Everything else

Saturday Links: Super-Power Women Combining Forces Edition

Janelle Monáe and Erykah Badu are the queens of our pop dreams. PLUS: The latest news in #adults!


Janelle Monáe—who is doubtlessly pop’s highest-concept, freakiest, and funkiest right now—returned this week with “Q.U.E.E.N.,” the video for her new single with ERYKAH BADU. It is proof that dreams do come true. There are few things as satisfying as when super-power women combine forces, especially when the media constantly goads the false notion that there can only be One Successful Woman who is the “queen” of a genre. It creates this illusion of a cat fight-y hierarchy, where every diva is clawing her way up to replace Beyoncé. But anyhow, Monáe’s “Q.U.E.E.N” covers so many girl-power bases, all while she stomps around in a ruffled, high-neck blouse and tells us she isn’t paying attention to what anyone else thinks; she isn’t asking permission to live. In the song, Monáe, who says she was inspired by discussions she had with Badu to write it, asks “Am I a freak?” for admiring other girls. People have speculated that she could be broaching the issue of her sexuality, which she’s been mum about aside from admitting she knows what it’s like to be an outsider. Like in the video, for instance, when she sings, “Hey sister am I good enough for your heaven?/ Say will your God accept me in my black and white?/ Will he approve the way I’m made/ Or should I reprogram the programming?” BOOM. Love it, whatever she means, and it is right on time. P.S. Hit pause at 4:56 for an inspiring sorta-secret message that shows that Monáe is interested in being much more than a pop star.

This week, Erykah Badu also hit the Brooklyn Museum for a live, Inside the Actors Studio-style Q&A. In a conversation with Jeff “Chairman” Mao (a founding editor of the legendary hip-hop zine Ego Trip), Ms. “On and On” Badu addressed topics spanning her career, from starting out as a musician to her side job delivering babies (Erykah Badoula!) to how scary it was undressing in the Dallas streets for her symbolic, powerful “Window Seat” video. This review of the talk by NPR’s Frannie Kelley is not only a good overview of what Badu discussed, but also reminds us why she is so beloved. “As a public figure, she promises that being kind of weird doesn’t mean you’ll be cast out,” writes Kelley. “She explicitly said that on Tuesday: ‘Don’t live anybody else’s dreams but yours. And two wrongs don’t make a right, but it’ll damn sure get your money.’” She’s a goddess, but one with flaws she’s okay with letting us see, which turnes her into a living deity among her fans. Appropriately, Kelley’s article is entitled, “A Night of Worship in the Church of Badu.”


Last week Kiera Wilmot, the 16-year-old gal from Florida with good grades and a flawless behavior record who’s pictured here, was arrested, expelled from her high school, and threatened with two felony charges. Why? For doing a science experiment. On school grounds. She mixed toilet-bowl cleaner and aluminum foil in a water bottle; the concoction exploded, and the bottle top popped off. There was some smoke, but nothing was damaged and no one was hurt. Practically everyone involved, including her principal, acknowledges that she didn’t have bad intentions. Nonetheless, Wilmot now faces the real possibility of being tried as an adult for possession/discharge of a weapon on school property and discharging a destructive device.

When I read about Wilmot’s case, my reaction was pure What the hell? The story is too absurd for me to even make sense of it. Messing with a girl’s education and life simply because her experiment was a little sloppy? I could understand if she was given detention, or even suspended, but. . . arrested? Expelled? Really? I still can’t wrap my head around it, but I found two articles that were somewhat helpful in putting it all into perspective.

In the first, Tiffany Madison at the Washington Times asks how “this nation’s schools [have] become such mindless, bureaucratic prisons” and why “school administrators no longer [serve] their community and their students, but [lord] over schools like wardens.” She also wonders how teachers are going to be able to educate and inspire their students: “If this is the punishment for experimentation, how can we expect the current educational paradigm to produce more Ben Franklins, or Nikola Teslas?”

And at Feministing, Sesali Bowen wrote that Wilmot’s case is about setting an example, even while it comes at her expense: “This was about…sending a message that even (mis)perceived threats will be dealt with swiftly and harshly. The unfortunate truth is that in America, those perceptions are heavily tied up in notions of race, class, and gender…. Zero-tolerance policies are not about keeping schools safe. They exist to keep school administrators from being held accountable for the environment they create in their institution[s] and making contextual judgment calls.”

I really, really hope that our education system isn’t as horrendously bureaucratic and idiotic and racist as these articles suggest. I hope that Wilmot’s case was a fluke rather than a sign pointing toward a trend, although honestly, I don’t believe much in flukes. Well, happy Saturday. I’m going to sign this petition for the charges against Wilmot to be dropped. There’s a similar campaign on Twitter—just search for the #FreeKiera hashtag.


