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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the rest at Complex.

Oh, Mariah

At one point do you look in the mirror and say, “I’m too old damn for this bullshit?” I will always and forever cherish Mariah Carey. I love this woman the way she loves all things prepubescent; the way Hoda and Kathie Lee love wine o’clock; the way Rick Ross loves a good tall tale (insert aggressive grunt here). As a matter of fact, I am singing “Honey” aka a legendary ditty about going down while writing this. My dedication to Mimi is unwavering, but I did look at this pictures and feel a little sad.

I know, I know. Mariah is who she is. I get it. Still, girl, what? Leave it to Mariah Carey to challenge the limits of my progressivism.

Why does she look like the old whore of Candyland?

I’m all for a woman of a certain age owning her sexuality. Mariah is getting older, but that doesn’t mean “that pussy old, that pussy creaky.” Yet, here I sit stumped. Mimi, a bra made out of Valentine’s Day candy? I mean, that’s probably fun for a horny diabetic ready for a night of sex themed around “titties and treats,” though I’m not sure this should’ve made its way to the ‘gram.

Like, when is someone going to say, “Mariah, you’re not Blanche Devereaux yet, but you’re about two or three birthdays away from Samantha Jones territory. Maybe it’s time to stop dressing like a tween gon’ wild?”

I guess not anytime soon. What is the theme of this video? Tinkerbell’s sex dreams? Oh, Mariah. That said, I do like her new single “We Still Belong Together On The Top Of The Charts” “You’re Mine (Eternally).”

I also absolutely adore her in this interview with “The Breakfast Club.” She is so ridiculous and it’s always pleasant in radio interviews.

Not so much select visuals. I suppose you have to take the good with the bad. Why do I get the feeling she’ll be swimming in a pool full of Sweet Tarts in her 50s? Wait, why am I even acting surprised by any of this? Mariah Carey is a part crooner, part cashew. I would love it if someone would reel it in, but that’s like mission improbable.

Lamb forever, but…oh, fuck it.

Talk That Talk

About two weeks ago, I took part in another panel on Hot 97’s Street Soldiers themed around the men of reality TV and whether or not Black men who act a fool on television for pocket change are dooming the race.

If you’re vaguely familiar with my opinion on that “respectability” rooted argument against reality TV, you can imagine what my comments were. Actually, don’t imagine. Listen. And then tell a friend. After that, a cousin. Maybe even a co-worker who you don’t really like, but imagine will see it for the kid. Did you hear “the kid” in Nicki Minaj’s accent? God, I hope so. That’s how I intended you to.

The episode replayed on Sunday so I decided to quit playing and post about it.

You can check out the show below. Click on the player below, select “Reality Men.”

Now one thing I will say is that while Peter Gunz’s life is a fuck shit sandwich with fries, I do have a better understanding about why Tara sat on it. I also found myself defensive on his behalf after the way another panelists described him and his co-stars. I think reality TV deserves criticism just by nature of it being available for public consumption. Still, be mindful that these are real people no matter how they’re edited and storyboarded.

I’m increasingly realizing just how much I love to be on a mic. Okay, I was a broadcast journalism major so it’s not so much realizing as it is remembering. 2014 is all about making me the hood’s Donahue until I’m everybody’s actually Black Andy Cohen once Don Lemon is sacrificed in repentance to our ancestors. Order my steps, God and Beyoncé; be sure to include hot sauce with the order.

NewsOne: Don Lemon Wins At Black People’s Expense

Ever since CNN anchor Don Lemon decided to start editorializing, he has not shown himself to be a serious thinker. Lemon has developed a knack for trivializing complicated sociopolitical issues affecting people of color, mostly by offering personal anecdotes to argue positions that could be easily debunked with data, such as when he peddled the silly little idea that if all Blacks just put on a belt and stopped calling each other “nigga,” everything would be okay.

Don Lemon should know a style of dress or subtracting words from your lexicon won’t necessarily make you less susceptible to racism. It didn’t go away for him in 2001 when he sued a department store for racially profiling him.

Then there’s the reality that Lemon often proves himself to be just as culturally ignorant as the older White audiences he’s whispering sweet nothings (about those wayward Blacks) to. You know, like the time Don Lemon came out of the closet and threw Black people under the bus by agreeing that Black people are more homophobic than Whites. Meanwhile, Blacks make up the largest bloc of the LGBT community. As in identified gay. Yeah, there goes your little “down-low-brother” myth too.

You would think one of the most-visible gay Black men in media would be fighting the stereotypes plaguing people like him and the collective community to which he is a part of.

