08th Aug2005

RIP Peter Jennings & John H. Johnson

by Will

“Now, why am I gonna call you back when I’m busy looking for replacements for your ass!”*

Today was a sad day for the news. First, we lost the great Peter Jennings. He was 67. I think one of my favorite blogs put it best: “I always thought God would take Rather first.” While I was never an ABC kid, I always liked Mr. Jennings. He had a Mr. Belding quality about him, like he’d be the cool principal, always spouting off useless trivia to make you smarter.

While many may not be aware, the world also lost John H. Johnson. The publisher of Jet and Ebony passed away at the age of 87. When creating those magazines, his goal was to counter the negative portrayal of Blacks in other printed media. While it could be argued whether or not that goal survived changing times, Mr. Johnson was certainly a pioneer. What I learned from him was that 1) all of the best Jet Beauties come from Clinton, MD and 2) if I ever have my wedding pictures published in Jet, I will undoubtedly be the most gorgeous person ever featured in that section. But I digress…Mr. Johnson certainly made his mark on American pop culture, giving Blacks magazines that they could call their own.

Now, let’s just hope that shuttle lands, ’cause there ain’t nobody left to report on it…

*There’s your shout-out, J-E. Man, I sure hope your girl realizes the writing’s on the wall…

30th Jul2005

Lawdy, Lawdy! Superfly Had A SEQUEL?!

by Will

“Logan would join a limbo contest if it had a redhead in it.”

It’s back! About 6 months ago, I wrote a scathing article about The African Heritage Movie Theatre, and it’s MC’s, Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis. Well, much has changed in that time. Mr. Davis has gone to that theatre in the sky, and Ms. Dee is MIA. So, the franchise has been renamed. Yes, I give you the Uptown Movie Network. And get this: it’s now hosted by Ms. Shar “F you, Federline!” Jackson. But worry not, because they’re still cranking out those movies that make us Black folks feel so proud! This week’s offering: “Superfly T.N.T”

Yes, as if “Superfly” wasn’t enough, someone came up with the bright idea to give us a sequel. But this ain’t yo daddy’s Blaxploitation movie (actually, it’s from 1973, so it probably is…). Don’t look for the ghettos and the Cadillacs. No, allow me to provide you with the movie’s synopsis:

“Superfly comes out of his Roman retirement to free a tiny African nation from the grip of a cruel dictator.”

Oh, Superfly must be a hero, right? Well, for those of you who don’t know the story of Superfly, as depicted in the first movie, let me break it down for ya. Superfly, known as Youngblood Priest, was a cocaine dealer who simply realized he’d had enough of the life. But he needed one last score to provide him with the cash for his escape. So, I guess he used that cash to get to Rome. Yeah…Rome. I didn’t even think they let Black people in Rome in 1973!

Oh, but it gets better. You ever seen a 6’4” Black dude with a perm, dressed from head to toe in horseback riding gear? Better yet, have you ever seen the same guy chase a mugger down narrow Roman streets?You will if you see this movie. I don’t know if Superfly is the most famboyant pimp or the gayest ass kicker, but it certainly is a sight to see.

The highlight of this movie has GOT to be Roscoe Lee Brown, who has one of the most iconic voices in entertainment history. Screw James Earl Jones. Roscoe’s “Kingpin” from the Fox Spider-Man cartoon stomps all over Mr. “This is CNN”. Anyway, Brown plays the part of an African diplomat. Not that it takes much. In this day and age, all you had to do was show up to work. And he does that nicely.

So, why am I ranting? Well, the whole commercial nature of this franchise was to show movies that, supposedly, had a cultural and classic impact on the Black cinematic experience. I understand that there are only so many times one can watch “The Color Purple” and “The Tuskeegee Airmen”, but it’d be more honorable if someone just came out and said, “OK, we’re all out of movies.” Don’t pass this dreck off and try to make people think it means something. Hell, “Superfly T.N.T” doesn’t even come up immediately on an IMDB search. You’ve got to dig to find that bad boy. I guess that’s supposed to make me think it’s a hidden cinematic treasure. Well, I’m on to your game!

