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I’ve been recapping the Love & Hip Hop franchise for about two years now, though I intentionally didn’t seek out trying to write about the newest season of its flagship, Love & Hip Hop: New York.

As much as I enjoy Atlanta and now Hollywood, the New York edition tends to depress me. Even in the mess of Atlanta, there is a lot of humor there. Hollywood, too, only as the season dragged on, I noticed it was getting funny in “Ha ha, I’ll be dead soon, so fuck you pain, I’m leaving anyway” fashion. But with New York, it’s just sad on top of sad.

Like, I can find the humor in the neighborhood drunk saying outlandish things at the gas station, the liquor store, and the Church’s chicken drive-thru. However, it becomes less funny when you tell me he’s actually a schizophrenic who is self-medicating. Yes, I’m speaking from experience, and yes, I think this perfectly explains why I’m weary on writing about New York. I have been watching, though, and I have a few thoughts, particularly about the most recent episode.

Yo, these motherfuckers put the r-i-d-i-c-u-l-o-u in ridiculous.

For starters, there is Diamond, who admittedly went to New York without her child to live with a man she dated from a distance for two years. Oh, and she wants to pursue modeling because of course she does. They are so close as a couple, and yet, Diamond never told Cisco that she has a baby that’s old enough to say, “Mama, I want some McNuggets with a girl toy.” Once she arrives in New York, this boyfriend sets her up to live with someone else.

I don’t even know you and I hate you…

Once she finally decides to tell her “boyfriend” about the baby she had more than ’bout a week ago, he spazzes on her and proceeds to belittle her and whatever lil’ relationship they had. He has trust issues, which Darryl Strawberry’s daughter just triggered. But surprise, surprise, this man has a baby his damn self and he made it while the two were “dating.”

Diamond’s mama is like, “Bitch, I told you about this man. Bring your ass home.” Diamond doesn’t want to come home, but her mama wants to find him on the street. I like Diamond’s mama. Can she be on this show? She looks like Yolanda Adams, but without the wealth. So tanned, older Mimi Faust.

That’s no shade because based on mama’s conversation with Diamond’s sort of boo thang, she slaps the shit out of people with brass knuckles.

This man is not even the worst person on this show.

That contest is between Peter Gunz and Erica Mena.

The thing about Erica and Cyn’s relationship is that it was always like Tia and Tamera pretending to be lesbians, minus the incest aspect. They’re literally the same person – Latina women looking for a come up by way of companionship – so it was only a matter of time before another person’s genitalia smacked one in the mouth, and the other, in the heart. Cyn is mad at Erica because she licked champagne off the ass of another woman at a club party she got paid some money to “host.” Erica becomes mad at Cyn after he gay homeboy claims Cyn is fucking some dude in Dyckman.

What I like about Cyn is that she calls Erica on her bullshit. Plus, she’s really, really fine. I don’t swing that way, but I definitely wouldn’t mind forming an exploratory committee.

Now, my fellow Bison Yandy: Girl, look at your life and look at your choices.

I mean, yes Mendeecees is bae and kind of bae, but he’s on bond awaiting a drug related trial with the fucking feds. So, with that intel in mind, why would Yandy gleefully show up to the basketball court with a gift wrapped positive pregnancy taste? First of all, that’s one of the most hood sentences I’ve ever typed. Like, even more than, “My pops has gold trim and is still talking about stabbing niggas at 60.”

Even Mendeecees is telling Yandy how he love the kids, but I caught a case, remember? In response, she still grins to say, “Well, I mean, I’ll bring the kids to see you in prison.” He’s like yo-yo-yo, don’t say no shit like that. Wait, did I just top the most hood sentence honors already?

Then there is Tara, who swears she’s taking romantic getaways with the man who cheated on her and married someone else after spending his entire life being an unattainable bachelor “for the kids.” She fixed her mouth to say, “We are going to give the boys something to remember.” Yes, because your young children need to remember you backing your ass up on daddy in the Caribbean.

