My Gift to You: A Series of TV Show Recommendations

I think I’ve said this a lot of times before, but music is a big influence in my work along with some of these shows. Most, if not all, have changed my perspective of things in some way. Whether it be just a silly animated comedy, or a hearth thumping K-drama, they’ve all changed me and help me to write about experiences and situations I wouldn’t be able to fully capture without them.

 

The Uncanny Counter

There is so much I want to say about this show, but for the sake of time I’m going to try to sum up everything I like about it. So, it’s kind of hard to explain with this show about, because it follows a lot of different plots within the show, all the while focusing on a certain goal. So our main character, So Moon, survived a car crash that unfortunately kills his parents and ends up leaving him with a horrible leg injury that he eventually has to use a crutch for when he gets older. Years later, after another Counter dies the soul of someone ends up entering his body in a hurry to not be eaten by an evil spirit. This soul ends of giving So Moon his powers, fixing his condition so long as he joins a team of more Counters. Counters are humans that take down evil spirits with the help of other souls. An important thing to mention is that you have to be in a coma or close to death in order to become a Counter, which So Moon hasn’t done either. This helps him to gain advantages. There are a lot more information about this, but you really have to watch the show in order to understand. My favorite character would have to be Mo-tak, his character attachment to So Moon is so wholesome.

Itaewon Class

I don’t want to give too much away, but the entire show is basically about determination. There are a lot of factors that play into the plot and a lot of twist and turns that help keep the audience engaged which is something I really love about this show. Park Saeroyi, played by Park Seo-joon, is an ex-convict who aspires to open a restaurant dedicated to his father who was killed by his “bully” in a car accident. But things don’t go as plan when the father of his father’s killer create obstacles and set-backs in order to “teach Saeroyi a lesson of staying in one’s place”. And as much as I should hate the antagonist, I just really think he’s an adorable old man. One of the things I love the most about this Kdrama is inclusiveness. Before this show came out there were rarely, if not none, black people shown in Kdramas. I think the timing of releasing this show really helped to highlight anti-blackness in East Asian media. 

Hilda

This show absolutely got me through the pandemic. The thing I love the most about it was the animation and how aesthetically pleasing everything looked. Hilda will always and forever be my favorite comfort character. I love that she’s brave and willing to put everything on the line for friendship and adventure. 

Steven Universe Future

I love the original Steven Universe just as much as the next person. The plotline and animation were immaculate and it really stood out from other cartoon shows. Not to mention the soundtrack. There is so much to love about this show including it’s inclusiveness and insight to a spectrum to a lot of different things that’s going on in the real world. However, I especially like Steven Universe Future more because it was about healing. You always see these teenage/kids go on the big adventures, battling demons, and making tough decisions  throughout any childhood TV show, but to show the harmful affects of that is so eye-opening. I really love that Steven grew up to eventually deal with the trauma that he went through as a child. Steven taught me that self-care and mental health is just as important than anything else.

My Personal MCU Theories (not in order)

I am by no means an experiment on the MCU. I just watch pass the end credits and put things together. I am an absolute nerd when it comes to theories on the MCU. Overtime, I’ve learned that everything that is put in these movies is intentional. I’ve predicted a lot of things in that’s happened in the movies, along with the help of my sister. So here’s what I think is next.

There’s going to be an X-Men and MCU crossover

Technically, this was supposed to have already happened. I believe in the original comics, the X-Men teamed up with the Avengers to fight Thanos. But let me tell you why I think this is definitely going to happen. So if you’ve watched the Disney Original Series What if? and Loki then you would know about the infinite number of timelines. Now this part may get a bit confusing, as this was very tedious to put together. In the series WandaVision, there is this part where Wanda becomes the Scarlet Witch. This was a pivotal part in her timeline as she becomes more powerful than anything in that universe.

At the exact same time, and you can put them side by side, in Loki, there is a part where The Watcher pauses almost as if something has gone off script. Then he proceeds to say, We just crossed the threshold. Now, I don’t know what this means exactly, but from there he proceeds to go on a rant about protecting the time line. Now the Loki Variant, Sylvie, ends up killing a version of The Watcher, causing the timeline to open. From here there are an infinite amount of possibilities, including one where we have an X-Men/MCU crossover.

