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If you could be so kind to nominate for the following, our bond will be as strong as Wayne’s gripe on his cup, our love will go deeper than Mariah’s issues, and…hell, you see where I’m going right?

Best Blog Design

This category is for blogs that incorporate a unique and eye-catching visual web design. Blog designs must NOT be templates, but fully custom-coded and designed sites.

Best Writing in a Blog

This category is for blogs which have exceptional writing. This category is judged not on a single post basis, but on the overall posts of the blog.

Best Humor Blog

This category is for humor blogs or blogs which feature humorous content.

Blog to Watch

This category highlights the best “undiscovered” blog in the blogosphere; keep your eye on this one! This is for that great blog that not everyone knows about…but should!

And if you’re just discovering this blog, go here, here, and here. Oh here, here, and here, too. Thank you kindly.

But more importantly, go HERE to nominate.

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I know, I know: I haven’t been the best blogger this week. In my defense, I did warn ya’ll. OK, so I’m still trying to get into the project I mentioned on Monday, but there have been some difficulties and distractions. The former is my own fault while the latter was at least quite nice: I have another niece as of yesterday. This sort of creates a problem because I have told my first niece for years that she is the most beautiful girl in the world. She’s dually my favorite person on Earth. I asked for her advice on how I should handle this and she told me I can still tell her these things just not around her little sister. She’s quite thoughtful that way.

In any event, I am so glad they have a good mother, so they won’t end up like the two in the video. Now don’t get me wrong, I liked Diamond when she was in Crime Mob (Don’t hate on her yummy yum), but she’s doing the most in the video? Pay-per-view? For real, homie?

Who the hell would pay money to watch Popeyes battle KFC in a slur off? Unless this event comes with a biscuit, I ain’t interested.

What say you?

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Check it: I’m on a mission this week and it’s a goal I should have handled a while ago. Blame it on the hustle, on procrastination, and a bad case of writer’s block. Or you could be a jackass and place the blame solely on me where it belongs. Anyway, the point of this post is to say I’m going to try to update as I normally do, but if I don’t you are warned.

While I have your attention I’ve been thinking about what all I can do with the blog. I’m thinking about moving the site to my own host and finding a more specific angle (like more Dear Michael’s and stuff of that sort) so if you have any ideas, feel free to leave suggestions. It would be great to build a little more traffic and start earning enough pocket change to dead any lingering thoughts to start selling peen for profit (Look: Fuck Phil Gramm. We’re in a recession.).

In the meantime, I wanted to point out some fellow bloggers who you should be onto by now. I’m always begging readers to spread the word about The Cynical Ones (Like right now: You should really pass my link around.), so it’s about time I shout out some of my own favorites.

The Fury: He said the same thing about my site, but when I read his stuff I can’t help but think of myself sometimes. Kid Fury is hilarious, and definitely has the gift of brevity. When you can kill folks with only a few lines, you’re very good at what you do. His wit is very much like Fresh’s so if you’re not overly sensitive (you can’t be if you read this site), pay the homie a visit. His shit is dope.

Fly Clichés: I usually have to scope the blogs to find ideas for the other gigs daily, so a lot of the time the shit bores the hell out of me. But there are three sites off the bat that I go to just to laugh and enjoy because their voices are original: D Listed, The Fury, and Crunk + Disorderly. Fresh is behind C+D and I’ve been reading her blog since finding the link on Danyel Smith’s old blog. I read a few hours ago that she’s started her own personal blog and I’m glad. Sometimes when you have a format you gotta stick to it for the reader, so a personal blog is always a good way to get the other side of the writer/blogger. I’ve already read her personal site and it’s hilarious as expected, but I get the feeling it will be even funnier because she’s giving herself even more room to write whatever pops off the top of her head.

Four Four: Rich is a great writer and whenever I read his stuff I’m usually in awe thinking I need to step my game up.

Dope Penmanship: Speaking of stepping my game up, this blog is from the budding superstar music journalist and the homie, Clover Hope. You’ve seen her byline everywhere, and if you haven’t you need to pay more attention…it’s there. Similar to what I said about Fresh’s personal blog, when you give a writer a more free form format you get a better idea of how the person works. I tend to love stuff like that because if you’re a good writer no matter how random anything you come up with might be, it will still be a good read.

