Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas and Selfishness


If you listen to the words of the late Eartha Kitt (God rest her soul) it's obvious that Christmas was a holiday created to perpetuate materialism. In fact, Christmas has mainly become a retail-driven holiday disguised as a religious holiday to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

Even as I did my research this year in an attempt to have a discussion about Christmas with my family on Christmas morning about the "reason for the season," to celebrate the spirit of giving, and to celebrate the life of Christ I was disappointed to find that at least 2/3 of the holiday isn't even rooted in Christianity.

Most of the rituals that we go through during Christmas (i.e. Decorating trees, mistletoe, gift giving etc.) were taken directly from the Roman week-long pagan Saturnalia festival that culminated on December 25th before Christianity became the religion of the day. The holy day (or holiday) was designed to honor the pagan god Saturn, the god of agriculture and harvest.

In memory of the Golden Age of man, a mythical age when Saturn was said to have ruled, a great feast called Saturnalia was held during the winter months around the time of the winter solstice. It was originally only one day long, taking place on December 17, but later lasted one week. It wasn't until 325 A.D. that Emperor Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire and designated December 25th the date of Jesus' birth. The Saturnalia festival was to continue but was the honor Christ instead of Saturn. Some report that he named the new holiday Christ's Mass which was later known as Christmas. But I digress...

Regardless of the technical origin of the holiday I wanted to take the materialism out of it this year and really just bond with my family. I wanted to take the pressure off of my family to feel obligated to buy me expensive gifts just because the holiday dictates that we do so.

What really got me in the mood to try to make the holiday more meaningful this year was being out and about and hearing parents worry out loud about whether or not their children would be pleased with what they got them. Would the child be upset if they got them an XBox because the Nintendo Wiis were sold out? Would they mind if they got them an 8 Gig iPod Touch instead of the 32 Gig...

How did we create such a monster of a holiday? How did we let mythical pagan figures such as Santa Clause, whom is supposed to represent the spirit of giving, ultimately turn the holiday into the season of getting--with children having no clear concept of what Christmas is supposed to represent?

Realize that I only make such harsh observations of the holiday because I have been a victim of it...

As a child December was the month that became synonymous with the question:

"What do you want Santa to bring you this year?"

I remember waking up on Christmas mornings and finding mountains of gifts and toys under the Christmas tree from the list of things that I requested Santa to bring me. I never thought about reciprocating the kindness to him or to others except for a cup of milk and couple of Oreo cookies.

The danger of this exchange was that as I got older, I began to expect extravagant toys because Santa would bring them whether or not I had been good that particular year. After all, I got my Nintendo system last year even though I had gotten into a fist fight with Dennis down the street a few days before Christmas. I'll just leave Santa a few cookies and he'll leave me lots of presents.

When I as in the 7th grade, I was the son of a single parent with an older brother and sister. Although I did not believe in Santa Clause at this point, I continued the facade because I didn't have the heart to tell my mother... and perhaps because I selfishly felt that if I told her that maybe I wouldn't receive as much.

That particular year what I specifically wanted was a particular pair of black Nike high tops. I told my mom that I wanted them, but downplayed it because I knew that money was tight. When Christmas day came and I found myself opening a box of all black low-top suede Champion shoes, I was visibly upset and single-handedly ruined the mood of a day that was supposed to be about the joy of giving. All she really wanted to get out of that day was to see her children smile. The pain on my mother's face that day is something that I will always remember. I felt small...like an ingrate--and rightfully so.

The myth of Santa Clause, I think, to some degree creates a selfish reasoning in children that negatively affects their outlook on life. Whether children are "naughty or nice" they will probably get the things that they want for Christmas. If they do not get what they want they will likely have a selfish contempt for whomever was responsible for the oversight--for not feeding their desires.

Sometimes I wonder how I will treat Christmas when I have a family. I definitely want them to experience the joy of getting, but I want them to have an even deeper appreciation for the joy of giving and making someone else's life a little better.

Will Santa play a pivotal role in my kids' lives? I am not certain that he will. But I do know that I never want my children to have a sense of entitlement like I developed when I was young--an entitlement that seems to pervade the minds of children, and adults, in our culture.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Most Slept On Artist of 2008: Esperanza Spalding



First off, let me apologize for not posting in almost two months. I've had a severe case of writer's block. Shout out to Carah for encouraging me to get back on here.

If anybody out there is still reading, I'd like to put you up on one of the best new artists I've heard in a long time. Her name is Esperanza Spalding.

This talented sister is from the "ghettos of Portland, Oregon" and plays bass and sings jazz simultaneously. She's 24 and actually became a professor of music at the Berklee College of Music at 23. She has opened for acts such as The Roots and Talib Kweli, has been featured on Good Morning America and Jimmy Kimmel Live, and currently has two CDs out in stores.

Incredible.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sunday, September 21, 2008

How NOT To Answer A Question...


...right after you beat a child pornography case.

This guy is sick and should have been locked up a long time ago.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Enough! Here's Why The Polls Are So Damn Close!


by Bob Cesca

Today's edition of Morning Joe on MSNBC was especially ridiculous. And Pat Buchanan wasn't even there, which meant that everyone else had to overcompensate to make up for the conspicuous absence of awful.

Back story: Senator Obama released a two-minute commercial about the economic crisis -- also known as "the worst financial crisis in a century," according Alan Greenspan and Mort Zuckerman. It's a smart, effective ad that serves two purposes: it outlines what Obama plans to do about the crisis, and it continues to hammer home Senator Obama as a tough yet presidential would-be chief executive and steward of the economy.

Yet despite the seriousness of this crisis, Joe Scarborough (along with Wee Willie Geist and Salon's Joan Walsh, oddly enough) mocked the ad for its lack of soundbytes and its abundance of specifics.

Lack. Of soundbytes.

Now there's an argument to be made in favor of short, pithy framing in politics, but this isn't a short, pithy crisis. It's a crisis that's nailing ordinary Americans quite literally in their own back yards. It's entirely symptomatic of 30 years of Republican deregulation and Reaganomics. 30 years of free market wingnut crapola culminating in something close to the Great Depression, with Senator McCain quoting Herbert Hoover dozens of times this year alone -- and, what? A two minute commercial is too long, Joe? Are you so basted in savory McCain barbecue sauce, Joe, that your candidate's cluelessness has, by some form of dry rub osmosis, infected your already shovel-shaped view of this global disaster?

Soundbytes and nonspecifics. Yessir. That's just what (and I repeat) the worst financial crisis in a century deserves. Soundbytes and nonspecifics like, "The fundamentals of the economy are strong." Heckuva job. Your candidate is a total doof when it comes to the economy, Joe. Admit it.

So then, with the addition of Newsweek's very serious Jon Meacham, the very serious conversation evolved into concern-trolling about the polls. Why, Scarborough wondered, is Senator Obama not way ahead of McCain in the polls? Why is the race so tight?

Hmm. I can't imagine why that is. It's not like Senator Obama's patriotism and character is being assassinated for three hours every morning on cable news -- six hours if we include the spasmodic howler monkeys on FOX & Friends. I can't imagine why the polls are so close when Joe Scarborough is helping his Republican allies to once again turn this critical national debate into another blind recitation of Lee Greenwood lyrics.

Why are the polls so close? Not only do around 25 percent of Americans watch FOX News Channel on a regular basis, but, from coast to coast, there are more than a thousand far-right talk radio stations occupied by shows that make Morning Joe sound like an Olbermann Special Comment. And 17 percent of Americans are glued to it at work and in their cars. Talkers like Hugh Hewitt, Sean Hannity, John Gibson, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Medved, Bill Bennett and Glenn Beck broadcast on your public air around the clock. Non-stop. Unrelenting. Only interrupted by Accu-weather and traffic. Free to anyone with an AM radio.

I don't know if you've dared to listen to far-right talk radio lately, but I can assure you that they're not ignoring Senator Obama -- or his family. Put it this way: if you only got your news and opinions from talk radio, you'd probably believe that Senator Obama is some kind of foreign-born baby-killing Manchurian Candidate terrorist -- if not a sexist uppity black man who, if he loses in November, will incite race riots in every city.

Last night, Keith Olbermann reported that convicted Watergate burglar and radio talk show host G. Gordon Liddy continues to insist that Senator Obama was born in Kenya and that his birth certificate is a forgery. Lies. Debunked months ago by numerous nonpartisan experts.

Sean Hannity continues to beat the Reverend Wright and William Ayers drums every chance he gets while making wild claims that Senator Obama is an anti-white bigot.

Alleged sex-tourist Rush Limbaugh, whose show is carried in almost every American city, is routinely accusing Senator Obama of infanticide and referring to him as a "little black man-child," clearly stopping short of blurting out the name "Sambo," thus indicating that the drugs seem to have left intact a shred of discretion in Limbaugh's otherwise melty cheese brain.

