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When Mary J. Blige filed for divorce from her husband and manager, Kendu Isaacs, last summer, my reaction was admittedly trifling. I texted one of my best friends: “Oooh! The new album is gonna be lit, girl!” She responded in kind, and together, we were equal parts terrible.

No, a marriage of 12 years ending is not good news. Feel free to pour out a little brown juice right here in memoriam. But when you are an artist like the legendary Blige, whose greatest work has come from a place of pain, and whose art has forever served as a soundtrack for fans with their own troubles, well—it will be lit.

Not all share this sentiment. Recently, on The Wendy Williams Show, Wendy Williams updated viewers with the latest tawdry details of Blige’s divorce, commenting: “I don’t want to hear a whole bunch of boo hoo crying on the new Mary J. Blige album regarding Kendu and the relationship…that’s the same song she’s been singing all her career.”

Williams is entertaining, but praise every deity ever known for keeping her out of Blige’s most recent studio sessions.

For one, when you’re the Queen of Hip Hop Soul, as Blige was anointed at the beginning of her career some 25 years ago, pain is your greatest asset. That doesn’t necessarily mean Blige herself has to drown in misery for the sake of her fans. But she drew us in with bittersweet reflections in What’s The 411?, cemented an unwavering bond via My Life, and literally invited us to witness her romantic pleas with Share My World and Mary. Her divine songs centered on hurt are what we show up for. So, it’s unsurprising to longtime fans that Blige’s forthcoming album, arriving at a difficult time in her personal life, is her strongest in years.

Blige has recently been making the media rounds in support of her forthcoming album, Strength of a Woman, out on April 28, and has been quite candid that the initial inspiration for the project was wanting to save her marriage.

You hear this on the album’s first two releases, “Thick Of It” and “U + Me (Love Session).” While the thread of heartbreak is classic Blige, these cuts aren’t throwbacks by any means; Blige is a master of staying true to herself while remaining current. When I first heard the former, I immediately thought of the smooth indignation of relative newcomer Bryson Tiller. But then I remembered: Blige was rap-singing long before Tiller even arrived at middle school. She doesn’t need to make a play for freshness.

Read the rest at Elle.

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Why in the hell are Democrats still accepting lectures from Bernie Sanders? Although the Vermont senator deserves credit for certain accomplishments—pulling younger people into the political process and pushing the Democratic Party in a more progressive direction—it’s not as if the man had that great a shot at becoming the Democratic Party’s nominee for president. Not when he was 3.7 million votes and hundreds of pledged delegates behind Hillary Clinton.

For all the fairy tales about the system being rigged and the “Mighty Morphin Power” Democratic National Committee going against the will of the people, the reality is that more people wanted Clinton as their candidate.

Last year, FiveThirtyEight’s Harry Enten and Nate Silver wrote this:

As Sanders fans claim that the Democratic primary system is rigged against their candidate and that Sanders wins when turnout is higher, they fail to point out that Sanders has benefited tremendously from low-turnout caucuses. Indeed, if all the caucuses were primaries, Clinton would be winning the Democratic nomination by an even wider margin than she is now.

Somehow, though, Sanders’ failures as a candidate have convinced far too many people that he can solve all the party’s problems. Sanders may presently be the most popular active politician in America, but that doesn’t mean he has the answers to fix the Democratic Party. And what’s most hilarious about this is that he’s not even a Democrat.

Sanders said so himself Tuesday night during an interview on MSNBC’s All In With Chris Hayes. Sanders is currently on a unity tour with the new DNC chairman, Tom Perez, but when asked about party affiliation, he said, “No, I’m an independent.”

To quote Joseline Hernandez, “Ho, why is you here?”

“If the Democratic Party is going to succeed—and I want to see it succeed—it’s gonna have to open its door to independents,” Sanders continued. “There are probably more independents in this country than Democrats or Republicans. It’s got to open its doors to working people and to young people, create a grassroots party. That’s what we need.”

To his credit, Democrat and Republican Party identification is at an all-time low. Moreover, Democrats do suck at mobilizing on the local level. However, many may call themselves independent, but they do have a specific ideology and, in many cases, obvious prejudices. The problem with the latter is that Sanders refuses to acknowledge just how prominent those prejudices are.

At one of those unity events in Kentucky, Sanders said this about the state of health care in the state: “I suspect that the Democratic Party here in Kentucky has not done the kind of job that it should have done. It’s an investment. If people are getting health care, it’s an investment.”

