MUSIC

The Best Artist Merchandise of 2020

Support your favorite artist in style.

As you probably know, the music industry is going through a period of massive transformation.

Thanks to streaming and internet piracy, artists are no longer making money through record sales. Instead, they have to depend on concert tickets and, of course, merchandise. While that's bad news for your favorite struggling indie band, it's good news for fans, because it means band merch has gotten incredibly cool.

Culture Feature

Drew Brees Exemplifies How NOT to Be a White Ally

The quarterback said "I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country." And then he tried to apologize. And only made it worse.

Drew Brees, a man who makes literally millions of dollars for throwing a ball, has come under fire for insensitive comments he made about NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem to protest police brutality.

"I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country," Brees said in the interview with Yahoo Finance. He clarified that this was in part because he envisioned his grandfathers, who fought in World War II, during the National Anthem. He continued, saying, "And is everything right with our country right now? No. It's not. We still have a long way to go. But I think what you do by standing there and showing respect to the flag with your hand over your heart, is it shows unity. It shows that we are all in this together. We can all do better. And that we are all part of the solution."

This isn't the first time Brees made it clear that he cares more for the idea of a make-believe unified America than he does for actual human lives. In 2016, he criticized Colin Kaepernick for kneeling during the anthem, saying it was "disrespectful to the American flag" and "an oxymoron" because the flag gave critics the right to speak out in the first place.


Colin Kaepernick Kneeling Colin Kaepernick kneeling in protest of racist police brutality


Of course, the flag's alleged ideals have been proven to only be applicable to wealthy, white men—men like Brees. Sure, his grandfathers did a noble thing when they fought under the US flag during WWII, and no one, including Kaepernick, has ever said that sacrifice isn't worth respecting. Thanks to the sacrifices of many people (including the enslaved Black backs upon which this country was built, including the scores of routinely abused Black soldiers who fought for American lives), America has offered opportunity and peace for many, many people. In particular, Ole' Glory has been very kind to men like Brees: rich, white men who still control the majority of the power and the wealth in the United States.

But what about the rest of us, Drew? What about George Floyd whose neck was crushed by a police officer who kneeled on him so casually that he didn't even take his hand out of his pocket? What about Ahmaud Arbery, who was shot for the crime of being Black and going for a jog? What about Breonna Taylor, a black woman who was murdered by police in her home in the middle of the night for a crime that had nothing to do with her? What about Tony McDade, Drew–have you heard his name? Have you heard about the 38-year-old Black trans man who was gunned down in Florida last week? Do you understand why these people's family's may harbor just a bit of disrespect for your precious flag?

Is it possible for you to realize, Drew, that your wish for "unity" is not a wish for progress, but a wish to maintain the status quo? When you call for unity under the American flag, you're talking about your flag, the flag that represents a long, sordid history of racial oppression and violence. There is no unity where there is no justice. When you say that "we are all in this together," what you're saying is that we all have roles to play in the version of society that has served you so well. For your part, you'll be a rich, white man, and for Black people's part, they'll continue to be victims of state-sanctioned murders– but hopefully more quietly, hopefully in a manner that doesn't make you uncomfortable?

When you say, "We can all do better. And that we are all part of the solution," what you mean to say is that POC and their allies are at fault. Sure, you probably agree that Derek Chauvin took it a bit too far, and you probably feel a little self-conscious that he's brought all this "Black rights" stuff up again. But when you say "all," you place blame on the victims who are dying under a broken system. And what, exactly, do you expect POC to do differently, Drew? Ahmaud Arbery was just out jogging, and still he died. George Floyd was just trying to pay a cashier, and still he died. POC and their allies try to peacefully protest by marching in the streets or taking a knee at a football game, and still white people condemn and criticize. Still the police shoot.

After much criticism, Brees did attempt an apology on Instagram, where he posted a hilariously corny stock photo of a Black and white hand clasped together. His caption, though possibly well-intentioned, made it even clearer that his understanding of the movement for Black lives is thoroughly lacking.


Highlights of the "apology" include his immediate attempt to exonerate himself from culpability, claiming that his words were misconstrued, saying of his previous statement: "Those words have become divisive and hurtful and have misled people into believing that somehow I am an enemy. This could not be further from the truth, and is not an accurate reflection of my heart or my character." Unfortunately, Drew, white people like you are the "enemy," as you put it, because by default you are at the very least part of the problem. No one is accusing you of being an overt racist, Drew; no one thinks you actively and consciously detest Black people. But your lack of empathy, your apathy, and your unwillingness to unlearn your own biases are precisely what has persisted in the hearts and minds of well-meaning white Americans for centuries.

