Tuesday, February 24, 2015

John Legend's Inspiring Speech at the Oscars

The Oscars have often been a place where inspirational speeches are given. This year, it was Common and John Legend's turn.

"Nina Simone said it's an artists duty to reflect the times in which we live," he said. "We wrote this song for a film that was based on events that were 50 years ago but we say that Selma is now, because the struggle for justice is right now. We know that the voting rights act that they fought for 50 years ago is being compromised now in this country today. Right now the struggle for freedom and justice is real. We live in the most incarcerated country in the world. There are more black men under correctional control today than were under slavery in 1850."

"When people are marching with our song, we want to tell you we are with you, we see you, we love you, and march on," he added.

Something for us to think more deeply about, I think.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Angelle's Three Questions: Ryan Murphy and the Glee Team

Glee is back on TV for a final season, and this week's Three Questions is for the people behind Glee.

1) Glee has been successful in exploring a host of issues, and has maintained an objective and balanced stance in most of these issues. The religion vs atheism issue was a great example of this. However, at the start of season one, I think the show took sides AGAINST the abstinence movement. As the abstinence movement never harmed anyone ever, why did you decide to do that?

2) Most shows have a positive main character people can identify with, yet I think your show lacked one until Marley arrived in season four. Why was that the case?

3) Is the decision to put Glee to an end after six seasons one that was decided long ago, or has it only been made recently? If so, was it because of the recent drop in ratings? (That would be a shame, I should add.)

Monday, January 12, 2015

Selena Gomez - The Heart Wants What It Wants - Impact Version by TaraElla

By the way, if you liked this cover, you should check out this TaraElla original:

Download the full song here.

Taylor Swift - Blank Space - Romantic Version by TaraElla

By the way, if you liked this cover, you should check out this TaraElla original:

Download the full song here.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Maybe This is the Appeal of 'Awkward' Taylor Swift?

I had this discussion with a friend the other day - and we came to agree that Taylor Swift likes to do things she is not particularly good at. Like dancing - which we saw a lot in her recent Shake It Off video. Or even pop music - we think she did country better. And that style in the We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together video - it REALLY doesn't suit her at all. There's one word to describe all of the above: awkward.

But in all of that is a common theme - Taylor likes to try new things, even things she may not be good at, things that may not make her look picture perfect. Taylor has been hugely popular for more than seven or eight years now, which is much more success than what many other chart topping musicians have had. Maybe this is her appeal, after all.

Therefore, maybe we should all try to step outside of our comfort zone every now and then. It may pay off very well, even if we look awkward in the process. After all, Taylor Swift has made awkward look cool, so it's OK to be awkward nowadays.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Don't Think Anna Kendrick is Pretty? You May Not Be Alone.

Apparently some people think that Anna Kendrick is not pretty. I'm surprised, really, but it's true.

She won't be upset by that, though.

"The most common thing that I get is, 'Am I the only one who doesn't think that Anna Kendrick is pretty?' And you're like, 'No, you're not the only one. Arguably, all of the boys in my high school agree with you'," she recently told Marie Claire.

What a great answer!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Secret to Taylor Swift's Success?

What is Taylor Swift's secret for success? I'm pretty sure many would like to know, seeing that she is probably the most successful pop singer right now. Recent comments by her friend Selena Gomez may have shed some light on that.

"She was actually at my house the other day and we were sitting by the fire and I was talking about relationships and business in my life and she just kind of looked at me and was like, 'Selena, if you’re the smartest person in the room, I think you’re going to be in the wrong room'," Selena Gomez told The Talk Friday recently.

"She thinks I should constantly surround myself with people who are going to make me better, that are going to challenge and motive me," Selena added.

I think that's a good approach to life. We all need role models, people who we can look up to, people who can make us better. Learning to emulate the best in other people is a big factor in success indeed.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Better Than All About That Base? I Think So.

So many people have been going on and on about how Meghan Trainor's All About That Base is such an empowering song, and if you read my column regularly you will know that I don't agree.

However, recently I have come across something that's much better, in my opinion: Mary Lambert's Secrets.
Check it out:

What do you think?

Freedom is the Only Way

It's sad that so many people want our governments to restrict freedom, to put a ban on things they don't like to see. It's totally misguided.

These are just a few reasons why freedom is so important:

The Adaptive Politics Manifesto

I am a Proud 'Liberaltarian'

Revisiting Citizen Initiated Referenda

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Non-Judgmentalism, Miley Cyrus and Springbreakers

Recently, one of my readers expressed concern that they found several of my posts in 2013 a bit 'judgmental'. Specifically, those were posts on Miley Cyrus and the movie Springbreakers. Let me provide my answer to that accusation here.

My criticism of Miley was not about judging anyone, or their actions. It was about a 'clash of values'. I'm more than happy to respect a friend choosing to dress and act like Miley did. But Miley was not just doing those things in 2013, she was doing interviews, expressing ideas and viewpoints. In other words, she was not just having fun, she was promoting a particular cultural worldview, a culture that was against my own values. Therefore, I had to say something about it. Otherwise, I wouldn't have values at all, right? It's the same as taking a stance against someone promoting racism or homophobia to me, and just as important. In fact, recently I wrote an opinion piece on the difference between judging someone and standing up for your values, you can read it here if you are interested.

Regarding my criticism of Springbreakers, it was some of Selena Gomez's comments regarding the filming that made me think about the possibility of popular culture making women do things they are not entirely comfortable with, something I think would be important to address. Or maybe I was overly sensitive. But either way, it wasn't meant to be a critique of the way people dressed in the film at all.

TaraElla's Latest Single Not That Kind of Retro

This song is now available at the TaraElla Google Play shop.