TIME Music

Watch Pharrell’s New Anime-Inspired ‘It Girl’ Video

The latest G I R L clip is a video game paradise

Between joining the new season of The Voice and promoting his album G I R L, Pharrell Williams is a busy guy — which may be why the ubiquitous producer takes a backseat in the new animated music video for “It Girl,” appearing only as a cartoon. Then again, if you can snag world-famous Japanese artist Takashi Murakami to create a music video for you, you probably don’t want to get in the way of his hyper-colorful tributes to video games and anime. See Pharrell indulge his inner otaku above.

TIME Music

One Direction Say Don’t ‘Steal My Girl’ on New Single

Hear the first official single from the band's new album, Four

Attention, dudes of the world: boy-band wonder One Direction, known for stealing the hearts of teenage girls around the world, would prefer if you didn’t try and also steal their lady friends. On “Steal My Girl,” the first official single from their upcoming fourth album, Four, the band reminds male listeners that there are billions of fish in the sea for you to choose from — so long as you keep your hands off the women that “belong” to them. (Come on, fellas, why you gotta be so rude? Don’t you know Harry, Louis, Liam, Zayn and Niall are human, too?)

As for the actual music, 1D appears to be sticking with the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” philosophy. Co-written by Louis and Liam, “Steal My Girl” takes some cues from the folksy “Story of My Life” and puts a mellow spin on the 1980s-arena-rock worship of their last release, Midnight Memories. Hear the track above, and catch Four in stores on Nov. 17.

TIME Books

Saeed Jones: “No One Is Safe” In These Poems

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Coffee House Press

A conversation with Jones about his debut collection, Prelude to Bruise, and whether poetry can ever go viral

When he’s not editing BuzzFeed’s LGBT vertical by day, Saeed Jones is also a poet. His debut collection, Prelude to Bruise, hit shelves earlier this month, and though listing its topics hardly does the critically acclaimed book justice — you’ll have to see the words arranged on the page yourself — the way these poems address violence, life in the south, race, sexuality and relationships makes for an engrossing read best consumed in as few sittings as possible.

TIME met up with Jones last week to talk about his work.

TIME: You live in New York now, but many of these poems are several years old and were written in the South, where you’re from originally — as well as during other travels. Is this book closing the chapter on that time in your life, or going back in to investigate it?

Saeed Jones: Yeah, it is [closing a chapter]. There’s a line in the very last poem in the book where I say, “I’m in the woods again.” That’s often how I felt working on the book. I would think I was finished, and then another door would open, and I’d be like, crap! I’m still here! When am I going to be done with this? It feels very good to have the book finished and out there.

Anything you write is filtered through your life, so even though I may not say in the poems, “I too am on a journey as a writer!” I like that that comes through and really shaped the physical shape of the poems — they start to look different as you move. It’s important that the speakers have revelations and a sense of age. By the end, the speakers certainly sound older, the dynamics of the relationships feel differently.

Talking about the book does bring things back, and you find yourself realizing things about yourself and the poems I maybe wasn’t really thinking about at the time. I realized I was trying to answer some questions. One of the questions was, how are we using other people and their bodies to understand who we are? And that’s in terms of sex, that’s in terms of relationships, that’s in terms of sexual orientation. It’s experimenting, right? Certainly your first few relationships, you’re kind of figuring this out, and that requires having another person to work with. That’s actually kind of weird! For me, one way that I know I’m clearly in a different point in my life is that I’m not in any way interested in experimenting with identity in the way that I was when I was in my teens and early 20s.

Yeah, I was going to ask about the powerful body imagery you have here — that seems like such a focus of the book.

Aside from mythologizing coming of age, the book is also about black men’s bodies. I was thinking a lot about the way black men are written about and described, how we become hooded figures and this very particular assumption of masculinity. Where does that leave queer black guys? Who are often just as nervous and human as anyone else? I’m not trying to steal anyone’s purse! I’m maybe looking over my own shoulder. Everyone’s in peril in these poems — no one is safe. No one is going to save you in these poems. Being deeply aware of your mortality, that there are bones and blood and how easily we can bleed and be cut, that is something I’m always thinking about. Hopefully it’s a way to remind us of the value of life, even if it’s someone who’s very, very different from you. I hope you don’t have to be a black gay guy from the South to understand the journey these speakers are on in the course of the book.

