The Tribeca Film Festival opens to bloody aplomb

  • Super Dark Times (dir. Kevin Phillips)
  • Hounds of Love (dir. Ben Young)

A few hours earlier, he was holding a samurai sword over the body of his best friend while suburban sprinklers drenched the bloody spectacle in mechanical mist. Now Charlie Tahan (Wayward Pines) was a few feet away from me, decked in a sleek trenchcoat and a bookbag that seemed too cute. “Now I didn’t write the film,” he was saying to someone in mock defense, though his haircut still vividly brought to mind the crazy-eyed wariness of the murdering psychopath he plays in Kevin Phillips‘ directorial debut, Super Dark Times. Nearby, courting a collection of older journalists, the broad shoulders of Max Talisman (Orange is the New Black) can be spotted. It’s his neck that Tahan’s character turns into a small fountain of blood early in Super Dark Times. The drinks in their hands are well-attended and I wonder how old these supposed teen boys are.

The territory covered in Super Dark Times is the coming of age tale, from the debut late-night party to the first doobie smoked. Attacking the terrain from the lens of fragile teenage masculinity, Phillip’s camera opens on Zach (Tahan) and Josh (Owen Campbell, The Americans) leering at the pretty girls in the school yearbook. We later meet some friends, the kind you know because your cousin knows them. Small dostoevskian retorts about death are made as are homosexual slurs. Something of a period piece, Phillips attends to some Donnie Darko-ish surreal noise involving a television set, but maybe its better no one is stuck to their iPhones. Fucking around, they find Zach’s cool-and-in-the-Marines brother stash and steal his weed and borrow from his collection of sabers that every manly man must have somewhere. The saber isn’t like, a real historical artifact, Zach informs us, but it it also isn’t fake or anything. True enough: “We need to bury the body” is the first thing one of them opines after Talisman’s body becomes a geology of blood, oozing small little rivers.

Super Dark Times captures gestures of early teenage life that I’ve long forgot: the petty rivalries that express themselves in facial ticks, the deeply particular ways a middle schooler can be annoying. Certain clichés are echewed as well; there’s a crush, obviously named Allison (Elizabeth Cappuccino, Jessica Jones) but it is absent the melodrama of too many teen movies. Desire expresses itself in American Beauty-esque sex dreams. But the movie’s gruesome trauma traps these growing-up experiences without a single false note, even mom (Amy Hargreaves) manages to be winningly cool.


“We need to bury the body” is the first thing one of them suggests after Talisman’s body becomes a geology of blood, oozing little rivers.


To what end are these children gathered to the slaughter? Post-Columbine, we like to think teenage psychopathy involves stories that can elucidate why such random things bad things happen. Bullies are a common target, ditto online neo-Nazi communities. Neither Phillips nor his script—penned by Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski, rising horror scribes— offer anything so illustrative. Trauma builds upon trauma and one dead body becomes three like the spread of an unseen illness. Phillips sketches these emotionally claustrophobic conditions with gory aplomb. The movie’s publicity is running a comp to similarly mysterious retro teen dramas like Donnie Darko but Phillips’ hand for emotional realism had me thinking of “In the Woods,” the three-part episode of Louie that is ostensibly a moral tale with a flimsy target (marijuana) but ends up connecting succinctly with the moral trauma of growing up.


Is it just me or are a lot of Tribeca offerings this season rich with bloodshed?

Earlier in the morning, I managed to catch another gory number: Ben Young‘s Hounds of Love which contained zero Kate Bush but ended on a Joy Division song. Weird. Bloody as all hell too, Young takes on the genre of kidnapping women and trapping them in a room that Brie Larson used to make into her an Oscar-winning performance in Room a few years back. His device is showing us yelling next to bloodstains. By the time we see a body, we are already mildly invested. They say this is based on some real stuff. More interesting than all that is Emma Booth‘s turn as the wife who assists her hubby (Stephen Curry) with finding, raping and killing teenage girls. Mother to children she is no longer allowed to see, she telegraphs unease with strange sympathy, we wonder if she she’s trying to deal with a life that fucked her something awful. She drops that she’s been married to the movie’s central pervert since the age of thirteen and has tried to leave before. If she’s still around, we assume pickings can’t be good. Curry, for his part, bears an intensely uncanny resemblance to Robert Carlyle‘s run as the frightening Begbie in Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting.

