The Kanye Situation

What’s up, y’all?  As I’m sure you all have heard by now, Kanye West has been in the media a lot lately due to his peculiar behavior.  First, he sent out a series of tweets showing his unwavering support for Donald Trump, which disappointed a lot of people.

Kanye's Donald Trump Tweet 3Kanye's Donald Trump Tweets 2Kanye's Donald Trump Tweets 4Kanye's Keep America Great TweetKanye's MAGA Hat Tweet 2Kanye's MAGA Hat Tweet

Then, Kanye released his single “Lift Yourself,” which upset and confused even more fans.  In case you’re not sure what song I’m referring to, that’s the “poopedy-scoop” track (that has to ring some bells).  However, what really had folks talking was the two interviews he did with Charlamagne Tha God and TMZ.  The Charlamagne interview was extremely interesting and left people understanding Kanye’s views just a bit…but then he had to do that damn TMZ interview.  The interview at the TMZ newsroom was a complete 180º from the one he and Charlamagne had.  Kanye was a lot more loud and manic, made a point of addressing everyone in the office, and even offered this now infamous quote:

“When you hear about slavery for 400 years—for 400 years?  That sound like a choice.  [chuckles]  Like, you was there for 400 years and there’s all of y’all?  Y’know like, it’s like we’re mentally imprisoned.”

Kanye - What the Fuck (Alt)

What Kanye uttered in that newsroom was more than just insulting.  It was dangerous.  Allow me to explain with a bit of a history lesson.  During the years of slavery, or the Antebellum era, there actually were revolts—an estimated 250.  In Dr. Samuel A. Cartwright’s book, Diseases and Peculiarities of the Negro Race, he referred to this phenomenon as “drapetomania,” which he described as a disease to cause slaves to run away.

Despite that there were some many slaves rebelling against being in bondage, the clear majority of the revolts were unsuccessful.  This can be chalked up to the fact that the slaves were lacking something that white men in this age had in spades:  money and power.  On top of that, many other slaves may have been afraid to rebel or at the very least join in the other revolts such as Nat Turner’s Rebellion or Gabriel’s Conspiracy due to the consequences they’d face if the masters stopped them.  As a matter of fact, Gabriel’s rebellion ended due to being betrayed by a slave named Pharaoh, who feared the masters’ wrath.  According to PBS.com, after Nat Turner’s Rebellion of 1831, 200 people were executed by white mobs, some of which had nothing to do with the revolt.  What’s worse is that after Nat Turner was executed, he was skinned, his body parts were made into souvenirs, and the rest of his remains were rendered into grease.  It appears the slaves only had two “choices”:  work or die.

Kanye Stares (Alt)

My homegirl and I were talking about Kanye’s declaration of slavery being a choice and agreed that he may have tried to convey that the slaves in America suffered from mental bondage.  This is true, to an extent.  As I just explained, many slaves were frightened of retribution from rebelling against their masters.  During the times of the Antebellum South, it was also believed that black people were mentally inferior to white people, and this mentality was drilled into slaves’ heads by people like Dr. Cartwright, and many others.  This is what’s commonly known as debasement, a crippling mentality that continues to affect the black community.

However, Kanye failed to elaborate on his point, and his statement basically sounded like slavery wasn’t a big deal, it could’ve ended at any time if black people back then wanted it to, and we shouldn’t be so hard pressed about it.  This statement was made during a time when black people are arrested for sitting in Starbucks or falling asleep in Yale residential halls, shot for walking in a strange neighborhood armed with nothing more than a bag of Skittles, and are looked upon as being “whiners” when they explain why Confederate memorabilia is offensive.  On the flip side, when Confederate memorabilia is removed, there’s protesters that claim the soldiers were “heroes.”

Kanye With Confederate Flag (Alt)

I understand that Kanye is all for “free thought” now, and I’m fine with that.  If he wants to be a Trump supporter, fine.  I don’t agree with that, for countless reasons, but that’s his right.  But if Kanye wants to think free, there must be some logic and reasoning behind the statements that he makes, or at the very least, he should find better ways to formulate his arguments.  Him saying slavery is a choice in the way he put it is dangerous because the wrong people hear what he’s saying and agree with him.  “If Kanye said it, it must be okay!  After all, he’s black!”

