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It was rather sweet to see Shonda Rhimes dismiss the criticism—delivered in real time by way of Twitter—that the new ABC hit How to Get Away With Murder had one too many gay scenes the way she did. Ever cognizant of everyone’s humanity, Rhimes tweeted back, “There are no GAY scenes. There are scenes with people in them.”

It reminded me of an episode of Sesame Street—a compliment, I promise—in which we learn at the end the valuable lesson that people are just people. The sentiment is endearing, but our differences and labels make note of another reality.

I don’t subscribe to the logic that labels are bad. Yes, they can be limiting, but oftentimes it’s not so much the label that’s the problem as it is the associations that the linear-thinking sect attaches to it. You can remove the label—e.g., refer to “scenes with people in them” as opposed to “GAY scenes”—but it proves to be a fool’s errand because the person who has the problem with two people of the same gender simulating sex on camera will have a problem no matter what you call it.

So let’s just call it exactly what it is: gay sex. More important, gay male sex. How to Get Away With Murder features a lot of it. That gay sex has since sparked debate on specific topics related to bottoms and the notion of “bottom shaming,” as well as a broader conversation about what all of this gay sex on a key night of network TV means.

Ultimately, it means the normalization of sex between two men in a meaningful way. Support for marriage equality may be thriving, and the movement will eventually triumph with nationwide recognition, but a lot of that has to do with packaging. Straight people have increasingly accepted gay marriage because it is presented to them through a heteronormative filter: Two consenting adults want their love recognized. Maybe they’ll then go have a family.

It’s shrewd, but many can get used to the idea of two people in love, wanting a wedding. But the thought of what happens during the honeymoon may still trigger some discomfort.

We have seen lesbian sex featured on various sitcoms through the years, but that feat was accomplished far sooner because of the boost it was provided by certain circumstances—say, the way the imagery might play into a heterosexual man’s fantasies.

Two gay men having sex does not play into that; therefore, the struggle to see it regularly in certain places has remained. Even on gay-centered shows like HBO’s Looking, the sex scenes are never as explicit as those you’d see involving straight characters. How to Get Away With Murder and its gay male lead—Jack Falahee as Connor Walsh—are changing that. The more you see gay men—gasp—expressing themselves for this big audience the way every other horny person does, the more that discomfort will be tamed over time.

And though Rhimes is not the creator of How to Get Away With Murder, she is the reason it’s on the air. Her contributions cannot go unnoted. The same goes for the irony.

Read the rest at The Root.

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I imagine that for years, whenever Traci Braxton would stand in her kitchen in Murrlyn, frying pork chops or steaming crab legs with just a little bit too much of Old Bay, she was fuming over the fact that the world of rhythm and blues paid her ass dust. So, in some respects, I applaud Left Behind Braxton for making the most of the attention Braxton Family Values has yielded her. If we’re being totally honest with ourselves, besides Tamar Braxton, Traci has maximized this reality show fame the most.

Yes, Trina Braxton has released two singles – “Party or Go Home” and “Gametime” – but given that she’s damn near 40 and cannot dance a good got damn, someone should have told her it’s far too late in her life to go and try and be Kesha. As for Towanda Braxton, for all that initial talk Yolanda Adams Face had about becoming an actress, I haven’t seen her in so much as a Ora Quick commercial.

Meanwhile, Traci has secured an online radio show — this despite having one of the worst accents and speech patterns in history. And now she has a full fledged album, which doesn’t sound bad or even cheap. It even features duets with artists I’ve actually heard of like Raheem DeVaughn. She’s even put out a video, which I plan to never watch again, but I must say, looked like it was on a Keyshia Cole, the early years budget and a bae as the lead.

All that said, kudos to you, Traci, but let’s make sure we keep one thing clear: When you really get down to it, there’s a reason Toni never asked you to be a doo wop pop pop chick. Bless Traci’s heart, but what in the absolute fuck is this?

