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Throughout life, there are many things that touch a person’s heart and soul and gives peace. For some people, it is art, some people are touched through words, some people are affected through other’s life stories, some people are inspired by movies, while some people find their comfort and peace through music.

In literal meanings, music means vocal or instrumental sounds. But figuratively, music is more than just sound production for people across the globe. People turn towards music when they are in love, or when they are hit with heartbreak. It is a source of peace and joy, an escape and solace. People tend to lose themselves in music, dancing to its tunes and humming altogether because it makes them feel alive.

People who are inspired by music find inspiration in not just the lyrics, but also in the tunes, and the beats together. They find their comfort in listening to the songs and aspire to make a difference in the world through what they write and create. From the population who writes music not just for themselves, but also to share it with the rest of the world, Di Higrade stands distinguished.

This US-based Afrobeat/Dancehall artist creates music with the hope that everyone who listens to it can relate to it, and his songs are the perfect reflection of his thoughts.


Born on August 26, 1989, Di Higrade opened his eyes in Tema, Ghana. Birth named Roger Akutcha, Di Higrade grew up without his parents. He had a tough childhood having to look after himself while also dealing with every situation all by himself and not having anybody to depend on.

As a child, the only thing that brought comfort and peace to Di Higrade was music. He would spend several hours of the day listening to music, enjoying the songs, and humming to its tunes. His happiest hours of the day were always attached to music, where he would be lost in his own world and had nothing to worry about.

It wasn’t long that Di Higrade’s love for music started blossoming, and he turned towards writing and composing his own songs. After several hours dedicated to writing a song, he had finally created a masterpiece when he was just ten years old!

Excited to show the others what he had come up with, Di Higrade performed his song for his friends, who were stunned by his voice and talent. His friends cheered him and bucked him up for the fantastic show he had put on.

The admiration he got from his friends was all he needed to realize that he was passionate about writing and creating songs, and even more eager to be able to perform in front of large crowds. Knowing that music was more than just sounds for him, Di Higrade was determined to make a difference with his music. He was sure that music would always be a part of him, and he was ready to share his creations with the world.

Di Higrade had grown up listening to various popular artists like Bob Marley, Vybz Kartel, Movado, Shaggy, Sean Paul, and many others. By the time it was his turn to create his own music, the instinct to turn to the Afrobeat genre was natural. Di Higrade made up his to create songs with a fusion of Afrobeat and Dancehall genres.

Apart from drawing inspiration from the artists he listened to, Di Higrade brought life to his music through his life experiences. He is a firm believer that music something that unites people together, and as an artist, he was compelled to create something that would help his listeners get comfort, just like he had once as a child.

Di Higrade uses his tunes and lyrics to bring his experiences and emotions under music in a big way. He says, “Going through the experiences makes me appreciate life more. Life is a beautiful struggle. I always put these experiences into music to send my story out there.”

He released several singles comprising the Afrobeat and Dancehall genres, which gave the listeners something new and unique to look forward to. Being appreciated by a large crowd, his singles gained immediate attention and helped gain recognition around the world.

In 2015, Di Higrade released his single HTML. HTML is an abbreviation for Hello To My Lover. The song was released under the label Tubhani Muzik, with Owuraku of Butterfly Concept Entertainment as the director of the high picture quality and the classic video of the song. Hello To My Love is a classical ballad, a love letter for the artists yearning to see his lover. The song narrates the artist’s heartache when his lover is gone. The track is the perfect combination of piano drive pop-soul sentiments and twists that burst more towards the highs and falls back consistently into deep emotion that is perfectly depicted in the artists’ soft vocals.

On Christmas of the year 2016, Di Higrade released two more singles, ‘Obsession’ and ‘Party Time.’ Both the tracks are Dancehall bangers. These tracks are total knockouts for all kinds of festivities.

The fast-tempo track Afro-Dancehall jam, Obsession, was produced by Denswag and is dedicated to all the hot girls across the globe! The party song, Party Time, was produced by “Go Low” hitmaker, Tubhani Muzik, and is dedicated to all party-goers!

The same year, Di Higrade released three more songs, 90’s, Prove Dem Wrong, and Enemies, all of which are known for their silvery vocals and unique melodies.


Aside from being an extremely dedicated music artist, Di Higrade is also a kind human being and supports justice and equality. Realizing how big of issue poverty is, he addressed the problem and said, ‘Can you imagine what it’s like to not have enough food to eat and go to bed hungry at night? Poverty is not a joke.’

