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It would have been too much like right if Mary Jane Paul’s [age undetermined] birthday were solely centered on love, celebration, friendship, good food, and lots of that high saddity liquor I’m sure she only drinks. Sure, there was some of that seen on the latest episode of Being Mary Jane, but there was also drama, resentment, pain, and sadness. Lord almighty, these folks are draining, but in the most entertaining of ways.

Let’s get to talking, beloveds.

Why does Mary Jane’s stylist sound half asleep?

Based on the lines the actor is no doubt forced to say, I would expect a lot more energy from him. However, he’s quite the lethargic one when it comes to his delivery. Like, I’ve never heard someone say they’re “getting life” while sounding like they’ve just awakened from a coma. That’s no shade to the actor in question. Maybe he was told to be that way. I’m not entirely sure, but I couldn’t keep going on with my life without mentioning it in this space I’ve been allotted to dissect the show.

This show really understands Twitter, right?

When Mary Jane’s fans were tweeting her birthday wishes, one stuck out in particular: “You fine for a drk girl. HBD.” That is exactly some rude bullshit someone on Twitter would say. By the way, if you use, “HBD,” do humanity a favor: quit it. That is some laziness that is unforgivable. Type out “Happy Birthday.” It will not give you arthritis and it’ll only require a few paltry more seconds of effort.

Did Mary Jane’s co-worker really drop that bomb at her office birthday party?

Okay, so I would surely want to know if my brother was a part of some scandal that’s subject to federal investigation, but I wouldn’t want to know 1) at my birthday party thing at work, and 2) in the context of potentially putting my brother on blast on national TV. Have some decorum, sir. You could have just sent a follow up email the next morning.


How long before B.J. asks Mary Jane to put some money on his books?

My main is going to jail, y’all. While that speech he gave about white folks getting away with gaming the system was cute, I’m glad Mary Jane clapped back with the real: sure, but your Black ass won’t. He is so one of those really smart people who have no patience, thus they turn into a get rich quick scheme that ultimately lands them in handcuffs and stuck wearing the color orange. I also didn’t appreciate him going, “Oh yeah, it is the 21st.” More on that soon.

Is Kara going to have sex with her ex-husband soon?

I’m inclined to say no and she’ll end up back with the boo thang from Madam Secretary, but because she’s so horny, she might end up giving her estranged, annoying hubby some mercy sex in the name of self-care.

So Patrick is getting high again?

I’m assuming those pills are to help him stay awake for the night shift and do the extra work necessary to stay employed. Poor thing. He’s a fiend. It won’t be long now before Mary Jane gets a call about him being butt naked under the freeway turning tricks from a hit.

Read the rest at VH1.

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adele-25-coverFor the most ardent Adele fans, their pre-orders of 25 officially began to download around 11 p.m. and by 12:30 a.m. Thursday night. They were surely curled into balls of despair on their floors—no doubt clutching wine glasses in one hand and cell phones in the other. While it’s unclear if they’re presently still drowning in a pool of their own tears, I am here to assist the rest of you who are curious to hear the new album but need to be briefed appropriately. As in, which of these songs will make you want to text your ex? Or have you crying on the subway? Make you scream out in pain while stuck in traffic? And of course, doing the absolute most on social media to attract sympathy to you and your boo-less life only to find yourself looking a damn fool?

Fret not, y’all. My tear ranking is here to help.

11. “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)”
I was immediately caught off guard by this lil’ number because it sounds—insert audible gasp right here—upbeat. And then Adele begins to sing. To the surprise of no one, it’s about love lost. However, this is very adult subject matter about a breakup. Like, Adele is wishing her old boo and his new bae well. She acknowledges that the two were just not a good match and that’s perfectly OK. It’s a little melancholy, but it comes with some shimmy-inducing production. Unlike most Adele songs, you can listen to this in the dark without anyone needing to feel concern. Cherish this moment: It does not last for long.

10. “Sweetest Devotion”
Believe it or not, she’s not mad at the guy here. You have to pay attention to the lyrics, but really, she’s happy about the man.

9. “I Miss You”
The title suggests that you will be drenching your pillow in liquid emotion, but the song itself is more about longing, or to be blunt, the sex. Check Adele out, singing about boning motherfuckers and shit. My girl. This is another safe one. Not the most upbeat way to sing about wanting to smash, but if you listen to Drake, you’re used listening to “moody but I still have a boner” music. Flourish, children.

