If You Prefer Red Vines To Twizzlers I Feel Bad For You, Son!

Earlier today I read a piece proposing that the Trump campaign adopt another candy other than Skittles for their political propaganda. It’s a sentiment that I wholeheartedly agree with. Skittles are Black as fuck, just as is Sprite, lemon-pepper wings, strawberry Kool-Aid, and Red Velvet cake. They have no place in Trump’s Cheetos-Land. If Skittles were a person, the Police would probably shoot them and cite a grave fear of tasting the rainbow as justification for use of deadly force. It’s also the official snack of the Black Delegation at the Race Draft.

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The piece lists a few subpar confections to replace the candied fruit stones, most of which I also agree with. Peeps are spoiled marshmallows that have been repurposed as a remedy for rabid animals and bad-ass, spoiled kids who call their parents by their first names and refer to them as “parental units.” Tootsie rolls are chunks of sugarcoated shit, infused with chewing tobacco.

But one confit that has no place on this list is Twizzlers. These luscious, velvety, fruity twists are not a member of the shitty candies fraternity. Furthermore, the author had the audacity to put Twizzlers and Red Vines together, as if they’re the same or some shit like that. That’s just straight up blasphemy. Harpo, who dis woman?!

RED VINES AND TWIZZLERS are not the same. They ARE NOT. AT ALL.

Red Vines are the ineffective, diabetic imposter of Twizzlers. They are the sacchariferous embodiment of Tyrone Biggums and Ashy Larry, combined. They should be used as eco-friendly PVC pipes in tiny homes. They are sourced from the remnants of Medusa’s tentacles, mixed with Satan’s charred skin, flavored with Pepto Bismol, and greased with Castor Oil. They’re what you give to people who are serious about kicking their smoking habit and regurgitate Steve Harvey’s dating advice.

There’s a reason why Red Vines are always on ’10 for $1′ special at Walgreen’s. Nursing homes and daycares need to buy them in bulk so that old folks and toddlers can build inedible gingerbread houses during the holiday season.

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Unlike the salt vs. sugar in your grits debate, this shit matters. Because the people who prefer Red Vines to Twizzlers are strange outliers. They should be monitored and examined for scientific purposes because they are probably a bodysnatcher or some shit. They are imposters, sent from another planet, tasked with observing and mimicking humans so that they can replicate Will Smith’s movies, and Beyonce’s dance moves in a universe far, far away.

Have you ever thought that chick you were crushing on was too good to be true? Does she like Red Vines? THEN SHE PROBABLY IS. Curious who gave you a gift card to Blockbuster Video during your company’s Secret Santa exchange? It’s probably from the guy who hordes a 10-pound bucket of sugary plastic straws on his desk next to his autographed photo of David Hasselhoff.

Those who prefer Red Vines but despise Twizzlers are the type of individuals who bring canned salmon and rice casseroles to potlucks. They’re the ones who drafted Michael Vick in the first round of their fantasy football league. These are the same crazies who thought it was a good idea to make a breakfast sandwich with grilled chicken, egg whites, and turkey bacon. They also DVR reruns of Wheel of Fortune and Who’s Line Is It Anyway.

Twizzlers are superior to Red Vines in every way imaginable. They’re available in a variety of flavors, sizes, and deliciousnesses. Yes, I made up a word, fight me. They got everything from bite-sized, strawberry, gooey delectables to a bonbon rope, made up of smaller cables, that tastes like watermelon. It’s awesome, b. It’s the confectioner’s version of puppies and unicorns. It’s the reason a dentist can afford a house in Jay-Z’s neighborhood. What else are you going to eat at the movie theater? Those wax coated cyanide tablets called Good & Plenty? Naw, fam.

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Red Vines only come in two flavors: red formaldehyde and blue plaster. They are the sole reason why kids ate asbestos chips in the 1980s. They make black licorice taste like appetizing strings of chocolate. Red Vines is what that menacing muhfuckin’ clown Pennywise used strangle his victims. It’s what Waffle House provides to their new employees during customer service training. It’s what your grandma beat you with when you picked out a weak-ass switch from the yard.

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While candy is generally bad for your health, and your wallet — like Kappa parties during Homecoming at an HBCU — there are some worth being consumed. Twizzlers is one of them. It’s Seinfeld-loving, Toyota Prius-driving, tree bark cousin, Red Vines, is not.

If you like this dried Sean John velour, seasoned with Luden’s lozenges and dipped in pool water abomination then I feel bad for you, son. I pity you the same way I pity Malia Obama’s dance moves. Or Drake’s endearing love for strippers and Rihanna. Or Ann Coulter’s entire existence. Or Meek Mills’ diss records. Because you have no idea that the candy you’re eating is nothing more than whale leather rolled into fruit-flavored pirouettes. If you enjoy gnawing on porcupine quills during the dead of winter in Alaska, then, by all means, eat some Red Vines. But you’re not doing your taste buds or your gums any favors. And don’t you dare equate them to, or say they’re better than Twizzlers. It’s your world, enjoy!