After days of hard work and struggle, the artist today stands distinguished as a musical artist and a fitness model. He serves the US Military while continuing to release his music!

Mahesh is leading digital marketing initiatives at RecentlyHeard, a NewsFeed platform that covers news from all sectors. He develops, manages, and executes digital strategies to increase online visibility, better reach target audiences, and create engaging experience across channels. With 7+ years of experience, He is skilled in search engine optimization, content marketing, social media marketing, and advertising, and analytics.

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Gabby Petito Update: Possible Brian Laundrie sighting in Northwest Florida



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Federal agents, state police, and U.S. Marshals continue their search for fugitive Brian Laundrie inside the 25,000 acre Carlton Reserve in southwest Florida. But he may have been spotted 500 miles away.

Laundrie, 23, is a “person of interest” in the death of his fiancée Gabby Petito.

A man who resembles Laundrie was spotted on a deer camera in Baker, Florida, about 500 miles away from his parents’ home.

Sam Bass spotted the man on his deer cam and snapped a photo.

Bass wrote on his Facebook page on Monday:

“I’m not saying this is the guy but whoever was on my trail camera this morning in Baker, Fl strongly fits the description of Brian Laundrie, authorities have been contacted but people in the North West Florida area be on the look out.”

Authorities have not confirmed whether the man in the photo is Laundrie.

According to Fox 10 News, Laundrie has no connection to the area, and none of the residents recognized the man in the photo.

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A Petito family lawyer confirmed the human remains found at a Wyoming camp site on September 19 has been identified as Petito.

Laundrie was last seen at his parents’ North Port, Florida home on Tuesday, Sept. 14. His attorney reported him missing a few days before Petito’s body was found in a Wyoming park.

Petito and Laundrie set out on a cross-country road trip from New York on July 2. The couple documented their “van life” for their YouTube channel.

He showed up at his parents’ Florida home without Petito on September 1. Her mother reported her missing on Sept. 11, but Laundrie refused to speak with police.

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Chris Brown Calls Out Border Agents Abusing Haitian Immigrants: ‘Herding Us Up Like Cattle Farmers’



Chris Brown Calls Out Border Agents Abusing Haitian Immigrants: ‘Herding Us Up Like Cattle Farmers’


Chris Brown is among the few celebrities to speak out about border agents “rounding up” Black Haitian immigrants to deport them back to Haiti.

Border agents on horseback chased down frightened Haitian immigrants in Del Rio, Texas on Sunday.

Outrage as border agents on horseback round up Haitians for

AFP via Getty Images

Over 15,000 immigrants, mainly Haitian, migrated to Texas from Mexico and were living in squalor under the Del Rio international bridge at the US-Mexico border.

Texas officials declared a state of emergency, citing health issues due to the unvaccinated immigrants.

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AFP via Getty Images

The order was given to round up the immigrants and deport them to Haiti before they could have the chance to apply for asylum.

In a video filmed by MSNBC, agents on horseback are seen flicking long reins at fleeing Haitians who desperately clung to their bags of food.

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Chris Brown took to Instagram on Tuesday to express his outrage over the lack of attention being paid to the border crisis.

“I hope everyone is seeing what is happening with the people of Haiti at the border!!!!!! All the f***ing billionaires in that state alone should be trying to help. We have no peaceful strategies.. Hurding [sic] us up like cattle farmers… Hey everyone Please take a f***ing look at what’s going on!! Please!!!??????”



Posted in News

Tags: border agent, Chris Brown, deportation news, Haiti news, immigration news, Video

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Outrage after comedian Michael Blackson asks fans to send him money to pay AJ Johnson’s funeral



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Comedian Michael Blackson sparked outrage when he asked his fans to Cash app him money to help pay fellow comedian AJ Johnson‘s funeral expenses.

Johnson, 55, apparently suffered a heart attack in a store and died earlier this month.

His body lay in a morgue for weeks until the coroner used his dental records to identify him and contacted his family.

In a post on social media, Blackson said he received a call from Johnson’s former management and his wife.

He said Johnson’s wife — who was separated from him for years — was “in tears”.

“Apparently no one has heard from AJ for about a couple of weeks,” Blackson wrote.

“Get to find out he had a heart attack in some store on Sept. 6th and was taken to the hospital where he died a day later [shaking my head]. He had no identification on him and I’m shocked no one from the [Los Angeles] hospital recognized him to tell the world.”

