At just 32, Margaret “Maggie” Eckford or “Ruelle” has made some seriously good music, which most recently includes ‘Rival,’ an album that houses the track by the same name from the trailer. The show itself is based on the Pulitzer Prize winning book that traces the threat of Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda in the late 1990s and how the rivalry between the FBI and CIA may have set the path for 9/11. It’s certainly no surprise that Ruelle’s music has made it to the screen considering its cinematic style. Some of her credits include, How to Get Away with Murder, The Leftovers, The Originals, Pretty Little Liars, and The Walking Dead. Listen below.
“I’ve always been honored and proud to perform the national anthem and last night I wanted to try something special for the NBA. I’m a risk taker artistically, but clearly this rendition didn’t strike the intended tone. I love this country and honestly tried my best.”
Watch below. It wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t feel as if she was trying to show off, but this country needs a laugh, and Fergie delivered.
The movie follows T’Challa, who returns home to Wakanda following the death of his father, who was King. He succeeds the throne of the isolated, technologically advanced African nation, but when a powerful old enemy reappears, the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. The young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people. Black Panther stars Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, with Angela Bassett, with Forest Whitaker, and Andy Serkis. The film is directed by Ryan Coogler, who also wrote the screenplay with Joe Robert Cole.
According to Ryan Coogler, he originally envisioned Kendrick Lamar contributing a few songs to the soundtrack, but when Lamar viewed the film, he wanted to create the entire album. To stream the record, click HERE.
It’s no surprise that Justin Timberlake was asked to perform at the Super Bowl. There’s few performers who can carry that type of venue, and he recently dropped a new record. Though fans hoped Janet Jackson might also return, Jackson made it clear she had no such intention. That’s not shocking given the world of heat she received for exposing her bare breast on stage, and the fact that she felt betrayed by Timberlake during the fallout. In short, everyone blamed Janet and no one blamed Justin. Sure it was her boob, but Timberlake participated, and instinct tells me it was pre-planned. Those two can deny it ad nauseum and I still will never believe it was a wardrobe malfunction. That’s neither here nor there, though.
Now for the Prince “tribute.” During his lifetime, Prince made it clear he hated holograms, calling it “the most demonic thing imaginable.” He furthered that if “[he] was meant to jam with Duke Ellington, [they] would have lived in the same age.” He was also notoriously protective over his music. Though Timberlake’s performance utilized a projection over a hologram, fans were still not pleased. It’s worth noting that Prince was clear about his distaste for Timberlake, once saying, while accepting an award, “For whoever is claiming that they are bringing sexy back, sexy never left!” Timberlake responded in his song, “Give It To Me,” saying, “We missed you on the charts last week / Damn, that’s right, you wasn’t there / If s-sexy never left, then why’s everybody on my shit / Don’t hate on me just because you didn’t come up with it.” He also took a jab at Prince’s height while presenting the award at the 2007 Golden Globes, bending down to “accept the award on his behalf.” You can see that below, followed by laughter from the audience.
Timberlake moderately addressed the controversy with Jimmel Kimmel, explaining that he got the approval from Questlove. “Questlove is the encyclopedia on music,” said Timberlake. “But I also feel like [he’s] a gatekeeper on Prince, so if I got the thumbs-up from Questlove, I’m good.” He furthered that he wanted to do something for this city and something for him that would just be the ultimate homage to what I consider the GOAT [Greatest of All Time] of musicians.”
All the aforementioned facts are important, but if they’re briefly removed from the equation, let’s ask the larger question of whether this was enjoyable to watch. Personally, I could have done without it. Absent Prince’s clear objections to this type of event, I found it unnecessary and distracting. One can pay tribute to an artist without posthumously harmonizing with them. I’d have just gone purple as a subtle nod and left it at that. Even a Prince cover is in it of itself a joke, given the inevitable comparisons to Prince. It’s certainly relevant that Timberlake and Prince exchanged barbs during Prince’s lifetime, and it’s also relevant that Timberlake never effusively and publicly endorsed Prince while Prince was alive (if my readers can find such an endorsement, please send it my way). Had he felt that way, perhaps he should have take the higher road when Prince first took his swipe. Because I have it on good authority that Justin Timberlake is an exceptionally kind human being that treats everyone with respect, I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and say the public Prince feud might have simply been in good fun, but one will never really know. That being said, this element of the performance was too big a distraction from what was otherwise both flawless and joyous.
