Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hannibal Burress

Here's the new guy in our building.


He's the new writer on SNL and was just featured in NY mag.

I'll tell him you guys all say hi.

Get Off Detroit's Nuts

People in America treat Detroit like crap. The people who live in the surrounding suburbs want the thing burned down. Comics and TV shows make fun of it. The Lions suck. The Tigers usually suck. The ex mayor was a fucking idiot...he did some cool things, but, on balance, he was an idiot. Even we hear at The Message have had some fun with at the city's inconsistent political establishment. People use it as an example of everything that's wrong with America. It's our national whipping boy.

Now Time magazine just jumped on in.

I haven't read the article yet, but I'm sure it's a mixture of hope and despair. But the cover photo is, well, definitely about kicking the motor city in the nuts a bit.


Still, I wanted to take a minute to ask my Detroiters: Why do people from Detroit ride so hard for their city?

I have never met ANYONE on the planet who rides harder for their city than people from "The D". I mean, NO ONE, rides harder. If you tell them something you read that's bad, "hey, that's the D"... if you tell them something good that happened, they get genuinely happy.

I admire that.

So... let me pre-emptively ride FOR the motor city for all the people who wanna hate on it and point out a few undisputed facts about the city Joe Louis loved so much.

1. It is SOLELY responsible for the best music America ever gave the world. (including my favorite band.)

2. It's in the mid-west.

3. Red Wings in 5.

4. Pistons in 6.

5. There's no other place on the planet quite like it.

6. Single-handedly created the middle class as we know it.

7. Mitch Albom

8. It's right next to the prescription drug shangri-la that is Canadia (?)

9. Detroit Red

10. Gilda

And much more which I'm forgetting.

This is a little hard for me, growing up The Chi, I hated The D...mainly because the Pistons use the give my Bulls fits and Dennis Rodman used to give Scottie Pippen migraines and I wanted someone to murder Bill Laimbeer.

Still, I got love for the D. So, like my man Le Gande said:

Put Your Hands Up For Detroit.

Bow Down.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

There Is No Gray Area Here

This is good writing and great journalistic opinion.

Roman Polanski Raped a Child

We need more good writers like this. And Roman needs to go to jail.

It's so trendy in Hollywood to whitewash this dude. Even Johnny Depp, who I really respect as a performer, implied Roman should be forgiven...he's been at his chalet for years and has suffered enough.

Still and all...

What if it was your kid?


the reason this article struck such a chord with me is that, in LA, this story is basically told in such a way that you think Roman and this chick were at a hollywood party, everyone was doing drugs, and, while she was very young, she looked older and they ended up having drug soaked consensual sex.

that is NOT what happened.

Burning Rage and Calories

Been FINALLY getting back to the gym...

Is there ANY better song to work out to?

Well...what do you work out to?

BTW - if you're one of those people who can run for 20 - 30 mins without "get hype" music...I hate you.

Inside Baseball

and THIS is why The Onion will be one of the premium channels on television in the next 5 years.

Aggregation of "evergreen" content produced in-house and bundled with it's own audience.

Crime Reporter Finds Way Of Linking Warehouse Fire To Depraved Sex Act

Comfortably in command.

Whatever You Want

New track from GOOD music.

I'm liking it...

Onward and Upward

So Diallo and I are gonna use the next work hiatus we have from Fallon to do a short film with some of our old friends from Cleo's Apartment & The Message. Something small and hilarious, set in the world of Public Access TV titled "All Access". On every show, the writers always have a few other things going on, some do stand-up on the weekends and at night, others write for magazines, one is even writing a book in their spare we're gonna spend our little spare time getting back into one of our favorite things to do...making media.

We decided to fund the film entirely with help from close friends and family and I gotta say, this process has been eye opening. Our people have come through in a major way and if any of them read this blog, know that you're appreciated. Obviously, as with any venture our funding has been a mixed bag, but we're soldiers so we soldier so you know that the film is getting made and, as with everything we've done, it's gonna be funny and smart.

We're eager to show you, our readers, the flick once it's appeared in festival (late in the year, hopefully) but, more than that, we wanted to always keep readers of this blog aware of what we're getting in to.

In addition to shooting the film, on the weekends we have off, here in New York, we've begun doing a public access TV show...something fun and funny that we don't have to write but just show up. It's called Black Media Review and, ostensibly, it's about us reviewing black media a la Siskel and Ebert. We've got two episodes in the can and they've been so much fun we wanna keep it going. We'll post the episodes here on our blog.

It's akin to what we did, here...but expanded to music and other forms of entertainment:

Black Cinema Review

Aigh't, back to work, kids.


ps - If anyone wants to contribute to the film, hit us up at We got PayPal so you can Pay, pal. (what? I had to make that joke.)

Should I Buy The Blueprint 3

I'm not gonna steal it.

So...should I pay for it?

Or pass?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Me + Kimbo

This was two years ago.

This was last night.

The circle is complete.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Black Sci Fi Blockbuster?! Yes, Please!

I will be in line the first day...

Denzel + The Hughes Bros + Science Fiction = Who knows? But I HAVE to support.

(Gary Oldman as the heavy...nice)

The Next Glenn Beck


1. he's not funny

2. he's convinced he is

3. he's self righteous and obnoxious

4. he'll have a show on FoxNews within 2 years.

The Pact

Jacarl mentioned this.

Find a way to see it.

I did, it's great.

Also, just makes you feel like hitting the street and being ABOUT something.

A good song to have stuck

Phonte posted this song. I can NOT get it out of my head

MJJ, Stranger in Moscow

love it.

More Than The Sample

Sometimes the best hip hop songs take some obscure track and make it better.

But sometimes an AMAZING hip hop song is built out of an obscure track that is amazing on its own. And suddenly the world has two DIFFERENT great songs.

Jay-Z (or better yet, Jus Blaze) heard greatness in this 1968 song.

But its kinda hot on its own.

Also, Jemini the Gifted had a great song with "Brooklyn Kids."

But that is to take nothing away from this HOT HOT Peter Brown track, "For Your Love" from 1978:

UPDATE - They have taken the video of most of the Peter Brown songs off of YouTube. But this snippet, which can be heard here is pretty telling.

