WTF, NFL? I Don't See Myself Supporting You Anymore

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I've always been a very casual fan of the NFL. I live in Chicago and was born in 1984, so I can't even recall when the Bears went all the way and for the entirety of my consciouslife have seen all my family and friends be disappointed year after year by a very sub-par football team. So I don't have a whole lot of skin in the game, but I do enjoy the competition, the fantasy football stat chasing, and getting together with friends on Super Bowl Sunday that I don't get to kick it with that often due to us having wives, kids, and no longer living in the same neighborhood.

That being said, I will next say that now is as good a time than ever to boycott the NFL. By that, I mean not tuning in to games and contributing to it's ratings. Its been made very clear to those who've been paying attention to current NFL events, that the league is a morally bankrupt organization.

Colin Kaepernick, who brought about so many white tears due to his kneeling protest during the national anthem ceremony to make a statement about unarmed black men being killed by the police with no recourse, still doesn't have a job suspiciously the season after he began his protest. So many associated with the NFL...players, ex-players, coaches, commentators...have had so much to say about the alleged disrespect Kaepernick is showing with his non-violent protest, but say nothing about the issue itself he's protesting. Its nothing but selective obtuseness. In other words, people see what they wanna see. Now it's pretty obvious he's been unofficially black balled in the league which explains why he's still a free agent but chain smoking sacks of overrated crap like Jay Cutler have just signed $10 million contracts.

The NFL is 70% African American and is a multi-billion dollar a year industry. Not one NFL team owner is black so to a person like me, the optics are very bad. You can make tons of money off black men and black athleticism, but the second one of those black men stand up and use his constitutional right to speak on a black issue, you all of a sudden have no use for him. He immediately becomes disposable and "not worth the distraction". Distraction??!! As if the issue of sanctioned murder by the police is tantamount to a housefly buzzing around your head at a picnic...How bout we as a country fix the problem so there won't be a reason for players to have to speak up and cause a distraction as they put it??!!?

And in this racially charged climate, ESPN saw it appropriate to air a segment featuring an NFL "auction" to amp up excitement for the upcoming season with the clear support fans of the NFL, the same NFL mainly comprised of black men. When I heard about this, I thought "Maybe everyone's overreacting? Maybe they're unfamiliar with how pro sports drafts are set up?" But then I saw the actual clip with an all white sea of "buyers" putting up what can only be seen as monetary bids on black players in a scene that was eerily similar to the scene from the black body-snatching thriller Get Out. And at the very least it seems eerily similar to a slave auction. Peep it:

Meanwhile, NFL players who cheat, drink and drive, use drugs, murder (allegedly), obstruct justice, and beat women are just fine and have all the job security in the world?! I think now is a more appropriate time than ever for us who care about these issues to stop supporting a league where black lives don't matter, only black dollars.

But there is a glimmer of hope. More and more players have joined in the kneeling protests, most notably Michael Bennett and Marshawn Lynch. Even one white player has recently joined in with kneeling with his black teammates due to, I assume, seeing the bigger issue at hand here. So who knows? Maybe one day the NFL will get it. Maybe one day, they be as progressive of a league as the NBA where coaches, owners, entire teams, stars, heck, even the league commissioner have taken a visible, unmistakable stand on black social issues and social issues period. Until then, maybe we need to start putting our money our mouths are.

    

White People Criticizing Modern Black Protests, PLEASE Keep MLK's Name Out Yo' Mouth!

Dear, White people, please stop misquoting, misinterpreting, misdirecting, and plain old twisting the quotes of the late, great Martin Luther King Jr. to criticize black people fighting for social justice who they don't agree with, or who make them as white people benefiting from white supremacy, feel uncomfortable.

Whenever the social climate of America gets tense, volatile, or violent due to oppressed people reacting to the many injustices of their oppressors, whenever an event happens that leaves no question as to what's been happening in America for hundreds of years (the black minority suffering at the hands of the privileged white majority) and verifies what we as black Americans have been decrying forever, whenever conservatives get backed into an ideological corner and can no longer use narrow minded rhetoric that has no application in the real world, they almost always, without fail, attempt to invoke the spirit of our fallen Civil Rights leader.

It's like there saying "Well I know you may not agree with me, darkie, but your dearly departed King of the Negroes would!" Why would he?! How can you speak for a dead man? None of us can truly say what Martin Luther King would be doing or saying or who he would be agreeing with or not agreeing with if he was alive in today's social climate. I'm pretty sure not even black people can say, and I'm almost certain white people can't say. It's like they pull out that trump card whenever things get rough to say "Why can't you be like this guy was?" because they know MLK was the MJ of the Civil Rights movement. So they know it's hard to argue with values system of a martyred man, but...it's even harder to say for certain what that man would be saying if he was alive!