Now if you are familiar with X-Men, then you would know that the villain  Magneto has kids. This is where everything becomes messy, but not because of the story itself, but because of production. Originally, Magneto’s kids are Wanda and Quicksilver. Now we were only introduced to Quicksilver and Wanda was nowhere to be seen throughout X-Men. Since Disney took over Marvel, this theory was completely thrown out of the window when they decided to have an entire different person play the MCU’s version of Quicksilver. HOWEVER, in WandaVision the original actor that played Quicksilver was portrayed as her brother. And when Wanda is finally pulled out of her delusion, everything that is considered to be a “her imagination” goes away. For example, the old Vision, and her kids go away as the veil of delusion goes down. Do you know who doesn’t go away after it’s all over? The X-Men version of Quicksilver. There is also a part where they expand on it a little bit when Agatha, the villain, says that this character is a real person and not just a made of version of the brother she’s lost. Now this left me with a lot of questions, but I believe that this is the actual Quicksilver from X-Men and not some doped version of her MCU brother. I believe that he’s been stuck there ever since X-Men: Days of Future Past, where Wolverine goes back in time to stop a few things. The reason I say that is because in the clip where Agatha finds Quicksilver and makes him her minion it, it shows the same exact house Wolverine found him in Days of Future Past. Thus sparks my theory for a crossover.

X-Men: Days of Future Past
WandaVision

Dr. Strange is actually Mephisto

If you’re familiar with Spider-Man, then you would know about the new movie that’s coming out in December. THIS IS ABOUT THE TIMELINES!!! So, yeah, anyways, I’ve watched the trailers for Spider-Man and something seemed extremely off for me. Dr. Strange was sending off too many red flags. Now if you know Dr. Strange then you know that he does not play about the timeline. He quite literally threaten anyone who tried to abuse the time stone in his movie and in Endgame. With the timeline no longer being protected by The Watcher, it is now vulnerable to so many risks. Some that we’re going to be introduced to in the new Spider-Man movie. Now here’s why I think Dr. Strange is actually the demon Mephisto.

For one his nonchalant attitude and misuse of power is completely out of character for him. Now if you’re familiar with the comics, then you would know that  Mephisto is basically the devil version of the MCU. He’s is also Dr. Stranger’s main enemy. No one would be as irresponsible and play with the timeline other than Mephisto, it’s literally his whole purpose, causing chaos. Also, I would like to add that Mephisto also appears in the Fantastic Four comics and is an enemy to Dr. Doom. This may be an opening to a timeline to a possible crossover. Fingers-crossed.

Did anybody else get confused at the ending of Shang-Chi?

Now this isn’t a theory, I just wanted to express my concerns. Yet again I am left with nothing but more questions because I am cursed with watching the clips after the credits. I could make my life much easier if I turned off the TV after the movie ends like a normal person, but curiosity killed the cat.

SPOILER ALERT (I know that this movie is relatively new so if you haven’t watched it, don’t read this part.)

So at the end of the movie Shang-Chi and Katy are pulled into a portal guided by Wong, Dr. Stranger’s friend. There they discuss where the Ten Rings could have originated from with Captain Marvel and Bruce Banner A.K.A the Hulk. As Wong disscets the rings, he notices that a small part of the ring serves as a beacon for something.

Actually I do have a theory now.

Maybe this beacon was for the villain in The Eternals. I haven’t watched the movie yet, but the trailers suggest that a powerful energy wave served as a beacon for the one thing they were sent there to fight. If it is, I would like to say whoever directed these movies is a genius. This was a perfect transition into The Eternals franchise. They also mention that the Ten Rings predates anything they’ve ever known before. Do you know what else predates anything they’ve ever known before? THE ETERNALS!!! Maybe this is their technology. This just made me even more excited to go watch it!

I might make this into a series, because I have a ton of Marvel, X-Men, and Fantastic Four theories that are just waiting to be shared.

10 Things No One Knows About Me

Not to be narcistic, but I literally don’t have any more ideas for a blog.

My Ult K-pop Group is Monsta X

I know I talk about BTS a lot, like a lot a lot, but my heart will forever belong to Monsta X. I first heard of them through my favorite show We Bare Bears, and ever since I’ve been following their music path. The members are Shownu, I.M, Jooheon, Kihyun, Minhyuk, and Hyungwon. There is one more member, but due to certain circumstances, he left the group. He debuted as a soloist last year, and still has ties with his life long brothers. It was one of the worst days of my life, but Wonho is doing so well now and I love to see him living his life to the fullest.

I first fell in love with writing through Spoken Word

I first watched someone perform spoken word at a school assembly. It was about gun violence and I loved how so much emotion could be shown through such poetic ways. I still remember how excited I was to go home and watch more spoken word pieces on my Aunt’s iPad. I started to write pieces in the 4th grade with the help of one of my favorite teachers. I think I still have the papers somewhere, hidden in a dark corner. Writing poetry led me to write a short novelette of some sorts a year later that I received an award for in the 5th grade. From there my love for writing kept growing.

