Hot Takes: KiddErica, Trap Nicole Richie & Dancehall Adele

The Internet is a glorious, yet terrifying beast. An ever-growing expanse, the world of social media has become one of the forefront uses of the Internet, especially during these times where physical social interactions are largely prohibited. From mainstream socials, such as Twitter and Instagram to niche gaming forums, there exists a tonne of content on the web for us to search, stumble upon, share, analyse, and in times like these, most importantly, there’s a tonne of entertainment at which we can all together laugh.

During this global pandemic, we’ve had our freedom of movement curtailed, our rights refused to us and most heartbreakingly our heroes and fellow black people taken from us too soon. Throughout the year, most of us have felt its horrors on a personal level, in our respective societies and as a global community. There has been no respite in news cycles, so it has been important to cherish moments of joy, whenever they appear, no matter how silly these moments seem to be. At least, that’s how I’ve been getting through it all – laughter and the Twilight Saga.

For this week’s Hot Take – our new column where a different member of the NATIVE editorial team will dissect different trending topics across the globe, giving give their hot takes on each topic – I, Adewojumi Aderemi have focussed on all the things that made me laugh over the weekend and this week so far, and one or two topics that have helped me grow (if only a little). Here goes:

What I’m watching on YouTube: BabyGirlTos

You’ve most likely seen BabyGirlTos’ content shared as three-second long meme bites on Twitter, but the brief videos don’t do any justice to how hilarious her channel is. Tosin, as she permits us to call her in her fun and memorable introduction (“what is up YouTube? It’s your girl, BabyGirlTos aka Tosin and we back with another BANGER video“), is a really funny and very open YouTuber, who imparts valuable lessons to her viewers; how to achieve her ’90s inspired lob looks, how to get thick, what the kids are saying by way of slang and whether or not you’re a toxic lover. Her funniest videos however, are the ones where she is joined by her friends as the energy they all bounce around is infectious – you won’t be able to stop laughing and you certainly won’t want to tune out.

Watch her brand new video here:

What I’m watching on Disney+: High School Musical

I have been given the gift of Disney+ access for a limited time only and I am using it right, catching up on all the oldies from Parent Trap to Cheaper By The Dozen and, of course, the Gen Z Holy Grail, High School Musical. My favourite is HSM3 because of Troy Bolton’s phenomenal performance in “Scream”. With a significantly larger budget than the first two, Troy’s solo this time is a legitimately flawless production; basketballs come raining down, Troy walks on the walls (Inception referenced this cut), and he tops it all off with the most dramatic belt ever. Arms stretched wide, veins popping,  Troy Bolton’s “Scream” could give MJ and Janet a run for their money. “Can I Have This Dance” and “I Just Wanna Be With You” are also powerful romantic duets that have a place in my fictional wedding, so hearing those again tugged at my frail heartstrings.

What I’m listening to: Growing Up With gal-dem

After listening to new music on Friday and and writing about all my faves (which involves repeated listenings) I like to use my weekend to unplug as much as I can, either going back to older projects, namely ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’, and ‘rare.’ , or – which is the case most times – I opt out of music listening altogether and enjoy my imaginative thoughts in silence. This weekend, was a no music weekend, but instead of (over)thinking about my own melodramas, I decided to contemplate growth, with gal-dem. Starting with Tiwa Savage’s episode on Motherhood, I then went on to listen to Michal Coel’s episode where she talked about “taking the note“.

Lifting the phrase from a public diary entry she wrote during her studies about ten years ago, Coel’s idea of taking the note suggests that when we get criticisms from people, we simply accept what they say – take the note – and reflect upon their words later. Later, you can analyse their criticism in the context of your life and your work, asking why they say that? Where it has value, are they projecting? – questions which enable you to apply the criticism to just the right degree. Both episodes put me in a deeply reflective mood so I also went on to watch the Homecoming x Browns Fashion panel on street style, which got me thinking critically on how to grow myself and our industry. Listen to Growing Up With gal-dem below here.

Nicole Richie is an environmental rapper!!!

During the lockdown period, my sister and I revisited Paris and Nicole’s iconic The Simple Life (you can tell from my excessive use of the phrases “That’s hot!” and “Loves it!“), so I’ve grown a newfound interest in all things Paris and Nicole. A couple of weeks ago, Paris Hilton released the trailer for her upcoming autobiographical documentary, This is Paris, a YouTube Original film which details her childhood traumas as Paris, for the first time, reveals to viewers and even her family, who is really behind the wild child heiress persona we’ve always thought she was. Nicole Richie, on the other hand is conflating her gardening enthusiasm with her family background in music, releasing her debut album ‘Unearthed‘, under her new persona, Nikki Fre$h.

