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The future Angela Kardashian is my new hero.

Despite feeling somewhat disrespected that the soon-to-be former Blac Chyna stole my five year plan, I’m happy that she’s engaged to Rob Kardashian. As Blac Chyna’s rep told Us Weekly, “She was very excited and loves the ring. She’s happy with him and very happy.” Indeed, they look quite happy together and part of my joy over their engagement is rooted in the likelihood that Rob’s family members are sick over it.

To which I say: SUFFER.

Remember when Blac Chyna used to be great friends with Kim Kardashian? That is, until Kim’s teenage sister started dating the father of Blac Chyna’s child and her now former fiancé, that Timon from The Lion King looking rapper known as Tyga. Blac Chyna never publicly condemned any of the parties involved—including Kim—which was very nice of her, ‘cause I would have publicly blasted all of them. Twice.

The thing with those Kardashian sisters is that they are the reality-TV equivalent of any R&B song about a woman creeping in the wings, waiting to take a friend’s man. Seriously, why is it that so many of their relationships are modeled after SWV’s catalog?

Another former friend of Kim’s, Trina, has noted in interviews and on social media how Khloe Kardashian has dated two of her former boyfriends: French Montana (HAHN!) and James Harden, of the Houston Rockets. And though Amber Rose and Kim may “text each other all the time now,” don’t forget that Amber once referred to Kim as a homewrecker who plotted on taking Kanye West from her. Kris Humphries would agree with that sentiment.

I’m not sure whether or not Blac Chyna’s intentions with the only Kardashian brother were pure initially, but I do know that the end result is this family getting done to them what they have previously done to others. This is the family that consistently flips relationships into business partnerships, so I hope that not only do Blac Chyna and Rob Kardashian get married, I hope they’re at work negotiating a reality show. It’s the family way.

In fact, in Kim Kardashian’s Rolling Stone interview last year she discussed Rob, saying, “Do I think he smokes weed, drinks beer, hangs out, and plays video games with his friends all day long? Yes.” When pressed if it wasn’t more “like hookers and meth at the Ritz,” she responded: “No, no. Or he’d be skinny.”

Rob was said to be “furious” over this, but thankfully, his new fiancée is helping him out. See, Kimmy? It’s all better now. Blac Chyna is remodeling Rob the same way Kanye West ransacked your closet and put you in all those neutral tones.

So what if Kris Jenner and the rest of the family aren’t talking about the new addition to the family? Blac Chyna, Rob Kardashian, and his future mother-in-law, Tokyo Toni, certainly seem pleased. I think that’s what matters most.

Read the rest at Complex.

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Am I a terrible person because I watched Janet Jackson announce her second tour delay due to family planning and thought, “But, baby girl, what about these concert tickets?”

Before Beyoncé and her blond, freestyle braids took control of my life and thigh muscles, there was Janet Jackson, the patron saint of the butterfly, the master of the dookie braid, and the queen of the whisper. Janet Jackson has taught me many things throughout my life, so I was ecstatic to see her perform on the Unbreakable World Tour. That was supposed to happen in February, only she postponed the date until August due to surgery. Now Damita Jo is pulling out another doctor’s note to excuse herself from that tour date and all other dates.

I am so happy that Janet and her billionaire bae of a husband, Wissam Al Mana, are going to start a family—especially considering Janet is 49. I have no idea how this is going to happen, but as NeNe Leakes once said, “They make ’em when you got the coin.” Still, this couldn’t have been the first time the two thought about this, so why touch me, tease me with a tour she seems to not really care all that much about?

The way she’s treated this tour is a lot like how she has treated her latest album, Unbreakable. It was an album seven years in the making and reunited Janet with longtime collaborators, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. Moreover, there was a press release that went out touting Janet’s new label, Rhythm Nation Records, which touted her as “arguably the first female African-American recording artist to form her own record label.”

