Another Feelings Dump

What’s up y’all?  While I wouldn’t expect a return to regular posting just yet, I do have some stuff on my mind that I need to get out of my system.  So what better place?

This list is not at all in order of importance.

1) Coping (How to Fail at It) featuring Trash

You all have to know what’s going on in Ferguson, MO at this point.  I’m not here to recap it.  I’m not even here to argue the facts.

I don’t have the strength to point out how all of this is because Black people and their lives are denied value in America.

You should already know that no matter what you wear, no matter how many degrees you have, no matter how much you avoid being “stereotypical,” you’re still just another black person.  When the chips are down, you can be shot.  They will get away with it.

We all know that this teenager is going be criminalized and smeared in the media, because any minor discretion is just another reason his life didn’t matter.  You’re constantly going to be reminded that any fault in his character justified his murder.

We all know that clueless assholes are going to idiotic statements.  Newscasters will say to use “water cannons.” The killer will talk about how his life has ended too, even though he’s at home on paid leave.  New Blacks are going to talk about how Black on Black crime and rap music is the cause of all of this.

You’ve already seen someone on your social media try to make it about them with clueless statements, incorrect information, and a general ain’t-shit demeanor.

Truth is, I’m tired.  I’m trying to deal with all of my outrage, my inability to create meaningful change, my inability to protect people I love from the same fate.  There’s not a day where I don’t think, “I’m blessed to be alive.”  I haven’t done anything to deserve it.  But I am.  Instead of productively letting it out, I’m just stewing in my anger and hopelessness.  It’s making me feel ugly inside and preventing me from enjoying the day-to-day.  I don’t want to be around people because all I want to do is talk about it and be angry.  I don’t have the luxury of taking off and being alone until I’m able to face regular society again.  I’m trying to just plow through life in order to sit home in the dark and think about this situation.

There’s no comfort in knowing that no matter what I do, no matter what advice I give my nephew and niece, no matter how many books I read, and no matter how polite I am, my life means nothing if a White person so deems it.

2) Taylor Swift

I haven’t really raged against the Swift in recent moments because she doesn’t really have a song out and she hasn’t been publicly dating anyone.  Not so lucky for me and the rest of the world, she released “Shake It Off.”

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I’m not going to link because she’s not getting a single view on my behalf.

But this is tangent to the first point.  The root of my hatred of Taylor Swift (and Jennifer Aniston) is that for my money they represent peak whiteness. This isn’t a critique of every white person (again, I should not have to say this) but of the dominant American culture.  I’ll let Omarosa take over…

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Where a “wholesome” and “sweet” girl who are just “hassled” are given passes for complete mediocrity because of her perceived girl next door image.  It’s like “Ooh, she’s bland and I can sing better than her.  Give her all my money!” 

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Throw in some questionable appropriation moments and her absolute refusal to sing on key and it’s already terrible.

But this song has a message of “SUCK IT HATAZ” for critiquing her image.  So she’s shaking off any criticism of her bland, mediocre, white bread music and image that appeals to middle-of-the-road, “put-upon”, middle class America. The very same America that is notably quiet whenever an unarmed Black man is killed in cold blood.

For me, this song is the essence of “First World Problems.”  And this is not the day, the week, the month, nor the year for this shit.

Sure, that may seem like a reach for some readers, but think about it this way.  Think back to a time where you felt depressed or upset over something in your life.  Now somebody you don’t particularly like (a coworker or classmate) comes up gloating about their promotion when you know they do nothing or a great exam score on a test where they have cheated.  You wouldn’t have the time for it.

And that’s what this song is to me.  It’s Taylor Swift singing a song that say “nah nah ni boo boo” to all you minorities for not being White.

Fuck.  Her.

3) Reality TV Thoughts

On a lighter note, Project Runway and Top Chef Duels have come to television.  Since So You Think You Can Dance continues to be pretty terrible, I had high hopes for each of these shows.

Project Runway is about as average as any of the other later seasons with some confounding judging thrown in.  Three of first four episodes have handed out wins to questionable garments. Props to Tom & Lorenzo as the source of these photos.  Also, if you love celebrity fashion, Mad Men, Project Runway, or RuPaul’s Drag Race, it behooves you to frequent their site.  Also, read their book!