The introduction is from her daddy, Lionel Richie, who, despite being a musician himself, is very apprehensive about Nicole venturing into rap, pleading with her husband to talk Nicole out of Nikki Fre$h. Thankfully Nicole doesn’t listen, simply replying, on the album, with “Parent Trap”, where she opens: “hop out the porsche/straight the the store/but only organic cos I’m bout the planet and don’t do the pork“. Going on to talk about her mothering tactics, “Parent Trap” is literally what it says on the tin, trap music by mommy.

After rapping about her chickens, her sage, rosemary and other herbs in her garden, Nikki Fre$h plays for us another voice message, this time one sent to her sister Sofia, where Nicole is accused of “singlehandedly killing rap music” and not in a good way. The album is populated with a series of hatery voice messages from her circle; Kyle is mad that she’s gentrified rap music with her ‘conscious trap’; Mila is not with the fact that she has to sit behind chickens on Fre$h’s Farmer’s Market Tour; Molly’s boyfriend is concerned that ‘the principle of it’ might have some negative implications on him, “because somehow [he’s] now associated with the record; whilst an unnamed woman accuses Richie of using crack again, since apparently “she doesn’t even grow her own vegetables“. The final voicenote from Nikki’s sister-in-law reveals that she didn’t take on any counsel from her “Life Partners”, going full speed ahead with her album, despite all their reservations.

Unearthed‘ is simply not as offensive as these voicemails would have you think. Sure, it is gentrified hip-hop at its best, but does Nikki Fre$h not deserve some credit for staying true to her interests in the music she makes? Not to mention the fact that she’s shedding light on environmental issues in a wholly entertaining way. From “U.G.L.Y”, Nicole Richie’s cult following will learn not to chuck away their peaches simply because they don’t bounce (an incredible metaphor by the way), on the techno-rap “Lil Gems”, she runs through all the remedies you need to get rid of your negative energy that might manifest itself as physical pain, whilst she advocates for water sanitation on the aptly-titled, “Drip Dip”. It’s a huge shock that even at her age, with children, financial security and such a notoriously creative family, that Nicole Richie would be met with such backlash from her support system. But it’s inspiring to see that no matter the discouragement she faces, Nikki Fre$sh will always put on for the environment.

KiddErica is triggering so you all should stop talking about it

Currently in the UK, I have not had the pleasure of watching the season of Big Brother Naija, however Twitter has been keeping me somewhat in the loop of all the talking points arising from the show’s affairs. This week’s drama centred around the relationship woes of Kiddwaya and Erica, nicknamed KiddErica. During the Saturday night party, a lover’s tiff between Kiddwaya and Erica emerged from his affectionate dealings with other girls. In response to Eria kicking off at Kidd, our resident BBN expert tells me Kiddwaya demanded to know what he had actually done wrong this time, to which Erica didn’t have much to say, instead resorted to insulting him, as opposed to communicating or addressing her issues properly.

As we’ve already said before, KiddErica’s is a modern love story; typical of heterosexual shituationships, and triggering for anyone attempting to move on from the hurt. It’s worryingly common for a girl to fall in love with a guy who has clearly stated he cannot be in a relationship. As someone who has been in this position, KiddErica’s relationship is incredibly triggering, but a good point of reflection for me. Erica certainly should free herself of a guy who cannot be the guy she wants him to be (which Kidd repeated, to her and others, during Saturday night’s party). In fact, it is unfair for her to expect him to be someone who he doesn’t want to be or for her to expect him to change his ways, which he clearly stated at the beginning of the relationship, because she is upset about his in-exclusivity – some would argue that she’s being manipulative even.

On the other hand, Kiddwaya’s behaviour can also be seen as manipulative. Insisting that he does care about Erica, Kiddwaya continues to draw her in and hold her near, nurturing her feelings at the same time as rejecting them. He looks like he wants to have his cake and eat it, and whilst it’s clear that this whole thing will hurt Erica in the long run, it’s likely to take its toll on him too, especially if he does indeed care for her. In conclusion, they should both quit it before things take a turn for the worse, because in toxic friendships such as these, things only get worse. Taking a break from each other, talking extensively about their feelings and then being intentional about considering each other’s feelings as well as their own, might got a long way in stabilising their relationship – if Kidd really cares like that, he’s likely LYING like ALL MEN. I wouldn’t know much about that though, it’s #toxicgirl for life.

 

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I LOVE Riccardo Tisci’s Burberry

For some time now, I have silently watched as the internet drags “the new Burberry“. Apparently, there are people, and lots of them, who believe, or rather “can’t believe” what Riccardo Tisci has “done” to Burberry. I just don’t get it. Apart from Kendall Jenner’s poorly lit home shoot, I am living for everything the Italian designer is doing with Britain’s iconic brand – I mean, what’s not to love?

