In light of the sudden pre-winter we're experiencing in NYC, here's a chill mix of uplifting tunes
I was in LA last week basking in the 80 degree sunshine when to my surprise, I landed at JFK still in my overall cut offs to be greeted by 40 degree rain. My favorite. It's official ladies and gents: winter is coming. To be honest, I did not want to get out of bed this morning, so I made a playlist that gave me that gentle push that we sometimes need on cold, Monday mornings. Check it out!
Spotify users can listen to the full playlist here.
1. "Barbies" | P!nk
This song quickly became my favorite from this album. Quaint and sweet, this tune looks back at a simpler time and if that's not relatable, I don't know what is.
2. "Forgetting All About You" | Phoebe Ryan, blackbear
The level of sass in this song is through the roof. I'm all about it. I love the way blackbear fits into the song seamlessly. If you need to forget about a weekend heart break, this is your jam.
3. "Burn Mona Lisa" | Kyan Palmer
This song has been on my radar for a while. The hook "Burn Mona Lisa, you're not as perfect as I thought you were," is so creative yet so unique. How many of us have come to terms with someone who has hurt us being not as wonderful as your first thought they were. The song is mellow enough for a subway commute but also totally bop-worthy.
4. "Death of Me" | Verite
This song is moving and infectious. It's totally the song you blast on the subway to drown out all of the morning commute noise. The song builds like your anticipation of the work day ending.
5. "Uh Huh" | Julia Michaels
This hook gets into your ear and under your skin. The song is a warning of going for something you know you shouldn't. It reminds me of the weekend.
6. "No Parachute" | Aly Ryan
I'm patiently awaiting new music from Courtney Barnett, so I was looking for something similar. Aly Ryan is totally different but brings the same kind of flavor. I really needed something that screamed "zero cares given" today. This song is it.
7. "Get Some" | Kamille and Ghosted
This song goes there. I was listening to it this weekend and I was really digging the particular synth they use and then tuned into the lyrics which made me laugh then slow clap. They're saying what you were afraid to this weekend and I'm here for it. *Warning explicit*
8. "Boys Like You" | Who is Fancy, Meghan Trainor, Ariana Grande
I don't know when or how I found this, probably on an Ariana Grande listening spree (oh the magic of Spotify), but when I saw that queen Ari and queen Meghan collaborated, I knew it was going to slay. It's impossible not to lose yourself in this song.
9. "Timex" | Kingdom
Not my normal vibe, something about this song captivated me. The song is over before you know it and feels like a black hole. Each detail unfolds in the right amount of time, but it's not one to over analyze either. It's just a nice song to think to.
11. "FFF" | Rexha and G-Easy
I immediately became obsessed with this song when it came on my Spotify discover playlist. I was cooking dinner and I found myself grooving. She says it all here, "f*** fake friends, we don't need them."
12. "Boys" | Charli XCX
When I heard this song, I was like really? That's it? A song about boys? BUT this song now has my heart. While I used to roll my eyes at the simplicity of this song, I'm now obsessed. If you've been that friend that bails for toxic relationship after toxic relationship, you blush in the wake of this song. I also got to see Charli perform it live and she was amazing.
13. "Havana" | Camila Cabello
My Cuban pride made me put this song on the playlist. I feel like there's not a lot of representation for us Cubanas out there and I love what Camila is doing. This is the perfect walking song to get you from train to office chair.
Breaking down the bias of comfort films.
With the constant onslaught of complicated news that 2020 has brought, sometimes you just want to be able to shut off your brain, relax, and feel happy.
Enter comfort films. These are the feel-good movies that feel like a warm hug when you finish them, the ones that allow you to escape for a short while. We often turn to these types of films in times of trouble or extreme stress, and when we're not sure what films of this nature we should watch, we turn to the Internet for options.
Rivera's "Glee" character was not just important, she was groundbreaking.
As a young queer girl growing up in the south, I was lucky that my parents weren't homophobes.
My parents believed that people were sometimes born gay, and while they wouldn't "wish that harder life" on their children, they certainly made me and my sister believe that gay people were just as worthy of love as anyone else. I was lucky.
Still, in my relatively sheltered world of Northern Virginia (a rich suburb near Washington D.C.), homophobia wasn't as blatant as hate crimes or shouted slurs, but it was generally accepted that being straight was, simply, better.