And that's just three of the more popular hosts out of hundreds more. There's Mike Gallagher, Lars Larson, Laura Ingraham, Monica Crowley, Mike Savage, Dennis Prager, Neil Boortz, Bill Hussein Cunningham -- the list goes on and on. Nothing is out of bounds. Devoid of shame and accountability. Inventing its own stories and spreading lies in soundbyte chunks easily passed along via listeners to non-listener friends and family.

We too-often overlook the influence of far-right talk radio given the overproduced, groomed-monkeys on far-right cable news shows. So radio talkers too often operate with impunity and a dangerous lack of watchdogging despite their market saturation -- their menacing ubiquity. Consequently, concern-trolls like Joe Scarborough and Jon Meacham can go on television and thump their chests -- questioning why-God-why have the Democrats only won three of the last ten presidential elections?! What's wrong with these foreign-sounding, smarty-pants Democrats who, as Meacham mentioned today, are incapable of "speaking American."

Could it be -- I don't know, just a hunch -- that the opinions of perhaps a third of all Americans are shaped by FOX News Channel, cable news shows like Morning Joe and, especially, far-right talk radio? Could it be that the lies and blind-patriotism of these far-right propagandists are painting an historic, brilliant, accomplished, patriotic presidential candidate as some kind of Bin Laden meets Farrakhan chimera? 24 hours a day? In every town in the Union? Distracting Americans from this economic crisis and skewing their priorities -- making pocketbook issues seem less important than bullshit lies. And political hacks still wonder why half of Americans vote against their financial interests every two years. Joe Scarborough still wonders out loud why Senator Obama isn't 20 points ahead in the polls.

Riddle me this, Joe. Given the ideological landscape of cable news, talk radio and the nefarious lie-based caricature therein of Obama as a black-power, fetus-crushing Muslim terrorist, why isn't John McCain 20 points ahead in polls?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Sarah Palin: "So Sambo Beat The Bitch..."



I got to give it to the GOP. They really shook up the race to the White House by adding Sarah Palin to the mix: a self-proclaimed "pitbull" with "lipstick" that is effective at playing the junkyard dog with a smile. Ever since her speech at the RNC Convention she has been serving up vitriol and throwing low-blows at the Obama campaign without receiving much retaliation. I was always told that if a dog bites you, you are supposed to ram your fist down its throat so that it knows to never bite you again.

The problem that the Obama campaign is having, however, is that they are afraid that they will get tagged as sexist if they attack her and may lose a significant chunk of the female vote--namely those that were Hillary Clinton supporters and are on the fence.

No doubt, there are a TON of credible stories out there that the Obama campaign could attack Palin with and destroy her credibility, but as of yet, they have failed to do so. They seem to be taking a "wait and see" approach to see if she destroys herself. The problem with this logic is that the uninformed American public (which is ironically the biggest voting block) has a short attention span and whatever they hear the most is the truth, whether it is really the truth or not. John Kerry tried to take the same approach in 2004 during the Swiftboat debacle, and look at how effective that strategy turned out.

They are going to have to take a chance and just pound this chick and the RNC with their own hypocrisy, as seen in the John Stewart post below.

Even more damning, however, is a recent article that highlights Palin's racist and vindictive personality.

According to a reporter at laprogressive.com who went to Wasilla, AK to research Palin, he found evidence that she is "racist, sexist, vindictive and mean." The most shocking allegation is that during a dinner with political colleagues, Palin is quoted as saying "So Sambo beat the bitch!" while a discussion was taking place about Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton's heated primary race.

Here is an excerpt of the article...

-----------------------------------------------

by Charley James

“So Sambo beat the bitch!”

This is how Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin described Barack Obama’s win over Hillary Clinton to political colleagues in a restaurant a few days after Obama locked up the Democratic Party presidential nomination.

According to Lucille, the waitress serving her table at the time and who asked that her last name not be used, Gov. Palin was eating lunch with five or six people when the subject of the Democrat’s primary battle came up. The governor, seemingly not caring that people at nearby tables would likely hear her, uttered the slur and then laughed loudly as her meal mates joined in appreciatively.

“It was kind of disgusting,” Lucille, who is part Aboriginal, said in a phone interview after admitting that she is frightened of being discovered telling folks in the “lower 48” about life near the North Pole.

Then, almost with a sigh, she added, “But that’s just Alaska.”

Racial and ethnic slurs may be “just Alaska” and, clearly, they are common, everyday chatter for Palin.

Besides insulting Obama with a Step-N’-Fetch-It, “darkie musical” swipe, people who know her say she refers regularly to Alaska’s Aboriginal people as “Arctic Arabs” – how efficient, lumping two apparently undesirable groups into one ugly description – as well as the more colourful “mukluks” along with the totally unimaginative “f**king Eskimo’s,” according to a number of Alaskans and Wasillians interviewed for this article...


Source: LA Progressive

------------------------------------------------

If Obama wants to win, he's going to have to take off the kid gloves and whoop some ass.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Jon Stewart Should Be One Of Obama's Advisors


Why is the Obama campaign not using these obvious points in their campaign ads??? Cut the "high road" shit and call these folks out with their own hypocrisy--in their own words, no less! Dems...get some balls and actually try to win this election.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Sour Grapes: Hillary's Supporters and Identity Politics


In watching this video it is clear that the majority of Hillary's supporters don't have a clear reason as to why they refuse to get behind Barack Obama's run for the White House. Let's face it, folks: the numbers just didn't add up. Hillary Clinton ran a hard-fought campaign, but she lost.

Let's go through a couple of the arguments that Hillary's most ardent supporters use to justify their refusal to get behind Obama and directly, or indirectly, support John McCain.

The first argument that I hear most often is that Hillary was disrespected by the media who gave Obama a free pass. Well up until Super Tuesday, Hillary was billed by her campaign, as well as the media, as the "inevitable" candidate. After Obama won the first contest in Iowa, that inevitable perception was tarnished which put the Clinton campaign on the defensive. This created a negative storyline that dominated the news cycle up until Super Tuesday. When you lose the media will pounce on you...period.

The Clinton campaign assumed that she would still win the primaries on Super Tuesday and, thus, failed to retool the campaign in time to stop Obama's momentum. Obama won 13 straight contests and that pretty much sealed the deal. From there SHE became disrespectful towards Obama and rolled out her "kitchen sink" strategy (which he is still battling today). The point here is that she didn't have a Plan B and had to go extremely negative. She even admitted this fact recently when her campaign memos were released a couple weeks ago, highlighting an unorganized campaign plagued by the wrong message in a "change"-driven election year.

The next reason given by angry Clinton supporters for not supporting Obama is that he doesn't have experience. The flaw in this argument is that there have been plenty of unsuccessful Presidents with a wealth of experience and there have been unexperienced Presidents that have had wildly successful terms. Bill Clinton had no Washington experience but had two successful terms. Ronald Reagan was a Hollywood actor and is praised by Republicans as the greatest President ever. Dick Cheney has been in Washington for decades and look at where we are (...yes, Dick Cheney is the President).

Also, what direct experience has Hillary had that trumps Obama's? She was the first lady, but so was Barbara Bush. She has one term on him in the Senate, but her experience pales in comparison to Bill Richardson's, Joe Biden's, Dennis Kucinich's, Mike Gravel's and Chris Dodd's, all of whom ran against both Hillary and Barack in the primaries. If experience is the issue, why was there no support or outcry by these die-hards for those experience-heavy candidates that lost in the primaries?

The list goes on-and-on.

The real reason I suspect that these folks won't vote for Obama is identity politics. The fact is that the majority of Hillary's supporters that refuse to support Obama are middle-aged to older White women who take it personally that their candidate lost. These are women who never thought that they would have the opportunity to see a woman President, and in many ways they vicariously feel like they, themselves, lost.

Notice that even though Barack and Hillary are almost identical on their major policy positions, neither of these guys in the video acknowledge that. Issues don't seem to matter. It's all about identity and we are all guilty of it.

I can understand their position, as I'm sure that if the shoe were on the other foot, Black folks would be very reluctant to vote for Hillary in the aftermath of such a close race. There's no doubt that many of us would feel that the election was rigged and that "they just didn't want to see a Black man become President."

Unfortunately, somebody had to lose. Clinton just happened to be outflanked by an extremely organized and innovative campaign with the right message at the right time.

When are we going to get past divisions and stand together to vote in our best interest?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

This Is My Sh** Right Now


This is Paper Planes by Brit artist M.I.A. The song is mad catchy (especially the hook) and comes from the Pineapple Express soundtrack. Yesterday I heard the remix with Jim Jones, and today I heard a new track by T.I. featuring Jay-Z, Kanye, and Wayne called Swagger Like Us that uses a vocal sample from this song. She also has some cuts produced by Timbaland.