Just take a look at this clip where a white conservative attempts to bring up MLK in a discussion about football players (non-violenty, mind you!) protesting social injustice by sitting during the national anthem:

I don't know why they go for MLK so much, but I could hazard a guess. It could be because he is the only Civil Rights leader they know by name. Which is sad. But the accomplishments of the Civil Rights movement were the result of a cumulative effort. There were countless names and faces that made ish happen in the streets, in the courts, and at local and federal levels of government. MLK was just the most prominent and visible figure from that time. So when white folks invoke his name, I ask myself, "how many other great black Americans and Civil Rights leaders can they name?" It feels similar to the same lame"I'm not racist, I got one black friend!" argument (and then that one black friend turns out to be an ex-cult member). But tokenism is not proof of acceptance or celebration of diversity. My other guess as to why they love (or appear to love when it's convenient) the message of MLK is because non-violence was his signature mantra. It's like they're hoping and thinking  "if more black folks were like him and non-violent, the safer we are!" And what makes me personally annoyed is that this call for non-violence is often in response to black people becoming more vocal about the violence perpetrated against us! White supremacy was established through violence and is sustained often times through violence, but when we stand up and say that "That ain't right!" every "well meaning white person" wants to point to a sound bite of one man and say "See, he got it, non-violence is the answer guys!"  but will say nothing about unarmed black men being shot to death on the regular by cops. What they say "can't you be non-violent?" what they really mean is "can't you be passive?".

I personally think the real reason they quote our fallen leader and pretend to hold him in such esteem is quite simple: A dead man is no threat. He cannot at this time topple the system of white supremacy that white folks benefit from even if they did not create it. That is why they act like MLK scholars when race relations get hairy, but at the same time brush off, criticize, and try to discredit Al Sharpton, Farrakhan, Obama, Colin Kaepernick, Van Jones, Shaun King, George Soros, Cornell West, Angela Rye, Jesse Williams, Maxine Waters, Michael Eric Dyson, Michelle Alexander, Marc Lamont Hill, Rosa Clemente, Johnetta Elzie, Deray McKesson, Bree Newsome, Ava Duvernay and whoever else I'm forgetting. These are people who are currently fighting the good fight who may often get labeled by White America as "race-baiters", "social hustlers", "whiners" and "anti-American". Father Time and the Grim Reaper have not silenced their voices yet, so they'll be marginalized and demeaned as much as possible by bigots and those who benefit from white supremacy until that happens. And lets not forget when MLK was alive and active, he wasn't exactly very popular among white America. The majority of white Americans polled at that time found his non-violent movement and way "disruptive" and thought he "hurt the Negro cause." Imagine that!!!

There's a song by the legendary hip hop group Digital Underground called "Heartbeat Props" were they excellently explain the reasons we should give just as much support to our living black leaders as we do our dead ones. I suggest you Google it out and check it out. And please share with any white folks who can only name one Civil Rights leader. 

And I'll leave you with a quote appropriate for the times.

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R. Kelly Out Here Being R. Kelly Again

Can you look at this picture and not shiver in disgust?  Photo by Sebastian Kim (GQ.com)

Can you look at this picture and not shiver in disgust?  Photo by Sebastian Kim (GQ.com)

Again.  And again.  And yes, it's going to happen again, as long as people want to continue to turn a blind eye to this monster's established modus operandi.  I mean, didn't I just write on this last month?  People from Chicago can tell you about R-uh's predilection for hanging around Kenwood high school to prey on young girls easily dazzled by his fame, money and promises.  Most folks can tell you how his creepy ass secretly married Aaliyah when she was 15 and he was twenty-Old-As-Fuck-seven, though the marriage was later annulled due to its illegality.  Everyone can tell you about him raping and peeing on underage girls on video.  These are facts that no one, besides R. Kelly and his lawyers, even bothers to dispute.  Yet somehow, plenty of these same  people try to reason that "You Remind Me of My Jeep" is so awesome we need to separate the art from the artist, or twist themselves into pretzels to argue that it's a young girl's fault when she falls prey to a rich older man who, at this point, can surely list a master's degree in manipulation of youth on his C.V.  In the latest iteration of this story, where a young woman known to be a Kelly Superfan is breaking her nondisclosure agreement and putting herself at legal risk to talk about how she first had sex with Kelly at the age of 15, the first comment under the article said something to the effect of "I guess the money wasn't enough."

There is something so soul destroying about watching this happen again and again.  Women, Black women--vilifying their sisters in defense of the indefensible.  And once again, keyboard warriors are rightfully up in arms about the dozens of black and brown girls that have gone missing in cities across the U.S., but when we have a documented predator targeting our girls for literally decades, all some of y'all can do is talk about his music?  Y'all really want to cape for this?  For this?  For fuck's sake, -- the man actually calls himself the goddamn Pied Piper of R&B!  How fucking loaded is it that a man known for going after underage girls gave himself a name that purposefully evokes a fable about a man guilty of luring a town full of young children for his own purposes.

