Monday, February 25, 2008

XXX Church: The Porno Pastors

No... that's not the name of the newest adult movie. There is actually a new movement to covert people in the adult film community, and those addicted to porn, to Christianity through a new church called XXX Church.

When I heard about it this morning on the radio I thought it was a sick joke, but this is a legitimate movement.

Apparently the Church's founders (both Divinity School graduates) travel to porn conventions across the county and set up shop right between the Golden Shower and Bang Bus booths *snare drum roll*...

Seriously though, they attend these conventions and pass out their quick-read version of the Bible called "Jesus Loves Porn Stars" to spread the Word.

Other functions that they hold include events called Porn and Pancakes, PornSundays (which is currently held at 200 traditional churches around the country), and a college tour where they debate the ills of pornography with porn-legend Ron Jeremy.

In addition to this, they host a website called where they offer support and guidance to those that want to leave the adult industry and those who are addicted to pornography.

As you can imagine, they are receiving a lot of heat from traditional religious groups around the country about their methods of gaining Converts. They argue that this venture is blasphemous and directly conflicts with God's intentions. But does it really?

I admit that I thought this was ridiculous, but I actually went to the site's message board and was surprised to find that people are actually taking it seriously. As absurd as it sounds, shouldn't they be applauded for going out and converting those who are living in sin? It's easy to criticize from the pew, but isn't it harder to go out into the trenches and do the dirty work?

Check out the above clip of the interview they did with ABC News.

What do you think?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Security Relaxed at Obama Rally

The Star-Telegram of Ft. Worth, TX reported on Thursday that local police officers were concerned that weapons screening was halted more than an hour before the candidate spoke at a Dallas arena.

The Secret Service defended the action by saying that there was no deviation from their "layered" security measures but failed to explain why such a large number of people were simply let in with not so much as going through a metal detector.

In this day and age, and with the history of Dallas as being the site of the Kennedy assassination, what the fuck!? How could a federal order come down to mandate that Secret Service agents NOT protect a candidate and allow for the potential of an unfortunate situation?

What really pissed me off is that they justified it by saying that they wanted to let everyone in before he spoke and that security was holding up the line...and THEN saying that the crowd appeared to be "friendly."

*blink blink*...appeared to be friendly?

I hate to get into the conspiracy theory business, but why would the nation's most thorough security outfit have a lapse in judgement of this magnitude in an arena containing 17,000 people with different minds and motives; for the nation's first Black candidate, who received death threats as soon as he announced his run, and was assigned a Secret Service detail over a year ago?

I've seen Obama speak three times here in SC at smaller venues, and I was never searched or sent through a metal detector. Hell, I even walked up to him personally at a party, shook his hand, and took a picture with him. It bothered me and I tried to justify that maybe the Secret Service knew what they were doing, but the more I think about it that just doesn't fly. You can't even go into a high school basketball game without going through a metal detector and we're letting a viable Black presidential candidate--that could very well be the leader of the Free World--speak in front of large crowds of unscreened people?

Either the federal government wants something to happen to this man or the Secret Service needs to get their shit together. It's easier to inconvenience a couple thousand people than to have to explain why you didn't do enough to protect a presidential candidate in the aftermath of a tragedy. As much as things change, they stay the same.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A Great Moment In Cinema History

There are few moments in movies that completely capture the genius of an actor or actress. Jack Nicholson's moment came during A Few Good Men with his famous "You can't handle the truth!" line. For Denzel Washington, nothing is more touching than his last walk to the Audubon Ballroom for his last speech in his portrayal of Malcolm X. For Russell Crowe, it was his battle sequence in Gladiator followed by the hair-raising question, "Are you not entertained?"

...All of these moments, however, pale in comparison to Eddie Murphy's portrayal of "Jackson Height's own...Mr. Randy...Watson."

