Prince Tributes and Preachin’ Truth At the 2016 BET Awards!

screen-shot-2016-05-23-at-9-01-53-am

Man, oh man…a lot of stuff went down in the last 24 hrs., and I have to write my humble opinion about it all.  Before I watched the epicness that was the season finale of “Game of Thrones,” I made it my business to check out the 2016 BET Awards, considering the shade they threw towards Madonna’s Prince tribute a month or so ago (see the above picture).

The majority of the show was entertaining.  I loved Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross’ version of Hamilton (I have to see this play).  Beyoncé gave a stunning (and water filled) performance of “Freedom,” then quickly bumped out, as my future father-in-law Ice Cube would say.  I caught Maxwell givin’ Taraji the side eye during her monologue:

Maxwell

I knew that look was gonna become an internet meme.  My boo O’Shea Jackson, Jr. didn’t win best actor (boo!), but Straight Outta Compton won best movie (yay!), and a bunch of musical artists that I never really heard of (other than Drake) won a bunch of awards.  I got to see Fat Joe and Usher perform (separately, not together), which was sweet.  Every few moments, the celebs would come out and remind us how important our vote is (which it really is), and even mentioned how Brexit basically proved that.  Gabrielle Union’s hair and all her outfits were fierce.  Samuel L. Jackson won the much deserved Lifetime Achievement Award.  Oh, and there’s gonna be a New Edition movie coming out soon along with a new Morris Chestnut stalker film.  Like I said, all that stuff was entertaining.  But what really made my night were the Prince tributes (which was my main reason for watching the show), and Jesse Williams’ acceptance speech.

1035x688-gettyimages-543243250

Before I talk about the Prince tributes, I wanna touch on Jesse’s speech.  Prior to last night, I basically knew Jesse Williams as “the hot black guy from Cabin in the Woods.”  I stopped watching “Grey’s Anatomy” after Izzie starting having sex with Denny’s ghost and George got hit by a damn Greyhound bus, so I’m not familiar with Jesse’s work on that show.  However, his appearance at the BET Awards converted me into an instant fan.  Last night, Jesse was presented with BET’s 2016 Humanitarian Award for his work in the #BlackLivesMatter movement.  His acceptance speech blew me away.

My blog isn’t a political one, but as always, I have to keep it 100%.  Jesse’s speech was full of truth.  He spoke on how black men should treat black women as the queens we are, how we as a people shouldn’t waste so much of our money just to have a brand on our body (i.e. breakin’ our necks just to have the new Jordans or the new Apple Bottoms…nothing against those designers, and yes, it’s good to want nice things, but some of us focus a little too much on that).  Then he spoke at length on how police officers have been known to refrain from using excessive force with Caucasian citizens, and should learn to do the same with African-American citizens.  He also went on to say that folks that don’t agree with the movement and don’t care about black rights shouldn’t criticize the ones that do.  Man, I felt the spirit when I heard this guy speak!  I love this man.  I even took the time to post something about it on Facebook:

Facebook (Alt)

I noticed that Jesse was trending on Black Twitter earlier, until poor Justin Timberlake posted how he was inspired by the speech.  Then the former *NSYNC front man was unnecessarily drug through the mud for cultural appropriation and for later responding that “we’re all the same.”  Some of them even brought up old ass Nipplegate.  Lord.  If y’all want to watch Jesse’s speech or read of transcript of it, go to this site.

Now onto the Prince tributes…they were slammin’!  I saw Madonna and Stevie Wonder’s tribute at the Billboard Awards, and it wasn’t as horrible as most folks made it out to be, but at the same time, it didn’t hold a candle to the tributes that aired last night.  They weren’t just the best Prince tributes this year…they were best tributes to one of this year’s deceased musical artists, period.

062616-shows-beta-show-highlights-erykah-badu-performs

First, Erykah Badu performed “The Ballad of Dorothy Parker.”  I’m not gonna lie, I never really listened to that song before (I vaguely remember hearing it briefly years ago, I think), and neither did my mom or my aunt, and my mother’s been a fan of Prince since he began his professional career back in 1978.  The performance was great however, and I was exposed to a new Prince song!  But I have to address something…some smarty pants on Facebook (that’s not a friend of mine, by the way) was talkin’ out his neck about how some folks didn’t know the song but claimed to be real Prince fans.  Smart guy, there’s thousands—and I do mean thousands—of Prince songs out there that I’m sure most folks haven’t heard, including yourself.  Even the biggest fans out there haven’t heard every single song, due to the fact that Prince has a vault full of twenty to thirty years worth of unreleased tracks.  Let’s not forget, some folks simply may not have listened to every single album that Prince ever released (I think he has about twenty of them out there).  So Daddy Cube, please tell that big mouth what he can do.

Doughboy - Shut Up Bitch

Anyway, after Erykah performed, newcomer (or at least he’s a newcomer to me) Bilal immediately came out and performed “The Beautiful Ones.”  There’s two things I really loved about all these tributes:  one, they occurred throughout the show and featured more than one or two artists doing it all at once like other award ceremonies.  Secondly, the songs that were picked weren’t the most obvious choices for a Prince tribute.  You automatically assume “Purple Rain,” “Kiss,” “Diamonds and Pearls” and “Let’s Go Crazy” will be played for a Prince tribute, but it was nice to also hear some of the other songs that we love for a change.  Steve Harvey took the same approach on his radio show the morning after Prince passed.

