Monday, December 16, 2013

Can't Get Enough!!!

So, on Friday, the 13th at exactly midnight, Beyonce' decided to drop an entire visual album. 14 tracks, 17 videos, without any promotion, announcements, hoopla - nothing. I watched as my Twitter timeline went into an absolute FRENZY. Then, I decided to preview the album on Itunes. So, at about 12:23, I was clicking the BUY button on Itunes and watching impatiently as each item downloaded on my iPad.


She makes you say things like that, but for this post, I won't get into how much of a masterpiece this body of work is, instead I will focus on her and Jay's ode to their love "Drunk in Love"!

So, this video is set on a beach, at night, it's dark and the beginning with the weird almost creepy intro, makes you think this is going to be some tragic op-art piece. Then that bass line kicks and you realize soon thereafter, that this is almost a ghetto love song. We watch as Beyonce' does every street dance that most hoodrats coast to coast are more than familiar with. However, not to get too caught up in Jay and Bey's PDA, it's the lyrics that make this song a star!

"Can't keep your eyes off my fatty, daddy...I want you"

"We woke up in the kitchen saying how the hell did this shit happen, oh baby"

"Graining on that wood, graining, graining on that wood. I'm swerving on that, swerving, swerving on that big body. Been serving all this...surfing all up in this good, good."

"We be all night...LOOOOOOVE!!!"

"Talking bout you be repping that 3rd. I want to see all of the shit that I heard. No, I clink clink Eastwood, hope you can handle this curve."

"Fourplay in the foyer. Fucked up my Warhol. Slid your panties right to the side, I ain't got the time to take draws off."

"On sight, catch a charge I might, beat the box up like Mike! In 97 I bite. I'm Ike Turner, Turner, baby I don't play. Now eat the cake Anna Mae, said eat the cake Anna Mae!"

Okay, so some of these lyrics may come off as being a bit confusing. But really, Bey and Jay are bragging about their great sex life. After more than ten years together and 5 years married, I can't really hate on that. You really get that sense, when the camera catches the light shining off Jay's Rocafella necklace. Jay rapped: "I got the hottest chick in the game wearing my chain!" The Black Album was released 10 YEARS AGO!!! My how time flies.

They really tried to be subtle. (hee hee) There are plenty of metaphors and double entendre's in this song, but at the end of the day, they are still in love and love expressing how much they still are in love with each other. I can't help but laugh at all of the people who just knew this relationship/marriage/baby was all fake. Let them love. Meanwhile, this mess is on repeat!

Monday, July 22, 2013

HOTNESS: Le Francaise Edition

So here I was just talking to my brother about how I wanted to pick up French again before I completely lose any fluency I had before, and I creep up on this Asian, French, R&B artist: Monsieur Nov! Yes, you heard that right. He's Asian, He's French and sings R&B. This would be real trippy if it weren't for the fact that his songs are completely relatable. You may not be able to understand exactly what he's saying, but this gets a nod in the R&B department from moi, and I don't listen to everybody. Especially when it comes to R&B/Soul.

As if the American R&B market couldn't get any more non-existent, this guy comes along in another country and basically kills it in the language of LOVE!

C'est Magnifique!

Another way you know you've come across something HOT, is when it could be intrepreted in a bad way and you are too busy jamming to it to notice. The name of this song is called: My Hoe, but I was too busy chair dancing at my desk to notice. LOL!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Hello Cupid: Catfishing the Internet

This is the time of year that I can clean my apartment, redecorate, write, etc. Because my television viewing goes down dramatically. I'm someone that doesn't watch a lot of television to begin with, but when basketball/football/hockey season is over with, I really don't watch. However, thanks to Twitter, I have viewed the Catfish reality show on MTV based off the movie when a guy spends over a year communicating with a woman online, only to research, find out where she lived and he shows up only to find out she isn't who she claims.

I've been doing this whole "online social networking" thing for quite some time. I remember when it was just a bunch of us so-called "geeks" going to chat rooms regularly, etc. Now, EVERYBODY, including my mother is on the Internet. Between Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, the Internet is not what it used to be. There was a time, you could truly be anonymous online, until you decided maybe you wanted to show up to a meet-and-greet or some other get together with other "web folks". Those were the good old days. Now, you can find your face all over Facebook and not even be on the site yourself. Once modern day social networking sites became popular, along with the inception of smarter smart phones, it was a wrap. This leads me to this question. With all of this extra curricular Internet activity being voluntary, why are people still lying on the Internet? Why would anyone go out of their way to lie to someone they don't actually know about who they are, what they look like, how much money they make, and what they do for a living? This absolutely baffles me.

