It’s been just over a week since George Floyd’s death, and millions of people across the country have used their voices to demand justice. There have been huge protests in every major city, and while some have broken out into violence, the vast majority have been peaceful demonstrations. It’s so important that we use our voices and platforms right now, and many celebrities have gone beyond just social media posts and joined the protestors in the streets.
hours and miles of peaceful protesting yesterday that got little to no coverage.
all throughout beverly hills and west hollywood we chanted, people beeped and cheered along.
we were passionate, we were loud, we were loving.
cover this too please. #BLACKLIVESMATTER https://t.co/vD90CEtF94 pic.twitter.com/GZ6uKDfPM7
— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) May 31, 2020
On her social media, Ariana Grande highlighted the peaceful protest on the west side of LA over the weekend. She shared photos from Beverly Hills and West Hollywood, pointing out that, compared to more violent incidents, this peaceful demonstration got “little to no coverage.” When all you’re seeing on the news are images and videos of looting and fires, it’s easy to think that all the protests end up in violence. That’s not true, and the fact that Ariana Grande is showing a peaceful protest to her 74 million Twitter followers is huge.
Show up pic.twitter.com/jl9fkEh4eU
— TINASHE (@Tinashe) May 30, 2020
If you noticed, Ariana Grande’s tweet about the protest she attended was in response to Tinashe’s thread, where she also posted pictures of a peaceful protest in Beverly Hills. She posted inspiring pictures of huge crowds gathering and marching in solidarity. As one of many artists who’s had to cancel tour dates due to COVID-19, she’s also encouraged her fans to donate their ticket refunds to important causes like bail funds.
Madison Beer been outspoken about police brutality for years, and she’s been out protesting in LA multiple times in the last few days. While at the protest on Sunday, the group Madison was with got tear-gassed by police, despite the fact that they were being completely peaceful.
In addition to attending protests, Madison has been sharing lots of important information on her social media, including curfew information, numbers to call in case of unlawful arrests, and locations where police are using tear gas. In a post on her story, she acknowledged all the thanks she’s gotten for her work, but made it clear that “it should be expected.”
Cops didn’t like me filming the burning car so they came at me with batons. Hitting my bike.
Ahhm here’s the audio pic.twitter.com/tfaOoVCw5v”
— John Cusack (@johncusack) May 31, 2020
John Cusack, who is a huge Bernie Sanders supporter and posts constantly about his progressive politics, joined protestors in Chicago on Saturday night. Judging from his tweets, things were mostly peaceful, but at one point he came upon a car that had been set on fire. When he started filming the car, police officers came toward him with batons, hitting his bike and screaming in his face. This short video of the encounter is terrifying, so I can only imagine what it was like to actually experience it. In another tweet, Cusack added that he “would be very surprised if this is a one or two day event,” and that it feels like “many streams of outrage coming to a head, a wave peaking.”
Lana Del Rey
Lana Del Rey is no stranger to controversy lately, and despite joining protests over the weekend, she still got herself into hot water. She posted a series of images from the protests on her Instagram story, which is fine, but one of them was a video of a store being looted, in which people’s faces were clearly visible. This is the exact kind of thing you’re NOT supposed to post from a protest, and people understandably got very angry.
@LanaDelRey thank you for removing your post!!!!!!!!!!!
— TINASHE (@Tinashe) May 31, 2020
Lots of people tagged Lana on social media asking her to take the image down, which she did pretty quickly. An issue with posting pictures of videos of protests is that showing someone’s face could potentially lead to them getting arrested, deported, or otherwise targeted by law enforcement. It’s okay to make mistakes and learn right now, but everyone needs to be extremely careful about what they’re posting.
J. Cole has joined the protest in downtown Fayetteville, NC. So remember all the rappers who were out here donating and supporting when its time to buy albums. pic.twitter.com/OjJWRLFtJy
— OBJ said ask about him (@evelynvwoodsen) May 30, 2020
J. Cole has been out protesting in his hometown of Fayetteville, North Carolina, along with NBA player Dennis Smith. According to reports from those at the protest, they declined to do any interviews or take photos with fans, not wanting to pull any focus from the cause at hand. It seems like most celebs at that protests have done the same, and it’s great to see them just doing something because it’s the right thing to do. Also?? If you’re at a protest, it is NOT the time or place to try to take a selfie with a celeb for clout. Read the room.
Halsey has done so much that she’s getting her own article, but we’d be remiss not to mention her here as well. She was at a peaceful protest over the weekend, when police fired teargas and rubber bullets at the crowd. She warned her followers about the danger of rubber bullets (which are way more intense than they sound), saying that she “had to bandage a man who looked like his entire face had exploded today.”
fired rubber bullets at us. we did not breach the line. hands were up. unmoving. and they gassed and fired. pic.twitter.com/K8YauF0APn
— h (@halsey) May 31, 2020
These are just some of the celebrities who have gotten out to join the protests recently, and surely this list will continue to grow this week. We’re at a major moment in this movement, and it’s more important than ever that we all show our support in whatever way we can. Whether this means attending a protest, making a donation, or working to educate yourself and become a better ally, we all have to do something.
