Monday, October 31




Book 'I'm Every Woman' by Lonnae O'Neal Parker

Read an exceptional essay on black female sexuality this morning at Washington Post online, written by Style section reporter Lonnae O'Neal Parker. The piece starts off with O'Neal Parker painting a too-familiar landscape of female sexuality in her colorful immediate family, starring her:



  • Enviable Aunt Jackie, an old school sex-pot who's always known how to work it
  • Offended Granny, who criticized Clarence Thomas during his Anita Hill blue period, saying "What make it so bad, he was talkin' about havin' URRRL sex!"
  • Razor-sharp historical insights, touching none too lightly on the Hottentot Venus, the rape and breeding of black women during slavery and more.

    Rendering of a young South African woman, Saarjite Baartman, who was captured in the early 1800's and brought to Paris for caged display of her generous curves.  Known as La Venus Hottentot, when Baartman died at age 26, her genitals were preserved and remained on display in a museum up until the 1980's.
    We've sure come a long way, baby, as O'Neal Parker's piece capably demonstrates. She says she's finally put it all together (sexually) and now has a secret sauce of her own. In her marriage, she makes like Jill Scott, which involves the strategic cooking of meals as groovy as collard greens and sensuous lip lickin'.

    To promote her forthcoming book, I'm Every Woman: Remixed Stories of Marriage, Motherhood and Work, O'Neal Parker chats live at 1 p.m. today at washingtonpost.com/liveonline.

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Darn. Got trapped on a conference call so missed the above chat with the Washington Post writer and soon-to-be author, Lonnae O'Neal Parker. Found the chat's "trail" though, and it seems to have been a good one. Though many serious topics surrounding black feminine sexuality were discussed, this lighter note gave me a good chuckle:

Question from Fairfax, Va.: I really liked your story, but I was surprised to read that you use sex appeal and sex to manipulate your husband into giving you what you want. What, if anything, did you learn from your female relatives about playing sexual games within a marriage?

Answer by Lonnae O'Neal Parker: Um, that it worked? Actually, it's not as unyielding as you make it out to be. I would argue sometimes my husband uses sex to try to manipulate me. And sometimes that works well. In the context of a fully realized, long-term adult relationship, all sorts of complexities and power dynamics come into play. I'm just glad he and I can joke about them.

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No, he's not "every woman," but special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald seems bent on showing he is The Man. Today the DrudgeReport.com says that Fitzgerald played the card that many watching the Scooter Libby/Valerie Plame debacle knew was up his sleeve: he'll be calling Dick Cheyney to the witness stand. Fitzgerald doesn't want closed door, videotaped testimony, etc. He wants Dick naked as all out-doughs.

As usual, Cheyney's folks are saying he won't be coming, citing executive priviledge. The man seems to have more privilege and more to hide than the law should allow. Really. If the 1st Amendment-protected reporters Libby spoke with about Plame had to give up the 4-1-1, shouldn't Dick Cheyney, too?



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Sunday, October 30




The Boondocks: Public Enemy meets Cartoon Network

Okay I confess: I love the Cartoon Network's late-night Adult Swim programming and am beside myself with anticipation for The Boondocks. It premiers Nov. 6 and must be the most eagerly awaited show since Everybody Hates Chris -- only this'll be oh, so deep. What can I say? It's the conspiracy theorist in me coupled with a love of anything art.

So when cartoonist Aaron McGruder combines these two favorite pastimes and animates them for one of the edgiest networks around, I have no doubt that America is in for some dopalicious political truths. It'll sort of be like having Dave Chappelle's Show back, combined with the social messaging of old Bugs Bunny. Except Riley and Huey ain't as covert as the wabbit.

This is the Boondocks teaser that's been running during Adult Swim:

"Jesus is black, Ronald Reagan is the devil and the government is lying about 9/11."
The "N" word is used liberally in each episode, so if you are afraid of That Black Planet, do not go swimming in these waters. But if you're curious for more info, check out this article in the New York Times on McGruder's hot new toon, which at $400,000 per episode, is the most expensive licensing fee the Cartoon Network has ever paid.

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Saturday, October 29




Jazz news: Dianne Reeves, Coltrane & 'Paris Jazz'

Released in March '05, Dianne Reeves's 'Live In Montreal' DVD captures her magic, showcasing why she is considered the most expressive, compelling Jazz diva in modern times.
Dianne Reeves performs on screen in the new film Good Night, and Good Luck, which stars David Straithairn as legendary journalist Edward R. Murrow. Shot in black and white, the film contains smoky nightclub scenes with the singer and her quartet delivering the jazz slowly and deliberately. Reeves, one of the world's premier jazz singers, is intimate as always in her presentation. She projects with strong emotion while squeezing every ounce of passion from her songs. George Clooney directs the film.
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McCoy Tyner on piano, Elvin Jones on drums and Jimmy Garrison on bass make this 'lost' recording of John Coltrane's from 1965 a joyous find for the jazz afficianado.
Saxophone trailblazer John Coltrane accounted for two of the top three best-selling jazz albums last week, 38 years after his death, due to two previously unreleased discs. The two-disc Impulse! set "One Down, One Up: Live at the Half Note" entered at No. 3 on Billboard's top jazz albums chart for the week ended October 16. Sitting at No. 2 was Blue Note's recently released album by the Thelonious Monk Quartet with Coltrane, "At Carnegie Hall."
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New book Paris Jazz profiles the lives and wild times of many American legends who crossed the Big Pond decades ago to freely express and be embraced for the music they pioneered.
If you love and/or romanticize Paris and it's appreciative jazz scene, you'll want to check out the new book, Paris Jazz. Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Django Reinhardt, Mistinguett, Bud Powell, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Carter, Lester Young, and Sidney Bechet are but a few of the musicians whose lives in Paris are profiled. The book is cleverly divided into four neighborhoods—Montmartre, Montparnasse, Saint-Germain-des-Pres, and the area around the Champs-Elysees—and directs readers to the cafes, caveau, and belle epoque theaters that once were home to extraordinary debuts, legendary collaborations, and high drama.