It fuels that disbelief that black people “whine” about anything detrimental that happens to them and/or they should just get over their ancestors being oppressed so long ago, because they enabled it, which in turn, lets the “Confederate heroes” off the hook for centuries of treating human beings like chattel.  Kanye, you have a platform whether you like it or not.  At the very least, you should use it wisely.  As my late grandmother always told me, “Think before you speak.”  Do better, Kanye.

Kanye Shrugs (Alt)

So what do you think about what Kanye said about slavery?  Do you think it was a conscious choice, or did the slaves have very little say so concerning their lives in the Antebellum South?  Do you believe Kanye was strictly talking about mental slavery?  Do you think he should’ve elaborated more on his statement?  Let me know in the comments section!

All the Times Earn Took an L During ‘Robbin Season’ and the Reasons Why

Hey, y’all!  As I stated in one of my previous posts, I’ve become a huge Childish Gambino fan (by the way, have y’all seen the “This Is America” video?  Check that bad boy out!), and as a result, I’ve also converted into a huge fan of Donald Glover’s series, AtlantaAtlanta is one of the funniest, most insightful and satirical comedies on television since The Boondocks aired.  There’s episodes that are completely slapstick, there’s episodes that are dark, and there’s even some episodes that have a combination of the two, but all of them give your brain a nice workout.

Atlanta - Stay Woke (Alt)

One of the most intriguing things about the show is the main character, Earnest “Earn” Marks, played by Donald Glover himself.  Earn isn’t intriguing because he’s the funniest character or the breakout star (those titles would go to Darius and Alfred aka Paper Boi).  Hell, this season he largely was MIA for about four or five episodes.  Earn is intriguing because despite being an intelligent man, he always sabotages himself due to his dumbass decisions.

When we’re first introduced to Earn in season one, we learn he had the chance to be a Princeton graduate…but he dropped out.  That turned to be the first of many stupid decisions he made, considering that we also learn that Earn is practically homeless and living off a non-existent commission from his dead end job.  To top it off, he has a toddler-aged daughter depending on him.  He initiates himself as Al’s manager, and although Earn succeeds in getting Al more exposure, in the long run he still continues to lose.  Earn’s had such hard luck during the “Robbin’ Season” someone made this meme:

Earn with an L

After watching the “North of the Border” episode (and witnessing Earn not taking responsibility for his actions) I decided to chronicle all the times Earn took an L this season, and why he took those losses.

“Alligator Man” – Earn Stays Homeless

Atlanta - Earn and Darius (Alt)

In the second season premiere, Earn is living in a storage facility unit, and before the episode can get off the ground, he’s basically “evicted.”  Earn wants to ask Alfred if he can stay with him, but he hesitates, and is later sidetracked with carrying out a favor to Alfred concerning his and Earn’s Uncle Willy (which was crazy within itself).  Long story short, Earn finally decides to build up the nerve to ask Alfred if he can stay with him a few days, but Tracy, Al’s trifling ex-con homeboy, already beat him to it.  If Earn didn’t allow his pride to get in the way and asked Al upfront if he could stay there, he probably would’ve had a place to lay his head.  Thankfully, he had another option…for the moment.  Sadly enough, this was the smallest loss he suffered all season.

“Sportin’ Waves” – Earn Squanders His Money

Donald Glover - Money (Alt)

Darius pays Earn $4,000 from a dog breeding investment he previously participated in a few months earlier (for further information on that check out “The Streisand Effect” episode from season one).  Now, as I mentioned before, Earn is broke and homeless.  The smart thing to do would’ve been to give some money to Van and Lottie (his girlfriend/baby mama and daughter, respectively) and open a checking and savings account.  However, this is Atlanta, and this is Earn.

Tracy tells Earn that he can invest the $4,000 in a gift card scam and spend up all his money at the mall.  At first Earn is reluctant—as he should be—but the thought of going on a spending spree is too tempting and Earn relents.  Of course, nothing goes as planned.  Not only does Tracy risk he and Earn getting arrested by shoplifting pairs of shoes from the mall, but the second Earn uses the janky gift card, it’s flagged, leaving him with 10 to 15 minutes to continue using it.  Worst of all, Tracy leaves Earn at the mall to get to his job interview, causing Earn to have to ride back home (wherever “home” is that particular night) on the bus with his arms full of merchandise, some of which he lost in transit.  That’s an L if ever there was one.

