30 November 2009

Captain Save-a-Negro: A Primer

FYI: My Monday posts are also published at the Black Youth Project.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I swear I saw commercials for the movie The Blind Side more times than I caught the ads of those cats singing the free credit report jingle.  (F-R-E-E that spells free/credit report dot com, baby...) Environmentalists could learn a lot from Hollywood; that place recycles scenarios more often than a tree hugger sneers at Hummer drivers.

23 November 2009

Upgrade U: What We Can Learn From Beyonce

Beyonce's  Thanksgiving special airs this week, and I know there are plenty of folks hating.  Had I not seen the light, I would've been one of them.  A few weeks ago, I was checking my Facebook account, and a friend's status message read that she intended to write a negative (feminist) critique of Beyonce.  Of course there were the co-signers with their expected "This is so necessary; can't wait to read it," responses.   Whatever.  These people probably bowl with bumpers in the gutters, and celebrate when they roll a strike.  Either exercise is about as difficult as convincing a 4-year-old that there are monsters in the closet.  The implicit position, the crux of "Beyonce makes feminists nauseous," argument, I imagine, might be described as something about Beyonce failing to meet certain expectations--her apparent lack of depth, her music, her relationship to men, her skin tone in those makeup ads.  Such critiques are ironically similar to a Tyler Perry movie: you've seen the tropes before and you how that it's going to end.

19 November 2009

Every Silver Lining has a Cloud: On Mourning and Other Kinds of Despair

Clearly, I am not the most positive thinker.  But I do try to have an even outlook, and not let the bad stuff bother me too much.  I figure if Monday is really sucky, then the rest of the week will be fantastic, comparatively.  That's how I've tried to look at this year.  In February, my great-grandmother, who we all call(ed) Nannie, passed away.  When my mother first moved back to Weezy, she lived with Nannie and Papa (who went on to be with the Lord in '93), and she and my father were still living with them when I was born.  When my parents finally did move out, they literally moved across the street.  I didn't go to daycare; I stayed with Nannie and Papa.  I went there before and after school.  My younger, less socially awkward sister did go to daycare with other kids, and though I came along with her, I was much older and by then preferred to deal with old people.  I saw Nannie everyday for the first 14 years of my life.  So yeah, we were close.

17 November 2009

Why am I Up?

I'm hungry, so I decided to surf the internet.  This is what I found.

16 November 2009

Today in Post-Race History: Say it Ain't Sosa

Credit: ROBYN BECK, AFP/Getty Images / November 5, 2009

We've seen the Sammy Sosa picture(s) by now.  The Michael Jackson jokes are stale and unimaginative.  So I won't make any here.  Yet as a black blogger, I guess I have to say something.  So I will mention just a couple of things.  This is a mere sketch.  Would love it if you all would fill-in and/or correct me.

What I Am is What I Am

Picture it.  Chicago, 2009: Last week during Oprah's Karaoke Challenge.

I'm sitting on the couch with N.  Oprah has just announced that (eventual winner) Abraham McDonald has performed.

N: That's your cousin?

Me: Nah.  Same plantation, though.

N: *Blank, yet mildly disguted stare*

She underappreciates my humor.  She really does.

13 November 2009

The Magic of Disney

These are my confessions.
I got problems, ok?  I know better, but I get crunk about Disney.  I dig Beauty and the Beast.  I love Aladdin and The Lion King.  The latter is, like, my second favorite movie.  I damn near cried when I saw the musical, and when prompted still go on and on about why we shouldn't bother making war when we can make such beautiful headpieces.  It's my most favorite version of Hamlet.  And I know it's problematic, and racist, and homophobic or whatever.  I still love it.  It's like I got Disney DNA.

And I'm excited about The Princess and the Frog.  I know it's going to be fucked up.  I know this.  But I also know that the songs will be pretty awesome, and that the Creole firefly is going to say something funny. Still, I get excited about Disney animation.  And when it comes down to it, I really enjoy good stories. 


10 November 2009

Gone Til November: The Obama Mixtape

Yo. I also blog at the Black Youth Project. This entry is for, and can be found on that site.

Due to my desire to post on Precious, I failed to fulfill a writing assignment.  I think I was supposed to post something about the 1st anniversary of the election of President Barack Obama.  I didn't know we celebrated the anniversaries of elections, but weird stuff happens when black people are involved.  Frankly, I don't really have much to say.  I think my blogging record speaks for itself.  I did not feel like the Jeffersons on Election Night 2008.  In fact, I was pretty critical of the whole thing.  But I'm not going to be cranky about this.  Like my grandmother said, if you don't have anything nice to say, make a mixtape.  (Okay, she really didn't say that.)  So that's what I've decided to do.

I suppose it's not really a mixtape, but rather several EPs.  Either way, though I love Radiohead, I'm not going to give the birthers any love by calling this thing "Hail to the Thief."

Happy Anniversary, Sesame Street


This jam is still funky after all these years.

09 November 2009

Lost in Translation: A Response to 'Precious'

Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry said Precious was awesome and that everyone should go see it.  Since I am the most obedient of Negroes, I saw it last Friday.  If Flavor Flav is the world's greatest hype man, this duo is officially the world's greatest hype machine.   I found Precious slightly underwhelming, uninspiring, and lacking much of what makes the novel, Push by Sapphire, so powerful.  Sorry, Ms. Winfrey.  I had no "A-ha!" moment.

My reaction to and assessment of the film, however, needs context.  With relative ease, I could probably come up with a book list of black women's fiction about incest--The Bluest Eye, Corregidora, etc.  In other words, I have discussed, read, written, and thought about the issues the film presents visually perhaps more than the average moviegoer.  So I'm willing to concede that my expectation, my threshold might have been a bit higher than the people (talking loud as hell) in front of me.  Still, I think what I found troubling about the film worth mentioning.  Lee Daniels & Co. had the envelope; they just didn't push it.  (Was that too heavy handed?)

06 November 2009

A Wishing Well of Crocodile Cheers

Early this week, I was gchatting with APG, and the idea of an embarrassing music mixtape (or podcast) came up.  Though I probably should be ashamed at some of the suspect cds in my collection (the sophomore efforts of Color Me Badd and Soul IV Real, for example), I can't say that I'm embarrassed by any of the music I like.

05 November 2009

Instant Vintage: It's not Easy Going Green...When You're Black

Zoe McFarland likes to think of herself as a friend of the environment.  She doesn't own a car, only flushes when she goes number two, recycles rigorously, and has turned a vacant lot in her west side Chicago neighborhood into a community garden, where she teaches neighborhood kids the way of the land.  She never thought her effort to leave a lighter carbon footprint would almost land her in jail.

02 November 2009

Luchini Fallin' From the Sky

I think I'd rather watch this over and over for two hours.

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