The Black Snob

Politics. Pop Culture. Pretentiousness.

Actor Fight!: Jamie Foxx Disses Señor Baby Wipes!

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I’m not even a big Jamie Foxx fan (love his work though in “Collateral”), but that was HEEEEE-larious. From dissing Terrence’s deliciously fey “plastic” selling album to how Howard plays the same dude over and over. Awesome. Oh, and the smack talking. The Zoot suit diss. The story about Terrence trying to play his guitar at a Fiddy show and wondering why the crowd didn’t respond. If we didn’t invent shit talking, we definitely took it up a notch. I loves it! As Kyle wrote at Defamer.com: Don Cheadle, we love you, but we’re beginning our own fanboy campaign: Jamie Foxx as Terrence Howard as War Machine in Jon Favreau’s Iron Man 2! (Radio Big Boy, Defamer)

Written by blacksnob

December 30, 2008 at 9:59 pm

Blago Picks Burris, Continuing the Greatest Political Show On Earth

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Embattled Ill. Gov. “Hot” Rod Blagojevich never fails to disappoint.

Throwing everyone a curveball Tuesday, Hot Rod picked the esteemed careerist, four decades plus Democratic veteran/law & order, former Illinois Attorney General and first popularly elected black state official Roland Burris as his appointment to President-elect Barack Obama’s senate seat.

CHICAGO — Defying U.S. Senate leaders and his own state’s lawmakers, Gov. Blagojevich on Tuesday appointed former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris to replace President-elect Barack Obama in the U.S. Senate. Blagojevich, accused of trying to sell Obama’s Senate seat to the highest bidder, praised the 71-year-old Burris’ integrity and asked that the corruption allegations not “taint this good and honest man.”

“The people of Illinois are entitled to have two United States senators represent them in Washington D.C.,” Blagojevich said. “As governor I am required to make this appointment.”

Burris, standing at the governor’s side, said he’s eager to get to work in Washington. He said he has no connection to the charges against Blagojevich, who was arrested on Dec. 9 and accused of trying to profit from appointing Obama’s replacement.

Burris was the first African-American elected to major statewide office. He’s served as Illinois’ comptroller and ran for governor three times _ the last time losing to Blagojevich. (Huffington Post)

Fascinating!

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is continuing his swan song that the senate will not accept anyone the tainted Blago picks into the Dem caucus. But by picking Burris, Hot Rod has thrown down the ultimate triple dog dare — pass over my qualified black appointment, haters! — a point clarified at the press conference in even simpler terms by Illinois Dem. Rep. Bobby Rush*.

*Not to be confused by the chittlin’ circuit, nightfishin’, proudly henpecked — pecked by the right henbluesman Bobby Rush who enjoys serenading thicky-thick girls. Because with a mama who loves blues from Arkansas that’s who I thought of immediately when I heard the name Rep. Bobby Rush. I half expected him to belt out how “Sue, she’s a good ‘un!” when he hopped on the stage.

Noting that without Obama there would be no African-American members of the Senate, Rush, a former Black Panther, warned the press not to “hang or lynch” Burris by associating him with the ethics scandals plaguing the governor.

“I would ask you the not hang or lynch the appointee as you castigate the appointer and separate the appointee from the appointer,” said Rush. “Roland Burris is worthy and he is the only one who can stand in the gap during this time and gather the confidence, re-establishing confidence of the people of the state of Illinois.” (Huffington Post)

Rush, in so many terms, asked that people not punish Burris for Blago’s crimes. Fair enough. But he also made the point that a Negroless Senate cannot stand. You can read this a lot of ways. Or you can go the simple route and claim that Rep. Rush just said if you don’t confirm Burris, you are a racist.

I mean. Here’s a direct quote.

“There are no African-Americans in the Senate, and I don’t think that anyone, any U.S. Senator who is sitting right now would want to go on record to deny one African-American from being seated in the U.S. Senate. I don’t think they want to go on record doing that.

Rush promised to take his case to the Congressional Black Caucus, and he said he intended to lobby Senators as well — including his Illinois colleague, Dick Durbin.

