I Love You, Faith Evans

In 2012, chances are supremely slim that you could get an R&B singer to open up about their cheating, famous top-selling rapper husband, their trifling, no good phony ass rising rapper friend, and nasty rumors about them bedding a rapper feuding with their estranged husband. At least not with the blunt deliverance Faith offers in this clip. Many of today’s artists would like to have you believe that they’re giving their all via reality television, but that can never be completely true if the exposure of your “real” life comes with a story board editor.

A wonderful person mentioned this interview to me, describing it a tee. Is it not amazing? Yes, people overuse the word to death, but resurrect your nerves for a second and agree with me.

As much as I enjoyed R&B Divas after a while, Faith was far more demure than I ever remembered her. Of course, she always appeared smarter than your average entertainer, but clearly there was an edge to her. See above. I’m not going to blame the pregnancy hormones either for this interview. That’s just her and she’s awesome because of it.

In fact, when I met Faith a few years ago at a party in LA, she told me, “Excuse my weed breath.” I say that in full admiration. And regret. Why didn’t I ask to hit the blunt?

In any event, the way she politely shaded the hell out of 2Pac for wrongly invoking her name into a feud he had with another dude is smooth. How she threw Lil’ Kim under the bus for being a terrible friend is hysterical. Speaking of Lil’ Kim being a fake ass person, that sure is a running theme over two decades, isn’t it? No wonder Kimberly Jones is walking around here looking like incomplete white woman in the face with a body that screams, “Tim Burton did my ass and hip shots.”

Until you do right by people, Kimberly, everything you sit on gonna make you worry that your lopsided ass cheeks gonna crumble.

Now, enjoy this interview and remember: Faith is, was, and forever shall be a joy.

And goodness, do I miss the 1990s. So much.

Hated It?

Yesterday I tweeted: “Yo, Bravo. Can we diversify your selection of Black gay men? It’s all mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the bitchiest queen of them all?” I wasn’t referring to Frick and Fabulous, though. I was commenting on the haughty Black queen on The Real Housewives of Miami who was shoved into the pool at a charity event by a drag queen out of character – and didn’t even bother to lay on a figure on her wigless head in retaliation. Even so, it’s related to Miss Lawrence and Derek J. all the same.

I don’t have a problem with either per se as both can be entertaining. I’ve seen Derek J out before. He’s quite nice in all his “Even if this outfit fits me tighter than the first time, I’m going to wear it anyway” glory. But as you can tell from the tweet, I sometimes struggle with the one note depiction of gay Black men.

This special, which I’ve yet to see in full, gives me “Men On Film” come to life. That sketch used to scare the hell out of me as a child. I knew even if in jest, there was contempt towards gay men underneath the humor. Yet, I can somewhat appreciate how each are able to own who they are regardless of how it appears to other and just…be.

Besides, as much as gay Black culture is seeping its way into pop culture at large now more than ever, at least we see faces behind it. For once.

More, more, more: “Closet Freak” review

I’ve come to realize that unless someone is completely outlandish – say, the one who needed a lifeguard and better reflexes – there’s no point in condemning folks for that. If they get more camera time without the sidekick connotation, complaints will come. Such reality made me recall a piece I wrote in response to some essay entitled “Are Gay Men the New ‘Mammies’ of Reality Television?” that was published earlier in the year.

It never went up, but I want to share it here.

Read the rest of this entry »

She Ain’t No Diva

What in the whitewashed hell is this poster for VH1 Divas supposed to be? And shut up, I’m not saying white people cannot be divas. I country two-stepped to Faith Hill when she appeared on a past edition of the show. Fine, I didn’t, but “Wide Open Spaces” is a personal favorite. Regardless, this is wrong.

Like, what is VH1 trying to give us here? Sexed up M.I.A.? Coked out cage dancer? 1975? Whatever they’re trying to convey in this poster, I’d like to return to sender and give them a do over.

I distinctly remember reading that the show would be honoring the late Whitney Houston. If Auntie Whitney saw this poster, she’d probably spit on it. Wait, that’s more of a Aretha Franklin kind of thing. Nippy would at least roll her eyes something terrible.

You get it. Bad poster. Bad, bad poster. Boo, hiss. For shame. Etcetera, etcetera.

 

Capability Won’t Stop Nicki Minaj From Crooning

As much as we all rightly criticize singers who have no business opening their mouths to blow into any instrument besides a..uh, never mind, I’ve got to say, there’s something super ballsy about trying to sing onstage knowing damn well you’re unqualified to do so.

