Maggie Rogers On Giving Yourself Permission To Still Be Processing

By Sara Radin

Maggie Rogers was not prepared nor planning for fame. In fact, one could say it’s something that happened to her, all thanks to a viral video from 2016 of Pharrell Williams delightfully listening to her song “Alaska.” At that time, Rogers was a senior attending New York University’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, but found herself struggling with a period of writer’s block. In January 2019, she explained to The New York Times, “All my teachers were really frustrated with me.” Having spent time working for music journalist Lizzy Goodman and interning at publications such as Elle and Spin, Rogers contemplated a career in music journalism as a last resort.

“I’ve never heard anyone like you before,” Pharrell, then an NYU artist-in-residence, tells Rogers in the video. “That’s a drug for me.” The song she played for the famed musician that fateful day had only been drafted in 15 minutes but it still received millions of views and immediately thrust the singer-songwriter into the spotlight. Now, three years later, the folkie pop singer has released her debut album Heard It In a Past Life and gone on multiple tours (including one with Mumford & Sons), bringing her candescent, warm spirit to cities across the U.S. and U.K.

Yet despite her many accolades, sold-out shows, and hit singles, Rogers seems to present herself in a way that’s distinct from most pop stars today: Until recently she styled herself for all of her public appearances, she likes to shares bits of her process on social media, and has been incredibly open about the challenge of navigating virality you didn’t ask for and the highs and lows of being a public figure. In this way, she embodies a refreshing sense of approachability, making her feel almost within reach — like that friend of a friend you see out at parties sometimes who is always really kind and has cool style.

These days, as Rogers rises further into the spotlight, she remains humble and authentic, showing her fans that it’s OK to not have all the answers while also reminding them of their humanity in everything that she does. A few days before her big Coachella performance and three years after “Alaska” first spread like wildfire, the rising singer tells MTV News why she loves glitter, her latest self-care purchase — a pillow — and the importance of processing.

MTV News: I really appreciate how honest you’ve been about being unprepared for the spotlight and not having control over your song and story going viral. How did you work your way back to being yourself after going through that experience?

Maggie Rogers: I don’t know if it was coming back to being myself. I feel like I’ve been myself the whole time. It’s just think that every time you’re in a new situation you’re forced to work through new variables. The challenge for me was processing this intense amount of information and energy coming my way and then trying to really sit down and make decisions that felt like me. I had to take a second to validate everything I was feeling and give myself permission to feel all these things and then use that to fuel my art.

MTV News: Do you ever have any regrets over not being a music journalist?

Rogers: Not these days. When you’re super passionate about something you’re more willing to do all of the grunt work. You know, like, I’m so willing to live on a bus for my whole life because that means I get that one moment on stage or that one moment in the studio that totally fills me. I didn’t have that for journalism but it made me really appreciate what I had with music that much more. I still love writing, talking to other artists, and thinking about music and culture. That is very much a part of my life, my creative practice, and the way that I think about the world. [Journalism] is just not my primary passion. I feel really lucky and grateful that I get to make my primary passion my real life.

MTV News: How do you navigate long periods of writer’s block and do you have any tips for getting through it?

Rogers: I’ve always used music to tell me who I am in a singular moment and I’ve only had one long period of writer’s block in my life, which was when I was in college, when I moved from the super rural area in Maryland to New York City. Like most people in college, I just wasn’t really sure who I was. I was changing, and tried to take the time to notice that change. Now, whenever I’m having trouble with writing it usually has to do with my self-critic being too loud so I’ve made a lot of effort to try and separate the process of creating and editing because I think if you’re trying to edit as you’re making stuff, you’ll just end up getting in your own way.

MTV News: What kind of things do you do for your self-care when you’re on the road?

Rogers: Self-care is something I’m learning a lot about right now. I’ve been trying out different things on the road to feed my brain, my body and my soul. I spend a lot of time reading and try to make sure that I can get a little bit of alone time every day. I’ve always measured a good day as one where I can read, write, and run. Recently, I bought myself a pillow for the bus from Bed Bath & Beyond, and that’s been a game changer. I also invested in a Bluetooth speaker because I don’t know where my home really is right now, but wherever I am living, there’s always been a record player and I love having music around me.

MTV News: Do you have any weird or unexpected pre-concert or pre-tour rituals?

