Zoe Kravitz for I-D Magazine Fall 2019
The actor, musician and model talks to i-D about Big Little Lies and her latest project, a reimagining of High Fidelity where she plays the lead.
Work and culture are the tandems of human experience: we work to burden our lives with purpose, and use culture to unpack this load into senses of being. But how do you pace yourself in a world that demands constant newness? “Sometimes we need to take a step back, remember that we are here and that we won’t be here for long,” Zoë Kravitz begins. “If we only think about work, then we are missing the point.” For Zoë, slowing down and taking in life is integral to a healthy creative practice. Taking a moment to just live is vital in developing our understanding of our relationship with ourselves, each other and our connection with culture.
But she lives a busy life; as well as acting her career encompasses being an ambassador for YSL beauty, modelling, singing, scriptwriting and producing. She has (to date) been in 28 movies. Most recently she wrapped up the second series of HBO’s award winning Big Little Lies. But there is also a wholesomeness to Zoë’s energy. She lives in a low key apartment in Brooklyn, has a dry sense of humour, a witty Instagram feed and shows a fond public affection for her parents. She recently married fellow actor Karl Glusman at Lenny’s house in Paris.
When we talk she is on a break from filming her latest project, a serialised adaptation of Nick Hornby’s classic 1995 novel High Fidelity. She is playing the lead role, which has subverted the novel’s male perspective into a female one. Rob is now Robin but still a thirtysomething record store owner obsessively immersed in the world of pop culture and pop music and unable to be fully present in reality. The premise feels more relevant than ever.
The series should provide a much needed mediation on the intersection of culture with human relationships in our digital world. We now live among the algorithms and the looping cultural echo chambers they have created; cyber curations that point us in the direction of what films we should watch, the music we should listen to and the friends we should have.
Rob, famously, tries to bring order to a chaotic world by compulsively listing everything into top five playlists. Although the way we consume culture has drastically changed since the mid-90s, when the novel was written, it is a potent reminder of how we use popular culture to rationalise our senses of reality (by the way, Zoë’s own top five songs for defining the time we live in are Nina Simone’s 22nd Century, William Onyeabor’s Atomic Bomb, Ike and Tina Turner’s Workin’ Together and David Bowie’s It Ain’t Easy). “Art or music becomes our best friend,” Zoë says, “but it is easy to become stuck in a rut – like all I have is this music, or all I have is this art.”
“We need to be able to laugh at ourselves,” Zoë says. “We need to spend more time observing the ironic nature of just being alive.” This is partly what she wants to bring to the script writing process of High Fidelity, which will also be Zoë’s first credit as executive producer. The 2000 film version, which starred John Cusack in the lead role alongside Zoë’s mum Lisa, moved the action from Nick Hornby’s London to Chicago, but removed all of the book’s mentions of Black American music. And despite being set in Chicago, failed to include any cultural references that pointed towards the city’s house and techno scene. It is a reminder that nostalgia for pop culture should come with an eye on the origins and authenticity of the narratives we draw on.
This time the series is set in New York, and through a collaborative female-led effort will represent a far more diverse reality. “Collaboration and compromise is an art form in itself,” Zoë says. “It is really hard, but it is about finding that balance, it is about knowing when to back down and when to fight for something that you see is really worth fighting for.”
Culture ultimately is our relationship to the world. A way of communicating different perspectives, exploring alternate presents and possible futures. Few have experienced the power of culture as uniquely as Zoë. Her father is rock musician Lenny Kravitz, her mum is the actress Lisa Bonet. Less well known, is that her grandma was Roxie Roker, the first actress to portray an interracial marriage on American TV, as Helen Willis in 70s sitcom The Jeffersons. “My family is very loving,” Zoë says. “When I was growing up they always asked me questions about what kind of person I wanted to be, what kind of art I wanted to make.”
And for the past decade that “art” has seen Zoë carving out new cultural narratives for how a woman and a woman of colour can be perceived in film. Regardless of her surname, this is no easy feat. Only 2.5 per cent of the speaking characters were black in last year’s 100 highest grossing films.
