Four years have passed since Frank Ocean released his stunning 17-track debut, Channel ORANGE—an album that disrupted heteronormative hip-hop through honest, poetic lyrics centered on sexual fluidity, self-discovery and love lost. The world has socially progressed since Ocean first announced his bisexuality on Tumblr in 2012, which is why there’s added pressure to his follow-up LP, Boys Don’t Cry. With his romantic, melancholic voice as its pillar, an even more emotive, walls-down project is expected from Ocean this time around.
The singer has delayed and delayed his long-awaited sophomore release, only recently alluding to a July drop with an updated website. Featuring an image of an old library card, Ocean traces all the months where rumors of a potential surprise release floated around the Internet. “Date Due” is branded at the top, confirming the arrival of something this month—hopefully at least a single. And although little is known about Ocean’s mystery album, his record label Def Jam has reportedly spent more than $1 million—the pressure’s on.
Three months ago, woozy songstress Lana Del Rey shared a snippet of her unreleased “Honeymoon” video, saying she never put it out “because nothing really happened in it.” Recently, the shelved visual found its way onto the Internet, and although she was accurate in it being very bland, the clip is signature LDR—a fuzzy stream of spliced in footage, juxtaposed against shots of her lounging poolside in a fringed kimono. Sure, the video is no high-drama, cinematic spectacle a la “High By the Beach,” but it’s still classic Lana and a worthwhile watch. See the leaked dream sequence, below:
Scarlett Johansson has been appearing in films since the mid ’90s, bouncing back and forth between indie flicks—some with cult followings—and big Blockbuster blowouts. Having established herself as a successful cross-genre mainstay, the Lost in Translation actress has officially become the highest grossing actress ever, according to Box Office Mojo.
She has accumulated $3.3 billion in box office revenue since her career first began, and falls tenth on the overall list—of course, falling behind nine male actors, including Harrison Ford who sits first with $4.8 billion under his belt for 41 movies. Highlighting Hollywood’s structural sexism, Cameron Diaz is the next highest woman on the list, but comes in at number 19.
This is a well-deserved feat for Johansson, but highlights a much larger issue surrounding gender inequalities in the entertainment industry. Let’s aim for more than two women in the top 20, Hollywood.
Although Lady Gaga met with the Dalai Lama on Sunday to discuss global kindness and “detoxifying” humanity, China’s Communist Party didn’t take too kindly to the unlikely gathering.
As a result, the Party’s propaganda department banned Gaga’s entire repertoire from the mainland China, and declared her a “hostile foreign force.” The issue, which is being called “an important instruction,” demands that the singer’s music be pulled from all Chinese websites.
Gaga’s not alone; Selena Gomez, Björk, Bon Jovi, Maroon 5, and Oasis are all reportedly banned from China for having supported the Dalai Lama, who’s viewed as being a separatist aiming to create a Theocracy in the Tibetan region. The exiled spiritual leader, however, is insistent he wants more autonomy from China—nothing else.
This is the second time Gaga’s been banned from China, the first for releasing 2011’s pro-LGBTQ LP Born This Way, though the ruling was eventually lifted in 2014 when ARTPOP was approved for Chinese distribution.
Watch the meeting, below, which took place at the 84th Annual United States Conference of Mayors. Gaga appears around the 1:00:00 mark, immediately following the Dalai Lama’s speech.
Three days before its official release date, Dev Hynes surprise dropped his third Blood Orange album, Freetown Sound, which is packed with 17 total tracks and an eclectic range of features, from Nelly Furtado to “All That” collaborator Carly Rae Jepsen. The LP, Hynes said, is about his life and upbringing, being Black in London and then moving to America—heavy, pressing topics treated with the musician’s signature ’80s-inspired sound.
Along with a new album, following 2015’s Cupid Deluxe, Hynes shared today a self-directed music video for “Augustine,” which sees the singer dancing on a New York rooftop and playing piano in an empty apartment. The hazy, nostalgic visual features cameos from Porches’ Aaron Maine and the Strokes’ Julian Casablancas, who’s shown eating Jerk Chicken. Watch the clip, below, and stream Freetown Sound, online.
