Monday, August 30, 2010

New Video: Jazmine's Holding You Down

Jazmine Sullivan
Holding You Down (Going in Circles)

I love this song for so many reasons. And this video is cool. The 80s throwback scene is nice with the subtle homage to Kid N Play's House Party movies. The song serves as the 1st official single from her upcoming album, Love Me Back which is coming this fall.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Daily Tea: Failure Breeds Success

“Victory is sweetest when you've known defeat.”
Malcolm S. Forbes, Publisher of Forbes magazine

We all feel defeated at times. The key to winning is knowing what defeat feels like and knowing how to overcome it. Too many times in life, we fail to realize that stumbling blocks can be made into stepping stools with a little faith and perseverance. Do you have a goal that you want to accomplish? Dust yourself off and keep trying. Have you felt hurt or abandoned? The love and joy that awaits you will mean that much more to you when it comes. Life is a battle. Put your armor on and never let the fight in you die away. When you feel like quitting, push the extra mile. It will be well worth it.

Rabbit Season: Donovan Blyden by Tarik Carroll

Model Donovan Blyden
Editorial: Rabbit Season
Styling: Corin Barnes
Photography: Tarik Carroll

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Pretty Boys: Mishka Fall 2010

Mishka Fall 2010 Looks

Are You That Somebody: Aaliyah's Legacy

Aaliyah Dana Haughton is heralded is R&B's lost princess. She was cut short as her career truly began to blossom. Her self-titled album Aaliyah was lighting up the charts, she starred in Anne Rice's Queen of the Damned, and she was set to star in The Matrix sequels. Then there was the crash. Her plane went down off of the coast of the Bahamas and along with it went the potential for a bright and shining star and a rising icon.

Aaliyah picked up on the heels of acts like Total and TLC with tomboy sex appeal and fusing hip-hop with R&B. She was launched as an R. Kelly protegé but flourished under the mentoring of super producer Timbaland. At the young age of 22, she indelibly changed the R&B game forever. Her influence can be seen in the performances of Ciara and even short lived R&B act Cherish. Cassie's looks in Official Girl (pictured below) certainly mirror the style of Aaliyah, bordering the lines of imitation. Long tresses, fitted tops, baggy bottoms, and intricate dance moves personified Aaliyah's style. Not to mention the ubiquitous eye covering bang.


Official Girl video feat. Lil' Wayne

Like a Boy

Many speculate about Aaliyah's place in the R&B game if she hadn't died. Would there have ever been an Ashanti, Rihanna, or Ciara? Would Keri Hilson have a place? Would Beyoncé have skyrocketed into superstardom? I'm not one to try to figure it out. While we canonize Aaliyah now, she suffered some of the same criticisms as those above while she was alive. She didn't sing well live. She relied on studio help. Mind you a beautiful voice doesn't have to be strong in power. [See Janet Jackson] Most people talk about her sweet personality rather than her trailblazing talent. Ciara is certainly very similar to Aaliyah. That being said, it doesn't mean they couldn't have coexisted. Janet and Paula coexisted. Monica and Brandy did. Janet and Ciara coexist. Besides, Ciara's style is much more brash and sassy than Aaliyah's coy flirting. Beyoncé was already a superstar with Destiny's Child after Survivor solidified their place as worldwide stars a year before Aaliyah's death.

Aaliyah probably would have become a superstar with The Matrix sequels and would have benefited from the rebirth of Timbaland's creative flair. She probably would have sung Promiscuous Girl, the hook on The Way I Are, and many other Timbaland projects. Her mainstream success would have mirrored his. However, if she were alive today at the age of 31 in today's music business, she would have likely fizzled without reinvention. There would still be younger girls to compete with who sung over catchy beats. The industry isn't kind to aging pop girls. Could she have transitioned into a mature sound? A premature death always catapults a figure into the stratosphere. Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Tupac & Biggie, and many other artists were seen as icons due to their death, not necessarily in spite of their deaths. Had Rihanna died shortly after Umbrella's release, the world would have mourned a pop princess who never lived up to her potential. We will debate all we want about Aaliyah's place in today's music world. What is not debatable is her legacy, classic sound, performance style, any illuminating effect of the industry. One in a million indeed.

Pop Cultured: Britney Spears for POP

Singer Britney Spears
in Anime inspired shots for
Magazine: POP Fall Winter 2010.11
Makeup Artist: Yumi
Set design: Peter Klein
Photography: Todd Cole
In collaboration with Japanese artist Takashi Murakami

Man Up: Gaga for Vogue Hommes Japan

Singer Lady Gaga
as alter-ego Jo Calderone
Magazine: VOGUE Hommes Japan
Photography: Nick Knight
Styling: Nicola Formichetti

The cover shots of pop sensation Lady Gaga as a man have finally surfaced. Styled by longtime collaborate Nicola Formichetti, Gaga serves up some iconic imagery in this gender bending photoshoot. That boy is a monster. [M-m-m-monster]

Thursday, August 19, 2010

New Video: "Miss Me" Drake feat. Lil' Wayne

Miss Me feat. Lil' Wayne [Video Premiere]
Director: Anthony Mandler

[Anthony Mandler is really getting that money!]

