April 15, 2019
Empire Polo Ground, Indio, California
Grande closed the weekend with a Bang Bang, Pusha T brought dancing abominable snowmen, and Lizzo was a plus-size tonic
Coachella day three review: Ariana Grande on fire and Pusha T on an iceberg
The gold, fluorescent green and animal print that defines Coachella’s wardrobe gives way to a sea of pink and lavender: Ariana Grande’s disciples have arrived. The queen of relatability closes out the weekend, but not before another typically rich and cosmopolitan array of global pop.
Nigeria’s Burna Boy opens up the main stage in the festival’s best outfit: a frayed, spliced, sapeurs-worthy Burberry suit. His 12-piece band strengthen and deepen his exuberant Afropop, which sometimes touches on a reggae pulse from the other side of the Atlantic. He warms the mood only for Pusha T to freeze it. The rapper appears atop an iceberg, flanked by dancing abominable snowmen and backed by footage of exploding powder, all of it extremely blatant symbolism for cocaine. Pusha is admirably on point, laying out his lyrics with the nerdish care of a domino player. The same can’t be said for fellow rapper Rico Nasty, who lets her backing track do most of the heavy lifting, occasionally rapping along slightly out of time, as if having an argument with herself. This chaotic-evil style does admittedly chime with her magnificently all-fucks-taken life essence, but it is ultimately hard to absorb.
Another rapper, Lizzo, earns one of the most rapturous crowds of the weekend, and for good reason. Not only can she rap like a Baltimore club MC, sing like Aretha and play the flute to a remarkably high standard, she is also a vociferous champion for body positivity, frequently telling the crowd things like “when you love yourself you’re never lonely”. Proudly twerking in a high-cut, silver-sequinned thong bodysuit, she is a really valuable tonic at a festival seemingly set up to fetishise a curvaceous-yet-slim female body that only the genetically blessed or doggedly determined will get close to. It’s telling that a large portion of Lizzo’s crowd is gay, fellow refugees from a mainstream culture that, despite its rainbow bracelets and plus-sized models, is still often hostile towards them.
Coachella day three review: Ariana Grande on fire and Pusha T on an iceberg
The day’s other notable rap performance is from local boy YG, typically dapper in a waistcoat and commanding a vast crowd over the snap and click of DJ Mustard’s productions. He leads a powerful moment of silent contemplation for his close peer Nipsey Hussle, before performing their collaboration Fuck Donald Trump, still bracing for its Ronseal frankness.
After the insane kitsch of EDM star Zedd – proof, like so often at Coachella, that Americans can’t resist a comedy wobbling bassline – Gesaffelstein lays down stern, focused electro from behind an unsmiling metal mask. It’s a shame the Weeknd doesn’t turn up to guest on Lost in the Fire, but the French producer’s strongest tracks aren’t vocal-driven anyway; instead, it’s as if giant clattering machinery is rotovating the audience to life.
R&B star HER and Dev Hynes’ Blood Orange later bring gospel intensity to the second stage, but teeing up Ariana more directly are Perfume, a joyously OTT J-pop trio, and Scottish electro-poppers Chvrches, whose singer Lauren Mayberry counters the banal emotional bromides of so much US stage banter with tales of wet wipes and questioning “what does Coachella even mean” after Beyoncé aced the 2018 edition of the festival. They have a special guest in Marshmello, though given that he performs with a bucket on his head, it could have been any old random.
Coachella day three review: Ariana Grande on fire and Pusha T on an iceberg
The guestlist for Grande, meanwhile, is positively rammed: within 10 minutes she has very unexpectedly introduced ’NSync, who perform Tearin’ Up My Heart with Grande filling in for Justin Timberlake. Break Your Heart Right Back segues into the similarly Diana Ross-sampling Mo Money Mo Problems, ably performed by Diddy and Mase. Less successful are two Nicki Minaj guest tracks, Side to Side and Bang Bang, hampered by a bad mic.
t’s not the only wobble – poor timekeeping means Grande has to canter through the climactic A-grade material of Break Free, No Tears Left to Cry and Thank U, Next, having inexplicably made room earlier for lesser tracks like Goodnight N Go, and leaving little audience chatter. But her set is often excellent, particularly Dangerous Woman, given a slow, sensual, heavy-metal treatment.
With her headline set surveying her entire career, her work forms a fascinating, still-unfolding pop Bildungsroman: every sexual epiphany and personal milestone sketched out in real time, resulting in a uniquely involving opus. You can see why she is such an icon to a generation who also tell their own stories in public, via Snapchat and Instagram.
Fireworks herald the end of her set and indeed the first Coachella weekend, with a Groundhog-like repetition to follow next week. The pouting selfies at every turn make it easy to lampoon, but it is hard to imagine a more good-natured crowd – jocks apologise like cringing courtiers if they even slightly graze you – or a festival with a better setting or production values. Coachella has secured its #bestlife hashtags for another year.
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Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
Jan 02, 2024
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
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NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
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The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
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