Blackson went on to say Johnson “left this world with absolutely nothing”.

It’s unclear how Blackson knew Johnson’s financial status at the time of his death. He readily admitted that neither Johnson’s former manager or wife had heard from him in years.

Then Blackson provided his Cash app ID, a mobile payment app, and asked his followers to send him money. He wrote: “at the end of the day I’ll match it and send to his family to bury him. Thanks.”

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However, his followers accused Blackson of pulling a “scam” and they wondered why celebs who display material wealth on social media while asking fans to send them money.

One Rhymeswithsnitch commenter wrote:

“Do these celebrities realize that most black folks are BROKE due to the unemployment of the pandemic? How about they budget THEIR money, and go a week without a $400k watch and contribute their own damn money! Folks got their own bills and loved ones to care for and bury. Y’all niggas (in Hollywood) love bragging on social media about what y’all got, so put your money where your mouth is and give that good brother a NICE send-off!”

Another reader wrote:

“MBlackstone was just on Cribs stunting. Just pay for the funeral already.”

And a third person wrote:

“Everyday people already contribute by supporting these celebrities so it’s only fair these celebrities contribute by supporting their own.”

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Celebs Out & About – Lori Harvey, Khloe Kardashian, Tristan Thompson, Jordyn Woods, and More



Celebs Out & About – Lori Harvey, Khloe Kardashian, Tristan Thompson, Jordyn Woods, and More


Lori Harvey rocks blue sweats with her Chanel bag while running errands In West Hollywood with a friend.

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Khloe Kardashian and Tristan Thompson have fun as they depart their daughter True Thompson‘s to dance class. Khloe dressed casually in black leggings and a black top with a matching Prada fanny pack for the class.

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Old Boy’s Club / BACKGRID

Idris Elba and wife Sabrina Dhowre Elba attended British Vogue and Tiffany & Co. party to celebrate Fashion and Film in London.

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Jordyn Woods puts on a leggy display as she, her boyfriend Karl Anthony Towns (not pictured), and mom Elizabeth Woods (not pictured) continue to celebrate Jordyn’s birthday with an intimate dinner at Nobu in Malibu.

Posted in Photos

Tags: celebrity photos, Idris Elba, Jordyn Woods, Khloe Kardashian, Lori Harvey, Tristan Thompson

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Former Olympic Sprinter Sanya Richards-Ross Joins ‘The Real Housewives of Atlanta’ Season 14



Former Olympic Sprinter Sanya Richards-Ross Joins ‘The Real Housewives of Atlanta’ Season 14

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Former Olympic gold medalist sprinter Sanya Richards-Ross is joining the cast of The Real Housewives of Atlanta for season 14.

Sources tell exclusively that Sanya, 36, is joining the cast as a “friend” of the show.

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Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Producers plan to offer Sanya a peach if things work out with the other cast members.

The producers have reportedly “gutted” the cast and are auditioning for fresh new faces to fill all 7 slots.

Back in July, revealed exclusively that Porsha Williams is not likely to return to the series.

“The network loves Porsha and wants her to stay, but Porsha reportedly doesn’t want to deal with the negativity surrounding her soon-to-be husband. Her concern is that, for example, producers and/or the other ladies will bring other women to the show that Simon has allegedly been involved with.”

B. Scott also revealed that Cynthia Bailey is out as a cast member, and original cast member Shereé Whitfield is returning after more than a decade.

Marlo Hampton, a longtime friend of the show, is rumored to be getting her own peach as a full-time cast member.

And restaurateur Kandi Burruss, who joined RHOA in season 2, was shown the door.

B. Scott writes:

“Production is aggressively interviewing new prospects in hopes of filling all seven slots. They’re specifically looking for ladies with husbands and/or significant others.”

1632240550 783 Former Olympic Sprinter Sanya Richards Ross Joins ‘The Real Housewives of

Riccardo S. Savi/Getty Images

Sanya met her future husband, Texas Longhorn cornerback Aaron Ross, while attending the University of Texas. The two were engaged in 2007 and married in 2010.

Their wedding was featured on an episode of Platinum Weddings. Aaron Ross later played for the NY Giants of the NFL. They welcomed their first child, Aaron Jermaine Ross II, in 2017.

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Mike Pont/WireImage

In her memoir “Chasing Grace” Sanya revealed she had an abortion back in 2008 prior to the Olympic Games.

