The "Grammys" Have Failed Again

The "Grammys" Have Failed Again

There needs to be a choice made in what is praised because the show's performances contradicting its awards just makes all the grand statements for change seem empty and performative.

Another disappointing “Grammys” has just disgraced television sets across the United States, however, most would disagree with this sentiment. The “Grammys” are wrongfully held by so many people as a representation of the best artistry that music has to offer, but in our troubling times and political climate the awards show has seemed to persist in its sheer avoidance of the issues possibly to retain the attention of a wider audience, but even in their empty pursuit of ignorance the award ceremony has received some of its lowest ratings in history.

The talent who performs at the show is usually not the problem, it’s the awards being given out to artists who don’t comment on the times and contradict the message of social change that was prevalent throughout the show. Through the night performances by artist such as Kesha, Kendrick Lamar, Logic, and Pink all presented messages involving social justice causes; However, the powerful messages still carry on weight if the “Grammys” continue to perpetuate a culture stacked against minority groups. On the red carpet many celebrities walked with symbolic nods to movements they were in support of (a white rose was wearing for those in support of the #MeToo movement) and one standout look that graced the carpet was Lorde’s dress that had a sewn in message from feminist writer, Jenny Holzer. Lorde wore the dress in protest of her being the only female nominee for album of the year and not being offered a solo performance.

Further, on the issue of album of the year (which was a major snub for Jay Z’s album 4:44) which went to Bruno Mars who was deserving of an award, but certainly not album of the year. Most if not all the other albums nominated for the prestigious category of album of the year were more conscious of the state of the world and offered true commentary on the wide scope of issues that are abuzz this year and last, but the judges for the “Grammys” went the safe route of ignorance.

Bruno Mar’s music is catchy and nostalgic but holds no candle to the lyrical genius displayed on 4:44 or DAMN. Perhaps the true reason that 24K Magic took home the Grammy for album of the year is that it perpetuates themes that are ignorant of any political cause, which isn’t inherently destructive, but considering the state of the world, it’s regressive. The absence of awards going to artists who speak about the causes fighting for positive change in the world ultimately makes the grand gestures made for such causes at the awards show shallow, and it’s not necessarily all the talented artist at the show. Most of the blame falls on the “Grammys.” Specifically, the “Grammys” president states destructive rhetoric, he told women to “step up.” However, P!nk rebuked his statement because it is the root of the issue coming to the surface in this one instance. The “Grammys” don’t truly care for social change.

Of course, a Grammy is nothing but metal with a plaque, but that doesn’t take away from its power to fool the masses into believing that their rule over the judging of music is supreme. This power that the “Grammys” posses is one that should be wielded carefully especially if the artist who they award are outspoken on social justice causes. There needs to be a choice made in what is praised because the show's performances contradicting its awards just makes all the grand statements for change seem empty and performative.

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My Very First Best Friend Was My Uncle, And He Was Taken Too Soon

Uncle Jeff was more than an uncle. He was my best friend.

People always say that your siblings are your first best friends. I was an only child for almost four years. So, mine was my uncle. It's been a month since I was able to talk to him. He passed away February 16. My mom taught him everything from throwing a football to driving a car. He was sick and was an embarrassment to his father. That's why his sisters taught him what his father should have.

When I was born, he was only four years removed from high school. He never actually held me but my mom had to have her gallbladder removed. He had to help babysit me. Apparently, we were best friends immediately. From then on, we were inseparable.

He taught me about football and video games. We watched Disney. A lot. He was the only person that I could get to watch High School Musical with me all 800078943829 times I watched it. He is the reason that I have a morbid fear of masks. He chased me around wearing a Michael Meyers mask all of the time. But he stopped doing that when I got big enough to chase him with a broom.

He got me hooked on Tim Burton. We watched Beetlejuice every day and drove Nana crazy watching The Corpse Bride until the disk started messing up. Then he bought a new one. He accepted every stage of my awkward childhood and was an escape from my real world.

His passion was Oxford High School football. He was the manager from 1985-1992. He was with them for their ups and downs, state championships and losses. He was as involved as anyone else on the team even though he couldn't actually play.

When it came time to decide what I would do with my extra time in high school, I wanted to continue what he started. I wanted to carry on the school spirit our family was known for. I decided to do color guard. And then show choir. And then Diamond Dolls. I wanted so much to be known for the same things he was because he was my best friend and role model.

He was proud of everything I did. He was doubly proud when my younger sister joined band my second year and then color guard my senior year. No matter what we did, he was genuinely proud of us.He never used our accomplishments to brag about himself. He, unlike many people in our lives, bragged about us to anyone who would listen just to brag about us. He was almost as proud of us as he was his letterman jacket, which is now my most prized possession.

