Like the true controlling workaholic we all know Beyoncé is, she’s taking it all NEXT LEVEL, releasing a feature-length documentary on HBO that she has not only lived, but also directed. Talk about taking your life in your own hands! Bey’s doc is bound to be a classic, weaving viewers through the life and work of the famously buttoned-up pop star.
The film is a multi-faceted portrait of the 16-time Grammy Award-winning singer, businesswoman, songwriter, actress, entrepreneur, wife and mother, showing off the extraordinary gifts that have made her a global phenomenon, and stripping away the veneer of stardom. It includes extensive first-person footage, some of it shot by Beyoncé on her laptop, in which she reflects on the realities of celebrity, the refuge she finds onstage and the transcendent joy of becoming a mother last year.
“…Shot by Beyoncé on her laptop…”
The film sheds light on her childhood in Houston, with home movies revealing the close bond she built with her family and charts the challenges Beyoncé felt when she decided to manage her career and build her own company, Parkwood Entertainment. The film also captures the intense physical and emotional demands she goes through in the studio, preparing for live performances, running a business and her family life including her return to the spotlight after the birth of her daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, in January 2012.
I have a feeling Beyoncé also served as Copywriter on this press release.
There’s something extraordinary about Beyoncé in that she continually pretends to reveal “behind the scenes” footage of herself that is actually more carefully crafted than the magazine covers she appears on. For example, when Beyoncé’s Tumblr was revealed earlier this year, the photos revealed a stripped down Beyoncé–Lounging poolside, makeup-less–all the things you’d imagine a real Beyoncé would be. But despite the outtake style, there’s still something completely perfect about Bey. Like even her outtakes are (secretly!) not the outtakes. A journey into Instagram, has revealed Bey to be more of a fashion blogger–but any Instagram user can tell that there’s no way those photos were actually taken on the app itself.
Real or not, the documentary is set to premiere on HBO on February 15, 2013. Set your DVR(s) accordingly. Or she’ll probably do it for you.
Wow. The geniuses over at the Bieber Factory have done it again. The latest ad for Justin Bieber‘s signature (ladies) fragrance, Girlfriend, employs a brilliant first person technique–where an acoustic version of “Boyfriend” plays over scenes of Bieb interacting with the love of his life: YOU. #Imagine you and Justin running around his villa, driving down the 101, renting That’s My Boy On Demand and popping popcorn.
#imagine Watching a movie with Justin. His hands move their way down your body. He nibbles your ear before kissing you passionately.
You might not have caught The Soul Train Awards on Centric last night. In a flurry of Sunday night programming (plus Liz & Dick Lifetime!) it would’ve been easy to skip the award show dedicated to awarding the best in hip-hop and R&B. If you did choose another route, here’s your tl;dw (That’s “too long, didn’t watch.”) rundown: Cedric the Entertainer hosted, Anthony Hamilton did “Lovely Day”, Leah LaBelle did Teena Marie’s “Square Biz”, Fantasia paid tribute to Aretha with “Don’t Play That Song For Me”. There was a New Edition tribute (in which Bobby Brown failed to thank his departed former wife Whitney Houston?), Keyshia Cole performed “Enough of No Love” from her new album Woman to Woman, and X-Factor winner Marcus Canty did Luther Vandross‘ “Never Too Much”. On the hip-hop side, 2 Chainz was there. Naturally.
Perhaps in the strangest moment, Tyrese‘s “Stay” won Song Of The Year, despite being released independently from his album, Open Invitation. It beat out John Legend, Trey Songz, Estelle, Wale, AND Usher–making it a true underdog. Tyrese most likely knew this, stating in his acceptance speech that today’s R&B is ”insecure, since everyone is doing house and techno music” (a weird nod to Usher, perhaps?) But tonight, he continued, “Real R&B is winning”.
He sat on this throne for only (part of) one song. The man has stamina.
It’s been a big week for R. Kelly and me. Well, maybe just me. It just so happened that this year’s Thanksgiving fell on the same week I attended Kells’ “Trapped in the Closet” premiere–and a chance question submission got him to tell me he loved me. Then the night before Thanksgiving I pushed my bus reservation back a day to attend the Single Ladies tour at Madison Square Garden. A Thanksgiving miracle, you could say. (Proving that miracles aren’t just for Christmas, especially if you’re a Jew.) I was again closer to Kells than ever before, and the man didn’t let down, putting on one hell of a show. Can you imagine him performing “Real Talk” live? I now can. I was so floored, in fact, that I proceeded to miss my early bus home the next morning. And while I’m also thankful that my hungry family waited to carve the turkey while I sat in traffic on a later bus, I can’t say it was all worth it. (Please don’t tell them that.)
This was after Kells personally counted the number of single ladies in the theater.
You see, for quite a while now, R. Kelly has managed to effectively combine everything I love about pop: music, theatrics, humor and camp. Kells’ overt sexuality mixed with his ability to churn out catchy hooks while also having an absurdest sense of humor about the entire thing? That’s rare. He’s able to produce emotion (“I Believe I Can Fly”, “I Wish”, “Relief”), awe (“Exit”, “When A Woman Loves”, “The World’s Greatest”), dance (“Step In The Name Of Love”, “Fiesta”, “Ignition Remix”), and laughs (“Sex In The Kitchen”, “Sex Weed”, “Sex Planet”) across his lengthy career span. And he’s not even finished: Let’s not even get into Trapped in the Closet. Because if we did, I would spend eons of words describing how Kells’ hip-hop Telenovela-meets-musical-meets-farce breaks new ground with every chapter R. releases. (Meanwhile, there are 85 apparently to come and a possible musical adaptation. Amen.)
