Kanye West Needs To Realize He Chose This Life And He Should Stop Complaining About It

Before I read any Kanye West cover story, I ask myself, “Do I have a lifejacket for all the confusion and irony that I’m surely about to sink in?”

I always assume the answer to be yes only to realize, ultimately, that I once again boarded the Titanic where my last nerve and better senses both end up being swatted to death by the iceberg that is Kanye’s psychosis.

Maybe I’m a masochist or perhaps I’m just one of those fans who, despite so much evidence to the contrary, want to believe that Kanye may be an imperfect spokesperson on various issues, but still continues to have very enlightening things to say — unlike so many of his contemporaries.

To Kanye’s credit, he did say something awfully sweet and valuable while explaining to GQ the joys of his newfound life as a husband and father.

On how both have transformed him, Kanye explained:

Because I don’t like walking around with people thinking I’m doing uncool shit, because there’s nothing I’m doing that’s uncool. It’s all innovative. You just might not understand it yet. But it’s cool. Family is super cool.

Going home to one girl every night is super cool. Just going home and getting on the floor and playing with your child is super cool. Not wearing a red leather jacket, and just looking like a dad and shit, is like super cool. Having someone that I can call Mom again. That shit is super cool.

The same way I saluted Beyoncé and Jay Z’s “On The Run” tour for making fidelity look so damn cool amidst the lingering cries about how “these hoes ain’t loyal,” I appreciate Kanye for making stable and committed relationships appear to be a necessity as opposed to a nuisance.

It’s too bad Kanye West had to soil the rest of Kanye West’s interview by being Kanye West.

When discussing the burden of celebrity, Kanye made the mistake of comparing treatment of today’s stars to those of Blacks in the 1960s. Yes, in Yeezy’s mind our celebrities are “being treated like Blacks were in the ’60s, having no rights, and the fact that people can slander your name.”

Every bit of self-respecting Black in me wants to holler at him the way he yelled at Sway for not having the answers.

This isn’t the first time he’s used that false equivalence to state his case either. In September, Kanye had this to say about the state of radio in a BBC interview with Zane Lowe, “I was talking to Frank Ocean about this and said, like, my mom got arrested for the sit-ins, and now we’re more like the sit-outs, like sit off of radio, and say, ‘Hey, radio, come to us.’”

I’m assuming the ancestors have ignored my request to haunt Kanye in his dreams for these self-important and audaciously asinine analogies.

Fine, but can someone please tell Kanye West — he who likes to lament about racism — to stop trivializing the experiences of the very people who paved the way for him to foolishly blurt out nonsense for the amusement of mainstream outlets?

Read the rest at Elite Daily.

Has Tony Dungy Really Been Reading His Bible?

Writers like Bob Kravitz and Cindy Boren are correct in their assessment that when it comes the controversial comments former Indianapolis Colts head coach-turned-NBC commentator Tony Dungy made about Michael Sam, none of us should be surprised.

After all, Dungy’s opposition to homosexuality and the religious beliefs he cites as an excuse for them are common knowledge. Years ago, while accepting the “Friend of Family” award from the Indiana Family Institute – an anti-gay organization guised itself as some place of solace for those clamoring for the resurgence of the “traditional” family – Dungy expressed support of the group’s push for an amendment banning gay marriage (which is presently in legal limbo).

Dungy said: “We’re not trying to downgrade anyone else. But we’re trying to promote the family — family values the Lord’s way. Family is important, and that’s what we’re trying to support. We’re not anti-anything else and not trying to hate anyone else. We’re trying to promote the family, family values, the Lord’s way. Just like I’m trying to win on the football field the Lord’s way. I’m on the Lord’s side when I’m on the field, and on the Lord’s side when I’m off the field.”

Picture it: Me, rolling my eyes profusely, calling out to God asking why the Lord won’t hire a better publicist than these boils on the butt of human decency?

Mind you, the Indiana Family Institute is the same group that once protested the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s decision to participant in the city’s LGBT pride parade by claiming, ”They don’t sign up for gay pride parades and all that entails with men in police uniforms being howled at by homosexuals.” The adage “you are who you hang with” proves true, so no, it’s not exactly shocking to hear Dungy tell the Tampa Tribune that when it comes to drafting openly gay Michael Sam, “I wouldn’t have taken him. Not because I don’t believe Michael Sam should have a chance to play, but I wouldn’t want to deal with all of it.”

It doesn’t make the comments any less repulsive, though.

