Saturday, May 30, 2009

Blaxploitation Best of the Worst

My boy, Dollar Bill the Hot Tub Don (pronounced all at once like A Tribe Called Quest), and I were discussing one of my favorite subjects, Blaxploitation films, when he made the cogent observation that once the genre proved profitable, people just began turning out any old thing to make a dollar. So we put together a list of what we believe to be the worst Blaxploitation movies of all time. They are arranged in descending order.

Thing with Two Heads (1972)

This one starred ex-NFL pro-bowler Rosie Greer, but that didn’t make it any better. It appears to borrow heavily from Sidney Poitier’s The Defiant Ones.

Black Samson (1974)

One word—corny! Went absolutely overboard with the Blaxploitation shtick. Lot of recognizable Blaxploitation actors and actesses though.

Black Gestapo (1975)

Also known as The Black Enforcers and Ghetto Warriors. This one stars Charles Robinson (remember Mac from Nightcourt?) as a black revolutionary leader. ‘Nuff said? Nazis must have been absolutely pissed about this one.

Sugar Hill—Voodoo Zombie (1974)

I actually kind of liked this one. But for sentimental reasons. Dollar Bill the Hot Tub Don firmly rejected it. You be the judge.

Do you agree? Are there others you would like to add? Let us know!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Black-on-Black Love: The Anniversary Post

“I only want to be a good writer and a good man.”
--James Baldwin

That photo to your left is of my wife and was taken a year or so after we were married. Our class schedules forced us to take a much belated honeymoon, but we had a wonderful time anyway.

Today we celebrate our seventeenth wedding anniversary (17 years!), and every time I look at my wife, I see that young college co-ed you see in that photograph. In my eyes, she was the most beautiful woman in the world then, and she is the most beautiful woman in the world now.

I’d like to believe our story to be the stuff great love stories are made of. The other day I responded to a post on AverageBro’s site. The post asked if it were possible for good friends to ever have a successful romantic relationship. I don’t quite remember my answer; I think I replied in the affirmative. However, the answer I gave was not based on experience but simply speculation on my part. You see, our story is much different; it is the story of two avowed foes and the relationship that blossomed within the crucible of that animosity.

When we first met, we utterly abhorred each other. I believed her to be a spoiled brat, and she perceived me to be an arrogant snob. Many hateful, vile words passed between the two of us until finally we refused to speak to one another at all. Often we would sit right next to each other or pass in the corridor without even speaking or glancing in the other's direction.

Then circumstance forced us into direct proximity, and we were required to acknowledge each other’s presence. We began to communicate, and soon we recognized how similar we really were and how much we had in common. Soon we began to actually look forward to the other’s presence. And then fate forced us into a situation in which we actually needed each other.

Often I hear people talk about the moment their spouse asked for their hand in marriage. However, I really don’t really remember who asked who; we were simply taking a walk in the park and talking about marriage and at some point during that walk, we agreed to get married.

We then broached the subject of the wedding date. We agreed on the following Friday. Just like that, let’s make it Friday. So on Thursday evening, she called her best friend, and I called my best friend, and on Friday morning, we all met up at the courthouse. After officially dating for only about two months, we were married.

It was perhaps the most foolish, impetuous thing I’ve ever done, and I have not regretted it for one minute.

That was seventeen years ago today. And of all my accomplishments since then, I am most proud of my marriage. I have always striven to be a good husband, a good father, and a good man. For seventeen years, she has been my inspiration and my muse; even now I realize, she was always that woman in my dreams.

Thank you for a wonderful seventeen years, baby, and I look forward to the rest of our lives.

Recalling Booty Calling [Anniversary Repost]

For this post, I’d like to take a few brief minutes to discuss a subject that is perhaps taboo in some circles but nonetheless relevant to all. I’m talking about the booty call.

I started thinking about this a few weeks ago when my wife was out of town for an extended amount of time. But wait before you begin to accuse me of anything untoward; I did not break out the rolodex and try my luck. Read on before you judge.

