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Who is Talia Goddess? The neo-soul artist on the rise

Talia Goddess is the perfect fitting puzzle-piece to join the growing R&B, neo-soul subgenre.

The 18-year-old Brooklyn native released her first single “Never Wanna Fall” last Friday, giving listeners a glimpse into her old soul through lyrics that you’d expect to hear from someone well beyond her years.

The singer, DJ, producer, rapper extraordinaire has been writing and mixing music since childhood, and has grown both with and through her sound.

In Talia’s own words, her songs are hypnotic, emotional, and experimental – which is seen through her songs “Escape” and “While We’re Young“, which could be found on her SoundCloud.

Talia Goddess stuns in this shoot for Tommy Jeans.

While it would be easy to group Talia Goddess in the same artistic direction as Tyler the Creator, Willow, and Kali Uchis – it wouldn’t fully encompass her cultural influences and commitment to Black-queer representation through her art.

We got the chance to speak with her for an unfiltered discussion on her creative process and upcoming works.

Cultural influences

“I love reggae, that’s kind of like my favorite thing. I’m big [on] Caribbean rhythms and trickling that back to African rhythms.”

Talia Goddess for Kulture Hub

Considering that her father is a DJ and her mother sings, it’s no wonder Talia found her natural affinity for music and creative production.

As the daughter of Caribbean and U.K. immigrants, Talia has celebrated merged cultures since a young age, prompting her to discover her neo-Soul sound at the intersection of Caribbean music and NYC hip-hop.

As a producer, she loves crossing over genres and finding parallels in sound. Talia’s use of reggae in her music is one of the most distinct and mesmerizing parts of her discography.

While most of her songs have a silky-sounding undertone to them, her variant use of Caribbean rhythms adds extra layers of depth to her music in ways that I’ve rarely seen used by artists in her subgenre.

A commitment to representation

Immediately listening to Talia Goddess, it’s clear that her lyrics are direct reflections of her deep emotional capacity.

According to her, creativity flows better when she sets intentions for herself, mainly through thinking of who a song is for as she produces it.

In her politically focused music, she speaks to the masses; but in her love songs, she sings to the person she loved at the time.

Many of Talia’s love songs were written for the women she was in love with or was falling out of love with, and while her sexuality is an integral part of who she is, it’s just one of the many intricate elements that make her whole:

“[When I think about] how I represent myself and incorporate my queer identity… I don’t really think my queerness [is the] forefront of my identity. [I discuss it very casually, it’s just] what my sexuality represents.”

Talia Goddess for Kulture Hub

Talia distinguishes herself as an artist who is queer rather than a queer artist. In doing so, she showcases her multifaceted identity and draws inspiration from various areas of her life.

She expresses a sense of responsibility to advocate for people of color, using her music to raise awareness and express her opinions on racial injustices.

talia goddess
Shot for Tommy Jeans

To raise awareness and speak her truth on BLM over the summer, Talia released her song “Escape“.

The lyrics express how unsettled she was by the state of the world, asking for change and greater awareness of the severity of the matter. By tapping into her various lived experiences, Talia is able to promote representation through her music in authentic, productive ways.

“My [more] politically charged songs are definitely for the masses, for you to hear, for you to digest… Mind provoking songs are something I like to dabble in a lot.”

Talia Goddess for Kulture Hub

‘Never Wanna Fall’

While her SoundCloud presence has been alive and inventive for years, Talia broke ground on streaming platforms this past Friday with her song “Never Wanna Fall.” The song can be accessed on all platforms here.

The song, which was initially titled “I Don’t Ever Wanna Fall in Love,” exposes a piece of Talia’s soul. Her blend of sounds and varied emotions in her lyric have stopping power that’s best described through her own word; hypnotic.

When asked to explain her creative process for the single, Talia answered:

“I was in my bag and I had a lot to say. And I think that song kind of just encapsulates the dynamic of emotions that I went through because it’s a three-part song.
So, in the first part I’m frustrated, [asking] ‘why are you acting so distant?’ Then we broke up.
In the second part, [I realize] I don’t need you anyways. You know, [it’s that phase when you] get boba, put on make-up, go out, [and] start feeling yourself.
Which is ultimately a facade because then the third part is that meltdown of like, ‘wow. I’m heartbroken, I’m grieving, this hurt.’”

Talia Goddess

By embracing her vulnerability in this song, Talia’s made this song incredibly moving.

talia goddess
Talia Goddess for Tommy Jeans

The three parts of the song take you on an audible and emotional journey that’s all too familiar to anyone who’s experienced heartbreak. Each part showcases its own sound and vibe characteristic with the feeling she still sings about.

Talia wrote the song with the intention to perform it live, which one can already tell will still be extremely thrilling to watch.

The state of the world forced Talia to delve into her virtual presence, this past year, but the smile on her face was so wide as she talked about her future plans.

Hopefully soon, she sees herself curating events, touring, and working with people to bring her creative visions to life.

