Saturday, August 9, 2008

Monica: Still Standing

R&B singer Monica debuted her reality show this week in the Atlanta area on local station, Peachtree TV. If you missed the show, you can view it here. Monica has really matured into a beautiful young woman, and the show profiles the challenges that she faces while preparing her 5th studio album, and trying to change a trend of 2 previously lackluster releases.

Monica is shown collaborating with producer Bryan Michael Cox and production team Stargate in an effort to get that "it" record. The show is an excellent vehicle in showing the pressures that artists face trying to have all of the variables align perfectly for a record that radio stations will play, and the record label will support.

The end of the show left Monica emotionally drained after recording a Cox produced song titled "Still Standing" which features Ludacris. Unfortunately the representative from J Records didn't have the same feelings for the song, suggesting that the singer go back to the drawing board. Whenever Monica delivers the record to the public, she will deliver it on her terms and allow her fans to determine the records success or failure.

D.C. Teen Coping Despite Chaos of The Streets

The Washington Post profiles recent high school graduate Monica Watts, who just buried another brother last week. A brother who died while attempting to rob an off duty police officer. Watts, up to this point has navigated the urban streets of Washington, D.C. pretty successfully. Despite her losses, she's planning to attend Bennedict College in South Carolina, and is receiving community support to help defray the college costs.

The article states that since 1989, there have been 6,000 homicides recorded in the District of Columbia, and in Monica's immediate family, none of the black males survived to live into their 30s. Another sad commentary on the odds of the black male to survive in what now has to be considered urban warfare.

RIP Bernie

Comedian Bernie Mac died early today in a Chicago area hospital. He was 50 years old. The heavens will be a little brighter as they welcome Bernie with open arms. Bernie is survived by his wife, Rhonda and daughter, Je'Niece.

Baby Mama Drama Dooms John Edwards

Well, Johns Edwards joins the ranks of powerful men, who've fallen prey to the feminine wiles of a beautiful woman. Edwards' fall is going to be precipitous, and alarming.

This is a man who criticized Bill Clinton for the Monica Lewinsky affair, stating: "I think this president has shown a remarkable disrespect for his office, for the moral dimensions of leadership, for his friends, for his wife, for his precious daughter." The National Enquirer had information on Edwards' alleged "baby mama", Rielle Hunter as far back as a year ago, but couldn't confirm it until the hotel incident a few weeks ago. At the time, a National Enquirer reporter confronted Edwards, as he was leaving Hunter's hotel room, and Edwards proceeded to run into a nearby restroom to avoid the reporter.

Edwards' decision to "come clean" on a Friday, when the Olympics are beginning is interesting, but he won't be able to outrun this story. He has denied being the baby's father, but is willing take a DNA test. It would be better if he would limit the pain that his family will have to endure and just own up to everything, including the fact that he's been paying housing and living expenses for Hunter.

Edwards' wife is battling inoperable cancer, and he still can' be honest. To think that he was once a candidate for Vice President of the United States.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Hillary's Back!

I'm sure, much to Barack Obama's chagrin, the Clinton's are back in the news this week with the Democratic Convention looming in a few weeks. Former President Bill Clinton gave a revealing interview to ABC News' Kate Snow in which he could barely bring himself to admit that Obama is even qualified to be the President of the United States. Hillary has even been telling her supporters that it's acceptable to place her name into nomination at the convention if they so choose. Neither of these developments is good news for Barack Obama.

As everyone gets caught up in the Obama euphoria, the reality of the situation is that he's really been struggling to regain the momentum that he had during the Democratic primaries. The race is essentially a dead heat, and the Clinton's know that he needs their support to have a chance to beat John McCain in the fall. There's no doubt in my mind now that the Clinton's will support Obama, but it will be very lukewarm support.

Bill Clinton clearly is distressed that he was labeled a racist, and he obviously hasn't forgotten that transgression, telling Snow that he will not even comment on the subject until January. Hillary will provide support for the good of the party, but there will be no tears shed by the Clintons if Obama loses in the fall. An Obama loss will play perfectly into Hillary's plan to run in 2012 to secure what she probably thinks she richly deserves, to be the First Woman President of the United States.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Patty Jackson's 411 Report

I've missed Patty Jackson's 411 Report the past few weeks, but in this week's issue she gives a lowdown on Morgan's Misfortune, Lisa Raye's marriage issues, along with a host of other celebrity musings, including information on Lionel Richie working with Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis on his next project.

