I have a confession…

Sometimes, I listen to music I should be advocating against. Sometimes, I’m ashamed. Other times, I’m not.

As of late, all the world has been abuzz about the questionable lyrics of Robin Thicke’s No. 1 single, “Blurred Lines.” And it should be. The lyrics are rapey and misogynistic. While the intellectual, girl power promoting me wants to get in the line condemning this song, the me who loves a thumping baseline and good line dance is dancing my ass off and singing along. What am I to do?

I COULD only listen to the instrumental and boogie with that baseline but I want to hear Thicke’s smooth falsetto try to talk me into doing something I don’t want to. I’m conflicted! I’ve not been this conflicted about a song since …

I’m not sure if it’s the fact that I grew up along the I-95 South corridor that makes me love the bass line so much or if my ratchet lies dormant until a hot track accompanied by inappropriate lyrics comes out and shakes up the world. Well, my world at least.

Do you have ANY idea what it is like for me to do my best to empower girls and women then to resort to shaking it every time that damn beat drops?! *smh* I’m so ashamed! But I am SO entertained and until that song falls on the charts or I have learned at least three of the accompanying line dances, I will still be playing it on a loop. “Er’rybody get up!”

Jay-Z and Don Lemon, #sitchoassdown

Have any seat you like!

Have any seat you like!

In the days since the George Zimmerman verdict, average Joes and celebrities alike have all taken to social and traditional media to air their grievances, show their support or outright piss people off with their thoughts, feelings and opinions about the trial, civil rights and race relations. Overnight, talking heads, entertainers and everyone in between have become sociologists and feel the overwhelming urge to tell America, specifically Black America, what is wrong with it and how they can fix it. I wish they would stop. For real, quit it. It’s bringing out the worst in too many people.

Case in point, Mr. Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, himself is involved in a “beef” with Harry Belafonte. As I understand it, Jiggaman is upset with Mr. Belafonte over some remarks he made a year ago after being asked if he was happy with the way Black people are being portrayed in Hollywood. He said that it’s an abuse to have such high-profile artists who are Black, like Jay-Z and Beyonce, who have turned their backs on social responsibility.

In an interview with Rap Radar’s Elliot, Hova said, “This is going to sound arrogant. But my presence is charity. Just who I am.”


Maybe it’s just me but, perhaps Jay misunderstood what Mr. Belafonte was saying. His point was that Jay and his wife should be using their status to not only “raise awareness” but to become active participants in the struggle. Hov took the opportunity to not only thumb his nose at an elder but he thumbed his nose at the people actually fighting for the cause. Your presence is charity? Well, we don’t need your charity, we need your actual work. Mr. Belafonte, he did the work. He not only put his presence where his mouth was, he put his money there, too. He put his time. His effort. What has Jay done? Shown up to a rally to call attention to an already popular matter? Gee, thanks.

I don’t recall seeing or hearing about him making an effort to speak out against blatant racism or putting his hands on any of these young men who listen to his music and aspire to live the stories he’s rapping about. While he’s busy being a charity, the young people who follow him know nothing of their own power and that is what Mr. Belafonte was trying to convey. Engage your captive audience. Encourage them to DO something besides shake their asses. And whilst we’re here, somebody go grab up Don Lemon so he can hear this, too.

I’ve always admired Don. He’s been a great talent on CNN. I admired his courage to come out in a business that doesn’t always allow for people to insert the person into their jobs. I bought his book – he even autographed it for me. He shared an encouraging word with me after I got laid off. I just happen to disagree with everything he had to say in his “No Talking Points” segment on Saturday.

He laid out a 5-point plan that I believe in my heart of hearts he was sharing what he believes is advice for Black folks to get their acts together. The points include black men pulling up their pants, using the word nigger, picking up litter in the community, finishing school and to stop having babies out-of-wedlock.

The hell?!

The hell?!

OK, Don, let’s get real. All black men can collectively pull up their pants, wear Dockers and sweater vests or put on the finest Italian suit money can buy, it will NOT change how they are viewed by their racist counterparts. The word nigger, well, I hate that word, too. I understand, tho, that not using it won’t make it go away. It also won’t stop racists from using it either. Perhaps the most ridiculous of them all, picking up litter. Litter, Don? How … Why … Were you just looking for something to hold this up? Finishing school I can agree with to a certain extent. I will say this, tho, whether you have a GED or a PhD, to the racist you will either be the dumb nigger or the smart one. Either way, they’re STILL calling you (and treating you) like a nigger. Lastly, how you mustered the unmitigated gall to utter such nonsense about children being born out-of-wedlock is beyond me. Seriously, if children weren’t born out-of-wedlock, a majority of us wouldn’t be here – me (and you) included.

Just as Jay would rather sit back and be offended rather than be inspired, you would rather point fingers than extend a hand to help. Perhaps leaving the anchor desk once in a while to, I don’t know, tutor some of these folks to help them stay in school or offer up some of your fashion sense, you could help the cause by empowering the people who look like you rather than picking an unnecessary fight to further divide us.

