Bebe Rexha crafts a versatile anthem for all your summer excursions with her latest single “The Way I Are (Dance with Somebody)” featuring hip hop legend Lil Wayne. The 3 minute track’s title may send the message that a Whitney Houston sample is happening, but instead Rexha provides a crisp track that stands out amongst anything circulating on the radio. “Don’t matter who you are, just love me the way I are,” proclaims Rexha. “I just wanna dance with somebody.”
The song begins with a solemn beat as Rexha sings, “I’m sorry I’m not the most pretty/ I’ll never sing like Whitney.” A cigarette lighter clicks as Rexha takes a breath and the song begins to build up towards the chorus. Like any good pop song, the lyrics are easy to remember and they have texture. “Let’s let all heart bleeds till they turn to rust,” sings Rexha as the beat begins to pick up. However, the real fun arrives when she sings, “I just wanna dance with somebody/ It could be anybody/ Tell me are you that somebody.” It doesn’t hurt to know that “somebody” is an epistrophe in this case, thank you AP language.
With a yodeling reminiscent of Ke$ha in the beginning of the song, Rexha makes it clear that her voice is unique in the pop game. It can belt out a heartfelt chorus, rise above EDM beats, spitfire like a natural rapper, all while carrying a burning passion that make her a versatile artist amongst the polished and processed voices saturating Spotfiy and airwaves. “The Way I Are (Dance with Somebody)” is fun to listen to because along with the title that you’ll probably say, “What?” to, the lyrics and beat make the song perfect for all your summer excursions.
Yeah I be right behind her spinal,” sings, yes sings, Lil Wayne in his verse on the song. While Lil Wayne comes out of left field and makes the song lose some momentum, the playful lyrics to contribute to the feel-good nature the song is hoping to connote. You know I’m already calling my local radio stations making a request.
As someone who listens to pop music voraciously, another SAT word, I have realized that any good pop song has simple grammatical structures, coy lyrics, and strong repetition. After all, if pop music was written in iambic pentameter than who would listen to it? English majors? Bougie ivy school kids? No. Having been in the music industry for almost a decade now and writing hits like “Me, Myself and I” by G-Eazy, “Hey Mama” by David Guetta featuring Nicki Minaj or the unforgettable “The Monster” by Eminem featuring Rihanna, Bebe Rexha clearly understands the formula for crafting a strong song.
Luckily, instead of simply writing and passing it along, Rexha has kept this track and made it her own.
The video essay above was a project I made for fun inspired by my enrollment in the BIDS 390 course "The Video Essay." If you do not know, the video essay is a rising form of new media that marries the essay tradition and the film traditions. The video essay is a discipline and realm of studies that is under scrutiny. The reasons for why the video essay is debated are discussions we are having in class and this post is simply to share this first draft of a video essay I crafted.
The video essay above is entitled "The Dangerous Woman" and I use my own footage of Ariana Grande as evidence in my argument that her performance is evidence of how musical performances are beginning to play with how they perform gender to reveal it as a gender construct. I include claims that mention representation of queer bodies and people of color, and I will probably flush these points out in the next draft of the video essay.
As I mentioned, this is a rough draft and my ideas were not fully developed yet, but the skeleton of my argument is there. I hope you enjoy this video essay and I hope your interests in this art form is ignited!
Earlier this week, the popular streaming service Hulu released the first trailer for its upcoming adaptation of the 1985 novel by Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale. I haven't come across many familiar with Atwood's works, she is one of my favorite writers, but hopefully this new series interests more people to find her work. I am glad to see this novel being adapted for a new generation in a medium that's more accessible to everyone. The only troubling part of this adaptation is that it comes in a period where it seems too fitting.
Let me offer a brief synopsis of this novel, and bear with me because I read it in high school so my memory may be fuzzy. However, if this half baked literary review interests you I recommend reading the whole book since it is a great read!
The novel follows Offred, a handmaid, in the Republic of Gilead that is the former United States of America. The lack of enviormental concioussness by Americans lead to pollution of water, and because it was ingested, most men are impotent and many women's ovaries have been disentigrated. When crisis began to hit, a Christian group takes over and forms this Republic, turning the U.S. into a totalitarian and theocratic state. The few women who remain fertile are forced to become handmaids. They are stripped away from their families, they lose their names, and most significantly they lose the rights to their body. An issue that is currently in discussion.
Handmaids have one reason to live, to give birth. If they cannot deliver a child, or engage in sex for pleasure, consider abortion, they are killed. Handmaids are given to wealthy famalies to bear children before they move onto the next assigment. As you can imagine this book carries many biblical refrences to symbols of fertility, such as the handmaids wearing red head to toe. This book is genius because it carries multiple critiques in a fascinating story. It offers a feminist critique on goverments dictating what a woman's body can and cannot do. It critiques capitalism and its lack of concern over the enviorment. And it also critiques a system with a leader who maintains his goverment through hateful rhetoric and putting blame on the "other."