Thank God I’m Famous: I could bore myself watching Diddy Puff’s video blogs or give my eye a stroke reading J.D.’s dyslexic-inspired MySpace blogs or I could read the blog of one their likely replacements. Sickamore is a smart and funny dude and I definitely admire his hustle. A beast. Plus, he likes bucket hats, and although I’m not a hat person I will fuck with a bucket hat so long as it won’t have me looking like the lanky cat from Fat Albert. He’s also an ageist (see GoOldHead) and with John McCain on the ballot, there’s no better time to hate old people (the wack ones anyway)?

Basement Elevation: I’m not even sure if he has a goal like this in mind, but I see Jason following in the tradition of Michael Eric Dyson and other self-appointed hip hop intellectuals only he won’t irk the hell out of me when he’s on CNN because he’ll know what he’s talking about and he won’t be trying too hard (MC Dyson, for example). Jason is a very intelligent dude with a real passion for hip hop as an art form. There are quite a few people still like that, only I think they’re in a time warp so I don’t take them seriously. But Jason I do. I’m cynical, but I have read posts on his blog that have made me think maybe hip hop doesn’t need a bullet. And then I discover a song called “Marco Polo.” Jason, can I at least give hip hop a stab wound until it gets better?

And naturally, I have to plug for people, so visit here, here, and here, too.

So yeah, I’m out for now. If I end up posting half an hour after this post, I must be procrastinating. Curse me out in the comments section if that happens.

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I once wrote that Rihanna’s “new me” basically translated into trading in Beyonce’s old tracks in favor of Fefe Dobson’s clothes and Pat Benatar’s old wig. I can admit when I’m wrong, though. Rihanna actually only stole Fefe Dobson’s hair, too!

Yes Rihanna’s fly, indeed she has stepped her goat vocals up, and of course right now she is that chick – but that chick is a swagger jacker to the core. I could live without the ten minute tribute to Pink, but I suppose the person behind the video wanted to kill two birds with one stone. Either way it’s kind of hard now for the Rihanna stans willing to start problems at INS on her behalf to continue denying that Rihanna didn’t take a field trip to Fefe Dobson’s closet before she dropped Good Girl Gone Bad.

I guess this is akin to Beyonce initially modeling herself after J.Lo when she finally found a solo hit. Only difference is Jennifer Lopez isn’t working the late shift at Walmart blacking out Rihanna’s face with a magic marker in the electronics department out of spite.

If this video circulated a couple of months ago, I would have used it as proof that Rihanna needs her green card revoked and be placed on a boat back to Barbados. But after getting used to her I don’t really care anymore. I already knew her image was as natural as Brandy’s hairline and I didn’t need this video to know that. Still, for Rihanna’s sake I hope she’s never backed into a corner with Teairra Mari and Fefe. I would be hella pissed if my likeness was taken and molded into a commodity for someone else while I sat around debating whether I should finish cleaning up aisle 6 or start begging to join the cast of Dancing with the Stars.

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Bow Wow is notorious for latching himself onto whoever is hot at the moment with the hopes that some of their success will trickle over to him. Chris Brown, Ciara, T-Pain, and Omarion can all vouch for this. With Face/Off not producing the Earth shattering sales figures as originally promised, T.I. Wow has now decided to jump on the Soulja Boy bandwagon. Who didn’t see that coming?

When I heard “Lookin’ Boy,” I had a feeling we would hear more songs that would suggest hip hop is back in third grade. Enter “Marco Polo.” I have two words for this: The fuck.

Rick Ross is in drama class pretending to be a coke dealer and now we have a bunch of rappers in recess spitting rhymes about games only nine-year-olds just learning how to swim should be allowed to talk about. What’s next? “Duck Duck Goose?” I can already hear a hook about hide and go seek and needing a peak on the horizon.

I try not to take this too seriously, but I can’t help but think this is all designed to make people dumber. The same audience this song and video are geared towards now consider anything older than six months to be an old school joint. Likewise, many of their tongues need a break whenever they have to pronounce a word that consisting of more than two syllables. It’s not a coincidence, ya’ll. No Child Left Behind rap is only going to get worse. I’m just saying.

Via That Grape Juice

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I’m not really trying to go into too much length over this, but I honestly find all this venom being hurled at CNN and Soledad O’Brien to be somewhat comical.

