Standoms Music Pop Culture

It’s been a full decade and One Direction still gives me butterflies in my stomach

Somehow, someway, One Direction turned ten this week.

Yes, ten. And, at 21 years old myself, I’m not quite sure when time managed to escape mebecause in my head I am still 13 writing fanfiction in my room, hanging up posters from Rolling Stone of the band on a beach, and having my heart literally melt because of the way that Harry Styles shakes his hair out of his eyesbut it is right now, in this moment, that I feel as if I’ve crashed headfirst into unwarranted adulthood. As if the rug has been pulled out from underneath me. Damn.

Ten years is a very, very long time. A lot can happen within a single decadein fact, a lot did happen. We’ll get to more on that later, but it is important to say first that I am starkly nostalgic of those times, which now seem to be reminiscent of the most incredible joy and comfort. It seemed as if the mind, body, and spirit of every single Directioner somehow operated on the same wavelength—and heartbeat. I always loved the idea that we all, as a collective, validated one another’s thoughts or commentary and found community in adoration. Looking back, being part of a fandom like this one was surely a bit of necessary respite in a time of awkwardness, petty teenage relationships, and deceit. 

Of course, there are other things too. For starters, it is common practice to associate things like personal style, music, cinema, and clothing to be both obvious and meaningful stakeholders of culture—which certainly helps in the case of any band or musician. Think of Michael Jackson’s moonwalk or Elton John’s sunglasses. Those are things you will never forget, or that you will even cherish. The kind of things that you can point out from a mile away. The kind of things that seem to transcend time and place—that sort through all of the randomness and bring you back to that one perfect moment or feeling. For One Direction, at least to me, it’s their silhouettes and boyish laughs. But also, it’s their evolution from shaggy hair, varsity jackets, khaki pants, suspenders, and striped T-shirts to slick black suits, skinny jeans, assortments of tattoos, and wide brim fedoras all the while maintaining a charming sense of self. 

Now, I know what you’re thinking—she’s obsessed! And, while that is a true statement, I am not just saying these things as a fangirl. Trust me, I’ve fallen in ‘love’ with my fair share of boy bands (insert the Jonas Brothers, 5 Seconds of Summer, and Big Time Rush here) but nobody, and I mean nobody, compares to One Direction. So, although this might seem like a stretch for most people, One Direction defined a generation. And, they defined it in a way that moved way beyond the capabilities and limitations of music.

There is no denying the enormity of the impact and that One Direction had, whether you are a fan or not. It is clear as day. 

However, it is quite important to note that their career as a band was not always a linear feat. As most people know, they weren’t always a band. Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, and Louis Tomlinson each started off as solo artists, all under 25 years old, on the X-Factor UK. On July 23, 2010 Simon Cowell, the notorious judge of the talent competition, pulled the 5 boys together and gave them the chance of a lifetime. By the time they rounded out the competition, One Direction wound up in third place and backed by Cowell’s record label, Syco. Right off the bat their first singles as a band toppled charts across every single continent. Quite literally, their Na na na‘s could be heard world-wide, which is nothing short of a testament to the stardom that they soon would face. Not to mention the frenzy of fans, media, and paparazzi that quickly surrounded the boys which in hindsight seems like an all-encompassing storm. It was a non-stop cycle of album making, global touring, countless 24-hour long live-streams and video diaries commemorating their relationship with fans, along with goofy realness that made them immensely crush-worthy. 

Fast-forwarding a bit, One Direction managed to accomplish a ton while in the limelight. In 2011, the band’s debut album Up All Night shot to #1 overnight and stayed there, making them the first UK group to peak at #1 in the US with a debut album. In addition, they were the first group to debut at #1 with their first four albums in the US: Up all Night, Take Me Home, Midnight Memories, and Four. In 2012, the band performed at the Olympics closing ceremony in London. By 2013, the group produced and released two concert documentaries titled One Direction: This Is Us and One Direction: Where We Are. In 2014, Billboard announced One Direction Artist of the Year. Altogether, the band has sold more than 70 million records worldwide. In addition, they’ve taken home 16 MTV awards, 154 awards in other isolated categories, and have been nominated for 317 awards in total. Plus, they have sold over 8,287,195 tickets on their tours.

