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Four Days of Black History Plus Some Quick Grammy Thoughts

Let’s start with what you all came for, Black History!

February 6th – Toni Morrison

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Toni Morrison is an American novelist, editor, and professor. Her novels are known for their epic themes, vivid dialogue, and richly detailed characters. Among her best known novels are The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon and Beloved. She was also commissioned to write the libretto for a new opera, Margaret Garner, first performed in 2005. She won the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award in 1988 for Beloved and the Nobel Prize in 1993. On May 29, 2012, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

February 7th – Lonnie Johnson

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Lonnie George Johnson is an American inventor and engineer who holds more than 80 patents. Johnson is most known for inventing the Super Soaker water gun, which has ranked among the world’s top 20 best-selling toys every year since its release.

February 8th – Diahann Carroll

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Diahann Carroll is an American television and stage actress and singer. She has had a long, successful career that has spanned nearly six decades. After appearing in some of the earliest major studio films to feature black casts such as Carmen Jones (1954) and Porgy and Bess (1959) and on Broadway, she starred in Julia (1968), one of the first series on American television to star a black woman in a non-stereotypical role. Later she played the role of Dominique Deveraux on the popular prime time soap opera, Dynasty. She is the recipient of numerous stage and screen awards and nominations.

February 9th – Matthew Henson

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Matthew Alexander Henson was the first African-American Arctic explorer, an associate of Robert Peary on seven voyages over a period of nearly 23 years. They made six voyages and spent a total of 18 years in expeditions. Henson served as a navigator and craftsman, traded with Inuit and learned their language, and was known as Peary’s “first man” for these arduous travels.

During their 1909 expedition to Greenland, Henson accompanied Peary in the small party, including four Inuit men, that has been recognized as the first to reach the Geographic North Pole (although this has also been subject to dispute). Henson was invited in 1937 as a member of The Explorers Club due to his achievement and was the first African American to be accepted. In 1948 he was made an honorary member, a distinction for 20 persons annually.


 

Man that was a lot of history.  And frankly, that’s the best part of this post because the Grammys were dull.

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I had every intention of doing a full recap, but there was nothing there.  The performances ranged from delightful (Lady Gaga/Tony Bennett) to cringeworthy (Kanye/Madonna).  No one performed anything up-tempo and with the show that long, you needed someone to up the energy.  It was mostly draining.  Even artists that are typically entertaining and fun were listless.

Honestly, I just wanted it to be over so I could watch Bob’s Burgers.  What were your thoughts?

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Bloggity Blog Blog

Hey y’all!!!

dusting

It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

Needless to say, the final weeks of 2014 were a bust in several ways.  There were things to discuss, but nothing was positive and our drafts listing is filled with half-written posts.  But it’s a new year and I’ve decided to dive back in as a manner of expressing myself again. So let’s talk.

What’s Yo (Relationship) Status at the Bank?
Guess who happens to still be single in the most vivid way imaginable?

thisguy

Over the course of the holidays, it was almost as if everything I did involved hanging with couples, listening to the drama between couples, or getting advice on how to end up in a couple.  It was harsh to say the least.

Even worse, I realized that my type is still relatively elusive.  While Class may try to act like my requirements for dating are obscure, they are actually not that bad.  But the two requirements that are most important to me seem to be the hardest to find.  Internally motivated and an interesting conversationalist seem to be rarities these days.  Lacking in these areas render even the most superficially attractive specimen useless in my world.

But the largest obstacle standing in my way is my reluctance to put myself out there.  For many years, it was fear of rejection that held me back.  That I was too big or not attractive enough to be worth anyone’s attention.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that I’m okay looking.  I’m relatively funny.  I’ve got some things going for me.  Also, I’m Important.

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Seriously though, I’ve exhausted my desire to go out.  I’m tired of checking apps and dating sites.  I’m just in this place where I’d rather not be bothered.  That attitude doesn’t fix the situation, but it is where I’m at these days.  We’ll see what changes this year.

On Blackness
This blog isn’t even a year old and we have a full archive on Race Issues.

