Hot Takes: BET Awards, Who’s The Football GOAT?, Heartbreak SZN & More
Digging into some pop culture highlights from the previous week
Digging into some pop culture highlights from the previous week
A lot of stuff has happened in the past week, no doubt amplified by the frenetic pace of social media. And though I think it’s a bit unhealthy to have your head wrapped around every bit of news as it drops, it’s still our responsibility to keep our ears and minds open. That’s why I’m able to do this Hot Takes column—which is really one of our most important packages all through the week.
So dig in as I stop by various places in the world, entering their most discussed and entertaining news topics and, yes, giving my two Nairas on what I think. From the final ruling of the Johnny Depp – Amber Heard trial to the ever-running saga of who’s the football GOAT (Ronaldo or Messi?), stay with me as I take you through the latest happenings in popular culture.
I was recently staying over at a friend’s place and I wanted us to see some of my favourite films on Netflix. So you could say the past week has been spent revisiting old loves with a new heart. Two films that were particularly striking had such polarising ideals that thinking of it now, I can’t help but marvel at the power of art. How vast one could travel, no visa.
Anyways, the movies were ‘Uncut Gems’ and ‘The Lost Okoroshi’. We’d first seen the former, a fast paced thriller about a man who can’t stop betting. Adam Sandler in the lead role is everything you’ve never seen: restless, smart, conniving. He’s also a winner, slugging it out in New York City and then, the film ends with a breathless scene, and suddenly we’re in a rural part of Lagos. Raymond has dreams about masquerades and he even turns to one, but Abba Makama’s film isn’t experimental just for the sake of it. He’s telling an important story of the clash between spiritual and physical, and it’s no wonder why I can’t stop thinking of such topics anytime I watch the film.
Not long ago, I saw a tweet about the no-feeding-visitors culture of Swedish parents and how it contributes to the strength of their pop music. The comments really made for an interesting thread, and one thing led to another and I discovered a phenomenal Swedish musician named Tove Styrke. And she’s just released a new album titled ‘HARD’ and that’s really a sick project. I’ve been bumping it in bits and pieces, while using my Tidal algorithm to check out similar artists within the same genre.
Many have eagerly followed the proceedings from Johnny Depp’s defamation suit against Amber Heard. Sometime last week, the Fairfax county, Virginia court ruled in favour of the star actor, awarding him $15 million, including $5 million in punitive damages, which is capped at $350,000 legal limit in Virginia. That means Depp is entitled to $10.35 million, while the Heard was also awarded $2 million in damages, after the jury found that Depp’s former attorney Adam Waldman defamed her.
The ruling immediately came with a long trail of reactions and, of course, a lot of the takes have revolved around Depp being condemned in the court of public opinion. While the merits of that focus is understandable, it flattens a domestic abuse situation into an avenue for petty gender wars and “male solidarity.” A lot of people are treating Depp’s win as an exoneration of the accusations levelled against him by Heard, that he abused her repeatedly throughout their relationship and 1-year marriage. In fact, this trial win is basically the carryover of an anti-defamation campaign Depp has been on for a few years now.
In 2018, he sued the publisher of the British newspaper publication, The Sun, for libel after it ran a story that labeled him a “wife-beater.” Depp lost that case. In a do-over, he sued Heard directly this time around, for writing an op-ed that was published The Washington Post, where she advocates for stricter measures in domestic abuse accusations against (in)famous people. Depp wasn’t mentioned by name in the op-ed, but Heard’s referencing of her lived experiences made her liable in his case.
As the trial unfolded, it seemed to show enough compelling evidence that the both people were abusive to each other. The trial showed that the pair were in a messy relationship, however, Depp’s win seems to have exonerated him from the accusations that he was abusive toward Heard. The truth is, cases of domestic abuse should be treated uniquely. If there’s no background into the intimate details of that family, judgement should be left for the adequate personnel to investigate.
This is no hot tea but it’s tea, in fact, that many men used the Amber Heard case to suggest most women lie in such situations. Well, nuance—that’s the key word here. While Depp is no doubt smiling to the bank and getting his mental health checked, why don’t you try to exercise a little more patience when news like these pops up again? Why not wait for parties with enough access to give a bit of verified information? Interestingly, Amber Heard has a countersuit which she file around the time of Depp’s defamation suit. The trial will likely start later this year, so it’s worth wondering what will happen if Heard goes on to win that trial. Will people suddenly believe her again? Will they have the gall to go at Johnny Depp?