So, in my continued support of Black & Sexy TV programming on YouTube, I was pleasantly surprised when they broached this topic with their newest show: Hello Cupid! This show focuses on two women who are best friends and roommates. One of the girls, who is on the darker-skinned side, decided to place a profile on a dating site called Hello Cupid. Her profile strapped with what her roommate called "red flag information" such as the fact that she reads books, and loves the movie, Amelie, she had a modest picture of herself. Her roommate on the other hand, who is more provocative and outgoing, not to mention bi-racial suggested she get sexier pics of herself. As a social experiment they decide to place the bi-racial roommates more provocative picture on her profile. On average, she would get about 3-10 hits per day. By the next morning, her profile with the roomies picture had garnered over 130 hits!

I honestly didn't know where B&S was going to go with this series. I thought it would spark yet another "lightskin v darksin" debate, as if we need another one of those. But, as the season went on, the episodes got juicier and more interesting, as they take this experiment off the Internet and into real life. What I like about the series is that all of the actors are very good, and the characters are well-rounded. It also makes me realize, how easy it is to get "caught up" both on and offline.

Eargasm: The Stuyvesants!

I've been meaning to post some new music, new producers for a while now, but as usual, duty calls and I haven't had the time. But, The Stuyvesants have been getting HEAVY rotation in my car for months now. I don't usually just listen to beats, but they are so worth several listens. Their sound is very reminiscent of early to mid-90's hip-hop when artists could become big off the beat alone, because it was just that dope!

Right now, my favorite track is without a doubt, "Talking Hears" off of the Finer Things, Vol. 2 mixtape. Their tracks are often featured on YouTube's Black & Sexy TV shows, and it is undisputable why they've chosen them. Honestly, they could save some rap careers. Check it out!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Sorry Drake, but Breezy got you again!

So in the battle of the light-skinned R&B cats, it's no secret Drake and Chris Brown have been feuding. Whether we are hearing about them throwing bottles with broken glass flying at Tony Parker in the club, to them dissing each other on wax, it's safe to say, these two don't like each other.

Last year, Drake announced he was going to do an entire duet album with Aaliyah. This got mixed reviews, as many R&B fans, and Aaliyah faithfuls wondered how this could happen considering she died twelve years ago. Then Drake released a track with her vocals, and it was met with lukewarm reviews. He also received scathing criticism from both Timbaland, whom Aaliyah often had produce her projects, to her family. Her brother Rashad, publicly spoke out on Twitter saying that Drake had not reached out to anyone in the Houghton family. He also noted that he found it disrespectful for Drake to continue with the project, having received no inside support.

From that moment on Drizzy went on a very weird, stalker-ish journey of posting songs with Aaliyah samples. He had her tattooed on his back, and he stayed referring to her in numerous interviews, as if they were star-crossed lovers and it's well-known, they never met.

So, over the weekend, playing off of the hype of his highly anticipated album, X. Chris Brown dropped the single and video for the track, "Don't Think They Know". My stomach turned as soon as I saw that it was featuring Aaliyah. Here we go again. But dare I say, the track isn't bad. In fact, I could totally see this song, getting lots of airplay and charting well. And, it appears Chris is using this song to bring unity to the blood/crips never-ending saga in Los Angeles. Check it out!

Breezy definitely trumped Drizzy on this one. It looks like Drake will have to go back to his Dark room and listen to some more Aaliyah records, because this one Breezy track trumps all of the emo songs he tried to get people to like last year. It's not even close. Like Aaliyah sang, "If at first you don't succeed, dust yourself off and try again." Drake will have to take those words to heart.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Best Man Holiday

It almost feels surreal, but The Best Man really did come out 13 years ago! My, how time flies. I can remember sitting in a crowded theater watching what I would deem as the last great black movie I've seen in the theaters. Forgive me, but I do not count Tyler Perry. While, I admit to enjoying both Why Did I Get Married and The Family That Preys, I wouldn't dub them "great films".

So, after 13 years, we finally get a sequel.

Three Things I noticed from this teaser trailer:


In the original movie, we all laughed as Murch allowed Quentin to fill him with whiskey shots as Candy sashayed out and gave him the lap dance of his life. While they made a connection, and she even accompanied him to the wedding, we don't know what happens after that. We are only left to assume, they dated, maybe tried to make it work. In the teaser, we see them getting married. Now later on, we see a shot of Candy in a much shorter hairstyle by herself. But, thus far, every scene, Murch looks happy. Although, that could mean, now happily single. But, somehow I get the feeling those two will make it.


These two were the main subjects in the first film. After all, they did get married (kicking and screaming), but they did it. Yet, in the teaser, we never even see these two together. Lance did get a new NFL contract in the original, and as we all now know, it is hard to stay happily married, when you are a professional athlete. We also know that Lance had committment issues. If he had them then, I can imagine what they faced later. Either way, their storyline will be very interesting in this sequel. Did he ever forgive her for her tryst with Harper? Will she continue to forgive his indiscretions?


