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Who knew Sears offered the same backdrops as all of the ghetto malls and hole-in-the-wall clubs around the country?

Fresh off of his saying his first words (which I assume were the words “Go getta”), everyone’s favorite thug-in-training, Lil Rock, son of Big Bird, R&B singer Monica, has had another photoshoot.

He looks like a Jolly Rancher that’s holding (a gun, for those who might have missed that :).

I realize I’m not a parent, so the scope of my criticism can only go so far, but has Osh Kosh stop manufacturing children’s clothes? Must Monica, and every ign’t bird for that matter, dress their young black male son as a thug?

Does he have to look like he’s hustlin’ chewable vitamins on the side for extra Capris Sun money?

I’m sitting here wondering how long it will be before he’s robbing little Daniel Juelz (Solange’s son) in Pre-K for his Teddy Grahams.

I wonder if his juice cup is blinged out. Or if he’s already gone on his first run? If so, did his mother hide the pound in his diaper bag?

Either way I’m expecting the prison pose by second grade.

Before you start to wonder, I’m not a product from suburbia, so this isn’t a rant from some elitist. Hardly. I grew up around people that look exactly like Rock — only they weren’t considered still a newbie in regards to walking.

It’s natural for people to be influenced by what’s around them and it being reflected in their appearance, outlook on life, etc. But, how old is this kid again? He doesn’t know what’s going on. His mother is the cause of this.

I’ll never understand why people glorify something that I personally worked very hard to separate myself from. I get that we all can’t change, but can’t a kid be a kid? Wait until he’s 18 to give him his first glock! Don’t give it to him as a kindergarden graduation gift.

I really like Monica as a vocalist, and in interviews, she comes across as intelligent. But pics like these remind me that all if Monica came with a biscuit, she’d be just like every order in Popeyes.

And that really annoys me.

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Look at those heathens. Protest on, sinners.

Yesterday, the Vatican’s second-highest ranking doctrinal official shared his thoughts on gay marriage, abortion, and euthanasia. The Catholic Church, ever the bastion of sympathy, sent out Archbishop Angelo Amato, secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to voice sentiments piggybacking off those made by Pope Benedict XVI and other high-ranking Vatican officials in an effort to influence the Italian government, where officials are currently considering offering more rights to homosexuals. Perish the thought.

Archbishop Amato, in an obvious gesture at opening up dialogue between the Catholic Church and gay members who might find themselves on the outs, branded homosexual marriage as evil.

Amato didn’t just target the gays, however. He also had words for issues concerning life and death in a recent speech.

He listed these as abortion clinics, which he called “slaughterhouses of human beings,” euthanasia, and “parliaments of so-called civilized nations where laws contrary to the nature of the human being are being promulgated, such as the approval of marriage between people of the same sex …”

Laws contrary to nature? Someone hasn’t been reading much about science lately. Let me guess: Global warming is nothing more than wretched leftist propaganda, too, right? As for that swipe at Italy (re: “so-called civilized nations”), that sounds like some old European rhetoric used to force people into conforming into their way of thinking and worshiping. Oh wait…nevermind.

In an address to chaplains, Amato said newspapers and television bulletins often seemed like “a perverse film about evil.” He denounced “evils that remain almost invisible” because the media presented them as “expression of human progress.”

“Evils that remain almost invisible.” That’s sort of like the Catholic Church spending tens of millions of dollars to pay back many, many, many young little boys who found themselves sexually molested by Catholic priests, isn’t it? Also reminds me of several high-ranking Catholic officials knowing about it, though they dare not address it publicly. I see game peeps game.

Perverse. Ha. Too easy.

After denouncing “abominable terrorism” such as that carried out by suicide bombers, he condemned what he called “terrorism with a human face,” and accused the media of manipulating language “to hide the tragic reality of the facts.”

Speaking of terrorism with a face, didn’t they elect one of Adolf’s old followers as Pope?

I wonder how many Hail Mary’s he had to say for penance.

P.S. Please no one forward this entry to my mother.

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Dear Michael,

I don’t know who you are or why you’re stealing Sisqo’s dye thinking 1996 is making a comeback, but I really hate you right now. You’ve just given Michael’s the world over a reason to hang their heads in shame. Tell me your real name is Usher or Temitayo (the name of an actual contestant on Idols West Africa). Also, Madonna is already getting bad press in Africa. Did you have to go and make it that much harder for her? And Babyface, I mean damn, he ought to slap the shit out of you. I hope you wake up a brunette.

You suck! Change your name, bitch (I mean that in a non misogynistic manner, of course)!