2016 BET Awards - Show

I don’t know anything about Bilal, but he definitely seems like a talented brother.  His performance was one of the best ones of the night, and he went all out.  Not only did he write on the floor during the climax of the song ala The Kid in Purple Rain, but he even went so far as to wear boots with a heel (the heel wasn’t quite as high as Prince’s though).  The entire time Erykah and Bilal were performing, The Roots were playing behind them as the backing band.

062616-shows-beta-show-highlights-jennifer-hudson

Next, Stevie Wonder and Tori Kelly (another newcomer for me) performed a sweet rendition of “Take Me With You,” which I think may have surpassed the original.  No disrespect to Apollonia, but she never really had much of a singing voice, in my opinion.  I always liked “Sex Shooter,” though (you still my girl, Apollonia!).  Jennifer Hudson came out afterwards in a sleek, short, ivory white trenchcoat with a hoodie and sang the best outside version of “Purple Rain” I’ve heard yet (sorry, Adam Levine).

062616-shows-beta-show-highlights-maxwell-3

Later in the night, Maxwell, the King of the Side Eye himself, performed “Nothing Compares 2 U” after singing “Lake By the Ocean” (which for some reason reminds me of “Bad Habits”).  I noticed that Maxwell changed the first line of the song to “It’s been seven hours and 66 days since you took your music away” (it’s been over two months since Prince passed), and retrofitted most of the song to convey how much the world missed Prince.  It was a butt kickin’ performance, and no disrespect to Madonna, but I enjoyed Maxwell’s version a bit more.  However, BET just couldn’t resist throwin’ a bit more shade…

BET Shade

Anyway…

062616-shows-beta-show-highlights-janelle-monae-1

Janelle Monae appeared next and performed a medley of “Delirious,” “Kiss,” “Pop Life” and “I Would Die 4 U.”  Of course, she shut the place down as she recreated Prince’s dance moves, and even paid homage by wearing Prince’s signature stacked heels and buttless pants.  Anthony Anderson made sure he wasn’t outdone, though.

062616-shows-beta-show-highlights-anthony-anderson-prince-chaps

Last, but definitely not least, was Shelia E.’s tribute.  My girl started her show with the classic song “Housequake” and segued into “Erotic City,” her and Prince’s legendary duet (one of my favorites!  As dirty as that song is, I’m surprised they allowed it!).  Mayte joined the dancers onstage, and I couldn’t help but notice that they were all barefoot.  Part of me wonders if there was a reason behind that.  Shelia publicly came out and said that dancing in four inch heels for so many years is what ruined Prince’s knees and hip, and caused him to be in intense pain as he became older.

giphy

After playing a few bars of “Let’s Work” the medley went into “U Got the Look,” a song Prince and Shelia used to perform together all the time (that’s my jam!).  Then Shelia performed two songs that kind of had me scratching my head…”Love Bizarre” and “The Glamorous Life.”  Don’t get me wrong, I love those songs, but they’re technically Shelia’s songs, not Prince’s.  He wrote them and performed them with her from time to time…well, then again, I guess that’s reason enough.  She loved this man with all her heart and probably cherished every moment they spent together writing and performing songs.

giphy1

Shelia then broke out her guitar (I didn’t even know she played the guitar!) and played “America” (another song I’m not 100% familiar with because I never listened to Around the World in a Day in its entirety…once again, I think I heard it once or twice back in junior high), which led to “Baby, I’m a Star” and who came out?  Jerome!  Man, if Morris showed up, it’d be on and poppin’!  The tribute ended with Shelia carrying one of Prince’s guitar’s lifted to the sky, as all the dancers and musicians pointed upward at the heavenly angel they were commemorating.  Mayte had her other arm wrapped around Shelia.  It was two of the women he loved most standing center stage.  A fitting send off if ever there was one.

062616-shows-beta-show-highlights-sheila-e-2

Ms. Escovedo proved last night that she’s anything but irrelevant.  I loved all the performances, but Shelia silenced all haters, just like I knew she would.  D’Angelo was also supposed to come and do a tribute performance, but after seeing all these folks do their thing, I can’t say I missed him.  Besides, his rendition of “Sometimes It Snows In April” on “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon” a few months ago was a fitting memorial to The Purple One.  I give props to everyone that contributed to the tribute performances last night, and I give major props to Jesse Williams’ speech.  They all made for a very memorable awards show.  I loved it.

—Written by Nadiya

So what did you think about all of Prince’s tributes?  Were they history in the making or all just overhyped?  Did you like them more or less than Madonna’s tribute?  What about Jesse Williams’ speech?  Was he giving you life with that speech or just getting on your nerves?  Did you miss D’Angelo?  Did you wish some other artists contributed to the Prince tribute?  Also, what did you think about the song choices?  Would you rather hear more of Prince’s bigger hits, or did you like that they went with the more semi-popular songs?  Lastly, what do you think about BET’s constant shade?

BET Shade 2

Damn, that was a read.  Your thoughts, please!

 

 

 

 

 

“Game of Thrones” Season Six Finale!!

hbo-just-released-6-new-photos-teasing-the-game-of-thrones-season-6-finale

Okay, I know what I said earlier about losing HBO and Starz, and how I wouldn’t post any more recaps/reviews.  However, I found a way to watch last night’s season finale of “Game of Thrones” (and I actually found a way to catch up on the other episodes, as well as the other episodes of “Outlander.”  Don’t ask; it’s a long story, and we A LOT to talk about in this post).   That doggone episode was too doggone epic to not post anything about it.  So, instead of me giving my usual recap/review, I’m just going to go over the events that blew my mind and made me rethink my universe.

