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“I didn’t grow up poor. I went to private school; we had a very nice house, cars, a housekeeper.” — Beyonce Knowles, Vanity Fair, 2005

“I grew up in a very nice house in Houston, went to private school all my life and I’ve never even been to the ‘hood.” — Beyonce Knowles, Interview, 2001

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In the ‘about’ section of the site, Niggaspace, it reads “You definitely don’t have to be black to join! We just want to embrace the black culture that continues to innovate and strive!”

Ahh yes. What better way is there to embrace black culture than to give a nod to the race’s most noted slur.

Site creator, “Tyrone,” on Niggaspace:

This is in no way meant to be racist. Moreover, it’s supposed to bring a community of people together, rather than apart.

A common endearing term used by many black people is, “nigga” not to be confused with a different and offensive term, “nigger”. The word, “nigga” is in rap songs, daily conversations, on TV, etc. yet the word still has so much mixed emotions attached. One of my intentions is for this word to no longer have such mixed emotions. I want the word to unify a people who have made so many strides in society. I do not wish for the word to conjur up images of hate or ignorance, rather images of brotherhood.

How great would it be, if the mixed emotions that this word carrie along with it, were stripped down to something more positive? Only positive.

Of course there are going to be two sides to this, but just know that intentions are noble.

Regards,
“Tyrone”

In the article posted on Mediabistro.com, “Tyrone” declines to confirm his race, because in his words he can see, “blood being shed” over the site’s use of the word “nigga.” “Tyrone” advises people not to confuse the word “nigga” with “nigger.” The article also includes this quote: “Martin Luther King had his mission lined up, and he was assassinated.”

What we have here is a racist white person mocking black people for profit. Why Niggaspace? Well if you look at the bottom of the main page Google Adsense is up. Naturally a site called Niggaspace would garner some interest, leading to increased hits. Attention + hits + Google ads = $$$.

If you have a couple of minutes, click here and send the people over at Adsense a nice little message.

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That ain’t right, but I laughed a little.

A lot of people I know assume that I wouldn’t care for an artist like Ciara. Why? Your guess is as good as mine. But, if you’re wondering, I bought her first album and I actually enjoyed it. A few years ago I wrote a review of Goodies for the Hilltop, Howard University’s collegiate newspaper (excuse the typo for “50-11,” the editors missed the punchline).

Ideally, this is the type of record that many of those who like to go on about what’s “wrong” with the music industry would point to as the prime example of how fluff sells at the expense of material with substance. However, with “Goodies,” those feelings aren’t resonating. “Goodies” is not groundbreaking, but that was not Ciara’s intention. Instead, this record is focused on getting you “crunk,” and Ciara definitely aims to please. “Goodies” may not have the legs to stand the test of time, but it is definitely an album to enjoy in the moment.

I still feel that way about the album. She’s not the greatest singer, but as an entertainer, I’m not expecting her to be. Now the second she steps out of line and tries to really sing, I’ll probably react to her the same way I’m sure some people in this D.C. audience did the other night when Ciara greeted them with, “Hey Philly.”

After looking at the video for the Prince-inspired first single, “Promise,” I’m anticipating her new album even more. Great video. She looks nice. I like the choreography; it’s good to see Tina Landon’s still around. Someone a part of the rhythm nation ought give her a call. Ciara’s stepping it up a lot better than people old enough to know better (uh oh uh oh, this means you, too).

Now don’t front on me, who else is looking forward to it or at least curious to hear it? Don’t lie.

P.S. Is it me, or is Ciara like a walking glimpse of Wanda Sykes: The College Years?

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As painful as it looks

You know, normally, when an artist is proud of themselves and the product they work hard to release, I don’t fault them for their confidence. But, there are instances when you have to take a step back and ask, “What is this fool smoking?” Today’s fool is none other than Amerie.

When Amerie first made her way onto the scene in spring 2002 with the single, “Why Don’t We Fall In Love,” critics panned Amerie as another pretty face with a thin voice that benefited greatly from slick production. I, however, found her to be refreshing. Her debut album, All I Have, offered a bevy of mid-tempo grooves at time when most of her counterparts were singing on over-sampled hip hop beats. Not a one rapper appeared on the album – a rarity in mainstream R&B. Thanks to producer Rich Harrison, Amerie was provided carefully crafted vocal arrangements well suited for her [limited] vocal abilities.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I didn’t say she could sing. I’m just saying Rich made sure her voice was tolerable on the tracks.

Amerie makes her views about her voice and sound clear.

