Category Archives: Uncategorized

Music You (and I) Slept On…

I like to think I’m cutting edge. There’s no new music worth hearing that escapes Kenyon Farrow, no-sir-ee! Whether overground or underground, my finger is on the pulse.

But even I miss some things sometimes. And the older I get, the more new music slips through the cracks. But I recently came upon three recordings that have come out over the last few years that I knew about, but just slept on. But I got em now, and you should too!

Ray Ray, Raphael Saadiq. Saadiq, one of the most successful music producers of our time (and former frontman for Tony, Toni, Tone, & Lucy Pearl) release this, his second album, in 2004. It was on his own label, Pookie Entertainment, and was the follow-up to 2002’s Instant Vintage. The disc is both funky and slickly produced at the same time. Saadiq’s production here is like a reigned-in late Parliament/Funkadelic sound–rubbery bass lines, spaced-out synthesizers, but with much more pop-sensibility. He’s jouned by guests artists including Joi, Teedra Moses, Allie Baba, Babyface, Dwayne Wiggins (Tony, Toni, Tone) and Dawn Robinson (Lucy Pearl). Standout tracks are “Detroit Girl,” “Chic,” and “Ray Ray Theme.” It’s not groundbreaking, but its a really good record!

Trip the Light Fantastic, Ladybug Mecca. Ladybug was the woman MC in the the group Digable Planets. She stepped out in 2005 to release this really interesting and sonically diverse record that spans hip-hop, rock, pop and bossa nova. In addition to showcasing her skills as an MC (which are still impressive), she also reveals a raspy rock/pop singing voice on this album (Think RES/Nelly Furtado/Imani Coppola). The standout tracks are “Don’t Disturb The Peace,” “LadyBug Come Outside,” and “Suicidethol.”

The Hollywood Recordings, Sa-Ra Creative Partners. This CD can be called nothing short of brilliant. Sa-Ra consists of three (really hot) nerdy producer types from Detroit, Michigan who show us why the Motor City has become the vanguard of electronic music of the last 20 years. The CD’s production is hip-hop in it’s orientation (think Pete-Rock, Ali Shaheed Muhammad & the late J Dilla), but they trio also lays down some really nice baritone vocals with with interesting lyrics to boot. Guest stars include Dilla himself, Erykah Badu, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Bilal, Talib Kweli and Capone-n-Noreaga. The biggest disappointment of this disc is it’s sinking to typical dude-ish misogyny, even on tracks I like (admittedly). Standouts (and it’s hard to pick just a few here) are “Glorious,” “Fly Away,” and “Fish Fillet.”

GO See 'Dirty Laundry' This Weekend in NYC & LA

DIRTY LAUNDRY IN THEATERS IN NEW YORK & LOS ANGELES

DIRTY LAUNDRY IN THEATERS IN NEW YORK & LOS ANGELES
FRIDAY, DECEMEBER 7, 2007

Gay/SGL Men of African Descent is proud to support “Dirty Laundry” and encourages the Black Gay/SGL community and their supporters in New York City and Los Angeles to come out December 7th to see this ground-breaking film. The movie will be released in select cities nationwide on December 28th and it is our hope that you will see it when it comes to your city.

New York Theater: Clearview Chelsea West Theater
333 West 23rd Street (b/t 8th & 9th)
New York, NY 10011
Los Angeles: Mann Beverly Center Cinemas (Inside Beverly Center)
8522 Beverly Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90038

DIRTY LAUNDRY Opens in New York & Los Angeles on December 7th In select cities nationwide on December 28th
www.dirtylaundrythe movie.com
www.myspace. com/dirtylaundry movie
View Official Trailer on Dirty Laundry’s You Tube Channel
www.youtube. com/dirtylaundry themovie

ABOUT DIRTY LAUNDRY

DIRTY LAUNDRY is a modern-day prodigal son story with a twist. It follows magazine writer Patrick, skillfully played by Rockmond Dunbar (Prison Break, Soul Food), who seems to have the “perfect life,” until one day there is a knock at the door. On the other side stands a secret that brings him face to face with the traditional southern family he hasn’t seen in over 10 years.

DIRTY LAUNDRY’s cast includes a colorful array of character and comedic actors including Loretta Devine (Waiting to Exhale, I Am Sam, Dreamgirls) as “Evelyn”, Jenifer Lewis (Antwone Fisher Story, Castaway) as “Aunt Lettuce”, Terri J. Vaughn (Daddy’s Little Girls, Steve Harvey Show) as “Jackie”, Sommore (Queens of Comedy, The Parkers) as “Abby”, Alec Mapa (Ugly Betty) as “Daniel” and Director Maurice Jamal as “Eugene”. Supermodel Veronica Webb also appears in a fun cameo.