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The first two are from comeback contestant Amanda.  Fringe really shouldn’t be a thing.  The second two are from Sandhya.  I like the pink look with the metallic detail, but that poorly dyed, ripped shoulder, frayed edge abomination should have at least put her in the bottom.  No thanks.  That said, I do think that there’s some talent in the cast and the judges seem to be making good cuts.  I have hope that someday Michael Kors will come back.

Top Chef Duels is pretty good!  It’s a lot more low-key than your traditional Top Chef, but it brings back familiar faces and gives them space to be creative.  As a huge Gail Simmons fan, I’m glad she’s a part of the show.  I could live without Curtis Stone, but that’s not my decision.  I hope that the show does well and continues to bring back some great chefs.  (Although, go away Mike Isabella.)

Love & Hip Hop Atlanta is finally winding down after a particularly raggedy season.  When Karlie Redd is the source of your most entertaining moments, it’s time to take stock.  Seeing Rasheeda take Kirk back after complete and blatant disrespect for her, their child, his mother, their family, and her image (which is the family business) is not good television.  Seeing Erica and Scrappy be friends is nice for the sake of their daughter, they’ve been complete non-entities since we stopped seeing O’Shea Da Model and The Bambi.  Benzino continues to be neckless and ThiThi is the most obvious case of fame-hungry gold digger we’ve seen since Flavor of Love 3.  Stevie and Joseline’s soap opera relationship is not funny.  Joseline is best when talking shit about other girls, not crying about beefcake and her awful music.  Tammy & Waka are sweet but boring.  Karlie is trash on trash, but at least she gave us more terrible music and Yung Joc’s decision to air our her sexual habits.  Momma Dee & Deb are reliably fun though.

But let’s about Mimi again.  All of Mimi’s struggles, barring the death of her father, are her own doing based on her own choices.  Her absolute refusal to be told that she is wrong only serves to make her look like the weak-willed dingbat that she is. It’s painful to watch her get mad at people when she is forced to reveal her lies.  Like if you don’t want to hear what they have to say, stop going to them.  If you’re going to defend being wrong so vehemently, you’re going to continue to have to eat crow.

To be frank, I’d have cut her off when she accepted Stevie’s car.  Girl, you can’t be over him and accept things that aren’t child support.  Your dependency is showing.

But truth be told, she needs to leave the show.  Nothing has been good for her since it started and now the world knows her for being an idiot who is easily fooled and bought.  Sucks to be you.

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4) The Future Looks Bleak

If you haven’t gathered, I’m not in the happiest of places now.  As cliché and standard as it sounds, I’m used to telling myself that it will all work out. It will all be okay. But these two weeks have reminded me of the feeling of despair that I either ignored or suppressed as a part of the move.  It’s that I don’t know the future and not seeing much in the way of encouragement.  It’s not that I don’t believe God has a plan or that I believe I should have all the answers.  It just seems like I keep waking up to bad news. It’s like a nightmare. I want more than what this is for America and for my friends.  I don’t know how to tell them that, being someone who hates only tolerates melodrama/emotions.

That said, I’ll end this with simply.  I care.  I’m not great at letting people know that.  I may not ever say to your face.  But you’re cared about and I want what’s best for your mind, body, and soul.

Stay safe everyone and do your best to maintain positivity in your days.

A Hiatus & A Last Word

Hey everyone, this is going to the last post for a bit.  I’ll explain as this post unwinds.

To say that this week has been completely draining would be the understatement of the year.  There’s only so much rage you can feel.  There’s only so many days where you can feel hopeless.  There’s only a few times I’m going to let you tell me that wearing a suit will protect me.  We don’t want to hear any more lies or coverups.

While this blog has been amazing for getting these feelings out, I’m not really in a place to give you the fun stuff that attracted you here in the first place.  It’s not gone forever and there may be a post here or there, but for now, this is a smooth see you later.  But I do want to leave you all with a few mini-playlists to hold you over.  So here goes nothing.

(more…)

Quickie Post: Grief & Social Media

Hey folks. I don’t want to hold you up but I had this on my spirit.

With the tragic news of Mike Brown’s murder in Missouri as well as the suicide of Robin Williams, this week has been a grim reminder of many things. Police brutality, the state of being Black in America, and mental illness just to name a few.

