Hot Takes: First Kill, BB Naija’s Epic Return, Afrobeats World Tour & More

the wheels of pop culture never stop

As the month July draws to a close, the last lap of the summer is underway. While there’s still a month left to soak up the sun, hang out with friends and curate the perfect playlist, I feel a sense of wistfulness in the air. Although it’s not quite over yet, I’m already starting to feel a sense of nostalgia for the passing summer, which is a fitting emotion  for the end of cancer season.

There is still a lot to look forward to in the remaining days. For one, the new season of Big brother Naija arrives, just as the last week of ITV’s Love Island hits our screens. Also, there’s a Netflix’s summer catalogue which includes a new sapphic show ‘First Kill’ which I’m now bingering. There’s also new music to discover, including the soundtrack from a musical. As always, the wheels of pop culture are ever-turning and it’s our job to put you onto the hottest takes on just about everything. Keep reading this weeks Hot Takes as we’ve got a lot to say.

What I’m Watching

‘First Kill’ is the sapphic vampire show taking the internet by storm. Premiering on Netflix in June, it follows the love story of Juliette, a young legacy vampire and Calliope, a monster hunter, who cross paths when Calliope relocates to a new town and school. Unsurprisingly, they fall in love, causing tension between their families. 

‘First Kill’ feels very familiar in a lot of ways. It features a classic forbidden love story a la ‘Romeo and Juliet’, which is referenced frequently throughout the show. The interspecies relationship is just one of many in fiction since ‘Twilight’ was published, and the vampire-monster hunter dynamic in particular has been explored in teen fiction since ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ in the 90’s. Calliope and Juliet fall in love almost instantly and spout poetics about their love in ways that feels eye rollingly cliché. 

What stops First Kill from being completely  cookie-cutter, however, is the nature of the central relationship. It is unfortunately noteworthy that such a mainstream show focuses so heavily on a canonical lesbian relationship from the get go, instead of making them side characters or teasing the relationship over several seasons. Calliope, one half of the central couple, is also a darker skinned black woman, played by Imani Lewis. This makes her a rare black queer character in a lead role, who isn’t portrayed as villanous and, is instead morally righteous to a fault.

‘First Kill’ is definitely a show I would recommend to those who want a cheesy love story with a fresh dynamic.

What I’m listening to

Recently, I’ve been listening to the soundtrack from the 2021 musical ‘Cyrano.’ It is an adaptation of the French play Cyrano de Bergerac, and often parodied play where a conventionally unattractive man woos his love Roxane through the more attractive man, Christian. 

While overall a decent movie, to me the best thing about it was by far the soundtrack. It was full of yearning, best exemplified by the first major song, Someone to Say” and its reprise, which details the longing to love and be loved. Another notable song was Overcome” which may best represent the themes of the play. In it Cyrano sings to Roxane through Christian, with Cyrano detailing how overcome he is with his feelings. The film ‘Cyrano’ is overall a decent, relatable movie with a standout soundtrack.

First they mock us, now they love us…

Nigerian music and in particular Afrobeats has certainly become more mainstream in recent years. No matter where in the world you are, it’s likely that you’ll hear at least one song by a Nigerian musician playing in a club, restaurant or from someone’s personal radio. This has caused some people to bring up the fact that Nigerian music was not always something considered ‘cool’, even by Nigerians based at home.

The increasing global popularity of African music may have to do with this change, as people all over the world are beginning to show their appreciation for music from this continent. While it is very pleasing to see more people showing their appreciation for Nigerian music, it does make me think about what it means for something to be cool. Does being cool mean something is trendy? And if it is trendy, does that mean it could easily fall out of fashion? It also makes me question how much this sense of coolness has to do with the foreign acceptance of Nigerian music. Is that the benchmark of what is acceptable?

In spite of all of these worries, it may also not really matter what has made Nigerian music ‘cool’ as much as it’s important that it’s getting mainstream appreciation. As detailed in the Netflix documentary Afrobeats: The Backstory, Afrobeats has had a dedicated fan base for a while and will continue to thrive in spite of music trends.

Rappers aren’t always moral

It’s an open secret that celebrities aren’t the most morally upstanding citizens in society. Time and time again, we’ve seen celebrities get away with heinous crimes just because someone was able to throw money at the problem. This has become increasingly so since the onset of the pandemic where the cracks in celebrity worship are beginning to show and people are divesting from the online personalities they once held dear.

Recently, rapper Lil Uzi Vert was seeing showing support for Kodack Black, who has a history of sexual assault cases and just got arrested on drug trafficking and possession charges in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. According to official reports, police discovered 31 Oxycodone pills and over $50,000 in cash in his vehicle during a traffic stop earlier this month. The rapper has since posted a $75,000 bond and was later placed on house arrest by authorities. Black also agreed to a $225,000 surety bond, along with submitting drug tests, wearing a GPS ankle monitor and remaining at home unless for medical reasons, court appearances or employment.

Yesterday, Lil Uzi Vert voiced their belated support for Kodak Black on Twitter, saddened that Kodack was dealing with more hits  after he was shot in the leg by a stray bullet in Los Angeles in February. While I definitely understand why Uzi Vert may want to show his support for his friend, there’s no understating that a grave crime was committed and he is now facing repurcussions from the law. It is not “going through shit” as the rapper would suggest but really the consequences of his own actions? I’m really tired of celebrities thinking they are akin to God. Give it a rest.

BB Naija is back & better

by Wonu Osikoya 

It’s official, Big Brother Naija is back for its 7th season. After wrapping the reunion for the BBNaija Shine Ya Eye season just last month, the new season kicked off a few days ago with a double launch. On Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th, Big Brother welcomed 24 new housemates into his house. 

This year, the theme is ‘Level Up’ and following the theme, the contestants have been divided into two houses with 12 contestants in each house. As the new season has arrived, Big Brother has also arrived with his twists and games which are set to entertain viewers for the next 71 days. Already, alliances are being formed and scoreboards are being drawn as Africans are once again united to watch the drama unfold from their favourite housemate. From what I can tell, two contestants seem to be causing all the conversation on the timeline are Bryann, who is already well-known as an artist, and Sheggz, who allegedly assaulted one of his ex-girlfriends back in the UK.

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