When I graduated high school and tried out for the Southerners color guard, he prayed for me to make it every night until the night I called Nana and told them I made it. Not ten seconds later, he posted it on Facebook for everyone and their mother to read.

He got sick in October. Well, sicker than normal. He had CO2 poisoning. It was touch and go for a few days. He even Code Blued -- died for people like me and not a nursing major-- three times the second night he was in the hospital. Somehow, he made it the week we were told he wouldn't. Then two weeks. Then three. At a month, he woke up, something we were told he would never do. Then he started communicating.

At two months, they started PT. He was never supposed to wake up and he was out of bed walking short distances. If he wasn't doing PT that day, they were taking his trach collar off and he was breathing on his own. Then, he was transferred.

When they transferred him, he was getting a little better. Then he wasn't. He started to go downhill at the end of January, three months in. He got an infection that made him sleep for like a week straight. after he woke up, I was the only one that could figure out what he was saying since his iPad was taken home without permission. Pretty soon after, he started shutting down. They couldn't do his dialysis so he retained a lot of fluid.

February 15th, they moved him to ICU again. They maxed out his medicines the day before and wanted to try to bring some of those down. They got a 24-hour dialysis machine on him. That was the last day that I saw my best friend alive. He was unconscious, in pain, and weeping from almost every spot on his body from being so swollen. My mom told him, "If you're fighting for you, fight until your body can't fight anymore. If you're fighting for us, let go. We can handle it."

The one time he had to listen when he was told to do something. We left that night at 10 and got home at 12.

He passed away February 16th at 2:30 AM. My sister and I sang his three favorite songs at his funeral. He will never know how much him being here meant to people. He was the boy who never frowned.

He will never know the respect and love an entire town had for him. He was one of the few men in my life that wasn't terrible. He was my very first best friend. He was like my big brother more than he was my uncle. I miss him everyday and will treasure his jacket and ring for the rest of my life.

RIP Uncle Jeff. I love you and I miss you.

Cover Image Credit: Personal Photo

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21 Reasons Why Adidas’ Holi Commercial Is Obviously Religious And Cultural Appropriation To Hindus Everywhere

As five Indians of many, this is our wake-up call to Adidas that using Holi to expand the brand name will not get past us.

Co-written by Safa Ghaya, Divya Joshi, Oneeka Kohli, Alma Maldonado, Maitri Patel and Shreya Ravichandran

Imagine an open field on a sunny day. Everyone is wearing a white shirt and faded pants, and you see bag of colored powder in their hands. There’s a water hose and buckets ready to the side, and every single person has a smile on their face. Welcome to Holi, the festival of colors.

You can also call it the Hindu festival appropriated by Adidas in its commercial to sell the “Hu Holi” clothing line. As Indians, Hindus and other minorities, we don’t approve of the European company using our culture to make money for itself. Here are just 24 of the countless reasons why Adidas’ Holi commercial is cultural appropriation in its finest form.

1. You’re not appreciating the holiday. You’re using it to make money.

You’ve essentially used a Hindu holiday for the sake of Western capitalizing and profit in the fashion industry — mercantile greed. Adidas really doesn't care about Holi. They only care about making money off of it.

2. Pharrell isn’t Hindu, so why is he representing a Hindu holiday?

The face of the advertisement is someone who isn’t even Indian, taking away from the company’s attempt at appreciating Hindu culture. At least find someone who matches the culture you’re describing.

3. When Adidas assumed Pharrell could represent Hindu culture as a POC, they took opportunities from Indian artists.

By commissioning an American man who knows nothing about Hindu religion and practices and didn’t bother to thoroughly research, Adidas grossly overlooked Indian and Hindu designers, artists and models that could have represented the festival accurately. It would have been more appropriate for Pharrell to simply seem more interested in the details that others were explaining to him.

Hindus should represent their own religion, instead of letting someone else take one look at the holiday, decide that it might be fun and assume that Holi is only about the colors.

Just because Pharrell Williams is a man of color does not mean he has ultimate knowledge and jurisdiction to represent other minority groups’ cultures as well.

4. The clothing line is way too expensive for what is being sold.

Starting from $40, it goes all the way to $300 for a hoodie and a pair of shoes. Really?

5. The point of Holi is to wear old clothes and have fun getting them colored.

You’re defeating the entire purpose of this part of the Holi celebration. This means you don’t know what the tradition fully is.

6. The fashion line is tye-dye, which isn’t anything like Holi patterns.

Don’t use a Hindu tradition as an excuse to reach out to a further target audience. You know the patterns don’t accurately reflect what the clothes look like once the festival is over.