More than 500,000 Kentuckians gained access to health insurance thanks to Obamacare, only Kentucky Democrats long avoided fully embracing it because of former President Barack Obama’s unpopularity in the state. In 2012 Obama barely won 38 percent of the vote, down from 41 percent in 2008. In the 2012 Democratic primary, “uncommitted” netted 42 percent of the vote against an unchallenged Obama. Last fall, a GOP House candidate in the state posted racist images of Obama on Facebook—and then he, a preacher, not only refused to apologize but denied that the images were racist.

This is the part where some—hi, white readers—will insert that not all white people are racist and note that there could be other variables behind Obama’s popularity in states like Kentucky and West Virginia. Sure, but how many reports have we read since the last presidential election in which Tropicana Jong-il supporters are boastful about voting against their self-interest as they profess to continue to support the con they voted for? And why is that? Let me ask my black-ass friend, my trans sis or this dude I know who prays five times a day. If none of them answers, I can text this Puerto Rican bae I know.

If Sanders is to assess why Kentuckians would literally vote against their own well-being, he needs to not simply fault Democrats for not doing a good-enough job talking to the electorate. But no, as he’s shown again and again, he will continue to deny the roles that racism, sexism and xenophobia played in the election.

Last month Sanders said at a Boston rally with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.):

Some people think that the people who voted for Trump are racists and sexists and homophobes and deplorable folks. I don’t agree, because I’ve been there. Let me tell you something else some of you might not agree with, it wasn’t that Donald Trump won the election; it was that the Democratic Party lost the election.

Let me tell you, as far as American elections go, history tells you that white people are gonna white. Yeah, yeah; not all white people are Sarah Palin or Susan Sarandon. I’m not Ben Carson. I got y’all. Still.

Then he tweets out nonsense like this:

Faux Yoda still thinks “Make America great again” was about the rent and the coal rather than the racism and the sexism and the xenophobia. Yes, there are millions of people getting involved, but many of them are the people facing deportation, increased police harassment and hefty amounts of overt discrimination. The party should be catering to them, considering that if more of those darker folks had voted, we would have a President Clinton and Bernie would be saying we should primary-challenge her in 2020 (as he suggested with Obama in 2012). Sanders says a lot about reaching out to 45 voters, but what about voter disenfranchisement?

Meanwhile, at this same Kentucky event, Sanders was asked about Georgia congressional candidate Jon Ossoff and whether or not he was a progressive.

“I don’t know,” Sanders answered. “If you run as a Democrat, you’re a Democrat.” He added, “Some Democrats are progressive, and some Democrats are not.”

The statement isn’t that bad, but you know, a quick Google search could’ve done wonders. Moreover, considering that Democrats are really trying to get that seat (bless their hearts with this runoff), this still reads as pouring cold water on what’s been a motivating story to folks in the party. But that’s what happens when you let a person who isn’t an actual Democrat speak about Democrats. The same can be said for placing so much faith in a person who can say that about Osoff yet endorse an anti-abortion Democratic candidate in Nebraska.

Read the rest at The Root.

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Ding, dong, the grand wizard is gone.

Sadly, the baby grand wizard is already on deck.

After much speculation over Bill O’Reilly’s fate at Fox News in the wake of numerous allegations of sexual harassment leveled against him sparking an advertiser mass exodus, the network announced Wednesday that The O’Reilly Factor would be canceled. In its announcement, Fox said, “After a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel.”

O’Reilly released his own statement, though if one were expecting acts of contrition from the conservative media juggernaut, they know little about Bill O’Reilly.

The statement reads:

Over the past 20 years at Fox News, I have been extremely proud to launch and lead one of the most successful news programs in history. … It is tremendously disheartening that we part ways due to completely unfounded claims. But that is the unfortunate reality many of us in the public eye must live with today. I will always look back on my time at Fox with great pride in the unprecedented success we achieved and with my deepest gratitude to all my dedicated viewers. I wish only the best for Fox News Channel.

O’Reilly’s attorney, Marc E. Kasowitz, saw that sass and told his client to hold his bag while he upped the antagonistic ante:

Bill O’Reilly has been subjected to a brutal campaign of character assassination that is unprecedented in post-McCarthyist America. This law firm has uncovered evidence that the smear campaign is being orchestrated by far-left organizations bent on destroying O’Reilly for political and financial reasons. That evidence will be put forth shortly and it is irrefutable.