In high school, it wasn't uncommon to use "gay" as an insult or for girls to tease each other about being "lez." While many of us, if asked, would have said we were in support of gay marriage and loved The Ellen Show, being gay remained an undesirable affliction.
Even more insidious, I was instilled with the belief—by my church and my peers—that if gay and lesbian people could be straight, they would. But since they were simply incapable of attraction to the opposite sex or fitting into traditional gender roles, we should accept them as they are as an act of mercy. At the time, this kind of pity seemed progressive and noble. Those in my close circle of family and friends weren't openly dismissive or condemning of gay people, but we saw homosexuality as a clear predisposition with no gray areas.
Specifically: Gay men talked with a lilt, giggled femininely, and were interested in things that weren't traditionally "masculine." Meanwhile, gay women dressed like men, had no interest in makeup or other traditionally female interests, and probably had masculine bodies and features. In my mind, before someone came out as gay, they did everything in their power to "try to be straight" but were eventually forced to confront the difficult reality that they felt no attraction at all to the opposite sex. I viewed homosexuality not as a spectrum, but as a black and white biological predisposition that meant you were thoroughly, completely, and pitiably gay.
As a child, when I began to experience stirrings of attraction for other girls, I would reassure myself that not only had I definitely felt attraction for men in the past, but I also liked being pretty. I was a tomboy as a child, sure, but as I got older I recognized that my value was increased in the eyes of society if I tried to be a pretty girl. As it turned out, I even liked putting on clothes that made me feel good, I liked applying makeup, and I liked some traditionally "feminine" things. In my mind, this meant that I couldn't be gay, because gay women didn't like "girl" stuff.
As a teenager, I began to learn more about the difference between gender and sexuality, and the fluidity of both. I began to let myself feel some of the long-suppressed feelings of queer desire I still harbored.
Still, in the back of my mind, the instilled certainty of sexuality as an extremely rigid thing sometimes kept me up at night. What if I was gay? Would I have to change the way I looked? Would I have to give up some of the things I liked? In my mind, being gay meant your sexuality was your whole identity, and everything else about you disappeared beneath the weight of it.
But then, Santana came out as gay on Glee.
GLEE - The Santana 'Coming Out Scene' www.youtube.com
If you didn't watch Glee, than you might not know the importance of Naya Rivera's character to so many queer young women like myself. Santana was beautiful, she was popular, she had dated boys, she was feminine, she was sexy, and she was gay. There's even evidence that Santana had previously enjoyed relationships with men.
But the character came out anyways, not because she had to or because it was obvious to everyone around her that she was gay, but because her attraction to women was an aspect of her identity she was proud of. It wasn't an unfortunate reality she simply had to make the best of; it was an exciting, beautiful, aspect of her identity worth celebrating.
Before Santana, it had never really come home for me that being gay wasn't an entire identity—that it wasn't an affliction or disorder, but just another part of a person. She also didn't suddenly start wearing flannels or cutting her hair after coming out. She was the same feminine person she had always been. I had never realized that being a gay woman didn't have to look a certain way. Santana and Brittany's gay storyline showed two femme-presenting women in love, and for me, that was a revolution.
If it wasn't for Naya Rivera, we may never have had that important story line.
"It's up to writers, but I would love to represent [the LGBTQ community] because we know that there are tons of people who experience something like that and it's not comical for them in their lives," Rivera told E! News in 2011. "So I hope that maybe we can shed some light on that."
While Rivera herself wasn't gay (the importance of casting gay actors in gay roles is a separate conversation), she understood how important her character was to the queer community. "There are very few ethnic LGBT characters on television, so I am honored to represent them," Rivera told Latina magazine in 2013. "I love supporting this cause, but it's a big responsibility, and sometimes it's a lot of pressure on me."
Rivera wasn't just a supporter of the LGBTQ+ community on screen. In 2017, she wrote a "Love Letter to the LGBTQ Community" for Billboard's Pride Month. In it, she wrote, "We are all put on this earth to be a service to others and I am grateful that for some, my Cheerios ponytail and sassy sashays may have given a little light to someone somewhere, who may have needed it. To everyone whose heartfelt stories I have heard, or read I thank you for truly enriching my life."
Now, as we mourn the loss of Naya Rivera, at least we can take comfort in knowing that her legacy will live on—that the light her Cheerios ponytail and sassy sashays gave us won't go out any time soon.
Excuse me, I have to go weep-sing-along to Rivera's cover of landslide now.
Glee - Landslide (Full Performance + Scene) 2x15 youtu.be
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