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!

Bruno Mars Gets Accused of Cultural Appropriation…Again

Hey, y’all.  As I’m sure you all know by now, a YouTube channel known as The Grapevine recently released a video discussing the topic of whether or not Bruno Mars is guilty of cultural appropriation.  Some of the panelists believed he was, some believed he wasn’t, and one of them mentioned that if Bruno died tomorrow, she’d be so ecstatic she’d bake a cake (if you know this woman’s name, you know it’s extremely ironic that she can accuse anyone of cultural appropriation).

Bruno - Really

I know you all are probably wondering what took me so long to write about this topic.  To be honest, when I found out that Bruno was accused of cultural appropriation for the umpteenth time, I became terrified, and I honestly believed it was Groundhog Day.  However, I soon realized that I wasn’t reliving the same day over and over again a la Bill Murray, and given how heavily the subject weighed on me, I decided to get off my rump and write about it.  The article itself is on ViralHare, and here’s the link:

Why Is Bruno Mars Being Attacked For Cultural Appropriation?

Enjoy!  Bye!

Bruno - Dafuq (Alt)

I think this will end up being the official GIF for this damn topic…

Then again, considering that Bruno usually pays his haters and detractors dust, this GIF could very well be the official “appropriating black culture accusation” GIF for him…

Bruno - IDGAF (Alt)

So what do y’all think about the whole Bruno Mars cultural appropriation situation (hey, that rhymes!)?  Do you think he really is appropriating black culture, or do think he’s just performing the music that he loves and simply appreciating black culture?  Let me know in the comment section (or at the ViralHare website)!

My 2018 Grammys Rant: Stop All the Doggone Bruno Hate!

Get comfortable.

Like most of the free world, I watched the 2018 Grammys on CBS this past Sunday night (Jan. 28, 2018), mainly to see my boo Bruno Mars perform and win the coveted statues.  I wasn’t disappointed.  Not only did Bruno kill his performance of “Finesse” with Cardi B.—I expected nothing less—but he managed to win every single category that he was nominated for, much to my happiness and excitement.  I was so proud to see him looking like Michael Jackson with his glittery jacket, aviator shades, and his arms full of Grammys.  Let me emphasize the phrase that he looked like Michael Jackson—I know some haters out there will twist my words around and claim I said that Bruno is the next Michael Jackson, or that he’s better than Mike.  *Eyeroll*

Bruno - Moonwalk (Alt).gif

However, most of the viewers out there weren’t nearly as happy as I was to see Bruno’s hard work pay off.  Oh no, the minute Bruno’s “That’s What I Like” single beat out Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s “Despacito” for Song of the Year, the Bruno hate became real.  By the time Bruno won Record of the Year and Album of the Year over Jay-Z and Kendrick Lamar, the hate was really real.  #BrunoMars was trending the majority of the night for all the wrong reasons.  It was mostly full of hateful tweets about how Bruno was an overrated artist, his music was cheap and generic (despite you fools jammin’ to it all last year), and that 24K Magic was the least critically acclaimed album nominated, and that 4:44 and DAMN. were vastly superior. How soon we forget…some of these same folks were givin’ Jigga the business when he confirmed on the 4:44 album that he cheated on Beyoncé.  Hell, some of them gave Kendrick the business for buying his little sister a brand new 2017 Toyota Camry as a graduation present.  Even the cultural appropriation bullshit made a comeback, and this time, folks eagerly jumped on the bandwagon.  Wow.

Bruno - Dafuq (Alt)

There’s even been articles from reputable news outlets putting Bruno down.  NPR stated that the academy took the “safe bet” voting on Bruno, which I’ll admit, is arguable, given the other artists nominated and the themes they touched on.  However, the statement still undermines Bruno’s skill and talent in my opinion, and that irks me.  Then, a writer for Billboard posted an article that just blows my mind.  Here’s an excerpt from it:

The problem for Bruno is that these are not necessarily the best times for a male pop artist with an endless history of unchecked success to still be succeeding so thoroughly, without making any obvious attempt to engage with the larger themes of the moment. Bruno’s acceptance speeches were hardly ungracious — he shouted out his fellow album of the year nominees for pushing him to be better, and went out of his way to name-check producers Babyface, Jam & Lewis and Teddy Riley, whose precedent 24K Magic would’ve been thoroughly impossible without. But there was no acknowledgment of the larger narratives at play that his wins were feeding into — the snubbing of hip-hop, of foreign-language artists, of women — and indeed, no real acknowledgment of the world outside his own career: his excitements and grievances were all personal and self-contained.