Ashleigh Cummings plays Nikki, who is bound, tortured but manages not to get killed in Ben Young’s ‘Hounds of Love’

Hounds of Love betrays a litter of superficial similarities to Jennifer Kent’s Aussie horror flick Babadook that’s gained a small cult following over here: the horrors of Australian suburbs, unhelpful police office and the underlined subtext of motherhood not-quite hiding under the What’s-it-about? column. Like Phillips, Young has a more than a few retro obsessions: this is the early ’80s, people use rotary phones and the title is set over neons. Young also shares Kent’s lighting good control of horror pacing: no matter how many scares you’ve watched, the last twenty minutes will set you on pins.

Later in the festival, there are not one but two documentaries on the bloodshed in Syria. One of them, that I caught in the previews, features extensive shots of ISIS executions. Among the festival’s VR offerings is a selection of narrative accounts of sexual abuse. Tom Hanks, beloved figure of a million childhoods, plays a villian in the festival’s centerpiece release. Oh, joy.


Andrew Karpan is Popdust’s notorious critic of cinema. His opinions are crafted only after intense thought. Follow him on Twitter.

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Future is bringing out the true musicians with #MaskOffChallenge

If there is one thing Future releases accomplish, it is igniting social media. Add a Metro Boomin production to the equation and the internet explodes. Futures new song, “Mask Off” off of his newly released album Future, is no exception. The newest single features the re-emergence of the flute in hip hop.

Re-emergence? Yes. Well-produced Hip Hop has always relied heavily on instrumentation for some of it’s best contributions–drums, violins, mouths, and flutes are just some of the instruments used since the 80’s to bring a pulse to the offspring of the original rock and roll and blues. Remember the flute in Jay Z’s “Big Pimipin'”? How many times have you whistled (or if you are like me did a hybrid sing-hum of the bur-bur-da-bur-da-bur) the melodic flute playing underneath the track?

Well, it looks like Future’s new single has brought out the rap loving, classically trained musicians. Did I miss your favorite Mask Of Challenge? Hit me up on Instagram or twitter and let me know.

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For the kids #maskoffchallenge #didinailit

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Outside banging that @future #maskoff #maskoffchallenge #funny #funnyvideos #hamster #music #instadaily

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The homie @two_coats #maskoffchallenge #future #atl #trapmusic #i85 #atlanta #metroboomin #flute

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#Repost @ceyd91 with @repostapp ・・・ Future- Mask off #maskoff #maskoffchallenge #piano #instacover

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Somebody called this #blackexcellence 😂👌🏾#future #maskoff #maskoffchallenge

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This is exactly why performance arts matter😂😌 #maskoffchallenge

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Interview: Taz makes a splash with “Watch Me,” talks girl group past & solo future

Stepping away from the studio, urban-pop singer Taz (who previously worked in girls groups established by Robin Antin and Randy Jackson) talks candidly about her career and making the bold move to go solo. “It’s my time to show myself off,” she tells
Popdust over a recent phone call. Her glamorous debut single, “Watch Me,” speaks to her journey and wanting to break free of the girl group chains. It’s tailor-made for Friday night club moves, but contains enough storyline to elevate it even further. “I wanted to be a solo artist, but they chose me to do girl groups. My heart wasn’t really in it,” she says.

“Watch Me” is just the start of something special. “It’s like ‘ok, you guys don’t believe in me now…but watch me,'” she notes of the song’s core message. “I don’t mean to be rude, but I wanted to prove to everyone and myself that I could this alone. I have a lot of friends in the music industry, and it’s always such a roller coaster. Sometimes, you can lose your passion or the reason why you even started your career. I want this song to be a reminder that you have what it takes.”

