Friday, April 27, 2007

Why Black People Hate George Bush

I don't really have anything else to add, the video more or less speaks for itself.

I could swear it looked like he was "makin' it rain" for a few seconds there near the end, though.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Is There Really Any Such Thing as a "Rap Mogul"?

Answer: An emphatic HELL NO!!!!

Bear witness to the realest post I (n)ever wrote...

Who Really Runs Hip Hop? - Courtesy of Rhymes with Snitch

MadTV Owns SNL

The whole Alec Baldwin thing has me thinking: when did Saturday Night Live start to suck so badly?

I grew up, like probably half the 70's babies in the US, glued to the tube Saturday nights watching Eddie Murphy ply his craft. The show went through a serious downtown, only to resurface in the mid-90's with Will Ferrell, Jimmy Fallon, and of course, my main man Tracy Morgan. One thing seems to be a constant, however, SNL has not really done a good job of matching minority (not just black) performers with good material, which definitely has caused it to lose some appeal. The cast of characters that have come through the doors of SNL only to flame out are amazing: Chris Rock, Damon Wayans, Morgan, Garrett Morris, Horatio Sanz, even the recently departed Finesse Mitchell, whose standup DVD is far funnier than anything he was given in his two years on the cast.

The behind the scenes dynamic of black male performers and producer Lorne Michaels has been well documented. Michaels never liked the star-first direction that Murphy took the show in, but couldn't deny the ratings the man bought in. Their animosity is a large reason why all SNL retrospectives conveniently overlook The Murphy Years. Wayans sabotaged a skit on live TV and basically got himself fired on purpose. Morgan would go full weeks without a single speaking part. Rock was chronically typecast. Current member Keenan Thompson sees 90% of his action while wearing a dress. It ain't pretty.

The recent budget driven (NBC 2.0) defections of Sanz, Chris Parnell, and Tina Fey have left the show completely devoid of star power. I still Tivo the show, but I can't tell you the last time I watched an entire episode. Their "SNL Digital Shorts" are lame attempts ("D" in a Box, Lazy Sunday) at creating the next viral video sensation that seldom hit. They are no longer getting consistent A-List hosts. They don't even have a quality Bush impersonator. What kinda cast is that?

Meanwhile, out west, Fox's MadTV has definitely narrowed the gap, heck, eclipsed SNL. While the NBC juggernaut, as well as greater prestige will always ensure SNL better ratings, MadTV is by faaaaaarrr the better show. They don't play favorites with casting (see: Poehler, Amy), instead choosing to spread the skits around equally among their ensemble of performers. The cast is largely minority, but their race related skits run circles around SNL's lame attempts. They stay in their lane and do mostly satire on Hollywood and the music industry, leaving the political stuff to their competitor. Their hosts are usually C-List (Carmen Electra, John Cena, Cristina Milian) at best, the types of folks that SNL wouldn't let sit in the audience, let along guest host. But when it comes to just plain comical skits, they outwork and outfunny SNL on the regular.

While it's sad to see a once proud franchise on life support, it's good to know there are alternatives.

Drew Barrymore Is The Most Beautiful Woman On Earth!?!?

Wow, if this is the best we have to offer....

Sorry, I just don't see it. I know that there are different standards of beauty, and all that, but c'mon? Drew Barrymore is the most beautiful person in the whole entire world? Drew Barrymore?

The same little girl from ET? And those crappy Charlie's Angels flix? And the biggest waste of $10 ever recorded on celluloid, that god-awful "Fever Pitch"?

No knock on Drew Barrymore, who I'm sure is a fine person, but I. just. don't. see. it.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

American Idol Is For Da' Chil'ren

American Idol, perhaps in an effort to restore some of its' luster after a couple of years of Corey Clark & Paula, those twins from Atlanta with the jail records, and of course Sanjaya, did something really odd tonight. I'm not the biggest of fans, but when I'm visiting family, I can't really avoid it. Thus, I was subjected to the rapture of the first inaugural episode of "American Idol Gives Back". It came off as more of a "Save The Baby Negroes Marathon", which I suppose is a noble cause in some way.

I'm not really sure what the whole point of it is, but apparently they are trying to draw attention to the plight of poor folks worldwide, from New Orleans to Mozambique. While that's a laudable goal, the execution sucked. There were vignettes of Randy Jackson, supposedly a Louisiana native, returning to the N.O. for the first time post-Katrina. (!?!?) There were lots of self congratulatory-shots of Madonna, Bono, and the other usual suspects who adopt or otherwise pose for photo-ops with poor Kenyan orphans. And of course, there was lots, and lots of very bad singing, courtesy of the Idol contestants. What a hot, albeit not quite ghetto, mess.

Mixing pop culture with serious philantropy isn't new (Jerry's Kids, anyone?), but Fox's effort to milk as the somewhat faltering American Idol franchise for all it's worth by using poor black kids (apparently poor white kids simply don't exist, in America, or anywhere for that matter) as props comes off as pretty disingenuous, even for a network that founded itself on AL Bundy and Bart Simpson.

Where's Sanjaya when you really need him?

Real American Heroes?

Not that it hadn't been widely reported long ago, but yesterday, Jessica Lynch and the brother of Pat Tillman came to Capitol Hill to speak out about falsified accounts of both's experiences in Iraq.

