When Janelle Monáe rose to popularity a few years ago, her presence was a breath of fresh air. In a dire music world, where black female singers are being forced to look one way and sing about nothing, Monáe‘s sharp suits (a uniform she wears to pay homage to working class folks) and infectious pop tunes, mixed with a bit of jazz/funk/hip hop, dipped in political awareness, and sprinkled with android love…it was like yes. FINALLY!
This year, it is FKA Twigs breaking the current rut of black female music. Twigs is actually English (overseas black singers are KILLING it these days), but has started to get some shine in the states.
“Tahliah Barnett was born in Gloucestershire. Her father is Jamaican, and her mother, who used to be a dancer and a gymnast, is part English and Spanish. Barnett was raised by her mother and stepfather. She did not meet her father, a jazz dancer, until she was 18. She grew up in a rural part of Gloucestershire, and she has described the county as “kind of in the middle of nowhere.” She attended St. Edward’s School, Cheltenham, a Catholic school where she was the only mixed-race girl.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FKA_twigs
I first became aware of FKA Twigs this past summer. A blog I like to visit, posted the video for her song “Two Weeks.” She had me at “I know it hurts…” The song is sexy as hell.
Once I got a little extra change in my pocket, I bought her new album: LP1. Which is saying a lot for me. These days a singer has really got to peak my interest for me to buy their whole album, and not just purchase singles. Honestly, the album is pretty good. While none of the songs are as addictive as “Two Weeks” (to me anyway. i can play that cut over and over again). There are some hot tunes on the album. My other favorites are “Hours,” “Pendulum,” “Give Up,” and “Kicks.” I feel like I need a couple of whiskey sours to enjoy “Preface,” and “Lights On.” However, I still try to listen to them. You do need patience to get into Twig’s music.
Recently, Twigs has been in the news. Not for her music, but because America has welcomed her with a good old-fashioned slice of American
apple pie racism.
“Robert Pattinson’s new girlfriend FKA Twigs has been the target of a barrage of online racist abuse since her relationship with the former Twilight star become public — and she’s decided enough is enough. Speaking out via her Twitter account on Sunday, September 28, the half-Jamaican, half-Spanish singer slammed the Internet trolls who have been leaving her racist messages, and proved she wouldn’t be bullied. “I am genuinely shocked and disgusted at the amount of racism that has been infecting my account the past week,” the 26-year-old singer, real name Tahliah Debrett Barnett, wrote. “Racism is unacceptable in the real world and it’s unacceptable online.” http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/robert-pattinsons-girlfriend-fka-twigs-suffers-racist-abuse-online-2014299
When I first heard about this, I didn’t even know who the hell Robert Pattinson was. Once I found out he was that funny looking guy from the Twilight movies (which I have NEVER seen. thank goodness), I had to crack up. White girls tripping over that? Pattinson really does look like a vampire to me.
I’m glad Twigs spoke up for herself, though. Although it would be better if Pattinson would speak out for her. He has a duty if he has decided to be in a relationship with a woman of color. He needs to put his people in check.
In any case, FKA Twigs is da bomb. She is giving us genuine black female musicianship (she is also a highly skilled dancer, check out her moves in the “Two Weeks” video), desire/sexuality, and a longing that we haven’t heard in a minute.
Keep brushing those shoulders off, girlfriend.