***WARNING:  IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED “THE WINDS OF WINTER” SEASON SIX FINALE YET, I HIGHLY SUGGEST THAT YOU STAY AWAY FROM THIS POST, BECAUSE THERE’S SPOILERS HEREIN.  YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.***

The Sept Is Gone (and the Septons, too) and the Tyrells Are No More (sort of)!

vlcsnap-2016-06-27-12h49m05s050

Okay, Cersei’s trial is coming up, and instead of facing The High Sparrow’s biased and arbitrary form of justice, she carries out a plan that a lot of folks have been theorizing for quite some time now.  She learned about a cache of wildfire directly under the Sept thanks to her buddy Qyburn, had one of his “birds” empty a few of the crates near the supply and light some candles in a puddle of the stuff…and boom.

vlcsnap-2016-06-27-15h40m44s114

vlcsnap-2016-06-27-15h40m03s098

In one swoop, she took out nearly the entire Faith Militant, including Lancel, who was lured to the bottom of the Sept by one of the “birds” when the blast went off.  The Tyrell family was also there, and got blasted to kingdom come.  By the way, Margaery was the only one that had sense enough to know something was up when she noticed that Cersei and Tommen were absent from the trial, but those idiot minions wouldn’t allow her, her brother or anyone else to leave the building.  Cersei also managed to take out Pycelle (in another location) by the hands of Qyburn’s “birds” and her uncle Kevan (he was in the Sept).  She later exacted her revenge on Septa Unella, via The Mountain.  And poor Tommen, who could only watch the 9/11 type destruction his mother caused, and knowing his wife was in that blast, promptly committed suicide.  And all this was just in the first twenty minutes.

Winter Is Finally Here (and it only took five years!)!

vlcsnap-2016-06-27-13h00m31s949

While Sansa and Jon are discussing how they must trust each other and who should take over the Stark household, Sansa mentions that a raven came from the Citadel (I’m assuming that was from the nasty ass admissions director that didn’t believe Jon was the Lord Commander and the letter of recommendation he wrote for Sam was “irregular”)…a white raven.  Sansa says that means that winter is actually here.  Jon laughs and talks about how Ned always said it was coming.  Well, it’s about doggone time!  I wish winter was like that in real life.  After six more measly months, we’ll all be shivering again (yes it gets cold in the south).

The Sand Snakes and Granny Tyrell Align…and They Have Extra Help!

vlcsnap-2016-06-27-13h09m27s492

Remember I said “The Tyrells Are No More (sort of)”?  There’s one Tyrell left…Oleanna aka Granny Tyrell, and she’s pissed.  Thanks to Cersei’s terrorist attack, the Tyrell name will now end with Oleanna.  She wants revenge, and she goes to Dorne to get it.  Despite the fact that Granny epically shut the younger Sand Snakes up, she and Ellaria still agree to team up, and they have another force aligning with them…

vlcsnap-2016-06-27-13h15m36s043

Hell yeah.  It’s on now.  I can’t stand the Sand Snakes, but I’m loving this new alliance.

Tyrion Is Appointed Hand of the Queen!

vlcsnap-2016-06-27-13h24m00s796

After Dany officially announces that she is indeed heading to Westeros in the near future and drops Daario Naharis like a bad habit, she and Tyrion have a heart to heart, where he tries to console her for dumping her lover, seeing as she had to leave him if she wants to be queen of the seven kingdoms (I can’t help but wonder if Daario got dumped so the writers could make the Dany/Yara thing happen).  Dany’s inconsolable, especially since she just realized she never really loved Daario and had no emotion when she dumped him, but Tyrion tells her how he’s been a cynic all his life and never believed in anything…but he believes in her.  That’s when Dany presents Tyrion with the pin she had especially made for him and officially declares him the Hand of the Queen.  Tyrion responds in a way he never has before…

vlcsnap-2016-06-27-13h27m19s067

He kneels before her.  Y’all know how much I love Tyrion, so it was really nice to see him finally being appreciated for the things he’s done (by the way, the war waged by the masters was wasn’t so much a fuck up by Tyrion, but more so of a double cross…although Grey Worm and Missandei warned him of said double cross…never mind).  I’m also glad to see a genuine relationship forming between Dany and Tyrion now.  I believe they’re becoming real friends, and not just political allies.  *Squee*

Arya Kills Walder Frey’s Ratchet Ass (and smiles!)

vlcsnap-2016-06-27-13h34m06s664

Walder Frey is enjoying his delicious meat pie and a flirting with a handmaiden young enough to be his granddaughter.  Then he wonders where his sons are.  The maiden tells him his sons are right there with him.  The old man’s confused, so the young lady shows him the slice of pie and tells him again, his sons are there.  Frey takes the top crust off the pie, and sure enough, he finds the top of a finger (or a toe…I know the nail was green..ill…).  Gross…but cool!  I have to say, in the Shakespearean play Titus, the main character got revenge on a rival family by putting their evil sons in a pie.  That was epic then, and it’s epic now!  Then, the ultimate…the maiden takes off her mask to reveal that she’s none other than Arya Stark.  She introduces herself to Frey and lets him know the last thing he’ll see is her smiling down on him as he dies.  Then she slices his throat and smiles as he bleeds out.  Valar morghulis, bitch.