Likewise, Dungy’s “clarification” couldn’t be any less useless given all he did was repeat the exact same sentiment in virtually the same language. I’m glad Michael Sam doesn’t especially care about Dungy’s remarks, but I do think they warrant challenging. And when I say challenging, I don’t mean everyone channeling Stephanie Tanner and fixing their mouths to say “HOW RUDE!” in some act of PC Policing. Rather, I want someone to hit the Tony Dungys of the world with their own inconsistent interpretation of the world.

Even if they are a dying breed as the marriage equality movement continues to rack up state-by-state wins, it tap dances my last nerve that Dungy’s ilk get to spew their anti-gay rhetoric and then hide under the veil of religion when called upon it. As I noted in a previous essay on Sherri Shepherd explaining how many Christians grow up believing that homosexuality is a sin and that gays go to hell, there needs to be greater pushback with respect to theology. Let Tony Dungy and his friends at the Indiana Family Institute tell it, when they’re out fighting to keep gays from marrying, Jesus is somewhere on the field with his pom-poms going “GO, TEAM GO!”

This isn’t the case, and for the millionth time, if we want to go tit-for-tat on Biblically-based damnation, someone hand me a rock so that I might toss it at Tony Dungy’s head ‘cause he should’ve been stoned to death for working on the Sabbath.

And when we talk about family in “the Lord’s way,” what type of family is that? Is the one where you get to eat your kids (Jeremiah 19:9), murder them if they curse at their parents (Exodus 21:17), and sell your daughter into slavery (Exodus 21:7)?

Read more at EBONY.

“Love & Hip Hop Atlanta” Recap: Stop It, Mimi

Who else has noticed over time that whenever Mimi Faust wants to convey sincerity, or more recently, trying to sell the viewing public aloofness about some shit she knows good and damn well she actively was a part of, she uses her “inside voice.” You know, as if we’re not used to seeing her go 0 to a 100 real quick. That’s how last night’s episode of Love & Hip Hop Atlanta started – immediately letting me know that I was about to get a double dose of bullshit. Mimi’s still trying to pretend she did not purposely shoot a porn with Dollar Store Stevie J as her friends continue to approach her with the following plea: Oh Lord, know yourself, know your worth, girl.

Meanwhile, Nikko is in her bed grinning like the villain he is over the response to their cinematic debut—particularly Joseline’s crack about Mimi’s freak levels being as low as a post-mortem Sophia Petrillo. In response, Mimi cracked about the number of folks who have taken a cruise to Joseline’s clitoris and added in the confessional, “One of the reasons why I signed the contract in the first place is because Joseline taught me what not to do. Her naked ass is all over the Internet for free and didn’t make one red cent.”

Well, that’s certainly one way to look at it. Another would be to say that if a teenage prostitute and streetwalker—as in a woman used to making money off her naked body—believes it’s a bad idea to shoot a porn with a man clearly trying to capitalize of your newfound celebrity, that ought to tell you something. However, you can’t tell Mimi anything as evidenced by her reactions to both Ariane and Erica Dixon.

Although many people across social media seemed to find Erica’s criticism of Mimi to be self-righteous, I was not as bothered. Moreover, I don’t find Erica fighting on camera to be equivalent to spreading eagle and hanging from a shower rod with a wannabe member of Dru Hill. I may have been raised differently, but even my OG pops and devout Catholic mama taught me that punks jump up to get beat down, so while fighting in adulthood isn’t the move, I don’t find that comparable to shooting a porn when you have a young child.

That aside, it’s not that I think being an adult film entertainer prevents you from being a responsible parent. No, it’s just that there’s a certain level of honesty and maturity one ought to have if you opt to go down that path—which Mimi has yet to display. She has a business and a TV check, so the porn wasn’t about “providing for my daughter.” It’s more like people like sex and that leads them to porn, and nowadays lower tier stars think they can become Kim Kardashian when they do a “sex tape” so they jump on the bandwagon. Mimi is old enough to remember Xscape’s “Keep It On The Real.” I wish she’d go back and listen to it.

Anyhow, Erica had good intentions but poor as hell timing given she made her case to Mimi while she dealt with news that her father suffered a very bad stroke. If I were Mimi, I would’ve been like, “Just tell me you think I’m the worst person to ever possess a vagina so I can go see my daddy.”

Read the rest at Complex.

Are White Gay Men Stealing ‘Culture’ From Black Women?

