Azealia Banks is not a reliable source of information.

The "212" rapper has engaged in countless social media feuds with everyone from Rihanna to Sia to Disney Channel star Skai Jackson (who was 14 at the time…). She has claimed to perform animal sacrifices as part of witchcraft rituals, once labelled Lizzo a "millennial mammy," and has been kicked off Twitter more than once for spouting homophobic slurs. She defended Donald Trump's "Muslim ban" and told him she is "proud as f***" of him as a fellow Gemini for winning the 2016 election, but later called him "a f***ing idiot" and "disqualified" him from his Gemini status.

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Culture News

Kirsten Dunst Did Not Endorse Kanye West. Does He Know Who She Is?

Kanye West tweeted a poster for his presidential campaign that inexplicably featured Kirsten Dunst and Anna Wintour.

Vanity Fair

Kanye West—rapper, producer, fashion icon, and pawn of the Donald Trump reelection campaign—is still "walking" for president.

In a recent series of tweets, he shared the progress of his 2020 presidential campaign. Among the updates were a list of the 10 states where he has been approved for the ballot—thankfully no battleground states yet—and a meeting with some very old, very white campaign staff.

But the most exciting post—at least for fans of Sam Raimi's early 2000s Spider-Man movies—was a new scrolling campaign poster featuring his obvious (but also perfect) slogan "2020 Vision" and images of happy people, including a 2002 image of actress Kirsten Dunst.

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I don't think I've ever been as interested in royals as I've been since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their "step back" from the Royal Family earlier this year.

Back in January, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced their plan to try being kind of normal in a divergence that's so cleverly been dubbed "Megxit." The couple are now splitting their time between the U.K. and North America, creating a perfect opportunity for Meghan to attend this year's Met Gala. Whispers have been circulating about the former Suits star maybe, possibly, getting back into acting, and this year's gala will serve as a perfect Hollywood homecoming for Meghan.

But Harry won't be by his lady's side; instead, Meghan will be attending with British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful. This pairing checks out, as Meghan guest-edited the magazine's September issue. The Met Gala will also mark Meghan's first public appearance as a non-royal; she and Harry will be stripped of their aristocratic titles come April 1.

"Meghan is keen to step out occasionally without Harry so that she can establish herself once more in Hollywood," an anonymous source told The Sun. In other words: Meghan seems to be thriving. Cutting ties with the Royal Family and attending the Met Gala is a major own.


CULTURE

The Met Gala: The Irony of Camp

The Met Gala humiliates the functionality of fashion in its guests' attempt to celebrate it, and that's the campiest thing of all.

Invision/AP

As you may have heard by now, the theme for this year's annual Met Gala was "Camp," and one of the de-facto required readings was Susan Sontag's 1964 essay on the topic.

The aesthetic quality of camp is one that's notably difficult to describe, but easily recognizable in objects, behaviors, and media. Of course, feathers, glitter, and kitschy accessories are all low-hanging fruit when it comes to carrying out the camp style––and there was no shortage of any of the aforementioned on last night's pink carpet. But what was more interesting (and unsettling) to watch was major stars attempting to do camp, while fundamentally getting it wrong––and somewhere in that failure, creating the real camp of it all.

Lady Gaga makes an entrance at the 2019 Met Gala.Getty Images / VOGUE

The Met Gala––a self-serving artistic display of wealth, fashion, and celebrity culture––is in many ways antithetical to the tenets of camp itself, which Sontag prescribes should be "naive," "innocent," and even goes so far as to say intentional camp is "probably [...] always harmful." Sontag's essay maps out some of the main signifiers of camp: unnatural, highly stylized, exaggerated. However, one of her main points of the discussion revolves around the difference between pure (inadvertent) and deliberate camp. The latter, she writes, "is usually less satisfying."

The problem with the Met Gala camp theme is not only that anything that sets out to be camp can't be camp, but also that, like any other aesthetic sensibility, our conception of camp has shifted over time. It's gone from centering around fringe communities to becoming a dominant, mainstream aesthetic. Its true value lies in the duality of a style as meaning something vs. pure artifice. Camp loses some its essential innocence when carried out overly consciously because if it's too dogged or pretentious, its comedic value is lost. When Camp is being marketed and packaged into something profitable, something that can be exploited by major companies, it loses its sensibility of failed seriousness.

Kylie and Kendall JennerGETTY Images / Allure

To be sure, Camp's spirit of extravagance can be maintained when it's done deliberately, and the artist's rendering of the aesthetic ought to be genuine in intention. There is nothing half-hearted or blasé about camp. But in order to get it right, the subject ought to be "serious about the frivolous, and frivolous about the serious." Once capitalizing on a trend is involved, the necessary comedy of the thing gets diluted. Camp can, of course, be executed through fashion, but the fashion industry itself is fundamentally not campy––it's too self-conscious and calculated––and by this nature, can create a flattening effect on the theme.