I can speak enough Korean to survive a day

So I started to really get into Kdramas when the pandemic hit. I have no problem reading the subtitles, but I began to grow very curious about different languages. I really began to question why English was kind of like the default language and how there are so many different languages. So, I started to study Korean. I’ve been learning for almost a year now, but I only know enough for necessities. I know how to write and pronounce words, but I still have trouble knowing what they mean and forming sentences. I had a study group, but no one was as consistent, so I could blame it on not having enough motivation. I really would like to visit South Korea one day and be able to survive on my own. I also really want to study linguistics and history of different languages and cultures, so learning Korean and the culture is like a very great start.

Before last week, I’ve never heard of 10 Things I Hate About You

Uh, my suitemate told me about this movie. Honestly, I’ve been living under a rock because this was one of the greatest throwback Romcoms I’ve ever watched. 10/10 would recommend solely for Heath Ledger and the teacher.

My Favorite Anime will forever always be Ouran High School Host Club

Now I understand how problematic some parts of this show was. I do not agree with those values, nor do I support them at all. However the slow burn romance between Haruhi and the other members of the Host Club was the absolute highlight of the show. Despite what other fans may think about the relationship between Haruhi and Tamaki, I personally think they don’t make the perfect couple. If you think about it Haruhi and (I think) Kaoru are practically soulmates. I could go on a rant about how much I want them to be together, but the fact of the matter is, we’ll never find out 🙁

I Cannot Draw To Save My Life, but I Think I Can Paint Pretty Well

Like a lot of people I’ve had a lot a free time on my hands throughout the pandemic. So, I took up painting as a hobby. I haven’t had much time to paint since coming to MSA, but it still one of my hidden passions.

I Wrote an Entire Album in the 7th Grade

This is so embarrassing, but I used to be a “rapper”. Really all I did was turn my poetry into songs and people seemed to like that. I was actually in a rap group, but we broke up due to unforeseen reasons. Please don’t look it up, but I performed in a lot of local Talent Shows. I was supported by my old Band Director. He considered himself my producer and would help me record some of these songs and would even make beats for me. Luckily, I lost the files. Now that I’m older and a little less cringe, I think I can go back and rewrite it. Needless to say, I am lyrically gifted:)

I can play 7 instruments

So when I first joined my home school’s marching band I started off on flute. Everybody thought I was made for it, so that’s what I chose. Honestly, I’ve always wanted to be a drummer. So it took me like four months to master the flute, then I got upgraded to piccolo. But I decided to learn more instruments. I switched to the drumline in eight grade and learned to play the bass drum, snare drum, quads, cymbals, and tenor drum. Our band director made sure that everyone on the drumline would be able to play all of the drums in case someone was ever sick and to have more things we could audition for college with. He also knew that I wanted to learn more, so he taught me to play piano xylophone, and trumpet. The summer before he left, he got me a bass guitar, so that we could have a jazz band. Little did I know that it was going to be his parting gift. I am so grateful to have a caring teacher that was willing to work with me even on the toughest days.

I Hate Chicken on Pizza

Not everything belongs on pizza.

I Talk Too Much

Despite what you may see, I am a very talkative person. It just takes the right kind of people to bring it out of me. I wouldn’t say I was known as the class clown back home, but I did manage to make people laugh even when they didn’t want to. Since coming here, I’ve learned to stop talking all the time and just listen. You learn a lot when you don’t talk, honestly it is the best thing I’ve ever done. It helps creativity to flow when you actually listen to sources of inspiration.

My Gift to You: A Series of Movie Recommendations

Beautiful Creatures

So originally, I watched this movie back in 2015 with my sister. I’ve always been a fan of movies about witches or anything magical since I was able to understand it all. This movie is your typical cheesy love story where the main characters have that Bella and Edward dynamic. However, the acting, and stars, and cinematography help bring the plot to life and I fell in love with it. It’s basically about a new girl that moves to the Deep South where people are quick to judge. Of course there is this one guy who thinks he’s different then the rest of the town and seeks out a friendship with the girl, which soon grows into love. I love the power-switch in this and the writer’s and directors choice to make the girl the more dominant one of the relationship. Of course there is more to this story, but I don’t want to ruin it for you. Also I read the book like 36 times, my librarian had to stop me from checking it out so much. If you get to the chance to, READ IT.

Fear Street Part Two: 1978

This three series of horror films was released recently during summer. I kind of watch them out of order, but it helped me to understand it better. This was the first one I watch and I REALLY LOVE THIS MOVIE. I’ve always been a sucker for classic summer camp horror films. I feel like you can never go wrong with it, but the plot development and twists and turns really adds so much to it. This movie is about two sisters in the late 70’s who attend a summer camp, but due to a curse, it ends very brutally. I really loved how spaced out the main murders were. I know that sounds kind of crazy, but the fact that the plot outshone the murder really makes this so enjoyable. If you plan on watching this, I recommend watching the other parts. I think you’ll be so invested in this one that you won’t be able to not watch the others.