Then on the flip side you have the most nauseating of his defenders, the ones who immediately victim blame, placing the onus for this man's longstanding and documented predilection for young girls on the girls themselves.  These are the ones that searched out and watched every frame of that sexual assault video -- no, it's not a "sex tape," it's a fucking rape on film -- their eyes pouring over every inch of the girl's frame so that they could decide that she was "too developed" to be underage, or that the things she was doing somehow proved her lack of innocence.  This isn't a man that routinely uses his wealth, fame and the skills he has honed in decades spent manipulating young minds to his own ends, this is all the fault of a "fast" girl.  After all, these things never happen to "good girls."

Women in general are not being protected from predatory men. Black girls in particular are not just being sacrificed, but when they try to speak out, they are then blamed for being victims. When we do this, we are adopting as our own the White supremacist myth that Black women are rabidly sexual creatures that lure men by their female wiles and animalistic natures. No. We must do better by our girls. But how can we do this if we can’t even turn the dial when R. Kelly comes on?
— Geechee Anne

Another novel defense is the one that says that the girls should "know better."  What's interesting about this, is that these folks tacitly admit that there is something to know about him, something to beware... but then somehow twists that into an indictment of the victims.  Dafuq?  Now, I agree that we should all know better by this time when it comes to R. Kelly, and I wish we did.  I would love it if the younger generation thought that "R" stood for Rapist.  But with the older generation still venerating this pervert and throwing out all manner of excuses for his actions, how can we expect our girls to know what's up?  How can we expect them to "know better" when we don't expect him to do better?  And how exactly does "knowing better" serve to excuse the rapist for raping?

I literally said this before, in my previous post on Kelly, and I'll keep on saying it until it's no longer true: "Women in general are not being protected from predatory men.  Black girls in particular are not just being sacrificed, but when they try to speak out, they are then blamed for being victims.  When we do this, we are adopting as our own the White supremacist myth that Black women are rabidly sexual creatures that lure men by their female wiles and animalistic natures.  No.  We must do better by our girls.  But how can we do this if we can't even turn the dial when R. Kelly comes on?"

Eric Andre's Criticisms Of Hip-Hop Are Needed, And Here's Why...

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Recently Adult Swim comedian Eric Andre came out with a series of tweets that criticized hip-hop for openly embracing and promoting rap artists Kodak Black and XXXtentacion. Just so we're clear on what he said, here's what he said:

i was just looking at World Star Hip Hop on my IG and they’re always promoting XXX and Kodak Black. and i got upset.

i was also mad at myself for promoting XXXTentacion’s music the other day. my friend was like, “that dude beats up pregnant women” :(

1 out of 3 women are beat, raped, or murdered in their lifetime. that’s 1 billion women. Shits got to stop. No more apathy or indifference.

racism, sexism, homophobia - it's all bigotry. it is all part of the same systemic evil that keeps people subservient and disenfranchised.

Alot of supporters of said rappers on the Twittersphere have come out against Eric Andre with the same predictable defenses of their adored idols- in so many words: "She lied to get all his money!" and "They couldn't prove it court!" and "Innocent til' proven guilty, bruh!" And let's not forget the standard "Stick to comedy, bruh" which Eric Andre pointed out himself is just code for "Stick to apathy." and don't criticize anyone in our community.

But I for one believe we should demand some sorts of standards and accountability from our more visible hip-hop artists. There's nothing wrong with that. We don't have to celebrate negativity, violence, and misogyny. And I don't want to hear that "It's all just entertainment." cop-out. He singled these particular artists for a reason. That reason being their criminal records or alleged acts seem to be some pretty reprehensible stuff. They don't appear to be just talking the talk, they're actually walking the walk.

Another reason I agree with his criticisms is because if we don't question, challenge, and police our own culture and those who represent it, then those who are outsiders to our culture will begin to do so and often through a misinformed, uninformed, and biased prism. A lot of the current hip-hop audience (especially those who are fans of Kodak Black & XXXtentacion) are probably not old enough to remember when Fox News' Bill O'Reilly went on a crusade against rappers Nas and Ludacris (even causing Luda to get endorsements pulled from him) for their "vile, obscence" lyrics when in their personal lives, they were clearly normal, law-abiding citizens. And maybe they don't remember the days of C. Delores Tucker, VP Dan Quayle, Senator Bob Dole, and countless other high profile white folks who tried their best to put an end to "gangster rap" by taking the lyrics of songs totally out context to prove rap was responsible for cop-killing and every social ill of the inner-city in the early 90s.

