Random J(unk) Mail: 29.10.23 - Flop Diva

A screenshot of an e-mail inbox, displaying an e-mail from Random J Pop, featuring 3 attachments with photos of Kumi Koda, Beyoncé & Taylor Swift and a shot of the dancers in the music video for Troye Sivan‘s “Rush”. Followed by several e-mails.

You know I’m the flop diva. Most beautiful, powerful, and talented girl on the planet…

Random J(unk) Mail is a weekly roundup of whatever the fuck. A collection of things that I was too lazy to make individual posts on. Or just small things that I didn’t think warranted a post, but I still wanted to share thoughts on. I’m gonna try to do this weekly. But those of you who have been here for a minute know my ass is lazy.

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these (since April chile), because I am lazy. But here we are. Almost at the end of 2023, with me deciding to do this shit. Almost everything in this Random J(unk) mail is old, but things I still feel are relevant. Also, I had already typed (most of) this shit up, so it’s not going to waste away in a draft. A couple of the topics covered here are also very lengthy, so get comfy.

Róisín Murphy joins the TERF fanclub

The cover for Róisín Murphy’s sixth studio album ‘Hit Parade’. Only the title is replaced with ‘TERF Parade’. ⚠️ The re-colouration of the image and the change to the album title was done by me (Random J) ⚠️

Irish pop star Róisín Murphy is somebody you were either introduced to via Moloko, Jessie Ware or being transphobic. Yep. Turns out she said some stuff in response to a post about puberty blockers and then went on a bit of a transphobic coded rant some time ago, and those rants were unearthed JUST as she was in the thick of promoting her new album which was releasing the following week.

And of course Facebook was where this woman said her foolishness.

Róisín trended on Twitter on mere days before her album release, which meant that she couldn’t ignore all of the noise around her statements. So, she released a non-apology in the form of the now classic white font on a black backdrop posted as an image in a social media post, with the non-apology not featured in the ALT text. (Shout-outs to accessibility). So I’mma retype the whole damn thing here, because I have time today.

I have been thrown into a very public discourse in an arena I’m uncomfortable in and deeply unsuitable for. I cannot apologise enough for being the reason for this eruption of damaging and potentially dangerous social-media fire and brimstone. To witness the ramifications of my actions and the divisions it has caused is heartbreaking.

I’ve had a personal Facebook account for years. The morning I made these comments I was scrolling and I brought up a specific issue that was only broadly related to the original post. It was something that had been on my mind. I knew my friends were informed about the topic. I should’ve known too that I was stepping out of line.

I’ve spent my whole life celebrating diversity and different views, but I never patronise or cynically aim my music directly at the pockets of any demographic. The music I make is the core of everything I do and it’s ever- evolving, freewheeling and unpredictable. For those of you who are leaving me, or have already left, I understand, I really do, but please know I have loved every one of you. I have always been so proud of my audience and understood the privilege of performing for you, all through the years.

I am so sorry my comments have been directly hurtful to many of you. You must have felt a huge shock, blindsided by this so abruptly. I understand fixed views are not helpful but I really hope people can understand my concern was out of love for all of us.

I will now completely bow out of this conversation within the public domain. I’m not in the slightest bit interested in turning it into ANY kind of ‘campaign’, because campaigning is not what I do. Though I completely understand that for others activism is their true calling, and is necessary and legitimate in a democracy. My true calling is music and music will never exclude any of us, I believe it will always be one of the greatest tools we can use to create a culture of tolerance. Thank you for taking the trouble to read this.

I’m Gone Fishing.

Sincerely, Róisín ❤️

This apology itself…was not great. There was a lot of ‘I am sorry that you feel upset by what I said’ and not enough ‘I am sorry for what I said’. And then there was also a lot of talk about Róisín’s music, what it means to her and what she feels it means to other people - which to me felt like a framing of the whole ‘separate the artist from the art’ - a sentiment I do not agree with. Art is reflective of the artist. You can’t separate them.

