Friday, April 30th, 2004

Today’s must-read: Tom Hayden on gang peace and the anti-war movement.

Next week’s must-see: B+ and Eric Coleman at Transport Gallery, L.A.

posted by @ 10:30 am | 0 Comments

Friday, April 30th, 2004

FOXY BROWN RIDES AGAIN

Someone’s been searching here with the terms “Diana DeGarmo” and “ethnicity”, “Diana DeGarmo”, “what is she” and finally: “Diana DeGarmo” and “Filipino blood”. Look how far this chica’s apparently come–from Snellville corn syrup to Daly City leche flan. But for the love of Rizal, my sisters and brothers, every music star who’s racially ambiguous ain’t Filipino!

posted by @ 7:38 am | 0 Comments

Thursday, April 29th, 2004

WE LOVE PLUGS

Two things to tell my Bay fam and visitors about.

First, Quannum comes home. Meet us at The Warfield this Saturday, Mayday. Come early cuz me and my funk brother O-dub will be spinning to warm yall up. I got a crate full of roots, go-go, and maybe even some Ghetto Brothers for ya.

Second, check out this great event going down next week. I’m on the board of Media Alliance and we’re really happy to present this event next Wednesday at UC Berkeley with some of our favorite journalists and media justice/media democracy advocates.

Bob McChesney, author of the new book The Problem of the Media

Jerry Mander,president of the International Forum on Globalization

John Nichols, D.C. correspondent for The Nation magazine and all-around great guy

and last but never least, Farai Chideya, the brilliant, pioneering, award-winning hip-hop gen journalist/author, and host of KALW’s “It’s Your Call” (Are we happy she’s back in the Bay? Hell yes we are!)

The topic: “Media Regime Change!”

Date: Wednesday, May 5, 7PM   

Place: Wheeler Hall, UC Berkeley

Tickets: $7 General Public / $5 Media Alliance members & students / First 100 students FREE w/ student ID.

Advance tickets on-line at Media Alliance, or by calling 415.546.6334, x300. See yall there!

posted by @ 8:13 am | 0 Comments

Thursday, April 29th, 2004

Lots of great writing today.

Dave Tompkins on Freddy Fresh and the P-Bros.

Tommy Tompkins on Fela and the Black President exhibition.

Kelefa Sanneh on Kweli, KaySlay, Rakim and Ghost.

And while I wouldn’t mind if I never hear from their [insert highly negative adjective here] owners again, here’s Ta-Nehisi Coates’ wonderfully written piece on the late Rawkus Records.

BONUS WORDS: Jelani Cobb on Nelly and Spelman. Thanks to Joan Morgan for the link, who calls it “hip-hop feminism at its finest”.

posted by @ 7:19 am | 0 Comments

Wednesday, April 28th, 2004

Now this is getting interesting. Cowell says American Idol is not racist.

posted by @ 6:16 pm | 0 Comments

Wednesday, April 28th, 2004

Whoa. Elton John calls American Idol racist.

posted by @ 3:35 pm | 0 Comments

Tuesday, April 27th, 2004

A.I.

Whoa, Tim Hudson curveball. Latin rhythms!

The mambo sends the queen and king of love out of their zone: Fantasia acts like J-Hud died. Dances well, sings worse. George unveils a new dance step, but still mainly jumps around like Kriss Kross, or um, House of Pain.

Latoya owns it. Renel weeps tears of joy. The Bay Area gets out the vote. A landslide victory for the A’s-capped, ceviche-swigging, Alice Walker book club, hemp-clothed polyculturalists. Oh yeah.

Jasmine is beginning to sound Society of Seven. Which is a good thing if you’re from Hawai’i and possibly not so good if you’re not. We want Camille and her Rastacentric wristbands back like the Jackson 5.

John “Doogie” Stevens is incontrovertible proof that meritocracy does not exist in Amerikkka. (Even money he gets early acceptance to Yale in two years and replaces Noah Wylie in the cast of ER in three. “Great bedside manner”, remark the producers. “Egads, what’s up with his hair!”, scream the stylists.)

Well surprise surprise surprise Diana “Mama Mia” DeGarmo is on point this week. Bonus points for getting her dress dissed by Simon, Queer Eye for the Arts High.

No predictions.

posted by @ 8:33 pm | 0 Comments

Tuesday, April 27th, 2004

CONFESSIONS, PART WHATTHEF–K?

So leaving aside comment on the R.Kelly-ization of pop these days, Usher’s “Confessions Part 2″ has to be the most infuriating and intriguing thing on the radio these days.

