Bourgeois Brief: The Carters Dominate the Culture with a Surprise Drop
Your weekly dose of art, news, and pop culture headlines, and a signal boost for creators of color.
For Beyoncé and JAY-Z, EVERYTHING IS LOVE
Last weekend, Beyoncé and JAY-Z, billed as The Carters, surprise released their first joint album, EVERYTHING IS LOVE, along with the TIDAL exclusive single, “SALUD!”. And as expected, they’ve dominated the pop culture zeitgeist. The New York Times praised the couple’s use of The Louvre’s fine art in the video for “APESHIT”. The video’s choreographer, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, shared her inspiration with Pitchfork while album producers Cool and Dre talked about the recording process. Billboard suggested the album is an early Grammy contender, and The Ringer pointed to the LP as a superb display of Queen Bey’s alpha womanhood. In other Carter family news, JAY-Z’s “Smile” video, from last year’s excellent 4:44, won the Cannes Lions Grand Prix, and the rapper was named president of Puma’s basketball operations.
Bidding Farewell to XXXTentacion
20-year-old rapper XXXTentacion was fatally shot this week, prematurely ending the life of a controversial rapper who spent much of 2018 in the headlines. In the aftermath of his death, he has broken Spotify’s single-day streaming record, previously held by Taylor Swift.
Nina Simone’s continuing influence
This week, it was announced that Nina Simone’s North Carolina childhood home has been deemed a national treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Also, Alicia Keys has joined a group of actors to record the audiobook for Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls. She’ll read the story of Simone’s life.
Oprah + Apple=Content
This week, Oprah Winfrey signed a multi-year deal with Apple. She’ll contribute to the tech giant’s original programming while still producing content for her own network, OWN. She’s just the latest in a long line of creators who’ve inked big deals for digital content.
Kali Uchis and Pusha T both announced tours this week, as well as Miguel, who kicks off a 2-month run August 23 in Boston, with dvsn in tow. And the legendary Ms. Lauryn Hill, who’s touring this summer to celebrate the 20thanniversary of her landmark album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, announced a slew of special opening acts, including Dave Chappelle, SZA, Kelela, and Talib Kweli.
Courtney B. Vance and Aunjanue Ellis join HBO’s Lovecraft Country.
Jay Versace, Kyle tapped for new Sprite campaign.
Mary J. Blige cast in horror film, Body Cam.
Apple officially orders Little America series from The Big Sick’s Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon.
Charlamagne tha God is locked in for new HBO interview series.
Dr. Dre is developing a biopic about the late Marvin Gaye.
Pharrell and Black-ish creator Kenya Barris are writing a Juneteeth musical.
Viceland’s Desus and Mero strike a deal for Showtime’s first-ever late night show.
A Michael Jackson musical is headed to Broadway.
M.I.A. will release her documentary on September 28 in the U.S.
Dear White People gets a third season at Netflix.
Jay Rock and J. Cole “OSOM”
Kamasi Washington “Street Fighter Mas”
Previously unreleased freestyles surface to celebrate the anniversary of Prodigy’s passing.
Brockhampton debuts new song, “Tonya”, on national TV.
Actress, producer, and activist America Ferrera is editing an essay collection about culture and diversity.
National Book Award winner Terrance Hayes grapples with Donald Trump’s America.
BlackManWhiteBaby tackles race and queerness through radical art.
Amid denouncing Trump and pondering his own 2020 presidential run, Akon has launched his own cryptocurrency—Akoin.
Jane the Virgin star Gina Rodriguez is using her show’s Emmy campaign money to send an undocumented student to college.
Food for Thought
For most of his career, R&B superstar R. Kelly has been dogged by rumors and allegations of sexual misconduct. But in recent years, those allegations have morphed into an ongoing investigation involving accusations about a sex cult. Despite the ongoing controversy, he has continued to release music and tour, seemingly immune to the #metoo reckoning. Rolling Stone’sSteve Knopper asks why.
The Neptunes’ Chad Hugo steps back into the spotlight, granting VIBE an exclusive interview.
And over at The Ringer, an examination of Kanye West’s barrage of Friday releases—how do they stack up?