Farewell to B. B. King: Blues legend dies at 89
Credit: AP Photo

Farewell to B. B. King: Blues legend dies at 89

Listen to the icon's songs and let the good times roll

B.B. King was a pioneer into the very soul of the blues. He reinvented the blues, he brought the blues to the masses through the very many eras of the blues. Throughout the course of his 70-plus year career, the guitarist and singer proved over and over that his was an artform birthed for change. Blues flourished inside the thousands of notes King played on a six-string and sung with his spirited, rich, bassy voice.

“The blues was bleeding the same blood as me,” King said in his autobiography “Blues All Around Me.”

The King of the Blues died in Las Vegas on Thursday (May 14) at the age of 89. According to the AP, King’s attorney, Brent Bryson, said King died peacefully in his sleep at 9:40 p.m. PDT, and that funeral arrangements underway. Over this past year, King suffered increasingly from diabetes and had canceled remaining tour dates to his most recent tour leg due to declining health.

His passing arrived after a lifetime of recording more than 50 albums, having performed with some of the greatest musicians – Hendrix, Clapton, Richards, Rush – axe slingers who idolized the Southern-bred King in turn.  King played to millions of fans all over the world during his thousands of concerts, and an unknown quantity of what I can only imagine as some of the greatest unscheduled jams on the planet.

I managed to see King twice, the last time in the late ‘00s to a small crowd gathered outdoors, on a low-sitting stage. From what I remember he hit his best-known songs – “Every Day I Have the Blues,” “The Thrill Is Gone,” “Rock Me Baby” – but mostly the impression I walked away with was how much he laughed during his set. With his able backing members, his Gibson glued to his open thigh on a modest chair, the multi-Grammy Award winning grinner would frequently turn his head and laugh, make small talk to his sidemen, a walk in the park.

Riley B. King may have sung sad songs, but it didn’t keep him from bringing them utterly to life, and with expert swagger and -- just as a King favorite Louis Jordan tune says -- “good times”: “You only live but once / and when you're dead you're done /so let the good times roll.”

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<p>Courtesy of AFI/Jonathan Keng</p>

Courtesy of AFI/Jonathan Keng

Credit: Courtesy of AFI/Jonathan Keng

Jill Soloway to female filmmakers: 'Let's storm the gates'

'Transparent' creator/director revs up AFI class: 'If you can't cry, you're a liability'

LOS ANGELES - On Thursday, Jill Soloway had some strong and hilarious advice for the outgoing and incoming students of the AFI Conservatory Directing Workshop for Women

"Rub your shame all over your script."

"Tear those motherf*ckers down, like vile lady-dogs."

"If you can't cry, you're a liability."

"Shoot from your pussy."

The Emmy-nominated, Golden Globe-winning film/TV director aimed her keynote address to the 20 or so DWW directors showcasing their short films at the Directors Guild of America HQ.

There's been a recent spike of voices advocating for more women directors and women's stories in Hollywood especially on the heels of this past Oscars season; the late April release of a damning USC/Sundance study on the employ of female directors; and the ACLU's targeting of gender discrimination announced this week.

Certainly, Soloway noticed.

"It's an amazing time for women," the "Transparent" creator/producer/director said in her opening remarks, noting recent interviews with other successful women filmmakers like Kathryn Bigelow ("Zero Dark Thirty").

DWW director Patty West introduced Soloway to the largely female crowd, noting that the program's 2014 crop of nine filmmakers raised "a quarter of a million dollars to tell their stories." This notion was part of Soloway's point during her frequently comedic, "Rules"-paraphrasing speech: achieving equality, or even just a voice, within the filmmaking realm requires hustle, alliance and devotion to creating art.

[Update] A representative for Soloway sent HitFix her speech as she wrote it, in its entirety below.

Hi guys! Wow. It’s an amazing time for lady directors. This has been an amazing week. The ACLU announcement. Let’s just sue all of  Hollywood. All of the women coming out, Bigelow and Duvernay saying YAAAAS. Things are changing, I can feel it. Got all these wild and overflowing groups of woman filmmakers and creators on email chains, Sundance directors and the Stacy Smith Study and Women In Moving Pictures and Binders and from Cinefamily. There’s this rising feeling that we’re here for each other. The Sh*t People Say To Women Directors blog.