The “irrefutable” evidence Kasowitz speaks of will likely arrive around the same time President Tropicana Jong-il releases his tax returns, Rachel Dolezal gets honored by Khia at the Soul Train Awards, and Jesus swag-surfs back to earth solely to get Suge Knight out of jail.

For the women who said they were wrongly harassed by this man in the workplace and who deserved better than the payouts used to silence them in order for Fox to protect its predatory investment, this is a deserving victory. More will be inspired to share their stories of sexual harassment, thanks to these women who decided to speak up. Meanwhile, there’s a delicious irony in discovering that a man who routinely lectured to black people about their moral failures is alleged to be a serial sexual harasser—one who likes coining nicknames like “hot chocolate” for his black victims, at that.

To wit, in 2002, O’Reilly successfully led efforts to get Pepsi to drop an ad featuring Ludacris. Now, 15 years later, O’Reilly is being booted from his No. 1 show while Ludacris is starring in the No. 1 movie in the country. Yes, this is the perfect time to start rapping along to “Move Bitch.”

Unfortunately, O’Reilly’s firing still feels a bit bittersweet. For one, his now former employer has long known about his accused habits. Fox News had been settling cases for years, so they didn’t ax him because he was a predator so much as because he became a liability. O’Reilly’s ratings were on the rise as the scandal grew; they dropped when he went on vacation, and there is already talk that Fox News’ ratings could drop as much as 25 percent without O’Reilly. If the advertisers hadn’t fled, O’Reilly would still be on the air—to more viewers.

O’Reilly has been the greatest star of the conservative-media complex that orbits largely around Fox News. That industry is built majorly around playing to the prejudices of its audience—notably with respect to racism. O’Reilly has been casually misogynistic for decades, but he often spewed his harshest rhetoric toward black people.

O’Reilly has been spewing racist rhetoric in defense of the “white establishment” for decades. O’Reilly has condemned black women, men and children in the harshest of ways, but none of that had ever been a problem. And sadly, his replacement will be bringing similar issues with him to the same hour.

Like O’Reilly, Tucker Carlson is racist and likes to play to the racist fears of his conservative viewership. Like O’Reilly, Carlson loves to belittle women. One great example of this came during an on-air appearance that Carlson did with Teen Vogue writer Lauren Duca. Or the time he described Hillary Clinton’s face as “castrating.” Or the time he argued that 15-year-boys dream of being sexually harassed by their female teachers. Or that time he claimed women were too “sensible” to get involved in politics. Or, better yet, the time he claimed that sexual harassment happens only in private.

Read the rest at The Root.

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Like many fans, I remember exactly where I was when I found out Prince had died. I was near the end of a lunch meeting when my phone started moving as if it were possessed by a Bedroom Kandi product. The same thing happened to the person I was meeting with. Given how both our lives can be quickly seized by the news cycle, we just assumed that Beyoncé’s new album had finally been released, only to discover that one of music’s greatest contributors had suddenly passed.

To anyone who works in media, the requests for writers to opine on his life, his music and what each meant that immediately poured in will read as unsurprising. I did write about Prince, but even with that assignment and the others I later turned down, I was adamant about one thing: I would not be diving into certain aspects of Prince’s life, like his reported views on gay marriage.

As a fan, I simply wanted to mourn the impact his music and image had had on me rather than contemplate his politics—the latter of which require a dose of BC powder if you are of a much-more-progressive mind. Nevertheless, the curiosity about the shift is understandable.

In her now infamous 2008 New Yorker piece, “Soup With Prince,” Claire Hoffman recalled the following conversation she had with the musician about interpretations of dogma, writing:

Recently, Prince hosted an executive who works for Philip Anschutz, the Christian businessman whose company owns the Staples Center. “We started talking red and blue,” Prince said. “People with money—money like that—are not affected by the stock market, and they’re not freaking out over anything. They’re just watching. So here’s how it is: You’ve got the Republicans, and basically they want to live according to this.” He pointed to a Bible. “But there’s the problem of interpretation, and you’ve got some churches, some people, basically doing things and saying it comes from here, but it doesn’t. And then on the opposite end of the spectrum you’ve got blue, you’ve got the Democrats, and they’re like, ‘You can do whatever you want.’ Gay marriage, whatever. But neither of them is right.”