Poster Girl — Talia Goddess’ Debut EP

Talia’s EP Poster Girl will be released April 3rd which will feature music she’d been working on over the last few years,

“I wanted to limit this project to my high school years, just because that was a chapter within itself. I turned 18, I graduated high school, and I’m sort of entering a new chapter. I’m really excited to expand my sounds from here on out.”

Talia Goddess

In a lot of ways, she’s leaving her cocoon to embrace the birth of her new presence as Talia Goddess. As a child performer, she’d been creating and involved on projects under her legal name, Tayahna, which is the version that the world has come to know her as.

Who is Tayahna?

Creating has been a part of Tayahna’s persona for as long as she could remember. Aside from major artistic influences in the home, Talia was also lucky enough to grow up around teachers who emphasized diverse teachings in school.

Having graduated from HBCU’s and Ivy Leagues themselves, these teachers influenced her appreciation and vast knowledge of African culture by exposing her to instruments and history that she values to this day.

While at home, Talia started producing music at age 9 on basic editing software. You can find Talia Goddess on streaming platforms now, but before last week Sound Cloud was her main point of music distribution.

Long before music platforms allowed up-coming artists under their wing, SoundCloud allowed her to share her art.

“I’ve discovered a lot of artists on SoundCloud, which has that sort of underground [component] to it. I love the feeling of like, oh my god, who else knows about this song? Like the type of song that you just want to keep to yourself.”

Talia Goddess

The user-friendly aspect greatly draws Talia into Sound Cloud, expressing that she feels comments and likes are a lot more meaningful on the platform, compared to others.

talia goddess
Talia Goddess for Tommy Jeans

What’s next for Talia Goddess?

To end our lovely talk, Talia left me and her listeners with some words of wisdom that personally inspired her.

“My latest Holy Grail is this quote that is ‘progress, not perfection.’ Being an artist… you’re your worst critic. And… you find yourself comparing yourself to others. Realizing that it’s the journey, not the destination… it’s a process of growth, and I’m still growing.” 

Talia Goddess for Kulture Hub

Keep an eye out for Talia Goddess across all social and streaming platforms as there are huge things in the air for her.

Keep going, Talia! We’re all excited to watch you grow.

Stunning NYC architecture photography that makes us love the Big Apple

From a birds-eye view, New York City’s architecture could be seen as pretty systematic. The city’s grid layout and prevalence of buildings could leave you believing that NYC architecture is too homogenous. But photography of some of the most stunning buildings proves otherwise.

We’ve taken the liberty of shouting out some of the most stand-out architecture in NYC. The buildings are organized from more niche to basic locations.

Hopefully, city photographers will use this beautiful photography of magnificent NYC architecture to their advantage and let it serve as an inspiration to want to be great!

Belvedere Castle, Central Park

Located in Central Park (Cred: Wikipedia)

This stunning castle was completed in 1871. It’s one of the most hidden pieces of NYC architecture, and this photography proves that.

Now, the castle is used as an observation deck and exhibition site. And, its surrounding nature can take your images back in time to a stunning dated Gothic era.

Gracie Mansion

The Mansion underwent an intense renovation in 2016 (Cred: AD).

The Gracie Mansion embodies some of the least stereotypical NYC architecture on the island.

The mansion has been situated as NYC’s mayoral residence since 1942 by Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia. It is overlooking the water on East End Ave. and 88th St.

The photography of this exquisite piece of NYC architecture is almost just as beautiful as the stunning building itself.

Moynihan Train Hall

A near empty train hall, earlier this year (NYTimes).

Not to mention, on January 1st, Penn Station unveiled its newest addition: the Moynihan Train Hall.

The project took three years and now showcases an astonishing, modern, industrial interior proving the aesthetic effects of minimalistic design.

Woolworth Building

The historic landmark, continuing to make a statement in the city skyline over a century after it was built (Cred: Viator).

Still, located downtown near the corner of Park Pl. and Broadway, The Woolworth building is an NYC architecture classic.

The building opened in 1913 and was known as the tallest building in the world until 1930. In fact, the 792 ft. tall skyscraper is now a residential building that hosts tours of the beautifully ornate lobby.

Grace Church

Sadly, I couldn’t find an image that fully encapsulates the size and sheer brilliance of this Church (Cred: Pinterest).

Furthermore, Grace Church feels like a castle that was accidentally placed in Manhattan. Built-in 1847, the Church occupies 43,560 sq. ft. with enamoring gardens, fountains, and also several theological buildings.

When photographing this building, make sure to completely circle around it to get the full scope of magnitude. As far as photography goes for NYC architecture, it doesn’t quite get more historic than this.

United Nations Headquarters

The stocky building is an iconic symbol for peace and opportunity od NYC architecture (Cred: Arch Bishop of Canterbury).

Then, situated on FDR Dr. and E 42nd St. overlooking the East River, the UN New York Headquarters is one of the more culturally significant landmarks of our time.

The front’s reflective capacity serves also as a noble backdrop for the pridefully standing flags at the Headquarters forefront.

The Guggenheim

The iconic museum appears incredibly modern juxtaposed by its neighboring buildings,a building that makes NYC architecture unique. (Cred: InExhibit).