Buy it. Love it.

Whatcha Think?

I've been meaning to do a post of some sort about this artist for a while, so I might as well do it now.

His name is Mayer Hawthorne. He's on Stones Throw Records and recently dropped his first album, A Strange Arrangement, on iTunes (the actual release date is Oct. 6). Dude is getting a fair amount of press as of late and getting some strong endorsements (Nelson George is the most recent co-sign). The quick-and-dirty summary of him is "Blue-eyed" Motown soul with a geek twist. Here's his lead video:

So what do this blog's denizens think? I'm gonna back away a bit from this one. Full discloser: I've known of Mayer (born Andrew Cohen) and hung out/went to college with his inner circle. Back then, he was DJ Haircut of the Athletic Mic League. We were all part of the Detroit hip-hop scene's Ann Arbor division in the late-90s to mid-2000s (I was writing intensely about the merits of the area's hip-hop). So needless to say, I'm biased. I'm glad to see a guy I knew before he was known become someone that everyone's clamoring about.

But again, what do y'all think?

Flashback Friday

If you're like me (or Bashir), you're spending time watching Brick City.

A few years back, I was asked to do some "consulting" on a documentary dealing with three doctors from Newark based on my supposed knowledge of late-80s to mid-90s hip-hop. The film's creators wanted to have an idea of the music the docs would've been listening to in their youth/early adulthood.

The first track that came to mind was from this week's Flashback group, Newark's own Artifacts. Unfortunately, licensing my ideal songs would've blown out the budget so the producers got some dude named Marcus Miller to score it. As consolation, I like to think my playlist helped him build out his musical approach to the documentary.

Though I'm a fan of this song, from I've picked up from various accounts of Mayor Cory Booker's Brick City, I don't know if El Da Sensei and Tame One would fit in well in the new Newark. Especially in this video.

Regardless, this piece of old Newark is worth preserving.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Hari Kondabolu is the shit

Diallo and I saw this dude perform at the Aspen comedy festival two years ago. He's was the best comic I saw that weekend.

His comedy was both exceptionally color blind, yet very ethnic politically but not socially. Which I loved... it wasn't about social habits but social justice.

MORE THAN ALL OF THAT...he was funny as hell.

I wanna work with this dude at some point in the future.

Hari Kondabolu

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What If I Was Wrong?

I always assumed Michael Jackson was at least partially guilty of inappropriate behavior or some form of assault with a child.

It just seemed like there was too much evidence.

Katt Williams sums it up nicely:

But what if I was wrong? Is it possible Michael was completely innocent of all charges?

While writing today, I was listening to Phonte's Gordon Gartrell Radio Michael Jackson Tribute. You should listen to it. He does a great job of playing music you love but haven't even heard along with touching interviews of the young Jackson boys just hanging out.

He also asserts his un-shakable belief of Michael's innocence.

Here's the treatise he mentions in full:

I haven't been compelled to blog in a long time.

In an era where everybody is twittering and text-messaging their lives away, a well-thought out essay that extends past 140 characters is quickly becoming a thing of the past.

But when our universe lost its brightest star on June 25, 2009, I felt a deep, overwhelming sadness that I haven't experienced in many years and I felt moved to say....something.

My hero, Michael Joseph Jackson, is dead.

Honestly I'm still trying to process it, almost like the loss of a much-loved family member. I mean, hell, to many of us Michael WAS family. Much like Nike, or Coca-Cola, or McDonalds, Michael Jackson wasn't so much a person as he was a living, breathing, American institution; a ubiquitous force that has seemingly existed forever and one that we couldn't imagine a world without. Seeing Michael onstage was less like watching a musician perform and more akin to witnessing a magician at work.

But contrary to his otherworldly stage presence and magical aura, the man we called The King of Pop proved to be a mere mortal. And now my hero, Michael Joseph Jackson, is dead.

What isn't dead, unfortunately, is the cloud of false accusations, unsubstantiated rumors, myths, slander, and outright lies that surround his life and his legacy. The greatest myth regarding Michael Jackson is that he was a pedophile who preyed on young children.

It is my belief now, just as it was 16 years ago, that the charges brought against Michael during his 1993 sexual abuse case were false. The allegations made by Jordan Chandler (the accuser) and his father Evan Chandler always seemed suspect to me for a few reasons:

1. Ask the average parent whether they'd want justice or money for their abused child and more than likely they'd say justice, if for no other reason than to protect their child (and other children) from a future attack. The fact that Evan Chandler was willing to essentially let Michael off the hook for a few million (reportedly 2-3), made their case seem like a well-orchestrated extortion attempt. In regards to the case, Evan was later caught on tape saying, "If I go through with this, I win big time. There's no way I lose. I will get everything I want and they will be destroyed forever...Michael's career will be over." Notice that homeboy ain't mention jack shit about his son. So much for being a concerned father...

2. Generally when victims of abuse come out with allegations against someone, other victims come forward to corroborate their story (i.e. the Catholic Church scandal, where a few parties came forward and it later led to thousands).

Very rarely do child molesters stop at just one kid, or even two for that matter. An alleged pedophile with only two accusers is kinda like an alleged serial killer with only one body. Or an alleged sneaker addict with only two pairs of Jordans in his closet. It just doesn't make any logical sense, nor does it coincide with the recurring psychological characteristics of most people who fall into those categories.

In the case of Michael Jackson vs. the Chandler family, not a single corroborating witness could be found to help prosecute the case and after raids were conducted on several of Jackson's homes, no hard evidence of sexual abuse was gathered.

Michael later settled the Chandler case out of court, not as an admission of guilt, but at the behest of his lawyers and financial advisors who warned him that a criminal trial could cost him millions of dollars in legal fees, as well as the loss of hundreds of millions in touring and endorsement revenue. With the Chandler case finally over, Michael continued to tour and released his greatest hits package “HIStory” in 1995. Ten years later though, he would face another trial that, in my opinion, would be the one to literally and figuratively, kill him.

