Tag Archives: Rihanna

“Hymn for the Weekend”: Appreciation, Appropriation, and the Exotic Black Woman

I don’t know about you, but I can’t stop listening to “Hymn for the Weekend” on repeat.

However, before I had even listened to Chris Martin and Queen Bey meld their voices in a divine mesh of harmonies, I was reading about it on Tumblr.

Cultural Appreciation vs. Appropriation

The first thing I heard about the video was that it had some pretty rampant cultural appropriation. Since there have been a number of music videos and performances accused of cultural appropriation over the last few years, I wasn’t too surprised to hear about “Hymn for the Weekend” being added to the list.

The video quickly split viewers into two groups, those who considered it cultural appropriation, and those who appreciated the video’s focus on Indian culture. The clip below highlights a few of the key elements that have been discussed and criticized.

This discussion is tricky for a variety of reasons. For example, there is a time and place when a white person can wear Indian clothing and accessories without coming off as disrespectful. In some cases, it’s actually much more respectful to embrace local dress customs than to ignore them.

There are even music videos where diverse customs and styles have been featured without any backlash about appropriation.

This debate can also seem confusing when Indian fans, or fans with Indian heritage, don’t seem to be bothered by the video’s representation of their culture.

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3 Reasons You Should Watch Home (According to Kat and Her Nieces)

Last weekend, I was lucky enough to steal a couple of my nieces and bring them home with me. For the last few days, they’ve been busy helping me out with the kids program I run at work, and in the evenings we’ve all been busy showing them around the bustling metropolis of Williams Lake. While I thought about skipping out on this week’s post altogether, I decided instead to write a quick post about the movie we watched last night.

Below, I’ve included 3 reasons why we think you should watch it.

1) The aliens are super cute

This was why my nieces loved this movie so much. The main group of aliens, called the Boov, change colour according to their mood and seem to be made up of a jelly-like consistency.

The main character, Oh, is considerably cuter than I thought he would be. When I first saw the commercial for Home, I assumed that Jim Parsons would play a cartoon version of his well-known character from the Big Bang Theory. It was a pleasant surprise to see him change things up a bit while playing an equally quirky character in Home. Oh, the alien played by Parsons seems considerably more fun to be around than Sheldon.

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Liam Neeson to costar in Battleship

So, back in 2008 Universal Studios and Hasbro announced a movie deal that would center around Hasbro games like Battleship, Ouija, Clue (wait, don’t we already have a Clue movie? How can anything without Tim Curry be any better?), Candy Land, and Magic the Gathering. Most normal people promptly forgot this fact because our attention spans don’t last the length of a movie production with no news. But on August 3rd we found out that Universal was dropping Clue (though Gore Verbinski will still be making it), Monopoly, and Magic, leaving them with Battleship, Candy Land (CANDY LAND??), Ouija, and Stretch Armstrong. Personally, the potential of 7 board game movies being released in the next decade makes me want to buy stock in foreign companies.

And so Battleship is going to be the first lovechild of this unholy coupling of basically plotless board games and film; the trailer was released in late July:

It stands to reason that battleships might be the worst things with which to fight aliens – aliens that, bizarrely, don’t seem to want to attack a city or government or mine for Unobtanium or whatever, but just want to trap some Earth ships, which are defending nothing, in a semisphere of their intense technology, instead of just flying over them or dropping some huge alien bomb on them, which one assumes they could do.

Rihanna will appear in Battleship, inexplicably, dressed in something suprisingly unsexy; requisite hot-daughter-of-authority-figure-and-romantic-interest-of-authority-challenging-protagonist1 is played by generically-hot Brooklyn Decker (the trailer opens with a “There will be sexiness as well as battleships!” shot of her in denim shorts and a white bikini straddling the authority-challenging-protagonist on the beach).

Liam Neeson, Oscar and Golden Globe nominee, known best for his iconic role in Schindler’s List (and less fondly for his hideous hair in Star Wars I), will be delivering lines like “I don’t know what my daughter sees in you.”2

The only connection to the actual game of Battleship seems to be that there are ships and, presumably, a battle – but I guess that’s really all they had to go on anyways, short of making the ships have giant pegs on the bottoms of them.

And yes, everyone thought Pirates of the Caribbean was going to be terrible, and yes, Pirates of the Caribbean was awesome, but the justification of similar hopes for Battleship becomes extremely weak when the last, super-duper-intense-and-awesome lines of the trailer are:

Liam Neeson: Prepare to fire.
Man In Charge of Firing: Sir, which weapons?
Liam Neeson: All of them.

I mean, seriously, I know this isn’t where art films come from, but is this all our big movie businesses can do? Slam out as many potential fad-ish movies as fast as they can and hope something has that Pirates magic? A sad day for the movie industry, I think, but what makes this sadder than the release of Spy Kids XVII is that they’ve sucked real actors into it this time.

1is that a trope? I feel like it is. This is basically like half of all leading females ever (Elizabeth Swann in Pirates, Neytiri in Avatar, Lucilla in Gladiator, Jasmine in Aladdin….

2Okay, okay, or “What my daughter sees in you is a mystery to me”; they didn’t fool me by using crappy verbs and putting it in passive tense. [Also, did you know that “Liam” was short for “William”? His name just got a lot less cool and foreign, sadly (sad for him and also a sad indication of what my standards are for coolness). This is like when I found out that “Topher” wasn’t some cool nonWASP name but in fact just an abbreviation of one of the WASPiest names out there. Sigh.]