Wednesday, October 29, 2014

"I am learning everyday to allow the space between where I am and where I want to be to inspire me, and not terrify me" Tracee Ellis Ross
I have been trudging through trying times of late, and I know I am not alone. Darkness seems to have engulfed me, and I struggle daily so hope is not lost. The world seems gloomier, and other people look far more prosperous.  Life has that funny way of reminding us that its not a smooth plane; its full of ups and downs. So I seek solace in the fact that this too shall pass. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and I may not get what I want but I will get what I deserve (which, as a Christian, I believe will be far greater than my wants and hopes).
"If you saw the size of the blessing coming, you would understand the magnitude of the battle you are fighting" Anon.
Shirt : Primark | Joni Jeans : Topshop | Bag : Warehouse | Watch : Guess
"Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out" 
Vaclav Havel
One definition of hope is "desire accompanied by expectation". I agree with that definition to a certain extent, but always believed hope was the marriage of that definition with some element of action. Hope cannot be based on inactivity, as that will be futile. But I am slowly learning that 'hope' is the atheist equivalent of a religious 'faith', and that requires supplication of one's burdens unto God.
"Courage is the choice to act in faith while fear is present" Anon
"By perseverance, the snail reached the Ark" Charles Spurgeon
It's hard because we live in a world that teaches us that our futures are within our autonomous control, and it is dependent on our level of proactivity, or ability to network, or the intuitive judgment of the individual. To a certain extent, all that is still required, but thankfully my faith allows me not to base my failures or flaws solely on myself, but view it as a bigger lesson leading me to a greater accomplishment...and THAT is hope.
"Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness" Desmond Tutu

Necklace : Abuja Arts & Crafts Market | Sandals : Enugu Market
"Always keep your head up because if its down you won't be able to see the blessings that have been placed in your life" Anon
Hope is the ray of sunshine that I now find beaming down at me; the realisation that life's trials and tribulations are Job-like lessons serving a greater purpose. Document them if you will, because they will serve as great dinner-table fables in years to come. I am choosing to never lose sight of the struggle so that I can truly appreciate the view at the summit. 
"To live without hope is to cease to live" Fyodor Dostoevsky
"Hope is tomorrow's veneer over today's disappointment" Evan Esar

Ray of Hope

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I was fortunate enough to be a guest of the NSPCC and Childline at a private pre-screening of The Judge starring Robert Downey Jr (RDJ), at The May Fair Hotel last week. The Judge chronicles the tale of a seemingly successful corporate lawyer, who is forced to leave his materialistic comforts of a glass house, sexy wife and thriving career in the city, to return to his small town hometown upon receipt of some tragic news. Aside from the melodramatic cross-examination, I believe it was a perfectly depicted family and courtroom drama that highlighted the flaws in humanity and the legal system. I left already placing it on my Top 3 legal films of all time, behind The Devil's Advocate and The Exorcism of Emily Rose. Without further adieu, its time for a thematic review in true BLEURGH style.
Blazer : Urban Outfitters | Shirt : TM Lewin | Trousers : Littlewoods | Chelsea Boots : Primark
TIME The Judge's strained relationship with his son following a tumultuous past, is heartbreaking and yet, hopeful. I'm sure there have been some, myself included, who have had difficult relationships with parents in the past (or present). At times, it feels never-ending. There is no light at the end of the tunnel in a heated exchange, and once those words have been spat out venomously it is even harder to retract. Allowing past demons to plague the relationship lands you nowhere but in the pit of regret, malice and anger. In order to truly move forward, one must decide to briefly visit the past but resolve to wipe the slate clean. Words and actions affect not only the parties involved, but put a strain on all connected parties such as siblings and partners, and its better in the grand scheme of things, to let peace reign. Time truly is the healer of all wounds, but active pursuit of a resolve within the time allotted to each of us is a better use of the ticking clock. 
PROJECTION The Judge is RDJ's titled father, who has earned the respect of his peers and those in the community, but lacks it from his son. This is the result of bad decision making in the past, and allowing pride to cloud one's judgment. Learning not to project your disappointments, feelings and insecurities on others is one of the greatest lessons in life. It gives you room to trust, to love and to grow as an individual. And it also helps to avoid resentment and hatred from either party. I was prone to projecting my insecurities on others, and judging them by my actions or thoughts. Once I learned to let each person earn my honest opinion of them based on their own actions, I learned a greater deal about humanity as a result. 
REDEMPTION As a christian, it is my core belief that once tainted, one can ask for redemption and be purified. This has enlightened my outlook on humanity, as I am less judgmental about one's character as a result of one act, trait or flaw. I do not believe we are all born and remain one way. I truly do think it is demeaning not to regard others as multi-dimensional characters; funny, smart, loyal, charismatic, etc. If we have sinned prior, and fallen short of His glory, there is still time and room for change. RDJ perfectly embodies this, as the end of the film shows him reckoning his past and present, with a new future that's brighter. 
"Sometimes you've got to forgive in order to be forgiven" The Judge