NWA Dancing

The R+L=J Theory Is True!  WTF!?!?

vlcsnap-2016-06-27-15h47m34s700

Long story short, Bran wargs out again, with his Three-Eyed Raven powers fully realized, thanks to his Uncle Benjen, and goes back in time to where he saw his father heading up to the Tower of Joy to save Lyanna.  Lyanna has obviously just given birth, and she’s dying from excessive hemorrhage.  She makes Ned promise to take care of her baby boy if and when she dies.  Bran looks on as the midwife hands Ned the baby who opens his brown eyes…

vlcsnap-2016-06-27-15h49m54s156

And then we cut to this:

vlcsnap-2016-06-27-15h50m45s748

Holy shit.  Now here’s why this has rocked my world…I always thought that the R+L=J theory was bogus and just something that the fans really wanted to see (like Tyrion actually being a Targaryen instead of a Lannister).  There’s really only two reasons I felt like the theory wasn’t warranted, and one of my best friends (who’s also a big “Game of Thrones” fan) and I have discussed this at length.  Reason one:  Why didn’t Ned at the very least confide in Catelyn that Jon was actually his nephew?  It doesn’t make sense for him to come home and introduce Jon as his bastard child and put the boy—and his own marriage—through all that stress and misery.  Reason two (and this was the BIG reason):  As most of y’all may remember, in season one, Ned learned that Robert Baratheon did not father any of his legitimate children when he read that family history book and saw that all the descendants of the Baratheon family had dark hair, not blond hair.  In the “Game of Thrones” universe, genetics are pretty simple.  The children—namely the males—take their father’s hair color.  If Jon was a Targaryen, wouldn’t he have silver hair like Dany and Viserys, instead of dark hair like the rest of the Starks (except Sansa)?  Despite what I think though, D&D and Mr. Martin proved that Jon is a Targaryen, and even though I have to reevaluate my life, I can’t wait to see the sparks that are gonna fly when Jon finally meets Dany (his auntie)!

Jon Stark is Declared the King in the North!  Yaaaassss, Bitch!

vlcsnap-2016-06-27-16h22m47s512

Earlier in the show, Littlefinger told Sansa he wanted to sit on the Iron Throne and he wanted her by his side…then he made a pass at her by trying to kiss her, but Sansa rejected his ass and he ended up throwing a brick like Steph Curry at the NBA Finals.  Soon after, all the Northerners gather for a pow wow, and Jon informs them that winter has arrived, and the White Walkers are coming.  At first, no one wants to listen…until Lyanna Mormont reminds them how most of them punked out when House Stark needed them, and she publicly declares Jon King in the North.  I’m starting to like her now.  Everyone realizes she’s speaking truth and all of them declare Jon king.  By the way, I love this exchange between Jon and Sansa while everyone’s pledging their allegiance:

vlcsnap-2016-06-27-16h24m35s009

These two are so cute (in a brother/sister type way, you nasty shippers!).  While everyone’s cheering for Jon however, Sansa spots Littlefinger in a corner mean muggin’.

vlcsnap-2016-06-27-16h26m10s626

Why so pissed?  Sexually frustrated?  Mad ’cause a “bastard’s” been declared king (a bastard hatin’ on a bastard)?  Or are you PO’ed because now that ugly ass throne is a little further out of your reach?  And speaking of which…

Cersei Lannister Sits On the Iron Throne  (Armageddon has arrived…)

vlcsnap-2016-06-27-16h31m26s062

Jaime returns from Riverrun just in time to see the disaster area that is now King’s Landing.  He also comes back just in time to see Cersei’s coronation as the Queen of the Andals and the First Men and Protector of the Seven Kingdoms.  He didn’t look too happy.  Me personally, I nearly fainted.

And last, but damn sure not least…

Dany and Her Army FINALLY Sail to Westeros (and it only took five years!)

vlcsnap-2016-06-27-16h44m23s629

Theon is shown looking up at a flag on a ship.  He’s standing next to Yara, who’s looking out at the horizon.  Then we see another ship setting sail with Grey Worm and most of the Unsullied.  Another ship is full of Dothraki Bloodriders and their horses (by the way, the Dothraki learned in a short period of time how to manage a ship!).  There’s close to a thousand ships sailing in the ocean, all with dragons embroidered on the sails.  Drogon, Viscerion and Rhaegal fly overheard.  The dragons pass the leading ship, which contains Varys, Missandei, Tyrion…and Dany.

vlcsnap-2016-06-27-17h17m13s158

So Dany basically has the Unsullied, the Dothraki, most of the Ironborn, the Sand Snakes, Granny Tyrell, Tyrion and Vary’s sharp minds, the Second Sons on call (she left them in Meereen with Daario), Jorah Mormont’s eventual comeback, and three big ass dragons?  Let’s not forget there’s a possibility the North might join in.

Cersei…you in danger, girl.

You In Danger Girl

I don’t have to tell y’all, this entire season was asskickin’.  From the Bastard Bowl, to The Hound coming back, to Jon’s resurrection, Dany’s epic war with the slave masters, Ramsay being turned into Alpo, to this game changing season finale (I have to say, this may be one of the best season finales in “Game of Thrones” history, in my humble opinion), I loved it all.  I especially loved how the biggest outcasts in the show (Jon and Tyrion) are finally getting the respect and accolades they deserve.  The only thing I hated in this episode was Margaery being killed and Tommen committing suicide, but all that’s going to lead to Cersei’s ultimate destruction, which’ll be be so delightful to see (even Jaime’s pissed at her now!).  I have to say though, it looks as though everything’s come full circle with Jon becoming king, Tyrion becoming Hand of the Queen, Cersei ruling the Seven Kingdoms, Dany sailing to Westeros and winter finally arriving.  That may very well mean that season seven will indeed be the last season.  If it is…I’ll be sad to see the show go, but I know it’ll give us a final season we won’t forget!