After my wife departed, it didn’t take long for me to begin to miss her. Then as time wore on, I began to really miss her. And as the day of her return approached, the anticipation and the longing began to build. She arrived home late, and when she came through the door, it was on! It’s said that absence makes the heart grow fonder. But that’s not the only thing absence achieves.

But what does all that have to do with booty calls? I’m getting there.

You see, I’ve been married now going on seventeen years. And, I might add, happily married. I don’t miss much about the bachelor life, but every now and then I do find myself missing those old booty call days.

Now before you start tsk-tsk-tsking and shaking your head, allow me to finish. I’m not talking about the vulgar, opportunistic dialing-for-dollars booty call. You know the one. You strike out at the club. Or at a party. Or wherever your most fertile hunting ground might have been, so you just spin through your rolodex, hoping against hope that you get lucky.

No, no, no! I’m talking about the more refined and socially acceptable classic booty call. Let me set up this scenario for you. You go out with the guys (or vice-versa), and the whole time you find yourself not really enjoying yourself. You just can’t get into it. You just go through the motions. Usually by this time your boys (or girls) have picked up on it. They notice your morosity and begin to tease you unmercifully about it.

Finally and mercifully, it’s time to end the charade and go home. On the drive home you give her (or him) a call just to let her know you’re thinking about her (or him) and missing her (or him). But wait! She (or he) confesses that they were thinking about you and miss you too as much as you miss them, if not moreso. They state that they have been tossing and turning for hours attempting to will themselves to sleep but to no avail. Furthermore, she (or he) suggests that you come right on over right now.

Of course, you demur, but she (or he) insists. “It’s three o’clock in the morning,” you protest, but still she (or he) insists. What the hell? You change your course and head straight for your baby’s house, all the while desperately attempting to not break any traffic laws in the process.

Now, that’s what I miss. I miss missing the one I love. We really don’t get a let of time apart except those times we are at work, or in a late meeting, or unless one of us has to go out of town. We’re always in each other’s hair. But I’ve got some ideas how to work this thing out. It’s time that I get creative and create my own opportunities for booty calling.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Where is Al B. Sure!?

Back in the late 80’s, a soulbrother was kicking it with this fine young thing out of South Memphis. I thought for sure she was the one, but suddenly she began to exhibit some very peculiar behavior. Al B. Sure!’s album In Effect Mode had dropped around the same time, and every time a cut from the album came on the radio, she would begin to squirm in her seat and make these almost obscene guttural noises. At first I thought it was cute, but after about the one hundredth episode, the shit just began to annoy me. When at a family function someone played an Al B. Sure! cut and she broke out in some crazy erotic dance in the middle of the room while everyone just stood by with their mouths hanging open, I knew right then the relationship was not going make it.

Well, I looked up from my labors in the vineyard this past week only to discover Al B. Sure!, government name Albert J. Brown, III, was missing from the village. And as always, I set out to find him.

Discovered and endorsed by music legend Quincey Jones in 1987, Al B. Sure!’s career was off to an auspicious start when he landed on the scene. His first album and the album of which I speak, In Effect Mode, earned him numerous Grammy, American Music Award (AMA), and Soul Train Award nominations. In the end, he walked away with an AMA for Best New R&B Artist and a Soul Train Award for Best New Artist. His second release, Private Times…and the Whole 9!, did well but seemingly not as well as the first, and afterward, he all but dropped out of the public eye for reasons I cannot uncover.

Though out of the spotlight, Al B. Sure! was still very much in the game. Among his many post singing career ventures, he discovered and nurtured several new artists to include Jodeci, Tevin Campbell, Faith Evans, Case, and Usher. He also filled his time writing and producing for several well-known artists, namely Al Green, Diana Ross, Barry White, and David Bowie. He even dabbled a bit in television production; he served as co-executive producer of Jamie Foxx’s HBO Comedy Special. In addition, he appeared on MTV’s Rock the Cradle in support of his son’s, Lil’ B. Sure, recording career and narrated TV-One’s special series UnSung which shines the spotlight on R&B and gospel singers who for whatever reason never got their just reward or credit.

