Film Review: Love Beats Rhymes

I was so jazzed for this movie to come out. I am an Azealia Banks fan; always have been and probably always will be. Is she a stereotypical #yourproblematicfav ? Yeah, probs…but honestly, her rawness as a person is what I find so endearing. And also, while I’m here defending the great AB, there are so many other potentially toxic celebrities out there who continue to be supported because of their “undeniable talent,” so why can’t this be her too? Especially since, if you follow any of her social media ranting you can actually see she is growing as a human being, like the rest of us. Which is frankly, refreshing and inspiring.

*Deep breath* …so back to Love Beats Rhymes. This movie is so cutesy. Which is my primary gripe. It is so corny 90’s–and some moments it feels cute and warm and familiar and the next minute I’m trying not to vomit in my mouth. The plot isn’t even that terrible (ala 10 Things I Hate About You; I’m corny but that’s what you came for), the acting is pretty good for most of the major characters, but the script! is so! yuck! Like, I’m glad we finally get to see Azealia Banks come into the movie world but I’m sad that now I have to couch my applause for her acting talent in the disclaimer about how the movie itself is kinda meh. I really, really hope this opens the door for her to do some more serious acting work.

(((And super tangentially, if we’re gonna spend any time talking about mini-Drake…can we talk about a real life Azealia Banks x Drake couple? How cute it could be? *hums Mariah’s “Make It Happen”*)))

I think what I loved most about the film was how it shows how there are so many different textures to rap/spoken word/poetry. How as an art form it can be used not only for bravado and anger, but also pain, happiness, romance, or uncertainty. The rap vs. poetry thread was a little heavy handed, but it ultimately does a good job of explaining about how each strengthens the other.

Summary: I’m glad I watched it once. I would watch it again if a friend hadn’t seen it. I would not watch it again by myself.

Film: 2.5/5

Black Girl Magic: We go to 11.

Film Review: Love Beats Rhymes

Film Review: A Wrinkle In Time

I have been waiting for this movie since I was 8 years old. I didn’t even care that the movie theatre was full of parents and kiddos. I don’t even care that I didn’t get *this* when I was their age. I am truly, deeply happy that it even exists.

First and foremost, this novel is great because it has a little girl saving the FRIGGIN universe. But also can we give a round of applause for Madeleine L’Engle teaching children how a gotdamn tesseract works in the form of a book?!? A few years ago, I was watching a 3-d image transform shape and without reading any captions I said “that’s a tesseract.” And it’s not because I’m some geometry genius, it’s because many, many moons ago I read a book that so thoroughly described the physics concept that I knew what I was looking at. That just *blows my mind*. Imagine if every children’s novel was not just about some emotional journey of being a 13 year old, but actually taught *things* *real things*?!

Add to that…a mixed family, an adopted child, Oprah!, Mindy! *drool* But as a mixed person, the fact that the heroine of the story was a little mixed girl and not an ambiguously-ethnic, white-passing mixed girl…it was just thrilling. It was literally my childhood dreams imagined. This book (in my memory) is pretty non-racially written, so it could have been cast any which-way i.e. it could have been a bunch of white folks, but it *wasn’t*!! And Oprah is the fairy godmother of them all!!! *sigh* I’ll say it with everyone else because it seems Hollywood might finally be listening a smidge, REPRESENTATION MATTERS. My niece is about 13 and she and this girl look remarkably similar & you have no idea how much my heart is overflowing with joy that she gets to see a movie–with a girl that looks just like her–having complex feelings and being brave–using her science and math smarts–to save the WORLD!!!

PLUS! Casting diversity aside, the movie was actually pretty well done. They gutted the hell out of the science parts in the book. But frankly, I think it would have been too much for a movie medium. The film was already so full addressing the emotional aspects of the plot, that I think it would have just been too crazy trying to add in the science parts. I felt very similar when they adapted The Time Traveler’s Wife to the big screen. They basically chucked the last half of the book, but I couldn’t even be mad because if they had faithfully followed the book to the end the movie would have been boring as shit. To me, this is a sign of a successful adaptation. If movie makers can cut out half of a book and still have satisfied fans, I’d say that’s a job well done.

It was beautifully shot. The acting was fantastic. The imagined worlds were stellar. Overall, bravo.

Film: 4/5

Black Girl Magic: We go to 11.


