The official meaning of “Afropunk” goes as follows: “AfroPunk refers to the participation of African Americans and other black people in the punk and alternative music cultures, especially in the United States, where this scene had been overwhelmingly white.”
Most people, when they hear the term AfroPunk think of the Afropunk Music Festival which “was founded in 2005 by director James Spooner and Matthew Morgan.” The festival has quickly grown to include one of the best line-ups of musical acts and this year is not exception. Taking place at Commodore Barry Park in Brooklyn, this year’s headliners included: Solange, Anderson .Paak, Thundercat, Kaytranada, Gary Clark Jr., Macy Gray, Michael Kiwanuka, Soul II Soul, Dizzee Rascal and SZA.
I shared an Uber Pool this weekend with two well-dressed attendees who had flown all the way from L.A. for the festival. I was telling them that our photographer Myles Loftin would be taking street style photos at the event and that they should look out for him. “How will we recognize him?” they asked. “That’s easy, he has bright orange hair and a polaroid camera, you can’t miss him!” I replied.
Please enjoy a few of Myles shots from the weekend, below:
Hell hath no fury like Adore reborn
Released with an accompanying music video last Monday at midnight, “Negative Nancy“ is a loser anthem by our grunge goddess in residence, Adore Delano. This über well-edited video is another production by Geek Mythology (the team behind “Hello, I Love You“ and “I Adore You“), and it’s clear by now that they know how to help Adore shine. Or, in this case, rage.
The video depicts a baseball game between a bunch of norm-resistant cuties and a gang of ultra-standard white boys. As pitcher and captain of her squad, Adore channels the type of vengeful spirit born in sissy boys who are forced by their fathers to go outside and buck-up for some sport and bat. Deliciously, she opts to rebel, totally untucked in a teensy black banana hammock and a punk take on drag that is all body, face, and filth. (I mean that literally—her socks are super dirty, and you can tell she loves it.) She later goes full-on locker room Botticelli, tightly gripping a wooden bat while glam-fans blow out her hair. She faces the camera head-on like this right here is the Emancipation of Nancy.
The song itself is totally divorced from the electro-pop spirit of her previous releases. Its grungier sound is a bit left field for the RuGirl scene, but so is Adore. It’s pretty exciting to hear a drag superstar wrestle this Guyville-founded genre to the ground. With American masculinity in a state as juvenile and spittle-mouthed as our shellfish-in-chief, Adore going so tomboy-fish feels like a fresh corrective. …
A lesson in hairology
Product placement has never been so gag-worthy. Celebrating the release of their debut EP, Access All Areas, The AAA Girls are back with a video for their song, “A Lacefront Like This.” Directed by Kain O’Keeffe, the video transports us to a pastel hair-heaven where Willam, Alaska Thunderfuck, and Courtney Act (all stark bald à la Sasha Velour) passionately serenade us about the wonders of Wigs by Vanity, the iconic Australian wig company founded by Vanity and the AAA Girls’ very own Courtney Act. All I can say is that this was not the Kelly Clarkson comeback we wanted, but it was the Kelly Clarkson parody we needed.
The video highlights the mission of Wigs by Vanity: Wigs for drag queens by drag queens. Featuring cameos of Vanity blessing each queen from above with various hair-hats to complete their baby pink and jeweled looks, the video interestingly points towards the spiritual experience of a queen fully realizing the fantasy when she puts on her wig. Visuals are kept simple for this video, but since hair is the main feature, it makes sense. This project strikes poignant notes of the struggle to sustain the expense of drag, with the lyrics detailing methods of acquiring the coins for an original wig by Vanity. As a more or less broke New Yorker, techniques that rang the most tragically relatable were in the vein of pulling a fast one on an unsuspecting straight guy, signing up for sugar baby websites, and selling organs. …
The RPDR S9 top four contestant is more confident than ever
Here we are on the eve of RuPaul’s Drag Race Christmas and a top four contestant, and my personal favorite on season 9, Shea Couleé, has released her new video for “Cocky.” For the three of you not on Grindr, Shea premiered it on the app exclusively. It features trans rapper, Lila Star, and Chicago queen, The Vixen. “Why y’all gagging so? She bring it to you every ball?” Shea raps on the summer bop that has me yaaaasing just in time for another glorious pride weekend in New York.