When asked about his perspective on social issues—gay marriage, abortion—Prince tapped his Bible and said, “God came to earth and saw people sticking it wherever and doing it with whatever, and he just cleared it all out. He was like, ‘Enough.’”

An “insider” from Prince’s camp reached out to Perez Hilton (no, I don’t get why either) and claimed that the singer was “very angry” about the depiction, going on to explain:

What His Purpleness actually did was gesture to the Bible and said he follows what it teaches, referring mainly to the parts about loving everyone and refraining from judgment. We’re very angry he was misquoted.

This indirect rebuttal didn’t matter. By then, everyone had long known that Prince had returned to the religion he was raised in and, as a result, became staunchly more conservative. And so, when I was approached, most assumed that I, the gay man and heathen, must have felt something. Eh.

Others certainly did, though, and were sure to address the subject in articles with headlines like “Prince’s Alleged Anti-Gay Stance Is Baffling, for Good Reason” and “Raunchy Prince Was Actually a Conservative Christian Who Reportedly Opposed Gay Marriage.” There were others, such as “Loving Prince, Regardless of His Take on Marriage,” which is where I aligned then and now.

In 2009, Prince spoke with Tavis Smiley and cited his religion to explain why he didn’t vote for Barack Obama, the nation’s first black president:

The reason why is that I’m one of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. And we’ve never voted. That’s not to say I don’t think … President Obama is a very smart individual, and he seems like he means well. Prophecy is what we all have to go by now.

In 2001, when asked about his faith—notably this idea that he converted—Prince said, “I don’t see it really as a conversion. More, you know, it’s a realization. It’s like Morpheus and Neo in The Matrix.”

As a recovering Catholic, I’m well aware that it’s often easier said than done to break away from the beliefs you are conditioned to accept as ultimate truth. Religion often serves as a refuge—especially if it’s a faith you’re already quite familiar with. Perhaps for Prince, returning to his religion brought him at least some nominal-level greater sense of peace.

Read the rest at The Root.

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Underground has commanded both critical acclaim and big ratings since its 2016 premiere. The WGN America show chronicles the journey of enslaved people and their pursuit of freedom, and a large part of the show’s appeal is its deep dive into the complex lives of its characters, including Miss Ernestine, played by Amirah Vann.

Ernestine, the head house slave on a plantation, uses her sexual relationship with her master to leverage protection for her two children. But she quickly realizes the limitations of even this small measure of power: In season two, she has been shipped off to a new plantation without her children, and faces not only the consequences of her past actions, but also new pitfalls, including an abusive relationship and drug use.

Vann talked to ELLE.com about why she’s excited to play Ernestine, what power truly looks like, and how Underground highlights the historical contributions of Black women.

You’ve previously mentioned that you were reluctant to play Ernestine, given that the show was about slavery—until you read the script. In hindsight, how do you feel about the role?

It’s one of those choices that you look back in life and say, ‘Oh, thank God I made the right one!’ The writing is just so spectacular, and the people involved, they’re so smart and passionate and really interested in telling a story unlike any that we’ve seen before. That’s art. That’s exciting.

In this season alone, your character been physically abused, has been using opiates, and more recently, tried to commit suicide. Does playing such a character bear an emotional toll on you?

The emotional toll is real. I think you prep yourself, though. When we started the season, I went over season one. I reviewed it. I went over my notes. I did research because she’s at the Gullah Geechee Nation this season. I like to do that prep work beforehand, and once I get there, it’s important that I remember all of the circumstances that made up her life because it all resonates somewhere in her body.

This is typical actor work that you do early on. When you’re in the moment, there is a point where you have to let all that go, and just play the scene. Hopefully if you’ve given yourself all those resources and they’re alive in you, you can pull on whatever you need to at any given moment, any kind of memory that would inform that moment. But it is hard.

How do you take a break from the weight of playing a character in such turmoil?

I realized once I got home that work had to stop. That was my way of taking care of myself. It’s actually helped me in my personal life. It’s actually a really good thing to do. You commit to something, and then you release it. I’m talking to my mama on the phone, and it’s like, “Okay, now for the rest of the night, I’m Amirah.”

