Hot Takes: Fola Francis Calls Out LFW, Elon Musk’s Twitter Charges & More
recent notable pop-culture moments
recent notable pop-culture moments
The year is coming to a close and we’re now one month away from one of the most exciting and highly anticipated periods of the year. Everyone is gearing up for the slew of events across the art, music and cultural spheres. As we tick off events like Lagos Fashion Week, Art X Live is returning for its seventh edition this weekend. The show will feature exciting acts like Obongjayar, YKB and Amapiano DJ-producer DBN GOGO alongside visual artists Daberechi and Fahd Bello. The music emanating from the continent is almost some of the best it’s ever been with standout cuts such as Blaqbonez’s ‘Young Preacher’ and Wizkid’s ‘More Love, Less Ego’ which is now days from release.
This week, I’m taking the reins and writing my first Hot Takes in almost a year. Topics to expect include Lagos Fashion Week’s transphobic treatment of model Fola Francis who graced the runways this weekend, and Twitter’s new owner and CEO, Elon Musk, who is making plans to charge users $8 for a verification badge. Like we don’t already have enough apps charging us for usage. Added to the aforementioned, this week, I also wrote about North West’s insensitive Halloween costume.
Ever since I heard “Dinaledi” by Major League DJz and Abidoza featuring Mpho Sebina off a playlist, I’ve not looked at Amapiano and South African music the same. I’m more used to the hard thumping, energetic sounds of the log drums, but this offered a welcome change with a more soulful production. Since then, I’ve delved even deeper into South African music, discovering gems like Prince Kaybee’s “Breakfast In Soweto” alongside Ben September and Mandlin Beams, Sha Sha’s “Ungowami” featuring Soa Mattrix, Mi Kasha’s “Jika” and “Nana” and Lady Zamar’s “Collide.” The sounds emerging from this side are truly mind-blowing.
As usual, I’m juggling multiple shows at once. Recently locked into Apple TV’s satirical drama ‘Severance.’ It delivers a very interesting take on work-life balance, dealing with grief and a plethora of similar themes. It’s a dystopian series with extreme takes but I like it because it’s still very grounded in reality. I’m also hooked on Hulu’s ‘The Bear,’ a beautiful show about a critically acclaimed chef battling grief and immersing himself in work to escape trauma. Then, there’s the new season of ‘The White Lotus’ which is also back on HBO. I’m saving that for my next watch.
Last weekend, Heineken’s Lagos Fashion Week returned for its 11th year at the Federal Palace Hotel in Lagos, Nigeria. As one of the most celebrated events on the social calendar, many attendees were excited to watch a variety of African innovators and designers take centre stage. The 4-day event, while fun-filled and unforgettable for most who attended, ended with a sour taste in the mouth of many.
For anyone who attended, the obvious show-stopper was LGBTQIA+ activist, Fola Francis who made her Lagos Fashion Week debut on Day 1 (October 27). Confidently strutting the runway, Fola Francis walked for Cute-Saint and Fruché, two brands which embraced gender-non confirming designs and silhouettes. The moment was widely celebrated across social media, largely because Francis became the first openly trans model to walk the Lagos Fashion Week runway and any other fashion shows in Nigeria.
Unfortunately, the celebrations were short-lived as Fola Francis took to Twitter to share her experiences with transphobia faced at the hands of LFW. In what was heralded as a seemingly progressive space just days ago, has now been turned on its head. A few days after the event, Francis alleged that LFW organisers had specifically warned against publicly promoting any of the model’s photographs and videos on their platforms and their post-event press releases. While it is yet to be publicly addressed by LFW, it’s disappointing that such news would arise during a week such as this: Trans Awareness Week. It seems that while we’re making plans to take steps forward and create safe spaces for all people, there are those who are derailing us and taking 10 steps back. I really hope this is not true and Francis’ pictures will be shared for more people to see. She looked amazing.
I just found out that Lagos fashion week team gave strict instructions that none of my pictures or videos be promoted on their platform or press releases. El oh El pic.twitter.com/WSDazcdaL2
— The Countess 🏳️⚧️ (@thefolafrancis) October 30, 2022
It’s no secret, we are in the dark ages of the Internet. A few months back, we reported that business mogul, Elon Musk had taken over as the CEO of the company, usurping its former founder, Jack Dorsey. With only six days into his new role, it seems that Mr Musk is already causing quite the stir. Earlier this week, the Tesla CEO announced that all verified users on his platform would now need to pay an $8/month charge to retain their verification status on the social media network.
According to Musk, verified users are not serving any real purpose on the platform as it only creates further divide between people which Musk refers to as “lords and peasants system.” Mr Musk then went on to clarify that the monthly charge would be adjusted by country proportionate to purchasing power parity and would also unlock features such as a priority in replies, mentions and search, as well as a paywall diversion for creators who would like to partner with Twitter. Mr Musk also alleges that this payment would give Twitter an opportunity to create a revenue stream for content creators. Long story, short, Twitter is becoming Instagram.
Anyone who used Twitter in its pre-Elon times knows that the social network could often become a cesspool of harassment, bullying, and harmful conspiracy theories. We’ve seen it play out countless number of times on our social media timelines when certain topics are in circulation. However, with Musk’s obsession with promoting “free speech,” I shudder to think about the amount of incels and bullies that Musk will be unleashing on the general public. Instagram is already bogged down by endless advertisements, Reels and its marketplace, TikTok does little to protect the privacy settings of its users, and now, it seems that Twitter is going down a similar path. At this point, it seems like these social media apps and their founders are sending us warning signals: nothing is free on Al Gore’s Internet. I’m going back to hanging with my friends outside and I suggest you all do the same.
To all complainers, please continue complaining, but it will cost $8
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 2, 2022
They say money can’t buy you happiness, however, if you’re the daughter of a billionaire and a successful entrepreneur, those rules don’t apply to you. Over the Halloweekend, news reached social media that North West, the first child of YE and Kim Kardashian had donned the original white fedora worn by Michael Jackson in his scene-stealing 1988 single, “Smooth Criminal.”
While many may dismiss this as just another one of those things that the rich and famous get away with, I can’t help but feel a little disturbed by this particular occurence. Regardless of how rich you are, money should not be able to buy everything. Halloween is a fun holiday for many across the world, but where do we draw the line? Of course, my qualms aren’t with North West who is too young to understand the importance of preserving musical history and heirlooms but her parents should have known better.
Just months back, Kim Kardashian also donned the late Marilyn Monroe’s dress to the last MET Gala and allegedly ruined it during the process. It begs the question, why isn’t such an iconic memorabilia in the hands of the deceased’s family or estate? According to sources, the hat was auctioned by the late singer’s family and was purchased by YE and Kim for their daughter alongside a velvet jacket Micheal wore at Elizabeth Taylor’s 65th birthday party in 1997 and again at a screening of his movie ‘Ghosts.’ Allegedly, it cost a whooping sum of $65,625. Something just doesn’t sit right with using someone’s deceased father’s historical clothing are being auctioned off as a party costume, especially when they are not directly related. Once again, rich people are entitled to any and everything they want.
North West dresses as Michael Jackson on the ‘Bad’ album cover for Halloween.
She’s even sporting his original hat worn in the “Smooth Criminal” music video. pic.twitter.com/zeMh1rgAGF
— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) October 30, 2022
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