“Money Bag Shawty” – Earn Is Outright Disrespected

Atlanta - Not Happy (Alt)

“Money Bag Shawty” showcases the first time Earn taking an L wasn’t entirely his fault.  Earn is finally seeing some serious money coming his way now that Al’s single has gone gold and streaming services are paying commissions.  After Earn and Van reflect on how they’ve gotten nothing but insults lately (hours before receiving the check, an eager Paper Boi fan looking for a come up cussed Earn out, not realizing that he’s actually Al’s manager), they decide that they’re going to take the money and spend a night on the town.  The stunted will be the stunnas.  Earn soon learned that he’s not a #1 stunna.

First Earn and Van go to the movies.  The clerk refuses to accept a C note from Earn, although she has no issues taking a $100 bill from a white cop.  Then, they go to a hookah bar.  The owner, who is African, swears up and down the bill is counterfeit and demands that Earn leaves…but not before paying the $20.00 charge for entering the club.  Next, they hit the strip club, and Earn is finessed for nearly every dollar he has.  Now, here’s where Earn must take personal responsibility for this L.  When Earn and Van decide to call it a night, they see Michael Vick racing people for money in the parking lot.  Earn foolishly decides to race against him, in one last attempt to regain some dignity.  He loses.  Yet another stupid decision.

“Helen” – Earn Loses His Woman

Atlanta - Van and Earn (Alt)

Van, who is half black and half German, decides to bring Earn to an Ocktoberfest party in Helen, GA.  At first, Earn is excited to go to the festival, but he soon feels out of place, and isn’t really enjoying the celebration.  Instead of just sucking it up and doing something Van enjoys for a change, Earn sulks the entire time and makes very little effort to spend any time with her.  Earn’s behavior (along with some shady comments her childhood friend makes) causes Van to reevaluate their relationship.  When Van tells Earn that she doesn’t want to be an accessory that’s just around for Earn to screw, Earn admits that he doesn’t know what he wants, but he’s happy with their “arrangement.”  *Sigh*  A la Love and Basketball, Van challenges Earn to a ping pong game for her heart.  Earn loses, in every sense of the word.

“North of the Border” – Earn Loses It All

Atlanta - Earn Gets His Ass Whupped (Alt)

After going through a four episode hiatus, Earn returns for “North of the Border” with an appearance that lasts more than five seconds.  Sadly enough, this is also the episode that irked me to my soul so much that it inspired me to make this post.  Earn, Al and Darius are going to show at a college in Statesboro, GA.  Instead of Earn booking a hotel room for them like he should’ve done, he decides it’s a better idea for them to shack up with a co-ed Instagram model that’s obsessed with Al’s Paper Boi persona.  When the men arrive at her apartment, it’s clear the young lady is unbalanced.  After the show, the girl throws a drink on Al simply for acknowledging other female fans on campus.  Tracy, who insisted on coming along and was made a “security guard” for the trip (that’s not actually on Earn; that’s Al’s fault), pushes the girl down the stairs, which causes her brother and his friends to come after the men.  Oh yeah, and she slaps the shit out of Earn, although he was the one that caught her when she fell, saving her from injury and/or death.

Atlanta - Earn Gets Slapped (Alt)

After the fellas are chased through campus and find refuge in a bizarre fraternity (complete with guns, confederate flags and naked pledges dancing to “Laffy Taffy”), Al basically informs Earn that he’s over his shit and he’s fired (Al had his own come to Jesus moment about furthering his career during the “Woods” episode).  Earn only sees Tracy’s hand in all the trouble they’ve been through, not his own.  To make matters worse, the next morning the guys find their car broken into, their clothes sitting on the lawn—and destroyed—and many of their items stolen, including Earn’s laptop.  On the way back home, Tracy refuses to shut the hell up about what happened, and after he reveals that he stole one of the antique guns from the frat (and points it at Earn), Earn’s so pissed off that he makes yet again another stupid ass decision:  he wants to fight Tracy.

Tracy is a physically large, ratchet ex-con fresh out of prison.  Earn is small and wiry, and couldn’t bust a grape in a fruit fight.  It’s possible Earn decides to stand up to Tracy to make up for all the times he’s been disrespected and said next to nothing, or maybe he does it to try to reclaim a shred of self-respect.  Either way, good didn’t prevail and the nerd didn’t beat the class bully.  Once again, this is Atlanta, and this is Earn.  He gets his ass royally whupped by Tracy, and is forced to ride back home with the man that just physically decimated him (and I heard that the drive from Statesboro to Atlanta is three hours long!).  In one foul swoop, Earn loses his job, his clothes, his laptop, and his pride, all because he was too cheap to book a damn room at the Ramada.  SMH.

