Archive for the ‘African Americans’ Category
Today, Will and Jaden Smith joined rapper Jay Park to announce that he was chosen to sing the ending song for the new Smith SciFi movie, After Earth.
Jay Park is a former member of the KPop group, 2pm. Since leaving the group he has released several solo albums and mixtapes.
SciFi nerds, like myself, have been awaiting this movie for a while now. Although he’s just singing the song “I Like to Party” as the end credits roll and people leave the theater, this is a big opportunity for more people to hear Park’s music.
In case you missed it, there is a movement of black women taking control of their health and getting fit.
Not getting “skinny”, not changing one eating disorder (overeating/bulimia) for another (anorexia) but learning about eating better, eating healthier and making a change.
Although we don’t want to change it up too much. Being slim is ok, but black women love, love, love their curves.
Wendy Ida proves that you can be slim and curvy at the same time.
Today is her birthday and I don’t think she minds my telling everyone that she is 61 years old.
Yes, she’s 61.
No, I’m not dyslexic, she’s not 16 she’s 61.
Yeah, that 61. Three score and one.
She looks good.
She first came to my notice when I saw her on a promo for the Jeff Probst show.
I was agog. She was 60 looking half her age. And it’s not just her look; she’s also moving better than a lot of women half her age.
And she didn’t start in her 20s or 30s, she started at 43. And she holds two Guinness World records for fitness, one for burpees. I am not going to lie, I hate burpees.
Yet, I also hate being dead… so…
If you want to hear about how she extricated herself from that relationship, click here to go to Beyond Black and White.
Again, happy birthday Mrs. Ida. You are a beacon of light for many women who feel encased in darkness. Just by being you, you are showing many women that it’s never too late to escape hell and then re-start the clock. Hell, you look like you turned back the clock.
I bet you thought I’d never do one of these again. I wasn’t sure if I would since I haven’t found songs I’d like to compare.
Today, the two songs we have to juxtapose is an original and a remake. And this time when I ask “who rocks it” we have a candidate that actually does rock.
First the original: SHINee.
So SHINee comes out strong with their song Dream Girl which reminds me of the Pop-Funk dance music of the early 90s. This song was released about two months ago (19 February 2013).
Next we have the contenders: DTMG featuring Puma Shock.
DTMG took the song in a totally different direction, they threw down the guitars and rocked the song. I also love that they sang the song in the original Korean instead of Sukiyaki-ing it (yes, I made that noun into an verb. What!)
Puma Shock is a favorite of mine, as evidenced by previous blog posts.
Verdict: I can’t decide. I am a big fan of electro pop music so I like the original.
But then I also like rock music and I am so glad that these guys came correct on the song, made it their own without detracting so much from the original that you can’t tell what it was.
I am going to make this one a toss up. Because really, depending on the day I am into dance or I am into rock.
What is your POV? Leave a comment down below if you have a favorite.
I am going to set aside that Chris Brown is a man-child who is prone to throwing tantrums in green rooms when people bring up his public behavior.
I am not going to talk about how he, a child of abuse, abused his famous girlfriend and then got back with her to the dismay of nearly all his fans.
Over the last few years those things have been hashed about by better writers than myself, who know more information and follow more gossip rags than I do. If you are on Team Breezy then there’s nothing I can say to deter you.
But! I will parse his new video.
First off I’m like…. waaaaah?
We come in on a young Chinese family where the father talks about belonging to a triad (gangsters) but can’t let his daughter date a guy who is young thug.
Shot to the daughter who is wearing a dress that looks like a 21st century cheongsam.
And I ain’t gone lie, I covet that dress.
Underlying story, he’s the boy next door, how can he be a thug?
Then, Chris goes into song and dance à la Michael Jackson, “The Way You Make Me Feel“.
If you remember anything about MJ’s song and the context behind it, you will remember it comes at a time before the child sexual allegations but at the height where people were starting to feel a bit uncomfortable with his Peter Pan/asexual imp act. He was grabbing his genitals on stage but hanging out with Emmanuel Lewis and McCauley Culkin, something wasn’t right.