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Friday, October 28




Nutz: Looks like Dick is going down

Oh deeze nuuuts! Rumor has it that Vice President Dick Cheyney's number one guy, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, is going to be indicted for perjury today. In other words, Cheyney's chief of staff got busted for trying to cover up something.

News pundits are speculating all over the place about whether he snitched out his boss, The Dick. I think he did, as I've noticed Scooter Libby walking with crutches, from a broken foot -- or a broken something. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby after Dick Cheyney gave him a vice presidential beat-down for snitching him out? Guess the Neo-con goons did the best they could to shut him up... Still, he needs to learn from Lil' Kim and Martha Stewart about what happens with perjury.
Lil' Kim could teach Scooter Libby a bit about perjuring one's self.

Here's to the opening of a can of whup-ass worms that gets the conversation beyond Valerie Plame being an outed secret agent by Cheyney & Co., and deeper into the bogus WMD evidence that justified the war in Iraq. Democracy my foot. (Ooops. Sorry Scooter.)

The man thought to be George Bush's brain, Karl Rove, is said to be half off the hook... for now. The investigation into his wrong-doing will continue. Read the full story in the Washington Post.


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Thursday, October 27




Condi Rice demon-eyes-ed

Okay. This is the photo of Condi Rice that USA Today first ran online yesterday:Secretary of State Condoleeze Rice is demon-eyes-ed by USA Today.

After receiving hysterical complaints about her glowing eyes, this is the non-doctored version they replaced the above with:
Any questions? Does this possibly mean that someone at USA Today doesn't like Republican people? Things that make you go Hummm...

BTW: If you're a photography buff, this
blogger posted an intense pixel-by-pixel analysis of the two photos and called USA Today liars for saying they were really just trying to lighten Condi's cheeks. The blogger also posted this "split image" version contrasting the two:Twisted before and after merge of the scandalous Condi Rice photo in USA Today All this photo schizophrenia amidst the extreme headline for Condi's article, which basically said: Rice won't deny U.S. could be in Iraq another 10 years. (Duh? Whatchu talking 'bout, Willis!?)

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By the way the good peeps over at EURweb featured a nice round-up about some of the ways the legendary Mrs. Rosa Parks is being honored, including:
  • The restored 1948 General Motors bus that officials believe Parks rode during her act of defiance, currently housed at the Henry Ford Museum near Detroit, was draped with purple-and-black crepe and moved into the center of the museum shortly after her death.
  • Ellen DeGeneres left one seat open in the front row of her studio audience during Wednesday’s episode in Parks’ memory.
  • The Game Show Network (GSN) will honor the civil rights matriarch on Friday (Oct. 28) with the airing of two game shows that featured Parks. At 9:30, the network will air an episode of "To Tell the Truth” from 1980, which featured Parks as a celebrity guest.
  • On Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 8 p.m., Lifetime Real Women will air "Intimate Portrait: Rosa Parks." Guest interviews include the late Ossie Davis and his wife, Ruby Dee, and Elaine Steele, Parks' longtime friend.
  • Same night but Lifetime Television at 9 p.m., "The Rosa Parks Story," premiers, stars actress Angela Bassett in the title role and Cicely Tyson.
  • The upcoming animated sitcom “The Boondocks,” set to premiere Nov. 6 on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim late-night block (yes!), has thought it best to cut out several jokes that were made at Parks’ expense during an upcoming episode. However the series, based on Aaron McGruder’s daily comic strip, has kept in stories about R. Kelly and several Huey rants about Jesus and 9/11.

Link to EURweb.com for the update on funeral services and other touching tributes scheduled for Rosa Parks.



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Wednesday, October 26




War 'Thriller' from the Condi-riller

You know, we don't party with the same party, but I deeply respect Dr. Condoleeza Rice for her numerous accomplishments. It gets really hard sometimes, though. Like today, when I read this editorial apolology in USA Today -- after shouting WHAT?! outloud at this "headline"...

Rice won't rule out U.S. troops in Iraq in 10 years
Editor's note: The photo of Condoleezza Rice that originally accompanied this story was altered in a manner that did not meet USA TODAY's editorial standards. The photo has been replaced by a properly adjusted copy. Photos published online are routinely cropped for size and adjusted for brightness and sharpness to optimize their appearance. In this case, after sharpening the photo for clarity, the editor brightened a portion of Rice's face, giving her eyes an unnatural appearance.

Good grief, Which of these 'thrilling' verions of The Condi Gurl did we miss earlier - and was it done purposely?

