We gon’ be A’ight Once We Get “InFormation”

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It is known that music can serve as a mirror to the current political, social and cultural realities of a given society. In the past two years alone, some of the most prevalent household names in music, namely Rihanna, Miguel, Usher, Kendrick and most recently Beyonce, have put out music that covers issues that are quite evidently of the racial nature. If we pay a closer attention to the ways that established artists have chosen to create music, we can see a pattern that reveals an acute awareness of police violence, as well as the unfortunate position of the people, more specifically, African Americans, as perpetual victims of such violence. Because Rihanna, and Miguel’s work did not address the injustice head on, I will only focus my analysis on Kendrick, Usher, and Beyonce’s work.
Kendrick Lamar. “Alright”
Images of violence, greed, and alcohol permeate Kendrick’s “We gon’ be a’ight”. This imagery reflects on the environment that most African Americans come from; that environment of unrest, supported by police intervention, is the starting point. The implications of such violent actions are ambiguous as the screen then transfers to Kendrick Lamar riding in a car with friends, to the frame expanding and showing that he is in fact being carried by White police officers.
The message here is clear, he is above it all. He is flying through the city, or surrounded by other blacks, throwing money in the air; money being one of the greatest limitations of African Americans in the US.

Due to racial discrimination and other historical factors, they are subject to a limited access to resources that allow them to “be alright” but Kendrick reassures the people with the message “we gon’ be alright”.
The people are shown standing on top of police cars, quite literally, above them.
He portrays an enthusiasm to be alive, a life that is abruptly threatened by a police officer shooting him, as he is rising above his environmental restrictions.
Usher “Chains”
“I am so tired of being Insecure… I’ve had enough of running”
Children tilt their heads in fear and frustration holding their hands in prayer to an unseen force.

The representation of violence and destruction is evident; Usher demonstrates an outward feeling of anger and fear, by alternating his image of the young boys praying with hat of his anger. Children are at the forefront of Usher’s video. They stand emotionless mouthing the words of Nas, outwardly concerned about their own safety holding posters saying “Am I next”.

The video ends with the crumbling down of guns, and handcuffs and chains made of white clay; seemingly symbolizing white supremacy, crumbling to pieces.
Beyonce “Formation”
Standing on top of sinking cop car, Beyonce raises her hand in a fist, wearing a red knee-length dress. She appears crouching on the roof of the car, poised, surrounded by the still flooded houses of New Orleans.

The imagery is somewhat the same; glimpses of violent images appear here and there, chaotic just as the others. Just as Usher’s and Kendrick work portrays, there is an emphasis put on children; in the case, the emphasis is put on her child herself.
It is the image of victory and pride as Blue Ivey stands with her chin up, hands on her waist and her Afro out. Contrary to the previously described videos, the image is power. The symbolism is further carried through when a young boy is shown dancing defiantly in front of cops in uniform who in turn watch him motionlessly. At the end of his performance, the cops put their hands up in surrender.

