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Last week Donald J. Trump, the present reigning champ of white male mediocrity, continued to benefit from the media’s bigotry of low expectations. Trump was largely celebrated for expressing “regret” over some of the offensive statements he’s made since the start of his presidential campaign. Of course, noting regret is not the same as an actual apology—a point only magnified by Trump’s unwillingness to be specific as to which comments he regrets uttering, opting instead to tout himself as a truth teller in defiance of political correctness.

Beyond that Canal Street version of actual remorse, what also stuck out about the Trump presser was his direct appeal to black voters. “If African Americans give Donald Trump a chance by giving me their vote, the result for them will be amazing,” the Republican presidential nominee claimed in a scripted speech Thursday in Charlotte, N.C. After reciting a few statistics without proper context to illustrate how Democrats have failed black people in America, Trump went on to ask, “What do you have to lose by trying something new?”

Considering Trump’s varied history of racism aimed squarely at “the blacks,” such a question was more or less the political equivalent of asking folks, if they boiled a package of chicken wings three weeks past the marked expiration date, what’s the worst that could happen? Even so, the pageantry did remind me of the GOP’s recent call to Trump to reach out to black voters.

In fact, the Republican National Committee has hired three new Negroes to aid in such efforts. One of them, Ashley Bell, told NBCBLK: “My job is to make sure those coalition directors have a focus on engaging the black community and that our candidates have the right message to deliver to the black community.”

What can Bell and Co. tell black people about a candidate who is more or less David Duke if he grew up wealthy and went into real estate? What can Bell and Co. tell their fellow Republicans? Mind you, Republicans not only created the conditions through which Trump managed to seize power but have also further enabled him by promising to support the nominee no matter how bigoted he relentlessly shows himself to be. I don’t want to see black folks lose jobs, so I’m here to help—even if it comes across as Satan’s work.

The team doesn’t want my advice, but I’m going to give it to them anyway.

Show up at an RNC meeting, turn on your computers and immediately go to LinkedIn.

And update your résumé. Why? The GOP claims to care about black voters but then refuses to do little things like reinstate the Voting Rights Act and proceeds to nominate someone like Donald J. Trump for president. The very same day Trump made an appeal to black voters in front of yet another predominantly white crowd, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama—someone Trump considered for his running mate—did a radio interview and claimed that Trump’s 1989 campaign to bring back the death penalty in New York for the Central Park Five proves that Trump is serious about “law and order.”

“Trump has always been this way,” Sessions said to WAPI radio in Alabama. “People say he wasn’t a conservative, but he bought an ad 20 years ago in the New York Times calling for the death penalty. How many people in New York, that liberal bastion, were willing to do something like that?”

Problem here is that all five men convicted—four of them black and one Latino—were ultimately exonerated. Sessions proved something, all right: that Trump is loud, wrong and racist. Meanwhile, the RNC blacks should probably have their boss, Chairman Reince Preibus, send Sessions an email with the subject, “Why you bringing up old s–t?” I’d tell them to do it, but Sessions seems like the type to segregate his inbox.

Sign up for an Apple Music trial.

Might as well join us in watching Frank Ocean build a staircase with music in the background. How come? Did you not read suggestion No. 1? Black people ain’t about to pay y’all any mind this election.

Get a damn good story ready for Thanksgiving dinner.

Do not deprive your black relatives of the sordid details about working with the RNC to get black folks to vote for Trump and other Republicans in 2016. Take all the notes. Don’t skimp on details. It might earn you a spot on the adult table, since I assume that most older black folks will likely not want to sit with a Republican on a holiday.

Read the rest at The Root

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Apparently, even the Obamas are somewhat dismayed that the story of about their first date has been made into a feature-length film.

During a Q&A at the film’s premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, Richard Tanne was asked if the Obamas know about the movie. “We’ve heard from some pretty reliable sources that they are aware,” he answered. “They are excited. And they are also a little baffled by its existence.”

It is somewhat baffling, but understandable to a degree. Barack Obama is this country’s first Black president. His wife, Michelle Obama, is revered by communities of all backgrounds, but even more strongly in the Black community (and rightly so). Even so, I was a bit weary about seeing their lives depicted in film so soon much less as a romantic comedy. Weary because it still feels so soon to be looking back at history as it continues to take place. Curious how people who haven’t even left the White House to start their post-White House lives are already being mythologized.