The album’s first single, “No Sleeep,” went on to become her longest-running No. 1 song on the adult R&B song chart—a reminder that the blacks will hold you down even after a white man pulls off part of your shirt, exposing your breast in front of a billion people and leaving your career and a nipple out in the cold. The album has the nerve to be pretty damn decent, too. Certainly better than the material she recorded with Jermaine Dupri.

And then what happened? The hell if I know. Janet gave us one video and not another peep. Legend has it she shot a video for my favorite track from the release, “Dammn Baby,” but where is it? Probably in the closet with the tour wardrobe she apparently won’t be putting back on anytime soon.

I completely understand why Janet Jackson would be over the music industry. She was wronged after her Super Bowl performance and she struggled for a while to regain footing. If not for the support of her most loyal fans—a smooth millions of folks across the world—her legacy wouldn’t have endured as well as it has. However, it’s that support that helped launch her comeback—a comeback that now seems to ending with, “Never mind. Bye, y’all.”

Read the rest at The Root.

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When it comes to the long discussed sequel to Waiting to Exhale, there is an obvious issue: Whitney Houston is dead. Houston’s voice and celebrity made her such a key component of the film. How does one go on without her?

In 2012, a FOX 2000 executive revealed that the sequel would indeed go on and argued that Houston would want it that way. A year late Waiting To Exhale co-star Angela Bassett echoed the sentiment, telling The Huffington Post: “In my heart, I love Whitney and her work and the time that we shared together. Her role and her presence was just so important. I have a hard time replacing someone else in her shoes. I guess they wouldn’t have to do that. We would have to just come up with a brand new friend.”

And then we heard not much of anything for a few years until author Terry McMillan, who penned both Waiting To Exhale, and its sequel, Getting To Happy, said in 2015, “I don’t think that’s going to happen. I really don’t.” As for why it was “dead in the water,” McMillan added, “It’s been horrible since Whitney [Houston] passed away for a whole lot of reasons. FOX wanted to basically eliminate that character altogether from the story. How they thought that was going to work, I don’t know.”

In a recent interview with Hollywood Live, another Waiting To Exhale co-star, Loretta Devine, revealed that not all hope is lost and that McMillan is still working on the sequel.

As for who they would get to replace Houston, Devine had no particular actress in mind, but noted, “Oh they have so much new young, great talent so it would be limitless girls that could do it.” McMillan once mentioned Viola Davis as a very intriguing addition to the cast. Davis certainly commands a certain star power and while she can’t exhale, shoop shoop like Nippy, it could still be a good fit.

Whomever they get or don’t get, though, the sequel should be made, that’s a clear position for me. For a lot of people, the success of The Best Man Holiday changed minds with respect to creating sequels for sacred films we typically prefer to remain in our good memories as is. However, a more important condition related to the making of this sequel hinges on the creators writing a compelling enough script that allows us to see realistic and relatable growth in the original cast. I think it’s important for the film industry to offer a film that allows Black women of a certain age to have their lives depicted on screen behind the roles of the matriarchs in this much-loved story.

I want to see actresses like Loretta Devine and Angela Bassett get the treatment Diane Keaton and Meryl Streep have in Nancy Meyers movies. They are women over 50, who are still sexual, self-motivated and vibrate. They still have relationship goals as they continue their pursuit of happiness. Their lives are captivating yet accurately complex. It’s a failure on the industry at large for not really offering any characters comparable to that for Black women. If the makers of the film offer anything less than that it would be a tragic mistake resulting in tepid support for the sequel. It’s a condition for making the film that I think most fans would agree is a non-negotiable aspect that we won’t budge on.

Read the rest at VH1.

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Here’s what’s fascinating about Caitlyn Jenner: Since undergoing her transformation, she has gone from being part of the most fortunate and privileged group on the planet—wealthy, white, and male—to a community which is more susceptible to violent attacks, poverty, and varying forms of discrimination than any other. Despite her status as a trans woman, Caitlyn is still rich, still white, and certainly more famous than ever. Even so, she is considered a minority now, and one shouldn’t expect the demographic shift to go completely smoothly. On the other hand, who would have thought she’d have the hubris to step into the spotlight and serve as a de facto spokesperson for a community which, as it turns out, she knows very little about.

