There You Go, Jennifer Hudson

If I didn’t know any better, I’d say Jennifer Hudson’s finally found a musical style that will work for her. “Walk It Out” is super cute. It’s kind of like, “Yeah, I’m grown-grown, but I can still give you a stripper kick and turn that cherry out.” As someone who just turned 30, I appreciate such a sentiment. Or better yet, the song is like the musical equivalent of getting your stuffy homegirl loose at the club after a few drinks.

And I really, really like that this is the second song in a row that I’ve heard from J. Hud that didn’t make me want to shout, “This is why Deena Jones got all of the leads!”

All praises to Pharrell and Evelyn Champagne King for “I Can’t Describe (The Way I Feel).” And now, applause-applause for  Timbaland, who has upped the ante. By the way, I hear you in the background, Justin Timberlake. You sound good, sir. How about you sing background on a Janet Jackson comeback single? Nah, I ain’t forgot.

Anyway, I love this Jennifer Hudson single and that is not something my fingers are not used to typing.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I don’t think Jennifer Hudson can sing and she hasn’t had her moments before. See, “No One Gonna Love You.” However, mama can be so loud. Like, I’m so glad J. Hud’s producers have got her to stop screaming as if she was Jesus’ alarm clock.

Not to mention, a lot of her music sounded unnecessarily old. I know she was being positioned as a Whitney Houston and Aretha Franklin like vocalist. Okay, but even Whitney Houston’s earlier work included some fun, youthful uptempos. Hell, so did the stuff towards the end. I know y’all remember the hood auntie classic (this is a compliment),  ”Whatchulookinat.” Also, even Mean Re-Re had “Rock Steady,” baby, plus “A Rose Is Still A Rose.”

It’s about time Jennifer Hudson stepped out of the Dionne Warwick’s Bid Whist party long enough to shimmy with folks who still have their original teeth. I mean,  this was the then-20 something woman who had a song about smacking someone with their pocketbook. Sure, she tried before, but that song she had with Rick Ross was some Banshee ‘n B shit. Nope.

Now, I did notice a hint of Beyoncé in the vocal arrangement and delivery of “Walk It Out.” The inflections seem very KING BEY and I get the feeling this song might’ve been presented to her during recording sessions. This is not a jab to J.Hud. Singing tracks intended for Beyoncé is probably the best creative decision she’s made in a long time. A few other women should probably consider doing the same thing.

My favorite lines (clearly) are:

“I be on, I be on, I be-I be on that good shit. I be on, I be on – yup! – on that hood shit. You gotta take me out. Let me show how to approach me now. If we do it right, you can turn me out.”

Yes, Jennifer. Sing my life story. This song is so fun and playful. Glad you loosened up. It wasn’t but a month or so ago that Jennifer was talking about how singing about sex is “overrated.” That was some bullshit then and it was bullshit now.

There may be an imbalance in music with respect to subject matter, and yes, some people sing about sex in the corniest of ways (Pharrell’s new album is a nice example. Dude still sings about sex like a desperate virgin in the band.) However, sex is fantastic and sex songs are good. Ain’t nothing wrong with crooning about getting some.

Happy you could join the celebrating, Ms. Hudson. Keep it up.

BURRRRR!

I’ve long told my friends that I dance like a girl with a burgundy weave; thanks to SGT, I now have proof. Not that any of them needed it, but it’s always nice to have, you know? You can’t see me, but I am listening to the song as I write this post. In fact, I’m about to get up and get back to bopping. It’s very hard to be still to this.

Hold please.

B-B-B-B-BADDD GIRLS!

 SHE SO MOTHERFUCKING BURRRRRR! BURR STREET!

Like, do these girls need a Kickstarter for more studio time? I will happily donate. I’m all about supporting the arts.

This fantastic gem entered my life a few weeks ago and I’ve been obsessing over it ever since. I made the mistake of reading the YouTube comments and I noticed lots of people were hating. Some people just cannot help waking up and being a useless hater bitch. It’s so sad.

I hope these musically gifted young ladies are letting their haters be their motivators. They are not thots, they are twerk ambassadors. Respect them, you bitches.

