Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I'm Back!!!

I didn't mean to fall off the face of the earth like that. I went back to London for my graduation ( you can call me Master now) and came back in the middle of holiday season and to the reminder that I am in the middle of a job search. *groan*

But, I'm back and I couldnt let the year roll out without one last post. My little blog and I have gone through it this year. I stopped posting at one point because I felt the blog had no point or direction. Then I realized that's exactly what I want out of it...it's an outlet for everything I think, so I started blogging again.

My blog resolution for the new year shall be for more consistency. By February I should be doing at least three posts a week, and at least one of those posts shall have substantial content.


Why? Cus I'm Bk's queen....and if you haven't heard, we go hard.


HAUL,
Kim

Friday, December 05, 2008

Old School Friday: Threats-Jason Weaver



This man is too talented for his own good.





















Maybe not as much, but a good deal. Throw him a bone!




Actor/Actress Gone Singer/Singer Gone Actor/Actress

Rappers are way to skilled at this, so they have been excluded.

This week's Old School Friday is right up my alley. If you can't tell by my usual choices, I'm slightly obsessed with television and always think its great when there is a little musical feature. I discussed my obsession with Musical Guest Stars here (and provided handy You Tube references...so go check it out).

Most of us are familiar with a lot of the biggies. Tisha Campbell has had her fair share of opportunities to blow. Countess Vaughn outshined (okay, maybe not) Brandy on Moesha. Kyle and Max's love on Living Single was symbolized by his music career. And The Cosby Show/A Different World was really a big showcase, and little Raven got to start there. Heck, even Tatiana Ali got an opportunity to tell all of us to stop playing with her mind when Alfonso Ribiero wasn't dancing and singing all over the place.

Since we're keeping it Old School (ish)...I'm going to go against my original through to highlight the stars of Family Matters and dedicate this post to Jason Weaver, who was not a half bad teen actor. But maybe there's a reason his singing career never took off.

Singing with Brandy on Thea



Singing voice for Simba, since JTT didn't really hold a note


Little Michael Jackson


Smart Guy


He's gone on to do more movies, notably Drumline and ATL and played convincing roles in both. Here's to hoping for the best for him and that his career won't be remember like this.

As far as I know, this was the extent of his music career. But, he's only one call away...



An honorable mention goes to Joey Lawrence, because no one gives him any love at all anymore.


As for singers who can act ( a much harder transition to do well, unless your a rapper), besides for Marques Houston and Disney Channel kids(yes I am young) that's a little harder. But a few mentions (of which you are more than welcome to disagree) will include Whitney Houston, Ne-Yo (that new video is really good), Mandy Moore and Barbara Streisand. All of Patti LaBelle's roles don't seem to be acting per se.

I obviously have way too much time on my hands. Check out other OSF participants here: http://www.themarvalusview.com/osf/


EDIT: Ach, I must also shout out Sheryl Lee Ralph and Loretta Devine, the orignal Dream Girls. Forget Jason Weaver..this blog should have been about them. Ms. Ralph has gone away to second rate cable channels, but Loretta Devine still gets a song in or two on Eli Stone.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Chris Bridges with Dreds?




This is obviously not the most important part of my day, but this article has left me a little confused. While a good summary of Ludacris's career and rap persona (although we really should touch on him and Fabolous ruining many a child's Akeelah and the Bee moment), when did he have locs? I remember the braids, but not the locs. I have a feeling he was confused with Busta Rhymes.NY Times, where oh where is your fact checker? Hire me!

A little Ludacris for your viewing pleasure:

While Ludacris has made a mark in film, he hasn't had that memorable television moment yet, and his older videos have some non pg content and Universal Media Group is about their money. Instead a Ludacris clip including Akeelah (Keke Palmer), the boy from the Wire, and somewhere in the middle one of my cousins.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Old School Friday: Jammin on the One with Stevie Wonder

This week's Old School Friday celebrates Stevie Wonder. I discovered this song pretty late in life, at the age of 18...and then proceeded to play it over and over before I lost my music library.





I tried to avoid posting the Cosby Show episode, but it's Friday and you probably have a little time to kill.
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Other Old School Friday participants here.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

From Momma Payne and 'em.



Pass the peas like we used to do,
Kim

Saturday line ups suck so much!

Ever stay in on a Saturday night and try to settle into a good television routine. You can't. Thankfully there are House and Law and Order re-runs before the wonder that is Suze Orman telling me all the stuff I can't afford and SNL. (Does Mad TV even exist still?)

Once upon a time....

Friday, November 21, 2008

Old School Friday: Jazz Rebirth

This week's Old School Friday is all about Jazz. Since I disappeared for a long time, I thought my choice was fitting as a rebirth of my status. Enjoy the Jazz and Rap Fusion!

Digable Planets- Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)


And because I can make anything become related to Do The Right Thing, peep Spike's use of jazz, hip hop, and Spanish music to create this scene. ( No it's not my You Tube account, but I did have to write an essay on this clip.)



Happy OSF!
Check out other participants here:http://www.themarvalusview.com/osf/

Random sidenote: Thelonious Monk went to my high school. There was a memory cube on the first floor (music floor) dedicated to him.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Coloring in the Fashion World

This cover for Life Magazine was taken in 1969. It's almost forty years later, and while some people may feel like the fifty states and white house make up for the forty acres and a mule, obviously some of the same conversations are occurring and the changes may seem cyclical to those that have come off of the election high. Ebony proclaimed earlier this year that "Black is Back" but this is also the same publication that cautioned me when I was younger, pointing out that black representation in government post-Civil War and even through Redemption was at an all time high before falling again in the 20th century. History doesn't have to repeat itself if the nation remains vigilant and aware. There seems to be better work at that nowadays.

