Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone

If you’ve watched the video for Adele’s new single, “Hello,” you may very well need a lifeguard to save you the pool of tears you’re presently drowning in. Adele is the mother of melancholy, and given it’s been nearly five long years since the British singer-songwriter has released an album, we are right on the tip of what will surely be another long reign. To that end, you need to start preparing now. Adele, like winter, is coming, and both forces are known to make you sink into sadness. You need to prepare your heart, your mind, and for many of the people reading this, your loins. Allow me to help.

1. Buy the necessary supplies.

Once 25 drops and you give it that first, full listen, you’re likely to end up curled up in bed, boo-hooing like hell. You will think about an ex. You will be thinking about all of the shoulda, coulda, wouldas of your life. You may very well want to go slow dance with a 1987 Buick Regal in the street (please call a suicide hotline first, though). Get your tissues ready. Have your cable bill and Netflix and Hulu subscriptions all paid. Chances are you’re not going to want to leave the house, so you might as well prepare for the sulking as best as possible. Just tip your Thai food delivery driver well. He is not the one who broke your heart.

2. Have contraception on hand.

It is very much probable that you will end up sending or be sent a “Hey, stranger” text message. These messages are more often than not, annoying as hell. However, the temperatures are dropping (unless you live in California), so with cuffing season and a sad Adele album comes the increased chances of a slip up. Based on “Hello” alone, I’m already willing to give some ain’t s–t person a temporary chance. We are in peak drunk text and ugly cry seasons. Prepare yourselves accordingly, beloveds.

Read the rest at VH1.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone

It is fascinating yet quite transparent that the loudest critics of Amber Rose and her upcoming SlutWalk, which will be held tomorrow (October 3) in Los Angeles, only reaffirm her mission with their language.

Last month, Hot 97’s Ebro in the Morning aired a segment dissecting the event, and one man commented, “I mean, I feel like she’s trying to glorify sluts in general and she feels like she’s trying to put up girl power behind it to make women feel like it’s okay to be this way. And I understand—be all you wanna be—but be it in private.”

After that, he quite predictably proceeded to say that he did not want his daughter to be receptive of such a sentiment. Then came a disingenuous statement from the show’s host, Ebro Darden: men are called sluts and hoes, too, and it is just as bad. Sure, but the idea that it carries the same sting and subtext is a falsehood. That is, unless I missed a separate announcement from NASA that not only does Mars have liquid water, but a community in which slut shaming is a gender-neutral sport.

Meanwhile, the argument that it’s okay to “be all you wanna be” but in “private” is its own comically reductive notion. Why does one’s sexuality have to be private? We do not live in some puritanical society. If we did, a radio station like Hot 97—which plays a whole lot of sexually charged hip-hop and R&B tunes—would not exist.

Moreover, there are plenty of women who do not broadcast the sordid details of their sexual experiences; they are often vilified for having the same sexual desires and urges as men anyway. Women are damned if they do, damned if they don’t in that way. Can we not be children and pretend the “silence is golden” rule would cancel out misogyny and patriarchy? The sooner we do, the faster we can have adult conversations about the way women and men are judged differently on their sex lives.

Since then, I have seen these same talking points posted across social media—majorly from men, but there have been some women echoing this, too. Remember kids: women can be victims of patriarchy, too. They are just as wrong.

To her credit, Amber Rose has done a very good job of explaining her intentions with SlutWalk. On the site, the event is listed as the promotion of “a zero tolerance policy on all hateful language, racism, sexism, ableism, fat-shaming, transphobia, or any other kind of bigotry.”

Read more at EBONY

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone

When I found out that Timbaland had signed the highly buzzed Tink to his label, Mosley Music Group, I was excited. If you heard her mixtapes, Winter’s Diary 1 and 2, or anything she released via her SoundCloud at the time, you knew the Chicago teen had something special to her. Something, that if cultivated and shared correctly, could give hip-hop a much-needed new female star.

