Wednesday, November 23

Oops upside the head

Murder Inc.'s money laundering trial has taken a surprising turn involving 50 Cent.
My intention was to stay as detached as possible from the Murder Inc. trial, but it's already too dramatic to easily dismiss. According to, days 3 and 4 of the record label's money laundering trial has turned into a sideshow about who shot 50 Cent.
In an effort to establish the close ties between the Inc.'s CEO Irv Gotti and kingpin "Supreme" McGriff, the prosecution has presented text messages the two exchanged when 50 Cent was shot, alleging the messsages prove they were behind the rapper's shooting. And, the prosecution's theory goes, if they could collaborate on an attempted murder, they certainly could launder money together through the once top-dog music label.
After listening to the prosecution's text evidence and argument, the judge decided not to allow this testimony to be presented to the jury, saying it was a distraction that had nothing to do with the money laundering case. I know that Fiddy is relieved as hell not to be any further embroiled in this mess.
In the past, 50 Cent has said the person who shot him was someone with no ties to Murder Inc. I'm reminded of that rhyme popularized by Wyclef Jean (and others): Everytime I try to get out, they keep pulling me in.

CNN decorates America's top war anti-hero, Dick Cheyney, with an ugly X.

First Condi Rice is demon-eyezed by the Washington Post, now this: Dick Cheyney is visibly nixed by CNN with a big "X" during a televised speech on Monday. Garsh, some people just can't take a hint. Condi Rice 'demon-eyezed' by Washington Post.

But when Bush fell off the heezy fasheezy, it was all his own doing -- not that of any media organization. Hmmm, we'll stay tuned to see what happens next with this trio. George Bush took a tumble off his segue.  But played it off, played it cool. If we're lucky, maybe White House doors will start hitting them hard in the backside.
How the hell can a grown woman -- a doggone teacher-- romantically pursue her 14-year-old male student, repeatedly have sex with him, get busted, and yet get off scot free? This, according to the Washington Post, is how it happened for blonde bombshell Debra Lafave, sick-azz teacher of the year:
Pretty child molester gets kid glove treatment?The boy said he and Lafave, a newlywed at the time, got to know each other on their way back from a class trip to SeaWorld Orlando in May 2004. He also said Lafave told him her marriage was in trouble and that she was aroused by the fact that having sex with him was not allowed.
Debra Lafave's attorney argued that she was "too pretty" to be sent to prison, that she'd be raw meat for the lady inmates. The victim's mother said the media scrutiny was just too much for her son and family, so wanted the case dismissed. So off skips Mrs. Lafave into the sunset with a mere slap on the wrist. She loses her teaching credential, cannot come near a school, undergoes house arrest and then probation.
So a ditzy damsel in distress does disgusting immoral deed and she's rescued from the big bad lesbian wolves? Only if she's a perky blonde, apparently. Seems to me time in the slammer might have fit right in with her sexual appetite. Moreover, though there's an order preventing her from making money from her exposed deviant behavior, I'll bet she shows up nude in a magazine or movie before you can holla Michael Jackson.
What is this double double-standard? I won't even go into the obvious argument, "What if she'd been a male teacher who'd done this to a kid?" Just let the record show that if I had been that out-of-control teacher, my sexy black woman buns would be under the jail by now, and rightly so.
Lord, America is going to hell in a handbasket.

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Tuesday, November 22

American Music Awards: The Biggest Loser

Cedric The Entertainer, host of the American Music Awards.
Tonight's the American Music Awards, a show I haven't been able to get through in years. I wouldn't mind seeing performances by Mariah Carey and Cyndi Lauper, and my homeboy, Cedric The Entertainer, ought to be a great host. However I have little interest in seeing Kenny Chesney squirming on stage just because he was married a minute to Renee Zellweger, and the Rolling Stones squirming on stage just because Mick's too old and creaky to zip around the way he used to.

The American Music Awards is a nice idea, but I suppose I'd like this thing better "de-Americanized." I mean, I consider myself a person with diverse taste in music. But the truth is, some of this stuff bores me thrown in together this way. Rob Thomas then Bow Wow then Hilary Duff. This is just wrong -- all wrong.
By the way, who exactly is Rob Thomas? Why would I want to see Hilary's duff? And Bow Wow? Big friggin' woof!
Perhaps I'd be more excited if I were more a fashion bug. Then at least I'd care to see what the presenters such as Toni Braxton and Eve would be wearing. But the scripts are usually so corny and stiff and tired, not even the idea of teeny-tiny-diva-fashions turns me on enough to tune in.
I see that Ciara's "performing" tonight... (yawnnnnn). At the recent Vibe Awards, Ciara's penultimate act was to ask the audience, "Y'all wanna see me dance?" Ultimately, we should have screamed a worldwide "no!" Because Ciara's heebie-jeebie zombie popping made my butt twitch. And as much as I like Pharrell, he'll probably have Gwen Stefani with him, singing that innane hook, "You got it like that." As immensely talented as Pharrell is, he sure knows how to screw up a perfectly fabulous beat.
To me, the American Music Awards haven't been enjoyable since the days of the Jacksons. Since the days before Janet exposed her boob and got herself ex-communicated from such mega-televised events. Since the days before Michael exposed his weiner and got himself ex-communicated from the light of day.
Maybe I'll just watch The Biggest Loser tonight instead. Tonight's episode features the contestants scaling the side of a building with the amount of their weight loss in coins strapped to their meaty backs. They'll probably look a little like Ciara does dancing. Maybe just a little more jiggy. I mean jiggly.

