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Review: 'Tomb Raider' Causes A (Tiny) Ripple In The Case For Women's Empowerment

Upon viewing the highly anticipated reboot of Tomb Raider: Lara Croft (Mar. 16), the lack of women characters left me yearning for more.

*Note: Minor spoilers ahead.*

Upon viewing the highly anticipated reboot of Tomb Raider: Lara Croft (Mar. 16), the lack of women characters left a deep yearning for more. Yes, the movie is a reboot of 2001’s original Tomb Raider starring Angelina Jolie, which was inspired by the ubiquitous video game that was created off the strength of a singular woman’s prowess. Albeit, the wish was always to see more than just one girl in the room. Throughout the film, there were many fight scenes where it would've been awesome to see Lara accompanied by a fierce group of women—like with Black Panther's Dora Milaje, the fearless army that protects Wakanda.

However, it's worth noting that Tomb Raider still has a great legacy of casting strong female leads. Director Simon West's decision to select Jolie was stellar, but it was something that didn't come easy—he had to persistently coax Paramount Pictures to hire her because of her reputation. "She spoke her mind, and she had a notorious reputation. It was quite hard for me to get her through the approval process at the studio, because I wanted an actress who was going to bring something to the part, and she brought this great Angelina Jolie mythology with her as this dark, crazy, wicked woman with a very particular and interesting personality," West told Entertainment Weekly. "I wanted that mythology of Angelina Jolie to fuse with Lara Croft."

A mere 17 years later after the original film, it’s Swedish actress Alicia Vikander's turn to knock Lara's one-woman show out of the park. And she does, under the limitations of the film's rapid-fire transitions and anemic script. Still, her presence (like Jolie’s) is required in today’s socio-political climate—especially with tinsel town's habit of mistreating women. We need to get comfortable seeing women in positions of power on and off the screen.

@tombraidermovie

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Inside a Warner Bros. conference room in New York City, British actress Hannah John-Kamen, who plays Lara’s best friend, Sophie, echoes these sentiments. “100 percent you have to get used to seeing women in power, and I think definitely it’s what the movie industry is incorporating, especially with strong female leads,” she said. “You have Wonder Woman this year, and having Lara Croft in Tomb Raider. It shouldn’t feel uncomfortable and it shouldn’t be abnormal, different or an anomaly to see a strong powerful female lead, so I think it’s the right step forward.”

It's a step forward that allows women to experiment with action roles and take cinematic risks that might set them back. Bustle highlights this notion where Olivia Truffaut Wong writes, "In the past, the ability to fail in Hollywood was a privilege traditionally saved for men. Just look at Armie Hammer, who survived the badly-reviewed The Lone Ranger and The Man from U.N.C.L.E to become a movie star."

Female empowerment aside, more could have been done with Tomb Raider’s plot to back up the action. When we first meet Lara, she fits the lost rich girl narrative. She chose the struggle life, sought adventure and found herself instead of spending her trust fund. She’s a boxer and works as a bike messenger in the streets of London. Against her advisor’s wishes, she goes on a quest in Asia to find her billionaire father (Dominic West) where he fled to chase down a Japanese mythical goddess.

Lara treks off to Hong Kong to meet a drunk captain (Daniel Wu) and coaxes him to take her to the mysterious land. She fights off villains, hangs from a cliff positioned in the midst of a waterfall reminiscent of Niagara Falls and continues to fight. She ends up finding her dad but is forced to leave him again. Directed by Roar Uthaug, the film presents a story about a girl with daddy issues. In the end, we’re not sure if she finds a solution to them. Yet her tough demeanor and high flying stunts are appreciated.

While Tomb Raider's plot could have been more colorful and dotted with other female heroes or villains, it works in opening the door for more women to try their hand at action films in general. Let's hope this space keeps widening for more than just one major role in action films; in both the fantasy and real worlds.

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Joey Purp Gives New York A Taste of ‘QUARTERTHING’ At Album Listening Party

Chicago’s Joey Purp is making his long-awaited return to the hip-hop scene this Friday (Sept. 7) with his forthcoming project, QUARTERTHING. We haven’t heard much from Purp besides a pair of loosies (“March 12th”, “Bag Talk”) and a few guest features with Vic Mensa (“Down for Some Ignorance”)and more over the last two years. But make no mistake, Purp has been hard at work crafting the follow-up to his promising 2016 mixtape, iiiDrops.