I’m saying who told yall,
Amerie would be back on the block.
It’s been a minute,
But I see the fake has gotta stop.
Six months, and yall done checked my style
Thinkin I was M.I.A., that’s wishful thinking child.
It’s obvious to see,
Chickens try to bite it,
But they can’t cop my delivery.
My style, my aggression on the track,
When yall chicks know yall wasn’t singing like that, Yeah!

So let me break it down for ya,
To the ground for ya,
Go and chase that track.
Pay a hundred stack,
But you can’t buy my sound,

Can’t take my flow,
Can’t bag my swag,

Those are strong words from someone yet to produce a hit album. These are lyrics taken from the intro to Because I Love It Vol. 1, the first of two mixtapes Amerie plans to release in an effort to build anticipation for her album of the same name due early next year.

With all due respect to Amerie, I don’t think there’s many singers out there would want to sound like her. Also, that style Amerie speaks on seemingly belongs to Rich Harrison.

Speaking of her mixtape, it’s terrible. If you’re ever feeling down about yourself, turn on Because I Love It Vol. 1. You’ll instantly feel better as it won’t take you long to conclude that some people have it far worse off than you do.

On certain tracks, particularly those were Amerie sings over Lil Scrappy’s “Money In The Bank” and Ludacris’ “Money Maker,” respectively, Amerie tries to come across as some hood chick. I find that hilarious given that everyone can see through her friendly ass. I wouldn’t be shocked if the one time she did found herself on the block it was selling Girl Scout Cookies.

You must hear it. You can’t do shit but laugh at her. As much as she talks about being half Asian (she mentions it again for the 300th time on the mixtape), you’d think she’d make sure she’d at least be one of the Asians like Jin or the chick that used to dance on Soul Train where it’s at least half believable. She’s not even on the level of the dudes that sang, “sookie hookie hot sockie sue, you sock it to me” from the Last Dragon.

The worst of it all is that for someone who talks about people jacking her style, nothing on this mixtape sounds like her previous material.

On her sophomore album, Touch, Amerie only worked with Rich Harrison on a select number of tracks, opting instead to pursue other hitmakers like Lil Jon, Bryce Wilson, and production duo Dre & Vidal. No one touched her album.


If she’s hoping that the third time’s a charm, she should take another listen to this mixtape.

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He also had some advice for black Americans.

“The first thing I would say is you have to go home [to Africa], you have to go and understand what’s going on and embrace your people,” he said. “The second thing I would tell people is: You’re not from the ‘hood. Just stop saying that altogether. You have a wonderful life. You turn on the water, the water is there. You got AC, and you have AC in your car. You’re good. You’re not from the ‘hood. It’s mind-blowing. It just puts things in perspective when people say, ‘I had it rough coming up.’ “

Just what Black America needs: more advice from a rapper.

A man who calls himself “Hova” wants everyone else to put things in perspective. I get the point he’s trying to make, but I don’t agree with it. You can have empathy for those that are worse off than you, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t acknowledge the problems you deal with. There are people in this country who don’t have air conditioning and running water. There are people here with running water, only it’s brown. There’s no single measuring stick for poverty; it varies based on where you live. Of course what’s poor here is considered lavish to people in other regions of the world, but that doesn’t negate that poor is poor in a given land.

Some of my friends were quick to quip back with, “You’re a hater. He’s maturing. Must you be so hard on him?”

No I’m not.

Ha.

If he’s going to open his mouth and issue statements with this hovier-than-thou attitude, yes.

Jay-Z is an egomaniac who starves for attention, so that alone makes me suspicious of everything he has to say. For all of you crying growth, this is a 40-year-old man still saggin’ hollering, “show me what you got lil mama” on his latest single. This is the same person who, if that concerned about the plight of poor people, would not be displacing folks in his own borough, nor would he waste his time announcing his affinity for a new bottle of champagne. I think what he’s saying comes from a good place, but it’s not articulated well, given his failure to discuss the plight of poverty in its proper context, and his unwillingness to acknowledge his own actions — all of which would offer some real perspective.

I don’t need a rapper to educate me on world affairs he only got a brief synopsis of an hour or so before he issued a statement, but I’m certain from the hate mail I’m sure to get from this entry (I like Jay, but I know people [adore] him to the core, so I’m sure this entry is a sin to some), many people do.

I think it’s great that he’s finally trying to use his influence to relay some message to audiences outside his delusions of grandeur. However, Jay, like many other entertainers need to not go too above their bridges. The end result is always an entertainer with good intentions making asinine statements. Poor people don’t care if they have it “better” than people in Africa. The message doesn’t resonate well with struggling people – especially since it comes from a man who no longer struggles himself. He raps about diamonds (which in many cases contributes to the plight of the poor in Africa), girls, and expensive bottles of alcohol. Who is he to talk?