Interracial dating stays on my radar these days. Lately, it seems to always be in regards to black women dating outside of their race. Whether it is black women with white men, Asian men or some other ethnicity. Clearly, in 2013, it is no longer trendy for black women to still hold out for the brothas. So, I was pleasantly surprised to see them write a white male lead for Jordan, as Harper teases: "Ooh, I'm telling mama, you got a white boy." Interesting that they would put someone like her, driven and successful in an interracial relationship.

So far, I like what I see. Hopefully this will start a new trend of great black movies again. Instead of this slave theme that Hollywood has taken to. Either way, November can't get here fast enough for me.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013


So, leave it to fellow Blogger, Mike C. to literally tweet exactly what I was thinking this morning on the bus ride in to work. I haven't so much as perused a Drake track in at least a year. It is no secret that I fell WAY off the Drake bandwagon, right around Thank Me Later. A former co-worker was shocked to find out that I never even purchased Take Care. And, the sad part is I predicted this would happen. When record labels were in a bidding war over signing him four years ago, and he finally settled on Young Money. The now defunct, All Things Fresh fan site, which at the time, I was a frequent member of, posted the news even before major media outlets got wind of it. I knew then, and voiced it on the site. Since the site is no longer up and running, I will paraphrase what I posted.

"R.I.P. to the artist formerly known as Drake!"

Other members on the site came down on me hard; they said I had little faith in Drizzy. They said that I was jumping the gun and wasn't giving it a chance. Look. I may not be a rocket scientist, but I trust my instincts more than anything, and I knew he was going to "rap down to his colleagues." You sign to a label full of what-ifs. All of whom have not panned out, except for Nicki Minaj, who is determined to be a pop star, and mediocre loves company. So Drake or Aubrey chose "loyalty to Lil Wayne" over just flat out good business sense, and to me he's paid for it. Substantively he has. Now, I'm sure he and his minions couldn't disagree with me more. After all, he's richer than ever and featured on everybody's wack ass song from T. Dot to L.A. But name one relevant hip-hop track Drake has released since So Far Gone? I'll wait.

So, in the spirit of nostalgia, I'm taking a look at Drake's catalogue, specifically, the Pre-Young Money catalogue in deciding which one was his best. After all, Drake did rap, "...some of you will be saying the old me is better than the new me." Yep. Agreed, Drake.

Here we go...


I am slightly embarrassed at the fact that I am a fan of Degrassi Jr. High. I never watched the original, because that was a little before my time. But, by the time they decided to bring the show back, I was probably in college at the time, and I found myself checking it out. The show is actually pretty decent, but I digress. Drake, known then as simply, Aubrey Graham, played a character on the show named Jimmy. And, in probably one of the shows best episodes, he gets shot by a pretty disturbed kid at school and ends up in a wheelchair. On the show, Jimmy goes through a myriad of emotions due to this, but finally comes back to himself at a talent show where he decides to rap about his situation. To everyone's surprise, he's pretty good. Now maybe this was the outlet Drake needed to finally decide to do this rap thing, but soon thereafter, rumors of a mixtape began circulating. What's funny is you can find old behind-the-scenes videos of the cast, and talks of the mixtape were met with lukewarm feelings. People seemed to be polite without saying, "Why the hell do you want to rap?" Luckily for Aubrey, he stayed the course,


I actually didn't listen to this mixtape until after I'd heard his latter two. However, I did peep the City is Mine track on Fuse circa 2008. I thought it was solid, but not anything to write home about. But after listening to this mixtape, I remember it being in heavy rotation for months. Typical of a first mixtape ever, Drake sounds hungry, excited, naive and he hadn't established his style yet. What I do like about this mixtape, is the fact that he features so many of his Canadian colleagues, including the much underrated R&B songster, Voyce, n/k/a Aion Clarke. These two should've never fallen out, because they made pure magic together. What a lot of people don't know is that Drake used to be in a collective group of hot artists in Toronto. Some in the group featured him, Melanie Fiona, Voyce among others. Well, considering that they were on the whole "starving artist" vibe, and Aubrey was on a tv show, they basically kicked him out of the group. Clearly, this was a blessing in disguise. While the original mixtape was supposed to be sold, and only a few thousand copies were made to be bought and autographed for those who cared to support. Local radio got a hold of several of the tracks and soon people in Toronto were giving "Drake" a chance. This mixtape has a few standouts: "Special" featuring Voyce with the Stevie Wonder sample is really nice. In fact, this song sounds like an LL joint. It has that smooth R&B meets smooth rap feel to it. The tracks "Money (Remix)" and "AM 2 PM" featuring fellow Canadian rapper Nickelus F go hard. Having someone else on the track that has an AZ flow, forced Drake to step his game up. (There is a theme here, you either rap up or rap down to your competition). Of course "City is Mine" has to get an honorable mention. After all, this is the cut that sort of put him on the map. His lyrics back then are a stark contrast to his lyrics now.
"This the record that my back pack underground fans get to skippin..."
Or, even more stark is on "Video Girl" when he says he doesn't want to see his beautiful black women shaking their ass in a rap video. I'll leave that alone. This mixtape is when Drake and Trey Songz first worked together, but they don't hit their stride until the next mixtape. Super standouts is "Thrill is Gone" which has a very jazzy hypnotic chorus. Also, my personal favorite, "Come Winter" which has two parts or moods to the song, both of which are better than any commercial track he's done. This was a solid first effort and is a worthy listen even today.