On March 25, 2015 Zayn Malik, 22 years old at the time, left the band during the One The Road Again tour citing a need for normalcy and some time out of the spotlight. Speculations have risen since then about the real reason behind his leaving the band, including episodes of discrimination based on his religion and music style. The other boys continued on and produced the Made in the A.M. album that same year. The band never toured with this album and announced that they too would be going on a hiatus in January of 2016. All 5 members have gone on to maintain remarkable solo careers while holding on tight to their roots in One Direction. The most successful being Harry Styles, an undeniable international heartthrob and sensation.

So far, there has been no serious mention of a reunion in the near future, but hey, miracles do happen! Based on their social media presence on the day of their 10 year anniversary, the boys seem as amicable, genuine, and grateful as they were a decade ago.

Within their record-breaking career before entering a hiatus, the quintet managed to reaffirm what a boy band means all the while establishing their unique and notable brand. These are heavy, even monumental, footsteps to fill.

So, no, One Direction is not just a measly boy band. At incredibly young ages, they were thrust into a world of not so subtle adoration and managed to produce worthwhile music for a loyal, dedicated, fanbase. They changed my life in the best way. Let’s give credit where credit is due and grant them the celebration that they so desperately deserve.

Happy 10 Years of One Direction! 


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Book Reviews Books BRB Gone Viral Pop Culture

Here’s every emotion I felt while reading the “After” series

Ever since I can remember, books have been the biggest part of my life. And for me, a good book is simply one that shakes me to my core and keeps me reading. But only a few books have been capable of pulling me into a deep, pure, ecstatic need for words.

A few weeks ago, I watched the movie After. It’s based on Anna Todd’s After series which is supposed to be Harry Styles fanfiction though I really didn’t see the similarity. While the plot of the movie intrigued me, it wasn’t enough. I felt like the film skipped over scenes. So, last week, the reader in me went in search of the first book.

One week later – I’ve read all five novels in the series and my emotions are all over the place. 

The five books – After, After We Collided, After We Fell, After Ever Happy, and Before revolve around the story of two characters, Tessa Young and Hardin Scott.

Tessa is the girl next door – pure, innocent, focused but also flawed in her own ways. Hardin is an encapsulation of the bad boy trope, except for one thing – his love of literature, a side of him which really struck me. He quotes Austen and Fitzgerald, has facial piercings, and is covered in tattoos. 

The characters meet through Tessa’s roommate Steph, one of Hardin’s friends. A pre-planned game of truth or dare pushes them closer together under false pretenses, the details of which we don’t find out about until the end of the first book.

The After series encompasses the devastatingly beautiful yet incredibly toxic and emotionally abusive relationship between the two characters; the way Hardin constantly shows up when Tessa doesn’t want him to, the way he acts around her co-worker Trevor, and his intense anger that blows out of proportion and ends in violence almost every time things don’t go his way.

And Tessa has her fair share of moments; when she kisses another boy in front of Hardin just to prove her point, and how she keeps running to Zed Evans (Hardin’s friend) when she has a fight with Hardin. All these factors contributed to making their relationship increasingly flammable and yet, they still somehow always worked it out.

Reading about how toxic the relationship was was incredibly uncomfortable. Typically, when I read or watch something with such a messed up relationship premise, I call them out on it.

However, something about these books pulled me into them.

Maybe it was the burning chemistry between the two characters, maybe it was the way literature was a constant theme in the story, or maybe it was because I was waiting for the characters to finally be together – without all the bullshit. I also kept reading to see the bad boy turn good.

Because isn’t that one of the reasons we turn to fiction? To make us believe in things we wouldn’t otherwise think possible.

While the After series is not inspiring or life-changing, the books are quick, easy reads that I lost myself in. And now here I am, struggling to get this story out of my head. 

Moments like Tessa and Hardin’s heated discussion over Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, Tessa bringing Hardin closer to his estranged father, Hardin taking Tessa to his favorite spot – these are the moments that pulled me through the suffocating thread of their relationship.

And Hardin. He struggles with connecting with the people in his life (until he meets Tessa) and that in itself is the biggest challenge of all. There’s a line in the third book that reads:

“It’s ironic really, that the man who hates the world is most loved by it.”

