Category Archives: Opinion

Is It Now Okay To Say the N-Word?

A few months ago I went to a music festival in my hometown and ran into an acquaintance from high school. I was happy to see him until he greeted me with, “Kiah, my n*****!”

I can’t say I was offended, I was just more shocked than anything. For as long as I’ve been alive I’ve thought the “n” word to be something you never say to anyone. More than insulting me, as maybe it should have considering I’m biracial, I became upset about the word being used rather than it being used toward me. I told him to please not say it again, he did, and I haven’t spoken to him since.

Throughout my life I can’t say that I’ve ever been affected by racism. Though I’ve grown up in a predominantly Caucasian community, no one has ever cared about my skin colour. I don’t see myself as any different than anyone else, but in that moment I was suddenly separate. That acquaintance couldn’t call any of my other friends the “n” word and even if he had it wouldn’t mean anything at all.

As my anger simmered down in the next week, I realized that he hadn’t meant it to hurt me. I began to remember times during high school when people would use that word and in those cases it was used synonymous with “my friend.”

But when did it become okay to say nigger?

My brain barely recognizes the word as I type it. It’s just so foreign and so wrong to me. How can people use such a terrible word that was created to belittle a specific race and cause segregation?

Forgive me for letting my nerd-flag fly, but in the wise words of Albus Dumbledore, “Fear of the name only increases fear of the thing itself.” By my rejection of the word, am I only giving it more negative power?

The truth is, the “n” word is just that: a word! However it holds such history that behind the letters it’s so much more. Today’s society is a lot different than that of only 50 years ago. Things have changed dramatically. I liken the change of the meaning of the word to the change of the word “gay”, where it now describes someone who is homosexual.

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to use the “n” word. In fact I don’t plan to–it’s not something that will ever be a part of my vocabulary. But I’m trying to tolerate it. I’m not saying that I don’t think it’s wrong to use it, I just recognize that it doesn’t necessarily have the same meaning.

– K

Why Haven’t I Been Listening to Miles Kane??

A few days ago I was on Tumblr, doin’ ma thang (reblogging shit, you know how it is) when I came across a song by Miles Kane on my dashboard. Being a super-fan of Arctic Monkeys and the band’s front-man, Alex Turner, I have been aware of Kane for a very long time. But for the stupid reason that he has the look of this one guy I hadn’t been too fond of, I didn’t bother looking into him (with the exception of The Last Shadow Puppets). On that day I decided to give Miles Kane a shot, mostly due to the fact that I’ve gotten to know the guy he reminds me of a bit better and as it turns out he’s pretty cool.

As soon as I pressed play, I cursed myself for my stupid, superficial reasoning.

What a beautiful voice Mr. Kane has! It’s very much like Turner, but a bit higher, a bit more melodic, I think. His lyrics are very reminiscent of the Arctic Monkeys’ front-man as well (he cowrote most of Kane’s album though, so that is to be expected). Within the first lines I was hooked. Wow.

I went on to listen to his whole solo album (he used to be the lead singer of a band called The Rascals, I’ve learned from Wikipedia–I should check them out too now that I think on it) and loved every bit of it. It’s literally been my soundtrack of the past few days.

Here’s the first song I listened to, the title track of his album Colour of the Trap. Listen, love, and them listen to him some more. How fantastic.

Flirting and Why It Is (Potentially) Ruining My Love Life

I must admit, when it comes to the “dating scene” I’m not the most experienced fisherman at sea (is that an expression? …now it is). By that I mean that I have not gone on one date in my life. While I’d like to say I’m just too good-looking and amazing personalitied (not a word, but we’ll go with it) that the boys are being shied away, I know that the truth of my inexperience lies in my flirting techniques. Or lack thereof.

I just can’t flirt. It’s like my body rejects winking and seduction. Truthfully I’ve never really put in a real effort–but it’s so hard! In addition I feel like a creep when I do try. One of my (few) attempts was at a high school dance. I went up to this one guy while “Sexy Bitch” started playing and told him, “I once met David Guetta on a plane and he wrote this song for me.” Nope, I did not get his number. Or really an acknowledgement from him. Now that I’m looking back he may not have even heard me because the music was so loud…but the fact remains that it was not my smoothest move.

Being open to someone you’re interested in is so scary! In high school I forced myself to Facebook chat this one guy I liked. This sounds promising, right? Wrong. I was literally SHAKING as I typed. It was so bad that I had to take the time after writing a message to get rid of all the extra letters I had accidentally added (“Hooww aree yuouuu?>”). And while I would talk to him on Facebook at least two nights a week, I was so nervous I pretty much ignored him at school. I was glad when that crush was over…

Another problem lies in the fact that I just don’t trust a flirt. I just find the whole “art” deceiving. On top of that I’m very clueless. Usually I won’t notice I’m being flirted with, but when I do I decide that I hate it. For example, this is what happened at a club two weeks ago:

Flirter: Wow, you’re beautiful! What’s your name?
Me: Kiah.
Flirter: That is such a pretty name!
Me:
Flirter:
…do you get that a lot?
Me: Yes.