Now, according to this logic, being successful and actually enjoying your success is a bad thing, especially if you don’t mention politics—within your field of work or otherwise—during your acceptance speech (although Bruno’s never been the political type).  Not only that, but while giving the speech, Bruno only focused on his own career, which apparently made him seem like a villain, despite shouting out his influences in the business (all of whom are black, for those of y’all that love to call Bruno a “culture vulture”), and giving praise to the other nominees.  Never mind the fact that it was Bruno’s award, and he was simply relishing his moment.  Never mind the fact that Bruno has zero control over who the panel decides to vote for.  Damn you Bruno, you spoiled, selfish bastard.  *Sarcasm*

Bruno - I'm At the Grammys (Alt)

I haven’t seen hate this damn undeserved since Rock’s last return to the WWE.  Are Kendrick Lamar, Childish Gambino (aka Donald Glover), Lorde and Jay-Z deserving of the Grammy?  Hell, yeah.  DAMN., 4:44, and “Awaken, My Love!”  were all great albums (I haven’t had the pleasure of hearing Lorde’s Melodrama as of yet, but I do like her as an artist), all with tracks that had heavy rotation in my car during the previous year (by the way, I hated to see that Jigga and SZA were snubbed).  However, there was another album that had an even heavier rotation in my car last year…24K Magic.  Was Bruno just as deserving of the award?  Hell, yeah.  No, Bruno’s album didn’t speak on the politics we face as a society today, but as I said before, Bruno’s never been a political type of guy.  He always says that he makes his music for people to dance and have fun; no more, no less.  There’s nothing wrong with going either route.  Let’s not forget that Bruno has a variety of fans:  black and white, from 8 yrs. old to 80.  Did it ever occur to anyone that maybe that’s why he won every category he was nominated for?

Has Bruno paid his dues for the sweep he experienced last night?  Well, let’s see.  Bruno’s career started when he was 2 yrs. old.  Not 12, not 21, but 2 yrs. old.  In other words, the boy could barely talk, but he was literally on stage performing in shows.

Baby Bruno - Elvis.gif

He continued performing well into his teenage years, and when he graduated high school, he moved from Hawaii to California to make a name for himself.  Even after Bruno was dropped by Motown Records at the age of 18—yes, that Motown—Bruno kept working.  He wrote and produced songs, and kept performing until he made it big in 2010, 22 yrs. after he started.  Did I mention that Bruno also plays at least five instruments?  Yeah, those Grammys weren’t deserved at all.  *More sarcasm*

Bruno - This Is What The Fuck I Do (Alt)

As for the “cultural appropriation” nonsense, let’s just put this on the table now.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, some of my people are a little too fast and loose with that term.  Some people do deserve it (one of them was actually at the Grammys last night—and it wasn’t Bruno—but I didn’t hear a peep made against this particular person.  I’ll be nice and not name names once again.  I’ll let y’all figure it out), but sometimes black folks have the tendency to say that about anyone that isn’t black, yet loves and performs black music.

Bruno once stated that his biggest influences were Prince, Michael Jackson and James Brown.  His writing partner and best friend is Philip Lawrence, a black man.  There’s videos circulating on You Tube that show Bruno performing R&B songs as a teenager.  As I said earlier, Bruno was once signed with Motown.  The men that joined Bruno on stage to accept the awards for Song and Album of the Year were the production group The Stereotypes, who are mostly black.  The vast majority of The Hooligans (I’m referring to the actual band, not Bruno’s fanbase) are black.  Bruno stood on stage and gave props to the likes of Babyface, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, and as well as Teddy Riley.  Despite all that, folks are still talkin’ trash.  There was a person on Twitter who asked, “[Bruno] likes to party with black folks, but does he ever march for us?”  News flash:  this past summer, Bruno donated $1M to Flint, MI to assist with the water crisis.  Flint is a predominately black community.  Does that sound like someone that respects the culture, or a dude just trying to get over on black folks for his own personal gain?  Save the cultural appropriation title for people that actually deserve it.

