Thursday, September 17, 2009

Size Matters?

Consider America’s obsession with being thin! I guess in a way I get it, because I think clothes look better on a svelte body, and obviously a lean physique is more appealing to the eye. What I don’t get however, is the attraction, especially to Caucasian men, to a woman whose body closely resembles that of a 12-year-old, pre-pubescent boy. I mean, take away the breasts, and add those little short boy haircuts, and you’ve got Dutch paint boy.

I mean, I assume that there is a clear and obvious reason that one is attracted to the opposite sex. I that it's primarily because they are “opposite”. I assume a man has a desire to lay in bed with breasts, and hips…otherwise, what’s the point?

As demented and twisted as my analogy might sound, I’ve often wondered if a man who desires a non-curvy woman who weighs 90 pounds soaking wet, really has a desire to sleep with children. Why as a woman, who is attracted to the opposite of me, want to lie with a man who weighs 95 non-muscular pounds and he’s 30? It’s just a bit odd to me.

Ok, now how about this? What up with guys who are turned on by women who body build? Have you seen these women..... these Schwarzennegerettes? WHY in the hell would a MAN want to snuggle in bed with something that feels like his homey? But, who are we kidding? More than likely, ain’t none of his boys even that cut! In my opinion, if you want to sleep with a person that feels like a man, you’re likely attracted to men. I don’t give a damn what you say! Again, what’s natural is that if you’re attracted to the opposite sex…..well, hence the word “opposite”. Otherwise, why would a man want a woman who can bench-press his ass? I have said many times, I can’t be with a man whose ass I can kick. It’s just not going to be a safe environment for him.

I have nothing against homosexual people. I am often impressed by, more than anything, their courage to be what they are despite the threat of social repercussions. But, at least they’re not perpetrating. Now, this is all based on my personal theory. There could certainly be the possibility that men are attracted to extremely small women, or women whose biceps are twice the size of their own. Maybe I simply don't understand or conceive the motivation of that kind of attraction. Could be! I just wonder what else could explain it.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Beyonce Bug

Disclaimer (aka a Calm-The-Hell-Down-Addendum): Below is a seemingly unpopular opinion of Ms. Beyonce Knowles. While it is not pure hatred (I don't hate the lady, she just gives me a "meh" vibe in terms of vocal ability), the term "hater" might be thrown out by a few Beyonce stans. So, for all you "Hi, Hater" responders, please take a moment and actually consider that the critique just might be valid. People are far too comfy handing out this term and they never consider that the critique may have a point because they can't possibly fathom anything being wrong with a public figure they admire. Also, don't let the negative critique completely blind you to the fact that I'll have some good things to say about her below as well. But, uh, if you still want to toss out the "hater" label at me, by all means, go right ahead...but please believe you are also a hater for hating on my hating. ;)

So. I'm just gonna come right out and say it:

Beyonce. Can't. Sing.

Ok, maybe I should change that up a bit. Maybe it's more like:

Beyonce. Can't. Sang.

That's right, folks, I have not completely caught The Beyonce Bug. She does not really impress me as much as she does a lot of other people. Now, when I say I haven't "completely" caught The Beyonce Bug, it doesn't mean I hate each and every thing she has released to the public. Her songs are very catchy and a few of them are even shelved in my iPod Playlist as I type.

However, is she the best singer of her (and my) generation? I'm gonna take "No" for 200, Alex. Folks sure act like she is, though.

Thing is, her voice is perfect for pop songs at best. I do admit that she has a good "pop" voice and her voice is probably perfect for the upbeat, not-really-complex hit singles she usually disperses. She has a "pleasant" sounding voice, but a true diva-fied sanger, she is not. So, why is she now the go-to woman for power ballads as if she can even hold a tea candle to the original singer? To name one example: the choice to cast her as Etta James in the film, Cadillac Records. Now we know damn well she wasn't primarily chosen because of her stellar acting ability. It was more about her being a "sellable" actor. She's Beyonce, she of "She's So Famous She Doesn't Need A Last Name" status. Now, the second reason could be due to her voice. Now, in terms of acting, I'd say, yeah, she's a better singer in comparison. But, that ain't saying much if you factor in her alleged acting ability. Which is "zero", by the way, for those of you playing at home.