With clear inspiration from vogue beats, the trap track professes a message of unapologetic confidence that would have had the iconic Pepper LaBeija wagging her finger.The release is impeccably timed and sure to be played on repeat for the rest of the summer. Unlike a lot of music released by drag race alumnae, this song is not only bearable, but it’s actually… good. Not to mention Shea’s fashion in the video feels like a natural continuation of the looks she’s turned out each week during the show.
You can really carry during this song as long as you shake your ass (or whatever else you want to shake) with plenty of cockiness. The track speaks for itself, and she can be sure we’ll keep a strong eye on her if this is the post-drag race direction Miss Couleé is headed in. We’re still curious about the Shea we met on the reunion special — it seems she’s given us more to chew on. …
It’s Pride Month, which means we all need a soundtrack to get us through the next few weeks of drinking, dancing and living our best lives as queer cunts and fabulous freaks: Yasss qweeen, werk, sashay away, no wait, shantay you stay, sissy that walk, GURL, oooooh, hunty! Sorry I just had to get that out of my system. Where was I? Oh music. And do we have a Pride Soundtrack for you! While planning our upcoming parties for next week we discovered a DJ named Byrell The Great. Let me tell you, I have been listen to his Vogue Workout mixtapes on Soundcloud for the last few hours and it is giving me all the motivation I need to push through this day that is most certainly wearing my last nerve! I don’t know what it is about this time of year, I should be all filled with pride, but I often get a case of the summertime sadness. It’s a fucking pain in the butt, BUT, Byrell the Great is really helping me pull my shit together and stop feeling sorry for myself. Thanks Byrell. If you’re in the mood for a pick-me-up, head on over to Soundcloud and search for BYRELL the GREAT. He goes inti!
I am writing about this event because I love you, our newsletter subscribers. Seriously, this goes against my better judgement because I am going to be arriving on the later side and I don’t want the venue to hit capacity. So consider this info a goddamn blessing! The Drums have been one of my favorite bands for a long time. When I was 17 and thought my first boyfriend was on the verge of breaking up with me, I tried to dissolve into my twin bed while listening to Johnny Pierce whine over dorky melodies. Their whole self-titled album encapsulates a very specific area of my gay-heart, but what has been even more special is spending my formative years with their ever-growing discography. When I found out Pierce was putting out a new album and touring, I had my debit card READY. An NYC date never got added and I was fucking mad, until Pierce announced they’d be playing a free show. I’m so excited. Seeing The Drums is probably the perfect place to find a boyfriend who also reads contemporary literature and wants to do coke in the bathroom. Really, I think I am bound to find a man at this show, but I’ll probably be drunk and at the bar, so search for the boy focalizing his hip movement and maybe hurting his neck, that’s me! Get there early for Princess Nokia because she knows how to tear a crowd up. She loves to yell, it’s a pleasure to watch; everybody wins. Meet ya there!
Are you thirsty?
There are few things are more refreshing than LaCroix Water products (here at GAYLETTER, we always keep a case in our fridge), but be sure to quench whatever your summertime thirsts are with the new sultry serenade, “LaCroix Boi.” It’s by the absolute cutest rapping cub around, Big Dipper. This sexy and smooth track serves early 2000s R&B in all the best ways — Mimi moment, staccato rap flow, and pillow talk autotune are all fully accounted for; Dipper really went for it with this one, and trust, his unique style turned me all the way out. Be sure to watch the video with a can on hand – I suggest the coconut flavor!