Then again, we now live in a time where everything feels instantaneous. No one waits anymore. Not even The Obamas can escape that.

So here we are. Whatever fears the Obamas had about the film, they needn’t worry. Tanne’s depiction of both will more than likely appease them. Southside With You reminds me of one of President Obama’s infamous hope-filled speeches. It’s intentionally aspirational while making sure not to go too far in an effort not to come across as schmaltzy, and thus, completely unbelieveable. Sumpter as well as singer-songwriter and rising entertainment power player John Legend serve as producers for the movie. They’ve all assisted Tanne in giving our commander-in-chief and First Lady what amounts to a cute date movie centered on their personal lives.

Southside With You, which clocks in just shy of 90 minutes, tells a story we’ve heard about for years now. However, there are more details here and to see them dramatized in this fashion does lead one to reflect a little more about what we’ve been told by the Obamas themselves. Say, Michelle as played by Sumpter, explaining to Barack, portrayed by Parker Sawyers, her reluctance to be romantically linked to him because as the only Black woman working at her law firm, her dating with the first Black man to show up at the office might lend credence to prejudices she has to grapple with in corporate culture as both a Black person and a Black woman. It’s an important note given that in the earliest years of the Obamas being national figures, many were especially critical to the point of cruel about how Michelle Obama behaved in a space not often welcoming to those like her.

There are still some hokey moments—Barack taking Michelle to a community-organizing event so she can hear him deliver a speech that includes lines like they ought to understand that “‘no’ is the end of the line.” Of course, Michelle—who has always managed to humanize Barack in every sense of the word—calls him out on the notion that it would probably impress most women to see him this way. The same goes for her questioning why he stopped dating white women.

All of Barack’s answers and actions read as perfect, and in that respect, he comes across as the Barack we’ve read in The Audacity of Hope i.e. a skillful politician than say the more complicated youthful figure we read about in Dreams Of My Father. But the intent here is to make them magical. It is largely apolitical. This is more Lifetime on a good night than HBO.

In a recent interview, John Legend said of the film, “It makes you believe in love. It makes you believe in what a partnership like this can add to each person to make them both better.”

On that goal, it succeeds.

Read the rest at Complex.

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A few years and a Ryan Lochte-like “over-exaggeration” about a 2015 release later, Frank Ocean released the proper follow-up to 2012’s channel ORANGE over the weekend with Blonde. (Endless, the visual album he released earlier, is good but not the true sophomore effort, if any of that cataloging even matters anymore.) The most immediate question about the new album, which was once known as Boys Don’t Cry, is whether or not it was worth wait. The answer is yes, and and also seems to be the kind of album that calls for extra effort (and listens) from the listener in order to discover all its strengths.

If you’re a fan of Frank Ocean, the 17-track Blonde more than satisfies a wait that wasn’t as long as it may have felt. That feeling, though, proposes another question about the artist: Is there any contemporary male R&B singer-songwriter as evocative and daring as Frank Ocean? Apple Music has categorized Blonde as pop for its varied influences and references, but its core is largely rooted in the traditions of rhythm and blues and soul—Ocean’s vocal style, the layering of his vocal tracks, and certain drum patterns can all be traced back to R&B. Some have christened this “avant-garde soul,” but taking a genre to new places doesn’t mean you’ve separated your work from a rich tradition.

You might have some other contemporary Black male singers in mind for that title, but more often than not so many of those artists merely wear a superficial aesthetics of emotion. Sure, the songs sound sad sonically; the production is sparse, making the vocals, detached, feel like you’re listening to someone pouring his soul out. But, lyrically, so much of the material is drowning in lust (which is useful, but different), or frankly, of that subgenre some refer to as fuckboy ‘n B: whiny, defensive, and stubbornly unwilling to offer any indication of emotional intelligence.

When you compare those artists to Ocean, you realize how distinct his gift for vulnerability and introspection (not to mention surprising, writerly language) really is. His words come across as genuine, and as others have recently highlighted, force the listener to wrestle with their own emotions about subjects like mortality, failure, unrequited love, and specifically, the pain and necessary reflection that comes with it. The album may no longer be called Boys Don’t Cry, but Ocean paints himself as separate from other men who generally avoid anything that isn’t driven by hyper-masculine ego, bypassing sincerity in an effort to remain “cool.”

