Peabody’s, Pulitzer’s, and the Time100 – Oh, My!

All my favs are out here kicking ass and taking names and I live.

Peabody awards and Pulitzer Prizes were something I was taught to believe only old white men got. Earlier this week, the news came out that Kendrick won this year’s Pulitzer for music.

Now, the receipts will tell you that I have been a stan from time. I’ve been a fan of K.Dot’s since high school. I was really into the music blogs and things back then and I remember my first time hearing of his music was on Pitchfork.com. My good buddy at the time, Lev, one of a handful of white boys in the whole school district actually put me on.

I just remember him coming up to me, going “listen to this,” and handing me one of his ear buds. And I just remember the beginning of Backseat Freestyle and my mind just being blown.

I can go on and on with how much this dude’s music has meant to me over the years, but when I heard damn., I knew it was going to be one for the books.

And look at that: A mfn Pulitzer.

Then, just last week, a host of tweets actually brought me to tears.

Time’s annual “100 Most Influential People” edition that I’ve appreciated for  a long time. As far as journalism, they’ve been a favorite of mine for as long as can remember reading and appreciating news journalism and writing. And somehow, growing up, I’d somehow gotten my fingers on a copy every year since senior high school, no bullshit. The list has featured many people who influence me, personally, and who have changed the game in their respective lines of work. Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Malala Yousafzai, Kanye West, Lin-Manuel Miranda… Beyonce – nuff said.

This year, Issa Rae, Lena Waithe, and Ryan Coogler made the list.

I’ve written, before, on the feeling that there’s truly a renaissance happening within Hollywood and, really, in the creative zeitgeist of the 21st century. And there’s all these beautiful black folks are leading the charge.

Issa’s been giving me life since Awkward Black Girl. Lena’s been moving calm for a while now and finally dropped “The Chi” on all our heads earlier this year. Ryan. Coogler. Black Panther. We’ve already been through that one.

Seeing how these three have been moving for so long has truly been an inspiration to watch. And now, some validation that if you really want and work for it, the world is yours.

The biggest bomb was dropped shortly thereafter.

My bitch, Issa Rae, has a Peabody. Like I said, folks, SINCE THE ABG DAYS. We been rockin strong.

Let’s pause on this for a moment. No, in theory, these constructed institutions that evaluate social and cultural value like the Oscars, the Grammy’s, McArthur Awards, Peabody and Pulitzer awards – they don’t validate us as black creatives. We know that racism is systemic and has found it’s way into these particular systems and that it’s not set up for us to win. But it’s a fact that times must and always do change.

To have the Peabody’s and the Pulitzer’s of the world acknowledge creatives of color is frankly, a big fucking deal. Because these are the things that inform the culture, the names that will be written indelibly in the cultural canon.

So shoutout to Kendrick, Issa, Lena, Ryan, and everyone else honored in this year’s round of awards and recognitions. They deserve and it’s about damn time.

 

 

 

 

He’s a Mean One

Your boy Trump did it again and this time it hit home.

If you didn’t know, I work at a certain Mexican restaurant. I’ve been there for nine months and I have to say, in that time, I can say without a doubt, it’s the best job I’ve ever had. Truly and honestly. 

But I digress. 

I’m quite fond of my boss. He manages to piss me off at least once every two weeks but he’s a cool mother fucker when he wants to be. He moved all the way here to Oxford to be the GM because he loves his job and the company we work for. He just had a kid too. 

The other day he announced jokingly, “Well, in a few days, I’ll officially know if I’m getting deported.”

Me, an intellectual: whet? 

“Yea, they’re voting to repeal DACA.”

Me, an intellectual: whet?

I clocked out a couple hours later and didn’t think much of it once I left because who thinks about work after they leave work. Lets be real. 

Fast forward to yesterday and I find out y’alls president actually managed to get that shit repealled. 

I keep our work GroupMe on mute. I only check it because they post the schedule on there, but I just happened to check it the day that the news came out and that’s where where I saw it. 

“Well guys, I have until June 2019.”

Y’know, I really didn’t expect to be as hurt by it as I was but, bitch, I was. 

I felt like swinging at the air like Tre in Boyz in the Hood after that cop put the gun to his head.

Up until now, I’ve managed to remain unbothered by the bullshit, political and otherwise but that shit really hit me. Once again, fuck Donald. 

He’s a liar. He’s dusty. And he’s fucking shit up in a major way. 

Brain on Drugs #3

Classes have started again. 