It was tragic to see that Hardin had trouble seeing that. His character is emotionally damaged and he carries his childhood trauma right up until the fourth book which I found so appealing because for me, as a reader, and as a person, seeing someone face their trauma, accept it, and move on – that’s a story that needs to be heard.

The chemistry between the characters in the After series is undoubtedly palpable. They’re constantly pulled towards each other, mistake after mistake, and although Hardin does some terrible things, Tessa is not the innocent character she started off as.

The book is peppered with hot and heavy scenes, but above that, it has well-rounded primary as well as secondary characters, and a story that will make your heart hurt just a little.

The inherent problem within these books, though, is the fact that Tessa keeps going back to Hardin time and time again. He messes up, lies, destroys everything in his path, and yet she still goes back to him. Although I can’t seem to understand it, I still somehow root for it.

Plot twist after plot twist kept me tethered. Most stories have a beginning, middle, and end, but the arc of this story keeps rising and falling, keeping you engaged with its tumultuous movement.

I don’t think the books support toxic relationships, but they somehow portray this frightening reality that many people can relate to. So if you’re looking for a quick read, an emotional rollercoaster, and a story that drags you into its depths, this one’s for you.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Movies BRB Gone Viral Pop Culture

Being a fangirl is more than a t-shirt and fanfic – it’s helped save my life

Imagine this: A 21-year-old woman walks into the room. She’s wearing a t-shirt with her favorite band on it. She’s humming a song you haven’t heard before (and maybe you don’t even like it) and she has the biggest smile on her face. If your first instinct is to judge her for being a fangirl at that age, then you’ve already failed this test.

I’m kidding. Ok, not really. This 21-year-old woman is me and she gets judged (very often) for being who she is – a fangirl. And I don’t really get the big deal, in all honesty.

I’m a fangirl and I fail to understand why this makes other people uncomfortable.

It literally has absolutely nothing to do with you or your existence in general. I’m not forcing you to like whoever I like, or agree with me at any point.

[bctt tweet=”When something gives me that much happiness – how can you judge me for it?” username=”wearethetempest”]

If I do share what I’m loving at the moment, with you, it only means I genuinely consider you a close friend/person in my life and I want to share that part of my life (which means a lot to me) with you.

It does not in any way mean I want you to obsess about it/them too.

I wore my Flash t-shirt to college one day in my second year and someone came up to me and legitimately said, “I don’t like that show”. Here’s what’s interesting about this – I never asked them what they thought of the show.

Don’t get me wrong though, I’m all for opinions, and criticisms, about what I like too. What I’m not here for is unsolicited judgment and advice on how I should be living my life – I didn’t ask you to tell me if I should be a 21 year old obsessing over a band, book, or a tv show – so don’t tell me what I should do.

[bctt tweet=”I’m a fangirl and I fail to understand why this makes other people uncomfortable.” username=”wearethetempest”]

Being a fangirl is one of the best things in my life. It’s an experience uncomparable and something I wouldn’t go back on or give up – if given the choice.

The excitement, the thrill, the exhilarating emotions, the love, and the dedication, above all, that I have seen amongst fangirls is something magical. We’re all here for one purpose and one common thread unites us all – our passion for that particular artist/band/book/tv show/movie, etc.

That’s amazing stuff – and it’s the kind of stuff I live for. I couldn’t imagine not being absolutely smitten and preoccupied with something at a particular point of time just because the amount of happiness I draw from the experience is unfathomable.

I love every minute of being a fangirl.

More than just that, being a fangirl is so good for my mental health. As someone who has struggled with anxiety and depression, only I know how brilliant fangirling has been for my mental health.

[bctt tweet=”Being a fangirl is so good for my mental health.” username=”wearethetempest”]

It gives me purpose when I feel worthless, it gives me hope when I feel like there’s nothing left to hold on to, it gives me light when everything is dark and I feel lost.

Fangirling has saved me from collapsing into the dark pits of my thoughts so many times. It has worked as a strong form of self-care, more than just a few times, and it continues to do the same for me – even today.