Perhaps you don't agree, but think about how ahead of his time he was to have the foresight to come up with something that is as timeless and funny today as it was back in 1989. No comedian at the time, or even today, pushed the boundaries of prosthetic make-up the way that Eddie Murphy did in Coming To America in an attempt to propel comedy to a new level.

And don't get me started on the dialogue of this scene...

"You may remember him as 'Joe the Policeman' from the 'What's Goin' Down'-episode of That's My Mama..."


"While you're in a clapping mood, I'd like you to give a big round of applause to my band...Sexual Chocolate...Sexual Chocolate...they play so fine, don't you agree?"

This has got to be one of the funniest moments in movie history. I challenge anyone to prove otherwise.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Flashing Lights (Official Video)

Directed by Kanye and Spike Jonze. I'm guessing, but it looks like a non-linear progression of his past singles where Flashing Lights is the death...

"Can't Tell Me Nothin" is the afterlife...

...and "Stronger" is the rebirth...

Not sure how I feel about that. Does Kanye have a God complex?

Remember Ghost Writer?

I used to love this show. Yes, the acting was bad & the plots were terrible; but it was still that show. Who knew that the father in the show would go on to play a crack addict in a Spike Lee joint and become the highest paid actor of all-time? Props to Carah for the memory.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Blu & Exile: Hip Hop's Best Kept Secret

Meet Blu. The above track is entitled "Cold Hearted."

I found out about this guy Blu back in December. I was reading a review on a hip-hop site proclaiming this to be the best album of 2007. When I hear things like that about a rap album, I usually take it with a grain of salt--because even Ying-Yang Twinz swore their last album was a classic. I gotta say, though, that this album takes me back to 90's hip-hop where the beats were smooth and the lyrics were actually lyrics.

If you're a real hip-hop head that appreciated the golden years of hip-hop (circa '94) you'll probably enjoy this music. Check out the review of his album below, courtesy of


As I sat down to write this review I coincidentally got an instant message concerning this exact album I’m about to let you all know about.

random_dude: YO! Have you heard this Blu & Exile album?
shake: oddly enough I just sat down to write up this review
random_dude: That’s what’s up! I can’t believe how dope this is! Blu is so talented, I love the fact that he’s not afraid to be so personal with his rhymes.
shake: amazing emcee indeed...
random_dude: Easily one of my favorite albums of the year!

Not that anyone really cares what some random person on my buddy list had to say about an album that sadly not enough people will hear (hopefully I’m wrong) but his thoughts and mine are definitely one in the same…

Hailing from the West Coast; emcee Blu was raised on the likes of Public Enemy and N.W.A. thanks to his father; later gravitating towards Common, Mos Def & Talib Kweli (Black Star) and Black Thought (The Roots). It’s clear that the above artists were in the 22-year-old emcee’s mental tape deck while he was perfecting his craft. Blu is an extremely talented lyricist; clever rhymes, technically sound, intensely personal and witty. Add this to the fact that the entire album is produced by Exile (one half of the slept on duo Emanon) and you are in for a rousing eargasm reminiscent of that classic 90’s sound that so many people bitch and moan about missing and saying that it’s nonexistent. It’s there (I promise) you just have to dig a bit deeper than you used to.

The album begins with The Dells sampled My World Is… which acts as Blu’s chance to introduce himself properly with lines like “I don’t pack stadiums yet, I still rock em/ and they still spell my name fucked up on they flyers, it’s B-L-U/ and if you see the E, drop em/ it’s like they droppin E from the beats E is droppin/ got you peeps eavesdroppin/ and the world keeps watchin him.” Next up is the lead single, The Narrow Path. After giving this song a few listens I’m convinced that Blu is far beyond an artist that only has flow and hot lines. Containing one of the many sung hooks (and doing it well, unlike others you may know of … *cough* no need to name *cough*) he speaks on the struggle an artist goes through within, (“I’m trying to tell my folks that flowin ain’t easy/ I’m driving down this yellow brick road until it frees me/ I need a pen, I need a pad, I need a place to go/ to get this shit lifted up off of my soul”).