Rogers: Everybody wants to hear the weird stuff, but I just do normal things like a vocal warm up. I try and hydrate. I tell my band I love them. Oh, and then, I put some glitter on.

MTV News: You seem to really love glitter. Are you still styling yourself or public appearances and how do you decide what you want to wear for different performances?

Rogers: I just started working with a new stylist but she hasn’t styled me for anything publicly yet. Dressing for the stage is something I’m really still learning. I’ve been through periods of time where I’ve worn really elaborate, colorful costumes but a lot of that had to do with the fact that I was really scared and overwhelmed. Then I went to a place where I was wearing jeans and a t-shirt, but suddenly my daily clothes felt like a costume. So now I wear some kind of hybrid. It’s constantly evolving but I love being playful on stage. With glitter, it’s just so silly and there’s this sort of middle-school sleepover element that I like to incorporate into my stage life. It’s not everyday you get to be a pop star.

MTV News: In all of your music videos and the videos I’ve seen of you performing on stage it seems like you’re really letting go and that’s what your music inspires me to do for myself.

Rogers: Sometimes you just need to dance it out and physically move through things. It’s been special to see people at these shows really let go. Everyone knows what it’s like to feel sad and everybody is going through their own shit. And sometimes it’s just nice to be with a group of people together in a room and feel things at the same time.

MTV News: So how does it feel to be selling out venues you never dreamed you’d play at?

Rogers: It is very surreal. I’m very much still processing all of that. Everything is moving quickly but I’m so excited and grateful.

MTV News: What do you like most about being on tour?

Rogers: Touring is really hard. I mean, I live in a bus with 12 people and we have no real sleep schedule. But being able to see that moment at the end of the night where people are really radiating and moving through some things makes me feels like I’m doing some kind of energy work in the world and that is pretty fulfilling.

Brockhampton’s Kevin Abstract Stretches His Creative Fingers On Arizona Baby

Kevin Abstract is one of rap group BROCKHAMPTON‘s founding members. Fans have fallen in love with the way that his heavy voice floats on beats and how open and vulnerable he is about his personal life on wax. It’s always a joy when he graces the track with his unique brand of lyricism so his new release, ARIZONA baby brings triple the euphoria. Released today, his new project, based on recent teases, could be the first of three newly released bodies of work from Abstract or BROCKHAMPTON itself.

It’s often a cliche when someone says that no two songs of an artist sound the same, but when you listen to BROCKHAMPTON’s wildly theatrical music – that could be divided into genres within the hip-hop spectrum – it’s a fact. Abstract undoubtedly is a large reason for this, being that he’s the group’s frontman and public face. But this brief throng reinforces this creativity in the vast expanse of musical estate covered in its three songs, “Big Wheels,” “Joy Ride,” and “Georgia.” “Big Wheels” sounds like a nightmarish world of corded phones and slightly open closet doors in the dead of the night. “Joy Ride” is a drive through pink and orange skies on Mars during a scorching summer. “Georgia” is smooth, sexy and melodic, exposing a different side of the sharp-tongued emcee than we’ve seen previously. Each song is separate and doesn’t exist in the same world.

Abstract recently posted a mysterious picture to Instagram with three numbers: 11th, 18th, and 25th. It’s clear that since he released the project on April 11 that these two other dates will most likely correspond to release periods or announcements at the least. What’s coming next? More Abstract? Or more BROCKHAMPTON? They’ve been pretty quiet since last year’s iridescence

For the time being, avoid driving yourself into a frenzy over this speculation by listening to ARIZONA baby up above.

Lizzo Scored Ariana Grande’s Approval With Her Flawless ‘7 Rings’ Cover

At this point, we should probably just expect Lizzo to absolutely crush every single cover she attempts, right? Just one day after wowing the world with her emotional take on Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s “Shallow,” the “Juice” singer is back at it with her spin on one of the year’s biggest pop hits. That’d be Ariana Grande‘s flex anthem “7 rings,” which is pretty much a natural fit for the always-fabulous Lizzo.

Performing on Elvis Duran Live on Wednesday (April 10), Lizzo tweaked the lyrics to Ari’s chart-topping single to give it even more swag: “You like my hair? New weave, just bought it!” She even provided her own percussion while belting the final chorus and asserting, “I want it, I got it” with plenty of bite behind it.

After seeing the cover for herself, Grande shared her approval, writing on her Instagram Story, “this made my whole day. @lizzobeeating i love u so much.” Both artists are performing at Coachella this weekend, and you can bet Lizzo will be rocking along to “7 rings” when Ari takes the stage for her headlining set on Sunday night. It would only be right.