The imagery of victimhood is absent and in its place is a defiance and a pride absent from the other narratives. This message extends beyond the children and into the idea of black womanhood as powerful. That is, representations of womanhood that are diverse and that do not fit a specific behavioral pattern. The song in itself is an invitation to African Americans, or so it seems, to embrace your own version of blackness, your own version of your womanhood, and to simply get yourself “in formation” and prep for battle.
Children are shown, very much a part of the black community, very much aware of the violence, and constantly put face to face to it. They run and play around the violence and despite of it.
They are constantly shown aware, conscious, and eventually, victorious of the violence through the consistent destruction of symbols of power.” Indeed, the symbols of authority are displayed at the upmost of fragility and on the verge of destruction; needing just a push or additional force to put an end to it the senseless violence. The message is clear “Revolution is coming”.
Oppression is never shown through the active enactment of a police officer on black bodies, instead it is presented to the viewer as a logical assumption; a precaution no doubt taken to avoid direct retribution for the distribution of a message that some may or may not agree with.
Symbols however, are present. For example, the cop car is shown as a representation of authority drowning at the feet of Beyonce. In Usher’s video, guns and handcuffs fall to the floor, crumbling down to pieces. Lamar’s song ends with him falling to his death with a smile on face; with the sound “we gon’ be alright” singing in background.
Almost as a sign of the ultimate revolt to police violence to show that even in death, he remains victorious.
These videos have in common a chaotic imagery with no specific story line beyond conveying the prevalence of violence and injustice. The images flash, as unorganized as they occur in real life; making explicitly clear the irrationality and confusion that violence brings to the communities that are home to many African Americans. It is clear that it is not about the money, and that it is not about the social status because they have reached a certain social and economical status. These artists are able to afford to avoid the issue by either hiring bodyguards or by carefully monitoring the company they keep. It is not in the said artist direct interest to put themselves at the center of a controversy.
The presentation of oneself in a controversial topic is in no way profitable because an artist’s income is highly influenced by marketing deals (Pepsi and Beyonce). Granted there is an influx in awareness on racial issues in the United States, and it could be argued that artists are using the wave of social consciousness to portray a certain self-awareness that transcends social class and income in order to gain followers. However, with the exception of Macklemore, the number of artists of a non-ethnic background, speaking on social issues, is, to my knowledge, null. If this were true, then most artists would be engaging in this behavior.
For years, artists have been reprimanded for not using their fame and popularity to touch on political issues; and now that they have, they are not met with applause, but doubt. Of course, some will say that we should not applaud them because it is their obligation as black artists to speak on issues pertaining directly to the black community.
Well, from the bottom of my not- giving-a-fuck-or-finding-validity-in-that-particular-opinion heart, I maintain that they fucking should. As I’ve stressed earlier, it does not necessarily directly benefit them to address these issues; so when they do, if done to the best of their ability within the realm of their art and their image as artists, they should, by all means, be applauded.
How do we use this newfound exposure on racial issues to achieve our goals. Because that is what it’s about, isn’t it? Because the issue with communication is that a lot is bound to get lost in translation. There is already uproar against Beyonce’s superbowl performance as it is interpreted not as a reaction to oppression, but instead as an attack on America’s police force.

It’s not about Beyonce or Usher, or Kendrick, or Rihanna, and how much any of them slayed at any point in time in a particular moment. It’s about that kid, standing in front of the reality of armed men, ready to shoot. A reality that we allowed to come into existence, because we are asking “why now?” instead of asking “What do we do now?”
So, Dear accountant, doctor, cook, architect, nurse, engineer, rapper, writer, painter, surgeon, lobbyist, senator, electrician, governor, plumber, teacher, bus driver etc… Time’s a wastin’. Because the only way we’re gonna break out of our chains and be A’ight, is if we get in formation.
P.S.:
I’ve heard somewhere that Beyonce’s “formation” lyrics, do not match the video. This is totally false; let me break it down for you:
Addressing head on the fact that the levis broke and that there is still much to do about it.
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AKA mind your business… As in YOUR business. Focus on your own goals instead of trying to come up with yet another reason to explain her success. Focus on achieving black wealth Ex: (You might just be a black bill gates in the making), not her business. Since her childhood consisted of voice training and dance lessons when most of us were probably twirling our fingers or playing hide and seek.
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I am black. I’m the blackest it gets really. My father is from the Deep South and so is my mother. Because of this, I embrace Blackness in all of its form; regardless of your biases about what is considered “ghetto”; like having hot sauce in your bag. Or the simple fact that the man she chose does not fit the European standards of beauty and that she will not be attacked for wanting her child to have her hair as it comes out of her head. Nor will she apologize for liking “negro noses” when Blacks have been deemed undesirable because their wide nose did not resemble the white nose. It is a royal “FUCK YOU” if you will.
I am not afraid to put in the work in order to achieve my goals. Black empowerment.
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I was able to make it so far because I put in the work, not because of some secrete participation in some secrete association that is most likely racist and highly exclusionary. I get what is mine because I see something I want, I strategize and I make sure I win. I am a legend in my own right because I have achieved so much, and I believe we can all win, because if I can make it, so can you. We need to all reach for greatness so that we are able to “Slay”. It is in your best interest to do the same because if you do not keep up with the hustle of success, you are likely to lose the race. The world has no mercy for lackluster performances; that is why it is requirement that you slay.
Believe in yourself; you may be the future of the black community. Keep on going because you never know. You can gain enough power and money to change the world and leave your imprint on history. So keep going and don’t give up.
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It’s okay if people talk about you while you are in the process of doing the best you can to become the best that you can do. It means that you are causing commotion because you’re doing something right. It’s okay, just keep calm and keep going. Don’t get distracted by what is being said about you and stay focused on the task at hand. You will get the final word because your wealth will accumulates, while the lives of those who speak ill of you, won’t change much.
Conclusion
It reflects the dilemma artists must go through in order to make a song. The public has the habit of gravitating towards lyrics that are simple and tend to avoid the more complex “woke” music; especially because it comes from Beyonce, who has made her career off of her sex appeal. There are already critiques about why she is choosing this moment to speak about this issue. Others insists that she is hoping on the #problack trend for commercial success. It’s all about timing; had this song been her first song, she wouldn’t have reached the level of success that she has. She had to infiltrate the music industry to a level where she is undeniably the biggest artist in the world in order to use that platform. Had she done a fight the power preachy song, people would have ignored it just like they ignored “candle in the Sun” by Miguel and “Chains” by Usher. Let’s face it; “Chains” has not gotten the same attention as “Yeah” by Usher. Beyonce had to put it in a trap/rachet song because otherwise, the message would have never been delivered. People don’t realize that music is crap because of the public itself. The model is “supply and demand”. The public demands and so the artist has no choice but to deliver.
P.S.
“Okay, Now Ladies, Let’s get in formation”
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If you decipher that phrase alone, she’s not just telling you to get in formation(get your shit together), she’s also telling you to get information (Knowledge).
Snapchat: AnnaLytick