In this performance, she looks like somebody’s drunk auntie at a karaoke. Or better yet, she’s giving me “What if Shug Avery fell off the wagon and forgot 10 of her steps?” Traci is so jealous of Tamar, but much of that likely is rooted in her wishing she was Tamar. That would explain her really terrible attempts at also copying gay slang and all other banjee related antics on the show. If Tamar were in AP courses, Traci is in the remedial ones held in the temporary buildings in the back of the school. You know, so they are free to slob on each other in a safe space.

God bless her since that album is coming out next week no matter how abysmal her stage game is, but Traci Braxton needs work. On her singing. On her dancing. On any and everything related to being a recorded artist.

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Iggy Azalea is in the middle of one of the biggest breakout years we’ve seen from a female rapper in a long time. But along with her success she has also been dogged by some critics who accuse her of cultural appropriation and rumors of not writing her lyrics. T.I. is not happy about this.

Despite all the criticism however, as it stands now, Iggy has accomplished nothing but milestones in 2014. Her anthem “Fancy” earned the honor as Billboard’s top Song of the Summer for 2014, with a strong follow up hit in “Black Widow,” featuring Rita Ora. And the gigs continue to pile in: she’s got a job in TV as host of MTV’s revamped “House of Style,” already announced her first foray into film, and landed a shoe line in partnership with Steve Madden.

Criticism has not curbed Iggy’s success, so why not let naysayers keep talking? According to T.I., who offered his protégé a key co-sign at a pivotal point in her career, her detractors don’t have “the right.” In his mind, he thinks there’s a hint of hypocrisy in black people scolding Iggy.

In an interview with theGrio, T.I. had this to say about Iggy’s critics:

She is a white rapper, but she’s also a phenomenally talented and gifted performer. I think that in this day and age… 2014, color, race, creed, gender… for us to use those stereotypical things to separate us or use it as an excuse to not like something… I think that makes you a wack person.

If there’s anything wack, it’s the reality that Iggy can embody black cultural mores and customs and maintain broader reach, but the likes of Nicki Minaj feel compelled to sing pop ballads about potions, starships, and super basses in order to capture that same audience. The same goes for other black acts. Sam Smith and Adele can be praised for their “soul,” but Jazmine Sullivan won’t get the same spins on those same pop radio stations.

T.I. addressed Iggy detractors again in a separate interview with Complex News:

Me knowing her, knowing where she comes from—for real, the whole racist thing, that’s American—we forget, she’s not American. So the whole Black, white, color divided thing, it isn’t a part of her DNA like it is here in America. It’s just ignorant to me. In this day and age, to be a race of people who are demanding equality and speaking out on injustices and wanting to be treated fairly, to stand up and do the exact same thing in opposite to someone unwarranted for no reason, it’s hypocritical. I’m a ride with her.

As much as I enjoy T.I. the rapper, I can do without T.I. the faux philosopher, post-racial theorist, and thinker. To say that racism is exclusive to America is like saying sunshine only exists in southern California. If there’s any person who can attest to the silliness of such a notion, it’s the Aborigines of Australia.

Read more at The Urban Daily.

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Despite pleas from the family, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine will not release surveillance footage surrounding the shooting death of John Crawford III. Crawford’s father, John Crawford II, says the footage make it clear in no uncertain terms about what happened in that Beavercreek Wal-Mart. Speaking with The Guardian, Crawford II claims, “It was an execution, no doubt about it. It was flat-out murder. And when you see the footage, it will illustrate that.”

DeWine has argued that releasing the footage would be “playing with dynamite” and prevent any trial from being fair. And yet, the narrative about what preceded Crawford III’s death remains: He, with his Black and menacing self, walked around the store brandishing a gun, forcing them to believe that they were under direct and imminent threat. That gun turned out to be a BB gun for sale in the store and the person who called 911 has since recanted his story. Also speaking with The Guardian, Ronald Ritchie now says, “At no point did he shoulder the rifle and point it at somebody.” Ritchie, maintains Crawford was still taking the toy gun and “waving it around,” but he nonetheless soiled the minds of a potential jury pool, too – his own ability to bend the truth be damned (his claims of being an “ex-marine” have been proven false.)

