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No ‘The Internet’ Isn’t Really Mad at Kim Kardashian-West for Dressing As Aaliyah


I just read that a few people on the internet are upset that Kim Kardashian-West dressed for Halloween as late 90s R&B pop singer Aaliyah in her “Try Again” music video. The two prevailing criticism are: Kim is culturally appropriating because Aaliyah was African American and others say she shouldn’t impersonate a dead person; and Kim shouldn’t impersonate a recently deceased pop icon.

I ball BS on both!

First, Halloween is all about dressing up and wearing costumes. I think by now, most people know not to wear a culture as a costume or risk offending members from said culture. In my book, this prohibition applies to anyone dressing from anyone from the following cultural heritage while not having said heritage him/herself: Native Americans, Aboriginal and Indigenous people from other parts of the world other than America, Mexicans, Africans, and Asians.

It is obvious that anyone and everyone from any race all over the world are free to dress as anyone form European ancestry with expectation of offending many people.  Ergo Scottish bagpipers, German Beer Maids, Irish Farmers, French Maids or French Mimes are okay.

It seems hypocritical, yes, but I think the reason it isn’t the same is because people and leaders from these regions of the world, Europe and Australia,  have managed to travel far and wide proclaiming dominion over others and spreading their culture, beauty ideals, religions and traditions globally via Imperialism and Colonialism. And they’ve done so so thoroughly that the effects are long lasting and engrained that they sort of already belong to all of us.

It may not make sense but that’s just the way it is.

My daughter, who is black like me, dressed as Joan of Arc, a white French woman, for Halloween and I doubt anyone will be accusing her of cultural appropriation.

Now back to Kim.  The Keeping Up with The Kardahsians star and KKW Beauty purveyor  did not paint her skin or wear make up to appear darker which a lot of foolish people who actually were guilty of cultural appropriation have done in the past not realizing or perhaps aloof to the historical significance of White people painting their skin of someone from another race.

Kim wore her own skin and we have long applauded those who have dressed as people from other races through clothing while skipping the skin-darkening or yellowing, in terms of Asian-themed costumes.

Second, re: that criticism hat she was impersonating someone who has passed away. Um…every year, there are thousands of people who go as dead folks like Elvis, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Marilyn Monroe (which she did dress as while her sister Kourtney Kardashian dressed as a very dead Sonny Bono), Prince, Michael Jackson.

Someone else said well the dead person is more recently dead. Last time I checked, Prince and Michael Jackson died after Aaliyah.

Finally, I think it’s not really a big deal among most people on the internet— just a few opinionated people whose tweets got picked up by national news organizations and couched into an article.

This is SJW (social justice warriorism) at its best.  Faux outrage like this one dilutes instances of true cultural appropriation.

Also, I think a few tweets by some angry folks which are the minority of online opinions doesn’t equal “the Internet”. I  have seen so many articles declaring why the Internet is mad at Kim. Puhlease.

It really is not that deep but it does may a great headline and clickable piece so, I dig it. (ha!)

Kim Kardashian-West’s Musical Icons Halloween Costumes Are Giving Us Life

This year, Kim Kardashian-West has decided to channel all of her fave musical icons for Halloween.

So far, she and bestie Jonathan Cheban dressed as Sonny and Cher for the Tequila Casamigos party last weekend.

Then, for another event, she and sister Kourtney Kardashian dressed as Michael Jackson and Madonna attending the 2001 Academy Awards together.

Finally, the business mogul and reality TV star of Keeping Up The Kardashians was seen on her Snapchat dressed as the late 90’s R&B pop princess Aaliyah in her “Try Again” music video.

We love them all and are here for it! Can’t wait to see what other icons she will go as for other events leading up to Halloween on Tuesday.

@KimKardashian back at it again! Did she do 90’s R&B Princess #Aaliyah justice? #Halloween2017 ?

A post shared by East Coast Renaissance (@ecrenaissance) on

P!nk and Logic Gave the Most Impactful Speeches at the MTV VMAs WATCH!

As usual during Awards shows, artists use their time and platform to espouse messages to their audience. Last night’s MTV VMAs is no stranger to being used as a conduit to deliver news.

Last night, P!nk and hip hop artist Logic, in our opinion delivered the two of the most impactful remarks.

P!nk while accepting the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award spoke of her 5-year old daughter who needed a self-esteem boost recently.

“If I may tell you a quick story,” Pink began her acceptance speech relaying a recent exchange with her daughter.

“‘Momma, I’m the ugliest girl I know,'” Pink said her daughter told her one day. “I said, huh? She was like, ‘I look like a boy with long hair.’ My brain went to, oh my God you’re six, where is this coming from?” Pink said.