“Superfly” had cultural significance. It is one of the more memorable Blaxploitation movies. Was it a “good” movie? I’ll leave that in the eye of the beholder. But it had cultural significance. These were Black made films, for Black audiences. As deplorable as the subject matter may have been, these tales were real to many people. Can’t say the same about “Soul Plane”. But I digress…

But you can’t tell me that Superfly’s sequel holds the same meaning in time. In the words of Judge Judy, “Don’t piss on my knee and tell me it’s raining!” The fool is in Rome! Who came up with this locale? How did a coke dealer become an African savior? I mean, I’m all about redemption, but DAMN!

Everybody knows that a sequel is simply another trip to the well. Typically, you had success, and now you’re trying to milk the idea dry. The “message” was in your first movie, but the sequel is all fo’ da scrilla. With that in mind, any lesson or message to be conveyed was in the first Superfly. And I guess said message was: “if you’re gonna deal, make sure you rollin’ high, and you get yo’ ass to a safe place for the fallout.” OK, I can live with that. A lot of young folks could do well to know that message. But the only message in the sequel is: “if you take your Black ass to Rome, they gonna find you!”

Thanks, “Uptown Movie Network”. I sure am glad y’all decided to show “Graffiti Bridge” instead of “King” back in January. And I really appreciate the effort, but I think I’ll take care of my cultural education on my own. But holla back when y’all start showing reruns of “Girlfriends”…

24th Jul2005

White Folks Can’t Win At The Apollo

by Will

“My name is Jack Bauer, and this is going to be the longest day of my life.”

Heh, my last post was post # 420, so I guess this is my “buzzed-baked afterglow post”. I guess you can tell I’ve never smoked before seeing as how I don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about.

So…sometimes, I really hate “It’s Showtime At The Apollo”. No, actually I ALWAYS hate “Apollo”. If you ever wanna see racism flipped on its ass, just watch the Apollo.

I feel like this is the rare sanctuary where Black folks are like, “Look, Whitey! WE call the shots here!” It is an institution dedicated to the essence of the BNIC (look it up, my confused friends; we’re not allowed to simply decode that acronym for just anybody!) And, while I guess it’s their prerogative, a LOT of talented people get booed offstage just because they’re White.

It’s a delicate situation ’cause there aren’t really any venues that are known as “White Theatres” (I swear if anyone responds with, “They’re ALL White theatres”, you’ll be sorry. Yeah, I’m looking at you.). In the meantime, the Apollo is known as a Black theatre. When you go perform, you kinda know what you’re getting yourself into. So, I think it’s brave for many people to just get up on the stage.

Here I am, at 1:35 on a Monday morning, watching this dreck. This hippie chick just performed the HELL out of Rufus & Chaka Khan’s “Tell Me Something Good”. I mean, she gave it everything she fucking had, and it was actually GOOD. But these people would NOT give her the credit she deserved.

Now, I’ve gotta admit that Apollo has made some major strides in the past 10 yrs. As the traditional companion show to “Soul Train”, it has had to change with the times. White participants are getting their due in the Harlem venue, but this hippie chick didn’t stand a chance. If you look like you might have some Spanish in ya, you’re golden. Italian? See “Spanish”. Jewish? Your hair’s curly, we’ll clap for ya. But hippie girl didn’t have a chance.

She had long, golden hair down to her ass. And it was the kind where it looked great, but you knew she probably didn’t have to do anything to maintain it. This was accented by her velvet halter top and her tight, straight-legged jeans that many an audience member would never wear in her wildest dreams. I guess you could say they just didn’t relate to her.

But she sure kicked Chaka Khan’s ass. She sang the fuck out of that song. And I’m a tough critic. Hell, I wasn’t even paying attention when she sang. I was reading, and had the thing on in the background. All I could really hear was her singing, and them trying to boo her off. It wasn’t until she finished that I actually looked up and thought, “THAT was HER?”