“I’m guided by my intuition,” Zoë says. “But I do say no to stories that don’t seem truthful, like when I felt I didn’t want to portray women, or brown women in that way.” This consideration towards representing truthful female perspectives on screen since her 2007 debut in No Reservations has gradually bloomed into a variety of bigger roles. From her compelling performance as the bullied teenager Sweetness O’Hara in the indie flick Yelling to the Sky, to playing Leta Lestrange, the biggest role for a person of colour in the history of the Harry Potter franchise (for the Fantastic Beasts series) and giving a riveting performance as Bonnie in the Big Little Lies.
Bonnie has tattoos, waist length braids and is the only young black mum among the slew of older mothers in the white and affluent area of Monterery, California. She is also married to Nathan (James Tupper), the white and affluent ex-husband of the area’s Queen Bee, Madeline, played by Reese Witherspoon. Despite these circumstances, Bonnie’s race is never acknowledged, either by the other white characters, or really by Bonnie herself. Bonnie exists how a lot of black women do in predominantly white spaces; she emits chill vibes to placate white fear, and is eroticised by the other husbands of the area. Perhaps drawing on her own experience, Zoë brings a flawless emotional depth and compelling persona to Bonnie. Zoë’s talent lies in just that, in her ability to show the depth of female performances, create characters that push out of the confines of stereotypes and into new challenging spaces. The issue is that, despite there being more faces visible within popular culture, the connections that can be made by the audience are short circuited by scripts that deny complex and intuitive narratives. “For some people diversity is a trend,” Zoë says. “But for others it is a lived reality.”
Part of expressing this lived reality has been through Zoë’s ongoing journey in accepting her curly hair. “I always felt like I had to change my hair in order to be accepted, or get work,” she says. In the past few years the natural hair movement has started confronting centuries of stigma. The biggest mark of this has come from new legislation put in place by the states of New York and California, outlawing work-based hair discrimination. “It has been great learning how to love my hair,” Zoë says. “By not putting a bunch of chemicals in it and realising that I can look how I want to look.”
Although much ground has been gained, we’re still having to contend with certain black hair types not being “acceptable” in certain social situations. In recent years, Zoë has been turning up on the red carpet with a variety of different styles – from a six-inch high braided beehive, to flowing box braids and willowy faux locks. Each time Zoë turns out another style, it’s another step in normalising the presence of black hair. This doesn’t only happen in spaces of predominantly white privilege, but most importantly it is seen by black people, whose hair has for so long been portrayed as an abnormality. “I just think I have a responsibility to be myself,” Zoë says. “I always say that it is not to inspire more people to be like me, but to be more like themselves.”
#RHOA: Ya Girl Phaedra is headed back to TV Just not back to RHOA! Instead she will be headed to ‘Marriage Boot Camp’
Kandi can relax now. Phaedra Parks is jumping back into reality TV, but instead of sniping at housewives she’ll be sniping at her BF on “Marriage Boot Camp.”
Sources close to production tell TMZ … Phaedra’s already started shooting episodes. She’ll be featured with actor Medina Islam, who she’s been dating for several months.
We’re told Phaedra and Medina’s issues center around her desire to move from Atlanta to Los Angeles with her kids, so she can be closer to Medina. You get the picture … are they ready to shack up together, and what’s the next step in their relationship?
Phaedra hasn’t had a regular TV gig since her long run on ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’ came to an end. As we first reported, she was booted from ‘RHOA’ after season 9.
Phaedra told us she had no desire to return to ‘RHOA’ after getting the axe. Seems she was just waiting for the right offer, and ‘MBC’ fit the bill.
#Empire: After Empire Terrence Howard says I’m DONE with acting!
Say it ain’t so Lucious! While we are watching the final season of Power, another staple in the Hip-Hop community, Empire, will reach its television end. The new season begins on September 24 and the stars of the series are expressing how much they miss Jussie Smollett on set.
Earlier this year, Smollett was dismissed from the series following his Chicago assault incident, which was labeled a hoax by local authorities. Sitting with Extra, Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard detail how his void is impacting the series.
“I miss him, just like any mother misses a child,” Henson said. “He’s definitely missed.”
“It hurts. It’s like losing a son, but it’s nice not having all of the media circus around regarding all of the things that took place,” Howard added.