You hear this on “Seigfried,” where Ocean laments that he’s “not brave” while singing lines like, “I couldn’t gauge your fears/I can’t relate to my peers/I’d rather live outside/I’d rather chip my pride than lose my mind out here.”

Or when he mulls over a failed relationship on “Ivy,” singing, “I thought that I was dreaming when you said love me.”

Or on every second of “Solo.”

And when he very casually notes “here’s to the gay bar you took me to” on “Good Guy.” Until there is a day when Ocean’s assumed bisexuality and his singing about unrequited love for a man does not make him, a Black man, an anomaly in mainstream music, even the most casual reference to otherness will be a big deal to those of us who see no parts of ourselves in this culture.

Read the rest at Complex.

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Though it has been described as such all across the Internet, calling Frank Ocean’s Endless a “visual album” instantly makes me recall the old cartoon show Gumby and the Black folklore figure known as Reach Armstrong. Sure, there is a visual component to the album. We are forced to click play and are provided the visual of Frank Ocean building a staircase while 45 minutes worth of new music plays in the background, serving as a de facto score to what has already been hailedas something that “mixes the avant garde with the accessible.”

Still, “visual album,” which already had a loose definition but is noticeably expanding by the week, feels too generous a term. Endless, with the same minimalist, black-and-white imagery shown throughout, doesn’t really resonate in the way Beyoncé’s Lemonade, Suede’s Night Thoughts, Kanye West’s Runaway, or hell, even R. Kelly’s “Trapped In The Closet” series do. Each of those offer a more compelling story being told whereas in Endless, Ocean is present throughout but a narrative—which feels pretty essential to the notion of a “visual album”—not so much.

I can already feel the contempt of the more artsy folks of the world rolling their eyes at me for saying this, but all I got from Endless as a visual is Rhythm and Home Improvement. But okay, if everyone else says so. Fine, it’s a “visual album,” too.

After sitting with Endless for a few additional listens, it’s better consumed without watching the New Orleans native get his Bob Vilaon. Ultimately, when it comes to music, a visual can magnify what’s being heard, but I prefer to judge music largely by the music itself. Especially on Endless where the music is far more commanding of your attention than the visuals presented with it.

There are some immediate takeaways from the project. The first: it is not the album we were initially promised. That would be Boys Don’t Cry, which is said to be coming over the weekend under a different title. Whatever the case, Endless is the album we have now and despite the wait and its frankly bizarre delivery (he fits right in with Kanye West and Rihanna when it comes to wonderfully mishandling highly anticipated album releases), it is enjoyable.

The other immediate takeaway is Ocean is offering listeners much more polished vocals. We had hints of this as he covered Aaliyah’s cover of “At Your Best (You Are Love).” It was actually not my favorite rendition when it was previously released as “You Are Luhh,” but maybe with time and waiting obsessively for new Frank Ocean music, it sounds sublime. Ocean’s voice is not the strongest in terms of range, but there is something skillful about how he uses it—namely his falsetto. That remains the case throughout Endless.

That would include other tracks like “Alabama,” which features vocal work from the terribly undervalued singing phenom that is Jazmine Sullivan. Sullivan joins Ocean there and on three additional tracks. Their voices and his lyrics compliment each other terrifically—here’s hoping to a continued, blissful musical partnership. Other collaborators include Sampha, who joins Ocean and Sullivan on “Alabama,” along with other collaborators like James Blake (a whole lot), Acra (FKA Twigs, Björk, Kanye West),” and indie rock artist Alex G.

Together, they help give what has become typical Frank Ocean: a wide mixing of genres and moods happening all at once. What continues to shape them and make them singular is Ocean’s way of singing, and in some spots on here, rapping. It’s a somewhat lethargic delivery. It allows much of Endless to merely float throughout, though exactly where will require more time and many more listens. Or maybe further explanation in terms of intent and direction (like, is this your vision board of an album or nah?), but who knows if we’ll ever get that given this entire process and rollout has been shrouded in mystery and appears dead set on keeping it that way for the time being.

Read the rest at Complex.

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If you were Nate Parker’s publicist, how drunk would you be right now?

