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

When will everyone learn that when you go against Beyoncé’s wishes, only failure and fury will follow? There are rumors floating that Lifetime is considering making a film based on the life of the finest Creole to twerk the earth. A source tells the Daily Star, “Beyoncé is arguably the world’s biggest star and has a story Lifetime thinks is too compelling to ignore.”

Oh, please reconsider.

Of course, British tabloids are notorious for lying like hell, but when you factor in the reality that the network is making a film about Britney Spears, there is legitimate reason to fear. And boo. And hiss. In that order. Word to Momma Dee.

To give them a lil’ teaspoon of credit, Lifetime has come a long way with its original movies, notably the ones with Negroes in them.

With This Ring and A Day Late and a Dollar Short, respectively, were well-made and enjoyable. Each of those were based on novels, however, which meant they had rich material to work with and, more or less, authors who wouldn’t let the network take their works and ruin them. When it comes to Lifetime biopics, that’s where the compliments about Lifetime original movies go to die a slow, excruciating death.

The Aaliyah biopic was equal parts absurd and abysmal, and the one made about Whitney Houston released a year later was not absolutely horrible, but pretty damn bad all the same. Now, Toni Braxton’s biopic, Unbreak My Heart, was a fast ride in terms of storytelling, but nonetheless enjoyable. The key difference between the Braxton biopic and the other two, however, was Braxton’s involvement. Once again, if someone who is the root of the source material is involved, a Lifetime movie will be OK or surprisingly good.

To that end, we can all easily infer that Blue Ivy’s mama wants no parts of this project.

The film is said to be using J. Randy Taraborrelli’s book Becoming Beyoncé: The Untold Story for “inspiration.” In other words, the plan is to use a book Beyoncé didn’t want out for source material—only annoying her even more. As an original member of the Beyhive, I’m now worried about whether my even mentioning that book is a sin.

Forgive me, Beyoncé. I only wrote it to shade it. Amen. Uh oh, uh oh, oh no no.

This source explained: “They know they may receive some pushback for digging into some of her darker moments, but believe her story must be told.” And: “It could ruffle a few feathers, but finally people might get a sense of the real Beyoncé.”

Here’s what’s going to happen: Beyoncé will likely have this project shut down and cleanse the universe of this ugliness. If that miraculously doesn’t happen, this movie will be raggedy as hell. Again, Lifetime has its cute original-movie moments, but this is Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter. Lifetime can’t handle that splendor.

Beyoncé is Houston, Texas. Lifetime is Tyler, Texas. Beyoncé is a luxurious weave plucked directly from a Malaysian handpicked by God, not a weave bun from the gas station that you can clip in. Beyoncé is worthy of a cinematic masterpiece if and when she decides to have a movie based on her life made, not what Lifetime would offer, which is more or less the moviemaking equivalent of cold General Tso’s chicken ordered four days ago.

Read the rest at The Root.

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

Toward the end of 2014, vicious and very much hateful people worked quickly to spread isolated, unedited vocals of a Mariah Carey holiday performance that was not her best (to say the least).

We know Mariah loves herself some Christmas, but unfortunately, when she performed “All I Want for Christmas Is You” during a Rockefeller Center Christmas tree-lighting special on NBC, she sounded like she had gargled with a lump of coal (no shade). Many folks took absolute glee in this spectacle.

In one post about the performance, a writer wrote: “Remember when Mariah Carey could sing? Most millennials probably can’t.”

As a millennial, let the record show that this is an absolute damn lie. Has Mariah’s once pristine and flawless voice shown signs of decline with time and possibly pinot grigio? I would never lie and deny this, dahling. Even if I am a proud member of her Lambily family, I can acknowledge that there have been moments in which one could say that Mimi sang as if she couldn’t fulfill the terms of her agreement with Ursula the Sea Witch, and thus, was being punished.

However, if there is one constant about Mariah Carey, it is that her vocal talent is enduring and ready to rebound. This would include Mariah during The Emancipation of Mimi era in which she let many doubters know back then that she was not washed up. This would also include right about now.

I’m not sure what Mariah has been doing—vocal rest, a new contract with Ursula, lots of prayer and tea—but she’s sounded lovely for most of the year. There are countless videos posted on YouTubefrom her recent Sweet Sweet Fantasy international tour. Maybe Mariah doesn’t sound like the MTV Unplugged special, but she is singing as strongly as she ever has in several years.