7. The collection overlooked every single other aspect of Holi besides the colors.

The company did not include any other representation of Holi in the design. Holi is not simply a festival where people randomly throw colored powder at each other. It is commenced by prayer and has many other aspects, such as rose water guns, the burning of Holika, the music, the dancing and the special foods Hindus eat during the holiday.

There are many ways to implement these different traditions without randomly dying a hoodie and passing it off as a “Holi design,” making this meaningful holiday seem like a one-dimensional excuse to get your clothes dirty.

8. There seems to be a lack of effort within the designs.

One of the shoes in the collection is very minimal — $250 for a pair of plain white shoes. Is this seriously what Indian culture is being “appreciated” for?

9. The collection disregarded the most symbolically important color used in Holi.

They did not use red or pink tones in the multicolored designs, even though those hues are the most significant in the Hindu holiday of Holi. Red and pinkish colors symbolize the burning of evil and impurity from one’s heart and desires. If they wanted to represent the colors of the festival appropriately, they should have at least included the correct tones used in Holi in all of the articles of clothing. Instead they used dull, faded neon colors that don’t represent the ones actually used to play Holi.

10. Touching something using one's feet is considered disrespectful.

And because Holi is such a sacred festival, the fact that they made a line of shoes dedicated to this is extremely disrespectful to the religion. Adidas did not take time to understand the values of Hinduism before creating the ad because the company is known mainly as a shoe brand, and feet are considered the least sacred part of the body. This means placing patterns depicting a religious festival on the feet is degrading.

Although this was meant to be appreciation, the lack of knowledge on Adidas’ part symbolizes appropriation for pure commercial benefit, nothing else.

11. Holi is meant to mark getting rid of worries, symbolized by starting off with a clean shirt.

At the beginning of the powder part of the festival, the white shirt symbolizes a blank canva, and as the color goes on the canvas, the worries decrease. The addition of color is throwing away those fears, and Adidas takes away from that by simply selling the patterned shirts at the end.

12. Adidas and Pharrell took aspects of the Hindu religion and Indian culture and made it seem as if it belonged to them.

They took a European company and an American singer to market something that belongs to India and Hinduism. Hindus like to work for what they want, and they don’t appreciate others taking away what is rightfully theirs just to make money.

13. It is as if Pharrell learned the spiritual concepts behind this holiday but simply forgot them.

Even though he wanted to make a change, the way he presented this was not in any way justified. It is as if he felt that a dominant culture needed to swoop in and steal a key element of a minority.

14. This isn't the first time Pharrell has culturally appropriated before...

He was once seen wearing a red-face, Native American headdress for fashion. This backlash for the Adidas commercial is more than a simple accident because he should have understood the consequences of his actions just from experience.

15. You can see that people don’t care about the cultural “significance” behind the shoes.

Looking on YouTube and other sites, users who do reviews only buy them for the design, meaning Adidas knew the design was appealing to others more than the true meaning.

16. Adidas does not know anything about the religious significance of Holi when “appreciating” it.

The website says to “celebrate the multicolored hues of humanity” with no allusions to the meaning of Holi. There is a rich history in Hinduism of the story of Prahlad and Holika — the symbolism of the fight of a good heart against greed and other forms of evil — that was not represented at all. Additionally, the Hindu god Krishna originally started the holiday by painting his lover Radha’s face blue to match his own skin (also blue in color). None of this backstory was used to fully represent Holi and its religious significance in order to display a religious holiday.

If Adidas just wanted a nice design without possibly offending anybody, they could have picked another holiday without such heavy religious significance or not even associated the line with Holi in the first place.

17. The creators assumed that Holi was a holiday like Christmas, something open for everyone to celebrate.

However, its religious connotation is too large to ignore because first and foremost, it is a Hindu holiday celebrating parts of the religion that are not understood by everyone in the world. The festival is specific to Hindus in that every single aspect, including the colors, is symbolic of our lives and what we believe in.

18. The Hu Holi collection used powder dye in order to get the colors on the shoes and clothes.

But Hindus use powder during the festival for a reason. Powder dye is completely different and means nothing to us.

19. Pharrell doesn’t seem to be enjoying himself in the videos.

There easily could have been a representative who was more appreciative and more willing to learn about the culture.

20. Nowadays, religions and cultures are looked down upon in the U.S.

But all of the sudden, it's okay to use them to make "fashionable" clothing lines.

21. Cultural appropriation is more common now than ever.

And there needs to be more education focused around distinguishing the difference between celebrating a culture and taking advantage of it for personal or financial gain.

Adidas, now that Indians have gotten our point across, it's time for you to apologize and either take down the line or rename it. That's all we're asking for.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube / Adidas Originals

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