BET Lives Up to Tacky Reputation with LGBT Web Section

I was all excited when I saw on The Daily Voice that BET.com had added an LGBT section to it’s website. That excitement quickly turned to annoyance, and then finally disgust. Perusing the website I stumbled across sections with bios of “who’s who” in the Black LGBT community, myths about the LGBT community, history, and an HIV/AIDS info section. There’s even a “what’s hot” among the Black queers section–annoying, but I can even deal with that.

But what really took the cake was this dumb-ass section on “How to tell if Your Man is Gay” which is full of every fucking ludicrous stereotype out there. Why, oh why do I expect BET to act right? Every time you think they’re gonna do something worthwhile they continue the downward spiral further into the abyss of foolishness. I did a show a few months ago on Blog Talk Radio about homophobia in the Black community, and the questions listeners asked were so conservative and uninformed it was really unnerving, like “Why are gay men always trying to take our men, etc.,” or “How can you tell if someone is on the DL?”

Given that that kind of ridicululous paranoia is out there in the world, and to have BET create a website that a lot of Black people will go to, and see that bullshit as their potentially first exposure to Black LGBT issues from a “legitimate” source, is downright sad. What someone at BET did to try to save themselves from the wrath of the Black Queers was to make the last entry in the series a thinly veiled way-letting you know the whole thing is “tongue-in-cheek.” Here’s what it says:

The truth is, you don’t need all these signs to know whether your partner is gay or not. What you should do is sit down and talk to him about it. Make him feel that it is all right and that you understand. Finding out if your boyfriend is gay needs a little observation and a lot of honesty.”

After you’ve gone thru and put more bullshit out there for people to consume, the thing to do is to try to cover your ass. I’m far from impressed.
BET Interactive
General Inquiries
1235 W Street, NE
Washington, D.C. 20018-1211
202-608-2000 or 212-258-1000

Halleluah!!! D’angelo to Return This Fall!

Anyone who knows me, knows I stalk follow certain musicians closely, waiting for info on the next album–sometimes the day after they release an album. D’angelo is one of those people. Since his last (and only second) release, Voodoo, I have been waiting 8 years, 5 months, 1 week and 3 days for the release of a new D’angelo recording.

Well, this summer, D is releasing a Best Of–I guess Virgin let him out of his contract, and that would explain how you have a “Best Of” anything after only two albums. At that point, what the hell is a “Best Of” –a maxi single? Oh Lord! I just said “maxi-single!!” Half of you all are too young to even know what that is…good thing I didn’t say 12″.

OK. But after that, he is scheduled to release his third disc this fall on J records, according to his Myspace page. Other sources have long said that the new record would be called James River. So I guess I will continue to stalk occasionally check his page for any new updates. In the meantime, take a look at this video. I had a hard time selecting, because I think D’angelo is so sexually objectified, I had my doubts about playing the infamous “Untitled” video. But it, and he, really are quite amazing to watch, and the song itself is really amazing. People forget the man can actually sing and write music, and well! So I am resisting the temptation, and instead with another fave from the Voodoo album, the Angie Stone-penned “Send it On.” If you look closely, you can see soul crooner Anthony Hamilton on background vocals

Now, Maxwell’s site says Black Summer’s NIght is coming out this year too. But this has already been too many false starts. I am about to give up on this one. All I need is Sade and Lauryn and I’ll be set!

What’s So Different About Oregon & Kentucky???

The nano-second after the polls closed in Kentucky, CNN announced Clinton to be the winner of the primary there–and she won the primary with a 30 point lead. Over the last week, the press has been obsessed with Clinton being stronger against white working-class voters, as opposed to Obama, who is popular among Black (and Black people are simply Black, no nuances about class/gender divides necessary. The little discussion of other racial groups and voting as all but disappeared.) and White upper-class liberals.

But I decided to look up the Census data on both states to see if this is really true. And I am not sure that this definition explains Clintons wins in the Appalachian states (OH, PA, KY, WV, IN, TN).

Kentucky:

Whites: 90.2%

Blacks: 7.5%

High School Grads: 74.1%

College Grads: 17.1%

Median Income: $37.0K

% Living in Poverty: 16.3

Now, let’s look at Oregon:

Whites: 90.5%

Blacks: 1.9%

High School Grads: 85.1%

College Grads: 25.1%

Median Income: $42.5K

% Living in Poverty: 12.9

Now, when you compare those numbers, are they really statistically that different, enough to explain the difference between what’s happening in two states, who, by the numbers, look fairly similar compared to what the press is saying explains their differences? If you want my humble opinion, there is something happening in these Appalachian states that cannot be accounted for simply by “white working class.” Just this weekend, Obama spoke in front of 75,000 people in Oregon, and from what I could tell, most of them white. He also won the Oregon primary by about an 18 point lead.

What do you think is driving the difference?

A friend pointed me to this website called US Election Atlas, which breaks down the primary results by county. We looked at some states where we know the race/class breakdown by county, and many cases, the media narrative doesn’t seem to fit.

Call Tyrone!: Gambian Prez Orders Queers “Out”

I am growing interested in the way narratives, and means of conveying morality in political rhetoric crosses borders. I am no scholar in this field, but I am beginning to find similar lines of thought in political messaging both here in the US, and among other political leaders in the Third World. President Alhaji Dr Yahya Jammeh of The Gambia said last Thursday that homosexuals, thieves and drug dealers must leave the country in 24 hours. He went on to say that “Any hotel, lodge or motel that lodges this kind of individuals will be closed down, because this act is unlawful. We are in a Muslim dominated country and I will not and shall never accept such individuals in this country.”