MJ had to change the narrative to make himself seem like a ladies man, which he accomplished by spending 4 minutes chasing after female doppelgänger Tatiana Thumbtzen then one minute to two minutes taking out his sexual angst by demolishing a car.
Yeah, that happened.
So, where MJ tried to cultivate an air of masculinity in the late 80s and early 90s by telling you he’s bad, Breezy is trying to defend his image by allaying your fears.
“It’s alright, I’m not dangerous” he sings. “When you’re mine, I’ll be generous.”
At the end of the video the father comes back to defend the Karreuche Tran look-alike. But really, I don’t think the young lady is supposed to be a stand in for Karreuche or even Rihanna. The person Brown is trying to love but keeps seeming to be taken from him is the public love. Fame is china fine: delicate, expensive, hard to obtain. In the end we have a stand-off between Team Breezy fans, Team Breezy critics who are keeping Brown away from his lady love.
So the question is, was Brown’s song and dance good enough to get back his lady love? Are you applauding it? For a minute we had fun (though we didn’t truly believe) that Michael had fun with Naomi Campbell and Iman in his early 90s music videos. He even went as far as to sell an album as dangerous, although he was singing about a woman.
By the end of the 90s things turned around a lot differently for MJ.
Maybe things are different. Maybe Brown is as innocent and innocuous as his music purports.
And if he isn’t, his fans will have good music to dance to.
I have spoken about Judith Hill before. She is a talented singer who needs to get more shine. How can a sister with this type of talent not be a household name?
If you still are unaware of this amazing young performer then you need to watch The Voice. And when you become a fan then vote, not just when she wins the competition (I have been a fan of hers for a few years now so I can’t see why she wouldn’t win this thing) but when her next album drops go out and buy it, because money talks, bs walks.
Hopefully, Usher will be watching her more closely while she’s rocking the stage, too, because how could he not remember her from the Michael Jackson memorial? Well, I guess it was a very sad day.
Here is another song off of Hill’s début album, the movie soundtrack from Red Hook Summer.
I am not sure how long this broadcast will be available, so you will want to listen to it while you can. The multitalented actress and playwright Charlayne Woodard gives a performance of her one-woman play “The Night Watcher” for Public Radio’s LA Theater Works.
The show, written by Woodard and originally performed off Broadway, is about Woodward’s life as Godmother and Aunt to many but mother to none. The stories of all the children that come into her life are poignant and sometimes sad. The New York Times review of a 2009 performance writes:
Ms. Woodard moves among the personalities in her stories with an ease born of experience, changing up the many colors in her rich voice and using her elegant limbs to add filigreed physical detail to the various portraits. Actors impersonating children is a stage convention that I tend to endure with gritted teeth and a pained smile, but Ms. Woodard does it more fluidly and naturally than most; she has a whole brood of inner children panting to get out, it would seem.
Always a Godmother, Never a Mom; the New York Times 7 Oct 2009
It’s good to see black voices are rising in entertainment media, no matter how slowly. And although Woodard tells stories about young people, the audio might not be for all listeners.
Fire by The Ohio Players
Years ago Southwest Ohio was hitting on the music charts. You came to Cincinnati to make music at King Records like James Brown or you were one of the many bands that was influencing the musical landscape like the Isley Brothers, Zapp, Lakeside, Slave, and, of course, The Ohio Players.
My brothers loved the Ohio Players, equally for the album covers as for the music.
I was sad to hear about the death of Leroy “Sugarfoot” Bonner, lead singer of The Ohio Players. Even if you haven’t heard of him you heard him. You heard the songs Fire and Love Rollercoaster from television commercials and TV shows, you heard Skin Tight sampled on many rap songs, or you may have heard the the song “I Want to Be Free” while passing through the R&B/Soul oldie station.
If you heard these songs, you undoubtedly heard the lead singer’s distinctive voice.
