Hot Takes: Love Island Returns, Gunna On Trial, Frank Ocean & More

all the hottest takes

Now that we’re deep into June, it’s finally starting to feel like summer is really upon us. The warm weather in many countries means that Instagram is littered with people in swimsuits at enviable holiday destinations around the world. Summer also means the return of our favourite reality dating show, Love Island which is getting all the rave for its strong casting this year. For many, the return of the show signals the start of summer as the Twitter timeline is filled with commentary on the love lives of complete strangers.

Being this deep into pride month also means that there is a sense of celebration if you know where to look, but unfortunately this celebration is not very visible in most of the world and particularly in our own hometown. In this issue of Hot Takes, we discuss our thoughts on what’s happening on the infamous dating show so far, an older show based in the 90’s, a fast fashion brands attempt at being more green and much more.

What I’m Watching

My love of Jodie Comer means I try to watch as much of her cinematography as possible. The extremely disappointing end of ‘Killing Eve’ means that a rewatch of that is unfortunately off the table, until I feel less bitter about it (so probably never). While scrolling through Netflix, I stumbled upon a show i’ve never seen before starring the aforementioned actress, My Mad Fat Diary.’ Although I started it for a very specific reason, I was quickly drawn in by the relatable exploration of mental health, self harm and body image issues.

These themes were explored through the main character and writer of the diary, Rae Earl. We get front row access to her extremely self destructive behaviour and the perpetually negative self talk that leads her there. She is flawed in a real, messy way that is unusual for depictions of women with mental health issues, as they are usually shown as romantic, or as just a little quirky. 

What I’m Listening To

An album I’ve been listening to on repeat has been Obongjayar’s debut album Some Nights I Dream Of Doors.’ The spiritual album is an exploration into Obongjayar’s mindscape. The songs take the listener on an emotional journey as the moods veer from yearning to joyous to admirably obstinate.

Obongjayar expresses such defiance in Wrong For It”, as he belts out “they can’t take this smile away from me no matter how they try”, affirming his commitment to staying happy against the odds. In Sugar, the tone becomes much more affectionate, as he sings to someone to whom he can bring sweetness to life.

In what may be my favourite track of the album, New Man”, there are clashing vocals as he belts out lines in a deep guttural tone that contrasts with his lighter singing voice. ‘Some Nights I Dream Of Doors’ is something I’d definitely recommend to get you into the summer mood.


The ongoing racketeering case against Gunna and other apparent Young Slime Life associates continues to make headlines as Black art is once again under heavy scrutiny by the courts. Gunna’s appeal to the judge for bail was denied because his release would pose an apparent “danger” to the case witnesses. After this failed attempt to make his case in court, Gunna took to instagram to appeal to his fans. Sharing on his 29th birthday, the rapper was in a self reflective mood as he looked back on his career leading up to this moment.

He candidly shares about about how he grew up watching “Black Men, Black Women and Black Children constantly attacked, hated, murdered, berated, belittled, silenced, judged, used and held captive,” likely to draw a parallel to the fact that he is now experiencing his own form of captivity. The “Pushing P” rapper also called for people to “ PROTECT BLACK ART!”

The situation feels bittersweet as he speaks on his accomplishments so far. There is also a large amount of support from those who believe the use of his song lyrics as evidence is racially motivated. Regardless of the support he gets however, the bitterness is still present as his detention may set a new precedent for the way black art is approached from now. It takes the conversation from constructive discussion on the necessity of violent lyrics to censorship. As the case goes on and the conversation deepens however, it will also further the discussion of racism in the American justice system and perhaps lead to real change down the line.


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Cruel Santino teases a new sound

Cruel Santino is no stranger to controversy. Earlier this year, the Nigerian singer and rapper released his sophomore album, a genre-defying cut titled ‘Subaru Boys: FINAL HEAVEN’ which was received with mixed reviews. For many older fans, Cruel Santino had completely departed from the music he created on his debut album ‘Mandy & The Jungle,’ which seemed to isolate fans weary about entering into his underwater world of Subaru.

