beyonce, lemonade, now hear this, entertainment news

Now Hear This: Is Kesha Finally Free?, Boycott Beyoncé, And More!

This week in our weekly entertainment news round-up, we found out who’s behind the new Boycott Beyoncé campaign, have a bit of fun with Key & Peele’s new film Keanu, hear a disturbing story about the Red Hot Chili Peppers and more!

Is Kesha Finally Free?

The entertainment page Now This just released a video proclaiming Kesha as finally free from her production contract with alleged rapist Dr. Luke. Their proof? “True Colors” a newly released Kesha track produced by EDM producer Zedd.  On March 6, we reported the rumor that Sony was finally going to drop Dr. Luke over bad press. However, in early April a judge denied Kesha’s request to dissolve her contract, although Sony created a compromise by letting Kesha record with other producers, hence “True Colors” with Zedd.

So while Kesha isn’t technically free from her contract (or Dr. Luke of Kemosabe Records), she’s at least free to release new music — definitely a step in the right direction.


Of course, the biggest news is that Beyoncé just dropped an album outta nowhere, Lemonade, complete with corresponding HBO special/visual album/whatever-you-wanna-call-it-just-make-sure-you-call-it-“awesome”. When “Formation”, the final track on Lemonade, dropped just before the Super Bowl, some conservatives interpreted the video’s unflattering images of police as an attack on cops. In response, the Miami police issued an empty threat not to work Beyoncé’s concert and conservatives launched calls to “Boycott Beyoncé.”

However, now those calls are coming from inside the house Beyoncé herself. Her Formation Tour merchandise plays off the controversy with its own “Boycott Beyoncé” shirts — and who knows, maybe some poor confused idiots will accidentally buy it thinking they’re sticking it to evil Queen Bey.

Key, Keanu, Kittens & Peele

Key and Peele’s new movie Keanu is out today and we can’t wait! I mean, let’s be honest, you can’t wait either — it’s Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele and an adorable kitten. How can you pass that up? You can’t. It’s literally impossible. And if you’ve wondered about the name of the movie, and whether or not it’s related to a certain John Wick star, then rest assured: Yes, Keanu Reeves is in the movie — as Keanu, the kitten.

And if making a movie about a kitten wasn’t enough funny-cuteness for you, here’s a great video of the two human stars of Keanu naming cats at a shelter:

Blood, Sugar, Sex, Dickheads

News came out this week from a record publicist who claims two of the Red Hot Chili Peppers sexually harassed her. In the post “Blood, Sugar, Sex, Dickheads“, Julie Farman, who used to be an executive at Epic Records in the 1990s, describes a meeting she was forced to take with the band — during it, she alleges that two members (she doesn’t name which two) pressed up against her and started talking about having sex with her:

Afterwards, I took two of the Chili Peppers to the storage room where we kept the box sets and CDs. As we looked in the cabinet, they pressed up against me and told me about all of the ways we could make a super sexy sandwich.

At first I thought they were joking. When I realized they weren’t, I ran from the storage room to my office, where I closed my door, sat down at my desk, and cried. I was humiliated and weirdly ashamed, and embarrassed that I was humiliated and weirdly ashamed. There was far worse going on in the music industry at the time, and I thought I was a badass. Being a victim didn’t fit my self-perception.

When the Chili Peppers’ then-manager knocked on my door a few minutes later, I stopped crying and let him in. He offered an apology that sounded memorized; it was one he’d obviously offered many times before. The A&R guy apologized after the Chili Peppers left, and I decided to get over it. I told myself that I knew what I was getting into when I started working in the music business.

It should be noted that this is not the only claim against members of the group; Anthony Kiedis was arrested for sexual battery and indecent exposure in 1989, and Chad Smith and Flea were both arrested for lascivious behavior, battery and disorderly conduct in 1990 — and even the documentary Funky Monks features the Chili Peppers openly talking about how hot the boom operator was.

Normally there’d be a related video, but since we don’t really want to promote work by violent people, here’s that adorable thing going around of animals singing the Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind”.

More Adventures In Whitewashing

Oh, Hollywood — will you ever stop being horrible about race? Marvel’s making a movie about Doctor Strange, and the titular doctor’s mentor, The Ancient One — a Tibetan man — is being played by Tilda Swinton — not a Tibetan man. While Swinton’s character dresses in faux-Tibetan clothing, she has said she’s not playing an Asian character (which is, we guess, something she’s got over Scarlett Johansson’s role in Ghost In The Shell, the Major, a character widely understood to be of a Japanese woman).

The screenwriter said he knew the trailer would upset “social justice warriors,” a hint that, uh, he might not be the most enlightened person on the planet. He likens it to the unwinnable test in Star Trek, the Kobayashi Maru, where there was no right answer, as he felt that leaving The Ancient One Tibetan would make the film a difficult sell in China (it should be noted this concern was not brought to him by Marvel.) Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige said the original portrayal in comics of The Ancient One was stereotypical, so they wanted to move away from that.

Here’s an idea: Maybe we can have non-stereotypical Asian characters?

Festival Season Is Starting

Last week we told you about the AfroPunk Fest: Brooklyn lineup — and now we can bring you both the Bumbershoot lineup and AfroPunk Fest: Paris!

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Death Cab For Cutie will be headlining Bumbershoot, Seattle, Washington’s yearly music and arts fest. Other bands playing include: Tame Impala, G-Eazy, Tyler The Creator, Third Eye Blind and comedians Ron Funches, Kate Berlant and Nick Thune.

Bumbershoot, Macklemore, Death Cab For Cutie, Ron Funches

As for AfroPunk Fest: Paris, the headliners will be Cakes Da Killa, Angel Haze, Morcheeba and Saul Williams. There will also be sets from Alekasam, Project Black Pantera, Féfé, and more as they solidify the lineup.

AfroPunk Paris 2016, Saul Williams, Cakes Da Killa, Angel Haze

New Music This Week

— Rob Zombie’s newest album, The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser (whew) is out today.

— Indie-pop heroes Rogue Wave have their sixth album today, Delusions of Grand Fur.

— Grindmother, featuring a 67-year-old woman leading a Grindcore band, has their debut full-length, Age of Destruction — and it’s legit amazing.

— X’s John Doe is putting out a new solo album, The Westerner.

— A new compilation from Cherry Red, Another Splash Of Colour: New Psychedelia In Britain 1980-1985 comes out today.

— For Empire fans, Volume 2 of the Season two soundtrack is out today.

— Rock band Dark Palms is releasing their debut album, Hoxbar Ghost Town today.

— Petra Haden (of ’90s band that dog.) and Jesse Harris (of Norah Jones’ band) put out a collaborative album, Seemed Like A Good Idea.

— Alt-country stalwarts the Jayhawks are putting out Paging Mr. Proust.

— Non-alt-country stalwarts Lonestar are putting out Never Enders.

— Finally, ambient pioneer and rock legend Brian Eno’s newest album, The Ship, his first since 2012’s Lux, comes out today.