Does Rita Ora belittle lesbian feelings with her new song ‘Girls’?

In the chorus of Rita Ora’s new song ‘Girls’ she sings:

“Sometimes, I just wanna kiss girls, red wine, I just wanna kiss girls.”

Some people are critical of these lyrics because it implies that you need to drink wine to kiss girls, and it basically undermines bisexuality as a serious thing. When the first criticisms and questions were directed at Rita Ora she wouldn’t confirm that the song was about her relationship experiences with people like Cara Delevingne which felt a shame when she could have immediately dealt with the bad feelings about the song. “If people look at it like that, it’s very narrow-minded and I don’t think that’s what this record is. I don’t think that that even matters,” she said.

Well today she has spoken up and said,  “I have had romantic relationships with women and men throughout my life and this is my personal journey.”

“If he’s good enough for you he’s good enough for me, if he scores another few then I’ll be Muslim too.”

A Liverpool chant from the terraces, to the tune of the 1996 hit ‘Good Enough’ by Dodgy, has demonstrated once again that Britain is an inclusive society which celebrates our differences. The chant is praising Mohamed Salah, an Egyptian footballer who has scored 23 Premier goals for Liverpool this season. The chant, “If he’s good enough for you he’s good enough for me, if he scores another few then I’ll be Muslim too. If he’s good enough for you he’s good enough for me, he’s sitting in the mosque that’s where I wanna be” has been described by Liverpool fan Asif Bodi as showing “how tolerant and welcoming the people of Liverpool really are.”

Football - FA Premier League - Liverpool FC v Manchester City FC

Salah is praying above. Sujud means to prostrate. It is like the position used in Muslim prayer movements: palms, knees, toes, forehead and nose must be the only body parts touching the ground. During prayer when someone is in this prostration position they would say ‘Glory be to God, the Most High’ repeated three times.

There are lots of Muslim players in the English Premiership. Mesut Ozil who is a German World Cup winner, and currently playing for Arsenal, is proud of his religion and happy to show it on the pitch. “I’m a Muslim, I believe in that. You can see before games that I pray and that I’m pleased to be able to go on this path. It gives me a lot of strength,” he said. “I’m someone who’s always been thankful, someone who doesn’t just wish the best for me but for the people. It’s a very important part of my life. What’s important is to come together and show respect.” In the picture below Ozil is praying with his hands in front and the palms upwards. During the prayer hands are kept openly up, towards the heavens. The two palms, standing at the level of chest as scale of a balance, wait openly for the blessings of the All-Compassionate Allah, from the heavens to come.

Ozil_2

Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium has a multi-faith fans’ prayer room as does Liverpool’s main stand which was refurbished in 2016. This allows Muslims and fans of any faith to nip in for a prayer during their time watching football and supporting their teams.

Until the End of the World – a song about Jesus and Judas

Until the End of the World is a song by Irish rock band U2 which was released in 1991. The song was played by U2 when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005. Their lead singer Bono introduced the song with these words, “A little Pop diddy – a conversation between Jesus and Judas.” The lyrics are about a fictional conversation between Jesus and Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus:

[Verse 1]
Haven’t seen you in quite a while
I was down the hold, just passing time
Last time we met it was a low-lit room
We were as close together as a bride and groom
We ate the food, we drank the wine
Everybody having a good time except you
You were talking about the end of the world

The first verse discusses the Last Supper. In the Book of Matthew Chapter 26 in the Bible it says about how Jesus at the Passover meal says, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.” All of the disciples are saddened by this and plead that Jesus isn’t talking about them. But Jesus continues to explain that one of them will betray him and “It would be better for him if he had not been born.” Judas himself responds, “Surely you don’t mean me, Rabbi?”
[Verse 2]
I took the money, I spiked your drink
You miss too much these days if you stop to think
You led me on with those innocent eyes
And you know I love the element of surprise
In the garden I was playing the tart
I kissed your lips and broke your heart
You, you were acting like it was the end of the world

