Happy Chinese New Year

Happy Chinese New Year
Photo by Fortune, c. 2012

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Brave New World of Popular Culture

It's been a deliciously rainy Sunday. And to my surprise this morning I woke to Sir Mix A Lot on npr's Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me. I swear, the earth moved. Popular culture has entered a brave, new world order. Surely, this was a sign if ever there was one. He was responding to a terribly inappropriate, greed-induced "rap" by some WaMu employees at a conference in 1992 (before the economic crash) to the music of Baby's Got Back.

It was a pretty disgusting display of mean-spirited selfishness by WaMu considering where we've been and where we are now. Pity no video survives...yet. These things have a way of "showing up." Mix's riff on the lyrics and the event was masterful and brilliant. You can check it out here:

So, I am watching the first hour of the Country Music Award Show. Living in New Mexico and Oklahoma has shaped my appreciation for country music. As I watch I was again reminded that the crossover in popular culture is a fascinating process. The country women are all wearing mainstream designer gear and their big hair seems to have shrunk over the years. Next to Black folk, country folk will thank God for their awards, followed by fans and significant others.

The high point belonged to Toby Keith's performance of his song Crying for Me (Waymon's Song), a heartfelt memorial to his friend, fellow musician and NBA star Waymon Tisdale, lost to cancer. Photographs showed they were great friends, brothers. The song can be downloaded on iTunes, all contributions go to Stand Up To Cancer.

It's times like this that I am reminded that more of us get along than not, something we desperately need to be reminded of daily. We could even agree to disagree, like mature people. If I can get to that - and country music - a city girl living in the buckle of the Bible Belt, surely others can, too.

And I will always love a great fitting pair of jeans, cowgirl boots and pearls.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Erykah, Erykah, Welcome Back, Erykah

ell, Erykah Badu is back and, boy, has she ever entered stage right with a BANG! Her new music video, Window Seat, is a soulful meditation on vulnerability, the longing to be missed and wanted, a need for applause. The lyrics reveal a struggle with herself, relationship, and her need to perform.

A bell went off in my head when her music video hit the internet and media. What was it I recently saw her in? Initially I was stunned by her courage to get naked. When the resulting controversy regarding her disrobing crescendo erupted, I was reminded of where I saw her.

In Andrew Shaper's great documentary film Before the Music Dies, Badu does a testy tongue-in-cheek assessment of what it takes to be successful in today's entertainment business - if you are a woman. Her conclusion is that one needs various bodily implants with an emphasis on the butt. Especially the butt. Certainly you need huge amounts of cascading hair. Then you need to do some "ho' s**t," be prepared the teeter on stilettos regardless of your age and, finally, just go on and get buck nekked.'

Then you'll have yourself a career in The Business.

I'd say she made her point. The irony is, of course , she says it's for someone else to do. Though on her own eccentric, irreverent terms, her craving for attention and applause won out.

B O N U S:

Before the Music Dies can be seen on Hulu:

You have to watch it if only for Ray Charles and Billy Preston's Agent Double O Soul opening. It's phenomenal!