Janet Jackson once revealed that the first time she heard her brother, Michael's "Thriller" album, it was in the car. He picked her up and they just drove around listening to it. I find this to be an amazing way to listen to a record. So, how fitting, my first listen to "Comeback Season," was in the car. I knew from the intro, that Drake wasn't playing. It's something about receiving that first bit of criticism or hate for something you suddenly have a big passion for. I imagine, he had mixed reviews after Rooom for Improvement, and came harder and more polished for Comeback Season to show people that he was for real. He succeeded. Hands down this is Drake's best project. I even give it a slight dip above So Far Gone, slight. I don't see how anyone could have an issue with this mixtape. Everything, from the production, the samples, the bars, the features, hell, even the cover pic is the best look I've seen from Drake! Back to the music. "Closer" featuring Andreena Mill with the Goapele sample is pure perfection. First of all, I love the original song! That beat is sick and Drake, legit, put some great bars to this track. To me, this is when I felt he hit his stride, or got his swag, whatever you want to call it. This single was HUGE in Toronto! Deservedly so. His manager at the time, convinced him to put his money behind probably the only semi-commercial track on the mixtape, "Replacement Girl" featuring Trey Songs. They did a video for this track and everything. Drake has that early Hov flow on this track. That fast rapping, quick-witted style that Hov originally had. This is a radio song, but still enjoyable. He lends a freestyle to the Kanye-produced Barry Bonds track, but his lyrics on the Alicia Keys sampled "Going in for Life" establish him more soundly. You see the style developing, the clever, tongue-in-cheek flow that he becomes known for.
"If Hov is Jordan, I guess I'm cool with being Pippen.."
Then, just when you think you know where Drake is going theme-wise, he switches up with the Slakah-the-Beatchild produced "Share", which was way too short in my opinion. Suddenly we have almost an underground hip-hop feel to this mixtape. He further propounds this point with tracks like "Don't You Have a Man" featuring Little Brother, "The Last Hope" featuring Toronto's Kardinall Offishall and Andreena Mill, and my absolute favorite, "Think Good Thoughts," featuring Phonte' of Little Brother and Elzhi of Slum Village. I don't know if it's the 9th Wonder production with that Anita Baker sample or just the flow of this track, but I never get tired of this song. Honorable mention, intro on the track, Drake says:
"They claim that us rappers are materialistic, they say that we lack substance."
*cough* Even the southern sounding, "Must Hate Money" with Rich Boy is official. By this point in the mixtape, you are in hip-hop euphoric overload!

Now, I know what some people will think. Why haven't I discussed his singing? Because Aubrey's immersion from Wheelchair Jimmy to Drake didn't include his crooning skills just yet. Yes, he was solid without the emo monochromatic songs he's become known for today. In fact, he seemed content to let other people sing. Tracks like, "Asthma Team," "Do What U Do," featuring the Clipse, and "Easy to Please," featuring Richie Sosa, Drake appears to almost have a chip on his shoulder. As if to say, aww, you all thought I was playing with this rap shit? However, before the listener can go all Onyx on someone, he switches it up again with the laid back, "Faded" and even gets romantic with the Robin Thicke track, "Teach U a Lesson", where his bars fit so perfect, you would think he was originally on the track. Even the closing track, "Man of the Year" where we see the first collab with Lil Wayne, doesn't ruin the feel of the mixtape. It's solid, consistent and with substance. Damn Drake, what happened?