“Let me remind you that the state of Illinois and the people of the state of Illinois in their collective wisdom have sent two African-Americans to the U.S. Senate,” Rush said. “That makes a difference. This is not just a state of Illinois matter … but indeed, by this decision, it has tremendous national importance.”

That’s an interesting way to go in getting a fellow appointed. (To be fair, Blago also played a little “he’s a black guy, push it through” hand of bid whist there too.) I don’t know how successful that will be, but it’s guaranteed to be entertaining.

Either way, NOW this shizz is officially interesting to me. Burris is 71 and has watched other hot shots come and go while he was passed over. First Jesse Jackson, Sr. running for president. Then Jesse’s son going to the House. Then Carol Moseley Braun going to the senate first, followed later by Barack Obama, who is now our president-elect. Burris in many ways paved the way for these individuals and during the whole press conference he had a grin on his face that said, “You will not take this away from me.”

This appointment, which everyone else was running from, Burris essentially ran towards as this was his last chance at such a huge and influential position. I can’t really hate on the guy for this category five level of “opportunity = crisis.” He knows he’s being used and he doesn’t care. If anything, at this point, home skillet might being using Blago. And we all know that the senate seat is a *bleeping* valuable thing.

This is going to be a lovely way to burn.

Written by blacksnob

December 30, 2008 at 8:43 pm

The Award for Most Patience With A Crazy Person: MSNBC’s Tamron Hall!

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Congratulations, Tamron Hill of MSNBC! You survived 10 tons of crazy the other day (without even messing up your magical perm), dealing with Conservative flack Kate Obenshain attempts to argue that the “Barack the Magic Negro” song was really about dissing Al Sharpton.

Democratic strategist hottie (oh, those eyebrows!) Jamal Simmons, also gets an honorable mention for riding shotgun on that one, but he should be used to crazy by now as a regular on these sort of “pundit versus pundit” deals.

You can watch the video here on Jezebel, who misspelled Tamron’s name while in the midst of giving her that badge of “Courage Under Extreme Ignorance Fire.”

I think I’d have more respect for the defenders of “Barack the Magic Negro” if they just admitted it was in bad taste, but shouted “FIRST AMENDMENT!” then ducked and hid somewhere after folks started throwing things. But they won’t do that, so … sigh. I guess it’s kind of a story now even though Rush Limbaugh already salted this earth months ago.

BTW, for coming up with a ridiculous argument that did not involve screaming “Yeah, it was tacky but FIRST AMENDMENT!” Kate Obenshain takes home the “Not Helping!” award for the day. You’re not helping the conservative cause, Obenshain! Maybe Ohio Republican Ken Blackwell can offer you some, “C’mon! It’s not that serious! I’m black and I’m not mad. We can mock the president without looking like assholes! The press is TOO sensetive! Liberals get to do it all the time!” defense tactics. Go back to the drawing board. Try something involving “word police” or “censorship,” because you really don’t have any legs to stand on here.

Written by blacksnob

December 29, 2008 at 10:11 pm

Rants: Feel My Pain

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This week in real life “Snob News” I took dear Mama Snob to see “Cadillac Records.” Despite her disdain for all profanity (and the fact that she hadn’t seen a film in a theater since “Harlem Nights” back in 1989), she wanted to see the film because she is a fan of the blues, hardcore.

Mama Snob spent much of my formative years teaching and torturing my sisters and myself with blues music. Everything from Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf (who’s doppelgangers were in the film) to B.B. King, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Johnnie Taylor (who is actually R&B if you ask my mother), ZZ Hill, Denise LaSalle and Koko Taylor. Some of it I grew to love. Others I still can’t stand to this very day. (I truly do not want to pitch a wang-dang-doodle all night long. Or put on my “wig hat,” as LaSalle suggests on one ditty.) But watching the film and, most notably, Beyonce Knowles’ portrayal of Etta James reminded me of what separates great art from great pop art.

In the film, Beyonce is playing Etta James, a woman with a distinct, passionate voice that hits you emotionally to your core. Some of her songs are joyous. Some are gospel. Some are blues. All hit with an undercurrent of suffering.

