Hot Takes: Kai Collective, Insecure is Over Party, Superstar at 10 & More
Summer is here and so are the hot takes
Summer is here and so are the hot takes
Summer is here and we’re still coursing through the dreaded Mercury retrograde. While June used to bring the fresh promise of daytime parties and bottomless cocktails with all your best pals, this year seems different. On the one hand, with the COVID-19 vaccines in circulation around the world, and memes of the ‘fully vaxxed’ taking up every corner of our online space, we’re more hopeful than we’ve ever been in the past year. However, on the other hand, there’s no ignoring the real issues that are going on in our world from the insecurity throughout Nigeria to the global fight for the rights of the queer community.
It’s been a difficult time to take stock of any pop culture news in a world where we’re constantly fighting for our voices to be heard. We took a much-needed break here at the NATIVE, directing our focus to our other properties including developing the NS Radio Live exclusively available on No Signal Radio and our recently launched digital covers which launched back in April. During this time, we haven’t lost sight of the ever-changing world of popular culture and how it continues to broaden and expand as the world becomes more digitally connected than ever before.
So, in the spirit of summer and the new hope it’s supposed to bring with it, we’re reviving the column one last time, and this time FR FR. For this week’s Hot Takes, I’ll be taking the reigns to talk all things Kai Collective, Insecure’s final season, Sarz and Lojay’s ‘LV N ATTN’ and Wizkid’s ‘Superstar’ at 10. Enjoy.
With the mid-year mark of the year finally here, we, here at the NATIVE have been talking endlessly about the songs and albums that have soundtracked the year so far as well as possible contenders for songs of the summer. While everyone around me seems to have Ladipoe and Buju’s smash hit “Feeling” on repeat, a project that’s been getting a lot of love from me is ‘LV N ATTN’ by Sarz and Lojay. Standouts for me are “Monalisa”, “Tonongo”, and “Panty!”, and streets seem to approve as well. I’ve been out a couple of times and seen crowds of people dance in excitement as the songs come on rotation. It’s safe to say that Sarz has done it again and all alongside the stellar talent of a promising artist. Lojay is clear.
Stop what you are doing right now and get into Freeform’s latest teen series ‘Cruel Summer’ a thrilling 10-episode show told over the course of 3 consecutive summers in ’90s America when a young girl goes missing in a small town and another girl mysteriously takes over her life. I spent my entire long weekend getting immersed in this world so I could probably give you a detailed synopsis of the series but for the sake of not giving away any spoilers, I’ll spare you guys. If your beat is thrillers that have you unpacking and guessing the ending through a series of flashbacks, flashforwards, and foreshadowing then you definitely want to check this out.
Fisayo Longe’s Gaia print is one of the best discoveries of the past year. It’s so hot that it’s attracted knockoffs and variations from the entire fashion industry from far and wide, even the fast fashion brands. As we all know, there can only be one Gaia (no seriously, each Gaia print is unique to save fabric –talk about sustainability). Now, the world around the famous print seems to be expanding (There’s a pink Gaia on the way girls, get ready). Earlier this year, Fisayo Longe officially launched the Gaia swim under the tagline ‘Swimming in the Deep’, a vibrant collection of bikinis, one-pieces, and beachwear that donned the famous print. Without a moment of hesitation, the fashion designer and influencer has already hit back with the Gaia loungewear collection which is set for release this Thursday at 5pm to her community and later at 7pm to the general public.
The collection is set to feature a collection of intimate pyjama sets and head scarfs in numerous silk fabrics and colours alongside the new Gaia robe–the first of its kind. Each item is said to be uniquely made in efforts to save up to 40% of the fabric which would otherwise be wasted. Already, both ladies and gents on the timeline are lining up to cop theirs once the collection goes live and I can already see that Kai has got another hit on their hands–just in time for summer. It’s also amazing to witness in real-time the growth of a Black-owned African brand. Kai Collective has won over hearts in the past year especially for the community of Black women that it consistently nurtures and the distinct Gaia print courtesy of Grapes Pattern Bank, a locally sourced pattern design and printing company.
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HBO’s hit television show, Insecure is coming to a close with the premiere of its fifth and final season. I can’t help but feel sad that the show we have watched is coming to a close after keeping us company for the last 5 years as we navigate our own coming of age. In many ways, ‘Insecure’ is one of the most iconic shows of our time, as it showed us that black people can just lead normal lives. The show taught us about Black friendship, Black love, Black wealth and success, which led to many of us bonding on the timeline through live tweets of polarising commentary. “Do Issa and Lawrence get back together?” “Will Molly ever find love?” and the likes, were the starters and breakers of many friendships and relationships–and now its all drawing to a close.
