Monthly Archives: November 2016

Niall Horan says One Direction reunion is ‘definitely’ happening

Dust off your One Direction gear because the band might be getting back together.

Niall Horan, one of the band members, suggested in an interview that loyal “Directioners” shouldn’t lose hope for a reunion.
“It will definitely happen, of course,” Horan told the Australian radio show “Smallzy’s Surgery” on Tuesday. “As I’ve said many times, we’d be stupid not to.”
One Direction went on extended hiatus last March, but they always promised their fans it wasn’t permanent. Shortly before the band announced their split, Zayn Malik quit to pursue a solo career.
Related: Zayn Malik quits One Direction
Fans have worried that the hiatus is reminiscent of what happened with the boy band ‘NSync. They announced a hiatus in 2002, then went years before taking the stage together again. They reunited in 2013 at the MTV Video Music Awards for a medley of greatest hits.
Even Horan, who released his debut single, “This Town,” last year, admitted that for now everyone in One Direction is focusing on solo projects.
“I’m doing [my music], going to be doing a bit of a tour. Harry’s got his movie coming out, Harry’s doing his thing,” Horan said. “Louis’s doing his thing and Liam’s doing his thing. A year has gone so quick already. But when [a reunion] does happen, it’s going to be great.”
Horan did not reveal when fans can expect to see them take the stage together again.

Kpop News Why Asia’s biggest bands are splitting up

Seven South Korean pop groups have split up in the last 12 months — two since the beginning of 2017 — raising questions about the future of the manufactured and wildly popular music genre, which has taken Asia by storm.
Mega group Wonder Girls released their final single last Friday. The decade-old group was the first K-pop act to enter the US Billboard Hot 100 with their hit “Nobody” in 2009.
Industry figures point to 2017 as a “pivotal” and “transitional,” year for K-pop, with some wondering about the genre’s future. Fans on Twitter, from as far as St. Louis, Missouri, to the Philippines, were lamenting about an “era ending.”
“It’s pretty sad to see these groups disband,” said Paul Han, co-founder of allkpop, a site for K-pop gossip and news, which has 10 million monthly readers worldwide.
“You could see that their popularity has waned from their peak and naturally they receive less promotions and eventually disband.”
In January, “Kings of K-pop” Big Bang played their last concert before going on hiatus — after dominating the charts for 10 years. Girl groups Kara, 2NE1, 4Minute, I.O.I and Rainbow have disbanded after multi-year careers that saw them sell millions of albums and fill stadiums across the globe.
K-pop emerged in South Korea in the early 1990s, and labels such as JYP, DSP and YG built the nation’s pop industry from the ground up, creating a training scheme that churned out stars for music, soap operas and movies.
In 2009, the genre first came to global attention with the Wonder Girls, who opened for the Jonas Brothers on their tour. Then in 2011, Big Bang released “Alive,” which was the first Korean-language K-pop album to make the Billboard 200.
But it was PSY in 2012 who really cemented its popularity when his single “Gangnam Style” rose to No. 2 on the Billboard 100 and almost broke YouTube.
“K-pop really garnered an external following outside of Asia,” said Tamar Herman, who covers K-pop for Billboard Magazine.
The recent splits come down to a number of reasons.
K-pop music contracts usually last seven years, said Herman, and with many of the biggest acts starting out in 2009 and 2010, it means more groups could disband soon.
Still, it’s fair to say that many K-pop acts have outlasted or at least matched the lifespan of many Western pop groups — the Spice Girls lasted four years, Destiny’s Child at nine, *NSYNC seven and One Direction at six.


K-pop’s success has also been dependent on a highly-polished image. Stars typically can’t be seen dating, getting plastic surgery, or become embroiled in any kind of scandal, said Herman.
2NE1, a hip-hop-pop group that split in late November, was still popular, but disbanded when one member left and another dealt with what its record label CEO described earlier this year as a health issue, according to South Korea news agency Yonhap.
Record labels DSP (Kara and Rainbow) and JYP (Wonder Girls and I.O.I) declined to comment to CNN, except for confirming that the groups were disbanding. The JYP press team did add that the Wonder Girls disbandment was a “sensitive issue.”
How big is Big Bang? 06:46
Boy band Big Bang has gone on hiatus so its members can go on military service, mandatory in South Korea. This could take the band out of commission for at least four years and whether they will regroup is very much in the air.
Will military service derail Big Bang?

Girls vs boys

Most of the groups that have split up have been girl groups, because boy bands may be “better investments,” said Jeff Benjamin, Fuse TV Senior Editor, who covers the genre.
“On average, album sales for boy bands majorly surpass girl groups and boys go on way more tours in Asia.”
“In the end, it feels like there is ultimately a shorter investment window with girl groups—who do tend to sell more singles than boy bands, but that doesn’t help the bottom line as much as album sales and tours would—and it seems like those factors would make a group quicker to throw in the towel.”
Some groups are conceived as having limited shelf life.
I.O.I, was created as a part of a reality show in 2016, creating a super group of 11 from different entertainment companies. I.O.I was supposed to disband after a year of promotions and ended this past January. “It’s despairing, but you see a bit of that discard the old and in with the ‘hot and new’ that you can see in various other industries,” said Han.

K-pop’s future

As for the future of K-pop, industry figures believe a new generation of acts – such as co-ed group K.A.R.D, plus girl group Black Pink and singers G-Dragon (from Big Bang) and CL (2NE1) can sustain the genre.
Arenas, like the Staples Center and Prudential Center, are still selling out K-pop concerts. Artists are also doing more collaborations across South Korea and the US.
And, traffic for the allkpop site has been increasing, with more users in the US than any other country, Han said.
“I have to admit, I was nervous when I saw groups like Big Bang, Girls’ Generation, 2NE1, Wonder Girls — leaders of a generation of K-pop — not as active as they once were and wondered about the scene’s future, especially with international fans,” said Benjamin.
“New groups are gaining international fan bases way quicker than their predecessors had, likely thanks to social media, YouTube, and the fact that these fans are already a part of the K-pop scene, and that is very promising.”

