Monday, March 31, 2008

Caption, please!

If you have a suggestion, please leave it in the "Comments" section.



Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson announced he's leaving his post April 18th because of "personal and family matters."

And maybe because of an ethics probe. Or two. Or three.

The biggest controversy involves his trying to steer $2 million in land at a discount to a buddy in Philadelphia.

And who's that buddy?



Legendary Philly Soul producer Kenny Gamble.

Man. I wonder if 'Phonso and Kenny were bumping this Gamble-Huff classic at their business meetings.



P.S.--RIP to Eddie Levert's other son, Sean, who died earlier today.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Unfortunate Restaurant Names

While driving through Florida, I happened upon this restaurant.




I couldn't believe it. "No way," I exclaimed as I proceeded to almost swerve into the opposing lane of traffic (cars seen in this picture are closer than they appear).

Obviously, I had to run inside to learn more. The staff? All Cuban. And, well...they didn't seem to know the significance of the name at all. And given the heavily Cuban clientele, and the prevalence of modern signs inside the eatery, I have a sneaky suspicion I did not meet the restaurant's original proprietors in there today....

But a few of the elderly white patrons inside looked old enough to remember a time when MLK was still just known as "Junior." I should have talked to them. But I was hungry.

So I bought a five dollar BBQ chicken sandwich from "Maria." And the verdict? Damn tasty bird, I must admit. In fact, despite the mediocre bread, the BBQ was delicious.

So there you have it. Uncle Tom's BBQ - proudly serving the most racially-insensitive plate of food this side of Souplantation and Jim Crow's Segregated Pizza Palace.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Hillary Is Tough As Nails

You gotta read this DailyKos diary in which blogger TRIPLETEE takes Hillary at her word on the Bosnia trip.

It's laugh out loud funny.


Relax, Sinbad...I got this.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

This Is Kind Of A Big Deal

Hillary fans have been smacking me in the face with her involvement in the Children's Health Initiative or SCHIP program as an example of her actual deeds to Obama's words.

Except...

Uh...Oh...

Recycling From The Bruhs

Right?









(Thanks, David)

Black people, you need to figure out who you can copy...(other than each other.)

I'm thinking we should start wholesale copying everything from the Swedes and Swedish culture.


Party in Norrbotten!!

Seriously, if you know a culture we should be copying (not American) let me know...I'm down for whatever.

Ideas?
---

ps - don't bring up sampling.

'Hilltop' Stopped

In this era of new media, where can one of the staples of the college experience exist?

And an even better question: Can traditional black media outlets (e.g. Jet, black newspapers, radio, etc.) survive and are they worth preserving in this day and age?

Granted the root of this is poor management by the people running the paper, as a former college newspaper writer, I found the story a little sad.

P.S.--The Washington Times? Really?
P.S.S.--If someone has an extra $48,000 lying around, I'd imagine the folks at The Hilltop would gladly accept it.

What ever happened to Sinbad?

I ask because he was re-introduced to my brain as a result of reading about his 1996 adventures in Bosnia with Hillary Clinton.

I absolutely loved his BRAIN DAMAGED special and watched it about fifty times. Yet, where is dude now...?


Don't Forget Me.

Here's an interesting tidbit from Sinbad's Wiki page: "Actor Mark Curry credits Sinbad and Bill Cosby for helping convince him not to commit suicide".

w t f ?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Who Needs "Food"?

Came across the picture below, about new products on the market. Something seemed so wrong.


When man first reached up into a tree and pulled down an apple, could he have ever predicted that, one day, this stuff would pass for food?

Or as Bill Maher said on last week's episode of REAL TIME, "As far as I'm concerned, Cherry-Chocolate Diet Dr. Pepper still doesn't have enough shit going on."

Seriously, the food companies have bio-engineered our snack products into an inch of our lives (and a half inch into all that's right with the universe).

Do I need Carnival-flavored Skittles? With the real, hearty taste of authentic cotton candy? Which was as fake as a food could get in the previous century?

Also, I love the graphic designs on these kind of products. Let's face it, the artwork is inspired and the information literally JUMPS out at you. You won't confuse that "healthier" version of Chex Mix with the "party time" version that the Peanuts gang callously tries to sell you.

And why does that Goldfish FISH have on sunglasses? Doesn't he live underwater?

To me, this sums up the degree these companies think they can "feed" us anything. Fish wear sunglasses and these snacks are a part of a healthy diet.

UPDATE: You may want to check out all of Bill Maher's from last week's show. It was pretty solid.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5taiDbxJWs&eurl=http://www.videosift.com/video/Bill-Maher-New-Rules-32108

Monday, March 24, 2008

Is Common Wack?

Gawker takes up a discussion I have been avoiding.

But it's been in the back of my mind for a while now. You should read the entry.

I am from Chicago so it hurt me to even think it...but, dammit. I just don't know. I ask myself the following questions looking for some reason to validate my recent feelings about his work...

1. Doesn't he have a right to make money? Yes.

2. Has he done anything remotely coonish or disrespectful to himself? Not at all.

3. Hasn't he been great on all but one of his albums? Of course.

4. Is this about the fact that he used to date Erykah Badu and you love her? Maybe.

I guess what it boils down to is that he made his name being unique...

...and the very companies he shills for sell their product as something this unique rapper uses. But the very act of branding yourself as yourself for corporate use makes you about as unique as, well, a pair of jeans from the Gap.

It's the oldest conundrum in hip hop. Stay true to the game and stay poor. Or get rich and be somehow, sort of wack.


What?

Mayhaps this is because hip hop, by nature, has always defined itself as an outsider sport.

