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Members of the Moranbong Band of North Korea arrive at Beijing International Airport. (REUTERS/Kyodo)


The Week in Women: Kim Jong Un’s girl band, Adele’s scalper battle, and Nicki Minaj’s wrath

By Brigit Katz on December 18, 2015

It’s the height of the holiday season, which means your ears have been graced—or assailed, depending on your perspective—with a non-stop barrage of Christmas jingles. To help fill your mind with something other than the refrain of “Jingle Bells,” we’ve curated a selection of musical stories from the past week. Let’s take a look back.

Three “friendship” concerts by a North Korean girl pop band were abruptly canceled amidst rumors that Kim Jong Un was sleeping with a member of the musical group. Kim had sent Moranbong Band to China in an effort to repair North Korea’s fractured relationship with its only ally in the region, but then canceled the show “due to certain reasons.” Speculation is rife that Kim ordered the band back home in order to quiet whispers of his past sexual relationship with Hyon Song Wol, the leader of the pop group. Kim is reported to have taken these rumors of extramarital dalliances as an affront to his dignity, which is an interesting reaction, considering that he seems to be pretty chill with his reputation as the perpetrator of gross human rights abuses.

Perfect human Adele made a strategic move to stop scalpers from selling tickets to her North American tour, which went on sale Thursday. Most tour dates sold out in minutes, and secondary sites like StubHub were hawking tickets for as much as $11,000. But the singer has teamed up with the website Songkick, which was able to track those who tried to place orders, and thus blocked 53,000 sales to known or likely scalpers. Of course, this will come as little comfort to the thousands of fans who were not able to purchase tickets before venues sold out. Or as one Twitter user put it: “Hello from the other side/I must have tried a thousand times/To get Adele tickets/It was breaking my heart.”

Rita Moreno opened up to PBS about a career spent fighting industry racism and typecasting. The actress and singer, who is best known for her Oscar-winning turn in West Side Story, said that she was long relegated to stereotypical Latina roles. “Being the house ethnic was destroying my life and my sense of myself, because I had been consigned to play every dusky maiden you have ever seen in your life in movies,” she said. But Moreno pushed past the prejudice and became the first person of Latin descent to win an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony—an honor known as EGOT. Should anyone want to send Moreno a congratulatory gift, we suggest taking inspiration from 30 Rock’s Tracy Jordan.

The Human Rights Foundation has asked rapper/lover of reptiles Nicki Minaj to reconsider a scheduled performance at a Christmas festival in Angola on Saturday, saying that the concert effectively endorses Angola’s corrupt government. The company running the Christmas festival is controlled, in part, by the daughter of Angola’s authoritarian president José Eduardo dos Santos. Minaj has not yet publicly responded to the Human Rights Foundation’s request, but on Wednesday she tweeted: “Every tongue that rises up against me in judgment shall be condemned.” Yeesh. Looks like somebody has been catching up on her Deuteronomy.