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"Feat. Cardi B" is a cheat code

There's three things for certain; death, taxes, and a stellar Cardi B feature verse. Whilst the run up and release of her Grammy winning debut album Invasion of Privacy was centred around proving herself as a solo artist, the road to a possible sophomore drop has seen the Bronx native lend her hit-making touch to multi-genre collaborations. Whether she's reminding the haters that she is not one to be messed with, exulting in her sexual freedom or offering a show of support to up and coming artists and industry juggernauts alike, a Cardi feature hardly seems to miss. In no particular order, these are 10 of the best Cardi B feature verses to date: 10. Backin' It Up- Pardison Fontaine feat Cardi B To kick start the list, we have the 2018 released, platinum certified single produced by J-Louis, Syk Sense, and Epikh Pro. Cardi's verse provides just the right fun and feminine infusion to Pardi's celebratory dedication to women. 9. MotorSport- Migos, Nicki Minaj, Cardi B A track often referenced for further stoking rumours of Cardi's beef with rapper Nicki Minaj (although she seemingly denies this with why would I hop in some beef/ when I could just hop in a porsche ) yielded one of the most iconic verses of her career to date. A smorgasbord of raunch, addressing the haters, a self reference ( you heard she, gon' do what from who? from her hit track Bodak Yellow), and a bilingual flex. 8. Twerk- City Girls feat. Cardi B This extremely fitting link up sees a Cardi B's featured sandwiched between the City Girl's verses. A punchy verse to match a punchy Mr. Nova and Rico Love production, Cardi's simple but effective use of repetition on the 2nd half of the verse to accentuate a playful, twitchy cadence is what really makes this verse special. 7. Taki Taki- DJ Snake, Selena Gomez, Ozuna, Cardi B This star studded global hit track might have not necessarily needed a rap verse, but Cardi's offering adds a certain grit without taking away from the moombahton/ reggaeton sound. The Spanish vocals at the end of her verse is the cherry on top. Also, who doesn't love a good crossover moment? 6. Type Shit- Migos feat. Cardi B The Bronx native joins the Migos yet again in Culture III's "Type Shit." She follows a more laid back TakeOff verse and amps up the energy. When Cardi starts a verse with "Look, " you know she means business (see also: Clout). She reminds us that by this point of her career, she had not only bodied the music business, but made a name for herself in the fashion one too; All these verses I done slayed/ all these looks that I done gave. 5. Thotiana (Remix)- Blueface, Cardi B, YG This Cardi verse firmly plants itself in the list of guest features that bodied the original artist, as well as the other guest features. Cardi took a song whose only redeeming quality was a catchy chorus and made it worthwhile to listen to more of it, if it meant eventually hearing her verse. 4. Right Now- Phresher feat. Cardi B Bardi perfectly matches Phresher's energy in this high energy Brooklyn x Bronx meet up. She goes hard without compromising the technical quality of the verse, and has what is arguably her most impressive flow switch not once, but twice in the same verse. She reminds the naysayers once again that she wants all the smoke; Throwing shade and talking that shit/ Please do all of that in my town...Please do all of that when I'm around. 3. Clout- Offset feat. Cardi B In this feature on husband Offset's single, Cardi addresses the clout-chasers on her name's constant circulation in media news. She opens her verse with: Look a whole lotta people need to hear this/ It's a lotta names on my hit list, calling in (and out) all the tabloids and blogs. A commanding flow that holds its own over a high strung Southside and Cubeatz production, and a crafty Destiny's Child reference make this a standout feature. 2. Put It On Da Floor Again- Latto feat. Cardi B Already on the road to being one of Latto's best rap moments, Cardi's verse on Put It On Da Floor Again is likely to propel it even further. She takes Latto's iconic opener Rip me off the plastic I been actin' brand new, and raises her Put a ribbon on me I been actin' brand new, making it clear her feature is a show of support. Cardi also draws from other pop-cultural references starring women, like the LSU women's basketball national championship (led by Angel Reese who features in the video) and Britney Spears sexy dancin' in the house post-conservatorship. 1. Tomorrow 2- GloRilla feat. Cardi B An easy pick, Cardi's feature on this GloRilla rap sermon, is a masterclass on lining up bar after bar (after bar), without suffocating the verse. A fan favourite: I don't speak dog, ho/ I don't care what no bitch say/ I stay on her mind, I got condos in that bitch head, just *chef's kiss*. This feature works so well in part because of the two rapper's similar penchant for authenticity in their lyrics; Cardi's verse isn't really a departure from Glo's, more so its spicier, older sister. Special mentions: Finesse Remix- Bruno Mars feat. Cardi B No Love- Summer Walker, SZA and Cardi B Shake It- Kay Flock feat. Dougie B, Bory300, Cardi B No Limit- G-Eazy, A$AP Rocky, Cardi B

