Aretha Franklin: 1942 – 2018

To this very day, I remember the first time I ever heard Aretha Franklin sing.  It was sometime in the 1980’s, when I just a “little dot,” as my mom used to call me.  When I was around 4 or 5 years old, my mom and I had a routine on Saturdays:  I’d get up early to watch Mr. Knozit (my people from South Carolina know about him) and my morning cartoons, and when Mom finally woke up, we’d watch MTV, American Bandstand, Solid Gold and later that night, Soul Train (I’m showing my age again).  During one of our MTV binges—back when MTV played nothing but music videos—“Freeway of Love” came on.  I had to ask my mom who the lady with the phenomenal voice was, and she told me it was Aretha Franklin, The Queen of Soul.  I loved the song and jammed to it every time I heard it.  To this day, it remains one of my faves of hers.

After I heard “Freeway of Love” as a pre-schooler, Aretha’s music became part of the great soundtrack of my life.  I would listen to classics that were made long before I came into existence like “Ain’t No Way,” “Until You Come Back To Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do),” “(You Make Me Feel) Like a Natural Woman,” and of course, “Respect.”  As I grew up, Aretha continued to make more music for my generation like “Ever Changing Times,” “Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves,” “I Knew You Were Waiting For Me,” and “A Rose Is Still a Rose” (I don’t know anyone my age that doesn’t love that song).

Aretha (Alt)

Then there was President Obama’s inauguration in 2009.  I was so proud to see Re-Re up there singing “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” with her church hat.  I remember how everyone commented on that hat, but being a southern girl, I knew the significance of it.  Ladies like Aretha that were around back in the day and were raised in the church always had to look good, and the hats had to be on fleek.  After she passed, I learned something new about Ms. Franklin:  she was heavily involved in the Civil Rights Movement.  In a tribute article written about her in The Atlantic, the author spoke on how she toured with Harry Belafonte and Sidney Poiter to raise money for Dr. King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and she supported The Black Panthers (who were NOT a hate group and/or terrorist organization as many would have you believe).  She even tried to post bail to get Angela Davis out of jail.  “Respect” was not only considered a song of women’s empowerment, it also became an anthem for black people living in the civil rights era, asking to have their respect as human beings.

Aretha - Inauguration (Alt)

All in all, Aretha Franklin was a great lady with a great voice and a great spirit.  She influenced so many artists—peers and successors alike—and she provided great music and memories for so many people during the last five or so decades.  She was really the Queen of Soul, and she’ll be greatly missed.  At the risk of sounding cliched, the world is definitely a more drab place without her.  Rest in power, Ms. Franklin.

Aretha - Freeway of Love (Alt)

Aretha Louise Franklin:  March 25, 1942 – August 16, 2018

—Written by Nadiya

Joe Jackson: 1928 – 2018

Hey, y’all.  I know I’m late as all get out writing this, but I really wanted to publish this piece on the late Joe Jackson.  I call it a piece, because it may be a bit hypocritical to consider it a tribute.  You see, growing up, Joe Jackson wasn’t my favorite person.  I didn’t care for the way he treated his sons, especially Michael.  Mike never could stand Joe’s teasing of his physical appearance, or how hard Joe worked them as children, thus leading Michael to not having a true childhood.  Everyone knows how those aspects affected Michael in his later life.  I remember LL Cool J once likened how we react to the difficulties we face in life to how a lump of coal reacts to the pressures of the Earth.  We can either become a diamond, or we can crumble.  It’s safe to say that although Mike shined like a diamond, he eventually crumbled like coal.

Mike and Joe (Alt)

However, I have to say this…even though Joe may have been too hard on his children, they were never arrested (not while they were still living with him, that is), they grew up to be respectable and to have a strong work ethic.  Not only that, but without Joe Jackson, we would have never had The Jackson 5, The Jacksons, Michael or Janet Jackson, in every respect.