Back on NPR’s “Tell Me More” for another pop culture roundtable, talking about those Time essays I keep getting emailed and texted about, plus on Pam Oliver’s new gig (and weave…sorta) and that 2Pac musical no one wanted to see.

Didn’t We Almost Have It All, Azealia Banks?

Dear Azealia Banks:

I wish I could start this off with Tyra Banks’ “WE WERE ROOTING FOR YOU! WE WERE ALL ROOTING FOR YOU!” Fact is, most people weren’t rooting for you because you alienated the absolute hell out of the general public over and over again with your Twitter tirades and the numerous beefs with your peers they inspired.

For a millisecond, you were the wet dream for those of us longing to see you capitalize on Nicki Minaj kicking the door back open for female rappers. Unfortunately, it didn’t take you long to basically become the Crypt Keeper of said dreams.

Oh, sis. Didn’t we almost have it all?

Now, you’re probably still on a high from being released by your former label, Universal Music. You’ve been out here tweeting “I’S IS FREE!!!!!” and comparing yourself to Miss Celie. I don’t know you’re so giddy, though. All this has done is make certain that’ll even take longer for you to release a full-fledged album. That is, if you ever do. Not to mention, your label-less life lends further credence to the theory that you’re basically Foxy Brown without the hits.

It makes me so sad that we’ll probably never catch you at the hot spot. Even sadder is that even if you kept the deal with Universal and dropped an album (finally) featuring you and Jesus’ remake of “The Whisper Song,” it’d still only get nominal attention, because again, so many people curse the day you were allowed Internet access.

Read the rest at EBONY.

On The “On The Run” Tour

As someone who firmly believes that God said on the seventh day, “Y’all ain’t ready for the jelly I’m going to send to earth on September 4, 1981,” it doesn’t take much for me to get excited about anything Beyoncé-related.

So while I knew I would be attending the “On The Run” Tour, I was far more interested in seeing Beyoncé on stage than I was to see Beyoncé’s husband and co-headliner, Jay Z.

Having seen him a year ago with Justin Timberlake, I wondered whether or not the pop-pop of rap would be doing the performance equivalent of “you in the club doing the same old two-step.” To Mr. Carter’s credit, not only did he manage to keep up with his wife’s electricity, he showed his own on stage growth — albeit in much subtler fashion.

The Carters kicked off their two-and-a-half set to a sold-out crowd at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia on Saturday with “03 Bonnie and Clyde.” The two then spent the rest of the show going back-and-forth in well-executed transitions that merged their sounds seamlessly.

Keeping with the theme of the promo video that spread across the Internet mere seconds after it finished uploading, throughout the night, Beyoncé and Jay Z played Tarantino-themed vignettes depicting the couple as outlaws.

For the record, I’m one of those people who believes Beyoncé is a much better actress than “The Fighting Temptations” and “Carmen: A Hip Hopera” let on. But y’all don’t hear me, though. Now for some concertgoers, it might’ve been surprising to see Beyoncé holding guns and cursing out people while acting out a bank robbery.

However, if you’ve been a longtime fan of the Patron Saint of Houston, you’re not at all surprised to see her more aggressive side. It’s always been there, only she became much more guarded as media folk increasingly reached for their scalpels in order to dissect her.

With the release of BEYONCÉ, Yoncé has let said guard down, and thankfully, that’s been carried over to her live shows.

When you’ve been a dominant fixture of pop music as a solo star for a decade, it would be easy to fall into a state of contentment, especially when your contemporaries are better at Instagram uploads and subtweets than they are singing and dancing.

Still, Beyoncé is only 32, so it’s great to see that she’s not resting on her laurels. With both “The Mrs. Carter Show”and the “On The Run” tours, it’s clear that Beyoncé is aiming to spend the next decade of her life raising the bar in terms of the spectacle with which she treats fans. Given the torture that Beyoncé puts fans through to get tickets, they deserve it.

There are differences between the shows, particularly in terms of song arrangements and the noticeably different changes to her choreography. Beyoncé’s style of dance always came across to me as “Tina Turner at her prime at the club dancing to Ca$h Money’s best selections.”

It was always entertaining, but not necessarily the most challenging steps. Now, you see more intricate steps and much more skilled Beyoncé nailing every move. Somewhere Janet and Madonna are going, “Gon’ girl.” Ditto for her costumes. 

With her voice, she’s never sounded clearer and more confident, but if there were any critique I’d have about Beyoncé the singer, it would be that she wasn’t always convincing when singing songs like “Resentment.”

