Monthly Archives: May 2007

Homophobia, reggae, and Nelly Furtado (not in that order)

Articles have kept me busy and away from blogging. In case you missed them in print, the Herald ran a multimedia package on the group Inner Circle and their studio Circle House last Friday. Sunday I had an interview with Nelly Furtado, who opens her Loose tour at Hard Rock Live tonight (my review will be in tomorrow’s paper and online). And online only, I reviewed Sunday’s Best of the Best reggae festival. I made a slip of the tongue in that review: I said that Buju Banton was one of several artists who had been boycotted for advocating violence against women, when of course I meant against homosexuals (a group that, of course, includes women). This is what happens when you file at 2 a.m. with no editor reading you; my bad.

  I’m grateful that a reader pointed out my gaffe. But I’m appalled by the reggae fans who continue to let their artists get away with the hatred that Bounty Killer spewed in place of artistry and that I came down on. As long as its artists remain so small-minded, reggae — dancehall in particular — will continue to be stuck in the ghetto in which it has been largely locked for years now. I took pains to emphasize the positive in the review: Buju’s spiritual transformation. But I couldn’t ignore the ugly note on which the show ended. I think there’s a lot of amazing reggae out there, but unfortunately, festival promoters keep focusing on pinheads like Bounty.

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Rock Mamas and Pop Matters

Today I got interviewed by filmmaker Jackie Weissman for her documentary, Rock ‘n’ Roll Mamas. A lot of the issues we discussed are brilliantly analyzed by Justin Cober-Lake in his new writeup of Mamarama. Check ’em out.

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Inner Circle House

The Herald and I give local reggae stalwarts Inner Circle and their studio Circle House the full multimedia treatment today: video, audio, radio report, photos, and yes a story. This is what it’s like being a reporter in the new media age: wearer of many hats.

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Memorial Day and Bebel

In today’s Herald, I report that the ACLU will be sending observers to South Beach to monitor the cops Memorial Day weekend, after last year’s record number of arrests. We’ll be providing more Mem Day coverage, including a Weekend guide and story on Circle House and Inner Circle Friday.

I also reviewed Saturday’s horrible Bebel Gilberto show, which was alleviated somewhat by Federico Aubele’s opening act and Friday’s fun Sidestepper show — all part of the JVC Jazz Festival.

After spending Friday afternoon at Circle House and night at the North Beach Bandshell, for Sidestepper, I had one of those moments where I really appreciate living in Miami — North America’s Caribbean city.

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The asshole of the day award goes to …

the Pope.

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Gwen won

Verizon lost. Read my Herald review here.

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Akon

It’s not easy being a feminist pop music fan these days, what with right-wing TV pundits railing against black artists under the guise of paternalistic protection of women. I can’t side with someone against rap misogyny when they’re also anti-choice — which, make no mistake, most of the Fox News crew is. That said, it will be interesting to attend Gwen Stefani’s concert tonight in the wake of the Akon/Verizon controversy. There are a lot of layers to this issue. On the one hand, Akon clearly crossed lines of acceptable behavior in his handling of a female fan in Trinidad. It’s not the raunchiness of his behavior I object to; it’s the roughness, the way he pushed the 15-year-old around. The fact she has complained of the way she was treated is significant; this was not consensual. On the other hand, I don’t want to play into the racism of commentators who call Akon a rapper just because he’s black; Akon’s a singer. I’m tired of the media jumping on hip-hop for reflecting larger social ills. As tired as I am of casual pop misogyny.

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