NEWS ROUNDUP: Killer Mike, R. Kelly & More
By Jasmine Williams
Killer Mike ❤’s the NRA
While country musicians are distancing themselves from the National Rifle Association, the pro-gun lobby is getting support from an unlikely ally – Killer Mike. As half of explosive rap duo Run The Jewels the musician has never been known for his subtlety; however, he still managed to catch his fans off-guard earlier this week when he was the featured subject of an NRA interview. The NRATV segment was broadcast on March 22nd, two days before the March for Our Lives. During the 42-minute Q&A, Mike backs up the NRA, criticizes student gun-reform activists and attempts to link civil rights to the right to bear arms.
To be fair, Killer Mike has defended black gun ownership in the past so his arguments weren’t completely new and he did bring up some interesting points about the disparity in the treatment of black versus white activists. However, to choose NRATV to air his opinions was confusing and unacceptable to many; critics pointed out that his partnership with the gun lobbyists undermines some of the core arguments he makes in the interview. In fact, one of the only times that the NRA backed gun reform was in 1967 when it helped get the Mulford Gun Ban Act through. The law banned the open carrying of guns in California. It’s not a coincidence that the act was passed during the same period that the Black Panthers were rising to prominence.
Killer Mike has since apologized for some of his statements and the timing of his interview.
Is R. Kelly the Harvey Weinstein of the music industry?
Compared to the movie industry, the music world has been slow to catch onto the #MeToo movement. Case in point? R. Kelly. For years we’ve known that the R&B hitmaker was a sexual predator. He supposedly married Aaliyah at the ripe old age of fifteen and has since been accused of myriad forms of sexual abuse, starting a cult, and holding women at his home against their will. Recently released BBC documentary, R . Kelly: Sex, Girls and Videotapes has added more disturbing allegations to the musician’s list. The film features interviews with ex-girlfriend Kitti Jones, who describes how she was forced to engage with Kelly and others in a “sex dungeon” and his disturbing practice of “grooming” underaged girls.
Kelly has paid various court settlements to women over the years but has yet to be convicted of any crimes. He is currently on tour.
In other shitty-men-in-the-music-industry news: Charlie Walk is officially out at Republic Group. The record executive is the subject of an ongoing sexual misconduct investigation.
That New New:
Next month the Tribeca Film Festival will screen a new Patti Smith documentary. Horses: Patti Smith and her Band features the final concert of her 2016 tour which honored the 40-year anniversary of her 1975 album. Garbage will also celebrate an impressive milestone with a new-old release. The 20th anniversary of the band’s sophomore album, Version 2.0, will be commemorated with a reissue of the album on June 22nd.
Soul, psych, chill-out queen, Kadhja Bonet released a new track, “Mother Maybe.” It’s the first single off of her upcoming album, Childqueen, out June 8th.
Frankie Cosmos has a new album out this weekend. Vessel is Greta Kline’s third LP.
The festival lineup for the Brooklyn edition of Afropunk is here! Erykah Badu, Miguel, The Internet, Janelle Monae, Ibeyi and many more will play Commodore Barry Park on August 25th and 26th.
A Tribe Called Quest has released their final video. Erykah Badu, Questlove, Common, Janelle Monae and many more guests pop up in “The Space Program,” an eight-minute Afro-futuristic journey that celebrates the seminal hip-hop group’s history while maintaining Tribe’s usual dose of political commentary. Audiofemme faves, Wax Idols, also have a new video out. Watch Mausoleum here and look out for their upcoming album, Happy Ending, out May 16th.
For more new music clips, check out Desdemona Dallas’ new Audiofemme column, Video of the Week.
More Music News:
- At the beginning of this week, Chance The Rapper put attention on an incredibly racist advertisement for Heineken Light and brought up an interesting point by tweeting “I think some companies are purposely putting out noticeably racist ads so they can get more views.” He might be right – in this age of increasing political correctness and social media sharing, cultural controversies often go viral. Maybe advertisement firms are using this as a strategy; after all, no one has ever touted the industry for its upstanding morality. Heineken has since pulled the commercial but on Thursday, the beer company’s stock was up.
- On Monday, The Associated Press reported that a toxicology report from Prince’s death reveals that he had an “exceedingly high” concentration of fetanyl in his body. The synthetic painkiller is 50 times more powerful than heroin and is a key facet of the current opioid crisis in the United States. The investigation in to the music legend’s passing remains open.
- The Bushwick building that hosts soon-to-close venue, Silent Barn, may become the headquarters of Educated Little Monsters. ELM is a “local grassroots youth program and movement dedicated to providing artistic outlets and economic opportunity to native-Brooklyn youth of color.” The organization has launched a fundraiser to raise $50,000 to take over the space. Read ELM’s full statement and donate here.