According to Behind The Mask, homosexuality in Gambia is covered under a law that makes an offense of anyone who

(a) has carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature; or
(b) has carnal knowledge of an animal; or
(c) permits a male person to have carnal knowledge of him or her against the order of nature;

and is punishable by 14 years in prison. In fact, according to Behind the Mask, in 1999 the Prez used the old there’s no queers in the animal kingdom logic by noting that “among my animals there are no lesbians, no gays or whatever. They do everything as nature ordered.”

What’s interesting about his telling the queers and the other undesirables to “call Tyrone” is that he seemed to be equating such acts of immorality with immigrants to Gambia, and blamed Gambian youth for not taking advantage of the opportunities the immigrants are, stating that “all stores belonging to Gambians and rented to foreigners would be seized. We are tired of investing for only foreigners to the benefits. Today, look at the NYSS [National Youth Service Scheme] as compared to when it was newly created; Gambians have ran away from it and we provide a number of young people people for skilled training. This means that Gambians are difficult to help.”

Jammeh was equating the loss of the moral compass in Gambia with immigrants (whom from what I can tell come from neighboring countries like Senegal and Sierra Leone), and that Gambian youth don’t take advantage of the opportunities they are given. Sound familiar? To me, this sounds like a cross between right wing anti-immigration rhetoric and neo-liberal racial uplift politics in America. Is this simply an accident, or is there some possible link between these narratives that are crossing borders?

Jammeh has lived and “studied” in the US. While the Prez is calling for the end of all this outside influence, looking at his resume from the Gambia’s official government website, he was trained right here in the good ole USofA. Under the category “Overseas Training,” the only listing is

September 1993 – January 1994

Attended Military Police Officers Basic Course (MPOBC) at Port McClellan, Alabama, USA.
Obtained a Diploma in Military Science (Military Operations).

Yes. He received additional military training by the US Military. Not that he was in any need of it. If you read the rest of his resume, other than being President, the man has done nothing else but serve in the military.

As a matter of fact, Reporters Without Borders has accused “President Yahya Jammeh’s police state” of using murder, arson, unlawful arrest and death threats against journalists.

Give Me That Ole Time Racism: Obama “Monkey” Shirts Appear in Georgia

I shouldn’t even repeat this by posting it, but a bar in Marietta, GA (a burb of ATL) has been making this T-shirt, which has Black folks protesting in front of the bar:

Photo by TimothyJ-Flickr

And this was a burb of ATLANTA!!! The new Black (Gay) Mecca. Is there any wonder why he didn’t win West Virginia? The Washington Post wrote about the racist shit that’s been happening to people campaigning for him across the country. The sad thing is that there is no way for his campaign to even address it publicly without playing into the “this is why he can’t win” narrative.

Shock of The Week: Remy Ma Gets 8 Years

The hip-hop world had better get it together. Fame and celebrity will not protect your ass from the prison if you’re Black. Wesley Snipes just learned that lesson (OK so he’s not a hip-hop star, but he’s Black and he’s famous, so stay with me!), and Lil Kim and Foxy Brown have as well, and Snoop Dogg seems to get pulled over by the cops every time he leaves his driveway. The list could go on.

The latest hip-hop star to face prison time is Remy “I look too good to be fcukin’ you” Ma for shooting her homegirl in the gut over $3000 and fleeing the club in the meatpacking district of Manhattan where the incident took place. She was sentenced to 8 long years in prison. The details from E-Online:

In March, a jury convicted her on four counts, including assault, weapons possession and attempted coercion, for shooting Makeda Barnes-Joseph in the gut last July in a dispute over $3,000. She faced more than 25 years behind bars.

After State Supreme Court Justice Rena Uviller handed down the punishment, Ma’s fiancé, fellow hip-hopster Papoose, sparked a melee as he screamed invective at the victim, who took the stand earlier asking for a harsh sentence.

“Get the f–k off me. F–k y’all. F–k jail,” the performer [Papoose] yelled as the hearing ended and bailiffs escorted him out of the Manhattan court. “I don’t care. Lock me up. Lock me up. Take me to jail. Arrest me. It’s all about money.”

Papoose was caught by Rikers Island corrections officers last week allegedly trying to smuggle his betrothed a handcuff key as the two were about to tie the knot in a jailhouse wedding. He wasn’t charged, but the nuptials were nixed.

That key smuggling bit is so sad I can’t even laugh at it–obviously an act of desperation, if in fact it’s true. I do feel bad for her. I don’t think prison will solve anything–and I am not big on punishment as a form of social redress more generally. But can we just not shoot people?

Come on, people!

Just kidding.

But really. It’s been very clear that hip-hop stars are being widely surveilled (sp?) over the last several years, and the police, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies are clearly sending the message that if you’re associated with hip-hop and do some shit out of the bounds of “law,” you’re going to prison. Besides that, I find myself in between a rock and a hard place. I know the systemic issues at play that creat accessibility to guns and the kinds of urban poverty (in the face of gluttonous and violent wealth accumulation) that drives the kinds of acts of violence that seem senseless. I am from the same kind of community. I get the fact that I only made it “out”(not that I, as a Black gay man, escape the scrutiny, disgust, and violence of the state) because of the push of family, friends and some teachers who decided I was the one worth giving a damn about.

But sometimes I am at a loss for defending or even trying to put to words this kind of foolishness. What is the language for critiquing institutional racism, sexism and capitalism while also critiquing the fact that these systems support and drive individuals to be alienated, disaffected, and violent? I want to see a way out of this mess, but I sometimes come up short.

Teaching Hillary Clinton A Lesson

I am going crazy with work. But in the meantime, I just was sent the BEST and most clever blog entry I’ve read in a long time…Republic of T. comments on how Clinton should handle her loss in his entry called On Being A Good Diva.” Skip me today and read this s**t!