—Written by Nadiya

So what did y’all think about “Winds of Winter”?  Was it a great season finale, or was it disappointing?  What blew your mind?  Do you have something to add to the list?  Give me your thoughts!

 

 

 

“Central Intelligence”: Ass Kickin’ and Gut Bustin’

the-rock-kevin-hart-join-forces-in-central-intelligence-movie

What’s up, y’all?  Sometime last year, I remember Rock posting some photo stills on his Instagram page from Central Intelligence, and I knew I had to see it.  Rock and Kevin Hart together?  That’s gonna be one hilarious doggone movie.  Sure enough, I went to see the film this past Saturday (June 25, 2016), and I wasn’t disappointed.

The movie basically tells the story of Calvin (Kevin Hart), who was on top of the world when he was in high school, and Robbie (Rock), whose life was a complete 180º from Calvin’s.  Whereas Calvin was adored in school, Robbie was the target of vicious bullies.  However, despite Calvin’s high standing social status, he helps Robbie when the latter is publicly humiliated during Assembly Day.

Fast forward twenty years later, and Calvin is an accountant that suffers the pain of watching his assistant being promoted over him.  Robbie, on the other hand, has transformed himself into CIA agent Bob Stone, a muscular one-man fighting machine that has an affinity for unicorns and the film Sixteen Candles (I like unicorns and Sixteen Candles, too!).  Bob, who never forgot the kindness Calvin showed towards him, invites him to have drinks on the eve of their 20 year high school reunion.  Bob also takes the opportunity to have Calvin access accounting records from his old job…or so he says.  From there, the movie takes off.

Y’all, I highly recommend this movie.  First of all—and once again, I know I’m fashionably late to the party, but I’m working with a limited budget—this movie’s been out for over a week, but to my surprise, when I arrived at the cinema the auditorium was jam packed.  Usually if a week has passed since the opening weekend, you’ll see about five people in attendance afterward, unless it’s a Marvel movie or Star Wars.  The fact that there were only about ten or fifteen seats left proved to me that this movie was gonna be good.  Rock and Kevin make a great comedy duo, and surprisingly enough, the critics were right (not saying they’re always wrong, but I thought they may be mistaken about this aspect)…Rock is actually funnier than Kevin in this film.  Kevin still delivers, however.  His jokes pretty much start the second Rock appears.  I also enjoyed some of the messages the movie offered.  It speaks against bullying and also has a theme of being happy with yourself (Lord knows Bob wasn’t afraid to be himself).  What really stuck out to me is how Bob convinced Calvin to be “the hero of his own story” and take chances; to realize that his life has meaning.  A lot of us have been there, including myself:  we were ready to take over the world after high school, but reality had much different plans.  Last but not least, Rock is so damn cute in this movie.  His body is bangin’ (as usual), and his childlike ways and super enthusiasm make you wanna melt.

tumblr_o7xdhcsetb1v2t7llo1_500

That’s not to say that this movie isn’t without its flaws, however.  There’s a few jokes that fall flat and some moments that could’ve been executed a little better, but those moments are few and far between.  I also have to admit that the explanation behind the “Black Badger’s” (the mysterious bad guy in the movie) plan was pretty rushed, and although I knew why Calvin and Bob had to team up to stop this guy, I wasn’t exactly sure why.  Bob said he needed Calvin’s accounting skills, but it seems a computer tech could’ve done the same thing.  Color me dumb.  Maybe I just need to watch the movie again.

Aside from those slight setbacks, the film was extremely enjoyable and I really liked the positive messages that it had.  Also, you’ll never guess who the actual “Black Badger” is (or maybe I’m just that damn gullible).  So if you’re in the mood for a really funny action buddy comedy, and you’re sick of watching Lethal Weapon and Rush Hour for the millionth time (no disrespect to either of those films; we love ’em, but we’ve all seen ’em a million times!  Real talk), go see Central Intelligence.  You’ll even enjoy the previews before the movie (seriously, I laughed the entire twenty minutes before the film!)!

tumblr_o0i6omgb6u1v2t7llo1_540

—Written by Nadiya

So what did y’all think about Central Intelligence?  Is it hilarious, or does it not live up to the hype?  If you haven’t seen it yet, do you think you will?  Do Rock and Kevin Hart make a great duo, or do they have no chemistry at all?  Give me your thoughts!

 

Top 10 David Bowie Album Covers

david-bowie-blackstar-2016-billboard-1000

Last week, I was in Columbia, SC visiting one of my favorite stores, Manifest Discs and Tapes (for those of y’all that love all things pop culture and live in the Columbia area, or if you’re located in Charlotte, NC or Charleston, SC; go to this store!).  While I was there, I came across something that made my entire day…they had Mr. Bowie’s earliest albums on vinyl!  Vinyl, doggone it!  I spent a good 10 minutes just salivating over those legendary records.  Too bad I didn’t have any money!