Just six days before Prince died from an accidental opioid overdose, the musician’s protégé Judith Hill was aboard that infamous April 15 flight from Orlando, which ended in an emergency Illinois landing. She’s now detailed the fateful experience in an exclusive New York Times interview, recalling some of her final, painful memories with the late “Purple Rain” icon.
Sitting together on the plane, the two were sharing dinner before Prince suddenly fell unconscious. “His eyes fixed,” she told the NYT, before passing out completely. “I thought he was gone,” she admitted, revealing they didn’t have anything on the plane to help him back to consciousness. By the time they’d landed, however, Prince had woken up and received a shot of Narcan in an emergency ambulance. He was “very cooperative that whole night,” Hill said.
While under medical treatment in Moline, Illinois, Hill said it was the first time she’d ever seen Prince look vulnerable. He was reflecting on his unconscious experience in the hospital bed, saying he had to “fight for his life” in order to “get back into his body.” He remembered hearing distance demands urging him to “follow the voices,” calling the entire situation “the hardest thing he’d ever done.”
Hill, who was slated to be a back-up vocalist on Michael Jackson’s This is It tour and appeared on the 2013 season of The Voice, was Prince’s longtime friend and frequent collaborator. “There was a very intense relationship,” she told the NYT about her connection with Prince. “He told me that he loved me and that he would always be there for me.”
In celebration of Pride month across the globe, Absolut and Stonewall—the London LGBTQ charity, not the historic New York bar—have partnered to create a lineup of custom designer bottles, all of which are currently being auctioned off through Givergy. Names like SIBLING, Piers Atkinson, Henry Holland and Gareth Pugh have all given the rainbow #AbsolutPride bottle a fresh, new look, each reflecting their own brand aesthetics. Absolut will then donate a percentage of auction sales over London’s Pride Weekend to Stonewall. Check out a selection, below, and bid for your favorite one-of-a-kind bottle, online.
Simple and sparse, yet drenched in ethereal emotion, Woodson Black—performing under the moniker Haux—creates music that reflects his stunning film photography. The Berkshires-bred artist first quietly broke into music with his five-track project, The Bluest Sage EP, and followed that success with a lineup of singles: the vibey electro-folk “Homegrown,” the Othell-assisted “Caves” and, most recently, the calming melodic “Seaside.”
Ahead of his forthcoming debut All We’ve Known EP, due out July 8, the 24-year-old singer/songwriter/producer has revisited “Caves,” performing a stripped-down, acoustic rendition in the very space that inspired the song’s lyrics.
“I’ve always wondered where gut comes from—the gut that tells you when to run, when to hide, or when to just stand still,” Haux said. “After writing this song I realized that most of the time you’ll never know, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t trust it. The 200-year-old train tunnel that inspired the lyrics and album art felt like a fitting backdrop for the adventure back into the caves.”
Opening for Florence & the Machine last night at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, Stella McCartney muse Grimes walked off stage mid-set with no clear explanation as to why. “We just had a really disturbing thing happen to us today, so sorry if my voice is shaking,” she told her audience before disappearing. “It’s just kind of a fucked day.” After the show, she ambiguously responded to the incident on Twitter, telling her fans she’ll explain once she can “safely and legally do so.”
I will explain what happened at Barclays once I can safely and legally do so.
Following the murder of 22-year-old Christina Grimmie, who was gunned down during an Orlando signing last Friday, the mystery behind Grimes’ “disturbing” experience is unsettling—especially because there’s safety and legality involved. The singer/producer advised her fans to ignore online rumors, and announced she has a new song coming out on the Suicide Squad soundtrack called, “Medieval Warfare.”
In happier news: I have a new song coming out on the suicide squad soundtrack!!!! It’s called ‘medieval warfare’ ^_^ dreams becoming realiti