 

 

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The Rebirth of Colored Television

Growing up in the 90s had its perks. Pogs, Tamagotchis, Starter jackets, Guess Jeans outfits, Grant Hill’s Filas, The Miseducation of Lauren Hill, homemade mixtapes, Blockbuster videos, Bagel Bites, BrainQuest, and those weird-ass transforming McDonald’s toys. ALL THAT SHIT WAS DOPE.

You’ll notice that this list doesn’t contain any hip-hop albums. I’m well aware that this was perhaps one of the most influential decades for rap music, but honestly, I didn’t fall in love with the genre until The Roots blessed us with Things Fall Apart. As a child, my mom had a strict ‘no cursing’ policy in our house (which only applied to my brother and me), and it extended to the music we were allowed to listen to. Although she loved Tupac (who didn’t love Tupac?), my moms discarded my brother’s copy of Jay-Z’s (classic) debut album, Reasonable Doubt, by the time Hov talked about taking funds to his jeweler Tito (she yanked that shit right out of the cassette player with no fucks to give).

Plus, there are more gifted writers than I who can provide better insight on just how great hip-hop was during the 1990s, especially 1996.

Pause: Why was I allowed to watch Boyz N The Hood, Menace II Society, and Higher Learning, but not listen to Illmatic? I need answers, mama. I’m digressing.

You know what else was great about the decade before Y2K? Black television. Of course, there were iconic sitcoms such as The Cosby Show, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Martin, and Family Matters. But with shows like Roc, The Parent ‘Hood, Hanging With Mr. Cooper, New York Undercover (y’all just had to kill Eddie, huh?), Living Single, In The House, and In Living Color, there was no shortage of minority representation on a nightly basis. Seriously, EVERY NIGHT. It was en vogue. It was chic. It was proactive and it got the people going.

It was also impactful and encouraging because it provided images of people who shared my melanin doing big things, like going to college, or becoming doctors (and lawyers and judges), or developing transformation chambers to get the girl of their dreams (what up doe, Urkel?!). They made us laugh, and they made us cry. (Why did Will’s daddy do him like that?) They found ways to discuss societal issues, such as drug use, sex, violence, gender equality, and police brutality. Truth be told, had it not been for A Different World — and my mom filling out an application to FAMU — I probably would have never attended an HBCU. And given Detroit’s horrific resemblance to apocalyptic ruins during my childhood, this impression mattered.

Which is why I appreciate the current renaissance of Black entertainment. While there have been some notable black shows in the new millennium (My Wife and Kids, The Bernie Mac Show, Girlfriends, Chappelle’s Show, Everybody Hates Chris, The Wire, Treme, and Oz), Black folks have been mostly relegated to the minstrel rachetness of reality television.

(Was I the only one who peeped BET’s first scripted series, Somebodies?)

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But since Donald Glover’s Atlanta (FX) and Ava Duvernay’s Queen Sugar, premiered to record-breaking ratings and impressive reviews, the tide certainly seems to be turning for the better. Furthermore, these two hits are just the latest residents to crash the old-fashioned, White neighborhood that is the television industry.

Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard are commanding a loyal following as Cookie and Lucious Lyon on Fox’s Empire, killing the ratings game and getting that Pepsi advertising money. Starz is serving a double-dose of Blackness with the Twitter-favorite Power and King James’ produced Survivor’s Remorse. And is there any acclaim Black-ish isn’t garnering with Tracey Elis Ross’ fine ass? It’s also proof that if Anthony Anderson can recover from his token roles in Agent Cody Banks 2 and Kangaroo Jack, you can blow up in that nursing program, get your hair done, and buy a Toyota Camry. Don’t give up on your dreams, people.

Perhaps the most incredible example of black people flexing their talent on television is the upcoming show Insecure.

While HBO has provided some beautiful cinematic art, since Chris Rock’s flagship program concluded in 2000, the premium station has been extremely white with its content. Like white, white. Game of Thrones is great, and all, but the only prominent Negro on that mug was Xaro, and his punk ass fell victim to Daenerys’ ruthlessness for foolishly trying to double-cross her on some fuckshit. Up until now, HBO’s longest tenured shows featuring black folks were either about selling drugs, or prison. C’mon, b.

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency featuring the lovely Jill Scott and Anika Noni Rose was canceled after its inaugural, 7-episode season despite garnering a Peabody Award. Brothers in Atlanta, a comedy series from seasoned writers Diallo Riddle and Bashir Salahuddin, was scrapped after the network greenlit the project and ordered a pilot. Plus, we all know how they tried to play our soul-sista-friend Effie Brown on that “White Boy Bro” bullshit Project Greenlight.

Yet, terrible shows such as Bored To Death (the title should have been adorned with a Surgeon General’s warning in small print for excessive shittiness) and Lena “I really want some Black penis” Dunham’s, Girls, survived for multiple seasons before getting axed. I swear the only people who watched that Wonder Bread bullshit was my homeboy and my ex.

