An Inconsequential Awards Show Just Hosted A Touchstone Moment In An Intensifying Cultural Divide

“What just happened?” These were the words which headlined many an article reporting on the chaos which occurred on stage at the 89th Oscars on Sunday night, where bookies’ favourite La La Land appeared to attain the inevitable, only for Warren Beattie to have to prepare before an audience of millions an entire buffet of humble pie and reveal that it was the other critical darling, Moonlight, which had actually won the award. However with the racial tensions surrounding the dramatically unrepresentative Oscars of previous years and conspiracy theories already abound, it seems ‘what just happened’ was little to do with cinema or what went down on stage, and was instead the creation of a talking-point which evidences rising social narratives that are increasingly radical, vitriolic and unforgiving. (more…)

How Did We Get Here?

Yesterday, Donald Trump was elected President of the United States. It’s still quite surreal. It will be hard to disassociate the images of him in the Oval Office with President Obama which emerge today from all those SNL sketches at first, but that’s the reality. It’s also not the end of the world. As the residing President said himself: the sun still rose this morning. Hyperbole isn’t helpful. It’s also hard to imagine a deeply unprepared President Trump, who has seized upon the pain of so many but has offered not a single solution to resolve it, making it beyond four years. So let’s take this for what it is: a wake-up call. It’s a gut punch which may finally force everyone who is against the fascism of Donald Trump and far-right populism in the West to realise that it’s no anomaly, that we can’t pretend that it’s not there or that people aren’t suffering. It should urge us to finally aim to reach out to the people feeling it and name alternative causes of the symptoms they feel so strongly. (more…)

“I want you to feel like you’ve got a brother and a friend in me”: JD Weaver on fighting the bigots with song (Part Two).

(Continued from Part One

You’re proving people’s misconceptions wrong by working on your debut album Neon Soul at the moment: how’s progress on that front?

I’m starting to get a little paralysis in my fingers now, so I’m struggling to play guitar at the moment – but thankfully in the summer before that happened I managed to get some help from a recording studio, a college for recording called SSR, based in Camden. They have a team there including two guys called Matt and Erron, who really liked my music and what I’d done before and were down to help me, which I really appreciated because I couldn’t find accessible studios and people were turning me down, asking me for thousands of pounds, but luckily a nice person decided to help me. I went down and recorded my vocals and acoustic guitar and it’s with them now – they’re adding extra musicians and mixing it. I’d like to think that before the end of the year I’ll have something.

I can’t wait to hear it. You have some great artwork for the upcoming album and your first EP Where Eagles Fly, how did that come about and what are you trying to portray in how your package your music?

That was done by a friend of mine in the States called Kendrick Kid who’s a graphic designer in LA. Wherever I’ve spoken to him he’s a lovely guy who liked what I was doing and, again, he did it for free. I don’t want to sound like a cheapskate, but it really restores your faith in people, and he produced two of the most beautiful covers I’ve ever seen done digitally. It incorporated a lot of things from my music but in a way that’s tasteful and respectful to the people I was trying to raise awareness off.

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