The club football season might be over, but the game never stops. In the past couple of weeks football stars have been turning up for their national sides, some with a chance to prove they’re the greatest with any freaking side. That ‘some’ is just two men: Messi and Ronaldo, who recently scored goals and made continental records for Argentina and Portugal respectively.
Messi was first to make his mark, netting FIVE goals against Estonia on Monday. Shortly after on the same day, Ronaldo scored a brace against Switzerland, the first being a clinical finish after a sweet attacking move which included his Manchester United teammate Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva. On Twitter, fans on opposing sides made their longstanding arguments about who was better. Though I had no part in those trolls and discussions, I surely have a say in the matter.
Ronaldo, Ronaldo, Ronaldo. Argue all you want about how Messi is a better player than CR7 (he truly is), but Ronaldo’s GOAT status lies in how he reminds us of being the possibly best human you can be. In Ronaldo, there’s no sentiment, no godly air that needs supernatural choristers to pull off, he’s just one man who needs to do the job. He’s done the job since I was a primary school enthusiast who hated his guts and he’s still doing it now, almost twenty years after. There’s no bigger inspiration for me than a guy like that. Messi is cool, though.
Just enjoy the show 🐐🐐 pic.twitter.com/XBkt4ZYCGz
— GOAL (@goal) June 5, 2022
Ahead of its June 26th ceremony, BET announced the nominees for this year’s BET Awards last week. According to the announcement statement, “this year’s nominees reflect an abundance of creative expression and Black excellence across music, television, film, and sports.” Versatile superstar singer and rapper Doja Cat leads all nominees with six nominations, including nods for Album of the Year and Best Female Hip-Hop artist. She’s followed by singer Ari Lennox and rapper/singer Drake, both with four nods.
Interestingly, and very notably, global Afropop superstar Wizkid is nominated in the Best Male R&B/Pop artist. Usually, non-American artists are often nominated in the Best International Act category, lumping together acts from across the black diaspora, regardless of genre differences. Wizkid’s nomination in a ‘main’ category is clearly down to the impact of “Essence,” but it also speaks volume of the growing stateside impact of Nigerian Pop. In addition to that, Tems is also nominated for Best New Artist, another wondrous feat in her awe-inspiring career trajectory. Tems also has a nod for Best International Act, with Fireboy DML and South African twin DJ/producer duo Major League DJz repping for Afropop.
In all of this, it’s also impossible to not ignore the online raucous Lil Nas X has been causing since the nominations were announced. The rapper and singer was nominated for a grand total of zero awards, prompting a tirade on Twitter, ostensibly linking the lack of nods to “the bigger problem of homophobia in the Black community.” Last year, Lil Nas X released his debut album, MONTERO, to warm critical reception, and his Jack Harlow-assisted single, “Industry Baby” was a smash hit. At the last Grammys, he was nominated for five awards, even though he didn’t win any.
In a tweet, he complained of being ignored by “my own people,” when the biggest award show clearly recognises him. His choice to call out deep-seated homophobia in the Black community as a reason for the snub is curious to a lot of people, and even though I’m over artists being aggrieved by award shows, Lil Nas X clearly needs a pointed target for his vitriol, and his choice angle isn’t exactly unwarranted. He’s since shared a snippet of an upcoming song dissing the BET awards and, honestly, I won’t mind the drama being prolonged if the song slaps.
late to da party ft. yb
coming soon 🖕🏾 https://t.co/vMIJMvIZXZ
— MONTERO (@LilNasX) June 7, 2022
Burna tried to warn us it’s breakfast szn but we didn’t listen. Was that why the breakup between Lori Harvey and Michael B. Jordan was so surprising? Still, it’s typical that we’d lose our absolute shit for two seconds whenever such news comes out.
And so far, from what I’ve noticed, Michael is being targeted the most. Not outright ‘targeting’ but the actor, who wasn’t his typical self when he was seen courtside at Game 2 of the NBA Finals with rapper Cordae, was made fun of in most of the comments. It makes me think people don’t believe that men’s processing of heartbreak can be very obvious. We get too comfortable with the hard guy archetype, and think anything else is just too funny to cut him some break.
Still, people do what they do and I’m wishing Jordan a good time out in the streets. Coming from someone in the trenches, it’s never ideal. But then again there’s really no manual to life and if you survive long enough to learn from your experiences, you won’t remember much of the sadder nights. Here’s the reaction of Steve Harvey to make it all lighter.
Here’s your reminder that you were not involved in Lori Harvey and Michael B Jordan’s relationship so spare us all your long think pieces about why they didn’t work out
— aye-dee (@allisondarty) June 4, 2022
Featured image credits/NATIVE