Martin Bashir’s heinous, Machiavellian documentary “Living With Michael Jackson” aired in 2003. It was in this documentary that Mike (albeit foolishly) talked about his fondness for sharing his bed with children, and was seen holding hands with a young boy. Shortly afterwards the young boy from the documentary, 13 year-old Gavin Arvizo (a cancer survivor who had all his medical bills paid for by Michael), accused him of sexual abuse.

When Mike’s case against Arvizo hit airwaves in 2005, I must admit that I had my doubts. Much like the Chris Rock joke, I too shook my head in disbelief and said “ANOTHER kid!?! Mike, what the fuck?!! How could you be THAT stupid?!?!” As the case unraveled though, the financial motivations of the accuser’s family became much more apparent.

Similar to the Chandler case from ‘93, the prosecution couldn’t produce any credible witnesses to corroborate Arvizo’s testimony against Michael. Many of the prosecution’s witnesses were either former employees of Michael who had financial disputes with him, or had criminal convictions themselves. Arvizo’s testimony contradicted previous statements he’d made to officials saying that nothing ever took place between him and Michael, and Arvizo’s mother Janet Arvizo, an eccentric woman with a prior conviction for welfare fraud, single-handedly killed the case with her flippant remarks on the witness stand and overall bizarre courtroom behavior.

Actor Macaulay Culkin came forward in Michael’s defense and testified that no inappropriate behavior ever took place during their many times together, as did many other associates who had spent time at Neverland. Ultimately, Michael emerged from the Arvizo case with a Not Guilty verdict on all counts, but it proved to be a pyrrhic victory. The damage was already done. In the court of popular opinion, The King of Pop was an unrepentant child molestor.

When defending Michael Jackson against his detractors, I am often asked if I would let one of my sons sleep over at his house. The answer is no. Shit, I wouldn't let my sons sleep over at YOUR house. But that doesn't make you a pedophile, it just makes me a concerned and protective dad who doesn’t leave his kids around people I personally don’t know well enough to trust.

When it came to children, the only thing Michael was guilty of in my opinion, was naivete. While cuddling in the bed with children isn't technically illegal, it does violate several social norms; norms that a man who dresses funny, lives at an amusement park and refers to himself as “Peter Pan” would certainly pay a higher price for breaking. When I hear the tales of Michael laying in bed with those children, watching movies, tickling, and engaging in general horseplay, it sounds less like the work of a pedophile and more like the actions of a man trying to experience a childhood he never had.

During his investigation for the Arvizo trial, Michael was examined by Dr. Stan Katz, a clinical psychologist who concluded that Michael didn’t fit the profile of a pedophile but instead that of a regressed 10 year old, an analysis which I agree with wholeheartedly. I mean after all, only a person with the simple, unsuspecting mind of a child could truly believe they could sleep in the same bed as their pre-pubescent buddies and not pay a price for it.

Still, the most saddening myth surrounding Michael’s life is that he was ashamed to be Black. During the mid 80’s, in the midst of his ever-changing skin complexion and facial features, popular opinion in the Black community was that Mike was a sellout. This was an opinion that would unfortunately haunt him for the rest of his life, but a closer look reveals quite the opposite.

As echoed by my man Scorpeze of the house music duo Windimoto in his excellent blog, Michael Jackson never tried to disown or separate himself from his Blackness at any point in his career. In fact, he was probably the most openly pro-Black pop entertainer of his time. Michael Jackson ashamed to be Black? I mean, this was the same guy who:

-portrayed Black people as kings and queens in ancient Egypt ("Remember the Time" video)
-called Tommy Mottola (his then label boss) a devil and a racist
-sang "white man's gotta make a change" live on the Grammies in '88
-sang about a beautiful African woman in "Liberian Girl"
-featured an African chant at the end of "Wanna Be Startin Somethin"
-donated over $25 million to the United Negro College Fund
-sang "I ain't scared of no sheets" in "Black or White" and upped the ante by morphing into a BLACK PANTHER at the video's end
-wrote a song called "They Don't Really Care About Us," with a Spike Lee-directed video that featured prisoners raising the Black power fist
-uhhh “We Are The World” and USA for Africa, anyone?

What about this man wasn’t Black enough? Was it his battle with vitiligo and how it caused skin discoloration? Was it his excessive facial surgeries, due I’m sure in no small part to the teasing and ridicule he faced about his looks as a teenager?

Why did we turn our collective backs on a man who always reminded us that he never forgot who he was, or more importantly, whose he was?

This essay is my plea to all people who consider themselves a fan of Michael Jackson, but especially to Black people: Don't let them talk about our Brother. Don’t let his naysayers convict him of crimes that were never proven. Don't let people reduce the memory of one of our greatest heroes to that of a weird guy who wore a shiny glove and molested little boys.

When Elvis Presley died, did the media remember him as an overweight, drug-abusing racist who dated a 14 year-old, or was he eulogized as The King of Rock and Roll?

When Woody Allen dies, do you think the media will focus on the controversy behind him marrying his own stepdaughter, or on the films "Annie Hall" and "Manhattan" and how great they were? (Ditto for Jerry Lee Lewis, the rock and roll pioneer who married his 13-year old cousin.)

When people accuse Michael of being a pedophile or a child molester, ask them to provide hard evidence. Ask them to provide an opinion rooted in fact, rather than one based on gossip, hearsay, and conjecture. Chances are, they won't be able to. The Black community has done a great disservice in not reciprocating the love that Michael Jackson showed us when he was alive. The least we can do in honoring his death is ensure that his legacy is remembered properly for future generations.

Was Michael Jackson a weirdo? Of course he was a weirdo.

But maybe if you had been in the public eye since you were 7, had grown ass women throwing themselves at you since you were 13, suffered physical abuse at the hands of your father, watched your father and older brothers engage in sex with groupies on tour as a child, were called "Big Nose" and "ugly" by both family members AND fans, developed a skin disease that took away the one thing you repeatedly expressed your pride for, and spent the last half of your life as the most famous person on Earth, you'd probably be a bit of a weirdo too.

I am not attempting to paint Michael Jackson as a saint, as no man ever lives up to such a lofty title. But to me, the phrase “no good deed goes unpunished” seems to sum up Michael Jackson’s life more than ever.