Speaking of hashtags, about a month or so ago, I saw that a bunch of adults I follow on Twitter were doing this thing called “Follow a Teen.” Each of them was following a random teenager’s tweets, then reporting on what that teen said in their own tweets with the hashtag #followateen. Earlier this week, Helena Fitzgerald wrote an essay at the New Inquiry about how she thought this whole thing was creepy. Some Rookie writers and I also had been thinking about how it was pretty weird (and sort of mocking teens), so I decided to tweet about what some adults were doing with a #followanadult hashtag. Tavi joined in, and then yesterday Rookie made it official: #followanadult was ON. Teens were tweeting about how their “adults” were doing things like trying to figure out how many “points” were in a brownie, playing golf, and having “no hope for America.” This, of course, was extremely hilarious. A bunch of news outlets like Atlantic Wire and Gawker took notice and declared it a “Twitter War,” but really, we weren’t tryin’ to start a fight. #followanadult was just poking fun at #followateen, and we’re not bitter, we swear! People say #followateen also was created as a joke, and one that points out how “boring” and/or “stupid” teens’ tweets can be. Our little experiment has proven that adults sometimes tweet things that are just as dumb, if not more so. The moral of the story: teenagers rule the internet. The OTHER moral of the story: everyone sounds dumb on Twitter. :)


In other teen news this week, archaeologists found the bones of a 14-year-old girl they’re calling Jane, who they believe was killed and eaten in Jamestown, Virginia. The discovery confirms the many accounts of cannibalism in the colony during the early 17th century. Her skeletal remains are a unique find, and this is all very interesting and completely terrifying (American history is so fucked up), but what I find most insane about this whole story is the fact that archaeologists RECREATED THE GIRL’S HEAD. What in the world does this add to the investigation? And why with such a haunting look on her face?! I want to know more about the choices behind this. With only her bones to go on, how could they even know what she looked like? Why did they give her eyes that eerily disapproving look? I’m obsessed with the image of this girl, and I wish I knew more about her. I just can’t get over her face.


The retail giant H&M launched a 2013 beachwear collection this week that was accompanied by photos of the model Jennie Runk, like the one above. I wouldn’t have even known about any of this if it weren’t for the explosion of blog posts about how Runk is a plus-size model. Ten points to H&M for just casually publishing the beautiful shoot on their website without patting themselves on the back for breaking fashion norms, which Jezebel also gave them props for earlier this week. And a kick in the ass to all the unhealthy “excitement.” Also, is a girl like Runk really plus-sized, internet? I’d say she’s average, but, then again, that word doesn’t do her beauty any justice.


Icona Pop killed it this week on Jimmy Fallon; nobody is surprised. They slowly went from playing it super cool and being all, “I don’t care,” to jumping and dancing and smiling and being all, “I love it.” Love love love.

King Tuff 4 (2012)

On May 6, Adult Swim is putting out a free and pretty sweet compilation called Garage Swim. Yesterday, the Fader posted a pre-released track from the comp that happens to be collab between our buddy King Tuff, above, and the band Gap Dream. It sounds like asphalt melting—I couldn’t have dreamed of a better jam to warp my mind in the California heat or kick off summer daze. (School’s out next week, high five!)


Aside from being one of the most affordable and delicious of meals, pizza may help fight cancer, according to studies in Italy. I’ve never regretted eating pizza (except maybe that one time a slice made me sick because of its questionable freshness), but I will now do it for my health. Thank you, science! ♦


  • o-girl May 4th, 2013 12:19 PM

    Did anyone notice the girl in the background of the Icona Pop video wearing a flower crown?! They are SO AMAZING though woww

  • spudzine May 4th, 2013 12:31 PM

    Oh. My. GOD. The news about the girl is UNREAL. I heard about the “incident” earlier this week on tumblr, and I can’t even fathom it’s stupidity. There was an accidental explosion and she might go to PRISON?! She’s only sixteen! That’s not even the whole issue, it’s the fact that this was ACCIDENTAL, and I don’t believe anyone got hurt, so what the heck?! If she were white, I can assure you that the whole being tried for as an adult thing would most likely NOT HAPPEN, as racism is at work here.


    • Ally_O May 4th, 2013 5:33 PM

      I completely agree, if she was white she might have a week’s suspension at most.

      • inkandhonesty May 5th, 2013 1:57 PM

        To spudzine as well, I don’t think racism is the cause. I think it might be ageism (or teenism?). The documentary The War on Children talks about how schools are like prisons. It describes many extreme punishments like this one, and they happen to all races. It’s because of the ridiculous No Tolerance policy.

  • Jes May 4th, 2013 1:00 PM

    That Jamestown Jane shit is the craziest. Just from her bones scientists can find out so much! Like that she was 14, upper class, ate a lot of barley and protein, lived in England for most of her life (from the kinds of elements in her bones or something?) was killed in an act of cannibalism (from the chopping marks), that the person dismembering her was doing it for the first time and was right handed. Just from her bones!!!!!! wOoOoahhhhhh

    • kathryn-s May 6th, 2013 5:36 PM

      that’s so weird! “wOoOoahhhhhhh” pretty much sums it up, I’d say.

  • strawberryhair May 4th, 2013 1:09 PM

    You guys YOU GUYS I legit don’t think I have seen anything better than #followanafult all week. So much love for Rookie!