ScHoolboy Q And Travis Scott Are Impeccably Dressed Showmen In New ‘CHopstix’ Video

ScHoolboy Q‘s hypnotic new collab with Travis Scott, “CHopstix,” is something you’d probably expect to hear in a nightclub or a strip club. But for the track’s official video, released on Wednesday (April 10), Q subverted expectations by taking the opposite approach and getting sophisticated as hell.

The black-and-white, Nabil-directed vid opens on Q getting his shoes shined inside an ornate theater, sporting a P.T. Barnum-esque tuxedo. When he takes the stage in front of an equally formal crowd, Scott’s already there, wearing a coat with tails and conducting an orchestra alongside a choir and a troupe of ballet dancers. You’ve never seen Q and Scott put on a show this tame — it might be the only time someone in a top hat has ever said, “fuck so good, that’s talent” — and you probably never will again. Even more exciting, you get to hear what the track sounds like with some violins thrown in, which somehow works.

The “CHopstix” video follows ScHoolboy Q’s Elon Musk-trolling visual for “Numb Numb Juice,” which arrived late last month. Both singles are expected to appear on the TDE rapper’s long-awaited follow-up to 2016’s Blank Face, which he previously said is coming “very, very, very soon.”

Avicii’s First Posthumous Song, ‘SOS,’ Comes With A Touching, Fan-Centric Video

Avicii‘s new single “SOS” has arrived, nearly one year after his death at the age of 28.

The new track marks the first single from the Swedish producer’s upcoming posthumous album, Tim, and features production by Avicii, Album Nedler, and Kristoffer Fogelmark. Aloe Blacc, who previously worked with Avicii on the 2013 smash “Wake Me Up,” provides the emotional vocals. “Can you hear me? SOS / Help me put my mind to rest,” he sings against a bed of synths. “I can feel your love pulling me up from the underground.”

“SOS” was accompanied by a poignant music video that features messages from fans who wrote about how Avicii and his music touched their lives. The vid’s description explains, “This video is our way of saying thank you for all of your love and support.”

In another video about the making of “SOS,” Blacc said of the single, “I feel like ‘SOS’ was a song that was probably ahead of its time for when he wrote it. He wrote these lyrics, obviously, about some of his battles and I think it’s a really important topic to approach and to share, especially with his visibility and his access to ears and hearts. To give people the words and to be able to say, ‘I need help.'”

Tim arrives on June 6 and is comprised of music that Avicii was working on before his untimely death in April 2018. All proceeds from the record will go to the nonprofit founded in his name, the Tim Bergling Foundation, which works to prevent mental illness and suicide.

Check out the “SOS” making-of video below.

Kaytranada And VanJess Make Breaking Up A Celebration On ‘Dysfunctional’

If you’ve ever wondered what a night on the town sounds like, Kaytranada and Nigerian sister duo VanJess‘ new collaboration, “Dysfunctional” authentically answers that question. For the producer’s first new music since last year’s EP NOTHIN LIKE U/CHANCES, he wisely taps into the feeling that you get when standing outside of the nightclub waiting to get in and the slight feeling of euphoria when another round of drinks is downed in the company of friends.

There’s one thing that’s immediately apparent; Kaytranada’s mastery of groovy bass equals his knowledge of synths. They fit together like pieces of a complex puzzle here for a Rube Goldberg mechanism of a beat, one that’s tailor-made for club runs in the Upper West Side area of New York City. Van Jess bring some soft and sensual energy with equally oily voices that spill frustrations with partners. For them to be so angry, they sound amazing. If you were to get broken up to the smooth sounds of their voices and the funkiness of the beat, you’d want to dance first and probably win them back later.

Kaytranada’s debut full-length album 99.9% came out in 2016. Could this mean that a follow-up is in the works? It’s too early to tell. VanJess released their studio debut SilkCanvas last year, so there’s more of them to consume after this. The skill of their chemistry with Kaytranda means that we hope this isn’t the only time that they connect.

Listen to the funky power of “Dysfunctional” up above.

Jessie Reyez Tells Us The ‘Surreal’ Meaning Of New ‘Imported’ Video With 6LACK

“I’ve been locked in the studio with pizza and whiskey,” Jessie Reyez deadpans. “It’s good and it’s painful. It’s long nights and no sleep. Once it’s out, I’ll feel better.”