I’m so mad I wasn’t on the street set when they were filming. I would’ve gladly joined the big girl in the yellow and home girl in those spandex shorts and dropped it on the ground.

And before you respectable Negroes ask, yes, I wondered if they could all read. I said a little prayer to Jesus that they all graduated from high school and at least considered cosmetology school or becoming an astronaut just in case slaying these hoes on the rap scene doesn’t work out for them.

With that bullshit out of the way, let me go back to how great this song. These girls can actually rap. I love the choreography. It’s like the organic chicken wing of dancing, which is how I’ll now be describing my dance style to people for the remainder of 2014.

Ugh, I hope y’all know I’m not being sarcastic. I legitimately love this song. It is everything. So mad it’s not on iTunes. Ladies, please never stop rapping. I am flipping my air Chinese bang to the beat in your honor. Stay Black and blessed!

Back to bopping I go. #birdgang

Spit Your Game vs. Talking Your Shit

As far as Iggy Azalea is concerned, the empress still has no original flow, but I will say that if nothing else, I respect this woman’s dedication to lying. That may sound shady as hell – ’cause it is – but I do actually mean that as somewhat of a compliment. I’m not a particular fan of the “fake it ’til you make it” model, but I do admire those who are adamant about getting the success they think they deserve and doing what it takes it to obtain it.

I read her profile in the New York Times’ Style section a week ago, and as soon as I read the following graf, I stopped what I was doing to send the link to my friend with the subject, “This girl gets it.”:

And her ambition is palpable. “I know how to play the game and get what I want,” she said “Do you think what I wore to the Chloé show would really be something that I would wear? No. I picked the outfit out myself, because I know it’s appropriate and I know how to pander. I know what Chloé looks like, and being that I want to appease Chloé, because I would like some Chloé, I’m going to do my best job to be Chloé.”

Ms. Azalea wants designer clothes for her music videos, to “do wacky things to them,” she said. “But I know that if the designers can’t see me in a certain light, that fashion light, I will never get those clothes.”

A lot of people have counted Iggy out — for sensible reasons at the time. But, her debut album will be released this month, and though she’s not exactly a huge rap star here, she has achieved respectable success abroad. Part of that could be attributed to Europeans not realizing who Charli Baltimore is and the fact that Iggy stole her entire throat, but the larger attribution goes to Iggy figuring out exactly how to carve a lane for herself.

I’ll admit that her song “Fancy” is cool. She’s improved as a rapper. Do I take her seriously? Hardy har, bitch, but she has managed to take the Fergie model and create the kind of rap music people who don’t like a lot of rap (or even Black people) can enjoy. If 2013 prove nothing else, it’s that there is a bigger market than ever for Black music as performed by the palest of personas. I’ll take “Fancy” over Iggy pretending to be Diamond from Crime Mob. She can offer more “Murda Bizness” and those other hoe shit songs like “Pu$$y” if she so desires, though.

In any event, all of this is a testament to Iggy’s shrewdness. Iggy, who seems genuinely nice (which matters to me), is winning whereas Azealia Banks is on Twitter talking about leaking her debut album. The debut album she’s been recording forever. The debut album that’s offered about three singles since God knows how long at this point. The debut album that’s starting to give teases of Ill Na Na 2: The Fever and That Album Charli Baltimore Tried To Release On Murder Inc., Poor Girl.

Azealia is the much more talented rapper, but she is “getting in your own way” personified. Iggy obviously benefits from being a white girl, but she gets an even bigger boost for knowing exactly when to shut the fuck up. I can’t believe Iggy beat Azealia to releasing an album. It’s like Marion Jones on a quadruple steroid high losing a race to Patti LaBelle right after defeating Aretha Franklin in a five hour long food fight.

I really wish the ghost of Foxy Brown, Lil’ Kim, and Da Brat’s rap careers had visited Azealia Banks on one cold night in December in order to warn her about what happens when a rap girl makes one too many bad choices. Oh well. I’ll keep hope alive, girl. Wait, I’m not. WE WERE ROOTING FOR YOU, AZEALIA. WE WERE ALL ROOTING FOR YOU.

I’ll always have the 1991 EP and Fantasea mixtape.

