Caped Crusaders

Today in Black History, I’m honoring Black Twitter. We’re not yet two solid months into 2018 and they’re at it again.

Who are they?

I argue that no one truly knows who they are or where they come from. They descend on the internet in droves, waiting, searching for the punchline in the day to day. They crunch hours generating memes, recording others, and spreading the gospel of a well-timed GIF.

We know them only as Black Twitter.

They work fast and they’re always working.

I personally don’t know where the inspiration for the tweetlikethe1600s hashtag came from but, they kept this up all day. Barring the historical inaccuracy of it, I could suspend my disbelief long enough for a hardy laugh.

 

The Grammy’s happened and the internet had a field day with what came of the night.

Regardless of who was snubbed of what, it was a great night for the internet.

I don’t know if there has ever been a time in history where there was such a sense of community forged over what used to be, and one might argue still is, the hollow cultural artifact known as the Grammy’s. Hell, I didn’t even have to watch the Grammy’s to know what happened at the Grammy’s.

Today in Black History, I’m honoring Black Twitter. These more or less anonymous caped crusaders have managed to stay culturally relevant since I’ve been in college and have provided me with much needed laughs in my darkest moments. Sometimes, you just need someone to point to the punch line in all the bullshit. Through the good times and the bad, Black Twitter has been there.

 

Everybody Black #3

The Image Awards happened on MLK day and everybody deserved everything. Lady Ava, entertainer of the year.

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I stan down for her. I’d go as far to say that on my personal list of female icons, she tops Beyonce. I’ve followed her career from jump and I feel like I’m winning with her every step.

Get Out finally got its just due. The Golden Globes egregiously left Get Out out in the cold, taking only Best Actor. Daniel K. did a spectacular job, but the genius of the movie was in its writing, its perspective. Creating a compelling concept movie is an art and Jordan Peele pulled it off beautifully.

I dote over Black-ish quite a bit. This season has really been on ten. I love watching those babies grow. I don’t know who’s responsible for the character of Diane, but they deserve all the awards. Marsai Martin was sitting with the big girls and even got honored with Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy. The character of Rainbow grows on me with every episode. Queen Tracie took home Outstanding Actress.

Lastly, I don’t think I ever gave Girls Trip proper stock in the ethnic hair section.

This movie was damn funny, first and foremost. And out of it comes Tiffany Haddish. I like her. She’s got charisma. She’s certainly worked from time to get where she’s at. Respect.

The Image Awards has been picking up steam for a few years now. The explosion of social justice activity, creators of color, and black Twitter have all been instrumental in uncovering the up-and-coming voices of the culture. And the Image Awards allows those voices to be celebrated in a real way.

Honestly, anybody nominated could’ve won and I would be equally happy with the turn out.

It’s fitting that the ceremony is held on MLK day. The Image Awards exemplifies the dream. The Image Awards keeps the dream alive and pushes the dream forward.

Ain’t it crazy how magical black people are.

Give him his roses

Have I mentioned that I’m only taking one class this semester. I’m done with my degree but I’m not about to forfeit this financial aid. But I’ve got a whole lot of free time on my hands as of late and that’s kind of new to me.

All my life, I’ve been in school. Nine hours a day plus homework. Five days a week. In high school, I was on the debate team so most of my weekends were booked. And those tournaments lasted all day.

Then on top of a full schedule in college, I manage to juggle a job (and last year, I added a blog to that list).

Long story short: A bitch finally got some breathing room. And now I have more time to blog!

So today I’m bringing back something I started last year: Give ’em Their Roses where I take a look at an exceptional individual who’s still living and breathing on this green earth but never really gets the credit for the work they’ve been putting in whether they be actors, artists, entertainers, etc. The culture owes a lot to these folks. I’m just here to remind y’all.