“I got a call from my girl last week/ she telling me about that time of the month, and hot it may not come/ dropped the phone right before she said we have a son/ and I started asking God ‘how come?’/ I got dreams I ain’t reached yet/ aim’s I ain’t meet yet/ when it comes to being a man, shit, I’m barely getting my feet wet/ trying to hit reset, knee deep in debt/ trying to figure out how to feed a mouth that ain’t got teeth yet.” Even if you haven’t been in that situation you can’t help but feel emotionally attached to what he is saying. That is a talent that very few artists possess. Blu’s ability to be as personal as he is with his music leaves the listener with no choice but to relate. From his struggles of holding down his family by working two jobs; lady troubles (First Things First, Greater Love); and unexpected parenthood (Good Life, see above) … the confessions pour from this man’s soul and are laid beautifully over Exile’s canvas.

I can’t stress enough that Blu is talented … VERY talented. This actually becomes the ONLY thing wrong with Below the Heavens. The fact that this album is so intimate and set as an autobiographical look into a man’s struggle, there really isn’t a need for guest emcees. Case in point the Ta’raach (together as C.R.A.C. Knucks) featured Juicen’ Dranks. If I had heard this song at any other time or on another album it wouldn’t be that bad. But for this album, it sticks out like a nun wearing a mini skirt and red lip stick. And while Exile does a really nice job on the production front, it isn’t always that good. Blu definitely steals the show everytime.

While “keeping it real” seems to be the “cool” thing to do with most rappers, Blu does this simply because he wants his story to be heard. Comfortable enough in his own skin, he lays it ALL out there … not just concentrating on the extremes. I still feel I haven’t done this album justice but it’s impossible to include all the gems that are pouring from my speakers without writing a 10 page review. So just know: after hearing Below the Heavens I’d be damned if anyone still spells his name wrong on the flyers...

It’s B-L-U.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Shut Up, Ni**a

Look... I'm all about artistry and free speech and all that. And I even convinced myself that maybe Nas had something to say w/ his new album, Nigger. I'm not so sure about that now. His soliloquy of nothingness in this clip solidifies that he's just trying to be controversial to sell records. Shit is bizarre.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Throwback: Why Men Hate Valentine's Day

Before I get into the "why," I think it's important to talk about the origins of this day.

There are conflicting beliefs as to how Valentine's Day has become the holiday that we know it to be. What we know for sure is that a martyred Christian by the name of St. Valentine was stoned, clubbed and beheaded on February 14, 269 A.D. for refusing to denounce Christianity in ancient Rome. Legend has it that before he was killed, he wrote a love letter to a prison guard's daughter who had befriended him from jail. He supposedly signed the letter, "With love from your Valentine," thus spawning the catch phrase.

All of this took place the day before the annual Lupercalia (Latin for "wolf") festival, where young women put their names in jars to be drawn by young men. Once the names were drawn, the new couples were obligated to "date" each other for the day. Of course by "date" I mean predatory sex--hence the "wolf" chasing the prey.

Once Christianity became popular, the Lupercalia festival was replaced by a more wholesome festival designed to honor Christian Saints. The festival was renamed after St. Valentine to remember his sacrifice.

In short, the history of the holiday comprises beatings, torture, martyrdom and sexual enslavement.

In the early 1800's the holiday was revived and a new version, fusing the two festivals, was created complete with chocolate, flowers, cards and other arbitrary items designed to boost sales in the retail industry...

Sooooo... back to the point of this post. Why men hate Valentine's Day...

To a lot of men, Valentine's Day seems like a re-enactment of St. Valentine's death at the hands of our significant other, only it is our jobs to play Michael J. Fox's character in Back 2 the Future and prevent our/St. Valentine's death by bringing a suitable peace offering to our captor. If the gift is not acceptable, all Hell breaks loose.