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Which makes Issa Rae’s meteoric rise as unlikely as it is welcomed. Much like her best-selling novel The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl and her budding web series, Rae’s Insecure seeks to feature women of color beyond the clichéd roles of strong, loud, menacing, ghetto, angry characiture. Positive imagery matters, but so does realness. Not every Black woman is Olivia Pope or whatever melodramatic, stereotypical nonsense Tyler Perry concocts. Based on the trailers, reviews and the nature of Larry Filmore’s writing, the show looks promising, engaging, an funny as hell. UPDATE: I’ve watched the pilot, and it was what I thought it would be (RIP, Dennis Green). It’s a funny, authentic protait of what it’s like to be black and female in 2016 (and beyond?). Gon’ ‘head and get that Friends money, girl.

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Side note: It’s worth mentioning that HBO produced some quality Black films back in the day. Something The Lord Made with Mos Def and Gabrielle Union and The Tuskegee Airmen featuring Lawrence Fishburne and Cuba Gooding Jr. were well-written, well-acted gems. Also, Dancing In September is perhaps one of the most underrated movies of all-time. It’s a story about the politics and struggle associated with Black television shows starring Isaiah Washington and Nicole Ari Parker. And don’t get me started on Jeffrey Wright’s portrayal of MLK in Boycott. (I love that film.)

Make no mistake, this influx of Afro-centric programming on the small screen isn’t going to rid our country of racism and systemic bias. Romanticizing about how our televised stories will somehow incite care, understanding, and empathy is a beautiful notion, even it is profoundly misguided.

Regardless of the overwhelming amount of successful shows featuring colorful casts portraying minorities positively, the 1990s was still one of the most racially tumultuous decades since the Civil Rights era.

The cops who brutally beat Rodney King and heinously executed Amadou Diallo unjustly escaped consequences for their criminal actions despite Officer Winslow’s touching portrayal of racial profiling.

Moreover, officers sworn to protect and serve our communities continue to benefit from a flawed judicial system that frequently provides immunity to those who use their oath as a creed to unlawfully abuse their power, thus permeating law enforcement’s blatant disregard for Black lives.

But Negro representation on the tube does provide much-needed access to role models and ideals that may be not available within decaying communities. It allows us to depict a variety of narratives about the Black experience in America. Plus, it affords opportunities to minorities in an industry perversely structured to be Caucasian. Y’all Wypipo stay Whitewashing shit.

At the very least, it’s enjoyable entertainment that has proven to both critically and commercially successful. May the new wave of colored television reign on. Black is beautiful.

The iPhone 7 Is Proof That Masturbation & Work Don’t Mix

Masturbation is healthy. It’s a necessary practice both physically and scientifically. Spiritually, maybe not so much, depending on which religion you choose to follow (if you decide to pursue one).

Singular sexual pleasure also has a barrage of purported benefits. It can help lower blood pressure, decrease stress, provide better stamina, avoid unsuspecting thots, prevent STDs, thwart unwanted children, and provide an adequate remedy for Blue Balls. Habitual jerking may even increase one’s productivity under certain circumstances (although it usually doesn’t). It’s essentially the fast-food, ultra-portable, ugly version of sex. You can practice it any place where privacy (and decency) can be secured.

But there are times when stroking your man pole produces undesirable effects, like undeniable guilt or the perpetual loneliness one feels once they’ve ejaculated. Add to that list the new iPhone 7. You see, while the newest modernization of Apple’s famed device has a bevy of technological advancements, two updates, in particular, are clearly the result of someone’s misguided handy work. (See what I did there?)

I’m referring to these gotdamn wireless earphones, the omitted headphone jack, and this water-resistant screen. At first glance, these seem like inculpable updates to America’s most popular wireless device. But I’m not falling for this shit. This new iPhone has dick-in-hands problems written all over it.

I understand that tech companies are in an arms race to make everything wireless. And, for what it’s worth, wireless headphones and a screen resistant to splashes are useful ideas. Most activities are more enjoyable when you don’t have to fiddle with cumbersome audio cables and your device is impervious to accidental encounters with liquid. Like running through the streets with or without your woes. Or dancing half-naked, drenched in sweat, in a boxing gym.

But Apple’s updates fit NONE of these categories. Tim Cook & Co. have literally just cut the cord to the EarPods and stuffed them with Bluetooth connectivity. They don’t sound better than their predecessor, yet cost more and have a battery life of a mere 5 hours. Not to mention that you’re likely to lose these shits in the toilet while taking a piss.

Furthermore, water-resistant devices are fucking useless. It seems cool and all, but I don’t need that shit. I need something WATER-PROOF. I need a phone that will still work after my toddler decides to toss it in a cup of milk, or a device that functions after I regrettably jump in a pool with it in my pocket.

Which leads me to believe that the only reason for Apple’s latest iteration of their flagship wireless device is courtesy of an engineer that got his man shaft tangled in wires while assaulting his friendly weapon to Big Booty Hoes 6 in the bathroom during his lunch break. Let’s call him Paul.