Given his statute, Timbaland is certainly capable of helping Tink become that star. He is the man who took Aaliyah to a heightened level of creativity; Justin Timberlake into superstardom; artists like Keri Hilson, Nelly Furtado, and others to have their moments.

Later, I heard the first Timbaland-produced offering from Tink, “Around the Clock,” and thought about some of the other acts who found less success with Timbaland—namely Ms. Jade. Then I became afraid not long after. If you’re under the age of 25, you presumably haven’t the slightest clue about the Philadelphia native or her one and only major studio album, Girl Interrupted.

While promoting the 2002 album, Ms. Jade said of her music: “Most music has a message, and as an artist I wanted to throw that out there. I’m a real person, and I know what it’s like going through stuff like relationships and working hard. It’s cool to dance, but you also have to let people know that you work hard for what you’ve got.”

I couldn’t help but notice the similarities when I read Tink tell CR Fashion Book recently, “I feel like I’m the voice for my generation, especially for women. My album is a day in the life of a normal human being, and that’s why I know it’s going to connect because I’m not dancing around the truth.”

Though one could rightly argue that this sort of phrasing is standard, the two do have the commonality in trusting the same man to achieve that mission. And I am beginning to think both may be wrong in doing so. Timbaland’s musical legacy cannot be denied, nor would I try to say otherwise as a major fan. Still, sometimes two good people don’t mesh well together.

As of now, Tink has released a few songs with Timbaland and the results have been mixed at best.

Read the rest at Complex.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone

There is a certain sect of Christians so uptight I doubt even the hand of God could loosen them up. Whenever any reality show, or excuse me, “docu-series,” related to the faith surfaces, there is uproar. These are the people who launch campaigns to cancel shows like Oxygen’s Preachers of LA or even the TV Land sitcom Soul Man. Needless to say, upon word of Lifetime’s Preach, which chronicles the lives of four “prophetesses” and their mentees, it’s not surprising to see charges that the women are “exploiting the gospel” and “making a mockery” of prophetic ministry and subsequent calls of its axing.

However, if you watch the series premiere, which airs on Friday at 10/9 C, you’ll see that while there may be showmanship (the series features both the “Beyoncé” and the “blue-eyed soul” of ministry), it’s more substance than spectacle. These women believe in their gifts – i.e. to see catastrophes like Hurricane Katrina before they happen or to bring back people from the dead. Whether or not you believe them is another story.

We spoke with the show’s stars – Belinda Scott, Taketa Williams, Linda Roark, Kelly Crews – on sexism in the clergy, motivation to do the show, looming skepticism, and what Preach might do for millennials.

EBONY: Have you been met with sexism as you rose in your career and if so, was there any particular instance that stuck out to you? Like trying to break this “stain glass ceiling” as they refer to it on the show.

Linda: On several occasions, but in one particular was a Baptist man. I was just starting my ministry and I went out asking local churches if there were any extra chairs they would like to get rid of and the Baptist man had ask me what were they for, and as I began to tell him he immediately look at me and said women are not to suppose to preach. I began to tell him scriptures in the Bible, but he wasn’t having. Needless to say I walked away without any chairs. But that didn’t stop me I’m still preaching the gospel.

Dr. Belinda: About 15 years ago I started receiving letters from an unnamed source that was saying things like you shouldn’t be in the pulpit, you shouldn’t be in the pulpit, you shouldn’t be in the pulpit. I pay no attention to the letters at first, but then they became very, very violent and saying that women shouldn’t be doing this and they explained themselves. They didn’t give a real name but they explained themselves as being “a Christian, a man of God,” and this that and the other. I gave the letters over to the local police authorities who then turned them over to the FBI. Come to find out that it was an individual who really, really hated women in ministry and they handled it from there.

EBONY: What was your motivation to do the show?

Dr. Belinda: To be someone they can look up to say, “If Dr. Belinda can do it, then I can do it.” That’s my personal motivation as well as my spiritual motivation. To see women encouraged. I don’t just encourage women; I encourage men as well, men prophets and all of that. But it’s definitely to be an encouragement to people in life to be who they have been called to be, to be where they are supposed to be regardless of their gender.