Of course, you can’t go wrong photographing both the interior and exterior of the glorious nyc architecture that is The Guggenheim.

In 1943, architect Frank Lloyd Wright was then commissioned to design the museum. One of the requirements was that it must be unlike any other museum; and to this day, it’s held up to that standard.

TWA Terminal Hotel

Inside the main communal room of the TWA hotel (Cred: Curbed).

Indeed, the TWA Terminal Hotel takes guests back to some of the most iconic elements of the 50s and 60s America.

It was modeled after the gorgeous structure of JFK in the 1960s. The hotel is a spitting image of the peak luxury that air travel used to be.

Not to mention, this is one of the latest NYC architecture additions, and the photography of it does not disappoint.

56 Leonard Building

The image serves as a gorgeous reminder of the NYC architecture and classic styles that can be found in NYC (Cred: Divisare).

Finally, the shimmering building is visible virtually everywhere in Tribeca.

In addition, the reflective nature of the tower mirrors the sky, making the tower look like a pixelated version of its surroundings.

And, the building feels like Tetris pieces placed atop one another and is truly one of NYC architecture’s most breathtaking buildings, as this photography makes clear.

Honorable mentions of NYC architecture photography:

The Met Steps

nyc architecture photography
The Met blends a classic and modern aesthetic in their timeless entrance (Cred: RedBubble).

The Occulus

nyc architecture photography
The breathtaking whale-fin exterior of The Occulus is arguably just as interesting as the interior (Cred: Medium).

The Vessel

nyc architecture photography
The Vessel at Hudson Yards overlooks the High Line in one of New York’s most expensive neighborhoods (Cred: BusinessInsider).

Flatiron Building

nyc architecture photography
The magnificent Flatiron building has been photographed and appreciated by city-goers since 1902 (Cred: Pinterest).

The Plaza Hotel

nyc architecture photography
The Plaza Hotel looks like a European castle overlooking one of New York’s most bustling Avenue (Cred: Orbitz).

Hip hop beef that immediately took the world by storm

Hip-hop and rap artists defend their honors like warriors, but sometimes it just gets a bit catty. These creatives build their reputations off of the control and power they have over their image, making their harsh hip-hop beef warranted and particularly volatile.

Nowadays, it’s hard to separate which music disses are solely orchestrated as publicity stunts and which are not.

Regardless of the intentions, disses have been keeping the rap & hip hop scene exciting and engaging since the medium’s start. Here are some of our favorite moments of hip hop beef of all time:

1. Control — Big Sean ft. Kendrick Lamar & Jay Electronica

Big Sean starts out claiming he doesn’t need to call out other rappers and Kendrick later follows by explicitly listing out the artists he hopes to destroy, including none other than Big Sean.

To be featured on a track and diss the artist featuring you is exactly the type of raw authenticity that makes Kendrick a living legend.

Nowadays, rappers use diss tracks to get attention and streams for themselves and the other artist. I’m not judging that as much as I’m just pointing out facts.

Kendrick dissing artists on another rapper’s song ends the back and forth as it starts it. This hip-hop beef if surely one for the books.

2. Roxanne’s Revenge — Roxanne Shanté

In 1984, legendary producer Marley Marl was heated after music group UTFO canceled their appearance on his radio show.

The group gained a lot of traction for their song Roxanne Roxanne, which told the story of a girl who refused interest in them regardless of their cars or money.

To get back at them, Marl elicited the help of 14-year old Queens rapper, now known as, Roxanne Shanté.

She was well known throughout her neighborhood for winning freestyle battles against rappers who were decades older than her.

Marl offered her a pair of jeans if she freestyles Roxanne’s Revenge, a song dissing UTFO from a woman’s perspective.

Shanté’s song exploded and peaked the charts at No. 22 while UTFO’s got no higher than No. 79. Roxanne’s Revenge is said to have invented hip-hop beef and has cemented Shanté in history as one of hip hop’s first female legends.

3. I Smell Pussy — 50 Cent’s rap beef with Ja Rule

Some of the most genuine hip-hop beef of all time have come from the ongoing feud between 50 Cent & Ja Rule.

Their beef started in 1999 when Ja Rule was robbed at gunpoint by one of 50 Cent’s affiliates. Since then, the two and their crews have had verbal and physical altercations.

In 2002, 50 Cent silently issued a police order of protection against Ja Rule before dropping yet another diss track, “I Smell Pussy.”

In 2013 Ja Rule publicly announced that 50 Cent won the beef, but that hasn’t stopped 50 from continuing to diss Ja.

Aside from their lyrics, no blow comes close to 2018 when 50 Cent bought out the first 200 rows of Ja Rule’s concert so he’d perform to an empty venue:

4. No Vaseline — Ice Cube

Ice Cube was the first member to leave N.W.A. in 1989. He believed their manager Jerry Heller was unfairly compensating the group.

While allegations around Heller’s contribution or detriment to N.W.A. remain controversial, Ice Cube had a lot to say about their professional relationship on No Vaseline.