So if they weren't around for days, maybe they don't understand the need for those within hip-hop culture to hold certain ones' feet to the fire for committing heinous acts in real life. It's like when we want Republicans and conservatives to denounce people who are racists and white supremacists and claim to be under that Republican/conservative umbrella. We should likewise denounce, or at the very least criticize those who are members of the hip hop community who seem to embody all those negative things (specifically misogyny & violence) that hip-hop's critics claim is synonymous with hip-hop music and culture itself.

Its waaay better for someone like Eric Andre (who's clearly a fan of hip-hop) to come out with these criticisms than some out-of-touch, but dangerously influential Trump disciples to come out against certain rappers. Because when that happens, the focus goes from a few bad apples to hip-hop as a whole genre because bigots and xenophobes don't have the capacity to distinguish between the good examples and bad examples and will paint all rap with same brush. And when that happens, record company execs and sponsors who pay artists for promotion will get shook from the political pressure and pull support from artists. When comedians, young black actors, or even other rappers criticize the culture, it's from an honest desire to want to see the culture reach it's potential and not go backwards or destroy itself. And it sparks discussions like these where we ask ourselves "Why aren't we giving more of a listening ear to rappers who are socially conscious in their content and personal lives??!"

We live in bizarre times where the media can villainize pretty much anyone. A movement started to stop police killing unarmed black people has been equated to the Ku Klux Klan. And I would hate to see hip-hop be made into the boogieman. Again.    

Detroit Is An Excellent, Must-See Film, But There's One Thing That Bothered Me...

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Minor spoilers ahead...

So the other day, I was able indulge in the rare treat of catching a movie. By myself. In the morning. When the theater first opens. Which is the best time to catch a movie if you haven't tried go at this time. I decided on seeing Detroit, a movie that caught my attention when I first saw the trailer about 6 months ago. My wife and none of my friends wanted to see this movie due to being squirmy, sensitive types who were put off by the film's reputation for containing what is being labeled as torture porn. And while I do understand not wanting to view black people being beaten, abused, & psychologically tortured at the hands of white people, it is a story I felt needed to be told.

This is not a movie review exactly. I cannot break down a film's strengths and weaknesses the way a true film critic could, but I can tell you that I thought this was an exceptionally excellent movie. The atmosphere feels palpable and transports you back in time to the world where the story takes place, and you're emotionally invested in all three acts that the movie is broken down in. You care about the characters. Nothing feels forced or crow-barred in just to shock the audience. The overall storytelling was well crafted and the acting was on point!!!

But one thing kind of bothered me, and this is no reflection on the quality of Detroit as a movie. What bothered me was that while viewing this racially charged story and all the injustice surrounding it and after it, there were times I forgot what I was watching actually took place in the 60s. 1967 to be exact. The events in Detroit felt so current despite going down 50 years ago, reinforcing in my mind just how little has changed since then. I'm not saying to short change the achievements and progress that we as African Americans have made, I'm saying that in reference to deeply entrenched ideologies and practices that keep white supremacy alive.

Every few minutes in the film, there was something being said or done that frankly just happened in the current news cycle. Black communities were being policed by a predominately white police force. Black men were shot in the back by police despite posing no threat to law enforcement. The shooting of black men in the back was either ignored or justified. White policeman told themselves and their partners that they had nothing against black people right before calling them 'niggers' and physically brutalizing them to the point that they never would a member of their own community. White officers got butt hurt over the mere appearance of white women dating/sleeping with young, black men (much like the racists who vent over interracial scenes in the comments section on YouPorn- or so I've been told). White police officers made up and corroborated stories with their co-workers to explain away dead, black bodies. Evidence was planted (much like we recently saw from the body cam footage from the police officers in Baltimore). White officers were acquitted of murder charges by an all-white jury of their peers. Dead and brutalized victims were discredited and demeaned because of their own alleged criminal pasts despite the fact they weren't the ones on trial (much like Mike Brown, Trayvon Martin, and Alton Sterling). One black character identified himself as a veteran and was accused of outright lying about it (much like the black veteran last year who was denied a free meal from Chili's because some white man didn't want to believe he served and was wearing a stolen military hat in an effort to get a free meal). And even on a lighter note, black people back then floated theories about how the government killed certain black musicians because they "knew too much" and blamed it on drug overdoses (much like black people today put out theories on any deceased or shamed black celebrity who "was about to buy NBC" or was talking crap publicly about the Illuminati).

It just puzzles me how movies like Detroit get the "hard to watch" label when everything in it is based on realities that are still in effect today. We live in a world where people will make the argument to keep up statues of seditionist, racist, murderous Confederate soldiers and generals in an effort to "learn from our history" (pick up a history book, jackasses!!) when clearly American society has learned nothing at all from its past and continues to keep up the status quo of white supremacy and defend the legal, sanctioned murders of black people.