Then again, after reading Parker’s remarks to Variety and Deadline about past accusations of rape, one wonders if he even has one—an effective one anyway. “Seventeen years ago, I experienced a very painful moment in my life,” Parker explained to Variety. “It resulted in it being litigated. I was cleared of it. That’s that. Seventeen years later, I’m a filmmaker. I have a family. I have five beautiful daughters. I have a lovely wife. I get it. The reality is I can’t relive 17 years ago. All I can do is be the best man I can be now.”

Parker essentially repeats his seemingly prepared statements in his separate interview with Deadline. That interview, though, is far more overt in its attempts to assist Parker in squashing controversy before the release of his directorial debut, Birth of a Nation. Its co-authors include rather dubious lines like “Why would an incident that ended in Parker’s acquittal nearly two decades ago be at all relevant in a movie that took place in Antebellum Virginia?”

This is the traditional Hollywood machine at work. For so long, it has been able to masterly diffuse any potential backlash towards creatives whose private acts threaten their professional work and movie studios’ bottomlines. However, it is a new day; one in which social media has amplified the voices of those traditionally drowned out. After both interviews ran, subsequent reports claimed executives of Fox Searchlight, which is distributing Parker’s film, are “scrambling” to deal with the aftermath, reportedly taking “a wait and see approach to a proposed ambitious release plan that had called for extensive outreach to church groups, college campuses and prominent Hollywood figures.”

They can wait and see all they’d like, but the damage is done. Parker may have decided to address an issue he admittedly knew was heading his way, but he did so in cavalier fashion to his own detriment. The same goes for Parker’s former college roommate and co-writer of The Birth of a Nation, Jean Celestin, who told Deadline: “This was something that I experienced as a college student 17 years ago and was fully exonerated of. I have since moved on and been focusing on my family and writing career.”

Both Parker and Celestin are noticeably careful with their phrasing. To be found not guilty and exonerated of charges does not necessarily amount to innocence. Of all those who have already taken to Parker’s defense, I find it equal parts amusing and alarming that Black men have been so quick to suddenly cite the court system. This is the same court system that told us Trayvon Martin’s killer was not guilty; that Tamir Rice’s killer was not deserving of an indictment; that no one should face any consequences for the death of Freddie Gray.

We know the justice system will fail Black and Brown people when they fall victim to agents of the state, or in George Zimmerman’s case, a coward wearing the drag of law enforcement, but the justice systemfails the victims of sexual assault just as routinely.

In the case of the 18-year-old woman who accused Parker and Celestin of raping her in their apartment after a night of drinking, details from the case do suggest she was failed. Parker was ultimately acquitted of the charges in 2001, but much of that had to do with the accuser admitting that the two had consensual sex previously—which says a lot more about a failure to recognize consent is on a case by case basis more than anything. As for Celestin, he was convicted only to have that conviction overturned with no retrial due to the accuser not wanting to testify again. However, she sued the university and was awarded a $17,500 settlement out of court.

For those who mercilessly brush these allegations aside, I invite you to read the testimonies of eyewitnesses during the trial. Then read the transcript of a phone conversation Parker had with the alleged victim. Parker talks about some traumatizing moment of his life, but read the trauma in those documents and who is responsible. Then remember Parker’s alive while his accuser committed suicide in 2012. Her death certificate states that she suffered “major depressive disorder with psychotic features, PTSD due to physical and sexual abuse, polysubstance abuse.”

Her brother told Variety, “If I were to look back at her very short life and point to one moment where I think she changed as a person, it was obviously that point.”

Those asking why Parker’s rape case wasn’t made a bigger issue in the past, know that it’s not a riddle. With wider attention comes more extensive looks into one’s background—especially if you are the centerpiece of a major film release that plans to launch an expansive Oscar campaign in the months ahead. It works the same with presidential candidates.

Yet, some would argue that Parker is the victim, purportedly because“they don’t want the story of Nat Turner to be released.” Who is they? White folks? The same white folks that gave Nate Parker $17.5 million for The Birth of a Nation? The same ones actively protecting their investment by trotting him to the press in the first place? Oh.

If there’s one thing men of every color can agree on, it is often sadly the disregard of women and autonomy over their bodies.


Read the rest at Complex.

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Justin Bieber didn’t have to delete his Instagram account the other day, after he asked his fans Sunday night to stop being so mean to Sofia Richie, whom he is reportedly dating. (Beliebers can be quite vicious.)

Because what followed that – ex-girlfriend Selena Gomez decided to treat his mentions like the Shade Room – would not have happened if he followed my simple social media rule: block your exes immediately.