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

New Video: "Bottoms Up" Trey Songz

Trey Songz
Bottoms Up featuring Nicki Minaj [Video Premiere]
Director: Anthony Mandler

While Mandler is the current go-to-guy for videos, this one leaves a lot to be desired. It is a new direction for Trey. However, it's not really anything fresh. It was erratic and strange. That is stylistically something that comes along with Mandler, but it didn't really mesh with the Songz brand. Though I don't love the song, I do enjoy the Nicki Minaj verse and reject the Usher comparisons. But Trey is capable of more. Or at least as a newly emerged R&B superstar, he should be.

Zoe Kravitz & Max Motta for Alexander Wang

Actress Zoë Kravitz & Model Max Motta
for the Alexander Wang T Collection

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Black Widow: Beyoncé for Deréon Fall 2010

for Deréon Fall Campaign

Now that more pics from Beyoncé's newest Deréon campaign have surfaced, all I can say is damn. On hiatus from recording, this chick is still sizzling. Ignoring the fact that no one looks good in Deréon besides her, the ads are smoking. I honestly think that these campaigns are nothing but an excuse for her to play with different looks and personalities. I really dig the platinum blond on her for some reason. Perhaps, that Etta James flair really gives it to me. Can't knock the hustle.
[Sidenote: That first pic should have been the Sasha Fierce album cover]

Covers: 3nity Does N'Sync

I was feeling nostalgic so I was browsing youtube for N'Sync videos. I ran across this group of singers and I knew I had to post them.

Triplets Vincent, Romain, and Sylvain are half French/half Balinese (Indonesia). Together they form the band 3nity Brothers. In these videos, they are joined by Rody Mendez. They were born in Paris and are currently based there.

I Thought She Knew
(N'Sync Cover)

If you bought the album No Strings Attached, you were blown away by I Thought She Knew. I remember loving the sound that N'Sync created on the song, heavily influenced by groups like Boyz II Men, Shai, and Take 6. Anyway, 3nity kills this track. The guys work best as a group rather than soloists, but their harmonies are great. Everything locks into place. [If you listen to the out of tune harmonies of many groups from the 90s, even the most notable ones, you would know why I am happy about that] The chords on the word "flame" are perfect and the faux key change at 2:19-2:22 is just as great as N'Sync's.

The guys of 3nity are currently working on an international album. Good look.

Check out their pages below.

[Official YOUTUBE Page]

[Official MYSPACE Page]

Suga Mama: Tiffany Monique Forges Her Own Path

Newark, New Jersey native Tiffany Monique recently released Nemesis, the first single from her EP of the same name. You may recognize her as one of the background singers for Beyoncé, a group that the Singles Ladies singer affectionately referred to as the Mamas.

Tiffany Monique
Nemesis [Official Video]

Nemesis is “influenced by meeting so many naysayers who told me I would never make it as a professional singer,” says Tiffany. “A few record company executives told me that although I had the talent, I didn’t have the look. And over the course of my journey, I’ve encountered others who maintained a negative outlook on the potential of my success. Nemesis expresses my determination to prevail.”

Her five track EP is available for purchase on iTunes.

[Check out her WEBSITE Here]

High Society: Lindsay Lohan for Vogue Italia

Actress Lindsay Lohan
Magazine: VOGUE Italia August 2010
Photography: Ellen Von Unwerth

Katy Perry for Rolling Stone + New Video

Singer Katy Perry
for Rolling Stone

Katy Perry

Teenage Dream [Video Premiere]

Teenage Dream, the second single from her sophomore album of the same name, now rests at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 which now allows Perry to have two top ten singles. California Gurls, which peaked at number one, is now number two.

Golden Boy: Zac Efron for Details

Actor Zac Efron
Magazine: Details Fall Fashion Issue
Photography: Norman Jean Roy

I'm not sure how I feel about all of these kids like Zac, Jonas brothers, and Taylor Lautner landing the cover of prominent magazines for men. They just don't seem to be seasoned or established. I guess they do make up the new crop in the same way that Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise did. Anyway, Zac Efron will always be a Disney kid to me.

Charlie St. Cloud, Efron's new film, is supposed to be his first take on a role that stretches him as an actor.
View the trailer below.