This whole thing strikes me at the personification of a "day late and a dollar short" especially since Tillman was already given a purple heart, and Lynch has long since cashed in on the Oprah/book/Lifetime Movie Of The Week circuit. But the fact that both were testifying in front of Congress does give both stories a level of gravitas that a simple Washington Post expose couldn't.

My opinions on these stories are much like my thoughts on the Duke rape/lacrosse mess. Basically, if rich/famous/all-American white guys (Tillman, an ex-NFL player) and cute-as-a-button bleach blondes (Lynch, whom to her credit has never seemed entirely comfortable with this whole thing) can get worked over by the US Gov't/Military PR Machine, what does that say for ordinary people of color?

Just think, when's the last time you heard about/saw Shoshana Johnson? Do you even know who Shoshana Johnson is?

She ain't even get a TV-One Movie Of The Week....

Alec Baldwin is a Great Father

I'm not the biggest fan of Alec Baldwin. I've always thought his appearances as SNL host were overrated, and his movies disinteresting. Until his role on my current favorite sitcom EVAR, 30 Rock, I haven't had much use for this guy.

That said, I feel pretty bad for him after the recent airing of the profane message he left for his tween daughter. If you haven't heard it, listen here, but beware, the language is a bit harsh for tender ears, and definitely NSFW.

It's a shame that his ex-wife's lawyers have probably leaked this to help her in custody negotiations. The daughter, assuming she cares, and she probably doesn't, will undoubtedly be scarred for life from the experience of having herself referred to as a "little pig" among other unprintables for the world to hear and pick fun at.

Again, Hollyweird ain't all it's cracked up to be.

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Next "Movement"?

Since I'm on an official "bash rappers" rant today, lemme get this one off my chest.

Movement - a progressive development of ideas toward a particular conclusion, a series of actions or activities intended or tending toward a particular end.

Nothing related to hip-hop is a "movement". I keep hearing this term tossed around like a set of keys, and it's finally gotten on my nerves up to here. Plus, I've got a blog now, soo...

Hyphy (riding outside cars, poppin' "E" pills) is not a movement. Southern (t)(c)rap music (Jeezy, TI, Lil' Wayne) is not a movement. Dipset (wearing pink, not snitching, acting like a moron), is definitely not a movement.

Movements involve full scale societal changes in the way people think or view things. Women's sufferage was a movement. Voter rights was a movement. DC Statehood is a movement. Civil rights was a movement.

Negroes wearing stunna shades at night is not a movement. It's just bama'.

Medgar Evers lead a movement. Fannie Lou Hamer lead a movement. E-40 is not leading a movement.

A cat who used to cut my hair said his barbershop was a "movement", since he was selling T-shirts with his shop logo on them, and had a street team of kids that he gave free cuts to in exchange for passing out flyers.

A temple taper is not a movement. It's just a freakin' haircut.

I'd like to pass a National Negro Amendment to add the word "movement" to the lexicon of retired slang like "fresh", "def", and the severely overused, but still not quite dead "bling bling". Enough already.

Somewhere in heaven, MLK is crying inside.

Barry Goes Hard on Bush

No homo to that post title.

Barrack Obama is stepping up his game, perhaps in an effort to distance himself from the rest of the pack.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama said Monday that President Bush has fallen short in his role as leader of the free world, and the 2008 election is a chance to change that.

"This president may occupy the White House, but for the last six years
the position of leader of the free world has remained open. And it is time to fill that role once more," Obama said in a speech to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

Of course he doesn't name names, and backpedals just a tad with the rest of his comments, but give the brotha some credit for knowing how to drop subliminals without getting totally out of pocket. This man has game.

Nappy Headed Hoes: Take II

Apparently some people never, ever learn. According to today's NY Post...

Several NYPD sergeants and officers were on the hot seat yesterday for calling four black female cops "nappy-headed ho's" during two separate roll calls - within days of shock jock Don Imus' firing for using the same racist slur on air.
Can't we all just get along? Damn! I guess ignorance is contagious. Thank God Imus is gone, and these morons were disciplined.


Is This What Martin & Malcolm Died For?

I'm not the biggest fan of hip-hop music, or at least the form of rap music that permeates the airwaves 24-7. I think the artform has dissolved into a new milenium minstrel show of least common denominator hooks and dumbed down lyrics. I can't bear listening to this type of stuff for any more than 5 minutes at a time. I feel my IQ drop a few points every time I happen to be scanning stations and come across that ignant assed "Lip Gloss" song. Then again, rap music, and music in general are all about selling ringtones nowadays, not putting together cohesive albums that actually say something. So, you get your explosion of "Walk it Out" and "Throws Some D's" and "Chain Hang Low". I'm sure 33 year old aren't the target market for this stuff, so hey, no harm, no foul.

I completely stopped listening to your Hot/Power/Jamz variation of FM radio a few years back. Most days, I'll listen to AM talk/sports radio, or if I'm feeling a little breezy, whatever's in my iPod. I prefer more mature hip-hop like Dilated Peoples, Little Brother, Consequence, Lupe Fiasco, and lots of other groups that get zero airplay. I don't consider myself a backpacker, and I'll willingly admit that some of the Southern stuff has it's appeal, but I'm not about to peel off $15 for "Pop Lock & Drop It".

The negative effects of rap music on young listeners have been dissected and researched to death by people far smarter than me, so I won't weight in here. But I think rap music, hell, black people in general, took a huge 15 steps back last night on 60 Minutes. Mainstream media never seem to get it quite right when examining hip-hop music, so a stodgy institution like 60 Minutes can hardly be expected to correctly report about the whole "Stop Snitchin'" campaign. They fail to focus on the real root of the problem, lack of confidence in police protection, and choose a far easier target, igonorant rappers. Exhibit A: Cam'ron, who probably thinks he goes toe to toe in this segment with Anderson Cooper, but really just makes himself look like an uneducated jackass.

Somewhere in heaven, MLK is crying inside.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Killer Next Door

I've been out of pocket all week, and since it's been dissected over and over again in my absence, I don't pretend to have anything substantive to add to the Virginia Tech conversation. I will however note the scary feeling that came over me as I've heard and read more extensive reports about the shooter, Cho Seung-Hui .

A loner. Erratic behavior. Antisocial. Eerily quiet.

It's all quite scary because I feel like I've known people like him at various points in my life, and wonder what has, or will come of those people.

In college, I had a couple of roommates who fit the description above to a tee. In both cases, the relationship with the guys started off fine. They were quiet and tended to stick to the room, while I was much more outgoing and usually on the yard. They eventually grew to hate me, as well as everyone else on the hall. And I have no idea where either of them are right now, but it wouldn't shock me for one moment if I heard they'd done something irrational.

The first roomie, I'll call hiw Dwayne, hung mostly around a collection of fellow students from his hometown who were equally geeky and introverted. I'd come in the room sometimes, and all 4 or 5 of them would just be sitting there saying nothing. It was some strange 'ish to say the least. He'd literally sit in the room for hours, no radio, no TV, no studying. Just sitting there on his bed staring at the ceiling. When he did speak, which happened with increasing rarity as my Sophomore year droned on, it was about some girl one campus whom he wanted to hook up with once he left weight. He'd spend a hour or so before going to bed doing pushups and situps, then slathering his face with cocoa butter to improve his complexion. One day in the cafeteria, he pointed her out to me. She wasn't the most attractive girl, which is what made the fact that he had never even spoken with her even odder. Looking back, there was probably some unhealthy obsession lurking below the surface.

Somewhere along the way, Dwayne had a falling out with me. His friends would give me odd looks when I saw them on the yard, and eventually he didn't speak with me anymore at all. This could have been because I played my music, or kept the TV on late, or hell, anything, but clearly dude wasn't my biggest fan anymore, and didn't care enough to tell me why. When the year ended, he quietly moved out after exams without even saying so much as good bye. I never saw Dwayne after that.

My Junior year, I briefly had a roomie whom I'll refer to as James. He was a Freshman, which made his space in the upperclass dorm odd. He was just as strange as Dwayne, quiet one moment, chatty the next. We'd talk about how much we liked Sade one day, then the next he'd be sitting on his bed staring blankly at me when I walked into the room. Everyone else on the hall treated him like a leper, avoiding any and all contact with him, but I would at least make an effort to talk since we shared rooms. James was ultra religious, voicing his concerns about the verbal content of my Tribe Called Quest CD's and my proclivity to watch In Living Color.

I wondered what was up with this guy, an overgrown mama's boy who looked and dressed like an undertaker, and had just as much of an engaging personality. So, it was a huge relief when I returned from class midway through the semester to find that James had requested a new room, and had moved to a separate dorm. I thought something was maybe wrong with me, but this concern quickly dissipated when I realized I had a room, and suddenly had inherited a Queen sized bed, since I could easily push our two twins together. The dorm director told me that James disagreed with my lifestyle, and that he was moving elsewhere. I never saw him again either.

This week, I wondered what had come of Dwayne and James. What, if anything, could I have done to make them feel more accepted, less ostracized, less alienated on a college campus that didn't seem to care otherwise? What prevented them from becoming Cho Seung-Hui's on some scale?

Did the same culture of adolescent bullying, friendlessness, and feelings of inadequacy that caused Cho to snap make them the way they were? And if so, where does this leave James and Dwayne, and the millions of other kids like them?

Va. Tech shooter was laughed at

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Black Women Are Under Attack!!!

It's been quite a rough year so far for black women in America. First, a sister gets jail time for throwing a cup of ice into a car, an act which deemed nearly terrorist in nature when the cup was considered by law a missile. Then, a 14 year old in Texas is is tossed in jail for pushing down a hall monitor. Finally, an ill-intentioned shock jock insults the basketball national championship runners up, calling them "Nappy Headed Hoes".

The only reason all three of the aforementioned items are even in the news is because someone, somewhere, deemed them sensational enough to cover. In the first two cases, previous indiscretions of the legal system were corrected in the victims' favors. In the third, a blabbermouthed moron was (correctly) censured and lost his job in the process. But of course, since the media loves to pile on and stretch a sensational story as far as they can, now the focus has shifted from Don Imus' moronic comments to an indictment on hip hop music, black culture, and black people in general. Why, many ask, should Imus be fired when black people say the same things that offend black women all the time.