"The Blueprint 3" has confirmed that Jay-Z is presently working on his final album for Def Jam, titled "The Blueprint 3." Kanye West has already worked on a few tracks for the album, which are rumored to be masterpieces.

Hova is the greatest living rapper, and far to young to stay retired.

Usher Rehires Mother As Manager

This may have been big news 3 or 4 years ago, but the music business is tanking right now. Does anyone really care that Usher parted ways with Benny Medina and rehired his mother as his manager?

Usher was relevant during his "Confessions" phase, but with the release of a very lackluster Cd in "Here I Stand", it's time for Usher to go back into the studio, and rededicate himself to his craft.

Hip Hop Mayor Jailed: "If Only For One Night"

It's been very long day, and by now I'm sure this is old news, but I'm rejoicing because the "hip hop mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick has been sentenced to 24 hours of jail time for violating conditions of his bond.

He's already made a travesty of his position as mayor, and he's obviously not going down without a fight, but we're close to the end of Kilpatrick's "reign of terror." Thank you Judge Ronald Giles for acting appropriately.

Chicago Tallies 62 Murders in July

According to the Chicago Tribune, the city of Chicago tallied 62 murders for the month of July. The information as far as I can tell is not separated by demographics, but I wouldn't be surprised if the majority of the victims were black men and children. The sad commentary continues.

Joe Barry Carroll Suing Atlanta Restaurant

According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution former NBA player, Joe Barry Carroll and his attorney are suing Atlanta restaurant, Tavern at Phipps, for failing to give up their seats at the bar for two white women. The incident occurred about 2 years ago, and at that time Carroll and his attorney, Joseph Shaw (who was with Carroll at the time of the incident) filed a complaint against the City of Atlanta's Human Relations Commission. The commission ruled that the restaurant discriminated on the basis of gender and possibly race, leading to the the federal lawsuit that was recently filed.

Joe Barry Carroll is 7'1", and the restaurant asked him to give up his seat! It'll be interesting to see how this suit resolves itself, but on the surface it looks like the restaurant should just "cut the check."

Hip Hop Mayor Expected To Be Charged

My favorite "hip hop" mayor, Detroit's Kwame Kilpatrick is expected to be charged in the shoving incident with police that occurred on July 24th according to the Detroit Free Press. It shouldn't be long now before the residents of Detroit are taken out of their misery. Thank you, Kwame!

Morgan's Misfortune

It seems that many in the black media are reveling in actor Morgan Freeman's misfortune the week. In reality, the divorce situation is actually an old story that wasn't picked up by the national media (very similar the Senator John Edwards' alleged "baby mama" drama).

Morgan Freeman has always exuded class and professionalism, and at the end of the day, he and his wife will split half of his multi-million dollar fortune and call it a day. Let's move on to more important things.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Cheeks Kilpatrick Wins Re-election

Despite her son, Kwame Kilpatrick's political woes, Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick was re-elected yesterday to her congressional seat. Cheeks Kilpatrick only won by about 1,700 votes, her narrowest margin since she was first elected in 1996.

The residents of Detroit obviously still want one member of the Kilpatrick family serving in a political capacity. Thanks to the Detroit Free Press for the article.

Rev. Timothy Wright Update

The New York Daily News is providing an update on the condition of the Rev. Timothy Wright. Wright is considered "the Godfather of Gospel", and was severely injured in a car accident last month that killed his wife and grandson. Rev. Wright is still in serious condition, and can't eat or breathe on his own. Presently his medical expenses are over $4,000 a day, and his Veterans health insurance does not cover the expense.

The Rev. Al Sharpton is leading a fund raising drive, and hopes to raise $100,000 by the end of this week to assist with Rev. Wright's medical care. Sharpton estimates that total medical expenses could approach $500,000. Wright is expected to be taken off the respirator within 6 weeks.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Does A Child's Name Matter?