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Thursday, November 17

Mary don'tcha you weep, tell Mimi not to moan

Poor Mary J. Blige. She's disgusted by her new cover shot for Vibe. When receiving the magazine's VLegend Award at the big event a few days ago, Mary's acceptance speech included a swipe at editor-in-chief Mimi Valdes, whom she feels sabotaged her photo. Now a war of words -- Mary vs. Mimi -- has ensued.

Mary: "I'm very, very disappointed at the cover this time, so Mimi, me and you really need to talk, as women. I really hated the way you guys shaved off my head, pushed my forehead way back behind my ears. I'm just insulted... But I thank you, and I appreciate this award.”

Mimi: "How your hair looks on that cover is between you and your hairstylist. I swear, your hairline is no different than the Polaroids you saw at the shoot..."

Mary, Mary, Mary... Don't you know PR 101 by now? Never call attention to something that no one would paid attention to -- not until you yourself start yapping about it.

Besides, many of the world's most glamorous women got their wigs pushed back (by God), too. Look at beautiful Susan Taylor of Essence. Image Hosted by

What about elegant supermodel Iman?

And don't forget about the most powerful woman in America: Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice.Condi Rice: 4 Head.

Perhaps the constant manipulation of your hair throughout your career has taken a toll. Plus, did you see Mimi's own fatal-looking photo on Vibe's website? Can't imagine that Mimi actually approved this picture of herself to run, either...Mimi Valdes, editor-in-chief of Vibe magazine, is shown on the right.  You might not have known which of these were her, based on Mary J. Blige's criticism of the magazine's photo skills. Well, maybe Mimi should consider hiring a different photographer and/or photo editor. Maybe someone new at Vibe would better have your back. And hers.

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Wednesday, November 16

You Don't Know Me: T.I., Mariah and Neo-con short fuse

That does it. This proves that we Americans are the biggest suckas on the planet and we deserve all the bullshit we're getting. Forty percent of us are still drinking the Republican Kool-aid. The remaining 60 percent is largely just now putting down that poisonous concoction and coming too damned late to the 'Splain That WMD Crap party. The officials we elected to represent the majority of the now Kool-aidless 60 percent -- the Democrats -- are just now wiping red juice stains from their far too "mummed" mouths.

What am I ranting about? This! I said it before and I'll say it again: "Dick is going DOWN, down, d o w n . . ."

The CEO of every major oil corporation told Congress a bold-faced LIE, denying their companies met with Cheyney & Crew pre-Iraq. But the lying's not going to be a big problem. Because the Republicans insisted the CEOs not be sworn in when they "testified" about their head-spinning oil profits. What kind of ish is that?!

When I was a pre-teen my favorite older girl cousin, F., called herself educating me on how to deal with boys. F.'s emphatic mantra was, "If you find a fool, bump his head."

Well, the people of America ought to be suffering one, enormous headache by now. Because if this were boy-girl relations, there'd be a handful of folk off giggling and slapping five somewhere. Because the trusting, idiot, unquestioning American people -- once again -- have been f*****.


On a lighter note, I watched some of the Vibe Awards last night. I could rip the show to shreds -- beginning with all of that too tired lip synching. But I'll skip the knit-picking and just get to the point: What the hell is up with Mariah Carey's body?

  • Did she get another breast enlargement?
  • Did she just gain weight, making her boobs look fatter?
  • Do people actually find her shape attractive?
  • Are her friends and family woefully egging her on (to Tit-ville) because they're afraid of losing a paycheck from her?
  • Will she ever find a stylist with the guts to fluff her flat-ass hair?
  • Am I the only person she's starting to look "Sweet Polly Purebred-ish" to?

Anyway, congrats girl for winning all those awards. Dig your Summer 2005 anthem, We Belong Together. Just don't know who could possibly fit in a room together with you. Not with those globe-sized boobs.

PS Shout out to T.I., who looked extremely handsome at the podium in his decorator tux, wearing a "You Don't Know Me" grin.


If you've ever had to try to help someone understand the WHY? of the French riots, Toledo riots, Hurricane Katrina "looting," or any other crisis in which the masses have seemingly lost their ever-loving minds and destroyed/pilfered property, here's one of the best essays I can recall reading to explain it.

It starts with this powerful quote:

"If there is no struggle, there is no progress," said the African American abolitionist Frederick Douglass. "Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation are men who want crops without ploughing up the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters ... Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will."

Halfway in, the piece wove in this crucial finding:

After the 1967 riots in American cities, President Johnson set up the Kerner commission. It concluded: "What white Americans have never fully understood - but what the Negro can never forget - is that white society is deeply implicated in the ghetto. White institutions created it, white institutions maintain it, and white society condones it." How else was such a damning indictment of racial discrimination in the US ever going to land on the president's desk?

So please check it out: Riots Are a Class Act - And Often, The Only Alternative. And please, email the article to anyone you believe needs a little light shed on the subject.


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Tuesday, November 15

Poppin' Poses: Rahsaan, Madonna & Michael Jackson

Stand back: Madonna's back today, doing it Big Willie Mae style with a free, worldwide concert at AOL and beyond.The whole damn world's about to strike a pose and get our disco groove on! At 5 p.m. EST today(11/15/05), Madonna's live concert will broadcast worldwide at from the stage at Koko's in London. Her new CD, Confessions On a Dancefloor -- which officially hits the market today -- already is the #1 best selling music item at Amazon. The new album is described as non-stop dance with beats reminiscent of S.O.S. Band, Donna Summer, Tom Tom Club and Blondie. Sounds like a sizzler.

