All Hail The Kang


In honor of the premiere of the Kang of R&B’s reality show, I’m going to republish my homage to Bobby Brown. Enjoy.

“I Miss The Kang”


After listening to Britney Spears’ remake of the “New Jack Swing” era classic, “My Prerogative,” I was left with only one sentiment- I miss Bobby Brown. Yeah, you read that right, I miss Bobby Brown! Before his fall from grace in the 1990s, before his career became marred with lawsuits over failure to pay child support, constant arrests, and speculations over drug use, he was the “King of R&B” (That’s rhythm and blues, not rocks and blunts, you jokesters).

Believe it or not, the year’s biggest star, R&B sensation Usher has been modeling Bobby Brown for years. From that hint of arrogance in his interviews, the choreography, raunchy stage shows, and unfortunate attempts at becoming an emcee mid-way through a track-Usher’s act has Bobby Brown written all over it. While Usher is an accomplished entertainer in his own right, for me, his tamed version of Bobby’s act just doesn’t compare to the original. The same can be said for Spears’ bland remake. It lacks that certain “oomph” needed to carry such an attitude driven track. Perhaps my problem is bigger than Bobby Brown.

Something is missing from many of today’s stars. In “My Prerogative,” Bobby boasts that he doesn’t give a d—. With Bobby it comes across as sincere. When I hear Britney say it, I have to pause the song just so I can finish laughing. And that’s when it dawned on me what exactly was missing: authenticity.

Many of today’s entertainers exploit their private lives, then like to complain that we, the public, are far too nosey. Or they do something sensational just for the sake of trying to entice us to buy their album. I know, I know, controversy sells – but come on, can people at least be a little more genuine? When Usher suddenly wants to treat the public as if we’re all Catholic priests, it seems gimmicky, and forced. I’m waiting on Britney’s follow up single: “I’m The Baddest Chick Because Jive Told Me So.” At least when Bobby does something wild, or says something completely outrageous, it is because he’s a bit of a loon boon, not because his image makers instructed him on what to say and do to appear “real.”

And this is why I love Bobby. Sure, some of his stage antics may have been dumb moves, but hey, he was bold enough to do them. I doubt that boldness still consumes the industry. Maybe I’m just as crazy as Bobby, but I know one thing is for sure: things are a lot more interesting when you aren’t so image conscious. So, if you see me on the yard with my iPod singing “Roni” (poorly), or doing the running man to “Every Little Step” (shamelessly off beat), don’t question my sanity. Instead, try and console me, I can’t help that as time moves on, I get a little nostalgic for the days when it really was the artists’ prerogative.

Too bad I don’t have Bravo. Someone record the show for me incase I can’t find the show on BitTorrent. I’ve read a couple of reviews, all brutal. Haters.

How can anyone speak ill of the man who made so many children want to fight ghosts?

Go Gay, Beat Hillary

After John Kerry saw his ass handed to him by Dubya (Well, really Karl Rove and the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth) last November, Fox News’ most celebrated loud mouth, Bill O’Reilly wrote an op-ed in the Boston Globe that same week advising Hillary Clinton to get a June Cleaver makeover for her bid in ’08. O’Reilly claimed his intentions were to assist Hillary in her pursuit for the Presidency. I’ll stop here for a minute so I can finish laughing.

As laugh-out-loud funny as the notion of O’Reilly wanting to help any Democrat, much less Hillary Clinton is, an op-ed running that soon speaks volumes. It’s clear that they fear her. While some of my fellow liberal friends – still reeling about the idiot-in-chief’s decisive win – are no longer as enthused about Hillary’s chances, the people on the other side of the political spectrum no longer seem as confident in a Clinton TKO as they once were.

Enter a rehash of the Hillary lesbian rumors from the 90s, thanks in part to Edward Klein and his new lieography, The Truth About Hillary: What She Knew, When She Knew It, and How Far She’ll Go to Become President. I think a more fitting title would be: A Hack Journalist w/ An Axe to Grind Attempts To Tarnish the Image of Hillary Clinton Now That The Country Has Warmed To Her.

Slate reports that Klein’s book includes details on Hillary’s “fascination” with lesbianism. It’s no secret (or at least is shouldn’t be) that society still isn’t overwhelmingly tolerate of people who behave differently than what is considered the norm. Already Hillary has many things going against her: She is strong woman living in a country that will quickly try to put a woman back in her place the second she makes men feel uncomfortable. (No matter how much people argue otherwise, there are many men in awe of Fred Flintstone and Captain Caveman still around.) Many women were vexed at her for not leaving her husband after his much publicized infidelities, most notably with Gap girl Monica Lewinsky. And she is arguably only second to President Bush in term’s of our country’s most polarizing figures.