Why would people try to tear down a man who constantly used his power, money, and influence to help others?

Why would people express such disgust and contempt for a man who constantly sang of love and peace, and used his talent to entertain, uplift, and inspire millions?

Tell em that its human nature, I suppose...

Rest in Peace, Brother Michael. I love and miss you dearly.



def got me thinking.

Some Afternoon Funny

Been watching Best In Show alot lately.

I always forget how good that movie is. But when it's on, time and again, I have to watch it all the way through.

Parker Posey is the BEST.

Peep The Technique

I saw this from a tweet Questlove put out. I gotta say it made me smile. I was like, "wow, this is my generations contribution to music history"... it's a pretty damned great contribution. Not that I had anything to do with it personally, but hip hop definitely belongs to us and we should be proud.

see if you can guess the DJ BEFORE he's revealed at the very end.

(HINT: You won't guess it right, then when you see him you'll be like OF COURSE.)

Did you guess right?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Creeping Mediocrity

You know how the music industry died in part because EVERYbody could afford a home studio?

Same thing is happening in movies.

It costs nothing to shoot a professional looking movie these days and as a result, the amount of dreck out there is rapidly increasing.

Our agent told us that everyone in Hollywood is looking for the next "The Hangover." Cheap low-budget comedy with an easy-to-get premise and under-the-radar comedy talent.

Hence, movies like the above.

But maybe...just maybe, your boys might sneak in with something that isn't exploitative, or dumb, or mediocre. Something good and interesting and for the ages.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Run This Town Spoof...

...done by some friends of The Message - Affion Crockett and Nika Williams.

Music video starts around :34 second mark. Really blown away by the production values.

Brick City

I'm into this.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

RIP - Roc Raida

This has been a bad year, in a lot of respects.

Back in the days before Serato (think mid-1990s), people used duplicate copies of vinyl with recorded music on them to make scratching noises and "beat juggle" between. It was called turntablism.

There were a few people who really stood out in this hip-hop music sub-genre, and Roc Raida was one of them.

Raida passed away Saturday from injuries sustained in a mixed martial arts accident.

Sorry, but this whole RIP thing is becoming all too routine. At least YouTube is here to remind us of better times.

Here he is at work:

And here's the classic O.C. track he provided cuts on:

Thanks, Roc.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Simple Question

This song is great on about 15 levels.

Ohio Players, Ecstasy

Is there ANY popular black artist working today who could possibly write something this good?


I'll go ahead and answer that:

uh, No.

Maybe Raphael Saadiq, maybe D'angelo, but I would hardly call either popular. Ummm...yeah, there's no one.

The Greatness Of T-Morgan

Tanya Morgan's album Brooklynati is so good that, despite the fact that it came out a while ago. I still rock it.

The beats are incredible.

And this is the gem in the crown.

We're Fly

I can NOT wait to spin this for a crowd.

Flashback Friday

I set out on a mission and I failed.

The group that helped cement the term "swayze" in hip-hop venacular didn't seem to record a video utilizing it.

Oh well.

Here's one of my favorite EPMD joints.

It had me thinking, though. How many kids trying to get into the rap game in the same manner this guy was? Are those days dead now that anyone with some software can seemingly put together a decent recorded project and do it themselves?

Gotta love the '90s rap super-villain, the record exec.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Em's Beat Track Ever

Forget who brought it up, but this track gets my vote.

Off the one (and only?) Jay-z Blueprint album. I will never begrudge dude's ability back in the day. His verse (as Nas pointed out) was a killer.

Thank God He's Not Black #456: Raymond Clark

The Yale Killer

Thank God he's not black...

(though if he were, Rush and Drudge and Beck would be having a freakin' field day - Pelosi's right)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

More Race Hate

Every now and then you read a story and say, "I wish I had been there".

This dude beat up a black woman in Georgia in front of her daughter while calling her nigger.

Troy Dale West

I wish I was there. Whatever the result it would have been worth it.

This is the world Matt Drudge and Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh want. I believe in free speech as much as the next guy, but you can NOT incite violence.

These men are not patriots.

They are inciting violence and hatred. And this will get worse.

Viral Marketing 101

The tourism bureau of Denmark made this video:

WELL.... some find it offensive. It implies that if you go to Denmark you'll meet and sleep with a hot blonde who'll let you hit it sans protection (if you're into that sort of thing.) Or as one commenter put it in a Danish newspaper: "Visit Denmark, land of sluts."

I think it's funny and ballsy. And TOTALLY effective. Plus it's spawned some cool spoofs.

Here's a good parody.

Here's the kid in the vid all grown up.

And here's the dad, apparently NOT American, but Danish.


also, I've been to CUSTOM HOUSE, the place they mention that sits by the water. I was in Copenhagen earlier this year:

Dope place to eat if you're ever in Copenhagen.

And YES...Copenhagen is a hot time...just don't go on Sunday like I did.

(my boy took this pic. people pull their boats up to the water and eat. some parts of Europe just live at a different level.)

Something for Dad honor of my Islamic upbringing, this week on Fallon I played:

1. A baptist preacher

2. A man in drag

I can't wait to see the look on dad's face when he sees this...


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Last Night's Slow Jam

Got some love from HuffPo with that one...

This Is The Business

GOOGLE TRANSLATE is secretly the best page on the internet.

I have used it to converse with friends in other countries in their native language via chat. (which they hate since they all speak English.)

Also, i use it to translate articles form foreign newspapers, I like reading stories from the most local sources. This morning I used it to translate articles about Del Potro's victory in the US Open written by Argentine writers.

The BEST is when you read foreign opinion pages. Very cool to really get a global perspective from the horses mouth. It even has an "auto detect" feature for when you're not sure what language you're looking at.

In Star Trek , there's the frequent use of the universal translator. Well, it's here.

Google scores yet again.


Last thing I'll say:
Ik denk dat dit een grote stap in de richting van een wereld waar mensen een apparaat dat vertaalt dat ze activeren van hun mobiele telefoon. World Travel over is om een stuk makkelijker te krijgen.