Rahsaan Patterson continues to redefine soul music with his third body-moving collection, 'After Hours'. Meanwhile at Seeing Black, one of the richest but most underappreciated voices in black music speaks about his latest album, After Hours. "Visibility plays a major factor" admits Rahsaan Patterson , noting also that he's in competition with "artists who are on late night talk shows and have videos on MTV." (Hey, Madonna's to blame. It was she who made the video party all that it is. On the heels of Michael Jackson, of course.)
Beat it!  Michael Jackson has left the building, country and Ladies Room -- quick, fast and in a hurry!
Speaking of Michael Jackson, I'm hoping he got more minutes... While at a mall in his new homeland of Bahrain (since y'all chased him out of America!), a "headscarf-wearing" MJ -- (meaning a burka?)-- is said to have ducked in the Ladies Room to beat some (more) makeup on his infamous face.
Much to his chagrin, a female fan recognized the man in the mirror and begin snapping his photo with her cell phone. Michael allegedly chased her (wait: through the mall?!) to retrieve the camera phone, but she refused to give up the goods without pay.

Sounds like she managed to do what the Santa Monica D.A. couldn't. Which was photograph the King of Pop fairly nude-faced. Don't know how much cellies cost in Bahrain, but the contents of hers are worth a small fortune.

Paris is still burning.While getting caught up on last week's emails, this Paris Riot article written by an African American living there caught my eye. The piece is at Pop + Politics and compares the "civil unrest" there to South Central L.A. after the Rodney King verdict. (I love that term: civil unrest. As if super polite citizens are sauntering in a ballroom, a bit anxious and hand-wringing. At most, tapping a toe and wanting to burst out dancing.)

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Monday, November 14

Jazz Notes: Carmen Lundy vs. New Jazz Generation

Jazz vocalist Carmen Lundy has released a live double-CD set, Jazz from the New Songbook. Few jazz vocalists today can turn out a standard the way that Carmen Lundy does. In fact, there are several classics that I paid little attention to until I heard her cover them. Two examples: My Favorite Things and Love For Sale. This sultry sister opens her mouth and out streams heady champaigne on a romantic night scented with the essence of a dozen perfect roses.

Carmen recently blessed her loyal, cult-like international fan base with a live double CD, Jazz and the New Songbook: Live at the Madrid. On it, she is joined by jazz notables such as trombonist Steve Turre, her brother bassist Curtis Lundy as well as Nathan East, pianist Billy Childs and many others.

'The Street Musician' by jazz great Carmen LundyAs if her hynotic vocal talent isn't enough, Carmen also is an accomplished fine artist. Her bold, expressionist style with a brush is part Outsider, part moderne. She's another example of artistic talent in one area extrapolating to another.

For more on Carmen Lundy, check: BlogCritics 11/04 Jazz-Not-Jazz 02/05 BlogCritics 02/05

That said, and so much more I could say about Carmen Lundy, this scares me:

New Jazz Generation featuring Norah Jones, Joss Stone and others. I imagine this is an enjoyable album. But I'm bugging a bit about this crew being "crowned" the New Jazz Generation.

I own music by Norah Jones and Joss Stone; like them both a lot. I've previewed Jamie Cullen, and he's a bit bouncy for my jazz taste. I'm not familiar with Amy Winehouse nor Katie Melua, but I'm curious about what they offer that earned them a slot on this CD.

Just don't know where this music is headed. Joss Stone is a helluva blue-eyed soul singer, but this does not make her "jazz-able." Christina Aguilerra is a helluv an over-singing pop singer, but Herbie Hancock puts her on his album? Queen Latifah crosses over to drop a jazz CD, and we embrace it just because...? (I'll give Queen major props for selecting a dynamic menu of songs, but Ella and Sarah must be so confused somewhere...)

There must be a way to bring fresh voices to the genre without diluting its standards and fuzzying-up its boundaries this way. Pop is cool, just keep pop out of jazz. Maybe that theory about "extrapolating" across artistic disciplines doesn't hold as true across genres within the same discipline? I mean, Carmen Lundy sure can paint, but that doesn't mean she can rap.

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Friday, November 11

Veterans Day Diggables: Beyonce, Oprah & A bad rap for Paris Rap

Yeeehawww... A day off, so I've already watched lots and lots of TV. I plan to honor all war veterans -- including my dad and favorite uncle -- with prayer. But first, here's what's on my mind so far this lazy day...

Thanks to ObiFromSouthLondon for sending this link Paris + Rap. It features a frighteningly boneheaded op-ed piece from the New York Times, essentially blaming American rap music for the problems in Paris and surrounding cities. Warning: This guy is an offensive, racist nut.


Aretha Franklin and Mohammed Ali received important awards from George Bush yesterday at the White House. Shout out to my #1 girl -- Miss Aretha Franklin, Queen of Soul -- who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for achievement in the arts. Another G.O.A.T. receiving America's highest civilian award was Muhammed Ali. It's about time on both accounts, and this is all real cool but... a) The Greatest clearly wouldn't have fought George Bush's dirty war, and b) too bad The Champ didn't have a Thriller in Manilla flashback and bop him like Kanye did.


Chicago's been buzzing all week about a Beyonce sighting. This morning I learned why she was here. She and her mom, Tina Knowles, taped an Oprah segment promoting their fashion line, The House of Dereon. Just to prove how twisted word gets, my friend C.M. told me Beyonce was here to promote a new perfume called Pumpkin! Well, she did promote a perfume at Marshall Field's. But it's Tommy Hilfiger's, who pays her to brand his True Star scent. (Pumkin?!)

In any case, I'll have to call my most fashion savvy friend, C.W. in Philly, a very catty, funny as heck woman who once ripped into Beyonce's clothing line like a bloody drag queen. I can hear C. now: "Beyonce's is a bold line... A Country Hooker silhouette you'll rarely see. Certainly not on a red carpet."

