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When Miley Cyrus revealed a newfound appreciation for twerking and producer Mike WiLL Made-It in 2013, her moves were shocking only to those unfamiliar with a common practice among Miley’s ilk: white child stars itching to cross over to bona fide adult star.

When they are younger, their squeaky-clean presentation is incredibly profitable, but unfortunately for them, they age out and soon run the risk of becoming something that threatens their respective careers: corny. They have to do something to hold on to their fan bases, who, like them, are growing up and are in search of new voices and sounds more aligned with their newfound older interests. So they clamor for something that will convey “rebellion,” and they run right to black culture.

Much has been written about America’s obsession with what is often referred to as “black cool.” In 2015, Ebony magazine’s then editor in chief, Kierna Mayo, ran a simple yet audacious statement on its cover: “America Loves Black People Culture.” It’s an exhausting dichotomy, but while the public at large loves facets of black culture, black people remain beset with lingering prejudices about who we are. As a black man, I am cool but also dangerous. Black women, meanwhile, are also perceived as cool and are subjected to gross stereotypes purporting hypersexuality.

Yet, when white people engage in traditional black art forms, they reap the benefits without any of the difficulties attached. So Miley and many of her contemporaries are just like Christina Aguilera in cornrows when she needed to venture away from bubblegum pop to remain a pop culture force. The same can be said of Justin Timberlake when he needed to escape the boy-band tag and stand as his own solo adult male star. Miley is merely the latest incarnation of an ongoing American cultural pastime.

Unfortunately for Miley, her recent Billboard cover story exposed what many of us on the sidelines had long suspected: Her aim was to co-opt our culture for personal gain and toss our ways aside when they no longer suited her interests.

While speaking about her new direction, Miley praised Kendrick Lamar’s song “Humble” but noted, “I love that because it’s not ‘Come sit on my d*ck, suck on my c*ck.’ I can’t listen to that anymore. That’s what pushed me out of the hip-hop scene a little. It was too much ‘Lamborghini, got my Rolex, got a girl on my c*ck’ — I am so not that.”

Miley went on to add: “I was torn on whether I was going to work with certain producers that I really like. But I feel if we’re not on the same page ­politically…. My record is political, but the sound bite doesn’t stop there.”

After rightfully being criticized, Miley took to Instagram to try and clarify her comments, explaining, “At this point in my life I am expanding personally/musically and gravitating more towards uplifting, conscious rap!”

However, this did not fix the problem at hand. Miley still went on to feign ignorance as to why she was criticized for how she used black female dancers as props.

Miley said her aim was to create “real change,” which included not just preaching to the choir. In her mind, her new folksy return to country music is her attempt to go back to her good-girl roots.

Even so, there are certain realities we all have to accept. There is something to be said for an artist having the space to try new things. And for many born of a certain age, hip-hop culture has been the defining culture for their entire lives.

Read the rest at Teen Vogue.

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Even if it can boast of being a critical darling that’s generated historic ratings for the network, Underground‘s fate at WGN America appears to be all but sealed.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the slave-centered drama, which wrapped its second season Wednesday, will have to find a new home amid a new strategy employed by its new owners, the Sinclair Group, which recently secured WGN America’s owner, Tribune Media. Previously, WGN America had been trying to fancy itself as a new destination for high-quality dramas like Underground and Outsiders. Yet, in April, WGN America axed Outsiders, its top-rated drama, which subsequently sparked talk that Underground would likely go home to TV glory, too.

“It’s a complete pause at WGN America,” an apparent “agency insider” explained to the publication. “It’s unclear if they’ll still have scripted there. I had something being shopped there, and talks suddenly just stalled. They’re figuring out what they’re going to do and if they even continue on with scripted.”

That means WGN America will likely now become home to reruns of procedural dramas already airing on seven damn networks and cheap imports. Hello, Canada. What up, Britain? Hey, hey, Czechoslovakia. Let WGN America air your shit stateside for that low-low.

All hope isn’t lost for Underground fans, though. Its producer, Sony Pictures Television, has been trying to find a new home for the show, which reportedly carries a $5-million-per-episode cost. The show already has an exclusive deal to air episodes on Hulu, so here’s hoping that Hulu will add the show to its roster of original programming. After all, Hulu could use more color in its programming slate.

