Rihanna

Why The “Unbreakable” Janet Jackson Is More Important Than Madonna

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It’s been seven long years since the last studio album from Janet Jackson, but with Unbreakable, Ms. Jackson (yes, we are nasty) is back on the campaign trail, making her case as one of the most important women in music. Her trailblazing is clear and evident in today’s biggest pop stars — no Janet means no Queen Bey, no Rih-Rih — as well as more ascendant artists like FKA Twigs and Tinashe. The most direct comparison to Jackson’s career arc is probably Madonna, but Jackson’s is arguably more important than the legendary musical chameleon, and it’s because of what she represents for the agency of women of color in music.

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Rihanna Tried to Play a Free Show in Baltimore Surrounding the Freddie Gray Protests

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In support of the protests that followed the homicide of Freddie Gray, and the spirit of uprising and refusal to accept the unjust status quo of institutional racism, Prince played a Rally4Peace concert in Baltimore in May. It saw a massive turnout and was said to have brought much-needed “joy” and “healing” to Baltimore residents, but another performer had tried to do the same, and her attempt was seemingly denied.
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Decoding Katy Perry’s Ill-Phrased Tweet about Taylor Swift and Nicki Minaj

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Katy Perry has weighed in on the debate sparked by Taylor Swift’s defensive, tone-deaf exchange with Nicki Minaj, who at the time was calling out pop music’s racial bias in light of yesterday’s VMA nominations. Unfortunately, Perry’s tweet is confusing to read, due to its lack of punctuation and awkward phrasing. Shade can only be as effective as its syntax, after all.
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The “Bitch Better Have My Money” Video Doesn’t Celebrate Violence — It Celebrates Rihanna

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It’s unlikely any seven-minute clip deserves a two-minute trailer, but the music video Rihanna released at midnight makes a strong argument for its own hype. The plot’s straightforward, to the point of coming right out of the song itself: the star sings “Your wife in the backseat of my brand-new foreign car” as the camera pans over… the bitch in question’s wife in the trunk of a car. Not a brand-new or foreign car, as befits the segment’s vintage Americana road-trip vibe, but close enough. 
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The Best and Worst of Last Night’s ‘SNL’ with Louis C.K.

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Amid new claims of sexual misconduct, comedian Louis C.K. took to the SNL stage to close out the show’s 40th season. As expected, there was no acknowledgement of the alleged incident (incidents, really, since these rumors have been popping up since 2012), with C.K. getting some uncomfortable laughs during his provocative monologue about child molesters. The 40th season’s final chapter has been, shocker, somewhat disappointing. Reese Witherspoon and Scarlett Johansson tackled cruddy material, while Taraji P. Henson and Dwayne Johnson fared better. But SNL has bounced back from worse, and the show’s growing pains are starting to temper. Say goodbye to 40 with C.K. and musical guest Rihanna, who was perhaps the best part of last night’s episode with a striking multimedia performance.
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How Rihanna Won the Met Gala — and Surpassed Its Awful Theme

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When the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute announced the subject of its spring 2015 exhibit, the media collectively cringed. China: Through the Looking Glass — which, according to the Met, “will explore the impact of Chinese aesthetics on Western fashion, and how China has fueled the fashionable imagination for centuries” — is a perfectly suitable topic for a museum dedicated to the history of fashion; after all, excising Western influence by, or appropriation of, other cultures would wipe out the bulk of art history. But the show’s theme doubled as the theme of last night’s Vogue-hosted opening gala, an event so intertwined with the actual exhibit that the Costume Institute’s official name (The Anna Wintour Costume Center, as of last year) is essentially a formality.
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Here Are All the Celebrities Who Defied Anna Wintour’s Met Ball Social Media Ban

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She may have put Kim Kardashian (and a hashtag!) on the cover of her magazine, but make no mistake: Anna Wintour’s not exactly a digital convert. According to Page Six, guests at last night’s ultra-exclusive Met Gala were sent the following mandate: “The use of phones for photography and social media will not be permitted inside the gala.” That worked out… about as well as one would expect, so in lieu of a red carpet roundup, we’ve collected evidence of the rich and powerful doing what they do best: whatever the hell they want. Click through for last night’s best Instagram selfies and Twitter updates, with our apologies to Ms. Wintour.
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