EBONY: The Weekly Read — Dear Chris Christie

Dear Chris Christie:

This must be killing you. Not the rampant criticism. I imagine you’re used to that, and based on past behavior, revel in the chance to verbally smack someone upside the head for daring to challenge you. The part that must be killing you is that for at least a week now, you’ve had to maintain your “polite voice” in light of accusations that administrative goons shut down a major bridge and spurred huge traffic problems out of spite towards your political adversaries.

Look at you not behaving like the mean-spirited, vindictive bully you’ve shown yourself to be in year’s past. Like, I’m almost certain that if you had found the right acting coach earlier in life, you’d be John Goodman. Sadly for you, using your inside voice won’t stop prodding journalists.

After all, you’re the one who said only a week ago about David Wildstein, the now-former Port Authority executive, “I have had no contact with David Wildstein in a long time, a long time, well before the election.” Funny enough, the Wall Street Journal has uncovered a photo of you two together that was shot in September. As for those claims that you barely interacted with David since he worked at the Port Authority, the journalist who wrote a 2012 profile of him says, “Wildstein was known as the Governor’s eyes and ears inside this massive agency. A lot of people felt afraid of him because of his direct line to the governor’s office.” By the way, a coach from you two’s high school has also dismissed your claims that you were too busy being class president and athlete to be bothered with David Wildstein’s existence at the time.

But you know, you don’t know him like that.

Should Wildstein make a deal – a prospect his lawyer wasted no time introducing – may he sing like Mariah Carey: MTV Unplugged. The same goes for Bridget Kelly, the now-fired deputy chief of staff who is being depicted as an idiotic liar and the other fall guy in the four-day traffic jam caused in Fort Lee, New Jersey. She may have written “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” but no one thinks she’s mostly to blame and didn’t deserve being thrown under the bus by you – especially if she’s been as loyal as reported.

I don’t know what Jeb Bush and Scott Walker are doing. One assumes they’ve already shared a laugh at your expense via Facetime while dually ignoring texts from Ted Cruz. Bill and Hillary are probably doing the Wop  in honor of your stalled presidential ambitions. Or telling someone to tell some other folks – ideally in the media – to revisit the time you were accused of shutting down a public access TV station for tough reporting on you during the 2009 campaign.

Read the rest at EBONY.com.

EBONY: [THE WEEKLY READ] Celebs, Stop Shading Blogs

I understandand to a certain extent, share the frustration many have with the more vitriolic commentary found across Al Gore’s Internet. I personally invite those people who model the majority of their opinions after Satan and the art of being a sourpuss to dive head first into the abyss. Yet, when it comes to the myth of the big, bad blogger – this unattractive, overweight, menacing figure attacking every celebrity and celebrity adjacent any chance they get – I’m not buying it.

As much as I enjoy K. Michelle’s music, I’m tired of her crying about how awful “the bloggers” are to her. She did so on a recent episode of Love & Hip Hop: New York, and more recently on Instagram where she professed, “People can say what they want about me, and never give me the accolades I deserve, but they can never take away my gift.” Girl + bye = my reaction.

I agree with blogger Miss Jia when she said of K. Michelle’s diatribe: “Hopefully as the year progresses, she (and other celebs) will begin to understand that you have to take the good with the bad when it comes to media and publicity.”

Indeed, though in this instance, one ought to have a little talk with the redhead in the mirror, too. With all due respect to K. Michelle, before you were finally able to release an album, you were a fledgling singer who joined a reality show in order to build a buzz for yourself. You were successful in that endeavor, but much of that had to do with the fact that you chewed the hell out of your co-stars. You know, K, those wise cracks about disfigured butt cheeks, aging rappers, and women you alleged were actually men. Remember all that? You being a walking game of the dozens helped fuel much of your initial popularity, but suddenly you have an issue with other critical people?

Oh, and here’s a pro tip: If you don’t want people gossiping about your private life, don’t chronicle it on Twitter, Instagram, and discuss it in detail on nationally syndicated radio shows like Power 105.1’s “The Breakfast Club.”

You are wonderfully talented I enjoy your shtick as this generation’s Millie Jackson. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean a single person owes you accolades, especially after one full-length album (which I bought). And even if you don’t get the kudos you think you deserve, remember that you don’t need anyone’s co-sign or validation. After all, aren’t you all about rebelling against the status quo?

Moving on, this week Ciara also engaged in an “I hate y’all bloggers” rant published on her Web site. In it, CiCi talks about a world that only existed within her questionable view of history. Of bloggers’ content, she says: “The stories are going from cool and creative to pure drama.”

