jeudi, novembre 29, 2007

"Ain't That A Groove": The Genius of James Brown

This pops off tonight. I posted it over on my VIBE blog hier. I sadly cannot attend. These last few weeks have been extra busy and tons of events I've wanted to attend I couldn't. When it rains, it pours. And just because, let's take it back to '96 and spotlight a song by my then favorite now disbanded R&B quartet. On the surface this doesn't have much to do with the other JB, his groove or his genius but it does draw its title from the "Sex Machine" refrain and that's good enough for me.

And you can't sit down.

On the Media


If you're going to air a segment titled "Israelis, Palestinians Doubt Peace Talks" and include as an example a Jewish woman proclaiming, "The two state solution will never work because the Arabs cannot be trusted. They have proven this in history time and again. They have never kept their word," couch it properly. That's not what I call doubt but something much more sinister. The NPR reporter's choice to identify the woman, Rachel Heller-Bernstein, as a grandmother of 18 wounded at a Palestinian bombing of a Jerusalem supermarket is an odd inclusion given the decision to not frame her perspective as patently prejudiced even if that prejudice is a product of a personal trauma related to a sustained bitter conflict.

mardi, novembre 20, 2007

Appropriate Yr Idols

Pilfering is it in music. I know this. But it irks when they're appropriating yr idols (and makes ya feel aged):

Then... "N.E. Heartbreak" (Embedding Disabled)

Not too long ago...


"Blue Magic" (Embedding Disabled) And I just saw this last night cause I don't care for the blue brand and its regressive ethos.

Also since En Vogue is on the blog, went to SF/J talk at New School and one of a number of telling moments was when SF/J began his talk by asking who sang "Hold On" and was met with a barrage of "Wilson Phillips!" Context. Nil. I imagine that makes it easier to keep 'em amazed. One reason I was unconcerned with the musical miscegenation piece is that I don't read the New Yorker and therefore didn't read the piece. The reason that I was unmoved by the backlash was that the whole conceit seemed disingenuous as, from what *I heard*, it was a conversation about the absence of blackness in an exceptionally white venue.* I'm quite comfortable with the lower frequencies and on that Ellisonian tip, again having not read the piece, I'm curious as how the paint sequence in IM might possibly relate. As in how a drop of black makes white whiter?

*E.G.-The Daily Show, especially pre token south asian and af-am hires.

samedi, novembre 17, 2007

More Than Enuff For the City: Stevie Wonder at Madison Square Garden

Stevie Wonder Performing "Master Blaster" at Madison Square Garden Last night. Video originally uploaded by JEJ. God is good alright.

Got me some get right tonight. Me and my sis took my mom, who flew in from the town last night, to Stevie Wonder's New York City stop on his A Wonder's Autumn Night tour. Me and moms took in Stevie 2 months ago at the Greek Theatre for the LA stop of his A Wonder's Summer Night Tour but this was a chance for my sis--a post Songs in the Key of Life Aisha--to join in the fun and provided quite an encore of the LA show for my mom. We didn't tell mom we were taking her until around 5PM as we were about to cook dinner and she lost her appetite in anticipation of the musical genius. We arrived at Madison Square Garden right about 8 but will call was out of control (I spotted Michael Rappaport and Ahmad Rashad in line). But we darted our way into a just opened line and only ended up waiting about 20 minutes to get our tix (which they had to reissue since they put the tickets in the mail to me just yesterday. Foolishness but expeditiously resolved). But let me just get to the point and run down the set list:

1. Love's In Need of Love Today
2. Too High
3. Visions
4. Livin' for the City (Many of the concession staff put down their trays and left their posts to throw down in the aisles during this one.)
5. Master Blaster
6. Higher Ground
7. Golden Lady
8. Ribbon in the Sky (He quoted J. Holiday's "Bed" and Amy Winehouse's "Rehab." Quite Cute)
9. Overjoyed
10. If it's Magic
11. You & I
12. Lately
13. How Will I Know w/ Aisha Morris
14. Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing
15. Signed Sealed Delivered
16. My Cherie Amour
17. For Once In My Life (solo)/For Once In My Life w/ Tony Bennett
18. Boogie on Reggae Woman
19. Sir Duke
20. I Wish
21. You Are the Sunshine of My Life
22. Supersition w/ Prince on guitar (I was House of Pain jumping when he took the stage with his hair slicked back and in his black patent leather boots. Quite clean but what else would one expect. He's Prince.)
23. As (Stevie was visibly/audibly choked up about his mom)

Edit: Oooh I forgot he also sang "I Can't Imagine Love Without You" earlier in the set but I can't remember when but in LA he sang it after "Overjoyed" so it was probably then. And I should note the sound system was booty. Intermittent feadback all night. Stevie's mic was too low and it very difficult to hear his band members solos

This is my third time seeing Stevie and it was no less life changing. Shout to fellow concert goers Kia, Kandia and Camara. Good times!

Here are few other recaps on the show (Edit, I added a few additional recaps):
JEJ, My Life in NYC
(in French w/ a couple of video clips)
Gabe's View
Yassine's Blog
The Smudged Screen

I'm pretty sure I saw Ben Ratliff there. If he was there reviewing, it will be interesting to read his take. And it's up: Stevie Wonder and Friends, Here and Gone
The Post's Take: "Just Wonder-ful"


vendredi, novembre 02, 2007

Another 'Bockle' of Moe

Da Brat's Mugshot

It was 2000 or 2001, I was in ATL, it might have been homecoming, it might not have been. It has been a while so everything is slightly obfuscated. But I do know I was at Deux Plex on Cheshire Bridge. It was a mostly college party. Pnut might have been spinning. There was a commotion and then an outburst by someone, I'm pretty sure it was the DJ, that went something like this, "Brat just knocked a chick upside the head." Women swiftly migrated out of the VIP to the dancefloor and bar areas. Her provocation, as bandied about, was rebuffed holleration: it was alleged that Brat approached a young woman, got shut down and in response hit the woman upside the head with a bottle, of what, I never did find out. I didn't see it for myself but I'm pretty certain it happened given the commotion, the DJ's outburst, and the grumblings about it amongst clubgoers for the rest of the evening and on campus in its wake.

So this report of Da Brat assaulting a waitress/Falcons dancer doesn't surprise me but it does lead me to comment on misogyny, objectification, and gendered violence against women by women, in Da Brat's case, a semi-closeted butch lesbian. I was at the Feminism and Hip Hop Conference in 2005 and Psalm One, a Chicago emcee who appears to be a butch lesbian--whether she is out or not I don't know--performed rhymes that ran entirely counter to Feminism. She was a woman rapping and she wasn't objectifying herself so I guess that charmed the organizers but all she was doing, by my reading, was occupying a familiar but disconcerting objectifying heterosexual male gaze/stance. That she was a woman was neither here nor there. Simplemindeness leads too many to believe that certain bodies are immune from perpetuating isms. People of Color, Women and/or LGBTQ's identities do not endow them with progressiveness and sometime they can be as vigilant as the mainstream in instilling perpetuating and maintaining the strictures that incongruously tightly circumscribe their lives.