The happiest place on earth for me, every year, without fail, is Comic-Con. I’ve been going for Comic-Con in my city since 2015 and it’s honestly the best thing ever. It’s where I get to meet people like me – where we feel like we belong. It’s beautiful and emotional all at the same time.

Not just Comic Con too, being a fangirl has gotten me so many twitter friends (some of whom are also friends of mine in reality now) that I couldn’t possibly go back on my decision of making an account dedicated to Justin Bieber and One Direction back in 2012 when I did.

I may not be as obsessed with them as I was, back in 2012, but I can never owe them enough for the way they helped me through high school, the way Harry Potter and Hermione Granger taught me to be brave even when I didn’t want to be, the way One Tree Hill helped me understand myself as I turned 18 and stepped into the real world, the way Wonder Woman has helped me tap into my actual potential (and still does) or the way BTS help me, every single day, as I start my day with their music on full blast, getting ready for the gym and the rest of my routine with the biggest smile on my face.

When something gives me that much happiness – how can you judge me for it?

Let me be a fangirl and let me love what I love. I sincerely hope you find something like that to love and hold dear to if you haven’t yet. It’s quite an experience, I tell you.

Music Pop Culture

In the battle of solo careers, which One Direction boy REALLY reigns supreme?

When I was approached with the idea for this piece, my immediate reaction was, “I could never. It’d be like choosing a favorite child!” But then I thought, as a self-proclaimed One Direction scholar and a longtime (read: long-suffering) fan, who better to do the job? Besides, I’m sick of reading similar posts from stuffy music critics who never deigned to pay attention to the boys until after the hiatus.

For the sake of this article, I’ll  be ranking the boys based on their own solo singles. Singles released with DJs (i.e. “Just Hold On” and “Get Low”) will not count. I’ll also be ranking them from five (the lowest) to one (the highest). Here we go:

5. Liam Payne

Liam originally tried out for the X-Factor two years before the other boys. When he was denied, he returned with a vengeance.

When Simon Cowell wiggled his fingers and created 1D just before boot camp in 2010, the other boys always remarked how Liam was the most serious about the entire process. I take you on that quick trip down memory lane to say this: Liam Payne was always going to make solo music. There was never any doubt in my mind. So, I expected more from him. A lot more. “Strip That Down,” while catchy as hell, is incredibly cliche.

Not to mention the lyrics, “I used to be in 1D/But now I’m free” sounds like he decided to have a go with a Songwriting For Dummies book.

4. Niall Horan

I feel guilty for saying this but…I didn’t expect much from Niall.

He’s very happy-go-lucky and was an even bigger 1D fan that I am, but I never expected him to go solo. When he released his first single before the other boys (minus Zayn of course) I was beyond surprised. That being said, “This Town” did nothing for me. It was too reminiscent of Ed Sheeran. It was extremely “white boy sings a generic love song while playing acoustic guitar.” I got my fill of that particular genre during my college years, thank you very much.

His second single “Slow Hands,” though? Well, that’s a certified bop.

3. Louis Tomlinson

Louis’s voice has always been a polarizing topic of discussion within the fandom.

The general consensus is that he’s an awful singer. I, however, am firmly not in that majority. I love Louis’s voice. I spent my formative years listening to pop punk bands and Louis’s higher pitch reminds me of all the front-men I grew up listening to. I’ve been hoping he’d start a pop punk band since 2012. “Back to You” is not the emo anthem I dreamt about, but I still love it a whole lot. His voice works well with upbeat pop music, and his single caught and kept my attention longer than Liam’s and Niall’s.

There was a solid week straight where I watched the video about twice a day. 

2. Zayn Malik

This is the big one.

Zayn had to put out a legendary album if I was ever going to forgive him for the utter devastation he caused me after essentially breaking up with the other boys (in the middle of a tour!) via text. Luckily, with Mind of Mine, he delivered a truly classic album. I’ve always felt a specific kinship with Zayn because he was the only person of color and because, like me, he was raised on R&B and reggae music. Since he had such incredible formative musical influences, I was confident that his solo music wouldn’t let me down. Unlike Liam, Zayn was able to live up to my high expectations for him. Now all I need from him is an actual tour.  

It’s been two years, Zayn. I’m waiting. 