DIRTY LAUNDRY is the winner of the 2006 American Black Film Festival Audience Award for “Best Film” and “Best Actor – Loretta Devine.”

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJG20kWKikU]

What May Come: Asian Americans and the Virginia Tech Shootings

What May Come: Asian Americans and the Virginia Tech Shootings

 

Tamara K. Nopper

April 17, 2007

 

Like many, I was glued to the television news yesterday, keeping updated about the horrific shootings at Virginia Tech University . I was trying to deal with my own disgust and sadness, especially since my professional life as a graduate student and college instructor is tied to universities. And then the other shoe dropped. I found out from a friend that the news channel she was watching had reported the shooter as Asian. It has now been reported, after much confusion, that the shooter is Cho Seung-Hui, a South Korean immigrant and Virginia Tech student.

As an Asian American woman, I am keenly aware that Asians are about to become a popular media topic if not the victims of physical backlash. Rarely have we gotten as much attention in the past ten years, except, perhaps, during the 1992 Los Angeles Riots. Since then Asians are seldom seen in the media except when one of us wins a golfing match, Woody Allen has sex, or Angelina Jolie adopts a kid.

I am not looking forward to the onslaught of media attention. If history truly does have clues about what will come, there may be several different ways we as Asian Americans will be talked about.

One, we will watch white media pundits and perhaps even sociologists explain what they understand as an “Asian” way of being. They will talk about how Asian males presumably have fragile “egos” and therefore are culturally prone to engage in kamikaze style violence. These statements will be embedded with racist tropes about Japanese military fighters during WWII or the Viet Cong—the crazy, calculating, and hidden Asian man who will fight to the death over presumably nothing.

In the process, the white media might actually ask Asian Americans our perspectives for a change. We will probably be expected to apologize in some way for the behavior of another Asian—something whites never have to collectively do when one of theirs engages in (mass) violence, which is often. And then some of us might succumb to the Orientalist logic of the media by eagerly promoting Asian Americans as real Americans and therefore unlike Asians overseas who presumably engage in culturally reprehensible behavior. In other words, if we get to talk at all, Asian Americans will be expected to interpret, explain, and distance themselves from other Asians just to get airtime.

Or perhaps the media will take the color-blind approach instead of a strictly eugenic one. The media might try to whitewash the situation and treat Cho as just another alienated middle-class suburban kid. In some ways this is already happening—hence the constant referrals to

the proximity of the shootings to the 8th anniversary of the Columbine killings. The media will repeat over and over words from a letter that Cho left behind speaking of “rich kids,” and “deceitful charlatans.” They will ask what’s going on in middle-class communities that encourage this type of violence. In the process they may never talk about the dirty little secret about middle-class assimilation: for non-whites, it does not always prevent racial alienation, rage, or depression. This may be surprising given that we are bombarded with constant images suggesting that racial harmony will exist once we are all middle-class. But for many of us who have achieved middle-class life, even if we may not openly admit it, alienation does not stop if you are not white.

But the white media, being as tricky as it is, may probably talk about Cho in ways that reflect a combination of both traditional eugenic and colorblind approaches. They will emphasize Cho’s ethnicity and economic background by wondering what would set off a hard-working, quiet, South Korean immigrant from a middle-class dry-cleaner-owning family. They will wonder why Cho would commit such acts of violence, which we expect from Middle Easterners and Muslims and those crazy Asians from overseas, but not from hard-working South Korean immigrants. They will promote Cho as “the model minority” who suddenly, for no reason, went crazy. Whereas eugenic approaches depicting Asians as crazy kamikazes or Viet Cong mercenaries emphasize Asian violence, the eugenic aspect of the model minority myth suggests that there is something about Asian Americans that makes them less prone to expressions of anger, rage, violence, or criminality. Indeed, we are not even seen as having legitimate reasons to have anger, let alone rage, hence the need to figure out what made this “quiet” student “snap.”

Given that the model minority myth is a white racist invention that elevates Asians over minority groups, Cho will be dissected as an anomaly among South Koreans who “are not prone” to violence—unlike Blacks who are racistly viewed as inherently violent or South Asians, Middle Easterners and Muslims who are viewed as potential terrorists. He will be talked about as acting “out of character” from the other “good South Koreans” who come here quietly and dutifully work towards the American dream. Operating behind the scenes of course is a diplomatic relationship between the US and South Korea forged through bombs and military zones during the Korean War and expressed through the new free trade agreement negotiations between the countries. Indeed, even as South Korean diplomats express concern about racial backlash against Asians, they are quick to disown Cho in order to maintain the image of the respectable South Korean.

