In South Africa, approximately 500,000 rapes, murders and beatings are committed against women every year.1 Many of these are carried out against black lesbian women, including hate crimes and practices of ‘corrective rape’.2 Zanele Muholi is a South African visual activist and creator of Inkanyiso, an activist platform that exposes the realities of black LGBTI individuals in South Africa. This month, she’s in New York as part of Brooklyn Museum’s Isibonelo/Evidence show, travelling with three… [read more »]
Danny Young’s video for his song, “Pop Champagne” contains some of the best, unintentional art direction I’ve seen in a while. The video starts with images of rolling postcard cityscapes (New York, etc) cutting to Danny in the lobby of what looks like the kind of over-lit, 4 star chain hotel that terrorizes the world with its insipid aesthetic of fake palmtrees and high ceilings. In the midst of this are stock videos of posh party ice cubes, unidentified bottles being splashed, money stacks and such. A video made entirely out of the artist singing in an American chain hotel edited with stock videos of supposed luxury items and money is mind-blowingly corporate in the realest way. The luxury lifestyle and its commodities, as culled from American rap videos, have been transformed into their truest, basest, and ultimately banal form. Danny’s nondescript, high street fashion attire also emphasizes the IRL corporate sensation of the video. The song itself is not bad, if anything it’s one of the better R&B-style, faintly trance hits being made in Nigeria at the moment. The lyrics are themselves earnest in depicting the expense of global luxury goods (overinflated presumably for rhyming purposes) an indication of the song’s humdrum title and mass marketed symbol of celebration. “Prada shoe now, 1 million. Bottle of rose, 2 million…If you got this money…If we pop this champagne, pop this rose…” Against a white Hummer in an underground car park, local video vixens getting smoke-machined, Danny Young has created a cohesive vision of a hollow reality–the global luxury lifestyle and it’s transparently marketed dream laid bare.