Info Grammy President says There’s no ‘race problem’

Recording Academy President Neil Portnow is aware of the discussion about whether race played a role in Adele winning the album of the year Grammy on Sunday over Beyoncé.

And he dismisses it.
“No, I don’t think there’s a race problem at all,” Portnow said in an interview with Pitchfork.
Beyoncé’s loss has been questioned not only by fans of her album “Lemonade,” but also by the woman who won album of the year.
Adele, one of 14,000 members of the Recording Academy who select the Grammy winners, said “Lemonade” got her vote.
Portnow said it’s “always hard to create objectivity out of something that’s inherently subjective.”
“We don’t, as musicians, in my humble opinion, listen to music based on gender or race or ethnicity,” Portnow said. “When you go to vote on a piece of music — at least the way that I approach it — is you almost put a blindfold on and you listen.”
Portnow added that the Recording Academy is always working to make the organization more diverse in race, gender and age.
He also referenced an example of another voting process with contentious results.
“At the end of the day, we just went through a popular election, but you had the overlay of an electoral college,” Portnow said. “And so the popular vote doesn’t necessarily in and of itself create the recipient of the election. In our case, the popular vote stands by itself and completely determines who receives an award in any given year.”
For those in the music industry unhappy with this year’s Grammy results, Portnow offered a suggestion.
“Just become members, join and vote,” Portnow said. “Then you have the say if you want it.”

News Beyonce and Adele show future of feminism

Upon accepting the award for album of the year at the 2017 Grammy Awards on Sunday night, Adele did the right thing: She said that she couldn’t accept it because she knew that it was Beyoncé’s “Lemonade,” and not her own album, that truly deserved to win. Her speech was gracious and passionate, highlighting the monumental importance of Queen Bey’s creation, and Bey seemed genuinely moved by Adele’s gesture.

Unfortunately, this mutual love fest has been marred by some negative reactions to Adele’s comment about her “black friends” feeling particularly empowered by “Lemonade,” with some on Twitter expressing their discomfort right away with Adele’s choice of words.
However, the reactions on what is affectionately known as “black Twitter” were far from unanimous, and many actually appreciated Adele’s gesture. Renowned black author and blogger Luvvie Ajayi said in her Grammys recap: “I don’t find anything wrong with Adele calling out what LEMONADE meant to her Black friends.” To Ajayi and also to noted critic Brittney Cooper, Adele’s recognition that, as a white woman, her experience of “Lemonade” was different, mattered a good deal. As Cooper wrote for Cosmopolitan: “She acknowledged that she had a different experience of the music than her black friends.
“That is incredibly important, because it gives lie to the myth of universalism. Though it is rarely ever a good idea for a white woman to invoke her black friends as proof of anything, Adele’s remarks seemed to come from a genuine place of understanding the power of particularity.”
Indeed, although as a white woman it’s not my place to weigh in on whether Adele’s comment was offensive, I had much the same reaction as Ajayi and Cooper. I think the whole “controversy” is really not a controversy at all, but rather a red herring that distracts from the real polemic: the fact that a superior album did not win the Grammys’ top prize because it represents a black woman’s perspective.
It doesn’t take a genius to see that “Lemonade” was ghettoized by the Grammy voters, recognized as one of the top achievements within black music, but not within music writ large. This, despite the fact that Beyoncé put in double the work of all the other nominees by essentially creating two albums, one audio and one visual (there were significant differences in the versions of each song on the two albums). “Lemonade” was not only Bey’s most ambitious project to date, but also her most diverse in terms of genre. From rock (“Don’t Hurt Yourself”) to country (“Daddy Lessons”) to ballad (“Sandcastles”), to her trademark contemporary and hip-hop influenced R&B, the Queen covered virtually every major genre of contemporary American popular music on “Lemonade.”
If one considers Adele’s comment about “black friends” in context, it should be quite clear that she was not invoking this phrase to ghettoize them, or use them to counter charges of racism, as it is sometimes used. Instead, she was highlighting the particularity of Beyoncé’s objectives with “Lemonade,” i.e., to empower black women. This does not mean, as some people have claimed about Black Lives Matter (and responded, “All Lives Matter”), that Bey ONLY wantsblack women to feel empowered, at the expense of non-black women; it simply means that she’s speaking specifically from the subject position of a black woman modelling self-love to other black women. I’m quite sure she welcomes non-black women also viewing her as a role model.
In this sense, I think Adele completely understood Bey’s intentions when she said that “Lemonade” had empowered her black friends in a particularly meaningful way. Although Adele felt a very deep connection with “Lemonade” (as do I and countless other non-black women), her comment suggests she understands who this album was made for. She could have treated “Lemonade” as a generically feminist statement, but she decentered herself and focused on the album’s importance for black women.
In doing so, Adele displayed precisely the type of intersectional feminism that women of color have been advocating for decades, one that decenters white subjectivity and recognizes that traditional “white” feminism often excludes and/or discounts the experiences of non-white, queer, transgender and disabled people.
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This is the type of feminism that is desperately necessary in our contemporary moment if we are to create true solidarity and build a resistance movement against a reactionary Trump administration that espouses misogynist, racist, homophobic and xenophobic views. So, instead of nitpicking what was a beautiful and genuine moment of admiration between the two most talented female singers currently working, let’s applaud her inclusive, intersectional feminism and, for us white people, follow Adele’s lead and understand that it’s not about us.