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Kangol And Camelot: On Loving JFK Jr. And Carolyn Bessette Kennedy

Culture
Photo by Diane Freed/Getty Images

The Objects of Our Obsession

We all had them, those totally consuming crushes that took over our teenage lives. In our series The Objects of Our Obsession, writers explore the deeper meanings behind those fixations, and pay tribute to the people who we found totally crush-worthy.

He was the son of Camelot, and I was hooked. A greasier George Clooney, with a haircut like a gelled squared hedge, a New York guido, but also not. I’m not sure if it was he, a Kennedy, or she—who became a Kennedy—who I loved and adored more. I wanted both to become and to be, or to usurp in my arms, to be smooshed with white—holier than thou—romanticism. 

They were the dream team of politics-meets-Calvin Klein, a Hollywood Story, something made for the screen, and I was obsessed. Pining after them both, wanting to be near them, in their arms, always locked in an embrace. 

I think back to them. Her, mainly always in black; chic, like New York in the ‘90s. Hair so bright and golden, sun-licked and freckle-faced, an angular, tight, long but small nose. A Gwyneth Paltrow-type. It’s so sinister how white girls who look like that are always deemed so pure, like an asylum of goodness. He was her opposite, dark and handsome, a cliché. But, even in a Kangol hat, his aquiline nose gleaming, next to her, slender in a turtleneck and toffee-colored corduroys—their downtown look—they were exceptional. Built for the cover of magazines, but with the political genes of American Democratic royalty. To me, they were everything. 

I saw them both for the first time on ETEntertainment Tonightmy love and joy in my tweens. I watched it for mimicry, wanting to transform into what I understood as powerful whiteness. But, I was neither powerful nor white. But a kid could dream. And so, I watched, hooked. I saw him first, his face a Greek tragedy, like Apollo, carved in marble. It was a tight frame of his smiling face, and I, barely 10 years old, thought to myself, Got. Dam

Then came Carolyn, decked in a Narciso Rodriguez gown, her wedding dress. The deal was sealed. They were made for consumption, a WASPier precursor to the Kardashians. Their appeal was magnetic, and I watched them, shivering in delight. 

This was pre-pre-internet, or at least for me. We had an out-of-use Mac which (to my dismay now) was rarely functional, sitting in my room, manhandled to the side, seemingly lacking in purpose. Oh, if I only knew! Imagine all the stalking I could have done? All the hours of Lainey Gossip-esque websites I could’ve scrolled through, longing for my Kennedy-Bessette-Kennedy dream. Searching through image after image, craving a sign that would usher my acceptance into their lives; a way in, so to speak. 

“Acceptance” is a word I revisit in my now-decades-later state. I think about how I prioritized white acceptance, in particular, and how the Kennedy-Bessette-Kennedys were perhaps an early indication of a time when I sincerely believed myself unworthy of many things—love, mainly, but also beauty, fame, intrigue. I didn’t believe these things to be in my grasp, but oh, how I longed for them. I wanted to be seen, but I didn’t know how, or even why. Some of us, perhaps, are built this way. We have an appreciation of celebrity, like one would enjoy robust Côte du Rhones. 

Him and her, they were both so familiar, and unfamiliar; in my dream state, I believed I deserved to be near them, with them, alongside their reign. Me: chubby, brown, not-yet in my proper teens. When they died, I lit a candle in my heart for their loss. Devastated, I drowned myself in the images of his perfect jaw, her sleek middle part.

My love never fully died—clearly—but I mourned them, and then, soon enough, forgot them. Through the years I began to realize that crushes are a mirror. So often, they are just a reflection of what you see to be in your soul. That’s a good takeaway, I guess: My life can be my very own Camelot. 

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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