Hmm... a British artist that is hip-hop-influenced and is being embraced by hip-hop heavyweights. Are we looking at the next Amy Winehouse? For her sake, I hope not.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Strictly for My Ladies: I'm So OVAH It. I'm Grown.


By Carah L. Herring
clbherring@gmail.com


*** Disclaimer: You might not be able to relate to this until you’re at least 24, but hey, feel free to read on anyway***

Ladies, have you begun going through ‘the change’?

Of course, we're too young to be menopausal. No hot flashes or mood swings here, babe (well, aside from the ill-tempered ‘tudes that comes out as PMS or circumstances dictate). Yet you’re not alone if it feels like your entire being is evolving; as you make the transition from a young woman into a bona fide adult.

Your 20s have probably been an emotional roller coaster, with the highs reaching Mt. Everest and the lows being nothing short of rock bottom. In other words, the Quarter Life Crisis was in full-swing. From missing college after graduating, to embarking on a frustrating job search, breaking the collegiate mentality and learning the ‘image is everything’ game of office politics, falling out with a few old friends, attempting to make new friends, and dealing with the huge life-changing steps from currents friends and associates (marriage, children, relocation, grad school)... it's been a ride we'll never forget. And it ain't over!

Throughout everything life has thrown at me – the good and the bad – I’ve learned that the keys to surviving and thriving are to never ever give up on your dream(s), have supportive, yet frank associates/mentors/ friends who are more successful and established than you, and to have a strong faith in God. That’s the only way to come out of your Quarter Life Crisis unscathed. Okay, that sounded so ‘after-school-special’-esque, but it’s the truth!

Aiight, so back to ‘the change.’

As I approach 25, I’m starting to be on some new shit. I’m switching up my style on so many levels – where I go, what I consider fun, my outlook on dating and my priorities, among other things.

What do we call this phenomena? G.A.W. Mode . Grown Ass Woman Mode .

It may not hit you at 25. Maybe earlier. Maybe later. But it’s inevitable. You’ll get to a point where the “same ol’, same ol’” habits that you’ve established throughout life thus far just don’t work anymore. There are some behaviors and routines that you now look at, shaking your head with the ‘stank face,’ like: “I’m so OVAH it.”

Ladies in G.A.W. Mode can probably feel me on the following:

Grown Ass Women are so OVAH… the club. This is not to say we’ll never do the club again, but it gets so predictable after while. It’s the same people, the same music (the chart-topper set, the reggae set, the NYC set, the ATL down south-get crunk-she gotta donk set, the go-go set, the old school set – which wouldn’t be complete without Maze f/ Frankie Beverly’s Before I let go, and >depending on your area< the House music set), the same overpriced drinks, the same camera guy taking pics for the same website… just different outfits and possibly a different venue. It gets old. So why be so pressed every weekend? Perhaps every other weekend ;o) I’m so lovin’ lounges, house parties and cook-outs, instead. They’re more personable, and add a little variety to the tried-and-true-but-waaaay-overdone typical social options.

And since, we’re on the club:

Grown Ass Women are so OVAH… droppin’ it like it’s hot. No, I’m not going to groan about getting old and only being able to drop it like it’s lukewarm. Trust, I can still get it (and I hope you can, too!), but I probably have to be inebriated or out of town. On the dance floor as a G.A.W, the two-step usually reigns. And don’t even think about putting your crotch near my bon-bon unless I know you like that or there’s some pre-established chemistry. Ew! Wow – a totally different tune from our college days. Lol.

Grown Ass Women are so OVAH… the whole drink whore thing. Saving $5 to $10 on a drink by banking on someone else shelling out the cash isn’t worth having that worrisome ass guy following you around the bar or the club all night. I’d rather foot the tab myself and have peace of mind. It’s okay to accept free drinks, but it’s not worth being on the prowl for them. If it happens, it happens. If not, no sweat. G.A.W.s can even flip the script, and offer to buy the guy a drink. It totally catches them off guard…

Grown Ass Women are so OVAH… friends with benefits. Well, in theory. We’re torn . We like the closeness, the intimacy and the >cough< head, especially following a stressful day at work, a week from hell, or hearing Chris Brown’s “Take you down” for the 22nd time on the radio – and you feel ready to jump somebody’s bones. Yet we know how the situation normally plays out (Please take a looksie at my previous piece, Strictly for My Ladies: Friends w/ Benefits – Can it REALLY work? if you haven’t already). Sometimes the short-term benefits outweigh the guaranteed long-term harsh realities. And other times, the benefits don’t outweigh the drawbacks, but we do it anyway… and are grown enough not to fault anybody but ourselves when our emotions start going berserk.

Grown Ass Women are so OVAH… a certain caliber of men. It varies. Trap boys are FUN – especially when there’s cash to blow. They don’t give a damn and they have no fear. Older men are an amusing adventure, too. It’s a definite ego boost to be the ‘PYT’ or ‘trophy’ – getting lots of attention and boukou freebies. Yet, as we approach our 30s, degrees, stability and social appropriateness seem to be more attractive. Even sexy. Med school? Love it! No kids? Let’s get married tomorrow! We’re talking long-term now. We don’t want someone that we love behind closed doors, yet can’t take out in public (work functions, reunions, church, social events).

Grown Ass Women are so OVAH… retail therapy. Okay, let me explain this one before I toally lose all my credibility. Lol. Who doesn’t love a new outfit? But honestly, our closets are packed; bursting at the seams. Instead of running to the mall every weekend, spending my hard-earned income, blowing my budget on items that will be out of style by next season, I now try to run to one of the following with the same intensity:
• to the gym to exercise
• to the bookshelf to read the oodles of paperbacks I’ve been meaning to tackle
• to the phone to catch up with friends I may not speak with that often
• to the DVD player to check out my newest Netflix pick

I still love to shop, but I’m woman enough to possess the self-control of balling on a budget.

Grown Ass Women are so OVAH… some aspects of hip-hop. I love hip-hop – I grew up with it, so I’m not going to turn my back on it now. But baby, I have to be in the right mood for ‘Marco Polo,’ ‘Get Silly’ or anything by Yung Berg, Plies, Ray J and Souljah Boy. I don’t always want to hear about a chick’s fat ass, skills on the stripper pole or how much money you supposedly have to blow. You need to meet with a financial planner and invest that shit anyway . Give me Jazmine Sullivan, Estelle, Teedra Moses, Ledisi or Kanye instead. Something with substance. While, you're at it, throw in some jazz, smooth r&b, pop and >cringe< easy listening . Don't front, you listen to it at work, too! Phil Collins for life! Lol.

*************************************************************
I’m not the official spokesperson for the Grown Ass Women of America. Hell, I’m not quite an official GAW myself...yet. I haven’t fully arrived, but I'm definitely not the same person I was last year, or even 6 months ago! But as I go through 'the change,' I just thought somebody out here could feel me. Please list some of your GAW Mode changes below in the comment section, if you’d like.

If you still hit up the club every weekend, that’s fine. If Plies is your favorite musical artist, hey, I’m not looking down on you. It’s all a process. It’s all a journey. Enjoy where you are, but continue moving forward. Don't get stuck, because we've still got a whole lot of road to cover... and a whole lot of drinks to buy (on our own!) as we reflect upon the trip thus far and look to the horizon for what lies ahead.

XOXO,
Carah

Monday, August 11, 2008

Bernie Mac's Final Hour


The following article comes from People Magazine

------------------------------------

Bernie Mac’s wife and daughter were with him until the very end, says the late comic's sister-in-law in a personal and touching interview with PEOPLE that took place Saturday.

Speaking of a heartbreaking moment between her younger sister, Rhonda, and the 50-year-old actor-comedian – who succumbed to complications from pneumonia in a Chicago hospital at 2 a.m. Saturday – Mary Ann Grossett says that the night before Mac died, "He struggled for his life. He couldn't breathe.

"He opened his eyes on his own and looked at Rhonda. She called his name, and he opened his eyes and nodded to her. She smiled at him and told him, 'Don't leave me … 'I'm waiting for you to come back.' He shrugged his shoulders, and she said that's when she knew he was tired. He signaled to her that his body was tired."

Mac suffered from sarcoidosis, an inflammatory lung disease that produces tiny lumps of cells in the body's organs, but had said the condition went into remission in 2005. He recently was hospitalized and treated for pneumonia, which his publicist said was not related to the disease.

Mac's family had expected him to fully recover from the bout of pneumonia that put him in a hospital three weeks ago, his daughter said Sunday. However, Je'niece Childress said that as time passed she and her mother braced for the possibility that he could die.

Childress said Mac had been at Northwestern Memorial Hospital since the middle of July.