Perhaps it’s problematic to reduce a woman to one voting issue. But when that woman is outspoken on national TV, and positioning herself as a representative for others like her—one who is already more privileged than many people she represents—yes, she should be held to a different standard.

To her credit, though, Caitlyn Jenner wants to learn. And through her reality show, I Am Cait, she is getting schooled by her trans sisters on national television. Yet there is a stubbornness to Jenner that is increasingly painful to watch. During the show’s season premiere, which aired earlier this week, Jenner defiantly defended the GOP as a party of tolerance.

 In a heated debate, trans activist and writer Jennifer Finney Boylan asked Jenner who among the GOP presidential field would be most supportive of trans people. In response, Jenner claimed, “All of ‘em.” Jenner said this without adding “SIKE!” or howling in ironic laughter. Instead, Jenner continued, “None of the Republicans say, ‘Oh, I hate trans people,’ or, ‘I hate gays.’ Nothing like that. They do more, ‘I want a thriving economy so every trans person has a job.’”
When Boylan noted that conservatives were behind efforts to repeal the anti-discrimination ordinance known as the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), that offered broad non-discrimination protections, Jenner said, “Don’t go there.” Jenner went on to say, “Republicans and conservatives are not these horrible people out there trying to oppress people… I don’t know anything of what they said down there, but I’m not blaming it on Republicans and conservatives.”
Jenner admits she knows nothing “of what they said down there,” but speaks on the issue anyway. Meanwhile, Boylan was right: Conservatives and religious leaders managed to defeat the anti-discrimination ordinance by preying on voters’ transphobia with signs like “NO MEN in Women’s Bathrooms.”
Interestingly enough, when the subject of Hillary Rodham Clinton came up, Jenner dismissed her, arguing, “[Hillary] couldn’t care less about women. She cares about herself.”
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When I found out that Remy Ma would be joining the cast of Love & Hip Hop: New York, I was concerned.

Is that the kind of show most conducive to a woman who was found guilty and sentenced to eight years in prison for shooting someone in the stomach in a dispute over money and who now finds herself on parole? I wanted Remy to flourish in her post-prison life, so I didn’t find it wise to put her in a situation in which she might have to crack open the skull of some adversary on the show with a bottle of Myx Fusions Moscato Peach. Granted, had it happened, I would be at home texting my friends, “B–ch! Did you see that?” But I surely would’ve felt bad about her parole violation after the fact.

Thankfully, Remy Ma has more or less behaved to the best of her abilities. Part of that has to do with her own maturation, but a whole whopping serving of that has to do with her better half, Papoose. Unlike Stevie J, Kirk Frost, Rich Dollaz, Peter Gunz, Lil’ Scrappy, Benzino, Nikko and every other man featured in this franchise, Papoose is actually uplifting his partner, as opposed to giving her reason to turn on the saddest Mary J. Blige and Keyshia Cole songs of their catalogs.

Papoose is the President Obama to their Donald Trump.

Papoose is not cheating on her. Papoose is not making her feel insecure. All Papoose wants to do is enjoy his wife now that she’s back among the free population, and build on their family. Moreover, he constantly warns her to watch who she hangs with—namely the “stiletto expert” Rashidah Ali. Do not ask me what a “stiletto expert” is. I don’t know.

I don’t think Rashidah Ali is that bad, but I will say you don’t put people on parole in situations that might have their violations recorded and broadcasted to millions of people. While I don’t ever-ever-ever-ever want to go to prison, if I did, I would want a Papoose in my life. If I ever ended up on papers (probation, parole, hell, one too many parking tickets), I would want a Papoose in my life.

If I ended up on a Love & Hip Hop, I would want a Papoose in my life. With Papoose, you don’t have to curse another woman out over sleeping with your man. Or throw a drink in another woman’s face for the same offense. Or threaten to punch another woman over taking her man. Or find a wack man to make your other wack man feel jealous. Or take that wack man and shoot a porn with him.