Also, Americans love sex, obviously. But we’re still very Victorian about sex, and that’s something that’s always irritated me. So why not just start there? Start in the bedroom! And it’s fun to write about. I remember reading a poem once where someone was writing about spreading jam on toast, and I was like, “I couldn’t write that!”

A lot of these poems deal with trying to move on from your past while still acknowledging the ways your past has shaped you.

Over the course of the book, everyone’s remembering, and kind of under siege by, their past and not doing the best job of moving on. Certainly as an LGBT news editor, I see that when I’m reading stories: LGBT people who have survived but maybe have not had the opportunity — because it is a certain kind of privilege — to process. And if you don’t process, I do think there’s a reliving, recreating circumstances.

Roxane Gay actually said this yesterday [at a BuzzFeed event]: it’s always helpful when you’re thinking about whatever your history is, whatever is true, one fact is certain — you’re not still there. I think that’s very helpful. As I was working through the book and reflecting, I started thinking about, well, okay, this character is struggling, I’m struggling, but we’re also alongside other people who are struggling. You in the present moment are surrounded by people who are also on a journey. That’s the question in the poem “Body & Kentucky Bourbon.” He’s been in this relationship with this man, and it’s ended, and only after it’s ended is he able to think about, wait, this guy had a past too that he was grappling with. I’m sure he would have liked to have been able to figure that out before.

As someone who’s very new to poetry, I’m still getting used to the ambiguity of it — what’s happening, who is speaking, is this real life? Is that as liberating for you as it is unsettling to a first-timer?

It’s amusing! I can see it sometimes when I’m talking to people. I can often see the flash of trying to understand. I do think it’s part of American book culture. We’re used to fiction and nonfiction, and we’re obsessing over a memoirist fictionalizing and a novelist drawing from biography. Poetry is, “We don’t know what to do with it!”

Often when people see an “I” in poetry, there’s an inclination to assume its autobiographical. Once I remember someone asking me what it’s like to be writing and dealing with being a survivor of child abuse, and I was like, “Oh! I am not a survivor of child abuse.” There are certainly shards of my life in the book. But it’s usually details. It’s usually setting. Like, I did have sex with a boyfriend in the woods, but it was at a party! We weren’t running away from home. My house obviously isn’t on fire. I’m sure there are some readers out there who are very worried about me.

Is there more of a risk in the poetry world of becoming “a black queer poet” versus a poet who happens to be black and queer and write about those things?

I’ve been to readings where I’ve been packaged as a Southern writer, and at other readings, it’s black writer, queer writer. It’s always being arranged. Typically it’s for the audience — it has nothing to do with me. I think about the 18-year-old gay kid that I once was in Texas. If I found out there was a reading and there was a gay poet and saw that in a bio, I would go! As long as my work is out there and able to get into peoples’ hands, and as long as the questions are thoughtful and in good faith, I’m fine.

Not that writing a book of poetry and writing for the Internet strike me as particularly at odds with each other, but has working for the social web changed anything about how you work and write?

It’s a good question, and it’s something I think about. I’ve been working on a memoir since I started at BuzzFeed, so I haven’t been writing a lot of poems. But it has to have an impact on my writing process. Because I’m online all day and am reading all day, it reminds me that readers, wonderfully, have so many options. Maybe that’s why it is an intense book and all the poems have their fingers curled. I don’t feel like wasting someone’s time with poems about the weather. There’s a sense of urgency that I’ve gotten from engaging in the social web. Looking at your TweetDeck, there’s so many things shouting urgency at you. What does that mean for literary writers? We have to be very honest with ourselves. Why am I writing this? Am I writing this because I want to write a poem? am I writing this because I want to publish a book? Only you know the answer to that question.

Do you hear from a lot of first-time poetry readers who try out the book because they know your other work?

Yeah. I think for any poet, certainly in America, that is a constant, and it is a wonderful compliment. Often the way we’re taught poetry when we’re educated here is we’re reading great poetry written centuries ago, if not decades ago. Shakespearean sonnets become all of poetry, though there is wonderful poetry being written all the time that’s narrative or whatever would make people feel more comfortable. This book, it does push you to read it in one sitting, because you’re like, what’s going to happen to this seemingly disaster-prone young man? His father is hunting him with a rifle! I want to turn the page and see what happened.

Binge-watching poetry! Though I guess that’s basically just reading a book.