But despite all of this, she is still a very popular member of her party, and has made great inroads with many Americans who wrote her off during her husband’s first administration. She’s always been a centrist, but now more than ever is she making that clear to voters. She raises excessive amounts of money. She’s incredibly intelligent and knows how to win. Being the smart woman that she is, I’m quite sure she knows the current batch of Republicans eyeing a run are beatable.

Bill Frist has yet to prove himself and is a virtual unknown. McCain is popular with the overall public, but loathed by the conservative members of his party. Guiliani has to contend with the fallout of the Kerik scandal, in addition to being viewed as too liberal for his pro-choice and pro gay rights stances. The other, more evil Bush, Jeb, seems to be holding out for a future run in the coming years. Dick “Don’t Call Me Darth Vader” Cheney has made it clear that he will not run….though the chances of him winning were as likely as one catching a chill in the seventh circle of hell anyway. Any other possible candidate isn’t worth mentioning at the moment. Clearly Republicans have a reason to be worried.

Republicans are doing nothing but exploiting the homophobia that pervades our society. Enter scum like Klein to assist their efforts. They can’t peg her as a wild and crazy liberal anymore, as her voting record speaks for itself. No way of calling her a troublemaker or a divider in the Senate, because she works alongside Democrats and Republicans alike to get things done. It’s unlikely they’ll find anyone to defeat her in next year’s Senate race, with her approval ratings soaring. So what’s the opposition to do? If you guessed follow in the tradition of avoiding the actual issues at hand to engage in a little good old fashioned mud-slinging, I have a cookie for you.

It’s pathetic. It’s childish. It’s down right wrong. It’s so…..Republican. To attempt to destroy a woman’s career by implying that she is a lesbian should be an example to all of just how low some right wingers will stoop to hold on to power. The many idiots out there who would allow Hillary’s sexual orientation to be the determining factor in how they choose to vote is a sign of just how far we have left to go.

While I’m pretty sure Hillary will indeed run, I cannot wait for the day she officially announces it. Even better will be the day she’s sworn into office. I personally want to see every conservative writer/commentator’s face crack.


Time to order myself a shirt and a couple of buttons.

For the poor saps hoping Obama will run in 2008, allow me to enlighten you: There’s no way a black man is getting elected President before a white woman. Besides, he’s only in his first term. Be patient. Go Hillary.

Fish In The City

At first you didn’t mean that much to me. But now I know you’re all I need. You bring out something new to me. Now that I’ve found….


…catfish. What? You were expecting love? I’m sure that’ll happen someday. This weekend I had an epiphany…twice: I found two restaurants that serve catfish. For a minute there, I was beginning to think those didn’t exist on the east coast. In D.C. all I ever found was cod or some other dry fish that you have to drench in hot sauce to enjoy. But no, not here. Not in New York. I always knew that this was the greatest city and now it has been confirmed. Thank you Dio’s in the Village and Sylvia’s in Harlem for making a catfish-loving southern boy’s weekend.

Last night a couple of friends from Houston who go to school out here took me to the Village Underground for open mic night. It was cool. Some of them made me wish I could still sing. Oh well, my album, “I Can’t Sing, But I Still Have Platinum Dreams” will be in stores one day. I’m almost certain I can become the next Al B. Sure (He couldn’t sing either). If that plan doesn’t pan out, there’s always that writing thing I mention ever so often.

July is fast approaching and I can’t help but think about how much I don’t want to leave. Sure it’s expensive. Sure I have to save up just to call myself broke. But eh, I love it here and I don’t want to leave.

One more year at Howard and I’m done. I’m hoping that I score a job in New York so that I can begin my career in the city I’ve always wanted to settle in. As I’ve mentioned in a previous entry, I’m petrified of not landing a job at all, much less in New York. I’m starting to slowly but surely worry less and less about it. If it doesn’t happen next year, it will happen eventually. All I know is that I can’t go back home. Not only would I feel like a failure, but I would be stuck back in the environment I spent forever trying to escape.

Then again, Houston has Pappadeaux’s and man oh man do I love their catfish and fried alligator (yes, I said alligator).

Alright. It’s time for the New York Times, Salon, Leela James’ debut album, and the new Lauryn Hill mixtape.

But before I go…

“I cannot swallow whole the view of Lincoln as the Great Emancipator,” Obama said. “As a law professor and civil rights lawyer and as an African-American, I am fully aware of his limited views on race. Anyone who actually reads the Emancipation Proclamation knows it was more a military document than a clarion call for justice.”