Most recently he has remained gainfully employed as a DJ with Los Angeles radio station HOT 92.3 (KHHT). However, that gig recently ended with the Clear Channel Communications purging of April 28, 2009.

It was almost serendipitous that he came to mind. Al B. Sure! has an new album on the Hidden Beach label, home to Jill Scott, Kindred the Family Soul, and The Tony Rich Project among others, entitled Honey I'm Home due to drop sometime in late May or early June of 2009. An album preview can be found on his web site.

And as a side note, though Al B. Sure! has kept himself busy with music, he seems to have dropped the ball on the homefront. His oldest son, Quincy Brown aka iQ, whose mother coincidently is Kimberly Porter (You know, Diddy’s baby momma), recently sent an open letter to Diddy thanking and praising him for acting as a father figure in the absence of his own father. Is Al B. Sure! a deadbeat dad?

Anyway, a recent interview clip is embedded below.

Al B. Sure Unplugged from D210 TV on Vimeo.

Also, Al B. Sure is scheduled to be interviewed by music legend Stevie Wonder on 102.3 KJLH on Thursday, May 28th, 2009 at 7:30 Pacific Time (Hey, that’s tonight!). If you miss the interview, you can hear it after that time at

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

BaadAsssss Cinema: A Bold Look at 70's Blaxploitation Films

For you Blaxploitation aficionados out there who share the same affinity for the genre as I do, I got a new one for you. Or maybe you’ve seen this one before, but it’s definitely worth mentioning.

Last night on the IFC channel, I caught director Issac Julien’s (Looking for Langston; Young Soul Rebels; The Darker Side of Black) 2003 documentary Baadasssss Cinema - A Bold Look at 70's Blaxploitation Films. Of course, I dug it. But then again I’m not impartial. You can check out about ten minutes of the start of the film below.

It’s not a comprehensive overview of the period, but it does serve as a very good overview. The documentary includes interviews and commentary from Blaxploitation actors such as Fred Williamson, Pam Grier, and Richard Roundtree. Directors Melvin Van Peebles and Quentin Tarantino contribute as does renowned social critic bell hooks.

After you check out the clip, if you want to check out the complete documentary you can click this link or click the product link above to purchase the DVD from

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Did you know there was a US Pole Dance Federation?

Did you know there was a US Pole Dance Federation? Did you know they held competitions? Do you think this will become an Olympic sport?

[Hattip: The Pussy Chats]

Monday, May 25, 2009

Black Masculinity Stripped Butt-naked: A Follow-up to "Where is D'Angelo"

This above all:  to thine ownself be true,

And it must follow, as the night the day,

Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

 -- William Shakespeare, Hamlet

First, a question for the fellows before we begin.  

What defines your manhood?  Is it the amount of money you make?  Is it your incredible physique?  Your sexual prowess? Or is it the relationship you share with your wife, your partner, your kids?  Take a second and think about it as we proceed.

In a previous post, I entered into a discussion of musician D’Angelo and his incredible decline since his last and, to date, final CD.  Black Women, Blow the Trumpet! (BWBT!) made the very cogent and discerning observation of the deeply flawed notion and detriment of defining masculinity through physicality which D'Angelo essentially did beginning with the marketing campaign of his second CD, Voodoo. 

After reading her observation, I recognized the complicity implied by my basically eliding the subject altogether, especially since D’Angelo’s video in which he is featured naked is such a watershed moment in his career.  The video worked to fix a certain image of masculinity in the public imagination.  

At the time I wrote the post, I did recognize the connection between D’Angelo’s masculinity and his physicality, but since it was outside the scope of the post, I decided to just ignore it.  However, at the tacit urging of BWBT!, I will discuss it here.

The D’Angelo featured in that video is not the real D’Angelo;  it is but a figment of his record company’s promotional department’s imagination and was meant simply to sell records.