8. “River Lea”
THE RIVER LEA. THE RIVER LEA. YEAH, I BLAME IT ON THE RIVER LEA. Damn, that’s some catchy shit. And it’s even better when you try to copy Adele’s accent. You probably sound stupid as hell—I think I do—but hey, you’re not tearing up. Success.

7. “Remedy”
The first few seconds of the song sound like you might as well crouch down and curl into a ball, but once you get to the actual lyrics, it’s not so bad. Adele sings, “When the pain cuts you deep/When the night keeps you from sleeping/Just look and you will see your remedy.” This is her version of an inspirational Instagram word meme.

6. “Water Under the Bridge”
Wait—you hear that beat? I’m swaying. It’s definitely about rejection, but like “Send My Love (To Your New Lover),” Adele doesn’t sound like she wants to cut herself. However, she’s not as fine-fine-fine-fine-fine with it as the other. Be careful and watch for social media triggers. Do not like the new picture. For the love of God, watch yourself.

Read the rest at Complex.

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Last night’s Empire offered a rap battle that looked more like one of those dance battle movies your nieces and nephews beg to take you to see. Meanwhile, Cookie slapped the hell out of her new boyfriend after he shoved her son as Jamal pursued a huge deal with Pepsi. Oh, and Anika lost her damn mind. Yes, more than we thought she did before. I have questions. Help me answer them, beloveds.

Does Lucious understand how much of a bitch he is?

Valid question, but let me unravel a little more. What is Lucious so attached to Dej Noap again? What is it about Freda that has Lucious so enamored with her? Is it because she, too, has an overinflated ego, very little empathy for others, and has crazy eyes? Is this how sociopaths bond? Whatever the case, I don’t quite get why Freda is so willing to participate in Lucious’ little game of torturing his son Hakeem. If he does that to his son, Dej Noap, what in the hell do you think he’ll do to you?

Why was Dej Noap glowing?

No disrespect to whoever did the lighting on that opening scene last nite, but we have the real Missy back now. Let’s not do that again.

So is Def Noap so desperate for attention that she disses someone she’s never met?

I’m asking again as I am still confused by this story arc.

So Jamal is an icon already?

In that scene with the Pepsi execs in which they featured a future commercial with Jamal in mind, they dubbed him an “icon.” That’s cool. I mean, most people couldn’t get away with becoming an icon with no album out yet. However, ‘bout two weeks ago, Jamal was whining about the Staples Center not letting him perform in it for some mysterious reason. Now he is an icon with an endorsement deal shared by the likes of Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, and Beyoncé. Is this that David Geffan-like character’s magic working? If so, is he the lost witch fromHocus Pocus?

I want Jamal’s character to be this big star, and in turn, usher in this conversation about why that has to happened in real life, but the structure of his impending stardom is jumpy.

Does Andre regret not sticking with his mama yet?

Andre was trying to be all Carlton Banks with Lyon Dynasty, feeling like he was too good to be in the startup trenches with his mama and baby brother. The end result is him being bitched out week after week by his father and Satan’s best frenemy. That’s what his ass gets.

Who is the stud with the interesting haircut in Hakeem’s crew?

Apparently, that was AzMarie Livingston, a former America’s Next Top Model contestant and ex-girlfriend of Raven-Symoné. I was intrigued. Thank you for answering me, Twitter.

Read the rest at VH1.

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At the time of its release, the Waiting To Exhale soundtrack was extolled as “The Chronic of R&B albums.” In his Los Angeles Times review, journalist (later turned screenwriter) Cheo Hodari Coker wrote, “Like Dr. Dre’s rap opus, it’s basically one writer-producer’s vision as delivered by a variety of voices.” Indeed, Babyface managed to successfully wrangle some of the most premiere R&B vocalists of that day with newcomers we’ve since never heard from again to offer a dynamic set of songs that span every facet of R&B yet manage to still flow seamlessly forever.

As most know, Whitney Houston delivered the subtle yet sensational “Exhale (Shoop, Shoop),” the heartache-inducing “Why Does It Hurt So Bad,” and that call ya homegirl and tell her you love her duet “Count On Me” with CeCe Winans. Then there was Brandy’s sweetly sang crush-themed “Sittin’ Up In My Room” along with Toni Braxton’s “Let It Flow,” which was initially intended for Houston but thankfully found a home with Braxton’s beautiful alto.

I still listen to all of these songs regularly. The same goes for TLC’s “This Is How It Works,” which I think ranks as one of the best songs of their catalog that very few outside of core fans acknowledge. Ditto for SWV’s “All Night Long,” which I hope the still going strong girl group puts back into their playlist. Faith Evans should do the same with “Kissing You.”