Joe and Family (Alt)

Joe’s strict disciplinarian methods could be ugly at times, but in the same vein, they led to something beautiful.  If he hadn’t pushed his kids to be the absolute best they could be, we never would’ve experienced the music that shaped our lives.  No Off the Wall, no Control, no Triumph, no ABC, no Rhythm Nation 1814…no Thriller.  I can’t even imagine growing up without the Thriller album.  If Joe hadn’t pushed his children, they’d probably be sitting in Gary, Indiana at this very minute, living in poverty and lost to the local steel mill.  So, I thank Joe Jackson for making his children reach their full potential and enriching our lives in the process.  Without him, we may not have ever had Usher, Ne-Yo, or Bruno Mars.  My heart goes out to his wife, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.  God bless them all.

Joseph Walter Jackson:  July 26, 1928 – June 27, 2018

—Written by Nadiya

I’m Upset…That Drake Never Responded To Pusha T!

So…when I was getting ready for work this past Wednesday (June 13, 2018), I noticed that Drake released the official video for his “I’m Upset” single.  I checked it out, considering that this is the most we’ve heard from Drizzy since Pusha T basically decimated him in “The Story of Adidon” freestyle (sorry y’all, I have to call a spade a spade).  The song itself isn’t bad—it’s growin’ on me—but it isn’t as great as the “Duppy Freestyle,” either.

Drake In a Suit 3 (Alt)

The video was cute—I liked how Drake had most of his co-stars from Degrassi – The Next Generation featured on it.  I barely watched the show back in the day, so I wasn’t filled with nostalgia and getting all psyched when I saw the cast together again (that’ll happen if there’s ever a video featuring the original Beverly Hills, 90210 and/or Dawson’s Creek cast.  I know, I’m showing my age again), but I loved that Drake showed his old castmates love (I did geek out with the Jay and Silent Bob appearance, though).  Even though it was nice to hear from Drake again, I wasn’t all that happy.  If anything, I was upset.  I was upset that Drake hasn’t responded to Pusha T, and may not ever do so.

Drake - Shrug Dance (Alt)

When Drake released the “Duppy Freestyle,” I loved the song, even though I knew next to nothing about Drake and Pusha T’s beef.  Once I learned the history behind it, the freestyle held even more significance and I loved it even more.  By the way, I still can’t believe this beef has been ongoing for damn near 10 years behind some damn BAPE.  Click here to learn the history behind the Drake and Pusha T’s feud, for those of y’all that are curious about what it stemmed from.

Then, Pusha released his “The Story of Adidon” freestyle and completely murdered Drake (once again, I’m sorry, Drake fans!) like he was channeling his inner Tupac.  Not only that, he even went so far as to dig up dirt on Drake, mentioning his “secret” baby mama (Lovelyti actually spilled that tea last year; the only thing that surprised me is that it appears the baby may actually be Drake’s after all), mentioning how Drake’s dad was a deadbeat—and how Drake himself my be perpetuating the cycle—and of course, the blackface photo.

Drake In Blackface

By the way, I believe Drake’s story about how this photoshoot was created not to make fun of black people, but as an artistic statement to show how black actors are expected to behave in Hollywood (as you can clearly see above, he shot a photo with the standard minstrel smile, and another with a melancholic look), but man…it looks damn bad.  Not only that, but ever since I watched the film Bamboozled back in the day, blackface creeps me out on top of offending me.  Yikes.

After Drake was decimated, I was so psyched—not that Drake was losing the battle, but that there was such a fierce battle going on in the first place.  I haven’t seen a Hip Hop battle this exciting since Jay-Z and Nas went head to head back in the early 2000’s.  Everyone was talking about this feud, and we all waited on pins and needles for Drake’s response.

But we never got one.

Drake - Frustrated (Alt)

What really irks me about this situation is that apparently, Drake recorded a diss track to answer Pusha T, but his mentor J. Prince wouldn’t let him release it, stating the disses Drake had for Pusha and Kanye were “beyond music.”  *Sigh*  J. Prince, this is doggone Hip Hop.  Plus, Drake isn’t a rah-rah type dude, so I doubt this beef would’ve reached actual Tupac and Biggie proportions.  You should’ve let him release the doggone song.  Instead, we got the video to “I’m Upset.”  And for those of y’all that believe that “I’m Upset” is actually a response to Pusha, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s not.  He actually recorded this song before the whole beef was even reignited.  It’s simply ironic that the title happens to refer to a man that’s frustrated about his baby mama.  Once again, the song was cool, and it was nice to see Drake with the majority of his former castmates (some of them got left out), but I would’ve rather heard another reply to this epic battle.