Thanks,

Michael

P.S. You’re still a wackass, but thank you for making Sanjaya look all the more talented. That’s no easy feat, my friend. Sanjaya Forever!

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This video makes me a little reluctant to admit this now, but Bizzy Bone was my favorite member of Bone-Thugs-N-Harmony. After you watch this video, you’ll understand why I should have gone with Krayzie. See fallen member, Bizzy, address the issues with his former group mates in a way that would only make a man that thinks he’s Peter Pan dipped in chocolate proud. As you watch the video, honey, notice this thug’s newfound mannerisms. Looks like someone left E. 1999 for the West Village. Ooh child, how the mighty have fallen. Pay close attention to Bizzy asking Tamika over at Ruffhouse Records to give him his plaques so he can feel as if he’s accomplished something. Let us all hope that she also includes a number to a psychiatrist.

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There are some things in life that remain unexplainable. How can the wealthiest country in the world have so many people living below the poverty line? Why is there so much hatred in the world today? Why didn’t someone hide my credit card applications from me? And, the one that trounces them all: How in the hell could America vote off Sanjaya Malakar?

I don’t know what your problem is America, but you’re really starting to piss me off. How dare ya’ll vote off Sanjaya? So what he couldn’t sing as well as the others, do you even know any of the other contestants’ names? I sure don’t…and I don’t care to learn them either. They were all boring! Sanjaya was charismatic, entertaining, and most of all, he had great hair and great teeth. Does that mean nothing to you people?

Sanjaya’s hair was the key to his success. Sanjaya’s hair is to him what Sasha is to Beyonce. Now I’ll never know how he plans to wear it next week.

Racists! Homophobes! (I’m guessing) Bald people! Yuckmouths!

Sanjaya was on his way to becoming my new Ashanti and now that dream as died thanks to you snobs that think one has to still be able to sing to have a recording career. You people living in the Stone Age make me sick. Google Pro Tools and upgrade yourselves.

Before I get up to yell expletives out of my window out of bitter frustration, let us all join together and reflect on the great entertainment Sanjaya provided all of us — even those of you with dandruff that were hating.

Every note you cracked, it makes me sad because I know you’re not coming back. But every comb you buy will keep your hair oh so fly, and you pretty teeth will never appear back on TV, so I’ll be missing you.

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I’ve never believed people when they’ve said that as long as you’re singing for God, God will appreciate it. I just feel like an absolutely powerful, infinitely knowledgeable, universe spanning entity would hate anyone that sounds as if a frog, cat, and sad puppy were all lodged into their throat as much as the next person. Is it a sin to say God’s probably the ultimate Sandman…wop, wop?

Enter Keyshia Cole’s Easter performance at the City of Refuge Church in Gardena, California. According to a story published on Eurweb.com, it seems like Keyshia made an impression with the congregation even before choking on her own off key note:

In addition to the Bishop mistakenly introducing her with the wrong first name, she had a “wardrobe malfunction” that she was not aware of. Wearing a short dress with thin straps, apparently Cole bore more skin than was deemed appropriate for the church. When a female member of the church attempted to cover her with a shawl, the back of her dress was accidently lifted. According to witnesses in the choir stand, Cole’s backside was exposed. The woman assisting Cole managed to cover her rear just before she stepped out to sing.

Supposedly “Tisha” had on a short white halter dress. Club-church outfit, perhaps? No worries, though, Tisha. I’m sure a room full of Bible-holding parishioners weren’t the least bit judgmental about your appearance.

Keyshia performed “His Eye Is On The Sparrow.” I think “Her Mind Was Someplace Else” given that she didn’t seem to be too familiar with the melody, the lyrics, or anything else related to the song. Maybe it was nerves, or maybe her voice has always been hit-or-miss. Does anyone remember her performance of “Love” at the BET Awards a few years ago. I felt the hate soon after.

You can listen to the performance here and decide for yourself. It’s not that terrible, but I’m sure she wishes she had kept her ass in the pew all the same.

Make sure you hear someone from the congregation yell, “Take your time!” which has always been code for, “You sound the fool.” Keyshia’s response: “Oooh Jesus, help me.” I concur.

WRITER’S NOTE: While I commend Ms. Cole for having the courage to take a chance and perform completely outside of her element, she should be aware of African American church culture: being placed on the spot in many African American Church or at minimum being acknowledged to stand is the norm. Since so many African American singers got their start in the church, there is an assumption that you would render a selection to “give back,” if you will. I encourage Ms. Cole to return to the house of worship of her choice and never let the imperfections of man stand between her and the loving embrace of God. In the words of Christ, she should pull from the tough as nails strength that has enabled her to overcome personal obstacles and as Christ said as he hung on the Cross, “Forgive them for they know not what they do.”