Instead, he’s been nothing but a boil on the butt of common sense — cheerleading vigorously for the ideas from the greatest hits collection of systematic racism.

RAH! RAH! RAH! YAY, STOP-AND-FRISK! BOO, “POLITICAL CORRECTNESS!”

Not surprisingly, he is now being rewarded for it at CNN.

Read the rest at NewsOne.

Clutch: He Is Miserable Without White Validation

It’s a shame self-loathing Negroes like The Guardian’s Orville Lloyd Douglas didn’t take the “Big Poppa” lyric “I wish people suffering from I hate being Black disorder took the Biggie line, “Heart throb never, Black and ugly as ever. However, I stay Coogi down to the socks.” more to heart.

I’m half-kidding, but after reading Douglas’ “Why I hate being a black man” I have to make some kind of joke from stopping myself from crying silent tears over such a grand display of defeatism. In Douglas’ essay, he laments over the fact that “Every time I sit on a crowded street car, bus, or subway train in Toronto, I know I will have an empty seat next to me.” His sister explains that his towering presence and Black skin are dually intimidating to Canadians. As Douglas himself argues, “Although Canadian society presents the façade of multiculturalism the truth is Canada has a serious problem with the issue of race.”

Yeah, but so does Orville Lloyd Douglas.

To be fair, Douglas is correct in his assertion that when it comes to Black self-hatred, it “is usually depicted from a female point of view.” In that regard, I commend him for daring to do what many would deem emasculating. Damn him all the same, though, and damn anyone like him who may recognize a problem but use his or her platform to further perpetuate it.

wrote a response to a previous Douglas essay in which he condemned 12 Years A Slave and all slave-themed movies based on the notion that such works “are created for a White, liberal film audience to engender White guilt and make them feel bad about themselves.” He argued “these films are unlikely to teach you anything you don’t already know” and then said, “Frankly, why can’t Black people get over slavery? Or, at least, why doesn’t anyone want to see more contemporary portrayals of Black lives?”

At the time, he looked like a fool with the intellectual curiosity of a gnat, too stupid to understand the nuance in Steve McQueen’s depiction of slavery and most of the movies that preceded it and too lazy to use the magic machine known as Google to realize that while 12 Years A Slave may be highly buzzed, there are actually a lot of Black movies out this year that do just that. As for his inability to grasp that slavery is a part of history, and thus, always a relevant story worth telling from different angles, let us all sing Aaron Hall’s “DUMB, DUMB DIDDY” really, really loud.

We can now add hypocrite to the list as it’s fine for him to pen maudlin works in an effort to illicit white guilt (on top of bashing Black movies outlining racism for white amusement), but not okay for anyone else to make white people sad.

Read the rest at Clutch.

Troll So Hard

Lord knows I have tried to be patient with Kanye West as it’s becoming ever so clear that he can’t play spades at most peoples’ tables given he’s not working with a full deck. Still, we as a people – of any color and every persuasion – have got to find a tricked out trap door for this wayward Negro to fall through. Kanye may be arguably a creative genius, but that doesn’t make his increasingly asinine statements any less annoying.

Kanye West is dipped in megalomania, baked in delusion & frosted with f**k s**t. I’m so sick of some people – i.e. his most ardent fans – pretending otherwise. Kanye has morphed from what initially appeared to be a thoughtful, charismatic rapper who could mix catchy songs with meaningful commentary and take it mainstream into something reminiscent of the average Internet troll. The sort of person willing to say whatever “controversial” statement he can conceive without any real thought of its accuracy or whether or not it contradicts whatever musing is made after it.

It’s okay to think highly of yourself, and it’s equally fine to share that admiration for your significant other, but Kanye West ought to be arrested for public masturbation following his appearance on KIIS FM’s On Air with Ryan Seacrest. I don’t know why walking ego trip believes he and Kim are “the most influential with clothing,” but I do know anyone, much less a Black man, who would denigrate one of the most visible Black women in the world to a swimsuit Instagram challenge might need to down a bleach cocktail should he not find the missing piece in his brain that’s clouding his judgment.

Kanye didn’t have to signal out Michelle Obama. He could’ve easily argued that as the person largely responsible for the integration of celebrities into Vogue magazine, Anna Wintour ought to recognize that the notion of celebrity has evolved, and thus should perhaps reconsider her anti-Kardashian stance. But he didn’t and willingly targeted FLOTUS, which may make Kim smile, but doesn’t do much for his half-Black daughter who benefits from all that Michelle Obama represents to the world.