Order Thriller by Michael Jackson today and have it to play at home this Halloween weekend.  Dress up like Condi and you'll win Best Costume, for sure!What on Earth did the earlier photo of Condi Rice look like.  I don't recall USA Today ever making such a YOOOGE deal about a photo, and certainly not swopping it out with lightning speed. I'm like wow! Who exactly 'showed up' for this photo then??

Rice aimed to reassure jittery lawmakers over the course of the war in Iraq... Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice declined on Wednesday to rule out American forces still being needed in Iraq a decade from now. Senators warned that the Bush administration must play it straight with the public or risk losing public support for the war. (She was being drilled by the Senate Foreign Relations committee.)

Pushed by senators from both parties to define the limits of U.S. involvement in Iraq and the Middle East, Rice also declined to rule out the use of military force in Iran or Syria, although she said the administration prefers diplomacy.

Silly me! I'm thinking the War for Oil party's just about over, given that at least one indictment is expected to be handed down any day now... and all these shakey policy cards that have been stacking since before 9/11 will finally fall. But they're still singing that same old song about a takeover. Can't deny the possibility of Iraq for 10 years? These folk don't seem sufficiently worried about a thing.

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Monday, October 24




Rosa Parks has left the bus

December 1st, 1955. That was the day that years later would become my birthday. But more important, that was the day that Rosa Parks grew sick and tired of being sick and tired. And the down-trodden everywhere thank her for it.

On that day 50 years ago, Miss Rosa would not be moved, refused to give up her bus seat -- in the back, in the infamous Colored Section -- to a white man. She probably figured she was already sitting atop the motor. What did they want? Her outside hanging onto the bumper, knees scraping the rough Alabama roads for a ride?
Angela Bassett portrays civil rights mother Rosa Parks in the DVD The Rosa Parks Story. Click photo for reviews and other details.

Miss Rosa said she wasn't at all physically tired, she was fed up with accommodating racism. She was a "Kanye West" long before he was born, too. Hers
was a magical moment of mass connectivity, much like West's when he said on national television, "George Bush doesn't like Black people."

Both did something akin to firing shots heard round the world. Except the slug fired by the immovable, then 42-year-old Rosa Parks actually led people to act. Her refusal to unseat sparked a year-long bus boycott that triggered a seismic change in the American experience for people of African descent. And really, for Africans in the Caribbean and across the Motherland, truth be told.

But Rosa Parks's revolution would not be televised; she didn't even have a mic. She just reached her tipping point, and her bullish little tipping point became one that jolted the whole damn earth. To me, she's more than the Mother of the Civil Rights movement; she is its Earth Mother.

Now at 92, Rosa Parks has died. Finally, she got off the bus -- that bumpy ride called life, God rest her soul. For the rest of us, the crazy ride -- the struggle for equality -- continues.

One of the best ways to honor the memory of Rosa Parks is to teach children about her, show them her as a great example of integrity. How one person can make a difference. Tell them as Miss Rosa might have when glued to that old bus seat: If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything.
For kids Grades 3-5, the new and beautifully illustrated book Rosa is written by poet extraordinairre Nikki Giovanni.  Giovanni's book tells the life story of Rosa Parks and includes how her friend Jo Ann Robinson, president of the Women's Political Council, organized the bus boycott Parks inspired, where Rev. King spoke.


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Friday, October 21




Janet Jackson is a mommie

Wow, Janet Jackson has an 18-year-old daughter? Got an email two hours ago about a radio interview this morning on NYC's Hot 97 with one of the DeBarge's, who divulged that Janet Jackson and his brother had a child way back when.

I'm dowloading the
interview now to give a listen, but looks like it'll take forever. Meanwhile, I'm hearing bits 'n pieces of it between buffering on my other player. The interviewer, Miss Jones, is about on the moon with 1,005 eager questions. I don't know what the DeBarge brother is there to promote, but Miss Jones doesn't seem altogether interested in discussing it. (Remember the tsunami Miss Jones, remember the tsunami...)

Anyway, their daughter's name is Renee. Talk about Keep It In the Closet. Sounds like something my family would do.


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Stevie Wonder: "A Time to Love" The View

Just caught a bit of Stevie Wonder's highly entertaining segment on The View, and there was simply too much going on there to ignore. Like the title of Stevie's new CD, his show-long visit was definitely A Time to Love:

  1. Stevie still sounds totally wonderous, with a butter-melting voice that's not lost one iota of it's magic over the years.
  2. Stevie's still speaking from a Higher Ground point-of-view; seeing beauty where there ain't no beauty, have mercy.
  3. Stevie still does what Stevie wants on a broadcast, singing something different from what anyone's expecting, per the production script.
  4. Star Jones Reynold gave an over-zealous shout to Stevie's fashion designer wife, Kai Milla, making it known that her newly trim body has slipped into two of Mrs. Wonder's wonders.
  5. All the white folk in the audience did what I often do in church: mis-mouth the songs, clearly not knowing the lyrics but pretending to be up on things.
  6. Eventually, some of the ladies on The Couch gave up trying to hang with Stevie's lyrics, and just smiled self-consciously during the songs.
  7. Stevie had a bit of an Ashlee Simpson moment. He removed his hands from the little keyboard while he was supposed to be playing -- and the notes somehow kept sounding without his fingers doing any walking at all.
  8. Stevie's beautiful daughter, Aisha, curiously sat on The Couch next to Ba-Ba Wa-Wa, and didn't join her dad and everyone else to sing the very song he created in celebration of her birth: Isn't She Lovely. (Guess she's heard it all before.)
  9. Eventually, I think I understood why Aisha hadn't sung once she joined her dad for a duet called Positivity. Maybe it was a bad case of nerves, but... Well, at least she inherited her father's good looks.
  10. Stevie's dark, funky eyeglasses bore designer insignias so huge, they looked decorated with graffiti. Wondered if he'd gotten paid for the ad and who made them. Turns out Stevie did. The glasses featured this logotype from Stevie's first CD in a decade:
Click the Amazon banner to hear snippets from Stevie Wonder's new CD, A Time to Love.