Next, you say, "I recognize that I am part of the solution and can be a leader for the Black community in this movement." No, Drew. Just no. Black people don't need white people's savior complexes to interfere in their organizing; what they need is for us to shut up and listen. What they need is for us to get our knees off of their necks.

Finally, you say, "I have ALWAYS been an ally, never an enemy." This, Drew, is suspiciously similar to saying, "But I'm one of the good whites!" The fact of the matter is that feeling the need to prove your allyship is not about helping a movement; it's about feeding your own ego. Not only that, but your emphasis on "ALWAYS" does a pretty good job of making it clear that you don't think you have a racist bone in your body and that you have taken great offense at any accusations to the contrary. I have some news for you, Drew: Every white person is racist. Sure, the levels vary, and while you may not be actively and consciously discriminating against POC, you have been brought up in a racist system, and your implicit biases are as strong as any other white person's. Your job now is to unlearn those biases and confront those subtle prejudices in yourself and in other white people. Maybe the first step in doing so is just shutting your f*cking mouth about kneeling at football games. Maybe you should even consider taking a knee yourself.

For other non-BIPOC trying to be better allies, check out one of these 68+ anti-racism resources.

CULTURE

The Mystical Union of Halsey and Evan Peters: Tumblr's Greatest Crossover Couple

Turns out angsty Tumblr superstars of 2014 can find real love in 2019.

"Bad at Love" singer Halsey and American Horror Story actor Evan Peters are officially dating.

They made things official this weekend, stepping out on Friday dressed as two of music's most terrifying figures. Halsey went as a red-haired Marilyn Manson, and Peters was a Juggalo, a fan of the Insane Clown Posse. Then on Saturday, they arrived at the 100th episode celebration of American Horror Story as a polka-dot-clad Sunny Bono and Cher.

Elle.com

The two first sparked dating rumors when they were seen on a roller coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain. They're both coming off breakups—Peters' seven year relationship with Emma Roberts ended in March after it apparently became toxic. Though it's unclear exactly when Halsey and Yungblud broke up, they were dating at least through September.

Daily Mail

Following Halsey and Peters' roller-coaster debut, fans quickly dug up some of Halsey's old tweets about Evan Peters. For those who didn't know, for a total of seven years, Halsey's been tweeting about her crush on the actor. Though they've all been deleted, as we know, nothing on the Internet ever goes away.


"Halsey, your powers are strong. May this be a lesson to us all!" wrote Mari Lodi in Vulture when the dating rumors began to swirl. It's true that Halsey's ability to successfully tweet her way into a relationship may indicate that she's cast some sort of occult love spell, but honestly, Halsey has always been powerful on her own. She recorded her first demo, "Is There Somewhere," on GarageBand while a homeless teen and scored a major label contract. Her first (and best) album, Badlands, went platinum, and if you listen to its lyrics, you can see that Halsey's always had some sort of divine power. Maybe it's because of her song "Hurricane," but if I had to judge her type of magic, I'd label her as a weather witch, able to conjure up storms and to change the color of the sky (possibly from red to blue to violet) at will.

PinterestLyrics from "Colors", circa Tumblr 2014

Meanwhile, Evan Peters has been dabbling in occultism on his own, albeit in his role on American Horror Story. He was the iconic homicidal ghost Tate Langdon in Murder House, and in a 2012 tweet, Halsey perfectly articulated every teenage girl's feelings about his character. "Seriously Evan Peters stop making me attracted to alleged sociopaths and accused murderers…" she wrote.

https://www.tumblr.com/tagged/wanna-hook-up

Now that their union has emerged from the purely ethereal plane, becoming manifest on our physical one, we can see that it was always written in the stars. They do seem to exist in separate universes, in a way, as they come from TV and pop music respectively. On the other hand, they're both the highest possible evolution of Urban Outfitters teens, Tumblr darlings who somehow made their way into adulthood without losing their perfectly grungy, relatable-yet-alluring mystique. Of course they chose Scorpio season to make their debut as a couple; this time of transformation, rebirth, intensity, and Halloween seems designed for them to join forces. Plus, Sunday was a New Moon, the most goth of all the moons, perfect for a couple that captions their Instagram couple shots "Resident goths."

Sure, their best work may have been done years ago, but maybe this means there's more magic where their early masterpieces came from. Maybe Halsey will write a song from the perspective of Violet Langdon (she did film the music video for "Colors" in the actual Murder House from AHS Season 1). Maybe I don't know which one I'm more attracted to, but I'm not complaining. Maybe if we Tweet enough about our truest desires, they might just become incarnate—though of course, being a world-famous pop star helps.

Halsey - Colors (Official Music Video) www.youtube.com