Most gossip blogs, and thus the bloggers themselves, are nothing more democratized versions of gossip columns found in traditional publications. It’s always been about “pure drama” and you’re kidding yourself if you think otherwise. If you don’t like it, don’t read it. However, don’t pretend it’s never been there.

Moreover, not every blogger is this way. Sure, there are some blogs that I don’t ever visit for fear of suddenly desiring to pop my eyeballs out, but there plenty of alternatives to the cruder sites. Not to mention, you don’t have to read the comments section of any site, much less the one themed around entertainment news and gossip.

By the way, Ciara, you are a willing participant in all of this given you behave like an Instagram model and purposely venture to known paparazzi havens. That’s why I found it rather funny that you said, “I sure do miss the good ol days when the focus was about the pure creativity of being an artist. Back then there was still some mystery.”

Is that right, sis? You, who notably started a professional decline the second you took a detour from your destiny as the southern fried Janet Jackson and molded yourself in the image of Kim Kardashian. You miss mystery? Lead by example and stop telling us your damn business.

Read more at EBONY.

NewsOne: NYT Columnist Wants Redemption For Dogs, Not Black Felons

There are some White people who put the interests of animals above those of other human beings — specifically the darker ones. Normally, I’d try to exercise subtlety and restraint when articulating such a sentiment, but since New York Times columnist Juliet Macur (pictured) didn’t mince words in her column “Before Signing a Strong Arm, Teams Should Heed Vick’s Dark Past,” why should I? I knew Macur’s musings would appeal to me as much as the taste of deep fried elephant dung given the way she kicked it off: ” Michael Vick, the quarterback known as much for his rap sheet as his athletic skill.”

Well, that certainly depends on what circles you’re referring to. Perhaps it’s Macur’s circle of influence that is leading this narrative, even though it is highly debatable in everyone else’s.

I do not fault her for writing from her background, but I do loathe how that background has seemed to frame her perspective.

In this hard-to-read diatribe, Macur sends off a warning to teams who may look to sign Vick should the Philadelphia Eagles let him go and allow him to be a starter (he lost his starter job to Nick Foles this season): “They should remember this: Vick was the mastermind behind his dogfighting operation. He bankrolled it, gave it a home base, encouraged it.”

Macur then goes on to discuss some of the dogs who lost their lives due to Vick’s dogfighting ring. You can understand her issue with Vick’s treatment of dogs. After all, in her Twitter bio, Macur notes, “My writing partner is a Labrador retriever.”

So she has a strong love of Lassie. So be it, but her bias clouds her judgment about a larger issue with respect to a felon rightly being given a chance to re-enter society.

Sure, Macur lists some of Vicks’ acts of penance — including donating $200,000 to help renovate a football field in Philadelphia; working with the Humane Society; supporting a bill on Capitol Hill that would make it a felony to bring a child to a dogfight, a measure which would fight the very practice that caused him to go on to perpetuate the culture as an adult.

Still, Macur writes:

 Teams evaluating Vick should think about those horrors before offering him a chance to wear their jersey. They should say, ‘Can’t we give our fans someone better to cheer for?’ Fans should demand someone better.

Someone around Juliet Macur ought to demand she get a damn grip. Assuming she’s never made a mistake in her life, Saint Juliet Macur is essentially arguing that there is no such thing as forgiveness or redemption. That once you commit a wrong, you must walk around with a Scarlet Letter. That there is no act or gesture that would warrant a second chance.

This is a dangerous message to profess in general, but again, even more poisonous when you consider who Michael Vick is outside of a football player: a Black ex-felon. If the Juliet Macurs of the world can’t even give a famous Black football player another chance after paying his debt to society for committing an egregious act, imagine how they would treat their less successful brethren.

Read the rest at NewsOne.

EBONY: [THE WEEKLY READ] Dear Justine Sacco Saviors

For some White people, it seems like that even if one makes a terrible mistake, the universe gives them a pass to say, “I’m rubber, you’re glue. Whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you!” It’s almost like their superpower or magic trick, ready to be unleashed whenever there is danger of being rightly held accountable for their actions. But why can’t some people just be wrong, especially when they’re dead wrong?

An example would be when you think it’s fine to quip to the world, “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!” There are plenty of lessons to be learned in the story of fired IAC PR director Justine Sacco, but many of her peers in mainstream media are doing their damndest to make certain that the narrative focuses more on those who laughed at Justine Sacco, as opposed to the action that allowed her to become such an easy target.