Mariah herself has also been posting video clips from her Las Vegas residency, Mariah #1 to Infinity, at Caesar’s Palace.

Read the rest at The Root.

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 greet the start of each Beyoncé world tour with equal parts excitement and trepidation. I’m excited for obvious reasons, but the process to get that tour date of my choosing freaks me out every single time. Every single time, y’all. When it comes to attending a Beyoncé concert, you either climax or you have a panic attack. There is no in between.

First, you have to make sure you have your funds together. There had been rumors of a stadium tour on the horizon for some time now, but Beyoncé doesn’t tend to give you much in the ways of confirmation until it’s very close to go time. At best, she’ll give you a few days notice and essentially tells you, “Run me my money, bitch.”

She does not give a damn. You either have it or you don’t. You either find a way or make one. What do I do? I run her her damn money. I don’t toy with the King when she calls on me.

Mere seconds after the Formation World Tour commercial aired during the Super Bowl, the people around me were talking about their next paycheck, their savings, their tax returns, their credit cards, or figuring out which Trump they could shake down for tour ticket money. The same sentiments were echoed online. We have to do what we have to do. Can I get a uh oh?

Financial responsibilities aside, next comes the truly difficult part of this adventure: getting the actual damn tickets.


To the song here in my heart.

Sure enough, Beyoncé will offer multiple presales, but they each sound easier said than done. Why? Because Beyoncé fans will shut down her fan site to sign up for the BeyHive presale code. After that, we’ll likely slow the Ticketmaster site all the way down. Should you not find a presale code, you’ll hit superfans like me hoping to get the intel. If I don’t have it myself, I’ll panic.

I did this morning. If not for the help of a handsome BeyHive UK LGBT captain, I might not have known. I mean, my confirmation email from Beyoncé’s Web site came, but not until the very last minute. My blood pressure shot up so high it could have high-fived Michael Jackson in heaven.

Do you know what I went through after that this morning to get my tickets for the New York show? I sat there in front of my computer, waiting and waiting for the Ticketmaster countdown to end so I could buy my tickets. Know what happened? The site played the hell out of me and my emotions. The site and the app kept telling me, “Ain’t no tickets, bih.” Over and over again. It hurt me. Deeply and profoundly.

So, as I talked to my best friend, who was on speakerphone as we both tried our desktops and Ticketmaster apps to score good seats, we were both frantically wondering why were we being punished? Thankfully, after more than half an hour of trying and deep prayer, I managed to get excellent seats by way of the Ticketmaster app.

After sharing my good fortunate on social media, I was met with a sea of congratulations. I love that we congratulate each other when we get Beyoncé tour tickets because we all know how traumatic an experience it can be. We are in this together.

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

The lesson for how to live your best life is buried in an SWV album deep cut.

On the track “Give It to Me” from the R&B trio’s first album, It’s About Time, Coko sings:

“I’m a type of girl with class But, you never know what you can get ‘Till you go and ask for it I was shy, but now I finally see All you have to do is (just ask) For anything you want (It’s yours) you get right to the point (If love) is what you really need, don’t be shy Just say, ‘Boy give it to me…right now’”

This song is essentially about requesting dick without fear, but the verse can apply to any other obstacle one might face. I listen to this song regularly. The same goes for the rest of SWV’s catalog.

As the group celebrates the release of its latest album, Still, I increasingly think about how SWV don’t get their just due. The term “underrated” has been abused to death, but there are certain things about SWV that do often go unrecognized—namely how sex positive their music has been through the years.

TLC has always been praised for being socially aware and frank about sex in music, particularly in Left Eye making the promotion of condoms a central part of her look at the start of their career. Lil’ Kim and Foxy Brown have long been honored (and in some cases criticized) for their embracement of sexuality in their work. Even Adina Howard has a documentary that speaks to sexual liberation.

I salute them all, and you will never get me to speak ill of “T-Shirt and Panties,” but one of the best songs about oral sex, “Downtown,” came from SWV. This doesn’t even include its multiple remixes—the Wet Remix, the Jazzy Radio Mix, the Street Radio Mix—that each best the original. No one has ever been that convincing about the consumption of vagina in song. Give these women the respect they deserve.

