Wednesday, 29 April 2015

United States of KALIfornia: Kali Uchis, the Dream Girl

On her video for her single, What They Say, some noob named Sean mentioned that there was something that made him hate that he really liked Colombian singer, Kali Uchis. His ears, they said yes. His eyes, they said no. He went on to add, "Not sure what it's called, but it's like they're always wearing kid's clothes yet pull off this sophisticated boss-ass-bitch look - Kreayshawn, Kali Uchis, Lil Debbie, Brooke Candy, FKA Twigs, etc..."

OK, so Sean isn't a noob because he's one hundred percent correct. Kali motherfucking Uchis is this 60s soul, 90s R&B, no-small-talk hybrid all aesthetically presented in a seemingly recognisiable Chola look with elements of mod, funk and that ghetto everyone's seen somewhere but never remembers where exactly. You look at girls like Kali and you're straight away hypnotised. She's not even dressed all that eccentric or cutting edge or offering anything vastly different from the things you've seen and, even, the things you own. But somehow, she brings some sort of validation, some sort of power, a presence to this look. Perhaps it's presumptuous (considering I've never seen her IRL) but she's one of those people whose aura just oozes through everything she does, wears and is. And I am in love with her.

But that's not even the half of it.
There's this mix of low-rider, that gangsta Nancy Sinatra vibe Lana went for (but Kali delivers with a touch of Amy Winehouse and a heavy dose of Selena), the soul and doo-wop music my dad listens to and an actual Wednesday Night Interlude in all her music. She's one of the few who cross over between "boy, bye" and "just wanna be the girl you like" so seamlessly, you think she wrote all your journals.

I could try give you a run down of her bars, the songs she samples, how she's worked with Tyler, the Creator (baby) and Snoop Dogg, the syrupy sound of her voice, how she works as her own backing vocals and beat on Sycamore Tree but I don't know a lot jargony stuff about music and you'll find out on your own from how great she is.

I mean, you just look at her, well a photo of her, and it's like maple syrup on a cloudy Sunday: sweet and sad. You look at her and you think about trying to put on lipstick and curling your hair when you're not even feeling all that gangsta. You look at her and, I don't know, you can see the simultaneous Herstories happening at once; that Latin mysticism wrapped in the shades of gold and yellow that makes you think of One Hundred Years of Solitude and the sunsets in telenovelas, "pastel ghetto", grind and actual hustle--the kind that makes you call a white rose handsome instead of beautiful, and a fierce, independent queen in the making.

Of her hometown Colombia, she said in an interview with The Fader, "I love Colombia, it's just that the people there are not really... a majority of my family is tainted by their environment." Can you see? Can you believe it? It's so easy to decide where you come from is either a pit of shit or parade some false, exaggerated sense of nationalism because you don't want people to do that first world head tilt, click their tongue and express mumbles of shame, "at least you're here now".

"You know a lot of people don't want to put out stuff because you have to hear everybody's bullshit. But even as a civilian, I was always hearing people's bullshit about the way I look, or the way I talk, or the way that I like weird shit. So I was just like, 'might as well get paid for this shit.'" - Kali Uchis.

above photos from Know What I Want music video

Sunday, 26 April 2015

When You Do Have the Juice Like That

"Omg, khensani, are those swimming trunks? u r so creative!"
Hahaha, no, peasant. I'm just broke and always twenty minutes late to everything.
Fashioning short shorts out of your brother's too, too big swimming trunks will seem like a really clever idea when you're left with two minutes to get ready before having to head out. You'll tell yourself that your colour palette is so on point and you've just extended your wardrobe by another item for absolutely free, thereby creating a whole new plethora of outfit choices for the summer (which, you seem to keep forgetting, is almost over). You'll pair your cute new shorts with a thrifted button up shirt in your favourite shades of blue ("ah, look at how well they go together," you'll remark, "this was meant to be"), slip into the pink Pull & Bear trainers you're always wearing and never washing and throw a wink at the mirror before you leave with your thrifted jacket and the remaining trophies of almost-responsible-nights-out-when-you-didn't-lose-everything on your wrists and fingers.