And as for what Lincoln may have thought about Obama’s election to the Senate in 2004?

“He may not have dreamed of that exact outcome. But I like to believe he would have appreciated the irony,” Obama said.

Maybe, just maybe I’m joining the Obama team. He’s still a little too utopia-centric (winks @ Ginelle) for me, though.

Find Teairra Mari’s Daddy


Yesterday I attended my first photo shoot. It was for a small feature on Teairra Mari. If you can’t recall the name, rest assured Jay Z will do everything in his power to make sure that you are soon able to. While her first single is catchy, I’m not particularly impressed with her. I hate the way she goes on and on about why a n___ can’t do this or that for her. To quote my friend, “Why we gotta be alllll that?” Her next single, “No Daddy,” is far worse. The key lyrics in the hook are, “I ain’t have no daddy, that’s why I’m wild.” Fast ass girls rejoice: Teairra (or her handlers anyway) has produced your anthem. Speaking of her handlers, perhaps they’re to blame for her apparent wildness.

Teairra is a cute girl. Extremely cute. So cute I had to repeat, “five to ten, Mike” over and over again to remind myself that she is only 17 years old. I can’t remember the woman’s name, but she’s light skinned, thin, and appeared on the series Making The Band. She had an article in either XXL, The Source, or Vibe (that really helps, right?) about her career and her recent transition from Bad Boy to Def Scam….er Jam. Anywho, she was accompanied with a number of women – all in their late 20s/early 30s, all instructing Teairra on how to appear sexier in the pictures. She’s a quick study, because when she turns it on, she turns it on. She looked a lot like Vanity. Oh how I miss Vanity.

Back on point, I can’t believe how overtly sexual this minor’s image is. Well, yes I can. She’s simply joining the ranks of Britney Spears, Destiny’s Child, and even Aaliyah (and for you non-believers, go listen to the remix to “Your Body’s Callin” where she’s asking Pissy what he wants to eat…she’s not baking cakes, people). While I’m sure pubescent boys everywhere will enjoy the spread (and I do mean spread) as I did when the aforementioned dropped down and spread their wings years ago, I can’t help but think of how wrong this is.

It’s one thing to be comfortable with your sexuality – even at a younger age – and convey that to your audiences; it’s another to be pimped by a bunch of label people. My money is on Teairra fitting the latter. Clearly, they are seeking to morph young Teairra into a baby Beyonce. I even believe that Jay Z once dubbed her as such. She’s also supposedly to speak for young women of this generation the same way Mary J. Blige spoke for hers – believe me, I am not to blame for that absurd prediction.

If anything, Teairra is just another example of how the industry places so much more emphasis in image over substance. Another pretty girl with a sexed up image to mask the fact that her voice leaves a lot to be desired. And the sad part about it is that it’s women who know better doing the dirty work. Someone find this chick’s father. Someone find us all an artist with something new to bring to the table.

It’s Father’s Day, right?

I woke up today at the crack of noon to call my father and wish him Happy Father’s Day. The call lasted about a good fifteen seconds — an ample amount of time to show my gratitude to him. I’m passed hating him, but in the back of my mind I’ll always think about the things he did and said to my mother and how it affected each of us.

The times where he brought in his outside squabbles into our home. The times where he shouted as loud as he could that he resented being married and having children. The never ending arguments with my mother where he promised to kill her, his children, and the po’po’s who would show up after we dialed 9-1-1. The times where he mocked her for being raped. The times where he subjected us to his blasphemous rants. The times where he would creep into our rooms in the middle of the night to either explain his drunken rages or spew his venom at us.

I always knew exactly when he was ready to start an argument. Holidays, particularly Christmas and Father’s Day. Every few weeks there would be something different to argue over, though I was assured of hearing:

“Fuck you, Di.”

“Imma kill you, Di.”

“Die Bitch.”

“I swear in the name of the Father, Son, Holy Ghost I’m going to kill you.”

“Dial 9-1-1. I’ll shoot at them, too.”

“Fuck all yal.”

And we all knew at one point we needed to get out of bed just incase things were becoming too hostile between our parents.

For many years I wished death upon him. There were even times where I was an inch of way of killing him myself. I resented my mother for keeping us in that environment, though I understand now that she couldn’t take on even greater financial restraints. The fear of being on welfare, in addition to breaking a vow to God was too much to bear for her. I get that now.

My father has done even worse, but you pretty much get the idea. I know there are far worse stories out there, but mine still pretty much sucks.

My father was abused as a child. His father would beat him profusely — even holding up a loaded shotgun to his chest. His mother ran off and married another man. I’m sure he still hates her…and I can understand why. No one ever bothered to help him, so he sunk into the pitfall that is alcoholism.