I guess that's why they have to be told "black lives matter".

Why We Must Identify the Proud Racists of Charlottesville

Deandre Harris, during and after attacks by white supremacists. (google.com)

Deandre Harris, during and after attacks by white supremacists. (google.com)

Historically speaking, KKK members have put forth at least nominal effort in hiding their identities.  At this point in history, the whole white sheets and hood thing is just theirs.  Even ghosts ain't wearing white sheets anymore, as they don't want their brands associated with the Klan.  In the beginning KKK had many reasons beyond the sartorial for dressing up in their finest bedwear, but one not insignificant reason is that the hood also served to hide their identities.  See, the activities of the KKK have always been technically illegal, even if the membership of the organization itself was in some areas indistinguishable from the police department.  Still, it was important to cover up one's face, just to make sure that no unpleasant consequences came your way.   Which begs the question--why the fuck did these idiots in Charlottesville think that it would be an awesome idea to march through a town in 2017 yelling openly racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic bullshit, holding torches to illuminate their sweaty, angry faces?

Because sure as shit, like clockwork, the internet immediately began to identify them and make them accountable.  For some, this means losing their jobs and their livelihood.  For others, like the ones caught on tape beating Deandre Harris, a young black man, half to death--identifying them will hopefully mean serious consequences, like, an intimate relationship with the criminal justice system type serious.  But in the midst of all our celebration when they get caught, we have to put up with a bunch of whining--like that one angry ass racist who whines that now people think he's some angry ass racist, when really he can explain everything with some angry ass racist words, and we also have to put up with some hand-wringing about the faaaairness of it all.

I first ran into this fairly recently.  Y'girl loves advice columns, and I spend way too much time reading them.  In the comments section on one of them, I was recently surprised to see people questioning why other folks expose the deeds of Bad People to their jobs and work to get Bad People fired.  If a person is racist, it was posited by some, what does that have to do with their job and their ability to care for their family?  This was a real record scratch, time continuum interrupting idea for me, and one so thoroughly basted in thick, nasty white privilege that it should have its own heading in the bukkake section on PornHub.  But yes, there are actually people out there who think that racism is some kind of simple prejudice that is easily quarantined.  Like maybe you can be racist just on dating apps when women of color reject you, and all of a sudden she's all kinds of nigger bitches, but somehow be completely non-racist in every other area of your life.  Nah, son.  If you're racist, you're racist.  You ain't racist on Tinder without also being racist when hiring for your job, approving loan applications, or respecting your minority boss.  When you're racist, there is literally nothing you do that is not informed by the hate you carry.

That's why it's so important that these assholes in Charlottesville be exposed for what they are, and bear the full brunt of the consequences for what they were so proud to do.  There is no such thing as a 1 day racist.  These people are in white supremacist spaces on the internet, gassing each other up about how awesome they are, and how great the world would be without brown people, loving on Hitler and planning marches like the one they had last week.  As I said earlier, none of these people were just walking through town with their noses in a book and accidently stumbled into a KKK rally.  Yet, I'm seeing so-called allies wring their hands about whether or not people should be getting exposed.   Really?  Their president has made these cretins feel comfortable coming out of the shadows and showing their faces.  So for the most part, they eschewed hoods and robes, feeling so secure in their privilege and in the protection of the highest office of the land that they thought it was no longer necessary to hide their faces.  But it's a new day, and we have new tools.  These fools chose to expose themselves in the full, disinfecting light of day.  It is not 1875; a little thing called the internet exists, and we will use it.  So if you decide to put your face out there accompanied by the words and symbols of hate, you deserve all the opprobrium that comes your way.  Fuck them.  And if you think something is wrong with that, then fuck you too.

Police Doin' What They Do in Charlottesville

That is, the bare minimum--at least when it comes to policing white thugs. 

White supremacists display the fearsome power of the discount Tiki torch in Charlottesville, Va,  August 2017. (google.com)

White supremacists display the fearsome power of the discount Tiki torch in Charlottesville, Va,  August 2017. (google.com)

My social media is blowing up with this stuff in Virginia, and it's very interesting to see the divide here.  Because my white liberal friends are shooketh.  To the core.  Much lamenting, pearl clutching and even crying.  Black folks are like, "ah--you finally put the robe on, but we knew you had it in your closet the whole time."  As a people, we are saddened by displays such as this, but ain't ne'er a negro shocked.  Nor are we astonished by the lack of a police presence last night, when KKK members raided some suburban mom of that entire stash of Tiki torches she got from Target clearance a few years ago.  Tough stuff, that.  Grown ass men, walking around with a Polynesian import in hand, yelling anti-immigration rhetoric as they walk their weak asses through the mean streets of a predominately white fucking college campus.