For those who didn’t take heed to my previous call to watch the show, stop depriving yourselves of greatness and dive in. The second season of Underground is superior to what was already an outstanding inaugural run. And while every cast member on the show is impressive in his or her respective role, Underground has given me a strong and ever-increasing affinity for the talents of Amirah Vann, who plays Miss Ernestine on the series.

While I’ll join fellow viewers in prayers, happy thoughts and wishes upon a star that Underground gets a third season on a deserving network or medium like Hulu, there is another aspect to WGN America’s new owners that ought to alarm anyone who worries about the role that big, conservative-leaning conglomerates have in our collective viewing habits.

Read the rest at The Root.

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If reports of NeNe Leakes and Kim Zolciak’s return to The Real Housewives of Atlanta are true, praise everyone on high because this season has been long, draining and worrisome. Some of the cast members are guiltier than others for that, and in the spirit of their nastiness, here is a ranking of everyone who’s irritated me from least to “Girl, you’re the absolute worst.”

Cynthia Bailey

Cynthia is the least bothersome cast member of RHOA. When she first joined the show, she was attached to NeNe Leakes like a ring to a nipple, which was a bit frustrating to watch when she would introduce things like the very ridiculous friendship contract. A long time has passed since then, though, and honestly, the most annoying thing about the former model has been her ex-husband, Peter Thomas. Peter liked being on this show way too much, until he didn’t. You noticed this at the end of the third edition of the reunion when Peter snatched off his mic and stormed away from the set.

Hopefully, now that the two are no longer a pair, he can keep away. If he finds another reality-TV show to be on—a highly plausible scenario—good for him. I won’t be watching it, but if Uncle Ben-face wants to trash-talk and throw brown rice on another forum, so be it. Just keep him away from RHOA, Cynthia and Todd Tucker, who is his heir apparent in the “This Negro really wants a fucking peach” aspect of this show.

For her next season, I hope Cynthia goes on some dates and meets less-cantankerous men. Don’t loan this new man any money, either, Ms. Bailey. The Lord obviously doesn’t find that to be the best option for you.

Shereé Whitfield

When Shereé got her peach back, I was so happy because if nothing else, Lady Whitfield is great for a good confessional drag and one-liner; see: “Hell to the nah to the nah-nah-nah.” That said, though she has been a longtime favorite of mine, she was a bit of a letdown this season. As the self-appointed bone collector, Shereé spent most of her time this season telling everyone else’s business. Much of that has to do with the fact that she doesn’t seem to have as much going on.

What frustrates me about Shereé is that she let other cast members do the hustles she should’ve been jumped on. Like, how is Shereé in possession of that body and not out here training celebrities and releasing top-selling fitness videos? Instead, all we got was another damn season of her talking about Chateau Shereé. I don’t know if Chateau Shereé is in her name or her mama’s name; nor do I know if the property is done being saddled with liens. Honestly, I’d rather Chateau Shereé settle all of that shit, once and for all, so that she can move on from the storyline and spare us in the process. And with that peace of mind, maybe she’ll find something more to talk about that’s actually about her.

I’m rooting for you, Shereé, and your fine-ass son. Bring him back anytime you want. Not just because he’s fine, but because he at least has a damn storyline based on himself. Learn from your offspring.

Kandi Burruss

As happy as I am that Xscape is finally back together, The Real Housewives of Atlanta has long suggested to me that Mrs. Burruss-Tucker bears a whole lot of responsibility for why it took so long for a proper reunion. Kandi is cool, but Kandi is also petty, and unlike a lot of you motherfuckers across social media, I don’t like petty.

Here is what bugs me about Kandi: She lets everyone around her drag the fuck out of her fellow cast members, then feigns aloofness about why people feel she may have issues with them that she won’t explicitly state herself unless it’s already a fight happening.

I don’t want to hear her employees take digs at other people. I don’t want to see her mama dressed like Inspector Gadget in a scene as she minds someone else’s business. None of those people have peaches; thus, why are we constantly subjected to them? Their thoughts and feelings about Kandi’s business shouldn’t matter so much, but they do because they tend to speak for Kandi.

Kandi should ask Tiny to join the show so that, at the very least, she can have a friend to hang out with. Like, how many more scenes must we see of Kandi’s employees talking noise about her co-workers during their breaks?