I had an interesting conversation with a young woman today regarding her children's names. She stated that she intentionally gave her children "race neutral" names so that their race wouldn't be identified by human resource decision makers during a potential hiring process. This young woman works for a major university in our country, and stated that she sees name discrimination every day during the hiring process.

It was an interesting discussion, so I just wanted to make a written note of it. Should we think twice before naming our children? I'm not sure, but perhaps it's worth pondering.

Dominique Dawes Still Golden

The Baltimore Sun profiles 1996 Olympic Gymnastics Gold Medalist, Dominique Dawes, who has successfully transitioned from the spotlight of the athletic world to teaching the sport and giving motivational speeches. With the Olympics beginning this week, Dawes is back in the spotlight, and will be serving as a journalist for Yahoo Sports at the Beijing Games.

Still only 31, Dawes is doing what she loves to do, and giving back to the community at the same time.

Chicago Students' Fear Getting Shot

The Chicago Sun-Times has published a revealing article on the impact of urban crime on the beleaguered city's school system. Since last September 36 Chicago Public School children have been killed by violence. Subsequently the lives of the impacted students reveal fear and despair for the young students attending Chicago's Public Schools.

The article clearly illustrates the continued sad state of public schools in our urban areas. Adverse conditions obviously afffect the opportunity to receive a quality education. This clearly impacts the student, and doesn't even take into account the teachers who work in the "rough" conditions.

Pat Buchannan Welcomes Obama To The NFL

Conservative pundit Pat Buchannan has written an article welcoming Barack Obama to the "Real World of Politics", and reveling in the fact that in his opinion Obama has made a series of gaffes that have made the race for president a dead heat. Buchannan applauds the fact that Obama failed to visit the troops on the last part of his trip abroad, and responded to John McCain's "Paris/Britney" ad by invoking race into the campaign.

Buchannan states correctly that with Obama pretty much guaranteed 94 percent of the black vote, the other 87 percent of Amercia is not interested that the next president will not be one of them. Buchannan has to love the fact that, Obama, continued his flip flopping by changing his opinion on off shore drilling yesterday.

Philadelphia Eagles Player Admits Struggle With Depression

Two time Pro Bowl guard Shawn Andrews of the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles, revealed yesterday that he missed the start of training camp because of a continued struggle with depression. Andrews, 25, admits that he is on medication and planning to visit a mental health professional later this week.

As a result of Andrews' revelation, Eagles Pro Bowl safety, Brian Dawkins admitted that he had a bout of depression during his rookie season in 1996. Dawkins, who at one point, was on medication, was able to overcome his depression through prayer and support.

I hope that Andrews is able to deal with his mental health issues, and gets well. I applaud him for being proactive and finally seeking help from mental health professionals. The Philadelphia Daily News provides complete information on the Andrews situation.

Monday, August 4, 2008

I Miss The "Spirit" of Earth, Wind & Fire

Black music has gone through many transitions in the past few decades, and now hip hop dominates the playlists of the most prominent black radio stations throughout the country. Proponents of hip hop marvel at the thumping beats, and lyrics that sensationalize the urban culture. Opponents of the music mourn the genre that spews offensive language, denigrates our women, and lauds violence.

Where has all of the conscious music gone? Where is the music that used to uplift our people through words that made "black folk' feel good about overcoming their oppression, and who wouldn't seek spiritual solace through church? Back in the day, we could turn on urban radio and listen to Earth, Wind & Fire's, Phillip Bailey singing "Keep Your Head To The Sky." We could listen to Maurice White's African led rhythms on "Get Away" which focused on "getting away from the pressures of this troubled land," with Larry Dunn's synthesiser arrangement taking us to the rousing close led by Bailey's searing falsetto.

The discography of the "Greatest Black Band of All Time", should be required listening on everyone's IPOD, and a dissection of the groups songs should be done in music classes throughour our country.

Remember that we're all "Shining Stars", no matter who we are, shining bright to see, what we can truly be." Words performed by Earth, Wind & Fire, and an anthem for all of us going through "Changing Times", a bright look into all of our inner souls.