You see, this imaginary muthafucka Paul was probably minding his own gotdamn business on a Tuesday — because everything about Tuesdays suck, except tacos that are two dollars — when some clown-ass simp stressed him the fuck out. Maybe it was over deadlines or some shit like that. Anyway, Paul needed to escape for a little bit to find his inner G and get back to his envious job of designing the new iPhone. Only, he had a meeting in 15 minutes. So, instead of leaving the building to catch some fresh air, he retreated to the quiet sanctuary of the men’s bathroom to rub one out.

After massaging his hand-held stormtrooper for a whopping 5 minutes, Paul was ready to ride euphoric bliss to Jizzville, when suddenly he was startled by another patron in the adjacent stall. Scared by his neighbor’s violent shitting, Paul panicked, and attempted to abort operation Cyclop’s eruption. But it was too late. Paul reached the point of no return. While trying to disembark from his erotic solitude, Paul’s meat sack became tangled in the wires of his pristine EarBuds as his unborn seeds rocketed onto the phone’s screen, rendering it both disgusting and unusable. Paul then lifted his pants bunched around his ankles and began running water over the now defunct cellular device.

Pissed as a muthafucka, Paul stormed from the restroom. He headed straight to his cubicle to retrieve his limited edition Samurai Xacto Knife en route to this pointless staff meeting.

Paul kicked in the frosted glass doors to the upscale conference room, tossed his dripping iPhone on the dark walnut, 16-foot long table, and slammed his fists against its surface like an angry gorilla. The 8 attendees were aghast at the uncharacteristic nature of their colleague.

“You want a gotdamn iPhone 7. Here’s the new iPhone 7,” Paul screamed. On cue, the raging engineer raised the cumbersome EarPods clenched in his left hand (his Palmula), retrieved the limited edition cutting tool with his right, and severed the dangling cords with one fell swoop.

Paul then grabbed a toothpick from the middle of the table, shoved it in the headphone jack of the soiled handheld device, and covered it with some Scotch tape that he hastily grabbed from the console table behind him.

With everyone’s curiosity now directed towards Paul, the porn watching enthusiast exclaimed, “Cut these fucking cords and make the front of this motherfucker airtight,” like a real one.

The room stood silent, replete with bewilderment and awe. Then, from the depths of awkwardness, Tim Cook pushed away from the opposite end of the table, stood up, and began a slow, dramatic clap. “Bravo,” said Cook. The remaining tenants of the boardroom joined in, creating a raucous applause.

Of course, I’m sure none of this shit actually happened, but it’s the only logical reason I can muster as to why Apple decided to render our cars’ auxiliary outlet obsolete. It doesn’t matter that I can purchase an adapter to continue using my existing headphones. That’s just more money that I don’t feel compelled to fork over to a mid-thirties hipster at my nearby Apple store.

Of all the shit they could’ve improved — like I dunno, say a bulletproof glass casing, a battery that lasts for weeks without a charge, or at the very least, a feature that allows me to make Siri’s voice sound like Morgan Freeman’s — you gotdamn muthafuckas chose THIS SHIT?! Okay, Tim. Fine. Fuck you, but fine. Just take my money, now. And let me know when that 7S comes out.

 

The Shining of OBJ

By now the world has become aware of the Darth Becky fuckshit that occurred last week courtesy of Faux Femme Fatale, Lena Dunham, and her dull, cream-colored, average-comic friend, Amy Schumer. If Taylor Swift is the Darth Vader of the Evil White Girl Empire, Dunham is most certainly its Jaba The Hutt. This has nothing to do with her being fat, or chubby, or a little thick. Personally, I love women with curves. (Shout out to GabiFresh, Ashley Graham, and the lovely Jill Scott. Y’all make my heart melt.) It’s more about her being utterly inept, talentless, and non-threatening, yet somehow commanding power and drawing a following from fellow Abigail Fishers and misguided feminists who are only feminist when it comes to white women.

Anywho, if you haven’t heard by now, Ms. Dunham vomited her insecurities and imprudent sense of humor when reflecting on her interaction with New York Giant’s ramen noodle haired receiver Odell Beckham Jr. at this year’s Met Gala. Lena said Odell didn’t interact with her much, choosing instead to be consumed by his phone, because he deemed her an inadequate sexual object. Basically, he was guilty of eliciting White fragility for not sexually objectifying a pasty, white girl in a tuxedo, because he has a misogynistic mindset about attractiveness.

Note, this is all coming from Lena’s ‘I think I’m important but not really’ privileged mind since, you know, Odell never said this shit. As if our country doesn’t have enough of a shameful history regarding the over-sexualization and vilification of Black males courtesy of fabricated stories from the moronic brains of devious, unvictimized, White women. (See Emmett Till, The Destruction of Black Wall Street, and the Rosewood Massacre for reference.) Hence, as you would expect, Lena was appropriately dragged by the social guardian that is Black Twitter.