“FUBU” – Little Earn Is Clowned for His (Possibly) Fake FUBU Shirt

Atlanta - Same Shirt (Alt)

This is the second time Earn took an L due to circumstances.  Circa ’97 or ’98, when Earn was in middle school and independent designer clothing line FUBU (short for For Us By Us for all you youngins) ruled the world, Earn comes across a FUBU shirt for sale in Marshall’s.  His mother buys it for him and Earn can’t wait to go to school the next day to stunt.  Unfortunately for Earn, a young man named Devon comes to school that morning with a very similar shirt.  The only difference is that Devon’s shirt has a patch with the FUBU logo, whereas Earn’s has no patch, and more stripes on the sleeves.  The kids in Earn’s class figure that one of them is wearing a fake shirt.  Earn’s dilemma escalates when he accidentally tears a hole in the shirt.

Earn spends the rest of the day hiding the shirt, as the teasing has gotten worse as time passes.  Young Al advises Earn to just be confident and declare the shirt is authentic, but confidence isn’t exactly Earn’s forte.  Devon has to deal with being teased throughout the day too, and by time school ends, the resident “fashion expert” declares that Earn’s shirt is fake.  However, Al comes to save the day (as usual) and refutes the “expert’s” opinion,  announcing that Devon has the fake shirt.  Earn finally has a W, and Devon goes on to be mercilessly teased.  Unfortunately, the win is short lived.  Earn learns the next morning that Devon committed suicide the night before.  He was having issues at home due to his parents’ divorce and the teasing about his shirt pushed him over the edge.

Once again, I don’t blame Earn for taking this L, simply because he was a child behaving as a child, responding to cultural norms outside of his control.  Even Earn’s mother and aunt stress to him how important it is for a black man to be fashionable in society by the end of the episode.  She even goes out and buys him another FUBU shirt, although this time, Earn’s less than enthuasiastic about it.  Real talk, I don’t think either shirt was fake.  I used to see fake FUBU shirts all the time at discount stores and flea markets, but they always had a different brand name/logo listed (i.e.:  a “PB” logo instead of the real “FB” one).  Placing the actual FUBU brand on the clothing would’ve been copyright infringement.  As for the shirt tearing, I know for a fact that most designer brands used cheap materials for their goods.  When I was teenager, I loved wearing designer men’s watches, and during my junior and senior year of high school, I had a Calvin Klein watch and a FUBU watch, respectively.  Both watches fell apart by the end of the fall semester.

Tomorrow night (May 10, 2018), Atlanta’s season finale will air.  In the previews I noticed Earn being serious about his business, and taking more time with his daughter.  Maybe, just maybe, Earn will finally grow up, be the man that we all know he can be, and actually gain a W.

Then again, this is Atlanta, and this is Earn.

Donald Glover - Backing Away (Alt)

The Atlanta season finale airs on FX, Thursday night at 10:00 PM.  The previous season can be purchased at VUDU.com, and the current season can be viewed at fxnetworks.com.

—Written by Nadiya

What do y’all think?  Do you believe Earn’s bad luck is mostly on him, or are other cirumstances to blame for his misfortune?  Will Earn finally show some maturity and growth for the season finale, or will he continue to be immature and make stupid decisions?  Let me know in the comments section!

April 2018: One Damn Crazy Month!

Hey, y’all!  Another month in 2018 has come and gone (man, this year is flying by!).  This past April was so crazy, I didn’t really have a chance to report on everything that went on, considering that a lot of things were happening back to back.  With that being said, I decided to create an “April in review” post to revisit some of the previous month’s biggest events.  Let’s get this party started!

Black Panther Surpasses Titanic as the Third Biggest Box Office Smash

Black Panther (Alt)

Black Panther was one of the most anticipated movies of 2018 (not to mention one of the best), and the box office numbers reflected that.  When the film was released this  February, it made $370.5 M globally.  By April, the movie grossed $1.3 billion, surpassing Titanic as the third highest grossing film in North America, behind Star Wars:  The Force Awakens and Avatar.  The movie’s success was well deserved.  For those of y’all that haven’t seen Black Panther yet, you’re definitely missing out (plus, it’s best to watch Black Panther before you see Avengers:  Infinity War, considering there’s a connection between the two films, of course).  The movie will be released Blu-Ray/DVD on May 8th.  Go out and buy that bad boy!

