Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Introducing Krewella - Rising Stars

Jahan Yousaf, Rain Man + Yasmine Yousaf= Krewella
It was when I was flicking through www.stealherstyle.net that I came across two gorgeous faces- sisters, Jahan and Yasmine Yousaf. Musicians in an American electronic dance group 'Krewella', along with their friend who goes by the name of 'Rain Man', a small factor that compelled me to listen to their music was due to their ethnicity. I was intrigued as to how two sisters who grew up half Pakistani and in a Muslim household, forayed successfully into the route of creative endeavours.

Now, I don't talk on behalf of every Muslim's upbringing and personal experiences but I know that I adored drama at school which my teachers encouraged me to progress further, yet not my family. Instead I struggled (and failed) through science lessons trying to kid myself and mostly my parents that I was destined to end up in the medicine field. I was never allowed to go on a sleepover, didn't have my first mobile phone until I was 16 and even if I so much glanced at someone of the opposite sex, you best believe you didn't want to know what happened. A strict upbringing which was coupled with my family holding dearly on to the South Asian perspective of family 'reputation' and 'success'. They didn't know any better, whilst I craved expressing my creativity which I didn't know how to until the age of 18. So how did these two Krewella girls hovering on and around the same age group as me find their expression of freedom at such an early age?

The sisters are redefining Pakistani role models.
The sisters understand my intrigue well and Yasmine cleared that up in an interview earlier on in the year- '10 years ago, our dad would have never approved of what Jahan and I are doing. He's totally Americanized now and he's the coolest dad in the entire world'. A simple foundation which spawned their musical style into house, dub-step and drum 'n' bass dipped significantly in Chicago's heavy metal scene. However, they're adamant that their heavy metal rage only refers to partying and not anger. This is evident with their signature stage diving, which highlights their free spirit and willingness to live in the moment and quite literally, the edge. They grew up listening to Chromeo, Bloc Party and Incubus- EDM acts in their finest. Having their musical roots lined with these inspirations, you can only guarantee Krewella's authenticity. They were real musicians first, learning instruments before transitioning to software and they are influential style icons (after all, I did hear about them on a style blog!). And it's all these factors that have pulled together to ensure Krewella's success in the long term.

Going back to their Pakistani upbringing- endearingly, the sisters aren't shy to address it. They mention how people are usually shocked when they mention where they are from as they don't expect such types of musicians to be from a country that is usually engulfed in negativity. That is true. Even though, I look more 'Pakistani' than Jahan and Yasmine, people expect me to act in a certain way, say certain things and have certain dreams. I don't. Yet, I carry my Pakistani flag with humble pride like the sisters- who are doing a fantastic job in showing the world that there's more to us Pakistani girls than good grades, dreams of becoming a doctor and an arranged marriage.

Let me know what you think of their music!


Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty's Homophobic Remarks

Top rated television show- Duck Dynasty
It still seems ludicrous that 'freedom of speech' is an idea suppressed by the masses in some countries. In the Western hemisphere we're lucky we have the right to express our thoughts and opinions without the fear of severe outrage. However, there are frequent moments when some individuals express their personal thoughts engulfed in controversy that garner the colossal outcry of the majority. In particular, it seems like we flip flop regularly from making waves in the LGBT community to dissolving back into homophobia- And, realistically speaking it's sad that these homophobic beliefs are what a significant population of the world still hold on to. I also understand that changing these views are not a simple matter of fact, as people fight vigorously for their traditions stemmed from their upbringings and further more, their family history. A recent case which is at the fore-front of these views is that of Phil Robertson from one of the most top-rated shows on television 'Duck Dynasty'- a show I've never seen but what my colleagues refer to as- 'a great show. They sit around making duck calls and not much else. Fantastic!'

Robertson made some extremely controversial and ignorantly brave comments in an interview with GQ Magazine. When asked what he considered was sinful he answered- 'Start with homosexual behaviour and just morph from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this women and that woman and that woman and those men. It seems like, to me, a vagina- as a man- would be more desirable than a man's anus'. I honestly don't know whether to laugh or cry at his ignorance- How could someone be so misinformed in today's day and age? Even after the deserving uproar his comments have caused, the devout Christian still seems to stick by his stance on homosexuality, revealing that he quoted from scriptures in the original GQ interview. He also went onto say his views aren't influential and no one will listen to him anyways. Well actually he needs to be reminded that being such a public figure we did listen, but not in the way he hoped. His views are sheltered, small and neglectful of the billions of other people who inhabit the earth.

Also a little question that lingers in my mind- why did GQ decide to publish those comments? Maybe they were equally ignorant or so excitedly informed of the fact that sales were going to fly with such a controversy, that they couldn't pass up such an opportunity! Only they would know. However, perhaps it does come down to 'freedom of speech' (As much as Clay Aitken hates that term and thinks it's an easy cop-out). The words that spewed out of Phil Robertson are what makes him 'him' and at the end of the day, that is what an 'interview' is all about- getting to know the truth behind characters of interest. Whether that 'truth' is favourable- that's up to you. It certainly isn't favourable to me.  Plus, I don't think i'll be taking my colleagues recommendations for watching 'Duck Dynasty'.



Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Award Season Kicks Off!