Nonetheless, a Beavercreek police spokesman maintains their version of events, claiming in a statement: “Preliminary indications are that the officers acted appropriately under the circumstances.”

I bet, but a tape will likely confirm what most of us already know: this death should not have happened.

Personally, I don’t have to see video footage of a horrific incident when the surrounding details are crystal clear. I feel confident in concluded that based on the facts, an unarmed Black man lost his life for no good reason. The same goes for knowing that now former Baltimore Ravens star Ray Rice assaulted his then fiancée, Janay Palmer and that justice was not served by the NJ prosecutor, nor by a permissive NFL commissioner. But while I don’t need to see the gory details of something in order to comprehend its ugliness, but I do recognize that this is the case for others.

For varying reasons – lack of empathy or the effects of being bombarded with desensitizing imagery for far too long – many often have to see horror to interpret it as such.

Yes, in a perfect world, it should not have required TMZ leaking footage of Ray Rice knocking out his partner, stepping over her as if she did not matter in the least to him, and spitting on her motionless body to get the public riled up to the extent to which even NFL commissioner Roger Goodell may soon find himself unemployed, but it did. The same can be said of the site publishing photos of Rihanna after her brutal beating from then-boyfriend Chris Brown. Had we not viewed those images, Chris Brown might’ve been able to sing about disloyal “hoes” mere months after the incident as opposed to five years.

That does not in any way make TMZ a crusader. They are not releasing this sort of footage out of the goodness of their hearts. It is about profit and securing it through wetting the public’s insatiable appetite for all things celebrity. Still, no matter their intentions, their actions have yielded real consequences for abusers and those who enable them for those who may have otherwise simply skated by.

There is an obvious cost to that, though. Rihanna did not want the world to see those pictures. The same can seemingly be said about Janay Palmer Rice. Victims often do not want to be viewed as such. Not to mention, there is gross embarrassment in having your victimization ready available for consumption to anyone with an Internet connection.

Read more at EBONY

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Whenever I want to give up on humanity and manage to avoid a conversation with family, I can always count on the Internet to renew my interests in seeing the absolute worst in people. If I need a lil’ extra something-something to really make me cynical, mass media and the numerous insensitive, hallow-thinking, and misogyny-pushing minions they employ are there to pitch in. Case in point, the aftermath of TMZ leaking additional footage of now-former Baltimore Ravens star Ray Rice violently assaulting his then-fiancée, Janay Rice, and the varying insensitive, cruel, and downright stupid responses to an issue that requires more nuance, larger empathy, and certainly less simpletons talking.

For starters, men invoking the name of Solange and her elevator aggression in order to deflect from the fact that Ray Rice had absolutely no business knocking out Janay cold and stepping over her like she was absolutely nothing.  This is akin to cries over the verdict of the O.J. Simpson trial to counter claims of a racially biased criminal justice system.

Okay, fellas, sure, Solange should have kept her hands to herself, but this doesn’t negate that when it comes to intimate partner violence, men are the primary aggressor.

Likewise, it does not excuse Ray Rice for mishandling whatever “provocation” anyone feels he had before assaulting his now-wife. If you’re a man — especially one as strong as a pro football player — you are able to diffuse a situation without resorting to the violence Ray Rice did. You do not have to punch a woman in the face. It does not matter whether Solange did a powerhouse wheel kick on Jay Z’s head in front of Jesus and threatened to smack him with a Bible if he sassed her too.

Men are mostly responsible for domestic violence and it is the responsibility of men to make it pain and clear that in no certain terms is it okay to beat your partner.