And because Peter has no soul, he lied to his wife, Amina, about his whereabouts. He told Amina’s ditzy self that he hopped on a plane to work on a deal for “an energy drink in Trinidad.” He used this as an opportunity to try and get back with Tara, and at one point, told her to own up to the reality that if she weren’t still interested in him, she wouldn’t have gone on that trip.

That seemed to spark the light her ass needed to finally blow up on his cheating ass. It was the best Tyler Perry scene ever. Think: If Tyler knew what he was doing.

Bottom line, she yelled at him a lot – deservingly so – and took a butcher knife to his bullshit. She let him know, “I want you to leave me the fuck alone. I gave you time.” Yes, Tara. Exhale, shoop shoop.

As for Chrissy, that white woman with Chink Santana, aka the dude who worked with Ashanti when the world really cared is a lot, what in the hell is this supposed to be? She comes out of nowhere to claim she was the Heidi Fleiss of the hood during the Reconstruction era and that Erica used to work for her. It’s not that I couldn’t see Erica as an escort; I could see that shit without my contacts. However, I believe Erica when she says that woman just wants to use her for camera time.

With respect to her relationship problems: Your boyfriend is married; case dismissed.

See everyone in Atlanta.

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Based on optics alone, it’s pretty clear that the only breakfast club Nicki Minaj will ever deal with in the future will be purchased en route to her mama’s house in Queens.

There had already been bad blood between she and the hosts of “The Breakfast Club”  – Charlamagne anyway – but booking Scaff Beezy to talk about their fallen relationship just did wonders for “Ebro In The Morning.” Even so, while Scaff did do an interview on a program she seems to be permanently distanced from, he wasn’t disrespectful. He’s boy Karreuche Tran and whether or not you think it was fair for him to speak out “all of a sudden” depends on how you feel about the whole famous for fucking someone else famous trend.

For the most part, he just seems fed up and exhausted by the entire situation, namely having his name soiled by a scorned ex. Now, he completely sidestepped that situation in Texas that TMZ reported on years ago, so I’m not completely sure if he was not abusive at any point in their relationship.

Whatever the case, this interview made me sad. Like, turn on some Sade for him sad. That aside, I do wish some Black mama nearby had hit the studio to tell him what Black mamas tell similar guilty parties: “BOY, STOP SMACKING!”

I’d also like to know if he got his fur coat from the set of the “Hate Me Now” video? I dare one of y’all to tell me that it doesn’t look like he stole that from the set of a P. Diddy-related video. Inquiring minds would like to know if you pulled that from the closets of 1999, sir.

And so we’re clear, I can see Nicki being bitchy to him towards the end. I love Nicki and I fear Team Minaj, but she’s not exactly the sweetest person. If she feels comfortable bitching out an interviewer at any given second, imagine how she gets with you when she’s most comfortable.

That said, the only part I don’t like about this interview are the gendered questions Charlamagne and DJ Envy aimed at Scaff about his role in helping Nicki make her material.

It is not uncommon for people in the studio – producers, songwriters, your cousin with rap dreams, good ideas, but no flow – to throw in a line or three while a rapper is recording. Scaff himself said “everyone gets help.” Still, they belabored the point and asked leading questions like whether or not the real reason Nicki didn’t want Scaff to write was due to concerns audiences would hear both and wonder why they sound similar.

That plays into a common theme about women in rap – men, behind the scenes, pulling the strings and writing their lines – and I’m glad the one woman in the room, Angela Yee, at least tried to diffuse it. Scaff didn’t do enough to do so and that makes him look petty and perhaps somewhat deserving of the public displays of contempt.

It’s one thing to take issue with Nicki taking issue with you; it’s another to try and discredit her or try to expose her as some kind of hypocrite. To be on morning radio is to be a shitstarter, but some shit you can keep to yourself

I’m not just saying that because Nicki Minaj lyrics often serve as my morning meditation either. This all lends credence to all of the musings Nicki has had about sexism in recent interviews. The same goes for the question “Did Nicki dehumanize you?” You mean, exactly how male rappers often treat their girlfriends? Where are the men to ask their girlfriends if their rapping boyfriend is dehumanizing them by keeping their relationship a secret?