"Initially when he was hospitalized we expected him to come back home, but as the weeks went on, I kind of knew," Childress told The Associated Press.
Mac, born Bernard Jeffrey McCullough in Chicago, got his start doing standup as a child. His successful career included his own Fox television series, "The Bernie Mac Show" and starring roles in "Ocean's Eleven," "Bad Santa," "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle" and "Transformers."

Childress said Mac, who maintained a home in the south Chicago suburb of Frankfort, was a loving father, husband and grandfather. Childress, 30, is his only child, and has a 1-year-old daughter. She said her mother, Rhonda McCullough, and Mac were married for 32 years.

"He was a hard man and he made no apologies for that," Childress said. "When it came to me and my mother and my daughter he was the softest."

Recently, Mac's brand of comedy caught him some flack when he joked about menopause, sexual infidelity and promiscuity at a July fundraiser for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. Obama's campaign later said the jokes were "inappropriate."
"I kind of figured he was going to get a lot of backlash," Childress said. "Telling that joke at that time probably wasn't the best idea, but that's him."
Children said there was always laughter in their home.

"Because that's just who he was," Childress said. "I'm sad that my daughter will never know or be able to feel how much he loved her."

"I think he will always be remembered as one of the original kings of comedy," Childress said. "I think what made him so special to people was that even though he was a celebrity he just seemed so down to earth and so much like a part of your family."

She said funeral arrangements were pending. Smith said a public memorial would be held next weekend at House of Hope in Chicago.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

New Raphael Saadiq


The song is entitled "100 Yard Dash" from his forthcoming 60's-inspired album, The Way I See It.

Friday, August 1, 2008

J.B. Smoove


JB Smoove is hilarious. He's a protege of Chris Rock and Wanda Sykes and did a lot of writing for the Chris Rock Show when it was on HBO. He currently appears on HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm as one of the members of "The Blacks." Funny dude.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Who's Gonna Save My Soul?


New Gnarls Barkley video. You'll probably never see this on TV.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Strictly for My Ladies: Friends w/ Benefits – Can it REALLY work?


by Carah Herring

In January of this year, I sounded the battle cry for young ladies around the nation to "Snatch the Cat Back" (If you haven't read it yet, check out my very first piece, entitled "Strictly for My Ladies: Why He Probably Won't Commit" before continuing with this article).

"Women, listen closely: We have a lot more control with men than we think we do,” I shared fervently. “So make him WAIT. Make him WORK FOR IT. Make him EARN IT. Go OUT ON DATES (clarification: a 'date' is not watching DVDs at his crib every other night). Challenge him to get to know you as an individual outside the bedroom first – your likes, dislikes, hobbies, quirks, dreams and aspirations."

Well, fast-forward six months later. Summertime is here, ‘skin’ is ‘in’ and sexy muscles are being displayed on the regular. Yum. Let’s just cut the crap and face it: After agreeing so hard and devoting ourselves to snatching the cat back, that damn cat has more than likely been released. >sheepish laugh< I mean, some of us threw that thang with a vengeance! Lol.

This reality leads us to our next topic in the ever-eventful adventures in relationships – or rather, relations: Friends with benefits.

Let me tell you a little bedtime story. Maybe you can relate:

Once upon a time in a land far, far away, a twentysomething girl and guy met randomly. They immediately dug each other – looks, conversation, style, etc. They hung out a couple times and the chemistry was undoubtedly there . They had a ball, truly enjoying each other’s company… and they eventually got intimate. A few weeks later, you name it, they’d done it: on the kitchen table, in the shower, in the park, on/in the car, at work (that was a joke, but if this applies to you, your ass is bold!).

It was the perfect situation – they were having harmless fun. They could still chat and kick it with other friends of the opposite sex without feeling guilty or on 'lockdown' because they were friends with benefits .

But then, the inevitable happened (dun, dun, DUN): The woman caught feelings. HARD. However, the guy was not trying to hear any type of relationship talk because he said from the start that he wasn't interested in being tied down right now (which the woman had agreed to in the beginning).

They continued to hump, but things started changing. The woman started becoming too clingy. Indeed, since they had been intimate on the regular for so long, the woman began to desire a smooth transition from her current romping partner status into the wifey/girlfriend role. She found herself getting perturbed and downright pissed when he didn't call her every night. And sometimes, following a ‘sneaking suspicion,’ she even tried hacking into his voicemail, e-mail, Facebook or MySpace (and that was soooo not even her nature!). When they chilled at each other's homes, she would slip into the bathroom with his cell phone, looking for numbers or text messages from other women a.k.a. competition. (And Lawd knows, when you look for trouble, you find it…)

The woman was definitely acting more and more 'weird' with the guy now. It became obvious that she was not as carefree as when they first starting hooking up a couple weeks/months ago. So the guy slowly distanced himself from her – which made the woman even more frustrated.

In the meantime, the guy randomly met another girl, who was 20 times more fun to be around. He and the new girl started talking, and he regularly took the new girl out on dates . When the original girl (let's call her 'OG' to keep things simple) caught wind of this, she became absolutely FURIOUS. In OG's mind, this new girl didn't have shit on her in regards to looks, personality or freakiness. WTF was up with that ?!

OG was devastated, to say the least. After she had invested all this time in this guy, opening all the way up to him on so many levels, she got what in return? A broken heart. And nothing's worse than feeling unduly rejected and horny. Sheesh.

OG continued to hump the guy out of desperation, because she knew that at least when they had sex, she could spend quality time with him. And even if the QT was just 2 or 3 hours, it was 2 to 3 fabulous hours where she felt (or pretended) like they were actually in a relationship. OG knew she needed to let go, but she couldn't. He was like a drug. She loved his companionship (well, what little she got)... and hey, everyone wants someone to cuddle with from time to time, right?

The sex was becoming horrible because the guy wasn't really attracted to OG as much. He was attracted to the new girl waaaay more and even thought about the new girl while he had sex with OG.

Soon, the guy stopped picking up OG’s phone calls, and saying that he was always "busy." Those text messages she sent? He claimed he didn't receive them (and what's the likelihood of that shit?). Even when OG wanted to hang out, the guy always came up with excuses, because OG was such a grump now. The only time he called her was late at night, when he was fienin’ and his new girl wasn't available.

OG finally saw the writing on the wall, and got fed up. She swore never to talk to the guy again. Why should she? While she was his plaything, this new b*tch was getting all the girlfriend-esque benefits that the OG desired (but never articulated) -- dates, dinners, movies, concerts, weekends at the beach, etc. And what did OG get out of all of this? Some mediocre d*ck, some wine and a whole lot of SportsCenter .

The end.

But it wasn't really the end. OG was still horny and now she was slightly depressed. One day, she randomly met a new guy that she clicked with. She promised herself that she would hold out and not give it up so soon. She promised herself that she'd never do the ‘friends with benefits’ situation again, knowing firsthand the potential consequences. Yet one evening after a late night movie, she and the new guy had sex. He told her up front that he didn't want a relationship; he just wanted to ‘have fun.’ This was a big ‘no-no’ in OG’s book. But damn, he was hot, oh-so-sexy and irresistable. Sigh. .. so they became friends with benefits... and the cycle continued.

The end (for real this time).

***************************************************

Do you truly just want sex or are you trying to hump your way into a relationship?

Some of us think we can handle the ‘friends with benefits’ set up, throwing around phrases like ‘I’m just doing me,’ ‘I’m having fun – I’m single,’ or ‘we have an understanding.’ And there’s no doubt that it sometimes it feels wonderful to be laid up with somebody (he may not be Mr. Right, but he’s the TRUTH as Mr. Right Now). But a lot of times, we can’t handle a friend with benefits. The temporary fulfillment is almost always depleted over time by the gnawing emptiness of reality.

Why do we continue to do this to ourselves when we already know how the story ends? Scratch that: it doesn’t end. It just repeats itself with a different co-star.

So ladies, Snatch the Cat back... or release that little rascal and let it do what it do. Hell, you’re grown. Just remember OG and the bedtime story. Then ask yourself it it’s worth the time, energy and emotion. Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t. The choice is yours.

With love,

Carah


P.S. When it comes to relationships and our dealings with men romantically, we pretty much know what to do, but the difficult part is actually doing it. I am by no means touting myself as Miss Perfect, Miss Know-It-All, Mother Love or Dr. Phil when it comes to relationships, because in some cases, I struggle to heed my own advice! But at least by dialoguing, if and when we are in the wrong, we will know better and not act like clueless victims.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tony Roberts Stand-up


Hilarious! Contains a lot of swearing, though.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

On My Radar: Jazmine Sullivan


Looks like there's some new R&B blood out there. Jazmine Sullivan seems like she's aiming to be the next Lauryn Hill with her vocals and production. She is currently signed to J Records and her album is due out later this summer and will feature heavy hitters like Missy Elliot, Justin Timberlake, Timbaland, Rich Boy, Cool & Dre and John Legend among others.

