Category Archives: Queens

Girl’s Power

French & The Artist Webseries

Came across this new webseries on Twitter and thought I’d give it a few minutes. Before I knew it, I had watched 3 episodes. Clearly I binge watch everything now.

The series is centered around two young ladies, Erin (Artist) and Sarah (French) based in London, UK sharing their day-to-day lives. They are both in the arts and use this series to showcase London’s talent as well as their ongoing personal creative journeys.

It’s shot on a handheld camera and feels like a mix between an intimate vlog and a snap your friend would send you after a fun night out. They’re hilarious, cute and genuine.

 

I’m Here For AubRih

Once Rihanna announced that she was dropping the video for ‘Work’ on Monday Feb. 22nd, I had a feeling that my day would officially be a write-off. My afternoon was spent watching the video fifty-eleven times and imagining all my new outfits for summer 2016.

This isn’t going to be a think piece on how incredible Rihanna is, how incredible she is as an artist who has now surpassed Michael Jackson (RIP) for most #1 songs or a breakdown on her outfit choices. There are so many blog posts out there detailing all of that.

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What I’m here for, is the chemistry between her and Drake. As hard as it is to see my boo, Aubrey Drake Graham, blush over RiRi, I have to admit that if I have to lose him I’m more than cool with seeing him gush over Rihanna. I’d gush over her too if she looked my way. Let’s be serious.

Let’s go back to 2010. Rihanna releases “What’s My Name” and we get the first glimpse of AubRih and their cute behaviour with each other. If you remember, it was only a year before this that Chris Brown had attacked her. So we’re all rooting for her to be happy and free from Chris. Hence seeing her in the arms of Drake fulfills a fairy tale for us that they’re a real couple.

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Then the following year, Drake releases ‘I’ll Take Care Of You” off his album Take Care and we get to see these two again. As usual, Drake’s lyrics are emotional and it appears as if these two are singing to each other.

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And a year later, 2012, Drake and Chris Brown get into a fight in a New York club. Most likely about Rihanna. So for a while now there’s a build up of a story in the media about Drake and Rihanna There’s been pictures of them together, specifically in Europe in 2014, that have quietly kept the rumor mill going.

Fast forward to 2016 and the year is already shaping up to be the year of music super madness. Drake has an album coming out in April 2016 and Rihanna has finally released her eighth album, Anti, after a long wait. The anticipation for the first video ‘Work’ was high after snippets and pics came out while she filmed it in Toronto (bam bam!!) on Feb 5th.

I was ready for the fashion greatness, the on-point makeup, the isolated whining, the Toronto dancehall party vibe and the overall reggae flex. The pictures and video teasers that came out last week had me hyped. I was so happy to see that the video was shot in my city at The Real Jerk, by our own Director X (pictured below) who is a legend. It was great to see Toronto get shine and our unique culture get global attention.

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Often our connection with Caribbean culture goes over folks head but it feels like Rihanna has always seen it and used it. Her first song ‘Pon De Replay’ came out 11 years ago and was also shot here by Director X.

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Back to ‘Work’. What I wasn’t ready for was the new level of intense chemistry between Drake and Rihanna in not just one, but two videos. The first one is captivating and the second one is mesmerizing as we see Drake and Rihanna continue to smile and blush at each other. Now they’ve got us deeply enthralled into their soap opera.

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Whatever it is they have going on between them, it makes for great music videos, tabloid headlines and blog content (clearly). I’m here for it and can’t wait to see if Drake will have her featured on his album and what that video will look like.

The Struggle To Keep Writing

There has been a slow and steady movement happening. I’m sure you’ve seen it. Felt small bursts of joy from it. Possibly like me, kept hoping that this change in tide was a foreshadowing of things to come.

I’m talking about the recent celebration of black women excellence. Whether behind the camera, in front of it, on the cover of magazines, at the helm of major movements and/or winning prestigious sports titles. We were gone for a minute but we’re back with the jump off (shout out to Lil Kim).

I’ve written about the absence of our faces on TV and movies and the culture vultures who co-opted elements of black culture in the mainstream media. But you’ve also seen the rise of sisters in the arts and sports recently along with the unashamed celebration of it. The wait had been too long.

Essence magazine’s February 2016 issue is coming out with 3 covers featuring activist Johnetta “Netta” Elzie, TV’s Black-ish actress Yara Shahidi and the film Chi-Raq actress Teyonah Parris. I recently read a great article on xoNECOLE about the writer who wrote that Essence cover story. And as much as seeing those three sisters on the cover was amazing, it’s the story on the woman who wrote it that spoke to me more.