  • Adrienne May 4th, 2013 2:03 PM

    I love Janelle and Icona Pop!!! And can we just take a moment and appreciate Icona Pop’s shoes. :)))

    • emmmasdilemmas May 6th, 2013 1:14 PM

      They’re deandris!! :)

  • Chloe22 May 4th, 2013 2:12 PM

    #followanadult my adult complains about pop music (lol)

  • Nanna May 4th, 2013 5:04 PM

    Hi! The technique used on “Janes” bones is something called forensic facial reconstruction – I think it was developed by forensic scientists (not sure about that part), but it is used by the police in many places as an easier way to identify human remains (as in skulls/bones). It is also used by modern-day archaeologists as a way to know how our forefathers looked – the technique has been used on a wide range of skulls, from the Cimbri tribe over Tutankhamun and now, the inhabitants of Jamestown.

  • caro nation May 4th, 2013 7:37 PM


  • love_soup May 4th, 2013 7:42 PM

    another week of awesome links!!! thanks, rookie these were great!
    (although, i am still skeptical about lenas last link :P oh well, everything in moderation!)

  • Rutabagas May 4th, 2013 8:27 PM

    For as long as I’ve been reading Rookie, I’ve been wondering who Icona Pop is. So, I finally clicked on the video here, and now I’m like, “OH MY GOD IT’s THE SNOOKI AND JWOWW SONG!!!!


  • crapbag May 4th, 2013 8:39 PM

    It’s funny how popular culture travels, I thought that I was ~behind~ when this song came on in a club at the beginning of the year and every one of my friends was screaming the lyrics and I had to do the awkward lip synch and smiled and jumped as if I knew it too haha. Is it just becoming popular now in America or am I misleading myself? If so, I only find it odd because I live in New Zealand, and we are usually the last to find out about everything!

  • loonylizzy May 4th, 2013 8:58 PM

    The whole cannibalism in Jamestown thing is absolutely fascinating. The bust of Jane is so intriguing… I’m definitely looking into this. I’m a sucker for weird history xD
    Also, I’m excited to hear about h&m’s gorgeous average sized model. It makes me happy that girls of all different shapes and sizes are beginning to be accepted in the fashion industry for what they truly are: beautiful. I still wish the label “plus sized model” would vanish so that all beautiful women could model without being labeled or judged, but you know.. Baby steps :)


    • piripiri May 6th, 2013 5:59 AM

      I also recently read about the girl in Jamestown who was killed and eaten during the 1609-10 famine. Forensic anthropologists are able to use bones, isotope studies, and DNA to find out where a person was from, what they looked like, and what happened to them. So basically everything about the development of their lives! National Geographic offers a good brief discussion of the evidence http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/13/130501-jamestown-cannibalism-archeology-science/ I learnt about some of this in anthropology class…..and also from the TV series Bones :P

  • Dick May 4th, 2013 11:01 PM

    Badu rulez.

  • sissiLOL May 5th, 2013 3:20 AM

    Ten points for H&M, yes! Some good thinks in this big (some times bad) concern.

  • itsaoifedahling May 5th, 2013 1:06 PM

    I saw the #followanadult and I was so confused! Thank you for clearing it up for me :) LOVE JANELLE MONÁE!!! And that poor girl arrested for a science experiment? Ridiculous in my opinion
    Aoife xx

  • Wisteria May 5th, 2013 8:46 PM

    I don’t think the science experiment thing had much to do with race. I read about a white kid who was expelled and facing criminal charges for shooting plastic spit wads.
    The school system is out of control and power crazy.

  • victoria May 6th, 2013 2:43 AM

    #followanadult WINS
    lol hazel yr on a roll this week! (referring to the proliferation of the Bynes Shrine)

    read my blog post i am looking for attention

  • ellestolemyname May 6th, 2013 5:50 AM


    And as for that girl in Florida, that is just extra proof that the education system is messed up – being arrested and having that exclusion on her permanent record is going to close so many doors for her, and who knows that the experiment she was doing wasn’t going to be the start of a revolutionary scientific discovery?


  • Woodspya May 6th, 2013 12:31 PM


    I didn’t understand every things because I’m french, but one thing is the most important: I love the pictures, they are amazing, where do you find all their . I’m following you Rookie since a long time, and you give me the possibility to progress in english, in fashion … Love u♥ Your articles are really interesting, you doesn’t speak only about fashion! You know what? Your site and all the team of rookie tempts me to come to London in England to study the English crazy style!
    (No not, I am not a delirious fan ahah).
    Come to my blog and tell me what do you think please, it can be really nice ! Xoxo, Woodspya


  • wanderlusted May 6th, 2013 3:11 PM

    I don’t think they know that Jane was KILLED to be eaten, but from the cut marks on her bones, they do know she was dismembered after death for that desperate purpose…man, the Starving Times in the colonies do not sound fun at all. :( It is so fascinating how much they can tell from mere bones, though, from her age to even her class? And now her face?! Freaky!

  • elliecp May 6th, 2013 4:22 PM

    hell yes H&M! and omg maybe my bad pizza eating habits aren’t that bad for me after all!x


  • Thore May 7th, 2013 4:08 PM

    Wow. I’ve been listening to nothing else but Janelle Monáe for the past three days! Also, she looks better in a tux than most men :D