother Jesse [Saint John] and other local artists. But mostly, I made them study like Dadaism and Oskar Schlemmer.

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What! Not these lit ass preschoolers.

Yes! Well, that curriculum was for like fifth and sixth graders, but I missed working with babies. Now I am the lead teacher of a 2-year-old class.

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How long have you been a teacher then?

Like 5 years. It's been so inspiring and so cool because a lot of people are always surprised when they ask me what I do during the day, and I tell them I'm a teacher and they're like, "I dont get it?" But actually, kids are the most inspiring and so connected to their true artist selves.

I'm trying to unlearn all this stupid societal stuff — well, I'm not going to go on that rant right now but, kids do whatever the hell they want. If they are angry, they'll scream and if they want to poop their pants for attention, they'll do it! And I think it's cool and I wish I could be more like that.

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Tell me more about your life as an artist.

I've been in a band called BLOK since I was 17 with my brothers Damian Blaise and Jesse Saint John. We were born in LA then moved to Orange County because of a better school system or whatever, but then we got big in the OC scene. We made really aggressive, electronic rap.

Then we got nominated and won — for 5 years in a row — the OC Music Awards and that was a huge deal. We met Gwen Stefani and No Doubt, Snoop Dogg and Sugar Ray. Then Die Antwoord asked us to play with them — and that rap group Clipse — and so many other people.

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I remember when I met your mom at that hotel when Jesse was performing she was like, "They had a band and Gwen Stefani was obsessed with them!"

Right. Through that, videos of me were posted online and Peaches reached out and had me dance for her a bunch and play for her solo.

And that was another thing, so BLOK was still going on — and that was rap — but I'm a trained opera singer, so I wanted to do some more singing/darker stuff, so I had my solo project on the side. Also because Damian owns his own VR company called Beyond Matter so he's busy, and Jesse is a songwriter for, like, everyone, so he's busy.

So, I had my own solo project, and just through posting videos online like Debbie Harry reached out to me to be in her video and Margaret Cho asked me to be in a video where I make out with her. And David LaChapelle saw a video of me and cast me to dance in his Coca Cola commercial.

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Related | Where Are All the Kinky Asian Queers?

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What!

Yeah, the Internet is so sick. Also from the OC Music Awards, I was represented by Disney for a long time — like they wanted to make me a Hollywood Records Taylor Swift girl, and i was like that ain't the deal and it's not who I am, but I will reap the benefits. Like I still get into Disney World for free.

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That's so amazing. Don't you also make films?

Yes, I do so many things. That's my whole thing: documentation of vulnerability and action without compromise. I wanna be myself all the time. I feel like everyone has so many layers and everyone is so capable of everything, that just pursuing one avenue isn't enough for people to express their whole multidimensional selves. So, that's why I do film, and dancing, and singing, and teaching, and writing.

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I feel that — I always get caught up because nothing I want to do is in a linear path, per se.

It's such a scam. You should do all of them and if people don't get it that's their problem. Just do whatever it is you want to do, and then you'll just have these iconic people reach out to you like, "You're doing something, but what is it..." And it's like, "I'm just being myself!"

People listen to multiple genres of music. If you don't limit your playlist, why would you limit what you are doing? It doesn't make sense. That's why I'm like 80% great at everything — because I can't focus on one thing that long. So, that's my whole thing. Just do it all because, why not?

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Great point. Do you have any getting ready rituals before a performance?

I don't. I try to be as organic and in the moment as possible so I don't even listen to my own songs before. Or I'll make a song and that'll be it — and if I mess up or whatever that's good because it should just be, like, yourself organically on stage. I think people gravitate towards that anyway.

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What's the greatest thing to happen to you after hours?

I guess after shows when people will come up to you and be like, "That was so inspiring!" Sometimes they'll repeat back to me stuff I did on stage, and I can't remember any of what I did on stage because it's so in the moment. One time I literally jumped off this 5 foot stage, like, into the splits and I don't remember it happening — like someone literally showed me a video of it. I can't even do the splits, it was all adrenaline.

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Favorite drink at the club?

I don't drink and I don't smoke and I never have. But I usually have a Red Bull on the rocks. Caffeine is my drug of choice.

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Favorite spot in the club?

On stage because that's when I feel like I'm my most organic self. Because it's just a platform where you're allowed to be free — like a 2-year-old — and that's where you're allowed to scream and do whatever you want.

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Where do you like to go out in LA?

I really love Nous Tous Gallery because they always have live performance art pieces, which I think is sick.

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Where can we find you this weekend?

I'm hosting a party called Club Clit on January 20th at The Slipper Clutch and I'm hosting Sex Cells at the Echoplex on February 15th.

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Fri, 18 Jan 2019 16:31:55 +0000http://www.8617965.com/coolest-person-gianna-gianna-2626382419.htmlCoolest person in the roomMegan walschlagerLos angelesLaJesse saint johnGwen stefaniNo doubtGianna giannaInterview & Photography Megan Walschlager
Rory Culkin and Sky Ferreira Run Amok in 'Lords of Chaos' Trailerhttp://www.8617965.com/lords-of-chaos-trailer-2626378769.html

After being teased for years, black-metal drama/all-around horror show, Lords of Chaos is finally coming to theaters in February.

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The Jonas Akerlund-directed feature film gets its first official trailer today. In it, we see stars Rory Culkin, Emory Cohen, Sky Ferreira, and Jack Kilmer wreaking havoc in a bleak-looking Norwegian town, that includes extreme violence and sex juxtaposed with shots of churches on fire, ominous birds, and various other cult-like imagery.

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There is also some pretty epic facepaint. Because mayhem and death metal! Christians will probably shriek at how tampered in darksided stuff it all feels.

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The film's premise is based on a book of the same name, and is also a true story (sheesh), chronicling the story of "a teenager's quest to launch Norwegian Black Metal in Oslo in the 1980s," and the gore and crime that ensues as a result. Sure, why not?


Photo via YouTube

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Fri, 18 Jan 2019 16:04:24 +0000http://www.8617965.com/lords-of-chaos-trailer-2626378769.htmlFilmNew movieDeath metalBlack metalBurzumJonas akerlundSky ferreiraRory culkinEmory cohenJack kilmerLords of chaosMichael Love Michael
Behind the Styling of Troye Sivan's 'Lucky Strike' Beach Babeshttp://www.8617965.com/hardeman-lucky-strike-video-2626293127.html

There are a handful of designers and stylists in the world that can create pieces that are, all at once, norm-defying, norm-subverting, and norm-friendly, and the Amsterdam-based Sophie Hardeman happens to be one of these designers. In what is still known as one of the more meteoric rises in contemporary fashion history, Hardeman had the likes of Rihanna and Kehlani pulling pieces from her collections shortly after graduating from art school.

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Hardeman is once again making headlines after styling Troye Sivan's newest music video, "Lucky Strike." Fans obsessed over the video almost instantly, but many were also buzzing about Hardeman's styling choices for Sivan.


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The video, however, would only give viewers a sneak peek into Sophie Hardeman's refreshing approach to design. Hardeman's risk-seeking philosophy towards construction is what gives her label its genuinely punk aesthetic — daytime wear for the label is defined by denim bralettes, thongs, assless chaps and biker suits. What would normally be considered a character piece exists as an everyday basic in the world of Hardeman.

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Related | Practice Safe Sex With Hardeman

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On the same runway, however, Hardeman will also send out models in classic denim jackets and flared pants. This concept of norm confusing, when combined with the fact that Hardeman resists gendering processes in her works and castings, creates a utopia-grazing that fashion is only beginning to encounter in 2019.

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PAPER caught up with Hardeman about working on the "Lucky Strike" video, her philosophy, and her excitement for the future of her brand. Read the full interview, below, and check out exclusive behind-the-scenes shots from set.

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How did styling the "Lucky Strike" video come about? You've worked with the director, Emma Westenberg, before, correct?

Yes! We didn't really know each other in art school but liked each other's work, and Emma asked me if she could make a film with my graduation collection, which was the first one, "Blue and You." After that film, we became really good friends and we really understood each other's language. We want to say the same thing, but have a different medium. It's a really amazing collaboration, we don't talk much because we already know when we're onto something. After that we did a couple projects together. Then, Emma was asked to make the music video for Troye and she pitched me as a stylist, I think because it would fit really well with what the clip was about, but also then what Hardeman stands for. We talked about casting, we talked about the cinematography. We were discussing things like not only what clothes are they wearing, but really who's wearing it, what is it supposed to express. Then we were discovering that we need certain kinds of people in the casting, which is definitely a conversation with Troye because he knows what he wants.

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How did you come about deciding what to put Troye and co-star Brandon Good in for the video?

I didn't do the end casting, but I know they were looking for a certain type for Brandon, and I was very excited to see who it would be because depending on that, the outfit would completely change. I also think this is part of the reason I was asked to do the styling, because we had just made a spring break-themed collection — not a theme, a little bit of inspiration. It's colorful and very beachy. I learned more and more about spring break, and then I learned that it was really disgusting and terrible and that people get very drunk and they actually misbehave and treat each other really bad. It's not a really fun place, it sounds fucking scary. So at that time the summer collection was about a first trip on your own where you are becoming independent, and I think that is what Hardeman is always researching: what does it mean to be yourself? What does it mean within the group or within the community? The core is true self-expression. So a lot of the clothing did have a lot of colors. It's colorful and beachy, but also our line is, every time, a continuation of the same story and pictures. It's not entirely a whole world different from the previous collection, but I think we were able to use a lot of the pieces because of the beach theme.

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Related | Troye Sivan's Queer Love Songs Are For Everyone

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Besides styling the "Lucky Strike" video, have you had any other highlights for Hardeman when it comes to celebrity styling?

I think definitely the first time that Rihanna wore something. Hardeman was not even one month old, but that was because I got nominated to participate in VFILES in 2016. That was definitely the first highlight. There's been celebrities that have worn the stuff, but I think most exciting is when you're working on a commission project and you make something specially for them, and I'm doing this for the first time now. There's some stuff coming up that I can't really talk about yet. I think I'm really inspired this year. It's incredible when somebody ridiculously famous, like Rihanna, wears something. You just don't understand what's happening because you see her every day, all the time, and you feel like you know her but you really don't. My goal this year is to dress more people that I find really inspiring, that doesn't necessarily mean they're really famous.

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Scaling back from that point, the brand really is a conformist's nightmare and a rebel's dream. Do you actively consider that separation when creating?

All the time. I want people to feel attractive, and I want them to feel attracted to the clothes, but then when they look at it a little bit longer, they're a little bit disturbed. For me it's really a thin line to walk in the balance of because some things go really far, like they're over-the-top clear expressing, "Fuck everything. Fuck the system," but some things are really just a gentle detail or a choice of fabric. They have a lighter reference. Not everything is very bold. Some things are really normal, and I think that's really important because that together makes a reflection of the reality. [Laughs].


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It's very much a surrealist approach. You were talking about normality — denim, culturally, in the United States, is a very normal, gendered article of clothing. Bringing it to life in the way that Hardeman does is a total warp of reality. How do you go about making denim special for all people when it's so historically gendered?

I think there's a lot of things in denim which are interesting that you can play with. For instance, because of all the topstitching, it has a lot of lines, so it's really graphic. If you distort the lines, then immediately it becomes affected in a way. I think I also make a lot of things in denim which aren't usually made in denim, but they can be — which makes them really easy to wear. Like prom dress jeans! In a way that's also really Dutch because Dutch people don't really dress up as much. The whole time they wear the same thing, also when they go out.

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You grew up in the Netherlands, you went to school in the Netherlands, and now you're based out of the Netherlands — so Amsterdam must be a big inspiration as well. What inspires you about it?

Amsterdam is a really multicultural city, and I think that's what I really like because it's not only one conversation — it's a lot of different ones. I think that it's good living here, but almost too good. I'm ready to go on a residency some place, because I think I'm always making things based on how I experience the world around me, so I feel like there's a lot of territories still to discover.

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Related | Meet Troye Sivan's Sexy 'Lucky Strike' Co-Star

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So are you thinking seclusion or a totally different culture?

I think a different culture like Italy or Japan.

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What aesthetics or shapes have you yet to explore that you're excited about exploring in the future, especially with these different experiences in mind?

I'm excited to broaden my product line to homeware. I would love to make bed linen, kitchen towels, wallpaper, cutlery maybe? I would like to be at Home Depot/Macy's, offering all the basic things you need in your house and living.

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When you encounter those everyday items, are you thinking, "How can I change this, how can I make it unlike what people are used to?"

Not necessarily, but it's fun to think about. One year ago I was pulled into a project to help design a pair of socks. It was a very long process with in-depth conversations, and it was so exciting to me because: how much could you take apart a pair of socks and they're still socks? I don't think it only needs to be clothing, I think it's about creating interactions with people, so I like to make things that people can wear, use, or even eat.

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Hardeman will be in Paris from January 18-22 debuting their fall 2019 collection. Direct appointments can be made at info@hardeman.co.

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Photos courtesy of Hardeman

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Thu, 17 Jan 2019 18:21:42 +0000http://www.8617965.com/hardeman-lucky-strike-video-2626293127.htmlHardemanTroye sivanRihannaKehlaniBloomLucky strikeLgbtqFashionStyleSophie hardemanBrendan Wetmore
How Bottled Water Became a Celebrity Status Symbolhttp://www.8617965.com/celebrities-bottled-water-2626198658.html

Mary J. Blige's backstage rider from 2006, archived for posterity online, makes a number of super specific stipulations. She wants a brand new toilet seat in every bathroom, asks that staff please observe the "Do Not Disturb" sign on her door, and requires temperatures be set to 70 degrees at all times. She'd also like 10 waters, and they "absolutely, positively must be FIJI."

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FIJI only! But of course. Back then no diva would demand a plastic bottle decorated with anything other than a pink hibiscus flower. FIJI was the chic celebrity water of choice, and it retains at least novelty luxe status today — literally meme-ing its way into the 2019 Golden Globes, a marketing exercise transparent as the liquid contained within that instantly recognizable rectangular bottle. Awards shows are fast losing relevance, and perhaps FIJI is too, but its 2000s legacy is assured: bottled water will forever more be synonymous with celebrity status. Which brand are you?

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Real bottled waterheads will say that the luxury water trend can actually be traced across continents to southern France. évian, with that old world European charm — a name that demands exaggeratedly accented pronunciation, preferably when ordering a glass of it from a waiter or some other form of help, an evocative narrative about the magical mineral-infused healing powers of alpine springs — is the classy counterpoint to FIJI's spray-tanned tropical tackiness. A 2005 Washington Post report describes how the publicist Jonathan Cheban made évian happen by strategically placing it on tables at an Oscars (not Globes) after party; soon enough Chris Noth and Paris Hilton and Courteney Cox were taking swigs in front of the cameras. Rumors flew that Cameron Diaz refused to wash her face with anything else.

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Cheban, who is now better known for his recurring role on Keeping Up With the Kardashians, was something of an accidental water marketing pioneer. As an évian publicist his technique was to link its products directly with A-listers, not on billboards or TV commercials but simply in candid everyday life. No celebrity, when asked in an interview about their skincare routine, hasn't rhapsodized about drinking eight glasses of water per day. Cheban really was just taking the next logical step. Whether thirsty celebs were professionally photographed at awards shows or papped walking their dogs in Los Angeles, the implication was that the bottle had been picked up by choice, not sponsorship deal. Today every single influencer is doing the same damn thing. As the Post wryly notes, "It's tempting to call this advertising that money can't buy, but since Evian was paying Cheban at the time, that's not quite true."

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Related | Hollyweird: The Leonardo DiCaprio movie He Doesn't Want You to See

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The 2000s rise of brands like évian and FIJI coincided with a general trend away from soda and towards sugar-free drinking alternatives among the general, non-celebrity population. The United States currently boasts the biggest consumer market for bottled water in the world, and while our bestsellers are still generic brands rather than prestige ones, a successful luxury water is worth billions of annual revenue from easily fooled middle class consumers. Given drinkable H20 is available for free from most faucets, the glitzy packaging and celebrity endorsements are perhaps necessary distractions: VOSS has a stupid cylindrical tube, Blk is charcoal-colored instead of clear. In the early 2010s, perhaps inspired by Madonna's well-documented love of Kabbalah water, many prestige brands decided to go beyond aesthetics and claim their products provided additional health benefits to what came out of the tap.

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Enter a titan of the high-end water wars: Glaceau Smart Water, AKA Jennifer Aniston's favorite way to hydrate.

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Smart Water, as the name implies, is not like the other girls. She's distilled from British springs — as évian proves, European water always has more health cred — and contains added electrolytes. She's pH neutral, for extra purity. And she's owned by Coca-Cola, which has the money to sign off on big time celebrity branding deals. Aniston has been working with Smart Water for more than a decade, and her campaigns tend to include cleverly casual-seeming imagery of her holding bottles of it during an off-duty red carpet moment, or while hiking.


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Coca-Cola followed up the massive success of Smart Water with a colorful futuristic flavored version, Vitamin Water. Essentially a well re-branded soft drink, it was Mischa Barton's accessory bottle of choice in the mid-2010s. Other brands, like CORE and Pepsi's LIFEWATR, have tried to cash in on the same electrolyte pseudoscience. (A little-acknowledged fact: most tap water contains electrolytes anyway).

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Related | 10 Celebrities Who Ruled Instagram in 2018

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Smart Water still sells in vast, mind-boggling quantities, but in 2019 its branding feels almost as dated as FIJI's. Celebrity-adjacent waters have had to change with the times, and social media stars have provided smaller non-Coca-Cola-owned competitors with the means to gain an edge. Essentia, a decades-old indie water company from Washington state favored by Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian since 2015, can thank KUWTK endorsement for recent hype around alkaline H20 which, for the record, has only dubious health benefits.

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Luxury water truly is one of the most obvious cons of all time — pour a glass and you can see right through it. In the context of Flynt, where cheap bottles of water are a lifeline, its existence is downright diabolical. But if sales figures are anything to go by, many of us are more than willing to destroy the environment for the sake of status. The FIJI water girl who generated $12 million in brand impressions over a single night? So much more than just a meme.

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Photos via Getty

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Thu, 17 Jan 2019 15:28:57 +0000http://www.8617965.com/celebrities-bottled-water-2626198658.htmlFiji water girlGolden globes 2019CelebrityFameEntertainmentBrandingInstagramSocial mediaEvian2000sNostalgiaFiji waterKatherine Gillespie
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