The video for the song, directed by Ryan Ovadia, artfully gives life to the bubbly fantasy Big Dipper provides in his lyrics, and is nostalgic for the soft glow of classic music videos, but not like season one of Drag Race… thank god. As per usual in his music videos and performances, Dipper commands every inch of this set’s neon frame with his encapsulating personality translated through expert choreography.
The real gag of this video is a cameo by none other than Alaska Thunderfuck riding low with Big Dipper à la Gaga and Beyoncé in the pussy wagon. Stun! This project reminded me I should try more flavors of LaCroix (there are 17, oy vey) and it also makes me very excited to see what else Big Dipper has in store for the future. …
Oops... Katy Perry did it again!
It seems that once again Katy Perry’s latest single has been totally ignored. This time, she can blame the gorgeous weather in New York City. Though you’re probably outside taking a really long lunch — maybe having a chilled class of pinot, or if you’re really gay: a glass of rosé — I do want to draw your attention to Miss Perry’s latest because it’s definitely better than her previous.
“Chained to the Rhythm” came out last month (I think?) and did not perform well on the radio, or on the charts. The beat was catchy, and ushered in a new, albeit contrived, direction for the ever-changing brand that is Katy Perry. However, Bon Appétit (feat. Migos), which she released on this glorious spring Friday is way cuter and deserves a listen.
Earlier in the week, Perry fans tweeted photos of pies they baked after Katy tweeted that if you baked her a pie, “you may get a surprise.” I was confused and didn’t follow the Twitter trail because that is always exhausting, but nevertheless, the singer’s Martha Stewart endeavor ended up being another really odd marketing strategy (RE : the disco balls no one tended to) for another new single.
Bon Appétit (feat. Migos) is really reminiscent of that kind of feel good track I only associate with Nicki Minaj’s “Roman Reloaded.” This is the kind of pop music that you can listen to at any given moment, meaning that it really has got no deeper meaning than what I assume is money-making. …
What a cute idea for a boozy Sunday brunch! You get to listen to Daft Punk and French disco, and here’s the best part, for the $10 ticket price, you also get two mimosas. That’s a pretty good deal. Where else can you get two mimosas for $10? Nowhere, that’s where! “DJs Jamie Antonelli (Nurvous Records) Salinger (Medium Rare / The Deep) and guests will be playing French Touch, Disco House and plenty of Daft Punk. Photos by Nicky Digital. Visuals by Funk Taxi. "Food will be available throughout the event. Come eat, drink and dance with us!” They also have some “Bottomless Brunch packages still available” so start that group text ASAP and get your weekend brunch plans in order, K?
PWR BTTM's got another millennial anthem under their belt
Much to the queer universe’s delight, PWR BTTM released a new music video this morning! ‘Answer My Text‘ sticks to the band’s declarative and unapologetic ethos with the chorus’ central lyric stating “answer my text, you dick!” (If that’s not a mood, I don’t know what is).
The single, which is off of their forthcoming sophomore album ‘Pageant’ follows the band’s D.I.Y. formula of simplistic chord progressions matched with lyrics that are not only relatable to the band’s variety of fans, but also do a bit more for listeners by revealing Liv Bruce and Ben Hopkin’s own autobiographical struggles. The twosome have approached music-making with a pedestrian skill set, but their willingness to be vulnerable and vocal about queer identity has propelled them into intersectional crusaders.
Just last week I was retelling a friend about the first time I saw PWR BTTM. They were playing at Legion Bar in Brooklyn with Diet Cig who were also newcomers on the scene. I don’t even remember when their set started, and I didn’t even know who they were really, but their now notorious banter blew my mind. I had never seen two people be so obviously queer on stage at a D.I.Y. show.
It’s been a pleasure to watch them grow into globally recognized musicians, and ‘Answer My Text‘ is another addition to PWR BTTM’s radical image making. Bruce is as darling as ever in a bubblegum pink bedroom, and they are even more intriguing with neon-blue lipstick paired with a pink gown. …