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Of all the fairy tales that I’ve heard in my life, my least favorite is, “If you don’t have haters, then you’re not doing anything.”

This sentiment was echoed recently by Canadian musician and performance artist Peaches about Kim Kardashian’s nude selfie during an appearance on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore. Like many modern fables, those folks in the hippity hop culture are responsible. I think I first heard of “haters” on Eightball and MJG’s On Top of the World album.  More than 20 years later, I’m still hearing about haters, and I wish people would talk about the subject more thoughtfully and honestly.

For one, most people do not have hordes of people hating on them. Sure, Beyoncé is twirling on those poor unfortunate, tasteless souls who loathe her brilliant existence, but she made B’Day. Did you? I didn’t think so. The same goes for other famous people whose success breeds resentment among the petty, wack asses of the world. Even so, folks tend to forget that sometimes people hate your fucking ass for very good reasons.

Do you know why people hate Donald Trump? He’s a demagogue. He’s a bully. He wants to build a stupid, pointless wall. Excuse me, he wants to build a stupid, pointless, big, BEAUTIFUL wall.

Do you know why reality television villains like Kenya Moore have detractors? It’s ‘cause she’s annoying, overly dramatic, and unnecessarily antagonistic.

Do you know why some folks don’t rock with Kanye West anymore? Look at his Twitter tirades.

In Kim Kardashian’s case, some people dislike because of what she represents: shallowness. I don’t dislike Kim Kardashian. I like her overall. That said, I hate that sexism and patriarchy overshadowed legitimate gripes about her narcissism. Not everyone’s annoyance over the nude selfie she shared on social media can be attributed to her being a wife and mom. Some just felt, “Girl, you’re still on this wave? I’ve seen your naked body more than I have my own.”

Like, I don’t care if Kim Kardashian is naked. It is her body, she is free to do whatever she wants with it. I imagine I’ll be seeing her body over and over again until she takes her very last selfie before going on to glory. I don’t have a problem with nudity as a means of expression, but there’s something terribly boring about Kim Kardashian’s method of attention-grabbing overall. I find her tweeting random naked selfies taken a year ago to be as mundane as the color palette Kanye West dresses her in. The same goes for many of the things that are essentially part of her shtick as a reality star.

Then again, if it ain’t broke it, why fix it? It works for her. It will continue to work for her. She’s still in the club doing the same old two-step, though.

Moreover, while I agree with her essay about her right to be sexual as a mother and wife, I find it funny that she never clocked her family’s own bad habit of using a woman’s sexuality against her, i.e. Khloe Kardashian invoking Amber Rose’s past stripper job. So not only do some of us yawn, we also clock what feels like hypocrisy.

To suggest that any valid critique can be dismissed with she’s doing something right ‘cause people are talking is silly.

Now, to those reading, do you know why some people in your life might hate on you? You’re probably a terrible person. You can convince yourself that you must be doing something right because some cannot stand you, but that’s a very hollow way to view reality.

Read the rest at Complex.

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There are certain conversations between straight people online that make me want to throw my computer and phone into a sea of hot sauce. Of those topics, by far the most grating to the nerve is one centered on child support and all related custodial matters. Here’s how it goes: Some famous man – typically Black – expresses some grievance about the amount of child support he has to pay and/or purportedly not being able to see his child as much as he feels he should. In turn, men on social media – many of whom who will never, ever have a rich man’s problems – suffocates many folks’ timelines with complaints, most of which only exist within the confines of their imagination.

On the first Monday of 2016, Future took to the Twitter to be the latest famous man to engage in this practice, and like all of the other men before him, I wish the Negro would’ve turned to a diary instead.

Rap’s Karen Walker began his online complaining with “This bitch got control problems…”

Problem number one: Future is calling Ciara, the mother of his son a “bitch.” Trust me when I tell you that more often than not, when a son sees his dad refer to his mama this way, the only “bitch” to that child is the one with the penis. That’s not how you refer to the woman who gave one of your kids life, no matter how feisty you’re feeling in that moment.

Future then followed with: “I gotta go through lawyers to see babyfuture…the fuckery for 15k a month.”

Problem number two: This is none of the public’s business. Now, I don’t know a whole lot about Future and Ciara’s relationship, but I do know he cheated on her, thus ending their engagement. To that end, you reap what your wayward sexual appetite has sown, beloved. Meanwhile, as far as the 15k goes, you’re Future. You can afford it. Hell, I’ve chipped in by way of plenty of sales. You’re welcome, Black man.