Think about it... every man knows that if he comes home empty-handed, or if he brings home an inexpensive gift (I despise the word "cheap") to his lady, he's going to pay the price one way or another: whether it be through withheld sex, arguing, and if you are a drama-prone couple, probably a little domestic violence--with Ike eating the cake, not Tina...

On the flipside, the REAL downer is that if he does bring home an acceptable gift it is not fully appreciated because it is simply expected. Of course she will say "Thank You for the [generic] flowers and candy" and you may even get some that night; but in reality she's happy and thankful, not because of the romanctic gesture in itself and not because she is surprised by your thoughtfulness, sponteneity, and kindness. She is truly thankful because 1) She's happy that she's not one of the "losers" that didn't get ANYTHING and 2) she does not have to curse you out for forgetting. Peace is maintained... for the night.

...and for those women that didn't get a damn thing, it further widens the gap between the sexes to the point where some of those women are bitter at ALL men in general. They end up feeling undesirable, unwanted, and unsexy: all of which factor into their future interactions with men.

After hearing both sides of the disgust for this holiday by men and women alike, I came to see Valentine's Day for what it is: a third-rate marketing holiday (after Christmas and Halloween) — a cheap, commercial parody of romance designed to foster greed and disappointment (in women) and guilt and resentment (in men).

Partly, that's because of some basic differences between the sexes. Most women I know couldn't forget about the existence of February 14 even if they wanted to, regardless of whether they happen to be alone or in a couple.

Most dudes, on the other hand, wake up on February 14 thinking, "Oh Shit! I haven't gotten my girl a card yet!" In fact, I read some study that estimated that roughly 86% of men don't think ahead when it comes to Valentine's Day. Why? Because we think it's a stupid holiday... up until the day of--at which point we know that if we don't get her something, we'll get our asses handed to us come night time. So there we are after work standing in line at the florist, or Harris Teeter (depending on your budget), to buy some flowers...

Moreover, Valentine's Day creates required expectations of men for something that should be spontaneously romantic. I would much rather rub my lady's feet and bring home flowers and candy to her after she's had a rough week on a random day in April than to conform to the expectation of Valentine's Day. To me, being romantic on Valentine's Day is forced and not genuine. To me, and to a lot of men, it cheapens love.

Regardless, your boy WILL be standing in line to buy flowers on every February 14th for his wife after he's married. I'm rational... but I'm not stupid! I refuse to re-enact St. Valentine's death. Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee-it!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Pre-Valentine's Day Reality: No Man. No Plans. No Worries.

by Carah Herring

T-minus 10 days til Valentine’s.

For the first time since high school, Cupid’s lil’ half-naked @ss has neglected me.

Bloody bastard (in my faux British accent, accessorized with a fist-shake)!

I’m nearly certain that I won’t have a special someone to cuddle and canoodle with on this year’s over-commercialized holiday of love. Nah, I don’t need any violins to play a ‘woe-is-me’ symphony as I vent. I’m not complaining… well, not that much, anyway. >>Sheepish laugh<< Honestly, I could easily dial a couple numbers in my phone book and make it happen: dinner, a movie and whatever else that I so choose afterward.

But I’m so over it.

To put it another way, I’m not in the mood to be bothered by guys that I’m not genuinely feeling (or who aren’t genuinely feeling ME) – especially on Valentine’s Day. Though nothing beats a complimentary gourmet meal; being wined and dined on such a lovey-dovey occasion would make the casual association seem deeper than it really is. I’m not even interested in going through the motions of a relationship if it’s not a bona fide relationship.

I guess I’m really on my grown woman ish, because in College… Wooo! I was pressed. At this point a couple years ago, my mind would be racing right about now, evaluating my prospects, contemplating who would have the HONOR of taking me out on the 14th. If I didn’t have a hot date on Valentine’s, I’d label myself a certified cornball. And trust, after fighting my way up the social ranks throughout my youth, going back to ‘Lame-O’ status was NOT an option.

