Here at Flavorwire, we pride ourselves on not only writing some of the best content on the internet, but keeping an eye on all of the great writing that other folks on the ‘net are doing, too. Today, we have a firsthand account from New Girl‘s creator about casting, writing, directing, and filming Prince for that iconic season three episode, an analysis of Beyonce’s Lemonade that specifically contextualizes it amongst Warsan Shire’s poetry, an op-ed making the case for shorter TV episodes, and, finally, an article wrestling with the Internet Age’s ability to send hip-hop upstarts like Desiigner to the top of the Hot 100 chart on “borrowed” sounds.
On Vulture, New Girl creator Liz Meriwether recalls the process of making the iconic post-Super Bowl episode starring Prince from season three.
With his recent death still fresh on our brains (and, unfortunately, weighing heavily on our hearts), we’ve understandably been inundated by countless thinkpieces and reflections on past interactions with Prince. Yet there’s still something novel and fresh about Meriwether’s story, which can bounce from excitement to disappointment over the course of a few lines. There is a palpable feeling of disbelief that hangs over the story, almost like she doubted that it was happening until the episode aired. And after all, isn’t that how we all would feel working with Prince?
His voice was … I don’t need to tell you what his voice was like. Soft. Strong. A whisper that sounded like it was booming out over a loudspeaker. He spoke, and the street I was standing on opened up. It’s possible I was having a full-on panic attack. I don’t know what I said. I talked just to talk, like some sweet kid in a war movie who was about to get blown up on the battlefield (“I can’t feel my legs, Sarge, am I okay? Tell Ma I love her.”). I said things like “it’s an honor” and “huge fan” because it seemed like the kind of thing I was supposed to say. But I knew, all the way in Minnesota, Prince could tell he was speaking to a person who had, moments ago, spit a dumpling out of her mouth.
On the New York Times, James Poniewozik wonders whether the problem really is one of “too much TV” or if it is actually one of “too big of TV.”
With the rise of streaming culture and cable network TV shows, we have noticed that episode lengths (across all genres) have started to stretch. A 30-minutes-on-TV sitcom no longer has to be limited to running for only 22-23 minutes sans commercials, but can instead take up the full half-hour slot, or even more if they so choose. But is this loosening of the grip around standard TV practices hurting or helping the way that we experience TV?
TV was raised with rules, the product of technology and business models that had little to do with art. It’s shedding those strictures as it grows up, which is good — that’s given us anarchic comedies like Broad City and low-and-slow dramas like Rectify. But freedom also proves the values of the discipline you learn under restrictions. I appreciate ambitious storytelling. But I also appreciate getting a full night’s sleep.
On VICE, Diamond Sharp explains the importance of Beyoncé’s excellent Lemonade, specifically as it relates to Warsan Shire’s poetry, which the film’s interludes heavily borrow from.
Amidst the plethora of Lemonade-related articles to have hit the internet since 9:00 p.m. on Saturday night are a small number of worthwhile takes. There is of course the constant back-and-forth of people debating whether or not Lemonade is autobiographical or not, and the expected questions of is she/isn’t she when it comes to her representations of feminism. But some pieces actually warrant the time required to read them — like this article, which contextualizes the poetry of Warsan Shire as it is reconfigured and utilized in the album’s accompanying film.
In the interlude titled “Hope,” Beyoncé takes from Shire’s “Nail Technician as Palm Reader,” retelling, “The nail technician pushes my cuticles back, turns my hand over, and says, ‘I see your daughters, and their daughters.'” The mention of daughters is poignant—underlying Lemonade is the importance of the matrilineal connection between generations of black women. The album encompasses the diaspora with its purposeful, culturally compelling visuals steeped in black Southern Gothic imagery as well as nods to the Orisha deities of the Yoruba religious tradition. Beyoncé acts as a conjure woman, and the natural and spirit worlds, past, present, and future coexist in her narrative.
On Rolling Stone, Mosi Reeves wonders if the success of Desiigner’s recent single “Panda” says something more profound about the idea of “biting” in the age of the internet.
Today, Desiigner achieved a feat that even Future, the cult favorite rapper commonly credited with inspiring Desiigner’s sound, has yet to accomplish: his single “Panda” hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, dethroning Rihanna’s previously unstoppable “Work.” When the inspirer isn’t achieving the same levels of success as the inspired, however, it’s important to engage what practices are allowing this to happen. In the case of Desiigner vs. Future, it may just be living in the Internet Age.
The continuous and diaphanous streams of online culture should have exploded our notions that rap music is a purely regional product. Yet we continue to cling to outmoded ideas about authenticity, and the notion that the best rappers reflect their hometown’s struggles and aspirations through a distinctive, hard-to-duplicate voice. New York, which hasn’t had a readily identifiable sound since the heyday of G-Unit, Roc-a-Fella and Dipset, has earned particular criticism as the city’s rappers navigate a post-Internet environment where any inspiration can be heard and absorbed with the click of a mouse.