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Thursday, October 20




The Apprentice: YOOOGE African American presence

In the words of RuPaul: You betta worrrk. Work it now... Not YOOOGE in number but certainly in accomplishment is the African American presence on Donald Trump's hit TV show, The Apprenctice. Since it's already quite hot up in therre -- the boardroom, that is -- thought I'd learn a little more about the two I'm specially cheering for. Both of them have shown they have what it takes to win the high-profile dream job they're pursuing.

Him:
RandalRandal, the African American male contender on Trump's Apprenctice presents himself as one sharp black man with a heart of gold.
Randal, 34, is the founder, president and CEO of his fifth venture "BCT Partners," a multi-million dollar management, technology and policy consulting firm based in Newark, N.J., that works with corporations, government agencies, philanthropic and nonprofit organizations. Raised in Hightstown, N.J., he holds five academic degrees in engineering, business and technology including a B.S. from Rutgers University, an M.S. from the University of Oxford in England as a Rhodes Scholar, and an M.S., M.B.A. and Ph.D. from MIT.

Her:
MarshawnMarshawn, a Miss District of Columbia and third runner-up in Miss America, holds a J.D. and has been doing her thing in the criminal justice system, representing youth.Marshawn, 26, is CEO of Communications Counts!, a professional development and public speaking consulting agency where she travels the country working with politicians, athletes, entertainers, and media personalities. A Dallas native, Marshawn received her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, where she served as a criminal defense attorney and as a litigator on Georgetown's International Commercial Arbitration Team competing in Vienna, Austria.

I don't get to watch The Apprentice as often as I'd like -- I've got my own worrrk to do. But it looks like I'll be catching the show tonight and definitely hope these two make it through another wicked week.

By the way, the Washington Post interviewed last season's winner, Kelly Perdew, earlier this year with him giving fascinating insight into his experience with The Donald. If you're a fan of the show, check the article out.


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Wednesday, October 19




Al Green and the Scream heard throughout Soulville

Owwwch... I remember it vividly, sort of like it was yesterday. My mother and the lady next door, little Geraldine Wiggins, were practically hysterical:

Today in 1974: Al Green's ex-girlfriend Mary Woodson pours a pot of boiling grits on the soul singer in the bathroom of his Memphis home. She then shoots herself. Green suffered second-degree burns on his back, neck, and arms, and later underwent a religious conversion.
We love you Al Green.My mother's Al Green album already had an important scratch on it -- which to this day my mind flashes back to whenever I hear Look What You Done For Me: "The only thang/the only thang/the only thang/etc." But after the grits gewgob, my mother's heart seemed to grow quite heavy whenever she played that old record. Which was all the time. "There's old grits," she'd say sorrowfully, as if feeling the scalding personally.

I recently learned that Rev. Al became a minister as a direct result of the legendary grits incident, and that to this day, he doesn't like talking about that night. I just hope he never meets my mother... Then he'd know exactly how I feel sometimes: Owwwch... you're gonna bring that up again??


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Tuesday, October 18




Shake dem Halloween bones

How's the Halloween Party planning coming along?

If you're throwing a party -- whether for two, twenty or two-hundred -- and you're curious about my 20 bright ideas for CDs, DVDs, and other special effects to make this one your most memorable SpookFest ever, click here:
Shake Dem Halloween BonesClick to see 20 CDs, DVDs, and party theme books that'll get your Halloween hooked UP..

Click the above link to get more info on Eddie Murphy's classic DVD Vampire In Brooklyn
Kids young and old will get a thrill from doing the Monster Mash and dancing to other Halloween sixties hits on this zany CD. Click the above link for details.
If you're the type that likes to decorate and serve party favors to impress, this book is the ultimate in Halloween style.  Click the above link for details.
Oh. You thought we wuzn't gone jam?  Click the above link for a list of more old school smokers that'll make you f*** up the rotation.

The link above gives you a glance at some frighteningly fun favorites, for grown up and children's parties...

I can't help it. I've gotta give you a hint about something else on the Shake Dem Halloween Bones list, because I simply can't get it out of my head:

  • Gimme a "C". (C). Gimme an "H". (H). Gimme an "I". (I). Gimme a "C". (C)...

You don't hear me. Y'all not trying to party! I'm outta here. Gotta go pull my annual Tina Turner drag together. Now what did I do with that wig...



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Monday, October 17




Whoa Nelly: Eagle 'drops down' rotten egg

EggheadOne of us is an egghead, and it could be me. But I just don't understand one single point this person wrote me to express. She's commenting on an article I posted a while ago at Blogcritics.org. My piece was lighthearted, but said I was impressed with the books Lil' Kim would be reading during her 366-day "System Victimization." (Malcolm X's bio, Maya Angelou, etc.)