Rappers aren't the normal. They paint themselves as way richer than you (Diddy) or much much poorer and more grimy (Wu Tang). They prefer thousands of women(Snoop, 2 Live Crew) or they prefer politics and social upheaval (X-Clan, Public Enemy). They're willing to hustle harder for longer than you (Lil Wayne) or they're willing to serve time (TI). Hip hop has never been about balance. It's about taking a strong point of view that us normals could never hope to understand.

It's made billions doing so.

So, Common has done nothing wrong. Done only what a smart aging rapper should do...expand or be destroyed.

But has he destroyed himself in the process?

Better yet, what percentage of his current fan base could name his first album?

What do you think?



Can I live?

Democrats, Grow Up or Destroy America Forever

... a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victim-hood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.

That's an historian's definition of fascism. People use the term all the time, and it sounds like an anachronism. But more and more it sounds familiar, doesn't it? Read it again, and think about it for a minute. We'll come back to it. First I want to talk about some stupid shit that's going on, and later about the Democrats' contribution to the victory of global fascism.

People. The Democratic Party's candidate for president is about to lose. Again. And for the same reasons as the last couple times: 1) The party has a fatal lack of leadership, and more crucially, 2) Because you Democrats think you're so much smarter than everyone else. Your superior reason and ideas are manifestly obvious. Ergo, anyone who disagrees is an imbecile, and the imbecile candidate can't win. How'd that work out for you in 2004?

You'll grant, of course, that the two candidates still fighting for the Dems' nomination have essentially the same platform, at least vis a vis the ridiculous, dangerous and often evil ideas of "the Republican base." But Democrats/liberals/whoever are so interested in being "fair" or "equal" or some such other crap that you're going to watch your candidates destroy each other for months, and hand the victory to a guy (McCain) who wasn't even his own party's choice the last however many times.

Leadership involves making hard choices to ensure mission accomplishment. Most Americans think the mission in this case is to win the presidency, but it's becoming apparent after 8 years or so that the Democrats have some alternate (and no doubt high-minded) mission in mind. Al Gore, Speaker Pelosi, Dr. Dean, stop the violence. You're headed for self-destruction. End this today. You're only letting Hillary stay in the race in case Obama implodes. Need 250 million of us remind you that we are furious with the Republican party for 8 years of lies, mismanagement, scandal and Constitutional kryptonite? You could have run Bashir against any Republican and he would have won. But instead you're letting the 24-hour ignorant, uneducated news cycle play Michael Vick with two (previously) completely viable candidates.

But here's where you're really going to blow it. I hear y'all talking about it. You can't wait to blow it.

Now most Democrats feel righteously that Barack Obama must be, no, is the nominee. You're worked up about the wack ish Bill Clinton said after South Carolina, about the 3am phone call, about the Clintons' "gutter politics" (that you fully endorsed in the '90s). And now, if for some reason Obama does not get the nomination, you ain't voting for no Hillary Clinton. You'll stay home. You'll write in. You'll vote for McCain out of spite.

That's the stupidest shit I ever heard in my life.

Act like you're paying even a little attention to the world around you. No matter what happens, hold your nose, get in the booth and pull the lever for the Democratic candidate. Why? The Supreme Court. It's the most important issue of the most important election of your lifetime. Not Iraq, not the economy, not the election of the first black or female candidate.

Four of the nine justices (already a minority) are preserving what slim shred of our democracy is left: John Paul Stevens (87 years old), Ruth Bader Ginsburg (75), David Souter (68) and Stephen Breyer (69). How many of them will leave the court in the next 8 years?

On the other side of cases like Bush v Gore are members of a dangerous, ultra-reactionary group called The Federalist Society such as Antonin Scalia, Sam Alito and Clarence Thomas. Society member John Roberts' work on Bush v Gore earned him the job of chief justice. Some of its other members include Robert Bork and Kenneth Starr. Enough said?

The Federalist Society is a neo-fascist, activist organization whose sole raison d'etre is to take over American courts to advance horrifyingly repugnant ideologies like the theory of the unitary executive. Instead of watching TV news, you'll have to read up on this stuff yourselves (which has become completely unAmerican), but in a nutshell, the unitary executive theory holds that the president is the law and that his Constitutional subversions (like starting an illegal war, or throwing an American citizen in jail with no ability to question his imprisonment, or spying on Americans without a court warrant, or the president's simply saying, "this law does not apply to me") are not reviewable by Congress or the courts.

Proponents of the unitary executive advocate unlimited presidential power as a transformational tool to bring about the kind of America they envision -- one fundamentally at odds with the America willed into existence by the patriots who fought from Lexington to Yorktown in order to throw off exactly such an executive. The notion is so objectionable that powerful conservatives formed the American Freedom Agenda specifically to oppose the advancement of the unitary executive concept.

Democrats go into every election with the idea that there's right and there's wrong, and smart people know the difference. With regard to the Supreme Court, I agree. I shouldn't have to say more than I already have to alert you to the terrible danger we're facing. You think you're mad about something Bill or Hillary said? Let a Republican appoint two or three more justices, then get at me about how mad you are. Your life as you know it will be changed for the worse, drastically, and forever.

As Dres would say, the choice is yours. If you go into the booth on election day to punish someone, please check to make sure it's not yourself.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federalist_Society
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unitary_executive_theory
http://www.americanfreedomagenda.org/About/default.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascism

Tyler Does It Again

Once again, the Tyler Perry movie in theaters exceeds expectations.

"As we've seen before with Perry's pics, 65% of his moviegoers tend to be African-American, though there is still plenty of crossover because of family-oriented themes. Perry further cements his status as one of Hollywood's most reliable box office brands."

