Monthly Archives: October 2009

Friday Random Ten

So, I’m assuming almost everyone is dressing up as a sexy nurse, a sexy pirate or a sexy gangster for Halloween this weekend. Something sexy, for sure. Or, as G.D. mentioned earlier, something potentially racist.

But not me. I plan to dress myself in pants two sizes too large, a doo-rag and something really feminine. Like a tunic. Or a wig. I’ll be going as a rejected Morehouse applicant.

That said, if you are headed out into the wild and unpredictable night on Saturday, here’s a playlist to keep the evil spirits and preteen panhandlers away:

1. Nightmares by Clipse (Jamelle)

2. Ghostbusters by Ray Parker Jr. (Blackink)

3. Getting Scared by Imogen Heap (Shani-o)

4. Second Child by Bilal (Slb)

5. Somebody’s Watching Me by Rockwell (Blackink)

6. Monster Mash by Robert George Pickett (Belleisa)

7. Mind Playing Tricks on Me by The Geto Boys (Blackink)

8. Dracula’s Lament by Jason Segel (Slb)

9. Never Scared (remix) by Bonecrusher feat. Jadakiss, Cam’ron and Busta Rhymes (Blackink)

10. Scream by Michael & Janet Jackson (Shani-o)

Thought we were gonna include “Thriller,” huh? GTFOH.

Please, enjoy the weekend. And think sexy.

The Obamas’ Marriage.

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The New York Times magazine (quadmoniker, avert your eyes) has a whale of a story this week about the relationship between Barack and Michelle Obama. It focuses more on Michelle than Barack, which makes sense because she’s been quite frank about their marriage since the campaign. There’s plenty of meat in the story, but one kind of surprising tidbit is that the Obamas haven’t shared a full-time home since 1996. More…

‘Damn, That Halloween Costume Is Racist!’ A Practice Post.

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Our first Halloween with a black president is upon us, which almost certainly means that we will bear witness to a bevy of “edgy” costumes in which the whole joke is that the president is black.

“There’s nothing racial about this costume,” the kid in the blackface will say as he clutches a copy of the “Audacity of Hope” while being flanked by slutty “Secret Service” agents. “We’re just having some fun! I’m not a racist!”

Can you believe the gall of these hypothetical motherfuckers?

I, for one, am deeply offended by these as-yet-unworn costumes, and I invite you all to join me in preemptive indignation.

Random Midday Hotness: Spit Hot Fire.

I was listening to an interview recently with Kweli, and he was asked who was the best MC currently doing it. Without hesitation, he said Thought. Now, obviously, I’m incredibly biased. But he ain’t lyin’.

A (Ridiculous) Case for Conformity.

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Latoya goes in on the second (yes, second) absurd Allison Samuels piece in Newsweek complaining about Zahara Jolie-Pitt’s “wild and unstyled, uncombed and dry” hair. In her pieces, Samuels argues that the “bonding” experience black girls have with their mothers while getting their scalps greased and hair braided is invaluable, and that having their hair “well-managed” provides girls with “pride, dignity, and self-respect.”

After pointing out that though the Ethiopian-born Zahara is black, she’s not African American, and isn’t living the cultural experience that Samuels is applying to her, Latoya writes:

The styles of childhood do not continue into our preteen years, the age when black girls normally get their first relaxers. Does [Samuels] have fond memories of her mother basing her scalp before she applied the chemicals that would straighten her hair? Or is that a ritual that is just understood as a part of growing up? Are her memories scarred with the taunts of other children? My cousins came home crying after being teased about their “beady-beads” and their “kitchens.” And who did the taunting? Many times, it was other black students. We need to stop encouraging conformity and hair hatred, because there is a logical end to the path we are walking down. Instead of fighting each other when someone’s hair doesn’t conform to our specific ideals, wouldn’t it make more sense to fight against a racist system that penalizes and politicizes certain hair styles?

In addition to co-signing all of the above, I’d like to add: eff outta here. Samuels reminisces fondly of a time when she sat between her mother’s knees, but from what I hear from friends who went through the ritual, it’s not a pleasant experience. When my sister was visiting recently, it was difficult for me to watch her braid her daughter’s hair; as my sister detangled my niece’s hair, Nili would frequently let out exaggerated cries of pain, which merely annoyed my sister. The struggle there didn’t seem enjoyable for either party. More…

Book of the Month: The Blind Side by Michael Lewis.

This month we’ll be reading The Blind Side by Michael Lewis.

In an excerpt called “The Ballad of Big Mike,” Lewis tells the story of Michael Oher, an impoverished kid from Memphis who through a strange confluence of events ends up in the legal custody of a wealthy white family. At the time of his adoption at 16, Oher had an IQ of 80.  With his adoptive parents’ resources and support from the Christian high school he attended, his I.Q. rose by 20 to 30 points. He went from foraging through the garbage for food to traveling on his father’s private jet. It’s also worth mentioning here Oher is also a behemoth —6’5, nearly 300 lbs. and boasting a basketball player’s physical grace — so by the time he graduated high school, he was on the wish list of every top college football recruiter in the country.

Now, the ballad comes to the big screen. The movie based on the book comes out November 20th, and the trailer seems to be focused on the relationship between Oher (Quinton Aaron) and his adoptive mother Leigh Ann Tuohy (Sandra Bullock), as well as the kid’s massive size. (Frankly, the trailer is worrisome and strikes me as an “Inner City Teacher Movie.”)

What the trailer and the NYT article barely mention is Lewis’ analysis of the “evolution of the game” — specifically the left tackle, whose job it is to protect right-handed quarterbacks’ blind side from rushing defenders (hence the title). As the N.F.L. has opened up for passing offenses, left tackles have grown in importance, and are now the highest paid players after quarterbacks.  Oher, who was drafted in the first round out of Ole Miss, is an almost prototypical lineman: huge, strong and surprisingly agile.

The movie and book trailers are after the jump.

Happy Reading.

More…

A Tracy Morgan Conundrum.

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Some of Tracy Morgan’s best humor has come from bits that take advantage of his towering weirdness while not being overwhelmed by it. But listening to Terri Gross’s cringe-inducing interview with him underscored an essential, unsettling part of the experience of watching dude perform: he may actually be in need of serious help. At several points, he breaks down crying without much provocation* (a similar thing happened at a book-reading in NYC last week), and he generally comes across like a wounded, defensive child.

Part of me thinks there’s an element of cynicism in what Terri Gross called his “wild card” persona; maybe all the crazy disrobing on TV was intentional, just as his recent public lachrymosity is part of a concerted effort to roll some of that back and be Taken Seriously. And while he gets some of the choicest lines on “30 Rock,”  the running gag is that the possibly insane Tracy Jordan is enabled by producers and writers because he’s good for their bottom line. One wonders if the real-life Tracy Morgan is  even in on the joke.

*Granted, he’s talking about some rough subject matter, but in doing a press tour for a biography, it seems like he would have girded himself for the very good chance that his rough childhood may have come up.