Bounce queen Big Freedia's long-time DJ Rusty Lazer on the rise of twerking in Puja Patel's "Bouncing Back", a piece about bounce culture and the first all-female brass band to win New Orleans’ Street Kings competition. (via pitchfork)
When I was down in New Orleans last month I visited the Street Kings brass band competition in Treme and talked to the Original Pinettes (NoLA’s first and only all-female group), Rusty Lazer, Nicky Da B, and Mannie Fresh about where the city’s local jazz + brass band culture overlaps with bounce. We chatted about twerking as tradition and the celebration of movement instead of the oversimplified, oversexualized trend it’s become in pop. Really happy I got to speak to these people and write this.
Rappy Hour For the Seeds returns this Thursday! Really excited for this and all that Building Beats has accomplished since last year’s event. Please VISIT THEIR WEBSITE for more info on the work that they do and how you can help our vision of helping to fund and provide free afterschool music education programs in severely underfunded communities.
Better yet, come by on Thursday and have fun to support the kids! Last year’s theme was “Rep Your Region” during which each person played raps that represented where they’re from. This year we’ve assigned each writer-DJ a year from the 2000s and they’ve got 30-minutes to mp3 nostalgic. I’m thrilled about the group of people involved this year - read more on them over here. SEE YOU SOON, BABIES.
"There’s some confusion as to how I ended up being entered in a children’s beauty pageant. My mother and I can agree that we were approached in the mall by a person with a pamphlet; someone who inevitably stroked both of our egos enough to get us to participate in this (no-fee) flaunt of tiny people in a town that was not too much bigger in the suburbs of Baltimore. At the time I was 8 years-old and in the 4th grade, where I had been learning to play the theme to “Chariots of Fire” on my starter flute. (Note: At the time I was very impressed with the fact that our school system was progressive enough to teach us a remix of “Main Teri Hoon Janam,” a popular Bollywood song that regularly blared through my parents’ tape-deck, in elementary school band class.) What we do remember, however, is that neither my mother or I was very taken by the idea, nor did we avidly watch the Miss America or Miss USA pageants at home. From our collective, chin-scratching, memory, my entering boiled down to a game-day-decision that was more of a “Why not?” than anything else. And while it hurts a little to admit it, there’s no doubting that in the end my not-so-secret competitive nature won out. I wanted to see if I could win.”
Oh, did I forget to mention that I was once a child beauty pageant contestant? Well, here I am writing a bit of a rant about my experience, Indian American identity confusion, South Asian beauty stereotypes, the myth of the Aryan-Dravidian divide, and some other stuff in the wake of Nina Davuluri’s Miss America win and the attack on Prabhjot Singh. Read the whole essay over at MTV Desi.
As far as educating, I think that’s something that I’ve been doing whether I’ve had a choice in the matter or not. I want to keep it as honest and as real as I can but I’m not trying to make it too deep. A couple of things that I’m very clear about is that I look at what I do as a party that emerged from NYC and the club scene. I think the whole idea of authenticity is ridiculous – the one thing is that I do not want to do is make a cultural parody or a grand cultural display. I am a New York City kid that came to bhangra music in my twenties, after hip-hop. Who am I to preach authenticity in a way that music can’t be discovered? I discovered bhangra in a later period in my life! I am not for traditional garb or religious iconography, because that’s not what I would associate with a club environment. We’re not here to be a cultural fascination and we’re not here to be gazed at.
Being that way would be dishonest too. Bhangra music is a specific type of music with specific rhythms and cultural associations. But over the years bhangra music has changed and evolved too; it’s way broader now. It’s only natural to expect that change in other areas as well. I am fully supportive of inclusivity and against exclusivity. I love tropical bass and I don’t know a lick of Spanish, you know? If I did, that’d be great. I just think that we can expand music instead of restricting it. As far as I’m concerned, I’m a DJ and I’m here to make you dance. I’m not going to put a bindi on and dance for you or tell anyone else to either.