Surreal, that all my greatest Kells moments would happen to land on Thanksgiving week. I guess, this year, that signals that I’ve found something to be thankful for. I mean, aside from the love of family and friends along with the fortune to have a platform on which to “Share My Love” (get it?) for Kells. That too.
R. Kelly told me he loved me last night. He told me through his art and he also told me face-to-face. Well, he had sunglasses on but myself and the packed room of journalists and fans could also feel the emotion in his voice. His extremely beautiful voice, one that sang not only once but three (3) times during a post-Trapped In The Closet premiere Q&A–including hits such as “Bump ‘N Grind” (He sang this one as an impromptu duet with a fan) and “I Believe I Can Fly” (This one was as a finale duet with the entire audience).
He told me he loved me directly after I submitted a question (OK, I totally stuffed the ballot box) to his Q&A and it was chosen. It read as follows:
A needed break from those Rihanna club bangers, “Half Of Me” is only a bonus track, but perhaps one of the most honest Rihanna’s ever sang. Written by singer/songwriter Emeli Sandé, a You Oughta Know artist whose track “Heaven” hit the top of the U.K. charts a few months back, “Half Of Me” starts almost where “Diamonds” left off — with Rih in her finest octave, singing about the pitfalls of a life in the spotlight.
Perhaps an allusion to Rihanna’s famous Instagram antics, she sings, “You’re entitled to your opinion, sitting shake your head at my decision/ I guess the kind of songs that I’ve been singing, make it seem as if I was winning/ But you saw me on the television… but that’s just the half of it.” Yep, those commenters can be harsh.
But if you know Rihanna like we do (BFFs, for life) you know that won’t stop her from doing her, no matter the consequences: “You know me/ Everybody knows that I’m crazy/ Sticks and stones, they never break me/ And I’m the type who don’t give a f*ck /And that’s just the half of it.”
You heard me correctly. Despite the haters (and, boy, do they come out in droves for any Christina Aguilera-related event), I am rather enjoying Christina’s newest effort. Lotus follows Christina’s first flop, Bionic, which so confusing followed the two-disc Back To Basics — which single handedly allowed her to hit the top of the chart with the likes of “Dirty” and let her vocals shine with songs like “Save Me From Myself”. The aforementioned flop, Bionic, seemed to come out of nowhere and while die-hard Xtina fans stayed by her side, the rest of us were baffled by Bionic‘s lack. “If you don’t like it, f*** you,” she sang on “Not Myself Tonight”, a boast perhaps unvalidated by the rest of the album.
But past is past, and after Christina joined the ranks of Cee-Lo, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton (three good influences!) on NBC’s The Voice, it felt like everyone thought that boost of celebrity would force her newest album Lotus to be as good as we all hoped it would be when it hit stores (and streams) this week.
Busy? Which tracks should you really listen to? Here:
Quick! Hit play before this disappears. The long-awaited Rihanna and Chris Brown duet has leaked its way onto YouTube and with confirming previous evidence, that it is indeed good. Playing off Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel”, the two extract the hook “Ain’t nobody’s business but mine and my baby’s”, wrapping it around an infectious dance beat. Unlike “The Way You Make Me Feel”, however, these two are way past the wooing stage. Chris and Rihanna take turns spitting love odes for each other, even offering ”Let’s make out in this Lexus” — an uncomfortable phrasing considering the very real life situation the two were in that took place in the front seat of Chris’ car in 2009.
History aside, the song speaks for itself and it’s a good one. Check it out before it possibly gets whisked off the web til next week.
Just today, the beautiful and talented and very missed Shania Twain made her arrival to Caesars Palace on the Vegas Strip, where she’ll be starting a residency at The Colosseum. And to add to the spectacle that is Vegas, she made said entrance ON HORSEBACK. That’s right, the normally very busy Vegas strip stripped down their traffic patterns (get it?) to allow Shania and a cavalcade of 40 horses to clomp their way toward Caesars Palace.
“Still The One” blasted on speakers as Twain stepped onto a temporary outdoor stage near fountains made famous by events including daredevil Evel Knievel’s motorcycle crash during a stunt on New Year’s Eve 1967.
Basically, if you’re in Vegas and you hear ANY Shania being blasted, you follow the sound of her perfect voice and you might just find her atop a galloping steed. Weirdly, this is something I’ve always known to be true in my heart.
The only thing missing here is Shania’s signature cowboy hat, but as the crossover country artist has already dominated the pop charts for so many years, perhaps she’s allowed to forgo it at this point. Her start at Caesars is a nice new beginning for the singer who after much of her success, ended up in a painful divorce that led her to write an upsetting memoir and star on a short-lived reality show on Oprah’s network OWN. Now, with the promise of back-to-back dates at The Colosseum and the support of the slew of hits that originally brought her to such great heights, Shania’s Still The One show is the perfect entertainment for groups of vacationing BFFs and (The World’s Best) bachelorette parties.
But let’s get back to the horses. Shania’s never looked better than when atop a steed who is, in turn, standing on top of a red carpet:
P!nk is one of those seriously underrated artists who consistently produces pop hits ranging from heart-wrenching to hilarious and rarely gets recognized as being fully in the realm of powerful pop star. Perhaps it’s because she rejects the idea that she is one herself, but perhaps it’s also because she so blatantly doesn’t fit within the box. Her songs are rich with context, be it blatant middle fingers to record label rules (“Don’t Let Me Get Me”) or a weaving tale of addiction and heartbreak (“Just Like A Pill”). All of that makes her the perfect VH1Storytellers artist. The stories happen to flow endlessly, and they unsurprisingly turns out to be completely unlike the cookie-cutter explanations you’ve heard before.