For this past Saturday a friend gave me four free tickets to the
Cincinnati Jazz Festival Macy’s Music Festival (MMF). I will forever refer to it as the CJF because that is what I grew up with, although for as long as I can remember the marquee acts have always been Pop and Soul stars. The Jacksons, Midnight Star, Rolls Royce were all the acts I wanted to see in the 70s and 80s. But growing up poor doesn’t allow for extraneous purchases so music was ruled out. When I was in my 20s, I was a struggling college student which then morphed into a struggling single mother. So even though there were groups I wanted to see, again not budgeted.
So when tickets came my way for the music festival I jumped on them. The only person I wanted to see was Ledisi and I figured I could sit through a few groups to see her.
When Saturday morning came I claimed my windfall only to discover that Ledisi had played the night before. Of the acts playing Saturday night only one I didn’t recognize and two of the popular acts had their rise in the mid to late 90s. The other two acts have become a Cincinnati Music Festival staple and were probably acts my mother saw when she was in her 20s (and she is now 70).
“This will be my first time going to the Festival,” I thought. “Should I give it up?”
I took the tickets home to J, who immediately let me know where he stood. He had looked up the lineup while I was gone and immediately eschewed attending.
“These acts are for some old heads,” J said. “Do you really want to go?”
While I thought if I truly did J countered with,”Parking is going to be 20 dollars or more plus the crowds.”
“But the tickets are free,” was all I could proffer.
“We can go next year,” he reassured. When I still looked skeptical he said we could go see Beasts of the Southern Wild. I relented. J called around offering up the tickets to friends. He finally found one who said he would take all four.
“And he’s 53,” J said happily. “It’s his kind of music.”
Not that music is bound by age, but truthfully if I attend a concert I would rather the music be rock or danceable and not something I will get from the easy listening or throwback stations. Why can’t someone offer me free tickets to AfroPunk? Two weeks ago I would have been just as happy for a pass to see Foxy Shazam at the inaugural Bunbury Music Festival.
Most of the groups playing the Bunbury were white– from what I heard from Not Your Negro Tour Guide Kathy Y. Wilson.
Tried as I might, I couldn’t find one band among the jam-packed line-ups that even vaguely interested me and, unlike others who claim to love “all kinds of music,” I actually do.I am often among a number of blacks — and women — so scant at some music shows in Cincinnati, you can count us on one or two hands.
When’s the last time a white music fan in this city has had that weird distinction?
And if you have, good for you. Keep it up. Bring your friends next time.
(Not) Your Negro Tour Guide: Bunbury, Isle of White by Kathy Y Wilson 18July2012
And her summation of the all white festival has left many readers infuriated, telling her she is playing the race card. Readers wrote in, a few protestors said they spotted one or two musicians in different bands that were but mostly the Bunbury fans said lineup was fine and that no one complained that the MMF had only one white act. And maybe if she wanted to see black acts then that was where Wilson should go.
And that is the point. Whether it’s Bunbury or the well established MidPoint Music Festival (MPMF), the acts are invariably white. To MPMF organizers I will give them credit for trying to bring in alternative black artists/bands. One year I was hyped to see Toro y Moi only to find out at the last-minute his show was canceled.
Yeah, bummer. But that is what it’s like for someone black in this city who wants to listen to music that isn’t Urban Contemporary (re: black music before 1995). Then when you let someone know you like that type of music (no knock on the white artists, I love them, too) but would like them to expand their roster with a bit of color that you need to go check out concerts for your own kind.
(Sigh. Checking the calendar to make sure it’s indeed 2012)
The city is changing gradually, but if music can’t bring us together I’m not exactly sure what can.
It has been hot. It has been speak-in-cliches-that-compares-the heat-to-hell/Miami/Lucifer’s balls kind of hot. And I, of course, have been ringing the death knell about how the warm winter coupled with this even warmer summer is signaling the beginning of global warming.
Not that I am a scientist, but I do like to play a scientific alarmist in real life when it comes to the environment. I don’t wish for a new millennium dust bowl or for people to fall out from heatstroke but my interests gets piqued when the burning hell I was foretold would consume the earth might soon come to past when the thermometer starts to creep up. Years ago I got into a heated debate about whether global warming was indeed true or just a government conspiracy (which he believed it was) and I retorted that the best bet for his future progeny would be for him to marry someone like me or darker so they can survive the coming heatwave. Two weeks later he brings to me an article that hypothesized the earth was heading into a second ice age and that the best bet for my future children would be to find a hirsute pale male like himself to give them a fighting chance.