Those who knew D’Angelo from the very beginning invariably describe him as a introverted, pudgy, doughy church boy with tremendous musical talent who wanted most of all to create music.  His first CD, Brown Sugar, did well, however, not as well as the record company would have liked, so enter the promotional department.

The promotional departement thought it was best to remake and remarket D'Angelo.  As he recorded his second CD, he also worked out with a personal trainer which resulted in the incredible physique we see in the video.  The idea behind the video was to reintroduce him and open up new markets for his music, namely women.  In other words, sex sells.  Let's try it.  

At this point D'Angelo's masculinity is literally constructed.  Who he was or was to be was dictated to him by the record company.  He is no longer himself, but a gross caricature of the original.

D’Angelo expressed a high-level of discomfort about doing the video from the very beginning, but nevertheless, he capitulated.  And the video did what it was supposed to do.  D’Angelo managed to sell millions of CD’s, making him a very wealthy man, and began to play sold-out concerts around the world.  But in the process, he lost himself.

To promote his new CD, D’Angelo embarked on an eight month tour.  His shows during that tour are described as nothing less than three hour musical extravaganzas.  His performances received rave reviews from everyone except his new fans who came to know him through that video;  they only wanted to see the naked video D’Angelo.  It’s stated that as soon as the concert started, these new fans began to shower the stage with panties, bras, hotel keys and other unmentionables and screaming for him to take something off.

The further he got into his set, the deeper he got into his groove, the more his new fans were displeased.  It was no longer about the music, and this upset him to no end, the effect of which could not truly be known at that time.  ?uestlove, drummer for the hip-hop group The Roots, goes on record as stating, “He would get angry and start breaking shit.  The audience thinking, ‘Fuck your art, I wanna see your ass!’ made him angry.”   

Sometime during or after the tour, the downward spiral began.  The alcohol and drug abuse increased as did the alienation from his family, friends, and the mothers of his children.  Somewhere in the whole scheme of things, he managed to loose himself as well as his art.

Now, let’s return to our earlier question:  Through what do you define your manhood, your masculinity?  If you stripped away all the layers, if we took away the money, the cars, the sexuality, the physique, the looks—all those things you define your manhood by—what would you find?

When the externals are all stripped away, when you stand butt ass naked with your masculinity fully exposed, what will the world see?  What is the real you?  

Too often we as men and especially we as African American men add unneeded pressure and stress to an already hectic life because we look outside ourselves to define our manhood, our masculinity, instead of just looking within.  We allow others to decide how we should look and behave.  And in the process of pursuing this dream, this ideal, we manage to loose ourselves.  All the while the real person remains lost inside, naked, cold, and shivering.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Old School Afterthought: Poor Righteous Teachers

This cut is classic!

Whatcha' think?

"Hot for Teacher Night": What Manner of Foolishness Is This?

When I was in high school, there was the occasional rumor of this teacher dating that student or this teacher sleeping with that student. 

Usually, if not always, the suspect teacher was male.  However, now that trend is reversed except that the accusations no longer exist simply as rumors;  more and more the rumors are proving to be true, and just as disgusting if not moreso, the offending teachers are female.

You know, I don’t quite understand it.  And as the instances of female teachers banging their male students become more prevalent and in the headlines, our society seems to be more and more accepting.  Just look at the sentences that are handed out in comparison with the sentences men receive for the same transgression.

And to add insult to injury, it is being reported that former teacher and child molester (that’s what she is) Mary Kay Letourneau and her former student/victim-cum-husband Vili Fualaau are hosting a “Hot for Teacher Night” at a local bar in Seattle.  If you remember, Mary Kay Letourneau was an early precursor to this trend.  At the age of thirty-four and married with four children, she engaged in a relationship with her then twelve year old student which resulted in a pregnancy.  After spending several years in jail, she married her former student, and they now have two children of their own.

Is this where we’re at now?  We’ve gone from our initial disgust and repulsion, to indifference, and now we are celebrating these relationships.