So much of the songs from their debut album were tied to women being in control of their sexuality i.e. “Anything,” “It’s About Time,” and “Blak Pudd’n.” Already, I’m sure some would greet this claim with noting that most of these songs were penned by their main collaborator at the time, Brian Alexander Morgan. That hasn’t stopped other women from getting credit for work that might’ve been penned by men, though. This includes the aforementioned artists in addition to groups like Salt-N-Pepa, who didn’t pen a lot of their classic songs that are strong and urgent in their sexual agency.

Nevertheless, even after Morgan stopped working with the group, two of the members—Coko and Taj—started writing their own lyrics and the tone didn’t change. If anything, they were even more aggressive in their songs going forward.

Look no further than one of my favorite songs from the group, “You’re the One,” which is now 20 years old and one of the finest contributions to a sub genre of the R&B tradition: fucking your man music.

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

To be lauded as a legend is one thing, but what good are kudos if you can’t even drive freely down the road you paved? As much as we revere Lil’ Kim —and as much success as she’s enjoyed— those who came after her are the ones who truly benefited from the fruits of her labor. If you’re having doubts, just look at Nicki Minaj’s massive crossover appeal. But Lil’ Kim was also ahead of her time musically, and one album stands above all others.
When The Notorious K.I.M. was first released, there were certain songs that I loved. And I still love them, starting with “Suck My Dick,” which still feels like the perfect response to the street harassment many women contend with from idiotic men. There’s also the title track, which snatches Foxy Brown bald within the first minute. There are others, but many of the tracks were not that fierce – exactly why I didn’t completely get the album as a whole. It was not nearly as gritty as her debut, Hardcore, or her work with Junior M.A.F.I.A.
Such was Kim’s intent.

After the success of her first album, it was clear that Kim had a bigger budget to work with and a larger vision for herself. That resulted in bigger wigs, more expensive looking videos, and far more polish. The Notorious K.I.M. fell victim to several leaks –even more surprising given it was the very late 1990s– which resulted in the album’s release date being pushed back several times. This was partially to combat the bootlegged tracks that found their way to mixtapes, fan Web sites, and the radio— but also to deal with the mounting criticism over a more commercial sound.

In April 2000, Entertainment Weekly wrote about the delays facing The Notorious K.I.M. and quoted one “well-known hip-hop publicist” complaining about the dozen tracks that had already leaked, saying, “It’s very pop and doesn’t have a street edge. People are going to think, ‘Who are you trying to be, Lil’ Kim or Mandy Moore?”’ Now, name that female rapper who has had to deal with similar complains in this decade (*cough* Nicki *cough*). Then compare the success of her pop tracks with the pop offerings Kim dropped 15 years ago.

Some of these tracks – including her cover of Donna Summer’s “Bad Girls” with RuPaul – did not make the final cut. And part of Lil’ Kim’s additional recording did add more of a “street edge” to the final product. Still, Kim’s sophomore effort remained a glossier and far more commercial affair. Some of it was done quite cleverly, a la “How Many Licks” featuring Sisqó, which samples the theme from the TV series Knight Rider. Others, like the Pat Benatar-sampling “Don’t Mess With Me” and the album’s lead single, “No Matter What They Say,” were more overt.

Read the rest at VH1 Music.

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
Early in her career, Janet Jackson’s music reflected a more demure approach towards sexuality. She was essentially a cross between Donna Martin on the original 90210 and Khia’s “Snatch The Cat Back,” if you will. Then came the janet. album (a personal favorite) where she effectively turned that cherry out. It is a personal favorite of mine because it encompassed both Janet’s social consciousness and her burgeoning sexuality. Ever since that album, Damita Jo continued to provide us sex jam after sex jam. So, in honor of her and her new sensual single, “No Sleeep,” I’m reflecting on my favorite sex songs from Our Lady of The Butterfly.

They are not ranked in any particular order, so feel free to pull your knifes back.

“Would You Mind,” All For You

 I’m almost certain I am not allowed to recite the majority of these lyrics of this song, but let me just say, there’s no finer example of how arousing a whisper and coo can be when they’re executed correctly.

“Warmth,” Damita Jo

If “Would You Mind” could reproduce, it would be “Warmth.” They’re both similar in structure, theme, and delivery, but I give not a single damn. If I can love Mariah Carey and Ariana Grande, I can love both of these songs, too.

