The Grammys certainly did stir up a healthy amount of controversy this year, didn’t they? We already asked you what you thought of Nicki Minaj‘s strange “The Exorcism Of Roman” stage show, and now we want to know what you think of the whole Chris Brown debacle — because conversation around the issue hasn’t diminished in the slightest since Sunday. We should all be familiar with the back story by now: in 2009, the night before The Grammys, rapper Chris Brown physically assaulted then-girlfriend Rihanna (to which he pleaded guilty in court), forcing both to cancel their planned Grammys performances. Official court documents tell a very chilling tale of what went down between the pair on the night of the assault, and if you have the stomach for it, you can read the gruesome details at MTV News, and if you have an especially strong disposition, you can see the results of those acts at TMZ. Brown was then sentenced to 180 days of labor service, five years probation and attendance at a domestic-abuse program for a year. If you’re any good at math, you’ll notice that the justice system still has Brown on probation.
Controversy arose earlier this year over The Grammys’ decision to allow Brown to take the stage — not once, but twice (!)— to perform at the illustrious awards ceremony. This ruffled more than a few feathers, with women’s groups, activists, and a wide portion of the online community firing into a vitriolic rage. One of the most concise commentaries on the matter from Hello Giggles’ Sasha Pasulka gives a measured bur firm summation. While Pasulka is a proponent of rehabilitation for offenders, she still saw allowing Brown to perform at The Grammys as reductive for victims of a abuse, in a broader, more global sense:
“We – the grown-up influencers in this country, the people with platforms and with educations and with power — are allowing a clear message to be sent to women: We will easily forgive a person who victimizes you. We are able to look beyond the fact that you were treated as less than human, that a bigger, stronger person decided to resolve a conflict with you through violence. We know it happened, but it’s just not that big of a deal to us… We’re accepting the message that women just aren’t that important, that their health and their safety and their self-respect is only important until it stops being convenient for everyone. We should be angry about this, and we should be angry publicly about this.”
We guess she wasn’t messing around when she sang, “Strong enough to bare the children / Then get back to business.” Momma Bear Beyoncé is taking no prisoners despite only having given birth to the adorable Blue Ivy Carter earlier this year. She’s already reportedly in talks for two new projects, both due in 2013. Songwriter, OneRepublic front man, and Beyoncé collaborator, Ryan Tedder, who wrote “Halo” for King B (and who is currently basking in the Grammy glow for his work with Adele on 21), has let slip that the yummy mommy has some new music in the works already. He told The Boombox that he was busy pitching songs about parenthood, which, “goes without saying.”
He also revealed, “The conversations about her next album literally just started and there [are] two projects happening. All I can say is you kind of feed her the best that you have and she’s this phenomenal filter and she takes it all in… She’s not interested in 2012, [she's interested in] what’s [going to sound good for] 2013… Without question she steers the ship. [With] Beyoncé, you just let her go, she’s ridiculous, she’s the best.” To say that we’re excited is an almost offensive understatement, and if we had some sort of time machine we’d definitely be skipping forward to the future so we could hear what the pair come up with for 2013.
Nicki and Ricky (Minaj and Martin, we just love the rhyme. Try saying it fast 10 times), sat down with Good Morning America today to discuss their MAC campaign for AIDS awareness. Nicki talked candidly about the death of her uncle from AIDS, the personal weight the illness carries for her, and wanting to protect her young Barbz from the disease. The socially aware star also had a word or two to say in defense of her controversial Grammys performance, and in light of all the hatorade, her message was a fairly poignant one.
“First of all I created these characters, Martha and Roman, over two years ago and I never had a format to really put them in front of the world, so when I had the Grammys I said, “You know what? This is a great way to show who Roman is.” Roman is a character who’s been ridiculed, he’ been torn apart, he’s been pulled down… Roman gets shipped away to a monastery by his mother who thinks there’s something wrong with him. And in fact there’s nothing wrong with him, there’s nothing wrong with him being different, there’s nothing wrong with him being eccentric. I just wanted to show how ridiculous people look when they try to change someone just because they’re creative and just because they’re different,” Nicki said sincerely. We wonder if any of the haters out there are shifting uncomfortably in their seats yet?
She also talked about how surreal it felt when Madonna wanted to work with her for “Give Me All Your Luvin,’” which Nicki performed with the Queen Of Pop at the Super Bowl half time show. “The request came in from Madonna and I still did not believe it. I said to everyone “I’m not going to believe it until I meet her, until I meet this little ladybug.”” It’s nice to hear that even a superstar like Nicki is still humble in the face of her idols, and it’s pretty darn adorable that she called Madonna a ladybug too — what we wouldn’t give to be Nicki’s ladybug!
Erykah Badu is compelling on her own, charismatic and natural, with a voice that soaks into your skin and leaves you wanting more. Put Mark Ronson, The Dap Kings and Zigaboo Modeliste behind her, and you’ll be swooning for days. Performing their collaborative track, “A La Modeliste,” last night on The Late Show With David Letterman, Letterman himself summed it up to perfection at the end of the show, saying, “That’s it, that’s all you want, right there. That’s all we’re looking for!” And it really is. Start your day listening to the soul-filled song, from the joyful brass section, to Badu’s arresting voice and Ronson’s modest guitar and genius production skills. It’s all you need.