I don’t know what ever happened to the singer Shanna, but if anyone has a way of reaching her, tell her I’m eternally devoted to “How Could You Call Her Baby.” Please also send my regards to For Real in reference to “Love Will Be Waiting At Home.”

And even though she’s mostly scatting for much of “Wey U,” the song highlights Chanté Moore’s sensational voice (even in its modest presentation here) and makes me wonder what might’ve been for her music career had she worked with more songwriter-producers on the level of Babyface.

Before you stab me, I could never, and would never forget Mary J. Blige’s “Not Gon’ Cry.” It was Mary at her finest – highlighting her vocal growth and making everyone in the song’s path ready and willing to burn down their partner’s car (even if they didn’t have one at the time).

This album is not only one of the best R&B albums ever, it takes me back to a period in my childhood when soundtracks were often the best albums of the year.

The album suffers from its own growing stigmas of being a relic, but the soundtrack has been virtually extinct for some time now. When I talk to younger friends and relatives, they don’t truly grasp the concept. They don’t have a Waiting To Exhale soundtrack. They don’t understand others either: soundtracks for The Bodyguard, Above The Rim, Jason’s Lyric, Space Jam, Boomerang, Set It Off, Sunset Park, A Thin Line Between Love and Hate, and so on.

There are no longer top-notch movie soundtracks anymore. They’re not even moments like the song “U Will Know” from the Jason’s Lyric soundtrack or “Freedom” from the Panther soundtrack where the top male and female acts of R&B would unite for some necessary song the times call for.

Read the rest at VH1.

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On last night’s Empire, Cookie got hers, Hakeem’s new boo got a much needed lesson on how to properly sell it from his old bae while Jamal and Lucious fixed their so-so singles. Meanwhile, I was staring at my TV wondering what exactly is going on with the show. I was not alone. Check social media. In any event, let’s talk it out as a family, folks.

Who can blame Cookie for wanting to spend the day in bed with Laz?

Last night’s episode kicked off with Taraji P. Henson being paid to act out one of my fantasies: being in bed with Adam Rodriquez. As a fellow Bison, I want to salute Taraji for making sure Cookie completely sold the bliss that I imagine comes with bedding Adam. The hater in me wants to boo, hiss, though. Pardon my petty.

That said, so they spent the entire day in bed together, but she didn’t notice that UT Longhorn on Laz’s back? Did she not inspect that body at any portion of the daylong sexcapade? I’m not understanding how she didn’t notice that at any point and subsequently karate chopped him in the neck before whipping out the pistol she keeps near her birth control.

Is anyone surprised that Cookie wants to name a concert “Cookie’s Cookout?”

She is supremely Black. I say that with great admiration and respect. Salute, auntie.

Did you hear how pitiful this Lucious song sounds?

I know by episode’s end, a flashback with his crazy ass mama (played wonderfully by Kelly Rowland) gave him inspiration for his song with Def Noap, but the song still sucks in real life. Boom. Boom. Boom. Bang. Bang. Bang. Hell. Hell. Hell. No. No. No. And for inquiring minds, no, it is not the new “Drip Drop.” It could never be.

Was that older gentleman Lucious turned to supposed to be the equivalent of Quincy Jones?

I kept calling him Quincy Jenkins on the Twitter.

Who wrote Destiny’s Bilingual Child’s single?

I cackled like hell when those girls sang, “We sippin’ bottomless mimosas.” That song sounds inspired by Twitter on Sunday morning, early afternoon and Instagram, all-day Sunday. It was not it. Not even a little bit.

Don’t we need more Tiana?

We have not been getting enough of Teyana Taylor as Rihanna on Empire. All we got last night was her trying to train the lil’ meek one Hakeem has a hard-on for to be less LaTavia on R&B Divas and more Beyoncé any day of the week. I know on the episode, that actually happened, but let’s get one thing clear: no one in New York would’ve stopped what they were doing to hear her Spanish version of “I Will Survive.”

Honestly, in that scene, Hakeem won because this man had his old girl teach his new girl how to rock it. How is that life?

Read the rest at VH1.

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justin-bieber-purpose-cover-2_rume6gI already had my suspicions, but for any lingering doubt about the intent of Justin Bieber’s latest album, Purpose, it becomes clear by the second track: it’s about redemption.