You good-looking fool, you.

You're going to regret all of this when the hair-ties holding your shorts up keep getting lost, the drawstring of aforementioned shorts keeps giving up on you and your shirt exploding outwards and forwards, and don't even get me started on what a burden that jacket will become to you on the dance floor. I hope the compliments were worth all the anguish.
Jacket: Better Half Vintage // Top: Glitter Betty // Shorts: somewhere in the Seychelles // Shoes: Pull & Bear // Rings: [the store formerly known as] Sass Diva, Mr Price, LEGIT and a really nice old Turkish women in Osmonbey // Choker: Glitter Betty //
this is me thinking about how much easier my life could've been if I had just worn some jeans.

Has anyone else made some terrible choices for the sake of letting your look live?

Thursday, 23 April 2015

5 Cool Things on the Internet Right Now

If it would pay well, I would seriously consider a job as a professional collector of Internet things but in the interim, I bring you this.

1. Bloggers to Watch on i-D Online

The strangest thing just happened when I woke up from one of my procrastination nation naps yesterday; not only did I forget to PVR Empire but i-D, as in the publication I read almost everyday and binge read at book stores, included me in their list of high school bloggers to watch. Me, man. I thought it was a really cruel joke when someone tweeted me the link and then I found it to be true via email (to Emily Manning: many, many thanks). I still don't believe mostly because there are some seriously groovy kids there, like Ellie, Tolly Dolly Posh and my new obsessions, How to Survive as a Fashionable Teenager and Crybaby Zine. I highly recommend visting their blogs. i-D makes really great comments on everyone. (See it here.)

2. On Unlearning Misogyny and Slut Shaming
illustration by Ruby A.

I think it's been a pretty good week for South African brown girls because my favourite poet and natural hair god, Nova, just posted this great essay on Rookie about revisiting her old feminist critique on Nicki Minaj. It was super refreshing and reassuring to read just because, like Nova, Nicki Minaj used to incite a very sour taste in my mouth. I used to buy into things like respectability politics and I was utterly disgusted at the only modern brown girl hip hop representation I could look up to was some surgically enhanced, Black Barbie with a plethora of wigs. I know. What level of ain't-shit? But now that I'm a teensy bit older and I've come to understand intersectionality, pro-choice and actually read and listen to the things that Nicki has to say, I'm in love with her. Nova also accounts for how you can stan for someone and not completely agree with everything they say or do and that is all right. The comments section is fantastic, by the way.

3. Dope Saint Jude's Keep In Touch Video
Thanks to this lovely Elle article, I just discovered my latest obsession. And, ah, another South African girl making it happen. Dope Saint Jude is a subversive and dynamic rapper from Cape Town with one of the best overall aesthetics I've seen in a long time and on top of that she's an inter-sectional feminist and her bars are sick. The video is amazing. She makes use of Gayle, gay slang mostly used by coloured people in apartheid, makes use of all too familiar South African landscapes and motifs, such as those Telkom payphones, sportys and Nik Naks. There's been a tidal turn in South African music lately and I'm really excited that local is actually really lekker.

Also see her interviews/write ups here and here.
4. Teen Queens Tavi and Amandla: TOGETHER
I don't know if there is a God but she's doing something right in a world where Amandla Stenburg and Willow are best friends and there's this interview that exists between Amandla and Tavi Gevinson. You'll know Amandla from The Hunger Games, Sleepy Hollow and more recently, her Don't Cash Crop My Cornrows video. Willow is an angel from a different planet, sent here to bring us sweet music and lovely tweets. And Tavi, oh my god: duh.