Then there are the village idiots who find a woman being beaten something worthy of “humor.”  Enter the jovial fools who anchor the morning masochism that is FOX News’ “Fox & Friends.” Co-host Brian Kilmeade joked, “I think the message is, take the stairs.” After Dumb finished, Dumber co-host Steve Doocy responded, “The message is when you’re in an elevator, there’s a camera.”

I think the real message is awfully apparent: Some people in front of the camera belong in the back of the bus heading to some job that has nothing to do with broadcast journalism.

Not to be outdone are the people who believe the Baltimore Ravens and the NFL “overreacted” for their handling of Rice (his release from his contract, indefinite suspension). One of those folks with the loudest bullhorn is serial woman beater Floyd Mayweather, who argued, “I think there’s a lot worse things that go on in other people’s households, also. It’s just not caught on video, if that’s safe to say.”

“Worse” instances of domestic violence doesn’t make what Ray Rice did any less reprehensible.

From Mayweather’s despicable perspective, the severity of punishment ought to be based on just how much damage the abuser does. But considering Mayweather’s history – as noted by Deadspin, “having been convicted of, pleaded guilty or no contest to, or pleaded down from at least 15 combined counts of domestic violence, battery, harassment, stalking, and violating a protective order” – one can’t be surprised. Or mortified, for that matter.

Floyd Mayweather is a misogynist with a history of aggression against women, but he is protected by his celebrity and power. As is Mark Fuller, a sitting federal judge in Alabama, who was also caught on videotape beating his wife at a hotel only to be given the lightest of taps on the wrist that’ll allow him a prompt return to the bench without a record.

Read the rest at NewsOne.

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Given her level of talent, range, and yes, beauty, why isn’t Janelle Monáe a bigger deal by now? Her gifts as a singer, songwriter, dancer and overall performer are certainly worthy of larger notoriety. The fact that she opts not to present herself in a way that is ultra sexualized is the antithesis to the current musical landscape that so many say we need (and rightfully so) – making her by default a much more interesting figure than many of her peers.

Janelle Monáe doesn’t have to be as big a star as Beyoncé, Rihanna or Nicki Minaj, but why has she yet to reach the stature of even more apt peers like Frank Ocean and Miguel?

In a then hotly contested review of The Electric Lady, former New York music critic Jody Rosen offered an explanation as to why Monáe’s press doesn’t match the performance of her music: her image may be a wee bit too conceptual, and her music, too referential. In a rebuttal over at Flavorwire, a seemingly very offended Tom Hawking claimed that Rosen pigeonholed her and proceeded to offer a bunch of other musings performed in the key of Kumbaya. It’s a testament to how defensive some fans get when something “different” is criticized, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

While I’ve been a Janelle Monáe fan since the days of The Audition and Metropolis-Suite I: The Chase, thus far it’s her skill as a performer and eye for visuals that stand out most. That’s not unlike her contemporaries, but the difference is that they have the songs to propel them to stardom.

I enjoy her mesh of influences, but when packaged as near 20-song albums, it comes across as both too much two-fold: derivative and inconsistent. Neither of which match the grandiose concepts they’re packaged with.

I wonder what difference a little more cohesion and simplicity would make.

Read the rest at VIBE.

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Keyshia Cole’s marriage has crumbled, and judging from her Instagram postings—increasingly centered on the codependent themes of “fuck love” and “men ain’t shit”—she doesn’t seem to be at the place Oprah would deem “her best self.” For the fans dismayed by Keyshia’s last few albums—the so-so Woman to Woman and the oh so disappointing Calling All Hearts, respectively—her personal pitfall has inspired hope about her professional future. This is largely fueled by the belief that, like her musical mother Mary J. Blige, her happiness watered down her music.

Yet, very few people sang along with me about slapping a bitch like Rick James, and even I joined the chorus in ignoring other recent Keyshia releases, “Next Time (Wont Give My Heart Away)” and “She,” which is one of those bandwagon bisexual-themed songs that typically wears on the last nerve of anyone sitting alongside the LGBT rainbow.

