Bethany Cosentino: How Musicians Can Fight California’s Gubernatorial Recall (Guest Column)

It is not hyperbole to say that we are living in incredibly bizarre times. Waking up to the news everyday feels a bit like living in a post-apocalyptic, science fiction movie. Every day it feels as if a new pressing issue presents itself to us, and not only do we need to figure out how to digest it, we also have to figure out how to combat it. We are living in a time where having a platform and a connection to community is more important than ever. As an artist who is privileged enough to have a platform, I try to use it for good in times of crisis.

On Sept. 14, a gubernatorial recall election will take place in California. Governor Gavin Newsom is up against a number of Republican candidates, many of whom want to do everything in their power to roll back the progress California has made on Covid-19 vaccination access and mandates, climate protection policies, gun safety laws, access to healthcare for the most needy, and many other important things the state has prioritized under Newsom. Newsom has not been a perfect governor by any means, but when you look at what California, as well as the entire country, has faced since the pandemic started 18 months ago, a recall absolutely does not feel warranted. Not to mention, Newsom is up for reelection in 2022, so this recall is a huge waste of taxpayers’ dollars.

There is so much at stake in this election, more than just simply replacing a governor. If Newsom is recalled, it will affect much more than just the state of California. Senator Diane Feinstein is 88 years old and if she is unable to finish her term and a GOP governor gets to choose her successor, the possibility of tipping the balance of power in the U.S. Senate towards Mitch McConnell and the Republicans becomes a very real threat. California, a state whose wildfires seem to get worse with every passing year, cannot afford to have a governor in office who will bat an eye at climate change. With this past July being the hottest month ever recorded on planet earth, it is clear that we need to act on the climate crisis now.

So where do artists come in? Aside from making sure we vote if we live in California, how can we help? One of the easiest ways is by simply mobilizing our fanbases via social media. It might not seem like a lot, but by posting facts, resources and links on the platforms we have, we can reach a large number of people. And think what would happen if all artists, or a large percentage of them, used their platforms for good. That’s a lot of people gaining access to information about this recall election. That’s a lot of fans who live in say, Texas, who have relatives in California that they forward information to or send a text message to asking them if they plan to vote in the recall election. We live in a world where social media rules us in a way, like it or not, so why not use it for good? Why not encourage your fans to do more than like a selfie of you on vacation or a cute photo of your cat? Encourage and enable them to feel inspired to use their own voices for good.

Another reason why musicians should be using their platforms to speak out about this recall election is because our jobs very much depend on the ability to gather safely with large groups of people. With California leading the nation in vaccination verification measures, it is imperative we have a governor who will continue to take this virus and the need for a vaccine very, very seriously. Our jobs as musicians quite literally depend on it. With the Delta variant running rampant across the country, it is incredibly important that we have someone competent running the nation’s most populous state. This really isn’t even about Democrats versus Republicans anymore either, it’s about reality versus conspiracy theories. It’s about the hope of progressing forward versus dangerously rolling backwards. Will artists alone, or anyone for that matter, save the world? Of course not. But there is something to be said about taking action and being of service to a world that really needs our help — Putting positive energy into places that need a push forward. It might sound corny, but the world needs more love, more hope, more action, and there really is no easier way to do so than by utilizing our platform for good. I sincerely hope that artists — in California and outside of it — will join me and use this less-than-ideal situation as an opportunity to do good with their platforms. There is simply too much to lose otherwise.

California native and Los Angeles resident Bethany Cosentino is co-founder and lead singer of California-based duo Best Coast.

Iggy Azalea Talks Creating an Early 2000s ‘Universe’ With New BH Cosmetics Collection

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“I’ve never let the early 2000s go! I think everyone knows that about me,” Iggy Azalea tells Billboard of the Y2K-inspired craze in fashion lately. “I’ve got Clueless-inspired music videos and everything. It’s my time to shine.”

The rapper is so nostalgic for Bratz dolls, glitter and everything early 2000s, that she channeled that obsession in a new BH Cosmetics collaboration, fittingly titled Totally Plastic. As expected, the collection is a Y2K dream, filled to the brim with vivid eyeshadows, sparkly glosses, fluffy brushes and more.

“We have always viewed Iggy Azalea as an influential icon across the fashion and beauty spaces,” Yannis Rodocanachi, CEO of BH Cosmetics, added in a press statement. “We are huge fans of her trendsetting looks on the red carpet, music videos and across all of her creative frontiers. Iggy was involved in all areas of this exciting collaboration, and is in every bit and piece of this collection. We are so humbled to be the first brand to collaborate with her on a beauty line and are eager to launch this amazing collection full of unique formulations and throwback-inspired designs, all while celebrating Iggy and her influential style.”

BH Cosmetics is known for its affordability without sacrificing quality (every item in the collection is under $30), something that was important to Iggy. “They have so many bright, vivid, crazy colors and when I tested out the makeup, the pigment and everything was really creamy and great,” she explains. “For me, that stuck out because I rarely see eyeshadow that has actual quality for the price point they’re at. When I’m thinking of making things that I make, I want them to be accessible to everyone. I grew up not having very much money myself and always wanting those things cool girls had that I wanted to be – or even saving enough money to buy a CD of somebody that I really love to listen to.”