Black Dynamite: A New Blaxploitation Movie

After "I'm Gonna Get You Sucka" there hasn't really been much need for any more Blaxploitation parodies coming to movie theatres.

And yet, as with all things, a good artist can take even a well-worn subject or still-life and paint it in a way that you see something new.

This trailer got me excited.

NSFW: There is nudity and era-appropriate cursing in the trailer.

This parody seems SMARTLY done and I have to say, it looks VERY well shot.


Update: Bashir thinks that this movie will be more of a new blaxploitation movie than a parody. Either way, we are both looking forward to it.

Monday, September 14, 2009

What If Kanye Was Wrong?

Vulture, one of the best blogs on the internet, says Kanye Was Right. They don't condone his behavior but they agree with his point.

(Joe Wilson anyone? How amazing is that parallel?)

To Wit:

Even if the VMAs never were, awards are supposed to be merit-based, right? And the fact that "Single Ladies" eventually won the trophy for Video of the Year makes its loss for Best Female Video also logically vexing, does it not?

But what if he was wrong on the merits?

Here's Taylor Swifts winning video:

Now, obviously, from any rational, reasonable standpoint, Single Ladies is a better, smarter and more infectious song AND video. You'd have to be a little daft not to know that.

But look at the elements of that video above again.

I would argue, that based SOLELY ON WHO ACTUALLY WATCHES MTV (girls aged 11 - 17) ...there's a case to be made that Taylor's video is more worthy of an award than Beyonce's.

That's like me going to the NAACP Image awards and saying the movie of the year is actually "Good Night and Good Luck" rather than something by Tyler Perry. I mean, sure, the former is a better movie...but the latter is certainly more of what THIS CROWD wants to see.

I mean, just based on "elements they can relate to"...I think Taylor's video is far more "connect-toable" than Beyonce's.

Beyonce's video is great art.

Taylors is preaching to her choir.

Michael Jordan: The Man, The Myth

Let me begin by saying I have basically worshiped this man my whole life. I was a freshman in high school when The Bulls won championship number one and graduated college when they collected number six.

I am not impartial on this.

Still, Jordan was inducted to the basketball hall of fame last week. Some people said he broke tradition with a speech that wasn't lofty and gracious, but petty and self-serving.

I can see that point.

But as someone who's followed him his whole career, I've often laughed at how little people know about the man if they go solely by his interviews before and after games.

Michael Jordan had the most well-managed sports persona in American History.

After games he was never passionate. He was repetitive. He never gave a personal impression except to say that they could have worked harder...or to reiterate the changes in momentum of the game that we had already just watched. He was like an expert witness in a case...he never said more than he had to or gave you anything to work with. He wasn't witty or charming. He was brief, coherent and boring.

He had a gambling scandal which I'm sure he's stoked happened before the internet era, and which never affected him since no one could have imagined he'd gambled on Bulls games. And frankly, as a guy worth millions to himself and billions to his franchise, who cares if he blew his money.

He played baseball, poorly, but the world forgave that because his dad had past, and it seemed he was searching for something in his life.

Even his well-publicized divorce from his wife, where she walked away with anywhere from $100 - $200 million, you never heard one peep from the Jordan camp, nor heard any reports of him being a dick or misbehaving. I mean, Paul McCartney only lost about $60 million to Heather Mills but you saw that story every single day. We did more with his divorce over at The Message than the media ever did.

So just as I said when Steve McNair was tragically killed this summer or when Michael Vick was caught fighting much do we really know about the man?

Jordan? Not much.

From his teammates (anecdotal) he was a ruthless competitor who wanted to win at all costs. That's not something the media or fans will ever blame you for...especially if you have six championships. He didn't kick it with his teammates and pretend they were all friends off the court (like LeBron does)...he never had any high-profile personal life issues...he just won.

And that's all his media managers did, make sure when you looked at or heard from Michael, all you walked away with was: winner. And as such, converted him from the best basketball player on the a juggernaut of a global brand. And Jordan himself, unlike so many other sports stars (TO, Vick, Pacman Jones, OchoCinco, etc.) understands the strength of being a global brand. And never did ONE thing to jeopardize it.

Consider that, consider how famous he is, and how little you know of him outside of his playing years. Consider how well-managed he is that you think you know "he's a great guy"...but you're basing that on his commercials, his interviews and his movies.

His handling over the years has been brilliant. But it takes more than great handling to maintain the level of power he has. Don't think for a minute that every sports star who gets in trouble doesn't have people telling them how to avoid controversy and make more money...So, Jordan is not just well-handled, he, himself is brilliant. He's a brilliant man.

Personally, I kind of always assumed he was a dick in person. I mean his best friends are Charles Oakley and Charles Barkley, not exactly guys known for being easy-going and amiable in private. He smokes cigars, parties with hot chicks and plays golf. That didn't stop me from loving him one bit, as, I've said before, I separate people from their achievements.

Below, for the first time in my life, I got to see how Jordan really felt about the world. This is the first time America has ever heard him speak how he really feels.

I loved it.

It showed a man constantly in search of a reason to get better. It showed how he fueled his passion, not for basketball, but for victory with what he considered the slights of those around him. And WHO GIVES A DAMN if those slights were fake. Or didn't even really happen. He, like a guy in a bar fight, was just looking for a reason.

Just amazing, really. And for a minute, you should think about who you respect in the world for their accomplishments but have no sense of who they are behind closed doors.

But that's what Jordan is. A man we just don't know outside of his flawless career. He was not a diplomat or a cherished peace-maker. Not a big brother or friendly role-model. He was not a friendly TV presence or a down-to-earth good guy.

He was a champion.

ps - did you see the chick next to him when he stood up, it wasn't Juanita. I know they're divored but still. hahahahahaha! (wow.)

ps2 - I can't believe Dennis Rodman showed. I always thought he hated Jordan.

ps3 - how great is it that the first thing Jordan did was thank Scottie Pippen? So dope.

ps4 - during the famous flu game, do you think he was faking, just trying to find some way to make shit more challenging?