Ice Cube kept silent on the group in his debut album AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted. Then, N.W.A. released 100 Miles Runnin’ and Dr. Dre said:

It started with five but yo one couldn’t take it.

So now there’s four ’cause the fifth couldn’t make it.

The number’s even. And now I’m leaving.”

Dr. Dre

Ice Cube takes a turn on each member of N.W.A. and their manager in the iconic lyrics of No Vaseline.

This hip-hop beef became so obvious that Cube’s producer Sir Jinx says they never wanted to beef with the group. But, crowds perceived their disputes as Ice Cube simply standing up for himself.

5. Killshot — Eminem’s hip hop beef with Machine Gun Kelly

Eminem and Machine Gun Kelly’s hip-hop beef started in 2012 when MGK called a viral picture of Em’s 16-year old daughter “Hot as fuck.”

For a few years, MGK implied that Eminem was below him and out to get him through indirect accusations over interviews and his lyrics

I understand his frustration, but it’s common knowledge that coming Eminem is automatically a lost battle.

In Killshot, Eminem refers to MGK as Stan, rehashing his song about a fan who obsessed over Em to the point of insanity. The lyrics cut so deep, even 50 Cent commended their ruthlessness.

While this is one of Eminem’s most aggressive songs, my favorite lyrics have to be the somewhat more lighthearted:

“But how you gonna name yourself after a damn gun and have a man bun?”


6. Hit ‘Em Up — Tupac’s rap beef with the East Coast

It’s sacrilegious to write about hip hop beef and not feature the most memorable lines of the 90s East vs. West Coast feud.

Tupac started taking shots at East Coast artists after suspecting they were behind his near-death shooting and robbery at New York studio Quad Recording Studio.

Months later while 2Pac was in prison, Biggie dropped Who Shot Ya? This song was recorded long before the incident, but on account of its timing, 2Pac took it as a direct attack.

Pac started planning his diss track in prison and in his rhymes took intense blows at East Coast rappers’ girlfriends, careers, and physical appearances.

While the verses themselves are merciless, nothing hits as hard as the last minute and a half of the song when 2Pac stops rhyming and blasts his opinion on the East Coast in some of the vilest lyrics rap has ever seen:

“Well, this is how we gonna do this: fuck Mobb Deep!

Fuck Biggie! Fuck Bad Boy as a staff, record label, and as a motherfuckin’ crew!

And if you wanna be down with Bad Boy, then fuck you too!”


7. Barbie Dreams — Nicki Minaj

One of Nicki’s favorite parts of this song was the reactions she got for it. Barbie Dreams pays homage to 90s hip hop from its vintage beat to its aggressive nature. In her 2018 song, Nicki addresses rapper by rapper speaking about their controversies and stirring the pot.

Regardless of this being one of the most honest and outspoken rap lyrics of our time, Nicki claims this isn’t a hip hop beef track but instead a joke and tribute to diss tracks from the 90s.

Nicki is no stranger to beef, on and off her tracks, as she’s been seen engaging in altercations with Cardi B, Mariah Carey, and Remy Ma, to name a few.

Taken as a joke, this song is extremely fun and celebrates rap and hip hop culture and beef in some of the most unconventional ways possible:

“Used to fuck with Young Thug, I ain’t addressing this shit.

Caught him in my dressing room stealing dresses and shit. I used to give this nigga a lisp test and shit.

How you want the puthy? Can’t say your s’s and shit.”

Nicki Minaj

8. Ether — Nas’ hip-hop beef with Jay-Z

In 2001, Jay Z released Takeover with producer Kanye West. The song is seen as a methodic essay addressing his beef with Nas, who was noticeably at a lower point in his career after releasing what is regarded as his weakest work, Nastradamus.

Takeover strategically comments on blows Nas has taken on Jay Z in the past, calling him a fake hustler and questioning his sexuality.

As a response, Nas opens Ether with a deep “Fuck Jay Z” and states that Jay already lost the battle because he doesn’t have what it takes.

Upon its release, the hip-hop beef was so obvious, radio stations claimed it was the end of Jay-Z’s career. While both songs are regarded as some of the best diss tracks of all time, Ether clearly takes the cake.

Since then, Jay Z accepted his defeat and the two squashed their beef leading to their mutual success through collaborations.

9. Duppy Freestyle — Drake and Pusha T’s beef still looms large today

Drake’s beef with Pusha T stems from 2011 when T profusely called out the Canadian rapper for using ghost writers. Since then, the artists have had back and forth disses, taking shots at each other’s labels and close friends.

The same day T dropped his album Daytona, directly dissing Drake for his lack of originality, he responded with Duppy Freestyle.

Drake claimed to have written verses for Kanye in the past – T’s mentor – and followed the song with an invoice to T’s label for his services.

10. Shether — Remy Ma

In 2006 Remy Ma was the self proclaimed Queen of Rap and a year later Nicki followed with her own claim of the title. The dispute led to no bad blood and the two were on good terms for years to follow.

That is until Ma was released from prison and repeatedly took shots at Nicki through her lyrics. Minaj indirectly responded with these lines on her Make Love feature:

“You see, silly rabbit, to be the queen of rap/You gotta sell records, you gotta get plaques/S, plural like the S on my chest.”

