On Honest Ignorance

I’m not surprised she doesn’t know much about the nuances of hip-hop considering she was never the key demographic. As for pointing out that a woman living in the U.K. ought to know more Black men, that’s fair, though at the same time, the only time I’ve ever seen a White person near my home was when the police showed up to cuff someone.

For the record: I hate everyone equally.

Frankly, I think the closet I’ve been to a White person was inside a gay bar where a drunk dude felt me up in a gay bar and said I was beautiful in a strange accent I only heard otherwise on Sex and the City.

Beyond that, until Anderson Cooper and I become BFFs forever, most of my relationships with Whites have been largely professional. Could I stand to do better? Surely, but couldn’t many of us stand to get off our islands? Once that realization hit me, I made sure not to pounce on Miriam with your fellow internet terrorists.

Go on, read more here.

From the Mouth of Babes

Leave it to a child to show how silly adults can be.

All 10-year-old Kameron Slade wanted to do was deliver a speech about acceptance and tolerance to his classmates, and if he’s lucky, win a prize for it. Acceptance and tolerance are exactly the kind of themes promoted in school, but as Kameron has come to unfortunately learn, people can become quite selective about whom they tolerate, much less accept. The principal of PS 195 told the Queens native that because his speech centered on the topic of same sex marriage, he would be removed from the competition because the subject matter was “inappropriate.”

Kameron’s speech included lines such as: “Marriage is about love, support and commitment so who are we to judge? If we judge people like this, this is a form of prejudice. We must learn to accept and respect all differences.”

Demon seed thy name is Kameron Slade?

Fortunately, the principal has come to his senses (under pressure), though not without sending a (warning) letter to parents on Friday about the nature of Kameron’s speech that is to be read at a special assembly today. After being told that some parents felt conversations about gay marriage should be reserved for adults, the quick young man said to NY1, “There is no point in really trying to hide it because us children, we are going to figure it out some time now or later.”

Therein lies the problem, lil’ man. They’d prefer gay people remain a figment of your imagination. Hell, they want the same for themselves in most instances.

Kameron’s speech centered on being acquainted with a child who had two moms and after his own explained to him how their family worked, he didn’t think any less of them. To him, the message of his story is that love is love, and if you see two people happy, why not be happy for them? What he has or will come to learn eventually is that when many think of gay people they don’t think of love, they think of sex.

Read the rest at Ebony.com.

Don’t Go, Kesha

This morning I woke up to news that Drake allegedly pulled an Evelyn Lozada on Chris Brown in a downtown New York club, and that Shaunie O’Neal, Shed Media, and VH1 did something that almost warrants an Evelyn Lozada. As much as I’d love to join everyone in speculation about the bliss of Rihanna’s vagina, I’d rather not. Besides, those are two emotional men with a lot of ego. They would probably fought over Funyons with as much as intensity as a debate over who Rihanna topped better.

I am a little pissed about this casting choice, though. I don’t know what those producers are thinking, but if they honestly believe that viewers will want to watch Shaunie O’Neal, Evelyn Lozada, Tami Roman, and Suzie Ketchum act like the wicked stepsisters for fifteen or so hour-long episodes they’ve got another thing coming.

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I Forgot

In the midst of doing 9000 things at once, I forgot to actually note the honor this site got on the actual site itself. Yeah, I know. That said, was recently named one of The Best Black Bloggers to Know in 2012 by The Root. I used to actually be a blogger there in 2009, for “The Recession Diaries.”

Anyway, the write up went:

Michael Arceneaux of the Cynical Ones

There aren’t many pop-culture moments to which Arceneaux hasn’t lent his two sarcastic cents on his aptly named blog, the Cynical Ones. Confused by Brian McKnight’s dubious comeback? Curious about Beyoncé – whom he affectionately calls his lord and gyrator — and her new vocation as a journalist? Head to this blog for a perfectly mixed concoction of scathing humor, solid analysis and just good common sense.

Here he writes about his struggle with being a Rihanna fan. Follow him on Twitter.

You can check it out here. I’m the last slide.

Oprah’s Just Doing Her Job

I was being facetious when I posed the question on Twitter, “What is Oprah even going to talk about with the Kardashians?” When I found out that Oprah would be interviewing the family for Oprah’s Next Chapter, I wasn’t really puzzled. I found it funny is all. As in, wow, these folks really have arrived, haven’t they? Yet, some people are continuing to play the role of “voice of reason,” whining about what has come of Oprah Winfrey and how far she’s fallen from grace. Or better yet, fallen from the idea of her that never truly existed to anyone actually paying attention to Lady O.

Enter Jennifer E. Mabry, who gets today’s “Womp, Womp, Woman” honors after authoring yet another ridiculous diatribe about the OWN network for The Root. According to Mabry, Oprah is desperate for ratings and losing her purpose of her latest venture. I find her complaints pretentious and a bunch of nothing dressed up as a wake up call.

We’re talking about a group of people who have created nothing and have contributed nothing to the betterment of society or mankind.

