25 Nov 2017

Does being an influencer mean anything?

As of late, "influencers" are making a massive impact on the world of social media. (Note: I hate the word influencer but I'll stick with it for the sake of this post.) In the last month or so we've seen Zoella's advent calendar fiasco unravel in front of the world, we've seen certain influencers advocate the use of real fur and we've seen influencers make their way into the mainstream world of TV. But is being an influencer a load of bollocks?

On a personal note, I shudder when I receive a PR email and I get addressed as an influencer (with my minute following) and I guess it kind of devalues the term when you've got people with huge followings falling under the same umbrella as me. But with all of the recent controversy it's made me wonder a few things: Are influencers actually influential? Does being an influencer come with a moral responsibility? And is online influence a real thing?

I think to be an influencer in the social media world the most important thing is to gain your audiences trust. Being transparent with your audience is key to this because as soon as you start to veer away from your true self, your credibility is flattened and people generally start to question your motives. "Do you create content just to get free things?" is a common question asked by people who don't run a blog or have much of a social media presence. Getting freebies is obviously a perk to creating good content and it allows you to work with brands you didn't think was possible, but in my opinion it only works when you collaborate with companies/people who are relevant to your online brand. For example, if I wrote a blog post about a mattress I was gifted, I would fully understand people who questioned me because it's just so left field of what I usually do. I think it's slightly different to people who's source of income is from blogging or social media because bills don't pay themselves, but I'd like to think people in that position have integrity and wouldn't lie to their audience like that.

That links into the question about having a moral responsibility. Again, I wouldn't begrudge people taking sponsored posts if they're short of money because, shit I've done it myself once or twice! But I think the question is deeper than that. Like I mentioned, there's been a few instances in recent weeks where particular influencers have been called out for their bullshit. Zoella's advent calendar is a great example because she is probably the most successful person to come from the world of influencers. If you're not familiar with her, she's a YouTuber with millions of followers and most notably a young, impressionable fan base. She collaborated with Boots to create a 12 day(?) advent calendar which was priced at £50. Nowadays, that's not an extortionate price for an advent calendar with beauty/booze advent calendars floating around. But the contents of her calendar were shit to be quite frank. Cookie cutters, confetti and a pen were meant to please the kids who bought into the facade and ultimately she was met with backlash online. I think as someone who has gained her audiences trust over the years, she should have known better and Boots have since slashed the price.
Another incident was a blogger who wore real fur and again, was met with fierce backlash. It's hypocritical of me to chime in with my two cents because I wear leather and I eat meat but there's something sinister about advocating the use of real fur these days. There are plenty of alternatives these days which I think influencers should be pushing, but it makes me wonder if these people are aware of their responsibility? Sustainable fashion is something I try to involve myself in where possible so it's disheartening to see people with hundreds and thousands of followers undoing the hard work of bloggers who are pushing the narrative to ensure fashion is done right.

With all that said, does an online influence actually mean anything? Personally I believe that having a successful online platform definitely has meaning and helps people in their everyday life. Though my blog and social media is minuscule in the grand scheme of things, it's enabled me to get a job in the world of social media and there are even bigger examples of people who have used their platform to progress onto bigger and better things. There are hundreds of bloggers out there who started off with outfit of the day posts on their blogs and are now self employed and working with some of the biggest brands in the world. Take DJ Akademiks for example. He started making videos in his basement, commenting on what's going on hip hop and now he's co host on one of the most successful YouTube shows; Everyday Struggle (which I love by the way.)
The online world we live in gives everybody a chance to better themselves if it's used correctly and I think that's a beautiful thing.


12 Nov 2017

5 Albums To Get You Through Autumn

Wassuuuuuuuuuup, it feels like I'm getting back into this blogging business (2 posts this week?!) and it feels right to chime in with a new post about music after the last few days I've had! I spent two days in Manchester to see Run The Jewels & Danny Brown and it's a city leathered in musical significance. The show was incredible and I also made the pilgrimage to the Mecca for any fans of The Smiths: Salford Lad's Club. Head to my Instagram to see photos from Manchester.