This Is A Patriot

I don't agree with everything Michael Moore says. He goes too far sometimes. He's way too into stunts and tricks to make his points. And he can get annoying after too much exposure.

But he says things every celeb in hollywood is afraid to, for fear of losing income.

He speaks truth to power.

He's an American patriot.

And when Bill Maher says of people on the left that we spend more time shouting at the TV than marching in the streets. Which is true. We lefties would much rather blog than know, cuz we're multi-taskers.

He ain't talking about Moore.

Michael Moore exercises his right to free speech and dissent in a way that most people couldn't begin to.

I'm proud that he's an American.

He does a job no one else wants to.

Cuz at the end of the day it's not about "my country, right or wrong", it's about "I love my country enough to work to pull it from the brink of madness."

Crazy Weekend Open Thread

So apparently while I was at the yankee game (sitting behind home plate, thanks for the seats Lorne) and writing all weekend.

Black celebrities were raising hell.

Kanye, no!

Et tu, Serena?

Did you enjoy the weekends spectacles.

UPDATE (Diallo ed.) - The photo below says it all to me...


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Quick Post on D.C. Protests

So I leave my gym on the Hill this morning and hear a giant roar.


I then pull out my Blackberry and check my messages. I got a seemingly panicked email from D.C.'s emergency notice system:

Update: Thousands of Tea Party protestors completely blocking Pennsylvania Ave. from 14th St. NW to the U.S. Capitol.

Oh shit. Run.

If you haven't heard by now, Glenn Beck & Co. are out on the Capitol steps at this minute protesting everything that's happened in America since last November (I don't see what's dramatically changed, but I'll assume something really really big happened other than the inauguration of a President of African descent).

I have to say, the protest was rather impressive in size. It was so large that the crowd blocked a street that fire trucks and ambulances needed to use to get to an actual emergency (and no, they weren't going to rescue American democracy from President Obama's socialist death grip, Birthers). They had some slickly produced videos and songs so don't buy for a minute that this was grassroots. FreedomWorks was all on this.

I heard a lot of talk of revolution (that was really interesting), songs about taking the country back (from where or whom, I don't know), and a few Rebel flags. Not to mention people really want to see their "heritage" protected. Well, if that "heritage" includes the stories of people whose forefathers had their fingers chopped off for trying to learn to read, sign me up! Something tells me, though, this probably won't be the case.

If anything, I came to realize these folks are dedicated. To what exactly, the verdict is still out. What also was evident was this is an almost exclusively white movement with a strong geographical base in the South (I hadn't heard that much drawl in my life).

I say all this because it was easy to pick up on the fervor these folks had. And like I said, I have a hard time seeing what drastic changes, other than those just being talked about, have happened that they could be up in arms about. Yet, I couldn't help feeling they were "winning" in this battle of ideas, even though I haven't heard an idea clearly articulated beyond "America" and "freedom". And I ask, where is the Progressive/Left/Democrat/Moderate Republican/Rational/Thinking folks' response? Better yet, a movement?

Here's a clip from last night's Real Time. Start watching at the 1:48 mark. I think Bill nails it about the "couch" attitude a lot of us, including myself, to a degree, have.

What are "we" doing or can "we" do to get all this ruckus headed in a direction other than straight to Crazytown?

Friday, September 11, 2009

I Still Laugh Out Loud At This

I know it's OLD AS HELL. But I love it still.

TERRY TATE (The Sensitivity Episode)

After all these years, I still smile when I see it. I still love it.

Is this what being married is like?

Midday Stoopid

I love this country and given it's 9/11 I think it's an appropriate time to say that.

But sometimes I see isht that makes me want to pack up and leave, just to realize our flaws and our ability to correct said flaws are what make us a great nation.

But damn...Enjoy.

History Lesson

As much as I ride FOR North Carolina, South Carolina is a different story. The SMARTEST political writer on the planet (as of right now at least), Nate Silver, puts everything into context.

This is a state whose slaveowners pressured Thomas Jefferson to remove condemnations of slavery from the Declaration of Independence. This is a state where loyalists rallied by the British as part of their "Southern Strategy"--the Brits' term, not mine--recaptured South Carolina from the patriots in 1780 as part of a plan to flip SC and Georgia and roll northward from there to smother the very revolution that birthers and tea partiers and Glenn Beck sychophants point to today as inspiration. This is the state that gave us senator and Vice President John C. Calhoun, who advocated state “nullification” of federal powers. This is also the state which became the first to secede from the Union to start the Confederacy—and even threatened to secede from the Confederacy when the other southern states refused to join its calls to re-open the slave trade. This is also the state that boasts of Congressman Preston Brooks, who in 1856 bloodied abolitionist senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts with a cane. (Top that, Rep. Wilson!)

All ancient history, you say? Not so fast.

Well into the 20th century, this was the state where black citizens observed the Fourth of July mostly alone. Why? Because--get this--the vast majority of whites preferred instead to celebrate Confederate Memorial Day, May 10, a practice that continued into the early 50s, which means there are some very senior South Carolina citizens who skipped a few Fourths back in their early years. (Why isn't Sean Hannity asking them to brandish their flag pins?) In 1920, this was the state whose legislature rejected the women’s suffrage amendment, only ratifying it for symbolic purposes a half century later, in 1969. In 1948, this was the state where the legislature declared President Harry Truman’s new civil rights commission “un-American,” and that offered segregationist favorite son Strom Thurmond as the so-called Dixiecrat party's presidential nominee. And it was this state's Clarendon County, not Topeka, that was the original case that later became--and only after political intervention by Gov. James Byrnes to replace SC with KS--the landmark Brown v. Board of Education ruling. Is anyone surprised that this was the state that brought the first court challenge to the 1965 Voting Rights Act?

Joe Wilson's outburst? Puh-lease. Merely a peep, folks. Merely a peep.

So...yeah, Joe's par for the course.

There's a reason South Carolina has been added as an important early primary, we've been trying to make it part of the United States for about 2oo years.

One day, I hope.

But I can't hate on SC too much, I mean, after all, this guy's from there:

Greatest. Citizen. Ever.

Anyone from SC? Or been to SC?