Thursday, March 20, 2008

In Praise Of Cee-Lo Green

Confession time...

...I was never really into Goodie Mob. I know that's a cardinal sin among hip hop heads, but I was in the wrong region at the wrong time and the music never made it to me.

Still and all.

Cee Lo Green is an artist.

I am listening to the new Gnarles Barkley effort RUN. Not an immediately pleasing album, but it's on it's third rotation in the car and I can't imagine taking it out for a while. It grows on you.

But that's what I find so impressive with Cee Lo. Listening I get the sense that he was nurturing this seldom seen talent; friends probably noticed, but not the rest of us. Yet hearing him you go..."yeah, this is what you're supposed to be doing with your life, Lo."

(I can't bring it in me to give the full credit to Danger Mouse. I think Cee Lo is the driving creative force behind Gnarles.)

I mean, damn, dude can SING HIS ASS OFF.


"I got skills"

But that's not even the impressive part. Here's what I'm blown away by...

...When was the last time some re-invented themselves in another genre of art so masterfully?

I mean his transformation from great MC to vocal talent is fairly unprecedented. I mean, Snoop and Mos Def and even Kanye all sing...but they ain't singers. They're rappers who sing. Cee Lo's career shift success is up there with Clint Eastwood and Robert Redford winning Oscar's for directing or Jamie Foxx's album debuting at no. 1 or Michael Jordan playing baseb...(nevermind). You get the point.


This is photoshop, I swear. Never happened.

Cee Lo sings like a man whose sung his entire life, yet most of us never heard his singing voice until the first Gnarles album.

Yet his voice is so distinct, you never doubt who you're listening to when you hear it. I mean, this is technically a very NEW singer, yet his point of view and vocal strength are so polished one imagines he's on his tenth album as a singer.

I first noticed his proclivity to do something different vocally on his release Closet Freak. (below)



But it felt like more of an aberration, an experiment then a true crossing over into life as a vocalist.

Yet that's what he is...one helluva vocalist. In fact, I would argue that he is THE MOST DISTINCT AND INTERESTING MALE VOCALIST WORKING TODAY. (sorry Anthony Hamilton). And he came out of no where.

And I continue to be blown away.

(by the way, I wasn't a Goodie Mob fan, so if he sang on all the albums instead of rapping I apologize for my ignorance...still, even if that was the case, Goodie Mob was a hip hop group, not an R&B group so it would still be an amazing transformation)

---

ps - he went to high school with Diallo so whenever they see each other out this high pitched voice cries out "Hey...Diallo!" It's kind of surreal.

ps2 - need more proof dude is an artist. I'm pretty sure he voices the character Rollo Goodlove in the "banned" episodes below.

Part One:


Part Two:

Huckabee Rides For Obama

Starts about half way in...



I'll say two things about the Obama speech.

1. THANK GOD it's March and not October (as Huckabee says).

2. The fallout from the speech, I think, will slowly grow increasingly positive. People will begin taking up the discussion in classrooms and office spaces. I believe strongly that most average American's who saw it were touched by its frankness.

Also, for the strongest anti-Obama reactions...just look to other black people. (aka Michael Meyers is a Hater). Please take time and comment if you read the Meyers article.

---

ps - why is it every time I hear Huckabee speak, since even before Iowa, I like him? SNL...like him? Above...like him? Seems like a good guy. Don't agree with his policies, but seems like a good person.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Rise Of Derrick

So our good friend Derrick has commented on Obama's speech in a new post at CNN.

(he's the guy who was ambushed at the Obama rally by an interviewer and handed the guy's ass to him. Famous on teh intarwebs.)

I am torn about this.

ON THE ONE hand he is a close friend who I've known for many years and whose family I admire respect and love. We've been through a lot together. He, Diallo and I were all board members of the Harvard Black Men's Forum (yes, it exists, read it.) and we also all sang in the same choir and a capella groups. He and I just got back from Europe last year and we frequently work together on stuff. He's a brother to me.

He even appeared on The Message:



ON THE OTHER hand I could probably make a lot of money by appearing on CNN like Amy Holmes or that one ATLAH asshole and tearing my boy down...just savaging him in the press. Be on tv like "the man's a liar and not to be trusted" and "he has six white baby mommas" and "his real last name ain't even Ashong...it's WILLIAMS!!" I could make some sweet $$ being a total traitor...

I'm so torn.

Thoughts?

Sometimes...it IS Racist.

To Wit:



Poor Be-monkeyed LeBron...

...someone should have told him to NEVER TRUST FASHION PHOTOGRAPHERS!

(guess he never saw Zoolander)

My Birthday Present

I want a Tenori-On.



Can I use it? No.

Do I understand it? No.

Do I have the basic musical competence to figure it out? Not even.

BUT...

...I am an American. So none of the above matters.

Who's buying?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Shepard Fairey

I hear they're only making five thousand.

Get 'em while they're hot.

New Poll Goodness

For a while the south has dominated hip hop. But who's the MVP?


I've been the game a short time, but it seems like forever.



Probably the best.


Prolific doesn't begin to describe me.


(Man I hope this is the right picture)


As good solo as I am with Big Boi.


All the dope boys go crazy.

Anatomy of A Hater

Amy Holmes, conservative hip hop kid (?), perennial talking head and Republican strategist dismissed Barack's speech today as more of the same.

No, Amy, it's not.

I have made a concerted effort to be more analytic in my thinking on Barry these past few weeks, but today's speech represented a landmark for American politics.

Amy is a hater.

It's a tradition as old as slavery. For every one of us busting our ass in the fields, there's one in the house saying we could be working harder and it's not that hot outside.