“I didn’t say anything. Instead I went home and made a PowerPoint presentation for her. In that presentation were androgynous rockstars and artists that live their truth and are probably made fun of everyday of their life and carry on and wave their flag and inspire the rest of us,” she said before naming famous androgynous musicians like Annie Lennox, Prince, George Michael, Elton John, and Michael Jackson. 

She then ended her tale with a powerful statement. “We don’t change—we take the gravel in the shell and make a pearl,” she said. “We help other people to change to see more kinds of beauty. Thank you for being your true selves and lighting the way for us,” she wrapped up before giving props to other celebs in the audience.

“You my darling girl are beautiful and I love you,” she said to her daughter, who was in the crowd.

This speech also explains why she and her family were dressed in oversized pin stripe suits, a hat tip to androgyny.  Kudos to her for being so present and responsive.

 

Also, new artist Logic sang his hit song “1-800-273-8255“, which is the national Suicide Prevention Hotline number, and was joined on stage towards the end by a few dozen people of all races, persuasion, and background who have attempted suicide in the past.

The front of their shirts had the number and the back read, “you are not alone.” It was powerful because you could see yourself represented among those people and that sends a powerful message that suicide impacts everyone.

We also found Logic’s plea for acceptance and tolerance much needed, especially in today’s heated political climate.

“I just want to take a moment right now and thank you all so much for giving me a platform to talk about something that mainstream media doesn’t want to talk about,” he said. “Mental health, anxiety, suicide, depression and so much more that I talk about on this album. From racism, discrimination, sexism, domestic violence, sexual assault and so much more.”

The hip hop artist called his fans to take action on achieving equality.

“I don’t give a (expletive) if you’re black, white or any color in between. I don’t care if you’re Christian, you’re Muslim, you’re gay, you’re straight — I’m gonna fight for your equality because I believe that we are all born equal, but we are not treated equal and that is why we must fight. We must fight for the equality of every man, woman and child regardless of race, religion, color, creed and sexual orientation.”

Watch both below:

Celeb Trend: The Band Tee Never Goes Out of Style

I LOVE a rocker or a  band tee and so do a lot of the Celeb women we have”bump watched” in the past.

Jessica Simpson, Kim Kardashian and her sister Kourtney Kardashian, Kate Hudson and Alessandra Ambrosio have all rocked the band tee well when snapped out and about. (See above collage)

Not only are these chic t-shirts great way to pay homage to a fave performer or band of the present or yesteryear, but they are iconic fashion items that are forever in style.



Sleeveless, long sleeved, under a denim or leather jacket, with a pair of jeans or cropped shorts, they can be mixed and matched in any  casual look.

I’ve Insta-shared pics of myself in band tees featuring The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Michael Jackson, Bob Marley, The Doors, Pink Floyd, Nirvana, The Rolling Stones and more myself. (See collage below)

Cant get enough and my collection continue to grow.

I curated a selection of rockstar tees under $20 each for my budget conscious readers. Check it out: Powered by my partners at Shopstyle:

Beyonce Shared Some Never Before Seen Labor and Delivery Footage Recently

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For Beyonce and Jay-Z‘s 9th wedding anniversary on April 4, the mega star released a clip a lovely love song, assumingly dedicated to her love, a single “Die With You“. She posted it on Instagram  and the small sample of the lovely tune plays to the video background of home video footage from her pregnancy with daughter Blue Ivy.

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It’s tender and very personal because it reveals never before seen footage of her wedding, getting the number IV tattooed on her fingers and inside the labor and delivery room, moments before she gave birth.

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Not only was it a good way to promote her latest track but it also seemed to get back at those incessant rumors and naysayers who do not believe she carried her first child. She’s never been able to shake those who believe she used a surrogate and probably will never convince them otherwise, but these beautiful moments make us smile because we’ve always been a believer.

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Do it for your fans and believers, mama. Ignore the rest. The video also includes video of Blue kissing her bare belly full of the brand new twins she and Jay are expecting.

Oh and she also pitched a playlist that includes this song and 63 other tracks with tunes from Michael Jackson, Kanye and Bill Withers. Hmmm! All of our faves in a close to 5 hour playlist. We’re down. But…you gotta get Tidal first to enjoy it! Smart given she and her hubby are part owners of the subscription streaming service.

photo: Beyhive

Paris Jackson Identifies as ‘Black’; This Blogger Was Raised ‘White’- We Compare

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Big this week was Londoner hair and travel blogger Georgina Lawton of Girl Unfurled‘s essay about being raised White by her Anglo-Irish parents who hid her mom’s infidelity and never admitting Georgina was mixed race.