“If you can’t handle the hate then stop posting pictures of your girlfriend lol – it should be special between you two only. Don’t be mad at your fans. They love you,” Gomez wrote.

An internet tempest ensued, which ended with Bieber deleting his account and, I don’t know, making sea levels rise with the overflow of tears from fans around the world. Then Gomez issued a mea culpa, taking to Snapchat to write, “What I said was selfish and pointless.” Yes, girl. 100 emoji. But you shouldn’t have been able to weigh in at all.

In the dark ages before broadband and social media, once a couple ended a relationship, typically people were done. Sure, every so often there might be a letter mailed, a phone call made, a text message sent or an email drafted, but nothing that contained the possibility of constant interaction. If you date someone and it doesn’t work out but you keep following their social media accounts, you are prone to see mention of them just about daily.

Maybe, if you aren’t ready to cut the digital cord, you can mute them on Twitter and unfollow them on Facebook. But when it comes to Instagram, you are stuck with them. You can scroll by, but as Selena Gomez has shown us, you may fall victim to your ex being messy and live for drama on your timeline.

I’ve done this plenty of times. Sometimes when you’re done dating a person, they want to “stay friends”, and that includes keeping in touch through social media. I used to agree. Now, to quote the late Whitney Houston, and every black woman I’ve met over the age of 45, “Hell to the nah.” As I tend to tell most of the folks I’ve dated in the past: thank you for your services. Fin.

Read the rest at The Guardian.

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In terms of campaign strategy, the formula for Donald J. Trump’s presidential bid has been quite clear: Take the themes of racism and nativism once popularized by George Wallace, add contemporary references and essentially tell the electorate, “This is the remix. The jeeps pump this new remix.”

From talks of a “big, beautiful wall” to separate white people us from the purported “rapists” known as immigrants from Mexico to his recent plans to put forth an ideological test for Muslim immigrants before entering the United States, the Republican nominee’s ethos has long proved to be, more or less, “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”

Given that this is the party of the “Southern strategy,” it makes sense—no matter how loudly establishment Republicans cry to the contrary. And yet when it comes to categorizing Trump’s supporters, some have continued to be reluctant to declare that they, like Trump, have political interests majorly motivated by bigotry.

The predominant narrative has been that what fuels support among Trump’s claimed core base—white working-class voters—is economic anxiety, not prejudice. There have been other explanations given, too, including this notion that Trump the billionaire is “an image of their aspiration.”

That may be true, to an extent, but select political writers have continued to belabor the point that these voters are “being left behind, by the economy and by the culture.” This line of categorization doesn’t go nearly far enough to calling a thing by its name.

Meanwhile, there have been reports out for months now arguing to the contrary—highlighting that Trump supporters are better off economically compared with most Americans. A more recent and in-depth study has elaborated on that tidbit, piling on that for all of Trump’s chatter about trade and immigration, most of his supporters have not been affected by that, thus making all framing of his voters that evades the role of racism read as disingenuous.

Even a recent tweet by Vox related to the latter study reads, “Trump’s base is not poor whites—it’s way more complicated than that.” Beloveds, is it truly that complicated? Racism is not complicated; calling out racism surely seems to be, though.

In “Dismissing Trump Fans As White Trash Gets Our Class System All Wrong,” writer Nancy Isenberg argues, “Why are Americans so reluctant to talk about the real and enduring character of our class system?”

It’s a valid question, but not in the context of denoting why white Americans of every class support Trump’s candidacy. Some have even penned essays like “Even if You Don’t Like Donald Trump, You Should Understand the Pain of His Poor White Supporters.” Another one like it is titled, “Why ‘White Trash’ Americans Are Flocking to Donald Trump.”

Nuance is typically a necessity, but in this instance, it’s long been proved that poor white voters will vote against their economic interests. Likewise, we have known that suburban white women in the suburbs will do the same where applicable. The same goes for white men of any class.

What do you think unites them? We could try a séance to contact Richard Nixon or Lee Atwater and ask either of them to please advise, but we needn’t go back that far. The Grand Ol’ Party has always hinted at it; Trump just amped the volume and skipped the pretenses.

Just this week, Amy Walter, national editor of the Cook Political Reporter and a frequent political commentator, tweeted this about Trump: “Trump is right that voters want outsider/disruptor but his temperament—not his message—is the problem for them.”