Yes, you and Jay both worked to get where you are but neither of you would be where you are were it not for the people who offered you a hand up and in some cases a hand out. While the two of you retreat to your respective, plush homes in a world void of prejudice and racism, the rest of us are out here living our lives, fighting our respective battles in this generation’s movement for civil rights. I’m sure you both are good-hearted men who had good intentions that simply backfired in a major way. At this time, I’m asking that both of you simply acknowledge the foolishness you created and find a job to support or report the movement. Until then, go to the Barclays Center and Phillips Arena and have any damn seat you like.

How the Rev Got His Groove Back …

Rev. is grinning like the cat who ate the canary.

Some time last week, news broke about Rev. Al Sharpton and his pretty young thang. Under normal circumstances, folks would just call him a dirty old man and be done with it. This, however is something altogether different.

It seems the Rever-rend is still married. According to several news outlets, Rev. Al and his estranged wife separated in 2004 after 24 years of marriage. Fast forward nine years and Sharpton, 58, has been keeping company with the 35-year-old personal stylist. If you are good at “maff,” you see that he has a good 23 years on his lady friend.

While I never miss a good chance to tell anyone who will listen to get Sharpton off my TV, I ain’t mad with him about this relationship. Well, not much, anyway. Let me explain. The only thing that gives me pause is that he is still legally married. I know a whole gaggle of men from that generation who never get divorced – they just get separated forever. I would like to think Sharpton would hold himself to a higher standard than most. I know he’s still a man but he’s been put in a position of leadership, he should lead by example.

Cheating on your wife, whether y’all live together or not, is not a good look when you are a reverend. It would be one thing is they were separating to sort things out. They have been separated for nine years. Nine. There is not a damn thing left to sort after nine years apart. I think you know whether or not it’s over.

I’m not mad because, I mean, his lady friend is 35. She’s not much older than I. Shoot, men our age don’t seem to be about that committed relationship life. Rev. Al rolled up on her with a fresh relaxer and those ol’ player lines and compliments and promptly swept her off her feet. Now look at ‘em! Both of ‘em grinning from nose to ear. Gone do yo’ thang, y’all! Shoot, if I thought I could get away with it, I’d date a man old enough to be my father. Problem is, my actual father would likely shoot the guy.

Regardless, Rev. Al and his lady friend have the right idea. Be with the one who makes you happy. They damn sure look it. Play on, player and playette!

I miss #Scandal

Nearly two years ago, a Shonda Rhimes-written and produced, mid-season replacement show surfaced on ABC starring Kerry Washington, Guillermo Diaz and my baby daddy in my head, Columbus Short.

The show was heavily promoted but a lot of folks were a little slow to catch on saying the storyline moved too slowly. Some were even angry, arguing that Washington’s character, Olivia Pope, shows black women in a negative light because she is having an extramarital affair with the show’s POTUS.

Fast forward a season and like magic, all of America has Scandal fever. Folks on FB and Twitter are so invested that some dedicate their entire timeline on FB and Twitter to updates on Thursday nights. I am one of them. I’ve got it so bad that I don’t even answer my phone after a certain time on Thursdays.

That said, I miss Scandal. I miss Scandal like a child misses his mother at his first sleepover. I miss Scandal like a mother misses their baby the first night she drops her off at college. I miss Scandal like I miss a fried chicken leg fresh out of the grease on a piece of light bread.

I got it bad, y’all, and that ain’t good. How long until October? This is harder than waiting for football season to begin. It’s harder than watching a full Tyler Perry movie. I think I might need rehab. ABC won’t even give us reruns. I can’t even tune in to get a glimpse of Olivia walking down a long hallway with purpose or Huck try his best to avoid drinking whiskey. They won’t even throw in a Columbus Short mumble for good measure. I might don’t make it.

Rae Dawn Chong, sitchoassdown…

On Friday, SleazeMZ broke the story that Rae Dawn Chong went on a rant about Oprah, no last name needed, when asked on a radio show whether or not the Mighty O treated her badly on the set of “The Color Purple.” Apparently that’s all she needed to break the damn holding back all the hate she’s harbored for at least 28 years.

In an appearance on a radio show, Chong went on a rant about Oprah being a “biotch” and went so far as to say she would have been a “field nigger” if it were the old days. I would like to invite Ms. Chong to have all the seats in Cowboys Stadium. Every. Damn. One.

The hell?!

The hell?!

I realize that some of you may be a bit too young to be familiar with Chong’s body of work. The Canadian born actress is the daughter of actor Tommy Chong and the sister of the FOINE Marcus Chong. She got famous playing characters like Squeak in “The Color Purple,” Cindy in “Commando” and Tracy in “Beat Street.” IMDb credits her as starring and appearing in several other movies and TV shows. I’ve only seen the three I mentioned but I’m pretty sure somebody enjoys her work, she keeps getting it. What I’m not sure of is if she’ll get anymore work.