So, this seems to be when everyone else caught on to Drake. This is the mixtape that had labels bidding for him. This is what put him on the Young Money tour, and even garnered him his own tour. This was a personal stretch for me because I am just not here for Lil Wayne. Like, at all. But I surprisingly tolerated him on this mixtape and even found this one in heavy rotation. So Far Gone, if I may borrow from Mike C., is when Drake and Aubrey met up on wax. Now we meet this introspective, somewhat emotional, sensitive rapper who also sings. I had to play this a lot with Comeback Season to remind myself of the Drake that I had begun to really like. 40's solemn beats, Drake's monotone melodies, somehow it worked. The fact that he even chose to tap samples from Swedish indie-rock star Lykke Li, and the infamous, yet underground Santogold, I knew this was going to be a different record. Off top, "Successful" was the track on the mixtape, that everyone was talking about. That haunting beat, (again provided by 40), with Trey singing about money, cars, clothes and hoes. The only thing not perfect about this track is Lil Wayne. His bars are just weak on this track to me. The song with Drake, Trey and Drake's dad on the answering machine was enough. 40 managed to create a solid track that featured Drake, not Draubey, yet it had the same feel as "The Calm", "Houstatlantavegas" and "Lust for Life". The one song that feels slightly out of place is "Let's Call it Off" with Peter Bjorn & John. I never could understand why this was even on the mixtape, other than Drake digs the song. As eclectic as "A Little Bit" and Unstoppable" are, they both fit on So Far Gone. Almost every great LP has a string of tracks that are so perfect, you may even just listen to those set of tracks. On So Far Gone, it starts with "November 18", the Houston-ode that really put UGK, DJ Screw, Lil KeKe back on people's mind. Then we slide into "Ignant Shit", which is probably Weezy's strongest bars on this mixtape. I don't know if it was because Drake came so hard on this, but Lil Wayne didn't disappoint on this Hov/Isley sample. Keeping the same melody, we go into the ultra-smooth slow track, "A Night Off" featuring Lloyd.

I have to laugh mentioning this track. All I can hear is Joe Budden doing a YouTube video playing this song over and over talking about, if he was single (he was with Tahiry at the time), he would play this loud in the V (car) and pick up chicks at the club. The same dude who made Lil Wayne step his rap game up, is providing a sex tape-esque soundtrack for guys to pick up women? That's funny to me. Next, we have the star of the mixtape. Just in case you were still unsure about whether Wheelchair Jimmy could actually spit, "Say What's Real" is pretty convincing. Drake saved his best bars for this track and unapologetically spits almost without breathing at one point. I remember riding down Lakeshore Drive and hearing this song blasting out of like three different cars.
"Don't ever forget the moment you began to doubt, transitioning from fitting in to standing out."
"Cause I just see my ex-girl, standing with my next girl, standing with the girl that I'm fucking right now."
"So if you find the Blackberry with the side scroll, sell that motherfucker to any rapper that I know."
Yeah, bars for days on this one. Just when I think the run of great tracks is over, I find myself singing along with Lykke Li's and then Drake's vocals on "A Little Bit", which flow quite well together. No need to be embarrassed if you find yourself singing the chorus dreamily out of the blue. It is a very catchy song. However, it is the bass-heavy Boi-1-Da-produced "Best I Ever Had" that got Drizzy on the radio. Whether you dig this track or not, it is very well produced and had girls from coast to coast rocking sweats and pony tails. It also had guys telling their girl, "you the fuckin best," without getting slapped. To round out this stretch of perfection is "Unstoppable" featuring Santogold. This was another track that Wayne stepped up for. The beat was perfect to throw 16 bars on, it was energetic and before long, many up and comers were dropping their own freestyle to this song. Then, they realized that this was another one of those Drake said about 1000 words in three minutes without breathing and there were several epic fails.
"Even when I'm laying on my back, I'm never backing down."
Not to go into a track-by-track of the mixtape, "Uptown" with Bun, literally put him back on the map.
"Hardly home but always reppin, you hardly on and always second."
This is another blast at ignorant levels in the car song. "Sooner Than Later" and "Bria's Interlude" highlight Drake's singing skills, with Drake upstaging Omarion on the latter track. And we get the full effect of Draubrey on "Brand New" which also garnered some radio play. But, for me the final track, which was added almost 24 hours after the mixtape was released on the OVO site, is the track that sums up where Drake should've headed on his first album. The Coldplay-sampled, "Congratulations," which I would listen to sometimes to get amped up when I bowled on a league.
"I'm still myself, suicide bars, I kill myself, charge it to the game, I'll bill myself, and I don't feel y'all, but I feel myself."
"I hug and kiss the drum kick, I put the beat in my back pocket and just sit, but you could never be my ass, pause..."

I was going to give thoughts on Thank Me Later, but with the exception of "Fireworks" and "Light Up," I hate to say it, but that album just wasn't very memorable.