Here’s the breakdown, call it a full mack washboard confessional:

This by far is the hardest thing I think I’ve ever had to do

To tell you, the woman I love

That I’m having a baby by a woman that I barely even know

I hope you can accept the fact that I’m man enough to tell you this

And hopefully you’ll give me another chance

This ain’t about my career

This ain’t about my life

It’s about us…

Please

You can just see all the Ush fans thinking ‘Oh that’s so sweet, he’s apologizing” and all the assholes rooting for Ush to get his girl back in bed where she belongs. Whatthef–k? The dude got another girl pregant–one he doesn’t even care about–now he’s begging to come back, figuring you’ll accept that he’s man enough to tell you what a dog he is.

This shit takes creep-dom to a new low. But at the same time, it’s mad seductive, right?

The weird subtext of hits like Ruben Studdard’s “Sorry 2004″ and this one is: “Lie to me, just show me some tenderness first, then act like you’re facing the truth although you really just want an excuse to get back in my pants.”

Can’t help but think that these songs are a sign of the [American] times. How do we really feel about W and Condi? If they just fessed–”Shit man, we really did fuck up with this Afghanistan/Iraq/Israel thing”–would we be like, “Ah OK, that’s cool”?

Conclusion: Usher is yet another good reason to get Bush out of office.

posted by @ 3:32 pm | 0 Comments

Monday, April 26th, 2004

So April’s my birth month–which I guess means it’s about returns and new beginnings.

Had a lot of both this month. After hiding in my little cave trying to finish the book, I was out in the world more than I’ve been since the beginning of 2002. Got to reconnect deeply with old friends in Storrs and New York, and make lots of new ones in San Jose, Seattle, Madison, and New York.

Humbled and full of gratitude to be part of the first (and definitely not the last) Ghetto Brothers national tour, much love to Oliver Wang, Eric Weisbard and Ann Powers, Justin and Eric Liek, David Muhammad, Nema, Ingrid, and the Hip-Hop Generation crew for helping. But most of all, to Wanda and Henry, incredible traveling companions, and in fact two of the greatest people on earth. (Did I also mention that Henry’s new movie, “From Mambo to Hip-Hop”, is the kind of project that could once again revolutionize how we think of hip-hop history? He’s already done this at least three times!) And Benjy, well, he’s a category unto himself–the axis around which the universe turns.

Best moments: folks cheering in Seattle to Henry’s film as “Ghetto Brothers Power” hit the chorus; Robert Christgau, Josh Clover, and the crowd letting out a collective gasp when Benjy revealed he was actually Jewish; Benjy, Brother Righteous, and Afrika Bambaataa–it don’t get more Bronx than that–posing for a historic photo in a Madison restaurant; hanging at WSMU with the Beat Conundrum crew, Cristina Veran, April Henderson, Freddy, super-fresh David, and Rachel Swan.

Also got to be at UConn minutes before the women won their final–and be saved from the ensuing beer rioting by Dr. Ogbonna Ogbar’s LA-tested sixth sense; attend Jessica Hopper’s band’s NYC debut (they’re called Challenger and they rock); to be witness a sambafied Tortoise bring down the Bowery Ballroom, this tour is a must-see yall; and to have many (but not enough) all-day or late-night bull sessions with the de la creme of the musicritterati and the new hip-hop intelligentsia.

Super shouts to the Hip-Hop Congress at University of Illinois, Todd Inoue, the First Thursdays crew, Yoshi Kato, Marian Liu, Billy Jam, Davey D, Ogbonna, Lizz Mendez Berry, UConn SUBOG, Joe Schloss, Dubs and Sango, Josh Cheuse, J-Shep, Jonny Crack, M.A.N., Karen Good, Raq, Joan, Fabel, Bam, Cashus D, Brother Righteous, Claudine Brown, Roberta Uno, Rha, Lenora, Aya, Van, Upski, J-Hops, C-Ryan, Whitney Joiner, Peter Shapiro, Martha Cooper, Danny Hoch, my Chinese-Japanese-Hawaiian-European blood relations in Madison, my Filipino blood relations in NYC, James and Margarita, and SFJ, Sam, Jonah, and Debra–my surrogate fam for an afternoon. There’s more, it don’t stop. I guess I need to get out more often…

All in all a wonderful month, but I’m very happy to be back with Dez and the boyz, and anxious to see what they’ve done to my American Idols. I’m told I won’t be happy. Semi-related thang: another Will Hung sighting.

More posting in the next couple of weeks, I promise.

posted by @ 1:22 pm | 0 Comments

Sunday, April 25th, 2004

sup yall. i’m back. a few weeks of emails to return and lotsa stories. right now, i need some sleep. more a soon come…

posted by @ 10:06 pm | 0 Comments



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