See A Teenage Adele Being Interviewed By Pete Townshend While Smoking
She was technically Adele then, but she wasn’t really Adele then, if you know what we mean. Watch this blast from the past video of a teenage Adele being interviewed by Pete Townshend while smoking a cigarette, and try to reconcile the cheeky girl with the devilishly charming young woman she’s become. [Rolling Stone]
Madonna Is Accused Of Copying, We Yawn
Are you as bored as us by every man and his amateur act accusing big stars of copying? Art is such a strange thing — everything inspires and informs everything else, and unless it’s a blunt, shameless copy we’re just a bit tired of the whole schtick. Now, a Brazilian popstar has accused Madonna of copying him in “Gimme All Your Luvin’”. We’re guessing very little will come of this accusation, if anything at all. [NME]
The inspire us, they challenge us, they turn us on — last night we kicked off the first installment of our “100 Greatest Women in Music” list, covering #100 (Pussycat Dolls) through #81 (the Spice Girls). (You can see the full list here to find out what’s in store as we count down to number one). If you missed the first installment of the show, you can check out the preview video above —it’s scored to Ellie Goulding’s phenomenal “Starry Eyed”— but we warn you; it’s a pretty tantalizing montage of some of your favorite women in music history, and will probably make you hot, bothered, and impatient for the next installment. Which, not so coincidentally, airs tonight at 10 p.m. ET/PT and counts down from #80 (Sara Bareilles) to #61 (Shirley Manson from Garbage).
Don’t forget to watch the100 Greatest Women In Musicspecial, brought to you by Summer’s Eve, on VH1 each night this week at 10 p.m. ET/PT. #80-61 will air tonight, Tuesday, 2/14; #60-41 will air on Wednesday, 2/15; #40-21 will air on Thursday, 2/16; #20-#1 will air on Friday, 2/17.
Last week, Antipodean superstars Gotye (an Australian artist) and Kimbra (who hails from New Zealand) stopped by our offices in the heart of Times Square. Taking some time out from their US tour to chat with us, the pair were endearing and sweet, and this month’s You Oughta Know artist Gotye gave us a glimpse into the genius mind behind their hit track, “Somebody That I Used To Know.” Our photographer, Michele Crowe, followed the pair around the building to capture some intimate, candid moments for us, including the amazing performance they put on in our lobby! You can see all the fun we had when Gotye and Kimbra came to visit below (and after the jump!).
So how excited were you when you read that Fiona Apple is releasing a new album this year? How many times did you replay “Criminal”? And most importantly, did you dig out your 90s alterna-girl tie dye garb and dark eyeliner? OK, maybe we can live with you skipping the last one, some things are definitely best left in the past — but the woman herself, the inspiring Fiona Apple, is most definitely not one of those things.
In more Awesome Fiona Apple Related News, it’s just been announced that she’ll be opening Pitchfork’s official showcase at SXSW. If you’re lucky enough to be heading to the festival, clear your schedule at 8 p.m. on March 15 and make for the Central Presbyterian Church like a fox, because the space only holds about 400 people (401 including Fiona). It’s also a rare occasion for a performer who has only graced the stage a handful of times since 2007.
If you’ve been in front of a computer with a working Internet connection today you’re probably aware that Bonnaroo has announced the line up for this year’s festival, and that everyone is getting a little breathy and excited about it. And why not — the lineup is absolutely out of this world, with huge names Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Phish, The Beach Boys, Grammy winners Bon Iver, The Avett Brothers and The Shins headlining the festival. While we’re a bit perplexed as to why the legendary Beach Boys are billed fourth (we can understand Radiohead as a firm first, but surely The Beach Boys have more clout on a lineup than Red Hot Chili Peppers or Phish, especially as they’ve reunited to tour this year?), it’s hard to maintain any kind of indignation with such a fun lineup.
Well you didn’t actually expect Adele to be subtle, did you? The princess of the potty mouth told US Vogue this month that, “I am f***ing off for four or five years. If I am constantly working, my relationships fail.” And it’s going to be a well deserved break, after Adele’s historical year demolishing the charts, going through throat surgery and finally wiping the floor with her Grammys — all 6 of them! Moreover, Adele’s found love despite the heartbreaking subject matter of 21. Yep, the girl’s gone and done a Rihanna, finding love in a hopeless place, or a Swampy place, as we reported last month when it was revealed she was dating investment manager Simon “Swampy” Konecki.
And for all you Valentine’s Day cynics out there, Adele’s got a message of hope to go with her forthcoming hiatus — the lovelorn needn’t mope, there’s plenty of romance out there for us all! Adele said in the interview, “So at least now I can have enough time to write a happy record. And be in love and be happy. And then I don’t know what I’ll do. Get married. Have some kids. Plant a nice vegetable patch,” and that she’s tired of being a “bitter witch.” High fives for Adele! We’re looking forward to hearing the “Someone Like You” antithesis in 5 years time — instead of listening to it and immediately dissolving into a mess of tears and snot, it will be played and everyone will become suddenly, irrepressibly jubilant, for that is the immense power of Adele.