jeudi, janvier 31, 2008

Sticky Thing


Although somewhat comfortable with baldheadedness and cropped naps (exempting the weave loc years), a sufferer of 5%ers and a follower of Queen Afua, her son Supa Nova Slom and other Afrocentric health nuts, Erykah Badu is no outsider. Born Erica Abi Wright in Dallas, according to most accounts she was a popular gal, an emcee who later became a beauty queen, a comedy writer, a sanger, seductress of a number of lithe rappers and inarguable winner. As Badu's bio suggests, prototypical Bohos are not Black awkwards but often Black plastics either post existential crisis or just in need of a new scene. So Badu, on the strength of her demonstrated wiles and wit, was well equipped to make otherness seem viable. She transformed the quirk Negress by virtue of being a Black beauty queen. She synthesized Suge and Celie, remember? There she was in Celie's station, without her infuriatingly silent aggrievement, smirking with Suge's self possession, minus the sparkle, unless you count those eyes. Badu always reminds us of her eyes. Her core audience, us Black girls who auntie's borrowed Dodge Caravan'ed to Lilith Fair at the Gorge in George to see her, understand light brown, hazel, blue, grey, green's significance. Many of our friends stacked their allowances and weekend job checks for colored contacts and then expectantly attended the boys. Many of us also sport upper arm ankh tattoos (see "Next Lifetime"); Our hearts sunk when we realized hers was just Henna. And fabric stores certainly lost revenue when she unwrapped her towered geles for good.

Now Badu, yeyo to this and other Bohos, is back. The music is smart and good but will never hit as it did then when my mama sent it cross the Pacific with my best friend who so eager to listen denied me the privilege of tearing that staticky CD wrapping off, when we mini-bused and KCR'ed and Star Ferry'ed ourselves to a rank tattoo parlor in Wan Chai for a ditch day's worth of hemming and hawing over the size and placement of potential ankh tattoos, when we believed that the world would indulge us as it had that green-eyed winner.

More is on the way....

PS-I really, really, really want need to review this record.

vendredi, janvier 25, 2008

Sathima Bea Benjamin
Sathima Bea Benjamin at Sweet Rhythm Wednesday Night.

I uploaded a clip of her daughter, Jean Grae, performing a verse during her mom's set to YouTube and embedded it in my related VIBE blog post.

jeudi, janvier 17, 2008

Since my well-being isn't where I'd like it to be, I've been attempting to cut wheat from my diet. This is in addition to shifting to veganism again. Vegetarianism has been easy for these past 11 years; it's the veganism that's been difficult. I've never made it more than 6 months due to the anti-social nature of not eating flesh or dairy and an occasional taste for cheese. This gluten-free veganism is difficult. Many of your packaged veggie protein options are, in part, comprised of wheat gluten, so I'm just eating tofu. I'm not much of a bean eater but I'll throw some cannelinis in my salads. As to nuts, well I'm trying to lose weight too and they are just entirely too caloric.

I'm gonna hit the gym again come Sat. I've been neglecting my health and feeling the consequences. I am also looking for T'ai Chi practicioners in Downtown Brooklyn and environs.

mercredi, janvier 16, 2008

Music Makes the Bourgeoisie & The Rebel

Idolator's year end poll is up. As I said elsewhere, in the first weeks of '08 I heard some incredible songs from '07 that I would certainly add to my singles list today but hey you can't hear all the music all the time. You won't see Wino as I heard that in '06 or my beloved Lloyd as that also dropped in '06. Few of my selections appear very high on the master list but I like what I like.

Here's my ballot and here's a mix cd I put together for the occasion.

lundi, janvier 14, 2008

Another reason to hate Bob Johnson

What's worse: the occasional teenage toke/snort or pedaling [fill in the the foolishness] by proxy on your "entertainment" channel? Johnson's eagerness to do the Clinton's dirty work... Well, let Malcolm tell it.

mercredi, janvier 09, 2008

"Lord I gotta thank ya for putting me in Smokin' Aces and American Gangster..."

I referenced Obama's pastor in my last post and then I stumbled upon this video of watchnight service at Pastor Jeremiah Wright's church in the Chi. I used to bemoan going to watchnight every new year's eve 'cause it wasn't nothing but old people testifying about the trials and tribulations God brought them through and although the message was the grace of God what stuck was the bad shit they'd endured but Trinity was crackin'. Here's Common freestylin' in the pulpit at Trinity's watchnight service.