In 2013, Sanya premiered her WE tv reality TV show Glam and Gold, which was filmed at their home in Austin, Texas.

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MSNBC’s Joy Reid dismisses Gabby Petito case as ‘missing White woman syndrome’



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Steve Petito /Getty Images

MSNBC host Joy Reid dismissed the news media’s intense focus on 22-year-old Gabby Petito as “missing White woman syndrome.”

The “Van Life” vlogger was last seen in late August in Grand Teton National Park with her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, 23, who is considered a “person of interest” in her disappearance.

Laundrie returned to his parents’ Florida home alone in Petito’s van on Sept. 1.

Petito’s mother reported her missing on Sept. 11, but Laundrie refused to speak to investigators, and his whereabouts are unknown.

Officials discovered a body “consistent with” Petito inside Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming on Sunday, Sept. 19.

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During a segment of her show “The ReidOut,” the outspoken liberal host discussed the media’s coverage of the missing vlogger, and asked “Why not the same media attention when people of color go missing?”

Reid dismissed the focus on Petito’s case as the news media placing more emphasis on finding blonde, blue-eyed women who go missing.

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Reid said:

“It goes without saying that no family should ever have to endure that kind of pain. And the Petito family certainly deserves answers and justice. But the way this story has captivated the nation has many wondering, why not the same media attention when people of color go missing?”

She added:

“Well, the answer actually has a name: Missing White woman syndrome. The term coined by the late and great Gwen Iffil to describe the media and public fascination with missing White women like Laci Peterson or Natalee Holloway, while ignoring cases involving missing people of color.”

Reid was referring to two high-profile cases of blonde women who went missing.

Reid cited statistics from the Black and Missing Foundation that showed more Black women go missing every year than whites — but they are often classified as runaways.

She concluded her segment by stating that reporters don’t cover missing Black women because they don’t look like the daughters or granddaughters of news executives.

Posted in Crime

Tags: Brian Laundrie, Gabby Petito, homicide, Joy Reid, missing person, Video

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Jada Pinkett-Smith Celebrates 50th Birthday with ’70s Themed Skating Party



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Jada Pinkett Smith celebrated her 50th birthday milestone with a star-studded 70s-themed skating party at her home.

The A-list actress and her husband Will Smith built the skating rink at their Los Angeles home for the bash. They were joined by some of her showbiz pals, including MC Lyte, Toni Braxton and Charlie Mack.
READ ALSO: Willow Smith inspired mom Jada Pinkett Smith to shave head
A source told the New York Post newspaper’s Page Six: “It was the happiest I’ve ever seen them.”

Guests were all asked to provide shoe and sock sizes before arriving for the party to be fitted for custom roller skates.

The insider shared:

“It was probably the best time anyone has ever had, and the DJ played the best music. It was mostly ’70s… it was like a ’70s party.”

Will, 52, didn’t take to the rink because he’s currently in the middle of shooting a film.

However, Jada “skated the whole entire time, and her mom was out there skating the whole time too”.

And although guests were required to take a Covid test before attending the bash, the event was staged in typical “Smith family style”.

The source said:

“There was no product placement. It was in Smith family style. They paid for everything.”

Posted in Celebrity

Tags: 70s theme parties, birthday celebration, Jada Pinkett Smith, MC Lyte, private parties, Toni Braxton

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RIP: LaBelle Co-Founder Sarah Dash Dead at 76



RIP: LaBelle Co-Founder Sarah Dash Dead at 76

Derrick Salters/

LaBelle co-founder, singer and actress Sarah Dash has died at age 76. No cause of death was disclosed.

Dash’s death was confirmed by Trenton, NJ Mayor Reed Gusciora in a Facebook post late Monday.

“Our resident legend and Trenton’s very first music ambassador, Sarah Dash, has passed away.”

The Trenton, NJ native was best known as co-founder of Patti LaBelle & The Bluebelles, which was later renamed to simply LaBelle in the 1970s.

Dash was born the seventh of 13 children to her pastor father and nurse mother.

She originally sang gospel but later sang R&B music when she moved to Philadelphia in the mid-1960s and met singers Nona Hendryx, Patricia “Patsy” Holte (Patti LaBelle) and Sundray Tucker.

The girls formed “The Ordettes” in 1961. In 1967, member Cindy Birdsong, who replaced original Blubelles member Sundray Tucker, left the group to join The Supremes.