Totally! That’s how I stumbled into what the book became. I was writing a lot of poems in the southern landscape, and it was three years before the Boy [a character in many of the poems] even appeared. I got curious about him. It started with the poems about the mother’s dresses, and I was like, why would he be so interested in his mother’s dresses? That process reads like a bit of a novel.

Does poetry have a capacity to go viral? You mentioned something just now about discovering all the poetry out there that could be up your alley, and I remember having that realization when I first came across Patricia Lockwood’s work. Her “Rape Joke” poem obviously hit a nerve on the Internet.

Patricia Lockwood certainly figured it out very successfully. I’m pretty stubborn with poetry. I like writing in so many different forms — if it’s an essay, I’m going to write an essay! I don’t know if one of my poems would ever be able to go viral, honestly. But there’s huge potential. If people can memorize entire sections of The Iliad, why not?

Part of the reason Patricia Lockwood’s poem worked so well was because it was so in line with the engine of the conversation we’re already having. It works as a beautifully written and structured poem as well as an essay. Prose poems in particular, that are straddling that, I think, are totally possible. Poetry emphasizes language, and obviously on the social web, outrage-driven stories, whether it’s something the police chief in Ferguson said, or Alessandra Stanley’s “Angry Black Woman” [article about Shonda Rhimes in the New York Times], so often the things that are driving these conversations online are about language. Poetry distills the focus and forces you to look at blue-black, boy, burning. You’re looking at words that can illuminate the way we look at everything else, because in general we have a more casual relationship with words.

So I would love to see more poems go viral. But in order for that to happen, it has to be in step with that conversation — and genuine! Oh my gosh, if people still writing poems with the intention of going viral? God help us.

TIME celebrities

Taylor Swift Proves She Totally Gets ‘No It’s Becky’ Tumblr Meme

The "Shake It Off" singer showed off her "no its becky" shirt

When Taylor Swift isn’t shaking off her haters, she spends a lot of time on Tumblr. And the singer, whose new album 1989 drops next month, wants you to know that she is totally in on the joke when it comes to a certain Internet meme about her.

A post featuring a high-school photo of Swift paired with a caption claiming a girl named Becky died from marijuana use made the rounds on the blogging site after one user replied, “pretty sure that’s Taylor Swift.” One poster’s reply — “no its becky” — become a bigger joke than the caption itself, and now Swift has a T-shirt featuring with those very words.

Swift was spotted wearing the shirt Wednesday night, and on Thursday, the pop star showed it off in her own Tumblr post, where she joked about “rethinking the album cover” of 1989. Save it for the deluxe re-release, Taylor.

 

TIME ebola

Third American Ebola Patient Released From Hospital

Doctors From The Nebraska Medical Center Hold News Conference On New Ebola Patient
Ali S. Khan M.D. speaks to members of the media at the University of Nebraska Medical Center about the arrival of ebola patient Rick Sacra. Eric Francis—Getty Images

Dr. Rick Sacra "feel[s] great" but is "extremely weak"

The third American aid worker to have been infected with Ebola while working in West Africa has been released from the hospital, he announced Thursday.

Dr. Rick Sacra said at a press conference that he “feel[s] great” but is “extremely weak,” the Associated Press reports. The Centers for Disease Control and Nebraska Medical Center cleared Sacra of the virus that has killed at least 2,917 people and infected more than 6,000 in its worst-ever outbreak.

Sacra, 51, contracted the the virus while working a hospital in Liberia. An American doctor and an American aid worker were previously released after having received treatment at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. Another American is still receiving treatment in Atlanta.

Doctors are unsure of what most successfully combatted the virus, as Sacra was treated with a number of different methods, including experimental drugs and blood transfusions (one was from Dr. Kent Brantly, who had recovered from Ebola and is now believed to carry antibodies for the disease).

“Though my crisis has reached a successful end here, unfortunately the Ebola crisis continues to burn out of control in West Africa,” Sacra said.

[AP]

TIME Music

Hear Swedish Singer Laleh Go ‘Boom': Song Premiere

Laleh Pourkarim
Rickard L Eriksson—New Art Production AB

The Iranian-born Swedish pop singer is readying her new EP with a song that's not about death

Iranian-born singer Laleh (pronounced La-ley) has been putting out records in her home country of Sweden, where she scored a European hit with “Some Die Young,” for nearly a decade. Now, the songwriter-producer is setting her sights on the states with her upcoming EP, Boom (out Sept. 30).