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

I think it is very important that I acknowledge Chadwick Boseman’s acting in the masterpiece. Oh my gosh, it was other worldly. I have yet to see a performance be close to this. When I first was introduced to his character, my jaw hit the floor. The best way to describe this man skills is poetic. It felt as though this character was an extension of him and I really love how he embodied him. Every movement was so deliberate. I really appreciate Denzel Washington for being one of the many people who brought this story to life. Every single actor in this movie are my top ten and I love how they were brought together for this project. There is also another recognizable face in the movie.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

I’m going to be honest. Spider-Man wasn’t even in my top twenty favorite superheroes, but after watching this movie he quickly shot his way up. Let’s get into the legendary voice acting. The fact that they casted Shameik Moore as the voice of Miles Morales is pure genius. I’ve been a fan of his since his movie DOPE, and I know this isn’t an actor to be played with. And don’t get me started with Mahershala Ali as the voice of Miles’s Uncle!!!!!! Honestly, I didn’t know what to do with myself after finding out he was in the movie. The animation in this movie is top-tier. The artists really did a great job with color and bringing this comic to life. Overall this movie is a definite 10/10. Miles is the best Spider-Man!

 
 

Ranking My Favorite Tiny Desk Performances

Tyler, The Creator

 

This has to be one of my all time favorite performances. It’s one thing to listen to this beautiful album on your phone, but to see it live is so crazy. The background vocals were the absolute highlight of this show. What stuck out to me the most was, that fact that you could see Tyler’s artistic expertise throughout the entire show. It was like witnessing a genius at work. He improvised on most of the songs entrapping the crowd and creating a good time not only for himself, but others around him. I love to see a sort of different version of the songs performed live and he really brought his alternative element to this performance. All of the songs performed were from my favorite album Flower Boy and honestly if you haven’t listened to it yet, go listen to it. Right now.

BTS

 

The timing of this performance was very well needed. This performance was made in the height of the pandemic, just as they released their Grammy nominated song, Dynamite. They performed some of my favorite songs in this, some I consider classics. Their energy could be felt through the screen, which instantly lifted my spirits. The vocals in songs like Save Me, and Spring Day is what really stood out to me the most. I can never get over hearing them perform live, and I really enjoyed this.

Erykah Badu

Who doesn’t love hearing Erykah Badu? I was introduced to her music at a young age, and I’ve learn to appreciate her vocals and style through out my life. I really love the urbanisms of her voice and how abstract it is. You can really differ her from other Neo-Soul and R&B artists. I really loved her performance of Green Eyes. There was something about that song that really made me appreciate her as an artist even more.

Khalid

I’ve been a fan of Khalid since his soundcloud days. So when I saw his face pop up on my home page on YouTube I clicked it without hesitation. Little did I know that he would be the one to introduce me to Tiny Desk and their wonderful videos. I watched this video so many times. I would play it when I had to clean, when I was babysitting, or when I was just bored. I will always love the beautiful sounds this man can create. I can’t describe the artistry in words so I suggest just watching it yourself.

August Greene (Common, Robert Glasper, Karriem Riggins)

When I first watch this video, I played it again, and again, and again. Then, I downloaded the entire album. Let me put this into perspective. Some of the features are Brandy, Maimouna Youssef, and Andra Day. One of their main messages for this album was highlighting women, specifically black women. This is the type of performance you can just put on and do whatever. It’s a vibe start to finish.

Rating My Favorite Aesthetics

Dark Academia 8/10

Honestly, if you don’t like this aesthetic I don’t trust you. The color scheme in this is so pleasing to look at. My favorite thing about this one is the incorporation of different shades of brown. Just looking at it makes me feel smarter. I like that it has a sense of historical feel to it while still looking very modern. I recommend using very classy type of jewelry with this style like small pearls and diamonds. Basically something that not too sparkly or out there. Also try to add subtle color blocking, because it helps with dimensions.

Indie Pop 6.5/10

This is one of the most vibrant aesthetics I’ve come across. I personally am an all black and dark colors kind of girl, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate this beautiful style choice. The colors in this aesthetic helps to bring more attention to the fits, if that makes sense. I’d like to think that a lot these styles were inspired by Japanese artist Takashi Murakami. A lot of his artwork incorporate bright and vibrant colors that you wouldn’t think fit together. It is really beautiful to admire much like this aesthetic here. With this style I suggest being minimalistic because the colors do enough. Pick bright contrasting, complementing colors and wear colorful jewelry. Add a painted or denim tote bag and your fit is complete.