Cynic’s Note: Yeah, I always hear Keyshia Cole talking about getting her first start around the age of 12 with the Church of Hammertime with the Reverend MC Hammer. Maybe you’re counting the song “Pray.” Nice sentiments all the same, but do your research, homie. Keyshia’s not obligated to sing, and just by listening to that performance, I think she would have done us all a favor and rehearsed first. Welllllllllllll….

Better luck next time, Tisha! I’m still looking forward to your next cd, but you’ll probably have to send God and the congregation all promo copies.

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Def Jam’s latest and greatest pop star in a can, Rihanna, is set to release her third album in two years on June 05th. The album is entitled Good Girl Gone Bad, a very transparent move on Def Jam’s part to sex up Rihanna’s image even more in an effort (a desperate one) to push more units.

On the album, Rihanna says, “I have broken out of my shell, I have come into my own.”

She goes on to add: “I am singing about a lot more serious things, a lot sexier things at times. I have changed my image, the whole sound is about me not being the little innocent Rihanna and taking more risks.”

Isn’t it always interesting to see women equate overt sexuality with maturation and femininity? I’m wondering where they would get an idea like that from? I’m guessing from someone that has to stand up to take a piss.

I’m a bit confused by her comments, though: Since when hasn’t Rihanna been selling sex? Most of her performance shots are of her bent over, or ones such as those below, where’s given audience her best Beyonce impersonation in panties.

Here are some lyrics from her song, “Let Me,” from her debut album, Music of the Sun:

So let me come and get ya right
Boy let me fill your appetite
Won’t you let me know what it is you like
And I’ll do those sexy things for you
I’ll let you call me beautiful
Let me give it to you once you gon want some more
Boy let me, let me, let me
Let me do those things for you

I’m walkin over to you meet me by the door
I’m the girl in the 7 inch heel

I can’t believe I forgot how much sweet and innocent young women love wearing 7 inch heels and singing boastful odes to their sexual prowess. And we all know that “S.O.S. (Rescue Me)” became the new anthem for chastity-belt wearers everywhere.

I suppose ‘taking more risks” reads a lot better to audiences then, “I need to move way more units so Def Jam can recoup all of the money they’ve spent on me so I can keep my green card.”

However, I still feel like if Rihanna were to spread her legs any further, I might be able to spot out her tampon.

I will say one thing: As much as I’ve tried to fight off temptation, I caved in and warmed to her new single, “Umbrella.” Her ridiculous pronunciation of the word has been stuck in my head for weeks — ella, ella, ella, eh, eh, eh.

I wonder how long before her handlers have her toss her umbrella to the side, thinking an instant wet t-shirt contest will move the song up ten spots on the Hot 100.

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Apparently turning 23 officially makes me Grady, hence the picture. To all of you calling me an old man: Like the man in the picture, I’m pointing a finger at each of you, only the finger I’m waving is located in the middle. Smile now.

But seriously, if there’s any gift all 12 readers of you could give, it would be to help spread the word about this blog.

A while ago I read a list of the most powerful people online and I wasn’t on it — a part of me died inside. :(

At a recent magazine conference organized by the Queen-To-Be herself, the founder of Young Black and Fabulous told the audience that she made her blog as popular as it is by constantly asking readers to spread the word. So, on my birthday, do me a favor, and invite people to read the cynical rants of a young writer hopefully on-the-come-up.

*In the most southern twang imaginable* C’mon nah. It’s my birthday. Nothing says love like solicitation. :)

Oh, you could buy me a drink, too. I’m just saying.

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Don Imus has established himself as an idiot for quite some time now. It has been long-reported that as a shock jock, he has gone above and beyond to assail every faction of society that’s not made up of white heterosexual males – including women, gays, Jews, and as you now know, blacks. Slate offers a great recap of Imusisms.

The obvious: Although as a whole, we’ve all been conditioned to falsely believe that race relations in this country are in a much better state than reality reflects, the latest scandal over Don Imus only serves as a reminder of how poor they truly are and how bigotry and ignorance continue to hover over America’s psyche. This is evident in Imus’ legions of listeners who have continued to support him despite the many instances in which his loose tongue exposed an absent (of tolerance) mind. The same applies to his advertisers, some of whom are only now pulling their dollars away as the national media continues to spotlight what has seemingly become Don Imus’ own personal nadir.

Hello, Proctor & Gamble, Sprint, and GM.