Personally, this pisses me off for many reasons. The concept of black people voicing opposition to rap lyrics is not new, by any stretch of the imagination. From Calvin Butts and C. Delores Tucker's crusades in the 90's, to the more modern examples of Spelman vs Nelly, there has long been a vocal segment of the black community that has said enough is enough. Just because this opposition hasn't been widely covered by the mainstream press (perhaps because much of the mainstream press is owned by the same media conglomerates that own the same record labels that produce the crap, or because they simply don't care about black people trying to better themselves) doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

Predictably, in an attempt to milk this thing for the needs of a 24 hour news cycle, CNN, ABC, MSNBC, etc. have rolled out a litany of "civil rights" era "experts" to discredit the music as a whole this week. Conspicuously absent from these conversations, with the exception of some incredibly ignorant (what else did you really expect though?) comments from Snoop Dogg, have been actual members of the hip hop community who could actually articulate how the music attempts to police itself (there's a whole genre of hip hoppers who rap about nothing but their disdain for the crass mainstream genre). That's why I was happy to see Talib Kweli completely school a panel of "experts", including suspect host "Lester Holt" on the Today Show yesterday. Good for you Talib.

The next step in cracking down on misogyny in black America isn't going after rappers, who are already suffering anyway, since illegal downloads and a general disinterest from consumers are causing rap music sales to plummet. It would be too easy a target to attack Ludacris and ignore the corporate entity that allows him to make a song like "Hoes In Different Area Codes".

The harder step is for America to admit that Imus' comments, as well as those of ignorant rappers, and the corporate entities that support both, are a lasting byproduct of slavery, Jim Crow laws, and everything else that has systematically created a rift between races. In other words, you can't fix Black America's problems as long as White America ignores how it contributes to these problems.

Rap music, and Imus are only symptoms of a far bigger illness.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Duke Lax Kids Off The Hook

So, looks like the Duke Lacrosse team has been cleared on all accounts. I'll be honest, I had presumed guilt on these cats from day one, until the 60 Minutes (RIP Ed Bradley) feature exposed this case for what it was. Clearly, I, and lots of others were wrong. I hope these guys can regain some semblance of a normal life.

It's good to see the judicial system finally correct what it messed up in the first place, but like one of the kids said yesterday, imagine if they didn't have the resources (or visibility) to fight this thing? That's pretty scary in and of itself.

Imagine how many cats are behind bars for the same thing.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

This Man Needs A Friend, Take II

It's hard out here for a child actor, as Orlando Brown is undoubtedly finding out in a Houston area jail right about now. The portly That's So Raven co-star was busted with a Snoop-Dogg-esque quantity of the chronic yesterday.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: if you've got any level of fame or money, hire yourself a weed carrier. There are more than enough folks willing to take the fall for you if you've got enough money. Ain't that right, Carmelo?

That's So Raven was a mildly entertaining show for preteens, and I'll admit to watching an episode or 15 with my nephews. While I found Eddie's character a little too fruity for his own good, and thought that the prospect of a 28 year old woman playing a 10th grader was a bit of a stretch, I can't fault the man's hustle. Sadly, this probably means the end of whatever career he was hoping for, since Raven has long been cancelled, and Disney probably wouldn't touch this kid with an Imus-sized pole right about now.

Don't be mad, bruh, UPS is always hirin'. Assuming you can pass that test of course.

This Man Needs a Friend

Well, seems like the heads at NBC ran the profit/loss analysis and finally determined that the I-Man should get the boot. It's a bit late, but hey, I understand, NBC is a corporate entity, and they probably needed their lawyers to clear everything first. Either way, I-Man joins Soledad O'Brien in the AverageBro UnEmployment Line. Hmmm, do I smell a new tag?

I would expect CBS to bow to the same scrutiny and relieve Imus of his duties there, and by the end of the week, the world will be on to another fixation (Michael Jackson always seems to kirk out and do something stupid at times like this). Don Imus will temporarily disappear from the public spotlight, make a minor splash in a few months when some tiny AM station in West Bumble****,MN offers him a night shift, turn it down, quietly resurface in some medium sized market, and eventually, maybe a few years down the line if he's still alive, regain his position with a national show, albeit with less influence and with fewer high profile guests, who will likely still attend his dinner parties since they consider him a friend, but wouldn't touch him with a 10 foot pole in public.

As a proud black man who considers himself an independent thinker, I spend lots of time in the car listening to AM talk radio, a majority of which is voiced with a conservative bent. I can't tolerate Rush Limbaugh, King of the Genre for any more than 3 minutes at a time, but lesser knowns like Victoria Jones, Laura Schlessinger, Mark Levin , Michael Graham, and Michael Savage are in regular rotation on my daily commute, balanced with shows like Joe Madison, Michael Eric Dyson, and of course, Rev Al, who rule the roost on Syndication One, the black talk network.

My favorite whipping boy du jour is a local cat named Chris Core, who comes on just as I'm beginning my commute from burb to burb, and usually pisses me off just enough to take my attention off the horrible traffic. The the time I hit the office, the show usually has me so worked up, that I can hit the ground running sans coffee, assuming I'm not still in the car fuming.

Core is a total moron when it comes to race relations, making the classic white dude misspeaks like "Barack Obama is so articulate" and "I have lots of black friends" that give Chris Rock plenty of comedic fodder. The guy is so out of touch with the differences between races, that he's got a surefire formula to keep the phones ringing and the radios tuned: start a race war every morning, and feign defensive ignorance at any valid point that a black caller, and there are many, makes. It's agonizing. It's infuriating. It makes you want to ride over the wherever his station is located and greet him in the parking lot with a lead pipe (please don't take this literally, I love my job and the mortgage it allows me to pay). It is, in short: genius.