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Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Dash, right, helped to transition the doo-wop R&B group into pop/rock/R&B group LaBelle that tackled controversial and sexually outspoken subjects. LaBelle opened for the Rolling Stones on tour.

Under Dash’s direction the group ditched their bouffant wigs and glittery costumes for afros and jeans.

The group’s biggest hit, “Lady Marmalade,” was released in 1974 and went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

“Lady Marmalade,” with its sexually suggestive French chorus of “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?” (“Do you want to sleep with me?”) made the group a household name.

“Lady Marmalade” held the number-one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for one week, and was ranked number 479 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

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In 1978, Dash, center (with Nona, left, and Patti, right), released her self-titled debut album, which included the top-ten disco hit, “Sinner Man.”

After working with The Rolling Stones, Dash also performed in The BeatlesSgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in 1978.

She went on to release solo albums and reunited with Nona Hendryx and Patti LaBelle in 1995 to record new music.

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TIFF 2021 ‘Lo Invisible’ Review: A Stifling Portrait of Postpartum  



TIFF 2021 ‘Lo Invisible’ Review: A Stifling Portrait of Postpartum  

In the mountains of Ecuador, Luisa returns to a beautiful modernist home. It is covered in glass windows and hard-cut surfaces, reflections of movement bouncing off every wall. As she re-enters her house after being away for a month, she is greeted by her husband, maids, and her newborn baby. No one speaks to her about where she has been. When her baby begins to cry, her husband orders a maid to take it away. 

Javier Andrade’s Lo Invisible is a tightly constructed examination of a woman with postpartum depression. After being accused of trying to harm her baby, Luisa (Anahí Hoeneisen) is sent to a psychiatric hospital for a month before she can come home. Following her return, everyone around her acts as if nothing has happened, as if things are back to normal. Luisa attempts to play the part. She attends the parties that are thrown at her house and goes for runs. But when she moves to hold her baby, the reality of her situation cannot be ignored. She cannot comfort her child, appearing to be an effort for her, indicating that things will never be the same. 

Andrade’s script (co-written with Hoeneisen) is purposefully stripped. It focuses solely on Luisa’s experience instead of plot, resulting in an intimate examination of her mental state as it progressively deteriorates. Scenes act more like vignettes; not quite connecting to the prior one. They sequentially investigate different aspects of Luisa’s psyche while further revealing details about her circumstances before she left. The film isn’t focused on the details of what led to her postpartum depression, rather on the aftermath of it. Its loose structure creates a slow but unnerving portrait of Luisa, creating an insightful character study. 

The construction of the film does not leave a relaxing impression. Instead, it accomplishes the opposite.  The suffocation Luisa is feeling is intensified by her surroundings. Luisa is trapped inside her gorgeous home. It rests in the mountains surrounded by nature. Sound design filled with wind and insects does not result in a calming feeling, but an overwhelming awareness of how secluded she is. The house itself is made up of glass windows and many of the walls within the structure are also transparent. When she goes on runs to obtain privacy, her driver is instructed to follow her closely, assuring that she will not do anything harmful. There is nowhere for Luisa to hide, leaving her suffering out in the open for everyone to see. As scenes appear one after the other, this idea becomes more and more evident. 

Despite being physically exposed, Luisa’s problems are ignored or undermined at every turn. When she breaks down in front of her maid during a massage, the maid only tells her to be strong, then walks down the stairs as Luisa is left wailing in agony for the entire house to hear. In an attempt for connection, Luisa clings to her older son as he plays video games, but he pays little attention to her either. She is expected to readjust quickly, and she does act out those parts, but none of it feels real to her. Everything is false and she can’t seem to find the person she used to be. Her attempts to regain herself become increasingly erratic and harmful, but it is never enough. These instances, along with many others, help portray what Luisa is going through. However, the lack of disruption from this cycle can leave the film feeling stagnant. 

Lo Invisible’s structure can be an effort to invest yourself in. Separately, each scene can feel like just another breakdown. Once the pieces come together to a haunting finale, however, the ending result is impactful. Andrade’s restrained direction supports Hoeneisen’s raw and truthful performance, which elevates the sparse script into something much greater. The film’s fluid nature culminates into an intimate portrait, but there may be too much ambiguity due to the lack of plot. Although it might have done well to implement more of a structure, Lo Invisible remains a poignant account of a woman who desperately wants to be seen.  