If you’re wondering, “Moist” from this same album is the second cousin of “Would You Mind.”

“Twenty Foreplay,” Design of a Decade: 1986-1996

Pardon me, but I’m about to get a lil’ mushy here. So, the beginning of this underrated gem is very lullaby-ish and full of the sort of lovey dovey language Drake wants to have with the southern strippers who always seem to let him down. Say, my favorite line from the song, “When you wake and your smile meets mine, my day begins. You’re my inspiration. Seeing your face glow is the nicest of hellos.”

For me, when love and sex intersect, the latter is when its best. I know, I know: I sound like Mariah Carey. In any event, midway through the song, the real love themes switch to raunchiness and Janet makes the following command: “Ya made love to mind, now you gotta take me from behind.” This song is everything. Y’all best start appreciating it more.

“The Body That Loves You,” janet.

This song, like “Twenty Foreplay,” is a mix of the sentimental and sensual. And like “Twenty Foreplay,” I don’t think “The Body That Loves You” is spoken of enough.

“These are the hands that’ll touch you. These are the lips that’ll kiss you. These are the arms that’ll hold you.”

And this is the writer that’ll get you to pay homage.

Read the rest at VH1 Music.

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

Less than 60 seconds into Trina’s debut album, the high-pitched rapper squeaked the following declaration: “This ain’t no bullshit I’m selling you.” By the end of the song, Trina says, “You ain’t heard? Fuck nigga, I’m da baddest bitch.” It’s a talking point that carried over to the next song and title track, “Da Baddest Bitch.” It’s also a talking point that’s followed Trina for her entire rap career.

In an Entertainment Weekly review of the album, Trina is described as “nasty as Lil’ Kim used to be” and celebrated for positioning herself as “the new queen of randy hip-hop tales in which sex is a contact sport played by rival genders.” The review was an A-, though while I’m not sure where that ranking stands today, the album is surely memorable to many all the same.

To this day, I can still gleefully recite the lines, “X-Rated/Elevated/Buttnaked/And I’d probably fuck your daddy if ya mammy wasn’t player hating.” The one about “letting him eat it while my period on,” too, even if it’s not applicable.

To this day, I regret not following Trina’s advice: “I got game for young hoes/Don’t grow to be a dumb ho, that’s a no-no/See if you off the chains/Stay ahead of the game, save up buy a condo.” It surely beats the student loan debt I’ve amassed for a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism.

To this day, I will listen to “Off the Chain With It,” “Ain’t Shit,” “Off Glass,” and “Bitch I Don’t Need You” with as much excitement as I did when I first heard them in high school. To this day, you cannot convince me that “Pull Over” is not one of the best-written songs in American history.

Today marks the 15th anniversary of Da Baddest Bitch, and on the heels of that anniversary comes news that she has signed a new record deal that will be a joint venture with her own label, Rockstarr Music Group.

Trina’s commercial success has never been as sizable as her contemporaries like Lil’ Kim and Foxy Brown. They were multi-platinum successes with their respective debut albums whereas Da Baddest Bitch went gold. Her follow-ups continued to net sales within that frame, and yet, despite never being as huge a draw as any of them in their prime, she is musically more viable than they are in 2015. The same goes for Trick Daddy, who initially introduced us to Trina in 1998 by way of “Nann Nigga.”

Yes, Lil’ Kim can still command me and others in an arena to recite her classics line for line, but when her remixes to today’s hits play, the audience channels Helen Keller and Beeker from The Muppets.

Read the rest at Complex Music.

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

Ever since I became aware of what an Ariana Grande was, I’ve been enamored. I love her new single “The Way” with Mac Miller. Musically, the song gives me teases of white Ashanti and Ja Rule from a voice that probably makes Mariah Carey want to nest on the blood of a youth ala The Snow Queen from Snow White and the Huntsmen. Ariana might not match the might of Mariah Carey’s voice before the cigarettes and chardonnay did their damage, but she definitely has the kind of chops that make you take notice.

Listen to this.

And this.

Usually when I hear someone try to pull off a Mariah Carey song, within seconds I have to rush to hear the real thing the way God intended. With Ariana, I at least want to wait half a minute. Gon’, girl. That is impressive. No one can top vintage Mariah, but to be able to pull off a cover of one of her songs that well says a lot about Ariana’s talent and potential. Now someone needs to tell her to cover Mimi’s “Honey.”

