By Mason Spector
WHAT'S GONE DOWN SO FAR IN MARCH?
Leaving Neverland: I had been hearing about this documentary since it premiered at Sundance, and you could just tell how it would shake the cultural conversation once it aired on HBO. Totaling 4 hours, split into two parts, (5 if you include the hour long Oprah special that followed) this doc is a real laborious viewing experience. The sheer run time is a commitment in and of itself, but its emotional toll makes watching it even more of an undertaking. While the main take away of Leaving Neverland has been whether or not Michael Jackson is "cancelled,"-- the internet and 2019's favorite buzz word-- I think it brings attention to a much greater issue that is getting overshadowed: child abuse, an obvious epidemic. Too many people are focusing on if it's kosher or not to play "Thriller" at a party, while the conversation should actually be shifted to a discourse on the real repercussions of child abuse on the victim. Too much of the conversation is about how much of a loss this news is to Michael as pop music's prodigy and how it threatens his musical canon, whereas the focus should be on the accused behavior at hand. According to the Children’s Assessment Center, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men were sexually abused before the age of 18. I was floored when I read that. So often, kids don’t even know that they are being abused and they are therefore unable to register the abuse until much later in life. As we continue to learn more about celebrity predators, we need to keep the conversation focused on what exactly is being done, not just who is doing them. We need to remove them from their pedestal and weigh their actions as humans and not gods.
Solange – When I Get Home: I always joke with my friends about a fantasy music team, or which artists we wish would work together on a roster. Solange went out and made fantasy a reality. To think about Solange, Pharrell, Dev Hynes, Tyler the Creator, Gucci Mane, Steve Lacy, Earl Sweatshirt, Metro Boomin, Sampha & Playboi Carti, all on an album together that's under 39 minutes long, almost sounds too good to be true. I had insanely high expectations for this album after A Seat At The Table, rightfully so, but When I Get Home far exceeded what I had in mind. I had always regarded Solange as an exceptional talent and one of the few artists who I feel has real intention behind everything she does. It's especially hard for her to stand out from her powerhouse sister, but she manages to do so, gracefully, with a distinct spirit and aesthetic that is different from Bey's. And this new album has really catapulted her into a whole other echelon for me. It is nearly impossible to make a classic album, but to follow that up with another classic is something that I have only seen done a handful of times. It's also difficult to evolve your sound as an artist and not make an exact replica of something that was a success, but she doesn't fall into this trap either. Barring Kevin Parker being able to strike lightning twice, this will be my AOY hands down.
Lakers: With less than 20 games to go in the regular season, the Lakers are the 10 seed in the west and are nearly 5 games behind the Clippers and the 8th seed. While they technically aren’t yet eliminated from playoff contention, the team announced that both Ingram and Ball are shut down for the season and LeBron will be on a minutes restriction for the remainder of the year. Even the feel good story of last season Andre Ingram has been called up. The white flag has officially been waved. I kind of agree with the move. At this point a higher draft pick and a sweeter deal for AD beats getting swept by the warriors in the first round. With that being said this season has still been a huge disappointment. LeBron hasn’t missed the playoffs or been on an under .500 team in over a decade. But even more depressing, no team in the entire league has lost as many games as the Lakers in the last 6 seasons. So who is really to blame here? I read a report earlier this week that people within the Lakers organization wanted to re-sign Brook Lopez and Julius Randle who are both having exceptional years. Magic and Rob opted to go with Lance/Javale/Beasley instead. While I have no doubt been questioning they’re ability to assemble a team, I have also been thinking about the kings involvement in all of this. It’s been clear for some time now that LeBron basically has the full authority to curate both his teammates as well as his coaching staff, so surely he must have approved all the acquisitions made last summer. I don’t think anyone expected the Lakers to make the finals this year, but certainly no one expected this. It really seems like this summer will be the make it or break it of the final chapter of LeBron’s legacy.