Like, with Papoose, you’re only crying tears of joy. He is living proof that while the show might be a tsunami of terrible men and the women who foolishly keep fornicating with them, there is an alternative. The closest we had to this on this show was Momma Dee’s ex-husband, Ernest, and hell, she sent him to jail for stealing from her.

Read the rest at The Root.

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Confused—that was my first reaction to any fawning over Sage The Gemini’s since deleted Instagram post publicly begging his ex, Jordin Sparks, to return his calls and take him back. Like, have I forgotten how to read? No, that couldn’t be it—hence a follow-up inquiry: What low-standards island do the whole lot of y’all live on? Do you need me to call for a rescue team?

Perhaps I’m showing both my age and high self-worth score, but please do not excuse a passive-aggressive public guilt trip to be the anything even remotely close to romantic. Yeah, yeah, Sage says a lot of nice things in the post, but he ultimately tells on himself when he says: “But yea this shit is crazy i just wanna tell you I’m still being a good boy just incase you come to your senses.”

You see that? “Just incase you come to your senses.” Boom: Got him. Ring the alarm: This is a run, sis, run situation.

While I salute Sage on his wonderful display of nice-nasty, this is a manipulative act masquerading as a sweet gesture. This is not humility. Sage is letting his entitlement and overall arrogance show when he uses the phrase “come to your senses.” It’s also a one-sided way of talking about the fallout of a relationship—to the general public, no less. She clearly left for a reason, sir, but go ahead and play the part of man fighting for love without acknowledging whatever it is they got you banished from phone answering privileges in the first place.

Not knowing when to leave well enough alone, Sage has followed up with the IG post by releasing a song entitled “I’ll Keep Loving You.”

Bruh.

Bruh.

Bruh.

If I had a creep meter, the shit would implode right about now.

We’ve been here before. Recall that in 2014 Robin Thicke dedicated an entire album to his then estranged wife, Paula Patton. He called the album—not ironically—Paula. (Patton finalized her divorce from Thicke in March 2015.)

On the singer-songwriter/Marvin Gaye enthusiast’s efforts, Ross Scarano said it was a teachable moment, writing: “The idea is that if we keep talking about sexist, misogynistic behavior, if we keep revealing how ideas that seem to have sprung from the very ground—‘Of course you try some grand gesture to win back your love, dude. That’s what women want!’ —are actually warped and creepy and wrong, maybe things will get better. We could all ignore what Robin Thicke is doing. Or we could keep talking about why he’s wrong and maybe that will help.”

In this instance, Sage the Gemini has missed the lesson, thus a child left behind. Unfortunately, some don’t see it that way, meaning Sage is looking like the nice guy while Jordin Sparks gets heckled by strangers online.

One comment left under Sparks IG reads: “Call him Jordin. I know you gotta take ‘one step at a time’ and that love always feels like a ‘battlefield’  but just ‘look into your heart’ and ‘now tell me’ that y’all didn’t have that ‘casual love’ and he didn’t make you feel like you were ‘walking on snow?’ Y’all relationship hit a rough patch but ‘you gotta want it’  just as bad as he does. He’s not gonna give up on you because he believes you’re ‘worth the wait’ and men, ‘they don’t give’ up. How’s he gonna breath with ‘no air?’ He just wants to be ‘next to you.’ So go ‘double tap’ his picture cause you know he’s on your heart like a ‘tattoo.’ I just put all her songs in a sentence.”

We noticed, beloved.

Read the rest at Complex.

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I am relatively immune to the irrationality and overly idiocies harbored by white racists. So, I was not at all surprised when some white people expressed anger at Beyoncé over the video for her latest single, “Formation.” It is a song that celebrates Black hair, big, Black noses, and invokes powerful imagery that directly challenges the racism that has spurred the unnecessary deaths of so many Black men, women, and children. It was a #PeakBlackness moment that captivated people of all races for good and bad reasons. All Beyoncé did was celebrate her community and command the respect we deserve. Of course, that would frustrate a racist who might not understand white supremacy and institutionalized racism, but is nonetheless conditioned to think anything that does not place whiteness as center is worthy of their indignation.