Not sure how she stayed under the radar for so long, but if this song is any indication her album is gonna be sick!

If she wants to be successful in this game all she has to do is keep making great music, stay humble and not f*** around with any of Bob Marley's sons. Next thing you know she'll be in Madagascar with eight kids singing "woe is me" in front of a crowd of 43 natives while sporting a bad make-up job. Damn those Marleys.

Hat tip to Rell for the heads up.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Saddest Song Of All Time


This song was voted one of the Top 25 Saddest Songs of All Time by Spinner Magazine & I agree. It's about a man returning home to see his mother after many years only to discover that she is becoming senile and doesn't remember him.

The artist is a blues singer by the name of Marc Anthony Thompson a.k.a. Chocolate Genius.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Jesse's Getting Lazy


Jesse Jackson is being blasted in the media for comments that he made about Barack Obama before doing an interview for Fox News. While Jesse thought the microphone was off he was caught whispering that he wanted to cut Obama's nuts off for "talking down to black people."

I don't want to get into the political and social implications of the statement (i.e. whether it will help or hurt Obama, whether it will diminish Jackson's legacy, how the Black community will react, etc.)

Rather, I want to talk about the fact that Jesse is getting lazy with the rhymes. The Jesse Jackson of yesterday would have surely come up with a more clever way to say that he wanted to cut off Obama's nuts.

I will, however, give him points on style. Notice in the clip how he slightly bites his lip and makes a quick downward snap with his right arm to express how fast and easily he would de-ball Obama if given the opportunity.

Jesse is a legend. He has always been an eloquent speaker and was a master of coming up with catchy slogans and phrases to emphasize his points. With that, I'd like to offer some suggestions that we may have gotten from the Jesse of old:

"If Obama don't stop running his jaws, I'm going to cut off his balls"
*quick downward arm snap*

"If Obama talks down to Blacks again, I'm going to cut off his lit-tle friends"
*quick downward arm snap*

"If Obama talks to me like I'm a little boy, I'm going to cut off his sacks of joy"
*quick downward arm snap*

*If Obama keeps talking to us funny, I'm going to rip off his botox bunnies"
*quick downward arm snap*

"If Obama talks to us like fools, I'm going to cut off his family jewels"
*quick downward arm snap*


Of course, I'm no pro at this...obviously. These are merely suggestions. If you can do better, then by all means...

I know age diminishes wit and sharpness, but I miss the old Jesse. I miss the "Keep Hope Alive"-Jesse. The Green Eggs and Ham-Jesse...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Worst Song Ev-er!



Look... I'm all about people pursuing their dreams and not giving up on them, but sometimes there's just no realistic chance that you'll make that dream come true.

...Enter Young Spuset, an up-and-(not)-coming Rap/R&B group that have shopped their demo around to record companies hoping to get their big break. This group has managed to put together one of the worst records I've ever heard in my 26 years of life.

Off beat rhymes, terrible harmonies and bad execution. Everything that could have gone wrong, did go wrong. Above all, the singing is probably some of the worst I've ever heard leave a human's lips.

What sucks even more than this just being a bad record overall is that you can tell that the guy doing the hook is putting his heart and soul into it, on some Randy Watson s***.

Anyways, click the link and check out 'Let's Stay Together.' I'll be amazed if you make it through the whole track. Good luck.



Sexual Chocolate.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Ding Dong, Jesse's Dead



I was always taught to not speak ill of the dead, and it seems that that is the norm in our society. Often times when people die their obits point out their positives, disregard their negatives, and in many cases, flat out lie to make their lives seem more noble than they actually were. This is definitely the case with Jesse Helms, as media outlets downplay his true legacy of Old Southern-style racism in the wake of his death.

Helms, the senator from North Carolina, died on July 4. He served for 5 terms as North Carolina's senator for over 30 years until he retired in 2003. Given his well-known reputation as a bigot, you'll be hard pressed to find anyone who openly admits to voting for him, but his support from those voters of the Old South kept him in Washington for many years, proving that old ways die hard.

The above clip is one of Helms' most famous acts of race-baiting on the campaign trail. In 1990, black Democrat Harvey Gantt challenged Helms' Senate seat and built a healthy lead in the polls leading up to election day. After the infamous "White Hands" ad, the polls shifted and Helms won convincingly.

Even in death, I have no respect for this man. With the possible exception of Strom Thurmond, Helms is easily the most racist and divisive figure in modern American politics. In addition to being the only senator to oppose the MLK Holiday, he was consistently the lone dissenting voice on a plethora of civil rights bi-partisan legislation that have strengthened race and gender relations.

Here are just a few of Helms despicable moments as written by Washington Post writer David Broder:


As an aide to the 1950 Senate campaign of North Carolina Republican candidate Willis Smith, Helms reportedly helped create attack ads against Smith's opponent, including one which read: "White people, wake up before it is too late. Do you want Negroes working beside you, your wife and your daughters, in your mills and factories? Frank Graham favors mingling of the races." Another ad featured photographs Helms himself had doctored to illustrate the allegation that Graham's wife had danced with a black man. (The News and Observer, 8/26/01; The New Republic, 6/19/95; The Observer, 5/5/96; Hard Right: The Rise of Jesse Helms, by Ernest B. Furgurson, Norton, 1986)

Ancient history? No. Helms remains unapologetic to this day. Forty years after the Smith campaign, Helms would win election against black opponent Harvey Gantt with another ad playing to racist white fear-- the so-called "white hands" ad, in which a white man's hands crumple a rejected job application while a voiceover intones, "You needed that job…but they had to give it to a minority."

In columns, commentaries and pronouncements from the Senate floor, Helms sowed hatred and called names: The University of North Carolina was "the University of Negroes and Communists." (Capital Times, 11/22/94) Black civil rights activists were "Communists and sex perverts." (Copley News Service, 8/23/01)

Of civil rights protests Helms wrote, "The Negro cannot count forever on the kind of restraint that's thus far left him free to clog the streets, disrupt traffic, and interfere with other men's rights." (WRAL-TV commentary, 1963) He also wrote, "Crime rates and irresponsibility among Negroes are a fact of life which must be faced." (New York Times, 2/8/81)

Over the years Helms has declared homosexuality "degenerate," and homosexuals "weak, morally sick wretches." (Newsweek, 12/5/94) In a tirade highlighting his routine opposition to AIDS research funding, Helms lashed out at the Kennedy-Hatch AIDS bill in 1988: "There is not one single case of AIDS in this country that cannot be traced in origin to sodomy." (States News Service, 5/17/88)

Helms remonstrated ten female members of the House of Representatives to "act like ladies" when they interrupted a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing to demand support of a U.N. treaty against gender discrimination, and subsequently had them removed from the hearing by Capitol police. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 10/28/99)

And the man ABC News now describes as a "conservative icon" (8/22/01) in 1993 sang "Dixie" in an elevator to Carol Moseley-Braun, the first African-American woman elected to the Senate, bragging, "I'm going to make her cry. I'm going to sing Dixie until she cries." (Chicago Sun-Times, 8/5/93)

More recently, when a caller to CNN's Larry King Live show praised guest Jesse Helms for "everything you've done to help keep down the niggers," Helms' response was to salute the camera and say, "Well, thank you, I think." (Wilmington Star-News, 9/16/95)

Finally, Helms' strong if sometimes shadowy support for violent, anti-democratic forces abroad, from South Africa to El Salvador, might have given media outlets further pause in describing him as a mere conservative; few probed his ties to groups that would more accurately be described as fascist. One exception was an editorial in the Boston Globe (8/23/01): "Helms' role in supporting foreign thugs such as Roberto D'Aubuisson, the cashiered Salvadoran major who ran death squads responsible for savage political murders, did lasting harm to America's good name. In South Africa, Argentina, Mozambique, Honduras, and Nicaragua, Helms cooperated with racists and fascists who have nothing in common with the ideals of American democracy."


Even after all those instances of blatant racism, sexism, homophobia and intolerance, Helms asserted that he was no racist:

"I am not a racist, nor am I a bigot. You can ask any Black that knows me and they'll tell you I'm not a racist!"

Wow... The world seems to have gotten a little bit brighter.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Realest Video I've Seen In A Long Time


...from Killer Mike.

Looks like he's taking it back to the Public Enemy days.

Monday, June 30, 2008

The Greatest To Ever Do It


Jay-Z is the greatest rapper ever, and this performance solidifies that...

After being blamed for slow ticket sales by Noel Gallagher, the frontman from the rock band Oasis, for headlining the Glastonbury Rock Festival in England, Jay-Z performed for a sold-out crowd of over 200,000 enthusiastic fans from all over the world. Noel predicted that the concert would be a disaster with Jay as the headliner because he didn't believe that rock fans would embrace hip-hop.