Did I think the special’s intent was to enlighten Black people in America on what it is like to be Black in America?

No. It’s for people without a clue who might now have a wee bit of interest in us outside of how we jump or how low we can dance. Der.

Did I expect them to offer solutions on how Black people can solve all of their social ills?


It was a special assignment given to a wonderful news anchor and reporter who got screwed out of her morning show duties. So, she gets a big two day special and CNN gets ratings. Not to mention, it was never presented to be an after school special, so what exactly were people expecting?

Am I surprised there are some Black people angry about the special?

Hardly. It never fails. I would take this special over watching David Banner yell over women for an hour any day of the week.

Some people are mad because they felt the special “reinforced negative stereotypes.” Here’s a thought: A lot of what’s being said about our community is true. Regardless of the contributions (both past and present) that have contributed to certain circumstances they remain true (albeit some only partially).

68% of Black children are born out of wedlock. Who is their mother? It’s not Lauren Conrad.

A lot of young Black men and women (the latter under reported) are going to jail in droves.

We do make up a strong portion of the HIV/AIDS cases.

Many educated Black women are single. Marriage in general is on a decline.

And instead of throwing out stats, the special offered faces to go with figures. It’s a lot harder to write off someone’s problems once you actually hear them speak.

As far as defying the stereotypes goes: They spoke with a Black screenwriter, a Harvard educated economist, an HIV + positive women (who said she was in a monogamist relationship at the time of contraction) who is a published author and activist, and the woman hosting the event identifies herself as a Black woman.

Again I ask, what do people expect? A lie to make them feel better about themselves and their accomplishments? If you still need that type of validation from a media that hardly ever championed your cause to begin with that’s your bad.

Certain Blacks have a problem when the spotlight is on their less privileged and/or accomplished brethren. It’s that snooty elitist attitude that basically translates into: Stop linking me with them.

Some portions of the special I could have lived without watching (not to mention that spoken word artist/poet/whatever), but it was a special on a cable news network that was never presented as some monumental moment in the history of Black people. If you didn’t care to watch it, fine. If you’re more bothered by the fact that certain images of Black people that you’ve been able to escape thanks to the great work of your parents were aired yet again: get over yourself.

I’m actually more concerned about how the show spotlighted how direct people are about using materialism to educate people than I am about a few uppitier than thou colored folk being caught in another tizzy over being linked to other Blacks ‘not on their level.’

We’re not as bad off as we’re often depicted the same way we’re not all angels. Accept it.

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You mean to tell me Rick Ross isn’t really a drug czar? I would have never guessed despite no one talking about Rick Ross’ drug cartel past besides Rick Ross on wax. The next thing you’ll tell me is that Lil’ Wayne is a fake Blood and my toilet paper goes harder than The Game.

If there’s anything to learn from the Ricky Ross controversy it’s that people need to learn how to lie better.

Remember when pictures of Eve getting a tongue-assisted vaginal massage from a fellow stripper surfaced a few years back? Her response was “photoshop” although if you look at the grainy picture, her facial expressions suggested she was being sexually aroused. That or she makes really interesting facial expressions at interesting angles. Besides, the notion that Eve much less any random stripper could be bisexual (or at least gay for pay) isn’t all that hard to believe. Lucky for her, though, that by the time the pictures leaked to the web the only Eve people still cared about was the fruit snatcher from the Bible.

Borrowing from the Eve playbook, Ross initially went with the same trite “photoshop” excuse.

He told All Hip Hop:

“My life is 100% real. These online hackers putting a picture of my face when I was a teenager in high school on other peoples’ body. If this s**t was real don’t you think they would have more specifics, like dates and everything?”

Officer Ross could have done better than the “I looked 40 in high school” excuse. Oh and once specifics leaked (his start date, his salary, his SSN) he claimed the documents were forged.

Oh I get it. The haters and the government joined together in a secret conspiracy to bring down Rick Ross. This heinous plot was unleashed to soil his rising popularity and growing influence. You know, so the world won’t lose any sleep over the biggest boss that we’ve seen thus far.

Look, I understand that it’s standard for many artists to have delusions of grandeur, but who does homie think he is? Rick Bourne? No one cares that much. We have many coke rappers out there — some of whom have actually sold coke.