Ma took it as a direct offense and released a 7 minute diss track over the beat of perhaps the most iconic diss track of all time: Ether. The lines are brutal, paying proper homage to Nas.

These instances of hip hop beef remind us that rappers get roasted too

Even the highest and the most esteemed creatives can be publicly humiliated and put in their place.

But then again, it’s hard to have a huge ego in an industry where everyone relies on their enormous ego, too.

Rap beef, especially between female artists, can be spun by the media to harshly pin people against each other.

However, it’s valuable to address the cultural roots and contributions that feuds have offered hip-hop and rap.

For more savage moments from our favorite artists in hip hop:

The Free Britney Spears movement in-depth: A history of conservatorships

Last week, the New York Times showcased the Free Britney movement through their docuseries The New York Times Presents. The episode highlights the conservatorship Britney Spears was legally placed under after her historic rise, giving her essentially no control over her finances.

The doc also highlights the other multitude of injustices that have littered Britney Spears’s career since her humble beginnings.

Britney Spears’ 2000 VMA performance where she covered “Satisfaction” by The Rolling Stones (Cred: Insider).

Spears was undoubtedly the media’s biggest target in the early 2000s. The lyrics & music video of her 2007 song “Piece of Me” creatively reveal the severe invasions of privacy that paparazzi and also other media outlets subjected her to.

Many saw her as a celebrity living the lavish life to poke fun at. But Britney Spears’ privacy troubles, all the way into a real conservatorship, expose major problems within the social and legal spheres in America.

The song is Britney Spears’s clap back to the countless media outlets who constantly demonized and over-sexualized her. (Cred: YouTube)

The rise of Britney Spears

The rise of Britney Spears followed the mass success of her album …Baby One More Time in 1999. With it, she reintroduced the notion of women taking control of their sexuality through contemporary pop music.

Consequently, the rise of Britney Spears paved the way for nearly every modern female pop star to creatively address their sexual image. And, her popularization concurred with Monica Lewinsky’s scandal – when Lewinsky received some of the worst public scrutiny and slut-shaming of her time.

New York Times critic-at-large Wesley Morris suspects that this ruthless criticism directed towards Lewinsky bled into conversations Americans had about Britney Spears’s liberated sexuality.
Author Kaitlyn Greenidge criticizes the inescapable torment young women in media faced in the early 2000s.

Thus, Britney Spears was depicted as a crazed slut. She was also shamed about her virginity and appearance. To such a point that even people on Twitter invoked a very relevant Dave Chapelle video to reference Britney Spear’s harmful environment.

Chappelle asserts that the celebrity is not to be blamed without first addressing their toxic environment.

Britney Spears’ relentless torment

Furthermore, interviewers on The New York Times Presents phrase it perfectly when stating that Britney Spears became the “school-slut” of mass media.

And slut-shaming Spears became the hottest subject for nearly a decade. All major news outlets and trash-magazines alike devoted extensive segments to her whereabouts.

Now, still being aware of her exploitation, listening to her music adds such heart-wrenching layers of depth. This is seen through her song “Piece of Me.” The song aimed to flip the media’s derogatory-constructed narrative of her on its head:

I’m Mrs. ‘You want a piece of me?’
Tryin’ and pissin’ me off
Well get in line with the paparazzi
Who’s flippin’ me off
Hopin’ I’ll resort to startin’ havoc
And end up settlin’ in court
Now, are you sure you want a piece of me?
I’m Mrs. ‘Most likely to get on TV for strippin’ on the streets’
When getting the groceries, no, for real
Are you kidding me?
No wonder there’s panic in the industry
I mean, please

Britney Spears (Cred: YouTube)

These lines expose Britney Spears’s vulnerability during her rise (and still today) by outlining the self-confirming biases paparazzi had when capturing her worst moments. News outlets would pay up to $40,000 per image that could be used against her.

Maybe you should’ve tried sourcing real news instead of terrorizing such a well-intentioned, talented, young woman.

Brtiney Spears crying with her baby chased by paparazzi

Celebrities dragging Britney Spears down

There was no paparazzi shooting the paparazzi so it took a while for people to sympathize with Britney. The general public was continuously fed with blasphemy on her without knowing the truth of how poorly she was being treated.

Also, at that time, very few people defended Spears. But today, Craig Ferguson and Aaliyah are commended for refusing to talk down on Britney’s name.

But now that awareness is being spread about the #FreeBritney movement, many of the celebrities that once trashed her are beginning to apologize.

britney spears rise
Aaliyah and Spears’ similar iconic images display their fierce feminism through the powerful implications the snake invokes (Cred: Twitter).

These apologies feel more like statements written to avoid being “canceled” online.

Most notable of these is still Justin Timberlake’s fabricated apology.

britney spears rise
After Spears and Timberlake dated, he spun the narrative that she ruthlessly broke his heart through his press, songs, and music videos (Cred: Insider).

Timberlake vilified Spears, thus leading her down a press rabbit-hole that blamed her for his emotional distress.