And the work that Patty is doing. Literally single-handedly MINTING women directors, ten a year. Using her vibrance and drive and will, schooling and shaping so many artists. In this room tonight there are at least twenty new directors that AFI’s DWW has anointed. Ten sensational humans I met the other night in the intimate setting of this year’s workshop, working on their films – oh, we cried, didn’t we--  Amy, Christine, Dime, Mia, Claire, Erica, Bella, Rebecca, Philane, Chelsea. And ten more, whose work we’ll see tonight, Pippa, Tessa, Roja, Devin, Alexis, Jean, Kantu, Julia, Bola, Thoranna.

So even though there are 600 people here I want to give some words of wisdom to those 20 new filmmakers, as well as any woman creators in the audience. I want to give you some real professional TOOLS for making it as a woman. In man’s world. That’s why I brought this.

[TAKES OUT COPY OF “THE RULES.”]

So, this thing is called The Rules. Some of you may not know know from it but it was this horrendous book women were supposed to read back when I was a single lady a few million years ago. It was a book that would get a man to propose, seriously, they’d say "JUST DO THESE THINGS" and you’ll have a ring – and it worked -- seriously, I KNOW ACTUAL MARRIAGES that were happened from the woman doing these tricks on a man. Man still has no idea. I actually hang out with a few of these couples where the guy has no idea he proposed because a lady did book trick on him!

There were a few of the rules that got a lot of press. Don’t accept a date for a Saturday anytime after a Wednesday. So if they call on Thursday you have to be all "Sorry, I’m busy." This was a surprise to me. I was the kind of chick who would call up a guy on Saturday afternoon and say you want to come over and have sex tonight? Don’t do that if you’re trying to get someone to propose.

Okay but my POINT is that if some of these things work for chicks trying get their way with dudes in life, they should also have to work for chicks trying to get their way in the male-dominated industry of Hollywood.

I’m going to start with the one that always haunted me when I was single. It’s “Be a Creature Unlike Any Other.” For dating it meant I think be mysterious, or wear yellow, or have a distinctive laugh.

But it’s true as a director. DON’T BE LIKE ANYONE ELSE. Find your voice, your script, your rhythms. Before you make a movie, you’re comparing two things in your mind: the empty space where there’s no movie, and then the opposite of no movie, which is your completed movie. No movie, movie. Movie is better than no movie, right? But after I made my first feature, "Afternoon Delight," I realized that your movie gets compared to EVERY OTHER MOVIE THAT’S EVER BEEN MADE in reviews. Distribution deals. Word of mouth. Getting people out if their house and into the theater.

So you gotta go for it. Just do me a favor and F*CK SOME SH*T UP.  Surprise yourself, wake up your actors, get wild with your performances, try sh*t, put in that funky dialogue you’re embarrassed of, in fact, rub your f*cked-up-ness all over your scripts, add some shame and embarrassment and glee, and then dare yourself to shoot it, SERIOUSLY, go big or go home -- be a creature unlike any other.

Here’s another one from the book: “Don’t Expect a Man to Change.”

I’d reinvent that one to DON’T EXPECT THE INDUSTRY TO CHANGE. Guys are holding on so tightly to male protaganism because it perpetuates male privilege. From their subject seats they can POINT -- "She’s old, SHE’S hot, she’s not, she’s old, she’s fat, she’s someone I want to bone, she’s past her prime, that person’s black, queer, fat." (I’m not pointing to you guys.)

That pointer is a powerful thing. That white cis male gaze is like a lifeguard chair, it’s a watchtower  - I’m way up here naming things. And they are NOT GIVING UP THOSE LOOKOUT SPOTS EASILY, in fact they won’t even cop to the fact that they have that privilege. Wait what? We’ve had the voice too long? We’re not doing it on purpose… So yeah, instead of waiting for these guys to change, instead STORM the gates, grab hands with each other, RUN like red rovers at the lifeguard chairs, snarl at the bases like wild starving beast dogs, boost each other up those watch towers and pull those motherf*ckers down.