But it seems 2014 was the year where racists just said “Fuck It” and went hard in the paint to make America miserable unsafe for Black people. I remember back when President Obama was elected, there was a mixed feeling of elation and fear.  One of the biggest lessons I’d learned was that when white people feel a loss of perceived power, they lash out.  No matter what.  Whether it’s getting angry and upset with harsh words and attempts to ruin the victor’s credibility or attempting to utilize the one perceived slight as an example of how hard they have it, it is going to happen.  The only other reaction I’ve ever seen is the defense “I’m not racist, I hate everyone.  Racist comment, racist comment, racist comment.”  That’s probably the worst of all.

But to keep myself from going full-on thesis, here’s Miles Jai:

Here’s Chescaleigh:

Here’s Tre Melvin:

I’m using these as examples because I’m trying to swallow this rage and keep it trucking. But the end result is that people are pissed at the injustice.  And no one cares how much it inconveniences you.  Our lives are at stake.  Until there is real change, there will truly be no peace.

Pettiness and Heartbreaks: Celebrity Style
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“Cut that Chinese Pussy Hair off my face. Lol”

When I tell you that Sass and I cackled for hours on end over the Lispy/Fanny Pack brief separation.  But something about this douchey face and the Lol sent me over the moon.

Both of these people truly need to leave their lives off the internet, but for the first time in ages, I laughed at their antics instead of rolling my eyes.  The involvement of Drake. Her tears of melancholy and faux-inspirational Instagrams from the Jhene Aiko playbook of songwriting.  The phrase “Chinese Pussy Hair”.  This is classic.

2014 also saw the breakup of Amber Rose & Wiz Latifah. I like Amber and Wiz is entertaining to look up so hopefully things will be good for their baby.  However, this my friends:

is good times. I love this like I love cheese.

Some Last Minute Jams
Here’s two of my favorite songs.  Leggo!

In The Presence Of Mirrors – PM Dawn

Ugh, love this group so much.  I wore my aunt’s cassette for “Of The Heart, Of the Soul, And of the Cross” out when I borrowed it back in middle/high school.  They have an interesting way of speaking about life and love in a way that’s emotional and masculine if that makes sense.  It’s melodic but it’s funky.  It’s definitely a product of the early 90’s free-for-all music scene. I’ll leave the song’s interpretation up to you, but this song still takes me to a place of wondering who I am and what I’m doing.

Please Don’t Turn Me On – Artful Dodger

With my very public love of Craig David, I don’t think it is surprising that UK Garage music appeals to me. Artful Dodger did some production work on Craig’s first album too, but it wasn’t until much later that I took a dive into his singles. I love the softness of his production, the abundance of harmonies, and his ability to give songs a groove while downplaying the drumbeat. It’s all very lush, if that makes sense.  This song makes me happy.

So what’s happening in your world? Are you looking forward to 2015?

Let’s Talk

Hey folks, it’s November.  Trash’s favorite month of the year!  But it seems like the past few weeks have been full of things that piss me off.  Let’s discuss.

Social Media Trash
Now one thing you all know is that Tumblr and Instagram are sites where people have absolutely no couth.  There are blogs out there specifically for posting Catfish’ed nudes.  We constantly see “Post Bad Bitches” accounts.  It’s a part of life that is treated with stunning regularity.  What’s worse is that people are now using these platforms to “communicate” with other participants.  Let’s talk about one specific instance I saw this week.

While scrolling through the Tumblr, I saw an ask.  And I quote

“I think that Jordan Calloway is DL.  I dm’ed him a picture of me playing with myself and he didn’t respond.  And I’M A 10!!!! So he has to be gay!”

Now for those of you who don’t know who Jordan Calloway is, he was in that Drumline 2 movie and looks like this:

calloway

 

So you know, I can understand being a little thirsty.  However, what I do not understand is your snap judgment of his sexuality based on your irrational decision to send someone you don’t know footage of your vagina monologues.

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WHO IS RAISING YOU?

Seriously, I get that there is a feeling of “intimacy” because we can now “interact” with celebrities and even fine ass regular people via these platforms. But what I don’t get is this sense of entitlement that suggests they have to respond to you no matter what you send.  If you think they are attractive, that means they are OBVIOUSLY attracted to you and are willing to spend their time interacting with a nameless, faceless other. This is regardless of sexuality.  They don’t owe you a laundry list of their sexual preferences or histories.   They don’t owe you nude photos.  They don’t owe you anything.

