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I’m not in the habit of complimenting Sarah Silverman, a person whose regret about wearing blackface for a skit once is largely rooted in the notion that it was “taken out of context” years later on Twitter. Even so, I found myself grateful to her on the first night of the Democratic National Convention for saying what needed to be said. First, Silverman, one of the first celebrities to support Bernie Sanders’ presidential bid, expressed why she supported the Sanders campaign and why she will now be voting for Hillary Clinton in November. The comedian and actress was greeted with some cheers, though none loud enough to drown out the ferocious boos.

Minutes later, joined by Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), Silverman was again met with boos while speaking only to say with visible annoyance, “To the Bernie or Bust crowd, you’re being ridiculous.”

Finally, someone said it. Much like Sen. Claire McCaskill expressed on Tuesday’s edition of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, I did not anticipate Sanders’ biggest fans to walk into the convention with smiles on their faces as they toasted Hillary Clinton officially becoming the Democratic Party’s nominee for president. However, there should have been some nominal level of civility in certain moments.

Before Silverman made that statement, Sanders supporters booed every single person who dared to speak Clinton’s name. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) was booed and heckled as he spoke about his dead father and Black Lives Matter. Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH), the newly named convention chairwoman in light of the DNC email scandal, was also met with a wall of boos.

“May I just make a point,” Fudge said. “There are many of you that do not know me in this room, but let me say to you, I intend to be fair. I want to hear the varying opinions here. I am going to be respectful of you and I want you to be respectful of me.”

She was not given that respect, nor were most of the speakers before and in some cases after Silverman. Not even prayer could be spared from booing once “Hillary Clinton” was spoken. I mean this from the very bottom of my heathen heart: you are a pathetic, despicable, waste of humanity if you cannot be bothered to silence your anger during a prayer.

While it doesn’t apply to all of Bernie’s supporters at the convention, certainly enough of them behaved like spoiled, entitled, naive lil’ brats. Making matters worse was that many of them interviewed on networks like MSNBC could not even explain their vitriol. Some mentioned TPP—a trade deal that critics claim would lead to more American jobs going abroad—even though Clinton no longer supports it and it was only kept in the Democratic platform at the behest of our current Democratic president. Who knew TPP was the deal breaker for so many Sanders supporters?

Meanwhile, Sanders managed to push for what has been rightly called the most progressive Democratic platform. Then there was mindless chatter from some supporters about how technically, Hillary Clinton is only the presumptive nominee. As if God—whom they essentially booed—was about to step down in Philadelphia and personally hand Sanders the nomination.

Silverman, to her credit, managed to be an adult in a room full of adult-aged people who may have gotten one too many participation awards, thus having some false sense of entitlement as to what happens to a losing campaign . She, as Sanders tried to remind his supporters earlier that day (which was met with his own round of boos), understands, “This is the real world that we live in.”

This is in stark contrast to two other celebrity Sanders supporters in Rosario Dawson and Susan Sarandon.

Read the rest at Complex.

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For the first time in several years, there are black-centered sitcoms that don’t make me want to cry out to Negro Jesus in agony. Up until very recently, all we had were the Tyler Perry-helmed shows, which worked for certain sects within our community, but like the reality-TV shows I actively consume on VH1 and Bravo, they are an acquired taste. There were a few that popped up here and there on networks like BET and TBS, but y’all didn’t watch them (and I don’t blame you). Things are much better now thanks to ABC’s ever brilliant Black-ish and NBC’s increasingly valuable The Carmichael Show.

However, there is another show that offers a smart, nuanced glimpse into a black family that doesn’t get enough attention.

Executive-produced by LeBron JamesSurvivor’s Remorse (the third season starts Sunday) centers on the life of a young professional basketball player and how he—along with his family—deals with the pressures of his newfound celebrity and wealth. Jessie T. Usher plays Cam Calloway, the basketball star; RonReaco Lee plays Reggie Vaughn, Cam’s cousin and business manager; Teyonah Parris plays Missy, Reggie’s wife; Erica Ash plays M-Chuck, Cam’s sardonic, lesbian sister; and the incomparable Tichina Arnold plays Cassie, Cam’s mom. Mike Epps plays Julius, Cam’s uncle and the embodiment of every crazy black uncle who would behave this way if his nephew made the league (or at least won a really big prize from a scratch-off ticket).

As for the fate of Uncle Julius, who closed the show’s second season in crisis, let’s just say that while I won’t spoil Sunday night’s season premiere, the comedian-actor has been more forthright.