The first batter up in this new year is

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Giancarlo Esposito

In my new found freedom, I decided to re-watch Breaking Bad. I feel like the show’s following is still kind of occult. Not a lot of people watch it (that I’ve come in contact with) so I can only gush about it on here. Anyway the show is dope. Gus, the villain of the story, is as terrifying as he is compelling – a formidable antagonist to the great Heisenberg.

The earliest thing I can remember him in is a couple Spike Lee joints.

Who can forget Buggin Out from Do the Right Thing or the oh-so-fly, Dean, Big Brother Almigh-TEE from School Daze as well as Left Hand Lacy in Mo’ Better Blues.

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He’s got a streak on the indie scene too. One of my favorites being Fresh. It came out in the 90s and it’s a dope character study of this little kid nicknamed Fresh, in the hoods of Philly.

What I like most about him is his voice acting. He’s got one of those voices that just stick with you like Morgan Freeman or Sam Jackson. You might remember his voice as the narrator of the first season of Netflix’s Dear White People.

And he played Mylene’s father in The Get Down, but niggas always had something to say about that show. I thought it was cute.

The man’s been in the game for a long ass time. And he acts the fuck out of every performance. And he’s still out here doing the damn thing.

Giancarlo Esposito, you’re a true thespian for the culture.

Listens Lately

My podcast game is crazy. I listen to them all the time. They’ve really grown on me since I’ve been in college. Podcasts are dope because I can listen to them on the go, they’re entertaining, and most importantly, they keep me in the know.

As someone who doesn’t subscribe to traditional news media outlets, my “news” typically comes from Twitter and podcasts. And I really feel like the independence of the internet really lends an authenticity to Twitter and other online platforms that CNN,FOX, and allem could never.

That’s the real fake news.

I’m ranting…

I’ve been expanding my podcast horizons. In addition to favorites like The Read, I’m listening to Jade and X.D., Gettin Grown, and Desus and Mero. These haven’t been going as long as The Read but it’s clear they’re on the same trajectory. All of these personalities give very real perspectives on the world we live in today. They’re also all hella funny. But they also each maintain their own niches, which keeps me listening every week.

Everyone’s back for the new year and the brands are strong!

Podcasting is lit. Dare I say, the future.

 

Oh, You Grown Now?

I remember last year when I made a post about new shows coming this year, and Grownish was among them. I was excited. Another dope spin off for the culture.

For what it was, I thought the first two episodes had potential. The sophisti-ratch twins, the super woke nigga, baby Basquiat, the first gen student of immigrant parents, that bitch who went to college and bloomed… in a bad way – archetypes of the millennial college student of which I can attest are more or less accurate. The thing about the super woke niggas is that I try to avoid them at all costs. And my mans has a rat tail, but it works, I guess.

As I am not a heterosexual, the whole budding romantic dynamic between Zoey and super woke nigga doesn’t really do much for me. I’m not invested in that at all, but they’re likable. They’re cute.

The best part about the first episode was Charlie. I’m glad his character was apart of the spin off. He’s by far, the wittiest of the show. My favorite character, overall, is Luca. We have the same hair and also partake in the same recreational activities.

My biggest gripe is how they dealt with the whole drug situation. As someone who has dabbled in the weeds and the addys and allat, the second episode was almost patronizing.

This is what happens when people who are not millennials write a show about what they think life as a millennial is like. Why do old people think young people are incapable of making their own decisions. My god, give us some credit. Yes, we know, peer pressure is bad, now what?

That’s not to say that drug use is not a serious and valid topic of focus. It’s important that people be educated about drugs before they decide to ingest/inhale them. But that second episode really gave me some Nancy-Reagan-just-say-no vibes and I just wasn’t here for it. The drug discussion is way more nuanced than what they made it out to be.

And yes, I know they only had 30 minutes. But you can do a lot with 30 minutes. If you’ll recall, A Different World covered shit like binge drinking, consent, and safe sex with the same amount of time and I didn’t feel like I was being preached at.

All in all, the first two episodes get 6 out of 10 stars, for me.

But we’re only two episodes in so, I’ll guess we’ll see how this goes.