The Judge

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

I shut my trap when 'Partition' was released as a single and aired on daytime TV worldwide. I bit my tongue when 'Anaconda' broke Vevo records. However, I refuse to pipe down at the soft porn masked as 'pop music' that has infiltrated my screen in the shape of JLo's desperate climb back up the charts in her remix video with Iggy Azaelea for the Booty Remix. I watched her ENews interview, where she championed the rise of the 'booty' in the media, and prided herself for instilling confidence in women with that body shape. I don't knock that, neither will I commend that.
Dress & Turban : Ankara Tie-Dye BIY | Wedges : Primark
You see, women are brought up to pit themselves against each other (post coming soon), so with the rise of the booty comes the ridicule of those (like myself) who lack sufficient junk in the trunk. This is not a woe-is-me article, but dearie me am I sick to death of women's derrières blinding me as I innocently scroll down my social media feeds! I've raved and ranted about the patriarchal society being to blame for female objectification in the media. However, I control my social media account and the content I share on it. The women plastering their bare bottoms for the world to see are also autonomously choosing to do so. There's no PA snapping and sharing. There's no PR Agent sneakily leaking. So why are we, as women, succumbing to this meagre means of upward social mobility?
African Fashion Week, London (Kensington Olympia)
85% of music videos now feature some form of nudity. It should be shocking, but we're all so jaded that this seems like the norm; sex sells. I once remember closing my eyes whenever Bad Intentions came up on MTV Base (looking back, that was probably one of many clues that I'd grow up as a feminist, but I digress), badgering on about how it was unfair that the women were barely clothed, yet the men were decked out in Timberlands and triple layered Tee's. Now, I'm forced to question who is truly to blame? The male directors and artists who want to objectify women as sex objects? Or the women themselves for choosing to use their bodies as means of access into the world of fame and fortune?
Watch : Guess
I am not saying every woman should depend on their intellect to progress in life, because that creates a double standard as there are reputable male models who have done the same. Alas, these male models do not prance around set in schlong socks (a la TOWIE's Bobby Norris), but are cast as the male love interest dressed in fine wears. The closest we have gotten to seeing such, are artistically portrayed as alternative images like the pyramid in Brandy's 'What About Us?' back in the early Noughties. To conclude, the post and this blog has woken up. I no longer point the finger just at men for pedestalising this unrealistic body type and forcing women to endanger themselves undergoing unhealthy surgical procedures to enhance their lacklustre badunks. I also blame the women for choosing to base their slef-worth in their aesthetic appeal alone, and turning their backs (pun intended) on their true potential. 
The booty is beautiful, but so is the mind that crafted the garments to cover it. BLEURGH!!