10 Black British Women To Add To Your Playlist In 2021

From jazz to indie to R&B, here is a list of 10 Black British women you should add to your playlist Arlo Parks Arlo Parks is a 20-year-old singer and poet from London who has written and produced some cool alternative indie-pop tracks over the last few years including Eugene and Black Dog Arlo’s music is tranquil, authentic, and comforting. It's her meaningful and empathetic lyrics that have made me become a fan. Black Dog is powerful and delicately expressed, as it surrounds the topic of mental health. The song came out during the peak of the pandemic and received a lot of praise. Arlo described it as a track "to make people who are struggling feel less isolated." As an up and coming artist, Arlo has received a series of accolades; she had a socially distant performance outside the Glastonbury Pyramid Stage , made BBC1 Radio's Brit List and even appeared on the cover of the popular music magazine, NME. With her album release coming up later this month, I predict big things for the singer! Celeste I first heard of Celeste when she was announced as the BBC’s Sound of 2020 winner. But it was her performance of the melancholy ballad, Strange at the Brit Awards that caught my attention. Celeste brought grace and passion on the stage; her powerful, raspy vocals reminding me of the late Amy Winehouse.
The song Strange tells a tale about the loss of friendship and broken relationships – it is beautiful, compelling and showcases Celeste’s meaningful lyricism. It is refreshing to discover artists who can evoke such emotion in their writing. The British-Jamaican singer was the voice behind the John Lewis Christmas advert and announced her debut album will be out next month. Celeste recently revealed that she will be playing three live shows this summer – her soulful sound is certainly one to listen out for! Bree Runway Bree Runway, the singer, rapper, and songwriter from East London isn’t bound to a genre and I love this about her. Hearing a fusion of pop, rock and R&B in her tracks makes her stand out, alongside her fun, creative music videos. It was no surprise to discover her inspirations included Prince and Missy Elliot- musical legends and pioneers of eccentricity! Bree has collaborated with the legend herself, Missy Elliot, who featured on the singer's latest mixtape, 200ANDEVA.
Everything about the mixtape was unique and it provided a versatile repertoire of catchy tracks. Little Nokia became an instant favourite on my playlist; the distorted guitar riffs and noughties nostalgia I heard throughout the song won me over. It’s certainly one of those albums you have got to blast out loud. I am hoping we get more bad b*tch anthems from Bree Runway. Nubya Garcia Raised in Camden, Nubya Garcia is a talented saxophonist and the reason I took a personal interest in learning more about jazz. Browsing through Bandcamp, I was drawn to Nubya Garcia's album artwork; bold, bright colours of red, orange, and yellow, with a silhouette of a girl wearing a head wrap. The album titled Nubya's 5Ive was the jazz artists debut project and gave me an intriguing insight into the London jazz scene. I was captured as the smooth, melodic saxophone solo introduced the album and continued throughout.
Last summer, Nubya released a full-length album named Source, which received rave reviews from highly acclaimed music platforms like Pitchfork. The musician described the album as telling a story about her heritage and an exploration into the stories of her parents. Nubya’s style merges conventional jazz with hints of soul and hip-hop – providing a contemporary feel. It is fascinating to hear and makes a great addition to those who want relaxing, soulful tunes on their playlists. Mercy’s Cartel When I first listened to Mercy Cartel, I enjoyed the diversity, hearing her delve between different genres such as electronic, neo-soul and pop. The last couple of years has seen Mercy release singles and her first EP, D.Y.E, which is heavily R&B inspired. In 2020, Mercy released two singles – Sleep and Falling . Falling is my kind of tune; the catchy beat is a fun blend of pop, R&B and Afrobeats, paired with her warm vocals as she sings about a socially distant romance. The Bristol-based singer-songwriter has said she takes inspiration from Nigerian music, which has impacted the creations. I found her refreshing to listen to and look forward to hearing more from her this year. Lex Amor Based in North London, Lex Amor is a hip-hop rapper, DJ and producer who has made an impression for her poetic lyricism. Lex Amor released her first mixtape, Government Tropicana , which her fans have described as mesmerising and soul-soothing. Throughout the project, she consolidates her lessons in life, recognising her identity and purpose. Lex has described the project as being ‘very homegrown’, with most of the songs being recorded in her bedroom. With melodic beats, a unique flow and heartfelt lyrics, the songs draw upon her life growing in London. Last year saw her performing for COLOURS studio; I enjoyed her jazz-inspired freestyle, Clocks as well as the smooth rendition of Odogwu . Lex Amor has goals to continue finding innovative ways to articulate her experiences – I hope we get to hear more this year! Yazmin Lacey Yazmin Lacey is an R&B and soul singer, based in Nottingham. Yazmin’s voice is incredibly beautiful; her tone is comforting and reminiscent of old-time jazz vocalists. The Morning Matters EP was released last spring and is a work of art. All tracks radiate positivity and Yazmin explained the EP was dedicated to ‘everyone doing work on themselves and trying to live better.’ With the current circumstances, listening to her music has been uplifting; there is a peaceful presence about her. I cannot help but smile whenever I play Morning Sunrise . In addition to releasing her album, Yazmin performed on the music platform, COLOURS, singing a live version of Own Your Own . She also worked on Blue Note’s Reimagined album, covering a classic jazz song by Dodo Green. Her soothing, crisp vocals suited this cover perfectly and I am so excited to hear more from her.

Enny Enny is an emerging rapper who has gained praise following her hit song Peng Black Girls featuring Amia Brave. This uplifting song celebrates the black community and our culture, whilst acknowledging our differences. The upbeat, soulful production accompanied by Amia Brave’s smooth vocals goes perfectly with the rapper’s flow. I admired Enny’s witty wordplay and the sentiment of the song, especially the West African representation in the music video! Following the release of her singles ( For South , He’s Not That Into You ), it’s apparent that Enny is an artist to keep our eyes on – I’m keen to see what she does next. Dolapo Dolapo is a British-Nigerian singer-songwriter from North London. She has been a songwriter and vocalist for numerous UK rappers such as Young T & Bugsey and MoStack, before making her solo debut in 2018. Dolapo attributes her musical style to Gospel and has taken inspiration from 90s R&B stars like Aaliyah and Lauryn Hill. Her EP, A Short Love Story caught my attention and was an introduction to Dolapo's style. As I listened to her stunning vocals and the smooth instrumentals, I felt nostalgic - it reminded me of old school R&B. The singer recently collaborated with Ms Banks and Oxlade on her newest song, Interest , which she described as 'one for the ladies’. As Dolapo continues to make her mark on the UK music scene, I believe we will be hearing more from her in 2021. Shaé Universe I have followed Shaé Universe’s journey from when she would upload covers on Twitter. I remember being drawn to her effortless vocals and seeing her gain praise from artists like Ella Mai and Nao. Following this, Shaé continued to deliver multiple singles and collaborations. The Nigerian-British singer-songwriter has a unique style; the single You Lose was a glance into ‘R&Drill’ as she merged her R&B sound with a drill beat. Her latest single, Royalty featuring rapper, Kojey Radical, is also a drill-infused track, with R&B harmonies and Spanish guitar in the background. Shaé described the song as "an anthem for all kings and queens to empower themselves with."
For the BET Soul Train Awards, Shaé was a part of an amazing UK Soul Cypher . Alongside other UK artists, Shaé presented her beautiful and impressive riffs on a cover of D'Angelo's Lady , adding her distinctive flair. Shaé Universe’s musical versatility has got me hooked on what she has in store for us.