This outfit is not from Beyonce's House of Derion fashion line, but it somewhat indicates the surprising direction the line took. The powers that be behind the H.O.D. call it "forties inspired," a nod to Beyonce's stylish, seamstress grandma. Well, that they've achieved. It is all very dolled-up "Shuge," ready for a night at the shake shack with "Mister."


And more from today's Oprah... She devoted the other half of the show to the Broadway production she's among the producers of: The Color Purple. It opens on my b-day, December 1st, so my getaway wheels are churning. Oprah Winfrey and Quincy Jones are among the producers of The Color Purple, The Musical, which debuts on Broadway on December 1, 2005.

O. flew the entire cast to the Chi to do two numbers live on stage, and both were good. The song "Hell No" is a word-for-word take-off of the riveting dialogue from one of Oprah's famous scenes: All my life I had to fight...

Oprah's co-producers for the Broadway play were in the audience, including Q. I was thinking they should chat with Beyonce and Tina backstage. Some of the hoighty-toighty fashions from H.O.D. would fit right in the musical. Miss Ceilie can sell 'em in that boutique. Meoooow.


Last but not least, 50 Cent and Joy Bryant were on The View, promoting Get Rich or Die Tryin'. Star Jones had seen the movie and was sincerely complimentary of it, as was I in a post two days ago. Fiddy was so personable, especially with the cute banter between him and that crazy Joy, who asked what she should call him. He told her "Curtis," like his granny does. She playfully wondered if he was fronting her on her age. He had those babes wrapped, simply charmed. It was fabulous!

I'm sensing a peculiar dynamic about the flick, though. While Get Rich may not be highbrow enough for many mainstream critics (except Roger Ebert, who rated it 3 out of 4 stars), it may be too highbrow for some chicks in the hood...?

I listened to hip-hop radio last night, where people who'd seen Get Rich were invited to call in their opionions to Power 92's Donnie Devoe. The first girl liked it as much as I did; the next two hated it. One said she fell asleep; the other said it was like a Wayans movie. (These must be young women who don't know Tony Montana from a Toyota Corolla.)

I couldn't have that nutty "Wayans" comment be the one that stuck! So I called in my fifty-cent and think I managed to convince Donnie the film was well worth his dollars.

Whew, how the heck did I get in the business of doing damage control for 50 Cent?!? This brother owes me a check! LOL

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Wednesday, November 9

Fiddy's flick: Two dope thumbs up!

Click for reviews of the memoir 'From Pieces to Weight', 50 Cent is unflinchingly honest about his drug-dealing mother who was murdered when he was eight, his own drug past and everything else in this raw, literate chronicle of his rise to the top of the Billboard charts.
I'm so excited: I really like 50 Cent's Get Rich or Die Tryin' film. A lot! There will be mainstream critics who bash this movie because 50 is no Denzel or Fishburn; there will be blacks who bash it because it's centered in the drug trade and violence. But somewhere beyond all of that is a rich, ambitious film that was well worth the weight and incessant hype.

So if you asked me 21 Questions about why you should check it out, I'd give you these 21 Answers...
  1. The film was terribly engrossing, with never a dull moment. High quality production with high caliber touches everywhere. Interestingly, you are not hit over the head with the rap aspect of this film, numerous concert performances, etc. The music's there, to be sure, but Fiddy's movement in the game and the fascinating underbelly of New York are the real story.
  2. Fiddy's acting was better than I expected. No, he's no Denzel, but who the heck is? Loosen up and don't go expecting a Denzel performance, and you just may enjoy what you do get.
  3. This movie showcased a work ethic that "many men" would do well to emulate. Not at all condoning Fiddy's prior profession, but can't help but tip my hat to the discipline that he learned in the drug game and how he applied that focus to get where he is today.
  4. Terrence Howard cuts the hot-dang fool! Terrence is a bit of a Denzel. His character was as crazy and compelling as Denzel's in Training Day.
  5. The cinematography was hot. If you pay attention to visual impact, camera tricks, moody lighting, etc., then director Jim Sheridan made a nice bit of arty love for our eyes.
  6. The entire cast was on point. Whatever Fiddy lacked in acting experience, everyone else pulled through with and gave the overall movie a lift.
  7. There's a jaw-dropping scene with lots of wet, naked menz!! Can't remember if I'd seen this done on Oz, but it looked fresh to death.
  8. There was believable love chemistry between Fiddy and Joy Bryant. A sweet, strong love between a thug and his redbone goodie two-shoed squeeze.
  9. I thought Fiddy's mumbling would be annoying. But for the most part, I understood him just fine.
  10. The opening scene is a monster. And that's all I'll say about that.
  11. Bill Duke is a monster. "
  12. Dude from HBO's Oz -- Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje -- is awesome (yummy chocolate!).
  13. Quincy Jones & Co., of course, made a sophisticated musical score.
  14. When thugs cry, sometimes they're just faking the funk. Well, that's what Fiddy's tears looked like to me: liquid plastic. If you like special effex, then you'll like that somebody seemed to have gotten paid top dollar to create this man's stiff as hell tear streaks. I could be wrong, but those tears looked store-bought!
  15. The boy who played Fiddy as a nine-year-old looked just like him and did a nice acting job.
  16. Fiddy's skin looked pretty good. I don't think it was just the make-up, either. Maybe he, too, has been using that miracle acne product that Alicia, Jessica and Diddy are endorsing.
  17. If you want to better understand street drug organizations, here's another good peak inside.
  18. There were plenty of belly laughs, mostly delivered by Terrence Howard. But even cold-mugging Fiddy got his comedic thing on some, too. It was nice to see him loosened up; it was a good look.
  19. I loved seeing the relationship between Fiddy and his mom. She seemed like a sweetie and you really feel his loss and trauma in the film.
  20. It was cool seeing Fiddy's very white, toothy smile. Ain't nothing as sexy as a rich chocolate gangsta with gleaming teefus and no fronts!
  21. And lawd, when Fiddy and his girl are making bucka-nekkit love and he flips her over on her tummy and kisses her there, all the ladies in the house went owwww! One woman seated down front actually jumped to her feet -- church-style -- and waved her hands in the air, holla'd like she just didn't care!! I think Fiddy kinda hits a worldwide GGGG*spot, y'all.