I will give honorable mention to the DROUGHT IS OVER: FRIENDS WITH MONEY mixtape, which featured a lot of the tracks from his official mixtapes, and it also featured this little gem:

In all, the perfection that was Comeback Season makes this Drake's best project. If we were judging straight up Drake tracks, this wins, but it also wins across the board. If we're judging Draubrey, then So Far Gone wins, but it comes in a close second to Comeback Season overall. All of these efforts were solid, promising and the direction Drizzy should've gone in before he sold his soul to Young Money. Maybe one day, this talent will make an appearance again, until then, I'll just press play on the nostalgia!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Feminism's Dirty Little Secret

I was a junior in college when I took Intro to Women's Studies. It was a required core course that I took, thinking it would be fun to study the journey that women have had to take in society just to be not only seen but equal. As a literary geek, I didn't have to do to much research when reading Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen to understand why the elder Mrs. Bennett was so desperately trying to marry off all of her daughters. Women were not allowed at that time, which would've been early nineteenth-century England to own property or trusts. A woman basically wasn't allowed to take care of herself, no matter how smart and capable she was.

When this class first began, we explored these early challenges women faced, discussing how women would and could lose all of their property to a male cousin, brother or husband just for having a womb. Fast forward to the activism of the 60's and 70's. Women ripped off their bras, marched in the street, got "Roe v. Wade" passed, became CEO's, etc. But just like the image above feminism was subtly predominately white. Even for me in that class, it wasn't until we studied the later years that I realized, not one African-American or woman of African descent had ever been brought up in class. We're discussing feminism, and made it all the way to the 60's and not one mention of Harriet Tubman? How was that even possible?

I also realized that I could not personally identify with much of the feminism movement, which literally took up about 50% of the course. So, why am I discussing this today? Well, after Beyonce' literally shut the Superbowl down, the Internet went into a collective frenzy over her announcement of concert dates coming this Spring/Summer. She even released a commercial in the UK regarding upcoming shows at O2 Arena in London. Donned in traditional regal dress fit for a queen, Bey sashayed out in ridiculously high stilleto heels and demurely looked into the camera as the title: THE MRS. CARTER WORLD TOUR scrolled. This angered feminists from Cali to NY. Correction: this angered white feminists.

I follow a good number of progressive and controversial women on Twitter, and none of them even mentioned the promo. However, feminists, all of whom just happened to be white, LOST IT! They weren't upset that Beyonce wore a gold wide-set crinoline (normally worn under traditional gowns to give a wide set bell look) on the outside of a fancy gold corset. They weren't upset that she wore gold encrusted thigh-high red royal 6-inch stilleto boots. They weren't upset that her lightened skin showcased a pouty red-lip that screamed sex! No, they were upset because she called it the MRS. CARTER TOUR! *double sigh*

The teacher that taught my women's studies class was married and pregnant as she taught the course. Week by week I saw girl after girl in my class lose respect for her, as we delved deeper into feminism. They deemed her a feminist in fantasy because she was married to a man. By the end of the semester, it was clear that at least 87% of my class were also lesbians. They felt the professor was not and could not be a feminist because her marrying a man meant that she'd conformed to the patriarchal demands of society. They also felt that her being pregnant by him was her acceptance of this conformity, thus making her unfit as a feminist. WHAT? Me, being the meticulous person I am, went home and read the text practically cover-to-cover. I saw nothing in the feminism chapter regarding marriage, except the right of a woman to choose not to get married if she didn't want to. My poor professor got riled in class by these girls who truly believed conformity of any kind deemed a woman as being weak, and definitely NOT a feminist. I couldn't have disagreed more. I argued that our teacher was married, pregnant and tenured at the third largest university in the state. Needless to say, I was not popular in this class. In fact, I was often excluded, which was due more to the fact that I just didn't feel attached to the majority of their causes.

Black women in America often deal with negative images, as well as prejudices regarding our race. This double-edged sword forces us to stay on top of our game, especially if you work in corporate america, but we have never felt the need to "masculinize" ourselves in order to be equal. Here, silly me, I thought feminism was so women could enjoy the basic rights men enjoy, such as owning property, equal pay for the same work, etc. But, you will not hear me or many of my black counterparts to wave a red flag and claim to be just like men. Not only do we not agree with that, it's just not true! In my opinion, that is the power in being a woman, the fact that we are different in a lot of ways than men. The fact that we can be feminine, bring life into the world, be smart, nurturing and all of the things that God made us to be. So, why then does it seem, that feminists are so determine to make women JUST LIKE MEN? I find that insulting. I did in college, and I still do.