10 Upcoming Books by Black Authors

Hi readers! 2021 has already been a great year for black authors with brilliant releases like we are all birds of uganda , His Only Wife and the anthology Who's Loving You- all vastly different, but equally deserving of praise. Fortunately, the rest of the year is looking to be just as impressive. So make room on your book shelves; here are 10 more titles that you absolutely need to add on your TBR list! By Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah (22 July 2021) The Sex Lives of African Women uniquely amplifies individual women from across the African continent and its global diaspora, as they speak of their diverse experiences of sex, sexualities and relationships. Many of the women who tell their stories in this collection recall the journeys they have travelled in order to own their own sexualities. They do this by grappling with experiences of child sexual abuse, resisting the religious edicts of their childhood, and by asserting their sexual power. From finding queer community in Egypt to living a polyamorous life in Senegal to understanding the intersectionality of religion and pleasure in Cameroon to choosing to leave relationships that no longer serve them, these narratives are as individual and illuminating as the women who share them. The Sex Lives of African Women provides a deep insight into women's quest for freedom, highlights the complex tapestry of African women's sexuality, and bestows upon all women inspirational examples to live a truly liberated life. By Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé (1 June 2021) Ace of Spades is a compelling, incendiary and unputdownable thriller billed as Get Out meets Gossip Girl with a shocking twist. It is set in an elite private school; when someone begins spreading rumours about the only two Black students there, they are forced to fight, not just for their reputations, but for their lives too. Delving into the heart of institutionalized racism, Ace of Spades offers a blistering social commentary on the barriers that Black students face when they aspire to things that come easily to their white classmates. Faridah wanted to “explore the way powerful systems are created as well as how these systems can be destroyed”. Faridah describes the novel as “a love letter to queer Black teenagers who feel powerless and alone finally finding their voices.” She continues: “I hope readers see that Black people belong in stories like Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars, and that above everything else, we deserve happy endings.” By Emery Lee (4 May 2021) Felix Ever After meets Becky Albertalli in this swoon-worthy, heartfelt rom-com about how a transgender teen’s first love challenges his ideas about perfect relationships. Noah Ramirez thinks he’s an expert on romance. He has to be for his popular blog, the Meet Cute Diary , a collection of trans happily ever afters. There’s just one problem—all the stories are fake. What started as the fantasies of a trans boy afraid to step out of the closet has grown into a beacon of hope for trans readers across the globe. When a troll exposes the blog as fiction, Noah’s world unravels. The only way to save the Diary is to convince everyone that the stories are true, but he doesn’t have any proof. Then Drew walks into Noah’s life, and the pieces fall into place: Drew is willing to fake-date Noah to save the Diary. But when Noah’s feelings grow beyond their staged romance, he realizes that dating in real life isn’t quite the same as finding love on the page. In this charming novel by Emery Lee, Noah will have to choose between following his own rules for love or discovering that the most romantic endings are the ones that go off script. By Oyinkan Braithwaite (May 2021) When his girlfriend throws him out during the pandemic, Bambi has to go to his Uncle's house in lock-down Lagos. He arrives during a blackout, and is surprised to find his Aunty Bidemi sitting in a candlelit room with another woman. They both claim to be the mother of the baby boy, fast asleep in his crib. At night Bambi is kept awake by the baby's cries, and during the days he is disturbed by a cockerel that stalks the garden. There is sand in the rice. A blood stain appears on the wall. Someone scores tribal markings into the baby's cheeks. Who is lying and who is telling the truth? By Akwaeke Emezi (29 June 2021) In letters addressed to their friends, to members of their family - both biological and chosen - and to fellow storytellers, Akwaeke describes the shape of a life lived in overlapping realities. Through heartbreak, chronic pain, intimacy with death, becoming a beast, this is embodiment as a nonhuman: outside the boundaries imposed by expectations and legibility. This book is an account of the grueling work of realignment and remaking necessary to carve out a future for oneself. The result is a black spirit memoir: a powerful, raw unfolding of identity. By Nicola Yoon (1 June 2021) Evie Thomas doesn't believe in love anymore. Especially after the strangest thing occurs one otherwise ordinary afternoon: She witnesses a couple kiss and is overcome with a vision of how their romance began . . . and how it will end. After all, even the greatest love stories end with a broken heart, eventually. As Evie tries to understand why this is happening, she finds herself at La Brea Dance Studio, learning to waltz, fox-trot, and tango with a boy named X. X is everything that Evie is not: adventurous, passionate, daring. His philosophy is to say yes to everything--including entering a ballroom dance competition with a girl he's only just met. Falling for X is definitely not what Evie had in mind. If her visions of heartbreak have taught her anything, it's that no one escapes love unscathed. But as she and X dance around and toward each other, Evie is forced to question all she thought she knew about life and love. In the end, is love worth the risk? By Suyi Davies Okungbowa (11 May 2021) Award-winning author Suyi Davies Okungbowa begins a thrilling new epic fantasy series of violent conquest, buried histories and forbidden magic. In the city of Bassa, Danso is a clever scholar on the cusp of achieving greatness-only he doesn't want it. Instead, he prefers to chase forbidden stories about what lies outside the city walls. The Bassai elite claim there is nothing of interest. The city's immigrants are sworn to secrecy. But when Danso stumbles across a warrior wielding magic that shouldn't exist, he's put on a collision course with Bassa's darkest secrets. Drawn into the city's hidden history, he sets out on a journey beyond its borders. But the chaos left in the wake of his discovery threatens to destroy the empire. By JJ Bola (28 September 2021) Michael decides to flee to America and end his life once all his savings run out. JJ Bola's second novel is a story of millennial existential angst told through the eyes of a young Londoner who seems to have it all - a promising future, a solid career, strong friendships, a blossoming love story - but it's the unbearable weight of life that leads him to decide to take his own. As he grapples with issues bigger than him - political conflict, environmental desecration, police brutality - Michael seeks to find his place within a world that is complicated and unwelcoming. Although he finds solace in the people that surround him, he alone must decide if his life is worth living. By Pumla Dineo Gqola (19 October 2021) "Patriarchy does not respect national boundaries. It is unabashedly promiscuous in its influences and tethers. Yet, it does use nationalism very productively." An empty street at night. A crowded bus. A lecture hall. All sites of female fear, instilled in women and those who have been constructed female, from an early age. Drawing on examples from around the world - from Uganda, Nigeria, South Africa to Saudi Arabia, the Americas and Europe, Gqola traces the construction and machinations of the female fear factory by exposing its lies, myths, and seductions. She shows how seemingly disparate effects, like driving bans, street harassment, and coercive professors, are the product of the ever-turning machinery of the female fear factory, and its use of fear as a tool of patriarchal subjugation and punishment. Female Fear Factory: Gender and Patriarchy under Racial Capitalism is a sobering account of patriarchal violence in the world, and a hopeful vision for the work of unapologetic feminist imaginative strategies across the globe. By T.L. Huchu (27 April 2021) When ghosts talk, she will listen ... Ropa dropped out of school to become a ghostalker – and she now speaks to Edinburgh’s dead, carrying messages to the living. A girl’s gotta earn a living, and it seems harmless enough. Until, that is, the dead whisper that someone’s bewitching children – leaving them husks, empty of joy and life. It’s on Ropa’s patch, so she feels honour bound to investigate. But what she learns will change her world. She’ll dice with death (not part of her life plan ...) as she calls on Zimbabwean magic and Scottish pragmatism to hunt down clues. For Edinburgh hides a wealth of secrets. And in the process, she discovers an occult library and some unexpected allies. Yet as shadows lengthen, will the hunter become the hunted? Opening up a world of magic and adventure, The Library of the Dead by T. L. Huchu is the first book in the Edinburgh Nights series.