What bothers me about Jay is that he can drop an album now and offer commentary on some issues facing Black Americans today, and probably get some real dialogue going. I love Reasonable Doubt, but that can’t be re-created. Emcees like to go on and on about their influence and how hip hop is the dominate culture, but much of it now consists of self-absorption and materialism. It no longer differs from mainstream society, which celebrates the same things.

I want to be certain he’s serious about addressing social issues and let go of suspicious that he and his blond only went over to Africa because it’s killing two birds with one stone (a tour and good PR). But, if Jay can take a break from himself, perhaps I can take one from cynicism.

We’ll see.

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Count how many times you have heard a bucktooth bugawolf say out loud, “I look just like Beyonce!” And don’t forget about all of the drunk Biz Markie looking clowns you’ve met over the years who go on and on about looking like Denzel, Billy Dee Williams, and Will Smith. Thanks to MyHeritage.com, all of these fools will now have a deceiving .jpeg to work with. I tried this site out just to see which celebrities I would be paired with.

How does one look like Samuel L. Jackson and Britney Spears? Unbelievable results. I’m surprised I didn’t get Papa Smurf and the chubbiest Gummy Bear. Click here and try it out yourself.
MyHeritage - photo albums with facial recognition

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Now I don’t eat nearly as healthy as I would like to, so I’m not going to judge others on how they choose to kill themselves. One thing I will say, though, is that after staring at this picture for a couple of minutes, I have the sudden urge to go run a couple of miles while singing an original song entitled, “I Don’t Want To Die.” After that, I’m thinking of doing a couple of push-ups while singing the “I Don’t Want To Die…Or Get Diarrhea” remix.

Why the chocolate chips? Can’t people just wait until they’re done with their McGriddle meets corndog breakfast concoction to eat a chocolate chip cookie? I guess the people behind this nifty little breakfast product figured since people are in such a rush to begin their day that this is a great way of killing two birds (and the person eating it) with one stone (or syrup). I’m sure some people will rationalize this by telling themselves that there are less calories when eating the three items together versus separately.

I don’t mean to criticize Mr. Dean. Before I gave up pork and beef in favor of an extended lifespan, Jimmy was good to me. I have devoured many a sausage sandwich in the morning. If you don’t believe me, I’ll gladly repost my fat picture upon request. I’m just not getting this sausage meets pancake meets chocolate chip breakfast thing and why people choose to eat it. But hey, if you like it, your cardiologist and I love it.

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What Would Jesus Do At Camp?

It looks as if al Qaeda is getting a little competition from a small camp in North Dakota. Indeed, Jesus camp, as its referred to, is intended to brainwish little children into thinking they’re doing God’s will versus the will of some group of zealots trying to force the world to accept their distorted view of their religion.

Activities include speaking in tongues, weeping for salvation, and worshipping God through images like those of mister bastion of Christianity himself, George W. Bush.

I would think that would teeter on idoltry – a big no, no in the Christian faith – but I’m sure camp organizers have already found some bullshit excuse for that. I’m sure there’s even one that doesn’t disclose the amount of money handed over to them by Republicans.

Pastor Becky Fisher of Kids in Ministry International and head of the cult says about the camp, “I want to see them as radically laying down their lives for the gospel, as they are in Pakistan, in Israel and in Palestine.” That message has surely been relayed to one of the campers interviewed in this ABC news piece: “Training to be warriors in a much funner way,” says the young child without clue.

Yes, starting wars rooted in the belief that your God is better than the next person’s God sounds so much fun. Of course you’d want to mimic the suicide bombers and mass murderers of those countries.

There’s more good news. According to the report, in the last decade and a half enrollment at Christian colleges has soared 70% and the sells of Christian music has skyrocketed 300%.

This next Crusades will be so much better than the last one visually. We’ll all get to see ourselves blown to pieces.

So much for a new wave of [peaceful] secularism.

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Mimi Serves The Crowd

Ever looked at something so terrible you just couldn’t take your eyes off of it? It’s sort of like a train wreck, only worse, because in Mariah’s case, she thinks she’s doing well. She looks so happy. Maybe no one wanted to break it to her that she’s dancing like small children refer to her as Nana. I mean, the way she moves makes me think of molasses more so than, honey, but really, she looks so happy. I shouldn’t take that away from her. Do your thing, Mimi. Lean wit it. Rock wit it. Dip it mid-way. Pick it up at a mysteriously slow pace. Shimmy side-to-side. Twork (it’s as close to twirkin’ as she’ll ever get). Strangely enough, this is still neck-and-neck with LeToya Luckett.

Disclaimer: Lambs, don’t hurt me. Baah.

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