Now, Kandi has been treated terribly this season, but that doesn’t negate the fact that Todd talks too much. So does her mama. So does Don Juan, no Bishop. So does that other one whose name I can’t recall but I won’t Google because she ain’t on this damn show and I shouldn’t see her so damn much. Enough.

Porsha Williams

Bless Porsha’s heart, but all too often, she speaks as if the inside of her brain consists of a bunch of sedimentary rocks. I didn’t like her when she first joined the show because she was judgmental toward the other women while being married to that terrible man. After life humbled her and she put on a freakum dress, she tried to stop acting like she wasn’t in a Trillville video years ago.

Read the rest at The Root.

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There are certain rules in life that I try to live by: Be good to people. Never stop trying to be your best Beyoncé. And, most of all: Don’t give a damn about what white people think of you.

Of course, some might say that’s a kind of privileged fantasy. If you are part of a racial minority in the U.S.—most of all, if you’re a Black person—much of your survival and well being is contingent on whiteness and how it treats you. Much of your overall peace of mind has to do with whiteness, and how it defines you in relation only to itself. It’s unavoidable.

 As a child growing up in Houston, I didn’t know that institutional racism and socioeconomic barriers had more or less kept white people away from me. The one inkling I did have came from my working-class mother: even though she didn’t have the means to support me in other ways, she instilled in me a sense of pride—in not just myself, but in those who look like me. Moreover, she made it very clear that when I did come across white people, some would have certain biases against me, and that I should not let them break me.
Later on, I also attended a college that wasn’t predominantly white. Still, as a Black person living in this country, I’m well aware of what society makes of us. That means I take people as individuals, but never forget that, collectively, white people continue to think the absolute worst of me and mine—or, at the very least, harbor racial biases they might not even be aware of. My expectations are set accordingly.

Knowing all of this, I aim to never be consciously burdened by whiteness more than I have to; it’s pervasive enough as it is. And so, while I enjoyed the 2014 film Dear White People, I wasn’t personally invested in its message. Not to diminish the significance of its narrative—white people perpetuating and inadequately responding to racism is a reality that should be talked about and pushed against. But in many ways, Justin Simien’s film was arguably not so much about identity, but more about the preconceived notions other people have about a minority in a majority space.

 At the end of April, Netflix released Dear White People as a series. Many of the film’s elements have been brought over, but television offers a deeper look at the characters. In this expanded version, I found something I could much more directly relate to: Lionel Higgins (DeRon Horton) and his experience of coming to terms with being a gay Black man. Not only did I relate, but I appreciated that story being told—men like us are so rarely seen on television, much less heard from.
Each of the ten episodes of DWP‘s first season is told from the perspective of a different character, all students at a fictitious Ivy League school called Winchester University. In Lionel’s episode, “Chapter II,” we bear witness to his inner struggle: an attraction to his outrageously attractive, no-body-fat-having roommate, Troy (Brandon P. Bell, who reprises his role from the film).

Read the rest at Elle.

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Like many reading this, I didn’t know what the hell a Lil Yachty was until a younger person explained it to me. Then I listened to him and immediately went back to playing classic artists like Future and Rihanna. “No Child Left Behind” rap isn’t always my thing. However, if there is one thing I know as a Southerner who loves Southern rap and is familiar with the coastal snobs who trashed what I cherish most, it’s to not repeat their mistakes.

Unfortunately, not everyone is as accommodating.

On Wednesday the Atlanta native made an appearance on Complex’s Everyday Struggle web series, hosted by Joe Budden. For the entire interview, Budden picked Yachty apart.

While addressing the artwork of Yachty’s new album, Budden said:

I don’t think that Yachty is hip-hop. I don’t think that Yachty’s label is hip-hop. When you’re not hip-hop and you’re trying to just troll or exploit, you get things like this.

I’ve read other critiques of the Teenage Emotions album cover. Complaints about two gay white men kissing, as opposed to two black men, are understandable, but cries of cultural appropriation, not so much. Two men kissing isn’t culture, and if the aim is to be inclusive, as many claim, that’s inclusivity (with white folks, oddly enough, but still).