Source: YBF

Love & Theft

Not "OBummed" to borrow from Alex Blagg about Obama's second place finish in New Hampshire on account of Obama's inspiring "si si puede" speech to borrow from Jeff Chang. White mom and absentee Kenyan father aside, Obama has adopted the rhetorical devices of the African American church and according to this article borrowed heavily from his longtime Chicago pastor, Black liberation theologian Jeremiah Wright and it was awesome (Hillary Clinton, who likes to ape Black liturgical styles when she's pandering to negroes, offered up a speech that was pretty bland on its own. Comparatively, it was doo doo.) Obama chose to publicly distance himself from Wright on account of the fuss made by some white people extra paranoid about so called "reverse racism," which in many cases equals all that is not eurocentric, as they practice the regular kind relentlessly. But I'm posting because AmericaBlog linked this opinion piece by Stanford University professor Jon A. Krosnick, who asserts the discrepancy between the results and polls was because of "the order of candidates' names on the ballot and in the surveys." Read it for yourself.

And let me add that I'm one negress who don't care much for the Clintons. Remember Lani Guinier! With respect to our refusal to stand behind a viable Black candidate in the same way that by and large other ethnic groups (he mentioned Jews and Italians) stand behind their own reflections, on New Year's eve Chris Rock reaffirmed that we Black people are a bunch of self haters. And due to this collective low self-esteem brought on by institutionalized exploitation we stay getting seduced by interlopers. So Clinton is the first Black president 'cause he smoked weed, plays the sax and keeps an office in Harlem and a bevy of sideline hoes?! It's because so many white people so act the fool to Black people that when any white person (see Clinton, Justin Timberlake...) expresses an affinity for our communities or cultural production, we fall head over heels.

Now, I know that Obama's melanin doesn't promise anything, just look to Bush's sideline she-devil Condi Rice, but Obama's vision of America appeals to me despite his blindspots. I'm still reeling over him saying that his daughters shouldn't benefit from Affirmative Action 'cause they were privileged. Racism is no respecter of breeding or bank accounts and I'm tired of negroes saying this. It can help insulate but be advised fool ass bigots abound and will find you on the golf course, refuse you entrance to Hermès or trail you at Saks so blatantly that when you report the shoe salesman the store begs you to continue your patronage with sweet words and a gift certificate (true story. mine own.) As to the chi chi boutique saleslady who didn't want me to touch the clothes (for what I imagine was fear that my digits secreted chicken grease) as white browsers nearby tugged roughly at her precious merchandise, I received no such apology. That said I believe with a proper historical context on the Black experience and history of black thought in America, which even many Af-Ams don't have due to persistent black outs in our educational system, public and private, Obama will be straight.

In conclusion, I gave some more moolah to Obama yesterday. OBAMA '08!

vendredi, janvier 04, 2008

Black President

So I'm as geeked as anyone else about Barack Obama's win in Iowa but confused about why so many people are calling Obama African American. Black would be more appropriate to acknowledge Obama's--like many West Indian immigrants and African Immigrants to America and their spawn's--racial identity in distinction from his ethnic identity. It has long been my understanding that African American is a word that was coined to acknowledge the African ancestry and history of the descendants of the enslaved Africans hypertensive (thanks Dr. Oz) and sturdy enough to make it cross the Atlantic to cut cane, harvest indigo, pick cotton, farm rice, endure physical and psychological torture and serve white people (and later the occasional colored slaveowner) in what was to become the United States of America. It seems like many white people use this phrase to describe all Blacks born or living in America to err on the side of caution and not offend any nationalists in the room. I am in no way questioning Barack Obama's racial authenticity--I have frequently drawn from the little bit of money I have to give to his campaign--but suggesting how the misuse of terminology obfuscates diverse Black ethnic identities. Race is one thing, ethnicity is another. Also let's not pretend that there aren't many Black Americans (descended from American slaves) who do not care for the term African American as they don't readily see a connection between themselves and the continent.

And in parting OBAMA '08!

mardi, janvier 01, 2008

Black Ambition: The Redux

A promo for "Everybody Hates Chris," one of my fav shows on TV

Today we chilled and welcomed the new year with some vegan Hoppin' John and tomorrow I'm back to work after a glorious week off but Monday night we were situated in the second row of Madison Square Garden for the Chris Rock show. Jilly from Philly's opening set was made unbearable due to the internal organ rattling bass. My eyelids literally hurt by sets end. It felt like I was in a stereo blaring hooptie.

“There were moments you could hear a pin drop, and that’s really what it’s all about,” he said. “Anybody can just say stuff and get people to scream. If you’re really good, you can get them to be quiet. Quiet is true ownership of the room.”

Chris Rock on seeing Eddie Murphy at MSG back in the day (Source)

Chris showed his rust tripping over a line or two and put me off by spouting some tired foolishness about Black women (I don't care that it was in jest) but many a pause you could have heard a pin drop. In fact, I was so eager for the punchlines I often found myself leaning in. Not too many celebrities in the building from where I could see other than the Rabbi from some Discovery Channel show seated next to my sister and Q-Tip with Amanda Diva and Pharoahe Monch and date who I later spotted separately on the way out. More at Hello, Babar.

Oh yeah and ¡Feliz Año Nuevo! Feeling good about 2008. Hoping to make that feeling last...