Fashion isn't the purview of this blog. Neither is it my area of expertise, but I have written about it from time to time. (This is part of my blog focus complex. Click here for references) This does not mean that I do not follow the fashion world and like to note what is going on. As I traveled the internet world this evening while enjoying Teen Jeopardy and ignoring the never ending job search I was pleasantly surprised to note that some things are changing in the fashion world besides for Ciara wearing ankle purses.

Magazines and ad campaigns are getting colored! You can check WWD and Style.com for industry written reports as well as the more entertaining and accessible pieces written by two of my favorite fashion websites, Fashionista and Make Fetch Happen. Check here and here here.

Bisous (HAUL)
Kim

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sad News: RIP Miriam Makeba, Mama Africa

Sad news as I trolled on Facebook today, Miriam Makeba has passed away. She was an activist simply through being herself and expressing her feelings through song. She'll also be remembered for her contributions to film and television such as The Cosby Show, Amandla!, When We Were Kings, and Sarafina. Some special Makeba moments below:

Pata Pata:


Nkosi Sikeleli Africa


She died doing what she believed:

Thursday, November 06, 2008

"I know what Jesus would do,




but what would Obama do?"--me, pondering one of my daily constructed issues that really isn't that serious.

Okay, I'm still not sure I'm back to blogging (the site has no direction, and until it hits me, I'm not sure I can continue), but website alert.

If you're unemployed like me, get in line.


--humming Sam Cooke "Change Gonna Come" and Jeezy "My President is Black"--and smiling and watching Tim Gunn's Guide to Style. Thinking I may have to retire the Blacks in Politics tag every time I mention Obama.


***
-picture taken from the Daily News. I was obviously not in Chicago.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

WE HAVE A BLACK PRESIDENT! A CHANGE DONE COME!!!!


AND MICHELLE OBAMA IS FIRST LADY!

I had given up on blogging, but this is an auspicious occasion.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Throwback Pop Culture Clip; New Show Openings

So Ugly Betty just started and there is a new opening for the show. I don't like it. New openings used to cause excitement. Remember the Cosby Show? Even in syndication the different seasoning openings are something to look forward to.

I bring to you the revamped opening for Sister Sister. The twins straightened their hair, became "cool" and the WB11 continued to be the post-Fox source for Negro entertainment, before UPN took over that mantle.



Okay so the song is annoying, but see the evolution...feel the change.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Old School Fridays: Road Trip Songs

This one is a little tough for me. Growing up, road trips consisted of two tapes played over and over again: one was by the Grace Thrillers and the other was by the Grammy Award winning Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. Trust me, "The Midnight Cry" is not exactly what you want to hear as a kid on 3 hour car trips in the rain and in the dark boonies. You will be convinced the world is ending that night.

Thankfully, I also went on school trips where we sang songs loudly in the back of the bus. Killing Me Softly and Fugee-la-la were faves, as was any reggae/calypso/soca song of the moment.


Yea...we were special...There's a joy singing songs that call for dancing, in situations where you can't dance.

Then I went to high school and met the wonder that was Billy Joel's Piano Man. But nothing beat listening to my team belting this song on the bus after tournaments.




Check out other OSF participants here.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Throwback Pop Culture Clip of the Week: Lil Bow Wow

Back to regularly scheduled programming. I gave you last Thursday off.

Since Bow Wow has been good lately: promoting Entourage, producing great photo shoots for King and appearing with nice young ladies like Angela Simmons, he's back in my good graces. I'll forgive the music and trip down memory lane. I'm barking with you.

September 11--Always Remember

But is there really any way to forget? I was going to write about the number 7 and what it should mean being today marks 7 years since the 9/11 attacks. There really aren't words. Please take a moment to remember and pray today.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Top Gender Benders on TV : I Want to Work for Diddy and Changing Society


On last night's episode of "I Want to Work for Diddy" (VH1), the reality competition to work for Sean "Diddy" Combs, Laverne-the resident transgendered contestant was eliminated. In a battle for what seemed to be the integrity of her identity versus exploitation versus the public's comfort--Laverne did not fare well in the heat of the battle. Kimberly, also known as Po-Prah managed to stay in the battle despite her annoying ways because she knows how to play a game. I can't wait to see her in future reality shows where they use old contestants.

Laverne isn't the only gender bender to pop up on television recently. In keeping with the classification of two sexes and their socially constructed genders, television has been showing more and more people not conforming to the roles. America's Next Top Model now features a transgendered contestant, Isis, and on Project Runway an episode was dedicated to drag queens with RuPaul as a guest host. I guess times are changing, because when I was growing up RuPaul was quite the scandal even though there was a talk show. Today Andre J has become a celebrated [hot mess] personality and Ms. J teaches all the girls how to stomp on the runway on ANTM.

"To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything Julie Newmar" gives a laundry list of definitions in the beginning--running through all the trans terms and ending with drag queens. Film has long portrayed transgendered folk, but television has done it quite differently making lots of noise within the last few years.

With much less ado, I present top Gender Bender moments on television, in no specific order. These aren't all transgendered, transexual or tranvestite moments...just gender bending.


