Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog

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.

Sept. 29 2016 8:02 AM

High Maintenance Gives Us a Brilliant Deconstruction of the “Gay Best Friend” Trope

“Olivia,” the fifth webisode of High Maintenance, introduces Max (Max Jenkins), a gay twentysomething “wasting away in retail,” and his roommate and best friend, Lainey (Heléne Yorke). They’re as inseparable as they are insufferable, sassing their way through a trendy Brooklyn lifestyle, their insularity rendering virtually anyone who enters their orbit “literally the worst.” For them, nastiness is comfort, apathy the standard. They come off like snobby, self-interested millennials, of a stripe quite common among generational caricatures. Even their pot dealer—better known as the Guy (Ben Sinclair), High Maintenance’s central character—has them listed in his phone contacts under “assholes,” and groans at the mere thought of his next encounter with them.

Sept. 29 2016 1:37 AM

Ladies and Gentlemen, Your Saturday Night Live Season 42 Donald Trump: Alec Baldwin

Saturday Night Live has a lot to answer for when it comes to Donald Trump. Even if letting him host didn’t win him a single vote, even if Jimmy Fallon managed to outcoward the folks at his old stomping grounds a few months later, there was still no excuse for giving a platform to a candidate whose appeal was based on white nationalism from Day 1. Anyway, Alec Baldwin is going to play him starting with the season premiere this Saturday night, taking over a role played in the past by Phil Hartman, Darrell Hammond, Taran Killam, Jason Sudeikis, and, to the show’s eternal disgrace, the man himself.

Best of luck to Mr. Baldwin, and let’s hope it’s a very, very short gig.

Sept. 28 2016 5:59 PM

This Review of a New Hitler Biography Is Basically an Amazing (and Terrifying) Trump Subtweet

Michiko Kakutani’s review of Volcher Ullrich’s new book Hitler: Ascent, 1889–1939 for the New York Times is, frankly, dark. It starts out simply enough, asking a decades-old question: How, exactly, did Adolf Hitler rise to power? Yet as it delves into the specifics and arguments of Ullrich’s biography, the review evolves into something far more disturbing: an unmistakable Trump subtweet.

Kakutani’s evaluation of the book goes bullet point by bullet point as it doubles as commentary on America in 2016. “Reading [Hitler’s] speeches in retrospect,” Kakutani writes before quoting Ullrich, “ ‘it seems amazing that he attracted larger and larger audiences’ with ‘repeated mantralike phrases’ consisting largely of ‘accusations, vows of revenge and promises for the future.’ ” And: “Hitler had a dark, Darwinian view of the world. And he would ... become, in Mr. Ullrich’s words, ‘a mouthpiece of the cultural pessimism’ growing in right-wing circles.’ ”

Sept. 28 2016 2:45 PM

The Weeknd Confronts His Past in the Michael Jackson–Influenced Video for “Starboy”

The music video for “Starboy,” the Weeknd’s new collaboration with Daft Punk, has arrived less than a week after the song’s official launch. It’s the titular track off of his upcoming studio album, due Nov. 25, and the video has already generated positive response, having earned an MTV Europe Music Award nomination on Tuesday (as in, before it was even released).

The video, directed by frequent collaborator Grant Singer, is an evocative deconstruction of the star's past. It opens on a Beauty Behind the Madness–era version of the Weeknd tied up and being strangled by a man in a mask—a man eventually revealed to also be the Weeknd, albeit the more contemporary, Starboy-era version. Over the course of the video, he smashes his framed records with a pink fluorescent cross, destroys an upscale apartment, and drives off into the night with a black panther riding beside him.

Sept. 28 2016 12:10 PM

Stephen Colbert’s Famous Friends Want You to Know That Registering to Vote “Doesn’t Cause Nosebleeds”

Joss Whedon released a star-studded voter public service announcement last week, and Stephen Colbert, not to be outdone, is showing off his famous friends in a humorous PSA of his own. Since Tuesday was National Voter Registration Day, the Late Show host made a video to show how important voting is—so important that the whole thing is in shot in black and white. Colbert is joined by George Takei, America Ferrera, Tituss Burgess, and more to urge you to register so you too can share the joy of doing something that is “better than losing your virginity on Christmas morning.”

So go register to vote (not boat), and make your children—or at least, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s children—proud.

Sept. 28 2016 11:48 AM

Jon Favreau and Disney Are Remaking The Lion King, and We’ve Got Questions

Disney announced Wednesday morning that the studio will be teaming up yet again with director Jon Favreau, this time for a “reimagining” of The Lion King. The remake will serve as a follow-up to Favreau’s live-action update of The Jungle Book. Favreau confirmed the news, rather cheekily, on Twitter:

Sept. 28 2016 11:29 AM

The New Trailer for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Will Reignite Harry Potter Nostalgia

A new trailer for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the first installment of a new cinematic trilogy penned by J.K. Rowling, arrived on Wednesday morning, debuting on Ellen.* The trailer shows off the film's promise and nostalgic appeal to Harry Potter fans from the moment Eddie Redmayne's Newt Scamander, a hero who shares a lot in common with Potter, emerges out of a tiny suitcase before the Magical Congress of the United States of America.