In “Sympathy For Sacco,” The Nation’s Michelle Goldberg does quite the dance with hyperbole and melodramatics. Goldberg argues, “She didn’t deserve to be treated like a monster on par with Ariel Castro.” She also warns, “Almost any of us could be vulnerable to a crowd-sourced inquisition.” To compare the public shaming of a PR person willfully choosing to prove how bad at public relations she is to that of a man who kidnapped and abused three young women for years is just…

Ditto for the declaration: “The next Justine Sacco may be someone who tweets something stupid about the military, or Israel, or motherhood and apple pie. Once we decide it’s OK to let a mob loose on anyone who’s offended us, the only people who are safe are those who never say anything at all.”

I imagine those folks who know better than to tweet racist things or anything else that can be deemed culturally insensitive might be relatively “safe,” too. Or at the very least, those who know better than to tweet incendiary language with their government names and job titles made visible.

Then there’s Nick Bilton, who also sings another sad love song for Sacco in the New York Timeswhere he laments, “Ms. Sacco was tried and judged guilty in a public square of millions and soon attacked in a way that seemed worse than her original statement.” To be fair, those who threatened Sacco with sexual assault and other sick acts of violence are despicable, but that has been a long ugly aspect of Internet culture. I, too, find it interesting that it took this incident for certain people to recognize this seediness and bemoan it publicly.

Bilton adds, “Maybe that need to impress, to find validation through the people that follow us online, was what led to Ms. Sacco’s inappropriate tweet, and also gave the people who attacked her the justification for their own vitriolic behavior.”

He isn’t the only one trying to rationalize (and subsequently scapegoat) Sacco’s tasteless joke.

Writing at Forbes, Jeff Bercovici, took issue with Sacco’s joke being deemed racist, noting, “I interpreted it as a self-deprecating joke about White guilt and Western privilege — about the sheepish feeling of being physically close to tragedy while remaining safe in an economic and cultural bubble. Others have told me they read it much the same way, even without knowing the author. ‘I think she was more mocking the aloofness white people can have on this issue, not celebrating that aloofness,’ says one friend.”

Thank you, Mr. White Man, for explaining how jokes work.

Read the rest at EBONY.

EBONY: [THE WEEKLY READ] Dear R. Kelly

If life was fairer and justice was served more evenly, R. Kelly would be singing “Step In The Name of Love” for an extra slice of Salisbury steak inside of an Illinois state prison. But instead of living the rest of his life as a registered sex offender, he gets to simulate sex with Lady Gaga on SNL and sing about it in a duet with Justin Bieber.

Not only that, he gets to ruin the Cookie Monster’s favorite treat by way of a sexually charged single on an even more sexually explicit album. An album that features what looks like a very young woman in lingerie on its cover. Critics have lauded Black Panties, and even people like me, who probably wouldn’t loan a burning R. Kelly the dollar he needed to get a bottle of water to put out the fire, have admitted that he has some good songs on there.

All of this is a testament to his renewed popularity as well as how quick people are to forgive celebrities for their transgressions so long as they continue to be good at what they do. The man I typically refer to as “Pissy” seems to see it differently, though. In fact, he seems to chalk up his “past” and the trial that came with it as a point in his life when he was “knocked down” by the Black celebrity’s most infamous imaginary friend – “the haters.”

Not only that, he and Chris Brown are comparable to Jesus, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Muhammad Ali.

Speaking with The Guardian, R. Kelly explains: “I only feel sorry for weak people. And mostly what I’ve come to find is that the weak people are the ones that are the haters. The ones that’s talking about Chris Brown, or R Kelly, or anybody that’s successful? I feel sorry for them, not Chris Brown, because he’s obviously one strong individual to be able to do what he’s done. He got knocked down a little bit and he climbed up. You know, that sounds like Ali to me. That sounds like Martin Luther King to me. That sounds like a lot of the greats that have walked this earth. It even sounds a little bit like Jesus to me.”

If he won’t be imprisoned for past-alleged crimes, can someone at least write this dude a citation for stroking his ego way too aggressively in public? Journalist Tim Jonze notes that after noticing his eyes widening at such a ridiculous claim, R. Kelly added, “I’m not saying that Chris Brown is Jesus or R Kelly is Jesus. But Jesus is the No 1 inspirer of someone being knocked down and rising again.”

No take backs, Pissy. You meant what you said and it’s a flawed analogy.

Weak is a man has been known for treating McDonalds’ PlayPlace like his personal OkCupid account for at least two decades.

Weak is a man who can’t control his anger, takes it out someone not as strong and proceeding to spend every year thereafter the act blaming everyone else for his anger issues.

Weak is knowing you can victimize Black women, and not only get away with it, but be championed by your community.