What else is in here – oh yeah -- “Always End Phone Calls First” – I’ll translate that to ALWAYS GET OF OFF THE PHONE FIRST with your agent or even better – do this for me. Don’t even think about finding an agent or leaving word for your agent or waiting for your agent to call you back, instead, focus on your art your art your art -- relentlessly your art -- until you find yourself so busy making stuff that YOUR AGENT is having a really hard time trying to GET A HOLD OF YOU.

Or you know what, you can also just get rid of the rules --  also, ya know, light the damn book on fire or toss it aside. And while you’re at it, toss out all the rules you’ve been told about “How to Make it.” Forget every rule you’ve ever heard. You know how they used to tell women IF YOU HAVE TO CRY GO TO YOUR CAR. Or go to the bathroom? On my set, I say, IF YOU CAN’T CRY YOU’RE A LIABILITY. If you can’t cry you can’t feel and if you can’t feel, you'd better not be holding my camera. And speaking of the camera, the camera is recording images of humans -- skin and water moving over muscles and bone -- feelings. And I’m just curious, how in the world did men convince us that feelings are their specialty? Feelings are OUR thing. There are so many status quo filmmaking supposed norms, questionable militaristic language like "point" and "shoot" and "cut," "CAPTURE" a moment, but the truth is – I came into most of my power as a filmmaker when I realized that all I needed to do was make a safe space for people to have feelings. And that’s feminine energy. That’s mommy energy. That’s OUR birthright. Our wombs, our space-making, crucible containing bodies. (As a newly politicized member of the genderfluid revolution I’ll remind you that you don’t need a female body, you can also bring your spiritual womb, your conceptual pussy if need be). What I’m talking about is no more imitating men’s style or competing with them on their terms, instead reinvent at every turn.

You can own the energy of the set by embodying the idea that everyone is safe, no one is going to get yelled at, that we’re lucky to be called upon to make art together. People on sets have gotten so used to operating under this fear, this TIME IS MONEY PEOPLE, this hyper-masculine worshiping and priveleging of equipment, cameras, cranes, numbers, schedules, money. I mean, who ever decided that right before you start filming EMOTIONS you’re supposed to YELL “LAST LOOKS” or YELL “QUIET” and then SCREAM “ACTION.” I mean, it was shockingly, frighteningly easy for me to realize that I could invite actors into their risk spaces by leading with receiving, gathering, feminine, space-creation energy.

New rules. You CAN cry at work, in fact, you must cry at work, in fact if you’re going to make a movie, do me a favor and think of it “as bring your tears to work day”, hell while you’re at it, “ hashtag #bringyourpussytoworkday”, every day. You’re gonna need it.

That’s right we can agitate for gender parity – by the way real gender parity wouldn’t be 50/50 it would mean for the next 100 years women direct 95% of things and then at year 101 we could revert to 50/50 but anyway – we can agitate for gender parity, we can sue Hollywood – yeah ACLU sue 'em all -- but the only way things will change -- will be when we’re all wilder louder, riskier, sillier, unexpectedly overflowing with surprise. Invite it by bringing all of that feminine-allowing into your art making. And soon they’re going to say, “We gotta find a woman to direct this because women are just so much better at it.”

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Why Black Widow's sterilization scene in 'Age of Ultron' is astonishing
Credit: Marvel

Why Black Widow's sterilization scene in 'Age of Ultron' is astonishing

Motherhood as choice and gender dichotomy in a movie with robots

“You’re not the only monster on the team.”

In “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” these are the words of Natasha Romanoff speaking to Bruce Banner after they mutually reveal they’re sterile, incapable of bearing children. It’s no coincidence they say this surrounded by kids’ toys in Hawkeye’s secret country home.

While I’m very curious if there’s footage of Bruce Banner talking about fatherhood somewhere on the cutting room floor, I do think it’s powerful that Black Widow has a soliloquy’s length to describe how fertility was irreversibly rendered from her, as a requirement of her job.

What is mind-blowing about “the sterilization scene” is that “Age of Ultron” director Joss Whedon and his screenwriters had the audacity to sneak a gender dichotomy into a $250 million movie featuring robots and flying cities. That this message is so rarely addressed in film at all is a testament to the cordoning-off of “women’s issues” – AKA “women’s-only issues” – in the cinemascape, period.

That message is choice, and specifically motherhood as a choice.