Being a black face in white places has been a constant in my life. 

Classes at a PWI for someone who’s black used to be quite anxiety inducing. My neurosis goes back to elementary, a place where I was also a minority. 

I can never shake the feeling that I’ve got something to prove. And though I prove time and time again that being an intellectual isn’t just a “white thing,” there is still a pressure – a sort of performance anxiety. 

Perhaps none of these white folks actually consider me to be in some way inferior to them. Perhaps this paranoia is all in my head. It’s my senior year, and throughout my time here, in many of my classes, I have cemented myself as the smart, quiet girl in the back of the room. 

Yet still, there is the thought that I’m still competing.

How’s that for double consciousness? 

Brain on Drugs #2

Bitch. I’m on probation.

Piss tests for four months. Six months to pay these fucking fines.

And all this legal bullshit has me thinking about what bullshit America’s drug laws are.

Consider opium. A plant used to make morphine, a powerful analgesic drug used in hospitals.

It’s also the one thing you need to make heroin…

You can also cook with the white latex-y stuff that comes out of the flower when you scratch it.

One is legal and one is not. But if we’re calling a spade a spade, it’s the same goddamn thing. The United States has a deep history of picking and choosing its holier-than-thou moments and it’s enforcement of drug laws is no exception. As of now, opium and its derivative opiates are “Schedule II” drugs under U.S. Federal Law. Can you guess what marijuana is?

Schedule I.

That’s right. In the eyes of the law, marijuana is more dangerous than heroin. But nobody’s ever over dosed on weed before. Like ever.

I’m gone play along with this probation bullshit for now. Because jail is a real thing.

But I’m screaming “Fuck the system,” every step of the way.

 

 

Dammit, Yachty!

I really want to like ya boy, Yachty.

After that whole Joe Budden situation and the way he handled it, I thought to myself “This is a cool ass dude.” If there’s one thing I admire, it’s composure. Check.

From what I’ve seen of his interviews, he’s awkward as all hell, but it’s endearing. There’s really a genuineness to the way he carries himself. Boat has never been shy about his intentions to just make music and have a good time and that’s exactly what he’s doing.

I don’t have a bone to pick with the boat. He seems smart (check), honest (check), and true to self (check, check, check).

As the self proclaimed “King of the Youth,” he doesn’t make music for me. These kids today out her wildin’. It’s not for me and that’s okay. He has a bop here and there. I really like when he collabs. I liked “iSpy.” I liked “Broccoli.”

I even milly rocked to “One Night.” But I really couldn’t even get past the first song on this new record. That shit was trash.

Peek a Boo” is atrocious. And that lyric about his bitch blowing his dick like a cello” and him blaming it on his A&Rs on rap genius was kind of a let down. All I could think was C’mon, Yachty, damn! I was rooting for you!

A product of eliminating arts in public schools, no doubt. Y’all see why this is important? So that people know the difference between a cello and a fucking flute (of which Squidward has nothing to do with)

Screenshot 2017-05-31 09.31.40

He’s alright with me, though.

I am by no means an old head but I’m not one of these teeny boppers either. Objectively speaking, I really don’t see the harm in him. He’s here to have a good time and make this money – and for that the culture welcomes him.

But my god, man. Get your shit.

 

 

DAMN.

In the final analysis, this album knocks.

It’s hard to believe this is the same dude who did Overly Dedicated and Section 80. I’ve been a fan of this man for a while now and I’m happy to see him out here still putting these notches in his belt.

Say what you would like about Kendrick, but he can craft an album. When I heard HUMBLE, I knew this album was going to sound different. And that’s no shade: I admire artists who grow with each album and who like to play with different sounds.

This is Kenny at his trappiest, bangin-est yet, but he still manages to retain a distinct flow and styling that are classically Kendrick. (jazzy interludes, those eery vocals, and potent lyrics)

Not to mention some production assists from Mike Will Made It, (regulars) James Blake and Terrace Martin, and a promising new name, Bekon (responsible for at least 8 tracks on the project) and some vocals from Rhianna and Zacari. Peep the full credits on XXL.

It’s a yes for me. I really like this album. My personal favorite track was God. Cardo, Ricci Riera, Sounwave, DJ Dahi, Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith & Bekon (there’s that name, again) really put their foot in that one.

It’s not as ham-fisted in it’s intentions as To Pimp a Butterfly but still shows some tremendous growth in this man from the mixtape days.

I raise my glass to you Brother Duckworth. Keep on keeping on.