Acting is a way for an individual and their audience to become entranced in fictional stories, myths and imaginations. There are films I watch where I think to myself, wow I would have loved to become an actress if it meant acting in a role like that! Other than an actors performance, I tend to focus on other small things that make a huge difference, such as the cinematography and original soundtrack scores of a movie. A seminar by acclaimed method acting coach Brian Timoney late November had me even more invested in the art form of acting and I feel even more privileged to be one of the handful of students chosen to take part in his bootcamp next year! So you can only imagine how excited I get when award season kicks off! Tying in with this, the SAG Awards and Golden Globes have unleashed their nomination lists with their yearly doses of surprises, snubs and obvious victories. I personally adore the 'industry' longevity associated with these award shows and decided to have a little dig and find out when and why these two award shows started! Brace yourself for a little bit of history


Donna Douglas- one of the first
Miss.Golden Globes in 1963
The Golden Globes were created by a group of writers in 1943 who came together to create the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, where they gave out one award- the Golden Globe Award. The first actual Golden Globes was held the following year which focused on achievements in filmmaking, then went on to recognize other talent within the entertainment industry. The iconic Miss Golden Globe was introduced in 1963 and Eva Six and Donna Douglas were the first recipients. The success of the Golden Globes has let the Hollywood Foreign Press Association donate incredible amounts of money to entertainment charities, such as the Young Artist Awards. 

Every actor wants a SAG!

The SAG Awards has been a more recent grand affair by debuting in 1995. It is built upon the premise of being the only award show that exclusively honours performers. The fundamentals of the SAGs is important requiring the need to recognise that acting within film and television is a collaborative art. Nominations on the other hand comes from separate film and a television committees, featuring 2100 members of the union who are randomly selected each year. Intense voting!


Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Jurassic World Is Set To Be Released on 2015

A couple days ago I was ill and I had my feet up on the sofa curled up with a thick blanket. I was flicking through the channels and none of my usual favourites were on. Furiously trying to find something to watch, I kept flicking past Jurassic Park. The first film. The original. Even though I've seen it more times than I wish to confess, I settled in to watch it yet again. And let me tell you, it was even more thrilling than the last time I saw it! I also remembered that the 4th movie in the franchise is currently in production, which is music to the ears for us original die hard Jurassic Park fans!

The fourth movie which is named 'Jurassic World' is set to release on June 12th 2015 and according to the director Colin Trevorrow, it will be set 22 years after the original Jurassic Park attacks. Trevorrow also dismissed the claims that the movie will be a 'reboot' by stating it's a 'new sci-fi terror'. The cast so far includes Bryce Dallas Howard, Nick Robinson and Ty Simpkins with Chris Prat rumoured to be taking on the lead role. I don't think it'll be as good as the original but it's about time we had some dinosaurs back on the big screen!

Do you think it will be as good as the first movie?


Friday, 6 December 2013

Whatever Happened to Nickelodeon's Taina?

Who like me was in Year 7 and wanted to be a star like Taina? Don't mind me, but I'm totally having a happy flashback listening to the theme song above! Checking back on the series, it's hard to believe that the show lasted for only 2 seasons despite giving Nickelodeon its highest ratings in 3 years! The reasoning behind dropping the show? The show was getting expensive to produce and Nickelodeon execs feared the show only appealed to girls. (How the hell were the ratings so high then?!)

In terms of the shows story-line it featured a young Latina, Taina who dreams of being a singer and actress. She starts attending the Manhattan High School of The Performing Arts along with her best friends Renee and Lamar. The series depicts her struggles in terms of her high school nemesis Maritza and also lets us in on her songwriting and singing abilities. Highlights includes 'aww-ing' over Taina's adorable little brother Santito (a quick Google search shows he has now turned into a strappingly dashing young man) and a guest performance by the Puerto-Rican band MDO. The main actress Christina Vidal is in her early 30s now after making appearances in films such as Freaky Friday and See No Evil. Ahhh memories!

What's your long lost television memory?


Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Tom Daley Has Come Out As Gay

Olympic bronze medallist, Tom Daley is the latest celebrity to unveil he's in a same-sex relationship. He revealed in a touchingly endearing video that spanned 5 minutes that even though he still fancies girls he's in a relationship with a man who makes him feel safe, secure and happy after meeting him back in spring. He also went onto address that his late father would have wanted to see him happy no matter what and that he chose a YouTube video over a magazine cover or on-line statement because he didn't want to get his words misconstrued. And I don't blame him. His message was authentic, fear kept coming in and out of his words, uneasiness was adamant in his eyes, yet his sense of relief was other-worldly.

Despite Tom stating later on in the day that he's overwhelmed by the amount of support he's received, the underlying issue of homophobia is still starkly obvious. Tom even unveiled that apart from his mum, others members of his family gave off mixed feelings, with some telling him to keep his bisexuality a secret. Furthermore, regarding the atrocious comments I've read throughout social media, I just can't take some people's vile comments for real. I guess it's none other than religion and plain ol' ignorance which are deciding factors of many of these comments.

I for one don't understand how religion can make someone say such embarrassing things. As far as I'm concerned, religion is about peace. Concentrate on yourself, do what makes YOU happy. Don't waste your time in creating negative energy for someone else's important life decisions. A prime example of this was a couple months back, when someone on my FB timeline posted a video of two Pakistani Muslim women getting married here in the UK. He annotated the video in such a way that encouraged people of the same faith to use such derogatory and foul language towards the happy couple, that it makes you wonder- in terms of religion, it's not okay for these two women to be happy and in love but it's okay to openly display such horrific language in public?-I didn't know THAT makes you a good Muslim! Of course, these beliefs aren't associated with everyone who follow a religious path. As for ignorance, it's important to look around and snap back into the 21st century. Homophobia is not cool, being uneducated is not cool either. Be happy for other people. People in same-sex relationships aren't robots without any emotions, they are just like you. Imagine if people were saying such things about you or your child?

Finally, it's important to realize that we have made huge advancements in the LGBT world, yet comments such as the one's I'm referring to shows that we still have some work left to do!

For a list of other stars who came out this year visit- http://beansblog89.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/if-i-was-gay-i-would-think-hip-hop.html

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