The fact that Natasha doesn’t mention adoption or fostering children honors the intent of this scene: it’s not about lovers sussing out the logistics of family planning, but a woman mourning the loss of an option.

Hawkeye – aka Clint Barton -- exercised choice. His joining SHIELD was contingent that he’d get to have the wife, the kids, and the knowledge they’d be safe. In a clichéd phrase, he “has it all.” Whether Natasha ultimately wanted kids or not is besides the point: the Red Room’s policy of sterilization takes even the option of “having it all” away, insisting its female recruits cannot be the greatest killers in the world and have an emotional bond with their babies.

Yes, there are members of both sexes in this Marvel universe who are infertile. But consider the real-life statistical disparity that having kids helps the careers of men and hurts the careers of women. A job involving motorcycles, sniper shooting, code-cracking and ass-kicking certainly has its own list of preferred qualifications in this fictional world, but I find it still oddly refreshing that you can draw a direct line from Black Widow’s screenwritten experience to real-life glass-ceilings. Would a female superhero be lauded more or less if she had a secret family stashed somewhere?

As I mentioned in my piece about “Ex Machina” – an exceptional film about gender-as-construct – traditional “identifiers” of female-ness include the ability to bear children and the “hardware” to pleasure a straight man sexually. In this way, too, Black Widow’s identity as a woman has been forcibly splintered. In order to become a super-spy, not only did she lose the ability to bear children, but her sexuality is furthermore amplified and weaponized, which both de-feminizes and hyper-feminizes her at the same time. This is a specifically a “women’s issue” in an Iron Man Man Man Man’s world, and yet another double-standard one could take away from this scene. Isn’t her sexuality also what feeds the sexist “slut” comments made by Jeremy Renner IRL, or the “whore” line in “Guardians of the Galaxy?”

And speaking of hardware, consider Black Widow’s Scarlet Witch-induced nightmares about her operation during the “graduation ceremony.” I don’t think it takes an incredible leap to link her dream-induced horror to women’s real-life pregnancy and sexual traumas, like unavailability of safe abortions, genital mutilation, menstruation isolationism, forced sterilization of female prisoners, hymen reconstruction and so-called “virginity tests.”

This isn’t Black Widow’s movie. I don't want to ignore that Auntie Natasha is frequently a prop for and "picks up" after men in “Age of Ultron,” as many writers have noted. "Ultron's" got some glaring problems. But the sterilization scene plays to a specifically feminine theme, which is further supported throughout the movie. See how she soothes The Hulk back into Bruce, her tactics initially like a pro’s approach to a deadly predator, transitioning to the physical and verbal language of a mother to a child. In her rich interpersonal life, Black Widow enjoys friendship with Hawkeye but, just as importantly, has a loving relationship with his wife, their daughter and their unborn son. (And, yes, even the literal conception of Vision has a parallel here.)

I think it’s reductionist to refer to this expressive scene as Black Widow “whining” or her “mini-breakdown.” It’s astonishing something so vulnerable, intentionally fractured and female-centric tucked in between gun blasts. To me, the script doesn't imply that every woman dreams of having a family; rather, it exposes the painful paradoxes between sexuality and fertility, choice and conscription, superwomen and supermen.

Maybe that’s among the reasons Natasha calls herself a monster, because like The Hulk, she’s really torn between two selves: who she’s programmed to be, and who she could have been if she only had the choice.

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Weird Crush Wednesday: When in doubt, 'IMDABES'

Weird Crush Wednesday: When in doubt, 'IMDABES'

Gmcfosho's parody and ode has legs and a man on fire

Our weekly column in which writers reveal their current in-the-margins pop culture obsession.

The music video for "IMDABES" has been viewed more than 4 million times on YouTube. I may be personally responsible for watching what feels like half a gillyun of those.

"IMDABES" is when you burn the hell out of cookies and you still eat them. It's for the moment when you know the zeitgeist has popped because your mom saw the thing that you used to like on the "Today" show and brought it up to you. "IMDABES" is the correct response when a situation has turned so sour or just a tiny bit celebratory, it's absurd.

Gmcfosho released this song in 2012, which is when I first saw "IMDABES" -- it grew into the hundreds of thousands of views and then hung out just over the million mark until a larger Reddit had its way with it in the summer of 2014. Upon entry it was counter-cultural -- nearly outsider art -- chock full of lo-fi Web 1.0 features so plentiful, it'd demean its gall and brilliance to list them all.