Overall, I appreciated Scaff being comfortable enough with himself to openly admit how fucked up and emotionally daunting a breakup can be. He sounded like a Carl Thomas album and I can appreciate that. The rest, not so much. Men can be so terrible, y’all.

I’m sorry.

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I tried to watch Sorority Sisters, but I couldn’t finish the episode. If it were a singer, it would be Cassie, the first time she performed on 106 & Park. If it were a shoe, it’d be a knockoff Jordan that instantly melts as soon as the temperature hit 90 degrees. If it were food, it’d be spoiled Spam out of a dented can. It is terrible in every single away, but I do find the controversy surrounding it somewhat amusing.

On one level, between this show and Bye Felicia, it is now harder than ever to argue against the notion that VH1 is in the business of playing to the lowest common denominator, especially when it comes to its presentations of Black people. However, there’s something awfully annoying about some Black people now finding reason to rally against a show because it’s offering a less than pristine image of Black people who enjoy a certain amount of privilege by way of class, education, and the affiliations both can generate.

So while I don’t often agree with the idea of protesting a show —this includes Shawty Lo’s multiple baby mama themed escapades that was shut down and what’s presently happening to Sorority Sisters now (chopping off its corporate sponsorship, one company at a time) — I respect it. I do, however, wonder about the consistency of those complaining.

I watch VH1 programming without shame or guilt, opting to ignore anything that I find dreadful or too embarrassing, but I do agree with the sentiment that BET could never get away with airing many of the shows presently airing on VH1. For years, BET was slammed for late night, adult-orientated programming like Uncut and characters like the animated VJ Cita, who has since proven herself to be Tamar Braxton as a cartoon. BET changed its programming as a result, but very little public applause was given.

The same can be said of ratings for the shows that chronicled the lives of Black people in more “respectable” positions. This includes Black fire fighters in Compton (First In), Black male models (Model City), and the Black woman who owned her own magazine in Houston (Keeping Up With The Joneses). Some were ratings hits— Tiny & ToyaToya: A Family Affair —but those were largely criticized, too, because the shows had too much twang and too little pedigree.

I prefer to see Black people the way I see everyone else on TV: brilliant, funny, and yes, a mess at times. We don’t have to agree on that, but only some of us are being honest about both our viewing habits and our complaints.

To those presently up in arms about a few members of organizations within the National Pan-Hellenic Council parading around as fools on VH1 primetime, ask yourselves a few things. Is your contempt of these sort of shows consistent?

If so, fair enough. If not, why is it a problem now? Can only your poorer, southern-based brethren play the fool?

Read the rest at The Urban Daily.

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Of all the ways legendary TV actress Phylicia Rashad could speak on rape allegations against former co-star Bill Cosby— and in this instance, rape allegations from multiple women of varying generations spanning decades— “Forget these women!” is by far one of the worst ways to respond.

Although Rashad initially told columnist Roger Friedman that when it comes to rape allegations leveled against her TV husband, Bill Cosby, she did not “want to become part of the public debate,” Mrs. Huxtable proceeded to offer remarks that now place her directly at its apex.

“Forget these women,” Rashad said. “What you’re seeing is the destruction of a legacy. And I think it’s orchestrated. I don’t know why or who’s doing it, but it’s the legacy. And it’s a legacy that is so important to the culture.”

Rashad became especially dismissive when she offers an “Oh, please,” once the names Beverly Johnsonand Janice Dickinson came up in the interview.

When anyone claims to have been sexually assaulted, you do not simply “forget them.” It’s probably best not to throw out an “Oh, please” either. When more than one person alleges the same violation, it’s even more difficult to just “forget them.” It’s fair to be skeptical— particularly if you know the accused on an intimate level — but to be both dismissive and denigrating about rape can provide a disturbing image of one’s character.

It’s easy to see why Rashad might be defensive, but she doesn’t sound any less haughty or less demeaning to women who are already claiming to have been victimized, and no less foolish when it comes their intentions.

