“I always imagined college to be that one space that you were allowed to grow and thrive in academia, in activism… kind of figure out who you are and what you stand for. So when we all were working towards what we stood for and we were being isolated for it, it was very shocking because that was the complete opposite of what I had imagined a university campus would be like…” – Noran
Well, apparently academic freedom and freedom of speech are not that free in the land of the free. IF you are an activist for Palestinian human rights that is.
The report released by Palestine Legal and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), documents the worrying trend of suppression of Palestinian human rights advocacy in the United States. This suppression has taken place in different forms there are cases of false accusations of antisemitism, threats to academic freedom, cancellations of events and suspension of student organizations. This is just a selection of what can be found in the report. Palestine Legal responded to around 300 incidents in 2014-2015 and 85% of those targeted students and scholars in the United States. Such a pity that they will face these actions only because they are standing up against injustice. One girl in the video posted above even talks about removing the Palestine activism from her CV.
The universe works in great ways. The whole day I was busy answering comments on my Facebook regarding my previous post on non creative nudity and self-respect and how I had reached my limit.
Somehow most of the comments were by men telling me I should lighten up and because they never feel disappointed if a man is half-naked and classless I shouldn’t either. Amazing logic. Just after I was done with the comments I looked further in my news feed and saw the ‘Marilyn Monroe’ song by Sevdaliza and guess what? She is naked on the cover and on her soundcloud profile picture and I love it!
I enjoyed the song, I am still enjoying it actually because it has been on repeat since I saw the link. It also calmed me down and I am totally zen now. It was such an interesting coincidence that after trying to explain to people that there is a difference in the type of nudity in a photograph or video according to me and that I don’t have a general disapproval of it, I stumble upon Sevdaliza’s single with exactly the nudity I appreciate and applaud. I will never ever disapprove of artistic ways which push boundaries and I can only admire that.
‘Marilyn Monroe‘ is part of a series of songs that represent a kind of womanhood and by listening to the song one clearly can notice from which perspective Sevdaliza wanted to present Marilyn Monroe, a vulnerable image instead of the blond bombshell one we all think of immediately. Mucky is the co-producer of the song together with Sevdaliza and they are a great team.
I am looking forward to the other songs of this project! Enough chitchat, here’s the track:
Photographs are made by Zahra Reijs!
While visiting some websites today I stumbled upon Kat Deluna’s newest video for her comeback single ‘Bum Bum’. With a title like that clearly the video wouldn’t feature Kat Deluna fully clothed sitting on a couch reading a book. I don’t really expect that nor did I think that was necessary. I also liked the song, the typical catchy thing you will hear in a club. I get the whole idea of making music for fun and enjoyment and there is nothing wrong with that. However the video left me completely baffled. I found myself just staring at my screen after it was done wondering what I just watched.
Let’s be clear that It isn’t only Kat Deluna’s video, this video was just the final straw for me. I felt ashamed for her and for all females who had to watch it. I have never felt this much unease after watching a video. Looking at some shots from the clip she doesn’t look very comfortable either.
As a woman in current society you learn to deal with classless nudity and objectification in everyday media. I have created a filter for myself and a way to ignore it and just move on. However this time I couldn’t. Watching her slap her behind in the video, rubbing it against the glass, trying to shake it in all different kind of ways made me feel awful for watching it and question what is wrong with females nowadays who voluntarily let themselves be objectified like this.
One thing that is evident from this video and from others I have been exposed to over the years is the clear lack of self-respect. How can any woman with some kind of self-respect make such a video? I can’t find any other answer except for money and fame because unfortunately sex sells and apparently that is more important than integrity.
Artistic nudity and sexual emancipation
I have absolutely nothing against nudity in images and specially nothing against sexual emancipation of females. I applaud sexual emancipation and it is needed. In my opinion video clips like this one do not contribute whatsoever to the sexual emancipation of women, there is nothing in this type of videos which can be viewed as empowerment. I might be wrong but this is just how I view it. I have seen nudity in clips being used for artistic value and expressing an opinion or message, take Alanis Morissette’s ‘Thank You’ video or D’Angelo’s ‘How does it feel’ for example.
There is nudity but on a different level.
I will encourage any female who is being creative with nudity and sexuality (FKA Twigs as an example) but there is a huge difference between that and simple ratchetness. Unfortunately in the last few years I have mostly seen the last example and that is a problem.
Wrong example for the youth
There is a lot wrong with the trend in video clips however I don’t think these are giving a wrong example for the youth. I have never been the one to blame video clips or video games for how people act, I grew up watching the most weird video clips and playing crazy video games but I turned out just fine (right, mom?). We shouldn’t simplify the problem with addressing just one aspect, it is a complicated multilayered issue. There is a lot more which has influence on the youth apart from music and games. I am more concerned with the female artists themselves who feel that they need to show classless nudity in order to sell records or otherwise they won’t be taken into account.
Seeing how females in other parts of the world struggle for an education and risk their lives to fight for equality and emancipation and then looking at us, the women from the more “free” societies, I tend to wonder where we went wrong? It can be such a disappointment sometimes. Maybe instead of concentrating on fighting for women’s rights elsewhere we should focus on our own societies and try to put self-respect back on our agendas.You might think I am exaggerating and maybe I am. But today is just the day that I am done with this constant exposure to women who are desperately trying to be sexy and pretend that it is part of their sexual emancipation, when it isn’t. We should value ourselves more and stop this nonsense.
End of rant, thank you for reading. I had to get this off my chest.
Alanis Morissette – Thank You
D’Angelo – Untitled
Today my parents and I went to Centre Island, an island close to Toronto.
If you google it the information you will get about this place is “a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the city”, a pretty calm area. We went there and walked around when I clearly heard loud music coming from one point of the island. Heard some songs that I like so I decided to go follow the sound, left my parents to do their thing and Negisa was on a mission.