Róisín is sorry that her comments surfaced, but she’s not sorry for the comments themselves. And she only put this statement out to try and save her album. And it’s kinda funny. Because Róisín having an album and a tour on the way, resulted in her doing press and promo, which put a spotlight on her, which is kinda what resulted in her Facebook comments surfacing.

I don’t get why people are so against trans folk and why every conversation so frequently funnels down to ‘BUT THINK OF THE CHILDREN’. I truly don’t. Children are not in danger from trans folk or transness anymore than they are their own parents or cisgendered adults in their lives, who are the ones that cause them harm when they do decide to live in their truth. The call is always from inside the house. Nobody is forcing or coercing children to transition. And I fail to see how children desiring to live as they choose and not going on any form of medication or having any surgeries until they are LEGALLY allowed, following rounds of consultations with medical professionals is a problem.

I, as many others did, thought Róisín Murphy was down with the LGBTSINGITBACK+. But clearly she isn’t. Her entire fanbase is made up of folk from the queer community of every letter, who are the reason she’s been able to stay booked, so her career will absolutely take a hit. But it’s far from over. She will still release music and still play gigs. The queer community likes to promote itself as a collective of acceptance, but this is not the case. Plenty of queer folk are transphobic as fuck.

Jessica is gonna need to put that “Freak Me Now” music video on private, pull the single version from streaming and update the song “That! Feels Good!” to remove Roisin’s vocals how Beyoncé removed Kelis’ from “Energy”.

Kylie Minogue’s Tension is in stores and available on streaming now.

Some racist and misogynist white man at Rolling Stone

A photo of Jann Wenner, stood beside an easel featuring a commeorative issue of Rolling Stone, with the headline ‘Fuck Niggas & Bitches’. ⚠️ The headline on this image was added by me (Random J) ⚠️

Jann Wenner, founder of Rolling Stone magazine has been dragged through the Rock and Roll Hall of fame (which he was a part of) and out the building over his remarks about women in music and Black artists in an interview he did for The New York Times for the release of his upcoming book ‘The Masters’.

The Masters is a book which features interviews he’s conducted over the course of his career as a journalist, with notable people in Rock & Roll who he deems masters of the genre - hence the title. And the interview made note of the fact that all of the people spotlit in the book are white men. And when Wenner was confronted with this, everything fell to shit. I’ll post parts of the conversation below.

📰 Jann Wenner Defends His Legacy, and His Generation’s @ The New York Times

History will speak. This is also a history-will-speak kind of question. There are seven subjects in the new book; seven white guys. In the introduction, you acknowledge that performers of color and women performers are just not in your zeitgeist. Which to my mind is not plausible for Jann Wenner. Janis Joplin, Joni Mitchell, Stevie Nicks, Stevie Wonder, the list keeps going — not in your zeitgeist? What do you think is the deeper explanation for why you interviewed the subjects you interviewed and not other subjects?
Well, let me just...

Carole King, Madonna. There are a million examples.
When I was referring to the zeitgeist, I was referring to Black performers, not to the female performers, OK? Just to get that accurate. The selection was not a deliberate selection. It was kind of intuitive over the years; it just fell together that way. The people had to meet a couple criteria, but it was just kind of my personal interest and love of them. Insofar as the women, just none of them were as articulate enough on this intellectual level.

Oh, stop it. You’re telling me Joni Mitchell is not articulate enough on an intellectual level?
Hold on a second.

I’ll let you rephrase that.
All right, thank you. It’s not that they’re not creative geniuses. It’s not that they’re inarticulate, although, go have a deep conversation with Grace Slick or Janis Joplin. Please, be my guest. You know, Joni was not a philosopher of rock ’n’ roll. She didn’t, in my mind, meet that test. Not by her work, not by other interviews she did. The people I interviewed were the kind of philosophers of rock.

Of Black artists — you know, Stevie Wonder, genius, right? I suppose when you use a word as broad as “masters,” the fault is using that word. Maybe Marvin Gaye, or Curtis Mayfield? I mean, they just didn’t articulate at that level.

How do you know if you didn’t give them a chance?
Because I read interviews with them. I listen to their music. I mean, look at what Pete Townshend was writing about, or Jagger, or any of them. They were deep things about a particular generation, a particular spirit and a particular attitude about rock ’n’ roll. Not that the others weren’t, but these were the ones that could really articulate it.

Don’t you think it’s actually more to do with your own interests as a fan and a listener than anything particular to the artists? I think the problem is when you start saying things like “they” or “these artists can’t.” Really, it’s a reflection of what you’re interested in more than any ability or inability on the part of these artists, isn’t it?
That was my No. 1 thing. The selection was intuitive. It was what I was interested in. You know, just for public relations sake, maybe I should have gone and found one Black and one woman artist to include here that didn’t measure up to that same historical standard, just to avert this kind of criticism. Which, I get it. I had a chance to do that. Maybe I’m old-fashioned and I don’t give a [expletive] or whatever. I wish in retrospect I could have interviewed Marvin Gaye. Maybe he’d have been the guy. Maybe Otis Redding, had he lived, would have been the guy.

What Wenner was trying to say versus what he said are two different things. But both are a problem, because they are both bigoted as fuck.

The problem with all of this shit isn’t even the bigotry of Jann specifically. I’m not surprised that an old white man born in the 50s who founded a music magazine named after a British rock band is a misogynistic and racist piece of shit, who had the audacity to put out a book citing white men as masters of a genre of music created by Black people.

The broader issue for me is that this mindset that Jann has is very much still a precedent in so many music publications and institutions today. Misogyny and racism is so ingrained in the entertainment industry due to old ass people still holding positions of power and Hollywood’s attachment to things which are antiquated, that trying to undo it will be never-ending. And we’re seeing similar things play out in politics. This set-up is an issue at every single level in every circle and every arena.

Black people have always had to deal with resistance in music, even whilst being exceptional. Rolling Stone famously refused to do a cover story on Michael Jackson during Off the Wall, despite its huge commercial success and that Rolling Stone themselves had even reviewed the album and sang its praises. Whitney Houston couldn’t get played on MTV until “Saving All My Love” became a hit so big they couldn’t ignore it. Mariah Carey was being told to play on her racial ambiguity and white it up for better coverage.

White people will always gatekeep against the success of Black folk in music. At the 2022 Grammys, it came to light that the voting committee (made up mostly of white people) all passed on Beyoncé’s album, Renaissance. Not because they didn’t like it, but because of opinions they had on her and her popularity; things which have no bearing on THE MUSIC. The thing they are voting for. The thing they hadn’t even listened to. And I couldn’t help but wonder if this would have been the case were she white. I guess we’ll see how many gold gramophones Taylor Swift walks away with at the 2023 Grammys.

Music journalism at large is generally racist. Black acts are constantly sidelined and get little coverage. All the while, a white act can come along get successful of the back of a Black act, yet get all the coverage and platforming in the world that said act did not get. And K-pop journalists like to act like what they’re seeing a South Korean group do is revolutionary and brand new, and complete side step that it’s just a copy and paste of something a black group did two decades ago. It’s tiring. It’s ridiculous. It’s not even slick. It’s very blatant.

Black people shouldn’t have to keep creating all of these different spaces out of a lack of inclusion and seats at the table. Because as great and as necessary as this is, there still needs to be more black faces and faces of colour at the bigger tables so that the doors can stay open and Black talent can get the recognition it deserves.

So, fuck that white man and his magazine, which continues to bait people with its horrendous best lists. That magazine has never had taste.

Kumi Koda - Winfreyesque

Kumi Koda sat on stage with a microphone, with on-screen subtitles which read ‘Girl, it’s finished. Rotten to the core.’ ⚠️ This subtitled foolishness was made by me ⚠️

For years I have been saying that Kumi Koda should do some type of talk show type shit, whether it’s on TV or it’s just a lil’ segment she does on YouTube or for her app. She’s not yet done it. But she is continuing to do her lil’ Talk Show tours. At time of writing, Kumi Koda is on a 16 date tour where she literally just sits on a stage and talks about stuff. And from the looks of things, Kumi is having a whole lotta fun and seems to be enjoying the opportunity to meet fans in a setting a different to that of a standard music show. It really says a lot about the type of person she is, because some celebs would not feel comfortable doing this. Because some celebs be struggling to hold conversations and pull sentences together.