On “I’ll Show You,” Bieber sings, “My life is a movie and everyone’s watching. So let’s get to the good part, and pass all the nonsense.” Bieber wants to finally put aside all of the antics that caused his name to become more synonymous with terms and phrases like “obnoxious,” “reckless” and “next Lindsay Lohan” than “singer” and “entertainer.” Bieber wants your forgiveness to allow him to move on, y’all. So that way he can return to the path of successfully transitioning from child star to adult one. Bieber was well on his way with the under-appreciated Journals but got sidetracked — majorly by the real life growing pains.

“I’ll Show You” reminds me of Britney Spears’ “Piece of Me,” only Bieber seems far more present and self-aware when he croons lines like, “It’s like they want me to be perfect, but they don’t know I’m hurting.” Well, we learned as much from his apology tour that started earlier this year with his Comedy Central Roast. Now, we have Purpose.

Perhaps he is wee bit too hard on himself (look no further than the title track) because in the age we live, one’s transgressions – particularly when you are someone as famous as he is – are less forgettable than they used to be. Also, he’s 21. The fact that far too many put that kind of pressure is part of the problem.

Whether or not Justin Bieber reaches his “best self” in his early 20s (please feel free to laugh at such a notion) remains to be seen, but as far as Justin Bieber the singer goes, Purpose shows more than enough signs that he’s going to be quite alright. I’m more excited than ever about his musical future.

My initial fear going into was that Bieber’s voice, while pleasing to the ears, can sometimes venture towards monotonous if the production is not versatile enough. My fears are alleviated on track after track. There is a singular theme and overall vibe, but enough variance to where Purpose doesn’t sound like one long song. And to his credit, Bieber has grown as a singer.

I was not ready for the falsetto and high notes offered in “No Sense.” Definitely had to check his birthday to see if I was tip toeing towards dirty old man territory. Nor was I properly prepared for the immediate body rolling the very adult “Company” called on. By the end of the album’s first half, it dawned on me that Justin Bieber has made the male commercial R&B album that I’ve longed for all year. There have been plenty of releases this year that fall into the category, but those offerings – like those from The Weeknd and Miguel – push R&B past its limits.

Purpose features songs I wish Usher would have made — quite the compliment to bestow to his former mentee. It’s also the musical progression I wanted for Chris Brown. Unfortunately, with the deluxe edition being 20 songs, there are some missteps.

Read the rest at VH1.

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For portions of tonight’s episode of Being Mary Jane, I found myself relating to Mary Jane Paul and that frightened the hell out of me. You know, because more often than not, Mary Jane behaves like a terrible period. I’ll get to why in the breakdown in a few, but let it be known that this was another great episode of what is increasingly proving to be the show’s best season yet.

What would Rev. Jesse Jackson do?

I found it hilarious that after Mary Jane’s boss shut down her plans to return to her show, she made a $5,000 donation to the Rainbow Coalition and immediately asked to speak to Jesse Jackson. And then after the Rainbow Coalition rep failed to get Mary Jane what she wanted on her schedule, she improvised by speaking her return into existence in front of a camera crew. Isn’t it funny how Don Lemon in stilettos often decries those who complain about racism when met with challenges only to run to one of the biggest Civil Rights leaders ever when in need?

By the way, I’m surprised she called Jesse and not Rev. Al Sharpton. I’m assuming those past few weeks of blackmail have left her unable to afford the other good reverend. Do what you gotta do, girl.

Don’t you hate when people put you on speaker without telling you?

I’m assuming Kara had no choice but to put Mary Jane on speaker with their boss, Greg, but whew, when Mary Jane referred to him as “fat ass,” I let out an audible gasp. Then I just laughed my ass off as Greg called her into his office for that stunt she pulled about going back to work on Monday. Listen, for all those times Mary Jane admonishes others for their lack of effort, it was a cackle to hear Greg run down her many list of offenses. It lit a spark under Mary Jane that perhaps she had become too comfortable in her spot. You can tell Marisol put fear into her as she reminded her that no matter how good you are, you are essentially replaceable.

Is Shug Avery going home to glory?

What was with those random coughs Mama Helen had on the episode? Did she fall and take a tumble? Are they trying to prepare us for her death? Or some serious illness, perhaps? Neither option should be on the table. I never got over Big Mama from Soul Food’s death. I refuse to accept Helen being anything but healthy and ready to snatch you bald while rocking her good wig.

Nicey is such a brat.

So, while I’m not entirely sure if Jill Scott is old enough to play Nicey’s mom, I did appreciate her reminding Nicey that it’s about time she grows the hell up. I understand she didn’t have the best luck in terms of parents, but that girl has spent two seasons not doing a damn thing and expecting the world. That’s partially her father’s fault, but she needs to pull it together.