The most I can comprehend (below) is that she's telling someone off. I think it's me, but I'm just not sure. Could be Lil' Kim, the person who gave Kim the book recommendations...?

Re: Join Lil' Kim's Book Club Today! (CD Sold Separately)

Published at: http://blogcritics.org/archives/2005/10/01/002903.php
From: (name withheld)
Comment: There is reason to believe, as the phenomena of interpersonal relations, that socially engineered encounters rarely permit the freedom of speech necessary to accurately articulate the fine points of any given transaction. Also,within some psychological circles and professional ranks, 'elicited' speech is thought to be the truest example of personal thought and feelings, although the reality can be the exact opposite -- that words and phrases coaxed or demanded from a subject can be horrendously misinter-preted and misapplied.

'Lil' Kim' is a theme, and specific people have inspired that theme -- what should be limelight (?) events are often ruined as 'freedom of the press' ethic is applied as the power to grab and sell multiple copies of any original work that shows up on a factory door-step, and lead any interested parties onto stage. (?) The person should be allowed to choose her own reading, apart from the 'dreams' of 'just-ice' factions(?)to use stepping-stone tactics as means of personal advancement.

Well, drop down and get 'cha eagle on, girl!


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Sunday, October 16




Oh Seven

I promised Berry at ChapterToo.blogspot.com that I'd participate in this cool self-reflect-and-share meme I discovered on her blog. Unfortunately, I'm too swamped with a project this weekend to do the entire thing, but here are my #1 responses to Berry's...

Oh Seven...

1. Something I plan to do before I die: I dream of living in Amsterdam, not that I've ever been there. It's just that two of the most intriguing people I've met on this entire planet were from Amsterdam. They were both young white women; neither seemed to "know" she was "white." It was the coolest thing; they baffled me. I'm so sick of the color issue in America. So Amsterdam may be my "soul mate city." Maybe it's more of a colorblind meltingpot.

2. Something I know how to do: Marketing proposals using PowerPoint. That's what I've been doing all weekend, and must return to it shortly. The people I'm doing this for were ecstatic with my first draft a few hours ago. They had no idea how quickly I threw that thing together. I did in 48-hrs. what normal people do in a week.

3. Something I cannot do: I can't ice skate, can't really rollerblade either. Waaaaa. Waa. Waaaaaa. I've tried both enough times to have figured it out, too. Pisses me off because I rollerskate fairly well. Thought the skill would transfer over. Wonder if something's wrong with how my ankles are made...

4. What attracts me to the opposite sex: Enthusiastic, multi-faceted conversation. I most appreciate a man whose spirit, interest and intellect can move with me from Farakhan to car repair to co-worker issues to J Live, then we crack up singing "A-B-C" by the Jackson Five together -- all within 30 minutes.

5. Something I say most often: "Thank you." But my friend's 15-year-old niece told her to stop saying "thanks" all the time 'cause people take it as a sign of weakness...? "Lawwwwd today," is all I can say to that. (And that's my other favorite saying.)

6. Celebrity Crushes: Tyson Beckford. He kissed me on the lips once and I came this close to going to jail. Had to fight back my inner-slut to keep from jumping his bones right there, outdoors on 3rd Avenue. In front of everybody.

7. People I'd like to see do this exercise: Rocky, my doggie.

Rocky thinks he's a person. I think he thinks he's a little Prince, and I'm his servant, the spoiled brat... (That's
mommie's mookie! smooch-smooch)



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Saturday, October 15




Sean Paul: All Hail "The Trinity"

Out only 2 weeks, Sean Paul's Trinity has already blazed toward the top of the Sound Scan charts, putting Jamaica's exciting dancehall sound dead center of the spotlight.While reading Newsweek online today, a reggae dancehall story featuring superstars Sean Paul and Damian "Junior Gong" Marley naturally caught my attention. Nice piece "introducing" the music, but as is often the case, I came away from it feeling a little like Jadakiss, asking WHY?...
  • Why does black music that's been around as long as dirt suddenly become "official" once the mainstream media finally catches on? Dancehall has been on fire for decades. Why are they just blood clot writing about it, as if it just swooped down from Mars?
  • Why didn't someone the article referred to learn a Major Lesson from hip-hop: black folk don't create "fad" sounds any longer. What we do is mad creative and evolutionary; it's not a "here today" trend, gone tomorrow. Even the Blues is still firmly planted, worldwide.
  • Why did the article similarly quote nay-saying reggae fans, who believe people like Sean Paul are selling out, ruining dancehall by making it more accessible (i.e., commercial). Years ago, a so-called "hip-hop expert" told me Jay-Z was no more good once he came out with songs like Change the Game. I thought this person was totally nuts (or deaf) at the time, but now know I should have just said, "Shut up, fool! Jigga's 'bout to laugh your snobby ass all the way to the World dag-blasted Bank of Def Jam."
  • And Why for chrissakes in the Newsweek article did it almost sound like dancehall legends such as Yellowman, Beenie Man and Shabba Ranks had a just a handful of fans, when these cats were the third largest export out of Jamaica since forever. Right behind Bob Marley and, yaw know... that Bob Marley.

Don't know Why either? Well, just enjoy the article. It's a very nice piece, really. Just a got me thinking a little, that's all.