Kumi Koda’s comment about women older than 35 having rotten pussy fluid back in 2008 is probably part of the reason that she has avoided prominent radio show interviews and any type of long form talk shows for so long. But we are in a different age and time now. Those who had reflected on the controversy since have even admitted that the backlash probably would not be as severe if it were to be said now or even 10 years ago. And Kumi Koda is so far in her career, which is so secure at this point, that she could release ‘Rotten monsteR pussy’ beanies, T-shirts and flasks and it wouldn’t dent her career.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. But instead of Calamity Ganon, it’s Rotten Pussy. ⚠️ This image that Nintendo will probably send a cease and desist over, was made by me (Random J) ⚠️

Okay. So maybe it would. Just a little bit.

In a society where women’s health was and still remains *turns looks into the camera* taboo, it’s a shame that the only response to the whole debacle was ‘Cancel all the Kingdom promo and make that bitch sorry for what she said’ and that there wasn’t a parallel narrative of ‘The exactment of what she said was incorrect, but the sentiment of pregnancy becoming more difficult as you get older was correct. So how about we use the attention this moment is getting to discuss fertility in older women and the options available to them’.


I really do hope that Kumi Koda considers making her talk show tour something she does annually or that she makes it into a TV series where she and a guest perform each episode. Pop acts used to have TV and radio shows all of the time back in the Heisei era. I say that we bring it back. Especially now with the Johnnys & Associates mess which has unfurled and so many of those acts who once had shows now no longer having them. And Japan really could also do with more of these shows being hosted SOLELY by women. One thing I had always liked about how Kumi Koda came across on TV shows is that she was never demure in the way that a lot of women who weren’t comedic personalities felt they had to be at the time. She was always a bit loud, a bit brazen, unapologetic in who she was and could match the energy of comedic male hosts who liked being messy - which I guess is what resulted in her talking about rotten pussy and having a class action be filed against her by every radio microphone in the country.

Kumi Koda likes to work. And I think having another creative outlet aside from releasing music would be a good thing for her. And maybe being in a different creative lane will manifest something new in her music or how she approaches it. Because something’s gotta change.

The Beyhive and Swifites are fighting

The Tekken 7 vs. screen, but it’s Beyoncé vs. Taylor Swift. ⚠️ This beat ‘em up foolishness was made by me (Random J) ⚠️

Every other day the Swifites and the Beyhive are flinging shit at each other over whose tour is better and whose tour is actually selling out the stadiums. It is messy as hell. But it is occasionally entertaining.

The Beyhive be terrible at times, but they are funny. And when they say Taylor can’t dance and the vocals aren’t great, I can hardly say they are lying. Where-as Swifties just be lying. It’s amusing. And I do wonder if Swifites truly believe what they are saying half the time.

Personal preference aside, I don’t get why some fans feel the need to shit on another artist to validate their fave. That woman with the seagull Polaroid album and that woman with the disco horse album are both showing everybody how to be pop stars. The specifics of how they do it and the disparity in talent in certain areas are a whole separate discussion that the fans are fighting over. But they are both of a level that so few pop stars nowadays are at and could never even dream of being at. Taylor Swift and Beyoncé are in a very small select group of acts who can still tour at the scale at which they do, whose music can still create shifts the way it does; which are things to be celebrated. I personally feel like I’m experiencing Taylor Swift fatigue and I’m not even in the trenches with the Swifites. This tour, the constant releases of something, her and that American Football man, every other show and film featuring a song of hers AND all of the online and out of home marketing. It’s a lot. But I guess bombardment is her thing. And I think it’s actually healthy and good that we have two artists of their magnitude showing two different styles of artistry and approaches when it comes to their music releases.