Racists get out their finest sheets and Confederate flags for white supremacy rally amongst a small gathering of police officers. (google.com)

Racists get out their finest sheets and Confederate flags for white supremacy rally amongst a small gathering of police officers. (google.com)

The events of last night and this morning in Virginia were not a surprise.  This was not a chance encounter, like, one Nazi was walking down the street and saw another Nazi he knew and crossed the street to catch up, and then they were like, "Hey, isn't that Joe from United Nazi Church?  Oh, and there's Cam the manager at KKKFC!" and before they knew what was going on, it was goddamn Nazi reunion.  Nah, son.  This shit was planned.  For months.  There were probably cottage industries that sprang up alongside it.  You know someone probably made a killing bleaching sheets and starching hoods so they'd stand up nice and all pointy like.  How drôle to show up with an over-bleached, yellowed sheet and a droopy hood like some low class racist yokel.  No, these mother fuckers were primed and ready for primetime.

Lone black woman in flats and maxi dress approached by armored cops. Avengers and Suicide Squad just out of the frame. (Reuters/J. Bachman)

Lone black woman in flats and maxi dress approached by armored cops. Avengers and Suicide Squad just out of the frame. (Reuters/J. Bachman)

So where were the damn cops?  Pick any large assembly of Black Lives Matter protesters, and not only is there a large show of force from the local police department, but they also call in the state police, the Suicide Squad and the Avengers.  But here, when you have a planned congregation of several large pro-white hate groups, and you know things are going to be more incendiary than a Tiki torch in August, there's barely any show of force.  I'm glad a state of emergency was eventually declared, but it was so obvious that they were not ready for what they had to contend with.  Interesting.  For any assembly of black folks, the very worse is assumed, and cops are there, the itchier the trigger finger the better.  In fact, it ain't even gotta be a whole assembly of black folks; it could just be one black guy driving with his family.  But for a gathering of several known hate groups, it's "oh, it'll probably be alright.  We'll just wait and see what happens." 

Yeah, black people ain't really asking where the cops were in Virginia.  We already know why policing this sort of a gathering wouldn't be high on their radar.  One, because a gathering of white folks will always be given the benefit of the doubt, even when they don't deserve it, and two, because most of the police force probably took the day off to join in.

I Seriously Do Not Believe Paul Rosenberg Will Bring Def Jam Back To It's Glory Days

So if you're really into the record label/label head/sales history part of the hip hop industry, no doubt you've heard the latest buzz about Paul Rosenberg taking over the storied Def Jam record label next year. Paul Rosenberg is the manager for Eminem as well as many other profitable acts in hip hop and rock and is given credit with signing other stellar acts such as 50 Cent, Obie Trice, D-12, and Slaughterhouse.

Its been no secret that Def Jam has lost a lot of it's luster over the past few years and has been in desperate need of a facelift, reconstructuring, new ideas, or just some sort of breath of fresh air. In case you didn't know, Def Jam records (founded in the 80's when hip hop was still getting it's legs by Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons) sprang the careers of such legendary acts like Run DMC, T-La Rock, The Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, Public Enemy, and EPMD. So Def Jam was known for bringing the best of the best as far as hip hop was concerned. But, Father Time is undefeated. And after so many years Def Jam has been somewhat maligned for falling victim to a lot of the same bad habits practiced by it's contemporaries that Def Jam used to stand heads and shoulders above. Signing numerous flash in the pan artists that were simply the Flavor of the Month to cash in on short lived trends, dropping artists with little or no reason, not promoting certain artists enough who had paid their dues but were no longer seen as "relevant", and abandoning the idea of artist development. Now the Def Jam label, which was once the most respected label in the world of rap, is home to acts like Desiigner, Lil Durk, Iggy Azalea, Justin Bieber, Gunplay, and a bunch of other acts I frankly have never heard of.

Enter: Paul Rosenberg. The consensus is that he will bring raw, edgy, unadulterated, "rip your face off rap" back to the label and to the mainstream. But is this really so? Can Def Jam be saved? Should Def Jam be saved?

Well, let's start with the latter question, should Def Jam have to be saved? Or any record label for that matter? The simple fact is that technology and the way its advanced the past 20 years have almost made record labels obsolete and unneeded. Record labels' primary job in their hayday was to promote it's artists, make sure people were hearing about releases whether through radio play or video play or just putting up posters and ads, and to distribute the actual physical product to the appropriate outlets- record stores. But seeing as there are no more records stores to ship actual physical product to and music is downloaded and consumed all over the inter-webs now, that task has been outsourced to a computer mouse. A few clicks, and you've got the album or mixtape you're looking for. The internet is also the new landscape for promotional material now, whether it be banners or promo videos for potential buyers to peep out before they decide to spend any money or even download it for free. My point is that record labels as a whole just ain't pulling in the big bucks they used to.