Do not "wait" to see this movie. I have never purchased any of Fiddy's music, but the budding actor Curtis Jackson could certainly get another eight bucks out of me for this flick. Just go see it with moderate expectations, as I did. Then you, too, may be pleasantly surprised.

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Get Vic'd and Leave Cryin'

50 Cent's movie, Get Rich Or Die Tryin' hits the theaters today.  Wishing him all the best.This disgruntled critic already has seen Fiddy's new movie, Get Rich or Die Tryin', and I'm skipping work this afternoon to see it for myself. Obviously splitting early to shell out my hard-earned cash to Mr. Magic Shop/Candy Stick won't help me get rich. Let's just hope I don't agree with the critic. I'd hate to die tryin' to leave the theater early, cryin'.

I'll be sliding into my comfy seat with fairly low expectations. But I do hope that C.J. surprises me. I also hope that Quincy Jones's score for Get Rich delivers on the promise of his involvement... Hopefully Q's brilliant mood-setters won't be the only impressive aspect of the flick.

Whatever this turns out to be, Al B. Sure to give you my fifty cent. Oop, did I say "Al B. Sure"? My bad. Really, I've already adjusted my mental dial on that. No such face will I be staring into for the next few hours. Al B. Sure!
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Tuesday, November 8

Fast forwards

At 45 karats, the literally priceless Notorious H.O.P.E. diamond is the world's most famous.  This blue whale allegedly has cursed with death all who've ever owned it.  It is no longer the world's largest though, despite being larger than a quarter.  The Star of Africa weighs in at a whopping 430 karats. Take it from Kanye West, who "took" it from Shirley Bassey (without her permission): diamonds really are forever, and ever-ever, and... So say the new black African part owners of DeBeers. These South African brothers are a girl's best friends! Particularly if they ensure the company does better by the miners.
Script-flipping isn't just for rappers any more. We saw Martha Stewart get out of the hole with two TV shows awaiting her loosening from that electronic shackle. Well Dick Cheyney's ex-main man, Lewis "Scooter" Libby hasn't even gone to jail (yet), and already he's blowing up. Check out the story of larger than life sales he's suddenly getting for a long-forgotten book he wrote nearly 10 years ago.
He said, she said but the Bush administration never knows nada, so forgettaboudit. Italian State-owned TV allowed a documentary to air that claims the U.S. military illegally used chemical weapons in Falluja, an Iraqi city heavily populated by civilians.
Jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves delivers gorgeous vocals on 15 tracks for the movie Good Night, and Good Luck. Click thru to preview all tracks.
He's not a jazz singer, but Dianne Reeves plays one in the film about his life. He's the famed journalist Edward R. Murrow, who exposed the tyranny of U.S. Senator Joe McCarthy. She's the preeminent jazz singer today, who personally delivers songs on screen. When their lives collide (sort of), the result is this smoky soundtrack of 15 jazz standards starring Dianne Reeves, who is again blowing up the music charts.
Yo, check out the killer art and words by Naro% at Ghetto Gold. Feelin' this!
I'm feelin' Naro%'s blog at for its fresh and unpretensious images and verbalism.  Dang, wonder if Naro% would design something hot for me? ;-)
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Monday, November 7

France 11 days later: "Oh! We should fix jobs and racism??"

Well this is some hitherto unseen mix of arrogance and naivete. Today's the first day that I've read or heard anything other than "big dickens" from the hardline French government about the riots, which have now spread far beyond Paris.

Eleven blazing nights later, President Chirac finally mentions an intention to announce plans to deal with the underlying issues of unemployment, poverty and discrimination in the communities where the rioting has been most intense. Heretofore, all the French officials seemed busy doing was calling the rioters scum.

Have they learned nothing from the civil rights movement in the U.S.? Did they never hear of a fed up woman named Rosa Parks and understand that at some point the masses are willing to die for equality? With 30-60% youth unemployment and incessant racial profiling and harassment, these the kids in Paris aren't playing around. Get a good update here, at

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The Boondocks: The morning after

Star cartoonist Aaron McGruder is taking major flack for the use of the 'N' word in The Boondocks, which debuted on Cartoon Network last night.First thing this morning I learned that L.A. activist Najee Ali had initiated a letter writing campaign to the Cartoon Network by his Project Islamic H.O.P.E. members, to protest The Boondocks's liberal use of the "N" word. Fifteen times it was bleeped in a 30-minute animated show. Take away commercial time, and that's almost a n**** a minute!

This afternoon I listened to Ed Gordon's News & Notes show on NPR, where The Boondocks was among the hot topics discussed. Gordon's radio roundtable included three savvy African American commentators -- George Curry, Callie Crossley and Professor Charles Ogletree -- who gave their insightful $2.50.

I liked Ms. Crossley's one statement: I wanted to like (the animated TV show) as much as I like the comic strip, but hearing the "N" word was offensive and distracting -- which was unfortuate because McGruder had some important things to say.

Personally, I enjoyed the show and look forward to seeing much more. It looked fabulous, the voices were beautiful, and there were powerful moments to truth (i.e., "He speaks so well" -- to the 10th power!) The "N" word in and of itself didn't disturb me. I hear it used often; I occasionally use it myself.

