Puffer Clogs and Gas Station Sunglasses
after school weekend edition
Hi friends! Welcome back to After School ✨weekend edition✨, an extra long and extra opinionated youth culture digest for paid subscribers.
This is not a music blog, but I listen to a lot of music, hip-hop especially, and the death of Takeoff, who died Monday at age 28, has been on my mind this week.
Whether you’re a fan of Migos (or hip-hop) or not, I’d recommend taking a minute to read “How Takeoff and the Migos Flow Changed Atlanta Rap” by Jon Caramanica. “Such is the nature of hip-hop innovation — sometimes it’s about what is said, but just as often, it’s about how it’s said,” he writes. “And the triplet flow that Migos popularized in the mid-2010s became a standard-bearer for the genre, setting a generation of Atlanta rap afloat.” As a trio and individually, Migos were prolific. Their debut single, "Versace," came out in 2013 when they were all basically just kids; in less than a decade, they released 47 singles, 24 of which were as featured artists, demonstrating how much other artists loved collaborating with them. (Speaking of features, if you’ve never seen the “Walk It Talk It” music video featuring Drake, you’re in for a treat.)
As Caramanica wrote more eloquently than I ever could, Migos — and Takeoff’s — influence was massive. Though his death didn’t receive as much media coverage as it deserved, millions of fans turned to Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram (where he has 8.7 million followers) to mourn him. On TikTok, #riptakeoff has 192.2 million views.
Not to sound macabre, but I think about death and grieving a lot (I grew up in a funeral home family), and the implications of digital culture and social media on these things are expansive and ever-evolving.
The night of his death, Takeoff posted a photo of himself at a bowling alley — presumably the bowling alley where he was shot — to Instagram Stories. Instagram Stories, as you probably know, are live for 24 hours; hours after his death was made public, his Instagram Stories post remained live, until, of course, it expired.
This isn’t the first time someone’s Instagram Story will outlast their actual life, but unlike Facebook statuses or tweets, the ephemerality and real-time nature of Stories — much like, say, Snaps or voice memos — makes things feel especially incomprehensible.
As we (and by “we” I’m thinking mostly about Gen Zers and Gen Alphas) increasingly develop deep para-social relationships with celebrities, often without realizing it’s even happening, and feel closer than ever to public figures thanks to platforms like TikTok, IG, and even BeReal, loss and grieving is going to become even more complicated, I fear.
Phew, sorry for all that. Time is precious, so let’s get on with it.
Today, we’re going to be talking about:
American Eagle’s holiday strategy
The jewelry collab for TikTok-obsessed Gen Zers
The jewelry collab for stylish Gen Alphas
The $220 fleece going viral on TikTok
The hoodie that will be on every Gen Zer’s holiday wishlist
The “Mastermind” trend
The dorky cartoon making a comeback
Today, we’re not going to be talking about:
Twitter. I have no words! Except, I guess, wtf.