Offred is dedicated to escaping Gilead and fleeing north to Canada where she may be free, but along the way she endures hardships like emotional abuse, witnessing death, and even rape. In this world, all women are seen as mere bags of meat for the satisfaction of men. Anyone who cannot reproduce and further the economy, for example members of the LGBT+ community, are hung publicly. The victims wear sheets over their face, and as I wrote in my senior thesis, I believe this blankness alludes to how anyone can be a victim. This novel was written around the time when birth control first became part of the national conversation, and now that the focus has shipped to abortion, this novel continues to portray a world where woman do not have the right to decide on their bodies.
As I wrote in my senior thesis where I focused on Atwood, she is a writer that has greatly shaped the genre of Ontario Gothic. Like A Handmaid's Tale, the majority of her novel follow a female protagonist and she is always fighting. Her novels point to how in our society, any person who does not fall under the social construction of manliness is at a disadvantage. Females, trans people, a-gender people, must make space in a society that has pushed them into a corner.
In each novel above, Atwood's women spend the novel exploring what it is to be woman. Each novel is set in a different setting and time, but commen themes string their journeys. Each of these women understand that sex is power and so they use their bodies to trick and decieve their oppressors. Yet, they still find themselves unable to live happily. Alias Grace is based on the femme fatale Grace Marks who is accused of killing her master and the novel follows one man trying to uncover the truth. Cat's Eye is about a woman reflecting on how her identity was shaped by the women and men around her, and how art served as her salvation. The Blind Assasin is by far my favorite read. This lengthy novel follows a young socilate and her tragedy of becoming a mother without ever having a steady mother figure in her life, as well as the sadness she endures being forced into marriage for wealth rather than love. This novel focuses on the idea of how our society expects women to serve her family and make this their destiny.
Each of these novels also interogates the fact that women are expected to be mother's, even when they may not be ready or desire to be one. In The Blind Assasin, Iris, our protaginist, becomes a young mother. Iris' mother died when she was young, and unsure of how to be a mother, she is not surprised by the the suicide of her daughter. When she tries for years to approach her grandaughter, she fears this fate will come full circle.
I admit that sometimes to save time I seek the TV show or movie based on a book. But in our current period where knowledge for social consciousness is often ignored for dumb badgering and glossy tabloids, I encourage you to consider reading one of Atwood's works. With Hulu adapting Atwood's classic I hope that more people follow the trend and find the original source material.
Atwood has described herself as not necessarily being a feminist, but there is no doubt that her novel's carry feminist themes. These novels explore the role of sex and gender in the construction of identity, it explores the problem of a government shaped by an elite/privileged group (whether by gender, class race) and it explores the necessity to care for our environment.
I am thinking of more book posts, but for now thank you and happy readings!
The only thing I love more than myself is my home of Los Angeles, California. It's called the "Golden Coast" and for good reason. The weather is wonderful, there is always something to do, and there is no Vineyard Vines sweater in sight. Putting my comedy aside, Los Angeles is a space where art, diversity, and imagination thrive. Burbank, Hollywood, Los Angeles, Glendale, San Diego etc. my list can go on of great places in SoCal and I cannot think of anywhere as spread and alive as this place I call home.
When I was thinking about college I knew I wanted to study communications. Talking to people was something I could do, and apparently something I was good at. I thought, if someone is willing to pay me to talk sign me up. When I was nominated for the Posse scholarship, the school that chose me and offered me my full-tuition was HWS. I was haphazard about the placement because of the lack of the communications major. Yet, when I made it to campus and took my Writer's Seminar, I knew that Writing & Rhetoric was the major for me. My adoption of a Media & Society major was my drive to understand the historical, the theoretical, and the trajectory of media. Without a doubt, living in Los Angeles really influenced my love for entertainment.
Thanks to my career program managers at Posse, I have been able to attend programs and meet Posse alumni at companies like Viacom, Paramount, Disney, and so many more. I entered HWS knowing the career path I wanted to go. My only issue was that I had to choose what vein of entertainment I'd tap into.
I was very fortunate to have earned an internship the summer of my first year at HWS. I was the Summer Development Department Intern, that sounds so smooth, and I got hands on experience of working in Public Relations. The experience was amazing and I got to know the family at Posse L.A. even better than when I went through my Pre Collegiate Training. While interning at Posse, I was connected to even more alumni and career partners with foot prints in entertainment.