UGLY BETTY:
Following Christian Siriano's celebrated turn on Project Runway where he popularized the phrase "Hot Tranny Mess" he appeared on season 2 of Ugly Betty using his phrase on Alex/is, the transgendered sister who revealed herself on the season finale of the first season.



THE RUPAUL SHOW
RuPaul had a talk show on VH1 back in the late 90s and a bevy of guests appeared including the Backstreet Boys. One of the many performances on the show.


DIRTY SEXY MONEY
ABC's show about the rich that did not live up to the hype, but is more than watchable is all about the twist. So it's nothing unusual that the politician son played by Billy Baldwin has an extra-marital affair, the twist is that the affair is with a transexual, played by Candis Cayne and offering just that much more drama.


BOSOM BUDDIES
Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari helped define an era with this show about two men who dressed as women in order to live in the Susan B. Anthony apartments. They didn't care what you said then and Tom Hanks surely doesn't care now.


THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MIRIAM
Call me close minded, but the premise of this UK show is just wrong. Men vied for the attention of a women all to find out in the final episode that Miriam was born male. I admit I'm a little surprised the U.S. has not copied this idea yet.


ALL MY CHILDREN
This favorite ABC soap opera has been on for years and although a family favorite, I can't say I really follow it. I knew about Bianca, but I also found out there's a transgendered character named Zoe.


There are other noticeable moments, seen on shows like the L-Word and Ally McBeal. For the full list of transgendered moments offered by Wikipedia click here. See below for a bonus!


Black Men like to Dress like Women

So okay, not just black men do this obviously. We already have a clip from Bosom Buddies and we all remember that episode of Saved by the Bell when the guys dressed up as girls--or at least I do. But let's admit--black men like to dress like women.

THE FLIP WILSON SHOW
I'm sure theres at least one interview out there questioning the morality of Flip Wilson's Geraldine , where the answer is "The Devil Made Me Do It!" In fact that should become the slogan for cross dressers everywhere. As one of the mainstays of his show, Geraldine did skits and interviews and won the hearts of many fans.


MARTIN
Comics are known for playing roles of the opposite gender, and Martin Lawrence is no exception. After Flip Wilson did Geraldine and before the Wayan's brothers became white chicks, there was Shenehneh.


FAMILY MATTERS
I reference this show way too much. As it Steve Urkel wasn't enought, they made him also share the role of his female cousin , Myrtle Urkel.



What gender bender moments on television stick out for you? Let me know!

Michelle Obama Dances Better Than Barack!!!



As if there was ever any doubt. Michelle for first lady!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Things I'm Pondering Now: Letters to the Media

Dear Time Out New York:

I adore your publication. When I was in London, I relied on the information put out on your website on a regular basis to find random but entertaining things to do in a new city. I've also been a longstanding member of the Hiptix listserv, even if I have never attended a show. This week Gawker has been doing several posts concerning your ability to pay your bills. According to the trusty folk on the ED2010 Message Board, you also pay your staff below the normal levels of nothing journalists currently expect. Now we all know that Gawker is quite the agitator, but I have to ask, why in the midst of these rumors, you're sending out free issues to people that don't exist. Not now, or anytime within the last twenty-nine years has a Lauren lived in my house, but yesterday a Lauren Williams received a free issue of your magazine. I'm happily reading it, in the same way I devour every magazine. But please, get yourself together...the magazine industry willnot die on my watch.

Sincerely,
Kimberly

Dear Vanity Fair,

We were going through it. Despite our shared love of all things Michelle, you were slacking on adequate coverage in other areas, particularly disappointing me when every upcoming Hollywood star on the cover was white. I know, Zoe Kravitz and Rob Brown were hidden on the inside shots. Yet Vanity Fair, you still make me smile. Even though I wasn't allowed to watch "The Simpsons" as a child, this piece was right up my alley:http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2007/08/top10simpsons200708. It will never top the Harper's Bazaar Simpson's fashion spread, but it touched my heart.

Sincerely,
Kimberly

Dear Oprah,

Usually, I have nothing but the utmost respect for you. I say usually, because you threw me for a loop with the whole Eat, Pray and Love book. However, watching one of your reruns this week, I have to call you out. The Cha-Cha Slide? Oprah...come on. It's still cool at weddings, but not old enough to garner a segment on your show. I'm not really hating...because I danced right along at 1:30, but dear I need you to stay up on game.

Sincerely,
Kimberly.

Old School Fridays: Disco

In my world, Saturday morning is still Friday. This week's OSF is posted around disco. First thought to my mind was a very special episode of Family Matters(yes I really loved that show) that did not get picked up in the My Favorite Scenes: Guest Music Star Edition.

Aunt Oona from Altuna,played by Donna Summers made sure we all got in the "Last Dance".


Another favorite Disco moment from my childhood comes from memories of my family's record collection. Yes, I mean records---not CD's , not tapes.
Because Disney is always right there when you need it.






Check out the other Old School Friday participants here.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Old School Fridays: Neo Soul-Groove Theory, Zhane

It's that time of the week again. Old School Fridays! This week's theme is Neo-Soul, and I'm going to bring you some pre-1999 goodies.

A pre-solo career Amel Larrieux in Groove Theory's 1995 'Tell Me"




Zhane's "You're Sorry Now" I went with this instead of other tracks like "Hey Mr. DJ," "Groove Thang," and "Sending My Love," but they're all solid tracks you can google.