Everybody Black #2

Awards season cometh.

And it kicked off last night with the Golden Globes.

When the nominations came out, I wasn’t inspired in anyway to plan to watch the ceremony. After such a dope turn out last year, they just had to get back to their white washed ways.

But it was a meaningful night despite the boring list of nominees.

A cascade of beautiful black gowns descended upon the globes in high fashion. Many stars turned out in all black in solidarity with the #timesup/#metoo campaigns and managed to prove that it is possible to both stand for something and serve a look.

Oprah Winfrey was honored with the Cecile B. deMille award and her speech was everything.

This speech was just what the doctor ordered this morning. I’ve been really pondering how I want to take this blogging thing full force – like I’m trying to devise a real strategy for this shit. I’ve had a few ideas but I’ve been afraid to execute.

But Oprah just gave me the go-ahead. So bitch, lets go.

Bardi Season

So, the video for “Finesse” came out and quite honestly, I stopped watching it after Cardi’s verse. But from what I did see, my bitch Cardi looks like she’s just getting started.

Cardi B: I like her. I like her attitude. She’s fun. Personally, I was never one for the whole reality tv world in my youth, so I’ve really only been exposed to Ms. Cardi in the last few months. My first time actually hearing words come over her mouth in full sentences was her interview on The Breakfast Club last year. I’m swear I’m not making this up lol.

Her thing with Offset is cute. She did an interview on Fallon, which was absolutely horrid, but she handled it well. I don’t really know much else about her outside of what I’ve laid out for you here.

Now, the good folks at The Read addressed her latest personal scandal. Thanks to a very recent follow to the Shade Room, I already knew what that was about. And Cardi is… lacking in the ability to not give a fuck about the opinions of others. This fame thing ain’t no joke and it’ll just take some getting used to.

I’ve never been famous, but I can imagine that it can be a bitch sometimes.

But she’s on a role and if she can keep up the momentum, I think she’ll learn to relax into her glow up.

She’s on my list.

Watch out for Cardi in 2018.

I Can’t Live Without My Radio

Let’s kick off the first post of 2018 with some culture.

I was scrolling through IG and Charlemagne the God posted this.

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As spicy as Charlemagne can be, he has his moments.

Every now and then I write about some of my favorite artists making their way through the radio circuit promoting their newest latest… or trying to save face… or just deciding to drop in. A lot of great artists have been interviewed on The Breakfast Club.

In the context of hip hop, DJs have mythological status. They have a special place in the culture.

I feel like disk jockeys are always portrayed as being “that nigga.” They get respect, they have clout, they usually have a way with words.

They are some of the most memorable characters in television and movies. Of course, Martin and Senior Love Daddy are fictional, but it’s plenty of very real DJs that live and breath this same air that pushed the culture of hip hop.

From people like Stretch and Bobbito who were pioneers of the “urban radio” movement to the vets like Angie Martinez, Ebro, Sway, Heather B, Big Boy, and DJ Envy and Angela Yee, and Charlemagne and allem at the Breakfast Club, they get my respect. The culture owes a lot to them.

Moral of the story: It’s so dope to watch hip hop grow and evolve. DJs were the first foot soldiers of the genre. Somebody had to spin those records, right? Somebody had to play those records at the block parties and the basketball parks.

And even though Charlemagne says some spicy shit from time to time, you can’t knock his influence. He’s been working a long time to afford to be that inflammatory and for that, he gets all my respect.

Er’Body Black

I neglected (unknowingly) to mention another show in a previous post.

Lena Waithe’s been on my radar for a while now. From back when Dear White People, the movie dropped. I only knew her to be a producer and later found out through my research into Justin Simeon’s career, that she was also a writer and had made a show called 20s.

Then she pops up again with Aziz Ansari on Master of None and wins an Emmy for her Thanksgiving episode.

Not to mention, she’s been putting in work for a while now behind folks like Gina Prince Bythewood and Ava DuVernay.