On its surface, the plotline might sound too familiar—i.e., Entourage—but Survivor’s Remorse has far more depth. What I appreciate about it is that much like Black-ish and The Carmichael Show, SR not only depicts black families in varying incarnations but also addresses issues that directly impact black folks, like racism and classism. And notably, outside of one episode in the first season that saw the family attend a church in Atlanta, black homophobia is not categorized as some monstrouslike entity as it is on shows like Empire.

In 2014 Mike O’Malley, the showrunner of the series, told Slate that he wasn’t trying to make a comment on that aspect; however, when it comes to M-Chuck: “I thought it would be interesting for him to have an older sister who was also a great athlete and who was fiercely protective of him. I also wanted to show that it just wasn’t an issue for them that she was a lesbian.”

And when asked about her being an aspirational character, O’Malley noted: “I’ve met many gay and lesbian folks who are like that. They’re just out there. I think that maybe what’s different is that she’s doing it out in the world. She’s not doing it in the confines of a cloistered setting. She’s not ashamed, and she’s not going to explain it away.”

This season, the show continues to take on its overarching theme—dealing with the reality of newfound wealth and fame—but dives into other issues that speak to the times. In episode 4, “The Age of Umbrage,” the show chronicles our current media climate—including social media—and how any public figure’s remarks can be easily taken out of context, breeding scandal. In the next episode, “The Photo Shoot,” Teyonah Parris’ character reflects on how colorism has affected her life and makes what is ultimately a controversial decision while on the job.

Read the rest at The Root.

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Whenever some seismic event in pop culture is going down – some celebrity feud or drama is “breaking the internet” – there’s always a contingent insisting that there are “more important things” to care about than the entertainment story du jour.

If you are one of these folks, allow me the honor of telling you that you’re annoying, condescending and a self-important jackass. You know, the Ted Cruz of everything outside of politics. The same goes for those who feel compelled to announce that they “don’t care” about whatever pop culture moment is happening at the time. If I had a big batch of cookies – ideally, really stale ones – I’d throw it at them and encourage the group to eat their treats as slowly as possible so that they each can enjoy the attention they’re so clearly seeking.

The first complaint – “there are more important things to care about” – grates most on my nerves. It’s not like celebrity news fans are claiming that Taylor Swift v Kimye is the most seismic event in history. If anyone says as much, they are probably headline writers at entertainment media sites using hyperbole to get the clicks that will keep them employed.

Also, in a year like 2016, which is drowning in melancholy, violence and strife, maybe – just maybe – some of us need a break. Some of us want to enjoy a bit of levity in these emotionally trying times. If you are black and living in America, you are subject to constant reminders that those who look like you are unjustly dying at the hands of the state, typically without any consequences for their killers. As if that weren’t enough, this year has also brought the death of legends like Prince and Bowie in addition to Donald J Trump’s so-far-successful candidacy.

To that end, do some of us want to laugh at Kim Kardashian dragging Taylor Swift on a Sunday evening? Or cackle at Blac Chyna scoring one up on that entire familyby locking down the only boy of the bunch? Or be entranced by whatever Beyoncé is doing at any second of the day? You’re damn right we do. We need that escapism badly.

Read more at The Guardian.

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Like many celebrities who wrongly employ the phrase as a means of evading responsibility for their actions, A$AP Rocky doesn’t seem to know exactly what “taken out of context” means. There are not many ways to interpret, “What the f–k am I, Al Sharpton now? I’m A$AP Rocky. I did not sign up to be no political activist.” It’s a sentiment as clear as the color of the sky in Los Angeles on a relatively smogless day.

The same goes for the rest of the quote: “I wanna talk about my motherf–kin’ lean, my best friend dying, the girls that come in and out of my life, the jiggy fashion that I wear, my new inspirations in drugs! I don’t wanna talk about no f–king Ferguson and s–t because I don’t live over there! I live in f–king Soho and Beverly Hills. I can’t relate. I’m in the studio; I’m in these fashion studios; I’m in these bitches’ drawers. I’m not doing anything outside of that. That’s my life.”

Some of us knew of his 2015 TimeOut interview when it was first published. Despite Rocky’s claim in an interview Wednesday with Power 105.1’s The Breakfast Club, reading the TimeOut interview in full will do little to alleviate any frustrations with his thought process. And before that radio interview, the Harlem rapper, who now lives in “f–king Soho and Beverly Hills,” said something equally clueless while speaking before the Debate Society of Oxford University. During that conversation, Rocky said, “Why are we exploiting the beef between the urban community and the police force when 60 people got shot on a Friday and Saturday [on a July 2014 holiday weekend] in Chicago in black-on-black crime?”