Well, I’ve just gotta say that she was awesome, and it sucks that she didn’t get what she was looking for. Or, maybe she did. The Apollo ain’t like “American Idol”. Nobody’s really trying to be discovered. That would be NICE, but it’s not always the goal, nor is your performance a predictor. After all, back in the day, Lauryn Hill was booed off her Apollo “Amateur Night” performance and cried like a little bitch backstage. But last I heard, she was doing OK. A little crazy and kind of a recluse, but “OK” by celebrity standards…For some people, surviving the Apollo is akin to conquering a fear or fulfilling a promise. Hippie chick fought hard enough to finish her song without being ejected, so maybe that was what it was all about. I guess I’ll never know. But she sure sang the hell out of that song…

10th Jul2005

Black Folk Humor

by Will

“The first music I was ever into as a kid was Michael Jackson. Of course, this was back when he was a seemingly sane Black man, rather than a crazy White woman…”

So, this is a pretty old site, and I’m sure many of you have seen it, but it’s still baffling people.

http://www.blackpeopleloveus.com

The best part of the site is the “letters” section. Is it satire or a cruel joke? Most people don’t know what to make of it…

Enjoy!

P.S. If you haven’t done it yet, check out http://www.negrospaceprogram.com …Man, they’re gonna take back my membership card for this stuff….

01st Jul2005

Probably Not The Last Time I’ll Blog About The Negro Space Program

by Will

“In 1957, if you were Black, and you were an astronaut, you were out of work!”

http://www.negrospaceprogram.com

This is gonna offend a LOT of people, but I couldn’t NOT post it. You’ve GOT to watch this. Maybe you love documentaries. Maybe you’re looking for a good argument. Or maybe you just wanna see what Bookman from “Good Times” has been up to.

Enjoy…

29th Jun2005

This One’s Gonna Keep Me Out Of Public Office In California

by Will

Just to prove that not all blogging need be “responsible” or “have a purpose”, I’m now gonna share with you a bit of un-P.C. knowledge…

Anybody ever heard of a “Mexican Breakfast”?

No?

It’s a cigarette and a glass of water.

Heard of a “Mexican Promotion”?

No?

It’s when you’re given more responsibility, but no increase in pay.

I could explain these “jokes” or try to find meaning in their cruelty. But I won’t. Sometimes, a blog is just a blog…

14th Jun2005

Ninjas, Pride DC, MJ, and Natalie Holloway

by Will

Gonna steal Shel’s format for today since I like how it’s shaping up for her…

-So, the ice cream truck just drove slowly down my street, with the theme from “The Godfather” coming from its speaker. Correct me if I’m wrong, but that’s a bad thing, right?

-The other week, while in DC, I saw the best/worse ploy for money EVER. This homeless guy held up a sign that read “Ninjas killed my family. Please give me money for Kung Fu lessons.”

-So, Pride DC just ended. Nothing screams “Equal Rights!” like a shirts-optional foam party at Apex. Man, if only MLK had thought of these tactics, Jim Crow wouldn’t have known what hit him…

-One morning a few months ago, this chick got on the bus, wearing a fur coat. Now, let’s break this down. I know my furs, and it was real. So, let’s point out the key parts of the story. A lady got on the BUS wearing a FUR COAT. And I thought to myself, “You’re wearing a car!” I mean, it’s the BUS. Not like you have to go out of your way to impress those people. And I’d rather wear a ratty Members Only jacket and drive a Focus than wear my fur on the Metrobus and get home smelling like nachos and B.O.

-“There is no such thing as a short sleeve dress shirt.” So true, GQ. So true…

-Well-played, MJ. Well-played, indeed. Now, if I even hear of you going near Children’s Tylenol, I will come over to Neverland and beat your ignorant, hard-headed ass. I am gonna beat it, and I won’t stop til I get enough. So, you can call Billie Jean if you want, but that would be bad. Why can’t you just like girls, Michael? Do you remember the time? Do ya? Have you forgotten the way you make them feel? There are many people like you, Jacks. You are not alone. But, lucky for us, most of them are IN JAIL or under surveillance. Now, when I see your old footage, well you give me butterflies. But this crazy-ass Willy Wonka behavior of yours makes me wanna scream! Just stop pressurin’ me!

_According to MSNBC, they’ve been using Viagra to cure kids with lung and respiratory issues. Oh, God bless the U.S.A.! Just like us to have little boys running around with hard-ons, breathing funny. God, it’s a slow news cycle!