Budden’s main gripe is that it isn’t real, but there are plenty o’ rappers who have been fake as fuck for decades now. Their lies were far more harmful than what Yachty just presented to the world. What was really interesting to watch, though, was Mr. “Pump It Up” losing his shit over Yachty’s claim, “I am happy every day because life is moving in such a positive way, I can’t get slowed down.”

Yachty is a famous rapper with minimal skill living the dream. He has no reason to appear as bitter as the likes of Joe Budden, who shape-shifts back and forth between being the Hannibal Lecter of hip-hop and the Statler and Waldorf of rap: two for the price of one.

The latter won this time, with Budden challenging him:

Let me tell you how humans are. Feelings are fickle. What that means is they come and they go. Nobody is one thing forever. You cannot tell me … you would be lying to tell me that, as a young man in this industry—in this industry, in the music business—you are happy 24-7! That is a lie!! That is bullshit and I refuse to have someone tell me bullshit! I want to have an honest conversation.

Is Lil Yachty the best catalyst for a chat on the limitations of striving to always maintain a positive attitude? Did Joe Budden forget this is a 19-year-old? All of the superficial reasons Yachty cited to validate his happiness gave me “typical teenager barely into adulthood.”

On why he’s so happy:

When you come from a college-dorm room with no money, you scamming credit cards and you aint’ gettin’ no play from no girls, you have no clothes, you have no car … and you come to having three [or] four cars, you have millions of dollars, a half-million dollars on your body just to wear and any kind of clothes you want, any hos you want, how could you be upset?

Again, Yachty sometimes raps like his tongue is taking a nap, but he’s poppin’ right now all the same. He has no reason to act like he’s in a monogamous relationship with misery. But I suppose when you’re in a rush to transfer your cynicism, you let reason go for the sake of your personal cause.

To wit, Budden claimed that Yachty must have had media training to craft these responses, but Yachty shot back, proving how nice it is to walk around not being a contemptuous asshole. Budden also poked at his business dealings with the record label (Yachty has since clarified whether he has a 360 deal via Twitter). Budden tried to refute any potential criticism that he was being an angry old head, claiming, “I was you last decade. I was dissing Wu-Tang.” Budden is referring to the time Yachty told Billboard magazine that he could not name five songs by 2Pac and the Notorious B.I.G., only to later deem Biggie “overrated.”

Maybe, but Budden didn’t want to help Yachty; he wanted to embarrass him, because that’s what Joe Budden does. See his stint on Love & Hip Hop: New York. Also see his Twitter timeline.

Read the rest at The Root.

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There are times in life when one must check a bitch. In the age of social media, when people from all walks of life share can anonymously say something slick to a stranger, those times have become far more common—especially if you’re a celebrity. It happens so often that the Shade Room has an ongoing series on its Instagram account highlighting celebrity-themed clapbacks. I tend to laugh like hell at them. People can be so vile and those types deserve to reap what they sow, be it a Rihanna-style dragging or a Tina Lawson, classic Black mama dressing down.

Still, there’s something that needs to be said to those celebrities who actively look for trouble: find something better to do with your time.

That life hack would certainly benefit French Montana, who last week lashed out at a Twitter user by calling her a “musty crusty dusty rusty ass hoe” before inviting the user to “take your cum drinking Dick banging ass somewhere n be humble.” Let’s dissect exactly how much French Montana fucked up here. For one, as someone who does not identify as Black, where does he get off using “nappy” as a pejorative? French has since shared that he didn’t know “‘nappy’ was a “racist word”—but he also thinks “everybody should say ‘nigga.’” In other words, he surrounds himself with Black people who refuse to tell him that being the Ashanti of hip-hop does not, in fact, make him Black.

Beyond his inflammatory public display of idiocy, though, is the overall problem: the person he attacked did not directly address him. She did not include his Twitter handle, which means French went out of his way by searching his own name. Many celebrities do this and then lash out at anyone criticizing them. This has happened so many times, and in every single instance I hear Joseline Hernandez asking, “Ho, why is you here?”

I think people enjoy the Shade Room’s clapback series (and similar segments) because it’s famous folks replying to rude-ass people who jump into their Instagram comments to say dumb shit. In those cases, the clapback often comes across as warranted. Famous people are still people, so they have every right to directly respond to people directly entering their space to be disrespectful (or just flat-out wrong).