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Revisiting ‘Chronicle’: The Perils and Power of Adolescence



Revisiting ‘Chronicle’: The Perils and Power of Adolescence

Chronicle is the story that almost never gets told. On their way to a high-school party, our protagonist’s older cousin Matt (Alex Russell) pleads with his reclusive cousin not to bring along the video camera that apparently functions as an extension of his limbs. “When we go tonight,” he implores, “maybe leave your camera at home?” Matt is a typical 18-year-old boy, preoccupied with appearing louche and cool — not unkind, but nevertheless willing to point out his cousin’s shortcomings. Our protagonist, Andrew (Dane DeHaan), declines: “I bought a camera and I’m filming everything from here out.” And so our story begins.

This interaction serves as a cunning treatise for the rest of the film, which is just as interested in the canon of superpower films as it is with playing witness to the casual cruelty and misendeavors of growing up as a boy in modern America. Based on a screenplay by Max Landis and realized in gritty cinematic shorthand by Josh Trank, the story follows three 17- and 18-year-old boys living in Seattle whose lives are irredeemably altered by one supernatural event.

Steve, played by Michael B. Jordan in a breakout role, is disarming and jocular. He has political aspirations and sharpens his interpersonal skills on his peers with deft charm. Matt is slightly more reserved, yet prone to the kind of lofty philosophical ramblings that adolescents often use to disguise insecurity. And then there’s Andrew, played with vulnerable ferocity by DeHaan in his breakout performance. Like those bestowed with superpowers that preceded him, his origins are lowly, if not downright tragic. His father is a belligerent and violent drunk, and his mother is terminally ill. He is easy prey both for his peers at school and at home, where his fragile sense of purpose and worth is eroded by his father’s outbursts. Unlike Bruce Wayne’s parentless tragedy or Peter Parker’s arachnidian defect, Andrew’s origin story is regrettably one not unfamiliar to many teenagers.

When the three boys discover a vast crater in the woods undulating with telekinetic energy, their lives change forever. They discover they can lift Lego with their mind and assemble Starships in their front rooms with boyish glee. They can lift the skirts of unsuspecting girls at school and levitate Pringles into their open mouths with grace. With great power comes great responsibility, and unsurprisingly, things soon begin to go wrong. Their powers increase: now, they are able to crunch cars in their fists like Wotsits. They swoop through the clouds at breakneck speed and rip the incisors out of a bully’s mouth as though plucking daisies. At the epicenter of this growing chaos is Andrew, whose slow-burning discontentment and feelings of isolation supply the emotional ammunition for his descent into violence and extremism. In this manner, Chronicle can be read as an analogy for the dangers of thwarted masculinity — and an unexpectedly prescient critique of the current incel/alt right-motivated violence that troubles America today. But more on that later.

Perhaps the most assertive thing about Chronicle is Trank’s choice to use the found footage style that popularized such films as The Blair Witch Project in 1999 and Cloverfield in 2008. Harnessed by indie filmmakers in the late 1990s, these found footage films sought to eschew the constraints — such as budget, logistics, and access to A-list talent — that often limit first-time filmmakers.

With a focus on multi-character ensembles and exposé-style narratives, it is interesting to consider how the raw aesthetic of well-loved thrillers like the Paranormal Activity franchise had their formal origins in the centuries-old epistolary form. Writer Andrew Keith Walker elaborates on this point, suggesting that “found footage takes the academic detective work of primary research and applies that model to filmmaking. It presents a faux primary source and guides the audience through a detective process.” Found footage films incorporate the audience into the narrative both emotionally (through our implication as witnesses) and visually (through the intimate camera POV). The result is both chilling and profound, providing a cinematic experience that is closer to reportage than to conventional modes of storytelling.

In Chronicle, the found footage style not only forces us to bear witness to the private moments in Andrew’s life — tending to his dying mother, lying in his bed listening to his dad’s inebriated rages, listlessly filming cheerleaders on the bleachers — but also functions as the very thing that gives our protagonist purpose. Where other found footage films have justified the ‘found’ element in terms of journalistic enquiry (Gareth Edwards’ Monsters, for example), artistic exploration (the young filmmakers in The Blair Witch Project), or purely to capture a good night out (Cloverfield), one gets the impression that Andrew’s documentation of the world around him is more vital altogether, instilling in it the significance, empathy, and purpose that he otherwise struggles to find. This is evident in an interaction between Steve and Andrew midway through the film: Steve asks him, “You don’t feel like [the camera is] a little weird? Like it puts a barrier between you and everyone else?”, to which Andrew responds, “Maybe I want a barrier.”