One thing I really appreciate about the show, particularly with Ernestine, is that she’s brought into this terrible institution, powerless, but she uses whatever means she has—in this case, her body—to manipulate the system as best she can so she can survive. However, the gains are fleeting…

I went into it thinking the same thing about her in season one. I was like, Oh, Miss Ernestine, she handled business….[But those are] all illusions of what power is. Because why would I think that there’s a level of power when she has to kill a dear friend to be able to save her children, when she has to stand by when her daughter gets whipped? She’s enslaved. This is horrendous. There’s no power. It’s rape. She’s being raped because he owns her, and she has no say.

Read the rest at Elle.

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Jeffrey Lord has the distinct honor of being one of the dumbest people on cable news. Considering all of the simpletons currently soiling the media landscape with their stupidity, that’s no easy feat.

Last week Lord made headlines for declaring President Sweet Potato Saddam to be the “Martin Luther King Jr. of health care”:

What does that mean, exactly? Not a damn thing, but in Lord’s mind, which sits alongside those of the other members of the lightweight division of thinkers, he clearly thought he was saying something profound or “provocative.” Fellow CNN contributor, and former press secretary for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, Symone D. Sanders immediately pointed out the idiocy behind Lord’s assertion, but naturally, Lord remained tightly nestled with his nonsense.

So much so that when called to appear on CNN Tonight after the controversial (read: offensive, sophomoric) segment, Lord continued to annoy black people—including Don Lemon—with his ridiculous comparison:

Do you know how foolish you have to be to rile up Don Lemon on a matter that doesn’t involve sagging pants or some black person in Harlem not picking up trash? Although it was nice to see Lemon let Lord have it in a rightful display of disgust, none of last week’s actions have stopped Lord from being himself.

Indeed, Lord has continued to be dim on CNN, to the strong irritation of his black co-workers. On Monday he appeared on a CNN panel alongside former Bill Clinton aide Keith Boykin and CNN’s Chris Cillizza to discuss why 45 won’t release his tax returns. To Lord, considering that income taxes weren’t a thing until 1913, “that means every president from Woodrow Wilson to Lyndon Johnson hasn’t released their tax returns.”

A visibly annoyed Boykin responded with: “Jeffrey, this is 2017; why are you going back to Woodrow Wilson? That has no relevance to what we’re talking about today.”

Lord soon asked if Boykin released his tax returns when he worked in the White House. “That’s the dumbest question I’ve heard anybody ask on television,” Boykin said. “You call yourself a political commentator; you’re asking stupid questions like that?”

On Tuesday, Lord once again went toe-to-toe with Sanders about the issue of 45’s taxes. Sanders was sensible and Lord was everything but, which led to Sanders calling him a hypocrite and Lord clinging to his lies and false equivalences. Crossfire may no longer be on the network, but that verbal jousting this network loves so much lingers on—all to the benefit of the likes of Lord.

To quote my beloved Future, “You do what you want when you poppin’.” Lord has every reason to continue carrying on in this fashion. To his credit, being a buffoon has netted him a cushy contract with a major news outlet. Moreover, he’s been complained about in media for quite some time now.

In “Trumpite Jeffrey Lord Continues Making Mockery of CNN Programming,” the Washington Post’s Erik Wemple described Lord as “a guy determined to drag red herrings across CNN transcripts.”

In “CNN’s Humiliation as Jeffrey Lord Makes a Mockery Out of Their Election Night Coverage,” Huffington Post writer John Amato complained about a specific segment that aired on the network, arguing that its “coverage was hijacked by a paid partisan who is either consciously disruptive, or else is just plain crazy.” Amato added that CNN has “no business putting him on [the] network, and his fellow-panel members should refuse to appear with him ever again.”

Clearly that hasn’t happened, though it’s not the fault of the other paid contributors.

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At one point during the season premiere of Basketball Wives, the returning Evelyn Lozada asks a very poignant question: “Why the fuck am I here?” One of my favorite colored-people proverbs comes to mind:

A check is a check.

Although Lozada successfully managed to flee VH1 and go on to OWN to star in her own show, the family-themed and far less contentious Livin’ Lozada ended after two seasons. So, while Lozada is presumably not hurting for much as far as money goes (being on TV for a while plus being engaged to a baseball player ought to come with a certain cushion), she is a television personality. It helps to be working on a television show when you’re a television personality. Plus, it is very likely that VH1 waved a wad of money her way to convince her to come on home and help save a series on the decline.