However, in the case of French Montana and other name-searching-on-social media stars, there’s a stench of the pathetic. The reality is, anyone who maintains any form of notoriety will be subject to criticism. The inconvenient truth is that it is largely unavoidable unless you avoid social media altogether. So, if you are aware that people will criticize you and may even insult you, why chase that sort of attention? Why give people who don’t like you that much attention—especially if they didn’t even aim their contempt at you directly?

French Montana could have easily spent his Twitter time engaging with his fans. You know, the people who spend their time trying to reach him. Instead, he made himself look like a jackass. He dragged himself in ways the person he was responding to never could have.

Read the rest at Complex.

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One may as well wear a white hood, while the other governed as if he were donning a dunce cap, but make no mistake: Hot garbage may have a stronger stench than its colder counterpart, but trash is trash.

So when it comes to the growing sentiment that maybe, just maybe, former President George W. Bush wasn’t so bad, I say this with love: Y’all have got to get the fuck on somewhere. I know Papaya Batista has us wondering if every churchgoing elder who’s been talking about the rapture since the original airings of Fraggle Rock might finally have his visions come to fruition. But oh no, we are not about to rock our hips and then wave and sip in this revisionist history about that man.

Some of this Dubya-remixed nostalgia stems from his interview on Today to promote his new book, Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors, featuring portraits of some of the military veterans he has met.

Since Bush managed to pry himself out of self-imposed exile from the press, Matt Lauer did not miss the chance to ask him about what’s happening in our increasingly disastrous world. In turn, W. set out to prove that he’s not a complete fool and a boil on the butt of humanity, unlike the reality-show hack currently in office.

When asked about the press, Bush said that a free press was “indispensable to democracy”—not the sworn enemy of the American people as some nitwits have recently argued. Bush added, “We need an independent media to hold people like me to account.”

He then opted to up the sensible-speaking ante: “Power can be very addictive and it can be corrosive, and it’s important for the media to call to account people who abuse their power.”

What interesting commentary from a man who led the administration that lied about us getting into war, but sure, this all sounds a lot better than “axis of evil” and much of the word vomit he was known to engage in as president. As do Bush’s comments about 45’s potential ties to the Russian government.

“I think we all need answers,” he said. “I’m not sure the right avenue to take. I am sure, though, that that question needs to be answered.”

And for his thoughts on 45’s immigration policy, Bush explained, “I am for an immigration policy that is welcoming and upholds the law.”

What Bush should have said was, “Immigration reform was probably the one decent goal I could have accomplished as president, but the hateful people of my own punk-ass party cock-blocked me.”

After the Today interview came his People magazine interview in which Bush declared, “I don’t like the racism and I don’t like the name-calling, and I don’t like the people feeling alienated. Nobody likes that.”

This all prompted applause from people just happy to see a president who doesn’t make them want to cry out to God asking why they have been forsaken.

Read the rest at The Root.

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Upon realizing that Warren Beatty was pulling a Steve Harvey at the Miss Universe competition (who knows what Faye Dunaway was doing, poor thing), La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz took the reins and set the record straight: “This is not a joke. Moonlight won Best Picture.” In the midst of all that confusion and chaos, a new reality was sealed: a film depicting gay black love won Best Picture at the 89th Academy Awards.

I’m telling myself to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative. We won. Exhale, shoop shoop and take pleasure in this. This win is an amazing thing, one many of us saw as implausible. Yet I initially struggled with savoring the moment.

For one thing, the Moonlight cast and crew had their moment stolen. What happened to the La La Land cast and crew was worse, but it was never supposed to be their time. It’s a shame that Moonlight didn’t get to have a less turbulent meditation last night. Even in the aftermath of the Oscars, their feat has been slightly overshadowed by the mistake that preceded it. Headlines about the apologies have spilled all across the internet as have salutations to the cast and crew of La La Land for their graciousness in an embarrassing situation.

Moonlight is not only the first LGBTQ film to take Best Picture, but one whose cast is virtually all black. Despite evidence to the contrary, white people are typically the face of the community. In Moonlight, there is no white savior to be found in the story of a poor black kid from Miami learning to define his sexuality and his masculinity on his own terms. Some have made quips online that a black film won without featuring slaves and maids.