Her Vanity 6 On

I don’t know what has come over Jazmine Sullivan, but if I would like to personally hug all parties involved. I’ll even cop a feel if they’re into sort of thing. As much as I love this woman’s voice and music, Lord knows she wasn’t always the best performer. Jazmine would often seem timid, distant, and in some cases, sad. Sort of like Snuffleupagus before Big Bird introduced him to uppers during a night a passion.

Now look at her. She’s present. She looks confident. She’s engaging.

And wait, is that thigh I see?

With a shimmy to boot!

I am so pleased. I don’t know what has gotten into her, but it makes me smile. Jazmine Sullivan is one of the better R&B singers of her generation, only she’s not really a part of the conversation. Much of that has to do with her being wrongly snubbed at the Grammys for her first album and her sophomore effort, which was a much more cohesive project, not getting any real push from her label.

I didn’t know what to make of her announcement of semi-retirement a couple of years back. I was hoping she was just lying like hell ala most rappers. She seemed overwhelmed, though, which is why I’m glad that she allowed herself the time to take a step back.

She apparently announced that she will release a third album in 2014. I am elated. Again, I love this woman’s voice. I adore any singer with the kind of soulful voice that can either make me break down (like a Mary happy one vs. a K-Ci, you broke my heart and took my Crown) over the love of some man (real or imaginary, whatever) or want to throw a brick through his fucking car (real or imaginary, mind your business). And since people are letting R&B singers record songs that don’t sound like they were designed for the EDM crowd in the image of cocaine, Jazmine has picked the perfect time to return.

Combined with an improved stage act, this girl better be given the chance to completely deliver on the promise of her talent. Don’t put her in that “boring” box y’all stuck Melanie Fiona in. Speaking of, where did she go? To Deborah Cox’s house of lost R&B singers? Aww, Deborah Cow. Bow your heads and hum a little bit of “Sentimental” in memoriam.

Okay, moment over.

For real, folks. Be good to Jazmine Sullivan. If y’all can let Adele cook, you better toss whatever Jazmine tosses in the Crockpot, let it cook nice and slow and then fest on that shit. I don’t even know what that’s supposed to mean exactly, but just know that Jazmine Sullivan seems to be finally seeing how awesome a talent she is and I’m thrilled about it.

Let that be a lesson to each of yes. Oh, yes, I took it there. After school special realness. Whatever, I’m all about people – self-included – tapping into their Beyoncé. That said, come on with it, Jazmine. My body and my iTunes purchase clicking finger are both ready.

[Complex] eSlang: In Defense of Not Treating The English Language as If It Owes You Back Child Support

What I love about technology is that it’s given us so many different ways to communicate with each other. What I’m increasingly hating about technology, and to be specific, social media, is that it’s chipping away at one of the oldest methods of communication: words. Chat acronyms flood my Twitter and Facebook timelines daily and have been a constant pain in text conversations over the years.

Now, I try to be respectful of other people’s views. For example, despite thinking that only selfish, soulless corporatists find any of the tenets of modern conservatism to be virtuous; I don’t hate you or your Fox News-feasting brethren. Likewise, Jesus seems like the homie, but these days I limit my praise and worship to blasting screwed and chopped version of Mary Mary’s gospel music in the morning. And if you don’t share the fanfare of Lupita N’yongo I don’t judge you; I respect your right to be wrong.

But, there are two lifestyle choices that make me wince, or in some cases, force me to tame my inner Chris Brown. The first is a disdain of Beyoncé. As I say often, if you don’t like Beyoncé, you probably have some sort of personality disorder and I want you to stay far, far away from me.

The other thing that really snap, crackle and pop locks my last nerve is our heroin addict-like obsession with shorthand. Don’t get me wrong; I do agree that acronyms have their place. Sometimes it’s just easier to say NAACP, NWA, or YMCMB. That said, technology has coddled far too many of you fools and my eyes are sick of it.

Call me whatever you want, but if you text “HBD” instead of “Happy Birthday,” you’re a terrible person. It literally only takes a few additional seconds to type out the words. Hell, if you have an iPhone, it will more than likely auto-complete the word for you. By the way, why is it “HBD” when “Birthday” is one word? I guess this is what happens when you make an entire generation of students train to take a test versus teaching them things like language, or critical thinking.