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Friday, October 14




C. DeLores Tucker - Philadelphia's Finest

R.I.P Dr. C. DeLores Tucker, bell ringer for social change.The civil rights community mourns the passing of political activist C. DeLores Tucker, 78, who died Wednesday near Philadelphia.

Most people may remember Dr. Tucker as the woman who spoke out vehemently against gangsta rap in the mid-nineties, particularly against the NAACP's nomination of Tupac Shakur for an award.

The hip-hop DVD 5 Sides of a Coin takes an unprecedented look at the music from the beginning and includes an exclusive interview with C. DeLores Tucker.  Featured artists include Afrika Bambaataa, Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash, Jazzy Jay, Gil Scott-Heron, Run DMC and numerous others.  Click here for details. But the politically aware knew of this firey national champion for the people long before then. In fact, she had close ties to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his family -- marched right next to him in Selma.

I had the honor of working with Dr. Tucker a couple of times years ago in her capacity as board chairman and founder of Philly's Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolence. This statuesque woman was no joke. She was graceful and personable, but not at all one to skirt around an issue.


Known for always wearing an elegant turban, she looked more like she'd started out strutting across a models' catwalk than storming the halls of Congress or corporate America. But she didn't. She started out staring down racial discrimination at
the tender age of sixteen.

Job well done, Mother Tucker. In fact, with all due respect, you did it fabulously gangsta -- as one of the boldest and baddest ever. R.I.P.


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Thursday, October 13




If Bush had a hammer, he'd a hammered Matt Lauer

The one morning that I don't watch NBC's Today Show, George Bush acts like Nas got to him: shook, made to look. Like a doe trapped by headlights. Justa blinking, betrayed by his body language.

Here's how the
Washington Post tells the story of the Prez's obvious discomfort yesterday during Matt Lauer's interview, which took place in NOLA where Bush had been hammering away at a new home for a Katrina victim:

The president was a blur of blinks, taps, jiggles, pivots and shifts.... When Lauer asked if Bush, after a slow response to Katrina, was "trying to get a second chance to make a good first impression," Bush blinked 24 times in his answer. When asked why Gulf Coast residents would have to pay back funds(?!?) but Iraqis would not, Bush blinked 23 times and hitched his trousers up by the belt. When the questioning turned to (Supreme Court nominee Harriett) Miers, Bush blinked 37
times in a single answer...

The late great Sam Cooke's live rendition of If I Had a Hammer is one of many classics on this CD.Guess I'll watch the Today Show tomorrow. Wanna see if Matt's head shows any dents. 'Cause if Bush had a hammer, he'd a hammered Matt that morning. He'd a hammered Matt that evening, all over this land...

---------------------------------------

My, but it's gettin' hot in herre. Check out what Minister Farrakhan says he's been given proof of: Bomb, Not Katrina, Broke Dyke.

"They found two types of explosives used by the military," he said, without naming the source, adding that an 8m crater had been blown in the dyke.

Blink... Blink-blink... Blink?



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OutKast: Boys Gone "Idlewild"

OutKast double CD set, Speakerboxx The Love Below, multi-platinuminized right out the gate, further solidifying their unique place as leaders of the rap pack.
If your old soul aches for treasures from days gone by, try the all-new OutKast. They're gearing up to release the 1930s-inspired single from their forthcoming film, Idlewild. The soundtrack hits on December 6; the film premieres a month later, in January.

The exceptionally talented rap duo, Andre 3000 and Big Boi, told Rolling Stone magazine this:

The first single, "Idlewild Blues," is a jazzy romp loaded with drum stomps, muffled trumpets and piano; Dre gives his best Cab Calloway impersonation, and Big flips his hallmark spitfire rhymes. "It's a juke-joint jam," says Big. "I don't know if you can categorize it as a rap song."
Well, tis almost the season: they're (almost) baaaaaaaaaaack! And coming back in jazz mode, too?

By the way, didn't you just love Dre's hip-hop instrumental take on My Favorite Things on his half of the double-CD? I plan to soon compile my list of Best Drum Programming in a Hip-hop Track. This phenomenal beat will be near the top of that list.


Clicks to Miles Davis catalog, but explore as you like







Wednesday, October 12




Neo Soul: Is It Live or Memorex?

There's a stimulating discussion starting over at Neo Soul Today, and if you're a fan of this music, you probably have your own two-cent to add. Basically, the question has been posed, "Should the word 'Neo' be dropped from the term 'Neo Soul'?"

Aretha Franklin's 30 Greatest Hits album is back-to-back fireErykah Badu's CD Worldwide Underground was considered by many fans a bit lean compared to her previous sets

In certain music circles, this conversation is getting about as heated as the smoke-free restaurant issue. Soon, people will start ceding from the Rhythm Nation. Watch: somebody's gonna design a separate flag over this one day and take up arms!

Personally, I'm an advocate for keeping the term Neo Soul. When I'm digging through the "Soul" crates at my favorite music store, I'd like that to remain a pure stroll down Memory Lane, a treasure hunt through classics that have withstood the test of time. This should remain a special, private club for the likes of Smokey Robinson, Al Green, Isaac Hayes, The Emotions, and Betty Wright.

When I'm feeling the urge for something new, I like the idea of having a separate section to search, full of young innovators such as Musiq, Angie Stone, Yahzarah, Glenn Lewis, Joss Stone, and Conya Doss.