The show is a textbook example of why blacks and whites (and other races for that matter) cannot get along. White refute every valid point that blacks raise, as if racism can't possibly still exist, and if it does, then by golly, why haven't you folks just gotten over it yet. The black callers fall for the bait and keep calling getting angrier and angrier. Core feigns more ignorance, further stoking the fire, and the ratings just keep going up, up, up.

Having done some work in radio in the past, I know that 75% of the medium is moving people to call in and stay dialed in. You lose money when people don't listen, and consequently your job. Thus, staged calls, and a host who says things they don't personally even believe to rile up callers are standard tricks if you wanna stay employed (and don't we all).

Still, I can't help but wonder if some of Core's viewpoints are true. If so, I can't help but feel sorry for him. Maybe he actually needs to meet a real black person, as opposed to his "friends" at the gym, or the dude from the mailroom that he always talks Redskins with. I'd like to help the guy, but hey, I have a real job that I'm habitually running late for, so who has time to call in?

Chris Core, if you'd like, hit me up. We'll have lunch (your treat), and I'll gladly school you on an issue or twenty.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Stephon Marbury Deserves a Pat On The Back

True confession: I'm not a sneaker guy. Period.

Some folks (Dallas, I'm talkin' to you, bruh) are self confessed sneaker fiends who'll throw loads of gwap for the latest limited edition Dunks or AF1's. Personally, I'm not spending more than $75 on tennis shoes. I don't play basketball enough to need Jordans, and truth be told, most dudes dropping $200 on shoes that come in a briefcase aren't ballin' in them anyway. I'd rather blow my money on other, likely equally trivial, stuff, but hey, that's just me.

So, I was pretty siced when NY Knicks star Stephon Marbury announced last Fall that he was starting a line of affordable, yet quality athletic shoes. Well, siced and leery. After all, most cheap shoes (Kangaroos, Zips, Shaqs, Keds, Air Corps, etc.) feel and look cheap. And while I'm not vain enough to drop $200 on gym shoes, I'm also too vain to roll out with kicks that look like they were bought at K-Mart. I'm just insecure like that.

Still, the prospect of $15 shoes is too alluring for a guy like me to pass up, thus began my love affair with the Starbury line of sneakers. I am happy to say that after 3 pairs and 8 months, the shoes feel just as good as those that they mimic (AF1's and New Balance to be exact) for a mere fraction of the cost. They are well built, and just as durable. The initial line included Starbury Crossovers (AF1 Knockoffs) and Cyclones (New Bals) for just $10. There was even a knockoff Timberland boot for just $15, which I also copped, and have thrown into the rotation with the rest of my shoes. Just last week, the new line of shoes was released, this time with more Cyclones and some newer lines that are original designs. I've still yet to bother with the actual basketball shoes themselves (Starbury 1 and 2) which Stephon and now Big Ben Wallace sport, but hey, I'm not a basketball shoe dude.

The shoes have in some ways changed the game. With Wallace on as another celebrity endorser, the shoe line continues to gain credibility. The initial shoe line has expanded, as have the other items in the Starbury empire, which include tees, buttondowns, jeans, and jackets, all for affordable prices. The number of items has grown from 50 to over 200. But all accounts, this has been a slam dunk for Marbury, whose reputation has greatly improved even as his play has continued to deteriorate on court, and for Steve and Barrys, which now has some cache beyond being "that store at the end of the mall that sells college tees".

Most importantly though, I think/hope that this line of shoes has given parents an affordable alternative to dropping 100's of dollars on shoes to appease their kids. Each time I've gone to the store, I've seen young kids that looked just like me at a preteen, being able to purchase shoes with their own allowance, being followed around by visibly less stressed parents. Charging $200 for a shoe that cost $3 to manufacture just isn't right, and I commend Stephon and Steve and Barrys for giving parents an attractive alternative.

Monday, April 9, 2007

FSWB - The New Racial Profiling

You've heard of DWB, well here's a new one: Furniture Shopping While Black.

When the new chocolate-coloured sofa set was delivered to her Brampton home, Doris Moore was stunned to see packing labels describing the shade as "Nigger-brown."

She and husband Douglas purchased a sofa, loveseat and chair in dark brown leather last week from Vanaik Furniture and Mattress store on Dundas St. E.

Moore, 30, who describes herself as an African-American born and raised in New York, said it was her 7-year-old daughter who pointed out the label just after delivery men from the Mississauga furniture store left.

"She's very curious and she started reading the labels," Moore explained. "She said, `Mommy, what is nig ... ger brown?' I went over and just couldn't believe my eyes."

She said yesterday each piece had a similar label affixed to the woven protective covering wrapped around the furniture.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

White Men Gone Wild

Don Imus is a moron, and deserves to be fired. I can't say I've ever seriously listened to his show, but he's in the same camp as Howard Stern, a shock jock who toes the line of political correctness to push ratings.

Here's to you Imus, hope you're pushed right into another line... unemployment.

Billy Packer's comment is a bit more whimsical, but I'm sure he won't apologize either (Imus gave a half hearted mea culpa the other day), which is a shame. Someone needs to get both these over the hill geezers off the air.

Don't they remember the Greaseman?

Door To Door Salesmen Beware!