Long story short: My bitch is on fye.

The this dropped about a month ago:

Yes, yes, y’all. Lena Waithe’s The Chi is coming to Showtime next year and it looks damn promising.

I’m really excited to see Jason Mitchell in a leading roll. Mitchell is most known to me for playing the hell out of Eazy E in Straight Outta Compton. He bodied that roll. His performance in the Netflix original, Mudbound, was phenomenal as well.

Showtime released the first episode of the series earlier this week and I’m hooked.

Prediction: This will be another stand out year for television. I’ll be rooting for everybody black. Lena Waithe. Justin Simien, Ava DuVernay, Issa Rae, Donald Glover – they’re really proving themselves to be vanguards of this revolution in television and film. Even during one of the darkest hours in American history, they’re here to let you know that one monkey ain’t gone stop the show.

And that’s black excellence.

 

 

 

Screen Time

I didn’t watch much television as a kid. One, my mom wouldn’t let watch it on school nights and the parental controls were such that all I could watch was the Discovery channel, animal planet, travel, history, shit like that. I mean once I got to high school BET and MTV were staples in my life. But I also grew up in the age of trash tv, which never managed to hold my attention long enough for me to become invested in it.

But today’s a new day, a new era. Dare I say it, a renaissance. Television ain’t just for the living room anymore. The majority of the shows I watch are usually on a screen not exceeding 15″.

I don’t watch much tv, but when I do, I really only watch a handful of shows. I like quality, comedy, and drama and when these things are done well, there’s real potential for making some magic.

I recently got into GoT. I’m surprised at how much I like it. I like finding shows that are a few seasons in. Perfect fodder for binging. And I get to develop my own opinion outside of the social media hype.

On the other hand, I lived for the hype for Insecure. Every interview, every press release, every promo. Plus Insecuritea with Crissle and Fran. Bitch I was here for all the coverage. You can’t deny that Insecure is a moment. The show is revolutionary in so many ways.

I’m ready for season three.

Netflix and Justin Simien gave us Dear White People this year. Hot fye, hot fye.

I feel like Chewing Gum was an extremely underrated show. The second season premiered on Netflix at the top of the year and I legitimately cried laughing more than once. It’s witty, provocative, and just fucking good.

The “Thanksgiving” episode of Master of None. Just… fucking… yes.giphy

The rest of the show is good too but before this episode, I had never been interested enough to actually watch the whole series. I eventually went back though.

As far as I’m concerned, She’s Gotta Have It is a must watch. I enjoyed Spike’s original film by the same name. I thought the concept was ahead of its time even then and when I heard it was being remade I was excited. When I first heard about the remake I admit I was worried about the execution, but Spike had a true blue team behind him with this one and dammit, I think he struck gold. This show is giving me Do-the-Right-Thing-Spike tease. It’s contemporary, thoughtful, and a great moment for the culture.

I’d be remise if I neglected to mention Blackish. I’m a fan. I really didn’t know where they were going to take the show after the first season. I was honestly scared to watch when it first aired but after it survived its first season and had to see what the hype was. And it didn’t disappoint.

2018’s got a hot line up. After the first season of Atlanta, Donald Glover took a break to film Star Wars or whatever, but Atlanta’s back for season two next year and I’m simply overflowing with anticipation.

History is repeating itself yet again with another (hopefully) iconic spin off.

Everybody knows the first season of A Different World was the worst season, but I actually think Yara Shahidi has what it takes to carry a show. I’m excited to see more from this young lady.

The final season of GoT is set for next year. While I’ve enjoyed the ride, I can’t say I’m too sad to see it go. It was a moment. I lived for all that blood and gore and medieval shit.

I’m sure I missed some stuff and knowingly neglected others. I don’t watch much television but when I do I like it to be good. Fresh faces, fresh voices, and some not-so-new faces that have been consistently out here serving it to you girls with the fierceness. I live for it all.

Prediction: Endless Netflix and Chill-athons 2k18