Let's knock down some of her statements together!

Amy:

..My first reaction? Race speeches are rarely good, and this was no exception.

WRONG. I've never seen a race speech where the speaker called out blacks and whites saying that both had legit beef, but both needed to move on. Never seen that.

For all of Obama's new talk of change, courage, politics you can believe in, I heard a whole lot of liberal boilerplate dressed up in euphemism and offering no fresh solutions.

WRONG. Telling whites that their beefs about affirmative action, and the idea that they are being punished for something they didn't do (the basis of ALL conservative talk radio) IS LEGIT...

...but must be surpassed for the good of the nation. Hardly a liberal idea.


He slid by the issue of welfare saying it only may have worsened inner-city poverty. White people need to invest more in our schools and communities, i.e. more money to failing public institutions. White people need to provide "ladders of opportunities," i.e. affirmative action. And black people should feel sympathy for white people who have lost their jobs to overseas competition. Social justice means we have all suffered oppression in one form or another. Therefore, we should bind together, white, black, and brown alike, in our mutual distrust of large corporations. Government, properly directed, can ensure for the welfare of its citizens.

WRONG. I mean, okay, that's ONE way to interpret what Barack said, albeit a pretty backward one. I'm pretty sure non haters would say that Barack said, rightly, that we cannot dismiss each others grievances, nor can we continue to believe that the nation can improve if we don't work together. But, I believe in reason so maybe Amy's right on this one.

Obama called out his own grandmother for admitting to her, now, not so secret fear of young black male strangers. He said that when he was growing up her remarks sometimes made him cringe. Well, for my part, hearing him compare a woman who sacrificed for his well-being to a pastor who's only benefited from his association made me cringe. Real courage and real candor is Chris Rock standing on stage telling a packed black audience that seeing young black men on dark lonely night near the glow of an ATM can make him feel nervous, too.

TRANSLATION. White racism is okay with Amy. Black racism is not.

(Okay, did one of you black guys dump her in a bad way or something? Did one of you black girls not let her play double-dutch?)

She wants us all to fear black racism. And I'm pretty sure that's not what Chris Rock said, (in fact he spoke of the ATM as something all Americans worship more than they do a real Church).

Amy is one of those who saw Rock's "Black & White" and thought, "yeah, black people do suck, even other blacks hate them". Meanwhile Chris was speaking more about our community not tearing each other down...AND he was asserting that the vast majority of blacks are hard-working, taxpayers who struggle with some elements in our midst. Sorry to be nuanced...I know Republicans hate nuance the way Amy hates First Fridays.

Further Barack was saying that ALL OF US have racists in our families. I have one aunt who is very mistrustful of whites...to put it mildly. Honestly, if you come to dinner at my aunt's house, you'd think white people planned to destroy the sun. I don't agree with my aunt but I love my aunt and would give my life for her. She has been there for me more times than I can recall. Helped me before I could help myself.

Like Barack's grandmother.

So, cutting to the political chase: Where does this leave Obama? Not much better off than where he was 24 hours ago. Pastor Wright has singlehandedly turned Obama into the race candidate. For every person who listened to Obama's speech today are a hundred uncommitted voters who haven't yet seen the video clips and who will be shocked and appalled when they do. He can't spend the rest of his campaign explaining this away. But he can't let the video clips speak for themselves.

YOU KNOW WHAT...I can't even comment on this. If you could watch the first real nuanced and accurate discussion on race in America for decades and come away so cynical...I just don't know how to help you.

But on the larger issue, this country has been without a real leader for so long that we've forgotten what it looks like. We treat with cynicism and mistrust those who tell the truth. History has always worked that way. The woman who says the emperor has no clothes is the first one hanged.

But Barack is a leader. He speaks truth to power. He told the black community at a Church in Atlanta to stop being homophobic. He told a crowd in 2003, when invading Iraq had a high approval rating that it was the wrong thing to do. He certainly finesses the language at times...but he's not afraid of the truth. And I'm pretty sure, after eight years of Bush sycophants, a little truth telling won't hurt us.

My only hope is that people watch the speech, and decide for themselves rather than listen to Ms. Holmes.


"Hating keeps me on television, yay!!"

---

ps - Barack his twisting and turning to make lemonade of these lemons...and NO ONE has held McCain's feet to the fire of his spiritual advisor's far more inflammatory remarks. Twice as hard to get half as much I guess.

Barack On Race Today

For those who missed it...



Your thoughts?

Everyone Nose

This is the song currently in heavy rotation in The Message's cyber office.

http://k5live.com/media/185/N.E.R.D_-_Everybody_Nose_Performance/

Sorry, no real video clip for it yet, but let us know what you think in the comments section.

Monday, March 17, 2008

St. Patrick's Day

You know it's going to be funny when all your favorite English-challenged Muppets show up in a single clip...



It may just have inspired another clip some ten years later...

Did Diddy Did It?

Is it possible Diddy played a role in Pac's murder as is suggested by The LA Times?
The whole crux of Diddy's persona is that he's somewhat kinda corny. Meaning that the idea he'd be behind this is anathema to his "sqeaky clean" image as a guy whose only vice is that he parties alot.

WE KNOW he was involved in a gun fracas in a NY club. (sorry Shyne).

WE ALSO KNOW he beat a dude up in another club incident...mirroring one a few years ago.

WE FURTHER KNOW, the LA Times is no slouch, and has won many Pulizter prizes for its reporting.

Our generation complains that no one cares who shot Pac and Biggie, yet the LA Times has been on this story for a long time...and they have twice maintained the Diddy probably played a role. Complain if you want, but they've given us an answer to that question. An answer we probably don't like.