Now speaking to Def Jam directly as a label, for any artist who's really hot and has strong buzz, what would convince him to sign with this label? Especially when he can release his own music independently whenever he feels like it and not have to give another entity and portion of everything he earns? Especially when artists continue to be dropped from a label, or get their projects shelved indefinitely for unknown reasons.

Also, content wise, Paul Rosenberg has a record of signing more hardcore, edgy, and lyrical artists in the past. And that's just not where rap is at anymore unfortunately. And they already have artists like Nas, Common, Redman, Logic, Ghostface Killah, and Jadakiss, and we see how much airtime they're not getting on the radio. It's frankly going to take a conscious effort of both up-and-coming artists, consumers, radio stations, and other record labels outside of Def Jam to make that type of rap popular again. Sure, there are other labels like TDE out there who clearly care about talent, but it's gonna take the cooperation of all the other parties mentioned as well.

We used to look to certain record labels as indicator of what was quality music...anything with a Def Jam, Tommy Boy, Loud, Ruffhouse, Death Row, or Rawkus logo stamped on it, was seen as legit. It was seen as vetted. That was until record labels betrayed us and started putting out trash. Now it's gonna be extremely hard to get that trust back from both fans and artists.

Is Andre 3000 Right? Can You Ever Get Too Old To Rap?!

Recently, hip-hop legend, pioneer, an MC extraordinaire and one half of Outkast, Andre 3000, came out in an interview with Complex and basically said in so many words that he was pretty much done rapping because he's too old. I don't want to paraphrase what he said and misconstrue what he was trying to say so I'll share the direct quote from the article:

  “I kind of like not being a part of [Rap music], now that I’ve done it,” 3000 tells Complex‘s Alex Gale. He continues “As I get older, I start to see myself move more back from it—the hustle and bustle of putting out an album, the pressure of being in the studio trying to come up with something. Now it’s more like a hobby for me, so I don’t think about it in that way. Even with Outkast, if we never do another album, I’m totally fine with that. When I was 25, I said I don’t want to be a 30-year-old rapper. I’m 42 now, and I feel more and more that way. Do I really want to be 50 years old up there doing that?”

“Rapping is like being a boxer,” André equates. “No matter how great you are or were at a certain time, the older you get, the slower you get—I don’t care who you are. And I can feel that coming on. There’s always a new wave of artists, and sometimes I’m just like, ‘I’m good. I’ll let the young guys do it.’” Moments later, he says, “I don’t get much happiness from doing music like that—I get happiness from pleasing who I’m working with, and helping them, and seeing them be excited.”

I respectfully disagree with 3 Stacks. Outkast hasn't released an album in over a decade with their patchy-but-still-great-in-spots Idlewild, but anyone who's heard any of Andre's guest verses he's peppered throughout the hip-hop world since then will agree that he has not lost a step at all lyrically and creatively and constantly reminds us just how far rap has fallen off in recent years. Speaking for myself personally, I know Andre's verses for "Walk It Out", "Everybody", "Sixteen", "Pink Matter" & "International Players Anthem", but I either cannot name the other artists on these songs or fast-forward through their verses. Okay, well...maybe not "International Players Anthem"...that whole song is fire, but Andre definitely outshines everyone on that joint too!

Another reason I disagree with Andre is because Jay-Z just taught us that grown men in their 40s can definitely still craft an "adult" sounding hip hop album that is commercially successful and socially relevant without catering to all the youthful BS in the industry. And I mean no disrespect to the Jigga Man, but Andre 3000, to me, is just a way more intriguing and creative MC lyrically. I'm sure plenty of heads who have been long time fans of him and Outkast would support and buy a release by him. Heck, A Tribe Called Quest was able to sell an album last year 18 years after they broke up. They sold 132,000 units and reached the number 1 spot on Billboard which a lot of current, more "relevant" artist cannot do. My point is that those like myself, who grew up on rap music, who are getting older, who still have the money to actually buy music...we haven't gone anywhere. We didn't reach the age of 30 and all of a sudden developed a taste for jazz or classical music. We still appreciate and dabble in other genres, of course, but we still need our hip-hop dag-nabbit!! I can only listen to the classics so many times before I just need to hear something new. And most heads I know around my age aren't gonna pretend to like Ugly God, Lil Uzi Vert, and Kodak Black just cause we're told to like them. Most heads I know. We haven't gone anywhere and we haven't all died off and we still have a hunger for good ol' hip hop that I think someone like Andre 3000 is totally up to the task to create. I know he compared rapping to boxing, but rapping ain't boxing. Rapping is rapping. And it's art. Much like sculpting, photography, or painting. And there are many examples of sculptors, photographers, and painters who produced works until the day they died or at least well into old age.