We go to great lengths to protect our daughters, but what about our sons?  They are no less susceptible to sexual abuse, and we should not be mulled into complacency.  Furthermore, young pre-teen and teenage boys are simply not ready for the mental and emotional, if not physical, demands of a sexual relationship, and the mental ramifications can be just as long-lasting and detrimental in young men as in young women.

Plan and simple, what is going on is rape.  Even if consent implied, it is rape.  Don’t be fooled;  it is not a question of desire in these women, but of power.  And we need to begin reacting to the rape of these young men as we would react to the rape of our daughters.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Return of Blaxploitation: Black Dynamite Trailer

Now you know the soulbrother loves a good blaxploitation flick [see this previous post]. Seems like a new one is due to hit theaters in September 2009. Director Scott Sanders and writer Miichael Jai White previously screened the film at the Sundance Film Festival, and it was picked up by Sony Worldwide Acquistions.

And check out this cast: Miichael Jai White, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Obba Babatunde, Kym Whitley, Mykelti Williamson, Bokeem Woodbine, Kevin Chapman, Tommy Davidson, John Salley, Chris Spencer, Phil Morris, Brian McKnight, and Arsenio Hall.

I’m looking forward to this one, but I think I’ll check it out before four o’clock when the tickets are half-price.

Click this link for additional film information and a synopsis.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Are Vick's Dog Days behind Him?

After twenty months behind bars, Michael Vick finally received a quasi-freedom on Wednesday. His release conditions require that he be confined to his home in Virginia for a two month period, but at least he’s at home and not in a jail cell.

Already, the arguments and speculations as to whether or not Vick should be allowed to return to the NFL have begun in earnest, and I, for one, firmly believed that he should. But I do not believe that is the biggest question here. That’s not the real story. The overarching question is why he was ever jailed in the first place.

Don’t get we wrong; I am an avid animal lover. And what Vick did was some egregious shit. However, the punishment did not fit the crime. The proper punishment for Vick’s crime should not have been prison. But Vick was being punished for a far greater transgression.

Averagebro over at maintains that Vick’s greatest crime was to put too much trust and faith in people who were only in it for self, who did not have his best interest at heart. And I agree with this somewhat. Aligning himself with a crew of knuckleheads whose greatest accomplishment in life was to know or be related to Mike Vick was some abject foolishness. But Vick’s equally deplorable offense was to believe in his celebrity.

I believe Vick thought his celebrity shielded him in some way. I think he believed that those people screaming their lungs out for him every Sunday, his fans, were actually all his bosom buddies. I think he believed the family members and friends who hugged him and dapped him up and who he gave money to actually adored him. His celebrity gave him an exaggerated sense of himself and his place in the whole scheme of things, and he then convinced his crew that they came under this imagined protected aegis as well.

But he did not realize that celebrity can work for you or against you. For instance, in OJ Simpson’s case, celebrity worked on his behalf. Had he not been a celebrity, his black ass would have gone straight to jail for killing those white folks. But in Vick’s case, celebrity actually worked against him.

Had he been Pookie from the hood, the story might have received have received slight mention inside the metro section of the local newspaper. He would have received a sentence of probation and a fine if anything. But because of who he was, the case went global and found its way on front pages everywhere. And as always, the most prevalent reaction was to over react, and a befuddled Vick found his black ass sitting in jail.

I hope Vick gets back in the league, but most of all, I hope Vick has learned his lesson. He needs to cut loose the knuckleheads and the hanger-oners and surround himself with some people with good sense. After all, the crowd you keep often reflects who you are. And he needs to cease believing in his celebrity and believe in himself, because when it comes right down to it, celebrity doesn’t mean a damn thing. There is very little currency in celebrity.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Things White People Do #4

Get half-naked in freezing temperatures and attempt to dive head first into frozen over ponds.

Where is D'Angelo?