Grunge 12/10

If you see me in any color other than black, then I probably didn’t have anything to wear. I relate to this aesthetic so much because it like a literal reflection of my personality. If you look in my closet right now you’ll probably be met with 15 different shades of black and maybe like a splash of color in the back. Even though the color scheme is very limited, my favorite thing to do is play with color. For instance, I’ll pick out a graphic tee that has a splash of red in it and pair it with denim or black pants. Next, I’ll add a pair of red shoes with silver jewelry. Sometimes I don’t like wearing jewelry because it can get in the way, so what I’ll do is add a chain to my pants instead. I am a strong believer that you should not only accessorize yourself, but your clothes also. All this to say, play with color.

Jooncore 1000000/10

This style has to be my absolute favorite and not just because Joon is my bias. I’ve always loved earth tone colors and he has a way of incorporating them so well. His fashion taste is a reflection of his personality and I love to see that in style pieces. Like I said before this style has a lot of earth tones such as white, beige, sage, moss, and crocodile greens with small hints of black. I think these colors go together very well with gold jewelry. Gold still plays into that earth theme, but it also contrasts against the colors making it stand out even more. Honestly, color-blocking clothes is the best way to style this. Also collared shirts and layering adds more dimension to this style.

Street Fashion 3000000/10

I mostly dress like this which why I love this style so much. This style has a lot of big graphic tees, baggy pants, biker shorts, and basketball shorts, which is something I can appreciate. Another thing I love about this type of aesthetic is the use of big chunky shoes. When I first got into fashion, the first thing I bought were a pair of white, chunky Fila. No matter what kind of outfit I had on, those shoes would go with it so well. So if you plan on getting into this type of style, make sure you have a good pair of chunky shoes. Another tip I would recommend is to have a variety of long solid color socks. This is really good for adding an extra accessory to more summer styles.  What also makes this style so perfect is that fact that it doesn’t have a color scheme. However, it can also make the process of creating an outfit more difficult. You have to see what colors work best with what and what makes it stand out. You can use any kind of solid color jewelry with this style, but I personally love big silver chains. Use all of your resources and add a hat to your fit and maybe a big or slender pair of shades. If you would like to layer, make sure whatever you put on top of your graphic tee is open. For me the shirt makes the fit and if you cover it up then it’s not really street fashion anymore. However, if your jacket is your centerpiece wear a solid color shirt underneath so it won’t take away from it, but PLEASE leave it open.

Rating MY Top Three Favorite Protective Styles

Bantu Knots 7.5/10

Bantu Knots are my most favorite to look at. What I love most about this style is not just the small beautiful buns, but the intricate parting styles. What ties this whole style together is the geometric work put into the parts  by the stylist. I’ve seen circle parts, triangle parts, and even heart shaped parts. Though the shaped and instruction is limited, there are many other things you can do to spice-up this beautiful hairstyle.

1. ADD MORE HAIR!!! Adding more hair to your own helps to accentuate the style. With Bantu knots being an up-do style, it already brings more attention to your face. Having bigger knots help to make everything flourish together. I can’t really explain it in words but big Bantu Knots are so beautiful and it really adds another element to this prominent cultural style.

2.ACCESSORIZE PLS!!!! I personally loveee adding jewelry into my hair. It makes your hairstyle sparkle more. With Bantu knots, I heavily recommend using GOLD jewel pieces. Silver is good, but gold makes you seem more out-standing especially, if you’re going for a more early 2000s or African look. Enjoy the finer things in life and add these unique pieces to your hair.

3. PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR EDGES. As I stated before, this is an up-do style, and while edges may not seem important, they do also help bring more attention to your hairstyle. I personally can’t do edges to save my life, but after getting this hairstyle so much in my early stages of the “Big Chop”, it made me want to learn. With this style, you can jus do a simple swoop on the edges on your head, or you can be an over achiever and Picasso the thing. Whether big small, curly or laid, edges can always bring that special something to any style.

While the style itself is a beauty to witness, taking it down is my favorite part. Knot-outs are what we call the result of keeping and maintaining the hairstyle for so long. In result of this, we are left with defining curls and a lot of volume. However, in my experience, it doesn’t always come out this way. The result of Bantu Knot-outs depend on humidity, the amount of product, and pure luck. You’ll never see the same results twice with this hairstyle, but it is a pretty protect style nonetheless.

 

Fulani Braids 1000000/10

Honestly, if there was one style I could wear for the rest of my life, it would be Fulani Braids. They are so beautiful ands very easy to manage. Like the previous style, adding edge designs to this look takes it to a whole other level. If anybody wants to donate funds to me for this hairstyle, I take CashApp <3. Anyways, let’s get more in depth about this hairstyle.