On a good note, Drake was lookin’ good in that suit in the “I’m Upset” video.  Damn good.

Drake In a Suit 2 (Alt)

—Written by Nadiya

So what do y’all think?  Did you want Drake to have an equally fire comeback for Pusha T, or are you glad he didn’t have a counter to Pusha’s “The Story of Adidnon”?  What did you think about the “I’m Upset” song and video?  Did you like it?  Would you have rather heard the diss track instead?  Were you a fan of Degrassi:  The Next Generation?  Were you happy to see Drake and the other actors from the show?  Also, what do you think about Drake’s alleged baby mama drama and his pic in blackface?  Let me know in the comments section!

All Aboard the Cardi B Hate Train!

Well, well…it seems to me that 2018 is officially the year of the haters.  First, Bruno Mars had his own little hate train, and now it’s Cardi B’s turn to have one, and everyone’s jumpin’ on board.  I can’t help but wonder if the haters are gonna react to Bruno and Cardi’s tour later this year.  Lord knows they’ve given them enough hell.

Cardi B - I'll Kill You For This (Alt).gif

So how did Cardi’s hate train start catching steam and easin’ on down the railroad?  To be honest, it’s been a long time coming.  I just became a fan of Cardi’s last year when “Bodak Yellow” was released (I don’t watch Love and Hip Hop; sorry, y’all), and I noticed she had a few detractors then.  However, things really started to go left sometime last month.

Azealia Banks

Azealia Banks (Alt)

The hate train really started to go into motion when Ms. Azealia Banks appeared on The Breakfast Club circa mid-May.  Initially, Azealia didn’t seem to have too much of a problem with Cardi.  There’s been some old tweets she posted admitting that Cardi was one of her favorite rappers, and she was even caught on camera dancing to “Bodak Yellow” when it was first released.  However, when Cardi blew up, all that changed.  Azealia went out of her way to slam her, and during her Breakfast Club interview, she even went as far as to say that Cardi was an “illiterate, untalented rat” and a “caricature of black women.”  I find it interesting that Azealia finds Cardi so offensive to black women now when she herself has slammed her fellow sisters multiple times, and before Cardi gained the fame she has, Azealia had no problem whatsoever with Cardi’s behavior.  Some back and forth arguments occurred between the two ladies on social media, and Cardi was so upset by the outcome she deleted her social media accounts, but only for a short time.

Lolita Beckford Dawkins aka “The Chick at the Mall”

Cardi B Fight (Alt)

Before the Azealia Banks situation, a visibly pregnant Cardi was shopping at a Las Vegas Mall and was approached by a huge fan—or so she said—by the name of Lolita Beckford Dawkins.  When Dawkins asked for a picture, Cardi refused, due to not feeling photogenic at the moment.  Dawkins quickly turned on her, and hollered out, “Fuck Cardi, you ain’t shit!”  This escalated into a heated argument and Cardi’s bodyguards had to get involved to prevent the situation from becoming physical.  Come on girl, this is a pregnant woman you wanna lay hands on.  Sadly enough, despite the fact that this incident occurred in late April, the video went viral in May, after the Azealia Banks interview.  SMH.

Nya Lee

Nya Lee

To be honest, this may not exactly be in the same category as the other cases I mentioned, but I feel like it’s still relevant.  Nya Lee, Cardi’s former Love & Hip Hop co-star, publicly mentioned that she didn’t like Cardi’s flow.  Cardi took the criticism personally and proceeded to drag Nya in her DM’s.  The two of them exchanged some pretty nasty comments to each other—Cardi even went so far as to talk trash about the neck scar Nya has as the result of an accident years ago—and Nya went on to make the DM’s public.  Cardi reactivated her social media account to give her opinion on the issue and to confront her haters and detractors yet again.