1. Harry Styles

I’ve been a Harry girl from day one, but I’ll be honest with you, I was scared to listen to his solo stuff.

Unlike Zayn, all of Harry’s musical influences are the opposite of my own. He loves Fleetwood Mac and The Eagles and The Rolling Stones….basically the kind of music my white friends put on and are horrified I don’t recognize. In many ways, Harry’s self-titled album is exactly what I expected. It’s grandiose. It’s ambitious, and I can trace each specific influence on each track. But I love it. It’s been incredibly satisfying to watch the goofy and weirdly polite boy I’ve loved for the last six years slowly take over the world.

He sounds great, his live performances have been amazing, and if I get to watch him prance around in neon and floral-print suits, can I really complain?

Listen, I’ll always love my 1D boys. It’s just…now that they’re solo, I love some of them a teeny bit more than others.

Tech Now + Beyond

Whatsapp keeps me from being lonely and friendless in my 20s

My morning routines go like this: I wake up, stare up at the ceiling while trying to desperately reacquaint myself with world of the living, and then I finally roll over and check my Whatsapp messages.

After seven or eight hours of leaving my phone unattended, I always wake up to new messages. Checking them first thing in the morning has become a simple way of grounding myself before I prepare for the day.

WhatsApp is my messaging method of choice.

As the only person with a Samsung in a sea of iPhones, Whatsapp acts as the great equalizer amongst me and my friends. There’s no room for iMessage or lofty Apple-using superiority complexes there. I chat and type freely without any worry that my messages, emojis, or .gifs will get lost in translation while traveling between operating systems.

My Whatsapp itself is an extension of my personality.

I first downloaded it back in the summer of 2012. That was such a bittersweet time for me. I was just coming out of a depression haze that lasted right through the earlier months of that year.  I managed to kick that bout of depression in large part because of another popular social media app, Tumblr. Weirdly and surprisingly enough, through a hesitant interest in One Direction, I quickly fell headfirst into the fandom and met a ton of new people. Downloading Whatsapp was a way to stay in contact with all of my new friends (most of whom I still talk to today).

However, since then my Whatsapp space has managed to take on a life of its own.

It is filled with fandom group chats complete with punny names that my long-suffering friends had no say in creating. There are also hastily recorded and muffled voice notes. As well as a media folder that is almost exclusively candid and blurry pictures of the latest Harry Styles sighting.

If someone wanted to learn the most about me in a quick period of time, my Whatsapp chats would be the best resource. They are the clearest representation of me and my relationship with my friends.

Attribute: image provided by the author

Look, maintaining friendships in your twenties is hard. This is a simple fact I couldn’t have learned until I started living them. My twenties have become a transient period that I had no idea how to prepare for. The people around me are also starting their own lives and careers. They are beginning to build roots for the very first time. It feels like with each new year comes a different friend of mine moving to a new city.

By the end of this summer alone, I’ll have had to say farewell to two of them.

My days of having hometown friends that I could call up and organize last minute trips to diners and beach boardwalks are long gone. Now, in order for us to all stay in touch, we have to make an active effort. We can’t use work and the physical distance between as an excuse for going months without speaking. We are forced to actually pick up the phone and reach out. This is where Whatsapp comes in.

I’ve lost track of the amount of times I’ve grabbed my phone during a period of total crisis or extreme excitement. Whenever anything significant happens in my life Whatsapp is my way to share it with these long-distance friends in an instant.

I may be a self-described introvert, but I’m also the kind of person who needs to feel connected to the few friends I do choose to keep in my circle. These friends frequently act as my support system and voice of reason.

Whatsapp acts a sort of security blanket. It’s comforting to know that I can reach out to my closest friends at any time regardless of country, state, or time zone. During a stage where our lives are constantly in flux, I’m grateful to have a tiny but powerful app that strengthens the bonds of my friendship with every hit of the “send” button.

TV Shows Movies Pop Culture

20 signs you’re an absolute fangirl

There are some people in the world who can consume media casually. They can watch a new film or finish a television show and think “Wow, that was great,” and then proceed to carry on with their day and, shockingly, the rest of their lives.