I’ve since changed my opinion as Beyoncé has learned not to convey pain in her voice with growling. I’m not sure if that can be attributed to experience or just more practice, but she’s much more adept at that style at singing as further evidenced by her cover of Lauryn Hill’s “Ex Factor.”

By the way, as far as Bey changing the lines of the “Resentment” goes, that’s something she’s been doing for several years now. Stop it before the #Beyhive creeps into your nightmares.

And while the debate of whether or not Beyoncé is a feminist, a terrorist or some Illuminati demon trying to get black girls pregnant because she sings about boning her husband in a limousine in certain circles that I proudly ignore, the woman herself continues to uplift women her way.

Read the rest at Elite Daily.

A Strong Suggestion: Step It Up, Rihanna

How does one find inspiration to push yourself harder when you’ve already proven that you could seemingly give half the effort and achieve maximum success all the same? In the case of Rihanna, she could retire at the age of 26 and still go on to be rightfully hailed as one of the most successful recording artists in history. That would probably make Mariah Carey – who will likely have to relinquish bragging rights for the most number one singles on Billboard’s singles charts besides The Beatles to Rihanna sooner than later – very happy, though the chances of Rihanna retiring are as probable as Cassie getting a co-sign from Aretha Franklin.

Yes, in the race for pop culture dominance, Rihanna could grab a chair, order three rounds of drinks and still zoom past all but one of her peers to the finish line. That reality is a testament to her ability to capitalize on the visual, and more importantly, the growing importance of likability thanks to the rise of social media and celebrity culture, as well as one other little attribute about Rihanna that all too often is ignored: The woman has a great ear for music.

Nevertheless, as we wait for Rihanna’s eighth studio album, I wonder where the pop star takes her career in the next few years. No matter how entertaining and captivating she is, the “DGAF attitude” she’s praised for might also prove to be her Achilles heel.

I am a Rihanna fan, but if there’s any legitimate complaint to be made about her, it’s the lassiez faire attitude she continues to have about singing and performing. Rihanna certainly has her moments of excellence – her rendition of “Stay” on SNL or her 2010 America Music Awards performances instantly come to mind – but they are typically far and in between. Some people excuse this and it’s a shame I don’t have the power to issue cease and desist letter.

In the essay, “Confessions of a Beyoncé Dissident,” Ian Russell writes, “Of Mrs. Carter’s peers, Rihanna pops to mind as a performer who, though certainly lacking Beyoncé’s voice, suddenly becomes likable for her DGAF attitude.”

Uh, perhaps for a few, but there’s a reason why Beyoncé can sell out a world tour without a new album while her contemporaries are lucky to do that (or come close enough) with new music and a gang of hit singles already amassed under their belt. More importantly, people may like you now, but what’s going to happen in the next decade or two when Rihanna is on a downswing?

As much as people harped on Jennifer Lopez’s less than stellar first-week sales of her latest album, AKA, J. Lo, who turns 45 this year, continues to out-dance women half her age – including Rihanna. That makes it easier for her to continue being booked to perform at major award shows and managing to fill up venues post-peak of her musical career.

Read the rest at VIBE.

How Not To Hit On People Online

Unfortunately, for so many women, every day they step outside is considered an invitation by some men to speak to them as if they’ve only discovered women and erections seconds prior. Even worse is the new reality that these same parasites have since carried over their thirsty ways to social media– spurring so many women to shout out “Can I live?” in horror. Though I can’t do the Lord’s work,  (i.e. instantly make the penises of the guilty parties fall off) I can at the very least inform you folks how not to hit on someone online. Grab your sippy cups and settle down. I’m here to help.

You’re welcome.

Stop Showing Your Dick

There are some pretty widely acceptable ways of greeting someone you’re interested in. Say, “Hello,” “Hi,” “What up, though,” “Hey,” and “Good morning, afternoon, evening.” Then maybe you can follow with a “How are you?” These are all pretty standard and not remotely aggressive. You know what’s the total antithesis of all of this? Immediately sending someone a shot of your dick. Your dick should not be the greeting as it’ll likely spur a prompt goodbye.

Lesbians Don’t Want You, Dude

For the slow people in the back of the room, if a woman is a lesbian she’s not interested in your dick, how big it is, or whatever sexual magic you think it has. Why? Because she likes vagina, fool. Women, some of you are guilty of this with gay men, too. I don’t know if you’re inspired by Liza Minnelli and Star Jones (allegedly), but your box ain’t the Hocus Pocus either.

Read the rest at Complex.