She’s discussing the status of her debut album: one of the year’s most hotly anticipated releases, and a project almost three years in the making. Right now, she’s selecting the tracklist from “hundreds” of songs — “It’s hell, it’s so hard,” she admitted — but she already has one picked out. Released this week, it’s her 6LACK-featuring remix of “Imported,” from her excellent 2018 EP, Being Human in Public.

“You don’t really know what songs are going to touch people, but I remember a day after releasing the original song, I did a show and everyone was singing it,” she said of the slow-burning number. “It was mad cool that people only had a day to learn the song and it hit them already, you know? So to be able to put somebody as talented as 6LACK on it and be able to give the song a new life, is a sick opportunity.”

Reyez and 6LACK’s easygoing chemistry is all over the potent, sharp-tongued track’s new video, released on Wednesday (April 10) and directed by Zac Facts. In the vid — which you can see all day on mtvU and MTV Live — the two artists brood around an empty apartment, but their physical proximity to each other can’t conceal their emotional distance.

“We wanted it to be this surreal feeling; the concept of someone being out of your life but they’re still stuck in your head,” Reyez explained. “Someone can be miles away, but if they’re in your heart that means they’re locked in your head, too. No matter how much you try to get away from somebody, they’re there.”

You can see that tension when Reyez and 6LACK are sitting in the same room, their backs turned away from each other. You see it when 6LACK is cruising around L.A., seeing Reyez everywhere he looks (she assured us, by the way, that he’s a “pretty damn good” driver). And you see it in the final shot, when he lays down next to her, only for both of them to look away within seconds.

“To me, it’s someone who’s right beside you but they’re not,” Reyez said of that last scene. “They’re sitting beside you in your head. It’s that disconnect; it’s that inability to be able to communicate with somebody because they’re a figment of your imagination, locked inside your head. It can feel like they’re right beside you, but there’s a wall.”

That onscreen heaviness is, thankfully, the complete opposite of Reyez and 6LACK’s real-life dynamic. The two had crossed paths at various festivals over the years, and when the opportunity to work together came up, the Toronto singer said they were a “natural” fit. She explained, “I think maybe because I strive to be as honest as possible in my music, and I feel like he’s similar in that regard. I think that for us both to be able to put our truth forward like that, is what makes us mesh so well. And working with him is such a breeze; that guy is so chill, he’s so zen, which just made it easy.”

If only finalizing that tracklist couple be as simple.

Lil Peep, iLoveMakonnen, And Fall Out Boy Are In A Magical Kingdom In ‘I’ve Been Waiting’ Video

Lil Peep‘s dream collaboration, “I’ve Been Waiting,” with Fall Out Boy and iLoveMakonnen was released at the end of January. The magical track should appear on Lil Peep and iLoveMakonnen’s forthcoming collaboration project Diamonds. It’s a mystical tune, one that casts an enchanting, mid-tempo pop spell upon all who listen. So it makes sense that for the accompanying music video that it’s equally as majestic and imaginative. And the visual for “I’ve Been Waiting” hits the marks easily and surpasses them for a CGI romp that rivals the lush scenery of James Cameron’s Avatar. 

“Dedicated to all those people that want to feel magic around them. And also to Peep, who inspired this magic,” reads the ancient words on the screen as birds chitter and chirp in the background. The late rapper, of course, isn’t present in the video, but his soul lingers with a benevolent mark. Wherever he’s at, he’s smiling. He’s then revealed to be made of tree branches in a portrait etched by nature in a beautiful kingdom with a castle on the hill. The greens of the gigantic douglas fir trees are rich and jubilant,  White debris, maybe snow or dandelions, blows peacefully. It’s a serene scene of a world we can’t possibly get to. Nature rules and we just occupy it.

In this world displaced in time sits iLoveMakonnen, a peasant with a piano, humbly singing as he plays. The song’s vibrant pop sounds clash elegantly with the surroundings. iLoveMakonnen lets a gigantic centipede pass him by while he’s playing, then he steps through a mysterious casement and enters into an odd land of air balloons. The sky’s pink and there’s a swimming dolphin moving gracefully through the stratosphere. Just as iLoveMakonnen gets settled into this weird setting, he gets magically transported to Fall Out Boy’s beautiful dinner table where they feat with a gigantic white bumblebee. That’s not even the brunt of the weirdness. The video grows culminates with the troupe hanging out with a gigantic dog and by then we’re immersed. This land is weird and the proportions of its inhabitants are all out of whack, but it’s far enough moved from reality to justify our intrigue.