In the wild and vibrant visual (below), she channels such iconic figures as Jennifer Lopez, Shakira and Selena. “I definitely wanted to put that Latina vibe out there, to show I have that spice,” she says.

“Not in my nature to give up so easily,” she vows in the honeyed club anthem, determined to stand her ground. “Had time to think it over. They say keep your enemies closer.”

The song, which she co-wrote with Gabriela Francesca, isn’t bitter, but rather accepting of the past with a level-headedness to forge a new path. “[It] was the first time working with each other, and I told her all the stuff I’ve gone through. We both clicked and wrote the song within a day,” Taz says.

“Watch Me” serves as the launching pad to (hopefully) lead to a big debut this summer. “I’m trying to shoot for the beginning of summer, but I don’t want to confirm that yet. I’m very picky with my music. I want to make sure everything is great,” she teases. The latest batch of music has been nearly a year in the making, and, as she tells it, it “definitely took awhile” to nail down her aesthetic. “I just had to do more studio time, and I worked with the right people who could understand me and what I wanted to do,” she explains. “I’m in the pop/urban contemporary/R&B style. We’re still working on it, though.”

Another song she is most excited to share is tentatively called “Want Me,” which is “about me teasing a guy and him wanting me–but I’m always there to run away,” she says.

Elsewhere on her forthcoming project, she sought out the help of Avion Blackstone. “I love working with him. We just get each other. He’s also doing a solo career,” Taz says. “With him, I love to write with the piano. I don’t play it. But I love to hear the sounds, just to get more melodies coming out.”

When Taz reflects even more on the past few years of her life, she heaves a sigh of relief to finally get to put a stamp on the pop world on her own. “This has been a passion. I’ve always wanted to be a solo artist. I’m just gonna take it. It was a struggle at first, but I met a group of people. We have a good team standing behind me. It’s pretty dope,” she says.

Her journey to this point is quintessential Los Angeles, sparkly and fun and ambitious. Born and raised in the Sylmar suburb, she has “been an LA baby for…a long time now,” she laughs. “My parents are from Mexico. Ever since I was little, I would sing at my birthday parties or any weddings. My mom just wanted me to perform at carnivals to get my name out there, just like Selena back then. I honestly loved [growing up here]. The weather is always amazing. The industry is very small. Everybody knows each other or knows of each other. I would never want to move anywhere else.”

While she did participate in an after-school arts program and took dance classes, it wasn’t until she met acclaimed choreographer Trisha Miranda (Beyonce, Missy Elliott) that things began to fall into place. “I did a single [2011’s ‘Go Loco’] with George Lopez, Ron Artest, Fat Joe and B-Real. I got asked to perform at Lopez Tonight. I had two days to learn the choreo, and that’s when I met Trisha. We were friends before [‘Watch Me’]. She was like ‘gotta get you going.’ I was in rehearsal for eight hours straight. She was very inspiring, and she’ll make you
work.”

Early on, Taz also linked up with fame guitarist, producer and
American Idol panelist Randy Jackson, for whom she auditioned to be a part of another girl group. “He wanted me to be the main singer. That was exciting. Around that time, he was doing ‘Idol,’ so it wasn’t a priority.” But, she states, he did give her more than a few pep talks about her solo work. “He’s always so good at advice. To this day, we’re still good friends. I would call him for advice many times–about which direction I should go,” she shares. “His thing was ‘at the end of the day, you have to be honest with yourself. That’s the only way you’ll be happy and satisfied.’ He’s an amazing person and very truthful.”

Coincidentally, she did happen to audition for Idol before that chance audition. “I didn’t realize what the process was. I thought you were able to see the judges right away. That was probably one of the craziest days of my life. I was 16 years old,” she recounts. “You have to go through four auditions before even seeing the judges. I made it to the third round. That was it. I cried the whole way home. It was a great experience to even try.”