Oprah Winfrey is a former daytime talk show host. Since when does every single guest have to be saving the world one soundbite at a time? Like, have you not seen Oprah over the years? She was not always sitting in Indian style with Deepak Chopra waxing poetic about the meaning of life and the psychological benefits of blueberries.

According to Winfrey, the purpose of OWN was to “create messages that fill you up and bring you to new levels of awareness about yourself, ourselves, and our world; our potential … “

Has this woman actually watched Keeping up with the Kardashians? Banal as some may find it, it’s not exactly a show promoting societal ills. In their own way, they promote family and a certain type of values. Values that might not fit everyone’s standard, but none of which point to the more vile aspects of society.

So, um, how exactly does a two-hour interview with the Kardashian clan fit into that paradigm?

Anyone who doesn’t seem how the success of Kardashians doesn’t bring about some awareness about where our culture is and is headed isn’t really qualified to write a take down about Oprah’s lack of anything, much less direction and understanding of her own mission.

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Reasons Aren’t Good Enough

Mere seconds into this new Trey Songz video I contemplated rising from my seat in order to do something more important like take a piss. Much of that has to do with me immediately hearing the beat and thinking, “Go, girl, it’s ya birthday. Open wide, I know ya thirsty.” You’re a wee bit too young to be battling dementia, handsome, but in case you did forget, we’ve already said ahh.

I know Trey wanted to initially be a rapper or something when he first entered music, but there comes a point when you have to pull your inner rapper back on an R&B song. Say, when your hook consists of the following: “I only came for bitches and the drinks. Bitches and the drinks. I only came for the bitches and the drinks.” Please, oh, please, ladies go iTunes for the Usher and the Biebs. Usher and the Biebs, so we can collectively say to Tremaine, “Nigga, please.”

This song is painfully uninspired. A glossy video sponsored by that cough syrup tasting cherry Grey Goose (per my friend) doesn’t blind me to that. The only positive things I can say about this video include that pink number Tip has on that I need to steal, and of course, certain angles from Trey.

Still, if this is the direction he’s going on, I’m worried. His last album was trash and I can’t take another wack one. Maybe this song is for people who love repetition and the good folks who will settle for anything playing in the club so long as they’re drunk. I’m not present for either cause. Do better than “bitches and drinks” in a hook, Trey…and remember, if you need help with that or, well, anything, I’m only a non-disclosure agreement and financial settlement away.

No, I don’t care about your judgment. See above.

But wait, riddle me this:

Is this a Beijing, homeboy?

 

It’s Not Revolutionary, But I’ll Falsetto And Fool With It

Remember when people used to get excited to hear a new Usher album? Oh, stop that. It wasn’t that long ago. I didn’t realize the release date for Looking 4 Myself was so soon until the project leaked online. It literally just hit me that this is Usher’s seventh project. On first listen of it, I wasn’t sure how I felt.

My feelings become clearer with each listen, but one thing is for certain in the meantime: This video is forgettable. The song itself is terrible. Both harken back to things Usher’s done already. For a few minutes I thought of Michael Jackson’s “Rock With You,” which I believe Usher already paid tribute to somewhat in the video for “Yeah!” The awful, awful “Scream” is nothing more than the second cousin to “O.M.G.”

Both come across a bit lazy considering this was someone who boasted of a new album  ushering in its own genre called “revolutionary pop.” Silly title aside, there was promise of something different in Looking 4 Myself’s first single, “Climax,” which Usher branded “electro pop.” I continue to live not knowing what that means. What I do know is that the album’s subsequent singles – “Scream” and “Lemme See” – owe its life to Raymond vs. Raymond’s “O.M.G.” and “Lil’ Freak” — and that’s pretty pedestrian.

Regardless, there are several gems to be found on Looking 4 Myself, and despite my R&B purist leanings, I admit that said gems include works beyond the spectrum of R&B. Some of those songs invite feelings that Usher is adamant about behaving like that youngish uncle who wants to accompany you and your cousins for the annual post-holiday dinner trip to the club. Yep, the one who is going to try to holla at your friends, too. Don’t believe me? Pay close attention to the juvenile lyrics the 33-year-old is crooning on various records on the album.

Since I worry that I, too, may become that uncle in due time, I’m going to accept Uncle Usher for who he is for my own self-interest. Rock on, Unc-Ush. Now as far as that quality relates to his album, I can’t help but remain thinking Usher’s revolution sounds so much more like settling. For the singles-crazy era we live in now. For the constant posturing that an artist’s “experimentation” is rooted in creativity versus a spot on the upper echelon of the Hot 100. He is adamant about making sure we still think he’s cool.

On the other hand, as a pop star by design Usher is supposed to play to the times. He doesn’t necessarily have to lead the pack, but I’d advise him to loosen up talk of sparking “revolutions” within genres when it’s more like a backhanded compliment to it. He should be letting us pay him that kind of compliment anyway — once it’s earned. Meanwhile, I can give him credit for making a solid album that’s essentially a continuation of Raymond vs. Raymond albeit more skillfully crafted (totality speaking as nothing bests “There Goes My Baby” and “Mars vs. Venus”). And for sounding gorgeous throughout it. I’ll even applaud him for getting me to mildly tolerate his inner Belgium bar hopper now.

