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How P!nk’s Can’t Take Me Home Kicked Off A Career Of Triumphant Authenticity

By J’na Jefferson

Can’t Take Me Home, P!nk’s double-platinum debut album, introduced the world to the music phenom’s versatile singing chops and notable songwriting skills. The Pennsylvania-born then-20-year-old born Alecia Moore was billed as the tough-talking, partying antithesis of bubblegum pop princesses like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, and her rebellious personality resulted in the album’s unmistakable attitude. Spunky, effortless vocals set her apart from her contemporaries, too, which is especially evident by the Mariah Carey-esque ballad “Let Me Let You Know.” P!nk also worked with R&B-minded musicians such as Kandi Burruss, Robin Thicke, and Babyface in order to hone a sound in that vein.

The project — released April 4, 2000 — fit into the landscape of late-‘90s and early ‘00s R&B, eras where Destiny’s Child, Brandy and Monica, and P!nk’s then-labelmate Toni Braxton had scored major hits. The LP came equipped with the “not a girl, not yet a woman” content that drove early-aughts pop (“Don’t tell me you adore me, cause all you thinkin’ ‘bout is fuckin’ me,” she sings on the title track), as well as progressive lyrics regarding same-sex relationships (“Girl, boy, boy, girl, girl, girl, boy, boy / Whatever, you should do what you do,” she spits on “Do What You Do”). Can’t Take Me Home spawned the top 10 singles “Most Girls” and “There You Go,” which featured era-appropriate urban slang (“Sometimes it beez like that”) and references to “bling-bling” and Hennessy. The project as a whole appeared to be a breath of air in a world of cookie-cutter pop manufacturing.

But a year-and-some-change later, P!nk’s sophomore effort Missundaztood found her trading in record scratches for guitar licks, as she pivoted sharply to a heavy pop-rock sound. She worked with 4 Non Blondes’ Linda Perry for the project, who called their collaboration “honest.” The album was heralded as her artistic breakthrough, and laid the groundwork for much of her work since then. Songs like “Get the Party Started,” “Family Portrait,” “Just Like a Pill,” and “Don’t Let Me Get Me” (where she claims record executive L.A. Reid told her to change her entire image to become a success) hit the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart.

During Missundaztood’s rollout, Spin put her on the cover in May 2002 with the headline “Rock’s Nasty Girl,” and she noted in interviews that Can’t Take Me Home was “very much marketing.” She has not performed a single song from her debut album on the road since 2013’s The Truth About Love tour, where she sang a medley of “There You Go,” “Most Girls,” and “You Make Me Sick”; before then, the last time she performed something from Can’t Take Me Home was 2006. But as she’s shown in the decades since, P!nk’s shift was less a calculated marketing approach and more a way to let all of herself (and her influences) shine through.

Although she’s leaned towards pop-rock and adult contemporary stylings since her debut, P!nk’s artistic milieu is deeply rooted in hip-hop, soul, and R&B. She sang in an all-Black gospel choir and performed backup for Pennsylvania-based hip-hop group Schools of Thought as a teen. Plus, her R&B girl group, Choice, was discovered and signed to LaFace in 1995 (L.A. Reid urged P!nk to go solo, and the group disbanded in 1998). Yet she’s been open about her versatile upbringing, noting that she fronted a punk-rock group growing up and is a fan of artists like Janis Joplin and Billy Joel, who was the first musician she saw in concert. Around the time of her debut, though, P!nk did appear to play into — and somewhat delight in — confusion regarding her look and sound. During a 2000 interview, P!nk noted that there was a “bet” going on that her mother was lying about who her biological father was.

“[People] totally think I’m mixed!” she chuckles. “I’m like, whatever! Like, I’m a mutt. We all are. We all came from the same place: God… People need to realize you don’t have to be anything to be anything. It comes from your experiences, it comes from where you’ve been,” punctuating her point with “We’re all pink on the inside.” This didn’t stop outlets from pointing out that she is, in fact, a white woman performing R&B, which — while not unheard of, thanks to acts like Teena Marie, Bobby Caldwell, and Taylor Dayne years prior — was still somewhat surprising. Rolling Stone’s review on Can’t Take Me Home begins with “Pink is twenty-year-old Alecia Moore’s hair dye of choice and, for that matter, her skin color.”