On the other hand, I do kind of get where he's coming from. He's paid his dues. He's provided classics that will be bumped for many years to come. He's made significant contributions to the culture and has nothing else to prove. And I imagine it gets increasingly difficult to fit into an industry that continues to cater to and encourage the most undisciplined characteristics of young people while you continue to grow old and mature. Because let's face it, for every Andre or Jay Z in the game, there are 21 21 Savages. Nobody wants to be that 45 year old in the club with a bunch of college kids. They look old and out of place, and should feel that way (R Kelly, I'm lookin' at you).

So at the end of the day, I respect and understand Andre's stance and position, but at the same time can't discard my wishful thinking hoping that cats like him will every once in a while shake up the game and show the young cats how it's done.

 

Ghetto Fast Food Joint Practices That Need To Stop Now!

Over the course of my 33 years of life on this earth, I've eaten a lot of fast food (nothing I'm very proud of) in a lot of different areas. And I can honestly say that there are certain practices and shortcomings that are...how you say, habitual, when it comes to fast food restaurants in the black community. I have made a list of all the things that I want to see stop being done in said establishments and while I know its wishful thinking on my part, maybe we can at least demand better or just stop supporting joints that do the following:

The unresponsive drive-thru intercom. You drive up, there's silence. You call out to see if anyone's on the other side, there's silence. You honk your horn, silence. Finally after a while, an extremely distorted and barely audible voice responds and tells you "Hold on a minute!" You patiently wait, then after 5-7 minutes of staring at the intercom, they're finally ready to take your order. You spit out the first couple of items you want to order and they yell out "Hold on." again as if you're reciting your order at some breakneck speed that they simply cannot comprehend.

Getting the order wrong all the time. I swear one time I ordered a plain burger from the Wendy's around my house and they gave me buns with no hamburger patty on it!! Just the bread with some mayonnaise, pickles, ketchup, and onions spread on it. Why is it so hard for hood joint to get the orders right?! If I'm telling you I don't want certain toppings on my sandwich, I thought I was in essence asking ya'll to do less work?! Which brings me to my next point...

Not giving you any compensation for screwing up your order. At the same Wendy's around my house my wife and I had to take back a messed up order and the manager looked at us with a straight face and said "I'll comp you for the burger." which I thought meant he would give us the sandwich we ordered and paid for, how we ordered it, and our money back for our troubles, but no. He meant he'll just give us what we paid for without charging us any extra!! I'm like "Nigga, how you gonna comp us for something we already paid for by just giving us what we paid for?!!" The idea of giving the customer a free drink, french fries, or dessert for the inconvenience of screwing up their order or making them wait for 30-45 minutes for no clear cut reason, is obviously a concept hood fast food joints have never heard of.

Not accepting debit/credit cards. This is disturbingly common. I've been robbed before and make it a habit to not carry a whole lot of cash on my person. I would say that 50% to 65% of hood food joints do not accept plastic because there's a fee connected to using the card machine. Some forward thinking hood spots simply charge you an extra 25 cents to pay with a card, while others simply skip all that jazz and install some off brand ATM in the corner of the joint that will charge you $3.50 to withdraw $20.

The obligatory 15 minute wait for an item that they should have on tap. Why in the wide, wide world of sports do I have to wait 15 minutes or longer for an item whose name is in the name of the establishment?! Why is it a 15 minute wait for chicken at KFC or Popeye's Chicken?! Its not like I ordered shrimp or catfish or some other specialty item that doesn't get requested often. Or say it's a burger joint and there's a wait for fries...these are items you should theoretically have on tap and a constant supply of!! Well, at least they're letting you know what you're in for.

Telling you to "drive up to that spot" after you've paid for your meal in the drive thru. When did this BS start?! You pay for your food and they want you to drive another car length or two up to some random spot. Why can't I wait right here? Where I just paid you? Isn't is easier for you to just give me my food at the window than to send some 90 pound teenager outside into the 15 degree weather to hand me my food? And what if the order's wrong? Now I gotta get out of the safety of my car and knock on the window or the go in the actual place (which obviously I was trying to avoid by going through the drive- thru!) to demand the correct order. If asking the customer to drive past a certain point has something to do with clocking shorter wait times for their lines (this is what I've been told), how bout you just have the food ready and cooked? Quit trying to employ trickery and just do what they do in the other neighborhoods...work to have the food ready quickly.

I'm calling on all my fellow black people out there to please stop patronizing joints with these habits or at least call the corporate office to file a complaint. Cause if we never demand change, we can never expect it.