Over the years, many hip-hop stars have died far too young from health causes: Phife Dawg aka “the funky diabetic” from Type 1 diabetes; Big Pun from a heart attack; and Craig Mack from heart failure. According to studies, Black Americans are almost twice as likely to get diabetes as non-hispanic whites. And while there are endless structural reasons why health outcomes might differ across racial lines, Dr. Ietef “DJ Cavem” Vita is a rapper, chef, and gardener trying to make a dent in them. Vita makes what he calls eco hip-hop, which addresses sustainability, food justice, and climate change through a hip-hop lens. To him, “it's no different to being a gangster—we just repping the hood a different way.”
Drag as an art form is a global phenomenon and worldwide industry. Queens are now celebrities, with shows like RuPaul’s Drag Race beamed into households across the world. But people with learning disabilities have remained largely shut out of the world of drag. Drag Syndrome—a new drag show featuring drag queens and kings, all of whom have Down’s syndrome—looks to change that.
What do country music, RuPaul’s Drag Race, 16 strips of fake eyelashes and Milwaukee have in common? Trixie Mattel! From the moment Trixie Mattel walked into the Werk Room on season 7 of Drag Race, she exuded charisma and charm. Although Trixie was eliminated early in the competition in episode 4, she became a fan favorite and was brought back in episode 8 only to be eliminated once again in episode 10. Trixie’s rise to the top didn’t end there, she went on to star with fellow season 7 alum Katya in Viceland’s The Trixie & Katya Show, where they delve into a single topic like sex, money, spirituality, and the internet. This year, Trixie returned to Drag Race to take the crown in All Stars Season 3.
The Afropunk Festival is more than a two-day festival; it’s a global movement. It’s a celebration of Black culture and a safe space for self-expression and activism through skate, music, film and art. The manifesto is “No sexism, no racism, no ableism, no ageism, no homophobia, no fatphobia, no transphobia, no hatefulness.” Cofounder Matthew Morgan’s stated, “Afropunk is for open-minded, forward-thinking, progressive people. We are not a genre of music — we’re a state of mind. If you’re gonna do something that has an impact, it’s important for us to be involved in something that helps to spark a dialogue that’s felt globally.”
Amanda Lepore’s childhood was far from the glitz and glamour that surrounds her today. Growing up, Amanda was bullied for being different from all her peers because although she was born a boy, her internal identity was female.
In her teens, Amanda started taking hormone therapy and underwent gender reassignment surgery that was paid for by her boyfriend’s father. She fled New Jersey and became a fixture on the New York City club scene in the early ’90s with the likes of Kabuki Starshine, Richie Rich, and Michael Alig (whose rise and fall was made into the feature film Party Monster). After meeting photographer David LaChapelle, Amanda Lepore became his muse, appearing in his cheeky, colorful photographs including the Amanda as Marilyn and Amanda as Andy Warhol’s Liz Taylor in his After Pop series.
La Luz is new to Los Angeles but not to the indie music scene. Formed in 2012 in Seattle, Washington, the band — made up of lead singer/guitarist Shana Cleveland, drummer Marion Li Pino, keyboardist Alice Sandahl and bassist Lena Simon — is popular among music critics. Their third full-length album, Floating Features, solidifies their place among the best indie rock bands. Read more...
The Paper Stars are a folk Americana band based out of Eldorado Springs, CO. Lead singer and guitarist Tres Altman’s rustic, and at times heartbreaking lyrics layer on top of an alt-country ensemble that is perfect for a road trip, cozying up by the campfire, or even just cracking open a beer on your porch while watching the world go by.
It’s only a matter of time until Strawberry Runners will be your new favorite band. Their cool, ambient-indie sound is so catchy and enjoyable to listen to that you’ll be telling all of your friends to check them out. But don’t be surprised if they’ve already heard of them because the Strawberry Runners are gaining well-deserved media attention faster than I can write this intro.
There’s something venomous about Snake Rattle Rattle Snake. The band name alone describes a sound that is alluring, hypnotizing and mesmerizing, all of which the group manages to deliver effortlessly.