Opening with dreamy piano chords and a simple dance beat, the EP’s title track, premiering at TIME today, doesn’t sound so explosive right away. But give it time, and Laleh’s hypnotizing harmonies eventually build into something worthy of the title “Boom.”

“Something happened to me while writing this song. I suddenly froze, and the lyric ‘leave the dirt in the earth to bloom’ came to me,” Laleh says of the track. “I like the image of leaving the past in the hands of the earth and the soil, and letting it make a flower out of it.”

Though the singer says fans often think many of her songs are about death — “Some Die Young” was particularly embraced after the 2011 terrorist attacks in Norway — she says the lyrics of “Boom” are actually about the opposite.

“‘Boom’ is really about life and leaving life alone; leaving it in the solid; in the dirt to bloom,” Laleh explains. “I love life more than anything, therefore I understand death.” Hear the track below:

TIME justice

Attorney General Eric Holder to Resign

Eric Holder
Attorney General Eric Holder speaks during an interview with The Associated Press at the Justice Department in Washington, on Sept. 16, 2014. Susan Walsh—AP

His tenure as attorney general has been the fourth-longest in history

Attorney General Eric Holder will announce his resignation Thursday, a Justice Department official confirmed, bringing an end to the tenure of one of President Barack Obama’s closest and longest-serving aides.

Holder is expected to make his announcement later on Thursday, according to NPR, which first reported the news. Obama is scheduled to make a statement from the White House late Thursday afternoon. Holder, 63, and the country’s first black attorney general, has been increasingly “adamant” about leaving the Justice Department soon for fear that he’d otherwise be locked in for the rest of Obama’s presidency, NPR reports, and plans to do so once a successor is confirmed.

His tenure as attorney general has been the fourth-longest in history, and he served from the outset of Obama’s presidency, staying in the Administration long after many other top aides left. It was marked by a focus on civil rights that was praised by some black leaders but criticized by others who expected more from the nation’s first black president and first black attorney general.

“No attorney general has demonstrated a civil rights record that is similar to Eric Holder’s,” Al Sharpton, the civil rights leaders and president of the National Action Network, told reporters at the National Press Club in Washington. He was speaking there Thursday as news of Holder’s impending resignation broke. “If reports are true, we have lost in effect the most effective civil rights attorney general in the history of this country,” Sharpton said.

Holder also frequently found himself as the favored target of congressional Republicans, especially over the so-called Fast and Furious scandal, in which federal law enforcement agents allowed the sale of weapons so they could track the flow of them to Mexican drug cartels. One of the weapons was found at the scene of the shooting death of an American border patrol agent in 2010.

While serving on the D.C. Superior Court in the late 1980s following an appointment from President Ronald Reagan, Holder earned the nickname Judge Hold ‘Em for not setting bail for those accused of violent crimes. He was appointed U.S. Attorney for Washington, D.C., in 1993, and in 1997, President Bill Clinton tapped him to become Deputy Attorney General.

-Additional reporting by Massimo Calabresi and Maya Rhodan

TIME Crime

Ferguson Police Chief ‘Deeply’ Apologizes to Michael Brown’s Family

"For any mistakes I have made, I take full responsibility"

The police chief in Ferguson, Mo., apologized Thursday to the family of Michael Brown and to the town after weeks of outrage and often violent clashes over the fatal police shooting of the unarmed black teenager.

Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson said he “deeply apologize[d] to the Brown family” for the way investigators left Brown’s body in the street for hours following the shooting death at the hands of officer Darren Wilson in August.

“I’m also aware of the pain and the feeling of mistrust felt in some of the African-American community towards the police department,” Jackson said. “The city belongs to all of us and we’re all a part of this community. It is clear that we have much work to do. As a community, a city and a nation, we have real problems to solve, not just in Ferguson, but the entire region and beyond. For any mistakes I have made, I take full responsibility.”

Jackson also apologized for the police response to protests, which included what many considered an excessive use of teargas and force to breakup demonstrations.

“I do want to say to any peaceful protestor who did not feel that I did enough to protect their constitutional right to protest, I am sorry for that,” he said. “The right of the people to peacefully assemble is what the police are here to protect. If anyone who is peacefully exercising that right is upset and angry, I feel responsible, and I’m sorry.”