A$AP Rocky’s issue is not that he was misquoted or that his remarks were received differently than intended; it’s that his words have come back to haunt him several months later. They haunt him because as state-sanctioned violence against black people in this country continues to happen, those who enjoy a platform but do not advocate on behalf of black people are widely viewed as part of the problem. In his more recent radio interview, Rocky did not so much offer clarity about previous comments made as he tried to parse his words.

In his initial response to the social media pile-on, he took to Twitter to take shots at those finding the TimeOut interview late, though he did now acknowledge “all this social injustice makes me f–king sick, tho I’m still no politician.”

Read the rest at The Root.

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During a recent appearance on The View, Leslie Jones got emotional as she honored Whoopi Goldberg for the impact the legendary comedian had on her life. While many of us will continue to boo, hiss, and roll our eyes at Goldberg’s bewildering opinions on race and racism expressed on the show, in that moment, Jones’ remarks reminded everyone of how impactful a figure the legendary comedian is and why. As Jones very earnestly told Goldberg, “I love you for what you’ve done for black women, I love you for what you’ve done for black comedians, and I love you.”

As moving as it was to hear Jones note how she can now replicate Goldberg’s influence via little black girls watching her in the reboot of Ghostbusters, events that have happened before and after the premiere have proven just how poorly treated female entertainers who look like Leslie Jones and Whoopi Goldberg still are. Take for instance, Jones’ revelation that no designer wanted to dress her for the film’s premiere. Fortunately, designer Christian Siriano, who makes a habit of dressing famous women of all shapes and sizes, stepped in once Jones made her complaints public. And when he was met with a river of kudos, Siriano took to Twitter to make something clear: “It shouldn’t be exceptional to work with brilliant people just because they’re not sample size. Congrats aren’t in order, a change is.”

Indeed. While this is one example of all’s well that ends well, the reality remains that Jones, “not sample size,” tall, and dark-skinned, continues to contend with varying forms of prejudice. Fame and fortune can change many things about one’s life, but if you are black, even those novelties have limitations. Money and name recognition has not shielded Jones from barriers rooted in racism because white supremacy still marginalizes anyone who is not white and who does not live up to white standards of beauty. And now more than ever can those reminders be serviced to you instantaneously and consistently by way of social media.

On Monday, Jones used her Twitter profile to highlight the racism she has been bombarded with due to her role in Ghostbusters. Jones was berated with epithets, stereotypes, and every other fixture of American racism that is typically associated with the black experience. Whereas Jones’ remarks to Whoopi Goldberg warmed my heart last week, her tweet about her feelings in light of the barrage of online racist attacksbroke it.

“I feel like I’m in a personal hell. I didn’t do anything to deserve this. It’s just too much. It shouldn’t be like this. So hurt right now,” Jones wrote.

I noticed that the first response under this tweet was from Siriano, who referred to Jones as a gem. She very much is that, and even if you do differ from that opinion, at the very least, she is deserving of basic human decency. Others joined Siriano in pouring love under Jones’ acknowledgment of pain, but make no mistake: the pain is evident.

That’s why with respect to some of the writeups about Jones’ ordeal on Twitter, I found the depiction of her tweets peculiar. As some have also pointed out, Jones did not “bust” her detractors and she didn’t exactly “put them in their place” either. The intent behind these categorizations are well-meaning. Nonetheless, this is not about Jones speaking from a place of strength, or frankly, playing into the “strong black woman” narrative.

Read the rest at Complex.

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If systemic racism employed the services of a carnival barker, that person would sound exactly like former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani. A fusion of buffoonery and bigotry, there are only two things Giuliani is known for when speaking to the media: invoking 9/11 and bashing Black people whenever news of racism and state-sanctioned violence hits. Speaking at the Republican National Convention on Monday night, Giuliani called for racial unity, saying “It’s time to make America one again: one America. What happened to: ‘There’s no black America. There’s no white America, there is just America?'” The irony, of course, is that Giuliani himself is responsible for perpetuating systemic racism.

One recent example of this is Giuliani’s appearance on CBS’ Face The Nation.