“I’ve Been Waiting” was quarterbacked by iLoveMakonnen who, in a recent interview with XXL revealed that he sent the track, with his and Peep’s vocals already recorded, to the band following Peep’s death. iLoveMakonnen also connected with Peep for two other posthumous records, “Sunlight on Your Skin” and “Falling Down.”

Check out this fantasy romp of a video above.

The Blackpink Revolution, As Explained By 6 Superfans

By Emlyn Travis

To a casual New Yorker passing by the Ed Sullivan Theater on February 11, the crowd of people huddled across the street from the stage door of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert was a not-so-subtle hint that someone popular was visiting the late-night talk show. But the celebrities creating such furor weren’t household names for most Americans — at least not yet. It was Blackpink, Korean company YG Entertainment’s latest girl group who, that night, made their U.S. television debut with their punchy single “DDU-DU DDU-DU.”

To say that Blackpink is popular is to put it lightly; the group have a massive, dedicated fanbase that has grown exponentially since their debut in 2016. On April 4, the group’s music video for their latest single “Kill This Love” became the most-watched music video in a 24 hour period in YouTube history, clocking in with 56.7 million views and seizing the title that was previously held by Ariana Grande’s “Thank U Next.” Just three days later, the video smashed another record when it became the fastest music video to hit 100 million views on the platform.

And that’s just one single; in a short amount of time, Blackpink has made a name for themselves in the States as one of K-pop’s brightest stars, and they’ve done it all without even releasing a full-length album. The group’s popularity stateside has been building since debut, but it reached a fever pitch in January when they were announced as part of this year’s Coachella lineup. As the first female K-pop act to play the festival, Blackpink began to pique the interest of listeners both in and outside of the K-pop sphere, and since then the hysteria surrounding them has increased tenfold. After a short stint in America in February, the group was nominated for a Kids Choice Award, posed on the cover of Billboard Magazine, and announced and subsequently sold-out their North American tour.

So what is it about Blackpink that’s captivating men and women around the world? With only 14 tracks to their name, it’s obvious that fans (called “Blinks”) are connecting with the group on much more than just their title tracks. To discover what about Blackpink draws in prospective fans, MTV News caught up with six Blinks to discuss what the group means to them.

Their Debut:

On August 8, 2016, Blackpink made their official debut with two title tracks — the fist-bumping, EDM-heavy “Boombayah” and sweet, hip hop-infused “Whistle.” Both songs shot straight to the top of the Korean music charts and caught the attention of global K-pop fans with their addictive choruses, charismatic rapping, and “girl crush” concepts. Put all together, it was a recipe for success and Blackpink became the fastest rookie K-pop girl group to secure their first win on weekly music program Inkigayo just 13 days after debuting with “Whistle.”

Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

From left to right: Jisoo, Jennie, Lisa, and Rosé

“Blackpink breaking records and setting standards despite lack of promotions can only be explained by what differs them from other girl groups,” says Ilke Esmeroğlu, 19, who became interested in Blackpink after she saw their pre-debut teasers. “People are looking for something new, and Blackpink always keeps it fresh with the diversity of their music and concept.”

The group’s “girl crush” concept seen in their music videos was another interesting aspect. Where other girl groups might opt for a cute concept for their first release, Blackpink projected what would later be defined as “pretty and savage” energy into the world as they spat fiery raps, did donuts in an empty parking lot, and daintily sat on the Earth like they owned it. That confidence and effortless style was well received by fans, who quickly became obsessed with K-pop’s new girl gang.

“Before Blackpink, I wasn’t really into K-pop that much, but something about their music and concept was different from the other girl groups I’ve seen,” says Alyanna Cabalbal, 18. “They showed a fiercer side to the normal bubblegum pop that most girl groups showed. Not that cute concepts aren’t good, it’s just that Blackpink’s vibe just pulls you in.”

“Even though they sing in a language I may not understand they are interesting enough to make one look past that. They are a refreshing talent,” adds Klaudia Stefańska, 18, who’s been in love with Blackpink since she heard their summer single, “As If It’s Your Last.” “Their image and how they carry themselves is what drew me in.”