Do you think it's possible?


Ruthless?

The hip hop music game is still the Wild Wild west in terms of ethics (See: Knight, Marion "Suge") and Diddy hasn't just survived in that environment, he's prospered. So he has to have some toughness.

It's hard to believe he could be behind Pac's murder...but not out of the realm of possibility.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Rebuttal

You saw the initial clip and Geraldine Ferraro's comments.

Now the response.

Please ignore the commerical.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

All Hail Snoop

It's been out forever.

Still love this.



(and really loved this one too)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Muffled Voices Will Be Heard

And you thought Mississippi voted for Obama because he was black

Virally Viral



Fox News...the press' HNIC.
Lemmings I tell 'ya.

In Da Club

Will 50 Cent's In Da Club ever NOT be played in clubs? The song is six years old, and yet, every dance club DJ still plays at least one verse. Just an observation.

With your weekends now here, we hope you enjoy your time free-of-work in a productive way.




To all my peeps, make it rain....

AWWWKWARRRRD

In light of Jen's post I thought I'd show something that's truly hard to watch...and awkward.

To Wit: Robert Van Winkle



He paved the way for Eminem whether you like it or not.

The other cool thing is seeing Arsenio...this must be from his brief militant phase before he was cancelled.

(see young people, he had Farrakhan on his show...his show was gone shortly thereafter)

Still and all, Aresenio remains one of the better late night interviewers.

Same Difference



It's been a long political week.
I'm tired.
Battered.
And worn.

In light of all that's gone down, I thought this extemporaneous speech given by Robert F. Kennedy (in a predominantly black neighborhood in Indianapolis just shortly after Dr. King was killed) is a poignant reminder that we really do have more in common than we are prone to admit.

Jazzoetry

BREAKING: More bad news for Obama?
It turns out Barack was the conga drum player for The Last Poets...



EDITOR'S NOTE: We at The Message have no proof that Obama was the conga drum player for The Last Poets. We just thought it was a funny idea.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Black Presidents

Past



And Present



(thanks, David)

Not a campaign strategy...a suicide pact.



From sports commentator to political commentator, I am quite impressed with Keith Olbermann's commentary yesterday on MSNBC's COUNTDOWN.

Succinct.
Comprehensive.
Bravo.

Advice For Hillary Clinton

Dear Senator Clinton,

I read you apologized to black people. Sorry you had to do that. Sorry it's come this far.

I would have been happy to vote for you in the general election when you and Barry were fighting over the issues and you were in the lead. The way your side has made this about race was wack as hell and very unbecoming.

Since there's no way you can mathematically beat Obama I am gonna give you some retro-advice. Here's what you SHOULD have done.

You should have attacked him NOT for being black, but for being a man.

(still can't believe your advisers never told you this.)

Your line of attack should have been something of the following.

"Obama and I share positions on most subjects, but I came to mine over the course of many years...he, on the other hand, just read my playbook. Typical male shit. We do all the work, they jump in to take the credit. Ain't that just like a damn man? Somehow a penis gives you the right to take all my hard work over the years and co-opt it. I have bust my ass to be where I am and learn what I have, I was the architect of Bill Clinton's 1992 ascendancy and he still never gives me credit. Men always do this. They wait 'til we do the heavy lifting about issues behind closed doors, just to emerge with the issue firm in their mind when the cameras are rolling. I see now why they say Eleanor Roosevelt was the first female President. It's time for this to stop, for once, a woman needs to get the credit where it's due. Not some man who just got here and is wet behind his super-large ears. Men suck."

If you wanted to go slash and burn politics, you have to slash MEN not BLACKS.

America hates to see you make this about race...

...but no one would have faulted you for making this SOLELY about sex.

See, thing is, when you had Gloria Steinem all talking about how it's okay to be sexist but not racist, that muddied your point and injected race where it need not. She fucked up. She collluded the issue and pissed off black women.

But women of all colors and shades have seen men get over, in the workplace, at home, at Magic City in Atlanta, in the New York governor's mansion...

You should have made this about men getting over on women. Divide and conquer. Every time you appeared on stage you should have been surrounded by women of all colors who looked determined. And since women vote in larger numbers than men, it was a safe primary bet to take.

You blew it.

Advice For Barack Obama

Dear Senator Barack Hussein Obama,

(I still like saying your middle name, sorry.)

Where was I, oh, yeah, your Pastor Jeremiah Wright is emerging as a liability.

ABC news is increasing its coverage of him.

Now I know you think it's cool since McCain's spiritual adviser hates Catholics and Islam so there's parity. But this issue requires transcendence, not parity, so be careful. The strength of your campaign relies on the very same.

Despite the fact that most black people get where J Dub is coming from in his passionate sermons and outwardly anti-colonialist rhetoric...that shit doesn't play in the national press.

Further, the danger of Wright is truly manifest when you're portrayed, as you are in the video, as something of a blind follower, unable to see the problems America has with Jeremiah.

Senator Obama, you can't just distance yourself from the man. You've been following him for 20 years. To just walk away now poses serious impediments to your claims of superior judgment and integrity. (Like...all of a sudden you see a problem, Barry?) The distancing has to come from Wright...not you.

So, Senator, since I know you read this blog, here's what you do.

1. Call your boy. Have his say something akin to the following: "Yeah, I say wild shit, but not all my congregation agrees with all my statements. They are adults, some parts they use, some parts they discard. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ at the end of the day; free to fellowship about the big things and disagree about the little things"

2. Call your friends. Have several of your financially successful fellow Trinity Church attendees say they disagree with Wright on a whole host of issues. "Yeah, I got because I love the people and support the pastor, but his passion does sometimes go to far...etc".