Not until Lawton’s dad died of cancer a few years ago did Lawton learn the truth, but only after years of inner turmoil, a few awkward incidences of racial discrimination and lots self denial and confusion.

In sum, her mom had dipped out on her dad and they decided to sweep it under the rug and pretend it never happened despite having and obviously mixed race child. And they did it in their Lily White community, nonetheless! gasp!

It brings up issues about race, culture and identity.

Lawton knows that most of society only acknowledges “pure white” (or at least that looks so) and thus, once she learned the truth, she had no other alternative but to adjust to life as a black woman.–not that she would have much of a choice, otherwise.

Her awesome blog offers lots of personal introspection about coming to grips with her self, her hair and cultural expectations.

Juxtapose that with Paris Jackson, the eldest child of the late Michael Jackson and his nurse turned-wife before divorcing Debbie Rowe. 

With Paris, you see a similar situation as Lawton, but it ends differently, for now.

Paris grew up in a family where most family members other than her siblings Prince- Michael and Blanket looked another race.

She only knows life in a black family with a black dad and was raised by her black grandmother from the age 11 after her dad passed away in 2009 at age 50.

The model and aspiring actress told Rolling Stones in a January cover article that she considers herself a black woman though the gorgeous  18-year old with green-blue eyes, bleached platinum blonde hair and chiseled Eurocentric features looks very White.

But like Lawton, she was just going one what her dad told her despite what others think.

“I consider myself black,” she told the magazine, adding dad “would look me in the eyes and he’d point his finger at me and he’d be like, ‘You’re black. Be proud of your roots.’ And I’d be like, ‘OK, he’s my dad, why would he lie to me?’ So I just believe what he told me. ‘Cause, to my knowledge, he’s never lied to me.”

However, race wasn’t discussed in Lawton’s home because it was never an issue for the majority of her family except her.

Lawton poignantly writes:

“Although outsiders had constantly laughed at the idea of my parents being my own, we had managed to live in a white world where race and identity were never discussed – probably because no one except me had to worry about it.”

Even after being questioned by others, Lawton says she was taught to be defensive. Her parents told her she had dark ancestry but it was hard to keep denying.

“It was the strangers and new acquaintances who deliberately popped my protective bubble of whiteness time and time again. In nightclub toilets, on the street, at school, they demanded to know where I was from. Was I adopted? Swapped at birth? Jamaican or Ethiopian? Their eyes often widened in surprise as I told them I identified as white; knowing smiles spread from the sides of their mouths. I was embarrassed and, with each question, I began to doubt my parents more. However, I still didn’t identify as black or mixed-race until around the age of 16 because I didn’t know anything else. And I believed what my parents told me.”

Like Lawton, Paris  knows society has other ideas about her race.

“Most people that don’t know me call me white,” Paris conceded to the mag. “I’ve got light skin and, especially since I’ve had my hair blond, I look like I was born in Finland or something.” She points out that it’s far from unheard of for mixed-race kids to look like her – accurately noting that her complexion and eye color are similar to the TV actor Wentworth Miller’s, who has a black dad and a white mom.”

Similar to Lawton, Paris-Michael Katherine Jackson, dealt with her own inner turmoil about acceptance.

Paris had additionally  struggles with living up to her dad’s legacy, hanging out with older kids in high school and dealing with cyber bullies, depression, substance abuse, and suicide attempts.

One other BIG difference is that Paris can continue being what she identify as in childhood. That’s a privilege of looking the way she does.

She has more credibility than say Rachel Dolezal to the claim because Paris’ upbringing was genuinely black American, whereas Dolezal adopted another race and culture despite not having its history or cultural experiences until becoming an adult.

Paris gets to continue being what she wants. by God, she is Michael Jackson’s daughter! Of course she can identify how she wants.

I do think she might be turned down when she goes for a acting role that calls for an ethnic looking black woman but who knows. Prosthetics and movie magic can do wonders these days.

Lawton, on the other hand, doesn’t get to continue claiming to be White without people looking at her sideways.

It is all interesting stuff, isn’t it?

Let’s continue the discussion and talk more online. Find us at Bellyitch on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. 

 

Tribute: My Fave George Michael Songs and Videos and Why I love Them

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Today, I, like many around the world, am saddened by the news of the passing of singer/songwriter George Michael on Christmas, December 25th. I was a huge fan of this late 80s/90s pop star especially in my teens and early adulthood. The Greek-Brit, full name Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, was extremely attractive, had a seductive dance and a voice that was big, unique and carried every melodic hit that he performed.