Why didn’t he just say that the CO job was a cover? Or maybe hint that he was a crooked corrections officer. I would still look at him as an obese version of Mr. T. who has only pushed weight on the scale, but there are plenty of fools out there who would accept either lie.

He’s not alone, though. From the carefully scripted fallacies of The Hills to the too good to be true drug cartel stories of Rick Ross, we’re all being sold fairytales.

You don’t have to go far from Ross’ Miami locale to find another liar in the fold. While he often sounds like he just finished his shift picking cotton, more and more people have talked to me about how different Plies sounds in interviews than on his albums. Yes, Plies can read. So well in fact that he just started a scholarship foundation. He should probably be commended for that since the foundation is geared toward offering legal services to the incarcerated while also helping them rehabilitate, but that would counter the image he’s crafted for himself.

I know for a fact that there are a bunch of kids sitting in juvenile hall idolizing Plies and Lil’ Wayne. Plies for doing time (although that’s never been confirmed) and Wayne for…well being Wayne.

Each of them have made a fortune off their naivete as the bulk of these kids who try to mimic their tales end up dead, in jail, or become addicts. Speaking of addicts, Lil’ Wayne can boast about a great life, but here’s a thought: Drug addicts aren’t happy. No one points that out, though. Everyone’s too busy pretending to be Italian, or Cuban, or Frank Lucas, or Jay-Z, or someone else that’s pretending themselves.

The only other lesson in this could be to learn when to shut up. Rick Bourne aggravated the situation by denying initial reports and then telling people to find more proof. And even after said proof surfaced he still denied his past. Now actual people are going to come out to say what we already know now: Rick Ross is a lying ass liar.

Will it kill his career? I doubt it, and even if it did, there’s another Dr. Suess out there ready to take his place.

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Is that a damn tranny at the beginning of the video?

I remember someone asking me to try out for this show. I remember telling that person I’d probably not talk to them anymore. I’m sure this will provide a lot of entertainment for all of the reality show enthusiasts out there, but judging from the fate of Mase, Cherri Dennis, and Total, working for Diddy Puff doesn’t sound like it’s all it’s cracked up to be.

“Good luck” (or should I say exposure) to all the contestants, but I’d rather work at or for the following than be Diddy’s on-air bitch:

1. The corner.

2. The corner store.

3. Under the freeway.

4. A sperm bank.

5. Wherever a bunch of cans are.

6. Rick Ross’ old job.

7. I Love….whatever VH1 comes up with next.

8. Soulja Boy’s speech coach.

9. Foxy Brown’s lookout at the boutique.

10. Lil’ Kim’s lying ass mirror.

You think shows like this have anything to do with Diddy Puff not getting an Emmy nod? Just a hunch. Ya’ll can have that show. I’ll wait for Making the Band 17.

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Rihanna is back with another single, another video, and probably another album by the time I finish writing this post. She apparently “wrote” “Disturbia” with her boyfriend, Chris Brown. I’m guessing that means the redhead Rihanna’s always with that has her birthday tattooed on Rihanna’s shoulder ghostwrote this for them.

I’m really not that big a fan of this song. Rihanna uses a vocoder so naturally there’s some appeal to the song, but there’s something about it that makes me not like it. Maybe it’s “bum bum bi dom dom” thing she does. It sounds like something Scooby and the Gang would run to. The video makes up for everything, though. Rihanna’s goal in life is to look pretty and give us all something to gawk at a couple of minutes. Mission accomplished.

I’m glad I never called immigration on her. When I peeped that blond wig (I knew it wouldn’t take long for them to get her in one), I almost fell back into bad habits, but it’s OK. The video is intended to be dark and scary and what’s scarier than a bunch of Black girls still trying to look like Marilyn Monroe?

It’s too bad she’s never going to release “Breakin’ Dishes,” though. Granted these days she can throw anything out and have it go number one (sorry Kelly Rowland, Ashanti, Amerie), but that song is one of her best and it’s going to waste.

Eh, oh well, at least we get another good video out of her. Is it me or does that chick really enjoy swinging her head? Like, she swings it with such force and speed. I’m surprised it hasn’t popped off and fling into the air like a boomerang. If her neck had a name it would be Katrina. Rich over at FourFour expounds on this…with video.