That is to be expected, but so is the failure of some Black men to see a Black woman revel in her autonomy.

Mere minutes after “Formation” debuted, some Black men expressed frustration under this false notion that Beyoncé is being championed for celebrating blackness in a way that the likes of Kendrick Lamar is not — particularly, Lamar’s latest album, To Pimp a Butterfly, and the track, “The Blacker The Berry.” Again, this does not surprise me either, but it stings more, because I hate to see Black men essentially repeat the mistakes of their oppressors.

Because these majorly straight Black men don’t see themselves and their point of view as center, they want to diminish its value.

First, to compare “The Blacker The Berry” to the “Formation” video is another glowing example of how in many cases, men can do the minimum and command maximum rewards — especially when they feel like a woman is getting the kudos they feel entitled to.

“The Blacker The Berry” is a celebration of a particular strain of blackness. Yes, Lamar references his dark skin, nappy hair, big nose, and big d–k and challenges white supremacy, but then he takes a pathological turn towards the end as he raps: “So why did I weep when Trayvon Martin was in the street, when gang banging make me kill a n—- blacker than me? Hypocrite!”

This is not hypocrisy. This is not Lamar’s man in the mirror moment. This is not a call to arms for the Black community. This is black pathology and a superficial statement pretending to be something substantive.

In an interview with, Billboard, when asked about recent high-profile incidents of race-motivated police brutality, Lamar said:

“I wish somebody would look in our neighborhood knowing that it’s already a situation, mentally, where it’s fucked up. What happened to [Michael Brown] should’ve never happened. Never. But when we don’t have respect for ourselves, how do we expect them to respect us? It starts from within. Don’t start with just a rally, don’t start from looting — it starts from within.”

I rarely agree with Azealia Banks, but I absolutely agreed with her when she tweeted: “HOW DARE YOU open ur face to a white publication and tell them that we don’t respect ourselves…. Speak for your fucking self.”

I also concur with: “‘When we don’t respect ourselves how can we expect them to respect us’ dumbest shit I’ve ever heard a black man say.”

All Lamar did was repeat an uninformed fable about black on black crime and conflate it with state sanctioned violence. Meanwhile, according to the US Department of Justice statistics, 84 percent of white people killed every year are killed by other whites. Moreover, in 2011 there were actually more cases of whites killing whites than blacks killing blacks. And as Kerry Codett noted at the Huffington Post, “Between 1980 to 2008, a majority (53.3 percent) of gang-related murders were committed by white people, with a majority of the homicide victims being white as well.”

The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates once noted: “People tend to kill the people they live around. Black people are among the most hyper-segregated group in the country. The fact that black killers tend to kill other black people is not refutation of American racism, but the ultimate statement of American racism.”

Regardless of how one feels about Lamar’s statement, it is absolutely nothing like “Formation.” What Beyoncé did in that video was celebrate blackness in so many of its variances.

You heard the voice of the late Messy Mya; you heard Big Freedia; you saw Black southern people of varying classes; you saw Black women of various shapes and shades, all equally confident on camera.

This is Southern Black culture. This is Texas. This is Louisiana. This is Southern Black rap. This is a celebration of Black womanhood. This is the inclusion of Black queer culture. This is country ass Blacks folks being their amazing country Black selves.

That video presents a fuller package of Blackness than what Lamar offered, which is essentially references to his nose and d–k while asking, “What about black-on-black crime?” This is a celebration of non-Black straight men that you rarely see from hip-hop artists — including those like him.

Read the rest at VH1.

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The lesson for how to live your best life is buried in an SWV album deep cut.