Trump’s message is rooted in xenophobia, racism, sexism and other party favors of white nationalism. How is that not a problem? That said, I also saw someone on MSNBC declare, moments after Trump, speaking before a white audience, told black people they were being duped by Democrats for decades, that we should commend him for reaching out to black audiences.

I seem to have misplaced my gratitude, but I’m sure it’s somewhere lost in the history of Trump’s anti-black business practices and language over decades. Perhaps the punditocracy’s ambivalence with this is unanimously tied to white people’s collective anxiety over the term “racism.” So many act as if it’s the second-worst word behind “n–ger” while notably failing to understand that being called “racist” isn’t the worst thing in the world; being subjected to racism is.

Read the rest at The Root.

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As alluring as the athleticism displayed throughout each and every competition is, one of the more fascinating portions of the Olympic Games for me is watching nations that are not particularly loving to Black people magically muster up an affinity for Black folks on the world stage. Nationalism is the root of this, but it is nonetheless quite the ironic sight to see every four years. Social media, as it does with most things, only makes what’s already present more pronounced.

So, it is not at all surprising to see that while many Americans of every hue champion Olympic competitors like Gabby Douglas, there is a small but very vocal faction of the population actively reminding us that racism is still an American pastime.

After just completing her last routine and final post-competition interview of her career as an Olympian, Douglas was asked about the wave of criticism she received from some in the U.S. Tears began to fall down her face before she explained to ESPN: “I tried to stay off the internet because there’s just so much negativity. Either it was about my hair or my hand not over my heart [on the medal podium] or I look depressed. … It was hurtful. It was hurtful. It was. It’s been kind of a lot to deal with.”

It’s unfortunate that Douglas’ critics have been given this much power. I’ve wondered whether or not people responding to Douglas’ critics were louder than the critics themselves—which only magnified the influence of contemptuous fools. Mariah Carey once offered advice on how to deal with this sort of problem when she sang on “Ain’t gon’ feed ya/I’mma let ya starve” on “Obsessed.”

Then again, Douglas’ Instagram alone was filled with comments like “nigger” and “flying nigger” over the weekend. Perhaps many jumped ahead of the problem because they knew what was on the horizon. At this point, though, whether or not her critics were given too much attention no longer matters. By now, we’ve come to see that Douglas has been indeed hurt by the remarks. Her mother, Natalie Hawkins, has described Douglas as being “heartbroken.”

Read the rest at Complex.

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Long before Jeb! Bush announced what would prove to be a dazzlingly disastrous bid for the presidency, I believed that if we were forced to endure another President Bush in our lifetimes, it would not be him. No, such honors would go to the former Florida governor’s son, George P. Bush, the one whom his paw-paw, former President George H.W. Bush, once affectionately referred to as “one of the little brown ones.”

At age 40, George P. is young enough to survive what will likely be a hard-knock life for the GOP when it comes to national politics in the coming years (unless all the white racists it largely caters to suddenly and collectively go on to glory and/or damnation). After all, this is a political party that sees an increasingly diverse electorate and decided to nominate a loud-mouth demagogue for president.

However, if George P.’s recent comments about said demagogue, Donald Trump, are any indication of not only his political skill but also the strength of his spine, he’s less likely to become commander in chief and more inclined to net a more worthy title: sucker.

According to the Texas Tribune, George P., currently serving in the role of land commissioner in the state, called on Texas Republicans to support their party’s presidential nominee. In video remarks provided by an audience member, George P. is quoted as telling his fellow Texas Republicans, “From Team Bush, it’s a bitter pill to swallow, but you know what? You get back up and you help the man that won, and you make sure that we stop Hillary Clinton.”

True enough, Bush was speaking in his capacity as the Texas GOP’s victory chairman. Nevertheless, if anyone can recall Jeb! Bush’s failed campaign, you instantly remember the repeated attacks he endured at the hands of Trump. Trump repeatedly described Jeb! as “low energy” throughout the primary contest. In addition, he berated Jeb! in myriad ways both on and off the debate stage, describing him as a “lightweight,” a “spoiled child,” “stiff” and, with peak audaciousness and irony, “not a smart man.”