However, looking at the albums gave me inspiration for another Top 10 list.  At first, I decided on doing a Top 10 of Mr. Bowie’s greatest albums.  Then I realized that I’ve only listened to ten of Mr. Bowie’s albums (don’t judge me, the man had a 50 year career and 28 albums!  I haven’t gotten around to all of them yet!).  However, I have seen all of the covers for the albums, and truth be told, Mr. Bowie’s album covers themselves have changed the face of pop culture.  So, I decided to make a top 10 of Mr. Bowie’s best album covers!  Shall we begin?

10.  “Heroes”

1977-heroes-david-bowie-billboard-1000

It’s always been something about the “Heroes” cover that’s been eye catching to myself and so many other fans, but I’ve never been able to put my finger on it.  Maybe it’s the pose, which according to the legend himself, was inspired by the painting Roquairol (as was Iggy Pop’s The Idiot, which was produced by Mr. Bowie and also released in 1977).  Or maybe it’s the fact that Mr. Bowie had debuted his new “Berlin Bowie” look on the cover (he officially changed his look when he did the Low album, but that album cover still featured his Thin White Duke persona).  Either way, this has been one of my favorite covers.  Mr. Bowie must’ve loved it too, considering that he recreated it for his 2013 album, The Next Day.

9.  Lodger

2013davidbowie-lodger0803131979-lodger-david-bowie-billboard-1000

Mr. Bowie is barely recognizable on the cover of this album.  For the longest time, I didn’t even think it was him until I came across the behind the scenes photos.  Basically, the artwork shows an accident victim in a bathroom, whose picture is taken with what may very well be a Polaroid camera (are there any 80’s babies in the house that remember those?  I LOVED those things!).  His nose is completely busted, hence the reason I didn’t recognize him.  The bottom half of the album shows Mr. Bowie’s distorted legs with his feet pointing inward (it was a gatefold cover; you know, when you unfold the album to reveal the entire picture…once again, something only folks born before 1989 know about).  This cover was damn ballsy.

8.  Earthling

1997-earthling-david-bowie-billboard-1000

I’ll be honest, I never cared for Mr. Bowie’s Earthling era look.  No disrespect, but he was a little too mature for the spiky red hair after a while.  Please don’t get me started on that mohawk he sported for a minute during this era.  Despite all that, I always liked the Earthling album cover.  I’ve always been sort of an Anglophile, and as a lover of most things English (except the food), I think that Union Jack coat is the bomb!

7.  The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars

1972-the-rise-and-fall-of-ziggy-stardust-and-the-spiders-from-mars-david-bowie-billboard-1000

No, Ziggy is not number one.  To be honest, if I did decide to do a top 10 of the ten albums I’ve listened to, Ziggy wouldn’t be number one on that list, either (*gasp!*)!  However, this album and its cover are both iconic, so it still has a place here.  At first I didn’t care for the colorization of the picture.  I didn’t think it was really needed, especially given that Mr. Bowie didn’t have that bright blond hair color until 1983.  Later I realized the colorization may have been a necessary evil after all, considering that the pic was taken at nighttime.  Plus it makes the images stand out more, hence making the picture more memorable.  Another cool thing about this cover is that the location of the photo (23 Heddon Street in London) has since become legend, and there’s even been a commemorative plaque placed on the building that once had the “K. West” sign.  By the way, this was one of the gems I saw on sale at Manifest last week.  Man, I wish I could’ve bought it (I said the album wouldn’t be number one on my list; I didn’t say I didn’t love the album).

6.  Station to Station

1976-station-to-station-david-bowie-billboard-1000Simply put, I love this cover because it’s a still from Mr. Bowie’s greatest film, and one of my favorite movies, The Man Who Fell to Earth.  Let’s not forget, The Thin White Duke is one of my favorite Bowie personas.  The album has been re-released in color, but personally, I prefer the black and white version, and they thankfully brought the original cover back when the deluxe album was released back in 2010.  To all my fellow Bowie fans out there, if you haven’t listened to this album yet, please do so (this would’ve been number one on my list!)!  Sadly, this album was not at Manifest…but it should’ve been.

5.  Diamond Dogs

cover_ryko

 

Once again, this is another kickass cover.  Between 2009 and 2010, it was the wallpaper for my very first smartphone.  It was another gatefold album that opened up to show that Mr. Bowie was a half man, half dog hybrid.  Back in 1974, when the album was released in the good ‘ol U.S. of A, this cover caused a lot of controversy—but not because Mr. Bowie had a dog’s lower half.  It was because the lower half actually showed the dog’s junk.  Wow.  Being the puritanical party poops that we are, the U.S. version made sure to cover up the dog’s wee-wee, so the American cover looked like this:

p0356xmk

Much better.  On a side note, I was walking my dog just yesterday and I caught a view of his junk when he went to mark his territory.  Sweet Jesus, my eyes are still burning.

4.  Pin Ups

1973_pin_ups_david-bowie-billboard-1000

Never listened to the entire Pin Ups album (what did I say about judging me?), but I’ve always loved this cover. The makeup is brilliant.  I love how Mr. Bowie and the model both appear as if they’re wearing masks.  I also like how they made Mr. Bowie’s face less pale (or at least attempted to) and made the model’s face more pale, although she clearly has a tan.  Just in case you’re wondering, the lovely lady in the photo is Twiggy, one of the earliest (if not officially the first) supermodels!  Oh yeah, this was another vinyl classic I found at Manifest.