Dr. Taketa: Initially, I shunned the idea of being a part of the reality show because of the stigmas that are associated with such type of work. However, I remembered a prophecy my husband gave me over 20 years now and he told me that my prophetic voice, not just my voice but my prophetic voice, my voice as a prophet would reach into Hollywood and I would begin to bless people with my gift. He told me that over 20 years ago.

Kelly: It took a while. It was a lot of praying and reading contracts. I just believe that people will be touched and that God will be glorified and that he will be able to portray us being his instruments in Earth.

EBONY: In the same way cast members of Preachers of L.A. were criticized, I imagine some church folks will feel a way about you doing reality TV. What do you say to say to those who might scrutinize your decision to do reality television?

Linda: I would just let them know everybody is entitled to their opinion, but that there opinion does dictate to what I know God is calling me to do and that is to take the gospel outside the four walls of the church.

Kelly: Well, I think that at this point I don’t have to validate their opinion. I feel that God has given me the green light. I am here to please God and I am not here to please people. I was just telling another lady, I said when Nehemiah was doing his job in Earth and he was rebuilding the wall and people kept intimidating and trying to tell him he wasn’t, you know, you are not supposed to do that or whatever. He looked at them and said why should I respond to the likes of you? That wasn’t an arrogant answer. It was just that I am confident in who God has created me to be. I am choosing to live outside of the opinions of people and be who God has created me to be in the Earth.

EBONY: Do you have any specific advice to women who want to be ordained?

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone

Earlier today, I finally answered the questions a young college student abroad sent me related to some assignment about racism in America. She asked me questions about police brutality, Black families, and fear. The fear I may or may not have whenever I come across law enforcement. The fear I may or not have as a Black man in general. The concerns I have for Black people overall.

There was one or two questions, though, that made me a bit frustrated. She meant no harm, but even though she is another person of color, those questions suggested a disconnect. The one question that stood out most was related to parenting. This idea – largely forged through stereotypes, one presumes – that Black parenting is related to…I don’t know, what’s happening to us collectively here.

Whatever the case, it showed disconnect as to how racism works in this country. How ingrained it is in our society. How multifaceted it is. How there’s only so much any “good thing” we do in terms of parenting and education can counter that. Southern Rites does a good job of highlighting this. As I’ve written before, it may focus on a school’s first desegregated prom, but when you watch what all else it covers – a Black man trying to be the town’s first elected sheriff, a young Black man being gunned down and his killer being given extreme leniency due to local politics – you see so much more. About that town’s story and the story of other ones in this country.

I ended up writing her again, saying, “If you have access to HBO, check out the new documentary Southern Rites. It does a really good job of expounding on some of the issues you’re addressing in your paper. Good luck.”

And again, so should you. It airs tonight at 9:00 P.M. EST. That’s after Love & Hip Hop Atlanta so no excuses.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone

I wish I could share John Legend’s shock when he says, “I was so mystified how this could be happening in the 21st century” in the trailer for the HBO documentary Southern RitesThis being the story of segregated proms being held in Southeast Georgia’s Montgomery County nearly every year since its schools were integrated in 1971. One thing I learned about racism in the South is that though it may be overt in its expression, it is a disease rotting every other region in the country. We are more segregated than most acknowledge, but in this respect, it is at least interesting to see how blunt bigotry can still be.

I recall reading about this story in the New York Times years ago, which featured a photo essay by celebrated photographer Gillian Laub. After that, Laub traveled to Georgia to examine the story of the segregated prom as well as race relations in the area — including the killing of an unarmed Black man by a white resident that binds the residents of two small towns together. The film is executive produced by John Legend, who looks like bae in the trailer (respect to Mrs. Legend, Chrissy Teigen, though), Troy Carter (who managed Lady Gaga at her peak), and Mike Jackson, no relation to Randy or Jermaine. 

In a press release for the filmLucinda Martinez, SVP of Multicultural Marketing at HBO, said, “With a film as provocative as Southern Rites, creating a platform that inspires dialogue is integral to our promotion of the film. The film is not only the story of the residents in Southeast Georgia but in many towns all over the country. Laub is a compelling storyteller and we’re proud to support her work.”