The second verse is about Judas identifying Jesus with a kiss on the cheek in the Garden of Gethsemane. Still in Chapter 26 of Matthew it says, ‘His betrayer had given them a sign: “The One I kiss, He’s the One; arrest Him!” 49 So he went right up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed Him.’ This idea of a Judas kiss is often mentioned by people in everyday language and for some they won’t even realise it is a reference to Christianity! The Oxford dictionary has it as a noun: Judas kiss: an act of betrayal, especially one disguised as a gesture of friendship.
[Verse 3]
In my dream, I was drowning my sorrows
But my sorrows they’d learned to swim
Surrounding me, going down on me
Spilling over the brim
Waves of regret and waves of joy
I reached out for the one I tried to destroy
You, you said you’d wait till the end of the world

The final verse is about Judas’ suicide after being overwhelmed with guilt and sadness. He had returned the 30 silver coins to the Jewish leaders and said “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood!” But they said, “What is that to us? You see to it!” And throwing the silver coins into the temple he departed. And he went away and hanged himself.’ When you watch the musical Les Miserables there are some similarities between the character Javert (Russel Crowe in the movie) who is the detective who commits suicide near the end of the story and Judas.

U2

Family Feud by Jay-Z featuring Beyonce

In December Jay-Z dropped the 8 minute video for his song Family Feud. About half way through the video it shows him walking into a Catholic church with his real-life daughter, rapping away—”Nobody wins when the family feuds”. It is a dramatic music video with a huge storyline at the start before Jay-Z starts his song.

There is some swearing in the song.

For us in Religious Studies it offers us some learning opportunities:

  • the song is about adultery and the importance of family
  • the scenes inside what looks like a catholic church let us see pews, stained glass windows, the cross, pulpit and confessional booth
  • Jay-Z asks Beyonce for forgiveness (“can get Amen from the congregation?”) and she gives him redemption by singing “Amen”

With Jay-Z inside a supposed Catholic Church what would those with that faith say about his admitted infidelities?

sex and marriage

Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery Coloring Page Ten Commandments

The first part of the video is also interesting from a PSHCE angle too:

  • the start of the video has the year 2444 and the monarchy is in distress with the head of the family dealing with an upset and jealous brother.
  • when the queen is helped by her boyfriend, “Is that good enough for you?” she shows her own power by silently stabbing him in the back with a knife saying, “It’s my throne.”
  • there are co-presidents who are black and native American which helps us imagine that one day there’ll be racial equality in the USA
  • eight women sit around a table and rewrite the constitution in the year 2050, with the narrator reminding us that this is “a time when some thought that making America great was making us afraid of each other” but in fact “America is a family and the whole family should be free”.

 

Blinded By Your Grace

It’s Live Lounge Month with Radio 1 this September. One British artist who always impresses is Stormzy, and his song Blinded By Your Grace has some interesting commentary about faith:

I’m blinded by your grace
I’m blinded by your grace, by your grace
I’m blinded by your grace
I’m blinded by your

[Chorus: Stormzy & MNEK]
Lord, I’ve been broken
Although I’m not worthy
You fixed me, I’m blinded by your grace
You came and saved me
Lord, I’ve been broken
Although I’m not worthy
You fixed me, now I’m blinded by your grace
You came and saved me

[Verse 1: Stormzy]
One time for the Lord, and one time for the cause
And one round of applause
One time for Fraser T Smith on the chords
I feel we got one, I stay prayed up then I get the job done
Yeah, I’m Abigail’s yout, but I’m God’s son
But I’m up now, look at what God’s done
Now I real talk, look at what God did
On the main stage runnin’ ’round topless
I phone Flipz then I tell him that he got this
This is God’s plan, they can never stop this
Like… wait right there, could you stop my verse?
You saved this kid and I’m not your first
It’s not by blood and it’s not by birth
But oh my God, what a God I serve

stormzy

In an interview with Fader Stormzy said, “You know when you’re watching churches, and a lady or a man in the choir just takes it away, and it’s just like, Flipping heck, and everyone just feels it in their soul? I was like, “I want someone to do that. I want someone to come and take this tune where I can’t take it.” I listen to a lot of radio, and a lot of pop and R&B. I’ve always clocked with MNEK, he’s got such a voice. I was like, I know he can go to church with it. He came round to the studio, and it was like watching a magician work. He was able to record his riffs and his [backing vocals] and his harmonies all at once without hearing them back. He took the tune exactly where I wanted it to go.”