Though Giuliani feigned sympathy for the plight of the Black experience in America, he quickly opted to dismiss those who seek to improve it as he categorized the Black Lives Matter movement—which advocates against police brutality and calls for criminal justice reform—as “inherently racist.” Giuliani then went on to offer the thoughtless critique, “If you want to protect Black lives, then you’ve got to protect Black lives not just against police.”

Of course, this is typical Giuliani. In 2014, he said the following about the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown during an appearance on Meet The Press: “The fact is that I find it very disappointing that you’re not discussing the fact that 93 percent of Blacks in America are killed by other blacks. We are talking about the significant exception here [in the Brown case]. I’d like to see the attention paid to that that you are paying to this.”

Giuliani has repeated this sentiment whenever he has been called to appear on television to discuss unarmed Black people dying at the hands of the police—which is not that significant an exception given the additional lives that have been lost since Brown’s death. Even so, Americans have one of the highest murder rates in the industrialized world. And although we don’t have more actual crime than other wealthy nations, we have more violent crime specifically because we have greater access to guns. Of that violent crime, murder in America is largely intraracial as 90 percent of Black Americans are killed by other Black Americans and 83 percent of white Americans are killed by other white Americans.

Giuliani, as Jamelle Bouie once noted for Slate, “does not know crime as well as he thinks.” What Giuliani does know, however, is racism (stoking white fear of Blacks) for the purpose of campaigning and racist policy (the implementation of “stop and frisk”) when governing.

To wit, Giuliani went on to say on Face The Nation: “If I were a Black father and I was concerned about the safety of my child, really concerned about it and not in a politically activist sense, I would say be very respectful to the police, most of them are good, some can be very bad and just be very careful. I’d also say be very careful of those kids in the neighborhood, don’t get involved with them because son, there’s a 99 percent chance they’re going to kill you not the police.”

And of course, Giuliani blamed Black culture for racial tensions, claiming, “They sing rap songs about killing police officers and they talk about killing police officers and they yell it out at their rallies.”

This recalls Giuliani’s criticism of U.S. President Barack Obama in 2015, when he argued, “He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up, through love of this country.” Yeah, Giuliani’s dad was a mob enforcer who, along with his five brothers, all avoided military service during World War II. And since we’re on child-rearing, the reality is, when Giuliani’s daughter Caroline Giuliani was arrested for shoplifting in 2010she didn’t have to worry about dying in a prison cell like Sandra Bland. Instead, she was leisurely escorted out of the store while Bland, an unarmed black woman arrested during a traffic stop, was found hanged in her jail cell under mysterious circumstances. Bland’s arresting officer was later charged with perjury, but there were no indictments related to her death.

The same goes for the many, many Black men and women have been absolutely respectful to police and have subsequently died—like the very Black men who were gunned down by police that netted Giuliani yet another unfortunate booking on a national platform.

Read the rest at Complex.

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When I got a press email announcing a new season of Basketball Wives LA, I was legitimately surprised. I’d assumed VH1 decided to take this show out back, shoot it and put it out of its misery to make room for new blood on its programming slate. You know, the humane thing to do.

The original franchise, based in Miami and launched in 2010, went on to glory in 2013 after five seasons—two of which were too many. Given its Los Angeles spinoff’s befuddling last season, I thought it was clear to all that it’s time to be like En Vogue and give it up, turn it loose on this show. Who was going to make up the cast? Certainly not any actual wives of professional basketball players at this point, but maybe a woman who got at least three DMs from a ball player on Instagram? What else could these women possibly have to argue about?

Yet, after recalling my days in catechism and recently listening to Mary Mary songs chopped and screwed, I decided to give this show another chance and find the answers to these questions. Moreover, I wanted to ponder whether or not this show still has any purpose.

So, who is on the show? Malaysia Pargo, Brandi Maxiell, Jackie Christie plus the imports from the now-deceased Miami version, Shaunie O’Neal and Tami Roman all return. Draya Michele gave up on the show midway during its last run, so best of luck to her, the swimsuits and trying to land that Evelyn Lozada-like spinoff. Mehgan James of Bad Girls Club fame is gone, though she promises she’ll return to TV soon. James was probably too much of an insurance risk even by this show’s standard.

There are two new cast members: D.J. Duffey, who dates a basketball agent, which I guess technically fits the bill, and Angel Love, a registered nurse who has three degrees and a baby with a Washington Wizards player. Duffey is a Dallas native and play-sister to Brandi, only she doesn’t get along well with Brandi’s BFF, Malaysia Pargo. Judging by the season preview, she will punch you in the face if you force her to. I wonder if she’s from Oak Cliff?