Read the rest at Complex.

The Smoker’s Room

You’re a special kind of singer if you can make getting high sound even sweeter than a kiss on the collarbone. Actually, a weed rice krispie treat from a dispensary or a well-made chocolate chip cookie with a green bonus can do the same thing, but it’s less melodic, and thus, less fun. Oh: All of this falls under “allegedly,” FYI. Whatever. I’ve been meaning to talk about Candi Kush’s mixtape, Live From The Smoker’s Room, for a while now. I kept putting it off, but today I found myself obsessively listening to “Smoker’s Room,” the first track off the project all day. For some reason or several, I got a little sentimental about the track.

I curse a lot and can be a bit cold hearted at times, but I’m somewhat of a hopeless romantic deep down. Like, a Pharrell who grew up in a house full of Yeezus and Chris Brown rage. There are certain kinds of songs that always make me feel a ways no matter the amount of resistance I put up. Think Nicole Wray’s “I’m Lookin’,” Gina Thompson’s “Things That U Do,” D’Angelo’s “When We Get By,” or Teedra Moses’ “Be Your Girl. I could go on – SWV’s “Someone,” Amerie’s “Why Don’t We Fall In Love,” Chaka Khan’s “I Know You, I Live You,” and Aretha Franklin’s “Call Me” (the live version from the Fillmore album) – but you get it.

As lovely as a great R&B sex song is or even a song detailing a deep love, there’s something irresistible to me about a song about that initial courtship and/or the promise of one. I don’t like a lot of people in that way, but when I do, there’s something so great about that feeling — no matter how it turns out. Oh, who am I kidding? It sucks like shit when it doesn’t work out. Fuck him, girl, etc. etc.

Candi Kush has a gorgeous voice. Her mixtape and “Smoker’s Room” specifically give me little teases of Teedra Moses. Candi’s her own act, though, and I hope some label hurries up and signs her so she more people can surf in all of this good good.

Now, back to the part about me getting all Ralph Tresvant about the track. Picture it: New York City, March 3, 2014. It’s cold as hell. I’m tired and don’t want to go to the gym, but summer is going and is my 30th birthday and Mikey Mike gotta get snatched. So I go, but I leave “Smoker’s Room” on repeat. I get on the stairmaster as the hurly burlies have snatched up all of the weights (Sidenote: ohmigod, why do I always go to the gym at the time everyone and their mama just got off work, ugh). And dammit, feelings.

Read the following in the key of Beyoncé:

I’ve been Draking, I’ve been Draking. I get so simpy all of these feelings get up in me. I get to thinking, get to thinking. Why can’t my inner Pimp C step in and save me, baby?

I’m in this gym like, “Nigga, are you about to cry?” The fuck is wrong with you? Who does that? Not I, or at least, not very often. Is Mercury in Retroactive radio waves or whatever the hell y’all be talking about every so often on the Twitter? Between being overworked, the usual “Bitch, where is my money?” writer struggles, and dealing with the reality that the person who gave me life may regret that based on the direction my dick swings, I’ve been a pile of emotions lately for varying reasons.

I initially thought that was why this song got to me in that way, but I know better. Sure, I’m teetering towards a Vivian Green hit single, but I know that ultimately a song like this reminds me of a void in my life.

This song also reminds me of situation vaguely similar that happened a week ago. Wait, allegedly occurred. I won an award for my D.A.R.E. speech in 5th grade, so drugs – even the ones that need to be legalized already ’cause this is some ole bullshit – are bad or something.

In any event, it was a good time until the very end — when my hopes got into a knife fight and only brought a dull no. 3 pencil. Such is life. What will be will be, but bottom line, this song resonates with me even more. I want like to be loved. Wait, no. I’ve been loved before. I’d like to be loved without shame or unnecessary complications.

I don’t have that, but a song like this reminds me that it’s possible. Maybe songs about two people smoke weed won’t elicit the same feelings in you, but I’m the type of dude that wants to go on a date at the shooting range. So there you go.

