- Words Notion Staff
Rated Reads shares our pick of the best articles from around the web. This week: why Twilight is making a comeback and a groundbreaking documentary, Summer of Soul.
Remember that time, more than ten years ago now, when everyone had their nose buried in Full Moon and were busy debating Bella Swan’s relationships? Well, it seems we have entered phase two of Twilight fandom. Author Stephanie Meyer announcing the long-anticipated arrival of the fifth book Midnight Sun resulted in a splurge of Twilight TikTok videos.
“Brody [Wellmaker], despite his huge popularity on TikTok, only joined the platform earlier this year. But just five months on, he already has one million followers. ‘My friends at work – I’m a bartender – joke that I’m TikTok famous but I don’t think I am,’ he says. ‘Anyone can get a huge following. If you find a niche that works for you then you’ve cracked it.’ And for Brody — and many other creators — that niche is moody teenage vampires.”
Even inspiring many to head to Forks where part of Twilight was filmed, it seems the fan frenzy will not be cooling off anytime soon.
Summer of Soul, or The Revolution Could Not Be Televised ironically hasn’t seen the light of day for fifty years. Featuring treasured footage of Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Sly, and more, the documentary captures the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, a pivotal moment for music.
Eileen Jones writes: “The richness of the black music tradition in America is almost overwhelmingly expansive, encompassing blues, jazz, gospel, pop, rock, funk — and the global influences are so vast — that a sixty-part concert series could hardly have covered it.”
“The Black Panthers provided security, sidelining the police force. With a mostly black audience of up to three hundred thousand — young and old, elderly gents in sleek suits and hats and young hipsters in glorious afros and tight, low-cut jeans, and so many children, whole families there, some people sitting in the trees to get a better view — this epic event seems made to be remembered.”
Ahead of Giselle Bailey and Nneka Onuorah’s HBO documentary The Legend of the Underground, about queer life in Nigeria and the prejudice the LGBTQ+ community face, Vincent Desmond chats with the filmmakers.
“The documentary follows two close-knit groups, starting in New York with a man named Michael Ighodaro, who left Nigeria after a homophobic attack almost cost him an arm and who now advocates for the community he left in Nigeria; back in Lagos, we meet another group of young queer Nigerians. Chiefly among them is James Brown, a young man who had gone viral for being arrested alongside 56 other men on suspicion of being gay.”
But there is also a lot of joy in The Legend of the Underground, from the undercover ballroom scene to shifting narratives driven by social media. “’I hope that the legacy of this film is that it shows that [queer people in Nigeria] are bold, and confident,’ Bailey says of her hopes for it. ‘And that our stories don’t always have to be negative and sad.'”
Mel Woods explains why Pokémon cards you might happen to have lying around are well worth hanging on to. “Last year, YouTuber Logan Paul bought one for $150,000,” Woods writes, “while rapper Logic reportedly paid $220,574 for the same version.”
Like Twilight, the pandemic and all the nostalgia it has fed has fuelled a renewed interest in the bygone anime. Woods explains the history of the cards from their invention, and investigates the psychological root of the massive boom in sales: “According to research by Le Moyne College psychologist Krystine Batcho, our attraction to the past increases during times of great instability or change—like, say, a global pandemic. She has found that people with greater propensities for nostalgia are better able to cope with adversity and turmoil.”
With a love of traditional East Asian processes, Meu Teng explains how painting becomes a form of entertainment
Combining a traditional Chinese painting style with Japanese and Korean influences, and a dash of goth and punk, Meu Teng has a very contemporary take on ages-old East Asian art.
The artist tells Jyni Ong about his creative method: “’Oriental paintings do not emphasise perspective, light and shadow. They pay more attention to freehand brushwork.’”
The result is eye-popping digital illustrations that you’ll not be able to take your eyes off.
The experimental Ireland-based artist Natalia Beylis talks to Jennifer Lucy Allan about her creative process – “her goal is not to conjure a particular feeling, but to explore how sight, hearing and place come can come together through language; to think about how words spoken and listened to can be a very visual medium” – and much more.
Moving from Ukraine to the US, to Ireland to the US, and back again, now settled in County Leitrim, the artist is inspired by the surrounding woodland which has been under siege in recent years.
Her music is eclectic, from “capturing idle backstage chat about how brilliant crisps are” (the “unruly sonic envelope of the crisp packets” has prevented Beylis from re-mastering the record for vinyl) to “cooking noises like popcorn popping”. We are certainly intrigued.
We’ve all been avidly following the developments on #FreeBritney, but here Roisin O’Connor looks at the wider trend of child stars biting back against the oppression they’ve literally faced for years.
She chats to Alyson Stoner and Meaghan Martin of Camp Rock about the issue: “’Beyond the psychological implications and commodifying your body – as a minor, remember – the industry also has a hierarchy of desirable and profitable qualities,’” explains Stoner.
O’Connor offers a whirlwind tour of the grimness of Disney’s child star experiences, from very adult working environments to disturbing attempts to curate an image of their actors’ infantilized innocence well past their childhood years.