Do you remember that video by D’Angelo for his cut Untitled (How Does It Feel?). [Click link to get a taste.] You remember the one. He was all cut up and butt-naked and glistening with sweat and shit. The camera stopped just where his business began, and all the women around the world were all up on the screen trying to peek down like they were actually going to catch a glimpse of his manhood. Yeah, I was hatin’. But I wasn’t hatin’ enough to get up and go to the gym.

Well anyway, I looked up from my labor in the vineyard, and D’Angelo was missing. And as I do around this time every week, I set out to find him. Damn, people. I thought he was just taking a break, but it ain’t all good.

You know, I was really diggin’ on his CD’s, 1995’s Brown Sugar and 2000’s Voodoo, and after that video, his name was on everyone’s lips. But curiously, I didn’t see or hear from him until years later when I came across a picture of a very overweight, very raggedy D’Angelo reporting for a court hearing.

It appears D’Angelo has spent much of his time in the last few years going to court. He has had numerous run-ins with the law to include drunken driving, drug possession, assault, disturbing the peace, and even a couple stints in rehab. [Click here for a great article covering his last eight years]

It is reported that he has become almost a recluse. The last interview he gave was back in 2000. As far as new music is concerned, besides cameos on tracks by Common, Rapheal Saadiq, Snoop Dogg and other artists, and pre-packaged greatest hits stuff, there has been none. Insiders report that D’Angelo has indeed recorded endless hours of new music; however, most of what he has recorded remains unfinished. Lately, though, things seem to be looking up; numerous sources report that he is back in the studio making steady progress.

D’Angelo’s tremendous talent has always been more than evident. And certainly I find it very difficult to understand how someone with so much talent and potential can just let that talent and potential waste away. But it is impossible to look on the inside of a person and see the issues they may be dealing with or the pain they may simply be trying to overcome.

Certainly I look forward to more amazing music from D’Angelo, but for now I just hopes he does whatever he needs to do to heal. I collected a few of my favorite D’Angelo tracks below to include one with Rapheal Saadiq.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Just Who Is Troy Davis?

“They came first for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionists.

Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.

Then they came for me,
and by that time no one was left to speak up.”

Martin Niemöller

We must make noise, we must raise hell, we must do whatever is within our power until Troy Davis is either given a new trial or has his sentence commuted.

I must admit, I don’t know the brother. In fact, I had not even heard and read Troy Davis’ name before several weeks ago. I am even unsure of whether he is actually guilty or innocent, though published reports would suggest the latter. However, there are many things I do know for sure.

First and foremost, a human being now languishes in prison on death row where he has been for the last fifteen years. Not only is he in prison, his life is down to being measured in days and hours, not even months and certainly not years.

Troy Davis has maintained his innocence in the shooting death of a Savannah, Georgia, police officer from the very beginning, and the case against him is far from airtight; it unravels further even as I write. No murder weapon was ever found, and perhaps most importantly, all but a few witnesses have recanted their testimony or contradicted themselves, even as the state’s conduct in obtaining the witnesses' testimonies comes under serious scrutiny.

“But wait,” you say, “Is there a chance Troy Davis is guilty?”. And the answer is decidedly yes. But there also appears to be an even greater chance that he is, in fact, innocent. And to allow him to die in this manner is, in the words of the lone dissenting judge hearing his appeal, “unconscionable and unconstitutional.”

Think about this for a second. If you were entombed in that place, in that man’s shoes, how would you react? How would you want humanity to respond? Would you want them to sit on their hands and keep quiet, or would you want them to beat on the walls, on garbage can lids, stamp on the floor, blow a whistle, scream at the top of their lungs, make noise, any kind of noise, until the world heard and knew your plight and recognized the inhumanity inherent in it all?

Who is Troy Davis? By now you probably know just a little less than I know. But keep in mind; he is an human being in danger of losing his life who may or may not be innocent. And if you remain silent, if you allow this injustice to pass without saying a word, without raising your fist in protest, you are culpable in his death, and run the risk that someday Troy Davis may be you.