We don’t talk for long. Simple hello’s, how are you’s, and the like. Recently he told me he wish that he could have gone to school like me and made something out of himself. He also told me that I was his nigga. Not a big fan of that word, but his heart was in the right place. While I’m glad he shared all of that with me, I would much rather talk about other things. For instance, did he, as I did, have nightmares of his father killing his mother or vice versa? Did he ever wake up in the middle of the night just to think about how he could run away and escape the situation he was in? Did he ever stop to realize that he’s repeating the mistakes of his father? Does he know how fucked we all are because of his actions? And the biggie, how can my brother and I break the cycle?

Because of him I don’t ever plan to get married. I would never want to bring that type of pain to people I love. Up until recently I wouldn’t even drink, for fear that I may too become an alcoholic. His brothers are alcoholics. One even became addicted to heroin, eventually dying of AIDS in the early 90s.

I’m still conflicted over how I feel about him. Part of me will always hate him for how he behaved; the other realizes that it’s best to put my feelings of resentment aside so that I won’t become him.

I think my calling him without being instructed to by my mother is a step in the right direction. I’m honestly not sure of how much time he has left, because while he appears to be in tip top shape, the damage he’s done to his body will eventually take its toil. Then again, his father lasted until he was 70, so evil can survive. Whatever happens, I’ll try to make him proud by not following his footsteps. Maybe I’ll even one day muster enough courage to talk to him about all of this.

Happy Father’s Day.

Call Me Now

Last nite while walking through the Village, a fortune teller spotted my friend and motioned for us to come in. I’m sure she does that all the time, but the girl I was with wanted to go in, so I said, “What the hell.” For two dollars she gave me a face profile. Talk about being dead on. She saw that I was independent, determined, strong willed, and told me I had a lot of good energy around me. She even knew that a lot of people come to me for advice, but hinted that whenever I seek the same in return – more times than not – no one can be found.

The thing that really got me was that she said that something happened in my life within the last five years that prevents me from being happy. That whenever I feel like I’m moving forward, it’s as if something just has to go wrong that pulls me two steps back. Wow. I decided to go ahead and get the full profile. I gave her my full name and birthdate and away she went.

She went on to add that there seems to be a lot of jealousy around me, and that my good energy is being affected by all the negativity others are releasing.

When I asked her if she saw loneliness in me, she quickly responded, “No. You are not meant to be alone. You are destined to find your soulmate. But I do see that you fall for the ones that hurt you.” Someone give this woman a hotline number.

I never thought I was one to be jealous of. I’ve always felt like I have a long ways to go before anyone really pays me any mind. If there are in fact people jealous of me, I’m far too self-conscious and self-critical to notice.

Over the last year I’ve noticed that as hard as I try to be happy, something always goes wrong that leads to me feeling desolate. I’ve told myself time and time again that I will not allow myself to remain in such a dismal state, but it’s hard to break the cycle. Twenty one years of ups and downs with only a small light of hope in sight. I feel like I have the potential to be everything I hope to be. That I will find the success I work effortlessly to achieve. That I will find that someone who will make me happy. She made me recall the day I luckily received that phone call from Mary J. Blige where she stressed that I made her day, gave her the will to go on, and that I’ll find someone just as beautiful as me. Perhaps I need to heed their words.

Yesterday was actually a good day. I felt more confident about my roles at MTV and Blender and that both may well indeed lead to greener pastures. But, hearing that woman break down my life in mere seconds was interesting enough to force me to reflect on everything that’s taken place. Before you begin to question my sanity, no, I’m not suddenly a believer. She basically told me everything I already knew. It’s just the idea of it being confirmed by a complete stranger that intrigues me.

At the end of our talk, she handed me this bag – full of tea, I believe – and told me to sit in a tub of water for three days, and to come see her again on Sunday. Yeah, I don’t take baths and she got enough of my money. It’s cheaper to be miserable.

Ha, you see? I’m not that shaken. It’ll take a lot more than that to hook me. She should have throw in some Kabbalah water…maybe then I’d be tempted to board the mothership.

The only person who can solve my problems is me. And if there is a higher power that will assist me in my ordeal, they’re not going to be in the Village charging me.

Music Junkie Quiz

Saw this on a few blogs, so I thought I’d give it a try, too.

Total volume of music files on my computer: I have most of my music in my iTunes folder, but I have a couple of gigabytes of audio floating around in different folders. Quick estimate would be about 25gb….and that’s after losing a lot of my music when my motherboard crashed (FYI, when you buy a laptop, you buy a Sony, not a Gateway. The hell was I thinking?)