Booty Beauty

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

My mother was a smart woman (and still is). Growing up, she would plan these excursions to culturally enriching places such as castles, museums and beaches, for my siblings and I. At the time, I found it all so tedious and tiresome, but now I've grown up I can see that she was enriching our subconscious intellect with cultural capital. Pierre Bourdieu (1973) defined it as non-financial assets that promote social mobility beyond economic means, and it is thought to be the reason why middle & upper class children achieve better than lower class counterparts in education, and later on in the professional world. Parents, by exposing their children to culturally enriching material, transmit the knowledge necessary for them to succeed in the big wide world.
Crop Top (in reverse) : Burju | Joni Jeans : Topshop | Bag : H&M
However, it isn't as abstract as one may think. Such capital takes the form of intellect, style of speech, and of course, physical appearance. Think back to the style of uniform a comprehensive pupil adorned in comparison to the private school kid; blazers, ties, shoes...all on a different grade. I speak all too frequently about gender inequality on BLEURGH, but our dear friend Kanye West was on to something in his infamous Kimmel interview, when he ranted about the world being discriminatory not based on one's race anymore, but one's class.  
Roman Baths, Bath
Living and working in Nigeria, earlier this year, exposed me to this 'classism' theory. Unlike the UK, a dominant percentage of the Nigerian population are indegenes and thus, the main means of differentiating individuals is based on class or culture. However, delving into the latter, class still takes a prominent seat in categorising individuals. What Yeezy was raving on about, is the equivalent happening in the free world. It seems he is only now being exposed to the truth that old money runs business, and in order to identify oneself with that culture, you must be equipped with it prior. I came to realise this hard fact in law school where I was thrust in an alien environment, schooling with oxbridge graduates and dining with silver-spooned-snobs. Thankfully, my earlier years basking in art and roaming through castle mazes amply stocked me with enough cultural capital to tap into in order to confidently work the room and fluently converse with the airs and graces necessary. You see, surviving in such a world goes beyond dressing the part (which Yeezy so flawlessly achieves) but speaking and, more importantly, BEING the part. 
Necklace : Dorothy Perkins | Watch : Guess | Sandals : Market (Enugu, Nigeria)
Unfortunately, cultural capital is not transmittible instantaneously, but must be acquired over time. This is why the lower class entrepreneurs who have made it big may initially struggle to network and mingle with the greats, as they aren't yet equipped with the cultural capital necessary to thrive in such environments. That is not to say all hope is lost. Look at the likes of Richard Branson or the Beckhams, for instance. Yeezy concludes that "the only luxury is time", and in time, once immersed in culturally enriching product and becoming linguistically fluent in it, one can be regarded as being akin to an upper-class counterpart. Why do you think Jigga is so infatuated with art and yachts?  There is hope for Blue Ivy yet...
The world is rich with culture, so immerse yourself in it and enrich your capital to thrive instead of living a life so woefully deprived that you're constantly forced to strive. BLEURGH

Yeezy Taught Me: Cultural Capital

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Happy Independence Day to my Nigerian readers! I thought it fitting to rave about my current obsession; Gidi Up. Gidi Up is an NdaniTV Nigerian-based TV/Web series chronicling the lives of four young Nigerians (Tokunbo, Eki, Obi and Yvonne) on their career, relationship and just general grind in Lagos.The title was snatched from Lagos' nickname, Las Gidi. And with the production quality rivalling scenic views of its American counterpart, Las Vegas, Gidi Up depicts an aesthetically beautiful Lagos that makes it so hard to look away. It is a far cry from its Nollywood counterparts, and much like An African City (post coming soon), it showcases a young Africa and the plight of those returning from diaspora or with a thirst for a better Africa, making the most of their circumstances to strive for a better tomorrow for Nigeria and themselves. Upon watching the Season 2 finale, I decided to draft a thematic review, in true BLEURGH enjoy.
Crop Top (BIY) : ZARA | Ankara Skirt : Designers' Market Place (Abuja)
Career: Gidi Up focuses on the grind up the career ladder of young 20-somethings, so you see the characters deal with status frustration, entity envy and sacrificing their morals for the mullah. I'm going through some of those same issues myself, and I have observed my friends and family experience the same. but remember, "you do not need to compromise your faith to find success" DeVon Franklin. I am slowly learning, as are the characters of Gidi Up, that the crawl up the career ladder cannot be achieved overnight. If it is, it can equally be dismantled as quickly as its foundation wasn't solid to begin with. Patience, persistence and prayer are the 3 P's I am choosing to live by, and it is my hope that standing firmly rooted in that, I can withstand the rejection, temptation and distractions that are sure to come my way as a result.
Nike Art Gallery @ Lekki (Lagos)
Tinubu Statue @ Marina (Lagos)
The New Afrika Shrine @ Ikeja (Lagos)
Love: All Gidi Up characters have been through their fair share of romance wahala. From aristo (post coming soon) stunting to unplanned pregnancies and date rape. We may not have all been there, but we are sure to know someone that has. I love how realistic the plot lines are. There is a clear steer away from the comical dramatics of Nollywood, and a focus on core issues affecting millennials in Nigeria.
Coral Necklace : Tejiosho Market (Lagos) | Heels : Dorothy Perkins
Familial Support: This is handled excellently as we all know that friends are the family we choose, and 20's is the age where you become life-captain, selecting the team to make the cut for eternity. Family is no longer who you were born into, but those you surround yourself with everyday. Their support, advice and respect is what you live to love each & everyday. Lack thereof is damaging, as can be seen through the demise of friendships and relationships in Gidi Up. Not to mention the age-old question of whether guys and girls can be just friends? That's tackled too.
Gidi Up - Where every dream, has a price. BLEURGH!

Gidi Up

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