I'll leave crazy Erykah for someone else to cover. That does my Old School Friday for this week, check out other Old Shcool Friday participants here: http://www.themarvalusview.com/osf/ .

Thursday, August 28, 2008

In Honor of Barack Obama's Presidential Nomination: A Music Playlist

I've pretty much avoided most Barack coverage, because there is more than enough on the Internet for everyone to read on the topic. Instead, I'll provide something a bit more in line with this blog and give you a music play list that goes along with this moment. It's random, but it brings together a lot of the themes I thought about during his speech: heroism, woman's rights, racial relations, celebrity, fate and well, change . It's also very eighties heavy, but Journey is appropriate for every moment of life.

That was all written before I accidentally deleted the play list. So this is what we're left with.

Baracks Nomination-Vanity Dark

And yes, I'm still obsessed with Michelle Obama.

Throwback Pop Culture Clip: Anamaniacs, GoodFeathers, Pinky and the Brain

It's the last of the WB cartoon clips. This week I pull from the Anamaniacs, to show not only Yakko, Wakko and Dot; but also some of my other faves: the GoodFeathers and Pinky and the Brain! Enjoy!!!


Sunday, August 24, 2008

But Really Tho? Why Bow Wow? Why?

Background: I'm Bow Wow's biggest fan. (Mostly joking, kinda serious)

The story:

Over the weekend, my friends and I were driving and enjoying the radio when a song called Marco Polo begins to play. Only one of us has heard it before, and she warns us of its awesomeness. I come home and You Tube it, expecting to find some unkown artist making a break with a silly song. Instead, I find out that its my favorite perfomer Bow Wow. Dude, I understand times are rough, but really tho? I excused that pole in the basement rubbish, but I'm going to have to do an intervention soon.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Old School Fridays:Favorite Male Singer

So Old School Friday came and gone, but I was lacking internet access. (How I survived this devastating affair? I actually interacted with people in person!) So in a very tired way I bring you a Favorite Male Singer. It's not going to be Michael Jackson. In an attempt to stick to semantics, I will also not include Boyz II Men,although it is obvious: I am a fan. And because I'm so late, I'm sure someone has taken Luther Vandross. It's also so hard to pick one favorite male artist. Before 1999, I don't think I was discerning enough to have just one. So here are three that come to mind right now.

For the entire minute he was around, I was a fan. Maybe cus' his sisters sang as well, and I like family acts.


Another. Sony BMG won't allow this to be copied and pasted. Since he also constructed one of my favorite soundtracks of all times, he gets double props.



Check out other OSF people here: http://mrsgrapevine.com/old-school-music-meme/

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Throwback Pop Culture Clip: WB Saturdays, Earthworm JIM

Earthworm, Earthworm, Earthworm JIM

Continuing with WB Saturdays: here's Earthworm Jim. Some super fan has created a montage of the greatest moments. I saw AWESOME!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Make Em Say Huh: Better Black Television Network launch/BET and Tropic Thunder

"All dancing is not shucking and jiving"-Me

So browsing blogs, I note Average Bro's latest post concerning Percy Miller's latest venture, the Better Black Television Network (BBTV).

I was reserving judgment on the channel. After all, Silkk Tha Shocker is the host of one of the shows. I've never been able to indulge in TVOne, but it always seemed like a great deal to me, because they show sitcoms basically all day. I love sitcoms. However the BBTV has swayed me by including a show dedicated to black history. It's called "My People" and examines "the struggles of a few that changed the lives of so many." Since BET is nowhere near producing programs like this right now (BETJ maybe, but not BET) I have to congratulate Mr. Miller and give him a salute.

As we discuss BET, I also have to ask why oh why they are giving Tropic Thunder so much support. The movie's use of blackface has not stirred much controversy. In fact, more people are perturbed about discrimination against the disabled population. But I have to question why BET is so active in supporting the film. By sheer luck I watched "106 and Park" twice within a week. Besides losing brain cells, I also was privy to see multiple episodes dedicated to promoting the film. Terrence assured the crowd on the first day that the blackface was not wrong, because if it was they would have been all on it. I have no intention of paying to see if he speaks the truth. I'm still too upset that Radar Magazine has used this to usurp my dissertation two weeks before its due.

Check my coverage of The Miller Boys here: http://vanitydark.blogspot.com/2008/02/im-still-here-miller-boys.html

Watch a little ol' school No Limit. You've come a long way Percy!



HAUL,
The Queen

Old School Fridays: Social/Political Songs

Judging from the fact that I secretly burned one of my old professor's Black Power: Music of a Revolution disc collection, this Old School Friday is right up my alley. A younger, less wiser me of less than a year ago would have included Boys II Men's "Why Christmas" if only for the simple reason that I was convinced the lyrics were "It's gonna be a white Christmas. My brothers and my sisters...they don't have any toys."

1st up: Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes "Wake Up Everybody" The video with the actual performance, can't be embedded so here. And yes it was remade a few years ago.:



2nd. A song from the said burned disk. Ain't no Stoppin Us Now: McFadden and Whitehead. I really wanted this to be the graduation march song in the 8th grade.




3rd. West Coast All Stars "We're All in the Same Gang." I've featured it before, but its such a classic! Yea for Reebok giving away free videos.