Images: DFree / Shutterstock.com; arianagrande, tinashe, johncusack, evelynvwoodsen / Twitter; madisonbeer, halsey / Instagram
Lana, sweetie. Lana Lana Lana. Lana Del Rey, the Lena Dunham of pop music (how did I never before notice how similar their names are?) has come prancing down the path chef Alison Roman cleared all of a week ago with an Instagram rant that begins by name-checking seven successful female musicians, six of them women of color, for getting away with what she can’t, and, shock of shocks, the world is up in arms.
I’ve never especially liked Lana. In 2014, I was at Coachella with friends complaining aloud about how her whole Williamsburg broody hipster thing felt so affected and manufactured, and my friend Paul argued back so fiercely (“She is in charge of her own narrative!”) that a stranger tapped me on the arm and asked if I was OK, mistaking my gay bestie for an abusive boyfriend. Lana’s performance that evening was so lackluster (she shuffled around the stage smoking a cigarette, ew), I felt I’d won the argument by default. And yet.
And yet I’m about to kind of, sort of defend her. Speaking of abusive boyfriends: She was announcing she’s allowed to write about hers without being called hysterical or glorifying abuse. Her actual message, which no one bothered with because she started out by shrieking the names of female artists we unequivocally stan, holds water. She writes, “Can I please go back to singing about being embodied, feeling beautiful by being in love even if the relationship is not perfect, or dancing for money—or whatever I want—without being crucified or saying that I’m glamorizing abuse??????” (Six-question-mark emphasis hers.) If we ignore her supremely misguided first few lines (for just a minute), she’s basically saying: “My experiences are mine, and I can write them however I want without you calling me a bad feminist.”
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Which resonates with me in a BIG ol’ way. Why? I’m a novelist, and my latest thriller, called THE HERD, has something to say about internalized misogyny and commodified feminism; it’s a whodunit set in an elite, progressive, “empowering” all-female coworking space, and because I am a feminist and I created it, sure, fine, it’s a feminist novel. The LA Times even said I’d been “widely hailed as a master of the ‘feminist thriller,’” which is honestly news to me, but cool. Thing is: Not everyone’s quick to agree. Enter the handwringing, pearl-clutching readers and reviewers insisting THE HERD is anything but feminist, since it features a cornucopia of Nasty Women behaving in unladylike ways (and even using the word “c*nt.” The nerve!).
The argument makes me so tired. The idea that female-created art needs to portray women in only a positive light—that we can’t have songs about women entangled in emotionally abusive relationships or books about women being mean to each other—is actually pretty f*cking sexist. I don’t want to read a novel or watch a movie or listen to a song about women smiling beatifically and holding hands and singing Kumbaya. (It exists, and it’s called “Run the World” and it’s a fantastic song, so we can all move on to creating different things. Congratulations, everybody, we did it.) Men are allowed to make art about awful men; why can’t women do the same, especially, as in Lana’s case, when they’re sharing their own damn experiences?
And speaking of women being mean to each other! Our society loves a “cat fight,” a “mean girl,” a girl-on-girl “feud” with a fetishization and fascination that is so gross! There’s a reason Mean Girls has an eponymous movie, musical, and in-development nightmarish-sounding themed restaurant (oh yes), while the male equivalent (F*ckboys: The Musical?) remains a pipe dream. We love to see women as jealous shrews and harpies tearing each other down.
Um hi, who do you think benefits from the messaging that women are awful to each other, we can’t lift each other up, and the only way to succeed is to stomp on women’s backs? Drumroll please…f*cking men. The patriarchy. Gross.
And yes, Lana played into that trap by naming these women—more so by pointing the finger at women of color. To state the obvious, basically everything is harder for non-white women than for white women. For Lana to insist that all these artists get free passes while she’s the marginalized one, whine whine, is tone-deaf and out-of-touch. It’s Alison Roman all over again, her voice rising in horror as she let us all know she’d sooner die than follow in the footsteps of Marie Kondo and Chrissy Teigen. That was really, really, really, really, dumb of her. Alison’s apology was also off-tone and dumb. Chrissy graciously accepted it, but of course all anyone wanted to talk about was the *jazz hands* FEUD.
White women: DON’T BE STUPID. F*cking think about the proper nouns you’re using during interviews or, Jesus Christ, in PUBLIC STATEMENTS YOU VOLUNTARILY RELEASE. Name-check white men (how many stupid things has stupid Guy Fieri put his name on?) or at the very least, fellow white women, my lord. Lana, that was just as dumb as the time you shuffled around the Coachella stage forlornly sucking on a cigarette.