What makes this performance so gangsta is that Jay opened his set by coming out to Oasis' hit song, Wonderwall, which was a polite way of taking the high road while simultaneously saying "f*** you" to Gallagher. That hilarious intro was then followed by "99 Problems", thus making it the first rap song of his hour-long set to ever be played at the festival.

Call him what you want, but Jay is the greatest rapper to ever touch the mic. I'm sure a lot of people would debate that point, but what other rapper has accomplished what Jay has? What rapper has a catalogue and the clout to headline a rock concert of almost a quarter-million international fans?

He said he would not lose eight years ago, and he's still winning.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Water Is The New Oil?


If you've been paying attention to politics and the rising gas prices you have heard presidential candidates push their platforms of trying to find alternative energy sources to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

Well the man in the above clip has created a technology that fuses hydrogen and water to create HHO, which is capable of running a car at least 100 miles off of 4oz of water. Sounds too good to be true, right?

Well it kinda is. It is no secret that alternative sources of energy have been around for decades. Countries like Brazil have been 100% oil independent for years and run their vehicles off of corn-based ethanol. We too could go that route, but our political, economic and practical circumstances and interests may prevent that from happening before consumer tensions force action.

It seems that our political and business relationships with the oil-producing nations of OPEC hinge on our dependence to their product. What would happen if we stopped doing business with nations such as Saudi Arabia because we no longer need oil? They would surely become our enemies as their petroleum supplies are largely our only reason for befriending them in the first place. Not to mention we'd destroy their economy. The region would destablize and we'd have a huge crisis in the Middle East which would ultimately threaten our security.

The other problem is that we'd have to convert the millions of cars that we currently use into HHO cars, which is very impractical.

...but with gas prices rising to ridiculous levels, we may have no other choice. Prices won't go down until we decrease demand and show that we are ready to move on.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Throwback: Fear of Progress




I wrote this blog back in January right after the Iowa Caucuses. It's good to see that Black people, and all people, rallied around Barack and helped him achieve his historic nomination. Thank You.

-----------------------------------------------

"It ain't his time! Ain't no way White folk gonna vote for that boy! I'm goin' with Hillary."

Barbershops. Hair Salons. Dinner tables. This is what I have been hearing from Black folks over the past year.

"They settin' that boy up to fail!"

I have always maintained that if there were ever a serious, viable candidate other than the status quo (i.e. White male) running for President that I would vote for them regardless of party affiliation. Black male, Black female, White female, Asian candidate, gay candidate...whatever. It is my belief that if you can put someone in the highest office in the land with a non-conventional background that it would realistically open the doors for ANYBODY, including your children, to have a shot at becoming President.

Imagine my dismay when an overwhelming percentage of Black people decided that it was impossible for Barack Obama to take a serious shot at the presidency. As much as I supported his run, I was always countered with a negative spin on the situation...almost to the point where I began to doubt that it was possible. Besides, if your own don't support you, why would others?

Fast forward to Obama's win in Iowa. One of the Whitest states in America with a Black population of roughly 2%--a state that has never voted a Black person into any political office-- proved that Obama is a real contender and collectively tells Black people that it is OK to support your own.

But why would it take this co-sign from the majority for us to rally around him? Is he not striving for the same dream that we all as Black people wrote about in our kindergarten classes; or even the dream that King spoke about on the National Mall? Why is it not his time? Why is it not our time? Will it ever be?

Maybe Iowa was a fluke. Maybe I'm being naive. Maybe his historical win won't make much of a difference. Maybe Hillary will win the nomination convincingly down the stretch. But even if that is the reality that we live in, at least we got a chance to taste what it feels like to have hope, even if only for a moment.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Battle at Kruger


One of the most watched YouTube clips ever.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Free R. Kelly


As you know, the R. Kelly trial has finally begun after almost six years. Yesterday, the prosecution played the tape of Kelly allegedly getting his 13-year-old on, followed by testimonies from one of the girl's former friends, the girl's aunt, and Kelly's former artist, singer Sparkle.

All three positively identified Kelly and the girl. The former friend even went on to tell how they met Kelly when they were both 12 through her father at a local gym and how they would go over to his house to hang out.

The former friend also positively identified the distinctive log cabin-styled sauna where the tape was filmed and which was also featured on MTV's cribs and a BET program.

After this evidence was presented, the defense countered that the video could have been altered to add Kelly's head to the body on the video.

For some strange reason I believe 'em... and I'm OK with that. Would the man that made "Sex In The Kitchen" and "Real Talk" be capable of this level of sexual deviance and misjudgement? I think not.

"GIRL I'M REA-DY TO TOSS YOUR SAL-AD!"

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Throwback: Why Do Women Go to Strip Clubs?



Being a stripper is possibly one of the most demeaning jobs that a woman could have. You'd have to step out into an arena full of salivating men who view you as a headless body. You're required to strip down to nothingness--skin and dignity--and bare your naked body and all of its secrets for crumbled, dirty dollars from men who probably would be afraid to approach you in a different environment. You're nothing more than an object. It's got to be a mentally taxing profession...

Yet most of the women I know have been to, or want to visit, strip clubs. Some have even told me that it was always a fantasy of theirs to dance in a club, if only for one night.

I personally don't frequent strip clubs, but I do go to them if I'm out of town and a group of friends are going. Under those circumstances I see it as more of a social event and not an event in and of itself. Going to strip clubs is essentially a way to pay for attention from a woman, and to me, if it's not sincere attention it does nothing for me.

I've heard that some strippers get a high off of stripping because they feel that it's one of the few times in life that they felt that they could have complete control over any man that walked through the door. In a twisted way, it seems like some strippers view their profession as militant feminism--to use their bodies to control and break men financially. Now they can add their own gender to that equation.

I've been to my share of gentlemen's clubs, and it amazes me at the number of straight women that attend them. I visited a club in Atlanta once where about 25% of the patrons were women. I've even visited a strip club with a group of very straight, professional female friends. They told me that they liked going because they think the female body is beautiful and they always fantasized about being strippers. A couple of them have even taken stripper aerobics classes.

Could it be that women just want to see what the big deal is about? Do they want to destroy our dirty little secret? Or perhaps they just want to get a few ideas from the pros to take back home to their men.

Whatever the case may be, women are frequenting strip clubs more than ever. No longer is it a vestige for men only. I'm not entirely sure what women's motivations are, but writer Ian Brown gives a good explanation of why men go. In an essay from What I Meant to Say: The Private Lives of Men, Brown breaks his experience down like this:

"I went to the club to bring lust into a more honorable place in my life, to normalize my desire, to make it less of a big deal. For a man, looking is part of his education. It's one way he learns the difference between what he wants and what he can have; or between what he thinks he wants, is supposed to want and what he actually needs."

I think that's a pretty good assessment. Does someone care to explain the other side's reasoning?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

W. Va NOT Ready For A Black President


Shout out to Rell for the clip.

Ignorance: "My opinion is...I think the United States of America should be run by...somebody from the United States of America...he's Muslim."

Monday, May 12, 2008

On My Radar: Estelle (f. Kanye West)


I'm not into Brit Pop, but this track is cool. I heard it in a lounge in DC some months back and never knew who it was by. She's a British artist who, I believe, is signed to John Legend's label. Nice track.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Real-Life Uncle Ruckus (from Boondocks)



This is shameful. Never in my life have I seen someone have as much self-hate as this dispicable human being. What's really scary is that he apparently has a following.

I actually saw this guy on Fox News some months back as they praised him for his views, but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that Uncle Ruckus from the Boondocks was actually a real person.

This brother needs to re-evaluate himself and realize that he's black.

"White Jesus will save your soul while drowning you in the baptism water" -Uncle Ruckus

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Denouncing Jeremiah: Wright or Wrong?


"Dammit! Don't you f*** this up for us!"

That's what I was thinking as I watched Jeremiah Wright during his animated Q&A session after his inflammatory, yet accurate and phenomenal, speech about the history of the Black Church at the Press Club function on Monday. After the speech, Wright turned into an angry cartoon character complete with eye-bugging and a Merry Melody cartoonish grin. His appearance quickly turned from one of enlightenment and understanding to a rant of conspiracy theories and blatant disrespect for the candidacy of a member of his congregation. To put it mildly, he showed ass! I mean ass all up in the camera: throwing Que hooks, putting his bid in for Vice President on the Obama ticket, bugging his eyes, disrespecting the moderator, calling Obama nothing more than a mere politician (even if true, he knew that it would hurt his candidacy) and the list goes on.