As wonderful as they are, it just doesn't seem fitting to place them in the same club as Johnny Taylor or Dianna Ross. And I would think the new artists, out of utmost respect for the legends, would be okay with being classified Neo Soul, too.

What say you?


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Alicia Keys couldn't even keep this "secret"

With The Diary of Alicia Keys, R&B's most notable singer-pianist-composer has more than lived up to the promise of her debut Songs in A Minor.  On this one, she's pushed beyond her flirtation with old-school soul and venturing into the modern world, even hiring top-producer Timbaland for assistance.

Alicia Keys may not tell your secrets, but this racy mannequin in the window of a Victoria's Secret store is talking up a controversial storm. Located in the tony Tyson's Corner mall outside of D.C., this (pantless) boudoir-themed window pants hot and heavy -- just three doors down from Gap Kids.Victoria's Secret is Out! And the tea and crumpets crowd is not happy about it.

Soccer moms, church ladies, et al are up in arms; local talk shows are overwhelmed with hysterical callers. Not so surprisingly, Victoria's not-so-secretive windows are sparking protests and calls for a boycott. They've all but called Jesse Jackson... (Oops, wrong crowd :-)


A quote in Newsweek from one of the nervous Nellies:
"Where do they go next, live sex acts in the window?" asks Andrea Lafferty, executive director of the conservative Traditional Values Coalition in Washington, D.C.

And if they do, they ought to call A. Keys! Not only does Alicia have the purrrrfect song for this edgy V.S. marketing campaign, she certainly has looks as lovely as this dolly in the window.


Clicks to Miles Davis catalog, but explore as you like







Tuesday, October 11




George Bush Doesn't Like DVDs

A recent issue of Newsweek carried a piece about the nail-bitting that went on among George Bush's staff toward the end of his last, notorious vacation. Sounds like they all but played Rock, Paper, Scissors to determine who'd "win" the painful job of telling the boss that 1.) he clearly was out of the loop about the disaster then unfolding along the Gulf Coast, so 2.) he'd have to cut short his vacation.

That's because, as Newsweek wrote:
... Bush prides himself in ignoring the distracting chatter, the caterwauling of the media elites, the Washington political buzz machine. He has boasted that he doesn't read the papers. But it is not clear what President Bush does read or watch, aside from the occasional biography and an hour or two of ESPN here and there.
So members of Bush's staff made up a DVD of Hurricane Katrina newscasts. So that he could catch-up while on Air Force One, en route to the Gulf Coast.

That's probably when his Laffy Taffy Condi Gurl came up for air, saying "Oh, give me that DVD -- you can't handle the truth. Here. Watch this one instead!"

So here's the DVD collection I imagine the good Doctor Rize might have popped up with, so homie would feel at ease before hitting the Big Easy:

Starring Mickey Rourke, Robert DeNiro and a smoldering Lisa Bonnet, Angel Heart might have given The Man a heads up before landing in NOLA.Eve's Bayou might have helped the Prez prepare for the vodoo curses he would receive for arriving so late.Angela Bassett stars in this story about interracial love, set in backwoods Louisiana in the sixties. Although Laura may find this one pretty interesting, too.


Perhaps KanYe should have asked Madame Dominatrix here... Once promoted, Doctor Feelgood, clearly feeling her oats, flashed the world this daring Who's Yo Mommie look.  Straight outta Victoria's Secret closet? Who says George Bush doesn't like people in black? Particularly of the sexy, WMD boot-wearing variety.


Clicks to Miles Davis catalog, but explore as you like







Monday, October 10




Eat Cool J Cookies

Forget Oreos. Eat Cool J Cookies!
Remember that line of The Toddster's, from back in the day? I sure do... For some odd reason, it's one of my favorite rap lines of all time.

I heard that classic cut of LL's on the radio a few days ago, and giggled like a school girl. And haven't been able to get the line out of my head since. I knew I'd have to post it here, but had no idea in what context I could just up and write: "Forget Oreos. Eat Cool J Cookies!" Until now...


I stumbled upon this post at
ClayCane.blogspot.com, and knew right away: Here's my chance to sneak in Uncle L's crazy line. So here's an excerpt from Clay's entry about the VH1 Hip-hop Honors show, which I haven't caught yet:
Rap star Nelly and comedian Wanda Sykes portraying LL Cool J and R&B songstress Ciara at the VH1 Hip-hop Honors They began by honoring the original kat daddy of hip-hop ... yes, lawd ... LL Cool J. An excellent imitation of LL came from Nelly who was letting everyone know he is the "NEW BITCH" for hip-hop butch queen body! Sadly, Wanda "Ciara" Sykes flopped all over the stage looking like a back-back-back-up dancer for the Pussy Cat Dolls. LL hits the stage and .......... DAMN ... Apollonia called me immediately saying: "I WANT HIM ON TOP OF ME!" I admitted between Nelly with all the body and over 35 year-old body from LL Cool J -- I was grinding on the couch!!! Yes, lawddddddddddddd! Also, his performance gave me the time to acknowledge his flawless nose job! Go ahead, LL you snatch the trophy for butch queen face over 30!

I think Clay's already forgotten Oreos and is like, "Cookie! Me want cookie!!"

Thanks, Clay, for the highly entertaining wrap-up of the show. That was mad hilarious. Hell, made me feel I was right there watching it, too.