As for Angel Love, she is on a “break” from her boyfriend and said that if her man is cheating, she doesn’t want to know about it. She’s basically a very pretty girl with the same lil sad tale we’ve heard so many times on this show. I wish her well in her future endeavors, but Toni Braxton didn’t release “Love Shoulda Brought You Home” for nothing. Learn, girl.

What do these women bicker about? The same damn things from the previous season. Listen, it’s cute that we all pretend Shaunie O’Neal can fire her co-workers because she has an executive-producer credit, but that’s not exactly true or all that interesting. Like Royce Reed on the original Basketball Wives, Brandi was not fired for daring to talk slick to Shaunie, so spare us this storyline. Producers could’ve gone on a scavenger hunt in the Shade Room for better material.

Malaysia is still gorgeous, though she seems unnecessarily catty. Was this filmed before she received her divorce settlement? You know what? Never mind. I like Malaysia, and she will show up at your event in sweats ready to square up. I’m going to spread positivity with her.

Oh, Jackie Christie is still Jackie Christie. We learned that when checking her man for infidelity, she inspects his testicles. Listen, if you have to do a scratch and sniff or grab a measurement cup, you don’t have enough trust in your relationship. Yeah, I’m single, but I’m also not Inspector Gadget with a mate’s junk. Jackie later noted that her first husband was white and she enjoyed the smell of his white hair.

Read the rest at The Root.

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Yesterday, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences was given way too much credit for having what has been deemed the most diverse group of acting nominees for the Emmys ever. Yes, unforgivable snub of Constance Wu for her work on Fresh Off The Boat notwithstanding, it is a good thing that the Emmys are being more inclusive. However, that’s how it’s “post to be” so let’s not give them a round of applause (or make that ass clap) for doing something they should’ve been doing for decades. That said, I would like to thank the Academy for getting one thing especially right: recognizing the brilliance of the visual component to Beyoncé’s celebrated sixth album, Lemonade.

Lemonade received four Emmy nominations including Outstanding Variety Special, Outstanding Picture Editing For A Variety Production, and Outstanding Production Design For A Variety, Nonfiction, Event, or Award Special. Beyoncé has been netted Emmy nods in the past, for her 2013 Super Bowl halftime show and her “On The Run Tour” HBO special. If there is a God, she’s probably pissed Yoncé didn’t win the one for the Super Bowl, though I fully anticipate the King to score at least one win for her Lemonade film. (If not, expect people like me to be using a lot of bee emojis and cursing out the Academy.)

So, you know what that means? Beyoncé is one step closer to becoming an EGOT. Only 12 entertainers can boast claims of winning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony. Of those, only four are women, and only one is a Black woman (Whoopi Goldberg). Already, there are stories of how both Beyoncé and Adele are one step closer. Now, while I will concede that Adele’s 2013 Oscar win for the theme to the James Bond film, Skyfall, puts her a wee bit ahead of Houston’s finest in the race, I still think Beyoncé has the better chance of becoming an EGOT first.

And since I’m already talking that cash money s**t, I’d like to reiterate that I believe Beyoncé is a decent actress. Has she chosen terrible roles? Sure, but you know what will fix that? Recently, the New York Times published the article “What Does the Academy Value in a Black Performance?”

In it, writer Brandon K. Thorp noted: “Consider: In the history of the Oscars, 10 black women have been nominated for best actress, and nine of them played characters who are homeless or might soon become so.” Thorp also wrote: “Nearly every black best-actress nominee has faced a similar plight, right up through Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012), in which Quvenzhané Wallis played a little girl about to lose her home to a flood. No black woman has ever received a best-actress nomination for portraying an executive or even a character with a college degree.”

Last year, Beyoncé was reportedly taking acting lessons and carefully searching for an “iconic role.” I’d like to believe Hollywood, and subsequently, the Academy, will evolve with time, but I live in America, thus, won’t hold my breath. That means all she has to do is play into Hollywood’s little fixation with Black pathology and – boom – she’s like Halle Berry and doing something to make me feel good.

Read the rest at VH1.

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Does the world need a saved version of The Real?

