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this new short film is deeply unsettling

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Photo: Courtesy of Signe Pierce/Alli Coates

and it has every right to be

Two years ago, performance artist Signe Pierce and Alli Coates, an artist, screened a project called American Reflexxx. The premise was simple: Pierce was to don “stripper garb and a reflective mask” and saunter down a touristy part of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Only after the experiment was complete were they to communicate. What followed was a sobering—if not downright terrifying—example of how transphobia, transmisogyny, and misogyny fuel crowd mentality.

The video, which was released earlier this week on YouTube, is a tense 14-minute watch. Pedestrians are confused by Pierce’s presence. Some immediately sexualize her and blatantly say they would “love to make love to you with that on” to her reflective masked face. Immediately, a woman off camera can be heard telling the man that Pierce isn’t a woman. From there, transphobic slurs like “shim” are thrown at Pierce. Her gender is continually questioned as more and more tourists follow her. But Pierce remains silent the entire time, and instead rotates between sexually suggestive “feminine” poses and squared-off, forward-facing “masculine” ones. Only after the deeply unsettling climax does the crowd begin to back off—away from themselves, really, considering the mirrored mask.

Though conditions for the transgender community have improved in the two years since American Reflexxx was filmed, transphobia still exists. Misogyny, too, is still very real. What Pierce and Coates have done is create a complex commentary on both. At one point, a street preacher yells that God “will laugh at your calamity.” He was speaking directly to Pierce at the time, but perhaps he was really speaking to us, the crowd. It’s fascinating how inhumane humans can be.

Photo courtesy of Balenciaga / Photo via @McDonaldsSverige Instagram

I'm cackling

Last year, Balenciaga released bright red square-toed mules which bore a striking resemblance to McDonald's french fry cartons. Now, the chain has fired back at the designer, threatening to release its own version of the shoes.

McDonald's Sweden posted a photo to its Instagram of a person wearing actual McDonald's fry cartons as shoes, and honestly, if there weren't yellow M's printed onto them, I'd have a hard time distinguishing them from the Balenciagas from a distance. Though the post doesn't directly reference the Balenciaga shoes, one can only assume that's who they are trolling.

McDonald's version actually makes for some pretty fly slip-ons, if you ask me. Good thing the Swedish branch of Mickey D's seems to be considering releasing the shoes if the post receives enough attention. The caption of the Instagram post translates to, "If we get 103042 likes we release these for real," though it only has about 17,000 as of publish time. These would likely cost much less than the Balenciaga shoes, which cost $545.

Internet, do your thing. I want a pair.

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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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