Fulani or feed-in braids originate from the Fulani (Fula) people in West Africa and the Sahel region. It is most widely known for the its unique braiding patterns and the unique braided loop on the side of the head. I personally love seeing this style with huge beads. If I had to choose a favorite type of bead to complement this beautiful hairstyle it would probably be in between wooden and clear ones. I really emphasize on accessorizing these hairstyles, but this style is so detailed that you could do without.

Getting these braids are worth the pain. Now I am labeled  as “tender-headed” in my community, which basically means my pain tolerance of someone pulling on my hair for hours on end is very low, but I am very willing to sit through that just for these braids. How long it’ll take solely depends on the length and pattern of your hair. The only down-side to this style is the pain you’ll feel after getting them and the long hours of sitting in a chair while someone neatly and tightly braids your hair. That is if you’re not “tender-headed”!

 

Mini Twists 6/10

I love a good twist out, HOWEVER twisting my thick 4c hair takes up so much time!!! And sure they look cute when they’re fresh, but after taking a short well-needed nap they look so weird. Though this is still a controversial topic in my community right now, I still struggle with my relationship with length. I have shrinkage. That basically means after my hair dries, it poofs and shrinks down.  When I twist my hair, I usually use a lot of product to successfully comb through my very kinky coils. After my products dries over night, my hair goes from my shoulders, to the tops of my ears. This is perfectly normal and it actually means that you hair is very healthy. This is where harmful stigmas come into play. Black women are very hyper-emasculated and that often comes from seeing black women with short hair and a strong physique. Though a lot of  attention is being brought to this issue, I still try to separate myself from that narrative. Thus sprouting my love-hate relationship with my natural hair. 

Mini twists aren’t the bad guy, but the twist-out is. Like Bantu knots, the results of a good twist-out is solely based on luck. It may give you gurl defining hair one day, and poofy naps the next, but the real skill is finding what technique gives you the results you want. Honestly, the time and effort I put into these aren’t worth the results I see after I take them out, but freshly done twists always make me come back to this hairstyle.

NOTE: Please do not attempt these hairstyles if you are non-black. This is not an exclusive statement, but one of concern!

Your Guide to AAVE and How Not to Use it

AAVE stands for African-American Vernacular English, or Ebonics. In simple terms, it is the way Black/African-Americans speak to each other on a regular basis. It has recently been recognized as a language of it’s own. Often times Black and African descendants were forced to code-switch from our day-to-day speech to “proper English”. AAVE is often demonized and used to mock my people, causing many of us to derive from the language. I want to share the importance of this language, the validity of it, and why as a non-black person you shouldn’t be able to speak it.

Sense of Community

Growing up, I would often speak fluently in AAVE. It was a way I could connect with other kids in my community. It was a way of life for me, I would speak it and think nothing of it. However, when I got older, my teachers and family members would often subtly correct my way of speaking. They would say, “No one is going to take you serious if you talk like that.” “You need to correct your speech before you go into that school”. They would even go as far criminalizing me just for the way I spoke.

So, I listened to them. I began to talk “proper” and “correct” the way I pronounced different words. In doing that, I lost my connection with my friends and classmates. I would be teased for being the “whitest” black girl they know. I felt as though I couldn’t talk to my friends in the same way I did before. Though I was being teased and neglected by my classmates, I would often be praised by adults and teachers. I had very mixed feelings about it, but I learned a technique that let me have the best of both worlds.

I learned to code-switch around the 5th Grade. I would speak regularly around my friends, then act like a totally different person in class. Even now, I still catch myself code-switching in the middle of conversations with people. I feel more comfortable speaking it around people like me and I immediately go in to code-switching mode when I’m around my white-counterparts. Though I am still working on it, I still feel as though I am going to be invalidated for speaking AAVE and incorporating it into my work.

AAVE/EBONICS IS VALID

It took me so long to accept the statement above. I would hear so many authority figures demonizing my language that I lost all sense of self. But after reading so many articles and hearing other Black people speak on it, I learned that it is something that should be more prominent in my life.

Talking down on this language is a form of systemic racism. Racists use any tactic they can to strip black people of their culture and use it against them. Something I think is worse, is when non-black people use Ebonics in a form of mockery and/or out-of-context of the situation or person. What I mean by that is, I find it very harmful when someone non-black uses it without knowing the meaning behind it and incorporating it in their speech when they simply don’t talk like that. That shows that you don’t care about the people, the language, or the meaning behind it. This is a form of cultural appropriation. When I see it used out of context my automatic thought is that this person is racially insensitive, and when I establish that, it very hard for me to see that person in a different way.