And now, after Britney’s documentary aired, JT finally apologized. This makes his sympathy look like a publicity stunt.

It’s not just Britney Spears, conservatorships have a nefarious history

As much as Britney Spear’s fans wanted her to succeed, the industry wanted her to crumble.

Consequently, Britney’s father, Jaime Spears, gained legal control of her estate and person. Jaime, who was absent most of her life, officially became Britney Spears’ conservator against her will in 2008.

Usually, a conservatorship is granted to elderly people who are not capable of functioning on their own. But Britney realized that courts would not view her case against a conservatorship favorably and accepted her upcoming fate.

Still, Britney Spears feared her father and the conservatorship at the time and sought legal counsel. But she lost the case.

britney spears conservatorship
Fans show support outside Britney Spears court hearings (Cred: Vice).

For nearly a decade, countless pieces of evidence proved how dangerous Jamie’s conservatorship was. Yet still the courts continued to rule against Britney’s requests to reassign guardianship.

Thus, the legal system ruling so unfavorably towards Britney Spears rings very similar to the Osage-Tribe’s conservatorship and downfall in the 1920s.

A precedent for Britney Spear’s conservatorship case

In 1897, the Osage people discovered the land the U.S. government had forced them on was situated on a lucrative body of oil. The tribe profited from its resources and became some of the wealthiest people living in America.

Racist individuals found issues with the Osage people’s rightfully acquired fortune and demanded they be legally monitored.

britney spears conservatorship
This chilling image shows Osage-Native Mollie Burkhart and her husband Ernest Burkhardt, who murdered her family in an effort to inherit their wealth (Cred: AtlasObscura).

In 1921, the US Congress passed a law that required courts to assign Osage adults and minors with guardians. They would manage their royalties and finances, and thus exploited their wealth.

The law states that the guardianship would end when the people demonstrated competency. How is competency demonstrated?

Britney Spears’ conservatorship functions on similar terms. Yet, regardless of her improved behavior and blatant competency, she’s still not granted freedom.

In fact, conservatorship lawyers interviewed on The New York Times Presents explain that they’ve never seen a victim in a conservatorship ever escape the relationship.

The legal terms on conservatorship laws are so ambiguous that conservators tend to always have the upper hand. It’s also important to note, Britney’s career pays for her entire family’s lawyers.

Do you really think Jaime has her best interest at heart?

Britney deserved better

Britney Spears entered the entertainment scene radiating feminism and talent. Her music remains an inspiration for all and her story is just one incident revealing horrible corruption in media.

Undoutfully, the #FreeBritney documentary sheds light on the maltreatment she has been going through. Especially considering that these forms of exploitation still happen today.

When the documentary was released, 16-year old Claudia Conway capitalized on American Idol in scarily familiar ways.

And in 2020, the daughter of Kellyanne Conway (former Trump advisor) revealed her tumultuous relationship with her parents through a series of TikTok’s. She accused them of abuse and shared that her liberal ideologies contradicted that of her family’s.

Horrifyingly, Kellyanne humiliated and delegitimized her claims by posting a topless picture of Claudia on Twitter. Shortly after the pictures were deleted, Claudia announced that she’d be taking a break from social media to work on her relationship with her family.

Perhaps the best thing for Claudia Conway to do is only speak out on personal social media accounts before external media sources take advantage of her (Cred: VantifyFair).

Why Kellyanne wasn’t charged for child pornography? No one knows.

Yet the worst part is that American American Idol used the extremely vulnerable Claudia Conway in all their promotions for the upcoming season. Surely, they knew all the media attention that this would grant them.

Social media and celebrities reclaiming their images

Now more than ever, sound-minded people can share their thoughts on injustice with the general public. Paparazzi once controlled the images of celebrities that circulated.

But through social media, public figures can shut down the unreasonable press and share more authentic representations of themselves.

I really hope the growing flame of the Free Britney movement doesn’t die down any time soon. Britney Spears’ conservatorship must be dismantled, just like many conservatorships that are rooted in oppression.

We’ve seen countless celebrities lose their lives over an exploitation of publicity; i.e. Kurt Cobain and Lady Diana.

Let’s encourage offering humanity to celebrities who’ve devoted their lives and art to their fans before its too late. And always, #FreeBritney.

How Shonda Rhimes trailblazed the idea of the antiheroine

Through her detailed and deliberate work concerning representation and nuanced, genuine woman characters, Shonda Rhimes has changed everything we know about women in television. She introduced, as we know it today, the woman antihero, or antiheroine, or antishero.

Over the last 20 years, the entertainment industry’s playing field across race, gender, and sexuality has slowly started evening out.

How did TV’s antihero come to be?

The valiant strides of HBO and free-thinking creatives introduced audiences to televised antiheroes and complex themes. This was mainly due to The Sopranos breaking every “rule” of TV, and making us fall in love with Tony, perhaps the most celebrated antihero of our time.

Such narratives eradicated society’s perception of TV’s limited capacity.