Bené Viera is a journalist who was about to give up writing right before she got this gig. It’s always darkest right before the sun, right? She was tired of the industry but when this opportunity came, although not presented in full form as what it entailed, she took a chance. And like that, what looked like a possibility turned out to be grander than what she imagined.

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As you all have probably seen, I haven’t written here in a while. The struggle to open up my laptop and pour my words onto a screen has been real lately. Folks have asked what is up, what am I working on, etc. And the truth is I don’t know exactly why. Some days I’d rather read, watch a movie, clean my house, meet up with friends. Anything but write. There’s vulnerability in writing. And I guess, I needed to be in the right head space to be there. But when I read these words from Bené I felt compelled to get back to it. Get back in front of that blank screen and unleash what’s inside.

When I was assigned this story I was done with this industry. Done. Looking for jobs in non-profit and looking for jobs in L.A. I was tired of the layoffs. Tired of covering salacious gossip. Tired of the uncertainty. Tired of the funny way in which people move. Tired of writers who think they’re pseudo celebrities. But something told me I could not pass up this opportunity. Including this story, I’ve only written three things this summer. I tell people I’m on Sabbatical. But when the Universe has other plans, the Universe has other plans. ESSENCE was always the dream job. Writing cover stories was always the ultimate goal. Although the “job” part didn’t manifest in the way I envisioned, it did come to fruition…

I say all that to say, keep dream chasing. I mentor a few young writers and I wonder, “Girl, why are you into me? I barely have it figured out.” So I write this for them. They need to know it’s not all glitz and glam. They need to know you will want to quit. They need to know we all experience self-doubt. They need to know there will be some dark days. But they must keep doing the work. People can say whatever the hell they want to say about me, but nobody, not a single soul can say I don’t do the work. No one can say I’m not committed to my craft. I moved to NYC in 2010 without a plan. I lived with my ex in his father’s home. I had no money. No job. Just some degrees and the crazy idea that I wanted to be a writer. Well, mama, I’m a writer. I hope I made you proud…”

This was the push I needed. Whether at my day job, home life or extra curricular I know I put in the work. So although RealDelina.com is still new, I want to see it flourish so I’m going to keep on doing the work!

No matter what we decide to take on, I hope it’s with both our feet in and our heart open wide. Whatever path you take in 2016, be prepared to sweat and enjoy the rewards!

Adele Is Back To Put You Deep Into Your Feelings

Following right up on that sneaky ad during X Factor last week, Adele has returned after almost 5 years with a new song and video, ‘Hello’. She also announced that her next album, 25, will be released Nov. 20th. This will be the multi Grammy award winner’s third album and keeping with the previously titled albums, corresponds with her age.

Adele’s bombastic voice caught my attention from her first single ‘Chasing Pavements’ off her debut album, 19. It was the way she, at such a young age, could sing soulfully about heart ache as if her heart had lived a thousand lives. Along with a long lineage of UK female singers who poetically sing about love and loss (Amy Winehouse, Sade, Duffy) Adele is a force that is powerful and vulnerable all at once.

And the video is cinematically as captivating as her voice. Directed by Quebec film maker Xavier Dolan, the video was shot in the countryside outside Montreal. The video was released today, Fri Oct 23rd and it has already 8 millions views on YouTube as of 7pm ET.

Side note, this is the second video directed by a Canadian that has premiered this week and has lit up the Internets. Lest we forget the glory that was ‘Hotline Bling’ by Drake that was directed by Toronto’s own Little X. That video came out on a day that saw Canada take over all Twitter time lines with news on our federal election, Toronto Blue Jays defeating the Kansas City Royals and Drake delivering again all types of goodness to live on forever in .gifs and memes (Mon Oct 19th).

Honourable mention goes out Adele’s makeup and nail game. Her glam squad has stepped their game up with each video and album. She’s always rocked the thick eyeliner and long nails, but there’s a more polished and high fashion look to her style now.

Wondering, are you anything like me and excited to hear her new album?

 

New Music From Adele

If this is true, I’m already deep in my feelings. During the show XFactor in the UK, a snippet of what could possibly be a new single from Adele aired during commercial breaks.

No confirmation from her team but the internet is all a buzz. Adele’s last two albums were incredible and scored multiple accolades. She’s been out of the scene lately and gave birth to a son a few years ago. Which makes the words to this new song almost as if they are talking to us, her audience.

I can’t wait to hear from the songstress and this song reminds me of the track ‘Someone Like You’ off her last album 21.