After being indulged in musical perfection for a few days, it's back to Cardiff where it's dark at 5pm and nights are cold. So what better to pick me up than some good bloody music? Here's 5 of my favourite picks to get us through this treacherous time we call Autumn/Winter:

Nostalgia, Ultra - Frank Ocean

Man, the first time I ever heard this mixtape it fully blew my mind. It was Frank's introduction to the world and it still gets played regularly in the gaff in 2017. The lead single Novocane blew up all over the internet and pushed Frank into stardom which ultimately led him to working on Watch The Throne as well as releasing two classic albums; Channel Orange and Blonde. It's believed that the music you listen to from 18-24 is the formative years for your musical palette and I can fully see this mixtape being on my iTunes for the rest of time. My standout track is: Nature Feels.

The Ooz - King Krule

I have to throw some new music into this before I just reminisce about all the good shit in my iTunes library. King Krule is someone I started listening to when his 6 Feet Beneath The Moon album came out in 2013 and I was instantly drawn to how weird his music was. The style of music is not something I was particularly fond of previously but the first time I heard Out Getting Ribs felt like being shot in the mouth with a marshmallow gun. It was amazing. As I delved further into the album, I fell for the weird crossover of punk jazz/dark wave/hip hop and have been a fan ever since. Fast forward to The Ooz and he's knocked it out of the park again. It's a bit dreary but it works. Perfect for Autumn time! My standout track is: Slush Puppy.

Malibu - Anderson. Paak

Oh great....another music post, another mention of Anderson. Paak. If you've read any of my previous music posts then I'm sure you'll already know how I talk about Paak as if he's the best thing since those videos of people showing magic to monkeys, and I fully believe it. I was late onto this album but it's stood the test of time with me. The blend of soul and hip hop, the art of storytelling and my god the features! The Game, T.I & Schoolboy Q all appear but more impressively the roster of producers include 9th Wonder, Kaytranada and Madlib. I can't remember off the top of my head which top albums came out in 2016 but this is top 3 standard. If you need that pick up with Autumn looming over you, give this a spin. My standout track is: Put Me Thru (that's changed so many times)

xx - The xx

It's an easy album to lump in to this list because it's a certified classic. Remember that two year period when every fucking documentary on BBC3 would use Intro? After hearing it on every bastard programme, I still didn't get bored of it. It also turns out pretty much every rap song over Intro bangs (proof). Aside from Intro the album is laced with amazing tracks that can be played pretty much anytime, anywhere. Infinity gives you them moody feels whereas VCR makes you feel like you're 6 years old again without a care in the world. My standout track is: Heart Skipped A Beat.

To Pimp A Butterfly - Kendrick Lamar

I had to include Kendrick, didn't I? This isn't my favourite Kendrick album but if you want to really get stuck into an hour or so of music, this album is for you. Following on from Good Kid M.A.A.D City, nobody expected this from Kendrick. A fearless album with jazz influence, aggressively unapologetic songs about American Apartheid and a civil rights anthem, Kendrick touched all bases on this one. Going from The Blacker The Berry into You Ain't Gotta Lie shows how much of a breeze it is for Kendrick to switch up his flows and style. My standout track is: Hood Politics.

There it is folks! Let me know if there's any albums I should be listening to! 


8 Nov 2017

The Band T Shirt*

There's no debating that band t shirts are a staple in pretty much everyone's wardrobe these days, right? The concept of a band t shirt has such a rich heritage and stretches back to Elvis Presley's record company producing a t shirt as a promotional tool for four of his singles which then led to a flurry of artists creating their own merch including The Beatles and Frankie Goes To Hollywood, who had arguably one of the most iconic tees even to this day.

Fast forward 50+ years and it's still a huge part of the music/fashion crossover. In recent years we've seen Metal tees become increasingly popular with merch from the likes of Slipknot, Iron Maiden, AC/DC and Metallica being readily available from outlets such as EMP. Kanye even used the Metallica font for his Yeezus merch! The band tee has also filtered into high end fashion in recent years when Raf Simons used Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures album cover and Vetements released a Snoop Dogg tour tee for $920 (the world is crazy).

The trend is something I've been invested in for a long time, with a tee from The Specials being my first band tee. Since then I've gone on to pick up tees of The Streets, Lil Wayne, The Smiths, ASAP Rocky & Tyler and Jamiroquai.

There seems to be a lot of animosity with people wearing tees of bands that they don't listen to which I kind of understand to an extent, but on the other hand it's just a t shirt, isn't it? With that being said I don't think I could personally wear a tee of a band that I don't know purely because I'd live in fear of being called out and I know my stupid nervous self would collapse under the pressure!

This post was sponsored by EMP