During a recent interview with The Breakfast Club, Keyshia Cole was asked why some of her new singles weren’t connecting. She said she didn’t know, but I have an idea: They’re not especially great. It has nothing to do with the sentiment in her songs, be it anger or unabashed joy; it’s an issue of how these songs are structured.

The same goes for the post-happy Mary J. Blige albums (2005’s The Breakthroughexcelled) that hardcore fans supported out of loyalty, but tossed aside in their heads in favor of the first three or four albums. Mary has since found her way. The decent Think Like A Man Too soundtrack, the very interesting collaboration with Disclosure, and word of a new project in which she will record a whole album in London consisting of works solely crafted by U.K.-based producers.

Mary is no longer singing from the very bottom of her soul, but her music is not immediately bottom barrel because of it. That suggests focus and effort, which is Keyshia’s new songs thus far have appeared to lack.

Read the rest at VIBE.

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The way Beyoncé and Jay Z have managed to straddle the line between not letting the public completely starve from lack of details about their private lives, while keeping us as far away from their bedroom as possible, is impressive. It’s a level of control even the biggest celebrities of the day don’t typically get to exercise anymore.

However, more recently, the media vultures and those that soil so many conversations on Twitter have collectively swarmed around the Carters—pressed to find out if the pretty picture they’ve portrayed all these years is real. And while the rumor mill continues to grind out imaginary Jay and Bey topics to feed itself, the Carters are perfecting their poses and laughing at us all.

Leading the charge is the New York Post’s Page Six column, which swears, on a thousand copies of Dangerously in Love, that the end is nigh for Beyoncé and Jay Z’s marriage. That prediction has since spilled over to daytime on programs like The Wendy Williams Show and other media outlets looking to cash in on the click bait.

Yet as rumors and speculation began to swirl, the Beyoncé information balloon began to contract.

Having learned the lessons from previous unwanted depictions, Beyoncé has learned to control the narrative and react to unwanted attention on her own terms. This was especially evident in Beyoncé’s HBO documentary (not really) Life Is but a Dream, in which she told the story of her life through a glorified Instagram filter.

Or in other words, she and her husband have learned that if you’re going to be trolled, you might as well troll back.

Case in point, Beyoncé quipped in the newly released remix to “Flawless”: “We escalate, up in this bitch like elevators. Of course sometimes s–t go down when there’s a billion dollars on an elevator.”

This recalls other reactions to rumors circling all things Beyoncé and Jay Z. For example, whether or not their daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, was truly carried by Beyoncé, or if her conception and subsequent delivery mirror the storyline on Halle Berry’s new show, Extant.

Even if we saw video of the birth, I imagine some people would still argue that because those two are so rich, they probably tapped someone from the Avatar production team to put a clip together. Oh, wait, the public has since moved on to Blue Ivy’s hair and whether or not Child Protective Services ought to be called in to bring a comb.

Which led to Jay rhyming, “They even talk about your baby crazy,” on “Picasso Baby.”

Meanwhile, when it came to the rumors about the state of her marriage, Beyoncé didn’t give an interview or pen some blog post; she took to Instagram to upload pictures with captions like, “My favorite hue is Jay Z Blue.” There are clips as recent as this past weekend of them dancing together onstage and gleefully smiling at each other.

Even this didn’t stop the speculative articles from discussing Beyoncé the divorcee. In one story, a crisis coach was quoted: “She is going to be the most powerful woman in the world, hanging out with Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey and Blue Ivy and talking about being a single mom. The goddess suddenly becomes even more relatable to women everywhere.”

To be fair, when you see Beyoncé’s sister re-enacting “Street Fighter” in an elevator with an unwilling participant in Jay Z, there is reason to pause and wonder if there’s a problem in the relationship. Even so, they collectively released a statement back in May that spoke of accountability and reconciliation.