According to Jamal Bryant, a co-host of The Preachers, “There’s never been more of a need for a show like this.” The faith-based panel show, currently on a three-week test run in New York and Los Angeles, features “four outspoken preachers known for their unique takes on pop culture, news events and spirituality.” The four are Bryant, John Gray, E. Dewey Smith Jr., and Orrick Quick. Considering that Bryant is the same man who has employed phrases in his sermons such as “sanctified sissies,” while quoting Chris Brown’s “These hos ain’t loyal” lyric, there’s legitimate reason to find his claim of The Preachers’ necessity rather dubious.

Mere minutes into the show’s first segment on debut day, such suspicions were confirmed.

During a discussion about the Black Lives Matter movement and police brutality, while Smith did acknowledge the role racism plays in policing, he discussed the work of his law-enforcement-working uncle before asking, “Does a black police officer’s life matter?”

Then, Quick offered the following analogy: “If you have three children and one of them breaks curfew, would you punish all children? So my question is why would we punish every police officer as if they pulled the trigger?”

A better question is why would one want to contribute to the false narrative that critics of bad policing are generalizing all who work in law enforcement?

After that came Gray, who acknowledged that he had been racially profiled in his “very nice neighborhood” in Houston while he sat in his car parked in his driveway. When Bryant asked the panel what should be done moving forward, Gray decided that instead of being “bitter” and “disillusioned,” he would opt to “go to the police department with gifts to introduce myself.” Gray also thanked the police for what they do, noting it was “his job to initiate peace and be the bridge-builder.”

A cameraperson then panned to an applauding group of nonblack women, none of whom will likely ever have to know what it is like to feel tortured by those who have taken a sworn oath to serve and protect all. It may be Gray’s job to initiate peace as a pastor, but such rules do not apply to black people who find themselves judged guilty due to bigotry by someone donning a badge.

Throughout the premiere episode and in numerous interviews and promos touting the show, it was celebrated that there is now a show with four men—notably black men—on TV. However, like the talk show hosted by Tyrese and Rev. Run on OWN earlier this year, we know that being black, or being black and male alone, is not enough. Do we need a homophobic pastor with this large a platform? Do we need black clergymen preaching messages of docility to hurting black folks on national television?

What good is your melanin count if your messaging is messy?

Read the rest at The Root.

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When Boyz n the Hood premiered 25 years ago in July 1991, it was met with a string of violence. At least 25 incidents were reported in more than 800 theaters nationwide. But even in the face of that violence, and the media’s implications that Boyz was entirely to blame for it, director John Singleton never wavered from his movie’s message. In what was called a “hastily called news conference,” Singleton said the acts of violence were “indicative of the degeneration of American society, not a reflection of my film, which is about family, love and friendship.” Singleton went on to fault a society “breeds illiteracy and economic deprivation… There’s a whole generation of people who are disenfranchised.”

As far as those who committed the violent acts, Singleton said, “There’s a certain segment of the population that wants you to do what you’re doing to each other. But we don’t have time for that.”

Boyz n the Hood brought a certain awareness to gang life that had been missing from film and media. So often is mainstream culture and society talking at black people; Boyz n the Hood was black folks speaking for themselves. The film examined race and gender—notably black masculinity—with complexity, which decades later, proves to be a difficult task for far too many.

Even before he became a celebrated and iconic film director, John Singleton had the confidence to call out bullshit when he saw it. While he was a film student at the University of Southern California, Singleton attended an advance screening for the movie Colors. During a post-screening Q&A, Singleton told one of the film’s producers, “You advertise this movie like it’s about my community, and it’s really about two white cops. It’s not about what’s really going on there.”

When Boyz n the Hood was released in theaters, I was barely six years old. I saw the film by way of my sister, who was often my access point into what was pivotal in culture at the time but not especially kid-friendly. So, much like The Geto Boys’ “Mind Playing Tricks On Me,” released around the same time as John Singleton’s iconic film, I was consuming imagery and narratives that required a sort of thoughtfulness and maturation only time could provide.

That said, young or not, there were some things I could pick up on in those moments.

Despite him proving to be more of a chaotic figure in my life, I knew that like Tre Styles, I was still considered very fortunate to be a black boy child with my black male father in my life to others around me. I knew of people like Doughboy, who, after serving time in time in prison, quickly returned to old habits. In the coming years, I came across figures like Ricky, whose athletic prowess was their only real means of escaping an area that offered little much in the way of options of attaining real social mobility. And while my hood was not as chaotic as what was happening in South Central Los Angeles, I knew of drugs, gangs, and young black men losing their lives to gun violence (in some cases, only a few streets over from me) just like those characters.

Read the rest at Complex.

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