Now I am no fashion enthusiast, talk less of an expert, so there might actually be legitimate cause for all the hate my dearest RT is receiving for his revamp (I’d call it revival) of the Burberry brand, but to these humble eyes, Tisci has brought with him a contemporary free-spiritedness that he’s been lauded for for years. I first fell in love with Riccardo Tisci during my tumblr days, following the release of his colourful larger than life collaboration with Nike, worn by Joan Smalls on the tumblr pages. Bestowing upon the classic Air Force One design his creative eccentricity, Riccardo Tisci has gone on to do the same with Burberry, taking advantage of his full reign as Chief Creative Officer, to make the brand his own, whilst still retaining staple garments and points of identity, such as the infamous trench coat or instantly recognisably Burberry tartan plaid.

Though streets are big mad at Kris Jenner’s logo-manic Burberry bodysuit, and all the other pieces along the new logo’s line, I think it’s fabulous that Tisci has put a bit of him in the TB logo, and even more grand that these are the pieces boasting pop culture relevance. You may think the print is garish, or stick your nose up at his celebrity clientele but Beyoncé’s outfit in “Already” ought to tell you everything you need to know: Riccardo Tisci is a design god and he’s doing the lord’s work at Burberry.

 

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Product teasing on Instagram

Over the weekend, Mohini Beauty launched their brand new make-up line (you can shop here, although it’s mostly sold out), beginning the day with a ‘Get Ready With Me’ Instagram Live, where Omoehi Ighodalo, the beauty entrepreneur behind the brand, sampled the products going up for sale, as well as other products Mohini has in the works. Teasing the release of a super convenient lash glue, a beauty blender, setting powder and a couple of luscious blushes, Mohini Beauty has my appetite whet and my pennies ready to drop for their next release. In fact, I am literally on the edge of my seat, eagerly waiting for drop day. In true journalist fashion, my obsessive “when!!”s hurtled at the brand’s DMs got me thinking, what does this about buying practices in the digital world and what are the benefit to brands of teasing products well before they’re launched?

Product teasing isn’t really a new phenomenon; we have fashion shows months before the collections are available (though that’s mostly for buyers), we have expos for cars and tech products that flaunt what’s to come in advance of their official launch dates, even buying catalogues, that are super popular in the West (RIP Argos Catalogue), detail the products to come in the store’s next season. Letting customers know what they’re going to be able to get before they’re able to get it, has always been a useful marketing strategy, but in today’s post-digital world the art seems ubiquitous – every brand or company is learning the hack to ensure that their products are sold out even before they go on sale. This strategy, of course, involves excessive social media drive.

Thanks to Instagram’s borderlessness, and general accessibility across the globe, this picture-based platform has become a primary site of digital marketing, especially useful for smaller brands who do not have the budget for adverts or the press connections that established retailers might have. As more and more brands co-opt the Instagram space, our buying practices have shifted even further away from the high-street, as visiting the [dot]coms which replaced the physical stores becomes an archaic practice in light of “DM to order” demands or direct shopping links on socials. In order to make the most of this more democratic space, smaller business (like emerging artists), must ensure that they always keep their audience attentive – this is one benefit of product teasing.

By teasing products, brands and companies can stay relevant even in times where they don’t actually have products out. Putting out feelers also helps brands know which products to prioritise in the production stages, and which items to produce more of, which Omoehi Ighodalo, founder of Mohini Beaty, confirms to me, saying that “the more [my customers] like something, the more of it I order“. Later on, Ighodalo narrates how her timetable of product releases has changed based on which “I had planned to release the matte lipsticks I’m working on next month, but people really wanted the eye shadow” so that’s what’s up next, as well as the much-coveted lash glue, which she had originally planned to launch in December. Clearly there are palpable benefits for brands to share products whilst they’re in the works, so although it’s a real test of patience, it all works to everyone’s advantage in the end.

 

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Adele giving us the content we signed up for

I won’t talk too much. I can’t. Wishing London a “happy what would [have been] Notting Hill Carnival” on Sunday evening, Adele caused quite the stir on social media, as her well wishes were accompanied by this post of her donning bantu knots and a Jamaican flag bikini. Despite the clear cultural appropriation implications, an the political conversation that could easily have been extracted from this picture, Adele was given a free pass, escaping cancellation because she’s just too dear to black communities worldwide. It might be hypocritical that Adele garners happy-spirited laughter, whilst other celebrities would come under serious fire – have come under serious fire even – for doing the same or similar. Well, most Jamaicans on Twitter (at least in my space) decided the only energy the picture deserved was meme energy, and Black Twitter, as usual, delivered the creative and hilarious content we all signed up for.  Enjoy below.

Featured Image Credits: NATIVE


Wojumi is a bad bitch & she’s going to brag about it. Tweet her your latest cultural exploits @dewoju


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