Just in case you were considering a career in furniture delivery, real estate surveying, pizza, or any other occupation that involves knocking on a door, you might wanna read this story.

Keith Washington, not to be confused with the washed up 80's R&B singer of the same name, has literally been poppin' caps at the mere ringing of his front doorbell. In January, Washington shot two Marlo furniture deliverymen, one of whom died later. And just when you thought it was safe to go back to Domino's, Washington, who is still free, allegedly threatened a real estate appraiser who made the near fatal mistake of knocking on the wrong door. Geez, such an inconvenience.

The most surprising item in this entire story is that Washington is not only a cop, he's also the homeland security director for his home jurisdiction, and has previously been charged with brutality. He's been placed on administrative leave and his weapon has been confiscated, which I'm sure is good news to Jehovah's Witnesses everywhere.

Friday, April 6, 2007

K-Fed = Thief

I'm don't pay much attention to what happens out there on the left coast, but I stumbled upon the following while browsing the news today. Looks like Kevin Federline came out of the divorce proceedings smelling like roses.

Among the details, according to the tab:

  • A 2004 prenup called for K-Fed to get $250,000 for each year of their marriage, but Spears upped that figure to $500,000 to speed up the negotiations.
  • He receives half the proceeds from their Malibu mansion, which is on the market for $13.5 million.
  • Spears will pay $25,000 a month in child support for each of the couple’s two children until they reach 18.
  • He also gets custody of the boys four days a week.
  • Federline gets to keep all the gifts Spears bought them during their marriage.
  • He’s forbidden from writing a tell-all about their marriage.

So, let me see if I get this right: Federline gets a boatload of money AND the kids? Not a bad deal if you can get it.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Remain Anonymous

Every blog has one of those "getting to know the blogger" posts hidden somewhere. I'll freely admit that the blogs I enjoy most (and I follow lots of em') are those where you're given some idea of the identity of the author. Dallas Penn, Byron Crawford, The Assimilated Negro, Jimi Izrael, Listen To Leon, etc. are all dudes whom I read religiously, and will admit that the voyeuristic side of knowing stuff about people's lives adds to the appeal [||]. On the other hand, that ain't me. I'm private, and prefer to just hit you with a solid post here and there. You don't need to know me to enjoy what I'm writing, or at least that's what I hope.

So, with no further ado, here's everything you ever wanted to know about AverageBro, which admittedly, isn't gonna be much.

Who Is AverageBro?

Here's the vitals: I'm black, male, married with kid, in my early 30's, and live somewhere in the DC Metro Area. That's about all you'll get from me.

Why Blog?

I'm a writer. Pure and simple. I've got a published novel under my wing. I've written my own autobiography for family consumption. I write in my sleep. I write in the shower. I write while driving. I've toyed around with starting my own blog for awhile, and finally decided to give it a go. Hope you like it.

Why Remain Anonymous?

I'm just here to share my unique, witty, and occasionally thought provoking insights with the world. I'm not writing to parlay this into a career. I'm not trolling for MySpace JumpOffs. And I'm sure all hell not trying to mess up the Day Job. So enjoy what's here, drop your comments when so moved, and don't ask for or expect anything more.

Sell Those Playoff Tickets, Quickly!!!

The wheels have officially fallen off.

First Caron Butler was lost for the season, then the team drops home and homes versus the pathetic Charlotte Bobcats. Now, Gilbert Arenas is done for the season, on an equally freakish injury. Talk about Curse of Les Boulez.

If there's any solace in this, it's that I won't have to drop $95 each on playoff tickets since the team will probably get swept.

Arenas Suffers Lateral Meniscus Tear

I don't really know what a lateral meniscus is, but I'm sure tearing it probably hurts like the Dickens.

Best wishes to Agent Zero on a speedy recovery.

Someone Better Hit

I'm not a morning TV guy, so really the only times I tend to tune into shows like CNN's American Morning are when the Day Job has me on the road, and I need a quick recap of the news. Oddly enough, I always tend to end up watching American Morning, because I have a strange fixation with Soledad O'Brien. This woman is the Bo Jackson of racial politics.

I've seen her at various points referred to as African American, Hispanic, Caucasian, and even Irish. Her bio on Wikipedia shows that she is the child of an Irish man and an Afro-Cuban mother, but more than anything else, she seems like an opportunist who plays whatever card is needed to open a door. I'm not knockin' the hustle, because she isn't the first [see: Elizabeth Vargas] and sure won't be the last. Still, it's odd to see someone so casually identify themselves as a certain ethnicity when the opportunity arises. When she reported live from New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, she laid off the perm kit, and mixed in some sistagirl colloquialisms. When she's done special reports from Cuba, I notice a slightly altered accent. And of course, anything related to New Yorkers or Manhattan is totally and completely ethnic-neutral. Soledad should write a book on code-switching, cause clearly she has the game on lock.

Unfortunately, this skill hasn't translated to good ratings, and the folks at CNN are reshuffling the deck, putting Soledad and unrelated, but ironically named co-host Miles O'Brien on the unemployment line. Turns on the catty crew at Fox and Friends is runnin' this mornin' show ish', and American Morning will "need to go in a different direction". I always love that cliche.

Soledad, crotchety old man Bill Caftery, and ex-co-host Bill Hemmer, who is probably the smarmiest, most unlikable person on TV, provided many mornings of infortainment for me when I was on the road more in a former career, and for that, I say thanks.