It didn’t take long for antiheroes to make their way into mainstream media. Characters that would’ve once been horribly controversial like Walter White, Don Draper, and Ben Linus, became embraced icons.

While the stories themselves were rapidly changing, main characters seemed to stay as mainly white, straight, men. That is until the emergence and reign of Shonda Rhimes.

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Rhimes at the 44th annual International Emmy Awards in 2016. (Cred: Time)

“You cannot be what you cannot see.”

Shonda Rhimes (Cred: Elle)

Shonda Rhimes created the woman antihero 

Rhimes is sealed in history for her noble success at creating inclusive content. Through her series’ Grey’s Anatomy, How to Get Away with Murder, and Scandal, Rhimes brings intricate women and BIPOC characters to life.

Her creative signature is building fascinating women with high levels of genius, ingenuity, and questionable morals. 

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Rhimes practically owned Thursday nights with her back to back iconic dramas. (Cred: ABC)

Her shows trivialize and celebrate power struggles relating to infidelity, women’s rights, and sexuality. By showcasing diverse characters, Rhimes spotlights the Black experience in artistically-complex ways the entertainment industry desperately needed.

How to Get Away with Murder‘s Annalise Keating (Viola Davis) is a long-overdue showcase of Black, queer, feminism taking center stage.

The organic dimensionality offered by her character strays away from the oversaturated depiction of a woman heroic lead as an individual who sacrifices herself, flatters her peers, and redeems everyone.

The social progress exhibited by Rhimes’s shows is remarkable. Scandal’s Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) was the first woman Black lead in a network drama since 1974. In 2015, Davis won a historic Emmy as the first Black recipient of Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.

“You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.”

Viola Davis (Cred: WashingtonPost)
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Oscar and Emmy winner Viola Davis remarks that her entire life has been a protest. (Cred: VanityFair)

The need for antiheroes

The rise of the antihero in TV said a lot about society’s desire for complexity and diversity. And it proved people’s dissatisfaction with unrealistically-perfect characters.

There is a deep release in watching characters like Annalise Keating and Tony Soprano who are so wrought with inferiority.

Before 1999, networks were not convinced of the value of series about bad people. When David Chase shopped around The Sopranos, every network rejected him on account of the show’s darkness.

Any network could have produced some redacted version of Tony’s story, but Chase would not scrap the gruesome reality of being a mob boss.

When HBO greenlit the show, Chase was one of the first creatives on television that didn’t need to worry about censorship limitations. And he thus let his imagination spill.

The Sopranos reshaped TV as it was known and consistently swept award shows. And now, with the woman antihero, or antiheroine, Shonda Rhimes is doing the same.

The need for woman antiheroes

Antiheroic characters are successful for being so relatable. However, Rhimes emphasizes that it’s a lot harder to feel represented by characters who don’t culturally represent you.

As much as I love Tony Soprano, and I love Tony Soprano, as a woman, I feel way more connected when watching Annalise Keating.

Davis emphasized in her Emmy acceptance speech that diverse characters can’t captivate audiences if they are not written with effort.

Good TV can leave long-lasting emotional and entertaining effects. By expanding the realms of diversity in media, TV’s affective capacity also expands.

“The only thing that separates women of color from everyone else is opportunity.”

Viola Davis (Cred: Ms.)

The complicated nature of award shows in 2021

Award shows in 2021 will be the most distorted versions we’ve ever seen of them. For obvious reasons, a lot of media pushed back their release dates. And other work made during the pandemic embodies the dark, hopelessness exhibited by 2020.

On the other hand, the viewing experience of these shows – which are some of the most glamorous nights in Hollywood – will be stripped of the star power and inspiration they usually facilitate.

An America struggling to financially and emotionally survive isn’t going to react well to the meritocracy of celebrities gloating as they live lavishly during the pandemic.

Further, the content nominated says a lot about the exclusivity and homogeneity that award shows promote.

The most frustrating lack of recognition of 2020 is The Weeknd’s “After Hours” receiving no Grammy nominations. And HBO’s I May Destroy You receiving no Golden Globe nominations.

i may destroy you
I May Destroy You addresses themes of sexual consent inspired by personal experiences (Cred: HBO).

Still, there is room for hope for the future

Despite “After Hours” and I May Destroy You attaining commercial and critical success, they were snubbed in favor of work that emitted significantly less creative depth and diversity.

Regardless of modern social progress, the intellect and artistry of these works speak for themselves.

While there are clearly major issues with award shows, there has been some growth worth noting and applauding. The amount of BIPOC nominees for film almost doubled since 2019.

This year, three women directors were nominated. This isn’t much, but prior to 2021, only five women were nominated for Best Director throughout the Golden Globes’ 78-year run.

I underscore this example not to applaud the award show for putting in a long-overdue effort, but instead to highlight that there is hope for greater representation in media.

I am so proud to live in a time when, more than ever before, more diverse people are celebrated for their talent. Shonda Rhimes’s trailblazing legacy outlines an extremely promising future for entertainment.

By ignoring social norms and longstanding exclusive traditions, Rhimes has opened the door for more BIPOC creatives to be celebrated for their skills. Not to mention, her work redefining the archetype of the antihero into creating a woman antihero will always be remembered.