Their Sound:

With new mini-album Kill This Love released nearly 10 months after their last comeback (or, new release), Blackpink has solidified themselves as something separate from the typical K-pop paradigm that drives groups to push out releases every few months. Though the group’s sound generally stays within the realms of hip-hop, R&B, or EDM bangers (and sometimes a mixture of the three all at once), Blackpink takes their time to release music that is wholly their own.

“Back then, and even now I think, K-pop’s defining characteristics are usually its loud, psychedelic beats à la 2NE1’s ‘I Am The Best’ or Big Bang’s ‘Fantastic Baby,’ catchy bubblegum pop melodies like SNSD’s ‘Gee,’ Wonder Girls’ ‘Nobody,’ and Twice’s ‘TT,’ and explosive choreography like BTS and EXO — all very in your face,” says Toni Kho, 24. For the last three years, Kho spent her weekends tirelessly translating Blackpink content from Korean into English to help further the group’s global popularity.

She continues: “K-pop isn’t usually associated with groovy, suave, soulful beats. But Jennie’s rap in ‘Whistle,’ and Blackpink’s rendition of ‘Sure Thing’ showed me that this was a soulful K-pop group, and I was just floored.”

It’s also the stylistic elements that Blackpink’s members bring to the table that intrigue fans too. Each member has a unique vocal tone; Rosé is known for her raspy vocal quality, while Jennie bounces back and forth between rapping and singing. As a rapper, Lisa’s deep voice complements Jisoo’s sweet tone perfectly, especially on the group’s more bombastic tracks like “See U Later.”

“I loved [‘Boombayah’]. I also loved the diversity of the song. With Blackpink, it’s always like five genres in one song, but it’s not messy,” answers Esmeroğlu. “The members each have very individual, distinctive voices and styles that don’t sound weird when you combine them all. It’s harmonious in a way I can’t explain.”

The Members:

Aside from their music, Blackpink’s biggest charm and incentive to stan is the personalities of its members. Jennie, Rosé, Lisa, and Jisoo have appeared on multiple Korean variety programs, including their own reality show Blackpink House, and hold frequent livestreams on V Live and their personal Instagrams. By sharing their world and connecting with fans online, the members have become a huge source of inspiration for Blinks.

For some, Blackpink have inspired them to be courageous. “I relate most to Rosé and Lisa, since I also left home to study and work. I find their courage and perseverance in pursuing their dreams in the face of hardships and loneliness very admirable and inspiring,” says Kho. “Last, apparently [Jennie’s] mom wanted her to be a lawyer at first, but she told her mom that she wanted to pursue her dreams to be a singer. That is courage that I don’t think I have, and courage that I would like to have when facing uncertainty in the future.”

For others, the members’ lifestyles and activities have inspired them to make a change in their own lives. “Lisa does kickboxing which inspired me to sign up for classes, and I love the activity now,” Sova Adams, 21, reveals. Rosé has also become her style inspiration, because she has a similar body type and can influence outfits for Adams to rock next.

The biggest reason fans connect with Blackpink is because of their authenticity; their candidness about everyday life makes them feel more like longtime friends than untouchable pop stars.

“A lot of the people in this fandom can relate to these girls because of their backgrounds and the kind of personalities they have,” says Jawwad Kiani, 24, who was recommended Blackpink’s pre-debut dance practice videos on YouTube and has been a fan ever since. “For instance, Rosé is super talented and has leadership qualities. She is super shy, but when she’s needed she steps up and delivers. Jisoo is like a big sister everyone wants who takes care of her loved ones more than anything. Jennie is the girl every girl wants to be like in Korea and Lisa, she’s the ‘it’ girl, and so many people relate to her story of leaving home and family to follow [her] dreams.”

Inclusivity: 

With members raised in New Zealand, Australia, Thailand, and Korea respectively, Blackpink is the definition of a multicultural girl group. Three of its members — Jennie, Lisa, and Rosé — speak English fluently, which has helped fans who would normally have to deal with a language barrier feel closer to the group than they would with other K-pop acts.

“Being able to understand and communicate properly with your celebrities plays a major role, too, because all of them can pretty much understand English. Three of them can communicate, too, so it makes it easier to understand and build a connection with them,” adds Kiani. “For instance, I’ve seen every video there is of Blackpink and most of it is in Korean with hardly any translation, but because the girls speak English [to each other] I was able to grasp as to what was happening in videos.”