I'm pretty sure Mrs. O'Brien won't be headed to the poorhouse. She's smart, articulate, and well a minority when she chooses. She'll get another job, she's just versatile like that.

What's Wrong With This [Non]Picture

On my way into work today, I noticed some white stuff blowing around in the wind. Naturally, I assume this is just the cherry blossoms undoing themselves. But the white stuff picks up, and up, and up. Soon, my entire windshield is covered with white stuff, and I'm nowhere near any trees. It suddenly hits me. It is snowing in early April.

I'm not up on the whole global warming issue, but when it's colder on Easter than it was on Christmas, Lucy, we got problems.

An Inconvenient Truth indeed.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Tango is a Simp

I'm sure few of you will admit it, but I will say what you're too embarassed to: I LOVE NEW YORK!!!

No, not the city, and definitely not the Too Wong Foo-ish namesake, but VH1's show is a guilty pleasure that's high on my Tivo Season Pass priority list. I, like probably millions of others (Neilsen numbers are coming, and I'm sure they'll be through the roof) tuned in to watch Tango Wango beat out Chance (adult Crack Babies aren't cute) for New York's affections.

This was somewhat of a surprise, since Chance and New York would have made for a far better spinoff (which is inevitable). Chance will be fine. His Stallionaires rap dreams are going nowhere (took a listen to some of their MySpace tracks... hot garbage), but VH1 has the mistrel reality show genre on lock, so you can best believe we'll see him again, maybe with his own show ("One More Chance" "Second Chance", "Take a Chance", the possibilities are endless, and moronic) in the near future.

Outside the obviously staged male catfights (Tango is a punk, big as his arms are, all he needed to do was choke Chance out), the biggest development/suprise on the finale was Tango proposing to New York at the end of the show. This is just wrong on so many levels. New York hasn't been completely confirmed as 100% woman. Chance had just taken his turn sleeping with her the night before. Her mom is literally the devil. She talked cash-sh*t about Tango's mom on TV. She punks him at every turn, slapping off hats, and throwing tantrums. She's commented about "the winner's lack of manhood" in interviews before the show's finale. She looks like Lou Rawls.

Any dude who would consider marrying her is a simp. Pure and simple.

I don't know if we'll see a followup series on these two, but I wish Tango Wango luck. Marriage is hard enough when you're marrying a sane woman. He probably ain't even marryin' a woman, let alone sane.

I Can Watch TeeVee Again (aka:The Shield is Back)

Yes, TV sucks, but even a broken clock is right twice a day. Shows like The Shield, The Wire, and Nip/Tuck make tell-a-lie-vision worth it, and more than make up for the boatloads of crap that American Idol, Survivor, and Everybody Loves Raymond shovel into our households on the nightly.

The season premiere wasn't too eventful, like most serial dramas, they burned time bringing new viewers up to speed on the most pertinent details. Forrest Whittaker is becoming even more of a focal point/star than Michael Chiklis, which I'm sure makes for an interesting behind the scenes dynamic. Chiklis' portrayal of corrupt LA cop Vic Mackey basically put FX on the map, single handedly pulling the channel from the basic cable boondocks. Whittaker doing another season as Lieutenant John Cavanaugh is odd on many levels, especially since the guy just won an Oscar for Last King of Scotland.

Coming back for a second brilliant season of trying to nail Mackey is like Derek Jeter doing a stint in Single A to rehab, then voluntarily returning, injury free, just because. It's a clear case of a guy who should have bigger and better stuff to do hanging around purely for the love. It's also very possible that Forrest shot this season before his Oscar buzz built, but somehow I doubt that.

Watching this guy on this show, much like Glenn Close, and Anthony Anderson in previous seasons, illustrates to me why The Shield is TV's best show. Yes, even better than The Wire, which has more buzz and likely more resources.

It's a shame. The best show on TV is hidden all the way up on Channel 250-something. Meanwhile, that Sanjaya cat seeks to cash in another one of his nine lives tonight. I-ro-ny.

Barry Gets Money

So, it looks like Barack Obama finally got Leon the Taxman complete the tally (The Final Four was this past weekend, so he clearly had other more pressing issues), and surprise surprise, it looks like the Barry has some fundraising juice ($25M to be exact) after all. I will admit I saw the belated submission as a bad omen, but hey, maybe the guy's just displaying a flair for the dramatic. Can't knock that hustle. Politricks is all about timing and exposure. Instead of having Hillary and John Edwards steal the thunder on Sunday, he holds the bag for a few days, and gets a news cycle to himself. Tell me Leon ain't a genius.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

NBA League Pass Is That Crack

It's been well established here that TV sucks. This should of course be a good thing, since it should mean I'd read more books, or finish home improvement projects, or blah blah blah. Between King Of the Hill reruns and waiting for The Shield to reuturn, our TV's basically stay on nothing but sports.

Sundays are always bad for teevee, so it's good to have the NBA League Pass. For just $159 (thanks alot David Stern), you basically get to see every game all season long. That's not too bad a deal considering it costs about that much to go to one actual game (thanks alot David Stern).

So I get to watch Kobe chuck up a load of 3's as the Lakers dig in the Kings, instead of well, watching nothing or blogging. Good deal if you ask me.