But even Moonlight focuses on different forms of oppression like crack, poverty, and intolerance, and besides, the stories of those slaves and maids matter, too. The real win will be when we score nods for singing and dancing and jubilee a la La La Land.

Some also noted what a triumph this was given the backdrop of Trump’s America, but America before Trump wasn’t especially kind to the black LGBTQ people—and certainly not to our stories. Moonlight made its mark regardless of whatever Academy voters decided to give it.

Still, there is something momentous about the Oscars—an institution firmly entrenched in the white mainstream—giving a story about gay black love this level of recognition and visibility.

I sold my first book recently, and I found it to be one of the most frustrating experiences of my career thus far. I was told many times in language both coded and overt that who I am—gay, black, southern, working class—gave me extremely limited appeal. My experience was “niche.” One editor essentially told me over the phone that black people are too homophobic and white people don’t care enough about black people.

Read the rest at Fusion.

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If Sinbad and Ike Turner had a child of great talent and potential who would ultimately squander both because of his issues with anger and maybe some matters that recall the D.A.R.E. program, he’d look and aggressively dance a lot like Chris Brown.

Brown is the R&B equivalent of the kin you’ve rooted for but decided to let go of because you’ve finally accepted that they may be in the HOV lane to the crossroads. Because of his celebrity, though, Brown will never truly go away. Still, with his most recent disturbing headline, it’s time to internalize En Vogue’s “Give It Up, Turn It Loose.” We’ll always have “Yo (Excuse Me Miss),” “Take You Down,” “Damage” and “Fine China,” but for those who continue to hold out hope that Brown will rise above his problems, it’s time to pop, lock and drop into reality.

On Tuesday, TMZ reported that Brown’s former girlfriend Karrueche Tran filed legal documents accusing Brown of threatening to kill her. Additionally, Tran claims that Brown has physically assaulted her in the past. And suddenly I now want to get up and do Soulja Boy’s Superman dance.

Karrueche claims in a sworn statement to the judge, earlier this month Chris “told a few people that he was going to kill me.” She then says Chris told the friends if he can’t have her then no one else can, threatening he was going to “take me out” and “threatened to shoot me.”

Karrueche also says several years ago Chris “punched me in my stomach twice,” and “pushed me down the stairs.” This would have been during the time Chris was on probation for the Rihanna beating.

Tran also claims that Brown has threatened her friends and recently threw a drink at one of them. So, not only is this man Light, Bright Ike, but he’s part-time vintage Evelyn Lozada from Basketball Wives.

In any case, the judge granted said domestic violence restraining order, requiring Brown to stay 100 yards away from Tran, her mom and her brother.

In response, Brown took to Instagram to try to clear his name while simultaneously confirming your worst suspicions about his state of mind as he rambled rather incoherently. Forgoing a publicist and lawyer, Brown said, “Make sure y’all don’t be listening to all this bullshit man. I don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about. Don’t believe all that bullshit, bro.”

His comments might have come across as more convincing had he not delivered them in a manner that recalls a kite flying high in the clear blue sky.

Of the many problems Chris Brown has, one in particular is his unfortunate habit of documenting his bad decisions and erratic behavior for all to see. Less than a month ago, Brown took to Al Gore’s internet and recorded himself sounding like the very violent menace his ex-girlfriend is accusing him to be. Do people not realize that when it comes to sharing videos on the internet, 1) we can see you and 2) the internet is forever?

In that now infamous clip in which he looked like the lost cousin of Kris Kross, Brown said:

Ladies y’all be complaining about niggas being like stalkers, in love with y’all, kinda crazy shit, and get tired of ’em. Well guess what? I’m one of them niggas. If I love you, bitch, ain’t nobody gon’ have ya. I’mma make ya miserable. I’mma chase that nigga out, I’mma chase yo ass around.

Ladies, y’all ever dealt with a nigga who just be blowin’ your shit up? Hopping gates, stalking the fuck out of you, getting on your nerves? Well, shit. I’m one of them niggas.

And now he is being accused not only of additional physical abuse years after he beat another now-former girlfriend, Rihanna, but also of living up to the very abusive stalker he boldly professed himself to be on camera.

For years now, fans and other sympathizers have rallied behind Brown. Some have made excuses for his behavior. In many cases it was a matter of victim-blaming, though in others, Brown’s having witnessed domestic violence as a child was cited as a reason to hold out hope that he would one day get himself together. That he would own his mistakes and ultimately overcome whatever internal demons and the childhood trauma that helped create them.