I don’t begrudge Kim Kardashian in any way, but her style as described by a friend is an “upscale Bebe” or “Bebe couture.” Anna Wintour may not love it, or her brand of celebrity, but such is her prerogative, so pretty please, Yezzus, spare the world with your whining over KimYe being victims of classism.

Especially when you make statements like: “People used to be, ‘What is [Kim] talented at?’ She’s talented at being beautiful! Like, if you go to a club, and you see a bunch of beautiful girls, you might say, ‘It’s a bunch of talent.’”

So Kim Kardashian is a victim of classism despite the conveniently forgotten fact that much of her “talent” over the years has been styled by a cosmetic surgeon. You don’t know struggle if you’re talking about elective surgery. Shut up.

Read the rest at Clutch.

Was Every Other Black Woman Alive Booked?

Far be it from me to anger the any form of criticism will be dismissed as “negativity” even if it’s valid Negro, but what the hell, Bethune-Cookman University? Y’all held a forum on self-assurance, positive self-image, and self-confidence starring cast members from Basketball Wives? Was no one in the room humming “My Mind’s Playing Tricks On Me” during the planning? Does asking that make me old? If so, forget y’all. Know the classics!

Worse, y’all didn’t even book Evelyn Lozada, who I must admit, has done a good job of conveying “I’ve changed” to the masses just in time for a much needed career switch, but Tami “Hothead” Roman and Royce Reed, the girl live tweeting every bit of mess in her personal life.

I don’t mind Royce as a reality personality, but she comes across as someone who ought to be sitting in this sort of symposium not starring in it. I’ve long admitted to not being a big Tami fan anymore. Even so, I salute her on lining up with Walgreens to hawk makeup to the hood. Get your coins, colored woman. Get your coins.

Still, since I write Basketball Wives recaps for spare change to pay student loans, I know damn well that Tami continues to act a complete fool. She remains the first person on the show who’s huffing, puffing and ready to blow anyone’s head off if they came at her the wrong way. Naturally, by way of a sucker punch when the target isn’t ready, but I digress.

Plus, I so remember her on Wendy Williams about a week or so ago talking about she was #TeamBreezy, defending her brother in anger management. The Real Lady of Rage would do that, though.

With that in mind, again I ask, is this who y’all wanted for this? Oh wait, is this a set up? Like, did y’all plan an intervention guised as a terrifically ironic panel? If so, a-ha, y’all are a clever bunch.

If not, answer my damn question: Was every other Black woman alive booked? I need answers.

Rounding Up The Ridiculous

If I had to choose any three words to best summarize this unusual week on Al Gore’s Internet, I’d go with “troll so hard.” From sucking up via sandwich making and throwing shade through Instagram all the way to down to geriatric gyrations and grand displays of douchiness, so much of this week was all about “LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME!” Well, we looked and now I’d like to opine on what we’ve seen. Spoiler alert: I’m already thinking about Christmas shopping, so many of you are going to get a muzzle, some self-esteem, plus some water to pour over every web-connected electronic device you own. Thank me later.

Rep Yo’ Oppression

I like Gawker as much as any other college-educated, snarky asshole, but there’s something off-putting about their newly initiated Privilege Tournament—which allows readers to play the game of oppression olympics, presumably to mock the practice. As one Slate writer put it, the tournament illustrates “that privilege has failed as a social justice strategy, at least outside of more nuanced environs like the academy” and says “once Gawker declares the ‘winner,’ let’s put down the privilege scorecard and move on. The game’s not fun anymore.” In other words, from one white guy to another, I feel you, bro. As silly as the game of who’s got it worse can be at times, having white men satirize it shows why the word “privilege” isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. As a Gawker commenter noted: “A white man made the game; set up the categories and tells us to fight it out. Sounds about right.”

Check out the rest of my new biweekly feature “Hella Bandwith: The Week In Internet Foolishness” over at Complex.com.

 

Iggy, You Don’t Pop

Dear Iggy Azalea:

Remember when you caused a brouhaha when you rapped, “When the relay starts, I’m a runaway slave…Master / shitt*ng on the past, gotta spit it like a pastor” on “D.R.U.G.S.?” Now, you were taking a cue from a Kendrick Lamar song, but ultimately you conceded, “In all fairness, it was a tacky and careless thing to say and if you are offended, I am sorry.”

So even though you, lily white rapper from Australia, may not understand the sort of racial politics behind that line and lingering criticism over your rap act, I thought that maybe, just maybe, you’d learn to at least listen to the people from whose culture you currently profit from.