Shegossipz

Shegossipz (Alt)

Another person to ride the Cardi B hate train is blogger Shegosspiz, who took to her site and drug Cardi to filth concerning her record contract, her relationship with Offset, and her sister, Hennessey Carolina.  Cardi retaliated by going in on Shegossipz’s weight, and how she looked in a selfie she took while wearing lingerie.  Cardi also pointed out the fact that Shegossipz is in her mid 30’s and doesn’t have a man or kids (that made me feel bad, considering I’m in the same predicament), whereas she is 25, engaged, and expecting a baby.  People asked Cardi why she was even taking the time to respond to this woman, and Cardi emphatically stated that she doesn’t mind too much when people talk about her (riiiiight…), but she’ll always take up for her family and friends.

The Commenters at The Shade Room

The Shade Room (Alt)

Last but not least, according to my homegirl Empressive, another one of my favorite YouTubers, Cardi recently came across a post on The Shade Room of Hennessey Carolina in a Fashionova dress.  Although the post praised Hennessey in the dress (she slayed, by the way), some of the commenters weren’t as sweet.  I saw some of the comments myself, and a few of them called Cardi “Fraudi,” described Hennessey as annoying, etc.  Basic hate…real basic.  For the thousandth time, Cardi gave the haters attention they didn’t deserve, and provided a response that wasn’t even worth her time or effort in the Instagram post below:

Cardi's Instagram Post.png

The post has since been deleted.

Cardi B - Beef Forever (Alt)

Truth be told, all the hate that Cardi’s been getting lately is just completely uncalled for, especially the Azealia Banks issue, considering her past history with Cardi as well as other black women.  However, I’m really gonna need Cardi to follow the example of Beyoncé and our boy Bruno:  pay the haters dust.

Cardi, not only are you riding a gigantic wave of success right now, you’re one of the top female rappers in the game at the moment.  On top of everything else, you’re having a baby!  Right now, you should be one of the happiest people on Earth, and instead, you’re making yourself miserable responding to these haters.  In your condition, the last thing you need to do is stress yourself out, especially behind most of this foolishness.  In light of what just happened with Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, I’m really gonna need you to not sweat the small stuff, and trust me, this is all small stuff.  Look at it this way, when people hate on you, it basically means you’re doing something right.  As Steve Harvey says, “New level, new devil.”  Everyone was cool with Cardi when she was just a reality TV star, including Azealia Banks.  However, once Cardi solidified herself as a heavy hitter in Hip Hop, all of a sudden she was damaged goods.  For the most part, it’s pure jealousy.  The rest of it is people that are bored with their own lives and have nothing better to do than to tear someone down on the internet.

With that being said, you can’t stoop to these folks’ level.  They’re going to continue to say nasty things about you, your sister and your friends.  Just don’t pay them any attention and continue to do you.  To quote Steve Harvey again, “A dog can bark at the moon, but if the moon barks back, the dog becomes famous.”  Just think about it:  these people are mainly in the news right now because you responded to them.  Don’t even waste your energy.  Have your career, have your baby and live your best life.  Just a little advice from a thirty-something with no man and no kids.  😉😉

—Written by Nadiya

So what do think about this siutation with Cardi B’s hate train?  Do you think it’s well deserved, or are the haters way off base?  Should Cardi ignore the people hatin’ on her, or should she continue to respond?  Let me know in the comments section!

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!

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!

Cardi B 2 (Alt)

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!

Unsung Hero (Sort Of): Childish Gambino

My first introduction to Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino was July 3, 2015.  I remember the exact date because it was my 34th birthday (I know, I’m old).  I decided to spend my birthday at Myrtle Beach with my best friend (my mom) and since I missed all the Black Diamonds shows in Columbia, SC that year, I wanted to go to the theatre at Broadway at the Beach and watch Magic Mike XXL.  That’s when I saw Donald Glover.  He played a stripper named Andre, who wasn’t super buff like the other men but had a cute factor and a very pretty singing voice.  He left an impression on me with the way he used his voice and overall swag to make the women around him swoon, plus he reminded me of one of my current favorite TV characters…Jamal from Empire.  Little did I know that he had an actual singing career.