As a successful white occupant of a historically Black space, these indications and comments placed the singer in a precarious position. While all musicians should be given the creative license to do what they’d like, it’s important to recognize that white artists are granted the freedom to genre-hop with far more ease than their contemporaries of color. Yet, in P!nk’s situation, wasn’t she being pigeonholed to one specific genre? In 2014, P!nk’s Missundaztood collaborator Perry discussed helping her break out of her R&B comfort zone in order to be the fully-realized artist she knew she could become. “She completely abandoned what she was told she was supposed to be, and just became Alecia Moore,” she said.

P!nk said as much after Missundaztood gave her some of her biggest hits. “It wasn’t a choice with my marketing mind thinking, ‘Well, I’m going to totally switch directions,’” she said in a 2003 interview after the success of her sophomore album. “It was like, ‘I have to do this, guys… [if] I don’t get it out, I am going to self-destruct.”

During the early and mid-aughts, artists such as Justin Timberlake, Robin Thicke, and the late Amy Winehouse impressed audiences with their hip-hop, R&B, and soul-inspired flair. And within today’s musical landscape, pop music is heavily influenced by urban stylings. However, there is certainly a trickiness that comes with white pop artists utilizing hip-hop-inspired energy for their music. Miley Cyrus’s pivot from the hip-hop flavored LP Bangerz to the country-pop album Younger Now was punctuated by chastising comments regarding hip-hop, and Post Malone — whose discography is heavily hip-hop influenced — has also come under fire for disrespectful thoughts about the genre.

While some artists (and their labels) actively try to push an image, it’s important to note that — although she joked around with the mixed-race conversations — P!nk never actually tried to prove she wasn’t who she said she was. She was more concerned about pointing out that she was a girl who could do it all. Ultimately, she was the one who defied her label by pivoting her sound in an effort to be true to herself, and that authenticity has been continually triumphant throughout her decades-long musical reign.

It’s not likely that P!nk will dive back into the R&B pool 20 years after her debut, but it’s important that she continues to point out that her initial splash was made in part to the genre that started everything for her. While her feet are firmly placed in the adult-contemporary realm and she’s built a reputation as quite the daring live performer, in the 20 years since her debut album, P!nk has recognized her R&B roots with gratitude and respect, which doesn’t always happen when white artists part ways with an urban genre. However, in her case, her experiences with traditionally Black music weren’t passing fancy — they were how she got here.

“I am an R&B singer, I also am a gospel singer. I’m a punk-rock singer. And a pop singer. And a soul singer. All of that is me,” she told Variety in 2019 ahead of her Hollywood Walk of Fame star ceremony. “I was a little girl that loved Debbie Gibson. Mary J. Blige was the first cassette I bought. I liked 2 Live Crew. I liked Green Day. I loved Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera. I liked everything and I think my music reflects that… if you want to blur lines, make people uncomfortable and question what they believe in just by looking at you, then you’ve got to take risks — you’ve got to be bold and go all out.”

Marvel Studios Has Mapped Out Seven Of Its Next Movies With Release Dates

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will now arrive on May 7, 2021, with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness following on November 5, 2021 and Thor: Love and Thunder landing on February 18, 2022, a date that had originally belonged to an untitled Marvel movie. The third MCU-set Spider-Man movie is still set for July 16, 2021, although because that’s a Sony picture, it’s possible it could also be delayed, and the studio will announce as much at a later date (there was no mention of Spider-Man in Sony’s delays announcement earlier this week).

Selena Gomez Revealed She’s Bipolar During an Instagram Live With Miley Cyrus

In an Instagram Live chat with Miley Cyrus on Friday, April 3, Selena Gomez revealed that she is bipolar.

Gomez joined Cyrus on the latter’s Bright Minded IG Live series, where they talked about a variety of subjects, including mental health. When Cyrus asked Gomez how she goes about managing her mental health, the Rare singer opened up.

“Recently, I went to one of the best mental hospitals in the world, but definitely in America, McLean’s Hospital. I discussed that, after years of going through a lot of different things, I realized that I was bipolar,” she said. “So when I go to know more information, it actually helps me. It doesn’t scare me once I know it. I think people get scared of that.”