Then reality smacked me upside the head by way of your October-November cover story with Complex magazine.

The question goes: “In a country where ‘speaking [Black]’ has been a hindrance in almost every profession but rap, do you see how a White person making money in rap by adopting this accent could ruffle feathers?”

For the record, I’m not one of those Negroes who feigns aloofness over the notions of “speaking Black” or “Black music” or Black-anything. We have our culture, and not every single Black person may identify with it. Still, that doesn’t negate its existence. Why can everyone else have certain norms and mores but not American Blacks?

In any event, here was your answer: “If you’re mad about it and you’re a [Black] person then start a rap career and give it a go, too. I’m not taking anyone’s spot, so make yourself a mixtape. Or maybe if you’re [Black], start singing like a country singer and be a white person. I don’t know. Why is it such a big deal? This is the entertainment industry. It’s not politics. You should be more concerned about the message, not the voices saying it.”

This is mighty White of you to say and equally stupid. Madam, you are an Australian bred White woman who spits like Diamond from Crime Mob trying to imitate Charli Baltimore’s cadence. Yet, you sound every bit the Aussie when speaking. If you don’t pronounce Atlanta as “Alannuh,” you needn’t rap the way those that do.

And for your information, “it’s a big deal. I think Solange put it well:

Liiiiike……Lets all dress up, and “play black” today because that shit is more fun than six flags!!! “Whhheeeeeeee”

Not only that, these people get to do Black and make more green off of it. Robin Thicke can rework a Marvin Gaye song and enjoy the biggest hit of his career. Likewise, Justin Timberlake can give us what radio programmers would describe as an “urban adult contemporary” first single in “Suit & Tie” and enjoy widespread airplay. Let a Black person do this and they’re relegated to my mama and ‘em’s favorite stations.

As much flack as Nicki Minaj gets for going pop – and oh boy, does she ever deserve it sometimes – the reality is these days it’d be whole lot harder for her to go mainstream ala Lil’ Kim and Foxy Brown 10+ years ago with straight hip-hop tunes.

Needless to say, to see you rapping like you’re from one of our southern hood blocks and yet, naan one of us have ever, ever seen you, is irritating.

Read the latest edition of The Weekly Read at EBONY.com.

We Don’t Need To Get Over Slavery…Or Movies About Slavery

In the age of “There’s no dense opinion not worth sharing,” I came across one of the most frustratingly stupid articles of all the time. The Guardian’s Orville Lloyd Douglas has officially upped the ante in his misguided and dumb essay over his exhaustion with slave narratives on the big screen along with a call for Black people – presumably Black Americans in particular — to just “get over” slavery already. Ad hominem attacks aren’t always ideal, but neither is the asinine advocation for the erasure of such an integral part of history. As irony would have it, Douglas wants Hollywood to stop making White people “feel bad about slavery,” but is peddling this nifty form of nonsense in a mainstream paper for major White consumption.

Referring to movies like the box office hit “The Butler” (pictured above) and the much-buzzed about “12 Years A Slave,” Douglas writes:

I’m convinced these Black race films are created for a White, liberal film audience to engender White guilt and make them feel bad about themselves. Regardless of your race, these films are unlikely to teach you anything you don’t already know. Frankly, why can’t Black people get over slavery? Or, at least, why doesn’t anyone want to see more contemporary portrayals of Black lives?

I, too, share the longing for more contemporary portrayals of Black lives being told on the screen. That is to say, more than the ones that require Tyler Perry donning a dress and informing some uppity, educated woman to lower her standards, get her some Jesus, and ride off in to the sunset with the blue collar supermodel-looking boyfriend the Lord just blessed her with.

But a-ha, Douglas! That’s already happening if you bothered to pay attention.

Earlier this year, the New York Times highlighted a new wave of Black films spanning a number of subject matters, including musicals, romantic comedies, social dramas, and holiday-themed comedies. Such is my issue with lamenting a point that could easily be debunked if one managed to waste precious seconds using that magic, information finding product called “Google.”

Even if that was not the case, though, that point has nothing to do with the significance of continuing on with slavery-focused films.

Would Douglas tell the Jews to get over the Holocaust and other instances of anti-Semitism? Should Americans get over their obsession with presidents like Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy? What about our past wars? Do Asians not have a right to bring greater attention to America’s own dark history of concentration camps? What about those flicks focused on the Roman Empire? Cleopatra?

You can read the remainder of this essay at NewsOne.