Naturally, this was not enough to appease folks because it didn’t include details about where Solange learned to roundhouse kick, whether or not she made Jay Z bleed, and if so, what might his blood type be?

Read the rest at The Root.

 

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I’m sitting at my desk in my increasingly uncomfortable office chair drinking red wine while listening to Anita Baker. For someone in desperate need of a vacation, but months away (at the very least from taking one), I’ll take whatever temporary moments of escape I can get. For years now, editors and many of my fellow writers have referred to me as a machine due to the way I’ve been able to churn out assignment after assignment. Maybe, but I think it’s about time someone put me in the shop.

Last week, Cord Jefferson wrote yet another very good essay, this time on how tiresome it can be writing about racism over and over again. It’s worth the read, and as someone who, too, writes about race a lot, I can attest to the sentiment. For one of the outlets I regularly write for, I often joke to my friends that they might as well give me a column called “That’s Racist with Michael Arceneaux.” My way of tackling what I often think are worthless targets is to simply make fun of them. Even so, I’d much rather go with the Mariah Carey method of dealing with a complete waste of space: “Ain’t gon’ feed you, I’mma let you starve.”

I wish dealing with racism was the least of my problems, though.

Since graduating from college and actually collecting checks for my writing, I’ve tackled pop culture, politics, music, celebrity gossip, sexuality, race, satire, and social media. I am happy I’ve been allowed to write about so much. Not everyone can be versatile, or at least, be convincing at. That doesn’t negate exhaustion, however. Like, I’m not necessarily over writing, but I am somewhat tired of a few things.

The aforementioned writing about idiotic racists, but also subject matter I can classify as either “dumb shit” or “silly shit” or “patronizing shit.” I came across an article entitled “The Internet has a content diversity problem.” In it, the writer basically takes shots at varying publications for following into the listicle vortext in response to the chase for clicks. I’m somewhat conflicted on that. Do I think “sharebait” has further contributed to the decline of people’s attention spans and their desire to read anything more than 500 words that might require them to think? Yes. Nevertheless, for a bunch of people stuck in cubicles and offices at least three hours too long, I can understand the desire to read something easy breezy.

Plus, I’ve contributed to the problem ’cause those pay the checks. And honestly, writing a “dumb list” is a lot harder than people realize. It can be a challenge to make any piece look like easy reading.

I’m less annoyed by the list than I am this growing subgenre of online journalism that’s basically “Tell ‘Em Why You Mad, Son.” It’s like watching people race to out politically correct the other in an effort to sound more evolved than the next. There are plenty of things to get mad about, but so many seem insincere because it pays to rage. A lot of it comes across a lot like masturbation. As in, let me patronize you, oooh, baby, baby, they’re so bad, but your point of view, so-so-so good.

I don’t wake up everyday wanting to be “mad.” I want to make people laugh and make people think. If some people deserve a roasting, so be it — just don’t position it as “moving the debate” forward. That would require a level of respect, and gasp, nuance, which so many writers seem to lack.

Then there are the “LET ME ENRAGE YOU ON PURPOSE AND THEN PRETEND I ACTUALLY HAD SOMETHING MEANINGFUL TO SAY BECAUSE MY ATTENTION WHORING ASS GOT THE ATTENTION I SO DESPERATELY WANTED.” Fuck off twice, please.

In any event, I found it more interesting that a writer is complaining about diversity in content but only cited works from mainstream publications. That’s not surprising, but no less dually ironic and irritating.

What I’m personally sick of is having to chase for a check. I’m even more sick of having to churn out more than ever because though there may be an across the board wage depreciation, the publishing industry has really made an effort to take advantage of it. Even when I am offered the chance to write something that actually excites me, I have to contend with the reality that I have to be careful where I pitch it ’cause motherfuckers ain’t trying to pay the way they did even six months ago much less two years.