However I found the use of the "N" word bothersome in a notably different way...

Now I only caught the back half of the show. So there's a chance that I missed some crucial setup to the following. But when the boys and grandpops showed up at the upscale affair and the doorman was going off, questioning these "N******" about why they'd shown up at his boss's(master's) house, it felt phoney.

I well realize that exaggeration is the foundation of comedy, but that butler cat just wasn't real to me. What black man in this day and time would "greet" another grown black man in such a manner? And there not be a physical jumpoff as a result? I can easily imagine a butler acting suspicious and unwelcoming, but not repeatedly calling these people "N*****" while telling them to get lost.

So someone please tell me what I missed. Was this supposed to have been some step-in-time scene, a parody of the days when you could front someone like that and not get beat down? 'Cause otherwise, this looked whack to me. In other words, this empowered Step 'n Fetchit character came too close to what seems to have driven Dave Chappelle over the edge.

McGruder said recently that he could handle exposing what Chappelle ultimately could not. I hope that's not true. If this is part of what we get for McGruder's "courage," I have to respect Chappelle all the more for chosing not to represent this way any longer.

To be clear, I'm down with The Boondock's using the "N" word. But it was he who said he'd keep it real. And real "N******" using the word this way, with such nasty attitude usually get dealt some kind of reaction. Don't they? So someone please enlighten me, as this seemed to have missed me in the worse way.

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Sunday, November 6

Climb every mountain...

There really is a difference between blacks and whites. We should acknowledge it and be okay with our differences. For example, some whites think blacks are built for speed. Ha! Well some may be, but what does that make my sweet- and slow-as-molassas mother?

So I've just gotta say, there's a characteristic about whites that really boggles my mind. It's this never-ending need to know, to over-analyze. I guess it's that age-old "Why climb the mountain?" question. The answer of a white person being, "Because it's there!"

Here again, a difference. Because I believe most blacks would answer quite differently; we'd have a very specific and "good" reason for expending so much energy mountain climbing. Personally, the promise of a pot of gold being in them there hills is about all that would get me going.

But not certain white folk. They're just going... Going to nose around.

I listen a lot to NPR, and I'm really into it. But sometimes I hear them pondering the DNA of the most assinine things, and squint at my radio. Sometimes they're like fascinated cats, pawing at subjects that look like lint on a carpet to me. Just poking and prodding at peculiar things -- just gotta figure it out. And heaven forbid, they're trying to wrap their minds around a black subject. It can get downright Kamikaze, the intensity and so-called expert logic.

This blog I stumbled across sort of illustrates my point. I was so confused while reading this young man's entry about African hip-hop. I don't think he meant any harm and I wanted to comment, to answer his questions. But I just didn't know how to steer him back down to sea level. Here's a snippet:

...While I find the African hip hop interesting, I wouldn’t call it good. (Yet.) It makes me wonder, though… how much of the interest generated in the African hip hop scene (both in Africa and around the world) is based on the racist assumption that if blacks in America (or elsewhere) can do it, so can blacks in Africa? Such an assumption denies successful black hip hop artists the credit they deserve and simply feeds into a “black people have rhythm” stereotype.

Huh? He goes on to say more. But the above really seized my attention. Mostly because it made me think of Andy Rooney of 60 Minutes, who again has entangled himself in some politically questionable blackthought. Here's what he said Friday morning on Don Imus's show:

Rooney: “I object every time I hear the words ‘African-American,’ you know? I don’t know why we have gotten caught with that.”

Imus: “Yeah, I don’t either.”

Rooney: “I mean, am I an ‘Irish-American?’”

Imus: “What should I say, just ‘black’ right?”

Rooney: “Well, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with ‘black.’ Growing up, it’s funny how words get to be opprobrious. The word ‘negro,’ perfectly good word. It’s a strong word and a good word. I don’t see anything wrong with that. Mostly it’s not necessary to identify anyone by skin color. But I don’t care for ‘African-American.’”

Imus: “I won’t use it anymore.”

Sure wish I could have tossed Mr. Rooney a rope before he flapped his gums. He should have climbed right back down that mountain -- not even have gone there. You'd think he'd learn from his past debacle that whenever he pokes his nose in conjecture about "blackness," he's bound to slip and take a PC fall.

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Saturday, November 5

Maureen Dowd, queen of stiletto words

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"Mo" Dowd of The New York Times has done it again: written another wildly entertaining and brilliantly insightful political piece. As she does best, the world's "most sexiest" journalist exorcises her fatal attraction for the goings on in Bush World.

Fashioning Deadly Fiascos
Maureen Dowd, The New York Times

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Men are simply not biologically suited to hold higher office. The Bush administration has proved that once and for all.

These guys can’t be bothered to run the country. They are too obsessed with frivolous stuff, like fashion and whether they look fat. They are catty, sometimes even sabotaging their closest friends. They are deceitful minxes and malicious gossips.

And heaven knows they’re bad at math. Otherwise, W. would realize that a 60 percent disapproval rating, or worse, means that most Americans would like some fresh blood in the administration. It’s appalling to see ringleaders of the incompetent, mendacious crew who rushed into Iraq but not New Orleans getting big promotions and posh consulting jobs.

Let’s first consider the astonishing new cache of Brownie e-mail released by the Congressional panel investigating the heartbreaking Katrina non-response.
Batting away the frantic warnings of death and doom in New Orleans, bubbleheaded Brownie boasted of his style sense, replying to a staffer who told him his outfit looked “fabulous” on TV: “I got it at Nordstrom.”