Nicki Minaj’s “Save Me” was one of the better tracks from Pink Friday. No matter what some of your cousins think, Nicki is pretty versatile and very much capable of creating solid R&B and/or pop tracks. When I first got the album I wore “Save Me” out only to later forget its existence until seven minutes ago. What can I say? I prefer Nicki when she’s reading someone for filth or putting her pussy on someone’s sideburns and chipped tooth.

Still, I’m happy to see she’s included it into her set list on her European tour. And not just including it, she is “singing” her heart out. Bless that heart, though, ’cause she sounds like a Chippette with a cold. On a Nyquil high to boot. In spite of all that, I enjoyed this.

I wish I had her courage, or if you’re a knit-picker, delusion.

Before puberty became a dream-slashing punk ass bitch, I could actually sing. I would write fake ass Babyface songs in my room then sing them to people I felt comfortable enough sharing them with. All were encouraging. Then puberty happened and I started to sound like a damn fool whenever I tried to sing something. I may have mentioned it once, thrice, a thousand times on here before, but whatever, it takes some longer than others to recover from their losses.

I could’ve been Jerome! I already had the curly hair, y’all. I would’ve saved Puffy a run to the beauty supply store. Life can be so unfair.

Every now and then I may sing something out loud and sound decent enough for Simon Cowell to tell me, “That wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever heard in my life, but you should probably run back to your computer ’cause ain’t shit popping for you here.” Technically, that remains enough to make it in today’s market, but it’s just not enough to get me to spam Frank Ocean on Twitter for a better life.

Nicki doesn’t a give damn, though. Just look at her on stage. You can tell she loves the song and you can’t tell Nicki in this moment that she isn’t Anita Baker. Then again, if I walked around on stage looking like Krusty the Clown’s mistress I’d carry on as if I had nothing else to lose, too.

Either way, I’m envious.

You Got Me Confused, Ciara

I don’t understand Ciara’s refusal to succeed. Aaliyah is now leading God’s dance trope, Mya is somewhere contemplating an offer to work at the strip club Stadium in D.C., and Ashanti is turning into Mario Lopez. Meanwhile, Keri Hilson is somewhere fixing Ursula the Sea Witch a plate in her new role as an indentured servant after she failed to hand in Beyoncé’s soul as agreed upon in the terms of their contract. And mother superior Janet Jackson’s official outlook on music appears to be, “My legacy is cemented so I might as well lay on this handsome billionaire.”

You would think Cici would have better taken advantage of the opportunities afforded to her.

But no, she’s still floundering and searching for a sound, a look, and a concrete album release date. I know the boys who don’t like girls but love to rave dance in West Hollywood are enjoying this track, Cici, but this ain’t it. The video isn’t bad. You know, it’s cool in a “Early in the morning, Ciara wants this. Late in the evening, Ciara wants this.” sort of way. The song itself leaves a lot to be desired, however.

Even when Ciara improves, she always manages to make me appreciate growing up during Janet Jackson’s peak in popularity. One thing I loved about Damita Jo is that despite doing obvious pop music, she gave you Black girl doing pop. There was a certain oomph there, a feeling that she truly enjoyed the music she was making. Such a quality is missing from “Got Me Good.”

How do you take that familiar hook and make it sound so…valley.

No one wants to hear this watered down Miami bass track anymore anyway, Ciara. We heard it from you at least three times already in as many years. It comes across as one of those songs that serves as a backdrop for a Pepsi commercial filmed around 1993. Stop it, Ciara. Stop it this instant.

I know many of you kids these days act like anything sounding urban Black spells down and gloom for one’s career, but let it be known that Ciara’s biggest hits were when she was giving you regular ass Atlanta booty pop music set to crunk beats. The hooks were catchy and the sound was distinctive — everything “Got Me Good” isn’t. I do enjoy Ciara’s electro-leaning in certain spells. Say, the ethereal “This Is What Love Is,” though she’s way too hit or miss in that department.

Funny enough, had she stuck with the sounds of Goodies a little while longer and maybe developed that way, she’d be right on schedule in this Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta, you Negroes and now white folks abuse the hell out of the word “ratchet” world we live in.