Farrakhan Critisizes Educational System

Minister Louis Farrakhan criticized the nationwide educational system during a speech at a South Side Chicago church yesterday. Farrakhan challenged parents to become more involved in demanding that curriculum's become more relatable to minority children. Thanks to the Chicago Sun-Times for the article.

Harlem Priest Accused of Sexual Assault

The New York Daily News is reporting that Msgr. Wallace Harris was forced to step down Sunday as the pastor of St. Charles Borromeo Roman Catholic Church amid allegations that he sexually abused two minors. Harris gave the invocation at New York Governor David Paterson's inauguration.
Harris is denying the allegations, which allegedly occurred 20 years ago.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

"The Obama Nation"

Conservative political commentator, Sean Hannity appears to have found a willing accomplice in his effort to derail Barack Obama's presidential campaign. The above video is a segment from Hannity's show which profiles author Jerome Corsi, who released his new book, "The Obama Nation" on Friday. The interview is predictably a smear job against Obama, but it probably should be viewed very seriously by the Obama Campaign. Corsi was the co-author of "Unfit For Command" which profiled 2004 Democratic Presidential Nominee, John Kerry.

Obama Being Criticized For Opposing Reparations

Barack Obama is at odds with many prominent black organizations due to his opposition to slavery reparations. This is one issue that Obama hasn't flipped on, since as recently as 2004, he stated in an NAACP Questionnaire, ''I fear that reparations would be an excuse for some to say, 'We've paid our debt,' and to avoid the much harder work.''

One of Obama's preferences is to impact the lives of poor blacks by improving educational systems, and thus giving blacks a better opportunity at higher education.

I've really never given much thought to reparations, because I've never believed it would ever come to fruition. I tend to agree with Obama on this issue, instead of spending time on a symbolic gesture, let's work to improve the inner city educational systems, which were bad 30 years ago, but are far worse today. Thanks to the Chicago Sun Times for the article.

Storytellers Making a Difference In Baltimore

The National Association of Black Storytellers was formed in Baltimore in 1984, with the goal of promoting the black experience through storytelling. The Baltimore Sun has published a great article that profiles Baltimore storytellers performing their art form to the residents of the city.
This is great way to spread the black culture within the inner city in a manner that's creative, and non traditional .

Speaker Malfunction Not Shooting At So So Def Party

Yesterday, most media outlets were reporting a shot being fired outside a party being hosted by Jermaine Dupri in Atlanta. Celebrity blogger, SandraRose is reporting that a speaker malfunction was the real cause of the mayhem.

Unfortunately perception is the media's reality when it comes to the hip hop community.

Laura Ingraham Calls Ludacris a "Thug"

I'm usually pretty tolerant of commentator opinions on topics and individuals. However, I was really appalled when on two separate occasions this week, while appearing on the Bill O'Reilly show, conservative political commentator Laura Ingraham called rapper Ludacris a "thug" in response to the rap song that he released last week reinforcing his support of Barack Obama. Ingraham arrived at this opinion based on the lyrics of some of the rapper's songs.

Perhaps Ingraham should address the record label that releases the music, instead of attacking the artist. Ludacris is expressing himself through music, which is his right, and obviously there is an audience for his music based on his phenomenal success, which he has parlayed into a career as a respectable actor, philanthropist and businessman.

I only hope that Ingraham would also place Eminem in the same category as Luda.

Kanye Does Good Deeds

Kanye West is being featured this month on the MTV's series "Choose or Loose" assisting soldiers who recently served in Iraq and Afghanistan overcome the obstacles of transitioning back into mainstream society. Kanye is featured meeting with the ex-soldiers, who are dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, mounting debt, and the inability to maintain employment because of the PTSD. Kanye's assistance goes above and beyond the call of duty, and includes the following: paying off debts, setting up children college funds, paying rent for a year, and even offering to help one of the ex-soldiers jump start his rap career.

Kanye West is the preeminent artist in hip hop, but it always appeared that his intensity collided with his intelligence to sometimes form incoherent comments and tirades. Kanye appeared very calm during this program, and by his actions really wanted to positively impact the lives of the ex-soldiers. Kanye has now joined David Banner as an "Agent of Change" within the hip hop community.