It brings me no joy writing that. Like me, Phylicia Rashad is a Houston, Texas native. Like me, Phylicia Rashad is a Howard University graduate. Phylicia Rashad and her sister Debbie Allen have always been inspirations as to how far I could move from a city that at the time, felt too small for my big dreams.

Still, she’s wrong.

Read the rest at The Urban Daily.

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To casual listeners, Anybody Wanna Buy a Heart? may sound like a total detour for K. Michelle. Such a verdict means one of two things: You haven’t been listening to K. Michelle very long, or if you have, you haven’t been paying close enough attention. As lovingly brash and vulgar as K. Michelle is, she’s always offered hints that she can be subtle. There are differences in terms of sound and tone, but ultimately, this is K. Michelle giving her softer side equal time.

The album does begin with some familiar terrain: K. Michelle singing about people being upset with her for saying the things they’re only thinking, and fuck them for that because only God can judge her.

Even if the subject matter seems standard (defiantly defensive), the theatrics of “Judge Me” make it the perfect opener. Its follow-up and the album’s first single, “Love ’Em All” remains equally the best introduction to the K. Michelle of 2014. Is a misandrist response to Chris Brown’s misogynistic “Loyal” sort of tit-for-tat? Maybe, though for years now R&B men have demeaned women in a genre traditionally about lifting them up in love. Who can blame K. Michelle for yelling a fuck you right back?

There is also noticeable bite in “Cry” as K. Michelle sings, “Feels so damn good to be cold, and I don’t even care if you know,” but it’s very much a country music-esque kiss-off. The other country-inspired standout, “God I Get It,” sounds like something the Country Music Awards would adore. Then again, Lionel Richie had a commercially successful country album and well…never mind.

When it comes to other new terrain for the Memphis native, one of my favorites is “Something About the Night.” Whereas many of her contemporaries are now chasing the goodness that is 1990sR&B, K. Michelle ventures back to some of the funk-lite fun of even earlier decades. K. Michelle said Anita Baker raved about when the legendary vocalist visited her during the recording of this album. I wonder if “Something About the Night” was the song she gushed about most. In my mind, Anita poured herself a glass of K.’s preferred brand of brown liquor and told her, “Gon’ and scat at this part, baby.”

Or maybe Anita’s favorite is the AWBAH’s second single, “Maybe Should I Call.” K. Michelle confirmed that the song, and the album at large, is about her past relationship with Idris Elba, but such a tidbit is trivial. What matters is that it is one of the strongest R&B singles released this year. Equally breathtaking is the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League-produced “Miss You, Goodbye,” a song that showcases how much more fluid a vocalist K. Michelle is.

Read the rest at Complex.

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For those wondering why the second half of the Love & Hip Hop Hollywood reunion was dumped on Tuesday night as opposed to being stretched out for multiple weeks per the franchise’s usual, the answer is now clear: there wasn’t a whole lot to see.

So much happened during the season’s 12 episodes, but for one reason or another, the cast doesn’t have a whole lot to say about it. Yes, Omarion and Apryl had some contention in their relationship due to his mother’s antics, but that’s done now and they seem to have reached an accord to let that beef die. Frankly, it’s a testament to the maturity of Omarion. He’s the only known person to enter this franchise and come out completely clean. Then again, if he can survive Chris Stokes, what’s a Negro telenovela to him?

Like Omarion, Soulja Boy and Nia have had one hell of a rollercoaster with their relationship, which includes him finding out via social media—where the man truly lives—that Nia’s dad, Teddy Riley, isn’t her biological father, but like Omarion and co., none of them went into any real detail. They’re “good” now according to Nia, or, at the very least, were good the day of the taping. Soulja Boy isn’t as mature as Omarion, but he’s not completely lost the way Ray J and Yung Berg are.

Without those two offering much, much of what we were left with in the conclusion of this show’s first season were the same loud people arguing over the exact same things the day before. Well, Yung Berg did add a few new accusations. Like, him accusing Teairra Mari of giving him head in a back alley. That little fairytale was delivered via Princess, who I wish remained mute because she was never a big deal on this show and it should’ve stayed that way on its reunion specials.