Since then, Dunham has issued a (somewhat decent) apology, and Girls is still canceled, so all is right in the world. However, one key piece of this story is missing: what exactly was Odell thinking that night? Did he really ignore her because she was “a marshmallow” dressed in a tuxedo? Or was he sliding in someone’s DMs and needed to remain focused on the ‘gram? Up until now, it has been a mystery. As I said before, Odell NEVER said any of this shit. Also, since news of Dunham’s slow-witted debacle broke to the masses, he has responded to requests from reporters with a sterile, “I Have to Learn More About the Situation” and “I’m focused on the Cowboys.” (Note: The Cowboys fucking suck!)

But we’re in luck. If Key & Peele’s comedic gospel taught us anything, we know that Black men have the ability to communicate with each other telepathically through a process know as Shining. Thus, because I’m a Black man, I can use my Magical Negro powers to Shine the official transcript of Odell’s thought process that fateful night. Alas, I give you, the Negro Shining of Odell.

OBJ: Hey, Wiz, you good fam? I heard you fell down the stairs.

Wiz: Nah, gotdammit, that wasn’t me, bruh. I’m good. That was Jason Derulo. (It wasn’t Jason Derulo either.)

OBJ: Bet. Just checkin’ bruh. Where do I sit? And they better have some fire-ass food. I’m hongry den a bih.

Michael B. Jordan: You gotta plant where they want you. Ain’t no choosing yo’ own seat up in here, fam.

OBJ: Why? That don’t make no damn sense.

MBJ: Ain’t that many of us here. They gotta spread out the melanin.

OBJ: Gotcha. We gotta represent Team No Socks.

MBJ: Yeah, Team No Socks in the building.

Common: Y’all know Calvin Klein wanted y’all to wear socks, right? That shit ain’t cool. Follow the program niggas.

Nas: Chill, Common. They just youngins. Let ’em live.

Melo: Yeezy, is that you? Are you at the wrong party? You dressed like it’s Halloween.

Yeezy: It’s fashion nigga. It’s avant-garde muhfucka.

Melo: That shit corny nigga. You look like a ghetto-ass Walker Texas Ranger. You mus’ be da Southside edition.

Barack Obama: Yeezy, we talked about this. You can’t just be out in these streets looking like a Chicago Vampire. You can’t pop off like that. Feel me?

OBJ: Got ’em!!!!!

Kanye: Man, fuck y’all. That’s why I’m running for President in 2020.

Obama: Naw, fam.

OBJ: Aye, y’all see Beyonce’s fine-ass out here? I’m ’bout to get a pic for the ‘gram.

Jay-Z: Look, nigga, don’t get too close to my woman. I may not be there but, I’m still there. ALWAYS. It’s the Roc.

OBJ: My bad Hov.

Future: I got tha Keys, tha keys, tha k-

OBJ: Ayo, Future, Russell says what’s up?

Future: Man, fuck you, Odell!

Russell Wilson: What’s up, Future?!

Future: Fuck you, Russ!

MBJ: Hey dawg, we gotta focus. We about to be seated. Time to be proper, non-threatening negroes.

OBJ: Bet. Oh shit, I’m sitting next to that chick that was grinding all over you Mike.

MBJ: Really, dawg? I thought she was convulsing or something. That’s why I didn’t move. I didn’t know what to do so I just smiled.

OBJ: Is she drunk? She keeps looking at me for some reason.

MBJ: Man, I dunno. Looking at you how?

OBJ: Like, she just staring at me, giving me this weird-ass grin, bro. It’s creeping me the fuck out. Who is she anyway?

MBJ: Just don’t make eye contact. That’s how she ended up twerking on me like Miley Cyrus.

OBJ: Alright. But who is she?

Nas: I think she works here at the museum, b. She’s probably a curator or something like that.

OBJ: A curator? What the fuck is that?

Common: She’s the one that sets up all the art n’ shit.

OBJ: Oh, word?!

MBJ: Naw, she’s an actress. A writer too, I think. I just know that Judd put her on at HBO.

Donald Glover: Yeah, I was in her show, fam. She digs Black dudes.

OBJ: Who are you?

DG: Donald Glover.

OBJ: Who?

DG: Damn, bruh. It’s Childish Gambino. Remember me? We partied when I did a show at LSU.

OBJ: Oh, y’all the same person. Damn, that’s deep, son.

DG: Nigga, I told you this.

OBJ: Ayo Mike, she still looking at me. What do I do?

MBJ: Just smile, bro.

OBJ: I’m trying. It’s not working. What else you got?

MBJ: Damn, I dunno. Somebody, help em’ out.

Kobe: Mamba at your service. What you’re go-

Melo: NOT YOU KOBE! You not the one. Take that Mamba shit somewhere else.

OBJ: Quick, hurry nigga. She is undressing me with her eyes.

Idris Elba: Calm down young fella. We got you.

OBJ: Idris, is that you?

IE: Yes. I’m looking dead at you. Just stay calm.