Speaking of “cool girls,” when designing the three eyeshadow palettes, Iggy dreamed up three specific types of early 2000s it-girls and what their makeup collection would look like. “To me, the purple girl is the fiercer, b—hier, mean girl, if that makes sense,” she says. “The blue shadow palette, I thought of the phrase ‘I’m psychic’ and a lot of the shades are named in theme with that. She probably wore a boho skirt and had a crochet rug. That palette has the butterfly in it. Kind of more earthy, hippie. Pink was more the bubblegum-y, popular girl. I was thinking of myself because pink is my go-to eyeshadow color. I thought that this is the palette that I want in my purse.”

The attention to color is a noticeable aspect to the collection, and something that remains constant throughout the rapper’s career as shown through moody, vibrantly colored music videos or photo shoots. “I really understand color well,” she shares. “There’s always a heavy focus [in my music] on color theory and incorporating those emotions. It’s important to me to tell a story through color.”

“For me, focusing on eyeshadows or lip glosses, things like that – especially when BH has such a solid foundation with formula, I just went crazy with developing colors that I liked and lent themselves to the story I was creating,” she continues. “I was thinking about, ‘Who are these girls that are kind of like Bratz dolls, early 2000s type girls. Who is the person? What’s their universe?’ BH was totally open from the beginning to me having creative control. That’s something that if I don’t have creative control with a brand, I’m not going to put my name to it because I’m very specific with how I want things to be or executing my vision.”

While the collection is bursting with pinks, blues, purples and glitters, Iggy made sure to include neutrals in every palette so that even beginners can have fun playing with makeup. “I can do looks with my basic skill set, and my makeup artist can also use it and go crazy,” she says.

“Whenever I’m in a makeup store, I’m drawn to the bright, fun colors but I feel intimidated and then don’t purchase it,” she adds. “I’m like, ‘How often am I going to use a bright green neon palette?’ Do I really want to spend $25 on it? Then I’ll gravitate to the nudes and be like, ‘Well, this isn’t as fun but I’ll get more use out of it.’ For me, this whole thing was bringing those two concepts together.”

When asked if she has always been a huge makeup lover, Iggy reminisced on her childhood days in rural Australia. “I have so many embarrassing pictures of myself in makeup that I’ve done that I thought was really editorial,” she says through giggles. “In the early 2000s, I was obsessed with reality model competitions. I would watch all those shows and had a fantasy that I would send my pictures into a modeling agency and they would say, ‘You’re going to be the next top model!’ Of course, I’m only 11 or 12 years old and I would do my makeup in ways I thought was really high fashion and print them out and send them in to modeling agency, which is now traumatizing thinking of some intern opening an envelope with all these pictures of an 11-year-old thinking she’s a model.”

“I was very offended that I never got a call,” she concludes. Despite her failed modeling career, life worked out well for Iggy Azalea, who dropped her final album project, End of an Era, on August 13.

Shop the full Totally Plastic BH Cosmetics collaboration on the brand’s website here, or in stores at Ulta Beauty.

Lady Gaga’s Dog Walker Ryan Fischer Addresses Criticism Pop Star Faced After He Was Shot

Lady Gaga’s dog walker Ryan Fischer defended his superstar client after critics claimed she wasn’t supporting him six months after he was shot while walking her dogs.

In a Rolling Stone feature published on Wednesday (Aug. 1), he unpacked the physical and emotional distress he’s experienced since the night of Feb. 24, when he took Gaga’s three French bulldogs on a walk in Hollywood when a gunman shot him in the chest and fled the scene with two of the dogs. In August, Fischer launchedGoFundMe to help him purchase a new van for his healing cross-country trip, and shared an accompanying vulnerable video statement. Comments underneath his Instagram post targeted his Grammy-winning pop superstar client, as users asked where her contribution was and why she wouldn’t front the $40,000 herself. But Fischer isn’t one to point fingers at her.

“Everyone thought that I was setting a blame on someone, when it was all love. It’s what happens in trauma — all your loved ones, all your family, everyone: you feel alone. You don’t feel supported because this is your journey,” he said. “I tried so hard. I tried to navigate that. I really did think about the wording. It’s a weird video and it’s a weird way to go about life. It’s not normal and I understood that. And I really did try to navigate it as best I could.”

Five suspects were arrested in connection with the shooting and the dognapping. The dogs were safely returned, but Fischer suffered a collapsed lung during his recovery, which required surgery and a partial removal. His assistant Elisha Ault told Rolling Stone that Gaga’s team was “supportive from afar,” but claimed the support wasn’t as substantial as it should have been. She alleged: “Nobody really made a point to come see him or talk to him or make contact with him. Ryan was a lot more than just an employee for them. They were friends — close friends — for years.” She also said that Gaga’s team seemed confused when Ault, who handles Fischer’s finances, sent an invoice that would cover six months of the support he needed.

Billboard has reached out to Lady Gaga’s team for comment.

In the days following the incident, Gaga broke her silence and offered a $500,000 reward for the return of her pups, Koji and Gustav (which was never paid out, according to RS). “I continue to love you Ryan Fischer, you risked your life to fight for our family. You’re forever a hero,” her statement concluded. Fischer, who refers to Gaga among the rest of his clients as dear friends and emphasizes the need for their privacy and dogs’ safety, is still grateful for that friendship.

“They’re my friends, and I love them and they’re absolutely there for me. I have nothing but gratitude for everything. It’s just a weird situation just because of how it’s evolved in the media,” Fischer said. “But I’m very grateful for my friendships.”