Clicks to Miles Davis catalog, but explore as you like







Friday, October 7




New from Me'Shell: "Dance of the Infidels"

Me'Shell N'degeOcello's Dance of the Infidels winning rave reviews from jazz critics. Be among the first to hear sound clips here.
The season's changed; who can believe it's already October? But suddenly, Neo Soul fans feel the music landscape's heating up, given the warm reception the jazz world is giving Meshell Ndegeocello, whose Dance of the Infidels debuted recently.

And in she apparently flits, like the graceful butterfly adorning her new CD art. Like the monarch, Meshell's metamorphosis seems complete, with her drawing startling, new comparisons to no less than Miles Davis and Weather Report.
Read a glowing review of Me'Shell Ndegeocello's new CD here.
This is not the soul surviving Me'Shell NdegeOcello we knew, but a heavy-weight diva who doesn't even sing or drop spoken-word science on this set. Rather, this fierce bassist orchestrates the likes of Cassandra Wilson and Lalah Hathaway in providing the jazz vocals.

As composer-producer, she also brought in legendary drummer Jack DeJohnette, whose collaborations read like a Who's Who including Keith Jarrett, Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea.

Whether you're a highly discriminating jazz fan and/or a die-hard Meshell fanatic, don't miss these massive CD reviews in which Meshell's already winning critical acclaim:

Amazon
Village Voice

ViqiFrench


Clicks to Miles Davis catalog, but explore as you like







Thursday, October 6




New Dwele CD: "Some Kinda" baby-maker

Sssh... Get Dwele's oh-so-steamy love-maker, Some Kinda, here at Amazon.com Yup: Dwele's new CD, Some Kinda, is a one-hundred percent Neo Soul baby-maker. It's that intimate, that seductive. Music to make passionate love to. Honestly, this is a first-to-last track aphrodisiac in a manner I've not heard since Marvin Gaye's hypnotic I Want You, a soul music classic.
Marvin Gaye's I Want You is considered by many the sexiest soul music CD ever.  Now, Detroit's Dwele of Slum Village fame puts Motown back on the love-making map.  Click for details
Some Kinda is a jazzy, funky, purring mindf***. In today's bumptious hip-hop world, this sultry CD is a subtle but powerful charmer. The strong silent type.

Ladies, Dwele is quite the sensuous crooner. The man coos everything you wish your guy would open up and say. In other words, Dwele's got major game. The kind you'd kick Boris Kodjoe, Shemar Moore, and Brad Pitt to the curb for, if Dwele approached you in a club whispering words this way.

Fellas, if you're planning the night when you'll make your big move on a new lady in your life, get this CD. Don't mean to be crass, but by the time the second or third track ends, you ought to hear Victoria's Secret being whispered in your ear. You'll be smoking those proverbial cigarettes well before Dwele reaches track fifteen...

CD Review continued at Amazon.com

ViqiFrench.com


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Looking for Dat Laffy Taffy?

Billboard:
Want Dat Laffy Taffy post?
Click this Archive file.
Ummm... bubble gummy!

PS The only treat I'm giving out this Halloween is: Yes sirree... I'm getting a whole tub of Laffy Taffy to give out Halloween. Click for details
In order to get some, kids have to show me The Laffy Taffy Dance!


Clicks to Miles Davis catalog, but explore as you like







Wednesday, October 5




Jay-Z in Fortune magazine

Not to be upstaged by his R&B paramour, Beyonce, rap mogul Shawn Carter gets a major magazine cover of his own: Fortune. Reporter Nadira Hira was given the immense honor of free range to Hova's corporate life for several weeks. Here's a sample of the killer, two-part, upcoming story she filed, titled America's Hippest CEO:

"The fans are loving it. On a warm Sunday evening in June, one of hip-hop’s hottest stars, Kanye West, is spitting rhymes for 50,000 fans at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. West is a bona fide superstar: three Grammys for his first album, millions in sales, a Time cover in the works. But all of a sudden, the crowd turns away from him. A single figure has run onto the stage, prompting such a deafening roar that West is forced to stop and join the adulation, leading the crowd in a chant of “Hova! Hova!”—shorthand for J-Hova, the latest self-styled nickname of the rapper Jay-Z. Though West is the headliner, it is Jay-Z who steals the show.

The next morning at 9:30 a.m., at the Midtown Manhattan offices of Def Jam Recordings, which distributes Kanye West’s music, Jay-Z’s weekend appearance is all the buzz. Two dozen staffers, gathered for their weekly meeting in the 28th-floor conference room, gossip about the god-worship. Yet when their boss strides in, fresh from his regular 8 a.m. briefing, he calmly rifles through the agenda—planning, budgets, promotional deals—ignoring the Giants Stadium frenzy. Which is a little odd, given that the boss is a man named Shawn Carter—better known as Jay-Z himself. Welcome to the year’s most intriguing corner-office experiment..."

A producer-friend and I were discussing The Game recently, when he commented that "rap music is the new basketball," the stairway to super-stardom that many young men dream of climbing. If this is true, then Jay-Z parallels Michael Jordan on several levels. To quote his insight from the remix of Diamonds Are Forever: I ain't a businessman, I'm a business, man.

To that truism, high fives everywhere slap hard and high.

Link: Rapping with Jay-Z: 'Life Is the Bridge of a Song'

ViqiFrench.com


Clicks to Miles Davis catalog, but explore as you like