Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog

Sept. 30 2016 11:21 AM

Listen to Solange’s First Album in Eight Years, a “Meditation on Being Black in America”

It’s been eight years since Solange released her last full-length studio album, the Motown-tinged Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams. In that time, she’s dropped a ridiculously good EP, carved out a persona as the free-spirited and “edgier” younger sister of Queen Bey through her daring style and meticulously crafted Instagram account, and been consistently outspoken about national race relations.

It’s clear that these last eight years have led her directly to her new album, A Seat at the Table, which landed on Apple Music on Friday. A “confessional autobiography and meditation on being black in America” (per the editor’s notes), Solange’s album is soaked in soulful social (and double) consciousness and songs and lyrics that feel ripped from headlines andpersonal tweets. (“Don’t Touch My Hair” is the title of one simmering, thought-provoking track.)

Sept. 30 2016 10:00 AM

The Best Movies and TV Shows Coming to Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime, and Hulu in October

Every month, tons of new movies and TV shows become available to stream for free for subscribers to Netflix Instant, Hulu, HBO NOW, and Amazon Prime. With so many different streaming services, it can be hard to keep track of them all—especially if you belong to more than one service. Below, we present to you the ultimate streaming guide. We’ll let you decide which service has the best new titles. (All titles arrive Oct. 1 unless otherwise specified.)

Sept. 30 2016 8:32 AM

How Luke Cage Got Marvel to Say the N-Word

This article originally appeared in Vulture.

Last year, the Marvel-Netflix collaboration Marvel’s Jessica Jones brought its viewers a pearl-clutching shock right in the middle of its first episode: a shockingly realistic sex scene in which the title character gets screwed from behind while the camera focuses tightly on her impassioned face. After years of creatively conservative Avengers-movie fare, one was left wondering, Can you even do that in a Marvel property? Marvel’s Luke Cage, the latest product in the brand’s Netflix mini-empire, forces the viewer to ask that question again roughly a third of the way through its first installment when it deploys the most charged word in the English language.

“But when the smoke clears, it’s niggas like me that let you hold on to what you got,” intones the show’s bass-voiced antagonist, Cottonmouth, in a conversation with his cousin, the politician Mariah. “You know I despise that word,” she counters with a sneer. His reply: “I know. It’s easy to underestimate a nigga. They never see you coming.”

Sept. 30 2016 8:02 AM

The Light Between Oceans Diverges From the Novel It’s Based on in One Key, Unfortunate Way

Shannon Plumb, wife of Light Between Oceans director Derek Cianfrance, recently published a scathing essay which she blames the drama’s disappointing opening weekend at the box office on early reviews—specifically, those by male critics. The film, which stars Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander, and Rachel Weisz, brought in just under $5 million in its first few days, something Plumb attributes to reviewers such as Variety’s Owen Gleiberman using terms like “weepie,” “chick flick,” and “melodrama” in association with the film. “Great,” laments Plumb. “Now the fireman, the garbage man, and my Uncle Rocky won’t go see it.”

Sept. 29 2016 5:01 PM

This Video Transplants Trump Into the 1960 JFK v. Nixon Debate, With Creepy Results

The resemblances between Back to the Future villain Biff Tannen and Donald Trump have been well-documented—in fact, one of the movies’ writers has even confirmed that Tannen is based on Trump. But a video series by the Gregory Brothers takes the comparison a step further, sending Trump back in time by editing him into historical political footage. Their latest begs the question, “How would Donald Trump fare in the historic 1960 presidential debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon?” The answer is, not very differently from how he has behaved in any other debate.

By frequently interrupting, talking about his penis size, and even yelling “All Lives Matter” while Kennedy calls for integration, Trump doesn’t come off so great. But the even greater takeaway might just be the juxtaposition between the relative civility of that first televised debate and, well, the entire 2016 presidential campaign.

Sept. 29 2016 4:44 PM

Adam Driver Plays Paterson From Paterson in the Trailer for Jim Jarmusch’s Paterson

Paterson (Adam Driver) is a bus driver in a city that shares his name, Paterson, New Jersey, in Jim Jarmusch’s aptly titled upcoming film Paterson. The trailer for the movie, available exclusively via Yahoo Movies, feels right at home with the unassuming, restrained style of filmmaking seen in Jarmusch movies like Broken Flowers, as we see Paterson go about his daily routine, observing passengers and scribbling philosophical poetry in his notebook.