Sean Gadd was brought to my attention via a mutual friend with very good taste, and you’re in luck, because the former Grouplove bassist will be his first show of the year on Thursday, January 25th at The Moroccan Lounge in Los Angeles. His forthcoming album, ‘The Dark Way Back,’ gives listeners an intimate look the his journey.
Originally from London, Gadd moved to Los Angeles where he co-founded the band Grouplove, which he left in 2014 amidst turmoil in his personal life. Of his previous struggle with addiction, Gadd says, “It felt that everything I’d worked for my whole life was gone overnight.” However sometimes you have to lose everything to find out who you really are. “In a way, for me it actually became the most enlightening time of my life. I had to find out who I was without all the things that came with being in a successful band. I’d lost friends. I’d lost my band. My record deal was gone. Who was I now?” Listen to a track of his new album below. For tickets to his upcoming show, click HERE.
The account of Aziz Ansari’s alleged sexual assault might be the most important yet. It underlines the necessity of nuance, and it offers both men and women an opportunity to dissect the sometimes difficult dichotomy between sexual assault and a severe misunderstanding. I’ve read the reactions on twitter, and there are a few things worth noting. First, I believe that this woman felt sexually assaulted, and my heart breaks for her.
Her very detailed account begins with a beautiful date that seemingly went well, which took place at an “Oyster bar on board a historic wooden schooner on the Hudson River.” She then sensed Ansari was “eager to leave,” despite the remaining wine in her glass. Since there is no provided timeline, it’s unclear how long they were on the boat before Ansari suggested they depart. Is it possible, as she suggests, that Ansari hurried their meal as a means to get to the sex? Sure. Is it also possible he was simply sick of sitting on a boat? Also sure. According to Grace, when they entered his apartment “He said something along the lines of, “‘How about you hop up and take a seat?’ Within moments, he was kissing her. ‘In a second, his hand was on my breast.’ Then he was undressing her, then he undressed himself. She remembers feeling uncomfortable at how quickly things escalated.'” For starters, I want to be clear that a woman entering a man’s apartment after a date in no way warrants a blanket assumption that she is game for sex. I also want to be clear that as a general rule, a man SHOULD NEVER undress himself. Endless coffee conversations with many of my best girlfriends have involved that very specific subject, and each and every one of them was horrified when the man undressed himself. My male friends like rules for clarity, and that is one of them. Your pants don’t come off until we take them off. Is it a double standard? Yes. But there you have it. As for a kiss immediately escalating into undressing, while it might feel fast, there are certain rip-each-other’s-clothes-off circumstances that we’ve all been in, and they often involve a “game on” approach. As in, I know it’s soon, but I’m so turned on I can’t wait one minute longer. If that turned-on feeling is not mutual, it’s a mess.
Grace also notes that Ansari “told her he was going to grab a condom within minutes of their first kiss, [and she] voiced her hesitation explicitly.” I’m about to give my male friends and readers another general rule. NEVER get a condom unless the woman asks if you have it. I too have been in a situation when I was heavily making out with someone who then grabbed a condom and I took the condom out of his hand, threw it across the room, and said, “Who is f-g you?” He looked at me perplexed and I said, “We are fooling around. We are not having sex. That is not happening.” I’d like to note that this occurred with a very close friend, who is an incredibly good guy, and he misread the signals. He literally thought that foreplay inevitably turned into sex, and he made the assumption. Had he followed my “never grab the condom” rule, he’d have been fine. In fact, I’d argue that the first time two people have sex, the women should be the one asking. After that first time, the man can ask first (another rule). I’d like to also note that not all women are as blunt as me. Those who know me might say I’m too blunt. But for a women who is greatly uncomfortable and ALSO shy, I can imagine the horror associated with the severe down-shift between, “Hey I’m kissing this cute guy,” and “Wait, this cute guy thinks we are going to have sex tonight?”
