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August 2020

Picture of Pose Cast

Why ‘Pose’ Deserves Better

By OpinionNo Comments

In the era of COVID-19, it seems impossible that the Emmy awards are still set to premiere on September 20. Yet, the show must go on, and as nominations were announced this past week, people are already debating which shows and people deserved a nomination.

Fan-favorite comedies such as “The Good Place” and “Schitt’s Creek” walked away with several big-ticket nominations, and shows like “Watchmen” and “Succession” dominated the drama categories, with “Watchmen” receiving 26 total nominations.

Notable missing was the FX show “Pose,” which features the largest transgender cast to be on a scripted show. The only major nomination it received was for Billy Porter as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, who happens to be a cisgender gay man.

Billy Porter’s nomination is certainly well-deserved, but the lack of the rest of the cast is a major indication of how trans women are treated by hollywood. Star of the show Indya Moore went to Twitter to express their frustration, saying “Something about trans people not being honored on a show about trans people who created a culture to honour ourselves because the world doesn’t.” Many other fans chimed in, saying how disappointing it was that stars of the show are constantly ignored, considering how monumental the show actually is.

Not only does the show have true transgender representation, but “Pose” is one of the few pieces of media that positively portrays them as more than just that, and reveals a culture that is too often hidden from the spotlight. The show follows Blanca, played by MJ Rodriquez, a strong business woman becoming the mother of a house, a term used to describe the chosen families of the African-American and Latin American LGBTQ+ community in the ballroom culture of New York during the 1980s. Each week, houses would compete at a ball with extravagant costumes and vogueing skills to allow a community that often didn’t feel welcomed to express themselves.

Amongst the glitz and glam of the ballroom comes deep-rooted issues within the LGBTQ+ community. The beginning of the AIDS/HIV crisis, a gay teenager struggling with being disowned, a young transgender woman aspiring to be a model in an industry that ignores who she is, and the constant discrimination that they all are forced to face daily. 

It’s this dichotomy that makes “Pose” so incredible. It celebrates and uplifts these strong women and portrays them as successful and driven, but also doesn’t ignore all the extra hardships that they must endure to achieve their dreams. Even more than that, the stories of this community is treated with absolute care, with the majority of writing and directing done by other trans women of color and people who witnessed ballroom culture unfolding in real time. It is this representation and hard work that needs to be recognized by awards shows such as the Emmys, to let the rest of the world know that these stories matter, that these stories must continue to be told and are deserving of being listened to.

Picture of Taylor Swift

The Album We Didn’t Know We Needed: Taylor Swift’s ‘folklore’ Review

By ReviewsNo Comments

Taylor Swift’s eighth studio album was announced only 12 hours before its release on July 24th, taking people all over the internet by surprise. The singer was supposed to be touring music from her last album “Lover” this summer, however, due to COVID-19, she was not able to do so. Evidently, she took full advantage of the time at home, working hard to create her newest album, “folklore.”

Now on her eighth studio album, Swift has long since established her preferred music style as pop-inspired. Over the years, this is what the public has grown accustomed to hearing from her. Needless to say, it came as a bit of a shock that she had chosen to make a shift from that style. Falling back on her country roots, most of the songs on this album have a folky sound. Coming off of the high praise from her last album, this change in sound might come off a bit abrupt or odd. However, Swift enters this new era with so much grace and innovative artistry that it is almost impossible to question it. 

The album’s first single was “cardigan,” a beautiful song highlighting a relationship that didn’t work despite strong efforts. This song, along with “august” and “betty,” gained quick attention from fans for their suspected connection. The theory goes that hidden within the album is a “teenage love triangle.” Each of the songs takes the point of view of a different character, a risk that might not have worked if Swift’s talent for pushing the boundaries of songwriting wasn’t so remarkable. 

Throughout the album we see her move away from the traditional form of the first-person writing, a technique which adds another layer of depth to the album that might not have been there otherwise. Each song adds to the album’s overall plot and allure, coming together like chapters in an old book. They hold their place in time, while seamlessly coming together to tell her story. Some of my favorites from the album are “mirrorball” and “this is me trying,” for precisely that reason–they tell us her story. 

Swift has always been a natural storyteller, someone who effortlessly brings her memories and dreams to life through song. Over the course of her many years in the industry she has grown and adapted in a million ways, and we get to see that growth for ourselves in this album. Her ability to take risks with her style and pull it off is a testament to that like no other. Swift has been maturing in her music for years now, slowly growing up before our eyes, but it is in this album that we can see that maturity without a veil. She shed that layer of defense in the name of art, and what a beautiful thing that is. 

For me, these songs feel like reliving a faded dream. It doesn’t matter if that dream is fantasy or memory, nothing could make it less real. Her ability to make her listeners believe what she is saying is her power. Her ability to capture her humanity in words is why the album resonates so deeply with people. Swift used this power to give us her version of a storybook, one filled with fantasy and memory alike. The end of the album marks the end of this story, or perhaps the end of another chapter, leaving the possibilities endless for what is to come.

Picture of Troye Sivan

Troye Sivan Drops ‘Easy’ and ‘Take Yourself Home’ Off Upcoming EP

By ReviewsNo Comments

Four months into quarantine, Troye Sivan came to rescue us all from our boredom with new music to match our low moods, while also catering to our want to go out again. This new era of music brought us a bright red hairdo, sad dance songs, and whispers of more new music to come. 

In April, Sivan surprised everyone with his new song, “Take Yourself Home.” The song itself did not veer too far off from Sivan’s usual theme of melancholy, yet upbeat songs–though one might say it seemed more candid than anything we have heard from Sivan before. The lyrics discuss his fear of looking back on his life to find only regrets and missed opportunities. Though the lyrics are well thought out, what I appreciate most about the song is the overall simplicity of Sivan’s vocal choices. This song highlights his voice in quite a beautiful way, while simultaneously creating a slow-building tension with a somber club beat. It set the stage for Sivan to release more new music, creating a buzz among his fans over what is to come. 

A few months after his release of “Take Yourself Home,” Sivan released his second song “Easy,” on July 15. Following the theme of sad lyrics with an upbeat sound, this song compliments his last single rather seamlessly. “Easy” is a dance song through and through. It’s use of autotune and a funky beat keep it from becoming just another ballad about a failing relationship. Telling the story of a crumbling relationship, Sivan once again finds a way to dive headfirst into a rather sad topic in a way that doesn’t feel forced. 

These two songs fall in line with Sivan’s long collection of synth-pop songs that have less than happy lyrics. Sivan has mastered the ‘sad at a party’ vibe that is becoming increasingly popular among young adults today, and he knows it. Why fix what isn’t broken, right? He does this by creating music that feels almost too personal, like the listeners are reading the lyrics right out of his diary, and it works for him. His sincerity and ability to open up in such a way surely helps him create music that continues to capture audiences all over the world. With promises of a new EP to be released on August 21, “In A Dream,” I can’t wait to see what he has in store for us.