To celebrate the impending release, Purp took to New York City’s Golden Unicorn in Chinatown Thursday night (Sept. 5) to host an intimate listening party for the project. Draped in an Adidas track jacket, black pants, and a pair of white Nike Air Force Ones, Purp was in high spirits throughout the night, mingling and taking pictures with those in attendance. While the space felt like a mix between a high school reunion and a karaoke bash, Chicago’s essence was felt by way of Purp’s crew and beer provided by Chicago-based brewery, Goose Island. It was a festive affair as guests took in Purp’s new music with head nods and a few dance moves showing their approval of the project.

“QUARTERTHING” is about life,” Purp said on the concept of his new project. “My life and the lives of people that I know. It’s just about us in every sense of the word.” The 14-track project features rap royalty like RZA and GZA, with fellow Chi-town wunderkinds like Queen Key, CDOT Honcho, and Ravyn Lenae.

What’s sure to bring in new fans are the variety of production on QUARTERTHING being handled by Smoko Ono, DJ Khalil, Thelonious Martin, Knox Fortune, and Nate Fox of The Social Experiment.

 

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QUARTERTHING SEP. 7, 2018

A post shared by Big Purple (@joeypurps) on Aug 31, 2018 at 12:46pm PDT

The biggest reactions from the project came from the hard-hitting “God Body Pt. 2” featuring RZA and introspective “24/k Gold/Sanctified” featuring Ravyn Lenae. There’s a little bit of everything on the album from braggadocious raps on “Look At My Wrist” to the speaker rattling records like “QUARTERTHING.” Purp explained the diverse music scene he was exposed to growing up in Chicago helped inspire the sound of the project as he was applauded for incorporating Chicago house music on “Elastic” and Chicago Juke on “Aw S**t!” The record “Lebron James” received the most adulation as Purp is heard rapping over gritty production reminiscent of the early 90s hip-hop scene.

“It’s cool seeing everybody here. I’m grateful. Grateful for the love and people that are interested in hearing this project,” Purp tells VIBE after the event. Despite being absent from the limelight, Purp is confident in his path.

“Whatever God has in store for me I’m ready. Whether it's being on top of the world or at the bottom of the bottom. That’s what’s meant to happen and it’s going to happen.”

Purp recently released “Elastic,” which also features a perfect Billy Squire sample. QUARTERTHING arrives on streaming platforms Friday.

In the meantime, jam to “Elastic” below.

QUARTERTHING tracklist 1 “24/k Gold/Sanctified” (Feat. Rayvn Lenae) 2 “God Body Pt. 2 (Feat. RZA) 3 “Hallelujah” 4 “Elastic” 5 “Aw Shit!” 6 “QUARTERTHING” 7 “Paint Thinner” 8 “Look @ My Wrist” (Feat. CDot Honcho) 9 “2012” 10 “Fessional/Diamonds Dancing” (Feat. Queen Key) 11 “Karl Malone” 12 “Bag Talk” 13 “LeBron James (Thelonious Martin)” 14 “In The Morning” (Feat. GZA)

READ MORE: Joe Budden Talks Creative Beefs With Diddy And Leaving Rap Behind

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Drake performs onstage at Madison Square Garden on August 25, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)
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Drake And Migos Light Up Brooklyn With Hits At Barclays Center

Drake and Migos gave Brooklyn a party Friday night (Aug. 31) as fans filled the cavernous halls of the Barclays Center for the highly-anticipated Aubrey & The Three Migos Tour. In support of his record-breaking number one album, Scorpion, the 6 God embarked on a 57-date tour across the country, hitting cities like Chicago, Toronto, Miami, and Boston.

With New York holding a special place in Drizzy’s heart, the Big Apple is getting quite the treatment with Drake and Migos performing seven shows in nine nights. It was an energetic night as both the 6 God and the Atlanta trio delivered incredible sets giving Brooklyn fans an exciting show to remember.

Migos got the night off to an explosive start as the group ran through their extensive catalog of hit records. Classics like “Hannah Montana,” “Handsome & Wealthy” and “Pipe It Up” delighted fans who rapped along. Migos’ electrifying presence brought on boisterous cheers from the Brooklyn crowd as highlights from Culture and Culture II, including “Narcos” and “Slippery,” rang through the Barclays Center.

Audio feedback issues during their set caused no problems, as they maneuvered through “Kelly Price” and “Deadz” without missing a beat. Before making their exit, Quavo praised the old and new fans for their nonstop support saying, “Thank you for making us the number one group in the world.”

As fans were still gathering themselves after Migos’ thrilling set, Drake wasted no time diving into the A Side catalog of his latest album, with hard-hitting tracks like “Talk Up,” “Mob Ties,” and “Energy” booming through the giant speakers stationed high above the stage.