TIME Television

John Cho: Why Skeptics Should Give Selfie a Chance

John Cho
John Cho Richard Shotwell—Invision/AP

"If you think you’re going to dislike the show, watch the show — there’s somebody who would dislike the show on the show"

The story of My Fair Lady gets a social-media makeover on ABC’s Selfie, premiering Sept. 30. Karen Gillan of Doctor Who fame plays Eliza, who’s more obsessed with Facebook “friends” than real ones, while Cho plays Henry, the luddite teaching her people skills.

TIME: Now that you’re starring on Selfie, do you feel pressure to take selfies now?

John Cho: No, I don’t know that it’s a good idea for people to take their own photographs.

You sound a lot your character.

I am a little curmudgeonly about new media. Although, like the show, Karen admonished me and said, “You should be tweeting more.” I have been more active, and it is more interesting than I thought.

Were you ever on Facebook?

Never. I have this nightmare that one day I will have to look at every picture I’ve ever taken with people in an airport or in bars or restaurants, and it will make me very sad. It will be like the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. — a descending wall of sadness.

Sounds like you want to go off the grid.

I am just a poser. Of course I wouldn’t go off the grid. Of course I depend on technology. I just have this idea of myself as someone who doesn’t do this sort of thing. It’s just a way of connecting. Our species likes being social. This is a way to maximize that desire.

As a parent, do you think a lot about what technology you give your kids and when?

My kid was two, and we went down to Union Station here in Los Angeles. I took him down to the train station because he was so into trains at the time. He went to the map and pinched his fingers on the map because he thought it as a touch screen!

Oh wow.

That was horrifying. I think we’re freaked out that that’s all they’re going to do, but my kid loves books as well. He watches YouTube and likes the big TV screen and then likes books and crayons. The scope is wide. Maybe because I didn’t have much of it back then, once we had cable, I never wanted to do anything but watch cable. And so it’s an old-school mentality: our parents thought that sitting too close to the TV was bad for your eyes and would melt your brain. I believed it, and I think I’m applying it to my kids. But I don’t know whether it’s true. They just seem to float between media very easily.

Do you think people are prejudging the show?

I was scared that people would never watch the show because “selfie” of course sounds terrible. And it should! It is a good gag reflex we have as a society, that we hear the word selfie and dislike it. Maybe we should loathe the concept a little bit.

Your character is almost a proxy for the audience, then.

If you think you’re going to dislike the show, watch the show — there’s somebody who would dislike the show on the show.

Perhaps they didn’t get that it’s loosely based off My Fair Lady.

Yeah, I thought that was a big deal. When I saw My Fair Lady, I was surprised at how mean and misogynistic Henry was. Maybe that’s why it’s dropping out of public consciousness.

Does the show set out to correct that?

I don’t think so. They’re dealing with that push-pull a little bit. I feel like social media, in a way, you could call it feminine. If you accept the premise that women are more social, women are more about connecting with other people, then social media is the most extreme version of that. And the most extreme version of gossip, which is considered a feminine trait. Henry is the antithesis and therefore the masculine viewpoint. You could see it as male-versus-female, this show. I think that sort of is underpinning the show, to an extent.

If the selfie backlash is already brewing, how will the show stay hip?

The show starts at pop culture, but ultimately it’s about these two people who shouldn’t like each other but are starting to. That idea has legs.

A version of this story appeared in the Sept. 29 issue of TIME, available now.

TIME movies

Twitter’s New Ads for Movies Will Target You Based On What You Tweet About

Guardians of the Galaxy
These guys are going to save the galaxy. Seriously. Marvel

The company says Twitter plays a big part in helping people decide what movies to see

Twitter wants to get you to the movies.

The company will begin testing targeted ads about movies in the next few months, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The program would display ads about a particular movie to users who have tweeted about similar movies or related keywords. For example, a campaign for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 might target fans already tweeting about the series, users who’ve tweeted about Divergent or, hypothetically, anybody making a joke about volunteering as tribute and having the odds ever in their favor.

“Our recent research shows that Twitter is major influence on movie choice,” Jeffrey Graham, global head of research at Twitter, told THR. “Not only are people hearing about new movies on Twitter, they are using it to make a decision about what to see, then sharing their experience with friends.”

The program would be hassle-free for studios — they would only provide the names of similar movies, while Twitter would figure out which users were already talking about them, even if they weren’t using the title specifically.

Twitter already has a similar program in place for television.

[THR]

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