MBJ: Ayo, I’m still mad you told the producers to kill me off The Wire. That was fucked up? But it’s all good.

Wood Harris: That was like 15 sum’ years ago. Stop being a lil bitch about it. We basically MADE you, nigga.

MBJ: Whatever, dawg.

OBJ: NIGGA!!!! Help me!!!!!

IE: Hit’em, Denzel.

Denzel Washington: Alright, okay. I assure you brotha, that if you listen to my voice, you well make it out of this unscathed. I guarantee it. Alright?

OBJ: Okay, what do I do?

DW: Just look straight forward.

OBJ: Okay, I’m looking forward.

DW: Who do you see?

OBJ: Zoe Kravitz. Dayum, she fine too.

DW: Focus.

OBJ: Okay, okay, what do I do now?

DW: Slowly reach into your pocket, and grab your phone.

OBJ: Okay. I got it. What now?

DW: Now just watch some Dave Chappelle skits until this is all over.

OBJ: Really?!

DW: Yes. You just gotta hang in there for a little while longer. She’ll be outta your hair quicker than dandruff.

OBJ: Whew! Thanks, OG. ‘Preciate it. Shout out to Head & Shoulders!

Jordan Peele: Hey, y’all do know this ain’t real, right?

OBJ: Wait, what?

Keagan Michael Key: He said this isn’t real. Because it isn’t. We made this shit up because the execs at Comedy Central were on some fuckshit. We needed to scare their asses.

MBJ: Fo’real?!

JP: Fo’real.

OBJ: Dayum, dawg.

KMK: Noise.

So there you have it, folks. Looks like Odell was just trying to avoid Lena Dunham’s awkward flirting and wandering eyes. Or maybe he was concerned about his personal safety having witnessed the rhythmless, debauchery she unleashed on Michael B. Jordan earlier that evening. Hell, it’s like counting the licks to the middle of a Tootsie Roll Pop. We may never know. Either way, this account is much more believable than anything rambling in Lena Dunham’s simple mind. Because we all know, White women are still prone to lying on niggas. Just ask Kanye.

 

 

 

 

 

Atlanta Is Great Because It’s Black AF (With No Apologies)

I’m happy. Scratch that, I’m happier den a mug. I’m elated. I’m ecstatic. Because I just watched the first two episodes of Donald Glover’s new show, Atlanta.

It’s good. IT’S HELLA GOOD, fam. And it’s so because it’s genuinely black, AF. Since its premiere Tuesday night, there has been no shortage of praise for Glover’s brainchild and handy work. Much kudos to Glover for assembling a novice writing staff comprised entirely of BLACK PEOPLE. If this past season of OITNB–or any other show that features Black characters written in a majority white writers room–taught us anything, it’s that authentic Blackness is captured in the nuance of things. That stuff matters. A LOT. Especially to Black people. It also makes for great television. The script reflects that authenticity. It’s real and subsequently, incredibly heart wrenching! But it’s also funny. It addresses relevant issues within the Black community, such as homosexuality, mental illness, and being called a nigga by White folks, with sincerity and pert humor.

The show centers on a trio of Black dudes in Atlanta seeking to capitalize on recent success in the rap game. I know, I know, Black people stay rapping, or playing basketball, or dealing drugs when it comes to television shows. (See Empire, Survivor’s Remorse, Power, as proof.) But it’s real. I currently live in Atlanta. Everybody is a rapper here. EVERYBODY! You can’t go to Publix, or even church (yes, church) without somebody peddling their “fire” mixtape. However, this show isn’t necessarily about the rap game, it’s more about the experience of being Black, in America, in the Black Mecca of America.

The cast is amazing. I MEAN EVERYONE! First, there’s, of course, Donald Glover, who stars as Earnest “Earn” Marks, a really good kid and a mad city who just wants to win. He’s rebounding from a short stint at Princeton and can’t seem to stop catching Ls like the Lakers, or Lena Dunham. (Side note: Did you know Glover had a brief role on Dunham’s mediocre show, Girls? He played a Black Republican, whom she smashed. Shocker!) He’s stuck in reset, trying to make it in these streets by peddling credit apps at an airport. Yet he’s getting out-hustled by a Black woman whose name looks like it ought to be Delores. Add in that he’s living with his baby moms (because he’d be homeless otherwise) who he wants to be with, but can’t because he won’t shake his own immaturity. I could give you full recap, but I’m digressing. Simply put, Donald Glover is acting his butt off.

Then there’s Earn’s cousin, Alfred “Paper Boi” Miles, played by Brian Tyree Henry. He’s a 2Chainz-like rapper looking to blow up after years in the game. I’ve been a fan of Henry for a little while, but I’ve grown to appreciate him a lot as of late. He’s had some brief roles in The Good Wife, Boardwalk Empire, and The Knick. But he really got me when he played Dr. Brown’s estranged husband on HBO’s new irreverent comedy, Vice Principals. He’s a dry-funny type of cat with a knack for executing one-liners with a straight face. (Side note: Atlanta is gold for one-liners, bruh. GOLD!) He’s convincing as Paper Boi, providing the much-needed skepticism, grit, and bravado an aspiring rapper needs to make it out of the hood.