Read the interview, published something like a year ago where Tavi and Amandla speak about feminism, Rookie and the industries. Expect cool quotations like, 
"I feel like there’s something happening now – a generation of girls around our age, from a similar background of beliefs and ideas, are inspiring and influencing each other, and that’s super exciting to me. A few years ago I would have said, ‘It’s okay if my friends my own age don’t get it, because I have a bunch of adult, professional friends who do get it.’ But that’s kind of sad, because I need friends my age too." - Tavi
"...but I feel like even though the world feels big and intimidating, it’s almost calming to realise that even within the smallest thing, like a cell, there’s an infinity. And you’d think that wouldn’t be calming, that it would be disconcerting, but actually it just makes me feel that there’s an organisation between everything in the world." - Amandla


'Nuff said.

What else has everyone been curating off the Internet this week?

Saturday, 18 April 2015

When You Grow Up

I keep hoping that I will wake up one day and Time, memories and emotion will all make sense to me. Like everything right now is the preamble to the final exam and all this--this experience, is just a great way to study. I'm a little older than I was (haha, birthdays, man) and so many parts of me woke up the other day, and ran out onto the front lawn and quoting Scrooge, "I AM NOT THE MAN I WAS". And I'm not and I am all at the same time. 

I wrote this last year:
"I saw something on Tumblr that was along the lines of, "Locate your feelings. Don't analyse. Locate. Are they in your stomach, leg?" It reminded me of an article I'd read (what could've been) weeks or months ago about theories on where certain emotions stem from. 
I think all the hours of making/admiring art, crying into poetry and trying to understand everything about Sofia Coppola films means that I had come to spending a lot of my time trying to analyse feelings. Beat them until they confessed their motives, until they revealed every intention they'd ever had, until I could kick them in the shins and make them leave my bones so I could be self-aware. 
And I guess that's why I'd also grown so disinterested in Instagram and Tumblr and Twitter and, eventually, blogging. It felt like I was beginning to spend a lot of my time watching myself and my thoughts and my feelings instead of just being assured by the fact that all those things are there and that I'm alive in the most exciting time to be a person and that my friends are great, my relationship is wonderful and I have all these beautiful things to look forward to. Journaling and photo-taking just felt like abuse of these moments of 'Strange Magic' I so desperately wanted to keep so that I could look back on an aesthetically pleasing life.
I started a diary then. I was just going to write down a play by play of the things that happened that had some sort of long-lasting impact on me. Be it, Katy calling me 'my boy' with a huge grin the one Monday or when I got invited to a house party by ex-boyfriend (and spent an hour wondering if I was lying to Lilita when I said that I wouldn't go) or how I scribbled Donald Glover's open letter (to himself? The world? His future? Me?) on my bedroom wall. I was just going to have to locate feelings.
I want to look back and enjoy or cringe at these moments once again for what they were. Not the grey balls of putty I would mash and twist and wring out to be whatever I needed them to be."

I was reading through all my old blog posts and journals and the aforementioned diary and it excites me how much things have changed. I know that's a weird sentiment considering the things that have changed are friendships I treasured above almost everything else, a beautiful letter I never look twice at anymore and self-love breaks from people I didn't need. But I also know that if all the things I thought were so, so good can change then all the things that are so, so bad, right now, can change too.

I'm almost happy to reread about the boyfriends and nights-out that are more light finger prints on glass doors as opposed to the gaping photo-frame-shaped patches of yellow on what is now a dusty, brown wall. 

It makes things, you know, easier to clean.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

All I Want for My Birthday is a Big Booty Ho

Birthday Wishlist 2015

Can you still want a big booty ho when you're already one? Well, in between stints as a cranky, 70 year old man burdened by back pain and the memories of better times, anyway. I can't say I am all that crazy about being another step closer to not being a teenager anymore (and this is my last year of Forever according to the school system and Tavi). I am, however, trying to console this drying valley of bones with the notion that in five years, I'll only be 22 and that means I'm still pretty young. "Think of all the people who will be eighty-three in five years," I tell myself. "You've still got the world at your fingertips." I say. "Stop yelling at the kids loitering on our lawn," my brother exclaims.

