November 4, 2016

Unity Culture Club – On Your Radar 04.11.16

As one of the most sensational and vitriolic presidential races reaches a climax, with both candidates lurching and wheezing to the polling station with their battle wounds, the United States population seems less then impressed with their choices (rock and hard place, anyone?) and are still asking questions about both candidates’ moral codes. With the US held up as the land of the free, a democratic state where all are equal thanks to the founding fathers, why has it come to such a difficult decision – where neither option is seen as viable due to their many and well-publicised faults. It hasn’t been much better over this side of the pond either, with last year’s election drawing up real problems with our electoral system, Brexit, and political party in-fighting. If you’ve ever watched The Wire, HBO’s epic tale of institutionalised morality (or lack thereof), then you’ll understand the sentiment that “Man’s gotta have a Code” (Omar, S4, Ep 7). But where is all this leading, and how does it relate to culture? Well this week we’re looking at those who uphold values, and are helping us to navigate this moral maze.

01. LONDON STORIES

Immigration is a hot topic in this year’s US election – and has featured heavily over here, too – so it’s fitting that our first pick should focus on a tale of people who have migrated to our capital. London Stories at Battersea Arts Centre is an immersive theatre piece that tells the true stories of the people who have moved to London to make this city their home. It’s a chance to hear about the extraordinary lives that lie behind the faces in the crowd we see every day – a thought-provoking piece, encouraging the audience to consider who refugees ctually are – and counter a few sterotypes too. 

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02. FALLIN'

If there’s one positive to be taken from a divided election-time America, it’s the inspiration that artists have taken from the race – such as rapper Common’s new album, which focuses on the Black Lives Matter movement and contemporary racial discrimination in the US.

One of these artists is Alicia Keys, who this week was interviewed by FACT magazine about her new album. She talks openly and in depth about her frustration at the systems affecting people’s lives in her country, motherhood, and how she has used contemporary issues (Boko Haram kidnappings, tabloid headlines) to inspire her music, and in turn help inform her moral guidelines.

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03. YASSASSIN

No, not just a Bowie track, Yassassin is a new girl band currently slayin’ it on the tour scene.

Taking inspiration from the little things affecting their lives daily to bigger issues, their first single “Social Politics” heralds the lighter side of life – far away from the politicking of the US – with their music encapsulating the sort of vibrant energy that comes from a group of friends jamming together naturally. Launched by all-female record label Babelogue, we wonder what Trump would think of all this girl power?

Their next gig is at the Lock Tavern on December 1st – get yourselves down there.

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04. SMASH AND DASH

And if you’ve all but given up hope, you could just while away the hours with this game created by Stylist – where you can control Hilary Clinton as she struggles to break through a glass ceiling. 

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05. LIGHT RELIEF

And now for something a little lighter for the weekend, as we’d like to congratulate Direct Line on their latest achievement, having picked up gold at the IPA Effectiveness Awards for Reboot. This is real testament to the in-house team and the depth of talent that they bring to the table, and we’ve enjoyed every second that we’ve been lucky enough to be part of the fold – including work such as #directfix and #merryfixmas. 

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