What I obsess over mostly with "IMDABES" is the shitty clip-art and the MS Paint version of the SUN wearing SUNGLASSES laying down the beat -- the only beat, it's only necessary item to launch this much swag (x5).

The artist clearly loves hip-hop, which is why he's able to take vaporizing jabs at it.

Anybody who was nurtured by rap music videos in the '90s will bathe in the warm comedy of his opening line to the first verse, a phonetic play-by play, "Standin on a car / feenga in da air." From there its nods to hashtag verse; jibes at hyperbole like in Mims' here-today-gone-tomorrow swagger "I can sell a mill sayin' nothin' on da track"; cartoonish violence toward women in gangsta rap; the sweet self-congratulatory laze of rhyming "mine" with "mine"; shameless moneyed boasts as he sips a 40 from atop a car that has one of those pine tree air fresheners dangling from the rearview, idle on an oil-stained driveway; bad green screen, "slow motion" and "araseddfasdfis."

It's splendid web detritus Gmcfosho made with his pals. It has legs because he genuinely cared to enough to set the lyrics (and a man) on fire. He was also conscious enough to keep it light and work it in his favor; he's got a damn fine Etsy page, the snake eyes its own tail.

I send this video to friends when they've done me a solid, or quote it -- in the voice --  to demarcate when a fad has jumped the shark. I think of this video when I feel bogged down by culture and media and art and gender and money and adulthood. 'Cause when in doubt, imdabes.

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Britney Spears and Iggy Azalea combine for obnoxious 'Pretty Girls'

Britney Spears and Iggy Azalea combine for obnoxious 'Pretty Girls'

This is not the summer song you're seeking

Britney Spears and Iggy Azalea have combined for "Fancy" part 2. "Pretty Girls" was manned by the production trio the Invisible Men, which would explain exactly why the song is just like "Fancy," you already knowwww.

This time, however, the singer is front-and-center with Iggy Iggz riding shotgun, the two classy gals exploring the space where men "got one thing on their mind," and pretty girls "jump the line," because "it's just funny, bees to the honey."

Pretty much any big dumb pop song is gonna look silly when you crop down its lyrics to the  brassiest tacks, but this song arrives at a time when Azalea is looking to be queen of the summer (songs) for a second sunny season after a full winter of bruising. The Aussie rapper went home empty-handed at the Grammys ceremony in February, and fell flat during "Saturday Night Live" October. She quit Twitter in early 2015 for a while after abuses were hurled her way for her looks... and for often and shamelessly co-opting black culture for her rap persona. 

After a rough few months, Azalea is probably hoping to hit back at the haters and have a No. 1 song on the Hot 100 by time we're drinking from koozies on Memorial Day. But that magic that propelled the senselessly catchy "Fancy" didn't come with the weight of these months, and the masses moving on from that "hey" Mustard beat. For as much adoration as I have for Britney Spears, this isn't her finest moment either, even though (despite the co-lead title) it's her vehicle; it's like she was given instructions to blurt consonant sounds to a bouncing ball.

They don't just sound hungry here, amongst all the high-end snaps, 808 umphs and throwback keyboard. They sound thirsty. Too thirsty. Like the single's artwork, this thing is a mess.

Were it to burrow its way into common teenaged vernacular like so many Gwen Stefani "Hollaback Girls," then all you have to look forward to a solstice of young'uns screwing up their faces into duck bills and beeping "We're just so pretty!"

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Ryan Adams finally covered Bryan Adams, you monsters

Ryan Adams finally covered Bryan Adams, you monsters

'Summer of '69' finally, publicly, exits the mouth of a man who just can not even

Ryan Adams covered Bryan Adams' hit "Summer of '69."

ARE YOU HAPPY NOW, YOU MONSTERS?

Some real comedians think that yelling "Summer of '69" (and the occasional "Cuts Like A Knife," touché comrades) during a Ryan Adams show makes them clever, because Ryan sounds like Bryan. RYAN SOUNDS LIKE BRYAN.