There’s also Darius, Paper Boi’s roommate, drug dealer, ghetto philosopher, and magical Negro (played by Lakeith Stansfield). Darius also has an impressive sneaker collection (I peeped those OG Spiz’ikes and Black History Month LeBron 13s. Again, it’s the nuances.) You’ve probably (certainly) have seen Lakeith in a few roles here and there. He made us cry in Selma as Jimmy Lee Jackson, the cat that was murdered by the PoPo in front of his parents. He made us cringe when he beat up Malcolm for his Jordan’s in Dope. He was Long Beach smooth as Snoop Dogg in Straight Outta Compton. (I also see that he’s in Oliver Stone’s Snowden releasing this fall. Get that Friend‘s money, fam). But Keith’s best role (in my opinion) was in Short Term 12, where he beautifully portrayed Marcus, an at-risk youth afraid of embracing life on the outside once he’s released from the cocoon of a foster-care facility. It’s a riveting performance. The movie’s quite good too. It also stars Brie Larson (the cute chick from 21 Jump Street), John Gallagher Jr. (that snarky producer from The Newsroom) and Rami Malek (the creepy hacker everyone loves from Mr. Robot).

Darius serves as the comic relief, and Stanfield does a remarkable job of providing humor, randomness, and punch to the stark reality of the show’s premise. This is best illustrated when Darius answers the door of his residence, revealing a big, Black nigga in a toy Batman mask. The dude asks if Paper Boi lives there, to which Darius replies with a faint, suspicious,”Uh, yeah.” Ol’ boy then runs off (like he probably did on the plug, twice), to which Darius turns to Paper Boi and instinctively says, “You too hot!” Again, the writing is gold, but it’s nothing without the execution.

Then we have Van (played by newcomer Zazie Beetz), Earn’s baby mama, who’s a school teacher and has morning breath that smells like Curry. The chemistry between Beetz and Glover is both electric and genuine. Van and Earn have a profoundly flawed relationship, mostly due to Earn’s lack of consistency. But they share a child and, for the time being, live together. And, she’s Black AF (much like the entire show). Namely because she was quick to tell Earn to stop taking her child to his mama’s house because she has a home of her own and is willing to bail Earn’s dumb-ass out of jail. Plus, she took her Bantu knots out like a pro after curbing Earn from getting some morning nookie for saying some nonsense. She’s not the angry Black, single-mom you’d expect, courtesy of Tyler Perry movies. She’s calm, collected, but savage if necessary.

Lastly, the remaining supporting roles are stellar. Earn’s parents are played by Myra Lucretia Taylor and Isiah Whitlock Jr. (You know him as Senator Clay Davis from The Wire. Sheeeeitt!!!) They display a supportive, yet incredibly guarded, affection for their child. For instance, Earn’s barred from their house because he always asks for money and leaves Anaconda like dumps in the toilet without flushing. But that doesn’t mean they don’t care about their boy. They just want him to shake his funk and, as Earn’s mom puts it, “…eat something real. Instead of all them candies and cookies and whatever other stuff was in there.” It’s a tough love that I personally know all too well.

It’s refreshing to see Black millennials credibly represented on the tube. Atlanta excels at creating a portrait that resembles the Black experience in America at a frenetic pace. (The show is only 30minutes.) It’s a show that is rooted in pure, supreme, Blackness and is truly reflective of our existence. Whether it’s Earn retrieving money from a pair of Double Nickel 10s, the Black cop asking for a pic with Paper Boi to post to the ‘gram, or Paper Boi’s excitement after getting the hookup with some lemon pepper wings (wet), the show is exceptionally nuanced. It’s thoughtfully written and superbly acted. Perhaps that’s why it’s so remarkably beautiful. Not just for Black folks, but for everyone.

This “I’m Right, You’re Wrong” Nonsense Has To Stop

College football kicked off last night. Well, kind of. Technically speaking, the chase for the 2016 College Football Championship started last week in Sydney, Australia when California mollywhopped Hawaii in what can only be described as an utter disregard for team defense. Nevertheless, this weekend, football stans across the country will finally be able to mirth at the violence and rage they’ve been hankering for, even if it exploits young adult men for massive profit. Personally, I’m only looking forward to football because I desperately need to watch something other than baseball. Tim Kirkjian’s voice is about to drive me up a stone wall.

The Olympics was cool and all, but it was only a few weeks, even less when you consider that, competitively speaking, there wasn’t much worth watching. The sheer domination courtesy of the US Women’s gymnastics, basketball, and 4×100 relay teams, Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt, was an enjoyable spectacle, but it’s fascinating watching equally matched competitors. Unless of course, you’re Canadian Diving specialist, Jennifer Abel. I certainly wouldn’t mind watching more of her, just because. Lawd, have mercy. I’m digressing.