While foundational, Sontag's piece is beholden to certain limitations and blind spots. For one, she hardly touches on the history of camp's entanglement with racial stereotyping and performance. Sontag does touch on how being genderless, (or "epicene," as she refers to it) is conducive for camp's qualities––essentially boiling down to the notion that things that are natural are not camp. But the analysis of gender's role in camp stops there. However, a handful of the looks last night did a good job of recognizing the influence of queer, fringe circles on camp taste.

It's important to note that as much as the concept of camp is rooted in expression by outsider communities, it's also conducive to the experience of conspicuous consumption. To camp something is to take on the authority of deeming something of bad taste to actually be in good taste––and usually, this is popular among the affluent and snobby crowds. Sontag poses the question: who curates camp? Her answer: "an improvised self-elected class, mainly homosexuals, who constitute themselves as aristocrats of taste." Many queer-identifying celebrities were among the best dressed last night, so this analysis sounds about right.

Billy Porter Angelia Weiss/VANITYFAIR

Ezra MillerDia Dipasupil/FilmMagic

At the same time, the Met Gala is sort of perfect in all of its myopia and pretentiousness. What is campier than a slew of men being applauded for breaking down gender barriers wearing mediocre black tuxes and the occasional dangly earring? What is more hilarious than seeing self-obsessed models being ushered out of the way to make space for "more important" stars? The spectacle of Instagram stories featuring billionaires dressed in humiliating outfits is somehow a better camp portrait of the ennui of celebrity culture in the digital age than any of the intended looks managed to achieve.

In some sense, the Met Gala humiliates the functionality of fashion in it's guest's attempt to celebrate it, and that's the campiest thing of all.

"The ultimate Camp statement: it's good because it's awful."

Katy Perry dressed as a hamburger.Kevin Tachman/MG19/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue


Sara is a music and culture writer. Her work has previously appeared in PAPER magazine and Stereogum.


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STYLE

Who “Run the World” and September’s Vogue? Beyoncé!

The Star Given "Unprecedented" Control Over the Cover…Plus Pics Inside

Anna Wintour who?

Vogue's editor-in-chief is taking a back seat this September when she passes the baton to none other than Beyoncé. No, Wintour is not leaving the fashion mag for good, but she is putting her trust in Beyoncé to make the highly-anticipated September issue her own. Turning the tables so we can turn the pages, this issue will be a first of its kind…from the direction to the details. There is no one quite like the "Queen Bey," adding anticipation to what is sure to be an issue that will go down in history as a ground-breaker.

Move over Kimmie...Wintour's got a new bestie cdn.newsapi.com.au

As per Huffington Post, "The publication is contractually obligated to give Beyoncé full control over the cover, the photos of her inside the magazine and the captions, which she has written herself and are in long-form. And the music icon hired the first black photographer to shoot a cover in the publication's 126-year history."

Photographer Tyler Mitchell, ready to rule the racks dazedimg.dazedgroup.netdna-cdn.com

Wintour, known for her strict and stern control over the long-running "fashion bible" seems to be loosening up as she lets a living legend put her own spin on the style, snapshots, and spreads. Beyoncé, in all her beauty will grace the cover and will appear on plenty of the pages throughout the issue. And as for the photographer, Atlanta-based Tyler Mitchell, who is getting the gig of a lifetime? "The reason a 23-year-old black photographer is photographing Beyoncé for the cover of Vogue is because Beyoncé used her power and influence to get him that assignment," a source revealed. Seasoned fashion photographers who thought the job was theirs may be miffed, but for the young up-and-comer, Beyoncé is nothing short of a blessing.

A trio of some notable Vogue covers, including Beyonce in '13 stargist.com

And she is unlike any other model for the mag's biggest month. According to The Telegraph, "The fashion Bible's cover subjects are usually given little to no input over their photographs, which they are sent around a week before it hits the news stand." But Beyoncé's got a vision, something Wintour is willing to work into the process, making the September issue one we won't put down for a while.

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MUSIC

Azealia Banks shares official video for 'Anna Wintour'

It's the first single from her forthcoming LP: Fantasea II.

Emerging from the thick controversy cloud that seems to cover Azealia Banks, today, the Harlem-bred rapper and singer released the official music video for 'Anna Wintour'. In an empty warehouse, Banks performs choreographed dance moves orchestrated by Justin Hamilton (known for his work with Teyana Taylor for her appearance in the official video for Kanye West's 'Fade'). It is the first video from her forthcoming sophomore album titled, 'Fantasea II'.

Read more and watch the official video for 'Anna Wintour' now at GRUNGECAKE.