On the track “Give It to Me” from the R&B trio’s first album, It’s About Time, Coko sings:

“I’m a type of girl with class But, you never know what you can get ‘Till you go and ask for it I was shy, but now I finally see All you have to do is (just ask) For anything you want (It’s yours) you get right to the point (If love) is what you really need, don’t be shy Just say, ‘Boy give it to me…right now’”

This song is essentially about requesting dick without fear, but the verse can apply to any other obstacle one might face. I listen to this song regularly. The same goes for the rest of SWV’s catalog.

As the group celebrates the release of its latest album, Still, I increasingly think about how SWV don’t get their just due. The term “underrated” has been abused to death, but there are certain things about SWV that do often go unrecognized—namely how sex positive their music has been through the years.

TLC has always been praised for being socially aware and frank about sex in music, particularly in Left Eye making the promotion of condoms a central part of her look at the start of their career. Lil’ Kim and Foxy Brown have long been honored (and in some cases criticized) for their embracement of sexuality in their work. Even Adina Howard has a documentary that speaks to sexual liberation.

I salute them all, and you will never get me to speak ill of “T-Shirt and Panties,” but one of the best songs about oral sex, “Downtown,” came from SWV. This doesn’t even include its multiple remixes—the Wet Remix, the Jazzy Radio Mix, the Street Radio Mix—that each best the original. No one has ever been that convincing about the consumption of vagina in song. Give these women the respect they deserve.

So much of the songs from their debut album were tied to women being in control of their sexuality i.e. “Anything,” “It’s About Time,” and “Blak Pudd’n.” Already, I’m sure some would greet this claim with noting that most of these songs were penned by their main collaborator at the time, Brian Alexander Morgan. That hasn’t stopped other women from getting credit for work that might’ve been penned by men, though. This includes the aforementioned artists in addition to groups like Salt-N-Pepa, who didn’t pen a lot of their classic songs that are strong and urgent in their sexual agency.

Nevertheless, even after Morgan stopped working with the group, two of the members—Coko and Taj—started writing their own lyrics and the tone didn’t change. If anything, they were even more aggressive in their songs going forward.

Look no further than one of my favorite songs from the group, “You’re the One,” which is now 20 years old and one of the finest contributions to a sub genre of the R&B tradition: fucking your man music.

Read the rest at Complex.

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When it comes to Bill Cosby’s legacy—or in this case, preserving what’s left—it would be in his best interest to die.

The sooner, the better, for the legendary comedian whose formally pristine public image crumbled after more than 50 women accused him of sexual assault. Death wouldn’t heal the fatal wound to Cosby’s pioneering career, but it would stop the bleeding. It would force us to focus on what Cosby has already given us an entertainer, rather than speculate what lies in his future.

But Cosby is still alive, which means we must continue to grapple with how to view him, and eventually, remember him.

  1. Kelly—another controversial public figure who was accused of sexual offenses against minors—recently commented on this conflict between Cosby’s contributions to culture and his alleged misconduct.

The singer told GQ in an interview that when his kids were born, “I was Bill Cosby in the house. You know, the good one. You know, let’s be clear there: how we saw Bill Cosby when we were coming up.” Kelly was referring to Cosby as “America’s Dad” and, for many of a certain age, the standard for what fatherhood should look like.

Unsurprisingly, when asked about the allegations against Cosby, he argued:

Well, my opinion on that is, I don’t know what happened. I’m a fan of Bill Cosby’s from the Bill Cosby show, of course—who’s not?—and for me to give my opinion on something that I have no idea if it’s true or not, all I can say is that it was a long time ago. And when I look on TV and I see the 70-, 80-, 90-year-old ladies talking about what happened when they were 17, 18, or 19, there’s something strange about it. That’s my opinion. It’s just strange.

Kelly’s defense of Cosby and the fact that he cited him as a shining example of fatherhood attests to The Cosby Show‘s ongoing impact on generations of TV viewers, both black and white.