So back to this Beyonce' promo for her tour. She called it the MRS. CARTER WORLD TOUR, because guess what, she IS Mrs. Carter! Her husband is Shawn Carter, a/k/a Jay-Z. Why does she have to just be Beyonce'? She just had this man's child a year ago for goodness sake. And so now, she is expected to deny that she is not only a brand, but a married woman, with a child? When did this become popular? And how come no one railed against Madonna when she married Guy Ritchie, moved to England, where he is from and took up a whole new life? Why are these alleged feminists coming for Beyonce' so hard? I will say it. Because Beyonce' doesn't look like them. Because, even the most progressive black women who stand on the front lines for women's rights, will not deny their husbands or any important man in their life, for the cause. We, unlike our white counterparts, exist in a country that works against us daily. We have no choice but to know who we are. We don't need a movement for identity. Beyonce' was a brand before she became Mrs. Carter, and she will continue to expand her brand. So, to all of the Caucasian women out there using the cover of a movement to hide the fact that it's basically a self-imposed identity for them, HAVE A SEAT! Don't be upset, simply because it is not the be-all for every woman who considers herself down for women's rights. I hope to someday teach my daughter (if I have one) to be self-sufficient, brilliant, brave, feminine and proud. I will also teach her that marriage will only enhance those attributes, and that she will never be less than, because of it.

To Beyonce' - SALUTE TO YOU MRS. CARTER! See you July 17 in Chicago.

Friday, January 25, 2013

This is not your father's STACY ADAMS!

So, I came across this video online and couldn't help but admire the fact that Stacy Adams as a brand has come a long way. In the past, I put Stacy Adams on the same shelf as Old Spice. It was a pair of shoes or gators that I would often see older men like my uncle wearing. But in this video, Stacy Adams has expanded their style to include boots and shoes that could rival any top brand. I may have to pass this on to my brother.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Vibin: Jon B

I got some free MP3 credit on Amazon for hitting up the movies several times over the holiday by buying tix on Fandango. So, I decided to buy something new. I settled on Jon B's last effort, "Comfortable Swagg", which he released early last year. And I have to say, this album got completely slept on. This is a solid R&B effort. He should've received way more attention for this record, but I suppose everyone was too busy listening to Trap music or The Throne. Either way, the album boasts many standouts, such as: Fill Your Cup, Only One, My Distraction, Do You Miss Me and Karma Sutra. Check it out!

The Lake Show!