Speaking of, Joseline Hernandez, girl, in addition to tapping me to co-author your memoirFrom Stripping to Steebie to Stardom: How Squats Can Seal The American Dream?, I’ve got another great idea. You need to give Jazze Pha a lap dance as a means of getting him to hand over all those discarded Ciara tracks left behind on the cheap. Or hell, a ham sandwich. Just give him some chips, too.

As for you, Ciara, I don’t know. I may often sound like the hating ass palm tree to your light, but I’m trying to hold on to hope. The industry needs to fill its Black girl can’t sing all that great, but yo, she dance and make it clap with no hands void so. No on younger with better songs has come along yet, so since you’re all we’ve got, I’ll say a silent prayer on your behalf to R&B/pop Jesus.

Now I’d like to take a second to say something nice.

So while I’m not especially here for the song considering I liked it when it was called “Differences” and I don’t ever care to hear Ciara do a ballad, this performance is pretty damn great. Good for her. Alright, enough of that.

Drake’s School Daze

Aubrey Graham sure knows when to turn off his Pimp C impersonation and channel his more natural Mr. Feeny when the time calls for it, doesn’t he?

I was at Yardfest when Drake told a crowd of Howard University students, alum, and the others that he thought to become a Bison following a trip to the bookstore. While that remains to be seen, I used it as a template for my latest roundtable over at The Shadow League.

Check a sample of it below:

Sounding more literate than 70 percent of hip-hop isn’t enough for Drake. Yeah, Wheelchair Jimmy wants more than that GED, y’all. He’s got to get that degree, too.

During an appearance at Howard University’s Yardfest late last week, the rapper-singer-emotional rollercoaster told the turnt up and tummies full of fried tilapia crowd:

“You know about two minutes ago, I made the decision. For the last four months I went back to high school and I graduated high school, so you see what my campaign is about this year, ‘cause I went straight to the bookstore. I’m trying to come to school with y’all. I wanna know if you accept.”

Could a detour to college really be next on Drake’s agenda?

Time will tell, but in the meantime, we’ve gathered a group of celebrities who’ve been caught up in similar school dazes to give Aubrey Graham some advice. What can the likes of Tyra Banks, Waka Flocka Flame, Diddy, Lil’ Wayne, and DMX share with the Canadian who grew up wanting to be Mr. Aaliyah Haughton?

Tyra Banks: Well, I just want to start off by commending you for going black with your higher education. I wish I had done that. My college experience was a mess, child. I was dealing with my boyfriend who was playing track and got caught up in all the racial tension going on throughout the campus. Damn, let Obama cook. So, yeah, all I wanted to do was help tutor him and train together; but found myself shot in the stomach on the yard in the middle of the day. It hurt almost as bad as my first shoot with Naomi Campbell.

Mary J. Blige: Yo, isn’t that Higher Learning you’re talking about?

You want to read more, right? The answer is yes. It’s always yes.

So you know, gon’ head and read the rest over at The Shadow League.

Donald Trump Reminds Me of Herpes

I was assigned to write about a messy political stunt queen named Donald Trump and his latest asinine announcement. Although I’d much rather he’d do us the solid of falling into an abyss somewhere versus compelling people to pay him any mind, the rent must be paid.

Alas:

No one should be this desperate to plug their reality show on NBC.

Yes, he’s White, male, and wealthy, which means he doesn’t have to prove much to get undeserved attention, but at one point do we collectively say, “Trump, is an empty-headed nuisance who should be relegated to crazy man yelling crap on the corner while collecting spare change status?”

Donald Trump is to the media what genital herpes is to the human body.

And while we would all wish that he would just go away permanently — never to pop up on another news station again — unfortunately, Trump behaves like some sort of mutated strain that manages to keep popping up.

Enter today.

I may not be literally scratching in the “love below” area, yet I am scratching the head up top wondering just how much longer the media at large is going to put up with this dude’s attention-whoring antics?  It’s apparent that he’s on that “Effie White” side of life when it comes to his pursuit of publicity. So be it, but can’t we be more stingy when it comes to giving in?

You can read the rest here.

Why Jerks Are Having the Best Year Ever

When I read about the three White high school students re-enacting a 2009 domestic violence incident between Chris Brown and Rihanna in Blackface as part of a competition held during high a pep rally, I wasn’t surprised. Racists will be racists, but more importantly, now more than ever you see these idiots succumb to the lowest common denominator in search of a laugh. It doesn’t matter how disrespectful, if not flat out cruel, the punchline is…all that matters to these folks is that they get someone to chuckle and get a sense of validation.