In an apparently apathetic world, Andrew’s flailing sense of self-worth is bolstered by his documentation of quotidian life. It is the ‘barrier’ which both protects him and distances him from those that prey on him. In this manner, the found footage style of Chronicle is analogous to the volatile and vulnerable condition of adolescence and its capacity for monstrous or unreliable retellings. It is no coincidence that when the camera is ultimately turned on Andrew at the height of his destruction, the audience is conditioned to see a monster and not a teenage boy, radicalized and insular.

20th Century Fox

As previously mentioned, there is a disturbingly prescient vein running through the film which explores the dangers of volatile masculinity — especially in adolescence. In Landis’ screenplay, Andrew’s rages are accompanied by lightning storms and traffic accidents, his emotions taking on physical properties that are at once hyperbolic and familiar to many angsty teenagers. It is, however, internet research that sharpens the point of Andrew’s malice, representing a well-trodden and sinister descent into violent radicalization. After Steve’s tragic death, Andrew becomes distant even from Matt and directs his spurn toward the camera and, by extended logic, the audience too. When he talks about “evolution and natural selection” and “the Apex predator”, it is with the dull fervor of fundamentalism. Gone are the days of mischievous experimentation, the juvenile joy, the newfound bravado. He levitates a spider in front of him and explodes its limbs with sudden, horrific intensity. In these scenes, the floating camera becomes uncomfortably incriminated in Andrew’s deterioration, a helpless partner in crime.

This helplessness, and the attending nihilism that colors Andrew’s world, is a mainstay of found footage films. In Cloverfield, the group of New Yorkers we follow look on in horror as a behemoth of terror destroys their city. They are, quite literally, pawns in a great game. In Monsters, the couple are at the mercy of both the monsters that surround them and, more tellingly, the various military forces intended to protect them. Without the inherent authority of conventional filmmaking (establishing shots, tracking shots, etc.) to tell us what to believe or what to expect, the audience finds themselves as helpless as the protagonists. As a device, found footage is intrinsically reactive and all the more terrifying for it.

Perhaps the most shocking thing about Chronicle is the inevitability of Andrew’s death. While Steve’s untimely demise is designed to shock the audience with its randomness, there is a haunting sense throughout the film that Andrew is doomed. Even at the peak of his newfound power, when his cousin tells him, “Things are gonna get so much better for you, I really feel that,” it feels improbable that Andrew will be able to escape from the juggernauts of cruelty, bad luck, and self-doubt that pile atop him. At the nadir of his self-esteem, as helicopters spin around him and spotlights pick out his small body, his desperate cousin tells him, “Andrew, you’re not alone up here,” but we already know that in many ways, he is. Trank’s is a film for the modern ages, an inexorable tragedy that speaks to the manifold ways young men are both isolated and indoctrinated. Though its form may be hyperbolic and fantastical, the emotions that anchor it are terrifyingly tangible and tap into a modern zeitgeist wherein pain becomes spectacle and a fall from grace is valuable cultural currency.

20th Century Fox

In early August this year, various entertainment platforms announced a sequel to Trank’s original film featuring an all-female cast. This time around, Trank will be not behind the camera (the main one, that is), having expressed both disdain for the concept of a sequel and disgust at original screenwriter Max Landis’ multiple sexual assault allegations. Landis’ fall from grace is not only a damning indictment of an industry that repeatedly aids and abets violent men but also a rather chilling parallel to the volatile and unchecked versions of masculinity that consume Andrew in Chronicle. One must hope that the new film will work hard to fully comprehend the complexities and nuances of being a young woman today, rather than simply overlay pre-existing narratives with tired archetypes à la 2016’s Ghostbusters. We must hope, too, that in light of Landis’ deplorable behavior, the sequel will aim to give agency and weight to its female protagonists, though this is little recompense for such troubling events. Ultimately, what made Chronicle so assertive a film the first time around was its ability to train a lens on the unlovable aspects of male adolescence, and unpick (albeit with supernatural device) the simultaneous blows of arrogance, precariousness, and fear that define turbulent youth. To repeat this will be a challenge, especially without the meticulous eye of Trank. We can only hope that the sequel retains its candor and, perhaps, finds for itself new idols to burn.


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