My immediate reaction was to shut him down. Honestly I do get that a lot, but most of the time I’ll say thank you. Knowing that he likely wanted to hook up with me (I’ve realized that most guys in the clubs I go to are only interested in that) was just a turn off and I wasn’t having any of it. I also shut down the guy that filled his place. (“I am Alessandro. You’re pretty, where are you from?”/”Canada.”/”No…background.”/”Jamaican, Italian…”/”I am from Ee-tal-ee!”/”Cool.”)

The key to flirting, or at least as I understand it, is complimenting. And I simply hate compliments! When someone compliments me I feel like they’re being insincere, which is why I’m very slow to compliment others. I feel like this started because of Mean Girls–to refresh your memory, Regina George compliments one girl on her skirt and immediately turns to Cady when she’s gone and says, “That is the ugliest effing thing I have ever seen.” So when someone calls me beautiful, I feel like they’ll turn to their friend the moment I’m gone and say, “Hey, I think we’ve found the Yeti.”

I want to write about another point, but I can’t think of anything. Isn’t flirting just compliments? That’s all it ever is for me. Or being creepy, as I proved with the whole “Sexy Bitch” fiasco.

I’m not too worried about learning to flirt and whatnot. It’s not like I’m gunning to have a boyfriend or anything (in fact the idea is just the biggest turn off for me). But it would be nice to not be a boy-repellent when I do give flirting a go.

How much simpler would the world be if you could just look at someone and know they were interested in you? I hate these games…I’ll probably never flat out admit to someone that I have a crush on them. Or at least not for a long time from now.

This has ended very abruptly. But I have nothing else to say on the topic. It’s too stressful.

-K

No, I Do Not Need Another Acting Class

If you don’t know this already, here’s a pretty important fact about me: I’m an aspiring actress. Or, no, I am an actress, you just haven’t seen any of my work.

I had my first agent when I was fourteen and immediately found success. The first audition I had for a lead in a future Family Channel (the Canadian Disney Channel) show lead to multiple call backs that spanned into the next year. My second audition landed me a small supporting role in the Family Channel original series called “The Latest Buzz”. But after that, I didn’t have much success. However there were many factors at play in this other than just my acting (which I must admit, back then, was rather uninspiring). For one, I am biracial and was being submitted for “African American” (or as “African Americans” say, black) roles when, but for my curly hair, I look more Hispanic (in addition I don’t have a hint of African in me, which is why I hate that term, but that’s for another post). At fourteen and fifteen I looked slightly older for my age in an industry adamant to cast me younger and reluctant to cast me my own age or older because of older actors with my looks and capabilities who could legally work on set for longer hours. My agent’s solution? “Kiah, you should consider taking more acting classes.”

The first class I took was in Toronto just before I began going out to auditions. It was called “Audition Prep Part I”, or something along those lines, and was a (very expensive) four day intensive program. Without it, I likely wouldn’t have gotten called back for that first audition as before it my knowledge of auditioning for film was non-existant.

As you may have noted, the class was just the first part of many. Meaning there was more to learn. Meaning my parents would have to shell out another $400-$500 for another four days. My agent, kind lady, didn’t force me to take the next level of classes. But I knew she would have preferred that I did.

So there’s my problem with acting classes: a lot of the time they are arranged in levels with guarantees they cannot truly commit to. To me, it’s a trick to get more money out of the actor. In a lot of cases yes, the actor may be on part five of five, but is that actor really any better than when they began?

My point is, I don’t believe that acting is something that can necessarily be taught. You either can or you can’t. But the idea of fame and fortune gets so many people without much talent wanting to be a star and losing a fortune in the process.

That’s not to say classes and coaches can’t help you, I just don’t think an actor can be forged from nothing. Rather, we are molded, all unique, responding to different types of training.

Having put myself through a number of classes throughout the years, from audition classes to master classes to method classes to “forget the method, it’s bullshit!” classes, I can confidently say that I know how to act. Personally, I think that I am a good actress (as I believe all actors and artists should think–it’s good to be critical of your work, but if you don’t believe in it what do you expect others to think?). I don’t believe that taking yet another classes will help to develop me in a huge way.

Put me in a class and I can shine for those few lines you’ve given me on the page. If you want me to repeat a line as if I’m trying to seduce someone, I’ll do it. Now, if you want me to become a character, that requires a little more work. That requires performance. But, in an acting class, there is no true time for performance. You always have a second and third and fourth chance to get it right. In acting class you’re always looking for approval.

To me, the only way to improve as an actor is simply to act. I think, to grow, you need to have fear, to be thrust into it without much thought or practice. From there you can adapt. From there, you simply are.