Check this one out, too. So this is what Rihanna’s songs sound like when someone who genuinely cares about singing is performing them? To Rih-Rih’s credit, though, she has the attitude to pull off the track better. Be that as it may, consider me a fan of Ariana. I’ve already given her $1.29 for “The Way” and I just gave her another for “Baby I.”

I’m ready to give her more so long as she keeps singing good songs with that fantastic voice.

I feel as though Ariana Grande will be what Christina Aguilera was supposed to be. “The Way” reminds me of X-Tina tracks like “Come On Over (All I Want Is You)” and “When You Put Your Hands On Me.” Those songs had an obvious flirtation and underlying sexual tone in the case of the latter, but it wasn’t full out freaktastic. You know, ala “Dirrty” in which Christina is rolling around in the mud and humping the wrestling mat.

I don’t mind Christina wanting to sing about the sex, but I do take issue with her singing like the choir director of Alcide’s wolfpack on True Blood. She doesn’t even sound the same anymore as a result of all those banshee cries — and then has the nerve to drop back to back lengthy albums full of fillers.

While distraught Christina Aguilera fans continue to pray for the future of her music career and throat, I want to additionally send out good vibes to Ariana Grande. May you continue to control your voice while building its ability and keep your music fun and bop-friendly. For you are the future. Amen.

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

So this happened. At first I couldn’t figure out why this deranged 12-year-old from 1996 was randomly tweeting me a threat. Then it hit me that it was probably the post I wrote about Lil’ Kim the other day. Or it could’ve been this post. Or this one. Or that one. Maybe the piece I wrote for last year. Whatever it was, clearly this crazy sum’bitch to become quite upset with me.

When in the business of speaking your shit to earn your supper, you get used to be told that you ain’t shit, ain’t ever been shit, will likely never be shit or are a piece of shit in return. It’s the circle of shit, if you will. When I was writing political pieces every week for, I routinely got emails from cranky conservative white people who saw me as Assata Shakur’s long lost ornery son — and in some cases her ornery gay ass Black ass son. Insert more racism and all sorts of vileness here. I’ve also had numerous insults directly sent to me within this space and all of the other various places my writing has appeared.

So I’m used to people having words for me, though none have ever been on some “stay inside fo’ I kill you, bitch” sentiment.

After I saw this post, I initially thought to say something like “Fuck you, fuck the bitch that bred you, and fuck whoever didn’t lock up their wifi, which outlawed your Internet thug ass to keyboard goon.” I opted not to, because well, it’s not worth it. In fact, I feel bad for anyone who not only makes a celebrity the centerpiece of their life – to the point where they want to inflict bodily harm on a complete stranger if someone speaks ill of them – but does so for a celebrity who star is more faded than a pair of acid wash jeans from 1986.

Whoever didn’t hug that ridiculous, jello-nose loving asshole in his or her youth, you failed us all. All that said, fuck this idiot. Before I ended up making fun of this psycho in real time on my timeline, I definitely reported their tweets to Twitter directly. I went outside this weekend and will be outside tomorrow and every day thereafter, but anyone so stupid enough to make a traceable threat for the world to see is not worthy of the service.

Even gang members and drug dealers on social media use codes. How do you have the nerve to be both dumb or crazy? You can only be one or the other. There is no sense in trying to overcompensate when it comes to flaws.

I like Kimberly Jones, circa before all this bullshit happened, and I wish her and her Batman-villain manufactured body well. But rest assured, if she’s doing something ridiculous and/or awful and I am so inclined to write about it, I will continue to.

God bless you, too, motherfucker.

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

Like Anderson Cooper, who is the vanilla spice latte to my caramel macchiato, soy with sugar-free vanilla sweetener, my nerves were also on swole following the manufactured controversy his network has since christened “Beyoncé-gate.” There are only so many varying ways to say to the simpletons and sensationalists “I hate you, Jody,” but thankfully, I have a troubled childhood and a silver medal in shade (we can always be better) that helps in moments such as these.

Please, please get into my latest column for “The Weekly Read” over at entitled “To Those Baffled Over Beyoncé.” Part of this is just your garden variety Beytheists being typical losers, but it’s more so the 24-hour news cycle that’s at fault. Hate it all with me by clicking here, why don’t you?


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