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Talking To Patriarchy-Smashing Musician Anna Wise

Music

“I can’t eliminate sexist double standards, but I can control how I let them affect me”

Psychoanalytic literature calls it the Madonna-whore complex, but the colloquial, more relatable translation is that every woman’s inevitable choice is being seen as either a bitch or a slut. “I know what kind you are,” sings Anna Wise in the chorus of her new single. “If I say, ‘No,’ I’m a bitch / Say, ‘Yes,’ I’m a slut.”

The song, aptly titled “BitchSlut,” is an empowering yet irreverent anthem, which chips away at the sexist double standard of female sexuality simply by calling it out. (Or, as Wise puts it, “I can't eliminate sexist double standards, but I can control how I let them affect me.”)

The endearingly amateur iPhone cinematography of Wise’s video betrays her established place in the music industry. Wise isn’t just some clever YouTuber, she’s a Kendrick Lamar collaborator and Grammy winner, now on her way to building out a solo career through an upcoming tour and EP. After listening to “BitchSlut” on loop, we caught up with Wise to talk about the inspiration behind her catchy act of deconstruction and see how she plans to use her musically inclined feminism next.

What was your inspiration for "BitchSlut" song? What kind of experiences fueled the lyrics?
I remember when I was 11 years old, walking home from school, and a car full of older men came up real slow behind me and one of them shouted, "I wanna put my tongue in your pussy you little slut!" I had just learned one of my favorite gestures, the middle finger, and I stuck it up real high and stiff at those jerks, even though my face was hot with embarrassment. Another guy shouted, "Fucking bitch!" and they drove away. I was stunned. I cried. I didn't tell anyone. That was the birth of “BitchSlut.” I want to send “BitchSlut” back in time to my 11-year-old self. I want 11-year-old Anna to pop that CD in her little Walkman and drown out the world. 

How do you think a song like "BitchSlut" works to break down sexist double standards?
Well, I know that music is really powerful, like magic. I hope a woman could hear “BitchSlut” and join me in poking fun at two of the most common insults she and I will be called for the rest of our sexually desirable lives. I can't eliminate sexist double standards, but I can control how I let them affect me. Do what you want! 

How do you think the paradox you sing about in "BitchSlut" affects women in the music industry specifically?
Women are taught to be sexually desirable. We're taught that we should harness and use this sexual "power," and as soon as we do, people are appalled and we are chastised. This is pretty evident in the music industry. If you aren't sexy, you won't sell records, but if you're too sexy, you're a whore. You can fuck your way up to the top or not, everyone will think you did, anyway. I'm kidding… kind of… but really… There are so many more roles that women can play in society other than Madonna and whore. But that is more or less the dichotomy we are presented. 

The stories that have been breaking lately, they are not rare. They are actually the norm. But hey, I'm an observer. I saw these things and experienced these things, and it inspired me to send this message. I haven't taken any gender studies courses but I know that this is an undercurrent in society. As progressive as we think we've become, women are still treated and perceived as objects. Everyone, in every profession, is affected by this. It hurts women and it hurts men.

Is there anything up-and-coming artists can do to avoid being pigeonholed as their image develops?
My philosophy has always been to do what comes naturally, to not overthink things. I think if the music is consistently good, the image can chill. Have fun with it, don't let it drive you crazy. Be patient with yourself.

You've had a pretty extensive career behind the scenes so far, even winning a Grammy for your work with Kendrick Lamar. How did that collaboration come together?
Kendrick found my band Sonnymoon on YouTube. There's a song of our's he likes called "Nursery Boys." He asked around for my phone number and started texting me. I was on a road trip at the time. We rerouted straight to Kendrick. My bandmate Dane and I stayed in Carson [in California] at the house for a while, recording every day, all day. It was really really fun. 

How did working with Kendrick affect your solo work?

I'm really inspired by Kendrick. I think the work he's doing is really empowering. Working with him changed me in ways I can barely begin to understand. There's an exchange of energy that happens when you work creatively with someone. It affects everyone involved. 

What other experience has built your solo career? Tell me a little bit about your background prior to Kendrick and "BitchSlut."
Well, I started in a band called Sonnymoon, which is myself and Dane Orr cowriting and coproducing everything together. We put out our first record for free in 2010. We toured a lot for that project and just had fun with it. It was really more of an art project than anything else. We were trying out lots of ideas. We made all our own videos and artwork. When I started to work on my solo project, I knew I wanted to make it more simple musically and less vague lyrically, because Sonnymoon is so amorphous. I've been working on this material for a while now. My philosophy about opportunity has always been to stay open, be ready, and enjoy the ride. I'm a big believer in fate. If I focus too much on my career, instead of the art, then I start to feel unfulfilled. 

Do you have any releases planned for the coming months? What's next for you (and does the plan include more awesome lady empowerment anthems)?
Yeah! I'm releasing more and more pieces of the puzzle. My whole record was written with women in mind. I want girls to get ready to my songs. I want you to sing along while you moisturize. So, yes, there are more empowering anthems. There are some sexy songs, too. And some ballads. And some sexy ballads. In May, I'm going on tour with this band I really like called Givers. I'm excited to perform live. I'm happiest when I'm singing.

 

Photo by Imani Givertz

Premiering today via NYLON

Small Talks, aka Cayley Spivey, has come a long way since starting a band, then becoming the entire band herself and forging her own fan base from the ground up. On her recent album A Conversation Between Us, she began to unpack any lingering baggage with one particular song: "Teeth." Today, she premieres the accompanying music video exclusively via NYLON.