You’re Not Entitled to the Language

Though that line may come off harsh, there is so much truth to it. If you are a non-black person and you use Ebonics, why do you feel you can? One of the things that comes with uplifting this language is dismantling that entitlement. It is a language that derives from slavery. It was a horrific point in time were Black people were not allowed to speak to each other out of fear of rebellion. It is a mixture of broken English and our original language. The history and significance of it isn’t one that you can just take out of context. You’ve read my story and saw the lost sense of community I had to experience just because I spoke it. So I encourage you to remove AAVE terms and manners from your speech, if you’re non-black, and educate yourself on the matter. Be an ally and the change you want to see.

Rap Corner ~ MONTERO

Though, many of the men in the rap industry aren’t comfortable enough to accept Lil Nas X’s sexuality, he shows us time and time again that he doesn’t care and he’s a prominent figure in rap. I personally think that people often get too caught up in his sexuality rather than paying attention to his artistry. His pen work and usage of different instruments is something that surpasses all the hate that he receives.  Welcome to Montero, here I will be analyzing some of my favorite songs from artist’s Lil Nas X new project. After all the hype around this album, I really want to get down to the root of these songs and why they are so controversial. 

INDUSTRY BABY FT. JACK HARLOW

Firstly, I want to bring attention to the amazing horns in this song. Supposedly, Lil Nas created all musical instrumentals on this album. It is not a frequent thing to see rap artist make their own instrumentals, and I would just like to show  my appreciation for his multitalented skills. What really grabs the attention of his audiences is his usage of bass. The beat is nice enough but the bass adds that extra flavor to the song. It gets your head moving and quickly becomes one of your favorite songs from this artists.

Let’s talk about this amazing feature with Jack Harlow. He is another rap artist that has recently blown up over the summer of 2020. His flow and voice is unique and he brings so much artistry to the rap industry. This collaboration was so unexpected for me, but it worked so well. The way Harlow always has a way to ride the beat for ANY song is so admirable. I would love to hear more songs from these two because they are so complementary.

This music video is so good!!! Lil Nas puts so much effort into his music videos. It has a story, it has texture, it has outfits, it has comedy. I would classify his music video style as a work of cinematic masterpiece. This isn’t something that is very common in the rap industry, the most you’ll ever see is a few men in a video just walking around lip syncing songs. He has really set the standard for men in the rap industry and I’m so excited to see more!

THATS WHAT I WANT

This song is my favorite from Montero. It really takes us back to Lil Nas’s country roots. If you’re unfamiliar with what I’m referring to, Lil Nas dropped the first ever trap country song titled Old Town Road featuring the country godfather himself, Billy Ray Cyrus. This was the song that really put him on the map, gaining attention from artists all across the world. There has been so many remixes of this song even a version featuring my favorite boy band BTS. But enough about the past, let’s get into this amazing track.

What stood out to me the most was the bridge. It was so catchy when I first heard it and it is the perfect lead way into the hook. One of the things that are most prominent in the track is the vocals it really complements the instrumental really well. As a country music hater, this really changed my mind about the genre. It has heavy country undertones but what is most prominent is the alternative and trap tones of the song. It really appeases to all audiences and I think he really hit the mark with this one.

Also Billy Porter is in the video!!!!

DEAD RIGHT NOW

Once again he brings in the horns!! I don’t know what it is about his incorporations of different instruments, but it really does something for me. Maybe that’s just the band kid in me talking, but I really love that so much.

I think this song is the best representation of this album. Through-out the album he has a really good way to sticking to the theme and I think this song is the best representation of that. The added horns and other instruments emphasize the ethereal and celestial feeling of the album. 

This is a really cocky song, and what’s an album without a bragging song?! It’s about cutting loses with someone and having the confidence to talk about it. He lists his accomplishments in the album all while celebrating his independency. He also let’s us know that he can see through the façade that people put up after his claim to fame. This song is definitely a 9/10. The softness of the bass helps to bring attention to the lyrics, and they are so relatable. I suggest listening to this song whenever you see an ex, ex-bestfriend, or anyone who ever doubted your success. This song is definitely the confidence boost you didn’t know you needed.

SCOOP FT. DOJA CAT

I know I’ve said this a lot, but this is my favorite song from the album <3.  This feature was one of the reasons I was so excited for this album to be released. I feel like these two were a cultural reset we didn’t know we needed. I love to see grossing artists collab with each other to make an amazing song and they really exceeded any expectations I had for this song.

Doja Cat is an icon when it comes to music and fashion. She really has made her way into the music industry and has become a household name for all. What I fear the most when big artists like Doja Cat collab with up and coming artists like Lil Nas, is over-shadowing. I see too frequently where one artists out raps or out sings the original artists on the track taking away from that artist’s work. This song was a perfect balance of both of their voices. You got to hear Doja Cat’s personality and pen work while also appreciating Lil Nas X’s. This is yet another complementary duo that I am excited to hear more from.