Bruno - Hooligans

I know this rant is long as all hell, but I sincerely hate how people turned on Bruno on the drop of a damn dime simply for being recognized for his great work.  It took Bruno over a year to record 24K Magic, and Bruno’s still working his ass off touring.  He actually took time away from his world tour to be at the Grammys, just for all you haters to run your mouths.  I find it funny that Bruno’s album isn’t worth a damn now, but in late 2016 and all throughout 2017, everyone was bumpin’ it.  It’s even funnier that when Jenn M. Jackson, the writer that accused Bruno of cultural appropriation, made her little tweets dissin’ Bruno this past summer, Black Twitter drug her through the mud and filth.  Now Black Twitter’s turned on Bruno like sour milk, making the same accusations she did.   SMDH.

There is one good thing out of all of this nonsense.  True to form, Bruno is unbothered by the drama and is still walking on air over his big night.  Still yet, I wish that instead of these folks washing down their haters tots with Haterade, they’d drink a nice, tall glass of STFU.

Rant over.

Bruno - Why You Mad (Alt)

—Written by Nadiya

So what do you think about all the Bruno Mars hate?  Is it justified or not?  Did you like 24K Magic?  Did you think 4:44, DAMN., “Awaken, My Love!”; or Melodrama was better?  Do you think that Bruno is guilty of cultural appropriation, or you believe he’s just a dude that loves and respects black culture?  Leave me your thoughts in the comments section!

 

The WTF? Moments of 2017 – Part 3

Ice Cube - WTF 3

This WTF Ice Cube pic was meant to be ironic.

Okay, y’all.  Here’s the last installment of the WTF moments of 2017 (and most of the good moments are in this post)!  Enjoy!

Jay-Z Releases 4:44…and Promptly Gets Stung By the Beyhive

444 (Alt)

On June 30, 2017, Jay-Z released his critically acclaimed 4:44 album.  I’ve heard most of the tracks on the album, and I can say with all honesty that it’s pure fire.  As I stated earlier, the album was praised by critics and fans alike and has received numerous accolades, including at least three Grammy nominations.  However, there were some people that didn’t appreciate the album so much…the Beyhive.

As some of y’all may remember, I reviewed Beyoncé’s Lemonade album last year.  When it came down to the subject of infidelity on the record, I stated that there was a 50/50 chance that was Bey was speaking on happened in real life, or it could be just a topic she wanted to explore.  Well, when Jigga released 4:44, he confirmed on the title track, and the songs “Kill Jay-Z” and “Family Feud” that everything Beyoncé spoke about in Lemonade was true.  He really did cheat on her.  Some have even considered 4:44 to be a companion piece to Lemonade.  That really pissed the Beyhive off.  The minute they learned that Jigga was unfaithful to Beyoncé for the majority of their relationship (apparently he didn’t stop cheating on her until Blue Ivy was born), they went inFor nearly the entire afternoon on June 30th, the Beyhive dragged Jigga by the lips.  It was damn brutal.

They even started analyzing Beyoncé’s old tracks and stating that they were symbolic of all the pain she was going through (“Ring the Alarm” was one of the ones they mentioned if I remember correctly).  One Beyhive member even mentioned the song “All I Could Do Was Cry” as being representative of Beyoncé’s anguish.  I wanted to tell her that “All I Could Do Was Cry” was actually an Etta James cover Bey did for the film Cadillac Records, but my better judgment kicked in, and I left the subject alone (another fellow Beyhive member corrected her later).  The dust settled by the next day, and today, everyone’s psyched about the release of Jigga’s “Family Feud” video, namely because Bey and Blue Ivy are featured in it.

Lisa Bloom Is Everywhere!