3. Get Michelle involved. Have her say your religious life isn't just about going to that Church. There are many other pieces. Have her laugh off Wright, saying, "yeah, he takes it to ten sometimes. He's like Donald Trump, some eccentricities but you never doubt his commitment to what he believes in."

What you need to create is a pastiche of disunity. A picture of a people working together and disagreeing frequently, but who share the same goals of learning to be better Christians.

(or some such)

Do it now.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

"Fuck You, Ferraro"

Don't get mad at me. Not my words.


This whole mess is just more evidence of the following:

White liberals REALLY believe that THEY are the real reason for all the gains made by blacks.

Once you accept that truth...
...your understanding is no longer muddied with..."how could Bill Clinton compare Barack to Jesse Jackson?"...or..."how could Hillary give LBJ credit for the civil rights movement?"...or..."why is Geraldine Ferraro so damn racist?"

Barack is, according to them, out of line. Out of his place. And they are furious, and feel betrayed. They gave him/us affirmative action, Clinton kissed black babies when he ran, they appeared at black churches...they always did us right...and we repay them with trying to do for ourselves.

Ungrateful bastards all.

"I'll tell you when you can leave the fields."

HOW DARE THAT NIGGER TRY AND DO SOMETHING WITHOUT THEIR BLESSING?!?!

I love white liberals, some of my best friends are white liberals, but many of them (and their black surrogates) are way out of line.

---

ps - by the way. White liberal guilt has NEVER extended to the voting booth. So being black is not actually an electoral advantage. White liberal guilt might get you a great write up in a local paper...but it won't get you elected.

In Your FACE, History!

Meet David Paterson.


1. America's FIRST blind governor.
2. New York's FIRST black governor.
3. America's FOURTH black governor.

Dude just rocked history...

...and we have to thank a few hookers and some shaky accounting for this momentous occasion. So, the next time you see a prostitute, be like..."thanks, hooker. You changed history."

Even More Fun With Detroit Politics

Craig wants you all to watch this video where Kwame Kilpatrick defends ... something.

And, just for a few hearty guffaws.



I used to think I would retire in Chicago, I was wrong, I will retire in Detroit and write political coverage for the Free Press...and live like a king.

Who's Got the Juice?

Hillary & Co. have a long 40 days and 40 nights ahead of them before the upcoming Pennsylvania primary. So given the contentiousness within her campaign staff,
might I recommend Hillary hire someone who has apparently been quite effective in padding her vote count:


Rush "Leader of the Hillpublicans" Limbaugh

No, really. According to this Huff post, "Approximately 25% of Clinton's voters in Mississippi were Republicans voting for a candidate they hate in order to try to undermine Barack Obama."

THAT, my friends, is gangster. Juice. Whatever the word du jour is. To my fellow Democrats, the question is, how can we get some?



Let's help Hillary do Pansy McCain's dirty work!

Political Pitty-Pat

The Clintons love dem some black folks. Hillary in particular loves dem so much that she dun got her a real life House Negro. (Better yet, a House Negresss. This be Hillaryland, y’all.)

Probably without needing to be prompted, Maggie Williams obediently flips the race card on the black man for calling out the white woman who played the race card in the first place…arguing that he reneged on his pledge not to play the race card.

(Who knew that not remaining silent when they play the race card = playing the race card. Political pitty-pat indeed.)

No more cotton fo' me...I dun made it to the big house

Helping Maggie try to run a Boston is her spades partner and fellow sometimes House Negro, Earl Ofari Hutchinson. Earl completely agrees with Geraldine Ferraro. Completely.

Apparently the reins have been passed from the typical go-to House Negro, Orlando Patterson, who surprisingly decided to call the trump suit in Obama's favor. Here he insightfully notes the sly and insidious racism inherent within the now infamous “3am” ad.

So I suppose Hillary’s “kitchen sink” strategy means she's going all in…leaving her House Negroes to throw in all of her remaining chips. And theirs as well.

I look forward to Obama calling their bluff.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Are We In Crazyland?

Is it me, or does a FoxNews host actually do a decent job holding Ferraro's feet to the fire?



Weird.

Obama Wins! (sort of...)

So...I was "writing" last night...

...which means playing HALO 3 online (sorry, Diallo. I couldn't focus.)

At any rate, the topic of the race for president came up.

Now, if you've every played competitive games online you know that any discussion about race usually leads to a dark place. In fact, I've heard the word "nigger" and derivations thereof more times playing Halo than I do when watching Def Comedy Jam.

As a result, I try to stay silent when I play, get my frags, get my ratings and chill. Arguing over the internet is like competing in the special Olympics. Even if you win...etc.

But the conversation went something like this. (I was on the red team.)

Red 1: You guys ready to do this

Red 2: Hell yes, time to win this thing like an election.

(Me, Thought: Lame asses)

Red 1: Ha! What do you guys think of the President stuff?

(Beat, I get tense...score two deaths real quick, not helping the cause.)

Red 3: Uh...I dunno, what do you guys think?

(I remember Dave Chappelle saying in KILLIN' THEM SOFTLY that white people don't like to talk about who they're voting for. How right Dave is!)

Red 1: I dunno, dude. I mean I'm not voting for Hillary.

(These guys are of voting age?)

Red 3: Hell no, I hate that chick. Plus I hear she wants to give doctors the right to pull the plug without the family's consent.

(Really, I hadn't heard that....AND it's probably not true. Should I say something?...NAH. But to see so many young republicans online--)

Red 1: I guess I'm going with Obama.

(WHAT!?!?!)