The film co-stars Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani as Paterson’s wife, Laura, and Nellie, an English bulldog, as Paterson’s English bulldog, Marvin. At the Cannes Film Festival, the film received rave reviews and was selected to compete for the Palm d’Or—Nellie, who died earlier this year, was even awarded the prestigious Palm Dog for outstanding canine performance.


Paterson opens Dec. 28.

Sept. 29 2016 3:00 PM

Oh My Glob, Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time Is Ending in 2018

Cartoon Network has announced that the network's animated cult hit Adventure Time will come to an end in two years. The show’s ninth season, currently in production, will be its last, according to the Hollywood Reporter, with new episodes, specials, and miniseries debuting on the network though 2018.

That gives fans plenty of time to grieve for Adventure Time, which has attracted both young and not-so-young devotees for its offbeat sense of humor, oddball animation style, and genuinely great music, including favorites like “I’m Just Your Problem” and the endlessly catchy bacon pancakes tune. The Emmy-winning show, which follows the exploits of Jake the Dog and Finn the Human in the post-apocolyptic Land of Ooo, has hosted a slew of famous guest voice actors over the years, including Neil Patrick Harris, Matthew Broderick, and Donald Glover, to name just a few.


Creator Pendleton Ward, who also voices Adventure Time's Lumpy Space Princess, told the Reporter: “We tried to put into every episode something genuine and telling from our lives, and make a show that was personal to us, and that had jokes too! I'm really happy that it connected with an audience for so long.”

Sept. 29 2016 12:13 PM

Hey, White People: Tituss Burgess, Samuel L. Jackson, and More Have Some Advice for You

You may know Jon Batiste best as the bandleader for The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, but as he explained on Wednesday night, he’s interested in more than just jazz—he wants to heal America’s racial divide. To that end, Batiste rounded up some black celebrities for help, including Tituss Burgess, Kevin Hart, Samuel L. Jackson, Gayle King, Michael K. Williams, Anthony Anderson, and—is that John Oliver? How did he get in there? Anyway, all these famous people came together for an important public service announcement in which they offer some valuable advice to their white peers.

Their best points? Stop avoiding the word racist when talking about racism, don’t assume all black people know each other, and for the love of all that is holy, stop going barefoot in New York City.

Sept. 29 2016 10:45 AM

Sam Bee Explains the Many, Many Insults to Womankind That Trump Lobbed During the First Presidential Debate

More than 83 million Americans tuned into Monday night’s presidential debate, and Samantha Bee was one of them: Bee skipped her usual Monday time slot in favor of a special episode of Full Frontal later in the week about the debate. Bee specifically called out Donald Trump’s cartoonish sexism, from his frequent interruptions of his opponent to his accusation that Hillary Clinton lacks the “stamina” to be president. “Just say penis, Don,” said Bee. “Three-syllable words don’t suit you.”

Bee also highlighted how neatly Clinton baited Trump, who has frequently been accused of misogyny throughout the campaign, by bringing up his remarks about former Miss Universe Alicia Machado during the debate, knowing that Trump could not resist “calling women names, doubling down, and making dumb mistakes on Fox and Friends.” And though Trump has had his problems with women in the past, as Bee points out, he might now have to worry about backlash from any woman who has ever been called fat. “Which is all of us,” notes Bee.


Bee even wrapped up the segment with a surprisingly supportive shoutout to Fox anchor and Trump feud-er Megyn Kelly, who made a subtle dig at Trump supporter Sean Hannity shortly after the debate and challenged Kellyanne Conway about Trump's stance on women. It seems there is one way Donald Trump is good for women: by uniting them, even across the aisles, in their disgust toward him.

Sept. 29 2016 8:32 AM

63 Times a Very Excited Bruce Springsteen Used ALL CAPS in His Memoir

This article originally appeared in Vulture.

Most grammar dictionaries warn against the overuse of capital letters, but Bruce Springsteen, in rhetoric as in music, has always done things his way. In his memoir, Born to Run, he deploys all caps more than 70 times. This enthusiastic writerly tic is, in one sense, a clue that no ghostwriters had a hand in writing the book. But as Born to Run develops, it also becomes an essential part of Bruce’s style, the key weapon in his struggle to register the emphatic power of his voice on the flat surface of the page.

So here’s every example from the book of when Springsteen tried hardest to convey a life or death urgency—save two: his memory of watching Elvis Presley perform on Ed Sullivan, in which the caps continue across four pages, and an extended story about getting kicked out of Disneyland because Little Steven wouldn’t take off his bandanna.