But as someone who is not unfamiliar with some of what Brown has spoken of previously, there comes a point when you realize that some people are simply stuck. Maybe critics—self included—were too harsh on him. Perhaps more people needed to give him a chance to redeem himself. There were instances in which it seemed as if Brown was damned if he did, damned if he didn’t.

Nevertheless, Brown has largely been the maker of his own madness.

Read the rest at The Root.

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If I could charter our new President Hog’s-Head-Cheese Hussein a flight anywhere, the destination would be obvious: the Seventh Circle of Hell. If his long list of sins against humanity before he was elected (insert laugh track) president did not confirm what an arrogant, selfish, greedy, cruel waste of the gift of life he is, then certainly, his actions mere days into his presidency have. So if 45 has already proved himself to be an inhumane tyrant in the making, why would anyone waste hundreds of words seeking to convince fans of the hidden virtues of a bigot?

As previously reported, Mean Mary Tina Campbell of Mary Mary wrote an open letter about the new president that advocates him in ways that a man who associates with white supremacists is undeserving of. Generally speaking, open letters are equal parts inane and irritating. However, Campbell did ask for people to “read my letter below with an open mind.”

As a recovering Catholic who was once recruited for the priesthood (coulda been Yung Pope, but sex, no shade), I obliged.

Despite the unfortunate reality that we live in a country which is divided by our differences, misguided by ignorance and fear, obsessed with power, and overcome with greed, I still choose to believe that better days are coming. I believe that, although America and all of its leaders are far from perfect, our spiritual guidance and covering that has been granted from our initial decision to be “One nation under God,” is what has established us as the great nation that we are.

Let me stop you right there, Heil Mary.

It’s fine to believe, despite the inept would-be authoritarian dismantling democracy day by day, that brighter days lie ahead, given that you’ve got God and a cushier tax bracket than most, but what is this nonsense about how “‘One Nation under God’” is “what has established us as the great nation that we are”? Beloved, you are black. This same nation that professed to extol the virtues of God was built on the backs of your enslaved ancestors and has systematically oppressed your kind since its inception. You can luh God like your sister, but no Negroes with the good sense God gave them should pretend that this nation hasn’t long bastardized religion.

I understand that Mr. Donald Trump is our new president, not our God, so as a citizen I choose to have a sensible expectation of him, accompanied by much prayer for him, and a complete dependency on God to work through him, as well as the others that are in office, to secure the welfare of this nation. I choose to opt out of fear of the unknown but rather opt in to hopeful expectation because if God is for us nothing can successfully stand against us.

I mean, if you’re not traveling from select countries on the Muslim ban, I suppose you can walk without fear. You can’t get an amen for this, but at least you are praying for the president. His punk ass needs it.

I believe that understanding and compassion is absolutely necessary for the progress of all people. So, although I don’t always understand or agree with Mr. Donald Trump’s politics, perspective, and approach, I believe that the same God that created all of us has deposited greatness inside of him that goes far beyond what many of us have seen and what many of us could imagine. I believe that God can do exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think, according to the power that works in us. I believe that the power that works in us is our ability to love, and unify, and humble ourselves, and forgive, and hope, and pray, and educate ourselves, and apply wisdom and hard work to knowledge. I choose to believe that that same power that comes from Almighty God is at work in Mr. Donald Trump, and it will be used for the greater good of this nation and its people.

Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Did Campbell say, “I believe that the same God that created all of us has deposited greatness inside of him that goes far beyond what many of us have seen and what many of us could imagine”? This mediocre white man has built a career off of nepotism, good tax attorneys, bankruptcy laws, not paying people for their services and being a fame whore. He is the irregular sweater of humanity. I rebuke this.

It’s much easier to assume that someone is in power because God “chose” him than to wrestle with the reality that evil exists and there are instances where one must call a thing a thing—and then fight it. Enter the likes of the Rev. William Barber, who consistently fights for the very Christian principles 45 actively works against. Barber has routinely spoken out against the racism of 45 and the party whose racist rhetoric paved the way for him. He has done so with the assistance of religious people of varying faiths.

Read the rest at The Root.

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