Red 3: Yeah, he seems like a champ up in here.

Red 2: Yeah, he's cool.

(WHAT?!?!?!?!??!)


Pro-Obama Stance

Wow. I took away a few things from this.
  1. There as no reason for these guys to lie. Anonymous gaming, as I stated is the number one source for racist/anti-semetic/homophobic sentiment I have ever found outside of movies.
  2. They think Obama is cool. His support among the youth might not be limited to members of student body organizations and young democrats. He literally has the appeal Bill Clinton had in 1992. You had to be around at the time to understand. But when Clinton played the sax on Arsenio I think it was a much bigger moment than its credited for, young people like the guy.
  3. McCain never even came up. I had heard that Clinton/Obama drama has dominated the news cycle to McCain's detriment. Guess it's true.
  4. What if Obama's organization was so strong, that he hired gamers to play in group games and casually bring up the election to drum up support? (Damn, he probably should do that, in fact, maybe I'll start doing that for him.)
  5. I have to stop listening to conversations and focus on my tactics. We lost. Bad.
So that's it. From my polling Obama has the young gamer vote locked up by 100%.
(sample size 3, +/- 99.9%)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Things Fall Apart

There were few male singing groups bigger in the late 1990s than Dru Hill. The B'more quartet had hits like "Tell Me" and "In My Bed".

But most of us just remember them for this dude...




They broke up and now they're back.

Wait a minute...



Talk about disintegration. If this is real, it's classic.

The REAL Barack Obama Plan

I, for one, don't think Barack needs to change much of what he's doing. Last time I checked, he's winning. Clinton's plan for victory is to get within enough pledged delegates that the superdelegates can overturn the will of the people.

(admit it, you never thought she would do something so shady? i know i didn't.)

So...even though he's winning.  Our media won't pressure Hillary to step down the way they would were the roles reversed.

AND...it's hard to win when the media, Saturday Night Live, The Daily Show and many Democrat institutions have it out for you. Our media is weak as hell right about now. If the new Conventional Wisdom is that Barack is losing...then he's losing.

Our good friend Caille Millner of the San Francisco Chronicle pens a mighty recipe for a salve to help Barack's ailing media soul. Her advice is astute.

To Wit:

[Barack should] Get on the bus. Town hall meetings in endless succession. Photo ops with his sleeves rolled up while in conference with working-class voters about their fears and wishes. Walk door-to-door talking to people about their health care and explain to them why he's the best person to actually get it done. You get the picture: Obama's got to show the skittish undecideds that he works as hard as Clinton does.

Do what the nice lady says, Barry.

Be Kind, Rewind

Every now and then I see a movie and think, "wow, that's secretly a black movie cuz it had so many black people in it."

(yes. i have issues)

A few years ago it was The Matrix: Reloaded. Really, there were whole sections of the flick (pictured) where I felt it was a Spike Lee Joint.

Most recently, Michel Gondry's latest Be Kind, Rewind features a cast that is remarkably black.

More than that, it features a cast that is remarkably minority.

But that's not a good enough reason to blog about it. I mean, Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins also features a cast that is remarkably minority. Yet, you don't feel bad for the race after watching Be Kind...

I mean, I know we complain about bad black movies constantly...

CONSTANTLY.

But here's a a film that features many black performers without buffonery or disrespect, lack of authenticity or patronizing portrayals. The people just are.

I love that in movies. Where the people just are...and don't represent anything.

In fact, Gondry actually has his characters address somewhat sticky racial issues with a level of honesty and humor sorely lacking in the majority of films today. It was a welcome eureka moment for me...

"You don't have to be a buffoon a thug or a scientist...Eureka! I knew it could work."

(it's like watching Crash except without all the heavy-handedness and laughable dialog.)

So...I think you should see this movie.

a) You get a film by a director who knows who he is as a director and utilizes his strengths well. He knows how to create worlds inside of worlds using every day objects. No one working today is doing what he is.

b) You get a film that starts a little rough and "wacky", but finds it footing mid-way through and finishes strong. (as opposed to There Will Be Blood which was a bewitching masterpiece...until the very slapstick ending.) Once you accept the peculiarities of the people in the neighborhood (Mia Farrow and her thug nephews) the rest of the pieces fall into place.

c) You get a film that actually makes you think about why you like movies in the first place and what role they play in your life...it makes you want to see other movies. It makes you wanna go out and make movies of your own.

d) Mos Def, Jack Black & Gondry


"I got skills"

---

ps - Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
is one of my all time favorites. I went in expecting this movie to be mediocre but found myself amazed at how much it drew me in. Maybe working with Dave Chappelle helped Michel learn how to shoot minority characters.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

To The Victor Go The Spoils

CONGRATS to LLTM reader and ATHF Season 5 DVD Contest victor:


I asked Ron (who is a damn good artist by the way) to send a message to everyone at the site, maybe some words of humble thanks for his profound victory in guessing the right number of blinks on the video or some words of encouragement for all those hoping to also be random contest winners one day.

Ron's message to you all:

"Yeah...eat it suckers!!!"

ummm...

hmmm...

(scratches head)

yes...eat it suckers, everyone.

---

ps - at least he didn't say "kick rocks, bitch"

Need A Fix?

Need a comedy fix?

Two of the pieces Diallo and I produced are on HBO Video On Demand.

"Def Comedy Shorts 03" and "Def Comedy Shorts 04"

STATE OF THE AFRICAN AMERICAN UNION (parts 1 and 2)

We talk about the state of black entertainment.

And in "Every Black Show" we show an homage to, well...

EVERY BLACK SHOW

HA!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

More Celeb Alterations...