After that $15,000 a month in child support reference came the complaints of mere commoners (and that’s no shade as I’m not famous either). For some reason, they, too, want to complain about child support. However, child support is based on income, so if you can afford it, that’s on you. Don’t want to pay child support? Buy condoms, it’s cheaper. Even so, a lot of these men fancy themselves as being rich, hence, their irritation with the child support figure Ciara and other women who have had babies by wealthy men get. Here’s how to solve that: realize your ass isn’t rich.

See that? I just saved you so much stress. I can give you my PayPal if you want to throw something in my tip car.

Next came Future’s declaration: “I jus want babyfuture that’s all.”

Tell the judge, not the world, my dude.

Followed by the claim: “I been silent for a year & a half..I ran outta patience.”

This, this right here, this is a damn lie.

Read the rest at VH1.

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For all intents and purposes, Caitlyn Jenner means well. However, intent does not negate impact, thus, for all the good she has done in boosting transgender visibility this year, she often leaves a bad taste in people’s mouths with the things she says. Rightfully so.

The most recent example of this is her Time magazine interview when the subject of imaging came up. Caitlyn says that seeks to “try to project a good image for this community.” Given Jenner’s career before and after her now historic reveal this year, obviously, image would matter.

Yet, she often has a habit of taking what’s important to her and mistaking that for what should matter most.

Look no further than the follow up commentary. “I think it’s much easier for a trans woman or a trans man who authentically kind of looks and plays the role.” Then came, “I try to take [my presentation] seriously. I think it puts people at ease. If you’re out there and, to be honest with you, if you look like a man in a dress, it makes people uncomfortable.”

In response to the criticism over her comments, Jenner penned an op-ed entitled “Still So Much To Learn.” In it, Jenner writes, “What I was trying to say is that our world really is still a binary one, and that people who look ‘visibly transgender’ sometimes can struggle for acceptance and may be treated poorly by others. And while this may be true, it’s also something that needs to change.”

Jenner offered an apology, but it doesn’t make me forget what she also said in that same Time interview: “I am not a spokesperson for the trans community. I am a spokesperson for my story, and that’s all I can tell. And hopefully by telling my story, I can make people think.”

Jenner, like many who take on the benefits of spokesperson but tries to steer clear of that label when something they say stirs trouble, wants to have it both ways. None of Jenner’s controversial comments made this year soil the good she has done, but they do point to what it is increasingly interesting about her. She is someone who has spent 65 years of her life as a white man, and for more than half of that, a rich and famous white man.

There is no more privileged a life so to see someone from the most privileged group on Earth go to arguably the most marginalized one is quite the transition. And Caitlyn Jenner is right in that she will continue to make mistakes along the way. Still, when she writes about the media sometimes taking her comments out of context – which she did in her apologetic, but still somewhat defensive blog post – she needs to remember that she elected to not only live out loud, but use her platform to push for change.

So, when we hear Caitlyn Jenner reinforce the very gender binaries that she says led to past troubles, she will rightfully be called out. The same goes for her appearing on Ellen DeGeneres’ daytime talk show and articulated her purported evolved but not necessarily incredibly embracing stance on marriage equality.

Read the rest at VH1.

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What’s Black, delusional, and in desperate need of a hole to fall into? For those of us who have read about Bill Cosby and his latest legal action, the answer is pretty clear. The legendary comedian and accused serial rapist has decided to file a countersuit against seven of his 50 victims: Tamara Green, Therese Serignese, Linda Traitz, Louisa Moritz, Barbara Bowman, Joan Tarshis, and Angela Leslie. In court documents, Cosby asserts that he “neither drugged nor sexually assaulted” the seven women. As a result, he is suing them for damages and injunctions, which include “retracting and correcting” their accusations of sexual assault. According to Cosby, their words and actions cost him

Indeed, part of the counterclaim reads as follows: “Each Counterclaim Defendant induced both NBC and Netflix to postpone or cancel their contracts with Mr. Cosby by engaging in a campaign to assassinate Mr. Cosby’s reputation and character by willfully, maliciously, and falsely accusing Mr. Cosby of multi-decade-old purported sexual misconduct in an opportunistic attempt to extract financial gain from their allegations.”

Bill Cosby’s lawyers, who right now probably are making enough to purchase a small island in billable hours, are subjected to essentially do whatever their client wants to. Bill Cosby isn’t paying me any mind, much less money, but if there’s anyone who is close to Pudding Pop and actually cares about his horrible self, do me a solid: tell that old fool to sit his silly ass the hell down somewhere.

Let’s be clear that Cosby in suing seven of his accusers, but there’s 43 more out there. Hell, by the time I finish this sentence, there could easily be six or 18 more who spring up. With that in mind, what fool in his right mind would bother suing a small fraction of his accusers?