In my experience, grief is a messy and difficult emotion. A mix of anger, despair, and sadness that is unmatched in how it affects a person. You don’t just get over grief. You don’t just talk it out once and it goes away.

We also live in a world where everyone feels like they need to share their every thought via the Internet, regardless of the topic, mundane or emotional. I’m here to tell you that you don’t.

If the people in your lives feel as thought you not making a grand statement is “offensive,” these are people who don’t live their real lives.

Part of the human experience is dealing with these types of intense moments in the way that is most fitting for your life and your emotional state.

You should also feel free to share your feelings on your page. My only ask is that you look before you respond. Posting incorrect names and information only serves to make you look inauthentic and erode whatever sentiment you were sharing.

That’s all and I hope that this week only finds a way to be better.

Quickie Post: Finally Some Good News!

So you all know that I’ve been really bored with So You Think You Can Dance this season.  The blandness of the top 20 plus a host of mediocre routines has left this summer a lot more boring.

However! Last night, we got our first All-Star episode and Jasmine Harper showed up to show us all how it is really done.

woohoo

 

Like from the moment she pops out of the basket, it’s like charisma everywhere.  She explodes off the stages.  Her moves are crisp and clear.  She’s just flawless.

That’s all!

Arbitrary Happy Moments

Greetings earthlings.  This is going to be a quick one but since my mood has been pretty blah for the past few weeks, I thought that I would list out a few of the things that have made me smile this week.  Let’s go.

1) Drake Living Out His Pink/Peter Pan Fantasy

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This.  Is. Amazing.

Like I’m imagining Drake flying out over the audience singing like Janet Jackson or Victoria Beckham’s classic “Not Such An Innocent Girl”.

I patiently await the memes Black Twitter.  Let’s get started.

2) This Tweet

which reminded me of this review of the Bratz Movie (which was apparently a thing)

Especially the song and dance at the 8:00 minute mark.

The reference to capris is at the 11:00 minute mark, but just watch the whole review and giggle.

3) Speaking of Horrible Movies!

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4) This Gif & Video

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5) This Vine.

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What things are lifting your spirits these days?  Let me know so I can chuckle too.

Celebrity Jury: Nicki Minaj

You even have a day that just feels like a Monday?

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But let’s chat.  As you all may remember, when the blog first started, we would take a look at some celebrities and judge them.  You know like these:

Justin Timberlake
Justin Bieber
Ray J
Bow Wow Shad Moss D-Pimpin

Well since we haven’t had a lady be judged, it’s time to rectify that.  Step on down Nicki!

tre

 

Oh…that’s not you. Hi Tré!

actually nicki

 

There you are!  Let’s get this show on the road.

Pro: Nicki is a capable rapper.

Let’s flashback to 2009, when Nicki burst on the scene with a bunch of star-making features.  I remember thinking that she was nothing special.  Clever, but not that interesting.  This was the first verse that really made me sit up and take notice from a signed artist standpoint (more on the mixtapes later).

This is FANTASTIC.  Witty, interesting, lyrically sound.  There’s not a forced rhyme in the entire verse.  Effective use of her accents.  There is not a single flaw here.  It’s the best part of the song.

But what it showed me was that I had been too harsh in my initial judgment.  I may not have been a huge fan, but the lady can rap and rap well.

Con: These singles.

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Short Version: I don’t like these songs.

Long Version: These songs aren’t interesting.  Nicki doesn’t have a terrible singing voice, but it’s not one that we need to hear when she’s capable of Monster style verses.  The rapping here defaults to L’il Wayne style broken similes and metaphors that feel lazy to me.  I just don’t get excited about Nicki Minaj music 90% of the time.  I feel like I’m going to get something dull and plodding (Your Love, Pills and Potions) or something zany yet bland (Starships, Super Bass).

Pro: Nicki’s Makeunder

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For the first few years, Nicki ran around looking a clown’s ass and we just let it happen.  Her wigs were always bright and colorful but sat too low on her forehead or were plagued by tragic wig glue.  Her make-up…was frightening.  In the wake of Lady Gaga’s “style,” Nicki’s felt try-hard and uninspiring.  no

Like this?  This is dumb.  This isn’t interesting.  There is no message.  It’s just stupid.