"'Teeth' is about my personal battle with letting go of the past," Spivey tells NYLON, admitting that it's easily her favorite song off of A Conversation Between Us.

Watch the video for "Teeth" below.

Small Talks - Teeth (Official Music Video) - YouTube www.youtube.com

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Photos by Joe Maher/Getty Images, Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for TIME

Must have been pretty awkward

Taylor Swift and Sophie Turner were guests on the U.K.'s The Graham Norton Show together, which must have been awkward for Turner's husband, Joe Jonas, seeing as he also happens to be Swift's ex. I wonder if his name came up?

The interview doesn't come out until Friday night, but promotional photos show the two sharing a couch. Swift is making an appearance to perform her new single, "ME!" while Turner is promoting her new film, X- Men: Dark Phoenix. But it seems necessary for the two to be asked about Jonas.

Swift was just on the Ellen DeGeneres Show earlier this month, where she brought up the fact that she felt bad for putting Jonas "on blast" on DeGeneres' show back in 2008 by telling the audience that he broke up with her in a record-setting short phone call. But, according to Swift, she and Jonas are chill now, since it happened pretty long ago, which means she's probably already hung out with Turner and maybe even gossiped about him with her.

We can only hope that they get the chance to spill some tea on television.

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Screenshot via YouTube, Photo Courtesy of HBO

"That's! His! Auntie!"

Leslie Jones has rewatched the Game of Thrones finale with a beer in hand, Seth Meyers at her side, and a full camera crew ready to take in all her glorious reactions. Spoilers ahead, but, if you haven't watched last week's episode already, that's kind of on you at this point.

When Jon Snow started to make out with Daenerys, also known as his aunt, only to stab her through the chest moments later, it was emotional whiplash for everyone watching. And, Jones' reactions—both from her first and second viewing—sum it all perfectly.

"That's! His! Auntie! [gagging noises]," Jones says before making an aside about calling the police if her uncle ever tried to do the same. But then the knife goes in, and Jones screams. "Did you see that?!" Jones asks, "Yeah bitch, that's a knife in you." Meyers points out the funniest part of all: "Why are you so upset about someone kissing their aunt but totally fine with someone killing their aunt?" Jones replies, "Because that bitch needed to go," and, well, same.

Other highlights from the comedians' rewatch include comparing Dany's victory speech to a bad improv gig, predicting that their dogs would have less of a reaction to their deaths than Drogon did to his mother's, and more.

Watch all of Jones' reactions from this Late Night clip below.

Game of Jones: Leslie Jones and Seth Watch Game of Thrones' Series Finale youtu.be

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These lyrics are a lot

Robbie Tripp, aka Curvy Wife Guy, is back with a music video, titled "Chubby Sexy," starring his wife and a trio of models. In it, Tripp raps about his bold choice to find women with an average body size attractive.

The video begins with a series of statements laid over some pool water: "Curves are the new high fashion," "Chubby is the new sexy," "We Out Here." Tripp posits that these queens deserve an anthem, which they do. What they do not deserve is this Cursed Song. As he lists all the names he knows to call them by (thick, thicc, and BBW), one model (who I really, really hope was paid well) squirts some lotion down her cleavage, and Tripp begins dancing.

"My girl chubby sexy/ Call her bonita gordita," Tripp states in his chorus, before going on to compare "big booty meat" to the peach emoji. Another thing he mentions is that his wife can't find a belt that fits her waist, and that's why he calls her James and the Giant Peach. He then tries to dab. Here are some of the other Cursed highlights from his, uh, verses:

Got those Khaleesi curves/ Knows how to dragon slay
She like a dude that's woke/ We like a girl that's weighty
Some say a chubby girl that's risky/ But they ain't met a curvy girl that's frisky
Imma dunk that donk like I'm Andrew Wiggins.
Thick like an Amazon/ Built like Big Ben.

Tripp says one thing in the video that I couldn't agree more with: "She don't need a man." No, she does not. Please run. If you must, watch the entire video, below. Or send it to your nemesis!

Robbie Tripp - Chubby Sexy (Official Music Video) www.youtube.com

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Photo by Emma McIntyre / Getty Images.

See the promo here

It was bound to happen. The Kadashians and Jenners have committed themselves to letting the cameras roll on their lives, for better or for worse. So if you thought that the Jordyn Woods and Tristan Thompson cheating scandal was off limits, you thought wrong. The trailer for Sunday's episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians was just released, and it involves the famous family working through the fallout of what happened when Woods went to a party at Thompson's house.

The teaser includes the infamous clip of Khloé Kardashian screaming "LIAAAARRRRRR." It's still not explicitly clear who prompted that strong response. She could be responding to Thompson, who clearly isn't always honest. Or she could be reacting to Woods account of the events on Red Table Talk. But the most revealing moment comes when we see Kylie Jenner—who was Woods' best friend before all of this happened—react for the first time.

In a heart-to-heart conversation, momager Kris Jenner says, "For you and Jordyn, it's like a divorce." Kylie only offers this in response: "She fucked up." Based on Woods' version of events—which I'm inclined to believeThompson is the one who fucked up. Still, I'm hoping for some kind of reconciliation between the two longtime friends. Perhaps we'll have to wait until next season for that.

Check out the promo video below.

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