But what wasn’t dumb was what she said after—she was, I believe, trying to criticize the industry and not the female pop stars she named. Do you honestly think she has a problem with Beyoncé shaking her perfect ass and singing, “He Monica Lewinski’d all on my gown”? I don’t. Read the rest of the statement. She writes, “I’m fed up with female writers and alt singers saying that I glamorize abuse when in reality I’m just a glamorous person singing about the realities of what we are all now seeing are very prevalent emotionally abusive relationships all over the world.”
I’m just a glamorous person is an objectively hilarious line, but also, she speaks the truth! She’s allowed to write about her imperfect experiences and show herself in whatever the hell light she wants. I’m allowed to write about women f*cking up and trying their best and being vulnerable and struggling and showing their ugly sides, showing what’s beneath the perfect facade. We are, in the words of my fiery friend Paul, “in charge of own narrative.”
She writes, “There has to be a place in feminism for women who look and act like me…the kind of women who get their own stories and voices taken away from them by stronger women or by men who hate women.” The women who look like me part… give me a break. Now edit out the part where you claim all these other (mostly non-white) women get the free passes you don’t, but otherwise, I’m on board. Let’s show those angry “writers and alt singers” (of all genders!) that we won’t take the bait and put our fellow ladies down. Drop your cigarette. Write your poetry. Record songs that show yourself as messy and struggling and vulnerable of a light as you want. I still won’t listen to them, but I very much respect your right to make ‘em.
Images: Andrea Raffin / Shutterstock.com; lanadelrey / Instagram
2019 is obviously supposed to be the year I die. On Friday, my gay brain almost exploded when Lana Del Rey, Ariana Grande, and Miley Cyrus dropped their new song “Don’t Call Me Angel” and video, from the soundtrack of the upcoming Charlie’s Angels reboot. Let me repeat: Lana. Ariana. Miley. All in the same place. Wearing Victoria’s Secret Angel costumes. It’s really too much to handle, but after a few minutes of deep breathing exercises, I’ve formed some thoughts.
“Don’t Call Me Angel” is a chaotic mess. But don’t come for me in the comments, because that’s exactly what it needed to be. I mean, you have three icons with completely different vibes in a heavily themed music video that’s glorified promo for a movie that none of them are actually in, so there’s no way this wasn’t going to be a little messy. Ariana Grande looks completely at home in her baby prostitute outfit, but Lana Del Rey seems confused why she’s not riding down the freeway in a car from the 70s. Miley seems right at home with her entire torso exposed, because I don’t think she’s worn a full shirt since 2016.
But before I dive deeper into the music video, let’s talk about the song. It’s super catchy, which makes sense, because it was written and produced by some of Ariana’s favorite collaborators, Max Martin, ILYA, and Savan Kotecha. The beat that pounds throughout the entire song kind of sounds like church bells on speed, which is a vibe. Really, it sounds like an Ariana Grande song that Miley Cyrus hopped on, and then Lana Del Rey just Airdropped them a verse from something else she had already recorded. Lana Del Rey is literally my queen, but her part of the song sounds like it was recorded on a different planet. Whatever, it’s a mood.
I don’t think the song is a masterpiece, but I like it enough that I’ll probably mindlessly listen to it on repeat for my whole commute today. It is, as the kids say, a bop. Good job, ladies. But let’s get back to the video.
I would love to know the budget for this, because it was definitely more than I will make in the next 40 years. They got helicopters and everything!! While I already kind of addressed their parts together, we need to talk about their separate segments.
Ariana’s scenes could honestly just be outtakes from her video for “Boyfriend,” which I already forgot existed, oops! She doesn’t really have a storyline here, and is mostly just twirling around in her angel costume. That’s mostly what she does anyway, so this is not really a change.
For her parts, Miley gets to be in a cool boxing ring wearing a bunch of gold chain, fighting with a guy who is the hottest man I’ve ever seen. It seems dangerous to fight with so many necklaces on, but that’s not my problem. I don’t know if this was filmed pre- or post-divorce news, but Miley really looks incredible here. Like, she’s glowing, and it’s not just the sweat from her boxing match. Maybe she’s imagining that the guy she’s beating up is Liam? Just a thought.
Lana Del Rey gets my favorite storyline, as a stealthy assassin who loves looking at hidden camera footage and throwing knives into outlines of a dude’s crotch. This is THE mood. And when she’s in her den of fire in that little red dress, OH MY GOD. I have never been more turned on, honestly.
By the time the three ladies prance into a banquet hall and start ripping grapes off a vine, the strategy here has become clear: throw absolutely everything at the wall and hope that people lose their minds. And honestly? Here I am writing an article about it, and I’ve already seen it memed approximately 500 times. I guess the strategy worked! Will this song be winning Grammys a year from now? Probs not, but I’ve streamed it 12 times this morning, so who really cares?
Images: Ariana Grande / YouTube; Giphy (2)