Beyonce is a perfected R&B/Pop princess with a pristine, over-worked voice who can kill stylistically, but has never moved me emotionally. Basically, her acrobatics are amazing, but she could also be the T-888 of pop singers.

She has been successful in moving me to the dance floor. That’s been a capability of hers since I was in college and someone would throw on “Bills, Bills, Bills.” She’s the queen of the “all-sass, all-the-time, independent/strong black woman” song. The “I’m so awesome and don’t need your tired ass” song, that — as I’ve mentioned before — is more science fiction than reality in relationships. Yeah, sometimes you get to wave it in a guy’s face and sing “if you liked it then you should have put a ring on it,” but most of the time it’s just you, drunk, at home, watching “Mo’ Betta Blues” for the millionth time wondering why-oh-why won’t Denzel Washington come to your house and beg you to save his life?

Did I ever stand in your way, Denzel? Did I ever try to stop you from doing what you wanted to do!?! The only reason you’re here is because you can’t play anymore!

As I watched Beyonce emote her way through the film (and she tried to emote her little ass off), there was something not quite right. Knowles admitted that she really had to dig deep as an actor because of Etta’s anger and inner turmoil, (Etta had it rough and really, really liked liquor and smack, etc., etc.) At the end of the day, she came up with a convincing facsimile of suffering, but I never, for the life of me, believed in that suffering.

It’s not that I don’t think Beyonce has inner drama. Everyone does. Everyone has doubt and failings and pain. My argument is that Beyonce does not want you to know of this drama, any real drama, that is. She’s closely guarded with an even more tightly guarded image. She is more about being the fantasy of what she thinks you want her to be (cue “Sasha Fierce!”) rather than revealing anything of character.

In “Cadillac Records,” Adrian Brody’s character, Leonard Cohen, argues with Beyonce’s James’ lack of emotion in her initial takes of the song “All I Could Do Was Cry.” He makes the point that the song is about a woman watching another woman marry the man she loves. James’ digs deep and finds that pain, albeit it’s not about being dumped by a long-lost love. A scene later you learn about her being the neglected, bastard child of a white man.

Beyonce does good work with the scene, as she does with her few scenes in the movie (the film rushes in so many huge personalities that no one seems to get any justice as a character, including Etta James). But the scene underscores the point that it really doesn’t matter when the song is about pain. The pain has to be real for the song to have meaning. And that’s what separates someone with a wonderful voice who makes an outstanding pop artist from a true artist.

A true artist brings the pain.

I don’t have to convince you that original Fugee’s member, musical genius and lost child, Lauryn Hill has issues. We all know, homegirl has issues. But often, when I wanted to think of a modern song, like Etta James’ classic “I’d Rather Go Blind” or Issac Hayes’ cover of “Walk On By” that makes me want to curl up in a ball and cry, I think of Hill’s “Ex-Factor.”

“Ex-Factor,” on its face, can be taken as a brilliant love unrequited/love denied ballad, but it doesn’t stop there. As Hill explores deeper and deeper into the song and lays out her blueprint of pain, it becomes very apparent that this song doesn’t have to be about a crappy boyfriend or a wayward husband or a married man who won’t leave his wife for you. By the end of the song it is a plea for undying love, the kind you’re supposed to get from the first man to ever love you — your father. And once you cross that threshold suddenly the song is about abandonment — by anyone. Did your mother abandon you? You may cry while listening to “Ex-Factor.” Did you grow up and age out of the child welfare system? You may cry while listening to “Ex-Factor.” Were you abused as a child? You may cry while listening to “Ex-Factor.” Did you spend 35 years as a housewife, raising five kids to find out that your husband has another woman and another five kids, secretly, on the other side of the country? Cry! Ex-Factor is for you.

Hell, you don’t even have to be a woman to cry during Ex-Factor. Just be from the land of broken toys. Be the neglected. Be the rejected. Once you get to the end where Hill pleads, “you said you’d be there for me” over and over she could be singing Pslams for all I know, wondering where is God and why He abandoned her. That’s how universal, yet specific, her vocal pain is.