I walked and walked and walked. The sound started to feel as it was coming from very nearby, when I thought I was almost there I reached the end of the island and there was nothing! Just water… I couldn’t go further but I did hear the music so clearly, it didn’t make any sense!
A bit frustrated I decided to walk back and search for an alternative route but I wasn’t very successful. I was pretty OK with enjoying the ‘mystery island event’ this way, from a distance.
Found a good place to sit, admitted my defeat when all of a sudden I heard a familiar beat and this time the song was performed live instead of a record being played. I listened carefully and holy macaroni… It was NAS! Nas was performing somewhere near me! Unbelievable. What are the odds.
I quickly jumped off of the bench, Speedy Gonzalez was slow compared to how quick I started walking. I had to get to where Nas’ voice was coming from. I walked in a different direction, but again a dead end was waiting for me while I heard Nas performing from somewhere.
I choose another direction and started walking. Bumped into my parents who were ready to leave the island while I clearly wasn’t. Me leaving a place where Nas is clearly performing? Hells no!
They accepted to wait until I had completed this mission of mine. I felt as if I was in a marathon, the Nas marathon. At the finish Mr. Illmatic would be waiting for me. I saw a guy and he gave me instructions but also said that the event is for students from a certain university and I won’t get permission to enter. For a moment I stopped walking and thought maybe I should just return because I have no idea where to walk and not getting in would be such a disappointment. This thought lasted exactly one second cause my mind and heart were back in marathon mode and I started walking. After three other dead ends I finally was on a road that seemed to be leading to the right direction when all of a sudden I heard Nas say: ‘Thank you Toronto! I will be back soon!’
Say what now?! Nooooo. He better not stop now that I am almost there. I walked faster and faster. In my head I was wishing this wasn’t the last song and also thinking of ways to talk myself into the event if they refused to let me in. Luckily he continued performing, I was getting closer and got a view of the crowd. Finally not another dead end! I focussed on the area but didn’t see a fence or people controlling if someone is from the university there. Perfect. I finally saw Nas’ face from a distance. I heard his dj mix something and I knew exactly which song was about to start which automatically made me speed up my walking. No way I was going to miss this song! As I finally entered the area and got closer to the stage he started performing ‘Made you look’, one of my favorites. Mission accomplished. I most definitely didn’t let Nas down!
When abroad I love traveling around with public transport. Sometimes it is difficult if you can’t understand what is written, like in Bulgaria for example where I am currently. Asking for directions at a metro station was a bit diffucult, the woman working there didn’t speak any English and the only thing written in English on the map were the metro stops not the surrounding streets. When I noticed the lady and I couldn’t get far I decided to assemble some basic Bulgarian and tried to explain myself in that language. The woman working there responded by hand gesturing that I had to wait and grabbed a phone.
All of a sudden two big security guys show up…. Well damn, what did I say?! Did I just assemble the most threatening sentences in Bulgarian and said them to the woman? Why drag security into this!
Oh… never mind the guys came to give me directions. Such a relief. What a bunch of nice officers they are.
As they walked with me towards the map to show me where the street I wanted to go was, one of the policemen said in Bulgarian: ‘How come you don’t speak Bulgarian? Whenever I go abroad I always speak abroadian.’ Ha ha funny guy. He asked me where I am from and I said Holland. Both he and his colleague went crazy: ‘Oh my god Holland kicked Spain’s behind the other night. It was amazing!’ They asked me if I knew van Persie.
I said: ‘Yes, he is my cousin!’
They got extremely happy: ‘He’s your cousin…really?!?’
Luckily they could cope with my dry sense of humor. The three of us did some cavemen hooligan bonding over Holland’s great game. After that they explained the route I had to take…in Bulgarian… just perfect. I wrote down a few stops I could recognize. After I arrived at the next station I asked a security guy if he speaks English. He confidently said yes and then gave me new directions completely in Bulgarian.
At the end I managed to get to where I had to be and if things continue to go like this I will be speaking Bulgarian in no time. :)
Yesterday I finally got the chance to see the young and talented Mr. Sam Smith perform live at the People’s Place in Amsterdam. This of course was a great way to spend my Wednesday evening! The second Sam Smith started singing I thought: “Pshht that’s exactly what I sound like when I sing in the shower every morning”. Ok… that wasn’t really my thought and I so desperately wish I had even 1% of Sam Smith’s singing ability! I mean seriously, what did he drink when growing up and where can I get it?!
The first song he started with was the beautiful ‘Nirvana’, which I had on repeat for a long time. When I closed my eyes it felt just like I was listening to the record at home. He was able to nail all the difficult notes perfectly during each song. Without even blinking, as if it was the easiest thing in the world. This 22-year-old singer has definitely been blessed with a wonderful voice and I am glad he has the chance to share it with the world. He performed some songs we already were familiar with but also some new ones like ‘Leave your lover’, which will be featured on his debut album ‘In The Lonely Hour’. This European Spring tour of his has been very successful thus far and every performance has been sold out. Take a look at samsmithworld.com to see if he will be performing near you in the future and make sure you get your tickets quickly. He’s worth it, trust me. Here are some videos to give you an impression of last night’s performance (footage is a bit shaky because it was too crowded and there was always somebody pushing me by accident):
2. Leave Your Lover
3. Money On My Mind
4. Lay Me Down
5. Stay With Me
*The picture used at the beginning of this post was taken from Sam Smith’s Facebook page.
This video will restore your faith in humanity and warm your heart in this cold winter day. It will also make you aware of what children in less wealthy counties and countries in a conflict like Syria go through daily without our help. “Would you help a freezing child?” is an interesting Norwegian social experiment and a campaign to donate jackets for Syrian children. Watch it here: