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When she made her way onto the scene two years ago reciting the lyrics, “Looking for the goodies, keep on lookin’ ‘cuz they stay in the jar,” Ciara became an instant anomaly in a world of R&B that largely equated sexual materialism with female empowerment. The then 18-year-old Atlanta native was not willing to give it up, placing her in direct contrast with many of her peers.

Since then, Ciara has gone to rack up an array of hit singles, propelling her to stardom and filling the void left by the death of Aaliyah.

With her new album, The Evolution, Ciara attempts to show listeners that she’s matured and has entered full fledged womanhood.

The first single, “Promise,” is produced by the latest hit maker of the moment, Polow Da Don. The mid-tempo ballad, skillfully executed, and accompanying video, visually stimulating, both serve as a nearly perfect reintroduction of Ciara.

Unfortunately, that is about as evolved as Ciara gets. In interviews about her new album, Ciara notes the importance of individuality and carving your own niche. Interestingly enough, image wise, Ciara’s evolution seems more like the reincarnation of Aaliyah, while musically, her album offers up the same trite subject matter that consumes contemporary R&B. Even her decision to pursue a more 80s leaning sound for her sophomore effort falls in line with other offerings released this year.

As she was on her debut, Ciara is fiercely feeling the thug style. “Can’t Leave ‘Em Alone,” which features 50 Cent, finds Ciara confirming her own suspicions that she just can’t escape a certain type of man.

“C.R.U.S.H.” has Ciara returning to her cheerleading days – enthusiastically letting her beloved know how his love helped her form that acronym. Minutes into the song, you begin to wonder if Ciara will scream, “R. You got your R. You got your R.”

One of the more interesting tracks include the second single, “Like A Boy.” On the track, Ciara wonders what it would be like if she could get away with some of the same antics that the boys do, including pulling up her pants, running the streets, keeping an air tight alibi, and playing her significant other like a toy.

Remember when you once hailed Destiny’s Child as an influence on your career, Ciara? Perhaps you forgot the lyrics to “Independent Women Part II.” “Only ring your celly when I’m feeling lonely. When it’s all over please get up and leave.” Sounds like boys aren’t the only ones who can play people like toys, Cici.

You get the point the now 21-year-old singer is trying to make, but you can’t help but question why hasn’t evolution brought on new knowledge like she could avoid these problems if she chose to leave the boys alone in favor of a man?

Like other singers with delusions of grandeur, Ciara assails those who copy “her style.” Word to the wise: You’re not the only one copying Janet Jackson and Aaliyah.

On “Get In, Fit In,” Ciara sings, “Take a chance and try something different. Don’t be scared, you might make a difference.”

If only she took her own advice.

Evolution is a gradual process; it happens in sets. Much of this album, including the ill-advised and Janet-inspired interludes, comes across as forced and insincere. She’s too busy trying to convince us that she’s evolved to actually allow growth to happen naturally.

Ciara is young, eager, and has a strong desire to prove herself. In time, she’ll truly grow and it will be the public telling her we have witnessed the evolution.

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Shouts of despair from a lonely soul. Screams of anger that lash out at a neglectful world. Meet the D.C. crackhead. Actually, judging from the volume of his annoying screeches, you probably can hear his punk ass as well as I can. Am I evil for wanting to open the window and yell, “Just overdose already?” Well they do say ’tis the season to be jolly — and this loud obnoxious asshole is thwarting my suddent attempt to conform.

After I managed a couple of days of freedom from Washington, D.C., I’m back for two more weeks of joyus research papers, projects, and exams. Imagine the smile on my face.

Normally when I return to D.C. from Houston, I cringe. But, since I’m living somewhere where I don’t fear losing water and electricity, I didn’t offer some random stranger $10 to board the plane and return to Howard for me as my body double.

Then I hopped on the bus (look for a future post on public transporation in the near future) to go to the grocery store — wishing I was on WIC the entire way. It’s cheaper to look like Nicole Richie than eat, but I digress.

The scent on the bus hasn’t changed: must, ass, and failure. The people all look the same, sans one interesting bus rider sitting directly in front of me. Caramel complected, overweight, hairy, tacky, with blue contacts.

Sky blue to be exact. Is there a new drug I’m not aware of, because I’ll be damned if this fool actually spent money to buy some blue contacts? I hope he’s not trying to recreate Cloud Nine i.e. his eyes and his white rock.