Nicey’s mom may be lying about doing Nicki Minaj’s hair (she does the dancers’ hair, which is fine), but she has a job doing something she loves. She offered to help put her kid on and Nicey can’t be bothered to put together a portfolio. In 2015! Nicey, you could’ve created an Instagram account to show off your work. I definitely have dated someone who did the same. I like her, but she’s trifling.

Read the rest at VH1.

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Last week, the World Series took us away from Empire, and specifically, Hakeem’s kidnapping. The only things I know about baseball include the following: Houston Astros; Matt Kemp; Evelyn Lozada’s partner; baseball players make crazy money; Michael, get you a baseball player. So, now that we’ve gotten sports out of the way, let’s move on to the melodrama.

Are you happy Becky got her some?

I was not anticipating seeing her leg in the air as she was screwing around on the roof with someone who turned out to be a Christian rapper, but hey, get it how you life. Since we’re talking about sex and Christians, Andre is so fine, y’all. Like the kind of fine ass Christian that could get your heathen ass at church service.

Was Jamal singing an Elton John song?

First off, are we going to begin every episode with his ass singing? I like looking at Jussie Smollett so I’m fine with either way, but just curious. In any event, last night’s song was very Elton John sounding. I’m cool with Elton John, their styles don’t mesh well. Didn’t I already suggest that Jamal hook up with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis? Why are they not listening to me when I’m absolutely right. I have another suggestion: Just have Jamal sing all of Donell Jones’ catalog. The sound fits Smollett’s voice and I’m almost certain the majority of the audience would just assume they were new songs. Donell will get a check and Jussie’s character will get it right. Y’all are welcome.

Isn’t Jamal’s sexuality being handled heavy-handedly?

This show goes out of its way to remind us that Jamal is gay, often in the silliest of ways. Whatever the case, Lucious told Jamal that he was “too narrow of a gay artist” and I was a bit stumped. A gay singer can’t fill an arena in Los Angeles if he has hits? They’re not trying to make sense here. From my understanding, Jamal has like half of a hit thus far and his debut album hasn’t come out. Why would he be trying to book the Staples Center anyway?

And if he did have a hit album and single, why would being gay be block him from booking that venue? Gay singers do face challenges – particularly Black ones – but can we try to be realistic about them? Pretty please. I mean, Jamal solving his purported gay problem by singing “la-la-la-la-la” a thousand times won’t be fixing much.

So, Hakeem has PTSD?

Actually, as a real doctor explained to me on the Twitter, technically it would be an acute stress reaction given his “duration of symptoms isn’t long enough.” I am feeling very Frasier right now. Anyhow, you would think Hakeem had been locked in a box for five months the way he was behaving last night. And when was released, the first thing he does is go have sex with Boo Boo Kitty, who was about to have her own panic attack before he rolled up on her.

Why? I don’t understand much about this show, but this is particularly perplexing to me. Empire loves to cram a lot into a single episode, but last night felt like four or five episodes in one. Hakeem was kidnapped, then Lucious and Cookie come together to save him. They do, only Hakeem is clearly not okay. He is resentful towards his dad (typical), his mother (typical), but is lashing out more than usual. He can’t focus. He’s hearing things. He’s punching glass.

He can’t perform with his new girl group, Destiny’s Bilingual Child. However, he has a connection with the lead singer, who essentially saves him as he freezes during his performance. But ta da, he’s perfectly fine again. That all happened in like 20 minutes. That is not okay, writers.

I want to know how long he was kidnapped. FYI, the length of the World Series doesn’t count.

Read the rest at VH1.

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Last week, Being Mary Jane ended with a sad goodbye, but on the latest episode, we begin with a high note: Kara’s climaxing as she had a sexual eruption with her boyfriend, that man who is currently getting on my nerves on CBS’ Madam Secretary. Then her ex-husband and a potential learning disability for their son soiled the afterglow. Poor, poor Kara. That, more or less, is the theme of the latest episode. Remember, though, that this is Being Mary Jane so poor everyone else, too.

Gather ‘round, BMJ family. Time to react and wonder.