Politically Incorrect: The Terror on Freedom of Speech

Happy New year everyone! And what a better way to celebrate the first week of the year than with a special bombing of the NAACP and the death of Charlie Hebdo through a terrorist attack that left 11 people dead (sarcasm implied).

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Violence is in the air and I can feel its aftereffect like a trembling force that has found its way to my gut. I know you can’t tell the connection between these two events that are apparently disconnected. Allow me to demonstrate such link and with it our declining freedom of speech. Two acts of terrorism took place; one today (the assassination of Charlie Hebdo) and one yesterday (The bombing of the NAACP). Let us begin with the bombing.

The bombing was not reported in the media until today January 7th 2015, even though it took place on January 6th 2015.

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One would think that a bomb attack on American soil would be covered by the media especially in a country that puts such a strong emphasis on anti-terrorism. But I guess that if you fight for racial equality, that doesn’t count? How else can we interpret a failed bomb attack of the NAACP when it is only through twitter that the the bombing was publicized? What good is a failed bombing attempt in the eyes of the media? Never mind that no one thought it suspicious that it occured in an era heavy with the after effects of Ferguson.

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For those of you who don’t know: “The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination. The vision of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is to ensure a society in which all individuals have equal rights without discrimination based on race.”

There is some debate over whether or not the bombing was intentional. Apparently the device detonated next to gallon of gasoline. Luckily, the gas didn’t ignite and the effects of the bomb were minimal. The news reports put a lot of emphasis on the fact that the NAACP building housed a barbershop. Amy Sanders, a spokesperson of the FBI admitted:

“It has also not yet been determined if the motive was a hate crime, domestic terrorism, a personal act of violence against a specific individual, or other motive as there are numerous individuals and entities tied to the building in the vicinity of the explosion.”