I agree with those who say that the overwhelming memory of his legacy will surely be the musical genius that encompassed both his time in UK pop duo Wham! and as one of the great solo artists of all time. With over 100 million records sold worldwide, eight Billboard #1 hits, and a bevy of awards

His look back then was a five o’clock shadow, leather jacket, rugged denims and guitar with one dangling earrings with dark shades. Very sexy!

 

 

 

I played this song to death in college my first year. It’s so jazzy and melodic. Love!

One of my fave albums of his was his second studio album “Listen Without Prejudice Vol 1” (volume 2 was never released) which was very controversial and almost didn’t get put out by Sony Music.

I love that it was full of ballads and showcased his lyrics and voice moreso than the upbeat dance songs on Faith.  It sold 8M copies but was considered a flop for such a big artist given that “Faith” had sold 25M copies. But it was a hit in the UK where it won Best British Album that year in their version of the Grammy‘s, the BRIT Awards.

 “Praying for Time” was an ode to times we live in where there is copious and overindulgence and greed abound with a message of warning to mankind. It is one of my favorite tunes from this album. Love this song.  Given ongoing battles with his record label at the time, Sony, he refused to appear in the videos for the songs on this album so the video is just lyrics on a black screen which is actually ahead of its time, given that lyrical videos are such a big trend nowadays.

“At some point in your career, the situation between yourself and the camera reverses. For a certain number of years, you court it and you need it, but ultimately, it needs you more and it’s a bit like a relationship. The minute that happens, it turns you off … and it does feel like it is taking something from you.”  he told the Los Angeles Times in 1990 about deciding not to do photo shoots or music videos any longer. “I would like to never step in front of a camera again.”

I think Freedom 90!  is one of the sexiest videos of all times and it featured super models at the time in a video directed by the same person who directed Madonna‘s “Express Yourself” video, David Fincher.  It included Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista and Tatjana Patitz and was inspired by Peter Lindbergh‘s now-iconic portrait of the five models for the January 1990 cover of the British edition of Vogue. Instead of playing someone’s girlfriend, as is common for models in music videos, they each lip synced the song. Brilliant!

More models werking the catwalk can be seen in the video for “Too Funky“.

This remake of Stevie Wonder‘s song is prolific given Wonder sang it recently in tribute to Michael Jackson and it could aptly apply to George Michael today.

His career started off as part of the two member pop music band, Wham! The preeminent 1980s big band sound was loud and apparent in this song and it peaked in the era of music television when MTV just launched. The video for it surely sold the song even more than the appeal it already had as a really awesome song:

 This song, “I’m Your Man” also takes me back to a carefree and less stressful time of my life, my late teen years.

 Another great hit from Wham!

My son loves “Last Christmas” and it has played almost twice an hour this past month on our local radio station that plays Christmas songs from Thanksgiving to Christmas non-stop. Even my 11-year old was shocked and upset to know one of the guys who sings a fave song has passed.




The biggest song from this album was “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go 

As a solo artist, George Michael performed some awesome duos like this one with Aretha Franklin, another fave of mine:

With Elton John, this song just makes me feel good every time I listen to it

And Queen (at a tribute concert for the late great Freddie Mercury)

And finally with the late great Whitney Houston, “If I told you that” 

Thanks for the music, George Michael.  You will be missed but your legacy will live on!

Another Jackson in Making: Shah’s Asa Soltan is Expecting with Jermaine Jackson Jr

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Reality TV star of Bravo TV’s show Shahs of Sunset, Asa Soltan Rahmati, is expecting a baby with a Jackson, her longtime beau Jermaine Jackson II, son of Jackson 5 member Jermaine Jackson.

That makes two brand new Jacksons on their way to being born as Jermaine’s aunt Janet Jackson  is expecting as well with her husband Wissam Al Mana and is scheduled to deliver soon. Jermaine II’s  uncle, of course, is the late great Michael Jackson.

Soltan waited until she was in her 8th month of pregnancy before sharing a very pregnant photo to her Instagram‘s follower.

She captioned the photo: “29 weeks pregnant. 🙂 Feeling incredibly grateful. Becoming familiar with my new body. Had a beautiful day with my Love and our Love nugget driving up the coast. #HappySunday ❤️??????❤️ #MamiPriestess #asasoltan#shahs #shahsofsunset #LoveNugget



Since the cat was let out of the bag, Asa, known well in the Venice bohemian artist scene, has since shared photos of herself during earlier stages of her pregnancy. “This was me at 5 months pregnant in Hawaii,” the entrepreneur captioned a photo of herself wearing a tunic from her Asa caftan.

The former Iranian refugee is also joining the celebrity baby over 40 club because she is set to deliver her baby a few months before her 41st birthday; and Janet in the club too given the platinum selling Pop queen is currently 50-years old.