Howard would go on to share another piece of information that will interest fans of his work as he states he will be done with acting.
“Oh, I’m done with acting. I’m done pretending,” he revealed. “I’m just focused on bringing truth to the world.”
#NewMusic from Black Coffee & Usher They Join Musical Forces On the new song ‘LaLaLa’
Usher is known for sweet R&B grooves and dance moves. Black Coffee is known for downtempo house beats that make us move our feet. So what happens when these two fellas’ world’s collide? We get an unexpected collaboration like the recently dropped “LaLaLa.”Actually, the collaboration isn’t all that unexpected. The two first joined forces for a joint performance at last year’s Global Citizen festival. That moment sparked a vibe, with Black Coffee actually sharing a video to social of them listening to this very track. Speaking of, the song is very much what you’d expect it to be. Black Coffee laces the track with a warm, ambient groove with synths that ping-pong back and forth.
He matches that with a funky rhythm guitar and hypnotizing drums that draw you further into the groove. Usher plays well within the setting, crafting a story of him yearning for the affections of a former flame he hopes to ignite with once more. He switches from wanting a “likkle wine” with her on the dancefloor to wanting to get her between the sheets with a sly sex appeal that’s been missing from his recent work (like last year’s Zaytoven collab “A”), if we’re being honest. In fact, the only drawback about “LaLaLa” is that it sounds more like an Usher track produced by Black Coffee than an honest to goodness joint effort. And who can be mad at such a minor quibble?
Rumor has it that this is just the tip of the iceberg that is a full-on collaborative project between Usher and Black Coffee.
#NewHipHop from Post Malone Goes Full-Blown Cinematic W/ New Saint-Tropez Video
Texas hip-hop artist Post Malone is keeping the attention on his new Hollywood’s Bleeding album release. The Southern musician has blessed fans with his new “Saint-Tropez” video premiere.
Rihanna Talks New Album, Lizzo, & Super Bowl Halftime Show
Rihanna earned rave reviews as she debuted her Fall/Winter 2019 Savage x Fenty collection during a star-studded show at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on Tuesday night.
During a rare interview with “Entertainment Tonight,” the multi-tasking mogul revealed just how hands on she is with the lingerie line. “I’m too involved. I want a break,” she laughed. “But I’m a control freak so I do everything, I see everything… Yeah, it’s a lot of work, but it’s the only way that you can preserve a brand that you start from scratch.”
Rihanna has made sure the intimates collection is inclusive of women of all shapes and sizes. “Now we cannot neglect those consumers,” she said. “That consumer is one that’s been neglected before and I’m not gonna let that happen here.”
She also once again praised Lizzo for being comfortable in her own skin. “I love Lizzo, she’s so badass,” said Rihanna, while revealing that she’s down for a collaboration with the “Truth Hurts” hitmaker. “I would collaborate with her on the lights for this interview right now. Lizzo is so badass and she’s everything that Savage stands for—a confident woman, no matter what size, color, shape, your attitude is what makes you Savage.”
And of course, the conversation eventually turned to her long-awaited ninth album, but Rihanna wasn’t about to spill any details. “I’m busy, I’m a confident woman so whatever I do, it’s gonna be confident, whether it’s the album, perfume, lingerie, makeup, or fashion,” she said, telling her fans that the wait is not over yet. “Y’all gon’ have to wait, Navy, I’m so sorry.”
There have been rumors that Rihanna will perform at the Super Bowl Halftime Show following Roc Nation’s partnership with the NFL. But that’s apparently news to RiRi. “Actually this is my first time hearing about the Super Bowl since last Super Bowl,” she said, adding, “Girl, I still got an album to finish.”
Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty show will stream live on Amazon Prime Video on Sept. 20 with performances from Big Sean, Migos, Fabolous, Fat Joe, DJ Khaled, and Tierra Whack.
Kevin Hart released from hospital after spine-breaking car crash
Kevin Hart was released from a California hospital on Wednesday, about 10 days after he reportedly fractured his spine in three places in a car crash, a report said.
The “Night School” actor is now in a live-in rehab facility and is completing physical therapy, TMZ reported, citing a source with direct knowledge of the situation.
He’ll be in the rehab facility for at least a week, the gossip site reported.