I mean of course, I suppose someone could posit that the bomb was meant for the barber shop next to it, that makes plenty of sense. You never know, maybe someone didn’t get a nice hairdo. Such things are of grand priority to many, and some could possibly feel rather sensitive about a failed haircut to the point of resorting to physical violence, right? It sounds even more ridiculous when I write the thought down. Why would that be the first thought when a bombing attack is done in close proximity to an organization that works towards social equality; as if equality ever came easily and peacefully to those who sought it? The more important question becomes; would you spend time worrying if the bombing was intentional if it had happened near the pentagon? Or would you resolve the issue immediately? You might say “The pentagon!!!?? That’s a rather extreme example don’t you think?” Well no it’s not, it’s either you respect an organization enough to figure out who and what is trying to harm it, or you don’t. Leaving the bombing in the realms of possible threats instead of acknowledging it as a real one, shows that the NAACP is not viewed as something worth protecting nor fighting for. The NAACP is clearly not worth the hassle, nor the media coverage. It happened yesterday and it’s just now made the news and has been quickly hushed away by the news of the death of Charlie Hebdo who received, it seems, an international coverage.

I mention Charlie Hebdo because in many ways, the story of his death resonated with me the same way that the bombing of the NAACP did. The similarities are flagrant. Both the NAACP and Hebdo unapologetically show the ugly face of their respective society as well as its political realities. Both were attacked; Charlie Hebdo, however didn’t survive this attack on his life. For those of you who do not know, Charlie Hebdo was a highly controversial cartoonist who focused on political satire. His style of work was, to say the least, crude. Hebdo often defied the French government’s warnings on publishing some of his work. His most controversial work surrounds images of muslims. Below is an example of his work where he presents a woman wearing the burqa in her anus instead of the traditional way:

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Evidently Hebdo’s style of work was very bold. He used shock factor to attract attention and convey a message, whatever that message was. I do not necessarily agree with his political views or his message. But he was a genius nonetheless in his ability to move such a large amount of individuals; whether he moved them to laughter, anger, or fear. What is an artist if he cannot move a crowd? My focus however is not on the loss of an artistic genius, but on what his death symbolizes. Hebdo’s assassination is a symbol of the declining protection of individuals’s or organization’s ability to convey their views when those views strongly defy the status quo. What is the price of fighting for a cause? Whether the method is to be more peaceful and progressive as is the case with the NAACP or whether the approach is crude and shocking as was Hebdo’s approach; should the price be death? Should we truly stay unmoved by those attempts on our freedoms? Is an opinion or the expression of an opinion, however extreme, worthy of an assassination? Some seem to think the two correlate. Artists around the world illustrated this belief through cartoons in honor of Hebdo:

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I suppose some people could argue that he did not get the last laugh. Charlie Hebdo simply had the courage to say and write everything that most of us are too afraid to even admit out loud. If he was a successful cartoonist, it is only because so many people had followed him. It means that his art mattered to the people. He was a voice when every one was afraid to whisper the truth that lay before their eyes. The world we are living in has no room for the equality of media coverage. Where one act of terrorism where a cartoonist calling out the mistakes of government is highly covered and reported throughout the world, the terrorist attack on American soil of an organization that promotes equality is barely whispered. It is evident that those who criticize the system will be punished severely.

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The act of terrorism that took place in Colarado on January 6th 2015 was echoed in Paris today. It is an attack on our freedom to fight for what we believe in and it is not limited to specific geographical areas. We all know that the media controls much. It’s almost become common knowledge amongst most of us. But the message I’m getting today from our ruling forces is clear: “Shut the fuck up and let us oppress you or the consequences will be fatal”. It almost sounds like the whisper of a rapist commanding its victim to not fight it. You might think me crude or you might think that I’m exaggerating a bit. But I am not the only one seeing it for what it truly is. Freedom of speech is what allows us to show to our rulers what is wrong with their government and what they should be fixing. Without this communication, mostly led by media companies and journalists, there is nothing left to our world but a dictatorship hiding behind the illusion of democracy.

These attacks on the liberty of self expression and on equality should not go unnoticed. After reading this article, you should not allow my words to go to the back of your mind. You should not go back to your life blissful and unworried, believing that someone will give you what you need to guarantee your freedom, equality, and security. That is not the way the world works. Because the media which is the intermediary between what is happening in the world in our view of the world, has clearly portrayed that to fight for what is right, means that you should expect to be attacked. More importantly, the lack of coverage of the NAACP over coverage of Hebdo’s assassination serves as an example to show that death is the reward for those who go against the system. Ask yourself, if the NAACP bombing had been successful, would there be so little coverage? Is only successful punishment to be conveyed to your eyes and your ears? And if so, what do you think it does to you? Do you still feel safe? Do you feel terrorized enough to stop letting the media fool you into no longer paying attention to what is happening around you?