Stop Lying About Where You’re Really From

Whenever I meet someone from my hometown of Beyoncéland—or Houston, if ya formal—I typically greet that person with eagerness and the kind of warmth only a real southerner can understand. Then I ask a very important follow up question: What part of Houston are you from?

For those of you are unfamiliar, Houston is a mammoth of a city. In terms of size, Houston is like pre-workout regiment Rick Ross while the rest of the nation’s major cities are Jhené Aiko by comparison. For further clarity, Dan Solomon recently wrote inTexas Monthly, “A trip from Northwest Houston to Southwest Houston, in other words, is the equivalent of a trip from the Pacific Ocean into the middle of the San Francisco Bay.” So as large as the H is, if you tell me you’re from Houston and then when asked for specifics namedrop The Woodlands or League City, there is no other conclusion but this: Your ass is not from Houston. Trust me, other native Houstonians feel me on this.

I’ve been told I’m “rude” for pointing this out, but since my finger is already wagging, I may as well continue “The Mr. Waggering Finger World Tour” and air additional grievances.

I don’t have a problem with major city metropolitan residents. More times than not, you’ve probably lived the life Aunt Helen wanted for Will when she shipped him out of Philly, or at the very least, the kind of middle class home James Evan died trying to get for Thelma and his two annoying sons. Your parents should be applauded for that. Nonetheless, claim your actual city of residence as opposed to what’s 60-90 minutes away.

The same goes for people who say they’re from ATLANTA (very few of the actual residents of that city acknowledge the T’s existence) when it’s more like Alpharetta.

Now, the only thing worse than pretending to be from Houston when you’re really from Beaumont (an entirely different town over yonder on I-10) is to be from a nicer part of Houston, but try to front like you’re from the hood. God bless Beyoncé, but she is part of the reason why so many people want to act like they’re from Third Ward.

Read the rest at Complex.

“Love & Hip Hop Atlanta” Recap: Mimi’s Sex Tape Is Out

For a show themed around reality, it felt odd for Lil’ Scappy, Momma Dee, and Erica P to Nae Nae all around what exactly went down at the restaurant. In a confessional, Momma Dee said, “This is a very serious matter. As a mother, I’d like to think that I raised Scrappy to be a respectful and honest man to all women. I feel like I failed him. I gotta straighten this [out].” But “this” was never explicitly detailed, though we can deduce that Scrappy put his paws on his friend as evidenced by Momma Dee revealing that Scrappy is increasingly frustrated by his career not being where he wants it to be and Scrappy himself noting he has to learn how to properly deal with his anger.

Now that she mentions it, it has been a long time since Scrappy had a hit, huh? Join me in pouring out a lil’ coconut Myx moscato in memoriam of Scrappy, the good years. Let’s also bop to “Some Cut.”

That aside, last night’s episode of Love & Hip Hop Atlanta was the first time Momma Dee had every right to butt into her son’s affairs—thus let us clap for a pimp with her pimpin’ ass. After Momma Dee expressed her disappointment and let him know that she invited Erica P. over to talk things out, Scrappy offered a sincere apology to her. One hopes that he does indeed learn to keep his paws to himself, given should he lose his cool again, reality TV producers might not be able to prevent them laws from locking him up.

In the other apologetic portion of the program, Kirk had his “I’m Sorry” party for his all too forgiving wife, Rasheeda. All I have to say about that lil’ bash in their yard is Bobby V. was singing in the key of begging Keith Sweat as the party attendees feasted on what looked like brisket and ribs. Their Black is fucking gorgeous, y’all.

Unfortunately, someone always has to soil the moment. Not surprisingly, it was Benzino’s bae Althea. Everything about Althea screams “I’m really trying to make fetch happen when it comes to fame.” After catching a flat tire on Music Dreams Highway, Althea has since caught a bus on Reality TV Road and is milking this shit for all its worth.

To wit, Althea approached my favorite, Erica, Ms. Dixon, and Karlie Redd, to apologize for throwing drinks at them. Well, more so Erica; Althea doesn’t give a good damn about Karlie Redd. The problem with Althea’s methodology is, you don’t tell someone you’re sorry while sporting a smirk on your face and continuing to act defensively when called on the very antics you claim to be apologizing for. Needless to say, Althea ended her scene by Benzino escorting her off the Frost property and him informing her that she needn’t allow “those women to get her to go from one to 10” so hastily.

But, but, but, Benzino: How else will your girl get that extra camera time she clearly covets?

Read the rest at Complex.