However in 2013, Nicki Minaj started looking like a human and dressing in a more toned-down manner.  I hate to seem like I’m discouraging her creativity, but she looks amazing.

nickiyes

Like look at this person.  Look at this woman.  How stunning is she?

Not only did it let us see what she looks like, but it had the effect of pressing “Reset” for those of us who were non-fans and others who loved mixtape Nicki.  It’s one of the most effective image makeovers in history.  I’m reminded of Dorothy Dandridge.  Some of you may or may not know, but Dorothy Dandridge had a very sweet and “apple pie” appeal when she first broke in Hollywood with the Nicolas Brothers.

She’s obviously a dynamic performer and talent, but she’s miles away from becoming Carmen Jones.

SO. HOT. RIGHT. NOW.  She’s like sex personified in the role.  It was this role that would infuse her nightclub acts with sensuality and become her lasting image rather than her earlier roles.

It’s my hope that this is the route Nicki is taking.  I’m open to liking her and her music more now because I think she looks amazing.  Had she started out this way, I would think that she had nothing more to offer, but now I feel like she deserves another shot, if that makes sense.

Con: Petty Betty is Petty.

Let’s flashback to the BET Awards.  I said this,

But back to Nicki coming for Iggy’s writing credits and authenticity.  Girl. Good. Bye. I don’t say that because I’m some huge Iggy fan or anything.  But to come for someone who is having career success when you’ve just beaten her for an award is petty.  It doesn’t make you look good.  It doesn’t speak well for your belief in YOUR career.  And to have Nicki Minaj come for anyone on the grounds of authenticity when she has run around for a good 5 years wearing multi-colored quick weaves, speaking in tragic accents, and calling herself a Barbie just reeks of a lack of self-awareness.  Writing all of those lyrics gave us Stupid Hoe and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.  So good for you?

And you know, I stand by this.  Most of Nicki’s first two years were plagued with dumb drama with L’il Kim over “not paying enough homage.”  It was petty and stupid then.  And Nicki’s reacting to Iggy’s success now is petty and stupid.  Nicki’s lane is secure and clear, despite any misgivings I may have about her.  Iggy being a part of two great summer songs has nothing to do with her.  She may not be a fan but just relax and know that you are and can do better.  People who are comfortable in their position don’t worry about what others are doing.

Pro: Lookin’ Ass N****

Yes.  Just yes.

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Con: Stupid Hoe

Now, I had to break this out separately.  What. The. Fuck.

Who approved this?

Who thought this would be a hit?

This is awful.

This is Nicki at her most indulgent and terrible.  Anybody who did not see it for her can point to this song & video and prove their point.

Pro: Nicki supports feminism.

Or at the very least, pays lip service to it.  I’m a big supporter of women standing up for themselves and their causes.  And I appreciate that Nicki does the same in her way.  Her response to Loyal at Super Jam was great.

And while I don’t care for the Anaconda cover, I don’t feel like there’s any reason for the uproar.  It’s just her ass cheeks.  This is Nicki Minaj we’re talking about. Her ass is her brand.

Con: Defensive, thy name is Onika.

Back to the point, I was making about the Anaconda cover and uproar.  Nicki went on a rant with images of other non-Black women with their booty butt cheeks out or half-dressed when people critiqued the cover.  While I agree that there is nothing particularly wrong with the cover, I feel like this is an Azealia Banks move.  It’s not that Nicki shouldn’t respond or that she can’t respond.  It’s that instead of managing her career in a way that an artist of her stature can, she’s still acting like a struggling artist whose record sales live and die by Twitter.

She’s more than that and I think that there’s two ways to respond.  Get you an interview with Jimmy Fallon or Chelsea Handler and state your case.  Or release a freestyle called “Unbothered” with several pictures of your ass in all of it’s glory.

Duh…

Going back a little bit, remember her “feud” with Mariah Carey?  Mariah Carey is a rude and shady bitch, but losing your cool isn’t how you fight someone operating at that level of mastery.  You do some digging

Pro: Parodies & Sophia Grace/Rosie

Without Nicki, these things wouldn’t be here to tickle me.

Those little girls are mega adorable.

 

Con: Her Live Performances Leave Much To Be Desired

 

I’ve said a couple of times that Pills And Potions is a boring song that really had no business coming out for the summer.  But the decision was made and Nicki performed it at the BET Awards with that cheap bunny costume, giant mushroom prop and one contemporary dancer.  It’s interesting that she pulled from Alice in Wonderland given Lewis Carroll’s thinly veiled drug references in the original, but there’s always something lacking in the execution.