Donald Glover - Singing 2 (Alt)

Fast forward a year and a half later, I heard “Redbone” on the radio for the first time.  I loved the song upon my first listen.  Like many others, I thought it was a woman laying down the vocals, but I soon learned that it was Childish Gambino.  At first I figured that was the name of a group, but when my nerd senses kicked in and I decided to research the “group,” I found out it was none other than Donald Glover, the slender stripper that made me love the song “Marry You” long before I heard Bruno Mars’s original version.

After discovering who Childish Gambino really was, I gathered more information on him.  It turns out that he wasn’t just an actor turned rapper/singer, or vice versa, but he was also a comedian, a director, writer and producer.  “Redbone” continued to get heavy airplay on the radio stations, and I eventually uploaded it to my iPod (along with a kickass remix of Tupac’s “Hellrazor” set to the “Redbone” instrumental).  As time went by, I heard a few more songs in Childish Gambino’s catalog and enjoyed them.  However, I recently came across Watch Mojo’s “Top 10 Childish Gambino Songs” on YouTube while enjoying my morning breakfast, and I found myself drawn to the music.  I decided to check out the songs included on the list in their entirety, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Donald Glover - Singing 4 (Alt)

Childish Gambino has something that a lot of today’s Hip Hop is lacking: the stellar combination of nice beats, clever lyrics, and a smooth delivery.  What’s makes him even cooler is that his songs are musically unorthodox, yet they still manage to captivate the listener.  Lyrically, he reminds me a lot of Kanye West before he allowed his confidence to morph into arrogance.  With his combined talents of rapping, singing, and acting, he could also be considered a male version of Lauryn Hill.  Listening to Gambino’s music took me back to a time when listening to new Hip Hop music was enjoyable and it would leave me with an insatiable thirst for more when the record was finished.  It had me thinking:  Why wasn’t Childish Gambino more popular?

Donald Glover - I Don't Know (Alt)

Childish Gambino has seven mixtapes, two EP’s, three studio albums and a ton of singles.  The first mixtape, Sick Boi, was released circa 2008.  However, I didn’t know Childish Gambino existed until late 2016, eight years later.  I had only just learned who Donald Glover himself was a year and a half earlier.  Now, it’s arguable that I never heard of Childish Gambino because I don’t listen to Hip Hop quite as much as I did as a teenager, and don’t keep up with the new school artists as much (and I didn’t watch Community).  However, there’s a lot of new school artists that I heard about before I listened to their music—or, if I’m being honest, I heard of them but never listened to their music—such as Drake, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Kodak Black and Takeshi 6ix9ine (the last two belong in the latter category).  Childish Gambino didn’t get half the press coverage the aforementioned men received, and he’s just as talented.  I don’t recall Gambino ever really trending on Twitter (not counting the weekly trends for #AtlantaFX), unlike Kendrick and Drake, with the exception of Grammy night.  Don’t get me started on that subject.  I will say that it’s even clearer to me now why Childish Gambino was nominated for Album of the Year…that doesn’t mean that Bruno didn’t deserve his win, though.  I’ll leave it at that.  Sadly enough, after finally discovering what a fire MC/singer Childish Gambino truly is, I soon learned that he’s going to retire in the near future.

Donald Glover - My Emotions (Alt)

For this reason, I consider Childish Gambino to be an unsung hero (kind of).  Yeah, he’s been around for ages, and I’m late to the party as usual, but it can definitely be said that Gambino doesn’t have the same popularity as Fetty Wap, Lil’ Yachty, Big Sean and a dozen other new school rappers I can name—but I won’t because I don’t have the time and I can’t think of too many others—but he damn well deserves it.  Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino, I salute you.

Since we’re on the subject of Donald Glover, did anyone see the “Teddy Perkins” episode of Atlanta this past week?  It was creepy and unsettling.  I recommend you watch if you haven’t.  Dude’s a genius.  😉😉

Atlanta - Teddy Perkins (Alt)

—Written by Nadiya

So what do y’all think about Childish Gambino?  Do you like his music?  Do you think he’s an unsung hero (in a way)?  Or do you believe he gets the kudos he deserves?  Let me know in the comments section!