“Watch Me” also infuses the spirit of the legendary Beyonce, who Taz greatly admires, as well. “I love her hard work and taking chances, from being in a girl group and then going solo to trying different styles of music. I’m an entertainer, so when I perform I love to give a show. I think I got that from Beyonce and J-Lo and Janet Jackson. They like to keep the crowd on their toes.”

With her solo launch slowly building, Taz sets her sight on creating a live show full of “good energy,” she says. “My music is about female empowerment. There will be a lot of chanting and dancing.” Fans can also expect a ton of flashy costumes designed by KUNST NYC. Details are forthcoming.

Could Sock Monkee out-cool Bruno Mars?

There was almost nothing cool about the 70s. It was a time where you looked at a ring to tell you your mood, where you nerded out with pizza over D&D, and spent afternoons in the park with your pet rock, Rodney. Oh, and maybe on a Saturday night, you’d be sweating through your offensively metallic platform shoes and insanely gaudy fake silk shirt to “I Will Survive.” (Will you survive the burning ray of disco ball shine in your eye? Will you survive the banana-peel fall on the sweat-slickened, light up, dance floor? WILL YOU SURVIVE?)

But, if we’re being honest, there was only one good thing about the 70s: Bruno Mars.

Wait a minute, we know what you’re going to say. “Bruno Mars wasn’t born in the 70s, dingus!” Yes, friends, you’re right. Bruno Mars wasn’t born until 1985, another magical era where postage stamps were only 22 cents and “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” was sweeping proms across the nation. But our point here, kids, is that Bruno Mars was largely inspired by the disco soul funk of the 70s, which is especially obvious in his hit with Mark Ronson, “Uptown Funk.” Apparently, people still can’t get over disco fever in the 21st century, because this video has over 2.3 billion views.

We dare you not to dance to this song, even if you’re in the middle of a funeral, damnit. Its funkadelic beats also make it the perfect heart-pumping soundtrack for those that frequent the gym…if you’re into that kind of thing.

And as you can imagine, since we’re writers, we are not into that kind of thing. Instead, we prefer to watch other people attempt to work out and then laugh at them and then write about them. That was exactly the case when we found this.

Watch here.

How does one Sock Monkee capture everything we feel when we go to the gym in just 30 seconds? First of all, notice how Sock Monkee has all intents and purposes of getting a great workout. We applaud this little guy for even stepping up to take on the treadmill, the most monotonously dangerous of gym equipments, especially when he is obviously too small. Is there any gym attendant looking out for his safety? And what’s with that guy at the end walking over the poor Monkee’s body, just being a total douche? MONKEE LIVES MATTER. Help a friend out!

Anyway, Sock Monkee may never be the next Bruno Mars, but he may just inspire us to hit the gym this week. Or next week.

Stay tuned for more on Sock Monkee as we await his next ridiculous adventure!

Will the next Adele come from Israel?

There’s a great band out of Tel Aviv called Vaadat Charigim. They play the kind of shoegaze that played well in Brooklyn a few years ago and are on beloved cult-label Burger Records, outside of LA. But outside of Gene Simmons, who immigrated out of the Holy Land at the age of eight, I’m at a loss to think of a more popular singing, rocking, or popping sensation from the country that is either Israel or Palestine. Fortunately, the smoky sound of Elia Buskila, who goes by Elia, might just change that. Her latest music video, which we’re premiering over here at Popdust, features the singer tangling with a lover in silhouette, recalling some of Ellie Goulding’s best moments. The song is simply called “Damn.”