And what does Knowles have? “If I Were A Boy?” a song, I HATE WITH EVERY FIBER OF MY BEING. It’s a nice enough song. But it’s not particularly deep or painful. It basically entails that if Knowles were a man all she’d do is drink and hang out with guys without question. The video doesn’t hit any harder, which didn’t seem to relate to gender politics at all if you ask any guy whoever had a girlfriend cheat on him with a co-worker. It also resonates if you’re a man who has been routinely emasculated by the woman you love. (BB once sang how he gave you seven children and now you want to send them back!) These things are pretty common place. If anything, I thought the video was about gender equity among cheaters.

Women! We can cheat too! Except, we always have! So never mind!

And, gee. I think Gwen Stefani and the rest of No Doubt addressed this issue better on “Just A Girl” back in 1995. Or Leslie Gore on “You Don’t Own Me” in 1964. Or hey, how about less than two years ago, by Ciara, on a track called “Like A Boy,” a song I actually enjoyed despite it being a blatant Aaliyah rip-off, down to the baggy pants, hair weave and wonderful pop n’ lock routine. At least on the somewhat gimmicky, but fun single it was about being angry that the rules of sex and sexuality were different for men and women. Both Ciara’s and Beyonce’s songs tread similar gender role themes (staying out all night, turning off your phone, etc.) But Beyonce’s “If I Were A Boy” is a sappy, whiny “This Used to Be My Playground”-esque ballad about pseudo-feminism.

Ciara is doing her best Leslie Gore of, “how would you like it if I did it to you, huh? You wouldn’t like that would you! We totally aren’t going to prom now!”

And it’s not like Ciara has a catalog of pain to draw back on (that I know of). But she makes it work. Largely because it’s a revenge fantasy, not about how awesome Ciara is and that she could do that to a guy, but that she WISHES she could do that to a guy. Never once does she say, “Screw this. I’m converting to being an ass.”

And I’m not a big fan of Mary J. Blige, but I call feel the capillaries bursting on every one of her tracks. When she sang that she couldn’t be without you, I believed she could not be without that person. Same went for “No More Drama,” another song which makes me cry despite my best efforts, because, in the end, you are responding to her raw emotion, her appeal to wanting to leave a tumultuous life behind and be the person she wants to be.

Some people say Beyonce wants greatness, hence why she chases those who already have it (see James, Etta). I can’t blame her. A lot of us do. This would also explain why at the last few of Grammy Awards she sang with Tina Turner and Prince as if their true measure of pain and “fierce” would rub off by osmosis. She’s obviously a hard worker, but no amount of hard work can fake pain. When Prince sang “When Doves Cry” you may not have known what the song was about in 1984. Maybe you still don’t. But you know he’s broken up over something. A woman. His parents. God. Himself. Ultimately, for me, the song is about obsession. But, sex, Jesus or obsession are good fallback explanations for nearly every Prince song.

Turner is the same way. She didn’t even write “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” yet the emotions, the sound, the pain were all Tina’s. No amount of wonderful song writing can create that.

I’m not saying Beyonce needs to get in a dysfunctional relationship, be abandoned by her family, pick up a drug habit (or several drug habits), becomes completely disallusioned by fame and moved to the islands, become a conflicted Christian who went pop or go nutbar on me but the great ones give up some pain. There’s really no way around it. Without the pain, you’re just a more charming Mariah Carey who can actually dance. Or worse, Janet Jackson with better vocals.

Both Mariah and Janet have outstanding pop careers. And if you want to be a wealthy, beloved, popular singer, you’re on their heels of catching and surpassing them in sales and accolades. But Whitney, the trainwreck everyone routes for, you will not. Beyonce Knowles can’t convince me she knows the blues. It’s her only real flaw as a performer. Her kryptonite. But she shouldn’t feel bad. It’s a pretty common flaw among pop singers. Usher can kiss Dead James Brown’s ass all he wants. He’ll still sound like someone said “just push play.”

Written by blacksnob

December 29, 2008 at 8:15 pm

The Honolulu Advertiser Is Entering Creepy Stalker Territory With the President-Elect

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Did they swim with dolphins? What kind of shaved ice did they eat? What are they wearing? When they poop does it smell like cinnamon loaf and rainbow sprinkles? More! More!

Obama entered Koko Marina Paradise Deli and said, “So, what are we going to get?” “Let me get a tuna sandwich,” Obama said, asking for it on 12-grain bread, tomatoes and no mayo.

“Actually, can you melt cheese on that?” he asked. “Can you make like a tuna melt with cheddar cheese?”

Obama then approached the press pool to say hello. He placed his shoulder on this reporter, who was scribbling notes, and said, “You don’t really need to write all that down.” (Honolulu Advertiser)

But was the tuna dolphin safe? The reporter didn’t write that down! Inquiring minds musat know, Honolulu Advertiser!

At one point on the sidewalk, Obama dropped his sunglasses, bent down and picked then up.

Because, I really needed to know that. Was Angelina and Brad there, you know, as long as we’re being ridiculous in our coverage? Did Jennifer Aniston say it was “uncool” that the President-Elect seemed to approve of Brangelina sinful, international adopted baby-filled common-law marriage? Where’s the scoop Advertiser?

Obama ate his sandwich before his shave ice, saying he wanted to set a good example for his girls by eating healthy food before dessert.

Inside Kokonuts, Obama, with his BlackBerry on his left hip, ordered shave ice for the kids and friends.

He told Malia, “We’re going to do it one at a time.”

Some ordered banana coconut or pina colada. Sasha ordered a medium banana-flavor shave ice.

“Everyone, once you’ve ordered, step back,” Obama instructed the kids.

Obama pulled cash out of his wallet and Eric Whitaker pitched in to pay the bill. Obama ordered mixed-berry shave ice for Sam Tubman and offered shave ice to the press pool.

“Guys, here’s your chance,” he told the pool. “No? I’m telling you, this is really good … I don’t think this is against policy. You want one, I can tell.”

The press pool declined the president-elect’s offer.

Fascinating. And now, for my favorite mundane detail about a routine trip for snacks and fun at a water park.

Earlier in the day, the group left Sea Life Park about 1:40 p.m. after spending 90 minutes at the marine amusement park.

The press pool was not allowed inside the park. Obama did not pose for pictures or talk to reporters, but reporters could see him, his daughters, and several other family friends leave the park from the interactive dolphin area.

Tourists who were inside showed pool reporters photographs they took of Obama and his family and friends. Obama is wearing a casual cream-colored shirt tucked into olive shorts, and sandals.

The Obamas and friends were seen attending the dolphin show, tourists said.

It is unclear whether the Obamas swam with dolphins, and Obama’s clothing did not appear wet.

OMG! The world may never know if Sasha and Malia swam with dolphins! I don’t know if my life can be complete now! (And, yes, if that had happened the pictures would be cute, but I seriously didn’t need to know how the Big O likes his tuna melt or that he dropped his sunglasses. Seriously. What are you people? Cops?) And while I faux stalk the Obamas, you, Honolulu Advertiser, you beat my faux stalking with your real-time accounts of banality hands down. Did you bid on that used Kleenex Scarlett Johansson sold on eBay last week? Because that’s almost where this breadth of detail belongs.

That said … DADDY/DAUGHTERS TIME! Or should I say, President-Elect/Future First Daughters time!

Written by blacksnob

December 27, 2008 at 8:47 pm

Cabaret star, singer, actress, icon and Catwoman: Eartha Kitt dead at 81

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I wanna be eeeeevil! (From YouTube via Defamer, story People Magazine)

Written by blacksnob

December 26, 2008 at 6:34 pm

Merry Christmas: Michelle O. In January 2009 Vogue Magazine … Maybe

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This picture surfaced recently on the Web claiming to be for a January Vogue cover shot, but other reports have Michelle on for the cover in March (which were recently debunked in Newsweek’s blog Readback so who the hell knows what’s going on here). This also looks very similar to some pictures Michelle took for Paris Match Magazine in 2007 by the same photographer. But until then, enjoy this nibble until I get a higher quality picture. The photo is by, of course, famed celebrity/fashion photographer Annie Leibovitz. (Above image from Flickr; below image from Mrs-O)

Written by blacksnob

December 25, 2008 at 6:34 pm

Posted in fashion, michelle obama