Grace then describes how Ansari would “[take] his two fingers in a V-shape and [put] them in [her] mouth, in [her] throat to wet his fingers, because the moment he’d stick his fingers in [her] throat he’d go straight for my vagina and try to finger me.” Another note here. It is not in it of itself objectionable to do this move. Wetting a girls fingers with her own saliva to then insert into her vagina can be hot if the woman is actually turned on. Many dirty moves take place during sex that could appeal to one person while horrifying another. For instance, some women like to be spanked during sex, while others might find this to be a complete violation. While it’s important to read cues, some men can’t, which brings us to this circumstance. Grace’s most damning allegation is when she says Ansari “physically pulled her hand towards his penis multiple times throughout the night, from the time he first kissed her on the counter-top onward. ‘He probably moved my hand to his dick five to seven times,’” she said, furthering that “he really kept doing it after I moved it away.” Another rule here. A man should NEVER put a women’s hand on his dick while hooking up for the first time. Anytime thereafter, a man should only put a woman’s hand on his dick ONCE. If she says no or physically moves her hand away, that means no. She should not feel pressured into performing any type of sexual act, and excessive hand-rejection presents a pretty clear understanding of what the woman wants. She also says that Ansari continued to ask where she wants to be f-ked,which was a confusing question considering she did not want to be f-kd at all. I too have been in situations where the man executes some type of dirty talk that falls flat, and it’s NOT FUN. Also, since he previously grabbed a condom, it’s fair to assume this was a literal question and not just dirty talk, but there is no way to know.
Once Grace shifted her non-verbal cues to verbally saying, “I don’t want to feel forced because then I’ll hate you, and I’d rather not hate you,” she assumed Ansari’s moves would cease. Instead, he pointed to his penis and motioned for her to give him oral sex. How Ansari did not then understand that she was uncomfortable is beyond my comprehension. In law, intent means “know or should have known,” and it’s for this very reason. Though it’s possible he did not KNOW, he definitely SHOULD HAVE known. And we’ve learned from the Times Up movement that just because a woman engages in a sexual act does not mean that the consent is clear. If you bully a woman, or if you ask multiple times after being told no, the consent becomes very muddy. And no man should want muddy consent. It’s a sad fact that if this were the standard for sexual assault, nearly every man I hooked up with in my twenties would be in prison. Saying “no” more than once was basically a hobby for a very old virgin such as myself at the time, and though I have the personality to have no problem with repetitive rejections, many women don’t. They give up and give in. What is it about the male psyche that enjoys a sexual encounter such as this? You’d have to ask a man.
Grace alerted Ansari to her feelings the next day, and Ansari’s surprised reply indicates his interpretation was completely amiss. Ansari said how said he was sad to hear it and it was never his intention to make her feel that way. Clearly he missed something, he said. Their text exchange brings up another question. What is the point of bringing this public? If Ansari were a serial sexual predator and others needed to be warned, then okay. But what if he’s simply a guy who got it wrong? He was explicitly told, he apologized, and perhaps he learned something from her very blunt text about his deplorable behavior. I think it’s important she went public for many reasons. The first is that a lot of nuance is ignored during conversations about sexual assault. As it stands in the media at the moment, you are either good or evil, and there is no in between. We are not allowed to examine each individual story to have an honest conversation about the details. Some men need that honest conversation, and they need to feel free to ask important questions to further understand. One sentence on twitter does not allow for that. And while women are in no way bound to divulge every detail of a traumatic encounter, I commend Grace for doing so. It opens dialogue in a way that lets us examine what is and what is not okay. Maybe if more men read this story, the norm will shift, which will make it far easier for us women.
Mark Wahlberg just tried to un-stink the pile of dung into which he stepped. TMZ
Millie Bobby Brown loves the Kardashians. E! Online
Ewen McGregor’s ex-wife did not appreciate being thanked during his speech. Wonderwall
Woody Allen’s time might be up. Too Fab
Katie Couric responded to the Matt Lauer allegations. LA Times
Michelle Williams found love. Ok! Magazine
Ryan Lochte is married. MSNBC
Tonya Harding’s publicist quit. The Wrap
Britney Spears and her boyfriend are going strong. Pop Sugar
Rob Lowe and Bella Thorne are exchanging barbs. The Blemish
The Oasis brothers continue to battle. The Sun
Anne Heche and James Tupper split after 10 years together. RTVW
Brandi Glanville blames social media for her failed romance. Contact Music