Lisa Bloom (Alt)

If there was one person that had a good doggone year this year, it was Lisa Bloom.  Before 2017, I didn’t know much about Lisa.  I had only really heard about her famous mother, Gloria Allred (who’s also an attorney).  That all changed this year, Lord knows.  She represented damn near everyone:  Kathy Griffin, Quantasia Sharpton (one of Usher’s accusers; see Part 2 to learn more about her), Melissa Meeks (Jeremy Meeks’s aka “Felon Bae’s” ex-wife), Montia Sabbag (the woman caught with Kevin Hart), Blac Chyna and even Harvey Weinstein, who she later dropped as a client.  Good Lord!  Can’t say this lady isn’t makin’ her money!

The New Edition Story

the-new-edition-story-video-soul-2

Here’s another good WTF moment for 2017.  My very first post for the year (and for the longest time, the only post I had) was about how much I loved The New Edition Story.  I figured the movie would be good when I first heard about it, but when I actually watched it, I was blown away.  Viewing this miniseries the first of the year and noting how it gave BET its prestige back, let me know that 2017 was certainly starting off on the right foot (at least in respect to entertainment), aside from all the Chris Brown/Soulja Boy drama (that’s explained in Part 1).  Y’all can read my review for my in-depth analysis, but I’ll say that if you haven’t seen this film, or you’re one of the young millennials that don’t really know much about New Edition, you definitely wanna check this gem out.

Note:  I found out after writing my review for The New Edition Story that the altercation the boys had with Kurtis Blow was fabricated for entertainment purposes.  Sorry, Kurt!

Get Out Is One of the Biggest Blockbusters of the Year

Get Out (Alt)

The night I went to see Get Out, I decided to make a mother-daughter day of it, and let’s just say that everything went wrong…horribly wrong.  By the time we got to the theatre, I was physically and emotionally drained.  Then the film started, and my mood lifted.  Get Out was one of the most thought-provoking horror-comedy/thrillers I’ve ever seen, and I knew that all the hype the movie was getting was well deserved.

I was interested in seeing this film from the get go.  I remember my former editor tasking us to write a review about the teaser trailer circa Dec. 2016, but apparently, he was told to inform us “not to mention race in the review.”  After viewing the trailer, that request seemed asinine then, and it seems even more asinine now.  The entire movie revolves around race, with wealthy, yet aging white people having their consciousness placed in young black people because they buy into stereotypes of us being faster, stronger and more virile.  The theme struck a chord with a lot of people, black and white alike, and became a blockbuster film, as well as the most talked about movie of 2017, arguably.

What was even more shocking is that the film was directed and written by Jordan Peele, who we never even figured would make a movie this deep, given his strictly comedic background.  The easter eggs and symbolism in Get Out has been discussed so much, that Jordan even made a video breaking down the fan theories.  Not only that, but the film has made its way into the pop culture lexicon.  “The sunken place” is now the go-to phrase whenever describing the space some black folks seem to be in whenever they disrespect the culture.  I was so glad to see this movie get the love it deserves.  If you haven’t seen Get Out yet, you must’ve been sittin’ under a rock.  Get out and see it.  **Bad pun**

The World Welcomes Sir and Rumi Carter, Queen Beyoncé’s Twins

Beyonce's Baby Bump (Alt)

 

Before Jigga got drug by his lips for admittedly disrespecting his wife for years on end, the Beyhive rejoiced circa Feb. 2017 when Beyonce first announced that she was pregnant again, this time with twins.  Needless to say, when the now legendary Instagram post with Bey’s baby bump was first uploaded, the whole internet went ape.  For the next few months, all anyone could talk about was Beyoncé’s twins.  Would they be two girls, two boys or a girl and a boy?  If they were two girls, did that mean that they would team up with Blue and become a new generation of Destiny’s Child?  What would be the twins’ names?  On and on it went.  Then, sometime in June, Beyoncé had her babies.