Speaking of rocks, a crack head was almost hit by the bus. Possibly in search of a high, a middle-aged woman ran towards the bus as if it were a huge pipe. If you’re going to kill yourself, that’s surely a way to do it. You know, besides doing crack.

This all happened within five minutes of the bus ride.

Never a dull moment in the District of Hell.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to close a window as if it will actually help.

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Don’t worry about why I’m still making videos.

Why does 2 Pac have a new video out? Isn’t he dead? I just watched the new video for the first single from what’s probably 2 Pac’s 42nd posthumous release, “Pac’s Life.” In the hook, Ashanti asks, “What do you know about Pac’s life?” Isn’t that a non issue? It makes sense for Ashanti to sing the hook, given that her career is as dead as 2 Pac is. T.I. is also featured on the song. They have him in the woods pointing around appearing lost. I imagine he’s pointing at people saying, “Aye, shawty, Pac dead.”

See the video for yourself. I’m beginning to think maybe Pac really is recording music inside of a pool house in Cuba he rents out from Fidel Castro.

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It’s only taken hours for closeted like-minded racists to rush to the aid of Michael Richards after Richards was caught on tape releasing a racist rant at LA’s Laugh Factory. In “Defending Michael Richards (a.k.a. Kramer),” writer Dave McGurgan’s argument centers on the double standards that take place in what he calls a politically correct media.

At one point someone in the audience yells back at Richards, “That was uncalled for you f***ing cracker-ass motherf***er!”

Is anyone going to jump on THAT guy’s case for HIS racist comments? Survey says … no.

This is a point I can actually agree with. You should never stoop to another person’s level as ignorance begets ignorance. But, isn’t it interesting how instead of faulting both for using racial slurs against each other McGurgan instead opts to deflect attention away from Richards’ comments?

I was never a big fan of Seinfeld, but I’m guessing the show was so funny to the point where you have to excuse every idiotic action of the cast members? If that’s the case, perhaps such adulation should have prompted fans to support Richards when he needed the most: his now cancelled post-Seinfold sitcom.

I can hear the knee-jerk reaction of the politically correct media coming a mile away on this one:

Michael Richards is a racist and should apologize for what he’s said.

How much do you want to bet Jesse Jackson gets involved or even worse – sicks his posse on Richards over this?

Posse? Stereotyping much?

Which is a shame because it’s impossible to logically draw the conclusion that he’s a racist from the incomplete and edited piece of tape that only runs two-and-a-half minutes.

Right. When a white person repeatedly says, “He’s a nigger. He’s a nigger.” there’s no way you can tell he’s a racist. Comments like, “Fifty years ago we’d have you upside down with a f***ing fork up your ass.” don’t suggest racism at all. This is a comedy show. Ha? Ha? Ha?

Sure, he says “nigger” an awful lot, but without the entire context of the show, we don’t know what factors led up to Richards’ tirade against the heckler.

So it’s ok to use racial slurs so long as you’re provoked? Why didn’t McGurgan employ this same logic for “cracker-ass motherfucker?”

In Richards’ defense, there are those hecklers (often under the influence of alcohol) who repeatedly interrupt performers, ruin the show for everyone and royally piss off the comedian. I’ve seen it happen more than once.

Who wants to bet that McGurgan has also been in a room where people have thrown out the word nigger and references to lynching?

To brand Richards a racist based on this clip or the chatter flying around on the Internet and cable news channels would be stupid, naive and uninformed.

How stupid, naive, and uninformed does McGurgan expect his readers to be? Why don’t you ask him.

dmcgurgan@phillyburbs.com

And if you feel like sending a note to the owner of the Laugh Factory, who allowed Richards to perform the next day after clearing the room with his racist tirade, here you go:

managment@laughfactory.com

The owner’s name is Jamie Masada.

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Beware of the gay penguins, scream some parents of children attending Shiloh Elementary School located in Shiloh, Illinois. Surprise, surprise that people living in a town populated by only 11,000 people have a problem with homosexuals.

The fuss is over And Tango Makes Three, a children’s book based on the true story of two male penguins in New York City’s Central Park Zoo that adopted a fertilized egg and raised the chick as their own.

According to the Associated Press, some parents are complaining about the book’s “homosexual undertones,” arguing that the book tackles topics that their children aren’t ready to handle.

Right. Children needn’t concern themselves with silly little issues like diversity and tolerance. Besides, these penguins seem even scarier than the penguin in Batman Returns. The last thing they need is to read a book with positive portrayals of two species of the same sex caring for a child or in this case, a penguin. Think of the nightmares children will have.