But, what’s not being said – or at least not by many who look like me – is our contribution to Don Imus’ latest and greatest snafu. For readers who share in my experience, let’s be honest with ourselves: Where do you think Don Imus learned the term “nappy headed hoes?”

It’s not a trick question. It’s certainly not a head scratcher. We know, don’t we?

I cannot stand Lou Dobbs. In a perfect world, people like Lou Dobbs would live in America without a green card working construction and/or announcing himself in my hotel room with a heavy foreign accent as housekeeping while gaining the great gift that is empathy.

However, on his show yesterday, I had to embark on the sheer horror that is agreeing with him when he posed the question of where is the outrage towards members of the hip hop community who regularly disparage black women to Michael Eric Dyson.

DOBBS: I couldn’t agree with you more on that, in America. And I’d like for you all to get to this issue.

The idea — and Imus himself raised it during his discussions with Reverend Al Sharpton today. The idea that we are watching this gangster rap, hip-hop in this country, the language that is being used, offensive to women, offensive, I think, to darn near everybody that I can imagine.

Why would we not as a country come together over this? We’re not going to tolerate this kind of behavior.

DYSON: I think that the reality, Reverend Jesse Jackson has led a campaign for a long time against the kind of vicious misogyny that’s being expressed in hip-hop music along with Reverend Al Sharpton.

But I’m saying I think it’s also important to say. But it’s not just hip-hop culture. Hip-hop culture is only 30 years old.

So we have to go after civil rights circles. We have to go through black and white circles. We have to go after American churches and synagogues and temples where women are subjected to second class status and citizenship and are subordinated to men and patriarchy.

We have to go after the news industry. We have to go after the university. America feeds off of the second class citizenship of women across the board. The specific instance of this virulent, pathological expression of negativity toward black women has to be isolated.

And yes, we have to go after hip-hop, as well. But more broadly, this has been sustained in an American culture every day of our lives.

Blah, blah, blah. Yes, we indeed live in a patriarchal society that also continues to be permeated by racism. Anyone with a clue can acknowledge this. However, in the context of Dobbs’ question, it would behoove us to not allow mainstream hip hop culture to go without harsh criticism it so justly deserves.

DOBBS: It’s also, is it not, tied to the celebration of the lowest common denominator in this country. Is it not also glamorizing in our media, whether it be movies, whether it be television, whether it be music, some of the basest actions and words that our society produces?

DYSON: That’s only the sharp edge of it, Lou. The reality is behind the scenes, sexism, misogyny and patriarchy are sustained, most especially and most helpfully, in subtle fashion. It’s not the calling of the “H” word. At least you know where they’re coming from. It’s not in hip-hop, where you know I’m calling you a “B” or an “H” because that’s explicit. It’s the more subtle subordination of women to men’s lives that has to be dealt with.

DOBBS: I appreciate the nuance, Michael. But I don’t know about you, partner, but I’d sure as heck like to get rid of the blunt instruments.

DYSON: No doubt about it.

“No doubt about it?” Doesn’t seem that way, Mike. This all reads as nothing more than hypocritical bullshit from a noted hip hop fan and 2 Pac enthusiast (read: dick rider) who’s too far biased to acknowledge the truth: mainstream hip hop culture gives unnecessary ammunition to close-minded bigots like Don Imus and should be protested right along with him.

I agree with Dyson on how hip hop is not all to blame, but I wouldn’t appear on CNN and say “well hip hop is only 30 years old” as if that’s some credible justification of how fingers ought to be pointed elsewhere. It’s dominated pop culture for more than a decade. It doesnt’ require that great a leap to imply it’s been influential to many.

I’m not excusing Don Imus at all. As an adult and as someone who’s been in broadcasting for a number of years, he’s very well aware of what to say and what not to say. He’s old. He knows better. The end.

But, it really annoys me to see people like Michael Eric Dyson regularly defend hip hop and bypass the fact that it perpetuates the very ignorance previous generations sought to end.

It only dilutes the severity of the situation, and makes him and other people of color look hypocritical to say Imus shouldn’t describe someone as “nappy headed hoes” when you support a culture (and companies that serve as a promotional vehicle for the culture) that routinely utters the words bitch, hoe, faggot, nigga, cracker, among other epithets.

Don Imus has already been suspended for two weeks. He might even be fired given that Bruce Gordon, former head of the NAACP and a director of CBS Corp. wants him dismissed.

However, the problem itself won’t go away, especially if you’re failing to make the effort to call out the latest contributor to the problem: ourselves.

The end of “Imus In The Morning” would only serve as a cheap win for a war that people like me have long been losing.

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