CHECK OUT MORE OLD SCHOOL FRIDAY PARTICIPANTS HERE.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Throwback Pop Culture Clip: WB Saturdays

Next up on our trip down WB Saturday memory lane is Freakazoid. I guess every 16 year old boy's alter ego is a strange old man.

He runs around in underwear. Freak a me...Freak a you.
Back to editing for me. Enjoy!


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Stereohyped ponders What Happened to the Black Sitcoms

This question has been around since my family actually had a subscription to Ebony. See here for the piece.

http://www.stereohyped.com/what-happened-to-americas-black-sitcoms-20080813/

Monday, August 11, 2008

Steppin' The Movie. Every Black 90s star you could want

No Explanation: Just Joy!
Thanks to Nai for putting me on a few months ago.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Old School Fridays: Motown

Is it a cop out for me to use this song seeing as how they start with the word Motown? Yes. Do I care? No. I'm young...this is the Motown I know.




Other Old School Fridays participants shown here

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Move On.Org Advertisement for Obama Channels the 90s: RIDER STRONG!

This made me laugh out loud tonight as I sit, watching Comedy Central. Wait for it.
RIDER STRONG IS ALIVE (I was so busy laughing I didn't notice till a friend pointed it out. Thanks Sophie)! This boy has met the world after childhood acting. It also beats McCain approving a commercial comparing Obama to Britney Spears and Paris Hilton.

They're so two years ago anyway.



I so want some mid 90s TGIF right now.

Lets all remember those Brain on Drugs commercials from the 90s.


Those and those wonderful NBC "The More You Know" advertisements saved my childhood*




*Plus parental guidance and an extra dose of Jesus.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Throwback Pop Culture Clip-Wayne Head: Actors and Their Cartoon Selfs

"The Party's Just Begun!"
Somewhere in doing research for my dissertation and watching Hollywood Shuffle, I remembered the joy that was the WB 11 Saturday morning cartoons. Sometimes ABC just didn't do it for you. Keeping in line with the rest of this weeks posts and my homage to comics in character form with Robin Harris in all his Bebe's Kids glory on this season's cover, this week's throwback is Wayne Head. This wonderful little cartoon, based on the wonder that is the Wayans family, was definitely a favorite of mine. I'll keep going with the WB toons in later weeks.






Wayne Head was in the same multicultural vein of CBear and Jamal but a little less Hey Arnold and probably a bit more like Fat Albert. And since we're paying homage to comics in cartoon form we can't leave out Bill Cosby who's done it to himself not once, but twice. Unfortunately there are no appropriate Little Bill video clips online. They are all a little warped and perverted.




That's it. Enjoy your day.

Black Disney Princess Update

Peep this trailer for the Black Disney Princess movie from the good folks over at Bossip/Livesteez. Where did that reject Song of the South fly come from? Come on Disney you've done the random black sidekick for Disney's heroines before. Neither Harry Belafonte's Sebastian or Eddie Murphy's Mushu was that frightening. The verdict is still our because the movie's not done yet. Well at least Anika Noni Rose and Jenifer Lewis are working. But still, this movie is officially getting the side eye treatment of the week.

And I promise this is not becoming the Disney Blog. I wouldn't have a big ol pic from Bebe's Kids if it was.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Happily Never After: The Struggle for a Black Princess in the Disney Culture.

While browsing That Black Girls Site I noticed an article on Disney' s search for a black princess. I had previously spoken about Disney's struggle with princesses and my excitement for Maddy in this piece about American Girl ("American Girl Movie. A Playlist and An Apology"). Apparently my dream is never going to come true. According to this piece it has been reported that the princesses' name has been changed to Tiana, she's going to get with some non-black dude, and they will live in a fictional land. Well for one this disproves my theory that non-white Disney princesses are all localized in order to deal with the issues of ethnicity. Don't they owe the South one after the horror of Song of the South?* However, it does bring up other issues that are too numerous to mention.

I can talk all day about race, cartoons and children's programming as its something that I've wondered about since the days of Doug and the Puzzle Place (really the Funnys and the Beets were white, everyone else included rich lil Bebe was funky colored). But I won't.

Instead I bring the past which I may be looking at through rose colored glasses. HBO used to do a great series that was also available for purchase called Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child. The stories were "politically correct" and featured a range of races and ethnicities for the characters. There was this one Caribbean one that my family watched and laughed at over and over. Robert Guilliame narrated and there was quite the cast (voices) of minority actors (Magaret Cho**, Raven-Symone, Sinbad, even Pauletta Washington). The stories were really good with a little moralistic lesson as well as not demeaning the life of women. Apparently the episodes still come on in the morning. If you subscribe to HBO Family check it out: the schedule's here.

Here's a very short clip from "The Princess and The Pea:"



Also a Wikipedia article including links to the IMDB and HBO website. If you're really interested you can buy some episodes on Amazon.

*At 20 years old after seeing the movie the year before I went to Disneyland to try and ride Splash Mountain. It was sadly closed. Still that was a great way to spend senior year Spring Break.
**Crazy as Magaret Cho may be you have to admit she rocks hard for the kids. This and C-Bear and Jamal were the ish.

Happy Belated Birthday to Me!

I've been so busy not posting even though I spend every day starting at documents on my computer I completely missed the fact that my little blog has had a birthday. It all started back with my obsession with Vanity Fair and the fact that they put out a twenty cover issue dedicated to Africa. Check it out here: http://vanitydark.blogspot.com/2007/07/vanity-fairs-twenty-cover-issue.html. Back then me and papa magazine were on very good terms. Our relationship is a little shaky now because of some silly stunts they've pulled that I haven't had time to go into detail with over here at Vanity Dark.