THEY DON’T KNOW YOU!

Someone told that youngest Jenner girl they wanted to eat chocolate pudding out of her behind.  At the age of 16.  You know that you all don’t have to actually say these things to these people.

I’ll fully admit that I stay creeping.  I’m all about that screenshot/right click + save as lifestyle.

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But what I’m not doing is badgering people with my thirst because I was never taught self-control.  Get it together adults.  Make sure these kids know how to act both in real life and on the internet.

Lena Dunham’s “Comedic” Sexual Awakening
I’m going into this having never watched an episode of Girls and only knowing two things about the show.  People either think the show is quirky funny or horribly racist.  And that they used Lady’s “Yankin” on an episode.

yankin bop

I laugh at that .gif constantly.

But anyway, Lena Dunham, the show’s creator and noted hunchback released her book this year with a problematic passage about her sexual “awakening” in the presence of her younger sister.

I’m not here to defend nor condemn this woman (who has proven that she wants to be treated with kid gloves while praised for her edgy and different she is).  I want to talk about over-sharing.  Most of the praise that I’ve read about Lena’s work is that it truly comes from her life and experiences.  The show may be an obnoxious show about privileged white hipsters but that’s her life and experience.  I recall there being a lot of praise for showing her body which isn’t “Hollywood-sized” as well.

The impression that I’ve always gotten is that she thinks that acting like a little girl is cute and has gotten by with this approach.

standupstraight

Why else wouldn’t she stand up straight?

When I read that passage and the resulting media explosion, my only thought was why put this in the book?  Why do you we need to know this about you? Again, I gather that she thought this would make her look more quirky and different. Oh, look at this weirdly curious 6 year old girl who just wanted to know what her vagina was doing!  Isn’t that adorable?!

See it’s not.  At least, a 28-year old woman tells the story isn’t.  This is the kind of attention seeking story that she thinks will “totally piss off the stuffy old people of today. I’m so edgy.” When in reality, stories of the sexual awakening of a child aren’t something we as a general public need to know. Curiosity about the body isn’t gross, in and of itself, but putting out it as a light-hearted comedic joke was never going to work.

Now her sister has to live the rest of her life with the world knowing her sibling touched her genitalia, whether it was sexual or not.

She had to know that sharing a story about touching her younger sister’s body was going to get her labeled as a child molester, truth or not.  Her “rage” at the controversy is totally unearned.

You want to tell a story about being a weird 7-year old? Talk about actual events.  (I jumped out of the car after we got in an accident and told a police officer to arrest a man for spilling my soda.)  Talk about interaction with your family. (I was given a puppy by my father and proceeded to walk away saying that I asked for a Nintendo.) There are some things that just don’t need to be said because no matter the context, it doesn’t read well.  It speaks to her lack of maturity and refusal to take responsibility for her own actions.

Her editors didn’t think this would be a scandal.  But I guess it got people talking about her book, so there’s that.

(Seriously, she’s 28? Someone get her a multi-vitamin or a spa day. Girl looks rough.)

What are your thoughts?  Are you the one sending nasty pics to Tyga’s DM’s?  How dumb is Lena Dunham? Let me know in the comments.

Raggedy: The Love and Hip Hip Hollywood Story

What’s going on, dear readers?

After letting myself dip back into a touch of depression, I’m battling my way back to a happier place. But that’s enough about that sadness, let’s talk raggedy television and pet peeves.

So I know that you’ve been watching Love and Hip Hop: Hollywood.  It is AWFUL. Insanely entertaining and ridiculous, but awful nonetheless. Let’s go through these dumb story lines.

Ray-J/Teiarra Mari/Publicist Girl: Teiarra Mari is insane.  Like you can see it in her eyes.  There’s some feral going on. Her former relationship with Ray-J is ridiculous, especially considering all that we have heard about Ray-J’s antics.  For the first two episodes, she’s been the focal point wavering between fits of insanity and odd self promotion.  She “changed” her tattoo so that it would say Ray anymore (to ExRay? I guess, girl).  She’s gotten into it with Stripper Princess, Bland Publicist woman, and Hazel-E the Doduo with a grill.  I imagine that she can’t possibly continue down this path, otherwise she’d be removed from the show.  But she did tell us that she didn’t have no daddy around, so that’s obviously why she acts this way.

