korhil65 via Getty Images
When it comes to climate change, the math and science are clear -- but not to everyone. The arts can be powerful allies in helping us all understand the severity of the challenge and the urgency for action.
When Drake strutted into the ACC arena on August 1, dressed all in black with an OVO shirt and a beard, he wasn't just the biggest star onstage or even the biggest rapper in hip hop. Drake can legitimately claim to be the biggest star in music and so he invited the only others operating at his level this year.
They were using their talents and resources to pursue their passions. We often celebrate young people (think Bill Gates for instance) for doing this in other businesses and personal pursuits, but it takes on a very different tone when young black men from stigmatized areas take an unconventional path and invest their energies into it.
George Pimentel via Getty Images
A long time ago, in a Canadian music industry far, far away, the federal government had to step in with CanCon quotas to save our singers and musicians from being buried by radio hits from our southern neighbours. Now I wouldn't be surprised if the U.S. built a Trump wall to keep our artists out.
Michael Loccisano via Getty Images
I should have known better. Generally, you need to offer some leeway for new kids on the block -- at least three months to work out kinks. But I didn't. Because at the time, I thought -- "Bumpy ride, be damned! Imma get me some Hotline Bling." Oh, how naively hopeful I was.
Growing up in Rockland County, New York, Bishop Nehru stood out in high school. He dressed differently than most of his peers, and listened to different music. He had different priorities. Although at times being the odd man out could feel alienating, this experience turned out to be what author Malcolm Gladwell calls a desirable difficulty.
Tim Mosenfelder via Getty Images
MC Jin is a natural conversationalist. He'll tap you on the shoulder to get a point across. He'll tell you stories about his son with an ear-to-ear grin. In this setting, it's easy to forget that he's...
Bong Manayon via Getty Images
There should be no mistake, it's more embarrassing for an adult to not know Kanye at this point in time than it is for a teen to not know McCartney. White dominance of cultural norms is the only reason click-bait articles decrying the masses of 50-somethings who don't know who Kanye West is aren't being published.
David Becker via Getty Images
Han Han doesn't enjoy performing her new album. "These songs are physically and mentally exhausting," she says. The emotional intensity on her self-titled debut album is palpable even to those of us who don't understand all the lyrics.
Rap producer and real life cartoon thug kingpin Suge Knight was shot multiple times on Sunday during a Chris Brown-hosted VMA Awards party at a Los Angeles nightclub. Watching the footage of screaming party-goers scrambling for cover, my first thought should have been that I hope that no one was killed, but instead it was "Really? This is still a thing?"
Martin Philbey via Getty Images
Fans of Drake's music will know he often raps about Houston too, and has a huge affinity for the city. He's reportedly recorded a lot of his music there. But this past weekend, his loyalties really seemed to blur a bit. Drake was rocking a Houston Astros MLB jersey at a game. Shouldn't he be doing that with the Toronto Blue Jays?
Andy Sheppard via Getty Images
I can't turn anywhere without rap music blaring into my ears. Before hip hop got elected into popular taste to a level where it's now synonymous with pop-culture, there was an era that preceded this current one that might be doomed to obscurity. Here's hoping rap can finally realize, during its unwavering drive to be "fresh," it had long created music without an expiry date.
Either a Twitter feed has supplanted my brain or it was a beyond banner year for rap releases. There were flamboyant debuts (A$AP Ferg, "Traplord"), nimble comebacks (Eminem, "Marshall Mathers LP 2")...
At the AMAs, rapper Macklemore spent much of his precious acceptance speech time discussing the injustice behind the Trayvon Martin verdict. Here's a radical idea: if Macklemore is so disgusted by the Trayvon Martin ruling, he should be the one to lead Stevie Wonder's list of artists boycotting Florida until the Stand Your Ground Law is repealed.