Not only did Trump verbally go upside the head of Jeb! one time after another, but Trump also went after George P.’s uncle, former President George W. Bush, blaming him for the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Granted, Trump lied his smoked-tangerine face off when he claimed that Muslims were cheering the fall of the World Trade Center from New Jersey, but he wasn’t completely off about how W. ignored intelligence that might have prevented those attacks. Still, this is George P.’s uncle.

So, keeping score, Trump has disparaged both his father and uncle, and yet somehow George P. still votes for him because of party allegiance. Mind you, Trump has yet to show any real allegiance to the Republican Party. Then you factor in the other fun tidbit about George P. Bush: His mother is Mexican.

Trump has described Mexicans and other Latino immigrants as “rapists,” “criminals” and “killers.” Trump has also retweeted other like-minded bigots who attacked Jeb!’s wife and his own damn mama. Not once, but twice.

Last fall, Jeb! gave an interview to Telemundo and discussed—in Spanish—some of the taunting his children suffered because of their complexion and accent.

“I remember there was a time when my son went to Ocala to play baseball, a game on a team,” he explained. “And the team was a Miami team; the majority were Hispanics. My son George, he’s dark-skinned. And they spoke horrible things about those from Miami. And naturally I had to explain or describe that people who hate were not the majority, but that we have to forge ahead. Because I was quite upset.”

Now, I find Jeb! to be as likable as a student loan default, with political ideology as helpful as a payday loan, but if there is one thing to appreciate about him, it’s that he refuses to vote for Trump. In fact, he’s noted that his supporters will “feel betrayed” by a President Trump, since it’s unlikely that he’ll be able to deliver on his “big, beautiful wall” paid for by Mexico and on the banning of all Muslims from entering the United States. Jeb! is not the only Bush-family member to fail to endorse Trump; George H.W. and George W. have cha-cha-slided right pass that, too.

Read the rest at The Root.

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Malia Obama has found herself the target of online tabloids for no other reason than behaving like a teenager.

The first instance occurred after video surfaced of the 18-year-old daughter of U.S. President Barack Obama daring to dance while at a concert. Sites like Radar Online published headlines like, “Watch Malia Obama Expose Her Butt & Twerk At Lollapalooza” and “Malia Obama Caught Bumping & Grinding At Lollapalooza In Shocking New Video.” The byline for each read “Radar Staff”—more than likely a cover, since one can only imagine how embarrassed the adult who fixed their fingers to type such a disgusting descriptor for a young girl who only turned 18 one month ago must have felt in that moment.

For the record, that wasn’t twerking and white people really need to stop abusing that term and send it back to its original owners as they have done enough damage. Sadly, though, that same outlet—which shares a parent company with the National Enquirer, which many people will tell you is quite friendly with Donald Trump—is at it again. This time, the headline is “EXPLOSIVE VIDEO: Malia Obama CAUGHT On Camera Smoking ‘Pot.’” The excessive use of caps lock is supposed to denote that this is a serious story.


It is very likely that we may all see the legalization, or at least widespread decriminalization, of marijuana nationwide within our lifetimes. Still, even if Malia Obama did hit the blunt, her dad smoked weed and he turned out alright. In fact, the last two U.S. presidents have acknowledged using drugs like cocaine before becoming president. Neither became Rick James.

However, unlike any of them, Malia Obama is merely the daughter of a politician. She is not a politician nor is she a person who chose her celebrity. That means she has every right to behave like a normal teenager because she doesn’t owe anything to any of us.

We are not her constituents. She is not selling us a product. She has every right to live her life as she sees fit. We are mere spectators, and in cases like these, people like these tabloid jackasses trying to exploit her life for clicks ought to look the hell away.

Some have called the criticism of Malia Obama evidence of a double standard, citing when George W. Bush’s daughters were simply branded as “party girls” after receiving citations from police in Texas for underage drinking offenses in a popular Tex-Mex restaurant. But it was just as wrong to invade the personal lives of then-first year college students as it is now to antagonize a teen who just graduated high school. It’s less hypocrisy and more of a bad pattern continuing under a different administration.

During a 2014 appearance on Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live, Jenna Bush Hager was asked by a caller about the criticism Sasha and Malia Obama received for their demeanor at the National Thanksgiving Turkey pardoning that took place the week prior. “I’m fiercely protective of them, obviously,” she told Andy Cohen. “I don’t think that it’s easy. It’s not a job that they wanted.”

Read the rest at Complex.

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