<iframe width=”854″ height=”510″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/_gx2FWn8SK4″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>

Her acting in this video > Her acting on the show.

Ray-J is still trying way too hard to convince us that he’s relevant and interesting.  He’s just a lame.

The publicist girl whose name I don’t recall is boring and will probably serve as the only one who can get these ridiculous women in one place.

Omarion/April/Rattail: Omarion is also a lame.  But he seems to genuinely love April which is just fine.  April is an interesting character.  I don’t think that she is wrong in not wanting to be treated as a second fiddle to his mother.  However, she seems to be trying to take a firm stance which won’t happen unless both she and Omarion take said stance.  Being flippant and rude won’t help her case.

That said, that lady with the rat-tail will never get my support after saying that she’s been the hairdresser for Stevie Wonder.

If I ever meet her in person,we are going to throw hands.  Stevie Wonder is a legend and deserves so much better.

Shah of Sunset/Video Girl/Lean Like a Cholo Stereotype: Boring, dull, and uninteresting.  The one thing I agreed with Publicist Girl about was the lack of understanding why any of these girls would be interested in talking to this man.

Hazel-E/Yung Berg: Eww.  Just EWWWWW. I hate this chick’s face.  She’s the Karlie Redd of this show.  Lamb dressed as mutton to the fullest extreme.  She’s trash on trash.  We don’t want her rap career, we don’t want her face, we don’t want her grill, we don’t want her egg yolk yellow wig.

Yung Berg is someone who is living out the nerd-grown up revenge fantasy.  He clearly grew up getting thumped and probably wearing bobos.  You can tell in the way he brags about having a different chick every day that he’s really not very interesting or having that much sex.  People who do it, don’t say it.

Their “relationship” feels just like Karlie and Benzino.  Forced and nauseating.  Please fire these two.

Moniece/Fizzo Got Flow/Amanda: Fizz is so very good-looking.  I do like that they are showing a custodial father trying to do right by his child.  While Fizz comes across as relatively responsible, he does need to step off trying to force Amanda to be more maternal to his son.

I do think that it is responsible to slowly introduce your companion into your child’s life, especially if you plan on living as one unit.  However, the amount of exposure to the child does not imply that the child is now the mate’s responsibility.  Most people do not mind helping out in small ways, but until there is a tie (marriage/adoption) you as the biological parent should not expect or force them into a parental role.  It’s damaging to the child and always reads to me as a reduction of responsibility of the primary parent.

That said, Amanda comes across as sweet, low-key, and actually smart enough to deal with the insanity of these two.

Moniece is the worst thing to happen to television since Kenya Moore.  I can not stand this person.  What’s interesting is that she is the epitome of someone who comes across as reasonable and mature at first glance.  However, spending more than one minute reveals a latent insanity.  What’s worse is that she does not realize that she is insane, which makes her dangerous.  There is a reason that she is not the custodial parent and only barely has visiting rights.

During her ambush of Fizzo in the studio, it was clear that he is completely over her. This combined with her depiction of her situations as “bouncing from house to house,” starting a sex toy line despite none of us knowing who she is (a la Kandi), and her clear inability to relate in a rational way to anyone demonstrates a woman who must be tortuous to deal with in real life but makes for dramatic television.

She clearly believes that each time she speaks to Fizzo and Amanda, that she is in the right, that she is the damaged party, and that she deserves some sort of retribution despite all evidence to the contrary.  This is the type of delusion that is dangerous to any children (much less her own).

All in all, the show is dreadful. But I’ll be watching to engage in the hilarious tweets and laugh at the general hoodratry.

What are your thoughts on the show?  Let me know!

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.”

emmaoverit

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…

omarosa

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!” 

whit

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!

amanda1 amanda2 sandhya1 sandhya2

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.

dumbledore_welp

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.

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.

Celebrity Jury: Nicki Minaj

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

garfield

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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britneywow

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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.

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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.