Whatever happens to Cosby, he will always be the first black actor to star in a TV drama, 1965’s I Spy. Many continue to watch 1972’s animated series Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids​ with fondness. Likewise, 1984’s The Cosby Show was a pioneering sitcom that portrayed black people in ways the world had never seen before. Heathcliff Huxtable is a great dad, no matter who Bill Cosby may be in real life.

The same can be said for his standup concert film Bill Cosby: Himself, which I stumbled upon as a child, while rummaging through my parents’ VHS collection. Cosby will always be one of the greatest comedians of all time, and there’s a reason why so many other great comedians have spoken so highly of him in the past.

The millions of dollars that he’s given to charity and educational institutions over the decades have helped many black men and women pursue higher learning. The allegations against Cosby also shouldn’t take away from what he did to promote the importance of black art and artists.

Even before the accusations surfaced, I wrestled with what Cosby meant to me. As a black man from a lower-income background, I was angered by his “Conversation with Cosby” speeches of the early 2000s, in which he admonished African-Americans for not “holding up their end of the deal.” I knew then he was not what he claimed to be. Cosby only seemed to like black people of a certain stature; if you didn’t embody his idea of what a black person should be, he didn’t respect you. That’s not the kind of black pride to which I ascribe.

Unfortunately for Cosby, he can no longer control the narrative in an age where social media plays a large part in shaping the news—including his own story, which was actually buried a decade ago. Those who continue to defend him despite gaping logical holes are a testament to troubling patterns in society—including the acceptance of rape culture and celebration of celebrity culture—but mostly, they speak to people’s strong attachment to Cosby and his storied career.

Read the rest at NTRSCTN.

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I was never shielded from anti-black racism, its overt ugliness, its subtle nastiness, its shared intention to make me feel small. Yet, I was cautioned to never allow someone else to define how I felt about myself. In essence, to the white people reading this, I was not raised to care all that much about what you thought of my black ass.

It is a lesson that has stayed with me for my entire life. It is a value instilled in me that has done wonders for my psyche as a black man living in a nation majorly shaped through the lens of white supremacy and governed largely in the practice of institutionalized racism. Knowing there is an ingrained prejudice in society does not make me feel inferior by default nor does it compel me to center whiteness. That is why when it comes to one lingering strain of critique related to “preference,” I find myself frustrated.
In recent months, I have read articles featuring black men complaining about white men on apps like Grindr and Tinder rejecting them. Articles of this nature have been in rotation for some time now. The same goes for white men who claim that their preference to not date black men does not make them racist by default. Moreover, like many minority gay men, I was told about the video in which gay men reacted to racist Grindr profiles.

I understand the frustration. I get that this is a longstanding issue. I know that people should make sure bigots know they cannot cower behind the false pretense of preference. I even accept that preference does not necessarily equate prejudice in some cases.

Nevertheless, I am so sick of reading and watching black men complain about white men not wanting them sexually.

When it comes to tackling the relationships between gay black men and gay white men, to only discuss in the context of sexual attraction is insulting to both and can often have damaging consequences in the narrative. Last fall, The Advocate published a piece titled “Is Gay Dating Racism Creating a Black HIV Crisis?” To his credit, author Daniel Reynolds did ultimately speak to someone from the CDC who denotes other factors play a larger role.

However, why even center the black male HIV crisis on the affections of white men? Especially when you factor in that in December 2013, the New York Times published a report, “Poor Black and Hispanic Men Are the Face of H.I.V.” which examined factors behind higher HIV rates among poorer Black and Latino men. In it, they detail how the failure of health organizations to reach both groups are largely responsible for our higher rates. We are less likely to take drugs before having sex and no more likely to engage in risky behavior, but we do have less access than our white counterparts.

Working within a smaller pool can be problematic, but the issue of racism and how it burdens black men ought to be more focused on institutional issues (poverty, mass incarceration, lack of access to education, health services, etc.) than these hollowed conversations flooding my social media feeds every couple of months. Why be so focused on the “preferences” of an idiot? Why continue to make whiteness the center of world and perpetuate this notion that we have to belong?

Read the rest at NewNowNext.

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