Watch:

The profanity cues you onto one of Elia’s biggest influences: her world is retro, by way of 21-era Adele. Her key is romantic mourning; her pipes easily contain multitudes. Easily stark black and white visuals abound. Where the biggest voice from London may have stormily threatened to “lay your ship bare,” for what you did, Elia’s punch is simpler, right-there, and in your face. “Damn,” Elia’s voices slips out of tundra-like pop backbeat, “Don’t you ever go, don’t you ever go.” Like Adele, there’s an idiosyncratic accent hiding underneath a clean and well-honed understanding of blues-inflected American pop. We hear it when she asks if she can find someone to lean on tonight. We hear it when her voice aligns itself with the doomed romance of her singer.

At the end of the day, we want a hand to hold and most of the times all we can find is a warm bed to crawl into. It’s in the chasm of that heartbreak where we find the Adeles and Amy Winehouses of any era, singing their sweets blues from a distance. Elia, from Tel Aviv and unafraid to show it, joins their remarkable ranks.

Check her out on Facebook or Instagram.

Get ready for the Power Rangers movie with every episode streaming on Twitch

Catch up with your favorite mighty-morphin’ superteens with every episode of the Power Rangers TV franchise on Twitch Prime

Feeling a little disconnected from your childhood Power Rangers memories? Perhaps there’s some emotional distance between you and the spandex-clad superteens. Maybe that’s got you concerned that you won’t be able to get your nostalgic kicks out of the Power Rangers movie. Well, worry not. Every episode of every major iteration of the Power Rangers TV franchise will stream on Twitch Prime ahead of the film’s March 24th premiere.

The marathon is set to run from March 14th to March 30th and will be a part of the Twitch Presents series for the platform’s premium subscribers. While you can watch at any time during these two weeks, you can also check out “co-hosted” events on your favorite Twitch streamer’s channel during which famous gamers and vloggers will offer commentary over some of their favorite episodes (or maybe they’ll just rip on the production values).

A promotion like this one, targeted at young adult to adult gamers, is a pretty good sign that this movie will be more than just some procedural reboot. Bill Hader will be voicing the half-Gir-from-Invader-Zim-half-Marvin-from-Hitchhiker’s-Guide robotic assistant, Alpha 5 and Bryan Cranston will lay down some luxurious vocals as the disembodied master, Zordon. On top of all that you’ve got a diverse cast and a modern setting that should provide plenty of humor to balance the action sequences.

Bill Hader as Alpha 5 in the Power Rangers trailer.Lionsgate

If you’ve gone to the movies any time in the past month to see Logan or Get Out then you’ve definitely caught a glimpse of the trailer, which has become something of an internet sensation. While the fight sequences and plot resolutions in the Power Rangers TV series were always god-awful because of the lack of proper technology and the intended audience, the inundation of the market with reboots and the tendency towards higher quality action movies could give us the perfect storm for a kick-ass Power Rangers movie.

You can see Power Rangers from Lionsgate in theaters everywhere on March 24th and check out the trailer below.

First footage of The Last Jedi reveals potential plot details

Earlier today at a shareholders meeting Disney decided to share a short clip from their forthcoming Star Wars movie, The Last Jedi. A few months when Disney announced the name of the eighth installment in the Star Wars saga, the name alone was enough to raise major questions for longtime fans. Who is this “Last Jedi” and will they truly be the end of their kind? What about Finn? Isn’t he supposed to be force-sensitive?

The clip, which we only know about thanks to a series of tweets from LA Times reporter Daniel Miller, contains information about Luke, the settings of the new movie, and the development of Rey as a Jedi.

So most of this info seems pretty obvious: the film will span many exotics locales, the characters from Force Awakens will return in a big way, and there will undoubtedly be some training sequences. However, the biggest question comes from one Luke asks Rey: Who are you?

Why wouldn’t Luke recognize his own daughter?

Recall that Force users like Jedi and Sith can usually scan the minds of others to find out who they are. It also seems pretty likely that you’d wanna do that when you’re being confronted by a stranger with a lightsaber who somehow found you on a rock in the middle of an ocean in the middle of space. Remember when Kylo Ren sees Finn and instantly knows that he is the missing stormtrooper who stole the TIE fighter? So what gives? How can Star Wars maintain the saga of the Skywalkers while Rey isn’t Luke’s daughter?