Anyways, who can teach you to become an artist but yourself?

– K

Suck It and See: Why This Is My Favourite Arctic Monkeys Album (IDST)

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Okay, so anyone who knows me knows that my favourite band in the whole entire world is Arctic Monkeys, a group of four from Sheffield, England (my father’s birthplace) described as an indie rock band on the all-knowing Wikipedia.

My obsession began in 2007 when I first heard “Fluorescent Adolescent” of their second album, Favourite Worst Nightmare, and I have been hooked ever since. Last summer they released their fourth studio album Suck It and See. Though some people I’ve spoken to loathe it as it is a departure from the sound that brought them into the spotlight, it immediately became my go-to playlist. This album is pure gold.

Being an occasional writer, what draws me to a lot of music is the lyrics. Here, ladies and gents, is why Suck It and See just may be my favourite album of all time. (To elaborate, I’m just going to post my favourite lyrics from each song…)

Track 1: She’s Thunderstorms [x]

My favourite line is in the title. “Thunderstorms”–immediate imagery. She’s electric, she’s the rumblings in the sky, she’s the girl you want to fall asleep with…how romantic! I’d love to be called thunderstorms.

She does what the night does to the day…

Track 2: Black Treacle[x]

This song is my favourite of the album. I will never forget the joy I felt when it started playing in the middle of my shift at work.

Now it’s getting dark and the sky looks sticky, more like black treacle than tar…

I have an odd interpretation of these lyrics. So I’m not sharing. I’ll keep it to myself and let you think of it what you will.

Track 3: Brick by Brick[x]

And Matt Helders, the Rhythm Panther, takes it away with the vocals!

I wanna build you up…I wanna break you down…I’m gonna reconstruct…I wanna feel your love…

Relationships. Ups and downs. Cool tune. Got it? Moving along…

Track 4: The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala[x]

Her steady hands may well have done the Devil’s pedicure.

Metaphor! Just a good one, not cheesy or stupid. This song is just too groovy too. It inspired me for one of my Facebook profile pictures. Goodness, I love this tune.

Track 5: Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair[x]

I’ll be honest: I was not a fan of this song the very first time I heard it. The title is a hit-or-miss, and at first it was a miss to me. However it very soon became a hit once I started listening to it more. I felt bad ass doing my “kung-fu fighting” hand motions. Anyways, point of the song (imo) if you didn’t get it: don’t mess with [the singer] because he’s not someone you want to take chances with. Do any other “dangerous” thing, but watch your back when he’s around.

Break the mirror, roll the dice, run with scissors…

Track 6: Library Pictures[x]

Give me an eeny, meeny miny moe. Or an ipp dipp, dog-shit rock and roll.

Okay, Alex Turner even admitted this wasn’t a lyrically-driven song. All about the guitars. Not my favourite of the album, but it’s a killer song to run to.

Track 7: All My Own Stunts[x]

And sorrow slow dances around the edges of her eyes…

Track 8: Reckless Serenade[x]

I love this song! Yet another of my favourites.

Call up and listen to the voice of reason and got his answering machine.

Track 9: Piledriver Waltz [x]

So I think I’ve listened to this song the most on the whole album. Mostly because it’s included on the soundtrack for the movie Submarine, which happens to be one of my favourite movies. Alex Turner, the lead singer, wrote 6 songs for the movie. And they’re all awesome. This song was revamped with a full band for the album.

I constantly describe myself as breakfasting at the Heartbreak Hotel (see my tumblr and twitter). I also love the line:

If you’re gonna try and walk on water make sure you wear your comfortable shoes.

If you’re going to do the impossible, at least be comfortable while you do it. Which is a bit of a contradiction. Or maybe not…

Track 10: Love is a Laserquest[x]

Another beautiful song. Rather slower than expected from Arctic Monkeys, but…wow.

Do you look into the mirror to remind yourself you’re there, or have somebody’s goodnight kisses got that covered? But I’m not being honest, I’ll pretend you were just some lover.

Track 11: Suck It and See[x]

Be cruel to me, ’cause I’m a fool for you.

The premise is that he’s found a girl unlike any other and he wants her so badly, he begs her to give him a chance. It’s just put so poetically. Though, being a song, I suppose that’s to be expected…

I poured my aching heart into a pop song, I couldn’t get the hang of poetry.

Track 12: That’s Where You’re Wrong [x]

This was my first favourite of the album.

Make a wish that weights a tonne. There are no handles for you to hold, no understanding where it goes.

Sometimes in life you have to make choices in which you don’t know the outcome. Don’t always go with the safe option.

But it could mean something else too. Again, I just love the lyrics.

I can tell you, I’ll be listening to this album for a long time. In addition, they have some excellent B-sides such as”You and I” and “Evil Twin”.

– K

*IDST: If Destroyed Still True