Cardi B Drops Invasion of Privacy and Reveals Her Pregnancy All While Breaking Beyoncé’s Record!

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Speaking of topping records, I have to mention Cardi B’s accomplishments in April.  From the time this year started, most people wanted two things confirmed:  the date Cardi would release her full-length album and whether or not she was pregnant.  All Cardi’s fans got their wish.  On April 5, 2018, Cardi released her debut album, Invasion of Privacy, which received mostly critical acclaim from critics and audiences.  I enjoyed the album immensely myself (yeah, I’m warming up to new school Hip Hop).  Two days after the album release, Cardi finally settled the rumors about her being pregnant by showing her big belly during her live performance of “Be Careful” on SNL.  If all that wasn’t enough, Cardi soon shattered Beyoncé’s record of having the most songs featured on the Billboard Top 100 chart simultaneously.  Good ‘head, Cardi, and congrats on the new baby!

J. Cole Releases His KOD Album

J. Cole

On April 20, 2018, J. Cole released his long-awaited album, KOD (short for “Kids on Drugs,” “King Overdosed” and/or “Kill Our Demons”).  KOD debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 100 chart after earning 397,000 units, making this album his fifth consecutive No. 1 debut.  So far, I’ve listened to the tracks “ATM,” “Kevin’s Heart,” and “1985 (Intro to “The Fall Off”)”, and I’m lovin’ them.  I heard a small portion of J. Cole’s work before, but this is the first time I really listened to his music, and I’m impressed.  J. Cole, thanks for making some bangers to add to my Apple Music collection!

Kendrick Lamar Won a Pulitzer Prize for DAMN.!

Kendrick Lamar

Out of everyone listed in this post, Kendrick Lamar had to be the person that had the best month (and/or possibly the best year) ever.  On April 16, 2018, Kendrick won the Pulitzer Prize for Music for his album DAMNBeforehand, only jazz and classical albums won the coveted award.  I have to say, I couldn’t be prouder of Kendrick.  Earning a Pulitzer was a great win for him and Hip Hop.  Of course, certain folks had to bring up Grammy night—again—and how he was robbed of the Album of the Year award, and that the Grammys ain’t shit, etc.  Look, the Pulitzer is a lot more prestigious than the Album of the Year Grammy anyway.  The jury takes their job with the awarding the Pulitzer so seriously, that there’s even been a few years that they didn’t grant the award to anyone.  So, kudos to Kendrick and the folks still butthurt over Grammy night can shut the hell up forever.

Bill Cosby Was Found Guilty of Sexual Assault

Jury Finds Bill Cosby Guilty In Retrial

This has to be the saddest piece of news that occurred last month.  On April 24, 2018, Bill Cosby was found guilty on all three counts of sexual misconduct and may face up to 10 years in prison.  I honestly didn’t believe Bill would even be indicted, given the history of powerful men usually escaping any type of jail time in criminal cases.  Camille Cosby, Bill’s wife, recently came forward and accused the district attorney’s office of committing “mob justice,” and likened Bill’s trial to that of Emmett Till.  I wouldn’t go quite that far, Mrs. Cosby.

I still find it hard to believe that Bill Cosby even committed these crimes.  I’m not saying he’s innocent; too many women have come forward, all different races and ages, all echoing pretty much the same stories, much like Harvey Weinstein’s case.  I find it hard to believe because this was the same Bill Cosby I grew up on.  The same Bill Cosby that created Fat Albert and A Different World.  The same Bill Cosby I used to watch every Thursday night on The Cosby Show and each afternoon on Nickelodeon doing his Picture Pages segment.  The same Bill Cosby I saw on Jell-O commercials.  The same Bill Cosby that donated millions to HBCU’s.  It’s the same Bill Cosby that spoke at my late grandmother’s 50th anniversary of her college graduation.  It’s a shame that a man that built up a 50+ year legacy destroyed it all in the most shameful manner possible.

—Written by Nadiya

EDIT:  Black Panther will be released digitally on May 8th, and on Blu-Ray/DVD on May 15th.  Either way, go purchase a copy!

What do you think the biggest moment of April 2018 was?  What do you think about the moments I listed?  Were they eventful, or ho-hum?  Let me know in the comments section!