Take this time to act. Shout, scream, blow your horn, do whatever you know to do and are able to do for justice. Click here for details as to how to get involved.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Where Angels Fear to Tread: What I Learned from Our President this Past Sunday

During the last few months of the last election campaign, an incident occurred which I think characterizes the ambition as well as the mettle of our president. It also serves as a lesson for those seeking to become successful.

President Obama had taken his campaign into North Carolina. At the time no one thought that he could win North Carolina; the television pundits were even questioning why he was there. Before a rally, he stopped the campaign bus at a diner filled with whites, and it was assumed, whites who would not vote for him if their very lives depended on it. In the news coverage, it was also noted that a diner frequented by African Americans stood just a short distance away.

The moment President Obama entered the diner, the place became deadly silent. Perhaps, this was the last person the white diners thought they would see on this Sunday afternoon. Some lady even began to taunt him with “Socialist!,” yelled repeatedly at the top of her lungs.

But President Obama kept a smile on his face as he went around the diner greeting the customers and shaking hands. He even stopped at the obnoxious diner’s table and offered his hand to her, but she refused to take it. Undaunted, and with a smile on his face, he then attempted to engage her in dialogue.

Let’s take a look at this past Sunday’s speech at Notre Dame. The president knew what he was heading into even before he arrived in South Bend. The hullabaloo erupted soon after his selection as the commencement speaker was announced weeks ago. And the angry debate has only crescendoed since then, but he went anyway. And in doing so, he managed to drown out the enraged shouts and chants of the protesters outside with a message calling for thoughtful dialogue and compromise.

Both in North Carolina and at Notre Dame, Obama deliberately inserted himself where he was not necessarily wanted or, at the very least, expected. I can almost bet you that he did not win any votes among those patrons in that North Carolina diner. Likewise, he did not change the parameters of the abortion debate at Notre Dame. However, he did exhibit a willingness to face critique and dissent; he did exhibit a certain courage in his willingness to assume and play out his role as outsider.

Too often we never step outside the familiar as we push toward our goals and objectives. Too often we reserve our message for those most apt to say amen, rather than those who might disagree but might otherwise need to hear the message. Too often we disregard the road less traveled for a more amiable route, the familiar beaten path, only to be surprised at the crowd gathered once we reach our destination.

I do not agree with every action or position the president has taken since he assumed office; in some instances I disagree even if I understand the rational and in other instances I am still scratching my head. But in seeking out those places, those public spheres, where he is unwelcome, in seeking out those voices of dissent and incredulity, and offering the hand of friendship thereby opening the door to dialogue and effective discourse, he has earned my respect and admiration, and in the interim, left a clear trail to follow in achieving success.

Monday Morning Quote

"If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plan."

Valerie, Cover

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Things Black People Do #1

The post before last, I presented “Things White People Do #3:  Go to school with no panties on.”  Well, a friend pointed out to me that I was being somewhat unfair.  It seems that white people are not the only ones running around with no drawers on.  It seems that black people are also following the trend.  Even further, we are getting into street fights that then reveal the absence of said drawers, and it’s being caught on camera.  So in the interest of fairness, here goes.

 Things Black People Do #1:  Leave the house with no drawers on, then get into street fights that reveal the absence of drawers.



 I didn’t want to post this, but I wanted to be fair.  

Sunday Morning Services with Bishop Don "Magic" Juan

First, a question: Who ordained this negro as a bishop? What denomination?

Anyway, a soulbrother digresses. I first encountered Bishop Don “Magic” Juan many years ago. He was a guest on some talk show, maybe Oprah or Donahue, and was promoting his book “From the Pimp Stick to the Pulpit.” I was pretty incredulous at the time. From his actions and demeanor on the show, it appeared he had just moved his pimp game from the streets into the tax shelter of the ministry.

I always wondered just went on in his church’s services. Now through the magic—pun intended—of modern technology, we can get a glimpse. I just wish we could get to hear the sermon.

Now it seems he has taken his ministry to new levels. In the clip below he refers to himself to himself as the archbishop. He is now a spiritual advisor to Snoop Dogg as well as holds Snoop’s weed stash. What denomination did you say that was again?