Recently, she -- for some reason unbeknownst to me -- was chosen to do an alleged MJ tribute at the BET awards by singing "Ave Maria" (along with a cover of "Angel" by Sarah McLachlan...another song I don't think she can efficiently touch). To this choice, I say, "WHAAAA?!". Do the producers at BET know the same "Ave Maria" ballad I know? That song is probably one of the most complex songs ever in terms of vocal range and they give Beyonce a stamp of approval to sing that song? That song requires an octave range that Beyonce couldn't even reach in a pair of her 6-inch stiletto heels.

Here is the audio from the performance (I don't think BET is allowing video to be posted on YouTube):

Even with her very own song, "Sweet Dreams", I notice she tries to go beyond her range. See link below:

Sweet Dreams YouTube Video (embedding is disabled by Beyonce/Sony)

At around 2:57, she attempts to reach a higher octave with the line, "Not even death can make us part". I cringed when I first heard it because I could hear the strain in her voice. I mean, are you serious? Is it really supposed to sound like that?

Look, it's not like I'm an older woman who wants to relive "the good old days" when music was better. I'm actually Beyonce's target audience to a T. I'm a 20-something single lady. However, I'm a 20-something single lady who does know what a real singer is and who is not easily impressed by what is being distributed to my peers today. And yeah, the bulk of the "real singers" happen to be during the "good old days". Ya know, when the instrumentals were natural and they complimented an already terrific voice instead of being digitized and studio-coated in order to support an "okay" voice.

I mean, what are the requirements for diva status these days? A pretty face, a bangin' body and a great studio voice? And don't get me wrong, it's not like we don't have terrific singers nowadays, it's just that they're not at the forefront...not like Beyonce. I know for one that songstresses such as Jill Scott or Jazmine Sullivan can single circles and spheres around Beyonce, yet you don't see their faces (or better yet, bodies) plastered over every single network/cable channel pretty much covering every song known to man.

And before folks start smacking me with Beyonce's lace front wig, I'm gonna say: Beyonce is pretty. She is. Even during her no-makeup days she is a cute lady. So, trust, I'm not one of those that automatically jump to saying, "Why are men fallin' all over her? She ain't even all that" regarding Beyonce. Contrary to popular belief, a critique of a fellow woman doesn't always have to be compared to her looks. But, I have to ask:

Are Beyonce's looks blinding us to the fact that her voice ain't really all that? To put it into perspective, let me point out a few of Beyonce's singing traits that cause people to faint as if the Holy Ghost has befallen them.

Things That Don't Necessarily Mean You Can Really Sing:

1. Hollering.
2. Grunting on certain words of the song to give it that "soul" or "diva" edge.
3. Vocal acrobatics that don't really makes sense beyond adding some type of "flair".

So, I have to ask, if Beyonce wasn't the Creole, long-haired long-weaved, light-skinned, coveted waist-to-hip ratio, glamorized lady she is today and was instead, an average wholesome girl, would her voice be as praised as it is now?

This time, I'll take "Helllllll Naw" for 500, Alex.

Love ya like Beyonce loves dropping 371 singles a year,


Friday, July 17, 2009


As the broadcast sounded across the world….my heart beat through my chest…and then…stopped! Though I was aware of the gasps, and oh no’s from others in the room, there was no sound. I was under water and my ears were clogged…nothing but the faint sound of nautical bells in the far distance. I was stuck and horrified. Michael Jackson Dead! I think those are the most surreal words I had ever seen in my life. No! What are they saying? What do they mean? No! No! No! I couldn’t catch my breath.

The first real attachment that I had to Mike was 1984—Thriller---days before my birthday. I recall begging my Mom for that Album. “Mom please, I promise I’ll never ask for anything else again, you only have to buy me one gift, just this one I swear” (not the several I usually received)”. I think Mike was the same to me as he was most-- a connection to many either small or monumental events in our lives. “I remember Lady in My Life hitting the waves the week I got married”, Hey, your mother and I danced to Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough on our first date. There may have been some gut-wrenching weepy-eye MJ song that made you cry the day you buried a friend or family member, the one you played ragged when your heart was broken for the first time.