Gomez continued, “I’ve seen it, and I’ve seen some of it in my own family, where I’m like, ‘What’s going on?’ I’m from Texas. It’s not known to talk about your mental health. You’ve got to seem cool, and then I see anger built up in teenagers and young adults because they are wanting that so badly. I feel like, when I finally said what I was gonna say, I wanted to know everything about it and it took the fear away.”

See Gomez discuss this in the video, below:

This is the first time Selena Gomez has talked about her bipolar diagnosis, but she’s been incredibly open in the past about her general mental health. In 2016, she took some time off to seek treatment for anxiety and depression. “Everything I cared about, I stopped caring about. I came out, and it felt like, ‘OK, I can only go forward,'” she told InStyle a year later about the treatment. “And there are still days. I go to therapy. I believe in that and talking about where you are. But I’m in a really, really healthy place.”

In January 2020, Gomez talked about how finding the “right medication” was instrumental in her mental health journey. “I found out I do suffer from mental health issues,” she told WSJ magazine. “And honestly, that was such a relief,” she continued. “I realized that there was a way to get help and to find people that you trust. I got on the right medication, and my life has been completely changed.”

Hannah Bronfman’s Recipe: Braised Chicken With Apricots and Olives

1 teaspoon sea salt

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 white onion, roughly chopped

1 fennel bulb, trimmed and roughly chopped

1 cup unsweetened dried apricots

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cumin

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Finely grated zest and juice of an orange

2 cups chicken bone broth

1 cup pitted green olives

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Sprinkle the chicken with sea salt.

Heat a large oven-safe skillet or Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat. While the skillet is heating, pat the chicken dry.

Add the oil to the pan, then add the chicken, skin side down. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the skin is golden brown and crisp. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside.

Add the onion, fennel, apricots, ginger, cumin, cinnamon, black pepper, and the orange zest to the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion and fennel are tender.

Return the chicken to the skillet and add the orange juice and chicken broth. Cook, covered, for 35 minutes, or until the chicken is tender.

Remove the lid, add the olives, and cook for an additional 10 to 15 minutes to recrisp the skin. Serve immediately.

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

From the book Do What Feels Good by Hannah Bronfman. Copyright © 2019 by Hannah Bronfman. Published on January 8, 2019 by Harper Wave, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted by permission.

RELATED: 21 Easy Pasta Recipes to Make Every Day

Hannah Bronfman Recipe: Braised Chicken with Apricots and Olives

1 teaspoon sea salt

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 white onion, roughly chopped

1 fennel bulb, trimmed and roughly chopped

1 cup of unsweetened dried apricots

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cumin

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Finely grated zest and juice of an orange

2 cups chicken bone broth

1 cup pitted green olives

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Sprinkle the chicken with the salt.

Heat a large oven-safe skillet or Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat.

While the skillet is heating, pat the chicken dry.

Add the oil to the pan, then add the chicken, skin side down.

Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the skin is golden brown and crisp.

Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside.

Add the onion, fennel, apricots, ginger, cumin, cinnamon, black pepper, and the orange zest to the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion and fennel are tender.

Return the chicken to the skillet and add the orange juice and chicken broth. Cook, covered, for 35 minutes, or until the chicken is tender.

Remove the lid, add the olives, and cook for an additional 10 to 15 minutes to re-crisp the skin. Serve immediately.

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

From the book DO WHAT FEELS GOOD by Hannah Bronfman. Copyright © 2019 by Hannah Bronfman. Published on January 8, 2019 by Harper Wave, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted by permission.

RELATED: 21 Easy Pasta Recipes to Make Every Day

Dalgona Coffee Recipe: How to Make the Internet’s Favorite, Fluffiest Quarantine Drink

Nothing—not even a global pandemic—should come between us and iced coffee season. Enter: this simple, impressive dalgona coffee recipe.

Remaining inside for weeks on end, staring out the window, preparing increasingly decadent grilled cheese sandwiches—these all pass for premiere indoor activities now. I feel fortunate to be safe and never farther than 3 feet away from a wheel of brie, but there is one thing I miss. No, it’s not face-to-face interactions with friends, or the feeling of fresh air. It’s the mellifluous, clink-clink springtime jingle of a delicious, cold iced coffee, procured at an overpriced cafe! I should be doing my annual routine of taking two sips of cold brew, seizing with anxiety, and then wondering if this is what drugs feels like!