To get in the elderly birthday spirit, I made a little Polyvore wishlist. Man, I haven't done one of these in a while. Mostly because it will take about seven months to three years before I actually get anything off of it. May I redirect you to this wishlist I made on the 23rd of August, TWENTY THIRTEEN. I have only recently acquired the wide brim hat, Celine tote, platform trainers and jelly sandals. It is now Star Date: WAY TOO FREAKIN' LATE.

But it's OK because today, I've made a new wishlist.

  1. THIGH HIGH BOOTS (or anything leather and over-the-knee)
    In all my dreams of the cool teenager I'd grow into as a sapling, they always involved thigh-high, leather boots with a pointed toe and simple court heel that would erase all evidence of skin on my legs. They would be paired Lucy Liu in Charlie's Angels style with a leather pencil skirt and a hot boyfriend. Oh, kids and their crazy dreams.
    Don't @ me. I could just really do with a good pair of bright orange flared trousers or wax denim in the bootcut with a side of fries and skipping calf day at the gym.
    I remember when I was in primary school and my sister was on the cusp of adolescence how she and her friends were ready to commit murder for some kicks with the rubber shell toe, the famous trio of stripes and the automatic implied gang$ta status. Pharrell's range comes in over 50 colours and I want every colour. Imagine being able to match your shoes to anything from your lipstick, eyeshadow, hair, car, lack of ambition and soul. Every day.
    My iPhone and I are at a bit of a standpoint right now. After two glorious years together, it could no longer take all the accidental slips, trips and falls and the screen has finally cracked. But, of course, these things can never be half-assed with me so as of this day my iPhone now stands with a gaping, shard bordered hole where the home button used to be. 
    But at R1500+ a pair, these will remain a wish.
    I want Gabourey Sidibe's platinum, Beyonce's fringe length and maybe a little colour at the bottom. I'm not sure I can trust anyone in Johannesburg to do this justice at the right price (which would be dirt cheap). A girl can dream, right?
I'm going to spend the next four days holding tightly onto my fading youth and overeating. For everyone who hasn't had their birthday yet, what are you lucky whippersnappers hoping to receive?

Friday, 10 April 2015

Shades of Groove

I haven't slept in my own bed because there's a mess of gold stars and silver heart confetti on the sheets, the blankets smell like three different bottles of perfume and lavendar laundry detergent and the bed is lumpy from all the clothes I've shoved beneath it. I can't bring myself to clean it right now. I think because I've convinced myself I'm turning into a recluse, starving artist (I've been on a circumstantial diet of green tea, cranberry juice and bananas for four days), and, this, this is a trial for the books.

Never mind that I've started four screenplays and can't see myself finishing a single one and while I've drawn cartoons a plenty, I can't even face my art exam without having to pee first. In a feeble attempt to grasp at the straws of my youth, of a time when universities weren't the sole topic of all small talk and I could imagine The Future with a gaussian blur and purple tint, I'm turning to all the vices of yester me: waking up at six a.m after a night out to take self-portraits, screenshotting Kanye videos and singing Marina & the Diamonds. I don't know if it's working all that well.

I tried writing a short film yesterday. We meet this girl when she's waking up in the home of a stranger at 3 a.m. and follow her as she burdens the right-boy-for-her with her baggage and wish that she would quit playing around and let him love her, she leaves him at the cusp of 5 a.m. and then in the car on the way to school, she's a taxi with 'SEDUCTION' printed on the back window. We think she's having some sort of epiphany but instead she argues with her friends, hurts the right-boy-for-her and ends up in that very same stranger's home. She's hopeless to write a proper ending for, I guess.

I reread Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers and I think about how easy it would be to stop. Stop having pangs of anxiety over school projects and social obligations and just quit caring and "do me" but then I remember that, for right now at least, those things are me and I never see taxis on the way to school in the mornings.
  "Aries- Soon the fragility of your existence will hit you Aries and you will recede deep into your own mind, trying to cope with that." - Nightvale Horoscopes

Happy April everyone!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...