Ariana Grande, Vetements, Superhero(in)es, and More: Today’s Recommended Reading


Here at Flavorwire, we pride ourselves on not only writing some of the best content on the internet, but keeping an eye on all of the great writing that other folks on the ‘net are doing, too. Today, we have a very personal essay filtering one writer’s experiences in his hometown through Chance the Rapper’s recent Coloring Book, a profile on pop superstar Ariana Grande, an op-ed on why, although female superheroes are seemingly finally getting their chance in the spotlight, Hollywood still has a lot of work to do, and a discussion on how cult fashion brand Vetements’ recent booking for Paris Couture Fashion Week could turn the fashion industry on its head.

On Billboard, Chris Martins profiles Ariana Grande as she enters a new phase of her career — one that involves a heavy feminist edge, no drama, and an independent breed of confidence.

Today, Ariana Grande released her newest album and it’s really, really good. The title, Dangerous Woman, refers to her maturation from teen pop star to fully-formed pop star and its mascot, a black latex “Super Bunny,” simultaneously represents a “superhero, or supervillain.” But what goes into the pop star’s image? Apparently a diet shockingly devoid of drama and patriarchy. The super talent muses on her independence and on what it means to be where she is now.

And Grande’s talent is not merely as a singer. Her turn as SNL host in March garnered rave reviews. Steven Spielberg was so impressed he texted Lorne Michaels to say so. (“I can’t tell you how surreal and insane that is for me,” gushes Grande. “My second birthday party was Jaws-themed. My brain almost combusted when I heard it from Lorne.”) Her skits were great, but the real win was the monologue, in which Grande spun Doughnutgate into a showcase for her artistry and self-awareness, singing about her need for a proper adult scandal (“Miley’s had them, Bieber’s had them”) to take her career to the next level. “I was just so happy to be able to make fun of myself,” says Grande. “If you think you’re laughing at me, I promise I laughed first.”

On Dazed, Jake Hall wants to know if Vetements’ recent booking during Paris’ couture week has the power to change the entire face of ‘couture’ forever.

Earlier this week, it was announced that Vetements, the brand behind every cool kid’s most coveted $1000 black hoodie, had been added to the calendar for July’s upcoming Paris Couture Week. The news came as a shock to most given the strict guidelines brands must abide by in order to legally be referred to as “haute couture.” While we wait to see just how Demna Gvasalia will translate DHL logo T-shirts into handcrafted masterpieces worthy of the red carpet, this piece explores how the brand’s inclusion could change couture inside out.

Regardless of the reaction to the upcoming show, it’s undeniable that Vetements’ presence will create a buzz. Allowing them this platform is a brave move, especially as the industry of couture usually favours historic brands with a rich heritage rather than those inspired by youth, club and street culture. Can Gvasalia bring this energy to the hallowed stage of haute couture, just like he has done at Paris Fashion Week’s ready-to-wear shows? Few brands are more divisive than Vetements, but no matter whether you love it or hate it, there’s little doubt that you’ll watch it – and, right now, that might just be what couture needs.

On Complex , Garin Pirina explains why it’s been so exciting to see the takeover of female superhero characters on the big screen.

The hotly-anticipated Suicide Squad isn’t even out yet but Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn has already signed on for an independent movie deal. Wonder Woman is finally coming out. We seem to be in a golden age of female-lead representation in Hollywood, and it’s so exhilarating to sit through. Yet, even with all of these recent announcements, we unfortunately still have so much work to do.

But female superheroes are still the exception, not the rule. It’s taken about 20 years to get Wonder Woman out of development hell. Since the project came to the studio in 1996, Tony Stark has appeared in seven superhero films, and five more Batman movies have been made. Since its announcement in 2014, the all-female Ghostbusters movie has caused a huge kerfuffle. The first trailer, which was released in March, is the most disliked movie trailer in YouTube history—802,322 dislikes out of more than 32 million views—thanks to an outraged, sexist fanbase. Black Widow and Scarlet Witch (played by Scarlett Johansson and Elizabeth Olsen, respectively) still don’t have their own films, and as Stephen Colbert pointed out this week, “The Marvel Cinematic Universe is kind of a sausage fest.”

On Vulture, Rembert Browne uses Chance the Rapper’s newest Coloring Book, a love letter to the rapper’s hometown in Chicago, as a way to contextualize his own connections to his hometown of Atlanta.

It took less than a week for Chance the Rapper’s “C3” album Coloring Book to be crowned the best hip-hop album so far of 2016. It’s been praised for its gospel overtones (hinted at early on with his contributions to Kanye West’s “Ultralight Beam”), and its sentimental messages — but, most of all, it’s been celebrated as a distinctly “Chicago album,” one made specifically for Chance’s hometown. But can that “hometown connection” translate over to listeners who don’t call Chicago home? Apparently so.

The stories Chance tells, they all suggest he understands his unique position, his purpose, and perhaps even his duty. But even if he’s seen and done a lot, all roads lead back home. It’s what Jeremih meant on “Summer Friends”: “Even when I change, a nigga never changed up / I always bring my friends, my friends, my friends, my friends up.” This album isn’t just the story of Chance, it’s the story of his people, a love letter to his neighborhood. He knows he’s blessed, so much so he said it twice. But he also knows he’s no more special than the people he grew up around; he simply is the one who lived to tell everyone’s story.