Sir and Rumi with Beyonce (Alt)

The internet started going even more ape, begging to see photos of the twins and to learn their names.  Some of them even fawned over the fact that Bey had the twins in June, making them Geminis.  A few weeks later, Queen Bey posted her second legendary photo of herself and the babies and made their names public:  Sir and Rumi.  Personally, I would’ve gone another route, but these are Beyoncé’s kids; she can name them whatever she wants to.  Of course, whenever the media gets a glimpse of the babies, to this very day, everyone loses their shit.  That’s fine, though.  Bey seems happy and it looks like she and Jigga have worked things out, making their family stronger than ever.  Congrats to Beyoncé.

 

Harvey Weinstein and the #MeToo Movement

Harvey Weinstein and Me Too

For decades, Harvey Weinstein was considered one of the top film producers in the movie industry.  Weinstein was once the co-owner of the now-defunct Miramax Films and the current owner of The Weinstein Company, and he worked with industry legends such as Quentin Tarantino, Peter Jackson, and Robert Rodriguez.  However, Weinstein’s good name and prestige became irreparably damaged circa fall 2017.  Around that time, A-list actresses such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Asia Argento, Rose McGowan, and Ashley Judd alleged that they had all suffered some type of sexual harassment and/or assault from Weinstein.  Despite being a well-respected producer, rumors about Weinstein’s proclivities towards sexual misconduct had been going around Hollywood for years, but they were written off as just baseless lies or bad jokes.  When the victimized women came forward, people began to see the truth in the what they were saying, and Weinstein’s misdeeds became public knowledge in a major way.

Over time, nearly 82 women stated that Weinstein had either raped or sexually harassed them.  There was even an audio tape released of Weinstein aggressively coaxing Italian model Ambra Gutierrez to come to his hotel room.  After the women told their stories, the floodgates opened.  More victims, men and women, shed light on their own sexual assaults, but their own stories weren’t against Harvey Weinstein…they were against other big players in Hollywood.  Names of alleged rapists/sexual harassers have included Dustin Hoffman, Richard Dreyfuss, Charlie Sheen, Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K., Brett Ratner, Jeremy Piven, and Ben Affleck, just to name a few.  Other men outside of Hollywood were also accused of sexual assault such as Tavis Smiley, Warren Sapp, Charlie Rose, Russell Simmons and Matt Lauer.  The victims vary in gender and race, and they have ranged from Angelina Jolie to Terry Crews.  Corey Feldman, who’s been calling out Hollywood’s pedophilia for years and has admitted to being a victim himself, has recently decided to make a film exposing other industry people that have molested and raped young children.  Ironically enough, the interview Corey had about his upcoming film (which was the very one I linked) was with none other than Matt Lauer.

These admissions of being victimized have given power to the #MeToo movement, a crusade first started by Tarana Burke in 2006After Alyssa Milano encouraged other victims to say the phrase on Twitter, the campaign grew in size and reputation.  The silence breakers in the #MeToo movement were voted Time magazine’s 2017 Person of the Year.  More victims have made their stories public, no longer afraid of the ramifications of speaking up about the abuse they’ve endured.

Donald Trump Is Sworn In As the 45th President of the United States

Donald Trump (Alt)

Need I say more?

—Written by Nadiya

Okay, y’all.  That was the last part of my WTF series!  What did you consider the biggest WTF moment of 2017; good or bad?  Did you agree with any of the things I mentioned?  Would you add anything else?  Let me know in the comments section!

 

The WTF? Moments of 2017 – Part 2

Ice Cube - WTF 2 (Alt)

Alright, y’all.  Here’s part 2 of the top WTF moments of 2017, as promised!  Once again, get comfortable, because it’s pretty long!

Usher Lets It Burn…Literally

"Fences" New York Screening - Arrivals

If 2016 was the year of celebrity death, 2017 was definitely the year of sex scandals (more on them later).  Around the same time reports of R. Kelly’s sex cult were making headlines, court papers were leaked stating that Usher infected a young woman named Maya Fox-Davis with genital herpes.  To add insult to injury, the woman stated that she slept with Usher while he was married to Tameka Foster, and she even served as a bridesmaid in Usher and Tameka’s wedding.  Just ratchet.