Honestly, I don’t believe Teairra Mari would ever give Berg that much satisfaction. He’s an awful little Leprechaun who needs to go seek therapy to rid himself of whatever root issue has caused him to behave like such a fucking human being. This accusation did once again make Hazel E cry over Yung Berg. I really don’t know what to say about this woman other than lift her up in prayer, y’all. She’s so far gone over someone she admittedly feels is a self-involved, small dick-having sum’bitch. If you already believe this to be true, why offer anymore tears?

Better yet, why be so quick to believe a man you’ve also long felt to be a liar?

Berg has since been fired from the show for allegedly attacking his girlfriend, Masika, but I will note that Teairra Mari could probably take out the entire security team VH1 hired, so you best watch your tiny self, Berg. Detroit people don’t take kind to being tried. That said, “My head is good, baby!” was a wonderful declaration. Incorporate that into a future song, Teairra. Also: Get the fuck off this show.

We did get a little bit of Fizz and his baby mama, Moniece, along with Fizz’s now ex-girlfriend, Amanda. Moniece seems so many steps away from sanity, but dear God, is she ever hilarious. Long live Moniece for declaring: “I’m beautiful. I’m gorgeous. I’m funny as shit.”

Now, let’s get to this show’s biggest tragedies.

Again, Ray J is a terrible person. Terrible people are so often consumed with “loyalty” and the notion of people never bringing any “negativity” to them. This is awful person speak for, “I want people around me who won’t hold me accountable for my actions.”

Princess is the perfect match for him in this respect because she’s literally just here for the status and credit card statements she doesn’t have to pay. At one point, during an argument, with his former assistant, Morgan, Ray J instructs Princess to knock Morgan out. What does Princess do? Gets up and swings on Morgan.

Your name is Princess, but you’re acting like someone’s attack dog. In front of a studio audience for a program recorded on national television.

Read the rest at Complex.

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The shade was thick from the very beginning of the Love & Hip Hop Hollywood reunion as host and LHH executive producer Mona Scott-Young noted that nearly everyone on the cast exchanged bodily fluids. No one is surprised by this, but damn, how incestuous. Shout out to gonorrhea.

That revelation brought on the first question—aimed squarely at Hazel E—and subsequently Yung Berg throwing the first dagger. As soon as Hazel mentioned “girl code,” Berg immediately pounced on her by reminding her that once upon a time, she slept with Ray J. Hazel didn’t deny it, explaining that happened back when she was in college and Teairra Mari knew about it. So, that’s not a violation of girl code really, Berg, but it is further confirmation that you’re an asshole who takes too much joy in humiliating women—especially women named Hazel E.

After that exchange came the segment about Ray J and Teairra’s relationship where Ray J admitted that Teairra was not in fact “delusional” about their “off and on relationship” of eight years. For a few minutes there, Ray J sounded as if he had matured from the juvenile antics he displayed throughout this show’s inaugural season. Hardy har.

Once Ray J’s girlfriend, Princess, hit the stage, it was pretty clear that Ray is very much the villain he portrayed for months on TV. Princess hit the stage and turned immediately to Morgan to say, “What’s up? Fake ass ho.” Your name may be Princess, beloved, but you are not the Puerto Rican Princess, Joseline Hernandez, baby. We don’t need you recycling her genius.

Minutes later Princess and Teairra had a war of words that included Princess claiming Teairra Mari choked on Yung Berg’s dick in a back alley. Why do people on this show upset Teairra Mari knowing those hands were made for cracking skulls and defying the hands of security teams? Princess, you can’t even take on a pool, so you definitely don’t want it with Detroit’s angriest. 

During the exchange, Mona tells Teairra, “So now you’re going to have to be babysat by security because I can’t trust you to not get up?” Has she watched the show she produces? You know what? Never mind. 