None of that is especially revolutionary, but it is change. I guess I can take the whispers while I wait for the real scream.

The Stars, Evaders, and Perpetrators

So I’m updating the site, but I have to share a few of the recent essays I’ve been elsewhere this week.

For Ebony.com, I wrote about the lingering criticism about President Obama being the “celebrity-in-chief.” It is one of the few instances where I’m not bemoaning celebrity culture so cherish the day, I probably won’t go astray again. You can click here to read it.

I also wrote something in response to that letter Evelyn Lozada wrote to her seven-year-old self. It’s a little note to all of the cast members of Basketball Wives – okay, really mainly Eve, Tami, and Shaunie – at age whatever they are. You can read that one here.

As for Ms. Lauryn Hill’s complaints of “social cannibalism” in defense of not paying her taxes, penned a lil’ something for News One you can check out here.

And if you missed it the first time on this site, do read about Lauryn Hill Denial Disorder. Still relevant.

Oh yeah, I finally put my BlackBerry out of its misery. Some would call me a loyalist, others would call me cheap, but I held onto that phone for way too long. I have since converted to the iPhone. Like an old man, I complained about not liking touch screens. Fine, it’s not so bad.

Now I say all of that to say I joined Instagram. Oh my, y’all. It’s like where amateur photography and porn, gluttony, self-indulgence and randomness goes to have an orgy. Yes, late boots. Shut up. Anyway, I’m on there as @youngsinick. Find me and add and shit, mu’fuckas. That was said with love, of course.

Okay, back to updating.

I Need Answers

1. On a scale of Popeye’s wing to Golden Corral buffet, how big a bird am I for loving a song called “Snapbacks & Tattoos?”

2. Can someone draw Usher a map, preferably one that leads to his old R&B self?

3. Doesn’t anal sex deserve a classier spokesperson than Brian McKnight?

4. Can we have a moratorium on televised singing competitions?

5 Who told Facebook that it needed to duplicate all of the annoyances of MySpace and Black Planet?

6. When did everyone start using the lingo of gay Black men?

7. In the case of Rihanna’s interview with Esquire UK, how can someone who does something intentionally seeking attention get mad at a reporter for actually paying attention?

Bonus: Is that not like dangling a pipe, bag & lighter in someone’s face & getting pissed if they ask whether or not you smoke?

8. Are you ready to sweat or does someone need to hand Ciara a towel so she can dust herself off and try again?

9. Why do I feel like there are a bunch of white people somewhere going, “Oh, we’ve been sick of Gwyneth Paltrow?”

10. After looking at the latest jobs report how can anyone still knock Rocsi?

11.

12. What in the hell is that new video with Erykah Badu about?

13. Hasn’t Shaunie O’Neal been singing this sad love song for years now?

14. Shouldn’t we have heard some doo-wop-pop-pop from Tamar Braxton by now?

15. Does anyone read better than Charlamagne Tha God on radio?

16. Even if some folks give her a hard time, shouldn’t Nicki Minaj learn to be a little less defensive?

17. Does anyone else have to often fight off the urge to yell “2 CHAINZ!” at random?

18. Is this what rock bottom looks like on a billboard?

19. Would it really kill everyone involve to at least wait a year before we start talking about post-Whitney Houston books, reality shows, tribute songs and movies?

20. Isn’t the best way to fight the zombies legalizing weed?

Go In (On My Questions)

Do you remember being on the playground with your friends, reciting vulgar lines from whatever album your older sister or brother was playing on the way to school? That’s what this video reminds me of, only back in the day we didn’t think to film it. Thank goodness, too, because this looks like a visual temptation for an ass whooping or visit from your local CPS worker.

This video is about a year old, but my questions are timeless.

For example, whose mama’s nightstand gun is that young lady holding? Does she have a permit? I highly doubt it.

Is the girl rapping saying “eat the team?” If so, is that the euphemism for oral sex nowadays? Now if that’s the case, the next time someone is giving me curbside surface (a euphemism for oral sex that I just made up), shall I shout “Go Team Go!” while they perform? That’s kinda tacky, no?

Wait. I’ve got more questions. Bear with me, folks.

How old are these chirren? They look under 18, which my life in Los Angeles has taught me means they’re at least 25. Okay, not really, but again, how old are these chirren? It all but determines whether or not this next question is inappropriate: This song isn’t half bad, right?

Well, don’t get me wrong, it has enough bird in it to come with a side of mashed potatoes and a honey buttered biscuit from Church’s. However, y’all know those kind of songs send me over. Are you judging me? Fine, but at least acknowledge the beat is kinda cool. C’mon, say it.

Final question: What does it say about me that I do the same bop as that cute girl in the pank and white at the start of the video?

I need answers.