Remember AlunaGeorge? They’re the 2010s duo who made light and lush dance bops. When I listen now, they take me back so vividly to university (yes, Five on it is increasingly becoming a shrine to my youth and the reality that I am deeply old). Anyway, one half of the group, Aluna, has been doing some lovely solo stuff, putting out a solid new song this week, ‘Envious’.
Notably, it has the lines, “People think I’m strong / And there ain’t nothing wrong with that / Except when I get mad / Except when I get sad / And I got no way to hold this feeling / I’ll keep it to myself.”
It felt in keeping with so much of what the music industry discourse has been lately. I do not know how many column inches should have to be dedicated to reminding the world we need to do better by black women, because it should never be something we have to remember, it should just be a given. But, I guess, maybe it requires as many column inches as it takes. This week Megan Thee Stallion alleged she was shot by Tory Lanez and most people on social media had sympathy. But you still didn’t have to go far to find the jokes and people questioning her.
Natty Kasambala wrote recently about how damning it is that Megan had to break down for people to give her humanity and believe her pain after she was shot. This was emphasised by Meg literally having to share photos of her gunshot wounds two days ago. Taylor Crumpton wrote about what the treatment of Meg tells us about misogynoir in hip-hop, while Habiba Katsha has also spoken on how she does not want to be perceived as a “strong black woman”.
Maybe we feel like we are complimenting someone by acknowledging their “strength”. But too often when we speak of black women in this way, it’s a way of erasing their humanity. It’s a way of not actually trying to make society better for everyone, but instead congratulating people for keeping it together within a system that seeks to devalue them.
If you read gal-dem regularly, then misogynoir is not a new concept. Yet each week there seems to be another shocking story of it manifesting and affecting some of the biggest artists in the world. And that’s damning.
Be it SZA struggling to release music on her terms within the confines of her label, black women remaining uncredited for much of their work in the UK music industry, or Noname having to spell it all out, misogynoir is something that remains rife in the music industry (along with the rest of the world). It is something we as fans have to do better at acknowledging and calling out.
And now that I’m done ranting, here’s Five on it for the week:
Mariah Carey – ‘Save The Day’
Thank you, Mariah, for coming to save us during this hell year and treating us to an album of unreleased treasures (dropping in October). A taster comes in this Fugees-sampling beauty – the second half is honestly transcendent.
Headie One ft. AJ Tracey, Stormzy – ‘Ain’t It Different’
More songs sampling 2000s rap rock, please!! Three of the UK’s current music royalty have come together to spit over this wavy, beguiling sample from Crazy Town’s ‘Butterfly’ – the result honestly bangs.
GRAMN – MEDIUMN EP
An EP of soft-focus late-night R&B kind of jams from the emerging artist, the production is slick and her voice is impressively deft.
BTS – ‘Dynamite’
Please hook this disco joy to my veins, this latest from the Bangtan boys is so sparkly and euphoric! Turn it up loud and shimmy around to that slick little bassline. Also, you don’t need me to tell you the video is great because, well, obviously.
CHAI x Hinds – ‘UNITED GIRLS ROCK’N’ROLL CLUB’
Sugary pop rock provided by two of the world’s great bands uniting – Japan’s eclectic CHAI and Spain’s breezy Hinds. This sounds like disposable camera photos of summers gone-by at the beach aka dreamy.