And does he truly think they alone ruined his TV comeback? Better yet, at 78-years-old, while it’s certainly impressive that on the heels of becoming an octogenarian, why are so concerned about making a TV comeback? Can I sue Cosby’s ego for giving me a headache? Please advise.

He seems to truly believe there was so concerted effort to “take him down.” I guess that’s what happens when you settle a previous lawsuit with numerous women accusing you of the same crime. He got away with it then, but it is a new day now. Someone ring his alarm and inform him of the shift already.

Here is what Bill Cosby should do: apologize for his alleged crimes and pay some sort of restitution to ever single one of his accused victims. That won’t right the wrong he is accusing of doing, but it is something. It’s definitely more than pulling from the Petty Playbook and filing a lawsuit.

Note that I used the phrasing “should do.” Option one sounds a little too similar to right, thus, rendering it totally implausible an outcome. Obviously, crotchety Cosby is not concerned with being a decent person so there’s very little chance he acknowledges any wrongdoing. Ever.

Read the rest at VH1.

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Serena Williams is many things, but first and foremost, one of the greatest athletes of all-time. If that point isn’t clear enough, that means male or female, black or white, Serena is one of the best athletes ever. Needless to say, for many, her recognition by Sports Illustrated as sportsperson of the year feels nice albeit quite late on arrival. Nonetheless, that hasn’t stopped some people from crying foul – notably in the defense of a damn horse.

Some – majorly white, male, and seemingly bored out of their minds online – have argued that American Pharoah, horse racing’s first Triple Crown winner in 37 years deserves the honor. The horse winning the magazine’s readers’ poll for the award fuels their stance. There are so many problems with this line of thinking.

Let me count the ways.

For starters, the award is named sportsperson of the year. A horse is not a person. I’m sure, #AllMammalsMatter in select cases, but not this one. Already, sites like SBNation have mocked these people rallying for the humanity of a horse. It’s worth a chuckle, but you instantly cringe once you realize that to people like this, the value of an animal will also matter more than the life let alone the accomplishments of a Black person.

Meanwhile, Sports Illustrated’s Christian Stone was quite clear about Williams’ selection, writing: “Sports Illustrated honors her dominance in 2015, when she won 53 of her 56 matches, three of the four Grand Slam events and built the most yawning ranking points gap between her and her closest competitor in tennis history. We honor her, too, for a career of excellence, her stranglehold on the game’s No. 1 ranking and her 21 Grand Slam titles, a total that has her on the brink of Steffi Graf’s Open Era Slam record, which Williams will likely eclipse by mid-summer.”

No offense to the horse, but this is the part where everyone – horse included – ought to bow down.

But if there were not enough validation, Stone added a more honest omission about the unique barriers Williams face yet manages to excel despite them: “We are honoring Serena Williams too for reasons that hang in the grayer, less comfortable ether, where issues such as race and femininity collide with the games. Race was used as a cudgel against Williams at Indian Wells in 2001, and she returned the blow with a 14-year self-exile from the tournament. She returned to Indian Wells in ’15, a conciliator seeking to raise the level of discourse about hard questions, the hardest ones, really.”

Things beyond her control have long affected Williams: namely her race and gender. Even in the context of an honor she deserved (and again, deserved earlier than when she actually got it), racial politics came into play. Enter the Los Angeles Times, who published a story validating the opinions of morons who have ranked a horse higher than Serena Williams.

Read the rest at VH1.

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At one point do you inhale, exhale, shoop-shoop and let a six-month period of your life go? For Farrah Franklin, the answer is 15 years and counting. The former member of Destiny’s Child did a recent interview with VladTV about her very short time in the legendary R&B group, only I struggle with the purpose of revisiting an issue she’s already addressed quite a few times over the years. With people like Wendy Williams, circa the radio years; in magazines like Sister 2 Sister magazine; on many a random blog over time.

I say this with the best intentions: Girl, move on.

As it stands now, Beyoncé, the solo artist, is an international superstar who is five albums into what has been one of the most successful careers in music history. Kelly Rowland has released multiple solo albums and is presently filming a television show centered on creating a new girl group for BET. Michelle Williams, has released solo music for both the secular and gospel fields, has acted on Broadway and has done some television work, too. Then there are the other former members of the group like LeToya Luckett, who released two very good solo albums (including one platinum release) and has created very steady work as an actress. And while she acted as if she was allergic to singing on the reality show R&B Divas: Atlanta, even LaTavia Roberson reemerged to the public and found herself something to do.

And you know, Farrah has done some things, too.