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I never want to appear like a snob. Sometimes I have to catch myself on what I write on the blog because I don’t want to come across as some elitist who gets frequent nose bleeds for sitting atop a pedestal too high in the sky. There are a lot of different reasons for that. They include Raid, tweezers (as a replacement for a remote), Ramen noodles, and Spam: All things I was familiar with coming up, and thanks to the private student loan industry, possibly things I might have to deal with a little bit longer than anticipated (Minus the Spam and noodles. Can I live? Not if I eat that.). That is, until some lovely agent, executive with a clue, and/or wonderful editor say the magic words I’m currently still grinding it out to hear. The other reason being that I don’t take myself seriously enough to be that stuck up.

This is all my way of saying: Yes, I went to Howard, no I’m not stupid and not ashamed of that, but don’t lump me into the category you think I should be placed in.

Normally I follow my instincts and let people think what they want. As a writer, though, I realize a message can often be lost by its messenger, so I have sometimes reevaluate what I say in order to be sure that what I’m saying will be read without prejudice.

When it comes to a lot of Black forms of entertainment, I think I’ve made it clear that while I don’t like most of what’s dominating these days , my problem is more so an issue of balance versus censoring content. Everything isn’t meant to be serious, people are sexual, and yes there are some things about us that are indeed true.

Then I hit the bookstore and flip.

After going to see The Dark Knight (which was dope by the way…go see it), I went to the Borders near-by. I wanted to read my friend and talented writer, Maiya Norton’s review of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ new book, The Beautiful Struggle, in the new Giant. Once I finished that, I headed over to the Black book section (a tiny, tiny two shelves in the huge megastore) to no doubt punish myself.

Most of the books I were along the lines:

Desperate Hoodwives
Sweeter Than Honey
Forever A Hustler’s Wife
You Gotta Sin To Be Saved
Drama Is Her Middle Name
Fool, Stop Trippin’

I actually laughed at the title You Gotta Sin To Be Saved until I realized that’s probably every one of that book’s readers new life motto after they’re done with the book. As for The Beautiful Struggle, there was one lonely copy amid several copies of the aforementioned.

I’ve known about this surge in “street lit” for some time now. I saw people with the books on the subways in New York and D.C. all the time. In some respects, I understand the conventional wisdom that goes, “Well…at least they’re reading.” I’ve thumbed through some of these books, and I’m not so sure how true that is after considering how poorly written and edited many of these titles are. I always thought books were intended to make you smarter. Who knew they might actually make you dumber?

And this is where I start to wonder maybe I’m not being fair. Everyone has a right to be heard, and just because I don’t like it doesn’t mean everyone else should follow suit. If I can dance to bullshit at the club, people can read bullshit on the train. Besides, I have friends that read a lot of these books and I don’t think they’re dumb. The books? Fuck yes…and that’s why those feelings all rush back.

C’mon nah, Fool, Stop Trippin’. What’s next? Bitch, Quit Playin’? (Don’t none of ya’ll take my idea.)

Looking through those shelves more and more I noticed a big divide between generations of writers. It’s like half the books by the old heads are about the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the ones by the young folks us focus on selling drugs by the bus stop. Anything considered to be a happy medium or something outside the norm is lost amongst the fourth copy of Every Thug Needs A Lady.

I don’t even have the patience to tackle how events have led to that point, but I know that more and more I hear so many people with sense wear their resentment towards reading like it’s a badge of honor. There are grown people who can’t formulate complete sentences and it doesn’t bother them in the least. Granted I’m a math failure, but if my tongue and teeth runaway from home, I am still able to write down, “Math has always been my very own personal terrorist. Can you help me not feel like an idiot?” to a math tutor.

Not to go into a tangent, but there’s a reason why people don’t want you reading. You can’t contest what you’re ignoring.

Anyhow, one of my biggest fears is that I and many of my friends will write really great works that may go largely unnoticed by the people they were intended for. An even greater fear is that we might not even get the opportunity to test our luck because publishers are all about the bottom line, and currently the bottom of the barrel is where the money’s at.

Maybe if people knew the difference between literature and leisure reading I would feel better about it. The lines have been blurred, though, so sometimes I can’t help but want to light a match.

Disclaimer: I am not really going to light any bookstores on fire. I realize some authors have actually benefitted from being locked up, but I ain’t one of them, so don’t do me.

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