In our continued coverage of celebrities and the changes they make to their appearance comes this one out of the Destiny's Child file...


Insert your "boobylicious"-related caption here.

According to a story from the AP, Kelly Rowland had breast enhancement surgery last October (the above pic was from this past February) and will be detailing it in a People magazine article that will be out in several days. Look for it in a checkout aisle near you!

Kelly mentions she spent some time making her decision, but the impetus for the surgery seemed a little suspect:

"I was sick of not fitting into my tops," she says. "There was this one really hot House of Dereon top — I just wanted to fill that out!"

Rowland says that top — designed by Beyonce's mom, Tina Knowles — complements her new curves: "I put it on and I looked so good! I'm so happy. I feel complete."


Is it just me or is there something disturbing about how this plug was worked in?

Damn. B and her mom are good.

Friday, March 7, 2008

The Return Of Black Face

Al Jolson...


"Love you in Less Than Zero"

...meet Robert Downey Jr "blacking it up" for his new movie with Ben Stiller.


First SNL decided there were no funny black actors, now Ben and co. have added to that rising chorus.

Ah well, at least we still have Tyler Perry.


"Clown me if you want, but I provide jobs."

(shit like this is why I get out of bed every morning)

Thursday, March 6, 2008

What's The Best Travel Site?

Seriously, I used to think it was Orbtiz, 'til I consistently got better deals on Hotwire.

Not to use this blog for purely personal gain (not as much as usual anyways)...

But what's the BEST SITE for finding low fares both domestic and international?

I keep hearing rumblings about these aggregate sites that get you the best fares from all the travel sites...anybody know about these.

(No, I'm not on the run from any shady characters...or jetting off to Sao Paolo to meet "Ms. Right." Plus, I'm pretty sure, with my luck, Ms. Right lives in like Provo, Utah and I'll never meet her anyway.)


The woman of my dreams is somewhere in this picture

---

ps - we have a winner in the ATHF Season 5 contest and I am waiting to see if he wants to make a victorious statement...otherwise, I'll make one for him.

Late Night Frivolity

Diallo and I were at lunch today and we saw Mike Tyson...

...well, we saw the dessicated husk of Mike Tyson.

There was very little "Iron" about him. While he was still HUGE...he plodded along, shook alot of hipster hands at this outdoor LA eatery then hung out with a small group of people (including some older hotness who was WAY too dressed up to be eating on a sidewalk)

I assumed he was medicated. But it was kinda cool to see him. And, even medicated, when he's around...you feel a little on edge.


"Cobb Salad, no onions."

Seeing Tyson got me to thinking about some of the other celebrity run-ins I've had over the years and I was trying to think of the last time I was truly star struck. I don't mean that I noticed them, or saw them, or was impressed to see them..

I mean star struck...like "holy shit, look who that is!!"

It wasn't the time my sister and I spotted Cedric The Entertainer with his family in Roscoe's Chicken and Waffle (good waffles...shaky chicken).


"This food is overrated...but addictive"

It wasn't the time I was a PA at WarnerBros. and almost hit Brooke Shields with a golf cart (I shudder to think about the consequences.)


"Slow down! The world needs Suddenly Susan"

It wasn't the time I hung out with Mos Def at an all night LA eatery (I was with some ladies he knew so, in fairness, I wasn't the reason we hung out.)


"It was nice seeing you ladies and...what was your name again?"

It wasn't the time Chris Rock lectured me and Diallo for an half hour about the pros an cons of television (funny guy on TV, kind of intense in real life)


"Sketch comedy is for suckers!"

It wasn't the time I saw Jamie Foxx and Tom Cruise at The Grove watching Jada Pinkett perform (her band was...no comment)


Great Movie...iffy reunion

It wasn't EVEN the time I got tongue tied talking to Vanessa Bell Calloway (dammit she's a star to me!!)


Stop mumbling, Bashir.

It was this guy...



...working out at my gym.

You never expect to be Star Struck, and one sees celebs so much in Los Angeles it's not noteworthy.

But I LOVED Unforgiven and I was like..."holy shit, that's Clint...I think I'm staring. I need to walk away."

Who would you be star struck to see?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Some Morning Funny

Worst Album Covers of All Time.

Two of my faves...

Shameless Plug for THE GRIOT

My older brother just put out his second video...

(we did this in Louisville, KY)

Down To My Feet

video

Featuring The Griot (brother)

directed by Ismail Salahuddin (brother)
produced by Bashir Salahuddin (me)

(plus I'm related to other people in the video...or went to high school with them...or met them in "The 'Ville)

STAND UP FOR YOUR FAMILY!

A Sad Night


I had every intention of writing something about Barack and Hillary...

...but the only thing on my mind is the sad story of a teenager brutally murdered in Los Angeles.

I won't recount the details, but suffice it to say that I know alot of kids from his school, LA High. I taught there among other places and always looked forward to it. They are city kids, diverse as hell and full of hope. They aren't the stereotypes. They are future of this town. The ones who'll do the work.

That said, LA is in the midst of a surge of gang activity. In the recent past that mean rival gangs going after each other, but the new breed is far more sinister. South American gangs have instilled their values into the new recruits doing their bidding.

They kill you if you paint over their tagging. They kill you if are in the wrong place and the wrong race. They kill you for no reason at all. The war being raged on the streets of Tijuana right now is echoed on the streets of Los Angeles.

I wasn't here in the early 90's (aka the Menace II Society era) but speaking with Craig I understand it was at times unbearable. The news was unwatchable.

I hope we don't get to that point again...but, as you can tell, tonight is not a good night for "hope."

Rest in Peace, Mr. Shaw.