Point is, Princess used to date Floyd Mayweather, now she dates Ray J, and despite him tossing her into the pool—which everyone strangely laughed at last night, FYI—she says she’s committed to him no matter what he does. Even Mona looked at Princess like, “Say, word?” Some call it love. I say it’s American Express, PIN numbers, rent paid, all of the Instagram dresses and the designer bags they thotly pair them with.

The next moment of truth was for Hazel E and her debasing herself for Yung Berg all season long. Although the segment was more about Hazel E and Berg, Masika involved herself more than anyone else. LHHH is full of so many characters that are absolutely worthy of hatred. Like, more than any other reality show I can think of, which says so much.

Berg tops the list more than anyone, but Masika is a close second.

At one point, Hazel told Berg, “You’re the one who told me that Masika was an escort.” 

Listen, I can’t stand Masika, and to be quite honest, if you told me Masika let President Obama and Young Thug run a train on her at the same damn time, I’d be inclined to believe you. Masika gives “Karrine Steffans, but with much lower credits.” She, too, revels a bit too much in another woman’s humiliation. No wonder she and Berg remain a couple (however, I need her to go watch Eve’s “Love Is Blind” video pronto).

For some reason, though, that club promoter Sincere was on stage. He insulted Hazel, too, quipping he didn’t understand why Berg ever bothered with Hazel with so many other, “young, beautiful women around.” This man said this as he dressed like some old black pimp from 1973 en route to prom. I’m pretty sure he was the oldest man on stage to boot.

Eventually, Berg and Hazel had their own back-and-forth. Berg said he inserted himself in every hole she had. In response, Hazel said his dick was small enough to fit in her nostrils. Mona rightly then inserted herself, wondering if Berg’s dick was so tiny and unsatisfying, why did you make such a big deal about it all season long? 

Read the rest at Complex.

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Guesting on the podcast “2 Guys And a Girl.”

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#Blackmendream from Shikeith on Vimeo.

I had the pleasure of being invited to participate in #BlackMenDream, a film done by artist Shikeith in which I, along with other Black men, tackled Black male expression through a myriad of questions. I wasn’t entirely sure of what I was walking into when I said I would participate, but ultimately got a lot off my chest. I’m glad I could help make a contribution to another Black man trying to tell our stories.

Speaking of, over the weekend, I saw that a white female documentary director will be helming a project about the “Black Male” crisis, focused primarily about Michael Brown’s shooting death in project. While I have nothing against Amy Berg, I do find it interesting that Nate Parker chose her to work with. Months ago, he complained about the imagery of Black male men in entertainment and went on to cite that as the reason why he would never play a gay male character.

So, he’s fine with a white woman telling our stories, but won’t play a gay character given he feels that would be an affront on the Black man. You know, as if gay Black men are not, too, men. I say that for two reasons. One, it reminds me of some of the issues of hypermasculinity tackled in “#BlackMenDream.”

And two:

What this genius said.

Enjoy.

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Trey Songz’s cover of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas” is one of the worst things I have ever heard. No, I’m not being hyperbolic. I would never be hyperbolic about someone who makes me as horny as Trey Songz often does. It’s really that terrible. So awful that it’s making me angry just thinking about it.

It sounds cheesy and somehow dually under and over produced. It sounds like a Kidz Bop version of Mariah Carey’s holiday classic, which was already kiddie enough by default. I don’t know who is responsible for this cover, but they must atone.

Trey must’ve known this was a bad idea because he doesn’t even sound that engaged. And honestly, if Trey Songz was going to record a holiday song, shouldn’t it be something like “A Pantry Droppin’ Christmas?” Or “Sexing You On Jesus’ Birthday?” Maybe, “X Marks The Spot On X-Mas.”

I don’t know, something about sex ’cause that’s just what Trey Songz does. I’d be a done for a horny holiday number from Mr. Neverson. Anything but this.

Most of all, y’all know Mariah Carey is going through it in 2014. She already has to worry about Ariana Grande stealing her old costumes and riffs. Now she has to worry about men taking her holiday cheer and tossing it in a blender of bullshit.

LEAVE MARIAH ALONE.

That said, Trey is still bae.

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