I can’t imagine the world without Michael Jackson. “The death of music”, I’ve heard some say…. perhaps. Despite how he may have perplexed others, nothing about MJ has ever been especially odd to me. I mean, on the surface-- maybe. I think the problem is that most people viewed only the surface and were either too lazy or unwilling to give his actions or thought processes any real consideration. Maybe for some, it was just easier or more entertaining to take shots. Maybe the weirder Mike seemed to others the more normal they felt. I don’t know, but there is nothing about him that shocked me when I considered from where he had come. I think you can guess what I mean. I have no desire to regurgitate redundant stories about his father, Joe, his missed childhood, or whatever. We all have knowledge of those generalized stories, but I think an extremely robust, knowing, and feeling imagination would have to come into play in order for us to really “get it”. I’ve tried to do that…..I’ve done that.

Thank you Michael! Thanks for the times that I was able to rely on your music; your messages, to comfort me in times of sadness and uncertainty. Thanks for the humanitarian efforts you made to ease the pain of those who suffered helplessly. Thanks for the songs that brought out the human in all of us. I imagine that through your music you moved many to action. Some of us may have given to charity, or donated our time because your words compelled us to do so. You are our brother, you’re family to us, and we’ll miss you as such. You were not perfect, but a beautiful human being, I understand that, and so does God. That’s why you’re there with him now. He wanted you to suffer no more. I imagine you there with our Father and he appreciates and is proud of you in a way that your earthly brothers and sisters were incapable. Thanks for your words and their ability to inspire, give hope, and make way for dreams.

I know that I will see you again, and I believe that in the few weeks that you have been gone you have enjoyed more peace than you had in your entire time on earth. You are a friend to the world and though I’ll miss you I try to console myself by believing that your peace is more important than my desire to have you here. Love is unselfishness. And I love you so. Again, thanks Michael…and see you later.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A Special Sound Off: Michael Jackson

ADMIN NOTE: Hey, folks. For the past few weeks, my sister (Chyna) and I have been struggling for the right words to express our feelings toward the sad news of Michael's Passing. It took us a while, but we finally achieve least to the best of our ability. We decided to each write a tribute in the voice of one sister who is a part of the MJ generation and in the voice of another who isn't, yet was still affected by him. Hopefully our words will resonate. Below is my tribute to Michael Joseph Jackson. My sister should follow up with hers soon.

RIP, Mike. (1958-2009)

-- Cheekie

Upon first hearing the news of Michael Jackson's death, I was in a state of shock. My eyes scanned the headline over and over as I desperately tried to convince myself that it was all a horrible nightmare. I just never thought that I'd have to read the phrase: Michael Jackson Died. It was all so surreal. In a way, it still is.

Amongst the multitude of thoughts and emotions swimming in my head, one particular thought stood out: What MJ Meant to Me. It took me a while to put the below into words that I felt would do him justice...would do my feelings justice, and the following is the best I could do. I had to get it out in some form:

I grew up with Michael Jackson. Now, when I say that, I don't necessarily mean in the purest sense of the phrase. The possibility of my existence was barely thought of when he entered the famed world and he was already at the height of his fame when I was finally born. Still, I did grow up with him. Thing is, while MJ might not have been a part of my generation, the impact of his death was just as intense. This is what made MJ so powerful. His ability to encapsulate the very adjective that other entertainers covet: timeless. MJ was timeless.

When I hear his music, no matter how many times I've heard it before or how many years it has been since it had been recorded, it felt new to me. I would bump his CD like it just came out that day. Even my younger cousin...even, my niece would jam to his tracks and folks would wonder why we got so excited about "old" music. Or why my cousins and I obsessively practiced every choreographed move from every popular MJ music video while watching his HIStory DVD. It's because it wasn't old at all. His music had the ability to live beyond time, beyond generations, beyond age, beyond race, beyond gender, beyond anything.

I've wrote and said a lot about Michael Jackson over the years, but I think the below comment I wrote over at the Very Smart Brothas blog perfectly captures what MJ meant and still means to me:

"Crotch grabbing, crotch thrusts, biting over the lower lip, diagonal shoulder bumps, gliding across the floor, upward head thrusts, ill-fated moonwalks, tragic Smooth Criminal leans, wetting my hair so I can pull down a curl over my forehead, Thriller claps, the MJ leg-kick, fedora tilts, etc have been etch-a-sketched into my soul."