And yes, sometimes I do feel like Beyoncé being forced to cover Keri Hilson’s catalog due to increasingly stupid and/or lazy readers. 

You know, a lot of the time I get told, “I’m so proud of you for living your dream.” I know the intent is complimentary, but I sometimes wince anyway. Yes, I’ve written a lot of things I’m particularly proud of – this year included – but I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m living my dream. I’ve accomplished select goals, but my dreams are too big to truly embrace a statement I find hyperbolic.

I could go on, but I’m about to switch to Anthony Hamilton and perform “Float” in my apartment.

A few weeks ago, while watching Oprah’s Master Class with Whoopi Goldberg, she said something to the effect of, “Do what you have to do until you no longer have to.” That’s something I continue to tell myself, though I do know I have to push (and get it right) to do more things worthy of my talent (that pay better). Even if I feel tired. Even if I increasingly get upset by the state of the biz. Thankfully, there are people every now and then who remind me that in the midst of the noise, my voice still stands out. I appreciate that. More than most will ever understand.

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When my friend emailed me the video for Tinashe’s “2 On,” I immediately got nostalgic. “Oh, this is like a Mýa video” was the response I shot back. He agreed and we proceeded to share our eagerness over dancing making a slow but steady comeback. Months would go by before I really got into this song, and now that I have, all I can think after watching this performance is damn, Ciara should’ve hooked up with DJ Mustard before he blew up.

Congratulations on the baby and all of that, CiCi, but while I bought your album, not many other people did. As I’ve mentioned a couple hundred times, Ciara’s problems with trying to reclaim past relevance are multiple, but at the core the girl simply has not only hookless music – a sin for any artist, much less an R&B/pop girl – but it lacks distinction. If Ciara’s content with allowing Jazze Pha to waste his time meeting with LaTavia over music that’ll likely never been penned, sang, recorded, or performed, the least she could’ve done is hooked up with a rising producer who could help her revisit a winning template. No, Mike Will Made It doesn’t count, mostly because a), he didn’t do the whole album, and b), he doesn’t really do uptempos much or that well and Lord knows a Ciara project full of vocals ain’t her Mega Millions Ticket to the top of Billboard.

I bring up Ciara because I think much of why I still held on to her despite obvious signs to “RUN, BITCH, RUN!” stemmed from me wanting another girl besides Beyoncé to keep dance alive. And before you dare even question it, yes, Beyoncé is very much the only girl out here keeping dance alive. You could argue that about Lady Gaga and her crypt keeper and rhythm style of dance, too, but I bought ARTPOP and y’all didn’t so no one is paying her much mind right now.

That said, as a child who grew up on Janet, Madonna, Paula Abdul, TLC, Aaliyah, Rosie Perez, and basically umm, everyone besides Brandy and Monica and their four left feet (at the time anyway), I like my 8 counts, extensive choreography, p-pops and twerks. 

Ciara can still dance down, but it’s not happening again so I’m sending a special hey, girl, hey to Tinashe.

She sort of looks like Tiny with a fantastic nose job. More importantly, this girl is getting it in this performance and can even sing a lil’ bit while doing so. I don’t particularly care about the latter part, but I admire the fact that she doesn’t sound like a dog with throat cancer when singing after all that dancing. Someone tell this woman to master the art of the Janet Jackson pre-recorded live vocal and I’m sold.

As for her actual voice goes, I imagine that somewhere Cassie is looking at her and Jhené Aiko and thinking, “What the fuck, universe?” Oh well to that, too. Bottom line: I need some dancing girls with catchy music and now I can add Tinashe to the list of maybes. 

Free idea: Some major label needs to stop playing and scoop up Danity Kane. Then some network ought to give them a new reality show. After that, drop a successful album (or successful enough by today’s standards) and throw them on a theater/small arena tour with Tinashe as an opening act. Or if Jennifer Lopez decides to tour again, maybe those two acts can join the bill. Lord knows Jennifer is another keeping dance alive.

 

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