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Melina Matsoukas Speaks On 'We Found Love' Extended Version + If Rihanna Is Beyonce's Successor

Melina Matsoukas has never needed to stand in front of a camera to gain the world's attention. VIBE caught up with the 29-year-old visionary mainly known for her provocative music video directing gigs with Rihanna to talk inspiration vs. plagiarism, Rihanna vs. Beyonce and that wild derriere tattoo.

I think many people can join me in honestly saying they watched your "We Found Love" video 20+ times [laughs].
I did it too. I usually hate most of my work, probably at least more than half of it. When things are done I kind of want it to be done and never see it again, but this is one that I was really proud of and I'm extremely happy others are too. It's the best feeling ever as an artist to be happy with your own work.

You've spoken about the video's theme, but there's one thing we need to speak about specifically—that ass tattoo. When Rihanna read the treatment was there any initial hesitation? 
I think the more provocative it is the more she responds to it. She read the treatment and loved it. What I thought was funny was when we were on set and she said, 'I didn't realize until yesterday that I actually have to play this character. I read the scene and I'm like this is hot, but then it just hit me like oh shit I'm the one who has to play this out!' I thought that was funny, but we shot that on the second day and they were already pretty comfortable with each other and I was like 'So now he tattoos your butt.' Obviously she likes tattoos. She had a warning that that was going to happen. It's not like I sprung it on her [laughs].

I remember seeing The-Dream tweet that the video was good enough to flip into a short film. Were you guys thinking about doing something like that at all?
We're thinking of doing an extended version possibly. I'm not sure yet.
But I'm happy with how it is, too, so it's not totally necessary.  

We did a post recently asking a group of folks if Rihanna's Beyonce's inevitable successor. Beyonce had a movement that was about autonomy, financial independence and that opened the door for Rihanna's movement with sexual liberation. Do you think that will most likely happen?
I wouldn't say there's a successor or not. To me they're very different artists. Yes they both do pop music and both are Black women, but we can just like both of them. So many people are like 'I'm on team this, I'm on team that.' It's like why can't I just like music and like what these two women represent in different ways? Yes they're both talented, but they're different kinds of artists. Like Beyonce, well I wouldn't go into everything that they do, but you know what Beyonce has to offer and I think Rihanna offers a bit something different. And yes they're definitely some overlap in that they do some similar stuff, but they are totally different. At least for me they satisfy different parts of me creatively and I think that that's what it is. Each of them has their own lane and that's a lane they can fill if they want or leave vacant if they want, too.

How important is it that you guys highlight sexual liberation in visual projects? 
I think that sexuality is something beautiful that should be embraced and shown off. It's not something that we should run away from. It's a part of being a woman and a part of being a man too. There's nothing wrong with our bodies and it should teach us to love ourselves. And I think she does that really well and I love that about her. She doesn't shy away from it. It's also like American culture is so scared of that kind of thing where in some other cultures it's not that big of a deal. It's like this is who I am.

Right it's also become very popular mindset amongst females of today. I feel like you're going to soon come across an artist that's going to ask you to give them a "Rihanna" video. How do you answer that?
No. [Laughs] I can't do that because you're not going to give me what Rihanna gives me. I haven't been asked to do that ever thank God because then that's copying someone, then it's really a rip-off. Rihanna's her own person. I don't have anything to do with that. She is who she is. It's just a good collaboration. I might be better with her than I'm with somebody else just because we get each other and we have similar tastes so then we can play off each other and so much about filmmaking is that collaborative nature. It's like certain stylists might be really good with one person but when they work with other people their work doesn't show that as well.

I've read folks who say you're trouble for Rihanna because of the copy and paste accusations in the past. What do you say to shit like that?

Melina Matsoukas On Swaggerjack Accusations + Moving Into Movies (Pg. 2)

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Jemal Countess

'Queen Sono' Will Be The First African Original Series To Stream On Netflix

Netflix caught some flack over the weekend after it was reported the streaming behemoth shelled out a smooth $100 million to keep the 90s sitcom Friends. However, staying committed to original content IOL Entertainment reports Netflix will take on it first African series.

Titled Queen Sono, actress Pearl Thusi (pictured above at the 2019 Global Citizens festival) will star in the dramedy which finds Thusi portraying a spy motivated to help the lives of her South Africans, while dealing with highs and lows of a personal relationship.

Netflix's Vice President of International Originals Kelly Luegenbiehl who's in charge of content in Europe and Africa expressed excitement over Queen Sono.

"We love the team behind the show, [and] we're passionate about coming in and doing something that feels fresh and different. It's really exciting for us," she said. "Their point of view and creating a strong female character was really something that also really drew us to it.

Erik Barmack, also with Netflix, said Queen Sono is just the first of many to depict life in Africa.

"Over time our roots will get deeper in Africa and South Africa, and we're moving pretty quickly to that now, and plan to invest more in local content," he said.

READ MORE: Africa's Rising Youth Population Might Face A Job Crisis

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Kevin Winter

Fans Shut Down Beyonce Cultural Appropriation Allegations

Beyonce is the latest celebrity to be accused of cultural appropriation after she was spotted at an Indian wedding on Sunday (Dec. 9). Despite some assertions, the BeyHive is swooping in to set the record straight about their queen.