And that about sums it up. Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, the image, the entertainer, the child prodigy, the humanitarian, the legend, the father, the brother, the son, the uncle, the inspiration, the dancer, the icon, the man...will live on forever...through us.

Love ya like Mike loved to walk on the moon,


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Going Against the Mainstream's Current

Anyone who knows me can attest to my screenwriter aspiration. Due to said aspiration, I'm usually studying the industry with obsession. One particular hot word floating around amongst fellow screenwriters is: mainstream. And the desire to fit into its mold. Usually this desire is fueled due to one reason: mainstream = money.

Now, the long-accepted axiom is that the mainstream consists of White people. They are mainstream mainly because they make up the most movie ticket sales, thus they are worth more money as a whole. In order for the majority to spend money, the movies must have their stamp of approval.

And therein lies the conundrum.

One major requirement in terms of receiving that stamp of approval is an actor. Usually when discussing commercially successful films, the actor (or actors) have the major burden of carrying the film. Selling the film heavily relies on the actors chosen. And for a while now, the widely-known argument has been that Blacks can't be mainstream because Whites can't identify with them.

To that, I offer this pictorial response:

Maybe he's White with a hell of a tan?

Yeah, him. Now, I've heard he's only where he is because he's one of the "safe" Black actors. And that may be true. He is mostly loved and accepted by mainstream America and hasn't really been controversially outspoken in terms of race relations and tension-filled topics of that like. But, still, that's not the point. The argument is that Whites can't identify with Black actors because they don't look like them. No matter how "safe" Will Smith is, he's still Black. Still at the opposite end of the color spectrum. And he has managed to portray roles written for mainstream White males, portray roles that don't center around his race and has even surpassed Mr. Mainstream himself in terms of consecutive box office sales: Tom Cruise.

Why can't Black actors be the star of mainstream films? Why does, as soon as you slap a Black actor into the headlining role, it is labeled a "Black film"?. Now, don't get me wrong, there are certain films that pertain to our specific culture that is very different from that of White culture. They highlight experiences that are unique to Blacks; things that Whites don't experience or necessarily understand. And I'm not saying those films are necessarily bad things. What's bad is we are pigeonholed into the same types of films, featuring the same types of actors, doing the same types of things. It becomes bad when it's our only option.

Do we always gather around mile-long tables filled with soul-food, do the Electric Slide in forest preserves, dress up in old lady drag, overcome racial injustice, lament about our no-good men, or save our downtrodden women from their abusive husband? None of these aspects of our lives are things to be ashamed of, but they're not all of who we are. We aren't just big mamas, we're also lawyers. We're not just gossiping in barber shops, we're saving lives from alien abduction. We're not just hanging around neck-rolling with our girlfriends, we're finding love with that person we least expected to find love with. We're not just finding redemption in an urban jail cell, we're teaching urban classrooms (That's right, other than what movies lead you to believe, there are actually Black knights saving the urban classrooms).

You mean to tell me that had equally talented Black actors portrayed Meg Ryan's and Billy Crystal's characters in "When Harry Met Sally" and everything else remained the same that the hugely received thesis, "Can men and women be friends?" wouldn't have still resonated with the majority of audiences? This is what I'm talking about, my people. Don't feed me the bull that it's the actor that the audience mainly connects with, because I'm not hungry. It's the story that leaves an impression dented into our heads...our souls. Not how the character looked, but the choices they made.

And there is absolutely no proof that we can't tell these stories. I think it's pretty telling that unless there is some overt display of slang in the dialogue or an explicit description of race written in a script that says otherwise, a reader automatically assumes the lead character is male. Which means, White is the default.

Set "White" as default? Naw, I'm un-checking that option.

Love ya like Will Smith loves 100 million dollar box offices,


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Not just Black and White?

Not that I have seen Obsessed, the new movie starring Beyonce Knowles, but it has renewed debate about interracial relationships. I guess the movie certainly had the character makeup that might spark that kind of conversation, but it appeared to be more about a crazy ass white girl trying to move in on a brother. I think it would have worked no matter the color of the victimized couple r villian. However, since publications like Essence magazine seemed to believe it was an appropriate platform for the discussion, I guess we should join it here.