At the moment though, they are reconciling with me since they put Michelle on the top ten best dressed list. Since we're obsessed over here we welcome any one else with an obsession.

I do have a My Favorite Scenes birthday edition that's been in the works for some time (since my real birthday), but I just can't find some videos that i want to include. And instead of watching every episode of Living Single on You Tube, I'm dealing with my dissertation.

But I will bring at least a Throwback Thursday this week. Until then, take some time to find the nostalgia in everything.

HAUL,
The Queen.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

N.E.R.D. Plays Carling Brixton Academy over a month ago

and I'm finally going to provide my bad video from the night. Overall it was a pretty good show. N.E.R.D. tends to have something akin to a cultish fan base, but the Londoners were ready and psyched for the concert. I am convinced that 1/2 of the people in attendance purposely went out and got Billionaire Boys Club outfits and BAPES just for that night. According to many people in the neighborhood, N.E.R.D. also generated the largest crowd at the Carling Academy in a while. It was a one night only performance at thirty pounds a pop. Apparently Glow in the Dark makes it way over to Europe in the fall, so if you missed it, don't feel too bad.

So after some random Irish band opened, the crowd was ready and hyped for the show. The band came out first, and I'm certain half of the audience thought the drummer was Pharell. But as Pharell and Shay took the stage, the roars became even louder. The backdrop came down and it had dizzying patterns going by on it. It kind of looks like those backgrounds you can choose on a Windows PC for the Jukebox player. I don't know if that was supposed to be an allusion to "Seeing Sounds" or if I was just thinking too hard about the way that the show came together. But in reality, it was a pretty gimmickless show. Now I missed the Glow in the Dark tour, which seemed to be full of sets and really worked as a concept show. This was just straight performances and the crowd thoroughly enjoyed. I guess you don't need all the condiments when you're hungry. Hit after hit was performed and people sang along. Some girl got to go onstage because it was her birthday. My highlight of the night was when they performed "Maybe." That song has my favorite N.E.R.D. video. They also covered the White Stripes "Seven Nation Army." If you don't remember that song, get reacquainted as it has one of the best beats of all times.

At the end of the night, Pharell came back out and performed "Frontin." He acknowledged that it wasn't a N.E.R.D. song, and said he wasn't going to perform it, because he had retired the song from concerts. He also yelled at the crowd that it was a N.E.R.D. concert, and so they should appreciate N.E.R.D. songs. Whatever. I mean I do see the logical and professional dilemma...but he performed the song anyway. It was enjoyed.

I guess that does raise some other interesting questions. If Destiny's Child has a reunited concert do we get to hear Beyonce songs? They do have way more songs than N.E.R.D. to choose from but its a question. When New Edition reunited did BBD or Bobby Brown or Johnny Gill get to do their own songs? Were they all even in the reunited group? Does anyone want to hear grown men sing Mr. Telephone Man?

My new observations from that night: Pharell is even more skinny than I thought he was. Anti-Matter from the latest album, Seeing Sounds is one of my new favorites songs. The Brits live for this kind of music.

Below I've uploaded some clips from the show. The sound is kind of bad and the video is nothing to write home about. I can't even remember what they were singing at some points (It was the weekend of June 14th after all).


video video video video video video video video

video

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

New Project Runway

Running thoughts:
Excitement! and Color beyond the tan guy! Joy!

Well let me not get too excited I've only seen five minutes of the first episode.

Did that girl just say she'd be the first African American to win Project Runway? Do you not remember Michael Knight?

How much did LVMH pay for that product placement? We know yall werent drinking Andre champale , its alright.

Aerosmith+Lauryn Hill + Michael Jackson: I'm intrigued girl, I'm intrigued.

Ooh a Brooklyn Guy, Big Up.

Black women and Asian man, yall need to stick together. But dude you seem a little annoying.

Oh goodness, there are so many parents on this show. See kids arent a hindrance to the dream.

Why is Eva Longoria interrupting. I already suffered through Over My Dead Body this week. She needs to let me be until the enxt season of Desperate Housewives.

Why is the LG tv ad so long and why did it seem like an almost interesting tv show or movie? I so know that actress from somewhere.
Kimberly go do some unpacking! Okay!

More thoughts on everything later.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Real Talk

I'm alive and my mind still has wonderfully random thoughts going through it, but I havent had my continuous access to the internet this week, so I haven't been able to post. I've been crashing in Brixton, hping to make it out of London before getting stabbed. I'll be back on Monday, keeping it strictly mature and classy from Brooklyn.

Until then, remember there's nostalgia in everything.

HAUL.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Throwback Pop Culture Clip: Happy Independence Day!

Apparently it's a holiday weekend out in the States, so Happy Independence Day! In lieu of Independence Day, I celebrated Guy Fawkes day back in October. Exciting I know.

This clip is from the Will Smith old enough to be a throwback film (before he got anywhere near the Scientology juice), Independence Day. I never watched it, not even when they played it on the bus ride to Philly in high school, so I couldn't really tell you what its about, but from the clip it sounds a whole lot like the premise to what September 11th became for the world. Except that the September 11th terrorists were not aliens from another planet.

I'll miss the fireworks.