Ryan Adams has infamously gotten bent outta shape when this happens, at one point ejecting a fan from one of his shows because of this very hilarious joke. I get it. That's like having always tolerate dudes who shout "Free Bird" multiple times in a concert because nobody laughed the first time that they did it and their infinite cleverness ought warrant a finer laurels of pure laughter. Or at least requires non-Lynyrd Skynyrd band to actually perform Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Free Bird."

Adams, The Bryan Variety was actually my first concert ever, I was 11. Adams, The Ryan Type put on one of my personal favorite shows (during his first "Gold" tour). Some joker shouted "Summer of '69" at that show too, without much of a reaction out of the latter Adams. This was more than a dozen years ago.

And now the gag is put to bed? It's "shut down?" Is That Guy "redeemed?" No, no, no. It will live on. Maybe it'll even get a 7" pressing. It will be the most in-demand song at a Ryan Adams concert until we all die in the firey apocalypse. The human will has bowed to "Summer of '69" and you all did it to yourselves. Because That Guy now has fuel for his fire. I hope you're happy with yourself.

(Ryan Adams' 2000 solo debut "Heartbreaker" will be re-released on CD and vinyl on May 26th via Pax-Am/Caroline/Universal. He has also previously covered "Run to You," another very fine Bryan Adams song.)

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Hawkeye SINGS: The Avenger stops by 'Jimmy Fallon' to extol his bowling score
Credit: Marvel

Hawkeye SINGS: The Avenger stops by 'Jimmy Fallon' to extol his bowling score

Hawkeye may not seem so super compared to the rest of the Avengers, but that doesn't mean he can't open the heck out of a pickle jar, or bowl to blow your mind. Waterproof socks, how about those?!

Jeremy Renners stopped by Jimmy Fallon's "The Tonight Show" this week to sing a parody version of Ed Sheeran's hit single "Thinking Out Loud" in character as Hawkeye to further promote Friday's open of "The Avengers: Age of Ultron."

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Jay Z Tidal Tweets and the Baltimore protests: Hip-hop and hope

Jay Z Tidal Tweets and the Baltimore protests: Hip-hop and hope

Why fans feel rap superstars should lend their voice to current dissent

Sean Carter, aka Jay Z, doesn't use Twitter much, so it was a very rare moment indeed when the hip-hop mogul went on a 16-Tweet "stream of consciousness" tear on Sunday (April 26), to promote the music streaming service Tidal (owned by Carter's own Project Panther Ltd.). Using the hashtag #TidalFacts, Jay Z did his best to quell rumors about the company's health, to air his dreams for Tidal, and the like.

It was not his intention, I'm sure, to cull responses like these:

While there's a story in there about expectation/entitlement when the world's biggest stars even slightly open their door on social media, reading these responses to Hov's self-promotion during a time of protest actually made me think more about hope and hip-hop.

Stars like Jay Z don't reflect simply a level of celebrity, but stand as beacons of artistry, history, personal triumph and perspective. This week, protests against police brutality arose in Baltimore as they did in 2014 and earlier this year in New York, Ferguson, Mo., and elsewhere. It's at times like these that many people could use some perspective, could learn some history and are seeking some triumph and resolve.

Rap means a lot of things to a lot of people, because it's constantly evolving, an organism. Like all pop music, it can also be a vehicle for social change and protest, and has a long foundational precedent of just that.

With its origins in black communities by black voices, hip-hop continues to be a fertile medium through which, now, storytellers of any color, class, gender or nationality can reveal their realities and hopes.

An enthusiastic Tweet from Mr. Carter in January made reference to "Glory," the Academy Award-winning song from John Legend and Common. Recently, Kendrick Lamar and D'Angelo have made breathtaking albums that have also inspired fantastic writing, about blackness, black men, black voices and black communities (and also about women in those communities). These conversations, songs and artists aren't gaining momentum out of coincidence, but arrive at times of anger and unrest, as African-Americans and other people of color are continually and unfairly targeted, berated and misrepresented by media, educational systems, government, law enforcement, and even by their most-loved arts and entertainment.

That's partially why fans feel that Jay Z and stars like him owe their voices to the conversation: because these are the artists who also helped energize and form that dialogue. Jay Z may never weigh in on protests in Baltimore and other cities like it, but the desire to hear from artists like him is still a reflection of hope that willful, eloquent speech is conjured from the same artform that helped this country recognize its black voices within.