More women—and one man—spoke up, also stating that they contracted the disease after having unprotected sex with Usher, who was not honest with them about his STD status.  The weirdest story, however, was when the last woman, Quantasia Sharpton, present her case…along with attorney Lisa Bloom.  Most folks couldn’t believe that Usher slept with Quantasia because she was nearly 400 lbs., but that’s not what really shocked me.  What surprised me was that although Quantasia was suing Usher, she wasn’t even one of the women he infected.  Yes, you read that correctly.  The girl tested negative for herpes, and still wanted to sue Usher for pain and suffering.  To make the case even stranger, it was later revealed that the girl never slept with Usher in the first place and that she’s actually a pathological liarDespite that, she’s still getting rewarded with an all-expense paid gastric bypass surgery.  Now, that’s what I call justice.  *Sarcasm*

Joe Budden’s Bad Attitude

Joe Budden (Alt)

For those of y’all that aren’t too sure who Joe Budden is, he’s the dude that made the song “Pump It Up” back in 2003.  It was featured in films such as 2 Fast 2 Furious and You Got Served (God, that movie was terrible), and you can hear it nowadays at sports functions along with Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll” (aka “The Hey Song”).  Today, Joe hosts—or used to host—the Hip-Hop oriented show Everday Struggle with DJ Akademics and Nadeska Alexis, and uh…he ain’t the most gracious host.  First, he had Lil’ Yachty on his show sometime around the spring, and good Lord, he was a grouch.  Yachty, who was 19 at the time of the interview, pretty much admitted that he was happy every day, and that he wasn’t 100% sure about what type of record deal he had.  Instead of calmly advising the young man that he should be more mindful of what type of contract he’s been signed to, and being glad that Yachty is enjoying life, Joe went in on him.  Black Twitter gave Joe hell for that.  I have to give Yachty props for being respectful for the entire episode.

Next, was the 2017 BET Awards.  The Everyday Struggle crew went down there to interview some of the nominees, and one of the groups they had to speak with was Migos.  When it was time for the interview to wrap up, Joe got frustrated and walked off from the group a few minutes early while Akademics was giving the group props before they went their separate ways.  In true Joe fashion, he had to leave the scene scruntching up his face and throwing his microphone down, implying he didn’t want to be bothered with the Hip-Hop trio.  A fight almost escalated behind that stunt, and Akademics had to try to calm things down.  What did Akademics get for his trouble?  Joe later went on his podcast, The Joe Budden Show, and called the man a pussy.  *Sigh*  Since then, Joe and Akademics have made up (or at least, they led us to believe they have), but Joe left Everyday Struggle on Dec. 19, citing “internal chaos.”  Migos went on to make a diss track about Joe called “Ice Tray,”  with lookalikes to playing the panel members of Everyday Struggle in the video.  They even have Lil’ Yachty spittin’ a verse in the song (he appears in the video as well).  Yachty recently informed TMZ that the song was all in good fun, and there was no ill will.

I have to admit, although Joe’s attitude is just…rude, he was pretty damn entertaining, and a lot of folks are saying that Everday Struggle won’t be the same without him.  I suggest checking out The Joe Budden Show, by the way.  Joe’s still entertaining on his podcast, but he’s also a lot more relaxed and has a much better sense of humor, despite the name calling.

George Zimmerman Threatens Jay-Z

Jay-Z and George Zimmerman

One thing about 2017, the ratchetness just keeps on happenin’.  Just recently, Jay-Z announced that he’ll be working on a documentary about Trayvon Martin and how he was killed.  George Zimmerman, the man that killed Trayvon (and was unfortunately acquitted of the crime), was none too happy about that.  He stated that he would beat Jigga, and that he knew how to “deal with people that fuck with [him].  [He’s] handled that since 2012.”  Basically, he’s bragging about killing Trayvon.