From his features, to his solo tracks, Lil Nas X has shown us yet again why he is an artist to look out for. His consistency in lyricism and musical production is what makes him such a valuable and unique artist and I believe it needs to be appreciated more. The way he pays attention and provide us with so much creativity and detail really shines through his work. I encourage you to set aside all the press and criticism and listen to this album with open ears and an open mind.

Recently Added

I haven’t written one of these in a while, so I have a lot new music to talk about.

Kyle Dion, DUCKWRTH, & UMI

Never would I have thought to see my favorite artists all on one track. Everything about this song is perfect. From the video aesthetics to the smooth voices and beat, everything was so well put together! Whoever thought to make this collaboration deserves both of sides of their pillow to be cold. I’m struggling to put my admiration for this song into words. Kyle Dion is an icon when it comes to slow/up beat songs like this. He really brings the track together with his high notes and his bridge and chorus is heavenly. After his verse is done, we are introduced to the godlike voice of UMI. UMI has been my favorite artist since 2018 and to see her make a song with DUCKWRTH is very overwhelming. When I found out about this track I could’ve died!! She is a really great lyrists and her feminine voice highlights the song’s light heartedness really well! Last but not least, DUCKWRTH. This man really takes all of my money every time he drops an album. Though I can listen to his music for free digitally, I find the action of buying it is more pleasing. He is a really good alternative rapper and he complements the song really well. I would like to add that the first few lines of this song is kind of vulgar, so listen with caution.

Juanpalitoschinos

I really love this group!!! I just discovered them today through Apple Music’s autoplay feature. Autoplay suggests and plays songs that are similar to the one that you are currently listening to. It is a great feature for music fanatics like myself because it helps us to discover more smaller artists like Juanpalitoschinos! When I clicked on their profile, (because I tend to do that a lot), I noticed that they only have two songs released on apple music. However, that did not stop me from listening to those two songs over and over again. It’s classified under the pop genre, but I feel like that’s not a genre they deserve to be under. If you ever heard of other Hispanic/ Latino artists like Cuco, then you would get the type of genre they make music under. It’s kind of a spin on bedroom/indie pop with a lot of Latino undertones. It’s honestly my top three favorite genres of music. The first song I ever heard from them was Lo que tú me das and words can not describe how good this song is! The beat really grabbed my attention and the grainy/smooth Spanish that comes after is so good! It feels like your in a coming to age film! If you like artists like Beach Bunny, Cuco, boy pablo, or BROCKHAMPTON, I strongly suggest you give these artists a listen!

Little Simz

I mean look at her…iconic. It’s surprising to see that not a lot of people in the U.S know who this artist is. If you’re a little confused on who this woman is, then let me tell you how she recently blew up all around the world. Tiktok started a trend with her song Venom to showcase women empowerment. Though that is my favorite song by her, she also has so many tracks that are phenomenal. She is a rapper based in the UK and she is mostly known for her pen work and her ability to rap with incredible speed. She is so inspirational because she unapologetically herself and you can see that confidence in her performances. She recently dropped the track Woman featuring another one of my favorite UK artist Cleo Sol. The song is about empowering black women no matter where they are from. It talks about our hardships and close sisterhood and how we always have each other. I love this artist so much because of her womanist statements and her ability to incorporate that into her artistry.

Still Woozy

Still Woozy will always and forever be one of the most wholesome artists I have ever listened to. He really has a way to express topics through music in a way that is so unique. They way he puts really sad stories/messages in such a upbeat and happy song is a skill that not many can master. I don’t really know how to describe his voice because it’s not really singing. It’s a mixture between talking and singing, but when he does sing!! I feel like he knows exactly when to sing a certain part of the song, because he knows it will add such a heavy impact on the song. Here are some songs to get you started, That’s Life, Goodie Bag, and Maybe She. These are just a few of my favorite songs but any song from his discography can hit for you in a completely different way.

ph-1

I love Harry so much. He is one of the funniest and down-to-earth people I’ve had the pleasure of listening to. He is a rapper based in South Korea signed under the label H1GHR. His music is so good! I am a really big rap fan and I’ve always wondered what rap looked/sounded like in different countries and languages. His music was the opening experience for me. He was actually one of the first Korean artists I listened to and let me tell you this man’s music does not disappoint. His more chill/love songs are my favorite because it really complements his personality more. However, his more hardcore/hype songs are so good. I really encourage to listen to this artist not only for his amazing music, but also for his great personality! Here are some of my favorite songs from him: Like Me, Perfect, Nerdy Love, and a track that he was featured on called The Purge.

Writing these posts really makes me feel like I should be paid to be their promoters. I do really love all these artists to much and I really hope ya’ll decide to listen to them.