Last year I wrote “Basketball Wives LA: The Thrill Is Gone,” which addressed how dull and draining the show had become. Evelyn may have briefly wondered why she subjected herself to this show all over again, but plenty of longtime viewers didn’t give a shit. We’re just glad you’re back, OG Puerto Rican royalty.

Evelyn’s comeback begins exactly how you’d expect: with her stunting. We see Evelyn during her weeklong run as a guest host on The Real. Shaunie O’Neal, elated to have another co-star she actually wants to film with, joins her backstage. What do they talk about? Tami Roman, naturally.

For weeks now, VH1 has been teasing Evelyn’s return by reminding us of her volatile relationship with Tami. Evelyn and Tami were cool until it was revealed that Evelyn slept with Tami’s then-estranged husband. Evelyn told Tami that she knew nothing about her and that she was a “nonmotherfucking factor.” That resulted in one of Tami’s trademark sucker punches, and a brawl that was quickly stomped out by security.

Thing is, the two got along swimmingly later on, but once Evelyn left the show, old wounds quickly resurfaced. All these years later, Tami is still salty about it and won’t stop talking about. Literally, Tami spends most of the episode trying to label Evelyn a ho. A fake ho. A dishonest ho. A ho-ass ho. Ho, ho, ho, she wants to toss a lump of coal at her head for being a ho.

Tami clings to the “Evelyn is a ho” narrative because it’s seemingly the one thing in her mind that places her above Evelyn. Tami is probably calling me a bitch now, but it’s not my fault she can’t take Evelyn. Tami has come a long way since her start on this show: The wigs and weaves are better; the dresses look less Rainbow; she stopped buying loosies. You would think she would find peace in that. She’s like the embodiment of Monica’s After the Storm.

But no, Tami keeps taking shots. At one point, she questions Evelyn’s relevance. Tami may have been on reality TV for two decades, but Evelyn has managed to score two spinoffs. Tami is making folks laugh in a bonnet on Instagram. Granted, the shit is funny and should be a show, but madam, really?

As for Evelyn, she says she sees darkness when she looks at Tami. You know, I have often likened Evelyn to a Disney villain who throws bottles in the club, but she is on to something. Evelyn is a baddie, and it is entertaining as hell to see how she makes Tami sick by merely breathing.

However, before their confrontation at the ’70s mixer (don’t ask), Jackie Christie decides to tag herself in for beef with Evelyn. Jackie is mad at Evelyn because Evelyn donated to the GoFundMe her estranged daughter launched for her son, who was severely burned. Who gets mad about charitable donations?

Bless her heart, Jackie Christie still makes up reasons to be angry with someone so she can get screen time. Like, Jackie Christie literally makes up stories in her head to feel a part of a group. Can you imagine a show with her and Kenya Moore? It would be the most annoying show ever.

Read the rest at The Root.

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In the immediate seconds of the season premiere of T.I. and Tiny: The Family Hustle, T.I. makes light of the obvious as he looks into the camera to declare, “So, uh, things have changed a bit since ya last saw us.”

He nearly soils the moment by then offering a quip about the current joke of an administration, but considering this show – now in its sixth and final season – is centered on their modern family, Tiny filing for divorce at the end of 2016 cannot be so quickly glossed over with humor. And if you were bothered by T.I.’s comments in which he described his marriage as a “distraction,” that moment and those that follow may only further annoy you.

As previously reported, during an interview with Power 105.1’s Angie Martinez, T.I. shared: “It seems to me that marriage and what marriage means and what marriage does — it’s just one of those things that’s going to distract me and deter me. And that could be selfish, but ultimately, I’m the patriarch of this family. And it’s my responsibility to take us onward and upward. I just have a purpose and I don’t always have the time to do the thoughtful and considerate things that a husband should do.”

There is no question about it: T.I. sounds selfish as all hell.

As for his claims about being the patriarch of his family, sure, but based on past instances of sexism, T.I. seems to operate within very rigid prisms of what manhood and marriage look like. His inability to shift away from each is certainly what contributed to the decimation of the marriage. When Tiny speaks about the state of her relationship on the season opener in the confessional, she speaks in gray: “We’re not divorced, but we’re not together.”

However, when Tiny’s friend and former reality show co-star, Toya Wright, stops by to talk about the fallout of her relationship with T.I., she’s much more frank about their problems. She speaks of trust issues — squarely “his work and all the things that come with it.”