Anna Lytick

http://instagram.com/annalytick

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Sources:

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/01/07/us/naacp-office-explosion/

http://gazette.com/fbi-looking-for-man-regarding-explosion-near-colorado-springs-naacp-office/article/1544124

http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-explosion-rocks-naacp-building-in-colorado-20150106-story.html

http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/01/07/charlie-hebdo-massacre-prompts-defense-of-freedom-of-speech

http://www.naacp.org/

Momma told me… What’s inside is all that matters (Nudity Included)

Did that picture make you click on the link??? Did those eyes so pale, in sharp contrast against his tan skin drag you in. He is a felon.

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But that, you knew. Maybe it drew you in a bit more. I mean he’s handsome. How could such a handsome man end up behind bars?  It doesn’t quite stop you from starring and from lusting, and subsequently from wanting to help him. You are, in this moment , as shallow as a puddle formed by a light summer rain. You are drowned in your human carnal desire, or envy, or disdain. And that is ok. Your senses are doing what they are supposed to do, and your hormones are appropriately responding. What is not ok is the overriding of carnal desires over logic. Had I put this face in the beginning of my blog,

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would you have had the same need to go and read the story?  Yet this man merits more of your attention than Jeremy Meeks does. Allow me then to use your own weakness against you to introduce you to Rene Lima-Marin. When he was 20 years old, he was arrested for armed robbery of a video store. He was sentenced to 8 convictions that adds up to 98 years in prison. Let me repeat that: 98 years.  However, the clerk did a mistake. It was put in his record that all eight counts were to be served at the same time, which would shorten his sentence to approximately 12 years, instead of putting that he was supposed to serve the time consecutively (98 years). And so,  Lima-Marin was released on parole in 08 after spending 8 years in prison.

He went back to society and built a family and got a job installing windows. Hardly an illegal activity.

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When it was noticed that he had been released 90 years early due to a clerical error. He was then arrested once more and sentenced to finish 90 years in prison for a mistake he made  when he was 20 years old. It was a armed robbery with no deaths. I am no lawyer nor do I have any knowledge of the judiciary system, but 98 years in prison for a armed robbery seemed a bit extreme especially when there were no casualties. And to send a man back to prison due to a clerical error, even when it is evident that he has changed his ways, seems borderline cruel. Yet, is is Jeremy Meeks Picture along with his penis that has monopolized the media to the point that there is a poll going on whether or not he should be freed.

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By society’s own criteria of who should or shouldn’t deserve a second chance, Meeks has clearly failed; he has been arrested multiple times and has always picked a route that would lead him back to prison. He was arrested on five weapon charges and one gang charge.

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While Lima-Marin has not engaged into any criminal activities that could send him back to prison. Yet it is for Meeks, that a large amount of people are rooting for. It is even rumored that he is being offered a modeling job when he leaves prison.

It is a known fact that physical appearance matters but it should never be the main criteria for the distribution of justice . And so, I extend to you an invitation, to look past physical characteristics in your decision of whom should deserve the most attention, Meeks or Lima-Marin?  Not as many people were aware of  Lima’s situation simply because not a lot of people were sharing his story. I’m tempted to believe that they weren’t sharing his story because he didn’t have those model like features that Meeks possessed.

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Somehow, having model features seems to have made his story more valid and more likely to be shared. My invitation is to live beyond physical appearances and to transfer our attention to someone who has tried, and succeeded, to re-integrate society. Meeks already has all the attention he can get. Quite frankly, more than I would’ve given to him.