Whatever happens, Cho will become whoever the white media wants him to be and for whatever political platform it and legislators want to push. In the process, Asian Americans will, like other non-whites, be picked apart, dissected, and theorized by whites. As such, this is no different than any other day for Asian Americans. Only this time an Asian face will be on every television screen, internet search engine, and newspaper.

 

Tamara K. Nopper is an educator, writer, and activist living in Philadelphia . She can be reached at tnopper@yahoo.com.

But Some of Us Are Brave—In Support of the April 28, 2007 National Day of Truthtelling in Durham, North Carolina

But Some of Us Are Brave—In Support of the April 28, 2007 National Day of Truthtelling in Durham, North Carolina
By Aishah Shahidah Simmons

While there are many folks who are rejoicing that Imus was fired, I fear that we may have won a battle but could have *temporarily* lost this relentless racist/sexist war against Black women in the United States. While most eyes were focused on the outcome of Imus’ fate, the accused members of the Duke Lacrosse team were exonerated. Very, very tragically, many of the same Black (overwhelmingly male) voices who were demanding the firing of Imus, haven’t said a peep about the recent dropping of charges against the accused members of the Duke Lacrosse team. Additionally, in the ongoing mainstream media discussions about Imus calling the predominantly Black women’s basketball team at Rutgers University “nappy headed-ho’s,” there hasn’t been any mainstream media correlation/analysis/commentary

/discussion about the fact that:

1. Some of the (White) Duke Lacrosse team members called the two (Black) women “niggers” and “bitches”;
2. One of the (White) Duke Lacrosse members threatened to rape them with a broomstick;
3. Another (White) Duke Lacrosse team member spoke of hiring strippers in an e-mail sent the same night that threatened to kill “the bitches” and cut off their skin while he ejaculated in his “Duke-issued spandex;” and
4. Another (White) Duke Lacrosse team member shouted to the (Black woman) victim as she left the team’s big house, “Hey bitch, thank your grandpa for my nice cotton shirt.”

Instead there were subtle and not-so subtle racist implications that hip-hop is the cause of Imus’ racist/sexist comments; and that the Black woman stripper/whore (not daughter, not mother, not college student, not sex worker) lied on/set up the innocent White Duke Lacrosse team members (who hired her and her colleague to perform for them).

So, in this very direct way the corporate owned media message to the American public is that Black people, especially Black women, are the perpetrators of violence against White men (and I would argue Black men too).

Based on the overwhelming deafening silence from mainstream Black (predominantly male) ‘leaders’ and organizations about the documented racist/sexist comments made by the White Duke Lacrosse team members, it’s clear to me that no one will speak for us– Black women–but ourselves. It doesn’t matter if you’re a rape survivor, a child sexual abuse survivor, a domestic violence survivor, a stripper, a prostitute, a lesbian, a bisexual woman, a heterosexual woman, a single mother (especially with several children from different fathers), on welfare, a high school drop out, college educated, working in corporate America, working at a minimum wage job with no health insurance, or working in the film/music/television entertainment industry. Yes, I placed what some people would view as very different/distinct categories of Black women in the same category because I firmly believe that if any of the aforementioned Black women are at the wrong place at the wrong time (which could be at any time), we, Black women, will be left to heal our very public wounds alone.

I was the young Black woman who in 1989, at 19 years old six weeks shy of my 20th birthday, said “Yes”, while on a study abroad program…I was the Black woman who broke the rules of the university where I attended by agreeing to sneak out, after hours, to meet the man who would become my rapist… I was the Black woman who after breaking the university enforced rules started to have second thoughts but was afraid to articulate them and was afraid to turn around because my friends were covering for me… I was the Black woman who paid for the hotel room where I was raped…I was the Black woman who said to my soon-to-become rapist, “I don’t want to do this. Please stop.” I didn’t “violently” fight back. I didn’t scream or yell to the top of my lungs” because I was afraid. I didn’t want to make a “scene.” I blamed myself for saying, “Yes”…for breaking the rules…for paying for the hotel room.

I am one of countless women, regardless of race/ethnicity/national origin, age, sexual orientation, class, religion who experientially learned that the (often unchallenged) punishment for women who use poor judgment with men is rape and other forms of sexual violence. And the reward for those same men who perpetrate the sexual violence that we (victim/survivors) experience is the opportunity to perpetrate again and in turn say “WOMEN LIE.”

“For all who ARE survivors of sexual violence…For all who choose to BELIEVE survivors of sexual violence…For all who KNOW WE CAN end rape culture…” come to Durham, North Carolina on Saturday, April 28, 2007. Join the numerous individuals and organizations from across the United States who will come to Durham, North Carolina on Saturday, April 28, 2007 to participate in “Creating A World Without Sexual Violence – A National Day of Truthtelling.”