Okay, I’m tired of this. We’re done now. I’m putting my feels put in the freezer. Nothing more to see here. Gon’ nah. Get.

Let Mýa Make It

Although she doesn’t want or need my pity, I am often sorry for Mýa. A few of my friends will say “fret not for Mýa, for she is the Beyoncé of Japan or the Rihanna of Taiwan,” but we all know that’s not true. Beyoncé and Rihanna are the Beyoncé and Rihanna of everywhere in this solar system. Okay, Japan does seem to provide safe haven for Black artists of the 1990s, but Mýa should still be a thing stateside.

She’s pretty with a great body, can actually sing, is a trained dancer, writes, has made her own beats, and had legitimate hits. See “It’s All About Me,” “Best Of Me,” “Case of The Ex,” “My Love Is Like…Wo,” plus the “Lady Marmalade” remake and whatever that lil’ Rugrats soundtrack song was called. Wait, it was called “Take Me There.” Yeah, I never really liked that song, but I know it was hit. Whatever, you get it. The girl wasn’t like…Christina Milian, who only had a single hit and a half to her name (and Ja Rule’s).

And yet, we don’t even give Mýa Paula Abdul-levels of adoration. Hell, does she even get Pebbles or Jody Watley-like celebration? The Moodring was too good an album for Mýa to be ignored this way. Then again, it did come out the same summer as Dangerously In Love, Chapter II, and After The Storm. I’d include Mary J. Blige’s Love & Life album, but y’all hated that. So while Moodring went gold, it was overshadowed.

Story of Mýa’s life. Poor girl. See, there I go again. I can’t help it.

I’ve always wondered what exactly happened with Mýa. She didn’t have the sort of big personality that propelled many of her peers. And she clearly didn’t hire a publicist who could find a way around it. The only thing I ever heard about Mýa on a personal level came from Wendy Williams — and I’m not repeating any of that here.

Or maybe her application for the Illuminati was thrown in the shredder by a hater. I don’t know, but she had a nice little run (that still seemed overlooked at the time) and then she went to Tokyo and America went, “Sayounara, sis.”

That said, Mýa hasn’t exactly done herself favors over the years. When she wasn’t creating R&B for Japanese Disney Radio, she was recording birthday dance tracks that sounded like it was made primarily for Club Seventh Circle, hosted by your least favorite party promoter and the Towanda Braxton to the Jesus’ Tamar, Satan. Finally, her music has returned to something reminiscent of what made me like her ass to begin with.

With Love reminds me of Moodring, only it’s a slightly older and more mature cousin. I enjoyed it so much that I gave Mýa my $3.96 on iTunes for the EP. From my understanding, she wants to remain on the independent route. Mýa wants the control and lion’s share of whatever amount of albums she makes. Such is her right. That’ll make it harder for her to gain back even a fraction of the success she used to have, but what does it matter if the coin isn’t correct?

One thing is for sure, though: If she creates music more like this, she’ll continue to get my (monetary) support. I would also like to hear more songs like the unreleased track “Backseat,” produced by Pharrell. I wish Pharrell would go find her and help her out. The girl’s still got it. Do you all remember Janet’s ICON special? Mýa deserves another chance.

Hell, she deserves one of the many chances we kept giving to Ciara (in vain). Give the EP listen. Give Mýa’s new EP a chance, y’all. Good luck, girl.

EBONY: [THE WEEKLY READ] Dear ‘Housewives’- Gay Men Aren’t Purses

For a show that likes to parade itself as gay friendly, this entire season of The Real Housewives of Atlanta has been an exhaustive exercise in casual homophobia. Of course, the minute you throw out a term like “homophobia,” the guilty parties will be quick to shout, “I’m not homophobic! I have plenty of gay friends.” But, homophobia, like any prejudice, has levels to the s*it.

In the same way that racism isn’t solely determined by whether or not one hangs up nooses, shouts “Sieg heil!” in secret, or dons Blackface, one doesn’t have to call a gay person a faggot to know that not-so-deep down, there’s some level of intolerance inside of you. One thing that’s been clear about this show all season long is that in terms of weaponry, one’s sexual orientation is just another easy tool to pull out when trying to inflict pain.