The Black man, white woman thing bothers me only if I believe certain mentalities exist within a couple. First, let me start by saying that I have no problem with “LOVE” no matter what color it happens to be. What I have a problem with is hang-ups, self hate, and insecurity disguised as love.

There is one interesting theory I’ve heard as to why black men have this thing with white women. There are some who believe that because of the history that black men have with white men; raping black women, even as their husbands watched, and doing everything possible to emasculate black men has brought about a feeling of wanting to get even. Some believe that for black men, screwing white women is the ultimate revenge whether it be conscious or subconsciously.

Well I see how there could be some truth to that. On the other hand, I think if I were a black man…knowing what I know about the fact that fifty years ago I would have become fruit of some southern tree for simply holding a glance at a white woman too long, I would certainly shutter the thought of sleeping with one now.

White women? To a large degree I think sexual involvement with a black man is either or a combination of two things. One, it’s trendy. You know the way, flared jeans, and bohemian gear is “in” now? Well what happens in 2016? Maybe it will be fashionable to date Chinese guys and dating black men will simply play out. And then, there are the spoiled little white girls who get pissed at their parents for not allowing them to drive the Mercedes to some party of the year in the Hills. “Well I’ll show them, I’ll go sleep with a black guy, yeah that’ll get em’ fired up”.

I don’t appreciate my men being used to piss your fucking parents off, or to carry on your arm like a handbag in the newest Gucci collection. If you love him…fine. If not, go and date some trailer park white trash guy to piss your parents off. I guess you just wouldn’t get as many looks out in public that way though.

As for the reverse situation (black women/white men), well, that seems few and far between. I think despite what sisters go through with brothers we still seem to be a bit more loyal when it comes to our men…historically. Thing is, I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing. Should we begin to think more about ourselves than we do about solidarity?

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Who's Your Daddy?


Not too long ago, I was sitting back watching Maury because I'm a masochist. To the surprise of absolutely no one, the topic was paternity tests. However, this particular segment wasn't some neck-rolling Zaquisha* screaming about how she was a gazillion percent sure that Tyreko* was the father. This time Tyreko was the protagonist. He was sitting there crying about how he wanted to be the father of Zaquisha's child oh-so-bad. And Maury patted him on the back and exclaimed, "I truly commend you for stepping up to be a father. You are a real man!" or something like that. The specifics were lost amongst all the eye rolling going on inside my head.

Over the years, we've been inundated with countless TV specials, talk show segments, and films praising the responsible father. And to this, I have to ask: WHY? As for the basic theory, I get it. One is prone to praise things that rarely happen. But, giving special attention to fathers taking care of their children presupposes that the opposite is the accepted norm. And it shouldn't be.

Though a child physically enters the world through his mother, the mother didn't lay on her back and get herself pregnant. In our society, there is this notion that a mother has a special relationship with her child -- which, I do believe is true -- but, that does not erase the much-needed relationship that a father could provide as well. Each parent is equally responsible for creating said child, thus they are equally responsible for nurturing and providing for said child.

I mean, really, where are all the TV specials for the single mothers grinding out there? Where are their medals and pats on the back? Oh, they don't get any of that? Because they're just doing what they're supposed to do? Hmm, yeah, then the same principle goes for the fathers.

At its core, I think this praise is to inspire more fathers to step up and take responsibility for their sperm count actions. However, the praise is redundant at best, and regressive at worse. It's excessive, unnecessary, and simply unwarranted.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not promoting the elimination of praising parents (both mothers and fathers) for performing exceptional duties in regards to their children. That's a separate aspect. But, dishing out medals to fathers performing basic fatherly duties is like giving a dog a treat for lifting his hind leg to pee. Bottom line: Our community needs to focus less on congratulating responsible fathers and focus more on making sure that fathers taking responsibility is a default action, not an extra credit assignment.

We'll surely benefit from it. Right?

Love ya like Maury guests love infinite percentages,


*These names may or may not be accurate. More like may not. Actually, more like definitely not. Okay, but the names ain't important. The story is. Holler.