According to reports, Beyonce performed at an early wedding celebration in India's western Rajasthan state. She was celebrating the nuptials of Isha Ambani – the 27-year old daughter of Reliance Industries head Mukesh Ambani – and Anand Piramal, the 33-year old son of another Indian billionaire.


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A post shared by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on Dec 9, 2018 at 11:47am PST

The early festivities, which is custom for Indian marriages, welcomed a handful of celebrity guests including Hillary Clinton, Bollywood stars, businessman, and more.

The controversy surrounding Beyonce sparked after the singer shared an image of herself wearing an extravagant, pink and gold dress with seemingly traditional, Indian accessories, including a headpiece and bracelets. Some critics immediately assumed Bey was culturally appropriating Indian or Hindi culture, but suggested it would go unnoticed due to her social status.

Fans however, shut the allegations down, noting that she was actually paying homage to the culture. They also stated that she was invited to perform at the party by a prominent Indian family and therefore, should be dressed appropriately.

This wouldn't be the first time Beyonce has been accused of cultural appropriation of Indian culture. She was hit with similar allegations following the release of the music video for "Hymn for the Weekend" with Coldplay.

Join the discussion and check out the debate below.


— lah-juh (@fabuLaja) December 10, 2018

why are fake wokes on twitter accusing beyonce for doing cultural appropriation ? IT'S APPRECIATION YOU MFs !! y'all don't know shit about indian culture !! literally sit tf down, even indians aren't mad why are you dumbasses shoving it down our throats as if yall know better

— anupama (@taysmoonchiId) December 9, 2018

Beyonce wearing Indian clothes to an Indian Cultural Event is not cultural appropriation. She was invited by an Indian family and everyone there is wearing Indian clothes. So.

— Ivan (@taexty) December 10, 2018

As someone who is half-Indian and half-Pakistani (aka fully South Asian for those who are not geographically inclined), I do not want to see ANYONE shouting nonsense about Beyoncé and cultural appropriation unless you are South Asian too. Thanks for coming to my TED Talk x

— Shehnaz Khan (@shehnazkhan) December 10, 2018

Ppl commenting on @Beyonce’s IG Indian outfit post, saying it was cultural appropriation, need to have a seat. Embracing another’s culture and shedding positivity on it is not cultural appropriation, it is cultural appreciation. Damn keyboard warriors

— Ramon Salas (@ramonssalas) December 10, 2018

Beyoncé was invited to an indian wedding, to perform there, she's appreciating the culture and the people that invited her There's no cultural appropriation here

— 🅚 (@chainedfenty) December 10, 2018

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Paras Griffin

Tyrese, Usher And Others Reacts To Jacquees' Claim That He's The King Of R&B

Jacquees has made a bold statement that's ruffled a few feathers.

The Cash Money artist took to social media over the weekend to assert that he's the king of R&B, and from what we can gather, the 23 singer wasn't talking about ribs and barbeque. "I just want to let everybody know that I'm the king of R&B right now, for this generation. I understand who done came and who done did that and that, but now it's my turn. Jacquees, the king." he said.

Some of the Internet raised its digital eyebrow at the boast, while others paid it no attention. Tyrese, however, didn't take kindly to the assertation.

"Ima keep it stack with you," the Transformers star posted. "The young kings of this generation that's been running sh*t since day one are Chris Brown and Trey Songz."

The soul singer continued and accused the Decatur, GA native of employing Tekashi 6ix 9ine tactics. "You got this out of the Tekashi 6ix9ine playbook. Stop trolling, my ni**a. Get back in the booth."

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How Sway..? How.??......... The way we ALL reacted.......... Let me put you up on what’s really movin bruh.. This ain’t Hip Hop my nigha.. You can’t come in this game get hot for a year then try an #T69 nighas and throw that there word #KING around..... Imma keep it a stack with you... The young kings of your generation that’s #been runnin shit is 1 @chrisbrownofficial and 2 @treysongz .... BIG facts! FYI the last real R&B album through and through that has the integrity and blueprint of the culture that was made with NO skips was #ThreeKings you got this out of the T69 play book stop trolling my nigha get back in the booth.....

A post shared by TYRESE (@tyrese) on Dec 9, 2018 at 11:25pm PST

Tank, having gotten wind of Jacquees' statements, refuted his "king" claim. "First, R.Kelly is the king of R&B. The accusations don't disqualify what he's accomplished. Second, if you can't go in the studio by yourself and make a hit record, you're not my king. If you can't sing it better live, you're not my king. I appreciate all the talent out there, but we are using the word "king" too loosely."

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Every artist is supposed to believe they can fly but only one man made it happen. @rkelly body of work is still bible. I love ALL of the artist out now and some are having amazing success but to be the King you have to beat the King and his stats still stand. Imagine if “I Believe I Can Fly” had streaming when it dropped..geesh!!! I’ll let you guys focus on kings and queens.. I’ll stay focused on being around for another 20yrs! #Elevation #RnBMoney #TheGeneral

A post shared by Tank (@therealtank) on Dec 9, 2018 at 9:56pm PST

J. Holiday noted that Michael Jackson sold 20 million after the release of Off The Wall, and said R.Kelly owns the second spot. Eric Bellinger, while in the studio with Usher, simply panned his camera phone to Usher, who sat quietly in a corner.

Are Tyrese and Tank overreacting? Or should Jacquees not make such bold assertions? Sound off in the comments below.

READ MORE: Is R&B Under Siege? Tyrese, Sam Smith, And The Genre's Identity Crisis

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