-What is the deal with this Aruba chick! Yes, I can understand that her family wants her found, but I can’t remember the last time a search was this intense. I mean, is she carrying nuclear secrets or something?!! She’ll turn up. In recent years, they all have. Back in the 80’s, those kids got killed. But lately, turns out these chicks just go out for ice cream and forget to call home. For three months. Anyway, I hear Deep Throat knows where she is, and he’s got a press conference scheduled with US Weekly in about an hr…

-So, Jenn updated her site template again. More anime. To quote the great Gomer Pyle, “Surprise, surprise!” Don’t get me wrong; it’s a sharp site. It just seems a bit…cliche? Ya know, for a site that tries to break down all the stereotypes, she sure has a funny approach. Anyway, stay tuned for my “fried chicken and tap-dancing” redesign…

Anyway, I’m done. That season finale’s coming. Special guest stars galore. Well, not really. But, when it’s done, NOTHING WILL EVER BE THE SAME AGAIN!!!!

Seacrest, out

30th May2005

Can’t We Just Shake Hands, Like White People?

by Will

So, I’ve got a confession. I’m sort of ashamed to mention this, but here it goes:

I get nervous whenever I meet a Black guy.

Why?

Because I never quite know how he’s gonna try to shake my hand.

You see, there’s this underlying assumption that Black people don’t dole out simple handshakes. No, it’s assumed that we all use some kind of urban formula to concoct a secret means of greeting one another. And these things change by the week. It’s like “body slang”. Nobody wants to reveal that they don’t know the newest greeting.

Will he come at me with the “pound-on-pound dap”? Will he give me the endearing “Bro-man handshake-hug combo”? Or will we settle on the convoluted “–handshake-elbow-chesting”? So many choices, and you only have a few seconds to figure out the proper course of action.

The minute someone says, “Will, I’d like you to meet my boy, DeVauhwn,” I immediately start thinking, “Oh crap! Ok, Will…remember what they taught you in training. Just remember your training!”

Then you’ve gotta notice the body language. “OK, he’s making a fist…I think we’re going for dap. Now, are we going for a stacking-fist pound, or are we just gonna punch fists?”

Now, I wonder if other Black guys think about this, or is this something I picked up somewhere. I KNOW it’s something that White guys think about. Why? Because I haven’t had an honest-to-God simple handshake from a White guy under the age of 25 in the past 5 yrs! They always assume I’m gonna go in for some kind of Zord-summoning sign language when I really just want a firm grip. After all, isn’t that what we all want?

23rd Mar2005

Gay Guys & Entrepreneurs – They All Want A Piece of The Will

by Will

“One word: ‘Thundercougarfalconbird!'”

Gay guys and entrepreneurs…I’m beginning to think that’s gonna be the title of my memoirs. It never fails. I’m preyed upon by gay guys and entrepreneurs. I swear, if some gay entrepreneur comes out of the woodwork, I may not survive the exchange.

So, why do they come after me? Do I look that gullible? That…gay?

A few weeks ago, I’m in Borders looking at the bargain books. These were the MAJOR discounts, like 50-70% off. This guy next to me offhandedly asks, “What do you think’s wrong with them? Anything worthwhile?” I kinda laugh and say, “Well, they are sort of limited. After all, I’ve ALWAYS been looking for a book on the “Business & Contracts of the Recording Industry!” He kinda laughs. Then, it segues into, “I think I know you from somewhere.” Keep in mind, I don’t think this is flirting or any kind of “advance.” I didn’t get that vibe. He was just some innocent, techie looking Indian guy. Like SO many of the Cornell Engineering kids. Turns out he went to Georgetown, and thought he’d seen me there. I told him it wasn’t me ’cause I’d gone to Cornell.

Cue presentation of business card. All of a sudden he’s “all up in my sensor box” (That one’s for you, X-tina), asking what I’d studied, etc. Turns out he runs a side business, you know for those self-starters looking to make good money. Why did I fall for this? Well, I guess part of it was prejudice.

This is the part where Jenn chimes in.

You see, the dude was Indian. I’m sure there’s some better, PC term for me to use, but for the sake of argument, he was from India. Now, my experience tells me that that’s a good gamble. I mean, THE DUDE WAS INDIAN!!! They can turn a business around in a minute. Sure, it may not be the most glamorous work, but they seem to have a good business sense, especially small businesses like….stores…and….stuff.