Hart, 40, was severely injured in the early morning smash-up on Sept. 1 in Malibu Hills.
His friend, 28-year-old Jared Black, was behind the wheel of Hart’s 1970 Plymouth Barracuda when it veered off winding Mulholland Highway, crashed through a wooden fence and plunged down a gully at about 1 a.m.
Hart’s friend and co-star Tiffany Haddish told Entertainment Tonight a week after the crash that he regained his ability to walk, but sources told TMZ he remained in “excruciating pain.”
Hart’s agent declined to comment.
Janet Jackson’s Ex, Wissam Al Mana Demands Removal of Son’s Photos From All Blogs!
Janet Jackson’s disgruntled ex-husband, Wissam Al Mana.is going after bloggers byt mainly after Blogger Sandra Rose for posting pics of their child on her blog.
He insists the 2-year-old’s face should be pixelated even though there is no law in the United States that requires bloggers or publications to pixelate a baby’s face in photographs.
His lawyer insists this blog is under UK jurisdiction since Wissam can see her blog from London, where he lives.
“The publication of the Photographs is a gross invasion of Eissa’s privacy for which there is no justification,” his lawyer writes. “The only reason for publishing unpixelated photographs of our client’s son is the notoriety of Ms Jackson. But for that notoriety, you would not be publishing photographs of an infant in the circumstances depicted in the Photos.”
A quick Google search brings up thousands of unpixelated images of Eissa Al Mana on thousands of blogs in America.
LaShawn Daniels Has been Laid To Rest: Tasha Cobbs, PJ Morton & Israel Houghton Gave Musical Tributes!
Friends and family of Grammy award-winning songwriter/producer – LaShawn “Big Shiz” Daniels – gathered to lay him to rest yesterday (9/10/10) in Charlotte, NC. The private ceremony was restricted to friends and family of the hit maker, tragically killed in a car accident last week.
While no media was granted access to Lashawn’s funeral, the service was a star-studded affair. According to the program, words of reflection were given by Pastor John Gray, with musical tributes given by Tasha Cobbs Leonard, PJ Morton, and Israel Houghton. Friends in attendance, such as Michelle Williams, Rodney Jerkins, and Warryn and Erica Campbell – shared their all-white tributes to their fallen angel on Instagram.
Our thoughts and prayers are with April Daniels and the friends and family of LaShawn Daniels.
NFL Player Chris Smith’s Girlfriend Killed In Car Accident In Cleveland
Petara Cordero, the girlfriend of Cleveland Browns defensive end Chris Smith, was killed Wednesday morning, the team announced.
The two were on a highway in Cleveland when Smith pulled over his 2019 Lamborghini after a tire malfunction caused the two to hit a median. Cordero, who was a passenger in the car, then exited the vehicle and stood to the shoulder. That’s when a car, driven by a 47-year-old woman, crashed into the car, subsequently hitting and killing Cordero, according to NBC Sports.
According to a Cleveland police report provided by the Browns, Cordero was transported to Fairview Hospital and pronounced dead.
The police said the other driver admitted to drinking. However, as of yet, no charges have been filed, and toxicology reports are pending, according to ESPN.
Police say Smith was not impaired or injured. However, the couple had just had a daughter together last month.
The Browns held a team meeting Wednesday morning to tell the players following the unfortunate news.
“Words cannot describe the sorrow we feel for Chris following the loss of his girlfriend, Petara,” Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam said in a statement. “Our entire organization mourns with Chris, his family, and the Cordero family. We will do everything possible to offer them our support, comfort, and any resources in this most difficult time.”
Viola Davis Is The Newest Face Of L’Oréal Paris!
Who says you’re not FAB at 50?! Viola Davis is the new brand ambassador for L’Oréal Paris, and rightfully so.
At the age of 54, the award winning actress, mom, wife and business woman is the most comfortable she’s been in her skin and it certainly shows.
“The self affirming words of, ‘Because I’m worth it’ have always given me chill bumps,” Viola captioned the first L’Oreal pictorial on Instagram. “What a joy it will be to not just say them over and over again…but to spread the message of worth to women around the world. It is a gift. #worthit #unstoppable #lorealparisfamily @lorealmakeup @lorealskin”
Yes you are! Congrats Queen!