But of course that’s off the table, so please join me in letting this new, Instagram-friendly drink save you from despair. If you’ve seen a mouthwatering, visually delightful, obscenely floofy coffee beverage pop up on social media, you can thank South Korean food vloggers, who innovated the DIY latte trend under their own recent quarantine. Named after a Korean toffee candy—because both are brown-sugar-colored and delightful in their cloud-like presentation—dalgona coffee is here to fill the iced-coffee-shaped hole in your quarantined heart. It’s simple to make, contains only ingredients you already have around the house, and is very, very photogenic. In other words, it is the opposite of a sourdough starter.

Here’s what you’ll need to make (a single-serving of) dalgona coffee:

  • Instant coffee
  • Sugar
  • Hot water
  • A hand mixer (or a whisk or a spoon, but see notes below)
  • Milk or an alt-milk

Yes, that’s really it.

First, measure out equal amounts of instant coffee, sugar, and hot water. (Start with two tablespoons each, and scale up from there.) Then pour the ingredients into a bowl. The water needs to be hot or boiling to helps the coffee and sugar dissolve.

The definitive recipe comes from South Korean YouTuber Ddulgi, who somehow managed to make a video with a hand mixer a soothing ASMR experience. Like her tutorial, most recipes call for even proportions—a 1:1:1 ratio of instant coffee, boiling water, and sugar.

As someone who has woken up family members every day this week with the whirring sounds of a hand mixer as I manically blend my new favorite ingredients, I must warn you that if you use less than one tablespoon of instant coffee plus one tablespoon of water plus one tablespoon of sugar, there really won’t be enough liquid to whip up. It will look like you are making onion dip for a single ant. Please learn from my mistake:

Peter Weber and Kelley Flanagan Are Reportedly Isolating Together in Chicago

Former Bachelor Peter Weber and contestant Kelley Flanagan are picking up where Hannah Brown and Tyler Cameron left off, apparently.

Now that Brown has returned home to Alabama after spending a few weeks in Florida filming iconic TikToks with Cameron and his quarantine crew, Weber and Flanagan are stepping up to fill the void.

If you recall, Weber, who lives in Los Angeles with his parents, started hanging out with Flanagan in Chicago on March 25, well after the government and World Health Organization started urging people to practice social distancing. Now, Flanagan, who promised she wasn’t dating Weber as of March 12, and the pilot are isolating together in Chicago, according to People, and they’re making some TikTok videos à la Cameron and Brown. Though Weber has his own TikTok account, the two have kept their joint activities to Bachelor Nation member Dustin Kendrik’s feed.

They look particularly cozy doing the Flip the Switch challenge:

TikTok/@dustinbkendrick

And yes, that does seem to be Flanagan’s dress from her first night on The Bachelor.

Getty/John Fleenor

I have to be honest here, though. There’s something about Flanagan and Weber’s TikToks that don’t spark as much joy for me as Cameron and Brown’s did. Where Cameron and Brown’s TikToking was at minimum harmless fun and at most possibly romantic (!!!), I think there’s something off about Weber and Flanagan’s.

Maybe it’s because we’ve been so inundated with Weber’s dating drama since his Bachelor finale earlier this year. Remember, he proposed to Hannah Ann Sluss, then broke things off and went back to Madison Prewett, only to later end that relationship, as well. I’m having trouble keeping track. It’s all so hectic, which makes me question if anything is genuine.

Perhaps I’m not the only one feeling skeptical. Sluss has been liking some pretty shady tweets about Weber lately and Cameron, who was likely joking, recently tweeted that the pilot should delete his TikTok account.

Peter Weber took the jab in stride, suggesting the two participate in a long-distance dance-off.

No matter which Bachelor Nation couples you ship, prepare yourselves for a lot more activity on social media from everybody.

Drunk Elephant Retinol Review: Best Irritation-Free Cream

Not to brag, but my skin is the best it’s ever been in my life. I credit that 100% to a round of Accutane I embarked on last year. The medication worked wonders on knocking out my constant hormonal acne, and for the first time since middle school I feel comfortable leaving the house without makeup.