12 Best Books of 2023

It's been a great year for literature. From stellar debuts, and follow-ups that undoubtedly beat the sophomore slump, to affecting poetry and life-altering memoirs. Here is our list of 12 best books of the year, as seen on our monthly TBRs. Honey& Spice- Bolu Babalola
Our May cover star stuns in debut novel Honey& Spice, winning the first ever TikTok Book of the Year award and garnering fans worldwide. This deliciously adorable YA romcom chronicles the love story between radio host Kiki Banjo and handsome newcomer Malaki Korede. Set on a university campus, Babalola explores love, forgiveness and growing pains against a backdrop of the socio-political ecosystem of a British uni campus. A Spell of Good Things- Ayòbámi Adébáyò

A strong follow up from an author who is steadily becoming an African literary juggernaut. Parallel stories converge when two Nigerian families living very distinct realities of the country, become inextricably linked. Adébáyò offers cutting insight on power, corruption, the haves and have-nots and the incredible difference between the two. The List- Yomi Adegoke British-Nigerian writer Yomi Adegoke delivers sharp commentary on anonymity and digital court rooms, rape culture and accountability, and love's limitations in debut novel. Inspired partly by the real life circulation of a crowdsourced spreadsheet that went viral in 2017, The List narrates the dissolution of a young Black British couple Ola and Michael, after Michael's name is added to a list next to assault allegations. This summer debut is being currently being developed for TV by HBO, BBC and A24. Small Worlds- Caleb Azuma Nelson

Nelson offers another lyrical masterwork in his sophomore offering. Small Worlds dazzles with music motifs and sensory affecting description as it explores love, community (ones we are born into and those we build) and coming of age. The novel is at its best when Nelson leans onto the narrator’s interiority as a means to view the rest of the world he crafts in the novel. Nightbloom- Peace Adzo Medie Ada's Realm- Sharon Dodua Otoo

This piece of speculative fiction explores womanhood and femininity through time. Imaginative and cleverly executed, Otoo weaves together distinct- but inextricably linked- versions of a time travelling protagonist Ada, each time as a different woman. This is a story of injustice as much as it about power, and hope as much as it is about pain. Mandem- Edited by Iggy London
Edited by award winning artist Iggy London, this collection of essays examines, gender expression, role models, queerness, relationships and many other themes that cut across Black British masculinity. Featuring the likes of Sope Soetan, Yomi Sode, and Christian Adofo, this collection is not only expansive in points of view and experience but also in writing style and flair. Maame- Jessica George
Jessica George pens a gorgeously simple coming of age story of a young British Ghanian woman, Maddie as she stumbles through building a life that fulfils her. She is grieving her late father, weathering her relationship with an absent but overbearing mother, all while trying to hit supposed adult milestones like building a career and dating. George does a brilliant job of teasing out (what often feels like) the frustratingly impossible task of adulting successfully.
How To Say Babylon- Safiya Sinclair
A stunning memoir on growing up in a rigid Rastafarian household under her father's strict leadership, the influence she has sought to keep and the impact she had to shed. It is also a story about women, particularly black women, and the violently oppressive systems to be lived in and navigated without reprieve. Lastly, it is also about hope and courage and the creative resilience it takes to build something better for yourself. Here Again Now- Okechukwu Nzelu
Nzelu offers a moving ode to father and son relationships in Here Again Now. With a tender hand Nzelu walks us through love lost and found, grief, and queerness and black British masculinity.

Manorism- Yomi Ṣode In this poetry collection, Yomi Sode gives language to what is often silenced. With clarity, curiousness and dexterity, Sode walks us through becoming, grief, building yourself back again. Sometimes hard to stomach, but even harder to put down. It's Not That Radical- Mikaela Loach

Loach tackles what it arguably the most pertinent issue of our times, climate justice. In this non-fiction, she expertly draws the links between capitalism, racism and the misrepresentation of climate change in mainstream media. It’s Not That Radical reminds us that without climate justice there can be no collective liberation.

2020 Must Reads By Black Women

It’s the beginning of 2020, you are in the midst of compiling your must-reads for the year, and I’m here to help! Here is a selection of books written by Black women expected to be released in 2020, that would make for perfect inclusions on your reading lists. They cover an array of genres and are written by authors from varying backgrounds to give you a well-rounded reading experience this year. When You Were Everything by Ashley Woodfolk "For fans of Nina LaCour's We Are Okay and Adam Silvera's History Is All You Left Me , this heartfelt and ultimately uplifting novel follows one sixteen-year-old girl's friend breakup through two concurrent timelines--ultimately proving that even endings can lead to new beginnings."
The Vanishing Shelf by Brit Bennett "From The New York Times -bestselling author of The Mothers , a stunning new novel about twin sisters, inseparable as children, who ultimately choose to live in two very different worlds, one black and one white."
Love in Colour by Bolu Babalola "Love stories inspired by tales of the past...Join debut author Bolu Babalola as she recreates the most beautiful love stories from history and mythology and retells them with new incredible detail and vivacity. From the homoromantic Greek myths, to magical Nigerian folktales, to the ancient stories of South Asia, Babalola is inspired by tales that truly show the variety and colours of love around the world." we are all birds of Uganda by Hafsa Zayyan
"Two lives, generations apart, set to collide with life-changing consequences...Moving between two continents over a troubled century, We Are All Birds of Uganda is a multi-layered, moving and immensely resonant novel of generational love, loss and what it means to find home. It is the first work of fiction by Hafsa Zayyan, co-winner of the inaugural #Merky Books New Writers' Prize, and the most exciting young novelist of today."
Transcedent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi
"Yaa Gyasi's stunning follow-up to her acclaimed national best seller Homegoing is a powerful, raw, intimate, deeply layered novel about a Ghanaian family in Alabama."