Taub herself explained, “This is a story that needs to be told. This film is about giving a voice to the people of Montgomery and Toombs counties. This is their narrative. I’m grateful to HBO for their support and the opportunity.”

I’ll be frank and acknowledge that for a minute, I had become mentally exhausted with having to hear how bad things are and how stagnated so many of us can be. It makes me feel like the equivalent of the saddest Sade song ever, chopped and screwed. It is a lot to process, especially when you’re in the business of processing such news and the politics behind it all of the time.

At the same time, when a project about race and racism is done thoughtfully and tackled in nuance, I am all about supporting it. This is not “Who don’t said the N-Word now?” but rather, this is what it looks like on both sides and this is how we might actually have meaningful dialogue.

That not only makes me intrigued to see this film, but excited to do so. John Legend speaks of a story that seems sad on the surface with hope. Not to be all Mariah Carey, early 1990s ballad about it, but hope is all we have to deal. I’m looking forward to Southern Rites instilling some of that in me.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone

For weeks now, Empire and its ever-expanding base of viewers have been teased about its inaugural season’s finale — most notably, that “everything will change.” Considering Lucious Lyon could drop dead any second now and more than one character has come face to face with the barrel of a gun, a shocking death is not out of the question. Now, I don’t have much in the way of making solid predictions outside of knowing when my Internet service will go out (at any moment, at any given day) or that there will be baes at the gym (part of the reason I joined that location). Nonetheless, I’ve been tasked with leading the guessing game so here I go, here I go (if you heard Mystikal’s voice, you get two points). The characters we believe have the highest chance of dying in the season finale are:

1. Hakeem’s flattop.

This is more like wishful thinking on my part. I don’t have a problem with the flattop. Hell, I rocked a curly one back in the early ’90s. But, watching Hakeem rock this flattop makes me feel old – and I’m too young to feel old. I don’t know if Hakeem’s hairstyle will die, but it should for that selfish reason alone. Besides, since Iman Shumpert (I didn’t know who he was either, no shade) is out here claiming that Hakeem and Tiana are based on him and Teyana Taylor (in vain, for the most part), I think it’s best we all start over.

2. Boo Boo Kitty

Based on the previews of next week’s finale, Anika tries to fight Cookie, which means it’s more than likely that Cookie will beat her down to the white meat and her debutante self will die. I don’t have beef with Anika personally. I mean, she’s not screwing my former no good husband who left me to rot in jail. However, she always tries Cookie and now that she’s gotten physical with a woman who did hard time, well, God bless her.

3. Vernon Turner

He gets on Lucious Lyon’s nerves and we all know what happens when a non-blood relative does that. Don’t we, Bunkie? (Remember, that was Cookie’s cousin.) So Lucious will try to strangle him or something, then the ALS will kick in, leaving him to grab his gun and shoot him before Vernon manages to catch his breath and help Lucious catch the fade. If this happens, I’ll be super sad. Like, Torres died on New York Undercover, and now more than a decade or so later, his partner finally joins him at the big precinct in the sky.

Read the rest at VH1.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone

#Blackmendream from Shikeith on Vimeo.

I had the pleasure of being invited to participate in #BlackMenDream, a film done by artist Shikeith in which I, along with other Black men, tackled Black male expression through a myriad of questions. I wasn’t entirely sure of what I was walking into when I said I would participate, but ultimately got a lot off my chest. I’m glad I could help make a contribution to another Black man trying to tell our stories.

Speaking of, over the weekend, I saw that a white female documentary director will be helming a project about the “Black Male” crisis, focused primarily about Michael Brown’s shooting death in project. While I have nothing against Amy Berg, I do find it interesting that Nate Parker chose her to work with. Months ago, he complained about the imagery of Black male men in entertainment and went on to cite that as the reason why he would never play a gay male character.