While the road is long and many gaps are yet to be filled, I feel good knowing excellent creatives like Rhimes are at the forefront of media.


Why are Black creatives talking about Telfar? A new spot for sustainability

Walking in downtown Manhattan, you’d have to be blind to miss the proliferation of the vegan leather bag with its centered, quaint “T.” The black-owned Telfar brand’s product line and vision are actively redefining luxury fashion by expanding its realms of accessibility.

Telfar Clemens founded his self-titled brand in 2005 while studying at Pace University. The 36-year-old Liberian-American designer sees the brand as an extension of his own beliefs.

And he hopes the fashion industry becomes, as reflected through the Telfar brand’s mission statement: “NOT FOR YOU – FOR EVERYONE.”

The “It” bag, now more accessible than ever. (Cred: PurseBlog)

Clemens was inspired to launch the Telfar brand in hopes of distributing the type of clothing and accessories he felt were missing in society.

“My products are for people just like me… I tried to think about what I would pay for something, what I want to wear.”

Telfar Clemens

Shopping bags & doo rags like you’ve never seen before

Telfar’s shopping bag, nicknamed the “Bushwick Birkin,” launched in 2014. And it has since become the most untraditional status symbol the fashion industry has ever seen.

The multitude of rich colors ranges from bright to deep hues. And it allows for the bags to serve as statement pieces, everyday accessories, and everything in between.

Telfar also carries doo rags, jewelry, and more on its site. The black-owned brand’s aesthetic success hasn’t gone unnoticed by fashion icons including Bella Hadid, Solange Knowles, and Lil Nas X to name a few.

While celebrities love to show off their Telfar’s, the brand seldom promotes their content. (Cred: PageSix)

Regardless of the widespread celebrity attention, Telfar has not lost sight of its vision, by continuing to create iconic pieces at 1/6 of its competitors’ prices.

“I based the price off of…how much someone in night-life makes in one night… I want this to be something that goes around and something that people have.”

Telfar Clemens on CBS News

Inclusive fashion

Clemens’ “FOR EVERYONE” mantra seeps into every facet of the company, amplifying attention around one of the fashion industry’s biggest issues: there aren’t enough ways to express yourself through style on a budget.

With immaculate product-quality and bags starting at $150, the Telfar brand opens the door for nearly anyone who connects with the brand to acquire it. Of course, granted they keep up with the drop schedule.

Aside from its aesthetic mastery and ability to pair well with virtually any outfit, there are so many other reasons to fall in love with Telfar. Clemens advocates for economic inclusivity in addition to sustainable production.

The brand’s vegan leather and limited quantity drops greatly minimize its waste – something high-end-designers can’t usually say.

The “EVERYONE” in Telfar’s mantra is also highly noticeable through the brand’s social media presence, which promotes meme culture and the user experience in nearly every post.

Choosing to showcase the average user, rather than the free endorsement offered by celebrities who post themselves sporting Telfar, further underscores the sense of community the brand boosts. 

The Telfar brand is more than the hype

2020 saw Telfar’s popularity grow exponentially and was slowly growing to be regarded as “hype.”

Consequently, buyers were implementing software to buy out irrational amounts of the Shopping Bag for profit through resale.

To this day, if you look up “Telfar” on fashion resale sites, you’ll be met with a number of posts calling out people who try and diminish the meaning of the brand by grossly driving up its resale price.

DePop seller passionate about the brand’s inclusive mission keep the vision alive through informational posts in the form of clothing listings. (Cred: DePop)

As a result, the brand launched a bag security program in August, where it offered preorders of every size and color of the shopping bag for 24 hours.

There were few things that kept me going last season like the anticipation I had to receive my shopping bag.

Walking the talk with sustainability and accessibility

The Black-owned brand has seen some incredible collaborations over the last few years – such as Ugg and Converse. But none represent the brand’s values quite like its 2017 White Castle collection.

Telfar partnered with the fast-food chain to create an avant-garde line of apparel that manifests at the intersection of fashion of American culture.

After almost instantaneously selling out, 100% of the proceeds went towards bail for imprisoned minors as they were held in Rikers Island awaiting trial.

Clemens took this a step further by redesigning a fresh White Castle employee uniform, which also rolled out in 2017. 

Regardless of Clemens’ immense success – as seen by being named in Fortunes‘ 40 under 40 and listed on Oprah’s favorite things of 2020 – his humility and commitment to improvement continue to shine.

As major designers sadly crumbled in 2020, Telfar found a way to make its name bigger than ever before.

“The worst time in the fashion industry has been the best for me because we don’t really fit into the fashion industry.”

Telfar Clemens on the Tamron Hall Show

Clemens’ aspirations for his brand and the collective future of the fashion industry is infectiously inspiring. Mostly because it’s so damn sensible.

I’d love to live in a world where high fashion and exclusivity could exist in their own lanes. Some call him a rebel designer, I call him the most practical and hopeful name in modern fashion. 

Next time you inevitably see one, compliment someone’s Telfar!