Fans rapped alongside Drizzy on “Elevate” and “Emotionless” while marveling at the bright, miniature drones on stage and the inflatable yellow Ferrari making its rounds through the arena during Drake’s guest verse on “Yes Indeed.”

“This that Friday night Brooklyn sh**,” Drake said in response to the raw Brooklyn energy that radiated throughout the venue. “This not Madison Square Garden. We definitely in Brooklyn tonight.”

READ MORE: Drake Parties With Quavo And French Montana In “Nonstop” Music Video

Drake took a moment to speak on his long history with New York City before jumping into a medley of his throwback records. “Do you realize how long we’ve been together,” Drake asked as he reminisced on the moments he’s experienced in the city —- like his first performance at the famed SOB’s or hearing “Best I Ever Had” on the iconic radio station Hot 97. Fans wallowed in the retro vibes as Drake blazed through a vintage medley that included “Trophies,” “Over,” “Headlines,” “Yolo,” and more.

Migos, French Montana (who served as a surprise guest) and a group of backup dancers joined Drizzy on stage to bring the night to an even higher level. After their fiery set earlier in the night, Migos kept the momentum going with a lively performance of their collaborative banger with Drake “Walk It Talk It.” The quartet followed that up by rapping through their respective verses on “Versace” with quickfire precision. French Montana joined the party afterward, performing his standout chorus on Fat Joe and Remy Ma’s “All The Way Up” and his number one record “Unforgettable.”

After a brief intermission, Drizzy put a smooth relaxing vibe on the night as he moved on to his B Side records. Performing mostly R&B hits, Drake sang his way into the hearts of all the women in the audience belting out vocals for “Jaded” and the Michael Jackson-assisted “Don’t Matter to Me” while also covering the King of Pop’s timeless record “Rock With You.”

Acknowledging the strong, independent women in the audience, Drake had the ladies in their bag with “That’s How You Feel” and “Nice For What” while recognizing Brooklyn’s rich reggae history with “Controlla” and “Work.” The troupe of dancers joined him on stage once again, taking part in the Shiggy Challenge during a booming performance of “In My Feelings.”

READ MORE: #DoTheShiggy: Drake Brings Out Shiggy On Stage At NYC’s Madison Square Garden

As the show neared its end, a tireless Drake reignited the flames with his guest verses on Blockboy JB’s “Look Alive” and Travis Scott’s “Sicko Mode.” Drake kept his foot on the pedal with “Nonstop” and “I’m Upset” before taking another moment to reflect on his early beginnings.

A video montage showcasing a young Drake alongside his longtime friends and OVO brothers 40, Oliver, and Future played on the screen above the stage. The crowd cheered and applauded Drake’s 10-year journey that took him from his mother’s basement in Toronto to becoming one of hip-hop’s titans.

When the video finished, Drake got right into the anthemic “God’s Plan” with massive amounts of confetti falling from the rafters. While fans relished at the moment Drake left the OVO faithful with a moving, uncharacteristically sociopolitical message.

“All of us are living in a country where we have to deal with people telling us we don’t understand, how divided we are, and how bad sh** is getting and how we gotta deal with this fu**ing idiot that’s in office,” Drake said.

“They’ll sit there and tell us this country is falling apart because of us. But tonight we got 16,000 people from all different backgrounds inside one building and all we’re doing is chilling and having a good time. This is how the country should be.”

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Tristan Stefan Edouard

Rewind: G-Eazy's Endless Summer Tour Brings The Hits To Chicago

G-Eazy has been on the road nonstop this year. After wrapping up his Beautiful & The Damned Tour with Trippie Redd, Anthony Russo, and Phora, the Oakland native is now embarking his Endless Summer Tour featuring Lil Uzi Vert, Ty Dolla $ign, YBN Nahmir, Murda Beatz, and P-Lo. The “No Limit” rapper made a stop at Chicago's Huntington Bank Pavilion for an incredibly wild Tuesday (Aug. 15) evening. The tone and energy were set from the moment the YBN crew could be heard and seen near the box office on a small fleet of dirt bikes, riding around the outdoor venue.

Aside from the packed-out venue full of ungodly priced drinks (water included!), warm weather, and noticeably skewed racial dynamics between the workers and the concert attendees (another story for another time), an army of rabid, yet pleasant fans who were ready to see young Gerald rock the house once again. The city of Chicago offered a fitting backdrop to celebrate his ongoing string of “Ws” as, by his account, he’s been performing across the city since his early days. In fact, some of his fans who attended the show watched him gradually work his way from performing at minor in-store appearances “with only 10 people,” and small, intimate venues in Northside Chi, to large-scale festivals like Lollapalooza and bigger settings such as the Aragon Ballroom.