Weak is pretending that accountability is the burden of everyone else.

Weak is whining to a journalist about being “knocked down,” when in reality, you were merely inconvenienced for a teensy amount of time.

Read the rest at EBONY.

Clutch: Send Your Shady Mama to Shady Pines, Kandi

It’s becoming uncomfortable as hell watching Kandi Burruss’ mom, Mama Joyce, go above and beyond to cockblock her daughter’s happiness on The Real Housewives of Atlanta. She’s like a terrible Tyler Perry stage play character come to life. The sort of woman, who by act three, Madea might’ve threatened to pistol whip before ultimately helping her see the error of her ways by way of an over-sung gospel track and/or plate of grits.

Though Mama Joyce swears she’s doing all of this to look out for her daughter, you get the sense that her real grip is that she worries Kandi’s fiancé, Todd Tucker, is going to marry her baby girl and cut her off – specifically when it comes to the dollar, dollar bills, y’all. I don’t want to disrespect my elders, but if I were Kandi, Mama Joyce would’ve been respectfully checked by now. Better yet, had I saw my mama try my intended boothang for life like that on national television, I would’ve sent her brochures for all of the area retirement homes. You know, the old school, USPS version of a subtweet.

On her Bravo blog, Kandi writes: “I know she can be a little tough, but I believe she really does want the best for me even if I don’t like the way she goes about it. I’ve told her a million times that I’m not getting married without a pre-nup. Todd and I already agreed that we were doing one, but I don’t know why she feels like she has to be the one he negotiates it with.”

Maybe she needs another reminder in the form of read. Just playing. That’s a Black family from the South. You come for a Black mama like that and you end up getting married in heaven after being choked to death with an extension chord. Still, someone’s got to talk to this woman because it’s not just Todd that’s “tired of the drama” with you mama. Hell, I don’t know any of y’all and I’m tired of it, too.

Read the rest at Clutch.

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.

Now, Now Team Breezy

Dear Chris Brown Freedom Riders:

I hate the phrase “you people,” but what in the hell is wrong with you people? A “Free Chris Brown!” rally? Really? I also hate it when people say “Why do this when….?” as it’s obnoxious and negates the fact that A doesn’t always equal X or however the “alegeba” goes. Point is you can walk and chew gum at the same time, but I wish each and every one of you would go sit your happy selves down somewhere and stop being silly. In this instance, there are indeed more pressing matters to worry about.

I don’t like being a hypocrite, but I hate enablers more than any of the aforementioned.

Here’s how my friend reacted to news that you Chris Brown Freedom Riders were out in Washington, D.C. protesting Chris Brown’s arrest as if he were Nelson Mandela: “Let me make sure I’m not missing anything. He [allegedly] beat up someone, which is fairly illegal. Got arrested. Now they’re protesting to have him freed?”

After I confirmed the story, she offered musings that cannot be republished here. Yet, just know that I agree with her and every four letter used. I should have known that by writing something mildly defensive of Breezy Fist’s detractors that he was going to do something that would cause me to feign regret, but I’m more frustrated with the people who continue to fault everyone else for igniting the rage of Yellow Incredible Hulk.

I imagine many of you are currently going “Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!” following news that Chris’ felony charged has been downgraded to a misdemeanor assault charge given “the victim’s injuries weren’t that severe and witness statements conflicted.” He won’t do any time for the assault, but he may do time for violating the terms of his probation for a past offense.

Even if he gets away with that, too, as Wendy Williams explained on her daytime talk show the other day: “If he doesn’t go to prison this time, it’ll be another time because Chris Brown is out of control and everyone allows him to be. So as beautiful as his music is…he’s out of his mind.”

Wendy may sound harsh, but at least she doesn’t sound like she did hash before assessing the situation. Unlike rapper B.O.B., who tweeted, “I swear If most of y’all were alive in the biblical days, y’all woulda been in the same crowd of people screaming ‘Crucify Him!’” To quote many a saved woman, “NOT MY JESUS.” It’s been a while since I hit up a Bible study, but from what I remember back in my “Boy, you going to church!” days is that Jesus hands on people for a different reason, and even when he broke out the belt, it was ‘cause they were rolling dice in the temple or something. I might be skewing the specifics, but the comparison gets a “hell nawl” all the same.

I may take issue with people who read Chris Brown’s story about losing his virginity at the age of eight to a much older girl as if he spit in their eyes while being violated as a child, but I, too, have a problem who act like on the Eighth Day, God created this light skinned Bobby Brown.

You enabling, ego stroking, coddling, kiss-ass fans and faux friends alike are apart of the problem.

Read the rest at EBONY.com.