MTV first moon-landed onto televisions across the country 39 years ago this week, changing the recording industry forever. In a neon minute, a band’s image became almost as important as the music. In many ways, the timing couldn’t have been better for the Go-Go’s, a group of five young women based in Southern California who had released their debut album just a few weeks earlier, to become stars. At the time, MTV was such a new concept that the band didn’t take their first video too seriously: As the members recall in the compelling new Showtime documentary The Go-Go’s, they cruised around in a convertible and frolicked in a fountain, hoping to get arrested on camera. (It didn’t work.)
But thanks to the video’s heavy rotation on the nascent channel, the group’s first single, “Our Lips Are Sealed,” became a hit. Beauty and the Beat, with its iconic cover featuring five beauty-masked women, clad in towels, would go on to be the only number one album to be written and performed by an all-female group. (And still is to this day.) For the documentary, director Alison Ellwood goes deep, using never-before-seen footage and interviews with all of the Go-Go’s—including ousted original members and their longtime manager—to dive into the band’s early days in the L.A. punk scene of the late seventies and its rise to the top, as well as the painful underside of that success. Band members—including the main lineup of Belinda Carlisle, Jane Wiedlin, Charlotte Caffey, Gina Schock, and Kathy Valentine (a longtime Austinite whose new memoir, All I Ever Wanted, is a must-read)—recall with honesty and humor how they grappled with drug use, depression, and disagreements over royalties, all while keeping their glamorous front, dealing with a biased industry, and fielding softball interview questions like “Do you still get along?”
The Go-Go’s were so much more than what we saw on our television screens. They did it all themselves, from the wild successes to the spectacular mistakes. You’ll feel a lot of things as you watch the documentary—those early concert clips especially are a revelation—but more than anything, you’ll most likely get angry that these women have yet to get their due from institutions like the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. But the band doesn’t need that kind of validation. As they sing so aptly in their new song, “Club Zero,” “Fair’s fair, don’t care/they may have control/but we’re not scared/zero fucks given.”
—Kathy Blackwell, executive editor
Judging by the online reaction alone, Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s collaborative song “WAP” is set to be an instant hit. But this highly anticipated collab surely would’ve been blasting everywhere this summer under normal circumstances. With the Houston-born rapper’s impressive flow contrasting perfectly with Cardi B’s signature vocal delivery and lyrical wordplay, the song is an unabashed celebration of female sexuality and desire. Megan’s verses show off her braggadocio, painting her as the alpha of her sexual encounters. She raps “Big D stand for big demeanor,” after listing off the cars and tuition payments she gets from men.
The accompanying music video is a visual feast, taking place in a Willy Wonka fun house complete with optical illusions, tilted doorways, big cats, and appearances from fellow Houston artist Normani, Rosalía, and rappers Mulatto, Sukihana, and Rubi Rose. The collaboration is a huge step for Megan, who has previously worked with Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj.
Over the past few weeks, Megan’s recovery from a shooting on July 15, as well as the cruel remarks some made about her following the incident, have stirred up long overdue conversations about the treatment of Black women. In a livestream ahead of the video’s release, Cardi B cautioned her collaborator, “One thing when it comes to female rappers: people drive you to the top and when you’re up there, they only want to put you down. That’s because of their own misery. It’s not you.” This song is yet another example of Megan’s talent as her star continues to rise—and though it had been in the works for months, it also feels like the perfect response to those who keep trying to tear her down.
—Cat Cardenas, associate editor
The Orange Tree
In 2005, a nondescript condo complex in the heart of West Campus, a neighborhood full of student housing near the University of Texas at Austin, was the site of a gruesome murder. A new podcast produced by two UT alums tells the story of that murder, the killing of 21-year-old student Jennifer Cave and subsequent mutilation of her body, with notable sensitivity. Because hosts Tinu Thomas and Haley Butler began reporting the case as journalism students, they’re able to relate to, and humanize, Jennifer as a peer. Their role as students also offers the podcast a didactic bent: you can feel the journalists weighing their reporting decisions as they walk listeners through their choices, assumptions, and conclusions. It all adds up to a compelling story told with the kind of intentional thoughtfulness that’s missing from the true crime genre.
—Taylor Prewitt, social media editor
Aarica Nichole Vintage
Lately, I’ve been missing the thrills and joys of shopping at thrift stores: the uncertainty of what you’ll find, the adrenaline rush when you pluck out a piece of clothing that’s actually your size, the self-congratulatory pat on the back for not consuming fast fashion, the inevitable fit of sneezing from years of dust bunnies. So instead, I’ve turned to websites like Etsy and Depop, where there’s a plethora of secondhand and handmade clothes and accessories at my disposal with just a couple taps on my phone. While it’s not nearly as fun or as thrilling as the in-person experience, it’s a much safer alternative right now (and far less dusty).
One shop I keep going back to is Dallas-based Aarica Nichole Vintage, which offers a mix of sustainable and vintage pieces, from breezy button-up tops and retro chunky jewelry to acid-washed denim reminiscent of the nineties. Aarica Nichole, the owner of the shop, is constantly keeping her Etsy shop stocked with fun finds and also repurposes graphic tees and sweatshirts as handmade “scrunchie tops” for a modern cropped and fitted look. As an added plus, she makes for a great follow on Instagram for style inspiration.
—Arielle Avila, editorial coordinator