Wednesday, March 30, 2011

And In This Corner....

This morning they announced yet another hate crime against a gay man in NY. He was beaten up pretty bad coming out of a McDonald's in the West Village. My question is, if you can't be gay in the West Village where can you be safely be gay at 4am?
NYC is a very diverse city but the neighborhoods are not really diverse at all. Everyone has their corners and we might mix and mingle during the day for work or entertainment or eating but for the most part everyone returns to their corners. And we all know which parts of which borough are whose "corner". We know where there are a lot of Blacks, West Indian Blacks, Hispanics, Jews, Asians and Indians. We even know where there are middle class families versus rich ones verses poor ones. We know where there are Greek neighborhoods and Russian ones. We know where people that aren't from NY like to live and where tourists frequent... And we all know that the West Village is gay. It's not like no one else goes there but you know what it is and why should anyone really care? This is New York City? If you don't like gays or people of different races or cultures or value systems or religions or people who smell weird or eat on the train or piss in the subway or preach about Jesus from the sidewalk, or people who jay walk or ignore "DON'T WALK" signs, or if you don't like paying a different price for a Snapple depending on what neighborhood you are in then you gotta move to Wisconsin. And I'm not saying we all love each other here. But we sure as hell tolerate each other and we damn sure can't be beating people up and murdering people because they are gay (especially in the West Village) or because they charge 50 cents extra for a Snapple in wealthy or touristy areas.

Dear Spring

Open toe shoes, flats with no socks,
Cropped leather jackets,
Flirty skirts and short sleeves
they all miss you

Eating outside, slow strolls and ice cream cones
they miss you
I mean real ice cream cones
not Red Mango or Pink Berry
but just to be fair, they miss you too

Spoke to the city parks and all the squares
(Union, Washington, Times, Herald, Tompkins, Cooper)
They miss you too

I’m asking for them, not for me
Will you return?
Should we wait?
Should we continue to write?
More importantly, do you miss us back? I mean them 
Do you miss them back?

Even surrounded by millions of people
It gets cold. But we get by.
We get by because we believe
Otherwise most of us... I mean them.
Most of them wouldn’t hang the way they do.
I mean I’ll be fine. It’s not about me…really!

But I don’t like when those other states talk shi* about us.
Saying how their Spring is better than ours and
how they are glad they moved away
So technically I’m doing this to protect you

So dear Spring... It’s been too long.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Is Incorrect Grammar Ruining Good R&B?

It all started for me with Trey Songz. I really really liked "Yo Side of the Bed" when I saw him perform it on some award show months ago. I thought that perhaps I had underestimated this youngster that folks were calling the new R. Kelly. (He is in fact the new R. Kelly. And the current R. Kelly is the old R. Kelly which I think is better.. if that makes sense) So I immediately downloaded it onto my ipod so I could love it all the time. But the first time I played it for myself, giddy with the excitement only new music can bring... I was disappointed. I was distracted to the point of annoyed by the refrain "Yo side Yo side Yo side of the beeeed".. I found myself wishing that some adult would just remake the song with proper grammar so I could finally enjoy it. But I let it go because who am I to say it's wrong? It's Trey Songz. I knew what I was getting into.
But today, I was watching TV while "working" from home and I saw Jennifer Hudson perform her new single..... "Where you AT" and the song was nice (written by the current R. Kelly) and she sings beautifully. I really really wanted to like it and I found myself wishing she would have said "Where were you" or "Where are you" or something. I mean I hated "Where you AT" when it was the tag line for the T mobile commercial and now its back. So is bad grammar ruining good R&B? It doesn't seem to make sense. It didn't bother me when Faith Evans said "Ain't nobody who can love me like you do" or when D'Angelo sang "One Mo Gin'". I mean heck M.J. sang "You Wanna be Startin' Somethin" and it was great. The examples of incorrect grammar in R&B are endless. So why does this bother me now? Is incorrect grammar always necessarily bad grammar?  Is it the R&B that's changing or is it me?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Is Reading Fundamental?

Is reading fundamental or does it depend on what you read? Some read for pure entertainment and others read to learn something or feel something that they didn’t feel before picking up the book. Some people need to walk away from a book enriched in some way and some just need to walk away.

I was a Junior in college when I read Sister Souljah’s “The Coldest Winter Ever” and it was awesome. I couldn’t put it down. It was so well written (from what I remember) that I was literally having dreams about the characters when I went to sleep at night. (Same thing happened when I read the autobiography of Malcolm X the same summer.. it could have been the Malaria prevention meds causing all the vivid dreams while I was in Thailand) But little did I know things would quickly get out of hand. Once people realized one could write about the hood and make money off of it, it took away the idea that writing required actual skill, knowledge, insight or education. It can’t be avoided I guess. Isn’t making money with little effort or skill the American Dream? Without anyone’s permission (certainly not mine) street lit was born. No spell check required. I am not mad at Sister Souljah. How was she to know? The same thing happened with rap music. How was Run DMC and Slick Rick supposed to know that they would play a part in influencing the likes of Soldier Boy and a million others with or without record deals today that speak really really loud but don’t say much of anything. The result? More people trying to use growing up in the hood as their degree or their skill to make money off of. And how long before they realize it isn’t enough?
And if you don’t want to write about the hood per se you can write about hood mentality. The over sexed black pimps and players and the gold-digging, just happy to have a man females that bump and grind each other into coonstown… Where they should die.. but they don’t.. they live for the sequel. But it’s only entertainment… Right? Would we be angry if a white person was writing street lit? (they probably already do. I mean they give us BET).

Just in case I was wrong about this I read a Zane “erotica noir” (ain’t that some bullsh*t) book a few months ago. I won’t get into the details of the book. I will just say I wasn’t wrong. But people love it. So I guess I can’t say it’s all bad. Entertainment is good. But it’s for those who know that is exactly what it is. It is not good for those who think they should model themselves after ignorant behavior and even more damaging for those who begin to think you should be able to succeed without really trying and there is a lot of that going around.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Love & Hip Hop... (Sigh)s and (SMH)s

Due to popular demand... I watched and I am weighing in on VH-1's Love & Hip Hop.
True Confession: I wrote half of this post in my head before ever seeing the show because I already knew what it was.

So I tried to ignore it. I was warned that it was coming and I was informed when it had started and somehow, I thought I would get away with not watching it. I barely lasted 2 days. I don't know what I was thinking. It's like ignoring a freckle that turns out to be skin cancer, or an itchy patch of skin that turns out to be ring worm, or a crying child that you know full well can outcry your patience. So here we are.
 When I hear "Love & Hip Hop" I think Method and Mary, or B.I.G and Kim, or B.I.G and Faith or B.I.G and Charlie Baltimore.... or Tupac and his "girlfriend" (all I need in this life of sin...). That is not what this is.

Olivia: She is here for your entertainment. And in case you didn't know she was supposed to be entertaining, she will make sure to drop as much slang as she can into any conversation or crack any kind of half-witted joke for cheap chuckles. It's ok. It's harmless. I'm starting with her because she is the worst person to represent Queens since Lamar Odom did the Khloe Kardashian thing. And why did she need to translate what "Mira mi Poom Poom" meant for Chrissy? (sigh)

Emily: Loso's baby momma. "He'll never leave me." Why is that a good thing?
Your an 8yr secret MA! Stop telling everyone this stuff. You're embarrassing yourself and everyone who ever knew you. But heck, who needs a ring. She got a Bentley. (smh)

Chrissy: Jim Jones' GF. First of all I have to ask... Is this show part of Jimmy's "h-u-s-l" as he spells it? Because he is in more scenes than a little bit. And Chrissy oh Chrissy, mm mm mm (smh) ain't nothing sadder than an old bird and Chrissy youse a old bird. She acts like a 14 year old confronting any girl that looks at her boyfriend because she hasn't learned how to act like a woman with an ounce of confidence yet. Or she hasn't learned that teasing a chic about her teeth or her outfit won't take away the pain of being the average looking, long term, ride or die bitch of a B list rapper.. But I guess when you look like any other girl walking down 125th street you gotta fight for yours. Also, she needs Emily to be her stylist because her outfits all look like they came from Forever 21.. The red lace bra showing, the cropped sequin jacket? Geezus! You're on TV!

Somoya: Whose attic is she sleeping in? I feel like she is gonna wake up with pieces of the pink itchy insulation stuff in her weave. What's the point of being light skinneded with a body like that if you can't get a dude to pay for a decent hotel room? And her fake lashes are like "Hey look at us we're fake as hell" Geez. She couldn't get the individual joints? (sigh)

Mashonda: Don't do it girl. I had no issue with you. Do not do this.

On the ugotthejuicenow rating scale I give the first episode of "Love & Hip Hop" 1 empty glass.. with no juice in it. Meaning it is so bad you might just have to watch.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Broke is the new Lent

Today is Ash Wednesday. The first day of Lent. Lent in the Catholic tradition, is the period of the liturgical year leading up to Easter. Lent is a time of sacrifice for Jesus and it lasts 40 days. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer  for the annual commemoration of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus. I was raised Catholic, but I still had to consult Wikipedia for a quick explanation of the holiday. 
I am no longer practicing any religion but as a youngster I used to give up something I really enjoyed for Lent. That's the tradition. For me it was usually candy. For some it might be cursing or cheese or whatever you think will make you feel tortured while you sacrafice for the Lord and Savior. I am not giving up anything this year and have not for a least not for Lent. But I realized today that I am giving up things I love all the time because of brokeness. So brokeness is the new Lent for me, and it seems to last longer than 40 days.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Avatar vs. Chris Bosh



In part 2 of the "Who wore it best" Series we take a look at Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat when he had dreads vs. blue dude from Avatar.  They both have lovely bone structure and I'm undecided about what complexion I like best. But do you prefer the Chris Bosh dreads or the Avatar braids? I don't know. I'm torn.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Leela vs. La La

The ponytail and bang hairstyle.. Who wore it best? Leela of Futurama or La La Vasquez aka Mrs. Carmelo Anthony?
Leela's hair is real but La La's has better color
They have similar complexion and a similar over-bite but La La has two eyes
La La has a rich husband, but Leela has a job
They both have cool names.

I don't know.. I'm torn.