In every profession, there is a person who you don’t want to piss off. Ever. I’m not saying Oprah has the ability to make sure Chong will ONLY perform in community theater and Vimeo short films but, she knows a lot of people in Hollywood. Maybe Chong didn’t think this thing all the way through. Even if she did, who is she to do that? I mean, Oprah could buy and sell this chick several times over. Comments like “field nigger” and “house nigger” only serve to further divide folks and I don’t know, maybe make people who feel inadequate feel better about themselves.

Comments like this is why black women will never have nice things like equality and relevance and solidarity. Perhaps Oprah is a Type A personality who HAS to be competitive to stay at the top of her field. Maybe if Chong would spend her time being competitive and working hard like Oprah, “the field nigger,” perhaps she wouldn’t have peaked at “Commando.”

For the love of all things holy, unholy and involving black women of all hues, Ms. Chong, go somewhere, anywhere and sitchoassdown.

Yo, ‘Merica …

Around 10 p.m., July 13, these states of America showed just how united we aren’t. After two full days of deliberation, a six-woman jury in Sanford, Fla. found George Zimmerman not guilty of the second degree murder and the manslaughter of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin.

While I am disappointed in the outcome, I am not at all surprised. This sham of a trial was over before it got started. There is the matter of a six-person jury of women, five white and one Latina. There is the weak case presented by the prosecution. And there is the case of the defense doing exactly what they were supposed to do – in court. Their antics outside the courtroom is another story altogether. Oh and add to that the fact that black boys don’t have the privilege of doing things like, y’know, walking to the store.

All of these things in addition to the dormant racism in this country combined to create a massive race war, of sorts, via social media. Twitter has been ablaze with racially charged hashtags while people have been posting rants on their favorite video sharing sites while vile memes have been circulating throughout Instagram and Facebook. And if that were not enough, people have been outright losing friends on Facebook. I need for everybody in ‘Merica to take a Chill Pill with a tall, refreshing glass of Calm the Hell Down.

Take two of these and call me in the morning.

The short of it is white people will never understand what it is to be a person of color. We look at things through our own experiences and if they’ve never had them, they can’t possibly understand. And let’s face it, some don’t want to understand. There is a large segment of citizens who deny that racism still exists. Wherever you fall, be respectful about it. Spewing racist language and innuendo won’t solve anything nor will it advance race relations. When in doubt, shut your mouth.

Where for art thou, journalism?

RIP Michael Clarke Duncan

Yesterday afternoon, devastating news of the death of actor Michael Clarke Duncan broke on Twitter. Given my background in journalism and my inability to quit it, I still follow several news outlets on Twitter – mainly CNN, NBC News, CBS News and the Associated Press. On my other account, I follow Fox News, ABC News, the Huffington Post and all of the aforementioned.

As a journalist, I have been conditioned to use discernment as it relates to the news. In most cases, you can tell when something has been reported or made up – if you read it and not just glance. The way I learned journalism was to make sure you’re right before you go forward with any information. While it matters who reports it first, it matters most who got it right – first.

Since we’ve been blessed with the wonderfully wonderful tool that is the internet, the journalism profession has been cursed by it. It seems young journalists have become satisfied with Tweeting (see also: Facebooking and Instagraming) the majority of their story and any Tom, Dick, Harvey or Perez fancies himself a journalist because he has a blog and an audience.

Yesterday when the news broke, by the AP if I’m not mistaken, I ReTweeted the AP’s information. I saw so many RTs with comment calling bullshit thinking that Twitter just up and killed someone for no reason. Some people wanted to know who the source was and who Duncan’s fiancée is (Rev. Omarosa Manigault). One fool even Tweeted:

I shit you not …

Since when is the AP NOT the AP? I mean, CNN has gotten it wrong. CBS, wrong. NPR, wrong. ABC, NBC and damn sure Faux News. In my 10-year journalism career, I have never heard about the AP getting anything wrong. In fact, I am bold enough to say the Associated Press is the worlds MOST CREDIBLE news source, yet, that wasn’t good enough for Twitter.

This is what I like to call the TMZ era of journalism. It’s a time where people won’t believe actual news until it’s reported by TMZ or MediaTakeOut or Perez Hilton or whatever other gossip BLOG is masquerading as a news site. It’s really sad. There are way too many of my friends, colleagues and former counterparts out here busting their butts to bring folks well-reported and (hopefully) balanced stories for credible news outlets than to have their work and efforts bastardized by those sites.

Since I have been periodically offering you all my “expertise” in journalism, take this with you. When it comes to news of any kind, international, national, local, entertainment, sports, politics – rest assured knowing it has been properly reported and fact checked. To question the AP is … I don’t even know what it is. Just know that 9.9 times out of 10, they’re right. *smh*

“It’s one thing for people to THINK you’re stupid, it’s another when you open your mouth and remove ALL doubt.” (c) Mama Smarty