Following the album’s release, Cruel Santino once again showcased his a new layer to his artistic mosaic. A few weeks back, the singer released a new freestyle which once again elicited mixed reviews from fans and detractors alike. For me, while the experimental nature of the song makes it true that the freestyle simply isn’t for everyone, one has to wonder how much of an impact these discussions have. It feels like every time Cruel Santino releases a project, similar criticisms come from people who likely aren’t his target audience. On the other hand, there should always room for people to give there opinions on art, even when the opinions are consistently similar, whether positive of negative. Regardless, the repetitive nature of the discussions around his projects can be a little dizzying.

Now, Cruel Santino seems to be teasing a new sound that’s got both his day-one fans and his detractors coming back for more. Currently, there is a snippet going around on a rumoured Cruel Santino single which is swathed in simple but effective Afropop and fuji melodies. Currently, the sound has garnered over 2.5K videos on TikTok with many online users bolstering the sound to new heights, catching the ears and eyes of loyal fans and new fans.

Love Island Returns

Love Island UK is back for its 8th season. Last week, the whole Twitter timeline tuned in to watch the sizzling romance between hot singles for the next eight weeks. Already, this season is shaping up to be full of drama as our hot, sexy singles are already on the prowl looking for their life partners (and their chance at £50,000). For everyone who is tuned into the new season, Ekin Su, Davide, Gemma, and more, are names and faces that have flooded our timelines.

However, this new season has not one, two but THREE Nigerian housemates who are putting in on for the country. Ikenna Ekwonna is a year old pharmaceutical sales specialist. At 23 years old, he only just recently graduated from Nottingham Trent University, having studied Biomedical Sciences. Despite the cool headed reputation of scientists, Ikenna seems to be on the more idealistic side about the potential of his time on the show, stating that he is looking to find someone to settle down with. Having only been in one serious relationship previously, it will be interesting to see how he carries himself in a new one if he does indeed find Mrs. Right.

Dami Hope is also one of this season’s favourite contestants. He is another scientist, working as a senior microbiologist. After four years of being single, the Dublin born contestant says he is looking for the One. This motivation may come in part from his mother, who has apparently been on his neck about finding a wife. The famed luck of the Irish along with a good sense of humour could help him achieve this goal. He is also an Aries, so will likely bring some fire to the villa. Despite a potential for being hot headed, he also sounds like someone who could be very balanced in a relationship, stating that he is “good at being in a team”.

Shein and greenwashing

As people get more aware of the coming climate crisis, a main topic of discussion is the role that fashion and in particular fast fashion play in climate change. In response to growing awareness from consumers on the effect of fashion on the environment, many brands have incorporated strategies to appear more environmentally aware. A move from a particularly infamous fast fashion brand, Shein, made headlines. The brand announced its intention to donate $15 million to The Or Foundation.  The nonprofit that studies fast fashion waste in Ghana and has heaped praises on Shein for the move, calling it “groundbreaking”.

But while $15 million sounds like a lot to the average person, this amount of money will hardly make a dent for the $100 billion company. While, it’s feels like a good thing for the brand to donate at all, it still feels like an easy move without acknowledging the impact Shein has on the amount of waste that affects Ghana through second hand clothes dumped there every year. The way the brand notoriously rips off current trends in a cheap way before moving on to the next makes waste feel synonymous with their brand. Until changes are made to the way the company is operated and the way they dispose of their products, this feels like a shallow acknowledgment of the way fashion waste affects African countries.

Frank Ocean and the music to A24 pipeline

It has been announced that Frank Ocean plans to write and direct an A24 film. This film will be his directorial debut. As his songs have featured in A24 films before, most significantly Godspeed in the movie Waves, furthering his collaboration with the company actually isnt all that surprising. This marks a development in the strange black-North-American-musician to A24-creator pipeline however.

It follows The Weekend’s upcoming show The Idol’ and Drake serving as a producer on Euphoria. Considering the troubled production of The Idol’ and mixed reactions to season 2 of Euphoria I hope that Frank Ocean following in the footsteps of the other two artists brings smoother results. Frank Ocean’s notable absence from music there is also a bit more demand on the musician to justify exploring this medium instead of the one people most associate with him. No pressure on him however!

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