If you’re anything like me, though, media consumes you. More often than not you can be found thinking about, dreaming about, and obsessing over your fandom of choice. If you’re a full-blown fangirl, you’ll definitely relate to everything on this list.

1. Referring to your fave exclusively by their first name and casually dropping them into the conversation.

Your friends and family have also (begrudgingly) learned to refer to your fave but their first name.

2. The pure elation you feel when your favorite show gets renewed for another season.

Yessss. Another 22 episodes of pure indulgence.

3. Reading fan fiction when the canon doesn’t quite meet your expectations.

Sometimes you’re lucky enough to find a fic that’s even better than the canon.

4. Losing hours of sleep because of an especially great Netflix-binging session.

“Just…one…more episode!”

5. Going to a fan event or convention and finally feeling like you’re among your people.

Let’s stay here together forever and ever and ever.

6. When you overhear strangers talking about your fave and you must resist the urge to rudely butt into their conversation.

You must continue to resist even when they’re getting facts about your fave so very wrong.

7. When someone you’ve just met asks about your fave in passing and you have to go to great lengths to not expose the true depths of your love.

“Oh, uh Harry Styles? Yeah, I think I’ve heard of him once or twice.”

8. Being willing to empty the entire contents of your bank account on your fave.

Merch? Concert tickets? Movie premiere passes? UM. YES PLEASE.

9. Having to skillfully dodge spoilers on social media.

For the love of all that is pure and holy, USE YOUR TAGS. Think before you spoil!

10.Gasping aloud when finding out important news about your fave and scaring unassuming folk around you.

Oops. Sometimes it’s just genuinely impossible to contain your excitement.

11. Flexing your creative muscles through a fandom-related outlet.

Writing fic? Reading fic? Making fan art? You can and have done it all.

12. Hating ship wars and all of the drama that comes with them.

We’re all friends here and getting along is so much more enjoyable.

13. Meeting a core group of fangirl friends through fandom and a mutual love of your fave.

You love them almost as much as you love your fave.

14. When you have to stop watching a great episode and venture out into the “real” world.

Sunlight and fresh air are both completely overrated.

15. Learning viable knowledge like HTML, Final Cut, and Photoshop through the making of .gifs and edits on Tumblr.

Don’t forget to add it to your resume! Fandom helping you out in your future; who would have guessed!

16. The utter devastation you feel at the cancellation of your favorite show.

You’ll never get a chance to find out what happened to the characters you loved like your own family. What a cruel, cruel world!

17. The sheer terror you feel when a coworker finds or asks to follow one of your fandom-related social media accounts.


18. Gently dragging your fave and calling them out on their bullshit (from a place of love of course).

No one wants a fave who contributes to the cis-heterosexist-patriarchal bs that’s already prevalent in our society.

19. Scrolling through your camera roll and realizing that it’s 90% full of pics of your fave.

Houston, we might have a problem.

20. Discovering a new show/book/film/podcast and starting the specific brand of fangirl love and over-zealousness all over again.

Listen, it’s a hard job but someone’s gotta do it.

Music Pop Culture

Where in the world are One Direction?

There have been many bands which have survived a break. To name a few, Fall Out Boy, Backstreet Boys, Foo Fighters have all gotten back together even after fans had all but given up hope!

When One Direction announced their decision to take a hiatus in November 2015, their fans understandably had a lot of questions about what this meant for the band. The news brought frenzied Directioners to social media contemplating how long the break would last or if maybe, this was it?

However, the band remained adamant that they will indeed get back together after pursuing their interests as solo artists.

1. Harry Styles

Apart from a few paparazzi shots, he made no updates on social media or gave interviews anywhere.

However, since then, Harry Styles is set to appear in Christopher Nolan’s big budget World War 2 epic titled “Dunkirk“. He will be starring alongside Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance and more. The movie premieres world wide on July, 21st 2017.

And if you thought that was all Harry did since the hiatus, you were very wrong. Harry recorded and released an entire self titled album on May 12 this year. The album has been massively successful and is very different from the music Harry made as part of One Direction.

His first single from the album was “Sign of the Times”, which was a massive hit. Harry subsequently released a music video for the song which was incredibly aesthetically pleasing. But then again, we would expect nothing less from Harry!