So, he’s fine with a white woman telling our stories, but won’t play a gay character given he feels that would be an affront on the Black man. You know, as if gay Black men are not, too, men. I say that for two reasons. One, it reminds me of some of the issues of hypermasculinity tackled in “#BlackMenDream.”

And two:

What this genius said.


Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone

I’m as excited about watching the forthcoming season of VH1’s Basketball Wives as I am with the idea of massaging the tip of my dick with a pointy rock. I tweeted a while back about having no inclination to watch the show, and as fate would have it, I got sent a screener copy of the season premiere from VH1’s publicity department the very next day. Even so, I continued to not give a good damn about the show for good reason.

The first, last, and most important one is best expressed in the form of a question: “Just how much longer can I watch these evil women bitch each other out over absolutely nothing?”

Evelyn Lozada built a career off throwing bottles and drinks at people while dually avoiding actual fights. Tami Roman is a mean-spirited drunk who while hilarious, has a bully quality to her that makes it difficult to have any sort of a sympathy for her and her struggle for a better weave (mission accomplished, though). And she, too, doesn’t seem to be as nearly as tough as her bark and sucker punches suggests. Suzie is a messy instigator who should’ve been axed years ago. Then there’s Shaunie O’Neal, who as key enabler, is knee deep in all of their bullshit only she feigns aloofness and innocence when called on it. Meanwhile, viewers saw through that shtick a good three or four seasons ago so it boggles the mind as to why she even bothers anymore.

Mind you, these are the characters producers kept. Gone are any and all past co-stars who challenged them. That’s why I didn’t think to watch this show. It’s no Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta, and hell, it’s not even anything remotely close to the original premise of the show.

However, my ass has to pay my bills, my telephone bills, my “audamo” bills, though if someone else did, I’d still be able to select chill on this show. But there’s not so I can’t. This is my elaborate way of saying that even though I’d rather not, I’ll be regularly recapping season five of Basketball Wives for

Maybe the show will be better than I anticipate it to be. Perhaps these wicked witches of reality TV will display some of the growth they’ve been promising since the end of season four. Who knows? There’s a chance I’ll hate each of the aforementioned a little less.

No, I don’t expect any of that to happen either, but I can promise you that if you enjoy my live-tweets of TV and reality recaps for and already, you’ll enjoy what I’ll be writing about this show. As a wise Queens-bred rapper once said, “Talkin’ ’bout money, we could have a conversation.” She then said, “The mun-mun-muny, the mun-mun-muny, the mun-mun-muny. Yen and the pesos.”

I’ll update this post with the link to my first recap. God help me. Anyway, I’m about to go twerk in my renovated shoebox considered an okay-sized studio by NYC standards to Nicki Minaj’s “Muny.”

Edit: First recap can be read here.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone

She had me as, “I am Aretha Lewis, known to the world as Pumpkin; also known as Big Sexy.” I bet she sometimes spells it “SexC.” Then there’s Ms. Rich Bitch, Keyonate, Ms. Brown Sugar, Ms. Bling and Noonie aka Ms. Baby Mama Drama. I mean, my interest is piqued.

Still, I wonder just what in the Walmart clearance camera hell is this supposed to be?

Bless the hearts of these women and the blades at least three of them know how to sneak under their tongues when necessary. They haven’t a clue. You can tell by the fact that they have this loud ass music drowning out whatever it is they’re saying in front of their kids’ iPhone 3GS camera.

In my mind, one day they were all together, watching Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta on some bootleg cable when suddenly after finishing the blunt, one of them said, “WE CAN BE REALITY TV STARS, TOO, BITCH!”

A dream was born shortly thereafter though evidently not one developed much. Granted, they have the basics down: A general theme, women ready to curse out each other, and volume, etc. I can’t believe I’m writing this sentence, but The Real Baby Mamas of Richmond, Strip Club Queens: Atlanta, The Inmate Wives of Baltimore, Big Yo’s Lesbian Housewives, and The Real Rap Wives of Birmingham.

Ladies, I can tell you all want to be all of the rage of World Star Hip Hop, but try again.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone