Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Say it ain't so ...

... say it ain't so! Gary Dourdan is not really an addict is he? I don't know but it's not looking good.
The Associated Press reports that Palm Springs Police found him at 5:12 a.m., Monday, parked on the wrong side of the road asleep with the interior light on and in possession of cocaine, heroin, ecstacy, prescription drugs and paraphernalia.

Now, I have never touched a drug in my life, unless you count alcohol, so I don't know how all this stuff would counteract each other. Rick James told us that cocaine is "a helluva drug." We've been told that heroin did in Jimi Hendrix and X and prescription drugs are all the rage now-a-days.
With all that, the question is why in the world would he do that to himself? The man is sexy, a decent actor and did I say the man is sexy?
I've been feeling Gary Dourdan since he was Shazza Zulu on "A Different World." Been in lust with him since Janet Jackson's "Again" video. I wanted to see him naked since his 'bad cop' routine on the "Soul Food" series. And I've been verklempt (that's a GRE prep word) since he became Warrick Brown on the original "CSI."
I want to know what's happened to him. I just found his mug shot and it appears that my dear Gary has gone from sugar to shyt and I am worried. First D'Angelo, now Gary. Who's next, Jaheim? God I hope not.
Here's a scene from one of my favorite episodes of "A Different World." Damn shame, Gary. Damn Shame.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I have a confession.

This is so hard for me to do. My name is Smarty Jones and I'm addicted to Ego Trip's Miss Rap Supreme on VH1.
Seriously. Ordinarily I wouldn't get involved with the nonsense that is CelebReality on VH1, but for some reason, this one has caught and kept my attention. I think it is that the female emcee, or femcees as I've heard them called, amaze me. Not that women shouldn't be able to do it like the men, or better, I'm just amazed.
In the first episode, they narrowed the field from 50 contestants to 10. The 10 left are (1)Byata from Brooklyn, she's my favorite, she's unlike anyone I've heard. She could almost be a female member of the Wu Tang Clan if such a member existed.
(2)Chiba from Neptune, NJ. she's good too. She and Byata are so much alike they can't stand each other. But both of them are off the hook. For whatever reason her pic didn't save when I created that homemade graphic.
Next is (3)Miss Cherry from the 'A,' I like her too, she reminds me of Luda a little bit. That chick has punchlines for days. Then (4)Nicky2States reppin' Huntsville, Ala., she's like a cross between Trina, Lil' Kim and the original Foxy Brown from her "Ill Na Na" days.
(5)Lady Twist is from Dolton, Ill., and that could explain why she reminds me of Twista. Her ability to tell a story reminds me of Biggie though.
(6)Bree is from L.A., though I would have thought Ohio because she could have been a member of Bone Thugs N Harmony. And (7)Rece Steele, I'm not sure about her. I think she's leaving next. She doesn't leave a lasting impression at all.
The others who rounded out the top 10 include one-hit wonder (10)Khia, D.A.B., and this Russian chick Lionezz.
Apparently the fame from "My Neck, My Back" dried up and Khia either needed some money or some exposure. She succeeded in making an ass of herself and getting disqualified for plagarizing herself and she didn't even spell respect right. Now I am all for the beat and making the lyrics fit but there is NO excuse for ignorance.
(9)D.A.B. was alright. She was a wreck though. She is a recovering addict with a helluva story to tell and she told it, over and over and over again but not in her rhymes. She was too needy and needed to be accepted. That doesn't translate well in hip hop.
And (8)Lionezz is a special case. This is the only person to have been eliminated twice. She was the first one voted off, but was brought back after Khia played herself. Her accent killed her. She is from Russia so she's behind the curve on trying to learn how to deliver rap in English. But her lyrics are sick!
They tapped M.C. Search and YoYo to host the show. I haven't heard anything from Search since Third Base came out with "Gas Face," and YoYo did a little bit of acting but has remained under the radar for a while.
Either way, it's my guilty pleasure. Hey, I'm entitled to one right? I didn't watch Flavor of Love or I Love New York and until they do another session of Charm School, I'm fresh out of foolishness.
Seriously, if you love hip hop or rap, take a look. If nothing else, it's good for a laugh.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

I finally got some sleep ...

... and not a moment too soon. I needed a clear head before I sound off about this Sean Bell murder acquittal. And yes, I said murder because that is what it is.
What do you call shooting someone, who is unarmed, and then they die? It's murder, there's no other way to classify that.
Last week, the three cops, excuse me, detectives. who fired at Bell and his two friends, Joseph Guzman and Trent Benefield, 50 times. Guzman and Benefield were wounded, one had critical injuries.
To jog your memory, Sean Bell was due to get married. He was out at his bachelor party and according to police, he and his friends got into an altercation and left the club. During all this, Guzman supposedly said, "Yo go get my gun."
That is when undercover detectives tried to stop them. During his testimony, he says he identified himself and told them not to move and Bell, who was drive, struck him with the vehicle on his leg and that's when the shots started - all 50 of them.
So, of the 50 shots fired, 31 were fired by one person. That means he emptied a clip, changed it and emptied another one.
According to previous reports, another officer fired 11, the rest fired four, three and one. If I remember correctly, the cops charged were the ones who shot the most, that's Gescard Isnora, Marc Cooper and Michael Cooper.
***They should all change their names to Scott Free***
Reports say that Bell was shot twice in the arm and once in the neck. Guzman was shot 11 times, Benefield was shot twice. There have been reports of a fourth man but no one knows what happened to him. He is supposedly the one with the gun.
One theory is the police officers kept firing because they thought Bell and his friends were firing at them. Since Bell, Guzman and Benefield didn't have a weapon, the officers were firing at the echo of their own guns. I'm inclined to believe that.
Not sure if you've had the (mis)fortune of hearing a gun shot, but the sound tends to ricochet off of whatever is around. I'm guessing that if they were on the street, the sound of so many gun shots at once will bounce off the buildings.
Anyway, two of these guys were charged with manslaughter in the first and second degrees, in an effort to get a conviction on one. They are class B and class C violent felonies. The other was charged with reckless endangerment in connection with discharging his fire arm into an occupied dwelling, which was the car Bell was driving.
Now, you all have all the facts I have. I've watched enough Law & Order to know that there was enough evidence to convict these officers but for whatever reason, the judge didn't see fit to do that.
My concern is that these guys are detectives, right? That means they've been on the force for a hot minute, long enough to make detective. If they've made detective, that means that their superiors trusted their skills, abilities and instincts.
To me, that means they can determine whether or not to use excessive force and their fire arms. Obviously, these three and their cohorts were not ready or equipped to make this decision, especially that trigger happy dude who emptied two clips.
I would have thought they'd get this thing together after they killed Amadou Diallo for reaching for his wallet. In case you've forgotten, Diallo was shot 41 times and killed in '99. At this rate, the next time, and there will be a next time, the next person will be shot or shot at 65 times.
There needs to be some sort of an overhaul as it relates to getting new cops. Apparently, the cops that are there now are tired, their instincts are off and they need to be replaced. If they keep killing everybody, after a while, there won't be anyone to protect and serve in the whole damn city.
The good news in all this is that Bell's fiancee, Nicole Paultre Bell and his friends Guzman and Benefield have all filed a wrongful death suit against the city. If you ask me, Guzman and Benefield ought to have separate suits of their own for the injuries they sustained.
While no amount of money can make up for a lost husband, father, son or friend, I hope the courts award them enough money so that his kids won't need or want for a dag on thing!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Don't cry for Star ...

... apparently ol' girl knows how to land on her feet.
News broke yesterday that Starlet Marie Jones Reynolds filed for divorce from her "husband" of three and a half years, Al Reynolds back in March.
Now every since my girl has been seen with Reynolds, there have been a few, uh, concerns about whether or not he's of the homosexual persuasion. Now he nor she neither confirmed nor denied that he has ever had sexual relations with a man or a woman for that matter.
I have been concerned every since she showed him on The View and I noticed that he arches his eyebrows. I don't know if he plucks, shaves or waxes them, but either way, that's a lil' on the feminine side. No straight man needs to walk around with his eyebrows arched. Anyway, shortly after they were married, it was reported that the man wore a Speedo and a loin cloth to a Halloween party. He was Bam Bam from The Flintstones.
I don't know about you but I don't need anymore evidence to rule in the matter of Al Reynolds' sexuality. I, the jury, find Al Reynolds to be gayer than Christmas - and I mean the lights, the tinsel, the metallic ornaments and the garland.
But hey, it's nothing to be ashamed of, we've all had a crush on a gay guy or two. Hell, I dated one in high school and I'm OK. In fact, we're the best of friends now. But for the record, I knew something was up when he was trying to "cut" after band practice.
In addition to my, and the rest of America's, speculations, Sybil on the Tom Joyner Morning Show said this morning that Jones kicked Reynolds to the curb because the brotha isn't working. And forgive me if I'm wrong, but I don't blame her for that. Shoot, it's even in the Bible.
The Word says in II Thessalonians 3:10, "Even while we were with you, we gave you this command: “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat." I didn't say that, Paul did. So she was right to do that and nobody can fault her for that either. If you do, then you feed that shiftless negro.
While a divorce is certainly a set back, Star has definitely landed on her feet. In fact, the Detroit Free Press has reported that she is dating Dewayne Wade. That's right, D. Wade of the Miami Heat.
I wonder if he put her in his Top 5 on his T-Mobile phone. Even if he didn't, she's still doing better than Big Gay Al. She's doing so well, I had to go back to the 80s to find her a new theme song!

I'm on night No. ...

...I-don't-remember, of less than three hours of sleep. Since I have been having these 21-hour days for at least two and a half weeks, I have watched a loottttttttttttttt of TV and I realized why God does not see fit to make me a financially rich woman. I am convinced I would blow it all on these products on the infomercials.
No lie, I have seen that Magic Bullet thing about 20 times and everytime I watch it I want it more.

Doesn't that make you just want to mix up some muffins or a couple of daquaris? Something else I think I might want to is that Quick Chop vegetable chopper. When I get bored, I cook. The only thing I hate worse than baking is chopping up the stuff that I need to cook with.
For example, I make this off the hook pasta salad that has tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers and red onions in it and sometimes grilled chicken. It takes nearly an hour for me to chop up all that stuff if I'm making a lot of it and it's not like I can just sit down while I chop this stuff up. So, I of course, I've fooled myself into thinking that it's practical.
If that's not bad enough, Time Life is about to hook me on those dang collections. Now to be completely honest, there are probably about 10 songs, in all, on those CDs that I either don't have or have access to, the difference is I don't have them all together. So, does that make it practical to start the Time Life Collection or should I just head to iTunes and pick up the 10 I don't have?
Sure it'd be cheaper but I won't get all those great liner notes and useless tidbits of information that I will never use again.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Soooo ...

I've had a touch of insomnia for a couple weeks and this has subjected me to late night TV which, in my opinion, has gotten a helluva lot better since I had insomnia when I was in college.
Back then, I watched reruns of MTV's "The Real World" and those nasty ole', stank ole' videos on BET's "Uncut" and a couple reruns of "The Cosby Show" on Nick at Nite. Now, late night TV is the best, or maybe I've gotten older. Either way, at 11, I watch "Will & Grace" on Lifetime because Karen and Jack are just freakin' awesome. At midnight, I watch "Frasier" and wonder how come he and his brother intend on staying in the closet. Then at 1, it's "The Golden Girls" and 2 brings on the best sitcom ever cut short, "Half & Half." All of this happens while I flip back between Nick at Nite which could show anything from The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, to Home Improvement to Roseanne to The Cosby Show.
For all intents and purposes, watching these shows allow me relive parts of my childhood while watching these shows but sadly, the commercials are starting to turn me off. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a good commercial, in fact, those commercials and the Cheetos commercial where the dude wipes his cheesy fingers all over the white workspace have been known to keep me laughing for hours.
The commercials I'm referring to are the ones that feature the "We are 18" girls, those "Girls" who have gone wild and all of the ED (erectile dysfunction) commercials. You know the ones:
"Cialis goes to work fast. In as little as 30 minutes for some men and work up to 36 hours ..."
And the world's worst:
"Five years ago, few believed that this simple capsule can make a man larger ...
What do you want me to tell you, it got bigger!
It's made me a heck of a lot bigger!"
Give me a break! Can't I watch the Huxtables perform for their grandparents again without being bombarded with the dirty old man commercials? Can I watch Sophia tell a "Picture it, Sicily ..." story in peace?
My Lord, the only thing more aggravating than watching the commercial is knowing that some poor, gullible, impotent man is watching these commercials saying, "I should ask my doctor about that."
e-Yuck!!! I thought I was watching Lifetime, MyNetwork and Nickelodeon, not Cinemax. Can I have my late night TV back? Please?!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Misunderstood or afraid to speak her mind?

Alicia Keys has been in the news for the past few days all because of a few quotes in a story written by one of my brethren in entertainment media. A statement has been issued to say that she doesn't really believe what the story conveys and of course, the publication is standing by its reporter.
I wonder if she was misunderstood or if that's how she feels and doesn't want anyone to know. I'm not exactly sure but she deemed it necessary to call the Tom Joyner Morning Show yesterday to sort of clarify this whole mess.
Long story short, Keys was quoted in a story in Blender magazine saying "`Gangsta rap' was a ploy to convince black people to kill each other. `Gangsta rap' didn't exist." Of course, she and her label, J Records, have issued a statement to do some damage control so that this doesn't take on a life of its own.
The whole flap is about whether or not she's a conspiracy theorist. Granted what she says makes a lot of sense but Dick Gregory, she is not! Honestly, I don't think she's saying that the music is to blame for us killing each other but she made a very valid point that the music is full of hatred for each other and the white-controlled establishment that is the record business is doing nothing to rectify.
At the same time, speaking as somewhat of an old-school hip hop head, the music is not to blame for everything. At some point we have to accept the responsibility for ourselves and our children.
Now, speaking as a reporter, sometimes you go to your editor with what you think is a solid story and by the time you leave your editor, it has taken on a whole new life and meaning.
What I would be willing to bet my rent check on is she probably did say that, along with a bunch of other stuff, and the editor and reporter conspired, OK, they got together and decided to make the whole story about 30 seconds of the interview.
The bottom line is she needs to be conscious of what she's saying. After you get so big and so famous, everything you do becomes a source of scrutiny and let's face it, no matter how nice or philanthropic your efforts, somebody is gonna hate on you. Miss Keys has some haters and this whole episode is their work.
So as a public announcement to her and her famous counterparts, if you don't say it, we can't quote it. If you don't say it and we quote it anyway, it becomes libel or slander and the best way around that is to run your own tape recorder and/or have someone present during the interview to be a witness.
To accurately quote Miss Keys, "...stayed tuned 'cause there's more to see ..."

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Everybody talkin' 'bout Tavis ...

... about how he's a punk and his loyalties lie with the wrong candidate and how he needs to grow up. OK, some of it I'll agree to, but some of it is just wrong and I'll tell you why.
For those of you who don't know, Smiley, a 12-year political commentator for the Tom Joyner Morning Show, has decided to leave the job at the end of June saying that he simply has too much on his plate. If he were anyone else, I might agree, but Smiley has been wearing an 'S' on his chest since "BET Tonight with Tavis Smiley." So I don't buy the whole, "I've got too much stuff on my plate," nonsense.
While I don't agree with his political choice and I feel like his leaving the TJMS is a cop out, but that brotha has been responsible for jump starting the dialogue on a lot of issues that we need to address.
Over the years I have the good fortune of having seen Smiley speak on two or three occasions and he talks a great game. He has a way of presenting some of these issues that speaks across generational lines.
Of course there's a draw back to this. The jacked up part is in all this dialogue, the brotha offers no solution whatsoever of how to do better. Maybe it's just me but I feel like he shouldn't be talking about it unless he has a solution to do better. Hell, he can even get help.
What he needs to do is form some sort of task force in major metro areas to assess what needs to be done to better those communities and let it spread throughout the region. I'm sure there are several people in every community who are willing to put forth the work if they have someone willing to help.
Honestly, I think he's done a lot of good and he shouldn't be ridiculed the way he has been. Granted some of his past actions border on the juvenile and dare I say, petty, but you have to give credit where it is due. Even a broken clock is right twice a day.
In this morning's commentary he said that he's working on three different documentaries and publishing books by several visionaries like the great Cornel West and the inspirational Iyanla Vanzant and he needs time to pursue those "passion projects."
I understand that, but what's wrong with taking a leave of absence? He could very well have taken a leave of absence from the show and they could have let Jesse Jackson Jr., or even Kevin Powell take over for a while.
The thing that surprises me is he is leaving so soon. I know the end of June is a long way off but I kind of hoped he'd stick around at least until the 2008 Election wasn't such a hot button issue.
Regardless of his reasons or excuses for leaving, I wish him the best and I hope the TJMS crew finds a replacement worthy of filling his shoes.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Black In America

I know what it's like, the majority of you do as well, OK, all of ya'll, but for whatever reason, CNN has decided to "explore" it and create an entire series that will air in July.
Since this year marks the 40th anniversary of the Martin L. King Jr., assassination, CNN opted to do a special report that goes into detail about the events that led up to King's death. Producers and one of my favorite folks on the network, Soledad O'Brien, went back to Memphis and spent some time walking through what is now the National Civil Rights Museum. It used to be the Lorraine Motel and the building where the shot was fired that killed King.
She spent time talking to people who were present that day to get their personal accounts of what happened. Those folks interviewed include Jesse Jackson, Billy Kyles, several police officers and Jerry Ray, the brother of James Earl Ray, the man who served time for King's murder.
It was kind of strange to watch because I have been to that museum and it felt just as eerie to watch it on TV as it did to walk through there. For those of you who haven't been, please go. If you have been anywhere near Memphis, shame on you, that should have been your first stop.
Anyway, this documentary is the first of this series and I'm not sure how to feel about it yet. Since Barack Obama and his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright have made news, there's national talk about race more now than there has been since the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement.
For the longest time, black folks having been saying that white folks just don't understand, or they don't care about us anyway. I'm not saying I disagree with that, but let's be honest, we don't care about them either until it starts to affect our bottom line.
I think CNN is opening up a can o' worms with this one. Eventually, they're going to have to do something about being Hispanic in America or being Asian in America or Middle Eastern or Native American. I'm not saying that I don't think they should do it, I am saying that they need to be fair.
Anybody who's not white has gotten an unfair deal in America and we all need to know about it. I applaud CNN's effort but I have a hard believing that they'll be able to capture the true essence of what it is to be black over one week.
If I had to guess, I would say that there won't be much diversity in the people they talk to and that sucks because black folks are as diverse as the rest of the world. I shouldn't assume, but I've been working in mainstream media for five years and that is long enough to know that the gatekeepers who matter can not make heads or tails of people who don't look like them.
In mainstream media, all minorities must fit into their respective boxes so that they can be properly glazed over and categorized for their comfort. It's hard to take but to quote one of the best bands of all time, Earth, Wind & Fire, "that's the way of the world."
What I really hope is that this series will start to break through some of these stereotypes and negative connotations of black people that the rest of America has. The primary goal for any sort of groundbreaking series like this is to incite some sort of change. While I'm not so naive that I believe that everyone who sees this will change their minds about how they feel about black people for the better, I do hope that this will at least make people think twice about where their negative feelings are coming from.
What do ya'll think? Do you have high hopes for the series?

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Do we all look alike?

I didn't think so, but apparently, we do. Today, a lady and her daughter stopped by my office to give me some information and her daughter, out of the blue said, "You look just like Macy Gray," and she was excited about it.
"Oh, that's a compliment," she said.
Don't get me wrong, I've been told that I have 'one of those faces' where I always look like somebody they know. When I lived in Tennessee, some lady even stopped me in Kroger and just started talking. Asked me where I'd been hiding and how my mama was doing. Ya'll know me, I didn't correct her until the end of the conversation and she felt so stupid.
This one was a little different though, I couldn't figure out why I must look like Macy Gray to her. I mean, I do have the natural hair going for me, Macy is sporting a short, relaxed look these days. We're both around the deep brown color of the negro spectrum and we both have these full lips, but I think that about as far as it goes.
So far, the only celebrity I've been told that I remind people of is Queen Latifah. And hey, I'll take that. I can see how my life can sort of parallel her character Kadijah's on Living Single. I can see how my laugh might sound like hers. I can even see how I don't let people into my inner circle so easily.
I can even see how I compare to Cleo on Set It Off. While I'm no lesbian, I am a tomboy to the heart, I love sports and some people think "I'm hard" so I could be precieved as intimidating. I will go to the end of the earth to make sure my peeps are OK and let's face it, I can be petty after a fight. Hence the line, "I don't wanna give that ho no ride."
Shoot, I can even identify a couple of similarities between me and the Queen's character in The Last Holiday. Like Georgia, it would take a near death experience for me to throw all caution to the wind and live the life that I want. And hey, who doesn't find L.L. sexy as all get out?!
But Macy Gray? Of all people, Macy Gray? When I hear the name Macy Gray, I think one of three things:
"Lemme see the warrant!"
"I try to say goodbye and I choke, I try to walk away and I stumble ..."
And last but certainly not least, how she was walking around in the movie Lackawanna Blues with half of her hair pressed and the other half in an Afro.
I ask you again, does any of that remind you of me?
Obviously, I'm not going to look at myself and see where I favor someone other than my dad and sometimes my brother, so what do you guys think?
So I look like Macy Gray?