News Brief

What the Hell is Going on in Victoria Kimani's New Song, 'China Love'?

Victoria Kimani's latest song and music video for "China Love" plays with some pretty outdated stereotypes. But is it good?

Kenyan pop star Victoria Kimani just dropped the video for her latest single "China Love," featuring American musical duo R.City, and its a jam. It's a slow burn club banger with a sexy hook and great production. The video, filmed in China and what appears to be Manhattan's Chinatown has stunning shots of the Great Wall and Beijing's Tiananmen square. It's the songs lyrics that might ruffle some feathers.

"I don't want no China love," sings Kimani on the song's chorus. "China" we quickly learn is a metaphor for "fake," based on China's reputation for producing knockoff products. She implies that she'd much rather have "original designer love" instead, which, for her, is decidedly not Chinese. But isn't most designer stuff made in China as well?

What's fascinating—or confusing—is that the singer actually went to China to shoot the music video. While there she poses alongside old Chinese men, some of whom look rather confused. So, like, you hate on the place in your lyrics but go there to give your video a kind of visual authenticity. Is this cynical as hell or brilliant art?

While—judging from the YouTube comments—the track seems to be garnering a mostly positive response from Kimani's fans, we're not so sure that Chinese listeners will share the same enthusiasm.

One thing's for sure: Kimani does things completely on her own terms, with little regard to what others think, revisit our conversation from earlier this year about her misunderstood sexuality and dealing with the haters.

Is Kimani's song offensive, or jocular and catchy? Is it both? Watch the music video below and decide for yourself.

Music
Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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