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’13 Reasons Why’ Did Not Need A Second Season

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Photo by Beth Dubber/Netflix

It’s unnecessary, unproductive, and unrealistic trauma porn

When 13 Reasons Why first premiered last year, I had my misgivings—as did many other adults, experts, and anti-suicide advocates. I thought back to what it would have been like for me to watch the suicide-centered show if I were 15 again—unmedicated, more impressionable, still swayed by the desire to know what everyone was talking about. I feared for my 15-year-old self, and for all of the young people exposed to important mental health-related messaging coming at them in such a hyperbolic, drama-driven format.

However, I did find much of Season 1 to be relatable, and it was clear that it was aspiring to work toward a social good. These feelings were echoed by the many teens who lauded the show as the most realistic portrayal of high school they’d seen on television, and the show did seem to make many teens more cognizant of the ways their actions affected others. I was assuaged further by promises that, for its second season, 13 Reasons Why would be expanding its after-show special, building a new informational site, and incorporating trigger warnings for all the episodes; there was distinct hope that this season would be even more responsible to its mission than the first, offering a more nuanced and fully fleshed out depiction of the grief, terror, and guilt that accompanies tragedies of this scope.

As it turned out, unfortunately, Season 2 would be doing the complete opposite.

With this latest iteration of 13 Reasons Why, gone are even the most shallow gestures toward anti-bullying and suicide prevention philosophies. Instead, the show tacitly advocates bullying as being, at the very least, an effective narrative tool, as it depicts people bullied into coming out in public, and intimidation in the form of threatening notes and blow-up dolls hanging from nooses. It feels more like an incredibly extra episode of Riverdale than a genuine story of the hardships of high school. And at least with Riverdale, there’s a sense of distance, that it's a warped version of reality, instead of the experience of an average teenager. 

But with 13 Reasons Why, we have a show that teens have continually said they identify strongly with—and that’s where the problem lies. It’s one thing if it were presented as pure entertainment, like Riverdale. It’s another when very real issues are sprinkled with trite subplots involving conspiracy theories, vandalism, and vigilantism, making it impossible to take these very serious issues seriously. Frankly, it's unproductive voyeurism, but its potential ramifications are all too real—and terrifying based on how trivially important issues are treated. Think: drug addiction, homelessness, coming out, self-harm—all glossed over instead of being treated with any weight. If you were to learn about these things by watching the show, you'd think that heroin withdrawal can be fixed with a bottle of Gatorade and someone could survive a shotgun wound to the head with minimal physical repercussions. 

While it’s difficult to assign definitive motivation to the showrunners, the runaway success of last season—spurred in part by controversy and celebrity—makes it possible to believe that they think they must top the sensationalism of last season with even more drama. And it would be one thing if it seemed like this show wasn't having any negative real-world effects. But with the news that grieving father begged show producer Selena Gomez to cancel the second season because of his daughter’s suicide, it becomes clear that this type of tragedy porn has a responsibility to viewers to handle these issues with sensitivity. That they've failed to do so is wildly disappointing, and reason enough to steer clear of this gratuitous second season, full of the kind of trauma porn that adds nothing to the conversation but more grief.

Photo by Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images.

It marks her third duet with Nas

Here are some words that I never expected to read or hear again: There is a new song with Amy Winehouse. But here we are in 2019, and Salaam Remi has granted me a wish. On Valentine's Day, the Grammy-nominated producer and frequent Winehouse collaborator (also responsible for hits like Miguel's "Come Through & Chill") released "Find My Love" which features rapper Nas and that powerful and haunting voice that I have come to love and cherish so dearly.

Representatives for Remi said that the Winehouse vocals were from an old jam session the two had. Remi was a producer on both of Winehouse's albums, Frank and Back to Black. "Find My Love" marks the third time Winehouse and Nas have done duets under the direction of Remi. They were previously heard together on "Like Smoke," a single from her 2011 posthumous album Amy Winehouse Lioness: Hidden Treasures, and "Cherry Wine" from Nas' 2012 album Life Is Good. Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning on July 23, 2011, before they could complete production on her third album. My heart is still broken about it as she is by far my favorite artist.

"Find My Love" is set to appear on Remi's Do It for the Culture 2, a collection of songs curated by him. Check it out, below.

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Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images

"In the midst of chaos there's opportunity"

Following the travesty that was Fyre Festival, Ja Rule wants to take another stab at creating a music festival. Good luck getting that off the ground.

On Thursday, the rapper spoke to TMZ, where he revealed that he was planning to relaunch Icon, an app used to book entertainers, which is similar to Billy McFarland's Fyre app. He told the outlet that he wanted to create a festival similar to Fyre to support it.

"[Fyre Festival] is heartbreaking to me. It was something that I really, really wanted to be special and amazing, and it just didn't turn out that way, but in the midst of chaos there's opportunity, so I'm working on a lot of new things," he says. He then gets into the fact that he wants to form a music festival. "[Fyre] is the most iconic festival that never was... I have plans to create the iconic music festival, but you didn't hear it from me."

Ja Rule actually doesn't seem to think he is at all responsible for what came from Fyre Fest, claiming in a Twitter post that he was "hustled, scammed, bamboozled, hood winked, led astray." Even if that's his feeling, he should realize that anyone involved with Fyre shouldn't ever try their hand at music festivals again.

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