The answer to me is pretty simple: Rey is still Luke’s daughter, but her mind cannot be so easily read. Remember when Kylo Ren, another Skywalker endowed with immense power, can’t manage to break Rey’s psyche while she’s strapped to the chair in his evil base? Seems like Rey’s special talent might be kind of like Bella from Twilight’s (sorry). Maybe one of her abilities, as has already been demonstrated, is a resistance to the force powers of others.

This interpretation could still be wrong. It sure seemed like she was trying pretty hard to resist mindreading when Kylo Ren was doing it and it also seems unlikely she would be as guarded around her hopeful teacher, Luke Skywalker, BUT it’s still possible that Rey’s mind just isn’t so easy to read and that she is, in fact, Luke’s daughter.

What else did we learn?

Well, we did find out that Leia would be returning, despite the tragic death of Carrie Fisher, although her role in the film might be seriously diminished in order to make the plot work better for the third film. Chewbaccca, thank god, is still kickin’. And we’re gonna see Finn come out that medically induced coma he entered after getting wrecked by Kylo Ren. Hopefully we can see his skills develop as either a potential Jedi or military leader for the resistance.

For all your future close-reads on Star Wars content, keep checking back with us at Popdust Film.

Jennifer Aniston, Matt Damon, Ryan Gosling and Meryl Streep Named as 2017 Oscars Presenters

More star power! Jennifer Aniston will join a glittering line-up of celebrities as a presenter at the 89th Academy Awards at Los Angeles’ Dolby Theatre on Sunday, February 26, Oscar producers Michael De Luca and Jennifer Todd announced on Friday, February 24.

The actress, who recently celebrated her 48th birthday on February 11 with a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico with husband Justin Theroux and former Friends star and BFF Courteney Cox and her fiancé Johnny McDaid, is back in Los Angeles and will present at the ceremony, which will be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel and airs on ABC at 8 p.m. ET.

Also named as an Oscars presenter on Friday were a number of former Academy Award winners and those in the running to take home an Oscar this year.

Matt Damon, who picked up an Academy Award for cowriting Good Will Hunting with Ben Affleck at the Oscars in 1998, will also present on Sunday. Best Actor nominees Ryan Gosling, who is in the running for musical favorite La La Land, and Dev Patel, who is nominated for his role in tearjerker true story Lion, will also present, producers confirmed.

Three-time Oscar winner Meryl Streep, who is nominated for a Best Actress for Florence Foster Jenkins will also present this year. Octavia Spencer, who won an Academy Award for The Help and is nominated for Best Supporting Actress, will also present, as will her Hidden Figures costar Taraji P. Henson.

Sausage Party costars Seth Rogen and Salma Hayek, Hacksaw Ridge’s Vince Vaughn and Kingsman actress Sofia Boutella were also added to the lineup of presenters. Faye Dunaway, who picked up a Best Actress Oscar for 1976’s Network, Michael J. Fox and Jason Bateman will also present at Hollywood’s biggest night, it was confirmed Friday.

Hollywood legend Warren Beatty, who won a directing Oscar for Reds in1982 and was awarded the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award in 2000 and directed last year’s Rules Don’t Apply, will also present at this year’s ceremony.

They’ll join a star-studded lineup of presenters who were previously confirmed for the show, including Amy Adams, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jamie Dornan, Emma Stone, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Charlize Theron, along with many more. 

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Mahershala Ali and His Wife Amatus Sami-Karim Welcome Their First Child

Congrats! Moonlight actor Mahershala Ali and his wife, Amatus Sami-Karim, have welcomed their first child, he confirmed on Instagram on Friday, February 24. 

Ali, 43, shared a sweet snap of his wife cuddling their newborn, which he captioned: “Bari (Bar-ee) Najma Ali 💜2/22/17 #pisces.”