If memory serves, Franklin was briefly signed to Fabolous’ label, but did release solo tracks like “Get At Me” featuring Method Man. She had a cute cover on Smooth magazine. That is no shade. I mean it.

Wait, she just put out a new song and video in the summer. She should be talking more about that. Hell, talk about being on Millionaire Matchmaker. Just don’t talk about Destiny’s Child anymore. She was being goaded into talking about something that happened 15 years ago and was clearly still feeling a ways about it.I understand that Farrah may have been mistreated during her stint, but enough. She essentially had a shitty job albeit a high profile, high paying one. It sucks that it ended, but think of it this way: children born the year she was in Destiny’s Child – again, for five damn months or so – now have learner’s permits. Would you still be talking about this?

Also make note that Farrah was in one music video and breathed a little bit on “Independent Women (Part One).” That’s more than many will accomplish in music, but it’s not exactly the kind of experience that should encourage anyone to keep two-stepping inside of a time machine.

Let’s put this in further perspective.

Read the rest at VH1.

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I have never known black people to go crazy over store-bought pie. Store-bought pie is the sort of thing that I’ve only understood to be permissible on a weekday when you don’t feel like cooking but you really want to get into your feelings and sweets (with Sade playing in the background). Like, more often than not, a relative will be cursed smooth out for daring to bring a store-bought pie to a holiday dinner. I can literally hear the voice of an auntie judging a cousin as I type this.

Yet, over the past few weeks, nearly every black person I’ve ever met has been obsessing over Patti LaBelle’s sweet potato pie. While that is quite the coup for Patti-Patti, much of the fanfare is rooted in James Wright’s now infamous YouTube video endorsement. If not for that man screaming, shouting and singing about that pie, I would have never known of its existence.

And based on reports now, neither would you.

Sales were described as “just OK” before Wright’s very enthusiastic endorsement, but skyrocketed not long after. The pie has since been dubbed the “Tickle me, Elmo” of food. LaBelle herself reached out to Wright, calling to thank him for his video and even complimenting his singing voice. However, when TMZ caught up with LaBelle more recently, she dismissed the weight of his contribution.

When asked about Wright and if there would be some sort of future collaboration, LaBelle said, “I did it myself.” After the paparazzo noted that the viral video—which has amassed 10 million views—helped the pies sell out, LaBelle said in response, “I was selling out before the guy did his wonderful video.”

Ma’am.

Ma’am.

Ma’am.

We live in an age of media in which people are afraid to call a thing a thing. I know this is not as bad as Donald Trump’s flat-out lies, but a lie is a lie is a lie. And Patti-Patti, what you told that TMZ cameraman is a lie.

You were not selling out those pies before James Wright turned on his camera and devoured that pie like it was his last meal. Those pies were not flying off the shelves before James Wright acted as if he had just climaxed before lodging that pie down his throat. Those pies were not being marked up and sold on eBay until James Wright started eating that pie—without heating it up, but different strokes—and singing your songs as only one of “the kids” would.

All I can hear right now is President Barack Obama’s “You didn’t build that” commentary. It takes a team—starting with Kinna Thomas, senior buyer of cakes and pies at Wal-Mart, who got this whole Patti LaBelle sweet potato pie chain going.

I feel like I’m being disrespectful to an elder, and I may or may not have to go and cut myself a switch for writing this, but Ms. Patti-Patti, you have got to sip some chill, topped with reason. You may be known as a crooner and quite the cook, but the masses were not scouring the earth for some store-bought pie sold only at Wal-Mart until James Wright sent them there.

Does that mean you owe him a check? Technically, no. I mean, no one told him to upload that video and essentially create the best commercial ever. It would be nice, but Wright created that moment of his own volition. That said, you do owe the man the credit he is due.

Read the rest at The Root.

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I’m very well aware of how painful it can be to be harshly criticized by your own. Nevertheless, it’s imperative we don’t take our anecdotes to improperly assess the greater community. That’s why after watching K. Michelle’s interview with B. Scott, I couldn’t help be disappointed in both her and those who made her feel the way she does.

The subject of K. Michelle’s infamous relationship with Idris Elba came up, and according to the very talented singer-songwriter, it was Black women who condemned her most over it.

Ever candid, K. Michelle explained: “I thought it was disgusting, the backlash that I got from Black women. My whole career, the women that I fight for have been the women that attack me. And, it’s crazy—because when I told about my abuse, Black women attacked me. And they said I was a liar. And then when the reports came out, [they’d say] ‘oh, I always believed you!’ That doesn’t heal that scar that you called me a liar for two years and I’m trying to be a role model.”