If you ain't never been to South Carlina
Don't ever come to South Carolina
Cuz you wouldn't understand South Carolina
So stay the fuck out of South Carolina

Flashback Friday (Diallo version)

Man, forget Jacarl. I'mma post my own damn throwback song today (haha - I kid).

But for whatever reason, this song was stuck in my head this morning and I know a lot of my Chicago and steppin' friends will appreciate it.

Lee Oskar kills it. Off his 1978 solo album.

Flashback Friday

It's Friday so you'd think when I say Johnny Kemp is this week's "Flashback" artist, the requisite joint would be posted.

Oh no. That's too predictable (and Sony took out the embedding code for the video).

Here's a track that's slightly older than Kemp's signature song. I didn't know it existed 'til I visited my favorite '70s and '80s dance joint site, Beat Electric, and heard it in a mix posted there (@DJThePoet, they had about 100 Chicago and Chicago-esque MP3s in one post[August 16]. Enjoy that isht. I know I did).

Needless to say, I'm waiting for my 12" in the mail now.

In terms of the video, Johnny moves around a little too much for me and the crayola isht gets to be much, but still, I'll take him and his Cosby sweater any day over today's standard fare.

Here's to a carefree day/weekend.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The King

I just wanted to point out that Barack Obama has great timing. As of tonight, America cares about one thing and one thing only.


The health care debate is officially over...and Obama made sure he got in the last word.

Game, set, match.

Our President Is not Retarded

Check out this video of Obama talking about civility in discourse.

Pundits on the left and the right have one issue that they continue to hammer him on...that he seeks to be a centrist despite the reality that it's impossible. Even those on the right who call him a dyed in the wool liberal mock his efforts at bi-partisanship.

Obama isn't trying to be bi-partisan because that's who he is as a person. More than that, he isn't doing it because he, stupidly, doesn't understand the strength and immovability of our partisan divide.

Obama's efforts at bi-partisanship are a high-risk, high reward gamble.

He knows that. He can't have risen to the top of Chicago politics being a wide-eyed optimist. He knows the stake, he knows the rules, he knows how Washington gets down.

But he's making a HUGE gamble that if he keeps talking about bi-partisanship, trying to sell it to people in congress, keeps presenting it during speeches, keeps downplaying the differences between Americans in Denver and Davenport and Dallas...that, maybe, he'll hit a home run and that bi-partisanship will become our country's guiding principal. Or, more specifically, that bipartisanship will become the first thing people try in Washington before reverting to toe-ing party lines.

It's a helluva a gamble. He'll probably be unsuccessful. Facts don't matter and compromise has become a bad word.

If he's successful, he'll have changed American politics...for at least a second. And, I think we can all agree, he's a man comfortable as a change agent.

And, personally, I hope he wins.

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Joe Wilson is a racist.

I don't usually throw that term around. And even if I think it, I don't speak it all the because many times, racism can be fun and funny. (That's right, I said it.)

However, the ONLY reason a person would think to break decades of tradition and conventional wisdom to call the President a liar to his face live on TV during a joint session of congress, which no Democrat I can think of has done during eight years of proven lies from the Bush administration...

...the ONLY reason a person would feel free to do such a thing is if they felt the man as the podium was less than the office of President.

Or, if you thought he was less of a human being to begin with.

(by the way, Barack was telling the truth.)

So, you can get mad and rant and say how unfair and mean and disrespectful he is...

...or you can give his opponent some money.

Someone from SoCal's biggest newspaper, The State, wrote in response to Joe's actions.

Only in South Carolina! Let's see now, you have a Governor about to be impeached for lying and leaving the State to run itself, You have a Lt. Governor who lying about his (He was a Cheerleader) sexual orientation, . You have a man in Jim Demint, who a walking lunatic. You have a mouth of the south in Lindsey Graham, You have a Attorney General after only one day of investigation, stated Governor Sanford hadn't broke any laws. You have a rebel flag on the grounds of the State Capitol that represent an abomination by God. You have a status of Strom Thurmond on the State Capitol, who was a staunch Dixiecrat, a segregationist and a liar. And just for good measure, you have Miss Teen America (Have anyone given her a flag yet), and a man who had sex with a horse. Now, you have a Bozo, who will be known as the idiot who disrespected the President of the United States. Good people of South Carolina, these are your Leaders! You and these crazies are officially a laughing stock of this nation



ps - Rob Miller, Joe's opponent, is a veteran.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Another Day, Another "Family Values" Republican Brought Down

Unbelievable! Why won't Drudge put this on the main page??? (rhetorical)

So Many Questions

Are you going to see this?

Is Taraji hot?

Have Tyler's movies now become so mainstream they're part of the national conscience like Star Wars or Sex In The City?

Taraji was on the show yesterday, a few people went to talk to her and said, she's super nice. I always think it's funny when people say a celeb is "nice" as I'm like, " have no idea how that person is outside the other 23 hours, 59 minutes and 45 seconds of the day."

But...I've noticed working on the show that some celebs make eye contact, say "what's up" and go out of their way to thank the people who work on the show (John Rich, Channing Tatum, Taraji, John Cena, Will Ferrell.) and others refuse to make eye contact or say a word until the cameras are rolling (REDACTED.) So...based on that, Taraji might be super nice. Which is refreshing.

And also begs the question.

Who's she dating?

You think she'd date a working class writer?

Anyone friends with her and wanna run that past her?

Just askin'. I mean, I think I should start dating a celebrity. I don't have a good reason why, but why the hell not. I work in entertainment.

Isn't that what people who work in entertainment do?

More Amazing Music Diallo Didn't Tell Me Existed

This is gorgeous.

Nicolay - City Lights Vol. 2: Shibuya Sampler

Why does Diallo do that? Not tell me about great music then I have to hear about it from people in the comments section of our blog?



Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Funny on a Tuesday

One of the writers on our show, Mike, is tweeting in the personage of an African Rhinoceros.

Just A Rhino.

Not sure why but I laugh out loud ever time I read it.

North Carolina Redux/Hip Hop Navel Gazing

Someone posted this 9th Wonder track in the comments section.

As We Shine

Very nice.