This past Monday was National Martin Luther King Day. In my entire working life as an adult, I have NEVER had this day off. For some reason, I decided to take a floating holiday day off this year and celebrate at home. It was a cool day. I stayed home, rested a bit, watched the Inauguration with my family, cooked and then settled into the Bulls-Lakers game. The Bulls were coming off a weekend of road games that both went to OT, and they had split those games. However, news that Luol Deng would be out due to a hamstring injury, made me believe the Lakers would get their "swag" back against the Bulls on Monday night. I couldn't have been more wrong. Not only did the Bulls win, they won convincingly, beating the Lakers 95-83. They kept control most of the game, although the Lakers had a few spurts where Kobe got hot and Earl Clark had a solid game for them once again. That was it. To be honest, I totally forgot that Ron Artest, n/k/a Metta World Peace even played for them. He's non-existent on this team now. Steve Nash got peed on most of the night, especially in the 4th quarter by Kirk Hinrich, of all people. Dwight Howard looked lost on the court, turning the ball over too many times to count. If I have ever seen a team that is out of sync, not very well put together and clearly wasting time out on the court, it is the Lakers. I watched as Kobe Bryant dapped Scottie Pippen, then walked towards the tunnel to the lockerrooms, as he shook his head in utter disgust. Then the camera panned to Dwight Howard, who was center court, chopping it up and laughing with Carlos Boozer. Two stars couldn't be more different. While the basketball world are all collectively analyzing the Lakers and trying to understand how and why this is happening. I called it before the season even started. I wish I had blogged about it then. For those who don't know, there are THREE main reasons the Lake Show has ended in disastrous fashion. NUMBER #1: JERRY BUSS Two weeks ago on Scandal (my favorite show right now), President Grant lied in a hospital bed, still asleep/vegetable-like, etc, from several gun shots, one of which was to the head. His wife decided to submit a letter to Congress reinstating him, since the VP had taken charge in his absence. Questions swirled as to whether he was awake, and how he was doing. When she got criticized by the team for doing this, she said, "I am not some man making a decision out of rage. I'm a woman, I thought this through." Not to get philosophical, but Jerry Buss made an "emotional decision" over the summer that has directly placed the Lakers in the shit bag they are currently residing in. Now, we don't know the backstory. What we do know is that his daughter is dating former Laker coach - Phil Jackson. The Guru. The Zen Master who won five titles with the Lakers with two different teams. Phil Jackson is only about 10 or 11 years younger than Buss, who I believe is in his late 70's. Buss' daughter is about 51, though she looks about 38 or 39. For reason unknown, when Phil Jackson's contract came to an end, Buss' not only showed no interest in renewing it with Phil, he got rid of any and everything associated with him. Phil accumulated a nice roster of assistant coaches, led by one-time Laker, Brian Shaw. When Phil left at the end of the season. He had barely stiff walked his way out of the Staples Center, before Buss gave his entire coaching staff the boot. That decision alone, was detrimental. Then Buss took it a step further and hired coaches who not only could not fill those now abandoned shoes, but simply were an awful fit for the team. Folks, this was NOT a business decision. I actually don't fault Buss for not re-hiring Phil. He announced he was done coaching before the end of last season. His body was done. He has his third hip-replacement surgery over the summer, and he blatanly told Waddle and Silvy on Chicago's ESPN radio, that he physically could not handle the rigors of coaching in the league anymore. But for Buss to not hire Brian Shaw, and keep that incredible coaching staff they had was just DUMB. Consequently, Shaw is in Indiana, who are #1 in defense in the East. I'll move on, but Buss' bad decisions will come up in the other two points as well. NUMBER #2 MIKE D'ANTONI I can hear Paul Mooney saying, that people who have "the complexion for the protection" tend to come out on top simply because of their skin color. Well that must be the case for D'Antoni because I have NEVER been impressed with him. He spent the majority of his career in Phoenix coaching a Nash-led Suns team that could never get a title because of Kobe Bryant-Phil Jackson. The latter player-coach was far superior to D'Antoni and Nash. MDA as he is often called, is known for being an offensive specialist. That has mostly worked for him in the offensive centered Western Conference, but even his style had holes in it, as Nash won MVP two years in a row as he exited the playoffs watching Kobe Bryant glide into the Finals for chance after chance at the title. The final time was when the Lakers won the title against the Celtics in 2010. The went a grueling 6-game series in the Western Conference Finals against Phoenix. This had been Phoenix's best season, and many critics had them winning it all. There was just one problem, MDA was the coach. As usual, Kobe and Jackson came out on top. I will never forget Craig Sager being in the Suns lockerroom after the loss, and speaking to Grant Hill. Nash could barely talk. He couldn't even fight the tears any longer. It was awful. You knew that was his only chance to get a ring and it had ended terribly against the same team, same coach, same star - AGAIN. That is why Nash joining the Lakers was a shock. Then after the Mike Brown experiment faltered, Buss thinking bringing Nash and D'Antoni back together is still puzzling to me. Surely in La La land, they have to be looked at as losers. Why would they suddenly become winners because they were in a different area code? Because of Kobe Bryant? As predicted, what is the Lakers biggest problem this season? While there are many, their biggest weakness is their complete lack of defense. With a team that includes both Dwight Howard and Metta World Peace, that is unacceptable. Fact is, D'Antoni is not the type of coach you put in a large market where the team is expected to go to post-season and win. He would fit in on the Timberwolves, the Bucks or even Seattle, once the Kings deal is done. Just like things didn't work out in New York, L.A. hasn't been kinder to MDA. It is just simply NOT a good fit. NUMBER #3 DWIGHT HOWARD It is so easy to look at the franchise player when a team is losing and blame them. I'm sure the Kobe haters could come up with a sleugth of reasons the Lakers troubles are his fault. Kobe can be difficult to play with. He's over-competitive. He's maniacal about practice and condiioning. He shoots the ball too much at times. Yes, we all know these things about the Black Mamba. But one thing remains true about Kobe - he desperately wants to win. If it means being at a visiting gym the second it opens, then Kobe is there. He often works out after games. He even called out Dwight during a "clear the air meeting" the team had a few days ago. Of course Dwight evaded and the Lakers lost again last night to Memphis. Let's go back to last season, when he was still in Orlando. How much of a circus was that? Mysterious injuries! Selling out the coach, then pretending he didn't! Laughing and joking with teammates during big home losses. Ladies and gentlemen, Dwight keeps showing us who he is, we just don't want to believe him! No way a carefree, go any which way the wind blows type of player like Dwight can successfully co-exist with Kobe Bryant. Not to mention, he is playing like crap! Poor rebounding. Offensively stale! Often Dwight look like he's bored or ready to hit the club. The Lakers gambled away the troubled Andrew Bynum for this guy. He has consistently diasppointed. SOLUTION: Trade Dwight Howard NOW! Otherwise, he will jump ship at the end of the season and they will get zilch for him. Get another point guard as well. Nash is done. He needs to retire at the end of the season or sooner. They could pick up a point like J.J. Redick from Orlando for the mid-level and get better production and poionts. They need to prepare themselves to gut the team at the end of the season anyway. Bye Metta. Bye Pau. Bye D'Antoni. This season is pretty much a wash, but it can be saved from being a total disaster with a few trades before the February deadline. Either way, the Shit Show that used to be Lake Show needs a major face lift.