Here are some pieces by writers and influencers of color who further delve into pop history, current rap music and voice in this climate of dissent, even as their opinions vary.

The Roots' Questlove, on protest songs

Kevin Powell, on hip-hop's response to Eric Garner

Nia-Malika Henderson speaks to James Peterson

Nicki Minaj thinks hip-hop's power of protest is waning

Lanre Bakare, on rap response versus political response

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Amy Schumer's 'Don't Need No Makeup' crushes that One Direction song you like

Amy Schumer's 'Don't Need No Makeup' crushes that One Direction song you like

Compare 'Girl, You Don't Need No Makeup' to other Insecure Girl anthems

Amy Schumer revealed her breakthrough scientific study on the booty-poop connection with her song parody "Milk Milk Lemonade," which had fun with booty anthems, Sophie's "Lemonade" and bodily fluids.

Now the "Inside Amy Schumer" star has a boy band song that helps to inform the girl that she's beautiful inside, and she doesn't need that "goop" she calls makeup.

If the tune sounds familiar, that's because it's batting awfully close to One Direction's "What Makes You Beautiful." Schumer toys with the notion that dudes who prefer "no makeup" might not actually know what that really looks like, but thematically her song pounds away at these "I see you're beauty, even if you don't" feel-good tunes so very condescending.

"You're turning heads when you walk through the door / Don't need make-up, to cover up / Being the way that you are is enough / Everyone else in the room can see it / Everyone else but you."

Now try on John Legend's "You & I" on for size.

"You fix your makeup just so / Guess you don’t know that you’re beautiful / Try on every dress that you own / You were fine in my eyes a half hour ago / If your mirror won’t make it any clearer I’ll be the one to let you know."

And how about some Bruno Mars' "Just the Way You Are":

"Yeah, I know, I know when I compliment her, she won't believe me / And it's so, it's so sad to think that she doesn't see what I see / But every time she ask me do I look okay? / I say / When I see your face / There's not a thing that I would change / 'Cause you're amazing / Just the way you are"

Just as Arianna Rebolini and Robyn Pennachia and I and many others have said: the implication there is an underlying shame and insecurity, and these types of songs reek with a direct marketing to women's insecurities, particularly younger girls like One Direction's audience.

You'll see the trend before you feel it. I only wish "Just the Way You Are" wasn't so damn catchy.

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Exclusive: Listen to this killer take on Bonnie Stillwatter's 'Devil Is People'

Exclusive: Listen to this killer take on Bonnie Stillwatter's 'Devil Is People'

'Cheech Wizard's Hemiolic Chantey at the Edge of the Anthropocene Epoch' and beer

Give all of the awards to the full title of the alternate take of Bonnie Stillwatter's "The Devil Is People": "The Devil Is People (The Cheech Wizard's Hemiolic Chantey at the Edge of the Anthropocene Epoch).”

Bonnie Stillwatter, of course is "a conceptual collaboration of artistry and friendship" between Will Oldham (aka Bonnie 'Prince' Billy) and noise/rock group Watter.

Now give the bulk of the rest of the awards to Bundy K. Brown (of Tortoise and Gastr del Sol) who had this to say about his mix of this heavy, righteous tune:

"For me, this is not so much a remix, as an alternate take of The Devil Is People, which I think even casual listeners will easily discern. I've never been fully comfortable with the avenues that remixes have typically been trafficked in, or the reductive approaches and expectations that seem to leap to most folks' minds when they think of remixes, and I think this version of the song fairly lives up to double a-side billing... or even triple a-side billing alongside the beer."

What does beer have to do with a redux/alt-take/double-a-side/new limb/remix of a song, you may ask?

Temporary Residence is releasing "The Devil Is People" / "TDIP(TCWHCATEOTAE)" tomorrow (4/28) and to celebrate, on Saturday Bonnie Stillwatter played in five beer bars in New York, several of which may still bear the marks of my beautiful lost 20s. They served -- naturally -- Stillwater Artisanal beer.

Awards for beer. Awards for my 30s. We're all out of awards, People.

Here is the first version of "The Devil Is People" to have arrived from Bonnie Stillwatter:

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