3.  The Man Who Sold the World

1970-the-man-who-sold-the-world-david-bowie-david-bowie-billboard-1000

Do you even have to ask why this is on the list?  Look at that dress.  Only Mr. Bowie could pull off that dress and boots.  When asked why he chose to wear a woman’s dress on the cover, Mr. Bowie cheekily told reporters that it was a “man’s dress.”  The album itself kicks ass, too.  I found this one at Manifest as well, and nearly screamed out loud.  It turns out the vinyl version has a cover made out of a sort of canvas material.  Very cool.

2.  Hunky Dory

1971-hunky-dory-david-bowie-billboard-1000

Not only is Hunky Dory one of Mr. Bowie’s best albums (better than Ziggy, I might add), it’s one of his best album covers.  He’s just so pretty here, and I welcomed the colorization more here than I did with the Ziggy album.  The pose was inspired by the legendary German actress Marlene Dietrich, and the picture was taken by one of Mr. Bowie closest friends, George Underwood.  A bit of trivia: George Underwood is also the person responsible for Mr. Bowie having a permanently dilated pupil in his left eye (it gave the appearance of him having a blue eye and a brown eye).  The reason is because back in high school, Mr. Bowie stole George’s girlfriend and got a punch in the eye for breaking bro code (George had a ring on when he delivered the strike).  Mr. Bowie later thanked him for giving him his signature look.  I found this beauty amongst the Manifest bunch, too.

1.  Aladdin Sane

1973-aladdin-sane-david-bowie-billboard-1000

This may be the world’s biggest cliché, but I don’t care.  Aladdin Sane is my all time favorite David Bowie album cover.  Everything about it is just ethereal and iconic.  The makeup, the hair…everything.  When I saw this cover for the first time as a young girl, it just stayed with me.  Remember when I said Mr. Bowie’s album covers changed pop culture forever?  Aladdin Sane did that more than any of Mr. Bowie’s other albums.  Whenever someone sees a lightning bolt—especially a red and blue colored one—the first person they think about is David Bowie.  When Mr. Bowie passed away, I used this photo as my profile pic on my Facebook page for the next few months.  This image from this cover is everywhere:  coffee cups, t-shirts, posters, etc.  Even Grace Jones and Homer Simpson paid homage to it:

Not only was this baby was in Manifest’s crates too, but they also had an Aladdin Sane poster and a t-shirt for sale.  Talk about a girl being in nerd heaven!  Man, I really need more money.  Can I take up a collection from you guys?

—Written by Nadiya

Do you agree with my list?  Which David Bowie album covers do you think are the best?  Also, if you’ve listened to more than ten of Mr. Bowie’s albums, which ones do you think are the greatest?  Give me your thoughts!

Lil’ Dicky: The Goof That Can Flow

slirpie

First of all, let me apologize for not posting anything in a while.  Last week was crazy…VERY crazy.  I hated that my first post for this week had to be one saying farewell to a talented young man, but I felt like a tribute was in order.  Now, that I’ve said that, let’s get down to business.

During the craziness that was last week, I watched my new favorite You Tuber, Lovely Ti, report on how Black Twitter was basically draggin’ an up and coming rapper named Lil’ Dicky because he was featured on XXL‘s 2016 Freshman Class cover.  Oh, did I mention that he’s a white guy?

Me personally, I believe that music is music, and if there’s a genre that you love, no matter what race you are, you should pursue it.  Mr. Bowie did R&B music for a hot minute (and did it damn well too, I might add!).  Darius Rucker is a black man, and he sings with a country/rock twang (he’s the front man for Hootie and the Blowfish, for those of y’all that don’t know.  If you were born between 1975-1986 and lived in South Carolina between 1994-1996, you probably know all too well).  Besides, there’s been plenty of white rappers that can really flow:  Eminem (of course), The Beastie Boys, MC Serch, Bubba Sparxxx, Mackelmore (yes, doggone it.  I said Mackelmore.  I happen to love “Thrift Shop”), etc.

Despite the aforementioned facts, white rappers—and white R&B singers, for that matter—are still catchin’ a lot of hell.  Even Eminem continues to get put down to this very day, which personally astounds me.  After 17 years (damn, I feel old saying that) he’s more than proven that he’s one of the GOAT’s.  So, when Lil’ Dicky appeared on the cover of XXL, he was no exception to the rule.  However, Ti mentioned in her video that Dicky actually has skills, and that piqued my interest.  One of the reasons I became interested is because today’s Hip Hop doesn’t really do much for me (with the exception of a precious few artists), so I wanted to see if this guy really had the skills to get me interested in his music.  Secondly, when I took a glance at this guy, I had to see if he could really show and prove as a Hip Hop artist.  Not because of his race; like I said before, race has nothing to do with it.  It was because, quite frankly, Lil’ Dicky looks nothing like a rapper.

lil-dicky

Oh yeah, and check out the XXL cover:

XXL Freshman Class 2016 (Alt)

A terry cloth robe and the thumbs up sign?  No, Lil’ Dicky is the last person I’d think is a rapper.  He looks more like the goofy, yet cool guy that you work with that you can always count on to cheer you up on a suck day.  I had to hear this guy rhyme.  So, I went on You Tube and looked up a few of his songs.  I have to say…I was pleasantly surprised.