You’re saying, “Will, you’re stereotyping.” Yes, I am. And it takes a big man to admit that. We all stereotype. Hey, any middle-class white kids out there go to the “village black guy” when you’re looking for weed? That’s stereotyping. Ever take your car to be serviced in the “Spanish part” of town ’cause they’re “good with cars”? That’s steroetyping. Ever go to the one, specific nail place ’cause “those little Korean girls are so great with the nails”? That’s stereotyping. We all do it. Few of us admit to it, though. I pride myself on being the guy who SAYS what everyone else only THINKS. Sure, it results in cries of, “Will, you’re horrible!” But someone HAS to be. I’m kinda like an un-PC James. Bizarro James, if you will…

So anyway, I took Indian dude’s card ’cause he’s Indian. But when he called, I didn’t pick up. I want no part of that fast-paced, seedy, sinful world of “self-employment”. I hope he gets the point.

Now for the gay guys. I don’t get it. I’m cute to the gays. Why is that? What am I sending out?

The other night, I dropped by The Cornell Center to see Cape, who was actually in Cali with the rest of Last Call. Now, it’s about 10 PM, and things were getting a little seedy in that area. I’m walking, and this FLAMING little dressed-up dude and, for lack of a better term, his hag, called out to me. “We want to talk to you.” I just kinda smirk and keep walking.

At the same time, there were guys along the side of the street, begging for money. Now, I’m no stranger to the guys panhandling for money, but the people out at this time were kinda edgier. They weren’t humorous, nor did they have little signs. Instead, it was more like, “Money or I kill you.” So, after passing about 2 of them, I realized I’d better get into populated areas.

So, I walked in a circle, and who did I run into again? “Jack & Karen”. FUCK! I didn’t want to entertain them, but it was better than getting shanked. So, we kind of pass at an intersection, and they have a little dog. I’m starting to get all paranoid that I’m being followed. Lagerfeld coat coupled with Nordstrom scarf with Burberry print kinda makes my “I don’t have any money” a little less convincing (Wow, when did I become such a materialistic snob?) “Jack” immediately notices me and says, “Oh, we wanted to talk to you! We just wanted you to meet our little dog.” Glancing around, I half-assedly respond, “On yeah, what a cute dog. What’s his name?” The guy says something in Spanish. “What does that mean?” I asked. He sort of giggles and says, “It means he likes boys.” FUCK! Why does this happen to me?

People would say, “Oh Will, you’re LOOKING for these situations. You’re just denying it.” But that’s NOT true. I was just raised to be friendly. It’s that whole “Southern Hospitality” thing, which kinda sucks ’cause I’m not a big fan of people. But I was taught that I SHOULD be a fan of people. Plus, it was kind of a self-defense tactic.

Anyway, next thing I know, they’re trying to take me home with them! Sorry! I don’t think so. “Nah, thanks. I’ve got to go see my GIRLFRIEND!” The little pissers are aggressive, but I ain’t having none of it. I just walked away, rushed to the Metro, and told myself I’ve gotta stop going to DC at night.

Cornell, why the fuck did y’all have to put your DC headquarters in Du Pont Circle? Was Georgetown not good enough? Was the center established by a bunch of Risley kids?!!! Why oh why did you create such a hostile environment, preventing me from upholding my alumni duties?!!! Now ya see, if y’all had put an Indian kid in charge of planning…

06th Feb2005

RIP Ossie Davis

by Will

“Everybody’s changing, and I still feel the same…”

So, in a strange, unfortunate twist of events, it seems I must revisit a former post. You see, a few months ago, amidst a rant about Prince’s lack of acting skills, I made a reference to the oldest Black couple in Hollywood, Ruby Dee & Ossie Davis. Well, as I read the news on Friday morning, I was saddened to see that Mr. Davis had passed away. He was 87.

Do I take back what I said before? No, it was all true. But what saddens me is that the man was a staple of Hollywood, particularly for Black actors. He was doing this when we weren’t supposed to be doing this. And my heart, oddly enough, goes out to his wife; it’s common for the spouse to die within six months when death occurs at this age. I just hope she has her health and the support of her family.

So, farewell Ossie, and farewell to the oldest Black married couple EVER….Ya know, people always laugh when I say that, but in a way, it’s true. We’ve only been allowed to marry for so many yrs, and with hypertension, the Klan, and child support, Black unions don’t last too long. Now, when I talk like this people think I’m some bitter child of divorce, but that’s totally untrue. I challenge you to find me a Black couple married more than 60 yrs. I CHALLENGE YOU!!!