In another e-mail to staffers, he preened: “If you’ll look at my lovely FEMA attire, you’ll really vomit. I am a fashion god.”
Brownie had other things on his mind besides managing the most expensive natural disaster in U.S. history: restaurants and dog sitters, and marshaling spin for stories about his past management gaffes at the International Arabian Horse Association.

By Sept. 4, with disaster apartheid in full view, Brownie was getting e-mail advice from his press secretary: “You just need to look more hardworking,” Sharon Worthy wrote the FEMA Fashionista. “ROLL UP THE SLEEVES!”

It may seem unfathomable that W. has kept Brownie, one of the biggest boobs in U.S. history, on the federal payroll as a $148,000-a-year consultant.

But President Bush may be empathetic to Brownie’s concerns about looking good. Obsessed with losing the seven pounds he’d gained around his waist, W. was so focused on getting back his hourglass figure that his staff had to compile an emergency DVD of Katrina news stories before he could be dragged away from biking.

Unless it’s some catty attempt to undermine someone you’re pretending to like, how to explain the Mean Girls cabal headed by Dick Cheney, Rummy and the Rummy aide Douglas Feith? These hawkish Heathers lured W. into war with hyped intelligence and then clawed out Colin Powell’s eyes to take charge of the occupation, only to bollix up the whole thing beyond belief and send the president’s ratings cratering.

The former Powell chief of staff, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, who often verbalizes what Mr. Powell does not say because the ex-secretary of state does not want to be in a public catfight with the cabal, charged on NPR that the cabal issued directives that led to the abuse of prisoners by U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“It was clear to me,” he said, “that there was a visible audit trail from the vice president’s office through the secretary of defense down to the commanders in the field that in carefully couched terms – I’ll give you that – that to a soldier in the field meant two things: we’re not getting enough good intelligence and you need to get that evidence – and, oh, by the way, here’s some ways you probably can get it.”

Colonel Wilkerson called David Addington, the shadowy Cheney counsel who has been promoted to Scooter’s chief of staff job, “a staunch advocate of allowing the president in his capacity as commander in chief to deviate from the Geneva Conventions.”

Heathers have their own rules. Having ignored the warnings that an invasion would cause an insurgency, the Vice squad stepped up the torture to try to stop an insurgency born amid the arrogant, incompetent occupation.

The colonel also described how Vice shaped war policy. Mr. Cheney’s fiercely ideological staff monitored the National Security Council staff in such Big Brother fashion that some of the N.S.C. staff “quit using e-mails for substantive conversations because they knew the vice president’s alternate national security staff was reading their e-mails now.”

Colonel Wilkerson said that there was an N.S.C. memo that made a compelling argument for a large number of troops being necessary in Iraq, “and to this day, I don’t know whether that memorandum ever got to the president of the United States.”

Women are affected by hormones only at times. Vice’s hormones rage every day.

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Friday, November 4

Quik Bong Hits

A PS to a previous hot topic... Found this comment about the beef between Fiddy and Samuel L. Jackson. It was submitted to EURweb by one of its subscribers:
...Samuel is right, the one second that I thought to perhaps see 50's movie was when I saw Terrence Howard was in it, no other reason. Terrence is amazing, 50 is boring. But then my senses came back to me and I've decided that I won't be spending any money to see 50's movie, it looks too much like a bad version of '8 Mile,' plus 50 is hard to look at. I can't imagine having to endure him for 2 1/2 hours!"
But EUR countered by responding with this editorial note:

EUR: Not to defend 50 Cent, but after seeing 'Get Rich ...' we have to admit that he/the film - is anything but boring.

Hmmm... Sounds like Fiddy just may prove critics like Sam Jackson wrong.

Noticed that Popeye's Chicken has a new TV ad campaign in which the e's in the word Popeye's pop like big bulging eyes. Well, if they want to see eyes poppin', just wait till they look at their sales once Bird Flu hits the 'hood. They'd better get lots of crawfish suppliers and recipes lined up, fast!

I, for one, will be among the tweakers, looking like the spooky cast from Spike Lee's Taj Mahal scene. Sure gonna miss my finger-lickin' favorite chicken. That stuff's to die for -- but not really.
The uppity authorities in Paris had better recognize: these folk want a chance for a better life, and they aim to get it by any means necessary.The jobs outlook in France just isn't cutting the mustard. The Paris riots have spread to neighboring cities, including Dijon. Authorities claim that shots were fired at riot police in various parts of Paris, slightly wounding five officers. Hey, wait a minute: Thought guns were so totally outlawed in France that not one, single citizen owned one? (I sure noticed enough men with knife-slashed faces over there to prove that Parisians are blade-runners of the highest order.) So who really shot J.R. (Jean-Rene?), we'll stay tuned to see...
A few weeks ago, it was reported that Michael Jackson's people were claiming that Beyonce, Jay-Z and many others had agreed to participate in his Hurricane Katrina relief song. But none of these artists seemed aware of ever having made such commitments; some wouldn't even return press inquiry calls.
Now there's a big update: Michael Jackson and R. Kelly had teamed up for the song, due out later this month. How sad, I thought, that these two powerhouse performers are so tainted that all they have is each other. But alas, it appears that MJ has dug up a few other supporters. But the only other one mentioned by name in this article is Snoop Dogg -- so the blacklisting of MJ continues.
According to Mike's publicist, Ramone Bain:
Micheal found he did not need as many artists to participate as originally planned. The final tally will be about 12.
That has got to be the lamest PR spin I have ever heard in my life. But in the words of MIA artist Jay-Z: what more could she say?
Dis ain't no Judge Mathis, and that's for sure. This cat is a damned Bushie! Last but not least, Here Come the Judge... Saw the headshot yesterday of the brother who's presiding over the Scooter Libby case, Judge Reggie Walton, and grew excited. Being a huge fan of the comedic, cool as hell Judge Mathis, I felt proud. That is, until I Googled Judge Walton's azz this morning. I now feel sick. Check out who's his daddy...
Now I'm hyperventilating, having an OutKast moment. All I can manage to say is, Damn, damn, damn James!