Plus you know I have a thing for chocolate ladies.

That said...can someone please explain the complicated relationship between

9th Wonder
Little Brother
Kanye West
Jazzy Jeff

Clearly some shit went down at some point. I never asked Tigallo about it, cuz, frankly, I don't know him THAT well and it seemed kind of beefy.

But I'm curious about how 9th went from producing for LB to appearing on Yeezy mixtapes.

Who knows the deal?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Lo Fi + Talent = Fire

Well Said, Whore. Well Said...

From Ashley Dupre - the one who "cost" Governor Spitzer.

Fourth - ladies, ladies, ladies - so many of you have been cool, supportive and loving. But there are those of you out there who just love to judge. Let me say this - most girls, to varying degrees of course, want to be pampered and have nice shoes, designer handbags and gorgeous clothes. I know many women who target guys with money and use them to get these things. They toy with them, flirt, go on dates, have sex and then drop hints about that new dress at the store down the street or being short on rent money – and the guys deliver it. This is a dishonest relationship. I see this all over New York City. Some women aren’t as vindictive, but still dive into relationships with wealthy guys who they don’t love or even find attractive, but they stay in it because they have a nice home, a car and spending money – they would rather stay in an unfulfilling or loveless relationship than lose that security. This, too, is a dishonest relationship. I see this type all over the suburbs of New Jersey with the housewives who are strung out on mood stabilizers or the couples who put all their attention on their children so they don’t have to deal with their own issues. What about going to those sugar daddy websites? Is that legal? Should it be? Is what I did any more dishonest? Get real and get over yourself.

I's true, right?

Can I get a witness?

(I actually wrote a longer response here but realized there was no way I could get away with it. So, if you see me on them streets, we'll chat.)

From slut's mouth to God's ears.

"No President of the US in the Schools!"

From Talking Points Memo:

TPM Reader JF's lament ...

How long did it take the right to go from: "if you criticize the President you are a traitor" to "School children should not trust the President."

I Am T-Pain

Wow, homeboy is smart

He's going to make so much money off of this thing.

Politics in NC Style

Commenter El Diablo Negro pointed out these North Carolina political attack ads by Vernon Robinson.

They are creatures of exquisite beauty.


these ads are so laugh out loud funny I might vote for the guy if I lived down there.

holy shit.

So apparently illegal aliens (who look strangely middle-eastern in some shots) are burning our flag, and taking our jobs all the while gay men are kissing in...public? something.



Flashback Friday

It's Labor Day weekend, and if you're like me, you're trying to squeeze what life is left out of summer (NYC and MI here I come!).

But as summer closes out for us in the Northern Hemisphere, it's coming close to starting for our friends down South. And by "South" I mean Brazil.

"Estrelar" is one of my favorite non-standard Brazilian pop tunes. My boy lived in Rio around the time this song was its most popular. When we got hold of a sampler in high school, this was one of the first songs we used for an 8 second loop (we looped the opening bass for one song and the female harmony part for another).

Ah, the memories.

Marcos Valle does a good job with this joint but he'll probably always play second fiddle to Sergio Mendes in terms of known Brazilian pop composers.

Regardless, it's a great song and the video's scenery makes me want to relocate for a few months, if not forever.

Summer, where did you go?

Have a good weekend, fam.

(Props and a cookie to the person that can name the Northern Cali group (or the their affiliations) that sampled this)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

North Carolina, Stand Up!

at first glance this vid looks out-of-touch and silly. but look more closely...

The Red House Furniture, NC

...i think it's a brilliant bit of viral marketing and a very cool idea. I think the hipsters singing might have given it away a bit. not saying it's from a big company, but do believe some smart folks are behind this.

Question - Is North Carolina one of the best kept secrets in America?

It has:

1. Affordable Housing

2. Arguably the best sports scene in America

3. Voted for Obama

4. Good Weather

5. Many of the women I've met who were from there are smoking.

Stop pretending Jaime's not on fire.

6. One of my favorite groups is from there LITTLE BROTHER, featuring one of my favorite people (Phonte...have you seen his Movie In A Minute? Or heard him on Gordon Gartrell radio? always good.)

Raleigh, Durham, Worldwide.

Did I miss anything?

Do I need to retire there? Or just go there now?

To be honest I've always been somewhat infatuated with the place. I imagine it has great food as well plus you get the added bonus that southern people tend to be very nice. I know it's trendy to say the south is racist or whatever, and I've been many times and have seen some stuff...but the south also has, hands down, some of the nicest/kindest people I've ever met. (except for Minnesota...No one on the planet is nicer than those people. It's fucking weird).

So unless someone has a great reason why NC secretly sucks. Or a new reason. I'm gonna go ahead and say let's all move to North Carolina and have a party where we tell jokes about that time we almost got pushed onto the tracks of the D train by a homeless man.

Don't Sleep

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

When the HELL did I do this?

dude, i don't remember shooting this.


My favorite cut on first listen is....

I kinda like the second verse - he sounds like Imani from Pharcyde on it.

"I put 8-balls in corners without pool sticks..." - now that's funny.

Quick Quiz

first person to name these covers in order gets a cookie.

(via Ahmir)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Funkiest (Soon-to-be) President?

In case you aren't following it, the oil rich nation of Gabon is in the midst of its first election since the death of longtime president/dictator, El Hadj Omar Bongo Ondimba. By all accounts, Ondimba's son, Ali Bongo Ondimba, is favored to take the race.

You might be asking, "Why in the hell are you delving into Gabonese politics?" Other than it looks like someone intentionally tried to burn down their embassy here in DC, the younger Ondimba seems like an interesting cat. Check him spittin' some Dylan-esque hot fire in this video:

Too bad I don't speak French.

But this is what really caught my attention:

Dude was a music star in French-speaking Africa in the late 1970s whose album was produced by Charles Bobbit and featured Fred Wesley, two of James Brown's righthand men. I've heard part of it and I'm seriously considering putting up about 30 euros for it.

This got me thinking: What present-day artist do we have that could be running our country 30 years from now? Do we have anyone? Would we want them taking the reigns?

You know this would've been a dope ass album cover in '79.