Now it is my belief that Wright had every right to defend himself and his legacy. The 30-second sound bites that set off this controversy were an unfair vast right-wing conspiracy aimed to destroy a presidential candidate. Though Obama had to distance himself from the comments, I felt that he showed Wright a great deal of respect by defending his legacy and not throwing him under the bus (which is what 95% of other politicians would have done).
But there's a fine line between defending yourself and defending your ego.

After the Bill Moyer interview, I felt that Wright actually did himself and the Obama campaign a great service by showing that he was a sane and intellectual man. Wright would have been well-served to leave his appearances at that.

Even after the NAACP Speech on the following night, he came across as a brilliant mind and dynamic speaker that explained why anyone, regardless of their thoughts on some of his views, would stick around for 20 years, as he is thought-provoking and entertaining as hell. Glimpses of ego, though, showed during that speech as he shamelessly plugged his forthcoming book, but it didn't take away from the message.

But after that Press Club speech, his ego got the best of him. He strongly asserted that an attack on him was an attack on the Black Church. Actually dude, it was simply an attack on Barack Obama. And if the way that he acted, and the views that he spewed during that Q&A is his way of defending the Black Church and helping our history as Blacks in America (i.e. Sticking up for the possibility of the first Black President), I don't he did the institution, or Barack, any favors.

He had to be cut loose.

It's my belief that being in the limelight could have this effect on anybody. Wright got caught up in the hype and fed on the attention that he was getting from the press. What he didn't realize is that the media was giving him all this attention in hopes that he would slip up and make an ass of himself, which he succeeded at doing. So as Obama's polls have taken a hit, perhaps temporarily, Wright's legacy has been damaged forever to the public at-large. He didn't realize that he was a mere pawn in a sport that is much bigger than him.

If Barack loses the primary or the election based on this controversy, it sucks to know that his own pastor actually contributed to his defeat. If he loses, in 20 years when they are doing a PBS special on the fall of the first viable Black candidate for the presidency, it's a shame that grainy footage of Wright throwing up Que hooks in front of the National Press Club will define the descent.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Forthcoming...


My thoughts on the Rev. Jeremiah Wright controversy. Are we watching the end of an historical campaign?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Do You Want To Be A Nigger, Too? I'll Pass...


Soooo...

Everybody's favorite, once-great-but-now-relies-on-controversy-to-sell-records-rapper, is back with "Be A Nigger Too."

According to Nas this song, and album, is supposed to "take power away from the word" by beating it to death. Though I can understand his reasoning, somewhat, I don't think he has enough credibility to take on a task of that magnitude. Hell...he can't even articulate that in interviews or through song.

"I'm a nigga, he's a nigga, she's a nigga, nigga, nigga, nigga, nigga, nigga toooo...::breathe::... NIGGA!

It's not working. By allowing people who have not been oppressed by the word to use it freely only serves to grant those same people the right to oppress. Those people that are now allowed by the savior Nas to call themselves "nigga/er" will have the privelege or playing both sides of the fence when it's convenient. That white kid that puts on the doo-rag at a Nas concert and sings along with this song only has to put on a suit the next day to release the word's baggage when it's time to go to that job interview. That Asian kid that is allowed to call himself "nigga/er" probably won't have to deal with getting pulled over for driving while Asian. Pressing the issue only serves to make it worse.

Nas disappoints me. As much as I think he was one of the greatest lyricists of my time off of the stength of two albums (whatever, bitch! It Was Written was a classic!) he proves more and more with each album that as much as he tries to portray himself as the conscious rapper, he's just as confused as I am with the positions that he chooses to take. This particular song is conscious-light. If you really listen to the song, it has no substance. He even drops the attempt at social commentary and reverts back to materialism and violence in the second verse.

The more I think about it, I don't think that he's even pulling the strings in his own career. I think that his controversial angles as of late are makeovers forced upon him by his label to sell records--his artist development meeting probably went something like this...

Label Head: "You're our conscious rapper. That's the look and the market you're going for, right? You're hip...you're with it. Much cooler and edgier than your competiton Table Kweeli and Most Definite. How about we call your album Nigger and sell some records!"

Nas: "True indeed, son. Let's get this paper."


I read an article that stated that Young Buck was recently denied permission to put out a song that had an anti-police message; that same article cited how Def Jam would not allow Public Enemy to reference Mumia Abu Jamal or Amadou Diallo in a song because it was too controversial, yet the same label allows Nas to make an entire album called Nigger? The same label that put out Thug Inspiration 101 by Jeezy the Snowman? There's something wrong with this picture. Could it be that they don't take him or his message seriously? I know I don't.

“You've been everything they ever told you to be. Nasty Nas, Nastrodomas, Nas Escobar. and now you're their Nigger… At what point are you going to be a man?”

Ignorance:
Just to clarify, the statement that he made at the end about Black people not being able to vote in another 23-years is inaccurate. The legislation that he's talking about is the Minority Voter's Protection Act which was extended by George Bush 2 years ago. Voter's rights are guaranteed by the 15th Amendment regardless of race, color or creed.

The Minority Voter's Protection Act was enacted by Lyndon Johnson, along with Affirmative Action, in 1964 to prevent states specifically from requiring reading tests and poll taxes aimed to disenfranchise Blacks during the Civil Right's Movement. The law was originally supposed to be temporarily enacted for 5-years to ease the transition of the Civil Right's Act, but has since been extended to 25-year increments as "showcase" political legislation to highlight the government's commitment to Civil Rights.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

You Make The Caption


"Nigga you don't want none"


Think you can do better? Leave it in the comments section.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Obama Brushes The Dirt Off His Shoulders


This clip is from his rally in Raleigh, NC. Did anybody go?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Bob Johnson....Please...



...sit the f*** down and shut the f*** up...

Dude... you gave birth to a platform that played videos like "Tell Me What That Thang Smell Like." Why all the hate for Obama?

------------------------------------

Former BET owner Bob Johnson is back in the news this week with a new analysis on the Democratic race between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

During an interview the Charlotte Observer, Johnson—who was criticized several months ago for talking about Obama’s drug use during a Clinton campaign rally—cosigned controversial statements by former Clinton surrogate Geraldine Ferraro, saying that Obama is in the position he’s in now due to his race.

"What I believe Geraldine Ferraro meant is that if you take a freshman senator from Illinois called 'Jerry Smith' and he says I'm going to run for president, would he start off with 90 percent of the black vote?" Johnson asked rhetorically. "And the answer is, probably not."

What Johnson, and many other pundits and surrogates neglect to mention is that Obama’s overwhelming popularity with black voters did not happen overnight.
A Time magazine article that ran in January of last year cited a CBS poll that had Clinton at 52% of black voters, compared to Obama’s 28%.

Johnson didn’t stop with his Ferraro comment, and went on to discuss the racial tensions in the campaign.

"I make a joke about Obama doing drugs (and it's) 'Oh my God, a black man tearing down another black man'.”

He also questioned Obama’s ability to get in touch with the average American citizen.
"I don't think he has that common -- what I call `I-want-to-go-out-and-have-a-drink-with-you -- touch," the billionaire added.

Despite the harsh words from Johnson, Obama’s campaign is not giving Johnson a lot of play and writing off his comments as “absurd” in a statement, while sticking to the ideal of not fighting fire with fire.

"This is just one in a long line of absurd comments by Bob Johnson and other Clinton supporters who will say or do anything to get the nomination," campaign spokesman Dan Leistikow said. "The American people are tired of this and are ready to turn the page on these kind of attack politics."

Johnson acknowledged that Obama will likely win the Democratic nomination and blamed “the liberal media” for giving the junior senator from Illinois a boost.
"They sort of dislike Hillary for her vote on the war. They don't want to see Bill and Hillary in power again," he said of the Clintons. "So Obama comes in and runs a smart campaign. But that's not the Second Coming, in my opinion, of John F. Kennedy, FDR or the world's greatest leaders."

As of press time, Obama holds 1,647 total delegates, while Clinton has 1,507. The next Democratic primary will take place April 22 in Pennsylvania.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Katt Williams on Barack Obama


Fuuunnn-ty!

Tha Carter 3


Familiar? Illmatic? Ready to Die, maybe?

Love In This Club



Went to Atlanta this past weekend and heard this song everywhere: on the radio, in the mall, the grocery store, the strip... I mean the local homeless shelter... where I...read to... orphans...

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Should Prostitution Be Illegal?



A guy in a white Ford Taurus circles the block at 1 a.m. in the middle of the city. He's on the prowl. He spots the woman that he wants and circles the block one more time to make sure the coast is clear. He pulls up beside her...

Words are exchanged, she gets in, money is exchanged, they go have sex.

A guy in a white button-up circles the bar of the club. He's on the prowl. He spots a woman that he wants and circles the club one more time to make sure the coast is clear (he's a player). He walks up beside her...

Words are exchanged, she shows interest, drinks are bought, they eventually have sex.