This mobilizing event is organized by a coalition of organizations including North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Ubuntu, Men Against Rape Culture, SpiritHouse, Raleigh Fight Imperialism Stand Together, Southerners on New Ground, Independent Voices, Black Workers for Justice, and Freedom Road Socialist Organization/OSCL).

For more information on the National Day of Truthtelling, visit:
http://truthtelling.communityserver.com/
http://iambecauseweare.wordpress.com/
www.myspace.com/ubuntunc

Aishah Shahidah Simmons is a Black feminist lesbian documentary filmmaker, writer, and activist based in Philadelphia. An incest and rape survivor, she spent eleven years, seven of which were full time to produce/write/direct NO! (The Rape Documentary), a feature length documentary which looks at the universal reality of rape and other forms of sexual violence through the first-person testimonies, activism, scholarship, cultural work, and spirituality of African-Americans.
www.NOtheRapeDocumentary.org
www.myspace.com/afrolez
*******************************************
Following is a non-inclusive list of books by Black feminists who address Hip-Hop and Feminism
(There are many more books than those that are listed):

Pimps Up, Ho’s Down: Hip-Hop’s Hold On Young Black Women by T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting

Prophets in the Hood: Politics and Poetics in Hip-Hop by Imani Perry

When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost: A Hip-Hop Feminist Breaks It Down by Joan Morgan

From Black Power to Hip Hop: Racism, Nationalism, and Feminism by Patricia Hill Collins, Johnnetta Betsch Cole and Beverly Guy-Sheftall

Eleven years in the making, NO! is an award-winning feature length documentary, which unveils the reality of rape, other forms of sexual violence, and healing in African-American communitites.

“If the Black community in the Americas and in the world would heal itself, it must complete the work [NO!] begins.”
Alice Walker, Pulitzer Prize Winning Author, The Color Purple

“This DVD helps raise awareness about sexual assault and violence. Especially useful for counselors working with high-school and college students facing similar pressures and situations.”
Booklist

AfroLez Productions, LLC
PO Box 58085
Philadelphia, PA 19102-8085
215.701.6150
www.myspace.com/afrolez
www.NOtheRapeDocumentary.org

Another Queer Attack in Jamaica

From my friend Colin Robinson, whose a gay Trinidadian doing work in the Caribbean on homophobic violence:

By now most of you have heard of the mob attack on a drag queen in Falmouth, Jamaica Friday morning. Or maybe you haven’t and are confusing it with any of the three similar attacks you may have heard of in the past 11 weeks, in greater Kingston (Feb. 14), Montego Bay (Apr. 2) and near Mandeville (Apr. 8). This time there is a photo and video. There have been no public announcements of arrests in any of the incidents. Please circulate widely to bring broad attention to the specific dangers gay/Trans folks in Jamaica face, on top of a climate of general violence and murder, and the general inattention of the police and government. In response to the attacks, Jamaica’s public defender (the chief constitutional ombudsman and anti-discrimination official) recently publicly suggested that gay men recognise that “tolerance has its limits,” not be so “brazen”, and “confine their activities to their bed chambers.”

Thanks for your actions!! So many of you showed tremendous leadership in protesting recent dancehall peformances in New York; this is so much more serious. Please let those at the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) know what you are planning and how they can work with you.

Blogging Elsewhere

You think I post infrequently now?

Well wait until tomorrow. I begin blogging over at AfterElton.com.

The site is owned by the LOGO channel – the channel that airs my favorite show,

Noah’s Arc, which is in turn owned by MTV, which is in turn owned by Viacom.

I will be blogging about gay entertainment news, and writing other kinds of content for the website.

I will of couse be saving some of my more fiery work for you children over here,

but feel free to dig into what i will be doing over there.

My first blog will hit at noon on Monday. It will be about the Black gay sorority scandal.

See you on the other side.

Bono: More African than Africans

For the first time in its history, Vanity Fair is turning over the editorial pages of it

s magazine to U2 lead singer and philanthropist Bono.

For what, you ask?

He will be guest editor for their special July issue, which will be focused on Africa.

Not Nelson Mandela, or Iman, or Angelique Kidjo, or Djimon Honsou–even Kofi Annan.

All of whom are Africans who have done a wide variety of things to benefit the continent of Africa.

And guess what? THEY”RE ACTUALLY AFRICANS!

But I guess Bono is more African than Africans.

Hell, if Terese Heinz (Kerry) can be an African. Why not Bono.

(notice the dripping sarcasm.)

Read all about it.