Last CD I bought was: I’m about to order The Best of Lauryn Hill. J.Period must have a way with words breaking Lauryn down to actually host the mixtape.

Song playing right now: “Certainly” by Erykah Badu. Since my plans for tonight fell through, I might as well sit back and mellow out.

Five songs I listen to a lot these days: Only five? This is always hard for me.

Keyshia Cole: “We Could Be”
Thicke: “I Want To Love You Girl”
Mariah Carey: “I Wish You Knew”
Gina Thompson: “Calling You”
Teedra Moses: “Caution”

Definitely been into R&B a lot lately.

Achawoo!!!

For a minute there, I was worried that I may have to keep the promise of changing my name to Prince if Michael Jackson were convicted. But luckily, the Kang of Pop has been acquitted and all is well for Michael Joseph….eh, you get the point. I was at MTV as the verdict was read. Shortly before it was, the pundits on CNN spent an hour discussing Michael Jackson’s jail sentence and his untimely death while incarcerated. Yeah, that’s showing us you’re neutral.

As everyone gathered near the TV to hear the verdict, I can see how happy some of the people were. Some were literally foaming at the mouth at the thought of Michael Jackson going to jail. Then, count by count, their cheerful smiles turned upside down and a big whiff of anger consumed the floor. I have three words for them: Ha! Fucking! Ha!

Once I got back to my floor, I went to a producer who earlier that day mentioned that he hopes Mike is acquitted of everything just to spite those who had long convicted him (you know what I mean). I told him how pissed everyone was on the other floor and he told me similar reactions there. He told me, “That goes to show you what they really think of us.” Truer words have never been spoken.

Mark Anthony Neal wrote a great piece about the Jackson trial over the weekend:

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-neal10jun10,0,3674933.story?coll=la-news-comment-opinions

I know everyone says you shouldn’t play the race card at every turn, but then again, you can only play the card that you’re dealt. Mike may be a white woman to us, but he’s not necessarily viewed as such to everyone else.

Although I’m not entirely sure of Mike’s mental stability, I didn’t believe the accuser and I certainly don’t like the idea of a D.A. with an axe to grind prosecuting the case. I have four words for all of them: “Hee..Hee.Hee…Wooo!”

If you’ll excuse me, I have a few songs to listen to and a moonwalk to perfect.

Lauryn: Step Away From the Marley Family

Should I be happy that Lauryn is back or worry for her health? I talked to my friend who saw her last nite at Vibefest and I’ve read several reviews – things aren’t looking too good for Lauryn. I really hope she pulls everything together, because I still believe she has a lot to offer us. Then again, Lauryn just may have dressed and performed for the occasion: I heard the Vibefest sucked! It couldn’t have been any worse than the magazine.

But in all seriousness, I really thought – well still think -, in terms of an artist who give us sociopolitical commentary of significance in her music, she’s it. But. she’s looking crazier than my kinfolk in that picture.

Goodbye, Puerto Rican Dream

So I missed the Puerto Rican Day Parade. My boy said, “It’s too hot. I got work to do. Fuck all them people.” There goes my chance to meet Jenny Lo, serenade her and become her fourth husband. Shucks. Maybe I’ll see her on the 6.

Everyone is saying that I’m wildin’ out. I recently confided in people that I’m a bit of a prude; but, I’ve been thinking and I’m not sure if that’s really the case. Sure, there are some things that I’ll never do, but I believe the real problem is that I’m very self conscious. That’s what prevents me from enjoying myself as much as I can when I’m home or at school. I know that people have this image of me and while I may not try to uphold it for them, I do for myself. Michael drinking? Michael clubbing? Michael *gasp* smoking? When did I become Father Michael? The smoking I’ll stop because I’ve basically confirmed what I’ve known all along – smoking is disgusting. Yeah, no more blacks for Mike.

I know that come August, I’ll have so many responsibilities and it’s likely that I will be overwhelmed: This summer may be about advancing my career, but why not have a little fun in the process? So, I’m going to continue proposing to bartenders. Getting lost on Canal Street at 4 in the morning (Ok, maybe not). Spending too much money on drinks (Eh, I’ll go to the liquor store before to save money). And *gulp*, dancing…which I never do. Too bad I picked a city to do it where they don’t dance. That’s another blog entry, though.

Another problem is that being the big critic I am *insert halo*, I wonder how people look at me. I can solve that problem with two words: Fuck them.

“You can’t spend your life being in fear of all that may be.”

“Don’t let it get you down. It’s just life.”

So I’m learning.