2022 Books to Look Out For

Books we’re making shelf space for in 2022. Bridges are for Burning by Bina Idonije Other works by author: Debut Date of publication: To be confirmed On the eve of Valentine’s Day, Oghogho ‘Gigi’ Dempster wore her heart on her sleeve. At almost thirty-one, she was single and ready to mingle after nearly two years of relegating her love-life to the curb in favour of growing her fledgling social media company. Her beautiful best friend Alana was newly pregnant for the love of her life, Benjamin Halal, and her sister Efemena ‘Fifi’ was married to wealthy aristocrat, Lotanna Dike. But on that February 13th night, Gigi wasn’t looking for what her best friend and sister had; not love or marriage, but a temporary connection and intimacy. How could she have known that that night would dramatically alter the course of her life? Wahala by nikki may Other works by author: Debut Date of publication: 6 January 2022 Ronke wants happily ever after and kids. She’s dating Kayode and wants him to be “the one” (perfect, like her dead father). Her friends think he’s just another in a long line of dodgy Nigerian boyfriends. Boo has everything Ronke wants—a kind husband, gorgeous child. But she’s frustrated, unfulfilled, plagued by guilt, and desperate to remember who she used to be. Simi is the golden one with the perfect lifestyle. No one knows she’s crippled by impostor syndrome and tempted to pack it all in each time her boss mentions her “urban vibe.” Her husband thinks they’re trying for a baby. She’s not. When the high-flying, charismatic Isobel explodes into the group, it seems at first she’s bringing out the best in each woman. But the more Isobel intervenes, the more chaos she sows, and Ronke, Simi, and Boo’s close friendship begins to crack. A sharp, modern take on friendship, ambition, culture, and betrayal, Wahala (trouble) is an unforgettable novel from a brilliant new voice.
Honey and Spice by Bolu Babalola Other works by author: Love In Colour Date of publication: 21 July 2022 Honey & Spice tells the story of the sharp-tongued (and secretly soft-hearted) Kiki Banjo, an expert in relationship-evasion, as well as the women who make up the Afro-Caribbean Society at Whitewell University, and their plights to avoid the mess of situationships, players and heartbreak. But when Kiki meets distressingly handsome and charming newcomer Malakai Korede — who she has publicly denounced as ‘The Wasteman of Whitewell’ — her defenses are weakened. A clash embroils them in a fake relationship to salvage both their reputations, and soon she finds herself in danger of falling for the very man she warned her girls about. Can Kiki look beyond her own presumptions and open herself up to something deeper, or is love out of her reach?

The Paris Apartment by Lucey Foley Other works by author: The Book of Lost and Found, The Firefly, The Invitation, Last Letter from Istanbul, The Hunting Party, The Guest List Date of publication: 22 February 2022 Jess needs a fresh start. She’s broke and alone, and she’s just left her job under less than ideal circumstances. Her half-brother Ben didn’t sound thrilled when she asked if she could crash with him for a bit, but he didn’t say no, and surely everything will look better from Paris. Only when she shows up – to find a very nice apartment, could Ben really have afforded this? – he’s not there. The longer Ben stays missing, the more Jess starts to dig into her brother’s situation, and the more questions she has. Jess may have come to Paris to escape her past, but it’s starting to look like it’s Ben’s future that’s in question. The socialite – The nice guy – The alcoholic – The girl on the verge – The concierge. Everyone's a neighbour. Everyone's a suspect. And everyone knows something they’re not telling. Book Lovers by Emily henry Other works by author: The Love that Split the World, A Million Junes, Hello Girls, Beach Read, People We Meet on Vacation Date of publication: 3 May 2022 About: Nora Stephens’ life is books—she’s read them all—and she is not that type of heroine. Not the plucky one, not the laidback dream girl, and especially not the sweetheart. In fact, the only people Nora is a heroine for are her clients, for whom she lands enormous deals as a cutthroat literary agent, and her beloved little sister Libby. Which is why she agrees to go to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina for the month of August when Libby begs her for a sisters’ trip away, who she’s convinced needs to become the heroine in her own story. But instead of picnics in meadows, or run-ins with a handsome country doctor or bulging-forearmed bartender, Nora keeps bumping into Charlie Lastra, a bookish brooding editor from back in the city. It would be a meet-cute if not for the fact that they’ve met many times and it’s never been cute. If Nora knows she’s not an ideal heroine, Charlie knows he’s nobody’s hero, but as they are thrown together again and again—in a series of coincidences no editor worth their salt would allow—what they discover might just unravel the carefully crafted stories they’ve written about themselves. To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara Other works by author: The People in the Trees, A Little Life Date of publication: 11 January 2022 In an alternate version of 1893 America, New York is part of the Free States, where people may live and love whomever they please (or so it seems). The fragile young scion of a distinguished family resists betrothal to a worthy suitor, drawn to a charming music teacher of no means. In a 1993 Manhattan besieged by the AIDS epidemic, a young Hawaiian man lives with his much older, wealthier partner, hiding his troubled childhood and the fate of his father. And in 2093, in a world riven by plagues and governed by totalitarian rule, a powerful scientist’s damaged granddaughter tries to navigate life without him—and solve the mystery of her husband’s disappearances. These three sections are joined in an enthralling and ingenious symphony, as recurring notes and themes deepen and enrich one another: A townhouse in Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village; illness, and treatments that come at a terrible cost; wealth and squalor; the weak and the strong; race; the definition of family, and of nationhood; the dangerous righteousness of the powerful, and of revolutionaries; the longing to find a place in an earthly paradise, and the gradual realisation that it can’t exist. What unites not just the characters, but these Americas, are their reckonings with the qualities that make us human: Fear. Love. Shame. Need. Loneliness. Unattached edited by Angelica Malin Date of publication: 3 February 2022 About: Thirty women, from Love Island’s Megan Barton-Hanson and Chante Joseph to Shon Faye and Stephanie Yeboah write on what single womanhood in the modern age means to them. releases from Akwaeke Emezi Other works by author: Freshwater, Pet, The Death of Vivek Oji, Dear Senthurian
You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty Date of publication: 24 May 2022 Feyi Adekola wants to learn how to be alive again. It’s been five years since the accident that killed the love of her life and she’s almost a new person now—an artist with her own studio, and sharing a brownstone apartment with her ride-or-die best friend, Joy, who insists it’s time for Feyi to ease back into the dating scene. Feyi isn’t ready for anything serious, but a steamy encounter at a rooftop party cascades into a whirlwind summer she could have never imagined: a luxury trip to a tropical island, decadent meals in the glamorous home of a celebrity chef, and a major curator who wants to launch her art career. She’s even started dating the perfect guy, but their new relationship might be sabotaged before it has a chance by the dangerous thrill Feyi feels every time she locks eyes with the one person in the house who is most definitely off-limits. This new life she asked for just got a lot more complicated, and Feyi must begin her search for real answers. Who is she ready to become? Can she release her past and honour her grief while still embracing her future? And, of course, there’s the biggest question of all—how far is she willing to go for a second chance at love? Bitter Date of publication: 5 February 2022 Bitter is thrilled to have been chosen to attend Eucalyptus, a special school where she can focus on her painting surrounded by other creative teens. But outside this haven, the streets are filled with protests against the deep injustices that grip the town of Lucille. Bitter's instinct is to stay safe within the walls of Eucalyptus . . . but her friends aren't willing to settle for a world that the adults say is "just the way things are. Content Warning: Everything Date of publication: To be confirmed In their bold debut poetry collection, Akwaeke Emezi imagines a new depth of belonging. Crafted of both divine and earthly materials, these poems travel from home to homesickness, tracing desire to surrender and abuse to survival, while mapping out a chosen family that includes the son of god, Mary auntie, and Magdalene with the chestnut eyes. Written from a spirit-first perspective and celebrating the essence of self that is impossible to drown, kill, or reduce, Content Warning: Everything distils the radiant power and epic grief of a mischievous and wanting young deity, embodied.