The first commandment of the entertainment industry is networking. The second commandment in this industry is follow up with your contacts. The third commandment, is that you must always spell check your emails. I write this just because it seems so simple, like the simplest thing to remember, like so simple it should be common sense, but it cannot be stressed enough.
One person I connected with was Erika, a Posse L.A. alumna from Univeristy of Wisconsnin-Madison, and an associate at Disney. I was fortunate that her calendar was free, and we had lunch at the Disney lot in Burbank. I was very excited not only because I love hanging out at Burbank, but also because I would get to explore a new terrain. Our lunch was lovely. We connected easily on the unqiue position of a Posse scholar, attending school across the country in an enviorment that is alien. Erika understood the position of mine that many can take for granted, the proximity to home or the experience of having traveled already.
She told me that entertainment was so big that any career path existed under that umbrella, and this was a point that resonated with me. She described to me how Disney was so big that every lot had different responsibilites. Even amongst departments there existed niches for each passion a person could professionally have. I departed from Disney with not only a Starbucks in hand, but with even more ambition to return.
Surprise! I came back just the next day. Yesterday I was able to grab lunch with an alumna of William Smith, and seeing someone from HWS make it to L.A., that was not Posse, was inspiring! I was once weary about my commitment to attend HWS because of how far I was from Hollywood and the studios. If I was home it was a 20 minute drive, at school it's a 9 hour flight. Meeting Lisa was refreshing because here was someone who not too long ago had walked the same hallways as me and endured the same bitter cold. I heard about her brave quest to travel to L.A. without a concrete role and how she carved her path to ABC. Our lunch was great because along with talking about this career, we also just got to talk about the college experience that we share. Turns out she lived in the house that's currently next to me.
Sharing all these small details was so great since in L.A. when I say I go to Hobart, I'm interrupted by someone asking me, "You go to Hogwarts?!" No honey, Hobart and William Smith.
Unlike most of the people at HWS, or even most of the demographic who attend private colleges and universities, I have no familial ties to big companies. I don't have a dad in production, my mom doesn't have a friend in admissions, and my grandparents aren't on any kind of board. My grandma has a dog named Peggy, that's about it.
I do not say this because I am complaining, I say this to justify why this post means so much to me. As someone who dreams of ruling reality TV, these small steps to meeting people or even becoming familiar with the feel of entertainment are leaps for someone with no platform. I cannot say where I will end up with my career, but I can hope that it's in L.A. where I'll have my own glass office, a puppy calendar, an assistant that will remember to move my 4 o clock to 2, and of course a fancy plaque with my name on it.
Thank you for reading this! Please let me know your favorite Disney movie/show, because who doesn't love Disney?!
When ever I come home to Los Angeles I notice change. The city's edifices do not shift, they can't, but each time the enviorment is different. Shops close, business open, musuems acquire art exhibits, and my friends and family continue growing.
Being away does suck, but the positive spin I place on my story is that I'm more eager to adventure when I return. Being in Upstate New York has served as a catalyst for my pride in being an Angel native. When I'm asked, "Wow how did you come hear?" I respond with my script about winning the Posse scholarship. Every time I'm smiling more as I recognize that L.A. is not a dream but my reality. Each break, I make a bucket list inspired by Buzzfeed videos and listicles about the top tourist attractions in SoCal. One of my favorite aspects about living in California is the sheer volume of areas to explore. This break is short, only 3 weeks, and so I've tried to cross off a few more points off from my list.
I am thankful for my friend Rachel, pictured in the right, and her nomadic spirit. She is our group's navigator and every time we hop in the car we end up somewhere new. On Tuesday, I asked her to take me wherever she liked. She texted back with, 'Be ready at 10 we'll take the train.' I had to haul ass when I awoke to see the crimson digits on my table display 9:55. We missed the train, but we managed to ger breakfast. After an hour ride we arrived in the Los Angeles Arts District.
The caffe is called Urth Cafe, and as you can imagine I had never been here before. Besides the food looking for Instagram it was delicious. It was organic, locally grown, and all those other labels west coasters slap onto our food to make us look boougie. After the last slice we went looking for the famous wings.
These are wings painted by Colette Miller as part of her Global Wings Project, created to "remind humanity that we are Angels on this Earth." The wings are painted throughout SoCal and Miller has gone as far as to paint some abroad.
We found 3 sets of wings and each discovery ingnited a photoshoot. We continued to stroll throughout the streets discovering art that intrigued and inspired.
The night ended with Rachel, Adriana, and I watching La La Land and crying.
I think the biggest gem found this day is the fact that L.A. is the city where dozens come to dream. Unlike Breakfast at Tiffany's though the ending is not a happy one. La La Land ends with the starcrossed lovers in seperate lanes, not kissing in the rain. You don't come to L.A. for love, you come here to fight.