Taylor is showing that if you have a dedicated enough fanbase, you can just keep releasing shit, even if it’s just re-recorded old shit, and the fans will run it up. And that you can also release one album in 16 different editions and they will happily be broke for the month to own them all. She treats her music like merch, which is actually pretty smart. Fling an old album out with a different colour cover and some photo from some vault and watch the fans have it sell out. There is also a relatability factor to Taylor Swift. She looks regular. She’s not an exceptional performer. She’s not a great singer. She writes her own songs, but they aren’t of a level that a fan couldn’t write. You look at her and think ‘Gurl, I could do all that’. And yet, here she is. One of the biggest pop stars of this generation. And this shouldn’t be a surprise, because with Madonna it was a very similar type of thing.

And then you have Beyoncé. Showing that you can release an album with one lead single with no promo or music video, and have them gain so much traction organically that they not only become hits, but create moments in pop culture. And not just with the fanbase, but way outside of it too. Renaissance has also shown that if you play your cards right, you can stretch an album out long after it’s released; which is so refreshing at a time when album promo seems to just stop more or less once the album is out. And I use the word ‘promo’ lightly, because she has done very little standard promo for Renaissance. So much of it has been word of mouth and driven by fans, which in and of itself is amazing. And Beyoncé has always performed at a high level. Had a great singing voice. And by comparison to the likes of Taylor Swift and Madonna in her earlier years, is highly unrelatable. Beyoncé has long been regarded as just being cut from a different cloth and being on this level of unattainability. And she is also one of the biggest pop stars of this generation.

Both artists feel like the last of a particular breed of artist from the past couple of generations, and we should celebrate this. Both can co-exist. But maybe the bad blood stems from that VMA’s moment. Kanye was wrong, but also right.

Renaissance is better than Midnights. But that’s not important. And the two of them arranged this moment in a bid for the fans to stop fighting.

A photo of Beyoncé and Taylor Swift at the Los Angeles premiere of The Eras Tour film.

It didn’t work. They still fighting. But Beyoncé and Taylor Swift are both rich, so they don’t care. The fighting is promo for the both of them at the end of the day and they both know it. You know you that bitch when you cause all this conversation.

Some gays were not feeling the rush
When the music video for Troye Sivan’s “Rush” was released, some people were upset from the lack of body diversity. This was an…interesting thing to see unfold. First of all, I personally would not look to a white South African twink for any form of body inclusivity. That said, I can still understand why some gays would be pissed off that he chose to shoot a video full of slim, toned men. The thing that really got me though were the takes from RGB (255, 255, 255) French baguettes who were shitting on those who felt unrepresented. And lo and behold, they looked exactly like the people in the music video, thereby kinda proving the point.

I personally do not look to everything and everybody for representation and inclusivity. But I fully get those who may watch a film, a show or a music video and be like ‘Hey. That coulda done with more X’. And I would never shit on them for that. But I also wouldn’t shit on Troye Sivan, because he has every right to say ‘I just want skinny and / or toned white people in my music video’. My stance on inclusivity and diversity is do it if you mean it and genuinely want to do it. But never do it to JUST check a box, because it’s always easy to tell when inclusivity is disingenuous, which is worse than no inclusivity at all in MY opinion. Just look at how Friends did Aisha Tyler. The show did not need that.

It was also interesting to see people saying ‘But Sam Smith gave you body diversity, but y’all didn’t want it’. Because whilst Sam themselves was the body diversity, all of the dancers in the music video in question had the same builds as those in Troye Sivan’s music video.

The whole discussion was just fucked. But it was fun seeing fragile white gays tweet and delete after getting flamed in their replies.

No matter which way it cuts, I will always understand why people are slighted by the lack of diversity and inclusion in the media they consume. It’s not a hard thing to understand. And yet, here we are.

Meanwhile Janelle Monáe is out here minding her business with her “Waterslide” video; a party featuring every body type.

So. What’s the lesson in this week’s Random J(unk) Mail?

People are trash. Not every person is. But most people are.
Also, queerness is not a monolith. Because people fuck it up. Because they’re trash.

Have a non-miserable day.