As I swelter in the heat I smile as I think of how I am winning this debate.
It seems that someone else has had that same apocryphal outlook and has done what anyone would do with such an idea: write a dystopian teen book about it.
Revealing Eden: Save the Pearls Part One by Victoria Hoyt tells the story of Eden Newman. Newman lives in a post-apocalyptic world where global warming has left the world dangerously hot. In the U.S. the racial class system has been turned on its head with the fair-skinned whites, referred to as Pearls, now on the bottom and the darker skinned Blacks (coals) on the top. By the age of 18 the young women need to be matched with a mate. Thought of as genetically inferior, no one wants a pearl for a mate.
I’ll just let the character speak for herself:
As you can see Eden tries to pass herself off as a “Coal” order to marry up. She has two potential suitors who are black.
Back in November, before the release of the book a blogger for the Huffington Post gave the “Revealing Eden” a favorable review.
Eden is smart, funny, feisty and fearless. Ronson Bramford is her Rhett Butler and we watch them fight and fall in love all while they deal with “The Heat,” humanity’s probable demise, and the experiment that may allow humans to adapt. While reading this I felt like I was watching an Avatar type film. It’s very visual and futuristic with a tender love story at its core.
Foyt covers interracial issues, what beauty means culturally, and environmental destruction, all while entertaining the reader with one twist after the next. Although the book is young adult/fantasy/sci-fi/romance, I, as an adult who mostly reads non-fiction, loved it!
I have yet to read the book myself, but with just a cursory look over the synopsis and reading of a couple of reviews I have a few quibbles. One: the choice of monikers for the racial groups. I suspect that in a world where blacks are on top and whites are on the bottom, we are going to think of something better to call ourselves than the Coals and something more derogatory for whites than the Pearls. When you think of Coal you think of something dirty, that get’s on everything and if you touch it, it leaves a mark. A pearl is something precious, elusive and rare. Even the other racial groups get analogies that compare them to gemstones with Latinos being Tiger Eyes and Asians referred to as Amber. But blacks are coal? As my daughter surmised we can’t even get Opal?
My feelings are similar to the questions that was raised on this blog:
Turns the tables on racism. Really now? How’s that exactly? Because it sure seems rather exploitative to me and it makes me wonder if they really understand how racism works. Sure put the Black people at the top in your story and the White people at the bottom. Then call the White people pearls and the Black people coals and explain to me how exactly that turns the table on racism.
And I will confess, I have not read the book. We haven’t purchased it in my library system and usually we get galleys of pre-published books and I checked to see if we had been given one. None was on our shelves but then I remembered we have given away a lot of those books to teens over the last few months because our free book shelf runneth over. I wonder if a teen had picked up the book and how would they interpret it? Would they see this book as a racialized Hunger Games with Katniss in blackface?
To me it’s coming off more as a new Birth of the Nation. Fight Global Warming or Your Daughter will either have to marry black or be cast out into the sun!
It’s not just the names of the two separate groups or that the main character darkens herself up to pass, but I also have an issue with the way two of the characters are handled. Spoiler alert (although no one gave me the heads up to this spoiler) one of the black males that decides to pursue Eden undergoes surgery to become a human/animal hybrid. I am cool with WW/BM swirling but WW/BM -self-imposed wolverine? Black men are often portrayed as subhuman and unrelatable creatures in the media. And even though it seems that this is a guy who is nice, sweet and gentle, my initial feelings is to feel uncomfortable with anything that is going to sell black men (especially those black men) as anything other than human.
I gotta get my hands on this book. I don’t want to buy it, but I feel I should read it before I reject it out of hand.
But for now I guess I will just try to not fry in this heat and urge my children to marry black; I guess the blacker the better. Because when us Opals or Onyxes or Blackberries take over the US in the first major decision we will have to make is what to call ourselves because I guess just being Black or African-American or human will be so passe.