I propose that they cancel the sentence of 90 years in prison for Lima-Marin. People have gone to jail for much less time over much worse. I may be being naive, but 90 years for someone who committed armed robbery is extreme and unfair. His accidental release into society showed that he is not a threat. Yet, his renewed imprisonment did not take into consideration that very important and crucial detail.  All decisions are valid and all human life is valuable. If you want to keep your attention on Meeks, that is your choice, but my decision is to transfer mine on Lima-Marin because he seemed to have been fucked by the system. Whereas Meeks was simply saying “fuck the system”.  So, please accept my invitation, let’s start a poll on whether Lima-Marin should be freed or not. Maybe then he’ll get enough public attention so that his case, as well as cases like his, may not be repeated.

One thing did become clear to me, when it comes to the case of Jeremy Meeks, when my momma told me “What’s inside is all that matters”, she was sugar coating the world. Appearances open doors for us because we are visual beings. But I would like to think that a pretty face would not be the main criteria for the right to freedom, fairness and justice. I have shared with you my thoughts. Ultimately, the decision is yours and it is up to your good judgement.

Anna Lytick

Instagram.com/AnnaLytick

Annalytick.wordpress.com

graywishes: sex is not a goddamn performance

Gosh… This was perfection…

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Sex is not a goddamn performance.

Sex should feel as natural as drinking water.

It should not require confidence.

Sex should happen, because the moment is ripe.

Ripening lips, ripening labia, ripening cock, ripening pupils, ripening state of being. Ripe and augmented and brimming. Your energy goes to your pumping heart, then to every external nerve, then to theirs, on fire.

You bask, roll, play in it. You sigh, moan, laugh.

It’s not about being “good in bed.”

It’s about being happy.

One should never worry if they’re doing it “correctly.” Sex is not factual. I don’t want your cookie-cutter sex, I don’t want your meticulously crafted, calculated, fool-proof fuck. I don’t want a show. I want you. Let your instincts, urges and whims define that. It’s enough.

What do most girls like? Forget about it. Statistics are meaningless when there’s only one. Hello, here’s me. Here’s you.

Don’t worry…

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Nothing New Under the Sun

“Art is not chaste. If it is, it is not art”

Pablo Picasso

Art is the materialization of the human experience through our hands, our voice, our pen, our pencil, our needle and thread, our bodies. Art is creating from nothing something that is impactful, that will shock you and move you. Whether it drowns you in lust and creates that warmth between your legs that makes you desire another body, or that it creates a sharp thud in your stomach as you feel shame or guilt. Or perhaps your heart will swell as emotions overwhelm you. Art simply is ART and cannot be restrained by the boundaries of changing moral values. It is the only place where one can truly be free.

When I first saw the pictures of Rihanna streaming the internet, I thought nothing of it. She is a beautiful woman, covered in a see-through dress, which falls gracefully to her heels. It was revolutionary; she made nudity… un-shameful and comfortable. She exemplified in that moment the freedom of expression that art allows. In this instance, her art is fashion.

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However, as is always the case, the consensus differed greatly from my opinion. In the past few days, she has been called a whore,  a bad bitch, and a talentless artist. Something has become clear: it is assumed that nudity is somewhat a modern day phenomenon. When Miley sat down swinging on that wrecking ball, people went crazy…

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Milley Cyrus Wrecking Ball

…because she was naked… and because she licked a few objects here and there. What immediately followed was people accusing Miley, just as they accused Rihanna, that what they do is not artistic… because they use nudity… They have identified this want for nudity and sexual behavior as a recent phenomenon that only takes place in Modern times. If anything, art, as it was present in older times, was much more explicit and much more bold than what we are experiencing in present times.

Here we have an obscure painting of Picasso. As you can see, it is a man receiving a blow job.

 

Pablo Picasso. Spanish Malaga 1881-1973 Mougins Frace 1902-1903
Pablo Picasso. Spanish Malaga 1881-1973 Mougins France 1902-1903

 

And here is a painting found in the ruins of Pompeii. These pieces are highly pornographic; yet they are granted the title of “art” when the previous images are qualified as vulgar in revealing when they are much less aggressive.

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Pompeii 79AD

And here, we see, on the left, a piece done by Paul Cezaane where there are a few women taking a bath. And to the right, there is a picnic of women naked and men fully clothed. There are sexual undertones in this even though they aren’t performing any sexual activities.