Bari (Bar-ee) Najma Ali 💜2/22/17 #pisces

A post shared by Mahershala Ali (@mahershalaali) on

The House of Cards star and Sami-Karim, who wed in 2003, first announced they were expecting in December.

The actor, who is in the running for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Moonlight at the Oscars on Sunday, February 26, told Jimmy Kimmel last month that he and his wife were brainstorming names for their firstborn.

“We’re looking to do something simpler,” Ali told the talk show host – who is also MCing the Oscars – when he stopped by Jimmy Kimmel Live! on January 11.

“My wife’s name is Amatus Sami… but we’re going to do something a little bit simpler for our child,” he explained, vowing to still “keep it unique.”

The Oakland native also revealed that Mahershala is actually a nickname, and that his full name is even longer: Mahershalalhashbaz. “It’s the longest word in the Bible,” the Luke Cage actor, whose mother is a Christian minister, told Kimmel, explaining that it’s Hebrew and he was named after Isaiah’s second son. “It’s a symbolic name so he didn’t actually have to live through life with that name … but I have to live through life with that name,” he joked. “You should see TSA’s eyes.”

The actor, who plays a drug dealer mentor in the critically acclaimed film, gave a moving speech about his conversion to Islam and called for tolerance amid the current political climate when he won the SAG Award for Best Supporting Actor in Los Angeles last month. 

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Jessica Alba Shares the Japanese Philosophy She Lives By

Imperfectly perfect. Jessica Alba opened up to Us Weekly exclusively at her private fireside chat with pal will.i.am about how she’s learned to embrace imperfection thanks to a Japanese philosophy that she lives by, one that’s quite fitting for the busy business owner and mother of two. During a candid Monday, February 13, conversation at The Honest Company headquarters in Los Angeles, the duo discussed life, their entrepreneurial journeys, and how their paths crossed for this partnership along the way.

“I am an earthy person and I’m a tactile person – there’s this Japanese philosophy called ‘wabi-sabi’ that I sort of live by,” the Honest Company cofounder and CEO, 35, shares. “It’s enjoying and embracing the imperfections of real life.”

Alba has been rigorous in making sure that her billion-dollar company creates the best products available using as many non-toxic ingredients as possible. She acknowledged that she isn’t so ‘au naturel’ as to call herself a tree-hugger. “I’m not like a ‘let everything grow out, wear patchouli,’ I’m not that person! I wash everyday!” she said. But as a mother to her two daughters, Honor, 8, and Haven, 5, the actress has found the secret to welcoming everything life brings her way, even if it’s messy.

The Honest Company just recently wrapped its first comprehensive ad campaign, Moments, in collaboration with will.i.am, focusing on real moments in real people’s lives. For the campaign, the longtime friends embraced the concept of wabi-sabi, aspiring for simplicity and intimacy, as they sought inspiration in natural elements.


Tasked with scoring the music for the campaign, the Black Eyed Peas rapper told Us how organic, real sounds inspired his work because of the companies zeal for chemical-free products. “Organic instruments are synonymous with organic ingredients,” he said, “Synthesizers are synonymous with chemicals. To use like wood pianos, wood bass, bows, and real brass, not some synthesized horn, like a guy breathing, and hands playing, fingers on strings, it’s synonymous with their product and beauty and earth and nurture, babies, mothers…”

Alba chimed in with agreement, proud that her philosophy could be incorporated in her company. “Real wood or this [carpet] being a little bit off or things not being perfect because it has that human touch, it has that natural touch, are things that, to me, are the most beautiful. Where I like to dance and have fun to anything, I probably have the most fun when they’re just drums that someone’s pounding on, in the moment,” she said.

The Sin City actress also shared why she wanted to team up with the musician for her company’s first big ad campaign. “I have been working for twenty years so I feel like I’ve been around the block, I haven’t met very many people that I connect with spiritually and creatively like I’ve connected with Will.”