See Porsha Stewart Williams, who now suddenly wants to hurt her ex-husband, Kordell Stewart, by fueling the gay rumors that have apparently followed him for several years now. Unfortunately, she forgets that we all have eyes and ears, and thus, saw her working hard to keep her marriage alive despite these newfound fears she conveniently developed right in time for the season to begin filming. Funny what feelings rejection will bring out.

Now if such a gay friendly show has no issue with gay men, why was this idea of Kordell being gay (he denies it), such an easy way to question his manhood several times over?

I suppose I’ll pose that question to Porsha’s reality TV show friend and fake new neighbor, NeNe Leakes, who decided to disparage Kenya Moore’s friend Brandon as “queen” and “girl.” First of all, if we’re talking about a person with courage, it is not Christopher Williams towering over a woman in confrontation; it is Brandon, who got up in defense of his friend. But I suppose because Brandon has a little lightness to his voice and a preference for penis that he might as well be a woman.

Who am I kidding, though? NeNe is no stranger to faking jacks herself.  On this same episode she tells Kenya Moore that “you lucky you ain’t got yo’ ass kicked.” Remember when NeNe had that domestic violence charity? (Insert Dwight Ebanks’ sinister laugh here.)

What’s most grating about NeNe’s contempt for queens, though, is the fact that she along with some of the other cast members, owe so much of their success to biting the ever-living hell out of gay Black men, and in particular, those “queens” NeNe speaks so sorely about. On another cringe-worthy episode of The Real Housewives of Atlanta that aired in December, Cynthia Bailey tries to explain the concepts of “shade” and “reading” to would be new show regular, Mynique. Cynthia asks, “Do you have any gay friends? Like gay guy friends, like queens or anything. That’s good ‘cause you gonna need those.”

The show’s usage of gay Black men as accessories has always been an annoyance, but season six has taken many to a new level of frustration with the outright expression of disdain for gay men when seeking retaliation.

Sadly it’s not just select stars from The Real Housewives of Atlanta that’s guilty of biting gay men for a come up and then condemning them. Everything about Tamar Braxton minus those “dot coms” can be traced to some Black person who’s been serving on the stoop of the big gay rainbow. And yet, on the first season of Tamar & Vince, when she had a disagreement with a gay magazine editor, what did she do? Make fun of his lisp, naturally. More, during the test run of The Real, she spoke of her disdain of dressing up little boys as “girls” – on more than one occasion.

Yeah, a purple onesie on a baby boy doesn’t mean he’s going to grow up to want a Quanell over a Quisha, and even if he did, if you have no problem building the popularity that gave you a second chance of a music career off the mores of effeminate men, why so worried when it looked to be all good a week ago during the taping schedule.

Read the rest at EBONY.

Clutch: All Hail SWV

Over the years, the members of SWV themselves have admittedly felt underrated. They have right to considering that despite more than 15 million albums and racking up numerous hit singles on both the Hot 100 and R&B charts, SWV has never won a Grammy nor or is their catalog honored for what it was: the most cohesive of any R&B girl group of the 1990s.

There is not a single bad album in SWV’s catalog – including their holiday collection and their mishandled 2011 comeback album, I Missed Us.

TLC may have had the bigger hits, but by 3D it was clear that TLC was missing a key element, or at the very least, a new sound and image to steer them in another direction. Lil’ Mama and the same old two-step isn’t going to save matters either, sorry. En Vogue may be the most vocally talented group of all time, but their albums have been so-so and their incessant infighting has thwarted their potential shot at enjoying another round of success. There’s also Xscape, but they, too, act like the other one stole both their pocketbooks and their bae. That’s not happening again, and even if it did, I’m not convinced enough would care.

And of course, I’ll shout out the lost girl groups of the 1990s: Kut Klose, MoKenStef, Changing Faces, Shades, Sista, etc. Y’all came, y’all sang about three songs we liked and then you went away. Rest in peace.

Needless to say, as someone who still listens to SWV – particularly the hedonist, sexual songs that Coko now refuses to sing – I’m all for them enjoying a boost in relevance by way of their WeTV reality show, SWV Reunited.

