The Brockhampton member shares three songs produced by Jack Antonoff and Romil Hemnani.
Brockhampton's Kevin Abstract has just shared three songs off his forthcoming solo project, ARIZONA baby.
The tracks––"Big Wheels," "Joy Ride," and "Georgia"–– are produced by Jack Antonoff and fellow Brockhampton member Romil Hemnani. If this snippet is any indication of the upcoming release, you can expect a sound that skews much more experimental. The EP only runs about eight minutes, but in that time, Abstract manages to pack in tons of densely layered rhythms as he looks back on the whirlwind of last year.
Abstract's work is helmed by the idea that it never stops. This is the same work ethic that motivated his boy band/rap collective Brockhampton to put out three albums––Saturation I, II, and III––in one year, and follow it up with their first no.1 album and major-label debut, Iridescence, a few months later in 2018. Around the same time of the album drop, the BH boys put out a documentary entitled The Longest Summer in America, reflecting on their ascent and the controversy surrounding Ameer Vann's departure from the band in response to sexual misconduct allegations.
In the span of a year, Brockhampton reshaped the mold of the American boy band, faced the trials and tribulations of pop fame, and managed to secure status as one of the most important musical acts of our generation. That's a lot of pressure. Pretty soon, their usual outspoken personas on social media went quiet and the boy wonders began to withdraw from the public eye.
Kevin Abstract, the bonafide leader of BH, broke his silence when he shared his finsta a few weeks ago, an account called cliffhollywood. It's a collection of creative scraps, emotional text exchanges, and entries detailing the distress surrounding the band's fame. But it was on Abstract's regular Instagram that he dropped cryptic hints of the upcoming project's release with a photo that featured the dates "11, 18, 25," (which align with every Thursday in April.) Earlier this week, Abstract dropped the visuals for "Big Wheels" with the misnamed video "THE 1-9-9-9 IS COMING."
"Big Wheels," "Joy Ride," and "Georgia" are held together by a thematic thread of Abstract looking back while reaching towards new sounds. He waxes introspective on his experience growing up gay and Black in a conservative town in Texas, the criticisms that he's faced as he's gotten more visible in the public eye, and the band's growth from their humble beginnings. Abstract delivers the verses in his usual breathless style, but adds in polyrhythmic beats and dips into some jazzy rumblings along the way. This is Abstract's first solo work since his 2016 album American Boyfriend: A Suburban Love Story.
Listen to "Big Wheels," "Joy Ride," and "Georgia" below.
Sara is a music and culture writer who lives in Brooklyn. Her work has previously appeared in PAPER magazine and Stereogum.
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Plus celebrities react to Nigerian protests.
Young people across Nigeria have been pouring into the streets for the last two weeks to protest police brutality, specifically the controversial special police force known as the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
Tension came to a head on Tuesday when armed forces fired on protestors in Lagos, the biggest city in Nigeria, who were out past the state-mandated curfew. According to AP News, "Police also fired tear gas at one point, and smoke could be seen billowing from several areas in the city's center. Two private TV stations were forced off the air at least temporarily as their offices were burned."
Not all non-binary people prefer gender-neutral pronouns.
October 21, 2020 marks the third annual International Pronouns Day.
Created by an independent board and first observed in 2018, it's one of those small commemorative holidays that trends on Twitter in hopes of drawing attention to a pressing social issue, like International Women's Day (March 8th) or the ever so serious National Taco Day (October 4).
But Pronouns Day in particular "seeks to make respecting, sharing, and educating about personal pronouns commonplace." The organization's website further describes, "Referring to people by the pronouns they determine for themselves is basic to human dignity. Being referred to by the wrong pronouns particularly affects transgender and gender nonconforming people. Together, we can transform society to celebrate people's multiple, intersecting identities."
But in the words of nonbinary activist and Trevor Project's Head of Advocacy and Government Afairs, Sam Brenton, "Pronouns are hard." Never before have pronouns been scrutinized as closely as they are in 2019 for their power to (in)validate or accurately describe something as fluid as gender identity. In fact, it was only this year that the Merriam-Webster Dictionary expanded the definition of "they" "to refer to a single person whose gender identity is nonbinary" (thus codifying a long history in English language of using "they" to refer to a singular non-gendered entity).
‘Everyone has the responsibility to be respectful.’ — The @TrevorProject’s Sam Brinton is explaining why pronouns a… https://t.co/pMMO8KRvBR— NowThis (@NowThis)1571253180.0
But throwing an additional wrench in the works is the fact that not all non-binary people prefer gender-neutral pronouns.
Take me, for instance: Despite having female biology, I couldn't pass a lie detector test saying I'm a "woman." But my pragmatic, Puritan family is still endearingly confused by the idea of "liberal arts," let alone the notion of gender fluidity. And I'd rather share a communal language with them than do the emotional and mental labor of re-orienting their worldview for them. Plus, I have the privilege of passing as female without feeling too, too, terribly dysphoric (which non-binary people can definitely suffer from, despite not identifying as trans).
But enough about me, look at Queer Eye's beloved Jonathan Van Ness. While he's been outspoken about being genderqueer, gay, and HIV positive, he prefers he/him pronouns. "The older I get, the more I think that I'm nonbinary," Van Ness said. "I'm gender nonconforming. Like, some days I feel like a man, but then other days I feel like a woman." As he told Out magazine, he doesn't identify as a man, but he does prefer "he/him/his" pronouns. In his view, those pronouns don't detract from or contradict his non-binary identity, because gender is not about simple binaries between masculine and feminine identifiers. "Any opportunity I have to break down stereotypes of the binary, I am down for it, I'm here for it," he said. "I think that a lot of times gender is used to separate and divide. It's this social construct that I don't really feel like I fit into the way I used to."
On the other hand, last month non-binary singer Sam Smith announced that their preferred pronouns are "they/them." Smith posted to Instagram, "I've decided I am changing my pronouns to THEY/THEM ❤ after a lifetime of being at war with my gender I've decided to embrace myself for who I am, inside and out." People like Smith and Trevor Project's Sam Brenton simply feel more validated, seen, heard, and true to themselves with gender-neutral pronouns. Smith wrote, "I'm so excited and privileged to be surrounded by people that support me in this decision but I've been very nervous about announcing this because I care too much about what people think but f*ck it!"
Most importantly, as pretty much every non-binary person and activist is aware, changing cultural norms is hard. While LGBTQ+ activism is inspired and passionate and dedicated to expanding human rights to all gender identities, we all know that changing society's entire understanding of gender and pronoun usage is about slowly opening minds. As Smith wrote, "I understand there will be many mistakes and mis gendering but all I ask is you please please try. I hope you can see me like I see myself now. Thank you." Happy Pronouns Day to you/him/her/they/(f)aer/zim.