4 Black Owned Vinyl Stores You Need To Visit

Whether you're an avid vinyl buyer, just starting off your collection, or simply a music lover, here are 4 black owned sonic havens you should know about. Pure Vinyl Since this year’s BHM theme is ‘Saluting Our Sisters’ where better to start than the Black Female-Owned store @purevinyllondon! I’ve been to this store a few times and it’s always a good experience + the staff have soooo much knowledge across genres it’s great to ease drop & get invoked in their music conversations😅 Moko The second spot isn’t a record store, but a black-owned Hi-fi Music Bar located in Tottenham. Moko celebrates the sounds & flavours of the Afro-Caribbean Diaspora🙌🏾 Sister venue to Peckham’s Jumbi south of the river, Bradley Zero & Nathaneel Williams’ spot is definitely worth a visit in the daytime or for a night out! Maestro Records The third record store is one I was so pleasantly surprised by. Maestro Records is quite unassuming outside, but the range and feel of the store was lovely. Everything feels like it really does have a place there. Whether you’re looking for some new contemporary records or old school ones, there is a lot of everything from everywhere literally so head down if you get the chance! Supertone Records Our final stop on the list is the legendary Supertone Records in Brixton. Supertone is owned and run by Wally B on Acre Lane. Since 1983, the store has served many local and international vinyl lovers. People from all over Europe come to buy their vinyls. Crowned as the store with the biggest reggae record collection in London, Supertone specialises in all things, Reggae and Caribbean music. From 7 to 12 inch vinyls, CDs to DVDs, this is the place to be! You can also find them on discogs, but be sure to head down & chop it up with the owner and other music lovers while you’re there.

4 Takeaways From 'The Kitchen'

Daniel Kaluuya's directorial debut When Complex  asked Daniel Kaluuya about his directorial debut, the Get Out  actor spoke about the magic that came from discussing ideas with Co-director, Kibwe Tavares, over a decade prior. “I wanted that [world-building] for British cinema, I wanted to see our world with that kind of imagination, with that kind of scale.” Together, the duo were able to combine that distinctive London identity with their script. The backdrop they so fluently implemented into The Kitchen was the biggest strength and the glue of the film. Although the Netflix project can be labeled as a successful debut, it was not one without flaw for Kaluuya. The undertones of social commentary on gentrification, class, race and even occupation throughout the movie were notable due to recent events and issues; but the granular plot following Izi and Benji (Jedaiah Bannerman) lacked enough depth and progression that a melancholic story deserves. This isn’t in any way a disregard towards the chemistry the actors shared on screen. In fact, Bannerman and Kano’s relationship was a shining beacon at many points in the film, which is precisely why their interactions and dialogue had so much potential to further explore their growing bond.  2. Izi or Dystopian Scully? It’s safe to say that Kano has mastered the ‘tortured soul’ archetype. The pain of surviving in a dystopian capital, plagued by state-led raids is sufficiently conveyed through Izi’s deadpan expressions, monotonous speech, yet harrowed eyes. From his performance as Scully in Top Boy , you can understand why Kaluuya chose the East London rapper to play the role as his compatibility to the protagonist seems to be an understatement. However, Kano is treading a fine line between perfectly executing a character similar to his previous project, and essentially type casting himself. When he was announced as part of the Netflix production, there was buzz surrounding his involvement, particularly for Kano to flex his theatrical muscles and for viewers to see the potential in his range. It will be interesting to see how his acting career develops moving forward, and what role he decides to take on next. 3. A well constructed soundtrack speaks volumes The carefully crafted soundtrack wasn’t just an ode to Black British culture, but also served as a powerful narrative companion. Although songs like Party Popper and How Bout Us offered support to emotions, tension, and atmosphere throughout the storyline, deeper meaning and lyrics from other tracks took the plot further. Take Alhaji K Frimpong’s Kyenkyen Bi Adi M'awu and   Zombie  by Fela Kuti: both West African artists- albeit in their respective languages- share themes of defiance and rebellion throughout their songs. The reason the music supervision was so impactful was ironically to do with the lack thereof. Modern films have soundtracks averaging around 20+ songs, whereas The Kitchen only has 15. The film relies heavily on the score, which gives the interjection of a well-placed song far more punch and weight. The best example of this is when Candy  is playing at the roller rink. The score and the cult classic intertwine and slow down to emulate Benji’s state of confusion and abandonment, before the song takes over again, signifying his regained state of composure. From Sampha’s subtle melodies that accompanied intimate moments to Ruff Sqwad crescendos that heightened suspense, the music became an indispensable storyteller in its own right, and for that props must be given to Music Supervisor, Jumi Akinfenwa. 4. Guest appearances coupled with culture The sprinkle of prominent Black figures throughout the film was a refreshing surprise. From Backroad Gee and Cristale, to Teija Kabs and Arsenal legend Ian Wright as Lord Kitchener. The nod to the culture was an authentic one that kept the futuristic storyline from feeling too far removed from the reality that the film was pulling from. A large part of that was due to the natural flow of language and slang, in a way that many London-based shows and films have lacked, or even overdone in recent times. Compared to shows like Top Boy , where the forced slang takes away from the narrative and individual performances, it’s clear the actors were able to mold, tweak and alter their lines to better fit their own speech patterns and colloquialisms, making for a smoother visual journey and experience.

