Lucy Hale Sports Bantu Knots In Schön! Magazine

Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images.

Cultural appropriation or artistic vision?

Lucy Hale normally sports a cheerier, peppy vibe, but for her newest shoot for London's Schön! magazine, she goes gothic to the max from deep, coppery-berry lips to black nails actually sporting real rose thorns. While other outlets are focusing on the overall vibe (which is a starkly different departure for the actress), and yes, those nails, her hair is mentioned in passing as a styling footnote.

For those not aware, those twisted sections of hair aren't mini buns, they're Bantu knots. Bantu knots, also known as Zulu knots, are said to have originated centuries ago with Zulu tribes in southern Africa. Today they're used either as a hairstyle on their own (à la Rihanna) or as a hair care routine, called the "Bantu knot out," to create curly styles.

In this Hale photo, with its dark, witchy vibe, the knots almost act as an artistic decision for symbolism, appearing as horns which would make sense, especially with those talon-like nails (which are admittedly, far less subtle). But, when it comes to artistic or interpretive use, because they're not Bantu knots for the sake of being Bantu knots, does that mean people are given a pass?

While Bantu knots have not seen nearly the amount of attention for cultural appropriation as dreadlocks of late, there have been some missteps in the fashion industry—most notably when Marc Jacobs used them in a runway show last year where the lead hairstylist said they were inspired by Björk. This image then raises a lot of questions. Does the stylist for this shoot know what Bantu knots are? Does the positioning of the gothic/witchy context in the photo change the meaning of the Bantu knots? Does artistic symbolism take precedence if the artist is aware of origin? If the stylist and/or photographer were PoC, would it matter? Most importantly, who gets to decide all this?

As we enter a cultural stage where no awareness leads to hyperawareness, it's important to discuss and share our collective understanding and knowledge. That said... what do you think?


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.



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.