“I don’t know if any of you all know how much I’m in love with your city and respect I have for it, but the first show I ever played at was at Leaders for an in-store performance of, like 10 people or some shit,” he reflected before the red-hot crowd. “Then I remember coming back and playing at Schubas, then later on playing at Aragon Ballroom a bunch of times, Lollapalooza twice. You realize this is one of the greatest cities on the planet!”

And while he kept fans on their toes the whole night with stunning visual effects and a passionate stage presence, it took a minute for most of the young crowd to bring that same energy throughout, despite performances ranging from solid to amazing.

The Summer Is Ours #EndlessSummerTour Shot by @bobbybillions Edited by @_marcoalexander

A post shared by P-Lo (@p_lo) on Aug 14, 2018 at 8:57pm PDT

First up on the opener's circuit was the HBK Gang affiliate P-Lo who was fully charged up from the get-go. The San Francisco native hopped out to “No Idea” from his latest release, Prime and went on give solid and hype performances of songs like “Feel Good” and “Put Me on Something”. While most of the fans near the front and upper middle of the pit were rocking heavily to his jams, others from the lower middle section in the back weren’t quite as familiar as most were still mingling and getting snacks (because, of course, Chicagoans make entertainers work for their attention).

Eventually, attendees caught on to the vibe, thanks to P-Lo’s highly-energetic work rate and ongoing interactions with his the fans in the crowd. He even stopped to have a hearty swig of a fan’s gigantic cup of a Bud Light Straw-Ber-Rita. From there, it led to P-Lo’s fun and spirited performance of “Same Squad” where he had fans grab their best friend and move from side to side while doing the same with his DJ. His set was lit and this certainly was not the last anyone would see of him during the show.

After a brief intermission, Birmingham, Ala.’s rising sensation YBN Nahmir came out the gate swinging with his viral banger, “Rubbin’ Off The Paint” followed by his booming “Bail Out” during his set. From there, he continued to have the crowd rocking by paying homage to the incarcerated Tay-K with “The Race (remix)”, complete with colorful, glittery digital graphics which changed with every song.

When YBN Almighty Jay arrived, draped in his mini-bike gear (which from afar looked more like a bulletproof vest one didn’t catch them on their bikes earlier) he went on to showcase his catalog of bops like “Chopsticks”, the glossy “2 Tone Drip”, and high-octane rapid-fire duet with YBN Nahmir “No Hook”. And with the lingering controversy with the infamous Chicago Police Department and their recent instances of police brutality, the entire YBN gang took a moment to have the crowd put their middle fingers in the air and having them yell, “when I say f**k, y'all say 12!” leading into the somewhat related, “Changes.” After announcing they’ve hit 110 million views on YouTube, P-Lo got back on stage to party with the gang once again, before they abruptly closed their set.

The baby-faced crew had a solid stage presence and a performance quality that was better than what some purists would like to believe, however, after YBN Nahmir and YBN Almighty Jay each performed their biggest hits, the overall energy began to hit an inconsistent wave of dying down, to picking back up and so on, likely because of the lack of familiarity rather than anything related to their noticeable effort.

N The Night 🌌 #YBNmixtape #Sept7 🍽

A post shared by NUMBA FOE 🐺📑 (@ybnnahmir) on Aug 15, 2018 at 1:21am PDT

 

The gold and platinum plaque studded producer Murda Beatz was initially a head-scratcher after a glance at the lineup due to A. being a very strong producer/beatmaker who, as a personality, lacks a similar captivating star power, presence, and charisma as DJ Khaled who has a similar style of performance. And B. one would be a poor fool to believe would bring out his A-List clientele like Drake, 2 Chainz, Nicki Minaj, and especially 6ix9ine for obvious reasons. However, the Canadian hitmaker, whose wrist was dripping with the shiniest diamonds, showed and proved and by delivering a fun set by having the crowd rock out to a string of hits like 6IXN9NE’s “FeFe,” “M&Ms” with Blac Youngsta and Offset, and even A$AP Ferg’s “Work.” He and his fellow hype men kept the crowd moving with his booming production while shooting “Murda Gang” branded water guns into the fired-up crowd.