Ti was dead on the money, as usual.  Dicky really can rap.  Truth be told, he’s still goofy, but cool, and he’s not afraid to poke fun of himself in his rhymes.  That’s what I like about his music.  Not only that, but his flow, delivery, and the music he uses is on point.  Not only that, but the man can freestyle…I mean, he can really freestyle (most seasoned rappers consider freestyling performing lyrics from songs they’ve already written and/or recorded.  That’s not freestyling in the true sense of the word).  I can actually see myself downloading some of his songs on my IPod.  So far, my favorite songs from him are “Ex-Boyfriend” and “Molly” (no, not the drug).

“Ex-Boyfriend” is basically about a Kim Kardashian lookalike that Dicky’s dating who runs into her ex the night she’s supposed to give it up to Dicky for the first time.  Naturally, the ex looks like a male supermodel, and Dicky really starts to get insecure when he sees the dude’s dick while in the men’s room.  The song is hilarious, and catchy.  It’s been in my head for the longest.  “Molly” is a departure from Dicky’s comical side, and goes down a slightly darker path.  This song is also about an ex, but this time, it’s Dicky’s former flame.  He’s still madly in love with her, but he has to go through the heartache of seeing her get married to another man.  The lyrics are really deep, and the video makes you want to cry.  The other songs I listened to like “White Dude” and “Lemme Freak” had me noddin’ my head in enjoyment, too.  Not only that, but they had me crackin’ up!

Lil’ Dicky is proof that you can’t always judge a book by its cover.  He may not look like your typical rapper, but the man definitely has talent, and he deserved to be on the cover of XXL, thumb up and all.  If there were more contemporary Hip Hop artists like him, I’d listen to more new rap music instead of living in the glory days of the 80’s, 90’s and early 2000’s.  Seriously, I only know about ten or twenty new school rappers:  Kendrick Lamar, Drake, O’Shea Jackson, Jr. (yes, he’s a rapper just like his daddy)… there’s more I can name, but I’m sure all of you reading this have better things to do with your day.  In conclusion, don’t sleep on Lil’ Dicky.  I easily see this dude changing the game.

Lil’ Dicky’s debut album, Professional Rapper, is available on ITunes.

—Written by Nadiya

So what do you think about Lil’ Dicky?  Is he a phenomenal Hip Hop artist, or do you think that’s he completely wack?  Do you think race is a consideration when it comes to Hip Hop music, or do you go by talent alone?  Also, when you first saw Lil’ Dicky, did you think he wouldn’t be able to flow judging by his looks?  Give me your thoughts!

Anton Yelchin: 1989 – 2016

2494133-936full_anton_yelchin

I have to say, when I look back on 2016, it won’t be with fondness.  It will be with extreme sadness.  Aside from the personal goings on in my life, 2016 has been fraught with tragedy.  We’ve lost David Bowie, Chyna, Doug Banks, Patty Duke, Natalie Cole, Phife Dog, Abe Vigoda and Prince, just to name a few.  That’s not even counting the lives lost in the senseless shooting that occurred in Orlando over a week ago.  And now, we’ve lost another great talent.

The first time I saw Anton Yelchin was in the film Alpha Dog.  Basically, the film is about a group of young thugs that kidnap a 15 yr. old boy due to the fact that his older brother owes a large sum of money to the group’s leader, or the alpha dog, as the title suggests.  Although the boy is held hostage, he’s treated as if he’s a part of the group, and as a result, he has no idea the danger he’s really in.  The boy sees life with the group as being carefree, with endless parties and drugs, until the leader gives the go ahead to murder him.  The scene where the young man realizes he’s about to be killed stayed burned in my mind forever.  To this day, my mother can’t stand to watch the movie due to the end result.  All this is due to Anton Yelchin’s performance.  Despite the dismal ending, I still love the film.  The way Anton portrayed the boy is so convincing, that even the audience believes he’ll walk away from the group unscathed, and it’s that much more gut wrenching when you see his reaction to what’s really going on around him.

The next movie I saw him in was the Star Trek reboot, where he played Chekov.  As a matter of fact, my mom and I always referred to him as Chekov whenever we spoke of him.  Not only did he give another stellar performance, but I learned that his family is actually from Russia.  I also learned that he disagreed with the way his character pronounced words with V’s with W’s, as he stated that people from Russia don’t actually speak that way.  Once again, his presence in the film as a teenage cadet with unmatched intelligence (unmatched by everyone except Spock, of course) was very memorable, and his performance shined through in the sequel as well.

Over the years, I saw Anton in other films, such as Only Lovers Left Alive, where he played a star struck confidant to a rock star/vampire and Terminator:  Salvation, where of course, he played young Kyle Reese. I enjoyed his performances in all the films I saw him in, even Fright Night (although the movie as a whole disappointed me).  He proved to be a very good character actor.  I wish there was more that I could say about him.  He was extremely gifted, and every one that worked with him has commented on what a sweet and funny guy he was.  However, he was taken from us way too soon.  We were only beginning to see what joy he could bring to the world, and now we’ll never be able to find out how far Anton’s career could’ve taken him.  He’ll be sorely missed.

Anton Yelchin:  March 11, 1989 – June 19, 2016

—Written by Nadiya

Bad News…

I have some awful news, y’all.  Due to my issues with my cable company (mainly the prices), I’ve had to downgrade my cable, so I won’t be able to post any more recaps/reviews of “Outlander” or “Game of Thrones.”  I’m so sorry for disappointing you all; I’m disappointed myself.  I wanted to see the how the seasons for both shows would end.  Hopefully by next season, I’ll be able to get HBO and Starz back and I can go back to reacapping the episodes in their entirety.  Once again, I’m so sorry.

—Nadiya