What an asshole.  I swear I can’t stand this dude.  Zimmerman even went so far as to say that if Jigga messed with his family in any way, “[he’d] feed him to the alligators.”  This stemmed from the production crew conducting interviews with Zimmerman’s parents.  Needless to say, black folks went in, namely Snoop Dogg.  Personally, I’d love to see Zimmerman try Jay-Z.  Yeah, Jigga didn’t fight back when Solange was whuppin’ on him, but I honestly believe that was because a) nine times out of ten, he was taught not to put his hands on women and b) he may have been feeling guilty considering that Solange was pounding on him because he was cheating on her big sis.  George Zimmerman, on the other hand, is an entirely different case.  He’s not a 112 lb. woman, and if he comes for Jay-Z, he’ll learn pretty fast that Jigga isn’t a 17 yr. old child innocently walking home armed with nothing more than a bag of Skittles.

All of Tyrese’s Cryin’, Whinin’ and Lyin’

Tyrese Crying

When I was growing up, the king of R&B whining was Keith Sweat, hands down.  Today, in 2017, his title has been usurped by none other than Black Ty aka Tyrese Gibson.  I know a lot of you are thinking that I’m being way too harsh, but honestly, I’d have a lot more compassion for Tyrese if his stories were more consistent and if he wasn’t hating on someone else’s blessings.  Sit tight.  This entry is the longest of all of them.

The Tyrese saga started around late fall, when Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was apparently in talks about starring in a Fast and Furious spinoff featuring Rock’s kickass character, Luke Hobbs.  Tyrese was against Rock having his own spinoff, as it would delay the release of Fast and Furious 9, because we really need another one of those movies ASAP.  *Sarcasm*  Tyrese texted Rock about not doing the film until he was blue in the face, and when the texts didn’t work, he went on to public Instagram and Twitter posts.  However, Rock took the smart road and decided to do the film, much to Tyrese’s chagrin.  Tyrese, who seems to have forgotten that Rock has his own light bill and mortgage to pay, as well as two girls to feed and another on the way, went all the way in on Rock on Instagram and Twitter.  Every other day, Tyrese posted some nonsense about Rock breaking the Fast Family apart, despite the fact that Vin Diesel himself congratulated Rock on his good fortune (not to mention that Vin realizes that Rock’s spinoff is good for everyone involved, as it expands the Fast and Furious universe).  Rock pretty much paid Tyrese dust, with the exception of a shady Instagram video he posted stating that “Big dogs eat and little cryin’ puppies stay on the porch.”

Tyrese later claimed that the real reason he wanted Rock to turn down the Hobbs movie was due to the fact that he couldn’t afford to have Fast and Furious 9 postponed because his ongoing custody battle for his daughter was breaking the bank.  However, Tyrese has a club, a private Benihana, as well as a private Starbucks in his backyard.  Did I fail to mention that he has a movie theatre in the backyard as well? He also has a private chef, multiple luxury cars (which he had no problem showing off to Rock during their one-sided beef) and life-sized Transformers figurines.  Sounds to me like Tyrese is doing what my mother calls “po’ mouthin’.”  He continued po’ mouthin’ on social media, and even broke down crying on a now infamous Facebook Live video because he couldn’t see his daughter and was running out of money because of his legal fees…or so he claimed. Rumor has it that he had an opportunity to see his daughter around this particular time, but he passed so he could jet off to Abu Dhabi for yet another trip to the Middle East (see Tyrese’s Instagram page, and you’ll notice that he’s taken these types of voyages countless times before).

Tyrese didn’t stop his nonsense there; oh, no.  He then claimed that Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith reached out to him and offered to give him $5M to assist with his legal fees. After Tyrese told that boldfaced lie on social media, Will and Jada let it be known immediately that they made no such offer.  By this time, Tyrese was being clowned by just about everyone for his antics.  He tried to do damage control on all the erratic posts and videos by saying that his unbalanced behavior was caused by medication that his psychiatrist currently prescribed him.  Now, I have a loved one with mental illness, and I can say with all honesty that the mood swings and irregular behavior make an appearance when the medicine runs out, not while taking it.  Now it’s true, everyone’s different, and everyone has a different reaction to psychiatric medication.  However, in Tyrese’s case, I’m not really buying it, not with all the stories he’s told this year.  He even lied about his wife being pregnant (and about her being black).  Sadly enough, he’s still immersed in drama.  He recently announced on a national radio show that he only married his first wife to keep her in the country, potentially allowing himself and his ex to be charged with marriage fraud.  Charlamagne Tha God jumped at the chance to give him a much-deserved Donkey of the Day after that bit of foolishness.