TV Ratings: ‘Tamron Hall’ and ‘Kelly Clarkson Show,’ Post Strong Debuts!
Both “The Kelly Clarkson Show” and Tamron Hall’s self-titled talk show debuted to strong ratings in syndication this week.
The “American Idol” and “Voice” coach’s NBCUniversal show scored a 1.9 household metered market rating and a 6 share in the 56 metered markets, which represents the highest debut for a new syndicated show since 2012. Meanwhile Disney’s “Hall” posted a 1.4 household rating and a 5 share, a higher debut than any other talk show other than Clarkson’s in the last five years.
The market in which Clarkson’s show has performed strongest to date is Nashville, which is perhaps unsurprisingly given her strong musical roots and the fact that she currently lives there. The show scored a 5.97 household rating in that market on day 1, which climbed 7% to a 6.41 on day 2.
Clarkson was scheduled to have Kevin Hart as her first guest, however, the actor had to pull out due to the serious back injuries he sustained during a recent car accident. Hart’s regular co-star and collaborator Dwayne Johnson stepped in to replace him.
Hall’s show represents her first big gig since her departure from “Today” and NBC news. At ABC’s Television Critics Association summer tour in August, Hall was asked about whether the failure of Megyn Kelly’s show which replaced hers at NBC vindicated her and proved that NBC was wrong to remove her from the 9 a.m. time slot on “Today.”
“Megyn’s success or not, I already knew they made the wrong choice when I left the door,” Hall said. “I would never measure myself against her success or perceived lack thereof…..whether that show made it or not, I knew I was making the right decision for me.”
Halle Berry Has the Best Response for Commenter Who Says She Has the ‘Hands of a Construction Worker’
Laughing at herself! Halle Berry made light of an Instagram comment that called her out when she posted a photo of her hand.
“Today I was touched by an angel,” the actress, 53, captioned a pic of herself holding a butterfly on Monday, September 9. “#SpiritAnimal.”
Another Instagram user pointed out the weathered nature of her hand in the comments section, writing: “The hands of a construction worker.”
However, Berry did not take the remark as an insult. “I knew somebody was gonna crack on the [hand],” she replied on Tuesday, September 10, adding three laugh-cry emojis.
The Oscar winner opened up exclusively to Us Weekly in October 2018 about being in “the best shape of my life.” Her trainer, Peter Lee Thomas, revealed at the time that she alternates between yoga, boxing, cardio and weights five days a week. “She’s one of those special individuals who, even if she has one to two hours of sleep, she’ll get the work done,” he told Us. “It will take a lot for her to say, ‘Hey, I can’t train today.’”
Berry later detailed how she teaches her 5-year-old son, Maceo, about acceptance. “My job is to bring him down here [to the L.A. Pride Festival and Parade], let him experience the love, the unity and discover on his own what this is all about. I think that’s what my job is,” she explained exclusively to Us in June. “It’s not to mind-lead, it’s to lead an experience. [Maceo can] be who he is and make up his own mind and … develop his own sensibilities.”
The John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum star, who is also the mother of 11-year-old daughter Nahla, is glad she waited to enter the realm of parenthood too. “You’re so much more ready to be a parent after 40 than when you’re 20,” she told Us in May. “You know yourself better. You’ve done a lot of things for yourself, selfishly. When you wait later in life, you can really put your kids forward, I think, in a more meaningful way.”
Berry shares Maceo with ex-husband Olivier Martinez and Nahla with ex-boyfriend Gabriel Aubry.
Fantasia Disappoints Us All, Now Says Collab With Brandy & Jazmine Sullivan Will NOT Appear on Her Upcoming Album
Fantasia is out on the promo circuit hyping up her first independent album Sketchbook. While it’s already produced two singles, there’s one highly-anticipated track that didn’t make the final cut.
During one of her recent promo stops, Fantasia broke the unfortunate news that a previously-confirmed collaboration with Brandy and Jazmine Sullivan will not appear on Sketchbook. The decision to shelve the track was due to “industry politics.”
“It was something that I really wanted to happen; unfortunately, it did not go through,” Tasia said. “There’s politics to this…sometimes storms and test will come. But I’m used to the rain,” she added.