Monday, June 30, 2008

American Girl Movie. A Playlist and an Apology.


-The American Girls (screen shot from http://www.americangirl.com/agcn/index.html)


As old as I am, I should not be this excited for the first theatrical release of an American Girl story. Even though I have no idea who this new Kit girl is, I always loved American Girl. As presents when I was little I received the purple and black modern American Girl Varsity Bomber jacket that I rocked hard with my red,green, yellow and blue plaid uniform as well as the starter set of Addy books. At the library I read through all the books in each series, gaining knowledge about American history as I went. I also collected American Girl trading cards and I still have some sitting on my bookshelf at home along with my Hello Kitty and Spice Girls paraphernalia. My favorite characters were Samantha, the posh Victorian who was friends with dirty and poor Nellie; Molly with her 40s charm that prompted me to ask my mother if I could pin curl my hair; and of course Addy, the fearless freed slave girl who came to New York and longed for her family to be reunited. Unfortunately I did not connect with Kirsten as much and Felicity was a bit too history book American for me. I got lost after they brought out Josefina, but was happy that they kept doing different eras and slowly added more diversity to the historical sisterhood. I'm still waiting for the Civil Rights Era doll, but I won't hold my breath.
(Imagine this in a kids size...yea, I was styling)

A.O. Scott of the New York Times, describes the film and its importance in this New York Times Article and he does hit on some solid points about the film industry and target audiences. We've seen it with Tyler Perry and the continued success of Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen's pre-NYU empire and all the Disney Channel productions (Lizzie McGuire, Cheetah Girls, High School Musical, That's So Raven, Hannah Montana). Even a Barbie theatrical production a few years ago prompted signs of joy and relief that girls could still partake in the idealism. Even more relief was prompted when Disney announced it would make another cartoon fairy tale, and this time starring Maddy, the black princess from NOLA.* There is an audience that needs films like this and in the hypersexualized culture that we live in, the innocence of being an American girl is something to be desired. Sure we know its not all sugar and spice and everything nice. Life is something more like that's portrayed in crazy movies like KIDS or Thirteen, but people do still want a bit of the fantasy, the escape, and the idealism. NOT a crazy essentialized idealism, but something that's not on the wild and crazy end of the spectrum and not on the Disney Channel. It also can't hurt to have a nice little Depression Era story in this crazy recession.

Of course this is not an end all be all. Coming out of the American Girl franchise its still steeped in ideas of consumerism and promoting good little shoppers and brand loyalty out of American girls who will see the film, dolls in hand and probably dressed in some of the costumes from the catalog. Proper gender roles will still be inscribed and who knows what Abigail Breslin may do in a few years. But still, it has to be better than when my sister was forced to take me to the Spice Girls movie after Saturday School at the old Flatbush Pavillion on Flatbush and 7th Avenue in Brooklyn and my friends and I bought Spice Girls lollipops everyday to get the free stickers that I collected. For that, I apologize Shirley.

Celebrate all it means being a girl:
A Girls Life



*Really Random: Ever noticed how these modern ethnic minority fairy tales are all localized: Mulan was Chinese in China, Pocahantas was Native American in emerging colonial America, and now this black girl is from the South. Understandably Jasmine was from the Middle East, that was based on the Arabian Nights stories. I also do understand why these characters need locations to make their stories work, but I still find it interesting. I wonder if the Grimm Brothers gave locations to Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty.

He Came Classy With It

Way back when, Noel Gallagher of Oasis stated his dismay at a rap artist being chosen to headline the Glastonbury festival out her in the jolly ole'. Glastonbury was supposed to remain for guitar based rock music (even if Amy Winehouse was performing as well, but not going there). It was plastered all over the free newspapers of London, but I heard nothing of a retort by Jay-Z, which you have to admit is a bit unusual for a rapper.

This is perhaps the classiest comeback. As reported by Spinner, Jay -Z simply acquiesed to Gallagher, performing classic Oasis song, "Wonderwall" at the show as part of his set.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Summer Forecast: Sun Showers

AKA Crown Heights, this is not looking good.


The Associated Press (via the NY Times) has reported that 4 black 14 year-olds have been arrested for throwing rocks and yelling racial epithets at a Jewish school bus full of toddlers (See article here). As we've seen both here and here, things have not been shaping up so nicely this summer.
Unfortunately the neighborhood will continue to live under the cloud of the 1991 deaths and riot. Although the storm may have come and gone, apparently there are still showers of racial discord that still have not been properly addressed.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Throwback Pop Culture Clip

It's Thursday and it's that time again. In honor of the Vogue Italia release and all the wonderful British tabloid coverage of black women, weaves, and hair loss I bring you Naomi Campbell with another lost soul, Michael Jackson. Poor Naomi has even gone and upset Nelson Mandela, and is now banned from his 90th birthday concert this week. Shame on you for upsetting a venerable old man.

My Favorite Scenes: Talent Show Redirect

Doing my usual internet procrastination, I came across this blog entry which basically did all of my homework for me. idd it so well I've gone from a C student to an A+. Click here for a link to "What Would Thembi Do?" and her article on The Black Sitcom and The Talent Showcase. It fits right in with my references to Eddie Winslow, Aunt Rachel, Tia, Tamera, Roger, and Marcus singing at every chance they got in the last My Favorite Scenes.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

When I Grow Up! Revisited.