5 Black Books for Lover Girls

Summer is officially over - it’s getting darker earlier and Winter Wonderland Season is just around the corner. So The Floor Mag with help from its lovely writers has rounded up five books that are sure to keep the fire burning even as the temperature drops. From tropical getaways to campus trysts these are five books any Lover Girl (secret or otherwise) should be reading this autumn. ‘Until I Met You’ By Amber Rose Gill and Nadine Gonzalez Amber Rose Gill’s debut novel (co-written by Nadine Gonzalez) takes us on newly single Samantha’s trip, from her home city of Manchester to a luxury resort in Tobago. Dreading facing the trip alone, where she will attend her childhood best friend’s wedding, Samantha begrudgingly seeks refuge in the also newly single, mysterious Roman Carver. But ‘Until I Met You’ is more than a modern spin on an easy-read romance, the novel’s true magic lies within the flawed friendship group, their dedication to one another, and their struggles with the ever-changing dynamics of adulthood. Throughout the group’s time on the island, we see how relationships - familial, platonic, and romantic alike - unravel under the close confines of the resort. As this group is forced to have honest conversations, being truly open with themselves and each other, we see how they eventually come together and form connections that may last a lifetime… Or perhaps just for a holiday? ‘Honey and Spice’ by Bolu Babalola Self-titled Romcomoisseur™ and pop-culture Queen Bolu Babalola shows no signs of stopping in her journey to make the world fall in love with the worlds she creates. Her debut novel ‘Honey and Spice’ is set in the hallowed halls of Whitewell University, where our heroine Kiki Banjo lets her fellow students know exactly what the male population of Whitewell is thinking and how to avoid heartbreak. Now Kiki isn’t perfect, as we learn throughout the novel she has her own hang-ups to contend with and new student Malakai isn’t making life any easier. Scorchingly hot, Babalola’s way with words will leave you hooked, interactions between Kiki and Malakai feel like too much and yet not enough. Babalola takes over-used tropes and breathes fresh life into them - ensuring that readers are left pinning for more of Kiki’s wit and Malakai’s smooth talking. ‘Honey and Spice’ once more proves that Babalola will always be wholly unapologetic in her Blackness, her craft and her way with words. ‘Get a Life, Chloe Brown’ by Talia Hibbert The first in a triple bill, ‘Get a Life, Chloe Brown’ refreshingly dives head first into the world of non-visible disabilities and the concept that as strong as we are, it’s okay to have help. Probably the steamiest book in this round-up, ‘Get a Life, Chloe Brown’ focuses on protagonist Chloe and her desire to live her life to the max. With help from her landlord, Red, Chloe is working her way through a list of things she’s always wanted to do. Hibbert craftily weaves a solid storyline with the occasional page or two of smut thrown in for good measure. I appreciate how Hibbert doesn’t seek to diminish her character's experiences or over romanticse the situations they find themselves in, Chloe uses sarcasm to mask her vulnerability, Red is no saint either. ‘Confessions of an Alleged Good Girl’ by Joya Goffney YA Queen Goffney, has done it again! This time tackling themes of religion and purity culture, our protagonist, Monique is a ‘good girl' for all her outward appearances. But she’s struggling with something that she doesn’t quite understand and with the help of some new friends, she’ll be able to come to terms with her faith, her body and all the bits in-between. Goffney’s tackling of issues which are normally saved for women’s Bible study groups are dealt with from a young perspective with a twist that I didn’t see coming. We also are treated to insights of what it might be like to be the child of a Preacher and how this shapes Monique's place in society as a young Black woman. The best thing about Goffney’s latest novel is that even though it’s about a boy, at its heart it’s not. Monique might be trying to figure out how to win a boy over but ultimately she gains something much more important along the way which she had been seeking over the romantic, a solution. ‘Who’s Loving You’ edited by Sareeta Domingo With a range of authors, all excelling in their individual crafts outside of this anthology including Kelechi Okafor, Sara Collins and Varaidzo, ‘Who’s Loving You’ is a collection of short stories edited by Sareeta Domingo. For me, ‘Who’s Loving You’ is like getting into bed when it’s storming outside. It’s comforting. Although not all stories have a romanticised ending, they are perfectly placed and timed alongside their characterisation. Even though love was at the centre of each story, larger themes of family, grief and uncertainty trickled throughout and whilst some flames roared, others simmered. You can read our columnist, Karen’s full review of ‘Who’s Loving You’ here . Additional words by Sophie Harman

5 Noteworthy Animated Music Videos

I feel like it wouldn’t be fair to go through the whole of #AnimatedApril ignoring animation in music. For decades music videos have played in the animated space and incorporated film-grade methods to create mini music movies. Here’s 5 (and a bonus video because I couldn’t help myself) animated music videos for you to check out. John Redcorn - SiR This song alone invokes daydreams of a lonely character that wears his heart on his sleeve and never quite got that same love back. With John Redcorn being inspired by the fictional animated character from King of the Hill, it’s only right that its music video mimics that artform too. These visuals allow SiR to star in his own episode of the show, kicking off with depictions of friends & label-mates Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock, Schoolboy Q, and Ab-Soul. Throughout the video, we see John at first fighting the feeling but trying time and time again to prove his love for Neicy. Their affair didn’t last as long as John and Nancy’s 14-year stint and of course, our John ended up alone. Every night alone... Okay quit crying, we’ve got the rest of the list to get through! Nightrider - Tom Misch & Yussef Days ft. Freddie Gibbs Nightrider is such a wonderful composition I don’t think a video with real people would’ve done it justice - it deserves a smooth video, humans would interrupt the vibes. Just as well Tom Misch, Yussef Days, and Freddie Gibbs appear as animated characters cruising amidst a warm sunset and eventually into the clouds. You can’t help but nod along with them in the car, it feels like they saved you a space at the back next to Freddie. Join the ride. Feels Like Summer - Childish Gambino Now here’s one you might have to watch a couple of times to get everything. When Gambino ’s Feels Like Summer dropped in September 2018 I wasn’t feeling like Summer, let me not lie. However, this cameo-filled video sent music bloggers into a frenzy as everyone tried to unpack what the scenes meant. A lot of the theories seemed reasonable, but can someone tell me why The Weeknd, Ty Dolla $ign, and Frank Ocean were playing tug of war against Willow Smith, Solange, and A$AP Rocky, please? Saturn Barz - Gorillaz I couldn’t make this list without including Gorillaz, as a virtual band technically all of their videos are animated. What stood out with Saturn Barz was their use of the crazy (relatively new at the time) VR/360 function on Youtube. From sitting on the battered train to arriving at the Spirit House, these animated visuals are extremely textured. There’s something in every scene to invoke your senses and none of the extra scenery is irrelevant. Whether you’re floating through space with Murdoc or using the 360 view in the music room with Noodle, this video is a crazy immersive experience. Heartless - Kanye West There’s no way you can think about animated music videos and not talk about this one real quick. Yes, it’s another breakup song but this second single from 808s & Heartbreak was kind of a big deal and a key example of using film-grade methods in music videos. I was a bit confused about how they managed to achieve Kayne’s likeness and movement so smoothly in the video and it turns out that this is thanks to the rotoscope method of animation - they filmed the video in real life, then drew over it. Paying homage to Ralph Bakshi’s American Pop movie, the end product looks great, and what better way to accompany this heartbreak anthem than with an animated Kanye drowning his sorrows in a neon city. Opposites Attract - Paula Abdul Okay, slight curveball here but if you know me you know I love my 80s music and had to get one on the list! I’m sure this video used to play on MTV well into the 2000s and I got up to try and match the choreography every time. Taken from Paula’s record-breaking debut, Opposites Attract talks about exactly what it says in the title. However, instead of showing Paula with an ‘opposite’ male counterpart, the Disney-animated MC Skat Kat joins her in live-action scenes as they dance at and with each other. Similar to the Heartless video, which came out about 20 years later, Rotoscope animation was used but it wasn’t the first time. 43 years prior, this same technique was used to illustrate Gene Kelly dancing with Jerry Mouse (from Tom & Jerry). From part-animations to 360 virtual experiences the art of music videos have come a long way, and although we aren’t presented with them as much as we were in the good old MTV days, the good stuff’s out there if you’re looking for it!