Back in April, Fantasia confirmed during an Instagram Live session that the Brandy, Jazmine collaboration would appear on the album, saying that they’re two of her favorite artists and wanted to musically experiment with them.
Sketchbook is Fantasia’s first effort as an independent artist, so it’s unclear why she wasn’t able to make the collab happen. However, a Brandy fan page says Brandy is not the reason the song was scratched from Tasia’s album.
Sketchbook is slated to be released in October.
Brandy also recently confirmed her next album will be released sometime in 2019, so maybe the unreleased track will find a spot there.
Wendy Williams Says She & Her Next Husband ‘Won’t Live In The Same House’
Wendy Williams has been spotted partying the summer away, but the soon to be divorced talk show host said she wants to settle down and get married again. Williams filed for divorce from Kevin Hunter, Sr. after his alleged mistress had his child earlier this year. Williams and Hunter were married for more than 20 years, and have son 19-year-old Kevin Hunter, Jr. together.
And while she’s back on the market, she said she wants to get back off again. She told Dr. Mehmet Oz on his daytime talk show,
“I say this all the time … I’m a wife. I’m not a girlfriend and I will get married again. There will be a prenuptial agreement, and by the way, Mehmet, we will not be living in the same house.”
She added that it would be a“marriage under new circumstances … “ She explained,“…Like, ‘All right. Let’s stay at your place tonight. Let’s stay at my place tonight … But … you buy the third place. How about that?’?” “I need a man with a full career and his own money and his own situation. I don’t want anything from you, except your love and respect. And, don’t ask anything of me, but love and respect.”
Williams said in a previous interview that she refuses to change diapers at this point in her life.
“Infidelity is one thing, a full baby is a whole ‘nother topic… A baby! I’m not changing pampers, I want to be pampered.”
“Most of my girlfriends have said, ‘You should have left him a long time ago.’ But here’s the thing, I’m not a selfish mom. And I’m a very plotative individual. I will plot on you. And that’s why I’m going into season 11, and he’s changing pampers.”
What are your thoughts on Wendy refusing to live with her second husband?
Michael Phelps & Wife Nicole Welcome Baby Boy Maverick
Michael Phelps and his soldiers stay swimming!
The Olympic Gold Medalist swimmer and his wife, Nicole, welcomed their third child, Maverick Nicolas Phelps, on September 9.
The proud parents too to social media to announce the birth of their baby boy.
Michael and Nicole are already proud parents to sons, Boomer and Beckett.
Congrats to the happy and ever-growing family!
Donald Trump Will Not Grant Temporary Protection For Bahamians Following Hurricane Dorian
Donald Trump will not grant temporary protection to Bahamians seeking refuge after the destruction caused by Hurricane Dorian.
Hurricane Dorian has destroyed several parts of the Bahamas, and now many islanders are looking to relocate to the States temporarily, but Trump isn’t allowing it, according to a senior administration official.
“The Bahamians impacted by Hurricane Dorian are facing a humanitarian crisis, and the American government, international partners and private organizations continue to support them with aid and services,” a White House official told CBS News. “At this time, we do not plan to invoke Temporary Protected Status for those currently in the United States.” He also added that some of the people who would temporarily move “could be bad people.”
The U.S. has previously granted TPS for people fleeing nations who were affected by large-scale natural disasters. The Trump administration has been trying to put an end to some of those status grants, trying to push the issue to courts. The act was established by Congress in 1990 and is intended to protect foreign nationals in the U.S. from being sent back to their native lands.
The United Nations estimates that the damage from the hurricane has left more than 70,000 people homeless. The death toll is also rising daily. But Trump says that if Bahamians want to enter the U.S., they will need to have “totally proper documentation.”
“I don’t want to allow people that weren’t supposed to be in the Bahamas to come into the United States including some very bad people,” the Trump told reporters on the White House South Lawn Tuesday.
AND FINALLY FROM “THE CRAZY PEOPLE SHOPPING AT WALMART” FILES
Like fireworks? Like hidden jokes about getting f*cked? Then boy do I have the store for you!
EGGPLANT NATION: Meet Papi
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HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND ALL!!!