“All the Stars” are Aligned for the Black Panther Soundtrack

I would argue that the last time a non-musical soundtrack became a bonafide sensation was Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? and that was in 2000. The soundtrack went 8 times platinum, won Album of the Year at the 2002 Grammys, and has become more popular than the film itself.

Soundtracks used to be an integral part of the movie experience, adding to the anticipation or the post-viewing coma. You’d buy the album the moment it was released to get you excited for the movie, go see the movie opening weekend, then obsess over the album some more after you watched.

For some reason, that experience has vanished, mostly because we consume music in new and innovative ways. We are in a single-based music industry now, and because of this studios don’t find that creating a perfect soundtrack is as beneficial to create “buzz” around their film as much as one song can. Look at the Hunger Games franchise: We received soundtracks, but they were never as buzzy as one song from each (“Safe and Sound” for the OG film and “The Hanging Tree” from Mockingjay Part 1, which became an accidental smash.)

Luckily, Disney is helping revitalize the dying soundtrack genre by bringing Kendrick Lamar, the biggest male rapper in the world right now, to produce and personally curate the Black Panther soundtrack. I was stunned when I read the headline, ’cause that is a HUGE get.

It shows the power of the representation. When you have a black superhero, in addition to some strong kicka** black women, the community you are representing is going to lift you up and deliver the results you want to see. Kendrick, one of the biggest and most sought after stars today, will create a soundtrack because he wants to support the representation and his community. It’s common sense, and for some reason, entertainment companies still don’t get it. I mean, just look at this video Ava DuVernay tweeted out the other day:

THAT is the power of representation. THAT is the power of creating heros that represent all people, not just straight white men. THAT is the power of visibility. Ugh, the video makes me so happy. ANYWHO, back to music…

With the announcement came the release of the first single off the album, “All the Stars” sung by Kendrick Lamar and SZA (who is quickly becoming one of my favorite artists right now). This song is…how do I put this eloquently? Everything. It is everything. It is serving up an ethereal trip to another dimension by way of Wakanda purity realness. SZA’s voice on the track gives me chills. CHILLS, I SAY!

If this is the tone and mood we have to look forward to on this soundtrack, it’s going to become the Album of the Year, I can guarantee it. I was already stoked for Black Panther, even as a non-superhero fan, because of how crazy good it looks (and my queen, Lupita Nyong’o), but this soundtrack is getting me even more excited.

Be sure to check out “All the Stars” on Apple Music or wherever you listen and to go see Black Panther when it heads to theaters on February 16th.

 

“Star Wars: Forces of Destiny” Debuts Galactic Feminism

The first in a series of Star Wars shorts was just released and it is two minutes and forty-eight seconds of pure joy. The new Star Wars: Forces of Destiny shorts will follow the various kick butt women of the Star Wars universe in small stories that take place within their respective timelines.

“Sands of Jakku” was just released on Disney’s YouTube channel and it follows Rey soon after meeting BB-8. The story is simple, but shows the true character of Rey. She is swift, smart, and solicitous. Take a look below at the first short.

Daisy Ridley reprised her role for the short, which was great. The animation style is rather simple, but I adored how you could see everything in her eyes. She cares about everyone, from droids to monsters. How can you not love Rey?!

The series will follow other powerful Star Wars females, like Jyn Erso (from Rogue One),¬†Ahsoka Tano (from The Clone Wars and, more importantly, voiced by Muffy from That’s So Raven), and¬†Padme Amidala (from the prequels).

I am openly not a huge Star Wars fan. I really enjoyed The Force Awakens, but everything else I’ve seen just isn’t my cup of tea. However, give me some small doses of animation, sprinkle in a gorgeous title card (narrated by my queen, Lupita Nyong’o, no less), and some female empowerment and I am all in.

These will be slowly released online and will be also airing on Disney Channel. I’m excited for more and looking forward to more girls seeing heroes that look like them. May the Force Be With You.