Apart from that Harry has kept very busy promoting his album. The best of it was his week long stint at the “Late Late Show with James Corden” where he was part of many skits as well as participating in a glorious edition of Carpool Karaoke.

Oh and just as a side note, Harry is going to be doing a world tour of the album come 2018! You can find out where he is performing here.

2. Niall Horan

And we must protect him at all costs. There is a running gag within the fandom that only Niall is loyal to One Direction and truly dedicated to getting the band back together. That being said, Niall has kept busy with his career.

Niall has so far released two singles, “This Town” and “Slow Hands”. He was the first one from the boys to release music after the hiatus began as he released “This Town” on September, 29th 2016. Followed with a release of “Slow Hands” on May, 4th 2017. If you are a One Direction fan and knew Niall even a little bit, you will agree that his music sounds exactly how you would expect it to sound.

He has been promoting his two singles non-stop with appearances on talk shows and live performances. Most recently appearing on the “Tonight Night Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” doing an Instant Song Challenge and just projecting his all round cinnamon roll goodness for all of us to enjoy.

3. Louis Tomlinson

When One Direction announced their hiatus and discussed their individual plans for their time off, Louis said his top priority would be to spend time with his son Freddie Tomlinson. However, that is not the only thing Louis has been up to.

He released a song titled “Just Hold On” with international DJ Steve Aoki on 10th December 2016 just 3 days after his mother Johannah Deakin lost her battle to cancer. The song was dedicated to her by Louis and he gave an emotional performance of the song on X-Factor UK’s finale on the same day the song debuted.

There was not a dry eye in the venue.

Louis also released an official music video for the song which is has a lot of symbolism.

Louis also guest judged on a few episodes X-Factor UK as well as America’s Got Talent with his good friend Simon Cowell.

4. Liam Payne

Unless you were living under a rock, you probably know that Liam has been in a relationship with Cheryl Cole for a little over a year and already has a son with his lady-love who they named Bear Payne.

He just recently released his first single with Quavo titled “Strip That Down” after months of teasing fans with snippets of the songs and snapshots of himself in the studio. And earlier this month Liam also released the music video for the song which was a little more risque than the usual fare from One Direction.

Oh and spolier: Liam danced in the music video and it was as glorious as you would imagine it to be!

If you listen closely Liam sings in the song’s chorus

“You know I used to be in 1D (now i’m out free)”

You might find solace in the fact that whenever the boys are asked about the One Direction reunion, they promise that it will take place; the date may be undecided but it will happen. Till then, we can only support the boys and enjoy their individual pursuits.

Race Inequality

32 amazing moments #curryscentedbitch took Azealia Banks by storm

Azealia Banks’ Twitter is an absolute hot mess right now.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Twitter beef – it all started when Azealia Banks called out Zayn Malik for allegedly using her music video “Chasing Time” as a “mood board” for his own, “Like I Would.”

Several Tweets and insults later, and a full-out feud had taken over everyone’s timeline. Banks proceeded to attack the singer, employing various racial slurs and cuss words as she went along. Banks took things even further with the following tweets:

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It seems Banks lacks any sort of cultural-sensitivity, in all meanings of the word.

Jasmeet Singh (also known as @jusreign on Twitter) started the trend #CurryScentedBitch in response, throwing a positive spin on Azealia’s offensive tirade.

The hashtag completely took off within a few hours, with the desi community coming together to simultaneously squash the stereotypes and completely slay our timelines.


































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Music Pop Culture

1D? More like NO DIRECTION because that’s my life now

If you are anywhere on the spectrum of Zayn fan–from wild-eyed and weak-kneed at his every high note to mildly-interested defender of his ice cream swirl hair, to someone who has only googled his angelic face and voice once or twice as a pick-me-up- then you know that yesterday was a dark and tragic day.

One Direction is no longer a band, but just an amalgamation of four attractive white British and Irish guys with varying quality of voices, senses of humor, and social media savvy (I’m looking at you, Liam “Literally just get off Twitter, please” Payne).