Just what are these parents asking of the school district? They want And Tango Makes Three to slide on off the library’s regular shelves and be placed in the section for mature audiences. Some are even suggesting that children obtain parental permission before a child can check it out.

According to the article, though a panel the Superintendent of the school district appointed agreed with such recommendations, the book is safe…for now. The district attorney has warned Superintendent Jennifer Filyaw that such a move might be construed as censorship.

I’m sure someone has already quiped back that censorship is irrelevant when battling the “homosexual agenda.”

Just what are people afraid of.?

Lilly Del Pinto thought the book looked charming when her 5-year-old daughter brought it home in September. Del Pinto said she was halfway through reading it to her daughter “when the zookeeper said the two penguins must be in love.”

“That’s when I ended the story,” she said.

Oh…that. Of course. Who wouldn’t need protection from that?

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Before you try to place the blame on Koreans, I have news for you: this store is black owned. While reading a message board, I stumbled along a topic about this fine business establishment located in Brooklyn. For all of my Brooklyn readers (Have you stood up yet?), that’s 206 Utica Avenue to be exact.

When I saw this, I really wanted to believe that this was yet another example of an outside group appropriating the culture and ridiculing blacks by throwing the most insulting of stereotypes in our faces.

Turns out it’s other coloreds employing these stereotypes for marketing purposes. That’s not too bad, is it? I mean, rappers do it all the time.

Maybe I’m overreacting. Maybe I’m missing out on a good deal. The Christmas shopping season does begin next Friday, so I could get scoop up a wig for a friend and a bottle for another. I’m all about budgeting now (poverty will do that to you), so maybe I should get out of my soapbox and go buy some Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Soap.

A deal is a deal, right?

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Well it looks like the Cheetah Girls tour stopped in Atlanta and someone got inspired. Now, I’m not the fashion police, so I won’t be as good as ripping her as the people over at Go Fug Yourself would be, but I know ugly when I see it. That’s half the battle right there.

Monica’s leg looks like one of those boney throwaway chicken wings the hood Chinese spot gives when you when they put a little extra into your bag. Now, I myself am thin, so I know we us slim and fly folk have got to stick together, but damn, are her legs on strike? Are they refusing to get any larger in protest?

Monica looks so happy to be there. I should really lay off her. How can I hate anyone that creates a song called “Sideline Ho?” Monica is cool people. She’s also scary people, openly discussing her penchant for glocks in the latest Vibe magazine. Valuing my life, I think I’ll stop now though I’ll leave you with this:


Have you seen me?
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1. Isn’t Gwen Stefani a little old to wind it up?

2. With the release of Kingdom Come, can we agree that Jay’s more like 45 Jordan than 23?

3. Will anyone ever dare ask Ms. Independent Woman herself, Beyonce, just what’s so empowering about a freakum dress?

4. Is Whitney coming back strong like Mariah or going out like Janet?

5. According to Soundscan, Ron Artest has sold 343 copies of his debut rap album, My World. What shocks you more: His selling so few or so many copies?

6. Is Solange stuntin’ like her [real] daddy?

7. Be honest: You’re curious about the next Britney Spears album, aren’t you?

8. Do the producers of America’s Next Top Model and the HR people at BET have a talent exchange program?

9. With disappointing sales of her debut album, Point of No Return, how long before Shareefa goes back to stealing cars?


11. Is Ciara that somebody?

12. What happened to Danity Kane’s second single?

13. Is Diddy salty because he’s been outsold by a novelty act?

14. Now that Bow Wow has accused Lil Romeo of paying BET to prevent the “Shorty Like Mine” video to get to number one on “106 & Park,” isn’t it time for him to cut a switch?

15. Didn’t he originally claim Romeo was broke? Which is it?

16. Does anyone else see the irony in Will.I.Am. producing Nas’ title track, “Hip Hop Is Dead?”

17. Speaking of Nas, when are we getting the new album?

18. In “30 Something,” Jay says 30 is the new 20. Well since Jay is pushing 40, doesn’t that still mean he’s old?

19. Why isn’t Lupe Fiasco selling more?

20. Am I the only who noticed the huge brick Outkast dropped earlier in the year?

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I’ll keep this short and sweet for a change.


Change isn’t about to happen overnight, but the results are obviously a step in the right direction.

Now all we have to do is hide Bush’s veto pen.

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