So it is unlikely that this awesome concierge position will actually be my future. (I have no real future career). But it does remind you of that special time in elementary school when this question is first asked and wide eyed optimistic children respond with the careers that society seems to be based around. You then have a classroom full of doctors, nurses, teachers, police officers, fire fighters, U.S. presidents and hair stylists. However as you get older reality starts to set in, as well as likes, dislikes and your parents desires change those goals and more diverse careers emerge like lawyers,journalists, fashion models, actors, and artists.

At some point when you start college you learn what an investment banker is and that there are these organizations called consulting firms and hedge funds. (Some kids know what they are growing up, but I'm not talking about those privileged ones.) Once again career ideals change and people who once wanted to be a doctor or teacher see the lure of business and venture there. But is there anything inherently wrong with that?(Full disclaimer: I went to the dinners, decided Boston Consulting Group was the only firm I liked, started my cover letter and then remembered I did not really want to do that so never applied.)

The New York Times visits the issue this week in a piece entitled "Big Paychecks or Service." The author discusses the pull on students who once had other goals to enter business fields where they can make loads of money. Usually its a base salary around 60-70 thousand and then tens of thousands of dollars added on in bonuses-serious cash for a 21-23 year old to make on their first job, and a salary that most people in other career fields,say primary education or journalism, spend their careers attempting to earn.

The article does address a huge issue in that many people do lose sight of their larger goals in life chasing money at a young age. I have also seen the torture it wreaks on students in the process. There are countless interviews and math evaluations. You fly around the country so that different offices can determine their approval in the midst of working on your thesis, carrying a full course load, and you are still expected to participate in student life. Students take the leap from "I came here to go back and better my community" to "I came here and want some money so I can ascribe to the lifestyle in front of me, the community will figure it out eventually."But it also ignores the fact that many people also choose this path for other reasons. For one, some people actually have families that need financial assistance and this is perhaps the best way out at the moment. People also have plans for their lives post banking. This often serves as the launchpad for one's own business ideas. Many do go back to working towards their goal and this was simply a fun or necessary financial detour along the way. Similarly, just like young people that go about their grand tour post college, this banking lifestyle is a great way to travel and live in other cities essentially on your jobs dime.


Also there are tons of students that just don't have a clue as to what they are doing post graduation. They flit and flutter around during the summer and find a job that often is not in hard core business. Others do go for further education bettering themselves and building more debt in the process. And still several do reach their original goals simply taking detours along the way. It's not a dichotomy of "we help people" vs. "we help ourselves." Often it's more of a mix and I have heard of quite the fair share of students doing teaching programs just to get the free education masters whether or not they will ever actually use it. Even more, there are some people that actually enjoy the idea of investment banking and consulting and hedge funds and all that business jazz. They love quantitative evaluations

This long ramble was just to say that I found the New York Times article biased. Within the limits of the line or word count I am certain there was a way to take into consideration the other side of the story and not simply paint a wide brush over the students that pick a different route. Maybe colleges should enact more loan forgiveness programs like the ones available at several law schools. Perhaps that would help in the battle.

Sidenote: I did like the point about schools homogenizing their students. While not necessarily in the case of careers, there is a point there.

Monday, June 23, 2008

On the Street|Cinched: Why the New York Times need a clue?

It was the New York times that started the fist bump foolishness. In perhaps the cutest article ever about Barack Obama and his assistant, Reggie Love they spoke of "closed-fist high-fives" to which my friends and I laughed, knowing that they had to be talking about a "pound" or "dap." That was alright New York Times. You just needed a way to express the imagery of the action to the public. Little did you know Michelle and Barack would do it a few days on tv, making the public aware of something they were already aware of (Even the Dalai Lama gives pounds. I've seen pics.)

There was also that random Style article about chipped nail polish that discussed how it was now acceptable to have chipped nails. I convened with friends again. We decided it wasn't and that the article was silly. But then again, London girls think black tights or stocking with holes in the summer is acceptable, so I just may be old fashioned like that.

This past weekend we were graced with Bill Cunningham's "On the Street|Cinhed" audio visual feature. Check it out here.
Now I'm just concerned about my hometown paper.

Things I wonder:
1. Where did they find so many shirtless guys? Sure people go shirtless on their block, and NYC did just have a heatwave, but those dudes were passing a Zara making it one of 4 or 5 locations(that I can think of), and the shirtless is just not that normal. It had to all be at the Puerto Rican Day Parade.

2. Really NY Times? One, this is not new. As Mr. Cunningham pointed out, guys have been wearing baggy jeans for quite some time now. Contrary to popular belief, they often did wear belts with them. There had to be away for the jeans not to completely fall off. Also, I've seen this ridiculousness in Brooklyn for quite some time from baggy to fitted jeans. Top Shottas are Top Shottas everywhere.

3. I'm a fan of relating history to everything. After all I was a history concentrator. The depression connection was a little weak. I'm somewhat doubting that super low rise jeans will come in fashion for men as a way of rationing fabric. It's supposedly going out for women though, so who knows. That along with the graffiti connection and the relevance to hip hop culture should have been developed more. Really, my history tf would have graded you worse than they graded me.

4. White kids do live in the city, not just Long Island, Westchester and the UES (which may as well not be the city). They also adapt to and contribute to these fashion musings. But they are not top shottas. Sorry.

Gawker agrees this is ridiculous.

Hey, New York Times. See how I knew this was all bogus. I could be a real help. Hire me!

H.A.U.L.