Mary Jane failed her screen test, but can she not be such an awful person about it?
I do not appreciate the way Mary Jane came for Kara’s neck for putting her child ahead of Mary Jane’s job. She is such a selfish, spiteful human being. In any event, after going home, Mary Jane was met with a letter from Lisa. Instead of reading it, Mary Jane let her part-time lover’s hotline bling for a much needed distraction. I am glad she got some, but I would love for her to also hit a therapist’s trap phone in order to learn how to be a decent human being. I am really trying to warm to Mary Jane Paul, but the character keeps lodging ice cubes at my head. Like, those really big ones they put in the drinks you order to rationale them charging you $14 for alcohol.

Thank you for showing Kara pop those pills.
People using antidepressants is not uncommon, but usage still carries certain stigmas. Kara has a hugely stressful, demanding job. She has an estranged partner who punishes her for having said job, but manages to reap the benefits of it i.e. child support and compelling her to pay the mortgage on their home. She faces huge guilt over her inability to properly balance her professional and personal lives. Of course she needs some level of assistance to make it through this stressful time until she figures it out. I don’t blame her one bit for needing the boost. Thankfully, she is shown getting said boost without any unnecessary shame attached to it.

Can Loretta Devine and her trifling ass character fall into the damn abyss?
I love Loretta Devine and while I do find her challenging Mary Jane in a way she isn’t used to interesting, this subplot is stupid. A news anchor – particularly one as sharp, shrewd, and soulless as Mary Jane often shows herself to be – should be able to find her way through this. I guess the fact that she cannot is supposed to be what reels us in, but it does not. What is the FBI tip line? I’d like to report a crime and a storyline that needs to be locked away.

That said, I do appreciate Mary Jane calling her out for the fraud that she is. Black Jesus is not a fan of this woman. Pseudo Christians like that woman who bastardized scripture to suit their self-interests irritate the living hell out of me. If hell is a Fry Daddy, Loretta Devine’s character, Eddie Long, and Creflo Dollar will be seasoned and tossed into some hot grease like catfish in due time. No shade.

Read the rest at VH1.

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On Sunday, many social media users briefly tripped into confusion at the sight of Amber Rose sitting next to Iyanla Vanzant on the set of the Andy Cohen-hosted late night smash Watch What Happens Live. While Rose and Vanzant were more than cordial to each other, there was a polite but visible shift in Vanzant’s face after Cohenencouraged Amber Rose to explain her recent Slut Walk to the OWN personality. Vanzant noted that she was “old school,” and thus, not a particular fan of embracing the word “slut.”

I imagine Vanzant and others like her will share a similar sentiment about the title of Amber Rose’s new book, How To Be A Bad Bitch, which is now on sale. Debate over reclaiming terms like “bitch” and slut” are reminiscent of the ongoing conversation about reclaiming “nigga”—some think you can, others don’t, and there will never be a true resolution between those positions.

People will cling to their stances, but if nothing else, you can always judge someone’s intentions. After reading How To Be A Bad Bitch, it’s clear that Amber Rose and Iyanla Vanzant have more in common than one may initially suspect. Rose, like Vanzant, wants to make people feel better about themselves, or better yet, “live their best lives,” as Oprah would say. They both employ self-help jargon to accomplish this; only their approaches differ tonally.

Vanzant is more matriarchal in her delivery—insert 100 “beloveds” here—whereas Rose is more like your cool, open-minded big sister. A trill guidance counselor, if you will. To wit, Rose’s book begins with the declaration, “I’m writing this book because I decided to do something for myself, no fucks given.” Many readers may immediately shout out “Yassssss!” in response.

Rose has always known how to make an entrance, though over time, onlookers have seen that she’s a lot softer and sweeter than her first impression suggests. That’s why for all of the provocation of the book’s title and its cover, it more or less reads like a version of The Secret for the hood. Don’t consider that a pejorative. I am from the Hiram Clarke area in Houston, Texas. I know plenty of girls like Amber Rose, and I’m happy that now there’s a woman speaking to them directly, in a way that’s accessible.

For instance: Rose reflects on past instances of adversity, but goes on to note: “But when I was down and out, I knew I’d be on my way back up soon, and I always knew I was a bad bitch.”

The same goes for instilling advice like: “If you love to read and write, even if no one else in your family or community does, embrace your truth and move toward what feels rewarding for you. The same goes with astrophysics, or interior design, or being a mom.”

It’s like taking every rap song you’ve ever heard from Trina about being da baddest bitch, and mixing it with The Oprah Winfrey Network’s programming and the inspirational word memes flooding your Instagram feed. That’s not shade. It is a winning recipe for the intended audience.

Some of the advice seems obvious, but if it’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that people like to be told what they should already know—particularly if it’s coming from a celebrity.

Read the rest at Fusion.

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