Peabody’s, Pulitzer’s, and the Time100 – Oh, My!

All my favs are out here kicking ass and taking names and I live.

Peabody awards and Pulitzer Prizes were something I was taught to believe only old white men got. Earlier this week, the news came out that Kendrick won this year’s Pulitzer for music.

Now, the receipts will tell you that I have been a stan from time. I’ve been a fan of K.Dot’s since high school. I was really into the music blogs and things back then and I remember my first time hearing of his music was on Pitchfork.com. My good buddy at the time, Lev, one of a handful of white boys in the whole school district actually put me on.

I just remember him coming up to me, going “listen to this,” and handing me one of his ear buds. And I just remember the beginning of Backseat Freestyle and my mind just being blown.

I can go on and on with how much this dude’s music has meant to me over the years, but when I heard damn., I knew it was going to be one for the books.

And look at that: A mfn Pulitzer.

Then, just last week, a host of tweets actually brought me to tears.

Time’s annual “100 Most Influential People” edition that I’ve appreciated for  a long time. As far as journalism, they’ve been a favorite of mine for as long as can remember reading and appreciating news journalism and writing. And somehow, growing up, I’d somehow gotten my fingers on a copy every year since senior high school, no bullshit. The list has featured many people who influence me, personally, and who have changed the game in their respective lines of work. Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Malala Yousafzai, Kanye West, Lin-Manuel Miranda… Beyonce – nuff said.

This year, Issa Rae, Lena Waithe, and Ryan Coogler made the list.

I’ve written, before, on the feeling that there’s truly a renaissance happening within Hollywood and, really, in the creative zeitgeist of the 21st century. And there’s all these beautiful black folks are leading the charge.

Issa’s been giving me life since Awkward Black Girl. Lena’s been moving calm for a while now and finally dropped “The Chi” on all our heads earlier this year. Ryan. Coogler. Black Panther. We’ve already been through that one.

Seeing how these three have been moving for so long has truly been an inspiration to watch. And now, some validation that if you really want and work for it, the world is yours.

The biggest bomb was dropped shortly thereafter.

My bitch, Issa Rae, has a Peabody. Like I said, folks, SINCE THE ABG DAYS. We been rockin strong.

Let’s pause on this for a moment. No, in theory, these constructed institutions that evaluate social and cultural value like the Oscars, the Grammy’s, McArthur Awards, Peabody and Pulitzer awards – they don’t validate us as black creatives. We know that racism is systemic and has found it’s way into these particular systems and that it’s not set up for us to win. But it’s a fact that times must and always do change.

To have the Peabody’s and the Pulitzer’s of the world acknowledge creatives of color is frankly, a big fucking deal. Because these are the things that inform the culture, the names that will be written indelibly in the cultural canon.

So shoutout to Kendrick, Issa, Lena, Ryan, and everyone else honored in this year’s round of awards and recognitions. They deserve and it’s about damn time.

 

 

 

 

DAMN.

In the final analysis, this album knocks.

It’s hard to believe this is the same dude who did Overly Dedicated and Section 80. I’ve been a fan of this man for a while now and I’m happy to see him out here still putting these notches in his belt.

Say what you would like about Kendrick, but he can craft an album. When I heard HUMBLE, I knew this album was going to sound different. And that’s no shade: I admire artists who grow with each album and who like to play with different sounds.

This is Kenny at his trappiest, bangin-est yet, but he still manages to retain a distinct flow and styling that are classically Kendrick. (jazzy interludes, those eery vocals, and potent lyrics)

Not to mention some production assists from Mike Will Made It, (regulars) James Blake and Terrace Martin, and a promising new name, Bekon (responsible for at least 8 tracks on the project) and some vocals from Rhianna and Zacari. Peep the full credits on XXL.

It’s a yes for me. I really like this album. My personal favorite track was God. Cardo, Ricci Riera, Sounwave, DJ Dahi, Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith & Bekon (there’s that name, again) really put their foot in that one.

It’s not as ham-fisted in it’s intentions as To Pimp a Butterfly but still shows some tremendous growth in this man from the mixtape days.

I raise my glass to you Brother Duckworth. Keep on keeping on.

Life Is But A Look

I enjoyed HUMBLE. But I enjoyed it way more after seeing the video.

The song itself, I wasn’t too impressed with. It left something to be expected. But these visuals, though. My goodness.

One of the things that makes this video great is the fact that Dave Meyers (and the lil homies) directed it. If you don’t know him by name, think the Missy Elliot’s “Loose Control” video or OutKast’s “B.O.B.” This guy has quite the catalog. Lighting choices, set design, blocking, color schemes – it was all flawless and undoubtedly a landmark in the video making tradition.

All that aside, the video is dope as all hell and it has me thinking…

Black artists have been making dope ass music videos since music videos were a thing. They bend to different aesthetics, moments in history, and social trends, but one thing is undeniable. The black body can look amazing on film.

And this past year or so has been look after look after look.

Of course, who could forget

 

And Missy’s been doing this

 

The Soul Angel

Drake had everybody out here in Timbs and sweatpants

And now Kendrick

I’ll refrain from stanning right now but I’m fairly certain I’m responsible for 1,000 of the 14 million + views that it’s already gotten (in less than 24 hours).

I we start seeing more of this – artfully crafted images of coconut oil infused black bodies – and fewer and fewer depictions of our chapped and ashy slave past. One: the shit is just not a good look. Two: we’re tired. We know it happened. Most people with a grade school education get the gist of what happened. It’s cool. We get it. Black can indeed crack under the right conditions (i.e. conditions of slavery).

The point is we been here, moisturized, and giving y’all looks. You’re mad about it and you’ve been mad. But now we have the internet and quite frankly,

Who gone pop us?

Shoutout to the artists, filmmakers, and directors that accentuate our greatness. I support the promotion of thoughtful images of people of color.