5 Things We Love About Moira Rose

Schitt’s Creek swept the 2020 Emmys last night with a staggering nine awards. This delightful piece of comedy is incredibly deserving for so many reasons and high up on that list is Catherine O’Hara’s masterful depiction of Moira Rose. Here are five (of many) things that make this character one of the best to grace our screens: 1. The oddity that is her vocabulary and her equally inexplicable accent.
What other tv show character do you know that can incorporate ‘prestidigitator,’ or ‘pettifogging’ as seamlessly and casually as Moira Rose? And even more intriguing is the way that she utters these words with the concoction of an accent that has you hanging on to every word she says. Part Canadian, part British, and mostly Moira, her accent is an absolute delight. 2. Her wardrobe The show does a phenomenal job of matching the Rose’s family eccentricities with their wardrobe, but none stand out the way Moira’s do. Her outlandish-and then some- outfits, often paired with a bold red lip and a signature wig (that we’ll get to) are at the very core of the character’s make-up. How casually she dons these over the top pieces against the much blander backdrop of the small town and its inhabitants is nothing short of perfection. A personal fave is the pope-inspired look she wore to officiate David and Patrick’s wedding, that would have fit right into the 2018 ‘Heavenly Bodies’ Met Gala. 3. Her wigs Affectionately dubbed “her girls,” Moira’s wigs are easily the piece-de-resistance to the character’s makeup. Each has a name (after a real-life family or friend of Catherine O’hara) and a personality to match, a fun touch that was revealed to be entirely O’Hara’s doing. Apart from how obviously funny they were, the wigs broke down the image of the conventional yuppie rich white woman so well- making it difficult not to find her endearing. 4. For the most part, she’s a good wife/mother/friend Sure, she once forgot David’s birthday, or accidentally took home the wrong child (in her defence, “Alexis looked Chinese as a baby”)- which one of our parents hasn’t had a cheeky misstep? But mostly, Moira’s character was written so carefully as to avoid her ever being callous. She is bold, dauntless and even a little self-centred but never mean . Any foot-in-mouth moments she has are never laced with malicious intent. She never berates her husband for his countless failed attempts to get them out of the town; she allows her kids the freedom to express themselves however they please, while being emotionally supportive when they need (she championed David& Patrick and took Alexis on a night out when she was reeling from her breakup with Mutt); even Jocelyn warms up to her eventually. 5. Her commitment to performing Whether it was with the Jazzagals, the mother-son duet with David, or the capricious Crows role she secured, Moira stayed true to her craft. After she got over the initial shock of having to move to Schitt’s Creek, the matriarch took up acting and singing again- at first seemingly to pass time, and then eventually, with devotion. We witnessed her go through the motions with her career, which makes it even sweeter that last night Moira finally got her Emmy.

5 Worst Romantic Films From The Floor

Next to naps, Forex trading over Instagram and buying drinks in the club, Valentine’s Day takes its rightful place as a scam of the highest order dressed in holiday attire. Although it serves as an excuse to be explicitly romantic whilst boosting the floral and chocolate industries, February 14th also serves as a reminder that a dinner for two can also be a large meal for one given the right motivations and lack of prospects. Instead of crying in ‘forever alone’, flip the script and use V Day as an opportunity to celebrate singlehood… By ugly laughing at love. Here is a list of romantic films that missed the mark by a considerable margin and then some - showing viewers that fairytale endings should sometimes stay in the books. 1. The Break-Up (2006)
It’s bad enough when you have one character that plays themselves in every movie they are cast, but when you have two actors in Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn, that play Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn, somehow love doesn’t feel like it’s in the air. After the couple ‘call it quits’, neither of them want to move out of the luxurious apartment they bought together. The tedious arguments over everything and nothing causes the film to drag - turning the romcom into a ‘comedy’ for all the wrong reasons.
2. Valentine’s Day (2010) Have you ever heard the phrase, ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’? With a star-studded line-up including Julia Roberts, Jennifer Garner, Bradley Cooper and Queen Latifah, the production had promise on paper. Despite having an estimated budget of $52 million, the movie only received 18% from Rotten Tomatoes and for good reason. The story was intended to be carried by the status of the actors and not the actual plot. There were too many scenarios and not enough time to explore the different couples in depth. The straw that broke the camel’s back was Taylor Swift’s character name, which was Felicia… I shit you not.
3. Naked (2017) The Wayans, in particular, Shawn and Marlon, are ‘notorious’ for making spoof comedies with whacky and slapstick twists. So, when Marlon Wayans approached the ‘do over’ or ‘loop’ trope with his signature style, it didn’t come as a surprise. The protagonist, Rob Anderson jumps through hoop after hoop on his wedding day but can’t seem to make it to the alter. Rob repeatedly wakes up butt naked, stuck in a cycle and ultimately unmarried. HOWEVER, for nudity to be the main device, in both a romance movie as well as this economy, something somewhere is not adding up.
4. The Kissing Booth (2018)
When you look past the reductive script, regressive character constructs, clichés and misogyny, it’s still really cheesy. In a typical coming-of-age story, Elle falls in love with her best friend's 'bad boy' brother, putting a strain on their lifelong relationship. The franchise clearly has a following that gave it the platform for sequels, but it also made it apparent that the target audience is for those experiencing puberty. As a result, it has made its way firmly onto the list.
5. New Year’s Eve (2011)
As if the pandemic didn’t ruin my birthday enough, the creators of the Valentine’s Day movie decided to romanticise another holiday unprovoked. In an attempt to find happiness, a decorated cast comprised of Zac Efron, Sarah Jessica Parker, Robert De Niro and other esteemed actors scour the city in the name of love before the clock strikes 12. Although there were improvements in comparison to their first attempt, the script and dialogue still fall flat and short of the heartwarming content expected. There’s also a personal vendetta from attaching my good name to my special day (birthday) every year.

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