Film Review: A Wrinkle In Time

New to the Library: FKA Twigs: EP2‘s opener “How’s That,” rhythmically, seems to be picking up where EP1 left off. Almost like an epilogue to that moment in time. While echoing the songs of past EP, it draws us down the path into a much more sensual place, very different from the bitterness and anger of EP1.

Papi Pacify” lurks in the dark. The video is dripping in sensuality. I also really love the almost back-looped sounding strings toward the end.

If I were to make a non-sexy bathtime playlist, I think “Water Me” would definitely make the cut. Not because of…you know water…but it’s just very chill and almost cleansing feeling.

On the flip side, if I was making a SEXY playlist…”Ultraviolet”‘s gotta be on there. And really, all of these tracks are sort of like making-out-while-high-AF distilled.

EP: 4/5

Black Girl Magic: We go to eleven.

New to the Library: FKA Twigs: EP2

New to the Library: “Pop for You” Junglepussy

The first time I listened to this song, I wasn’t taking it very seriously. I was just enjoying the beats and her nasally delivery and then across my ears came…:

“I knew this one thoughtful motherfucker
He came from planet goodnigga or some shit
This dude deadass took me to the zoo
The zoo? The zoo.
Last nigga bought me leopard print lingerie and I’m like I got niggas taking me to see live animals and you pullin up with animal prints?”

This. Woman. Somehow mixing together humor with all the fucking problems and not coming off “angry.” Just done with the bullshit.

The snaps are 90’s cafe. The ringtone-turned-beat is 200o’s ATL. The attitude is “fuck you and that fuckboy smile you rode in on.” Best empowering break up jam I’ve heard in a while.


Black Girl Magic: We go to 11.

New to the Library: “Pop for You” Junglepussy

Hidden Figures

Welp, this glorious thing happened…

My mother grew up a bi-racial kid in the 70’s. It was not normal or acceptable. It was hard. When I was talking to her about her experience this week, she told me that growing up her family talked about her blackness like it was a disease–mind you, that wasn’t their perspective or intention, she explained, just that it was always framed as “this is a thing you’re always going to have to live with, but don’t worry you’ll be ok.”

I wish she had had a movie like this. It might be presented in a more simple approach, but it is very reassuring and inspiring to women of color. You can be smart. You can be ambitious. You can stand up for what you have earned and what you deserve. We need more movies like this.

All of the actresses were stellar; moreover, I was really pleased with Janelle MonĂ¡e‘s acting skills as I have pretty neutral feelings about her music career. It was nice to see Taraji P. Henson deftly encompass both the sassiness that she’s known to excel in as well as the shy, vulnerability that is crucial to her character in this film.

Any attempt for me to critically analyze this film will probably just devolve into a diary entry, so I’m going to leave it with a “Go See This!!!” Show the movie industry that a film about amazing, nerdy black women can make MONEY. If movies are atrociously priced in your area, at least hit it up at the Red Box.

Film: 4.5/5

Black Girl Magic: We go to 11.

Hidden Figures

“Don’t Touch My Hair” Solange ft. Sampha

I would like to say that I have much respect for Solange and what she is doing with this song and this album. I wish that -this- kind of music and message were part of the in-your-face mainstream when I was growing up. The closest I think I ever came to this kind of message as a yoooth was maybe “Video” by India Arie . I chose the image above because it resonates with my vision of the beauty I want my (hopefully) future children to uphold. One of the few times in my life where I have felt -powerful- was my last school dance in 8th grade when I rocked my big, beautiful, fluffy, tent-like natural hair. And I was CUTE! And I knew it, which is a very rare thing for many women. It felt like such a feat of self-love when not 6 mos before my gaggle of “friends” thought it would be funny to pour water on my bun because I wouldn’t feel it…

If you haven’t had a chance, check out the video for “Don’t Touch My Hair.” It has such stunning visual design, aesthetic and choreography. I am a music video snob and this gets a solid “A” in my book. : D

Now for the song itself. This is such a smooth jam. The horns are perfectly composed and are placed well within the total mix. It’s hard to make horns not drown out everything, especially in such a dreamy tune. Sampha’s voice is addicting as usual. The funk-lite composition throughout all parts gives the song that special swinging quality to keep you listening to the end. I also really love Solange’s voice control and Billie Holiday-esque phrasing in the melody.

Video-song combo: 5/5

Song: 4.5/5

Black Girl Magic: We go to 11.

“Don’t Touch My Hair” Solange ft. Sampha