So as horrific it is to see young people take serious subject matter like violence against women as a source of “satire,” I didn’t need their story to realize how much meaner we’re collectively becoming. I often see similar behavior occurring on social media in real time. It’s usually worse to witness in that medium given the anonymity of the internet fuels cowards to say things directly to others that they wouldn’t dare to in person.

Take for instance the video of the belligerent 25-year-old woman who was ultimately assaulted by a Cleveland bus driver. It didn’t take long for people to identity both her government name and her Twitter handle. Once people did, her mentions consisted of one crude joke about her beating after another. Feel however you want about the incident itself, make your jokes if you must, but why go out of your way to directly be hurtful? Why did she need to hear these things?

I am not trying to police other people’s sense of humor. No one is completely absolved from guilt with respect to sometimes going over the line. Even so, while I personally can’t get a laugh out of watching a woman be hit by a man, what truly baffles me is why people went out of their way to find her for the sake of further taunting her.

You can click here to read the rest over at EBONY.com.

Abigail Fisher and the Me Generation

Abigail Fisher is a puppet, nothing more than the latest Pinocchio to Edward Blum’s Geppetto. She may be the vessel, but it is Blum who is the driving force of Fisher v. University of Texas — the current Supreme Court case that may lend the fatal blow to affirmative action for which staunch conservatives have longed. He recruited her through his legal defense fund group, Project on Fair Representation, which he’s used to fight race-focused legislation for two decades now. The legal fees are reportedly paid through support of DonorsTrust, a group that has directed millions of dollars to the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity Foundation.

Together they’re dressing up her bitterness at being rejected from her first-choice college as the need to stop “discrimination” in college admissions. That’s a cute little tale, but in actuality all of this boils down to someone operating under the unfortunate assumption that just because you work for something, it is owed to you. Working hard toward a goal doesn’t automatically mean you deserve to achieve it.

Nonetheless, while we wait to see how the Supreme Court does rule, there’s growing evidence that the court can’t really do away with affirmative action altogether. Maybe so, but that won’t stop the Abigail Fishers of the world from going above and beyond to essentially enact revenge on others over feelings that they were wronged.

I’m not convinced that future incarnations of Fisher will have solely white faces, either.

I initially thought to chalk up Fisher’s sense of entitlement as “mighty white,” though I’ve increasingly seen this perspective among people in their 20s — my age group — regardless of their hue. Yes, white privilege undoubtedly plays out throughout Fisher’s case, and I’m irritated by her lawsuit’s implication that students at UT who look more like me are less deserving of admission than those that look like her (though they are apparently smarter and more well-rounded than she was). However, the more I thought about it, the more familiar her “me, me, me” outlook on life appeared.

You can read the rest over at The Root.

Lena Dunham Doesn’t Need Saving

Lena Dunham isn’t exactly a victim. At the age of 26, she has a show on HBO and now has reportedly signed a major book deal worth $3.7 million dollars. And if all else fails, she remains a White woman born to parents with some nominal level of fame. Of all people in need of a savior to don a cape and rush to their aid, one would hope Dunham would volunteer to stand in the back of the line in a moving display of self-awareness.

During a recent conversation with TV critic Emily Nussbaum at the New Yorker Festival, Dunham said of this critique about her success: “The criticism that disappointed me was the privilege and nepotism of things. It’s upsetting and confusing…I have plenty of counterarguments to that but it’s not elegant to share them…I’ve had summer jobs since I was 12 but I can’t come out and say that.”

I wish she had expressed whatever other counterpoint she had regardless of how inelegant it may have sounded to her. Not that it’d alter the truth about her circumstances. True enough, Dunham has proven herself to be both a talented and ardent worker; nonetheless, much of her success can be attributed to the opportunities her privilege has afforded.

That is not her fault, nor is she at all wrong for seizing on what’s in front of her. However, Dunham’s failure to acknowledge her status as a White woman of a particular socioeconomic status and the access it provides doesn’t do much in the way of convincing less-fortunate folks not to critique her or, at the very least, to critique what her success means to them. It’s not that most have faulted Lena Dunham one bit for accepting a $3.7 million book advance. Who wouldn’t? Still, I do take issue with the rationale behind it and some of the defense mechanisms launched to shield her from critique.

The role of sexism or any other form of prejudice can never be discounted…but why is it that whenever criticism is leveled in Lena Dunham’s way, somehow it always falls back to gender?

Read the rest here.