If you don’t know what happened, it doesn’t matter. None of us really do. I’m sure there will be one or two or 12 million thought pieces and nightly news specials chronicling every real and speculative detail. The only thing that matters is that Zayn is gone from the band and they might as well just call themselves “four-guys-who-need-help-with-all-the-high-notes (4GWNHWATHN).” Zayn, I know you want to be a “normal 22-year-old” (AS IF Zayn could ever be “normal” when he’s the most perfect human ever to grace the Earth but ok, Zayn you can try) and I can’t blame you for wanting some time away from what is the harshest glare the spotlight has to offer.

As a dear friend and fellow 1D fan said, “Aside from death, terminal illnesses, environmental crises, nuclear war, other atrocities against humans and animals, and anti-feminism, this actually is the worst thing that could ever happen. EVER.”

In all seriousness, the one thing that has been chronicled time and time again is that Zayn has always “struggled with fame” (according to news media outlet after tabloid after online forum). The way the media–and Zayn himself/the representatives themselves–have phrased his struggle has been rather unforgiving, and they don’t get at the crux of why Zayn left the band.

In my opinion, it feels a lot like discrimination or at the very least, lack of respect for one of the most famous (and best) singers in the world. From the beginning of One Direction’s time on the X-Factor,  Zayn has often been made to be the “odd one out” of the group, the least talkative on the press junket, doing his own thing or leaving the crowds behind when he could, even skipping interviews with the press to be with family.

There is one example of what feels a lot like discrimination that I want to highlight: the recent One Direction TV Special from December 2014.The boys were at Disneyworld in Orlando, FL, singing some of their past hits and sharing tidbits about their favorite times on tour. One of the segments features Liam as a “host” of sorts, asking the other band members questions from fans, all while riding a roller coaster at high speed. This makes the answers hilarious, of course, because Liam has trouble reading the cards and his fellow band member has to scream loudly as he grasps for an answer.

But there’s a band member missing, and that’s Zayn. And it’s not the first time, either. As one-fifth of arguably the most famous band in the universe, management, the TV studio, whomever was in charge, chose the ONE activity that Zayn simply didn’t want to do because, like me and at least four other people I can name off the top of my head right now, he just doesn’t like roller coasters (should we also start a band? “the anti-roller-coasters”?). It’s literally just a preference. It’s just a thing he didn’t feel comfortable doing. And so, he was excluded. Is anyone surprised that, much as he loves his bandmates, he doesn’t feel supported in his moments of stress by his band’s management? If I were Zayn,  I probably would have thrown my hands up in the air in frustration and left the band right then and there. As it stands, he just makes an adorable expression:

Further, while Zayn loves singing, we have to remember that being a part of One Direction was first and foremost his job. He showed up to work every day, and in many ways had to put on a facade for others–one that hid any part of him that was different (which can be taken to mean any part of him that was Desi, that was Muslim, that was shy, that was not the same as his fellow bandmates, that was not the same as what everyone wanted him to do and be). And yet, we watched as he was still disproportionately targeted by the media, by Islamophobes, by racist haters, even to the point that back in 2012, he left Twitter for a short time after the most Islamophobic nonsense ever propagated caused him as he put it kindly “abuse.”

It would seem that One Direction is in many ways literally a case study of how marginalization happens: where it’s all fun and games until someone leaves the band. I would never doubt that Zayn and his bandmates are all truly the best friends they say they are, but it’s clear that you can be in a group of five of the most famous people in the galaxy, and if you have something that is different about you, you can still feel forced to be like everyone else.

On a parting note to Zayn, I just want to quote his uncle, who tweeted recently:



Especially the last line:  “Stress and feeling depressed can kill. People need to understand, his health is more important.” I think this is a good time to talk about mental health and the stigma behind it. It got so bad for the best band member in the universe that he quit what we all think of as a dream job just to keep going every day. “i’m just sad. i’m sad for us, i’m sad for the boys for losing their best friend, i’m sad for all of the potential wasted, but most of all i’m sad for all of the pain zayn must have been in and how lonely he must have felt in stadiums full of thousands of people to need to leave it all behind” (from Tumblr User niallerthecreator).

Maybe this is a wake-up call to all of us to question the environments in which we put our favorite movie, TV, and music stars. Zayn is neither the first casualty of the international media nor the last, but he was definitely the best.

This piece was written with help from Sidrah Baloch and Sanam Anwar.