Before that, though, the only time my skin had ever been remotely as good as it is now was when my derm prescribed me a topical retinol in hopes of wiping out my acne without resorting to the medication (spoiler: it didn’t). Retinols are the gold standard for treating both wrinkles and acne, since they help accelerate skin regeneration and stimulate collagen.

While the retinol didn’t work for me to fight off cysts, it did wonders on fading the pigmentation old breakouts had left behind. My skin was evening out and my pores looked smaller, and I got a glimpse of what life could be like with “good” skin.

Flash forward to last summer, post Accutane. I had no active breakouts, but my skin was riddled with scarring, particularly on my left cheek where I had an explosion of breakouts. My face was also extra sensitive, since Accutane is notorious for drying out your skin. In hopes of lightening the damage, I reached for my trusty retinol. Disaster stuck. Even easing myself in (derms recommend using it once a week and slowly building up to everyday use), my skin wasn’t having it. It was red, dry, irritated and peeling, even in the middle of the sticky New York summer.

I swore to myself I would never reach for a heavy-duty retinol again—until Drunk Elephant’s A-Passioni 1% Retinol showed up on my desk. Like the rest of the Internet, I’m steadily becoming a convert for the cult of DE. The brand’s Vitamin C Serum and D-Bronzi Serum are everything, and people swear by the line’s efficacious yet gentle formulas. Given that, it’s no surprise why Reddit threads and beauty bloggers freaked out about the brand’s foray into retinol, which took home a Glamour Beauty Award this year.

Even still, it took the ingredients label to convince me the Drunk Elephant retinol would be gentle enough on my skin. It’s got the obvious—vitamin A—which does come in a more potent 1% formula than some of the more lower-strength 0.5% options. But that’s offset with additives like nourishing kale and winter cherry, skin-strengthening peptides, and marula and jojoba oils to help prevent any peeling that comes from retinol. It’s also a vegan, plant-based formula, which Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research department of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital, says are becoming increasingly popular for the fact that they’re less likely to irritate your skin.

Niall Horan Says He Won’t Go On Tour Until 2021 In Heartfelt Announcement

Harry Styles, BTS, Billie Eilish, and Justin Bieber are just some of the artists who’ve canceled or postponed upcoming tour dates as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. And today, Niall Horan followed suit. The “Slow Hands” crooner took to social media today (April 3) to announce that he will not be moving forward with the Nice To Meet Ya Tour and will be issuing refunds to any fan who previously purchased a ticket.

“Given the unprecedented circumstances I have decided to not move forward with the ‘Nice to Meet Ya’ World Tour this year,” he wrote. “This was a difficult decision, but the well-being of my fans and touring family is always my top priority.” Horan also said that only doing a few shows this year just “didn’t feel right and I’m sorry to all you amazing people who bought tickets.”

On the bright side, the former One Direction star is looking very forward to the day he can hit the stage again. “I look forward to being able to bring new music and a new tour for all of my fans around the world in 2021,” he wrote, adding that he’s not yet ready to announce definitive dates. “I want to announce new dates soon but I don’t think it’s fair on you guys to do so until the dust has settled and things have gone back to normal,” he added.

That said, fans who bought tickets will be able to get their money back. “For now, all tickets purchased will be refunded,” Horan continued before directing fans to his website for more info. “I am going to focus on writing and recording more in order to be back touring next year with more music to play for you all.”

The “Put a Little Love on Me” singer closed out his heartfelt note by reminding fans just how much playing live shows means to him. “As you all know touring and having the fortune to play in front of all of you beautiful people is the reason I love my job and my life,” he wrote. “I cannot wait to be back. For the time being, please stay safe everyone. Love you all, Nialler.”

Why Disney+ Was The Best Place For Dolphin Reef, Even Before Theaters Closed

As mentioned before, while Disneynature films have seen theatrical releases before, they weren’t exactly massive hits. They were movies seen by those who sought them out, not the sort of movie that an audience might simply checkout because it looked interesting. With Disney+, and especially right now, the chances somebody might give Dolphin Reef, or Elephant, a chance just for the heck of it are much better