It’s 2008 – the year of new beginnings. I don’t feel the need to exert this much energy about the matter anymore. If I’m boo’d up, great! If not, it doesn’t make me a loser. It just means that me and a guy on my level haven’t crossed paths yet. Or if we HAVE crossed paths, we haven’t recognized each other’s worth and made a deep connection as of yet. No sweat.

I know some of y’all may be laughing at me right about now. “This chick is up here writing all these articles with advice about love, relationships, snatching the cat back and finding Mr. Right – yet she can’t get a man.”

Let’s clarify some things here: First of all, my unattached state of being is 100% by choice. After years of making not-so-great dating decisions, I’d prefer to be alone rather than dealing with someone who’s full of crap. I used to dig the excitement of a little drama… but now it doesn’t amuse me as much. Actually, it irks me. Give me a glass – scratch that – a BOTTLE of wine and a good novel instead. Secondly, I’ve gleaned my knowledge on dating through experience. So my articles are from the rib – not from speculation or theories. It’s based on real life.

And speaking of real life, let me share what I’ve got going on at the moment: I take a “Personal Finance” class at NC State on Monday nights, and a ballet class on Tuesdays at a local dance studio. Bible study is on Wednesdays and I’m a mentor to a 15-year-old girl. I try to hit the club/ bar/ soiree one day during the weekend so I can let my hair down (well, the little bit that I have. Lol!). Then there’s church on Sunday, where I’ve started ‘Children’s Church’ for the little ones ages 6 and under. Not to mention, I work a couple of side hustles in addition to my 8 to 5 gig to sustain my life$tyle.

Is this to say I’m too busy for a man? Never that, hun! But it shows that I don’t have time to sit at home, crying because I’m single or fretting over the sobering statistics that 70% of black women are unmarried. In spite of the negativity, I’m living a fulfilling, satisfying life.

This is supposed to be the section where I preach, ‘ladies, you don’t need no man! Make yourself happy! Pay your own bills! Buy your own jewelry! Wave your vibrators in the air like you just don’t care!’ – bashing the fellas for being trifling and representing girl power to the fullest.

But that’s not my point (though vibrators are a beautiful thing and buying your own bling is oh-so-liberating. Try it!). I love men, flaws and all, and I definitely love love. I’m a sucker for love… but I’m no fool. So that’s my point: don’t be a fool on Valentine’s just because you don’t want to feel like a loser.

I mean, if there’s a guy who you’re digging – you shouldn’t have to twist his arm or do the Bojangles to get a nice outing. He should want to do it, and he shouldn’t have to be asked, begged or coerced into doing so.

If you don’t have a boo for Valentine’s Day, it’s not the end of the world. Don’t mope around, agonizing your no-man-having-situation like you’re undesirable.

But hell, let’s be real: maybe you ARE undesirable. If you’ve never had a significant other, maybe it’s because:
(a) You don’t like to go out (I’m not just talking about the club – but anywhere besides a restaurant to feed your face or the movies)
(b) You can’t fathom the idea of going out ---GASP--- alone
(c) You go out with an entourage sooo deep, a guy isn’t even going to approach you because his every move will be observed, heckled and dissected by your crew
(d) You turn down and find fault with every guy that steps to you.
(e) You look a hot mess because you don’t take pride in your personal appearance
(f) You give it up too quick. You have sex with a man before he gets to know who you are and what you’re all about.

But you know what, hun? That’s a whole ‘nother article in itself. So I'll hush for now.

I hope your Valentine’s Day is looking more eventful than mine. I look forward to seeing all the cute Facebook photo albums documenting the various romantic dates and outings – and possibly even a marriage proposal or two. At this point, my plans will probably consist of going to work and then packing my bags for the NBA All Star Weekend – since I’ll be heading down to New Orleans the following morning for basketball players, Belvedere and Bourbon Street. Woo-hoo!

I was hoping to take my grandmother out for dinner, but she already has plans with her boo. How ironic.

Love Always…


Sunday, February 3, 2008


9th Wonder on the beat... Nu Amerykah drops Feb. 26... Support good music.