Then we return to Tiny in the confessional and we hear her discuss how in marriage “you settle into the roles you create for yourself.” For anyone that’s watched the show in recent years, it’s been quite apparent that the roles of wife, mother, and being the woman behind T.I. had lost their luster.

“Over the years, I wanted more for myself, but Tip say that part a different way,” Tiny revealed. “And now I feel like it’s time to take the space that I need and live the life that’s best for me.”

When people watched T.I.’s interview and his use of the word “distraction” to describe his marriage with Tiny, many highlighted that Tiny was already a part of a platinum-selling girl group. And that she, along with fellow Xscape member Kandi Burruss, co-wrote one of the biggest songs in decades in TLC’s “No Scrubs.” When you are married to a millionaire songwriter who already cemented her stature as part of one of the biggest girl groups of the 1990s, it’s hard to hear a man rationalize that he sucks at marriage because providing for everyone was his main priority.

Read the rest at Essence.

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Donald Trump Jr. is an asshole. He has the intellectual curiosity of a dead sewer rat, the political sensibilities of a racist Twitter egg and the charm of a spider bite. He comes across as the kind of person Richie Rich punched in eighth grade. The sort of prick who, when hearing “Niggas in Paris” blaring, wants to interrupt the moment by blabbing about why can black people say “the word” and not him. There are also teases of Ebezener Scrooge, the younger years, in him.

Basically: Everything about Donald Trump Jr. is fucking annoying.

So when reports surfaced that Tropicana Jong-il II has been contemplating a run for governor of New York, the laughs flooded out as heavily as all of the stupid things that typically fall out of his mouth.

According to the New York Post’s Page Six, Junior recently revealed the plans to members of an “elite gun club.” Elite, y’all. According to the site’s source, “Don Jr. said he is interested in running for office, such as governor of New York, but the position of mayor of New York would be less interesting to him.” Likewise, Junior added “that he didn’t want to be one of 100 senators, nor a member of Congress.”

Somewhere, members of Congress are climaxing.

However, this isn’t the first time Junior has professed an affinity for politics and an interest in seeking office.

In July 2016, Junior appeared on CNN’s State of the Union and was asked if he would consider running to be New York’s mayor against Bill de Blasio. “I never like to rule anything out,” he answered. “We always like to keep our options open, so if I could do that as a service to my country, I would love to do that.”

The question hadn’t flown out of thin air. Junior’s appearance came about a week after he spoke at the 2016 Republican National Convention. Some were impressed by his remarks, but that probably had more to do with the speaking slots being filled majorly by people we’d never heard of and whom most of us would never care to hear from again. Not to mention, it was Junior himself saying, “People are saying, I should run for office.” Like his father, Junior has a knack for quoting “people” when those “people” are probably only the voices in his head.

So, sure, Junior managed to form coherent sentences with energy onstage at the Z-list-heavy RNC, but it’s been Tropicana Jong-il’s son himself really stoking the chatter.

That’s why he added during that same CNN appearance: “Well, you know, listen, I had a good time up there. I’m really frustrated with what’s going on in this country. If [running for office] is how I can pay back and give something back … but, right now, I’m more concerned with getting my father in there.”

Funny enough, in a new Wall Street Journal/NBC 4 New York/Marist Poll, 81 percent of registered voters in New York oppose an Ivanka Trump mayoral ticket, while 80 percent oppose a run by Junior.

Thing is, for all of 45’s faults, he is a skilled performer. Being on television all of those years proved to help offset whatever else he lacked as a political novice. He is a terrible human being, but he can be engaging and, in years past, somewhat comical, in a village-idiot fashion. It doesn’t excuse his other poor character traits, but it’s hard to overlook how his talent as an entertainer helped give way to a stunning victory in the 2016 presidential election (coupled with racism, sexism, xenophobia and American stupidity, of course).

Junior isn’t his dad, and that’s why he doesn’t have the range with respect to launching the kind of political career that he believes he can. If there is any Trump kid to worry about helping to create a Trump political dynasty, it would be Ivanka Trump. Ivanka is not entertaining like her father, but she is the sort of woman the Republican Party would nominate and, arguably, the sort of woman this country would elect as its first female president. I can see her poll numbers changing, but not so much for her tacky, white-supremacist-retweeting brother.