Though I am not an advocate of prostitution, as I find it morally reprehensible, it can be argued that the exchange of goods and services are similar in each of the above scenarios. Just because one doesn't pay for sex in cash doesn't mean that that those persons' intentions aren't the same.

Many guys and girls play the dating game just to get to the end game. They go out at night to find sexual partners. In many instances these meetings can lead to official dates where more money is spent on activities that add up significantly monetarily. And in many cases both parties are purely interested in the physical result of these outtings.

So if the game is the same, whether its called prostitution or gaming, then why is one, by law, worse than the other?

Make no mistake about it: I am in no way a proponent of prostitution, but I question the validity of the government's role in infringing on an act that, by it's very nature, should be a private act between two consenting adults whether money or dinner is exchanged. If having sex for money, or goods, is a crime then those persons paying the way of others during social outtings (buying drinks, dinner, movies etc.) to earn sexual favors are just as guilty as the pimps and the prostitutes prepetuating a culture that is frowned upon by our federal government.

In the aforementioned scenario, however, the pimps are the night clubs and bars that charge high cover charges and drink prices in an effort to create a sexually charged environment condusive to one-night stands... which is the very reason why men and women congregate at these places on Saturday nights.

On the flip side, if a person wants to solicit sex from a prostitute for hire and cut out the dating/gaming aspect, why should they be punished? If prostitution was legalized and those persons were required to have the proper health checks in place and were required by law to practice safe sex in controlled environments, then much of the disease and violence that occurs in this underground industry would subside.

Once again, I am not saying that prostitution is OK. As a matter of fact it's morally wrong! But so are one-night stands. If we are going to inject morality into our laws then the government has a duty, not only to outlaw prostitution, but also to outlaw drink buying at the club, Waffle House outtings after the club, and 3 a.m. after-the-Waffle-House-one-night-stands.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Some Shameful Sh**: The Fall of MC Hammer


Many people don't know what caused the demise of MC Hammer's career. Here was a man that was on top of the world with the best selling rap album of all time in his 1990 release "Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em". The album sold over 12 million copies and Mr. Hammer became filthy rich.

...but what caused his career to come crashing down?

Many believe it was his frivolous spending and flambouyant lifestyle, while others think the parachute pants did him in. Both are solid contributors to the demise of his career, but here is the real answer...

Pumps in a Bump. Yes...Pumps in a muthafu**in Bump. That's right.

You can't go from "Pray" to stuffing a banana in a leopard-print Speedo along with a pair of black Timberlands. He maybe could've pulled it off with wheat Timberlands, but black Tims and a Speedo isn't what's good. And just what the f*** is a "Pump in a Bump?" Is it a direct reference to the stuffed Speedos or is it an ass reference? I'm confused.

In any event, I apologize for subjecting you to the gyrations of an aging MC Hammer, but consider it a public service announcement: Speedos and black Timberlands will ruin your life. Don't let it happen to you.



Mo' Hate in '08.

Strictly for my 80s babies: Throwwwwwwback!



by Carah Herring

Is it just me or does seemingly every out-of-the-norm behavior have a diagnosis nowadays? And it’s no surprise that seemingly everything can supposedly be cured with a pill – Shyness (Seroxat). Baldness (Propecia). Paleness (Melanotan). Limpness (Viagara).

I’ve never been big on prescriptions. I’m into the herbal remedies and for certain ailments, simply letting the sickness run its course.

With that being said: I have recently discovered why things in my life were a little rough for a year or two after my college graduation (heck, even now!). I was suffering from a Quarter-Life Crisis (the 20something version of a midlife crisis)! No, I wasn’t on the verge of a nervous breakdown and or in need of a straight jacket! The Quarter Life Crisis is a term applied to the developmental period of life immediately following the major changes of adolescence, usually ranging from the ages of 21 to 29, according to Wikipedia. Many therapists recognize this condition, y’all.

Google it! Numerous articles and books have been written about this phenomena. Do some of the following QLC characteristics ring true in your life?:

- feeling “not good enough” because one can’t find a job that is at one’s academic/intellectual level
- frustration with relationships, the working world and finding a suitable job or career
- insecurity regarding the near future
- re-evaluation of close inter-personal relationships
- tendency to hold stronger opinions
- financially-rooted stress
- loneliness
- a sense that everyone is, somehow, doing better than you
- boredom with social interactions
- nostalgia for university, high school or elementary school life

I guess another name for the condition would be ‘growing pains.’

At any rate, we all can relate to the Quarter Life Crisis to a certain degree. But instead of popping a pill (even though I don’t think there’s one for this), heading to a shrink or b*tching and moaning with girlfriends during Happy Hour about your woulda, shoulda, coulda, wanna and can’ts – why not let our Quarter Life Crises ‘run its course’? How about wallowing in our nostalgia for high school and elementary school life, shall we? It’ll be fun.

(And yeah, I’ll definitely follow up with a note detailing more info on the QLC. Stay tuned!)

Cheers to a stroll down memory lane:

■ Thursday nights at 9pm. Where were you? On the couch watching "New York Undercover" ! Torres and Williams were soooooo cool. And after solving a crime, they’d always end the night at >where else?< NATALIE’S! Oh yeah, Ice-T was the ultimate villain on there. Didn’t he kill Williams’ fiancĂ©e?

■ Where’s Waldo? Now THAT was one weird looking dude – but the books were so much fun! Don't front -- you'd be geeked when you located him!

■ T.G.I.F. Back in the day where you didn’t actually go out on Friday nights, it was all about "Family Matters" and "Step By Step" on ABC. Steve Urkel was worrisome as all get out – “Did I do thaaaaat?” But what about when Stephon Urk’el came along? He was THAT dude. Ow!

■ I’m not going to lie: Some of the episodes on SNICK’s (Saturday night on Nickelodeon) "Are You Afraid of the Dark?" scared me kinda good. Especially the one about the clown in the old house. OMG! I had to sleep with my mom and dad one or two nights off of that one.

■ Other memorable Nickelodeon Shows: "Double Dare", "Legends of the Hidden Temple", "Welcome Freshmen." I didn't get into "Fifteen." Too much drama!

■ "Salute Your Shorts" was one of my all-time faves. Sing along, everybody: “We run, we jump, we swim and plaaa-aaay. We row and go on trips. But the thing that lasts foreverrrrrr. Are our dear friendships. Dun-dun-dun. Camp Onawanna, we hold you in our hearts. And when we think about you. IT MAKES ME WANNA FART. // Ug:“It’s I hope we never part. Now get it right, or pay the price!”

■ Cuba Gooding Jr’s little brother Omar had a show on Nickelodeon. "Wild and Crazy Kids." Three teams always competed. Remember: The red team, the blue team and the green team.

■ The Babysitters Club books! Who could forget Claudia and Mallory (with all her brothers and sisters)? And you can't forget the "Super Specials" -- the books that featured ALL seven BSC members

■ Name Kriss Kross’s hits: Jump, I Missed the Bus (Remember how on the video, the bus driver was a bug?)

■ Remember the R&B group Another Bad Creation : Myeee-shaaaa. You were the girl that I neva had… How many lil’ guys were in that group. Like, forreal?

■ “I want money, lots and lots of money. I want it piled to the skyyyyyy. I wanna be rich!” Remember that R&B song from the late 80s?

■ Michael Jackson had two MAJOR video premieres during our elementary school days: “Black & White” (Remember, Macauly Culkin was in it?) and “Remember the Times” (With the Egyptian theme) I KNOW you tried to do the dance with the tv AT LEAST twice.

■ Speaking of music and videos, do you remember Eddie Murphy’s much-trumped up music video? It had a major world premiere on FOX. Woo chile, it was so WHACK. I remember it had the sky in the background and he had on these dark glasses. Michael Jackson was in it, too.

■ Remember the MC Hammer cartoon? I watched it a couple times. The animation wasn’t that great. And it only stayed on for a couple months. It was kinda stupid.

■ Speaking of Hammer, how could anyone forget his inspirational jam: Pray. “I say we pray, PRAY, pray, PRAY. We’ve got to pray just to make it today.”

■ You know you can still do Hammer’s “2 Legit 2 Quit” Hand Movements! Come on, do it for old times sake!

■ PBS had a lot of good programming. After our generation started getting too old for Sesame Street, I swear that had some noteworthy follow-up programs: "Ghostwriter" (Remember Jamal and Grandma Jenkins? Lenny’s singing career? Alex and Gabby at the bodega?), "Wishbone" (the cute lil’ story telling dog) and "Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?" (“Hit it Acapella!”)

I’m going to save the rest of my nostalgic reflections for Part II. If any of y’all have some ‘memmmmorrrrrieeeeeeeeeeeeeees” of your own, please feel free to elaborate in the comments section.

Until next time... XOXO, Carah