Blackpink use English not only to chat with their foreign fans, but also to introduce them to bits of Korean culture, too. “At the same time, [Blackpink are] very respectful and aware of all the different cultures they straddle, and they encourage fans to understand the salient differences between each culture,” adds Kho. “For example, during one holiday in Korea they took the time to explain in English what the holiday was about even for just a short while.”

That level of inclusivity stretches into their concerts too; the group have shown their support for their LGBTQ+ fanbase by holding rainbow flags whilst on tour in the Philippines. Aside from openly gay idol Holland, K-pop and LGBTQ+ representation aren’t exactly synonymous (same-sex marriage is currently prohibited in South Korea), so these small moments make fans feel accepted, proud, and loved.

“Their music is based around female representation and confidence boost, ‘girls wanna have some fun,’ you know, and there’s a certain stereotype around female singers that are impactful in the pop culture to be known as ‘gay icons.’ I am bisexual myself and I think their feminine and sassy energy draws us in,” says Esmeroğlu. “They also held up the pride flag in one of their concerts which made me so proud. We definitely love calling them feminist queens!”

What Does “Blackpink” Mean to You?

When Blackpink debuted, YG Entertainment explained their name came from the idea of contradicting the perception that the color pink represented “prettiness.” Thus, Blackpink became the group that defined itself on the principle that prettiness wasn’t everything, but hard work, talent, and perseverance was. As the group’s popularity continues to grow, what it means to be Blackpink has evolved as fans attach their own personal perception of what the group means to them to it.

“To me, they mean the entire world. These girls have helped me through a lot, I’ve spent countless of hours keeping up with everything that’s been going on with them. I don’t only love them as artists but as people too. I feel like I know them on a personal level even if we actually haven’t talked face to face you know?” says Cabalbal. “Their presence and their cute little gestures of going on V Live just to talk to Blinks. It’s those actions that make me feel that I’m a part of something and feel less alone.”

“Although they’re around my age, they’re all still older than me and that allows me to look up to them as role models. Blackpink are a group of interesting, talented girls with good music, who promote individualism,” says Adams. “They’re all very different from each other and have different [strength and weaknesses], and I think that shows fans that it’s OK to be different because you can still be successful.”

“For me, they feel like someone I can trust,” says Kho. “If you strip away the fact that they’re famous artists and watch their videos and follow their posts, especially Rosé’s, they feel like real 20 to 23-year-old girls who love Disney, cry over Korean dramas, love shopping and eating good food, like sleeping in, lazing around and playing games, and who go crazy over cute and fluffy things like their pets.”

As what it means to be Blackpink continues to change, one thing does not: the level of love and dedication that Blinks have for Blackpink. It’s perfectly summarized by Kiani: “I want nothing but the best for all of them, and I will continue to support them through thick and thin. They deserve all the happiness and success in this world.”

Nipsey Hussle’s Childhood Intersection In L.A. Will Be Named In His Honor

Nipsey Hussle‘s spiritual and mental estate, following his shooting death at the end of March, is vast. His physical being’s gone from the world, but as tweets, stories, and interview clips pour in about his generosity, authenticity, and charisma, it’s clear that the essence of what kind of person he was will endure eternally in addition to his gritty brand of Los Angeles hip-hop. To commemorate the late rapper’s legacy, the city of Los Angeles is doing something spectacular – renaming the intersection of Crenshaw Boulevard and West Slauson Avenue – nearby where he grew up at – to Ermias “Nipsey Hussle” Asghedom Square.

Following Nipsey’s tragic shooting death last month, a petition for Los Angeles City Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson to rename the intersection was created and it has received almost 500,000 global signatures to date. Harris-Dawson recently announced the change and gave a statement to the LA Sentinel“Ermias Asghedom known as ‘Nipsey Hussle’ was an icon and West Coast hero,” he said. “Nipsey’s genuine nature allowed him to be a light to everyone he interacted with from family, friends, fans, and his larger community.  As a father, brother, and son, Nipsey was a rock helping to build an empire that will continue through generations. Nipsey will always be remembered for delivering a pure, authentic Los Angeles sound, his numerous philanthropic efforts, his innovative, community-focused business mindset, and his humble heart.”

It’s a beautiful tribute for the rapper who had a massive public presence and philanthropic spirit. On Thursday (April 11), Nipsey’s family will be having a memorial service for him at the Staples Center.