That Georgetown loss yesterday hurt me. Jeff Green probably just cost himself a few draft slots and a couple million by deciding to not show up for, oh, i don't know, the biggest game of his life! 5 shots? 9 points? Man, you sposed' to be the Big East Playa of the Year. What part of that game is that? If he'd only played to half his potential, and had Roy Hibbert (who probably made himself a few mill) not picked up that ticky tack 4th foul, who knows? As is, it's Florida vs Ohio State in the final. Just great, a game featuring the most annoying (Joakim Noah, who really needs a sedative) and the most overrhyped and overaged (Greg Oden, who damn sure no younger than 34, I would bet my 3rd born on this, damn a birth certificate) players in NCAA. I'll pass.

Round One Goes To... Hillary

Not that this was a major surprise or anything, but the first round of campaign contributions were just tallied, and Hillary Clinton raked in a record $26M in a mere 3 months. That, my friends, is called pimpin'.

John Edwards pulled in a distant second with $14M, and I'm sure his latest wave of popularity due his his wife's illness didn't hurt matters. Call him an opportunist, call him manipulative, just don't call him broke.

Barrack Obama, being a brother of course, still has Leroy the Taxman counting his duckats. His numbers weren't available at presstime.

This all could mean anything, or nothing, it's more than a year until the first primaries, but just something to keep an eye on either way.

Clinton raises record $26M in 3 months

Flip This House Just Lost Me

One of the things I liked most about A&E's Flip This House is their tendency to use less than typical subjects as the "stars". The home improvement/pimp the real estate game in underserved markets show was really good the first two seasons with country assed Richard, ditzy and slightly fugly Ginger, and the rest of the crew from Trademark Properties. They were so down to earth and good ole' boyish, that they felt more like folks I went to high school with back in NC than people with a legit business on teevee.

Last season, they literally flipped the game by splitting the cast amongst not one, but two groups of minorities. The Leccima's in ATL were a black couple who, with portly sidekick Lamont, made a grip in the seriously undervalued (or would that merely be appropriately priced) market in the durty. And a Hispanic family named the Montelongos in San Antonio did the same, mostly catering to immigrant families. I dug this dual setup, and I've even watched the repeats, waiting for the next season. When I saw a promo last week, with the Montelongos returning, along with Leccima associate Angela and husband Harris, I figured we had another winner. Wrong!

This season's premiere showed that A&E can bow to the least common denominator and try to appease suburban soccer moms with the best of em'. To my chagrin, the show now focuses around an Yalee and ex-NFL player named Than (Than? c'mon playa) Merrill and a bunch of stoner buddies living in New Haven, CT who just happen to look like Calvin Klein models. I immediately erased this crap from taking up precious space on my Tivo.

I guess the Leccima's and Big Lamont weren't bringin sexyback, so the suits at A&T decided to spice things up. This is a shame, for a couple of reasons.

1) The Leccimas and Montelongos are among the smattering of minorities on home improvement and real estate based shows, which make up the bulk of my TV diet since The Wire is off season, and The Shield has yet to start (Tuesday, I know, and I can't wait of course). No, this isn't a travesty of grand proportions, but it's a bit disappointing nonetheless.

2) How many shows with white dudes with 4% body fat and $200 haircuts do we need? Enough already.

3) I will miss Big Lamont and his impromptu sangin'. Dude was entertainment to say the least.

Update: A look at the A&E website says that The Leccimas, Montelongos, Big Lamont, Harris, and Angela will still be part of the rotating cast this season. But hey, they lead the season with the New Haven guys, so I can only see this as writing on the wall.

Free Internets Movies = The New Bootlegs

I spend a lotta time on computers. I mean, lots. With the day job, and my photography pursuits, my laptop should probably be considered a 6th appendage by now (do the math).

So, I'm always looking for free stuff, because hey, why by it when you can steal download, err, acquire it otherwise for merely the cost of a web connection, which in some parts of this fine country is also gratis.

Newest find: There's some free movies that you can stream over the web, mostly lots of B-Grade crap, but quite a few of those BET Starz black straight to bootleg flicks. Again, no haute couture, but hey, if you're stuck in the airport, what are you gonna do?

Peep it.

The Wizards Suck

It is just occurring to me, for perhaps the first time evar, that my fandom of the Washington Wizards just might border on unhealthy.

Case in point, Friday night this team blows a game in a manner that you only see in ABC After School Specials. It was just that comical and uncalled for.

You're up three with just 3 seconds to go. The other team inbounds the ball and tosses full court. Michael "The Alien" Ruffin intercepts the ball, but instead of simply dribbling out the clock, this space cadet chooses instead to toss the ball up into the air. That's normally a good move since it typically will end a game. But, this being the Wizards and all, even a simple play like that has the potential for disaster. And the results, a Mo Peterson 3, and overtime loss to a team you need to beat, are indeed disastrous.

So, they fall behind the Heat yet again, only to regain a half game lead today by toasting a depleted Bucks squad by 14 in Brew City. Still, just to prove how unfair life is, they lose Caron Butler to a stress fracture in his hand. Who knows how long he'll be out, but with 10 games left, things look Memphis Bleek.

This team is just too up and down to cheer for without some sort of heart medication. They win games they shouldn't and lose plenty that they should, which all adds up to mediocrity, and unfortunately, is the recipe for a first round bounce, whether they win the division or not.

I'm pretty convinced that I should just keep the TV turned off for this next 3 weeks. It's best for everyone involved.