When I first heard about their show, I had a cautious excitement. These sort of back then they didn’t want me, now I’m hot ‘cause I’m on a basic cable reality show can go one of two ways. It can offer a much needed boost ala Tamar Braxton or it can highlight exactly why a particular recording artist quickly faded from memory. See, Kelly Price, Nicci Gilbert, and hell, most of the R&B Divas not named Faith Evans.

However, SWV Reunited is a little bit of both, only unlike some of the other R&B stars of the past to have hit reality TV, there’s far more self-awareness than we’ve previously seen. It makes for a better reality show, and as a fan, only intensifies my desire to see them enjoy new success in a different era. Here, we see three women who started out as friends turn into co-workers who could barely stomach each other, but took that shot of Pepto Bismal for the sake of getting a check.

To some degree, you get the sense that they all understand they’re better together than they are separate (you all should’ve given Coko’s solo debut Hot Coko more love, though), which explains the show. Still, it’s evident that they don’t want to hate each other. They want to improve their working relationship, and if possible, their friendship.

Read the rest at Clutch.

EBONY: [THE WEEKLY READ] To the Woody Allen Defenders

In an essay entitled “Don’t Express Doubt About Woody Allen’s Guilt, or These Columnists Will Condemn You,” Eric Sasson says of those who have defended Allen in the wake of allegations that he molested his adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow, in the 1990s resurfacing: “There is nothing terribly surprising about a journalist expressing this kind of uncertainty. It is, after all, our jobs to question, to investigate, to form opinions about what we find while still retaining a healthy degree of curiosity, and even doubt, regarding the subjects we write about.”

No, but the same can be said of opinion writers giving their opinions. From the title alone of Sasson’s piece, there’s an employment of victimization here to help deflect those people criticized from being held culpable for their words and actions. Make no mistake, though. If there is any victim in this situation, it’s not anyone writing an essay about it.

To Sasson’s point about the role of a journalist, I’d like to think that media professionals and outlets would know by now how difficult the culture makes it for alleged victims of abuse to speak out and act accordingly. As in, while you’re more than welcome to maintain some nominal level of doubt, there ought to be something inside of you that says, “I shouldn’t put a woman’s firsthand account of her alleged abuse on the same playing field as a wordy defense from a man who has a financial interest in making sure Woody Allen’s reputation isn’t any more soiled than it already is.”

The Daily Beast was well within its right to publish Robert B. Weide’s piece “The Woody Allen Allegations: Not So Fast,” though as problematic as the essay was, equally troubling was how many journalists rushed to lend credence to it.  Sure, Weide “got the facts straight” in that he made sure to pinpoint that Allen was never technically married to Mia Farrow, but he nonetheless was her longtime partner and started a relationship with her when she was still a teenager. More, Weide swears he doesn’t hate Mia – he even follows her on Twitter! – but goes out of his way to highlight her sexual indiscretions as a means to delegitimize the potential rape of her child.

Weide is a jerk with an agenda and dressing up bad sentiments with nice phrasing doesn’t alter that. These “journalists” are stressing their “impartiality” under the guise of “just doing the job,” but to the rest of us, you’re fishing for reasons to incite doubt in the words of the alleged victim in order to continue luxuriating in your own biases without challenge.

The same goes for Barbara Walters after she noted on The View: “I have rarely seen a father as sensitive, as loving and as caring as Woody is and Soon-Yi to these two girls I don’t know about Dylan. I can only tell you what I have seen now.”

What Walters has seen has no bearing on what’s being alleged. I mean, what did you expect, Barbara? For Woody Allen to start molesting children right in front of you? Would that have made it better? Apparently not, as she discounted Woody’s statutory rapey relationship with Soon-Yi because it was “mutual.”

She goes on to echo a talking point from many of Allen’s apologists: That Dylan Farrow is only bringing up the allegations now to soil Woody Allen’s Oscar campaign. Even if it that were the case, so what? There is never a wrong time to out a pedophile. This complaint is akin to the “Why you bringing up old sh*t?” lodged at the Village Voice over its revisiting of R. Kelly’s past allegations of molestation.

Read the rest at EBONY.