The Memphis reality television star went on to discuss the aftermath of her eight-month relationship, adding: “We parted on mutual terms, so I never bashed him and I never will. When I sang about what it was, it was Black women. They were [tweeting] him, and were like, ‘Eww, she’s not good enough for you.’ It was bad. They’d [say things] like ‘Eww, he would never…’ or ‘Eww, why are you dating someone like that?’ ”

I will not challenge the validity of K. Michelle’s question, but I will ask one thing: Who is your core demographic, beloved? When I think of K. Michelle’s core fan base, I include myself, but I think more so my sister, my homegirl and my auntie (who used to love Millie Jackson). When I see people discussing K. Michelle on social media, they don’t look like Miley Cyrus. So sure, Black women might’ve been K. Michelle’s harshest critics, but are these not the same women majorly buying her albums and filling the venues of her concerts?

These comments come on the heels of K. Michelle taking to Instagram to declare: “I believe I’m not Black or White but I’m actually a mermaid. I believe there is no talent required to be in the music industry. I believe the color of my skin shouldn’t determine the genre of my music!”

I believe in miracles and love’s the miracle. She also added that she likes a handsome White man. I enjoy Ryan Phillippe’s everything, but I also know I’m a Black man, not King Triton. There’s a sense of self-loathing here and it’s unsettling.

Unfortunately, K. Michelle is not the only singer I’m a fan of recently guilty of this bad practice.

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Mainstream publications getting their coverage of black culture wrong is about as common as Miley Cyrus referencing marijuana or Donald Trump saying something self-aggrandizing—but it never stops being frustrating. So when Elle Canada decided to label the dashiki “the newest it-item of note,” black people across Twitter did the ceremonial clapback.

First, there was righteous anger. Then came the jokes. After that, others chimed in, adding more fury and funny to the conversation. It’s a familiar cycle because lately, it seems not a day goes by without a media outlet getting something wrong about black culture.

Even before Elle diminished the history of the dashiki, a colorful garment commonly worn in West Africa, there was problematic mainstream discussion of the term “fuck boy.” Popularized by rapper Cam’ron, it’s a way to mock a man’s masculinity and describe him as weak. But when Vanity Fair tried to define the term in a recent piece about Tinder, the black community went up in arms.

Doing her best Carrie Bradshaw impersonation, writer Nancy Jo Sales, defined a fuck boy as “a young man who sleeps with women without any intention of having a relationship with them or perhaps even walking them to the door post-sex.”

Although she notes that “the word has been around for at least a decade with different meanings,” Sales is guilty of the same sin as Elle. She references fuck boy, taken from black culture, and speaks of its importance only in terms of its relevance to white people. To wit, Sales admits that “it’s only in about the last year that it has become so frequently used by women and girls to refer to their hookups.”

As Jezebel’s Kara Brown correctly asserted, “You don’t get to change the meaning of words because all your white friends are using it incorrectly. This isn’t the evolution of language—it is an outright hijacking. And the fact that these people think they have any right to do so is white privilege of the highest order.”

There is a right way to report on a culture you aren’t part of, though.

Read the rest at ntrsctn.

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As much as I loved Whitney Houston, the one lesson to take from her life —and her last few years in particular— it’s to let her rest. She served us well and gave us far more of herself and her gifts than we arguably deserved. Why continue to exploit her likeness any further? Has she not already done enough?

Apparently not, according to her sister-in-law and estate executor Pat Houston. She wants Whitney Houston to continue working. Thanks to technology, the impossible is now somewhat probable courtesy of plans to offer audiences Whitney onstage by way of a hologram.

In a statement about the proposed tour, Pat Houston says the use of a Whitney hologram is “a great opportunity for her fans to see a reinvention of one the most celebrated female artists in history and to continue a legacy of performances that will not be forgotten in years to come.”

Alki David, the CEO of Hologram USA, added, “The opportunity to help share her spectacular gifts with the world again is exactly what I hoped for when I built the hologram business.”

Translation: It’s another exploitative way to make money off the deceased star.

Pat Houston had already done this by way of an ill-advised and even more ill-timed reality show. A reality show that featured Whitney’s daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, visibly inebriated before a national audience. Considering the outcome of Bobbi Kristina’s life, it’s even more infuriating to think about how exposed she was. Whitney Houston regretted Being Bobby Brown, so I can’t imagine she would have wanted that for her daughter.

I also highly doubt she would want this either. It appears to be yet another tactic to tacky up the legacy of one of the world’s absolute greatest voices.

No matter how good the technology proves to be, it will not be the real Whitney Houston. The vocals may be there, but the soul behind it will not. It can never truly be the experience fans deserve.

Read the rest at VH1.

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