What's that I smell? Possibly, hell-fire and damnation?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Things White People Do #3

Go to school with no panties on.

Three Women I'd Like to Meet

Let me preface this post by stating that my choices are not based on any celebrity crushes of any kind. I’m much too old to be engaging in such foolishness. Nor are they chosen for any lewd or lascivious reasons. Not that I’m above lewd and lascivious thoughts, but let’s just say that that’s not my motivation. This time.

These are simply three women who fascinate me for some reason or another. They, or at least their public and on-screen personas, seem to exemplify certain qualities that speak to me for whatever reason. They are women with whom I would simply like to sit down with and have a good meal and a glass of wine or two and just get to know them better on a cerebral level.

Are you ready? Let the list begin.

Jenifer Lewis

My wife refers to Jenifer Lewis as that lady who always plays somebody’s momma, and if you think about it, my wife is right. She does always seems to play someone’s momma or aunt. Think about What Loves Got to Do with It? in which she plays Annie Mae Bullock’s mother. Or Poetic Justice in which she plays Tupac Shakur’s character Lucky’s mother. I could name a few more, but by now you agree.

Of course she is beautiful and shapely, but these attributes are not the allure. There are literally hundreds of actresses who are as beautiful and shapely, or even moreso. But her characters always seem to display a definite intelligence as well as a certain strength, a certain maturity, a certain self-assurance. And to that intelligence, strength, maturity, and self-assurance, that deep, husky voice adds a layer of sensuality.

It may sound just a tad bit corny, but when I think of Ms. Lewis, lines from Maya Angelou’s poem “Phenomenal Woman” comes to mind—“It’s in the arch of my back,/The sun of my smile,/The ride of my breasts,/The grace of my style.” She’s a certainly a woman, phenomenally.

Margaret Avery

Who can forget that classic scene from Richard Pryor’s movie Which Way Is Up? Richard Pryor as the father walks in on Richard Pryor as the son and his wife Annie Mae, Margaret Avery’s character, in a very compromising position. Richard Pryor the father begins to raise hell then he stops in mid-sentence and exclaims to Annie Mae, “Damn Annie Mae, you sho’ is built!”

I thoroughly enjoyed that film, but for me, the film that most defines Margaret Avery’s on-screen persona is Shug Avery in The Color Purple. Ms. Avery does not just play Shug Avery; she is Shug Avery. Shug Avery is that woman with the questionable past that every man desires, with beauty and a body that promise pleasures untold. She exudes strength and self-assuredness, but when you peel back the many layers of the façade, what you find is a certain vulnerability and distrust of others growing out of years of abuse and betrayal.

In all her roles, that same sense of vulnerability seems to come through, as does a sense of kindness. Perhaps the perfect setting in which to get to know Ms. Avery would be a picnic outdoors by a lake. That way we could talk amid the chatter and laughter of children as we watched the families and young couples pass by, all the while basking in the assurance that everything would indeed be alright.

Jill Scott

Jill Scott is beautiful. Jill Scott is a poet. Jill Scott is a chanteuse. Should I go on, or should I just stop here? I know the perfect way to get to know Ms. Scott. We’ll just take a nice walk, a long walk “around the park after dark/Find a spot for us to spark/Conversation, verbal elation, stimulation/Share our situations, temptations, education, relaxations”.

I’ve been a fan since her first CD. You know I love music, and the music finds a definite groove, but perhaps because she is a poet first, her lyrics are what really stand out. Lately, my wife and I have really been enjoying her HBO series, No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency.

Jill gives off that sister vibe. You know, you can talk with her, laugh with her, share your secrets with her, your heartbreak, your fears. And she won’t laugh at your neurotic behavior or go tell her girlfriends. I read that she and her first husband divorced, and she went through a little down period afterward. How could a man let a woman like that get away? But seemingly the story has a good ending; she is now remarried and expecting her first child.

Maybe we can just get together sometime and share a few lines of verse.

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