Anywho, because of college football, we’re privy to more paid talking heads spewing their seemingly endless, dumb-ass, ‘I really want to say something provocative’ takes like fertilizer. One of the best shit-talking provocateurs is none other than Paul Finebaum, a man who’s cul de sac hairline and thick Browline glasses suggests he knows more about binary code and econometrics than zone blocking schemes and coverage shells.

Paul Finebaum - May 23, 2013

Since Colin Kaepernick’s decision to peacefully protest the oppression of brown people in America by defiantly refusing to stand during the national anthem, there has been no shortage of viewpoints. Most of them have been misguided, choosing to focus solely on Kaepernick’s antics and perceived lack of American pride rather than the issues he’s protesting. Others have been deeply rooted in nonsense, with claims that Kaepernick is too privileged to understand oppression given his upbringing, high-paying profession, post-game attire, and overall lack of Blackness. (He’s a Kappa. So, that’s Black enough!!!) There was also the typical, faux outcry as to why Kaepernick isn’t protesting “Black on Black” crime too. It’s amazing how people can be amazingly shortsighted in their opinion of things.

One of the most fatuous takes came from the aforementioned Finebaum, who questioned Kaepernick’s motives altogether, insinuating that the oppression of Black people doesn’t exist. Of course, this is the most absurd. Black people have been, and continue to be, oppressed by America’s pro-White culture. We’re still being hunted, face disadvantages, and are regarded as cattle, mainly due to prejudice. I could provide a myriad of statistics as proof of this thesis. I can even point out the obvious fact that White men (and White people, in general) are the least qualified to determine other people’s level of oppression, given their historically archetypal role as the oppressor.

Instead, what concerns me about Finebaum’s, and other’s, response to Kaepernick’s actions is the tone; the notion that if a person’s thoughts or beliefs vary from our own, they must not only be wrong, but inherently deficient. It’s a dangerous conviction, one that is regularly perpetuated and has precipitated the racial, religious, and moral tension within our society.

We must stop regarding alternative perspectives as a point of contention and judgment. Instead, we must perceive our differences as a means of improving ourselves and our society.

During my time in college, I befriended an Agnostic, Republican. I know, the mere existence of this individual is unbelievable. (It’s like befriending a fucking unicorn. But I assure you, he exists.) I identify as a Christian and Democrat. Add in that he is White, comes from money, attended Florida State, and is a vegan. I, on the other hand, am Black, with middle-class roots, have an FAMU diploma, and avoid anything green by eating as many animals as possible because they’re delicious as fuck.

At first glance, this relationship shouldn’t exist. Conventionally thinking, it definitely shouldn’t have cultivated respect and admiration. But it did. In fact, it’s one of the most fruitful relationships I’ve had during my short lifetime.

You see, while we are gravely opposite, we were open to understanding each other. We asked questions without being judgmental. We attempted to inform one another without being preachy. We challenged each other’s doctrines by seeking clarity rather than just proof.

And I became better for it. It forced me to dig within myself and cultivate an acceptance for others. In the process, I became motivated to take a course on religion, grow my understanding and relationship with Christ, and gain some perspective on Republicans. (Contrary to my Pop’s sentiments, they’re not all racist, rich & White. Some of them have some gotdamn sense and progressive ideas. Which makes this election so disheartening.)

Too many times, we’re taught that “birds of the same feather flock together” as a reason to surround ourselves with well-meaning, like-minded people to obtain success. There’s some truth to this. One should avoid destructive individuals who desire nothing for others, or themselves. Also, fuckboys who indulge in fuckshit should be averted at all costs. (Note: I love being around Black people who love being Black because it’s comfortable and invigorating.)

But that doesn’t mean we should suffocate our growth by sterilizing ourselves from variegation. (Note: I also love being around a diverse group of nonjudgmental people who love being human. It’s an awakening experience.)

If Obama’s Presidency has taught me anything, other than that a Black President is a sure fire way to bring the racist out of folks, it’s that we are becoming increasingly disinterested with accepting one another. We have adopted this mantra of converting as many people to our respective causes as possible. And should they reject, we shall condemn them for their “unpleasant” ideas. Simply put, we are putting too much in the value of being right.

Colin Kaepernick’s actions were not about condemning or dishonoring his country. His message was about igniting focus towards an issue that has plagued our nation for far too long. Disagreeing with his actions is okay. Not everything everyone does will jive with what we believe. But there’s a way to be disagreeable without sullying someone’s character.

More importantly, we must focus on the issues aroused from this revolt and be willing to have frank, uncomfortable, unbiased discussions to elicit solutions. Otherwise, we’ll just polarize ourselves further apart, with growing factions of people who are unequivocally convinced they are right while everyone else is wrong. That’s not an America that I wish to live in, nor the one any us of deserve. The of multiformity of thought, religion, ideology, and freedom of expression is the underpinning of our democracy. As a preacher once told me, “It’s not about being right, it’s about being effective.”