Whew!  That’s a lot of foolery in such a short amount of time!

BET Comes Back In a Major Way

BET (Alt)

When I was a small child, BET was a powerhouse TV network among the African-American community.  Everyone I knew tuned in to watch classic shows like Video Soul, Teen Summit, Rap City, 106 and Park, and BET Talk.  However, by the time I finished college, BET was looked upon as a joke with its lackluster production and the shortage of quality TV shows.  When other predominately black networks began popping up like TV One and Centric (which, ironically enough, is a BET sister channel, but it still gave the original network a run for its money), BET pretty much paled in comparison.  In 2017 though, BET decided to play no games.

First, they released The New Edition Story, a three-part miniseries that featured great production, excellent cinematography, and even better acting.  The miniseries introduced New Edition to a new audience and pushed BET back to the forefront.  BET didn’t stop there.  They premiered other great movies and TV shows like Tales, The Quad, Rebel, Madiba, and The Comedy Get Down.  Combined with the already critically acclaimed series Being Mary Jane and The Real Husbands of Hollywood, along with killer award shows like the BET Awards, Black Girls Rock! and the Soul Train Music Awards, BET has arguably claimed its position as the #1 African-American network once again.  Congrats to BET for being one of the few good WTF moments of 2017.

All the Rob Kardashian and Blac Chyna Drama!

Rob Kardashian and Blac Chyna (Broken)

As y’all may remember, Rob Kardashian fell head over heels in love with Blac Chyna sometime in early 2016 and she soon became pregnant with his child.  By the time their daughter Dream was born and Christmas rolled around a few weeks after her birth, Chyna showed her true colors and dumped Rob like a bad habit, confirming what we all pretty much figured about their relationship.  Apparently, in 2017, Rob and Chyna tried to “work things out,” or at the very least, attempt to co-exist, but that didn’t go very well.  Chyna was havin’ her little fun on the side and she eventually let Rob know that there was no chance in hell of them officially getting back together.  This time, ol’ boy didn’t go quietly.  Rob spent the better part of that fateful July day posting all kinds of videos and photos of Chyna, and spillin’ all kinds of tea.  Everything from allegations of Chyna using drugs around their daughter to revenge porn was exposed.  When Rob’s Instagram account was closed due to all the lewd content he posted, he just moseyed on over to Twitter and continued to put Chyna on blast. Rob and Blac Chyna were trending all day, and I was right there, watching all the craziness unfold.  Here’s a few of the posts that are slightly suitable for work and children (well, maybe not children):

Rob Post 2

Rob Post 3 (Alt)

Rob Post 1 (Alt)

Rob Post 4 (Alt)

The drama didn’t end there.  Chyna decided to fight back the best way possible:  litigation.  She called the one and only Lisa Bloom to take on her case, and of course, Ms. Bloom went straight for the money.  It turns out that posting revenge porn is actually illegal, and Mr. Kardashian was looking at possibly doing a little time. Chyna also alleged that Rob physically abused her, and even filed a restraining order against him.  Rob fired back by also suing Chyna, stating that she was the one that was abusiveT.I., the king of putting his two cents in, decided to do just that, and the next thing you know, he was the one put on blast.  Rob retaliated by claiming that Chyna had a threesome with T.I. and Tiny (now why did poor Tiny have to dragged into this?  She was minding her own business).  Chyna even filed lawsuits against the rest of the Kardashian clan for harassment and for ending her short-lived reality show, Rob & Chyna.  Things have since calmed down, slightly.  They’ve both agreed to joint custody of Dream and Chyna’s even closed her lawsuits against the Kardashian sisters, except Kim (the reason for that remains unknown), and she dropped her domestic abuse suit against RobChyna is still seeking compensation from Kim, Kris, and Rob for ending the series.  Let’s just pray that these two will eventually grow up and co-exist for the sake of their child.

Part 3 coming soon!

—Written by Nadiya