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Thursday, November 3

Paris Is Burning -- did hip-hoppers light the fire?

Torched autos and buildings in Paris's African suburbs and extending into the city are signs of a marginalized people fed up with the status quo. I've long been intrigued by the activist nature of hip-hop lyricists and fans in Paris. So when firey youth riots broke out there a week ago -- and continued nightly -- I paid attention. The anger is in reaction to the deaths of two teens who were electrocuted while allegedly fleeing the police. However this melting pot seeking equality has been boiling for a long while. A BBC.UK report says this:

The riots have exposed the despair and anger in France's grindingly poor suburbs where unemployment is rife, gangs of drug dealers control tough estates and police hesitate to venture. Terrorism experts warn this makes fertile terrain for Islamic extremists.
Authorities in Paris fear a heightening of terrorist activities, which was a staple there long before 9/11 awakened us here.
Police said as many as 228 cars were torched on Tuesday night throughout France, 180 of them in the greater Paris region. Sixty-two cars were set ablaze in Seine-Saint-Denis, home to many impoverished communities and large numbers of immigrants, mainly of North African origin.
Re: the "North African" reference... When I visited Paris a few years back our superb, Harlem-born sister-tour-guide informed us that the Algerians there are treated "like n****** in the fifties" by the establishment. It's a bad scene, so this unrest should surprise no one. But this week in flames has seen Muslims from all over Africa stand together to express their frustation with marginalized lives in Paris.

Neighborhood Tension
Paris Riots: 7 Days and Counting
French-Algerian Relations

An American In Paris Hip-hop

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Wednesday, November 2

Samuel betta "Do the Right Thing" like Spike Lee

Sounds like Samuel L. Jackson's back on the block with his criticism of rap cats acting and "stealing away" jobs from black thespians who've trained long and hard for film roles. And actually, he and 50 Cent are again engaged in a war of words about it, undoubtedly hyped to promote Fiddy's new biopic.

Singer Diana Ross brilliantly portrayed jazz legend Billie Holiday in 'Lady Sings the Blues'. And who in their right mind complained?Well, I'm weighing in on the hype. I wish that Sam would support the legal employment of as many young black men as possible, regardless of their education. The bottom line for me is, this is nothing new. From Elvis and Frank Sinatra to Diana Ross and Sammy Davis Jr., music artists have been leveraging their popularity to make it onto the silver screen. And everyone that I'm aware of cheered them on.

Man, a brother trying to make it can't even get equal treatment from another brother. But it doesn't seem that Fiddy needs people like me to take a stand for him. He's done just fine addressing Samuel L. on his own. EURweb reports The Curt Man as having said this about Mr. Jackson's disinterest in working with him in Get Rich or Die Tryin':

Curtis Jackson plays 'Marcus' Jackson in the film about an orphaned street kid who makes his mark in the drug trade, but finally dares to leave the violence behind and become the rap artist he was meant to be. 'Get Rich or Die Tryin' opens nationwide on Nov. 9. "I don't even see where Samuel fits into my life story anyway, unless he plays one of the crackheads. He was a crackhead originally, right? So I come from being a rapper, and he comes from being a crackhead."
Right on, Fiddy. But umm, you didn't start your "career" as a rapper, did you? Perhaps a more exact reference to your pre-rap career might illustrate the point to Gator even more powerfully.

You can read the entire article about their biting back 'n forth at


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Tuesday, November 1

More on Boondocks

PS re: The Boondocks coming to Cartoon Network's Adult Swim...

Thanks to Berry over at for mentioning another great story on The Boondocks that ran on MSN's Newsweek page on the weekend.

Why all the fuss? Well, I find The Boondocks particularly appealing since:
  • Our girl Regina King is doing the voice of both Huey and Riley,
  • That absolutely insane comedian John Witherspoon (All day long, I put my foot up a dog's azz and --) is doing the voice of grandpa,
  • The R. Kelly trial episode sounds completely off the chain, with an animated Dick Gregory and Cornell West on one side of the controversy, and lotsa chirren with gold teefus on the other.
This Newsweek article from Berry also mentions that both Ed Asner and Michael Moore have taken part in this Cartoon Network series. Now this is what I'm likely to call politically correct programming.

Also, check out Aaron McGruder's soundbites at the San Diego Comic-Con, commenting on Lauryn Hill and more here.

Clicks to Miles Davis catalog, but explore as you like

George Clinton: Funk nizzle for interplanetary shizzle

The P-Funk All-Stars latest is a 2-CD set released in September.  Some seem surprised the music is still so tight, but real Funkateers never underestimated Uncle Jam. As if reclaiming his rightful title of the King of Slanguage, the man George Clinton showed up in USA Today on Sunday with an AK47-esque dictionary that could make Snoop drop the shizzle like its hot.

The legendary Parliament Funkadelic Star Child provides the world this knee-deep new blueprint for wading through his Funk Galaxy:
  • Bop Gun: Dr. Funkenstein's greatest invention — one blast capable of splanking the funkless.
  • Thumpasorus Peoples: Prehistoric ancestors of Star Child and Dr. Funkenstein; also, hardcore funkateers.
  • Electric Spank: High-tech pimping of human instincts by the power brokers/jokers that be.

George ClintonIf you want a download on all of George Clinton's funkentelechy, zoom right over to for the riotous list of words and phrases.


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