I’ve never seen a Nicki performance that was “creative” that didn’t come across as juvenile.  To me, it feels like she has the idea first and does not think anything through until the day of the performance.  I’ve seen stans make the argument that she majored in Theatre in high school and that’s what I get from these performances.  High school spring musical.  At a struggling high school.

I’ve just sat through a few performances and I’m still bored.  It’s all lackluster booty popping (for the rap songs) or forced creativity.  Thanks but no thanks.

Pro: She gave Cassie a job!

You all know how I feel about the Original Queen of Music.

Overall: Meh…

You know, I was making this list and I was pretty sure that it would come out as a positive for Nicki.  While I can’t say I’m a huge fan or anything, I really do think there is something to be said for her career.  It had been years since we had any female rappers doing anything of note.  Remy Ma has the talent and flow, but went to jail.  Shawnna is also a great rapper, but her own singles never had much commercial appeal outside of hoodrat clubs and college parties.  Nicki was able to rise to the top with a slew of memorable verses and catchy songs.  She’s managed to keep control of her career in some ways and redirect it away from a sinking ship.  She’s got talent and spark.

But I’m still not convinced.  I’m just not moved by her own material enough to really be on her team.  For every triumph, there’s a complete flop.  For ever accurate point made, there’s something petty and insecure the next day.

I would like to see Nicki find a way to just truly own her star image and sound.  I think once she stops trying to “make hits” and relies on what got her signed in the first place, she’ll be golden.

But until then…

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What are your thoughts?  Let me know in the comments or over the twitter machine.

 

 

Never Forget: The Olsen Twins Teach Us To Dance

So this past weekend was the family reunion which was great fun.  In addition, I got to see Dash and Overactive Blogger which is always a delight!  While at the seductive pool hall, OB reminded me of what is one of the greatest discoveries of all time.  Take it away, Mary Kate and Ashley!

Western line dancing, vogue, AND HIP HOP FREESTYLE?!?!

Shockandawe

I can’t wait!  Let’s start…

“Let’s get totally retro!” (00:54)

Bodyroll, bodyroll, bodyroll, bodyroll.
Step touch, step touch, step touch, step touch…
Bend, arms, bend arms, bend, arms, bend, arms
twirl, snap, twirl, snap!

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Listen.   I just wasn’t ready.  I didn’t know they were going to keep it so sensual.

Next the ladies show us how to Charleston.  (01:45)

Meh…it’s no retro.  But I live for the green-screened effects.

One of them tells us we’re going to like this one big time as it’s our first solo! (2:22)

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Get in to her flawless footwork and hip movement! Karina Smirnoff could never!  So polished and professional!

We’re intro-ed into our sock hop dance with the greeting “Major Fun!” (03:00)

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No thanks Ashley Kate.

“This one is hard!  Don’t stress!” for our 60’s dance lesson (03:37)

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You can’t take this twist and shout!  Nor that take it to the floor girls.  Your fave can’t even compete.

SCORE! (04:02)

Ummmm…Mary Ashley?  That’s the electric slide.  Now, far be it from me to question our two intrepid dancing divas.  But really??  Those little turns aren’t going to distract me.

rupauljudgingyou

Try a little harder next time my dear.

Line dancing is totally the coolest, Mary!  (05:08)

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Nothing to see here.  I do enjoy that she used the whole dancing space.

Holy shit, one of them is about to Vogue.  (05:52)

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Get into the fierce hand movement.  The seductive steps.  The side to side with the Walk-Like-An-Egyptian arms.

This is what I am talking about.  COME ON SEASON SIX!

And now for our grand finale, it’s time for iconic hip hop freestyle!!!!! (07:07)

Yes.  Yes.  Yes.

Gravevine left, arms up.
Grapevine right, arms down.

A wonderful callback to the bend and snap from the opening number.

 YASSSSS FANCY FOOTWORK!!!!!

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Don’t be jealous of their boogie!!!! Though I see why you would be.

And turn, LEG!

I don’t think anything will ever top that.

What was your favorite routine??  How inspired are you to be a dancer now??