Then with Radio 1 Stormzy explained,

“It’s a song that means so much to me both in terms of my faith and what God means to me but also for my artistry as well. It’s a song that me and Fraser [producer and songwriter] made up and we was trying to make something incredible for the album and it’s a song I almost felt I wasn’t capable of making but between me, Fraser and MNEK we pulled it off.

“It’s a little bit of an anthem in the weirdest way. It’s a little soulful, a little gospel. I’ve played it at festivals and everyone’s hands are in the air like drunk and I don’t know if it goes but it’s working and it’s beautiful and it’s amazing. Everyone kinda comes together for it.”

 

Spontaneous Pop Star Heroics

Liam Payne pulling his friend from a burning balcony; Pink comforting a young girl mid-concert and stopping a fight that had broken out in the audience; and Justin Timberlake administering the Heimlich manoeuvre on his friend choking on a peanut. These are all stories of pop starts who might be some people’s heroes for their musical abilities, but have proven themselves to be heroes in emergency situations too.

heimlich-maneuver-for-all-ages

The Grenfell Tower – Bridge Over Troubled Water charity single

At least 79 people are now missing, presumed dead, following the fire in west London at the Grenfell Tower. A charity single organised by Simon Cowell was released on Wednesday with all the money raised going to those affected by the fire. The music video is very emotional and gives you a glimpse of the suffering endured.

The original song Bridge Over Troubled Water was performed by Simon and Garfunkel. Paul Simon wrote the song about providing comfort to a person in need. It started as a modest gospel hymn but became more dramatic as he put it together. Speaking in the documentary The Making of Bridge Over Troubled Water, Simon said, “I have no idea where it came from. It came all of the sudden. It was one of the most shocking moments in my songwriting career. I remember thinking, ‘This is considerably better than I usually write.” It is one of the most covered songs in history…

grenfell

Stormzy : ‘Yeah, I don’t know where to begin so I’ll start by saying I refuse to forget you

I refuse to be silenced

I refuse to neglect you

That’s for every last soul up in Grenfell even though I’ve never even met you

That could have been my mum’s house, or that could have been my nephew

Now that could have been me up there

Waving my white plain T up there

All my friends on the ground trying a see up there

I just hope that you rest and you’re free up there

I can’t feel your pain but it’s still what it is

Went to the block just to chill with the kids

Troubled waters come running past

I’mma be right there just to build you a bridge yo”

When you’re weary (Robbie Williams)

Feeling small (James Blunt)

When tears are (Rita Ora) in your eyes (Craig David) I’ll dry them all (Bastille)

I’m on your side (Liam Payne)

Oh, when times get rough (Emeli Sande)

And friends just can’t be found (Kelly Jones)

Like a bridge over troubled water (Paloma Faith)

I will lay me down (Louis Tomlinson)

Like a bridge over troubled water (Labrinth)

I will lay me down (Jorja Smith)

When you’re down and out (Leona Lewis)

When you’re on the street (Jessie J)

When evening falls so hard (James Arthur)

I will comfort you (ooo) (Roger Daltrey)

I’ll take your part, oh (Ella Eyre)

when darkness comes ( Anne Marie and Ella Henderson)

And pain is all around (Louisa Johnson)

Like a bridge over troubled water (Robbie Williams, all voices)

I will lay me down (James Arthur)

Like a bridge over troubled water (Choir)

I will lay me down (Rita Ora)

liam