An Afternoon Joyride With Tinashe for the ‘Player’ Premiere in Times Square
When you get a message on a Monday morning asking if you'd like to hop on a party bus with Tinashe, drive over to Times Square and watch the world premiere of her new music video in just a few hours, you have a choice: You can either decline the offer and continue working, chat about your sad Halloween weekend with Kathy in Accounts Payable over the water cooler and live vicariously through the experience on social media, or you stop your life, duck out of work, cancel your date, whatever you have to do — and go. Word of advice? Always go.
And so began my day, when I was fortunate enough to hop aboard and drive crosstown to watch the premiere of Tinashe's "Player." You know, with TInashe.
By the time she arrived at the meet-up spot, the party bus was already full of roughly 15-20 hand-picked fans and their friends in green wristbands, excitedly greeting Tinashe as she twirled her way through the middle of the bus in camouflage pants and a leather jacket before plopping down in the middle of the bus. Two gleaming stripper poles separated the rows of seats, although they went mostly unused (to my great dismay), barring one quick, athletic twirl from the "2 On" pop princess to work off excited energy at one point.
The trek took about a half hour to get over to Times Square, and in that time, Tinashe happily took selfies and Snapchats and answered questions about her music: Yes, more collaborations are coming. Yes, a tour will likely happen early next year to promote her upcoming album, Joyride. And yes, she has Nicki Minaj's personal phone number in her cell phone — which, by the way, she keeps in an insanely over-the-top, Windex-looking phone case. (When Tinashe is texting, it looks like she's reading the directions on the side of the spray bottle.) It's also quite a durable case. "See?!" she said, tossing the phone to the floor at one point as it landed with a gentle thud and laughter. "It kind of bounces!"
By the time we arrived in Times Square, more fans had caught wind that the "Player" premiere was happening. Fans in Tinashe sweatshirts starting popping up around the bus. At one point, the bus driver swung open the doors, and Tinashe lept out to the sound of shrieks. But before we all headed outside, she took the time to come back and chat with the fans still inside, personalizing and signing "Player" posters for everyone. (DON'T worry — I got plenty of selfies as well, during and after the neon light party.)
"She's so down to Earth!" a girl gleefully remarked to her friend as she climbed out of the bus. And it's true: Faced with a bus full of strangers (supportive fans, but still strangers), Tinashe had no problem whatsoever keeping the mood light, genuinely hitting it off and laughing with everyone on the bus. It was a charming, intimate and completely bizarre. (How many times do you board a private bus with a pop star mid-afternoon on a Monday?)
In Times Square, the commotion only grew. Speakers blasted her Snakehips wasted ode "All My Friends," "Player" and Aquarius cuts as Tinashe graciously spent time taking photos, signing more posters and engaging with the exponentially growing, phone-wielding crowd.
At 4:30, the "Player" video promptly premiered as promised, as the crowd turned in unison and began watching on the giant screen in Times Square.
It's a solid, sleek clip, showcasing Tinashe's effortlessly fluid footwork as she battles from player to player, eventually leading up to the boss round: Chris Brown.
Like "All Hands On Deck," "Player" serves up plenty of choreography — although this one offers a looser, more artistic style of dance than your traditional dancer/pop star set-up. ("Bowling pin formation," as Christina Aguilera once shadily referred to a Britney Spears' "Me Against The Music" video.)
As with her music, her dancing is incredibly versatile — she's really just a treat to watch. (Of course, she also happens to look like a total babe throughout.)
The crowd cheered Tinashe on through her battle scenes, eventually erupting in applause and cheers once the video wrapped, as she stood smiling at the screens. After even more time spent greeting fans (the crowd now even more intense following the premiere), she booked it out into the street. And in a flash, she was gone. You better keep up, player...
It was, quite literally, a #joyride.
The Alternative Girls of Pop