In the past week, we’ve watched as the entire ‘Insecure’ cast and crew come together to shoot the series final season with teary eyes and deep longing. “Today is my last day shooting #InsecureHBO. Said goodbye to some of my favorite people on Earth, on and off-screen, this past week. Never imagined all the doors this would open. Forever grateful to those who paved the way for us to do us,” a tweet from Issa Rae read. It definitely does feel like we are standing at the end of an era, one which certainly gave a lot of people hope and joy to see Black characters represented so well on screen. But I’m even more reassured knowing that this certainly isn’t the end for Issa Rae and her drive to tell Black stories, our stories. She already has so much in the pipeline and I’m excited to see how she continues to break down the doors for more Black women in Hollywood. In any case, I’ll be hosting an Insecure Is Over Party till the final season is with us, you’re free to join me.
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Wizkid‘s legendary debut album ‘Superstar’ is officially 10. The weight of that statement alone should both excite and scare any ardent Afropop lover, as we take course of where we’re coming from and where we still have to go with our sound. Just like ‘Insecure’ which connected many of us to authentic Black stories, Wizkid’s ‘Superstar’ connected many millennial and Gen Z Nigerians and Africans to a pop star that looked like them, talked like them and dressed like them.
In Wale’s prospective review of the famed album, he mentions that when Wizkid arrived on the scene with the memorable video for “Holla At Your Boy”, he immediately won over the hearts and ears of an entire generation across the country. His age and gimmicks were an advantage because “almost every Nigerian music superstar that arrived before Wizkid came on the scene fully-formed or at least with visible signs of the years spent trying to get to that pinnacle.” While the music was a very important part of what we were hearing, Wizkid’s status as a cult hero over the years has garnered him the sustained attention of his beloved stan group, Wizkid FC. Indeed, many OG Wizkid fans would tell you that ‘Superstar’ houses many of the singer’s greatest hits while newer fans will immediately site ‘Made in Lagos’, his most recent effort for its multi-genre sounds that traverses different cultures and people. Whichever side of the fence you lie on, there’s no denying that the singer has tirelessly worked his way into the upper echelons of Afropop music coming out of Nigeria and his debut album serves as the most clairvoyant example of how his music “travels, no visa”.
Yesterday marked 17 years since Destiny’s Child released their hit single “Cater 2 U”, a song about the endless devotion that a woman offers her partner in their relationship. However, this anniversary was less than welcome by a new age of woke music fans who found the lyrics a bit worrying given the unequal power imbalances that still exist between men and women today. With comments ranging from “‘I can’t believe destiny’s child sing “bills, bills, bills” then turn round and sing “let me cater 2 u” to comparisons between the number and slavery, it’s clear to see that the song can’t just fly under the radar anymore in a year like this.
When these young women were creating this song all those years ago, I’m sure they never imagined there would ever come a day when it would stand trial in the court of public opinion A.K.A. our nosy timelines. At the time of its release, the song even peaked at #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts and earned two whopping Grammy nominations, but almost two decades later, closer examination of the song’s lyrics reveal how harmful it is to consistently preach that women cater to the opposite sex (all while disregarding their own needs and wants). I mean these women did sing “My life would be purposeless without you” and “I put my life in your hands” which are certainly not messages that you should be sending in any healthy adult platonic and romantic relationship. While no side seems to have won the argument, it does raise the question of whether songs with questionable politics can ever be questioned upon further review even though these ideas were widely accepted at the time of its release. I don’t have the answers either but it is an interesting argument that’s further been fueled by a response from Michelle Williams. In her video that now has 47.6k likes, Williams says, “I just heard y’all want to cancel the song, “Cater 2 U” by Destiny’s Child? Oh honey, you didn’t discern who you were catering to and you gave your little pearls to swine. Don’t be mad at Destiny’s Child.”
While I don’t support shaming people in relationships they didn’t bargain for, and would much rather press skip on the song when it comes on rotation, I’m all for debating this topic a bit longer on the timeline to spark more reaction from the Destiny’s Child camp. Maybe next time, Beyoncé will be the one on the other end of our screen pleading her case. Come on girls.
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Tami is the Community Editor. Pitch a story on our For Us By Us column for Pride month.