Murda also took a moment to unveil his newest member of his Murda Gang crew, Chicago artist Lil Geno, who performed his tracks “Finessin” and “Hit Me a Lick.” Unfortunately, the predominantly white crowd wasn’t quite hip to him and didn’t catch on despite his commendable performance. However, a memorable moment occurred when he was christened as an official member of the squad when they stopped to deliver the announcement and fit him with a dripping gold medallion a la Kanye West/Roc-A-Fella style.

Things continued to remain a bit flat when he transitioned to two of his songs, a Smokepurrp collab from the Bless Yo Trap tape and a Trippie Redd melody which made his set a bit dull, but it turned around immediately when he went into an even more explosive string of his biggest hits like Migos' “Walk It Talk It” and “Motorsport” where he had the ladies sing every word of Cardi B’s scene-stealing verse, and of course the crowd-pleasing anthems from Drake “Nice For What” and “God’s Plan.” Despite a few misses, Murda Beatz gave a solid set that kept the party going.

After entering to the sounds of “Paranoia,” Ty Dolla $ign went on to deliver a sultry, rock star performance that had the fans going insane by performing jams like “Pineapple” and “Missionary.” But the Taylor Gang heavyweight managed to have some fun in between alongside TeeCee 400. During his set, he even took a moment to show love to the city and pay homage to the late Drill music icon, Fredo Santana.

Been coming out to Chicago for a few years now and met some of the realist most genuine people I know . I miss my dog Fredo ! Blood was a solid guy who’s memory will never be forgotten 🙏🏾

A post shared by Ty Dolla $ign (@tydollasign) on Aug 14, 2018 at 10:47am PDT

 

The longtime YG and DJ Mustard collaborator practically blew the roof off when he gave a shirtless, rock star performance of Post Malone’s “Psycho” (which he wrote), where he delivered such a high-quality performance making fans wish he kept it for himself. Afterward, Ty closed out with the most interactive performance of the night, singing “Or Nah”. But what made this stand out the hardest was when he got off stage and walked throughout most of the pavilion (with security in tow) and continued singing within the crowd while being chased by a pack of young women. It was the finishing touch to make his set a glorious one.

Shortly after Ty Dolla $ign's set, a newly blond-haired G-Eazy unveiled himself from the shadows and behind a double door with blinding light behind him. With the Holy Cross appearing across the multiple monitors among other brightly lit graphics, he wasted no time performing the compelling and electrifying “Pray for Me,” followed by songs like “The Plan,” “Sober," and “Eazy,” each with passionate conviction. One can’t help but be glued to the stage.

What’s different about this his Endless Summer Tour set up compared to his The Beautiful and Damned Tour is how the stunning visual effects complimented the show. Each set had an over-the-top and immersive effect matched with the right lighting that specifically complimented each song. G-Eazy brought out the engulfing fire and brimstone during his dark alluring performance of “The Beautiful and Damned,” the inner workings of the internet with web pages, emojis of himself, and random cameos of the Lil B’s Twitter avatar during “That’s A Lot,” and even took us to the basketball court with the Yo Gotti and YBN Nahmir assisted “1942.” And what made it spectacular was how Gerald didn't lean on the effects as he delivered his passionate set. He amplified the emotional impact and value of every song, creating many deeply immersive moments (even the “thunderstorm” introduction before one of his songs felt eerily realistic.)

G-Eazy wasn’t selfish with the spotlight as he brought out YBN Nahmir to perform his verse from “1942,” Murda Beatz who joined him on top of an old school Ford Mustang on “Goddamn” during the second act of the show, and once again, P-Lo to perform their each of their popping duets, “Feel Good”, “Light This Bi**h Up”, and “Power” sans Nef The Pharaoh. And like Eazy himself, there were no slouches on stage; they helped make his set an enjoyable one.

But just when (some) fans thought it was a wrap, he came right back to give fans a powerhouse performance of his biggest hits like the Halsey-assisted, “Him and I.” While performing “No Limit,” Gerald brought out hip-hop lawyer Steven Reisman aka $2 Dollar Steve to the help shower fans in the pit with cash as the ladies sang Cardi B’s verse.

While Lil Uzi Vert was sorely missed from the show, the Endless Summer Tour was an enjoyable evening of electrifying performers matched with dazzling effects and good vibes. Casual music fans and those who aren’t as familiar with G-Eazy’s music appeared to enjoy themselves as well.

If you’ve experienced the Beautiful & Damned Tour, you may not want to miss the Endless Summer Tour.

READ MORE: G-Eazy's Beautiful & Damned Tour Reveals Beauty Of The Grey Area 

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