Although she is receiving a lot of criticism for her complicity in the monstrosities of her daddy’s administration, frankly, I can just as easily see her scamming her way through a fake mea culpa on national television. By the way, for all the talk of boycotts against her products, sales of Ivanka Trump’s fashion label are up—hugely, in fact. Remember, beloveds, black women save the Democratic Party each and every time, but the kind of white women who buy Ivanka Trump products are the same ones who so often screw us all with a Republican administration.

Many of us may not be convinced by Ivanka Trump’s answers to CBS’ Gayle King about her lack of public condemnation of her father’s bigoted policies, but the rest of the country may be falling for it or, at the very least, can likely be conned by her in the future. Donald Jr. is an obnoxious twit through and through. No one is voting for one of the villains in Wall Street if he can’t even amuse them.

Read the rest at The Root.

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40 Oz. to Freedom. @fortyouncewines #genius #sublime #yeswayrosé

A post shared by Yes Way Rosé (@yeswayrose) on

When it comes to trolling “the blacks,” white folks collectively employ a “can’t stop, won’t stop” approach. Enter, the latest way to pour salt on our wounds and mock us: 40-ounce rosé. I know what you’re thinking if you’re a Negro: Since when is a 40 the move in the mainstream?

After all, the idea of the lazy, shifty, government-mooching black sitting at home consuming large amounts of fried chicken, watermelon and malt liquor is one of American racism’s greatest hits. Just last year, there was a Ku Klux Klan-affiliated group pledge to depress the black vote in Philadelphia by handing out weed and 40s. Likewise, in recent years, racist GOP-affiliated groups, along with their friends in conservative media, both invoked the 40 to portray President Barack Obama as not so much the most powerful man on the planet but more like the typical nigger of their white supremacist wet dreams.

I’m sure others can recall news articles of yore like the New York Times piece “For Minority Youths, 40 Ounces of Trouble.” In 1993, Michel Marriott wrote:

Malt liquor—essentially beer brewed with sugar for an extra alcoholic kick—has long been popular with black and Hispanic drinkers. But in the outsize 40-ounce bottle, introduced in the late 1980’s with aggressive marketing campaigns aimed at minority drinkers, it is fast becoming the intoxicant of choice for black and Hispanic youths in New York and other American cities.

Some teenagers call malt liquor “liquid crack” in tribute to its potency. And to the dismay of drug counselors, social workers and ministers who see malt liquor as a dangerous drug in sheep’s clothing, the 40-ounce bottles with brand names like King Cobra, Crazy Horse, Colt 45 and St. Ides have become an accessory to the youth-culture ensemble of baggy clothes, expensive work boots and street-hardened attitudes.

Now, compare that to Forty Ounce Rosé. Per the company’s website, it makes “organically farmed, spectacular tasting, large format wines.” So, it’s an old stereotype served organically to the delight of white people who probably say shit like “That’s so ghetto” to the annoyance of anyone who knows damn well they don’t know a damn thing about the damn ghetto.

Naturally, the praise rolled right on in.

From Mashable:

While most wine snobs would prefer to guzzle their booze from a glass, there are plenty of wine drinkers that are perfectly OK swigging right from the bottle, or from a juice box. Or, from a 40-ounce bottle. Thankfully, you can do just that—with rosé.

From Refinery 29:

No matter which 40-ounce bottle of wine you chose, this genius new way to drink is sure to make your summer a lot more exciting.

From Marie Claire:

While a 40-ounce bottle—typically relegated to cheap beer and malt liquor—of rosé might seem like a funny gimmick to bring to a BBQ this summer, they’re actually very practical. Hear me out.

You’re probably used to dropping around $15 to $20 for a traditional bottle of rosé, right? Those bottles only hold 750 mL or about 25 ounces of wine. Since a forty holds nearly twice that amount, they end up being quite a deal—especially since we found one store in New York selling them for just $16.

From Thrillest:

Summer is just around the corner, which more importantly means we’re on the cusp of rosé season. And this year’s is on track to be a doozy, thanks to some intrepid winemakers who’ve made the brilliant decision to package their pink nectar of the park picnic and pool party gods in a forty.

Eat your heart out, Colt 45.

“Eat your heart out, Colt 45”? Insert a Maxine Waters look of disgust here. Add a “fuck off.” Repeat.

If you’re wondering, none of the people quoted here have an uncle who looks like Billy Dee Williams or have ever had to contend with the stereotypes affiliated with the drinks. The same goes for the 40-ounce marketing that targeted you and all those who look like you in years past ’round your hood.

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