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Paul Cezanne. Les Grandes Baigneuses. 1906
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Edouard Manet. Le Déjeuner sur l’Herbe. 1863

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The previous paintings were examples of arts as a medium to express the human experience. And, a major aspect of being human, is to exists within our bodies and to live through them. This implies, bathing, eating, and fucking. The presence of nudity in art is merely a representation of the human body, as it is. To be insulted by the presence of nudity in art is to be insulted by our human existence. I mean we’re all naked under our clothes right? And so, I view Rihanna as a talking, breathing, walking,  painting. At least, in that moment she was.  The difference now is that we are able to capture images within a fraction of a second. We are one click away from an image, whereas it would’ve taken a painting for us to be able to witness the same image. Had Rihanna been wearing this same dress hundred years ago, and had someone made a painting of it, I wouldn’t be surprised if it were, then, recognized as art.

 

She is not the first to have exposed her body in the name of her art. She claims to have been inspired by Josephine Baker here pictured:

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As we can see, Josephine Baker was quite bold; and so exposing the body is far from being a recent phenomenon. She was famous and her time and known for her nudity. Finding the need to assign blame on “modern times” is inaccurate and absurd. To find offense in Rihanna’s presentation of herself is the same as finding offense to Edouard Manet’s work. Fashion is art. There is nothing new under the sun. There is no “Nowadays people have no shame.”  Rihanna exposing her breasts is not a new phenomenon, and the presence of nudity does not mean that it is not art. Painting is art. Singing is art. Writing is art. Photography is art. Stop being such prudes. If there is no freedom in art, then where will we find it?

Anna Lytick

https://annalytick.wordpress.com

http://instagram.com/annalytick

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WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF IT HAPPENED TO YOU: SOLANGE AND JAY FIGHT

Did you guys hear about the whole Solange hitting on Jay-Z ordeal?

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OF COURSE YOU DID. I bet you researched it and I bet you even looked at the video. I bet you instagramed a picture about it, tweeted about it and formed a theory on what happened. For a moment you questioned yourself: “Why could she have done that?” and you wondered “What did Jay-z do?” In the mean time, pictures such as these have spent the entire day circulating my newsfeed.

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Truthfully, we had no business knowing about this interaction; this was a dispute amongst family members, as they happen often in this imperfect world. It just so happens that such interaction was caught on tape and leaked for the world to see. Now this is pure gossip. We gain nothing from such knowledge yet the world re-circulates this nonsense. But being that I can’t quite seem to avoid the subject, as it has been, at least in my case, forced down my throat by the social media, why not make something out of it? Maybe start a discussion on the extent to which one should get involved between a spouse argument/fight with a family member.

Had it been you, where would you have sided? Would you have sided with your husband/wife, or with your sibling? Could you have honestly truly picked a side without serious consequences in your relationship with either? There is, in most cases, an eternal battle between the new family and the old one. One’s loyalty can be often times tested as choosing one can sometimes imply betraying the other. And so, what was Beyonce to do in this situation but to do act exactly in the way that she did:

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I believe that in general one should not intrude upon matters that do not concern them. And as the video shows, the interaction was taking place between Jay-Z and Solange. So why would Beyonce intervene? If the matter is between the two of them, they will both find a way to sort it out. Had you been in that elevator, with a huge security guard with the required skills to avoid violent physical interactions, would you have truly felt the need to try to separate them? In doing so, at the risk of jeopardizing your relationship with two people you love, given how unnecessary your involvement seems to be. And, instead, remain objective, at least in appearance. I am not an expert on relationships, especially in this particular instance when there could be so many factors influencing the said fight. But think about it, if faced with this situation, where would your loyalty lie? See how suddenly sensitive the issue becomes once you place yourself in someone else’s shoes? So being that we are so fond of gossiping… Let’s gossip! What do you guys think?

Anna Lytick

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REASONS YOU SHOULD WATCH MALEFICENT… other than because I said so.

You’re now 20 something and we’ve all grown up on Disney. And then you see this beautiful thing:

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So if you still need convincing to go watch it, here are a few reasons to do so!

1. Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie playing “Maleficent”. OH MY GOOOOOOD!!!!! Talk about perfect casting!

But the reasons I’m excited for this movie extend far beyond the little girl in me who is excited to see the embodiment of my disney fantasies into real life actors. I’m excited because we get to know why Maleficent is Maleficent! I mean why wouldn’t you want to know how she became so badass?

2. A woman with Purpose

The Sleeping Beauty portrayed a focus of a woman in her late twenties earlier thirties who has cast a spell on a young baby. It’s important to mention that the focus is not that she was punishing the child but instead was punishing the parents through the child. So she doesn’t actually have beef with the sweet little blonde girl. However, in the cartoon version there isn’t much reason as to why she was such a bitch. The movie however gives us a different perspective of a woman who actually has a reason to be angry. So in the movie, she’s not just a old woman trying to destroy the life of a young one. There is more weight behind her intentions!

3. Power is Good. 

But now let’s talk about the “diabolicalization” of powerful women in Disney. The fairies all three combined have less power than Maleficent. Because let’s face it! She’s THE BOSS. I mean just look at her!

3But we have to notice that Disney has a theme! When the woman is in power, there’s always something wrong with her. In Maleficent’s case she’s just a petty bitch who got mad because they didn’t invite her to a party. I mean really? Are you serious? Usurla from The Little Mermaid was evil.

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Even Frozen portrayed this powerful woman as having no control over herself.  As awesome as Frozen was! Look at poor Elsa… WIth all this freaking power but who has no control over herself for most of the movie. Until she totally explodes and freezes the entire freaking kingdom! In Brave the witch that gave her the formula to change her mother was portrayed as volatile and crazy.

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When the female body is associated to extreme power (supernatural power), it’s never good. And I don’t need the power to transform a rag dress into a gown -_- like for cinderella. I mean what kind of power is that? Couldn’t she have just wished her to be rich and become a princess on her own?

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In parallel the women who are celebrated are the young beautiful innocent naive and impulsive women. i.e. Dreamy and inexperienced. How great. But in real life, these women are the ones who get hurt and who simply never win. Those are the ones who get bossed around and hurt and walked all over and abused and… need I go on? You get the point!

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4. Standing your ground and defending yourself is normal. AND GOOD.

So with Maleficent, I’m hoping that they will show that evil doesn’t just EXIST. That in her case, they pushed her and she simply pushed back. I think it’s very important for women to understand that that’s ABSOLUTELY NORMAL. I personally wouldn’t encourage it because, well, you might regret it later, or you might simply realize that it’s not worth it. But if you can live with your decision to get back at someone, and your reason is based on a rational thought process, then by all means, defend yourself and stand your ground! And be confident doing so!

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The original Maleficent portrays to us the original BOSS. And I mean BOSS. She has a bunch of little minions who seem to be males; most importantly, they aren’t human.

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Evidently they are idiots ( I don’t know whether that was done intentionally or not, almost like indicating the only way a woman could be in power was if she was ruling over a bunch of idiots). She is strong and powerful. But obviously she’s going to lose, even though it’s realistically impossible, because it’s Disney and the bad guy always loses!

5. Knowing the full story is important

This new movie, it seems, is going to show us who Maleficent truly is and what she truly wants. I mean how did she became such a vindictive bitch? I think it’s important to talk about that aspect of womanhood. I suspect that they will come to show how she became “the bitch” in the story. It is important to look at people as a whole. And with this movie, we will come to see the entire story instead of basing assumptions over what we think we know about people.

6. Again… Power is good!

The creation of characters in Disney of women who are shallow and evil, for no reason whatsoever, creates this belief that being a woman in power is synonymous with being evil. This is closely related to the article I wrote about the destruction of the term “bossy” when referring to girls and women who display leadership skills. This simply encourages a punishment of women in power and a discouragement to even reach for such heights.

7. THEM CHEEKBONES!!

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She could literally cut you with her face! HER FACE! Can you cut someone with your face? I have to say they did a great job with the makeup!

Now Unless you have missed the wonderful experience of seeing the trailer! Here it is

Enjoy the Chills!

Anna Lytick

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